Wednesday, 20 August 2014

When in Rome do as the Romans...and confirm you’re a priceless chump

This has the potentials to top the list of dumbest advice mouthed by a homo sapience since God created the World or AK Hangal made his Bollywood debut, whichever the earliest.

I suspect it was a wicked Roman who, seeking to inject some fun in an otherwise dull life, coined the adage despite knowing that you, a tourist, would make a colossal asino –- that’s ass in Italy –- of yourself if you land on Rome and try to ape them.

Allow me to elaborate and take the case of Casu Marzu, a Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae.

You have to culture them like a microbiologist cultures bacteria in a lab with avuncular affection. You got to make sure the emotionally fragile larvae enjoy the hospitality of their new home and break down the fats to give it a sublime, gooey texture. The translucent white worms should be wriggling in joy when you are about to consume it.

Now, the Romans have been doing it since ages. This is probably the first thing they teach in kindergartens and by the time a kid is seven, he/she probably can make it blindfolded with one hand tied behind the back.

Now if you try your hand at it, even if none of them tied behind your back, you are bound to cut a sorry figure. It's a highly complicated method –- humouring a bunch of uprooted larvae in their adopted home –- that requires a sound knowledge of larvae psychology, which, I’m told, is significantly distinct from grown-up insect psychology.

While centuries of practice has reduced it to a kid’s play for an average Roman – they apparently do it in school in between classes -- a tourist can’t hope to land in Rome and dish out something that requires the combined skills of a Louis Pasteur, a Sigmund Freud and a Jamie Oliver.

Forget Casu Marzu. The sooner you realise you can’t even out-pasta an Italian the better. You just can’t upstage them in their own games. As simple as that.

When in Rome do as the Romans! It’s like saying when in Glasgow, do as the Scots, which means wearing a kilt and instantly becoming either 1) a family disgrace; or 2) the butt of dirty office jokes; or 3) an international laughingstock. Or all three.

Truth is, if you ever travel to Rome, the smartest thing would be to avoid doing whatever the Romans do. You’re welcome.

(P.S. You can safely say Doosra has declared war against the autocratic idiosyncrasies of the English language. The truth is, most of the English proverbs have aged/stagnated/simply ceased to make sense and need swift phasing out. Doosra will hunt them down, one by one, in this new series the frequency of which would be directly proportional to the availability of brainwaves)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Maria Sharapova’s Apology to India

I admit it should not have taken this long but as we say in Russian: Лу́чше по́здно, чем никогда́. Or better late than never.

My friends in India, here I, Maria Sharapova, daughter of Yuri and Elena Sharapova, tender an unconditional apology to 1.2 billion of you (I suspect million but my manager insists it’s billion) for previously not knowing who the Great Sachin Tendulkar is.

While I admit that you’ve shown great restraint in confining your just anger to innocuous photoshopping and innocent defacing of my Facebook wall using words that have greatly enriched my vocabulary, I beg your sympathy and draw your attention to my inglorious upbringing where cricket meant a buzzing insect and nothing else.

As some of you probably know, I was born in Russia, the country languishing in obscurity until your Mithun Chakraborty arrived there to shoot a couple of films that thrust my shy nation firmly under the spotlight.

Soon after my birth, my parents moved to the United States, a country history will eventually remember for organising random spelling bee contests monopolized by kids from your great country.

Despite the strong India links, in the country of my origin as well as the country I’ve adopted, cricket is as popular as Mike Tyson was with Evander Holyfield’s family immediately after that 1997 bout in Las Vegas.

While it’s a lame excuse for my mind-numbing ignorance, I beg you kindly consider the circumstances in which I confessed not knowing who the cricketing God was.

I completely agree when many of you question if tennis can be considered a sport, let alone a global sport, and wonder what’s the big deal about this Micky Mouse tournament. Looking back, I realise I got carried away after winning a match at Wimbledon and was not in full control of my faculties when I was asked the question about Tendulkar.

