In Shuffle Play We Trust.

Except, when it randomly throws in The Beatles.

Long ago, when puberty hit, I loved this band as the times asked me to. I too listened to their seemingly simple-minded lyrics laced with quantities LSD, and imagined just what these mega-huge-sunglass donning, funky-mic totting band must’ve been smoking to make sure every song of theirs tread that fine line between morose and manic ha-ha, desperate and devious, tripping and trapped.

There’s a tone to The Beatles that nobody has managed to copy-paste. It’s how they’ve managed to sum up adolescence so… correctly.

Their music is a whiny, skinny boy going on and on about how he’s happy and sad and not getting enough and still a maverick for getting lots, about how he doesn’t care about who you are, what you’re made of, but will still love you, about how you can never understand his pain, but hey, he doesn’t take life seriously. He’s charming. He’s talented. He can bend a guitar to any tune. He’s shameless about wanting attention. He’s a prick. He’s the misunderstood stud with an ear-piercing, malnutrition, occasional halitosis, messy hair. He’s lovable, selfish, a professional navel-gazer.

He’s the boyfriend I warn my friends against. He’s the clown at the party. He’s the one thing that stands out in your memory of teenage-hood. He’s the boy that got away with blue murder.

He’s exactly the kind of person I feel like slapping.

I think that’s what irritates me the most about The Beatles. That they’ve got the discomfort of growing up so right, that other musicians on shuffle-play seem abstract and useless like a painting you cannot relate with. Next to them, my favorite boo-hoo bands, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains sound exactly like how my grandfather would describe them. Noisy.

At this point in time, there is exactly one Beatles song I can listen to, without grunting and manhandling the worn Next button. Across the Universe. Nothing cracks me up more than the “Jai GuruuuuuDeyyyva” quickly followed up with the “Om”.

What was our idea of spirituality, back then? Finding inner meanings to things. Nonsense lyrics were dissected, in hope that like the innards of a frog held tightly under-skin by tension, meaning would spring out at us, deliver us from certain consumerist doom.

How different were we then, from the libs back in the sixties? Thinking the giant corporations were out to pinch us out of our money, our freedom and our souls, one bra, one PSP, one burger at a time.

Over time, the reasons why we listen to some music, shift well and out of the realm of purely musical. The song of the first kiss. The song of the rains. The song of the night before exams. The song of the first time I really felt life is cruel (Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah. I still find it cruel that this man is dead.)

And in the event of such evolution, The Beatles are a strict no-no. Especially when you’re simply cruising to an uncomplicated love song about an effervescent woman like neon lights. Or about CIA peeking into my backyard.

Imagine, you’ve just finished a heart-rending viola about the shades of nothing. And then comes along some cheeky boy knowing how to get a kiss out of you.

Down with Sinusitis, I was pondering the meaning of life

and then I got bored, and decided to waste away before the tube.

What an opportune weekend I had chosen. It seems that most of IMDB’s 100 worst movies were playing on this weekend that man upstairs decided to acutely stuff my sinuses with green stuff.

I was reminded of exactly why I stopped watching TV.

A (sort of) brief review of the movies that I, I’m not sure why, subject myself to.

Maid in Manhattan:
Yes. I watched this movie. I’m amazed at J. Lo.’s acting abilities. She, who feels compelled to deliver a simple overture of love by a complex lock-pop of the head routine, with a mean “uh-uh, whatchoo lookin’ at?” And then, with careful thought adding, “sista”.

Oh, the Hollywood moment of the film wasn’t its uncanny resemblance to Pretty Woman or the 83,64,53,196 other movies with similar the same story-line. It was how the writers artfully slipped in a reference to J.Lo.’s autobiographical Jenny from the Block. Aww.

No Country for Old Men.
Actually, the last few minutes of No Country for Old Men. Which was as random as the beginning of it. I’d encountered that on an occasion where I’d tried to coax a DVD bearing the same title, to merely show me the movie.

Tommy Lee Jones dies? Aww.

Terminator 3:
Arnie proves why he is THE man. His facial dexterity has been consistent through three Terminator films.

Consistently absent.

The cleverest line in the whole film appears somewhere towards the end, after a lot of bombs have gone off. Arnie, surprisingly still functional, shows up and says, “I am back.”

From Hell:
I’ve watched this Jack the Ripper chronicle before. The first time I watched it for Johnny Depp, who looks impoverished and incredibly stoned. I’m not sure why I put myself through it for the second time. Maybe I’m a sadist, or rather, a masochist.

Or maybe my eyes had glazed over and I had matured as a tuber.

