Thursday, September 29, 2005

Oh brother!

It’s that time of the year when I have to go through the pain of filing my taxes and as usual I am late. I finally get my Income Tax statement from the accounts department and am very happy to see that my IT deduction is in manageable figures. This means that ‘me’ the severely Income Tax challenged person has done all the right things this year. I show the statement with a touch of pride to my eldest brother. He glances through it and frowns. “Something is amiss here. Why are you paying so much tax?” He asks quizzically. My smile dries up.

Suddenly from nowhere my nemesis, also known as second elder brother (SB) scoops up the statement from my unsuspecting eldest brother’s hand and gleefully glances through it, his smile growing wider and wider with each column he surveys. He gleefully turns around and says loudly for everyone in the vicinity to hear.

“You know what? You forgot to claim depreciation for your brains!!!!”


Now a word about this creature I call my brother. I am supposed to call him ‘chetan’ (elder brother) as he is three years elder to me. But I have steadfastly refused to do that since childhood because that honor is reserved for my eldest brother ONLY!!! And that is because he has earned that honor by NOT pulling my hair, sneaking spiders / cockroaches into my study table drawers, scaring the hell out of my friends by suddenly jumping out of nowhere wearing a gorilla mask and being a major pain throughout my growing years. So, much to my SB’s chagrin I made it a point to call him by his given name. Of course we ( me and friends) had devised other names for him too, which I shall reveal not here, in case there are children below 12 years reading this post. I don’t want to get into trouble with the Expletives Censor Board.

Of course like most hardened criminals ( read ‘annoying elder brother’), he too has his moments when he felt a twinge of repentance and sorrow for the horrendous crimes against humanity ( read ‘younger sister and friends’ ) At such times he would remorsefully try to make up for his misdeeds by treating me to an icecream, or to a ride on his precious motorcycle seriously jeopardizing his love life and my limbs. Of course my suggestion that I print a short message on the back of my T Shirt announcing that I am his sister to clear the doubts of his adoring fans (read ‘gals who don’t bother to look at him’) was greeted with enthusiasm. His enthusiasm soon dried up when he saw the caption.

“I am the sister of the bozo driving this junk”

As me and my friends grew up, so did his pranks. Consider this.

School Graduation Day!

Seven girls in the my house trying on the ugly purple saree that Sister Principal had made mandatory for all of us to wear for the ceremony. Of course being girls we decided to start getting ready at least three hours before the event!!! Not that tying an ugly purple saree requires three hours, but gals will be gals I guess. Finally mascara’ed, powdered, lipstick’ed, perfumed and saree’ed we were ready on time. SB gallantly offered to drop us (I must have lost my senses to have accepted his offer)

We get into the car one by one, gingerly picking up our sarees and sitting down carefully so that we arrive mint fresh at the school auditorium. Suddenly SB’s phone rings. He pulls over, gets out of the car and talks leisurely for a good ten minutes. Then, ignoring the anxious stares of seven pairs of eyes gets into the car casually and we resume our journey. Then he pulls over again. This time to check non-existent punctures on the tyres. After a thorough check of ten minutes or so of our precious time coolly ignoring the frantic pleas of his passengers and hyperventilating sister, he again gets into the car and we are off. We check our watches; we are going to be 20 minutes late!!! My friend Nina suggests to SB that he step on the accelerator to make up for lost time. He does …….and we start crawling at 30 miles per hour!!! I look at him horrified. However SB is unmoved. He says there is something wrong with the car. This was no occasion for a joke, besides we were horribly late and I could imagine an auditorium full of girls and the faculty sitting grimly waiting for us to arrive. I feel tears pricking my eyes. The urge to call Mom and bawl was too tempting.

I suggest that we take an auto. The suggestion is turned down, as the thought of sitting in a windy auto and keeping our appearances and sarees intact was a physical impossibility. Finally with a car full of wailing, cursing and groaning passenger SB drives into the college a good half an hour late! The girls pour out, pick up their sarees to make a dash for the auditorium, when SB remarks casually:

“ Oh by the way…..Sister Ann called. She said the Graduation Ceremony is delayed by one hour, due to VIP movement on your college road!”

I leave the rest to your imagination dear bloggers. Of course the car was already reversed engine running, driver in seat with leg firmly on accelerator before he let out that earth shattering revelation!

This guy is Marquis De Sade personified. I mean even the good Marquis would be proud of the refined and painful torture that we were put through that graduation day. I mean no blood, no gore, no broken bones or other grisly sights that you see in torture scenes in movies. Just plain, undiluted, sadistic, torture for the years we let out air from his mobike tyres, complained about him to my Dad, stole his hair gel, CDs, keychains, mobile for furtive SMS’s, sneaked about him to mom etc. etc. etc.

Today is this descendent of Hitler and Goebbels's birthday. And on his birthday I would like to say:

Happy Birthday Cheta!!

However having said all that I must admit, that carrying my pink school bag with matching water bottle to the school van everyday during my Primary School years, takes lots of guts. And teaching me to swear in Malayalam and Kannada also takes lots of guts. Because when Dad heard me saying “Poda patti” (dog!!!) he wasn’t amused. But then the very next day you taught me to say “nayinde mon” ( son of a dog).

Never say die right? ( that's his credo)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Entertainment Taxed

Ok, it is official.

I saw my first Hindi movie (Sholay) in five years. (Amongst my friends, who have fainted after hearing this news, please read this blog after you recover from the faint. I am not gonna sprinkle expensive mineral water on you)

And for those of you who made those jokes on a certain person going to watch a Hindi movie, I have only one thing to say.

“Saale, Kuthe!!! Mein thera khoon pee jaonga !!!”

Disclaimer: Being a South Indian I don’t know the meaning of the above words, but Dharmendra looked suitably incensed while mouthing these words in ‘Sholay’. All disputes arising out of my usage of Hindi learned from Hindi movies will be heard in a Bangalore/Chennai/Hyderabad/ Kochi High Courts in chaste Kannada/Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam only.

And those of you, who would like to cut and paste the “Disclaimer” please go ahead. I have a hidden Cut and Paste Counter installed in this blog, which tells me that it has already been cut and pasted around 40 million times. Now that’s the approximate population of South India. What a coincidence I say!

'Sholay' is a thoroughly entertaining flick. I didn’t understand a word of the Hindi dialogues. However knowledge of Hindi is unnecessary as action speaks louder than words in most of the scenes.

The story of ‘Sholay’ is very simple. Two guys who are apparently very good friends leave for Bangalore, in search of a suitable IT job. However due to the vagaries of fate they miss ITPL (International Tech Park Ltd.) by almost 100 kilometers and land up at Ramnagaram (Sholay was almost entirely shot in Ramnagaram on the outskirts of Bangalore). Like most freshers they ride an old motorcycle and love eve teasing village belles (I know I am gonna get lynched for this). And like most newcomers to Bangalore, they too search for shared accommodation in this sleepy village. And like most homeowners in Bangalore, the villagers too greet the young men with glee by converting their homes into hostels with bed and board. For the hospitality shown to them they promise to Wi Fi the village soon. In fact one of them even climbs the village water tank , to survey the area to be Wi Fi’ed but is too drunk because it is Friday night. He finally realizes that the village has no electricity and climbs down.

Hema Malini is the love interest of one of the young men. However she shows scant interest in him. She is fed up of the constant harassment by the Income Tax Department to cough up more of her hard earned money for non-existent roads. She is apparently a Consultant in this film who declares her professions as a ‘Horse Carriage’ owner, which the Income Tax people can’t quite believe. This makes her the target of frequent Income tax chases on the non existent roads by horse borne IT officials. Once they even catch her and use Third Degree like making her dance on glass shards to reveal her exact income. However the gutsy gal refuses to be cowed by such dirty tactics by making a song and dance of the whole situation. Bravo!!!!

The Income Tax Collector for Ramnagaram Mr. Gabbar Singh is a frustrated individual. The villages under his jurisdiction are poor and he hardly makes any money from the poverty stricken villagers. Which is why he doesn’t shave and lives in a cave. He is however duty bound to collect taxes and therefore leaves on his horse (remember he is poor) with his officers (also poorly clad and unshaven) to raid the villages under his jurisdiction. He even shoots his officers who fail to collect arrears. His dedication to duty is commendable.

