Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Friday, December 31, 2004

MI Diary - Part 3

This diary thing is just not working out. I realize that I'm no Anne Frank. Or even Bridget Jones, for that matter. Above all, it’s just too boring. So, a quick round-up for the sake of closure and then we’re done. I promise.

Days 2, 3 and 4 – December 22, 23 and 24

Won both the Sports Quiz and the Entertainment Quiz pretty comfortably at MI. Thanks to these victories, we won the overall trophy in the ‘Literary Events’ category. Totally unexpected but thrilling nevertheless.

Ate at McDonald’s. The place rocks.

Visited Sachin’s. From the outside, it looked really grand and expensive but inside, it looked pretty cheap with the waiters wearing really sidey looking uniforms. There was also a souvenir shop where everything on display had ridiculously high prices. Disappointing overall.

Ate ‘Naturals’ ice-cream - another thing I love about Bombay. If you ever get a chance, you’ve got to try it - especially ‘Tender Coconut’, which has to be my favouritest ice-cream flavour of all-time. Chennai has a ‘Naturals’ parlour too, on Montieth Road but it doesn’t have all the flavours, just some of the common fruit ones.

Totally in awe of Bombay – truly one of the greatest cities of the world. It has a lot of character, and great public transport. But Chennai still rocks.

Overall, it was a totally brilliant trip, though we didn’t make too much cash. Just about managed to break even, in fact. But that wasn’t the point anyway. We had fun, and good food and that’s all that matters in the end.

That’ll do it for this stupid diary. 2005 is just a few hours away, though the spirits in Chennai have been considerably dampened (pun unintended) by the Tsunami disaster. Anyways, here’s wishing all you guys a happy and prosperous New Year. Have fun. Party hard.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

MI Diary - Part 2

Day 1 – December 21

This was the first day of actual competition. Though we’d all gone to bed rather late the previous night, I woke up early, like I always do. There’s something magical about winter mornings that never cease to fascinate me. Even in Chennai, which has this image of being an extremely hot city, there are a few mornings in the December-January period when the city feels like heaven. Bombay was no different.

Leaving my friends to their slumber, I stepped out of the hostel for a nice log walk in the sylvan IIT campus. I managed to cover most of it, reveling in the fresh, heavy winter air. The massive institute playground was bathed in a thin mist and as I walked on the lush green turf, I could feel the softness of the grass moist with the overnight dew. The smells of the morning were incredibly intoxicating. Most of the campus was still asleep and the roads wore an almost deserted look. There was no sign of humanity, except for the odd health-conscious professor. It was a scene from a bygone era, almost ethereal in its tranquility. The intense competition and rivalry of one of India’s biggest inter-college culfests seemed eons away.

I returned to the room to find Vikram awake. We soon finished all our morning duties and left for the competition venue by 9:30 a.m. The events were scheduled to start by 9:00 but then this was IIT – nothing ever started on time.

But to our horror, by the time we got there, the General Quiz eliminations had already begun, and the guys at the registration desk were throwing a lot of attitude. They initially refused to let us in but after an incredible amount of begging, pleading and explaining, they finally relented and let us take the written prelims. We ended up topping it comfortably.

The finals began a couple of hours later and it was literally a quiz of two halves. At the halfway stage, we were on a score of -50, dead last with the leaders at +50. That meant we had to make up a 100 points on the leaders and hope that they kept quiet until then. At that point of time, we thought we stood a better chance in the Clay Modelling contest. But then, we were determined not to give up. We hadn’t gone all the way from Chennai for nothing. And so, the comeback started.

Slowly but steadily, we clawed our way up the scoreboard. Finally, after the last question had been asked, passed and answered, I looked at the scores and found that we’d edged home by 5 points. Though by no means the greatest, this was definitely one of the most satisfying wins in my entire quizzing career.

The rest of the day went by pretty eventlessly and that night, I visited my aunt’s place in Thane, just outside Mumbai. I would spend the night there.

Quote of the day:

Vikram: Check the scores. Are we getting any cash?
Me: (after checking) We won.
Vikram: What the fuck?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

MI Diary - Part 1

If you didn’t already know, last week, I went along with Vikram to IIT-Bombay to participate in their annual culfest ‘Mood Indigo 2004’. Here is a report:

Day 0 - December 20

The running time of the Chennai-Dadar Express is supposedly 24 hrs, but it's usually late by several years. So, on the morning of the 20th, when the train pulled into Dadar Station at the scheduled time, everybody was stunned. Rudely awoken from our peaceful slumber, we got out of the train to find an extremely cold city. My feet numb and teeth chattering, we made our way outside to find two bedraggled boys from IIT-B awaiting our arrival.

They were very nice and all. They escorted us to an Institute bus that was waiting outside and told us to make ourselves comfortable. We were told that the bus would wait for a few other trains and then leave with the students from all the other cities. It sounded reasonable enough. However, that moment came around two hours later. And we finally made our way into the beautiful campus at Powai at around 10:00 a.m. It took another hour and a half before we were allotted our rooms. Now IIT campuses all over the country are known for their large size. But we were extremely lucky. It turned out that the hostel we would be staying in - Hostel 8 was only a couple of hours away from the competition venues.

We dragged our bags slowly to our rooms. It was there that we realised how lucky we actually were. The room we were to stay in closely resembled a regular 165-litre refrigerator in size and volume. Now that's usually enough for one guy, and his books. In this case, however, we were informed that five of us would be sharing one such room. But we didn't mind. We knew that it was merely God’s way of preparing us for the difficulties that lay ahead in our lives. He knew that I would have to live someday in a match-box and he was just making sure that I was fully prepared.

I had to go visit my maternal grand-parents and so I quickly made my way to Goregaon. Took a nice bath and had a nice lunch. Then took a quick nap. After that, I was off to see my two little cousins Karthik (4) and Krishna (1/2). Then, it was back to IIT. That night, there was a dance performance by Hema Malini and her daughter Ahana followed by a Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt concert. News of my CAT scores came via sms during the show and quite understandably, I was in high spirits after that.

Quote of the day:

Me: What's your name?
Karthik: Spiderman.
Me: Great, and what's yours?
Krishna: Boooo Hoooo…

(to be continued)

Monday, December 27, 2004

Quake 4

After an eventful week at 'Mood Indigo 2004' and an even more eventful day on the Mumbai Mail, I was a much relieved man when the train pulled slowly into Chennai Central Station early yesterday morning.

In fact, in my exhilaration at finally being back home, I jumped off the train and landed heavily on the platform.

The result.

More seriously speaking, I was at home brushing my teeth when we felt the tremors. It was really really scary. My heart goes out to all the poor people who lost their lives to the disaster. May their souls rest in peace.

Friday, December 17, 2004

What are we stealing?

[discussing the plan to rob the casino]
Rusty: Why do this?
Danny: Why not do it?
[Rusty shakes his head]
Danny: 'Cos yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you're cold-decking "Teen Beat" cover boys.
Danny: 'Cos the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes. The house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, then you take the house.
Rusty: Been practicing this speech, haven't you?
Danny: Little bit. Did I rush it? Felt I rushed it.
Rusty: No, it was good, I liked it. The "Teen Beat" thing was harsh

The above exchange, one of the most memorable in film history, just about sums up what 'Ocean's Eleven' was all about. The movie is still, to me, the last word in cinematic style.

I've always been a huge fan of heist flicks. There's such an intriguing contradiction of character in the non-violent, well-educated thief, not to mention an incredible sex-appeal, which makes these movies an absolute delight to watch. And of course, there can be no doubting the fact that if the genre was a religion, then 'Ocean's Eleven' would be the Holy Bible.

God a.k.a Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is a lazily elegant ex-con who's out to get his girl back. In this noble quest, he is ably served by his ten apostles, lead by Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) - a constantly-eating confidence trickster who can get anything and everything done. The crew aims to swipe a cool $160 million from under the watchful eyes of the rich and ruthless casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) whose only sin was that he stole Ocean's wife Tess (Julia Roberts) when the former was locked up in prison. It's an outrageous idea, considering that the security system for the famed underground vault is ridiculously tight:

[Danny has just finished explaining the security system to the crew]
Saul: I have a question, say we get into the cage, and through the security doors there and down the elevator we can't move, and past the guards with the guns, and into the vault we can't open...
Rusty: Without being seen by the cameras.
Danny: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that.
Saul: ...yeah well say we do all that... uh... are we just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?
Danny: Yeah
Saul: Oh, ok.

And so, with casual style, astounding nerve and lots of snappy dialogue laced with dry wit, Ocean manages to perform a miracle of such magnificence that it makes Jesus' water-into-wine look like a B-grade Kannada flick. One simply cannot not like the movie. I worship the film. I've now seen it so many times that I almost know it by heart. And it only gets better with each watch.

So, it was with this kind of expectation that I went to watch 'Ocean's Twelve' yesterday. And well… didn't quite measure up. Now that's not to say that I didn't like the movie. It was a disappointment, but only in comparison to its infinitely superior predecessor. It's still infinitely more fun than most of the other flicks on offer. I loved it. I thought it was brilliant.

In this edition, Benedict has managed to track down the Eleven who are now trying to lead legitimate lives with their share of the booty. He gives them an ultimatum in true Mafia style ("I want my money back, with interest, in two weeks or you'll be swimming with the fishes.") Ocean, remarried to Tess and Rusty, now a big-shot hotelier, are both almost broke. The other members of the crew still have cash leftover, but not enough to cough up the entire amount. So, basically, all of them are in Barney...Barney Rubble...Trouble!!!

Cool! No sweat! The gang just decides to head off to Europe to find a pull big and lucrative enough to pay off their debt. Here, the plot gets really complicated, and Bollywoodish, when they're challenged to a virtual duel by Europe's most successful thief, the legendary Night Fox, who is so obviously based on Thomas Crown. Moreover, both the Night Fox and the Eleven are being pursued relentlessly by Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a stunningly gorgeous, super-brilliant detective who has a romantic history with Rusty. Added to all this confusion is an ambitious Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), who aspires to be more like Ocean and Ryan. A sumptuous plot indeed! One that would've made Priyadarshan proud!

The movie is a slick, fast-paced, roller-coaster ride through Hollywood's A-list and for once, it's really refreshing to see a bunch of guys who have their priorities right. What do they do when they've just been threatened by a rich, powerful and angry casino owner? They argue over why the team is named after Ocean. And what does the great Danny Ocean do when they encounter additional trouble in the form of Europe's best thief? He worries about how old he looks. I say this again: these guys are unbelievably cool!

Clooney is as suave as ever and Pitt, as the film's trailers proudly claim, is 'criminally irresistible'. The exchanges between them, more often through glances and expressions rather than actual speech, are rip-roaringly hilarious. Matt Damon rocks throughout but is especially outstanding in the second half. The scene involving all three of them in the restaurant with Matsui (Robbie Coltrane) has to be one of the funniest ever filmed. The rest of the cast is just about par - nothing particularly remarkable, except for Julia Roberts, who totally rocks the climax. The look of the movie is very different, strongly reminiscent of 'Traffic' with plenty of shaky, hand-held camera work, giving it a very raw and realistic feel.

In the end, however, after all the thrills and spills, the movie still felt sort of incomplete. There was definitely something missing. As the movie surges through its numerous twists and turns, the heist aspect itself takes a back seat. In the first part, the heist was the film. Here, the caper is just a small part of a much bigger picture. And that's perfectly fine. 'Ocean's Twelve' just needs to be viewed as a different movie altogether, although that's impossible because the imposing shadow of 'Ocean's Eleven' looms large over every frame.

As the credits rolled on the first installment, I let out a loud burp of contentment but the sequel, on the other hand, left me feeling queasy all night. It's pacy, it's smart, it's funny, but all said and done, twelve is not the new eleven.

Friday, December 10, 2004


A number of people (1, to be precise) wondered why I didn't write anything on the U.S Presidential Elections of 2004. So, for his sake at least, I felt I should write something on the subject. Here it is:

After the disastrous elections of 2000, Americans didn't really want to have to go through another Presidential election. In fact, there was even some early talk that the job might be outsourced to India. But all this talk came to nothing as earlier this year, the 2004 U.S Presidential Elections were announced. Before we look at what happened, some background info first,

Traditionally, in the U.S.A, the Republican Party has always had a very square and dour image, which was not helped by the fact that they consistently chose Presidential candidates who were about as interesting as Calculus problems. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, chose candidates who were handsome, charming, and of course, extremely witty.

So, in the 2000 elections, the Republican Party, in an effort to prove that they too had some wit (half), nominated George W (Wacko) Bush, affectionately known as 'Dubya', for President of the United States. In fact, his candidature was considered so hopeless that his campaign slogan was 'Ten Bucks Says I'll Lose'. He was said to be the son of ex-prez George Bush Sr., though he looked more like the missing link between man and ape. Historically speaking, the one thing against Dubya (actually, one of many things) was that only once before had America elected an ex-president's son to the White House. Also, America had never ever elected a total jackass to the post of Chief Executive. So, to put it mildly, he didn't have a chance in hell.

However, fate seemed to be on his side as the Democratic Party decided to field then Vice-President Al Gore (Full Name: Al Gorithm, Arabic for 'The Gorithm'), who had to have been the most uninteresting person ever in politics. I don't even want to imagine how dull the White House would've been when he was there. When you think about it, you really can't blame Clinton for having looked for other sources of oral interaction. In fact, Gore was so incredibly boring that even his own mother dozed off while naming him ('What do you want to call our our boy, dear?' 'Hmmm...let's call him Al..zzzzzzz') Psephologists all over are still speculating as to whether his first name was supposed to have been Albert, Alfred or Algebra.

So, with help from all corners, George W Bush went on to defeat Al Gore in the closest Presidential election in the history of the U.S.A. He ended up winning by the really slim margin of about -500,000 votes. Not many people believed the result was fair, but then these were also the same idiots who voted for Gore. But you have to give some credit to the man and his running mate Dick Cheney, who was chosen solely because he was the only guy available with a lower IQ than Bush himself. Their campaign focussed on all the issues that the average American cared about - reforming America's public schools, transforming the defence, providing tax relief and legalizing prostitution.

It was thus that George W Bush became the most powerful man in the world (beating Superman in the finals) In the four years that he was in office, the budget deficit grew larger, jobs became scarcer and the U.S got involved in two totally meaningless wars halfway across the globe. In spite of all this, Dubya still decided to run for re-election this year, because, he claimed, that his work was not finished. Lol! The poor old Republican Party had no choice but to nominate him again, this time with the slogan 'This is not the same guy. He just looks like him'. Everyone felt he was going to lose this time - the newspapers, the TV channels, the opinion polls, the White House staff, his family, everyone.

Going up against the Prez for the Democratic party this time was a Senator named John Kerry, whose sole political achievement was having a chin that was longer than his nose. During the run-up to the elections, for a long time, Kerry seemed to be ahead in the opinion polls but that was probably only because he looked like a horse.

Upon closer inspection of the polls, Dubya was found to be way ahead and because he was a proper fundamentalist Christian against the concepts of abortion and gay marriage, he possessed the only qualification needed to win the geographical region in the south and the mid-section of the U.S, popularly termed the Bible Belt, which, co-incidentally was also the grand prize on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire : Christmas Special'.

Both the candidates campaigned long and hard all around the country. In fact, Dubya even campaigned in Mexico for a bit. Apart from this, the highlight of this year's election battle was a debate between the President and his challenger, which attracted an astounding TV viewership of about 5, which was still 4 more than the number of people who tuned into the vice-presidential debate the following day.

The debate was of a very high quality (ISO 9001:2000) and both the candidates excelled in the war of words they waged on each other. Even after all the waging, however, Dubya still couldn't find the WMDs he was looking for. Anyway, for all you unlucky souls who missed it, here're some of the best moments from the show of the year:

Kerry: Our President does not appear to be concerned about the situation in Pakistan. In fact, I doubt he even knows where Pakistan is, leave alone what's happening there. (*smirk*)

Bush: Of course I know what's happening in Afghani... sorry, Pakistan. The Pakistani General, the guy who took over. It appears he's doing good stuff. By good stuff, I mean stuff that's ...welll.. good. That's great, I think! Isn't it?

Kerry: Can you name this Pakistani General?

Bush: Of course!

Kerry: Please do...

Bush: Ok let's's definitely not General Electric.... there's an M somewhere in the wait I got it..........General Motors!!!


Bush: What're you laughing for? Can YOU tell me who pitched for the Rangers at the last World Series?

Kerry: The Rangers didn't even play in the last World Series.

Bush: Damn!

(a little later)

Moderator: Mr.President, consider the following hypothetical situation. The country is in the middle of a major war. There is a major drought in the country. An epidemic is sweeping all the major cities. The stock market crashes and your dog dies. How will you tackle that problem?

Bush: Well, it depends...

In spite of this superlative performance, Dubya continued to miraculously edge all the pre-election opinion polls. And so on it went until finally, election day dawned. Around 75% of America's eligible voters went to the polling booths but half of them took one look at the long queues and went back home to watch basketball. Among the ones who did end up voting, most couldn't understand the ballots and so, by some weird mistake, ended up voting for Spongebob Squarepants. Anyway, the elections went off peacefully.

