Archive for the ‘This Is Real’ Category

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with the current Ashes cricket Test.

People are stupid. I am one of them. But after reading this story, I feel smarter! Why? Because even if I did plan a trip online, I normally would not end up 8,000 miles off course!

A twenty-one year old German tourist planned to take a trip to Sydney, Australia, but wound up 8,077 miles off-course — headed instead for the small oil town of Sydney, Montana, after mistyping his destination into a flight booking Web site. The man didn’t notice anything was wrong until he was about to board a flight from Portland to chilly Montana, dressed in summer vacation clothes.

And his mum thinks he’s good with computers. Sure, he must be. He booked the flights and travelled, didn’t he? It’s the thinking part he’s not good with!


Drunk driving helps?

There has often been research that defies logic and longstanding beliefs or theories. Drunk driving is one such theory. It is rightly assumed (supported with enough proof) that drunk driving is generally not the smartest thing to do. And while that theory still holds good, there is new research that suggests it may not be an entirely lost situation…

The University of Toronto team found head injury patients who had drunk low amounts were 24% less likely to die than those who had not had any alcohol.

This, from an article on the site. Whatever the research may suggest, the text between the lines says that there is a 24% “less” chance of death. No “24% less deaths”… In any case, I would like to know how and why such half-ready research gets published. Half knowledge is a dangerous thing. And when one’s drunk, it’s even tougher to read between the proverbial lines, eh?

Have a safe Christmas and New Year’s!

Without making a religious statement, I would like to point readers to this article: Haj pilgrims can now buy animals through Internet.

The real killer in the implementation of being able to “buy animals for slaugher on the Internet”, is this:

The bank would send an email or SMS messages to pilgrims who have purchased coupons confirming that the slaughter of their animal has been carried out.

But there is a obviously a reason for this e-commerce model. And for the bank running this (the Islamic Development Bank): “This will enable the IDB to build up a central data base that will help in planning for the best utilisation of slaughterhouses,” bank President Dr Ahmed Mohammad Ali has said.

The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) further reports:

Islamabad, Dec 18 (IANS) After Eid greetings and marriages through the Internet, Pakistanis can now turn to websites for Qurbani – the sacrifice of animals on Eid-ul-Azha.

Several websites have on offer traditional sacrificial animals – goat, sheep, camel and cow – and the billing is done through credit card. Customers can either donate the animal directly to the poor or take home the meat from the trust office, the Daily Times reported.

‘The online booking is for people who are busy and do not have enough time to visit offices or markets,’ said Shakeel Dehlawi, public relations director of the Karachi-based Alamgir Welfare Trust International.

‘We started the service two years ago but few people were aware of it. Now we have a good response from Internet users.’

Sahara, the life trust of singer Abrarul Haq, also sells animals online. US-based group Islamicity and Life for Relief and Development offer this service to Muslims around the world.

And the Ulema have approved of the practice.

‘I see no problem in it, even if the payment is through credit cards,’ said Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, head of Jamia Naeemia.

‘But it is important the credit card user pay the qurbani amount instantly so he saves himself from interest,’ he added.

Interesting times we live in, surely!

Well, I definitely didn’t! And if you are telling me that you know what an Aglet is, then sir/madam, you are a more learned person than I. Not that you otherwise won’t be, but just! So here’s an interesting list.

And no, I have not done the research. This has come via Canongate and the link was from a good old friend Gautam D.

  • AGLET – The plain or ornamental covering on the end of a shoelace.
  • ARMSAYE – The armhole in clothing.
  • CHANKING – Spat-out food, such as rinds or pits.
  • COLUMELLA NASI – The bottom part of the nose between the nostrils.
  • DRAGÉES – Small beadlike pieces of candy, usually silver-coloured, used for decorating cookies, cakes and sundaes.
  • FEAT – A dangling curl of hair.
  • FERRULE – The metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place.
  • HARP – The small metal hoop that supports a lampshade.
  • HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER – A 64th note. (A 32nd is a demisemiquaver, and a 16th note is a semiquaver.)
  • JARNS,
  • and QUIMP – Various squiggles used to denote cussing in comic books.
  • KEEPER – The loop on a belt that keeps the end in place after it has passed through the buckle.
  • KICK or PUNT – The indentation at the bottom of some wine bottles. It gives added strength to the bottle but lessens its holding capacity.
  • LIRIPIPE – The long tail on a graduate’s academic hood.
  • MINIMUS – The little finger or toe.
  • NEF – An ornamental stand in the shape of a ship.
  • OBDORMITION – The numbness caused by pressure on a nerve; when a limb is `asleep’.
  • OCTOTHORPE – The symbol `#’ on a telephone handset. Bell Labs’ engineer Don Macpherson created the word in the 1960s by combining octo-, as in eight, with the name of one of his favourite athletes, 1912 Olympic decathlon champion Jim Thorpe.
  • OPHRYON – The space between the eyebrows on a line with the top of the eye sockets.
  • PEEN – The end of a hammer head opposite the striking face.
  • PHOSPHENES – The lights you see when you close your eyes hard. Technically the luminous impressions are due to the excitation of the retina caused by pressure on the eyeball.
  • PURLICUE – The space between the thumb and extended forefinger.
  • RASCETA – Creases on the inside of the wrist.
  • ROWEL – The revolving star on the back of a cowboy’s spurs.
  • SADDLE – The rounded part on the top of a matchbook.
  • SCROOP – The rustle of silk.
  • SNORKEL BOX – A mailbox with a protruding receiver to allow people to deposit mail without leaving their cars.
  • SPRAINTS – Otter dung.
  • TANG – The projecting prong on a tool or instrument.
  • WAMBLE – Stomach rumbling.
  • ZARF – A holder for a handleless coffee cup.
  • It’s not easy to really make money, is it? But some people seem to have an easier time of it than others. But Rs 1.5 lakh per minute? That seems a bit much for even the highest paid execs, eh?

