My Life: The Villans

What's about being in a deprived group of people? The deprivation brings you closer together I suppose. That was my experience from my 2 years at St. Mary's Poojapura. It was to prove right again.

There were people I didn't like. People I couldn't see eye to eye with (both literally and figuratively) But all that pales in comparison when you remember the nights of fun and alcohol on the terrace.

My roomies, at first, did not seem like very cool people. One looked like a terrorist on the loose, and another looked like he had an obsession with carrying suitcases.

We were the first one to arrive at the Villa. We kept thinking to ourselves that we'd suffer a lot here.

Time was to prove us right. Illness, Hunger, Rain, Wading through muck among other things. It seemed at one point that the folks at the hostel would do their course requirement Covering Deprivation trip by visiting the Villa. But we managed to pull through.

There are heroes of the Villa that I need to talk about. That'll come later.

For now, it's suffice to say that, in life, there are people around, who'll help you pull through every passing day, no matter how hard it gets.

This post is dedicated to the Vociferous Villans. Cheers guys :D

(Image Courtesy:

All In a Day's Work

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 5; the fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
(Based on Actual events)
No, wait.
(These ARE Actual events)

12:00 am : HAVE to sleep early tonight.. At least tonight. Please God please.

3:00 am: Knock on the door.
"You up?"
"Great, see you at 4."

4:00 am: At the doorsteps of the first coffee shop to open in Chennai.
Ok, fine, Adayar maybe. But still, first one to open in our vicinity.
"Anna, unda round round i take 4 - unda he take 3, i... "
"Son, I know Malayalam. Don't desecrate Tamil like this please."
"Er, he he.. Ok, sure.. Guys what'd you take?"

5:00 am: Why can't I sleep? Why o why.
It's not like I had coffee or anything.
Oh wait, I did have coffee. (sigh)


07:00 am: Sleep

09:30: Roomie is off to college.
"You dick, class starts at 10. Get your ass out of bed!"
Get up, run into bathroom, run out of bathroom, run out of house, do 20 minute walk in 10 minutes, still arrive too late for breakfast and go straight to class.

10:30 am: Attending lecture. Why did I come? Why? I coulda slept better on my own bed. These damn chairs are half my size.

11:15 am: Quick smoke, quick coffee, back to sleepy oblivion that promises no sleep.

12:59 pm: I hear people clapping. What did I win. As I stand center stage, people come to me and clap me on my back. I'm exhilarated. Wait, stop patting my back so hard, it's starting to hurt.
I turn around.

Must be the Oscars, Tom Cruise is standing there. And he says:
"Dude, wake the fuck up, lecture is over. I have to go to lunch. Move out of my way!"
(sigh) Back to the real world.

1:30 pm: Conversations around me at the table: "How do these canteen people take ordinary food and turn it into bland food?" "I hate these bastards." "We should nuke this place." Headache.

Ugggh.. Bad bad food. Please don't tell me that I'll have to throw this up later!

2:00 pm: Reporting class. "Jithin, where are you on your two stories?"
"I'm making good progress, sir. I got the number for the political leader for that love jihad story and checking out that education fair today evening."
"Good job."
(Gulp. I'm so screwed.)

5:00 pm: Metro station. "Where do I get down if I want to go to Royapettah?"
"Saar, you gyet daun at Trriplikyein."
"Alright thanks."

5:45 pm: Where is this triplicane place? Damn! Will ask fellow passengers.
"Sir, where is Triplicane?"
"Yai, Nva Yinglish. Gva Yewei!"
Er, ok. "Ma'am, Triplicane."
"No stop CaLLED Triplicane beta, the stop were you had to get down was Tiru-bleh-bleh-veli. That was half an hour ago. How funny. Ha ha ha"
Errrr.. Hag! Witch!

6:15 pm: Get down at some forsaken stop. Get on bus to Royapettah.

