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.


  1. agree with almost all of them. but...but...I'm one of the 'toh' people too :-(

    you toh tahole dislike me, O-V-S-H-A-K-E da ?? :'(

    1. Erm, okay, yes, no, I mean, how can I dislike you, PRB? You're, erm, so cool.

  2. I totally agree with point 7. This has been one of my pet peeves for YEARS. YEARS, I say. I cannot physically stand looking at inboxes where thousands of mails have remained unread. My left eye starts to twitch, my palms turn clammy, and I might accidentally pick up a fork and stab the unreader of mails.

    1. I know exactly what you feel like. Parentheses do not have a right to appear next to the word "Inbox". They absolutely do not.

  3. You think CCD reactions to espresso are annoying? Have you tried ordering a pizza on phone from Domino's? Or heard the Starbucks guys call out your name (well, maybe, your names doesn't invite as many mispronunciations as mine!)? I have boycotted both.

    And ummm, I am number 7! But that apart, why DO you peek into your colleagues' mailboxes?

    1. I do not peek into others' mailboxes. I have provided the reasons.

      Starbucks doesn't mess up with my name, for some reason.

    2. OK, so why do people invite you to read their mails, rather than simply forward to your mailbox that incredibly interesting mail that they need you to look at?

    3. Erm, because they are emails they want me to see but they do not want to be in my possession?

  4. I share your dislike for the Dumpsters, screens with unread emails and delivery charge lovers.

    At monginis, I always make it a point to inform 'kom gorom korben'.

    Spare the CCD guys. They are just doing their job.

    PS. This was a fun read.

    1. Informing the customer of the after the order has been placed is certainly not a part of their JD.

  5. Couldn't agree more, dadabhai. Pointers 2, 4, 8 are just my words!! Another great post. #Respect :D

  6. ১. CCD কর্মীদের Espresso'র স্বাদ বা পরিমান এর জ্ঞান আমাকে-ও বহুবার frustrated করেছে।
    ২. Do you still sit on that table?
    ৬. Monginis এর খাবার আমি গরম করে দিতে বারণ করি জিভ পুড়ে যাবার ভয়ে।
    ৭. যারা email unread রাখে (তা সে স্প্যাম বা forwarded যাই হোক না কেন ) তাদের সাথে আমি কথা বলি না।
    ৮. আমি অনেক কে চিনি যারা "তোঃ" না বলে "tch" জাতীয় একটা শব্দ কে punctuation হিসেবে ব্যবহার করে, শুনতে খানিকটা যেমন আমরা normally রাস্তা'র কুত্তা'র দৃষ্টি আকর্ষণ করতে ব্যবহার করি সেই রকম। equally irritating.

    বাকিগুলো স্রেফ আপনার বাতিক।

    1. পাঁচটা বাতিক আমার, আর পাঁচটা আমাদের দুজনের। ব্যাস্‌, মিটে গেল!

  7. Gargi BhattacharyaMay 27, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Fardeen Khan has won Academy Awards in nine consecutive years. Anyone who can think of and then write this line deserves massive #respect. :D

    I'd love to know what to think of the "anyways"-people.

    1. Thank you. :D

      "Anyways" definitely deserves a separate post. Will do that some day.

  8. 1. those hapless stewards are not morons...they have had their hands scalded because of the "espresso coffee" served in wedding receptions in India....people want a frothing mug of coffee with milk when they ask for espresso coffee at CCD or Barista...believe me, I've seen happen in front of my eyes, what followed was a shower of choicest profanities hurled at the waiter in vernacular, and the manager and other customers had to intervene to prevent the poor guy from being beaten badly...I guess that's why they explain beforehand

    2. people chew bay leaves? :O ...I mean seriously?.....yuck!

