Monday, 30 June 2008

Free Hug Campaign

This video link was passed on to me by Tanuj and I am so in love with the entire thing. The guy in the video is the first person to launch the Free Hug Campaign in India. I had never heard of this concept before, and now that I have, I am still so much in shock at the awesomeness of it. The whole basic idea is this. People aka huggers just stand on the street with posters/sheets of paper that have "Free Hugs" written on them. The huggers go to different places or may even choose a particular spot with just one goal in mind. Hug as many people as they can. Why? So that they can spread a little bit of cheerfulness in someone's life. That's right. They hug random strangers (only those that come upto them to be hugged, of course) in an effort to bring smiles on the peoples' faces. No money involved, no selfish motive. They just want to hug, be hugged and spread the love. How amazingly fantabulous is that? When I watched the video, I was so touched that I became all teary eyed. Something of this sort, in India of all places, is unheard of! Women here are already suspicious enough of strange men on the road. And hugging an unknown guy? Not even in their wildest dreams! But he still did it. And was so so successful. People of all ages took part in this hugathon. I had no idea that this concept was a global thing. Kudos to Juan Mann who thought of it and to the countless people all over the world who haven't hesitated to hug and be hugged without any inhibitions. If you want to know more about this campaign, look here and here. Hope you enjoy the video. :)

"Be a love pharmacist: dispense hugs like medicine - they are!" - Terri Guillemets

Sunday, 29 June 2008

MTV Splitsvilla - Reality Bites

As soon as I saw the promos for this show, I knew I was gonna hate it on principle. The concept of the entire show has to be one of the most insulting ones I've come across. The basic idea is this. There are two snooty guys who are convinced that they're god's gift to females everywhere. They can do and say whatever they want 'cause hey, they are the catch. Then you have 20 girls. I still cannot believe that they got even 1 girl to be a part of this show, let alone 20. These girls will resort to anything and everything to grab the guys' attention which includes prancing around in minimal clothing and cheap, attention grabbing stunts like dancing atop tables. All this insanity for what? A chance to find their "Mr. Perfect", earn 5 lakh rupees and host a show on MTV. Pathetic wouldn't be an overstatement here. It looks like these girls have left every last ounce of dignity and self-respect they had back home and come to be a part of this dating reality show. I think it's an extremely demeaning concept for a show, no less coming from the makers of Roadies; a show which I really enjoyed. Even though I think it is sexist, I would be equally offended had it been 2 girls and 20 guys. The basic idea of the whole show is stupid.

The only thing I like about the show is Ranvijay who is really cute and wears great clothes *grins* I used to like Varun (one of the two arrogant guys) too in the good old Roadies days, but that was before I read on the official MTV Splitsvilla website that he had once had the audacity to use this so called pick-up line "Nice pair of mountains, when will I get a chance to climb them?" It is things like this that make me lose faith in the human race.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Grumpiness >:(

I'm feeling a teensy bit grumpy, and I've decided to put that to some use by making a post out of it. I realised I hadn't written for a while so here's something productive I did with my not-so-great mood. Tada!

A list of things I *absolutely* loathe!

(1) Bad grammar. Oh my god you people with sucky English, stop talking! Go speak another language or something.

(2) The rain. Refer to previous post.

(3) People who don't reply to my text messages or reply horrendously late with no explanation whatsoever. Have you not heard of common courtesy?

(4) Pigeons. Why are they here? No idea. Of what use are they? Absolutely none. What do they do? Nothing except sitting around and startling people with their scary red eyes. What should they be doing? Stop existing.

(5) People who honk unnecessarily and continually at traffic jams. Your stupid horn isn't going to magically make the cars move ahead believe it or not!

(6) People who tYpE LiKe tHiS.

(7) Or lyk dis. For all those of you who think tawkin lyk dis iz kewl, it's called English. Learn it.

(8) Being broke. Money can't buy you happiness, eh? Well I'm sure there are loads of things I can buy to stave off depression if I had some.

(9) Taxi and rickshaw drivers who won't take me to my French class from Bandra station or home from Elphinstone station just 'cause the fare would be minimum. I get rejected by some 5-6 taxis or ricks before someone finally pities me. And it makes me want to curse all those taxiwallas and rickshawwallas to oblivion!

