Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mahabharat-12: The Bhima effect

The Mahabharat series returns after a 2-year hiatus. It will be nice if you could read the first 11 parts here to make some sense of this.

Shakuni : "So did you understand the plan?"
Duryodhana: Yes, mamaji, I did. But is it not wrong to do this?
Shakuni: What wrong? When he beats your brother isnt that wrong? Anyways all you are trying to do is to teach that insolent sob a lesson. You are the good guy here, remember that. You are trying to protect your brothers against the bully.
Duryodhana: I guess you are right, mamaji. Anyways we are only going to give him a long sleep, right, mamaji. But where do I get these sleeping pills from Mamaji?
Shakuni: Bhanje, you leave all those details to me. I will get made the tastiest food and shall add the sleeping pills to it. You just have to invite Bhima to eat it. And knowing him, I am sure he won't refuse. But make sure noone sees you make the invitation.
Duryodhana: I won't let you down, mamaji.
And off went Duryodhana.
Meanwhile, the Pandavas in their home were having fun discussing the various positions in the year end Kamasutra magazine, which Yudhistra, using his superior diplomatic skills, had managed to get away from uncle Vidura. Most of the positions were pretty acrobatic, and the rest of the Pandavas were making fun of Bhima, and how, considering his bulky nature, he would not be able to try the majority of them. And this drove Bhima mad - at his own brothers.
Bhima: I will make all of you suffer. You guys just wait. (And he rushes after Arjuna with a stick).
Yudishtra: Bhima, remember what Mom Kunti and Uncle Vidura told all of us. I am the eldest, and always right.
Yudishtra (being the elder brother who got scolded by Kunti if anyone fought among the Pandavas): Shaant, dandadhari Bhima, shaant!! Arjuna, apologise to your elder brother!
Arjuna: Sorry bhai!! (And see what dirty connotations of that simple statement did Bollywood come up with all these years later).
Nakul and Sahadeva: Sorry Bhai!!
Yudishtra: But Bhima must have his anger assauged. And we people should also learn a lesson not to be disrespectful to Bhima. So Sahadeva, being the youngest, should bear the brunt of Bhima's anger. Bhima, you can give a tight one of the stick to Sahadeva.
And Bhima obliges. But is still quite glum. And so Nakul too is sacrificed.
Nakul and Sahadeva are both clutching their bottoms at the end of it all, wondering what wrong did they do - they did not actually said anything and had only laughed at the jokes Arjuna and Yudishtra made.
Yudishtra (thinking): This will teach these sons of Madri a lesson. She was the one because of whom Dad is dead. And that will also teach them not to ever go against Bhima - and by extension, against me.
Bhima's anger has calmed down by now. And Arjuna and Yudishtra get scot free.
So Yudishtra tells Bhima to calm down and says, "But seriously Bhima, you need to do something about this fat body of yours. You have lost all your muscles now. All you have is fat. Even Mom Kunti had to hear jokes by aunt Gandhari and Uncle Dhritrashtra regarding your weight. You are just 13 now, what will happen when you reach 30, and more. I hate to think. So from tomorrow, I have told uncle Vidura to put you on a strict diet control. No more Aloo ke Parathe for you. All you can have are those Subway sandwiches."
Bhima: But bhaiya, that is so unfair.
Yudishtra: It is all for your good, you will realize. See Arjuna already has had three girlfriends, while you have none. Why do you think that is?
Bhima: That is because I am not interested in one. I am sure I can find myself hotter females who will be enamored by my muscles (showing his biceps) if I tried. Arjuna is ready to do whatever girls asks them to do. He tries a bit too hard, and some girls like that. On the other hand, I have too much dignity. And Bhaiya, even you never have had a girl friend. Why do you think that is?
Yudishtra: I am the eldest brother. This is no way to talk to your elder brother. I will go complain to Mom if you do not apologise.
Bhima: Okay I will! Sorry Bhai (Thinks: He is such a sissy)
Yudishtra (suddenly feeling the urge to press his advantage): And what Arjuna was joking about is right. You will have trouble to have even missionary sex with this huge belly of yours. What is your Body Mass Index? In hindsight, I think I will ask Uncle Vidura to change your Subway Diet to once-a-day Subway Diet. Don't look so glum brother. It is for your own benefit. So you can have good sex. (Thinking: Even Bhima should get good girls once he thins down a bit. Then, like with Arjuna, I can emotionally blackmail him too, and get to second base with his girlfriends as well. Too bad Arjuna has not gone all the way yet with any of them. I am too uptight and unsmart to make the effort to get a girl myself anyways).
Bhima: Yes brother I understand. May I go for a walk now? I need to get fit you know.
Yudishtra: Yes you may.
Bhima goes out of the palace, feeling really depressed. "Once a day Subway diet, how will I ever survive on that?" he wonders, when suddenly he sees Duryodhana approaching. And he remembers the embarrassment he had brought upon his cousin during the afternoon and he lets out a loud laugh.
Bhima: Duryodhana, what are you doing in the Pandavas apartments?
Duryodhana: Bhima, I had to talk to you about something.
Bhima (suspiciously): What is it Duryodhana?
Duryodhana: I am having a small problem, and only you can help me.
Bhima: Why should I help you, you Kaurava!
Duryodhana: Because I will do whatever you want. You know I had a bet with my younger brothers that I could eat 30 pooris in one sitting, but you know I cannot. And I lose two months of pocket money if I lose. Shakuni Mama has agreed to be the adjudicator and will serve food to me. But I have worked out a deal with him, and he will serve you instead. Hence accompany me to the kitchen, and you can eat on my behalf. I will give you a month's pocket money. I cannot lose face among my younger brothers you know.
