And the meek shall Inherit

Thursday, September 22, 2005

You may NOT kiss the bride

If this report is to be believed, an Israili couple couple was fined 1,000 rupees after an Indian court found them guilty of obscenity for kissing during their marriage ceremony in Pushkar, Rajasthan.

Ladoo, president of some kind of organization of Hindu Priests, believes kissing leads to cultural pollution. I wonder, whoever takes someone named Ladoo seriously?

Now for some Husband 101 lessons. This describes what we say, but also what we really mean. Phunny.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fake Hurricane Katrina...Coming in

Check out some cool pics (courtsey, my buddy Sahoo) of Hurricane Katrina coming in. Real neat.

Update: Apparently these pictures are fake, thanks to the tip from Quizman. Urban legends has the description here. Bakra time, I mean I was the Bakra here. These are beautiful pictures, nonetheless. Thanks to everone for the nice comments.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Odds and Ends

Our Systems Support guys had to rebuild the image on my laptop and now all my hardisk documents are gone. Vamoos, kaput, Poof...gone. Of course they have a backup, and restoring it will take a day, but well, here I am, my half finished blog article disappeared from my now virgin laptop.

So I’ll just ramble on about mostly inane stuff, with no apparent continuity as I flit between topics incoherently. Well somewhat like a Donald Rumsfeld press conference.

The past weekend went by so fast, and I cannot even reminisce doing all that much or getting overly sloshed. Must of it was spent catering to the whims of a precocious two year old, ridden with a bad cold and cough. Since fall is fast approaching, the weather is playing dicey in Michigan. It was cold and wet on Thursday, Friday and Sat and warm and sunny on Sunday. We have an annual local carnival jamboree at a neighborhood suburb Troy, called Troy Daze, which we have been frequenting every year. From Sep15 thru Sep 18.

This is a good, fun mela-type carnival with rides and pageants, contests and food stalls. The kids have a great time. Because of the vagaries of the fall weather this year, we could not really make it since the only opportune time was the past Sunday. Sidharth fell asleep in the afternoon, and the festival was supposed to end at 6 PM. Oh well, next year, maybe.

Fall, as I mentioned earlier is fast approaching. Though the color change is not yet evident, some trees have begun shedding leaves. Northern Michigan, just like Virginia, Vermont or Maine warrants a visit during the fall, to see the trees, up in flames. The air is crisp and if the sun is out and shining, it makes for a glorious drive and sights to behold. I’m not that big on photography, but if we do make a fall drive this year, I will try and get some pictures of the foliage. At the very least, I shall walk around our sub, clicking away, baring any dogs let loose on me during my creative walk.

Since I am practicing hard for the Detroit half-marathon on Oct 24th, I ran my 7 miles of practice jog on Sunday. This is a 13-mile run, and the course includes a run across the Ambassador Bridge into Canada and back from Canada thru the underwater tunnel. Our team is sponsored by ASHA, , a non-profit all volunteer group, which does excellent work for education of kids in India. Please check out their website and help in any way you can. They really do terrific, terrific social work.

I am supposed to be running about 260 minutes every week, and sadly I have been slacking, but only a little, at this effort. Pretty soon, I will have to start my fundraising effort for the run, and I’m sure my charitable buddies will open their check-books to encourage me in this stupendous effort. And for a good cause, of course.

Vinod, Nita and their two exuberant sons are heading back to Bangalore, India over the next few weeks/months, to start living the expat life, in a country far, far away. They have been the catalysts of good times for our social gatherings in Michigan and have spread much fun and happiness to whoever have got to know them. Our social gatherings here will be that much poorer, in mirth and laughter, at their departure. But as Sujatha, so eloquently asks the question in her excellent article , what makes people happy? Each one of us have our own yardsticks of measurement for this answer, and the least we can do is feel happy for someone who seeks what their heart desires. But we will miss Vinod and Nita from amongst us, a lot.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tipping Point

I love my tall ‘chai tea lattes’ at our local Starbucks and their oversized, comfy, deep sofa chairs. So every time I head over to my nearby ‘vice-den’, coffee place for my caffeine fix, my soul is deeply anguished over the now customary ‘To tip or not’. They have tip jars, strategically placed, near the cash register, for you to drop your change, after you’ve paid for your beverage. To make matters worse, its always three-fourth filled, making you wonder if you are the only cheapskate around, unwilling to tip. Starbucks were the first ones, in my opinion, to start this ridiculous tipping business, at coffee shops. And thus my moral predicament.

