Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wax lyrical - results show


It looks like Bollywood has too many songs with weird lyrics for this poll to get anywhere. These are some of the toppers:

Tak tana na na tandoori nights tandoori nights tandoori nights

Chadh gaya oopar re, atariya pe lotan kabootar re

Telephone dhun mein hansne wali, Melbourne machhli machalne wali

You are my chicken fry, you are my fish fry

My vote? Well, just like one of the commentators Buddy, I was actually pretty sure that 'Dil dance maare' would enjoy a landslide victory. Buddy, you wanna share the hat?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wax lyrical

So this song from Kismat Konnection was playing on the radio.

Saade naal kar le party...
Kudi tu lagti hai naughty...

Correct me if I am wrong, but no matter how stylishly (or unstylishly) you pronounce the words 'party' and 'naughty', they will not rhyme in any universe. I can only think of one word that starts with 'p' and rhymes with 'naughty' but ahem, I doubt anyone would want to do that anybody's naal.

And that was what sparked the poll of the month: Which song do you think has the weirdest lyrics?

Do leave your votes in the comments space. The results will be out in the next post.

PS: To avoid influence, comment moderation has been enabled. (However, this has not stopped the gold-yellers in the past and I doubt it will this time.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The adventures of Veshtiman

The Veshtiman post has been due since this post, and finally here it is, the tale of the multi-talented Veshtiman and his multi-purpose veshti. Why veshti, you may ask. Because our superhero is Indian, and India is a hot country, and anyone who watched Krrish in his black spandex costumes would agree that he could have done much better if he had a better ventilated superhero costume.

Cue theme song

Veshtiman veshtiman
Has a veshti for every plan
Save the day, save the desh
Only he in his veshti can!

For people who do not know what the heck a veshti is (I made the mistake of asking an innocent question, "Is it the same as a lungi?" and really heard the music from Viv), google it and come back. Or simply click here. Only then will you understand the true essence of Veshtiman in the next few paragraphs.

(Note for Physics nerds - Don't question the physics behind Veshtiman's amazing antics. Where there's a will, there's a way. Okay? Okay! Besides, Veshtiman offers agarbatti to his guru Rajnikanth every morning before venturing on his adventures.)

Those who have just returned from google, wipe that horrified look off your faces. Veshtiman cleverly avoids any wardrobe malfunction by actually wearing underwear underneath the veshti. This also sets him apart from the odd fashion sense of the run-of-the-mill superheroes. Finally we have a superhero who is comfortable in his own skin. Literally.

Veshtiman works out of India. No international roaming facilities. India has enough problems to keep him busy. And because he is an Indian superhero, his main superpower is inspired from the Indian epic Mahabharata, particularly the Draupadi striptease scene. He uses his veshti to carry out a variety of world-saving activities, and before you go "hawwwww!", let me just tell you that as soon as he pulls one veshti off, another one instantly appears in its place as his lajja-wastra.

He can ferry people out of danger zones by serving as a budget carrier. He can untie his veshti, tie it around his neck as a cape and fly from Kashmir to Kanyakumari faster than the Shataabdi. We are not quite sure how exactly having a cape assists flying, but in a world of cape-sporting-flying superheroes, you gotta stay competitive and look as good as the others.

He can stop heavy objects which are about to fall on petrified people (who choose to simply look up and scream instead of getting the hell out of the way). He achieves this by making a hammock of sorts with his super-tensile (and not to forget strong and light as carbon fibre) veshti. The same technique can be used to save the lives of suicidal people.

A la Krishna in Mahabharata, he can protect the lajja of hapless women (who learn karate every saturday but can't fight off the leering local goon), by supplying a limitless number of veshtis to cover up the collective lajja of the women. The final veshti can then be used to whiplash the goons into oblivion.

Veshtiman also regularly supplies the homeless with waterproof roofs and thermal blankets, made of -- you guessed it - his veshti material. (okay that sounded eerily like waste material.)

He can also use his veshti for delivering urgent medical care. For instance, during a virus scare such as SARS or H1N1, he can cut up the veshti into smaller strips and distribute them to be used as face masks. The veshti also has medicinal properties and can be used to bandage wounds.

When a speeding train is about to ram into a stationary car on the tracks (whose occupants again, prefer to just sit there and scream rather than get the hell out), he ties the two ends of his veshti to poles on each side of the track to act like a giant rubberband which slows down and eventually stops the train before it can crash into the car (the occupants are still in there, by the way, still screaming, with relief this time I presume).

And in case you're wondering what happens to the used veshtis, after every super-deed, he simply autographs the veshti used and flings it towards his hysterical fans.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hum paanch humaare paanch

I am writing this post so that many years later, if the five of us kind of lose touch with one another, I can come back to read this and sigh, "Those were the days, huh?" Or some day when we have a fight and don't want to talk to one another ever, this would help us say, "Naah, this is worth saving."

