The Pictuaraguan @ The Asian Games

All hopes of the tiny island nation of Pictuaragua were pinned on Wilpat Shue as he walked up the stairs to the weightlifting arena. Nike had promised him an advertisement slot if he could bung in a gold at the Asian Games in New Delhi. To the Pictuaraguan President, this was huge. This meant, Nike would enter the markets and little boys who wanted to play ‘Seven stones’ will aspire to play ‘Seven stones’ wearing fashionable Nike shoes, and that may be just the boost Pictuaragua needed to turn its poor agrarian economy around.

“No pressure Wilpat”, said the President pompously stroking his goatee, “the entire nation depends on you and the Nike deal, that is all!”

Wilpat was the hot favorite for the gold medal, but he had a somewhat annoying habit, one that is employed by quite a few top athletes. He made heavy noises – he claimed weightlifting was strenuous.
“GRUNT! OHHHH!” He would scream and then he would flex his gleaming muscles and issue the following “HAARRUMPH! OOOMPAAA! BBEERRRRR AAAH  GRRREEAADDDDYYYYY?” with increasing intensity. And then flex them muscles once more for good luck and lift.

True to form, Wilpat surveyed the audience and issued the first of his grunt – “GRUNT!” Nothing happened. In fact, folks looked mildly amused and a couple of dogs peeped in to see who the new animal was. It was during the HAARRUMPH” stage that the first grumblings of dissent were heard from the building. It did sound like an elephant herd practicing for the Jungle choir. The OOMPAA was not as long as the HAARUMPH, but built on the previous one was too much strain. Wilpat bent down and started on the BBEERRRR and picked up the rod when he felt something solid bunging him on the back of his head. GAAARR he continued and another one hit him unconscious. He dropped the rod on his foot and crashed with a resounding thud on the ground.

The tiles from the false ceiling in the arena had just collapsed unable to bear the strains of Wilpat’s vocal chords. Poor Wilpat lost points and did not win the Gold Medal as predicted because he had dropped the bar on his foot while falling. “Anywhere else…”, said the judges, “but rules are rules.”

The Chief Minister of Delhi rushed on to the scene and urged everybody to retain their optimism. She said minor glitches such as this will not hold the prestigious Asian Games from being conducted. She also urged future competitors to not make as much of a noise as Wilpat did, and asked them to walk onto the arena gingerly on their toes like ballet dancers. If they could do that, and if care was taken not to cheer anybody, there was nothing preventing the games from proceeding she said.

Instead of saying “Quite a Tournament!”, we will say ‘A Quiet Tournament!” she joked. Nobody laughed for fear of the roof.

PS:

http://www.hindu.com/2010/09/23/stories/2010092357330100.htm – Now, tiles on false ceiling collapse in weightlifting arena (after the bridge collapse, the deplorable state of housing for the athletes, now tiles).
“Glitches won’t bring down Games”: Sheila Dikshit,  Delhi Chief Minister

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LinkedIn & Slur Motion Photography

“Please stand back – we will answer all your queries.”
I wave to my adoring fans who would like to just have one word with me. I stand next to my second level contact in LinkedIn, while he is looking dazed with all the attention. I assure him that all will be well, and I am there to take care of the number of people who jostle around him for photographs and such. Not that I wouldn’t like a photograph with him myself. I can entrust the camera to the one person I can rely on. The husband. He would never lose the camera; but what he does with it is an entirely different matter.

I am not sure whether he would attempt that new technique in photography he was so enamoured with the last time I was around a mini celebrity, I hope not. The technical term is ‘Slur Motion Photography’ or the ‘Earthquake Effect’. The results were fine if I were viewing them sitting on a vibrating machine or one of those massaging chairs you see in malls with old men burping loudly on them. But if I were to see them standing still, it took a practiced eye to find me, and that is not the state of affairs one wants when being photographed with your Second Level Contact in LinkedIn whenever that maybe.

So, who is my second level contact on LinkedIn? None but the President of the United States, Barack Obama! To all you skeptics who don’t believe me, I snapped an image of my screen.

Obama.jpg

Here is a sample of Slur Motion Photography, that I personally find admirable as long as you are not looking to retain memories of yourself in it and such.

For more pictures of the same calibre, please go to http://suroba.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/one-more-take-saar/

Philtrums and Parafiltrums

There is something about parenthood that messes up the pride gene. Humble people who never looked to anyone for a bit of credit will find themselves boasting freely of their offspring. In fact, it is rumoured that folks coming within 500 yards of my parents’ house run a considerable risk of getting trampled by the band. If blowing the trumpet means boasting, watching my father at it, can be nothing short of a band. I assure you, if all you are doing is looking to kill a couple of hours, please drop by my parents and ask how his children are doing. I hear he has the course split into three equal parts. After 1/3rd of the course is done, coffee is served. The second 2/3rd later, snacks and water, and if you have survived the last portion, you are invited to a free meal with an added bonus. The bonus has a wonderfully sweet surprise element to it – you get an encore anytime you ask for it. Free of cost.

Boasting about one’s offspring takes various forms: some like to go for the audio-visual aspect, some not. For example, folks coming to visit my in-laws would do well to leave their spectacles at home. For their course, contains lots of pictures from tattered albums, and include complete latitude and longitudinal elements to every feature in the album. It is a bit like reading the National Geographic with poor pictures.

I blog – so, that’s where I boast. What am I here to gloat about? One day, the daughter and I are enjoying a perfectly normal evening stroll, and discussing matters of importance in our lives like chocolates and cycling, when she dons a serious look on her face and asks me, “Amma – you know everything right?”
There is something about flattery, I filled out a little, and said modestly, “Well…not everything, but … What’s up?”
She looks at me, casually brushing the area between her nose and upper lip, and says, “Umm…I have a Science question.”  The one opening she knows will get her full answers from my side. I unwittingly encourage her to ask away throwing in a quote about the thirst for knowledge.

“What is this area called?” she asks.
“Eh?” I falter
She is still stroking the area between the nose and upper lip, and asking me what the bally thing is called. How am I supposed to know? I don’t exactly notice the area everyday. It is just there. I suppose it serves a purpose: something like preventing food from going straight to your nose when you stuff your mouth. But apart from that, I have little knowledge. I wasn’t always the best at Biology.

“Eh…mustache area?” I answer, to which she gives a loud laugh that sounds like a waterfall pounding on tins below and says, “Then, the cheek is the kissing area?” (Yes, she is young – she still thinks I know everything remember?!)

So, I ask you – what is that fertile piece of land between the nose and upper lip called on your face?

I suppose I did the right thing, by admitting that I haven’t the foggiest clue, and the pair of us set out to look for the term. Thank heavens for Google. I don’t know what we would have done without that marvel. Apparently, that hideous thing where caterpillar sized mustaches grow on men is called the ‘Parafiltrum’, and the canal is called ‘Philtrum’

Philtrum – humph, Parafiltrum – humph again. Even wikipedia doesn’t have a link for it as of today (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=Parafiltrum)

All that glitters …

Have you wondered why these Army Generals always display all their medals about their persona? It is simple psychology. The more impressive one looks, the more confidence you have in him.

Apparently, the towing truck I had called for had studied this aspect of psychology well. Of all the rotten experiences, one of the most rotten has to be getting a flat tire. Of course, one never discovers a flat tire at a convenient time. Nevertheless, this time hurt. It happened at the end of a very long and tiring day – 16 hours of non-stop nonsense. I got into the car, my little chariot to take me home towards my comfortable bed that seemed to be sending positive signals of welcome, and felt the car sag a bit. So, I got out to check what had happened and lo and behold the tire looked like a soggy piece of bread, with a car on it. The car looked sorry to be exerting any sort of pressure on the blasted piece of rubber. But cars, unlike dogs, are constrained in movement, and cannot lift one side up and stand on three tires of their own will.

I’ll race through the next steps: Called the emergency road service, female promised aid within 10 minutes, clear directions given, waiting commenced. If I wanted, I could not have chosen a clearer spot to get a flat tire. I mean a person with no knowledge of any of the roads in my town could have gotten there. On one of the arterial roads, in one of the major complexes. Can’t miss.

“Only 10 minutes, only 10 minutes, only, only 10 minutes…” I sang to myself for 45 minutes, and decided to call again. The female who had promised me aid 45 minutes ago, came on again, and I wailed to her. She promptly got in touch with the driver and he said he’d lost his way. I don’t exaggerate much here – you would have to work really hard to lose your way on this road. Still, I can be charitable and gave him another 15 minutes. This time, the truck came.

You know how Great Emperors used to go down to the battlefield in all their regalia to enthuse the troops? Just their presence would do. I don’t think Akbar heartened his troops as much as that tow truck heartened mine. I mean to say! What an impressive vehicle it was. For starters, it gleamed yellow and came with blinking lights. The daughter was thoroughly impressed with the spectacle, and we both gaped at it longingly. Food, water and sleep were moments away.

The truck stopped, and the truck driver jumped down to survey the scene. He was methodical. Methodical Joe. The front left tire was the soggy bread. I’d mentioned it on the phone twice. But he checked the rear two, the front right and finally exclaimed “HA!” on finding the flat tire. He then walked around his large truck in a clockwise direction thrice, and tapped the compartments in a xylophonic manner. All part of his process I suppose, but I admit that my confidence in the food-water-sleep-moments-away dream sagged a bit.

Methodical Joe then opened a compartment containing an assortment of tools, and inspected each tool thoroughly. Just as I thought, he would use this nut, or that screw, he would replace it, and move on to the next. He then, closed Compartment #1, and walked around the truck in an anti-clockwise direction, and opened Compartment #2. He pulled each spanner one by one, and replaced them in exactly the same order in which he had taken them out. I felt Lady Patience deserting me. When he opened Compartment #6, I asked him if everything was okay. He replied without much conviction that it was okay.

I did not know what he was looking for, but just in case he was looking for the spare tire in his truck, I told him that my spare tire was in my car trunk. He seemed to consider it a valid point. He then came and pulled the tire out of my car trunk and repeated the opening-compartment-procedure three more times. By now, Lady Patience had completely deserted me and had sent Lady Hunger to keep me company.

I asked him a bit edgily if he knew what to do. His candor at a moment like this impressed me. He said, simply and bravely, that he did not know. I gaped at the man. I suppose he felt sorry for me and said he will send somebody else and left.

Luckily, his replacement (who came in a far less impressive vehicle I might add) had my car up and running in about two hunger pangs.

All that glitters…..

Little Miss Perfect sat on a Muffet

The news is throwing items at me faster than I can blog. Just as my brain buzzes with something witty about News A, there is News B that is wierder than A, and before I know it, I haven’t written about both. Who was the author who said, that the world need not look to fiction to find the bizarre. We have it there right in front of us? Some guy or girl.

I am sure most people have been judged in some capacity or the other – either during interviews or competitions. I have always found it a little dicey when you are sitting in one of these interviews, and folks who are there to judge pop a question at you. Something like, “What is your biggest mistake?” Now, I have before me two choices. I could bare my soul and tell them of all the mistakes I ever made, and rank them by magnitude or chronologically starting from the time you dropped an ice-cube down your brother’s shirt in the freezing winter, causing an unpleasant scene for one and all. Of course, one is fraid of weeping at an interview, and we go for the light effect.

Something about how much I hate to see the counter top dirty, and how I put up a sign in the office kitchen saying – “No cleaning lady comes after you to clean up, so please do your duty.”

To which some drip replied, “Wow…then how is it, the kitchen seems reasonably clean when I do walk in?”
To which I replied, “Because I cleaned up you $%$^.”
To which the drip replied, “There you are then. There is a cleaning lady!”

That particular anecdote, tickles the funny bone of the husband, and may be looked upon with the benign eye by the judges.

Apparently, the other option of proclaiming one is perfect is far from perfect. Look at this poor peacock from Philippines. She was strutting along just fine in the Miss Universe beauty pageant. In fact, couple of birds had their little bets going on her. Then, just as she was preening that last feather down by the bottom of her tail, she was handed the mitten. The reason? She was asked about the time she made a mistake, and she, not wanting to tell the time that she socked her brother with a wet sock, said she isn’t the kind of person who makes mistakes, and that proved to be her biggest mistake.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/miss-philippines-venus-raj-loses-beauty-pageant-made/story?id=11473055&page=2little miss perfect.