A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Random things I dislike: III

For Part I click here.

For Part II click here.

*** *** ***

1. CCD reactions to espresso

This always happens. Always.

I enter a Cafe Coffee Day (this has absolutely nothing to do with the quality; availability is the key here) with an insatiable caffeine-deficiency in my system. I push open the glass door and let the invisible magic fumes infiltrate my system.


I walk up to the counter. I can see the beans — they're right there behind the counter, ready to be converted to a liquid state for human consumption. I patiently wait in the queue as my urge increases. I flash my CCD membership card (yes, such a thing exists).

"An espresso, please."

"Sir, an espresso comes in a small cup, and is black coffee without sugar."


PS: Barista is not a lot better, either.

2. The dumpsters

Eating, as we know, is the unsung religion of mankind. Despite Oprah Winfrey's ignorance, we still enjoy eating with our hands, which is easily the best medium one can use for Indian food. You can use hands for other cuisines as well, but I somehow suspect tackling spaghetti with your hands will not be a good option.

Let us come to the point. This list is more or less confined to non-vegetarians (yes, I am aware that I am discriminating). Mind you, I have nothing against vegetarians; how can you be angry at people who go through their lives with a whopping 20% of their sense organs unused?

Anyway, let us return to our point. With non-vegetarian food comes bones (of course I am aware that there are boneless versions of every product, but cooking with the bones on simply tastes better); and for every, every, every proper meal in a gathering, there exists at least one person who dumps the bones — fish or flesh — next to his plate, on the table (or floor).

Vegetarians do the same, but the best they are equipped with is bay leaves, which are seldom chewed into unrecognisable debris. 

Nothing kills my appetite faster than the dumpsters of the world.


3. Over-familiarness

Direct mail campaigns are a rather cool thing. I have helped prepare gazillions myself, so I know what it is about.

Gone are the days when they used to arrive at our mailboxes in neat envelopes. That is history. Now they come in glitzy emails with the option to download or not download the pictures; the Nehas and Pujas of the world claim they are waiting for me; KFC never forgets to mention their discounts; and Flipkart makes it a point to keep me updated about their new launches.

All these are tolerable. Even the über-rich Nigerians.


Over-familiarness is not. I repeat, not.

I know the word is not in the dictionary. I just made it up. But it does mean something.

I am perfectly fine with emails that go “97% discount on Western Digital hard disks.”
[Note: I made up the number, WD never gives such discounts]

I am, however, not fine with emails that start off with fake cheery tones: “Hi, Abhishek! How has your day been? It has been long since you have visited our site!”

4. Tips and jokes

Let me clear this once and for all: you do not crack “a jokes”; you crack “a joke”. “Jokes” is plural for “joke”. It is not a singular. Hence, “a jokes” is grammatically incorrect, and hence infuriating.

Similarly for “tips”; you do not pass on “a tips”; it is “a tip”.
[Note: The phrase is more common in Indian languages than in proper English. “Ami toke ekta tips dichchhi” is a common Bengali phrase that translates to “let me pass a tips on to you.]

5. Skin and flesh

I have never managed to figure this out: why do people peel apples before eating them raw?

Apples are generally delicious. In fact, I would rank them among the tastiest fruits available to mankind, and certainly the finest of the forbidden fruits; it even has an electronics brand named after one of its half-eaten brothers.

Apple skins are not supposed to be discarded. De-pipping makes some sense, but why throw away the layer of the fruit? Is it not the semi-hard cover, combined with the succulent interiors that make the fruit so irresistibly delicious?

If you still cannot have your apple with its peel on, please remove the peel when you’re away from me. An earnest request.

As mentioned, credit goes to Barbara W Beacham

6. Heat! Heat!

Go to a savouries shop. Ask for your favourite item on display. They ask whether you want it heated. You agree, somewhat innocently, completely oblivious of what is going to follow.

Once the telltale ting happens, they take out the delicious-looking supremo or envelope or internet or food-item-with-a-different-name-but-tastes-the-same-anyway out from the microwave oven (and invariably place it on a paper plate already covered in an ocean of tomato ketchup).

You take the first bite; and you scald your mouth.

Servers in fast-food chains (attention: Mongini’s!) over years, decades, centuries, millennia have failed to realise that when a customer wants his food hot, he wants it a bit hotter than room temperature, and hot enough to find it tasty.


