A guy’s review of Twilight

Overlook the hype, ignore the screaming female fans, suspend logical reasoning and most of all - forget everything you knew about vampires. Now you are prepared to objectively look at the movie Twilight and its sequel New Moon and irrevocably utter the words WTF !!!
Now it would not be fair to review both movies separately, as well, not much happened in either to warrant the creation of two separate blog-posts so allow me to give you the story of twit-fight and ‘twit-fight same-tune’, as I saw it. Disclaimer: - I have not read the book and hopefully never will, so my thoughts/opinions are only directed towards the movie and the hysteria it has generated.
The movie ‘twit-fight’ begins like most movies … with the opening credits. Soon after that however things  gets really boring. The story (continuing story) is once again about a tragic love story (between the undead and the wish-she-was-dead). The main character is (the jury is still out if whether he has character or not) called ‘Head-weird Dull-hen’ a manic-depressed, anorexic, make-up wearing, overly dramatic vampire with suicidal tendencies and road kill for a toupee. He (or a she trapped in a he’s body) is chemically attracted to ‘Bella Yawn’ a hormonally imbalanced, whiney, overly dramatic ‘wannabe-a vampire’ girl with the sex appeal of a fungal spore being ingested by a fruit fly sitting on a mound of animal fecal matter floating on a swap at the wrong end of a sewage treatment plant. Now as if that was not enough we have another potential suitor for the less-than-ideal Bella Yawn. Enter Gay-cub Black, a steroid overdosed dog with a phobia of shirts and a penchant for barking up the wrong tree (in this case Bella Yawn as she does have the personality of a coconut tree, and is also clearly nuts).
Now that you are familiar with the characters and plot outline of Twit-fight let me tell you a bit more about the movies. So let see.. Bella Yawn cries, … then a bit later Head-weird Dull-hen cries, .. Then Bella Yawn cries some more, … then Gay-cub Black cries a bit, … old man dies (of a heart attack and not a vampire bite/werewolf attack like other normal movies of the genre). Yupp … that’s about it ... O yea and A-lice Dull-hen, sister of Head-weird Dull-hen drives a Porsche 911 turbo. Now that pretty much sums up the movie for me, that and the fact that in twit-fight the werewolves were in fact slightly obese dogs.  There were a few key parts missing from this vampire movie like the blazing guns, huge explosions, fast cars (besides the Porsche), hot women, tight leather outfits, sun glasses, swords, dead bodies and bad language.. The movie did not even show any blood which is pretty lame for a vampire movie. That would be like watching gone in 60 seconds without any actual cars in the movie.. Just endless talk and no action.

 Since I still have your attention let me put out a question to you all… When did vampires go from being deadly, blood thirsty, tough-as-nails guys and smoking hot vampire girls in skin tight leather … to emotionally depressed, dull, boring, sappy, whiney, attention seeking losers whose apparent weakness is that their skin becomes shiny when they step out in daylight !!! I mean come on, Shiny sparkly skin … that’s what the sun does to these freaks … no burning fireballs, no explosions, no instant vaporization hell not even a spark … shiny f#$&@ skin. Now that’s something a regular oil control cream should take care off. Hmmm I’m thinking this could be a whole new market for cosmetic companies. How about this for starters:--

“Nivea for Vampires - Oil control Moisturiser” with natural tanning elements. Now step out into the sun with confidence. Never will you be stared at again. Nivea for Vampires - Oil control Moisturiser gently removes the shiny ‘undead’ skin while coating the pores with natural pigment extracted from your latest victims. Never has vampire skin looked so human. Try it today and take the ten day challenge. If you don’t see results then drop into any one of our outlets and help yourself to our staff. This is a public service announcement.

In conclusion, while the actors in the movie may actually have some talent and probably look presentable in real life, their on-screen characters certainly do not deserve the hype. But then again I’m sure the demograph that this movie is directed at will not take to kindly to the likes of the Blade or Underworld series. It all boils down to what you find entertaining … whether it be glorifying a strange obsessive and unhealthy sexual relationship in confusing times OR mindless violence being dished out by good looking people with deadly toys and killer punch lines … to each their own.

