Minestrone Soup for the Confused Soul


I’m wondering if anyone still reads this page. It feels like ages since I updated here, and it shows. I’ve a lot more bottled-up emotions, my smile has never been more fake, and even my teenagy angst has given way to passivity. I’m also a lot less articulate these days, and that shows in the numerous reports and other official bits of writing I’m supposed to delivery weekly thrice.

I’m still finding a way out of the inarticulateness and asocial life I lead at the moment, a relic of an unprecedented amount of work I’ve been assigned,  and things that have happened to me recently possess a strong streak of speculation, something which has no place on this blog, so bear with my obtuse references.

I find I cannot, just cannot, tolerate negative people and pessimism. My entire being seems to dwell and thrive on optimism that all the damned negativity some people exude feels like Kryptonite, weakening me slowly, slowly, until I’m steeped neck-deep in despair and ready to willingly drown myself to put myself out of my misery. Here’s a general word of advice: Don’t say anything if you don’t have anything good to say. Unless of course, it’s juicy gossip.

I’ve taken courses this quarter that exude Awesome with every atom of their being. One of them had mining Facebook data [college networks] as part of a homework. Initially, I too was wide-eyed, just like you reading this are. Sadly, the data is suitably anonymized, and it’s in the form of boring old matrices. And it’s huge as hell… megabytes of numbers alone. Trends are spotted more easily with large samples. Turns out, you can try pretty cool stuff with those megabytes of numbers. Like checking out if college networks share common features, so that if you learn something about one network, you can apply it in other networks you study. Or seeing how to recommend friends to someone who’s just joined.

Among my unpublished drafts is an open letter to Juhi Chawla. No, it’s not about the Phir Mile Sur thing. During one of those hectic weeks, I was shopping for some ready-to-eat food. I was rather sick of the cheese pizzas, so when this carton of ready-to-eat Ashoka Chinese Fried Rice Indian Style with a grinning Juhi on it caught my eye, (and the Buy One Get One Free offer wasn’t too far behind), I grabbed it. After all, Ms. Chawla has lived in the US for a while, right? So she too would have shopped like me at one point or another, and if she was endorsing something, it had to be pretty good, right?Wrong. It sucked. I couldn’t have more than a mouthful. It took dollops and dollops of tomato ketchup to kill the taste of the fried spring onions rice. And heck, this carnage is just spring onions and rice. No beans, no carrots, no chillies, no nothing. I wonder what the heck was Juhi Chawla thinking when she endorsed this inedible pile of dogfood. Someone have her email ID?

And the Phir Mile Sur thing. I share the outrage of many others who’ve written about this. However, I feel it’s just by Zoom, not by the Government of India, so it doesn’t merit the attention it’s getting. I mean, what else do you expect of a channel dedicated to Bollywood and Page 3 types? Ignore it, folks. Not worth raising your BP for.

One of the bloggers I rather like got plagiarized. You can read the whole story here. Seems rather routine, except that her short story got made into a short film this time. Though, I think the approach she took was a tad impractical. Hell, you’re a great writer, granted, but there’s nothing Vasudeva-Srikrishna-Eeshwara-EndaDheivame-OhMyHoly-OMFG about plagiarism. It happens. It’s outrageous, but it happens. And don’t tell me you don’t like the extra attention and publicity that comes with your story being used in some other media. So, instead of crying blue murder, embrace it. Don’t say “You thirdrate plagiarist, you copied. I’ll tell to miss”. Instead, acknowledge that the other person might have made a mistake, and say now that we both agree a mistake has been made, let’s work something out. No one likes to be told by a complete stranger that they are in the wrong, not to mention scores of random netizens cursing them left, right and center.

That said, I found I liked the blog entry better than the Youtube video. There were rather talented folks in the video, granted. But why did they have to be speaking in Ingleesh for godsake? I guess the dialogues were written in English, translated from Tamil in the writer’s head, because the audience of the blog is mainly English-speaking. The filmmaker was so goddamn lazy that he had to retain every damn dialogue the way it was written? It reads well to me because I translate it back to Tamil in my head, just like I do with every RK Narayan novel I read… the words, sentence construction and the entire ambience is TamBrahm, a world I can summon in my head at the snap of a finger. Having to do the same when I’m hearing someone speak is nothing short of painful.

Coming back to food, I found Dairy Milk being sold at an Indian store for $4.99. While that’s laughable by itself, you also need to take into account that you can get larger bars of Hershey’s for one-fifth the cost. And it doesn’t end there…. you get Kurkure (Yes, Juhi Chawla again) for $2.49.

Being bereft of trustworthy outlets for your internal confusions for even a short while, compounds the problem, I find. It’s quite a feat to separate your best-case worst-case analyses from reality after a while. Close friends, I assert, are important as hell.

Apparently ‘Hell’ is an evil, evil swearword in this country. I found that out the hard way, after using it half-a-dozen times in the presence of my BibleBelt-born nephew. And, apparently, so is ‘Damn’. I can’t fathom that at all. After all, I was pretty used to ‘Bleddy Bhaskar/Bleddy Basket‘ probably since I started school, and I hail from the same state as this bleddy basket-case.

In other news, I’m more or less abstaining from Google Reader. When I find time, I hope to be able to automate linking pages in Wikipedia, and possibly use the same logic to automatically mark important words in passages. I’ve also watched tons of useless movies recently, and am stuck on the soundtrack of Duet, looping the songs endlessly. I’m surprised I used to make fun of these songs when they first came out. Who knows, at this rate, I might one day be fondly recollecting the day Phir Mile Sur came out. I’m also confused as hell can be about a lot of things in life at the moment. I’m just hoping things fall in place like they always do.

And two links which put a smile on my face: here and here.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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11 Responses to Minestrone Soup for the Confused Soul

  1. schroedinbugger says:

    1. “…and that shows in the numerous reports and other official bits of writing I’m supposed to delivery weekly thrice.”
    Intentional? (I hope)
    2. Is that the price for Dairy Milk in Wholesome Choice? I think it might be cheaper there 🙂
    3. Ah, the evil swearword: I was reminded of this video around 5:35.

  2. Karthik says:

    “I’m wondering if anyone still reads this page.”
    Clearly, yes. This is why Reader exists, right?

    I’d given up on Google Reader (as I wrote in the comment thread here), but these days I think it’s OK as long as I don’t let it take over my life. And I wouldn’t have read this post for months if I was still staying away.

    Bill Watterson looks a bit like Calvin’s dad; nothing at all like I imagined him!

  3. Chronoz says:

    Nice blog, happened to stumble into it. Do they export Kurkure from India? Seriously, how jobless can people be.

    Wow, mining fb. Do post some of your more interesting findings here.

  4. idlichutney says:

    i loop duet too. its classic.
    and phir mile sure? no.

  5. harish says:

    Yesterday I found that my Mahabharata Revisited series ( http://guruwrites.blogspot.com/2007/10/mahabharatha-revisited-vi.html )
    was plagiarized sometime back by this guy http://adityakhurana.blogspot.com/2008/04/mahabharata-revisited-vi.html . And he has removed those parts where I had mentioned my name in the post. The saddest part is when you google for Mahabharata revisited his is the first link that comes up. Shemeless, pathetic people.

  6. Ah. The New Indian Express plagiarised me once. A description of my good friend who is famous enough to be written about was directly lifted off my blog. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the piece on their website, and I didn’t have what the Telugus call the ‘opika’ (loosely translated to ‘enthusiasm’) to actually scan the page and put it up.

    And, we all still read your blog. So, stop whining.

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