Into this scenario appears a handicapped man ‘Thakur’ with a daughter who wears only white sarees to fool the IT department into thinking she is poor. Now the Thakur had to give an arm and a leg er.... I mean both his arms to pay his Tax dues. Since then he has been unsuccessfully been applying for the ad hoc deduction of Rs. 40,000 under Section 80U given to the Physically Handicapped without success from the overworked, underpaid IT office of Mr. Gabbar Singh. He sort of takes a vow to fight for his Income Tax rebates and goads our two young men to join him in his fight. The young men, who have just got their first salaries, take one look at their IT deductions and readily agree.

The mammoth war between the salaried guys the handicapped guy and the Income Tax department is the climax of the film. In the end the IT department is sizably reduced thereby considerably reducing their salary expenditure for the Govt. who promptly declare on TV news that there will be more Tax breaks on the common people in the next budget. The people have a hearty laugh providing the much-needed comic relief in this out and out action thriller.

Like all epic battles there are some casualties in this fight too, and one of the salaried guys succumbs to his Taxes er....I mean injuries. The handicapped man is vindicated and the remaining salaried guy and the consultant then leave town in Ramnagaram Express to Chennai, now the hottest IT destination in India. (it gets hotter in summer I heard)

(This post was written after I had buried, as is the practice in the beginning of every month the mortal remains of my butchered Salary Slip in the nearest waste basket)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Password travails

My travails with passwords started when I registered for my very first Yahoo Mail ID. I wanted to use my given name as the Username but apparently there were many people by the same name. After trying various combinations without success I finally hit upon ‘masaladosa’. After chewing on ‘masaladosa’ for a while the registration window spat it right out, informing me that it was already taken. However like the waiters at Shanthi Saagar, Yahoo too gave me an option.... ‘‘masaladosa700’ was available!!! With a sigh, I accepted the proffered name and it got adopted. Apparently the 700 is some sort of cyber chutney taken with ‘masaladosa’.

I selected a simple but cool password ‘chick’ so that I will have no problem remembering it. But apparently five letter words are as inappropriate in Cyberspace as three letter words are in the civilized world and it was outrightly rejected. I was tersely asked to choose a password with six or more characters. Thinking frantically as my Rs. 60 an hour Internet time was coming to a close, I added the word ‘hot’ to ‘chick’. I think the Cyber Moral Police was suitably mollified and ‘hotchick’ became my very first email password. (Cyber morals beats me)

After the Registration, a message appeared advising me to change my password often to protect my acccount. Now back in High School my mail box would typically get 10 odd mails a day. Mostly jokes forwarded by friends, some gossip from friends, lotsa news on who is seeing whom and who is broken off with whom and who is going steady with whom kinda mails. Ok that’s a lot of gossip I know, but High School gals generally don’t talk about The Green House Effect, The NYSE Index and or the General elections. I didn’t think it necessary to change my password often as no hacker could get my Dad’s Credit card numbers or India’s nuclear installations blueprints from my mailbox flooded with mails with subjects like these:

· I think I have a pimple :(
· Raveena is a bitch!!!
· Guess who Rita is dating ;)
· Pictures of George Cloony ;)
· Shoppers Stop Red Tag sale is on :))
· Check out the new chemistry teacher wotta babe ;)
· Friday bunk classes go for Stuart Little ?

Those days we shared passwords so that friends could read each others mails.

Then one day the inevitable happened!!! The greatest and most shameful act of Internet misuse by a school kid happened!!! A friend SP used another friend MD’s mailbox to do some match making. SP wrote a real mushy love-mail from MD’s mail box to a guy in St. Joseph’s. When we heard about it we were gleeful, fearful and tearful in that order with the resultant turn of events. After that incident we collectively decided ‘not’ to share passwords and each of us went our separate mailbox ways. We grew up a little in Cyber Space that summer.

Now to my travails. I have always had problems with passwords. I have always wanted something simple that I could remember plus I had a mortal dread of alphanumeric passwords. Especially since I had so many Yahoo ID’s like ‘vadasambar’, ‘chapathi99’, 'revlonlipstick’ etc in those carefree days. The only alphanumeric password I could remember was my birthdate… a dead giveaway ( I know that by experience because we used to try and open each others mail boxes with birth dates, parent’s anniversary dates, BF/GF birthdates etc.) It was also very easy to guess each other’s passwords. Let’s face it. High School kids are not very original when it comes to passwords. A sample of password sources in High School is given below

1. Your dogs name
2. School House name
3. School name
4. Class teachers name
5. Favorite movie
6. Favorite Toon star
7. Favorite Rock/Pop/Blues/Jazz star (for fans)
8. Boyfriend / Girlfriend’s name (if you had one) etc

Nowadays I have heard that school kids have become more innovative and keep complex alphanumeric passwords like:

1. jimmy22
2. greenhouseisno1
3. baldwinssucksbigtime100
4. ihatesistermary / ihatefatherjohn / ihateprinci
5. collateralisno1
6. tomandjerry2005
7. avrillavignerocks
8. rameshisahunk4me / priyaisadoll2…… etc.

As a ‘complex password challenged’ person I have finally hit upon a solution. When I sit down at my comp to change my password, I look around carefully and take inspiration from my immediate environment. Some of the thus inspired passwords are given below as an example.

1. hpprinter
2. servostabilizer
3. Samsungfaxcumprinter
4. yellowpages
5. ibmthinkpad
6. creativewebcam
7. ajanthaclock
8. crocintablets
9. seagateharddisk( I still have the cover)
10. brandy ( my dog if he sitting as usual under my chair)
11. lakshmi ( my maid, if at that precise moment she is cleaning my room) etc.

I know I know…..originality is not my middle name. But now I am in the big league of ‘complex password’ churning geeks ;)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A unique tag

Jagan has tagged me. This is a unique tag. Required a lot of thinking from my side to pen it down. Here are the seven things that I have to reveal about me in all honesty. So here it is……

Seven things you plan to do before you die!!

1. Quit my job in my 30's and become a full time naturalist / birder
2. Start my own ad agency
3. Learn to fly
4. Travel around the world
5. Fall in love!
6. Teach kindergarten kids!
7. Buy a cottage in Ooty

Seven things you can do!!

1. Get back to advertising/copywriting
2. Visit school more often and keep
in touch with the gals who studied with me.
3. Get back to piano classes
4. Read more often
5. Continue birding during weekends
6. Get serious about photography for above purpose
7. Give more time to my hobby “cooking”and "gardening"

Seven things you can't do!!!

1. I can’t flirt
2. I can’t stop being brutally frank
3. I can’t take life too seriously ( I look at the funny side of every thing!!)
4. I can’t stop sobbing while watching sad movies
5. I cant ignore a beggar.
6. I can’t do without my Mom
7. I can’t do without talking to my eldest brother at least once a day( he is my agony aunt and punching bag)

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex!!

1. Sense of humor
2. Maturity
3. Loyalty
4. The ability to advise without imposing his views
5. Smile
6. A guy who treats a girl as a lady irrespective of who she is.
7. A guy who is not jealous and clingy

Seven things you say most!!!

1. Jeeeeeeeeeeesus Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiist!!!
2. Ok, fine
3. For Gods sake!!!!
4. Vendado
5. Poda / Podee
6. Oh my God!
7. Will do

Seven celebrity crushes!!!

1. Tom Selleck
2. Tommy Lee Jones
3. Harrison Ford
4. Bill Pullman
(sigh..they dont make them like these anymore, I mean the above 4)
5. Emraan Hashmi
6. Arjun Rampal
7. Mathew McConaughey

Seven people you want to take this quiz.

Leon Cyril

All that I have revealed here is true to the best of my limited knowledge. Thanks Jagan, this tag made me think really hard and introspect. Didn’t realize it would be this hard to pen down only seven facets of my multifaceted life ;)

Wish there were more than seven hunks to be listed in the celebrity crush list. Mebbe 10 or maybe 15 or maybe umpteen ???? I have wandering 70 mm cinemascope eyes for Gods sake!!!! :)