What kind of 'you' are you?

Possibly the only thing more irritating than tags are those 'personal' quizzes. Which is why one likes making them up for others to indulge in. And at least you know the answer to that perennial question when you come across one of these things - who makes these damn things up anyway?


1. When attending a concert -
a) You're the kind of fan who identifies each new piece within three notes being played - and then goes "woo!" every single time.
b) You angle your head, close your eyes, and gently nod in time to the music - just to show that you get the 'true depth' of the music.
c) You try to get as many signed memorabilia as possible so that you can sell them on eBay.

2. When you blow your nose, you -
a) Shake your head from side to side while doing so, because everybody knows that that's what really gets the snot out.
b) Always take a peek at the result, hoping that some pearls of wisdom might have dropped out of your brain.
c) Deliberately make as loud and disgusting a noise as possible. And really stretch it out.

3. When randomly gazing at the palm of your hands, you -
a) Always try to figure out what the different lines are supposed to stand for.
b) Take a pen and highlight all the grooves.
c) Hit it with your forehead. Fun becomes.

4. When you come across a mirror in a public place, you -
a) Always adjust your hair/clothes/makeup. You like perfection.
b) Beam at your image and call yourself a rockstar. You're always perfect.
c) Thrust your nose up against it, just to gross out whoever's operating that camera that you know is hidden behind it.

5. When presented with red paint, you -
a) Give yourself a teeka. You're a desi, demnit!
b) Throw it on public walls and (when arrested) make a bad pun about painting and towns.
c) Sniff it. Heaven for budget-dopers.

6. You would rather have -
a) A bird in the hand
b) Two birds in the bush
c) A mass orgy with seven of them, in a jacuzzi

7. You would prefer to be -
a) Roger Federer's Wimbledon jacket
b) Roger Federer's forehand swing
c) (Rafael Nadal, kicking) Roger Federer's ass

8. When watching Friends, you -
a) Get turned on by Joey's manboobs
b) Get cravings to go out for food whenever you hear the word 'Buffay'
c) Want Hugsy

9. When you write poems, you do so because -
a) That's what you do
b) It's who you are
c) You love messing with people's mind by randomly throwing together vague, lyrical phrases - and then watching them unearth the 'real meaning' behind it

10. If you were the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, you would definitely add the word -
a) Wowza
b) Crapazoid
c) Doofass

How to rate your answers:
For every 'a' selection, throw a lollipop at a cat. For every 'b', say the word orangutan 44 times. For every 'c', give yourself 99 points.

What your score indicates:
What do you think it indicates?

Friday Fun: Fpoor Fpuns

Q. Why did the baker keep trying to pay his creditors back in kind, rather than cash?
A. Because he had been taught to always return every pai pai of any loan that he took.

Yehhhhh baby, I've still got it!


Ok, enough pedant-giri recently on this blog. Time for some keedas (Aishwarya, you will forgive me for starting this, but you just weren't putting this up on your blog, and it was too good to pass up).


The orgasm game.

No, it's not what you're hoping for, you little desperate blogreader you. Down pheromones, down!

Now, what this is, is this - simply come up with appropriately clever/hilarious/groanpunworthy names for orgasms specific to certain groups of people. Ideally, they should rhyme with the original word, but we're ok even if it just reads right.

Examples/already thought up -
Vikings have Thorgasms
He-Man has Skeletorgasms
Exfoliating agents have poregasms
Neo-cons have wargasms
Oliver Twist has moregasms
Sci-fi lovers have Tor-gasms*.
Jim Morrison fans have Doorgasms
Golf players have foregasms
Scientists have Bohrgasms
Retailers have storegasms
(and my favourite)
Sikh women have kaurgasms.

So, hit the commentspace. But please, NO mass puns in one comment (that means you Falsie).

* In-joke. Re: Tor books.


Let's be clear.

There might be people who can remember every nuance and every aspect and every angle of someone they've loved deeply. Remember just how their face looked in every different light. Remember every moment of every kiss, and the exact intensity of every exclamation of pleasure.

Sure, there might be such people. It's just that they would have an eidetic memory.

