March Past

march-past /mɑrtʃˌpæst, -pɑst/ n. A wake-up call to stalling tax-filers that April is almost here.

Usage: The amateur procrastinator files his taxes at March-past. The seasoned one still has the luxury of a couple weeks before parading to the post office.

Root: march-past

To the Express(ive)ly Challenged

Dear Unspecified-designation Middle Manager with an MBA,

This post is dedicated to you. I hope you’re up for some object-oriented knowledge transfermy two cents on the phrases you overuse and abuse. I have no doubt that you have the bandwidth to process it.

There was a time your ludicrous flowery language brightened my day. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much Jargon Lotto (nee Buzzword Bingo) one can enjoy. Needless to say, this calls for a paradigm shift. Going forward, we need an action plan to revisit these phrases and downsize them.

From your side, you will have to be a bit proactive and push the envelope. Perhaps you should start thinking outside the box. But on second thoughts – if you want to be original, the best practice is to just stay put and think inside the box. Every other manager, his team and their mothers-in-law are busy thinking outside it.

Let me help you understand – originality is no rocket science. For that matter, even rocket science is not really rocket science – it’s aerospace engineering. But more on that another day. At this point, we need to remain goal-oriented and result-focused. For now, I’m even willing to pretend the two are not redundant.

If you leverage your skill-set smartly, you could actually come up with a grade-A synergy. And why, if we ever find ourselves on the same page, you could even explain to me what the hell that means.

While we are at it, there’s another thing we need to transition into – we need to stop verbing nouns. Especially nouns which don’t exist. For instance, you do not incent people. You pay them. It’s extremely annoying. Let me translation that for you – it really annoyances me.

You could use any method you deem best. You could parachute in with fellow managers, do some blue sky thinking, or even resort to old-fashioned brainstorming. Be informed that the lattermost might require a brain. I do not recommend thought showers, however. It might set our readers thinking on lines that have nothing to do with the real sense of the term. Too late, looks like they already are.

I’m certain you have noticed by now how ridiculous I’ve been sounding. Well, that’s how you sound 24/7. Don’t think any more. Just go ahead and pull the trigger. Else I will. The aftermath could be discussed during post-mortem.

We’ll touch base soon for a performance measurement. Don’t ping me, I’ll ping you. If you have anything to say about this, I’ll take it offline.

Edited 031609


There must be very few of us who are not quite familiar with Hamway and its antics. The h in Hamway is silent – just like the h in honest. Ha! Hamway and honest in one sentence, how about that? But I digress. Enough has been blogged about the Hamway dogs and their devious approach, about how they will skillfully sneak up to an unsuspecting you in a grocery aisle and ask the most imbecile question, bearing the most innocent countenance. Ironically, the more imbecile their question, more seasoned is the player in the game. Because if they ask something even a degree more intelligent, your possible response of “I have no idea” will stop the conversation right there and defeat their purpose.

One typical question that should set off the Hamway-alarm is, “Could you recommend one to me?” One here refers to whatever it is that you’re looking up, be it a fascinating Swiss-knife or the usual gallon-jug of 2% milk. But the shrewd imbecile will say something like “Oh that’s a wonderful car-seat! Where did you find one like that?” or “Wow, you’ve strapped your baby so beautifully in that seat! How did you do it?” The “wonderful” car seat is a standard navy infant seat almost every baby-owner blindly picks from the most obvious store first-time parents shop in. And anyone who has strapped a baby in a seat knows that she’s either strapped, or she isn’t. There’s nothing even remotely beautiful about the process, other than perhaps the baby itself. But no, let me still praise the very mundane things to make the cretin in you feel like Superman.

The rest is just a matter of steps in the Hamway manual – Mrs. Hamway joins in, praises the gooey bib or your plain grey sweatshirt, pleasantries are exchanged, camaraderie established, an e-business sneakily mentioned, phone numbers given with promises to ‘catch up’. Hamway and the missus walk away with the casual triumph of having totally taken in a clueless retard. Little do they know that you were just indulging them with some basic face-saving courtesy.

So my point is – why let them have all the fun? You’re humoring them anyway, go ahead and humor yourself while at it. This, I think calls for a Part II. Long alert – come back later, and/or read it in bits and pieces, if you suffer from ADD. Skip it altogether if you suffer from laziness.


