Category Archives: Indiyana

WHY GOVERNMENT BUSES RUN EMPTY (AND SIMILAR SUCK-CESS STORIES)

Many of my old readers surely know how big a fan I am of Big Government. After all, the tax money collected in the interest of the destitute and the poor needs to be spent on things that are crucial for the poor man on the street. All are agree?, a question Government resolutions are frequently preceded by. Among the various ways our taxes are spent include:
1. Giving employment to unemployable youths.
2. Subsidies to grains, kerosene and sugar so that they can be sold by ration shop owners at a higher price in the open market (after all, the market knows no morals, as everyone knows).
3. Build statues of the great leaders of our country who have saved several billions of dollars of the nation’s monies by transferring them to Swiss banks, thereby ensuring steady and safe growth.
4. Build and run hotels so that the poor relatives and workers of political figures can stay when desire strikes them.
5. Run airplanes that can be used by the poor when regular private airlines are packed to capacity.
6. Pay the bills for helicopter rides and private charter planes that carry our beloved leaders to their farmhouses or mistresses.
And so on. Why rehash this old crap, you ask?
Well, I recently heard of a way whereby another great public service our Government provides us, the Public Transport system, helps us.

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(source: http://www.travelindiasmart.com)

Here is an example:
A State Express bus, traveling around 50 kms from point A to point B, is often found to be, in official records, to be running nearly empty. The puzzling contradiction is how those empty buses are never seen in reality. The mystery has been resolved by a group of inspectors who have found that the conductors of the buses are charging a ‘subsidized’ rate, especially from ‘old (monthly-pass) customers’ and allowing them travel without the need to issue tickets. The money is generally split between the hard working driver and the conductor.
Protesting passengers are discouraged– if necessary by eviction from the moving bus. Needless to say, our paying public has found a way to manage this, and a compromise struck with the employees, many of whom have bungalows and cars and marry off their daughters in non-Governmental style. Role models for our wayward youth, surely!
A similarly enterprising group comprises of workers in various Government Hospitals, especially the large teaching institutes.
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(source:www.oxfam.org)

A typical example is of a technician in the Radiology Department who performs dozens of x-rays every day, using dyes that are used in the x-ray procedure.
For example, a study called the IVU needs two ampoules of a contrast material (as the dye is correctly called). Now, each ampoule usually contains 50ml. Our enterprising technician uses 40 ml in every case. Every fourth case or so, instead of opening a new ampoule of contrast, he uses the 40 ml of saved material, uses it for the last case, and pockets a brand new ampoule (which has been bought by the last patient).
This ampoule, along with many others that accumulate from his enterprising cost-cutting, is sold to the same neighboring pharmacy from where these patients are asked to get contrast from. Sweet, is it not, how our hard working State employees manage to make some extra money in these hard times?
Extrapolate this to drugs, including third gen antibiotics, anesthesia drugs, suture materials, disposables, implants, catheters, and a hundred other things, and what do you have?
A full-fledged cottage industry of larceny and fraud, complete with 100% tax exemption and 100% job security.
Let us, on this note, dedicate ourselves to Eternal and Enterprising Government!

THE LINES OF HADES

After the minor display of irritation shown by some local youths in Lahore (that the world perversely perceived as a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team), the ripples are rolling like the surface of a hijab blown by the wind. Cause: comments by the Brits.
Now, we all know how crazy they are.

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(pic: the Jugum penis-UK, 1880-1920, device to prevent incontinence and masturbation)

Look at some of their historic medical devices– a large number being designed unsuccessfully to prevent men from becoming master baiters. They had too much time (and some other things) on their hands. Now, is it not obvious that Chris Broad is as crazy as the rest of them? At least that is the opinion of the 100-odd people in Pakistan who can tell the difference between a bazooka and a mashooka (most people in that peaceful country think they are both names for bombs). Former Pak cricket captain Mr. Javed Miandad, that high priest of reason, has called for Mr. Broad to be banned. A broadband connection is not difficult to make in Pakistan, these days, apparently.

