Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to read twilight

I read twilight about a year back, and i really enjoyed it. Seriously. And it was really perplexing to see so many of my friends ridiculing it utterly. These guys have tastes very similar to mine, so i had absolutely no clue why they hated the book so much. After a while it dawned on me that they probably didn’t read it the way I did. This post shows how I read twilight and why i enjoyed it so much.

It starts with a girl who apparently looks like a mouse but is called swan. The first three chapters was about how she moved to a new school, I've moved to many new schools, so it was nothing new to me so i finished that part in about 5 minutes. Then all of a sudden there were vampires!! It was pretty cool because one of them could see the future and one could hear thoughts. The book was getting promising.

In the next few chapters one of the vampires kept coming, but he didn't kill anyone and wasn't hearing the girl's thoughts(In one of the later books I realized he actually couldn't hear her thoughts, but it didn't affect the core plot of this book) So i directly moved to the parts with more vampires. There was one about an old vampire's history. He was apparently everyone's dad and was supposed to be very white, very blonde, and yet good looking (I was able to make a mental picture of him, but only after rejecting the 'good looking' part, a small permissible mistake by the author) That part was pretty interesting as it had italy in it and vampires killing people and how this guy a was wuss for killing only animals (His whole family ate only animals, which explained why the mouse girl was hanging out with them. Also somewhere in between i caught that she was now the mind reader's girlfriend. Again pretty low on the relevance scale).

After that chapter the book became from ok to pretty good. Somehow there was this only vampire baseball game that was organised, and there were other new vampires. These ones killed people and one wanted to eat mouse girl. From then on there was a chase sequence, and vampires shaking of other vampires, the attacker vampire trying to eat mouse girl a fight sequence. It all happened pretty fast and the thing was written so well that I didn't have to actually read word to word to get a good picture of the whole scene.

Finally there was one very cool part about the future reader's past and how she was related to one of the new vampires. It confirmed my suspicion that she was the protagonist and suggested something about the future stories. It was a pretty good way to pass a couple of hours.

Later I realized the rest of the novels were equally entertaining and I may post something on them too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Television Serials and Education

Parents blame their child’s poor grades on TV. Be it school kids or college students, they are scolded for watching too many serials on TV. It is true, TV watching has an adverse effect on children who are enrolled in the current education system. This is a problem, and there are two ways of tackling it. You either stop the kids from watching TV, which leads them to pursue other less decent activities to kill time, or you modify the education system in such a way that it makes TV serials an integral part of the curriculum. This post strongly advocates the adoption of the second method.
But how can TV watching be an educational activity? Firstly the so called ‘educational channels’ that are present are not the solution. All they show are lizards and crocodiles. Real education can be attained from the various TV serials that are already present. In fact most of the things you learn from these shows can almost never be found in books. For example, many physicists will tell you all the intricacies concerning time travel, but none of them will tell you that repeated time travel will give you frequent nose bleeds and will ultimately result in your death. Something only a person who has watched LOST will know. TV serials have a way of giving only relevant knowledge that is applicable in the real world. For example in TV serials you never encounter a situation where there’s a frictionless surface, since it doesn’t happen, it’s completely useless.
In the current system, the biggest problem is attendance. The root of the whole issue is getting up and going to the lecture hall. Students just can’t get up. We’re not made for things like that. TV serials provide a very easy and nice way out. With the concept of reruns, shows that air at 8 in the morning will also air at 2 in the afternoon, so you really don’t have to get up early. And for those who do get up early, the 2 PM show serves as a revision exercise.
Another problem faced today is student satisfaction. Most kids find the curriculum boring, and with good reason. The fact that the voltage at the gate of a transistor, makes electrons flow from one side to another, is hardly as cool as say, Michael Scoffield having a tattoo of the Fox River prison blue prints all over his body in the show Prison Break. With TV serials students will be actually interested in what they’re studying, and hence perform better in the examinations etc.
One of the biggest issues with TV serials today is the content. Them government officials might argue that the content in TV serials might not actually be ‘educational’. No one knows what they mean by that. But if anyone says, “Learning about transistors is essential; all your devices run on them.” The best way to counter them is by giving them an example. When you’re in a deserted alley and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by three demons, what would you do? Sure you could flash all your gadgets at them in the hope that those transistors would do something magical, but it is highly unlikely. Instead if you’d paid attention in the last class which featured the show supernatural, you would instantly reach for the nearest barrel of holy water and splash the demons with it, and come out of a life threatening situation without knowing anything about transistors. Another example is interviews. No matter what you learn in college, you screw up interviews, because books don’t help in such matters. But now we have reality TV. Every reality show has interviews, where you see everyone making fools of themselves and you learn exactly what NOT to do in an interview.
TV serials help in all aspects of education an example of this would be moral education. Usually in schools moral education is zero, and the classes never happen. In case a teacher does show up for moral education class, she is swarmed by kids shouting, “Ma’m PT period ma’m, please ma’m.” To which the teacher replies, “But students , I thought today we’d talk about the secularism and respecting other religions.” And the students would chant, “Ma’m secular tomorrow, PT today.” The teacher would sigh and let them go. So in effect there was no moral education in school. But when TV serials are a part of school, the whole situation is different. Kids watch TV in school and come out telling each other, “Dude, we humans have got to stick together, irrespective of religion we should stand together and fight those mutants.”
Everyone talks about ending terrorism, by educating the narrow minded terrorists somehow. This couldn’t be easier and more achievable with the help of TV serials. If TV serials are somehow broadcast to terrorists infested areas, Achmed the instructor would tell the child recruits, “Come on children, time for some shooting practice.” To which the children would reply, “After half an hour sir, we’re busy watching HIMYM,” Achmed would furiously snatch the remote and just before switching off the TV he would stop and unable to contain himself, he’d smile. “That Barney Stinson,” he’d say shaking his head. “These American’s are not all that bad, I couldn’t bear the thought of killing Barney or Robin.” To which one of the students would reply, “But sir, Robin is Canadian!!” and they’d all share a nice laugh. And when the head of the squad calls upon volunteers for the next suicide bombing mission, no one would raise their hands. The terrorists would look at each other and say, “Dude, LOST season finale is coming up in a couple of weeks, there’s no way I’m gonna miss that!!” In the end the terrorists and humans will get together to form a huge army to fight the mutants.
I could go on but the new House episode is coming up and I really hate missing class.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Imagine there's no Twitter

Twitter is awesome!! Evereyone loves it. The whole world loves it so much, it makes you wonder. What if this was all planned. What if there's a hidden motive behind twitter? Our lives are so inextricably twined with twitter,that what if, one day, twitter was shut down!!
Who would stand to gain?
The suspects
1) Them mobile phone service providers -
These companies are hungry for money, and you can't blame them. They employ the maxim, "If you want to chat with your girlfriend for hours, you might as well pay for it." But the day twitter dies, its Christmas for these guys. Imagine that two minutes after Jack posted he'sabout to finish his sandwich, twitter died. Then Jill and five others would be frantically calling jack to find out if he did in fact finish the sandwich. They would HAVE to know, it would be impossible for them to sleep otherwise, and if they did manage to sleep, they'd be dreaming about Jack and his sandwich and just when he's having his last bite, they'd wake up!!
Considering that there are a billion twitter users, and that finishing a sandwich is just about the most boring tweet possible... anyone can see them company guys swimming in gold.
2) The Undertakers -
We might not like to think about it, but its a very real possibility. The day twitter shuts down the suicide rate will quadruple. There are those whose lives revolve around twitter, and if they die, only one group stands to gain. The undertakers. Are they the ones behind the twitter phenomenon?
3) Other social networking sites -
Yes there are many of these and we keep getting invites to them all the time. But do we actually join them. If not why? Its because of twitter.We feel we're following thousands and there are thousands following us, so there's no need to be more connected.
But the day twitter dies, these sites will be our saviours. Jill would tell Jane, " Dude, I'm dying to know if Jack finished the sandwich!!" To which Jane would reply, "You don't know yet!! He's totally updated his status in"
"I have got to join that site!!" Jill would say and xyz would have one more user. Scale that up to twitter's user base, and you have xyz's popularity sky rocketing.
4) The Transport Industry
Twitter has brought out the social beast inside us. Earlier we were content talking to our neighbours and friends, now we are talking to everyone and still go to bed reluctantly.
So once twitter is dead, and you feel the need to talk to someone, halfway around the world, or even a different part of the city, its the transport industry you turn to.
There are of course certain drawbacks in each point mentioned above
1) Mobile phone guys :
There may be a spike in their earnings the day twitter dies, but humans by nature are cheap. Once they get their phone bill they'll stop.
2) Undertakers :
I've always imagined them to be gaunt, dressed in black with a black hat, and living in the early 1900s. I'm guessing they probably don't really know about twitter.
3) Social Networking sites:
Man is not just a social animal anymore. He's a socially hungry animal, who would probably already be on site xyz and all the other ones anyway. Jill would probably have the same friends in five different sites and also read their status messages in all five of them. If twitter died she'd know about Jack's sandwich by checking out the photo he posted in xyz which shows an empty plate
4) The transport industry :
As far as the transport industry is concerned, refer to point one.

On a (partially) serious note the consequences of twitter's phenomenal popularity is quite thought provoking

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You know you’re living in a crappy place when…

1) On the first day of the monsoon, instead of dancing in the rain, you’re busy throwing you’re belongings onto the loft, because your house is turning into a giant (dirty) aquarium
2) You stop caring about the poor farmers and start praying that the monsoon never begins
3) You stuff your ears with cotton every night so that none of the countless centipedes, millipedes and all other kind of pedes get in
4) You catch yourself googling, “Can a millipede in your ear kill you?”
5) You get up in the morning and offer a prayer of thanks to God that you’re still alive after you realize that one of the cotton balls actually fell of your ear in the middle of the night
6) You sadly reminisce about the days when you laughed at people who lived off their suitcases, because now you’re doing the exact same thing, with one exception… The suitcase is on the loft, and you’re not tall enough to reach it
7) You say TGIM instead of TGIF and work late just to avoid going back
8) The landlady assures you that smoking and drinking would mean certain eviction, while her son, just to tick you off, enjoys a smoke right in front of your door every night
9) During a storm water starts seeping through the front door and the drainage outlet at the back, and you are stuck in between with all your possessions
10) One fine day, when everythings bright and sunny, you still find water seeping through the drain at the back
11) You think you’ve seen everything until you realize that the small noise you heard the previous night and the small black thing that ran past you is in fact a rat
12) A couple of minutes after seeing the rat you see that he’s brought his family along
13) You wake up at three in the morning just because you heard it rain and its your turn to check the drain
14) You wake up at three again, but this time its because there’s no power
15) You actually think of staying overnight in the company because there was a storm in Delhi
16) You always happen to be in the bathroom when the power goes out
17) The water seeps in again and as you try to gather the mattress and throw it onto the loft the power goes out
18) Your landlady’s grandson buys a bike with the most horrible horn that gives you a splitting 24 hr headache, and of course, it plays five different tunes
19) Your nicest friend who wouldn’t badmouth the Bug Blatter Beast of Traal, after meeting with the landlady smacks his forehead saying, “Kya paka rahi hai yaar!!”
20) The landlady tells you that the only way to dispose off your garbage is to go at midnight and throw it under the sign that says ‘NO LITTERING’
21) She also makes it abundantly clear that, if you are caught, she’s not to blame
22) You find the whole cake of Mortein Rat killer that you placed last night is missing, but you can still see the rats
23) You start getting the dead rat smell everywhere, while your roommates call you paranoid
24) No matter what the situation your dreams always have rats in them
25) You try to position yourself at night in such a way that even if a rat does come to get you it would have to bite your roommate first
26) Inspite of your well thought out positioning you get bitten by a rat, whereas your roommate is fine
To Be Continued

Monday, August 24, 2009

Truth Ka Facing: Featuring Popeye The Sailor II

"Next question Mr Popeye,
7) Who is the one person you adore the most?"
Olive Oyl's face perked up, but Popeye's went lower, he mumbled reluctantly,
"Jack Sparrow"
Sensing a storm, Truthman threw the next question before Olive Oyl could react...
8) "Do you really believe that Sweet Pea is your illegitimate child?"
This time however there was no embarassment in Popeye's face... "No (toot toot)" he said clearly and loudly. Truthman seemed confused, he consulted his notes, and then realisation dawned on his face. "Aah, sorry about that, I mixed up the questions, this was meant for Bluto who'll be facing me next week.
"What?" blurted Bluto, "I'm going to have to answer that?"
"Oh, no don't worry," said Truthman, "You mostly won't have to, you probably won't even get past the, "Do you have a secret crush on Popeye?" question."
"Now, Popeye" said Truthman facing him, "here comes the second last question,"
9) "Do you think that, Pappy is in fact not your real father?"
"Popeye," said a hurt and broken Pappy, "This ain't true is it? You really don't believe that?"
"Tis' true Pappy," said Popeye, "How else can you explain the fact that you got a long beard and I ain't got none. It don't add up."
"But Popeye!!" pleaded Pappy, "I told you a million times, yer Mum ain't got no beard either!! That's why you ain't got none!!"
Before Popeye could reply to that the Truthman cut in, "We're running out of time Popeye, so I'm gonna shoot the last question for 10 million bucks!!! (The lights went off)
"It's ok folks," said Truthman, "Their just extra extra dim, we keep forgetting to brighten them after the question is asked. Anyway now for the tenth question,"
10) Popeye is it true that, eating spinach does not actually make you stronger, and that you use a muscular body double to do the after spinach scenes?"
If Popeye looked broken earlier, he looked a lot worse now, "Please!!" he pleaded, "anything else!!"
"This is the question Popeye, you can answer it if you want the money."
"But there be kids watchin'!!!"
"All the more reason to tell the truth," said Truthman calmly
"Yes," he said finally, "But it wasn't my fault!!"
"Then who's was it?"
He looked right and left and said in a low whisper.
"It was them Spinach Companies!!"
And thus the show ended

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Truth Ka Facing : Featuring Popeye The Sailor I

It was another episode of Truth Ka Facing. The Truthman was seated as usual and opposite him sat the sailor of international repute, Popeye. His family and friends were seated in the audience. Ten questions he would have to face, ten answers he would have to divulge, to win ten million bucks
Truthman spoke, "Well Popeye, lets start with the first question," as he said this the lights dimmed and an audible "Oooh" escaped the audience. "This seems to be an easy one" the Truthman added,
1) "What was your childhood ambition? What did you always want to become?
"It's simple," said Popeye smiling, "I always wanted to be a sailor." "Aah, but our machine here doen't agree," said the Truthman,"Tell us the truth Mr Popeye."
"All right then," said Popeye sighing , "Me childhood dream was to be a ..." he said the last part in a scarcely audible tone.
"A Rap Artist?" said Truthman loudly.
"Well, yes" agreed Popeye, "I even wrote a couple of songs." "Can you sing one for us?" asked Truthman. "All, right, here goes," saif Popeye and began singing in his gruff voice,
"Yo, yo Me name is Popeye
Me gives Bluto his black eye..."
"Thats very charming Mr Popeye, now for the next question," cut in Truthman
"But me ain't done yet!!" protested Popeye,
"Yes you are Mr Popeye, if i let you go on we risk losing half our viewers, trust me, we learnt a huge lesson when we invited eminem last time."
"Coming to the next question," ,
2) Mr Popeye what is the one thing that scares you the most?
Popeye fixed a hard look on Truthman , "That be an embarassing question."
"The answer please Mr Popeye," retorted Truthman with a harder look.
"Fine, I get scared of the fact that ..." he hesitated a little, and then hurriedly finished the rest of the sentence, "that Olive's arms are longer than her feet."
"Popeye how dare you," said Olive standing up, "But me Peach," reurned Popeye utterly helpless, "Its true, you can touch your toes without bending your back!!"
Before Olive Oyl could say anything, Truthman hurriedly went to the next question, "Popeye," he said as the lights dimmed even further,
3) "What is your favorite food?"
"Aah everyone knows its spinach," Popeye said smiling proudly, "But, "interjected Truthman, "our machine knows its not, come on Popeye out with the truth."
"Well, all right, if you have to know my favorite food is Chicken Tikka, but kids," he said looking sternly at the camera, " even if you don't like it you have to eat it to remain strong."
"Thank you for delivering that message Popeye, now the next question for you is,
4) Do you think Wimpy has been a good friend to you?"
At this Wimpy for the first time looked at Popeye, in fact since the start of the show it was the first time that he looked at anything apart from the hamburgere he'd been eating. Popeye shifted his eyes away and answered,
"Me thinks he has not been a very good friend at all now that you've mentioned it, he's borrowed about a million bucks from me and never paid me back! Everytime i ask him, he says he'll pay me on tuesday, but if i ask him on tuesdays he tells me next tuesday and borrows some more." At this Wimpy got up, "I've never been so insulted in all my life," he said indignantly, after which he sat down and all of his concentration was once again taken up by the hamburger.
"Well Popeye are you ready for question no 5?" Popeye shrugged,
5) Who's legs do you like more than Olive Oyl's?"
"Popeyeee" came a warning shout from Olive, Popeye looked the other way and in a barely audible whisper said , "Malaika Arora"
"But how!!" shrieked Olive, "My legs are so much longer!!, Popeye you're dead when you come home tonight!!"
Popeye his head still down muttered a small, "I'm sorry," while Truthman deciding he'd had enough drama, went on to the next question,
6) "Popeye, how many times have you been out in the sea?"
"Ha!" said Pappy, "he's a sailor of course he must have gone out to sea million times."
"Popeye," prompted Truthman,
"All, right," he looked broken, "I've never actually been out to sea. I only work at the docks."
"Impossible," said Pappy. "It ain't me fault ok," said Popeye bristling a little, "its just that i can't swim and i get sea sick very easily, I've just been watching out for me health."
"Then what about all those episodes where you were at sea?" asked Truthman
"CG" replied Popeye shrugging...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Musings of a Hindi Film Henchman

