Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Monday, September 27, 2004

Quickie!

Yesterday was good. Sim CAT 2 was decent. Scored 58.5. Also went to Landmark and picked up six more issues of MAD magazine. So, overall, very satisfying day.

And today has begun promisingly as well. Check this out.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Chiens De Réservoir

After the last post, I wanted to use babelfish for something bigger. So, I picked a piece of dialogue from the movie 'Reservoir Dogs', which ranks second on the list of the most foul-mouthed movies ever made. The first is 'Chicken Run'. Anyway, these are the actual lines:


Mr. Pink : Shit! Orange got tagged?

Mr. White : Gut shot.

Mr. Pink : Fuck! Where's, uh, Brown?

Mr. White : Dead.

Mr. Pink : How'd he die?

Mr. White : How the fuck do you think? The cops shot him.

Mr. Pink : This is bad. This is so fucking bad. Is it bad?

Mr. White : As opposed to good?

Mr. Pink : Man, this is fucked up. This is so fucked up. Somebody fucked us up big time, man.


Now, after putting it through the English-French-English conversion using babelfish. This is what we get:


Mr. Pink : Shit! Did the Orange obtain a label?

Mr. White : Projectile of intestine.

Mr. Pink : Kiss! Where is the brown?

Mr. White : Died

Mr. Pink : How did he die?

Mr. White : How does you kiss it think? The pirns of wire drew it.

Mr. Pink : They are bad. This kisses the bad one thus. Is this bad?

Mr. White : In opposition to the good?

Mr. Pink : The man, this is kissed in the shit. It is thus kissed upwards. Some kissed us to the top of the great time, man.


LOL! The second piece could've been straight out a Shakespearan play, if you didn't already know.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The French Confection..

In school, the subject I enjoyed the most was French. It was also probably the only one. I didn't understand too much of the others.

The three choices we had for our second language were Hindi, Tamil and French. My mom's a Hindi teacher, so my parents figured I could learn that home. Tamil was just too f#$%ing tough. In fact, when I had it for my third language, I used to practise drawing the alphabets for longer than I did the cross-section of the cockroach, which by the way, I rocked. So, finally, French was all that was left.

You know what they say, about English being a funny language. Well, when compared to French, English is about as funny as anerobic bacteria. And going by the response to the last post, not exactly hilarious. Now if you're talking about French, that is a funny language. It is common knowledge that the French attach a lot of importance to matters of sex and this is best reflected in the fact that in their language, every object has a gender. And some of them are really confusing. Back then, I wanted to find out how they had gone about the gender allocation - how they had decided which objects were male and which female. I used to spend hours wondering about this. I was a lonely guy. It got boring at times.

But all said, the genders puzzled me to no end. I can understand perfectly why the pencil has to be male. It's symbolic significance is present for all to see. It is fairly obvious that an object of that shape has to be closely associated with the male. Or for that matter, it makes complete sense that an envelope would be feminine, for pretty much the same reason. But here's the confusing part. Balls are feminine. Why in the world?

Another thing about French is that it's a really beautiful language. It is one of the romantic languages, the other being Latin. But I don't think it's romantic at all. The most common French greeting is 'Comment allez-vous?' which literally translates into 'How do you go?'. So, let's say you're in Paris and you see this lovely French girl when you're travelling by the Metro. Gathering up all your courage, you go up to speak to her:

You: Comment allez-vous, mademoiselle? (How do you go, miss?)

She: Je vais en la métro, évidemment. Tous les Indiens sont-ils ceci stupide? (I go by the metro, obviously. Are all Indians this stupid?)

And there go your chances of a date with the lovely lady. French doesn't sound that romantic now, does it?

But one thing I'll grant is that everything sounds nice in French. There are absolutely no yucky words in the language. In English, you have 'shit' and 'crap' but in French, there's only sweet poetry. You could curse someone using the foulest of words but it would still come out sounding like a Beatles song, that is, if the Beatles had sung in French. In fact, you can easily try it out. Tell your friend you're gonna talk in french and say, "Tu es un cochon noir" (pronounced "Tu ay an coshon nvar"). He'll say "Thank you" without knowing that you just called him a black pig. It's virtually impossible to be rude in French.

