Category Archives: family

TWELVE THINGS I HATE ABOUT WOMEN

I have this incredible tectonic, platonic love for women, as readers of this blog must have sensed by now. However, there are certain things about certain women that put me off.

1. Women with dirty navels: The ultimate revulsion. This hatred must be something I got from the time I was attached to an umbilical cord! As a laparoscopic surgeon, I am, um, bilious about the unclean umbilicus, one that strikes a chord in me.

2. Women with garlic or onion in their breath: this is a real no-brainer. Who likes ‘em? If a girl smells leek this, I spring away: my light bulb movement. As far as these women are concerned, I know my onions.

3. Women with male genitals: I somehow can’t seem to gonad gomad about their confusing plumbing system.

4. Bad English: call me snobbish, but I like women who speak good English, and have long been a lingo-raj for the Queen, her English, I mean! I have no problems with women who don’t speak English at all.

5. Women who can get hysterical: Hysteria is, etymologically, a disease which springs from the woman’s uterus (hysteros). I believe it. A hysterical woman is bad all the way inside. Avoid, dude!

6. Obsessively clean women: Married to one myself, I can speak on this with messive authority. They have a reason to find fault with you for every little thing you do:
“Why have you kept the chocolate wrappers and the orange peels on the bed? There are ants all over the place!” Well, idiotic, won’t you say? As if I invited all the ants over for dessert or something!

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“Why are you eating here? Look how much of sauce you have spilt here. Oh, my Gawd, you have kept the banana peel and the apple core on the table, like this? How horribly dirty you are! Get up, get up right now, that glass of water is just going to fall!”

You get the idea. She could drive me up the wall. Only that I can’t climb it because a bowl of soup landed on it last night as I was showing my son how to hit an extra-cover drive, forgetting that the bat was a bowl of soup, and a large one at that. She asked me, as the tallest member of the family, to clean it, but I told her, “Are you kiddin’ me? With Yuvraj batting like this?! Tomorrow is a Sunday, and tell me then.” This morning, she has been after my ass to complete the job, but it’s amazing how inconsiderate and lacking in understanding some women can be, isn’t it? Sourav Ganguly is batting now, I have three newspapers to read (with their supplements), I have so many blogs to visit, so many comments to defend, so many mails to read. Sigh. It will take me till lunchtime to get free. After which I will do it. Only if there is no movie I am forced to watch….

7. Organised women: Yes, once again, as one married to an organised woman, I can tell you they are serious risk factors for one’s healthy heart rate and rhythm. You keep a very hot phone number, flavored with a wee hint of lipstick, which you have jotted down on the reverse of a bill for the petrol you bought last week, and when you want to find it next week, it is not there. Why? The obsessive organiser has thrown it into the trash! How much injustice does a man have to suffer, tell me?! One can’t live life if one’s important phone numbers are trashed as if they have no importance in one’s own house. I have decided not to take this lying down. From now on, I am going to start writing the numbers on the wall with my son’s crayons. Let’s see what she does about that!

Are you actually thinking of asking me to get an organiser or diary? Huh. Silly things don’t work, and diaries are for sissies, anyways. No man with baseline levels of testosterone will ever stop writing on chits of paper, leaving them in the organised free market of his study table.

8. Jewelry-obsessed women: I am fine with a woman wearing a single pendant on a silk or leather thread. But never trust a woman who buys gold and diamonds on the specious plea that they are investments for the future. Never. If ever you get to the future and wish to redeem your investment, said woman and attached mother will rain on you like popcorn from a fat man choking on a mouthful when sitting behind you at a movie. Sell off jewelry?! Dhishhum, dhishhum! Bang! Crrash!!

9. Young women with BO: I have, over the years, learned to distinguish the various types of body odor in women and men. I will, perhaps, classify them one day for posterity. Readers may recall my earlier olfactory ordeals.
The typical BO is one of honest sweat, accentuated by local global warming. It is redolent of acidic, even rancid flavors (like French Blue Cheese), and goes well with crackers and wine, or even as a dressing. I meant the cheese, not the girl. Talking of which, these girls seem to be fond of fish, and avoid vegetables, too, for balance. Any woman who leaves an elevator before I enter it has it, somehow. Medical representatives, girls working in malls, girls assisting dentists, etc. are some of the brand ambassadors of BO.

10. The Delhi Police type of woman:
Imagine me sitting in the bedroom with my Mac, and WonderWoman comes in and asks me to shift because it needs dusting and cleaning. Once I shift to the den and start watching the cricket match, she comes in and says that the curtains and sheets are going to be changed, and I need to shift somewhere else. How inconsiderate can a woman be! A man can’t rest in peace without being treated like a hawker on the streets of Kolkata driven from road to road by a corrupt cop?!

11. The dirty, unorganised woman: A woman with chipped nails or one that throws things around carelessly, is just not my type. An irritating thing about her is her cell phone. She gets a call, and it rings inside her large handbag. One can then see, while the strains of a Hindi song call-her tune fill the room increasingly threateningly, the entire contents of the handbag: comb, papers, a coin purse, lipstick, compact case, migraine pills, spare sanitary pad, keys with extra-large keychain of Popeye (or Garfield or Mickey or Jerry), before the cellphone is dug out by its bejewelled chain. Why can’t these ladies keep the phone where they can always find them before driving others crazy with their bad taste in music? Where would they keep it, you ask? Why, they could hang it around the neck, so that the phone rests in the inter-mammary fold, always accessible….

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(pic: http://femailcreations.com/products/sku-51402.html)

12. A submissive woman: A woman of character should make up her own mind. She doesn’t act as a Yes-girl for her husband or her father. Supposed to be an endangered species in urban India. I have, somehow, never met this species of womanhood. All the women who have loved me have been on top of their relationship, nice, submissive guy that I am!

If I have missed out, tell me about it, guys! Ladies, what are your reactions?

CHILDHOOD OBESITY: THE COMING OF AN EPIDEMIC

Children are getting fatter. Seriously fatter. To the extent that they are getting all sorts of major, adult-type ailments like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, acid reflux, orthopedic problems, psychiatric problems, sleep apnea, etc. These kids are not a tiny minority. In the West, they are around a third of all kids.

In Indian society, 70% of kids are too thin to be called normal. Amongst Indian children obesity affects, almost exclusively, urban kids. In several studies, the incidence of weight problems (mild to severe) in urban Indian kids has been as high as 30 percent. In the West, a third of the children are already obese, and around 80% of these are likely to grow up into fat adults. The incidence is expected to grow (more in minorities and the poor), and the obesity epidemic has three phases.

Quote from the New England Journal of Medicine:

Phase 1 began in the early 1970s and is ongoing: average weight is progressively increasing among children from all socioeconomic levels, racial and ethnic groups, and regions of the country.
Though it has attracted much attention from the medical profession and the public, childhood obesity during this phase has actually had little effect on public health, because an obese child may remain relatively healthy for years.

Phase 2, which we are now entering, is characterized by the emergence of serious weight-related problems. The diabetes, the bone problems, the psychiatric problems I mentioned initially are all part of this phase.

It may take many years to reach phase 3 of the epidemic, in which the medical complications of obesity lead to life-threatening disease.
By 2035, the prevalence of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) will have increased by 5 to 16%, with more than 100,000 excess cases attributable to increased obesity among today’s adolescents. Preliminary data from Canada suggest that adolescents with type 2 diabetes will be at high risk for limb amputation, kidney failure requiring dialysis, and premature death.
Shockingly, the risk of dying by middle age is already two to three times as high among obese adolescent girls as it is among those of normal weight.

In Phase 4 permanent, possibly genetic changes in the body will occur and result in a cohort of hungry, fat people of all ages.

The NEJM likens this epidemic to the global warming theory, but with easier solutions.

For more on adolescent and child obesity, click here (old post of mine).

THERE ARE LOTS OF SUBSTITUTES FOR HARD WORK!

My twelve year-old son is presenting a debate in favor of the motion: “THERE ARE LOTS OF SUBSTITUTES FOR HARD WORK!”
I present his thesis for your disapproval.
Start speech.

Let us look at what one would do hard work for.
A story first.
A man was lying under a tree, listening to the sound of singing birds.
Another man came by and accosted him: “Why don’t you go and do some hard work?”
“And then do what?”
“Then you can get a good job, and earn a lot of money.”
“And then do what?”
“Then you can eat well, sleep well, and enjoy your life!”
“What do you think I am doing now?”

So, friends, life is not all about hard work.

Let us say a word in favor of the opposite concept: laziness.

Now, people tend to look down on lazy people (like me) but, with my vast experience, let me tell you, laziness is no bunny-job. Try doing NOTHING. Just try it. You will instantly give it up. If you practise long and hard, and get really lazy, maybe the Guinness Book people will recognise you for record-breaking levels of doing nothing, and you could make a pot of money and get immortalised in the record books.

In addition, if we all got lazy, and did nothing, we would emit less heat. We would reduce so much of the heat that is part of Global Warming these days! If we all become citizens of Lazipore, our successful reduction of atmospheric temperatures could inspire a documentary by National Geographic channel or somebody. How far is a Nobel Prize away from this point? Only a few more sleepy days!

So, how about laziness as a substitute for hard work?

Not that there aren’t more of these.

I strongly recommend bathroom singing as a replacement for hard work. Bathroom singing can drive out all the rats and cockroaches from your house, if you can learn to sing like me. Why, by doing so, I have successfully driven out even the stray dogs and cats in my street! Now, you no longer run the risk of getting bitten on your backside if you want to come home to give me an iPod or something. So, no pesticides, no injections, just some songs, Bollywood at its, er, best. The animal rights people won’t exactly be unhappy!

Watch cartoons, too! Science is now saying that kids who watch TV are more likely to be smarter and cleverer, and their reflexes are faster. So, can hard work do this for you? Probably, but with such a better option, who cares?

I had planned to list a few more substitutes to talk about, but I didn’t have time. Too busy lazing around, you see?! Laziness at my level is a lot of hard work!
While there are substitutes for hard work, there is no substitute to laziness!

End speech.

A SPASM OF TRUTH

POOJA

“I am married. I have a wonderful man as a husband. And two little beauties as kids. I am a wife and a mother”. For the uncountable-th time, Pooja spoke silently to her self. Not to herself, but to her self. A self she had not allowed to prevail over her values.
Pooja was what a college brat would have called a ‘one-piece’. As Indian a product as a reincarnating hero in a Hindi flick. She was unclear about God, but a value-driven middle class Indian woman. For her, loyalty, honesty, duty, responsibility and happiness were all one. There were no conflicts in her values. She was very clear about that. In her life, she was doing everything her conservative parents would have expected her to, and she was proud she was living up to their expectations.
A few years back, Pooja’s life had suddenly undergone a change. She had left her old, small town of Cuttack and moved on to the capital city of the Indian money and movie market, Mumbai. Here she had got married to Raja, a man who made wildlife documentaries for a living.
Busy with her working life (Pooja was a busy research fellow at a ‘me-too’ generic drug production lab) and with her unforgiving domestic pulls, she did not have time for frivolity, except when she was with her children.
She had many men looking her over every morning at work and in places she was seen, like the schools, the local restaurants and the markets. Men were taken by her incomplete beauty, and could not but keep staring at her honeyed eyes, trying to read some hope in them. Her body and her face had a common appeal, an unfailingly provoking femininity. However, she never encouraged a soul. Fidelity always figured high in her list of values.
One Tuesday, her boss called her over to his room. She would have to meet a Mr. Jay over lunch. Bummer, she thought. Jay was a representative of a US company intending to market the drug which Pooja was working on. “Just see that he has a clear idea of what we are looking to do in the coming year, so that they don’t have false expectations from us”, her boss, Dr. Krishnan, said.

MEETING JAY

Lunch was to be at the Hyatt, a hotel that had universal appeal for its hospitality and class.

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Pooja went over to the restaurant called M, expecting Mr. Jay to be a young, dashing American executive with ‘brand’ screaming from every accessory. She was shown to a lonely table where she found a middle aged man examining a glass of water. Jayendra Ramaswamy was Jay to most of his American colleagues, and indifferent to it. In fact, Jay seemed to be indifferent to most things on earth. People who knew him called him an impractical dreamer, one who would never give an immediate and practical solution to a burning problem. Instead, they would say, he would rubbish the whole concept or premise that had led to the problem being discussed and offer utopian solutions that would never be possible. However, he was a hard man to argue with across the table, and had remained steady at his job as Head, International Marketing.

“Hi, I am Pooja”.

“Hmmn. Jay. Hi.”

“I hope you didn’t have to wait too long?”

“Well, actually I did, but now I think it was worth it.”

Pooja could not respond. She was transfixed with the look on Jay’s eyes. Sharp, penetrating to the entrails, and, in one word, sexy. The man himself was not impressive to look at, with a wide stubble of recently shaved hair on his head, and rimless glasses on a largish, broad nose. But the moment he started talking, he created an image of a man who was too big for the present, a concept rather than a being. His words were crisp and witty, and there was an unplanned insolence about him that captivated Pooja. She realised quickly that she was trespassing her own set limits when she noticed herself leaning towards the table, getting enticed in the joyous network of Jay’s words.

Jay was smiling and saying, “All these truths are derivative truths, like the fact that this Fried Chicken carries 800 calories as the sum of its constituents, is covered up with egg batter, and will cause intense thirst an hour after this is eaten. However, the basic truth is that if this did not have the egg or the 800 calories in it, it would not be fit to be called a Fried Chicken. So, we might then ask, ‘what gave thirst: the chicken or the egg?’ “

THE THRILL OF TOGETHERNESS

As surreal as the lunch was, it opened up a new dimension to Pooja’s life. She swam willingly in the currents of her conscious attraction for Jay, and would spend hours each day talking to him, or texting him.
It was one of those ‘Art of Living’ type lectures that opened her eyes. It is all ‘Maya’, she heard the guru say: “Grasp the conscious, and shut the door of the imagination. Thereby you shut the door of temptation, and look through the window of duty, of love, of selflessness into the material world.”

Pooja tried, but failed to resist the charm of Jay’s utopia, his careless egoism, his nonchalant attitude towards how the world saw him. It seemed that he was clear and right about most things (though he was never righteous in his attitude), and did not give a damn to anyone who thought otherwise.

Over a period of time, it became clear that she loved him, and he seemed to know it, but he did not seem to want to capitalise on that.
“How could you not love me?”, his smile seemed to say. He did reciprocate at times, like when he held her hand while laughing at his own joke, or dropping his left hand briefly on her thigh while driving with his right.

THE PREDICTABLE TURMOIL

At home, Pooja found it difficult to reciprocate to her husband when he loved her, though she played her part without trying to excuse herself. The more she thought about it, the more impractical her situation seemed to get. She felt physical pain thinking of her love and the reality of her marriage with someone else. “No, this has to stop”, she told herself.

She consciously stopped calling him. He did not ask why. He did not violate the space she had created between herself and Jay. He seemed to have accepted her sudden turning back.
Pooja, since that day, gave every waking moment to her work and to her children, subduing that part of her that seemed to want nothing more than a few moments of laughter, a few minutes of that magic that encapsulated what she felt with Jay. Strong-willed that she was, she managed to crush her love, and focus on her family values.
Till tonight.

TONIGHT

She was alone at home, when Jay appeared at her door.
She remembered nothing else, except that it seemed that they closed all physical space between them in just a heartbeat.

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Jay said nothing. Neither did she. They simply kept the embrace on till they fell on the bed. She had never experienced such intensity in sexual intercourse. It was so much more than a physical orgasm. It was like a spiritual experience, a bhakti for her man, a love that washed out her long held values.
As she lay, clad in a thick layer of sweat, her pulse throbbing wildly, she had a flash of light, a realisation of her self, a nirvana. She was a fool not to have realised the value of her love, she thought.

“ I have wanted you since the time I saw you first. I can’t live my life without you. Don’t leave me, jaan”, she whispered out aloud.

“Uh, what, honey? I’ll never leave you!”, said Raja, her sated husband. Drained out at the unexpected pre-dawn sex , he lay over her, pleased to have made her happy, finally.

TOMORROW’S CITY CAR: A BRILLIANT NEW CONCEPT!

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I have seriously wondered if genius has genetic, hereditary roots. Or is it something geniuses eat?
Jeeves, the brainy genius of a “gentleman’s personal gentleman”, was fond of eating fish, which did a lot to energise his brain cells, Bertie Wooster always told us. Apart from the Curies (Marie and Pierre), my feeble mind cannot, off the cuff, recall other families where geniuses flourished. Oh, yes, the Marx brothers.
“Well, get to the effington post, will ya?”, you say, not without a less-than-benevolent look on your ugly face?

Well, here is the beef.

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(Harsha with parents Kala and Ravi)

Harsha Ravi has been awarded, this very month, the title of the Australian Young Designer of The Year by Wheels magazine. He is, I am proud to say, my nephew. Hence the thought of genius being familial. Has mine rubbed off on him? A more reliable part of my brain asks me if there is any hope for his brilliance rubbing off on me, at an age when one fears that, tomorrow, one’s arteries could become stiffer than one’s sexual organs, especially in times of need.

What was the competition for the car design all about? Wheels said this before the competition:

On the 50th anniversary of the Fiat 500, we shall use the intervening technology to completely reinvent the urban vehicle. Functional, frugal and fun, our 500 will be a 2+1 design doubly true to its name: 500cc, 500kg. Design it.

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Harsha just did that. And outdid himself, too.
Hear this from the judges and critics:

“[He has] applied technology in a way that made sense.”

Take, for example, its carbon-neutral, bioplastic body with 12 percent petroleum-based/88 percent corn-based plastic that reduces the energy needed to manufacture the panels by 30 percent.

The design presented as a wild concept, yet it brought thoroughly considered, integrated design with enough tech detail and illustration to flesh it out. Sargeant and Stolfo agreed: “He has obviously done a lot of research before even putting pen to paper.”

Despite its ahead-of-time technology — the zinc-air fuel cell, nano-paper battery and airless tyres were just the beginning — attention was also given to regional manufacture, right down to the illustration of a basket-weaver manufacturing the woven seat material, one of many touches that delighted and amused the judges.

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What, essentially, is this car, GM Globetrotter, about?
Harsha says:

The GM Globetrotter is inventive as a lightweight, nimble urban vehicle aimed at various emerging and developed markets in 2017. A decade from now, the worldwide culture will be one of environmental consciousness, where increased awareness of climate issues will have engendered a scrutinising and well-educated Gen-Y consumer niche. They will demand aunthenticity and transparency in how a product’s lifecycle is managed
to reduce environmental harm.

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Harsha goes on:

Given the likelihood that tomorrow’s consumers will be environment-sensitive, Globetrotter is designed from the ground-up and inside-out to be customisable and minimalistic at every step. It aspires to be functional, frugal, and fun, and gentle on the environment as well. The level of individualisation this offers to the consumer market allows for the car to seamlessly fit into virtually any global context.

What is it like to design a car? I asked Harsha.

The automotive design process begins by laying out vehicle architectures to act as templates for designers to start sketching over.
Car designers are often also art nuts, and have a profound understanding and appreciation of various creative media, which we draw upon for inspiration to create the visual surfaces of the car both inside and out.

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He continues:

Once a 2D representation of the designer’s vision is seen to have potential, it is then translated by computer modelers into 3D space, a developmental process which runs in parallel with a tangible sculpture being carved out of a unique automotive clay. Often, it takes several iterations of the designer’s sketch, together with a dedicated team of designers, modelers, engineers, and software whizzes all combining their efforts over a 4-5 year period to ready the vehicle for manufacture.

Harsha says that automotive design is “deeply satisfying” for him, like a dynamic sculpture, “full of visual and emotive appeal.”

Now, considering that he is barely twenty, that is really insightful and philosophical. And lest I sound like the patronising uncle I don’t want to be, I shall stop right now.

Related reading: Harsha’s take on new car designs in Show And Tell, Wheels magazine.