Thursday, January 29, 2009

Soofy Music

I'm off to a Soofy music festival in far away Rajasthan. Where did the impulse for this escapade come from, asked Mrs. Shenoy, when the flames had stopped coming from her nostrils. Your own brother in law, I said, with the air of one who has defused a time bomb. Tis true, friends. My companion for this trip is Sheela's twin sister's husband Mahesh, a polymath who is a whiz at
1. Music
2. Photography
3. Literature
4. Many other things

1. Does not drink
2. Does not lose his temper

As far as I know, he can't fly or rescue children from burning buildings but he's working on it

No, seriously, he has a great sense of humor and a very good singing voice. I'm looking forward to this trip with great enthusiasm. You can be sure I will post every single detail.

In other news, heres an excellent post on that musical genius, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, who has been awarded a Padmashri, same as Akshay Kumar. This is the real Mangeshkar. The pure genius. The one who has enriched mankind. One of two reasons I am glad I can read, write, speak and appreciate Marathi (the other being the incomparable P. L. Deshpande)

Cheers everyone. Be seeing ya soon!

P.S. Ogden Nash moment
I like soofy
Though that doesn't necessarily mean I'm goofy

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When a dork attends a fashion show

Fashion Models ecstatic at seeing the world's worst dressed
person (Shri N. Shenoy of Mumbai, India) in the audience

Ms. Kaif is overwhelmed and publicly asks for Shri Shenoy's autograph

I'm not normally this candid about my flaws but I'm in an unusually honest mood tonight. Must be the republic day spirit. Or a Ramalingam Raju moment. You know, the impulse that makes you confess to 7000 crore rupee frauds just out of the goodness of your heart.

The fact is, dear reader, I am a dork. A yahoo. A hick. A style Govinda. No, make that Bappi Lahiri. And when I was alloted the front row at a fashion show (courtesy the designer's sister, who is married to one of my best friends), the eyes misted over. This was not unlike putting Dr. Mallya on the dais at a meeting of the Alcoholics Anonymous. Or Shri Amar Singh at the head of the Ethics in Politics discussion forum. Or Shri Goldie Behl on the Oscars jury. Or Shri Tendulkar in the Baritone section of a choir. Or.... ok, you get the idea.

I saw Katrina Kaif, and she is beautiful. Almost as beautiful as Mrs. Shenoy. Close runners up in the beauty stakes are Waluscha Robinson and Nethra Raghuraman. Let me summarize

Beautiful people

1. Sheela Shenoy
2. Katrina Kaif
3. Waluscha Robinson
4. Nethra Raghuraman

Style Disasters

1. Narendra Shenoy
2. Narendra Shenoy
3. Bappi Laahiri
4. Govinda

Ciao, folks, and happy republic day, a day where the president takes a day off from her formal duties (selecting curtain cloth for the Rashtrapati Bhavan windows) and supervises the parade.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick post about the Mumbai Marathon

I was mistaken several times for Usain Bolt (I completed 10 meters in 9.68 seconds, equalling Usain Bolt's record). The young man on the right (#2045) is gazing in awe. Check the rippling muscles (discretely hidden behind the number, which incidentally, in a Ramanujam moment, I realized was the smallest number that could be expressed as the square root of the product of the cubes of three sequential prime numbers).

In this photograph, you can see John Abraham getting excited upon seeing me.

Bye for now, folks.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

ICICI Executives try to sell personal loans to Ambanis, end up mediating in dispute

My favorite paper, the Mint (Motto - Inexpensive confectionery for the financially disadvantaged) reported today that two ICICI executives, K. V. Kamath and Chanda Kochhar, visited the Ambanis and are trying to mediate between them, to try and patch their differences. Of course, that is not the full story. It never is, with these papers, worried as they are about libel suits and slander claims. Understandable, if not admirable. Thus it fell to intrepid journalist Narendra Shenoy to solve the mystery by going under cover and ferreting out all the relevant details, and inventing a few when the relevant details did not appear after the most fretful ferreting.

We spoke to sources close to the parties involved, who understandably, did not want to be named, especially since they did not exist. It seems what happened was that the two aforementioned executives went there with the purpose of selling them credit cards and personal loans upto Rs. 1 crore WITHOUT ANY SECURITY OR INCOME PROOF! The elder Ambani tactfully told them that he had already availed of this offer and would not be interested in it, but Kamath does not take no for an answer. Oh, no, siree! He told him that he would come over for the documents in the morning. But I'm in a meeting, protested Shri Ambani. Oh, no problem sir, you can leave them with the security, with two copies of your passport or driving licence and four photographs.

The trap was sprung and on the morrow, Mukesh did the needful. Sadly, he forgot to put his signatures in the boxes against the places marked 'X' and Kamath barged into his office.

Cut to Anil's house. Chanda, the brightest lass in the firm and a proven go-getter had cold called him and correctly diagnosed his hesitant refusal as a strong streak of chivalry towards the fairer sex. A few " Pleaaase sirrr! Look at the offer atleast no, sirrr!" s later, she had wangled a morning appointment for - you guessed it - the passport copies and the photographs.

And when Kamath called her on her cell to ask if two signatures were required or three (Kamath may be the Chairman but Chanda is the operations expert), the two realised that they were with the two warring brothers. Instantly, an attitude which has made ICICI the institution that it is, they decided to mediate between the brothers. Under the skilled hands of these two experts, the brothers were sobbing piteously in no time, and both of them promised to avail of the GREAT OFFER! if the dispute was resolved amicably.

Thus it stands. And there is no creature more motivated than a credit card saleperson with a positive prospect. We are sure, SURE, that the dispute will be solved, probably before the 31st because Kamath and Kocchhhar have a target to meet.

Needless to say, the above is TOP SECRET. As such, you computer will now self destruct in 30 seconds
(P.S. I'm running in the Mumbai Marathon tomorrow (executive summary version of 6 km, aka "Dream Run" since most of the participants are capable of running only in their dreams.) I survive this, you shal read the post)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mr. Systematic

If there is one thing in the world I want, more than low triglycerides, is to be Systematic. Methodical. Organized. The kind of guy who would know where his '02-'03 TDS Certificates are . Knows precisely, not the "in that bin, I think. Wait, I think we gave it to the raddiwala last week" kind of knowing.

You guessed right, folks. I have just been reprimanded for losing papers. The missus is a wee bit upset with me for not being able to find a paper that dates back to King Tut's reign.

Luckily, it is not important. When I told my accountant, after searching high and low, upsetting several families of spiders and at least two creatures which had 12 legs each, that I could not find them, the least I had expected was "Get ready to join the Rajus in prison". He gave me the "boys will be boys" look and said "That's ok. Don't worry about it".

"Excuse me!", I wanted to ask him, "If you didn't want it in the first place, why did you ask me to look for it?" But I didn't, of course. Because I was weak kneed with relief.

A lesser man would have peed in his underpants. I of course gave him my nonchalant look and said "Rate! I'm gappy. I mean Hate, I'm grappy". He dismissed me with a wave of his hand and resumed his telephonic conversation where I could hear him asking another client to produce his assessed balance sheet from the Indus Valley Civilization period.

I know Systematic people, of course. One of my friend's dad is like that. He has every paper he has ever used, on file. Income tax returns, of course. Property papers. Train tickets. Vehicle Insurance. Even, though I have not physically verified this, every piece of tissue he has ever used, on various parts of his anatomy. All neatly filed.

That is the guy I'm going to emulate. And when my accountant asks me for the paper with which I had wiped my butt on the evening of October 13th, 2001, I will have it ready. In triplicate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Being president is hazardous to health

That is the headline of this article in todays "mint" newspaper. Incidentally, they named the paper "mint" because they thought people would read the paper and make so much money from the news contained in it that they would see the banner of the paper and say "Ah! Mint! Place which prints money! And paper which helps us make money like a mint!", thus increasing circulation.

Well, due to reasons beyond that fine newspaper's control, the readers say "Ah! Mint! Inexpensive hardboiled confectionery! Just what my present net worth will allow me to buy!" Which of course is totally beside the point. It is just that my natural altruism compels me to spread enlightenment at every opportunity. The Buddha, they say, had the same problem.

Anyway, let me get back to our main topic of this post, the hazardousness of being president. I am one of those speedreaders who looks at the headlines and any pictures shown in the article and automatically divines what the author wanted to say in 2000 words.

And, since the mugshots of Vajpayee and Manmohan were shown, I assumed the article referred to Indian presidents and the doofus had got it wrong, using photographs of Prime MInisters.

Actually the article is about US presidents (pointed out by elder son, who reads whole articles, to my great dismay) but I had already formed major arguments and opinions. Too late to change them now.

Thus, I give below my analysis and why I strongly believe in the author's theory that Indian Presidents are so stressed out that they suffer from poor health.


According to the Constitution, the President is the Top Executive in the country and has Sweeping Powers, as given below

Article XXXVVVEEEMMM : The President shall be the Titular Head of the State

Article XXXVVVEEEMML : The President shall be the Titular Head of the Government

and, most importantly, the article from which the president derives her supreme power

Article XXXVVVEEEMMS : The President shall be the the sole decider of curtain cloth for use in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Now, the Rashtrapati Bhavan has some 700 windows. You can well imagine how stressful this must be. The missus and I selected curtains for 6 windows and my triglycerides touched 230. And I don't even want to talk about my systolic blood pressure.

No, the author is right. Even though, for security reasons, he refers to American Presidents, the truth is crystal clear. He talks about OURS.

Worry, citizens, worry. For there is little else you can do.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Random observations or I cant think of anything substantial

I'm waiting for a colleague to turn up. He is stuck in traffic. Yeah sure. And I am Camilia Parker Bowles. So instead of surfing the web, like any self respecting guy, for pictures of ladies in various states of undress, I'm writing a post. Am I dysfunctional? Must check with my therapist Mrs. Shenoy, but she's away in Coorg, attending a wedding. I miss her. Her watchful eyes, her keen observation, her gift for rhetoric, especially on dietary issues. Well, she'll be back soon. The day after tomorrow, in fact. THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW! Good heavens! Better go to the All-you-can-eat Rajdhani Thali Restaurant tonight. Pizza for lunch tomorrow. And that nice Italian place tomorrow night. The one that seems to have a Sam's Club deal on mozarella cheese.

In other news, the President of Bangladesh has invited Sheikh Haseena to form a government.

I am always fascinated by this kind of thing. You know, we outsiders, we always wonder how things work in the power corridors.

Personally, I think the president first asks his wife if he should invite Sheikh Haseena over for dinner.

"That impossible lady! I don't think so. The last time she came over, she spilt daal all over my imported tablemats. If you HAVE to invite her, invite her to form the government instead. THAT should please Ms. Pompous!"

And so the President calls her up.

"Sheikh Haseena?"

"Yes. Who's this?"

"Iajuddin! The President! YOUR president! How are you, Haseena How ARE you?"

"Oh, getting along, getting along"

"Congratulations on winning the elections and all that!"

"Oh, I don't know, just a fluke wouldn't you say? Still, thanks a lot. So, how're things with you?"

"Things are great, just great. Say, you know, Mrs. President and I wanted SO much to invite all of you over for dinner but servants are SUCH a problem these days. Poor Mrs. President has had a nervous breakdown.So I thought I would invite you to form the government. What are you doing over the weekend?"

"Nothing. Just me and the husband. My kids live in the US, you know, and what with the economic situation and all, they're finding it very difficult to get leave and all. Weekend is just fine"

"Settled, then. Drop in and form a government. And let's have some tea afterwards"

I have reason to believe that this is how things work in real democracies like Bangladesh.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

In which I try to break in to the big bad world of sitcom production

Here's my cast auditioning for the Pilot Episode of "Sheikhs on the Settee"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years, on making sense of

One thing I like about alcohol is the way it makes all discussion sound logical and indeed profound and insightful. Even the conversation we had last night, in the course of ushering in the new year.

We like to usher in the new year every year. We are deeply paranoid that the new year might just lose its way and wander off into another century and then, where would you be?

Of course, Sheela has her usual bourgeois theory that it's just another reason to get sloshed but I tell you, dear reader, it is a lot deeper than that.

Anyway, I decided I would just lay out the conversation without the "he said", "she said" and "He said again" stuff that makes a writer's job so tiresome. True, this makes it that much more difficult to make head or tail out of the stuff but then, when you write the way I write, profound and all, I'm not sure a few "he saids" and "she saids" are going to breathe lucidity into it. So, here goes.

Last night a bunch of us friends decided to usher in the New Year with a help of a few drops of whiskey and the conversation turned to Indian history and what a lot of it there is.

Take Alexander. He fought that famous battle with Porus.


Yes Porus.

What kind of a name is Porous? Why in the world would anyone name their kid Porous?

He must have been very Leaky. Ha ha.

And didn't he rule a kingdom named Taxila?

No, no. He ruled a kingdom called Paurava. The ruler of Taxila was his royal highness King Ambi, after whom the Ambi Valley is named.

Taxila. Now THERE's a name waiting to have something done to it.

It used to be called Takshashila.

The Muslim invaders called it Taxila.

Couldn't manage the 'ksha' sound. What was it you said? Rahul Bajaj? What about him? Oh, I see. No, I don't think that if Rahul Bajaj had set up his factory in Taxila, they would have renamed the place Rickshala.

And then, logically, we started discussing domestic issues.

Yes, kids' pacifiers are a great invention. They keep their mouths occupied. Stops them yelling. Yes, would be a great idea to introduce them into parliament.

At this point, we counted down and ushered in the new year. A couple of bottle of champagne were opened and for some reason, my recollections of the events succeeding this are a tad hazy. But the thing is, we managed to usher in the new year very well, because I checked the newspapers this morning and it said January 1st, 2009. The New Year didn't wander away after all.

Happy new year, folks and my sincere apologies for inflicting stuff like this, especially on those of you who might have been seeking repose.