Saturday, February 27, 2010

Katrina Kaif's keen mind analyzes the budget.

Here's Katrina Kaif on the budget, from today's TOI.

"The overall Budget is positive for the education, entertainment and energy sectors. Finally, the FM has admitted that India is a nation of moviegoers. Clarification on custom duty for imported cinematographic films will benefit some. It would have been nice if cinema tickets were subsidized.

Entertainment tax in certain states is high. The government must give this a thought. What makes me happy is that the education incentives, especially in primary schools in rural India, will continue. "

Hoo, boy. Where do I even begin? This statement expects us to believe that :

  1. Katrina Kaif has a reasonable understanding of how the economics of the energy and education sectors work.
  2. Katrina Kaif understands the taxation structure for imported cinematographic films.
  3. Katrina Kaif actually said this.

Of course, it's very possible that Ms.Kaif is, indeed, an intelligent and thoughtful young woman who reflects on many aspects of civil society, global economics and existential philosophies whenever she gets some time off from pretending to be a dumb bimbette and making lots of cash.

But consider this TV interview I once saw. The words are not accurate, but the exchange is reproduced precisely as it occurred.

Dumb Interviewer Chick : Do you have any problems with being perceived as just a pretty face ? With how people only pay attention to your looks and not your brains ?

Katrina Kaif : Not at all. I have no problem if people keep harping on my beauty and, you know, don't talk about my . . . you know . . . er . . . um . . . ah . . . er . . . whatever it's called."

Dumb Interviewer Chick " Whatever it's called."

Both nod vigorously.

Katrina Kaif didn't even show enough intelligence to remember the word 'intelligence'. Perhaps it was because she was simultaneously calculating the fiscal deficit.

Shahid Kapur's keen mind analyzes the budget.

Here's Shahid Kapur on yesterday's budget, in today's TOI :

"As the finance minister pointed out, we've had a fairly trouble-free 2009. But, we live in the times of terror and increase in defence capital expenditure was mandatory. I feel that besides giving our border and police forces better amenities like guns and bulletproof vests, we must give them better living conditions. These guys are real heroes and their homes and pay packets need to be bettered. It's the least we can do for them. "

Notice two key features of his message :
  1. The use of the term 'defence capital expenditure'.
  2. Complete sentences with real words.
Now contrast this with the contents of Shahid's twitter stream, for the period leading up to the budget, and the day the budget was presented. Reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Please click the image for a magnified view. It's worth it.

Note the salient features. Only four tweets even remotely resemble proper sentences :
  1. "ishaan to my left"
  2. "hey man" 
  3. "of course i will"
  4. "hey"
Other than pointing out the precise location of Ishaan, and providing a thrilling demonstration of the overuse of punctuation marks, Shahid gives us no evidence on twitter that he is capable of such a lucid response to the budget. "Defence capital expenditure" indeed.

I suspect that Shahid is an extremely articulate, perceptive and intelligent young man who deliberately recruits half-wit morons to ghost-tweet on his behalf. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alternate ways to deal with the 'Manglik' curse.

One of my friends has just been told the bad news in no uncertain terms. His brutally honest, grim-faced astrologer has informed him that he is 'Manglik'. And hence he would have to marry an earthen pot.

I have nothing against earthen pots – they're cute, unargumentative, and eco-friendly – but I would draw the line at marrying one. No insurance benefits, and the sex would be below par. Not to mention the horrifying prospect of the house being filled with the pitter-patter--plunkety-plonk-oops-crash of little anthropomorphic pots resembling something from those badly animated advertisements seen on Doordarshan during the eighties.

But I digress. The reason for this downright bizarre practice is, of course, to prevent your bride(or groom)-to-be from meeting with a grisly end a few months into the marriage. By marrying the pot, your 'curse' is transferred to the innocent container, which then frees your beloved to live long, prosper, and nag you about your clothes. The pot is then destroyed, ending the curse. Neat.

On closer examination of the practice, I find that our friends in the astrological community have been rather unimaginative in their process design. The things you can marry to redeem yourself from the dreaded 'Manglik' curse seem mostly limited to earthen pots, banana trees and clay idols. Boring.

My question is – why not expand the scope a little and include a number of things that are better suited to bearing the curse of imminent death? Just a quick glance around will provide numerous examples of things that are probably going to die quickly anway, so what's the harm in going a little 'Manglik' on their sorry asses? A sampling :

  • An XBOX 360 console
    Everybody knows that Microsoft's crappy hardware quality will ensure a 'Red Ring of Death' just a few months after purchase. Perfect for absorbing any Manglik negative energy.

  • Sania Mirza's chances at the next grand slam
    If lack of survival is what you're looking for, then Ms.Mirza is unlikely to let you down.

  • A Mayfly
    The poor creatures only live for a few hours anyway. And their main purpose is reproduction, so you can even squeeze in a quick one before saying goodbye. Caution – might die even before you complete the ceremony, so make it quick and snappy. Register marriages recommended as opposed to those interminably long circuses we sometimes call weddings.

  • The acting careers of Tushar Kapoor, Dino Morea or Suniel Shetty
    While we admit that their careers are dying a tad slower than is ideally suited for this purpose, there's nothing wrong in helping their demise along with a little Manglik magic. 

  • An answer to any question posed on TV by Arnab Goswami
    A very safe bet – since Arnab takes great care to kill all responses quickly and efficiently, by cutting them off after “Well, you see, Arnab, it's a ma . . .”

  • A social revolution started on Twitter or Facebook
    Nothing is more short-lived than attempts by thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook to rid the world of its evils by starting hashtags and saying interesting things about their underwear. Most of these live for about 24 hours, or until someone links to a funny video where Hitler gets upset.

Of course. I realize that many of these things are fairly hard to actually 'marry' – but Astrologers are studs at coming up with ideas to solve such problems. If they can cure chronic gall bladder problems by tying coloured ropes around stone idols hundreds of miles away from the gall bladder in question, this can't be too hard. They'll figure it out.