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Air India: Not out of the woods yet

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I pass by this building almost every other day – and Air India has held a special place in my heart, for various reasons. But that particular day, I remember reading about how they had not yet turned around the … Continue reading

First Post from Blackberry!

I just installed the WordPress for Blackberry app. Meetings will be more productive now.

Aside

Finally, I have the gumption and time to move my blog to my own domain – http://wnwek.org/

Some of your comments and wisecracks may not have made it through to the blog’s new avatar – the fault is entirely mine. I moved the data a couple of months ago, but I have been putting off announcing it, till I got the blog into a decent shape. You can still expect some breakages on the site, but the blog bit is good to go.

I have moved back to my old blog now. No more missing payments and losing domain space.

Should parents be administered IQ levels before they have kids?

Remember that C&H strip about Calvin asking his parents, that how could he be sure that their parenting is not screwing up his life? Apart from the minor element of ironical truth in it, I just saw something happen today, that should warrant a law mandating parents should be administered a suitability test for parenting.

~

There is a junction of 3 roads right outside my home. And even though it’s an inner lane off the main road, it still has decent heavy traffic at peak hours, enough to make you wait for at least 5-10 minutes before you can cross the road. To make the situation clear, I have included a schematic below.

Junction Schematic
Schematic diagram of the junction near my house. Done on Open Office Drawing 2.4

Today, when I was coming back from the local shopping complex, I watched this lady pushing a pram with a kid inside, and a kid being held by the hand, as she crossed the road.

If you are a sane person, you would choose option 1 or option 2, keeping a close watch on the kids, so that they are not in the way of the oncoming traffic.

But the lady in question was in a particularly creative mood today, and decided to trace the random path of a Boltzmann gas molecule, right in the middle of the road. If the area wasn’t so well-lit as it was, I hate to imagine what would have happened to the pram.

While this was happening, a man who had told her to be careful, because earlier, an Ambassador moving at a very fast 5 kmph narrowly missed her pram, when she shoved it in the car’s way, was hyperventilating.

Though before I judge her IQ, I must be sure of her intentions. She might be really clever and could have been playing dumb, in order to get rid of her pesky kids. In which case, she should be made Dictator-for-Life of the Kansa Society.

~

I related this incident to my parents, and they said, that last night when they were coming back, they were waiting at a red light. Just as it turned green, the driver stomped down the brakes with both his feet and pulled at the hand-brake till he tore it off, because a kid on a tricycle, sans his parents, had decided that it was the right time for him to cross the road.

But when he heard the collective thump of cheeks hitting windscreens, he decided he just might be better off waiting for the cars to clear out before he put on his daredevil act again.

Again of course, I might be wrong about the parents’ intentions. Sending your kids, who have no traffic sense, out alone on the main boulevards, late at night, is a very clever way to kill your kids. KansaSoc, please to be taking note of such paragons, and to be giving them life-memberships.

~

I think, and seriously that too, that the Kansa Society should put full support to bringing about the Parent-IQ law into existence. Complete with provisions for cops to randomly stop and subject parents to flash IQ tests a la breathalyser tests.

Maybe the State, (here is where the State has incentive also) could start licensing parents before they have kids. Just think of the possibilities – a whole new avenue for corruption, and stuff like that.

Later on, KansaSoc can then resort to beating up stupid parents like a certain Mangalorean vigilante group, claiming to uphold the law of the land. I am already rubbing my hands in glee.

100 Useless Tidbits About Me

  1. Last beverage → Water
  2. Last phone call → Ahem. Suffice it to say it cost me a lot of money per minute. Didn’t get what I wanted too. Whatay ripoff.
  3. Last text message → Ditto.
  4. Last song you listened to → Hmm. My sister’s horrible rendition of “Mar Jaawaa”. Not that it’s a great song.
  5. Last time you cried → Today. Rubbed my pickle stained hand on my eye. Don’t laugh, it hurts okay!
  6. HAVE YOU EVER:

  7. Dated someone twice → No.
  8. Been cheated on? → No. Really. Seriously.
  9. Kissed someone & regretted it? → Jeez. Loads of them. I am quite liberal with love.
  10. Lost someone special? → Well, not really.
  11. Been depressed? → Part of my daily routine. If I am awake between 2pm and 4pm, I wonder why I am awake. Which depresses me.
  12. Been drunk? → Never. What? I have control okay?
  13. LIST THREE FAVORITE COLORS:

  14. Black
  15. Maroon (still have my uniform sweater)
  16. A toss between blue and green.
  17. THIS PAST YEAR HAVE YOU:

  18. Made new friends → Yup.
  19. Fallen out of love → No. Sigh.
  20. Laughed until you cried → Hehe. Oh yeah.
  21. Met someone who changed you → They are still trying hard.
  22. Found out who your true friends were → I always knew.
  23. Found out someone was talking about you → That reminds me… Oh damn, lost opportunity!
  24. Kissed anyone on your friend’s list → Did I have to be sober for this? If not, 😀 I told you I am quite liberal with my love.
  25. TRUTH:

  26. How many kids do you want to have → As many as it is required to make FC wnwek (minus manager).
  27. Do you have any pets → No. No. Not even lolcats.
  28. Do you want to change your name? → And miss telling people my name means “The quality to discriminate between good and evil, and ironically, I can’t?” and getting those “Stop, you’re killing me with those PJs” looks? Why would I ever want to?
  29. What did you do for your last birthday? → Gorged on McD’s Chicken McGrills. Yummy in my tummy!
  30. What time did you wake up today? → Sometime after noon, when the sun began burning my face. Aah, being a bum, I tell you, has its benefits.
  31. What were you doing at midnight last night? → Coding stuff for a secret project. Shush.
  32. Name something you CANNOT wait for. → Easter.
  33. Last time you saw your father→ 2 minutes ago
  34. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life → Quite a laundry list are there.
  35. What are you listening to right now → Me tapping on the keyboard, and my stomach growling with hunger. Where are those cookies?
  36. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom → Yup, he was my wingmate.
  37. What’s getting on your nerves right now? → “Where’s my Guinness? Where’s my bloody Guinness?”
  38. Whats your real name → Billy Beerbelly
  39. Relationship Status → Depends. Are you a hot girl? Then, I am single.
  40. Zodiac sign: Aries
  41. Male or female → Alpha male
  42. Elementary School → Anand Balwadi, Baroda/St. Paul’s, Delhi
  43. Middle School → TIHS, Thuppai
  44. High school → Bhavan’s Delhi
  45. Hair color → Black
  46. Long or short → Skinhead
  47. Height → 6 feet and growing.
  48. Do you have a crush on someone → What kind of a question is this? Of course!
  49. What do you like about yourself? → My legs.
  50. Piercings → Do vaccinations count?
  51. Tattoos → Many stick-ons.
  52. Righty or lefty → Both
  53. FIRSTS :

  54. First surgery → Wonly umbilical cord incision are there
  55. First piercing → When a classmate put a drawing pin on my seat. It didn’t hurt so much when it went in, as much as when it was pulled out. Then the whole day, I wished the teacher would make me stand up for talking in class. Scheiss, the one day, the teacher is in a good mood.
  56. First tattoo → When a “friend” threw ball pen ink on my forehead. Stuck on me for 3 days. Had to put 3 parallel bandaids, and wash my face everyday. It was so cool.
  57. First best friend → Monu. He would beat me up with unfailing regularity.
  58. First sport you joined → Bungee jumping. Without a rope. 8 months. 2 feet high wall. Lived to tell the tale.
  59. First pet → I caught a grasshopper, tied a thread around it and brought it home. Couldn’t believe my mom asked me to throw it away. Was such luverly colours too. Orange and Green!
  60. First vacation → First one I remember, is at my grandparent’s place. Beautiful farm. Many more animal stories there 🙂
  61. First concert → Manna Dey and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
  62. First crush → Pretty girl, two rows right of me in 3rd standard. Still wonder where you are sometimes. Studious girl, sitting beside her, Go to hell. 😛 I got many whipping because of your good marks.
  63. First alcohol drink → Cough syrup. 😀
  64. RIGHT NOW:

  65. Eating → Fingers. Bit by bit.
  66. Drinking → It’s closing time in pubs in London on a Sat. night. I know what I should be drinking.
  67. I’m about to → get yelled for staying up late.
  68. Listening to → my stomach is still asserting itself.
  69. Waiting for → What is this? To keep from forgetting? Easter! When I can lay my hands on chicken, mutton, fish, anything that has good meat!
  70. YOUR FUTURE :

  71. Want kids? → With my wife, yes. Hehe. Good question. Glad I missed that googly. Whew.
  72. Want to get married? → To whom?
  73. Careers in mind? → Rich playboy. I’ll retire then as a avuncular philanthropist, with my playboygiri relegated only to the night.
  74. WHICH IS BETTER WITH THE SEX OF YOUR CHOOSING?
    I choose females. Just so that you don’t confuse my answers, you buggers.

  75. Lips or eyes → Both.
  76. Hugs or kisses → Both. Preferably simultaneously.
  77. Shorter or taller → Both. Again preferably simultaneously.
  78. Older or Younger → +/- 2. Come in groups of 2 please.
  79. Romantic or spontaneous → “spontaneously romantic”. Good Answer. I am leaving it as it is from the previous set of answers.
  80. Nice stomach or nice arms → Usually females have both. (Thank god, I don’t have to choose.)
  81. Tattoos or piercings → Don’t mind.
  82. Sensitive or loud → Both at appropriate times.
  83. Hook-up or relationship → This is a tough one. Maybe start out as hook-up and end as a relationship? Or vice-versa?
  84. Trouble maker or hesitant → Definitely, both.
  85. HAVE YOU EVER :

  86. Kissed a stranger → Yes. Well, not technically.
  87. Drank hard liquor → Yes.
  88. Lost glasses/contacts → Never had any to lose them.
  89. Sex on first date → Not that lucky.
  90. Broken someone’s heart → Didn’t mean to, babe.
  91. Had your own heart broken → Yeah. I did.
  92. Been arrested? → No.
  93. Turned someone down → Nope.
  94. Cried when someone died → Never. I am worried about this.
  95. Liked a friend that is a girl? → Huh? Haven’t we all watched When Harry Met Sally?
  96. DO YOU BELIEVE IN:

  97. Yourself → Sometimes 🙂
  98. Miracles → Yup
  99. Love at first sight → Has happened to some people I know. Not to me though.
  100. Heaven → Yes. And Hell too. I am not sure how purgatory fits in though.
  101. Santa Claus → What do you mean believe? He exists. Period.
  102. Kissing on the first date? → Depends.
  103. Angels → Yeah.
  104. ANSWER TRUTHFULLY:

  105. Is there one person you want to be with right now? → Not just one.
  106. Had more than one boyfriend/girlfriend at one time? → No, that would be plain stupid. And expensive. And like the derivatives market. (Picking pennies in front of a steamroller.)
  107. Do you believe its possible to remain faithful forever? → Of course.
  108. What’s the one thing you cannot live without? → Meat.
  109. Who’s the most awesome kid ever? – My kid sister!

The Spy Who Could Not Retire

It had been five years since he had been asked to leave.

In part, he was thankful. He no longer spent his nights half awake, almost expecting something to go wrong. He could take a stroll in the park without looking over his shoulder, to check whether he was being followed. He was a normal person now, working in a company, well, if you could call the Foreign Office a company, in a safe 9-to-5 job. Every piece of paper that went by his desk wasn’t a confidential document to be guarded with his life.

True, he missed his old life, where he could be anybody he wanted – hell, he was required to be somebody else in every assignment.

But he didn’t miss the killing or the people he killed. He definitely didn’t miss his colleagues turning up dead in different parts of the world, in course of their duty. He had become numb to such things, and he was worried about that. But now he was relieved; he didn’t have to carry on the charade anymore.

The best part about his new life was he could have a normal relationship now. He was tired of being alone. He had had met a lot women during his career, a brilliant career, he might add. But he wanted to stop now, and settle down, have kids, maybe and live a mundane life, where the high-point of his day would be not missing the tube to office.

~

He had found somebody, not as pretty and sassy as Moneypenny, of course. She looked cherubic, a little reserved even, and she had a boring desk job as well in the drab building where he had been working for a year. It was almost a textbook romance, out of the pages of a Victorian era novel. They would grab lunch together at the cafe down the road from Whitehall, and they were growing to like each other.

Rita was a diplomat’s daughter, and had aced through the Civil Services exam, but had chosen to take advantage of the inherent sexism in the Civil Services and let her career go slowly. She had been around the world, and found that it didn’t hold that charm for her, as it did for her father, and her ambitious colleagues. She would always take up that job to stay at homebase that nobody wanted in the Foreign Office. In some sense, she was an anomaly there, and James liked that – he would always wonder whether she was rebelling against the system by confounding it, but he never asked. He didn’t want to know. He liked her as she was..

And the wonderful part was, he could tell her his stories, the stuff he had seen. Everybody knew he was in the Navy, but they didn’t know he was a special officer in the MI6. Apparently, that was a state secret as well. Sigh.

But he would tell her his stories nonetheless, and she would never believe him. He would tell her such horrifying stories about the places she had been to, when she was a child. She would just giggle at his stories, and would always coquettishly chide him for making up stories, that she thought he was doing. And he would vehemently protest they were true. He loved making her laugh. He imagined he was bringing a bit of excitement in her life, with his supposedly make-believe stories.

Ah, anyway, good she doesn’t believe them, he would think. She wouldn’t repeat them to anyone. He smiled. Perfect.

~

Today was a glorious day. He was going to propose to her. He loved her. He sat up all night sipping his martinis and chugging on his store of Cubans, and gave it a good thought. Yes, he definitely loved her.

He had bought a massive diamond ring from Goldsmiths, which he was going to tell her was a family heirloom. (He had had quite a bit put away from his stint at MI6.) He didn’t want her to believe in his stories just yet. And he was going to do it in the cafe. And then they could tell their grandkids about this. When did he become this corny?

He couldn’t wait till lunch time.

~

When he reached office, he sensed something was out of place. He walked into his office, to find his old colleagues waiting for him there. Alice, his secretary, had tried to ply some explanations, but he waved them away.

He got in and locked the door, and sat down on his chair, and waited for them to explain their intrusion.

Michael, or that’s what James thought his name was, spoke up.

“The summer is coming out nicely, huh, Jimmy?”

James smirked. “Is this part of the retirement benefits now? A daily weather report from MI6?”

“C sent us here.”

James looked at them questioningly.

Dick, again, James wasn’t sure that was his name, asked non-chalantly, “You haven’t been telling about our operations to anybody, have you?”

That knocked out the wind of his lungs, though James didn’t show it. The only person he told was Rita… but she didn’t believe me….

“No.”

“Well, that’s not what we have been hearing.”

James stood up: “What? Are you watching me now?”

“C has asked you to come with us to MI6 HQ…”

James: “I don’t believe this.”

“Don’t you think it’s a bit strange that a civil servant in the Foreign Office, would actively avoid foreign assignments?”

“What are you getting at?”

“Jimmy boy, that girl, Rita, you were going to propose to today.”

“Yeah..?”

“She turned up dead last night in Soho. Clean kill. Couple of shots through the head.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“We had our suspicions she was working with the FSB. We were alarmed when our man there found accurate ops reports on sector W passing through his desk, and brought it to our attention. We thought we’d use you two to our advantage, and we changed all protocols in all stations with immediate effect, and it seemed to be working. The Russians couldn’t figure out what was going on. So we didn’t do anything to stop you or her.”

Richard butted in, “Apparently she stopped giving them information a couple of weeks ago. Apparently she wanted to resign and settle down. FSB thought she was defecting and, the stale information she was giving them didn’t help her case either. They set up an ambush for her last night…”

“We couldn’t have warned you, James; we got to know only last night…”

James put up his hand. He didn’t want to hear anymore. He sat down, and cried; cried, like a baby, for the first time in 15 years.

Walking About in London

One of the more interesting things we did in London, when we were there, was a guided walk. It was close to Gandhi Jayanti, and I wanted to do something more momentous than watch TV, or maybe play A. R. Rahman’s Vande Mataram, and reminiscence about Republic Day to mark the occasion.

So I went online and, lo and behold, (and for this reason I love London: you can find anything in this city) I found this guided walk on Gandhi, where we would be taken to places where he stayed, met people, ate, studied etc. But when I bounced this idea off my chums, they were showing as much interest as a pigeon would show to a statue. (If you know what I mean. My mom doesn’t – she thinks pigeons are very interested in statues.)

Alright, scratch that idea, I said, and I went back online to see what else we could do. That’s when I struck upon the mother-lode of all guided walks: Spies and Spycatchers of London.

The guide would take us through the poshest parts of London, to show us such places where you couldn’t enter unless you were the head of your country/state. Mere ambassadors would be been sneered upon, and billionaires would have been shown the way to the Crystal Club1 down the road. Some shops on the streets we passed required you to show proof of income beyond a million dollars to just open the door for you. Okay I just made up that last bit.

You get what I mean, right? Really posh stuff. We even got to see the Sultan of Brunei’s apartment (from the outside, of course).2 That kind of posh.

And all this while, the guide, who looked old enough to have lived through both the wars, was spouting true stories of intrigue on the Cambridge Five, MI56, CIA, gentlemen’s clubs and suchlike niceties in the world of espionage, with liberal doses of humour. (I don’t think I should bore you with such details anyway. You can go and mosey around on Wikipedia if you want to know any more stuff. Besides, the most interesting stuff that came up during the tour, apart from all the spy stories, was the story of the woman, who was, to put it politely, a bit on the healthy side, who was determined to get a photo of her on the famous Churchill and Roosevelt bench on Bond Street. Needless to say, after she managed to insert a significant bit of herself in between the two helpless gentleman, she found their company hard to leave, and a fire brigade had to be called to extricate her.)

And we were enjoying ourselves to say the least. The walk was about a mile and 3/4s long, and we hadn’t cranked our creaky joints like this for weeks. And the weather was brilliant. And I got to wear my Ray-Bans, without being laughed at. Such joy.

We even got to see the Itsu where the Russian poisoned another Russian to get back at yet another Russian on behalf of a whole lot of Russians, if you know what I mean. I am not supposed to talk about this actually, just in case, all these Russians get together put a whole salt-shaker full of Polonium Chloride, and give my wasabi a radioactive twist. I mean more than what is necessary 3

Moral of the story: That particular walk is totally worth the 7 GBP that Alan, the guide, will charge you. Just make sure the weather is good.

And if all this wasn’t enough, I even got a quiz question out of the day. Alan Turing, of the Turing test fame, worked at Bletchley Park, where all the code-breakers got together during WW2 to break the German naval codes. During the time, he succeeded in breaking the Enigma and became a hero among the small community he was known in.

Alas, his fame was shortlived, when they discovered he was gay. He was sidelined, branded a “security risk”, and was denied all recognition that was rightfully his.

Turing moved in with his mother after his government flat was taken away, and soon went into manic depression. One day, unable to take it any longer, he laced his food with cyanide, took a bite out of it and killed himself.

Years later, a well-known company immortalised this incident in their logo. Name the company. (Please submit your answers in the comments.)

1Apparently an exclusive night-club, where even Hollywood stars are denied entry at times. Paris Hilton puts in an appearance sometimes, I have been told. ^^

2 There aren’t really any bungalows/independent houses in what is known as ‘proper’ London. The default kind of house you will find is an apartment, unless you count the Buckingham Palace as a house (which it is not, since the Queen’s “proper home” is the Windsor Castle, so the Buckingham Palace is really an office block.)

Although apartments can take on ridiculous dimensions unseen elsewhere in world in the said category. For example, the Sultan of Brunei’s London “apartment” was a mere 4 floors high above ground, and unknown number of floors deep below ground, with almost each room to it’s separate floor, and each floor two-three times as big as my apartment in London. So technically, the Buckingham Palace is just an apartment, with fancily dressed guards.^^

3Apparently after the Litvinenko incident, Itsu had shut down that outlet, and took a long time reopening the Piccadilly outlet where it had happened. Some of their major arguments against the reopening were: “It would be damn ironical, if people die at a place whose motto is health and happiness.” (I am not joking here.) They eventually opened 9 months later, and the crowds just kept on coming. Apparently they didn’t want to miss the next show.^^