Friday, October 30, 2009

What (c)rap!

I took this video atop the Prudential Tower in Boston of two immigration officers rapping about American citizenship. I'm not quite sure if they meant this to be serious stuff, but it's T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E and H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S at the same time!

I've typed out the "lyrics" below the video.

"So you want to be US citizen?
No problem, step up to Immigration!
Before you become part of the US of A
Now you and I shall complete a little survey.
Don't be insulted, it's just a few questions.
But people must be consulted
Through what we call the constitution.
We might look tough, we might make you angry.
But we do this stuff to protect our home and country.
Who are you? Where are you from?
Where have you been? What have you done?
We need to know about you, that's no big fuss.
And you also need to learn about us.
What's your date of birth and address?
What's the Congress?
Are you crazy, violent or running away?
Are you trying to get in illegally?
Who's the father of this country?
Do you know what is Flag Day?
Are you a drug trafficker?
Do you have a social security number?
Now what is the declaration of Independence?
Are you ready to pledge allegiance?
Have you been declared legally incompetent?
Now do you know who was the first president?
Have you been a patient in a mental institution?
Can you talk about the constitution?
Have you been to war against the US of A?
Are you ready to fight for your new country?
What do you know about our history?
What are Texas, Delaware and New Jersey
In this country do you know anybody?
Where are you going? Got any money?
In God we trust, So in return you must
have good intentions to be part of our great nation
It's the home of the brave, the land of the free
The world that's great, the land of opportunity
It's a privilege to become a citizen
It's a privilege to be called an American!"


I think I should write one for Singapore! ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A flour-y tale

So we're at the supermarket when Viv gets into 'Viv mode'. It's the mode when he grins to himself so hard you know he's bursting to tell one of his "jokes". So I decide to put him out of his misery.

Me - All right, fine. Out with it.

Viv (grinning) - What do you call flour that has no parents?

Me - Huh? Flour that has no parents?? What the..?!

Viv (grinning harder) - Come on. Tell me. What do you call flour that has no parents?

Me - I.. don't know!

Viv points to something. I look in that direction and what do I see?


Monday, October 26, 2009

(S)no(w) kidding

So I was having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (as an ardent fan of the show 'The Big Bang' theory, I simply had to go there for a matha-teko when I was in the US), when this waiter said to me, "So it's gonna snow on Friday, eh?"

"Huh?" Was my very friendly response.

"I heard that it's gonna snow on Friday!" He said, excitedly.

"You heard that it's gonna snow on Friday???" I asked.

"Yeah, isn't that awesome?"

"Hahahaha!" I laughed. My exact thoughts were: People in the US are so funny. They like to talk so much, they'll say anything!

He gave me a "Have-you-gone-mad-you-already-insane-woman-I'm-serious-and-I'm-hurt-by-your-laughing' look. (Yeah, that's one complicated look.)

"Err... Wait, you're not kidding me?!" I asked.

"No! It's gonna snow on Friday!"

"Serious? You believe that??" Pardon me, but I have never been big on weather forecasts.


He went on to tell me that he was from Florida and he had just moved to Boston the day before. He had never seen snow in his life and was really excited about Friday.

I cast aside all thoughts of taking his menu and gently patting his head with it in a 'Oh you poor poor dhakkan' gesture. I didn't want to break his heart. He looked so earnest and sincere, believing that it was going to snow in the middle of fall. Believing that one could forecast on Wednesday that it would snow on Friday. In the middle of October.

"Well, I hope you get your snow on Friday!" I said to him, as I left.

"Thanks!" He smiled.

Oh the poor poor guy, I thought to myself. Was he in for a disappointment or what.


So when I opened the window that Friday morning and looked out, here's why I couldn't stop smiling.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sabka rab ek hai

One of the bar's bewdas TMaYaD sent me this really cool video. A contestant at Taiwan Super Idol sings a Hindi song 'Tujh mein rab dikhta hai'.

Watch it. It's adorable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making the connection

"Hi, Aish!!!!" I was ecstatic. I was looking at my niece after almost 3 years! The last time I had seen her she was 6 months old and I was trying to teach her John Abraham 101.

Baby Aish gave me a confused look.

I was heartbroken.

"Don't you recognise me, baby???" I asked.

No answer. She gave me an uncertain look.

"Why doesn't she recognise me????" I asked my sister.

"She was a baby when she last saw you." Smiled my sister.

"But she speaks to me on the phone every day!"

"But she hasn't seen you in 3D. She has seen your pictures and heard your voice. We need to connect all of it."


"There's a process."

"A process??"

"Yes. Watch."

My sister took out a photo album of Aish's baby pictures.

"She loves looking at her baby pictures. She looks at these pictures every other day."

She flipped through the album and stopped at a picture of a 3-day-old Aish and me.

"Who is this, Aish?" She pointed at Aish in the picture.

"This is me!" She said.

"And who is this?" My sister pointed at me in the picture.

"Mausi!" said Aish promptly (and quite happily, I must add).

"Good!" said sister. "And who is this?" She pointed at me. The 3D me.

Aish looked at me, still a bit confused. My sister pointed to the picture again. Aish looked at the picture, then at me, then at the picture, assessing carefully.

Suddenly, she pointed to the picture and then at me, and yelled out gleefully, "Same same! Matching matching!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The synop-sis

My sister has always told me that I should visit her in fall. I kept telling her that I would but never really did anything. To travel to 'the other side of the world' is big stuff and needed some serious planning. So when I was asked to go on a business trip to Boston, I almost fell off my chair in disbelief. My manager readily approved a week's leave after the trip for me to visit my sister. I hadn't seen her in 3 years! The last time I saw baby Aish was when she was an infant and now she was a walking talking machine. It was time to show her that Mausi did not live inside the telephone. And of course, I decided it would be more fun not to tell my sister I was coming but to suddenly turn up at her doorstep. (Disclaimer: When I said I was retiring from the surprise business, it referred to birthday surprises only.) Of course, I had to take my bro-in-law into confidence to ensure she'd be at home when I turned up.

"But she'll get mad at me when she finds out that I knew but I didn't tell her!" He said.


"You know her... she'd say 'But the house is so dirty!' and 'I didn't cook anything special!' and all that. And then she'd cry."

"Okay, I'll take care of all that and take all the blame. Please don't tell her anything, okay?"

"Okay." He agreed.

The same evening, my sister called me up and said something that made me jump.

"So... do you prefer chicken or mutton?"


"Do you prefer chicken or mutton?"

"Why are you suddenly asking me that???"

"Nothing... just like that."


So I sent my bro-in-law an email, "You told her???"

"Of course not!" was his reply.

Hmmm... I was a bit sceptical but decided to trust him anyway.

So I landed in the US and earnestly did all the presentations and meetings, and did not think of the vacation part of the trip until I was done. Soon all the work ended and I was all set, waiting for my bro-in-law to pick me up from my hotel and drive me home. The plan was for me to turn up at her door, ring the bell and keep the video camera on when she answered it.

As I came out of my hotel, bro-in-law told me he also had to pick up a friend who was waiting just around the corner. We started walking and next thing I see - my sis and baby Aish are walking towards us!

"JEEJU!!!!!!!! DOUBLE-CROSS!!!!!!!!" was my first thought.

And that's when I realised that my sister was totally oblivious of me walking towards her! Bro-in-law had planned things such that we sisters just bumped into each other on the street.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE????????????????" yelled out my sister in utter disbelief, while I looked around to see where bro-in-law had disappeared. There he was, in a corner, clicking and grinning away.

"Phew. No one can yell at me now. It's a double-surprise!" He said.


As we got into the car, my predictable sister's exact words were, "But the house is so dirty! And I didn't cook anything special!" while bro-in-law and I guffawed. Aish joined us too, though she wasn't quite sure why.

I had not even told my parents I was going to pull this one because my sister calls them up every day and I was sure Mom would have unintentionally blurted something out. So the next step of the plan was to break the news to Mom and Dad.

So my sister set up a conference call with my parents and Viv (Viv was jumping out and down when he told me to make sure he was in the call when we told the parents). Mom thought it was one of our regular conference calls with Viv and me in Singapore and my sister in the US. So I told Aish to break the news to her grandma.

"Aish, say - Grandma, Mausi is playing football with me." I prompted.

Aish said it, but with six people on the line all trying to speak at the same time, all my Mom heard was "Playing football."

"You're playing football, Aish? Very good." She said.


Bro-in-law prompted her again, "Aish, say - Grandma, Mausi is playing football with me in America."

Once again, all that got through was "Playing football with me in America!" which amused my Mom to no end. "What is she saying? Ha ha ha!" She laughed.

We were all getting really impatient. We asked everyone to be quiet and prompted Aish once again. By then, I guess she was really irritated and she said, "Grandma is playing football with me in America!" causing all of us to howl in laughter.

"What is happening? I am so confused." said my Mom. "Why is everyone laughing?"

And that's when we realised we needed someone credible to tell her the real deal. From the entire group, only Viv and bro-in-law were eligible. So bro-in-law got everyone to be quiet again and told Mom in detail about how I had surprised sis.

And then Mom said the words that caused another round of uproarious laughter.

"My goodness!!! But you know what? That is SO her!"

Muahahahaha! :D

Friday, October 09, 2009

On the Saif side

Here are 5 reasons why I would have much preferred to see Saif in the role of Yogesh Patel than Hurrman (is that how he spells his name now? I give up!) in What's Your Rashee?

1. Priyanka has a very strong screen presence and if you go and pack 12 of her in the same movie, it's very difficult for the guy to get noticed at all. Especially if all he has to do is react to the eccentricities of the various Priyankas. Saif is a master of such scenes and would have totally held his own, while being utterly entertaining. Think his two-thumbs up when Preity Zinta says "I love Aman." in Kal Ho Na Ho. Or his reactions in DCH to the Subodh character. On the other hand, Hurrman totally sucks at reactions. Remember his tepid "What?" at the airport when he realises his family has duped him into flying from Chicago to India and he has to get married in 12 days? Sheesh. I can totally Saif throwing up his hands in shock and going "WHAT?!"

2. Saif would have excelled at the part where Yogesh has to look at his brother and say in a mix of awe and sarcasm, "Jeetubhai, you are awesome." Hurrman's rendition was a waste of that scene (he actually said it like he meant it!) and Ashutosh should have just gotten that part edited out -- it sure would have made the movie a tad shorter.

3. Saif has already successfully played the nice Gujju boy in Kal Ho Na Ho and would have easily slipped under the skin of the character. Though it's true that Yogesh Patel needed to have an innocent bechara-looking face which Saif doesn't exactly have and Hurrman does, but Saif sure can pull off the 'half-embarrased-of-his-parents-bechara-deekra' look very well. Hurrman looked quite duh instead of bechara in some scenes.

4. There was a lot of scope for improvisation in the movie but Hurrman pretty much stuck to what was given to him. At the risk of being really mean to him, I thought his most convincing scene was when he plays the robot in that song with the corporate Priyanka. Saif rocks at improvisation. For the uninitited, the two-thumbs up scene in Kal Ho Na Ho was him at work and not the script.

5. WYR was overall okay, and I didn't hate it as such, but it didn't make the cut for my DVD collection (Requirement for a movie to make the cut: I can watch it 10 times). Saif would have made the movie way funnier and increased its repeat value.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Squeaky Sneaky clean

So I see this ad for 'Outback detergent' where they list all the things that this powerful detergent can clean - tree sap, fish slime, volcanic ash, pond scum, and what not. And then they show a demo where this guy smears a white shirt with some of these things and uses Outback detergent to produce a spotless shirt.

And then I see the text at the bottom of the screen. :/

(Click to enlarge picture.)