Enchanted:
I loved this film. And I loved how neatly it was handled given it had every ingredient for to turn into flick-monster with three heads that spewed green goop. It had Patrick Dempsey outside of his scrubs. It was mixing film styles, time-spaces, narratives. It was doing abominable things like questioning Fairy Tales, dangerously close to becoming a History of Perspective, Deconstruction Theory & Other Such Brain Chow lecture. But it never forgot to be light-hearted and simple. The spirit of the film was just right. PD was pretty cute, and dances quite well.

Ok, I could go on and on. It’s more fun trashing films. So, onward.

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na:
I actually waited to watch this film, and marked it in my calender.

It took some getting used to. The over-the-top style, given most of the cast spoke like full-time Channel [V] VJs who REALLY REALLY LOVED their job yaa! TEE HEE! Also the fact that the plot took two days to progress.

Apart from the annoyingly frequent commercial breaks with terribly un-entertaining commercials, I quite enjoyed this film. Some patches took themselves annoyingly seriously, and some of the acting, well, showed. I totally loved the pet rat and the innuendo ridden dialogue.

Danny the Dog:
Morgan Freeman. And high-fly Kung Fu, courtesy Jet Li. The trailer even had funky-jazzy swoosh-swoosh haiyy-ya flashbacks. Adequately baited, I watched.

I could count the number of reasons why Morgan Freeman even chose this film. The drama of playing a blind father. Blind step-father. Blind widower step-father. Blind widower of a car-crashed best-friend-turned-wife step-father. Blind widower of a car-crashed best-friend-turned-wife step-father who plays piano.

Added incentive could be that he was easily the highest paid star in the cast.

Quite the ho-hum. Suffice to say I slept peacefully after.

I hope that in the future, when I have these impromptu movie-marathon urges, it’s a little better timed. Oh well.

Tonight, I shall treat myself to the foolproof Yo Momma! After all, what could go wrong with mom cussing contests? If all else fails, there is always sure-shot entertainment, on the ever reliable America’s Next Top Model.

So what if it’s called Tiny Girl Town?

It still manages a couple of larger-than-life beautiful waterfalls and potent, mean cups of coffee.

For those dazed by my literal obscurity, I went to Chikamagalur (henceforth, Chikax) this weekend.

New photographs, friends and the discovery of nicely-photographable friends were the chief exploits of this trip.

Oh, the head-chief exploit? The kind of adventure that comes when thirteen madcaps board a tempo-traveller type vehicle, or fit themselves into (sort of) a jeep meant for six people. But more on that later.

Junta from Hyderabad and hometown bumped along one Friday morning, down the National Highway Number 4, and turned somewhere along the way to Chikax. (I wouldn’t know – I was busy straining my neck muscles, sleeping in absurd postures. This is the problem with having painfully long limbs (PLLs). Another recurrent problem with PLL is that I am left with a very restricted choice of eligible men. But that is another post.)

This knot of crackpots then proceeded to swarm two reserved “serviced apartments”. (read, owners of said apartment on vacation, therefore, to-let)(does anybody remember the times when large, recently done-up office-spaces had makeshift cardboard signs reading ‘to-let’ and you’d wonder what kind of moron it takes to misspell a simple word like ‘toilet’?)(or was that just me?)

But doing no disservice to the service apartments: they were very comfortable, with enough space for the many humans who turn into corpses minutes after lights-off.

Hotel Soundarya in the heart of Chikax made pots of money because of one motley crew of starved youngsters who overworked their staff, by ordering two of everything on the menu.

Do not be surprised if in the near future you are accosted by headlines of an uprising, screaming, “chefs in mini M’lore burn aprons in protest”.

Post feeding our faces, some of us decided to uplift ourselves from the status of the grubby and impoverished by a simple mechanism called “having a bath”. God bless you, M/s. Cold water!

However, since the “some” that opted for this simple mechanism were female, the boys and I (who finished early, having stuck to the “simplicity” of the mechanism) had enough time to finish one languid drink, and three utterly going-nowhere games of Uno.

We then haunted the M/s. Channakeshava & Co. temple. Lovely looking from the outside – where I stood. Going by the spate of pictures in Picasa, I gather it was just as beautiful on the inside.

Then it was return to the dwelling in the dark, followed by a beautiful, nearly-full moon that was blotted by frayed clouds.

The night was then rounded off with very many pegs. The nailed, hammered and smashed then proceeded to play Uno, Fuzzy Duck (and other highly inaccurate just-how-drunk-ARE-you? games) and generated lots of noise. And after objection from someone living three buildings away, it was decided the ambiance was perfect for… ghost stories!

