Vie Hebdomadaires & The Indian James Bond

I have been invited to blog on Vie Hebdomadaires this week. Just a few minutes ago, I published my first post for the week there. I’m cross-posting it here because I don’t want to write something new and use my brain more than necessary. I’m sure the lazy ones out there will understand.

Three things I grew up with, which weren’t a pain in the ass: WordPress, Biker Mice From Mars and Milky Way chocolate bars. I think that pretty much explains who I am.

Three cheers for Rohit for nominating me to write on this blog. I don’t usually take part if deviant blogging experiments, but this one caught my fancy. Also, I forgot the mail Varun and decline the opportunity. So, I told myself that I would find the time to blog once a day here on Vie Hebdomadaires.

The fourth thing I grew up with was James Bond. Each and every movie, each and every Ian Fleming book, at least thrice. It laid the foundation to explore slightly better literature – the likes of Forsyth and Ludlum. I grew up with a false sense of paranoia, imagining myself in a conspiracy, spies watching me from the shadows, the sense of being followed, the non-existent sixth sense of being tracked and monitored. I probably needed a high dose of electroshock therapy as a kid, but I was smart enough not to tell anyone about my fears. Or paranoid enough.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of talking about this to someone recently. For reasons of secrecy privacy, let’s just call this person as The Goof. I met Goof for a coffee a few days ago in Bangalore, and in the process of making pleasant talk, I told him about my theory. I pointed out three people in the coffee shop, sitting at various tables around us, and indicated to him how well we were being followed and watched. The three spies had boxed us in so well that we couldn’t make a move without either of them seeing it.

Goof listened to me, fascinated, mouth open, and after what seemed like a really long time, said, “Dude, you need stronger coffee.”

I haven’t spoken to Goof since that day, and I don’t know if I ever will. It’s not because he is convinced that I don’t have a fully-functional brain. It’s because the phrase “Dude, you need stronger coffee” seems so much like a code for something. I can’t help but think its something sinister. I have to check the street for strange people and idling cars.

Play safe. Cheers!

Originally posted on Vie Hebdomadaires, on October 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM

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The Dummy’s Guide To Destroying Your Computer

Ah, so you somehow reached this page. Are you frustrated with your computer? Are you tired of waiting and waiting and waiting for Windows to boot? Are you going bald due to excessive hair-pulling? Do you want to kill your computer? If the answer to any of these questions is either “Yes” or “No” then you’re at the right place! This is my comprehensive guide to destroying your desktop/laptop computer without leaving any trace. It’s about time we hit back.

The Hard-where Kill

This is a technique that I have perfected over a period of time, and is perhaps the most effective way to destroy a computer. It involves speed, skill and timing, and should be practiced on a watermelon to assess yourself (avoid pumpkins; they’re a cliché). Contrary to a popular fairy tale that says the motherboard is the heart of the computer, I have recently made the startling discovery that computers are, in fact, heartless. This explains their lack of emotion, their oblivious indifference to our pleas of help and their disgusting attitude of throwing up sparks after a wet, sloppy kiss.

So, it’s wrong to assume that killing the motherboard will effectively kill your computer. You have to be more thorough.

Before And After
The Hard-where Kill: Before And After

Stand at a height of exactly 14 feet off the ground, hold a watermelon in your hands and extend your hands in front of you to the maximum. Close your eyes, let go of the fruit and quickly turn back to avoid the blood splatter – all in one motion. This requires a lot of practice, and it’s useful to have at least three melons handy. Once you’re sure that you’ve got the technique perfected, go unhook the computer’s monitor and imagine that it’s the watermelon. It makes for great reality TV too, so be sure to call AXN or any of those other cheap-thrill TV channels to capture the shards of glass and innards of the monitor flying in all direction.

Once the monitor is dead, pick up the motherboard and dump it in your water tank. A clean kill.

Serves them right, the idiot boxes!

