Ladies and Gentleman: This man is a criminal specializing in stealing T-shirts. Typically, he invites the unsuspecting victim to his place in Delhi. Sometimes (most of the time, really), the victim himself goes to his place without invitation and spends the weekend having a lot of fun. They watch movies together, cook with sometimes (read mostly) disastrous results together, roam around the city, meet old friends and have all night parties, and get drunk.

However, when the victim leaves, he would invariably miss a few T-shirts. This criminal has a special affinity for memento T-shirts – like Singapore t-shirt, or Auroville, Pondicherry t-shirt. Upon query, he simply says, “Oh! That’s your T-shirt? You forgot it here! I am wearing it, it’s nice. Now you will not get it!”

He is also known to harass his victims (at least one victim: me) by registering the victim’s phone number in his ICICI Bank account. Each time Aro adds someone as a payee / beneficiary, I get a notification like “You have added Bholu as a payee…“, and genuinely wonder what’s going on!!! But now I am used to it.

He is also known to torment his neighbors and friends by laughing at over 100 decibels continuously for six / seven minutes. One is advised to remain away from him during those times, as it might cause irreversible damage to the ears.

On my last post, I urged him to return my T-shirts again, and mildly threatened him that I would write about this and make him infamous. His reply, and I quote him over here, was “dude...I like to be known....anyways...u left those t-shirts in my place...it is the price you pay for keeping things....”

Friends, delhiites and fellow countrymen: Should this man return all t-shirts that he has gathered? Please vote by SMSingAro Y” or “Aro N” to my cell phone number. You can also comment in this blog and vote.

Vote for ...

... anything! Guess that’s the trend these days. And these are not the regular votes to elect your MLAs / MPs. There are several ways to exercise your voting rights, these days!

There are several talent shows running on TV, where the results are determined by votes from the general public. Invariably, the shows and the results of these shows are controversial! Remember the incidence where a popular couple vying for the top spot in a dancing competition distributed a few SIM cards to friends to vote for them? Remember how a ‘fame-ous’ singing couple won a competition, though it was clear that the guy didn’t sing one song with all the right notes in the entire competition? Needless to say, these singers / dancers are no longer seen displaying their “talent”!

Next is the opinion poll. Every news channel, every newspaper is now running daily polls for viewers / readers to “voice their opinions”. Let me give you an example from yesterday’s Times of India. The question was “Improvement in civic infrastructure should be our policy maker’s first priority”! The results were even better: 95% said “Yes”; 4% said “No”; and my favorite 1% said “Can’t say”! Wonder what they can't say.

The latest trend is to go global! A for-profit organization has started a global voting for the Seven Wonders of the World. Voters from across the globe can vote for their favorite “wonder” of the world. There were initially 21 entries, but following a protest from Egypt, the pyramids of Giza were given honorary membership! So, now there are 20 finalists to choose from. From India, we have Taj Mahal contesting for this honor. Every public media is urging people of India to vote for Taj Mahal. Now, I am thinking what will happen if Taj doesn’t make it to the top seven. Will it cease to be the ultimate token of eternal love? Will it lose any of the thousands of visitors who come there every day? I don’t think anything will change for these wonderful architectural / engineering feats irrespective of whether they ultimately make it to the top seven. But what is sure to happen is the organization promoting this contest will be making a lot of money from all the voting. In the FAQ section of their website, they have clearly mentioned that they get a share of money from every SMS that voters send, besides the money they make from selling certificates and other souvenirs.

There are better ways of finding talent in our country – let qualified people do the judging. Remember, talents like Sunidhi Chauhan, Kunal Ganjawala and Shreya Ghosal were all found through judges voting. There are better ways of voicing your opinion – write a letter to the editor, e-mail the news channel, write a blog post. There are better ways to honor wonders of our world. There is a huge UNESCO list of heritage sites of the world. Find one of those sites near you or one that you believe in, and do something (however small it may be) worthwhile for it. I mean, find your own way of contributing. But please think before you do anything.

The sound of music

Yesterday, I saw “The sound of music” for the umpteenth time, but after a long time. It brought back memories of my childhood. Our extended families, with all our uncles and aunts and cousins, would meet a few times a year to celebrate something or the other. We used to have an awesome time with a lot of singing, dancing and food. Among other things, a ritual used to be to rent some VHS cassettes (of course no CD / DVD then) and watch them in a packed room. And without fail, we would get “The sound of music”. All of us knew all the songs by heart, and would sing along while the movie played: “The sound of music”, “Confidence”, “Do, re, mi”, “I am sixteen”, “The lonely goatherd”, “Edelweiss” and so on.

The simple flow of the plot; the brilliant performance by Dame Julie Andrews; the evergreen music; the subtle humor; the lovable von Trapp kids and personally, for me, the nostalgia: makes this one of my anytime-watch movies.

Award winning ad!

All of you must have seen the ad where a cool dude from an Indian IT major knows everything and gives loads of funda to the investment banker, who incidentally gives him a lift. I didn’t think much about the ad myself; however, recently this ad got an award and I can’t get over this fact! Award for this ad! What is this world coming to?

Going by this ad, I wouldn’t trust this company with any business (it is another matter that I have no business to offer). They send this guy for an “overseas project” and he leaves with a backpack which cannot carry more than a laptop! And what kind of a guy wears faded jeans with a shirt and tie(!!!) and a cap!

If our smart Alec was going on such an important project, why was he relying on a lift (in the middle of nowhere)? Isn’t that leaving too much on chance? If there was a helicopter for his pick-up in the middle of nowhere, why couldn’t the helicopter pick him up from another point in the middle of nowhere?

Where's Waldo?

Exploring TV channels that he thought never existed! Just realized there are TV channels beyond the usual: NatGeo, Discovery, T&L, ESPN, StarSports, HBO, Star Movies! Well, Indian Idol is on Sony, Voice of India is on Star, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa world war of singers (more like among the 'gurus') is on Zee.

Of course, I am eating and reading a lot too. I did buy some books that we (my mom and me) wanted to buy and read them.

Now its time for me to return to Bangalore; back to normal life!