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Earth Quaker Oats

I don’t make jokes about natural calamities, thousands of people are affected, lives are changed forever and the mental scars never go away. One can however make observations about people who are miles away, unharmed, unhurt, but give into paranoia based on stupid rumours. My prayers are with all the families affected and hope that the causalities in such circumstances are minimal, I can’t help but write about the view from the other side! The 93′ Latur incident was my first brush with an earthquake, at around 4 in the morning we were awoken by the rumbling of windows and rushed onto the streets to find the entire colony already there. Later in the morning we learnt of the quake and the principal had instructed teachers to educate classes VI & VII about quakes despite not being part of the syllabus and class VII teachers were asked to jump to that chapter & ensure all kids had an idea of what really happened early that morning. Our science teacher explained about the various fault types, seismographs and even taught us to make a seismograph with an ink pen and shaking the benches. In the next class our social studies teacher told us about the various quakes in the past, tectonic plates and how dams & oil drilling also could cause quakes. That was one of the best days in school for I actually learnt something that was useful and not regular drivel you had to remember for an upcoming unit test. The fact that I still remember it today stands testament to how much I liked the session.

That was not all we heard of the quake, armed with information of how quakes happen & their effects, some kids began spreading rumours. At first they were just about sighting of cracks in various parts of the school building that could soon give way in the next thunderstorm. The best was however the one about how a wall in the primary section had collapsed and kids were being evacuated. This was during lunch where for some reason after high-carb-intake, all kids in the school ran helter-skelter for 20 minutes playing games like 7-stones, beating-ball
& high-catches
7-stones, beating-ball & high-catches. One called Dipak Tijori* bought into this rumour and began wailing fearing the fate of his younger brother in the primary section. While some tried pacifying him, a few pet-students ran to alert a teacher and the rest just stood laughing at him. Unable to bear the nuisance, I tried reasoning with Dipak Tijori telling him that there was no chance such a thing could have happened and I’d accompany him to the primary section to prove everyone was safe. Dipak Tojori’s squeals were getting shriller and irritating when I had to give him #OneTightSlap hoping to bring him to his senses. Don’t blame me, in all those Hindi movies towards the end, the sasurji always slapped the evil saasuma to stop harassing the poor bahurani. After the dramatic music and multiple face turns, the saasuma always turned a new leaf after crying and accepted her follies. None of that happened in my case and Dipak Tijori began wailing even louder. Much to my dismay my slapping was witnessed by the teachers who simply assumed that Dipak Tijori’s wailing was a result of my goondaism! The rumour-spreaders got away and I had to endure a HOW CAN YOU SLAP lecture, followed by threats to write a complaint in my school diary to my parents and even being taken to the principal’s office. Lucky for me, the lunch bell rang & we all ran back to our classrooms.

The most recent quake will probably be better known as a social media event rather than for the destruction & damages caused. On feeling the tremors, many were more interested in updating their FB statuses and tweets than exiting their office buildings(in India atleast). A few idiots were later found tweeting how they were the first to report the quake, and it was no different from how all news channels claim to be the first to break the news. How so many people can come first boggles my mind, we should implement this in schools & colleges thereby a lot more students can feel happy about coming first in exams & contests. I didn’t blindly believe the tweets in case you thought I did so. Like every law-abiding citizen, I switched on the news to hear it form Arnab Goswami. These days I don’t believe
anything unless
I hear it
from Arnab
I don’t believe anything unless I hear it from Arnab & he tells me that he is the first to break the news like always. One guy called Gulshan Grover* sitting in the US(working late I assume) was searching the Internet for articles and posting on FB so that all his friends like me in the des could feel safe. After a while he began posting his expert comments on how according the him the quake occurred and its after effects. Things got interesting when he began a so-called tsunami countdown and kept updating of how if a tsunami had happened a certain place should be hit by when, and how since that did not happen I should feel a lot safer. Most of his statuses had close to a 100 likes, so I take it he indeed saved a lot of people from panic attacks. The next time there is a Tsunami warning, I hope mother nature seeks his permission before unleashing her fury for her will subdue her with a flick of his little finger. Gulshan Grover could also be an anti-natural-calamity device where he goes places and prays to the Lord Chennakesava and then slap his thighs to avert all natural disasters. I plan to felicitate him with a shawl & a bouquet of flowers, any donations are welcome.

There was a report about how people were thronging Marina beach to see the tsunami. News reporters who were themselves standing on the shore, were commenting on how lame people were to ignore tsunami warnings & come to the beach. Now if you think that those on the beach were ignorant fisherman, then you are so very wrong my friends! Spotted on the beach thanks to news channels, were college students armed with DSLRs waiting to shoot the big waves and document them for the great national personal archives a.k.a facebook cover albums. I got to know from twitter that some were even updating their locations on foursquare(unconfirmed)! This is a major #facepalm the size of Vamana’s hands when he grew so big where he could cover the entire earth with his feet! You may argue that these youths were only there to document the greatest show on earth and would swiftly make an exit once the waves seemed dangerous. I have another theory here, you see there was a movie called Dasavataram(click for detailed rant) where in the final scenes an American terrorist battles a Japanese wushu instructor, and a terrific scientist hides in a boat along with a noisy creature all witnessed by a CBI officer in a helicopter. For the uninformed all the above roles were played by Kamal Haasan, and then there is a tsunami that washes away a bio-weapona tsunami that washes away a bio-weapon giving a chance for 5 other Kamal Haasans to shine and save the world. If you are rolling your eyes in disbelief or have forgotten, let me refresh your memory with this video. So as you can clearly see, it is wrong to blame the Chennai public for they were only thronging marina beach hoping to sight 10 Kamal Haasans. Being a very private person it is very rare to spot Kamal Haasan, so you can  only imagine how fortunate the crowd would consider themselves to see him in 10 unrecognisable avatars. I’m also told that a few Rajinikanth fans were also at the beach, only thing that they were there for a slightly different reason. They wanted to see how Kamal haasan could survive a second tsunami and wished for the waves to wash him away. This would not only put an end to the star rivalry but also rewrite lame jokes such as “Rajinikanth threw a stone in the water and the ensuing ripples caused a tsunami” with new ones like “Kamal Haasan in a chapati dough mask has such a big ego that even a tsunami couldn’t quench his thirst“.