6:45 pm: Somewhere in Royapettah.
To Shopkeeper: "Anna, where is Hotel Deccan Plaza?"
"Very near. Ten minutes walk. This road."

7:15 pm: Ten minute walk turned out to be half an hour walk.
In front of hotel Deccan Plaza. Is that puke coming up? Yes, it is. Find a tree. Puke under it.

7:20 pm: I don't feel so good. Should I go back?
Disembodied voice from sky says: "A journalist has to work no matter what.. Oooo aaaaahh."
(sigh) Fine!

8:00 pm: Interviews done. On bus back home. Damn! Had to call that politician.
Phone rings.
"Sir, I called earlier today, three times."
"Ah yes, that journo student guy. Hold on.
After five minutes, "Yeah, I'm still busy, call me after one hour."

8:55 pm: Back home.

09:00 pm: Call again. Phone rings.
"Oh, it's you again. Listen, I'm too busy to talk to you. Why don't you talk to some low level guy. Call my assistant, he'll give you some shit and up-coming youngie's number."
"Sir, but.."

10:00 pm: Talking to "some shit and up coming youngie".
"Yai Fyeel Strangly Yebaut Dees. Pyarpasful, Kaaanspiraashi!"
"Yes, sir, point taken. But I did not ask you anything about Tamil Nadu politics. I wanted to know about your reaction to the.."
"Ah Yeais, Dyat Tvoo, Pyarpasful, Kaaanspiraashi."
Yes sir.

10:15 pm: Damn, forgot dinner. Run out, buy Maggi, come back eat.

11:00 pm: Writing report. I have to sleep early today.

12:00 am: It woulda been so much cooler if Gerard Butler had showed up in my dream. Why did Tom Cruise come. Oh fuck, the report. The report. Yeah, the report.

12:01 am: I must, MUST, sleep early today. At least today. Let's get the hell done with this report. Inspiration, strike me please.

04:00 am: Anna, 1 coffee please. (sigh) And make it extra strong.

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LOL's and ROFL's Should be Banned!

They said that with the advent of internet communications, human emotions might get lost. The cues that you might've picked up from a smile (or a fake smile at that) or a smirk would now be completely lost during e-chat they said.

They were wrong. I still managed to pick up on those cues. Until these idiots came out with their ROFLs, ROFLMAOs and their LOLs. They shouldn't be used and should be banned because:

1. Confuses people who don't know what they stand for. Most people are afraid of asking coz a large number of net idiots seem to know what they stand for. You don't want to stand out now do you?
2. Sounds ugly. Imagine somebody saying ROFLMAO. I mean, seriously!
3. You can never have quite a grip on how the person has reacted to whatever you've said. A simple, 'Ha ha, that was funny.' is way way, way better than LOL ain't it?
4. These acronyms indicate laziness to type out something more substantial. I once told somebody that I had a bad fever, and he reacted by saying LOL. Sonnova.. !

Twitter is perhaps the exception, you can occassionally use a LOL here and there to save on space and stay within 140. But otherwise, unacceptable! Call it Netiquette!

(Image Courtesy :

I Still Hate Hospitals!

What's with doctors and hospital people that makes them think they're better than us?

Just because they were better than me at academics they're better than me? Just because they wrote the Medical entrance exam that I didn't write because I overslept they can look down on me? Just because they spent five years (possibly more these days) gobbling down theory when I was playing truant in college they can talk down to me?

Hospitals have been and always will be dark, mysterious and rude places.

Last evening, with fever, sinusitis, a bad cough and breathing difficulties, against all my better instincts, I decided to go down that lane. I had a strange sense of foreboding that I chose to ignore. When you're unwell, and your head seems to be splitting at the middle with pain, you do tend to do that.

Nearest hospital? Padmapriya Multi-speciality hospital. Yeah, don't get me started on the name.

Reception: 6 pm
Jr: I need to see a General Physician.
Obnoxious Receptionist: That dwaar, saar. Please, wyait on thwase chairs.

6:30: Chair. Waiting. Two more people to go before my turn.

