Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hello! This is Customer Torture Service

Genre: Humour

If I was asked to choose one way to most effectively torture terrorists, I would without a doubt suggest putting them on the phone line with the so-called Customer Care service numbers of an American bank or credit card company. They have a foolproof four-layered torture mechanizm in place that would freak out everyone from the most calm minded yogi to the most hardcore terrorists. 

Layer 1: The Number Game

The first challenge lies in figuring out the phone number, since they love to mention it using letters for numbers, like 1800-MY-BANK-SUCKS. Dial the number and the Interactive Voice Response starts the torture procedure-

"Welcome to We Suck Bank. We proudly present to you the Super Platinum Credit Card with $1 million credit limit and no monthly charges. For more information and to register for this card, please go to w w w dot wesuckbank dot com.  To continue in English, press 1. Esto perso hola kushti espanialo, hesta 2. Luga buga zhingala maka chuka zulu, pangu 3."

You press 1.

"Thank You. For account information, press 1. For balance information, press 2. For information on credit cards, press 3. For information on car loans, press 4...blah blah blah..., For information on Angelina Jolie's latest child, press 37. To repeat this information, press star."

By this time, you are confused.. what did I call up for? "Was it 2.. no wait it was no I remember it was 1." You press the number and it takes you to the next level.

Layer 2: Speak Up Baby

Off late, the banks have taken a fancy to using voice recognition software, and with it begins new level of torture-

"Thank you. To login, please speak your 16 digit credit card number, 24 digit account number and 10 digit cellphone number, one digit at a time."

You take ten minutes to speak out each number, and just when you thought it was over, it starts again-

"Thank You. To continue, please speak one of the following options. To check your balance, say balance. To request a statement, say request statement. To make a payment, say make payment. To report a lost card, say lost card....blah blah...For more options, say more options."

You try to gather the best American accent and say- "Make payment"

"Sorry. I did not understand that. Please say again."


"Sorry I did not understand that. Please say again." 


After 15 trials, "Sorry I did not understand that. Please say again." 


"Thank You. Please wait while I transfer your call to our Customer Service Executive"

And here begins the next level.

Layer 3: The Eternal Wait

The annoying 'On Hold' music starts... Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru...

After two minutes, the music fades and you feel the person has come on line, but no!

"Did you know you can make your payments online at our website w w w dot wesuckbank dot com! Also we proudly present to you the Super Platinum Credit Card with $1 million credit limit and no monthly charges."

And the music starts again...  Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru..

After 30 minutes of wait, just when you fall comfortably asleep, a voice is finally heard  

"Hello my name is Kathy and how may I help you today?"

Yayyy!!! A HUMAN BEING finally!!! You excitedly start telling your problem- "See, I have a savings account in your bank, and..." but you are interrupted-

"Sir, before we proceed, for your security, I would ask you a few questions"

And here begins the next level of torture

Layer 4: Questions and Questions

"Sir, for your security, may I please know your first name, last name, father's middle name, mother's maiden surname, last five digits of your Social Security Number, roll number of your third crush in fifth grade class and molecular weight of your favorite hydrocarbon compound?"

The first challenge here is trying to remember all questions, and then comes the challenge of answering them all. You spend ten minutes in answering all questions and explaining why you called up.

"Sure sir. We can help. Please wait as I transfer your call to the specialist"

 Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru... 

And suddenly..*SNAP*. 

Disconnected. Last Call Time: 2 hours 48 minutes 36 seconds.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Of ABCDs and NRIs

Genre: Humor

A glance at my Facebook timeline or GTalk statuses of friends currently would give one an impression that the year is 2012 and the dreaded Apocalypse is nearing, what with countdowns of "X Days to go!" type all over the place; but worry not- this is just the annual migration season when thousands of Indian students from universities all over USA make a Swades trip. For the benefit of those who are making their first trip to India after coming to USA, here are some (not-so) useful tips on how to act like a seasoned NRI or ABCD as desired appropriate-

A week before heading home, go to Dollar Tree / Wal-Mart and pick up random cheap stuff like perfumes, Nivea cold creams and Toblerone chocolates to give to friends and relatives who will pretend to happily receive them as if they have never seen these items in India.

The moment you land at the airport, complain- "Oh man! It's so hot!", even if your flight arrives at 3am and the outside temperature is 15 degree C.

On the way home, exclaim "Oh My God! Why the hell is there a cow on the road!". Yes, do it even if you have seen hundred cows on the road before heading to USA.

Crib about the infrastructure- the airport is so messy, roads are so dirty, air is so polluted, anything.

Even if it is 30 degrees C, go out wearing a GAP sweatshirt (No, don't tell me you don't have one- ever since SRK sported it in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, every damn Indian worth his name living in USA owns GAP clothing :P)

When visiting relatives, act extremely melodramatic traditional. Even if you have never ever done it when you were in India earlier, greet all elders with namaste and touch their legs to get blessings (and money!)

Use random American words in conversation. When someone asks "chai thanda kuch loge?", say you will have "soda" or "decaf coffee".

Buy some stuff from your local kirana store (not supermarkets) and offer your credit card for payment. When denied, express surprise- "What! You don't accept credit cards? India is still so underdeveloped!"

Act excessively concerned about hygiene. When at a local udipi restaurant, ask if the cook is wearing hand gloves and hairnet and if the food has been prepared using mineral water.

Compare and praise American transport facilities with Indian counterparts. While on any road, point out "Look at all these potholes. In America, the highways are so smooth. Its so much fun driving at 75 miles/hour on I-95", knowing fully well that nobody else cares a damn or knows what is I-95.

Last and most important point- talk in a fake American accent, even when speaking Hindi.

* * * * *

PS: OK, everyone heading home this month- Aisa kuch mat karna. Aaram se ghar jaao, road pe pani puri khao, rickshaw me ghumo aur masti karke aao. Have a safe flight and enjoy holidays!

