Saturday, May 20, 2006


Long time no post, eh?
I took a long break from blogging and blog trawling as my exams were right at my doorstep. Had to let go of many a "diversion" temporarily due to this fateful examination. For one thing, not being online every 3-4 hours sure hurt.... I hope I am not addicted to the computer like some Jap schoolboy game freak! Anywayz, my creative cortex has atrophied down these days and it might take a while to regenerate them. Oh yes, MY brain-cells can regenerate...... unlike yours, little pesky mortals! I guess I will take up this rather light tag hoisted on me by Ms Quills till I heal up and find work out some real crazy, weird stuff like my old tag!
The tag's simple, list your favorite simple pleasures of life. Ten of them would do..... and try to make it original and creative(Ahhh, NOW we are talking. NJAHAHAHAHA).

Oh BTW, the exams went pretty well and I expect a call this time (crossing my fingers now).......... but as the late, great Kamraj Nadar always quipped when someone quizzed him about eventualities, "Parkalaam, Parkalaam" ! One never knows, eh?

1. Toppling Banana Republics in South America.

Sun. Sand. Sea. Jungle. Coke. Latinas.
Liveried flunkies. Personal Nicaraguan Death Squads. CIA "advisors". "Uncle" Escobar and Mr. Pablo from Colombia.
Accounts in the Caymans. International Immunity. Wall Street Cat's Paws. Gulfstream private jets. 300 Ft yachts.
Sendero Luminoso. Mosquito Coast. Mosquitos. DEA. United Nations.

South of the Rio Grande, life's a real cool box of chocolates for a mover n shaker! Carpe Diem.

2. Horse-trading in the Indian Cow-Belt Legislatures.

Sun. Dust. Ganga. Coal Mines. Ganja. Rabris and Ranis.
RJD/JDU MLAs. Ranvir Sena. Sadhu Yadav and Taslimuddin bhai from Bihar.
Etheral accounts in the Hawala. Caste-Politics shield. South Block Fixers. Scorpios. 2-Bull Power carts.
CP(Maoist). Jhumritalayya. Cows. CBI. IB.

Down the banks of poor ol' Gangaji, life's an ekdum jhakas maalgaadi. Aur Kya?

3. Strip-mining Earth.

May 20, 2006

Dear Diary, I did a grrrrreeeeaaaaaaat job with 16000 sq.kms of Amazonian rain-forests near Manaus. More than 5000 untermenschen tribals sent to our slave barges at Belem and 1767 flora and fauna species makes it to the extinct list. Ahhhhhh, joy! Let the fires of Isengard burn! Lord Emperor Cheney will be pleased. Still, I wish I found some oil there!
Next stop, Silent Valley.

4. Nukular Profileration.

Just the thing to warm the cockles of my ice cold heart and rev up a slow week. From yellow Cake of Niger to weapons grade Uranium from Pakistan to ring laser gyros from China, contact Uncle K's Nuke-Mart. 31 branches worldwide. HQ at Chawri Bazar, New Delhi.

PS: We ale a whorry owned subsidialy of Uncle Jiang's Takeout, HQ at Zhongnanhai.
Oul motto, "We Plorifelate whire you wait!" (Engrish tlansration flom Pinyin standald. Coultesy Ludladev).

5. Playing with my new Ring.

It came to us, oh yesss it did. It came to USSSS, my Preciousssss. Yesssss....... lovely, lovely Precious. My Precious. MYYY Precioussssss!

6. Threesome with Frau Farbissina and Xenia Onatopp.

No further comments. Thank You.

7. Monster Truck Carmageddon

Tired of your wives' nagging? Your daughters' teen angst? Your son's bail plea? The paternity suit? Confederate defeat in the Civil War/Pillorying of Modi by the pseudo-secular media? Neighbour's dog is "blessing" your lawn?
Do you want to make SOMEONE pay for all this?

Rejoice, for great joy and satisfaction awaits you!
Go Postal with the new Grave Digger Redneck Edition-2007 monster truck! Fully armed with 155 cm alloy wheels with protruding serrated knife-axles, 100mm rifled cannon, two .50 caliber Bushmaster MMGs, battering ram bumpers, 20 X 75mm Hydra rocket pods and 1800mm Reactive Heavy Armor!

