Sunday, April 30, 2006

the City of Brotherly hate

This is a brilliant recap of a injury that occurred in the 2nd period of Game 2 of the Philadelphia Flyers/ Buffalo Sabres hockey series on Wednesday night:
Denis Gauthier, tossed out of Game 2, temporarily knocked J.P. Dumont out of the game late in the second with a hard stick shot to the gut. Dumont, who scored three goals in Game 2, was down for several minutes before he was helped off the ice. The public address announcer implored the fans to "show some class out there and cheer when he gets up." Predictably, the plea was booed, though Dumont received polite applause when he did leave the ice.
For those of you who think that NY, Boston, or Leeds have the harshest fans, no one holds anything in comparison to Philadelphia. Every year the Phillys (the baseball team) have a father/son game in the middle of summer and fans routinely boo the children if they make a mistake OR if their father has been playing badly. Furthermore the Eages (the football team) stopped having Santa come our for a halftime show during Christmas time because fans booed him so much and once threw snowballs at him. (although some people claim that the Santa was drunk and flipping off people)

Scary Moment #5

...when you read a weird office conversation on Overheard in the Office (www.overheardintheoffice.com) and just when you think it can't get stranger, you realize that you know the address of the building where it took place very well...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

my new term: Friend Plus (or friend+)

What do you call it when your best friend or a person that you hang out with a lot happens to be of the opposite sex? More importantly, what if this relationship is only platonic....and yet there's that something extra? But at the same time you feel that if you were to ever hook up it would just ruin everything...

Well up until now our relationship nomenclature is hindered by rather rigid terms. Between "friend" and "dating" you really have nothing in the middle. The reality is that we're often confronted with that nebulous in-between zone. I mean the movie "Lost in Translation" was great precisely because you didn't really know what to call Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson and yet you can understand their relationship as being non-sketchy.

As such, I have hereby invented the term FRIEND PLUS. A friend+ describes people who are more than just friends, but less than everything else.

Okay, I have spoken, please feel free to use it.
Go on, use it. Even if you're reading this in Singapore or maybe even Chennai, or perhaps even lovely Belgium. Don't be scared. See, that's better.

Good.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Women's shoes

Is it okay for a guy to comment about women's shoes? Lemme just state for the record that I'm very comfortable with my own masculinity. In addition I would like to point out that for years I've always considered myself as being a good shopping buddy for guys and girls alike. In fact other have agreed to this. Lots of people. Good people.

That being said if it's out of place then accept my apologies, but I just wanted to say that the United Nude's Eamz pump (pictured) as well as their boot are absolutely splendid designs. I think it looks just awesome. It also got mentioned in Time Out New York this week too. The heel-less pump is a twist on designs that have popped up in recent years for unrelated things such as bikes.

If I'm not mistaken the shoes go for something like $100-$150. Just watch and discover that it won't be too long until Nike gets a sneaker that doesn't have an air-sole at the heel, but rather a cut-away design like this (this is not sarcasm but rather an idea I thought about a while ago but just sorta forgot about)

Okay, this is the last time I ever talk about female footwear here. At this point my cousin Swati will inform me that one of the shoe designers is the nephew of uber architect Koolhaas, but blammo, I've beaten her to the punch.

1st Quarter Review: and now a word from your leader

If you're just randomly browsing, feel free to skip over this; for the rest of you I've hit the 3 month point of my blog! What's been kinda cool is watching the number of people who actually read and listen to this grow.

At first it would get like 10 hits a day....all from me. But lately it's actually gets something like 90-100 different readers a day (unique users) and 50 people a week listening to my podcasts. Okay, so I'm not exactly rivaling CNN.com just yet...but we're getting there. Anderson Cooper, you're next on the list biznatch. After a month or so I thought I'd break 10,000 hits after a little more than 15 months, now it looks like I'll hit it after about 9.

What does this all mean for you the reader? Well let's just say you're a part of a growing movement. I'm not sure what this movement is exactly or what the message is about, but I'll get back to you on that. Or even better, you think about it. What does this all mean for me? Well let's just say fame is brilliant. I get stopped on the street all the time by people who say "hey, your Arial 10pt font looks familar, are you the Blog guy?"

Yes, yes I am.

It's time I started making this blog work for me. As one of my friends said, "you should leverage this whole thing into a giant dating scheme for yourself !!" Actually none of my friends said this, I just made that up because than it makes my ingenious idea sound less sketchy if a "friend" said it. Well I have my Friendster link on this page, so go ahead, reach out and make a connection, operators are standing by.

That being said it's with slight concern that I'd like to point out a slightly disturbing Friendster patter developing in recent months. I have no idea why but I'm getting more guys who are viewing my profile than ever before. Go figure. I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Buuuuud

I'm not one to make a big deal over nothing, not unless of course it leads to a massive upsurge in readership, but while watching the new NBC show "Teachers" (Tuesdays at 9pm EST/8pm CST) two nights ago I made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of TV & motion pictures.

I was reacquainted with an old friend. A friend who was instrumental in making me who I am today. A friend who many of us know and love. Sadly this old friend is placed in the midst of a not-so-funny show, but that's neither here nor there.

Let's see if you can figure it out...ok look here at the picture on the left, does the black guy look familar? And please for the love of god don't say "is that Dave Chapelle?" That would just be ignorant. Black people, much like Indians and white people, don't all look alike. Remember, you can click on the image to enlarge it if you need an extreme close-up.

Okay well if you have no luck, look below...it's Bud (Kenny) from The Cosby Show! He's all grown! Bud was one of the greatest "neighbor" characters in the all of TV sit-com history. That is my opinion and it is a fact.

"Neighbor" characters, by my definition, do not appear in every episode (hence no one on Sesame Street is eligible and everyone on Cheers is ruled out too) but when they arrive they only add to the humor fun. Other great neighbor characters include Skippy from Family Ties, Paul from The Wonder Years, and Boner from Growing Pains. I would also be remiss to even think about forgetting one of the greatest ever, Cockroach, also of Cosby Show fame.

At this point someone is going to ask about that girl Six from Blossom. Blossom was an awful show and Six was an awful character. Thus they are not eligible. What kinda person is named after a number anyways? Geez. Silly bakri chod.

To catch your up on his career developments in the two decades since the Cosby Show (his last episode on it was in 1992), Deon Richmond or Buuuud as Rudy would call him, has appeared in Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Scream 3, Not Another Teen Movie, and the magnum opus Van Wilder.

It's been a long strange trip Deon Richmond. Quite a long strange trip indeed. Quiiiite. But Kenny we will always remember you for being involved in a constant Lincoln-Douglas-esque dialogue with Rudy Huxtable revolving around shifting gender roles in a rapidly changing mid-80s society and questioning the Establishment. Kenny, as we all know, represented the Old Guard, through the words and views he would loyally express from "his brother." A character we sadly were never introduced to through the 8 years of The Cosby Show.

Keep It Gully Bud, Keep It Gully.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Shakes 101: verbal kung fu part 2... more words & phrases that I use

The emails, faxes, and phone calls have been coming in non-stop ever since my first edition of Shakes 101. This is remarkable because I don't even have a fax machine nor am I quite sure how you people got a hold of my home phone number. Be that as it may, in the continued quest to be like me, I've unveield my next edition of Shakes 101, words and phrases that I use on a regular basis:

  • S.I.G. - Shady Indian Guys. This is my own acronym and I take great pride in it. SIG's are everywhere, especially in NY, some of you date them, and most all of us have seen them fight...each other. SIG's are at every desi party and usually will wear all black with slicked back hair (Parachute coconut hair oil is the best...good call Arati). You can also spot wannabe SIG's on flights to India when normal kids try to act thugged out upon their arrival back in the motherland. It helps show-off their American-ness and it's a pleasing sight for adoring grandparents and aunts alike.
  • "keep it gully" or "K.I.G." - 100% from my cousin Vivek (and oddly Busta Rhymes too, but it means more of keeping it crazy in his sense), gully means street in hindi, so this basically says "keep it street." I've been keeping it street since 1978.
  • servant - Used as an adjective, not a noun, again this orginates from Vivek. Anything which is less than optimal has servant in front of it. For example
    • "what a servant club this is"
    • "this is a horrible servant plan"
    • "what a servant restaurant this is"

  • 'splain me - This is just a shortened version of "can you explain this to me?" used in the context it would look like this "Um, 'splain me this servant plan of yours?"
Just to make sure you're practicing, let's review our bonus word from last time:
  • bakri chod - Again, this is my own hybid curse word meaning goat f#&%er.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"I heard there's a DMV between North & South Korea too..."

My tour of undersireable places continues with recent my trip to the DMV. Ah yes the pomp, the pagentry, the smell of McDonalds food. The DMV is truly a feast for the senses. Now there has been more than enough written about the Department of Motor Vehicles throughout the annals of time and clearly no one ever accused it of being a model of efficiency or pleasureable experiences. But the fact is I actually have sympathy for the people who work there. They're not all useless bastards.

The reality is that you too would be jaded if you had to deal with the shmucks who roll into the front door. My favorite part was the guy who had Kanye's "Gold Digger" as his ringtone when his "Boo" called him. That's just classic. Plus have you seen the types of things people try to use as forms of identification? I had gone there to renew my car registration (more on that later) and the guy in front of me and clerk were engaged in the following convo:
[stage notes: in the background a public service poster saying "Only a chicken doesn't look both ways before crossing the street" is pasted behind the counter]
Clerk: Sir I need some proper ID
Guy: Here you go (handing over two items)
Clerk: Sir, this is not going to work. This is a library card. It's not an approved form of ID. Also this letter, it's just a postcard..and it's not even postmarked.
Guy: But that's where I live! Why would I just write some address on a random postcard? The library is near it too. That's where the cards comes in.
Clerk: Uhhh...

Let's be honest, everyone has tried to cut a line or get away withless than perfect documentation at some point in their lives at the DMV. If you're in Indian and you're thinking to yourself "I've never set foot in a DMV before and I have a license" well there's a reason that you gave a 100 Rupee note to a driving official...

As a total aside why is it that the DMV's in Jersey always seem to be frequented by drunkards?

Anyhoo I'm no economist, well actually I majored in that, but that's neither here nor there, but there is something seriously wrong with the DMV's pricing. The point of my whole trip was to renew my car registration, a form which I had never received in the mail. As it turns out the registration was a year late in dues. This is not good. Now the yearly cost for my car is $56, so you'd think that the price for last year's past dues PLUS the the upcoming year PLUS plus any penalty, would amount to something over $112 (56 x 2, for your geniuses out there). Wrongo. My total cost was only $99.

Somehow I had gotten a discount for having an expired registration. I can't make this stuff up. It's funny because it's true. That's why it's comedy. If it wasn't funny I would just be a stand-up Tragedian. But I'm not, so you just shut up.Now if I was being reasonable and less humorous I would simple rationalize this pricing inefficiency on account of the fact that if I had gotten a ticket with an expired registration the penalty would have more than exceeded this amount. But my job is not to inform, it's to poke humor.

At this point, some guy who runs a DMV blog will proceed make a lenthy comment, ala my USPS experience. Oh well, I guess this blog will have to be informative again. Shiznauts.

Remember kids, Keep It Gully. Keep It Gully.
("gully" is hindi for "street".... so basically I've been Keeping It Gully since 1978)

DJ Shakes_2006-04-24 (mostly Indian)

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: mostly Indian

Okay this is a mix you won't like at all. It's mostly Indian and no it's not one of those "Shekhar is going all ethnic" moments, I just struggle with how much Indian stuff I should play every week. At first I was thinking that I should mix other stuff in a bit more to keep people listening, and then I thought, "who cares what you think? I know what's good for you." The picture to the right is from a car window driving down Marine Drive in Mumbai at sunset. I personally love how the man sitting on the wall looks.

T R A C K L I S T I N G
  1. Intro -Shake'n'Bake
  2. Coldcut - True Skool
  3. Asian Dub Foundation - Tu Meri
  4. MIA - Hombre
  5. Bally Sagoo - Haye Haye Yeh Majboori
  6. film: Bluffmaster - Right Here Right Now
  7. Dhamaal Sound System - R/evolution
  8. film: Junglee - Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par (by Mohd. Rafi)
  9. film: Rang De Basanti - Roobaroo
  10. film: Dil Se - Chal Chaiyya Chaiyya
  11. Raghav - Teri Baaton
  12. Up, Bustle, & Out - Emerald Alley
  13. Midival Punditz & Rabbi - Aa Yaaraan
  14. Karsh Kale - Deepest Blue (Brooklyn remix)
  15. film: Zinda - Yeh Hai Meri Kahani (by Strings)
  16. Adnan Sami vs. DJ Sanj vs. The Police - Kabhi To Nazar Milao
  17. AR Rahman vs. Ges-e & Equal-i - So Gaye Hain (remix)
On a personal sidenote, the song in track #8, from the movie Junglee is particularly special to me. Although it was released far before my time in 1961, watching it as a kid made two impressions on me. The biggest was that the main character was also named Shekhar. At the time it was the only other person who had my name that I had ever "met." Plus the fact that it was played by the actor Shammi Kapoor, who was rather dashing (at the time), was quite helpful too. For those of you who don't know who he is, he was sorta like a Brown Elvis. The other part I liked about Junglee was that our VHS copy of the movie had subtitles, so it was one of the first Indian movies I could follow along.

As I've grown up, the story of a no nonsense businessman who learns it's okay to be a little wild and crazy has really resonated with me. I'm not going to go as far as saying that the movie taught me to be who I am or that I patterned my life after the movie, but in some subtle way this story of Shekhar, is a far more extreme version of the story of this...Shekhar.

As a final note, track #15 is by the group Strings (a Pakistani pop group) and it's absolutely badass in my opinion.

DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me! Or simply drag the orange podcast icon on the top left of this page into your iTunes. Or:
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Monday, April 24, 2006

Where's the Desi?

My previous post delved into the issue of what happens when desi's spot each other, but the Desi Stare is only made possible when a much more remarkable event occurs, that is, the desi spotting. (remember for those of you who don't know, desis, pronounced "they-see," are what you call people of Indian origin)

My ability to spot desis, or as I call it, Desar (desi + radar = desar) is remarkable. While I fail to possess marketable skills like being an accomplished musician or tremendous biceps, my Desar is like no other. I can spot Indians while driving, at airports, behind me, it's nuts. In fact my relatives often applauded me of this talent.

Now, as a caveat, I'm not considering P.O.H.I.D. as measurements of my Gift. For those of your wondering what's a P.O.H.I.D. is, it is Places Of High Indian Density. Thus places in Jackson Heights (Queens) and Edison (NJ), hell anywhere in New Jersey are ruled out of bounds. Likewise spotting Indians in India is not a gift, but rather it's called having eyes.

For those of you who are looking to improve your Desar, here's are some helpful hints. It won't show you where all the desis are, but it will help you identify P.O.H.I.P's, or rather Places Of High Indian Probability:
  1. Any store with a free give-away
  2. Any large gathering of people in a public area with a general lack or organization
  3. Any large gathering
  4. Paan stains. These are like desi footprints. Either they are around or had been around.
  5. Loud bhangra music. S.I.G.'s (Shady Indian Guys) are sure to be nearby
  6. A fight that doesn't involve guns, knives, whites, blacks, or any other ethic group
Okay, let's practice. Let's try to use a typical street scene in Manhattan as an example. Ready? Go! Where are the desis in the picture below? And remember, unlike Waldo Indians don't all wear red striped hats.Again, it takes lots of practice and patience. And remember, unlike other people, it's okay to point at Indian people, because they point at non-Indians.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Desi Etiquette 101: the Desi Stare of Death

Why is it that when Indians are in close proximity to other Indians they stare? Indians will just look at you and see what you're wearing and how you look. This happens everywhere: at the mall while walking by fellow desis, in elevators, merry-go-rounds, etc.

Why is it that when Indian families walk by each other in a non-desi setting, it's like watching two rival gangs meet. It's not a hey-fellow-desi-it's-so-glad-to see-you stare, but rather a mean stare. It's almost like they're scanning your retinas to detect your caste and saying "Hey, what makes you think you're so good?" It's not a normal stare, it's The Desi Stare. While walking by other families the responsibility of each family member is to check out their counterpart in the rival Klan. It's like watching the Pandavas and Kauravas gathering in front of a Gap and Aunt Annie's Pretzels. Don't get me wrong, I like Indian people a lot. I like them so much that I am one. But frankly sometimes they weird the tatti out of me.

Most normal people are pretty good about trying to be coy about staring. Admit it, we've all stared at people randomly here and there...anyone who rides the subway in NY does it on a daily basis. But at least you're supposed to be a tad discreet about the whole thing. At the worst there is that one heart-stopping moment when your subject makes eye contact with you and you look away immediately. It's the same "shared moment" that we've all had when you stare at someone that you like in school and they spot you...or maybe this stuff only happened to me.

On a sidenote, this is also one dramatic example of how the movies are different from real life. In the movies, the actors would continue to look at each other and maybe end up sharing a drink or something. In real life you look away, think about what just happened, wish that you would've had the courage to keep looking at them, and then stare back again. Repeat 20 times... or again maybe this doesn't happen to anyone else but me

In any case, I digress. Indian people lack any urge to be discreet. If you spot someone staring at you, they will continue to stare. It's like "hey, fucktard I can see you, stop looking at me." But they don't budge. In fact, staring back almost encourages them to keep on looking. Dad's do it, mom's do it, even little babies do it.

Now it would be remiss to say that my own parents are immune from such criticism, but I would like to imagine that they're pretty okay about not partaking in the Desi Stare. Instead they do what all other good Indians do....they speak about people in Hindi while others are standing right there. This of course is not a terribly bad in front of non-Hindi-ites....but I think they get so used to doing it that they forget to stop when they're talking about other Indians. If you're gonna talk about someone behind their backs, at least have the decency to wait until the turn their back. There is nothing worse than being at a temple and having dad say something about the weird guy with a comb-over hairdo in front of him, and having the guy hear his commentary and reciprocate with a Desi Stare (it's the most logical comeback, almost a desi kung-fu move really).

My job of course is to play the role of the mediator/ court jester and change the subject to something which no one outsider can angrily interrupt. "So dad, which is your favorite incarnation of Lord Vishnu?" This by the way can serve as a pick-up line in various southern Indian train stations. But what's funny is my parents aren't the only ones who do this. For some reason it seems like it's okay to mutter your internal thoughts aloud as long as you do it in your native tongue. When was the last time you didn't hear more than a handful of slanders while attending a show or "function" with your parents? (If you're Indian and reading this, can someone explain to me why we're the only culture that uses the term "function" whenever we're referring to a play, concert, reception, etc. that we're attending with our parents?)

I would say that most Latinos are the same way, but from my vast experiences growing up in California, most of them are kind enough to tell you in English that they think you're an idiot.

(click here to go back to the front page)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Day 3: me, my bed, and you...um it's not as sketchy as it sounds

A common question people ask me on the street is, "Shekhar, can you show me a picture of what it looks like when you stare at your ceiling at night?" This is an odd request, especially if you consider the fact that random strangers seem to know my name and pronounce it pretty darn close to correct (shekhar like a salt-shaker...if you wanted to be full out 100% desi correct, you'd stress the "khar" part a tad more, but only my mom and aunts do that).

Well wish no further, this is what I look at. You can see the effect of the light peeping through the blinds and making parallel lines on my ceiling. Of course if you wanted the full experience you'd have to also assume that there is the melodic sound of snoring in the background.

This observation by itself is not really noteworthy, and if I were you, the reader at home, I would want my money back. After all, you've already invested 3 paragraphs of reading into this post, albeit abridged ones, and if this bakri chod is just gonna wax poetic about his ceiling I'll just go back to looking at Rani Karnik's Friendster account that you referred to in one of your postings a while back.

But it never ceases to amaze me that something this unremarkable can turn into the scene below every morning. The building in the center is of course the Empire State. Top that USPS...











Okay, okay, if this whole post is too touchy feely for you, why don't you check this video out to see who would win in a battle of Gujus versus Punjabis. This is f'in hilarious, especially if you wait to see the special moves ala Mortal Kombat and the references to the Ramayan.

the US Postal Service hijacked my blog

In a bizarro turn of events, my blog has inadvertantly been turned into a source of real information (woe is me!). I'm sure some of your can remember my posting/rantings at how annoying the Post Office (USPS) is ("Dope Ass Good Friday" - 4/14/06)

...But I just got notified that it got a new comment. BLAMMO! Check out comment #4 at the bottom of my posting. It's like a long-ass commercial! It's a response from a guy who runs a "US Postal Service Postal News & Info" blog.

Somehow, my blog has actually turned informative...and it may even save lives too. The bigger question is who actually reads a USPS blog? Do you have to wait in line for it? Are there special services for Priority readers? More importantly, who scours the internet for disparaging comments about the USPS and seeks to correct them, one person at a time.

That's just jacked up, yo.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

i'm a boat watcher, i'm a boat watcher...watching boats go by...

Look, it's a boat and it's outside my window. The buildings behind it are some of the World Trade City buildings. interesting sidenote, the WTC is a collection of like 6 or 7 buildings, and wasn't just the main twin towers. If you ever get to watch a documentary called "New York" by Ken Burns, it has a brilliant postscript on the the falling of the towers and how symbolically they were held in higher regard by people who didn't live in America, than New Yorkers.

"Loose Control?" umm, I mean my stomach is fine, I meant "Lose Control"

There is nothing more annoying than a long setup for a simple observation.

Indian movies are becoming more and more Westernized and the process began with fashions (cue visions of actors wearing gawdy t-shirts saying Nike or Reebok), then storylines (do you think it's a coincidence that the movie "Shaan" is a lot like a James Bond movie?) and now over the last few years, the pure aesthetic. Bollywood movies feel like a "regular" movie. If you've seen movies like "Company" or "Sarkar" it looks like the crisp production quality you get from Hollywood.

One of the best parts about having Hindi movies on DVD is that subtitles is a standard option. You'd be surprised at how important it is to understand what people are saying towards making sense of the plotlines. That being said, there really is no explanation behind half of the spontaneous dance numbers, subtitles or not. As for the dance numbers that involve actresses dancing in the rain, that makes complete artistic sense. Complete.

But if there's one thing that needs improvement (besides the banning of Sanjay Dutt as an actor...he's just gross looking) it's the guys who do subtitles. English subtitles for Hindi films can be terrifically horrible at times. Sometimes it's the funny translations of phrases and sometimes it's just botched spellings.

This brings to a conclusion my long setup and now I'll show you a screenshot I noticed from "Rang De Basanti." In the movie the underlying motif of youth rebellion in the form of the phrase "Lose Control!" gets a slightly different spelling by the subtitle crew and instead becomes a warning that Aamir Khan is having bowel control issues.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Day 1: "Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile... [I'm] the only living boy in New York"

("The Only Living Boy in New York," Simon & Garfunkel)

Today I got to be, as my friend Katy puts it, one of "Those People" who get to walk around on weekdays during the middle of the day. The sorta people who you know exist but only catch a glimpse of during an odd lunch break here and there. In any case I decided to putz around the West Village & SoHo....

Nothing says New York like watching basketball at The Cage, on West 4th Steet.






For lunch I ate at my much beloved Kati Roll, on MacDougal & Bleeker...








...for your benefit here is a picture of my legendary food treat. It was a meal to make vegetarians & Jains cringe... one chicken/egg roll, and the other a paneer roll with extra onions.






Washington Square Park was absolutely gorgeous....








...and there's nothing more enjoyable to watch than weird NYU kids mocked in large public squares.

Signs you're in an Indian home #307: Secrets!

Everytime I had ever gone out with my parents to another Indian person's house, I would find my parents always saying "okay don't tell anyone all The Secrets!" Without fail, this line would be repeated for years and years without end. And like an idiot, it's the job of the kid to just nod his head in agreement.

The reality is that I never had any clue what these Secrets were, unless it revolves around the fact that sometimes my family prefers Rice-a-Roni versus the Indian branded basmati rice (the horror!). But whatever they were I wouldn't tell. Moreover this advice/scolding to hide The Secrets began from the age of 7 and has continud well past my mid-20s. (I imagine it will go on forever, but my empiracal evidence is limited to how old I am).

The reason of course for hiding The Secrets is because once others know, The People will Talk. Who are these People? Any whom are they Talking to? Why do these People even care about what goes on in our lives? While valid, these are not questions to ask parents. The sheer logic behind the questions prevents it from being a answer-worthy topic. However, in the one moment of bad judgement when a child actually asks a parent this question you usually receive a stern look and the oft-occurring Desi Parental Veto:

Hero/kid: Who would Talk about our Secrets?
Parental Unit: Son, I know you think you're so smart, trying to be a smart Alex P. Keaton, but I've got news for you, your parents weren't born yesterday, there are things we can't explain to you
Hero/kid: But if you're so smart, why can't you explain it?
[stage directions: BLAMMO! child is smacked upside the head]
...I don't even remember what happened after that...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What would you do with 30 days?

If you had 30 days by yourself to do anything, what would you do?

DJ Shakes_2006-04-18 (Brit rock)

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: mostly Brit rock

After going theme-less last week I felt like playing some Brit rock this week...and you'll see one French band sneaks in (I bet you cannot guess which one) and a partcular Irish one that I like (much easier to guess)

TRACKLISTING
  1. Intro - me....short and sweet (for once)
  2. Keane - Bend & Break
  3. Snow Patrol - Chocolate
  4. Athlete - Half Light
  5. Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
  6. Doves - The Cedar Room
  7. Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap
  8. Lightning Seeds - The Life Of Riley
  9. Oasis - She Is Love
  10. Travis - Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
  11. Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
  12. Stereophonics - Dakota
  13. Radiohead - Karma Police
  14. U2 - Some Days Are Better Than Others
  15. David Gray - Silver Lining
  16. James - Laid
  17. Phoenix - Too Young
  18. Beatles - With A Little Help From My Friends
As an interesting sidenote, the Belle & Sebastian song "The Boy With The Arab Strap" is a bit bizarro because it's about the lead singer (the "boy") of another group called the Arab Strap. So it's literally a song about a another singer. Kinda weird. Moreover the Arab Strap guy wasn't particularly pleased about it.

If you're trying to guess which song is by a French group...it's towards the end, Phoenix. If the song sounds familiar it was also used in the movie "Lost In Translation." Cheerio mates! Enjoy, and remember, always Mind the Gap.

DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me!
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bunnies, Eggs, and having Indian parents

The symbols of Easter have always been confusing to me. I understand Easter's religous significance but the bunny bewilders me. Where did the Easter bunny come from? I mean I'm pretty sure that there are no rabbits in the Jerusalem. Some people argue that the rabbit represents fertility, Spring and whatnot, but why is the Easter bunny handing out eggs? Rabbits don't even lay eggs.

If you think about it, it's a pretty weird concept that some animal is handing out the eggs of another species. That kinda behavior can get you arrested in most societies. Now I know some of you are probably thinking "Shakes, that's pretty immature, I mean really..." But if I was being really immature I would've said something much more obtuse like "hey here's something funny, bunnies don't make candy, haha, and bunnies don't make eggs, haha." But I didn't. I'm more mature than that.

Although you know what would be funny, spreading a rumor to little children everywhere that bunny turds are made of chocolate.

When I was about 10 years old my parents forced me to go on an Easter Egg hunt in a local park. Now I've done this for many years in my life, but this time I refused. After all I was like twice the age of most of the kids who would be there. For some bizarro reason my parents got really angry and said "There is going to be free candy there, so you're coming!" So my parents forced me into the car, drove me to Mile Square Park, and there I was on a Sunday morning amongst dozens of 5-7 year olds. After lining up behind a line, a man in a bunny suit screamed "Go!" and children ran everywhere, scouring the grounds for free loot...

...meanwhile I just stood there, doing my best immitation of Gandhian passive resistance by not participating. My parents looked at me and said "well pick up the candy!" To which I said "I don't wanna, if you want the candy so bad, you pick it!" Shocked at the turn of events, and the rapidly decreasing availablity of free candy, my parents did the unthinkable... they proceeded to forcibly pull me by the hand around the field and put candy in my basket. It was awful. At this point I did the only rational thing that a person in my position would do, I started to cry.

That is the last time I ever went on an Easter Egg Hunt. The following year the Berlin Wall would fall down and Germany was re-united. Coincidence? I think not.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'll take "Famous Sikhs in American Cinema" for $500 please Alex...

I just got back from a bhangra competition in the city, Best of the Best (they also have a raas and bollywood-type contest too) where college teams from around the country compete. This in itself may not be too postworthy but what was cool was the guy who was sitting 5 seats away from me. At this point, many of you probably have several guesses. Who could it be? Brian Boitano? Nope. Yan from the TV show "Yan Can Cook"? No dice. Sanjay Dutt? Yuck.

No it's someone even bigger than all three of these people combined. It is....drum roll...Waris Ahluwalia!!! Some of you are probably scratching your heads wondering "Who the f@# is Waris? You are a liar and cheat Shakes. You conned us with all this excitment nonsense." Well, first of all those are pretty harsh words. But back to my point, if you've seen the movie "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," Waris was the guy with a red turban, the Sikh guy! He was the guy who was the camerman for Steve Zissou's (Bill Murray) own documentaries. Most recently he's in the Spike Lee joint, "Inside Man"
(the soundtrack has AR Rahman's "Chaiyya Chaiyya" remix on it... originally from "Dil Se")

At the show he was chilling with a lady friend. See who says you don't see huge stars in New York? If you haven't seen the movie or do not like movies written & directed by Wes Anderson, then I spit upon you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

VW Bugs & the solo life (aka random musings)


(editor's note: the following post is not funny and has potentially personal thoughts akin to one's diary)

There are lots of ways to know that you are alone in life, and one odd way is spotting a Volkswagon Bug and having no one to say "punch bug, no punch-backs" to. For those of you who know about this kid's game I'll admit it's not something a person closing in on their 30's thinks about regulary, but for me it's something I think about.

I spotted this Bug while going to a birthday shindig in the East Village. For those of you out there who are concerned about my safety, don't worry I wore the proper East Village attire...Pumas & a track jacket (also Puma) ... and was able to blend in easily with the local hipsters.

Friday, April 14, 2006

"If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads..."

(picture from my living room window this afternoon)

"...They might as well be dead
If the rain comes
If the rain comes

When the sun shines
they slip into the shade
and sip their lemonade
When the sun shines
When the sun shines

Rain, I don't mind
Shine, the weather's fine

I can show you
that when it starts to rain
everything's the same
I can show you
I can show you

Rain, I don't mind
Shine, the weather's fine

Can you hear me
that when it rains and shines
it's just a state of mind
Can you hear me
Can you hear me"

("Rain," Beatles. 1966)

Dope Ass Good Friday

Good Friday has done me well over the last few years especially since I get the day off. I don't get Hindu holidays off so I relish everyone else's that are Federally recognized.

That being said it's also tax season, which means I have to make my annual trip to the post office. Now I'm a reasonable human being who has been able to conduct multiple successful transactions of commerce in the past. In fact I'm also a college graduate. Which means my brain is certified to be all good. But why do I feel like an idiot every time I goto the post office?

I'd like to imagine that I'm not alone, but it's like everytime I walk through their doors I became Lame Boy. I start to panic over Certified Mail vs. Registered Mail...which line I should stand in... and where to stick the labels. Moreover I feel like every time I ask someone a question I'm not able to understand anything.

(editor's note: have you noticed that sometimes you open conversations with random noises that sound like words jumbled together and you're hoping that your tone of voice and the context of the situation will be lucid to all?....case and point, read below)
Me: "Um-scuseme, where do I stick these labels on my envelope?"
Postal Person: "Just peel it off back and stick it up top with the bar code showing on the one side"
Me: "Great, ok!"
Me: (internal monologue): "Wait which side do I stick it on? Shits! Shit and none of these pens here work! Where are the pens? This pen just bled all over my hand! Peeennnns. Bakri chooooods"
Now maybe I'm making a big deal out of a small thing, but I would be shocked if you could claim that you feel perfectly comfortable about all the products and services offered by your local post office. At this point someone in Southeast Asia is going to comment that in Singapore everything is automated and that there are no unhelpful postal workers because the government penalty is death, along with chewing gum.

Well so be it. Konichiwa bitches.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Halloween ideas: 202 days left and counting


I think I will be Matisyahu for Halloween this year.
That is all I have to say on this matter.

W.W.D.D. : What Would a Desi Do?

The recent trend of bracelets saying W.W.J.D., "What Would Jesus Do?" is being used as way of getting its wearers to constantly think about the Higher consequences of their daily actions. Hokey? Mayhaps. But if it works, it works. Who am I to judge?

It is this type of deeper introspection which makes me wonder about the possiblities that would exist if this campaign existed for Indian people. The key, my friends, is to remember this helpful acronym W.W.D.D. ... What Would a Desi Do?

In order to englighten those in the dark, allow me to outline several random scenarios and let us see how the WWDD bracelet wearer should behave!

Q: You walk into a restaurant and only have enough cash to pay for your meal but no tip. Should you use your credit card or run outside to go to the ATM? What Would a Desi Do?
A: What tip? Sheesh. Just pay for your meal with your cash and don't leave a tip. If they wanted to give me good service they wouldn't charge me $2 for a can of Coke that they put on my table where they don't even pour it into another glass. Bakri chods.

Q: You're on a trip with your family of 4 and are checking into some roadside Holiday Inn. The sign at the front desk says kids under the age of 12 stay free, but your children are 27 and 23 years old respectively. What Would a Desi Do?
A: You lie to the front desk by claiming your kids are 12 and 10 to get them in for free, make sure they are not seen with you, and get them to enter the motel through a side door.

Q: You're chewing on chewing tobacco and need to spit it out, but you have just arrived at your friend's front door and can't find a garbage can outside. What Would a Desi Do?
A: You spit it out on their lawn and act like nothing happened

Q: You arrive late for a movie and see a line at the ticket counter with children and elderly women waiting in an orderly fashion. What Would a Desi Do?
A: What line? You just cut that shit. Moreover you act confused as if you don't know what you're doing.

Q: You're in college and you spot an Indian kid who is walking with people who are NOT Indian! What Would a Desi Do?
A: You find out their name and proceed to complain about the ethnic-line-crosser at the next Indian Club meeting with your other fellow Desi-Nazi's about how they're sell-outs and are not "true to their culture." Meanwhile you continue to only wear designer-label clothes, forgetting the fact that your parents forced your to wear Payless Shoes until 7th grade, and never seem bothered by the fact that you can name Shah Rukh Khan's last 5 movies but you can't name the current Indian Prime Minister.

Q: You are a boy and have decided to go out to a club. What Would a Desi Do?
A: Start a fight.

Q: You wear really big white shoes with velcro. What Would a Desi Do?
A: This is not really a question but just rather a statement of fact.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-04-11

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
theme: whatever i feel like playing

I'm back!... and instead of going with a theme I just played whatever I felt like. So basically expect something rather eclectic.

The first track is one I blab about in my intro. I first heard "Sponji Reggae" on the The Cosby Show and spent all of high school trying to figure out the name of the song I heard. My search was only complete when my freshmen year roommate in college Danny told me what it was.

As for the rest of the mix you're gonna hear some bhangra (old school & UK), a mellow Jack Johnson song from Curious George the movie, some Brazilian dance music, hip-hop, Indican classical, and David Bowie for good measure. Enjoy!

TRACKLISTING
1. Intro - Shake's Super Nonsense salute to the Cosby Show
2. Black Uhuru - Sponji Reggae
3. Ghostface Killah - Shakey Dog
4. Hard-Fi - Unnecessary Trouble
5. Depeche Mode - Precious
6. Niyaz -Dilruba (Junkie XL remix)
7. Jack Johnson - We're Going To Be Friends
8. Simon Nandhara - Put Sardaren De
9. Sukhdev - Solva Saal
10. Avtar Maniac - Dekh Jawani
11. David Bowie - Let's Dance (Bollywood remix)
12. Chaurasaria & Co. - Hanuman Chalisa
13. K-Os - Hallelujah
14. Lali Puna - Faking The Books
15. Nitin Sawhney & Aqualung - Falling
16. DJ Dolores - Trancelim De Marfim
17. Bebel Gilberto - Cada Beijo (Thievery Corp remix)
18. Nas - War
19. Ghostface Killah feat Ne-Yo - Back Like That
20. Barrington Levy - Murderer



DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me!
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shake's Million Dollar Idea #252: E-Z Pass for McDonalds

A lot of you people read this blog and think "Shakes, you're a great guy and I think you're insightful, handsome, and witty, but how can I profit from reading this blog?" Well look no further scavengers, I have an idea for you! Okay, check this shiznauts out...

For those of you who don't know E-Z Pass is the toll-saving device for people who drive on the East Coast. Basically you have a device inside your car that allows you to drive through tollways without having to stop, instead it automatically deducts money from your account. This is a fact that many of you know.

The key observation from my own empirical evidence is this: People will spend more money if you make it easy to spend money. The most annoying thing with going to a store isn't finding what you want, it's waiting in line. Likewise it's annoying to go through the drive-thru lane at McDonalds and have to make a payment. I was sitting in the car line at McDonalds wondering this exact same, when all of a sudden, BLAMMO! It hit me.

They should work out an arrangement to use your E-Z Pass at McDonalds (and other fast food vendors who are pivotal to our free society, e.g. KFC, Wendy's, and Burger King). Can you imagine how much better it would be if you could just pick up your food, have your payment automatically added to your monthly E-Z Pass bill, and move on with life?

E-Z Pass would win by licensing it's technology out to vendors. Vendors would be more apt to use their tags because so many people already have them. Fast food people win because according to my first theory you are more likely to increase the frequency of your visits if you make it easy to purchase food. Furthermore since you're never really making a cash-outlay you're more likely to add an extra order of fries or delicious apple pies.

Presto! A million dollar synergy is born. You heard it here first. If any of you actually uses this idea I definitely deserve some credit. Bakri chods.

See this is the type of insightful information I wish my aunts would mention in my bio-data.

Poetry, Milk, Water, & Me


The following is a spoken word poem, in written form. Perhaps the stunning artistry of the topic and the deft skill in which I address the subject matter may startle you. If so, my work is a success. My goal is to entertain as well as educate you. That being said, years of schooling has taught me that education is never fun and/or enjoyable, and the term "edutainment" is nonsense. Nonetheless, here is my stab. Some lines are borrowed from a convo I had with my friend Whitney. This poem is inspired by the fact that I only seem to have expired milk in my fridge.

Milk Versus Water: A Serious Poem

Milk is okay, but Water is always there for me.
Milk comes from cows, Water from taps.
Milk gets spoiled, Water is always good.
Milk say "hey come drink me but you better drink me by so-and-so date"
Water is like flexing its shit and is all "hey, I don't get spoiled, biznatch"

Milk is all stuffy
Water is all chill and says to me "yo, when you're good and ready, you drink me"
..."if not, i'll be here, you can even pee into a bowl of me"
Milk is all up in itself.
Water doesn't have its own agenda like Milk

Milk is like that annoying girl who can be okaaay, but you have to be nice to in order to get to the non-annoying part.
Water is like that girl who walks into class a late, still has wet hair and doesn't wear makeup.
Milk is hot, water is cute
Skim Milk is just posturing

I like cute, I like Water
When you get old, Water is still there for you
When you get old Milk is not good for you anymore

Damn lactose intolerance.

Damn lactose intolerance.
Milk is not okay, Water is the only one for me.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

...here's 1000 words...


Okay I have a linko to his blog on this site, but for anyone who doesn't know, my friend Amit has taken 6 months off from Wall Steet (an interesting career move, but an excellent life move) to travel and help setup a rural center for learning in India with a non-profit group, ASHA for Education. I had to include a link to his blog pictures because as an amateur photographer some of them are just gorgeous

Friday, April 7, 2006

Balle Jean is not my lover...

I don't normally put videos up, but this is pretty dope...

music fit for your ears (reviews)

Okay, this is what I'm listening to that I think is good. As an aside, one of the reviews is for Karsh Kale's new album and my one good Karsh Kale story is that my mom once went up to him and gave him a blessing of sorts when she said "Beta [son] may you make good music and do well" and rubbed him on the back. I think that makes my mom a groupie of sorts.

Anyhooo...

Ghostface Killah, "Fishscale." [hip hop] - This is the real deal. One of the best hip hop albums this year, it's raw, it has soul, and the lyrics are great. Although there are quite a few skits it doesn't talk away from it. The best part about Ghostface's style I think is that he just rhymes over old soul sample vocals without a thought, as opposed to just isolating the instrumental riff, yet to complement this raw feel he will take a moment to sing along with the sample's vocals like it's a duet. I guess it's a style you'll either like or hate. But if you have any semblance of taste you will like it.

Karsh Kale, "Broken English." [asian underground] - Karsh's third studio album which is a little bit different in the sense that it has more english vocals and doesn't place his musicmanship (is that a word?) at the forefront of every song....that being said that may be the one problem of the album. Some tracks have fantastic soundscapes but the vocal tracks leave something to be desired. In the end you'll put up with it but you're left wishing what could've been if it was just left as an instrumental or with sparse Hindi vocals. Maharashtran pride in the hizzo.

Niyaz, "Niyaz." [arabic electronica] - I like some arabic/middle eastern music and for me this album walks a fine line. Of course that's just a personal preference. But the stuff which is good is damn good. The music isn't fast paced or hard driving for the most part, but rather a bit more moderate pace which is a good change of pace if you ask me, considering where a lot of asian underground music is going these day...but then again you didn't really ask me.