Mr. Younis Khan, current Pak captain, is of the same opinion. Any reasonable man would realise that the world, recession-hit and with free time in hand, is plotting to give a bad name to Pakistan, whose reputation is right up there with Michael Jackson. Mr. Khan has said that “On top of that, if the kids here stop playing cricket when we become pariahs, they will become terrorists”. Which, Government sources say, would be a big deterioration from merely marrying into their families.
All sane men who carry assault rifles to the toilet understand this reality. The problem, as the Government sees it, is how to make the world understand that it (the world) is like a drug addict that needs to wake up.
Elsewhere in the world, Sanjay Gupta refused the offer of US Surgeon General because he wanted more time for watching pornography and self abuse (the technical term he used was ‘marriage’). He was puzzled to note some missed calls from Bill Clinton.
In an interesting coincidence, the New England Journal of Medicine published a paper showing cultural differences in sexual education and the ‘first time’ the young learn to have sex. The ‘Conclusion’ section is reproduced below:

American youth first learn to do sex when they lick ice cream cones or try charging iPods with their asses. A small minority learn sex around the same time they can pronounce the word ‘innocent’.
Indian boys first learn slapping and kicking, while the girls learn to deliver and breast-feed babies and get addicted to K serials, by which time they begin to understand how things might work.
Rich Indian-American boys learn the ‘withdrawal method’ first.

Mr. Sanjay Gupta will soon be doing a live program on this important subject, according to a spokesman identified only as a Mr. Larry K.

WHY NANDAN CANNOT FIND INDIA ON A MAP

I have not had any urge to write all these days, and I can’t say I am in the best of mindsets to do a good job. However, here is a small essay written, with my active help, by my son. I hope you tolerate me for this. You cannot find a drier piece than this, I am sure.

I live in the city of Kolkata, surrounded by dusty buildings, most of them made of bricks, and some of them of a mix of thatch, wood, mud and plastic. The latter type of building makes for the shanties that freely thrive in my neighborhood.
In one such shanty lives Nandan. I have been seeing him for the last two years. Nandan does not study in my school. He works in a garage next door, by the side of the street.
At those times when the ball flies out of the building walls and lands in the garage (whenever we play cricket in our compound), Nandan is found ready with it, handing it over to us reluctantly. I have sometimes heard him being rebuked by his master for wasting time looking for the ball beneath some damaged car or the other.
Nandan looks like a grease monkey. Really. He works on his back, lying on the rough muddy ground and hands over tools to the car mechanic who is his teacher and mentor. As the day goes by, the muddied lubricants from the spare parts of the cars find their way from his hands to his face and neck. The only thing the black paint cannot hide is his brilliant smile. But that is something I have seldom seen.
Nandan does not play with us, as he is busy at work. When we are at school, he is at the workshop, and when we are playing, he is right there. We got talking sometimes, but not much.
While me and my friends are getting plumper watching TV and playing on the computer, he is thin as a rail. He cannot even find his country on a map, I found! He told me one day that he wanted to learn English and maths, and asked about how my school looked. I don’t know whether he believed me when I told him how grand and old my school was.
At home, Nandan gets to eat with his brothers (while I have none), but his mother is too busy with household work to talk to him or put him to sleep. Or else she is too busy fighting with other ladies in the shanties over whose turn it was at the toilet or the water pump. I have seen this many times from my verandah, high up in my building.
I am sure he must be getting bitten all over at night by bugs, while I sleep in comfort a few storeys above him. I sometimes wonder whether I deserve being better off than him, but then, this is not the age when I need to handle tough questions!

A HOME TRUTH

The wife needed to go to the tailor and was one driver short. This was one of those occasions an alpha male finds himself poorly fitted to oblige. However, when one is the guarantor of the other’s debts, one has but little choice. Not for this occasion the male choice of resting from the rigors of city life in one of the clubrooms or the (environmentally friendly) dimly lit lounge bars where one can be with the kind of company where discretion is the sole chaperone. The ones quite favored by business owners when cooking the books with their auditors in a public-private venture.
Anyway, I drove her to the depths of Wellington, Central Kolkata, to which hellhole this Muslim tailor had shifted. Incidentally, all half-decent tailors in Kolkata are Muslims, and I dare say the same applies to specialists in gold filigree, embroidery, etc. in other metros. Wonderful word that: ‘etcetera’: comes in very handy when you want to escape the imminent public visualisation of the bottom of your knowledge.
After reaching somewhere near the destination, I showed immeasurable common sense in parking my car, and engaging a hand-pulled rickshaw to the ultimate spot and back. Now those of you who live in places with flat roads may get shocked. “Why couldn’t you walk or take a cab? How could you ride on a hand-pulled rickshaw, a living symbol of the depths of mankind’s cruelty and oppression?”
To which I nod my head, South Indian-like (a Zenthil), and say, “Quite, quiet!”
A polite way of putting duct tape on protesteth os oris.
When you have delicate female folk who can’t walk except on named streets like Bond Street, Fifth Avenue or Champs D’Lysée, you have a big problem in life. You need to deal with violent retching, the covering of face with nearest available clothing (one important reason for women to use a dupatta or stole), and the “Omigod, it is so dirty!” (repeated till you begin to retch), as if you were personally responsible for the recent decline in civic standards.
So you cop it, and do good to the rickshaw-pulling industry. You refuse to get up, but concede to public demand, and take pictures.

