In search of a new name

Late last night I thought I should change the name of my blog. No no, I absolutely adore the name “Mostly Pointless“, but this is what happened. In the ongoing efforts for gathering donations to the relief work for Cyclone Aila, my blog comes up in the top 5 results whenever someone searches for the cyclone relief work. But thanks to the name of my blog, it appears as this:

Search Results

Now it appears as if the cyclone Aila relief work is mostly pointless. I know, it’s laughable! But I felt bad. After all, I am an advocate of the contrary.

Anyway, it drove me to change the name of my blog to ‘Logophilia‘ – meaning love of words and word games – and it was like that for less than 24 hours. Because it was not the same as Mostly Pointless. Over the years (since 2006) I have grown to love the name ‘Mostly Pointless’ so much that Logophilia, though a beautiful word, didn’t have that zing. Mostly Pointless stays.

An autorickshaw accolade

Aaah, the autorickshaw. Lovingly called ‘auto’ across the whole of India. You will not meet even a single Indian who does not know what it is. The one solution that is cheaper than a taxi and classier than the bus. The lone vehicle that can shake your very bones – which leave indelible impressions of the vibrant contours that form Indian road surfaces. Just look at it… I mean just look at it. The unique design of Indian autorickshaws: The pinnacle of “auto-save” – if it ever overturns… it has just the right “curves” to get itself back on its wheels. Whoever designed this thing obviously had in mind that if it ever turns around on it’s side, it will roll on to the upright position. Here’s a demonstration.

The auto autosave[Left click for a larger size]

Moving on to my experiences with autos and autowaalas around the country.

Chennai
Chennai remains on the top of the list because auto-related experiences are an excellent conversation opener. Weather does not work as much for a conversation opener, because in Chennai the weather is pretty much the same all round the year: hot and very hot. So, for conversing with autowaalas in Chennai, you need to know a new kind of English – a broken one. You cannot use conjuctions, conditional clauses etc. Simple sentences, for example:
120 rupees aaa? Adyar to Besantnagar I go every week. 35 rupees I will give.
In this regard, I have had hilarious experiences with Chennai autowaalas. Firstly, if you are a non-Tamizh speaking person, you will be asked double just for being there. Then a random number is generated between Rs 80 and Rs 400 depending on the location of the pickup and the way you are dressed. It does not matter where you want to be dropped off. You do not want to commit to using the meter because that might be rigged to check how many times you breathe. Finally when you settle on a price e.g. Rs 40, your friend and you get off and proceed to give him Rs 40 and he stares at you as if you stole the tyre of his auto.
Yenna saar?“, waving the two 20 rupee notes at you.
What?“, you ask, genuinely out of curiosity.
Single person, 40 rupees saar… two people, 80 rupees kudunga saar
Now dodge that. If you are a male and have taken a girl out on a date, you cannot afford to lose a heckling argument with an autowaala. There will be no brownie points for you.

Next stop, Kolkata.
Now there are no long distance autos in Kolkata – they have a short distance shared auto system, operating between points. The catch? You share it big time. In the back seat, you share it with two people clutching on to their handbags and cigarettes/beedis like there is no tomorrow. I wonder what will upset them more – losing the handbag or the beedi. I never tested that. In the front you have two full grown men sharing the driver’s seat. Along with the driver. They are clutching on to whatever will prevent them from falling off the auto. Every time the auto turns, I look to see if anyone has fallen off. If one of them does fall off, he gets into the next auto coming up. And when the “front loaders” need to get off, the driver, out of goodwill slows down so they can get off without getting hurt.

Come all the way to Baroda.
Autos are primarily used for taking children from school and back. Students of all sizes and ages are skilfully put into the auto – and the drivers are really good at it. It’s Tetris in a whole new dimension.
Uncle, peechhe aur jagah nahin hai!
Arre su baat karechhe? Chhe ne! Tu apna taang uske kandhe pe rakh… haan, tu apna haath uske pair ke neeche rakh… le, ban gayi jagah!
(What are you saying? There is the space! You keep your leg on his shoulder… yes, you stick your hand under his foot… there, I made your space!)
I have myself been in one of these for a couple of months and I shared it with 10 others. Excluding the driver.
Now if you are trailing an auto and the driver needs to take a turn, what would he do? Will he
[a]
. use the indicator?
[b]
. show by indication of hand sticking out of the auto?
[c]
. show by sticking his leg out in all glory with a blue strapped hawaii chappal dangling off his toes?
[d]
. show by sticking his leg out in all glory with a yellow strapped hawaii chappal dangling off his toes?
If you answered [a] or [b], you clearly have not visited Baroda. The answer is [c] or [d], everyone, [c] or [d]. Depending on your luck that day, you may or may not be able to see some skin.

autorickshaw

Tall tales of woe

A freakin' giraffe

A freakin' giraffe

Being tall is no joke. No, really. It isn’t. I am 6’2″ and often stared at like I am the freakin’ Empire State Building or something. If a dog is not paying attention, I might very well be a lamppost for it to relieve itself. There are so many problems associated with being tall… sigh. Where do I even begin?

Being tall reduces your general awareness of what is going on at ground level. You stub your toe more often and miss doorsteps. Or in some cases, entire bicycles. (Don’t ask.) Every foot related response is late because it takes additional time for signals to reach the brain. The worst part is when you see a notice that says “Watch your step” – you look down to save your toe, but you bump your head against the very same notice that told you to watch your step. For the benefit of tall people, they should have a notice near the foot that says “Watch your head too“. In my parents hometown, I cannot stand up straight completely because the ceiling fan might take my head. And those fans are fairly dirty and they have spiders. Not only will I lose my head, I will also have spiders on me.

Then comes the package of woes that are travel related. In a bus/plane, your knees touch the seat in front of you and all the vibration/turbulence shakes you from deep within. After a point (about 5 minutes) you think you are part of the bus/plane and it is your duty to vibrate along with it. When you get off the bus/plane, you wonder why everything is so shaky. You don’t fit in train berths at all. Either your legs are sticking out to face the wrath of every dude who passes the aisle, or your head is sticking out and you can hear every conversation between the chai-waala and the customer who does not want to pay Rs 5 for a cup that small. At 7:00 AM in the morning. You don’t fit in small cars and in order to drive, you need to push the driver’s seat far away just so you can get in the car. Later when your friend wants to drive, he feels very laid-back.

What if you had acrophobia? Being tall adds a foot or so to normal viewing, and that, when accompanied by the fear of heights DOES NOT HELP. You are walking down the street minding your own business, you happen to look at your feet – aaaargh! Too much height! Well, I do not have acrophobia… but what if I did?

And of course, the eternal problem of finding clothes that fit. Every T-shirt on me looks like it was originally designed to playfully display waist line assets of pretty girls. No, I DO NOT buy those tees because I value my privacy and I don’t want accidental onlookers to go “Oh, my eyes! My eyes!”. Trousers don’t reach all the way to the bottom, showing off some glorious ankle. And shoes! Oh my god, shoes. Big height needs big foot. Big foot needs big shoe. More than size 10, actually. And you don’t get that size easily.

I don’t fit in photographs! You will never find me standing absolutely straight in a picture with someone else, or a group. It’s either me or the rest of the crowd. And since we go by democracy, I need to bend weird and awkward to fit into the frame, finally giving my illustrious look of constipation.

And finally, what I call “the hug wind”. When you hug someone tall, and talk at the same time, your words are directed at his torso and they find way into his clothes. And they exit from the shirt sleeves in gusts of wind. Seriously! As a tall person, when I am hugged, all I get to hear is some buzzing and well ventilated sleeves.

Love. Hope. Agony.

One way crushes are probably the most agonizing of things ever experienced by man (and woman). Literally everything that happens to you that is remotely connected to her/him, it is blown out of proportion in your head heart. The number of hours you have wasted on this pointless imaginary romance – which finally actually got nowhere – you wish you somehow get those lost school years back. OK, college years too. OK may be some of your work years as well.

You know you have a crush on her when...

In this piece continuing my series of The Occasional Doodle, I am effectively writing down something almost every guy goes through at least ONCE. 😀 [Left click for a larger size]

I just noticed that several of my Thoughts in 2D and The Occasional Doodle have a lot to do with relationships. I wonder what to make of that.