Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Limerick-off Monday

I like this week's prompt simply because I managed to come up with two limericks fairly easily - the bonus being that I'm pretty satisfied with both of them! At any rate I'm not wishing for quicker wits and funnier ideas... this time around, anyway. No promises about next time, though!

So here they are:

A fellow who went through a phase
Of carrying hankies made of lace
Didn’t care a jot
What anybody thought –
His hi-fashion cred was firmly in place.


A woman who went through a phase
Of attending each and every horse race
Found that her honey,
Her friends and her money
Quickly vanished without a trace.

Friday, November 11, 2011

If wishes were parking slots...

Any parking slot that I was trying to wedge my Range Rover into would obligingly swivel itself on a turntable until it was at the right angle for me to just drive straight in without having to do any angling manouevres. Also, MY slot would expand sideways to accommodate my car comfortably, should any vehicle on either side be parked too close to the line.

You think that's off-the-wall far-fetched? Well, think about this - apparently one of the Ecclestone daughters has, in her $45 million house, a car turntable so that she does not need to reverse her Ferrari out of the driveway.

I was only expanding on an already existing reality. Not so far-fetched NOW, is it? Hah!

Oh to be a multi-multimillionaire, just to experience the extravagances in that ridiculously rarefied lifestyle...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sunday Scribblings - "Omen"

Would you believe that once upon a time, I thought that the Malayali name “Oommen” was a phonetic Mallu way of spelling “omen”? I know, I was ignorant. Or innocent. I’ve coined a new word to describe the complete lack of worldliness which was my lot at age 20 – “ignocence”. Or possibly “innorance”.  

Which brings me, by way of a vague segue, to my first encounter with an authentic Mallu from deepest darkest Kerala. I didn't meet him until the first month or so of my apprenticeship in the Indian Express in Madras. Basheer was a sub-editor with a couple of years’ experience who was assigned to show me the basics of page-making and other editorial duties. He did this cheerfully even at his busiest. And since he was a friendly chap, he took it upon himself to try and draw me out of my shell (I used to be painfully shy).

The problem was that I found Basheer virtually incomprehensible. He must have thought me really slow because there was usually a bit of a gap between him asking me a question and my reply to him – mainly because I was scrambling to decode what he’d said. But I’d say I managed ok, most of the time. A question that completely threw me early on, and I remember it vividly, was “What do you think of God?” - except, of course, Basheer said “God” to rhyme with “goad”.

I must have looked like a total idiot, and I felt like one too, as I blinked at him. I was also panicking, because I had no idea what "goad" was, other than the literal "prod", and that didn't make any sense in the context. It could have been  "gode" or something else altogether, it could have been a editorial/journalistic term that I should have known, or something that I’d possibly missed in some previous conversation with Basheer or even, for all I knew, somebody that I'd been introduced to.  

I didn’t know how to respond – saying “yes” or “no” could have been the wrong response (as it undoubtedly would have been, with hindsight) and might bring on more disaster in the form of “what do you mean by ‘yes’ (or ‘no’)”. In the end I compromised with a weak smile and non-committal shrug and hoped like hell that it would do. Thankfully, it did – mainly because someone came up to him with a question... and just like that, I was off the hook. I didn't figure out what "goad" was until the next time the topic of religion came up in a conversation Basheer was having with Master - and then the lightbulb finally went on in my head.

I never did get to tell Basheer about my thoughts on God, though.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Limerick-Off Monday

Easy-ish prompt this time, I guess. I'm getting fairly handy at writing limericks, but I do know that merely getting them to rhyme in the AA-BB-A format isnt quite enough - a proper limerick in my eyes has to be witty and preferably incorporate a pun or two or funny wordplay in general... kind of like the ones Ogden Nash wrote. Or Phyllis "Granny" Smith, who is truly versatile in her genius - there's nothing she can't write/write about, and how incredibly well she does it all, too - limericks, poetry, essays, you name it. How I wish I could be half as talented.  