*Names changed on purpose

(Image Courtesy: wikipedia)

The vedas are like pseudocode

Bhaktas, This is your friendly neighbourhood baba spouting gyaan that is of no use and you will never need. That is probably the reason why only this space carries my teachings while my bearded saffron robe wearing counterparts make millions on television. This past week I have been involved in intense kundalini meditation, and I can feel my kundalini rise a few inches up my spine. For the uninformed, the Kundalini is a big thing in sad-dude circles and it’s proximity to the top of the head is a measure of our street-cred. In a layman’s terms the kundalini is like a golf handicap, the closer it is to the head, the bigger your reputation. We have an annual convention in the Himalayas where the pros(sad-dudes who have attained the sahsra chakra) compete and show off their mystical healing powers, very much like the PGA or Masters in golf. Once you break your meditation, your kundalini falls back to the bottom of the spine and has to be re-awakened, again very much like how rusty you get if you miss a few weeks on the links and your handicap shoots up! You may wonder why I risked the fall of an awakened kundalini to tell you a few silly golf analogies. My Bhaktas, this is far greater than that, and something that will unlock the mystery of our country’s  growth as an economic superpower. Practice your swing and work on your stance, you can bring back your handicap to what it was and even improve on it, same goes with the kundalini.

While meditating, I had an epiphany that unlocked the vedas to me and I could clearly see through the scriptures like you see through the strands of the DNA in popular crime-investigation shows or when you have to regenerate a
species from
the ice age
regenerate a lost species from the ice age. You see I have been reading up on programming methods, OOP best practices, data structures etc not because I am looking to switch careers, that however cannot be entirely ruled out but for now, I am only interested for purely academic purposes. The one thing that I have gathered these days is that unless you are on television, no body gives an aerial fornication. While the 60 + age group markets have been captured by sad-dudes who excel at jaagarans, the 30-50 age bracket has been won over by sad-dudes promising ways to reduce stress, tension, blood pressure and even lymphosarcoma of the intestine in some cases. Now going after the 0-15 age bracket makes no sense unless one is a Physical Education instructor at a school. I don’t see much value in going after the 15-23 age bracket despite there being a huge avenue for exam fears, hypertension & suicidal tendencies, because I know jack excreta on helping with any of those. That leaves me only with the 23-30 age bracket and everyone there is in someway or the other involved with programming/code. I have therefore devoted part of my time to analyze their lifestyles and ways to blend spirituality & the scriptures into everyday life.

You must be familiar with import directives, including header files and other declarations that are required at the beginning of any program across platforms. Your code doesn’t compile without it and the thing won’t budge unless you invoke the required headers. You see bhaktas, this is very similar to the invocation to my friend Ganesha and you cannot start any pooja/homam without that. Then comes the sankalpam which is more like a parameterized constructor/method/function that takes the date, location co-ordinates and occasion as arguments. Imagine there was a function like this that took those arguments and spat out mantras that you could recite. A lot of mantras I have observed, follow templates like this and that makes them very easy to code/recite. Further proof lies in the mantra pushpam which if you ask me is like a recursive function. It just calls itself with the names of all the elements from an array of some sort. Bhaktas, the more I look into these the clearer it becomes to me as to how modern day programming is closely integrated in structure to our mantras. If I were a spokesperson for the HJS, I’d probably extol the virtues of the mantras and how they gave rise to programming, like how the pushpak vimana inspired the Wright brothers or how mythological astras inspire modern day combat missiles. I’d instead appeal to my target audience and show them how cool the scriptures are and all that jazz, atleast that is the current plan. Let’s hope this catapults me into the league of television sad-dudes and prime time news channels invite me as a panellist for my views on the legitimacy of a military deal and the spiritual influences on the timing when said deal was signed.

Baba Bangali

PS: If you are wondering who a sad-dude is, just say it aloud a couple of times.

PPS: This post has a slightly heavy Brahmin feel, kindly adjust

(Image Courtesy: wikipedia)


What is in a name

Dudyala Sri Lingeshwara Rama Vittalachari, commonly known as DSLR Vittalachari or just DSLR hails from a family of numerologists who’s clients have gone on to change the face of this world. His office is adorned by huge portraits of these legends who were living with the homeless in dark alleys and contemplating ending their lives owing to their creative failure, until the moment they were referred to someone from the Dudyala family. He loves to tell the story of  Kallakuvel Sheshappa Iyer, a 16th century poet and playwright. Kallakuvel was fond of the English language he learnt from a voyager and against the king’s wishes, he wrote poetry in his new found love. Fearing certain banishment and even execution, Kalakkuvel was referred to DSLR Krishnamachari who suggested he shift base and sell his wares to British audiences. Crossing the seas was considered sacrilege within the Brahmin community, but that wasn’t the biggest of Sheshappa Iyer’s problems. He was least bothered of being ostracized from society but with a name like his, he stood no chance among the English greats of his generation. DSLR Krishnamachari had the answer and after some numerological calculations, he proposed to anglicize Iyer’s name. The rest we all know is history but not many however know that the rise of the greatest bard was attributed to the Dudyala family and several such stories have been lost between the pages of time.

Vittalachari boasts of a high profile clientèle involving movie stars, politicians & sports persons. His most recent is a chap named Ajay who had earlier removed one vowel from his last name. Despite being referred to DSLR earlier, Ajay preferred to seek the advice of a certain astrologer who’s last name suggests that he should be in the alcohol industry instead. “This is not like
playing in-pin-safety-pin
not like playing in-pin-safety-pin where you keep counting down the alphabets and strike one out when you reach a zero. It involves serious calculations involving the positions of grahas, the latidude & longitudnal coordinates of a certain Soniaji and the total number of SMS votes on last nights NewsHour discussion with Arnab.
“, DSLR thunders. He later told me that on the occasion of the stars birthday, DSLR offered him a discount on consultation fees and the star shall henceforth be known as DVGN Ajay. “These north indian names are very confusing, they don’t append the name of their village or their fathers name. They just use a silly surname like Singh, Sharma or Dixit thereby having no way to tell where you are from or which ancestral tree you belong to.“. We hope this new name works out for Mr.DVGN Ajay and also improve his likeability in Tollywood thereby not requiring him to act in sorry remakes, but the original vernacular versions themselves.

