Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rename Pradeep Bluto

Okay, so some of my colleagues want to rename me. And for some reasons known only to them, they decided my new name would have sound evil. After some deliberation, they have come up with the name Bluto.

For the benefit of my friends and readers who come from a different planet, the name comes straight out of Popeye comics. Bluto or Brutus is Popeye's nemesis. Like Popeye, Bluto is attracted to Olive Oyl, and usually attempts to kidnap her. However, with the help of some spinach, Popeye usually ends up defeating him.

I've come a pretty long way from Pradeep to Pepe to Mad-scientist to Prady. The two names thathave really stuck to me are Pradeep and Prady. It now remains to be seen how Bluto does in this regard.

One thing is sure, though: No spinach can defeat this Bluto!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life, Explained

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years." 

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?" 

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span." 

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?" 

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

Man said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

That is why: 
For the first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.
For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone. 

Life has now been explained to you. There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reality Need Not Bite

Today I wrote this letter to my younger self. You are free to read it and decide if it makes any sense. If you find anything of value in the letter, you may take it home. In any case, please do leave me some comments (maybe I could gather something of value from them).


My dear Pradeep At Twenty,

I’ve heard people say that reality bites. Many of these people advocate the use of fantasy as a channel to escape the pangs of hard facts. In this friendly letter, I hope to offer you an alternative: a way to handle reality without necessarily having to escape from it.

At the very outset I clarify that I find nothing wrong in the concept of fantasy. A well-written fantasy novel is worth the read if it will open the doors to a new, beautiful, hopeful and peaceful world where happy endings bring showers of joyful tears. It’s worth it. It may not always appeal to me, but I hold nothing against it. A good cartoon, or an animated movie in which a mouse, a cat or a dog go bonkers is equally worth it. Even at 34 I would never like to miss “The Tom and Jerry Show”, “The Popeye show”, “The Flintstones”, “The Jetsons”, “Asterix and Obelix”, and so forth. They are all wonderful. The more, the merrier!

And yet...

Does reality not bite? Yes, it sure does! It does so in different ways, and to varying degrees. At times it glides in stealthily from behind you and nibbles at your neck, driving chills through your spine. You may be able to remember such times. At other times it voraciously gnaws at your juicy buttocks, perhaps taking a big piece of your ass (read soul if you want) as it leaves. You may be able to remember such times, as well.

I recall the times when hard facts had hit me, or when reality had bit me. I discern that the wounds I have suffered fall under three very significant groups: paining-wounds, healing-wounds, and where-the-heck-are-the-wounds.

Paining-wounds are those that still hurt much, and may never heal unless I get up and decide to do something about them (I have realized that, contrary to the popular belief, time does not heal on its own).

Healing-wounds are those that used to be paining-wounds, but I had got up and decided to do something about them, and they currently show signs that they may heal in due course (due course has no exact definition).

Where-the-heck-are-the-wounds. Now, this is a surprising group. These are wounds that I had expected to suffer (as when reality had chewed off a large piece of my ass). But they do not exist; nor does the pain! Why not?

The answer became obvious after a little analysis, mixing the ancient wisdom (laughter is the best medicine) with a bit of introspection. I realized that whenever I had laughed in the face of hard facts, they could not wound me. Humor had indeed shielded my ass. Humor had saved my soul. The understanding was complete, and very satisfactory.

Although fantasy certainly offers a channel to escape the pangs of reality, it is short-lived; it offers no balm. You may enjoy a dip in a bathtub ready with warm water on a cold winter night, but that satisfaction is short-lived. You can’t possibly spend the whole winter in the tub. The moment you are out of the tub, it’s winter again.

The alternative I have to suggest is humor: perceiving humor in the very face of the biting reality. That way, you wouldn’t have to run away or escape from hard facts, but could rather face them and laugh at them with courage and vitality. It seems to work. Every time.

You may contend that creating or perceiving humor amidst hard facts is not easy, and bringing yourself to laugh in the face of reality seems impossible at times. Undeniably True. Even in my case. Otherwise I would never have suffered any wounds.

Nevertheless, I shall attempt to walk this path henceforth. If only I had understood as much when I was your age, I would perhaps have suffered much less. At least, I can now try to avoid wounds in future. I encourage you to try and do the same. After all, you have nothing to lose by your attempts, and so much to gain.

Love always,

Pradeep At 34

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Few Changes

Dear readers,

Please note that as of today I am moving my poems and stories to their own independent space. Kindly find the links to my other blogs in my sidebar.

I have also added a "Follow this blog" widget to all my blogs, so please take advantage of the same. I have also listed the blogs I regularly follow in my sidebar.

This blog will, of course, continue to host general articles, which do not fall under stories or poems.

Happy blogging.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2008 Darwin Awards

Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are
bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.

Here are the glorious top 10 winners:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended
victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California , would-be robber
James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered
down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked. And
now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a
meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a
claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent
out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine
and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car
during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman
had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus
driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be
transporting from Sarare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit
his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered
everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers
to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very
excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't
discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious
head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he
received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying
to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the
counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer,
the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which
the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and
fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he
got from the drawer... $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives
you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided
that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window,
grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it
over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the
would-be thief in the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store
window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man
grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the
woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.
Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in
the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of
the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he
replied, 'Yes, officer, that's her. that's the lady I stole the purse

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a
Burger King in Ypsilanti , Michigan , at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and
demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't
open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered
onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The
man, frustrated, walked away. [A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked
on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police
arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor
home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man
admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into
the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle
declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever