Archives for category: thots

A recent trip to New Delhi, the Capitol of the second and latest member of the Billion plus club, India, had me wondering. What is the motivation behind releiving ones self, by answering the call of nature in the middle of the street or on the side of the highway in plain view of passersby, both pedestrian as well as motorists. What is this primal urge that still resides in Indians, that is common with animals, that has not been discarded along the path of evolution.
From Moraji Desai, former PM, famed to have consumed his own urine, ayurvedic treatments that prescribe mixing herbal concoctions with cow urine to bumper stickers which proudly proclaim ‘Maruti ne SUSU ki’, the Indians fascination with golden showers are evident.
I bear witness to this act of public display of excreta in other cities in India too, where the sanitation network leaves a lot to be desired. To see this in a city built a 100 years ago, developed to house the rulers of the colonies and then the colonial houses of the rulers, leaves me wondering, why can’t one wait till they reach a toilet.
Twice daily, every day for three days, that was the frequency, and at one point the driver of my cab stopped on the highway for a ‘pit stop’ and then zipped away, like it was the right thing to do.
Paintball, so far, has been a game of warfare and strategy, where plastic pouches of brightly colored paint are shot from high powered pneumatic pistols, to mark the opponent as killed in action, rendering them disqualified and ineligible to continue. It leaves a slight sting and a big splotch of paint.
An army of sharp shooters, trained in stealth tactics, roaming the streets and manning highways, creeping up behind these offenders who have their backs turned to decency and shame, and marking them as offenders with a shot of paint. Yellow, Yellow, dirty fellow…thats the color! Shock and awe, shame and maim. This might solve the problem or at least intimidate them.

The Emperor of all maladies by Siddartha Mukherjee makes for a more interesting read than just an addition to the nowreading hash tag on Twitter.

I am now half way through the book, and it seems to be the guide to cancer for non-medical professionals or perhaps the dummy’s guide to cancer. The wrcancer-ribbonsiting style is simple and lucid. The book presents a hassle free look at cancer, making it sound so good that you wish you would get cancer, because it is largely curable, or at least that is the feeling you get as you go through the book.  I am not going to attempt to review the book any further.

What struck me as very interesting was the fact that cancer which is perceived as death and destruction is shown as the anti-thesis of disease, in that it is an uncontrolled proliferation of cells. Cancer is actually a growth of cells and not the destruction of cells. No one has been able to find out how it starts or why it does so.

Given that certain cancers still remain incurable, I am forced to think that Cancer may be just an other evolutionary process in the progress of man. We may be trying to stop the unstoppable in trying to find a cure, and stop the evolution of mankind.

What if it wasn’t meant to be cured? What if we are playing havoc with our evolutionary process? What if we are throwing a spanner in the works?

Queues. Its a funny word. Even more funnier that this word is used to denote a straight line. The spelling is all over the place and starts with the most funniest letter in the English alphabet Q. I found myself stuck in one, the kind you’d find in any Indian government office or embassy abroad!!
The queue was already formed by some first comers, at the counter and I joined cause with the other bi-pedals.
Theres not much to do en-queue. The obvious thing is to stare at the nape of the neck of the chap in front of you or count the moles on the back of his head. Perhaps study the beard of the person from the Bohra community or admire the intricate design work of gold and white thread on the cap he wears. Your head automatically turns to watch people moving around the queue. Curiosity can get the better of you and you carefully tune into the conversations happening around you.
Suddenly, you realize that the gap in between the person in front of yourself and you has widened, not because the queue has started moving, but because the persons in front of you have moved to the side.
Why did they do that?? They were peering over the shoulder of the person In front of them and and they just kept moving aside to get a better view of the action happening in the window ahead of them. The Qers were just curious. The same quality of curiosity that lead to the invention of the crescograph or same language subtitling; all Indian inventions.
I turned around to see if the queue was any better behind me, only to accept the fact that this was just a queue in action. Thats just how it was gong to be. Its never going to be straight.

Cave paintings from an era gone by have been useful in understanding lives of people who lived at that time, their customs, way of life etc. While it is not clearly understood why those paintings were made, they have communicated a lot and helped us understand a lot.
I came upon two pictures, one from the paleolithic era, and one more recent. The more recent drawing was a rare display of graffiti, in these times of digital art. While the ancient drawings, which are numerous, showed life as it was then, I keep wondering, if in the event of nuclear disaster, where only the concrete walls and roaches would remain, is this what we want to leave behind? Is this the era that we live in, the legacy that we leave for those who come after us? Does this not display an evil mindset, one fraught with destruction.
The second picture is graffiti left behind by Taliban discovered in Afghanistan before their base was taken over by the allied forces. Source: Gily Gily

My Uncle pointed out this stout young man at the head of the procession. He said “This guy is the local tough. You want someone to be beaten up or dismembered, point to your victim and pay this guy, he’ll take care of it.”  I was taken aback by the directness of the MO and the ease with which something like that could be done.

The chap didn’t seem the sort. He was a local but I really wasn’t able to place him till my cousin pointed out, “this is the chap we used to call ‘Marugan’ – (the one with the birthmarks), he had a big splotch of a birth mark down his back and his legs” . The local elders used to pull this wisp of a kid aside and amuse themselves by studying it as though it held some Rosetta type secret.

This chap showed up at my doorstep on Saturday evening. I wanted a driver, and another cousin had promised me he would send someone reliable. The horror. If my uncle was to be believed, then this was the last guy I wanted driving me around. Pushed to the wall and not willing, wanting or wishing to drive in India, I handed him the keys.

Later on my cousin briefed me. “He is a qualified male nurse. He’s just wasting his time here.” I agreed.

In the evening, the two of us went into town, driven by the male nurse, when my cousin asked him more in detail what he was up to and why he was hanging around here instead of working at a good hospital. In a defeated tone, he replied “I was working in Chennai, and now I am attending IELTS coaching classes.” He went on to add how the classes aren’t too great, with the one-on-one English practice sessions turning out to be nothing more than Malayalam gossip chats.  My cousin approached it in a more pragmatic manner and advised him to get out of here and make something of himself.

“I guess everyone must be telling you this” I quipped. That broke the ice. He was more relaxed and laughed too, conceding that everyone thought he was wasting his time when he was actually trying to improve his English skills. “The best way to learn English is to watch movies” I said, adding my two cents to his future.

He is a regular chap, decent, educated and working hard to make ends meet or at least contribute to the economy of his family, by doing odd jobs or whatever he can. His head is screwed on the right way.While I am not sure how he got that rep, he will make a great responsible male nurse once he is out of Kerala, if the cops don’t arrest him for being a tough and beating the hell out of people, first!!!