Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Join my cadence

I have been a runner for last 16 years. I recently converted to being a cyclist. Recently, means today at 6:48 AM. As a veteran cyclist, these are my observations for posterity.

  • There is way too much traffic on the road even at 6:48 AM.
  • We cyclists demand protection. We need cycling lanes and Traffic restrictions between 6 AM to 6 PM and other times if there are night cyclists.
  • Cycling is running with a little bit of cheating. If you run for 10 KM, you would run 10K. There is no coasting.
  • There are other cyclists on the road. Seriously.
  • The street dogs that are familiar with you while running will take some amount of time to get used a different orientation.
  • I used to run the music. Cycling requires higher alertness. Hence, I am skipping the earphones and invest in Bluetooth boom box.
  • The main reason men do not take cycling is speed breakers. They are there everywhere, like God. I am sure they are not good for productivity or re-productivity.

If you agree with everything I say, please join me in protest in front of the house of the local Transport officer. It is next to the fertility clinic. Hope you like AR Rahman streaming from the boombox.

Cyclists of the world, unite. We also have a right to multiply.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bag it

Bag, Borrow or Steal is not a philosophy but could be the cure to world debt. They rent out luxury bags. This has beneficial impact on credit card bills and longevity of cattle. It is having a negative impact on Taxidermists though. They are now losing sleep over it because they use to count bags out of sheep before.

There are 18 varieties of bags as per Wikipedia and all of them come with an option of an impoverished partner. There is even a type of handbag creatively called “Half Moon”. You do not have to hold your breath to know the reason. Apparently, It is half-moon shaped.  Armstrong who took a small step because NASA could only afford a smaller size shoe was asked to comment on it.  He is known to have said “I cannot be sure, even though I have seen the moon from close quarters”. Pardon him, like all men he cannot even distinguish between purple and violet. Shape is just a whole different matter.

The fashion rule keeps on changing on the poor bag bearer. It swings from the trend of the bag matching any color on the dress or even neighbor’s dress  to an absolute contrast like Purple to Violet.

A bag is an important part of persona. It does not matter if it is Coach or Burberry as it contains pieces of history. For this very reason there is a museum for bags; The Tassen Musesum of bags and purses. Please do visit them because you will be supporting the poor insomniac taxidermists employed by them.

A typical bag contains the photographs of the owner and their loved ones right from the time they were just a print out from the Sonogram machine. The bags have historical artifacts such as the stubs of movies made by Dada Phalke. No wonder they deserve a museum.

Restaurant receipts are also stored lovingly in the bag because they have huge sentimental value (This is where I got proposed or this is where we decided to use the same toothbrush to save money to buy this bag). They also invariably contain more than 250 shades of lipstick. Some of them might be just the container to show the make-up counter person the color code.

Without any doubt all bags have medical stuff right from Aspirin to sophisticated MRI Scanner. It is no wonder that guys are not known to fake a headache.

It is a fair guess but Gulpanag’s might have a surface to surface missile in her bag which she shoots while riding her bike at any person who overtakes her from the wrong side.  If you do that, your relatives could read her tweet about you being blown away.

In Japan all bags worth its zipper has a pouch for carrying trash. This sentence does sticks out like a sore thumb but how else I can point out to the reader that I have spent seven years in Japan.

My wife Radhika takes a bag to the gym which contains essential supplies required in case of a nuclear war or a call for a KJO movie screen test and also another bag. This bag is for segregating the dirty clothes after the work out lest they tell adult jokes to the water bottle.

Statutory warning to end the blog: Please do not write about your wife’s handbag in a public forum unless you are an expert in operating the MRI machine. I am all set to enroll myself in the course.

Post Script: As an intelligent reader, you would have noticed that I have never alluded to the gender of the bag bearer anywhere. Celibacy does lead to nonsexist practices.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Inner Solitude of a Long Distance Runner

I have been running for last 14 years and have run two Marathons and 18 halves till date. In the first glance, it seems crazy to run a Marathon which is a distance of 42.195 KM. It seems absolutely hopping mad when legend has that the first recorded instance of running the Marathon ended in a grave. Apparently the Greek messenger blurted out “We Won” before collapsing.

Long distance running like any other sport requires investment in time and money. Time is inelastic and is a zero sum game. The time spent on the feet hitting the pavement or trail is the one which got traded with time with family or even deep sleep. Hence it is not surprising that I am plagued with questions for subjecting my body to sweat and elevated heart rate for more than five and half hours. Here is my honest attempt to answer them:

Runners High: Constant Aerobic Exercise like running produces Endorphins. Endorphins results in runners high. Once you get hooked it is difficult to turn back.

Nature Connect: My favorites are nature running trails among towering Eucalyptus trees and aged Bamboo shoots. The herbal scent and creaking bamboos fills the senses and mind with indescribable peace. The scurrying squirrels, chirping birds and the falling leaves connects the runner to a deeper calling.

Inner Solitude: The rhythmic repetitive pounding of the feet translates to inner calm and balance. The world suddenly starts to look perfect. I forgive the driver who had cut me off wrongly and I forgive myself for feeling angry at him. It is a Micchami Dukkadam moment.

Walter Mitty: Running with Music makes me a Walter Mitty. It is the floo powder which takes me in to my favorite fantasies of having invested in Google when it was a fledgling startup, writing a bestselling novel, crooning melodies to awestruck audiences. So what, If I am tone deaf but in my mind there has been countless gold labels to my credit. Every weekend, I regularly solve the debt crisis, world hunger and write meaningful commentaries on purpose of life. Only PG rated stuff is mentioned here obviously.

Reputation: It could be a continuation of my Walter Mittiness, but I believe that my reputation is that “He might not look dashing but he certainly can last the distance”.

Strength: Running contributes to tremendous growth of mental toughness and ‘can do’ attitude. Crossing the finishing line feels NEW even though it has been done countless times before. It stands for ‘not giving up’ when it was easier to do so.

Camaraderie: Solitude does not mean I run alone but it is an achieved state of mind. I run with my best buddies. We regale ourselves with juvenile and off color jokes, continuously pull each other legs and break idlis or dosas together. We find inner reserves to run faster or longer to be together.

On a wine tour in Monterey, the guide told a motley bunch of tourist including me “My dream is to die in my favorite chair with a glass of wine in my hand”. Mine is to blurt out “I did it” while crossing the finishing line of a Marathon and the family watching with pride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flying: The art of sitting back and relaxing

If God wanted me to fly, she would have given me wings and a million miles preloaded frequent flier card. It might looks like a simple sentence but holds lot of meanings. I believe God is a woman. This is because of my feminist belief and that is the way it is in my household. As to my belief in God, it depends on the extent of crisis or the times when the captain switches the seat belt ON during major turbulence in a flight.

I practice a peculiar ritual of kissing the ground after landing in any new place. I am no Pope but am mighty glad to be back on firm ground again. It can be safely presumed that I feel queasy about flying. I went to howstuffworks and figured out the science of flying. However it does not give me any succor, as flying defies the universal rule of gravity. The gravity rule is pretty simple all objects attract each other, especially if they are a celebrity and S** tapes.

There are four forces which are acting on a plane when it is flying; gravity, lift, thrust which actually gets the lift going and drag also known as airline profits. I know what you are thinking; spare me the science and let us talk about the tapes especially made by Kim Kardashian.

Long story short, all these four forces together gets the plane from one place to another. However sometimes the forces do not agree with each other and it causes turbulence in the air and tapes to be leaked on the internet. During this time, it takes all my will power not to grab the fellow passenger arm for comfort.

The airlines are also not helping anyway to sit back, relax and enjoy my flight. In good old days they used to feed you “airlines food”, but now you get it only in exchange for legal tender called Money. If this trend continues, then the day might come when this would be a common occurrence.