* * * * *

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weather Talks

Genre: Random

Numerous Hollywood movies and American sitcoms send out an impression that talking about weather can be a good conversation starter. In US, probably yes, but does it work everywhere?


Day 1
A: Nice weather today..
B: Yeah, sunny and 70 degrees..I love this.

Day 2
A: Man, this weather sucks
B: Oh yea totally! Yesterday it was so nice and sunny and now these rains..

Day 3
A: Damn, its cold today
B: Hell yeah..those rains yesterday were bad, and now this snow. Sucks.

Day 4
A: Hey, nice to see good weather today
B: Yeah, after that snow yesterday, feels good to have the sun back.

Now, try the same in India-

Day 1
A: Man, these rains.. feels good
B: Yeah, I like the smell

Day 2
A: Nice rains today
B: Hmmm

Day 3
A: Yaar, the weather looks so good with these rains
B: ....

Day 4
A: Man, look at the sky...its gonna rain..
B: Abbe BH#^$%*! August ke mahine me har roz baarish hi hoga na. Kya roz roz ek hi baat paka raha hai.. CH$^%*&!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mumbai Local 101

A (not-so) comprehensive guide to Mumbai local train travelling for newcomers.

Objective: At the end of the course you will have acquired the skills to ride and survive the Lifelines of Mumbai, or will flee away forever.

Pre-requisites: Common Sense (yes, a bit too much to ask for, but it is required)

Before the Journey.

Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared. Wearing an armored suit and helmet is recommended, but not necessary.

Buy a ticket. It is very easy. Each station has around ten ticket windows out of which seven are permanently closed, two will have “Lunch Break” at any given time of the day and the remaining one will have a short queue of approximately 158 people. Once you reach the counter, remember the staff is a big fan of Obama- they demand change. All the time. You can bypass this procedure by charging your way ahead of the queue and asking for Coupon booklet, the probability of availability of which is 0.0016 and if you get one, remember the Coupon Validating Machine is officially on the UNESCO list of endangered species. Alternately, you can be tech-savvy and buy the Smart Card and head to the corner where you see a person groping and pinching a touchscreen all over the place. This activity might give you some pleasure, but does not give a ticket.

Now that you have acquired a ticket, it is time to find your train. Locate an indicator board and search for train to your destination. There are not many options to get confused. You just need to know some letter codes- A, Ad, An, B, Ba, Bo, Bl, Bs, By, C, D, Di, G, K, Kp, M, N, S, St, T, Tl, V to name a few and remember that he train can be 9-car, 12-car or 15-car; Slow, Fast or Semi-Fast (occasionally Double Fast and no more Bada Fast) and that it can be on either Western, Central or Harbour (which is also Central but not quite Central) line. Once done, go to the appropriate platform. You will find several passengers striving hard to improve India’s medal tally at Olympics by practicing high-jump over fences between tracks and long jumps across open gutters. Resist the temptation to join the noble cause. Use the bridge. Look at the indicator boards on the platform. You will see names of several places lit up. Locate your destination. If it is lit up, your train will stop (if you are on Central line) or will not stop there (if you are on Western line). If nothing is lit up, it simply means rats ate up the wires.

Boarding the train.

Walk along the platform and smartly choose your position. If you are male, do not stop by near the large group of young women. There are better places in the city to flirt/chance maaro/ogle (discussion beyond the scope of this course). Also, do not stand in front of a pillar colored in funky red and yellow stripes. No, it is not a message from aliens nor location of an African dance party. Once the train is in sight, you can decide to don one of the following three roles-

1. Super Man: Hold your belongings close to your chest and jump right in before the train stops. It requires accurate calculation of velocity and your trajectory needs to be at an angle of tan-1 (0.1032) w.r.t the direction of motion of the train, failing to achieve so can result in you banging against a window instead of a door.

2. Mango Man: Like the aam aadmi of India, stay passive. Do not do anything. The crowd around you will drag you inside. Simple and easy. Remember to wriggle yourself out of the wave at the right time, lest you end up inside one of the reserved corners of daily gangs.

3. Fattu Man: Stay at the back of the platform. Watch the entire crowd make their way in. Watch the train depart without you. Repeat.

Inside the Train

If you tried strategy #1 to board, there is a 2.95% probability that you will manage to catch a seat. If so, yes it is an event worthy of updating your Facebook and Twitter status proclaiming the same. If ten people gather around you asking you to vacate the seat, do it. Resistance is futile, unless you want to experience being lifted, passed over several people and thrown out of the coach. If you have to stand, find a place that falls in the area of operation of the fan, which extends upto 2 inches from its perimeter. But this does not mean you stand in the middle of the door passage. Doing so will give you a first hand experience of how electrons and protons feel inside the Large Hadron Collider. If you are in the middle of a densely packed crowd and see a food item such or sweets passed to you, eat it. Consider it “Bonus level”. Do not doubt its origin or intention. They’ll find your lack of faith disturbing and appropriate action will be taken. If you are a keen observer, you will notice several men moving back and forth in suspicious patterns. No, they are not doing what you think. A majority of the crowd is straight.

There are protocols you need to strictly follow. If you are in a general second class compartment, if there are 3 passengers on a seat, you can make hand gesture along with use of the phrase “Boss, thoda…” and claim access to 3 inches worth of seat to rest your (half a) posterior on. However, doing the same in First Class will result in expulsion. If you are in the Ladies coach (No! If you are male, you cannot be in the Ladies coach) you have to verbally “reserve” a seat for yourself by asking every sitting passenger which station she is getting off and laying claim to that seat. Grabbing a seat reserved by others will result in an unacceptable level of noise pollution. Number of people allowed to stand at the door is fixed at 4 for First Class, 5 for second class, 6 and more for Virar locals in peak hours. Number of people allowed to sit on the long seat at the end of the coaches is fixed at 7 for non-peak hours, 8 for peak-hours, 9 and more for office hours when atleast 54% of the occupants are known to each other. These figures have been arrived at after years or optimization and are not variable.

