Friday, June 30, 2006

Taking care of business

Kids have an amazing ability to see things that others don’t see. Just a couple of days back Sriramji spotted a weird looking insect below his toy box. I couldn’t really figure out what it was, but it did look mean and vicious. We lifted the box up and he spotted two more. The boy jumped up and down and shouted in sheer delight -“daddy look, look” – he said and reached down to pick one sucker up by its neck. I had to struggle to restrain him. “No” I told him “I will take care of that, that’s daddy’s business”

I moved him to a safe distance and quickly stepped into action. The insect trio looked at me viciously through their nickel colored eyes. It was intimidating. I reached for a can of pest repellent spray and doused them with a healthy doze. They seemed unmoved! In fact the enemy drew close to each other, slapped a high five and burst into a fit of insane laughter. I refused to accept defeat and sprayed them my wife’s perfume which is capable of knocking pretty much anything in the vicinity unconscious, but that didn’t help either. I grew impatient. I was beginning to feel sick in my mind. So I took a heavy frying pan, slipped it into a plastic shopping bag and smashed the buggers flat with it. Instant insect chutney! Man I felt so mean.

Kids have an amazing ability to remember things too. Today morning Sriramji picked up a fight with his mother. I heard him crying and soon saw him running to the kitchen nekkid. From there he emerged with a frying pan in one hand and a plastic bag in the other. Still crying and profusely dispensing from his little nose, he handed the weapon to me and pointing to the adversary said “amma shouting mon. Take care business daddy”

Dammit! I felt terrible. I think I inadvertently taught him a bad lesson. I had to give him a big baby lecture to undo the damage I did. But I am very relieved that he did not take care of the business himself.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


After reading this blog I have a two point program to put an end to Bandh, Harthaals and general strikes.

1. Media should stop reporting calls for Bandh and Harthaals. Unless people are aware of this alternate lifestyle choice, they are not going to sit at home and watch those wasted TV serials.

2. Local party goondas with obsessive antisocial personality disorders (like stoning vehicles and attacking shops) should be dragged off and shot. These are the bastards who make Bandhs a success.

In the interest of reducing raising crimes these days we must consider putting a 3 strike law in place to ensure that habitual crooks, thieves, party goondas, mobsters, pimps and hustlers will be locked up for ever. You do a crime - you go to jail. You do it again; you will be forced to take a pilgrimage to Kakkayam police camp or Fort police station. (All male criminals must also undergo a week of mandatory psycho-therapy where they are locked up and made to watch Malayalam TV serials.) If they survive the treatment and crime again they must be locked up permanently with no possibility of a parole. An inter state prisoner exchange program should be established. Prisoners from Kerala should never go to a prison in Kerala. They must be sent to jails in Bihar or Rajasthan or some other northern state where the natives despise Malayalees, so they can’t get cozy with their patrons and enjoy benifits like scotch whisky, fried sardines and frequent conjugal visits.

Friday, June 23, 2006


This is football season. I must admit shamefully that I am not watching the world cup. Firstly the 3 year old TV mechanic did something smart to the TV, that it speaks only in Spanish now. Secondly, I don’t know much about football, except the good memories of playing football in school and our great football coach Unni Sir.

Unni Sir was a damn good coach. He dressed only in white shorts and white T-shirts. He coached us in shorts, came to the mess hall in shorts and I bet he even bathed and slept in those same old shorts. When he did not wear shorts, he wore a white pant and a white full sleeved shirt. He really knew how to motivate us, and that made us give him our 110%. He took special care of us kids, like arranging us special food – always something extra and nutritious than what other kids were served. An extra egg, or a tall glass of undiluted Milma milk, or an additional robesta banana. He walked around the mess hall and made sure his boys ate well. I was not a football maniac, I sneaked into his coaching team just for the extra ration.

