Next stop, insanity

Monday, September 25, 2006

Itsy Bitsy Indian Spider

When I was growing up in India, I used to wonder why there was no Spiderman in India. Now I think I know why. Here is why Spiderman cannot survive in India:

  • He keeps touching the open electric wires and getting nearly electrocuted
  • 120°F and 100% humidity. Imagine wearing a skin-tight spandex suit with a hood
  • That cheap Spider-suit he bought on the sidewalks of Mumbai keeps ripping off at uncomfortable places at inconvenient times
  • It’s very hard to focus on the task at hand with all those stray dogs chasing him
  • Since Peter Parker is a non-Indian name, he has to use some ridiculous name like “Pavitr Prabhakar”
  • Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv sena put pressure on him to change the color of his costume to Saffron
  • Some fringe religious groups that worships spiders will get the government to ban taking spider’s name in vain. Since it is impossible to find an animal/insect that is not worshipped in India, Spiderman will have to go with lower life forms like “Hydra man” or “Entamoeba histolytica man”
  • In the slum areas of the big cities that have no buildings, Spiderman will be reduced to using a bicycle for transportation. It’s neither easy nor glamorous fighting bad guys on a bicycle.
  • There will be protests against the obscenity of his skin-tight suit with dubious bulges
  • Frequently gets tangled in kids’ kites and gets sworn at by the pissed off kids
  • Those Diwali rockets are a pain in the ass, literally
I stumbled on this Wikipedia article recently. Apparently there was an attempt at Indianizing Spiderman in a series of Comic books. The names they chose are hilarious:
Peter Parker – Pavitr Prabhakar
Mary Jane – Meera Jain
Uncle Ben – Uncle Bhim
Aunt May – Aunt Maya
Norman Osborn – Nalin Oberoi
Harry Osborn – Hari Oberoi

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Those sexy, supple, white things

(You heard about stuffing a turkey. Have you heard about “Guest stuffing?” It is a well known phenomenon for anybody who grew up in India. Forcing the guest to eat until the guest is an inch from throwing up is considered a hostly thing to do. Leaving any food that the host gratuitously pushed on to your plate is considered very barbaric)

An (Indian) acquaintance of ours invited us for an informal dinner. The moment I entered their house, the sexy thing on the table caught my eye. I mean the dessert, “Rasmalai.” I told myself that all I have to do is pretend to be eating the entrée for a few moments and then I can get my dirty hands all over the Rasmalai.

The dinner featured South Indian delicacies Idly, Sambar and lemon rice. My dinner plate came pre-configured with 4 idlies. Damn, I didn’t want to fill myself with idlies. Ok, not to worry. If I go easy on the lemon rice, I can do some well deserved justice to the Rasmalai.

I polished off the idlies with the deftness of an experienced South Indian. *plop* *plop*. Two more idlies magically appeared on my plate. I looked up in horror. The spatula wielding hostess was standing right next to me with a bowl menacingly full of idlies. “Oh, you are a young man, you can eat two more idlies,” she dismissed my horror with a wave of the spatula. I begged the hostess to control her effervescing hospitality.

I ate the bonus idlies too. As I was serving myself a carefully measured portion of lemon rice, I heard the host guffaw. “Don’t eat like a bird. That is why you are so thin.” Before I could fully comprehend the ominousness of his statement, the host moved with dizzying alacrity and before I knew, a lemon-rice-heap of the size of Gibraltar was sitting on my plate. I am sure a tear trickled down my cheek as bid farewell to any remaining hopes of getting to the Rasmalai.

I laboriously finished the lemon rice. I was so full that I could not even laugh at my wife throwing herself on her plate in an attempt to prevent the host from serving more idlies. But, like a wounded soldier crawling towards home country, I reached out for the Rasmalai. I had them in a cup and was about to eat when I heard, “What? You are already having dessert?” *Plop* There was Sambar on my plate. “I saw you didn’t eat Sambar.” At which point, I gave up.

Well the silver lining is the hostess gave me my Rasmalai to-go. So I did enjoy the sexy, white, supple things the day after.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Banana Ice Mist

I saw this product at a local produce store.

If I add everything, what do I need the mix for?


If I had to list all the places I hate to go to, Costco comes only second to public urinals in Indian train stations. It is as if everything about Costco is designed to make you hate yourself for being a cheapo to go there in the first place. But you have no option when you buy enough bran cereal to feed a horse and enough milk to bathe the aforementioned metaphorical horse in.

For people who are not familiar with Costco, it's a huge warehouse-like store that promises to sell cheap stuff, both in price and quality, if you are willing to buy in bulk. Their business mantra is, “Customers buy any crap if it's cheap.”

When you go to Costco, the torture starts with finding a parking space. It doesn't matter what time you go, the parking lot is full. The only spot you will find is the one right next to the shopping cart area. You could as well paint a bullseye on your car because somebody is going to hit it with the cart.

Then you walk across half mile of parking lot, find a cart and try to enter the store but the entrance is blocked. You can tell even without looking that some moron is blocking the entrance with his shopping-cart trying to find his Costco membership card, which he did not bring.

You push your way through to find yourself in a 100 aisle store in which the products are organized in what seems to be a complete random fashion. Otherwise, what logic explains toothpaste and tampons being right next to each other, not anywhere near other bathroom or women's products? May be Costco believes people brush their teeth with tampons? Or may be the products are placed in some secret order, something like sorted in reverse alphabetical order of the second letter of the product name. In any case, mere mortals take half hour to find anything in that store.

The other interesting fact about Costco is all their employees are incognito, wearing civilian clothes, roaming among the crowds completely indistinguishable. How else could they run such huge store while making sure not a single employee is around when you need help?

After you spent 2 hours to find 4 products and ready to get out of the place promising yourself never to return, you find out that the lines are a mile long. As you wait impatiently in the line, you notice that every other line moves except yours. You crane your neck to find out that the woman who just had her 75 items scanned is asking, “Don't you accept Master Card?” And of course she doesn't speak English.

I will stop the post here. Because if I continue, rest of the post will be nothing but obscenities.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tadget gag

Anuradha tagged me with the Gadget tag. The rules are simple, you need to talk about 3 fantasy gadgets you would like to have and tag more people.

When I was young, I wouldn't have to think for a second what gadgets I want. I would've told you in one breath: water-to-wine-converter, 2000-hour-TiVo and a woman-prettying-goggles (in case the wine didn't work). But I am a grumpy, mumbling old man now. All I ask is that the damn gadgets, I paid good money for, work.

Here is my fantasy.

1. Microwave Oven: Microwave oven is a machine that heats a portion of the food that is kept in it. To me it is a miracle how half the food is boiling hot and the rest is still frozen. Don't even get me started on the sensor cooking feature. It is just a short for "For people who still don't get it." My fantasy is a microwave that doesn't need to be spoon-fed.

2. Bathroom Scale. Either our house has utter disregard for Newtonian physics or our bathroom scale is a lemon. Move the scale ever so slightly, it gives you a new weight. Come on! I can't be gaining and losing weight every step I take. If that were true, I should be looking like a badly animated cartoon character when I walk. My fantasy is a bathroom scale that respects physics.

3. Paper Shredder: When I bought my first paper shredder, I bought a manual shredder. Little did I know that "Manual Paper Shredder" means I have to shred the paper manually, with my own hands. So I bought an Electronic paper shredder. From what I understand so far, it only shreds electronic documents. My fantasy is a paper shredder that shreds real paper and not cause side-effects such as a sudden urge to bang your head against the wall

I tag: