Chai Around The World

Chai Around The World

Howdy Folks!

I’m alive. Surprise!

So, here’s the deal. I rarely come here on MirrorCracked these days. I had forgotten my password – I got in on the 4th attempt. I don’t know what’s happening on the scene anymore. Are you guys all still here and blogging? I don’t know how many will even read this – I’m sure a lot of people would have given this blog up as dead. I hope not.

I blog at a new location now. I’ve been traveling. A lot. And not on my own. Wink 😉

Check out Chai Around The World. Let me know what you think of it. I plan to return here soon enough. I’m mustering up the courage to revisit the old haunts, read up on all your blogs and update my abandoned blogroll very soon. Within this week, I promise. Just because I don’t blog here often doesn’t mean I don’t love you all.

Go. Read my other blog. Tell me your thoughts.

Free beer for all.

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The Man From Nowhere

“See the nowhere crowd cry the nowhere tears of honour 
Like twisted vines that grow 
Hide and swallow mansions whole…”

— James Hetfield, The Memory Remains

He came from nowhere and he didn’t know where he was headed. He seemed lost, confused, a paper boat caught in a hurricane, with turmoil eroding the last traces of sanity and reason in his head. He was escaping, hopefully to a better tomorrow, but he didn’t know for sure. He wanted a fresh start, desperately. He didn’t know how he was going to achieve it – his bad luck seemed to have followed him here as well. Everything he tried seemed to fail, and fail miserably. He caught himself searching for straws to clutch at.

He vowed to find a muse, an inspiration, a candle in the whirlwind of his bad luck. He wanted to find the elusive abundance of good luck that had deserted him for so long. He yearned for the peace and tranquility that had been hiding from him. It was not a search in vain.

He met her on a hot, sunny afternoon and they regarded each other cautiously, unsure of just how much attention the other person warranted. She seemed harmless enough, but he was expecting his seemingly unlimited quota of bad luck to step in again.

“Been a while,” he said. Cautiously. Two tigers, one paranoid and the other indifferent, circling each other.

“Yes. How have you been?” she asked.

“Good,” he replied and they went on to talk about other things mundane.

Time flew by and a pact was etched in stone between them, unwritten yet indelible. It took time, obviously. It did not happen overnight. He began to experience her presence more and more in his life until it almost became an addiction. Over time, he started craving for her company. She became the beacon of light in the darkness that had clouded him. She forced him to embrace good luck again, though he never knew how she managed to do that.

He still had no destination in mind, but he knew that his journey wouldn’t be lonely anymore; the journey that he had started from nowhere and had seemed to head nowhere; the journey that she had spectacularly derailed and made more bearable. He had a lot of things to be thankful for. And for a million things more.

He had found his muse. He had found his share of good fortune. The man from nowhere was finally home.

The Christmas Nightmare

scary santa penguinEvery year, around Christmas, I am blessed with a nightmare or two about things that truly scare the shit out of me.

Very few things scare me as much as penguins do. Yeah, it’s a rare phobia to have, and I am one of those very few people in the world who are afraid of the flightless demons. They are evil and they won’t hesitate to kill you and eat you, every chance they get. They walk like they are on a mission to hunt you down and their stare is enough to turn your blood cold.

Last evening, I had one of my frequent penguin nightmares. But it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I dreamt that I was being hunted by a penguin dressed as Santa Claus.

I found myself in a strange room with three doors and no windows. A loud, disembodied voice called out to me, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Nikhil!”

More intrigued than scared, I looked around the room frantically to locate the voice. From somewhere, a draft of cold air blew threw me and I shivered involuntarily. That’s why I realized I was naked. There were absolutely no clothes on me at all. I tried to search for the source of the breeze but couldn’t find any. There were no windows, as mentioned, and no vents or cracks in the wall. There was no furniture, no electric sockets or appliances of any kind. Despite the lack of light bulbs or any other artificial source of lights, the bare room was strangely illuminated in natural light. I wondered what the hell was going on.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” came the voice again. It was a deep, guttural voice that was a bit menacing as well.

“Santa?” I whispered.

“Have you been a good boy this year?” asked the voice in a lilting tone, as if daring me to say yes.

“Wh.. What? Yes! Yes, I’ve been a good boy!” I stammered, now thoroughly scared. I could feel my bladder filling up.

“Liar!” screamed the voice. “You’re a liar!”

“No, No! I swear!” I yelled back.

Then, the door on the far right flew open with a bang and I couldn’t see beyond the darkness of the doorway.

“Run,” said the voice simply.

I stood there, frozen on the spot. Where was I? What was going on? I took a gingerly step towards the open door when the door on the far left flung open and there, framed in the dark doorway, stood a penguin, three and a half feet tall, wearing a blood-red Santa hat and brandishing a gleaming knife. It had a sneer on its face that almost seemed to tell me that my time was up.

It waddled towards me in the sinister way that penguins do, and spoke in the same creepy, bone-chilling voice, “I said, run.”

Then came the laugh. The laugh that echoed all over the room, penetrated deep into my very soul and made my balls shrivel up into tiny dots. The laugh that seemed to cut open my skin and suck all my blood out. The laugh that echoed all around me and inside me and threatened to rupture my brain. The laugh that forced some feelings into my frozen legs and made me break into a run through the open door on the right, away from those menacing, blood-shot eyes of the crazy bird-beast.

I ran, sweating and panting and unable to scream or shout out for help. I ran as fast as I could in the darkness, not knowing where I was headed or where I was stepping. I could hear the pitter-patter of the beast’s tiny flippers chasing after me. I could still hear it laughing as it ran, as if the beast were toying with me.

“Run faster, Nikhil,” it called out to me. “Is that the best you can do?”

I could feel the voice growing louder which could only mean one thing. The penguin was gaining on me! I increased my speed and felt my lungs burning for oxygen. Every muscle in my out-of-shape body ached and screamed in pain as I forced my legs to work faster.

“Merry Christmas, Nikhil!” said the penguin-beast and laughed out one last time. I could feel the cold steel on my leg. It had caught up t0 me and was slashing at my legs! I found my voice and screamed out loud.

I woke up, drenched in sweat. I saw a Santa hat lying on the floor next to my bed, the hat that I had purchased from a roadside vendor that very same afternoon, in my misguided Christmas cheer. I glanced at my clock and saw that it was almost time to wake up. I swung my legs off and stood up, snatched up the Santa hat and threw it in to dustbin. I put the trash out and made sure that someone picked it up and recycled the bloody thing.

Merry Christmas, you say? I’d say it’s a fascinating start so far! Even now, I sit here and wonder: what might have been behind the middle door, the one that stayed shut?

Return To The Bay Of Pigs!

A long, long time ago, I had written a piece on how men can be more successful in wooing women. I had come across a lot of men who had complained to me about the difficulties they were facing when trying to talk to a woman or flirt with a woman.

Recently, a close stranger read this post (titled ‘Bay Of Pigs’) and decided to write a rebuttal for each of the points, this time from a woman’s perspective. What started out as an experiment in killing time soon became an insightful glimpse into the mind of women, what they think of men and what they expect from a man when he tries to flirt.

You need to read the original post for this to make sense, because in the interest of time and keeping in mind my readers with attention deficit disorders, I’ve edited those parts of this article that belong to the original.

Bay Of Pigs: Redux

(Note: The text in italicized black is part of the original post, while the text in brown belongs to the stranger, the woman who wanted to argue. Any mistakes in spelling or grammar are entirely my own and not the fault of the guest author.)

men-are-pigs

Men are pigs.

They say that God created Man because he was bored and that He created Woman because he needed a challenge. Man is the blueprint while Woman is the masterpiece. […] Men can consider this post as an eye-opener and take stock of what qualities they lack, and women can consider this post as an easy read and be amazed at my insight into the female mind.

Men are pigs. Truer words were never spoken!

1. Sense of humor: Most women look for funny men. But be warned, being funny does not mean cracking inane jokes and making complete idiots of yourself. It’s the wit that counts and not your ability to remember jokes. […] Just make sure you’re laughing with them, and recognize when they’re laughing at you!

A good sense of humour does appear to be amongst the top 3 of “what women want”, and the author appears to have it figured out. I think this is what most women want. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want a man that can make me laugh as such, rather, I like it when a man can keep it simple. By this I mean, a light and easy-going conversation is favored. I am the kind of person that is rather shameless, and have no qualms about laughing at myself. Men seem to love making jokes at the expense of the ladies around them, and get terribly disappointed when it isn’t received well by their female counterpart. In that regard, I am a good subject of jokes, I would say, because I almost always laugh along.

2. Build: Women are very realistic unlike men, and they know that not all men can have a body as hot as Arnie and Stallone. […] We men need to be realistic, and not stupidly optimistic. All women are hot, no exceptions!

