Monday, January 23, 2006

In defence of Bank Robberies

The other day I and my friends were discussing about the different career options we were left with. This post is an off-shoot of that discussion when we suddenly realised that we had been assuming a sense of superiority over a certain breed of human beings, till then. This is to atone for that sin of ours...

There is this charming aspect of bank robbers (or robbers in general) which is often ignored unless it is exhibited by someone of the order of Catherine Zeta-Jones, or suchlike, in a heist flick from the Hollywood. But, I realised their irresistible charm, as late as last week, though I have always had a vague idea about their existence since my childhood (mostly from those heist flicks in which the protagonists come with smart plans to loot huge sums of money from ultra-secure high-profile banks which have stuff like high-precision digital fart-detectors installed).
But this write-up is not about how smart their methods are. If you are interested in that, walk out to the nearest DVD store and pick up a dozen heist films and watch it over the next weekend. Not to forget that this might even ingerminate an idea for a new kind of heist in your mind. In which case, you can either choose to implement the idea and become a martyr. Or, you can write a film script out of it and sell it to the Lakshmi Movie Makers; or, even to Warner Bros., if you fancy.
But, I digress. This one is about the laudable attitudes that those noblemen exhibit; and so it'll be.
Robbers, especially bank robbers, are actually quintessential idol-materials for the bourgeois class, just as the stars of the filmdom are. Let's see why. The bourgeois junta wants money; which they are given when they work. So, they want work. They are given work when they are educated. So, they want to educate themselves. They are educated when they give money, which completes the circle. To cut off this recursion, they in turn expect (quite tragically) their parents (who just got themselves educated for the sake of money) to work and provide the necessary money. This chain of actions extends on and on endlessly, that ultimately the common man forgets why exactly he did whatever he did and ends up professing theories much worse than this write-up when asked about the origin of this vicious cycle.
But bank robbers act differently. They are daring, iconoclastic. They defy all the common norms of living, and how! They realise that all they need is money (like the rest of us) and take the shortest possible route. They drop in to a nearby bank, a place where what-they-want is available in plenty, just snatch considerable chunks, walk out and make a living out of it. Pretty straight, if you ask me.
Let me stop with this final note. It's high time we acknowledge all these qualities in them and have an annual event for bank robberies; Call it the Grand Robbery Mela (we can have a couple of wiki pages too). In which we will keep a bank dedicated for bank robberies and deem robbing that bank as legal. The bank may have all the state-of-art security set up, have people investing in it and can work like any other bank; except that anybody who is caught robbing this bank is not punishable by law. That will be fun and deserving folks will get what they want; rather than we losers having it.

{It might have been be easy to digest this piece if you had already read this. Hmmm.. these stuff might make for a terrible mini-series.}

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The elusive 2 bucks between chivalry and penury

Start note:
From now on, this blog will get mundane by the day.
A new series (which, in all probability, will stop with its first edition) will feature in this blog; in which various incidents, which will serve as testimonies for the fact that this blogger is indeed a complete nutcase, will be recalled.

This happenned long ago.

It was early in the morning. The sun hadn't shown its face yet. The time must have been around 5 a.m. I was returning back home from my college. The majority of the travel was already made and I was waiting for a bus (I had to switch buses to reach home) to my hometown which was an hour away; and it was just like any another day. Only that I had a girl (and a very pretty one at that) by my side; and she wanted to have some tea. It's not a regular case that a girl proactively suggests to have tea in a roadside shop. But, she did. The way, I hear, it works is that girls don't walk upto a place like this shop all alone and have some tea. So, when she said she wanted to have some tea, she perhaps meant that I take the baton and bring some tea for her and myself if I want one. My chivalrous inclinations are close to being ineffectual, if not exactly absent. But, I had all that earthly sense required to walk over to the shop and bring some tea for a friend. But, there was one problem; a seemingly simple problem. I didn't have the necessary money. The 2 bucks which was all that was required.
I was not exactly penniless a dozen hours ago. But how I spent what I had speaks volumes about my attitude.

