Walking the distance

In the last couple of days I have realized that Ouchmytoe readers (and that means YOU!) only like funny articles. I also have a feeling you prefer articles targeting Rekha more than anything else. So, here is a promise – will try and include Rekha in each post of mine for the next one week. Anybody who first spots a post without Rekha`s mention…wins an affordable gift. A serious gift!

Green is my favorite color. Maybe because green represents peace and prosperity. Or maybe because I love peas…esp when served as mutter panner. Or maybe because I get jealous at the drop of a hat.

The day Sonia Gandhi relinquished the Prime Minister`s chair and asked Dr Manmohan Singh to be the PM, I was terribly jealous of the new Prime Minister. What did he have that I didn`t? He had studied Economics, but I had also been a BA Economics student at The American College, Madurai. He had a ‘Doctor` before his name…but I had also almost passed the Pre-Medical/Pre-dental exam. Only when my mother pointed out that Sonia had chosen Dr Manmohan because he stayed in New Delhi, did I relent. My mother said interacting for important matters with someone staying in New Delhi would any day be easier than interacting with a person in Madurai. Like always, my mother made sense.

As luck would have it, my mother couldn`t stop me from marrying another jealous lady – Rekha. The other day she looked at my calendar and asked me who June was. She wouldn`t listen when I told her June was not the name of a girl!

Anyway, yesterday, when having lunch, Rekha called and said: “Did you read Kiruba`s blog (www.kiruba.com)? He has cycled from Bangalore to Chennai.”

“Has he?”

“Yes.” Rekha knew I was already jealous.

“Must be lying!”

“No, he is not. He has put up pictures from the trip.” Rekha was hell bent on making me jealous. Girls have the ability to program themselves. Things like ‘OK, let me be focussed for 3 minutes and 24 seconds and after that I will ease out` come naturally to them.

In turn, men are totally different. We can`t stay focused. The other day I was supposed to scream at this pretty team-mate of mine for not doing what I had asked for but I ended up saying, “Nice noodle strap. Where did you get that?”

In the next one hour I had read Kiruba`s post on the trip and decided to do something similar. Not being a person who procrastinates, I decided that in the evening, I will walk all the way home. A cool thirteen kilometers …but if Kiruba can cycle 332 kilometers in less than 37 hours…Jammy can also walk 13 kilometers. I asked my driver to take the car home.

Mind you, walking is not that easy. One kilometer after I started walking, I decided to take an auto….but couldn`t get any. After four kilometers of walking, it struck me that I could ask for a lift. It took me ten minutes to realize that when the roads are lonely, no biker stops. After walking nine kilometers…I reached a bus stop. I stood in the stop for a while but all busses were crowed. So decided to walk again…when I was only 100 meters from my house, one guy on a Yamaha overtook me and stopped. I looked at him. He said: “Would you want me to give you a lift?” I stared at him for a few seconds and walked away.

Moral of the Story: Never be jealous. Jealousy is all the fun YOU think they had, when they had nothing!

If you like posts like this, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Maddox the Blog hater

The Alphabet of Manliness is a recent book written by a humor writer which is currently creating waves in the literary circles. I say humor writer with a lot of pride because like me he also maintains a funny/satire website titled ‘The Best Page In The Universe`.

Unfortunately, he hates Blogs and this is how he describes them. Funny to read. Try out his website after you finish reading stuff that`s displayed here.

– – – – –

India vs West Indies – Full Coverage
What would Dravid be thinking now
Greg Chappell – a revealing brief
Sachin Tendulkar – how fit is he?
Get the Monkey off your back…

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of stupid people parroting stupid buzz words. There are too many to list all of them here, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try. I propose that we all agree, here and now, to strike these words and phrases from our collective for the betterment of humanity, and the improvement of my blood pressure. Thank you.

Blog: The word “blog” is literally shorthand for “boring;” a vulgar, overused word that strikes your ear with the dull thud of a cudgel to the soft spot of a child. It’s an abbreviation used by journalism drop outs to give legitimacy to their shallow opinions and amateur photography that seems to be permanently stuck in first draft hell.

