Friday, June 21, 2013

Name of Thrones

Blame an erratic eating schedule, bile juices with the competence level of Dr. Manmohan Singh and a reading habit on the smartphone for my very frequent visits to the toilet. Yes, I’ve spent a quarter of my life in the washroom, washing my butt every few minutes without even doing the dirty business, either to make my rectum start believing in Rhonda Byrne’s Secret by doing everything that would fool the universe into believing that I just took a dump, even when I clearly did not; or maybe, I just love the feeling of a micro water cannon teasing my Deepika Padukone of a posterior while I hum balam pichkari.

On days when I’m home, multiple trips to the throne do not bother me. The bathroom is like my little fort made of couch cushions, where I just go whenever boredom starts taking over my brain looking like Ram Gopal Verma’s face. And then there are times when I really pray that such toilet expeditions would bother me enough to make me literally lose my shit. In times of laziness and in times of pain, the john has stuck with me through it all. I’m sure everyone else shares a very intimate relationship with this private space. We all praise the toilet for the beautiful environment it offers us to perform such varied everyday acts of self cleansing. It’s nothing less than an all encompassing, omnipresent super-space that men religiously pay their respects to on a daily basis. It has various forms, and different sections of the society call it by different names. Here, I introduce to you some beautiful words by which different sects address this Oprah of a homespace, and what it shows about their beliefs.

Bathroom ≠ Toilet

I always thought that the difference between bathroom and toilet was very clear. My eyes were opened when I was once told that when you’ve to go take a leak, you say “bathroom jaana hai”, and to relieve the anal wringing sensation, you state “toilet jaana hai”. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the messiah who answered one of the most intriguing questions about life through this explanation, but I realized its validity when I started observing second generation domestic helpers and drivers saying “bathroom jaana hai” while showing me fists with their pinkies sticking out. Try some toilet humor with your driver or house maid if you can, and you’ll know that this shit is for real. Also, here’s a heads up. Try not to picture a person urinating while you think of the word bathroom. It’ll ruin all showers for the rest of your life.

Washroom Se Restroom Tak

One basic difference between junior school and high school is of a toilet and a washroom. High school is the time when you realize that “Ma’am, can I go to the toilet?” does not have the same ring as “Ma’am, may I go to the washroom?” I assume all the girls from Lady Shri Ram College called it “restroom” while in school. Oh wait; they didn’t? Then someone please do the honor of telling them that it’s a friggin’ canteen and not a mothafrikkin’ “cafeteria” as we don’t believe they were brought up with such a Bridget Jones’ vocabulary.

Note to self: Please ask a waiter for the way to the “restroom” at a restaurant. Saying “washroom” will make him reply with “Restrooms are this way, sir.” This will make you wonder how the waistcoated butler threw a better word at you for the washroom. Flush away the feeling of shame; you just used the word “butler” for him.

Hi! Please take your seat. Take a dump, take a leak.

Back in the good ol’ ‘90s, there was a mild coolness in the usage of the words “I want to go to the loo” and “I have to go pee.” You couldn’t pronounce them while asking your teacher for permission to empty your bladder, but it was enough to convince yourself that you were so hip, even if you otherwise called the classroom session “Mrs. Sharma’s period”.

College not only taught you words like “lecture” but also made you jump over to a parallel life of a sitcom character in New York City every once in a while when you said “I’ll go take a leak”. You had to use it since you heard this cool person use it among a group of peers. Other revelations came when you observed that it wasn’t just a breakup when you could use the word “dump”. You could also feel like one when you actually got dumped.

The Throne of King John

Here are some royal words for the lavatory. Use them in everyday conversation at the risk of the listener picturing you giving a lap dance to some “John” guy on his shaadi ki dulhe wali seat, since that’s the closest we all get to picture a “throne” and a lap dance. Extra caution to be taken by women while using these words as the khaps, the Delhi Police and the Chief Minister may find reason in their usage leading to crime against women in Delhi.


No matter how much I try pulling off the use of “WC” in everyday written conversation, it’ll never play the charm as well as I think it would. Firstly, it will be extremely disrespectful to Warner Bros. as there are bound to be rumors about the younger Warner brother splitting from the elder, Ambani Style, only to open a new production house with the initials WC. Secondly, my only exposure to the “WC” is on the Roadrunner Show or some Hannah Barbera cartoon where they would show the WC as some little wooden box in the middle of nowhere, with a crescent moon engraved on the door. So there is always some mystery about its usage unless you google it and confirm. Thirdly, you might just have to nod and smile if your boss understands what it means and says the full form, which according to him is “White Commode”. Finally, “Water Closet” doesn’t make any sense in India. “Water Close it” does, though. Thank you, leaky flush tanks.