It’s time you realise this.

7. Leaving emails unread

This looks terrible on Gmail. Your friend or colleague (or someone who is both) or anyone else asks you to sit next to him. He shows you his mailbox. Your eyes automatically get diverted to the top left corner of the mailbox, where you get to see the number of unread emails.

A count of five or six unread emails is absolutely fine. A count of a few hundreds, on the other hand, gets under my skin. Some people go a step further.

See? See? SEE?


8. The toh people

This, unfortunately, is something strictly Indian, since the word তো or तो is very difficult to translate. You may get the flavour, though.

The word is supposed to be pronounced as “to”; however, a few intellectual descendants of Albert Einstein have decided to use the spelling “toh”, the reason being that there is a possibility that the reader may confuse it with the English “to”.

For the uninitiated, the Indian spelling comes is misread as তোঃ or तो:, which is probably the sound made by someone who stammers and climaxes at the same time. It is certainly not what the intention with which the word had been mentioned.

9. Hash-tagging to flaunt respect

Hash-tagging, one of the greatest concepts since sliced bread, has revolutionised the world of Twitter and other websites of social networking. Hash-tagging looks suave, they can be flexible, they trend, they demonstrate creativity, and they allow you to use #, which is oddly reminiscent of Archie Andrews’ hair.

[Question (mostly to historians): What was the universally accepted greatest concept in the pre-sliced bread era? This is a genuine question.]

The question is, why would someone use the hash-tag #respect? What purpose does it serve? Let us see.

Fardeen Khan has won Academy Awards in nine consecutive years. #respect

What is this supposed to mean? The purpose of a hash-tag is to catch a trending topic: for example, the hash-tags #FardeenKhan, #AcademyAwards, or #AcademyAwardRecords can be used in the above tweet, since people are likely to search with those hash-tags. Nobody will search with #respect.

The other purpose of hash-tags is to show off your creativity skills (social networking, after all, is all about showing off). Let us check an example.

I say “khandani chor hoon, kuchh to leke jaoonga” to myself when I check-out of a hotel. #ThingsAndazApnaApnaDoToYou

See what I meant? See? #respect does not create the awe #ThingsAndazApnaApnaDoToYou does.

In other words, neither does #respect capture the trend, nor does it look creative or cool. The only purpose it serves is to make the person look as ridiculous as a a vegetarian meal on the KFC menu.

10. People who crave for delivery charges

There was a period when Flipkart used to charge fifty rupees as book delivery charges unless your order exceeded an amount of Rs 500 (I have been told the numbers have changed since).

[Note: Now that you know I am a voracious reader, why don’t you go here and buy me a book?]

My problem lies elsewhere: once you know there is free shipping, why will you buy books worth Rs 450 and pay Rs 50 as delivery, instead of getting another book for a hundred rupees (Agatha Christie books cost a shade over that)? You will be getting a book worth Rs 110 for Rs 60, which is close to a 50% discount!

Instead, people choose to pay the extra fifty rupees to the shipping companies. This is too terrible to be true: instead of getting close to a 50% discount on a book, someone is paying the same amount to Bluedart or First Flight.

If that is not a reason to get annoyed, I do not know what is.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Towel Day! Towel Day!

It's that time of the year: 25th May is nigh, and it's time to carry a towel to work (yes, I do work on Sundays) and not panic and try to hitch-hike — which, one must admit, is an extremely difficult ask in this city.

It has been a year full of ups and downs, but then, that is the USP of years: they are meant to be full of ups and downs. One may think that it's because "ups" is an anagram of USP, but they're wrong. Years are nothing but orthogonal fjords.

Had we both not been atheists, I would have prayed for you or typed out the acronym RIP on social media. Unfortunately, we both are, hence our plan of action may include a visit to Eroticon Six and explore that woman of questionable profession but perfectly agreeable endowments. If not, we can even visit Sago Mud Salad, or even have dates with Fenchurch or Kate Schechter. 

In case you're not aware, I have moved on to analog watches; I have not yet taken to Bach, but am mostly harmless. And, to be honest, so are the inhabitants of the utterly insignificant little blue-green planet that orbits a small unregarded yellow sun in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy.


101010; 1120; 222; 132; 110; 60; 52; 46.