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-dent

By on Aug 21, 2010 in On A Whim | 2 comments

Dad: Are you done chewing through your Pepsodent? Me: Erm, no… Me: … Me: Are you sure you didn’t mean Happydent instead? Dad: Oh yeah. That would be it.

The Child of Satan, complementary meals, and alcohol-fuelled ‘blanket offers’

By on Aug 9, 2010 in Travel | 13 comments

I know a guy a university who survived for one week with nothing other than a fridge shelf stacked with Stella, a bottle of ketchup, and approximately 167 grams of butter. You don’t think I make up the shit that I say on my blog, do you? **** Unrelated-but-epic. (via) **** After a brief hiatus (and a random blog post start) to visit relatives, I am back in New Delhi. I’d just sat down to do research for an intra-school quiz (at my alma mater) that was supposed to happen over the next three days when I received a phone call saying it has been cancelled due to “Independence Day celebrations“. Huh. Those of you who follow me on Twitter would have caught some of my anecdotes when travelling by train to/fro my relatives’ pad. There’s a lot more to tell about that than can fit into 140 characters, so for the sake of completeness I’ll recount them here along with additional never-told-before bits (which you can read exclusively on this blog). For starters, when you’re welcomed on-board the Rajdhani Express, you’re informed that… If you want to find out the coast of food items, please contact the stoff of Rajdhani Express, they’ll give you a mean-u card. I can confirm that coast is, indeed, extensive but you need not fret, since this additional coast is only if you want anything other than the complementary meals that you get. Which brings me to the… …complementary meals that you get on Rajdhani Express. It’s no secret – as I have often insisted with everyone that I have ever met – that I’m a vegetarian and I can’t eat spicy food. Thus whenever I travel by train, I opt for the ‘continental’ meal option instead of the usual Indian vegetarian fare. It’s an interesting meal, this ‘continental’ one. I don’t know which continent they’ve sourced the recipes from; gastronomic delights from the far-away lands of Europe they are certainly not. The most interesting dish they serve in this uncooked spaghetti in tomato ketchup with huge uncooked, slightly fried slabs of paneer except that instead of paneer they give a thick, damp piece of cardboard instead. You also get boiled peas mixed with carrot chunks and two untoasted slices of crumbling bread. Yummy…NOT! At least the ice cream is edible. **** Having travelled by Rajdhani Express numerous times, it came as a mild shock to me when I found out on this trip that only trains from Delhi to other cities can get this name. The ‘Rajdhani’ in the title should have been a sufficient clue. **** I’ve never been able to sleep on trains; the gentle rocking motion always keeps me awake. On longer train journeys that take a day or more always I have to figure out what to do for hours when everyone is lying in their beds and sleeping. I mostly read books on my laptop (bejaysus, they have power points on trains now) or play games on my cellphone. This gives me an opportunity to observe the mild insanity that goes on in trains at night. Exhibit A: On my way back to Delhi, I was reading The Bourne Ultimatum when a visibly sloshed guy plopped down on Mom’s bunk below mine. When I slapped him on the back of his head and asked him WTF he thought he was doing, he got up, apologised, picked up a spare blanket lying on the table, woke the guy who was sleeping in a nearby bunk and offered the blanket to him, and on his generous offer being turned down wore somebody else’s slippers and walked off in a direction opposite to where his bunk was. Exhibit B: Creepiest fucking little kid straight out of The Omen. Way past midnight, some kid starts strolling up and down the hallway and then after a while, stands in front of my bunk and just stands there staring at me for the better part of half an hour. I was this close to freaking out and firing up Notepad++ to write out my will (I need to bequeath this blog to someone) when the Child of Satan turned and walked out of my...

Sleep-drunkenness

By on Jul 29, 2010 in Personal | 7 comments

After an initial two weeks of confusion in my body clock (and waking up at 11pm to eat ‘breakfast’), you might find this hard to believe that I wake up these days at 5am without fail. Except when I totally don’t (like this one day when I woke up at 6am instead). This is, I’ve been told by my mom, a ‘considerable improvement’. Four days ago I went to sleep at 3am but woke up at the now-reasonable time of 5am. By the time it was evening I had drunk two large Café Americanos to keep myself awake. The caffeine rush didn’t allow me to go to sleep despite the fact that I was close to passing out, a feeling akin to being stuck in limbo. Not willing to procrastinate I went apeshit crazy coming up with concepts for future works of fiction on this blog, such as The Slightly Greasy Dosa of Bangalore – an upcoming novel featuring Robert Langdon, and a sociopolitical campaign tentatively titled The Disloyal Subjects of Chetan ‘Underscore’ Bhagat. I spammed my friends with text messages detailing plans for both projects before dropping-dead asleep. I call this state sleep-drunkenness – and it’s a state of mine that university friends will be familiar with too. There was this one time when we had submit a general electronic assignment and a programming assignment within two days of each other – apart from all the copyediting that I needed to do for a new issue of the student newspaper. I had been working for about 36 hours without sleep, propping myself up with regular “double shot espresso without sugar quick!” at Starbucks. That’s when the fun started. (Pardon me for any gaps in the narrative that follows. It has been pieced together from what friends told me later.) Breakfast and lunch were activities that I had skipped on the day that I staggered into our programming lab at 9pm, ostensibly to complete my assignment. I sat there for quarter of an hour absolutely quiet and doing nothing, then finished a pack of Doritos – as I apparently told others from my course who were present – “for dinner”. I then proceeded to search online for pictures of cows listening to music with headphones. You’ll be (dis)pleased to know that such a picture, in fact, does exist. My rationale for this act was that I “needed inspiration for a publicity poster that I was working on for The Stag“. My friends agreed that the publicity poster was indeed funny when I went around showing it to them – and then chorused “Go home and sleep Ankur!” Reluctantly, I decided to heed their advice. The story isn’t over yet! While I was walking back to my room from the lab I sent a text message to random people in my phonebook saying that I had seen… …a man riding a motorcycle who had a backpack in the shape of a cellphone – the old kinda cellphone that used to have an antenna stub sticking out; moreover, the whole cellphone-shaped backpack was covered in shiny tin-foil. Too little sleep and too much caffeine in results in extremely weird behaviour, and I end up doing this more often that you thin. (I admit this isn’t the weirdest text message. That honour goes to a message I sent once, again to many people in my phonebook, asking where the nearest nuclear bomb shelter was from Guildford.) **** In the lead-up to our end of the year exams, I spent most of my time in the library catching up on the all lectures I did not attend, and the ones that I did attend but did not pay attention too. Students from our course used to camp in the library – some actually sleeping and showering in the there rather than going back home to sleep. I was lucky that my house wasn’t that far away from the library, so I could pop back for a nap. I didn’t get to sleep much in those weeks either – say, 1-2 two hours at max as I slaved away fuelled by chips, pizza, Oreos, and Red Bull (“They’re like cocaine, only they taste like fruit that someone sat on.”). I had to stay awake. I drank about four cans of Red Bull (80mg of caffeine per can) to keep awake until 4am, followed by another can (80mg) in the morning and a shot of Lucozade Alert Plus (120mg of caffeine in a small 60mL shot). In a surprising display of honesty of what its energy drink tastes like, Lucozade made an ad for this product (almost) comparing it to a potion made of “monkey anus glands, male lizard balls, earthworms, and spit”. With almost 500mg of caffeine ingested in a short span of 7-8 hours coursing through my bloodstream every day, I used to be so wired that a friend actually looked up ‘lethal caffeine dosage’ in medical journals. (Result – doctors know what the limit is for rats, but not for humans.) My heart is super-strong. :D It did not give out nor I did not otherwise drop dead from drinking too much Red...

Multiple identities

By on Jul 22, 2010 in Personal | 8 comments

Customer support for any company can be notoriously annoying and inept. Now you can add ‘(unintentionally?) humourous’ to the list too. I called up Tata Sky satellite TV‘s helpline today to drop ESPN from our account today, now that the World Cup is over. After a brief wait, I was connected to a customer service representative (CSR in the dialogue below)… CSR: Good afternoon Mr Ankur Banerjee, how may I help you? Me: I wanted to drop the ESPN add-on package from my account. CSR: Sure thing, Mr Chatterjee. Please wait while we check you out. (‘check you out’? Did some wise guy actually write that in the script reps have to follow?) Me: … CSR: Thank you, for waiting Mr Mukherjee. The package you requested has been dropped from your account. Me: (trying to control laughter at this point) … CSR: Mr Mukherjee? Me: Erm…right…of course. Thanks. CSR: Have a good day, Mr Chatterjee. I can’t help but laugh how within that short span of time with customer information available on-screen someone could get my name wrong so many times. Maybe Tata Sky customer service reps are allowed one-joke-at-the-expense-of-customer per hour, to lighten the mood in the workplace. That, or the guy suffers from...

My mom is terrific at a lot of things, but…

By on Jul 19, 2010 in Personal | 12 comments

I would be misleading you if I said I’m ‘just’ a heavy sleeper. You might be the sort of person who can hear a fucking ninja creeping across the floor (to kill you) while asleep, but when I am sleeping I’m as good as knocked out after taking ten sleeping pills. If it wasn’t for my pulse, I would be pronounced dead every morning. So waking up is a daily challenge for me. Over the years, I have developed many strategies. Such as setting 25 separate alarms on my cellphone all within the space of half an hour – all of them 1-2 minutes apart from each other – around the time I want to wake up. There have been times when I have successfully slept through this cacophony. The problem starts when I want to, say, take a short nap. I might tell my mom that I need to go somewhere and that I’m decide to take a short nap (I don’t do that often) and in case my alarm doesn’t work could she please wake me up on time. My mom’s terrific at so many things, but one thing she’s failed miserably so far is to be able to wake me up. Ever. Her method works like thus… Mom: Wake up. You just slept through your alarm and you said you need to go somewhere now. Me: Mffmfphhhh? Mom: Are you going to wake up now then? Me: Mmmfffppphshh… Mom: Good. Also, there’s this untidy pile of papers lying on your table. Is that supposed to be thrown away? Me: Mmmpppppfffhhhh! When I do wake up approximately two hours later (or until an angry  friend calls me irritatedly on my cellphone, whichever is earlier) I find that I have massively overshot my nap time and that piece of paper in which I had figured out how to solve the BP oil spill has been thrown away. Mom comes back into my room when she hears my “AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!” scream that would put Hollywood sound libraries to shame. Mom: What’s the matter? Me: I overslept. AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Mom: I did wake you up. Me: I beg to differ, as you can see. Also, I can’t find that piece of paper where I had figured out a kick-ass solution to the BP oil spill problem. The one where I’d planned to use Chetan Bhagat to block the spewing oil vents. Mom: I threw that away. You consented to it. Me: AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I think at times when she really wants to throw some stuff of mine out she deliberately asks me that when I’m half asleep. After all, “Mmmmpppffhhh” is unequivocally ‘consent’. And now you also know why Nokia, Inc is my most trusted friend when I have to wake up at a specific time. Still love my mom though....