Sunday, April 29, 2007

Indians suck. Or do they?

Richard Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty. India flared up. Or did it?

Gere's interview to Jon Stewart prompted one YouTube user to comment that "Indians suck".

For many in the West, India still conjures up images of naked sadhus, elephants and prudes who can't stand the sight of people kissing.

Unfortunately, the media made it seem as if the whole of India was up in arms over the incident and Gere had escaped arrest by the skin of his teeth. But I look around and spot no rampaging mobs and no smouldering effigies.

People are least bothered about the incident and the poor judge in Jaipur who issued the arrest warrant against Gere is the laughing stock of his community. So what if a few hundred fanatics organised protests in a few Indian cities - it's still a few hundred out of a billion people, remember?

Indians do suck at some things (as do foreigners) but being prudes is not one of them. India is the land of the Kamasutra. And I guess we can tolerate kissing of any kind.

So Mr Gere, do come visit us whenever you can. You will surely be attacked - by a bunch of women offering you bouquets.

SPOOF - CBI in New York to arrest Richard Gere
Will Richard Gere be extradited from the US?
Of Richard Gere, Shilpa Shetty and the Kiss that wagged a thousand lips

Australia win cricket World Cup. 30 minutes after they first won it.

The scoreboard announced it, the Aussies started celebrating and then the umpires said - Go and play 3 more overs in pitch darkness.

To sum it up, Australia made 281/4 in their allotted 38 overs before Sri Lanka ground to a halt at 206/7 in extremely bad light. Thanks to a rain delay, the South Asians had been set a revised target of 269 from 36 overs under the controversial Duckworth-Lewis system.

But confusion prevailed when Australia were declared champions three overs early. The Sri Lankans had apparently accepted an offer for bad light and therefore conceded the game. The umpires didn't quite agree.

The Lankan cricketers, who had already left the field, were recalled to finish batting in darkness punctuated in parts by the flashbulbs of irked spectators. Sri Lanka eventually ended up at 215 for eight allowing Australia to celebrate their World Cup victory. All over again.

Tournament referee Jeff Crowe later admitted that Sri Lanka had been mistakenly asked to return to play the final three overs. After all, they had already batted for a minimum of 20 overs.

Bizarre. Simply bizarre.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Will Richard Gere be extradited from the US?

Hugs and kisses don't hurt anyone. Or do they? Poor Richard Gere. There's a warrant out for his arrest. For hugging and kissing actress Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness event in New Delhi.

A judge in Jaipur watched the video and ordered the 57-year-old actor's arrest for violating Indian laws against public obscenity. Gere now faces three months in an Indian jail or a fine or perhaps both.

Problem is Gere is currently in New York, busy promoting his latest flick The Hoax. His spokesman said the actor had no comment either on the incident or the Jaipur judge's ruling.

Which means Gere won't be too keen to come back to India and serve time in jail. Does that mean India will have to send an extradition request to have Gere behind bars? Highly unlikely.

And what of Shilpa Shetty? The Bollywood actress has been asked to appear before the Jaipur court on May 5. God knows what her punishment would be. After all, she didn't quite seem to resist Gere's advances.

Shilpa Shetty, Big Brother and life thereafter

What do you think?
Gere should be arrested. This would teach him a lesson
What rubbish! Dismiss the stupid case
He's not at fault. Shilpa should have stopped him
Hope US-India relations don't get too strained free polls

Monday, April 23, 2007

AbhiAsh didn't quite help Liz Hurley

Poor Liz Hurley. Surely it was stupid to get married the same year as Bollywood's hottest couple. Miffed pop-in-law notwithstanding, Hurley and hubby Arun didn't quite stand a chance against the AbhiAsh juggernaut. Coz the wedding of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai generated enough buzz to keep the paparazzi busy and relegate Hurley's Jodhpur nuptials to the archives.

There is no dearth of drama when someone from Bollywood ties the knot and the AbhiAsh marriage was no exception. A woman by the name of Jahnvi Kapoor staged a suicide drama in front of the Bachchan residence, claiming that the Junior B had ditched her after having what she termed "physical relation". God alone knows what the truth is but it certainly appears as if Jahnvi is suffering from delusions.

