Sunday, July 26, 2009

On His Baldness. Extended Version.

This post is a reply to several queries defending my brothers hairscapades. Perhaps this will suitably illustrate the point I tried to make previously.

My brother has reached that stage in life where he is interested in his reflection. It is a highly disconcerting feeling for the rest of the family to notice the “baby” suddenly lifting weights, obsessing about oily food and haircuts, and generally being “the dude”. Most of it was alright, often good too. But it was the hair factor that killed us.
At first it was hilarious, then slightly amusing, and then completely exasperating. You see, my brother couldn’t be like other brothers and simply walk around looking like a partly denuded porcupine. Nooooo. His speciality was an obsession with his hairline. One fine afternoon, lightly dozing after lunch, the family was caught unawares when my brother announced, a la tragic hero declaring impending doom, “I’m going bald.”
We laughed and laughed. And he was very offended.
Hey, you can’t blame us! Blessed with a veritable jungle on his head, it took more than your average stretch of the imagination to notice any baldness. Everyday he’d he would point out a small indentation in his hairline and insist that recession happened (forgive the pun it was much too delicious an opportunity). It was when he began to tally hairs lost, that things began to get truly irritating. And admittedly entertaining as well. Family jokes on how he should get “Gulfgate” done, ran rampant. What was truly disturbing was that he actually took us seriously when we said this.
Several hair-brained ideas on hair loss later, we had the good fortune of going to Tirupathi. It is a known fact that one of the major prayer offerings there is one’s own hair. At the sight of all those bald heads my father had the brilliant idea of getting his son to go through with it as well (I offered, but we already know the family’s take on my hair length reduction schemes. [Humph!]). My brother had his misgivings but they were all demolished with a single sentence from the wily barber who was plying the razor. “Your hair will grow doubly thick.” He declared, pointing to his own shock of pitch black hair. Given such virulent proof, my brother bowed his head to the razor, doubts assuaged. True, the reflection in the mirror took some getting used to; but the pros outran the cons by miles. For one thing, the concept of combing was conveniently canned, as was the irritation of what another friend baldly described as “three pounds of mess” on one’s cranium. And with all due credit to the razor-man, the new hair growth did resemble a jungle (of course it always did, but in my brothers eyes there was ‘improvement’).
The gentle, logical reader may decide that this would spell a happy end to our hair-shirt days. But, as mentioned once upon a time in an earlier entry, my family –much like myself– defies all logic. My brother now spends half the year railing against his baldness and the other half requesting to go bald. And the sound you hear in the background is the hapless sister banging her head against the nearest hard surface.
You try figuring him out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Sue raised her white head from her scrabble board.
"A new one?"
“Yup. a magnificent giant! I finished one all by myself” said Raju
Kochu's eyes flashed from under her grey brows.
“Hmm... then it shouldn’t be too large.” Mused Sue, dismissing her nephew's achievement, her pulse quickening at the thought of the new challenge. Sue and Kochu were a perfectly amiable grandmothers. But their placidity unerringly evaporated in the face of frozen desserts.

It was called Earthquake.

The siege was planned. And the Earthquake shivered silently within the frozen reaches of Dasa’s Ice cream Parlour– A site of several previous battles. One fateful afternoon, bringing along their ever willing ice cream hunting squire the young Kalyani, Sue and Kochu set off to vanquish the Earthquake. Unfortunately, the price list dealt a huge blow to their morale. The Earthquake was an expensive affair and the funds were stretched. Kalyani, ever smiling, martyred her taste-bud nirvana in favour of a commonplace sundae. That matter settled, they turned to the expressionless waiter at their side.

“Two Earthquakes.” Sue declared.
A frisson of incredulity passed over the waiter’s face.
“Two, ma’am?”
‘Yes, two.”
The waiter seemed inclined to clean his ears vigorously “Two ma’am? Are you sure? Two?”
The show of disbelief shook the steady confidence of the duo. Kalyani cleared her throat nervously. May be this wasn’t such a good idea...
But Sue scoffed at those fears. No ice cream was beyond them. “Two it is!” she said decisively.
“Two it is.” The waiter agreed shaking his head in disbelief. He passed on the information to a cluster of waiter who turned in unison to stare at the trio with ill concealed trepidation.

“Er.. Sue, I’m having a few doubts here...”faltered Kochu looking at the departing waiter and his retinue.
“Oh come Kochu, where is your spirit! How can you say no to ice cream?!”
Which is when their order arrived, and promptly gave Kochu a few more gray hairs.

The Earthquake should have been called the Avalanche. One Earthquake consisted of twelve scoops of ice cream in various flavours, topped with barrels of nuts, buried under oodles of caramel, augmented by a blanket of tutti-frooti and surrounded by a moat of chocolate sauce.

And they had ordered two.

As the waiter tottered under the weight of the two mountains he carried and attempted to heft them on to the poor table, Kochu shot accusing glances at Sue who tried to look like she was totally in control of the situation. The waiter, task accomplished, mopped his brow and smiled. “The shop is open all night. Take your time.”
The minute the waiter retreated to nurse his aching biceps the duo put their heads together.

“Sue I told you this wasn’t a good idea!”
“Hey I didn’t know that this was going to be such a giant!”
“Didn’t the name give you a hint?”
“What’s wrong?” interrupted Kalyani, innocently nyumming her sundae. “I’m sure you can finish it.”

Such youthful faith revived their flagging spirits. They had to live up to their squire’s expectations. And thus it began. All the waiters had gathered to witness the great battle. While Sue systematically demolished scoop after scoop, Kochu decided to massacre the lot in one go. However, neither method nor madness spelt victory. The end of half an hour saw Sue with a frozen tongue and Kochu with a plate which looked like she had butchered an ice cream cow on it.Kalyani continued to watch, smiling bravely and giving them words of encouragement. The forged on bite after frozen bite, refusing to surrender. But when Sue’s tongue refused to feel a fork being thrust into its frosted skin, they had to admit defeat.

“Thalyani I’m tho thorry ...” Sue lisped listlessly, her voice whispering from in between the icicles that hung from her teeth.
“We can’t do this!” groaned Kochu throwing down her spoon with a splatter.

Gasp! The waiters put their hands to the mouths, shook their heads in mute sorrow and disbanded. While Kalyani tried to swallow this impossible piece of information, Sue tried valiantly to swallow one more mouthful of ice cream before her mouth froze shut. Kochu made more of a mess on her plate.

“Tho thad... all thith ithe cream ith wathted...” sighed Sue.

Which is when their squire’s brilliance illuminated the hall. “I’ll run across to the store and get some lunch boxes!”

Sue and Kochu’s clammy visages thawed at this ray of hope. Kalyani was quickly dispatched to the nearest plastic dabba shop. While the duo waited with desperate hope, a waiting waiter spoke up. “Your valour is great and your daring greater still. But how could you presume to defeat two Earthquakes! A single earthquake itself is meant for twelve people!”

Sue and Kochu exchanged embarrassed glances. They could not admit that their recon work had been so faulty. Then Sue’s brilliant creativity kicked in. “Ith wath a bet!” she declared, nudging Kochu vigorously to jog her cranium.
“Wha – er... ah... yes. A bet. Our niece... um...uncle...I mean...”

Meanwhile Kalyani had returned to save the day. The remaining mountain of ice cream was shovelled into the boxes and the trio beat a hasty retreat to defrost their faces and assuage their bruised egos from the onslaught of the Earthquakes. To this day Sue and Kochu shiver at the memory of the ice cream King.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Boo(m)b-astic.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of testosterone, must be fascinated by boobs.
This statement is induced neither by Pride nor Prejudice, but plain observation. All resemblance to anything else is purely incidental.

Though several people may take offense at this generalisation of the masculine, a moments pause will prove the accuracy of the opening statement. The mysterious allure of mammary glands has remained mysterious for ages. Numerous theorists have tried in vain to explain this enigma. Some enterprising souls have tried to write this off as a primal impulse which finds its roots in evolutionary race memories. The Early Man, they say, chose the perfect mate by the size of her appendages- the bigger the baggage, the better the feeding capacity. However this theory cannot hold water since most of the time the starers have no intention of siring off spring off the starees, regardless of how much they might enjoy the procedure. Still others claim that it is a mode of proving masculinity. It is not-'If you are male, you stare at female boobs'. Rather, it is a case of 'Because you are male you stare at female boobs'. (Please note the emphasis on 'female'. It is the greatest sin to be male and have boobs. In fact, it can be safely surmised that according to the male psyche, boobs are directly proportionate to 'females') . Supporters of this theory state the example of hip-hop videos. The singers obviously want to prove their masculinity by having as many boobs as possible crowding around them throughout their screen time. This gives out the message that they are well and truly male because they get to stare at all of them at the same time. Though this theory does seem plausible, it falls flat since the singers cannot stare at the appendages that surround them(this would, of course, be unacceptable anti-social behavior!) The hip-hop singers, being thus boobie trapped into behaving, fail to follow the most crucial aspect of the aforementioned theory and thus render it in tatters. Another theory that has been floated is that this phenomenon is caused by residual need for breast feeding. It is the memory of older mammaries that fuel the fascination. To put the theory in a nutshell, as they stare hungrily, they are thinking of their mother.This just seems terribly wrong and shouldn't even be considered, however since all options need to be covered, we shall dive headlong into this one as well. Though reeking of the Oedipus Complex, this theory does have its strong points. For one thing it is based on the fairly universally accepted fact that 'boys will be boys' (a nice way of saying they never grow up). Furthermore it actually sounds like a theory- what with the Complex attached to it. But it fails to recognise the fact that boys don't stare. They are too busy having a life. It is always the man, or at the very least the almost-man adolescent that stares and hence the theory is rendered null and void. Resulting in a glaring lack of any logical rationale behind the staring scenario.

Perhaps all male homo sapiens are bound by an unshakeable Omerta against repeating the Reason for this all male trait. Or perhaps they are just too busy drooling at the said objects of interest that reason doesn't even enter the picture. Most of the individuals interviewed by the author were either nonplussed and/or intrigued by the actual possibility of a reason for this. Either that, or they were greatly offended by the nerve of the author to ask such an unladylike question. This was of course before they had to admit that they hadn't really thought of a reason for staring at the 'globular glories'. "We just do!" exclaimed a particularly hounded person, throwing his hands up in despair (he would later be hauled up for sedition). It is actually rather unfair to expect them to know. After all they have never been asked before. How can you expect them to be capable of explaining their actions unless they are pointedly asked to. And women don't go around asking why men find their bosoms so rivetting- so it's her fault that they don't know. After all, men are chivalrous, not lecherous boors. If they insist on talking to your chest when you have a perfectly acceptable face, it is only because they are full of deference and respect and they dare not raise their eyes higher. And besides women cannot fathom the power of their mesmerising mammaries. The men are merely looking out for them by keeping a constant watch on their assets.

And so we finally come to a conclusion. Men stare at female chests for 'their' own good. And all is right in the world.