Date a Girl Who Likes Biryani

(Because I was fed up of the exhortations to date girls who read, write, travel, does handstands while riding a horse, etc.)

Date a girl who likes Biryani. Date a girl who doesn’t need to look at the menu to know what she wants. She says no to dessert every day because she has no space for it after thulping a full Biryani. Date a girl who knows her Hyderabadi from her Malabar Biryani, can distinguish between the scents of Awadhi Biryani and Chettinadu Biryani in her sleep.

Find a girl who likes Biryani. You’ll know she does because she sniffs the air in anticipation when the waiter is bringing her order. She’s the one who has chicken bones stacked neatly on the side of her plate and an empty bowl of raita beside her in restaurants (Unless she’s not finished, in which case she’s the one who’s eating Biryani.) You see the weird chick who’s peering into your plate when you’re gorging on Biryani like there’s no tomorrow? That’s the Biryani lover.

She’s the girl you run into at Shanmukha Biryanis and then again at Biryani zone. If you take a peep into her plate, she will not have touched the gravy which comes with the Biryani. That’s the mark of a true Biryani lover – the Biryani is to be had unsullied except for the gentle dulling of the spices by the raita. Sit down. She might give you a glare as the girls who eat Biryani do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she liked her Biryani. Ask her if she thought the rice could have imbibed the masala better.

Buy her another plate of Biryani.

Let her know what you really think of Vegetable Biriyani. See if she thinks only Mutton Biryani deserves to be called Biryani.  Understand that if she says she understood what exactly the ‘Dum’ in ‘Dum Biryani’ stands for or if she’s just saying that to appear knowledgable.  Ask her if she knows Kalyani and pray she doesn’t say ‘Who?”

It’s easy to date a girl who likes Biryani. She understands there are highs and lows in a relationship and it might not always be rosy. Just like how the masala is not even throughout and the flavor might vary from part to part. Get her unexpected gifts which surprise her like the odd raisin and cashew in a Biryani. You can stop doing that after the first few weeks, because the raisins usually get over pretty fast. Sprinkle attention on her like the golden deep-fried onions sitting pretty on top of the Biryani. She’ll enjoy the attention but understand that it is really not integral to the Biryani relationship.

Make her Biryani for her birthday. Call up your mom in advance and ask her how many minutes to let it simmer on the stove.

On the day she timidly extends a casserole to you, with a blush in her cheeks, you’ll know that you have successfully captured her heart. Eat the whole of what she has given you, even if it tastes like horsecrap. Do not tell her how badly it sucks, instead tell her how it is the best biryani you have ever had. Ensure she doesn’t have even a morsel to taste. Because then she will learn the truth. She’s the girl who likes Biryani.

You will propose in Paradise Hyderabad. Or at Top Form Calicut. Or at home over a bowl of steaming goodness of rice and meat and spices. In a perfect blend. Like you and the girl who likes Biryani. Imagine her doe-eyed smile of wonder when she unearths the ring from under the juicy leg piece of chicken.

You will have a grand wedding. Where you’ll serve all the guests with the Biryani of their choice. After everyone is gone, you’ll be left alone with the girl who likes Biryani. You’ll smile happily and extend a plate of Chicken Biryani to her. And vow to share Biryani with her forever, in sickness and in health. Except if you get jaundice, in which you’ll do better to stay away from Biryani.

Grow old with the girl who likes Biryani. As old as having Biryani three times a day will allow you to. Have kids and watch her teach them to scoop Biryani onto their plate without spilling using the spoon-fork double hold. Stay in on hot summer days and order in family packs of Biryani. Cuddle around the heat of Biryani cauldron on cold winter nights. In spring, take her on walks to shed those extra pounds.

Date a girl who likes Biryani because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the tastiest life imaginable.  If you can only give her the monotony of Roti-daal, aaloo paratha, idly sambhar, you are better off alone. If you want a deeply fulfilling life with the right mixture of joy and spices little sorrows, date a girl who likes Biryani.

Or better yet, date a girl who likes Porotta-Beef Fry.

The Return

A few weeks ago, in an unguarded moment, I  told M that I had the writer’s block. From the array of sarcastic replies you would expect from his Size-40ness, ranging from the moderately cynical to the viciously caustic, I was lucky to escape with a mild “You are just lazy”. On another day, I might have been made to regret my audacity in terming myself a ‘writer’ on the basis of a few thousand words here.