We have also learnt that two budding stars of the Hindi film industry had approached DSLR for his services. While he wouldn’t tell us we have unconfirmed reports that tell us the youths have been advised to change their names to PRTK BBR & SHD KPR. The reason we’re told for this un-voweling of both first and last names, is that their shocking lack of any talent. in his own words, “Even mannequins have more facial expressions than them. These fellows cannot even be used as props on stage in a play“. Vittalachari hopes that this way atleast their movies may click, else he’ll have to resort to the last option wherein their names will just have one alphabet. Inspired by the movie MIB, these so-called stars may have to go about only as P & S but we will have to wait to see how the current experiment first goes. Again, these are only unconfirmed reports, but it is not like you care or that has ever mattered to anyone before.

(Image Courtesy: wikipedia)

Of fake accents & so-called funny people

This extended India trip has been fruitful in many ways, working after lunch through dinner gives me the morning to pursue side projects and write a lot more often. I’ve also being going around and meeting interesting folks which has been a very interesting experience. I say interesting because I’ve met some awesome people who make me pick up my jaw from the floor when I see the things they do. There have also been people who make me laugh so bad to see their heads stuck in their bottoms. I’m glad I’ve seen more of the latter which gives me enough material to make jokes to tell others and write in this space. Let me assure you that this isn’t another NRI rant about rising prices, overrated food in swanky places, the increasing divide between the middles classes, and how I have to cross the Tamil Nadu border for a bottle of ThumsUp! Yes I am a ThumsUp boy & if you have a problem with that then please go back to sipping your ginger-lime-soda that you just paid 100 bucks for.

While I owe my English to cricket commentary & British comedies on TV, for many it comes from watching reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Chetan Bhagat books. Which isn’t that bad if you ask me, but when you feel like using one of Chandler’s or Phoebe’s lines in a conversation, do you also need to put on an accent? Now there is no true Indian accent and I don’t mean you append an ‘a’ or a ‘u’ to every word. ‘Arrey maams-u if you are talking-u likes this means, that you are cool-a? Why for
if-u I
am putting any
accent-u or
not re?
Why for you if-u I am putting any accent-u or not re?
‘ After that outburst from Sripal Bommidi in VIth standard, I never made fun of anyone’s English or accent . Not because I was scared but because I felt remorseful on learning that his father owned a cycle shop and working extra hours to put him through school. My heart goes out to someone struggling to speak in English for they are at least making a sincere attempt, but my rage boils like Kratos in God of War when I hear a fake accent. Two weeks ago I was with friends having breakfast on a nice Sunday morning when all of a sudden this voice from the next table made me choke on my idli. ‘Can I have one podi dowza and one onion dowza please?‘ That wasn’t a typo, while playing with her hair with one hand and the menu in the other this lady was indeed calling it a do-w-za! I wish I could channel my inner Shivaji Maharaj or Bhagat Singh, but to keep up with the sentiments of this blog I’ll just use messers Parasurama & Narasimha. After that the same fluffy idli tasted like stale 2-day old roti and the surreal upma like cement. I sprang from my chair to see Narasimha emerge out of a pillar. The fiery avataram pulled her tongue out with one hand; the other went straight for her larynx, cleaned both of them with sambar and put them back where they belong. Yes the scene played out exactly as described above, in my head ofcourse. After that for the next 15mins, I had to endure how crispy her dowzas were and wait from my friends to finish their meal.

Last week I was accompanying the begum to FabIndia to exchange something she had bought. Truth be told, FabIndia isn’t one of my favorite stores but I’m always amazed at what they can do with discarded curtain clothamazed at what they can do with discarded curtain cloth. We probably picked the wrong day for it seemed like we had walked into the congregation of T.Nagar-fake-accents-association. Remember that scene in the sixth sense where the kid keeps hearing voices, same situation, characters changed! No zombies or the undead, these were real people extolling the virtues of the fabrics they were trying out in the fakest of fake accents. The dowza lady in the earlier encounter probably could have been silenced with #OneTightSlap but this was huge crowd! Parasurama came flying through the large window and tearing the dusty curtain in the process. Before I could finish saying Deivame, he went about hacking everyone’s tongue with his axe and disappeared just like that leaving behind a bloodbath. Again this is how the scene played out in my head and it is my story so I’ll narrate it the way I want to, if you did not like it then please go take a shower with that avocado flavor hand-made soap that you bought from FabIndia. While we are still on FabIndia here’s a tip to ensure that those kurtas stay forever, DO NOT EVER TRY TO WASH THEM. If the stink from repeated wear bothers you then pour a few drops of perfume with water in a holi pichkari and spray on the fabric. Then blow dry with a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer and hand it indoors away from sunlight. This, my friends is the tried and tested way to ensure longevity of FabIndia fabric!

Humor is a great way to diffuse an awkward situation, break the ice, get away with something both at home and work. Twitter and before that the blogworld have introduced me to some awesome people who could say something funny and even get away with murder. Sadly there are hajaar wannabe folks who in their quest to grab attention by being funny fail at aping these greats. The safest way is to be subtle with satire unless you have the slapstick comedic genius of Raju Shrivastav. I have learnt that being subtle though it may appear to be pretty simple isn’t true for many; the best example is my friend Komineni Venkatesh from EEE in college. In the electrical machines lab, he suffered a very mild electric shock while dealing with some faulty equipment. While most of us would have just jumped back, put the finger in our mouth waiting for the tingling feeling to go away, Venkatesh decided to play it a bit differently. He had heard of how a IInd year mechanical student cut himself in the lathe lab and evoked sympathy from all the ladies in his batch. Imagine this response in mechanical where anything remotely feminine is considered to be am item bombanything remotely feminine is considered to be am item bomb, EEE boasted of the best ladies in college! Venkatesh fell on the ground wriggling in pain crying for help and started the entire lab. Despite not being able to witness this in person, I have been told that the scene was very similar to a severed tail of a lizard wriggling to distract attention. Aiyo edukondalavada Venkatesh, subtlety #FAIL.