Alighting from the Train

Like boarding, for alighting too you can choose to don one of the three roles, but with different outcomes. If you decide to use the Super Man approach and push your way through the crowd, you will be allowed to go ahead without warning until you reach the open door and eject yourself out even before the train has reached a platform. This can be done only once per lifetime. If you decide to be the Fattu Man and stay put in your place for too long, Newton’s First Law applies and you will find yourself inside the train until it reaches the yard at midnight. The Mango Man approach has the maximum probability of safe ejection. The wave will push you out, provided you start at the correct location. To avoid the catastrophe that the entire wave of crowd gets off but you do not move at all because you were in the wrong wave, always ask the row ahead of you “Bhaisahab, Dadar?” if you want to get off at Dadar.

Additional Info

Several finer points and a list of FAQs will be provided fr this course at a later date.

Appendix - Pain in the ass

If this course was too difficult to understand and you wish to have a less complicated solution, you need to be a movie star in which case a part of the coach will be vacated; or the heir to the Royal Family of India in which case you will be allowed to travel in First Class on Second Class ticket and train diverted to platform of your choice. For others, Bon Voyage!

Friday, November 12, 2010

SubWay Special

Genre: Random

At a SubWay restaurant in Roanoke, I see this sign-
"Today's Special Meal: Buffalo chicken Sub + Drink + 2 Cookies - $5.08"
(Without the offer, it would amount to $ 6.38)

Me: Can I get the Buffalo Chicken in the special meal substituted with Veggie Delite? (both cost the same)
Employee: Sorry, the rules given to me say only Buffalo Chicken Sub can be given in the offer
Me: OK, fine. Give me Buffalo Chicken Sub. Without the meat. And, I'd like lettuce, onions, olives, banana pepper, green pepper and cheese on it.

Bingo! Got what I wanted.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Open Letter to Barack Obama

Genre: Current Affairs

Dear Obama,

It gives me great pleasure to know you will be visiting my hometown Mumbai, India with your family next week, your trip coinciding with Diwali. Your timing of the trip could not be any better. For Indians, Diwali is a time for celebration and I know you are no stranger to this fact, after all you delivered a flawless telemprompter-assisted speech this day last year explaining the same to Americans. It is a day when Indian families visit friends, go shopping and burst firecrackers. However, this year thanks to you, this will not be possible since roads across the city will be blocked for hours and public places cordoned off for your humble caravan consisting of only 78 cars to pass. Breaking away from the monotony, common citizens will get an opportunity to spend their Diwali day in their cars, waiting in traffic. I am also told you will be arriving by Air Force One along with a total of forty planes. The citizens of Mumbai, confused whether you are arriving on a presidential visit or leading a full-fledged air invasion, will thank you from the bottom of their hearts for shutting down Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport for two hours, delaying around fifty flights, giving them a priceless opportunity to see this spectacular sight.

I am sure you must have read The New York Times and other US newspapers criticizing a certain man called Mukesh Ambani for building a $1 billion 27-floor house for his family of five in Mumbai. I am glad to know that you, instead of getting discouraged by such criticism, have decided to go one step ahead and book all 570 rooms in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai for your family of four. I, and hundreds of other graduate students studying in universities across your country have had their research assistantships and funding curtailed, having been told by the university that the country is going through an economic crisis and it is time to be frugal and save every dollar possible. However, it feels great to know you will not be following this policy and will be taking every effort on your trip to showcase the power and wealth of the United States.

I have come to know from your official sources that you would not be visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar because you believe it would project you as a Muslim, although you are not one, and malign your reputation. However, I see your wife will be visiting Kamathipura. Going by your logic, this would project her as a prostitute, although she is not one. I guess you are fine with that.

Thank you once again for your humble low-key visit.

God Bless America!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh Yaaro, Yeh India Bula Liya!

Genre: India

Amidst much fanfare, the Commonwealth Games 2010 begin today in Delhi with a spectacular Opening Ceremony, and being halfway across the globe from India, technology came in the way of me seeing it live, what with the IP address based blackouts imposed by live streaming sites in USA. On the other hand, technology came handy in another form to keep me entertained and informed about the event. Yes, Twitter to the rescue! If you missed the live show like me, or just want to re-live the experience, here are some extremely creative, witty, humorous, silly updates I enjoyed on Twitter-

Note: Please scroll down to the end of this post and start reading the tweets bottom-up to be in the right chronological order.

BDUTT: History turns full circle. Gandhi and the dandi march to the strains of a beautiful tears-inducing Vaishnava Janato, as Charles looks on!

sunainak: We have so many Shakiras at our opening ceremony

sairamiyer: More ppl on the #CWG train than total population of St Kitts & Nevis, Nauru, Lesotho, Turk & Caicos & The Gambia

shanx13: Man that neon humanoid is super cool! #CWG opening is beyond my wildest expectations! #awesome

gkhamba: OH MY GOD! They recreated samay from Mahabharata

DelhiDean: #CWG opening is the most honest depiction of India I've seen. Brilliant choreography of its chaos and energy.

gkhamba: Disappointed that Shilpa Shetty's Yoga video isn't playing on the aerostat

gkhamba: Yoga is starting. Baba Ramdev will now boost athletes performance, heal dengue and cure white people of homosexuality

gkhamba: Raas Leela between Krishna and the Gopis. No Rahul Mahajan in sight

sunainak: If I didn't know this was the CWG Opening Ceremony, I'd wonder why we're celebrating Republic Day earlier this year.

twilightfairy: Yes #CWG2010, army ke bina tumhara kuch nahi ho sakta thaa. Army band playing on. Feels like school days again

gkhamba: "Let the Gems begin". This Pratibha Patil speech was brought to you by Cadbury's

shanx13: Abdul Kalam Azad!!! Kalmadi you idiot... Can someone tie him to the afterburner of a MiG 21 please? #fail

flyyoufools: First time I've heard Pratibha speak.

