Monday, July 31, 2006

Divine Help For Gym?

Do I have Divine Support with my new latest work out regime?

First, I get myself banned (I think) from my favourite lunch place. Well I went there for lunch and they made me wait for over 40 minutes. Like all I ordered was fried bass and tofu on rice with mixed veggies - so simple. So I walked out. Given that this is the same place I go to once a week (when I don't bring lunch leftovers from home) for the last five years, I could have been a bit more considerate. The deed's done now, and I am not going back there. Atleast for a year anyways. The Chinese have long memories.

Second, I just discovered that one of the benefits to having a mayor who is a socialist is that he believes constructing sports complexes (such as basketball courts) will keep certain kids out of trouble. So they made a huge sports complex near my place.

And no one seems to know anything about it.

There are three tennis courts. One ice hockey rink. One badminton court. All are usually empty when I go there with my neighbours. PERFECT.

Third, summer weekends would usually find me fishing rather than going to the gym. However I managed to damage my rod (that's fishing rod) rather badly last time. The reel is in a knot. It would take over 3 hours to fix that. I would rather spend a couple of hours on the treadmill rather than untying knots and screws. My dad won't fix the rod for me as he wants me to 'take my own responsibility'. I cannot bully my younger siblings ... as they are not that young anymore. So off to the gym on Saturday rather than Rice Lake.

Then again, a new bakery did open right on our street ... [project john abraham cancelled]

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Who's Fooling Who

I am at this fantastic wedding of a friend. It's the most gorgeous wedding I have EVER attended. Honestly, they must have spent $15K (atleast). Chicken tikka was an appetizer, and there were fireworks at the reception of the bride - literally. Some big ministers were there. They had dance troupes from some South Asian fest, who danced Indian moves to Bengali music remixed with English - but I digress.

At one point, an aunty pulls me aside.

"See that girl?" She points out at some of the numerous girls.

I try to squint. You see, all your life in the middle east you are taught don't look at girls (or 'you will be in jail') and suddenly you come here and finish school and it's all people ask you to do ... looook at this girl, will you! So I look.

"Yes. Which one?"

"That one." She points to this girl who is not only fair-skinned, but has blue eyes, dark long hair, dressed fabulously in a gold embroidered sari - but I digress.

"How would she go with your friend A?" Aunty asks.

"Ah," Now it becomes clear. Aunty is bride-hunting for her poker-playing son who is too busy (probably hitting some bar downtown) to take in this sumptuous wedding. Aunty continues, "she is from a decent family [already researched], is fair [but ofcourse], looks shy and decent [she did] and it seems to me is very traditional and family minded. Shongsharik. Just perfect for my son."

Now let me paint a portrait of her son. His parents think he is Raj from DDLJ. Devoted to parents, moderately religious, has no bad habits etc. Meanwhile, the guy once told me if I spend Saturday night not at a bar hitting some chicks I was wasting my life.

So I agreed with aunty's assessment. The girl was indeed traditional looking, shy, demure, submissive etc. Then I went back to my table. And took out my cellphone.

A few days back, a friend K had sent me a picture of him and his girl friend at an event. He in t-shirt, shorts and his new Rayban; his girl friend in a low cut top and tight jeans. I took that picture out. They made a nice couple. Then I looked at the girl.

Yup, same girl. What's more in fact, I knew of the girl. Demure, traditional and shy, my foot. This aunty is going to be in for a shock. Then again, she was probably perfect for her son.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Why Guys May Think (Twice) Before Getting Married

I attended a friend's Gaye Holud ceremony recently, which is a type of Mehndi-type Bengali ceremony. It goes something like this. You sit the bride and groom (nowadays it's just one ceremony together), grab the largest sweets (I have a fascination with gulab jamuns) you see and stuff them into the guy's mouth. Then you grab this yellow powder thing (called Holud) and rub it on the bride's face. It's supposed to make her fairer.

Anyways, I was at the event, taking in the delightful madness of it all, the friends of the bride showing some slick dance moves (and I mean slick) when I started to notice things. As a blogger, sometimes you notice something and go 'oh that would be so blog-post-worthy and file it away under your things-to-blog category'. I don't know if you have ever done that; I have.

So here's what I notice. Uncles who have a reputation as a tough dude meekly holding their wife's purses while the aunties dab their noses with fake brand name makeup. Uncles timidly following their wives who weave through the crowd to greet various people, even though they would rather be sitting in the corner discussing Harper's latest mishap with other uncles.

Few men, though not as bad as the walkman-carrying-Chinese dude, were similarly emasculated. Now I have been told that this is not 'sissy behaviour' at all - it's nice and sweet and thoughtful and romantic. Interestingly these comments are from girls. I guess I have not yet met that person for whom I can stand in the rain holding a purse, so until then I would not understand this behaviour.

However, as I reflected on this, I remembered Nowal's post To be married or not to be...?. I have made some interesting (and extremely sexist) comments there, which I can now elaborate (all in the name of humour, ofcourse).

Why Guys May Think (Twice) Before Getting Married

  • No more impromptu poker night. Yes, T called after work suggesting it, but wifey called immediately ordering you to bring milk.

  • When going anywhere with your wife, add 2 hrs to the itinery. She takes 1 hr to get ready. Then you gotta drive 10 km below the speed limit, which is probably 40 km less than your normal driving speed. Finally, just before you pull into your destination, wife wants you to pause while she checks her make-up again.

  • Before you reach your destination, you have to stop and ask for directions (which you hate) because wife didn't copy them properly in the first place.

  • While your wife may want you to be fiscally smart, try the following explanation with her.

    "Honey I spent $30 on the fishing license. There's 10 summer weekends I can go fishing, so every weekend I am not fishing I am losing $3. Do you want me to lose money? Um... Honey? Where are you going?"

  • No more msn ... or yahoo ... because wife will be staring over your shoulder every time you want to talk to barbie_007_4_u

  • [submitted by my friend who saw me making this list]my reason not to marry ... so that I can fart comfortably in my sleep

  • Your wife may not like the above friend coz he's like Duprey. Then he crashes over. And you got a problem.

    In conclusion, life is unfair.

  • Wednesday, July 19, 2006


    Homework, as far as I can remember, was a chore. During my formative years, I first attended a school started by expatriates in the middle east. The teachers were mostly housewives who may know something about the subject they were assigned to teach. Homework was a great way to cover up the fact that they didn't teach the assigned material in the class - rather we got it as 'homework' or 'self-study'. So they gave us lots of homework. Ironically, the good teachers felt so enthusiastic about their subjects that they felt we should spend more time on that, so they too gave us lots of homework. Given that 100% of the teachers were either very good or very bad, we were doomed.

    As soon as the Maghreb azaan was heard, it was 'down to the study table you go'. Dip your fountain pain into this Pelican inkpot and start on page 5 of English For Today.

    One mathematics teacher we had in Grade 5 was the ledgendary Mr A. For his class, we had two notebooks, called c/w (Classwork) and h/w (Homework). Every chapter in our book had 20 easy questions, and 40 hard ones. He would do 10 of the easy questions on the board. Then have the smartest guy in class do the next 10. The remaining 40 hard ones would be 'homework'.

    He was directly responsible for the detriment of my handwriting, improvement of my speedwriting and numerical association skills. Since his class was just after the break (called tiffin) we would spend the break happily skipping lunch while finishingcopying our homework from T (the smartest guy in the class). Overtime, the copying would represent a work of art in progress. A would copy from B, changing the statements slightly. C would then copy from B, changing the changed statements slightly. By the time Z copied from Y who had copied from X, the final copied answer differed so greatly from A that it was its own answer. Such, um, teamwork were later proved to be lifesaving during university days.

    A: Let x be the number of apples in the cart.
    B: Let y be the number of apples in the cart.
    C: m is the number of apples in the cart.
    D: n is the # of Apples.
    E: a = # apples.
    F: a = apples in cart (no.)
    Z: refer to qn 1 where # of apples in cart is unknown, let this value be x.

    Ah, school. Why the sudden nostalgia, you ask.

    I was at my friend's place, and just overheard his 12-year-old brother talk to his classmate on the phone.

    "Yo, Haseeb, you got the answers to no. 6? Good, come online and I will get them from you on MSN."

    Kids nowadays.


    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Hanging Lecture Halls

    Recently I had the chance to visit one of the new construction projects at the University of Toronto for work. They had a new building, the Leslie Dan Pharmacy building that had an interesting concept - lecture halls 'suspended' from inside the building's atrium.

    The 'hanging' lecture halls.

    Entrance to one such 'hall'.

    Inside a lecture hall.

    The upper deck of the 'hall'.

    Do you know why there are raised grooves here? It's to prevent skateboarders from plying their trade on the name stone.

    The nearby students' office, with the roof's dome retouched for the World Cup.


    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Bengali Woman Power

    Maybe those uncles who praise girls back home are on to something after all.

    Brave wife 'fends off' big tiger



    The Man On The Subway

    Heading home on the subway around 10 pm last night, lost in depressed thoughts of my adopted team (France) losing after playing some attractive football, and my favourite player Zidane deciding to use his head - literally - I noticed a Chinese couple sitting on the seats opposite me. As multitudes of Italian fans in various states of drunkenness came on board, I observed the Chinese couple. There was something strange, what was it?

    Then I noticed it.

    Headphones plugged the girl's ears, as she closed her eyes and swayed to the music. The headphone cables ran from her ear, onto a black ipod - which was in the guy's hands.

    Yes, while the girl sat and listened to her music, hands crossed across her lap, her boyfriend/husband dutifully held the mp3 player aloft for her. At one point, the girl opened her eyes and mouthed something in Chinese to her man. He obediently pressed a button to skip ahead to the next song.

    Now Zidane, when someone allegedly insulted his mom, did the manly thing and, um, headbutted the guy. Would have been better had he paused and scored a winning goal, but now people can get the Zidane/head puns rolling (I can't think of any from the top of my head but ... ). This Chinese dude, man, you are a kalank to men everywhere. ;-)


    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Take My Car, Please

    An inattentive driver recently clipped my mirror while cutting in front of me recklessly, resulting in a needless hassle of going through insurance to get that fixed. It was due to this reason that I found myself on Tuesday morning talking to a car rental agency.

    "Yes," the polite agent confirmed my insurance has paid for my rental. "Which car would you like, sir? I can get you another Altima, that's what you drive."

    "Oh no." I rejected the proposal. "I am in the mood to try something else for a while."

    After refusing a Ford Taurus and a Pontiac G6 I finally settled for the Impala. It was a newly redesigned car, I had heard some good stuff about it, and wanted to test it.

    "Don't we all," A friend who overheard the conversation butted in.


    "Well, trying something new." He replied. "We all need to do that sometimes. I wish I could say that about my marriage. Haha."

    Living in Canada, one thing that I still find myself getting used to is the casual way some men joke about their wife's infidelity. Their wives aren't really unfaithful, the men just joke about it.

    For example, another acquaintance one remarked how tall his kids were.

    "It's good 'coz I'm not that tall." He reflected. "Maybe the postman was. Haha."

    Or, once another friend got flowers from his wife sent to his workplace on his birthday: "My wife sent me flowers. Knowing my wife she probably got a discount because she ordered in bulk. Haha."

    Again, followed by laughter from the general audience, and a very bemused moi. This is ofcourse so wrong according to our cultural point of view, but then again, so is talking in the washroom and they do it all the time too.

    As for now, I am enjoying my new ride, but can't wait for my car to get back from the shop. Somethings I like to go steady with.

    World Cup

    Well, I really got close with these predictions. I have decided I am NOT going to make any Final predictions.

    So far, I always had ONE wrong prediction, while over 50% of the predictions were correct. Well, now, there is only ONE match left, and I don't want to jinx it either way. Yes, the World Cup final result DOES depend on this blog and what I post in it.


    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    World Cup Predictions - 4

    So England lost. My predictions about an English victory was a bit hopeful, but I felt England played very well yesterday. I have no complaints about the referee, but Portugal is a very tricky team. They riled up the Dutch (another good team) by making them lose their composure, plus they dove and pretended to be fouled, and yesterday they did this to the English hotheaded forward Rooney. As an English supporter I have no complaints about the red card, but do I hate Cristiano Ronaldo. Girls ofcourse like him. I think he looks gay, though not as gay as Sorin of Argentina.

