Tuesday, September 28, 2004 


Disclaimer: This post is entirely auto-generated by a Blog and is untouched by human hands.


In the beginning, there was Man.
And Man said, "Let There Be Blog."
And there was Blog.



Hi, I'm a Blog.

Name: http://suhailkassim.blogspot.com
DoB: 11 Aug 2004
Blood Type: C++

This, then, is my story.


Blog Veda

Until July 2004, I was just an assortment of idle bits and bytes floating around in the scary world of Cyberspace.

Then I got a cute little daddy. I fondly named him My Asinine Idiotic Daddy, or MAID.

My MAID is a very simple and innocent boy. He doesn't even know many four-letter words. For instance, "blog". That was until one day Friend 1 introduced him to Blogging.

The first time MAID heard the word, he thought "Blogging" was the by-product of an upset tummy.

Then he went to Hospital Blogspot dot com and gave birth to me. You've heard of maids giving birth, but imagine ... this was a daddy giving birth !! Ok, so male seahorses also do so. But MAID's not a male seahorse, his mental faculties are so much lower. Besides, he's not even married ...

We then had a naming ceremony. I was christened during my delivery itself, not with rose petals but with a mouse and keypad instead. MAID, like the typical unimaginative outdated parent he is, named me after him. Thank God his name wasn't "Poop". Imagine, poop dot blogspot dot com. Dot yuck !!! Ewwww ...

Anyways, so that's how I got my nice name. Now I was not just a bit, or a byte, or a byte of another byte, or a bitty byte. I was an identity. Yayyy :)

You know, I am almost as real as MAID, who is after all merely a mobile mass of protoplasm.

He can blabber and jabber unceasingly ... ha! So can I.

He can crash, work on the computer, bore people to death ... hyuck hyuck! So can I.

He can't think on his own, heck he can't think, period. I, of course, can, koi shaque?

MAID doesn't even have a girlfriend. And me? Well, I have been "linked" to several nice blogs in the past. But those links are all IP Addresses. And it's just so uncool to be known as a Blog who's dating an IP Address ... so yeah, I'm single too ...

Then, once I got my identity, MAID started pouring his heart onto me. And sweet people paid occasional visits to me. Some even commented on me. Mmmuaaahhh ... love ya all !!

And, like the babbling brook, I went on and on. But only because MAID's workload was light and he could afford to spend quality time with his only kid.

But I remained a plain Jane. Always attired in the same simple template. No photos or links adorned me. And whenever I peeped at all your beautiful blogs, I felt so incomplete. "But why?", you sob in Deep Distress. "Can't your MAID afford to look after you well?", you ask plaintively, a solitary tear running down your left cheek. Thanks for the heartfelt sympathy. Always appreciated. Well, the truth is, MAID suffers from chronic laziness. And he doesn't know XML or even HTML. You see, he's technology illiterate. Anyways he's barely literate otherwise, Census 2001 had this single-member category of "They Think They're Literate, We Think They're Mistaken" with a photo-op of MAID. But I -- I could make him tech literate. For know ye, and know ye well, red blood corpuscles may course through MAID's veins but Javascript code runs through my fiber optic backbone. But MAID hai ki maanta nahin. Well what can you, dear gentle and educated reader, expect from someone who's IQ is so modest ...

(Discussion in MAID's office last week)
Smart She: Buddy, you've got freaking low IQ !!
MAID: Not at all !! It's as high as 26.
SS: That's the same level as a jellyfish's !!
MAID: That must've been because the jellyfish took a tougher IQ test !!!!

See, told ya he's dumb.

Then one day, MAID lost the few marbles he still had. So he went off on one of his hyperbolic tangents. On what a waste of time blogging is and stuff. Hey pops, didn't someone teach you not to rant at your two-month old Baby Blog who's suffering from a Bloomin' Big Hangover?

So MAID was about to consign his blog-infant to the Cyber-orphanage. But just then, Friend 2 gave him some encouragement and advice, and Friend 3 said he'd help MAID with my nappy-changing and dressing-up. So MAID decided to give me one more shot.

So now at last you see on me a list of my favorite links :)

Now I'm hep. Now I'm cool. Now I'm a Blog Dude. Now I Rock !!!!



(Three months later - December 2004)

You: Hi, my name is KMBV. Kind Male Blog Visitor.
Me: Knock! Knock!
KMBV: Who's there?
Me: A runaway little Blog
KMBV: Arunawaylittleblog who?
Me: http://suhailkassim.blogspot.com
KMBV: Etch tee tee pee WHAT?? What kinda name izzat?
Me (indignantly): It's a real cutie pie name !!! As if your name's all that hot ...
KMBV: Whaddya want?
Me: You !!
KMBV: ????
Me: Well, I've ditched daddy on grounds of imbecility. Daddy is a Maddy. So, since you meet my parental criteria, congrats, you're my new adopted daddy !!
KMBV (freaked out): Parental criteria? What parental criteria?
Me: You have time to check blogs and update me !! Do you know, daddy's hardly updated me for three months now ...
KMBV (aghast): Ouch !! Really????
Me (breaking down totally): Look at me. Just look at me !! Don't I look like I'm from a respectable family? Yet daddy never even gave me a clock !! He never put photos on me !! No doodle board ... no Haloscan ... no non-standard background ... I'm a ... *sob* ... a ... *choke sniff* ... neglected blog-baby !!
KMBV (Weeping copious tears of profound sorrow): Awww you poor innocent infant. C'mere, I'll look after you ...
Me: Yippee !!! Thanks pops!

Now my future has unfurled.
Thou art my new MAID ...
When we Blogs conquer the world,
Thou shalt be adequately repaid !!!

Thursday, September 23, 2004 

Time Warp

(A short story)

... and Zach awoke with a start. It was eerily still and pitch black, except for the ray of moonlight which slanted into his room through the open air duct directly above him.

Zach groaned audibly. Another nightmare. It had been uncannily vivid and realistic. "What had it been this time?", he frowned as his brows creased in concentration. Probably the same one again, he thought wearily, flopping back onto his pillow. The one about that shapeless black figure engulfing his wife ...

His wife ... Zach turned to look at Zara's bed. As his pupils focussed and adjusted to the dim light, his heart skipped a beat.

Zara's bed was empty.

Zach sat up.

"Zara?", he called out aloud. There was no response.

"Zara?", he almost yelled this time. But the all-encompassing darkness refused to throw back an answer.

Zach groaned. Had Zara been sleepwalking again? The anti-hallucinatory drugs seemed to have cured her for good.