Anyway, I had come to pretty much the same conclusion. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a writer’s block, really. You either write or you do not. There might be moments when you feel that the quality of your output is not what it ought to be or can be. But that’s not an excuse, at least for a blogger for whom a rigorous evaluation of his work is the least of concerns. Such moments might stretch to a few hours, or a few days perhaps. An exile from writing for months or years is entirely due to lack of effort from the writer, surely.

The other day, M and R compared my output to that of Kubrick’s. I was quick to wave away the complement, as it appeared. Unfortunately I was a bit too quick, blushing before M clarified that he was only referring to the frequency and in no way, to the quality. Another awkward moment, saved by a quick swig of coffee.

M is reasonably prolific as a blogger and R is even more so, a fact that I found out only recently, since he hardly ever promotes what he writes, anywhere. You could think he writes only for his own eyes. You could very well be right, knowing R.Anyway, both of them couldn’t understand what prevents me from writing more often.

What really eats into my blogging is my habit of rererewriting. I have to go over each sentence again and again to sound out the best way to say it, which hardly ever ends satisfactorily. Ultimately, I settle for a compromise and move on, by which time, the window and more importantly the desire to write would have evaporated. This is a blatant contradiction to Heinlein’s rules for writing, as it contradicts the first and most important 3 rules.

  • You must write.
  • You must finish what you start.
  • You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

I have to push myself to trust my instincts and just be done with it(which sounds kind of wrong) , but which is what I am trying to do now.

When returning from exiles, self-imposed or otherwise, you ought to do it with a bang. Like N S Madhavan did with Higuita. After staring at a blank screen for hours, willing it to produce my own outrageous sporting figure with an interesting real world parallel, I decide to do away with the bang. For the moment, I will just slink in silently. Casting around for a topic to write on, I consider and reject from a variety of topics – Bangalore(too wide),Endhiran(too torturous),Roy Hodgson(too early),M’s secrets(too dangerous), Quizzing(cannot come close to this), my hair(too awesome) and so on.

After some more days of this, I realized I didn’t need a topic. I could just do this.

Tagging Along

I haven’t done a tag in a long time and when HVR stabbed me in the back extended me one, I had no choice but to accept.

The tag demands me to reveal 7 random things about myself, preferably relatively unknown facts. Sounds disarmingly easy but as I found out, it’s pretty tough , assuming you make an attempt not to state the bleeding obvious like HVR  or blaspheme – according to HVR – like abhipraya.

Here goes my list.

  1. I have an irritating habit of launching into nonsensical songs or loud humming when trying to concentrate on studies. It was quite a giveaway in my schooldays when my mother used to listen outside the door if I was studying or reading “useless books”.  However the singing more or less died away once I reached college because of the extreme rarity of the causal event.
  2. At the age of 10, I used to play tennis against the wall – which I later learnt had a whole sport built around it called Squash 😀 – pretending myself to be Thomas Muster and the wall to be André Agassi. I wasn’t actually a fan of Muster or for that matter, didn’t even really understand Tennis then, but the name had a ring to it which I liked. Perhaps my preference for Nadal over Federer has something to do with those sultry afternoons I spent smacking a plastic ball as The King of Clay.
  3. My lean frame belies my love of good food. In particular, I am an eternal connoisseur of Chicken Biriyani and can find my way to the restaurant with the best C.B in any town I end up in Kerala, given I have been there at least once before.
  4. One for the well-known fact quota. I am a die-hard fan of Liverpool FC and detests anything that has to do with Man Utd.
  5. Now for the blasphemy. I prefer to watch a VVS Laxman in full flow more than a Sachin Tendulkar in full flow.
  6. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t venture out for a single quiz in the first two years of college.
  7. At different points in my life, I adored Harry Potter, Backstreet Boys, WWF and Steven Seagal movies. On realising their uncoolness on coming into contact with their grown-up versions, I now treat them with the contempt they deserve. 😀
The rules of tagging:
1) You have to tag 7 people.
2)You have to link their pages to your post
3) You have to leave them a comment saying that they have been tagged.
4) Say who tagged you.
I’m tagging Hari, Raju, Abhijith, Doc and anyone else who feel like they want to take this on.

The Year Ending Post

No time to dream up a punny caption, just a few hours left for 2009 to end. It’s also the end of the first decade of the new millennium -the ‘noughties’ as some insist on calling it *Yuck* – but as I’m not old enough to start thinking of my life in decades, I’ll lay off that angle now.

2009 was a momentous year . Yes, it’s obvious , right? Tiger Woods and all that. 😀 I’ll not speak about the world for once, it’s been done to death, and much more completely than I can ever hope to do. 2009 was momentous for me too.  In many ways. Any year leaves us with things to remember, but I think this year had things which left impressions which will last more, compared to others.  The Chicken pox scars, for instance.

This was the year I turned 21. The door to maturity. I think that’s BS though, maturity is a matter of opinion. I think I’ve been mature from birth while my father thinks I won’t be mature till I die. Maturity is a farce they invented to aid legal proceedings anyway. And to control porn sales.

This was the year I got offered my first job – 2 of them, in fact. Whether or not I end up slaving at Infy/Accenture next year, that will remain a special memory of mine. My parents/peers probably considered my getting a job not only unlikely but positively a signal the world is going to end. I had even less belief than them in my academic prowess – sadly a criterion in job hunts – but I did manage it at last. I’d like to stress that it’s not that I feel happy because I managed something to be very proud of, but I managed to avoid something which could have caused some discomfort.

In contrast, I can afford to be marginally a bit more – only slightly  – proud of the fact that I managed to clear the written rounds of IIFT though the elation can only be preserved if I manage the even tougher task of clearing the next and final round. Hopefully, if I manage to do that or go one better than that by getting through to a better – few are there – B-school, then 2010 will be a more momentous year and you can all forget any contradictory statement I’ve made so far.

While 2009 thus brought some life into my acads after 3 years of embarrassing fuckallness, it will also be remembered as the year where I got my first suppli/backlog/backpaper/paper/arrears. Database Lab, thou are a heartless bitch. I wish you could be the one and only , but there’s a strong possibility you were just the first of many. The first is a red-letter day for all Engineers, anyway.

Moving on to health, it was a nightmarish year. I managed to break a leg, contract Chickenpox and then Measles, all in the span of 3 months. I have been a reasonably healthy child over the years- Not to my Grandma – and this year blotted, nay, ravaged my record. The time spent on sickbed was mostly wasted on the Internet – well a lot of healthy time was , too – while I could have spent the time thinking. On second thoughts, I did think, but I could have thought something more thoughtworthy.

No, I was not hit on the head in 2009, thanks for asking.

I started being regular at 2 things, which I should have seen to, at least 2 years  back – Quizzing and Blogging. Quizzing-wise it was not a very successful year counting trophies, but still, I will state 2009 as a successful year in quizzing for me, simply because I grew a lot as a quizzer. Whether or not this implies the sorry state I was in 2008, I am pretty happy at the way things are going. Lady Luck will hopefully smile on me more often in 2010.

On my quizzing quests, I set foot in a lot of God forsaken corners of Kerala I might never even have heard about otherwise. Yes, travel-wise , 2009 was a busy year. Happy. 🙂

I did not take any major step towards deciding on my future in 2009, I still have it narrowed down to a choice between 3 paths. Very hard to choose one. Let me see. I’ll have my answer in 2010. Again, 2010 is promising to be a more important year than 2009, I wonder why I am bothering with 2009 here. 😛

I did not meet any interesting girls in 2009. Actually I did meet some interesting girls but no interestingly available girls.

No I do not want the *Bleeding-Obvious-Prize* of 2009. Thanks.

Less than 3 hours left. Maybe the time could be spent on creating a Resolutions list.

1. Do not think up resolutions you are not going to keep.

No resolutions then.I’m bored. And confused.

What an ideal way to end 2009.

I Am Doomed to 14 Years of Bad Luck

Yes, I am. Because I didn’t forward the divine mail I received, to 27 people. In fact, horror of horrors, I deleted it. I wish I could have done more, though. Hopefully they will invent a mail client which will allow you to manhandle your messages. And then I’ll haul the mail out and stomp on it, 27 times. Waiting for the happy day.

Few things on cyberspace irritate me more than one of those mind-numbingly stupid forwards. The luck-letters are top of the shitpile but the petitions to ‘make an effort to stop the murder of dolphins in Timbuctoo’ , to ‘condemn the treatment of Indian PoWs in Pakistan’ and to donate 1 paisa towards the treatment of my inflated head’ come pretty close.

