Rose [Is A Rose]+

I have been tagged by Of This And That.

There are 3 rules.
Rule 1. The rules must be mentioned in the beginning of the tag.
Rule 2 You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
Rule 3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

Well, I dont have a middle name. So, I would choose "NIHIL" (I like the sound of it. "Nihil" means "Nothing". So it kind of makes sense to have it when you dont have a middle name :D)

I am obsessed with numbers. I dont like even numbers in general, more so if it is divisible by 2 and not divisible by 4. If I see a 4 digit number, I will try to see if the digits in that number has any relation or not. Prime numbers hold special fascination for me. (If you see a guy staring long at your vehicle number plate, that must be me) I can tell the square root of a number up to the first decimal place accuracy (I used to do it constantly in my spare time during my PU days. My speed has reduced now, but I can still manage)

If there is an old couple and the old man's son from his previous marriage wants to marry the old lady's daughter from her previous marriage, is it okay? No?? Then, is it okay, if a young couple marry and the girl's lonely widow mother wants to marry the guy's widowed father? Yes, I can come up with hundreds of such hyper-active unwanted, totally useless imaginations. I keep imagining, thinking and analyzing totally unnecessary things that people's reaction varies from pity to disgust to shock. Well, I wish to be like them, but then I would not be me anyways.

If there is one thing I am proud about myself, thats my humor. Be it an irresistible PJ (Ex - Q:What do Hritik Roshan's friends say when he tells something amusing? A: Gimme six! :D) a great pun, a very sarcastic remark or my weird movie scripts. I know there are so many people who get slightly annoyed by my humor, that makes it all so worthwhile :). Life, without humor would have been so unmanageable!

I get irritated very easily. I dont get angry in general and I dont shout or scream or act rude. But, things, very small things irritate me. FM radio channel RJs, bakwaas movies, daily soaps, traffic jams, crowded choultries, loud people in long queues, dogs and over-enthusiastic dog owners ("Dont be scared, its a very mild dog. Come on, give shake hand to uncle" types!), people who give unwanted suggestions, inefficient people, inefficient settings in a computer, lots of desktop icons, internet explorer, view mode in icons or thumbnails...oh, the list is endless!

Its not that I have never put in any effort and been offered everything on a platter. But, for some inexplicable reason, I strongly believe that I am hopelessly lucky.

Now, I tag Krupa, Soumia, Venu, Shruthi and Madhuri.

P.S: The title represents the "Rose is a rose is a rose..." statement as a regular expression. I hope I have got it right.

California Dreamin'

I love airports. I always remember the opening scene of "Love Actually". There is so much positive energy in there. It is so unlike the air travel itself, which is pretty boring and congested. The lady standing next to me in the check-in queue had a quiet confidence about her, her hair carelessly tied up that made her casual look so lovable. "Shall I help you?" she asked me while I was trying to lift my heavy baggage. I guessed I was probably unconsciously mimicking someone, thereby exaggerating the difficulty in lifting my bags. "Girl, you look thinner than me. And I don't want to disrupt your carelessly tied hair" No, I did not say the exact words. "No thanks, I can manage". I am not against taking help, its just that I could easily manage myself.

While standing in the queue for getting boarding passes, I was given a form to fill and filling forms is one thing that I hate so much! I am generally very conscious while filling forms, as I am paranoid about losing concentration and entering wrong data. Name? This was the easiest, I filled it out without much difficulty. I looked around at the newly refurbished airport lounge. Looks decent than before, may be even slightly better than KSRTC satellite bus stand. Passport number? I looked a couple of times, before entering it in the form. I verified once again after filling it up. It was right! (I was so overconfident some time back, that I had entered my passport number wrong in the visa interview form without looking at my passport - had swapped the last two digits - and had also argued with the official there that I had entered correctly :D) I looked at the lady who had offered me help. Her eyes showed the complete courage to take on the world, oh! Date of birth? Careful, is it MMDDYY or DDMMYY? Okay, I got it right. One of the air crew girls in ash grey suit walked skillfully against the conveyor belt and crossed to this side. Sheer magic! Date of expiry? Must be 2057. No, it is 2058. What about the day and month? I dont exactly know when I am gonna die. Should I ask the personnel there if entering the date is mandatory. It took me full 10 seconds to realize that it was the date of expiry of the passport! I was so relieved.

While I was having my near death experiences, the lady was gone. It was good, she was slowing me down, I would have missed my flight! Singapore Airlines was very good. No no, I am not just talking about the air hostesses, but the service and seating etc. :D The air hostesses wore some traditional looking dress - a combination of dark blue, purple and orange colors - which otherwise does not please me, suited them perfectly. They spoke so softly, that I failed to imagine how they would look yelling at others! I was too tired, so decided against watching movies and slept peacefully after having dinner.

Reached Changi airport by 7.00 AM and I had more than 2 hours to explore around. I love looking around in a place and find interesting things about a place. My logic is that, you can tell how different a place is from others by looking at rest rooms! The pee pots in the rest rooms here were huge and long (a kid can almost hide inside there!) and they were very low. Do they have lot of short people here? Standing there, I felt as if I am very tall. I read the caption just above the pee pot. "No touch required" What the hell is wrong with these people? No. I sometimes judge too prematurely that I had failed reading the second line - "Automatic toilet flush control"! The shops here were the usual - jewelry, bags, electronic goods and for a long time, I did not see any food places! Do these people eat up the electronic goods, I wondered. Then, I found the food court where most of the names were unknown to me - then I saw Subway! But, I would not need it anyway, I would be off in a couple of hours. Rinko Kikuchi walked up the escalator with a big suitcase and nobody seemed to notice her. Should I go and talk to her? No, she looks to be in a hurry. In half an hour, I had seen at least a dozen Rinko Kikuchis and my face recognition skills were seriously being questioned in this part of the world. I returned to my gate, 10 minutes to go for it to be opened, listened to the announcement - "Flighth number one zero thoo thoo..."

I opened my eyes and saw nobody around, I realized something was wrong and I ran to my gate. I asked the woman at the gate, "SQ 3, flight to SFO?" "You are Vasuki Raghavan?" How does this lady know my name? Does she read my blog? No, you fool, they must have announced my name. "We called you sir, the gate has been closed now. You have to get a transfer" The flight was at 9.15 AM. The electronic time display showed 9.08 AM. The voice in the announcement had a soft Singaporean accent - "Gates will be closed 10 minutes prior to the departure" 3 minutes! I had to find someone to blame. I blamed Billy Wilder for making "Double Indemnity" which made me sleep late 2 days ago, then it was the thrilling India-Pak Twenty-20 match and finally the lovely air hostesses of Singapore airlines! I blamed the training provided for the announcers - the monotonous tones are never the best ways to wake someone out of deep sleep. May be they should have shouted my name!

Finally, I coughed up 150 Singapore dollars for getting a transfer ticket. Strange things happen to strange kind of people! But, the good thing is whenever a screwup happens, a lot of many things occur in great synchronization to make the screwup less painful - I had got another flight for the same evening. I was feeling hungry by now and remembered Subway. My geography failed me again, as I failed to find the route I had discovered earlier (I could not even figure out even after looking the map!) One left turn and I saw a topless Keira Knightley covering her breasts with a big hat. Yes, I remembered coming into the route now! Thats how I found Subway, but instead opted for eating Poori Bhaaji at Kaveri!

I did not go to the free movie show or the free Singapore ride. One bitten, twice shy. I did not want to miss the flight again. Strolled around, got a great foot massage from the foot massaging machine called "Big Foot", did a Singaporean crayon artwork myself and most importantly got the elusive topic for the blog post. All for just 150 Singapore dollars!

The flight to San Frasisco was smooth and I came out of immigration by 8.00 PM. Courtesy her super exaggerated animated hand movements, I could spot Krupa and Saif in that airport. She had a grin as big as the Caltrain. I was expecting her to tell me something like "Good to see you", so that I could irritate her by saying "I know that" in my Jack Clouseau accent. She hates my mimicry, so she did not give me an opportunity to use my french accent. The cool breeze hit my face as I remembered the conversation from Annie Hall:
Tony Roberts - "Lets get the hell out of this crazy city. We will go to California, Max, all the show business is out there"
Woody Allen - "You keep bringing it up, but I dont want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is you can take a right turn on a red light"!