Otherwise, I could have mumbled out something vague yet face-saving. Like “That’s a ridiculous question. Of course I know him! Who doesn’t? He is a living legend, a giant beyond his physical stature and an inspiration not only to our generation but to the entire world. It’s people like him who restores our faith in humanity. In fact when I was trailing in the match, his presence inspired my comeback.”

I am ashamed of the way I have conducted myself and to prove that I’m genuinely sorry, I have been reading everything I could about Tendulkar, even if meant skipping training and fighting with the coach.

Now I know his cricket stats by heart; I know the punch lines of the each of his 2086 TV commercials including “Visa power, go get it”; and I know the breed of each of his pet dogs.

Naturally my preparation for US Open next month is the best I ever had. I may not cross the first round hurdle at Flushing Meadows but if media ask me about Tendulkar, I bet I will surprise you all.

Kind regards

Maria Sharapova

(A work of fiction, if you still don't get it)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Budget 2014: 10 Random Observations

1. Honourable Finance Minister spoke for two hours but it's actually a one-line budget. Sardar Patel Statuetory warning: Smoking is injurious to wealth.

2. Oil products to be cheaper. Afraid it would boost sycophancy.

3. Cigarettes to cost more. It's clearly a pro-rich budget. Only the rich can now afford those diseases that smoking causes.

4. How do I pay "indirect tax"? Instead of giving it directly to the guy at counter, I submit it via pantry boy?

5. Rather happy with "Krishi Darshan". Finally something to bring smile on the face of poor farmers like Robert Vadra and Amitabh Bachchan.

6. Cigarette to cost more, footwear to be cheaper. The underlying message is: kick the bad habit or smoke footwear.

7. Soap to be cheaper. Munaf Patel should have no excuse now.

8. Cigarette to be costlier (leitmotif of this piece). It means Bollywood will have to be more creative. Any bidi/cigarette chewer cannot be passed as a poor street urchin, however shabby the dress is.

9. Finance Minister sipped water while presenting budget. Was Hema Malini around to make sure it was Kent RO treated?

10. Cigarette costlier, footwear cheaper. Can you still crush cigarette butts under your footwear?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

7 Reasons Why Rail Budget Was A Let Down

1. More than bullet trains, we needed a bullet IRCTC.

2. I have serious apprehensions about the proposed bullet trains. Ticketless passengers may reach destination even before negotiation with TTE ends.

3. The minister, much to the dismay of his own party supporters, did not announce a 'Train to Pakistan' to ferry NDA critics.

4. The Minister proposed retiring rooms at all stations, something even his leader LK Advani is not interested in.

5. No train was named after Ashok Kumar who did more for Indian Railways than anyone else with this:

6. The minister overlooked the need to have TTE rate chart, just like porters have, prominently displayed everywhere to facilitate ticketless passengers' hassle-free negotiations with the Men in Black.

7. There was no "bug-bite and blanket-allergy compensation" for Rajdhani passengers.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

10 Soccer Facts I Bet You Didn’t Know

1. Babies are normally born head-first. Andrea Pirlo bucked the trend and was born beard-first.

2. An unborn Miroslav Klose never kicked his mom from inside her womb. He always headed.

3. Philipp Lahm is shorter than himself.

4. Arjen Robben can overtake any Irfan Pathan/Vinay Kumar delivery in loafers.

5. The density of hair in Joachim Loew’s head matches that of Anil Kapoor’s chest.

6. Kokilaben Ambani made a last-ditch attempt to make the Boateng brothers Jerome (Germany) and Prince (Ghana) bury their differences and play for any one team.

7. Eden Hazard was named after the 1967 Kolkata test match violence.

8. Sepp Blatter reports to N Srinivasan.

9. FIFA is a BCCI sub-committee.

10. An ageing Klose will decide whether to play on after the 2050 World Cup to be held in Chennai under BCCI’s aegis.

Friday, 20 June 2014

FIFA World Cup First Week Review

It's a matter of great relief that the first week of the FIFA World Cup, that ultimate burglary alarm, ended without any on-field homicide, though a couple of players came dangerously close to that.

None of them are Indians though, one can proudly add, owing partially to the fact that we find making the St. Stephen's cut-off list a greater challenge and hence don't waste time trying to qualifying for random World Cups.