    3. ha ha ha.... I've been getting such mails from one Saveetha with the subject line - "will you marry me?" for almost 6 years now :P ..... just imagine

    4. shudhrote shudhrote tired hoye haal chhere diechi

    5. grown-ups peel apples before eating? who does? then what is left of the taste?....I have to give peeled boiled apple flesh to my 10-month-old daughter. even she finds it tasteless

    6. I too have suffered umpteen times :(

    7. no comments...have mailed u a screenshot of my inbox :P

    8. I hate this breed. Period;
    "someone who stammers and climaxes at the same time" - ROFL

    9. "Fardeen Khan has won Academy Awards in nine consecutive years." - you really think so highly of him? :P

    10. These days flipkart charges Rs 50 as delivery charges even if the total cost is above Rs 500, if all the books are not bought from the same seller :(

    excellent observation on your part!

    1. 1. Can be easily solved by serving milk with the espresso. The question is irritating. But then, it never happens at Barista. Only CCD.
      2. They do. :(
      3. I only get proposals from females. :|
      5. See 3.
      9. Everyone does.
      10. Seriously? Switch to Amazon.

    2. Gargi BhattacharyaMay 27, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      Flipkart has gone to the dogs. Fashion, electronics আর household items এর চাপে বই এখন দুয়োরাণী flipkart-এ।

    3. will think about switching to amazon....problem is I have a Nokia-esque fetish with flipkart

    4. I know, Gargi. Remember, Flipkart has now tied up with Myntra to tackle Amazon. Taking on a behemoth of that magnitude is not easy.

    5. Please switch to Amazon ASAP. Infibeam is also good; for rare books try Abebooks.

  9. bah bah! darun toh!! #respect :P

  10. You have no idea how much I wish I could personally thank you for this post. Adding to #4 Add 'anyways' to the list. It just creeps me out how can 'any' be 'ways'!

    As for respect, I think people have lost so much of it that instead of finding it by doing meaningful things in life they are searching for it on twitter. And the result inevitably is meaningless result!

    I could get a print out and stick it on Monginis' glass doors if that wakes then up.

    And I had similar experience wish espresso shots. Do they think we can't read? Or are they too aware of the shameful existence of illiteracy ?

    However, I think I sound too cynical. So, I stop here. :)

    1. You have made an excellent point there: how can "any" indeed be "ways"?

      As for espresso, join the club.

      PS: Haven't you already thanked me personally through this comment? Or do you mean "thank in person"?

    2. Yes. the silly mess was caused by my acute focus on 'Anyways' and the loss of respect. :D

    3. Anyways, let us not discuss these.

  11. Agreed on the scalding hot food one for sure! Also the inboxes one (though everyone's threshold is different, but anything with four digits takes the cake). The #Fardeen line was hilarious. And when I saw the one about "a tips", I was also reminded about excessive use of "the". In fact, the makers of Salaam Namaste definitely had a dislike for this - hence Javed Jaffrey's unforgettable line from "Salaam Namaste":

    "I don't the trust the Indians."

    1. I liked the comments of the you. I also thank the you for liking the post on the above.

  12. Good one. Costa Coffee is better than CCD or Barista

    1. Any day. There is no comparison. Seriously no comparison.

  13. Deliciously curmudgeonly, as only Babu Abhishek can be. Bravo. #respect

    Toh, here is a tips for you. A minor gripe, actually. Apple's "an electronics brand", not 'an electronic brand' - just as you don't pick up 'a mathematic paper', or go through 'a physic book'.

    1. Yeah, go on, have a jibe at an innocent typographic error.

  14. About the skin of an apple; some people including me are allergic to apple skins.

    1. I was not aware of this. I am sorry if I have hurt your sentiments.

  15. Well written! I know a guy with over 4000 unread notifications and emails. What erks me more is that between every 25 unread emails there is a read mail! Anyway well written!

    1. Do you get a feeling similar to the one March Hare has mentioned above? I do.

    2. 6751. After a trying-to-clean-up-but-here-I-give-up!