Buyers guide – digital cameras

I consider myself a bit of a techie with a penchant for consumer electronics. It is this self-proclaimed status that often places me in a situation where friends, family, co-workers and random strangers seek my consultation on any and all electronic purchases. Noticing that I often repeat my suggestions I decided it would be far easier if I discussed some basic points in my blog and then direct all queries to it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of my voice, but to repeat the same set of suggestions tends to become a bit annoying. In this post I will go over a few basic specifications to look out for while buying a digital camera. Please note that I am no expert but am merely giving my suggestions based on my experiences and common sense.

The first thing a camera-buying hopeful always tells me is that they want to go in for a camera they saw advertised somewhere because it has 10 or 12 megapixel or 5x digital zoom, or has 100MB etc. if it very easy to get caught up in marketing hype but honestly what is it most of us need from a camera.

(i) Forget Megapixel – in my experience most of us take snaps and then upload then on facebook/picasa. Occasionally we print out a few but that too only in regular postcard size or smaller. If this is true with you then what good is a 12 MP sensor? At best you will be looking at the photo on your computer monitor so technically a 2MP image would be more than sufficient. For those moments when you want to zoom/crop the image perhaps a 4MP may be more appropriate. Another issue with high MP count is the image size, it is practically impossible to send more than a handful via email and that does take a while to upload in the first place.

(ii) Forget digital zoom – digitally zooming into your subject while taking the snap will actually cause loss in detail and clarity. The greater the digital zoom, lower the quality of your image. Read the following point on optical zoom.

(iii) Ignore on-board memory – When all cameras come with memory extension card slots coupled with the low cost of high capacity SD cards, why bother with internal memory of the device. when buying your camera ask the dealer to throw in a high capacity SC card (SDHC) or just buy one separately, they are fairly cheap and make transferring your snaps a breeze. Yes – transferring your snaps. Don’t bother with the proprietary data transfer cables and clunky pc-suite shipped by the manufacturer. Once done taking snaps just pop your SD card into a card-reader (either inbuilt into your comp, or just buy one – cheap). It’s much faster and a lot more convenient.

(iv) Look for optical zoom – an extremely important specification especially if you want to get closer to your subject than physically possible. Additionally quality loss is minimal with optical zoom as opposed to digital zoom. I will not get into the details of how this is established (just wiki optical zoom, aperture and telephoto lens). Also the amount of zoom you need will factor into the type of camera you need to buy. Typical point and shoot cameras have about 3x to 5x optical zoom. Bigger-prosumer-cameras typically have mega-zoom bodies i.e. a zoom anywhere from 10x to 26x. They are usually more expensive, heavier and pack a lot more features (close to DSLR cameras in features but with a much smaller sensor and fixed lens).

(v) Battery type – most compact cameras (point-and-shoot) come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are pretty good however I still prefer ones that run on standard AA size batteries. My reasons are simple – if run out of juice and don’t have my charger with me (which happens to most of us) I simply walk into any nearby store and buy regular AA batteries. If you are going in for a camera powered by regular batteries then my suggestion would be to buy a pair of NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) cells and a charger. Also go in for the highest milli-amps your camera will support. This should give you an excellent battery life and the rechargeable factor makes it cheaper in the long run.

(vi) Form-factor and size – this could be an important factor to take in to account. Many times my lady-friends would only want to carry a ridiculously slam purse (something about looks over practicality) so a boxy prosumer camera is a no go. Guys also may want to just put their camera in their pocket while going out so here again form-factor plays an important part (you would not want to be charged with conspiracy to impress women).

(vii) Online reviews – owner reviews are an excellent way to learn the pros and cons of a camera well before you buy it. One site I often visit is www.dpreview.com. It provides useful reviews on most of the popular models and allows you to generate detailed tabulated comparison of different camera models.