So there was a time the husband and I were hounded by Hamwayites. We must have a default Hamway-suckers look on our face. Either that, or we likely lived in Hamwayville back then. In the beginning, we’d hurriedly head in another direction as soon as we smelt an Hamway rat a few meters away. Or, we’d keep conversing nonsense with each other so there was no scope for any interruption. But the more we observed their cookie-cutter technique, the devil in us begged to be unleashed. (Who would put a Devil on leash anyway? Maybe Phantom, but I digress again).

If Mr. and Mrs. Hamway do RTFM, they split before they approach you. We decided we’d follow suit. So as soon as we get the whiff of Mr. Hamway, I walk to another aisle – with an eye out for Mrs. Hamway. The husband would look up some gadget or a relatively complicated product; I’d look up – and scrutinize, mind you – a no-brainer like disposable plastic spoons. Sure enough, she will come with a candied sweet smile and ask, “which ones are good?” (Eh? There’s only one kind here, no options). But I’ll still glance at the brand and say I prefered these. “Thank God the store has them!” Artificial conversation continues, and we establish a “connection” as we’re both from India. (Seriously – how many Indians do you come across in the US? Isn’t it nice to finally see someone from your motherland?) We become best pals in just a few seconds, and walk together to the husbands. The only thing we don’t do is hold hands.

Back in the aisle, H1 is going ga-ga over H2’s choice of gadget, while W1 still can’t stop praising W2’s choice of picnic spoons. Introductions happen. Everyone shows surprise at the coincidence of how the spouses met separately. Everybody goes “Yeah, right – idiots!” in their respective minds. We decide to meet for coffee sometime. Surely you see that if we like the same gadgets and picnic spoons, there is no way our political views and ideologies could differ? Mr. Hamway decides this is the right time to casually mention his e-commerce business he’d like to tell us about.

Scenario 1: We’re simply delighted that he brought the topic up, and the husband mentions he’d like to talk about our business himelf. Gropes in his pocket for a card, realizes he’s out of them. “Oh, but you could look us up on” The key word here, my friends, is –  a probable domain of any BWW “business-owner”, and Hamway’s retarded cousin. The look on their face – priceless!

Scenario 2: We go home, he calls as expected, on a Sunday evening. That’s when they always call. It can’t be a coincidence – perhaps some marketing psychology juju. I take the call, keep rambling and giving useless input when the conversation is about the weather or something half-witted. Every time the poor thing tries to mention his e-business, I either pick another word from that sentence and go totally off topic, or pretend to be interrupted, mutter a sorry, pick up a different thread and continue rambling.

But I must admit it was disheartening to realize that the person who was so excited about my baby’s gooey bib did not have much patience for my views on Masala films, or the French Onion soup in the local bistro. What did make up for it, however, was the amusement of detecting a steady increase in his impatience. He made no effort to hide it either. Finally, of course, I had to hang up, since “the baby was crying”, but I didn’t forget to tell him how wonderful it was to chat with him nevertheless. Nice of him to call and say hello, really. I can bet I’ve been the object of Ampletives (ample Hamway expletives).

Scenraio 3: This is a rarer scenario, in case the Mr. Hamway in question seemed to have just landed from India and was brainwashed before he could say “Quixtar!” We almost felt bad for him. So – the husband agrees to meet Mr. Hamway for coffee. Mr. Hamway, who was quite looking forward to being the Speaker of the Day ends up being the Speakee instead. Husband transmogrifies himself into a Math. lecturer, complete with a pencil, the Scarbucks paper napkin, a ready formula to rattle out. With super-confident schemas and annotations – well, the coffee-shop equivalent of those – tells Mr. Hamway how they are all being taken in by a few holding the strings. It would take eons for any riches to reach his level in the pyramid.  Even if the pyramid scheme did really work, they would soon run out of people in the world within just a couple levels. In other words, you’re duped yourself, what’s the point in duping others? Checkmate.

It’s been a long time since we did any of this, though. We’re getting old, and there are other useless things demanding our time and attention. These days, if we smell an Hamway rat a few meters away, we hurriedly head in another direction. Or, we keep conversing nonsense with each other so there is no scope for any interruption.

