Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A game called chaos

Leopold Cafe, one of the locations where the terrorists struck



This post comes a little late now, but I took my time to write this one, saving it in parts in the 'drafts', as I needed to put everything in the right words, and again I was waiting for all the matter to be cleared (at least somewhat, if not completely). On 26, November, hell broke loose on my city. Mumbai, the financial capital (its as good as the actual capital) was attacked yet again by terrorist. Its not like we hadn't encountered terror attacks before. But this time, instead of setting up the bombs, the perpetrators came out on the streets themselves, with sophisticated weapons and accessories, and attacked both the civilians as well as the police, and then later the armed forces. This was the first time the country witnessed such attacks, right in the heart of the most beloved place, the city of dreams, a place where setting up one's own residence is a dream shared by majority of the population, both rural and urban.

I'm not gonna bother to describe the details of the attack, firstly because I find it difficult to morph into words, and secondly because I expect those who read my blog to be already apprised and aware of the incident. If you don't know anything about it, then you shouldn't bother to read the post either (motherfucker). The following is my reaction to the attacks, followed by my opinions on others reaction, as well as my conjecture about the things to be done, after we have measured the remains of the day.

Why did it happen?

"...the problem my dear Brutus is not in the stars, but ourselves" - Cassius (in 'Julius Caesar')

Our people and the government blame Pakistan for the attacks. But I say we ourselves are the culprits. Everyone knows that there are a million loopholes in the security, and although people notice it every time they pass by, no one really cares to address the problem. The citizens themselves are not alert, and those who notice wrong doings, say that they are too busy to do anything about it. Yup, here in Bombay, people just dont have enough time to even wince at you, or so they claim.

'The politicians are corrupt' which is a popular cliche, is recited by those who donot bother to vote for the country, which unfortunately comprises chiefly of the educated class. And the ones who vote are illiterate, who get easily swayed by faux promises, and their votes are exploited. As if that isnt enough, the qualified people decide to stay away from politics ( and even the government sector) to pursue the American dream, and then later you can see them complaining that our politicians aren't qualified enough.

Renouned columnists who write for popular newspapers use phrases like 'terrorism has crippled the country' and 'the rise in terror' or even 'the root cause of hatred'. I suppose such columnist could have fared better in writing about the advantages of having a prosthetic penis. Think over it again. When wasn't there terrorism? The Indians have always known terror right from the early days during the Moghul empire, the British rule, the era after independence, and now again. And not just us, but terrorism exists in most of the large countries in the world, and has always existed throughout the entire history. There have been deadlier terror strikes in the country with more people killed than now. So why does this attack strike us so bitterly?

Thats an easy question to answer. The attack would hardly have had any impact if it had happened in any other city. I doubt if people would have been as much sentimental as now if it would have happened in Delhi. People from every corner of the country come to Mumbai. As I have said earlier, many look forward to settling near the city, and many more fantasize about it. Everyone one in the country has some or the other relative, friend or acquaintance who lives in Mumbai or visits the place regularly. The terrorist attack one the most popular locations of the city is hence percieved by many as and attack on the entire nation.

The only rationale for such an attack taking place, is because it was allowed to take place. Simple enough. We ourselves had offered those imbeciles the opportunity. There isnt any single entity to be blamed for this, but a collective fault, ranging from intelligence failure and slackness in domestic security to the dirty politics in the nation.

Who should pay the price?
The terrorists. And ofcourse Pakistan. But we need to address the primary issues first. As Marcus Cicero (a renouned Roman statesman during Caesar's era) had mentioned in one of his speeches, 'When a fish begins to rot, it always rots headfirst'. Thats right, it our leaders who must accept the responsibility. In my opinion, a leader is a person who is supposed to know how to do his business. If he doesn't, then he has no business being a leader. Cicero further said '... the only way to save the fish from rotting, is to cut off the head.'

The ministers simply have to go, including Singh, with all due respect. Although I admire him as a person, he is just not fit to be our PM. And Sonia is better being shipped back to Rome. Not just her, but the entire Gandhi family has failed to impress me their dirty politics(with the exception of Mr. Sanjay Gandhi) . I was convinced of her ... eh...I really dont have any word to describe it...lets say 'dishonour'... when she, for sake elections in Kerela, acquired support of Karunanidhi, who was indicated in the assassination of her own husband Mr. Rajiv Gandhi (although I don't think much of him either). I am delighted to see that cunt Shivraj Patil resign, and I honestly hope and pray to God that he may permanently depart from politics, and even hopefully the world. Most of the senior national and state ministers have followed suit and resigned.

Ofcourse, changing the leaders doesn't really solve the problem, but it is still a sine qua non for our purpose.



What next?

We need to take a hardliner attitude towards terrorism. Firstly, we need to establish a goverment body specially dedicated to external terrorist threats, which should be given a free hand to operate, and enforced by tough terror laws, and an dossier containing an en regle presidential directive that any government officer irrespective of rank or position must extend full cooperation to the members of the body, without asking questions.

The surveillance should be increased, with more officers being involved. The security measures should be sophisticated, and not just comprising of cosmetics of guns and uniforms to merely discourage the terrorists. Amar has suggest on his blog that the whole city should be mapped in a 3-D layout with structural information, and blueprint of every single building in the city being made available in a single database. We should try to make our security as digital as possible. The police weaponry should be upgraded, and a Special Response Team should be established which would be able to reach any point in the city at the seventh minute.


Actions against Pakistan
I have already made my opinion on this subject in one of my earlier posts, 'there can be no peace between India and Pakistan, ever'. Of course, I'd rule out a direct war with Pakistan(On this matter I agree with Mr Pranab Mukherjee). The fact is we don't have what it takes to run the wire. Many Indians believe, that our armed forces can easily achieve a overwhelming victory against Pak if the two are pitted against each other. Well I guess it just their patriotism that speaks, shadowing their reasoning. The truth is our army sucks. Indian army is already facing a shortage of about 30,000 senior officers (Colonel, Brigadier, and General) Pakistan have just twenty divisions or so less than ours. And remember guys, we have four fronts to protect, while technically they have just one. Again their airforce is bigger than us. They have more aircrafts than us, and even shitloads of F-18s, as compared to our stuttering MIG-21s. We do have a vast navy, but again, we have an equally vast coastline, compared to Pakistan's negligible coast. And to add to that, we also have a Catch 22 situation, since about 70% of our oil which has to be imported from Iran arrives through a pipeline via Pakistan, which they have an option of blocking in case of war. Imagine what would happen if 70% of our fuel supply would vanish in a snap of a finger. We have more to lose in this war, than what they have to gain.


But there is not need for an outright war. Rather than calling for internation pressure we must take things in our own hands. We must establish our own unit for cross border operations against the terrorists operating in Pakistan. We have our 'Agni' missiles capable of striking strategic location and terrorist camp, and we must use them. Everyone knows the location of Dawood Ibrahim's residence in Karachi (The guy has the nerve to name his bungalow 'The White house'). It should hit by our ballistic missiles. We can later offer our condolence if any of the Pak government officials gets killed(As if we are gonna meant it). We have the full right to take any step to protect our country, and we dont need any permission for that. there should be no further peace process negotiations with Pakistan unless they hand over Maulana Masood Azar, and Hafiz Sayeed to us (But then I doubt if any of the present political leaders would have the balls make such a move).


A game called chaos
When I first heard about the attack on the news my first thought was to go to there, at ground zero. But ofcourse I knew I would get to go there. But thats the way it is with me. I am totally undaunted despite the attacks. I read on one of my friend that he is now scared to go to VT station, as he goes there often, and that he doesn't trust the security. I even read in the news that many famous personalities feel scared to go out on streets. They are nuthing but chickens and cotton balls. I don't second that, sorry. I have been to VT railway station on many occasions and I will be going there again, and I did go there two days after the attacks. Despite any amount of terrorist threat, I'd still go to any place in my city, not because I am fond of getting myself killed, but I don't like the idea of terrorists, politicians or anyone else telling me where I should and should not go.

No matter these attack, I still havent lost my faith in our defense and security forces. The fact that Mr. Hemant Karkare, the head of ATS(Anti terrorist squad) ran straight into the line of fire himself and died for us, itself shows the level of commitment and dedication our officers work with. Keep in mind that we must all have faith in them, ...or else who will? There may be further terror stikes on the city, and there might be some plan being hatched even as I write. But to be afraid is to allow ourselves to be terrorized, which would only help the purpose of these militants. As I have said before, only we can allow such a thing to happen and only we can stop it from hapenning. I still feel a bit jealous of the NSG boys as they got to go on the spot, and I couldn't do much but watch. I'd still do everything possible from my side.

All of us must be ever alert, and remind ourselves that it can happen to us, and keep a lookout. We must act like responsible citizen and raise our voice. Many among us, who are well educated must vote. I have heard many of my cousins say that they dont vote, as their vote is supposed to be registered in a place they were staying earlier, and that they cant sapre any time to go there. They should probably try to suck their own dick. Your vote is absolutely necessary. It may be just one vote, but it still counts, and matters (too late for those who havent registered. The last date for application has already passed).

I wont say more than this, as I am pretty sure all of us must have talked amongst each other a lot during the last two weeks over this issue. I am myself quite incensed about it, and the thoughts never cease. I have tried to make this post as short as I could. The last thing I'd like to say... irrespect of whether we face terror, or we are in times of peace, we must be willing to make a little sacrifice (i.e. willing to take a bullet) for our country. If you can't do that then keep your mouth shut (and don't ever visit my blog again).



'Whatever you do will be insignificant, but its very important that you do it'
- Mahatma Gandhi


Gateway of India, Mumbai.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Take it easy

Here's the idea:

A guy takes a taxi, and reaches home, with his mind not in the right place. He gets out of the taxi and picks out a tattered note from his purse and hands it over to the driver. Now the driver refuses to accept the shabby currency note, and says that he won't accept a worn out old note, and tells the guy to get a change from his house. (This is the present trend in India, where people just refuse to accept old looking currency notes that are worn out or carry stains, although they are valid according to the law)

1> Now when angry, this guy hits the roof. He shouts out the law to the driver. Calls hims names. Abuses him verbally, and a heavy argument follows attracting too many onlookers on the street. Finally the driver gives in and moves on with the tattered note, and our guy has won the day. But in the process he has managed to further deteriorate his mood, and is bound to quarrel again with his family members over inconsequential things.

2> Lets us consider that suppose an elevated person, who is put in the same scenario. When the driver declines the currency note, what does he do? He tells the driver that the tattered 10 bucks is the only change he has, and then he produces a 1000 bucks note from his purse, and offers it to the driver and tells him to provide the change. Now the driver doesn't want to loose all his change for sake of avoiding a old but acceptable currency note (or better still, he has no change). He accepts the old note without another word and leaves the place.

What is the difference between the two? Both of them got their work done, but in a different manner. The latter guy redeems his aura of calmness, but the angry man has fried up his own mood.

And who wouldn't want to be like the elevated man. Everyone of us seeks perfection. We want to do all that is right. We aspire to be successful at work, to outdo others at performance, to get the girl of our dreams, and to manage our day, coolly. We want to be happy!! And the biggest fact is all of us think we know what it takes to make ourselves happy. Yeah right!

Think again. What exactly happens when you get angry? You get angry when you don't have it all your way. Thats not all. When you quarrel with someone over a certain problem of yours, it means that you don't know how to solve your problem by yourself, and you are blaming others for it. Be reasonable. No one else gives a damn about your satisfaction.

The man who fights with in high pitched voice doesn't know any other way to fight, because if he did, he wouldn't have had to raise his voice. And not knowing how to deal with your problems makes you an jerk. Its obvious that some assholes will try to hoodwink or bushwack you for their own convenience. Every damn bastard is selfish these days. And if you wish to a successful person, you must first learn to deal every little trouble effectively without disturbing your own peace of mind.

"Anger only makes things worse because it exacerbates the difficult situation and can have have a destructive impact on your relationships, your career, and even your personal liberty"
-Pegasus NLP

The man who deals with intense pressure everyday, and yet gets his job done right, knows that the key to handle pressure is not to allow it to get inside his head. Once you know how to keep your cool, you are able to think of your problems as maths problems, which can be solved one way or another. To overcome our hurdles in an inventive and resourceful way, it is necessary that we don't lose our cool or push the panic button.

What nudged me to write this?

Just couple of months back I walked into Airtel mobile gallery to complain about my mobile service to their Customer Care. I waited for quite a long time for my turn as there was a lot of crowd and their management really sucks. The woman on the counter just entertained two men who had arrived after me. I complained to her about answering to them before my turn, and she said their problem was a minor one. I lost my cool and raised my voice, saying "So is mine". All of sudden there was a silence in the gallery, and that woman was terrified, and from her face I could make out that she was almost in tears. She attended my problem with urgency and handed me the note in a matter of minutes.

I got my job done and left. But I felt really bad about what I had done. The woman at the counter did make a mistake of course. But thinking later with an open mind, I realized that there were only five people there to handle 200 angry customers in a stuffy gallery, and you couldn't expect perfect management from that. It was the company's fault that they had no proper Customer Care service.

The next day I took some time off work and visited the gallery back, and apologized to that woman for losing my temper, and she was really overwhelmed by that. She said she really appreciated that I treated her with dignity. As I lost my SIM card few days back, I went back there again today, and this time she was really nice to me, and got me a duplicate SIM card even though I did not have the documents with me. She told me to get them later as per my convenience, disregarding the regular company policy of submitting the documents before the issue of a duplicate SIM card (I wasn't aware of the policy earlier).

The experience taught me a lot. I have decided, that from now on that I'll try my best to never lose my temper and composure, and always think before I say anything to anyone. I am determined to manipulate my attitude so that I would barely be deprived of my calm.

It is a really difficult task, as anger is a second nature to many people including me. But there is saying among my natives, "Kelyane hote" which literally translated means, "It is possible if you try".

How to do it?
I am gonna make wallpaper carrying a note "YOU MUST NOT GET ANGRY" have it on my desktop ( There is presently a note on my wallpaper saying "YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING ). Next time when I feel my blood boils due to unforeseen circumstances, the wallpaper should flash over in my mind, hopefully.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The virtual world of canvas

Cornfield with cypress trees by Vincent van Gogh






I was waiting in front of MMB for my friend, when it was evident to me that he would be late(but in fact the moron wasn't even coming). I decided on passing my time at the adjacent Jahangir Arts Gallery at Kala Ghoda. I had been there before ofcourse, on two occassions to be precise... once back in 4th grade when my my close relative, Mr. Harish Raut (one of the most prominent Indian painters) had exhibited his paintings, and later in 10th grade when, soon after his heavenbound departure, all my close relatives decided to auction off his remaining master peices. But in those times, I was a mere guest, and not really interested in any arts. But now, for the first time, I entered the gallery of my own free will, although not expecting much. After entering the right sided gallery(I can't recall the name of the hall).

I witnessed massive painting of nude village women clad in translucent silky cloth along contemporary Indian countryside. The paintings were quiet large, such that the painted women were looking twice my size. It was quiet an enthralling scene, and no wonder the price tag was exceeding 70 grand. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't excited by virtue of the naked ladies or the obscenity, but the minute details which the artist had emphasised on, along with the huge shape of the more than life sized drawings. It was by no means pornography, and you'll agree with me if you see them yourself. I later managed to get myself out of the hall (reluctantly ofcourse, because I thought I'd be looking like a pervert, staring at the breasts) and I went on to the left sided gallery.

I never seen anything like it before. The paintings here were much smaller, and again of contemporart Indian era, but the colours actually seemed as if exploding out of the frame, everytime you put your eyes on the paintings. I guess it was the combination of strokes that must have done it, but the subject was quite simple, and the meaning of the scene could be clearly understood by reading the titles of each painting. There were forty or such in the gallery, and even several of them were water coloured. I then knew, why men spend millions of dollars on such paintings, as they are priceless. If I had the money, I would have definately bought one then and there(I swear I am going to make it my indulgence one day).
















