Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Nugget Series Continues

A good sense of humor is a sufficient condition for the existence of serious intelligence.

PS: The Turing Test could be restated as "If a machine cracks a really funny joke, it must be deemed intelligent."

PPS (for those interested): See also: Computational Humor.

Monday, August 24, 2009


A day well spent. District 9 followed by Inglourious Basterds.

District 9 is brilliant. Definitely among the best SF movies NF's seen.

Inglourious... is spell binding. Christoph Waltz is unbelievable. It's not Brad Pitt that speculates (the very last dialog of the film) "...it may just be my greatest masterpiece." This is Tarantino thinking aloud, talking to his audience. Pitt's a mere proxy. And yes, it verily might be Mr Tarantino. Bravo!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Short Fictional Piece : Part 3

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.


Limp Member walks back slowly and methodically down the dais. His gait is, just like his name, flaccid, non-erect and uninspiring. There are too many wrinkles on his face and his hair is matted and bushy. In particular he gives you the impression of a man who's been screwed over too many times, resents it and is dying to fuck someone over.

He takes his time coming down. He wants the feeling he's created tonight to sink in by the time he gets back to his seat.

Breaking News: It just sank (the feeling that is).

<*there is palpable tension in the auditorium and a few gasps of sudden understanding and cries of flash-epiphanies escape the ecstatic throats of the audience*>

<*Professor Cynic is visibly perturbed. he jumps up, totally agitated. the crowd follows him and what results is an overwhelming, rapturous standing ovation that continues for four-five-six-seven full minutes. Limp Member sits quietly, stony faced, expressionless, basking in the warm glow of appreciation*>

#1: <*tears streaming down her Che Guevara T shirt*> Oh my god...this is so, so...revolutionary!
#7: Wow...totally amazing. How does he do it man?
#3: Over and over again.
#11: Almost a religious experience man!
#29: <*coaxing his girlfriend, #31*> This calls for another joint. Let's move. To the Restroom!
#17: <*scratching head*> I, I...kinda don't get it. Isn't 'religion' an eight letter word?
#11: <*stumped*> What?
#17: Well, what's the big deal? It's obvious right?
#11: <*positively offended now*> You just don't get it man. <*shakes head*> Just don't get it.

Limp Member is being approached by all and sundry. He's being hugged by his colleagues who've been crushed by the bravura performance. Starry eyed lit chicks look at him the way hungry pythons look at rabbits. True to his form however, Member exudes no emotion and takes it all as if it were his due.

Cynic is crushed. He sits with his head in his hands fearing the onset of a black depression which he senses, will disable him now for sure.

Cynic: <*to himself*> Am I the only one who can see through all this? Are all these people insane, applauding a charlatan like this who's built a career on not saying anything meaningful? How can they be taken in by his tricks? Religion is not a seven letter word. Well of course it's not! And to pass off such tautologies as works of art? To win grants and prizes and accolades on the basis of such fraud? Jesus fucking Christ. Have the arts come to such a point that you cannot distinguish real from fake? High from low? Great from shoddy? Deep from shallow?

They'll pass it off as a work of genius. They'll defend him with their phony voices full of righteous indignation and ask what's wrong with tautologies. Is not all of Mathematics tautological? And what could you say to a titty-twister like that? They wouldn't even consider that that imbecile might actually have counted wrong! And his stubborn silence will be taken to be an enigmatic frown.

Parties will be hosted in his honor. The New York Times will carry a feature. He'll win the Nobel for sure the next year. And that will be the end of me. Ironic isn't it? The Cynic is the only one who cares now.


Cynic glances from the side of his eye to locate Member. He can see Jessica drooling over the hideous writer. Snatches of conversation buzz past his ear. "...eloquent in its brevity..." is heard more than chance would warrant. He casts a hateful glance towards Jessica who once threw a bucketful of goat blood on him for buying mink fur for his wife and for being a voracious meat eater.

Cynic: <*gritting teeth*> I knew it would come to this someday. There is no choice. <*smiles blackly*> Eloquence in brevity! Ha! I know a thing or two about minimalism too.