Anyway, my limerick for this week:

A fellow was famous worldwide
For getting constantly pie-eyed
He visited every Irish bar
Between County Cork and Myanmar -
He didn’t stop even when his brain was fried.

Reviewing my choices...

How do you choose to buy something on Amazon when you're not familiar with the item? Me, I've found that I depend completely on reviews from people who've tried and tested it (whatever "it" happens to be - a novel/craft book/cookbook, clothes, games, a  new author whose works I'm not familiar with, etc).

I usually read a few comments and reviews, both pro and anti. If there are two or more commenters who have left positive reviews that are thoughtful, coherent and well-written, with minimal spelling mistakes, I normally commit to buying the item. More often than not, my choices are vindicated.

Sure, there have been a few duds over the last few years, but on the whole I'd say that 97% of my purchases that were based on positive reviews by educated reviewers/commenters have been worth it. Is that snobbery or just good sense? If you were to ask me, I'd have to say honestly that the ratio is skewed about 70-30 in favour of snobbery. It might make me a snob, but my instinct is to trust a review from someone who's able to write effectively and briefly about the pros and cons of anything - whether the review is of a book or a saucepan.  

PS. When it comes to negative reviews, if there are three or more comments that are pretty much unanimous on the quality of the product (never mind the language/spelling here), I don't buy the item. I'm pretty sure that my choices here are vindicated as well - although, obviously, I'll never really know for absolute certain.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Marvellously insincere marketing

A couple of days back, I received an email from a marketing representative of a job-site company, which was sufficiently different enough to make me smile. The writer (called Serge) tried his best to be flattering, sympathetic, honest, intimate and humble by turn - a pretty hard-fought attempt but not quite achieving that note of sincerity he was trying to go for. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise because, after all, it's an advertising/marketing exercise - and advertising/marketing have nothing to do with sincerity or honesty.  

The text of the email is below; comments in italics are, of course, mine.

"Hi there

Nice that he addresses me by name...

I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog

I read the post "Spinach & green bean rice" and then I spent another hour on your blog by reading your posts with pleasure :) Every article is interesting and easy to read.

How oleaginously the sincerity oozes through…

I work for Jooble company, we aggregate job adverts around the world.

My job is to persuade bloggers to link to our site.

I really love my job! We have a friendly team and good management, but unfortunately I have no idea how to convince a blogger to link to us…

Which begs the question – what EXACTLY about his job does he love, if he doesn’t know how to do it in the first place? And just how good is the friendly team and good management, if none of the friendly team-members have helped him, and if the management haven’t even trained him in how to actually do his job, or told him how to go about it?

 I'm afraid I might lose my job because of it :(

Noooo….. the sheer pathos of it! *sniffing away a cataract of tears*

And that is why, instead of sending letters to thousands of different blogs, I am reading yours.

Er… hang on, he doesn’t know how to do his job (although perhaps he DOES have a clue) and he’s afraid he might lose his job – so what does he do? Does he try to get some information from the web or from his colleagues on how to do his job? Nope - he continues to read my blog... instead of sending out those letters to “thousands of different blogs” (and as opposed to what? Thousands of the same blog?).

Honestly, I am not really sure if the link to our website in United Kingdom -, will be appropriate for your blog,

What, after reading my food blog for an hour, he’s still not sure if a link on my blog to his job-aggregating company’s website would be appropriate?  

but if you believe it will and it is possible to add it, I would be really grateful to you! Our site is really cool, it can greatly help hundreds of people to find jobs.

Yes - because my food blog is really not about food, I only maintain it in the hope of someday helping hundreds of people to find jobs…

I wish you to have a good day and excellent mood! Thanks again for your nice blog. Write more! Thanks!

P.S. I am a Pisces by zodiac sign too :)


And that is the final sealing touch from this marvel of sincerity – his admission that he’s a Pisces by zodiac sign, TOO. I feel such a connection with him, I'm so happy now…