Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's in a name?

My new job doesn’t allow me to write much. Ironically, it provides me with a lot of material to write on. I travel frequently and considering my affinity to bizarre incidents I often find my tours replete with myriad stories of absolute craziness. Here’s short list of the top stories so far:

1. The menu card of my hotel in Ranchi lists coffee under the section – “Stimulating drinks”. This became the hottest joke in my office for some time. So much so that it was difficult to walk across with a cup of coffee in your hand without inviting “I –know-what-you-are-up-to” smiles from colleagues

2. A lodge on the way to Hazaribagh is named “CafĂ© Arson”. I would add a tag line to it – “Walk in only if you have a burning desire”

3. I also came across a small tea stall called – “HIP –SIP”. The name brings indescribably disgusting images to my mind

But what happened today, takes the cake. I am travelling, hungry, dog-tired but I have to write this. So here goes:

After an early breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast and a cup of my favourite stimulating drink, I was waiting for my driver to take the car out of the parking when this man on a bike stopped by and asked – “ Yeh Chutia kidhar hai?” ( Where is this Chutia?)

For the uninitiated let me explain here that the word “Chutiya” is a slang in Hindi which means something synonymous to “stupid”, “foolish”, “idiot” and at times even “disgusting”. Honestly speaking, the word is quite unique and does not have a counterpart in English. It is one of the most widely used Hindi slangs across and I haven’t met a soul yet who hasn’t heard of it. However, no one has ever been able to define it accurately. At least not so far.

So when this guy threw this question at me, I was reasonably sure that I had heard him wrong. With my “sahib” type sophistication, I expressed my inability to decipher his question by raising my brows and moving my ear closer to him. He repeated – “Arey yeh chutia kidhar hai?” I was now sure that I had heard him right and considering this an assault on my decency, I quickly changed my “sorry-I-didn’t-get-you” expression to the best “WTF” expression I could twist my face into. However, Mr.Bike wasn’t moving on without an answer and stood there with a bovine expression on his face, looking at me intently.

My two years of MBA has trained me never to be without answers. A true marketer always has some bullshit to offer so I gave the most generic and yet fitting answer I could come up with. With a philosopher’s look and an expression akin to a man who was beyond the realms of the material world, I replied – “Kahin bhi ho sakta hai” (Could be anywhere). In one swift movement, his expressions changed and suddenly he was the personification of a question mark. I was preparing myself for the next round of assault when my driver appeared to mediate. He spoke to the guy, gave him some directions and got him going. The only logical though unbelievable conclusion I could draw was that there was a really famous fool in the city and everyone knew where to find him. My driver – Munda – was quick to understand my confusion and explained, “Sir yeh Ranchi ke area ka naam hai”. I couldn’t believe it. A place called Chutia??? I changed my plans for the next two hours and asked Munda to take me to there. Seeing is believing.

After a 30 minute drive we reached. A government building proudly displayed its address as “New market, Chutia”. As we moved through the area, I realized that the place had quite a metropolitan feel to it. The area was divided into “Upper Chutia”, “Lower Chutia” and even “New Chutia”.

An unmanned railway crossing read, “Caution: Chutia crossing ahead”. I thought it would be wonderful to have such a sign on display when absolute nuts crossed roads in Delhi. I asked Munda to turn the car around and take us back to office. As we moved out of the area, we passed by the police station with a big red and blue board that read – “Chutia police thana”. I chuckled at the thought of what one might expect to find inside the building; a Chutia police inspector perhaps.

Later in the day, when Munda dropped me at the railway station, I asked him to find out why the place was named so. He looked embarrassed but promised to find it out for me when I visited next. Till then, I am going to tell myself that I am really fortunate that my address doesn’t pass a judgment on my personality. Thank you Municipal Corporation, Noida.

Disclaimer: I prefer to abstain from slangs and expletives. However, the subject matter of the post leaves me with little option. So if this offends you, the blame is on whoever named the place.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Have Moved

Hey! If you are of those very few who have found my banter worthwhile, you might want to know that I have shifted base here.
My new blog has almost all the good stuff from Banter and a lot more. I have been trying to figure out the reason for the move but haven't been able to come up with something that sounds intelligent so I am calling it a secret.

Love always,

The Blah Man

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Found this on Youtube. Hilarious :D

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Music to everyone's ears!

I have been extremely fascinated by the myriad social media platforms that have come up. A whole lot of these are ofcourse quite avoidable but once in a while there is something that completely sweeps me off my feet. is one such site. answers the question - " What song do you want to play?" Simply put, It allows users to turn DJs and play their favorite songs. These songs appear on the user's profile as well as on a public timeline (similar to Twitter) So if you logged in to your account you would see a timeline of all the blips from people across the world; in effect giving you an access to the most diverse music collection you could have imagined!

But that's not all. Besides listening to the songs, you also get to enjoy the videos as has an integrated Youtube feature!

Here is a list of "what else" you can do-
  1. Create your own playlist. Simply click on the "Home" tab and listen ( and watch) all the songs that you have Blipped. These songs (Blips) also appear on the public timeline so that others get to know the kind of music you are listening to and enjoy it too.
  2. Search other DJs (users) with similar music tastes and listen to their playlists
  3. Link your Blips to you blog. Every time you Blip, your blog gets updated! A treat to your readers :)
  4. Publish your Blips directly on your Twitter timelines , Facebook updates or Friendfeed accounts
  5. Dedicate songs to other users
The fact that is built on the Twitter platform makes it extremely simple and a delight to use.

There's much more, but it's more fun to find it out yourself :) I would say - TRY IT!

The Wah Man


Just figured out that I have a saner side too ( Yay!). Now the problem is that the saner side wants to write sane stuff and it would be sacrilege to do anything like that here. So after much deliberation I have decided to allow my alter ego to publish here. Just so that any of the readers dont feel cheated, all the posts by my alterego would be signed - The Wah Man

The Blah Man

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tips on celebrity handling

I consider myself very lucky when it comes to meeting celebrities. I have met them in shopping malls, gymnasiums, on the road, on the beach, in the middle of traffic, at restaurants and coffee shops, at airports, in airplanes even in the buses from the terminal to the aircraft. One might ask – “ So whats the big deal!” I say, it is a big deal. In a country where people are so obsessed with celebrities that they worship them, it is a big deal to run into celebrities every now and then. In fact the frequency at which I have bumped into them has made me feel like quite a celebrity magnet.

So that technically establishes me as the expert on celebrity encounters and hence I have decided to share a few tips on how to handle celebrity presence. If you think you are too suave to be reading anything like this, you can quickly save this post on your computer and read it in private when you are sure no body is watching you ( some places that assure you privacy are – the restrooms, your neighborhood library, the graveyard and your office’s conference room)

Here we go:

Tip 1: Never balk when you spot a celebrity. The trick is to continue to walk even after having spotted them and then strategically sit down to tie your shoe laces while you watch/admire/ogle them. In case your shoes do not have shoe laces or you aren’t really wearing shoes, you can still pretend to be tying your shoe laces because it’s the celebrity and not you who has all the eyeballs

Tip 2: If you feel like looking at the celeb for a longer time, the shoe lace trick might not really work. While you can continue to keep tying your shoe laces alternatively repeatedly, you can not do it for more than a couple of minutes. Also, you run the risk of being fallen over by people who are walking around with their heads turned towards the celeb and tripping over you. Your mobile phone works beautifully in this situation. Place yourself strategically so that the celeb is well within sight and then pretend to talk on your mobile phone while casually, yet intently fixing your gaze on the target. Make sure you have turned it to the silent mode to avoid embarrassment due to friends who always call at the wrong time. The call can continue for as long as you want to. Animated gestures and intermittent laughter lend greater credibility to this act

Tip 3: A lot of us might want to look at them up close. The mobile phone trick wouldn’t work here because you are obviously talking gibberish on the phone and would prefer to stay out of the hearing zone of the celeb and their companions. If you spot a celeb in a coffee shop or a restaurant, take the seat close to them. Ideally a seat at an angle of elevation of 45 degrees is apt for such a mission. I have demonstrated that in the diagram below for a quick reference.

Diagram: Celebrity and You at a 45 degree angle of elevation

There is a strong probability that the celeb would be visited by other celebs and you don’t want to miss the opportunity of getting two birds with one stone! Order the cheapest drink in the menu so that a refill doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. You could also order a sandwich and finish it really slowly… then, after you’ve had the sandwich, kill your time by licking the sauce. It comes for free so you can always ask for more.

Tip 4: This one is for those who want to go a step ahead and actually strike a conversation with the celeb. This isn’t easy considering the fact that you might have AWE written all over your face. So the trick is to act as normal as you can strike a casual conversation with something like- “Could you please help me with the time?” and then follow it up with - “ Hey ! I know you.. Are you from the silver screen?” Or if that sounds too obvious then go with- “Excuse me, I think you are on my seat” and then create a row. Celebrities like overwhelming people with their presence but they also hate negative publicity. More often than not, they would try to press upon you who they are and this is the opportunity you need to grab. Here’s how the conversation should materialize:

You: Excuse me, I think you are on my seat...

Celeb: Sorry? But I found this unoccupied..

You: You mean to say I am lying? You want me to prove I am right? Do you want me to call everyone in the coffee shop to come and testify?? Is anyone listening? This person has taken my seat! .. Police!

Celeb: (In panic) He.. hello.. excuse me .. I think you are getting it all wrong.. you see I am Kaifreena Kat.. the filmstar…

You: Well yeah? You expect me to believe that? Let’s see your signature… I know Kaifreena Kat’s signatures…. Here.. write something on this tissue .. something like – “ I loved having coffee with you – Love Kaifreena” and then sign..

The celeb would weigh her options and then obviously would see this as an easier way out. She would sign on the tissue and there you go.. an all personalized autograph that you can brag about to your friends!

Tip 5: I call this tip - paparazzo panache. As the name indicates, this one is for fans who not only want to see celebs but also want to click them. Now celebs are really weary of cameras (for obvious reasons) so the trick here is to be as secretive as possible with the act. Two possible ways to do this effectively:

Sit at a right angle to the celeb and pretend to talk on your phone. With the phone pressed to the ear facing the celeb, click the camera button to capture the celeb at the right moment. This might take some practice but it is an easier ruse to pull off

If your phone/camera has a timer, fix the timer for around 5 seconds and toss it towards the celeb. The trajectory should be such that the camera should be right in front of the celebrity while on its projectile motion downwards. I would recommend this only for physicists or engineers since a successful execution required complex mathematical calculations

I would strongly recommend against asking the celeb to pose for a picture because I believe in taking natural photographs like this one:

A celeb in a natural pose

Finally, you might want to make one lasting impression on the celeb before either you or she/he leaves. My suggestion is present her/him with one of the following:

Emptied sachets of the ketchup you licked

Crumbs of the sandwich you devoured

The last few sips of the cappuccino you had

These are not the kind of gifts they would normally get so you are bound to make a lasting impression.

A word of caution though - Make sure you bolt after making the offering. I am saying this for the simple reason that I have never stayed back to see what happens if you don’t run. Good Luck.


The Blah Man

Friday, July 3, 2009


It's funny what Chennai heat and customer care executives can do to one's mental state. While all this while I have had bouts of insanity dealing with the servicing team of my erstwhile refrigerator and mobile phone, a friend elevated herself to the next level. She wrote a letter to her boyfriend amidst the frustration of several rounds of futile interactions with the customer care team of a leading telecom company. I am reproducing the content of the letter here. Let this be the benchmark of frustration and the subsequent vent-out of the most effective kind.


Subject: Airtel.Is not my friend.

Dear J,

After incessant follow up, submitting documents, running around in the Chennai heat to go to the nearest Airtel showroom, which happens to be at the annoying distance of ‘too far to walk to in this heat, too close for an auto to let go of the chance to be an total chor’, Airtel finally pretends they have received no documents from me and have disconnected my number altogether.

Why baby. Why would they do this.

I am now beyond rage, which is normal when you don’t have a face to target it at. I do however pity the customer care executive who will come face to face with me this evening at the Airtel showroom. He has no idea I cry when I’m angry.

Should be fun.

In recent service awards based on research by Frost and Sullivan, Airtel was declared the best service provider in India. Imagine that. In the whole country baby.

If ever there was a good reason to immigrate..

..And to think, I almost applied to Frost and Sullivan when they were recruiting on campus. Clearly, they are completely retarded and have no idea how to interpret data.

In fact, they might just be inefficient enough to find a job at Airtel.

I will now log off. I will think positive. I will go to Airtel. I will be calm and I will find a good customer care executive who will help me sort this out in no time and my number will be up and running and I shall have no further problems with Airtel for the duration of my time here…

.. and then little fairies will find me and I shall fly with them into the night and take over the world.

Much love.

P.S I have taken S's permission to put this up. She and I both believe that this will serve as a pathbreaking example on How to handle EIICS syndrome( Extreme Insanity due to Issues of Customer Service.Pronounced: Eeeeks!)

The Blah man