"Probably a relapse", he thought as he wearily crawled out of those soft and inviting blankets, donned his pajamas and sandals, and shuffled towards the living room. "Hope she's not gone out of the house", he prayed as he flicked on the fluorescent hall lights. He squinted as the bright lights invaded his retina, then froze at what he saw.

Blood on the floor.

A dark red trail. Leading towards the cellar downstairs ...

Zach suppressed an instinctive scream. Had Zara been injured? Had she fallen down the stairs leading to the cellar? But that was impossible ... the entrance to the cellar was always locked ...

He rushed to the thick door which barricaded the house from the stairs leading to the cellar. The padlock was missing.

"What the hell", he cursed softly as he pushed the door. It swung open with a resisting creak.

Zach grabbed a flashlight from the mantelpiece and literally tumbled down the asymmetric steps leading to what he had often fondly called "the dungeon". The cellar had been the mystery room of this ancient manor for generations. But family history was the last thing on Zach's overwrought mind just then.

As he reached the vast cavern, he called out Zara's name again. His voice echoed around the cellar as he beamed the flashlight all around.

And then he saw it. Less than fifteen meters from where he stood.

That shapeless black figure.

Black. Pitch black. Oozing slime in all directions.

And about to engulf a limp unconscious Zara ...

"ZARA", shouted Zach in frenzied panic ...


... and Zach awoke with a start. It was eerily still and pitch black, except for the ray of moonlight which slanted into his room through the open air duct directly above him.

Zach groaned audibly. Again the same nightmare ...

As he turned wearily towards Zara's bed, knowing he would find it empty, knowing he was living out yet another bad dream, knowing he was stuck in a time warp, in a vortex of inescapable thoughts, a frightened part of his traumatized brain silently asked the inevitable question.

A dream within a dream within a dream within ...

Will it never end?

Monday, September 20, 2004 


When I was in college, they worked out this engineering formula which epitomized Suhail the Student:

Distance from Professor directly proportional to Wakefulness

In other words, whenever I used to sit on the front bench, I used to crash like a dazed hippo, Kumbhakarna, or Rip van Winkle. And whenever I used to be a back bencher, too far away to notice anything on the blackboard or hear the nutty professor's pearls of wisdom, I'd be as wide awake as you were just before this post started sending you into a sonorous soporific haze of boredom.

I happen to have attended a college where they, realizing this fault in my genetic composition, made me a back bencher for two full years. So despite my best attempts, I was unable to fall asleep in class. That of course does not mean I'd actually listen to the nutty professors. And my grades prove I didn't. And I'm not going to show you my abysmal grade card. What I would do was doodle caricatures of the professor's big ears / nostrils / fangs, tap my feet to the rhythm of whatever tune I liked at the time, solve the Times Daily crossword puzzle or die trying (I died every day except two), and feverishly note down some hatke statements made by those nutty professors. So here's a compendium of these statements ... a product of sweat, toil, tears and two years' wakeful Rigorous Imprisonment Without The Option in class ...

Prof entering a half-empty classroom: Are we in the right classroom ??

What is the example of a random event? Put a bunch of monkeys in a room, add a few typewriters and given a length of time they will produce all the works of Shakespeare !!

Princess Diana said it was a crowded marriage ... she was speaking the truth !!

Prof on colas: God did not ask me to drink this black water !!

Prof on Push Systems wrt Tirupati Temple: If you push the guy in front of you a little bit, you can make him see the lord. If you push the guy a little more, you can send him to the lord !!

These people walk for five days to go to Tirupati ... stand in line for 10 hours for darshan ... and finally when they get 10 seconds to actually see the idol, they'll close their eyes !!!!

Prof on Toyota Production Systems: Toyota Production Systems is similar to Dawood Ibrahim. Both have the philosophy that wherever there is waste, ELIMINATE it !!

You people have a nice way of avoiding me. Whenever i ask a question, you girls start looking in your books as if you are very busy. And you guys look away like newly married brides !!

On the Toyota worker's apathy to the company's problems: Here you are jumping up and down like an intoxicated monkey, and you go to the workers and he shrugs and says, "is there a problem?"

Definition of cycle time: Cycle time does not mean that you take three women and expect to have a child in three months, it will still take nine months !!

Student: This is what I think.
Prof: This is not your contention but your confusion and at best you can have confusion because it is your birthright !!

I am stunned by your intellectual inferiority !!

Prof on first day of class, enters room, takes off his shoes, sits cross-legged on table and says in deep baritone: Consultants are insecure overachievers !!

Prof: What would you want? Freedom or Air-conditioned Buses?
Student: Both, I guess.
Prof: You cannot get both. That would be like having a mistress and a wife.
Student: That's a philosophical analogy.
Prof: There is nothing philosophical about it. It is very materialistic !!

I am a sadistic monkey, you know !!

... when my son was 3 years old... yes he actually once was even though he thinks he was born at 15 !!

I'm not marketing myself, it's too late !!

I'll market myself to you only when you are my "future Son-in-law" OR "potential Father-in-law" !!

I don't care if I'm wrong. If I happen to be reasonably right, its OK !!

Women are fragile, but they can be powerful also ... they can tilt and kick the scooter !!

On bad working capital management: It's like you are not even married and you are borrowing money on your children !!

You can't focus on your spouse and children at the same time ... for that you need a different level of focus !!

You cannot put ATMs everywhere. For example you cannot put an ATM in a Hanuman mandir because then Hanuman will run away with the ATM !!

Student: Sir, the company's strategy is they want to enter the rural market.
Prof: That is not strategy, that is desire. See, there is a difference between desire and strategy. Ravana wanted to spend some time with Sita - that was desire. He got Maareecha to lure away Rama - that was strategy !!!!

Prof telling student to use calculator: Use the superfast donkey in front of you, change the variables and give me the answer in 5 seconds !!

Kotler is a very good book (pregnant pause) to be kept in the book shelf !!!

Prof: Who is Crow?
Student: Err ... I'm not sure.
Prof: Who is Crow? Crow is there, sitting on top of the tree and doing crow, crow !!

I will not push you to the wall ... NO ... I will push you through the wall !!

Don't give me half a point !! Therefore ...

Interrupting a verbose student: Junk ...

To a student muted by fear: Audio ...

To another student muted by fear: Move ...

Student: Sir, Kotler says ...
Prof: Do you have a girl friend?
Student: No sir ...
Prof: Haan, that's why you have time to read Kotler !!

This question is an insult to our intelligence !!

Ho Ho Ho... Homogeneous.... Guys do not get wrong ideas !!

This is the first class of the day (yawns loudly) .. and I use this to get myself fully awake !!

Ideas come more quickly once you have taken some inspirational liquids !!

A word that can be used for asking questions can also be used for answering questions !!