For us normal folks, any chances of the above happening would be equal to the odds of finding green polka-dotted ice-monsters in the seas of Neptune.

To me, anybody who says something like the words in the first para isn't thinking or talking about how love is -they're on about what they think love should be like.

They've bought into this ridiculous idealised version which has been propagated throughout history by too many overdramatic novels, and was probably originally thought up by some idiot who spent too much time thinking about love than actually being involved in it. Although I'm not quite convinced it wasn't thought up by someone who was continually rejected and maliciously created this illusory height of emotion in order to torment all future generations, driving them crazy in trying to achieve it, and then condemning them to endless bouts of doubt and conflict when they (inevitably) couldn't.

And we all fall for it. We all think that this is how it should be, that our every moment of being with the person we have chosen to be with should be suffused with this insane kaleidoscope of constantly replayed slow-motion videos of the other - taken from seventeen different angles, of course. We all think that if, after a few months, we cannot exactly remember what they wearing when they were doing that with us, but we can remember what that that was (and how good it felt), then we've somehow failed at the altar of the oh-so-perfect Love. That if we end up being with that person, and living with them, then even twenty years later we should be able to wake up one morning and look at them while they sleep and remember all those other mornings of years past when we did the same, and be able to recollect just how they looked then as well.

What utter bollocks.

That is passion, not love. The remember-every-touch thing is possible - but only for dalliances that last such a small time that you have no choice but to remember all of it, simply because there's so little of it to remember, and you don't want to think there wasn't enough of it, because then it would mean that it wasn't serious enough or real enough, and that all your energy and emotion was spent in some charade, and you don't want to think that now, do you.

That's passion. A little hot-water spring hidden mid-way up a little hill, whose periphery you walk around in a few hundred paces, and which will remain the same for decades to come, and which you can revisit again and again and find no change.

But love....now, love is like a river that you're on. It's always there, and (if you remember the old riddle, you know what's coming) it's never the same. It may start off boisterously, as a body-numbing waterfall in some remote hilly region which it will may never revisit, only to slither down sharp rocks and meander across vast plains, sometimes taking a detour, sometimes spawning little streams and rivulets and other little images of itself that explore and showcase other facets of the whole, before it ends up in the sea (which last can be what you take it to be...life, death, the entirety of your emotions...we're flexible here, people).

It's there, but it's different all the way through.

Love, or true love, or being in love, or whatever other fancy name you want to give it, is not about being able to remember what a person looked like - it's about being with someone till you forget what they look like.

Till they're not just a face and some curves and lines and an interesting birthmark, but till they're just a presence around you. Not just another presence, mind you, not the oh-yes-my-couch-has-a-presence-and-are-you-equating-love-with-that-you-overthinking-idiot types.

No, the presence of a loved one is the type that you're aware of even though you can't see them. The type whose silences convey the exact expression on their face and in their body language, across barriers that hide their physical presence. The type who you can talk to and laugh with while watching TV, even though they're not there (and yes, even while you're missing them terribly because they're not there. (what? Nobody said it couldn't be paradoxical)).

The type which somewhere down the line they become the small things - a smile, and the crinkling around the eyes when the face they're on starts laughing, and the tilt to their head when they're telling you off, and the little thing they do with the fingers when they're reading something important.

The type who you look at after twenty years, and while doing so, get this surreal feeling that you've not really seen them properly, and realise there's still more to them than you thought, and there's still more to discover. Even after all these years.

Passion may be a water-bed, but love is a comfortable pillow.

And you don't need to know how soft/firm it used to be if it still fits the curve of your neck just right - and if you realise it always has.

So do yourself a favour. And stop with the drama.

Stop driving yourself crazy about not remembering things about the person you're with, but remembering stuff about those others who you might briefly had a fling with in the past. Stop with the guilt about whether you really love the person just because you don't happen to think of them when you're with other friends, or watching a film, or listening to your favourite music.

And more importantly, stop spreading the damn myth!

Unless, of course, you've been continually rejected and want to torment all future generations, driving them crazy in trying....


