Saturday, September 7, 2013

My New Indian Hero

Its very probable that you have already heard of him through his TED talk on "Sixth sense". He is all over twitter and social media now, for the wrong reasons.

Pranav Mistry is my new Indian hero, not because he holds a degree from IIT and MIT, has been called as one of TED's ten best inventors of the world, or because he is Samsung's Director of Research in the US, but because he presented one of the world's first smart watches for Samsung before the entire world and with the global news media watching it and didn't bother even a single bit to hide his Indian accent.

If you already are asking, "And why should he do that?" Congrats! You are not on the dark side.

And what did we Indian's talk about after the event? We made jokes about him on twitter about his accent. And we didn't stop at that, a lot of us made hurtful comments in serious ways as well. Its both enraging and alarming to see that how many of us actually consider it less sophisticated and even shameful to just talk in our own accent. He didn't do anything special, its the same accent you hear by fellow Indians in the chai and chaat shops, in the next table at your restaurant, and probably by your beloved parents and grand parents.

Dear brothers, sisters and hot women of the country, I am not saying I don't do it. I made fun of a north Indian lady, calling my room-mate Benjamin "Ban" instead of "Ben" and saying "Catch-up" instead of Ketchup, I make fun of my Mallu friends (which is almost all my friends) when they mention their 'Ungils from Gelf ' being a self-proclaimed half-mallu myself. I love to say "Raacket-u" instead of Rocket to emphasize that I am a Tamil boy to myself and others. But there is a difference, believe it or not, I AM proud of it. No not of the making fun part, but talking in our own accents part. I love to embrace it, I wish it never dies, but only grows as it is part of who we are, our heritage.

Every other accent in the world is cool isn't it? The English, American, Scottish, French, Italian, German and many European countries speak English in their own accent, influenced by their mother-tongue and is considered cool. Australian accent is cool, and so is the Afro-American way, along with West Indian, Jamaican and Mexican. Except for us isn't it? I have had numerous arguments with my ex-colleagues who firmly believed that our accent 'sucks' for no logical reason.

Why we consider our accent to be inferior is because of the same reason why our country considers 'dark skinned' people as inferior. In Bollywood and rest of Indian movie industry we might have a max of 5 heroines who are dark, and Hollywood and Pop-star world has hundreds. Long live our self-esteem and self-pride in being ourselves and embracing who we are. And all thanks to "the media" for playing a great role in nurturing it all over these years. But at least what makes me happy, is that the same media is today is fighting back to remove all these weeds from the society's thought process and a lot of us have already realized this.

We need to be able to laugh at ourselves, but not feel shameful for being ourselves.

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P.S. I wondered why I haven't mentioned some of the prominent Asian countries yet. The Japanese make kick ass video games in their own language, which the rest of the world begs them to translate and release. They have Japanese keyboards all over their country used for their computers, their internet and websites are in their native language. So do the Chinese, who have their own version of search engine even. (Yes Google is not their first choice). Both these countries were far beyond where we started and are far ahead of us today. The amount of pride they have in being themselves is far more than rest of the world put together.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How I know Vodafone India is selling your numbers to Telemarketers!

My phone speakers stopped working a little while ago. So when the phone is not with me, which is, most of the time, I have the habit of calling people back after I see the missed calls. So I called up this unknown number today who had tried to call me earlier. "Good Morrrrningg Doctor Raahaevoswangyaaa" (that's how he pronounced it), the guy said on the other line. Ok, I know! the 'Doctor' part right? I will explain soon below. My brain quickly figured out two possible callers - either its an old friend or its someone from Vodafone customer service calling me.

I thought it was an old friend first, because the way the guy wished me 'good morning' was the rough equivalent of a class of seventy five 5th standard students wishing the class teacher 'good morning' in the first hour of Monday morning. Except, there was no chorus and just one voice tone which was very close to Akshay Kumar's, in one of his 'decade old' movies with that annoying laugh.