{Here we need to cut to a busy frenzied men's hostel, for a tiny flashback}

The day before this morning, our second semester had ended and we were all relieved. Everybody was busy packing their bags. The stomachs were already craving for great food. As is the general case at the semester ends for the localites (from T.N.), many were short of money. If your friend, who generally is well-equipped with his rich vocabulory of cusswords, approaches you calmly and asks how you did your exams, you know what he is upto. Such was the situation. To recall it now, it is very funny to see how each one of us floundered all the money we had and made sure that we had only the exact money required for our journey back home for the vacation.
Our gang was not too bad on the economic front and we all had pocketed enough money for the fag end to take ourselves home safely. But the problem was that we had some hours to kill after the exams got over in the afternoon, before we take the buses/trains by the night; to our respective hometowns, that is. So, we arrived at this decision - the one that lead to that fateful moment described above. We decided that we will end that beautiful semester season by seeing a movie. We quickly got ready and headed over for the evening show in a theatre called Maris Mini (or was it the porn theatre that was called Maris Mini? I forget!) to watch the biggest hit in the town, Minnale. The movie had already completed more than 150 days and was relegated to this mini theatre for jobless folks like us who kept watching movies again and again. Now, we were all financially equipped till then. More important to this story, is that I was financially equipped till then. But, fate would have it otherwise.

{Here we need to cut to our computer centre, for a tinier flashback}

A couple of weeks before, during the semester examinations, I received this mail from that girl that she is gong to book the tickets in one particular bus to go home for the vacation and she can book a ticket for me too (through her dear uncle who stays within the local limits; and to whose place she visits to satisfy her hunger for tasty food, I presume) if I want it that way. I replied back saying that I would indeed like my ticket booked. Now, she was not a very dear friend and the only connection between her and me was that we came from the same place. It was very nice of her to ask this and I accepted it flatly with not much gratitude, as if I deserved a ticket from her. But, that was characteristic of me.

{Cut back to the little theatre Maris Mini}

Ashok (one of the vile friends who accompanied me) was reasoning why he would not pay for the ticket and I should do it.
Ashok: "Dei.. unakku thaan un aalu* ticket book panni vechirukkaalla.. Enakku oorukku poga thaan panam irukku.. unakku ticket reserve panniyaachu.. so ippo ticket'ta nee thaan edukkara!".
The socialist in Ashok was speaking, I realised.
And for all the naive and innocent person I was, I agreed to what he said. I went ahead and bought the tickets for the grand team of 3 people to watch the film. The theatre was pathetic to say the least and had a mono-speaker on the right end of the screen; and we had paid something around 40 bucks per head for this. More importantly, all from my pocket. But, I enjoyed the movie nevertheless, with least botheration about the fact that I had less than 20 bucks when I am supposed to travel for about seven hours in the night. Once the movie was done, I bade goodbye to the folks and caught a bus and reached the main bus stand.
There in the bus stand, to top it all, I indulged myself further. My dear reader, I further filled my appetite with a coke!

{fades out as the protagonist has a couple of gulps of the priceless coke he just bought}
Little did I know then, that there would be a moment when I would be expected to buy a cup of tea for 2 bucks, a simple act which fate would deny me from doing.
{fade in back to the tea shop}

She asks, "Shall we have some tea?"
Of course, I would have loved a good tea. But, I having a cup of tea will just increase the already alarming probability of I reaching a situation in which I will have to to confess how ended up penniless, to a pretty girl (repeat, a very pretty girl).
I replied back, with my thoughts and fingers lingering around my empty wallet, "No.. I generally don't have tea." I further condescended to tea - "I hate the way it smells.."
And then stolidly accompanied her, walking well behind so as to avoid any chances of she expecting (it's a meagre 2 bucks after all) me to take the wallet out, till the shop, watched her pay and drink all of that tea.
Once we got into a bus that leads to our hometown, I told her, "You take the tickets for me too. I will give you the net sum later. I guess I don't have the change.", pretending to be making an off-handed request.