The flight attendant would say “We request the passenger in seat 32 A, swipe the card for the fuel for this part of the trip”
32 A: “This is not fair, we have not even begin taxiing. I do not enough balance in my card. I spend most of it buying water, oxygen, salted peanuts, safety instruction booklet, barf bag and the life jacket kept underneath the seat. I actually put the last coin I had, to recline my seat”
Flight attendant: “Sir, rule is a rule, if you do not have enough money, please pull out the pedal underneath your seat and start pedaling”

It would also be the day when Lance Armstrong will fly business all the time without paying a dime and also get to watch Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton tapes on his personal video system.

In the meanwhile, if you are flying and get to be seated near me then it might be a good idea to get arm guards and not only sit back and relax. My will power might give away.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Words and Meanings

Words are the very essence of life. It has always been my plan to hone the craft of writing them and make money out of it.

I listen to words very carefully, especially when I have broken my commitment of getting the wires from Wii and PS3 fixed for the 227th time. My choice in the matter is limited. I always listen to my wife.

Every time I promise, I really mean to do it. However, something critical happens at that time like Mortgage crisis or Wikileaks. This leads to serious study of situation and discussion with other experts. I want to be prepared just in case Secretary Clinton or Reserve Bank Governor calls me for advice. I should confess that it is not only the news cycle which keeps me busy but also there is an occasional Sheela ki Jawani for distraction.

Words take a life of their own and assume new meanings. This is a short summary of words with old and new meanings. I actually wanted to write “Time and Memory Challenged” instead of “old” but then..............I forgot.

Old: Please take this tablets thrice a day after food. See me after a week in case you still have money in your insurance
New: My tablet is really sensitive to touch. I need to caress it for some time before the screen brightens up.

Old: I always have liked you. I never knew that I like you that way ;-).
New: In case you are enthused by the millionth photo of Eiffel Tower on Facebook, please press the like button.

Old: You need to share your toys with your friend or else I will not buy any more new ones.
New: I just landed in airport. It might not be earth shattering but would like to share it on Twitter. Hopefully twenty folks at the airport might read it and give me a standing ovation for eating the airline food without fuss.

Old: I want hot coffee.
New: I want Brazilian coffee of 2007 vintage roasted to 160 degrees centigrade. Grounded by a motor rotating at 2000 rpm. Brewed at 7 AM in the morning. With skimmed mild by the side with a dash of vanilla in a tall glass please.

Old: I cannot come to work and increase shareholder value for next couple of days because I am suffering from a viral infection
New: Susan Boyle

Old: Mankind, meant Personkind (to include all the genders) have spent lifetimes in the eternal search of meaning of life. It took us a Hitchhikers guide to galaxy to find out that it is 42.
New: To the consternation of Yahoo and Microsoft, it is Google.

I can go on but need to fix those wires or else I would be grounded. Wait the phone is ringing. By the sound of it, I think it is Wen Jiabao wanting to figure out the currency valuation of Yuan. It is a tough choice but the one which has to be made. I think I will listen to my wife one more time. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cult Fiction

When I was between jobs, one of the career options I had before me was to start a Cult. The basic structure of the Cult is the same everywhere. Here is a non exhaustive list I made:

  • Smile enigmatically.
  • Get a contract signed before hand with all the cult followers.
  • Speak with pregnant pauses (and also ensure that only pauses are pregnant).
  •  Make sure that private retiring quarters are not spy-cam friendly.
  • Acquire new wheels. If you do not have the money, do not worry, banks are more than willing to finance cult leaders. Apparently they are more successful than  technology start-ups.
  • Have levels. It is important for your followers to feel that they have are progressing spiritually.
  • Keep a lecture ready. If you do not have here is a starter one.
The Myth of Inner Happiness
My fellow Universal beings, who keep asking “what’s up” and also are in the eternal quest of happiness; Today I am going to talk about the myth. The myth of inner happiness. 

Happiness is as elusive as the wind which caresses your face or as sure as the facebook poke. You have been told that the happiness lies within yourself. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you have been told a lie.
Your happiness depends on the external world and how you react to it. One month back, my ashram accountant told me that our cash balance has fallen below a billion dollars. 

I opened my arms
And stretched it far and wide
Asked for Alms
Came in Dollars, Rupees, Yens, Euros and even a helicopter ride
When faced with penury
I did not wallow in pity
There in lies the moral of story

Seriously, Happiness belongs to those who seek it. My mantra for happiness is as follows
  • Always be in the company of people who laugh and make others laugh
  • Surround yourselves with photos and memorabilia of family, friends
  • Love
Happiness is not just with in you. It is easier if you get it to work for you. Create an environment which makes you happy; A family dinner, friendly conversation, run in the woods, well done report in time, crossed off to do lists, filed papers, reading good books, watching a play, holding hands while walking, generosity.
So children, your inner self is dependent on the environment you create for yourself.   

Draw a circle around you and fill it with happy friends, happy books, happy plays and movies and see your inner world becoming happy.

I would like to quote my guru, Douglas Adams in the seminal book The hitchhikers guide to galaxy
to answer the supreme question
What’s up
I do not know, I have never been there
Be happy and make me and my accountant happy either through cash or credit cards. Love to you all.

Ps:- Please check out Gretchen Rubin blog on happiness.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fuzzy Logic

The collective IQ of my household is 58,732. On hearing this, Please do not rush to us to solve important problems like the best way to make a volcano famous or which is the next country Brad Pitt should adopt from.

This is because as a family we are normal folks with average intelligence. However we have really smart gadgets to help us out to increase the collective intelligence. It normally starts off with me reading the important parts of the newspaper – advertisement.  The ads typically run like this. “Our ACs are really smart. They save 18% of power and can sense your presence in the room and direct the airflow towards you”.  Being powerless the first utility is of no great use to me.

My friend bought this air conditioner. I spent most part of an afternoon jumping around the room to see whether the air flow gets directed. It is true; the air conditioner can sense my presence. The air flow start flowing towards the TV after it was switched on with SRK dancing around. It is not the case of one smart device seeking another.  Apparently the AC can sense the net worth and smarts too.  I normally stick around with my wife whenever I visit my friend’s house.

My grandma was visiting us when we bought a fully automatic washing machine twenty years ago. She was fascinated by the machine that it can take drudgery out of everyday life. She asked me the cost of the machine. When I told her that it costs around Rs. 12,000, she almost fainted. Obviously she wanted to get me tested for sanity. She got over it and asked the reason for it being so expensive. My answer was “it is fully automatic and it does everything by itself”.  Her retort was “for that kind of money, hope it undresses you, washes the clothes and put it back on you”. She never stood near the machine, lest there is a misunderstanding of the intent.

As a man who like statistics, I run with Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor with and a NIKE + IPOD SPORT KIT. It has been known that Air Traffic Controller routinely declare my running route as “No Fly Zone” as I cause disturbance to the Earth’s magnetic field. The first one is an awesome GPS watch which accurately tells me my location, speed and heart rate. It gives me great kick to announce that we are in Lalbaugh and my heart rate has just jumped. My friends are definitely not enthused as there are thousand sign boards to tell our location. They are also worried when I make the heart rate comment as it is usually preceded by a pretty one passing by. They think I will get literally kicked.

I am not so bothered. They (My friends) will go green with envy when they hear about the future millions in my bank and never have any marital trouble. This is because I have started asking for stock tips and life advice from our Food Processor. It has fuzzy logic, you see.  The day will come soon when both SRK and I will get the same treatment from the air conditioner.

PS:- I do not own any shares of Panasonic (not yet) or Garmin or Nike. My food processor is quite silent on that front.