Unusual Wikipedia articles

And by interesting, I mean KickAss...

These are the titles of some of the articles that once used to be on wikipedia until someone had the shortsight of terming them as irrelevant and stupid. Personally, I feel that its an infringement of the basic human right of expression and knowledge. More so because of the very important topics these articles dealt with:

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117 :This was the title of the article which apparently redirected to the article for 'pi'. The editors thought that no one would be knowledgeable enough to put the above string into the search field in order to search for pi. Moreover, anyone who knows pi to such precision probably won't need a wikipedia article for learning more about it.

2. Alternative Rock: This article wasn't itself deleted but the entry describing it was. It said: "Alternative rock is the rock which is lying near the other rock that you are watching". Pretty smart, eh?

3. Does not link to Hitler: This article aimed to link to every page on the Internet which did not link to Hitler. Aim high, I say.

4. Guide to: Blowing Your Nose & Getting Dressed : This article gave a step by step tutorial on how to blow your nose. It catered to the special needs of a whole range of nose blowers. While on one hand, rank amateurs could learn how to blow their noses from scratch, experienced nose-blowers could also take something away from the wealth of information contained on this page. Too bad it got deleted for there are far too many young ones now who have no idea how to blow their noses and have to depend on the mercy of the adults to teach them the secret art.

5a. List of notable people who have been stung by jellyfish
5b. List of jellyfish who have stung notable people

6. List of people who are alive or are dead : Basically a census of the WHOLE FREAKING WORLD.

7. List of people without names: This article did not have even a single entry. I wonder why...

8. List of those who are "far left" according to Bill O'Reilly : You would appreciate it more if you knew just how big a bonehead Bill O'Reilly of Fox News is. Just to give you an idea, this article would have been as big as "List of people who are alive or are dead" except for Bill O'Reilly and George Bush.

9. Mirwin's prototype of synergistally rationalized collaboration as an example of developing liquid resources from ambient commons in USA, tailor as required: Sounds like the title of an average scientific paper. Entirely incomprehensible. After a few years I have understood that the academic status of a journal paper in the eyes of the beholder does not lie in its comprehensibility but rather its incomprehensibility.

10. Polydimensional industrial bio-cosmic psychology of microscopic bacterium: Or in simpler words, Psychology of a bacteria.


Infomercials - The zenith of creative ad-making

Before saying anything, let me just make it clear that there is no sarcasm in this article. In fact, I would just go ahead and say that I never say anything sarcastic. I didn't even know the meaning of the word sarcasm till I looked it up in the dictionary a few moments back. Now that things have been clarified enough, I will get on with the subject matter:

"Infomercials kick ass"

Infomercials (paid programming/teleshopping) are those advertisements which generally hunt for their prey after 11:00 and run for the better part of atleast half an hour straight. The basic structure of every infomercial ever made has always been the same:

1. An over-enthusiastic guy who has invented something completely irrelevant that is able to perform a completely unnecessary task in just seconds. It doesn't matter if his contraption sets you back a fortune just for inserting a nail in a wooden frame, or for illuminating the inside of your purse, or for turning your kitchen into a personal butcher shop. As long as it saves you seconds of hard work, the over-enthusiastic dude keeps on yammering about his wonder product NON-STOP.

2. Another guy who has no idea what the hell is going on. He keeps on posing the over-enthusiastic dude completely arbitrary questions and keeps on performing his part of a humunguously confused guy to the hilt. Frankly, he doesn't get it. If the infomercial had been a government, this guy would have been George W. Bush presiding over the Iraq evacuation bill in the congress. He manages to keep the audience (me) interested in the ad by periodicaly uttering cliched and evidently rehearsed exclamations. "Oh! Wonderful! Now I can cut these potatoes in a fraction of a second". "Oh! Great! now I can look into my purse even in the dark!", "Oh! Brilliant! Now I can remember where I placed my keys". At this point of time, I generally start banging my head on the wall till I get a concussion.

3. Most of these infomercials generally have an audience as well as if trying to console the TV viewer that he is not the only moron in the world who watches such shows. There are atleast 22 more. All of them have a vaguely interested look which lies somewhere between that of a philosophy student who accidently finds himself in a statistics class (or for that matter anyone who finds himself in a statistics class.... including statistics students) and that of a person, high on dope, trying to decide what's it going to be next: Cocaine or Marijuana. They keep asking their retarded questions just to keep the flow going and just to give us a break before the over-enthusiastic dude starts again on his memorized speech which he has already blurted out verbatim for atleast 9 times.

After about 20 minutes of sincere salesmanship, the guy who "doesn't really get what the hell is going on" gets it. With the eloquence of a Venkatesh Prasad finally realizing that he is a spinner in reality, he stumbles to the light at the end of the tunnel, the hard way. At this point of time the O-E dude gives a smirk of triumph, turns to the camera, points at his product, and gets onto the financial issues with the promptness of a doctor elaborating his fees after he is done diagonising you. Oh! I can get a knife, another knife, a blue plastic jar, a food grade plate and a host of other things free if I order in the next 10 minutes. Oh! how lucky!. I am sure I am the only one getting this. Oh! how was I ever going to live a fulfilling life had I not come across this brilliant offer!.

I am generally in awe of the OE-dude and his kickass product till I see the whole informercial repeat itself. It generally takes me till the end of the repeat show to realize that when they gave me that incredible offer last time on the condition that I order it in the next 10 minutes, they weren't really telling the complete truth. At this point of time, I generally become suspicious that maybe, and I am just spitballing here, maybe those people give this offer every half and hour every day. And whats worse I have started getting a feeling that it might not really be an exclusive offer. Oh my god! I just had a brainwave. What about those internet adverts where they say that I am the 1 millionth visitor and I win a free iPod. I hope they are genuine.



I don't know how but I landed on this wikipedia page today about an American rap singer called Snoop Dogg. I remembered having had some discussion about this 'artist' and his history with Khatri bhai a few days back so I got reminded of him instantly. I really admired the way the singer had mispronounced his name as 'Dogg' instead of 'Dog' because lets face it, proper pronunciation is overrated and hollow personalities lacking ioatas of characters all around the world find it difficult to express their empty and worthless ideas without the constant gnawing fear of getting exposed as shallow without riding on the crutches of a mauled and bleeding language (...not a generalization). I came to know that this guy had been charged with many crimes including murder and I really felt bad for all that he had gone through. I felt so sympathetic at one point of time, that I almost forgave him for all the shootings and muggings and killings that he might have done and that I was almost ready to forget about all those years this social evil spent driving his limo and living in his palatial home when he should have been rotting in a maximum security prison in some corner of the US and I almost was ready to turn a blind eye towards his blatant lack of musical talent because I know that in a world pestered with singers of the caliber of Paris Hilton and Himesh Reshammiya, there is only so far I can go pointing fingers at individuals before realizing that its more a trait of the society in general than segregated ineptitude.

Nevertheless, that's not even the point. My point is this: Rap is not music. Period. Wherever I go, I see people wearing extreme t-shirts, the size of their father's, tilted caps, shorts precariously hanging from points way below where they were meant to be, speaking god knows what language, their hands constantly moving in gestures which ought to ooze the word COOL but only managing to reinforce what I already know about them: STUPID. These are specifically the kind of people who listen to RAP sung by people with names like Snoop Dogg. It doesn't take Einstein then to figure out the minimum intellectual requirements required to realize the overwhelming stupidity of such kind of music. Even when Baba Sehgal during the 90s was pouring hot metal into the unsuspecting ears of Indian public in the form of the crime against humanity that were his voice and talent, I, probably a 15 year old, could tell that this could not be music. I am inclined to say that that probably was the golden age of RAP (and Eminem) and it has only gone down since then (if it was possible).

There are atleast two requirements for a good song:
1. Good music
2. Good vocals
In the absence of one, the other should more than make up for it. Like instrumental music (especially classical) or Rock. Nevertheless, the problem with RAP is that it does not have any good vocals on one hand and on the other, their proponents are just not talented enough to produce good music even. They try to make up for this lack of talent and quality in the form of raunchiness of the video and a general potrayal of hipness and coolness. Open minded people would like to give RAP the benefit of doubt but since I am not one I would just say that its crap and anyone who likes it enough to follow it closely should evaluate his life right now. Its the sound monkeys make while fighting for the last crumb of bread. Its the sound you hear when someone scratches his nails on the blackboard or screeches a rusted iron piece on a concrete floor. Things like RAP, gothism, drug culture etc. should have been boycotted long before and the only reason they survive is because of the need of some sections of the society to potray themselves as depressed and rebellious while they forget that life is a struggle for most but while most people have chosen to put up a brave face, they have chosen to take recourse to aesthetics by labeling themselves as oppressed and sidelined.


Chacha Chaudhary

Its one of the series of homages to those eternal comic strips which punctuated an average day in the life of an average Indian kid about 10 years back. That was the time when kids had better things to do than getting their brains liquefied by the idot box watching mindless soaps and even more moronic movies. This post concerns that great character : Chacha Chaudhary. Nostalgia is a great deluder. Irrespective of how mindless those comics seem in hindsight, they were a joy to reckon with in the bygone era and my perspective is coloured both by a pining love for the dying genre and a humourous take on their sheer artistic ineptitude which by the way did not seem to matter then:

The Protagonists:

Pictured above is the main protagonist, an octagenarian with very matter of fact look as if he is just done saying "I told you so". He differs from all other superheroes in the sense that he does not have to wear his underwear over his pants in order to indulge in rampant ass kickery. His main weapons are his sharp mind and huge coincidences which the writer tries to pass off as somehow resulting from his ingenuity. His mind purportedly works faster than a computer although with the computers of that age slothing away at a few megahertz, I would hardly take that as a complement. Mr. Chaudhary supposedly never locks his home but then only a suicidal psychopath would dare break into your home also when you have a wife like:

When Bhaagwan is not busy preparing truckloads of food for her family, she is basically known to pass her time beating the hell out of Chacha. One of her main weapons is a belan (which in more civilized homes is used for preparing rotis) and this is one of the few times in her life when she was photographed without one.

The image says it all. Sabu is from Jupiter... ... ... I will let it sink in... ... ... So then, Sabu is from Jupiter and Jupiter being n times larger than Earth, it is inconceivable that its residents are of the same size or lesser than those of Earth. But there is something we did not know about their sizes before Cartoonist Pran decided that humanity was mature enough to face the truth. Jupiter residents change sizes as you can see below:

Sabu eats 108 rotis, 12 kilos of Halwa and drinks about 20 litres of Lassi in one meal (Source:Wikipedia) and when he gets angry there is a volcanic explosion on Jupiter which all makes sense because he is from Jupiter and a volcano erupting on Mars would be too ridiculous to believe. As if the notion of volcanic activity on his homeplanet wasn't corny enough, Cartoonist Pran goes ahead and draws a small volcano on the side whenever Sabu gets angry. Now how are we supposed to believe that its the same volcano and not one of the millions which would have been spewing fire had Jupiter NOT BEEN A GASEOUS PLANET ? "Nevermind Logic: Corn is up for Grabs". Meanwhile Chacha also has a dog named Rocket. And oh by the way, he is vegetarian... whatever that means in a canine context.

The Antagonists:

No its not Gabbar Singh, its Gobar singh which effectively translates into "Dung Singh". Its like his mother left him no chance. I can almost picture his parents at the time of his christening. Hmmm... what should we name this filthy, hairy sack of flesh and bones... Hmmm... how about kachra (garbage)... no not degrading enough... how about Gobar !!!... and they rejoiced at screwing up their child's life. Whats more astonishing is the fact the Mr. Dung went on to opt for Dacoity as his career. New rule: anyone named Gobar isn't allowed to be a dacoit. How are people supposed to take him seriously. No wonder that his only achievement in life is being famous for getting his ass repeatedly kicked by an 80 year old. His accomplices include Dhamaka singh and Palita Singh. As unfortunate as the name Palita is even for a real Palita (what does it mean anyways), its almost a crime against humanity when used to denote a person. Its one of those words which do not mean anything and if you think about them long enough you will realize how inhumanely funny they are. Its like Tinda or Albuquerque . Now whoever came up with that one.

Pictured above is one of the most devilish characters ever to adorn a cartoon strip in India. Make way Mr. Chumba, move aside Mr. Kirgi, here comes Raka. Everything about Raka is NO JOKE. He likes to ruin people's days for no reason at all. One moment you see him walking on the road minding his own business, another, he picks up a car and munches it up with all the ingredients inside. That is how badass he is. No wonder he remains one of the few characters which gave me sleepless nights during my childhood. The other being that lady from Ramayana who gets up from the ocean and tries to eat Hanumaan. That was way too scary.

This was too much fun. I should probably review specific comics from Chacha.


An ode to C&H

Even now, when the days are lenient enough and the nights are warm enough to provide room for nostalgia, I sometimes remember the innocence of childhood. I still like to drug away the pointlesness and cynicism of youth by the LSD of those old memories. Even if for just a few moments, the relief is both palpable and welcome. Things did not make much sense then. There wasn't much motives to my actions and much regret at their results. The joy of doing something was neither clouded by the apprehension of failure, nor the expectation of success. Victory was only as sweet as failure was bitter. None of them managed to tax the tongue too much. Just left a barely discernible taste of abnormalcy.

That is why I like Calvin and Hobbes so much. The comic strip is a glowing testimony to those good old times. Calvin, with his tantrums and hyper-imagination and wierd philosophies (well, not so wierd really) and pointless activities. Hobbes with his warm friendliness and innocuous cynicism and maturity and immaturity. And between these two, a cosy little world which bred the most daring of imaginations, the most astounding of inventions, the most maddening of antics and yes, the most piercing of insights into the real world.

"The problem with people is that they don't look at the big picture. Eventually, we're each going to die, our species will go extinct, the sun will explode, and the universe will collapse. Existence isn't only temporary, it's pointless! We're all doomed, and worse, nothing matters!", said Calvin, and seldom have I heard someone else hit the nail on its head harder. To even think that our presence has a higher motive seems so self concieted at best, especially when you look at the tiny speck that our (humanity's) existence occupies in the grandest scheme of things. Human motivation, if driven by a distant goal of achieving immorality, will fall over its head. Rather, it should just be driven either by passion or a question of survival. Both of them are illogical and hence apt for a life which itself is illogical.

Throughout the strip, we can see a pessimism that is so necessary for leading a fulfilling life. Unless the realization that everything that we indulge in will come to a naught doesn't dawn upon us, we would always be crying at every failure and prolonging the celebrations at every small success. Unless we come to see the truth behind the phrase "Keep climbing", we probably will keep on screwing up our lives trying to climb the imaginary ladder where our position is decided in the eyes of the beholder. That is why I like it when Calvin says "I hate to think that all my current experiences will someday become stories with no point." or "The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid self-interest!" or "Reality continues to ruin my life.".

There is a subtle but a very important commentary on our misplaced priorities as adults in the whole strip. Phrases like "It seems like once people grow up, they have no idea what's cool." or "Childhood is for spoiling adulthood." seem so much more relevant when you are in one of those blue moods (The only time, I think, when your thoughts are not clouded by unnecessary trifles). The strip is replete with strong social commentary throughout like "You know how people are. They only recognize greatness when some authority confirms it." or "Happiness is being famous for your financial ability to indulge in every kind of excess.". Its a reflection of Bill Watterson's mind, one of the few persons I really admire for his integrity and his love for his craft. In a world infested with people who are all too ready to sell their principles and morals at the slightest possible pretext, Bill Watterson chose to stand for the integrity of his first love. And it shows in the quality of the strip.


A cop caught me tonight

Well this is the first time and I am so proud of my performance.

I was coming back after watching the friday night movie from the college, you know, minding my own business, driving the kickass machine that is my motorcycle, clocking well above the speed limit, breaking stop signs left right and center when this cop started flashing his lights indicating me to stop. Normally I do not really care for flashing lights but I just had to stop when the cop took out his loudspeaker and started blaring into the dead of the night. I steered to the side and stopped. He, looking like an agreeable man, came up to me with a notebook in his hands, noted my license plate number and called it out into his wireless. A lady on the other side confirmed that the bike in question belonged to a Mr. Ankit Srivastava. Now I am not one who gets flipped out easily but the thought of all those grim scenes from Shawshank Redemption sent a chill down my spine. My fears were not entirely unfounded as you will learn later. Here is the conversation that took place between me and the cop:

Cop: Please put your bike on the sidestand, sit in the driver's position and keep your hands in front of you.
Cop: Now Mr. do you know why have I stopped you ?
Me (nervously): Well I broke a Stop sign...
Cop: ...and ?
Me: (Vigorously trying to figure out what more did I do wrong) I am not sure...
Cop: Please put some more effort
Me: (in one breath) and overspeeding
Cop: Thankyou... now do you know that you were way above the speed limit and I had to press my gas upto 100 just to catch you ?
Me: (Thinking : can you please stop lying ? I wasn't above 50) I am sorry
Cop: I also drive bikes and I know how easy it is to reach 60 mph. How fast can you go from 0-60?
Me: (Is it a trick question? Anyways...) 4-5 seconds (conservatively).
Cop: Can I see your license ?
I hand him my car license afraid that since I just have a temporary motorcycle license, the cop would know that I am not allowed to drive in nights and I might have to spend my night in a maximum security prison festooned with smelly, bulky criminals. I congratulated myself for this brilliant plan.
Cop: Can I see your registration ?
Me: I don't have it with me.
Cop: Hmmm... Can I see your insurance ?
Me: I have the temporary one but not the permanent. Its at my home.
Cop: Hmmm... So lets summarize here:
1. You were overspeeding
2. You broke a stop sign
3. You do not have your registration
4. You do not have your permanent proof of insurance
I can easily hit you up for something upwards of 500$ but it won't teach you anything will it ?
Me: (thinking: is this a trick question. If I say yes then you would slap the fine and if I say no, you will hit me with something harder. So I did something that any intelligent doctoral student would have done: kept mum).
Cop: Now I am going to run this license of yours and if I find no violations I would perhaps let you go but if I find any previous violations, I would fine you.
Me: OK (at this point I was really happy since I knew that I did not have any previous violations. The cop goes back to his car and I am almost ready to put the keys back to my ignition so that the ordeal could finally end. The cop comes back looking grim.)
Cop: We have a slight problem here Mr. I hope you know that for driving a motorcycle in California, you need to have a motorcycle license.
Me: (Shit!!!) But I do have it. ( I take it out and hand it over)
(He looks at me increduluously and says the next time a cop catches you on a motorcycle SHOW HIM THE MOTORCYCLE LICENSE !!! )
Cop: This is a temporary driving license. Are you allowed to drive at nights ?
Me: No... but... ahem... I was working late in the lab and it got dark... and... well... its once in a full moon situation.
5. Not allowed to drive at night.
Me: (Quiet)
Cop: I am what you call a good cop so I will let you go with a warning. Next time you are caught with so many violations, you will atleast get a ticket for about 800 and your bike will be towed away and your license will come under jeopardy.
Me: (Not able to believe my ears. What did he say ? He will let me go ! After I have had 5 violations, 3 of which pretty grim !!!) Thank you so much officer.

So that was it. My first pullover by a cop and it was nothing less than a miracle that I came unhurt.

About Me

My photo
Like a particularly notorious child's tantrums, a mountaneous river's intemperance, a volcano's reckless carelessness and the dreamy eyes of a caged bird, imagination tries to fly unfettered. Hesitant as she takes those first steps, she sculpts those ambitious yet half baked earthen pots.