Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fireworks and follicles

Or how I find that I'm not at all photogenic, but strangely enough, am a little "videogenic."

Be it known that the author was in Boston last weekend to observe festivities and fireworks commissioned by the city elders for the American Independence Day. Furthermore be it known that the author, shirking off the last vestiges of blatant masculinity on his face, cut off his moustache and is now looking, in his own words, youngish. Yes, I did it. Finally. But more on that later.

By the kind offices of a friend, I was able to obtain entry into one of the buildings of MIT. From the terrace of this building, we had an astounding view of the Charles river from the Cambridge side, over which the fireworks were scheduled to start exploding. Since I'd arrived there a good four hours early(which is how a lot of the Americans I've met like their guests. Really early. I don't know what they achieve by this, but they do like time.), we had to walk around Boston a bit to find where the hell time was and kill it.

I had Guinness in a real Irish pub, served by a real Irish waitress with a real Irish accent. It's an astounding accent, not as rough and impregnable as the Scottish brogue and not as gay and affected as the English. Last week, I had a gaggle of three Irish girls splitting a cab with me(with money, not with an axe and some blowtorches and someone saying "Quick, the cops'll be here any minute!") and the driver said the same thing:- you've got to love that accent. So anyway, Guinness is great. One of my colleagues has a pin-up saying "Guinness for strength." I have to agree.

You know, when you stare at a methi paratha long enough, in the same way that you stare at one of those 3-D pictures where there's something hidden, I swear the colour changes.

Some snatches of conversation before the fireworks:-
"I'm trying to find the minimum number of enzymes necessary to sustain life. I think it's around nine hundred."
"That hat makes you look like a pimp." "He is a pimp." "It makes you look like you."
"Can we leave now?" "No, the pimp wants to watch."
"I want to buy cowboy boots."
"I'm not just a pretty face, you know."
"So is Kannada a language? I've never heard of it."

The last one? From an Indian girl who was born in Gujarat and spent a lot of time in India. Thank you.

We went in to the building at around 8:30 at night and the Boston Symphony Orchestra was playing somewhere near the edge of the river. They were on Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture when we started listening and swiftly moved on to the theme from 'Rocky.' Not 'Eye of the tiger,' the other one. A friend and I discussed the advantages of being the only two people who knew Kannada and swore to glory about everything, even when we liked something. Kannada is a highly malleable language in this regard. It is beautiful when used by a poet, and guttural when used by a pervert. I haven't seen such flexibility in most other languages. Even the most romantic poem in Tamil sounds like a war cry, although the words themselves might be beautiful beyond description(ref:- the amazing poem recited by Prakash Rai to Tabu in 'Iruvar.' Unnodu naan vaazhntha ovvoru maNitthuLiyum maraNappaDukkayilum marakkaathu, kaNmaNiye...take a bow, Vairamuthu.). Telugu doesn't have the strength factor going for it. Efforts are underway in this regard in some dialects, but the effect is not pleasant. But I digress.

The fireworks show began at 10:30 PM and it was brilliant. Exploding rocket after exploding rocket shot out of a floating platform erected in the middle of the river and soared to dazzling beauty in the sky. They burst brilliantly with such sound and light that it was like witnessing the birth of a galaxy. The emergence of the miniatures stars on earth went on for half an hour and we watched it stunned, muted by awe at the magnificence.

To give you a brief, very bad, idea of how good it was, here:-

It was a great show. You really should have been there. I don't take very good pictures, nor do I appear well in them. So I don't venture into that adventure. Besides, it's very irritating nowadays when every idiot with a powerful camera stops every five seconds to take a picture of something or the other. A bug, a bee, a flower petal, a distant bird, an outstretched hand silhouetted against a light, a child about to take flight and land in a puddle of muddy water, feet, hands, cups of tea, wine glasses, ashtrays, cigarettes, books lying strewn about, Fabindia kurtas, those communist/journalist bags, glasses on a coffee table. We made a bad decision, moving from those 36-photograph rolls to cheap digital memory cards. Whoever made semiconductors cheap made a huge mistake.

Additionally, I got a haircut(for 16 dollars, no less) and cut off my moustache. I look younger now, thank you. I even fixed the printer of the hair salon. I was on a roll that day. I'll be sending a short video of how I look now to some of you who asked for a picture of it. I'm terribly un-photogenic. Or, terribly bad at taking pictures of myself. I like the second one. It shows I'm humble.


tangled said...

cut? or shaved?

Vijaya said...

This week's india today lists out all the contributions made by different countries for global pollution. No wonder US is on the top of that list. All that was in the middle of the river? bad bad ...

a million different people said...

Cut off moustache? So I cannot use "nee mIse idd manushyanaadre aa bus na nilsu?" type sentences on you? Oh whattapity.

Ushoo. Dropping names and all. Hmm, the Americans would probably not like me then. Complex systems sound very self-important. Enopa.

We like high school humour. It's the only thing we're decently good at.

Me like this post. Funny. (No, you're not allowed to ask me trick questions like "So my other posts weren't funny? :(")

Harish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harish said...

On a day, when inflation reached 11.89% back in your homeland, you are informing people that paid a whopping sum of US $16 for your haircut. This shows you are more insensitive than the previous NDA Government to the people at large. BaDavara bagge kaaLaji, kaLakaLi, kanasu enoo illa ninage.

nivedita said...

I like this post too.

And no, it's not because of the PA about your shave/haircut.

@Vijaya - Have you ever looked at Indian cities after Diwali?? They look like they've smoked a ton of pot.

Arjun said...

[tangled] No shaved. Cut. With scissors. Like a real man.

[vijaya] The platform was in the middle of the river. The next day, they do an extensive cleanup operation of the river and the surroundings. But the air, yes, the air pollution was a lot.

[a million different people] He he, yeah, you can't use that sentence anymore. Anyway, naanen conductor-aa, bus nilsakke?

Yeah, name-dropping maadbardagitta? I don't know, I haven't slandered, so I'm guessing it's ok.

We are also high school humour. We have never grown beyond that.

And yes, I won't ask the trick questions. You've already answered them.

You should take the course. You also sound complex. No offense.

[harish] After you mentioned the inflation, I am duly reminded of my duty towards the nation and am ashamed of my profligacy in these times of distress for the nation, kanayya. I apologise for any inconvenience I might have caused to anybody. Especially to you, sitting on your ass.

[nivedita] PA? Personal Announcement?

Thank you for the nice words.

Sandeep said...

Fireworks and follicles is brilliant title. You, my friend, are getting your groove back.

At this point, I would like to point out to the honorable jury, that I, Sandeep Sharma have, paid 12 Great Britain pounds, towards Haircut (1 Nos), at the then prevailing exchange rate of 85.97 Indian national rupees. Nangu kaLakaLi illa. Which is good because it sounds like a deficiency disease of some kind. Like Beriberi.

Nimmantavrindane, the stereotype of Indians as IT jocks perpetuate agtirodu. Avnu printer fix madu and takshna, "SPAAARTAAA!!!" anta koogbittu, od bandbidbekittu. That would've showed him, or atleast leave him suitably confused.

PA: Public Address.


Arjun said...

[sandeep] Yes, I imagined pubes accidentally catching fire while holding sparklers in one's hand. It wasn't pretty.

He he, houdu, kaLakaLi is not a nice word for describing something as grave and sombre as responsibility. Sounds like a children's toy. "Nodu paapu, ningondu kaLakaLi tandidini! AaTaDko."

You don't need IT 'jocks' to fix printers. Especially to see that there were a lot of backed-up jobs and to cancel them. And it was a very American-looking Chinese lady. And she kept saying "You people genius. I know." I liked the sound of that, so I refused to correct her.

He he, she would probably have thought Sparta was something you ate. I like stereotyping.

Speaking of Sparta, I've ordered Frank Miller's "Batman:Year One" and "The Dark Knight returns" and Alan Moore's seminal "The killing joke."

Public Address. I must remember that. We are Poor Boys' School.

Sneha said...

again a mention of Coomruns, I see.
even i want a pic/ video of u

a million different people said...

Even if you're not conductor, I'd like to have a choice, thank you. Besides, that was just an example. :(

Oh, and I never say "I'm not just a pretty face, you know". That gives a lot of space for comebacks, all derogatory. Yaakappa sumne tale novvu?

No no, name dropping doesn't bother me. At least for now.

Me conflex? Aye what I say. Heh, no offense taken.

Anonymous said...

oh my god! shaved off mush-aa?? adoo 16 dollars koTTu?? whoa!

being purple... said...


me thinks you're nice!

Me likes no-mustache you.

Malaveeka said...

I watched your video.

And it was Sri Kumarans not Sree. Whatever.

It is known that Developed nations contribute to the most pollution. And those pigs came up with the Kyoto protocol.

Why don't you blog about all the S-E-X you've been having/doing?

Malaveeka said...

"So what constitutes life?"
"Anything which can reproduce by itself." "By that measure, Akhil is..?" "That's not funny."
"I'm trying to find the minimum number of enzymes necessary to sustain life. I think it's around nine hundred."
"That hat makes you look like a pimp." "He is a pimp." "It makes you look like you."
"Can we leave now?" "No, the pimp wants to watch."
"I want to buy cowboy boots."
"I'm not just a pretty face, you know."
"So is Kannada a language? I've never heard of it."

This is not cool conversation. Also it is Dooce-like. Also, I'm just pissed because everyone around me is an idiot.

El said...

I am also unphotogenic and quite videogenic, though I sound funny on videos, mabe because I'm too close or whatever.

Mehti parathas and illusions, and green and brown, nice nice, but whats a kannadiga doing eating a mehti paratha in boston?

El said...

also, your url reminds me of working class hero, the song by lennon or greenday or whoever.

Somebody Else said...

"Even the most romantic poem in Tamil sounds like a war cry,"

I thought only my Kannada-chauvnist mum made such comments.

Nice post. And yes, if it is you in all those Youtube videos about Google ,Advani and URA et al, we don't know if you are videogenic. We were toooo busy laughing our heads off to notice.

Arjun Sharma said...

[sneha] Yes, that school was funny. I'll send you the video link. Or have I done that already?

[a million different people] Yeah, we could have returned with one of those comebacks. But she was a really nice person and we couldn't bring ourselves to do that. We are nice, kind people. Also, we are very attracted to women with pretty faces.

Of course you're complex. Eneno bareetiya. Nange artha-ne aagalla. Also, you have many thoughts and conflicts-within and issues. I have no issues. Either I'm in denial or I'm that dull.

[snippetsnscribbles] No no, got only a haircut for an exorbitant sum of 16 dollars. The mush was removed by me personally. That's why I'm so sexy now.

[being purple] Aww, thank you. I do look young(er) now. And a passable, albeit brown-skinned, piece of meat.

[malaveeka] That deserves a whole new blog, the S.E.X, I'm having so much of it. It's silly how easily and in plenty it's available here.

You should blog about how you made out last year with a mysterious stranger.

Yes, developed nations have the most emissions going out into the atmosphere. But the point they're making now is, developing nations can't just use this to justify their own emissions. The G-8 had this as one of the primary issues and Bush seems to actually have impressed his point upon everyone as being correct. Apparently, the USA is emitting less now and India and China need to follow suit, without using our "oh but we're still developing" reason.

I'm just telling you what's in the papers here. I'm not expressing an opinion.

[malaveeka] You're just pissed. That wasn't Dooce-like conversation. It was quite funny. You had to be there.

I thought your friends were all really cool, fun people. What happened?

[el] Yeah, it's probably being too close to the mic that makes the funny sound.

Kannadiga went to an Indian store last week nearby and bought things which were recommended by fellow Kannadiga. Methi paratha was a result of such buying. We are a very accommodating people.

[el] Heh, I'm not working class(yet), and neither am I a hero. But the Beatles reference makes me cool in a bizarre world.

[somebody else] I'm guessing you're a Tamilian/liberal-Kannadiga, but I could be wrong. I like the Tamil language, let's be clear. I studied it in school for six years and have been speaking/talking/reading it for fifteen more after that. It was just a comment on the way the language sounds. Or maybe it's the way most eloquent speakers speak it. Vairamuthu, for example. He writes some of the most brilliant lines ever written, but his enunciation of them is really funny. Vijay TV's "LoLLu sabha" had parodied him brilliantly, having him recite "Shame, shame, puppy shame" in that trademark manner of his.

Yes, it was me in those videos. Thanks for watching. How'd you find them? I thought we had hid them well, on the Internet.

Somebody Else said...

More like an ignorant Kannadiga (ignorant is a safer adjective than Liberal, I have come to learn)
Hid them well? Who are you kidding? Half my family uses its office time to watch your vids. Some may want to make you guys job offers(only if your Guru bala holds of course). They're super good. Kannada/Karnataka so needed some good spoofs on local culture. Fab job.

malaveeka said...



Arjun said...

[somebody else] Thank you very much. Apart from apologising for wasting half your family's office time, I can only smile humbly(and on behalf of the others).

Job offers-aa?? Come on give it! Nothing I would like better than to do something like in these videos for a living. Progress has been slow these days due to life intruding in our plans. But we should be back on schedule with more sketches by next month. You heard it here first.

And yes, 'ignorant' is nowadays safer than saying 'liberal.' Especially after Yechury, Karat, Laloo and others have been called 'secular,' that ugly cousin of 'liberal.'

[malaveeka] Heh, yes, my dear. I tried.

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