-The Wanderer,
proud and satisified owner of the new Redneck Edition Grave Digger.

8. Sthree serial.

This 10000 "epidose" saccharine fest that charts the life of THE 400% Indian (Pati-Parameswar mantra/Karva Chauth-Monday Fasting/Sindoor tattooed/ "convented" and homely/trained in the 18 kitchen arts/"Chettaaaaa, dha chaaya!") wonder woman from her first days in Trivandrum General Hospital incubator to (probably) her victorious ascent into Godhood and beyond....... what, you thought Truman Show was original?! Watch her fight evil in-laws, lecherous "uncles", alien invasions, the Chinese army, save her family from sinking cruisers and hijacked airplanes and win the love and respect of her megadork husband. All in the finest traditions of Bharatiya Narihood.

Nothing better to rekindle hope in (Generation X/Y) women and marriage and love after you come home following a major scourging from the evil meanqueen HR boss, ze She-Wolf of ze Third Reich..... or another round of extortion by your evil bloodsucking girlfriend. One of these days I'm gonna.....

9. Prank Calls.

A carry over from those sylvan school and college days. This was a favorite past time of all boys down here, cutting across school lines. I still get kicks calling up my pals and givin them absolute shockers or sending them on wild-goose chases. Evil, huh? :P

BTW, here's the transcript of a prank call made (but sadly not by moi) 10 long years ago...... to ze domicile of a reigning Queen of Dreams. However, it was her dad who picked up the phone. Observe...... (Note: PG-13 rating)

"Evangelical Bible Society alle?"
"Allello. Ithoru veedu aanu."
"Oho, enkil pinne P****kku phone koduthe!"
"Phaaaaaa choole! Athra tharikkunnengil poyi vello paarayil kondu oraykkeda!" SLAM!

(Whoa! They sure didn't expect ol' Mr. C to be so spunky...... that was a really original Parthian Shot. Hats off boss!)

10. Oz

No, *this* ain't shorthand for Australia. This is that slang in Mallu lingo...... a unique word like the F-word. A term that can be used as a noun, verb, preposition, adjective, adverb and conjunction, depending on the situation. For the uninitiated, Oz is zimbly the art of living off other's "graces". Ahhhhh.... now you get it! People may call it leeching, freeloading, siphoning etc but Oz much much more noble than that! It's an expression of your unblemished love, respect and regard for your "source". This funda stems from timeless uvaachas like "The best things in life are free" and Lao Tse's "Foolish is the man who doesn't take what is offered to him".
Anyone disagree? Come over and buy me a working lunch... we'll discuss it over some nice chow.

These are a few of my faaavorite things....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spring, Summer.

Joy! Found a couple of albums that were evading my most vigorous combing operations.... albums that featured memorable events of yours truly's life before the Liberalisation Era and fall of the USSR. These include me breaking down a part of the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer, shooting Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife with a .45 Makarov; counselling Prince Charles and Lady Diana in Lincoln Cathedral; shaking hands with Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait; with Adnan Khashyogi, Pamela Bourdes and Quattrochi in the French Riviera in 1987 and in questionable circumstances with starlet Mandakini (of Ram Teri Ganga Maili fame) during a Sharjah Cup series at Dubai.... among other no less classic moments that is. Now you must be realising why I find this album very valuable.
Today I'm gonna post a few of those (less controversial) pics; ones that capture a few stages of my rather chequered life as a schoolboy. Spring and start of Summer of my life.

Classmates came and went down the years. There were reshufflings, folk were weeded out for want of academics on some occasions, some just went away...... You'll find out that only few of the "originals" slogged the whole 13 years if you just glance through the pics.(BTW, do remember we had two divisions till Class X, and I was in Divison B throughout. Our batch, THE batch "settled" in Class VIII after a slew of eliminations and uphevals. But I'll explain all that as we go further.) I would have written a whole corpus on the colorful characters you see in these pics. But for want of space and lack of time, and inability to migrate to wordexpress now (where I can blog better), I am going to be painfully brief. Pleej bear with moi!