(viii) Other less known tech-specs to look out for are: Image stabilization – this is an extremely important feature especially if you are planning to take snaps at on a high zoom level as hand jitter is amplified through the lens and the images would turn out blurry. Look for cameras that offer dual IS (image stabilization) as only digital image stabilization is not nearly as good as optical stabilization or a combination of the two. Flash recycle time – which is the time it takes to recharge the flash between snaps; shot-to-shot time – minimum time the camera takes to capture successive snaps; flash distance – most smaller cameras only have an effective flash distance of a few meters which may not be suitable if you want to take snaps of say people in an open-air gathering.

Hope this helps you in your camera purchasing ordeal and remember the time you spend ‘researching’ for the perfect camera will greatly add to your satisfaction once you buy it. Readers are welcome to leave their suggestions on what other features buyers should look for.

License to Wed - Part 3

Cont.. Before you begin reading this article do read part 1 and part 2, mentioned earlier in this blog.

Day two of marriage counseling began with another rant by some religious fanatic on the ‘superiority’ on this particular religion over ‘all’ others. I did not even bother listening so I have nothing much to report. The post lunch session was on the medical aspects of marriage and was conducted by lady who was a retired gynecologist by day and an aging religious fanatic by night. The old lady started by drawing the male and female genital organs on the board (did I mention how much like a classroom this was). Now one would safely assume that a room full of soon to be married people will be fully aware about their anatomy as well as the anatomy of the opposite sex. Turns out one would be wrong. Yes there were a number of people taking down notes and copying the drawing in their books. Imaging these same losers flipping through their notes on their honeymoon to make sure they know where to put it. I mean honestly where do they find these people.

On completion of the anatomy class the next point of conversation was contraceptives and how they inspire the devil in our loins. You see boys and girls, this lady was another who subscribed to the philosophy that intercourse should only be performed in order to beget children. Therefore the act of using contraceptives was frowned upon. Now I’m not going to get into a discussion on this for I fear that there are many out there who feel the same to some capacity. Day two draw to a close.

Day three. This day was set aside for the examination of the legal aspects of marriage. Let me remind you about the environment. This was a claustrophobic room filled with about a hundred conventional couples (here conventional means male-female and no other combination). Bering that in mind this senior preacher in the religious institute decided to lecture us for about two and a half hours on the ‘evils’ of homosexuality. WFT, where’s the relevance you are. None whatsoever would be the response. This old fart went on forever on how the ‘love of a man should not be expressed to another man’ bla bla bla. Then he opened a scrapbook with newspaper clippings of various articles of homosexual-phobia and started reading each one out. If this was not painful enough he started telling us how societies abroad have brought in homosexuality to this country (which is a load of rubbish) and how legalizing such ‘unnatural’ activities will lead to the ultimate degradation of our society (more rubbish). Did I mention how much I hate bigots, religious bigots even more so. Some the guys priceless statements were – “mans inclination towards another man is accidental, it is abnormal. If it happens then the institute of marriage will be in the dustbin”. Another rather vague statement went along as follows- “the whole of life should not have any reserved places. It should remain open”. Now I’m not quite sure what the message was but I am assuming the word being spoken of was whole (i.e. with a ‘w’) and not hole coz then its just nasty. Some more random statements are to follow.

“marriage and only marriage allows the procreation of sess (sex) and sess should only be done to beget children. In that was we differ from animals.” (not really, if you think about it, I mean how many monkeys do you know if that wear a condom or dogs that go on the pill to avoid an unplanned pregnancy).

“Exchange of sexual love atleast once after mutual consent will ratify the marriage”. Gotta love theological terms, they’re just so clinical you cant take them seriously. So finally we draw to an end on the last day of marriage counseling and I have to admit, it was worse than I thought. My strong advice to all those on the verge of getting married, don’t do it man.. life is too beautiful to throw it away .. on marriage counseling.

License to Wed - Part 2

Cont.. Before you begin reading this article do read part 1, mentioned earlier in this blog.