(10) Bad English. Yeah, it deserves to be on here twice.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Let There Be Rain..... Or Not

It's that time of the year again. Rain, rain and more rain. Monsoons right? What's not to love? The infamous Mumbai floods, the resultant traffic jams, the inability to remain dry - oh yeah, no wonder so many people await the rains so eagerly. Yes, I'm anti-monsoon 'cause it screws up my Internet and then I have absolutely no life; either offline or online.

I like the whole idea of the rain, more than the actual season. Sure it sounds great. And it acts as a great heat dispel-ler. The clich├ęd fantasy of sitting near your window as it pours, sipping hot cocoa or eating hot buttered corn, or curled up with your favourite novel, seems pretty good when you think about it. But the fact of the matter is that everyone can't spend four months doing nothing. It would get a tad boring, not to mention the havoc it would create in the city. "Where's the doctor?! My wife's gone into labour!" "Oh, I'm sorry, she'll just have to wait. The doctor is busy eating buttered corn at the moment." Yeah, not that great, eh? And getting wet in the rain is fun if you have nothing else to do. But when you're returning home from college and it starts to pour, you're more worried about protecting your bag/books from getting drenched rather than dancing about as if there's no tomorrow (I've always found this phrase a bit stupid. Of course there's a tomorrow. How can there not be? You don't expect to skip straight to next week, do you? Well unless you've built a time machine or something, I think not).

Franky speaking, the monsoon is just a major pain. Your jeans get all muddy and have to be washed daily but they take ages to dry. The umbrella and the windcheater have to be the most useless inventions ever. Maybe they actually work in places other than Mumbai. But here, whichever I use, I still end up completely drenched. Even if I use both together. Maybe they're no match against the stubborn Mumbai rains. And then there are the floods. Ever since that July day in 2005, we Mumbaikars have gotten accustomed to experiencing something regularly, something we'd only read about earlier. The floods *scary music* It's become something of a trend now to boast about how much water your vicinity has gathered. "Oh! You know, there's ankle deep water outside my building!" "Ha! That's nothing! In my area, it's knee deep. So there!" Wading through the flooded areas has become second nature to most Mumbaikars. So has grumbling about the slow or, in some cases, non-existent train services in the city. It all ends up being the government's fault.

But the thing that pisses me off most is the disrupted Internet services. Even on good days, my net speed is nothing to boast about. But come the monsoons, it becomes a bloody snail. No site opens. The only thing that works is ICQ where I while away time playing trivia, as mom continually calls the Internet provider and harasses him. After I harass mom to call him, that is. It's all a vicious cycle.

Oh, my Internet is working properly again *celebratory dance* Enough of this anti-monsoon tirade. It's time for some Facebook-ing. Adios!

Yeah, wonders of the glorious rains, eh?

Monday, 9 June 2008

Delhi Stuff

OK so here's presenting... a long overdue post. I can't even say something like I was sick or busy or something 'cause I wasn't. Just plain old laziness.

Anyhoo, I had gone to Delhi with this set pre-conceived notion that it was gonna be terrible. I have this amazing superiority complex about all things Mumbai and hate anything Delhi. Well maybe not hate, but hold a strong dislike for. But it wasn't that bad. Mumbai still rocks and everything, and I can never imagine actually living in Delhi, but it wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be. On the 1st day, me and Tanuj were just plain jinxed. There's no other explanation. We tried to watch Chronicles of Narnia; the important word being tried. On the first attempt, he couldn't find any parking spot for his car, we didn't get tickets anyway 'cause we were late for the show and in the end his car got towed away. Being the positive people that we are, we tried to make the best outta the situation and catch an evening show at another movie theatre. Clearly the car hated us, 'cause on the way there, it got a puncture. Yeah. By that time I was pissed at the entire world. First the torturous train ride, now this. I was not loving Delhi. But then the shawarma dinner was delicious and cheap, which made me less grumpy. Next day I shopped, ate Momos (again, very cheap) and went to Big Chill which is the most fabulous restaurant I've ever been to. It has a fantastic ambience with Hollywood movie posters, mostly from the 1950's and 60's. It also had a Pirates of the Caribbean poster though and I was hooked. How could I not love an eatery that has Johnny Depp on its wall? I fell in love with the menus too and I wouldn't have thought it below my dignity to steal one. I managed to convince myself outta that plan, unfortunately. All in all, I still don't love Delhi, but I kinda in-an-odd-sort-of-way miss it. I *loved* the houses there (such huge, magnificent villas), the food that I had was great, loved the open spaces, giggled at the traffic jam caused by cattle but Mumbai still kick's Delhi's butt.

