Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Sacrilegious Xmas..

This is the Christmas email I sent out to friends, thought I might as well post it here in its entirety, so that I can make 2010 my bloggingest year yet :)

tl;dr just a long winded way of wishing you a merry xmas.

So I was wondering, what if Jesus were born in India? What would we get if we replaced Bethlehem with the idiosyncrasies of modern day India? Well, legend goes that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to pay a special tax. We're right on target then! I admit my version of the nativity story is bits and pieces I remember from school, polished off with a six-year-old friendly version that I read on the interwebs after the idea for this post struck me, but bear with me here. So, Joseph and Mary travel to India where Mary is to deliver the Son of God. Of course, health insurance was a problem, and India being the prime destination for cheap but world class healthcare, they decided to take the medical tourism route. Thanks to an unfortunate booking on Air-India, their travel dates were anyone's guess. A little known story goes that the angel who came to Mary to tell her she would bear the Son of God had to make a coupla trips back to confirm their booking with the local Air India offices. As a result, Joseph and Mary arrived in India the night before her due date. The journey left Mary wishing for a trip on donkeyback, like in the good old days, since the aircraft was even less comfortable than that.

Upon arrival, they were greeted with burning tyres and buses. I guess it was apt that the day before the Lord's birth was a bandh in India. This was of course, strategically timed by the political parties who called for the bandh, so that two productive days would be lost. The birth of the Lord would be a holiday in any case. As a result of the bandh, they were left stranded. Most of the hotels weren't open, and Apollo Hospital was kinda far from the airport. Determined that the Son of God would not arrive into this world at the airports rather apt but unclean arrival terminal, they ventured out. The few open hotels immediately jacked up their rates tenfold seeing that Joseph and Mary were a) foreigners, b) desperate for a room. In the end they bribed the custodian of a Yatri Nivas run by the state tourism corporation and he gave them a semi-passable room for the night. Needless to say, there were bedbugs and mice galore. At this point, Mary is rather ironically telling Joseph that she has seen stables cleaner than this back in Bethlehem. A while later, the Lord is born, and Joseph, having had an overdose of the recently concluded FIFA world cup, names Him Jesus, ostensibly in tribute to Jesus Navas, the Spanish winger.

Now, some wise men arrived by the red-eye flight from the Promised Land. Being wise men, they knew fully well not to carry expensive gifts since they would have to bribe the customs officials to get them into the country, and it wasn't quite worth it. Instead, in their wisdom, they shopped duty-free. I'm not sure of the exact nature of the gifts they bought, considering duty-free didn't stock gold, frankincense or myrrh. The guy at the check-out counter didn't even know what the last two were. I'm guessing they bought at least one bag of Herschey's Kisses chocolate, judging by the purchases of all foreign-returns in my office. They were to follow a star that they knew would rise, but being wise men, they had factored the smog in our cities into their plans, and had brought along a GPS. They ran out of wisdom soon, though, when they discovered that their expensive Tom-Tom unit didn't have much coverage in India. They had more pressing worries though, they had to register themselves at the police commissioners office as foreigners before they could proceed to see Jesus.

In the end they did get there, only to figure out that they were a bit too late. Senior officials in the immigration department had already leaked to the media information regarding the presence and whereabouts of Joseph and Mary in India, and the wise men were beaten to the post by Barkha Dutt who was shouting at the Child, trying to get the first ever interview with the Son of God. Vijay Mallya was there too, since he was tipped off about the water-to-wine capabilities of the Kid, and the folks from Dr Batra's Homeopathics were there since they needed His miracle cures since Homeopathy was shite anyway. Lalit Modi was offering him an IPL team, and the producers of Big Boss wanted to do an Ed TV style reality series on his life that somehow also involved walking on water while carrying Rakhi Sawant. The Kid could do it without a CG budget.
yeah i think i should probably stop.

PS2, if i weren't agnostic, i would say that this has probably assured me of my ticket to hell.
PS3, Merry Xmas y'all. :)
PS4, yeah i know, i missed out on lotsa details, couldn't be bothered, etc.

love, take care, etc.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Clean bike, wide grin..

She sits in the workshop in all her glory. Having been a bit of a hangar queen lately, she seems intent on testing my patience. I think she has a smirk on her face. I remind myself to be a bit less silly, this was a bike after all. Whatever was causing her to throw her little hissy fits, we had to get to the bottom of it and fix it, lest she throws a tantrum en route to Goa. A night ride is on the cards, and a possibility of the bike throwing tantrums on NH4 might not sit well with my mental well being on the ride. I think back and remember that she's not really let me down on a long ride as yet, but as she (and I) are getting long in the tooth, I tend to anticipate issues more often these days. Thus, we're back at the workshop, where she takes centre-stage.

Syed the Reliable, coaxes and cajoles her into revealing what the vexing issue was. She's not easy on us, we have to check and eliminate electrical and fuel line issues before she finally reveals what was wrong. A tiny unreachable sleeve connecting carburettor to engine has given up the ghost. For all of 150 rupees, Syed the Reliable will have to dispatch a minion halfway across town to get a spare. The broken sleeve meant she was taking in an impure fuel-air mixture, which caused power and mileage to drop, temperatures (both hers and mine) to increase, and more importantly, stoppages. I would be doing 100+ on the ring road and for no reason, she would go on strike. And then when I'm on the verge of giving up and calling Syed for help, she would start up again, as if nothing was ever wrong. Sounds a bit like a marriage, I suppose. I wouldn't know. I leave her in the care of Syed and his minions, and walk the short remaining distance to work.

At five fifteen in the evening, I walk back in and see she's getting a wash. Syed has been uncharacteristically tardy, but that's okay, I have all the time in the world. They roll her out of the washing bay, oil up the chain, put on new handlebar grips to replace the old ones I'd lost in the last accident, and she's good to go. She's set me back two hundred and eighty eight rupees, but that's nothing compared to the relief of finally having fixed everything. A thousand couldn't fix her the last time I was here. I thank Syed and Co. one last time, and walk out of the shop, where they have her ready and purring, dripping wet from the wash. From the sound of the engine I figure everything's okay, it's an oddly reassuring sound. I get on, check everything, switch the purr to a muffled roar, and we're off. I watch the water droplets slide and fly off her sides as we pick up speed. I made it a point to ask them not to dry her after the wash. There is only one proper way to dry a freshly washed bike. And that is to RIDE it.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Hush L(a)unch

So there was this little book launch today. Hush (refer previous post) was unofficially launched at a nice little lunch event at this place called 64 in Koramangala. Just a few friends, well wishers and people who worked so hard the bring the book out. i fall into the former two categories, so i was there for the free lunch as well. which was just as well, since i am kinda broke :). I have watched this book come to life while standing on the sidelines, and was proud of the efforts of pratheek, dileep and the rest in having finally brought it out. the future is equally uncertain for everyone, but few dare step up and chase a dream. i had a small toast to make, and had written it down a few days back. in the end i gave the reader's digest version of it i guess, since it wasnt a formal event and all that. in any case, i thought i might as well post the entire text of it here.


I cannot tell you how happy i am being here, seeing this book take flight finally. I have a small story to share on this occasion. Back in July, pratheek and i had done a roadtrip to kerala to attend sooraj's and asha's wedding. after a rather long arduous and rain-soaked drive on my bike, we reached kanhangad, where we were to halt at sachin's place for lunch and some much needed rest before the remainder of the trip to kannur where the wedding was. It's always been awkward meeting parents of NID folk, at least for me. Parents of school friends were different, since i was accustomed to them, but somehow it's been different with parents of college friends. but sachin's father is the genial sort, and was keeping us entertained with small talk. eventually, he got around to asking us both what we did for a living, which is when the fun started.

prefacing that, he had been on a roll telling us how sachin is working with paper, and i couldn't help but get the impression that his dad wasn't entirely sure of the rationale behind it. what was a trained graphic designer doing cutting up bits of paper? soon he found that i was a trained product designer who was working with airplanes, and that pratheek was a trained engineer and then a trained product designer who was working on a comic book. with an incredulous expression on his face, he asked "why didn't you guys figure this out earlier?". his point was that sachin had been cutting up paper since school, i have always loved airplanes, and pratheek had been a comic fanatic since he was a kid. why didn't we just figure out earlier what we wanted to do and not waste time with NID and engineering and whatnot?

since he was talking as a parent who had to pay for the circuitous academic paths one of us took, i sympathized with him. its not easy for them to understand what three lunatics like us have been doing with our lives. but today, seeing this book come out, things are different. there are times when all of us have struggled with our dreams, and it's moments like these that provide that extra reserve of energy when morale is fading. seeing a good friend making progress is inspiring, and gives me hope in my own pursuits. So, here's to friends and their dreams, here's to long winded but sure footed paths to those dreams, and here's to the relentless chase and never giving up. :)


yeah, maybe that was a bit stuffy and formal for a comic book launch :P

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Hush / Manta Ray

Hush, is here.
This is the fruit of the endeavours of my close friend Pratheek Thomas. Him and Dileep Cherian have started an indie comic/graphic novel publishing house called Manta Ray. Do check them out, and support them. the book is good, i've read it :)

Web (Under Construction)