Day one of the counseling class began with the religious aspects of marriage. This was a FOUR HOUR lecture about the origin and evolution of … Religion!!! What nothing bout marriage, nope.. religion and a particular sect of religion, its merits over other ‘lesser religions’ and so on. This greatly irritated me on two counts. (i) this had absolutely no relevance to marriage but just appeared to be a pretext to preach, and (ii) it was wasting a perfectly good Saturday morning attending marriage counseling (this is an underlying theme of my rant throughout this post). My girlfriend had put her head on my shoulder and had long since drifted off into a world far more pleasant that the one I currently occupied. I on the other hand was unable to fall asleep. Perhaps it was the old man’s droning voice or the heat from a room packed with 200 people or the fact that I was ‘a perfectly good Saturday morning attending marriage counseling’.

After much pleading the guy let us off for a quick lunch. The girlfriend and I were strongly considering not coming back but assuming that it could not get much worse we decided to return. Big mistake. The post lunch session was on the psychology of marriage. Here a short balding man attempted to tell us that marriage will fuck you up emotionally but its worth is coz you get to have kids. (Not exactly the best sales pitch but I do give him credit for trying). The disturbing part was when he started telling us how his wedding night went. Now I’m sure the guy was quite excited bout finally losing his virginity but honestly we were not the least bit interested in how it went. I’m not going to get into details because frankly I don’t hate you so much. The summary of the lecture was that psychologically we NEED to get married else we cannot satisfy our sexual (or as he put it sesual) desires. The man refused to acknowledge that sex without marriage even exists. Finally after much argument he said that ‘sess’ could be ‘purchased’ but that is lust.
After that ‘hot’ debate he went on to tell us how he is a famous (if not modest) psychologist and how we should go to him when we have marriage problems. Now logically if he did his job right the first time we would not have any psychological marriage problems in the first place and secondly if we did have psychological problems with marriage then why would we go to someone who did not help us in the first place. But then again this is marriage counseling (on a perfectly good weekend I might add) so logic ceases to exist. To sum up this weirdo’s ‘teachings’ its something along these lines- “one must keep things exciting, try different ‘techniques’… like buying jasmine flowers for the hair; take bath together on one bathroom, bite, nibble but don’t cause physical pain” (yes that was randomly mentioned) and was followed by an awkward silence. Eventually this ended bringing day one to a much deserved end.

Cont. Part three. – Medical aspect of marriage and Legal aspects of marriage.

License to Wed - Part 1

We had a plan, we would go late.. Really late. That way we would reduce the ill effects of this prolonged torture. The torture I speak of is a series of lectures spread across three days that purportedly prepare one for wedlock. There goes two perfectly good weekends that I’ll never get back. Now these are not just any ordinary lectures, no, that would be bearable. These were the most incredibly boring, highly annoying, ridiculously redundant one-sided discussions about the ‘gift’ of marriage. The end result of which had a fair number of us re-considering our decision of taking the plunge. Yes I am talking about the dreaded Marriage Counseling.

Marriage Counseling is this strange phenomenon where unmarried virgin holy men talk at you for hours imparting what little they know about marriage, sex, bringing up children and other significant events which are completely alien to them. Does anyone else see the irony here? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not one to shy away from ‘sex talk’ however when the ones spearheading the talk are:- (i) a short balding troll, (ii) a priest with a superiority complex (iii) and a frail old lady, things start to get a bit awkward. Added to that was a room full of about a hundred enthusiastic young couples diligently taking down notes like their life depended on it.

The first day of ‘marriage-prep’ boot camp began with the religious aspect of marriage. Apparently a number of marriages breakup because the woman claim to have found god and the men realize its not them. Moving on, the guy talks endlessly about religion, how one particular religion is better than another, how he has been studying religion for many years. How his religion was blab la bla. (Sorry folks, I fell unconscious by this point). When I woke up, which was a good one hour later, the man was still at it trying to preach rather that teach. Frankly it made me a bit sick. I’m not a religious man but I think its important to respect others religious beliefs. I just cant bring myself to respect someone who cant respect another’s religious beliefs any tries to portray his as superior. Anyway I’m drifting so back to the story.