Shauchalay: Tatti 5 Rupaye, Peshab 2 Rupaye

We can see how we’ve moved up the ladder of the ever-changing toilet jargon. There’s still a long way to go for us to be able to pull off “the throne”, “the john” and the “WC” with √©lan. But I think it’s unfair to not include the good ol’ “Sulabh Shauchalay” in the list, as one does not do justice to toilet humor in India without mentioning the aroma of freshly baked “tatti-peshab”.

What you call your toilet does not only show the extent of your vocabulary but also reflects your way of life. I made two trips to the shauchalay in the forty three minutes that it took me to type this post, potty time excluded. I’m sure you know about method acting. Ever heard of method writing?

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Saffola Dissection of a Blue Frog

I got a call from a friend last evening, and was informed that I am one of the lucky few being invited to a bloggers’ meet being organized at The Blue Frog, Mehrauli for Saffola. Just so that I would not decline the invite, I was lured in with promises of a sumptuous lunch, “a surprise goodie bag” and a good chance to network with fellow bloggers. I was also told that they would send a car to pick me up from my residence and then have me dropped back after the event.

A wise man once said that when someone’s ready to burn so much petrol for you, either they have a secret crush on you, or you’re going to get kidnapped. I told my parents about the royal treatment promised, and being the Punjabi, food loving parents that they are, they thought it would be perfect to take a chance with my life. I mean, what are the odds of the call turning out to be a hoax and me being kidnapped? 50%? Even then, I had a one-half chance of being welcomed with garlands, offered good food, and then butter chickened with a sharp request to blog about the event.

I got a message from the cab company, giving me information about the car’s arrival, my driver’s name and telephone number and some unnecessary details like a request number which looked something like the amount spent by my peeps at Saffola to pay the air freight of getting the Chief Guest of the day, celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, all the way from America. I quickly forwarded the message to my mum’s phone, for her to know whom to contact for paying the ransom. Among other preparations to fight the kidnappers were things like wearing leather shoes for harder kicks to the crotch, forgetting to use a deodorant that would turn me into a ticking stink bomb equipped with enough potential to burst if I am not taken to my destination in time, and a breakfast of aloo-beans, just in case the car had an AC that would leave the sweat bomb useless, but would ensure enough nitrogen build up in my body to stink the kidnappers’ mofo-ing noses.

Like every kidnapper’s car, the cab reached exactly on time. But, I was relieved to see that it was not a Maruti Omni and had no one sitting with a black monkey cap on in the back seat.

On reaching, it was not just the beautiful venue that left me enthralled, but also the number of good looking people present in the hall. Just when I was about to get really happy, thinking how I’m still considered to be a good looking guy being invited to such a gathering, I realized that it could be a Don ka adda and the pretty ladies could be the Sonia Darlings and Mona Darlings for nothing but visual appeal around an overage underworld don with the accent of my dadaji. If you had Ajit in your mind while reading that, shame on you! I thought you already knew about Shahrukh’s age!

Soon, an ever-smiling host walked in with the Chief Guest, who looked nothing less than an Angelina Jolie equivalent of men. Don’t try to picture cancer and implants, here; I’m referring only to his good looks. The program started, and it turned out that it was an innocent event to make people realize “The Other Side” of healthy food. What is that, you may ask! And I will shun you for asking that question because whenever they ask you what the other side of healthy food is, you have to say “tasty food” and leave everyone else gasping and looking shocked, despite the obviousness of the marketing campaign which you can easily see through.

The chef cooked some tindas, which left members of the audience spellbound because they tasted so good! One aunty ji was made to taste the dish, and she was honest enough to say “Isme namak zyada daala hai tumne”, to which our celebrity chef quickly responded with “Maine abhi jo banaya who toh kaccha pada hai. Yeh wala idhar ke cook logon ne pehle se bana ke rakha tha sabko khilaane ke liye!”

What followed were competitions on how to cook boring foods like baingan and tinde in a healthy and tasty way. It’s funny how none of the contestants cared to cook baingan ka bharta, which ranks fourth on a Punjabi palette after Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni and Pindi Channa. Nevertheless, the food prepared by the contestants made people get minor foodgasms, and all the expressions seemed genuine as there were no camera tricks involved, and the audience had some really honest aunties. But, on second thoughts, you can never say how good it actually was. We all know how women fake it.