To better illustrate this fact, I went to babelfish, a popular language translator and typed out 'Fuck you, asshole'. I then translated it into French.

The French version read 'Va te faire foutre, abruti' which sounds lovely enough but I knew that my discerning readers would need more convincing. So, I translated this back to English.

The response was stunning. The French niceness had gone to work behind the scenes and the answer staring me in the face was the admittedly much milder 'Get stuffed, moron'.

'Fuck you, asshole' -> 'Va te faire foutre, abruti' -> 'Get stuffed, moron'

Where did all the profanity go? You see what I mean?

This is also why all French men sound like sissies. Real men have to swear, grunt and do a lot of stuff that cannot be called elegant or classy by any stretch of the imagination. With a language like French, there's just no scope for any of that. That was one of the primary causes of the French Revolution.

So, you guys think about that till the next time. Till then, au revoir, abrutis!

Monday, September 20, 2004

The role played by anerobic bacteria....

Whatever little faith I had in our education system has finally disappeared. I actually felt it go last week but I waited a while just to be sure...

Anna University has launched a new television channel called AUTDC which apparently stands for Anna University Teaching and Development Channel. And they have shows in which some jobless prof comes up and delivers lectures. Who the @#$% came up with that? And the worst part is that students watching are encouraged to call up the show and ask doubts.

In my college, there's this room that's called the Audio-Visual Centre. It has a lot of chairs and in one corner, there's a television set (without a set top box), which I guess takes care of the audio-visual components of the room. Anyway, this where they send my class every once in a while to watch AUTDC.

It's got to be the most pathetic channel ever. Give me Ekta Kapoor any day. At least, in her shows, there are some classy babes in starched sarees to lech at. Here, we get to watch a 60 year old man standing in front of a blue screen and talk about sewage treatment. Oh, I almost forgot. There is a girl announcer who, by a really long stretch of the imagination, could be considered good-looking, that is if you have a thing for rare Kampuchean langurs. She's been on TV before many times, on the Discovery channel. Anyway, here's how the show went...


Announcer: Hi all, welcome to AUTDC - The first channel in the world to be fully devoted to academic development. Today, we have with us Dr. X who is going to give a lecture on the role played by anerobic bacteria in oxidising the domestic waste in second stage of the sewage treatment process.

X: Thank you Y, let us start the lecture immediately... the anerobic bacteria...

(rrriiiiiiiiing rrriiiiiiiiing)

Announcer: Wait, professor, we have our first caller. Hi, welcome to AUTDC - The first channel in the world to be fully devoted to academic development. You can now ask your question to Dr. X.

Caller: Hello Doctor, I was wondering. I'm a student of Computer Science, so why the @#$% do I have to study about anerobic bacteria?

X: That's a very good question. I will come to it shortly. Meanwhile, let us go ahead with the lecture....Sewage....

(rrriiiiiiiiing rrriiiiiiiiing)

Announcer: Wait, professor, we have our second caller. Hi, welcome to AUTDC - The first channel in the world to be fully devoted to academic development. You can now ask your question to Dr. X.

Caller: Hello...

X: Yes, please ask your question?

Caller: What is the role played by anerobic bacteria in oxidising the domestic waste in second stage of the sewage treatment process?

X: That's a very good question. That's what my lecture is all about. So, please stay tuned and you will understand.

Caller: Thanks a lot. By the way, do you take song requests. if you do, could you please play....

Announcer: Thank you for calling. If you're just tuning in, welcome to AUTDC - The first channel in the world to be fully devoted to academic development. Before we continue with the lecture, we will take a short break.

(Break - Orange screen with a ear-splitting screeching noise in the background)

(Break over)

Announcer: Hi all, welcome to AUTDC - The first channel in the world to be fully devoted to academic development. Today, we have with us Dr. X who is going to give a lecture on the role played by anerobic bacteria in oxidising the domestic waste in second stage of the sewage treatment process. Before we continue with the lecture, I want to remind you of our all-day special discussion tommorrow - What should the punishment be for copying in the Professional Ethics examination?