     Not for our own Bollywood siren, though. Through some deft negotiations and timely under-handedness, Mallika Sherawat has (according to “sources”) ensured that this is indeed a rich New Years eve for her reports the Mid-Day.

    And the result will be that she would draw Rs 1.5 lakh for every minute she performs at any hotel.

    These shows usually last half-an-hour; so on December 31, Mallika will make Rs 1.5 lakh for each minute of work, said a reliable Bollywood source.

    Which also implies that she would be performing at more than one hotel. Or is it?

    MiD DAY has now learned that she is going to perform for the highest bidder — the JW Marriott at Juhu for a sum of Rs 50 lakh.

    Mallika Sherawat What this means is that patrons at the JW Marriott (in Mumbai) would be treated to about 33.33 minutes of Mallika.

    Wonder if this includes changes and time lost between dance numbers… And I also wonder how much the entry to the JW would cost on 31st!

    Crowd behaviour is also on top of the Hotel’s list as they keep an eye out for how many people get to attend. They sure have learned from their experience, it would seem:

    Last year, when Malaika Arora Khan was the star attraction there, the tickets were priced at Rs 5,950. Nuell said ticket prices were raised because the hotel wants a smaller crowd.

    “Last year, controlling the crowd was a major issue.

    This time, we want less people and more spice at the event. So, we have fixed on a higher price.”

    So there… now you know what you need to earn Rs 1.5 lakh per minute. A body like Mallika’s, a total lack of professionalism and a hotel that’s, well, stupid enough to pay this kind of money.

    But… can you dance?

    There are shirts and then there are shirts. I am rather class-less when it comes to the matter of dressing. Give me my pair of Jeans and a shirt or T-shirt and I’m good to go. I normally have about 2 (two) formal shirts ready and waiting for that occasional meeting, function, interview (less occasional than the earlier two events!) and other such necessities. These are complimented by a pair of formal trousers. Also normally on wait.

    As Gabbar Singh would say, Ek trouser aur shirt do… bahut na-insaafi hai! (heh!), the reasoning is simple. Both shirts belong to the light shade category and the trouser is of a darker hue. Hence either combination is possible. It also makes life easier when “dressing up”! Brown trouser + White shirt or Brown trouser + Beige shirt. Simple.

    Obviously, not everyone would approve of this method. For the discerning, there are places like Savile Row and such. I recently chanced upon one such place… not that I was in London or anything, just through blogs! English Cut is a fine tailoring setup and if they really do create (make is a small word for their process) shirts the way they claim to on their blog, then I feel ashamed. Little did I know that so much craftsmanship was possible in a shirt. The buttons, collars and even cuffs.

    Perhaps when I do make it to London, I should get myself a couple of these, eh? Until then, maybe, Indigo Nation could do well to send a couple of their tailors down there!

    [Via: Gaping Void.]

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    Regift (v.)

    Wish I’d seen this at Diwali. Sigh.

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    Rahul the destroyer

    So Rahul Mahajan is having a bad year. Maybe that’s an understatement. As Mid-Day informs us, he has now taken to physically abusing his wife. After his father’s death, his drug problem (alleged, mind you) and a score of other problems that have seen his perfect world fall apart, one would have thought, he would take time and recover. But obviously not. And it does not sound like frustration either. There’s a “manic edge” as his wife Shweta puts it:

    Apparently, Rahul was full of remorse later, but even this had a manic edge. He told Shweta to ”take a hammer and finish him off”. Terrified, Shweta asked him to stay away from her. Shweta’s mother intervened, and Rahul left for Mumbai, sources said.

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    I am not as well informed about these matters, perhaps but even to the naive eye, the answer to the first question on the linked page (below) would seem absurd… or is it?