Let me make this clear – most women do not aspire to be at the arm of men like Arnie; Stallone maybe, but not because of his build! Men are the only ones that want Arnie bodies. I wouldn’t want a “flabby piece of shapeless dough” (I’m shallow that way) I would like a fit guy though. Let’s face it – they’re so much more fun to look at, and show off! We women tend to look awesome pretty much all of the time (unless we’re caught in midst of beauty treatments like face masks or oily hair) and men need to realise they should at least try to live up to the standard we set so early on. Digressing from build, allow me also to add that well-groomed (which means well dressed, clean and smelling good, just in case you’re clueless) is what we’re looking for. So if you’re going to show up in denims and a sweatshirt, make sure you look cute while you’re at it, would you?

3. Chivalry: The concept of chivalry, for most men, stops at holding the door open to women. Wake up, men! That’s not all what women look for in the chivalry department. […] It takes great skill and greater patience to hold your own and also defend her while arguing in a group.

Ah! This is the tricky one. You don’t want to be chivalrous to a point where we constantly feel like damsels with faint hearts,  but you don’t want to be so aloof that we feel like you don’t care. It has to be just the right amount. That’s all I will say here. Why should we make it easy for you all the way? 

4. Possessiveness: Women like men to be possessive about them. It makes them feel special and wanted. […] For more advice on this, mail me.

Do men actually enjoy being possessive? Oh yes, you have the whole Neanderthal way of expressing ownership. You might as well pee all over us to state we’re “yours”! I personally don’t like possessive men. If a guy were to “tell me at every opportunity that they’re….” yaaaaaaaawn.. Oh MY, I think I just dozed off there a second! No no noooo! I really don’t want to hear that, I’d probably end up punching you in the nose!

5. Music: Women hate tone-deaf men. Every woman has a particular taste in music and it may not always match with yours. […] Listen to her favorite tracks with her, and encourage her to play it again if she wants to. You can pull your hair out later, when you’re alone.

Looking at the next point I’d like to say, mood music is very important – make it sensuous, trust me, you’ll enjoy it too (if you can get past the fact that you’re getting it on!) I don’t know about most women’s taste in music, but I’m always open to listening to new genres of music. In fact, most of the music I listen to today was introduced to me by men. If you don’t listen to death metal and the screeching, banging sort, I’m good to go. Some women really seem to enjoy sappy music, and that’s where I think you men should just take a stance and say, “hell no!” (and knock some sense into your lady’s head, please!)

6. Sex: Do not, I repeat, do not push the woman for a physical relationship. Women are very, very careful in this matter and if you push the wrong buttons (no puns intended) you come across as a sexually-frustrated despo! Be careful!

You have to tread carefully in this department. Women may say they are alright with casual sex, and want no strings, etc. but trust me, they almost always hope that strings will develop, that they dazzle you with their sexual skills, and you’ll fall in love with them. Sometimes that does happen, but I’ve noticed that men are capable of knowing the difference and maintaining it, women are NOT. I would suggest, if you really like the girl, take it at an easy pace in this department, and things will fall into place nicely.

7. Family Values: Most women like men who have good family values. Respect her parents and her family and she will like you all the more. Never ever call her dad “Dude!” or “Old Man!” because that will being down your brownie points!

What gets to me the most about a lot of Indian men is that they’re “mumma’s boys” and they want their partners to be as domestically awesome as their mothers. It’s all very well that you love your folks, in fact, I endorse it, but come on – recognize! I don’t know about other women, but that’s a big turn off for me. On the other hand, I don’t expect that my partner will get along brilliantly with my folks. It’s almost a universal fact that there will be friction between them. That’s what keeps life interesting, eh?

(On an entirely unrelated note – what exactly are brownie points? Am I allowed to cash them in for an actual brownie or two?)

8. Perseverance: Women like to be pursued with vigor. They hate being ‘flung’ around, if you know what I mean. […] Trust me, it works!

This one’s true, makes us feel special and adds the whole romantic movie atmosphere to real life. Lots of fun! Keep it real, don’t be a big pile of mush, because that gets old real quick. We like to be shy and coy and play hard to get – it makes the whole deal feel that much more special. Indulge us, would you?

9. Fighting: Fights are inevitable in every relationship, and when there are situations where you know that the reason is trivial, just take the blame. […] You do not blame the woman!

Don’t be irrational, that’s all. We are always right, that’s true, but we would get suspicious if you always agree – we’re smart that way. And that would lead to a whole new set of fights! So pick your battles, men, put your ego aside, in fact, maybe its best if you forget you have one, while you’re with us! 