7:00: My turn about to arrive finally.

7:01: My turn arrives, but an elderly woman jumps up and runs inside, before I can get up. (sigh)

7:15: Elderly woman goes out. Another one prepares to cut line and jump inside. I stop this one.
"Ma'am, it's my turn"
"Enna, sonna ...... (unintelligible Tamil) pongo."
(sigh) I sit down and wait again.

7:30: Young woman sitting beside me who came way after I did, thinks she can jump line too. I don't think so.
"Ma'am, I came before you, so I'm going in."
"Waaat? NOOOOO! Yai caim yearlier, yai was shitting dayar, yai sva you kyaming yin."
"No you didn't. And no matter what, I'm going in next. And that's it."
"Yask tha reesheshpen who kyaim farst!"

Reception: 7:31:
"Can't you have a damn token system or something here so that the patients won't fight amongst themselves? Is this what you call professionalism? Is this how you damn run a hospital" (the headache was getting to me)
Obnoxious Receptionist: "Waat saaar? Adjust, no? Wait for some more time, no? Waat, no?"
" I've been waiting since 6! You gonna treat me or should I go somewhere else?"
(politeness out of nowhere, suddenly) "Er, saar. Please take a seat. I'll talk to the necessary pyeepyal."

7:35: Still waiting.
Well Dressed Man: (Strides up) "What's your problem, sir?"
Me: "Your hospital is not pro enough. You've got patients fighting amongst themselves coz you don't have a damn token system. That's  my goddamn problem."
WDM: "Er, I mean, sir, I'm the doctor. What's your medical problem?"
Me: (sigh) "If you aren't wearing the coat or the stethescope thing, at least introduce yourself next time. Ok, my problems are..."

First BP test: 140/90
Injection that hurts, that took several attempts.
Second BP: 120/90
Doc: "See? Your BP has come down now. You shouldn't have so much BP."
Me: "Whose fault is that?"
Doc: "Er, well, let me explain the medicines I'm about to prescribe to you.. You can take the rest of it up with our hospital management staff, they're waiting for you outside.

Outside: 10 mins later.
No Hospital Management Staff. I'll probably have to wait for them too.
(sigh) I walk out.

(Images Courtesy:

The Medicinal Properties of Maggi Noodles

(Statutory Warning: Might be applicable only to ACJians)

1. Protection from Ulcer, Headaches, Bad Hangovers

How? Food is always good to have. Don't have a stove to cook, lazy to go outside or raining heavily? Too drunk to even stand up straight, but still hungry? There need and CAN only be one resort. And you know what that is.

2. Protection from Blisters on Feet/ Snakes/ Frogs and Muggers

Do you go to a college whose mess is half an hour away by foot and takes you through the most dangerous vegetation filled terrain outside the Amazon? Well, don't go then. Sit at home, coax your roomie into giving you his water heater, and you know what.

3. Protection from Depression

Not as rich as everybody else, but still as hungry? Can't order out everyday and don't want to trek to an offshore island everyday? Don't worry. There is something that as Simba from Lion King called "Affordable, yet Satisfying!" Available at any chotta-shop near you.. Hurry! Before you lose it completely!

Category: 5 comments

Obituary from ACJ: The Death of Hype

(Thanks to Borti for a discussion that prompted this post)

She was young when she died. Though she will live on in memories. Not ours. But those who aspire to be where we are now. And those who'll get here, and watch her die all over again. 

The ACJ hype. I've known her for some time now. I heard of her one year before I set foot in Chennai.. Everybody was awed by her. They used to whisper when her name was taken. 

We were whispering amongst ourselves during the first week. She was very much alive, even then. 7 days. 14 days. And then nobody  heard of her again. There was no more whispering. Only open rebuke. 

They killed her. They killed her with boring modules, lack of logic, 85% attendance, law assignments and pointless assignments. 

In her stead stands Hope. Our angel. With promises of a fast approaching May. And of a pleasant summer this time around in Chennai.