That's not all, an Abhishek lookalike fooled star-struck security guards and walked right up to Aishwarya's eight-floor flat to convey his good wishes. He was caught else who knows - Aishwarya might just have married the wrong guy.

The media lapped up the controversy, even enjoying their share of the limelight when a couple of snap-happy photographers were thrashed by securitymen for coming in the way of a car ferrying the Bachchans. Senior Bachchan apologised the next day, giving the media another opportunity to play up the incident.

I bet Hurley's wishing she had harnessed media attention better. All you need is a divorce, Liz and another stint at Jodhpur so that you can learn from your mistakes.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

As a child I used to believe that only the good-looking were nice people. The others were shrewd and existed on earth only to exploit you.

I thought it was God's way of helping man realise which of his peers could be trusted. And the formula was often put to the test.

Juggy, who had a particularly striking mole on his nose, was the one who bullied me the most. Prahlad, who was cute in a television commercial kind of way, helped me with my homework. And Ehsaas, who fell midway in the looks department, didn't bother me too much.

Then one day, I read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. This dude, who could easily have won a modern day personality contest, turned out to be such a horrible person.

Things changed after that.

I viewed all beauty queens with suspicion. Surely Aishwarya Rai had a painting hidden somewhere in her house which portrayed her as a hideous leper. Surely Sushmita Sen had bonded with the devil to keep her looks intact.

Years later, I still have no concrete idea how to gauge people. Sometimes I rely on the eyes to judge character. If kindness doesn't seep through the eyes or words, I usually wait for the inevitable moment when their actions harm me. Not a fool-proof test but it usually proves me right.

Beauty and Beast are now viewed with equal suspicion. Flawless cheekbones and scarred forehead are treated alike. Till they pass the kindness-in-eyes test and I begin to trust them. What do you think?
How can you gauge a person's character?
Appearances can be deceptive
Eyes are windows to the soul
You can't trust anyone
Philosophical crap
By spending a year with them free polls

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One Truth One Resolution

I no longer fit into my size 32 trousers

I will no longer have Hot Chocolate Fudge sundae

But how?

Willpower, Toe Knee. Willpower.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 2007 Blog Mela

8 by 52 gets stuck in a lift and gives readers a dose of Ranchi memories

Sachiniti reveals the truth about Mumbai beggars owning duplexes

Bikkupedia takes a trip down to India's Cape of Good Hope

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is trying to find out if being stupid is the same as being a fool

Sassy Satan is wondering if she should have been a seller of indulgences

Kiruba gets a whole new set of blogcards printed

Alaphia Zoyab dissects Karunanidhi's letter to our convalescing External Affairs Minister

Falstaff goes all Emily Dickinson when he loves a certain blogger

Siva Rajendran doesn't have good things to say about Customer Help Desks

Rahul Khanna makes a statement for elephants in captivity

India Uncut gets caught in the web Sona Mohapatra spins

AB is wondering why the dudes she goes out with turn out to be such louses

Rashmi Bansal finds visiting a dentist an experience more dark than scary

Presstalk argues that the common Indian journo has misplaced his ethics

Nureen Faiza was at her wits' end during her dad's operation

M went to Morocco

Black Muddy River takes a break from cricket and checks out Barbados in a submarine

Shaarique debates whether marriage should be a matter of personal choice

Known Turf is a bit upset that she called another woman a slut

Anand Ramachandran sings the ballad of Indian batsmen

The Cyprus-based Rajaram S is all praise for home sweet home during his return to Chennai

Ten years ago, Anil P went in search of the Hale-Bopp comet

And as for me, I am still thankful to Laurie Baker for helping me win a quiz ages ago

March 2007 Blog Mela

Wanna get featured in next month's Blog Mela? Visit this blog in the first week of May for nomination guidelines

Monday, April 16, 2007

Of Richard Gere, Shilpa Shetty and the Kiss that wagged a thousand lips

The mere mention of Richard Gere makes most women go weak in the knees. Some would give an arm and a leg to touch the Pretty Woman star and many, I am sure, would have stooped at nothing to be in Shilpa Shetty's shoes at that magical moment on Sunday evening when Gere gathered the Celebrity Big Brother winner in his arms and smothered her with kisses.

Shilpa didn't look too upset either - grinning from ear to ear when Gere finally released her from his embrace. The storm in a teacup became a whirlpool a few hours later when Gere was accused of hurting Indian sensibilities and protesters (many of them probably upset they can never dream of getting a chance to lay lips on Shilpa) busy burning effigies as self-appointed custodians of Indian culture.

But as everybody knows, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Toe Knee Unplugged takes a tongue-in-cheek look at what may happen in the near future -

Gere lawyer: Your honour, my client Richard Gere claims monetary damages from accused Shilpa Shetty
Shilpa lawyer: And may I ask why?
Gere lawyer: Well, while Gere's career has gone down the drain, the kiss controversy has given Shilpa's waning Big Brother fame a new lease of life
Shilpa lawyer: I object, Your Honour. Gere's recent films were duds in any case - Shilpa or no Shilpa.
Gere lawyer: Ok, I grant you that but didn't the episode bring Shilpa suddenly into the public eye and get her ads, films and charity show invites
Shilpa lawyer: And wasn't Shilpa's modesty - unruffled when Jade Goody called her a lot of @$#*%! names - outraged when Gere shifted gears a bit too fast
Gere lawyer: Many woman would pay to have Gere do stuff to them
Shilpa lawyer: Shilpa already had Dirk (Benedict). She doesn't need Gere to spice things up
Judge: Stop it, I pronounce both Gere and Shilpa guilty of making fools of themselves in public. Gere sentenced to three years of doing inane Bollywood films and an additional year for each kiss he steals from his leading ladies. Shilpa hereby banished to Hollywood for special classes in wardrobe malfunction (the Janet Jackson academy), being rich and crazy (the Paris Hilton school) and bald and beautiful (the Britney Spears institution)
Protester: But what of the truck drivers who witnessed the kisses? What of the mental trauma they had to undergo?
Judge: In addition, both Gere and Shilpa have to personally adopt each potential AIDS victim left unnoticed in the kissing brouhaha
Protester: Who cares about getting adopted? Each person present at the Sunday gathering (including me) should get a chance to kiss Shilpa, only then can justice be served
Spectators: Hear! Hear!

Update: A Jaipur court has ordered Gere's arrest saying his act of kissing Shilpa was an obscene act committed in public. Read more here

Exclusive coverage of Shilpa Shetty on Big Brother

And in case you are wondering what happened to the April Blog Mela, wait with bated breath for the next 24 hours.

Why u hate the Gere kissing Shilpa thingy?
Am jealous of Richard Gere
Am jealous of Shilpa Shetty
Hate it? I loved it
Coz it was a planned publicity stunt
Who cares?
Gere kissed Shilpa??? free polls

Saturday, April 14, 2007

April Blog Mela deadline looms: Vote now

If you haven't yet nominated your favourite blog post for the April 2007 Blog Mela, Vote Now by posting a comment or mailing me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Details here

If you don't know how a blog mela works, visit the March 2007 Blog Mela

Thursday, April 12, 2007

CNN-IBN bigger culprit than Narayana Murthy

Am surprised to see CNN-IBN television's coverage of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy apparently insulting the National Anthem. After all, the television channel insults the anthem every single day when it airs the CNN-IBN ad featuring Rajdeep Sardesai with Jana Gana Mana playing in the background.

Several people change the channel or put off their television sets each time the ad is aired. What do you think?

The CNN-IBN ad using the national anthem is -
Who cares?
Can't say free polls

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wanna be India's next president?

President A P J Abdul Kalam's term is getting over in July and he's not keen on a second stint. Who will succeed him?

The good news is if you are an Indian citizen and over 35, you could be a potential candidate. Of course, convincing the electoral college would be the tough part. But there's no harm in speculating.

There may be a few names doing the rounds but here's a tongue-in-cheek look at some candidates who I think will serve India well.

Vir Sanghvi
Suave talker and acclaimed journalist. Would play the perfect host to international dignitaries. They would provide enough fodder for Vir's popular columns in the Indian media. But bad news for the chefs at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Coz Vir would probably insist on doing his own cooking. Zucchinis and white wine, anyone?

Kiran Bedi
India hasn't had a woman president yet and Bedi as the trailblazing cop would set a good precedent. This Magsaysay Award winner isn't afraid to speak her mind and woe betide George Bush if he as much as utters 'weapons of mass destruction' during a state dinner. One problem though, will she be called Rashtrapatni?

