Great Eggspectations!

Of all the curious things I’ve noticed about Mumbai, perhaps the strangest is the love this city has for eggs. Everywhere I go, I see a cart laden with egg cartons and a guy standing behind it, making omlettes and burji and toast. I come from the South, and people don’t really like eggs down there. Very rarely do I come across an egg cart in Bangalore. Over here, you throw a stone in the air, it is bound to land on an egg.

Mumbai Egg Guy

I walked up to one of these egg carts the other evening and ordered an omelet sandwich. As I munched on the little piece of heaven that seemed to melt in my mouth, I heard a voice behind me say, “You’re Nikhil, aren’t you?”

It was a woman’s voice and it sounded a bit angry, laden with attitude. My hand was frozen midway between the plate and my open mouth as I turned to face the voice. It was a strange sight that met me. A withered, old, toothless woman stood there grinning, with a heavy plastic bag in one hand and an empty bucket in the other. She was draped in a heavy shawl, too heavy for the weather here in the city, and a pair of the thickest glasses perched on her nose. Her bat-like eyes stared at me from behind those glass walls and her toothless grin grew wider as I turned. She looked vaguely familiar.

“How you are, child?” she asked me in broken English and I knew who she was. She lived across the hallway from my apartment, had three kids, four grand kids, and was married to a filthy rich younger guy, who was also the treasurer of our housing society. I had seen her around once in a while, when putting the garbage out or picking up my newspaper, and had smiled occasionally at her.

“Yes, I am,” I said giving her half a smile.

“Egg eating, are you?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“You eat egg at home, no?” she asked, suspiciously, furrowing her brows.

“Uhh, yes. I eat eggs at home,” I said, wondering what her issue was and why she was even talking to me.

“Ok, now. You eat egg at home and you do not throw egg shells in my kitchen!” she yelled. “Throw egg shell in garbage, child,” she added in a softer voice, with a smile and hobbled away down the road.

I stood there, stunned by her bipolar onslaught. I thought back to remember if I had ever thrown egg shells into her kitchen. Of course I hadn’t. I keep to myself as a rule when living alone in a strange city, and I had no good reason, yet, to throw egg shells into my neighbors’ houses.

So, that makes two curiosities in Mumbai that caught my attention so far – the love this city has for eggs and very eggcentric, crazy, old neighbors.

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Need vs. Want

It seems everyone around me is doing it. People I least expect to do it are doing it and it makes me feel a bit left out. No, they aren’t doing it, in the literal sense of the phrase. They’re getting tattoos done on their bodies, and I thought I should get one myself.

The funny thing about making up one’s mind about body modification is the fact that no matter how much one jokes about it, it has to be taken seriously. A tattoo is a permanent thing, and to take it lightly might result in being stuck with the mistake forever. Yesterday, I was having a very mature conversation with a close friend of mine (who used to blog before she ditched the country and ran away to hide under the Queen’s skirt in the United Kingdom). She told me that she’ was getting a tattoo on her back, under the neck and asked for my suggestions about the words.

Selfish bastard that I am, I somehow managed to turn the conversation thread into whether or not I should get one and if I did, what it should be. It also got me thinking later if it’d be a mistake to get one. I consulted another friend of mine who’s crazier than most crazy people, and she said that I’d be crazier than her if I got a tattoo. Now that’s not the kind of branding I want for myself. Another argument against getting a tattoo is the fact that I only want to get one because I’m bored in life and want to do something insane, and that I don’t really NEED a tattoo. In the past, when life got to monotonous, I have quit my job, I have gone on long vacations, I have gone on a spending spree, I have moved houses and I have slept with random women. This time, none of these options seem viable.

The counter-argument to this is I’m feeling left out and desperately want to be part of the tattoo’d crowd.

Now, 48 hours later, I’m still vacillating about this. Should I get one? Or should I just let it be and latch on to some other passing fancy? Help!