Shashikant Bane's works on display at Jahangir art Gallery










It sparked a whole new interest in me and I approached the artist, Mr. Shashikant Bane, who was standing at the centre of the gallery. I told him, after looking at his paintings, I wished to paint my own. I guessed it would be difficult ofcourse, since I was never much of a painter in my teens, having never appeared for those 'Elementary' and 'Intermediate' exams in my schools. But he said it wasn't necessary, and that I could start working on painting from scratch, at any age as I pleased to do. He told me to begin with pencil sketching first and then on canvas with oil paints. The advantage of using oil paints on canvas is that you can always, make amendments to your drawing within 24 hours, and even correct mistakes, especially while you are working on faces. Water colours make it more difficult as you can't make major changes.

So I have decided, I'll be working on my very first painting from november, now that I am through with sketching and shading already. I'll be painting my favourite scene, i.e a naked girl in bed... just awake, with hair disheveled, and narrowly revealing her breasts from the matress. The face I guess will be the the most difficult part, as even a tiny bit of mistake changes the entire personality, so I will procrastinate the task till the end. And I will also add a tattoo... though where exactly and what kind of tatoo, I haven't yet decided. But I am definately into painting now. It would have been better perhaps if I were to get someone to pose for me, but I shouldn't be too optimistic about it...




























A Painting by John Fischer

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beat your wife

It was almost time for me to call it a day's work leave for home along with rest of the office staff. And then this senior manager just mentioned something that sparked a whole new debate, attracting interest from every other member of the office. I don't exactly remember what made Shrikant say it, because I wasn't paying attention to the things spoken before, as I was chatting with Onkar on Gmail. And suddenly, just like the rest of the staff, I heard him speak in marathi, "Hoy, mee marle ahe majya bayko la", (Yes, I did hit my wife). And all the necks in the large room abruptly turned towards Shrikant, and most hurriedly the ladies. Some girls in among the staff clasped their mouth, other looked on with their jaws dropped, followed exasperated gasps. Shrikant the explained why he did it. And so I write this post to emphasize my support for Shirkant over the necessity of use of physical force against one's spouse.

Reasons to hit your wife:
1> Hitting is fun. Don't you agree! If you have ever played Midtown Madness, a video game where you try to run your car over people moving around the street, and try to cause maximum damage, and you'll know what I am talking about. The best person to hit is your wife, because you will be able to hit her again, as she isn't going to run away anywhere.




2> Face it. Most of the temperamental women tend to nag their hubbies a lot over a host of insignificant and immaterial issues, like not flushing the WC, and forgetting to put one's socks in the wash machine, and masturbating. You can ignore it initially, but sometimes when your run in trouble at work, and you are in a bad mood, that bitch will make things worse for you by such attitude of hers'. At such times, your soul mate is supposed to support you, and not annoy you further.

In which case, you may shout at her. But if you give her a 'one tight slap' the first time she nags at you, in that case you'll never face this problem in your life ever again, as your wife will know not to get on your wrong side. So beat the shit out of your wife the first time she gets on your nerve. If you ignore it even once, you'll have to regret it rest of your life.

Tip: For the first time when you do it, hit the hardest. So hard that the bruise must be visible to anyone for at least a week. The best part to hit is the face, because every looks at that. You can probably use a belt, but it belt marks can be easily cover by clothes. But yes, using a belt to hit on the cheeks is a good idea.




3> The reason most love marriages don't work is because, when a girl marries someone out of love, she expects a lot from her husband. That makes it harder for the hubby to hit her. He goes on to tolerate her attitude problems. But at some point in his life, he can't take it anymore, and so the couple decide to call of the marriage.

In this case if you just set aside your love, and all other sentiments along with it, and take a practical approach to the case, and be brave and hit stupid moron of a wife, and you can successfully infuse some sense in her, and she may be more amiable and co operative with you in the future. Remind yourself that even you have the right to expect a lot from your girl just the way she does.



If you think love is just about giving, you are right, but you are also a bloody idiotic loser. You must remind you spouse that even she must think of just giving all the time because she is in love with you. If not, then she can very well fuck the hell off.

4> Some women are more resolute and adamant. Sometimes, at your very first hit, your wife may decide to divorce you. You may be afraid of it, and perhaps that would be a reason you would delay the flogging. Come on, who are you kidding. IF your wife can divorce you now, she can also divorce you later. And if you already have kids with her then, then you would probably get yourself screwed by hitting her then. Because if she decides to divorce you then, you're dead meat. The reason is, the law always gives preference to the women, in cases of child custody.

Hitting your wife in a short time after marriage, can clear up whether she will stick around, or leave you. If she leaves, in that case God just imparted you salvation from a bad choice, and you got yourself a second chance, by realizing your mistake in choosing. Think of it as a reward for your courage in raising your hand.

If she doesn't leave, and just cries in her room. BRAVO. You have a perfect wife, and you will be having a very happy married life. Love you wife then. Never hit her again, unless she nags(which would be unlikely, once she knows you can hit). Make love to her everyday. Kiss her daily, on lips, smooch her with your tongue. Brush her cheeks (women like that), and don't forget to have sex. You can caress her breasts too. Its feels very nice. Again try to make her purr in bed.

OFTEN KEEP BUYING HER GIFTS




5> When you have sex after apologizing to your wife, women get more passionate and fucking gets more exciting then. First hit her. And then say sorry, and plead. And she will like that. Then make love for at least 2 hours. Nothing like it. Best, do it on Sunday so that you wouldn't get disturbed. And you can take her out for dinner too. I bet she'll be looking great and would be dressed sexily too. There no satisfaction as that which comes with walking around the street with your life partner dressed in a highly stimulating outfit.


In some, and very rare cases, you may never need to hit your wife. Perhaps if your wife is very mature, highly understanding and considerate of you, there is absolutely no reason to hit her. Remember, hitting without no reason is a bad thing. Even Hitler didn't hit his wife (though he was married only for couple of hours). If you happen to marry such a women, you are the luckiest man on the planet. Ask no further.

Also, in some cases, again rare, if your wife is intelligent, you can actually argue with her over her behaviour. Remember, to have a successful married life, your wife must trust your judgment and decisions. IF your wife doesn't trust your decision making ability, you're in for a big ride. And in return you must trust your wife's judgment too. If you can't do that then don't marry the girl, and find someone else who's decision you trust. At any rate you don't want a wife who is an idiot. Unless of course you're wife accepts the fact that she is an idiot. In that case you are lucky again. The wisest thing that can be done in the world, is for an idiot to agree that he is an idiot. Even the wisest of all men find it a very difficult task.



If you trust your wife's intelligence and decision making acumen completely, there is no reason to hit her as it is more likely that you are an idiot yourself.

When to do it?
If you have made up your mind to hit and you are wondering when to do it, here's a tip. Do it when she least expects it. That way you can record a maximum shock and optimal impact, both on body and mind. If she nags you now, wait till she is in a cheerful mood till later. When she is all in her best mood, hit her quickly, and make it fast. It should be in a split second. I would advice practicing initially. That should be helpful. That one stroke will have settled all your wife-nagging trouble for the rest of your life. The more brutal, the more effective it will be.





Monday, October 6, 2008

Just another ambergris

This is what I think of oil. Its just another ambergris.

Petrol is as good as water these days. We cannot live without it. We just can't live without it now. Or perhaps it appears so. But I HATE that liquid. If god were ever to condescend on me and ask me for a wish, I'd ask him to rid the world of it in a snap of a finger. Here's why:

Those middle east sheiks make money out of nothing. They generate so much, as to make tree shaped islands for themselves in the middle of nowhere, and build a huge refrigerator to preserve a skiing range right over a 100 degree hot patch of desert. And despite all that, schools in Saudi Arabia teach a 25 year old man, the same lesson we learn in 8th grade here in India. Not a penny spent on education. And why should they bother. There are only the higher and the lower middle classes in Middle east. The wealthy can afford to get educated in UK, while the poor don't need any literacy to clean the camel's behinds. Not to mention the sad plight of the women, who aren't even considered for counting in their census. I am frustrated at that because Saudi girls are too good, and would even make Angelina Jolie look disapprovingly at her puppies from time to time. I don't think Sultan Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud would have hoped for this when he freed his nation from the foreigners to make it 'Saudi' Arabia.