5 Reasons Why I Would Never Abandon Mumbai for Delhi

(1) The men there are horrible lechers. Much worse than in Mumbai even, which I didn't think was possible.

(2) Delhi doesn't have Vada Pav. How am I supposed to survive?

(3) Horrendously hot in summer. Frigidly freezing in winters. Only tolerable during the monsoon and I don't like the rain.

(4) No Arabian Sea = No beaches, No walks along Nariman Point = No Me.

(5) Mumbai is Mumbai. No other city like it. Yeah I'm a Mumbai snob. Didn't I warn you about the superiority complex?

P.S. Where would the world be without Wikipedia?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Dilemmas and such

I love travelling in trains, I really do. Especially inter-state trains, where I get really excited at the prospect of sleeping on the uppermost bunk. And I love how I get to see an India, different from the one I know in Mumbai, as I journey. Large fields, countless trees, small bustling cities, women carrying water pots on their heads, goats and sheep, children playing outside their huts; everything that I don't get to see in Mumbai. I enjoy it thoroughly. But everything has its limits. And staying cooped in the train for 31 hours; 8.5 hours more than intended, and you're bound to get frustrated with life.

What happened was this. I had to go to Delhi for an exam, which by train, takes around 24 hours. Due to the Gujjar problem in Rajasthan however, my train which was supposed to reach Delhi at 10.30 in the morning, pulled in at New Delhi station at 7 in the evening. And you really learn to appreciate the pleasures of standing on firm, solid ground once you've spent 31 hours in a constantly moving train. You learn to appreciate a lot of things, actually. Like a comfortable bed, clean loos which are actually stationary, cold water on a hot day (the ice in the train pantry ran out at one point), cold Pepsi, legroom, privacy. I have never hated anyone with such intensity as much as I hated the entire Gujjar tribe in the train. I was on the verge of desperate, helpless tears at one point and at another, I was convinced that the train was never going to reach Delhi. It was just going to turn and head back to Mumbai. I harassed my mom continually and I even threatened to jump out of the train a couple of times 'cause I was so fed up of the huge metal monstrosity. The people selling tea calling out "Chai Chai", the people selling water, those calling out various food items; I was ready to shoot them all. And then New Delhi station. Literally like a light at the end of the tunnel. My respite from this hell-hole (ok maybe not a hell-hole but hey, you try sitting in a train for 31 hours and let's see how you feel then!). I was at peace at last.

The Paschim Express. 31 hours of pure torture.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New Found Love

I've found a new love and it's called Cyanide & Happiness. I can't believe that I've never heard of this before; even though it's been around since forever (or more specifically since 2005). It's basically a comic strip series. What makes it so amazingly awesome is it's hilarious writing. The graphics aren't all that much; just your glorified stick figures. But the content, oh my god. For example :

How can you not burst into insane amounts of laughter with this? It's physically impossible. Ok yeah Cyanide & Happiness comics are politically incorrect, may also offend some people. Sometimes they're downright dumb. But oh so hilarious. If loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right! Another one :

Bwahahaha! Oh I'm so in love. All right then, one last one before I'm off.

Come on now. Admit it. You love it too. Oh here's where you'll find many, many more. Just take a look at the archives for ensured hilarity.

P.S. Just click on the pics to view them in a larger mode.

Monday, 2 June 2008

. . . And I'm Back!

Yes I am. Back from Delhi. So expect a few posts on my trip later. Right now I'm feeling way too lazy, so yeah. Anyway, I'm just writing this post to tell all those of you who haven't read The Kite Runner to kill yourself and then go buy a copy. Don't borrow one, buy it. I had read this book some time back but was re-reading it on the train ride to and from Delhi. I absolutely adore that book and I don't know anyone who hasn't immediately fallen in love with it; even people who don't read all that much. It's a truly touching tale and I won't spoil it for you by giving out the plot but, trust me, you just cannot not read it. And I dare you not to cry at least once throughout the whole book. Even if your heart is made of stone, you will feel your eyes well up at some point or the other. I, of course, burst into tears multiple times, which was sort of embarrassing 'cause I was in the train and people kept looking at me like they were worried for my sanity. Yeah. It's that heartwarming. I mean yeah, I cried even when Dumbledore died, but this book made many hard hearted people weep too so it has to be great. Get your copy today if you haven't already read it. After killing yourself for having waited this long, that is.

P.S. I can't wait to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author.