Everybody swore by everybody’s relatives on both maternal and paternal sides. A few dared to put a few living ones at stake (I suppose they don’t favour these relatives).

Skid marks and dubious smells later, half the party left to chase recently-made-elusive sleep. Many drunken giggles and tummy-clutching laugh sessions later, the rest of us went to sleep. Surprisingly peacefully.

Morning came at around 11:30. Ambitious plans made the night before, to start for nearby Kemmanagundi at 6:00AM (HA HA!) were justly junked. After – literally – raiding Hotel Soundarya, we went to Kemmanagundi, or red earth hill(/hell/planet/button).

A breathtaking ride – and I don’t mean just the nausea a few of us lily-stomached had.

The hills were as scenic as ever. And as usual, every photograph taken of these scenes was as cliche and redundant as “failed to do justice”. The last red and golden tinges of autumn clashed with the fresh green tendrils of spring. An explosion of baby flowers amongst listless, dying leaves. Phoenix trees that were being constantly being reborn from ash.

A trek from the hilltop to the nearby Abbey falls, was just as pretty. With red earth coating everything into a breathing, throbbing sepia. Aptly punctuated with rivulets of cool water (special respite for my unequipped-for-trek feet that came armed with a pair of humble white “Rockster” chappals).

I think the biggest reason why the grace of the Abbey Falls – or any waterfall – cannot be replicated in a photograph for me, is because of the conspicuous absence of one crucial detail: the spray and the mist that I feel against my skin. In the era of NGC, GettyImages and FlickR, the reality of the picture-perfect scene is what is the most awesome about it.

Many many awe-struck and jaw-dropped moments later, Hemanth, a dear friend, decided to make more of the jaw-drop. Having slipped from a slippery rock in an act of, let’s see, sheer stupidity, he managed to make quite a spectacle of his upper-lip and forehead. (Not to worry. To his own wonder, he is alive, coherent, and can type perfectly sound sounding SMSes.)

After this, heaven-knows, bad sign, we slowly trundled back toward motorable road to get back to civilization, just in time for an elaborate dinner and a repeat telecast (with improvements) of last night’s tonnes of fun.

Ha ha.

Our guide, as it turned out, was scum. Sorry. A festering colony of scum caking a fetid pond. Many leers and gruesome stories of rape later, he arranges for us, an excuse for a jeep that shows up very late.

Thirteen of us. In a box of a jeep meant for six. Do the math.

Since we weren’t naturally born contortionists, two of the more daring of us decided to position themselves on the hood of the overheated jeep. I think it was steam that obscured the vision of the inebriated driver, and not the boys themselves.

I was precariously perched atop two people’s laps, my PLLs sticking out of the jeep. I tried very desperately to remember the “Guru Brahma” chant my mother taught me many years ago, since faith was the only thing available for me to cling on to.

As expected, for every overheated uphill RPM the wheel managed, it successfully did five backward and downhill into pitch darkness. And like every really old bugger of a manager, overworked RJ and over-abused motor should, the jeep gave up.

Our second-ride showed up in no-less mint condition. By that time, I think we’d covered much of the road by foot, and most of the guide’s family tree. I believe each of us imagined torture techniques that would make Hitler shudder. Varun’s was probably the most vivid, given his very, very sore toes.

Oh, and there was a fight about what the guide must be paid. After a lot of name-calling, abuse-hurtling, and being on the verge of nobody reaching respective hometowns in condition other than mince and/or gurney, we bailed.

Lovely ride back with an eerie, full moon. Back in time for salty dinner, accounts, more jokes, a couple games of Uno, before everyone decided sleep was the best idea they’d had all evening.

The next morning, we bounded back homeward. Bright, sunny day, and realization that hometown had turned hotplate over the weekend. Ta-ta, bye-bye to the Hyderabad junta at Railway Station. A nice full-stop to the trip was weird tasting pasta, but brilliant cold coffee at local adda, La Casa.

Everybody has reached home fine, more or less.

Varun has hopefully seen a doc about his toes.
Hemanth has seven stitches.
Abhinand and Pranav, I believe, are still nursing burnt bottoms.
Aditya has now gone to Hyderabad for some serious chill therapy.

I, however, am recovering from severe blows to my bank account.

What? Lakdikapul is not a stick-flower?

And so, I have returned from a weekend of sheer debauchery, two shades blacker, from the land of the Nawabs, Biryani of every conceivable object non/living and G. Pullareddy Sweets.

