May 28, 2008

In a Single Day:


1. A cab driver in Sion who goes straight down a road, circles a junction, takes another road, then scratches his head, turns behind and asks me, "Arre lekin King's Circle kidhar hai?" Then, he blames me for not knowing.

2. An auto wallah who slows down with a confused look, to ask "Kidhar?" and when I tell him, says, "Arre magar gaadi kharab hai..." and drives off. I find most indecisive auto drivers immensely funny. Most of them slow down but never quite stop, preferring to rattle past at 15 kmph. When you say where you want to go, they first almost nod and almost stop, then have some kind of internal conflict, and start shaking their heads slowly. On a parallel note, what I can't understand is how someone who is driving a three-wheeler little metal thing on the road and falling apart all the time, can still think he is so cool. Because most auto drivers do! But then, I guess, that's not really restricted to them, the principle applies to the entire male species, yesno? (More on auto-drivers later.)

3. An organisation (one of the biggest in the world) that has those distortion mirrors installed at every intersection of corridors in its office, so that you can see who's coming towards the same point from the right turn. Their motto, apparently, is safety of their employees. This motto also includes many, many other hilarious cases, but the one I found the best was this sign stuck to the main doors to the loos: "Please knock before you enter." Really? Why would someone do that? Is it a bedroom, and am I about to stumble upon people changing their clothes in the middle of a normal working day? Or must I respect the sink's privacy?


May 10, 2008

On Why I Am SO Not Made For This Career


44[Explanation 1.In this section, assessed tax means the tax on the total income determined under sub-section (1) of section 143 and where a regular assessment is made, the tax on the total income determined under such regular assessment as reduced by the amount of,
any tax deducted or collected at source in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XVII on any income which is subject to such deduction or collection and which is taken into account in computing such total income;
any relief of tax allowed under section 90 on account of tax paid in a country outside India;
any relief of tax allowed under section 90A on account of tax paid in a specified territory outside India referred to in that section;
any deduction, from the Indian income-tax payable, allowed under section 91, on account of tax paid in a country outside India; and
any tax credit allowed to be set off in accordance with the provisions of section 115JAA.]

- From the Income Tax Act

What beats me is that the damn thing is called an explanation.


P.S. An apology to all those people who left huge argumentative comments on the last post. I usually enjoy those but this time, I just got bored of replying. :) People who were nice, thank you and... ahem... keep coming? (Yes, blog promotion here also.) To the ones who left nasty comments, hey, I'm glad that fighting over the Internet with someone you don't know, and who doesn't care, made your day. :D


May 05, 2008

Bits of Hatred: Instalment #1

(Warning: Long post.)


I've figured out that the only way to blow off steam is to vent it publicly. The blog is a good place, because it is public but no one gets harmed in the process. Hoping that people at whom the rant is directed are reading it, would be asking for too much. Nevertheless, this is the first in the line of many, many spewings (?) of hatred against sections of humanity. Yes, I officially declare that I will no longer be nice and kind to people (if I ever was). Enough is enough.

Aaj ka vishay hai... The Various Abuses of English and Writing

Let's start with the basics:

I don't know what it is about reading a mix-up of "your" and "you're" that brings out the worst within me. Or, for that matter, "their", "they're" and "there." Yes, I know, these things sound similar. But we were taught English for a reason. And there's a spell-check on MS Word for a reason.

Other gripes:

"Rawk" and "kewl" instead of rock and cool. Dude, you're not even reducing the number of letters you're typing.

"That was so fun!!" - It's either "so much fun" or "such fun". Not "so fun."

"That's how she looked like" - It's "what she looked like" or "how she looked."

"Like.." "As in.." - Okay, I do this too, but not 7 times in a 10-word sentence.

[Will add more if and when I remember.]

And while we're doing the intellectual snobbery thing, we might as well go the whole hog. Most of my grudges are against people my age, because they're the ones I'm most in contact with. I have this feeling that the older generations have better grammar and sense of syntax, at least. But then, who knows?

Anyhow, I also despise, from the bottom of my heart:

- Too many dots. They're meant to be used in ones, or threes. And not in groups of threes.
To make it clearer to the dummy:
. and ... are fine. However, .., ........ or any variants thereof are not.

- Too many exclamations. Do you want to look like you're high on glucose / alcohol / anti-depressants?

- Long sentences. Do you remember how you started, ass? [Okay, I write humongous sentences at times too. But I'm working on it. Promise.]

- People who, in the "Favorite books" section of their networking profiles, list all the books they've read. Please note - it says "favorite". Hence it implies, you pick the ones you liked best. If you liked "One Night at the Call Centre" and "Dan Brown" best, you deserve to die. If your favorite book is "Agatha Christie and Sidney Sheldon," you deserve to be murdered.

- In that same "Favorite books" section, people who list good books (not pulp fiction) and write it in lowercase and/or misspell it. Really, if you're reading good stuff, accord it the respect it deserves.

- Generally, people who pretend to read. No one said you had to. No one minds if you don't. Just. Please. Don't. Pretend. That. You. Do.

- People who type in lowercase all the time, or uppercase all the time. Former, you look illiterate. Latter, you make me feel tired of just reading, somehow. I feel like someone's yelling at a wall in writing, somehow. [Note: This applies to proper written communication, not IM/SMS, where I'm liberal even with wazzaaaa-ssup-dnt-cdnt-gr8-b4 kind of BS.]

- People who write poetry. Don't get me wrong. But when you write poetry that gets to its middle after just around 2 pages - you PISS ME OFF. You're not bloody Homer. (Of Iliad fame, not Simpson.)

- People who write stuff and want me to read it. I'm not talking about the odd blog, or article, or poetry. I'm talking about the people who hand me a bloody file of 40 pieces of prose/poetry they expect me to read.

I still remember the time when a trio from my school submitted a whole bloody file of romantic poetry for the school magazine and expected me to read each one in it. Seriously, are you bloody mad? Reading a page of something that I've myself written is usually enough to make me want to kill people. You expect me to read 50 pages of crap poetry you wrote? Filled with goddam cliches about eyes and mirrors?

Also, people who breathe down my neck while I read what you've written. Or worse still, demand that I read it in front of you. Some actually have the nerve to ask me to read stuff standing in front of them.

Let me make my reasons for reading alone clear: I can't read with people and noise around me; I judge better when I'm alone; If you've written badly, it's quite likely that my disgust will be apparent, and you won't like that; I don't like being forced, so sod off.

- Amateur writers of horror / mystery. Sorry, most of you just can't do it. Either you're rolling in vampires and ghouls, or concocting clues that are forcefully fitted together at the end to pin the blame on the guy you thought would be the most unexpected killer.

- Amateur romance-writers. Please. Please. Please. Either you're in love and on top of the world, or out of it and at the bottom. Case 1: you want the world to know the intimate details of how wonderful your romance is. Case 2: you want the world to know what a *&#@^!@ your object-of-affection-until-recently is. Either way, there isn't a single original thought coming out of your mind, usually, so will you please shut the hell up?

And finally, the type I hate the most:

The MS-Word-Thesaurus people.

These are the guys who write a sentence in simple (correct) English. Then they select each word, press Shift+F7 and find its synonyms. They select the synonym that sounds heaviest, and replace the original (simple and correct) word.

In the process, the meaning is often lost. The emotion is often lost. The context is beautifully screwed around with.

These are also the people who belong to the school of thought that believes that the merit of a piece of prose is measured by the number of words with 8 letters or more it has. And that a "vocab" is there for you to show off. And that the fewer the people who understand it, the cooler the writer is.

Here's a newsflash, dodos: (And I take the liberty of speaking for all of humanity now)
If I don't understand it, I stop reading it. If a word doesn't fit the context, you look like an idiot, no matter how long the word is. And the longer your sentence gets (with added words, adverbs, adjectives, and syllables), the lesser real emotion it conveys.

Here's some free advice also: Go read. Please. You'll see why famous authors (the same ones who wrote your "favorite books") are famous.


I also fully realise that when I'm old and stricken with bad memory, I will commit the same errors. I will, too, someday, write terrible English and use grammar that makes Laloo look like Wodehouse; but until then, as we say in India, we are like this only.

PS - The labels "Rant" and "Bits of Hatred" are different from each other in this manner: Rants cover those things that I hate at a point in time, or that piss me off temporarily. Bits of Hatred are permanent.