Bhima (Smiling, Thinks: The fool! He is giving me money for doing what I so desperately want. Food. Let me squeeze him further though): I will do it if you agree to provide me with food for breakfast and dinner also. Your breakfast and dinner.
Duryodhana (desperately wanting the plan to succeed): Yes, whatever. Please help me.
So Bhima goes to the kitchen with Duryodhana, and eats 30 pooris, which according to Shakuni's plan, was adulterated. Not with sleeping pills though. Shakuni had added a full bottle of rat poison in the dough, potent just enough to kill a person who drinks the entire bottle, which Bhima inadverently had. As soon as he finished the food, Bhima fell sleepy as the poison started acting up. Shakuni, in the meantime went to answer the call of nature, and Duryodhana, seeing Bhima sleepy, had a brilliant idea (which can be written as !! in Chess, but actually became a ??). Duryodhana drags the body of Bhima out of the kitchen along with Dushasan, his trusted No. 2 and throws him into the Ganga, and tells the happy news to Shakuni when Shakuni returns after relieving himself.
Shakuni was livid when he hears what Duryodhana has done.
Shakuni: Even fools use their brains sometime, when will you use yours?
Duryodhana (shocked): What do you mean Mamaji, have I not done the right thing? Just making him sleep would not have been a big enough punishment for him right, so I thought I will throw him into river and make him suffer. I sometimes think I am a genius Mamaji.
Shakuni: You fool! I had planned it all. It would have been a big enough punishment. But now you have spoiled it all.
Duryodhana: Why Mamaji? Now he will know not to take panga with me.
Shakuni: (Thinking: I would have burned his body, and all trace of Bhima would have been lost. People would have assumed Bhima ran away because of the tough diet constraint to be placed on him. But now, his body will be found and a thousand questions will be asked. Let me prepare how to handle with him). Duryodhana, you now go and play with your brothers. Let me see what to do. And Dushasan, no one should know about this except the three of us. Right?
Duryodhana, Dushasan: Yes Mamaji.
Meanwhile, the river Ganga was infested with snakes at that point of time. The snakes bit the unconcious Bhima, and anti-venomed the effect of the rat poison. And Bhima was rendered conscious as the poison in his blood was neutralized. The first thing he felt was lack of air in his lungs. He wanted to swim up, but having had always not played attention in swimming classes, he failed. Death loomed on his head as he saw himself being pushed down towards the water bed. But lo! On the water bed before him was an entire palace of gold. He floated himself towards it. And saw the city of the Nagas - the snake people, who were his Mom's maternal uncles. Talk of luck, he thought, as his head swirled - the effect of poison and the water filling his lungs.
Bhima was taken prisoner by the guards of the city and presented before the king of the Nagas, who turned out to be his maternal grand uncle. Bhima noted that he could breathe normally now, even with water all around him. It was a lot like magic. Bhima was still too confused to understand the effect of what happened. After the introductions, Bhima was received warmly by his grand uncle.
Naga King (NK): Welcome to Athlathi - our capital under water. Noone ever comes here, and Bhima, you are a brave man to come here. What brings you here.
Bhima (confused): I dont know. I guess it was food. I feel weak. I need food.
NK: Yes we will give you food. And a lot more. What do you want Bhima, tell me. Do you want money, or sex? Or both. I have a harem of beautiful women. You are my grand nephew and are eligible to enjoy with them. I have much money also, as you can see in the golden palace. Ask I will fill you up with women and money.
Bhima (Thinks: I need to say sex, I want sex the most, yes today will be a culmination of my desire. And I wont even have to become a slave of women like Arjuna does to get one): If you want to give me anything, give me strength. And make me seem the same muscular self I am right now no matter what I eat. That is all I want. I want food. And strength. (WTF! What did I just say??)
NK: Lemme see about it. Women and money would have been easier. And the physical appearance part is also easy. But strength. This one is tough. Chief Minister, do we have anything for strength.
Chief Minister (CM): Yes sir, we have just have had invented a new strength providing capsule. You had employed your best scientific minds to make that capsule exclusively for you. But sir, it is the only tablet we have. And we have kept it for you. It gives the consumer the strength of 16000 elephants. And the scientists who researched the tablets are all dead as per your order - so they could not make another.
NK: So what, Bhima is like my own son. Give the tablet to him. He asks me for strength and we will give him.
CM (Thinks: What a fool our king is? I should be the king, if only my plots will come off once a while).
So Bhima takes the tablet, and immediately gets the strength of 16000 elephants.
The Naga King then orders his CM to leave Bhima to the banks of the Ganges using the submarine. And from there, Bhima comes back to Hastinapur and his palace.
In his absence, rumours had started abounding that Bhima had left the palace as he could not keep up with the strict diet code of his own elder brother. There is large mourning for him, and as Kunti was wailing aloud, along with Gandhari, Bhima appears and tells everyone his Naga King story. He had however, conveniently forgotten about the 30 poori lunch by then, and no one gets to suspect Duryodhana. Some rumours even abound that Bhima had taken rat poison in view of living the one a day Subway diet. These rumours - started by Shakuni - were so strong that even Bhima could not refute them. But it did not really matter. Bhima had the strength of 16000 elephants, and he could eat all he wanted. That was all that mattered.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The XYZ theory on love, relationship and commitment - and why arranged marriages cant work

