Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Love Malls... Not

It doesn't matter if the mall has the worst stores on the planet. I doesn't matter if you can't afford anything in the mall. It doesn't matter that the food court sells disgusting sub standard food. A million and two people will be there.

There's something about just going to a mall that excites Indians (at least Chennaiites and Bangaloreans) no end. I know... "BOO Sharanyaa! Generalisation is terrible! You disgrace your country." But seriously, I wouldn't be saying this if half the Indian population wasn't at the mall I went to the other day. They swarm to the mall and just walk around, creating terrible vehicular and pedestrian traffic jams both inside and outside. All the yuck-sick 'machas' will 'sight-adichify' the 'figures' and try ramming into their shoulders. Smooth.

I think that just going to the mall has become something awesome to do. But here's what happens every time I go to a mall;. movie theatres are all booked out, eating places are boring cause you can't eat all the time, I barely ever want that coffee, the clothing stores have the lamest stock of clothes and accessories and there are groups of strange people who just sit around there and watch you.

Among those people are the highschool crowd. Good Lord! They size me up and give me dirty glares as they look up form their Zinger Burger or McSwirl ice cream, like I'm not cool enough for them. Fortunately, I couldn't care less. But the fact that I'm probably shorter than every last one of them doesn't help {even though I'm feisty... like an ant!).

I don't mind the one or two people who are afraid to use the escalator. In fact, I've been known to help a few get over this fear. I even let a strange smelling lady cut off the blood supply to my left arm by clinging on so tight that it turned blue. But more often than not, I've come across entire families of 7 or 8 people who are terrified of the moving staircase. They cling on to each other, yelp, scream, shove each other forward and extend their feet gingerly, threatening to touch the first stair. Inevitably, I am standing behind them, behind all of them, trying to ascend/descend the same set of stairs. I can't help them all!! (Because that's how I roll)

You know the other thing that bothers me about malls. Take a wild guess. What happens when there are at least 1000 people walking around, talking and perspiring in an enclosure? That's right! They generate heat! This makes the air conditioning highly ineffective. In my mind, people's perspiration heat waves are red and the air conditioner waves are blue, and they have an epic purple battle where the redness emerges victorious. It's painfully stuffy in there.

So do me a favour, the next time you feel like going to a mall to loiter, don't.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Territorial Pissings

Don't you just love the smell of stale urine wafting your way? Even if you have no intention of sniffing it; hell, even if you resist sniffing it with all your might, those little tendrils of yellow smell pry open your nostrils and weasel their way into your olfactory sensitivities.

I think that this compulsive need to pee on the streets. I was walking down the road leading to the beach tonight and I noticed about 7 distinct areas which smelled very strongly of pee, characterised by drippy marks running down the wall. What I found even more curious is that there was a free public toilet just around the corner which didn't smell of urine at all.

So I can only attribute this road-peeing to primal territorial tendencies. That way, the auto drivers now own most of Chennai. But seriously, how can it even be territorially effective? Won't your pee scent get mixed with other pee scents and make us believe that a strange hybrid of about 10 men own the same spot?

I like that the city has been getting innovative in trying to stop these excretory offenders. They paint the walls with pictures of gods, religious symbols and in the case of Bangalore, they just paint may 'pretty' pictures all over the walls. I hope this works but something tells me the urge to pee on a wall is greater than all these base aesthetic and possibly even religious considerations.

But somewhere down the line, I don't blame a lot of them. Especially the ones who don't work in offices with proper pee-space. The number of places available for bladder relief are few and not very frequent. Therefore it's probably a choice they're making between the wall and their pants. The choice is very obvious and the smell is very evident.

If only pee smelled like Cool Water by Davidoff. [Because everyone I've ever come across claims to like that perfume]

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Love Letter To The Electricity Department

It’s like this. The Bangalore City Electricity Department (hereinafter referred to as Those Lousy A$$%$^@# [TLA]) woke up one day and said “#$@! this city! We don’t give a flying fart in space about what the people need or what we’re here to do. Who needs electricity?”

So the result of this wonderful decision is that the entire city doesn’t have any power for most of the day. The areas the high-flyers don’t live in are plagued by perpetual power cuts. They started off by testing it out. They cut the power two times a day for one hour each; once at 10 in the morning and once sometime in the evening. Okay, we grumbled. But we got used to it.

The past 3 days have been nothing short of excruciating. They decided to screw us over once and for all. Here’s the schedule for today:
10:00: Power Cut
11:00: Power Returns
12:00: Power Cut
14:00: Power Returns
15:30: Power Cut
17:00: Power Returns
18:00: Power Cut
18:30: Power Returns
19:30: Power Cut
21:00: Still no power

So I think that they give us power only in order to possibly charge our gadgets at regular intervals and use the same to entertain ourselves when the power is gone. Also, they have failed to realise that due to this very interesting phenomenon called ‘Global Warming’ (which can now be equated to a meme, honestly), it’s so blazing hot that it hurts to move.

Now I can’t quite fathom why this has to happen but rumour has it that the new BJP government refuses to borrow power from the Tamil Nadu and Kerala power grids which Karnataka has been tapping into for a while now. I would research this but my modem isn’t working and when the power returns, I’ll probably have just enough time to upload this before the world goes black again.

The other reason that sounds very feasible to me is that they’re trying to get us in touch with our roots. They want us to remember what it was lie to be our forefathers. Before the invention of electricity. Before electricity dependence. Before bloody televisions and the internet. When all we could do is sit around a fire, scratch our heads and stare at each others’ faces (and then maybe club each other to death due to pure boredom).

But despite these excellent intentions of TLA, I can’t help but to want more time to charge my phone. Reasonable request, yes?

I can’t help but to think that due to this chronic power cut disease that this unsustainable city is spiralling downwards into mutual powerlessness. No pun intended. Think about it, if the power is gone for more than half the day, then we’re paying half the electricity bill we’d be paying otherwise, which means less revenue for the department. Sure, you can say that they’re just “load shedding” and already have enough people consuming power. But the last time I checked, that’s not how the economy works. Supply needs to rise to meet demand, yes?

I guess the only positive that came out of this power situation is the fact that I feel lousy, miserable and angry enough to write this blog post.

I’d like to end with a letter to the electricity department.

Dear Bengaluru City Electricity Department,

Chennagidiya? Oota aitha? Then get off your lazy arses and work on getting this situation sorted out.

As much as we all love a good power cut, this is overkill. It was refreshing in the beginning. I almost enjoyed feeling the anonymous beads of sweat slide down my spine every now and again while sitting in darkness without any gadgets. But after 3 times a day, it becomes a lot less fun. Even the wonderful single-player games I’d invented like “Guess When The Power Will Return”, “Plot Innovative Ways To Murder Electricity Department Reps” and “Count Your Own Toes In The Dark and Check If The Number Matches Up When The Power Returns” have become a lot less entertaining.

If the problem is higher up in the government, I suggest that you collaborate with the Hoysala and stage a coup. Overthrow the Electricity-Demon and restore power to this godforsaken city. Please.

You see, it’s too hot to do any of the following activities:
1. Eat
2. Sleep
3. Study
4. Go Out
5. Live
Therefore, all we can do is drink liquids and watch ourselves cook in the heat. Because the development authority around here decided to uproot every tree in sight so we don’t have any hope for a cool breeze either.

So really, as enjoyable as I’ve found your sadistic games of wanting to kill me with a combination of heat, boredom and general aimless misery inflicted due to lack of power, get your act together or I will stab you in the eye… with a knife… with a handle shaped like a banana. You will regret it.

Sharanyaa WillKillForElectricity