Every morning started off with a few laps across the ground. We had to run like fire crackers, for if we came last he made us run penalty laps. We sweated like we were dipped in water and gasped like a fish out of water. Still, after the big laps we had to run the little ones – the short 50m sprints. We, the little Ben Jonsons, ran till we collapsed and died. Then there was stretching and flexing and strength training before the real coaching begins. Unni sir was as strict with the game as he was with the warm-up. If you ever fumbled with the ball or not follow his rules, you are doomed to a week of running. You ran till your legs wore out, then you ran more till the sun went down. If you did not dribble correctly, you had to do front rolls and get a migraine in your little kiddy head. There was punishment for everything – For wrong passes, for a missed ball, for wrong kicks– there were punishments for everything.

Although most of us did not get into the school team, we learned a lot from that experience. If you could do a week of practice in those dusty desert grounds, ignoring the scorching sun that tortured and baked your backs - you know you could do anything you set your mind to. Later in life that toughness never fails you. My football coaching taught me to realize what I am able to do, and what I an unable to do. It taught me to overcome fear, pain and fatigue, it taught us all to be modest and humble.

I have a few injuries from those days – specially my screwed up knees – that haunts me to this day. Nevertheless, Football as coached by our great Unni Sir, taught me great lessons in life.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Trout Hemingway

I thought luck was a product of brilliance and hard work. That is until I met this guy. He is a gentle soft-spoken Kannadiga with a calm demeanor and plenty of good luck. He worked in a small firm during the mid 90s when that firm was acquired by Cisco. Although that made him rich by a couple of millions, he loved the quiet of a small company. So he waited just long enough to vest his options out before joining another startup. As luck (or bad luck) would have it, that startup was also acquired by Cisco. Burdened with a few more millions in his bank, and unable to cope with big company politics, he quit again and joined yet another small company, only to be acquired again by the mother ship. Tired and fed up of money accumulating in his bank account, the guy seems to have quit quitting and appears resigned to his fate.

There are some people who are born lucky. You thrown them into a dirty ditch and they will come out with gold watches in each hand.

Ate some good fresh trout this weekend from a restaurant called the 'Fish Market'. The dish was called 'Trout Hemingway'. Nice and rich, baked with butter, bread crumbs and all. Being very hungry I finished it in no time; Little did I know that Trout Hemingway was supposed to be eaten in short discrete sentences.

The Indian grandfather was pushing his grandkid in a stroller at Safeway. Looking at his face I could pretty much guess his name - It cannot have been anything else but Venkataraman or Swaminathan. He had three fat stripes of vibhoothi on his forehead, and a bouquet of long inflexible gray hair decorating each of his ear lobe. He was wearing a khakhi summer shorts and an oversized Hawaii shirt, which stood out as minor but high visibility blemishes in his otherwise beautifully designed south Indian landscape.

Have anyone told you something with this disclosure - “You are the only one I have told this to. Don’t tell anyone”. Few days later another mutual friend or relative will pull you to a corner and bite your ear “Did you hear about so and so… BTW don’t tell this to anyone. He told me not to tell anyone. You are the only one I am telling this”. Then you meet a total stranger while taking a leak at a movie theater, and you discover that you both know the other person; then he looks around like a kid sneaking candy and gently asks you “Did you hear about him? …. BTW please don’t tell anyone. I am telling you because it’s you”.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sugar "Cane"

Here is the sugarcane story I wanted to write yesterday.

Abdul Samad was my good friend and roommate while I was in Thrissur briefly. Since his dad passed away, he was raised mostly by his tough disciplinarian mother who wanted him to be as meticulous and thorough as her. Even after his body showed clear signs of burgeoning adolescence she would shout at him for the smallest mistakes he made, and whacked his skinny ass when he misbehaved. But the genius worked meticulously and thoroughly to be quite the opposite of what his mother wanted him to be.

He took me home one day, and on our way to Wadakanchery, his home town, he warned me one last time about his hot tempered stickler mother. When we reached home, I found stacks of sugarcane all over the place. He explained to me that they had a small sugarcane farm and they sold the produce to a local co-operative run by a Brahmin priest they called ‘Saanthi’ (priest). As we entered the verandah his mother came out to greet us. She was a sweet, kind woman quite contrary to the mental image I had formed of her. She laughed like wind-chimes and talked like a drill sergeant. But she was loving and affectionate and seemed to enjoy my company.

