Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chronicles of Buntington - Shittylandlordosis anonymous (I)

Hi, my name is Berry and I suffer from shittylandlordosis. I own a decent house in Buntington. I've been renting it out for quite a while now. Currently, three silly girls live there- Bee, Bips and Bing. Why are they silly you ask? They signed off their souls to me in the most binding house lease that has ever existed (get this, they can NEVER break the lease, EVER: unless they die or something). These girls are good tenants, but they want to move out at the end of the lease. When Bee called me to say she needed to break the lease a few months ago, I went berserk on her. I think she chickened out. I always behave like a psycho and immediately people don't want to deal with me and give in. This is the ace up my sleeve. If she hadn't, there is the binding agreement that I would have waved in their faces which says they have to pay the severely overpriced rent of 1800$/month (without utilities ;)) whether they live there or not for the rest of lease period. After that drama quickly ended, they announced to me in April that they want to move out when the lease expires. I recovered after a small heart-attack to tell them "Ok, whatever". The process of finding a tenant for my overpriced decent house is impossibly difficult. Scores and scores of families schedule to see the place. Then I send my incredibly hot wife, Bia, to show it to them. Only one score show up. Only one person calls back. Then they meet me and strangely leave the room within five minutes of talking to me, gagging quite evidently. For every score of people that leave gagging, one will walk back into the room saying he will take it. That is how I first met these girls. Sigh, such nice memories. 
My incredibly hot wife, Bia, while showing my overpriced decent place doesn't mention the problems the place has. These are my special instructions to her, she adds on a few tricks of her own like not taking down messages that people leave for me properly, pretending to not be involved etc. Sometimes, I wonder if this is because she is a smart, blonde Swede or because she is just plain stupid. I had Bia use a combination of the above tricks to hide the fact that my overpriced decent place has roaches (in the dishwasher.. hehehe). I think she first didn't tell the girls, then when the keen Bing saw them, she told her that it was a "minor problem that almost every kitchen has". The naive girls didn't pursue it. They were interested in other issues like the lack of closet doors, window screens, dysfunctional power outlets and such. To keep them appeased I fixed the outlets and for a whole year, I remained dense about the closets and screens. Clever, no? Bee would email me now and then about it. I trashed these emails immediately and told Bia to tell the girls that I never received it because of a technical problem. The dumb girls actually bought this. I mean, who DOESN'T receive an email, c'mon. 
Now that the girls want to move out I decided to harrass them about getting the overpriced decent house exterminated. They refused at first. Then I pulled out the ace psycho behavior. I wrote several redundant emails paying absolutely no heed to their replies. They kept telling me they told Bia about the problem and I never acknowledged it. It's all a part of the plan. Brilliant, no? These silly mollies gave me 3600$ in security. So my master plan was to not return a penny of this claiming some random repairs. By now, the girls are used to my psycho behavior and it is time to change tactics, so when they said they would do a self-extermination, I left a threatening voicemail on Bee's phone that I'll have them arrested if they didn't inform us of these treatments because there were tenants living downstairs. I don't know if this worked or not because they did call Bia and tell her they'll co-ordinate with the people downstairs. I am waiting to hear from them... I was so sure Bee would call me right back to argue about it. Bips is the quiet type but I know she is waiting to charge at me. I almost got slapped with a defamation suit because of Bips once. In one of my boring extempores of lousy past tenants, I mentioned to Bips and Bing that Bee was full of shit and nothing but trouble, in what I thought was a classic divide-and-rule move. But not only did they glare at me like I was a jackass (not that it had an effect, I had my shamelessness mask on), they also told Bee the proceedings of that extempore. I then had to call Bee and suck up like a starved dog that found an empty milk carton in the trash. Ah, the difficulties of this job. Having to come up with new ways to torture tenants is so hard. Finding new tenants is also hard. No one understands me. :(

But like a silver lining on the cloud, you know what makes all this fun for me? 
All three of them are grad students.

Muhahahhaha... haha... muhahahaha.

What I'm wearing: Sloppy black t-shirt, torn jeans
What Bia is wearing: Short, short, short dress

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Barracking on...

"Give me chance, O ye of little faith!" spake His E-ness. 