Present Tense

present tense /prěz’ənt tɛns/ adj. Anxious about whether the gift you plan to give your sweetheart would be appreciated enough.

Usage: Crap. It’s that You-don’t-love-me-enough Day again. Always makes me present tense; I must love her at least $100 more this year.

Root: present tense

I put this up on Twitter the other day, and Naren came up with a very nice rejoinder. I’ve added Usage, Root and the IPA pronunciation:

gift rapping /gɪft ræpɪŋ/ n. Delivering a sharp blow with the knuckles to one’s beloved’s head for a pathetic present.

Usage: Crap, it’s the usual cheap fake diamond ring again. Honey, could you come here when you have a minute? There’s some gift rapping to do and I’d like you to be present.

Root: gift wrapping

Do you see what I see?

Here’s a poser for you. I mean a mind-boggler, you one-track minds! It has been nagging me for over a couple decades now. I remember asking this to quite a few kids when I was in school and college, only to get the increasingly familiar you must be those crazy people mommy says to stay away from reaction. I don’t remember asking my parents, ever. Because if it’s something friends don’t know, there’s no way parents will. Don’t take my word for it, ask my kid. So I decided it’s time I put you through it.

Here it is. What color is this? And this? And for that matter this? It really is something that has me foxed. Now maybe the alecs who fancy a little poetry will say this is sad, this is angry and this is envious. But it should be a safe bet to assume that the rest of us mortals will unanimously say this is blue, this red, and this one is green. Because it’s been ingrained in our minds since we were kids that blue means this, red means this, and green means this. But the question is, do we both really see the same exact color? Is what I call blue the same as your perception of blue? How do I know you don’t see it as what I call beige instead? Of course you will call it blue; you have grown up calling that color you see blue. But perhaps what you’re actually calling blue appears beige to me. (Oh my God, I see it. That’s exactly the look I’d get back then; it’s so familiar!!)

Well, I’ve seen large color charts with intelligent statistics in science museums and other places. They often have information on color-blindness too. For instance, when people who are not color blind (NCB) see a certain color x, this is actually how people who are color blind (CB) perceive it. One question: HOW DO YOU KNOW? Are you color blind yourself? In that case, how do you know what the real color looks like? And if you aren’t, how would you know how the CB would perceive it? How can you nail it down to the precise shade in the spectrum? I’m not talking about the color-blindness tests here, where CBs see a different number than NCBs. That only establishes color-blindness, not what color a CB sees instead.

I’ve combed the internet, read extremely interesting articles on color perception and vision. Yes, they do a wonderful job of explaining how the brain perceives color; they all talk about spectral sensitivity and luminosity and other -ities in elaborate detail. But I still haven’t found an answer to this question. Or maybe it’s just my (lack of) perception.

If you have as much time on your hands as I do, here‘s something to keep you occupied. If you have even more time, here‘s another article I came across that caught my fancy.

I’m sure there are many folks out there who have asked this question. If you’re one of them, I hope you have an answer. But if for some reason you decide to write me off as a loony, please be nice and visit me with that homemade blueberry pie.

The Perfect Compliment

I heard someone say this to a woman the other day: You have a regal nose. And I thought to myself, what a perfect compliment! Think about it – you can say it to friend or foe alike, sincerely mean it, and get away with it! The question is, which regal personality you were talking about. The poor woman has no idea you were referring to Julius Caesar, while she fancies her nose to be like that of Cleopatra’s or the Queen of Sheba’s.

It’s hard to say if that remark was intentionally equivocal, but its potential for diplomacy did make an impression on me. I made a mental note to compile one such list of perfect compliments.

See, an embarrassing moment seldom knocks before it stares you in the face. Before you know it, you find yourself in a position where you have to quickly think on your feet to say something nice. If you’re anything like me, you have an uncanny knack for landing right in the middle of these situations. Of course, don’t count on it to work all the time. For instance:

She: Look, I bought this (atrocious) outfit at Macy’s! What do you think?

You: You have a regal nose.

But imagine this:

She: That’s us in our honeymoon suite in the Poconos.