The next morning, after a solid breakfast complete with pathiri, mutton curry and a tall glass of buffalo milk (mixed with the sweetest sugarcane juice I ever had), Samad and I sat down to watch a cricket match. A moment later his mother called out to him and asked him to deliver some sugarcane stacks to the co-operative, since the saanthi who usually came to pick those up could not make his rounds that day. Samad, fully immersed in the match did not hear what she said. She waited for a minute and then came into the room turned off the TV and shouted at him like a feverish subaidar . I was stunned. After she left, he looked at me embarrassed, and then as if nothing had happened turned the TV on. She shouted from the kitchen once again at my friend who was still watching TV completely oblivious of his responsibility.
“I will go in a minute” he replied - which turned out to be the wrong thing to say to her at that time. She stormed into the room, pulled out a sugar cane stick from the stack and swung a nice square drive that landed neatly near his biceps. He let out a weird cry, and shot up like a spring. “GO RIGHT NOW” she ordered, drawing back for another drive. Poor guy, he turned off the TV, picked up the stack, loaded in his bicycle and disappeared in no time, only leaving a cloud of frightened dust behind him.

I was scared stiff. I feared that she would take aim at me next. But instead she looked at me affectionately and said “kutti kandoloo” (“son, you can watch”). When Samad came back home he had a nice pink welt on his arm from the batting, which looked like the co-operative saanthi’s trademark vibhoothi that he always smeared in his arms.
“Umma” he called his mother “Look at my hand, you made me a saanthi (priest)” .
“Yes” she shouted between the clatter in her kitchen. ”Don’t think you are too smart. If you ignore me ever again, I will promote you to a mel-saathi(senior priest)

She meant that, too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


2 PM.
I am exhausted. Terribly exhausted. It’s been a while since I exercised and suddenly today afternoon I ran to train for the Big Sur half marathon. I ran okay till the 12 mile marker. Then my muscles began rebelling. My legs began to quiver. There was a weird sensation that started in my knee, climbed up through my thighs and instigated a stiff uncomfortable cramp in my stomach. My chest began to move into my stomach and started jingling rhythmically. I had to slow down. Then I walked. Walked a little more before I crawled, and finally passing out. I think someone carried me across the finish line.

When I woke up an hour ago I am at home in bed, with a leg hoisted up from my hip on the head board. There is a nauseating odor of Iodex and Bengay. I am very thirsty, but too tired to get up and walk to the kitchen.

5 PM.
I still feel very thirsty sore and wasted. I was planning to write about a sugarcane incident today. But right now I am worse off than sugarcane refuse, extracted of all its juices. Have you seen one of those mean juice-wallas, the ones who would put sugarcane through a juice extractor over and over each time tightening the gears till the last atom of the last drop is squeezed out? He would torture the poor thing so badly that one would feel guilty to drink its juice. Right now I fell like a sugarcane that had been through the hands of once such juice masters.

10 PM.
This is getting worse. My son is sitting on my leg trying to unscrew it, but I don’t feel a thing. What is bothering me is the idiot who is testing his car alarm outside. It went off at least 10 times in the last 10 minutes. I hope I get better by tomorrow, so I can fire one of those hell fire missiles at that idiot and his alarm.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Women - now and then

I was in my office today evening scrambling to go pick up my son from his daycare when a colleague ran up to my cube hissing and panting and shaking. She was visibly terrified and looking for help. In the spurt of the moment, for no apparent reason, I somehow assumed that a disgruntled former employee was inside the building chasing her down with a Kalashnikov. She looked so scared and clueless that for a flash moment I panicked myself, and began to crawl under my desk. Then as if being poked with an invisible needle of shame, I felt the need to at least fake some chivalry. After all, what are the chances of any women, let alone a beautiful semi blond co-worker coming to me begging for help. I felt a sudden inrush of testosterone. I collected myself, pulled out a thick power cord dangling from above my desk, and jumped out in to the line of fire ready to strangle the disgruntled former employee with a Kalashnikov. Seeing my strange kalari-payattu pose, she looked at me, with a dirty hesitating glance of pleading and repugnance.