Friday Fun: Fact/Fiction

The uncloaking continues. (Warning: May or may not be true)

If you look into my right ear through the back-end of a moncular, using a purple filter, then if you manage to get exactly the right angle, you can see an image of the Hoover dam. Oh, and there has to be a half moon in the sky.

You can deal with the lack of food-stalls on nearly every street corner.

You can deal with the near-absence of decent restaurants that serve food as it really is made back home. After all, there are enough shops that stock everything you need to make it yourself, if the need gets really bad.

You can deal with the ridiculous prices demanded for fruits that you crave for, when your palate demands them, in keeping with its own seasonal-memory rhythm.

You can just about remember that you can't just land up at someone's house without any warning anymore, because face it, you do get more privacy yourself this way.

You can somehow manage to live away from your family and friends for all the months at a stretch, because hey, webcam chats baby! And well, you're making new friends.

You don't really need miss the language, because everyone from back home seems to have got the same idea as you, and we've decide to colonise the world.

You can deal with all this, and pretend you're just on a long vacation. That you can take all the difference in weather, colour, faces, clothing, grammar, attitude, spice-levels, cleanliness, and customs, because it's all temporary and it's not going to change you, because you're still who you are when you were who you were back there. That back home is still home.

And then you realise just how long it's been since you heard crows making their miserable pre-dawn racket.
Since your sleep was punctuated by random canine howls.
Since you drifted to the window to see if what the basket-vendor was selling was interesting enough.

The little things, baby. They kill.


Conversations with oneself? Not very enjoyable

"Real life".

The first excuse of the absent blogger - Oh, you know, real life happened.

So your blog isn't "real"? It's just some bolt-hole within your mind that you conjure up whenever you can't be arsed dealing with what's really happening to you? It doesn't really exist, and all of what you write on it is just part of some twisted little game you're playing? Is it not worth all the time and effort that you put into it, and others donate to it? Why? Just because it's less tangible than any of your other activities, like - oh, watching TV perhaps? Yeah, like that's so real. So real that they even have to remind you that it's 'reality' that you're watching. Or, maybe it's not as real as 'reading books'. Oh yes, because poring over endless repetitions of five basic themes* which are only distinguishable from each because of marginal nuances of style and character and setting, in the hope that you will learn the answer to the misery that hounds your existentialist sorryass, is so much more real. Oh yes, bow to my bibliophilic snobbery. Cringe before my librarised brain. Validate me baby. Or is just not real because it's not in person, and because you're hiding behind some little facade-name that sounded cool when you first thought of it but which now seems increasingly....silly? Just because you can't see the people who read what you spill out, and who you communicate with, that make it all unreal? Makes it something you can just walk away from, without consequences? Just because you don't mean half the words you write means somebody somewhere might not take them seriously, or be affected by them, or be changed by them? Just because it's online? Well, fuck a crow, then it's not "real life" is it, it's "off-line existence". Because, buddy, you now exist on the web, whether you like it or not, whether you think it's just a phase or not, whether you think you're safe behind your carefully preserved pseudonymous little corner - or not. You exist. You blog. Okay you may not exist because you blog, but you blog because you exist. And your blog exists. Unless you kill it. In which case there's no question about what's "real", is there. Because it's gone, to be gradually shunted into the back corners of the consciousnesses that ever knew of it, only to be sometimes brought forward and curiously examined. Gone, like all the other dreams you had and thought to achieve, but which you never fulfilled either. Gone, like you will be too, one day, in your "real" life.

So, blog - or don't. Just don't whine about it.

* Love/hate, sex, greed, angst, joy


Weekend poser

Sigh. No.

No snaps here of models to keep you thrilled for the next two days. Go away, you dirty person.

To the other readers, a question -

You probably allocate, consciously or not, a certain 'tone' to the works of certain authors. A distinctive style, a 'voice', if you will. And not just the truly great writers, whose work can be identified in a blind-test, but even the lesser ones who you may read regularly. This is normal, right, because writers work on creating a unique style of writing anyway.

But....have you noticed if you tend to read books by different authors at a different pace?