Infrastructure is all about Infra and Structures !!

Just because there is a small hole in my armour i will not allow you to pierce your sword in and drill my heart !!

Prof AB: Confident ... lock kar dein ... hey now i am talking like the other AB !!

If there’s no quorum, the meeting has to be adjourned. But if no one turns up, then there’s no meeting. So what will be adjourned ???

If 10,000 unemployed men dig holes in the ground and fill them again -- India's GDP increases !!

You know when you recite all those shlokas, why do you think they start with OM? That OM is Operations Management !!

Student: Sir this answer is too large a number.
Prof: So what if it is a very large number. There are many numbers which are very large !!

I will not disturb you if you are sleeping in the class because if Abhimanyu learnt so much when he was in his mother's womb you could learn atleast something while in a slightly advantageous situation !! (Yep that was to me !!)

Thursday, September 16, 2004 

A Tale of Two Cities

Mumbai, 1817 hours, Thursday 16 September 2004

Arun rang the bell. Reema answered immediately.

"What took you so long?", she demanded irritably. "I've been ready for ages!"

Arun sighed. "I know, I know. I'm sorry. There was this meeting ... by the way, may I wish my one and only beloved wife a very happy eighth wedding anniversary! And may I say she looks very beautiful this evening."

Reema dimpled despite her annoyance. Arun could be so charming. "Thank you", she said as she took his hand and guided him to their bedroom. "Now get ready quickly, we're having a little party at Taj Lands End. Everyone's coming."

"To the Taj, then", smiled Arun as he looked at Reema fondly. She had not changed a bit over the years. From the bathroom, Arun called out, "Oh, by the way, I'll be flying to Kolkata early tomorrow morning."

"Again?" Reema felt another surge of irritation. "Why do you always fly off to Kolkata the day after our anniversary? You're in Kolkata most of the year in any case."

Arun sighed again. "Well, you know ... running two separate businesses ... one based in Mumbai and the other in Kolkata ... "

"I know, I know", snapped Reema. "Ok, fine, go. Now hurry up or we'll be late."

Arun smiled to himself as he shaved. He would not be late. Today or tomorrow.


Kolkata, 0930 hours, Friday 17 September 2004

Arun rang the bell. Komala answered immediately.

"You're back!", she squealed in delight. "You're back!"

Arun smiled. "Of course, my dear! How could I not be here with you on this extra special day? May I wish my one and only beloved wife a very happy seventh wedding anniversary!"

As Komala excitedly led him to their bedroom, Arun smiled to himself. Today was indeed an extra special day for him. After all, it was his fifteenth wedding anniversary in eight years ...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004 

Chivalry - Dead or Alive?

In the course of my surfing today, I came across a post which states, "Between the wish of the male consumer to look at naked female bodies and the inhuman lust of a rapist, lies the common man's world." I politely beg to differ. There is another type of common man. One who does not lie between the two boundaries specified above. He is the chivalrous man.

I was a mute witness to the following drama in a tuitions class aeons ago.

Boy and girl enter class late. Boy rushes to grab last chair ahead of girl.
Indignant girl: "There's no chivalry left nowadays."
Defensive boy: "Yeah, 'coz there're no pretty girls left either!!"

You know, in my humble opinion, the indignant girl was wrong. Hark! Do I hear you say, "What rubbish! Which century is he living in?". True, in this era of The Liberated Woman and Equality of Sexes, chivalry's lost much of it's sheen and is considered "demeaning" by men and "stifling and condescending" by ladies. But chivalry still exists in pockets. These pockets are spread out amongst the teeming populace, as well as in the minds of those few guys who'd rather die than act unchivalrously.

Here's a sneak peek into the mind of a modern-day Launcelot, a true-blue chivalrous guy I've known personally since childhood. He's dumb in many ways, so I'll call him Chivalrous Moron or CM. These are twelve things that characterize CM and keep him ticking.

  • CM is a mega-time sucker for a pretty smile. If CM ever happens to save your life, just give him one honest and disarming smile which reaches your eyes, and CM will go away thinking he hasn't done anything to deserve such a glowing repayment.
  • CM loves it when girls giggle at his jokes, most of which he knows are dumb. Come to think of it, he's cool even when they're giggling at him, not his jokes. So long as he knows why they're giggling, he's fine.
  • CM is a true MCP. He genuinely believes that women are weaker than men. Not emotionally or mentally or spiritually -- he knows they're usually stronger in these departments -- but physically. That's why he'll do dumb stuff. Like run ahead of them to open doors for them. Like get up and hold the chair for them while they settle themselves in. Like give up his seat in a bus to any girl near him, even when he's not well that day.
  • Again like a typical MCP, CM will escort any girl safely home from college, office or that late-night party, even if it means going way out of his way. CM considers escorting to be a bounden duty and a significant honour to boot. He proudly claims he runs a 24-hour one-man "Girl Escorting" service.
  • CM knows that most girls will find him "cho chweet" and "what a darling" and basically "such a nice guy naa". Horrors, they may even pinch his cheek in public !! He also knows he'll get loads of Rakhis on Raksha Bandhan. Basically, CM is fully aware that most girls he knows will look at him either as just another good friend or as a brother. But that's okay. CM's happy with these labels. Come to think of it, he's proud of them. Because he feels these tags carry with them the warmth of comfort, of security, of blind trust. Which of course they do.
  • CM is a die-hard romantic. He believes in soulmates. That's why the concept of divorce confuses him no end. Every morning, he awakens with the belief that he'll find her today. She'll be waiting there, for him, just round the corner. And when he doesn't find her round the corner, never mind. For there are so many other corners just ahead. And if he never finds his particular corner, if he never finds her, that's fine too. One failure by the God of Love doesn't mean it's the end of the world, or even the end of Romance.
  • CM knows he's chivalrous, and it's unfashionable, but he's not apologetic. He will always choose the idiotic road less travelled, that of being a chivalrous "loser with girls", rather than the far more popular "use and dispense with" path adopted by so many.
  • Like many of his ilk, CM is a peculiar mix of egregariousness and reserve. He loves making friends of both sexes. He'll often take the first two steps towards you. If you take the next step, leave the rest to him. He'll guarantee that you find yourself a lifelong good friend and confidante.
  • And talking of confidante, CM is filled to the brim with secrets of his friends which he'll never ever reveal, so don't bother asking him. But if you ever want a sympathetic ear, if you ever need a supporting shoulder, refer to CM. It'll help.
  • You'll usually find CM in a bubbly mood, he's a pretty cheerful optimistic devil. You may sometimes catch CM in a flirtatious mood. But if you encounter it, remember it's always totally harmless and in good spirit. CM gets confused and hurt when people misunderstand him, he's a bit thick that way. And yeah, he hates bitching, so girls lay off him when you're in one of your scurrilous moods.
  • CM, being a "modern" MCP, knows -- from personal experience -- that women are usually better at work than men. Because they have a higher EQ, lower ambitions and less conceit. Hence he has a genuinely healthy respect for working women. And he's floored by women who manage both home and work. He knows he, for one, would never manage that. Nappy changing and washing the dishes is fine, but CM is an unmitigated disaster, a la a Japanese Tsunami, whenever he approaches a kitchen. After all, remember CM is an MCP, albeit a modern one. And he's also a guy. It's a bad combo, and he needs your sympathy and support here.
  • And finally, and perhaps most importantly, CM knows and respects that some things are very important for girls, much more important than even their lives. And CM feels sick if these things are taken advantage of, if any girl had to ever compromise on any of these things. He would personally drown in shame if he could help her but didn't. And he knows it's woefully inadequate, but on behalf of his gender, CM would like to apologize to the opposite sex for all the accumulated shit they've tolerated over the ages.
There aren't too many CMs around today. They're there, sure, but they are a fast-dying breed. And today's world, filled with ghastly incidents of rape, incest, molestation and abuse, could certainly do with plenty more CMs.