diogeneb: Charles:"Abeyaar, baton kahan gaya?" Kalmadi:"Oye, abhi to Diana"

gkhamba: Pratibha Patil can now star on NBC's Outsourced

gkhamba: So wait, the baton had to travel from Buckingham to 71 countries just so we could give it back to Charles? B%$#C$## apne saath khud le aata

gkhamba: Why aren't the environmentalists pissed at the carbon footprint of this damn baton?

samar11: Kalmadi was fighter pilot in 1971, why couldn't the pakistanis have shot him down then?

sidin: Indian Railways also has a great ad for the occasion. First class! I shed 2 Tiers of pride.

shanx13: Who the hell are those fat aunties in the Indian contingent? I seriously hope they're not competing

gkhamba: Someone slap MMS and Patil and tell them to smile, wave, DO SOMETHING!

sunainak: Pratibha Patil ko bhi paseena aata hai

gkhamba HOLY! Indian contingent is HERE :D Looks like 680 people coming to drop off Abhinav Bindra at the airport

gkhamba: Turks and Caicos islands. Karan Johar is getting a shitload of new locations to get a "new look" for his movie

gkhamba: Tonga. Banned in North Delhi and parts of Calcutta

gkhamba: Swaziland. Where illegal Punjabi immigrants land up thinking they're going to Switzerland

sifar: Wow, the St. Kitts placard holder is HOT! #cwg

gkhamba: Sri Lanka is here. Crowd goes WTF not again. #TooMuchCricket

gkhamba: The South African contingent is here. Unfortunately, Lalit Modi is not the flagbearer

gkhamba: Singapore. The crowd roars because of the easy visa and cheap flight tickets

lavsmohan: Seychelles sea shells on the sea shore

samar11: Thought I knew every country but never heard of Niue

sunainak: Some place called Samoa. Damn they just missed it by a S! #Samosa

twilightfairy: yes good question. where is that widow from nigeria whose hubby left her so much money that she wanted my bank acct no?

gkhamba: The hot women leading the contingents are brought to you by the Frankfinn Air-hostess Academy

gkhamba: Here comes Nigeria. Kalmadi sent them a mail offering 1,00,000 $s in exchange for a vote. They said "We're not falling for that one".

shanx13: The Isle of Man flag is like Supercool!

twilightfairy: "isle of man" - yeh kaunse desh hain bhai??

sidin: Huge contingent from England. Not the first time that has happened. Hope they go back soon this time

sunainak: Falkland Islands are the opposite of Virgin Islands?

shanx13: The Raj gives it back to us! The English contingent wears Indian clothes for the #CWG opening. Now that's a #win. I Like

LimeIce: Whats with the Virgin in British Virgin Islands? How were all these people born?

diogeneb: Bermuda contingent is wearing 'full pant'. #Outrage

tantanoo: I am so getting this Aerostat thingy for my wedding. #dahej

mohak: Prince Charles has texted the Queen "Mom, you are missing this awesome shit, Camilla is tripping on the beats" #CWG

gkhamba: Stadium looking hot. Manmohan Singh walking in with the only man who can steal money from Rajnikanth - Mr. Kalmadi.

STOP! You have reached the end. Now start reading upwards from here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

27 Before 27

Genre: Random

27 Things I want to do before I turn 27-

1. Drive from New York to Los Angeles. Cross country road trip.

2. Watch the Aurora Boreales (Northern Lights)

3. Gatecrash a party, (and not get thrown out)

4. Spend a day at Maho Beach at Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Marteen

5. Go to an American Football game and chant "Ganpati Bappa Morya" and make the crowd do the same.

6. Own a car. In USA. With my own money.

7. Travel Jammu to Kanyakumari by Himsagar Express. Non AC.

8. Travel First Class on the Airbus A380

9. Attend a college friend's wedding

10. Do a portrait photoshoot of a non-professional model

11. Write an article for a mainstream newspaper

12. Publish a research paper.

13. Go on a cruise

14. Go Sky diving

15. Drive a Ferrari in Florida

16. Ride a hot air balloon

17. Have a cozy little house of my own. Apartment, condo, rented, leased, anything will do.

18. Ride the Amtrak's Train Number 1/2 Sunset Limited. California to Florida.

19. See at least one piece of writing by me get published in a book or a magazine

20. Own any Apple iThing

21. Propose a girl ekdum romantic filmy style- surprise, red rose et al

22. Have an exhibition event displaying my photographs

23. Learn a foreign language, preferably Spanish

24. Ride the TGV or Shinkansen. Wait, make that both!

25. Watch penguins, polar bears and blue whales in their natural habitat, in short go to Arctic or Antarctic

26. Visit the top of Burj Khalifa

27. Set foot on at least one location on all six continents. South America, Africa, Australia remaining as of now.

As you can imagine, completing this list is gonna require time, money and good company. If you would like to provide any/all of these, welcome aboard!

P.S.: If this "inspires" you to write your own dream-list, please mention in the comments or leave a link to your blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sapne Rangeen

Genre: College Life

Scene at a typical Engineering Company Information Session during Job Fair at a big US University

(Room has 3 company representatives, one stereotypical corporate PPT on the screen, 25-odd graduate students, around 50% of them Indian, and one large table with half a dozen boxes of pizza)

Company Representative: (after 15 minutes of reading from PowerPoint slides) Okay, that was all about us. There are many reasons why you should consider joining our company...

Indian Student: (wonders) Hhmm.. let's hear...

Rep: We offer three weeks paid vacation per year...

Stud: Ok...

Rep: We have casual environment at the office. You can come wearing shorts, watch sports on big screen...

Stud: Sounds good...

Rep: Our company provides housing, transport, and free gourmet organic delicacies at the office food court...

Stud: Niice...

Rep: We provide full health insurance, dental and vision plans, retirement benefits,...

Stud: Awesome. Mast hai...

Rep: We have weekend activities like trekking, scuba diving, dinners, happy hours, movie nights,...

Stud: Brilliant... kya sahi company hai yaar...

Rep: Once a year we have a Summer Party where we hire an entire island off the Atlantic coast and its a huge carnival- you know, beaches, babes, booze,...