Sultan Abdul Aziz ibn Saud's insignia - Second ruler of Saudia Arabia and the son of Prince Muhammed ibn Saud. The founders of Saudi empire.


But how long do you think their petro-dollars are going to last. In my opinion, their future will be exactly as Matt Damon mentions in 'Syriana'. They were a pack of Nomads 100 years before, and they will be a pack of Nomads hundred years later. Because the fate of their oil is the same as that of the Ambergris.

What is Ambergris? or rather What was Ambergris:

Ambergris is an substance extracted from the intestines of a Sperm Whale. Whenever Whales die, their bodies are carried by other whales to a specific spot in the ocean, called the 'graveyard of whales'. It is extremely difficult to locate a graveyard, as it is often at ridiculous depths. But once found, it would virtually make a whaler into a multi millionaire back in the old days. Since it would allow him to extract tonnes of ambergris. There was a time when Ambergris was worth more than ten times the cost of gold. It was used as a fixative in perfumes, and was the only option then.

Raw Ambergris


However, due to its inconsistent and unreliable availability, industrialists managed to find an alternative, and Ambergris was dethroned by its synthetic successor, Ambroxan. Now a days, Ambroxan is the most widely used fixative, and is cheaply available for perfumery. Although demand for Ambergris is still not quite exhausted since it has other uses in medicine, its worth less than a shoelace now for the perfume industry. It is now a mere byproduct of the whaling industry, and expeditions for locating graveyards have gone extinct lately.

In those days when Ambergris was treasure, traders accumulated gargantuan amounts of ambergris by spending millions of dollars for sake of long term investments. As of now, their investments are just a pile of dirt.

Oil is more widely used and produced than Ambergris. But I believe it is a matter of time when we finally replace it with better and cheaper substitute. There are a lot of problems of course.

Already airplanes powered by solar energy have taken successful flights around the world (although so far they are unmanned), and hovercrafts running on car batteries are beginning to provide better average than the traditional scooter (but for the speed). But when the breakthrough does happen, it would only take an year before the middle east barons would be brought crashing down to bite dust, and all those magnanimous palaces of theirs, with all their grandeur will be auctioned off on ebay.

To those who think it would not happen, I'd like to speak of a Ducktales episode I watched back in school : "Gyro invents a time machine, which is shaped like a helicopter and can fly too. Bubba, uses the time machine to go back in time to find Scrooge. And then back in the medieval time, a prince is pasting bird feathers to his body, while his father, the King, tries desperately to explain to him that man can never fly. Just about that moment, Bubba appears in the medieval time period with his flying time machine and calls out 'Scrooge, Scrooge' from the sky. And then goes flys away. Then the King and the prince both notice him, and the king immediately begins helping his son to paste more feathers to his body to assist him in his quest for flying."






World's largest oil rig in Rio De Janeiro, sinking down. The eventual fate of every other oil rig.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

BAD ENGLISH USAGE

I hate it when people get it all wrong with the language, and don't even bother to know about it. Though their effort to speak up in a language which they're poor at should be appreciated, they should know better than to make a fool of themselves. But the part that annoys me the most is they never realize that they are making a fool out of themselves, since no one else apart from a few people can spot the bad grammar. And besides its stupid to point of every single mistake when they talk so rapidly. I am not just talking about a bunch of winy girls mumbling, 'like this, like this' and 'I only, you only' to each other. A lot of us have made a habit of incorrect sentence formation, and we tend to ignore many basic language rules. Here are a few examples mentioned on BBC website along others I recollect...

> "for free" is becoming commonplace and is used often on television and it's wrong. It should be "for nothing".

> There is no such thing as 12 am & 12 pm. 'AM' or "ante meridiem" means "before noon", ans 'PM' or "post meridiem" means "after noon". The correct way is to describe it as Midnight and Noon.

> If you do something to change a situation, then you "effect" a change. If your circumstances are changed by an action, then the change has caused an "effect". You cannot "affect" a change in something, nor can you be "effected" by one.

> This one is heard quite often. The plural of CD can't be CD's. Its CD itself.

> The improper use of "I' and 'me' is perhaps the most common written errors. "She said some very kind things about George and me" is a proper sentence, and not "She said some very kind things about George and I". An easy way to remember which to use is: if you would say him or her on its own, use 'me'; if you would say he or she on its own, use 'I'.

> Saying 'yourself' and 'myself' instead of 'you' and 'me', just for being overly polite is again bad grammar.

> There is no '-as to when-' phrase in English language. Never use that in a sentence.

> How about "none of them is" and "none of them are"? Most people would use the latter whereas the former is correct. "None" is short for "not one" therefore "not one (none) of them is" would be used.

> Its always 'different from' and NEVER 'different than' and 'different to'.

> "They opened fire on us" is again one of the most popular errors, and made by many among the military.


> Its always 'number of people' and not 'amount of people'. AMOUNT is used when the noun cannot be counted, such as 'amount of water' being used instead of 'number of gallons of water'. But 'amount of gallons of water' is incorrect.

> Single noun with a plural verb is again a pitiful error, for example: "the team are happy with their victory", or "management have congratulated the workforce on the recent increase in productivity". Team is a singular noun so it should read "the team IS happy..." or "the team members ARE happy", the same applies "management HAS congratulated..."

There are many more examples of incorrect usage. Try to be vary of such usage guys.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Me and the Intruder

My folks woke me up today morning before leaving, and I made my way up to the First floor of my new home, which I still getting accustomed to. I went to the kitchen, and made myself some coffee, and put it in the microwave, and was brushing my teeth then. And I noticed this guy right in my hall. He was trying to force his way out of a narrowly open sliding window. My first thought was to shut that window. After shutting it, I went over all the house and sealed off every other possible exit for him. He realized that I had just locked him in and made his way into one of the corners. Not so eagerly anticipating my next move, he waited. And then followed a wild and almost 'Tom and Jerry' chase for half an hour till he finally realized the fact that his escape wouldn't be as easy as that of Jerry as this was not a cartoon.

He finally let me get my hands over him, only to enlighten me about his razor sharp teeth. He took great pride in burying his two most magnificently conspicuous teeth, deep within one of the blood veins running through my right forehand. I managed to actually pull his teeth out with all the force to free my beloved vein, only to realize the eventuality that I would have to compromise the thumb on my left hand again to his 'Gillette Mach 3' teeth.




But finally he understood the difference between him and cobra, and realized that such bites were hardly of any consequence. He then went all numb. I had finally caught him. I was delighted of course, knowing that many people never ever get to touch as much as a dead squirrel, in their lifetime, let alone a live one.

He was scared like a rat (although it would be obvious, because he comes from a rat family) His whole body was vibrating harder than Nokia N72 does when fully charged. His heart was pounding as fast as hell. I brushed his head as a gesture of goodwill towards him, trying to let him know that even though I chased him down with quite some difficulty, I still wouldn't have begruded him an escape.

But the poor fellow was convinced that he tasted better than boneless chicken, and that the best possible service he could render me was himself as a delicacy for my breakfast. All the time his fists were tightly clenched. I racked my brains and tried hard to think of a way for letting him know my friendly intentions. I let him have my finger, just to allow him another bite, but he seemed to have lost all hope, and just kept on staring even when I put my finger on his teeth. I then put a couple of nuts in front of him, but he refused to eat them even after I left him alone with them. I even let him loose in the house, but he would not move then, all the time looking at me as if I were the Satan himself.