On your part, a little encouragement to the CMs you know would go a long way in bringing dignity back to this fading art. For there is a CM in almost all men, the trick is in drawing him out.

And that's an onus which rests squarely on the fairer sex.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004 

What Should X Do?

X meets Y for the first time and extends a hand of friendship.

X: Hi, I'm X, can we be friends?
Y: Sure! I'm Y.
X: Nice to meet you Y :)
Y: On second thoughts, let's not be friends.
X (hurt and confused): May I know why?
Y: I don't think I like you.
X: But you hardly even know me. I know we'll get along famously if you give me a chance.
Y: I know we will, but I don't feel like giving you a chance.

Now X knows that good friendships are hard to come by, and he feels this can be a great friendship, so he's not willing to terminate this new friendship so easily.

At the same time, X feels friendship cannot be forced, it has to come from within, and if Y doesn't feel a mutual pull towards X, then it's not fair for X to force his friendship on Y.

So X is in a quandary -- should he press ahead or respect Y's decision as final?

Any answers?

Monday, September 13, 2004 

Pete and Andre

Nice guys don't always finish last.

Vishwanathan Anand has proved this adage several times over. Rahul Dravid proved it once again in the ICC Awards last week. But this post is a tribute to the King of Understatement, the immortal Pete Sampras.

Pete Sampras will always hold my unfliching loyalty as my favourite tennis player ever, ahead of both of his two illustrious predecessors who've been my past favorites -- Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker. Here're some reasons why:
  • Sublime tennis. The slam-dunk jump overhead, his running forehand, big second serve and diving volleys. And those mouth-watering Open finals with Agassi ... wowwww!! :)
  • All those records -- 14 Grand Slams. World number 1 for 6 straight years.
  • Guts. He always played the French Open though he knew he'd never win there.
  • His human side. Can't forget how he wept unabashedly on court against Jim Courier at the 1995 Australian Open after hearing the news that Tim Gullikson, his coach and confidant, was diagnosed as having four inoperable brain tumors.
  • Superb fitness levels. Did you know he suffers from a rare form of anemia that hampers his stamina?
  • Cool dude. Immune to pressure.
  • And above all ... a great sportsman and a really nice guy.

And because Andre Agassi is of the same generation as Sampras, and because of some of the immortal games the two have played, and because of his never-say-die spirit, Agassi will continue to be my sentimental favorite among the current crop of players until his retirement.

Last week, Agassi lost heartbreakingly in a seesaw quarterfinal with the eventual winner of this year's US Open, the eleven-year-younger Roger Federer. Agassi was the only player who could stretch Federer, who is already being touted as a potential rival to Sampras' records, to five sets.

But as they say, it's not over until it's actually over.

Here's a toast to Andre Agassi, historic third-time winner of the US Open 2005.


Was it worth it?

Official figures released last week state 1,004 Americans have perished in the Iraq war so far. Can you visualise this figure easily? Here is a pictoral representation of this number.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

This of course excludes the 13,000 Iraqi deaths (many of them unarmed and defenceless women, children and old people), hundreds of non-US casualties, and millions of maimed and injured victims.

And these are just the official figures. Unofficial figures are several multiples higher.

Was it worth it?


A gift for President George Walker Bush, "Born-Again Christian" ... a few lines from the Holy Testaments ...

Thou Shalt Not Kill. The Sixth Commandment

Thou shalt not murder. Exodus 20: 13

Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land and atonement cannot be made for the land on which the blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live. Numbers 35:33-34

Jesus doesn't want our love to grow cold. He wants us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to people that hate us, and pray for those that insult us, and persecute us. Mt 5:44

God made man and women to be in His own image. When people kill one another they are taking the life of someone who belongs to God. And, more importantly, someone made in God's own image and likeness. Ge 1:27 Ge 9:6 Deut. 10:14

When people give in to the lust of the flesh bad things happen, including murder on a grand scale - war. Galatians 5:17, 19-21; Jas 4:1

God tells us not to get angry and try and 'get even' with others. God tells us that HE will punish those who do bad things to us. Ro 12:19


Some relevant war-based quotations ...

"War is an evil in as much as it produces more wicked men than it takes away" - Greek saying

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets" - Voltaire

"Much war is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared" - Anon.

"Make love, not War" - some damn hippie circa 1970

And a really stunning statistic ...

"Did you know that the worldwide food shortage that threatens up to five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of only one day, only ONE day, of modern warfare" - Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and director (1921-2004)



8 pm: FF has arrived from the US with all those bagfuls of chocolates and … what’s that? Jhaal muri from the bylanes of Kolkata?? Yummieee ... and Hoby is just as cute as ever … he recognizes me this time and doesn’t bark, just nuzzles me fondly while I tickle him under his ears … pomerians are cho chweet na … :)

7 am: Goo morningzzz. Moi sleepy. Oooh is it a holiday? Wotfor?? Gopal Kala? In zat case moi’s WIDE awake :) …
10 am: Met FF and the rest of the family in Bandra. Went on wild shopping spree in Elco -- beaded purses, ethnic jewelry, chic kurtas, even razzy hairclips. Then lunched in Amrut Sagar -- their Family Dosa’s over one metre long and the dahi batata puri is the best we've ever had. Then a quick round of Jogger's Park, a short walk on the Bandstand promenade, and then visits to three families in two hours. Hectic hectic.