10. The Ex- factor: Do not, I repeat, do not maintain contacts with your ex- girlfriends while you’re pursuing a woman, or when you’re in another relationship. […]

Hmmm, this one is a bit tricky. If you’re staying in the same city as your ex, and have common friends, you are bound to run into her, right? What we want to see is that you’re over her, and there is no residual anything for her. You’re better off if you cut all contact, unless you want to see us turn into raging lunatics? Oh and by the way, we’re complete hypocrites about our own exes – we will want to remain “friends” with ours, and you’re not allowed to protest. So there.

Good luck. Live long and prosper. If you didn’t understand that, you’re no fun, and you’re not a geek, which is what women want! (Or do we?)

AUTHOR’S NOTE

It takes great literary skill and greater convincing skills to get a chance to write for, or be featured on MirrorCracked. To have successfully passed all the barriers and made it on to this forum, I would like to personally extend a warm greeting to the lovely stranger (who has expressed her wish to remain anonymous) for her time and effort in helping men pick up women.

One beer coming your way, ma’am.

We are open for comments, opinions and brickbats, which I will deftly deflect in the stranger’s direction.

On Being A Domesticated Housewife

Last millennium, there was a paradigm shift in the way men and women thought and behaved. Whole societies evolved into liberal entities, allowing such acts like women being allowed to work, men being allowed to marry other men, women being allowed to marry other women, women being allowed to vote, read and opine – acts that would have had them killed before. We all rejoiced this happy turn of events. Everyone could do everything, and no one would be allowed to question them. Everyone had smart lawyers who ensured the continued freedom to do and to sue.

However, I must have missed the memo, because of late, I’ve been domesticated to such an extent that I’m wondering if I’ve gone back in time to the Darker Ages, and occupied a woman’s body. A typical day in my life pans out like this: I wake up, finish my ablutions, make some coffee for myself and drink it while reading the newspaper. So far so good, right?

I then wash the previous night’s dishes, clean the kitchen counter, the stove, the shelves and the dining table, take a shower, clean up the bathroom, clean up the toilet, set the bed and go to work. I guess this is also typical of a guy living alone. But, wait. It gets better.

I get home in the evening, make some coffee or tea for myself, drink it while watching a bit of television, then make some dinner. Once I’m fed, I clean up the kitchen and the stove, and if I’m in the mood, I do the dishes right there. I then do a quick, cursory sweep of the house with a broom, dust all the table tops and the windows. I then proceed to put my dirty laundry into the washer, and while its doing its thing, I walk down to the grocer, buy some groceries, walk back, and arrange the new purchases on the shelves. I tie up the garbage bags and take it downstairs for it to be picked up. By now, the washer would have almost finished its job, so I take the wet clothes out to the line to hang them up.

But what’s this? There are clothes already present on the line, from last evening’s laundry. So, I take them down, and replace them with today’s. I fold the dry clothes and put them away in my cupboard, come back into the kitchen and clean the washer. I then make some more coffee or tea and clean up the dishes and run a wet towel over the kitchen counters again and watch some more television with my beverage.

I hit the sack, exhausted.

So, in this domesticated lifestyle of mine, I hardly find the time to socialize. I need a break, and I need a maid. Sometimes it’s a nice break from the monotony of not doing your own chores.

Oh, I won’t bother writing about my weekend schedule. It’s worse.

Locked Out & Lack Of Clothes

Regular readers of my blog would know that a year or so ago, I had been given the rare distinction of being God’s yo-yo. Funny things kept happening to me, things that had no logical explanations. There was the time I managed to get trapped in an ATM vestibule and minutes later, a DHL courier fellow sniffed my butt. Then there was the time when a vengeful airport taxi driver sneakily followed me around town to beat me up. Or the time when an idiot almost forced me into the Idiots Club of India. I have gotten into the weirdest situations possible and for the more curious reader, here’s a ready reckoner of search results.

I’ve been careful with my life for a long time now and haven’t gotten into any embarrassing or potentially life-threatening situations of late. Last night, it all came rushing back. With interest.

