Friday, October 27, 2006

Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

I'm too much of a conserver. Or at least I'd like to think so. See, I do my bit. I just snapped off switches of two tube lights in the dining/living room when I went downstairs to drink water. Amma is the exact opposite. She needs everything brightly lit. (It's the royal gene. Yes, she says she has one. Don't ask me who the royal ancestor was - I don't know and don't care. It was probably some feudal landlord she plays up anyway. Ask closely, and poof, I will be reduced to normality. We don't want that, do we? We need to tell our grandchildren they had a royal ancestor and insist on crazy things citing the royalness in our blood in our own dotage. So we'll let vague royal ancestors exist without close questioning.)

Now, I don't understand what the need for two tube lights is in the middle of the day in a place that is open... where there are windows and light flows in quite naturally. My house has an open floor plan. Ok, I don't know what that means, but just that my neighbour can see into my bathroom from his terrace if he is perverted enough. Actually, peeking into females' bathrooms isn't even a true blue perversion, is it? He just needs to be male. Surely everybody does it, if they have the chance. So will he. (But don't worry, he won't. First, because the house is rented to a day-school and the roof is off limits to everyone, and secondly, because there's no male neighbour living in that house, but maybe I should fix the broken pane in the window anyway... just in case...)

But we were talking about my conservationistic behaviour. Coming back to that, I'm all for conserving water and all too - close taps while brushing, etc. Let's not get into this too deep because I like water too much and will stand under the shower too long at times just to feel the water running down my body. I'm pretty sensual like that. *ahem*

Yes, well, okay. Let's get on. I wonder if the day will ever come when shopkeepers in India will stock paper bags instead of plastic ones. The only things one gets in paper bags now are unmentionables from Navrang in Abids, you know, that shop in the lane before Hollywood, the ones who sell... well... unmentionables? Well, okay, intimate apparel. (That definitely sounds better than bras and panties. Please, guys who are reading this, do not disagree. This post is embarassing enough as it is.) (While writing this, just now, I couldn't remember the name of the shop, and I texted my friend to ask, and then called my mother when friend didn't reply immediately. Now I have a curious friend and mother who are wondering why I wanted the name of a shop that sells lingerie while I was on the computer. Seeing as how they don't know about the existence of my blog, it was tricky explaining to them why I needed it. With mom, I just giggled and said I needed it. And to friend, I said I am writing something and it led to all sorts of questioning. I'm sure they're thinking I'm into something perverted or illicit online. My image is tarnished forever. Forever.)

So, to continue, lingerie shops have paper bags only because what they sell is so shameful that seeing a woman, or *gasp* a man, holding a plastic bag advertising their shop and product would be an immediate cause for averting eyes and ignoring said person. Oh, and paper bags are also for other unmentionables. Like sanitary napkins. Though lately my friendly neighbourhood kirana shop owner has decided to give out those in plain black plastic bags that get black ink on your fingers if you touch them. The Earth is surely going to choke and die one of these days. The black ink will be to blame. Mark my words.

I am not fanatically opposed to plastic bags, sometimes they're necessary when nothing else is available, and you can't just swear off them. It's just that they should be done away with when they can be. I remember this incident where I bought something small, I think it was a chocolate bar, and the shopkeeper offered me a plastic bag and I said no, because I could carry it. And he snatched the thing out of my hands, good-naturedly, and bagged it before handing it to me. See, I understand when it is necessary, but when you're buying something you can carry in your hand without a bag, why use one? I simply took out my whatever-it-was and handed the bag back to him, not good-naturedly, and gave him a curt 'No, thank you,' only it was from between gritted teeth and maybe my expression was a teeny bit hostile because he recoiled. Well, maybe I was overly enthusiastic about throwing the bag back on his counter too. (I assure you I'm not generally rabid to shop-keepers this way. I am grouchy to only ones who disrespect my wishes to not have a plastic bag.)

So, in these situations, with the world going to rot and no one around me caring about it, I feel it is only my duty to switch off lights and insist on going bagless when I buy small things. So I do. Now, at this point, you're all wondering where the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus comes into it all. It doesn't really. I just hunted around for something to name the post, because Save the Whales is just too usual, (and done before) and out pops this site (click on the title of the post). That's it. My search has ended with the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. A nicely mad touch, isn't it? Quite in keeping with this blog. I actually think I could adopt one tree octopus. Virtually, of course. Byclops has been here quite a while, hasn't he?

Anyway, the site is kind of interesting, and pretty to look at. I mean, most sites are pretty garish. This one isn't. And it's also weird. I quote, "Tree octopuses became prized by the fashion industry as ornamental decorations for hats...." I mean, what??! People go around with an octopus on their heads?? In the name of fashion? Really? Where? Anyway, readers, do visit and sign the petition. That's your bit in saving the pacific northwest tree octopus. Your good deed for the year.

Actually, when I reached the end of the page on the tree octopus site, I noticed other interesting animals I could have named my post after. Like the Mountain Walrus (?!) or the Manhattan Beach Mottled Roach ("Save one roach today, that tomorrow we may save millions!" Uh, excuse me, a roach? No, thank you. And when you save one now, tomorrow you don't need to save millions tomorrow. Millions do not need saving.) Or there's the Rock Nest Monster ("Known only from its rocky nests and porcelean-like eggs, Cryptogorgo petronidus is so endangered that existential environmentalists wonder if it ever existed at all"), the Giant Palouse Earthworm ("They can grow up to three feet in length, are pinkish-white, and smell of lilies." Thank you for telling me about the lily-smell.) and the Red Crabs of Christmas Island (who, among the problems they face, also "have to contend with super-colonies of yellow crazy ants, introduced to the island by the thoughtless actions of Man.") So, go ahead. Take your pick. Save something. Anything. It hardly matters what with so many that need saving.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stop Moving my Cheese

Today, as I logged on to my Yahoo messenger, it told me that one of my contacts is using Windows Live (MSN) Messenger, and wants to add me to his or her Messenger List. But to start sharing messages, I first need to download the latest version of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Aha! I thought. My Yahoo! Messenger is being so helpful and anticipating my needs. It is even telling me what I should be doing next. That is... not too bad, if we overlook the fact that it is trying to make me do something.

But it didn't stop with my Yahoo! Messenger. My MSN Messenger wants to mate with my Yahoo! Messenger. My Yahoo! Mail is proudly offering me a Beta version. Come to think of it, so is Blogger. My communication software products are somehow getting lives of their own, and thus, minds of their own. They want me to dance to their tune instead of it happening the other way around.

Now, I admit I'm not the brightest cookie around when it comes to all things tech and I fear my computer, (though I take care to hide this fear from it, or it will just take advantage of me) Haha, like it isn't doing that already)) but I draw the line at letting my communication software rule me. A very bold and italicised line. A very, very forbidding line indeed.

And they happily jump over that very line and waggle their tongues at me. By telling me one fine day that I cannot use my Yahoo! Messenger because it is an old and dead version (and the underlying message is, of course, why aren't you dead already User, when you're using that outdated version we made for cavemen? What is wrong with you?). Therefore, I will be forced, coerced, ordered to download the latest version, which will just probably have a purple coloured background added on to the last version. Why do I need that? Why can't I decide how much I need?

Let me tell you here, I do not like change. I'm a control freak. I want to control my programs and not the other way around. And just why is everyone in the world suddenly bettering their products? What is wrong with the ones already around? It's just email. Or a messenger. You use it only to write text. How hot can you make it before the frills completely overtake the basic thing you're offering, which is free email and good storage space, or communication. And it's free! What else does one need? Why does the interface have to come in 24 colours? So really, shut up and let it be and stop making it jazzy and spiffy. Or jazzier and spiffier.

I totally understand that Mail and Messenger people really do want to better things out of the kindness of their hearts and love for their customers, (with absolutely nothing to do with market share or competitiveness among other providers), but please don't ask us to download the new version or change to the better one unless it's really something worthwhile you're selling. It's irritating to have the constant reminder popping up. And it's very very frustrating when I can't use my old messenger anymore and it tells me I have to download the latest version to continue using it. I'm pretty happy with the one I have, thank you.

