Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quest to make planet Earth “idiot-free”

Destination: Mars
What is it: a wish list
Purpose: to extradite humans who abandon the usage of their brain
Why Mars: proof-Martian soil may contain life
Relocation: paid for by the people of Earth
Reason: call it philanthropy

I had the fortune of reading this alluring article on the other day that gave me delusive contentment. It was about how the soil on Mars may contain microbial life. According to Joop Houtkooper of the University of Giessen, Germany, Mars could be home to just "extremophiles" -- in this case, microbes whose cells are filled with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, providing them with natural anti-freeze. They would be quite capable of surviving a harsh Martian climate where temperatures rarely rise above freezing and can fall to minus 150 degrees Celsius.

Scientific talk aside, this article offers the perfect remedy for dealing with people who chafe your nerves—say tsetchem leshalom, proscribe them to Mars and let them revel in the Martian climate. Maybe the excrutiating algid temperatures will thaw their frozen gray cells? These idiots can spend eternity in Martian land and we Earth-dwellers can peacefully go about our daily chores.

Call it my pollyanna notions about making the world “idiot-free,” but I have been working on a list of people who should be said hasta la vista to and shipped to Mars. It will not be a perilous voyage in a canoe across space; I was thinking more like an official send off with fanfare and they can create their own “Idiotland”.

My recommended list:
  1. Britney Spears—relinquished her brains (for Kevin Federline) and so the remnant amount needs to be deliquesced
  2. Paris Hilton—lost her brains to rhinoplasty
  3. George Bush—the lesser said the better it is
  4. Dick Cheney- Bush would need an amigo on Mars—kinda like homies
  5. Will Ferrell—to him, encephalon is an entrĂ©e offered at Saigon Taste
  6. Jaya Bachan—prolonged viciousness has had deleterious effects on her brain
  7. Kangana Renaut—this wanna be egghead can’t spell brain—not because she is autistic; but because she is still striving to evolve into human form.
  8. Bal Thackeray—we have had enough; the extremophiles on Mars should live with his iniquitous deeds
  9. Rakhi Sawant— silicone implants have aggrandized the pressure on her pea-sized brain and turned it into a vestigial organ like the appendix.
  10. Pamela Anderson – someone needs to float on Mars
  11. Mallika Sherawat - her ebullience is a sign of her brain on Prozac
  12. Lindsay Lohan – dude, she has no brains.

Disclaimer:- This is not a final list of people who should be exiled to Mars; names can be deleted (I highly doubt it) and/or added at any time.:-)

Copyright © 08.31.2007

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public” - George Jessel

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can you take India out of an Indian?

The last few days have been a pleasant ride into patriotism land. Literally, all activities that I indulged in have been reminiscent of propitious weather and reeked of India – like the sweet smell of mud that lingers on providing all with a snug blanket of warmth, when it’s bestowed upon with the first monsoon of the season.

A ride into my desi emotions: Last week, I went for a book reading by Anupama Chopra. Her new book is on the “King of Bollywood” aka Shahrukh Khan. The evening was remarkable—small get together, invigorating aperitifs and delectable hors d'oeuvre. The reception was rather stately and the venue, baronial. I soaked in as much South Asian cultural heritage as a human possibly could, in one grand evening. Chopra, a petite, mirthful, cogent and cordial film critic and book author, was basking more in Indian glory than her own eminence. When someone asked her if Indian directors were going to make movies that basically catered to people in the west, with utmost grace and stellar confidence she responded in the negative. She reiterated that Bollywood is content with the audience it has at present and doesn't feel the need to alter its style to cater to a new audience. She also confirmed that Sony Entertainment is coming to Bollywood and making a movie “Bollywood-ishtyle”. She veraciously spurted out these words in a non-grandiose way even though a big chunk of the population comprised of Caucasians.

Ride two: On Friday, few of my friends and I went to watch the newly released Hindi movie, “Chak De”. If you haven’t seen it already, I would absolutely recommend watching it. I had no idea that a simple movie about women’s hockey could stir up such strong allegiant emotions and evoke an intense response. Absolutely splendid!

To be candid, on one hand, I love where I live now; on the other, I apprize India with my heart and soul. Every year around the Indian Independence day, I feel unrest and turmoil. Today is India’s 60th Independence Day and that makes me nostalgic. I remember the flag hoisting to free sweet distribution to the patriotic songs that we would sing as kids.

I am not the kind to display my emotions in public but irrespective of where I am, the Indian national anthem gets me misty eyed. It touches that cord which nothing else does. I truly believe you can take an Indian out of India but not India out of an Indian.

Any thoughts?

Copyright © 08.15.2007

"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The perfect “break-up” restaurant in New York City

You know, I can’t imagine anyone ever planning a “fun” evening at an eye sore restaurant where the food looks like a by product of pollution and commotion and service is reminiscent of what prisoners of war had to face -- unless of course you are heartlessly dumping someone. For such an uneventful occasion, you want a cacophonous restaurant where the noise created by mumbling of humans and clanking of dishes drowns away hurtful words or abuses—depending on whether you are at the giving end or receiving end. Another charm of such a restaurant is that you do not lose amour-propre-- savorless food acts as a brilliant disguise for your emotions in public places—no one can tell the difference between “my heart hurts,” cry or “the food is appalling,” cry.

Anyway, a few nights ago a bunch of us had organized a soiree for an essential element of our coterie, a dear friend who was moving to Far East Asia (thankfully for a short and defined period). We made reservations at this much-recommended restaurant -- Chennai Gardens in the Murray Hill area of New York City. The restaurant has won raving reviews – maybe the owner paid someone for those words dipped in honeydew? It sounded like fallacious testimony. Before I delve into the happenings of that evening, I’d like to say something -- the only thing commendable about Chennai Gardens was the location.

An insight into the evening: we were a group of eight out of which one person wasn't eating; he was the "food guardian"— kind of like a restaurant angel looking over us and our comestible. Believe me, after the abominable experience at this restaurant, we needed his services. Anyway, seven people ordered appetizers and beverages and guess what—the rocket science behind order taking completely shocked the waiters; they goofed up. The staff was not really au fait with our needs. After persistent reminders, the flabbergasted staff finally managed to make an effort and bring out the remaining appetizer. They didn’t let us down; when it was time for our entrees, they made an aberration. Not only did they get our order wrong, but in their own way, were indignant about rectifying their mistake. Not to forget, the “over-salted sambar” looked and tasted like murky water. The table arrangement was bedraggled and the lesser said about the presentation, the better it is. All I can tell you is that Martha Stewart would never approve of this place.

I am never impertinent to staff at any restaurant—it’s not just the fear of them spitting in my food (yes it happens), but I genuinely appreciate their services. Living away from India has made me all the more appreciative of labor and services. Had it been a regular dinner out with friends, I would have not been so upset, but this was a special evening and the unprofessionalism and boorish behavior exhibited by the village idiots at the restaurant, was unforgivable.

My recommendation: go to Chennai Gardens only if you are breaking up with someone you loathe as the abysmal service and unpalatable food can make the process easier for you. If you want convivial atmosphere, a kebab vendor would be a better option as compared to this banal restaurant.

Copyright © 08.12.2007

"After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives." Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who Gets My Vote?

I just got back from the most tranquil vacation of my life. My trip to Dubai/India was so therapeutic. I was in La-La Land engulfed in the warmth of my family, clique, delectable food and incessant chirpiness of the help at home. I guess my index fingers are so used to giving direction (in an authoritative way) that they are clueless about their other usage. That part of the world does reduce your limb mobility.

Interestingly enough, majority of the people I met with, read my blog and happened to very graciously appreciate it. I was rather flattered. Depending on the incidents, they all had their suggestions on what my next post should be on: three-hour wait at State Bank of India to change currency (Go Figure!); the party thrown by my parents in my honor where my cousins and I indulged in a “chilli chicken” gormandizing competition; gossip about blatherskite in the family; this porcine teenager cum spoilt house guest at my friend’s who was comatose from carrying around a lot of excess avoirdupois; to the bizarre travelers – one of them was a pre-pubescent loser at JFK whose wife kept professing her eternal love for him as if he was a warrior going into battle or the prison of Azkaban. Apparently he was going away on a four-day long business trip. Back up! Seriously, four-days aren’t long; they are unfair. You are really not giving anyone a break!!! After a lot of contemplation, here is what I decided to write about – the airline I flew.

I am a sucker for self-defined and Dow Jones rated “good airlines”. After all, you can’t quite compromise on the quality of travel when it comes to a 16-hour flight given that I fly cattle class (economy). I think its incumbent upon us to make the right choice of airline. Whenever possible, I fly “Singapore Airlines” (SQ). You can’t beat Asian hospitality (and food?) Anyhow, this time around, due to lack of time, I decided to take a shorter route and yet fly a highly ranked airline. My choice was “Emirates”. After all, it is ranked just second to SQ.

Well, my first impression of Emirates – international crowd of svelte stewardess and well-sculpted stewards who knew their jobs. What won me over were the victuals. They totally smother you with this array of entrees and dessert until your stomach starts howling for help. It breaks my heart to admit this but SQ doesn’t hold a candle to the variety offered by Emirates. However, the service on SQ is incomparable. The crew is more cordial on SQ and the passengers are dapper. The one major thing that bothered me about Emirates was the crowd. It is infiltrated with proletariat crowd whose sense of speech and plebeian mannerisms get adversely affected after indulging in free alcohol. I had the “fortune” of sitting between two those unearthly men on my way to Dubai. All that I can tell you is that I didn’t catch a wink or drink a sip of wine. These hoi polloi actually spread a pack of cards on the airline floor and literally hooted every time a stewardess walked by.

I confess; I am a flight snob who behaves like an anti-social element the minute I get my boarding pass. My airline personality is starkly different from my regular personality.

Having said that, I feel Emirates might be considered a mighty fine airline if you are traveling business class or with a familiar group. Otherwise, the crowd is reminiscent of jail break and mass exodus from Alcatraz. SQ caters more to a bourgeois set. SQ, you definitely have my vote for letting me feel safe!

Copyright © 08.09.2007