Sunday, 29 April 2012

What stuff is humour made of?

Many times, I have wondered, What makes humour or rather What stuff makes humour? What ticks people and why do we laugh at some jokes while finding the others stale and worthless. There was a time when I didn't take very well at those who laughed and laughed. I always assumed that those who laugh all the time are people who can never do anything serious. I despised such people. Now, don't think that I did not enjoy a good laugh. I did. I laughed too but not all the time. As I am growing older, I have realised that laughing is a great thing. Now, even at the slightest pretext, I can laugh with reckless abandon. But what makes humour humour? No, it wasn't a typos. What tingles the mind to laugh away? Across the board, I have observed that humour associated with sexual innuendos are the ones which make people laugh and laugh. Now, when I say sexual innuendos, don't get over-imaginative about explicit scenes. One can even refer to a simple comment which is sexual but in the garb of an innuendo! One needs to be extremely creative and witty when it comes to innuendos.

Now, why does sex create so much laughter. IT has to be the last thing that causes laughter as it is something intimate and personal but that's not the case. I guess it's also a universal phenomenon -- every country's citizens bond and laugh over jokes on sexuality. As much as it amazes me, I have to agree that I also seem to laugh at jokes which are aimed at the groin. I wonder why. Of course, there are many topics which provoke laughter but every other topic boils down to sex and sexuality. It is also quite strange because as a country, India has to come a long way in accepting that talking about sex and sexuality is not taboo. Inspite of topics on sex being taboo, jokes on sexuality is not taboo -- right from the naughty aunty who teases the newly married woman to the girl in the fourth grade who laughs when she sees two dogs in heat, everyone seems to enjoy laughing when it comes to intimacy.

The surprise or rather shock factor is doubled when I see the West also enjoying the same topics inspite of sex not being a taboo subject. Many Hollywood movies have men (single and married) enjoying a joke or two while bonding with their friends and sometimes even colleagues. Sometimes spouses also partake in laughter over jokes on sex.

I find it quite amusing and relaxing to find that atleast in jokes we discuss the taboo openly albeit in innuendos!!

Well, laughter is good, no matter how :)

So, what's your take on this?

Image: Internet

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

How long?!?!?

The day someone advised me to save water (now, this is a very long long time ago), I started using water judiciously. Inspite of sometimes spending that extra little time gambolling in water, my guilty inner mind quickly makes me come away. Somehow the thought, "What if the water table depletes and invariably my action was one reason for the depletion" causes me to save water in whichever way I can. But I cannot help thinking, How do I know that my small actions of saving water are indeed useful? Am I validated in my saving water? How long should I do this? While pondering over these questions, I don't seem to get any plausible answers.

The same goes for saving paper, power, etc.. Somebody told me that any plug shouldn't be allowed to remain in the socket after use. I religiously follow that advice till date. When I try to pass on the information to my cousins and friends, they laugh me off. The very sight of chargers clinging to the sockets after use, drives me into a frenzy. Sometimes I wonder why I do these things so very religiously. Do I do them because I believe that my small actions will bring about a change or Do I do them because I ought to do them. But the word change in this context always petrifies me. Does the change really happen? Saving half a bucket of water -- Does it bring any change at all? I can hear many of you jumping up and saying, Ofcourse, it matters but how do you know. Maybe one should just believe that it will make a change but the word believe also means that the chances are 50-50! The words believe, trust and hope have an iota of uncertainity in them. Don't they? But still we hope, trust and believe that we saving that water would help in some way. And that disconnecting that charger after use will help in some way.

It is indeed frustrating doing things that we are unsure of but still do it anyway because it seems right and ethical. Now, how is ethics connected to saving water, I wonder.

Have elements of doubt accosted you while you were just thinking that you will spend an extra five minutes in the bath allowing yourself to enjoy the water? Please assure me that I'm not alone in thinking so.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Thursday, 19 April 2012

An ode to the paneer soda

After reading the summer post here, I was tempted to write something about my summer memories and also pay tribute to a drink that was completely washed away by the coming of Coca Cola and Pepsi. As teenagers, summer was special because it meant holidays among other things. On the last day of school, we would be eagerly awaiting the last exam's completion so that we could treat ourselves to a drink of Paneer soda and some candies. The name 'paneer' can be roughly translated as sweet. The drink comes in a bottle which has a ball in the mouth and one has to pop the ball to drink the sweet soda. For a sum of 75 paise, we could get a bottle of that soda. Along with that soda, we bought some cocoa toffees for Rs. 2 and that was our special treat.

The soda was a symbol of eternal joy for us as it meant the last day of our exam and also meeting our friends. Sometimes, if we had more money to spare, we would indulge ourselves and buy two bottles. We didn't have many choices of drinks those days. We could opt for a Paneer soda or Rose milk. We mostly preferred the soda as it was cool, sweet and also was slightly aerated. As we entered College, the drink slowly started fading away. The giant MNCs Coke and Pepsi entered the market, slowly wiping away the humble Paneer soda. There followed a complete colonisation of all local drinks like Paneer soda, Kalimark Bovonto and others.

Paneer soda (Can you see the ball in the mouth of the bottle?)

Paneer soda was something local and hence one could find it in every place -- even the smallest of the shops had Paneer soda and it was available for a very cheap price. One did not have to plan to buy a paneer soda. You felt like having some, you immediately bought it. The small treats changed big time after Coke made an entry. One had to have enough money if the treat was to include Coke and Pepsi. By the time we completed our under-graduation, there was no sign of Paneer sodas anywhere in Chennai.

Surprise of surprises!!! When I came to the place where I am presently staying, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Paneer soda still existed here. Last week, I bought a bottle and heartily consumed it while simultaneously thinking of past summers, sticky hands and cocoa toffees. Breathless,  I also took some time out to narrate my experience to the shop-keeper who was quite sure that I was some being that was delirious and slightly soft in the head.

So, what are your vivid memories of past summers that you cannot seem to enjoy in the present.

Image: Internet

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The state of the STATE

First off, I would like to thank you for the wonderful responses on my last post. I felt humbled and honoured. Now for today's post.

For the past month and a half, the state of Tamil Nadu has been reeling under acute power shortage. Except for Chennai, all the other places have power cuts which run upto ten hours and the place where I stay is no different. This state has taken all of us to the dark ages when there was no power and life was very simple. Well, in the present we are in the dark albeit the simple life. I had imagined that I was someone who could adjust to any situation rather easily. But this time, I have succumbed to the situation. I have lost my cool and peace.

I know that this post is a rather glorified rant but I still want to go with it. I cook, dress up and even sleep without power. The nights have become dreadful with the menacing mosquitoes on one hand and the slowly dripping sweat on the other. People advice us to buy an inverter but somehow we have been resisting the purchase. Looks like we have to go for one.

Candle-light dinners have become common-place but without any romance. In fact, the candles remind me of the lack of power and hence the situation becomes worse. Home has ceased to be a place which comforts, sustains and empowers. The soothing powers of the home seem distant and I dread staying at home due to the power cuts.

I just cannot imagine as to how there is such a shortage in the state of Tamil Nadu. Whether it is a hype or something else, I cannot know. But I know one thing: I am slowly on the verge of collapse. Psychologically, one looks up at the clock every second, wondering whether the time for the scheduled power cut has arrived. Due to the power cuts, sometimes we are unable to have continuous water connection. The lack of water brings to a stop many vital needs/chores that have to be attended to.

All over the world, Earth hours are celebrated but we are lucky enough not to celebrate any. We have  Earth hours every single day. In fact, I feel, Tamil Nadu is the best example to follow when it comes to saving power.

Let me give you the details of the power cuts:
Morning: 6 to 9; Afternoon: 12 to 3; Evening: 6 to 7, 8 to 9; Night: 12 to 01 and 3 to 4.

Well, I am tired and exhausted trying to schedule my work according to the power cut schedule. Sometimes I give up but then it causes several other problems almost like a domino effect.

I am reading Robinson Crusoe in prep for my MA classes. When I read of his survival in that lonely island for so many years, my problems seem nothing. The timing cannot be more perfect :)

What do you think?

Image: Internet

Monday, 9 April 2012

A question for you

For a long time this has been on my mind. I wanted to ask a question to my readers on their blog (and also mine!).

So here it goes:

What thoughts would you like a first-time reader of your blog to leave with as he/she leaves your page.

What thoughts did you leave with when you first read my posts here (If the first time was long ago, then you can recall any thoughts that you leave with while you leave my webpage)

Waiting to hear from you . . .

Image: Internet

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Good music that accompanies a book review

It has been a long time since I have posted something on a book that I have read. Well, the last time I did something like that was in October and the book was Tolkien's eternal favourite The Lord of the Rings. So here I am with a review or rather an observation (many observations) about a recent book I happened to read and also enjoy.

I have always imagined as to how the world would be without women and those thoughts never found any strong base. The imaginations would fizzle off for I could not bring myself to imagine a world without women. But the writer Manjula Padmanabhan has done a brilliant work of creating a fictious world in her novel, Escape, where she describes a place where there are no women, save one. The story belongs to the realm of science-fiction and Padmanabhan has intricately woven her way through gadgets, technology and futuristic weapons.

The thought that was born in my imagination about a time when there will be no women was given shape by the writer. In fact, I found a kindred spirit in her thought of basing a story in a land of no women. The only girl in the novel is a young child (later girl) named Meiji who is carefully hidden by three brothers who are called Eldest, Middle and Youngest. The greatest fear of the brothers is that the General, who is like a ruler of the country, would find out about the existence of the girl. The entire story revolves around how the brothers take care of the only surviving girl child and safe-guard her from the General.

I have never read many woman authors who have ventured into science-fiction and hence the discovery of Padmanabhan came as a pleasant surprise. In fact, this is the first sci-fi I am reading that is written by a woman.
Manjula Padmanabhan

Well, the title of the post also mentioned 'Good music' and ever since I have laid my hands on this wonderful music by a Japanese new age instrumental group called S.E.N.S., which stands for Sound, Earth, Nature and Spirit, I return to them whenever I need to escape the reality of the everyday humdrum of life. The piece Be As You Were When We Met always makes me nostalgic for something I have never experienced. I yearn for something and some place to where I have never ever been except in my thoughts. So here is the video:

Well, I hope the good music transported you and Padmabhan's novel intrigued you. I also welcome you to share your favourite music that moves you to tears whenever you hear the same.

The music is dedicated to all my readers who I cherish and savour. 

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet


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