(And so it goes..)

So, there you have it, folks. As you can see, my life absolutely rocks. So, if you ever want to get your mind off your troubles, just tune in to AUTDC. I can't think of a better way to escape worry except maybe... suicide. Hey! There's an idea...

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Anacondas : The Hunt For The Exit!

What do you do when you want to make a sequel to a reasonably successful movie, but none of the big stars are interested? No problem, you just hire people who look like them.

That's what happens in 'Anacondas : The Hunt for the Blood Orchid' which, in a matter of 90 minutes, manages to cover all the cliches the adventure movie genre is afflicted with. In fact, at the end of the movie the credits went something like this.

Cast

Brave-maverick-captain
(Mel Gibson/Clint Eastwood look-alike)
White-male-scientist (Tom Cruise look-alike)
White-female-scientist (Elizabeth Shue look-alike)
Hispanic-female-scientist (Jennifer Lopez look-alike)
Black-male-scientist (Big Black Guy)
Hispanic-male-scientist (No idea)
Black-puny-scientist (John Doe?)
Captain's-Pet-monkey (Marcel/Jim Carrey look-alike)

Like all previous movies belonging to the genre, this movie also follows the law of movies that states, 'Any team of people going into a dense jungle for some immensely important purpose will have correct demographic distribution.' The movie also proves a real-world law that states, 'Shit happens!'

And as the movie unfolds, you are treated to all the dangers you can possibly expect on a vacation to a dense rainforest in the rainy season - waterfalls, sinking boats, crocodiles, poisonous spiders, head hunting tribals and, of course, Giant Horny Snakes. In fact, this movie is an insult to the entire B-grade-jungle horror thriller genre. Instead, it should be heralded as the pioneer of the totally new Oh-God-How-Much-Cornier-Can-It-Get genre.

The movie starts of intriguingly enough. A British pharmaceutical company has found that the flower known as the Blood Orchid secretes a substance that has the ability to make the consumer immortal. The flower blooms only once in 7 years and that too only for 6 weeks. And when the team of scientists decides to go find it, they have just two weeks left!!!

They go to Borneo, where they're stuck without a boat and it's raining. By a stroke of luck, they find a maverick ex-marine boat captain who's wiling to brave the rain and take them to the island but 'only for the right price'. And he has one conditions - He will only speak in a low, raspy, deep and mysterious voice. Needless to say, the captain also has a pet monkey.

Events then unfold predictably. The two women get all sweaty and grimy (not complaining) and every now and then, one member of the team is taken by the snakes. And the makers were really shrewd here. They cast two black guys so that when one of them gets taken away, the demographic balance doesn't get affected. If I go on for any longer, I'll probably give away the rest of the plot (plot? huh?). Actually, you've probably guessed what happens already, I'm just so incredibly bored that I can't continue.

The best acting performance in the movie comes from the monkey who gets quite a bit of screen time. He screams, cries and reacts to his fellow actors like a pro, not to mention the stunts. All the other actors have just done what was asked of them, which was not much at all.

Overall, pretty sad movie and a complete waste of time. Please don't ask me why I watched it, I don't know myself.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Classick!

A few posts back, when I put up my views on 'Troy', I was full of praise for Hollywood-Scriptwriter-Man, who managed to edit the story from Greek myth so well that even us non-literary mortals could enjoy the movie to the fullest.

After I wrote that, a thought immediately entered my mind. If a Hollywood Scriptwriter could take so many liberties with established prose, what would a Bollywood scriptwriter do when confronted with a classic boring tale begging to be adapted for the screen? That got me thinking and here's what I think a few classics would be like after receiving the Bollywood stamp.


War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A few thousand pages long, this book was initially shunned by all producers and directors who were sane. Just when the industry began to lose hope, in stepped Ekta Kapoor. Apart from being the first movie in history to have 13 sequels, the series became the only movie franchise to be used in medical treatment. Everyday, Ekta receives millions of grateful letters from ex-insomniacs all over the world. When later asked why the movies didn't do too well, Ekta Kappor blamed it on the fact that the titles didn't begin with 'K'. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that no one actually saw the movies, they preferred to buy the book which, unlike the movie, served multiple purposes, such as a paperweight, pillow, coffee-table, roadblock and in some cases, a deadly murder weapon.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

As a result of all the whining about him being the wrong age to play a college student, Shah Rukh Khan decides to go in for an image change, playing the poor little orphan Oliver Twist. Needless to say, the story has to be changed a bit. Not to worry, Bollywood-Scriptwriter-Man is well upto the task.

In the famous scene from the novel, Oliver asks for more and when he is refused, breaks out into a song and dance and finishes with a flourish saying, "K-k-k-k-kya kare? Yeh Dil Maange More". The cruel people, with names like Kalia and Shetty, are moved to tears and start taking good care of all the kids from then on. Thus, Shah Rukh saves the day again. End of story, you might think but no, it has to go on for another couple of hours, doesn't it? So, you have a pretty Indian girl named Pooja who has a Jewish father named Fagin. Love is in the air and predictably, complications arise. Four songs later, the movie ends with Pooja finally joining Oliver on a moving train. He could've just pulled the chain to let her get on but then, what's the fun in that?

The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells

This has actually beaten me to the screens. 'Gaayab' was released sometime back and don't worry, it's quite alright if you didn't hear of it. Not too many others did. Anyway, this is where Bollywood-Scriptwriter-Man shows his talent for casting. Tusshar Kapoor in a role where he can't be seen. Perfect! It doesn't get any better than that!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

When Bollywood-Scriptwriter-Man was handed this project, he licked his lips in glee. He could see big things in store. He quickly went to work, first changing the title to 'Jane Iyer'. The script wrote itself.

Jane, a poor Christian girl falls in love with a nice, well-mannered, Iyer boy. They go against the society and marry each other. Religious riots break out in their city but Jane and her husband stick together and have two cute Muslim kids. Talk about covering the entire market.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Two brothers are separated at birth. One becomes a good guy and the other, a bad one. The one thing different in this movie is that the mother dies and the father lives and he chooses to stay with the bad guy. The bad guy kills the father and as fate would have it, runs into his brother on the same day.

They talk for the next 2 hours and soon come to realize that they're brothers. This realisation is helped by the fact that they share identical birthmarks and also by the fact that they have the same surname - Karamazov because, let me tell you, there are not too many people in this world who would want to subject their kids to that name. Oops, I almost forgot, they also debate whether God exists.


So, that's it folks! But not to worry, there're more still in the scripting stage. So, the next time you're reading a novel that has stood the test of time, just remember that it may not stand it for much longer!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A Day In The Life

It's been a mixed day so far.

I overslept slightly and only had time to wake up and take a quick bath before running off to Stella Maris to take the IMS SimCat 1. And it was totally not worth it. In fact, I just finished calculating my score and it's 44.25. Might as well have just slept at home. And the reason I feel so bad is that I got raped in the verbal section, normally my strongest.

So, after the Sim Cat, I decided to go someplace for lunch with a couple of friends. We ended up going to 'The New Yorker', except that it wasn't for lunch. As it turned out, we went there to eat some shit, and pay a lot of money for it.

So, after that immensely forgettable meal, we went to Landmark, the bookshop where my day finally started looking up. After looking around for a bit, I finally found something I wanted. A 'Mad Magazine Collector Pack' of 5 issues for only Rs.125!!! Rush now, offer open only till stocks last. Well, actually, make that 'stock' and yup, it just finished lasting. Well, as I was saying, I had just picked up the pack when I noticed this kind looking middle-aged man standing near one of the racks talking to a couple of kids. He looked vaguely familiar. I had definitely seen him somewhere before. It took all of 3 seconds to hit me. Mani Ratnam. My icon.

And it just had to be the one day when I didn't have my camera on me. Definitely not my day.

Anyway, all was not lost. I ripped one mag out of the pack, went up to the great man and asked for his autograph. Very politely, as I had expected, he smiled warmly and scribbled on the page. I still can't read it very clearly but there is definitely one word above the two words that I think are 'Mani' and 'Ratnam'. Will keep working on it and let you know the moment I make any progress. Meanwhile, stay right there on the edge of your seats.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Onam and Omanakuttys

Last weekend marked the great Malayalee festival of Onam, which is one of the two things I like about being part-mallu.

Yes, I am part Mallu. My dad grew up in Kerala and my mom's parents were from there as well. Though my mom herself grew up in Bombay, she feels a strange affinity towards Kerala that surfaces every once in a while. My dad, he's a Kerala fanatic! You should listen to him go on and on about the simple joys of living in 'God's own country'.

Me, I am as non-mallu as you can get. In fact, I know some Estonians who are more mallu than I am. I can understand Malayalam fairly well but that doesn't help me at all because the only thing I can say in it is, "Endha Paranju?" (What did you say?) which just makes the other person repeat whatever he/she had said before, though I'd understood it perfectly well in the first place. It doesn't help that malayalees are generally impatient people.

Coming back to Onam, I really don't know much about it, except for the fact that the focal point of the whole festival, much like fireworks are to Diwali and colours to Holi, is food. Awesome, totally rocking food in various shapes, tastes and sizes. In fact, I don't think there's any other point to having the festival at all. Some people will tell you about beautiful flower kolams and traditional dancing but believe me, it's food all the way.

Ok, that's one thing I like about being part-mallu. The other is, of course, mallu girls. Trust me, they don't make them like that anywhere else in the world. And at this point, I'd like all of you to please note that I like mallu girls in a way that is the total opposite of the way I like Mallika Sherawat or Anna Kournikova.

The perfect mallu-girl look is as follows: Freshly washed hair adorned with flowers, a bindi of sandalwood paste, clear black eyes, and sporting a shy smile with a body somewhere between 'anaemic' and 'female weightlifter' draped in a traditional Kerala saree (off-white and gold). Sigh! Heaven!

You can see them in most Mallu movies, which are aired on Mallu TV channels every Sunday afternoon. All of them star Mohanlal, in exactly the same role and clothes. And if possible, the same story. I've given this a lot of thought and I've come to the conclusion that it's the best career choice ever in the wide world of movies - being a mallu lead-actor. Much better than going and working in the 'Gelf'. Don't believe me? Do consider the following:

  • You don't have to be particularly good-looking. As long as the audience doesn't feel the need to gouge their eyes out, you should be ok.
  • You don't need a good body, which at any rate is pretty hard to find in Kerala, considering Onam is celebrated there. As long as you can get a shirt to fit you, size is not a problem. It doesn't matter if pants don't fit because you won't need them. All mallu actors wear only white dhotis in their movies. It's a trade union rule.
  • You don't have to do any life-threatening stunts. The most danger you might have to get involved with is if you trip over your own dhoti. Or if any of your fat fellow actors trip and fall on you.
  • You don't have to know to dance. Even if your director is feeling particularly revolutionary and wants to include a dance sequence in the film, make the heroine do it and just walk around admiring her.
  • That brings us to the heroines. Mallu girls. Need I say more. And moroever, all the mallu girls who aren't heroines will be your fans. Christ!

As I was writing this, I started thinking and I soon realized that, with my size and looks, I could make it big in the Malayalam Film Industry. It is my destiny. God has sent me down to Earth just so that I can become the next Mallu Superstar. If I'm lucky, maybe they'll let me play a deaf-man. That way, I can get away with only saying "Endha Paranju?"

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Fame and Fortune!

Ah, money and free publicity! The British Council absolutely rocks! Read this for more.


That's me right in the middle, sweating like a pig (Yup, that stupid fan in the background wasn't working) but still managing to strike a suitably pensive pose. God bless the photographer. Don't know why the web image is of such poor quality though. The one in the actual paper is much clearer.