Even fewer things baffle me more than the objectives of people who create/propagate these. What do they stand to gain from passing on the misfortune to 27 more people – Some people overdo the requisite <Insert-random-number> and send it to their whole address book. I mean if you are gonna do this, you can at least do this properly. 😀

Anyway, my point was, why do people forward these ?Is it because

  • Unlikely as it sounds, they actually believe sending/discarding will bring you luck/bad luck? Oh please. We are all healthy youngsters here who are perfectly capable of creating  our own ‘luck’. I am sure we can manage the hard work of screwing up our own lives without the blessings of Gmailmaa or Yahoo Bhagavathi.
  • Duh!! Who believes in them? But you know, to be on the safer side? Why tempt fate, eh? Again a minority, but a sizable minority. I know people who belong to this school of thought. And it is a valid line of reasoning. If you are braindead. In the unlikely event that the president of Argentina received this mail, it is even more unlikely that he read it and unlikeliest his son died hence, do you think? – For the record, the president of Argentina is Christina Kirchner so it’s a ‘she’ and She has a son Maximo who’s very much alive. False claims!!! who would have thunk? 😀
  • I like forwarding mails and I forward anything and everything .  I am not a forwarder and do not take kindly to relentless forwarders unless it’s a rare awesome-joke-you-haven’t-heard-before or a must-check-out-bro-NSFW 😉 Forwarding is NOT a way of saying you care, folks, it just means your address book includes me. And I’m sorry it does.
  • I am a patriotic Indian/animal lover/kind heart and I am making a difference. Yes, You maybe and No, You’re NOT, respectively. I am appalled by the disrespect shown by the terrorists and I am bothered about the little panda missing its mother but that doesn’t make me clutter the cyberspace with just another useless piece of junk that goes nowhere. Assuming the ‘petition’ reaches the Pak Army Headquarters, adding your name to it in violet Monotype Corsiva with 36 font size is not a helping hand, it’s just an eyesore.
  • Noone, repeat , NOONE tracks the number of times a mail gets duplicated to pay Rs. 500383.78 for the little girl’s surgery. I told someone this recently and his reaction reminded me of a kid being told Santa is a myth. Honestly!
  • I thought you might be interested in knowing your horoscope. Yes I may be, but not 3456 times. And my star sign is the same since the last time you checked. I am still a Virgo and I am still as Dominant in relationships, Conservative, Always wants the last word, Argumentative, Worries blah blah…. – as the last time you sent me my horoscope. AND Horoscopes are stupid. To quote Sheldon Cooper
  • It’s a mass cultural delusion that the Sun’s apparent position relevant to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality.

Totally.

Motives galore and not one of them makes any sense. Not to me, anyway. I hope some of my tormentors take note and desist from sending me luck anymore.

You may feel I made a mountain out of a trivial thing, but try getting one of those when you are eagerly waiting for an important mail/sms. Yup, that’s what triggered this post though this has been simmering in my mind for some time.

And now you’ve read this post, and there’s no turning back. You’ve to forward this link to 17 friends or you will have 17 years of bad luck.

*EVIL LAUGHTER*

Catman and The Full Circle

One of my earliest childhood memories feature a scared cat. A scared cat in a deep well. Cats are supposed to be tough. At times they are even braver than dogs, particularly when dealing with humans. But even the toughest of cats would be scared shitless if they fell down a pretty deep well like the one we have at home. And it’s bloody dark in there.

Back then, we had just moved in to the new place and there was still work to be done. Like fitting an iron mesh on top of the well. My father put it off because there were more important stuff to be done first. But then we hadn’t accounted for the incident of the curious cat in the nighttime.

Cats are, as a rule, curious. The well enticed them and there would often be a snoop squad around it. And occasionally, one of them got too curious for their own good and fell over. fortunately, Curiosity did not kill the cats here and unfortunately, we were left with a yowling beast perched precariously on top of one of the lower rungs of the well.

I would crane my neck over the wall of the well, trying to locate the poor beast and if fortunate, some adult around would oblige with a brief lift-up. More often than not, I got reprimanded and warned that I would be following the cat down. The bottom of the well is  not a pleasant place to be, and having to share it with an angry cat doesn’t improve it one bit. I would reluctantly step off from the wall and whine “But when are you gonna take it out?”