Sadly today there has been an explosion of so-called funny people on twitter with their set of slavish fans giving them titles like the ‘Funniest 27yr old in Sankarankovil’ etc. So the stuff like ‘Gandhiji ki dhoti main ___’ that I became famous for in IIIrd standard is used heavily by a few. One mustn’t blame them entirely, they are burdened by the expectation of coming up with something funny and resort to stale and even unfunny so-called jokes. For those of you who have no clue what the Gandhiji ki Dhoti main joke is, kindly replace the blank with the name of a film. For example Gandhiji ki dhoti main sholay, Gandhiji ki dhoti main sailaab, Gandhiji ki dhoti main kala patthar etc. Unfortunately these were funny at one point of time, & I was very famous for such jokes. If you still find them funny then go ahead and tweet, no credit required.

(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Secret diary of a Cricinfo editor

Dear Diary,
The world is a crazy place, everybody and by that I mean even that retired bank manager who lives next to the Saravana Bhavan in Vadapalani, wants their share of the pudding. If I had my way, I’d give them a share of pudingi instead. With the disastrous Australian tour, most of the articles we’ve published or received have been attacking the team, talking of strong measures, young blood, and making sepak-takraw the new national sport. Lucky for us and especially me, since I’m the one sifting through thousands of emails during commentary & weeding out troll comments on articles, ‘The Dravidirement’ happened. For many it might sound just like like another cricketer calling it a day, but here at cricinfo, it is the equivalent of Santa Claus flying a kite armed with a Laxmi bomb into a giant Raavan effigy!. Every columnist, editor, and even the chaiwalla has a RSD tribute in their drafts. Right after Ganguly bowed out in Nov-08, we began writing Dravid & Laxman pieces, editing them whenever they scored or failed, picking up lines from books and saving them for use in either of these career obituaries. Just when we felt that an announcement would be around the corner & proof read our articles, they’d score a 100 or a 50 and regale the selectors.

Diary, please don’t think that I’m yet another rabid Sachin
without an
iota of moral fibre
rabid Sachin fan without an iota of moral fibre and someone who switches the TV off the moment his idol is gone. OK maybe I am, but who isn’t? Before I meander into singing paeans to the diminutive genius let me curb my enthusiasm this one time. All through his life Rahul Sharad Dravid has had to live in the shadows of a fellow achiever, let me give him his space atleast in my rant. Yes this is a rant, because our chief editor #unselected my tribute in favour of Mrs.Dravid. The tribute that I had dressed up so very well, recollecting the first time I shook hands with Dravid when he came to inaugurate the Sri Lalitha Jewellers store near my house. I even had pics of my sister kissing his poster on the wall and professing her undying love for him. She married a die-hard sachin fan, and RSD once again lost to SRT because along with her gothram, her cricket loyalties also changed. Coming back to Dravid, I still cannot believe that they would choose the emotional tribute by a sportsman’s wife over a masterpiece that was written over a period of two years by staff member!

In the immortal words of my second favourite sniffler/sun-gazer/cricketer Kris Srikkkkanth I would like to tell Vijeeta Dravid, Boss you just shut up nowBoss you just shut up now. Either be happy that your husband will be home now to get groceries, take the kids to school, ensure they finish their homework on time while you visit the spa & kitty parties. Or be sad that he will be around all the time, asking you stupid questions like why tomatoes are 23rs/kg and how to identify tender okra by breaking their tails. Your husband your life, what goes my father, but why you are kicking on the stomachs of poor editors like us? What about the hajaar retweets my article would have gotten on Twitter and the countless likes & shares on Facebook? So many girls would have sent me friend requests and fawned over my profile pics, my follower count would have gone past bladewallah & who knows even CBag! But no, none of that will happen as all my dreams have been squashed by that useless stupid wife of RSD.

Diary, I am pissed because this was the retirement of the year, only a SRT retirement(may that never happen, jai ganpati bappa) can upstage this one. When the Kambli retirement happened last year, we had to to use inky pinky ponky & select the
unfortunate one
to use inky pinky ponky & select the unfortunate one to write the mandatory report. The rest of us just googled for pics of his wife and compiled a ppt for internal circulation, while one chap was querying statsguru to compile the report. There was another guy called Rohan Jaivishwa who retired this year, he didn’t even have a player profile until we realised that he was Sunil Gavaskar’s son! I feel for the old man, he named his kid after three greats and the poor kid couldn’t even make it to the state team! #NoteToSelf: If you ever become famous cricketer, don’t let your son take up the game, for very few have gone to emulate their dads. The Dravid tributes are pouring in and ever since we let a civilian/non-staff-member like Vijeeta write one, the mother-sister of the cricinfo mailbox have been integrated. Last week we received one such tribute from a Mr.Trivedi, I failed to see how he was even remotely connected to Dravid. My boss however received word from government sources that he was the Minister for Railways & we had no choice but to schedule it to be published over the weekend. The very next day another tribute came in via post from a lady who wished to identify herself only as MB and the hand written letter was full of kisses. Diary, after the Vijeeta incident and the Rail Minister’s tribute I was ready to approve even my bai’s tribute to be published. This passionate tribute however was for a guy named ‘Drobidh‘ whom this lady fell in love with at Eden Gardens. Statsguru had no record of any such player and I had a haunch that it may have been one of our journos/photogs covering a game at Eden Gardens. I scanned and sent the letter to our internal mailing list list and forgot about it thereafter. Turns out she is a Chief Minister and got to know from her sources that her piece was #unselected while the Rail Ministers piece was okayed to be published. Turmoil in the government, chaos in Parliament over a cricinfo tribute but for political reasons they wish to disguise it as a fight against price-rise!

Deivame, I have been shitting bricks all weekend and stand to lose my job. I don’t even sleep in the direction of Bengal & have been having nightmares of Mamata Bannerjee chasing me as Kali. We were able to stop the Trivedi article from getting published, but boss says the damage has already been done.  Ayyayo, also some saalekuttekameeneneechpaapiharamilucchalafanga has leaked the Mamata Didi letter on the internet with all the kisses and horrible bong spelling. Even Dada who was all praise for an article I wrote after his comeback innings in South Africa may not be able to help me. If I don’t update this space, you probably know what happened to me.

