Tuesday, April 28, 2009

face value - part 7

Go on, exercise your rights. If you'd like to declare today 'The international day for self-flagellation', put your cursor where your mouth is, and click here to get to Face Value Part 1.

Thanks to Douglas Adams, we think we know the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. He would also have us believe that the only thing that remains a mystery is the ultimate question.

We are wrong on both counts, as a small minority of people on Facebook have demonstrated. First of all, the answer is still work in progress. The only thing established is that it needs more keys than the numbers bar of your keyboard. And as for the ultimate question, that’s no mystery. The question is right there for all to see, in the status bar of the Facebook homepage. ‘What’s on your mind?’ it asks us, and the above mentioned band of Facebook users pours out a sea of possibilities that can fix life, the universe and everything.

The atlas-of-the-mind type
To get even close to understanding this personality type, you have to first stop pursuing selfish things like happiness, success and good coffee shops.

Then, try to see the world from a modern Atlas’s point of view (no you don’t have to squint or have eyes in the back of your head; I meant this in a figurative way). When you carry the earth and the heavens on your shoulders like you would a slobbering drunk friend, your perspective is bound to be larger than all the above.

I know what you’re thinking. How can Rajeev, who’s an un-creative number cruncher by day, be qualified to find solutions for the universe? Now here’s the secret of these people’s global wisdom. They have an uncanny knack of rewriting universally accepted laws and rules.

Here are the top three that I have uncovered while studying the status updates of these noble souls.

If at first you don’t succeed, extrapolate, extrapolate, extrapolate again. When V.V. Clemsy drops a glass of milk, he doesn’t waste time crying over spilt milk (boo hoo as a Facebook status update just isn’t global enough). Instead, he asks himself how the principle of dropping a glass of milk can be applied to larger subjects. Calcium depletion? Not big enough. Hungry children? Better, but overused. A drop in world nutrition levels? A loss of organic produce? Organic… hmmm there’s something there. So there you have it.

V. V. Clemsy laments the loss of yet another organic resource from a world that’s turning to plastic.

Most readers, for fear of looking ignorant will scan the net and find lots of relevant news stories that will help them sound intelligent while commenting on V. V. Clemsy’s update.

Rush in where punsters fear to tread. When Aloe P. Shea sees hair in her comb, she doesn’t just think of it as hair loss. That’s petty, selfish and a wasted opportunity. So she lets her mind out on a random association trip. A receding hairline? It’s getting macro, Aloe knows, but it’s still too selfish to make a statement about the world. So she flies from receding to recessive to recession... Bingo! That’s global enough now.

Aloe P. Shea then feels that the solution to global recession is to pat existing resources in place.

When you point a finger at yourself, remember that three fingers point at the world. Nothing remarkable has happened to Indra Pal Lobhia all day. In fact he lost a bet on which cricket team would win today. So does Indra Pal Lobhia, or IPL as he is known to friends and enemies hide the fact under the astroturf? No way! He capitalises on it to publish his learning about life, the universe and everything.

His status update reads: IPL knows that individual and team brilliance must collaborate with the will of the people for a Utopian culture to flourish.

Coming up soon: The I-link-therefore-I-am type

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a prisoner's rant

I can now officially say that I know what rigorous imprisonment feels like. I’ve learnt this in the last 36 hours, and I don’t recommend it to anyone, not even those of you who snigger at my middle and mispronounce French words.

As we know from the movies, most people who get arrested are allowed to make one call. Not me. I am not allowed to call anyone, or even greet anyone who calls me with cheery familiarity. Not loved ones. Not unloved ones. Not even those who are celebrating a birthday or anniversary. The last bit was unnecessary, because information about significant dates is now barred from me.

The only food I’m allowed to eat is that which I cook myself. I can no longer indulge in the anticipated pleasure of booking a table at my favourite restaurant. I can’t even order my usual bacon and egg sandwich.

