Dame Excel

If they decide to expand the cast of “Big Bang Theory”, I’d think I am a shoo-in for the role.  My approach to the whole excerise of shopping is one of great planning and scientific rationalization. I used pride myself about this until very, very recently, when alas the foundations of my well-founded pride were shaken up.

Whether I have had to purchase a car, a camera or a phone my procedure to procure has always been meticulous.

a. First figure out the lingo – are ABS the muscle that cars have? Does the CCD in a camera have anything to do with Coffee? Are phone companies actually talking about the EDGE of the phone? Usually, this means hours of googling, wiking and forum-hopping. After amassing enough information, so that I may be able to hold my own in a debate about the item I am considering, I move onto to my second step.

b.  What’s out there – I create a spreadsheet that captures key features and then compare it across brands. For my phone, I had compared almost 20 models. Suprisingly, for the car, I had compared more.  After I make this sheet, I eliminate models that do not satify on key parameters – no OIS, no Bluetooth, no wheels, etc.

c. Survey – This is usually where I need my fake smile the most. I go to the markets and try and befriend salesmen. I then ask them for their recommendations and include it in my list. Then I get the prices for all the models that I had shortlisted in my sheet and get his opinion on them. I also get to know about offers, deals and discounts. Faker smiles usually do the trick.

d. Elimination round – Now, I come back and relook at my list. Pricing usually gets rid of a lot of brands. After all the dust has settled, that usually leaves around 3-4 contenders.

e. Youtubing – I discovered that Youtube has a suprising number of videos that take you through everything about you want about the product. I send my models on a head to head and narrow the list down to two. To the others, I toss my hair back, point a finger and say “You’re fired”

f. Scientific purchase – Finally, I go to the store (not any of the stores I went to before .. most of them would have banned that smile from their showrooms) and decide between the two based on what I believe to be a myriad combination of various factors. Usually, I pick whichever’s black. 🙂

And I head back home, satisfied that I have bought the best product, at the best price, from the best place.

Yesterday, my mom called me up and told me that I needed to buy some clothes before I came to India. I was in a mall at the time, so I popped into the nearest clothing store.

I have never felt so lost, so redundant, so helpless in my life. I was groping for a store-wise, brand-wise, price-wise pivot table comparison. I began to sweat. How was I supposed to make an informed decision. How do I purchase the right thing? Should I pick what looked good for me? What if another piece looked good on me as well? What about lighting? Would I look good outside? Could I judge what looked good on me? Did I know anything about fashion? Would you wear a green T shirt with an orange pant and mellow that down by using fluorescent pink socks and a bright red cap?

I groped. I had difficulty breathing. I was hot under the collar. I knew my shirt was doing that just to taunt me. I was lost. I had never shopped for clothes on my own before, ever. I thought and thought about how I would do it.

A few minutes later, I was at the check-out counter. My mother had told me to get a couple of bright formal T-Shirts. The shopping lady asked me “Only one black T-Shirt, Sir?”

“Yes, that’s all”

As I stepped out, I had a feeling of relief sweep over. I could see better and my breathing came back to normal. I would be getting married soon. When I tell my wife  “I love you, my sweet excel sheet”, I wonder if she’ll actually understand what  a great compliment I’m giving her.


“Bang, bang”

Jack doubled up as he held the door frame for support. He tried to scream but the words wouldn’t come. He clutched his heart and dropped to the floor face-down. He was breathing heavily and suddenly there was no sound.

Scott, walked over to Jack and tried to move him eager to see to see the red artwork he had painted on Jack’s chest. But Jack was huge. And he was motionless.

“Daddy, are you going to be alright?”


“Daddy, say something”

“Use your magic wand, Scott”, came Jack’s whisper. He said did this without moving his lips and speaking into the floor.

“But .. I don’t have a magic wand”. Scott’s voice was trembling as he grew more worried by the second.

“Sure you do dear .. look inside your pocket”

Scott reached into his pocket, and sure enough he found a long colorful pencil his dad had gifted him a few days ago. He raised the wand and poked Jack hoping to wake him up. Nothing happened. Jack lay motionless. Scott’s eyes were welling up.

“Daddy, it’s .. it’s not working. Daddy do something”

Jack whispered again into the floor, “But you didn’t say the magic words now did you?”.

“The..magic..words?” Scott bit the tip of his pencil and wondered what the words could be. Suddenly his eyes lit up. He knew he had it.

“Abracadabra !!!”, he screamed in glee.

The only sound in the room was of Scott’s breathing. Jack was not moving. Scott’s eyelids gave in as the tears blasted out. He got back to rocking Jack back and forth. “Wake up daddy. Wake up. I don’t know the magic words. Wake up.”

“What do I tell you before you go to sleep every night kiddo?” The hushed voice seemed to come from nowhere.

Scott needed only a second. In that second, his face went from feeling despondently sad to utter ecstasy. He gripped his pencil with both hands as tight as he could, lifted it high and then touched Jack with it.

“Daddy, I love you. Wake up Daddy”

Jack turned around to to show his son his smile. Scott yelled a shriek of delight and wedged himself into what little space there was between the cold floor and his father’s warm chest. Jack hugged his son with as much as might as he could muster, a force that could only be compared to the little four-year old who was hugging him back. A few adamant tears escaped Jack’s eyes as well.

There they lay. Father and son. In a manner that only pure love and affection can dictate.

The door-way opened. The man with the white suit looked at the duo grappling each other on the floor. He felt sorry about what he was going to say.

“Mr. Jack Preston . I have some news for you .. ”

If you could see time in absolutely small measures of time, you would have noticed that the earth stopped spinning for a span the millionth of a heartbeat.

They followed the man inside. Jack stood by Marie’s bed. He held Scott in his arms as they looked over her face. She was pale white. There was no other sound in the room. There was a heart-beat monitor in the room, which at that moment was as silent as them, as if mourning the lady in the bed as they were.

“Daddy, why is Mommy not moving?”

Jack didn’t know if he could talk. He opened his mouth, but the words would not climb out.

“Daddy, what’s wrong with Mommy?”

Scott jumped from his dad’s bed and stood next to Marie. He reached into his pocket. He lifted the pencil high in the air and touched his mother’s forehead with it.

“Mommy, I love you. Wake up Mommy”

He waited and tried again and again. “Daddy, nothing happened. It doesn’t work. Why won’t it work?”

Jack collapsed to the floor for the second time in the hour.

This time it was for real.

Curdrice Favorites

There are dark times. Times when everything around you scares the daylights out of you. Times when you question your own existence on this purposeless planet.  Dark, desolate and depressing times indeed.

Times when you can’t get a post out of you on your blog even if your life depended on it.

And then, someone like good ‘ol Jam throws your a line and saves you from sinking into the depths of blogging ignominy. Thanks for the tag. I’m back.

Four Favorite Things

I’m making this a real quickie. I’m pretty sure no one reads this anyway, so expect some quirky stuff.

Four places that I have lived in

Chennai, Dubai, abject poverty, style

Four TV Shows I love(d) to watch

Frasier, Seinfeld, Everybody loves Raymond, Swat Kats

Four places I have been on vacation

Sikkim, Carrefour Hypermarket, Facebook, J. Talaiya (North)

Four favorite food items

Maggi, Humble pie, Bheja Fry 65, Curdrice

Four Websites I visit daily

This, that, this one and that one

Four places I’d rather be

The 1960’s, within 3 cms of Catherine Zeta Jones, unborn, in a sitcom

Four things I hope to do before I die

Pee, make a phone call, watch all seasons of the Simpsons, escape

Four novels I wish I was reading for the first time

Four movies I can watch over and over again

My sis’ tribute to my mom, Kiran’s 3 day old twins’ video, our Brandmaps video, Lion King

Four people I want to tag

The phat guy in the corner, the lady with her head in the clouds, Yes! She lives among us, How did she find my blog, and She’d need a knight in shining armor to complete her story

What is Twitter?

twitterLet’s face it. Like it or not, Twitter is here .. and it is here to stay. Whether you like it or not.

Historians will look back at the evolution of mankind and will soon come back with a division that has a chunk of history – pre-Twitter and the world as we know it today Twitter-topia.

I consider myself a techno-phile and I can’t wait to get cracking the latest new technology built to make life more easier or interesting. Yet, as Twitter evolved around me, I adamantly refused to give in. In doing that, I grew to loathe all things Twitter. But ignore it as I might, it kept popping up everywhere. Eventually, I caved and I decided I would give it a go.

It turns out that my reaction to Twitter is quite normal. Everyone is either obsessed with it or hates the very byte-code fabric that make it work. These are people who are on Twitter and not on Twitter … respectively.

So if you are in the second category waiting to jump ship to the Twitter bandwagon, let’s get stated.

What is Twitter?

It is a social networking website  / program. You basically keep telling the world the answer to one simple question in 140 characters or less – “What are you doing?”

That’s it?

Broadly – yes. Specifically – yes.

And this is great, why?

Red Pill / Blue Pill?

Red please, and fries.

Log on to Twitter.com. Don’t expect any fancy reading. Click the big Green button in the middle of the page.

This takes you to the login page. Enter your name, handle (what the Twitter world will see you as, pick something short and sweet), password, email and botcheck. Click create.

If everything is okay, Twitter will take you through a few more steps to find all your other friends already on Twitter. I really recommend that you do this right now, so you’ll have someone to read up on as soon as you get in.

That’s it. The whole process should have taken you about 5 minutes from start to finish. Now your next question is surely going to be ..

Okay, I’m in. Now what?Twitter Landing

Chances are that you found someone on Twitter and you should be seeing their updates at least. The page that you are seeing this updates is your homepage. Your URL should read http://twitter.com/<your handle>. Click on the pic to open a new page and I’ll try and take you through the important parts of this page.

1. This textbox is where you answer the all-pervasive question. Write whatever you want here and press update.  If you have used Facebook before, this is a no-brainer.

2. This just lets you know that there is a 140 character limit and decreases for every character you type in.

3. Your last updated message will show here.

4. Following – how many people are you currently following (your icons, crushes, friends, ex-s, whatever). Followers – how many people are stalking you (your fan following) . Updates – how many updates have you posted since you came to life on Twitter.

5. The timeline. Here you can see who posted what and when. Yes, your tweets also show up here so it’s easy to maintain flow.

Try posting something. “Hello world” may not really draw attention. “I just would like to say 2 things – I’m new to Twitter and I’m gay” – will surely get you a lot more attention from your followers.

So anything I say ..?

Yes. Anything you say is recorded and filed away to glory. So do think twice before you press update. There is a way however to talk to some without getting into the global domain. This called D (see below), the twitter equivalent of the PM in common chat interfaces.

If I’m using Twitter, am I tweeting twit?

The lingo is getting established, but the basics are pretty easy. Here are some of the more important commands and phrases.

@username:-“at username”

Generally, your status messages will be addressed to no one in particular. But sometimes you would like to respond to someone in particular. While noobs prefer to use the @ tag at the beginning of their message there is no need to do so. Just imagine you were chatting with the person, and where you would say his/her name, say “@username”. Sample this:-

ajitloin:- I think I should chop of Mona’s hands.

monadlng:-But why @ajithloin

ajitloin:- Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.

RT username: ReTweet

This is the equivalent of the Forward that we use in emails. People usually RT when they come across a tweet for someone else that they feel their followers would like to read. It is good manners to give credit to the original poster of the tweet. Look at this tweet from robert below

robert:- Guys I think we’re going to be a little shorthanded 🙂 RT ajitloin Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.


robert:- RT ajitloin Well @monadlng your typing sucks. I’m hoping to improve your shorthand.

OH Overheard

This is something that you heard somewhere and feel like sharing with your world

robert:- OH “I hope I marry a historian. The more old I grow, the more interested he gets.”

#something:- Hash:- If you enter a #something, it means you are categorizing your tweet. For example,

robert:- Waiting for my boss to get here. Can’t hold up this bank all by myself. #BankJob

ajitloin:- Why do I get this vague feeling I should be somewhere else and not having my back massaged by mona in Hawaii?

monadlng:- @robert, you’re screwed. #Bankjob

You can read about the latest happenings that people are tweeting about all over the world by going to http://hashtags.org/

D someone:- Direct

This is when you want to tweet someone without anyone being able to read what you’ve written. For eg:-

robert:- D monadlng See you outside in 10?

monadlng:- D robert can’t hardly wait.

How can I update my Twitter Status?

Simple question. But that has innumerable answers. Let’s try:-

a. Through the web:- Simplest method. Log in to your page at twitter.com. Type. Click update.

b. Through your browser:- This lets you update from within your browser. Have a look at Twitterfox. I picked it up from @pigtale who uses it. Check out “6” in the picture above.

c. Through your phone via SMS/text :- This is something that I think is great. Unfortunately, I can’t get updates on my phone. For a full list on how you can use Twitter through texting, click here.

d. Through a program in your phone:- I am currently using Twibble for my mobile. Do a google search and you can find a 100 more applications.

e. Update using Google talk or update using e-mail, yadda, yadda.

Got anything else for me?

– Twitter does not have business-plan. This has been admitted by Biz and Evan, founders of Twitter. Read more here

– There is a privacy setting in your options menu, which means that only your followers can read your tweets. Leave it off and the whole world can read what you tweet. Take your pic.

– The smaller the URL the better. When you use Twitter from the homepage, your big URLs are automatically compressed into a tiny url. You can use

Twitpic lets you share photos on Twitter.

– You can delete only your earlier tweets. Hover over your earlier tweet and you can see a trash can. Click it and poof!

– You can favorite tweets that you like, or would like to read later. Hover and click the Star.

– There are some really famous people on Twitter. Britney Spears, Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Gov. Arnie and more global celebrities , Shashi Taroor, Cyrus Broacha, Aamir Khan, Gul Panag and more Indians.

Happy Tweeting!



Further reading:-

Brent Ozar explains in a lot of detail on the basics of tweeting. The topics are the same, but this is a good read after you have read this post as it gives you some more perspective here

then indeeed, love would be so pure.

And there was light

I’d had a bad office day. My sis had given me a long list of items that I was supposed to stuff down my throat to get rid of a bad depression. It was these items that I balanced in my hands as I walked into my building.

My building has two entrances. The main and more commonly used entrance faces the main road. The other entrance faces another building and is rarely used. A few seconds after I’d entered through the main entrance and made my way towards the lift, the door of the opposite entrance swung open. Just as I punched the button for “Up”, a very cute South-East asian girl* walked in. I didn’t remember seeing her before, but after a bad day my mind was moving in slow motion* in any case.

The lift had begun its slow journey from the 9th floor and I was wondering if there was something polite that I could mention to the lady once we got in. My hopes were dashed when, as the lift passed 5, the main door opened* and an Indian guy about my age wearing a green T-shirt walked in and stood to my right. For some reason, I could see the girl out of the corner of my eye on my left, looking at me out of the corner of her eye*.

The lift broke the uneasy silence between us as it Ting-ed and showed us its interiors. The girl got in first and headed to the far left corner. I let the guy pass me and stand near the buttons at the near left. I walked in last and moved into the near right.

He punched 5*. My hands were full so I said to the guy, “Could you please push 4 for me please,4 ?”
He hesitated but then he did. Since the girl was away from the button I waited for her to call her floor. Instead, she stood and stared at the floor.

Like she didn’t know where she wanted to go!

My mind was confused. I almost was about to ask her which floor she wanted to go to, when I noticed the guy staring at his feet as well.



The lift Tinged again at 4. Neither of my journey companions moved. Neither of their of eyes left the floor. I got out.

Everything is Illuminated.

In case you didn’t get it, go back and read again.

Pay attention to the *s.

