Blogroll Updated

After many many months I have updated my blogroll. The new roll contains not just the blogs I read but the ones that are so good I’d like you to read them.

Here’s an introduction of all the new blogs, whose links you can see in the left hand column.

Mundane Musings on Mannerisms: My brother, often mentioned in the Fillets, has started his own blog. He posts often and on varied topics.

Of Life and Lurrrve…: The blog of Manav Kapur, my brother’s quiz teammate. Strongly recommended for those who need to know that there’s always someone worse off than themselves.

AnarCapLib: Stands for Anarchy, Capitalism, Libertarianism. A nice hot dose of sound reasoning, with brilliant guest posts every so often.

Dancing With Dogs: The blog of a pregnant NRI software engineer in Texas, and home of the Bharateeya Blog Mela.

Hazel’s Journal: Blog of a Lucnowan displaced to Pune. Cheery.

Kingsley Jegan’s blog: This unnamed blog is home to Kingsley, a foul-mouthed, atheist usability engineer from Chennai. Eclectic.

Pieces of the Puzzle: Home to Alpha, the funniest NRI ever.

RearViewMirror: This is Sandhya’s blog. Who is Sandhya? The organiser of the Delhi Blog Meet, which I (aaargh!) missed.

The Journal of the Bloodfist Klan: The funniest blog on the list, funnier even than Pieces of the Puzzle. The demented ravings of an eleventhie Dipsite who styles himself Azgez Bloodfist. It’s a treat.

Vantage Point: The blog of Gaurav Sabnis, a bloke at IIM Lucknow. With any luck, I’ll be going to his sister institute soon.

I’ve also provided links to Badmash and Piled Higher and Deeper- two online comic strips about NRIs and graduate students respectively. Oh, and as a nice bonus, a link to the PG Wodehouse Society.

What’re you waiting for? Go explore the Internet with Internet Explorer.

The Birds and the Bees

Well, I might as well make the obligatory Feast of St. Valentine post.

My brother has recently started to read Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Over here, he claims that he is doing this because I have challenged him to do so.

In fact, I have done nothing of the sort. This is camouflage of the basest kind.

I gently suggested to Bhavya that he read Pride and Prejudice not as a challenge but out of pure fraternal affection. Despite possessing raw sex appeal and animal magnetism, he has no charm whatsoever. The story of his life is:

Girl sees boy at quiz/ debate/ et cetera.

Girl instantly falls for boy. (Why does this never happen to me?)

Girl meets boy.

Five minutes to five weeks after meeting her, boy manages to tick girl off.

It’s astounding. He manages to fritter his natural advantage. Given enough time, there is no girl he will not manage to annoy and convince that he is a horrid, horrid, boy.

It is for this reason that he needs to read Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read it myself, for the simple reason that I can’t get through anything by Jane Austen. It’s a morass of the passive voice in which better men than me have sunk. Anyway. Returning to the point.

The point- which I have so far meandered around because the CAT is tomorrow and I have every right to be distracted- is that girls go wild over Mr. Darcy. Look at Bridget Jones. Look at Mia Thermopolis (OK, that was the bloke in Jane Eyre but it could easily have been Mr. Darcy). Look at Vrinda, who left a comment at my brother’s post, and in fact has a teddy bear (or is it a cat?) called Darcy. For that matter, look at the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, who I assume is wild about him at the end of the book. And Bhavya is reading Pride and Prejudice not to settle a bet (or bets), but because he knows that to emulate Mr. Darcy in all wise is his only hope of having a happy ending on future Valentine’s Days.

Then again, maybe it’s just to settle the bet. He is pretty competitive. I’m turning in early, I have the CAT tomorrow. Good night.

Under the Influence II

In my earlier post about the plant otherwise known as Mary Jane, I may have given the impression that it leaves you feeling senti and goofy and maudlin.

That’s not strictly accurate. It may do that to you, but its effect may be quite different. It varies from person to person. Thus while A may go about sighing wistfully that Jennifer Aniston used to look so much better than she does, B will exhibit a burst of lateral thinking and prepare a design for Hide Fruit and Seek Nut laddoos. And similarly X will stay up through the night chewing on thermocol, while Y will be violently sick down his shirt front. It all depends. It definitely does bring about a change in behaviour though. The direction and magnitude may vary, but the change is there.

The reason I bring this up is that I harbour a suspicion that India’s top political leadership is, well, under the influence. I’m not saying it’s so, but it would explain a lot. For instance, why Vajpayee’s speech has two settings: sluggish and torrential. Imagine, if you will, the following scene:


Vajpayee’s drawing room at 7, Race Course Road. Furnished with settees, divans, Rajasthani wall hangings, and lit by dim bulbs. A PC with a 4.1 speaker system is playing Pearl Jam. The PC is on a desk with a drawer.

Author’s Note: I’m assuming Jaitley likes Deep Purple and Collective Soul, but I could be wrong. If anybody is better informed about his musical tastes, please let me know.

Scene: Vajpayee seated regally on central divan. Jaitley lying on R. settee, reading Nagraj comic books. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi sprawling on L. divan.

Vajpayee [speaking very slowly]: Advani [pause]… b*******d, [pause], rolling [pause] paper [pause] nikaal.

Advani walks over to computer table, and extracts the “stuff” from the drawer. He rolls a joint with care, lights it, and passes it around. Remains seated at

Vajpayee [now speaking at normal speed]: Aaaaahhh. Good Stuff.

Jaitley: Advani, push Like a Stone.

Murli Manohar [now very high]: Yaar, suppose we push B. Sc (Astrology) onto the university course. Too wild!

Advani giggles hysterically.

MMJ: Faaaahk. Instead of Physics practicals, it’ll be like zodiac practicals. Too trippy.

ABV: Yeah. It’d be like trusting Musharraf. Wild, man.

Jaitley: Why don’t we? Trust Musharraf and push astrology honours?

Advani giggles hysterically.

MMJ: Yeah! And you know what else? Let’s rewrite the history textbooks!

ABV: Why?

MMJ: Panga hoga, yaar!

Jaitley: You guys do what you like. You can’t think of anything really creative. Advani, push Shine by Collective Soul.

ABV: We’re all shining collectively! India Shining!

Jaitley: What you should do is go totally overboard. Have peace talks with Musharraf.

Vajpayee and Joshi look at Jaitley with new respect. Advani giggles hysterically.

MMJ: What’ll I do?

Jaitley [belligerently]: You aren’t capable of doing anything. Faak you.

MMJ [equally belligerently]: Oh yeah? I’ll destroy India’s brand value! Dekh le!

Jaitley: As if.

MMJ: Watch what I do to the IIMs. Phir bata.

Jaitley: Stop showing off.

MMJ: Dude, I can totally f*ck the IIMs.

Jaitley: they’re unfuckable. As if you can do anything to them.

MMJ: Yeah? I’ll make them drop the fees. And then I’ll get Jaswant to cut their funding. Ha!

Jaitley: Do what you like. Advani, push Highway Star.

ABV: Dude, imagine if we had, like, expressways all over the country.

MMJ: Whatever. I’m going ahead and doing what I want.

Advani throws up. Curtain.

Feel Good Factor

The week gone by was rough. We’re in the middle of family crises that I won’t go into, but they’re serious all right.

Today, though, a feel good factor erupted.

Immediately after lunch, my brother’s SAT scores came through. 770 in maths, 730 in verbal, leading to a grand total of 1500. I’m mentioning the sum in case some of the readers here are Interact Club members.

The news has cheered up my entire family. My house no longer has a heavy air hanging overhead.

After dinner, more good news was in store. PP the Ironman’s GRE scores came through. 800 in Quant, 780 in Verbal, and six point oh in the writing section. In his own words, the excitement is killing him.

It’s not killing me, but as I said, it’s making me feel pretty good. If all goes well, I sustain this through the week, and go in for the CAT feeling great.

To boost it further, I’m going to take advantage of the ridiculously low promotional call rates to USA and Western Europe (Rs. 3.75 a minute on Airtel, and I have a brand new Mitsubishi Trium!), and call up everyone this week.

Mangalam.