Archive for the Criticism Category

A Forward-Minded Generation!!

Posted in Criticism, Satire with tags , , , , on October 18, 2007 by Tony Sebastian

Have you ever received absolutely irritating and irrelevant forwards that bug you beyond death and make you feel like all the intelligent life in the universe has just migrated to mars? Oh wait aren’t you the moron who sent me the forward in the first place?

Well you know what I am talking about, those ridiculous forwards generated by totally jobless pranksters who just want to have a laugh, which are forwarded by dense morons who skipped the brain servings in heaven because the queue was too long before they set their dumbasses on the planet.

The kinds that go like :

My grandma in Somalia hasn’t eaten in three days because Somalia has no supply of food grains. Kindly forward this message to everyone you know so that she can eat the enormous amount of pointless data that will get circulated.

Or the ones that say

Forward this message to 12 people at 12 in the night and 12 beautiful girls will tell you how good you look.

(C’mon you can’t blame me for forwarding that one 😉 the closest I’ve gotten is “Its good to look ugly da” and a comparison of my appearance to some ridiculous looking tree, near the CSE department, by two members of the fairer sex. Well the forwarding really worked. Next day, a dozen female pigs chased me from the 14th block till we parted ways half the way to the mess!)

Anyway you get the drift. The last straw was when I got the “get Kalam back” forward. Incessant forwarding of the same mail by a million people drove me up the wall to say the least. The essence of the mail was that since Kalam was a very great president, it was our duty to get him back to office by submitting a petition on Lolappan Chettan’s website designed by his son Mandan Kunju who had just learned HTML! This would cause the scales to fall from the eyes of all the politicians in India and Kalam would be gloriously reinstated!

I was happily rotting away in my room today, as jobless as Stuart Broad after bowling to Yuvraj (that is to say I was merely staring at the sky and hoping that an alien space ship would appear from somewhere and brighten up the day). Pretty much laidback you could say and no pun intended either! Sigh!

So well my phone beeps and I see a dumb message which goes on to say if I forward it to 10 other Vodafone users, I would get 75 mins absolutely free! Not surprising that this message was forwarded to me by the same numbskull-fairer-sex-ians who called me ugly and compared me to a tree (as if we didn’t know they were dumb enough already!).

Bored beyond irritation, I set about to test if the rest of the world was dumb enough. Immediately I made up a message (which many of you imbecilic jackasses forwarded with great fervour may I add?) which reads as follows

Today, 21st September, is the Vodafone (formerly hutch) pug’s birthday. On this joyous occasion, we would like to reward our esteemed customers. Night calls between 10 pm and 6 am will be made free for everyone who forwards this message to 10 other Vodafone users today. You will have this offer till September 29th, which is when the pug was baptized.

(If in spite of the capitalization, making bold and italic of some letters a bell dosen’t ring in the peanut you pass off for a brain, it stands for the name of the author of the message – TONY .)

Well it apparently wasn’t a very smart thing to do as my phone keeps beeping twice a minute with the same dumb message and its nearly four in the morning and I honestly can’t sleep!

so here I am begging you



RAILWoeS II – The Departed ;)

Posted in Criticism, funny with tags , , , , on October 10, 2007 by Tony Sebastian

// Published in the jammag issue dated 15-29 May 2007, Vol 12, No: 16 


First time readers of the blog check out Railwoes I before reading this….

The train departed from the station as I fished out the 200 bucks from my wallet and handed it over. He was staring into the distance, and without moving his gaze, slipped the cash into a concealed pocket. For an instant he reminded me of a kitten lapping up milk from a bowl with its eyes closed, thereby supposedly blinding the world. One closer look at him and the kitten image was a thing of the past, and I’m not saying what follows because he took 200 bucks from me. :-“

He was wearing what appeared to be linen from an Egyptian mummy patched up pretty badly in the form of a wannabe white pair of trousers, a shirt which someone had doubtlessly puked on and a coat that had faded so much that even Leonardo Da Vinci wouldn’t be able to say what colour it had originally been. His hair was much like the Amazon undergrowth, and his facial hair looked like the bristles of an overly used toothbrush. Whether he was an ambassador of the surf excel ‘daag ache hain’ campaign I couldn’t tell, but he sure could be!

Using my superiorly developed intellect and deduction skills and due to sheer lack of something better to do, I figured out an explanation. We start with the saying by a great Greek philosopher “Greedy people are also stingy.” Don’t raise your eyebrows now there was a Greek philosopher who said that. What you think you know them all you conceited clown? Humph!

So here is what happened – as usual Mr. Thamarakshan Thazhe Edayil (um lets just call him TTE for short) woke up at 4 in the morning and squeezed the toothpaste tube which had served him well for three years. He used a little extra that day, what the hell thought him, the expiry date finished last week. After putting on his clothes sans the coat, he jumped into Mr. Shallow Joseph’s banana field and (b)lithely made his way over to the scarecrow, stripped it off the coat it was wearing, put it on and away he came to work. Ah elementary isn’t it? All it requires is a little logical reasoning. If someone from Scotland Yard is reading this, Thanks for the offer, but sorry I’m not interested 😉

With a heavy stomach, a light wallet and the satisfaction of solving the case without so much as lifting a finger, I settled down into my special seat. That’s when the kid next to me thought it might be fun to spill some motta curry on my new pair of jeans. Since it was the 2nd of Jan and one of my New Year resolutions included not screaming at kids who spill egg curry on my new pair of jeans, I smiled- to say I was composure personified wouldn’t be stretching the truth. I got up to wash myself, but the composure was broken when I heard the kid wail “waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! How do I eat the appam without curry?” Sheesh!!!

Soon Naveen got in, and after sheepishly explaining to him the predicament we were in and praying in the back of my mind that one of his New year resolutions included not beating up friends who screw up train reservations, I tried to show him the bright side – we had a berth till Gudur where we were supposed to reach at 3, but since it was the Indian railways, we’d reach there only by about 5 (one would think!)

After some casual banter and the passing of Chennai central, I decided to call it a night and promptly slept at midnight. I had a pretty cool dream in Technicolor with commentary by Martin Tyler “ Manchester United have just completed the treble under their new owner and here is the captain handing over the trophy to Tony Sebastian… what a dream ….” And then it happened. The idiotic captain dropped the UEFA champions league trophy on my head! I was ready to fire him when I felt another impact on my head.

I forced my eyelids open and saw a little girl who was knee high to a grasshopper banging my head and singing the chorus of the sutta song and followed it up with other pleasantries. HINDIcapped though I may be, I knew she didn’t say “ What Ho! Lovely night eh?” I jumped out of her berth asking her to spare my life. I checked the watch, it was 1:30 in the morning and sure enough, we’d reached Gudur!

Mr. TTE I hope Shallow Joseph gets you with a shotgun next time you sneak into his farm!

I looked around and saw at least a 100 people and all of them seemed to know each other. I guessed a whole village was migrating. One of them passed by me and let’s just say I got a whiff of the reason as to why they were moving – Water shortage or may be even a lack of bathing bars!

Naveen and I sat on either side of his suitcase illustrating the proverb “ Oruma undenkil ulakka melum kidakkam” which translates to “if you’ve got a buffalo, you can recline on a stick”. Oops! Sorry eruma is buffalo, oruma is unity! Make the appropriate changes will you? Thanks.

Sleep deprived as we were, we recounted our tales of woe. Naveen told me how the chick we saw the previous week at the movies was Ms. South India or summat and that her name was Shana. She sure was a hottie, but then she was with a guy chiselled out of stone. Is that all gals care about? We wondered. I mean have you ever seen a gal go “oooooooooh he’s so hot, he makes cryptic crosswords!” well if you have, mail me the details at 😉

The train stopped almost as soon as it started. And we lay there not more than 10 metres after Gudur station for TWO HOURS! If I get my hands on that Coelho dude who said something about the universe conspiring in your favour I’ll, I’ll…..aaaaaaaaaaaaaargggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!

1000 mosquito bites, one broken back and a badly aching butt later, it was dawn. I caught Jijo ( a fellow college mate) by the collar and dragged him out of his berth and promptly crashed. I caught up on the dream “ Manchester United have the ball now. It’s a brilliant move, Smith to SHAAAAAAANNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! OH! BEAUTIFUL G(O)AL!!”

Life as we know it… sigh!!

Posted in Criticism, Philosophical, Published with tags , , , on July 25, 2006 by Tony Sebastian

Well there I was, in Bangalore, and quite inevitably in a CCD outlet, waiting for a rendezvous with a very close friend. I had been a little early and I had enough time to wonder, what made these coffee outlets so popular in this city? I looked through the menu and my heart sank. Kaapi Nirvana – winner of the silver medal at the Barista coffee championships, coffee for a mere 72 bucks (plus VAT of course)! Some quick math told me that would add up to around 25 cups of coffee in the IISc tea board. That was a little far fetched wasn’t it? Yet I had seen at least 50 CCDs in Bangalore in 2 days and always full of people. I looked around and concluded 65% of the people were there because it looked ‘cool’, 15% came there to score with chicks, 15% because it was convenient to have a chat there, may be 5% because they wanted coffee.

I realized the easiest way to make money would be to start a chain of coffee shops in a big city, give it a “cool” name, get some good demographics, play a little music, charge people in Dollars (that made it look cooler), give names to coffee like kalapila (kalapila in Malayalam means a mixture of noises) n give it a caption like ‘a boisterous blend of exorbitant flavours bound to satiate the coffee connoisseur’ or call it photocoffee – “picture perfect coffee that will leave a lasting image in your mind”, (I don’t know about the mind, but I definitely know it will on your wallet!), Charge them $2 or 3 per coffee… aah I would be rich in no time. To take advantage of man’s need to be cool was so easy. Now I know why Al Pacino, who plays the devil, in “The Devil’s Advocate”, says “vanity is my favourite sin”.

Before the devil could possess me and my vanity, my friend came in and unwrapped a huge bundle of “sorry”s for being late. We ordered cappuccino and mousse au chocolate (oh yes, how could I forget that, some dishes would have Italian and French names, that added to the “cool” factor like nothing else). She told me about how the bus got stuck in a traffic jam and how the girl sitting next to her had told that she studied in “Queen Am’s “college. Upon further enquiry, she got to know that the name of the college was actually “Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College for women” but obviously that name was modified because it wasn’t cool enough. Oh boy I should start the coffee shop right in front of that college!!

It was definitely there, the need to be cool, or may be the appreciation of artificiality. It is a fact, being factitious is in vogue. It was unconscious mostly, but it was there undoubtedly. We have lost our appreciation of nature, of flowers, of rainbows. As The Camerlengo says in “Angels and Demons” ‘our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies’. Take for instance an incident that happened in my lab one day. Thara held up a beaker with the most beautiful looking crystal I had seen. I was awestruck. I went to take a closer look. “It’s beautiful isn’t it? And it’s only water!” I stood looking at it unable to say anything, for true beauty always silenced you. Lokesh, the senior I liked best in the lab because he was very down to earth, and very helpful, came there and said. “It’s an impurity”. I turned to look at him. “Yes” he carried on “Raoult’s law of depression in freezing point. The area around the impurity froze before the water did.” IMPURITY- that’s what it was… not something stupendously beautiful, not a miracle of nature; but an impurity – and that coming from the mildest man in the group.

Let me tell you a couple more examples. My mom had an orchid garden till a while ago. One day she cut out a flawless spike of orchids and placed them in a vase in the living room. A neighbour, who walked in, stared at it in awe and remarked. “It looks so beautiful, tell me really it’s artificial isn’t it?” The last time I went to a park and was looking at a truly beautiful horizon, I heard a kid ask his dad “Daddy doesn’t it look beautiful? It looks like a painting!” Wasn’t it supposed to be the other way round???? Not anymore I guess.

There is a shop right across our house, hardly 10 metres of road separating both. On all my shopping chores I always used to run to and from the shop ever since I was a kid. I do it even now. On my way to the coffee shop that day, in a moment of nostalgia, I had run along the pavement, with my arms outstretched, the breeze blowing in my face. A group of people down the road were staring at me and laughing at the unbelievably dumb thing this 19 year old imbecile was doing. I guess one no longer has that freedom to run like that without being laughed at, except of course if he has scored a goal in a world cup or taken a wicket in a cricket match. Only then you were allowed to be happy, only then you could show it openly. For what is there to be so happy about a simple sunny day? A picture flashed before my eyes, a scene from friends, where Rachel calls Phoebe a cross between Kermit the frog and the six million dollar man because she runs ‘weird’, and is ashamed to go running with her anymore. I think what Phoebe tells Rachel should be a lesson to all of us,

she says “That’s okay Rachel. I’m not judging you; that’s just who you are (uptight). Me. I’m more free y’know? I run like I did when I was a kid, cause that’s the only way it’s fun. Y’know, I mean didn’t you ever run so fast you thought your legs were gonna fall off? Y’know, like when you were like running towards the swings or running away from Satan? (Rachel looks confused) The neighbor’s dog. “


If we sit down and reflect a moment we’ll know it’s true. If we sit down again and think a little more, we’ll find out that we can never do it.

Our order arrived at this point. I was a little frustrated because after two days in IISc, I hadn’t really started working on my project – nanoparticles. But then I saw the plate and smiled… there lying right in front, on my plate was my first encounter with a nanoparticle AKA mousse au chocolate (its only 50 bucks plus VAT mind you)… “Did you know Aarti got a 1510 in GRE? “My friend asked me. “Whoa she must be one helluva gal” I blurted out. I had never really met or talked to her, but I said she must be good, that is how much the system had corrupted me, all of us perhaps. For we were no different than convicts in jail, all of us were mere numbers. Your board exam score in 10th standard was your number for a while. Then it became your rank in the entrance exam, then it was your GPA in college, then your GRE score, and then later your salary – Your number the yardstick for how good you were.

I tried to put forward my preposterous theory to my friend. I asked her why we couldn’t be more relaxed and enjoy simple things in life. I remember quoting W.H. Davies too “what is life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? “. She looked at me for a while. “I thought you wanted to make it big in life.” “I do”, I said “Well then leave the philosophy to others. We are already behind the race the way I see it. We use too much of bad English, we are a little too complacent already, when you are some big chap in a big company, you can’t sit slouched like that. Your company will fire you the next instant.” She went on with reasons, earnestly, sincerely, she was trying to help me…for lack of anything better to do I picked up the mousse… nearly… “Dude I prefer eating it with my hand too, but somewhere down the line you’ll have to use a fork and knife, you might as well start now.” She smiled “Leave Howard Roark et all to the books “I picked up my fork and knife. And I smiled. I didn’t know what to make of it all… but I smiled…The mousse may well leave my wallet and my stomach empty, but it gave me food for thought…something to feed my starving blog.