U2 - Cedars Of Lebanon

Bangalore - Mercara - Manipal

On the way up the hill to Mercara

Random thoughts from the road:

When you're suffieciently saddle-sore, any rum will do.
(And you'll even settle for Pepsi, as a mixer.)

Gotta love that Leatherman.
Somewhere along the road, the fiddly little plastic thing that switches the fuel tap from main to reserve, breaks off. The control nut, however, is very much still in place. Discover this when I run into reserve. Unsheath Leatherman. Unfold pliers. Quick twist of the wrist. Ride up to the next bunk, grinning. 

How come people you meet on a road trip, are always so pleasant?
They always have time to stop and give you directions. And ask where you're from, or where you're headed. Maybe all of us in the big city ought to find a little more time for each other.

Why do guys in small cars on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, drive like such jerks?
Guys in Swifts. Guys in Santros. Pretty much any guy in a hatchback. (Except for the old 800.) Very odd. Maybe they feel inadequate. Strangely enough, the Merc-Beemer-Audi brigade are so much better behaved. Maybe they're just better drivers. (Or have better drivers.) 

Truckers are a biker's best friend.
Going up or down a hill, or riding along a twisty, narrow country road, and sooner or later you wind up behind a truck that's just trundling along. The guy pretty much always sees you in his rear view, and let's you know when to pass. Or flags you off, when there's oncoming traffic, that you can't see. In case he hasn't noticed you, a short friendly toot on the horn gets the man's attention. And chances are you'll get a wave and a grin, as you pass.

Sooner or later, on any given road trip, you'll come across a guy with a backpack, on a Bullet.
And even if, like me, you can't be arsed to join one of the multitude of motor clubs for Enfield enthusiasts, you wind up exchanging a nod and a wave, anyway. 


The Adventures Of Double Om Seven

Double Om Seven: "Do you expect me to talk?"

Auric Goldfinger: "No, Mr. Swamy. I expect you to preach."



"But what is Twatskyism?" you ask.

Well, rather than delve like some cunning linguist, between the sturdy peasant thighs of a discourse on dialectical materialism, it may perhaps be better to point out some leading twatskyites.

A. Raja, for instance, is a twat.
Kalmadi is a legendary twat.
Yeddyurappa is an eminent twat.

As the recent global meltdown proved, bankers are monumental twats.
The governments who used our taxes to pay them bonuses, are twats.
And we, the people who voted them into office, are the original twats.

You'll find twatskyites all over Pg. 3. (In print, and on TV.)

Barkha Dutt, is a hysterical twat.
Ratan Tata, is a successful twat.
The Ambani boys are spoiled twats.
And Bill Gates is the ultimate twat.

Being a twat, however, is not just the prerogative
of the rich and shameless.

I can be a twat. (Just look at this post.)
You, can be a twat. (You're reading this.)
He, She, and They are, in all likelihood, absolute twats.

(And, if they're all members of the same popular micro-blog,
they probably spend all day just Twatting and Re-Twatting.)

Nor is twatskyism one of those chronological inconveniences
like, say, Nehruvian Socialsm. Indeed, with every turn of the
pages of history you'll find a twat or two wreaking mayhem.

Take Hitler, a notorious twat.
Or Mussolini, a horrible twat.
Even Idi Amin was just a hungry twat.

Now, please don't confuse Twatskyism with that 
school of thought named after a famous victim
of the erstwhile USSR's black ops department.

It has its roots dug deep in the rich, fertile soil of
authentic Anglo-Saxon slang. And has achieved
the pinnacle of evolution right here in India,
as embodied by Arundhati Roy.


To The Woman In The Tight Blue Jeans

On a Sunday evening in early September, three men were waiting patiently for an elevator at Manipal Hospital.

The patient was, of course, the distinguished looking elderly gent with his chin sunk on his chest, in the wheelchair. The tall, thin bloke behind the chair, was the mandatory hospital attendant. And the tall, not-so-thin bloke off to the side, looking somewhat concerned, was the patient's son.