I love this city.
For one, it has this major Minaret hangover. Everything here looks like, at any moment, some bard will set up a mehfil/durbaar/whatchummacallit and wax shayaris, with ever-ready bystanders punctuating them with Irshads and Wah! Wah!s. Of course, there will be plenty pigeons going ‘guttrr guttrr’, and plenty pigeon-origin white-stuff to clean off your respective modes of transport.

Ah. Transport.
This is the only city that outright, doubt-without beats mine at traffic-sense. In the negative.
Take for instance, the enlightening auto-ride I embarked upon, clinging on to dear life as psycho automan (with evil glint in eye and shiny golden tooth that revealed itself in a hippo-yawn) went speeding down a narrow lane at 40 kmph upward – in the opposite direction. What simply took the title of “D-uuude!” (delivered with a Hip-Hop/Stoned-out-of-wits drawl) was the hippo-yawning traffic cop whose head casually turned and followed our passing by.

We sped through streets having no name. And the ones with funny, vaguely-exotic names too.
Nampally was my favorite. On applying the sum total of languages I know (barring en peu francaise) the resulting translation is a rather funny, “my lizard”. Another permutation of languages yields an equally satisfactory “name lizard”.

Banjara Hills, of course, was hot-spot and hotbed for techies, both employed or otherwise. (I’ve heard that because of market situation these days, the two are no longer the same.)

The highlights of my little trip were my doww, my elopist, falling flat on my behind outside posh cafe (consequently, getting a bruise), lots of laughter. Super food. Better drink. Kung-Fu Panda, Jack Black, the man! Comfy bus-rides both ways. Also, the fact that Firangi Paani did NOT know what hit them with doww and I hitting the dance floor. Of course, several lech/vermin variety men hit on us, and bouncers threatened to hit them. Cute DJ who we crushed on, temporarily. Vague feeling of feeling lost, but loving it. Autorides at odd hours. Turning to ash in the sun. In short, everything about my trip. However, regret having missed peeyesh, who, very fortunately for him, took off to Timbuktu. Also, very many thanks Wakee, for all the leads, and I know it would’ve been a wilder time if you were there too (I don’t have a link to you, you celebrity). Other characters that have fled the city citing reasons of bright-future-making, and were missed, were NS, seeti and ape.

Lesson learnt from this trip: The only planning you need to make the most of a really small trip, are tickets forth and back.
And replace poor, underused-hence-very-frustrated Noah‘s stupid rechargeable batteries.

Oh, and lakdi-ka-pul is actually a bridge of sticks. Though I could swear I never saw one.

PS: Men reading this must note (and appreciate as a departure from my usual male-bashing habits) that I very strongly resisted the urge to say ‘redundant’ in the ‘lech/vermin men’ classification.

PPS (Internal joke, it’s okay if reader didn’t get this one. Also.): Note to elopist, now you know why you love Hyd as much. You’re incanted so often at the all those durbaars!

Instead of thinking of an LOL title,

I’m thinking – Chemistry must be blamed for this whole affair.

Some moron with plenty time on his hands looked up the English-Latin dictionary, found that Aurum was a fancy way of saying Gold, and then even thought up a nifty little symbol for it. “Ah! Au.” (I’m sure this moron was a really frustrated Copywriter, angry that Descartes beat him to the killer “Cogito Ergo Sum” line.)

Chemistry has always made things difficult anyway. Poor Kekule had probably sniffed a little too much Benzene before hallucinating a bunch of atoms holding hands and singing “ring-a, ring-a, roses, pocket full of posies.”

But yes. The potent alphabet combination.
Pt for Platinum. Mg for Magnesium.

The world has since been citing these terrible precedents, and has gone and invested substantial amounts of time and brain-space (of both message conveyor, and recipient)(we are currently not debating the very presence of brain in either, but we will arrive at that shortly) on what is called the symbol.

A little lesson on, for lack of a better word, evolution, will show that the symbol has, well, mutated, and given rise to the monster called The Shortform.

If you thought RDX, TNT, LSD, LeT, DDT were deadly enough, here’s another edge to their lethalness. Think about it. Saying “Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane” will kill just about anything without any known side-effect. Elaborating LeT at the airport will have the elaborator shot at sight.

Just what can’t you deduce from these random assortment of alphabets, arranged as if they were picked from a box of really expensive licorice allsorts? Try it. At any time, toss two, even three letters together, and you will always have some “meaningful” association.

AB is a blood group. ZXI is a variant of Maruti Zen.