"I yam R K Kumar calling from Club Mahindra", he said, and right there I confirmed, Vodafone India is responsible for this. How dare they sell my number off to random telemarketers without even asking me! If only this was America I would have sued them and they would be paying for my wheat bread-omelettes for the next 10 years. But then we are in India, we don't 'do' anything about our problems. We watch the news and post on Facebook about how this country is going to the dogs or rapists, make hints in blog posts like this, have heated serious discussions with friends while gulping a Budweiser over the weekend about how our politicians owe us this perfect country, esp. with all of us keeping it so clean, never trying to evade our taxes, not at all bribing the traffic cop etc.
Original Image from

So how did I figure out it was Vodafone India? Let me explain.

I was logged into Vodafone online portal a long time ago and in the profile section I saw that they allowed me to edit my title/salutation. There were 4 options - Mr, Mrs, Miss, Dr. and I picked the last option. So when ever I am running late on paying my mobile bills, the customer service lady calls up and addresses me as Dr. Raahaevoswangyaaa, and I tell her angrily that I am in the middle of a surgery and will pay it tomorrow.
(You can put your #Thoos and #HakThoos in the comments below)

And God forbid, if the title/salutations box was an open text box and not a drop-down list, I might have just entered "Emperor", "Your highness", "Lord" etc.

And Kids... that is how I know Vodafone India has sold my mobile number to telemarketers! Case closed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My longest bike ride!

Last Tuesday, the day was a bit different from other days. I woke up extremely early in my standards (about 5.30 AM), got ready soon before 6.30, and said to my mom that I am leaving for office and left my house. Except, my office was about 300+ km away, and it took me about 5 hours to reach there.

This wasn't the first ride, this was the return journey from Trichy to Bangalore. But learning from my mistakes which was made during the first ride, I carefully chose some good roads which extremely changed the quality of the drive. Here are a few points I learnt during my first solo maiden voyage..

  • Have at least one checkup for your full vehicle with the mechanic, before starting, or else half way your gear axle might just 'fall off' from your bike, even if it was purchased just a month ago.
  • Read a little bit about the roads you are about to travel. Especially when it is not a national highway.
  • NHAI and their roads are awesome ! (At least from Bangalore to Namakkal)
  • Roads are everything, when you want to enjoy a long bike ride.
  • Weather is everything, when you want to enjoy a long bike ride, so start at 5 - 5.30, not 6 - 6.30.
  • Bike ride will be a really super cool experience till the first 200 km mark. After which you will regret it.
  • Sometimes the most famous roads aren't the best and will be a real exploration to choose them.
  • Read some posts from the xBHP forums and learn from others mistakes. Don't think you are Christopher Columbus of 21st century who is doing it for the first time.
  • Don't forget to pack some energy drinks / Red bull probably (which I would definitely do, if at all I do this again)
  • Again, don't trust Google's auto directions about Indian roads.
This was the departure ride map. Last 100 kms after Namakkal was terrible, thanks to blind murderous sand lorry drivers who treat the road like a one way filling both the lanes pushing you to the muddy sides of the road.

View Larger Map

And this was the return journey. The village roads below Kolli hills were awesome for a early morning drive. Drive was great till Dharmapuri-Krishnagiri except for the hot weather. Still might have been awesome if it was a

View Larger Map

Some pics from the return journey.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

6 ways to respond to people who point out that you are losing hair

The author is not responsible if people remove you from their facebook friends list (or) start hate clubs for you, after following this guide. I have used * symbol all over the article, please imagine your favorite swear word there while reading. Thank you.

I don't know about you, but its one of the most pissing off moments in your life when people point out that you have thin hair. Especially the cursed ones like me, who are blessed to eternally have right amount of thin hair, so that the thinness is visible only when your hair is wet and you are standing under bright sun. Even people who are actually bald will not go through these worst confrontations. Nothing is more irritating than a guy exclaiming amidst a crowd of friends pointing at your hair, and screaming - "Duude ! Everything is visible mann !!". Seriously guys, do you really think, the guy who you are pointing at, doesn't know it. Its his *head dammit.

So coming to the post. Here are some ways to respond to people who point out that you are losing hair.

1. "Thank you.. (Look at the person with gratefulness in your eyes and face and after a pause say) Christopher *Columbus!"

