Tuesday, January 15, 2008


17th November, 3050:
Archeologists from the United Archeological Surveys, Inc. studying the ancient Indian civilization in the ruins of the natural deep harbor in the western region of the almost-submerged Indian subcontinent have come up with an amazing discovery. After the study of the decomposed rubbish in the sea bed, some of which is organic, archeologists have isolated one important clue to the food habits of the people who inhabited the region in the past. According to them, a bread-like preparation made with a white flour like substance was the staple diet of the region. Also, after careful scrutiny of the manuscripts unearthed from the region which were written in one of the millions of ancient Indian scripts, (this script has lines on top of every letter cluster), the linguists have discovered many references to a substance which, according to the phonetic specialists, can be pronounced as "Paav". The language has not yet been identified, but it belongs to the western region of the submerged subcontinent, as the peculiarities in the script have not been noted outside of that region. This region has interestedly, been referred to as "Maharashtra" which is ancient sanskrit for "Great nation".
Numerous other references also point out to accompaniments to the "paav" like a mashed vegetable stew, for which the linguists have not been able to identify a probable pronunciation, and presumably a rounded potato preparation pronounced the "wada".
English manuscripts have also been identified at several areas in the harbor, which call the harbor itself "Bombay", and there are also references to an ancient Anglo saxon rule here. Scientists are still working on the isolation of other facts in the harbor. One fact, which all teams of archeologists from the United Archeological Surveys, Inc. unanimously agree upon is that the staple diet indeed included "Paav" and "wada".

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

After years of research, finally researchers have achieved a breakthrough in office disease syndromes. Surveys across offices in India have shown that there is a syndrome called Traumatic Managerial No Work Syndrome which has been affecting work place productivity in at least 25% of the work force. Incidence is particularly higher in the workers who have been promoted recently to managerial posts.
Symptoms include severe bouts of Information distress leading to frequent Googling (which has been categorised independently into a disorder called Googlitis), Feelings of Grandeur leading the patient to believe he/she was created for something else, something much better, severe Blogger's diarrhoea, Verbal diarrhoea leading to discussions on Global Warming and mating habits of Salmon across the seas with random people. Apart from these, an intense need to socialise on the net is also noted as a common symptom. Psychiatrists are calling it Lonely-at-the-top disorder too.
Internet-o-philia which was hitherto categorised as a deformity on its own, has been grouped among the subsets of this syndrome. Scientists warn that TMNWS will increase in prevalence across the world with more and more people being promoted to Managerial positions. It is also expected to cause a fall in economy due to the loss in economic productivity. India, United States are expected to be among the worst affected, with UK and Japan coming a close second.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Published in Indian Express Sunday, June 11, 2006

The night was still—except for a few street dogs keeping Srinagar’s dark lanes alive. Shakeel Ahmad Tunda sat slumped on his haunches on a pavement near Dalgate. Every day after sundown, this 18-year-old autorickshaw driver goes on a compulsive trip. Tonight, he agreed to take us along.

After the customary greetings, he started to walk, asking us to follow. He moved down a narrow lane, crossed a wooden bridge that connected two residential neighbourhoods inside the Dal lake. We followed him like shadows in complete silence.

A few metres ahead, he stopped, looked around and knocked at a door. A middle-aged woman peeped out. “Here are your five pieces,” she whispered. Tunda thrust a five-hundred-rupee note in her hand, and bend over to hide the five little sachets inside his socks.

Srinagar city has turned into Kashmir’s drug capital. The trade, though illegal, is virtually open. A study carried out on drug abuse in the Valley by Government Psychiatry Hospital reveals that more than 17 per cent of Kashmiri youth—mostly in the age group of 16 to 35—are addicted to drugs. Heroin, brown sugar, cannabis and deadly medicinal opiates top the list.

We have an opiate epidemic at hand,” said Dr Arshad Hussain, registrar, Government Psychiatric Hospital. “The studies reveal that 17-20 per cent of our youth are involved in substance abuse. Eighty-five per cent of the substance abusers take opiates. We have 7-10 boys (drug addicts) coming here daily. These figures don’t indicate the actual number of the Valley’s substance abusers. Most of them either prefer private clinics or do not visit a doctor at all.”

Tunda turned back to face us. “Brown sugar is very costly. Each one of us has to contribute money,” he turned away and started walking fast. We followed. In a few minutes, we were in the Kohnakhan neighbourhood. Next to the Central Reserve Police Force camp, Tunda took a furtive look around and then crept through a hole in the brick wall. It was an abandoned temple with thick vegetation all around. Tunda’s friends were already waiting there. They sat in a ring and smoked.

Here we met 22-year-old Rafiq Ahmad, an orphan from Dalgate. “This addiction has ruined my life,” he rued. “I was driven to it by some foreign tourists while working as a guide. One day, they gave me a cigarette. I didn’t know it had brown sugar.”

Tunda and Ahmad wanted to get rid of their addiction and agreed to help us expose this drug ring. Next morning, they took us to various drug dens across the city:

In the congested Buchwara residential locality, the duo took us to a ramshackle house that was a favourite with the local teenagers. The house belonged to an orphan, Ajaz Ahmad, and at 7.30 in the morning, had 12 young guests smoking.

In the foothills of Shankar Acharya lies a graveyard. “A large number of addicts come here,” informed Tunda. “Every evening, they assemble in rings, in groups of six or more addicts.”

Close to a Muslim shrine in downtown city is another drug den. Next to Srinagar’s Central Jail at Badamwari, scores of young men were busy sniffing brown sugar.

The cannabis is grown locally and is available across the Valley, especially south Kashmir. More refined drugs like brown sugar and heroin, according to local substance abusers, make their way from Delhi to south Kashmir and then to Srinagar. In fact, the crude opioids are actually sent from south Kashmir to Delhi where they are refined and sent back.

We get brown sugar and heroin from Sangam (a village in south Kashmir),” said Aijaz Ahmad as he smoked with his friends. “We often go there to buy stuff. It is less expensive there.”

From rural Kashmir, the drugs make it to the markets in Srinagar with their prices jacked up to accommodate big profit margins. For every gram of brown sugar, Ahmad said he paid Rs1,500 in Srinagar as compared to only Rs 500 in south Kashmir.

In Srinagar, the drug peddlers also deliver the consignment to your doorstep. All you need is to dial ten digits—the drug peddlers are available on call but you need to know the parlance. “It’s a must so that they can identify a genuine buyer,” said Tunda.

The more deadly forms—the medicinal opiates—are sold openly by the drug stores even without doctor’s prescription. The Sunday Express investigation reveals that psychotropic drugs worth Rs 1.5 crore are sold in the Valley every month. “I sold some 10,000 strips of a single psychotropic product last month,” says a pharmaceutical distributor pleading anonymity. There are hundreds of such distributors.

The drug dealers, most of them women, have no inhibitions. It is not difficult to see why. In our presence, a policeman entered Ajaz Ahmad’s house. “He has come to collect his protection money,” said Mohammad Yousuf Hakroo, puffing at his joint. “He regularly visits this place to make a quick buck.”

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Whole Lot of Flappin Goin' on?

The Health Ministry has declared that Bird Flu is not a major concern, that it has been contained, and that it is ok to eat chicken. But how many people are buying into that? The armed forces have cut chicken out of their daily rations, parliament is going anti-chicken, and the world is going crazy. Of course, all my vegan friends out are shaking their heads going “I told ya so!” Whoever heard of dying from eating too many veggies? Ever heard of Potato Flu? Or Mad Tomato Disease? Of course not! Potatoes don’t fly and Tomatoes are rational clear headed individuals. But let’s leave my vegan friends out of this for a moment and get back to the topic at hand. Is Bird Flu really such a threat to the average individual here in Chennai? Or is it just a bunch of hype?

The Bird Flu must think itself pretty popular. After all, look at the amount of media coverage it’s been receiving the last few months. Everyone knows that the symptoms are similar to those of the common flu, like fever, cough, sore throat, and sore muscles and that in some cases, pneumonia and respiratory failure can develop and cause death. But, how many of us know that the stupid thing isn’t always fatal? (That, of course, depends on which kind of virus you get) You can have bird flu and still survive, just like you can die even with the common flu! Which, by the way, is how Ma Nature gets rid of over 36,000 Americans each year. (No one bothers to do study things like that for any other country which is why I’m using the statistics for America)

And hey, one more thing! This thing that has the world up in arms isn’t new at all. It’s been around since some Italian bloke found it in the early 1900s… so there! If it hasn’t reached you in all these years, it probably won’t this year. In fact, there were these seven people who thought they’d gotten the Bird Flu, but it turns out all they have is a regular Human flu. On the upside, they did get a lot of attention in the media!

Can you get it from anyone you know? NO. Humans are not programmed to carry any strain of the virus. The only way to actually get the infection is by eating contaminated flesh or eggs. The eggs by themselves are unlikely to carry the disease. It’s the salmonella rich droppings of the adult bird that could be a cause for worry. Salmonella, by the way, are a vicious kind of rod-shaped bacteria whose hobbies include causing typhoid, and paratyphoid fever in humans and other infectious diseases in domestic animals. As the egg develops into a tiny little bird, the virus that is encoded in its DNA gets passed on to its RNA and gets multiplied in the protein cells. Now high temperatures do crazy things to protein cells. They have this habit of cracking under high temperatures. When this happens, the virus is more vulnerable to the heat that kills it. So as long as you cook your bird and are not overzealous about eating raw eggs covered in bird droppings, you should be fine.

Even if by some strange quirk of fate, you do contract the disease, don’t worry, Tamiflu is always here!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Government bans Mithun-da Movies, Ooty up in Arms

Touted as the biggest thing since sliced bread, Mithun is a zealous crusader, who in a fit of Ambani-esque clairvoyance, managed to turn a bustling hill station into a film making factory therby conditioning the residents from the drop in tourism caused by the warming of climate of the surrounding hills which was a direct effect of Veerapan's Sandal-wood poaching.Tirelessly managing & co-ordinating the rhythmic sways of the hippos passed of as bombshells & getting the best out of the 4th guy on the right of the screen in a 250-man strong fight scene for the last twenty years, the Messiah seems to have run foul with the babu-dom Hindustan. Inside reports seem to suggest that as a part of the Operation "Give-Bush-a-blow-but-get-the-nuclear-deal done", The government in its bid to restrict military use of explosives has gone ahead and banned Mithun movies. This has created utter chaos and confusion in various parts on India especially in Ooty and the actresses fearing thel oss of jobs are back with their touring circuses. This also has resulted in Mithun-Da's son migrating to U.S.A. and giving Brad Pitt a run for his money as his Butt-double in TROY.

So with his family broken, the police after his job & the hopes and trust of a village against the nefarious scheming of drunk rednecks, will Mithun-da finally buckle under or is this gonna be the beginning of the end for ......

Watch this space for more. Not cause u gonna get some more information but Hell if u already read all the crap above, watching this will be the best thing u did in a long long time. U still reading? Pretty thick aren’t u? Sheesh, u still taking this? Go get a life…U there, get up exercise that sorry piece of Gluetus Maximus DO SOMETHING...*groan* I give up. U win. Now will u leave?Please?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ronald McDonald's tired of grinning

"I'm tired of smiling," confessed Ronald McDonald on Tuesday. "I've been at it for 8 years now! gimme a break!" he growled, visibly upset. The man often seen outside a popular chain of family restaurants that bear his name, explains, "For the first three years, it was fun. Then it got boring. Now it's just plain annoying. " When his heart rate returned to normal, Ronald denied rumors that his impending retirement may not necessarily be voluntary.

"Do you see these pearly whites? They're mine... all mine..." he asserted stoutly before being overcome by a fit of manaical laughter. Once the laughter subsided, however, he acknowledged that his "lower jaw does tend to hurt occasionally", Scottish lilt in place. He continued to maintain that his jaw has no connection with his retirement plans asking, "How long can a guy keep grinning in the hope that some kid, somewhere will smile back?" He later confided another and possibly the most important reason for his proposed retirement- "I miss wearing a kilt."