Then there’s punishment of the rigorous kind. Like literally having to go the extra mile, even when the weather is unbearably muggy (today was one of those days, when every dust particle in the air was sweating like a peasant). Instead of using the convenience of home delivery, I had to trudge out to get a bottle of water, skirting around unmentionable objects on dusty streets. The experience was so uncomfortable, that I had to repeat it, this time for aspirin.

About 18 hours into the routine, it started getting to me. Since there was no familiar alarm to wake me up, I got up this morning, feeling groggy and listless from too much sleep and having nothing to look forward to. I spent the morning dreaming of futile luxuries like manicures and hair trims.Futile, because my current state only allows me to get these at the grottiest places, which don’t have enough clients to require an appointment.

I am slowly losing track of time, and have to wait for the newspapers to figure out the date. I'm not enough of a veteran yet to do the lines and cross thing.

I feel betrayed, bereft and totally alone.

Actually that’s not true.

In spite of my solitary confinement, I know I’m not alone.

A google search has revealed that there are at least 2 dozen people in the world whose phone touch screens have also frozen. But then again, they didn't have to suffer this indignity on a public holiday when service centres were closed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

dental case

It’s time for the most dreaded event of the year - my annual visit to the dentist. Actually, to have been true to the term annual, I should have made this statement in early Jan, but luckily for me, procrastination heads the strengths section of my cv.

What is it about dentists that makes everyone avoid them like the plague? (I would have said plaque, but dread has eaten away at my sense of humour). Although a lot of people claim that the sensation and sound of a drill puts them off, it’s like a sailor saying he avoids icebergs because they look dirty.

I think the real reasons are deeper and start way before the drill is plugged in.

Think about a standard visit. However cool/dignified/sophisticated you may be in the outside world, you peel that off with your footwear, and sprawl belly up on a chair like a canine at the dregs of a pack. I don’t know if it’s a Pavlovian reaction, but I usually start whining at this point.

Not for long though, because then I’m asked to say aaah. Not ooh or whoa or a similar cool civilized equivalent, you have to say aaaah till your nostrils dilate like a hippo’s and your double chin behaves like a silicon implant. Sure, a doctor makes you say aah too, but it’s for a few seconds, not for the duration of a 60 minute visit. If that weren’t humiliating enough, the dentist shines a strong light to light up the most unflattering part of you. Whoever says that mouths are sexy hasn’t seen an epiglottis fluttering in panic while you salivate helplessly. The only thing worse must be getting treated for haemorrhoids. But then again, with that unfortunate condition, you don’t have to watch the expert watch you as he sees dreams of a new car come true. In return, does the man at least give you the satisfaction of staring back at his cavities? Nah, he’s wearing a mask like a super-coward.

Once he’s done with the show, he wants the tell bit. Does this hurt he asks, jabbing you with instruments modelled after torture tools of the dark ages.

What do you think you pervert? You want to shoot back. But of course you don’t say that.

However witty or articulate you may be, the only response you manage to everything is gaaa.

The one right question for this answer would be 'tell me what comes after sa re', but the sadist skirts around that. Deliberately, I’m sure.

Then starts the pain. The drill bores deep into your tooth till it reaches your wallet and draws out deposit after deposit. Like an anti-alchemist, he converts your hard earned gold to ceramics, till the inside of your mouth resembles an imitation ming vase.

Once he is satisfied with his handiwork (watch for the mask twitching with joy), the dentist brings out a small mirror to show you what he’s done.

You take a cursory look, before you squeeze your plastic to pay for his emis.

365 days of composure, you sigh joyously as you walk out, gathering your surviving shreds of dignity. But the dentist’s influence still holds. Thanks to the little mirror that only showed you your repaired tooth, you missed out on the white gook that lines your mouth and makes you look like you had a 5 course meal of bird shit.

So let’s make that 364 days of composure, unless you’re like me and you procrastinate.