November 25, 2005

Gujjus unite!

One is in a Bad Mood. In fact, one is in Intense Pain.

One is Dismayed, nay Crestfallen, to see that this veritable repository of phillum-related things has no information whatsoever on the ravishing Roma Manek. (For the uninitiated, Roma Manek is the (the) Madhuri Dixit of Gujarati cinema. Her eyes are said to be the colour of fresh undhiyu, and her nose is said to resemble a perfect little ganthiya. The very mention of her name is known to have persuaded NRI Gujjubhais to shut cornershop and head home.)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is part of a wider gripe regarding the under-representation of Gujaratis in cyberspace*. One’s Gujju chromosomes (all twenty-three of them) cry out – yes, they cry out in synchronized deoxyribonucleic protest. One refuses to believe that the sturdy Shahs of Surendranagar and the fine Patels of Patan have nothing to say about Matters. But the gentle reader does not hear them. No. The gentle reader is being drowned – aye, drowned – in a cacophony of voluble Bangla, in the staccato rhythms of rapidly-articulated Tamizh (note the zh .. one is very particular about such things, you know ..) and in the occasional outburst of Gultspeak. Come, O denizens of Saurashtra and Kathiawad, O natives of Kutch, O fellow Gujjus from all walks of life and all corners of the globe! It matters not whether you own a shop or a motel .. we are all one beeg phemily! Let us forge a blogospheric identity for ourselves! Let us impress upon people that we are a force to be reckoned with!

Er .. it makes good business sense, you know.

* which, in turn, is part of a wider gripe regarding the correct way to twirl a dandiya. But we shall let that pass for now.

November 18, 2005

'Tis the season of web-quizzes

“Know thyself” – inscribed at the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi

One figured that one was lagging somewhat in the nosce-ipsum department. The past few hours have been spent in an attempt to rectify matters - and a truly heady voyage of self-discovery it has been.

One now stands enlightened on critical issues like which Final Fantasy character one happens to be (Tidus the Great, if anyone cares), which rejected crayon best matches one’s personality (a brown one), which original Skittles colour one is (green), whether one is a nerd, a geek or a dork (a geek, evidently, although the differences in meaning are too subtle for one’s limited grasp) and whether one conforms to this young Californian lady’s notion of a boyfriend (at the end of a particularly gruelling quizathon chock-full of difficult questions like “Would you describe yourself as hot?” she declared that one was “okay”. Disturbing.)

One has been told that one is 70% weird and, intriguingly, 45% normal. And a “little” scary. In one’s previous life, it seems, one was a mute and mentally unbalanced mathematician. One seems to get raw deals every time.

One has been reliably informed that one will spawn 71,710 descendants over the next thirty-two generations, which is rather spiffing, and also that this places one at the lower end of the genetic-fitness spectrum, which is not. It is helpfully mentioned that the reason for the poor score is that one is the pious type and will not sacrifice scruples in a misguided quest to scatter his genes far and wide. Hah. It’s quite easy to fool these quizzes, you know. Let’s see ... what was that Californian chick’s name again …

November 11, 2005

A single body

“Low Fat!” screams a label, in garish three-dimensional fonts. “Zero Calories!” proclaims another. Some stick to Dutch. “Nul vet!” “Minder dan 10 Kalorie!”

One’s customary Friday-evening visit to the local supermarket is inevitably punctuated by such promulgations. It is well known and widely accepted that such things attract customers.

But one is what is referred to back in Gujjuland as a “single body”. This should be especially significant in light of recent sage/tyke schizophrenia, but it’s not about multiple identities at all. A single body is a skinny person. Really. It’s actually pronounced with a fetching Guj accent, if you please, “body” rhyming with “roadie”.

You might think, given the fact that one’s chief activities are eating and sleeping, that one’s appearance would show a certain embonpoint. But, alas, it is not so. One has been compared, by different people at different points in time, to a walking skeleton, a starving chimp, and a stick. And they, one suspects, were being nice.

But it is hardly surprising that one cannot put on weight here despite eating practically everything in sight. See, anything even remotely edible in these parts is quite utterly drained of lipidinous content, as if some overzealous squad of obesity police had single-mindedly attacked the supermarket shelves. Every last drop of triglyceride has been ruthlessly wrung out of the cottage cheese, all traces of fatty acid have been coldly emulsified from the frozen desserts. One spends entire afternoons searching for that elusive tub of full-fat yoghurt, for the one chocolate mousse that does not proudly claim to be an integral part of a dozen crash diets. Milk is available in plenty, but it is all of the skimmed variety; whole milk may be bought only at select stores conveniently positioned at the farthest corners of town.

If one remains emaciated for the rest of one’s life, it is all the fault of those callous profit-hungry FMCG companies. In pandering to the corpulent crowd, they are losing the trust of us reedy folks.

November 05, 2005

Dilettantics and deletion

For the space of a few hours two evenings ago, one was the proud owner of a second blog.

This second blog was, rather unimaginatively, named Test. One had put up a single post – a piece titled “abcdefg” – whose contents, in a burst of creativity, went something like “abcdefg”. The only comment there had been left by oneself (which probably qualifies as the saddest thing in the history of the commentspace). Its chief purpose, of course, was to allow one to generally muck around with these HTML/CSS things.

Presently the mucking about was completed and the conclusion arrived at that one should, in the future, a) stay as far from markup languages as humanly possible and b) not even think aloud about style sheets. Then one deleted Test.

And since then, things haven’t quite been the same. An emptiness is felt.

Why, one asked oneself, did it matter so much? Such maudlin sentiment over a mere webpage? From one who takes such pride in his unflappability?

Perhaps it mattered because deleting a blog feels like burning a journal – it is an act of self-effacement. Grim and masochistic. Even if that blog had displayed nothing more than alphabetic tautology*. For any blog that one creates might be merely a corner of a foreign server, but it is a corner of a foreign server that is forever one’s own. Or, in the case of Test, could have been forever one’s own.

In any case, this blog underwent a few changes following the aforementioned experimentation. Okay, so it wasn’t much of a facelift .. maybe one ended up doing more harm than good. Clumsy as ever. But at least things can only improve hereafter.

* which is precisely what this blog continues to do, some might say.