(This matrix can as easily be a 4-d space with sex added as the fourth dimension. However, after much deliberation I realised that sex is actually independent of the other three dimensions and hence can be settled separately. Moreover, a 4-d space will be much harder to visualize).
(This is a gender-neutral post. So if anywhere I have mentioned a he, it means it. Or whatever).
Imagine a normal 3-d space with the x,y and z axis. A 3-d coordinate is represented as : (x,y,z) (For the non-mathematician, the order of x, y and z is important).
Any single person out of love lies in the (0,0,0) point of the 3-d space. Being a mathematician myself, I will call this the origin. He has no love, is in no relationship and has no commitments. A person stranded at this particular point is looked down by his in love, in relationship and committed peers, who have already climbed up the ladder to reach the coveted (1,1,1) position. Let us call this the destination, for want of better names.
Now, as any person who knows the word "entropy" and the third law of thermodynamics will tell you, the natural order of the transportation from the origin to the destination, is through the path (0,0,0)->(1,0,0)->(1,1,0)->(1,1,1) (For those who donot understand coordinate geometry OR vector space, why are you reading this? :D.) It basically means that first people fall in love, then get into relationships and finally get committed. That is the natural way to get to the coveted destination, and the more honourable way to get laid as well. This is how love works as well, and love marriages follow this route - which is the more natural route. The concept fails, however as the three jumps are difficult to make for certain "losers". So while, theoratically, love marriages are a great concept they often fail, as i) some people fail to fall in love, OR ii) some of those that fall in love, fail to get into relationships with the persons they fall in love with, OR iii) most of the couples in a relationship fail to get into a commitment, mainly due to family issues or just because love is transitory. So this awesome concept, fails in the practical world.
And so Indians, being a practical and jugaadu species, have developed the concept of arranged marriage,which, however, follows the opposite route. The final aim again is to reach the destination, but the path now taken is (0,0,0)->(0,0,1)->(0,1,1)->(1,1,1). (You reach into a commitment first, then into a relationship, and then find love in the relationship). This is not entropy based, and as even a child can tell you, highly unnatural. These jumps, while impossible to make in the normal way - for example, the third jump is not possible theoretically as familiarity breeds contempt, not love - have flourished under Indian society. These conditions are basically the continuous conditioning of the girl child to make arranged marriages work. All the onus is on the female half of the marriage too make her marriage work - and it is her failure if it fails. It is she who has to make all efforts to make the guy jump stages and pretend to do so herself. However, with the present generation being influenced by the western world, and women no longer ready to do anything to make marriages work, the future of the arranged marriage looks bleak.
So if both the marriage techniques available are either impractical or theoretically impossible, what do we do? Let us look back at the different positions possible on the x,y,z space for people in different stages.
(1,0,0) is an unstable situation as either a person in love falls out of it, or else takes it to the next level. The situation where (1,0,0) is often tricky and is often accompanied by large intakes of alcohol with the wondering question of (she/he loves me, she/he loves me not). The earlier the person is out of it, the better.
(1,1,0) while being a pretty good state to be in, is also unstable. Over time, and in the conservative society that we live in, commitment becomes important. So either people break up if commitment is not forthcoming or else take the step up to the destination. I would personally prefer this state as it is the happiest.
(0,0,1) is a bit of no-state actually. It almost necessary translates to (0,1,1) - its analogous in chemistry would be the nascent compounds, which are formed and broken almost immediately.
(0,1,1) is the state most people live in throughout their arranged marriages, or jump to (1,1,1) in case of really successful marriages. This is a relatively stable state, but definitely not a very happy one. You always have a feeling of missing something.
Which leaves us with the origin and the destination. Is the origin such a sorry state to be in? Maybe not, as this has been described as, among other terms, as the ""Khulla Saand" stage. This is the time to explore. Countless people dwell in the origin and are happy doing that - for eternity.
And is destination the happiest place on earth? I am not too sure, or so many love marriages would not end in divorces. Maybe, the thing is love itself is too far overrated, and hence it decreases over time. Love is just the beginning, but another things, like money, are the deciding factors. And maybe we could have a fifth dimension here. That of money. But more of that later.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sex in IIT