If you read this, and if you still believe in Santa Claus and ACJ Hype, my advice is, don't. You'll end up having a disappointing Christmas and a disappointing year. 

Today Was MakeADiff Day!

Morning 11 am: Headache. Should I go back to sleep? Maybe not. Chai perhaps. Kaddy has sent a message. Ok. Reply later. Chai. No wait, first check mail. 

Go to the Mad Blog and check on things. New post? And I see this post by Kaddy. 

The slideshow keeps me mesmerized for quite some time. The day isn't as bad now. My only regret is that I won't be able to celebrate MakeADiff Day with my favourite Maddies. But it's alright. December will come soon. 

I've been asked questions like 'Does it pay?' and 'Can't you make better use of your time?' and 'Seriously, what do you get out of it?' too many times. 

I always smile and shrug. Some people might never understand. There was a time when I didn't get the idea either.  Thankfully though, MAD and Mad folk changed me. 

So here's to the folks over at Make A Difference! Thanks for changing my life for good, and happy birthday! 

Category: 3 comments

F1 in the time of No-Fuel-Era

Confused about the headline? Don't be. Just wiki 'Love in the Time of Cholera'.

2050, or thereabouts, will be a very tough time in mankind’s tenure on planet Earth. If experts are to be believed, that is the time by when the Earth’s resources will run out. By then, if we do not manage to colonise two other planets in space, then we are all apparently in for a very hard time.

Complacency, perhaps, is the biggest threat facing us. We have facts, figures and experiments done by very capable scientists everyday that helps the truth stare in our faces. And yet, here we are, standing on the sidelines, barely 40 years away from Earth-exhaustion, cheering on colossal wastes of exhaustible resources such as F1 and motor sports. An alien race looking down on us would surely think we’re daredevils of some sort. Daredevils know the risks involved. We do not.

F1 is arguably the most popular motor sport in the world today. Reportedly, a whopping 600 million people tuned in per race during last year’s F1 season. Italy and Britain are among the world’s biggest markets for F1 TV broadcasters. This year, figures are reported to have jumped up to 9 million for some races.

20 cars; 300 kilometers and nearly 225 liters of fuel spent per car. 4500 liters spent per race; 20 races in a season; hence 9000 liters of fuel spent. And this is just one among the host of motor sports that are consuming fuel at break-neck speeds.

This, is in no way the first time this argument has been posed. Responses to a call for an F1 ban have been meted with such responses as ‘footballers travel in cars too’ and ‘look what F1 has contributed to the world’.

Yes, footballers travel in cars as do cricketers and the layman. And yes, F1 has contributed several key technologies to the world that has bettered efficiency, speed and safety of many engine components. Engineering marvels have arose out of F1 that cannot be paralleled. Yet, have we forgotten to ask at what cost all this comes?

F1 as a sport is interesting, exciting and thrilling. But it’s harmful. There are two sides of the debate and there is only one possible middle ground. And that involves F1 shifting from exhaustible resource based fuel to renewable resource fuel.

But, yes, there is no such technology available today that will drive F1 cars as fast on renewable sources as it does on non-renewable ones. But, at least an effort and a sense of urgency should be induced to start work to that end. If we wait another 40 years to get work done regarding this end, we’ll end up driving electric F1 cars on the moon.

Just imagine, we'll have to share the Moon with these guys!

