Monday, December 31, 2007

You know you are old when

1.You go for co-ed culturals and all the sight-able guys are younger than you.

2.You listen to a speech and start snickering at double meaning quips and all the kids around you give puzzled looks.

3.You go back to school and more than five kids call you "Ma'am".

4.You wear a sari and people ask you for how many years you've been working.

5. When some young squirt asks you how things were "when you were young..."

6.You start saying "when I was young..."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Messy Tactics

Here are a few Hostel Mess tactics to make your Mess experince less messy.

Our hostel mess is a good one.Their sambar does not resemble a dirty swimming pool. The rice does not stink. And- wonder of wonders!- their non-veg fare, though limited, does not leave the eater with stomach cramps!

The food is simple but good and shows some thought to nutrition, the addition of a fruit is evidence of this. However this fruit is a point of contention between the serving staff and the hostelites. Th fruit in question is a banana. Or something that looks very much like a banana- you can't really say, it's size and shape give rise to doubt. And Muthu anna's distribution runs along the motto of ascending squashiness. Give a squashed one and then,if some audacious soul requested; a squashier one.It's generally a squashy mess.Be sure to carry some tissue. And then there are the Appalam/Pappadam Treaties. In the goody starved world of the hostelite the crunch of a pappadam is like the music of the orbs. Acquisitions of these wondrous items are of utmost value:a pappadam in hand is worth a cup of curds in the bush. Of course the fact that these prized pappadams are more like handkerchiefs is irrelevant. They are pappadams. The non-pappadamers,who generally give their's away, are greatly valued at the table for this reason and must take precautions to not get mobbed. And it's not just pappadams that create a mad rush. Curds is next in the list. In the barter system ruling the Mess world the ownership of pickles or similar delicacies is excellent leverage. So bring on the vadumaanga.

An item that one must never miss in the mess is the Special Meals. These are occassions are momentous in the monotony of sambarsadam and poriyal. Watchout for the Sunday special chicken curry, and be sure to be around some pretty girl. Ah yes the Pretty Girl Tactic.It is always advisable to keep one or two of these specimens near you at the table. The wonderful thng about these species is that they generally get what they ask for. And the service staff, being men, are highly...susceptible. And being near the beauteous belles casts yourself in the glow of benevolence. Of course you must be fast and demand while the gla-effect is still in the system. Strike at the right moment and the number of extra ice-creams, bigger pieces of chicken and less squashy bananas coming your way will surprise to say the least. The author is an old hand at this.The Pretty Girl Tactic is applicable in any scenario.

A never-fail method for a better mess experience is to pattao the warden an mess in charge- this helps for easy acquisition of coupons, extra goodies etc. Always get the authorities in your pocket.

Please remember that Messes are messy businesses. It is necessary to exercise discretion.If the gourmet hostelite ever peeked into the Mess kitchen,it would be the end of her appetite for all time. Hence- never venture there. Why invite trauma? Just eat and don't ask questions. If you find a hair in the sambar- throw it out and continue shovelling it down. If the oil dripping off the evening "snack" has definite overtones of the fried onions that featured in yesterday's menu- keep munching. The best way to enjoy the creations of a hostel Mess is with blind faith. And plain blindness most of the time.

Always carry a ready strip of gelusil or the like. A stock of bread and jam is also advisable for the hard days.

These are some off-the-cuff tips for a happy Mess. The author hopes that it will serve the reader well in times of need. However,the author is not responsible for mishaps arising from following these guidelines. Happy hogging.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Parental Harrassment

Wordsworth said,'the child is the father of man'. Little did he know how prohetic he was.Child abuse is a terrible problem. But kids are not angelic cherubins either. In todays age of children's rights and "proper child rearing", poor parents have their lives wrung out by brats.

Take the case of Sad-Teacher(ST) and her daughter Evil-Incarnate(let's call her Evie, for short). We students used to wonder how ST could bear our class. But a short excursion with Evie in the same train cleared our doubts. The worst batch of 20yr olds are nothing next to one full-fledged 8yr old brat. We were all running away when we saw her coming. A similar incident during a flight will clear all doubts. A family of four were travelling in the aisle seat just before ours. This family comprised of two very interesting specimens of parent-abusers. Specimen A- let's call him Drone Boy- seemed less harmful in comparison to his younger brother,Terror. While the tired family of the author tried vainly to catch some precious sleep- Terror was happily slapping his absolutely spineless,useless pater who was cowering in fear and busy making vague threats to return the favor. If only he'd turned around and breathed a syllable to any one of us- we'd have gladly slapped the kid. Ten times. Each one of us. Between the sounds of the thwacking slaps and the gleeful laughter of Terror, any sleep was a dream. Thankfully, all that slapping was tiring and the terrible Terror fell into unwilling sleep. The entire aisle area breathed a sigh of relief and closed their red-rimmed, sleep-ridden eyes. NOT FOR LONG. That's when Drone Boy kicked in. Ever been bothered by a humming mosquito, just as you were falling asleep? Well... mutiply that feeling to 100 raised to infinite! Half an hour or more of listening to that dismal,toneless,aggravating drone made us realise that Terror and Drone were weapons of mass destruction in the making. One is physical torture and the other is mental. Either way you end up dead.And then,there are the supermarket brats. We are all familiar with this parent harrassing menace. The piercing orders on the lines of "MUMMY I WANT THAT,MUMMY!" or better still the simple ear-shattering screams that make by standers look accusingly at the blameless parent.

Parents are a burdended race. (a) They have the kid/brat. (b) They are responsible for the child- Read: whatever the child does, it's the parents' fault. They are a maligned race and require representation. Someone has to speak up against the heartless attrocities committed against parents. Just because they bore doesn't mean they must bear. So the next time you see a brat abusing a poor defenceless parent, run to their rescue. After all it might be you tomorrow...