Just look at his fists, tightly clenched, and praying


As many of you may know, that I am an ardent animal lover. I can't stand the idea of an animal being scared of me. As I felt quite heartless to bother the poor fellow any further, I went on to open one of the windows for him. He went for the exit like a bullet, not looking back or even sideways, afraid that I may change my mind. That would be last time I'd be seeing him now, and I doubt he'd come back even inside our garden, as I had frightened the living daylights out of him.

I went to the doctor then to pick up the remains of the day, and to find out what was to be done with my vein now. But I still feel it was worth the effort, as it was the first, and probably the last time I'd get to caress a squirrel. Its a pity the there was no way I could have let the fellow know I wasn't as bad as he'd make of me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Words of the week

Here are all the week's words. There are just five. I missed out updating the blog on two of the days. Sorry.

Absolute ceiling

The maximum altitude at which an aircraft is capable of maintaining horizontal flight at normal atmospheric conditions.
Note: The altitude above Absolute ceiling is called Aeropause where an aircraft cannot fly.

Whited Sepulcher
1. An evil person who makes a pretense of a holy or good.
2. informal Hypocrite.

Ambsace
1.The lowest score obtained by the throw of two dices.
2.Bad luck or misfortune.
3. Anything having an insignificant value : Worthless.


Hokum
Something seemingly impressive but actually false or insicere.

Esperance
A feeling of hope


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Balls Galore

"To be utterly common is itself extraordinary"
- Osho Rajnish

I don't like this Rajnish guy at all, and I don't even support any of his views because he is a big fraud. But I agree with what he says about street dogs. Street dogs are the most extraordinary among all animals, not just because they are utterly common and quiet abundant, but also awfully smart. To prove my point I would like to adduce to you some circumstantial evidence to support my views, unlike our dear friend Osho of course, who just said "I am God", instead of making any sense.Firstly there is no dispute among anyone that dogs are the best among all mammals, and even in some aspects better than lesbians. My aim is to convince the reader that street dogs (gavthi) are better than any other breed, in all attributes.

1. They have straightforward rules of engagement

Admit it. People these days talk of animals going extinct. Why? Because those animals are morons, unlike street dogs. Street dogs sure know how to multiply well enough. They have a pretty 'get to the point' approach in breeding.



Find a female, smell her ass, and then invade the pussy. I mean other animals have ridiculously complicated laws of courtship. Spiders and bugs have to perform tap dances, while tigers have to keep growling, and peacocks have to expose their beneaths. Dogs dont need to masturbate every now and then like me either.


2. They are often politically correct

This has been proven by many experts that dogs bark at the right people. Even Abraham Lincoln used to take advice from his own dog who would then respond with a bark. Now rather than saying anything more I'd like to show you rock solid evidence of my hypothesis. The following is the pic I have promptly captured.



The image shows a dog shitting right next to a MNS party flag. Being a true Mumbaikar, this dog shows contempt for Raj Thackeray's views. This itself proves my conjecture.


3. They own the place

Now come on. You know this as well as anyone else. They own the place. They can go anywhere without being asked questions. They can do whatever they want with their stuff. They'll make bed anywhere they want, whether we like it or not. Here again I would present few pics to abet my views.





4. They know very well whom to appreciate

I asked one of the sagacious members of their community to opine on Naomi Campbell, and this is what he had to say to me...

(Go and kiss mothers behind)



5. They never bother people unnecessarily

Face it. We need to learn something from the dogs. I mean have you ever seen a street dog bother you. They just treat us quite passively, and have certain amount of indifference to human affairs. Because they know very well that they are of a little account to us, and so rightfully keep out of our way.
But not us. I mean asking an excreta like Pfr. Potadar (if ever there was worse professor) to teach Math students Java is really too much for any Ruia college student.
Most street dogs always comply and cooperate with humans around them for better living. Here is an example...
The clean surroundings indicate the street dogs appreciate the herculean efforts taken to clean the road.

All these things add up to convey that street dogs are indeed the most acceptable and favourable fauna in our environment. If you think otherwise or that you still remain impervious to my manipulative skills, then you are cordially invited to post your comments.
Thank you.




Saturday, July 12, 2008

The King of Political incorrectness

First of all, before posting anything else I would like to make it clear to you all that I am not an Anti-Muslim. But as the matter stands, there was a recruitment held in a Company owned by my family and close relatives, for new employees. And after receiving more than hundred application we shortlisted about 20. But the part that bothered me the most is that my relatives made it a point to make sure they did let any Muslim in the company, no matter what his qualification were. The reason put forward by my Granddad was, 'Its not safe'.

I didn't really feel like arguing over this since I am neither in any position to say anything nor do I have much say in family matters. But after not being able to resist I drew up this topic with my Mama. Whatever he said, I don't totally agree with it. but nevertheless I couldn't help feeling that he had a point. This post is a euphemism of what he told me. To best put his views I have decided to post the following poem.

The poem “The Ducks and the Hens” was originally written by the king of political incorrectness, George Lincoln Rockwell, a commander and fighter-pilot in WWII who was also a master propagandist, in that his message was well-received (even if most disliked his message due to its association with Germany’s WWII-era party). He was assassinated in 1967. His exploits made him the scourge of Jews in the U.S. Rockwell was certainly a controversial figure during his time. After being affiliated with various mainstream political groups, he grew weary of pointing out many of the fundamental problems afflicting the U.S. and many of those involved with them; he noticed that every time he mentioned that Jews were often the leaders of both foreign organizations (such as those that promote America’s Israel-first policy, which is undoubtedly a much greater problem today) and domestic organizations (which often promoted America’s anti-nationalist policies, similar to NAFTA, CAFTA, etc. today), even though such statements were invariably true, Jews often labeled him and others “Nazis” for pointing this out.

The original idea of the poem was associated with sympathy for Adolf Hitler and his Jew extermination department, but as we that history repeats itself, we can apply the gist to all the latest discriminatory crap like West-Middle east, Shia-Sunni, Jews-Palestinians, OBC- Open, Harbhajan-Symonds and all conflicts involving race, religion, culture, and other ways of classifying people, like scousers and blues.

But perhaps the best analogy would be over recent settlement issues like Raj Thackeray's campaign in Mumbai over non-Maharashtrians, and most recently the Amarnath trust controversy in J&K.

(I hope Sandeep and Vini are reading this, cause I know they will enjoy this post, if not me.)





The Fable of Ducks and Hens




Many, many years ago
When animals could speak,
A wondrous thing the ducks befell;
Their tale is quite unique.

Down by a pond dwelt all these ducks
Ten thousand at the least
Their duckish joys were undisturbed
By any man or beast.

One day down near the entrance gate
There was an awful din
A hundred hens all out of breath
Were begging to come in.

"Oh let us in" these poor birds cried
"Before we do expire!
'Tis only by the merest inch
That we escaped the fire!"

Their feathers burned, their combs adroop
They were the saddest sight.
They'd run a hundred miles or more,
All day and then all night.

"Come in! Come in!" the ducks all quacked,
"For you our hearts do bleed!
We'll share our happy lot with you;
Just tell us what you need!"

And so these poor bedraggled hens
Amongst the ducks moved in.
"For after all," the ducks declared,
"We're sisters 'neath the skin."

Before too many months had lapsed,
The hens were good as new.
They sent for all their rooster friends,
And those were welcomed too.

To please their hosts, these chickens tried
To waddle and to quack.
To imitate the duckish ways,
They quickly learned the knack.

This pleased the flock of ducks because
It gratified their pride.
But hear my tale and learn how they
Got taken for a ride.

The ducks, it seemed, spent all their time
In fixing up the place,
In growing food and building homes
And cleaning every space.

They asked the hens what they would do
To earn their daily bread.
"We'll teach and write and entertain
And buy and sell," they said.

And so these hens began to teach
The baby ducks and chicks.
They traded food and eggs and things,
With many clever tricks.

They wrote great books and put on shows
Of genius they'd no lack.
It wasn't long till chickens owned
The Duckville Daily Quack.

One day a mother duck who took
Her ducklings to the lake,
Was flabbergasted when one said,
"A swim I will not take!"

"Why duckling's always swim" she gasped,
"It's what you're built to do!
Like bunnies hop, and crickets chirp,
And cows most always moo!"

"You're nuts!" her son replied,
"That stuff is all old hat!
It's wrong for birds to swim, besides
It's damn cold on my prat!"

"Oh fie!" the mother duck exclaimed,
"You're talking like a fool!"
Up quacked the other ducklings then:
"He's right! We learned in school!"

"Such talk must stop!" the mother cried,
"Those hens can't tell such lies!
For sheer ingratitude and nerve,
I'm sure this takes the prize!"

But she was wrong, for even then
The hens did thump the tub
Demanding they be let into
The Duckville Swimming Club.

"But you don't swim!" the ducks exclaimed,
"To join, why should you care?"
"That's not the point" the hens replied,
"To exclude us isn't fair!"

The younger ducks, who'd been to school
Agreed right there and then:
"To keep them out is bigotry!
'Twould just be anti-hen!"

Outnumbered by the younger ducks,
The old ducks soon did lose.
The hens could join the Swimming Club,
If they would pay the dues.

That night the Duckville Daily Quack
Contained this banner spread:
"REACTIONARY DUCKS ARE LICKED!
DUCKVILLE MOVES AHEAD!"

Down at the Duckville Gaity,
The young set laughed with glee,
At cracks about "old fuddy ducks"
In burlesque repartee.

Next day the hens were at the Club;
A petition they'd sent round
They objected to the Swimming Fund
With fury and with sound.

"You use our dues to fix the pond,
To keep it neat and trim
And this is wrong" they said, "because
You know we do not swim!"

"God help us!" exclaimed a wise old duck,
"Those chickens have gone mad!
We'll take this thing to court, by George!
And justice will be had!"

But when they went before the judge,
Imagine their dismay!
A chicken judge decreed that they
A heavy fine must pay!

"Minorities must have their rights!"
The judge declared right then
"To use hens' dues to fix the pond
Is very anti-hen!"

Once more the Duckville Daily Quack
Emblazoned 'cross the page:
"OLD FUDDY DUCKS REFUSE TO SEE
THE GREAT NEW COMING AGE!"

In Duckville's church, on Sunday morn
The preacher spoke these words:
"Discrimination's got to stop!
Remember, we're all birds!"

The wisest duck in all the town
Sat down in black despair
"I'll write a book," he thought, "and then
This madness I will bare!"

"Let swimmers swim, let hoppers hop,
Let each go his own way
Let none coerce a fellow bird!"
Was what he had to say.

"'Twas wrong to force the hens to swim,
So here's the problem's crux:
It's just as bad for hens to try
To chickenize our ducks!"

"I can't print that" the printer said
"'Twill put me in a mess!
My shop is mortgaged to the hens
The chickens own my press!"

This worried duck then tried to warn
His friends by speech and pen,
But young ducks fresh from school just jeered,
"He's a vicious anti-hen!"

Now up the stream a little way
Was Gooseville, on the lake
The hens had come to Gooseville too,
But the geese were more awake.

When the hens began to spoil the young
And Gooseville's laws to flout,
The geese rose up in righteous wrath
And simply threw them out.

Of course you know where they all ran;
On Duckville they converged
"We've got to take these refugees"
Was what the ducks all urged.

The Duckville Daily Quack declared:
"Those geese will stop at naught!
They plan to conquer all the world!
Atrocities they've wrought!"

"That's right!" the young ducks all agreed,
"We'll help our fellow birds!
Those geese have plans to conquer us!
We've read the Quack's own words!"

They let the hens from Gooseville in,
The whole bedraggled pack
And every hen took up a job
On Duckville's Daily Quack.

When Duckville's Mayor's term was up,
The Quack put up its duck;
A vain and stupid duck he was,
A veritable cluck!

But when he praised the wild young ducks
And cursed the evil geese,
The Quack declared he was "all-wise"
His praise would never cease.

The hens chipped in to help this cluck
Give grain away for free
The old ducks sadly shook their heads,
The writing they could see.

And sure enough, this stupid duck,
He was elected Mayor
From this point on, the Duckville ducks,
They never had a prayer.

The Mayor said, "Gooseville must go!
We'll wipe them off the map!"
While Duckville slept, the scheming hens
For Gooseville set a trap.

They called the geese by filthy names;
They filled their pond with sticks
They helped the weasels catch the geese,
And other hennish tricks.

The geese got mad and threw some rocks,
"IT'S WAR!" the Quack announced:
"We ducks must fight those evil geese
Till they've been soundly trounced!"

The ducks (who knew not of the tricks
Indulged in by the Mayor)
Were filled with patriotic zeal,
And pitched right in for fair.

Now when the ducks had whipped the geese
The Mayor called "Retreat!
Our Henville friends should really take
Goosevilles's big main street!"

The hens are back in Gooseville now;
They starved and beat the geese
They prayed for peace but organized
The Henville Armed Police.

They drained the Gooseville swimming pond;
And 'De-goose-ified' the schools,
They wrung the neck of Gooseville's Mayor
On lately made up rules.

They formed a council of the hens,
'United Birds' the name
The other birds who joined the thing
Did not perceive their game.

No sooner had they set this up,
Than they announced their plan
To seize up Swanville as a home
For all their hennish clan.

They took a vote amongst the hens,
And every one approved!
"Swanville was for hens!" they said,
"Way back, before we moved."

And so they kicked the swans all out
With Duckville's help and power
And Duckville could not understand
Why swans on them turned sour.

By this time, Duckville was a mess;
The young ducks had gone mad
They stole and laughed at truth and law
They'd gone completely bad.

The hens were selling loco weed
In every nasty den
But ducks who dared to mention this
Were labelled 'anti-hen.'

The hens all preached of 'Tolerance';
They invoked the 'Golden Rule'
But they subsidized the indigent,
The greedy and the fool.

At last the very dumbest ducks
Began to smell a rat
"This Mayor is no good" they cried
"And we will soon fix that!"

But the hens had planned for even this
A candidate they had,
Whom even wise old ducks believed
Just never could be bad.

This hen-tool duck had whipped the geese;
A soldier duck was he
Although the hens had set him up,
The ducks all thought him free.

This hen-tool got elected,
Through ignorance and greed,
Through hennish lies in press and speech
And bribes of 'chicken feed.'

The hens now kicked the ducks around,
Without a blush of shame
Until the Mayor ran the town
In nothing else but name.

They pumped the swimming pond all dry;
They taught the ducks to crow
While duckish numbers dwindled,
The hens began to grow.

The hens stirred up the happy crows
From out the piney wood
To fight and mix and marry ducks
In the name of 'Brotherhood.'

Things got so bad that fifty ducks
Who knew of days gone by,
Took up their wives and children
And decided that they'd fly.

They flew through storm and tempest;
They froze, and many died
But on they drove, until at last
A lovely lake they spied.

They settled down exhausted,
But soon went straight to work
To build and clear and cultivate,
No danger did they shirk.

Now after many years of toil,
This little band had grown
The fields around were full of grain
From seeds that they had sown.

The first ducks now were long since dead;
Their struggles long had ceased
Through hard work and through suffering
Their joys had been increased.

One day down near the entrance gate
There was an awful din
A hundred hens, all out of breath,
Were begging to come in.

"Oh let us in" these poor birds cried
"Before we do expire!
'Tis only by the merest inch
That we escaped the fire!"


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Phantom in real life?

After watching 'Iron man' lately (awesome movie), and most recently running into a torrent containing all the old phantom comics I used to read when I was in school, I happen to recall myself back in the old days when I used to dream of being a masked crime fighter myself. I am referring to all those masked marvels who, unlike Superman and Spiderman, don't have any superpowers. Their only means of achieving their ends is their desire to do so. I never quite appreciated those superheroes, who go snooping around some radioactive stuff, and have theirs DNA altered to fly and grow webs out of their cavities, and neither did I credit any alien samples like superman, for the obvious reason, it never looks quite entertaining when you know for sure that its more likely you'd more often come across polar bears playing beach volleyball in Bahamas, rather than people shooting lasers out of their eyes. The idea of a guy with a normal DNA structure, mastering all the arts of combat and engagement, and roaming around in shadows at night, beating the shit out of deadly criminals and having successful sex with women having equally normal DNA structure, sound more pragmatic.