It turned out that she had a cockroach in her cubicle. She is not alone, most women these days are afraid of anything but their husbands. My wife will collapse in a jiffy at the sight of a cat, specially those black ones with shiny green eyes. I had a friend whose bitter half almost called 911 one day, to report a spider. I wish my grandmother could come and teach these women what courage is. Man, is she a strong woman?



I may be 10 years old, at my grandmothers’ home for my summer vacation. She is quite old and almost half blind with a pretty thick pair of soda glasses. Her backyard had dense vegetation mostly from arrow roots (koova) and tapioca plants. One day, we were playing inside; when we heard a loud shrill. She was in the back yard harvesting arrow-roots when a big snake lashed at her from between the plants. The poor snake must have been out of it’s mind or new to the area, for it was certain he didn’t know my achamma well. Man, she crushed it’s head with a log of fire wood. The loud sound we heard was the snake screaming "Yentammooooo". Achamma called out to my uncle to bury the perpetrator. My uncle looked at the corpse and shouted “Amma, that’s a ‘chena-thandan’!!! It could have killed you.”
“Don’t worry, It wont kill you NOW!." Achamma replied in a serious tone. For a quick moment she looked more mean that the mean snake itself. That was how old women were like; I think that is how women were meant to be.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Old Songs

We were raised in a fairly poor home, but my parents made sure we were watered, fed and clothed decently. We never had TVs or anything until long later. We had an old National radio, which was a lot like today’s TV, with news, songs, drama, and comedy – not to mention the assortment of commercials from Colgate tooth powder to Family planning. All India Radio had programs that catered to people of all class. There was “vayalum veedum” for farmers, “kambola nilavara bulletin” for Wall Street enthusiasts and copra wholesalers, “bala lokam” for kids, “yuva vaani” for youths, and “kandathum kettathum” for housewives youth and the jobless alike. My favorite was the music programs – “Chalachithra Gaanangal”. There was a one hour encore presentation every Sunday at 1 PM, called Ranjini that featured popular film songs. I associated “Ranjini” with the smell of fish curry made with sour mango, because being weekends Amma always made lunch around that time, with fish curry and sour mangos.

There are a few songs that still give me goose bumps, no matter how often I listen to them. “Innum Ente Kannu neeril…” and “Kannay Kalai Maaney…” by Yesudas are two of them. Every time I listen to these songs, my eyes tear up. The music just goes straight into my heart. I don’t know what is special about those old songs. I don’t know if it is the earthy lyrics or the simple music. But it sure sang directly to my soul.
Click the links to listen:

Friday, June 09, 2006


I was in downtown today to visit the IRS office. IRS is out to get me, they sucked a good percentage of my pay check last year and it looks like that didn’t satisfy their rapacious appetite. The IRS auditors believe that I did not report a certain 320 dollars and 21 cents profit I made from the sale of a certain EBAY stock. So they sent me a warrent that I owe them a total of $9160 and 16 cents. They are after me viciously. I think I am screwed. Rape seems inevitable at this point, so I will as well lay back and enjoy.

Here are some scenes from downtown.

I see two drug addicts at the train station, a fat black man and a skinny white woman. Let me call them Jessie Jackson and Cindy Crawford. They are connected at their lips by the power and beauty of French kiss. They strike a pose which make them appear suspended in mid air and arrested in the stillness and tranquil of eternal love. They occasionally detach themselves from the grip of emotional paralysis to enjoy a puff of smoke.

I see two other bums right opposite to me . The woman is leaning on the man on his seemingly flabby but somewhat buoyant and uncompromising chest. She is sobbing. She is also munching from a bag of cholesterol free nacho cheese Doritos. Her sobbing has left two independent trails of slimy thick mucus on his bare chest. One terminated at his wrinkled right nipple, while the other took a slight deviation, maneuvered a hair-pin bend at the suburbs of his beer belly and disappeared into his navel base.