Cue entry of our very own neighborhood Zuperhero. A spectacle of every other neighborhood in India, the Zuperhero takes on world-saving missions like… well every other errand that needs doing. Replacing a blown fuse, Harvesting – for lack of a better word – a coconut tree, fixing the leaky pipes and when push comes to shove, even climbing down wells to rescue adventurous cats. He is the fuseman, coconutman, pipeman and several other men all rolled into one – to unroll as the situation demands.

So word gets to the Zuperhero pretty soon- I told you, the cat yowls REALLY loudly – about the cat in the well. Whether or not he requires a personal visit from my father depends on his market at the moment. On a relatively stable-fused, sturdy-piped, no-coconutty week he will present himself by the well-side, overlooking the lack of an ornate invitation. But on a typical Indian week, he plays hard-to-get. The time before his appearance stretches accordingly and when the cat is particularly loud, we may make several calls to his PP number – Poyi Parayaam – before the irate neighbour refuses to be disturbed anymore. Of course, this being before the advent of mobiles, I assume it would have taken 10 missed calls today. Anyway, sooner or later, in true tradition to the ilk of Zuperheroes, Arrive he will.

The Zuperhero – henceforth to be referred as the Catman for the purposes of our discussion – has a distinctive style of attire and NO, he does NOT wear his underwear outside his pants. But we can glimpse his bermudas peeping out under his Kaavi – more often than not – lungi. The baniyan would be different shades of white, depending on how long it had been with him. A red towel – a Thorthu – would be draped around his neck and fulfills its multiple functions as a headgear before starting work and simply as a towel AND often as a fan after the mission is accomplished.

An imitation Rado watch – I came to know of the imitation part later – would adorn his thick wrists and is often an bone of contention among the younger bystanders who regard the duty of guarding it as its owner climbs down very prestigious. The footgear is a sturdy Hawai – I reckon the US forces should try it in Iraq – and last but not at ALL the least, a burning beedi stuck in the brown lips completes the Catman.

A silence descends among the crowd – with an average age of 8 – around the well as the Catman prepares to take on the daunting mission. I believe even the cat grew silent as it contemplates the silhouette of its rescuer from down below. He ties one end of the thick rope to a nearby tree and the other to his waist and begins his descent. When a circular array of little heads bobbing up and down around the rim of the well blocks the light he yells to stand back which is promptly repeated by any adult above and we all draw back. for a little while. But we are too fascinated by the art of climbing-down-wells-and-taming-cats to obey for too long.

For it is a sight to behold. The delicate art of descending down wells left me in the same realm of wonder that a Federer shot or a Sachin straight drive takes me to. The Catman shifts around to find the right area of each ledge to step on, with the grace of a dancer and yet never compromises on his speed like an f1 driver. He negotiates the terms of surrender with the kitty ever so smoothly – with a goody in the basket for the more stubborn ones – and gets it into the basket in the blink of an eye. And there is a collective sigh of relief and wonder upstairs with yours truly a leading contributor.

The basket is sent up first and the cat is frantic to get out. The Vaanarsena is warned a good distance off the wall before it reaches the top and leaps off to glorious safety. The rope is sent back in and the hero of the day emerges. From the shadows, the Catman rises with a smile, after saving the day yet again.He humbly – well, with some quibbling – accepts his due and ambles off, nay, strides off.

Friends, this was my very first goal in life, the first of my ambitions – to be the Catman. To learn how to tame cats. To harness the awesome power of going down wells at will and to gain the gratitude of cats and admiration of one and all. Well, all the kids anyway. The Catman was my hero and I had dreams of me pulling seven cats out of a one-kilometer deep well , in less than 5 minutes. Of course the best part of the dream was the standing ovation I receive when I emerge into daylight. Details may have blurred, this is a rough estimate.

Since then, I’ve ran through a long list of ambitions – from a Train driver, a pilot, a policeman………………… to a doctor, an astronaut, an engineer and an MBA. It’s a very long list, I’ve left out about 10 years worth of ambitions in between. There have been sensible ones, weird ones, achievable ones, plain ridiculous ones – how about The Guy Who Gets Paid to Watch TV. But curiously enough, I’ve come full circle now. After a long gap of 14 years, my dreams involve taming the CAT. Again.

All Hail the Catman.

Catman
He has had lesser superheroes steal his name

Image credits : rtsunlimited.com

Batman
And also wildly successful, yet less awesome spinoffs

Image credit : people.ucsc.edu

But the Catman still rules. Totally.

Catman
He has had lesser superheroes steal his name