Hokay, I am the little bloke in 2nd to the right, top row of the following pic. Try to find me in the other pics.... that is if you don't have ANYTHING better to do! Oh, while you are at it, find out the ones who ran the whole 13 yards. ;)

I joined Loyola after storming half a dozen schools all over the city 'coz my folks moved around a lot those days. It was in the second term of UKG that I came to Loyola.... the following pic is from Class I though. If I remember correctly, it was the same team from UKG... except for Philip and Manish. Yes, Manish was definitely new then.
The lady in this pic is Grace Ma'am.... a no nonsense type who scared the living daylights off some of the kids. I found her nice though... maybe because I never caused any trouble in class, had kinda OK academics and teachers felt I was intently listening in class (from my still posture in class)....... actually I was on one of my daydreams. Never got caught then! :D


Now we come to Class III. This time we had the one and only, the legendary Maithri Ma'am! We visit her everytime we go to school. I still remember how much fun her classes were...... She was very capable, affectionate and really knew how to handle little devils like us. MM was the one who finally found out that the cogs of my mind weren't working out the finer details of Class III English Grammar behind my intense stare and still posture..... she somehow found out I was probably rewinding the Mayavi story I read in Balarama that morning and trying to find out a way to help poor Kuttoosan and Dakini..... and poor poor Luttappi! (Even back then, I liked the bad guys!) Perhaps it was my sketch of Puttalu, the arch-demon and ill tempered uncle of Luttappi devouring Raju and Radha which implicated me that fateful day. And was I punished? Yea.... she gave me this nickname "Mulgeri Lal" after that famous TV character, a name which stuck for another 5 yrs till I was knighted with another unfourtunate name! Sigh..... those wounds of childhood! ;)

Look at the pic below. By this time, I was a four eyes but I didn't put them on. They sucked! Just look at the little windowpanes Alexander is wearing to get what i'm saying.... I won't be caught dead looking uncool!


Ahhhh, Class IV. Elaine Ma'am. This is one lady you DO NOT WANT TO CROSS! Her face comes in mind whenever I read of Prof. Minerva McGongall! Vinay, Kuppi and I got into major trouble that year for "practising" the latest martial arts styles (from some Jackie Chan movie) on poor little Shenoy for ratting us out. I remember using Tiger Style that would make Pai Mei proud, Vinay attempting a Dragon Fist from Wong Fei school and Kuppi trying out the Crane Style of the Northern School. But Shenoy wriggled free, executed the Flying Snake Style (literally!) and fled into the staff room before we could fell him with the Manchu Silver Spear Style. Needless to say, Elaine Ma'am worked her deadly Shaolin Wooden Staff Style on our (now innocent and peaceful) Buddha's Palms. Yeowwwww!
Well, Sheni was something of a wallflower back then..... how he changed! (You reading this, Sheni? You and I have unfinished buisness! :P)

BTW, this time I am wearing specs.


Class IV results showed nearly a quarter of the class failing to make it to the Junior-High School. Some stayed back to repeat.... some went to "lesser" schools so that they won't lose a year. The vacanies meant a lot of new faces. Those initial awkard phase when you adjust to the "outlanders"..... know what I am speaking off? :) We all hit off pretty quick though.....

Now, color pics were the vogue. See the boyz in 70mm technicolor!
Our unfortunate lady this time is Radha Ma'am. Now, I must say I am very indebted to this teacher. Till then, I was an also-ran, quite Average (capital A) type, always in awe of the "villains" like Prajit, Vinay and the Jayant-Basant twins..... even studious ones like Bipin aka Turkey, Jacob aka JaRu aka Yakub Khan, Sreekanth etc. But I had one thing noone else had, an inhumanly voracious appetite for books. Darn, I knew about Robespierre even before I got to know Giant Robot.... and in all humility I was pretty much a walking encyclopaedia in many matters. It was through Fr Pulickal and my parents that Radha Ma'am came to know about this.
There was this high-stakes pre-senior level school level quiz held by Nestle.... it was THE quiz in those times and Ma'am had to choose two kids to rep the school. Well, she chose me (surprising the entire civilised world) and Jaru. We won handsomely. I became a permanent fixure in the Quiz team (through school and college) and this tunred out to be a field I was REALLY good at. Had victories even in national levels..... I started to get real recognition and that much craved applause (atleast in those nerd circles) from that point on. My secret, intimidating fears of "worthlessness" were gone. Something even the soothing assurances and promises of my parents couldn't achieve. This was my "first awakening". Seems some of my higer brain functions started working after this incident. It was then that I discovered I had decent writing skills too....