Cartoon Courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com

Calvin And Hobbes: The Last One

He opened his eyes to darkness. He felt around with his hands and found the wall to his right, along which his bed lay. He groped around until he found a switch and flipped it on. Harsh white fluorescent light filled the room and hurt his eyes. Reflexively, he closed them and groaned. His head hurt – no, pounded from within, and it felt like a million sledgehammers threatening to break open his skull. He turned on to his side and winced as sharp points of pain pricked his joints and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he sat up. Still dressed in his clothes from the night before, he looked down at his hands and feet, wondering how he ever got home. The last thing he remembered was his tenth beer. There had been a lot of shouting, a lot of music, loud music, and a lot of dancing. He vaguely remembered throwing up somewhere, and sure enough, he saw the dirty yellow stains on his white shirt and blue jeans.”Shit,” he muttered, and swung his legs off the bed.

Standing in the middle of the room, he stretched himself and took a step towards the bathroom when he stepped on something soft and furry. He looked down at the old stuffed tiger he used to play with as a kid, and kicked it under the bed in anger. He had suffered enough because of it, and he had no intention of ruining his life further.

“Twenty years,” he said to the bit of furry tail still visible from under the bed. “Twenty years of my life ruined because I thought you were real. They stuck me in a nut house and asked me to swallow pills every two hours. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Then, calming himself, he took a few deep breaths and said, almost chanted, “You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He walked into the bathroom, showered, shaved and came out feeling refreshed. As he stood looking at his thirty-year old beaten, worn-out, pot-bellied frame, he thought back to the day in his youth when he had burned his parents alive. The tiger had asked him to do it. The tiger had said it would be a good idea. He had listened to the tiger and killed his parents. Pain wracked through his mind and he shut his eyes tight as tears rolled down his wet cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he said to no one in particular.He was different then, before the medication, before the doctors, before the black-outs…

When he turned away from the mirror, he was about to reach down to grab a shirt from the floor, when he stopped dead in his tracks. The stuffed tiger that he had kicked under the bed was now back where it had been. The single remaining beady eye and the empty socket where the other bead had been looked up at him in a cold stare, unflinching, as if daring him to talk. As if daring him to scream, to shout, to say something. He stared at the tiger, frozen in mid-step and too scared to do anything. He swallowed a large gulp of fear and said, “You’re not real. You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He turned away closing his eyes and shut both his ears with his hands, still chanting his mantra. When he stopped to catch a breath, he heard someone call his name from behind him.

“Calvin,” the voice said. “Why won’t you talk to me anymore?”

“No!” he screamed. “Don’t talk to me! You’re not real!” He still was turned away, now crouching near the wall, his head resting against the corner. “Shut up!”

“You think I don’t miss you, Calvin?” the voice asked.

“You’re not real. You’re not real…” he continued in monotone, rocking back and forth, drowning out the tiger’s voice.

“Of course I’m real. I’m right here. Turn around, Calvin.”

And he didn’t know why he did it, but he did. He turned, opened his eyes and saw the tiger standing there in the middle of the room. The tiger was smiling at him, standing on its hind legs, holding out its hands as if waiting for an embrace. Calvin took a tentative step towards the tiger, still confused and the madness showing on his face with no inhibition. “NO…!!” he screamed. “You are NOT real!” and he ran towards the bed-side drawer, pulled out a gun from inside and put it in his mouth.

He looked at the tiger’s eye and saw the tears rolling down to its cheek and forming tiny puddles on the floor. He was crying himself. He couldn’t stop the tears.

“Don’t do it, Calvin,” said the tiger, stifling a sob.

“I’m sorry, Hobbes,” he said and pulled the trigger. As the last shard of life left his body, he thought he saw a stuffed tiger lying at his feet. He tried to smile and tried to tell himself that the tiger was not real. He tried, in vain.

A Conversation With God :)

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Me: Hey God, what’s up?

God: Nothing much. You tell me.

Me: You know that this isn’t really happening and that I’m either stoned or drunk.

God: Yes, I do realize it. What can we do about it?

Me: Nothing, I guess. Let’s make a deal, shall we?

God: What?

Me: You promise me that you’ll leave me alone and I’ll promise you that I’ll not spread rumors about you.

God: You’ve been spreading rumors about me?

Me: Uh… No, forget that.

God: No, no! Tell me, what rumors have you been spreading about me?

Me: Nothing, God. Nothing. Let’s move on, shall we?

God: I don’t think so, Nikhil. Tell me now!

Me: (Shit!) Er, are you sure you want me to do that?

God: Um, yeah.

Me: I’ve been telling people that… that you… you are… Hey, did you watch that new movie? Isn’t that cool?

God: Don’t change the frikkin topic, dude.

Me: (Oh Crap!) Look, God. You’re a decent guy. And I’m sure you’re rational, to an extent. Let bygones be bygones. What say?

God: More than rational, I’m a bit more realistic. Now, stop beating around the bush and tell me what nonsense you’ve been telling people about me! Tell me now or I will banish you to an eternity of bloglessness!

Me: (Gulp!) Okay, I’m sorry. I think I should confess. I’ve been telling people that you don’t exist.

God: Hmmm… Really? Is that it? Or are you hiding something?

Me: No, no! That’s it! I swear. I am not lying!

God: May I ask why you did this deed?

Me: Well, I don’t know.. I mean, look at you. You’re this big and powerful entity and you apparently created the whole universe and you’re omnipresent and omnipotential and all that jazz. But you’re never there when people need you, are you?

God: Oh, you’re referring to the recent increase in terrorism, aren’t you?

Me: Terrorism? No, I think a lot of people are already doing that. I’m referring to something much more fundamental.

God: Really? What?

Me: My sense of time – I woke up today and thought it was a Thursday. And on Wednesday, I woke up and thought it was Saturday. What’s happening to me?

God: I think it’s some deep atavistic instinct of yours kicking in.

Me: Oh yeah? Do you see me dangling from a tree branch and scratching myself?

God: In a way, yes. I do.

Me: (Scratching myself) Hmmm… You do have a point there. Maybe it’s time we put an end to this ridiculous conversation and get on with our daily chores.

God: That’s the most intelligent thing you’ve said all your life.

Me: Why, thank you, God! I was running low on sarcasm.

God: Get lost. Bye!

Me: Goodbye! 🙂

Aaargh!!

The past 48 hours have been terrible, to say the least! I am so frikkin frustrated! I am going to take it all out here, venting the steam, ranting and raving about the little injustices of life and the fact that a simple moment of calm can be so elusive! Aaargh! I am so full of shit ..er… er… I mean, I am so full of anger!

Monday started as usual, with the blues and my suicidal mood. I woke up groggily at around 8, reluctantly took a shower, which, unfortunately, woke me up, thus ruining my mood further. I snapped at everyone in the office and was in a lousy mood for most of the day. A long day in the office and at nine in the night, when I reached home, I was in a worst mood of my life. I attributed it to my weekend exploits and the consequent hangover! 😀

Tuesday was slightly better to start off, and got worse as the day wore on. A long, long drive to meet a client, who lived on another planet for all the trouble, and then the drive back in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a stifling, hot day ensured that my mood would be no better than the previous day.

I started pulling my hair out at around 2 in the afternoon, when for the tenth time, the power failed and the computers shut down in the office. At 2.30, when I had around twenty strands of hair on my head, my computer crashed: “Boot Sector Fail” screamed the monitor at me and shut itself down, never to boot again. In my head, I smashed the screen of the computer, smashed the whole computer into tiny pieces, set fire to it and danced around the make-shift bonfire butt naked, singing a native African tribal war song, and then pee’d on the fire. But in reality, I just sat there in front of the computer with a strange smile on my face and humming the African war song softly. My colleagues thought I was nuts. 😀

Then, when I went to smoke, I realized I didn’t have any matches. I walked across the street to buy a box of matches, only to realize that I had left my wallet back at my workplace. I mooched a light of some other loser who was smoking nearby, and went back to the office, and realized that the power had failed again and the AC was not working. I caught a glance of myself in the mirror and the hair on my head looked so promising and pull-able. My fingers itched! 😀

When I finally gave up and left for the day, my long drive back home became longer because the battery in my phone died and I had no music to listen to. The one hour drive from my office to my house became unbearable as the traffic was unnaturally pathetic. Oh, that’s not the end of it. If the day had ended thus, I’d have been happier! I was twenty minutes from my home when the skies opened up with all their fury and drenched me to the bone. The only thing I really hate about riding a bike in heavy rains is the small, irritating puddle of water that accumulates in my underwear, making my squirm in anger! Aaargh!!

I slept as soon as my head hit the pillow and woke up at 4 in the morning today. Great! Add insomnia to the list of disasters! My life sucks, doesn’t it! 😀

When stars pretend to care!

There are very few things that annoy me in life, and right at the top of the small list are celebrities! I hate them. Not that I’m jealous of them or anything, its just that sometimes, they do things that makes me want to throw up in disgust. On screen, I like them; I like their acting and I like the men and women they portray, but off screen, they are just irritating, piss-off people with a bottomless wallet and a bigger ego.

Ok, I can accept it when Britney Spears walks down the road naked and the paparazzi drool on their cameras. I can also accept it (grudgingly) when Tom Cruise talks about Scientology and tries to convince us that we are aliens. But what I can’t really understand is when Brad Pitt tattoos a map of New Orleans on his lower back as a tribute to all the victims of hurricane Katrina! 😀

How is this a tribute to anyone except the poor woman with whom he sleeps every night? Or is he planning to do a Salman Khan and walk around bare chested for the rest of his life? But for god’s sake, a tattoo!!! Now, I’ve seen and heard everything! This is just disgustingly insane!

Celebrities are people who are supposed to smile for the cameras and pretend to act. But all they seem to do is smile and pretend to care. Aamir Khan pretended to care for the “violence affected brothers and sisters” and decided to carry the Olympic torch! I really want to meet his PR agent and shake his hand! 😀

I guess we live in a world where the quirkiest actions are greeted with the most response. I am old school, and I am still trying to grasp the pace at which the world is becoming dumb. 😀

My Blog Feels Abandoned! :(

Boo Hoo! 😦

My blog stats are on the decline! I don’t know why! I don’t write obscene stuff. I don’t write politically explicit articles, I’m a decent guy who blogs on decent topics, no racism, no porn and definitely no slander! Well, almost no slander! 😉

But still, this is very depressing news… What do I do? I can’t afford scantily-clad cheerleaders, nor can I offer free beer to all my visitors! All I can do is hope and pray that people read what I write. I wish I were one of those noble souls who aren’t bothered with blog stats… Sigh… 😦

Maybe what I can do is offer free advice and great ideas to everyone who visits me and leaves a comment. Just like Calvin! But I won’t charge them. I’m not as good a businessman as Calvin. Sigh, again… 😦

One more thing I can do is to change my wordpress theme. I’ve been using this theme for god knows how long, and maybe people are bored of seeing it. The same old header image (non-customizable, Grrr..!!), the same old font, the same sidebar and the same old boring topics!

Oh yeah, maybe I should start blogging about some socially volatile topics like abortion and child molestation and dangerously declining blog stats! (grin)

Actually, when it comes to such topics, I’m as opinionated as a doorknob. So, I’ll just continue to write about my same old boring life, the quirks I come across, the instances of stupidity and the complete lack of judgment, which often leads me perilously close to being a boring, old hag. Damn! My life is pathetically predictable!

As I said, Boo Hoo.. 😦