My first novel, My Friend Sancho, is now on the stands across India. It is a contemporary love story set in Mumbai, and was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008. To learn more about the book, click here.
I have blogged before about how the malls in Mumbai tend to have security at the front entrance, and a terrorist could easily drive in to the parking lot in a car full of explosives and use the lift from there to enter the mall, strapped full of explosives. Well, front entrances aren’t much better.
Every time I go to Infiniti, my favourite mall because it contains the bookstore Landmark, the dude with the handheld metal detector does two things. One, he runs the detector over my left pocket, where I keep my cellphone and my keys—it beeps. Then he runs it over my right pocket, where I carry my wallet—it beeps. He then waves me through—no questions asked, no other part of my body checked.
In the Malad mall, In Orbit, they make me pass through a metal detector, and it always beeps. No matter, I am waved on through. Ditto at the Marriott in Juhu, where I once spotted Salman Khan—I’m guessing chinkaras would be stopped at the gate, so that’s okay.
And what about airports, where security should be highest? Well, there’s no checking of baggage all the way until the security check, so you could walk in with a bag full of explosives all the way till there. After that point, one would hope, we passengers are safe.
Or are we? Check out Jeffrey Goldberg’s splendid piece in The Atlantic, “The Things He Carried”, in which Goldberg describes how, with the help of security expert Bruce Schneier, he tested the USA’s airport security system in almost every detail—and found it wanting. As the introduction to the article says:
Airport security in America is a sham—“security theater” designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease.
Indeed, smart terrorists could also run circles around authorities in India with ease. Either the terrorists who’ve targeted us so far are not too smart—or we’ve been lucky. How long will that last, I wonder.
I’m bewildered and confused by Abu Salem’s legal notice to Monica Bedi, which seems to be written by his lawyer, for its inclination and tendency to use two words where one would do. From the three news reports about it (1, 2, 3), I find that:
1] Salem is “deeply hurt and distressed” by Monica’s denial of their marriage. He is unable to “comprehend or fathom” why she would do such a thing.
2] He had “actively encouraged and supported” Bedi’s acting career.
3] He finds “peace, solace and comfort” from reading the letters she sends him.
4] His love for her shall never “diminish or fade away” even if she wants to “split up or sever their marital ties”.
5] If their marriage is an “obstruction, hardship or obstacle” to her acting career, he is ready to divorce her so that she is “free, happy and at liberty.”
Phew, whew. If I was a judge reading this, I would book Salem and his lawyer for contempt of court for wasting my time in such a manner, in this way.
Mudra Mehta reveals the different attitudes men and women bring to buying bags. I wonder how many bags she bought as research for her post.
I’ll add to her observations by pointing out that most men only care about how functional a bag is, while women look at bags as fashion accessories. For a man, having one bag for daily use is just fine; for a woman, that would be equivalent to owning just one t-shirt, or one pair of shoes.
I suspect that these attitudes might just be reversed when it comes to cars. Unfortunately for us men, bags are much cheaper than cars. Lucky chicas.
The study that reached that conclusion carried out “an experiment on 114 men who were asked to rate photos of women at different times of the year.” I wonder why they kept the sample size so ridiculously low—I’m sure there wouldn’t have been a shortage of men willing to look at photos of women.
And isn’t December the most popular month to get married in India? It all falls into place now…
World renowned cool company Apple Inc. has launched their latest product, the iThing – a strange, minimalistic handheld device with no apparent features or uses. Now available in stores globally, the iThing is unbelievable sleek, sexy, desirable and useless. While even Apple has admitted that they have no idea what it actually is, this hasn’t prevented millions of Mac fans from lining up outside retail outlets from the wee hours of the morning to be among the first to own one.
Meanwhile across the world people are dropping Microsoft’s MS Thing and finding that it… crashes. So there we go.
Mohit points me to this great flowchart (via) that guides us on what to say after sex, depending on how good or bad the experience was. The headline of this post is one of your options after good sex. Eeks.
I like the post-bad-sex lines much more, and could contribute a few myself:
‘Can you at least cook?’
‘I need to blog some pictures of this. Say cheeeeeese.’
‘Done. 100 girls in 100 days. I won the bet. I don’t need to do this any more.’
And so on. It’s so much fun being nasty, especially for wildly hypothetical occurrences. No?
Red Lace Bra wins, according to a poll run by Mid Day. I wonder if the details matter here, and if Black Bra wouldn’t beat Red Lace Thong by exactly the same margin.