(Huh, I’m sure it is.) You’re looking at a picture that need not have been clicked to begin with, let alone passed around for people to frantically wonder what mentionable part – of the picture, that is – they could finally comment on.

You: Hey, you have a regal nose!

Tantadan! (That’s “Voila!” to you Francophiles). 1) You found something harmless enough to mention; 2) You meant every word you said – I mean, with so many kings and queens floating around in history books, there’s got to be someone who matches that nose. And finally, you made someone’s day with the perfect compliment. S.m.o.o.t.h.!

Watch out for the pitfalls, however. If you’ve already complimented someone on their regal nose, you want to refrain from commenting on their presidential chin. Especially so if that someone is a woman.

Well, the list has no end. Unfortunately, it hasn’t had a start either. At least not yet. But it’s imperative that one has it handy. If you come up with something, let’s hear it!

As for the one who mentioned the regal nose, what can I say, other than a heartfelt Thank You – for inspiring this post ;)


That’s Cryptic + Stringamajig. If you aren’t into cryptics but are curious, there are a lot of good sites on the web on how to solve cryptic crosswords. If it doesn’t hold your interest, there’s always Stringamajig. Of course, you could do both; nothing would delight me more.


  1. Back off in burning platform (11)
  2. Smash a lot of rhinos (5)
  3. Jealousy of minister, nothing less (4)



Below is a set of six words. You need to string them together in one whacky sentence – or a profound one, if you wish. There’s no word limit. But if you want to break it up into more sentences, you do have a word limit of 15.

Flippant, Kiwi, Apprehend, Mortgage, Bang, Harpoon.

-Verbs could be used in any tense, mood and form.

-If a word has multiple meanings / parts of speech, you are free to use any.

May the whackiest sentence win. Well, there’s no winner – at least not yet. Just have fun with words.

Edited to add: The cryptic has been solved by catcharun. The answers appear in the comments. If you still want to give it a sincere shot – and I say you should – do not read the comments just yet. If you crack it, please state the answers in your comment; I’ll gladly take your word for it. -g


Here I am, barely done setting up a blog, trying to figure out who this starving political party nationalist organization is, and why it needs to feed on my blog of all places; playing with some html – which was nothing but Hotmail without vowels before – trying to tell a widget from a gadget, and what happens? They throw one more thing at me to figure out. I get tagged. Well if anything, I realize that gadget is more like tagged than it is like widget. At least to those who are biased towards anagrams rather than rhymes.

So the tag, yes. They call it an award. A bit of a shuffle, and it could well be ‘a draw‘; a lucky one at that. But what it really is, is a gift. A nice gesture by a very nice person, in wicked humor. And it has achieved exactly what it set out to do – encourage a newbie, kindergarten blogger, and make her squirm with embarrassment. And to add salt to the embarrassment (don’t you just love blogetic license!), it has to be displayed. Right here. So I’ll be a sport, swallow the embarrassment – the salt wasn’t in vain, then – do my Oscar speech and move on.


I would like to thank Mom, Dad, the dog, the neighbors, their little brat, my maternal uncle’s best friend’s sister-in-law, and her third cousin. I love you all! Well, maybe not the brat so much. And a bunch of smart writers – mostly whacky – with nifty blogs, who don’t just help me unwind; they actually show up here, comment and make my day! And, since there can never be a speech without a last but not the least, last but not the least – Mother Teresa and World Peace.

Alright, that last bit makes no sense to me either. But it has to be mentioned if you want to be cool. And I must want to be cool. Else I’d be uncool, which is not a very cool thing to be. Or so I’m made to believe.

Now that the frivolities are done with, I’d like to quickly pass this on to (opens envelope):

Aparna: The very first blog I started following; a quiet inspiration to many a mommy blog in the sphere, directly or indirectly. Love her simple, succinct writing style and her attitude towards everything in life :) Keep being you, Aps!

Rads, thanks again! And I mean it in a good way :-D

For anyone who cares to know – the title is the final mo of eenie-meenie-mynie-mo, that landed the tag here :-|


hyperbloge /haɪˈpɜrbləgi/ n. A constant added to any mundane incident to give it optimal drama to blog about.

Usage: Why don’t you blog about your conversation with the pharmacist? A little hyperbloge and you should be good.

Root: hyperbole

Prease Exprain!

Unlike good old India – I refer to the one I was brought up in – having kids in the US means chauffeuring them to a bunch of unnecessary classes at a ridiculously young age. Quite contrary to my own liking, my kid happens to be one such victim of a couple parent-chauffeured classes – not to be confused with parent-driven classes. And in the true esprit de chauffeurs, the parents always wait outside for that measly half hour, chatting other parents up.

On one such occasion, I had a chance encounter with this interesting rady lady from Japan. I could tell from the corner of my eye that she was sizing me up. After giving her the customary 5 seconds to do so, I flashed her a the-world-won’t-perish-if-we-say-hello smile. We did, after all, have something in common – a half hour to kill.

She took me up on my offer, and with this authoritative conviction, stated, “You don’t rook Indian!” Surprised as I was, I decided that must be Japanese for ‘Hello’. Quite paradoxical, that statement. If I didn’t look Indian, maybe I wasn’t. Why then, would she even think of mentioning it?

I’ve often read, and even experienced, that the Japanese are one of the most polite peoples in the world. Given that I very obviously look Indian, I started wondering if there was a deeper, underlying meaning to that charge. Surely this must be some form of humor. Polite Japanese humor, perhaps. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself with an ignorant “Oh but I am Indian!” That’s tantamount to admitting you didn’t get the joke. I felt obliged to reciprocate in just as absurd a manner, and replied clumsily (but politely), “You must be from Croatia.” Lame! But it somehow seemed to satisfy her. “Asia, yes. But no crows, onry buildings.”

Our conversation went on to the weather, other small talk, and the coming long weekend. She asked me if we had plans, and I told her we’d be going camping. “Camping!! Indians don’t camp!” (What?! Whatever gave you that idea?). But again, the conviction was unmistakable. She must know something I didn’t. Besides, I didn’t look Indian, so even if I did know, I doubt how much it would count. My curiosity got ahead of me, however. Before I could stop myself, I had asked her why she thought so. “Oh, my neighbors are Indian,” she said confidently, “they never camp”. Aha! That explains it! Case closed.

Apparently, the case wasn’t closed. What do you know, I had more to learn about myself! “You don’t seem the camping type, my dear. You want to stay inside the walls of your home, with your comfy bed and your comfy satin sheets.” I was flummoxed. Where was that crystal ball that was telling her all this?

I didn’t even know where to begin. Should I tell her how wrong she was? But even there, I wouldn’t know where to begin. Apart from the crucial truth that I did in fact believe myself to be “the camping type”, I would find it very hard to breathe inside the walls of my home. Unless there was a hole drilled to hang a painting and then forgotten about. Besides, satin sheets are not my idea of comfort. The slippery things would keep me fidgeting all night. Do they even exist outside Hollywood and commercials for 7-star resorts? It didn’t matter. I didn’t care to know.

I was exactly at the point in the conversation where I wasn’t sure if I was losing patience or beginning to enjoy this. I decided to give her what she’d like to hear. My cheap thrill in doing so would only be a harmless by-product. “We’d be taking my husband’s truck,” I played along shamelessly. “We always take the bed, mattress, bedding set, heater-fan, microwave and our little TV. And the generator, of course. But that’s all we take. What’s the point in camping if you take along conveniences like washer, dryer and the Jacuzzi? We’ll buy dinner from Olive Garden to take along.”

I doubt she actually bought that, but by now she was visibly convinced I was outlandish enough to actually do it. I could tell she was debating whether to believe me. She opened her mouth to say something, but thankfully, her son was out just then and she had to leave. She muttered a good-bye, which I acknowledged with a we-must-do-this-again nod.

In the course of our interesting conversation, I failed to notice this fly on the wall all along – a partly amused, partly embarrassed American lady. As she watched Miss Cleo leave, she leaned towards me and almost apologetically said, “That’s not really how all Japanese are, you know. I spent three years in Japan; they’re wonderful people.” It was nice of her to say that. “Yes, I do know,” I assured her briefly, with a smile.

Of course I knew. It wasn’t so much where Miss Cleo was from, it was what she was about. That’s just how it is with some people. They are simpry beyond expranation.