(Images Courtesy :,
Category: 4 comments

13 Things You Might Learn on a Pondy Trip

1. Always travel in small groups.
2. In case you didn't, don't travel with prima donnas.
3. Especially prima donnas who'll lecture you on random bull shit if you feign the faintest bit of interest out of politeness.
4. Never go places without a camera.
5. Get job so that you can buy camera.
6. Roomies or not-roomies, some people just desert you, just like that!
7. Hot Breads make kick ass butter buns.
8. Refrigerating a soft drink costs you an extra buck in Pondy.
9. Pondy traffic cops look like they're serious people trying to dress funny.
10. Never go to Auroville without a means of transport to get around.
11. If you've bought fish fry, beware of dogs while sitting on the beach
12. Don't sleep while sitting on the foot-board of a bus.
13. After getting job, buy car as well, so that you can come back anytime you want.
Category: 3 comments

Why I Hate Diwali

I once used to love Diwali a lot. I used to go out with my friends and dare take care of the biggest crackers around. No, wait, I din't like it all that much. It used to be a test of manhood when you were a kid. If you didn't do what everybody did, you were the freak.

We used to make fun of the obese kid who was so afraid that he used to take a full scale sheet of paper, roll it up and then use it to light the cracker.

We didn't let it show that we were as scared as everybody else. Anybody who has 'grown up' now and still says they were so brave and were so completely non-plussed by the idea of lighting one of those big ones and then throwing them over the edge of a terrace, well, apparently they haven't grown up enough yet.

Though looking back on it, Diwali meant painful headaches and boring relatives (the two might've been related). The food was small consolation, but consolation nonetheless.

Religion is so confusing. Half the people who are celebrating don't even know what they're celebrating. Can't blame them though. Religion's stupid folk stories are hardly worth a dime. They might all be as well celebrating the fact that it is a holiday.

Let me be honest. I don't hate Diwali because of it's ties with religion or it's awesomely bad folk lore background.

I hate it because I love peace and quiet. I hate it because I don't want to run the risk of being burned alive just so that some kid can have his thrills. I hate it coz I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night thinking I've time traveled the Vietnam Era. I don't know if they still employ child labourers at Sivakasi, but if they do, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Every year, there's a lot of talk about "Safe Diwalis" and "Quiet Diwalis" But some of us just can't resist can we?
Category: 6 comments

Change What?

A majority of us have this very sad habit of falling into line with whatever the popular trend is. I used to be like that. When somebody used to say Climate Change I used to think, "Oh, that means Global Warming and Ice Melting."

Questioning things is something that we still haven't learned. Thank you religion. 

Fiction reader as I was, and Chricton fan as I definitely was, I happened to read a book called State of Fear. It ended up changing my perceptions. I was a skeptic when it came to climate change now. 

Years have passed by now. And I've moved on. I've realized that polarization never leads you to truth. Detachment gives you a start. 

Climate change has always been an issue that has had agendas and master plans behind it. It has political and economical connotations. 

The problem is that we can NEVER ever address climate change while we're still a few hundred countries with different agendas and different goals. Maybe it'll take the next World War to unite us. But I hope it does someday. Then maybe changes may happen. 

But then again, this is just one very small voice in the blogosphere talking to no one in particular. :)

Today is Blog Action Day that addresses Climate Change. I might not know the stats, but I think the climate keeps changing because we're unable to change ourselves. We're unable to let go of our agendas and motives. We're unable to look at it as a human problem. 

Want change? Try changing attitudes!

(Image Courtesy
Category: 2 comments

Things I Learned in the Past 2 Weeks

1. I like Cough Syrup
2. Medical shops in Chennai are more recharge shops than medical shops
3. Some Chennaites are outright rude to you if you don't speak Tamil
4. I still can't speak Tamil
5. Saying "Anna, whaat anna?"  gives you a reduction of at least 10 rupees from Auto-wallahs in Chennai.
6. Chennai is so big, that even auto-wallahs get lost
7. I can get lost in Chennai even with a map, an address, a train ticket and a kind auto-wallah
8. Buses in Tamil Nadu are taller than buses in Kerala ( I don't hit my head anymore)
9. Trains are the same size everywhere (my legs still dangled outside the berth)
10. Always book your own train tickets
11. People who tell you they are whizzes at booking train tickets might be lying at times
12. Such people can also screw up your ticket real bad (No pointing fingers, but I'll link to this persons FB page)
13. AC buses don't make for comfortable travel when you've fever.
14. Dan Brown's new book is heavy
15. Chennai seems hotter if you spend a couple of days in Cochin.
Category: 3 comments

The Taste of Silence

Foreword: As part of a reporting assignment, me and my group of peers went to the village of Nandivaram near Guduvanchery, Chennai. It was supposed to be a reporting assignment centered mostly around food. Though, once we started walking around and experiencing the true spirit of the village, the theme underwent a magnanimous change. This is the article that I wrote at the end. :)

The absence of cacophony is almost disturbing. It is strangely peaceful this particular afternoon in the village of Nandivaram. No horns, no shouting and definitely no blaring TVs or radios. As we sit down for what will be a sumptuous lunch, my expectations of what awaits us on the other side of it are high; we’re going to tour the village today. And the lunch itself does not disappoint.

From dark shadows, people peer at us as our entourage walks by. They smile if you smile. They wave if you do. The children run away if you ask them for a hi-5. The late afternoon sun blinds us as we trek through the village’s dusty maze of roads.

We pause for a few seconds at a pond. It’s been months since I’ve seen a water source that actually had unpolluted water in it. The old men sitting under a tree nearby, eye us suspiciously; some crack a smile finally, with great difficulty, when a camera is trained at them.

Thunder shatters the air. Strangely enough, there are no clouds. We look around, puzzled. A thick plume of dust and smoke rises up in the air some distance away. “Dynamite”, our guide says.

We walk onward to a rice paddy field. They say all that glitters is not gold. They were right; it could be rice fields in the afternoon sunlight as well. The golden stalks sway in the wind with an air of magnificence. The sight is candy for sore eyes.

We continue into the innards of the village. Faces flash by. Happy faces are few; but they always return the favour if you smile at them.
We talk to a woman outside her hut. She tells us of her daughters, herself, her life. The hut is small. Comparisons fly through my head. Another woman nearby talks of loans and debts and her sons.
As we walk through the dark streets, we stumble across 12 year old Kausalya. She’s studying while sitting on the roadside. The stark beams of the streetlight above her barely do a good enough job of shedding light on her textbook. Somebody says that this was a sad setting. I tend to disagree. I rather see it as a triumph; a triumph of the human spirit. She’s our hero of the day. As we leave, she’s blushing courtesy all the attention.
We walk on. A woman is talking about her love marriage and how it alienated her from her family and her husband’s family. I think to myself: Love stories in India exist only in movies!
We talk to a politician. We sit in his plush, comfortable house and look around. With all probability, everybody was dwelling on comparisons.
The day ends where it started. At the same place where we had lunch, with the same people serving us. I realize for once, that the food and the village have entirely contrasting personalities. The food is spicy, hot, practically exploding on tongue tips. The village meanwhile, is dormant, silent. The taste of the village is the taste of silence.

3 Shitty Things That Can Happen to you on Your Way Back From the ACJ

In 1 month, the folks who live at the 'off-site hostel' (cooler name would be 'the Villa') had to put up with a lot of shit. Mind you, this is excluding the time spent in college; that would be an even more kick-ass list; fruit of some jobless night far away in the future I suppose.

Here's a countdown of the 3 worst things that could happen to you on your way back:

1. Get Mugged!

I'm not kidding. The incident that was the inspiration for this post. 3 muggers, 1 lonely assailant. Lots of bruises on either sides. No arrests. One mobile phone stolen.
Like this, only minus the knife, the hood, the fake knife and the constipated look. And did I mention three of them and the fetish for mobile phones?

How did this happen? Well, you have to look at the road we are made to travel through everyday. It looks like this:


Anyhow, this was voted the most shittiest thing that could happen to anybody. Moving on.

2. Swimming through Mud

As well drained as Chennai is, it only takes roughly around 5 minutes of train to enable the sharks from the sea to swim up to the Mount Road (or whatever the arterial road of Chennai is)

Now, water I can take. Water you can easily step on, and it'll dry off.