The Soft-snare Kill

This is a more delicate and time-consuming process that requires a lot of patience. Install Windows Vista and wait.

Windows Vista is an operating system that works on the principle of camouflage and deception. Appearances can be so deceptive – it will make the computer feel all warm and cozy and important, but it’ll kill your system from the inside completely and comprehensively over time. All you have to do is wait and smile an evil smile, showing the same amount of sadism and indifference that the computer had once shown you.

Serves them right, the bastards!

The Why-rus Kill

Computer viruses are ubiquitous in nature. There are people who have spent their whole lives writing malicious bits of code and dangerous programs (because they didn’t have anything better to do and their girlfriends/boyfriends ditched them and their parents didn’t love them enough), and there are people who have spent their whole lives trying to protect computers from these viruses (because they didn’t have anything better to do and their girlfriends/boyfriends ditched them and their parents didn’t love them enough).

A little-known method of killing a computer is to open up the motherboard and sneeze on it a million times a day, infecting it with snot, dirt, phlegm and of course, the rhinovirus. Mankind, who’s been around for so many millenia, hasn’t been able to find a cure for this virus (that causes cold and God only knows why it’s called a Rhinovirus!), and there’s no way in Hell the bloody computers will.

Serves them right, the dumb machines!

Contact me for a free demo! 😀

August 20, 1984!

No, this isn’t a spoof of 1984. I like George Orwell very much! (Though, come to think of it, it could be quite an interesting title for a spoof!)

Few dates in the history of the world are as significant as August 20, 1984. The events that happened on that date are so earth-shatteringly uninteresting, inane and pointless, that they have changed the course of history completely by not playing a role in it whatsoever! Perhaps the most boring date in world history! 😀

I have tried to compile some of the events here that I am sure will make you wonder about the importance about this particular day and why this day was not removed from calendars across the world. Trust me, it’s worth a read! 😀

1. According to the Political Graveyard, on the 20th of August (not 1984), twenty-five United States politicians were born, none of whom are well-known, and most of whom are dead. Just one of these obscure figures was born on the 20th of August 1984. 😀

2. The Journal of Clinical Microbiology, which was released on the 20th of August 1984, which incidentally was Volume 20, contained a revolutionary research article titled, “Comparison of fluorescence polarization immunoassay and bioassay of vancomycin,” which paved the way for no further research on the topic. The authors of this paper probably lost their tenure and were forced to retire! 😀

3. At 7.00 pm on the 20th of August 1984, an appeal hearing was held in the Jonesboro country of Arkansas, which is probably the winner of the Most Boring Meeting ever held in the history of the world! 😀

4. On the 20th of August 1984, Ronald Reagan was boo-ed by a crowd while he was giving a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio and one member of the audience shouted, “No More Reagan! No More Reagan!” 😀

5. On the 20th of August 1984, the glorious world of Women’s Wrestling took a turn for the better, when reigning WWF Women’s Champion Susan Starr defeated Donna Christianello in Buffalo, NY! 😀

6. On the 20th of August 1984, Time Magazine’s 124th Volume was released and Sears and Cheryl Tiegs made the cover! 😀

7. On the 20th of August 1984, I was born.

Kris Bass has generously awarded me the Brilliante Weblog – 2008, and on this glorious occasion, I consider it my privilege to pass on this award to 8 other blogs that I consider worthy (worthier than me, definitely). They are:

[The rules specified that I could only pick 8 blogs for this one, so I am not taking anything away from all the others whom I have not mentioned above! Don’t hate me for this! If I could have, I would have nominated each and every blog on my blogroll and many more that I frequent]   🙂

I guess that covers most of the things that I wanted to say about this very special day, and to acknowledge an award that I don’t think I deserve.

Cheers! 🙂

PS: The great Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was born on the 20th of August 1944! 😀

PPS: This post has, very interestingly, exactly 20 hyperlinks!! 😀

Vodafone Woes!