I never give up a chance to ridicule bad English. At my best behavior, I will let it go with a suggested correction. Needless to say, I am not a very popular editor among my friends. "SMS lingo" is an instant turn off, Facebook updates have to be at the least grammatically correct, e-mails have to be properly punctuated and letters definitely have to be indented, justified and well-written. Information redundancy, the use of articles unnecessarily, improperly placed prepositions and unpunctuated sentences are all manifestations of poor language. There is no way I can say all of this without sounding like a snob. But then, if preferring a sandwich toasted isn't uptight, then why should preferring a semantically apt sentence be? The English language as I learned it from my father is dying slowly. I want to be all revolutionary and try to save it, but other than the occasional correction, I don't do anything. 
I've begun to tolerate words like wat, wot, plz, bcoz, whr, fer (Apparently 'for' but could also be 'fur'?), da, ma (Carnatic overtures?), rotflz, lolz (What is with the random letter addition at the end? How about lolg, rotflk?), skl (school), cud (not what the cow chews), wud (Scottish influence much?), l8r (I know alphanumerical, but whoa there...) and the icing on the cake-  b, d, k, r, s, u, ur, v, y (be, the, ok, are, yes, you, your, we, why)(Just checking to make sure it takes me exactly one millisecond more to type the actual word). Even in the times of the telegraph, where each word cost the sender more, people didn't mess with spelling so much. 
With the advent of the computer, one would think that since it takes less time to correct mistakes (with software actually prompting spellings and offering grammar checks), people would make less of them. My mother was right in asking me to not expect things, especially from the technologically pampered. I still remember one of the earliest gifts my father gave me - a Wren & Martin. For fear of it going out of publication, I have mine tucked away safely in a chest with other classics like Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick and such.
The day isn't far when there are two types of English, official and colloquial. Further down the lane is a twenty page dictionary. Maybe a couple of hundred years from now we'll resort to Hieroglyphics. Reminds me of this article that I wrote several years back about things coming a full circle. Probably true for linguistics as well. Sigh.
I have never been to England, but I have my hopes pinned on them for the preservation of this language. 

Color: Red and yellow 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nucleotide homicide

E-man is a brilliant ambitious undergrad  who likes P-chem(he's not fictitious) but also takes classes like Natural Disasters. Recently, he asked me to write about him in my blog. E-man thinks I am nice, so to keep him in that illusion, I decided to humor him. E-man punctures his usual quiet air bubble with unintentionally funny punch lines that last a long time in your memory. E-man lives in the Hyde-out and again, he is not a fictional character. 

Pop literature by E-man:

What do E-man and Paris Hilton have in common?
-->Let's talk about *me* now.

How does E-man react to people laughing at his jokes?
-->Am I funny? Do you think that is funny? 

How E-man reacts when you've been out of office for a week?
-->Of course I missed you. Ask anyone. 
---->Well, I didn't say it but I felt it. 
------>Maybe I didn't, but I thought I should feel it. 
-------->Now I think I should have.
---------->Ok fine, I didn't. 
------------>I'll make it up. I'll walk you to the elevator. I need to go to the bathroom anyway. 

What is fashion to E-man?
-->Does this coat make me look big? 

What did E-man say when he discovered the blogosphere?
-->Wow, your blog is kind of the world to your mind. 

How does E-man escape things?
--> I really need to go the bathroom. I've been putting it off for an hour now. 

In a character sketch, how does E-man describe the person?
--> He is bald, short and has red hair here and there. 

All in all, E-man is a fun guy who will graduate soon and disappear into the land of Med-school. The E-world will miss him oh-so-terribly. 

Color: Yellow (like E-man's egg-shirt)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Retrograde emancipation

Spinning is an ass-kicking exercise if done right. If it doesn't hurt, you aren't doing it right. 

It has been quite sometime since I have been with company where I don't have to measure my words. Where I don't have to weigh out exactly what impact my opinions will have on my little audience. I've never had trouble saying black and white before. Now I parse through the sentence in my head lest it have a hidden double meaning that is offensive. (Some how it seems ok when an African-American person says black, but not when a Caucasian does) (note usage of African-American and Caucasian). I'm half way between the colors, I'm brown. Despite numerous attempts that my mommy made to turn me into a fair maiden, I stayed brown as ever. I don't have any issues people calling me brown. It's a nice color, don't you think? 
Earthen people. Baked in the hot Indian sun (I recently also had a conversation with a "fair" North Indian who thought everyone below Madhya Pradesh is dark-skinned. Not so fair, are we?). The discrimination, in my opinion, is more within our country than anywhere else. It is there in the everyday matrimonial ad that seeks a "fair, something, everything" bride or groom. Every Fair & Lovely hoarding screams colorism (we are all unfortunately the same race, if we weren't, then perhaps India would have had its own little Apartheid movement). Bollywood actresses with beautiful brown skin caked with whitening make-up are the mascots of this disgusting divide. Progressive views in woman education, widow remarriage and all that jazz have been exhaustively discussed in many letters to the editor. But even today, when my family looks for a groom, they want a chekkachevael nu maapilaiChekkachevaelness is roughly the equivalent of fair enough to go pink when pinched. Maapilai is roughly the equivalent of a groom. 'Roughly' because there is so much less expected from a groom in the rest of the world in the looks department and so much more expected in the character department. Standard disclaimers apply here. 
Divides are unavoidable, illogical ones more so. While we are at it, may I propose a few? The ability to tell good coffee from bad, turquoise from green, background from signal in western blots and finally, Terence from Philip (Minus five to the maapilai who doesn't know who T and P are). 

Credit to Mathangi for the title. I thought and thought but didn't want to call this anything else.

Color: Yellow
Song: Guru bin kaahe guman (Zakir Hussain)

P.S. This post is especially dedicated to women across the world whose significant others don't understand that both set of parents are just as important, as are social lives, careers and cultures.