The five of us. Now we're not the five people you will meet in heaven. Actually, we're more likely to be the five people you'll meet in 7-11. But heaven? Hell, no! I mean hell yes, heaven no.

And this post is about five things that tie us. After extensive research on our idiosyncracies, common interests and other things you think about when you're in a long bus journey, here are the shorlisted five things that brought us together and keep us together.

1. Blogging
Viv was the first of the five I met. Though he doesn't have a blog (that we know of), he does play a crucial role in my blog, other than living vicariously through it. Actually he does get some credit here because if not for him, the bar probably wouldn't be the bar. In 2005, I started blogging because everyone around me was, and I was feeling left out. And most of my initial posts were in the same vein as the first: "I have finally created my blog. Yeay! :D" I swear. That was my first blog post. If you don't believe me, click here. It was then that Viv gifted me this book called 'Best of blogs' which was basically a compilation of blogs from all over the world. I read that book cover to cover and went, "Whoa." There was some seriously good stuff there. And I felt inspired to do something better with my blog than just proclaim that I had created it. I started posting very regularly and became more and more unafraid of speaking out my mind and making friends with complete strangers. And that's how the blog became a bar.

Then I met Shub. Through the blog again. I was lamenting the shutdown of the paratha place at Jade in one of my posts and she left a comment offering to take me to the famous Dover paratha place. We met and clicked like long-lost sisters over the parathas. Subsequently I met Pizzadude (also a bewda at the bar) through her. He duly moved to Singapore (I swear I had nothing to do with that, even though it's true that I make people move eastward. More on that later.) and we met up. Subsequently, Shub met Sumanth and we met him.

And that's how the paanch bewdas got together.

2. Bollywood
Everyone knows of my obsession for Bollywood and all its genres. So imagine my delight when I was introduced to Sumanth, one of the very few people in the world who would actually want to sit down and watch a black and white Gurudutt movie. There is no one whom I connect more with when these words are uttered, "Yeh sab kya ho raha hai beta Duryodhan?" or Asit Sen's "Bhaaaaaaaago! Building mein aag lag gayi hai!" or more recently, "Miyan biwi raazi toh kya karega aadiwasi?"

If I were to pick someone to watch a movie from the 90s with, I would pick Pizzadude without a moment's hesitation. He is someone whose tolerance level for movies of that genre is exactly the same. Of course we're the kind who would roll our eyes when Bhagyashree, when asked about her age in MPK, bats her eyelids and says, "Athaarah!" but the rolling of the eyes has no genuine scorn unlike some of the people I have attempted to watch these movies with.

Shub also has a reasonable interest in Bollywood, and even Viv does a decent job at pretending to be interested.

3. Bus no. 48
Anyone who lives in the east would jump at the mention of bus no. 48. For many people, it's their lifeline to the city. For others like me, it's the reason why my friends moved from the west to the east in spite of working in the west. (What? You thought they moved east to live close to me? Bah!) When I first introduced the idea of living in the east to Shub and Pizzadude, I had no idea it would actually happen. Daily commuting to work was, of course, the biggest concern. But then we chanced upon the awesomest bus of all - the 48. It takes the expressway and gets you straight from the east to the city in 20 minutes flat. From there there are buses and trains galore to take to any part of Singapore. And then it happened - these guys moved in and now we're all neighbours. I am officially offended that their reason to move was a hollow metal cuboid on wheels and not my DEEP LOU for them, but what the heck - they moved and that's what matters.

4. The garland
Regulars at the bar have read and seen enough of The Garland. It all started when we decided to receive Pizzadude at the airport using what I call SMART - Shub's Mindblowing Airport Reception Technique. Read Shub's side of things here and Pizzadude's version here. SMART was subsequently repeated for Shub and Sumanth as they came back from their wedding. More recently, we did it to Clueless too. Now visitors to Singapore have stopped telling us their flight timings and shiver at the idea of us receiving them at the airport. The posters were different, the 'victims' were different, but it was the same damn garland we recycled every single time.

5. Typewriter slap
Now this one has a long history. We had planned to go to the beach on 24th May 2008, also known as 'Family Day', and I had written to everyone to express how great it was that we would all be together on Family Day. "Awww group hug group hug!" I wrote. Subsequently, Shub cracked a really really bad PJ in the same thread, and I wrote back, "Group slap group slap!" And that's how the typewriter slap was born. It was of course, Viv, who coined the term and choreographed the concept. You know how when you're typing on a typewriter and after typing one line you have to move the bar to get to the next line? (If you're reading this with a blank look on your face, you are too young to be in the bar - get out now!) Well, the typewriter slap works in a similar way. When a bunch of people want to slap one particular person, they stand in a line and each person slaps the er.. 'slapee' till the slapee reaches the end of the line, upon which the last person slaps really hard, but in the opposite direction, making the slapee reach the beginning of the line again. Repeat as many times as necessary. Depending on the number of people involved, there are also self-explanatory variations of the typewriter slap: many-to-one, one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many.

I cannot count the numbers of times we have administered, albeit virtually, the typewriter slap to one another. The typewriter slap remains one of the five great things that bind us together.

Patent pending.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Birds of a feather

Hat tip: Sumanth

Video courtesy

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In the long run


The first time I encountered the term was in standard IV when it featured in a question in the General Knowledge exam.

”State the distance of a marathon.”

"42.195 km". I wrote laboriously with my wooden pencil, muttering to myself, "Who are these insane people who run this distance??"

Over the years, I came across the terms several times, but never in its true sense. More like "Sinha Uncle's dog was chasing me and I just kept running --- like I was in the marathon or something." or "Let's have a Shah Rukh movie marathon!" kind of instances.

So the first time I heard about marathon in the 'marathon' sense was after I came to Singapore. I was amazed to know that thousands of people signed up, paid money and almost killed themselves to run the 42 kilometres. Why did they do that? "Insane people..." I muttered again to myself. Of course, I had no idea that this friend of mine would, in a decade, first marry me and then declare, "I will run the marathon." (I think the order of events was pre-planned in his mind.)

"You will what??" I asked.

"I will run the marathon."

Initially, I was shocked.

“The marathon? As in THE marathon?”


"You want to run 42 km for no reason?"


"It's 42 km, you know?"

"Haha! I know."

"42 km!!!!!!!!!"

"I know. I can do it."

"Are you very very sure?"

"I am."

"Okay then, do it!"

And he did it. Last saturday, exactly at midnight, he joined thousands of other "insane people" (yes, I'll never stop calling them that) as they embarked on the Adidas sundown marathon.

While he was training, I was freaking out. People had been telling me of marathoners who didn't train hard enough, pushed themselves too hard and collapsed during the race. I checked with colleagues who had run the marathon. Asked them for the optimum training distance before one could do well in the marathon. 35 km, they said. So I yelled at Viv. His maximum training distance was 10 km.

"It's four times the distance you're used to running, you know!"

"I know."

"You have to train harder."

"I know."

He trained harder. Woke up at 5 in the morning once and did a 21.

That was still only half of what he'd have to eventually run, but I was feeling slightly calmer now. On many levels, I was still freaking out though. We had just come back from India and the marathon was in two weeks. If he were to keep himself in good shape, he couldn't do any more dry runs before the actual one.

As I created his marathon playlist of upbeat, peppy, inspirational numbers on the ipod, I told him I'd stay up all night and look out for his sms updates of how much distance he had covered. He told me I was mad and asked me to go to sleep. "I'll know I did well if I am home before you wake up." Viv had said. I had laughed and said, "Sure!"

However, the closer we got to the event, the more interested I got. He was targeting 5-6 hours to complete the run. I told him I could go to specific points in the running track and watch him run by. That was the plan. Until these three wonderful folks decided to turn up at the venue and stay up to support Viv. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to stay there all night and watch him cross the finish line.

The organisers had an open-air superhero movie marathon screening (Iron Man, Transformers and The Incredible Hulk) for supporters at the start/finish line so we put a bedsheet on the grass, sat down and watched. Viv kept sending sms messages at specific milestones.

12:18 am - "At 3 km"

12:59 am - "10 km"

1:28 am - "15. How's the movie?"

(How's the movie?? Sheesh.)

1:56 am - "20"

2:35 am - "26"

That was it! I lost it. I messaged back to ask him not to just send me the numbers, but also whether he was ok.

3.00 am - "30... cramps but ok"

3:42 am - "35"

3:58 am - "37"

4:14 am - "39"

4:30 am - "41"

1 km to go! We wrapped up the bedsheet and stationed ourselves with our cameras at the best spot at the finish line.

And there he was, our hero, running towards us, utterly exhausted but grinning away.

I took a video of him as he crossed the finish line and then pointed the camera up to end the video with a snapshot of the timer: 4:41.

The funniest part is that after finishing the marathon, as he queued up for the massage that the good organisers had arranged, he turns to us and asks, "Do you guys want to sit down?" Yeah, dude, it's us who need to sit down. After all the hard work of sitting on our asses, munching on snacks and watching back-to-back movies, WE should take a break and sit down. :P

A few years ago, if you had asked me whether I knew any marathoners, I'd have laughed in your face. Today, I live with one and I know two who are waiting in the wings, to phodo the Stanchart Marathon in December.

I am not a runner, and my knee will never let me be one, but that night, being a part (in whatever inconsequential way) of Viv’s marathon was quite something else.

When I think of the distance he ran, I still reel with disbelief.


According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. But to a whole lot of people, it is the answer to the ultimate test of their abilities, endurance and willpower.

There must be something to pushing your mind and your body to beyond their limits. Resolving to do something-- something difficult --- and going ahead and doing it.

Yup, there's certainly something to what these "insane people" do. Why else would I, one who has never run a marathon and will never run one, feel such a sense of insane elation, just to be a part of that atmosphere, that experience?