Lalu Prasad Yadav
Our Railways Minister is no novice at political manipulations and could weasel his way into Raisina Hill. His annual Holi bash would be a cornucopia of colours with ambassadors (and Bush) honoured with seven-course bhang meals. Of course, parking would be a problem with all of Lalu's cows tethered on the grounds. Bonus: Lots of free cow dung to run the palace kitchen.

Mallika Sherawat
This Bollywood siren could make a beeline for the Rashtrapati Bhawan only in 2012 coz she's short of the age criterion by a few years. Wish that could be solved by fudging her birth certificate. Just imagine all the presidents and heads-of-state rushing to India for an audience with the bombshell. Bet Mallika would be busy signing bilateral agreements all day.

My driver '...inder'
This Sardarji dude has an opinion on everything under the sun. Ask me, I've been a silent sufferer for eight months. Bet he's already thought of a few changes he would implement once he's president. India's national animal - Tandoori chicken. And you won't need so many drivers for the Republic Day Parade. Coz gear-happy ...inder would be pleased to volunteer.

Who should be India's next president?
Vir Sanghvi
Kiran Bedi
Lalu Prasad Yadav
Mallika Sherawat
Toe Knee's driver ...inder
Someone else free polls
Well, this is my nomination list. If you think any of these shouldn't be India's next president, it's your duty as a true patriot to bring it to my notice asap.

This made me laugh. For 5 minutes

Nice ad for a German job-hunting website
(Link via BoingBoing)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don't be a Blogger Blooper

Well, it had to happen one day. Someone who would try to set rules for the blogging community. But I guess Tim O'Reilly's Blogging Code of Conduct has a long way to go before it's universally accepted. Which it will not be in a million years.

O'Reilly's Laws are limited in scope and can't stand for everyone. Expecting a blogger in Arkansas to think like his counterpart in Pondicherry is crazy. A guy blogging from Egypt or Saudi Arabia may not be able to express himself as freely as someone in India or the US.

The online community is increasingly becoming the symbol of democracy and its denizens won't accept a Hitler on the loose. You can't chain the blogosphere, no less the internet, and transform everyone into law-abiding online citizens.

Next, there will be calls to isolate and create a virtual prison for blog trolls. Or worse, a Censor Board to rate blog content.

If you comment on my blog, you have the right to remain anonymous. And no comments will be deleted unless you are a bit too abusive. After all, I retain control over my blog. Of course, making death threats is impolite but you can be sure I won't ask the cyber cops to trace your IP address.

P.S. Still can't believe O'Reilly actually created badges for blog content

Monday, April 09, 2007

And you call them kids?

In my time, harassing a teacher at school would involve mundane pranks like sticking condoms to the wall or some hyperactive kid simulating sex with the cupboard during a 'Truth or Dare' contest. Things have obviously moved on since then.

Somewhere in the UK, a teacher was writing something on the blackboard when a student crept up and pulled his pants down. Don't believe me? Watch this video footage

Earlier this week, a bunch of U.S. fifth-graders had sex in a classroom after keeping a classmate posted as lookout. And these are kids. Are you kidding?

In an unrelated report, India is apparently urging couples in Britain and other Western nations to adopt thousands of girls languishing in its orphanages. Angelina Jolie, are you listening?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Wanna read this blog in Cockney?

Use the Dialectizer

(Link via Neatorama)

Bikers at Barakhamba

It's 3 am on Easter Sunday. A dozen bikers have assembled at Delhi's Barakhamba Road and I watch fascinated as they put their stunts on display. One by one, the bikers zoom down the deserted street balancing their killer machines on one wheel rather than two.

One daredevil spins around, executing a bike pirouette of sorts with his face a few inches from the road and his arms flailing in the air. Another loses balance but regains control just as the bike ploughs into the median. The biker dismounts with no apparent sign of injury. Like most of his gang, he isn't wearing a helmet.

Half-an-hour later, the last of the bikers vrooms away into the dark. There are no traces of blood on the road, no wailing ambulance sirens and no policemen in sight. I assume it's been an uneventful night.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Good Friday???