Six Degrees compilation, "Travelers '06." [world, asian underground] - The Travelers series is alwaya no-brainer if you like these genres. It contains remixes of some of the people on this review list, namely Karsh and Niyaz. If you ever have a chance of listening to the Junkie XL remix of Niyaz's "Dilruba" then you're doing yourself a favor. It's fantastic. Heck I'll make life easier by putting it on my next podcast for you to hear.

For the record I ABHOR the term "world music" because it's just a generic label attached to something foreign that doesn't fit into the categories of "rock/pop" and "hip hop." That being said the alternative is having these quasi-sub-genres that don't make any sense. If you think I'm making that up, goto some of the hardcore music review sites like http://www.pitchforkmedia.com Their reviews constantly leave you grabbing for a dictionary to wonder WTF they're talking about. But they're far better than typical newspaper music reviews. Just read their review of the Ghostface album, it's quiiite good. Quite.

Harold & Kumar


Ken & I at a wedding in LA from last month (for our friend Esther). Please note that we're just trying to keep it real. You know, a wise man once said, it's hard out there for a pimp.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Shakes 101: my verbal kung-fu skills

Often times I find myself walking in the street and people stop me and say "hey, you seem rather cool, how can I be more like you?" or "hi there, are you gonna pay me for that hot dog or are you just going to walk away?" While these quotes are neither relevant nor necessary for this posting, I felt it was good to add some context. For those of you who don't know me but want the full experience, I figured it would be a good thing to regularly jot down some common phrases and sayings that I use.

As my personal lexicon evolves, so can yours. It's really that simple. This week try to use these words/phrases in normal conversation:

1. Tatti - Pronounced "tut-tee" this means shit in Hindi. This is one I picked up from my younger cousin Vivek. If you're like me you should really stetch it out. Example "What a taaattii." I think you'll fondly remember my previous discussion about this in my post Cafe Tatti (3/12/06).
2. Sharaabi - This mean drunkard. It's a classy way of having a toast with drinks. "Hey sharaabi!"
3. Shot! - This is really just an exclamation. Anyone who has been around me longer than a few hours, especially around Indians, has heard me say "shot!" after hearing something startling, riveting, or unexpected.
4. Dishoom - I can't claim this as my own, but I do use it a bit. It's sorta the opposite of "shot!" in that it's usually mentioned when something goes awry.
5. Mayhapsly - I stole this one from my friend Whitney, but it's mine now. For the record she says "mayhaps" and I stepped up my game to add the suffix "-ly." Some people call me space cowboy, some just call me a visionary.
6. Sangwich - This is just a slaughtered pronounciation of "sandwich," that I stole from the comedian Dane Cook.
7. Quite - This is the fast becoming America's favorite adjective. My excessive usage of this is due solely from my assassination faking cousin Vivek. Allow me to demonstrate
    • "This food is quite good. Quiiiite"
    • "This movie is quite long. Quiiite"
    • "He is quite a tatti. Quiiite"
BONUS WORD: Bakri Chod - This is my own hybid curse word. It means someone who likes to procreate with goats, or more simply: goat f#&%er. I like to imagine that this phrase follows along in the tradition of great hybrid curse words, such as "f#&%ard" and "assclown."

I hope this is helpful and be sure to use these when conversing with friends, loved ones, and barnyard animals.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

DJ Shakes_2006-04-05

http://hbshakes.blogspot.com
Podcast Mix #9
Theme: Spring Joy

Happy Happy Joy Joy! Alas spring has arrived and with that comes the end of some of my seasonal depression. This week's theme is all about feel good songs that you can listen to while wearing shorts, spring dresses, driving...whatever.

There's a little bit of everything here, from oldies to pop and reggae to hip hop. And of course what spring collection would be complete without Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" ... unless of course you just lost a brown-eyed girl, but that's neither here nor there. The whole point is that I wanted to play music that you could instaneously sing-a-long to.

My job is to give you a reason to smile. Your job is to smile.

TRACKLISTING
1. Intro - shakes' super nonsense bakwas hour
2. Blind Melon - No Rain
3. Wham - Freedom
4. The Cardigans - Lovefool
5. The Rolling Stones - Get Off My Cloud
6. Weezer - Island In The Sun
7. Len - You Steal My Sunshine
8. The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonite
9. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Three Little Birds
10. Toot & The Maytals - Do The Reggay
11. Stevie Wonder - Uptight
12. Al Green - Let's Stay Together

13. R. Kelly - Happy People
14. The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice
15. Erasure - A Little Respect
16. Gorillaz - Don't Get Lost In Heaven
17. Paul Oakenfold - Starry Eyed Surprise
18. Neil Diamond -Cherry, Cherry
19. The Grass Roots - Let's Live For Today
20. Lovin' Spoonful - Daydream
21. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
22. The Sundays - Summertime
23. 311 - Amber
24. Raphael Saadiq & Q-Tip - Get Involved
25. New Radicals - You Get What You Give


On an interesting musical sidenote the song "Do the Reggay" by Toot & the Maytals from 1968 is credited as the first time the word "reggae" (well they used an alternate spelling) appeared in a song title.

DIRECTIONS: Right mouse click on the tracklisting above to save the entire mix (mp3) directly or Podcast Me!
  1. goto iTunes
  2. click on Advanced
  3. click on Subscribe to Podcast:
  4. paste this URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/EngineEngine9

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Google me baby one more time

In a previous post I had made a rather blase comment about how people who Google themselves may be a bit vain. The reality of course is that we've all done it. But an even bigger problem isn't with us (or me, specifically), it's with Google. The fact that Google tracks down every random reference to you that has ever existed on the internet is like having your skeletons in a proverbial e-closet readily available to anyone in the world. 24hrs a day. Usually I like to mock others,which makes things funnier, but in this case I need to point the finger at myself.

Googling my own name results in the usual smattering of random college references and whatnot, but whether I like it or not, for the rest of my natural life the number one search result that appears is some horrible Indian marriage website that my aunts had put me on without my knowledge several years ago. It's terrible. The worst part is it's like some short bio-data/testemonial which I DID NOT write. I mean look at it, I don't talk like this:

Hi, I am Shekhar (picture coming soon!).... I have completed B.A. (Economics) and B.A. (Political Science). I am a US Citizen and well settled in U.S.A. My entire family is well educated and we are all living in USA. I am a C.K.P. Maharashtrian. Presently, I am working as an Associate Marketing Manager in a reputed bank in New York. My hobbies are music, golf, attending concerts and travelling. I had played an active role in Social Organizations.
This is horrible. "I" sound like such a tool! This whole thing sounds like I'm having an imaginary conversation with random people who should happen to stumble upon this site. This becomes even more ridiculous when I picture myself saying this in a bar (anyone who knows me actually knows this scenario would never happen, but work with me here).

First of all, I would never tell someone "hey there, I'm a US Citizen." Not only is it a weird thing to say, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work. Secondly apparently I'm very concerned with establishing the fact that I'm "well educated" and "well settled." I don't know what "well settled" even means. Does it mean settled in the sense of like the pilgrims (by the way, why do we always say "the pilgrims" and not just "pilgrims") ? Are there people who are badly settled?

