The Oldest Things

I somehow still have a pair of jeans from over 15 years ago. There’s no way that I can still fit in it. And they are green! I have no fucking idea why I still have them! I think I have a couple of shirts from that era too. I have a dining table from 1985. A stereo system from 1998 or 99 and a huge speaker from 1986.

I have a blanket from 1987 but it’s still feels great once it comes back from the laundry shop. I have some cds from 1997-98 and cassettes from as far back as 1990! But no I don’t play any of them no more. Well not since 2006 anyways. I have a steel cupboard from 1985. I have a 1992 diary which I just re-read a couple of weeks ago and laughed out so hard at some of the stuff which I wrote back then.

I have a few National Geographic magazine issues that I saved up over the years, some from 1984-90. Not too many though, just around 10 issues. Some old Reader Digest issues too. Pots & pans from the 90s and some dish sets that have never been used from 1987-90! Blame mom for that, I think she plans to give them to my nephews and niece (ages 13,11 & 4) when they start off families of their own. s

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What’s Worth Waiting In Long Lines?

Rock concerts, movie tickets (if the movie is really good) and for free food or money. Sports events when your favourite team or athlete is performing, are also worth the long wait. Pizza at my favourite outlets is also worth waiting for as are fast food joints. Book or CD signings is really worth waiting for, especially if it’s by one of your all time favourite authors or your favourite musical artist.

But the longest ques that I have see on a very regular basis are at the local Beverage outlets. They are also the most civil & camaraderie building ques I have ever seen. People don’t rush the line and there’s never any pushing or shoving. No angry words spoken and never a fist fight or grumble to be heard. They will be careful not to stamp on your feet or crowd you or try to cut in front of you. If you show up and the crowd is huge and you are in a hurry, chances are that if you ask someone at the front to help you out by taking your cash & buying you a bottle, he will do it gladly. They behave like the world’s best gentlemen and any religious or peace loving group can take notes from these guys.

Every Friday & Saturday night I see snake like long cues at the beverage outlets at North Overbrige, High Court, Kaloor, Edapally and other areas when I pass by in the evening. No traffic blocks due to the cues, despite the fact that the outlets are right by the main roads. Had it been a que for a church, mosque or temple there would have been cars honking, people standing in the middle of the road, traffic blocks for miles & miles and lots of delays. Lots of unruly behaviour by people who do not care if others are hampered by their worship.

So in effect, alcoholics are much more civil, decent and caring about their fellow beings. Drink and keep things civil.

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So You Want To Get Into Politics In Kerala?

Kerala politicians are a breed apart from the rest of us in the state. Infact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they are a different species all together. Here are a few things that I have noted about them creatures:

  • If you are into politics in Kerala and and active member of any party, you must wear all white. White half sleeved shirts or jubas and white dhotis or mundu. It just has to be all white — in order to counteract the fucking black, black hole that you call a heart!
  • Education, being well read, being able to read, aware of the world events, style, class – these are just suggestions!
  • To be a minister you must be above the age of 60. To be a leader of a party, atleast 70. And Chief Minister….well 80 is a minimum!
  • For election promotion posters & photos, you must look like a total dork! The photographer will tell you to smile and part your mouth and show some teeth. Make sure that your overall look is as insincere as possible. And if you are lucky, you will get to wear a little lipstick along with your buck teeth & mustache. Classic!!
  • If you are a jerk and an asshole, it helps! If you have a criminal record, bonus!!!
  • When you are the opposition party, you must take every opportunity to belittle the current governing party’s short comings and belittle their efforts. Forget the fact that when you were in power, you did even worse and gave up without trying a second time for these same concerns.
  • When in power ensure that you milk every tragedy to your benefit. Stand next to victims for photo opportunities and comfort them during a tv interviews. Ignore them the moment the camera is shut!
  • Please ensue that you & your party declare a few strikes & harthals every few weeks. The public is used to it. So block the roads, bar people from going to work, opening shops or enjoying a day out on the town. They should not get these rights. Rather you should unfurl your flags and bring the state to a stand still. The issue at hand is not relevant but the duration of the harthal is.
  • Make every effort to milk money from government funds, taxes, election contributions & bribes. After all, you do need the latest cars, a few mansions and also keep the talkative prostitutes who bore you 12 illegitimate children happy!