    However, the fact that Brazil lost almost (almost!) made up for England losing out (pre-emptive apologies to Aisha, Bengali Fob for the gloating to follow). Even an England supporter like me will agree that England is over-hyped and may lack a certain quality to make it a truly top side. I did not see them going past semis. Brazilian fans harbour no such confessions however. In their mind:
    1. Brazil is the best team. No one plays more attractive soccer than Brazil.
    2. Brazil never engages in dirty tactics like clutching shirts, diving or crying.
    3. Brazil's stars are the most artistic (such as Ronaldinho).
    4. All they need to do is turn up. The rest of us should just hand them the trophy and go home.
    5. Brazil deserves an automatic berth at the final.
    6. Football loses its lustre if Brazil is not in the game.
    Well, yesterday I was happy (read ecstatic) that ALL OF THE ABOVE were proved wrong. There was only one team in the match and it was France. There was only one team playing attractive, attacking football and it was France. There was only one artist on the pitch and it was Zidane of France. I felt like the Arabic commentator and wanted to yell "Zidane! Zidane! ZIDAAAAAANE!"

    I wonder who 99% of Bangladesh is going to support, now that Argentina and Brazil is out of the cup.

    Having gotten that gloating out of my system, the semi finals are now too close to call.

    Germany vs. Italy
    This German side lacks a certain quality. The team is playing well, boosted by home support and is the most prolific team left in terms of goal scoring. However, Italy has only allowed one goal in (that too an own goal). Their defence is much more organized (and better) than the Germans and they are a truly punch and counter-punch team.

    The key I feel will be the German defence. If they can avoid getting rattled, stay organized even when Klose and Co. go forward, and prevent Italy in the final third, Germany will win the game. The advantage for Germany are obviously the home support, German efficiency and organization, as well as their attacking flair. If you are attacking (Germany) and the other team defending (Italy) you are more likely to score a goal if you defence can nullify counter attacks.
    Winner: Germany (perhaps penalties).

    France vs. Portugal
    Boy, no one saw this semi final! And are these teams evenly matched. Portugal has a coach who has never lost a World Cup match in charge, their players are all in form and good on attack (and Deco is back) while France as a team are in the form of their life. I have said before that if France plays like they played against Spain, they will beat Brazil. The question is whether they can sustain it for a third match, as the pace is no doubt tiring.

    I feel the French do not have to play in such an attacking manner anymore. Portugal struggles to break down a good defence. They could not get past a tight Greek defence in the Euro 2004 final. They struggled against Iran for the first half until the Persians slacked off. They could not get past a ten-man England. Therefore the French will have to shut down the flanks, concentrate on not giving up the ball (unlike England) and play a much more possessive game than usual. Can they do it? Yes.
    Winner: France.


    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    Superman Returns Sucks

    Superman Returns Sucks.

    If you are a girl you might like the movie. If I want to see a 3 hour borefest where the hero can punch up 10 people at the same time while having love troubles with his girl friend who is engaged to some else and have issues with his father at the same time, I would rather watch a Bollywood movie.

    The movie is named 'Superman Returns'. It should have been renamed 'The Man Who Spies On Lois Lane And Imagines Her Naked With His X-Ray Vision Returns'. The story is littered with logical flaws. The cape is not red - it is purple. The blue is not the sky blue we grew up with, it's dark indigo. I could go on and on.

    The reason I said girls might like it is because the whole frigging movie has only ONE action scene. The plane one. That's it. The rest are crap. It's more about *guys make a face here* love and feeeeeelings.

    Do I (A Superman) Love Lois Lane?
    Does She Love Me (remember: I am Superman)?
    Why The Hell Does Lois Lane Have a 1930s Hairstyle in 2006?

    Oh, and if you want a Pulitzer Prize, appararently all you have to do is trash your boyfriend in your local newspaper after a bad breakup.

    Anyways, I am done ranting. I know people will watch the movie regardless, but if you want to save yourself some grief and a few hours of expensive sleeping, go watch Krrish instead.