The WTF quote of the day comes from the same article, where someone called Harshad K is quoted as saying:
I think women look great in knee-high, black leather boots. A woman who sports boots, is in touch with her own desires.
That would certainly be true if she wore nothing else, I suppose. And why that ugly comma after ‘boots’? Does it indicate that the copy editor who made the page also likes women in boots, and had to pause in the middle of that sentence to catch his breath?
Reader Vivek Kodira points me to a joyful WTF page that explains how masturbation is evil. I especially love the section that aims to shatter the ‘myths’ around masturbation. Samples:
Myth: There are bigger problems than Masturbation, like drugs and AIDS.
Reality: Experts estimate that there are at least 150,000 Americans masturbating RIGHT NOW! Masturbation costs American businesses at least $3.14 billion in lost productivity every month!
Myth: Masturbation is a “Victimless Crime.”
Reality: Theological experts on Masturbation have come to the conclusion that Masturbation is what is known as a “gateway” sin. This means that Masturbation leads to more serious offenses. In fact, practically all rapists, Sodomites, child molesters and pornography addicts started out as Masturbators.
From anecdotal evidence that may or may not relate to my own self, I can attest that even bloggers started out as Masturbators, with an eloquent capital ‘M’. Clearly that means that blogging is a serious offense, but having written a few thousand posts already, I must be beyond redemption. Sigh.
And I’d dearly like to know how the experts cited above came to their estimation of 150,000 Americans masturbating “RIGHT NOW!” The methodology intrigues me. Also, what do you think the figure would be for India, with its vastly larger population?
Enough now. I have work to do.
Update: Reader Oindri Mitra writes in that this site must surely be a parody—after all, no one can write things like this seriously. A little research indicates she’s probably right.
The quote of the day comes from a Welsh monk who has shifted to broadband from a dial-up connection:
Patience is one of the characteristics of monastic life, but even the patience of the Brothers was tested by our slow internet.
I suspect their patience would also be tested if ICICI Bank called them 600 times a day offering them a loan to buy a toaster, or suchlike. ‘I’m a monk,’ I can imagine one of them telling the call center guy, ‘I don’t need a toaster.’
‘Are you sure, sir?’ the reply comes. ‘It’s a zero-interest loan.’
‘Okay, what about a free credit card then? We’ll give free add-on cards to your family as well.’
PS. Sorry. It’s Nilanjana’s fault. She showed me this picture after dinner at her and DD’s place—I’m passing through Delhi on the way to Chandigarh—and as I was unable to eat it, I thought I’d blog it.
Before you quip about how it’s only the articles, let me point out that I first discovered Haruki Murakami, many years ago, on the pages of Playboy. And no, he wasn’t the centrefold. The magazine is worth reading just for the articles.
One of the pieces of advice many writing guides will give you is to keep it simple, and to prefer short words over long ones. Well, Pointy Haired Dilbert, via email, points me to a resource that helps you do just this: Thsrs—The Shorter Thesaurus.
Knowing what the typical India Uncut reader is likely to feed in there, I searched for shorter synonyms of ‘aroused’. One of the options I was offered was ‘horny’. So I looked at shorter options for ‘horny’ and got ‘sexy’. (This assumes all sexy people are horny; every day I learn new things.) I fed in ‘sexy’, and got ‘hot’.
The lesson to learn from this is that one should never say: “I like my coffee aroused.” Instead, always say: “I like my coffee hot.” Keep it simple.
PS: The half-Bengali in me is proud that Thsrs could not find shorter alternatives to ‘lobongolotika’. It
shows that we already keep it as simple as possible.
I found the WTF quote of the month in the latest issue of Time Out Mumbai. (Their 100th issue: congrats, N&N!) Shilpa Shetty, speaking about a dog that bit her, says:
It was an unfriendly dog, but I later heard that it was going through some hormonal changes.
So if you boys bite a pretty chica and she gets upset, just look helpless and say: “I can’t help it, it’s hormonal.” And then if her attention goes downwards, point out: “I can’t help that either, that’s hormonal too!”
Chhee, I’m disgusting. I’m just going to stop reading my own blog if I keep writing like this.
Now, lest you boys go rushing out to eat some healthy fruit, as your momma always told you to (naughty momma!), note that the article also says that “[w]atermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra.” So don’t stare at your crotch in anger after every bite. And enjoy the taste, it isn’t medicine.
The picture in that first piece is horrifying, perhaps even a legitimate torture device by itself. (“If you do not make us your Facebook friends, we will hold your eyes open with calipers and make you look at this picture. Hoo ha ha ha hoo ha.”) And speaking of torture, here’s what Hitchens has to say in the second piece:
I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.