Moral Story

The dark lady was sitting on a chair in the opposite row. Next to her was an innocent kid in weird red pants. Must have been her son I guess. He had a story book in his hand. The book did not have many pages and each page had a colorful picture with a sentence describing the story. The lady was translating the story into Kannada, which the kid listened to with astonished look on his face. The story was something like this:
Peter (looked like a small bear or rabbit or some animal - could not figure out properly from a distance) was strolling around near the forest.
Peter stopped for a moment as he saw a car parked there.
He thought for a while and approached the car.
He noticed that the car was unlocked.
He got into the car and turned it on.
He pressed the accelerator as the car sped away.
As he was going down the road, he tried to apply the brakes.
The brakes did not work and he panicked.
He shouted "Help, help" out of desperation.
Finally, he jumped out of the car and fell on a teal's nest.
The angry teal stung him with his beak many times.
Peter got lot of wounds on his body.
He went into the forest crying.

Moral of the story? Stealing is bad!

It was one of the most weird and hopeless, yet amusing story I had ever heard. The book name was "Peter stole a car" or something like that. Aesop must have shifted uncomfortably in his grave!

I had been to "Chak De India" on Sunday. The movie was into its third week, yet the crowd was substantial considering a rainy afternoon. A group of "commenting" spectators were sitting a few rows behind us. As soon as Shahrukh took the hockey stick in the opening scene, the "commentators" yelled "Goal missed, guru"! Yes, they were right! During the players registration scene, when Nethra tells "Nethra Reddy from Andhra Pradesh", one of them yelled again "Yaake Karnataka avru yaaroo ilwa?" (Why nobody from Karnataka?) This smart comment was received well by his friends, who cheered him with loud laughter, that would have put the movie villains of the seventies to shame. Even in the noisiest of scenes (when spectators in the stadium were cheering for the players) the group never missed an opportunity to comment. And loud enough to be heard across the hall.

After the movie ended, we saw that this group had no more than 5 people. "Why do these people come to the movie if they are not interested?", my dad remarked, obviously annoyed. I looked at them - they were the tapori looking guys in their twenties and nobody wore a shirt with less than two buttons unbuttoned. "These guys have not come to watch the movie. If you had observed their comments, they knew what was coming up next. Its quite easy to say that they are watching the movie for the third time at least. So, they have come here to spend some 'quality time' with friends. It shows that they have no other work to do. They are considered worthless at home, so they spend most of their time with their 'friends' - who not only sympathize with them but also acknowledge their smartness. If any of them had anything interesting to say about the movie, he could just tell it to his friends. But no, thats not the point. Whats more important for him is that he should be "heard", people should know that he exists. Its okay if people hate him, but he wants to be recognized more than anything else. He would have fallen in love with some girl in his locality. He would not have had the courage to convey his love to that girl. Even if he had, the girl would have been married to someone of her parents' choice, as he was not yet settled. And these guys would have turned into the 'Ee hudgeerella hinge' philosophy. And these are the only people on earth who believe that the movies where they show a millionaire's daughter falling in love with a good-natured auto driver - as reality" I finished my elaborate analysis, turned towards my dad and smiled. "I think you are right", my dad nodded.

Coming back to the movie, my expectations were low considering the fact that it was from YashRaj banner. But, I was pleasantly surprised. I am not with the euphoric crowd who are declaring the movie as great, but it is a nice and enjoyable film. There are some things which makes the movie work.

  • Feverish patriotism - Even I felt it to some extent while watching the movie, but back home when I was thinking about the movie, I started feeling that it was just a match after all
  • Public fury over cricket (The disappointing performance of Indian cricket team in the world cup has caused a euphoric love among the public for other sports. Will students bunk their classes and employees skip their office to watch a hockey match in future? I have serious doubts on that!)

The problem with a movie of this genre is that it will be stuck with cliches, which are often unavoidable. Problems and conflicts in the team, regional stereotypes, starting as underdogs, making a comeback from a difficult position to win - are some things which become very essential for a movie of this kind. [Indian cricket team's comeback victory against Australia in Kolkota test makes a great sports movie, but Australia thrashing Srilanka without any upsets in World cup final would make a very boring sports film :D]

Though the director has tackled lot of issues like gender discrimination, regional differences, administrative loopholes, lack of facilities and technology support, religious intolerance - he has not gone too overboard or made it preachy. For a change, Shahrukh did not get on my nerves - in fact his performance is very restrained and likeable. Thank God, he has given his overworked facial muscles the much deserved rest. This movie is no 'Swades', but still quite a decent film in the flood of junk that Bollywood produces week after week.

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