That's it for now, as I slip into flashbacks of the time when men were real men, women were real women, and my messenger and e-mail were really servient messenger and e-mail...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sketch S

I hate people who refer to me in the third person, while they're talking to me, like I wasn't sitting right there in front of them. Did you get this particular abnormality's finer points? No? You don't know what I'm talking about? Well, the conversation goes like this:

S, (to Aran): Does Aran like hindi movies then?
Aran wonders if S thinks Aran is about three years old.
Aran: Yes, I do.
S smiles a sickly sweet, totally brainless smile (you know the one, it's just pasted on)
S, (to Aran): Does Aran go to movie theatres?
Aran wonders whether S's mental age might be arrested at about three years of age. Decides, yes.
Aran: Er... yes.
S scans her mind to think of something equally inane to follow with.
S, (to Aran): So who is Aran's favourite actor?
Aran thinks: Oh my God! Perfect follow-up!
Aran opens mouth to answer... is interrupted by S.
S, (to Aran): Wait! Let me guess. Aran's favourite actor is Shahrukh!
Aran now is the proud owner of a sick smile of her own, because she knows she will have to endure the conversation.
Aran: No.
S, (to Aran): Aran must like Aamir Khan then!
Aran: No.
S, (to Aran): Hrithik? Abhishek Bachchan? Oh, wait! Aran must like John Abraham!
Aran is tempted to say the spot is tied between Tusshar Kapoor and Razzak Khan.
Aran: No, no, no.
S, (to Aran): Oh, then Aran herself should say.
Aran thinks, 'Oh my God! She said 'Aran herself'', with something approaching horror.
Aran: Salman Khan.
S: I knew it!
Aran repeats sick smile.
S, (to Aran): So who is Aran's favourite actress?
Aran wishes for divine intervention, like maybe a lightning bolt coming in through the balcony and striking S right in the sitting room.

I swear I didn't make this up. I have a defective piece like this floating in and out of my life and consciousness from time to time. I think the more I interact with her, the lower my IQ will test. There's surely some erosive effect at play here. Repeated conversations will definitely take chunks off my brain. Physically. I know. Entropy. It doesn't help that she has the sickly sweet, totally brainless smile on when no one is watching (but, I am! Ah-ha!!) It's scary when she's smiling into space. Like she can see dead people or something.

But really, she's the harmless kind of retarded I think. And somewhat useful too when you need a babysitter. I'm trying to think of other ways she can be useful... and can't come up with any, sorry. Let's just say it would really hurt me to be her, and leave it at that, because this is turning meany-bitchy, isn't it? And of course, I'm not meany-bitchy. I'm kindness-light. And all things bright. Brilliant shine, this face of mine. So true and fair, with midnight hair...

Uh, ok, I lost myself there. I blame S. Thank you. That will be all.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Reluctant Bride

Nowadays, marriage, weddings and related things have been featuring in my life too much. The owner of this blog, may, might, possibly, in a weird twist of fate or arms (or even wills), might actually be getting married *gasp* Or not. I'm going to keep you guessing on that one. But don't worry too much. Marriage or no marriage, I won't be procreating right now, so you won't have any weird-genes Aranlets running amok in this blog for a while yet. I'll give you time to get ready before that happens. I promise.

So, coming back to the topic, drksideofthemoon - a dear friend and reader of blog has written a hilarious take on the kind of bride I will most probably make, that is, if I am getting married, and you - reader, still do not know whether I am or not.

* * * * *
The Relcutant Bride

Married! The word reverberated through her head like a pneumatic jackhammer. Incessant and never pausing for a moment. Married! The mere thought gave her chills. She had managed successfully thus far in her life to escape the entrapment of the betrothal web. Married! What was she going to do with a husband; she didn’t even want a cat!

She imagined her parents lying awake late at nights wondering, “Where did we go wrong?” Their daughter wasn’t married. “What would the neighbors think? Did people whisper and point behind their backs?” Marriage! Marriage was the answer, find the child a husband and life would be good again. Order would be restored once again to the chaos of the universe. The wobble in the earth’s rotation would be righted. All that was wrong with the world would be fixed by her being wedded.

The look on her parents’ face. Was that joy? Relief? They had found a husband for her. A man that would wed her. A future son in law. A father for their grandchildren. What was his damned name? It blended in with the jackhammer in her head. She wanted a small, intimate wedding in the local hall. Her father was in serious negotiations with the owners of the local football stadium.

That was another thing, the list of invitees. It seemed her mother and future mother-in-law were both engaged in a bizarre contest of who could come up with the most guests. She had suspicions that both women had resorted to using the phone book and were just pulling names from it. Her mother was currently leading in the “Guest Who Travelled the Furthest”. It seems her brother knew a fellow whose wife had a third cousin in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He would be more than happy to attend if someone would just help fund the ticket.

Her eyes snapped open at 4:27AM. The most awful thought came to mind, it was like a nightmare. After the wedding, would he expect her to do that for him? Would he demand it of her? Whenever he wanted it? She had heard of vague rumors of other wives doing it for their husbands. A few even admitted to liking it. The thought only caused the ache in her head to return. Would he actually expect her to cook?

Married! She would inherit a whole new family. A family of in-laws. People who came and only left when the pantry was bare. Married! She accepted her fate the way a soldier accepts a dangerous assignment. Was it too late for her to join the army and be sent away on a secret mission? Married! What was his damned name? Married! She would be a bride, a somewhat reluctant bride…

* * * * *
Four Weddings and A...
Now, after that fabulousness, we have a sub-post within this post, cos it deals with the same subject. Well, kind of. Today is my parents' wedding anniversary. Let me give them my heartfelt wishes here, as this blog is close to my heart and the truly special reason is that they are never likely to see it.
Happy Tied-to-each-other-for-life-and-unable-to-escape Anniversary Mom, Dad. May you have many more years of the same normal, everyday marriage. I want you to know that I am very proud of the way you supported each other those two times in the past 27 years. The other 408,392 times... well, we win some... and stuff like that. I particularly admire the expertise you have gained in dealing with the other's neuroses. It would have been better if you could have worked upon getting rid of your own, but I am sure this could be statistically disproved, so it's all okay. I would have been a totally different person had this day not happened 27 years ago. And... wait! That last sentence was so spot on, wasn't it?! Hmmm... going on... I have tremendous respect for all you've been through, though that one time the metal detector beeped wasn't really your fault Dad. I'd like you both to know that I love you. Of course, I do. Really. What? You didn't honestly think that my dieting was a case of misdirected love of green leafy veggies, did you?!
Sigh. End of mushy love message. You may wipe those tears now. The parents got married on May 20th, 1979, along with my uncle (father's brother), on the same day. After a few years, my aunt (mother's sister) and uncle (mother's brother) also had a double wedding on the same day. That makes it four weddings. There was talk of getting me married on the same date, that is, if I am really getting married of course. And that explains the title of the sub-post.
Happy 20th May, 2006 to you too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Firefly, R.I.P

He's my current muse and second virtual pet. The first was a goldfish (or some sort of fish anyway) that lived online and was supposed to be fed twice daily by clicking on a button that said 'Fishfood'. Apparently I failed to feed him and one day I received an email saying he was dead. I assure you that's not going to happen to Firefly. Enjoy him while you can because he's not going to be here long. Cos it's just not fair to him. Go PETA!


Firefly was the first ever virtual pet to grace the pages of this blog. He was here, enjoying pride of place in the column to the right from 16th December, 2005 to 10th May, 2006. Of course, when I first introduced him, I told my readers that he won't be here long, but he creeped his way into my heart and into at least two of my readers', who commented about his cuteness, so I had to keep him longer than I intended.

I found Firefly while wandering on google looking for pictures of... fireflies. Yes, suddenly, I spied this handsome hunk standing between coy photographs of bugs that had their rear end lit. I saw him, and lost my heart to him. It would be hard not to... just look at that fuzzy, downy brownness on his body and that little cap of it on his sweet little head. Look at the black of his little pony legs. Look at the innocence in his eyes. And look at that smudge of white on his nose that earned him his name, and then tell me you can't fall in love with him. Tell me, and I won't believe you.

I have learnt a lot from Firefly, the biggest lesson being that you're worth more if you're a donkey among fireflies. (And I use the term 'donkey' loosely, because Firefly was so much more than a donkey. He was an inspiration!) The second thing I learnt was that you should flare your nostrils while your photograph is being taken. I tried that for a while and it was very unflattering so I had to unlearn that very quickly. Notwithstanding that little hiccup, our saga of learning continued and then I learnt patience, for they also serve who only stand and wait. And boy, do you need a lot of patience for just standing and waiting! Firefly - he had that in him, especially since he didn't know what exactly it was that he was waiting for. Perseverance, grit and determination to overcome boredom... all these are qualities Firefly had in excess.

