Thursday, December 27, 2012


I've been a tropical person all my life; never more than 15 minutes away from the beach until I moved to Florida - you get the picture. Naturally my first real temperate winter here in Indiana brought some gloom in tow. But over the last week I have "warmed up" to it. I guess I have a new addition to the like list.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rapes and Grapes

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am a feminist. I do not have statistics to quote, I do not need to. Pick an Indian newspaper of your choice and pick a rape article of your choice; there are several for you every day. There should not be much to make of the morality of it but it is shameful and insane that every able-minded person has a unique take on it. Here is all we ask you for, focus on what recovery and rehabilitation can be made for the victim, severely punish the demon that did it and protect all citizens as equals irrespective of their sex, age, clothing or background. 
Yes you focused on the victim alright. By sensationalizing her for the worst moment of her life. By plastering all over the news, what she was up to, who she is and what she should have to say for her predicament. By treating her as a sex object. You punish the demon alright, by treating his human rights violation like a civil crime. By making him no more than a statistic. By keeping him an anonymous one of four arrested. By giving him a second chance after your so-called treatment. As for protection, the wonderful policemen that rape and molest victims a second time, the empathetic media that has a page worth of information about the victim for the viewer but no more than a line about the disgusting criminal and all the grand old folks who discuss the social circumstances leading to the incident will answer. Gladly.
I have a question to ask of everyone. When a human rights violation of this nature has occurred, what purpose does knowing or debating the motive of the crime serve? Shame on you sir if you want to think about what the victim did to deserve it. You have automatically become part criminal by saying a victim does not deserve to be treated like a fair human because of their sex or their attitude. If I paraded the streets naked, you can arrest me for being a public nuisance but you do not deserve to violate me in any other way. Even if I give some space to your disgusting logic, how do you plan to face and answer to the eight year old girl on the Mumbai local, or the Indore housewife that never left her kitchen and the countless others that have no fault other than being a woman or a child? If you still invoke fate and ways of the world, shame on you again sir; consider a lobotomy and sign up for Martian Nuremberg experiments.
By committing a crime of this nature, the lowly creatures that did it have automatically signed away their right to be treated as human. They no longer deserve to live in a community of sane people. Keep them in a dark cell and let them rot. They no longer deserve procreative privileges. Castrate them and save the world from their weapons of mass destruction. Heck, they don't deserve a second chance. Let them feel the pain and misery that they have caused and keep it through what is left of their evil insufferable lives. Brand them with tattoos that show them for what they are. Lobotomize them. They do not need brains; their thinking apparatus is obviously elsewhere. Publicize them as offenders instead of the victim who does not need publicity, so no one would let them near again.
And you, the judge on what the victim should wear and bear, I call you the worst one of them all. You, with suggestions on their profession, timing, clothing, appearance, sex, voice and location. You are the one that has stroked and reared this madness. I recognize your air of lazy arrogance. Your agenda of indifference and self-importance and your far-removedness from the reality of the situation. I know your traditional values are what they are because they keep you in a position of power; you do not even have to think about what it feels to be a victim. I know your are homophobic because there is only one way you can be made to feel the same fear. 
My friends that dismiss my feminism as my naivety and suggest that an egalitarian attitude is what I should adopt, come closer. Screw you. I am afraid to be a woman and ashamed of being a man. Give me an equal society. Give me a place where people are not victimized for what they can do nothing about. Give me a place where people are truly discrimination free. Give me a place where genders are not a concern. Do not tell me that it is better than the fifties; it bloody well is not. The reality of today is an unbalanced society and the persecuted section needs all the help to can get to become what you speak of. Until then I am a feminist with good reason. Wake up.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Swag rag

I absolutely detest douchebag fans. Every last one of them. The ones that will wear a Michigan jersey to a Florida-Florida state game just because. 

I recently met one at an IU-Michigan State football game.