What’s basically the tip for? What exactly is the luxuriant service that I am bestowed with, that a generous handout of my hard earned money is expected to be doled out for some over-priced beverage? I go to the coffee shop, stand in line, pay for my latte, pick up my drink, and walk out. Am I expected to tip, just for someone to do their jobs?

Never can I figure out the rules for tipping these days. At airports, with the drivers for the rental bus, with those towellette boys at fancy restaurants, coffees shops, ice cream parlors (or shoppes as they call em, in some places!) , bartenders, baggage handlers, cabbies, haircuts, restaurants, doormen, tour guides, strip clubs, massage parlors, shoe shine kiosks and also the benign looking Santa at the mall who gets pictured every Christmas, with our two year. Everyone looking for some instant ka-ching, on the side, fast money. Its getting out of control, I tell ya.

It’s like in most of these places the employees have come to expect the tipping, and bad judgment forbidding, if you don’t tip, you then get subjected to the evil eye. That single look of contempt saying ‘You little cheapskate, I spit in your latte’. Ugh. People standing in line behind you size you contemptuously as if to say, “If you really are on welfare, then you shouldn’t be drinking lattes anyway. Order your coffee from McDonalds instead. Maybe you’ll get lucky and spill some on your crotch to win some nefarious lawsuit. Come back to civilization then!!!”. That’s what, they are thinking, I’m sure.

For exceptional services, I agree, that tipping, should be the norm. At restaurants, when the waiter brings you’re the food without dipping their fingers in it, or its really fast service, shell out 20%. Or the cabbie, who drives like a bat outta hell to get you to the airport, just in time, to make that return flight home, deserves your munificence. Even for the strip club dancers, anyone under 350 lbs, with halfway decent contortions, tip away. For those gals over 350 lbs, three quarters, placed strategically, in the crevices of their ample body fat, should suffice.

But tips for people to do their primary jobs function, forget it. The thing is that kids today are expecting to get paid for rendering services that is a part of their job anyway. What is the message that we are really giving out? Mediocrity will be tolerated, no in fact rewarded. Not in my books. Those giving me the evil eye, I just stare back unfazed at them. ‘No tip for you, Thank You’.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

90 days to live

Our neighbor Tom is dying, of lung cancer. He has been battling it for a few years now, but apparently the doctors have told him that he has just about 3 months to live.

Three months, 90 days, approximately 2160 hours

I don’t know Tom very well, just the occasional hello when we pass each other on the street or the wave out when he sometimes sits out on his porch, taking in a beautiful day, or mowing his lawn on his tractor mower. But I still feel some kind of empathy, some sense of loss, to know that he will be gone, in about three months.

Tom is an old war veteran, who seems to have lived a full life, has now the company of his devoted wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren around him, and generally seems content with life. It seems like he is ready, now that his time has come. But I don’t know him, it’s just my presumption.

His wife, Pat, comes over to chat with us sometimes, and her eyes moist over when she speaks about Tom’s hardships and the treatment that he is undergoing, which is currently failing him. They have been married about 50 odd years, and seem to have taken in the highs and the low’s that life throws at you with graceful equanimity.

Every morning, when I leave for work, I look across at Tom’s porch. Sometimes he is seated on their porch bench, reading his paper, and sometimes it’s vacant.

And sometimes I wonder…

What would it be like to know that you had finite number of days to live? In a sense, all of us know that we have finite number of days to live. Despite that, do we choose to live any differently?

What would matter most in life? What wouldn’t matter the most?

Just as some chemical reactions initiated us into existence, some other reactions will dismiss us into oblivion. A life time of memories, now gone. And that’s that.

What will run through my mind when the very last moments of life desert me?

When faced with 90 days to spend the rest your life, as you see fit, what choices would you make? Who would you choose to be with or not to be with? Places you might like to visit, sights to see, sounds to hear and food to taste?

90 days. To reminiscence, the choices of a lifetime.

We shall miss the presence of that elderly gentleman, when we look across our yard, at a bench on the porch, now empty. In approximately 90 days.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Football Frenzy

Ta Na Na Na Naaaaaa…That’s the sound of the NFL's Monday Night Football signature tune blaring on ABC at the start of the football fever. The official season begins today, with the kickoff game between Super bowl Champions the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. The game will be on ABC at 8 PM EST, and I can’t wait for the football season to begin. The pre-game and half-time show is supposed to feature Rolling Stones, Santana, Green Day, Maroon 5 and Kanye West amongst others. Time to chill the beer and rev the engines.

It was the fall of 1999-2000, when the Indian cricket team visited Australia under Sachin Tendulkar’s captaincy and was bludgeoned into humiliation by Waugh’s merry band. At that point in time we were living in Melbourne, Australia, and I vividly remember getting taunted by the “convicts” down under, at the sorry plight of the Indian cricket team. One of the one-days that we had the misfortune of witnessing, live, at the MCG, was so pathetic, that we left the game well before completion, since the rowdy OZ crowd in the stands below was jeering at the motley crew of Indians in the stadium. Some of the Indian students had tried to stop the game by pelting the Aussie players with trash. We ran like bats outta hell from the stadium.

That is when, in dire search of an alternate sporting distraction, and with a little help in comprehending rules from my American boss in Melbourne, I turned to NFL. Until then, for almost ten years, I stead fastedly refused to follow a game where no part of the foot was used for majority of the playing time, while calling itself football. Football to me only meant Maradona, Mohan Bagan and ‘Escape to Victory’.

Never have I regretted the decision for my new found allegiance to football, except when me and my wife get into heated arguments about compromised chores that are left unattended on account of the solitary pursuit of wasting perfectly fine Sundays at the altar of football mania.

The pre game shows start at 11:00 AM in the morning, with some of the local channels speculating about the fortunes of the home team, the Detroit Lions, as early as 9:00 AM. All those colorful characters during the pre-game show JB, Howie, Chris, Dion (now a player), Terry and the rest warrant your non-divided attention. This is followed by the actual games of course, starting from 1:00 PM and running well past mid-night. There is a small window from about 6:30-8:00 PM, to catch up on bathroom breaks, dinner and conversations with the bitter half! Secrets of a successful marriage you see, the conversations, keeps a marriage ticking. One needs to make time for these amongst life’s more important pursuits.

On Monday mornings, a good portion of the office chatter is centered around the exploits of Brady, McNabb, Vick, Curtis Martin, Randy Moss, TO or Brett Favre. Unless it’s the playoffs. Then the football chatter extends well into Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

What do I love about football? Well to me this game is like war. In fact, wouldn’t it be cool if wars between countries could be settled on football fields? Maybe Sierra Leone could potentially end up invading the United States. Or, Saddam Hussein would have been photographed in his undies, while going for the Hail Mary pass.

Mostly, I love the plays and the calls in football. Like chess, the coaches plot their offence and defense and every weakness of the opposition is exploited to the hilt by these professionals. The preparation and the research that goes into every game by the coaching staff is stupendous. The formations, both offensive and defensive, the QB huddle, the line up, the snap and then the actual play. Like poetry in motion.

What is also love is helmets crunching, body blows, the hustle for the pigskin and 300 lbs athletes run 100 yards with grace and agility. What I love is the ferocity of the sport and the uncertainty until the very dying minutes of the game. What I love is all the pomp and pageantry that accompanies the hype of the sport.