Now, while writing this, my heart is overcome with affection for the cuteness that is Firefly. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I consign him to my Virtual Blogpet Hall of Fame. I do this only because I realise that what comes, must go, for this is the way of the world. May his virtual image rest in peace.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Two requests and a death threat later

There was a time in my life when I thought I was dumb. That was sometime in eighth standard, or thereabouts. We don't need the exact time period. That is close enough for the purposes of this post. Which brings me to the point that explains what exactly it is that is the point of this post. Well, without further ado, purging. This post will talk of my inner, vulnerable self. I'm going to write it all out with the firm belief that if I write it, it'll all go away, out of me and into the paper or into the internet void and I'll be free of it. This post should have been named 'Turmoil', but as I consider the current title to be quite clever, it's going to stay.

So there was a time when I thought I was dumb. It had something to do with my chemistry marks. I failed miserably. And I mean miserably. The chemistry part of my life was something around 16 out of 100. If those were IQ marks... just imagine. Therefore, it was quite normal for me to think that I was dumb. The Mathematics wasn't good either. That added to the problem, but the number one culprit was chemistry, in more ways than one, if you know what I mean. Eighth standard is a very bad age for chemistry.

But why am I talking about this now? The reason, as already mentioned, is purging. Not past purging either. Because lately I've been feeling dumb again - for the past three to four months. No, it's not chemistry this time around. Well, at least not the subject. This time, I'm not sure what it is actually. I'd like to think it's antibiotics. Yep, that's right. Antibiotics and the eating of them. Prolonged eating of antibiotics makes Aran dumb.

I've been feeling woozy. Yes, that's the word for it. Actually, I'm not sure woozy is a true blue bonafide word, but it describes what I'm feeling, so it's good. Now that I think of it, so is confuzzled. It's confused and fuzzy-brained rolled into one. Like your brain's filled with wool and you can't think. That's me nowadays. Why? I have no idea, except for the antibiotics that is, but how long will I keep blaming those. I need a new blame-thing soon. I can't even use the moon this time. It's not exactly known for making people stupid, is it? As it is, the poor pale orb is credited for my mood swings. Asking it to take on more of the burden would be a bit too much.

So with this post, why I haven't been blogging has been explained. Also, I don't think I can purge more than this in one post. Thank you kindly for the indulgence shown by the two people who requested a post and to the person who threatened to kill me if I didn't write, I love you. Anything else will get me killed. And now that I think of it, death is better than dumbness.

Ps: Does anybody know what Riconia does?
Ps: Do I have any readers left to answer that question I threw out?

Monday, January 30, 2006

We were theived upon

The policeman stood with his pelvis thrust out. I wanted to hammer it in. Seriously, what's with the sexually aggressive male pose? Why does it all have to go down to the crotch for you? The power's not between the thighs stupid, it's between the ears. Gah.

At the same time, there was an overly inquisitive cat in the yard outside. So I watched the cat and ignored the policeman. Now I know why cats are called curious. It sat and looked and looked and looked and... well, looked at this one spot on the ground before it. I think there were shadows of the sun playing on the ground through the trees there. That, or it was staring at an ant or something. Anyway, I stared at it too.

So I had a bitch of a day. Our stuff was stolen from where we kept it in the car. Yes, the day's only half over and it's gone from bad to worse. We had plane tickets to our holiday stolen. They were worth about 75,000. But more than that, the father's telephone diary was taken. He had all of his contacts in there, a collection of about 20 years. Gone. No cash. Nothing of value to a thief. I mean, he won't be flying or calling up random people from a book anytime soon.

We took the car for fingerprinting and there... I met Poirot. Yes, yes, the cute French detective. (At least I hope he was French. Was he?) My Poirot was called Murlidharan. He had the same boiled-egg head with three white curly hair at the top. I knew about the hair when he bent down to stare at the print on the door of our car and presented his bald pate to me. And then he took us up to his room and rolled my hand over black ink to take my prints.

So there you have it. That was my day today and the police have my prints. I can now never act on urges to hammer pelvises in. Men posers and their crotches can rejoice. We shall have to reign in our bitchiness. Sigh.

PS: pate = The human head, especially the top of the head: a bald pate.
(I liked the way they specified 'human'. Apparently Firefly doesn't have a pate. Poor thing.)