Tag Archives: humour

Made in Heaven or alternately, in China

24 Sep

This was an advertisement I saw in Face Book today:

Mangalsutra – Buy 1 get 1 free!

What is the fuss?  What is a ‘Mangalsutra’?

It is the Indian equivalent of the wedding ring, but unlike the wedding rings, this chain-with-a-pendant(s) is worn solely by the wife. Every community in India (irrespective of religion) has its own version of this ornament that signifies that you carry your husband close to your heart. You can look it up on Wikipedia here.

In my family, making of a Mangalsutra is a ceremony by itself. After the wedding date has been set (with or without the agreement/acknowledgement of bride and groom), a ‘holy’ day is chosen to cast this all-important pendant that carries more weight than its mere weight in gold. Yes, it is cast out of 22 carat gold. This gold may partly be contributed by the groom’s ancestors or could be purchased completely new. It has to be the groom, though, that pays for it.

Of course, the melting and the final casting will be done by an artisan who has been doing this for at least 25 years, if not more – he has to be a master goldsmith. Because, the belief is, if not done with a pure heart and holy blessings and in the right manner, it could make or break a marriage.

And you thought making of the ‘One Ring’ was difficult! Move over, Sauron!

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Hit or Miss (America)

18 Sep

I know a lot has been written about the Miss America pageant already and I have probably missed the boat (sorry, I have been busy living my life) but better late than never, right?  So here goes – my rantings on this subject for your personal pleasure!

My question for all americans that made sarcastic tweets about immigrants – I paraphrase Chris Rock’s question from Lethal Weapon 4

“Your ancestors were native americans, were they?”

And now, for my most important question, to the Indians and Indian newspapers who oh-so with righteous wrath poured acid remarks on Americans:

“do you seriously believe that Ms. Davuluri would have won Miss India?!?”

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The fifth column/Page 3

5 Sep

This might be news to you but an important ingredient in my morning coffee is the newspaper that goes along with it. If I do not read with my breakfast, I cannot taste my food. My eyes and my taste-buds work best in conjunction (no, not conjuctivitis – conjunction).

And for some strange reason, I always start with the back and the supplements of the newspaper. I reflected on this behaviour of mine and realized, it is a defence mechanism against bad news. I hate bad news – it destroys my belief in an orderly and fair-minded universe. What do you mean, there are no unicorns?!?

Coming back to the back-page and supplements, I like the supplements the best because they carry the comic-strips. I love comics as much as I hate bad news. If you would give me bad news in a comic form, I would probably read it. Was that in bad taste? Oh well, that is me, not just bad news but in bad taste too.

Anyway, so I start with the supplements because of the comics but end up reading the gossip column. Sometimes it is very entertaining. I usually do not know many of the minor celebrities that are in the news (I have neither TV nor Radio at home) but I like a chuckle just like any one else.

Sometimes though, it is embarrassing to read the gossip. There is a wonderful German word that captures this – ‘Fremdschämen’ – it means you are embarrassed on someone else’s behalf because they are either so stupid or stuck-up to be embarrassed for themselves.

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Image

Magnified creativity!

10 Aug

Creative but magnified

This photo makes the following statements:
1. Germs are invisible
2. Germs build up in your mouth right after you brush your teeth
3. Colgate labs can creatively represent these invisible germs
4. The view is of the magnified germs

Very scientific?

Ghosts of the past

4 Aug

When I was little my grandmother told me that there are no ghosts. I believed her. And then she would tell me stories with all sorts of spirits and demons in them and assure me that these are all stories made up for entertainment. I believed her. I grew up only slightly scared of the dark. The stories fascinated me though and I would read all kinds of trash with ghosts in them. I remember cheap Tamil paperbacks from the small library near my house that had cheesy titles like ‘Bloody Vampire’ or ‘Ghost villa’ and I would lap it all up. What made a lasting impression though were the ghost movies. That was mind-blowing entertainment.

As the popular maxim goes, there are only 8 kinds of plots in the world and Shakeaspeare covered them all. Indian movies belong to the same school of philosophy. They would have the ‘Hamlet’ type – revenge of the ghost, ‘The Tempest’ type – naughty spirits with nothing else to do or ‘Macbeth’ type where the ghost was all in the head more than reality, it could also be the reconciliatory type that comes in the end and blesses everyone’s unions. Being Indian, we also had the ‘reincarnation’ variation which Shakeaspeare had missed out. There would be combinations and permutations of these themes that would inevitably have haunting melodies, no pun intended.

