Posted in Cartoons, Comic Strip Saturday, Humour

Comic Strip Saturday: US Elections!

I continue holding on for dear life to Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis.

India’s in an okay place in the government currently, in my opinion. That relief and joy is sweeter when I look at the weirdness that is happening around the world.

Brexit was shocking. The US elections, however, have surpassed shocking status and now reached entertainment status. I remember posting about the US elections four years ago. I could have never imagined that the elections could be even more perfect for comic strip fodder four years later.

Without further ado.

 

pb160413

pb160409

 

 

pb160629
Ew. Ew. Ew.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in India, Kota., Life, Me and moi

The Great Indian Passport Saga

The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”

[From the Preface]
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters   

When I was a mild-mannered human, I had to apply to renew my passport which had expired when I turned 18. My mother celebrated my entry into adulthood by informing me that I had to deal with the entire process myself. My deep, deep horror of banks, administration and government offices turned me into an absolute whiner at that. She enjoyed telling me, however, that adulthood is all about having to do things that you don’t want to do. (She has, by the way, gleefully enjoyed telling me this ever since I’ve turned 18, and it’s been four years now.)

Indian bureaucracy is a direct descendent of colonial British bureaucracy, in that the bureaucrats think they either should or do rule over us all. (They do.) I am not a coward for being afraid of them.

I was in Kota at the time, so thought it tedious to apply for a passport there when I’d be staying just for a year. I waited for me to return home before applying. It took 7 trips to the passport office and many, many hours spent waiting in lines before my file came to my local police station for verification. Except, I didn’t know that. Some glitch in the system kept me from being informed that I was supposed to go to the station at a specific time on a specific day, and when I finally called them, I was told my file had been closed. Facepalm.

So I applied again. By this time, I’d managed to pass the entrance exam, but where I would actually study was still unknown. I called the police station every day until they finally asked me to come down. It had been three months since I applied, so by then I was well settled into college in Mumbai. I had a huge folder with umpteen notarised and self attested photocopies of all my documents, and I was so ready to Get. This. Done.

“Where do you study?” the gentleman asked me kindly.

I smiled and told him. I even added “To be a doctor” for good measure. People have a soft spot for future doctors.

“Ah, I see. Good, good. That’s a good college. My niece studies there. You’ll have to apply from Mumbai of course, since you live there now. We can’t possibly do your police verification in Mumbai.”

I stared at him with my mouth open.

“Couldn’t you just send this file to your Mumbai counterparts? ”

“I’m afraid not.”

All arguing and pleading was in vain.

I applied for the third time in Mumbai. It was particularly enjoyable since now I had to deal with the passport officer’s suspicions about my previous two closed files, not to mention having to go from pillar to post to get bona fide certificates from my government college red tape-laden office. Having to fill triplicate written applications for the smallest details is cool too. And of course, travelling in Mumbai monsoons with important paper documents is always easy and pleasant.

Bureaucracy-picture

I wish this story had a happy ending. But the fact of the matter is, I still don’t have my passport. My globe-trotting brother got his passport stolen in Hong Kong in May, and he had to return home on an Emergency Certificate. He already has his passport.

If I was on Twitter, I would tweet Sushma Swaraj. If the papers are to be believed, that generally helps. Or maybe I should learn the art of discreetly bribing. As my mother will no doubt enjoy telling me, that’s what adulthood is all about too.

 

Posted in Cartoons, Comic Strip Saturday, Cute, Humour

Comic Strip Saturday: Puns! Puns! Puns!

This man is brilliant. I have frequently expressed my love for his comic strip Pearls Before Swine.

Here are some more examples of sheer brilliance and our shared love  of puns.

pb160407
I dieeee.
pb160509
Priceless.
pb160514
I love that mom.
Pearls Before Swine - pb160529comb_ts.tif
Had a very shiny nose…
Pearls Before Swine - pb160605comb_ts.tif
Sadly, I’ve actually had conversations like this one.
pb160611
I love Farmers’ Markets.

You can read more gems here.

You can check out their Facebook page here.

Happy Saturday!

Posted in Life, Me and moi, The things I like to do., Totally non-scientific theory Tuesday

Totally non-scientific theory Tuesday: Instant gratification works better.

This epiphany is brought to you by the latest worshipper of Pokémon Go.

As a social introvert who dislikes going outside and genuinely hates physical activity, I was initially very skeptical about Pokémon Go. However, I am here to tell you, this thing works.

Pokemon-GO

My mother and my friends have long tried to persuade me to talk to more people; to get out more. ” I’m sure you’ll have fun.” “You will get better at talking to people, I promise.” “This will all be worth it when you step on the scales in 6 months, I swear.”

I’m sure they’re right, but that never really worked for me. What did work was getting Pokémon, hatching eggs, and bonding with the other cheapsters who came to the Pokéstop just because it had a lure module. I did get better at talking to people, but leveling up and winning battles definitely helped me put in the effort. My mother could not believe her ears when I told her I was going to the nearest temple (it was a Pokéstop). My Google Fit has no clue what’s happened to me in the last few days. I’ve made new friends out of old acquaintances, and spent a whole lotta time with my existing ones.

So this is my Totally non-scientific Theory for this Tuesday: Instant gratification works. Take it from someone who’s much happier and healthier for it.

Posted in Books, India, Life

Queerness in ‘Indian Culture’. A fascinating topic. A fantastic read.

‘Vikruti evam Prakruti’ Vikruti evam Prakruti. This term in Sanskrit literally translates to ‘ What seems unnatural is also natural’. This is stated in the Rigveda, one of the four Vedas which form the basis of the Hindu Philosophy. Some believe this particular term supports the homosexual behavior of human beings and deems it as as natural […]

via Queer Quotient in Hindu Mythology — A Year of Reading India

I Had No Clue India Was Still In The 16th Century

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 5

The Dream – Part 4

I looked across to this week’s guy. We’d come to a hill range an hour away from the hostel to go exploring in some caves around here. “What was Nam thinking?” I fumed as I climbed onto one more slippery ridge. “In what universe would I enjoy outdoor physical activity as a date? I really must stand up for myself more.”

The guy- (Harsh?) Harsh!- was standing ahead waiting to help me up. I was a bit annoyed that I wasn’t exactly putting my best foot forward. He seemed nice, though. Very attentive and sweet. “Oh no. I really hope he doesn’t think we’re going to make out in a cave or something. He’s nice, but really not my type.” I smiled awkwardly at him. I tried to think of something to talk about, but I was too out of breath to bother much.

The caves were cool and dark and musty. Most of them were fairly shallow, not more than a few metres deep. Some, however, melted into each other to form a honeycomb of caves that spanned the width of the mountain. I was very, very tired by the fourth cave that we saw, and I’d lost all sympathy for the guy by the time he insisted on exploring the eighth. The ninth one was the largest yet. It was huge, with small caverns and crevices branching off to the left and right. The floor dipped and rose, with hardly a horizontal surface.

My ankles hurt and my feet were sore. I’d had enough. I told him I’d wait for him at the entrance. He could very well explore by himself, if he wanted me alive by the end of the day. He took one look at my face, and agreed. I sat down and listened to his footsteps fade away. The view was fabulous. We should have stopped and looked at the view, not some musty old cave.

Half an hour later, I was worried. He should have been back by now. I called him tentatively. No reply. I tried ringing his mobile. I didn’t have coverage, and I doubted he did. I decided to try and find him. I stepped inside the cave. It was almost oppressively musty. I’d switched the torchlight in my phone on, but it wasn’t making much difference. I was not feeling good about this. The floor of the cave was knobbly, with just circles of greater darkness showing the entrance to the tunnels that formed the honeycomb. The deeper I went, the more the floor became indistinguishable from the wall.

I called out again. It was getting positively claustrophobic by now, and I was really worried. My foot slipped and I fell.

“This is great. Just great.”

Fumbling around in the black, I didn’t realise what I’d fallen next to until I started tumbling down a narrow tunnel. I crashed into rock where the tunnel ended abruptly.

There was no space to move. The air was stale, like the oxygen in it had been lost decades ago. I reached out with my hands and realised I’d somehow managed to shut myself in the smallest cave I had ever seen. I  was gulping for air and sobbing. I couldn’t find the entrance to the tunnel, and even if I had, I couldn’t have climbed it. I’d either lost or broken my phone, not that it would’ve been much use to me anyway.

I screamed and I screamed and I screamed. It felt like ages that I’d been shouting for help. I wondered vaguely if Harsh was in the same situation as me. My throat hurt. The air was choking me from the inside, and the cave seemed to be getting smaller and smaller every second. I was feeling dizzy from screaming, so I paused.

The images flooded my mind like they’d been waiting all along.

I was screaming and crying in the dark; but it was a different darkness. I could hear a storm. I had heard the tremendous crash when the poplar fell into this part of the house, effectively locking me into my bedroom. I heard one more  crash as I realised that the floor above me was falling down. I hid under the bed, praying and crying as the world fell on top of me, burying me under it. Dust filled the air as I struggled to lift the debris that had once been the ceiling. I was screaming and crying and gulping for air until I didn’t know which darkness I was surrounded by. It felt like my entire being had been building up to this point; that I had lived only so I would exist in this terrifying darkness, screaming for air.

It hit me like a freight train. Of course I knew what bad thing had happened at the house. Of course I knew why I dreaded entering it. I gave a soft, unhinged laugh. Of course!

I died there.

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 4

The Dream – Part 3

haunted-house

I was running back to the house. It was pitch dark, and rain was pouring down in sheets. “It’s too dark.” I thought, slipping and catching myself. “It rains too much. It should not  rain this much. It’s summer!” The storm had come suddenly; too quickly for me to return home from my walk in time. I could hear the trees around the house creaking and groaning. The wind whipped through the branches, making sounds as ominous as the incessant thunder. I saw the lights of the house with relief. I’d torn my gown and ruined my shoes, and I was cold, wet and hungry. I bolted through the garden door and closed it behind me. The moment I entered the house, I knew something was terribly wrong.

That unsurmountable dread woke me. It also annoyed me.

“Get a grip”. I told myself. “It’s a dream. It’s ridiculous that you’re going to let your dreams control how you feel now apart from the actual stuff you have going on in your life. Who cares what happened in the house? Just stop.”

I did care. I wished I just knew what happened. What was it about the house that creeped me out so much? I was positive I hadn’t seen the house in real life. I’d never been to England, nor seen it in a movie. I’d never seen that place either.

Nam either didn’t think too much of the dream, or didn’t think more discussion would help my state of mind. I did notice that she tried to set me up with more guys in the next few weeks. Being blissfully in a relationship, she seemed to think the best way to peace of mind for me would be to be in a blissful relationship as well. It would have been cute if it hadn’t been so aggravating.

I didn’t get the dream again. I almost even tried to remember it; to make myself dream the next part of the story. But I couldn’t. It slowly stopped mattering to me. Work took most of my time, and the rest was given to whomever Nam had decided was ‘the perfect guy’ for me that week.

Life was normal again.

The Dream – Part 5