Stud: Woooowwww!!! This is heavenly!!!

Rep: (after 40 minutes of company-ki-laal-karing) So, anyone has any questions?

Stud: Do you hire international students?

Rep: Er.. no.

Stud: BEHEN#%@&.!!! :|

(Angrily grabs two slices of pizza and walks out)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dare To Think Beyond Reality

Genre: Current Affairs

Since the last several years, IIPM, an institute run by a maverick going by the name of Dr. Arindham Chaudhari has been issuing full page color advertisements in leading newspapers across India boasting about its "world class facilities" along with a tagline that goes "Dare To Think Beyond The IIMs".

What do the students who dared to think beyond the IIMs and enrolled at IIPM, lured by the famous promise of "free laptops" and "foreign tours" land up in is evident to anyone who visits the IIPM website that proclaims it to be "The Largest B-School on Earth". The final nail in the coffin of this all-claims-no-substance institute came yesterday when the University Grants Commission issued this ad clarifying that IIPM is not a University!

Not the one to sit quiet, IIPM and the oh-so-great Dr Chaudhari came up with this brilliant piece of explanation that is a perfect example of "digging one's own grave".

Let's go through the various points presented by His Highness Dr. Arindham Chaudhari The Great-

"IIPM like the IIMs in India is neither an university nor has it ever claimed to be one"

Hey wait! All these years you told us 'Dare to Think Beyond the IIMs' and you start your letter with a comparison with the IIMs. What is this yaar?

"And exactly like the IIMs in India, IIPM does not offer any degrees."

Phir vohi baat? Dude, think beyond the IIMs na!

"The institute has pioneered the practice of making laptops a part of the package offered to every students, along with the global tour called GOTA."

GOTA?? ROFL! Aur kuch naam nahi mila kya?

"IIPM is a private institution, ie. it is entirely funded by student fees. While in the US, Harvard and Stanford are also private, the Indian education system does not recognize private institutions as yet in a similar manner."

Aai Shappath! Kya comparison hai boss! Maan gaye!

"ISB, the IITs and other leading institutions do not accept AICTE's standards."

Pehle IIMs, then Stanford-Harvard, now ISB-IIT, arre bhai decide karo na tumko exactly kiska copy maarna hai?

"In 2005, an article was published by a small time sensationalist college paper called JAM magazine. Rashmi Bansal, the owner and editor of JAM and her associates began a campaign against the institute on the internet, using blogs - a typical means used to spread slander against reputed brands by jealousy ridden frustrated wannabees."

Really? Jealousy ridden frustrated wannabe? That's YOU, dude!

"The Indian blogging community (or blogosphere, as it likes to call itself) is essentially a bitchy, self-indulgent and an almost incestuous network comprising journalists, wannabe-writers and a massive army of geeks who give vent to their creative ambitions on the internet."

Waah! Waah! Kya gyaan diya Arindam saheb! Tussi great ho!

"IIPM, alongside Harvard and Wharton, does not believe the rankings conducted by publications reflect the quality of business education."

"IIPM has been consistently ranked among India's top business school by several leading newspapers and magazines, since 2003."

Okay, so we should NOT believe you are among India's top business schools, right? Thank you. Finally you accepted the reality!

I have only one advice for you, Dr. Arindham Chu-dhari- Dare To Think Beyond Bullshit.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Virtual Tour...of Real Lies!

Genre: India

Off late, anyone with a spare building and a couple of unemployed graduates willing to masquerade themselves as "professors" is out opening "world-class" Management Institutes and Engineering Colleges all over India, and their websites are, amusing to say the least. Here are some samples-

Hot chick: check; studious girl: check; sardarji: check; orthodox Muslim girl: check; firang blonde: check; mandatory black guy: check! Mall me se Rs 50 deke utha laaye sabko, haath me ek book pakda diya, smile for a group photo and bingo! Ho gaya "cultural diversity"

Waah! Kya naam hai! Only one small problem- the photo on the website homepage isn't quite "accurate"!

US university style logo, in-our-dreams campus ka ek photo, mandatory "cute chick" and suited-booted-guys and here we go! Website ready!

I bet that brunette on the homepage has never even heard the name of this university! And dude, what's that? Gaudy golden convocation gowns? Kaunse maharishi ke shishya ho bhai tum?
Hey wait! Didn't you guys just tell us to think beyond the IIMs? by the biggest ass on Earth!

I cannot help but make an honorable mention here of a certain institute that has withstood the test of time and market trends as far as design of its website goes. Please have a look-

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Un-commonwealth Games

Genre: India

I have been told there is something called Commonwealth Games that will start in New Delhi in 80 days from now and will bring hundreds of foreign athletes. But considering general lack of interest among Indians in any game that is not cricket, and the incomplete infrastructure at the "Games Village", I think it would be better off if the Indian Government shifts the event out into the streets of Delhi and instead of the usually boring events, add some variety to it by featuring some uncommon events like these-

1. Yamuna Survival Race

Instead of swimming up and down in crystal clear waters of swimming pools, participants will be given the more challenging task of swimming in the dark thick mucky water-like liquid that flows in Yamuna, their path blocked by hundreds of strategically placed floating plastic bags, bottles and bathing buffalos. This will drain out (no pun intended) the participants and will attract huge crowds.

2. Rapist Run

This will be a women-only event where the participants will have to smartly dodge several men out to grope them on roads and possibly rape them in cars. Hundreds of experienced volunteers from GRAD (Gropers & Rapists Association of Delhi) have expressed interest in providing their service for this event. "I have groped and passed lewd comments at more than 500 women so far in parks and roads of Central Delhi during my career and I am excited about the service we can provide during the Games", said Pappu Sharma, GRAD chairaman.