But our ghosts are not to be confused with Hollywood ghosts with their satanical inclinations and special effects. Indian ghosts can be summed demographically thus : ‘young female, white-saree clad, long black hair, wears anklets and sings haunting melodies‘.

They are way too scarier than your special effects because just the tinkling of the anklets can send people screaming from the theatres. Alternately it could also be the overacting, but as a kid I could not tell the difference between fear and disgust.

The Indian storyline does have its problems though. You see, Hindus burn their dead, so it becomes impossible to come back as the walking dead with your head oozing, arm broken etc. So the plots have to have usually people of other religions as the ghost or it all becomes rather hazy and spiritual with the soul getting involved. To resolve this problem, sometimes the screenplay resorts to the time-tested method of the villains getting rid of the body in a haste and hence, not doing the job properly.

This also opens the story’s scope to bring back that character not as a ghost but as an actual un-dead, meaning they were actually alive but presumed dead but saved by some strange tribal elders or a handicapped couple or a woman of questionable nature and nurtured back to life. It all gets rather complicated after that, especially because the character continues to pretend to be a ghost to exact revenge.

In one of the more enjoyable Tamil ghost movies, a ghost goes hunting for a Drumstick-tree to ‘roost’ on… in Japan.

Ah, see if you can beat that Hollywood! We will see your special effect and raise it a thousand-fold!

Sweets Vs Wooden toy

1 Aug

[Order] [Order in the courtroom]

In the case of ‘Sweets Vs Wooden Toy’, I plead not guilty, your honour!

Let me present my case:

India is a complex nation. If you cross a state border in India, you will be in a different culture altogether- different language, cuisine, festivals and traditions. It should actually be called ‘Indian Federation’. We are a cauldron of flavours and texture like a stew rather than the uniform sliced bread.I get carried away by food, sometimes. Please bear with me.

I am a tamilian from South India and had had very little exposure to Hindi, which is a common language spoken in many parts of North India (north Indian languages have some common roots). Bollywood movies, for example, are in Hindi and for a South Indian, not always easy to follow, if the words are not something you hear everyday.

I learnt Hindi in school as my third language – after English and my mother tongue Tamil. My proficiencyin Hindi can be summed up thus: I can read nursery rhymes in Hindi but cannot understand poetry.

20 years later…..

I live in Goa now where the state language is Konkani but almost everyone speaks a smattering of Hindi. I can converse in Hindi and I was mighty impressed with myself as I could pick up the language after being away from the country for 13 years during which there was absolutely no chance to practise it at all. So I try and keep in touch via Hindi movies.

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Confessions of a serial reader (Season I Episode II) -“Going Postal”

25 Jul

I wrote a post sometime ago on Terry Pratchett but did justice neither to the book nor the author. But then, I do not think I can write enough in superlatives about the Discworld series that is any different from all the praise that has been heaped upon it already.

‘Interesting Times’ continues to be my no.1 favourite among the Discworld series but no.2 is difficult. ‘Going Postal’ would be by no.1b and ‘Thief of Time’ would be no.1c. Oh wait, there is ‘Hogfather’ and ‘The Last Hero’ and ‘Pyramids’. Fine, fine, you got me, all the Discworld books (except the first two) are no.1 on my list.

After ‘Death’, I am very very partial towards Lord Vetinari – he is a dream. He is the ‘Patrician’ of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork in the Discworld. He is a trained assassin and believes that the skills he gained in the ‘Assassins Guild’ is better put to use as a politician. He is intelligent, subtle, devious and wears black. I love him!

I do seem to have a preference for slightly grey characters in the books I read. No, don’t even think about Christian Grey- read my ‘About Me’ before you even get that dirty idea! What I mean by grey is – these are practical men who know the difference between right and wrong and stay mostly on the right side. Mostly. They are not too stupid to be flexible enough in their definition of “right side”. It is never for ‘just’ monetary profit that they let the rules slide, they understand you might have to bend to get things done. Like Han Solo, these characters are all rogues but fascinating ones!

Going Postal

This is why I love ‘Going Postal’, it has not just one but two such characters in it- Lord Vetinari and Alfred Spangle (a.k.a) Moist von Lipwig. ‘Going Postal’ also beautifully melds magic and technology and makes a semi-geek like me flitter around in happiness. I am not a real nerd or a geek, these are powerful definitions and distinctions. I am a nerd by marriage and a semi-geek by nature. I am the kind that like Big Bang theory, not necessarily know all the theories but the witty references makes me smug.