He let off a big sigh and sauntered towards the general area where Member was seated. People later remarked that his face bore an air of almost beatific calm. #31 also remembered seeing some vague, black object in his right hand.

<*Cynic walks towards Member. makes his way to him through the crowd and stands before his enemy. Member looks up insolently. Cynic lets out a quick, dry laugh and raises his right hand*>

Cynic: Dodge this!

#17 lets out a triumphant scream.


The End.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Short Fictional Piece : Part 2

Part 1 here.


There are minimalists and then there are ultra minimalists and then there is Limp Member - a master of the English prose who is to redundancy in expression what a good military boot is to a toadstool. The heir of Hemingway and Raymond Carver, he's to Contemporary American Literature what Che Guevara was to Revolution - the very fuckin' personification. His stories and novels are terse, very sparse and somewhat austere in their style with extremely pithy, aphoristic narratives and stripped-to-the-bone dialog as if the taciturn characters felt searing physical pain every time they uttered a word and so would speak not only grudgingly but very infrequently as well.

A very close friend, in the documentary "He Defecates Art", remarked that she hadn't seen him, in over twenty years of her interaction, smile even once. She also described him as challenged and challenging in the same breathfootnote.

And so here he was, the wizened white haired wizard of the lit pantheon limping along to the podium.

<*absolute silence in the auditorium. the students and faculty follow the hobbled trajectory of Member with bated breath, hanging on to his every step and feeling lucky to be witnesses to history in the making*>

<*Member reaches the podium, looks around askance, his eyes lingering on Jessica for a while longer than you'd expect (which pleases her to no end). in his hand is a small note at which he glances amusedly and puts back in the pocket*>

Member : <*in a slow, halting voice, his diction impeccable, his voice booming and articulating each syllable in a clear, crisp way impossible to find fault with*>

"Religion...is not a seven letter word. No. It is not."

<*the audience is drooling over every utterance of his. couples hold hands tight. even the cold, cerebral Professor Cynic - a long time critic of Member's style, sometimes indecipherable, vague endings and consistent aversion to discuss the themes of his own work - feels something alien, something of path/ground/genre-breaking importance hang in the air like the stench of imminent death in a Hitchcock film*>

<*necks outstretched. total silence*>

Slowly, as he had ascended, Limp Member descends and walks away to his seat.

<*shocked faces. total silence. realization dawns slowly on the audience - the story is over.*>


End of Part 2



footnote. She described him as quantitatively challenged, vertically challenged and horizontally challenged which with the unfortunate pictures the author's name bring to mind, did not create a very wholesome overall impression on the viewers of the documentary. The makers of the prize winning documentary had gone even further with the analogy between the onomastic flaccidity of his member and his overall limp demeanor and constructed a whole new crotch obsessed Freudian interpretation of his oeuvre.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Short Fictional Piece : Part 1

A girl walks up to the podium and puts her mouth close to the microphone. She is lithe, slim, pretty and has long, brown hair. She wears a long, flowing skirt that reaches her ankles and a loose T shirt with a peace sign imprinted on it. She's sexy, but in a somewhat sloppy way. Fix a bandanna on her forehead and a joint in her hands and she is a walking, talking image of your yet-another-cute-hippie-chick-next-door.

But she's more into New Age than hippiegiri per se. She's also into vague, esoteric and sometimes unpronounceable Eastern Cults which pass off as serious religions on so many college campuses. She tried crediting for a Sankrit class once, but dropped the course when she discovered it required serious effort. It was then that she decided to get herself a tattoo on her arm in Sanskrit with her name engraved in that holy, classical, uber cool language of yesteryears. Even now, when she wore shirts without sleeves you could read her name : जेसका [pronounced 'jay_sucka' as opposed to the intended 'jessica' - this typo having become a constant source of in-jokes for her East Indian friends].

She's a grad student in literary theory, which means that she is poor, thinks highly of herself and her idiosyncratic tastes, is into extreme avant garde fiction, music and films and can spout off names of obscure people only a thousand odd people in the world would've heard of1.