Is a team is a passing or a rushing team or does a team blitz the QB or covers the WR’s or is it an offensive minded or defensive team ? Everything is strategized, the details are though out (well most of the time), training drills practiced. And then executed (well most of a time), for the viewing pleasure of thousands of frenzied fans, frothing at the mouths, egging their teams on, for ascent to the highest pinnacle of football excellence, a Super Bowl championship.

This Super Bowl 06 is special, since it will be played at the Ford Field in Detroit. Anyone interested? Who knows, maybe our next Super bowl party could be inside the Ford Field, with thousands of rabid fans, and with a little bit of providence intervening, maybe even catch a glimpse of Jessica Simpson or Natalie Imbruglia’s wardrobe malfunction! Football is just no fun without touchdowns or letdowns!

Neil Armstrong on the moon

I thought this was funny.....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Call center blues

According to this article in the Mumbai Mirror

I deal with those a**holes in America, I live like them too," says 19-year-old BPO exec Yogesh Rautela, 10 months into the job. His credit cards are stretched, his money is spent on “boozing, partying, discos”, he doesn't believe in saving. Somewhere, an FMCG or apparel-maker's Marketing Manager is jumping for joy.

Colleges, coffee shops or the local McD's, you can't miss today's teens. But what happened to the idealistic, penniless teen, strumming a Beatles song under the trees? Hasn't hangin' out, the perennial pastime of pre-20s everywhere, never been costlier? Well, it hasn’t, but no worries, nowadays it fits the rest of the bill just right.

Well, I could very well be one of the asshole that Yogesh Rautela gets to deal with in his daily job.

About two weeks ago I received a marketing call, like most of them, at dinnertime, peddling the services of Dish Network. Now all our friends have Dish Network installed in their homes, because they also broadcast desi channels like Zee, Sony, B4U, bundled into their package.

Over the past few weeks, we had been discussing terminating our cable service, because of the steep increase in their price and also since we do not watch TV much. We are also trying, with limited success, to dissuade raising a TV addict, out of our son, Sidharth. I’m with Bill Gates on this point. Then again, football season starts this week, and Seemz watches Cramer on CNBC, occasionally!!! So we were still ambivalent about disconnecting the cable service.

So with this in mind, I listened to the young man on the line, extolling the great deal that we were about to get with Dish Network. And truly, a great deal it was. Now the accent of this chap, despite the American accent camouflage, sounded distinctly Indian, and so did the speed of delivery. Indians may be the only people in the world to get their sentence across in such a hurry.

When asked ‘where are you based out of?’, this operator replied ‘New Jersey’ and so I didn’t pursue it any further. Since the offer that he was making was exceptional, I decided to go ahead with the order, despite being put off by the hurried tone of the operator. He would hardly let me complete my question, before answering it in an condescending tone as if to suggest ‘Is this the kind of question to ask?’

At every query, this operator would rattle off the details and then kept on pestering me to sign up immediately. So despite having everything free for the first two months i.e. equipment, service, installation, DVR etc., he wanted my credit card number to sign up. This is where we parted ways, and started going back on forth as to why he needed my credit card number. Instead of explaining patiently, he was parroting lines about company policy, ‘why don’t you understand’, etc. So I slammed the phone down.

A few days later and we are at dinner and the phone rings. Someone from Dish Network asking for me. Only, this time it’s a gal. Whoopee Doo, lets send in the sweet voice to qualm the jerk, shall we?

Same deal, Indian accent, rushed tones, rushing me into signing up. One of the very first questions I asked her was ‘Where are you based out of ? ‘ and she replied ‘Colorado’. Hmm. We then do the song and dance about the great deal blah blah blah and then finally I relent to sign up. She asks me for the credit card number which I now divulge and she then wants my social security number, for a background check.

Ugh, ugh why does someone need my SSN for credit card verification? So we stop right there with her trying to convince me every which way that it was safe to part with my SSN. To no avail. She then brings on her supervisor to make the jerk see the error of his ways.

This guy has an accent so thick, that I just had to ask him ‘Where are you physically located right now?’ and he replies “Calcutta”. Ugh huh, that’s what I thought.

Now we begin to spar over the SSN and he starts giving me techno babble as to how they don’t store the SSN on their system yadda yadda yadda. And how when they take down the information from one screen to another, the details they entered on the previous screen disappears, and its not stored anywhere, is what he explains to me. Ahem, say what now ? We then delve into the architecture of e-commerce and how the browser works and session variables and all that good stuff. Doesn’t matter, he still wants my SSN.

At the end of this discussion he was left begging for the last four digits of my soc., which I obstinately refused to divulge. If indeed there was some way, that they could circumvent the background check, using my SSN, then they would have my business. Woefully, he relented, and gave up on me. No Dish Network for us.

Last week we received a call during, guess when, dinner again. This seemed like a local call, from Dish Network. The difference this time was that the operator was courteous, in no rush, did not give me any yarn about any details, and patiently answered all my questions. In fact she gave me details that the previous three operators had not provided, important stuff, like contract duration and terms after the contract expires, breaks in pricing etc..

We signed up for Dish Network, and yes, I also provided the last four digits of my SSN. The installation has been scheduled between 3-5 PM, Saturday. Uninterrupted football, here I come. Desi call center, one less sale for you!!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Halliburton to the rescue...again

Someone, and I don’t remember which blogger it was, while berating the inadequacies of disaster relief for Katrina, mentioned, maybe partly in jest, that Cheney might help Halliburton get the rebuilding contract for New Orleans. How cynical can one get, I remember thinking to myself.

This precisely has what has happened now (tip from MWC, thanks V) with Kellogg, Brown & Moore getting a $500 million contract for the reconstruction efforts in New Orleans. Check out the news article here.

Jermey Weidenhof offers his arguments in defense of the president in the Lone Star Times report here.

A few weeks ago I remember defending Nalini Chidambaram in an article by Arnab on nepotism in awarding some Income Tax cases by the Finance Ministry to her.

How different is the nepotism in the case of Halliburton now, albeit on a much grander scale?

Update: V had originally sent this link here, but this site being called, I was skeptical about the veracity of this report. Also the fact that this piece has been composed while gawking at the amazing, er tennis prowess of Maria Sharapova. She is playing Nadia Petrova in the US Open quarterfinals, and I am watching it in my hotel room in Houston, while pondering my dinner plans. Italian or Tex-Mex ??? Maybe I could take a stroll down to the Halliburton headoffice, a la Michael Moore, and heckle, if not anyone else, the security guard, at the very least.

Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Watched Clint Eastwood’s awesome movie ‘Million Dollar Baby’ last week and was spellbound and deeply contemplative as the movie ended. A beautifully directed movie, a trite clichéd, but well done nevertheless, along the lines of the greatness of ‘Shawshank Redemption’, but without as many characters. Beautifully acted, dialogues that are really deep and a well directed movie overall. Hillary Swank and the ever dependable Morgan Freeman give a performance that’s beyond excellent.

Hillary Swank plays a pugilist, Maggie Fitzgerald, with a mobile-home redneck upbringing from the Ozarks, Missouri. She dreams of being a boxer, the best one that she can ever be. To help her make it, she goes after Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood), despite his rebuffs and apparent apathy.

Maggie perseveres, with a little help from Morgan Freeman, who is a washed up pugilist himself, who now is managing the gym for Dunn. After some setbacks for Dunn, and persuasion by Morgan Freeman, Dunn agrees to train Maggie, but it has to be on his terms.

The rest of the movie deals with Maggie’s rise in the boxing world and her shot at the world welterweight championship fight in Las Vegas and the misfortunes that befall her after the title fight. Since delving any more into the story will only ruin the viewing pleasure of the movie, whatever follows the title fight is pure dramatic excellence.

Everything about this movie is exceptional, the story, the casting, the direction and the acting. Of course if you are squeamish about blood, slit eyes and broken noses, then ‘close your eyes’ to a few scenes in this wonderful movie. Otherwise stay awake, stay wide awake for the viewing of the ‘Million Dollar Baby’.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sania Mirza in the fourth round

Sania made it past Maria Bartoli and stormed into the fourth round to play Maria Sharapova, the current heartthrob of women’s tennis. On Friday, I watched Sania’s game, whenever the network would cut to the women’s game, while telecasting the men’s matches. Whatever I saw of Sania’s game, I liked. Powerful serves, must faster than Ramesh Krishnan’s, excellent ground strokes, a weak backhand but compensated by a ripping forehand. She made a few unforced errors, but one can discount that, attributing it to the impatience and immaturity of her age. Overall an excellent package and someone with a great future.

I hope that she takes it all at the US Open, a tall order, nevertheless, but I’m rooting for her. Check out her post game interview here.

For us, in India, it’s important that Sania makes it to the top echelons of world tennis. Why? Here are my 2 cents.

Why was the last time we had a woman sporting icon or any woman icon, for that matter, in India? PT Usha, was the last sporting superstar we had, nearly two decades ago. During the 1884, Los Angeles Olympics, when she came fourth. Yes there have been the odd blips, Anju George and beer guzzling and chicken glutton Karnam Malleswari . Besides these, and baring the Miss World, Miss Universe and Bollywood pretty faces, there is no woman superstar in India. Out of a nation of 1 billion.

So it’s important for Sania Mirza to get all the success that she richly deserves. For her face to be plastered on billboards all the country, endorse everything from cars, watches to pop drinks. For Sania Mirza to achieve the same level or more adulation that we accord to our undeserving cricketers. Why ? Because we need more Sania Mirza’s, more Kalpana Chawla’s, her politics notwithstanding, more , more Arundhati Roy’s , more Medha Patkars , more Indira Hinuja’s, and more Kiran Majumdar Shaw’s.

Why ? Because every time a father or father-in-law in the village, town or city in India looks at the billboard of Sania beaming down upon him, he will hopefully realize, that if accorded the same privileges, his daughter, like he expects his son to be, can grow up to be the proverbial golden goose as well. Not just source of dowry income and abuse. That’s why my money and mouth is in Sania Mirza’s corner. Go Sania, go get em girl.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina comes calling...Please spare a thought for the victims.

Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation in New Orleans, Louisiana and now hundreds, possibly thousands of lives are lost because of this calamity. One feels for the sufferings of those residents of N’warlenes (al it’s referred to locally) and all those people stuck in this city and couldn’t get out. It is simply a travesty and the chaos unfolds as days pass by.

Personally, I have many fond memories of New Orleans and Mardi Gras. The brain holds vivid memories of three trips to this decadent and debauchery celebration of mindless binge drinking and shiny beads in this touristy city during Mardi Gras. Bourbon Street and Pat O’Brien’s humongous Hurricanes are etched, still fresh in memory.

Also fresh is memory of getting felt up by a , 70 year old lady, or was it an 80 year old, one year, during the parade on Canal Street. Yikes.

Another instance, during Mardi Gras, encouraged by all that chanting around me, and embolden by the positive response of the fairer sex, to these chantings, I yelled out ‘Show me your teeth’ at some inebriated pretty maiden strolling besides me. She flipped me the bird. Both of em, now that I think about it. Following which I slunk back, to the status of the wide eyed gawker, in that vast sea of amalgamated mangled human bodies.

Going beyond Bourbon Street, one comes upon the French Quarter and run into the colorful, gay, transvestite part of town where we once inadvertently got pushed by the surging crowds. My buddy’s wife and my good friend as well, got stranded with me, while her husband and another friend got swept away into a different direction.

The sights at the bars in this section were something else. Trans-gender divas, dressed to kill, with beads of all kinds of hues and shapes around their necks and other parts of their anatomy, were dangling from terraces above. In one noisy gay bar, a buff, good looking man was dancing in the window, with just a handkerchief, a very tiny one at that, held in front of his crown jewels and Monty python. I was praying for the handkerchief to stay put and my friend was praying for it to fall off.

These trips to N’Orleans were made possible because of the largesse and hospitability of an old college buddy, who graciously let us shack up with him for those couple of days. Street performers are outstanding in this city. Be it the sax players, the garbage can drummers or the tap/break dancers, you will be riveted by their performance. Zimply Mahvellous, much better than many big time performers that you might have heard or seen.

CNN reports the gas prices, supposedly will be up to $4 a gallon soon. If this was to happen, filling up gas in our SUV, sedan, lawn mower, grill lighters and yours truly (courtesy bean burritos, Taco Bell), will set us back almost $100 every week. In fact most gas stations in the Rochester Hills area are selling gas at approx. $3.20 per gallon.

Dang man. That’s tough. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Our AAA advisor recommends driving the car below 60 mph and not switching the air conditioner on, to save gas. So as I cruise the interstate, chugging along merrily at 40 mph, sweating profusely from all pores, I was beaming happily to see so many friendly drivers waving at me when they passed me by. But they looked kinda irate. On closer inspection, I realized they were just giving me the finger. Dang.

Another thought that crossed my mind was as long as the gas stations still allow ‘Pay Inside’ after filling, option in Michigan, I will attempt filling up the sedan and the SUV, while dressed in some terrorist kinda outfit, complete with the turban, dark shades, beard et all. Fill it, shut it and zoom away from the station without paying. That will alert the feds, I'm sure. I’m sure the Homeland Security color code will be immediately be elevated to ‘hyperactive magenta with tinge of lavender’ with media headlines blaring ‘Terrorists target gas stations next’. Well, I jest, as most gas stations do not have the 'Pay after Filling' option anymore.

Do you think holding up placards ‘Will Blog for Gas (for my car)’ along the freeway help?

Winters are going to be much worse with the heating price on the rise. Well, looks like we will have to wear extra layers of clothing, I guess, because the heating prices are gonna hit the sky. In offices, at water coolers, all across the country, there is already talk about the sky high home heating prices, come winter.

Any alternatives to home heating, I wonder?

We have been married too long, and have become far too old, for the Bollywood ishtyle ‘Ab iske siwa mere paas aur koi chara nahi’, body-heat-transference-via-sex scenario to play out in real life. Anyway peeling off all those extra layers of clothes first, will get anyone out of the mood pretty fast. Maybe we’ll resort to burning stuff and crowding around the fireplace as an option.

While one feels, and feels deeply for the victims of the hurricane, a sight that has been just outrageous were the looters in N’Orleans. It was so disconcerting to watch the residents plunder shops for inane articles like DVD, watches, TV’s and guns. One could sympathize had they been ferrying out food or warm clothes, but guns?. How does anybody explain that? Its bizarre-o-world, I tell ya.

Our company has 60 employees ins N’Orleans and there has been no response from many of these employees. Many of them will come back to homes that have been destroyed or just obliterated. The CEO of our company has started a relief campaign to help these employees out, and people are responding.

Check out informative write-up’s on Katrina by GreatBong, Sunil, One More Reason and the fabulous Katrina update by ZigZackly here. Check out this hilarious piece by CuriousGawker about the shortage of National Guards in N’Orleans here.

Sania Mirza and the Marathi Manus reports:

Sania Mirza continued her march at the US Open, scoring a hard-fought victory over Maria Elena Camerin of Italy in the second round of the women's singles on Armstrong court on Wednesday.

The 42nd-ranked India ace won 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 and set up a third round meeting with 43rd-ranked 20-year-old Marion Bartoli of France.

I'm eagerly awaiting to watch Sania Mirza in action, on USA network of course. Hopefully she is as good as the Indian media makes her out to be.

Marathi Manus, Parimal Sondawale, is at it again. After ranting about the inadequacies of the Tamil culture, he preaches the ways and means for Marathi pride to become gigantic, whatever that means. Check it out, pretty degenerate but also hilarious language. Can someone alert Pat Robertson about this guy, please.