K: Happy Good Friday, Tony
Me: What?
K: I said Happy Good Friday
Me: Dude, Good Friday is not Happy Good Friday
K: But it's good, right?
Me: Ya, Jesus saved us from sin so it was kinda good for the world. But he was crucified too, remember?
K: But you call it Good Friday. And confuse the heck out of people
Me: Well, it's good because Christians believe Jesus died for people's sins. And when we remember his death more than 2000 years ago, we are inspired to lead better, sin-free lives
K: But he still died. That's a sad thing, isn't it?
Me: Ya, but sometimes good stuff can come from sad things
K: So why isn't Good Friday happy too?
Me: Are you ever happy when people die? The fact that Jesus died is sad but then Christians believe that good came out of it. But people are happy on Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead
K: So you are saying I can wish you Happy Easter but not Happy Good Friday
Me: Exactly
K: Does it offend Christians if I wish them Happy Good Friday
Me: Not really. It sounds weird though. But I guess you took the trouble to remember it's an important day for us, so I should be happy
K: So you can be happy on Good Friday?
Me: Well, not really. I am fasting today and you are eating icecream. How can that make me happy?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The people God killed deserved it!!!

(Link via Reddit)

Remembering Laurie Baker

The quizmaster looked pleased as he read out his next question 'With which profession is Laurie Baker associated?'. The gaggle of ten-year-olds surrounding him looked nonplussed. Laurie Baker who?

But one bespectacled kid smirked and awaited his turn. His competitors were busy offering guesses. He's a music director, ventured one gangly lad. His plump companion said Baker was an astronaut. Another thought he was a politician.

Soon it was our youngster's turn. "Housing and architecture," he piped up. "Correct," said the quizmaster grudgingly. "Two points to Tony"

Yup, the kid who answered correctly was yours truly. Laurie Baker helped me win that quiz ages ago. And how did I know the answer? It's time now to reveal the secret.

My mom used to work in an architect's office and one day she brought home a magazine with photos of houses designed by an English architect. "This guy builds absolutely amazing low-cost houses in Kerala," said Mom as she watched me set eyes on Laurie Baker's creations.

Baker died on Sunday. May he Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Green war awaits South Delhi

Are you driving down to the NDTV office in South Delhi? I suggest you stop the car and step outside for a breath of fresh air. Look around you. Can you spot those majestic trees on both sides of the Josip Broz Tito Marg? Well, enjoy the sight while you can. Coz these tree-lined streets, a haven for morning walkers and nature enthusiasts, won't be around for much longer.

The villain of the piece is the High Capacity Bus System (HCBS) corridor, which will wend its way through here in the coming months. 2500 trees, many of them older than your dad, are being felled to make way for it.

Local residents and NGOs have come together under the 'Trees for Delhi' forum to fight Mother Nature's cause. Peace marches are being organised and flyers distributed at the affected spots. All people want is an end to rampant felling of trees and a more environment-friendly solution to constructing the HCBS corridor.

You too can take Mother Nature's side. Sign an online petition here

To know more about the issue, log on to

April 2007 Blog Mela: Nominate Now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for this month's Blog Mela being hosted here on April 17

How does a Blog Mela work, you wonder. Well, take a peek at the March 2007 Blog Mela

Points to Ponder
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-15 April, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated.
- Only nominations received before midnight on April 15 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wanna Snailmail your Googlemail?

It's been two long months since a torrid affair with your friend's wife ended with her dumping you. Now, all you want is cold-blooded revenge. Relax, Google's there for you.

Just ask Gmail to print out all those scandalous mails she sent you ages ago and deliver it free to her doorstep. And watch her husband clutch at his chest when the friendly Google guy brings him this brutal dose of reality all stamped in trademark red Helvetica. Sweet revenge, huh?

Wouldn't be surprised if a couple of Indian newspapers make Google Paper the number one news in their technology section. All in all, it was one of the best April Fool's Day pranks this year.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fools rush in

I thought and thought and thought but couldn't come up with any suitable April Fool's Day prank to play in office without getting fired. Any ideas?

And while you are thinking, you should consider checking out this survey on April Fool's Day pranks in the US

While some pranks are specifically designed for nerds

Others involve eating your books

And don't worry about the Internet. It's April Fool's Day here all year round

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