Warning: Insanely long and self-indulgent section! :)

Class VIII.
Now we are 13. We got to wear pants after 8 years in black Daisy Dukes, showing more leg than an Ecstasy charged Mallika Sherawat ever would! Good timing too, the Chewbaccas in our batch were staring to get embarrased. In fact the biggest bear in our batch, Vinu aka CD Pothan started wearing pants since Class VII. Folks, you DON'T want to see his 6'2" frame in shorts! The all-knowing school authorities wisely passed Amendment 66 enabling him to dress up in fr1ggin' chain mail armor if he feels so..... in Class VII itself. You know, just in case the pants ain't enough.... :P
(Thats it. I am SO dead!)

That's Manorama Ma'am in the pic. Taught us science subjects till Class X. She sometimes took english classes as she had an MA in English too. Even headed, wise and capable. We luv you, Ma'am!

The blokes you see in this pic continues to the end of school days.
There was a final elimination wherein the top 45 from Class VII divisions A and B (strength 45+ each) were to be taken into the ICSE/ISC stream and the rest into the "untermenschen" SSLC stream. This was a sort of prestige exam as it was percieved this would make a lot of difference in our life.... which it did. I got selected, surprising 637 sentient races across the Galaxy and half of my teachers who immediately renounced faith in humanity..... and went to Kashi/Rameshwaram/Jerusalem/Mecca. I got the message when we were on that unforgettable South India trip I mentioned in an earlier. I still remember, it was right before we went into Tanjavur temple.
Errrr God....... The promises I made then; the ones about always staying a good boy, becoming a Sanyasi etc..... remember? Of course you do! Heh, heh.... those were kind of "on the spur of the moment" bablings, ya know? Please don't take those too seriously!

Ok..... it gets weird from here. Something major happened to me that year you see:-

A "Get-out!" from the computer class for discrediting the sacrosanct BASIC language and being an affront to human logic triggered another "awakening" in me. Till then, I never got the "feel" of science , i.e I used to study science in "Take a Beaker. Take a beaker. Full of water. Full of water. Add the salt. Add the salt." mode. i.e Learning by pure rote! I didn't know what Maths exactly was, I didn't know what the hell a Math proof implied..... you know what i'm saying? In short, "I didn't have the logic" as S sir said once in class. That 1/2 hour spent leaning on the railing, computer notebook in hand, thinking were am I going with this half-brain of mine, somehow took me to the Twilight Zone. Honest to God I dunno what happened then, I only remember this huge rushing feeling...... a feel of KaivalyaJnana! I took a look at the program question, a (now looking simple) counter-decision loop thingie.... and everything made sense. I wrote the program in no time, verified the output and ran back to class to show it to S sir. I promise you he was very surprised! (PS: You know guys, I found that Computer Science class in Koi Mil Gaya to be too close for comfort.)

I found out that this "awakening" extended to other branches to science too..... I soon realised I won't be needing those half a dozen tutions to stay afloat anymore. Nobody knew then, but I had been going to 4-6 tutions for years, just to pass the exams! Six tutions! I convinced my parents to cut all tutions except one Math tution...... and that too was because of ze nice gals in that batch. ;)
I'm not saying I became a genius or the ultimate topper or something, but I began to "get things" faster, "see the picture" clearer since that day. Upgraded from the "Just Pass/Average" levels to "Well above Average" in a flash. I still had to take tutions in high school and never made earthshaking discoveries in science and tech or anything, but compared to what I was.... I came a long long way in that magic hour.
What happened to me that day? Blessed? Wished upon a star I couldn't see? Deal with the devil..... and he'll come to collect my soul soon? Jadoo's magic rays when his starship cruised by on a recce and took pity on this loser? I hit my head against the railing and closed the "switch" in my brain? I dunno. !


This pic was taken just before our ICSE Class X exams, during the farewell week. Our school had Class XI and XII for ISC but you won't be admitted unless you get distinction. That's why they held this "farewell"..... some might not make it to High School. Well, all except one made it to Class XI, including some folks from the SSLC divison on account of their high marks. There was a new arrival too.
And the priest with the blokes? That's the late Fr Mathew Pulickal S.J. I believe I have introduced you folks to this man in a previous Loyola post. He deserves a FULL post and undivided attention ..... so I'm not giving any "synopsis" or salient points right now.
RIP Fr......


Class XI. High school. In America dudes of our age would have beeing racing in T-Birds with dates riding shotgun, high on pot..... here all we had was Paili's Moped held together by bubble gums, rubber band and the will of the force. Heck, we didn't even have those scooters.... ummm, except for KP.
And "social life"? Does Apna Haath Jaganath count? :P The chota stalls selling all those "educational books" had a field day, we slobbered whole rivers in front of co-ed schools and our soul-mate school (Holy Angels, they were Girls only school you see!) and we broke nearly every attitude-adjustment regulation and sugestion put forward by the elders and teachers. The only thing that kept us from falling to pieces in those years was the spectre of Engineering/Medical and other career exams looking over the horizon. Paah, you all know what I am speaking about. All desis (atleast Mallus) have been through this grindhouse. But when I sang the story of these sad teen years to my American pals, you won't believe the level of "awe and sympathy factor" I earned! Ohhh, some yeevil yankees from that circle did give me hell, BTW......

The lady in the pic?
(flourish) DP.
(more flourish) Comrade at Arms. Accomplice in crime. Silent partner to our evil enterprises. Harried mother hen to countless sithspawn who defiled the hallowed halls of Loyola. Cooler than Fonzie. Sharper than the blade of Elendil. A mind more fecund than the black soils of the Ukraine. A patience vaster than the great void. A persistance more dogged and singleminded than the Borg collective. (flourish)

PS: Oh no, she wasn't our classmate! Not technically. ;)
She taught us English Grammar and Composition from X to XII .

Here's lookin' at you, Ma'am. You da boss!


School days were over in flash. Off we went into different colleges, different streams, different states. Most of us became Engineers, some became docs, a vet, a bloodsucking lawyer, two architects, some went into business careers, two engineers are trying to enter Babudom..... there's even a Armywaalah!
That would be our Thomman...... a being from the deepest depths of the void. An avatar of still indeterminate mission. A Captain in the Indian Army no less! Claimed he can shoot a running Chapta at 250 metres and a stationary Chapta at 400 OR a running Paki at 300 metres and a stationary Paki at 500 (Chinese are smaller and therefore harder to shoot, he says). So we entrusted him to take snaps when one of us was getting engaged. The pics turned out pretty crappy.... all of them showed massive shaking, he never captured the intended targets too! The bridgegroom looked like the billowing sail of a schooner (with his white and white clothes) and the bride looked something like a giant orange (you guessed it, golden sari and her jewellry). We asked " WTF?! Nee evidathe soldier aaneda? You can't even take a pic and you claim you can shoot Mushy's tushy from the LoC?! "
This is what he said: "Aliyo, you know what happened? I made corrections for recoil as I always do when I shoot with my rifle. Enthu cheyyan..... sheelam aayippoi! Enna recoil aanennariyamo ee INSAS rifleinu....."
Ahhhhh..... now I am sure the borders of India are in good hands! Jai Jawan. ;)

Anyway, here's a pic from one of our regular meets we always hold in our school. Good turnout that day.... almost half of us made it. Kids have become men now, eh? I am the middle aged one with the beard and resigned expression, getting the horns from those bhais in blue.... Peri to my right and Ammavan aka Kathanaar to my left. The soldier doesn't want his pic taken as Ayman Al-Zawahiri himself has put a price on his head.... It seems our brave Jawan RoganJoshed the Al Qaeda No.2's betrothed when they captured her near Kandahar. Thomman apparently showed no mercy even as she bleated piteously for mercy. Tch Tch. Bad call, dude! These cameljockeys Laaaavvv what they eat...... and I mean it literally!
Here he's camouflaged in blue, dug in deep and taking cover behind Ammavan's extended arm.

PS: See the guy in that dark green shirt on the right? Well, that is the infamous Sheikh Jibr Ibn Yohanna-Al-KhattaKhayam, scourge of the blogosphere, axe to the creeper of the Reservation Raj, a burning fever to the King of Churhat (Arjun Singh) and a plague to the caravan of this poor Wanderer.


Here endeth this wee part of my storyeth....
Here goeth I to learneth Basel Norms and the economic critiqueth of the Britisheth.


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