2. Some people have a different way to start this. "Is you father bald?" (Now even though you know exactly why he is asking this, just keep a curious face and ask 'why' was he asking that). "No, its just that you have thin hair, so if your dad is bald, you will go bald too" (Great find Sherlock! With a sarcastic puzzled look) Oh really ?!, then... Your Dad used to be stupid too ?"

3."Thats Ok. At least unlike you, I still have my brain left."

"Looks like you are losing hair"

4. Sometimes even old guys who are almost completely bald will try it on you. To them you could say  - "Yeah.. It should be awesome being you! you don't have anything left to lose"

5.Yeah no worries, its just the autumn season. It'll be back in spring. (Then if he looks at you with a confused look, give a horror stare and ask - "YOURS DOESN'T ?!!", who knows he might even get scared!).

6. Thanks for finding that out man! I had no *idea. Can you give me money so I can buy a * mirror? please?

I would really like to add more to this list. Please contribute in the comments :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The last set

The arena was filled with a sudden silence. It was just announced that he will break his own record. The hundreds of thousands of audience comprising of men, women and children were personally shaken by this decision of their champion. Though the crowd was mixed, the event manager knew that women formed the majority of the crowd. At a far end of the arena, a group of people lit candles to pray for their favorite hero to win this historic event. Infinite banners were held by the faithful fans hoping the camera would catch a glimpse of it anytime. Cameras kept looping through some of the interesting ones.

"WE LOVE YOU. PLEASE MARRY ME AND MY SISTERS!" said a banner held by a group of 5 ultra hot Quintuplets sisters with the center one dressed in Princess Leia's costume in Star Wars. All the others sisters were dressed identically in a slightly slutty futuristic costume. They jumped in joy when they saw themselves on the big screen. The other screen switched to a camera pointed at their hero looking at the girls on the big screen and smiling. He winked his eyes and gave them a flying kiss. The roaring audience cheered for it, setting a new record of decibel level in the arena recorded by any past event, amidst the annoying vuvuzelas which never stopped.

The Bell rang thrice and a blanket of silence crept over the arena again. All the cameras pointed at him, at the center of the arena inside the ring. The commentators were raising the heat of the situation asking critical questions like - "Will he disappoint his faithful fans by failing this attempt to break his own previous record ?", "Is he going to loose his fan given title of 'EVER WINNING WONDERMAN' by the FFFUUs (Female Fan Federation of United Uruguay) ? All of this will be answered in the next one minute." paused the commentator.

ONE.... yelled the show host on the ring who stood near him as he took the first step towards eternal glory. The audience cheered over the arena following his voice on the speakers.

TWO... Another round of cheers along with claps heard all over the arena. The audience cheered and clapped like they swore to cheer louder than their previous one each time.

One by one the count kept increasing THREEEE, FOURRRR, FIIIVVE, SIXXX.... SEVVVEN and by the time he reached EIGHT, the audience cheering sound level raised even more, that it almost shattered every glass present in the place. With just two more to go, when he made the attempt for NINE, he just paused half way and the whole crowd went .. "Ohhhhhhhh!" and he stopped there in mid air unable to complete nor give up THE NINTH step. Horror crept upon everyone's face in the arena including the commentators who were left speechless. If you were there, you would have thought you suddenly went deaf. And then a little boy jumped over the security towards the commentators and yelled in their Mic - "Youuuuu Can Doooo Itttt......Pleaseeee Don't give uppppp!" One by one the audience started to shout and in a matter of seconds all of them yelled in a chorus "You Can do it", "You Can do it".... and it went on..

Then the miracle happened, he, in the center of the ring on the stage, started to move, and the crowd started to increase their tempo "You can do it", "You can do it" faster and faster. And then Bang... he reached NINE and for another quick one and TEN!!!!!

"This is unbelievable, history has been rewritten today and we are all extremely thankful for being a part of it and witnessing it" - the commentator went on the Mic. The crowd went on like they can never get tired. Camera showed a bunch of girls who even flashed themselves on the event of this epic moment revealing his name tattooed all over them.

And then I open my eyes completing my extra set of crunches, coming to the real world surrounded by guys working out with full focus like no one else even existed in the gym apart from them. I get up and say good bye to the instructor and get out.

Its one month since I joined the Gym :P