    3. Terrible. You should have killed them at the grass-root.

    4. indira chakravortyMay 29, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      abhishek, trying once more. have to conquer this one!
      love the writing. agree with all of them. just one comment. i think most toh/to can be translated as so. but you already know that! ;)

  16. 7 ta bade baki sobe agree! (onner mailbox-e takabar-i ba ki dorkar? :P )

  17. 1. I can totally see that they get abused by people for handing them a small cup of bitter coffee and nothing else for the price. So, I would not complain about this. Except for the fact that the statement is wrong. Espresso can easily come with sugar if desired, though stirring would be
    a bad idea. The second question (after how good the espresso is, or maybe the first) is what the cup is made of? Not paper I hope!

    2. I am glad I have not had this experience in a while

    3. This is not a problem for me, as I am a No. 7. What is the problem with a few hundred unread emails: I have over twenty thousand. And look at the point of it: Dear Google takes care of the space, and this allows the circumvention of 3.

    4. I am sorry to say that the affliction of unwanted plurals is strongest in us Bengalis. As is the tendency to add unnecessary articles, particularly "the". I don't have anything against 'toh'. If at all written in English, toh is preferable to to.

    5. Apple skins: Was not aware of this.

    6. If some inventions never happened: a) microwave oven b) automatic transmission

    7./8. See above

    9. ok

    10. Why indeed?

    1. Welcome back, RGB. You've been missed.

      1. Let me see. If you go to a restaurant and ask for biriyani, would you prefer it to be served or defined?
      3. Ugh!
      10. Yes, why indeed?

    2. I almost always read ... even if I don't get around to commenting.

      1. I understand how this gets in the way for people like you who know exactly what an espresso is and order it because of that. Not to speak of the fact that it is patronizing. What I am asking you to consider, however, is that there may be a pretty large fraction of people who don't know exactly what an espresso is, and are experimenting with a new drink. An espresso is often an acquired taste (while a latte, for example, is much more likeable at first shot) and has the unsatisfactory feeling of not giving much to sip for a while probable leading to the invention of a drink called Americano by some enterprising folks. So, a short warning may, indeed, benefit a lot of experimental coffee drinkers. They could perhaps find out if one knows their coffee by asking, but that would be even more patronizing. So, I am saying one could be a little more sympathetic to their warning.

      7. Sigh. When will you guys see the light? Life is too short to read email, manually filter and delete email that can be left unread.

    3. 1. The description is usually written quite clearly below the item on the menu.
      7. Hmph.

    4. 1. In that case, I stand corrected. I have yet to come across a place which explains that an espresso is a small cup of coffee without milk :)
      7. Now, don't be a bureaucratic Vogon in this respect :) ; just because it was done in a particular way does not mean that it is the only way or the best way, or even the better way ;) .

    5. 7. Bureaucratic Vogons rule. Mwahahaha.

  18. Points 2 - 10: I agree. First point - no comments as I don't order espresso. And about - "Vegetarians do the same, but the best they are equipped with is bay leaves, which are seldom chewed into unrecognisable debris. ", don't forget sojne/other data!! They are almost equally efficient in killing appetite!!

  19. I have seen a jatt person grab a CCD worker by the collar- "saale ye kya petrol diya kaala sa expresso ka order tha b****i ke"
    It doesn't make #1 less annoying, merely a self preservation technique by a hapless group of underpaid people. what i do is add the line "no milk, no cream, no topping, no flavour" to my order, thus preempting the mandatory flow of coffee gyan.

    Also, expresso. :/

    1. Hello, Americano, your cousin (or whatever) is called espresso.

      I am not exactly racist, but when it comes to IQ and temper of the community you mention...

    2. I am aware of the fact, sir. He resents the misspelling and mispronunciation of his name as much as you do yours. Hence the anguish.

      The IQ and temper of coffee addicts across communities is unreliable at best when they perceive that they have been denied their dose. Tea drinkers, on the other hand...

    3. I understand espresso's antipathy.

  20. If I ever wrote a piece like this, not that I have the ability - I would add a section on apostrophes. Probably the most abused punctuation mark of them all.
    its my right to use ( or not )the apostrophe's as I deem proper :P

    1. Ah, apostrophes. You may want to read this.