It’s a relief that both John McCain and Barack Obama agree with that view, with McCain having stuck to a principled stand against torture in the primaries despite that position being unpopular in his party’s base. Perhaps it helped that he had first-hand knowledge of the subject. And now Hitch has it as well, having been waterboarded and waxed. To think he volunteered for both…
I feel sorry for both the woman and the cat, actually. There’s sadness all around in the story, and there wouldn’t have been any if the blasted woman just got herself a teddy bear instead of a dog in the first place. You know what I mean. Still, we’re human…
A question like that makes absolutely no sense, but it must be asked—because I say so. Here’s the evidence:
Exhibit 1: According to this survey by askmen.com, India is not one of the ten horniest countries in the world. The nationalists among you should be distraught at the news—what has the country of the Kama Sutra come to (no pun intended)?
Exhibit 2: On the other hand, Google does no evil and Google Trends does not lie. Indian cities top the list when it comes to searching for ‘sex’, ‘naked’, ‘boobs’, ‘fuck’ and ‘Salma Hayek’.
My expert conclusion: We lag behind when it comes to overt horniness, but are No. 1 at repressed horniness. This calls for a freedom movement. (Jokes about a Danda March will not be tolerated. Don’t even think about it.) No?
That’s Lee Child speaking in an article by Charles McGrath. I know literary types who would disagree with the sentiment—Let the readers do some work, they will say, it’s rewarding for them—but if reading feels like work, then it should not be done.
I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be, so I do the smart thing and stick to short posts on India Uncut—by the time you get tired of them, they’re over.
Lady elephants are better at public displays of affection, much the same way it is with humans. This one kept nuzzling her husband’s belly with her trunk. He seemed to enjoy it but he didn’t reciprocate - looked straight ahead.
I suppose he wanted his space. Maybe he’ll regret it some day.
Iceland has 7 GMs and 14 IMs in a population of 3 lakhs, which makes it by far the best chess playing nation per capita. It also has a high percentage of tall blond women and sexy sagas, which generally involve burning people alive.
I should emigrate there, I think. I’m not a tall blond woman, but my chess is decent and I can burn. So there.
Presented for your consideration: Two gentlemen, both with what one might term a mild delusion—they are deeply involved with people who don’t exist. Both spend a lot of money on this obsession. Both can recite, at length, the putative words, thoughts, and deeds of their fictional obsessions. Both have allowed the ideals expressed by these non-existent beings to shape their lives, and both proudly proclaim their allegiance in a sect of followers. Despite this odd obsession, both men hold down jobs, have families, pay taxes, and commit no more than trivial crimes, such as jaywalking, or speeding, or ripping the tags off of mattresses.
One of these men, though, has a serious problem—he won’t acknowledge the fictitious nature of his fantasy friend. The other one has no such difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy.
Yet, in our society, the former is considered normal and healthy—while the latter is, at best, a figure of mockery, at worst, a reviled outcast.
The former man, you see, is a ‘Christian’, and the fictitious being he admires is called ‘God’. The latter is a ‘Trekker’ and his fictional focus is called ‘Mr. Spock’.
Read the full thing. Religious people should not get too upset about that essay—no doubt whichever God they believe in will punish both Mr Lizard and me for our heresy. Heh.
Looking away from the now-tiresome subject of divorce, here’s a paragraph from the piece that rather intrigued me:
Why is there such an abundance of artists in Iceland? What drives them? ‘We do it so as not to become mad,’ replied Haraldur, who is tall, nervy and thin with eyes that have the concentrated energy of a laser beam. Not to become mad? ‘Yes, to keep the beast at bay.’ The beast? ‘The beast is Iceland, this island on which we live with its terrifyingly harsh nature, its bitter ever-changing weather. It’s Goya’s dark nightmare world, beautiful but grotesque. This is the moody beast of Iceland. We cannot escape it. So we find ways to live with it, to tame it. I do it through my art,’ said Haraldur, whose attempts to pacify the monster have also included the writing of three books in which ‘there are no animals, no trees. We have to have a rich internal life to fill the empty spaces, to fill the silence with our own noise.’
Meanwhile the sapping heat of Mumbai prevents me from writing as productively as I’d like to. What to do about this beast?
One of the first websites I visit when I begin surfing every day is Rediff. And without fail, they have a headline that says, “Top MFs.” They mean mutual funds, but you know just how I read it, don’t you? I wonder if it’s perversely deliberate (on their part).