The second phase of the event involved the chef making a toast-spread out of Saffola Masala Oats, and leaving everyone in shock of the number of things one could do with “Saffola Masala Oats”! For starters, you can choose any of the six available flavors and eat them like a normal person; or you can use them as an exfoliating face mask with extra granules; or try to fool kids that it’s a variant of Maggi Noodles; or use the yellow looking flavor in a Karan Johar movie as the haldi paste applied on a heroine about to have a lavish wedding. Since the last option is only available to Karan Johar, and the second only to Shehnaz Hussain (both of whom do not read my blog), I’d suggest sticking to number one and three.

People like me, who did not get to taste a bite from the little quantity the contestants made, were happy to have nachos and other starters served on their tables. None of them were made using Saffola Masala Oats, but I can vouch for their good taste. Also, the waiter came and served me a glass of almond shake, which I gulped down hurriedly, only to see a spoonful of oats resting at the bottom of the glass. Yes, it felt exactly like my mum was tricking me into having something that I do not like to have. But I was again requested to have another glass, after stirring the shake enough to keep the oats afloat. *insert tongue out emoticon here*

The event ended with a beautiful lunch and a basketful of Saffola Masala Oats for me, which I forgot in the boot of my friend’s car on my way back home. I honestly wish I had not forgotten them there. But, ab usse Masala Oats maangna achha nahi lagta. I’ll just go buy a packet from the local kiraana store.

To sum it up, the Chief Guest was the “heart” of Saffola at the campaign, the hostess pleasing enough to make a guy want her number instantly (and to restrict himself from using better adjectives than “pleasing” in an attempt to not make the attraction obvious), and the Masala Oats just as tasty as they are healthy.

Saffola! I’ll have to say, you dissected the frog. You did not murder it, but you totally killed it! I'm so glad to have attended it. :D

The event was captured in pictures by professional photographer, Faizan Patel. You can check out his photo album of the event on his blog:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MARD: Mustache Against Rabri & Dahi-Chaat

Ms. J. Tongue
Behind The Incisor Club
Male Oral Cavity
Obese Male Body – 44”46”42”

Dear Ms. Tongue,

I write this letter to you as a disgruntled neighbor. I have never expressed my unhappiness at your uncouth behavior, reflected not just in the way you talk, but also in the way you express your desire to exchange saliva with every ingestible on this planet. I thought your brothers, the incisors, had enough sense to punish you for your loose character by giving you a hard bite sometime, but it pains me to see that they are themselves into chewing hard sugar boiled candies. It’s sad how they’re not just spoiling you, but also constantly wasting the enamel that they had inherited. But, who am I to complain when the whole family survives on such acts of indecency!

I do not care for how your family goes about doing its personal business, but it is beyond my tolerability to see you create filth around my property. I know you’re used to having the whole compound to yourself. I wasn’t there for fourteen years, when you fro-licked around on this piece of land, but I believe it is about time that you accept the fact that the land was given to you only on lease and is now part of my personal property.

I let you use my space for a long time, when I was young, even after I got my occupancy rights. Your guests, the milk shake, the cotton candy and the chewing gum would keep coming on to my space, and I did not have a problem because I thought it was harmless fun. I used to love it when the slender fingers would come, touch me and police your visitors away to your abode. But I did not know that my silence would lead to acts that would compel me to write this letter.

I believe you have a plethora of lovers, all of them visiting you time and again. I remember the backward, southern parts complain about your dirty habits and how they were suffering because of your indulgent behavior, which you so inconsiderately term as “hot and spicy”. I never paid much heed to all of that, thinking that who gives a poop to them anyway. But now, you have crossed the upper lip and I will not stay silent.

I almost died of embarrassment when I noticed your lover, the Rabri, hanging on to me like a shameless suicide case, when I got back home from my cousin’s wedding and looked into the mirror. I figured that all the bridesmaids were not smiling at me because they were impressed, but because your diabetic, chape of a boyfriend was making me look like a buffoon throughout the wedding ceremonies. I remained calm, only to see that the following day, another of your lovers, the Dahi-Chaat was trying to escape when he saw your third lover entering. I mean, this is the height! Your local road-pati boyfriends create a mess around my house and publicly embarrass me to no extent! On top of it, when I asked you to clean the mess, you complain that I am prickly? I’ve had enough!