4 pm: Boss in an indulgent mood says, "Let's all go for a week-long white-water rafting trip to Hrishikesh". But before we stunned mortals can say "Ranagazookaleblauminkies", he amends it to, "At least let's catch a movie. What workaholics you folks are." And he’s accidentally looking at me while saying this !! Everyone else looks at moi in disbelief. Bwahaha ! :))
7 pm: Cine Magic Hall sees twenty eight managers trooping in for the 6.45 pm show of Dhoom. Slick flick. Ishtylish special effects, second only to the inimitable Jaani Dushman. Decent TP.
Flashback: This reminds moi of our JDFC or ‘Jaani Dushman Fan Club’ operating in WIMWI. Moi was a 2-star member coz I'd seen JD twice. The prez of the club had 32 stars!!

9 am: Heck, my forehead’s warm. Must be due to the change in temperature.
9 pm: Heck, my forehead’s still warm. Guess the strong AC in the office cools only ambient temperatures and not body temperatures. Sorry gang, won’t be making it to the late-nite coffee outing.

7.30 am: Cool, my forehead’s cool :)
11 am: Moi gets fired by Bosses for something I hadn't done. The fact that I hadn't done it was the reason for the firing is of course another matter altogether.
5 pm: My natural euphoria with life in general comes crashing down to earth when KK points out that I’m behaving like someone I'm not. I agree, KK, but believe me, I'm not really like this at all. Probably just a result of over-exuberance. I apologize. Sincerely hope it’s just an unfortunate misunderstanding and our budding friendship comes back on track some day.
8 pm: While returning home on Friday, I met this sweet old lady in the elevator. Turns out she lives in the same building as us, and we’ve never met. She's been staying here since 1964, my nani's been here since 1974, I've been here since March 2004, and we meet only in September 2004. Guess that's what a megapolis like Mumbai does to you, neighbours have no time to ever meet each other, let alone become fast friends. It's so different from the other places I've stayed in, especially cities in the East like Kolkata, Jamshedpur and Ranchi, where new members in the neighbourhood are often greeted with garlands and sweets, there's a welcome party thrown in their honour, and they're expected to reciprocate with a party of their own.

11 am: Visit optician to change spectacle frame. Choose rectangular instead of round. More hep, he says. Hope so! :)
12 noon: Visit Chand Sports and finally buy those dumb belles, oops dumbbells. They’re sold at Rs. 11 per pound. Cute! :)
12.45 pm: Purchase “The Da Vinci Code” at 40% discount from a roadside hawker at a busy four-point crossing. Mission accomplished !!! Now there’s just that little matter of reading it someday …
1 pm: Biryani with mum at Zaika. While we're there, a smartly dressed chauffeur walks in, says "Dilip Kumar saab ka package ready hai kya?", collects a whopper of a food hamper, and walks out. Mum's going, "Find out what they've ordered naa", I'm like, "Will it be below my dignity to ask for the chauffeur's autograph", and by the time the mist clears, the chauffeur has evaporated into thin air and Dilipsaab's house. Sniff !!
1.35 pm: Fruit salad with jelly at Amrut Sagar. Lots of kajus. Me loves kajus :)
1.50 pm: Stuffed to brim like Empress of Blandings. Burp. 'Scuse me.
2.30 pm: Conk off into dreamless siesta. Moi first true love -- Miss Sleep ...
4.30 pm: Have just kicked butt of alien terrorists and got the girl. Who’s she? She swings round to face me … oh it’s Ash Rai. Yawn but sweet. She offers her petite hand. I clasp it tenderly and walk away into sunset. Just then she turns and tells me in a honeyed voice, “Suhail wake up … you’ve overslept …” … strange how she sounds uncannily like mum … oops, looks like siesta wasn’t dreamless after all. Damn reality.
5 pm: Need to go to Navy Nagar. How far is it? 2 hours? Oops … 2 hours ONE WAY?? NO WAY!! How inviting doth this couch look … what’s on TV? … let’s watch “Finding Nemo” again …
9 pm: Sizzler dinner at Kobe’s. Am living the high life. Gotta cut down on these foodie junkets else will develop cute but unhealthy paunch.
2 am: What’s with my biological clock? The moment it knows there’s no need for moi to wake up at 7 am the next morning, it just refuses to let me fall asleep before 3 am. I’m now feeling like an owl in the daytime. Lemme raid the fridge.
4 am: Zzzzzz …

10 am: Zzzzzz …
11 am: Oops … too late for the play. But the famous week long celebrations of Bandra Fair starts today, ohkay let’s go in the evening!
6 pm: What dense crowds … Bandra Fair seems to attract the whole of Mumbai and it’s neighbours … candy floss … mini-giant-wheel rides … visit to Mount Mary church invoking the blessings of Our Lady of the Mount where, the devout claim, miracles happen every year … the church looks resplendent in it’s floral finery … snacks at Adi’s … walk back home as no conveyance … shops selling Goanese sweets where rival shopkeepers keep jumping across to their competitors’ stalls and shouting out to customers, “Raaste ka maal … saste mein” :) … good fun evening … the highlight indubitably being this huge assassin-type giant walking up to me and aggressively thrusting a book under my nose. The title? “The Quickest Road to Heaven.” I glance at the menacing countenance of the angry giant and almost say, “How will I know the quickest road to Heaven – if I buy the book or if I don’t?” – but I refrain from making such suicidal sarci statements and instead muster enough courage to walk away with a spring in my steps and a prayer on my lips.

And I survive ...

... and life goes on ...

Wednesday, September 08, 2004 

Evolution in a Day

Today's your lucky day, mon ami. For just this morning, while you were brushing your premolars, you were wondering about the lifestyle your hominid ancestors led, right? Well, read right on and know for yourself ...

The Settings (as in Tools -> Internet Options -> Settings)
The Year: 20,004 BC
The Place: Latitude 22.8 deg. N, Longitude 72.5 deg E
The Hero: Cro-magnon dude. Named 'Argh'
The Heroine: Neanderthal woman 1, Argh's wife. Named 'Brgh'
The Vamp: Neanderthal woman 2, Argh's ex-girlfriend, he still has a crush on her hairy forearms and protruding foreskull, but don't tell Brgh. Named 'Crgh'
The Child Star: Argh and Brgh's first son, in who Argh is well pleased, named 'Abel'. Elder brother to Argh and Brgh's second son, named 'Cain'
Guest appearance: Darwin's ghost
Narrator: The real hero, named 'Gah'

(Rah rah rah !!
Three cheers for Gah !!)