* - Aalu roughly translates to a girlfriend, and of course, Ashok was bantering about when he referred to her as my Aalu, as yours truly never got anywhere near. My EQ ranges from 7.5 to 7.9, btw.

End note:
I wonder how funny she would find this account of mine if she reads it. But never mind, this blog has hardly a handful of readers :).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mr. Zero goes to the Bookfair (pun intended)

This blogger is a complete nuthead and wades through the life for very unobvious reasons. Most of what he thinks, talks or writes is about (or, related to) films. This time he revives a little bit of his enthusiasm towards books, which has come in intermittent fits in the past, and goes to the Chennai Book Fair 2006.
This time he ventures into the bookfair mainly for some Tamil books (IHHO, this bookfair is just not the place for English books). He is truly an ignorant chap when it comes to Tamil books. Not that he is a voracious reader of English literature. But, at least, he had those fits of enthusiasm at different times.
That, he somehow managed to get his stories (and even some dimwitted poems) written in Tamil published in his college Thamizh Mandram website is something he is able to look back and laugh at.
The only Tamil poem this blogger ever recited (yeah, he never wrote poems, a la Gunaa; once he recited this "poem" jocularly mocking the poem competition his literary friends conducted; however, they went ahead and published it in their website!) read something like this.

Thoorathil paarthaal, unnai kaattum...
Arugil paarthaal, ulagai kaattum... Kannaadi!

The poem is paraphrased and pullis and aacharya kuris added for desired effect, if any.

Back to yesterday. He makes a rich haul of 6-7 Tamil books, a personal record; much of which were suggested in this blog; like Aathavan's En Peyar Ramaseshan (one of the prime reasons for the reason of his visit) and Kaagitha Malargal; and also Sujatha's Eppothum Penn. He also picks S. Ramakrishnan's (who, he hears, wrote some excellent articles in Aanantha Vikatan; but somehow chooses not to buy those - Thunaiezhuthu and Kathaavilaasam - because he expects some acquaintance of his to buy/must be already having it) Urupasi.
Even the last year he did visit the bookfair; but didn't look beyond film-related books. From what he remembers, he bought the screenplay of Santosh Sivan's film Terrorist. {There were screenplays for a host of movies made in other languages. But he doesn't exactly like the idea of reading the screenplays of other language films in Tamil. He prefers either seeing the film subtitled, :p, or at least reading an English translation}. This time, he buys this book, if his memory serves him right titled Nadippu Enbathu Enna?, written by Mahendran (he has already read Mahendran's Cinemaavum Naanum and the screenplay of his masterpiece Uthiri Pookkal, before) and a bunch of issues of Thirai, one of those low-profile high-brow Tamil film magazines (like Uyirmai and Kaalachuvadu), the contents of which he mostly disagreed (quite vehemently) with, in the past.
Also among the picks were Sundara Ramasamy's Oru Puliyamarathin Kadhai (about which he has heard his friend rave about) and Vaanagamae Ila Veyilae.
The funniest of all, he buys this book called Naalu Moolai, a collection of essays by Ra. Ki. Rangarajan published in Annanagar Times, just because the cover looked good![*] Though, he would rationalize it by saying that, he did have immense liking and respect towards Ra. Ki. Rangarajan, because of the simple reason that the same writer co-wrote the dialogues of the film which he considers as the best of Tamil cinema.

[*] - The man in the same stall kept suggesting this new book about the Travis Bickle'ish lives of software engineers in India (apparently, a first of its kind in Tamil literature) whose title he has forgotten now. He should try it later.

Thank-you Note:
Lazygeek and Chenthil.

End note:
Time for some good reading!

Update (on Jan 17 10:46 a.m.):
This blog has no readership whatsoever. But, just in case, if somebody chose to click on the link to this blogger's published short story and entertain himself/herself, he/she might have to use IE; and even worse, install fonts from here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Who am I?