    Is there something I don’t know?

    Mumbai Mirror

    Right. Now I undestand that there are some funny people in the world. But what in the name of the goat, sheep and the ram is a goatonapolist?

    Check out more info! Insane, man!

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    For once, there seems to be some sense about this business in China. A court has ordered Carrefour to pay LVMH damages for use of their logo on fake goods.
    Wonder whether the same ruling would have happened if the offending company was a Chinese local one and not a multinational.

    One wonders…
    Full Story here.

    And no, we are not talking about India’s population for once! That is the number of Kalashnikov rifles (AK-47) that have ever been manufactured. Interestingly, only 12 per cent of these have been in Russia. Hm.

    AK 47

    Seriously, is it something to be proud of that you have created a weapon so deadly that it is ‘reliable and durable’ in most conditions? Mr Kalashnikov seems to think so.

    Ads by

    Bad Ad?

    Following is the transcript of a radio ad for Kaya Skin Clinic:

    Wife: Darling, how do I look?
    Husband: Ummm… nice
    W: Just nice?
    H: Lovely
    W: Only Lovely?
    H: You look beautiful.
    W: You know, that’s what I like about you. It’s 5 in the morning and you think I look beautiful.
    H: You know, I mean it.
    VO: Kaya Skin Clinic. For those who know beauty begins with skin and not make-up.

    Just a few points:

    1. Why in god’s name is the poor husband being tested at 5 am?
    2. Of course this is a trick question and there is no right answer.
    3. Doesn’t it sound like the wife is coercing the answer she wants (i.e. beautiful) out of him?
    4. After getting two wrong answers (listen, if “nice” and “lovely” were correct, he would have gone back to sleep), he had to say the b-word.
    5. Doesn’t she sound rather conceited? Why would you want to know how you look when you are just waking up? It’s another thing if someone volunteers a compliment. But this is like extortion.
    6. Are the women of the world approving of this ad? Doesn’t it show them in poor light?

    Just some things I thought I should ask. Any answers?

    Only if you are in China, though! For this mobile service provider has cancelled services of 19,000 people. Wonder if the Indian cellcos would comply like this with the government. In times when numbers mean more numbers (you get the drift, eh?), it’s unlikely.

    Britney Spears, is who I am talking about. Art is about expression and only an artist could understand why another artist may have created something. One hopes, anyway! So what do you make of this sculpture of BS giving birth? (p.s.: BS=Britney Spears despite all other connotations!)

    Please help in whatever way you can. Since Gaurav Sabnis has said it so well, I will simply link there for more details. But please do help by contributing to the trust.

    Remember, he died for us. [Direct Link]

    China is censoring everything in sight. Pretty soon, your thoughts could also be censored if you are in China! But the recent ban of certain sites and types of sites by Google (at the behest of the Govt) is a serious attack on the right to freedom. But then, that’s the fabric of the country.

    To be fair, even in India, where is the total freedom? Something as trivial as Valentine’s Day is (has been since 2003) under the scanner by local organistions of national stature (yes, I mean that) to “protect” the cultural ethos of the country. What about when these very people are found drinking in the night and creating violence? Isn’t non-violence the call from India? Isn’t what they are doing against democracy? Ironically, democracy is the tool they use when they want to disallow anything democratic. Belive me, it is as cryptic as it sounds. Can’t these groups do anything constructive?

    From what I cannot see on TV to what I cannot handle in books and magazines… everything is spellt out for me. Am I really that stupid? And these (or their ilk) are the ones who go about bashing educational institutions like the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute because someone called James Laine wrote something about Shivaji. Would it not be better to prove it wrong than to demolish a heritage building? What did that prove? That we are still a bunch of babboons? No. because, as Manu Bhagavan says, most of the people who have acted against this have not read the book. Maybe because they cannot? Perhaps. In fact, this has gone to the extent that an arrest warrant has been issued against him.

    While these incidents may be dismissed as stray and the best way to deal with them would perhaps be said to be ignoring them, it hardly serves as a solution. Do I have to think everytime I want to say or do something? And now that the last standing bastion of total freedom – the Internet – is also being attacked, where does one go?

    In many ways, India and China are more alike than apart. Unfortunately, these are not the good ways.

    Can I write this openly any more? Can I criticise anyone or anything? Will I suffer for voicing my opinions?

    Hope not.

    Mobile Cooking

    This could be termed a little extreme, but if ‘convenience’ is what you yearn, you could do this. Your ‘call’!

    Instructions for cooking an egg with your mobile phones!

    Seriously, would you drink it if it cost so much? I would maybe resell and make more money!!

    Overpriced Bottled Water

    Even the creator of Dilbert is not spared. Kind of reminds me of those ICICI Bank credit card salesmen in grocery stores. I sympathise totally.