It was a different scenario when I was young. I’m a full grown handlebar mustache now. It is my sincere request, and a serious warning, that you may not indulge in any more loose behavior. It is causing immense trouble to our conservative and purdah-nasheen brothers from the backward southern states; creating massive amount of difficulty for the legs due to the increase in the digits on your pincode; and bringing shame to the shaan of my good self.

“Mard jeebh katwa sakte hain par moonchh mundva nahi sakte”.

Yours masculinely,
The Moonchh

I would like to give credit for the title to Pranav Karnad, a person who I do not personally know, but who wrote an unrelated article by the same title here: MARD- Moustaches against Rabri chaat and Dahi puri.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Life Lessons from an Indian Government Employee

Dear Son,

I know I expressed my disappointment over your decision to not take up a government job like the one I was in. I always wished for you to grow up and occupy a seat of great honor behind a desk with two large drawers, somewhere on the top floor of a building, the foundation and stairway of which would be adorned with the betel-crimson that marks service of the Indian government. But, you have finally decided to take up a job at an MNC. I may not think of it as the best decision of your life, but as a father, it is my duty to wish you the best. I would, in addition, like to give you all the life lessons that I have learnt as a respectable government official in the past thirty years of my service to the nation. You will probably not get the opportunity to learn these lessons at your new office, as your experience will be very different from mine. I shall, however, try to sum all of it in this short letter to you.

There was a time when the government could not afford to give all of its employees the access to computers. We would do all our work with our own hands in my first five years at the office. Right from the shuffling of a deck of cards to distributing them fairly among my four colleagues, nothing was computerized as it is today. All of us would sit together and work together. We learned so much about team work. We learned how to place trust in the person who would take responsibility of collecting the money betted on during a game of Flash. We learned how no job is big or small. Even the guy who sits on everyone’s chappals while you are engrossed in your daily ritual of Rummy at the local park has a great role to play in the big scheme of things. Always respect your position, respect your team.

Things changed a bit when these Windows machines occupied spaces on our desks and left little room for Champak, Greh-Shobha and Loat-Poat. We could then see how all of us had to work alone, but instead of being disappointed, we accepted change gracefully.

I promised myself everyday to outperform my previous day’s performance. I would get so engrossed in my job that making a new high score in Tetris everyday became nothing less than a habit. It had a lot to teach me. It made me realize how everyone starts with a clean slate in life. Your longevity and sustenance, all depend on your ability to position all the surprise gifts that the heavens throw towards you in the best possible way. You have to make space for everything that comes your way. By taking the right steps and turning the shapes around, you can convert any disaster into an opportunity that falls perfectly into your scheme of things. The speed with which your life advances again depends on your own efforts. You realize that as you let others become a part of your team and give them positions best suited to their nature, your worries and sorrows vanish away like a row complete with blocks.

Pinball had a lot to offer in terms of workplace lessons, too. Put all the effort that you can at the beginning of your career. This is the time which defines how well you perform later. The harder you hit the ball, the more chances it has of going higher in the playfield and getting points all the way along to the top. You will find yourself being hit over hard circumstances and being cornered sometimes, but remember how every hit changes your course for the better. For as long as you stick around in the playfield, being constantly thrashed over hard metal, you make more and more points along the way. You’ll also learn that it’s always not just hitting hard that matters. Waiting for the ball to reach the perfect point on the edge of the flipping bat, and then giving it just a little push may help you hit the jackpot. Eventually, smart work pays considerably more than just hard work. The game also taught me how there are always going to be some gaps that you may not be able to fill, but even if it all falls down, you should have enough balls to start over again.

For the last few years at my work, I learnt a lot from my experience with Solitaire. It taught me how a lot of times, it may seem like everyone does not start at a level field. You may find others lucky to have got cards better positioned to begin with, but patience and alertness will someday lead you to also build not just one, but four complete houses. You will notice that no matter how much you want to place your heart on a diamond, there will always have to be a “club” or a “spade” between them. You will have to “fight” or “work” if you want to reach your heart’s destination. The process may be tough, but in the end, only he is a winner who balances his hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds at an equal pedestal right at the top of his screen.

I wish you could live all these experiences not just through the means of this letter. I don’t know how much your Excel, Access, C++, Tally or Java has to offer, but I will offer you my best wishes for a successful journey ahead.

Also, please give up on your coffee and start having the good old chai. There is a reason why they call it “chai-paani” at our offices. Haven’t you heard: “Rishwat banaaye baagh-bakri chai”?

Yours sincerely,

K. P. Ghooswale
Inspector of Income Tax
Ward 42(0)
Income Tax Department

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