Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chp 184. Like a thief in the night...


Too long I’ve been standing out in the cold now, wondering when she will open her window to lighten up the night around me. I’ve grown accustomed to the darkness, the shrill sound of weensy insects around me hunting for prey, and the sharp slicing sensation of the icy night breeze that seems to paralyze every last bit of sensitivity within my limbs.

Still I wait.

Up above, the solitary moon shimmers meekly. A subtle reminder that I am not the only one who is lonely tonight. But the one difference between the moon and I is that lovers worldwide use the moon as an expression for their love, like a symbol of inspiration consecrated to immortalize their love, whereas the only people who would use me as an epitome are the brokenhearted... the derelict... the woebegone... the departed.

Even with her window still closed, I can already smell the sweet alluring scent of her perfume, as if the Heavens itself is opening up right around me and embracing me with its glorious palm.

Every night I come here, hoping that one day the hands of fate will show mercy and compassion towards me. I pray with all my might that she opens that window, for the window opens up to a whole world much bigger than that which merely lies outside; it opens up to my soul, my life, my everything.

Like a stranded man marooned on a secluded island in the middle of a cruel ocean waiting for a ship to pass by, I await patiently for her to come in sight. That window is my ship and she is my captain. Countless nights I have spent fantasizing about where that ship would take us both.

Maybe across the sunny Acapulco bay, sunbathing around the seamless golden sand. Or maybe to romantic Venice, holding each other on top of the wobbly gondola. Our ship can take us wherever we want to go, but first, that ship needs to be built. That window up above must open.

And then suddenly, as if the Angels finally decided to answer my prayers, a soft creaking sound... a slight movement from above... the lights silhouetted behind the window slowly expands and opens up to full view!

There she is, looking just as magnificent as I’ve always imagined. Her resplendent hair flowing down her neck in all its splendor, radiating such breathless beauty with complete ease. She cannot see me because I am well hidden behind the trees, but just looking at her makes my knees go weak and my heart beat like an African bongo drum.

Now the only left to do is to wait for her to turn out the lights and go to sleep. Let her sweet subconscious travel across the shores of dreamland filled with romance and chivalry, of gallant young knights bowing down to fair maiden in corsets, of dearly departed and bitter sweet goodbyes.

The memorable photograph of two lovers lost in each other’s embrace, encased in a befitting priceless gold frame...

The romantic painting of a sunset boulevard sketched by a penniless heartbroken artist praying for his mistress to come back to life...

The exotic china vase moulded by a Prince who lost an arm fighting in a battle that won him his Queen....

All that will be mine soon, all mine! Too long I have waited for such an opportunity as this. Burglary is indeed a lucrative profession. Time to lay my hands on all that I can steal!

Ah my ship, here I come...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chp 183. An ode to vodka


An Ode to Vodka

vodka
runs deep
like still waters
cutting through swampy marsh

images
conjure wildly,
hazy contorted mirrors
swiveling in every directions

vodka
finely refreshing
a rejuvenating potion
resuscitating my stifled adolescence

symphony
emitting softly
untold melodic rhythm
choreographing within my head

vodka
my comrade,
abandon me not
lest my soul perishes

pains
all forgotten
like a castaway
lost forever at sea

misery
gone forever
every sorrowful thought
banished to Kingdom come

vodka
so pristine
sparkling like crystal
enticing me to replenish

freedom
I experience
every shackle unfettered
such an overwhelming liberation!

vodka
my salvation
ne’er betraying me
oh most reliable companion

hear
my confession
two bottles drained
whilst penning this poem

hic!
pardon me
time to depart
tomorrow awaits a hangover


Table background image obtained from grsites.com

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chp 182. CNN IBN and the Nepali syndrome


Watching CNN IBN last night rudely shocked me. It was a special edition entitled “Domestic Danger (How safe are we?)” and concentrated around the rising crime rate committed by domestic help in Delhi NCR.

For most of the report, CNN IBN did a good job of playing the role of a responsible media house: Precautionary measures we can take like verifying that the servant we are employing is trustworthy, a look across various metros and comparing the domestic crime rate over there with that of Delhi, the housing society stepping in to ensure that all servants are verified, registering the servants with the police etc etc.

Looking at the rising crime rate was truly shocking. But what really knocked me off my bean-bag was the part when CNN IBN showed a quick recap of all the previous crimes committed by servants in the past few months.

[Some of the dates and victims may be inaccurate, because I cannot type as fast as I can read news bulletin]

Feb 27: An old couple robbed by servant after being poisoned.
Mar 18: Servant poisoned husband, wife and daughter.
May 10: Family poisoned by servant and made off with jewelries.
May 13: Woman stabbed to death by servant.
May 24: Two women poisoned by their domestic help.
June 5: Family of four poisoned by their Nepali servant.
June 8: An elderly grandmother robbed by servant of many years.

Tell me which news bulletin is the odd one out?

See it?

Yes, all the crimes above were committed by servants, except for one which was committed by a NEPALI servant.

I could literally feel my stomach wrench and my throat tightening when I read that particular bulletin flashing. Seriously, CNN IBN? I expected so much better from you guys.

Was there any need to mention that the servant was in particular a Nepali? Most of us watch the news everyday and we all know he was a Nepali. But when you aggregate all the previous crimes committed in the past and put them together in one single list, was it really necessary to highlight his specific ethnicity?

He may be a Nepali but he’s also a criminal and I seriously hope he’s caught soon. He’s just as bad as the other servants who poisoned/robbed their employers. Why then is there an obvious segregation?

I’m just wondering what CNN IBN was trying to prove with that? Were they giving out a subtle warning to the viewers that Nepalese cannot be trusted? If not, then why include that extra “Nepali” tag before the servant when none of the other servants were segregated according to their regionality? Was it because he was a “foreigner”?

Why does this “minor” misnomer bother me so much? Because here in India it is a known fact that anything done by a Nepali reflects back upon the entire Northeastern community (and vice-versa). People cannot differentiate us and most of the people still think everybody with mongoloid features are all the same, belonging to the same community, speaking the same language, having the same culture and tradition etc etc.

Hardly a year ago, a couple of Mizos were beaten up badly by a crowd at Humayanpur, Delhi. This was no ordinary racial attack that Northeastern people in Delhi had grown accustomed to. It was a case of intentional mistaken identity.

Some Mizo guys were walking home a few Mizo women who had just finished recording/practicing a song for an upcoming Christian fellowship programme. Since it was quite late, around 10pm, the guys volunteered to walk the girls back to their PG which was nearby.

Suddenly, they came across a small mob chasing a guy who the mob later said was a Nepali. He was caught by the residents trying to steal the tyre of a car. As the thief ran past the group of Mizos, the anger of the mob suddenly changed its course towards those Mizos! Not just the guys, even the women were severely beaten up and sexually assaulted.

Some of the girls managed to send an SOS, and Rueben the drummer of Delhi based popular death-metal band
IIIrd Sovereign and one of India’s best drummer according to RSJ, and Isaac the vocalist of a popular Mizo band “Rave Vox”, along with a few other Mizos and even a lawyer rushed immediately from Safdarjung enclave to Humayanpur. They too were thrashed the moment they reached.

When the cops finally arrived, they just dispersed the mob amidst the continuous verbal abuses, heavily reprimanded the bleeding Mizos for being there at that time of the night and then drove away!

The mob wasn’t your average uneducated jobless roadside romeos. It comprised of the highly educated intelligentsia of posh Safdarjung/Humayanpur residential area. And everybody could see so clearly that those Mizo men and women had nothing to do with the guy who just ran past them many feet away.

And the same people question why we stick together in our own group. Duh! Obviously because many of us feel much safer among our “own” kind. We don’t create that group out of our own free will; other people force us to build such comfort zones.

That is why I now watch the ongoing Gorkhaland issue with heightened interest and tension. Anything unwise done by those people will definitely rebound back at the entire NE community. Whenever ULFA commits an inhumane crime, a group of Naga students or a Mizo girl traveling on a train is assaulted in the name of retaliation. The media must hence try its best not to sensationalize a particular community when it comes to such crimes.

Likewise, the report by CNN IBN clearly does not help at all. Sure if there was a full complete report about that particular ghastly incident of a servant poisoning his employers, then mentioning about his Nepal background is the truth - That is absolutely normal and digestible. But when you list out all the crimes committed in the past by everybody and make a special mention only about the one committed by a Nepali, even highlighting it prominently as if it is more heinous than other crimes committed by Indians, then I am sad to say CNN IBN is moving towards a very uncertain dark future.

The most ironic twist to this whole edition was when Anjana Bose made a short coverage in that same special edition about the plight of Nepali domestic servants in Delhi. It was an attempt to emphasize the way Nepalis are now labeled as criminals among the Indian society. She interviewed Mahesh, a Nepalese migrant living in a slum in South Delhi, and he spoke about his problems like how difficult it is for him to find a job as a domestic help because of the prejudice. Kudos to Anjana for that eye-opening report. That is good journalism, whereas singling out a crime committed by a particular ethnic group is not.

CNN IBN definitely did try to speak out for the Nepali community. They seemed to ask why the entire community was targeted. One look at the way they themselves gave the report definitely churned out an immediate answer.

I don’t think the Network did this on purpose and maybe they didn’t even notice it, but from the perspective of somebody who’s always been at the receiving end of racial discrimination, this incident definitely stands out and is highly condemnable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chp 181. Of rain, downpour and swimming


“Dude... I hear it’s starting to rain a lot over there in Mumbai.”

“Unfortunately yeah, things are really bad down here.”

“How bad? Any case of flooding like last year?”

“Yesterday the water came up to our ankles!!!”

“Really? So the water’s ankle-deep on the streets?”

“I’m talking about my house!”

“Oh!! ... Well... considering last year, I guess it’s still not that bad, right?”

“We live on the seventh floor.”

“....”


Yup, that is me, always trying to use humor as a defense mechanism whenever I feel disappointed, especially when I know there’s nothing I can do change what’s bothering me. Hardly five days into the rainy season and many lives are already lost. Such a sad sad situation down here.

I really don’t think it was this bad during the other years I was here in Mumbai. I remember the rain, but I am pretty sure when it rained those days, at least in the initial phase, it never rained continuously like it is raining right now. Right now it’s pouring non-stop. It feels like the last time I won a draught-beer drinking competition and had to spend the next ten minutes peeing (and burping and farting), wondering whennn the hell it was going to stopppp...

Some people fear the rain because it leads to floods which prevent them from going to work or earning their daily livelihood. Others are simply hydrophobic because they don’t know how to swim.

I am not afraid of drowning because I CAN swim. I was a champion “swimmer” back in school, but only at the shallow-end: Being an athlete, I could out-run everybody in that section. Yeah I did say out-RUN. But when it comes to real swimming, hehehe... let’s just say I have the notorious reputation of coming last in every aquatics event held back in school and college.

The main reason why I can swim but suck at it is because I wear contact lens. I’ve lost 6 lenses under water so far, two of them during the same water-polo match back in school. And I still remember that day so clearly, especially when my team-mates Vivek, Ujjal, Boppana and Sathish dived under the water in search of my lenses!!! Man, we really were an extremely optimistic lot. Or rather a boneheaded group of friends

That was a very expensive water-polo match And we were playing for THIRD place! And we still lost on top of that. That was the day I promised never to play water-polo again and stuck to running around at the shallow-end. It was... fun.

And don’t even suggest I should have played water-polo without my lenses. My power is -5.75 so in the confusion of ball scrambling and water splashing everywhere, there is a good chance of me blindly trying to slam towards my own goal!

Anyway, now I wonder how my life would have been like had I possessed normal eyesight. I would have definitely become a better swimmer. I would have enjoyed all those visits to water theme parks much more. And maybe, there’s also a slight chance that I would have been “luckier” when it comes to relationships instead of spending most of my free time blogging while other guys are scoring. But alas, those who live by the blog, die by the blog. Touché.

I hope this rain stops soon. EURO 2008 is going on and I dare not watch any of the matches at my friends’ places because I don’t know how long I would be stuck there due to the rain. And watching alone at home isn’t that much of a fun as watching with friends, unless I am drunk. And I don’t drink any more, ergo I’m back to my problem about being bored.

At least one good thing we’re getting out of this rain is that we don’t have to switch on our ACs any more because the climate is extremely pleasant. And this coincides perfectly with the fact that Reliance Energy had just hiked the electricity by 10% here in Mumbai due to the ongoing inflation.

But still, I hope you go away soon, rain. Things are starting to get real wet around here, and it’s not the good kind

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chp 180. NBA Finals and Cheerleaders


Yeah yeah, I know most of you are bitten by the EURO 2008 bug. But don’t forget, the NBA Finals is also going on right now.

Game 2 of the NBA Conference Finals. WHAT A GAME! Boston Celtics who were up by 24 points with 8 minutes left on the clock, suddenly found themselves leading by just 2 points with 38 seconds remaining! A truly amazing and admirable attempt by the Lakers to come back with a 31-9 run in just 7 minutes. Celtics barely won 108-102 and they now lead the series 2-0.

One thing that really struck me though, are the Cheerleaders during that game. Here in India, the moral police and other concerned individuals made such a loud noise over the inclusion of the cheerleaders in the IPL saying it is against our "Indian culture" to copy and promote such "obscene" American traditions. They said displaying those skimpily clad women on TV hurt the sentiments of many television viewers, and if people want to see such "shameless" cheerleaders, then they should change the channels and watch "American sports", not IPL.

Hah!

Any loyal follower of the NBA on ESPN will tell you that WE NEVER GET TO SEE THE CHEERLEADERS. More than 10 years I’ve been rigorously following the NBA now, and every time there is a time-out or a break, we are either taken to the commentator’s room or shown an advertisement. Yes, the cheerleaders are dancing right there in the stadium, but on TV we never see them.

It’s really funny how some people can just make a judgment without even knowing the ground realities. And people who say such things are quite educated: celebrities, actors, people you think would be more open regarding this issue. Yet most of them maintain a diplomatic stance, saying that we shouldn’t copy the American sports culture!

At the most, during an NBA match we may catch a brief 2-second glimpse of the cheerleaders. But 99% of the time, the cameramen focus on the game and the players, after all that’s what matters.

Whereas during the IPL, the cameramen not only went up close and personal with the cheerleaders, but even made many attempts to zoom up their miniskirts for the whole Nation to see! You NEVER see that kinda crap on any "immoral" American sports. And when TV viewers see the cheerleader’s white undees that the sick slobbering cameraman finally manage to focus at, all Hell breaks loose and people vent out their fury at the... Cheerleaders!



Anyway, much has already been said about this issue and I am in no mood to rekindle the flame. Seeing the cheerleaders (or rather, hardly seeing the cheerleaders) in today’s NBA Finals really aroused a couple of repressed emotions regarding this whole issue, that’s all.

Game 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) of the Finals will be held at Staples Center in LA. This Finals is sort of historic in its own way because it is the first time these two teams are meeting in the Finals since the immortalized era of Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson Finals showdown in 1984, 85 and 87. Larry Bird’s Celtics won the first Finals (4-3) while Magic Johnson’s Lakers took the other two Finals (4-2, 4-2)

However, either era was soon suppressed by the unstoppable Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls, along with Pippen, Rodman, Steve Kerr and Luc Longely. People forgot about the high intensified Celtics-Lakers clash, until today when they meet again for the first time in an NBA Finals.

I am rooting for the Celtics because I love Paul Pierce and I hate Kobe. I love those players like Pierce who have this amazing "Watch out I’m gonna come thru and if you don’t wanna move then I’m coming right thru you" attitude. Kobe on the other hand, has more of a "I’m the King so you’re nothing to me" holier-than-thou attitude. I find him very arrogant, conceited and egocentric. Plus he’s a selfish player.

Actually I am a loyal fan of the San Antonio Spurs, but since Duncan and his team failed to make it to the Finals, it is the Celtics that I am cheering for now.

Apart from Pierce, there are those two Olympics 2000 gold medalists former Timberwolves center Kevin Garnett and former Milwaukee Bucks & Seattle Supersonics shooting guard Ray Allen. Both KG and Ray are definitely not the giants they once used to be, but then, that’s the nightmare everyone will have to face as they get older. It’s a vicious cycle.

Lakers on the other hand are still commanded by Phil Jackson (seriously, how old is he now???) and then there are those two Stojakovic-look-alikes in the form of Vujacic (VOO-yah-chich) and Radmanovic (rod-MON-o-vich). And just like the former Sacramento King’s Stojakovic, they too can nail a lot of three-pointers. There’s also the tall Spaniard Pau Gasol (POW guh-SAHL) rookie of the year in 2001 and a legend with the Memphis Grizzlies who I still find awkward to watch wearing a Lakers outfit.

All in all, I want Celtics to win but I hope Lakers win the next two games to make this series (best of 7) a lot more interesting. Below are the timings for Indian viewers on ESPN (trust me, the new espnstar.com design is really complicated and it took me a very long time to figure out where the TV timings are).

GAME 3: @ Lakers 11-June 13:30 IST
GAME 4: @ Lakers 13-June 14:00 IST
GAME 5: @ Lakers 16-June 14:00 IST (if necessary)
GAME 6: @ Celtics 18-June 14:00 IST (if necessary)
GAME 7: @ Celtics 20-June 14:00 IST (if necessary)

And for those of you who want to catch the reruns:

GAME 3 rerun: 12-June 03:30 IST
GAME 3 rerun: 12-June 11:00 IST
GAME 4 rerun: 14-June 03:30 IST
GAME 4 rerun: 14-June 13:00 IST
GAME 5 rerun: 17-June 03:30 IST (if necessary)
GAME 5 rerun: 17-June 11:00 IST (if necessary)
GAME 6 rerun: 19-June 03:30 IST (if necessary)
GAME 6 rerun: 19-June 11:00 IST (if necessary)
GAME 7 rerun: 21-June 13:00 IST (if necessary)
GAME 7 rerun: 22-June 03:00 IST (if necessary)


Enjoy the game and... stay in school

Just remember, Boston lead the NBA with the most number of championships at 16, while Lakers are second at 14. The result of this Finals will have a deep impact on the existing record. To me, the Boston Celtics are more like Liverpool football club: A great team with a great past struggling to regain the glory era of days gone by. I hope they do.

BEAT L.A.
BEAT L.A.
BEAT L.A.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chp 179. You know you’re a flirt when...


A lighter look at community, cellular phones and call-centers, as inspired by some of the guys I used to hang out with. I guess sometimes some guys don’t even realize what they have become...

10 WARNING SIGNS cautioning you that maybe it’s time to take the subtle hint and slow down things a bit...


Community – The 10 warning signs.

You know you’re a flirt when...

  1. When you visit your neighbors, they immediately order their daughters to go to their room.

  2. When your name is announced in the local Church, the entire mass giggle.

  3. When a visiting preacher you’ve never seen before stands on the pulpit and sermons about the 7 deadly sins, at the part about “LUST” he looks at you sternly in the eye and gives a dramatic pause for 5 minutes.

  4. When you visit a nearby Christian run pre-school in your locality, all the children lovingly calls you “Father”, which seems strangely weird to you because you’re not a Catholic.

  5. When you have a brother who is a drug addict, another brother rotting in jail for burglary, and a sister who joined a satanic cult, and yet your mother calls you the black-sheep of the family.

  6. When the government under pressure from the community had to construct a new road that bypass your house, so that students can take a different route to go to that women’s college.

  7. When you go out of town for a business, all the parents get together, rejoice and thank the Almighty.

  8. When you are banned by the community to go to anyone’s wedding because the groom always become suspicious of the bride if you are present.

  9. Whenever there is a spiritual Gospel crusade/revival held in your community, during the sermon about Lucifer and Hell, your name somehow always gets mentioned on the loudspeaker, including your complete initials, date of birth and postal code.

  10. When the government does not dare to take any action against you in spite of the protest because you increased Mizoram’s tourist revenue by tenfold after Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt mentioned about your “farm house” in their Top 50 favorite destinations.



Cellular phones – The 10 warning signs.

You know you’re a flirt when...

  1. When you start calling every girl by the name “baby” over the phone, so as not to make the mistake of calling them by a wrong name.

  2. When you own a different mobile phone for each service provider, so as to avail their “same network free calls/reduced call rate” offers.

  3. When a girl calls you up from an unknown number and sweetly asks you to guess who, you immediately talk as if your voice is breaking up and then switch off your phone abruptly. Rather that than wrong guesses!

  4. When the sales manager of your service provider had to resign because of incurring a sudden 200% sales loss after your switched to another company.

  5. When some of the template SMS (text messages) stored in your handset are:
    • Hey wanna go out 2nite?
    • I swear you’re the only one!
    • That’s really sweet of you, [insert name]. Ur amazing! Muuaaah*
    • I love you too.


  6. When you call up the customer care service and a female executive answers and says “hello”, you already know who she is before she tells you her name.

  7. When you get a tennis-elbow from over-using the phone.

  8. When you firmly believe the greatest discovery or break-through in the history of mankind is the technological wonder of “Call Waiting”.

  9. When you dropped your phone and it conked, the cops received 40 different calls within the next 10 minutes, asking them to check if you’re dead or kidnapped.

  10. When you start having a lot of similar first-names in your phone address book:
    • Jenny AOL
    • Jenny HSBC
    • Jenny ICICI
    • Jenny Taj front-desk
    • Jenny Taj house-keeping
    • Jenny vodka
    • Jenny mole right chin
    • Jenny Air-deccan
    • Jenny brigade road
    • Jenny vegetarian
    • Jenny singer
    • Jenny singer roommate
    • Jenny easy
    • Jenny tomboy
    • Jenny 2pm-6pm only



Call centers – The 10 warning signs.

Dedicated to those guys NOT working in a call-center.


You know you are a flirt when...

  1. When you actually call up your “friends” working in call centers to remind them that it is time to get ready for work because their cab is on its way.

  2. When you have dated more Mizo girls working in call centers than those actually listed in your city’s Mizo Directory.

  3. Whenever you hear the name of a particular call center, the first thing that comes to your mind is the number of girls you know working there.

  4. When you know every girl’s shift timings, break timings, the names of their supervisors and the days they are off.

  5. When you know exactly who to call and when to call. You know how much time X will take to go to the loo during her break, so that you can briefly call up Y who is taking a dinner break so that you can continue talking with X as soon as she comes out from the loo, before calling up Z whose break is just about to start.

  6. When you know more office gossips than people who are actually working there know of.

  7. When HR recruitment executives of every call-center strangely contact you whenever there are job vacancies/interviews, and coyly ask you to “go spread the word”.

  8. When you are asked by the hon. Education Minister to give a seminar on call-centers to the youth of Mizoram because you have the most amount of experience among Mizos working in call-centers, even though you have actually never worked in such a place your entire life.

  9. When you are the first person the police contact for assistance whenever there is a complaint of call-center cabs driving rashly in the middle of the night, as you are the only one who knows all the routes taken by every cab.

  10. When you excitedly bought a copy of Chetan Bhagat’s “One night at the Call center”, only to be extremely disappointed that it was not what you thought the book would be about.



Friday, June 06, 2008

Chp 178. Go Green with Jean!


Lolz, that rhymes!

I usually don’t do memes and tags on my blog, but when my good friend
Jean Chia from Malaysia tagged me with a stern message on “Going Green”, it was just too hard to resist that call.

Going green is something that had always been on my mind, especially when I hail from Mizoram, the greenest State in India. With over 80% under forest cover, Mizoram had been leading the rest of the country when it comes to afforestation.

I love Green. Many poets and writers have been inspired by the sheer beauty of green mountain forests right through the passage of time. It can give anyone a certain peace of mind, like a Shangri-La or an eternal Nirvana. Even the Garden of Eden was filled with greeneries.

In India, people always flee to hill resorts and other places of scenic beauty for a vacation because they find it extremely relaxing as compared to the smoky hectic life in the city. Ooty, Shillong, Mussoorie, Kodaikanal, Darjeeling, Shimla, you name it. I spent my school years at one such hill-station: Montfort school, situated on top of the splendiferous Yercaud hills of Tamilnadu. Maybe that is why I am so robust and healthy even now

As mankind progressed, new technology and inventions were discovered that only added more problems to the environment’s woes. Global warming, depletion of natural resources, emission of pollutants etc etc.

But what is really ironic today is, with the recent hike on fuel prices by the Indian government to battle inflation, most people have no other option but to go green!

We are advised to reduce our petrol intake and go on a car pool to save energy and reduce emission. With inflation, we HAVE to do this now because it is the only thing we can afford to do. We are requested to minimize our usages of refrigerators, heaters and air-conditioners to reduce CFC emission. With Reliance Energy in Mumbai hiking the electricity by a whooping 10% from this month onwards, I don’t even dare to switch on my AC anymore!

So I’m just looking at all the points dear Jean had mentioned in her post, about the role each of us can play in “going green”.
  1. Reduce the AC to 24°C – Like I said before, I don’t even switch on my AC anymore.
  2. Use fewer staple pins – In my line of work, I never use staplers.
  3. Use eco-friendly household cleaning products – Hmmm... I don’t use household cleaning products ok ok don’t judge me. I’m just a bachelor. Bleh.
  4. Don’t speed. Save petrol consumption – Again, as mentioned before, I dare not travel by car unless it is an emergency. I now walk.
  5. Eat closer at home – Hehe. I am a roadside junk food addict. I eat regularly from the chaat-wala standing right below my apartment every evening.
  6. Stash your trash – I can’t. By law I have to give my trash to the garbage boy who comes every morning. Otherwise the Mumbai Municipal Corporation will fine me.
  7. Be a cone head – Yes, another point scored. I am always in favor of ice-cream cones rather than those paper cup ones.
  8. Say no to ATM receipts – Wooohoo, another plus point. With my current financial condition, I don’t need to go to the ATM because there’s nothing in my account
  9. Use cold water – I live in Mumbai. Only the crazies and the rich pampered snobs would take a shower in hot water! Another point to Mother Nature here. Boy I’m on a roll!
  10. Tell your cleaners/dry cleaners to skip plastic – Hehe. I never give my laundry to any cleaners. My reliable maid turns up every afternoon to wash the clothes for me (and scolds me like a doting mother if I wear the same clothes for more than 2 days).
See? I just scored a 10 out of 10. How difficult is it to go green when there is inflation. I guess this is one positive side of going through a recession

Hope you all go green too. As instructed by Jean, I am just pasting the blog-roll list on her blog here too. Hope everybody puts more effort into making this World a better place for our children (Clichéd line but it still works)

Cheers!



By the way, I stumbled across this site recently:
http://lonelymizo.com I don’t know who owns it but I’m pretty impressed because I think it is run by a bunch of Mizos and yet it does not have a Mizo-centric theme! Kudos to the Admin for doing something different. The site is about Environmental awareness. Please do visit it when you have the time.









Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Chp 177. Chemtatrawta according to Ludlum.


A TRIBUTE TO MY FAV AUTHOR: The late Robert Ludlum.

Ever wondered how some of our Mizo folktales would sound like had they been written by the contemporary writers of today? Here is how I feel "Chemtatrawta" would sound like had Robert Ludlum written it.

[The original story in English can be found here]

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The shrill sound of a thirsty cricket chirping echoed across the dense forest, followed by the hoarse croak of a lonely river frog trying to attract a mate. The thick woods soon produced a queer symphony of mixed Mammalian musical, which seemed to resonate from every direction across the eerie forest.

Chem Jones walked carefully on the soft grass, ever alert to react to any sound that was not a part of the forest he had grown accustomed to. He had been in the field for more than 5 months now, surviving on roots and venison in order to blend in with his environment.

Your mission in Mizoram won’t take long, the deputy director of the CIA had told him. Yeah right. 5 months in Mizoram and he still could not find the trail that should lead him to Thangkhuma, one of the chief financiers of the Golden Triangle corporation and one of Interpol’s Most wanted.

Now he was starting to doubt whether his ex-KGB informant hiding at a safe-house in frozen Siberia had supplied him with the correct information about Thangkhuma. Even the FSB, the Federal Security Bureau that replaced the KGB, failed to verify the information, yet he decided to follow his instincts like he had done a hundred times in the past. His instincts were usually right.

Suddenly he felt his muscles wrench. His stomach started producing a strange sensation. Oh oh, he thought. And then, he felt it. Excruciating pain generated from his stomach, sending his body into a wild frenzy of spasm. The pain was worse than all the tortures he had ever faced in the hands of rogue Mossad agents, the Black September, the notorious Iraqi Mukhabarat, or even the dreaded Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki.

Thoughts immediately flashed across his mind amidst the agonizing pain. He remembered having breakfast with the locals this morning.

Shouldn’t have eaten the bloody bekang, he cursed.

He saw the small river cutting through the woods. With his last remaining strength he ran towards it. Throwing his mahogany leather pouch that contained six passports all under different names and different nationalities, he jumped into the river. With fists clenched and eyes grimly closed, he pulled down his pants and let go...

Ahhhhh, he felt relieved.

As Chem Jones squatted on the shallow shoal of the sluggish river, one hand held his shirt up, while the other hand firmly gripped a polished 9mm PM Makarov – ineffective at long range but extremely deadly and accurate for close targets.

Suddenly he felt it. It was the result of years and years of intense training and field work at Quantico, Saigon, Aral Sea, Cambodia and places that did not exist on any Government maps.

Something was wrong, terribly wrong.

His instincts triggered a series of alarms within his head. He felt the sudden adrenalin rush. He tightened his grip on the gun.

And then the attack came.

A sharp painful pierce to his body, of flesh tearing and blood spurting out. He screamed.

It felt like the last time when a mole had infiltrated the MI-6 and planned to assassinate the Director of the NSA and the Secretary of Defense together at a highly classified conference in Glochester, UK. Chem Jones had just unraveled the assassination plan, code-named ARIA, and saved the Director and Defense Secretary just in time. However he suffered a bullet wound to his left thigh from the MI-6 mole in his effort to push the Director away from the path of the assassin’s bullet.

That was how it felt like now. A very similar pain.

Except that this pain was coming from a little bit higher than his left thigh. A little bit higher and a little bit to the right. The pain originated from his balls.

Dazed and almost paralyzed from the pain, Chem Jones looked down. There above the river, clutching his red swollen balls with all its might was a giant monstrous Lobster. It continued to hang on to his balls for its dear life.

He flung the lobster aside, casting it back to the muddy river. Then like a hungry cheetah that had just spotted its prey, Chem Jones darted out from the water, overcame by the agonizing pain on his balls. Out of sheer frustration, he pulled out his Russian made machete and chopped off a vine of a nearby tree in one swift strike.

The unfortunate tree was an Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, an evergreen tree of eastern Asia and Philippines having large leathery leaves and equally large inedible fruit. With one of its vine support chopped off, the attached large fruit then plummeted to the ground. It landed on the back of a wild country hen.

Meanwhile, Chem Jones watched what was happening around him. Even though the pain on his private parts was unbearable, he had learnt how to observe his surroundings even under the harshest conditions. That was how he survived Cuba even with a wound from a shrapnel, how he rescued those two ShinBet operatives right under the noses of the IIS, and also how he managed to successfully “deliver his assignment” in Teheran.

He started observing the chain of events that was being triggered right in front of him.

The country hen let out a shrill scream from the pain, and then ran to a nearby ant hill and completely decimated it with its long sharp claws. The ants, Monomorium pharaonis to be precise, scurried everywhere in confusion, and one of them managed to climb up the hind legs of a wild boar and bit the boar with all its little might.

The boar let out a long hollering shriek, as if it was its turn in a slaughter house, and galloped away blindly with its short furious legs. It did not see the tree up ahead and crashed right into it, knocking the boar unconscious, or probably dead. A bat that was hanging on one of the tree’s branches was rudely knocked down upon the hard impact.

The bat, completely shocked and exposed to the sudden bright light, flew desperately in search of darkness until its radar senses informed him of a small cave up ahead. Unfortunately it was not the mouth of a cave, but rather the trunk of an elephant.

As the bat swiftly flew up the long hairy trunk, the large over-weight Pachyderm immediately got spooked and went on a wild stampede, trampling anything or anyone that was on its path. Up ahead was a small hut inhabited by an old wrinkled hag. With a thundering crash, the elephant smashed right into the hut, flattening everything that once made up bits and pieces of the hut.

The angry old woman who fortunately was not hurt, cursed the elephant and stormed towards the village pond in full fury. Since she was weak and could not inflict damage upon anybody, she did the only thing she was capable of doing - Knowing that the pond was the village’s only source of drinking water, she walked right into it and defecated.

From a few feet away, a bemused Chem Jones watched the entire spectacle that had just unfolded in front of his very eyes. He heaved a big sigh of disbelief and bewilderment. This can happen only in Mizoram, he exclaimed.

But just as he was about to walk away, his instinct started to ring again. He dove under a nearby bush immediately and observed the old woman. A few minutes later, a group of men from the nearby village approached her. He could overhear the angry exchange of words between the villagers and the old woman.

These men were no ordinary villagers. Chem Jones counted that four of them had Kalashnikovs strung on their backs, while two people each held an XM8 Light weight assault rifle capable of firing a whopping 800 rounds per minute, and the largest of them all carried a lethal Soviet-made RPG-7 shoulder launcher. Seven heavily armed men quarrelling with an old woman regarding the hygiene seemed peculiar to Chem Jones.

From his clandestine point of surveillance, he noticed that there was something wrong with the whole scenario but couldn’t quite figure out what.

He concentrated more deeply on the group of armed men and finally noticed what was bothering him. One of the men with a Kalashnikov tied to his back seemed very out of place with the others around him. His thoroughly trained observation could make out that the man was trying his best not to walk too fast or too slow. He was trying to remain inconspicuous. Apart from the Kalashnikov, he also carried a .357 Magnum with his right hand.

Now that’s weird, Chem Jones thought.

And then he noticed it. The brief exchange of looks between that man and one of the men carrying the XM8 who seemed to be the commander of the group. That person was definitely not the genuine commander. He was only calling the shots while the real leader was the guy with the .357 Magnum!

Oh, that is smart, really smart, Chem Jones grinned. It was like the ancient Carthaginian warfare when generals would mingle in with the infantry and appoint somebody to sit on top of the war elephants to look as if he was in charge of the army, because the generals were usually the first to be targeted by ambush parties and assassins.

Chem Jones now intensely studied the man with the .357 Magnum. He did not look anything like the picture of Thangkhuma he had memorized. They had the same height and similar structure, but Thangkhuma was bald and clean shaven. This man had a shabby beard and hair. It could be wigs and postiches, he thought. His cheekbones seemed more prominent and higher than that of Thangkhuma, but that could easily be done by attaching a specially designed plastic frame inside the mouth. His nose also looked bigger, but again, that could be prosthetics.

And then the man turned around briefly for a second and Chem Jones caught sight of his eyes. He froze! The eyes! They were the same chilling cold blooded killer eyes as that of Thangkhuma. No amount of plastic surgery can ever change ones eyes. He felt the sweat from his head slowly streaming down his cheeks and trembled a bit. He had finally found Thangkhuma!

He looked at his 9mm PM Makarov and cursed. It was useless against seven heavily armed men, even though he was a crack shot and nobody had broken his record till now at the Langley Arms Institute. He wished he had carried his Beretta semiautomatic pistol with its M9DS Suppressor instead.

He was so engrossed with his discovery that Chem Jones let his guard down for a few seconds.

Big mistake.

By the time he heard the sound of a twig snapping right behind him and spun around, it was already too late. Four sturdy young men were aiming their Kalashnikovs and assault rifles directly at his head.

“Zawnga! Tunge i nih a????”

He understood a little bit of what the leader of that group was asking him. He had learnt some of the local dialect in those 5 months he had spent in the jungle. They wanted to know who he was.

Before Chem Jones could answer, he could already see from the corner of his eyes that Thangkhuma and the other men were running towards him.

Oh crappp, Chem Jones closed his eyes.



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End of book one Do visit again if you want to know how Chem Jones escaped from the village and eventually completed his mission, with the help of two brothers, known as the Liandote unau.