    We’ve all been there, done that… as in skipping school (Ow, my tummy hurts), not doing homework (my dog ate it) and what not. We have hence been scolded, shouted at punished and at times even hit. But this is crazy. What’s truly worse, though, is that the mom looks rather smug and happy posing for the photo! Geez.

    Migratory Issues

    Now that I have migrated and tried (unsuccesfully) also to import all posts from Blogger, I have figured that this is the best way. Following are links to posts made in October at the old blog.

    All new posting will happen right here.

    • Egads It’s Flying In My Kitchen [here]
    • Eating my words and enjoying it [here]
    • ‘Dost’ and ‘Ypun Aur Sheher’? [here]
    • IIPM v Blogosphere [here, here, here, here, here] In reverse chronological order
    • And then what? [here]
    • Diwali, dude! [here]
    • Victory [here]

    For all previous posts, just click the months: October 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, April 2005, March 2005

    I have not seen anything as revolutionary since sliced bread! A fairness cream just for men! And check out how unique and original the name is too! “Fair And Handsome”. Yes, I am serious.
    Launched recently (I saw the TVC where a college guy sneaks into the girls hostel to steal their fairness cream… cream of all things!), this disaster sounding product might just do well. Considering the fact that Indian women have always wanted to be ‘fair’, this was the next logical step. So now, we shall soon have self-depricating ads about how a man got left behind in life because he was not fair or was too dark and how by using this Rs 30 tube of ointment (which could be moisturiser for all I know), he can catch up and indeed leave the rest behind.
    So now, we shall soon have self-depricating ads about how a man got left behind in life because he was not fair or was too dark and how by using this Rs 30 tube of ointment (which could be moisturiser for all I know), he can catch up and indeed leave the rest behind.
    What a load of bull.
    I, for one, would not be caught dead usnig or buying this. Here’s a news link about this. Also read here, here, here and here.

    On the side, this is one of the dumbest tech commercials I have ever seen. [Compaq Widescreen notebook]

    The Human Zoo

    These Poms are real crazy!

    Late last month (Aug 25, I think), they had this exhibit where humans were placed at the world famous Bear Mountain in a cage as if animals in a zoo.

    The ‘invitation’ for participation put up on the ZSL site read as follows: Do you fancy showing off at the Zoo?

    We are currently looking for individuals who would like to take part in a unique event. The August Bank holiday will welcome an extra special exhibit to London Zoo as a flock of Homo sapiens gather on the world famous Bear Mountain. Presented to the public with only fig leaves to protect their modesty, the humans will become an important feature of zoo life as they are cared for by our experienced keepers and kept entertained through various forms of enrichment. The four day event aims to demonstrate the basic nature of man as an animal and examine the impact that Homo sapiens have on the rest of the animal kingdom. If you would like to take part in this exciting new exhibit fill in the form below and tell us, in 50 words or less: Why do you want to take part in ‘The Human Zoo’?

    Apparently, “The four day event aims to demonstrate the basic nature of man as an animal and examine the impact that Homo sapiens have on the rest of the animal kingdom.” Has this also happened elsewhere? Wonder what it would be like to have this in Mumbai or Delhi!

    Reports about it on Yahoo! and Ananova. Also on the Beeb Online!

    Here’s a photogallery too!

    This is real scary. First the snow will melt and bring floods with it. Then, the water would mix with the sea making it useless for humans or agriculture. Then there will be famines. Is this the apocalypse? Outlook has a very scary story about the future… and they say it's just another 95 years away. So what if we won't be around… our kids (or grandkids) sure will.
    What are we gonna do about it?

    Through our life, we get attached to certain things—even inanimate—that we are moved by when the time comes to get rid of them. How many times have we really wondered if these are worth the pain we feel?
    Take for example a restaurant called Savera opposite my college, Fergusson. I can’t even remember the number of days/nights I spent there… now I wonder why. But one thing is for sure… I can never forget the place. Similarly, there is this regular stop on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway called Center Point where the bus stops for a few minutes for a cuppa chai! But this week, I drove to Mumbai and not stopping there made me miss it. Not that the food is great or anything, but just that it had become a part of something I did regularly. This, in fact, was what set me thinking.
    So I started to think about other such inanimate things that are really important to me. The first thing that came to mind was my motorcycle… I haven’t used it in almost five months now but I still don’t want to sell it. Can’t even bring myself to think about it. Perhaps there’s too many memories associated with it… Another such thing is my backpack from college… it was a green one with brown suede at the bottom and black straps… fairly ordinary, but again, has too many memories… a look at it reminds me of the 3 years in FC and the life (carefree, mind you!) I enjoyed back then…
    The list is endless and I will add to it as and when I can think of such things. Call me nuts if you will, but I think these things matter and are great.