I am just a sperm who got a lucky. I realise I have already lived too long compared to my sperm-bros. Though apparently I seem to have lost all my memories of that phase of my life, I must still say, from what I perceive, life should have been much similar there. There were some folks who were deliberately slow and had no plans of reaching their supposed-to-be-targets. They were called the weak ones. Now I realise how unfair it was to call them the weak ones. I confess I called myself "lucky" only by mainstream standards and because it made the line look cool (an indulgent writer's POV). Personally, I can't really say that I was lucky or they were unlucky.
Yeah, I am just a sperm who got "lucky". A very lazy sperm at that; who lost all its naivé optimistic zest when it reached the largely coveted spot. I am a "winner" who is basking in his past "glory"; not bothering about his next spot. On an average case, I have much more time to look forward to.
Much as people try to convince me that man (or sperms for that matter) doesn't get to live forever, I still think life is infinite for all practical purposes and hence there is no internal thrust to fastly reach the next spot. May be, I am confusing indeterminate with infinite. In fact, yes! {Here the reader has to pardon me for suddenly jumping into classical mathematics} In classical mathematics, an indeterminate value can be anything. But, applying it to philosophy, an indeterminate value can be anything precisely because it's value doesn't hold any significance. Thus, an indeterminate value can take any value and still can be perceived as being the same. So, you don't feel that somebody is catching up with you. which makes you feel that you are living on and on. Thus, some of my sperm-bros who dropped earlier didn't lose much, I understand. But hey, I didn't lose anything at all! In fact, now that I am already a "winner", I have nothing left to lose. That's exactly why I am basking in my state of losslessness.
This dude contemplates suicide, time and again. Funny as it may be, I never got those suicidal thoughts. I really don't seem to question futility of any kinds. Living in complete coordination with the pervasive (or infinite) futility makes the sense of the pervasive futility disappear completely. And I start thinking about which restaurant I should hop over for my dinner. And there, I complete the full circle. All in a minute.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Of Spirits and Spiritualism

The Prologue:
The vodka[1] doesn't know you drink it. You have feelings about it, but it has no feelings about you. The vodka doesn't know what you paid. People shouldn't get emotionally involved with their vodka.
- Anon

The Post:
Of late, I have started feeling that booze is over-rated. This was the last significant theory I had come up with to bore my friends. Here, I have also found some obvious parallel between Vodka and God. Vodka never does it to you. You do it using Vodka. But, human beings always want to attribute certain things to external influences. God is one. Vodka is another. I really don't question this phenomenon, because I embrace irrationality as it comes. If not for that quality, the human race wouldn't be what it is. This attribution of our acts to external and internal influences have always been a point of discussion and arguments for our ancestors, and suggestions for external influences have always been interesting. Thats for another blog post. Or, may be not.
So, this degenerates into another ramble after I realised that booze is no more what it used to be for me. I am disillusioned, like a devout theist suddenly pondering why God never actually eats the prasaadam which is made for him. Yeah, the sudden rational questionning about the destination of Prasaadam is quite unfair to the God. But, I am not gonna budge. Now, I keep challenging my friends that mabbu is within. Perhaps later, I might (in all probability) come a full circle and become a theist back again. But for now [2], I am a teetotaller-convert!

The Epilogue:
Mabbu glass'la'yaa irukku? Manasu'la irukku....
- Zero, as on Dec 11, 2005.
{It is to be noted here that the author apparently had 3 sessions of booze and deep contemplation after making this particular quote and is completely convinced of its validity}

[1] - The reader can replace all the occurrences of Vodka with his/her favourite drink. Mine was not Vodka. But, it somehow was apt from a writer's POV. Something like a Tequila was too cult'ish for this post.
[2] - It is a pure coincidence that such a stance is taken during the dawn of another year. But, now that it has coincided, I might as well call it my new year resolution! But, does "I might not drink much as of now" count as one? :D