These masked marvels now have their own legacy. They have their own ideology. They have their own history and they have their own world of fantasy. But I realized that even if it is possible that such a phantom can exist, just because he is a regular guy who masters death by sheer physical training, it really doesn't mean he will, and that such and idea even if physically possible is still a fantasy. Could any man ever aspire to be a masked marvel in his life, rather than everything else people usually aspire to be? Why would anyne want to fight crime wearing a stupid costume in the first place? In order to help answer this question, let us therefore try to answer a easier question, which is "Did there ever exist such a man in human history who was a masked crime fighter ?"

To answer this question let us look into the history of such characters. Now there are many masked comic characters in the world. But we will consider four of the most popular characters which are :




The Phantom : 'The ghost who walks' as called by the pygmies, is a man who is dreaded by every pirate. His descendants take on his responsibility after his death, culminating a popular belief among his enemies that he cannot die. Kit Walker, is the 21st phantom in the Dynasty.








El Zorro (meaning 'the fox' in Spanish) : Diego is a son of an aristocrat who takes takes on
the Spanish government in Mexico to protect the oppressed.









Ironman : You should really watch the movie.








Batman : Billionare Bruce Wayne turns into a crimefighter after his parents are killed by a hijacker.




The most noticeable similarity between them all is that they are masked, and fight crime for fun. But this is not really going to help us. Let us take another careful look into their other aspects. They have two peculiar similarities, which can help our cause.

1. They are ridiculously wealthy:
Kit Walker (phantom) has treasure worth billions of dollars in his skull cave. Bruce Wayne (batman) and Johnny Stark (ironman), are industrialists, while Diego (zorro) is a Spanish aristocrat.

2. They all have a close servant or friend who knows their secret:
The Phantom has Guran as his servant; Batman has Alfred the butler; Ironman has actress Gwyneth Paltrow as his page; and finally Zorro has his little brother Bernard.

Taking in account these attributes, if we look among all the famous tales published in history, we can conclude that all these crimefighters are inspired from Baroness Orczy's classic, 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. Although the Scarlet Pimpernel doesn't wear a mask he is somewhat similar, in a sense that he is feared by all french police, and is resourceful and ingenious in planning. He is immensely rich and has a private valet called Frank who shares his secret. However, this really doesn't help us because the 'Scarlet Pimpernel' himself is a fantasy.

Now looking back at classics published before 'The Scarlet Pimpernel', we can see that the idea used by Baroness Orczy about a rich man with a loyal servant plotting against evildoers, is inspired from 'The Count of Monte Cristo' by Alexandre Dumas.

The Count of Monte Cristo is a young sailor named Edmond Dantes, who when engaged to a beautiful lady, becomes a victim of a conspiracy hatched by a jealous friend and three other rivals together, and is arrested for treason by the French government. He goes to prison, and meets a priest who teaches him the art of combat and bequeaths him a hidden treasure before dying. Soon Edmond escapes from the prison, retrieves the treasure, and thus becoming filthy rich enjoys his revenge in a hideous and deceptive manner masterminded in a cunning way against all those four men who robbed his life from him, and he eventually has them killed.

This story gentlemen, is no fantasy. Surely Dumas wouldn't be able to imagine such a bizarre plot all by himself without being inspired by a true story of similar manner, for it is always in real life that the most bizarre events happen rather than in stories. Dumas' novel is based on a story he retrieved from French police archives.

The novel is based on the life of Pierre Picaud. Picaud was a shoemaker in Nimes. He was engaged to marry a rich damsel, and could have actually married her if not for his three jealous friends who proved him to be a British spy. Picaud was sent to prison without knowing why he was arrested. In prison, he eventually found out the reason for his sentence. Jsut as in the novel, Picaud managed to dig a tunnel from his cell to another, and there he got acquainted with va priest called Father Torri. Torri died in prison, leaving Picaud with the knowledge of his wealth hidden in Milan. Picaud was eventually released from prison, and he went on to collect the treasure and return to France with a false identity. He then succesfully plotted his revenge against all the three friends in a highly brutal manner. There was a fourth friend calle Allut who did not play any part in Picaud's arrest, although he was aware of Picaud's innocence and didn't help. According to the records, this story was dictated to the police by the fourth friend, who later kidnapped Picaud and had him killed. It is not exactly known how Allut found out about Picaud's exploits in prison, because in the archives it is mentioned that, Father Torri's ghost told Allut about that. However this was not to be believed as Allut was on his deathbed while telling the police about this. Historians believe Picaud himself told Allut about his time in prison while he was in abduction. Except for the dodgy ghost mystery, the rest of story about Picaud's life is true.

Pierre Picaud wasn't exactly a crimefighter. Nevertheless many historians today believe that all the masked crimefighting stuff is indirectly inspired by him. I doubt Picaud might have realised he could have been more popular had he spent all that treasure from Milan into making a brand new Phantom costume for himself. But nevertheless his experience isn't an ordinary one, and he surely is the leading candidate for our real life Phantom.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lines

One of the prime features that a good film or cartoon (or even sometimes a bad one) offers us, and a feature which a good deal of the people although appreciate, seldom consider it consequential enough in wholesome entertain, is the one-liners or punchlines. Witty remarks that could otherwise have impressed a panel of interviewers if not used already in the film, not only catch our attention but also add flavour to the scene, if not anything else. The one line satire may be hardly helpful in reviewing the film, but it definitely is loads better than lousy sardar and blonde jokes. Along with them we do have a lot of occasional jokes and punchlines to make films and cartoons worth watching. Here is a list of all my favourite punchlines(as far as i can remember; there may be more but just can't recall them all right now). You are free to add ones that I have missed. The dialogues may be different in words in movies actually, as I am writing them down from sheer memory. Spare any mistakes.

1. The Cliffhanger
A group of criminals are on a plane which has no pilots and is about to crash. One of their member is badly injured by a bullet hit. When the plane is losing altitude in is about to fall in rocky mountains, another gang member asks the leader,"What do we do about him? He is not gonna make it"
Just when the plane is nearing the crash the boss replies, "How about taking him to a hospital".

2. Jingle all the way
When Arnold Schwarzenegger is mistaken for the Turbo man actor, and as is being dressed up, he notices Turbo man's comarade 'Booster' already in his costume, and says," Hey I know you. you're Booster".
And Booster replies,"Oh yeah. And who the hell do you think you are. Mary Poppins?"

3. A few good men
When Tom Cruise compells Jack Nicholson to confess his crime in front of the jury, and as Nicholson is being taken in custody, he says," You fucking people. You don't know how to defend a country. You put peoples' lives in danger. Sweet dreams son."
Cruise replies," Don't call me son, you son-of-a-bitch"

4. I can't really remember the name of the movie, which I viewed long time back on HBO. But it was based on a group of aliens who after bieng stranded on earth, decide to live alongside other humans, expecting to pass a humans. They look just like humans except their elongated and tapering heads, and they also have a ridiculously high IQ. When the alien female goes shopping in a mall with her human neighbour, and while having a chat, her neighbor tells her, referring to her own husband, "Men are really pigs."
The alien female says," Pig? You mean a domesticated animal which excretes the same place where it consumes?"

5. Shrek 2
Shrek wakes up to find himself in human form, and realizes that he needs to kiss 'his true love' before midnight if the change is to be made permanent. But a group of three horny girls surround him, and try to seduce him.
First girl : I'll be your true love.
Second girl : No, I'll be you true love.
Third girl : No, I'll be your true love....umm...true enough.