Jessica: On behalf of the University and the grad school, I am very pleased to introduce a man who needs no introduction. The winner of two separate MacArthur 'Genius' grants, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the subject of the Sundance Festival award winning documentary "He Defecates Art", a routine contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, a writer we all look up to and an alumnus of the University - Mr Limp Member.

<*deafening explosion of thunderous applause*>

Jessica: And now, I'll invite Mr Member to read his latest short story.


End of Part 1

It might of interest to note that she'd recently broken up with a bright, young guy who'd loved her very much over an incident that had outraged her delicate sensibilities. [He'd said that he hadn't understood much of Camus when he read him first. Jessica was large hearted almost to a fault and would've forgiven this lapse on the boy's part but for his pronouncement of Camus' name as 'Kai_muss'. There's only so much a woman can take.]

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Girl Power

Television history was created the other day. Contrary to popular perceptions and crazy, mean rumors (some of them championed by our very own Master Cynic Somnath Pal who's now referred to by his blogger name Sami in the exalted, artsy circles he waltzes through) and in a major vindication of Nanga Fakir's occult divination skills, Rakhi Sawant got engaged to the bald, loaded businessman from Toronto. The marriage is supposed to follow shortly and will be covered in detail, again, on NDTV Imagine.

The last time Nanga Fakir wrote about this Phenomenon, (note the big P) (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) he was convinced that he was witnessing a watershed moment of deep and enormous sociological import. The two 'big brothers' of Rakhi Sawant - Ram Kapoor and Ravi Kishan 0 during the course of the final episode, stressed repeatedly how path breaking this series was and what a great example Rakhi Sawant was to the women of India1 by having done what feminists and emancipators of women could only dream of (this subtext not spelled out overtly in detail) - that of turning the tables and giving the enemy a taste of his own medicine.

Nanga Fakir couldn't agree more.

You can easily see the impact of the wave of Girl Power blasting its way through the small towns and cities of India, the sonic boom of its passage reverberating through myriad nooks and crannies and destroying the iron shackles of the rotting, diseased patriarchal edifice that the Indian society is2.

It is Revenge. And it's so fucking sweet.

A revenge on behalf of all females who're subjected to the degradation of being paraded before their future in-laws and are scanned by vulturous stares for possible defects. On behalf of all those who are asked to display their culinary skills. On behalf of all those who are scrutinized closely, found satisfactory and then jilted because the dowry isn't enough. On behalf of all those who are asked to sing devotional songs, fast, be on good behavior, mind their own business, shut the fuck up and stay where they belong (read kitchen).

It was bound to happen you know. It was like this big, cosmic credit card debt that was accruing for ages and then whack - just like that - the bill came home and you knew you were pwned.

And so this time around, it was the males competing for attention, hawking their wares, trying to wrap their deep insecurities in shades of humor, performing tasks, walking on cinders (this one actually happened), declaring their love only to get icy, cold stares in return, facing public rejection (and by 'public' is meant national-television-level-public), being subjected to ridicule, scrutinized by not-so-wholesome stares, being commented on for the (in)existence of their assets etc. It was the males' families being extra nice, accommodating and playing the part of professional ass kissers.

A complete turn around as they say.

Males, it's finally time for your comeuppance. All over India, this model is going to be replicated. In obscure, small, nondescript townships, women will rebel against the tyranny of their male overlords. They'll lose their sense of grammar, shed their clothes, pwn your asses and destroy your happiness by performing harrowing item numbers in front of your parents. Then they will beat you up savagely, rape you with strap-ons and post the video on youtube.

It's called Girl Power. It's real (and by 'real' is meant reality-TV-level-real). And it's here to stay.




0. Quote Unquote:

(attributed to Mota)

I will pay, seriously, pay to be in the position of these two guys.

These two guys were having the time of their lives - sniggering, giggling, chuckling and bursting into spontaneous laughter at the inanities perpetrated all around - by both Rakhi and the grooms.


1. An opinion endorsed by Rakhi who likened herself to Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi for her brave decision of organizing a Swayamvar.


2. Waxing eloquent, aren't we today?