Thank god, SRT’s wife cannot write!

PS: I am not knittins

(Image Courtesy: Cricinfo)

Mahishasura’s nose ring: The gumbal – Part 3

Continued from here.

The story so far

JMS Pand finds a strange looking ring with an inscription in his grandfathers ancestral heirloom. The ring is believed to be the nose ring of the demon mahishasura and must be destroyed by throwing it into the makaravillaku in Sabarimala. Ganesh Damodaran, a friend of Pand’s grandfather consults with a seer Saruggan who turns rogue and wants the nose ring for himself. His plan to capture Gandoo turns unsuccessful and he summons his zombie vixen to hunt the boys down and retrieve the ring. Pand embarks on a journey along with his gardener Samrat Reddy and is ambushed by one of Saruggan’s vixen who wounds him before they escape with the help of a truck driver Arumugam. Ellurandhu an ayurvedic practioner cures Pand and also helps Gandoo put together a team which will protect the ring till it can be destroyed at its destination.

Gollapudi Mahesh was a cashier with the State Bank of Hyderabad, Vizag Branch. Bored with his mundane life he was always eavesdropping on his neighbour Bilahari Basavaiyya’s excavations and longed for a life like that. When he heard about the nose ring, he couldn’t resist the urge to follow them and was taken over by greed to own the ring and keep it for himself. Gollapudi secretly kept following Pand   Sam through their journey on his trusted Bajaj M80 and watched fom a distance as they were attacked by the vixen. He was dismayed to know that Pand   were now joined by other to forma gumbal making it even difficult to get teh ring for himself. He however decided to keep following them like a shadow and waiting for the right moment to ambush them and claim the ring that was calling out to him. The gumbal meanwhile continued their journey towards Sabarimala and decided to halt at Thiruthani.

Dora, why for you want to walk through jungle like this Dora? Temple is on hill means we have to camp here only a?“.

shhhhh silence you nincompoop, you might attract bears or even those vixen that Gandoo Thatha spoke about.

Gilma no fear, Gilma kill bears. Lawyer sir is fear. Gandoo thatha, no worries, gilma is here

Enough you all, there’s a hermitage up ahead where we shall rest and leave in the morning after we pray at the temple. Pand, take Sam with you and go check out the hermitage

Thatha, this place is in shambles and the smell of cuticura talcum powder is in the air, Looks like Saruggan’s vixen got here before us.

Bravo Pand, your police training has heightened your sense of smell. We must quickly make our way to the temple now. Danger could be lurking around and attack at any time. We must proceed towards the temple at once, we’ll be safe there.

Pand anna, the ground is shaking, must be an earthquake of sorts, we better hurry. I see a rope bridge ahead, let’s take it. It may be fragile but it is the shortest way to the temple, else we’d have to go around it.

Dora, earth is not quaking dora. Nemidha is coming. I am full fan Dora. Jaganmohini I am to be seeing many times.

Fool, we better hurry across the bridge. She is one of those zombie vixens. None of us can fight her, Gandoo Thatha save us!

My astute investigative abilities tell me that something is not right. Oh my Venkateshwara she’s spitting fire and look at her talons. Time to escaaap.

Get behind me all of you. Monstrous women, you better take up that 20% discount offer at VLCC. otherwise you shall
not pass
you shall not pass the weight requirements to cross this bridge. Trust me, for I am also a fan!

noooooo she’s walking across the bridge. Thathaaaaaaaaa

ha now it’s going to be just me and my vixen in this abyss. I’ll join you later, fly away you fools. I don’t wan’t any of you watching.
The gumbal was at first distraught at the loss of Gandoo Thatha, but then they tried getting over it for he was after all in a happy place. They set out towards kanchipuram. En-route Pand had an epiphany that the Gumbal may not be able to protect him all through the journey and the realization that he may be alone on some part of the journey sunk in. Meanwhile Bhramaji was seduced by the power of the ring and dreamt of all that he could achieve by possessing it.

Tell me inspector, what powers do you think the ring possesses. What about the effects it can on the wearer?

Gandoo Thatha says that the power of the demon Mahishasura was in this nose ring, and the moment the goddess sliced his nose he became weak & feeble thereby killing him was a mere formality. If that is to be believed then the wearer will be able to gorge on a thousand pootharekulus and still be hungry for more.” Pand’s eyes gleamed in joy as he smacked his lips.

I could become a fiery fast bowler and make short opening batsmen tremble in their knees! I could rack up 5wkt hauls even on dusty pitches and not need gimmicks like a twisted arm to cover up for my blistering pace! Aaaah I must have it, I must have it, Gimmie the damned nose ring Pand, let me feel the power of pure evil!

shaddap gilma smash! how you take ring from Pand babu“. #OneTightSlap from Gilma was enough to knock the wind out of Bhramaji and brought him to his senses. Ashamed of his actions he stayed silent for the remainder of the journey waiting for an opportunity to redeem himself.
A few kilometers outside Kanchipuram, the Gumbal is attacked by Rocky Savant and
her army
of zombie item dancers
Rocky Savant and her army of zombie item dancers. Armed with spears and fangs, they were not even remotely seductive but Rocky Savant was a different beast. Aptly named after her manly physique and ripping biceps, she was adept at item-dances and her killing move of seduction was bone chillingly named the classic dance of love. It had thrown many strong willed men into a state of trance after which Savant deftly made her move by digging her talons into the jugular. The gumbal shat themselves at the prospect of having to face her but Bhramjai saw it as the best chance to redeem himself. Pand & Sam broke away from the group making a dash for a famous matt in kanchi and the other members of the gumbal threw themselves upon the vixens, leaving Bhramaji to engage Rocky Savant.

It was once of the ugliest battles ever as they agreed to a dance-off and it was the worst in history. Savant brought her best game and that involved hideous gyrations involving various body parts. Bhramaji you would think would have opted for some kathakali, but instead he began shaking vigorously giving the impression he was bit by a tarantula and sweating out the venom. They matched each other step for step and the duel continued into teh wee hours of the morning. Severely turned-off by Bramaji’s repugnant personality, Savant’s moves backfired and in what can only be called as reverse-seduction, Sanvant self-combusted into flames.