6. Eurotrip
a) Jamie is excited about his forthcoming trip to Europe with is twin sister, and tells Cooper, "...I can hardly wait. We have already packed. You wanna see my artillery?"
Cooper spontaneously replies, "You wanna see my balls?"

b) Cooper notices Candy sitting nude inside the swimming pool, and takes a dive in the pool. The girl is taken aback by his sudden appearance, ask him, "What are you doing here?"
Cooper says,"Oops, I guess this isn't where I parked my car"

7. Pirates of the Carribean, the legend of the black pearl
Johnny Depp is imprisoned along with other pirates, when the pirate ship Black Pearl attacks the harbour. Other prisoners are frightened and say,"Its the black pearl. Stories say it leaves no survivors."
Depp replies,"No survivors! Where do the stories come from, I wonder."

8. Tea with Mussolini
This scene is not exactly funny, but rather, emotional in the way things turned out. The film is based in an era just before the second world war. When Mussolini and Hitler begin their mutual friendship, and two powerful nations form an leviathan coalition, the Englanders living in Italy suffer. Although the Italian have no feud whatsoever with the English families settled in Italy, they realize that its only a matter of years before Italy would be drawn in a war with England. And so just to be cautious of the secret service they citizens of Italy begin distancing themselves with their English friends.
A rich Italian businessman fires his personal assistant, and says that he is sorry to do so, but is compelled due to the way things had gone. Realizing the truth in his words,the Englishwoman leaves without arguing. Just as she is leaving he says to her,"Don't go back to England. Instead move to USA. The way I see it, England is finished. In a few years probably, England would cease to exist."
The English woman says, " I wouldn't be too sure of that".

9. The Island
Evan McGregor is a clone who is brought up in a facility owned by a company which manufactures clones of rich people for medical replacements.Which goes to say, he doesn't know anything about the world we live in, neither the human civilization. He has no proper education either.
Once, while talking to Steve Buschemi, who is a worker at the facility, Buschemi mentions the word 'God'. And McGregor ask him, "What is God?"
Buschemi replies,"Oh god... you know, when you want something very badly, and you close your eyes and wish that you would get it... God is the guy who ignores you"

These are all I can think of at the moment. There may be many more of course. Perhaps you can help me remember.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Against the odds (..Continued)

We will get back to the roman era again in the next post. But first let us take a peep into the period when the French revolution was at its peek. Yes guys, French revolution has a lot more to contribute to history than just some angry mob of psychopaths roaming around the streets and beheading every aristocratic organism they could find. The battle which I am going to tell you about now, occured in time when French revolution was at its zenith. Just like the battle of Alesia, even the battle of Tuileries is not among the most well known. Yet, to best describe it, if Battle of Alesia paved way for Caesar to become the most powerful man in the world, then Battle of Tuileries as good as placed Napolean Bonaparte at the helm of Revolutionary command. Moreover this battle is described in a completely erroneous way on Wikipedia, in just eight lines. Not only does it deserve a lot more emphasis, but also, the guys on Wikipedia have mentioned that " Bonaparte was serving in Paris and was given command of the improvised forces defending the Convention in the Tuileries Palace". This is totally bullshit. Technically, the whole sentence is correct. But they haven't written anything about the circumstances under which he was given command, nor about the importance of this battle. The person who wrote this probably forgot to include that if the Royalist would have won, the French Revolution would have ended then and there and that few hours before being given command Napolean was working near the palace as a librarian. From a librarian to a commander of 'National guards'(the term is explain later in this post), in a matter of hours, is really a feat only the greatest can perform. Which is why this battle must be given the attention it deserves(not on my blog). But yet this is for those who would like to read about such extraordinary feats.

Battle two

Battle of Tuileries : "Citizen Bonaparte knows the best"

Napolean was truly a hero made out of persistent hardwork right from youth. There was a time once when he couldn't work out a math problem in school, but reluctant to admit to anyone he can't solve it, he spent 72 hours working on it till he finally craked the nut. Imagine, three days one one problem. I can't spend more than an hour on a problem before I call up my pals for the solution. Much of todays warfare techniques and tactics like building bunkers and trenches, cover fire, gas bombs for cover, and even the concept of a sniper, were all a brainchild of this young man.


Few years after the French Revolution began, England made a desperate bid to attack France to help all the aristocrats being murdered there. They decided to attack from the south, and advanced in the Toulon region. Napolean then was hardly out of his teenage, and yet he was given command of the troops to drive the english out of Toulon, which he successfully did with along with the assistance of a young soldier named Junot(who later became the Duke of Abrantes). This was his first major battle in charge. Yet somehow the credit of victory was never given to Napolean since he was junior and of lower ranks, and people never knew the real mastermind behind the defeat of English. Nevertheless, the truth could not be hidden from the army and he became a celebrity among all the high ranking officers.

Toulon ; English ships hit by French artillery

But the celebrations were short lived as he was soon caught in an attempt to help an aristocrat escape out of the country. His reputation was the only thing that saved him from guillotine, and he went on to loose his place in the army. Later on he was overwhelmed with frustration, and unemployment didn't appeal to him at all. He said in his biography that he even considered suicide for some time. After a certain time he managed to get a job of a librarian in the capital of the Revolution and was working there.

Then ame the day when fortunes turned for both France and Napolean. The French army was engaged in war with Prussia, who just like england were trying to save the monarchy. All the major armed forced were on the battle front. Realizing this, the Royalist made their last and even their least attempt to save the kingdom. They managed to gather about forty thousand troops including supporters of monarchy and laid a siege on the capital. Citizen Robespierre was long dead then along with Danton and Marat. The country was then run by the "Committee of Public Safety', and was then gathered at the Tuileries palace. The Royalists planned to wipe out the committee, and end the godforsaken revolution. The capital had mere 4000 national guards, who hardly had any first hand combat experience, and were a sort of people used against local criminals and for arresting aristocrats. There were all the committee had to protect themselves.

On their first assault, the national guards were almost halved in numbers by the royalists. The Committee decided to hand over the command of the guards to General Menou, who was a well respected officer, and had never lost a battle in his entire career. But Menou refused the appointment, saying it was impossible to win, and that he didn't want to be the man responsible to end the revolution. The committee had then given up all hope and were waiting for the doom.

Just hours later, Menou while making his way out of the palace noticed Napolean around who had finished his library duties. He recognised him to be the man who drove the English out of Toulon, and greeted him. He then apprised Napolean of the circumstances, and Napolean said "Let me handle it". General Menou was an experienced man and he believed that if anyone could save the revolution now, Napolean would be that man. He then went on to introduce Napolean to the Committee, and told them he was the man they were looking for. At first glance the committee looked at Menou as if he had lost his mind. Napolean never had the features of a soldier, including his short height and feminine looks, along his record for helping an aristo. But realising they had no choice, they agreed to Menou's terms and appointed Napolean as the Commander of the guards.

On being appointed Napolean struck a 'commando operation' along with fellow soldier Joachim Murat, and captured all the royalist artillery(cannons). Adding this the the stockpile of cannons at the palace, he set up a number of booby traps withing the city for approaching royalist forces. Spending the whole afternoon setting up troops in the capital, he positioned the guards in such a manner as to create an ambush in every street, with help of the captured artillery.

Joachim Murat


An then there was the great battle. The royalist, who were already in half mind to celebrate victory, went in head first in the capital only to be shot like ducks. And they went on to save the revolution. Over twenty thousand were killed, and the survivors fled into the country. Napolean had hardly lost any men or any street in this whole battle. Two thousand men against forty thousand attackers. Not exactly a desirable ratio for the defending side. The odd are still the largest among all the battles fought, earlier and later.

Battle of Tuileries palace: Royalists killed in the ambush

Till morning he was just a librarian and by nightfall Napolean had become the national hero, with is name being pronounced in every corner of Paris. Vicomte de Barras, then the head of the committee, pardoned Napolean for his sympathy towards the aristocrats, and welcomed him on the committee. Within the next five years, Napolean had captured power, and was the undisputed ruler of France.
Vicomte de Barras


Its is to be noted that his achievements weren't sheer luck. He had worked hard than any other soldier, and was a high ranking official before he was dismissed from the army. He never wasted even so much as an hour without study, and was an exceptional academician. He still is the youngest person to be given the rank of a General till this date, which was before the battle of Tuileries took place.