It was a freezing but bright fall Saturday morning. I trekked up College Ave. to the tailgating grounds to meet Lisa and company. The new rotation student Drew had a spot for us with hot breakfast and cold beer. I was a bit surprised by the large turnout all the way up College Ave. and at the tailgating grounds. IU fans had pride; it would take some effort for me to do this chilly outing even in Gainesville, FL. I found my bunch at the tailgate spot and met some new people. Within five minutes I struck up an intense conversation with David, another first year grad student. David was stroking the coals in the bbq rack and seemed to enjoy talking about recruiting classes and 3-3-5 defenses as much as I did, and a mutual respect was quickly seeded and growing. We were talking about pass-catching half backs when we were rudely distracted by a drunk Michigan State contingent in their merry green. We both rolled our eyes and I told David about my thoughts on douchebag fans.

"I saw a Michigan fan like that once. I hate Michigan fans."

"Really?" said David and pulled off his black sweatshirt to reveal an eye-blinding maize T-shirt with blue writing on it - 'Wolverines'.

He was a Michigan fan? But he was cool to talk to! One hasty switch of topics later, I caught Lisa's eye and signaled to her that I wanted to go scalp tickets. We left immediately and I poured to her on the way what I thought about douchebag fans and she sniggered politely.

The tickets were scalped and we were surveying the tailgating scene as we made our way back to Drew's truck. I was really very impressed with the number of people in Indiana Crimson all around. IU has always had an awful football team and these fans really had to either be clueless or just plain stupid to brave this weather to watch them lose to a mediocre Michigan State team. And tailgating before that? Man are they nuts!

We almost reached the truck when I saw him. He was walking up past the intersection of College Ave. and Madison, a stocky guy with short hair, a beer belly and a Nike Pro combat orange and blue jersey from the the 2009 Florida-Florida state game. A Florida fan!! I yelled out to him "Go Gators baby!!!" (scaring Lisa to an inch of her life in the process) and unzipped my faux-leather jacket to reveal a bright orange T-shirt with blue streaks and a roaring alligator logo. I ran over to him as he noticed what was happening and we screamed as we did a chest bump followed by several gator chomps at everyone staring at our war dance.

Yeah I met a douchebag fan that day. That douchebag fan was me.


My thoughts go out to anyone that has ever been hurt by arms. I am not smart or motivated enough to drone on about gun control and therapy for criminals but somewhere in the reactions and the political debate, the value for a life lost is shamefully neglected. Let us not sensationalize, politicize or commercialize sadness. The human condition has a responsibility to be better than that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The devil in the details

Yes, we are all very different-ish. By being similar to the one you consider different. And thank you to the interwebs for giving us a podium to display our different profiles for the world to worship. As for the rest of the profiles out there, we will mock, detest and met out our capital punishments. For being imperfect. For not matching up. For not fitting the color scheme we want to paint the world in. Who decided what is allowed, and more importantly, disallowed in the name of internet etiquette? We wanted to be different, why is the different one not admitted?

In my prime, I used to be one of the worst offenders. I had a permanent place in my improvised mockumentaries for the raw and uninitiated. Friends, family, the income tax bureaucrats, not a soul was spared from the cold iron taser that was my justice (Damn right I'll tase you bro). Look at those awful photos! What is it with all the open louvs! Crazy fellow with drunk tweets! She listens to Nickelback?! Until one day, I decided to do some self-analysis and went through some of my chat, facebook and blog archives. What was I thinking in 2005, let me find out. A quick scan later my reaction was exactly that. What was I thinking in 2005?!! How could I sound so ill-advised? How could I feel that this thought was worthy of being shared? How could I express this part of me so stupidly for the world to see? I was, in essence, everything that I currently held in glorious contempt. How could I use cud instead of could? (and cum instead of come? Yeah, I know. I wish it had come more deliberately. See what I did right there?)    

It is mildly horrifying, how easily irritation is rationalized and blamed on something as harmless as someone making a few grammatical misses. There definitely are a number of things that are on absolute TMI lists everywhere but outside of them, there has to be a little more patience with differences in people's communication capabilities on the internet and otherwise. The same thought that makes us ridicule a "less intellectual" idea made public, goes into racism, sexism and fundamental impatience for unchangeable traits in people.

Impatience and disgust for emotions and ideas shared on an internet-based forum may sound like a harmless matter, making this post a rant of sorts against a molehill of non-issues. But the mental agenda behind it can creep into the way we handle people in real life. It is also the disdain for Starbucks employees that misname your cups. It is also the outrage over a physically handicapped person boarding the bus ahead of you. It is also the road rage over the mid-sized sedan that follows speed limits "holding up" the lane ahead of you. (As a side note, I do think that publicizing one's anger over slower moving traffic is a high quality reason to suspend one's driving privileges).

If left unchecked, these small-minded thoughts evolve to grander fantasies of unbridled rage-fuelled stupidities. A friend of mine told me once that my use of a cheap dysfunctional android phone was some form of karma for switching to a macbook some years ago. True story. A more believable rage-stupid event is the recent mockfest over the lack of picture quality in the apple maps app. While the criticism will be useful to apple for coming up with a 2.0 version on the app, much of the crap-slinging happens between individuals who have no real reason to be concerned with any of it. The ego only serves to fuel itself and hurt you when well-sized. We are all observed at various snapshots of what we chose to show of our tangibles and intangibles and these snapshots speak only a fraction of our amazing stories. Instant comparisons are a guaranteed waste of time and often dangerous. 

Of course, it is a hard thing to correct, but it is important! Until such time that we chill out and let people express themselves in their style, however imperfect it may seem, it may be a wise idea to take a break from it all. Are they racking your brains with their obsession over Mothers' day and the new Batman movie release? Switch off and tune out until you can come back when you can be a bigger person. Meet people when you feel pleasant. Don't drive angry. After all, the true reason for why we judge the world harshly, is that we fear being judged ourselves.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Test

The blogger requests all faithful and wonderful google friend connect followers to continue doing the same using google+ so he can keep looking super legit.


Friday, October 05, 2012

What is in a name

I have everything that a 27 year old needs. Except for a badass nickname. It matters! Look at what I have to use instead.

Someone came up with a pretty researched list of sporting nicknames a while ago. Here are my personal favorites. And I hate all of you in no specific order.

10. Rahul Dravid - The wall

9. Lionel Messi - La Pulga Atómica

8. John White - The wolfman

7. Usain Bolt -                            
(He doesn't need one. See what I mean? Are you reading this pa?)

6. Marshawn Lynch - Beast mode

5. Kobe Bryant - The black mamba

4. Tim Tebow, Dwight Howard - Superman

3. Sachin Tendulkar - God

2. Tyrann Mathiu - The honey badger

1. Calvin Johnson - Megatron

On loop this week

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A walk in the dark

I was in Chicago this weekend to meet some friends. I woke up Sunday morning and scanned though my RSS feed for the latest on Syria. A study reported that an average of a 1000 people were dying each day with the rate potentially going up through the winter. I felt a sick punch of impotence in my stomach. Later in the day, we walked around downtown Chicago straining our necks to count the number of floors in the Hancock tower. When our eyes returned to ground level, I noticed the people walking around with their pretty coats and expensive shoes. I noticed the chromed out sports cars that made vroom noises even when parked. And then I noticed the hobos. Some were holding boards requesting food and not money. There was a war vet who had lost a leg and held a board requesting a job, any job. There was one guy with no board but a dog wrapped in his coat on his lab. The dog chose to not move but it was not smiling. When the wind got stronger, the dog shivered a little until the guy gave it a pat and hugged it.

I am glad I got to have a good warm time with my friends on Sunday. I am thankful for the fact that I have friends and a loving family to turn to. I am thankful for a clean and protected childhood. I am thankful for good teachers and an education. I am thankful for having a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat and an honest occupation to sustain myself. Most of all I am thankful for a sensitivity that keeps me humbly thankful on any given Sunday.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Try this

When you find the time that is.

Pour ice slush into the lab sink such that the sink drain is clogged from all the ice but you can still see it. Listen to the ice melting and dropping (pop!) from contact with the drain surface. In a few seconds, you can also see the ice bits getting smaller and falling into the trap making it a fun lightning and thunder combination!

Or you can spice it up by pouring a slush of ethanol and dry ice. Brilliant smoke effects! Use a spatula to play some dry ice hockey on the sink surface as you watch the smoky ice rearrangement show.

Or you can make it more awesome by making it a slush of liquid nitrgen and regular/dry ice for some extra hot spring bubbling effects as well! Except that is against lab safety regulations so cross that.

And they thought Tuesdays aren't fun.

I've been missing for the last month because, amongst other things, I have been working really hard. Peace.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Sappa boys

Santhanam may not yet be up there on the tamil comedy hall of fame but he is quite the enlightened soul. There is great depth in his uncomplicated classification of available girls into the sappa figure Vs super figure categories (as men would perceive them). Fauxminists may be quick to put a knife to our jugulars but you cannot knife the idea out of our brains. While his statement gives enormous clarity on how men view women (and women view men), there is not much made on how men view their own. This post hopes to cover some ground in that direction. Ladies please take notes. And snacks.

Men are actually more complicated to themselves than women are. They come in three categories:
1. The jerk - Aap douche hain
2. The nice guy - Aap good hain
3. The solid guy - Aap dude hain

The jerk - will take you a maximum of 30 seconds to figure out if you are a guy. Girls tend to take one or more failed relationships. The loud and rude fratboy. We've all met him. He generally comes with habits that are readily annoying to guys but strangely women tend to invest what patience they have (of all places!) in 'changing' this lost cause. The lack of basal level self-respect works well enough to make him a 'player' of sorts and he takes great delight in playing captain pollution wherever he is involved. Depending on whether you are number 2 or number 3, you will either barely tolerate him or give him his worst fear - complete indifference. Due to his glaring social ineptitude, the jerk tends to survive in a larger fraternity of more jerk brothers (jerkoffs). The brotherhood of jerkiness often carries a liberal air of misogyny so it can go well with the narcissism.

The nice guy - is the frustrated chump that we all have been at some point if we have not been the jerk. Complete conformism by people-pleasing is the ideal and therefore the nice guy has a tendency to overcompensate somewhere to make one thing work. Unfortunately that leaves the tap running elsewhere and makes him look like an idiot. He is a loyal friend zone worker and purse carrier. If not revitalized from time to time, the nice guy gets frustrated with how there is not a system in place to reward him for paying overcompensation taxes. People tend to get annoyed with how he could drive the car onto train tracks to avoid the raccoon on the road. However, the bottom-line is that he means well and that always gets him a lot of goodwill from his brothers even if it does not get him respect anywhere. He genuinely wants good to happen and will involve himself in some form or the other for it. The scary part is that he ends up digging his own grave in the process and it is all very pathetic.

Mr. Solid - has graduated from being either the jerk or the nice guy (or both). He is an enlightened soul with a calmness hardened by experience. He has this shit figured out and advises in single sentences. Only when asked. The adequate response to most everything is a chuckle and Mr. Solid's chuckles carry the stamp of his clarity. He has achieved near mastery on jugaad. It is not about what needs to be done to deal with the problem anymore, it is 'is this going to be a problem'? He picks his battles and if the battle picks him, he plugs guns with his finger.

Don't worry, you'll find one.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Karma Chameleons

I wanted to call this post 'My argument against anarchy', but that would have given away the point of this post. Oops. Anyway, this one is fancier.

 You know why I like to read The Times of India? It is a tabloid. It does not carry real news. It tells me that the celebrities made big mistakes with their life and services my insecurities. Actually, I wish I did that. I read the real news instead and everyday it is about rape, abuse and families destroyed for seemingly silly reasons. Major scale human rights violations. A lot of rage is brought forth and fatwa-equivalents are issued against all the evil-doers. So really what is in the mind of the offenders?

It is accepted that they are clinically sick. It is a disorder but it is not the victim's fault to bear! They are not just deranged, they are deranged masterminds. They know exactly what they are doing, but they are deranged just enough to not let a conscience bother them, while not too much so you can spot them with bright green hair when you see them. While a very impotent public psyche and judicial system deals with them (a future post will have more on this), there is still so sort of social/legal damage done to the offender, however inadequate.

This post will focus on some of the more not-illegal, social, psychological crimes that are just morality issues. I saw a tamil movie recently called Poraali that deals with this population. I just call them crazy people. Doctors tend to diagnose some of them with personality disorders. The rest of them, we just have to live with.

A big problem is that the only time we discover the mad side of crazy people too close to us is when it is too late and the damage has been done. Crazy people are not crazy all the time; in fact there is a crazy in all of us that we suppress to fit in with decent society.

We had a clogged sewage pipe in our house one day and we had to get some workers to manually climb into the sewage gutter to clear out the blockage. It was a hot summer day in Chennai and it took quite some work from the two men. I stayed with them to look at what they were doing and supervise if needed. After the problem was resolved, one of the men asked me for some drinking water. I quickly fetched him a glass of water from the kitchen. He drank it quick and requested for some more water, chilled this time. I grabbed a bottle of water out of the refrigerator and handed it to him. He and his colleague drank all the contents of the bottle and returned it to me with a thanks and a tired smile. As I re-entered the house, a cousin walked to me and asked me if I was stupid.
'Excuse me?' 
'Why would you give them water from a cup that we use to drink? And why the cold water?'
I frowned for a moment to allow the meaning of what she said to sink in. When it did, I looked at her for a couple of seconds and then walked away. I had understood her; I was not going to explain myself. She immediately realized what she had done.
' I didn't mean it like that! It is just that I did not want you to put the empty bottle back in the refrigerator!' Her face was flushed.

This is a very harmless example but the ideal response to these things is call bullshit. What she said was exactly what she meant. If she didn't mean it, she never would have said it. They know exactly what they are doing; they just don't have the fiber to keep down the crazy moment or accept the repercussions. They are real worried about the rest of the world identifying that part of them and judging them. 'Please do not judge me for my selfishness. It is because of work and stress!'

It is easy to fall for the excuse made. 'It was daddy issues'. 'It was the way I was brought up'. 'It was the loneliness.' 'It was the moment.' That is their trump card. But like Chris Rock says it 'Whatever happened to just plain Crazy?' There may be a story to it but it is their story! It is their behavior and even if it is a clinical condition, if they do not fix it no one else can. It is not for others to just deal with it so they can be selfish. All their effort is spent on trying to justify it with an unrelated past issue or get you to sympathize with their condition but they need to be putting effort on getting over themselves. These are people that can deal with or even cure their crazy, they just choose not to, and instead make you deal with it.

Bipolar disorder can actually be a systemic genetic disorder and bipolar patients who are attempting to deal with it will tell you, it is hard. But they want to not be like that and they are working on it. They do not need your sympathy if they are really working it.

The ones that do not want to face it, it is just plain selfishness. But unfortunately selfishness is not wrong, in fact it is synonymous with the pursuit of happiness which the Smiths will tell you, is not wrong. All morals are relative. No one can be judged because there are no rules with convenient and convoluted philosophies existing on both sides of the argument. They will make you swim and drown in their complicated justification for crazy behavior, so watch your back! We all have to live in this society. They cannot just take the rules when they work in their favor and take recess in the chaotic nature of the world when it suits them. If the universe is meant to embrace their craziness in the name of accepting randomness, why don't they embrace their own craziness too and put a knife to their cheeks? You could at least tell them out in a crowd and stay away, you don't want to get their disease!

For sane people, if you are right or wrong, you accept situations and live with it. If you think you need to justify anger, selfishness or conventional harm with a convoluted story - you are crazy, period. Normal people feel sorry and make up even if they did mean to harm.

As for the victims, the golden question is where is the karma? I do not believe in the concept. If the wife beater lives a wonderful life and never feels any regret, karma advocates would probably come up with some fantastic theory that serves to keep the concept running rather than getting the douchebag castrated. Or say something like a wife beater's life is bad anyway. He must have been abused as a child. I'll just say save yourself and stay away, it is not something you can fix or deal with. Run. Fly you fools.

There is another technique. Do you know why a lot of crazy people look like they are doing perfectly well? It is because they view the world in black and white. While that looks like a bad thing, a binary view of the world can really help you call out bullshit when you see it, so the other crazies cannot ruin their course of action. I do not advocate that you become crazy and oversimplify things but don't let anyone over-complicate it for you either and mask will fall on its own. Keep it simple.

Related song on loop

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brain on the rain

A collection of demotivators made over the years.

What has been on loop: