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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Potter vs. the rest

Here's one that should get all those Potter guy's fans working their best curses and incantations on me. And I could wager half an onion with any blue-blooded Potter fan (henceforth, referred to as Potheads) that there's an equal number of muggles who are keen on mugging Potter and co. and seeing the business end of his broom stick fraternize with his own posterior. "Hi, I'm the biz end of the broom you fly on" the broom goes. "Hi, I'm Potter, Harry Potter. Zorro made this mark on my forehead and it hu...". Swooosh! Booom! There will be a clear reference to two marks the next time someone shakes a hand with Potter.

With 25 minutes of an auto ride in the morning, that sees as many stops on the way as would a passenger train on the Vishakapatnam - Cuttack broadgauge, small thoughts of Potter's abilities in magic ran through my head. Discussions with myself, led me to conclude that the following 5 magicians/wizards/tricksters could whoop Potter's arse any day they want. Here's my list. The list is surely small and this is where I'd need your help, readers of the blog. Kindly contribute to this list with as many names as possible and I'll publish the more complete list soon enough.

1) Houdini
2) David Blaine - did you check out that levitation trick. "Look mama, no broom"
3) Hermaine Granger - she'd kick his arse any day, twice on a Sunday and second Saturdays
4) PC Sorcar
5) Amrish's role as a vazir from the film Ajooba

Unite my fellow muggles, let's get the Hogwart's School of Magic ..well.. derecognized.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back to the Gym - 25 Sweaty bodies and one single room

Now that I'm back to Bangalore, I thought I'd do something about my 20th birthday pledge of strolling towards a physically fit body. 'Strolling' as in working out for only half the time I spend in the gym. 'Physically fit' as in capable of breaking my previous personal best on the 80m sprint i.e. doing it in less than 16 seconds (Note to self - blog about how I set the record and conquered the world, all in one not-so-quiet evening).

Its only in the fairly recent past that I had quit the gym after spending 2 back-breaking, gym-instructor-abusing months at Crunch, Hyderabad. Readers, kind to note previous blogs about the experiences and escapades there. By the time I had quit Crunch, I felt no trace of laziness anymore and spelt it C R U T C H. The new spelling, I deemed, over Sulaimani chai, was more apt to my state after working out there. Excuse me for the flashback, but please to understand the emotions are high! Cut to the present? OK (bad music rolls in the background, a quick shot of the empty skies taken at 160 frames/sec, blurs past).

From time immemorial, peepal trees have been great places for discoveries of the spiritual kind. For more physics-oriented ones, Newton recommends apple trees (either ways, don't stand too long under coconut trees). It was under one such peepal tree, where the benched in IBM met up at regular intervals, that I made my all-important discovery - the gym at office was well-equipped and was free. Joy knew no bounds and I could feel the pectoral muscles sending neuro-muscular greetings to the biceps and triceps (the latter, merely a fledgling and incapable of comprehending the gym thingie). After a 3 day hiatus from office, I had taken the concrete decision of working out regularly in the office gym from Monday onwards. The day had arrived in all its glory today morning. Birds chirped near the window sill, smells from the neighbouring kitchens played pot-pourri and wafted through the windows, the alarm went off and without wincing a bit, I euthanized it for some more sleep. Today was going to be my gym day and I had no intention of starting by waking up early. Bejan Daruwalla in his recent advise for my star sign had strongly suggested I wake-up later than usual for the coming 15 days. With a name like that, you better respect him.

Around 5:30 pm, after a hectic 12 hours of work (fingers crossed behind back), I headed to the gymnasium eager to greet all the equipment awaiting my arrival there. A tidy crowd of 5 had stepped in already, along with the 2 instructors. A word about the instructors now. As kids, a good number of us might have, against parental advise, watched something called WWF (later called WF - wrestling federation). Any recollection about this brotherly-duo of Mabel and Mo. Do refer to the picture below for a quick jog of the memories. Else, don't bother. I might have exaggerated a bit around the waist areas I think, but honest to Hulk Hogan, my instructors couldn't have been too far from the photogenics ones below.

Mo (the smaller of the instructors) greeted me with a pleasant 'yes, sir' and led me to the cycling machine. I cycled and I cycled, what with the Tour de France going on and all that. With not much of an Indian presence around the Alpine stretches where the tour is headed to, I thought it was only fair that I do my bit from the hometown. 15 minutes later, the calorie meter had shown a clear 135 cals. Exactly 2.5 km had been cycled away. If the cycle had real wheels, I could have made it past Baldwin's High School by then I think. Patting one's own back is a good form of motivation, though in the gym, it needs to be carried out quickly and surreptiously, lest someone laughs their butt off at the act. No one spotted my 3 second version of it. Between the two instructors, I figured Mabel looked at himself as the better of the two when it comes to women. He would be there to help every single female form in the gym, conveniently ignoring its male patrons. Not that it made a difference to us. I kinda figured out that most of us men, were keen on lending a helping hand to the more curvy equipment in the gym.

In the meanwhile, the instructor who had guided me to the cycling equipment (Mo from the WWF), decided to put me on some freehand exercises. The kind that has to be repeated in sets of 15, three or four times and gives you that distinct feeling that you're an elephant at Banerghatta National Park and under high amounts of stress. No bananas there I think. His instructions were fairly simple and contained a lovely paradox - "For any freehand exercise, simple rule is to exhale when you are putting effort and inhale when you are not". Now now, does that sound alright! I am the kind who puts in an effort Always! So if I go about doing the exhalation part of breathing, when do I inhale? Would I have to recruit someone to do the inhalation part of it while I go about exhaling? I wanted to seat Mo and explain the problems I had at a personal level with his ideas of my continuous exhalation. A PYT walked past and he headed off in her direction. Apparently he wasn't concerned about me. Wasn't long before the tiny gym had about 25 people trying to work out on all equipment simultaneously. Pretty much like a scene where Vijaykanth gets attacked by 25 rowdies and he manages to beat the daylights out of all of them. Except, I'm certainly better off than Vijaykanth on the shape-front and the rest of the people work in the same company as I do.

I was kinda sure that it wouldn't be long before 2 people start running on the treadmill simultaneously. With fear of being asked to do that myself, I headed out in silence, whispering a goodbye to Mo and asking him to convey the same to the other instructor. "4 times a week minimum for you" he whispered back.

Tomorrow is a new day and in solemnity I request, you my friends, my physically fit well-wishers to motivate me further on heading back there. Else, I'll have to fall back on the 20th birthday pledge for sometime now.

PB - The picture above is of Mabel; Mo's picture, sadly, was unavailable. Apologies.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Die Potter Die

Do you get that feeling too? Its taking over me very slowly, yet steadily. And the media is the one to blame for it I think. Any channel I surf through, from Nickolodeon to God TV, from Kairali to E Tv Gujarati, they are all showing Potter stuff and I get the feeling that I should take the role of Voldermort pretty quickly, to ensure that this Potter guy dies and stays dead. Reincarnation may not be an acceptable concept in Hollywood, but I ain't taking no risks. I wanna make sure I kill this Potter guy off, once and for all just to make sure all channels on TV are not filled up with him anymore. Sigh! The nerves are getting weaker and I think Potter and his friends are playing on two-thirds of them.
How I'd like to play a game of quiddich with him and ensure that the small flying thingie that when caught ends the game, is something that is poisoned on the surface and explodes on his face at the same time. How I'd like to pull the broom from under him when he's cruising at 40K altitudes. Remember that little kid in ET, with the cycle having a little basket in front. I would love to put the Potter boy in that little basket and let him go off to space.. run him low on oxygen and cut off his supplies of the essentials.. and play him Himesh Reshamaiyya until his heart collapses inwards.. Small troubles in executing the plan, what with space travel getting expensive and all that, but I'm sure the world would be so much better with lesser Potter potty on TV.
Now that I have taken that out of my system.... aaah.. I think I'll get back to watching NGC. Hmmmm.... nice!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What's in a name?? Talk to me I say!

There are few things that stick to a person, through his lifetime. Alright, if not through the life, certainly for that time period when you want to approach pretty things at parties with some Scotch in the hand, and make gentle conversation. Pretty Stranger things included, mind you! Asked me for an example of what these things can be? Go to the cardio section of a gym and the majority would raise tired, 5 Kg holding hands and wait patiently for their chance to answer - tyres. I may not be F1 material when it comes to that part of town, but at the prime of my adiposed past, did give a run, or a wheelie, to the Indian manufacturers.

There are few other things of higher importance that one carries around and takes for granted over a lifetime. One’s name! Wasn't very long ago, before the elders in the Chivukula family sat in a circle to zero down on a name for the second born. Ideas flew thick and fast and they say, overlapped with rounds of coffee and bhujia.

The requirements were laid out clear like extras in a Jeetendra movie from the 80s - it had to belong to the new generation, it had to be catchy, easy to say and sound like poetry. Wasn't a tough one did someone remark? Rahul, Raj and the likes would have been instant choices even in the early-80s I'm sure, assuring namesakes in a fair number of Shahrukh Khan movies too. "Yeah, my name is Rahul, you know, the same one as Shahrukh's in those movies with body-hugging T's. I could drop you home tonight. Yes, in an auto.", I could have remarked in all those parties. But no, the family was clear that it wasn't good enough to meet the requirements. The elders huddled in closer, peered through Deccan Herald, stared down the requirements once more and called for more coffee. From collective wisdom, they zeroed down on the name and it was bestowed upon me - a hapless, silent toddler, with not much of an opinion on names, Laetitia Casta or WMDs.

Chivukula Venkata Subramanya Suresh. There were no nay-sayers in the group. The arguments would have gone thus - sounds like one from the current generation - in the deepest interiors of Andhra; catchy enough that you had four to catch from; mixed with Hebrew words, would have felt like Bengali poetry. All criteria satisfied. The future owner of the name, in close proximity of the discussion, was lulled into good slumber by then and couldn't have cared better. You don't deny yourself a name only because it sounds outdated. It is, indeed a strict Andhraite tradition. A game that families with newborns play. It’s called "How many letters of the English alphabet can we cover in our baby's name". The babies always lose.

By nursery I had taken to the name with gusto. It took me that long. I was the only one who could pronounce the full name in UKG, and I'm not even discounting Miss Brown. By LKG, Vineel Kumar Reddy was a sitter for most. Even Syed Khaleelullah had been long conquered. He cried I remember! By sixth standard, the Math teacher figured out that a roll call in the start was making it difficult for him to complete the day's lesson. A good amount of time was being spent on my name, which the entire class agreed in spirit, wasn't very value-adding. Attendance was moved to the end of the period. After-class I was moved into the coir dustbin, face first, because attendance ate into the games period. A shortened version had to emerge pretty soon. 'Soon' followed the Darwinian path and out came the shortened version - Suri. Years later, Tom Cruise would come by and upset the apple cart by thinking, plagiarizing is a Scientology belief. The jerk! To date, when asked the full name, I cringe; I twist and in alphanumeric order search for alibis. Patience being a diminishing virtue, most folk stop me halfway through saying it. And to the rest, I just mention the four-lettered version.

And sometimes I wonder, Numerology applied, what would I like to change my full name to? Any thoughts?