The girl in tight jeans and tight tanks is undoubtedly a candidate for the Guinness book of world records. She will have no rivals in the tightest dress category. Looks like she put on the tiny dress when she was barely 6 and had been growing inside it ever since. Her furious, vigorous, hyperactive body grew over the confines, over flew the limits and continues it’s uncompromising obdurate growth. The specimen is now on display in front of Old Joe’s deli near downtown station.

There is a guy on skateboard wearing a muscle-T. He is skating the length and breadth of the light rail station, clearly aggravated by the monotony waiting for a train. He has a tattoo on his left biceps. In fact he has a couple of tattoos on his left biceps. No, he has a couple of tattoos on both his biceps. No, he has a few tattoos. In fact he has quite a lot of tattoos. In fact he is covered in tattoos head to toe. I think he even has tattoos in his soul.

I never knew the meaning of the word downtown till recently. During my first year in college, I had a friend who was very well exposed and spoke quite decent English. But I was very embarrassed to ask him the meaning of a seemingly ordinary word. So I plotted some ingenious ways to garner this information from him with out ever having to embarrass myself by asking him directly. When he says something like : “They have good Biriyani at Bimbis restaurant”, I would pretend uninterested and as if to engage him casually, I would ask him with a burst of fake enthusiasm “Oh! You mean in downtown huh?” That way I could figure out from him if Bimbis was in fact in Downtown Ernakulam, and if so I hoped to figure out from the geography of the place what “downtown” meant.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

From beedies to Cuban

Abdul Rahman Khadir was born to poverty. He was his bappa’s companion and shadow. His baappa use to send him to buy cheap home made beedies from labba kakka’s shop. He stole a beedie or two and smoked secretly. By the age of 11 he was an avid smoker. Soon he distinguished himself as an avid drinker too. His father’s other woman and local shack Maggie Sarada poured him her home made concoction. Soon he found a job in Chalai market in the city. He bought himself Kaja beedi and genuine arrack. He volunteered his time to be a professional thug for a well known politician. This connection took him to Bombay. When he was on vacations he came regularly to my uncle’s shop to buy Gold Flakes and club soda. It was only a matter of time, before he went to gulf. He walked around with a pack of Marlboro and a whiff of Eau De Toilette. Johny Walker was his new found taste. He opened a modest electronics shop in Dubai and as luck would have it, tasted the sweet nicotine of success. He ordered the finest boxed cigars from Cuba and sipped the best of single malt from Scotland. His empire grew. He owns a chain of electronics stores in Dubai, Bahrain and Quatar. He is retired now and back in our village leading a dream life, addicted to home made beedies and illicit local brew.

A father is raising his son. Trying to refine him to be benevolent and kind like Gandhi, think like Isaac Newton, write like Charles Dickens, speak like Winston Churchill, succeed in life like Bill Gates and be modest and humble like Jesus Christ. He pushes him to be the best human being in the whole world. But Goddammit! He doesn’t realize that the son is a teeny tiny little kid running around in his cute little size-2 underwear, crushing a pappadam his mother gave him all over the room. Father wants to achieve what he couldn’t, living the life he didn’t, through the life of his son. I am myself guilty of that crime.

The wife is trying to clean up the pappadam mess. Literally on a war footing, she is now on a tug or war with the stubborn vacuum cleaner. The machine refuses to pick up the little pieces of crumbled pappadam. She is cursing, kicking and abusing it as if it is her husband. She seems to be giving up. The machine is running full power - she is gently squatting down, picking up the pieces bit by bit and feeding it to the vacuum cleaner. Now if you would excuse me I would like to go to the patio and get a good laugh.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Déjà vu

Mr.VS Achuthanandan reminds me of his predecessor Antony. Antony was as honest and straight forward as they come. I would like to think that VS is a bird of the same feather. From the jubilation and drama that followed his victory last month, it was evident that people really liked him and had very high expectations of him. But sadly, less than a month since he took office, it appears to be Déjà vu all over again.