This last was concerned, because just a week ago, the patient had undergone intensive cardiac surgery. And this day's tests, would determine the date of his release.

He was concerned also about whether the patient had retained his sense of humour.

So there things stood.

Three men, waiting patiently for an elevator at Manipal Hospital. One, a little despondent. One, quite concerned. All, somewhat lost in thought.

Until, the unexpected click-clacking of high heels, filled the corridor. And a pair of rather shapely legs, tightly wrapped in original blue denim, crossed the patient's field of vision.

Slowly, his chin came up. His head lifted. And as the legs swayed by, he watched.

And once you had walked on by, happily unaware of this minor miracle, he turned the other way, looked up at his son, raised an eyebrow and gave a firm nod of approval.

"Ready to go home tomorrow then, Dad?" said the son, with a grin.

"Absolutely," said my father. And grinned right back



Somewhere, Mick's waiting for that well-earned pint of Guinness to settle just perfectly.

Somewhere, Paddy's getting into a brawl just for the hell of it.

Somewhere, McCarthy's about to step into another bar with his name on it.

Somewhere, there's a red-headed, green-eyed, cheekily freckled, fine Irish lass, about to walk out the front door and break a thousand hearts.

Somewhere, there's a craggy old man perched atop a craggy old hill, thinking about the first days of The Troubles.

Somewhere there's one hell of a beef stew being dished out.

Somewhere the story of the potato famine is being learned by yet another generation.

Somewhere a British soldier is thanking God it's all over. for now.

Somewhere, there's a curmudgeonly Indian writer perched at his keyboard, seeking salvation at the bottom of a bottle of Bushmills, thinking of all these other somewheres every time he hears this track.



Note: A full-time friend, and part-time relative-by-marriage (I disown him once in 6 weeks, just to keep in practice) has just officially announced the fact that he is getting married. I responded with one word. "Idiot". And then I thought that might require some clarification. What better place to do it, than in a public forum?

Dear A,

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for all the rude things I'm going to say in the years to come. Rest assured, they will all be directed solely at him.

I'm sorry for all the alcohol I'm going to consume at your wedding. And your reception. And his bachelor bash. And on every other day that I feel the need to slake the thirst.

I'm sorry for all the hangovers I'm going to have in your house, at some distant date in the future. Please understand, the bugger's been getting smashed at my place, whenever he feels like it, for 6 years now. And I've been waiting for the day I can return the compliment.

I'm sorry for the all the ridiculous late-night conversations on graphic novels and music, that you're going to be privy to. I'm sorry for all the ones you've missed out on already.

I'm sorry for the high rate of attrition you're going to face when it comes to having a maid in the house. It's really not my fault. I can only suggest that you hang around long enough for him to write that book about it all, so you can demand half the royalties in alimony.

I'm very, very sorry for Dr. Prakash. But please, don't worry. The good doctor, to drop into post-modern colloquialism for a second, has got your man's back.

I'm sorry for the fact that I'm probably the most dysfunctional of all the relatives you're going to meet. (Assuming he continues to acknowledge my existence, after this little stunt.) On the plus side, you will be amongst a select few, who are allowed access to my eclectic collection of books, music and movies, painstakingly built over the last few decades.

I'm sorry for all the days you've known him, when he couldn't be bothered to grab a shower. And I'm sorry for all the days to come, when he won't be, again.

I'm sorry for the things he does to his socks, and his trousers. I sincerely recommend that you get him to run his own laundry. And please keep lots of white vinegar handy. It is effective when dealing with mysterious odours.

I'm sorry for not using your full name, even though the family jerk just shared it in a bulk e-mail with your photograph, and what I'm sure he fondly imagines to be a cute paragraph describing the state of your impending union.

I haven't taken the liberty, because I don't even know you yet. And the list of things I need to/will need to apologise for, is long enough, already.

Apart from your photograph, all I know about you, is your name. However, I have no qualms in believing that like the rest of us, you're someone he doesn't deserve.

Welcome to the family. And don't mind the funny noises from under the stairs - that's just Uncle Fester being cryptic again.