That doesn't mean we are immune to the soccer malaria.

It's that time of the year when parents don't mind their sons downloading WAGs posters, an act when committed outside this window could get them swiftly disowned.

And it's considered perfectly "Bhartiya Sanskriti" for girls to drool over topless six-pack surfboards, an indiscretion which otherwise would cost them their original surnames via the elaborate process called marriage.

Fans call football a religion, an argument based presumably on the fact that it encourages idolatry, divides people, incites violence and occasionally claims life.

In Kolkata, Messi-worshippers apparently have stopped dating girls who sensed faintest of cuteness in Neymar. Across the nation, the picture is no better.

Productivity has taken a hit, sleep pattern has gone for a toss, employees have run out of excuses to bunk office and barbers have been flooded with requests for hairstyles
hitherto unknown to humanity.

As if it's not bad enough, Sony Six has rolled out "Cafe Rio" and social scientists concur human intelligence was never more at risk.

A suspected anti-soccer movement, "Cafe Rio" features individuals with impeccable soccer pedigree.

Gaurav Kapoor hosts it, picked no doubt for his likeness to the post Messi's shot came off before entering the Bosnia goal.

Panelists include the likeable John Abraham, who puts the wood in Bollywood and -- here I want you to closely follow -- everyone knows goalposts used to be made of woods before they went metal.

Also, the organisers were apparently looking for someone with cafe experience and John was fresh from his "Madras Cafe" venture.

If you still doubt his soccer credentials, this should clinch it. John's ex once kissed Ronaldo, though it's unfair to blame that incident for the Portugal's poor run of form, for it occurred some seven years ago when LK Advani was still a PM aspirant and Salman Khan a bachelor.

Other panelists include Indian soccer captain Sunil Chetri, a forward whose highest jump in the penalty box once took him, eyewitnesses swear, somewhere around Zlatan Ibrahimovic's knee-cap.

Some insist Ashok Dinda leaps higher and is a better choice during corners but others point out India have not won a corner since 1965 and hence Indian soccer is not the right platform to showcase Dinda's gravity-defying talent.

Another panelist includes retired French player Mikael Silvestre, who looks more stoned than Majnu was in that fabled sub-continental tragedy. (I'm told Majnu was probably not stoned to death but I'm not ready to let silly facts ruin a joke.)

Returning to the rail, not all are complaining though.

"My husband used to be soccer-mad but Cafe Rio has cured him. Thank you Cafe Rio," said a woman with an intonation not found outside teleshopping commercials.

She went to the extent of declaring "Cafe Rio" as soccer's own "Alcoholics Anonymous" and said she'd be surprised if the show/channel doesn't not get an award from the United Nations or the body that governs the universe -- BCCI.

Even though it's 180 degrees from their original motive behind launching the show, Sony Six has been bolstered by testimonials like this and has promised to carry on into the remainder of the tournament, a decision that has met deathly silence from social scientists.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Afridi’s Secret Diary: Aluminium Association of My Child School

I'm return. I not righting the dairy for a long time. The because was I being very busy like nobody's business. Playing cricket and thinking what be the good time for next retirement not being easy.

Outside that, I visited my child school last weak. It was many emotional. So many memories -- of rising over bench, being chicken for not doing homeworks, stealing paranthas from friend’s tipping box ...

As a student, I was, what you call, too sigh to speak. Fully no confidence, always hiding be low the desk. Sigh and what is the word? Yes, I was inverter like nobody's business.

My other child school friends also comed. All are establishment in life. We had very sad feeling seeing the old school building. It looked like collapsing anytime like our betting lineup. We feeled if we rise money for a new building, it will be a good jester.

So we all the before students of the school decided to come to gather and from a Aluminium Association and rise some money. Why aluminium, not iron which is more strongest is I not knowing.

A friend said we can also get many money from Inzamam Bhai if we call it Aloominium Association. I respect Inzy bhai who being a roll model but I smiled like nobody's business. Time for practice now. Coach will be accepting me on the ground. Good buy for now.