And, finally, after an extremely close contest that went right down to the wire and received an electric shock for its troubles, it finally came down to the state of Ohio. The candidate who won Ohio would be the next President of the United States. People were afraid that this was going to be a repeat of the Florida fiasco of 2000, when it took 36 months to determine who had won.

However, that was not to be as Sen. John Kerry turned out to be smarter than he looked. He did some quick calculations in his head and figured out that he wasn't going to win no matter what happened and so, announced a press conference where he gracefully conceded defeat. He also wished President Bush good luck for the next four years, but alert viewers noticed he had his fingers crossed.

Throughout the press conference, Kerry did an admirable job of putting on a brave face for the cameras but sensitive viewers could see that deep inside, he was hurting real bad. Don't believe me? Just look at the T-shirt he wore to the conference.

Image Hosted by

That sums it up perfectly, dontcha think?

*This is how Presidential candidates laugh, giving equal importance to the HAs, the HEs and Santa Claus.


Alas! The attempt to reach 220 comments doesn't seem to be working out. A million zillion thanks to everyone who tried their best to get the comments count up. Now, no one can say we didn't try. Anyway, 30 (15 by me) is still a record for this blog. So, thanks again folks.

But yes, I officially throw in the towel. Kiruba is still the king!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Calling all Trisha lovers...

Hmmm... in the last few days, almost everyone who's anyone in the blogsosphere has had something to say about Trisha. So, I thought to myself, 'You have to say something too.' It wasn't very profound but it was a thought nevertheless.

Anyway, I like Trisha. Always have. I think she's extremely cute. And I'm also eternally obsessed with the desire to attract more visitors to my blog. As regular readers will no doubt know, I've tried various techniques to no avail. So, one positive to come out of this whole episode was that it opened my eyes to the one sure way of making sure that thousands will come and visit this page. I don't have to explain, do I? So, after noticing the reaction to Kiruba's post, I've decided to go one step higher. His post was dry - all text and very vanila. I've decided to offer more - actual images!!! One part of me, the conservative-chennaiite one, didn't want to post the images, because it was damn scared of cyber-laws and all that. Another part, the brave-rebel-with-balls one, wanted to post the pics because it simply didn't give a damn about anything. So, finally, both the parts went to a mediator, yet another part of me, and after a lot of soul-searching, I've arrived at the following solution.

Below are a series of links that will take you to images of the lovely Trisha which she may not want seen by anyone. While there were many doubts regarding the identity of the person in the Kiruba episode, you can be rest assured that there is no such problem here. I have verified all the pictures personally and it is, in fact, the real Trisha, though not like you've seen her before.

So, I will not waste any more of your time. You can proceed directly to the images.

Image 1 - On a chair???

Image 2 - Stretching... and enjoying it, apparently.

Image 3 - Cosy threesome...

Image 4 - Sorority Babes Part 13?

Image 5 - Check out those stockings...

So, that's all for now. Hope you enjoyed it. I'd better see 220 comments soon or I'm going to be really really pissed. Will be back soon to enjoy all the publicity.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Cold Rush

The symptoms were unmistakable. Carbon dioxide was pounding on my nostrils, begging to be let out. My head was feeling like someone had cut it open, taken the brain out and stuffed it with phlegm instead. That was not all. My throat was aching, my eyes were watering and on the whole, I was feeling vaguely out-of-sorts. And I knew that this complete lack of sorts could only mean one thing - the dreaded common cold.

It's pretty famous, this common cold. It even has its own star on Hollywood Boulevard. All of us have had it at some point and another. It’s really very common. And it’s highly intriguing in a number of ways - two, to be precise. First of all, the cold is the only disease to be named after an adjective. (All the others are named after lesser known Greek philosophers) Second of all, it is one of Medical Science's most enduring mysteries. It’s been the bane of human beings since time immemorial. In fact, the first recorded instance of the common cold was a long time back, when Adam sneezed and Eve's snazzy leaf-bra flew off her chest, exposing her breasts. This incident was kept out of all major books of that period firstly because of censorship issues, and secondly because there were no books back then. To be honest, no one really knows if the incident even happened but I wrote it into this post hoping that the female nudity angle would help attract readers to the blog. You know the guys I mean, the ones who google for ‘breasts’ and ‘bra’. (Also, alert readers will notice how I have cleverly written the previous line hoping to attract all the guys who google for ‘female nudity’.) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that the cold has been around for ages but scientists are no closer to finding a cure for it.