When Graham Bell called out to his manservant over the first telephone ever built, he didn’t realize that one day, the world of telephony would reach today’s heights. We have phones that flip open and fit snugly in the palm of our hands, and without any wires attached, we can call someone on the other side of the world with the touch of a button. He’d be proud of himself, I’m sure. But if he had any inkling that there’d be something called “Vodafone” in India in the year 2008, he’d never have called his manservant and he would have promptly destroyed his invention and told his sponsors to leave him alone! 😀

Ok, so why do I hate Vodafone so much? Well, it all started when I returned to India from New York in April this year, and realized that I didn’t have a cell phone connection that worked here. So, I stole borrowed my mom’s BSNL sim card and started using it. Pretty soon I came to know that the BSNL connection was little more than a piece of plastic with some metal pasted on it with QuickFix, and that it rarely worked! No STD calls were possible and every time someone called me, I’d begin the conversation with, “The line may get disconnected any second…” 😀

I guess that’s why BSNL is allegedly an acronym for “Bhai Saab, Nahi Lagega!” 😀 (Sir, it won’t work!)

So anyway, I switched to a Vodafone connection, against all advice to go for Airtel (I was a Hutch user a long time ago, before I went to NY, so I thought I’d be loyal) and signed up for a corporate connection exactly 10 days ago. The plan looked good and it gave me all that I was looking for in a connection – STD, ISD, text, local calls, everything. And it was quite economical too! So, I took the plunge and switched to Vodafone. 😀

Three days later, my woes began.

I got a message when I was in Chennai for the weekend that I had used up 80% of my credit limit and that I had to make a payment of 600-odd bucks immediately. I ignored the message, because it was ridiculous. A day later, my outgoing calls and messages were barred! I called up the customer care and made the girl on the other end cry because of the kind of language I used, and through her tears, she told me that I had actually used up so much for international calling and national roaming charges. I realized that Chennai was in another state altogether and that national roaming would be activated. Sheepishly, I apologized and hung up.

I paid the required amount after two days (it was tough surviving for 2 days without making a call from my phone, but I managed) and got my lines cleared up. Three hours after I had paid, the outgoing lines were barred again! 😀

This time the customer care executive who answered my call was a guy and while I was wondering what happened to that other girl (she had kind of a sweet voice) he apologized for the inconvenience and said that he’d clear up the lines immediately. Apparently the payment I’d made wasn’t “reflected” on their servers.

I have had it with these weird things in life! These Vodafone people came to my office to verify my office address and then did the same at my home address! I mean, for fuck’s sake, I’d given them my office ID and my address proof when I took the connection! Bah! Morons! 😀

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions of how to make a Vodafone guy’s life miserable, please let me know! 😀

Image Courtesy: Me!

The Funny Guy! :)

I have recently been awarded the dubious distinction of being Mr. Funny Guy by my friends. I should be honored, and to an extent, I am. How this title came about and why I am not really satisfied with it will be apparent after you read this whole post. 🙂

It was a dark and gloomy Wednesday evening, around six, when I decided to wrap things up in the office and go all the way to Yelahanka, where my brother was waiting in the police station after his bike had been towed away. I had to go there and pay the fine of 600 bucks to bail the bike out. When I left, the rain had just about abated and I made quick time in traveling the 30-odd miles to Yelahanka. We both got drenched on the way back, but that seems to be a minor point of little or no interest to the readers, who’re probably well accustomed to my bouts of bad luck. I met a few friends for dinner that night and decided to liven up the night with a joke.

“Okay, people! I am going to tell you a joke!” I announced. Everyone fell silent and listened intently, being aware of my reputation for spinning a lovely yarn. I was actually trying to impress my friend’s cute cousin who’d joined us. She was sitting next to me and seemed to be hanging on my every word. I desperately wanted to impress her and make her smile. So, I dug into my vast database of corny jokes and pulled out the best one!:D

“There was this scientist,” I began, “and he had just invented a biologically-engineered refrigerator. The fridge was so cool (no puns intended!) that it could order groceries online and make instant breakfast. It ran on some pretty cool DNA-computing circuits and was state-of-the-art! It was more intelligent than the most intelligent computers of the day. So, this scientist was selected for the Nobel Prize that year.”