If poor Antony had poor old Karunakaran as his detractor, VS now has Pinaray Vijayan biting his behind. Pinaray is proving himself to be more venomous and ugly than the famously venomous and ugly Karunakaran. Ladies man Kunjali Marikkar is replaced by the alleged VIP Kodiyeri Marakkar. Mr.Crook PJ Joseph is KM Mani and TM Jacob rolled into one and multiplied by Balakrishnapillai. Under congress party Kerala was a green, serene and dusty little state where good hard-working middle class people like pimps, prostitutes and perverts thrived. VS’s Kerala is ushering in new brand of skilled workers - hustlers, gangsters and goondas. The very comrades who opposed karimanal, smart city and express highway are the new evangelists for karimanal, smart city and express highway. It is fun to watch the whole drama playing out.

Pinarayi Vijayan is a damned fool who doesn’t learn from history. Voters are smart these days, very smart. They screwed the painful benighted bums like Karunakaran, Murali, TM Jacob and Balakrishna Pillai and put them out of their own miseries. Pinarayi Vijayan is either blind or an idiot to ignore this. He is competing to be the most excruciatingly painful bum of all . If I were him I would think differently. VS is 92 years old or something. This is pretty much the kid’s final game. As the top guy in the ruling party, I will swindle and steal as much as possible. I would rent a few jumbo sized bank lockers at the union bank of Switzerland. I would order a tunnel to be constructed from Trivandrum, via Cochin refineries, via Bombay high, via Persian Gulf via Caspian sea to secret bank accounts in Moscow. I will insert my cronies into important positions. I will praise VS, for if VS is perceived to be doing well I am the next chief ministta. I will dress up as Robert Frost and write poetries about VS.

Our CM is like aging wine
He is my bro oh! He is mine
Like old smelly cheese
like a pan of old grease

I am cute and young
Although Loose is my tongue
I think that this old mare
Do still have some flair

I will pick up Karunakaran, his son and their concubines, expose them, bring these terrorists to light and jail them. I will pick up the alleged serial rapist Mr.Kutti and parade him neykkid. The entire Malabar will for ever vote communist. That is what I would do if I were Vijayan. If Pinarayi does this, trust me, he will be a hero and guaranteed to be the Chief Minister for the next 50 years.

I doubt he will listen to my advice, so I have advice for Kissinger Chandy. Eat well, exercise, get good rest, get your regular colonoscopy, and make sure you don’t get a freaking heart attack, get that nice daughter of yours married off to a nice kid. Just lie low. Don’t do anything stupid. You will win the next one.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Swatting flies, Killing snakes

I visited a friend at his sprawling new nearly a million dollar home, this weekend. Beautiful home! It was neat, it was orderly and it was impeccable. I envy him for his lavish home and more so for keeping it tidy. We were eating lunch when a pesky little fruit fly sneaked in. The maid, a somewhat husky red-headed Mexican woman, was summoned for a bug busting mission. She stepped into the room, looked around to locate the antagonist, and then with the grace and dexterity of a professional killer tiptoed silently towards the beast. What followed was a gory saga of unspeakable brutality. She swatted the fly and the fly swat her back, she chased the insect and the insect chased her back, she showered Hispanic abuses at it and the fly hissed back at her in perfect Buckingham accent. There was swatting, beating, shooting, booing, mooning, hacking - it was likes a scene from one of those Dracula movies, dreadful, bloody and shocking. After five minutes of intense gun fight, the badly battered women succumbed. Later my friend explained to me how these little rascals are making him sick. “They bring in bacteria and germs” he said. “I have pest control, but they just keep coming”

I smiled and thought of my childhood home. My home was a fruit fly command central. We were blessed with an abundance of fruit bearing trees, like jack fruits, mangos, guava, pappaya, banana and gooey cocoa. Fruits were so abundant that no body cared to pick those. Squirrels, crows and little birds feasted on them. Like poor old men, ripe, miserable and half eaten they fell and rotted. Flies swamped the area. There were enough flies to form a CITU local committee. Big flies, little flies, fat flies, skinny flies, happy flies, jealous flies, fly that sang songs, flies that had MBA degrees, and they came in all types and denomination. Then around the time when schools reopened, it rained and the flies would all die down.

