Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who's blind?

Bank Executive: Ma'am, I'll need your visiting card along with your payslips.
R: (hands it over) here you go.
Exec: Can I have another one?
R: How many do you need?
Exec: I need a proper one, this one has holes.
R: That's my name and number in braille.
Exec: I don't know that ma'am. I want something without holes.

R & I have alternately laughed and felt outrage at the executive's ignorance. From today, after we used that anecdote to good effect in delivering a difficult presentation, we feel nothing for above bank executive except gratitude.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pet peeves

* Traffic behavior - Green by Induction: This is when vehicles assume a green signal for themselves because the vehicle ahead of them got a green. Very similar to how when you are pouring honey out of a bottle, one continuous viscous thread of honey keeps falling out even after you have willed it to stop. Similarly, one long chain of vehicles always has to keep on moving after the signal has turned red, as though all of them are part of one unbroken chain of vehicles joined at the bumpers. During peak hours, the last of the offenders usually end up stopping right in the middle of the intersection.

* Music: If you pluck out Nickelback's lead singer's vocal chords and examine them closely I'm sure you'll either find a stray splinter or a torn diaphragm. Whenever their songs come on the radio I feel like clearing my throat on his behalf.

* Impostors: Can people please stop calling Shakuntala Devi a mathematician?

* Mourning: I liked Vishnuvardhan. For a few hours after watching Suprabhatha as a kid, I thought it was cool to be a Petrol Pump attendant. I was sad to see him go. How does it give me an excuse for vandalism and arson? Here's my request to movie stars; please don't die, just walk away into the sunset. More coherent rant here.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Reading in 2009

There was a time when I read like there's no tomorrow. "Reading" wasn't just a hobby, it was an absolute life-necessity. To not read was to admit a failing. When I met people I registered life-long prejudices against them depending on whether they read the "right" kind of books, the wrong kind or not at all. I got along great with other readers because after all there are so many things to talk about; Ulysses is so pretentious, you don't get the same satisfaction reading on an electronic device, oh I have a huge library, here's my top 5 favorite books ever, that guy there is a Dan Brown lemming and so on.

So I continued to claim to be a reader, sometimes added that hatefully overused adjective "voracious". I brandished it around like a badge every chance I got, in small talk in parties, Web 2.0 profiles, resumes, everywhere! This year I decided to put my religion to the test and kept a log of everything I read. And here's what I managed to do in an entire year!

* The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Reading)
* The Leadership Challenge (Didn't complete)
* How the Mind Works - Steven Pinker
* Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
* Chomsky Reader (Didn't complete)
* The Comfort of Things (Didn't complete)
* The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
* Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
* Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
* Plan B - Lester Brown
* Red Queen - Matt Ridley

Seven complete books in 365 days! Time to find me a new cult.