Gilma sad, Bhramaji bleeds, savant burns

Bhramaji Dora, you won dora. That poochandi automatic burning. but blood coming your legs Dora.

cough cough, I know my end is near, I can see a shining light call out to me. Promise me Aramugam, promise me that you will ensure the nose ring is safely destroyed.

Mother promise dora, everyone shall know that a great mallu fought danced bravely to save his brothers

Also promise me that you shall never someone slap a poor mallu chap………..

The battle may have been won but a warrior was lost. The Gumbal decided to continue the journey to protect find Sam & Pand and seek help from other allies to prepare for the great war that would eventually decide if good prevailed over evil or otherwise.

(Image Courtesy: wikipedia)

PS: Writing this three part story has been very tiring, I don’t think I’ll attempt the other two books.  Guessing by the lukewarm response, it seems the right thing to do as well.

Mahishasura’s nose ring: The gumbal – Part 2

Continued from here.
Saruggan was a complex creature, despite being a seer he also had a penchant for collagen shots. Though he meditated in the Elephanta Caves, he also owned an awful palace in Bandra.  While Ganesh Damodaran(henceforth referred to as Gandoo) drew his powers from kundalini experiences, Saruggan drew his powers from romancing starlets and women half his age. He grew stronger as he sapped out the youth out of the gullible women who fell for his charms and out stretched arms. Despite this mildly creepy source of power, Saruggan was a wise man whom Gandoo always consulted.

Ah Saruggan my friend, you look younger than ever. Are there any starlets left or have you began sucking the youth out of the bats in these caves?

Gandoo dearest, you have always been waiting for a chance to pull my leg ever since I ridiculed you southies for eating noodles with curds! What brings you here, don’t tell me you’ve given up kundalini in favour of my methods!

This is a matter of grave importance, My friend Bilba’s grandson, Pand has discovered a ring which I fear is the nose ring of Mahishasura. It must be destroyed before it falls into the wrong hands. Imagine what could happen if someone got hold of it and figured a way to unleash the demonic powers.

Where is the ring now, did you bring it with you, let me have a look at it. I want to see the power of the asuras shining in all  its glory!

The nose ring is safe, it it is with a bumbling Inspector who like to call himself JMS Pand. The nose ring is safest with someone who is unaware of the great power it posses. I’ve sent him to Sabarimala to destroy it by hurling it into the Makaravilakku.

You fool, you should have brought it along. There are no better guardians for the nose ring than yourself and me. We could even balance the demonic powers of the ring with our combined powers and unlock mysteries! I could be young forever and you could master your kundalini.

There there, you have that Chandramukhi look on your face, you are beginning to freak me out. Wait a minute you have been corrupted, you want the nose ring for yourself. Remove that thought else you shall incur the wrath of the goddess!

Nevaaaaaaar, I am the king! If you remember, I like wild cats. Let her unleash whatever she wants to, will tame her with a lot of pleasure. You know way too much and are now a threat to my plans. Unfortunately my friend, our friendship and your life must end right here!

Hey look, it’s that Rambdev fellow behind you! Now you shall suffer the skullduggery of his pranayama, hahahahaha.

Gandoo managed to escape by distracting Saruggan, and rushed to warn JMS Pand & Samrat of the impending danger. Saruggan, angered by the trickery of Gandoo, summoned his
vixen to
hunt down the gults*
summoned his zombie vixen to hunt down the gults* and bring him the nose ring.
Anna why this sudden bhakti parvasam? Also are you aware we cannot go to Sabarimala just like that? Big process is there, mala must be put, 40 days sleeping on floor and not eating meat etc.

Arrey Sam, think of it like an excursion. I was once reading an article that had illustrations showing escalators, purification centers etc. Don’t worry, also we don’t have to go to the temple. Throwing this nose ring in that so-called divine fire will do. Some people think it is like a volcano, haha. We have to go see someone in Tirupati, we’ll have some prasadam eats like pigs at the annadanam and then think of what to do next.

Anna look there, that beautiful girl is calling us, she wants us to join in her the back of her van. I think I’ve seen her before, she killed her 7 husbands or something.

Who cares ra, we are hitch-hiking on the highway somewhere near the outskirts of Guntur. A hot punju type looking lady is inviting us, who says you can’t reach vaikuntam*? I say it is right there in her van! Holy Venkataramana are those tentacles coming out of her back? Rei Sam, I think Gandoo thatha was right, this nose ring thing is definitely evil, parigettu ra suntaaaaa*


Anna, there’s a truck coming our way. let’s try to stop it and get away“. Samrat waved furiously like a man stung by a tarantula and the duo hopped into the truck while the zombie starlet with tentacles tried chasing them with her van.

Allo Dora*, Myself Arumugam, Driver cum cleaner cum guide. I am speak the English. This truck go till Tirumala for halt. Who that lady poochandi*? Also why she to be chasing for us?

I am Inspector Pand, JMS Pand and this is Sam. We have to get to Sabarimala in time for the Makaravillaku and destroy this nose ring. It seems to be like a magnet for trouble, one moment ago a pretty lady was offering us a ride and the next moment she transforms into some weird creature out to kill us!

Dora yuvar neck is blood coming Dora. That poochandi lady hit with that big wires from hand I am thinking. Dora don’t faint, I will take to Tirumala superfast. Arrey Sam Dora, see in back some naatusaara* is there, give to Pand dora for drink and put on the neck little also.

Please place him here, naanagaaru* is in dhyaanam*, let me clean the wound while he finishes his prayers. I am Ranganayaki and I have a twin sister Ratnanayaki. To avoid confusion they call us R1 and R2, Ah naanagaru is here! naanagaru idi chudandi, looks like he was stung by some venom. I haven’t seen anything so potent like this before.

Correct amma, this looks like the work of a mantrawadi dushtashakti*the work of a mantrawadi dushtashakti*. Get me apply some thailam also get me some kumkumam from swamivaaru’s sannidhi. Let us wrap him in neem leaves and place him on a bed of onions.

L.Randhira Rao(ellurandhu) was an Ayurvedic practitioner, a patron of all the vedas he could recite them with ease. His place was always open to anyone visiting Tirumala. The so-called good forces and keepers of positive faith would drop-in regularly had hold their meetings with his hospitality. His daughter R2 had gone to the himalayas to research rare life-saving herbs, whereas R1 stayed with her father assisting him in treating people and learning from the wise men that dropped by.

I see you’ve met my lads Sam & Pand already, my dear ellurandhu“. Gandoo was visibly tired after his sojourn from fleeing the Elephanta caves all the way to Tirumala. Yet he was determined and this face shone like a thousand suns, there was no way you could tell he was old looking at the way he moved. “We must act quickly, Saruggan has already sent his vixen to capture the boys and retrieve the nose ring. He is putting together an army of zombies as we speak and danger is closing in on us every minute. Ellurandhu my friend, send word to your trusted allies, we must form a team to protect Pand and ensure the nose ring is destroyed“.

Peak season ra, this is. Everyone is on some sort of pilgrimage or protecting devotees. There are only a few I know, who might me available, let me look them up. Amma R1, stop flirting with that truck-driver and get my phone book!“.

Raghuram Iyengar(raghulaws) was a lawyer and helped fight cases against many fake godmen. When he was not in a courtroom, he fought black magicians with tantra which he mastered at a very young age hailing from a priestly family. Gilma Pandiyan(Gilma) was a henchman often hired to polish off goons who were selling alcohol near temples and troubling the denizens of agraharams. Standing at just 5ft tall, gilma was a god fearing man with a special liking towards women of all shapes and sizes. Bhramaji was a Malayali fast bowler who was a wasted talent and had changed his name to try his luck in the Andhra Ranji team. Best known for his crazy antics, weird dancing and a record for offering angapradakshinam at every temple in South India, Bhramaji had been pestering elluraandhu to send him on one of the many missions people sought ellurandhu’s personnel.

Amma R1 the doorbell is ringing, must be the guys we called to form the gumbal. My friend Gandoo, I cannot accompany you but I hope the men I’ve picked serve you well on the mission.

Yes yes they will do, also my boy Pand just woke up. Gentlemen, we shall leave as soon as Pand has fully recovered.  While I may not be able to promise your safety, I can assure you one thing, this is going to be the greatest journey of our lives!

Gandoo Dora, any time any where dora. Just keep one bottle sarakku for me all times ready

Thatha you have my word, these fists shall smash a few skulls before they drop motionless. This is promise, gilma promise

Relying on the brawn are we? my acumen and tantric chants shall keep us safe. Don’t worry you can mark the words of this lawyer!

Hmmmmm I don’t think I’ll ever play cricket. Might as well accompany you guys. Just promise me one thing, no matter what I do, none of you are supposed to slap me!

Myself Samrat redy, I also swear to accompany Pand anna and ensure the nose ring is destroyed.

There you go Gandoo, the gumbal is set. I, ellurandhu wish you all the luck, may you the lord of the seven hills be with you!

Continued here…….

(Image Courtesy: The Indian Express)

gults – telugus
vaikuntam – The abode of Lord Vishnu
parigettu ra sunta – run you fool
Dora – sir
poochandi – scary creature/monster
naatusaara – country liquor
naanagaaru – father
dhyanam – meditation
dushtashakti – evil forces

Mahishasura’s nose ring: The gumbal – Part 1

Orei panduranga, why don’t you take all this so-called family heirloom and put them in the attic. I’m sure there is room for it and they can rot for another 300 yrs after which some museum will pay for them.

Bilahari Basavaiyya had recently found out that their family owned an ancestral home in Guntur and was pleased to hand it over to the Archaeological Society of India. They estimated the house to be over a thousand years old and began excavating around to find artifacts.  They unearthed many parchments, motifs and broken vases, some of which they handed over to the eldest living member of the family.  Bilahari Basavaiyya retired after 35 glorious years at the ASI and even to this day oversees excavations as a consultant with a special liking towards translating ancient and believed to be lost scriptures.

Bilba Thathayya*, I have told you multiple items to not call me like that. I have an image in society, I save the nation from disasters, women go weak in their knees at my very mention. Call me Pand, JMS Pand!“.

Pand was one of the best agents in the special officers fleet at Andhra Police for covert operations(APCO). Trained in the martial arts, adept at using the latest ammunition, able to tell which part of the country a jalebi was made based one the texture, oil, smell, color and the syrup, he was the best of the best of the best.

Badwa rascol, Jandhyala Martanda Srinivasa Panduranga Reddy is such a nice name. You’ve shortened it to JMS Pand. What is next, you’ll name your kids suppi and kuppi?. Anyway handle these artifacts with care, they are very delicate and believed to be centuries old. When i get some relief from my varicose veins, I’ll examine them myself.

Bilba Thathayya, look what I found. It looks like a platinum ring, why have you kept it here? Are you also a louw-failure case like me? I don’t think it it dropped from the cardboard cartons, I didn’t hear a sound, must have already been there before . After the dust cloud that arose when I dumped the cartons cleared, I saw something shining. It was almost as if the ring was speaking to me, begging me to pick it up and release it from the dust that surrounded it. Here, put on your glasses and take a look.

What nonsense pandu, there are no rings in the attic, it must have fallen from the bundle you were carrying. The soft thud of the bundle on the dusty floor of the attic must have overpowered the clinking sound of a ring. Hey look something is written on the inside, I’m unable to read the  small inscription, get my magnifying lens.

Old man its JMS Pand, not pandu or anything. Also I think you are getting excited for no reason, this ring seems to have a very new age design, and look at how it is shining almost as if it came straight from a store. Here, you may look closely with this lens but it is probably some love message inscribed in a weird font.

Shut up your mouth, ignorant fool. It is in sanskrit and it reads nandini nandita maythininandini nandita maythini, do you know what this means? haha I know I know, let me prove it to you!

Hey you move fast for someone with varicose veins Bilba thathayya , but why will someone inscribe the names of three women on a ring? Its almost as if he wanted to propose to all three of them! Also what is such an exquisite and custom made ring doing in your attic?

Orei this is no normal ring, it is the nose ring of mahishasura, the demon who was slayed by goddess Durga. The power of mahishasura lay in his nosering which Durga sliced in one go with her sword. As the ring fell towards earth, the chants of the Mahishasura mardhini stotram in unison by the devas increased Durga’s powers exponentially as she slayed the demon. The cosmic forces generated by the chants, inscribed these words on the ring thereby subduing its demonic powers and preventing it from destroying the earth. The ring was believed to have brought the downfall of several kings and deemed unlucky. Possessors of the ring were banished to far away lands and despite the best efforts of valiant kings, it couldn’t be destroyed.” Bilba Thathayya was pleased as he read out passages from an ancient scripture that he had found on one of his excavations.

The ring must have found its way to some ancestor of mine and has stayed with the family ever since. Must have been in one of those broken vases that came with the cartons. Here, hold this while I go dial that useless oaf gandoo. My dear grandson, we are in possession of what surely is the find of the century“.

Ganesh Damodaran was a Renowned Seer, Modern mystic and an exponent at kundalini practices. He was also a historian who specialised in relics, scriptures and the cosmic forces in modern spirituality. Having assisted Bilahari basavaiyya in various missions the two shared a strong bond and were the thickest of friends.

Oh come on! You know how excited Gandoo thatha gets when someone mentions such things. No wonder you are best friends and neighbours. There he comes and he is already beaming! hi Gandoo Thatha please don’t tell me you believe in this cock-and-bull stories. 

Ah Inspector Pand, always looking at things with suspicion. Stop treating this like a crime scene and spare a minute to think how the ring walked into your grandfather’s attic. Even with our combined pensions we can’t afford such a ring, if you wish to think that we wanted to humour you. This surely has come from the excavation and Bilba’s story checks out. The cosmic power that generated from the chants of the devas that were tormented by by the invincible asura got etched onto the ring.  Mahishasura’s power lay in the ring and this demonic power is bound by the spell of the inscription.

I knew that I could count on you gandoo.  Now we must find a way to destroy the ring before it falls into evil hands who can then invoke dushta shaktis to erase the inscription and unleash the demonic powers. It could put an end all that is good on this earth and spread the the reign of terror bringing darkness & gloom to the earth!

The only power that can destroy this nose ring is the makaravilakku that can be seen near sabarimala marking the start of Uttarayana. The devas atop the hill perform an aarathi as Lord Ayappa revelas his divyaswaroopam* and only that flame has the power to quell the demonic powers of this nose ring. I must consult my spiritual guru Saruggan who is currently in the Elephanta caves. You, Mr.Inspector may embark on a journey by foot to carry out this great responsibility bestowed upon your family. Clearly we are too old for this you can see.

Hullo waitanimit for two minutes. Just because I love your tales of so-called adventures and I listen patiently when you explain the various punishments from the Garudapuranam, you think I’ll believe anything you say? Also what do you  mean embark on a journey by foot, we are in Vishakapatnam and Sabarimala is on the other end of the country! I’ll walk you are thinking means you are madorwut? Also yougaiz realise how long it takes to reach by foot?, you oldies have lost it I tell you!

Precisely, leave today and you can reach sabarimala just in time for the makaravilakku. Take that istri-wallah cum watchman, Samrat reddy with you. I’m told he has Rayalaseema roots, will be useful incase you are ambushed by bandits or bears in the forest

Sam? that fellow is worse that ScoobyDoo. He runs even when a cat shows its teeth. The only thing he is good at is giving company while drinking and his stash of the finest Rayalaseema avakaya*.

Still two is better than one, we don’t have time to waste. Off you go, also think of the punyam our future generations will get by this brave act of yours.

Its probably better than spending my vacation with a bunch of oldies and their stories. Orei Sam, kerala podam ra, pack your stuff, we leave in a hour

Continued in Part2.

PS: It started with the title and I just kept going from there. Not sure how I’m going to continue this or how many parts it is going to get broken into. Will keep posting as and when I write.

PPS: If you are going to be smart and point out a possible inspiration then please look towards the ceiling and put one #HaakThoo

(Image courtesy: wikimedia)

Thathayya/Thatha – grandfather

Divyaswaroopam – Divine/celestial form

Avakaya – mango pickle

Hey come-u mama, hit-u mama, six-u mama

Friends, Maldivians and Karantaka MLAs, this is Munna Mobile bring you yet another bulletin of news you cannot use. Before we get to the biggest story of the day, I’d like to remind you of a great movie called BASEketball that released in the 90s and was a regular on Star Movies ever since. For those of you who haven’t watched it, the movie starred the creators of South Park who invent a game that goes on to become really big. The game involves playing basketball with baseball rules, the two most popular american sports. They also add a few crazy rules that made it legal to distract opposing players. One such distraction was called the psyche out, and here’s whatwiki says. A “psyche out” can be anything said or done that makes the offense lose their concentration and miss their shot. For those looking for a #FrameOfReference, a similar approach was reportedly being used by the Sri Lankan cricket team in this game. I was at the ground and I bring you the transcribed stump mic recordings of various instances during the course of play where the SL team used lyrics from a yet-to-go-viral video by so-called actor/singer Dhanush to torment the Indian batsmen. Read More

Incredible India: A how-to for travelogues

The world loves India, we are the biggest exporter of manpower both skilled & unskilled. We gave the world Curry, Bollywood & Biryani. We also gave the world some unimportant things like the number zero, chess and a guidebook to lovemaking. Ask anyone on the road, they’ll tell you one of these and gloat about the country’s contribution to the world. Now that’s not how the world sees our contributions, To many India is still the land of mystery, magicians, disease and wild animals. There have been instances when someone with a CDMA flip-phone (the ones where you pull out an antenna) asked me if we have cellphones in India, that too after I looked helped him with directions using GMaps on my phone! A health insurance agent tried telling me how useful their product is especially to someone coming from a country where advanced medicine is unheard of. I could go on, but you do get the drift I hope. Last week I was flipping channels and landed on BBC, should have watched the ads on Times Movies instead. It was a travelogue on India and guess what the episode opens up with, people living under the flyovers! I’ve decided to help the makers of travelogues with this post and hope it serves as a how-to for future film-makers as well. Read More

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