But rains brought in tadpoles instead. My aunt, who was only a few years older than I was, had a theory about tadpoles; she believed they came from clouds. "Black clouds are pregnent clouds"
she would say "they are pregnant with black tadpoles". Rain water collected around coconut trees, where happy tadpole families took refuge. Within a few days the happy little tadpoles became happy little frogs and happy little frogs became happy big frogs. They invaded our homes, in ones, in twos, and then in whole battalions. But soon they would all disappear as well, with the tapering monsoon. Then it was the time for the millipedes, which reigned supreme well past our Onam vacation. We always had guests that kept us exited.

Snakes were the most prevalent of all. It seems to me that our village nurtured more snakes than the entire Amazon basin. Those paddy fields and the surrounding marshes were snake havens. Specially ‘neerkoli’ and ‘chera’. Even the most concentrated and relentless Endo Sulfan treatment by local peasants like Raman Pillai did not pollute them out of their sanctuaries. But it did kill his buffalos and eventually killed him too. Killing snakes was a macho thing, especially for young men. It was a festival of sort. Young men armed with ‘madals’ (coconut leaf-stems) would surround the reptiles. They poked into holes, smoked them out and boxed in the helpless creature. They would stone and beat the snake into submission. Dead and mutilated it was left there for display. The whole village would gather around it. Men, women, children, everyone. Young girls timidly laid their wistful wiggly eyes upon young men - with enthusiasm – with interest. Young men gloated in approval and with a heavenly sense of accomplishment ‘exchanged eyes’ with their secret admirers. They formed un-spoken bonds. They established invisible tiny chords of ephemeral village love.

I have only beaten a snake once, and that too a dead one. It was fun; adventure – I felt the gallantry of killing a predator, a sense accomplishment like a roman gladiator, an immense gratification of walking around like a macho boy. I was too young to generate any “eye tracking’ attention, nevertheless it was fun and amusing. It was more amusing and adventurous than watching a husky Mexican maid swat a fruit fly.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Spammers have been harpooning me relentlessly, flooding my email accounts with all kinds of advertisements. I receive financial deals from relatives of dead African dictators, free palm smart-phones, prizes from online lotteries, zero percent mortgages promises (yes ZERO percent) etc. They even figured out that I have erectile dysfunction and offered me free Viagra and a weapon enhancement surgery. The association of retired bolshevik whores of Moscow were kind enough to offer me physical therapy after the surgery. Once Steve Jobs wrote to me and begged to accept a free iPod. On another occation an agent for The Alfred Nobel foundation, disguised as a Swedish barber, wrote to me that he could arrange a Nobel price for me in exchange for my friend’s email addresses.

Just like most of you, I spend a good half hour every day weeding through my inbox locating genuine emails. Lately, among these junk, I am noticing a spammer inundating me with ads for mangos! “Mangopeti - Alphonso Mangoes - Door Delivered”. Yes,Mangos! Not Viagra not Ephedra not H-51 Hoodia or one of those free molly maid services – Mangos! Delicious, juicy mangos hand picked from the finest orchards in Ratnagiri. I have been deleting these e-mails and marking those as spam. But I am beginning to wonder if I should open it, open it just a little bit so I can see what is written inside.

I love mangos. But I have never eaten a real Alphonso Mango. The nearest I have gotten to is the so called Alphonso mango pulp we get in Indian stores, which my friend from Bombay says is nothing like the real one. Pulp is only like Jithendra; poor man's Amithab Bachan; not the real deal. I would kill to eat a slam dung, honest to goodness Alphonse Kannathaanam. So I am wondering, may be this is my chance, my god given opportunity to savor the real one. Perhaps I should open it and see what MangoPeti is about. Unlike those online poker gigs or date-a-russian-hooker numbers or Paris Hilton with barnyard animal videos this is something that is worth checking out.
May be I should open it.

PS: If I were Pat Robertson I would have even wondered if God himself wrote this e-mail.