Also I have no idea what an "Associate Marketing Manager is," there is no such job title. The most classic/tragic line is "I am working...in a reputed bank in New York." I think what my aunts meant to say was "reputeable," NOT "reputed." Reputed makes it sound like I'm saying "Hi I allegedly work in a bank that may or may not be located in New York."

But wait, it gets worse. Why would "I" capitalize "Social Organizations." It makes it sound like I'm donating time to the UN or something. How can "attending concerts" be considered a hobby. That's equivalent to saying "hi, I'm Shekhar, I like going outside and doing things".... this is sorta funny too because anyone who knows me knows that sometimes I don't like going out.

Like I said, the real problem is that I have no idea how to remove my name from this website. I think it's sorta stuck forever. Moreover how could my over enthusiastic, but well meaning, aunts imagine that this was ever going to help me find someone? On the contrary this will banish me into a world of solitude for decades to come. That being said, it's not like some of you don't have embarrasing things. One of you, I shall not name names, in a bio stated that you found a high school math class to be a "great source of amusement." Oh good god.

Monday, April 3, 2006

phone home

You know not to get all weird on you people or anything, but somewhere it must be noted that perhaps one of the loneliest feelings is coming home from work and seeing your answering machine blinking and then having your mild but heightened sense of anticipation crushed by the fact that it's just a wrong number.

There should be a National Phone-A-Friend Day where everyone goes through their cellphone phonebooks and calls a person they haven't spoken to in a while. In the absence of such legislation, I declare it to be April 21st, three months after my birthday. Why is it based upon my birthday you ask?...well because I'm the one who thought of it you bakri chods. What are you gonna do now?.... hmm well I guess you could not call me, which sorta ruins the whole point of this post. Shits.

The End of the Rani Karnik Saga

Okay, so here's one I've been meaning to post up for a while but never got around to it... Some people have been asking whatever happened in the whole Rani Karnik saga that I reported on in my blog infancy. Rani, as you'll recall, appeared on American Idol and in a weird twist of fate I had thrown away her college acceptance letter 10 years earlier when it had gotten accidentally mailed to me (the wrong Karnik!). If you want to review the whole episode, just click HERE. ("Me, American Idol, and the U. of Chicago")

Anyhoo as you'll notice on the comments section from the old posting she actually spotted my blog. I had no idea how she found it, but then it became clear that if she Googled her own name (is that considered vain even though we've all done it?) my lovely bloggo appears. In her comment she included her email addy, so we actually exchanged an email or two. To my relief my trashing of her acceptance letter did not affect her choice of undergrad education. Luckily the kind & noble people from the University of Chicago mailed her another letter.

Anyhoo everything was pleasant and she seemed quite nice... BUT if you really want a shock check out her MySpace account, the Friendster account is far less scandelous... not that I'm a stalker or anything. no no no ...

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Signs you're Indian #127: Crocin the Miracle Drug

Scientists have been searching for magic cure-all drugs for centuries. Something which can cure illnesses, prevent fevers, and vanquish diseases. Having multiple medicines which can achieve this is hard enough, in fact that quest is the foundation of what Western medicine is built upon, but to have one super drug is unheard of. Well, not if you go to any Indian household. Aunties and uncles know that this magic drug has been available for years. Of course we all know it as Crocin. (pronounced "cro-seen")

In my 28 years of existence there has been no ailment that Crocin has not been prescribed for. According to my family it can cure anything. At this point every non-desi reading this is thinking "what are you talking about?". I swear every Indian kid has been given a tablet of Crocin at some point in their lives for multiple unrelated problems:


Heartburn? Crocin
Diarrhea? Crocin
Marriage problems? Crocin
Having trouble in math? Crocin
Hungry? Crocin
...and of course, is your first tablet of Crocin isn't working? take another Crocin
The most bizarro part is that I have never seen anyone consume a Crocin (or really any Indian medicine) that hadn't already expired. I remember when I was younger and less wise I pointed out to my aunt that the medicine she was giving me expired 2 years earlier, and the answer I got was a combination of revisionist scientific theory with a pinch of racism for good measure:

Me: I have a bad headache and I have no appetite
Auntie: Don't worry beta let me get you a Crocin
[stage directions: aunt brings Crocin box, stage right]
Auntie: Here you go, take this with water
Me: Wait, this thing expired like 2 years ago
Auntie: Don't mind that
Me: What do you mean don't mind that?
Auntie: All the active ingredients are still good in this
Me: But don't you think they put these warnings on medicine for a reason? What if I die?
Auntie: Yes, but these warnings are just for the Europeans and Americans. Their bodies are not like ours, they are frail and can't handle anything. That is why they are always getting sick.
Me: But I'm an American...
Auntie: You were born in America but you have the strong Indian blood.

Faking Assassinations in Chicago

I think my younger cousin Vivek has just won the contest for most ridiculous academic stunt of the year. He's currently in Chicago for a Model UN conference, which for those of you who don't know, basically kids play the part of UN delegates and try to solve problems and shit while competing against other schools. It's a combination of debate and actually working with other people. But instead of going to his committee (which was on drugs and crime) he issued a fake news release to the group claiming that he, the honorable delagate from Brazil, had been assassinated.

I have never heard of a kid in any debate tourney faking his own death before.

They passed out the press release below to all the delegates and the chairs of the committee who were fooled themselves. Well done Vivek. As you will see from the news bulletin the "authentic" BBC release has a picture of some Brazilian dude..... the real Brazilian UN delegate. hahahaha. I guess part of me should feel embarassed that a conference run by my alma mater, the University of Chicago, could get duped... but then then the sheer audacity is too funny. Silly bakri chods.

As you will see, the bottom part of it is too funny, "According to police reports, Chohfi [the delegate] was found was with multiple stab wounds by Maria Rodriguez, a house-keeper at the Chicago-Mart Holiday Inn in Chicago, where the conference is being held."

Irresponsible? Perhaps.
Does it mock Brazil's actual UN delegation? Maybe.
F*#%ing brilliant? Absolutely.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

finally, art with a clear message

Restaurant Bathroom Review: Panchitos (West Village)

Hopefully this does not turn into some weird fascination with bathrooms, but on my list of free bathrooms of Manhattan an obvious quick corollary could be restaurant bathrooms (so paid bathroom experiences). Last night's midnight margarita run was at Panchito's in the West Village, on MacDougal & Bleeker ("Voted as 1 of the 6 Best Margaritas in the City!") . While going to the bathroom I couldn't help but snap a picture for the sake of this blog and the general promotion of the transfer of information to you the reader.

The bathroom aesthetic left something to be desired. Also the door entering into this tatti room didn't have spring-loaded hinges...which meant that if you pushed open the door it would fly open and nearly knock out the unlucky fool who was right next to the door (and sink) washing his hands. I don't want to tell names or anything , but for anonymity's sake let's just say that a certain "S. Karnik" or rather "Shekhar K." was standing by the sink when such an event happened. Although our hero was wounded and briefly stunned, he still carried on like a true trooper.