My name is Amit. I actually did my B.E from a pretty decent college in Mumbai, however because of the general degradation in the economy I failed to land a job. That is when I joined the gang. They said they’d give me a place to stay and feed me well. And the only qualification you needed was to be fat, ugly and stupid, three things I was very good at. I was also required to arrange my face into a scowl all the time. The job description said, I had to negotiate dealings between my gangster boss and his ‘clients’. Of course, I soon discovered there was no pleasant discourse; rather it was more of threatening and beating up people. I also had to do a lot of laughing out loud at my master’s extremely crass remarks.
My name is nice, because there’s no need of a nickname for it. It’s short and sweet, but when I joined the gang I learned that a nickname was compulsory. So I was christened Kallu. Seriously Kallu. Of course I was probably better off than my friend from college who was called Dimple. Anyway the nickname I could live with, I mean I have put up with worse in college. The first few days there wasn’t much to do so I was quite contented with the way things were going. I was making a living for God’s sake. But that’s when my happy world came crashing, because the Hero had made his entry.
The thing I hate about heroes is that they’re tiny. I mean it is so damn easy to beat them up and throw them aside. But no, that’s not how things work in the film world. No you have to get beaten up by them and not just once. OK so the hero wants to take it out on you and your buddies, fine hit us and get it over with. But that’s not how it works is it, the damn film requires us to come again and again. He hits me once, then I have to wait for Dimple, Phattu, Chiclet and Kanchi (yep you heard correct) and then its my turn all over again. And that goes on for five times at least until the hero thinks of moving on.
After that it just gets worse. There we are all beaten up, and do we get to go to the hospital? No we get to report back to the boss, who gets pissed off himself and kills some of us. They are your own people douschebag, how can you even expect to win at the end of the movie after reducing your own force. The people who are left alive are worse off now. We all know the boss isn’t gonna come up with a good plan, so we’ll have to resort to fighting the hero again and with lesser people he beats us all up and the boss kills some more.
Another really bad thing about fights is that, you’re not allowed to take guns. For whatever reason we never get guns. Once one of us got hold of a gun and used it. He shot the hero twice but he didn’t die. Later we realized that someone had filled the gun with blanks, and the damn hero used ketchup for blood. I mean it’s totally unfair. The only thing worse than a hero is the heroine.
Heroines are a menace, believe me. Firstly the really hot ones never come in your movies. Under normal circumstances it’s ok if the heroine is ugly, as long as it has nothing to do with me. But that is rarely the case. You’re always obligated to make cat calls and whistle at the heroine. I seriously hate that part. Here we are trying to make lewd remarks and all when the heroine attempts a belly dance, while in reality we’re all unanimously puking in our own mouths. Most of us have moral issues too. We’ve tried to bring it up in front of the boss but he never listens. But that’s not the worst part about the heroine. They always despise you. Ever seen a movie with the heroine being nice to a henchman? If you say Tamil movies, you’re wrong, look closer, that’s not the henchman it’s the hero.
Ok, so we ourselves haven’t been very nice to her, but that still doesn’t justify what happened to me the other day. There I was in the market. I thought I’d do a little shopping, you know, get away from the general routine of being despicable. There I was minding my own business when all of a sudden I hear someone screaming. I turn around to find the source. And there she was the heroine, and guess what, she was pointing directly at me! I mean for God’s sake I didn’t even know she was there. And I get beaten up a little more by the hero and I get back to my daily routine.
Only once did I suggest beating up the hero, but I was hushed down by my other ‘gunda’ friends. “Dude!” they said “You wanna end up like old Kalia?” It seems old Kalia snapped one day and let the hero have it. The next day the hero slapped him with a lawsuit. That’s when hero bashing became a taboo thing among henchmen. A little later villain bashing became taboo too.
We’ve often been accused of faking our beatings. I must say that its true. But think about it, there’s no way a movie will allow us to win against the hero, so some time ago a henchman adopted this idea (‘some say it was old Kalia, before he succumbed to the injuries he sustained after getting hit by that law-suit). The best way to escape with minimal injuries is to jump before the punch lands and then roll twice on the ground, so that the hero is convinced he gave a good punch (yep, he’s usually that thick).
Another big problem is that the boss no matter how rich he is, is a cheapskate. I mean he won’ give you enough money to eat in a decent place. I mean it’s been ages since I’ve been to CCD. To everyone out there who are unemployed or are feeling generally pathetic about themselves, take solace in the fact that you’re not a Hindi film henchman. And if you are a Hindi film henchman, take solace in the fact that you’re not a Tamil film henchman… They have it a lot worse.