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At the tailor shop, Her Majesty got a calendar as a token gift. Women, some men believe, are inherently brimming with the frothy cappuccino of human goodwill and bhadrata (‘gentility’ is a close translation, perhaps). When we got off back at the car, she (spontaneously) offered the calendar to the rickshaw-puller.
Didi, I live on the pavement. Where will I hang this calendar?”, he asked with a smile.
The lady went red in the ears, and was muttering remorsefully to herself. Or to me, but I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about how I (ever the consumer in the open market) reduced the rickshaw puller’s initial demand of the fare by ten rupees, to which the clever rascal immediately consented.
I went there the next day, and yes, he was there all right. I gave him his ten rupees back. He smiled again.
Sometimes, being kind, being a sucker and being charitable are entirely different things. What do you say?

MARY KISS MASS

Though I am a hard-headed atheist since the time the infant Rambodoc slipped mischievously from his Ma’s lap and hurt his little head, I have a soft spot for a little head. This soft spot includes celebrating religious holidays like Kiss Mass Day.

Today being accepted by broad consensus as such Day, I went out of my way to ‘enjaay‘ the holiday. To this end, I went into a multiplex armed with a fistful of tickets to a movie about cloning. The movie was called Ghajini. This was about a The Incredulous Hulk clone made into a movie that was cloned from a Tamil clone of an English/American movie.

Except that this desi Hulk does not seem to eat anything to justify his muscles. He just keeps getting whacked in the head, and this seems to stimulate as much Growth Hormone release as claimed by the various supplement companies who live in my Junk folder with the sole purpose of inducing me to buy their wares, to give an additional three inches to my manhood. To which temptation I have never succumbed even when the pickings were short in the lean seasons. If you can understand my tortured metaphors.

To get back to the movie, Aamir Khan’s muscles grow from his brains to his ears, after making a business class round-trip to his legs. When tears cloud his eyes, you can see 58 muscles twitching in tetanic fury. When he gets walloped from the back, you can see the haarmoans pumping up his delts and traps, and he swats mutant Ganjas like a gesticulating Amar Singh in Parliament while denying allegations of bribery. All in all, very impressive. I mean Amar Singh’s escaping those allegations, and more so his great contributions to the poor of the world. Like Bill Clinton.

One thing about this movie is that it seemed to attract all the gays in the city. The guy next to me (he was alone, and this is always a negative feature in a guy, according to my wife) was singing along with Aamir in the song sequences. There were some other (equally single) guys who stood up and clapped when Aamir came out of a BMW, as if they had been paid for that errand. So the general impression from the straight perspective was that “That guy is a gay. Imagine clapping for a guy! I can accept getting the clap from a girl, but this! Fagging gays!”

The morning show started around 10 in the morning, as promised (you know, there is a 10 PM show in the evening, too, but the movie guys took us in the morning, as they said they would). By the time the last punch had landed, Aamir Khan had put on around 300 lbs of lean muscle, and the sun outside had set. We had to make the most of the Great Holiday and left even as the last song was threatening to spill over on to dinner time, with the producers of the movie exhorting us not to leave, and to get every penny of the ticket price back with bonus decibel points. “Thanks so much, but we will be back for the sequel, whenever you find a suitable clone, that is”, we said, and took a much needed toilet break.

I then went down and bought groceries. I will soon drive a couple of hours till the next block where I will, with family pulling the leash, give a gift at a party, and rush back quickly in another two hours so that I can shut my eyes on another great, memorable day.

How was your Kiss Mass Day?

TWEETING, TWITTING, SHI…. SAME DIFFERENCE?

I am using this post to publish some random thoughts that wouldn’t fit in any other category than ‘random thoughts’. So I thought I would post them like people do in Twitter, a site that proves once again that the greatest and most successful inventions these days have to be the most apparently useless ones. Okay, enough to ‘provocate’ (which is, you might agree, a much more ‘punchy’ word than ‘provoke’) Twitterers (or whatever they are called).

But, first, the soft sell: follow me at Twitter.

Here are my random thoughts of the day (without the 140 character limits):

Dell Computers are taking $99 from customers if they want local American voices answering their phone calls. It would be better to ask them to pay $999, and give them an iMac or something. Do Dell computers really work? Can you give me the serial number of the one that does?

Arun Shourie wants to take out Pakistan, Bush-style: “Two eyes for one, whole jaw for a tooth”. What say we send him and Sunny Deol to take out the LeT camps across the border?

A patient of mine who needed surgery for gallstones tells me, “I don’t want to take the risk of surgery, I want some medicines”. To which I replied, “You know what, that is like me saying the stock market is too risky, I am investing all my money in lottery tickets these days!”

Pre-payment penalties for home loans are going to go, says the Economic Times. Now that Mr. Chidambaram is Home Minister, we will face payment penalties if we pay the home loans. Home loan waivers, as Ramesh Shrivats said, are the way to go!

Pranab Mukherjee had a hacking cough while gargling away the smell of the Hilsa fish he had for lunch. The Pakistanis immediately readied their army for war. You see, when he speaks English threatening dire consequences, they think he is just gargling, and vice versa.

Now I need to get back to work.

RANDOM THOUGHTS OF A CEMENTED MIND

I have probably (almost) never used this blog to post random thoughts to voice my personal thoughts, or express my angst at various issues in my personal life, this being an inherently happy blog and all, but this is as good as any a time to show that we can do it, too.
No, I am not going to expose to you my dietary secrets (like how I eat around ten egg whites a day on many days of the week), or to allow a thought to lingerie in your mind that I wear red underwear (I don’t need to). You get the gist.

So, politicians and humans, here is a CT scan of my mind: a rear glimpse of a genius.

* I have suddenly had my bank account frozen because my Chartered Accountant ‘forgot’ to show in my income a large (by my BPL standards) sum of investment (ironically in bona-fide Government bonds) in my income tax returns. On top of that, he offended the IT Officer by not attending the summons in person. I had no idea, and bang! Yesterday on, I am frozen out of access to money! Did I hear some asshole write about how money was no longer a defining aspect of his life? If you see him sometime, tell him he is just that. I am not going to ask you to cough up a bit of your old family jewels fortune, so relax your sphincters!
In the meanwhile, life is very on-the-edge, almost like a battle for Chief Me-jester of Maharashtra. I am fuming, once more, about the essential brutality of the Government apparatus: it never gave me a warning or notice. It seems it is not required by Indian law. Perhaps not in any law. The motto of Government is ‘Pay your taxes, and then breathe. If you stop breathing, do likewise.’

* I am actually thinking of spanking my CA for being such a bad boy: he has had all my bank statements showing the course of the funds (all from my income, my savings, FDs, etc.), but he ‘simply forgot’ to show it. I have a feeling he did this to screw me, so that I end up paying a hefty bribe to the ITO, with whom he would then share the spoils. A classic bureaucratic trap for the sucker!

* I have had no time to respond to the several interesting comments on my previous post on Another Kind of Evil, including Shefaly’s ‘You Are Better Than That, Doc’ remark. Provocative, that, I tell you. Even Indians have a right to respond, though you wouldn’t know it if you go by our history.

* WordPress has taken a toilet break after coming up with the breathtaking new 2.7 version. If you see this blog resembling a wall of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, with gaping holes in places where your world-famous blogs were proudly linked, despair not, for I have alerted the Blog-wizards.

* I found a great site for listening to music: Songza.

* In the festive season, I am doing a great job of staying motivated in my eating patterns. I don’t deny myself any treats, but I have cut portions immensely. A nibble of cake, half a sandesh, one cookie, etc., all the while cherishing each particle of food in my mouth with my eyes closed. Satiety comes quick when you savor each morsel of food, with your mind single-mindedly (clever, that!) minding the flavor, texture, aroma, and overall experience of the food.

* Yesterday was the first time I saw a Punjabi wedding. What I found so remarkable was how sexist modern Indian society still is. The groom’s family kept the bride’s on tenterhooks by coming in 90 minutes late, while I was chafing at the hungry delay. Soon after the groom’s arrival, those of us from the ‘girl’s side’ were respectfully asked to let the groom’s (large) party sit at the tables. The latter then wasted no time to complain forcefully to the authorities how unacceptable the service was: apparently, the reason was there was no one to serve the jalebis! I wanted to offer my services, but certain people suspected that I would ensure ample spillage of jalebi juice on the expensive sleeves of the complainants, and my offer was gracefully and drily turned down.

* I was on a TV talk show late at night on, I kid you not, Maradona! My role was to lie to the gullible public how much I admire Maradona and football, and then talk a bit about his weight loss surgery and stuff. You know how it is: flanked on either side by two journos who have spent their lives chasing the God of Football, I was off-side, all at sea while the two guys kept boring holes in my brain with anecdotes on how close they were to him, yada, yada, yada. I literally begged the anchor to pull the red card on me, and I slunk off the studio at 1.30 am. The show continued till 3 am, when the anchor ensured that Maradona was safe in his hotel room and had moved his bowels for the first time ever on Asian soil.

* After a very long time, two posts on one day, one mourning morning actually!

Want more? Oh, yeah, I don’t miss no groans or howls! I hear ye, I hear ye!