The Prehistorical Play - Evolution in a Day
Gah: It is morning. Argh is a happy man. He has thought up a new word, 'Drgh'. So now humanity's vocabulary has extended to six words. Argh, Brgh, Crgh, Abel, Cain, and now Drgh. So who or what is Drgh? Obviously Drgh will be the name of Argh's next child. Hmmm, time to procreate again, thinks Argh to himself as he rubs white cockroach blood over his teeth to remove the red stains caused by that Tandoori T-Rex they had for dinner last night.

Brgh (from kitchen): Argh dearie, breakfast's ready.

Argh (plucking hairs from his chin): Waitaminnit, I'm shaving.

Gah (apologetically, from behind the curtains): Ok, so their vocab seems to be a bit more evolved than the historically documented six words ...

Argh (emerging from washroom): Yep, now I'm ready. What's for breakfast, sweetums?

Brgh: Your favorite Pterodactyl egg omelette, lovey-dovey cro-magnon matey.

Gah: Hm, seems like romantic mush was predominant even then.

Argh (breakfasting): Glob! Shlob! Gulp!

Brgh (reprovingly): Now now, Argh, chew your food. Else how will our molars evolve?

Argh: True true. Ok sweetums, Argh is off to work. I'll get a tender baby dino for dinner, see if I don't. Where's my stone stick?

Brgh: Here dearie. I wish you had one of those steel clubs ... it's stronger.

Argh: My impatient sweetums, maybe I'll call you impatientums, wait a couple of thousand years and maybe iron will be discovered. Then we can make those steel clubs. Ok, Argh off!

Gah: Brgh stares at her hero, hands clasped, under-evolved irises shining, as Argh swaggers away into the sunrise with his stone stick and his Amex credit card.

As Argh walks along leafy meadows and shady glens, he sees Crgh milking a rhododendron.

Argh: Hi jaanu! C'mere gimme a kiss.

Crgh: Eugh!! You look like you haven't had your annual bath yet.

Argh: Tchah, I've put on T-Rex-ona deo naa. C'mere gimme a kiss.

Crgh: You dumb mammal, don't you know the Council of Stonehenge has introduced a new sexual harassment code of conduct in this prehistoric workplace? Then there're these hot new concepts called monogamy and fidelity ...

Argh: Argh!

Gah: So Argh trundles off in a huff and, in a fit of temper, bashes the brains out of a friendly dodo, thus rendering the species brainless and liable to extinction. By the time Argh returns home, it is sunset.

Argh: Brgh, Argh has returned home and it is sunset.

Gah: Argh plonks his hefty unevolved bottom onto a rough hewn stone and stares blankly at the wall with glassy eyes and mouth hanging open.

Brgh: Hi jaan! What're you looking so stupidly at?

Argh: The blank wall where, had I been born after Charlie Chaplin, there'd have been a television set with multiple channels in colour. So what'd you do today?

Brgh: Oh the usual ... some shopping, some backbiting about the neighbours, some drawing with charcoal on walls. Thank God we haven't discovered fire, else I'd also have been expected to cook! By the way, Abel is home from school.

Argh: This is my son in who I am well pleased. So son-in-who-I-am-well-pleased, what'd you learn in school today?

Abel: Hi dad. Hi readers. I'm Abel, and boy am I able. Today we learnt about two great futurorical people. The first guy will prove evolution through his famous book "Origin of Species", which I heard as "Oranges and Peaches" and which Cain heard as "Aurangzeb's Speeches". This guy's name will be a very impressive 'Charles Darwin'. The second guy will disprove evolution through his famous prehistorical play, "Evolution in a Day". His name will be a very unimpressive 'Gah'.

Argh: Gah? Gah?? Wow, that's a word even I can pronounce! Ok, Drgh shall be followed by Gah. Golly, I'm lagging behind in my procreating timetable. Hey this Gah sounds like a mighty interesting character. Like a higher and more evolved spiritual being. I feel like singing his paeans day and night. Of course, that's also because he's the narrator and he's standing behind these curtains and threatening to wallop me with my stone stick if I criticize him, the dumb ass. So son, what else did you learn?

Abel: Well, Gah will live his life under the pseudonym 'Suhail'. We learnt this nursery rhyme ...

Oh our darling blogger Suhail
Has many a tale to tell
And though they aren't too swell
At least they aren't as bad as hell !!

We also learnt that Neanderthal man is older than Cro-magnon man, which means mum is older than you by, like, a few millenia. Later we'll stand straight and scientists will name us Homo Erectus. Then we'll develop the opposable thumb so we can control the TV remote better, then we'll be called Homo Sapiens, what a dumb name isn't it. The pinnacle of evolution will come when some people who will call their land 'USA' will chuck their aged helpless parents into old age homes, kick their kids out the moment they turn 18, drop bombs on all other countries, and live happily and all alone ever after.

Argh: Wow, thankfully we're not that evolved yet. Ok son, now have dinner, see I've got thick-upper-lip-smacking bashed dodo brain for us. Then say your prayers and off to bed. Nitey-nite !!

Darwin's ghost (in background): Hey 20,004 BC was kinda like 2004 AD !! Et tu, evolution?

Gah: And so the sun sets on yet another ordinary day in the life of our typical hominid ancestors ...

* And here endeth the Prehistorical Play *

Monday, September 06, 2004 

The Weekend That Was, WWW and Animalspeak

Another good Mumbai-centric weekend.

Saturday being an off, lunch was a very "prawny" affair at Sahibaan. Saw Fida in the evening. Quite a Hitchcockian movie, though weak in parts, especially when Shahid woos Kareena in such an unrealistic manner, and the oh-too-frequent bits where the protagonist and antagonist lose it and start bashing each other up. Ken Ghosh looks all set to be the answer to Ram Gopal Verma's mindspace monopoly (is he Ramu's protege btw?), but to have the same panache as Ramu, he needs to focus on subtlety rather than the crudeness that kept cropping up in parts. The movie's pretty good nonetheless.

Went to Chand Sports to buy some dumbbells to chisel my biceps. (Yes people, don't laugh 'cos it's true.) But they were out of stock. Sigh. Now all ye people know who to blame if I don't resemble Guv'nor Schwarznegger -- Chand Sports. Talk of them getting negative word-of-blog publicity.

Stopped at Mocha's to get info about their Backpackers' Club. Alas, the only brochures they had was of their Dog Lovers' Club. Took home some copies, at least the dog photos were sweet.

Sunday morning was our monthly visiting day. Mum and moi visited Majlee dadi, the B's, and KCK. By lunchtime, moi was so stuffed to the gills with snacks that reluctantly decided to skip lunch and take a consolatory nap instead.