AA is Alcoholics Anonymous. CC is Carbon Copy. XX means female. (Alternately, passed out.) DD means Demand Draft. Or really big breasts. (Not to be confused with 2D, which means the contrary.)

IMHO, they are especially useful in arriving at a regional flavour to the sullying of deserving party if I have recently been acquainted with an instance of poor road sense.

KA means Karnataka. Simply add “makkLu” to any expletive in the noun form or attach any animal’s name to expletive in verb form.
KL is Kerala. Here, add “moNe” to any animal’s name.
MH is Maharashtra, so a sisterly insult, delivered in Tapori, will prove very effective.
BR is Bihar, a very brief shiver, or poorly stifled flatulence. WTF were you doing behind this car, anyway?

I’m amazed by the sheer versatality of these things that, as days go by, prove that language itself is redundant. People have full fledged conversations with these. And not just over SMS.

HRU? Gr8. WRU? W/BFF. LOL, K.

And as for pop culture? K^2H^2. SRK. MJ. The most memorable I have encountered is Chennai’s favorite eatery – A2B.

The paradigm will of course apply for Advertising and Marketing, which apes (please note, I did not say “imitate”) such important, key real-life modalities.

D&G, MNG. OMG!

Yes. Even god, religion and personal beliefs have not been spared. JC. RC, MBra. CCR, DT, MVO, JT. BDSM.

I just don’t get it. Y?

I suppose I don’t buy the BS that this is easier. Easier, how? I think I’ll spend more time decoding EMG than it would take for me to say a complex tongue twister involving saying the word “emergency” seven times upward.

Maybe in time I will relocate the appreciation for this delicate art, that currently resides in and surfaces from the bowels (ha ha) of my gall-bladder.

Until then, I shall put one shot XXX and catch a few ZZZ’s.

There is nothing as gratifying

as a well-timed, well-deserved, well-enunciated cuss word in the native tongue.

Stress-balls, psychotherapy, yoga, counting to ten, twenty, ninety seven – even if it’s in French, and you’re trying to pronounce all the four words of “quartre vingt dix-sept” correctly and in that order – are all shams. They are all machinations of some greater force that is trying to fit civility in a domestic environment involving children (see? another strong reason to use protection) and enforce politesse at corporate offices where they have bugs fixed everyfreakingwhere, so you can’t even swear in private.

So, tonight, while you’re working your 3758943rd gratis overtime, just double check the softboard pins, BEFORE you verbally wish upon your boss and his kin, very unpleasant things.

But speaking of the power of the native no-no-not-mentionables.

The Colonizer was right in stereotyping us as mysterious and exotic. There is no sound explanation for, or logic to, the profound release one feels while launching an assault on another’s ancestry, or likening another to strands of hair. Especially in Kannada and Tamil. Hindi is a distant third, but that language is rich and verdant with abominations directed to female relatives. Not exactly my style.

It is incredible that every culture has many, many synonyms for bovine refuse. I suppose that comes from the fact that it is a very popular fuel (no jokes on gas will be entertained). Especially in areas where the idea of titillation involves a village belle in a startlingly revealing choli, with very supple legs, patting cakes of the said fuel – fresh from factory, full lips red from chewing pan.

Oh, don’t forget the inverted mathematical “therefore” symbol (or the “since” symbol) on her chin.

Also note, if any native language is alien to you, you will find that the most polite sounding words are surprisingly strong in offensive flavour. I have noticed this with Malayalam and Bengali, where everything sounds so musical that it really is hard to know which bug in what part of anatomy the speaker has gleefully and straight-facedly named me.

And the harder a very bad word is to pronounce, the more joyful it is to expel! Twofold, double-bubble! Achievement while you dismiss somebody. Like the ego-trip that your boss has on a daily basis. Case in point, the Tamil alphabet “zh”.

What takes the cake – not necessarily associated with the cake mentioned earlier in this post – is the expression on a comprehending listener’s face. The reactions to my generosities are particularly entertaining, especially because they are delivered at at least two octaves higher than the average person expected to say them, and, well, I have a nose-stud.

I have earned a variety of monikers for the liberal practice of this school of stress-relief. Right from gutter-mouth to underwear-mouth (this one comes with a Kannada subtitle, roughly translating to, “open it and only dirty things come out”).

But this is not to reduce the effectiveness of the English tongue. Four letters have their own very important usages – given it is essentially what makes up an entire genre of music called Hip Hop. But now, we live in a global village, where all things Indian are being sold at five times what it costs on MG Road, and ten times what it costs on Linking Road. Globalization has the world turning to India for answers.

Are we ready?
Of course we are. I’m in charge of printing that lexicon.