Honest Curdrice

Dphat, the kind generous soul that he is bestowed me with this award on his blog some days (ok, weeks) back.




Everyone else thanked him profusely for the award and wrote him epitaphs eulogies praises. Me – I completely forgot about it and wrote some other post.

Tires explode. Volcanoes explode. Sony Xplod.

And then .. Dphat explodes.

Not only did he manage to take it out on me in the comments section of my post, he managed to make sure he was the first one to do so. I had promised him a post and I am a man of my word. On most days. Dphat, bro, if you are reading this, read on. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s the rules:-In order to ‘receive’ this award, one must satisfy the following conditions:

a. List 10 honest truths about yourself.

b. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

Whoever put that OR clause in there deserves an award.

And for writing seven (7), they deserve to have their award taken back from them and spanked over their head with it.

Alright. Before I add to the misery of 7 people who must be peacefully sleeping now and would have no idea of the turmoil that tomorrow is going to puke at them, I shall make an attempt to shock you, my dear voyeuristic reader ten (10) honest things about me.

I’ll use a theme to make it easier ..


~ ~

10. When I take important calls, I can never sit. I always walk. Hexagons and its cousins are my favorite walk templates.

9. I drink 1.5 liters of water everyday. I consume this in less than an hour. Water, I have found, is not a tenable guest. The entire 1.5 liters leaves me in another hour. The question that just popped into your head – don’t ask it.

8. I always eat bread from outside to in. Crust first. Always.

7. If I say good night to someone, they should say good night to me. If they didn’t hear me and I say good night again, then they have to say good night to me twice. Wait, it gets weirder. When I have to tell them that they have to say good night to me twice, it counts as one more good night from me. To avoid an infinite loop, I usually say “Say good night to me thrice”.

It would really, really suck if the person replied with “Huh?”

6. I love keeping things clean. Especially the inside of my nose.

5. I have always felt that I have a super-power which I haven’t discovered yet. When I was kid, I have tried everything to find this power. For a long time I thought that it was something called Ghost Vision. When I looked at something intently, I realized that I could see it’s soul. I managed to convince a class-mate of mine that he had Ghost Vision. When we played soccer, I used to shout “Jithin, use your ghost-vision on the ball”. As Jithin focused his power on the ball, it would rise and float into the opponent’s goal-post. The cheer-leading team would .. alright. Okay .. Honest. Nope. Our ghost vision never got us anywhere. I learnt about how the eye focuses in a biology class much later.

4. When someone ahead of me is walking and talking, I adjust my speed so that I can eavesdrop in on their conversation. I don’t think I’ve ever been noticed.

3. During my MBA, I had a couple of videos that I watched before heading into the heated GD qualifying sessions. These videos would get me into the ‘zone’. Again – no questions about my choice of videos. One video was Neo’s fight in Matrix Reloaded at the Vampire Chateau watch. The other was the music video for “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve – watch

2. When I eat Bhel Puri, I eat in smallest nibbles possible.

1. I am fascinated by belly-button lint.

~ ~

And now of course, I’m going to have to kill you.

And without any further ado, the generous person that I am, I shall now donate this award to seven (7) deserving people, who have been chosen from a rather small list of seven (7) people.

una Kaddu – Great read. If nothing else, check out her blog’s interior deco. Worth it.

dos Ranga – The you-yes iyengar.
tres Saya – Eludes definition.
cuatro Jammy – This dude can really write. He also has a site solely dedicated to movie reviews here. Scratch the surface a bit and you may find something that is as close to gold as it gets for me.
cinco Reva – Found her on Saya’s site. Are you gonna have fun on her blog or what!
seis Prerna – The lady who came back from the beyond.
siete Onethoughton – For the record, Dphat nominated Charu, I’m nominating her imaginary friend, Onethoughton.
and Wo(a)ndering Mind – I wish I had a name to go with her deep thoughts.
That’s all I have to say about that.
I would like to thank the person who gave me this award with something I promised I would give him.
Dphat .. this one is for you! Click on the pic below and take a bow.