Looking in the archives of the blogs, one would expect someone who has been at it for years to slowly hone their craft and improve their writing and photographs, since it’s usually safe to assume that if someone does something long enough, he or she will eventually not suck at it. Even with lowered expectations, you’ll get a shotgun blast of disappointment in your face.

It’s an unspoken rule that every blog must use the same layout as every other blog: long, slender columns of annoyingly condensed text, thousands of links to other blogs, plugs for shitty political books, and more links to yet more blogs. Read More


Toilets – how lucky we are to have them

When I was with Indian Express, I didn`t find their office toilets great. They were very average.

After two years with IE, I tagged on to my Indian Express Sports Editor Anand Philar and World Billiards Champion Geet Sethi and joined their start-up kheladi.com in Chennai. Since we worked out of a house the two toilets were good enough. Just that when I got up from my seat, the whole office (five young strapping men) knew that I was going to the loo.

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When I joined Sify I was in for a treat. The first time I entered the men`s loo in Tidel Park, Chennai I was shocked. I remember asking myself: “Wow…why isn`t my bedroom like this?”

The floor was sparkling clean. The washbasins had chrome finish (as if they were Harley Davidsons) and black granite surroundings. The huge mirrors displayed a very handsome me made handsomer by the light shining right on top of the mirror. The shoe-shiner in the corner was at work – somebody was shining his shoes. The hand dryer was at work too.

I remember hating my house from then on. In contrast, my 2 feet by 2 feet toilet on the top floor had no roof. Leaves from the nearby trees would regularly fall within the three walls and clog the potty. We didn`t really mind till one day…a coconut tree`s leaf fell while I was inside. It hurt.

Today the clean toilets are taken for granted but it was not always so. Instead of using sand, leaves stone, grass etc by 1857 people who could afford it, started using toilet paper. Joseph Cayetty of USA was to be blamed for it was he who invented it.

Coincidentally, the first Indian war of Independence was also fought in 1857. For the not so suspicious there no connection…but I would say that the British were getting their ass kicked so fine that they funded a research on toilet paper.

Though Cayetty had invented toilet paper, Indians continued to be insensitive to others` nostrils for a long time. In 1878, India`s first sanitation bill was introduced. According to this law it was compulsory to build toilets if you were building a house. Even the huts in Calcutta (which was then the Indian capital) were not sparred.

The next watershed (pun intended) in the history of toilets was when the Indian Government introduced a law which banned construction of dry latrine and its manual cleaning. Surprisingly, this bill was operative only from 1993! Too late!

I wouldn`t have realized how lucky I was if not for this young friend of mine from Madurai who had come down to my office for an interview. I picked him up from the reception and on the way up asked him: “So, would you want to freshen up?”

He said: “Yes.”

Thinking he would like to wash his face and comb his hair, I took him to the washroom. As soon as we entered, he saw the row of washbasins (fully decked up in chrome and granite) and said: “I will have coffee. You can have your breakfast if you want.” He then proceeded to wash his hands.

It took me a while to understand. He had completely missed the “Men`s Washroom” board on the door and looking at the fancy washbasin thought it was the office restaurant.

I had to think fast. I couldn`t afford to bring down his confidence levels just before his interview. I had to somehow take him out of the washroom.

“What do you want for breakfast?” I asked him even as I washed my hands.

“Coffee will be fine for me. As I said, you can have your breakfast.”

This was the break I was looking for….

“Shucks…I also want only Coffee. In which case, it is better to go down to the second cafeteria…where we get great filter coffee.”

Ina few seconds we were outside the washroom, and in a few minutes, which seemed like hours, we were in the cafeteria.

I had done my good deed for the day. If he gets recruited, he will find out the washroom! But then, shit happens….

Some pictures from our Ooty trip

This was snapped while filling up the car before we climbed up the hill. Wonder why it says ‘you pay more in the hills’.

Check out the tea’s name – Nonsuch. When I asked the tea shop owner he said: “Thats because there is ‘no other such’ tea in the World.”

Thats Rekha and I with our hosts in Mettupalayam – my uncle and aunt.

This board was spotted at the Nonsuch tea shop. It was a difficult choice.

Spot the happy couple in the picture

Liars. I tried touching the supposedly electricity board but didn’t get a shock. It was not an electricity board at all!

Conversation: Osama vs Batman

Riddler and the Joker are now pass̩ Рsuperhero Batman now has a new enemy. In his latest comic which has already hit the stands he takes on the World`s most dreaded terrorist РOsama bin Laden. Al Qaeda attacks Batman`s Gotham city, which is then rescued by the caped crusader. Here is a conversation Batman and Osama had in the Batmobile, after the latter was arrested.

Osama: Why did you have to arrest me?

Batman: If I didn`t, Superman would have and I didn`t want DC Comics to make all the money.

Osama: So it is all about money.

Batman: Of course yes. Why do you ask?

Osama: I am surprised. I never killed for money.

Batman: I am not surprised. Different people have different passion.

Osama: What do you mean?

Batman: Take George Bush for example. Why do you think he has blood on his hands?

Osama: Why?

Batman: No wonder you got arrested. It is for ‘oil` you dumbo.

Osama: What will he do with all the oil?

Batman: Like Gotham city, everything in America also runs on oil and Bush just wants to make sure that his country has enough till they can tap Nuclear energy.

Osama: Why doesn`t he just buy all the oil? America is rich…aren`t they?

Batman: That`s what you think. On Valentine`s day this year, America`s total debt was $ 8,209,586,113,365.

Osama: You must be kidding.

Batman: I am not. In the jail, once you get Internet facility, try out this website: http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov

Osama: Will do. Are you telling me that Bush`s America is actually an imperialist country?

Batman: You could be right.

Osama: I am confused. If all you have said is true…why have I been arrested? Isn`t Bush a bigger terrorist than I am?

Batman: Can`t comment. My Batmoile is bugged and my phone is being tapped. Bush`s orders you see.

Appraisals are here

Having failed to find anything funny in appraisals, Ouchmytoe decided to borrow from the internet and come up with an interesting piece.

I had my appraisals a few days back. Am glad I had read this article in The Hindu way back in 2004, for I was able to maintain my cool. As a result, I didn`t put in my papers the same day.

Surprising isn`t it, the newspapers never write on how to deal with good appraisals. But then, do good appraisals exist? Or are they like the UFOs?

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“You are a great resource and you should go far,” my boss initiated the dialogue.

I was happy. Not all bosses know to break the ice with such simplicity.

“That`s nice to hear, Aparna.”

“Thanks. The sooner you go far, the better,” She said staring at the computer.

Being an honest, chaste man has its drawbacks. When somebody is pulling you down, scolding you or making fun of your ability, you don`t realize. I didn`t realize and continued: “So what is the hike I am getting?”

“Hike? I don`t think you will need one….you have set yourself low standards and have consistently failed to achieve them.”

“But why would I not need a hike?” Even as I persisted, I saw my boss rating me as ‘Excellent` against the ‘Perseverance` parameter.

“In your last appraisal I had rated you as ‘Doesn`t meet expectations`. Remember?”

I wondered why she was bringing in the past. Wasn`t an associate`s career path all about the future? “Yes,” I snorted.

“Since my last report, you have reached rock bottom. In the next two days you would start to dig.”

“So what if I dig?”

I have always known Aparna as somebody quick to the gun and this time too she didn`t disappoint. She said, “If you dig, you would soon reach oil…and think of how rich you could be.”

Honest and chaste men like me can only be pushed to a certain extent. There is a limit beyond which the Rajans can take insults. I wanted to fight back. “But I worked hard the last one year,” I replied.

“Yes you did…but only under constant supervision. To put it bluntly, you worked hard when cornered like a rat in a trap.”

If only I hadn`t lent my gun to Pravin Mahajan. Even as I was giving it to Pravin, I remember my mother had said: “Lend books…but never lend your gun…you might have to go to the prison to collect it.”

“But Aparna, my job wasn`t great. I was only flogging a dead horse. At the most I could have dismounted….as goes a saying used by Dakota Indians of North America.” I think my anger showed in the way I spoke…for she said I should have got a stronger whip!

Our Ooty trip

Our Ooty trip was great. Let`s take one hair-pin bend at a time.

We reached Metupalayam on Saturday morning (29th April). As the train rolled into the station and I got down with the luggage…I had a feeling I had left behind something. I get this feeling often. Most of the time it is something not so important. But this time around, I am glad I turned back and went inside the AS2 coach – Rekha was sleeping on her upper berth like an angel.

When I told this to my uncle who came to pick us up at the station he said, “Metupalayam can do this to people. The other day your aunt and I went to watch a movie and when I reached home at 1 a.m., I realized your aunt was still in the theatre.”

My aunt is a Sr. Professor at Metupalayum Forest College and thus gets an awesome house inside the campus. As we offloaded our luggage, we couldn`t help but notice the vegetation around. Rekha pointed to a tall tree and asked: “What tree is that?”

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  • “That`s Eucalyptus Globulus,” said my aunt. Rekha and I looked at each other.

    Before we could say anything, my uncle jumped at it and said: “No way, that`s Eucalyptus Saligna.”

    The next 20 minutes were spent on the characteristics to be used in identifying various species of eucalyptus. Guess, marrying off a couple who between them have two BSc Forestry, one MSc Forestry and one PhD in Forestry has its own drawbacks.

    The house was really huge. So big that they gave Rekha and I one room each to stay. Rekha choose the one in the first floor, while I settled for the one near the drawing room. Being used to small houses in metros, I was forced to ask my aunt how much she charged for renting out her rooms for marriages. Not being an MBA showed…she asked: “Don`t tell me I can make money with these rooms I don`t use?”

    What is good for one soul is definitely not good for the other. No, I am not referring to Rekha`s sole (in fact her shoe`s) which came out the moment she took it out. I won`t say why she took it out…definitely not because I ogled at the girls staring at the handsome me from the hostel window which overlooked my uncle`s house. The soul I am referring to was that of the chicken which till we arrived was as free as that of any American fowl before Colonel Harland Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken. After we had a sickening…oops…chickening lunch, we had a nice sleep.

    At 6.00 p.m. Rekha and I drove down (actually we ‘rode`…but ‘drove` sounds so much better) 15 kilometers towards Ooty. Had it not been for the hair-pin bends I would have carried on. Don`t even for a moment think that I couldn`t tackle the hair-pin bends. I managed to withstand till Rekha used up her eighth hair-pin. Wanting me to turn back she used all her hair pins to poke at me and attract my attention. When we finished she had eight hair pin bends.

    The dinner was on the terrace. At 10.30 p.m., when we had just about finished our dinner we spotted 11 deer. Apparently deer are party animals…and are more likely to be spotted after it is dark and chiller.

    My uncle said: “You guys are lucky. Most people can spot a beer opportunity two weeks in advance but fail to spot a deer opportunity ten meters away.”

    “Why?” I asked.

    “They are silent lot,” my aunt replied.

    Rekha lifted her hand. I knew she wanted to say something. The last time she had tried to speak when we mature adults were having a discussion, I had asked her to lift her hand when she had something to say. She was just being an obedient wife here. I looked at her and said, ‘yes?`.

    “Why don`t the forest officials tie a bell around the necks of all deer so that visitors like us are informed as soon as they are near enough?”

    My uncle looked at my aunt. My aunt looked at my uncle. If I remember right, they both looked at me. In a few seconds time, all three of us were staring at Rekha through the darkness. Perhaps, she felt we hadn`t heard it the first time. She repeated herself: “”Why don`t forest officials tie a bell around the necks of all deer so that visitors are alerted?”

    I think it was my uncle. Or was it my aunt…who said: “Deer have horns that work and that`s why the forest officials haven`t tied the bells yet.”

    By 12 midnight, we retired to our rooms. Rekha in hers and I in mine.

    Ooty Bound

    Rekha and I are leaving for Ooty tonight and will not be accessing our mails and Blogs for three consecutive days.

    We will be back on 2nd May, and by evening the die-hard Ouchmytoe fan can expect a post on how I labored hard in my father in law`s brick-kiln before I managed to win his approval and eventually Rekha`s hand.

    Happy weekend!