I'm extremely annoyed with all these people. They spend tons of money in trying to determine how likely it is that passive smoking could cause impotency in household pets while all along, the sneaky cold has been running around, wagging its dirty mucous-covered finger right under their very noses, or sometimes, even in them. The problem has grown so much that I've now reached a point where I don't have any faith left in the medical community. Seriously, I feel that mankind can be saved only if Sachin Tendulkar catches a really nasty cold, because then, we'll have everyone from stupid TV panelists to jobless cricket historians trying to find a remedy. And if we're lucky, maybe we’ll get to hear Kris Srikkanth* discuss the cold virus in Hindi. (…shudder…) Just imagine:

Srikkanth: Arre, main kaha na? Yeh cold bahut dangerous hai. (making a motion like he’s bowling a leg-break) It will spoil the morale of the team. Team ka morale bahut spoil karega. Bahut bada problem hai. Ha Ha Ha...

Charu: So, Chika, what're you saying? What should Sachin do? Do you think he needs some expert advice from……..some expert?

Srikkanth: Arre, what Charu bhai. Sachin is a class batsman. (making a motion like he’s playing a cover drive) Usko bahut experience hai. He should just play his natural game. Usko game khelna chahiye. Koi tension nahi rakhne ka. Sirf natural game. (making a motion like he's playing a square cut) Kya bolte ho, Mani? Ha Ha Ha...

Maninder: Eh? Oh am I on already? Ok, you see Irfan Pathan is a very good player….

Charu: Maninder, Chika was just asking you what you thought what you thought about the whole cold issue?

Maninder: Eh? Ya, as I was saying, Irfan Pathan….

Roshni: Sorry to interrupt you, Maninder, but I thought this was the right moment to remind our viewers of the quiz question that we have for them. Today's question is: How many times did Sachin blow his nose on the ground before he got out for a duck yesterday? Your options are... shit, where did the teleprompter guy run off to? No problem, I’ll just smile...eeeeeeeeeeeee

Charu: Hmmm... Good question, and an even better smile. By the way, Chika, I noticed yesterday that Sachin was blowing his nose and then wiping it with his gloves. Do you think this could have resulted in a loss of bat grip and led to his eventual dismissal?

Srikkanth: Arre, what Charu bhai? Sachin kitna experienced hai (making a motion of a pull shot) Usko aisa problem nahi hoyega. The only problem is, believe me, he is not playing his natural game (making the motion of a straight drive) Agar woh natural game khelega, tho no problem hoyega. Ha Ha Ha...

Though there is no ‘cure’ as such for the common cold, scientists have come up with a number of ways of stopping colds before they even start. They warn you to keep at least 100000 km away from coughers and sneezers because that’s how far cold particles can travel through the air. However, this distance depends on the power of the sneeze and varies from person to person. My dad, whose sneeze sounds eerily similar to the mating call of an African Wild Buffalo, once sent a cold particle all the way to Greenland where it met up with its long-lost family and sent my dad a ‘wish-you-were-here’ card. Coming back to the medical advice, “If one of these particles lands inside your nose,” explains Dr. Ludwig Von Gesundheit of the German Health Foundation, “there is a strong possibility that you could catch a cold within a specific period of time.” Notice the sly use of the terms ‘strong possibility’, ‘could’ and ‘period of time’. It only helps reinforce one of my earlier points. Don’t these useless doctors know anything for sure about this thing?

But once you have caught a cold, how do you then go about alleviating your suffering? “No problem”, says Dr. Brian Phlegming. He doesn’t go on to explain his statement. But there's no need to give up hope, for in a study conducted recently in China, researchers have found that watching an hour of South African cricket team batting works wonders for a sore throat. Initially, it was not clear how this could make the viewer feel any better but as senior researcher Ah Choo later explained, you don’t feel too much pain when you’re completely brain dead.

So, folks, as you should have understood by now, there is no actual cure for the common cold and it is highly unlikely that there will be one very soon. So, all you can do for the time being is stay extra vigilant and try not to get affected. And if, in spite of taking all the precautions, you still end up with a severe infection, then do try and sneeze strongly in the general direction of Kolkata, and pray really hard that one of the little fellas catches Sachin by the throat. Maybe that’ll help mankind fight, and win the cold war. So, till the next time, good bye and Gesundheit.

*Another of Medical Science’s enduring mysteries.