I looked at the cute girl, paused for effect, and smiled. Everyone on the table was gripped. “The Nobel Committee waned him to fly over to Stockholm and demonstrate his bio-engineered refrigerator. So, this scientist rented a single engine Cessna plane and started his journey. Halfway through the flight, the single engine died and the plane began to crash. The pilot screamed, “Hey scientist! We are too heavy and the plane can’t handle it! You have to throw your fridge out!”

“No way!” screamed the scientist. “I have given my whole life for this invention!”

“Look, fella! If we don’t throw it overboard, we’re all going to die. It’s too heavy. You have your research data with you anyway. It’s just a question of assembling it again. Please understand!”

“So, this scientist, after careful deliberation, opened the door with a heavy heart and threw the fridge out.”

I stopped talking and took a sip of water and leaned back with a smile. Everyone on the table were leaning forward, intently waiting. “Then what happened?” asked the cute girl next to me.

“Nothing,” I said. “That’s the end of the story. ”

When they all realized that I had conned them, it was too late. The expression on their faces was a million dollar one. I started laughing out so loud that I drowned their angry retorts and groans and the hotel manager came up, glared at me and said, “Sir, please don’t laugh so loud. You’re disturbing the other guests!”

I continued laughing in a whisper and the other people around the table were ready to drown me in my tomato soup. “Okay guys, I am sorry,” I said. “I’ll make it up to you. I’ll tell you a better joke this time and I swear on the graves of all the men, women and children who died building this hotel that you will not be disappointed.”

My reputation as a funny guy preceded me and they all agreed to give me one more chance. “Last chance,” said the cute girl next to me. “I’ll slap you if you do this again.”

I wanted to tell her that I would do anything to get her to slap me because that would mean she would have to touch me. Oh, she was so cute!! 😀

“Okay, get ready,” I announced and cleared my throat. “There’s this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere and in the center of the lake is a small islet on which the most beautiful flower is growing. The lake is infested with crocodiles and sharks and piranhas and just about any man-eating critter nature has created. On the banks of the lake, a man and a woman are sitting, cuddled up. They are very much in love with each other. The woman asks the man to swim across and get that flower for her. He protests and says that he’s going to killed trying to cross the lake. “Is this how much you love me?” asks the girl, very depressed. So, the man takes offense and says, “If you want me to prove my love to you, then I will cheat death and get you the flower.” He strips down and starts swimming. He battles all the critters that come in his way and finally reaches the middle of the lake, plucks the flower and swims back, again battling nature’s fury. He reaches the shore and climbs out holding the flower. And then, right in front of the woman’s eyes, he dies!”

I paused for effect. “Why did he die?” I asked, looking around at everyone.

They were all listening to my story so intently that one of them immediately said, “The flower was poisonous”

“No,” I said.

“Something attacked him!”

“No”

“He had a heart attack?”

“No”

The cute girl then said, “Tell me, tell me! Please!”

I couldn’t ignore her cries. Oh, and her voice was so sweet. So, I told them the answer – “The fridge fell on him!”

For two minutes there was complete silence and I inched closer to the cute girl and turned my head at an angle so that she could get a good whack at my cheek. But to my surprise, she burst out laughing and so did the others. They liked the stupid joke! I was so annoyed!

So, that’s how I got the title and that’s why I am not too excited about it! She didn’t slap me! Now, I don’t know when I am going to see her next. Damn! 😦

Beers, Laughs and WordPress Themes!