Snail Mail, Pen Friends & The Art of Handwritten Letters

A letter aka a snail mail. Man hasn’t it been ages since anyone sent me one. I think the last letter I ever sent out was around 1998 and it was probably around that same time that I received my last snail mail too. I remember when I used to think that getting a letter was a huge deal. Getting greetings cards too! I used to have a few pen friends who I met via rock magazines and even when I first started using the internet, I made a few chat friends who exchanged snail mail with me too.

I loved the art of writing letters (yes it is an art form my friends) and getting a few goodies in the envelope along with the letter was the icing on the cake. I’m talking about photos, little cards, stickers or some stuff like that. Little cutouts from a magazine or newspaper that mean something or is relevant to a point in the letter – those were bonuses. And I loved doing that. Getting a handwritten letter from a new friend who lives in another country was special.

I had a few pen friends who wrote to me on a frequent level. Mostly girls (ofcourse) but the odd guy here or there. A girl in Assam, a few in the Philippines, one from Malaysia, another from New Zealand, Canada and from FInland. I’ve received a few other letters from others but these were the most frequent ones I had, while others were probably just one letter or two and then there were no more correspondences. I still have some of the letters from these ladies, tucked away in an old diary in a cupboard drawer hidden away. I’d probably need to dust it away just to look at it and remember the ‘caveman’ days before I started to rely on emails and chat on a regular level.

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The Case Of The Barcelona Jersey

My route to the office in Koratty takes me past the Aluva area. 3 days last week, Thursday to Saturday, on my way to the office I have seen this guy in a Barcelona FC  jersey (a replica of this jersey of a few seasons ago). The fellow is a cook in a small hotel in Aluva. We have these small hotels where part of the cooking is done on a section that is located at the front of the hotel, so each customer can see the cooking being done. Every time I pass by, roughly at the 9:20-9:30am time slot, he seems to be preparing dough for either the day’s porotta or chappthy.

Each of those days he wore this same jersey and it looked like it was stained with grease and sweat. Now I am assuming that it is the same jersey that he is wearing but he doesn’t look like the sort of guy who would have 3 of the same jerseys in his wardrobe. Neither did he look like he was endorsing the football club or employed by the club! He was just a guy wearing a jersey that looked like it had seen better days…..during the 90s! Anyway, so I saw this guy 3 days in a row while passing by in a bus.

Yesterday & today, I saw another guy wearing the same kind of jersey at the Kacheripady bus stop. Two days in a row! Same jersey! And I also saw him last evening walking along in the same jersey. When he passed me by, the stench of stale sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. Just what is it with the case of the grime & sweat fueled Barcelona FC jersey. Where does it say that this jersey should be worn days at a stretch and must smell & stink? And why is it following me around?

If I Could Have Dinner Anywhere…

Hmmm anywhere in the world and anything that I could order. That’s a tough decision. I don’t think any one particular place stands out for me as THE place to dine out and no one particular dish stands out as THE meal to have. Well, if you discount pizza. I’m not sure that I can give just one straight answer for this one. I think it’d be an insult to all the wonderful places that serve food and all the dishes in the world if you pick just one.

So let me do something even better: I’m going to imagine this great magnificent place and the food there. Let’s see now; I want to dine in this fabulous balcony seated dinning room, which is adjacent to the ocean and opposite to a cliff. The wind is continuously blowing in our faces, cool and refreshing. If needed we can also retreat to a similar dinning hall, which is indoor and has an efficient central air conditioning system. Round tables with maroon or faded purple table cloths. Chilled ice wine and little appetizers. The man courses will be fish, chicken, pork or some kind of meat with a variety of vegetables for the salad.

As the wine is being served, a flamenco band serenades the customers. My date and I sip our wine, chat and eat our food. For desert, strawberries, covered in rich dark chocolate and ice cream. My date is feeling on top of the world and so am I. Oh and my date is this hot buxom red-head who is now dying to get into my pants. We retire to our hotel room where we proceed to make love long into the night. Sigh, it was very satisfying for me and it was very satisfying for her – 3 times satisfying

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Time To Get Out Your Old Jets Jerseys?

Ok, I’ve been quite about this little story that brewing in the NHL world that perhaps the time has passed for the Phoenix Coyotes potential sale to Matthew Hulsier, under whom the franchise was to remain in the state of Arizona and continue to lose money. If you do not know, the Coyotes went bankrupt after losing money due to low attendance in Arizona and the franchise is being maintained by the NHL directly. The NHL’s commissioner Gary Bettman would love to see the team remain in Phoenix under a new owner but the sale to Hulzier had hit a bump on the road with the government watchdog stepping in and ruling out the sale if more local money is to be spent to finance the sale. Hulzier’s sale depends on getting some money footed by the city for loses that might be incurred.

What this means is that if a solution does not materialize soon, the sale will not go through. At this point there are just two options for Bettman and the NHL a) continue to finance the franchise directly, which they have already stated that they do not wish to do for another year or plan b) sell the franchise to another buyer who is ready and willing. The potential buyers are True North , a group fronted by are Mark Chipman who is backed by Canadian billionaire David Thompson, and who would move the franchise to Winnipeg. You remember Winnipeg?

The Coyotes used to be The Winnipeg Jets In the World Hockey Association, the Jets won three Avco World Trophies (1976, ‘78 and ‘79). Their 17-year NHL existence was a little less noteworthy. Their best season was 1984-85. They finished the regular season with 96 points – but they were swept in the Smythe Division Final by the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers. In 1996, Jets owner Barry Shenkarow culminated two years of trying to peddle the Jets by selling to Richard Burke and Steven Gluckstern, who moved the team to Phoenix and re-branded them as the Coyotes and who were later bought by Jerry Moyes.

So Winnipeg waits and watches as the Coyotes finish out their regular season and move into the playoffs. Once the season ends for them – when they are out of the playoffs (or if in an ironic twisted tale of biblical proportions, actually win the Stanley Cup) the decision will be made. Either the franchise stays back in Phoenix or gets sold to Chipman & Thompson and moves back to their true home in Winnipeg. I can’t wait; this time there seems to be a really good chance that it will happen. Go Jets! Will we see you  in Winnipeg?

Final 10 Episodes of SGU

After a quick check a couple of nights ago, I saw that yes indeed! the second half of season 2 of Stargate Universe had started and it was 4 episodes in! How did I miss this? Well I know – it’s probably because of the craziest fucked up schedule that the studio in charges have doled out.

I’m used to the normal schedule, which makes a lot of sense; if you start a series, show us viewers a full season at one stretch. If you have 20 episodes, they should be shown in 20 back to back weeks. Not split up and ripped apart! Stargate Universe has suffered this new disease that seems to be affecting sci-fi tv shows – V & Caprica also had it and the shows are suffering due to it.

In case some of you casual viewers didn’t know, SGU has a big problem which most likely will see the end of an otherwise great tv show. Syfy announced on December 16, 2010 that it would not be picking SGU up for a third season and that the Spring 2011 season would be the last to air on its channel. So far there have been no news from MGM Television, who own the Stargate franchise whether the show would continue on another channel. But in December, ET reported that the second season will be the last. So, I guess that’s it for this wonderfully dark show filled with great characters and some fine acting by some good actors.

Why is SGU getting canceled? Viewership is down you say? How come a show like this can get canceled when shitty shows like Desperate Housewives can continue for 7 or more season? How come soap operas get to be on the air for decades when a show like SGU can get canceled after just 2 years? Can you compare the Col. Everett Young vs Dr. Nicholas Rush duet with any other two actor combo on any current tv series at the moment? Sheesh! TVland has become dumber again!

High School Reunion? Yeah, Why Not!!

I haven’t been to a reunion ever. The closest that I got to attending one was 3 years after high school (for us at that time it was at the age of 15 and grade 10, after which we go to college for a 2 year pre-degree course rather than attend 11th & 12th grade in a school), when I invited 7 of my former classmates to my house for evening tea and snacks. It was a nice afternoon, from around 3pm till about 6pm.

After that evening I haven’t seen more than 2 of my old school friends together at the same time. Since I had such wonderful times at school (well for the most part) I would love to meet up with those friends once again and spend a day getting to know as to what them folks have been upto during the past many years.

So yes I would go to a reunion if there ever is one. I was last in school at the age of 15 and if the reunion is later in the year, it will be exactly 20 years since then and me & my friends would be 35! That is something that would be awesome to behold and I would love to catch up with a lot of them. Having chatted with a handful of my old friends on Facebook recently, I know that I do miss them and that I has been missing those good people being a part of my life. So yeah, let’s have one soon.

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More Music Memories

Some more memories about my cousins & music:

My sister Sherine liked this trio called Johnny Hates Jazz who were British I think. Well based in the UK anyway. I guess they were her favourite band during the late 1980s when she was in college. The band had one hugely popular & successful album – their 1987 debut Turn Back The Clock, which featured 3 really good pop songs. The title track, Shattered Dreams & I Don’t Wanna Be A Hero all of which were big hits for the trio. The thing is they were really good which is why even all these years later, I can still remember these songs despite not having heard them since atleast 1992.

Another favourite of hers was George Michael. Sherine and my cousin Sandhya used to spend a few hours listening to their favourite songs and writing down the lyrics, pressing pause, play & rewind as often as possible, and then singing along. This is the way I used to get lyrics of my fav songs too. Now I just google them. We had this huge book of lyrics at our old house in Thrikkakara, bought from some store, and they had lots of lyrics mainly from hit songs of 1986, 87, 88, 89 & 90.

Back in 1991 (I think) some of us with our folks went to this exhibition in town where they were showing the new satellite systems, and we got to see MTV Asia for the first time ever! This was just as cable tv was being launched in India and we got to experience the pleasure of having more than the two dumb government owned & run channels on tv. Anyway, as my cousin Manoj reminded me, we stopped to watch two songs that are classics. The videos we saw that evening were for the songs Wind of Change by the Scorpions followed by Black Or White by Michael Jackson.

Music For The Ages

A few days I posted a question in a Facebook group, which is open to only my cousins. The question was a nostalgic one and one that elicited a whole lot of responses from some of my cousins. The question was : Which songs remind you of our times together during our childhood? Let me know your songs.

Now some background on how we cousins spent our holidays – we’d wake up, eat breakfast and then go play either cricket or football. The evenings or rainy afternoons were mostly spent sitting in this big room in my grandmother’s house and listening to music tapes. Usually it would be a lot of mixed songs, recorded on these 90 minute Thompson or TDK cassettes.  We usually went to this shop in Mattancherry where the guys there would record high quality copies for your listening pleasure and my cousins & I played these tapes over and over again.

No wonder that there would be some songs that remind us about those special times spent together, enjoying our childhood & teenage years and freedom. I haven’t spent much time with my cousins in the last few years but I’d be listening to my music collection and suddenly when a particular song comes up, I’d think back to those days and yearn for such wonderful times. Here are some of the songs that we used to listen to and that remind us of those times.

Final Countdown by Europe was a huge common favourite. Don’t forget me when I’m gone & Someday by Glass Tiger, Hotel California – The Eagles, To be with you – Mr Big, More than words – Extreme, Sussudio” by Phil Collins  When the children cry by White Lion, Sweet Child Of Mine, Paradise City & November Rain by GnR, Heaven by Warrant, Holiday by Scorpions, Diamonds on the soles of her shoes by Paul Simon, I shud be so lucky – Kylie Minogue, I Think We’re alone Now – Tifanny, Black Or White by Michael Jackson, Wind Of Change by Scorpions, Vanessa Paradis’ Joe le Taxi Dire Straits songs were Sultans of Swing, Walk of Life, Money for Nothing, and Local Hero.