I took a strange decision last evening to get ALL my clothes ironed. So, I emptied my wardrobe, dumped them all in a makeshift basket and took it down the road to the dry cleaner. If he was surprised at seeing underwear among the clothes, he didn’t show it. I then happily sauntered off to a mall nearby and started searching for donuts. I was told that a very popular donut chain was operating out of this mall, and I spent a long time hunting. I finally found the little shop and stood there in front of the lighted glass case, drooling and mesmerized at the sight of those sweet dollops of heaven arrayed in front of me. I went wild and ordered an assorted box of a dozen of their favorites and as I walked out of the mall, I thought the world was so beautiful and nothing could ever go wrong. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

It took me a good fifteen minutes to flag down an auto rickshaw  (I could never call it a tuk-tuk) and by the time we navigated through the inching traffic at nine in the night, and reached my dry cleaner, he had shut shop. For a second, I thought I was at the wrong place. After all, who closes down at nine in Mumbai, right? Well, turns out, this fellow does. So, I sat there in the rickshaw, stunned and wondering what to do. I got off and walked slowly back home, thinking of the consequences of the situation. No clothes to wear to work the next day. Forget that, no fresh clothes at all, except for a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt. I reached home troubled. According to the painted sign in front of the shutter, the dry cleaner’s operating hours started at 9 in the morning. I would have to go there and pick up my clothes early in the morning as soon as he opened, come back home, get changed and leave for work. It was a workable plan.

So, I calmed myself a bit and came home, dropped my donut box on the couch and went into my bedroom. Well, at least I tried to get into my bedroom. The door had one of those round knobs with a button on the inside to lock it when pulled shut. Unless I had a key, I couldn’t get into the room. Of course I didn’t have the key. I could feel a horrible cold hand creeping up my spine and my head felt the initial anxiety attacks of being bounced up and down on a cruel wire. I could hear God laughing his Evil laugh as he played with his favorite yo-yo.

I searched around for a locksmith and found one who was wrapping up for the night. In my broken Hindi, I convinced him to come home and open the lock for me and I don’t know how he did it, but he convinced me that it was a good idea to pay him double. Eventually, I got back into my bedroom at ten-thirty, was too tired and frustrated to eat more than three donuts and went to sleep as soon as I could.

I did get my clothes back this morning after waiting for an hour for the guy to open his shop and reached work a bit later than usual. I can’t help but feel a cold presence around me now, like a cold wire wrapped around me, waiting to be jerked up and down when He fancies. I shudder.

Fashionably Amused

I am no exception to the Rule of Omission, which states that a straight guy, when surrounded by ten or more beautiful women, will subconsciously omit everything else from his field of vision. A similar situation arose last night. A long lost sister of mine coerced forced invited me to attend the shooting of the grand finale of a high-end reality fashion show, which was promised to be oozing with glamor. I took up the invitation reluctantly and only because of my brotherly protective instincts, which she managed to evoke quite deftly. How can a chivalrous guy like me let his kid sister wander the outskirt streets of a  city like Mumbai alone at midnight and beyond?

So, I went as bodyguard and guest, and sat through two hours of boring social etiquette, while sexy women in breathtaking dresses paraded in front of me. As part of the audience, sitting in my usual torn jeans and ill-fitting shirt, I was the most under-dressed of the lot. And that is saying something. Everyone around me was dressed in lovely evening attire, dresses flowing freely on some and body-hugging some. Curves all around. I was in straight guy heaven.

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The event itself was mediocre. The concept was not too unique and the contestants in the beauty pageant behaved exactly as they were expected to – pretty but dumb. There was the obligatory ‘world-peace’ speech from one of the girls and the cliched ‘stop-terrorism’ plea from another. There were four judges for the event (it could have been five, I’m not sure) – an ex-beauty queen, two or three Bollywood actors and a fashion designer. Apparently these people were celebrities and supposed to be quite the household name. I had never heard of them.

A 23-year old friend of mine who had accompanied us on this adventure became quite depressed halfway through the evening when my sister told her that she looked 28. The rest of the evening passed by in a blur for me, caught in between the incessant ‘Do I look 28?’ chants on one side and stunning women on the other. The buffet spread was passable at best, and a few social niceties later, we said skadoosh and hit the road. The place where this event was being held was called Madh Island (pronounced ‘Mud’, like in mud and dirt), which was a good hour away from the city proper, and in a secluded, forested  beachfront. Quite a charming place in daylight and definitely not for the weak-hearted and paranoid in moonlight. We were lucky enough to find a cab at the gates, without having to do too much walking around, and reached our respective houses close to 1:00 in the morning.

It was quite a night. Now I know where all the hot women hang out.

PS: Why is looking the right age so important for women in their twenties when they don’t act their age?

PPS: Using ‘freshly pressed’ as a tag on your posts won’t get you featured on the WordPress homepage. I discovered this the hard way, in my previous post.