Thursday night was a blur – it was May 1st, Labor Day, and I was working hard in office till almost 8 pm. If that wasn’t ironic enough, then try this: I had to attend a press conference the next day and I was supposed to go in complete formal wear and be on my best behavior – so, I got drunk that night, celebrating Labor Day and went to the press conference in an unpressed shirt and carrying a mega-hangover! I know a lot of people will read this and judge me and call me an irresponsible jerk who doesn’t deserve to be employed, but in my defense, I didn’t plan on getting drunk and I don’t have formal wear! I wonder if this argument will hold up in court or if I’ll be thrown in a mental asylum to be evaluated. Hmm… 😀

Anyway, that night, I met Rags and Panday – two of my closest friends – and we went to this place called Tavern. The place was quite empty when we reached at 8.30 pm and by the time we ordered the second pitcher of cold draught, the place was overflowing and the music drowned our voices. We laughed and laughed and remembered all the strange things that have happened to each one of us, and wished time could stand still…

By the end of the night, this is how we looked:

Rags looked quite sane because all she drank was two mugs, constantly being paranoid about her health cehck-up as part of the Australian Visa thingy! And Panday is a regular fish-tank when it comes to booze, and we both gulped down most of it. I felt so buzzed that I decided to change my wordpress theme!!!

Ok, here’s where logic is thrown out of the window. I was high on alcohol and in that dazed state of mind, I realized that my wordpress theme looked gay-ish. 😀

I’d better change it!! So, here’s the effect! A new theme that’s here to stay, hopefully as long as my old, faithful Light did.

Akhil and Chucks, if you both are reading this, then we missed you both big time!

Cheers!!! 😀

The Big Crunch!

end of the world2008 hasn’t been a very good year for me so far. In fact, it hasn’t been a good year for most of the people I’ve known – failed marriages, failed love lives, too many bad days at work and school, diets not working, falling down, accidents, losing clients, losing major contracts, losing jobs, cost-cuttings, fights at home, and so on… The list is endless. Most of the people I know can’t really explain what’s happening. Last year, it had been so good for these people, me included, and all of a sudden, fortunes change drastically. A close friend of mine lost close to fifty thousand rupees on the stock markets and another good friend of mine had a life-threatening accident. I almost had my brush with death when the plane I was traveling in, on my way to India from New York, experienced so much turbulence that the pilot announced that they had to make an emergency landing somewhere – freaked me out at that time, but the turbulence passed and I reached safely.
But on the whole, it hasn’t been a really good year.

Friends of mine have flunked their exams and whose who were waiting for job offers and marriage proposals were disappointed. Another friend of mine called Divya was so happy that she had finally found a guy to get married and she called me up, all hyper-excited! A week later, she told me the marriage was off as the guy decided to study further and rejected her. I was more heartbroken, not only for her, but it proved my theory of 2008 being a very very bad year for most people.

Now, I know why it is a bad year. I did some calculations and called up a few people who take this astrology thing seriously, and I have a passably corny theory, wrapped in some flimsy auspices of scientific fact. Here it is:

The Big Bang Theory states that once the universe stops expanding, it’ll start collapsing into itself. This phenomenon is termed the Big Crunch. Sometime in December last year,  the Universe reached its limit of expansion, and just like an expanding balloon, it paused for an instant, stretched out to its tensile limit, and hung in an instant of timelessness. Everything stopped in that instant, including time. I don’t know if any of you have noticed that time seemed to be behaving strangely around November-December of 2007, but for me at least, it was so unnerving. I used to think that time seemed to be going slower than usual. Maybe it was because I had my exams at that time, but I don’t know. The clock never seemed to move ahead!

Now, in 2008, the Universe has begun the Crunch. Everything is moving in reverse – bad things are replacing good things everywhere in the world. Crime rate is up 11% in India alone! We are stuck in this lawless, reverse universe for a couple of billion years minimum.

I think we’d better start praying…

Disclaimer: The above theory has absolutely no scientific or astrological basis. It’s pure and utter nonsense, a brainchild of a bored and zombified mind. 😀