See? Perfectly acceptable. As long as you're tall (which I'm) you never need worry about sinking into one of those potholes that are conspicously hidden under this calm and collected exterior. Of course, the sewage canal poses a problem, but I won't go into the details in the interests of not ruining your appetite.

But imagine the same thing, only mud instead of water. There have been incidents of people who had to be pulled out coz they got stuck. Seriously!

3. Getting Molested by Dogs (The Canine Kind)

Question: Are there more tea stalls or stray dogs in Chennai? If you're a 'rational' person, you'd say: "Like, duh, as if the two are related. ':P'' (sigh) Well, it's simple, every tea stall has at least two dogs 'working' it. Two is the bare minimum mind you.

You get the picture I hope. Depending on the amount of crunchies they were able to get from there 'joints', these adorable looking, sweet creatures may decide to chase you, hunt you, or molest you. Of course, all this will happen on that dark road, so you won't know for sure if it was the dogs or the muggers until you get back home and see what all you lost.

This is Sammy by the way (or was it Selvan) who works our college canteen. (sigh)

Category: 4 comments

Things You Should Never Take For Granted: Part 1

One month into my ACJ Education, I realized there are some things that you can never take for granted. Why? Mostly coz they make life easier, and life can suck at times without them. Here's part 1. 3 things you should ALWAYS be appreciative of:

1. Spectacles:

Why? Well, I broke mine and I realized that being a myopic man is more painful than being a blind one. The blind man is used to seeing things by feeling and hearing. The myopic man, meanwhile, sees everything clearly until the fateful day that his spectacles desert him. The pain of looking at everything blurred and trying to remember what they looked like during days of clarity can be hard. Take my word for it.

And of course, don't forget, if you break your spectacles, your optician is sure to remind you of their value when he dishes out the bill. (gulp)

2. Tomato Sauce:

Why? One week into my college life, I gave up on the canteen food. Destruction of hope can be very painful. My college canteen cooks have the rare ability of taking normal food and making it taste more bland than they already are.

The remedy? Tomato Sauce. And lots of it, at that. Goes with everything, and makes life a lot easier if you're not used to living in an army boot camp. I even tried it with curd rice one day. Not as bad as I expected it to be. (sigh) Good times.

3. Shopkeepers who go to bed late at night:

Why? Well, in Chennai, most shopkeepers go to bed at 10. Meaning, they close their shops at 9:30, and on Sundays they don't get up at all, and hence shops remain closed. So what will you do if you need some 'fresh air', or detergent powder, or some coffee at that? Nothing! You just drudge around cursing the city and remembering the shopkeepers from home sweet home who apparently thought taking care of YOU was more important than sleeping or attending to their private lives.

OK. That's for the first list. Did I miss anything? :D

The Land of the Silent Barber

It's been a very long time since page has been lying around like this, but this being the inauguration, let me not go into that.

There are difficulties with living in a place where you don't speak the local language. Especially if it's Tamil Nadu.

Friend of mine asked for a pack of cigarettes (in English invariably) and the shop keeper gave him ten cigarettes in his hand. As it is uncomfortable and usually a bad idea to carry them around in your hand, he asked for a pack so that he could put them all in.

The reply: "Enna saaar, you smoku pack too, aieh?"

(sigh) You get the point.

But today, I found one place where your ignorance of the language actually helps you. The Barber shop.

I don't know what's the deal with barbers. I think they have this misguided notion that better customer relations are established by asking a lot of questions, giving a lot of opinions and basically never shutting up!

That is precisely why people never switch barbers. Coz they don't want to go through the harrowing experience of the inquisition yet again.

BUT, if you're a Mallu living in Tamil Nadu? Perfect! You understand just about enough Tamil to say 'NO' when the barber asks you if you want a Rajani Hair Style, and you don't know enough to answer the usual "So where are you from?" in Tamil.

I said a few words in English in a half hearted attempt to answer the question, and..

Voila!! None Followed.