And I'm not talking of just because of the way the author writes - it's difficult not to read Hemingway and not feel like you've just heard an M-16 tell you a campfire story, or read Raymond Chandler without your lips sneering on their own. Reading at a certain pace because of key words that deliberately raise or lower the speed of the book is inevitable.

No, in a sense, I'm asking about assumptions again.

Do you, when you pick up a book by an author whose style you are familiar with, or a book whose review you've read and whose style you anticipate, automatically begin to read the book at a certain speed, in a certain frame of mind - regardless of what the book's real 'pace' may be?

And if you do, have you noticed whether and how it affects your reading habits?

Comment away.


Personally, my answer to both questions is yes.

I've realised that I am guilty of this assumption. I pick up certain books by certain authors, or in a certain genre, and assume they'll be of a certain pace. And every so often I find myself....discomfited...till I realise that there's a lag in the assumed and real pace of the book. It's almost a physical uneasiness, as if you've set out for a run after a gap of a few months, and realise a little while later that the pace you've set in your mind is in sync with the ones your legs are really producing.

And even when I'm not assuming, I've found that I increasingly read certain books at certain times. And this is not just because of their content, but because of the activity-level which the book induces in me. There's no way I can read a Heller at bed-time, for instance, while a Pratchett is reserved for evenings and weekends.


To clarify, this is not the speed at which you read the book that I'm talking about, but the pace at which you assume the words would read if they were heard aloud. Not the same difference.

Friday Fun: Fact/Fiction

(Warning: This may or may not be true)

If I press down with my thumb on the top joint of the small finger on my left hand, and rub it in a clockwise* direction, the big toe on my right foot starts to twitch.

* from my perspective


On anonymity and being a 'girl' blogger

For Aishwarya, who reminded me that I hadn't quite detailed this, and has been kind enough not to nag me about it in all the weeks since.


There are many ways in which blogging can mess with your mind, and assumptions about pseudonymous bloggers is right up there.

When I began blogging, I did so with a deliberate intent for it to be a fresh start. It was not to be an extension of my identity, although it would be sourced from me. I wasn't sure what I was going to blog about, and I didn't want to inflict this on anybody I knew, so I chose not to go public with my identity. And for those who didn't know me, well, it really shouldn't have mattered who I was.

Of course, I knew it would matter, because none of us are really comfortable with the anonymous or the unknown. And in a world that has become so used to - and wary of - hoaxes, attempting to ask someone to accept that you're a decent person and what you say is on the level, is perhaps attempting something rather quixotic.

And so, I reached a decision. I didn't want (need) to let some strangers into my personal life, but I was happy discussing, and being educated and introduced to, all other issues. This was not to be a diary, but rather, an outlet for the randomness inherent in me that circumstances had led to being mildly curtailed.

But I decided to take it a step further, and not describe myself at all. No details about what gender I belonged to, where I was from, my approximate age-grouping, nothing (it's a different matter that most of this has now emerged).

This decision to remain undescribed was partially triggered by a curiosity to know just how far people would go in accepting what I was writing, and how they would intepret it. Especially given that the circles I was bound to end up in would be full of literary, questioning minds. At what point, I wondered, would somebody say "Yes, yes, this is all very interesting, but how do we know you really believe this, and are not just yanking our chain*?"

(...and before you get all angry at feeling as being made part of some social experiment, please do note the 'partially' in the above para).

It was also partly encouraged by a curiosity to see how the words sounded like without context, with any bias about who was writing them. Even to me. I wanted to see whether all these things I was thinking and writing made sense when I re-read them (while trying to assume somebody else had written them). This practice is....interesting...because sometimes when you re-visit thoughts that you pour out spontaneously and passionately, you discover that they don't really make as much sense when they're viewed more calmly (This is not good for your ego, and leads to a whole new can of jumping jackfruit). Or, sometimes, they do make sense, but you discover additional angles and insights (by far the tastier, and more preferred option).

(This is why, if you ever go through the archives again, you might notice that the posts have been edited, or (in drastic cases) deleted).

I guess it was also because of my uncertainty over the whole blogging thing itself. I wasn't sure why I was doing it, wasn't sure how long I would keep at it, and I wanted to retain the option of being able to pack it all in and leave with a minimum of fuss if I got bored or frustrated with it.

This whole approach seemed to be acceptable, although there were the expected speculations. Largely, though, people were ready to accept the posts and the blogger at face-value (and don't I thank you all for it). However, once I got set in, and began to get read, something rather interesting occurred.

People began to assume that I was female.

Which wasn't such a obviously-wrong thing to do, given the number of female-rights news articles that I kept pointing to, and all those recipe-posts. And it seemed to get confirmed when I left a comment on one of my posts using a friend's login - who happened to be female.


It was an assumption. And like all group activities, it took one person to decide that the assumption was true, state it publicly one day, and everybody else assumed so. It didn't help that I didn't explicitly deny it - I just sort of ignored it. But it gained ground and within a few days, seemed to be a firmly established fact. To the extent that even new readers to the blog assumed the same.

Although, I can somewhat understand that last bit, because when I visit a new blog, I try to get to know more about the blogger from the comments. But what was interesting was that this assumption was accepted despite any evidence to support it from the actual writing.

This was all very fascinating. Anything that I now wrote, was being perceived through the lens of my being a female (apart from, possibly, Space Bar, who had her doubts). Even though these were the same things that I'd been blogging about from the beginning. And as this continued, and as I began to mention more about myself, the image of me that others had (or, that I seemed to believe they had) gradually diverged further and further from who I really was.

To the extent that even I began to see this person as somebody real. Increasingly, when I sat down to blog, I would feel the presence of a young woman who was lucky enough to be able to eat what she wanted without having to worry about weight, liked to cook, loved SF&F, was vehemently outraged about the rights of women (especially in India), and who was given to madcap antics (at least in her own mind).

It began to subtly affect the matter of my posts and my comments. I increasingly spoke about myself and my habits and likes and dislikes, trying to see if someone would realise I didn't seem like a woman, but it only seemed to make people think I was some kind of tomboy. I increasingly became careful about how I would word my comments (especially in discussions/arguments), so as to say what I wanted to, without completely revealing myself to be not-female.

It was also interesting in a literary sense. I remember that somebody (probably OTP) had linked to some online 'calculator' that would try to define you as male/female depending on the content of your blog. And I realised how silly that was. Because in speech, we casually - and perhaps unconsciously - use words that relate to our gender. But in writing, most of this gets stripped away - at least, if you write. Because that is the mark of a good writer - being able to convince the reader that they can truly detail what the character is feeling/thinking, without letting the reader even slightly remember what gender the writer belongs to. And if you visit a large number of blogs and don't try to find out anything about the blogger, or if you're given blind samples of blog-extracts, it would be seriously difficult to try and identify whether the blogger is male or female (exceptions for Diaryists, of course).

It was fascinating to see how people also received the posts, because of the female-assumption. Take this post for instance. I suspect that if I had written it today, I would have got a lot more "ugghs" and "ewws", followed by "such a typical guy thing to do". Then, it caused mild surprise. And there were others like that. And if you haven't realised it, my Urf-post was the ideal Urf, because not only was it not in my style, it made people convinced I was the gender that I really wasn't.

It even got to the stage where I semi-considered "coming out", and confirming my 'female identity'. I was tempted to start writing posts which were subtly but definitely female in tone, so as to make people seem that I was slipping up about who I was without realising it (yes, too many spy movies).

Thankfully, better sense prevailed and I chose to end the matter when I did a few months ago. Because anything else would have simply been a betrayal of trust....and a rather sad and silly thing to do. Also, it was seriously curbing the kind of posts I wanted to write, and the comments. How things are now, is much better.

Now, lest you think I'm laughing at everybody who was part of this then - I'm certainly not, ok? I understand why you would have thought what you did - I would have done the same. The fact that you accepted it, and didn't question me, is a mark of the level of trust involved, and I'm thankful for that. But it's fascinating nevertheless, and I'm just detailing what was, and why.

....although there are days when I wonder how much fun it would have been if I had kept quiet about being a guy.

* What chain? Does anybody know the origin of this phrase?


The car went beep,
the bird went che-

A little girl learnt how to
herself to sleep.