3. New Delhi station Obstacle Course

In this event, participants will be brought to New Delhi railway station with instructions to board particular trains, and the controllers will shift the arrival of the train from, say, Platform No. 3 to Platform No. 16 just two minutes prior to arrival, thereby challenging the participants to make their way through the stampede of thousands of passengers, strewn luggage and narrow bridges to make it to the right platform in time. An insider said, this event will be made more challenging by not announcing the coach position of arriving trains or displaying random coach positions to make the run even more difficult for the participants. Jaspal Singh, controller at New Delhi 'B' cabin gushed, "We have been doing this on a daily basis since years now, you know it gives an adrenaline rush, now I am glad we have been asked to do the same for the Games!"

4. BMW presents Dodge Me If You Can

This event will involve participants dodging their way, saving their life across streets of Greater Kailash as a bunch of drunk sons of rich influential businessmen prowl in their BMWs to run them over. This event has brought a lot of excitement among GK-2 residents, evident in the voice of Raj Malhotra who gushed, "I have my BMW M6 Coupe ready and raring to go! I can't wait to hit the streets and try running over a few hapless participants! I have already challenged Bunty that I can mow down more pedestrians than his X3! Yo man! It's gonna be fun!"

5. Shoot Red Beacons

This is probably the most interesting event and will be held on Rajpath and Janpath. Similar to clay shooting, this will comprise of participants standing at vantage points between India Gate and Rashtrpati Bhawan ready to shoot as many red beacon lights as possible installed atop the passing Ambassadors and other VIP cars. It is estimated that every participant will get around 78 targets to shoot considering the number of red-beacon VIP cars seen in this area on any given day. "Getting crowd to see this event will not be a problem", explained a mamber of Games organing committee, "because anyways whenever any VIP cars are passing, we stop all traffic on all sides for 30 minutes or more, resulting is massive traffic jams. I am sure we will provide wholesome entertainment to the common citizens of Delhi by this event."


Note from the writer-

Do not worry. Nothing of this sort will happen.

To experience the best Indian hospitality
Visit Delhi for the Commonwealth Games 2010

!ncredible !ndia welcomes you!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why FIFA World Cup is Not As Fun As IPL

Genre: Humor

The FIFA World Cup 2010 has started in South Africa amidst all the hype and hoopla but for me, the quientessential cricket-fed desi, it doesn't excite in the present avatar. Football World Cup needs several changes to make it as entertaining as IPL.

First of all, those suit-booted gentlemen talking before and after the matches on ESPN-Star Sports need to go. There should be Harsha Bhogle, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mandira Bedi in that panel. And before you say "What the...", let me explain-

Harsha Bhogle probably never even took a cricket ball or bat in his hands yet he can convincingly dish out expert knowledge on cricket matches, so there is no reason why he cannot discuss football without ever having kicked a ball. Sidhu anyways keeps speaking what he wants to- shayaris, quotes et al so it doesn't matter whether you keep him in a cricket discussion or football discussion. As far as Mandira Bedi is concerned, till date she doesn't know what happens in the game she is supposed to talk about, so she fits in fine too.

I observed the football World Cup games have only one break at half-time. This is not fair. Players and viewers need more ad breaks, so from immediate effect there should be two X Mobile Strategic Timeouts introduced in the game, each decided by one team. Also, staring at the same ball for 90 minutes is too monotonous, so every team should bring a couple of cute looking "brand ambassadors" who don't know a bit about the game, but can excitedly wave flags whenever the camera focusses on them.

We see a lot of games becoming boring due to lack of goals scored. To make the game exciting, there should be a Powerplay period of 15 minutes in every half when only two defenders should be allowed inside 30 yards from the goal post. Also, to make the commentary more interesting, terms like Toyota Free Kick, Citibank Penalty and Adidas Offside should be used liberally.

Finally, the biggest reason why Football World Cup is not as entertaining as IPL to watch- There is no MRF Blimp over the stadiums! How technologically-backward! :(

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Genre: Something-new

It started like any other rainstorm, but what took everyone by surprise that Mumbai never saw rain at this time of the year. At around 3pm, I started from Dadar to head back home fearing water logging if I waited any longer. But it turns out I was already too late. The maddening downpour coupled with heavy winds never seen before had wreacked havoc on the transport system already. Roads were blocked and trains were struggling to stay on track. The Borivali fast I took was stranded somewhere between Mahim and Bandra. After an hour of wait, we were marooned. There was knee-deep water on the tracks, and then one strong gust of wind brought down one of the metal pillars holding the overhead electric wires. That was it. There was no way the trains would start again. Seeing this, some passengers tried jumping into the water, not realising those wires that just fell in the water carried 25,000 volts of electricity. They were electrocuted and died a painful death before our eyes.

I was trying hard to contact someone to rescue me, but all cellphone networks seemed jammed. It is then it stuck me what I had learnt in my engineering days- in times of trouble, never call, always use SMS. I did that and luckily managed to get in touch with a friend driving home in his Tata Safari. I instructed him to come on the Mahim flyover. After another hour, the wires were now devoid of electricity and so was the water. Slowly, we managed to jump on to the tracks, now submerged in waist-deep water. As I was plodding my way, I experienced the ground beneath me giving way. The tremors were stronger than I ever experienced. It was an earthquake. Bigger and stronger than Mumbai had ever witnessed. Within a minute, as I looked back, I saw the old railway bridge over Mithi river collapse into the swelling waters with a huge splash, taking with it few coaches of a stranded local train with it. This was just the beginning. As I looked west, the sight I saw was terrifying to the core. The western pillar of the Bandra Worli Sea Link collapsed on to the eastern pillar and both of them came crumbling down in to the Mahim bay with a ear deafening thud. The sight reminded me of 9/11/2001, New York.