The course was split into four major sections:-

(i) The religious part of marriage
(ii) The psychological effect of marriage
(iii) The medical aspect of marriage
(iv) The legal aspects of marriage

The entire session was spread across three full days of mindless boredom. For the sake of sanity I decided to split this article into two parts. The first (i.e. this one) provides the back-story, brief overview and structure of events to follow. The next part will highlight some of the key learning’s of the counseling sessions and would conclude with my take on the whole affair. So watch this space.

Hmmm what was her name again..

Have you ever been in a situation where half way through a conversation you realize you haven’t the faintest idea what the name of the person is you are talking to? Now, this happens to me at rather awkward events. This is the story of one such event.

I was just parking my car and walking towards a nearby coffee shop (side-note: its impossible to find parking at the place you need to be) when someone called out my name. Turning around I saw a young lady smiling and walking towards me. For a brief instant I felt quite pleased that I had parked where I did as it gave me a chance to meet this person. Then it hit me, I did not know who this person was. Compounding the matter, she seemed to know exactly who I was (the fact that she knew my name tipped me off) and she appeared genuinely pleased to see me. Now I did not want to ask her for an introduction and figured that I’d catch on once we started talking so I just played along. “O hi, how are you?” I asked, quite pleased with my confident approach.

Our conversation continued however much to my horror, I was nowhere closer to placing this stranger. I did not know her name nor did I know where I knew her from. It’s the worst of situations. See even if you don’t remember the person’s name but know where you know them from, you can still carry on a complete conversation built on historical commonalities. For example if I don’t know your name but know that we went to the same karate class (yes I said Karate not dance class so shove it) I’d say something along the lines of “so you still practicing those kicks” etc. But to not know anything about the person you are speaking to, especially if the person is an attractive member of the opposite sex, is a disastrous situation indeed.

Getting back to the story, only two minutes had passed since that first fateful hello, but to me it seemed like an eternity. Then an idea struck me like a bolt out of a clearly blank sky (read: mind).. “So you still in touch with anyone?” I asked. This should be helpful, but it wasn’t. She just rattled off a couple of names I did not recognize. So-and-so was married, so-and-so has had a kid, so-and-so bla bla bla. Then it got worse, much worse.. She asked me who all I was in touch with. Dammit my social engineering experiment failed me once again. It was time to get creative. I decided to drop names from various stages in my past. I spoke about the childhood friends I played with when I was 4, I spoke about my school friends (from both schools to be on the safe side), I talked about a few college friends and friends from work and a few from dance.. i mean karate class. While I thought back to see if I left anyone out she just looked at me like I was mental or something. Anyway, after a significantly long pause she said, “sorry but I don’t know any of those people”. Dammit not only had I wasted a serious amount of time and made a bit of an arse of myself, but I also managed to get nowhere in my quest of identifying the lady.

Thinking the day could not get more awkward I decided to leave and was about to turn when another voice called out my name. Looking back I saw another girl smiling and walking towards us. As you would have guessed, I did not recognize her either. Now there I was stuck between two attractive women and I had no idea who the hell they were. Did they know each other, am I expected to introduce them to each other, O God, am I expected to introduce them to each other!!! I pretended I had no manners and did not even make the slightest attempt at an introduction lest I get caught out on my ignorance.

