Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Drinkers of the World, Unite!

So NF has, for some time now, been busy enjoying the company of his new best friend from Mongolia who, as it turns out, needed a little help in Angreji. NF has been known to have done this left, right and center all through his waking life (and has scores of SOPs to his credits) and through the passage of time, has begun to enjoy this rather unearned power that summary comments, editorial executions (and flourishes) and condescending tones explaining why 'a troubled dream' is better than 'uneasy dreams', grants him over others. (See link: Nabokov edits Kafka.) His latest continuing fascination with Inglourious Basterds played a pivotal role in framing the style of this ESLish essay.

So without further ado, here's the speech NF coached (and coaxed!) the guy into delivering.

Something Interesting About Myself

I am happy to be here speaking to you as part of the assignment. Since the topic for the assignment is “Something interesting about myself”, I will talk about my fascination with alcohol.

1) Chapter 1: Drinking Experiences in Mongolia

I come from Mongolia where winters are very cold and summers warm. So it is very important for the survival of people to eat large quantities of meat and drink a lot of alcohol. In particular, I especially miss the local Mongolian drink “Airag” which is made from the milk of mares and the drink “Arhi” which is a specialty drink made from yogurt. I drank often and in large quantities and enjoyed my time in Mongolia before moving to Japan. However, my favorite drink in Mongolia was not a local flavor, but Vodka which is extremely popular there.

Chapter 2: Drinking Experiences in Japan

I moved to Japan for higher education and stayed there for seven years. I lived in Tokyo and this was the first time that I got a chance to appreciate more popular and famous drinks. It is in Japan that I first drank whiskey, beer, rum, gin, tequila, wine and others. I also acquired a taste for the local Japanese drink "Sake" which is made from rice.

Chapter 3: Drinking Experiences while traveling

I have visited South Korea, Hungary, Czech Republic, Taiwan, China, Russia and Hong Kong among other places. And I made sure that during every visit to a foreign country I found time to taste the finest local brands of alcohol. So I am proud to say that I developed a taste for Korean sake ("makgeolli"), Hungarian wine, chose among 5000 different kinds of Czech beers, enjoyed "Choujiu" – a Chinese wine and authentic Russian vodka while I was visiting these countries.

Chapter 4: Drinking Experiences in America

I arrived in USA a month ago and was pleasantly surprised to see a good variety of American beer and wine in the Orientation ceremony. Within this short span, I have been able to, along with my Indian friends, taste many local beers, scotch and vodka. I have also recently added Indian Whiskey to my list of drinking experiences.

I look forward to more opportunities of traveling and discovering more varieties of drinks worldwide. In the end I would like to invite all those interested to join me in my quest for development of more advanced tastes in alcohols of all varieties.

Thank you.


<*NF, Mota and Vatsa huddle expectantly around The Horse (as he's fondly called) and ask how the speech went*>

The Horse: The students loved the speech. The teacher...<*hunts for words...*> so...so.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poetic Justice

Brilliant link here: Link

Nanga Fakir didn't know this guy very well (how glad he is on that account!) but second order reports from friends and juniors who were unfortunate enough to have first order dealings with him made his blood boil with rage. Hence the unconcealed glee!

Burn motherfucker. Burn!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life Under the New Regime - 2: (It's been ages)

It has been ages since NF saw a film. Any film. (He did catch up on Kaminay (which he thought was fantastic), District 9 and Inglourious Basterds and some old Hitchcock numbers like the excellent Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious and mandatory reruns of Andaz Apna Apna every fortnight or so but this is a far cry from his previous awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, ball-crushing bouts of movie-mania in which he would sit for hours and devour one film after another.)

It has also been ages since NF read. Anything. Either fiction or non-fiction. He's formed a habit of reading himself off to sleep for a long time now and that's about the only reading he's been doing for quite some time. (No prizes for guessing which book. It's the Infinite Jest tome. A couple of pages are heavy enough to induce sleep in even the most chronically insomnia-ravaged patients.) That and some light, fast David Foster Wallace short stories while traveling. Not much, given NF's formidable past reading record.

It has been ages since NF listened to some good music. Any genre. (The last major outing was his unexpected guest appearance at the Chicago Blues Festival with a mug of beer in hand. That and being witness to Blues legends Buddy Guy and BB King a month ago in concert.) He's been trying to appreciate a little Jazz (Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald in particular) but opines that Jazz's perhaps more of an acquired taste than Blues.

It had been ages since he worked. Hard. However, these days somehow grind themselves away at work rather than at other pursuits. Staring at blackboards full of arcane expressions, trying to make sense out of Mickey Mouse models and taking life a little more seriously seem to be the order of the day. (Not much to his liking, we say in his defense though.)

It has been ages since he's felt so creative. NF feels almost a sense of a natural high as he trudges along home late at night from work day after day. Lines from Maggie's Farm ("I've got a head full of ideas that are driving me insane") seem to take NF by the scruff of his scrawny neck and whisper secret words of wisdom in his ears. Sometimes their power is such that he has to go away somewhere alone, clutch his head hard and do two or three short, but intense pelvic thrusts and let off screams of "Ouu...Ouu-Ouu" to relieve the mind-boggling mental pressure that's crushing the poor little sod under its weight.

If you ask him seriously though, he'll shrug his shoulders a little, throw his goggles up in the air à la Rajnikant (where they'll joggle and somersault a little and give out classy "woosh-woosh" sounds and sit right atop his nose-bridge), give a corny thumbs up and say "I don't mind it at all."


NF: <*slightly tipsy perhaps*> Fine. Life is meaningless. So you just proved the problem is NP hard. Now what are you going to do with it? Acting cool, jaded, blasé, superior and invoking the meaninglessness of life as a justification for the aforementioned behavior is the same as (read isomorphic to) feeling satisfied and smug about the helplessness that the intractability of the problem induces. You've gotta fucking come up with a provable, well functioning heuristic. That's what's non trivial. That's what a True Ninja would do.

Listener: Dude, you've had too much. You better sleep.


0. Another one of those flashes that NF's been having so many of of late, good enough to be included in a separate "Nuggets of Wisdom" series.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Life Under the New Regime

Imagine the human lip as a two dimensional geometrical figure. View it in isolation - an abstract, mathematical shape. Now locate its center. Imagine the X and Y axes passing through the center in the usual, orthogonal, Cartesian way. Consider the part of the lip in the first quadrant (x>0 and y>0). Now imagine what happens to this part when it is hit hard by a squash racket in the dying arcs of a full-blooded swing.0

The first-quadrant-lip develops a stubborn tumescence in response to developments it must've not really liked. The swelling just tumbles out spontaneously, outflanking its counterpart in a remarkably uncool, hideous way. The whole appearance is not unlike that of a lip recently bee stung. Smiling and laughing become searingly painful; the promise of food, a panic inducing, all too matter-of-fact suffering.

Life under the new regime also involves dutiful, painstaking study of Infinite Jest (again) and a slavish devotion to all things David Foster Wallace (the short story collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Oblivion being duly acquired and lovingly gazed at everyday) - including shameless pastiches such as this.1


0. This may be analyzed in the following two main parts:

a) The primary impact of the synthetic, boron coated outer frame of the racket on the first-quadrant-lip which cuts the skin and leaves a deep reddish bruise on the upper lip.

b) The secondary (and the more devastating) encounter between the inside of what the first-quadrant-lip is the outside of and its dragging and grinding motion against the razor sharp, mucronate canine tooth - all while the racket frame on the outside is tearing through the sturdy, unyielding epithelial tissue in a way reminiscent of Shakti Kapoor&Gulshan Grover's tearing through the Clothes of the Hero's Sister in the quintessential mainstream '80s Hindi film.


Don't steal. But if you have to steal, steal from the best.

(Woody Allen)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Brief Interviews...

Interrogator: So...what do you want to do...after this?
NF: I dunno...I guess I kinda like teaching...
Interrogator: Uh huh...so you're gonna hang around universities and shit?
NF: I guess so.
Interrogator: How's that man? You like teaching and all?
NF: <*shrugs noncommittally*> I guess I just like sucking young blood.