(Wrote this piece around two years ago. Still pretty relevant though). Question: "What is sex in IITD like?"
IITD Male1 (Frustrated Stud): "One sex only - male. All others are non-males."
IITD Male2 (Frustrated Best Friend): "Non-existent. IIT girls are very seedhi-saadhi, you know"
IITD Male3 (The Geek) : "What's sex?"

The Stud: Handsome and rich chap, mostly from Delhi and adjoining areas. Always believes that beauty*intelligence = constant, and is often seen complaining about JEE being an intelligence centric examination. Tries his hands therefore at girls from adjoining female colleges, but because of the reputation that the general IITian has managed over the years (of being very weak at socializing with others, a frustrated soul who ogles at every girl passing by, is rarely good at anything else other than engineering - and the third one is purely false), has a pretty disappointing success ratio of around 2%. Its improving, thankfully, though. (There are super studs, however, who despite being IITians, have managed to dump girlfriends every second month. But more of that later). Loves watching porn and is not ashamed of it.

The Best Friend: The quintessential IITian guy. The one ogling at girls in Priya and PVR, looking at them like Adam looked at the forbidden apple. Mostly from the countless small towns of India. Middle class, who has made it through hard work. Has simple ambition, and so settles for the girl sitting next to him in class, and tells himself, "she might not be beautiful, but she is pretty smart. She will make a good wife."(They generally dont). And after countless workshops, assignment, treats and movies together, when he says, "I think I love you," the female, not a fool herself, says, "but you know, I don't think of you that way. You are my best friend", 97% of the time, and that is the end of that. The rest 3% get lucky, but sex is only for after marriage, for IIT girls are very seedhi-saadhi. However, as soon as the 4 years of IITD lives get over, the love lives also generally end, leaving the guy with alcohol and a lot of debts to counter, and the female with a new older richer lover. Loves watching porn but is ashamed to admit it.

The Geek: The smartest chap of them all. Pays attention to only books in the first year, gets great grades, catches attention of the sexiest girls (whatever that means in IITD context), who want him to teach them and in return he gets to know about what sex is like in IITD. And
going by the statements of a few of them, they find its pretty cool. Loves watching porn but publicly swears never have seen a single one.

Welcome to IIT Delhi. The place, famous, among other things for the frustrated beings ogling at PYTs in Priya and PVR Saket. People who only want sex. And who can blame them? In a good batch, the male:female ratio is 8:1, while in a typical batch, it is 20:1. And all of the females who manage to reach IIT are, in all probability, unlikely to win any awards at any of the beauty pageant. Even then, the skewed ratio makes them the queens in IITD, and the males, either their slaves or the oglers at Priya, or typically, both.

There are plenty of jhaadis (shrubs) in IIT Delhi, making it a great place for people to do it.Sex in IIT Delhi is pretty common, therefore. However, due to the reasons mentioned above, the only people doing it in IITD are usually outsiders. But, as they say, every rule has an exception, and here are three of them I know - in chronological order.

A senior of mine (a superstud, if ever there was one) dated models only. And he changed them every other month. And he was caught having sex with one of them by a security guard.- 2004
A batchmate of mine , on the other hand, climbed the roof of the house of a Prof. whose daughter was/is/will be the hottest chick in IITD, and spent the night with her.-2005
A junior of mine was caught naked with his IITian girlfriend in one of the blocks one night, doing it,by another security guard . -2006

However, such incidents are less and far few, and while the opening of a bar just outside IITD has made it easier to see IITian guys and gals hanging out drunk and obviously planning to have sex, the plans remain just that : plans. Because deep inside, IITians, (the majority of them at least), are still very conservative, and believe what their religions preach - and dont all religions preach the same when it comes to sex? - No sex before marriage! It was true when I joined, back in 2001, and it was the true when I graduated in 2006.

But times are changing, and there will surely come a time when some frustrated soul will wear a Tshirt that says:
ALCOHOL : "Making IITians having sex ever since I graduated. "