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Current Affairs

Sunday afternoon and Vidya was at the parlour. I was watching something nondescript on TV and trying hard to keep awake. The doorbell rang.

I blearily stumbled to the door and opened it to find a small boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, standing outside. He looked up at me and said, “Current?”

“Uhh…?” was all I could manage in response.

“Is current there?” he asked, a tad impatiently.

Now, this was a puzzling question, especially given that the TV was blaring rather loudly from the opposite flat. Then, I reasoned that the boy was probably from a flat directly below ours – maybe the wires ran in a particular way and he had been sent up to find out whether a fuse had blown or whether there was a power outage. Anyway, I wondered why his parents hadn’t just called the colony electrician or the complex office. My sleep-befuddled brain, though not operating very well lineally, seemed to be on a blisteringly lateral path. For a moment I even thought that I was at the receiving end of a typically Tamil joke where one guy calls up another and asks if there is power at his place. When he answers in the affirmative, he is asked to bring along a couple of kilos as there is an outage in the other chap’s house. I know – it sounds better and makes a lot more sense in Tamil. There was no telling what deviltry the little brat was up to. read more

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The Price of Ignorance

… is fifty rupees, if you go by Magesh’s experience.

He was in his ancestral place – Mayiladuthurai – a couple of days ago, and was at a Sify I-way checking his email. Along comes a boy, and asks the person in charge of the center for a "Yahoo Messenger CD."

"Fifty rupees, and I have only the older version," says the cafe operator. The boy is not put off, and cheerfully pays the cash and takes the CD.

If the boy was going to install and use Yahoo Messenger, he probably has an internet connection. And if he has an internet connection, he probably can download Yahoo Messenger himself… read more

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பட்டாவும் பொரம்போக்கும்

நேற்றிரவு நான் சாப்பிடுவதற்கு ஒரு வண்டிக்கடைக்கு சென்றேன். அந்த சாலிக்ராம சாலையில், ஒரு மிகப்பெரிய சினிமா நிறுவனத்தின் முன், சாலை விளக்கின் வெளிச்சத்தில் நின்று கொண்டிருந்தது பிரியாணி வண்டி. ஒரு quarter பதினைந்து ரூபாய் என்றார் கடைக்காரர். கம கமவென்று வீசியது பிரியாணியின் மணம். ஒரு quarter வாங்கி, வண்டி அருகே நின்று சாப்பிட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தேன். read more

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Return of the Kadi

When we were in school, and later when we were in college, a genre of humour, heavily dependent on puns, homophones, and lateral thinking, flourished. These were the ‘kadi’ (tamil for bite) jokes. A few of us were accomplished masters, while everyone took a stab at it. At its peak, all popular magazines ran ‘kadi’ jokes, with Ananda Vikatan’s Mr. X jokes leading the way. Then slowly, the popularity of kadi jokes waned, and it went into a decline. Of course, die-hard afficionados kept the genre alive, punning away in like-minded company. Today, it seems to be making a comeback, taking the form of ‘Thathuvams,’ forwarded by email and text messages.

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Bush in Pakistan Textbook Fiasco

For about a year now, Pakistani students have been taught “poetry” eulogising (and I use that word loosely) that much-vilified leader of the free world, George W. Bush.

Here is the offending poem, written by Anonymous, and now ordered stricken from all future poetry classes. Full story here and here.

Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to meet every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
Isn’t afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn’t conform to the usual mold,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight wont do,
Never back down when he sees what is true,
Tell it all straight, and means it all too. read more

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Superstar Rajinikanth!

Here is a tale that was forwarded to me:

There is a popular story saying that wherever you go, you will find at least one Rajinikanth fan

Here is an interesting new story!

Rajinikanth was bragging to Kamal one day, “You know, I know everyone there is to know. Just name someone, anyone, and I know them.”

Tired of his boasting, Kamal called his bluff, “OK, Rajini how about Tom Cruise?” “Sure, yes, Tom and I are old friends, and I can prove it,” Rajini says.

So Rajini and Kamal fly out to Hollywood and knock on Tom Cruise’s door, and sure enough, Tom Cruise shouts “Thalaiva! Great to see you! You and your friend come right in and join me for lunch!” Although impressed, Kamal is still skeptical. read more

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It’s a dog’s life!

As I was driving to work this morning, I was stuck behind an auto with an unusual occupant – a dog. It was sticking its head out of the side of the auto and generally taking in the sights and smells of a damp Chennai rush hour. We were going on a one-way street, and the auto was on the right hand side of the street.

At this point, another dog was lazily making its way by the side of the road, moving against the traffic and minding its own business while keeping a nostril out for any intruders. Suddenly, it caught scent of the dog in the auto and stopped in its tracks. The auto, though only crawling along, was moving nevertheless, and left in its wake a very confused dog wondering where that whiff of intruder had come from. It looked around, and over its shoulder, caught a glimpse of the dog in the auto withdrawing its muzzle rather hastily to avoid hitting a telephone pole. It then continued on its way, looking rather disgruntled. I could swear that it was shaking its head thinking, “What is this world coming to? Dogs in autos? What will they think of next?” read more

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Ghazni, and then some!

Okay, Vibhu hit the nail on the head when he said that Ghajini was named after Mahmud of Ghazni, apparently because he relentlessly pursues the villains in spite of his failures and help from Nayantara. This was confirmed by the Ghajini website, which says, “Ghajini the name is a metaphor for assiduous try.” Enough said.

Which led me to look up what Mahmud was actually trying, when I came across (what else) the Wikipedia entry for Mahmud of Ghazni. Looks like he wasn’t trying as much as he was doing again and again what he did well! read more

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