After a Panipuri-and-Frankie-roll stopover on Linking Road, the gang went to the play "Uncle Samjha Karo" on Sunday evening. It was mindblowingly hilarious !! We just couldn't stop rolling around in our seats throughout the admittedly longish 200-minute performance. The script by Dinyar Contractor is rib-tickling and Paritosh Painter's direction is superb. Highly recommended.

FF is coming down from the US today evening, hopefully with bagfuls of chocolates. Luckily tomorrow's a holiday, so can spend time with the family.

Nsoi :)


It's been vindicated by History. Ever since Eve enticed Adam into nibbling at a healthy snack, ever since Cleopatra's nose launched a thousand Roman Galleons, ever since Queen Marie Antonette wanted to nourish her poor French peasants with cake, we men have always wondered WWW (What Women Want). Rather, most of the time we're going, WDHDTDAFWRWAA (What Da Heck Do These Dopey And Freaky Women Really Want After All) ? Come to think of it, the same question holds for cats too. As in, "What Do Cats Think?"

So here's the thought processes behind the WDHDTDAFWRWAA theory ...

Dogs think: Men give us food and water. They give us shelter and security. They give us love and care. Truly, Men are Gods.

Cats think: Men give us food and water. They give us shelter and security. They give us love and care. Truly, we Cats are Gods !!!!

Women think: Cats and Women will always do just what they want. Dogs and Men had better just get used to it !!!!

Men think: It's cool. I love all the three aforementioned species nonetheless ...

So who's the best of the lot? My vote goes to Dogs and Men. Any homicidal MCPs out there supporting me??? :)

Sunday, September 05, 2004 

The King of Kings

(An attempt at a short story. Literary license to bend historical facts with impunity may please be granted.)

"My son is the King. King Robert I". That's what Robert James's doting dad would always say. And because Rob's dad was an honourable man, Rob believed him.

Robs' parents had emigrated from Germany to the US after WW-II. Rob was born soon after. Rob's mother was a brilliant but radical German authoress. She had died in childbirth, but the boy survived. It seemed she had passed on her talents to her only child. Rob was a child prodigy. As a precocious child of two, he already spoke in three languages -- his native German, American English, and Hispanic. He could rattle off his times tables until twenty by the time he was four.

The first time he saw a game of chess was when he was six. The wealthy old German neighbour had invited the family to dinner, and after the table had been cleared, had taken out an old chess board and invited Rob's dad to a game. Little Rob sat perched on a little stool, swinging his little legs, watching the game intently, not saying a word even when he saw his dad lose game after game.

At 3 am that night, Rob's dad was disturbed by a sound in the kitchen. He cautiously went down to investigate. What he saw sent a thrill coursing through him. Little Rob was seated at the table. In front of him were thirty-two pieces of cutlery -- sixteen silver, sixteen plastic. They had been arranged in a crude replication of a chessboard. Rob was whistling softly to himself and murmuring continuously under his breath.

The next evening, Rob's dad bought a chess set from the neighbouring Supermarket.

When he sat down that night to teach Rob the basic rules of the game, he was stunned that Rob already knew the fundamentals, simply from observing the previous day's games. Rob was introduced to more advanced concepts that night and the next -- the relative values of the pieces, simple sacrifices, some openings, and basic endgame mating combinations.

On day three, Rob defeated his dad in four consecutive games. On day four, Rob lost two games to their German neighbour, but only because he was not familiar with the intricacies of the Queen's Pawn Gambit Declined. Rob did not sleep that night. On day five, a bleary-eyed Rob thrashed the German neighbour four games to one. He had worked out counter-strategies to both the Sicilian and the Queen's Pawn openings overnight.

The next week, Ron's dad took his little son's hand and walked the five blocks down to the nearest chess club. The Warden of the Alekhine Chess Club, famous in Brooklyn as ACC, was Grandmaster Bruce Pandolfini. He had been US Open Champion three decades earlier, still had Elo Ratings which touched the top thirty in the world, and was known as the "God of the ACC". He brought his beetling bushy eyebrows together and his appearance became even more forbidding when little Ron was brought before him as an aspiring member of the elite ACC.

"How old are you?", he asked Ron grimly.

"Six, sir."

"And since when have you been playing chess?"

"Since last Wednesday, sir."

Pandolfini turned menacingly towards Ron's dad.

"Give him a month's trial, sir", pleaded Ron's dad. "Then you may throw him out. Take my word, he's got something in him."

Pandolfini agreed, though he charged the full year's fee for the month's trial.

As was his custom, Pandolfini walked between rows of competitors in the ACC the next day. His eyes fell on Rob. He walked over and, for thirty minutes, quietly saw him play a promising young prospect thrice his age. At the end of the game, which ended in a bitter stalemate, but only after multiple zugzwang opportunities had been missed by each player, he called Rob to his office.

"Have you really been playing only since last Wednesday, boy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Okay. Come an hour earlier from tomorrow. And come straight to my office."

Thus it was that Grandmaster Bruce Pandolfini became Rob's first and only coach. It had taken him just a day to agree with Rob's dad that there was indeed something in the child.

Rob went from strength to strength. He became World Under 12 Champion when he was eight. At ten, he FIDE conferred upon him the status of International Master. At twelve, they named an opening variation after him. At fourteen, he became the world's youngest grandmaster. He became the youngest winner of the US Open two years later, a title he retained for a record five consecutive years. His academic records indicated an IQ of 180 with an incredibly retentive memory. His USCF rating climbed to a previously untouched 2374, making Rob the greatest chess player in the history of the ancient game.

It did not take him much longer to reach the zenith. At the tender age of twenty four, Rob became the youngest ever World Chess Champion.

His striking good looks, overt aggressiveness and powerful oratory brought popularity to chess which had hitherto been reserved only for baseball and the NBA. Single-handedly, Rob transformed the image of chess from a "drawing-room intellectual pastime" to a gladiatorial combat where, in his own words, "losing a game means losing my identity, being defaced, wiped off the face of the earth. I would much rather kill or be killed than lose a game."

This happy state of affairs terminated abruptly, just two months after Rob had demolished a strong Russian challenge to retain his FIDE World Championship crown. In February 1974, Rob's doting father passed away in his sleep. Rob was heartbroken and went into mourning. Eight months later, in October of the same year, Rob's mentor and coach Bruce Pandolfini died mysteriously.

This back-to-back double blow hit Rob hard. He became a recluse and cut down on his tournament participations. He made no further public appearances and was never seen in public without his personal security cover. It seemed as if Rob was mortally afraid of something ... or someone.

Exactly a year later, Rob vanished.

The public, the media and the police went into a frenzy. Was Rob dead? From all accounts, no. Was he kidnapped? Again, from all accounts, no. Where then was he?