I somehow climbed on to the Mahim flyover from the embankments and got into the Safari waiting on the bridge. We tried to dash through water-logged streets as quickly as possible. The tremors had brought down most of the hutments in Dharavi. I instructed my friend to drive east and out of the island as fast as possible. I knew if we wanted to survive, there was only one road to take- the elevated Eastern Freeway, if it had survived the quake, that is. As we dashed towards Wadala, through tire-deep water, we found the Monorail was still intact and in a position to run, except that the electricity was not available. The passengers stranded somewhere near IMAX station in the tiny coaches were trying hard to break the windows to jump out, which would have been suicide anyways. The Eastern Freeway had survived, so far, and we joined the other fleeing Mumbaikars to reach the Vashi creek bridge where another horror awaited us- the old bridge had collapsed and the water level in the creek had gone up so far, it was hardly three feet below the railway bridge, a few more feet below the new road bridge.

As we were stuck in the traffic, I tried reaching out to my girlfriend, Rhea, who gave me the grim news- she was stuck in the Ghatkopar bound service of the Metro, somewhere between Versova and D.N. Nagar stations on the elevated Orange Line, surrounded by water all around. The electrical systems and the computers in the train had failed and there was no way the jammed doors would open too. There was no option but to wait, forever. As we tuned in the radio, all the FM stations, still up and running using whatever resources they had, giving a yeoman service to the city like they had done in the past during 26 July 2005 floods and 26/11/2008 terror attacks, had the same series of bad news- the bridge carrying metro tracks over the Western Express Highway had collapsed on the highway flyover, which in turn collapsed to the ground, killing hundreds of stranded passengers, on the metro as well as on the roads; a huge tidal wave had lashed into movie star Shahrukh Khan's bungalow- Mannat at Bandstand, killing everyone, including the star; Shreepathi Arcade, once India's tallest building was now a pile of rubble on the Tardeo ground, superstar of the previous century Amitabh Bachchan had died of suffocation in his residence after a 10 floor building fell straight on his bungalow. There was destruction everywhere.

After an hour, we somehow managed to crawl, alongwith six lanes of other traffic, across the 2-km Vashi Creek Bridge even as water level continued to rise and the sea turned violent. In this scenario, it was pointless to take the Palm Beach Road, which would have been flooded by now for sure. We drove ahead to CBD Belapur where army personnel directed us, like everyone else, to abandon the vehicles and climb up the Parsik hill following strict instructions from soldiers positioned all along the route. By now it was beyond dusk and when I reached the top of the hill, all I could see to the west was darkness, all I could hear around me were screams and wails of stranded residents. The night was long, and spent without food or water. When the sun rose next morning over the eastern horizon, what I saw to the west was impossible to believe- the sprawling metropolis that lied beyond the creek was nowhere to be seen. All that could be seen was water, extending to the horizon, with the hill once protecting BARC now rising like an island in the middle of nowhere. That was it, The End. The Apocalypse we always feared. The date- December 21, 2012.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

9 Months

Genre: Life

Today marks the end of 9 months of my stay in USA, and as I head home for the summer, a look at things that changed (and the ones that didn't) during my time at Virginia Tech-

- I started loving Mexican food.

- I learnt the basics of a new sport - American Football.

- I realized that "multi-cultural environment with students from diverse backgrounds" in Electrical Engineering means classes full of Indian and Chinese with not a single American girl.

- I can now speak English in three accents - my natural accent, American accent and Tamil accent.

- I learnt cooking. Indian, Italian, Mexican, Maggi.

- I started believing orange and maroon is actually a nice color combination.

- I started enjoying the luxury of stepping out of the house without checking how much money is present in the wallet, thanks to the omnipresent debit card.

- I learnt a new meaning to Unity in Diversity. Festivals originating from completely different cultures- Halloween, St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo have one unified form of celebration- get drunk.

- I adjusted to using paper instead of water.

- I realised that today Americans, most of them, have great respect and love for India, contrary to common belief.

- I learnt what convergence means. Surfing the net, doing homework, watching TV, reading newspaper, everything happens at one place- on the laptop.

- I realised that unlike in India, in some countries public transport is a luxury, not an omnipresent basic amenity.

And there are some thing that have not changed-

- I still love trains. The Indian ones.

- I still watch cricket matches, and not football or baseball.

- I still look forward to Hindi movies, and have seen more of them than English movies in nine months.

- I still read The Times of India daily, not The New York Times.

- I still have all Hindi songs on my playlist on my music player. No Lady Gaga.

- I still love Mumbai. New York was awesome, but Mumbai is Mumbai.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


At a multi-cultural students' gathering in a little town in USA-

American Guy (AG): Ah! India! Where is that famous temple?

Roomie 1 (R1): Which? Tirupati?

AG: Umm.. no..

Roomie 2 (R2): Golden Temple?

AG: Umm.. no..

R1: Meenakshi Temple?

AG: Um.... not that...

R2: Khajuraho?

AG: Naah.. that big one...

R1: Rameshwaram?

Random Guy walks in: Taj Mahal?

AG: Ah! YES!

Me, R1, R2: *facepalms* :|

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Life Beckons Outside VJTI

Genre: College Life

My dear friends from the Class of 2010,

I hope tonight was a good night. As you look ahead after Nirop, the big bad world beckons. For four years, VJTI has given you some of the best experiences of your life- working on prehistoric machines in lab, spending more money at Aarti and Chandan than you do on yourself, making sixty handwritten replicas of assignments and submitting them for safekeeping. Now it is time for you to give back to VJTI.

Contribute towards the well-being of those who served you for four years. Take the Director's Assistant for jogging along the bylanes leading upto Five Gardens. Be brave and be prepared to face adversities. The residents of Parsi Colony will shout, scream at and abuse you for your act that damaged the roads. Do not pay attention.

Appreciate the hard work put in by the non-teaching staff. Buy 100 I-cards and gift them to the watchman at Main Gate so that he can relax from his routine shouting of "I-card kuthe aahe???"

Support education for all. Purchase books and necessary stationery for the most enthusiastic student on campus- The White Dog of VJTI who sincerely attends every lecture, year after year, leading the way in our dream of seeing 100% literacy in India.

The world is yours, go achieve your dreams!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gandhigiri FAIL

Warning: Explicit language. Read at your own risk.

Genre: India

It is this ghastly incident that made me write this post so soon after the previous one.

Once again India has been hit by terrorism, this time not from across the border but from within the country itself. The biggest pain-in-the-ass of our country, the Naxals butcher 74 CRPF soldiers as India watches in shock and awe. Like always, the Government gave out stupid statements. Home Minister P. Chidambaram says "We should have not lost so many lives." True. Yet, why does time and again India suffer at the hands of a handful of assholes? Why does a Kasab here, a Naxal there keep killing Indians at will and the government do nothing to stop it?

They say we are a non violent country following the ideals of Gandhi. The problem is, our government seems to follow it a bit too much. Gandhi once famously said that if someone slaps you on one cheek, give him another cheek, and our government keeps doing that. So, that son-of-a-bitch Kasab, having killed hundreds of Mumbaikars, enjoys his five-star stay in Arthur Road Jail, complete with his choice of newspapers, cologne and chicken tikka. These Naxals kill 74 security jawans, and the government says that no offensive strikes will be conducted against them.

How long should we keep tolerating this? For how long will hard-earned money of taxpayers go into providing security and special treatment to a terrorist? Why shouldn't he be tied with the very same hand-grenades he lobbed around at CST and blasted to death in full public view? Why can't the government order the Air Force and Army to launch a joint air-and-ground assault to wipe out the Naxalite camps once and for all? Every year millions of dollars are spent on signing new defence deals, so why isn't this arsenal used to get rid of these suckers? How many more attacks will it take before the Government wakes up to the fact that these idiots are neither Hindu, nor Muslim, nor votebanks. They are simply parasites eating up the country.

Gandhi's principles may have worked to get the British out of this country, but they certainly are NOT going to work in today's scenario. In fact, even trying to make them work is sheer stupidity. It is high time Gandhigiri is given a backseat and Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev are brought to the forefront. These are the true heroes the country needs to look up to today. The sooner the morons in New Delhi realise this, the better it will be for India. Till then, keep paying your taxes on time so that Kasab can enjoy his Chicken Tikka.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Puneri Patya

Genre: India

Anyone who has ever been to Pune would have noticed one peculiarity about the city- the residents of this Maratha city are hot-headed and in-your-face (not to mention, very creative) in putting across their point, especially when it comes to signboards and instructions. Here is a collection of such signs, some of them observed by me during my many visits to Pune, some from friends in Pune, and some lifted off the internet, all showcasing The Spirit of Pune in all its glory. The real punch is in reading the original Marathi version but I am providing English translations for the benefit of lesser mortals-

We have not assigned you the responsibility of painting our building. Do not spit.

This is an office. There is nothing worth seeing inside. Do not enter.

(This one is self-explanatory I guess)

Do not make weird unusual noises while washing hands or gargling.

Salesmen, do not ring the bell. All your goods will be confiscated.

Bungalow is empty. Nothing worth stealing. Do not unnecessarily take the trouble.

And then there are these signs whose original photos are unfortunately not available-

Do not pee here, otherwise we will permanently stop it for you.

Do not ask for credit. You will be insulted.

We are vegetarian but our dog is not.

Do not sit for long time. You may have no other work but this is not a garden.

And finally, trust a true Punekar to come up with one for the potholed roads too-

Grand 100m Motocross Competition. Organizer: Pune Municipal Corporation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tribute to Orkut

Genre: College Life

The world might have embraced Facebook and declared Google’s Orkut a failure, but for me Orkut is very close to my heart. After all the contribution of Orkut towards me successfully completing my B. Tech Electronics Engineering degree is significant, something that Facebook could never achieve. Here is a tribute to those glorious days-

Kya kare kya na kare…

Kaisi paheli hai yeh…kaisi paheli…

Confusion hi confusion hai, Solution kuch pata nahi…

Solution jo mila toh saala question kya tha pata nahi…

Look at the type of “things” that got lost and Orkut helped us find…

…and finally The Revolt!

The only successful mass-boycott, accomplished thanks to Orkut!

Can Facebook match this? Naah!

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to hurt the sentiments of any person, institution. or website. Please take it sportingly.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Wi-Fi Name Game

Genre: Humor

When you live in a university town with every single home having a Local Wi-Fi network set up, creativity breeds when it comes to naming the network such that it stands out in the crowd.

Check out this list of wireless networks I have seen appear on my laptop-



Hokie Heaven

(Understandable when you are at Virginia Tech)

Ringa Roses

(All connected in a circle, holding hands…get the hint!)

It’s A Trap

(Thanks for letting us know)

Virus! Virus! Virus!

(OK, we’ll stay away)

We Are Bitches

(Thank You. Got the point)

The Dark Side

(Darth Vader is my neighbor?)


(because internet comes via air sans wires!)

Folks, please feel free to add to this list after having a look at networks around you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mine is Better than Yours!

Genre: Entertainment

One thing all of us found out over a period of six months in USA was that American TV advertisements suck when it comes to originality and creativity compared to the Indian TV advertisements. All TV ads in US have one single underlying theme – openly humiliate and pull down your competitor to prove your superiority. See these samples-

(Click on links if videos do not load in your browser)

The most popular “ad war” is between cellular providers - AT&T and Verizon.

Here, Verizon pulls down AT&T on their 3G coverage-

Not to be left behind, AT&T gets back at Verizon-

In the car market, Chevrolet decides to pull down Toyota-

The “war” extends to pizza as Domino’s takes on Papa John’s-

And then of course, the classic – Pepsi vs Coke-

But wait, there is more! You need a cable TV to see these ads, right?

So, Dish Network goes up against DirecTV-

And now comes the bad news! Finally India has also caught up with this American trend of openly pulling down competitors in TV ads!

Here we go-

For once, I want all those so-called “protectors of Indian culture” to come out and protest this! Please don’t kill the creativity and originality from Indian TV ads! The Indian audience is not dumb enough to fall for these pranks! Jaago ad makers, jaago!

P.S. : There was one more brilliant (by American standards) ad of Hardee’s vs McDonald’s, but I don’t seem to find its video anywhere.

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