At that point the second girl (named based on order of appearance) said she saw my profile on a popular social networking site (not sure if it was orkut or facebook – man I’m bad at names) and that she had sent me a friend request – which I subsequently rejected. Now I did not recall this but it seemed plausible as I tend to reject requests from people I don’t know (or in this case can’t remember). Deciding to use my smarts once more I said “perhaps you used a different name which I did not recognize, which name did you use in your profile”, ah ha this ought to work, now she will tell me her name and perhaps I’ll be that much closer to solving this mystery. Her response was simple, “I just used my name, nothing fancy”. Knowing that plan failed I shot back with – “perhaps you used someone else’s photo, like a celebrity of something and I did not see the name so rejected it”. ‘Nope, it was my photo only’, was the reply. Giving up I apologized and asked her to send it again. Now I had been nearly ten minutes since I stepped out of my car and I knew this was not working out so I bid adieu to the two ladies and started waking to the coffee shop, suddenly I turned to the two girls and said, O by the way, do you two know each other.. This was my masterstroke for now they would have to introduce themselves to each other I’ll finally know their names and hopefuls who they were…

The two girls just stopped and stared at each other, then at me. They had this look of amusement and bewilderment. Then it happened, they both spoke in unison. “Course we know each other, we are sisters”!! My jaw dropped.. There was no recovery.. Then one of them asked – you do know who we are right?, then the other – what’s my name?, then the first – what’s my name?.. At that point a middle-aged man approached the girls, thinking he was their father I said, hello uncle, how are you. The guy just stood there for a moment, then took the girls bags and put it in their car. The girls followed him but while entering the car one of the first girl said – by the way, he’s our driver”. Then they rolled up the window and drove off.

This incident happened a while ago but a certain cartoon strip sent to me by the girlfriend brought this back to mind. And here’s the cartoon credited to XKCD (http://xkcd.com/302/)

Quest for a Camera-Less Phone

Before I begin let me tell you that I am much the mobile geek (and many a fried will testify to that). I have always had pretty high end phones and spent many hours installing third-party apps to extend their functionality. I always considered those owing a non-smart phone as lesser mortals. How ironic life be.. To my horror my current place of work does not allow camera phones in the facility. After fruitlessly trying to fight against the system I finally gave in and decided to buy a (dare I say it) camera less phone.

Now seeing as there is a wide diversity of mobile phones available in today’s marketplace I was sure to find some decent smart phone without a camera. Boy was I wrong! Not only are there no new camera-free smart phones but even the decent midrange feature phones all feature cameras. To make maters even worse, most of the budget phones also had a camera on board (albeit a rather low quality one but a camera nevertheless). I was faced with two choices, (i) either succumb to my situation and use an absolute base of the pyramid mobile one twentieth the cost of my current phone or (ii) return to the dark ages where people did not have mobile phones.

Unwilling to do either I decided to use my research skills to scour the virtual globe for any last remaining vestiges of camera-free smart phones. My extensive research led me to three devices which fit the bill of being fairly intelligent devices minus a camera. The phones were :- 
1) The Sony Ericsson W950
2) The Sony Ericsson G700 business edition
3) The Blackberry 88xx series

Device comparison:-

The SE W950 was, in my opinion, was the best looking phone of the lot. It was compact and was said to have good sound quality (after swapping the headphones) and had a touchscreen. The drawbacks of the device were its less than average keypad (practically no tactile feedback), no extendable memory (fixed 4GB flash drive), below average battery and a few software issues here and there.

The SE G700 business edition is essentially the same G700 without a camera. On paper it looked ideal. It was compact, had a good keypad and fairly good touchscreen. In terms of audio quality it was said to be on par with other sony ericsson phones. The drawback was that is I did not care for the looks and the battery life was less than acceptable.

The Blackberry 8800 was one of the most popular BBs in its day however now it’s pretty hard to come by. The phone has a very good battery life, typical blackberry form factor, good screen and best of all the ability to use blackberry connect. The drawbacks of this phone are its size and limited support for third party games (yes I am a child). Apparently the device does have pretty good audio quality however one would need to swap the supplied headphones for more powerful ones (not to mention to 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter).

With my new found knowledge I set out look for these devices and not the quest really gets difficult. You see, all the above mentioned phones have been discontinued and are no longer available in the market. I will have to find working second-hand devices or tap various retailers to in-turn search the grey market for these devices. I even spoke to one dealer who said he’ll try and have one shipped from the Gulf if nothing comes up here.

I still have not decided on which phone to opt for as it also depends on what price they are quoted at. By my estimates they all should be around the same price but finding them would be the hard part. So fingers crossed… lets see how this goes. In the mean time feel free to post any suggestions you may have, I’d be happy to get someone else’s opinion.


Careful what you wish for..

Men, much like myself often think that accompanying a girl to the lingerie section of a shop must be a world of fun. Now who amongst us has not snuck a quick peek into the lingerie section of a store while casually strolling past with a look of pronounced nonchalance?  … Fine just me then.. anyway, you ladies have to realize, the lingerie section is taboo for men. Its no mans land.. The lingerie section is like a clothing Shangri-La. You have all heard about it but very few men have actually ventured past its mythical shelves packed with unmentionables in strange shapes and sizes. The walls covered with posters that would make a boys hostel room blush and the strangest of all, staff that seem perfectly comfortable selling what can only be described as left over bits of fabric. Yes the lingerie section of a store is a strange place.
My store begins not so long ago when the girlfriend wanted to go shopping and seeing that I have a strong pair of hands, would make for a useful porter/hanger/shopping cart etc. decided to drag me along. Seeing as my other option was to just laze at home I chose to... well laze at home obviously. Unfortunately my get-up and go was triggered by the fact that my girlfriend has gained custody of my credit card and was quite capable of breaking the bank with it if not supervised. We (what I really mean is she) spent some (read: 3 hours) time selecting a few articles of clothing (read: over 15) and now needed to try them on to see which ‘All’ to buy. Here comes the interesting part, coz you see the store had two sets of changing rooms for ladies. One in the Indian ethnic section and the other … well you guessed it, in smack in the middle of the lingerie section. The reason I bring this up is that I was required to stand outside the changing room to (i) hold the bulk of the items while said girl was trying one on and (ii) to give my opining (however I feel the second point was probably mentioned to make me feel important as the girlfriend had all the opinion she needed in the form of a mirror).
As luck would have it, the ethnic section changing rooms were full so the other option was chosen. Hesitant at first I soon realized this was my chance to find out the goings on in this mysterious section. Filled with excitement (on the same level as Columbus probably felt while discovering a new and as yet untamed land) I entered the forbidden kingdom. No sooner had those thoughts formed in my mind when suddenly I went from an intrepid explorer to a shivering Guantanamo detainee. Gone were the images of supermodels in sexy underwear only to be replaced with middle-aged out of shape woman with disgusted looks of disapproval on their faces. By this time I was long abandoned by the girlfriend (who by now was happily trying out her new clothes that I would be buying for her) and I was left to fend for myself in this savage land I did not understand.
Let me draw you a picture. There I was, to my left a underwear clad mannequin propped up on a pedestal so its pelvic region is at shoulder level. To my right were the above mentioned ‘middle-aged’ woman with their disapproving looks of disgust at my presence there. In front of me was the changing room and behind me (to my horror) was a queue of woman waiting for the trial rooms to get free. Now it took me a while to realize that the ladies behind me thought I was in the queue as well and the fact that I was holding women’s clothes did not help any.  I just had no where to look dammit! Everywhere I turned I got unpleasant looks from woman in my line of sight (guess they thought I was some ladies-clothes wearing, lingerie section loitering sicko with nothing better to do.) I actually spent an unusually long time staring at my shoes, as it seemed the least ‘controversial’ direction to look at. It was then that a rather large lady was trying to cut the line and brushed against me. I don’t know why, perhaps it was the fear of being accused of some form of harassment, that I jumped to my left and nearly knocked the promiscuously dressed mannequin off her pedestal. Reflexes kicked in and I caught it before it fell. Unfortunately the position I ended up holding the mannequin was less than appropriate and it took me all of two seconds to realize this, unfortunately the damage was already done. Just then the girlfriend walked out of the trial room only to see her beloved boyfriend molesting an underwear clad mannequin while middle-aged woman ran for cover. Needless to say she found the entire episode more than a bit funny. I however  Iam scarred for life. Never, in the brief and colorful history that is my life (so far) have I transitioned from being titillated to publicly humiliated in such a short span of time.
My warning to all who have managed to read this and to those who decided to scroll over the actual story and skip right to the end – be very careful what you wish for.. they may actually come true.. and how!
The mann-e-quen
(Name changed to reflect the gender of author, the act of carrying women’s clothing and obviously the mannequin itself)

My Love-Hate Relationship with Padmini

Like most relationships, this one had its ups and downs.. We had our good runs, we had our breakdowns.. I would not call her high maintenance, but she did demand quite a bit of attention. Most of my friends did not approve of our ‘relationship’. They just could not understand why I did not go in for a younger, up-and-coming model. You see boys and girls, my Padmini and I had been together even since I was two years old. Now she may have past her prime but she still has that old world charm coupled with contemporary looks. Sometimes I feel I’m the only one who can tolerate her tantrums. My girlfriend, who is far from possessive, gets really irritated by the amount of time/money I spend on my Padmini and often tells me to get rid of her. I do understand why she feels that way as my Padmini had ‘inconvenienced’ the girlfriend on many an occasion.
In spite of all her shortcomings she still is a beautiful beast. Let me give you an overview of her vital statistics:-
Webber Carburetor; Headers; Free-Flow Sports Exhaust; Radials; Alloys; Racing Steering; Bucket Seats; Racing Flow-shift;  Power Windows; Tachometer; Super King Blower; Custom Grill and a few more bells and whistles. Yes she goes by many names: the Ferrari, the Beast, Desi-Hot-Rod, Roadster, pile-of-steel, rust bucket, etc. Some names were flattering while others plain insulting. To the masses however she was known as the premier padmini a.k.a. the Fiat.
The car was an absolute pleasure to drive. It has brilliant all round visibility, decent handling (with improved tires of course), a monstrous grunt (read- exhaust note) and the best part – unlike every other car on our roads, it was unique.
Now for the bad…  the car was plagued by electrical issues and these were heightened when it rained.  It also used to get crazy-hot (and not in a sexy way) in the cabin often causing the driver to suffer from bouts of dehydration and thermal shock. It had low mileage, limited top speed and a bad suspension. The brakes were as reliable as your average politician and the headlights had a unique ability to blind oncoming traffic and simultaneously provide practically no road visibility to the driver. How it can emit so much light and still be completely useless is a question that will probably baffle the scientific community for many years. All in all it was a pain to drive in traffic, it was a potential health hazard to drive at night and nearly suicidal to drive during the rains. Hmmmm i'm begining to understand the girlfriend's semi-dislike towards my horse-less carrage...  
To make the ride a bit better I put in a new AC. The AC which I had installed put too much load on the battery. This forced me to buy a bigger, more powerful battery. Now the alternator (which was salvaged from an old maruti 800) was not powerful enough to charge the bigger battery. The end result was to upgrade to a more powerful alternator.  And so on and so forth... 
Now I think you can begin to grasp the essence of this ‘love-hate’ relationship with this magnificent wild horse that, even though past her prime, is raring to go, on that one last ride into the sunset..

If you managed to get this far in the post without falling asleep you might as well have a look at a few snaps of the  ....

Under Construction

This blog has just been created in a moment of madness. As the more observent ones of you may have noticed, I have not written anything yet.. That is not to say I wil not in the future. So if you have nothing better to do or want to take a break from your busy shedule of watching paint dry, then check up on this in a couple of days.
Be warned, this owner of this blog has the spelling abilities of a dyslexic jellyfish in a bowl of alcohol.. safe to say they will be typos and there is only so much a spell-check can rectify. To make things interesting, for every consecutive typos you (the victim  reader) come across and bring to my attention, the better your chances of winning the grand prize (which will be announced .. err.. shortly) !