The case was personally taken over by the Director of the FBI. The President of the US paid a high-voltage visit to the FIDE Secretariat in Geneva to discuss the issue. The US Army was deployed thrice to control frenzied mobs who were demanding their idol back.

But Rob was never seen by any living man again.


In the mountains of Ithaca, in Latin America, there is a little triangular valley at the base of three high mountains. The place is virtually inaccessible to mankind. However, if anyone had been observing the valley closely, he would have seen, one fine summer morning, a solitary figure parachuting into the valley from a chopper above.

A closer investigation would have revealed that the figure stayed in the valley for over three months, subsisting off nuts and roots and berries, before perishing of cold and starvation.

And next to the storm-ravaged skeleton of the figure would be found a diary. A secret diary, never seen by any human being save its creator.

The entry dated 12th January 1974 reads ...

"I am the King. King Robert I.

Can I be King while my father is alive? No! How then can I tolerate this man who calls himself my father? I must kill him. I must kill him!!! I will smother his face till he stops breathing ... !!"

The entry dated 12th October 1974 reads ...

"Who is greater than I? No one.

On the chessboard, I am the creator of life. I re-create my depleted army at will by queening my phalanx of pawns.

On the chessboard, I am the the destroyer of life. I can checkmate any living mortal at will.

On the chessboard, I am God.

If I am God, can I have a teacher? No! How then can I tolerate this man who calls himself my teacher? I must kill him. I must kill him!!! I will strangulate him to death ... !!"

The entry dated 17th September 1975 reads ...

"At last! I now have no parents. Nor do I have any teacher. For I am God. I am the King of Kings.

And the Truth is now crystal clear to me. The Truth is that the world has been created for me. I am the King and all this world are Queens, Bishops, Knights, Rooks and Pawns.

But is there anyone worthy of ever succeeding me as the King of Kings? No!

Is there anyone worthy of ever marrying me and becoming my Queen? No!

Is there anyone worthy of ever becoming my Son? Or my Daughter? No!

For I am God.

But I am a lonely God. And this world is undeserving of me.

I feel stifled by the mediocrity, the selfishness, the pungent odor of failure that abounds all around.

I shall not stay here any longer. I must not stay here any longer !!!"

The final entry dated 23rd December 1975 reads ...

"I am the King of Kings. Then why am I feeling so ill and weak and hungry?

Why am I feeling so lonely ... ?

No, I cannot be checkmated. No, I must not lose the game!

For I am God.

I am God.

But why am I feeling so weak?

Oh God, my God, help me. Please help me.

Please ... "

His self-created epitaph reads ...

"Here lies the King of Kings.

Robert James Fischer

Alias Bobby Fischer

World Chess Champion, 1972 - "

Thursday, September 02, 2004 

Making a difference

True stories of people who, despite starting with almost nothing, have made a huge difference to the world we live in and, God willing, will continue making a difference for many many more years.

The Ahmeds and KBET

Afzal and Sakina Ahmed run two NGOs in Ranchi (Jharkhand). These are the Karra Society for Rural Action (KSRA) and the Kalanga Bazar Educational Trust (KBET). KBET was established in 1995. KBET works in urban poverty-stricken areas to help women, children, and disadvantaged communities become empowered through education, health and economic independence. Groups of women organized into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) get all the necessary training, loans, and support to start their own businesses. Poverty-stricken children are receiving non-formal education in 25 centers. KBET has raised women’s awareness of reproductive health, family planning, nutrition and sanitation. KBET is an amazing organization which started from very humble beginnings and is now doing an unbelievable amount of work.

e-ID: kbet@sancharnet.in

Vinayak Lohani and Parivaar

An engineer from IIT Kharagpur and MBA from IIM Calcutta, Vinayak, hailing from a middle class family, opted out of the placement process in IIMC in 2003 to became a full-time social activist. He has single-handedly founded Parivaar, an action group that works for education of children from segments of orphans, children of women in prostitution, and street children.

Ph No: +91-33-3093 6136
e-ID: Parivaar_mission@yahoo.com

Vardan Kabra and Fountainhead

24-year old Vardan Kabra, an alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad, chose to stay out of IIM-A's placement process in 2004 and rejected a pre-placement offer of Rs 7 lakh from Procter and Gamble. Why did this boy from a middle-class family spurn a good offer from a big corporate? Well, Vardan is in the process of setting up a chain of primary schools whose teaching methods will be unique. Vardan has risked comfort and security to live out his dream. He calls his dream "Fountainhead".

Tel.: +91-79-3112 9167
e-ID: info@fountainheadschools.org

I am truly proud and honoured to have known these people personally.

"To give pleasure to a single heart by a single kind act is better than a thousand head-bowings in prayer." -Saadi, poet (c. 1200 AD)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004 

Some this and some that

Went out for dinner to three different joints last night. And what do we gorge ourselves on? Pani puri, sev batata puri, channa patties, cheese pav bhaji and paneer butter masala dosa. MmmmMmm. Fun-tastic. Talk of berserk binging. Why is it that hi-cholesterolic living is invariably so much fun?


Then there was this bus ride I had today morning. Two ladies were trying to get off as a particular station approached. Their way was barricaded by a chubby man.

Ladies: "Bhai sahib, hume utarna hai."
Chubby dude: "Ruko, abhi stop nahin aaya hai."
Lady 1: Pokes chubby dude in tummy with umbrella
Chubby dude: "Ouch !!!"
Lady 2: Shoves chubby dude with all her might
Chubby dude: Goes flying off the bus. Sprints rapidly in direction of bus, and hence avoids falling splat on ground and becoming gooey kablooie ketchup.

Boy, talk of impatient Amazons !!! At least the chubby guy got some exercise.


Just yesterday, one of the senior people in our office, while speaking to a vendor, goes "Don't fly my humour". We're all like, duh? Then one bright spark decodes it -- "Mera mazaak mat udhaao." Lololol :)) Talk of lingua hinglishica.


Some befuddling questions (in decreasing order of seriousness):
  1. How can Kerry possibly lose the forthcoming elections to Bush? Are over 50% Yankees totally insane???
  2. Is it right to give alms to a beggar who is young and healthy and obviously fit enough to work for a living?
  3. Mumbai hasn't witnessed any rains for ten days now. Neither has winter commenced. The sun is shining. And India doesn't have any concept of Autumn. So what in the Met department's holy name is this season we're having???
  4. Do our virtual friends truly exist? Or is it all a plan by a higher intelligence to conquer Terra Firma and enslave our rotting souls???
  5. Does the JJ in JJ Shobha stand for "Jimmi Janum"???

Any answers?