Friday, March 31, 2006

I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike!

This is a post from one of my earlier blogs. Till this day I hate getting a haircut and I try to avoid it as far as possible!

I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike!
May 21, 2005

So everybody procrastinates. Its human nature right? There is something inherent in the human psyche that makes them avoid doing something they hate for as long as they can. I believe that everybody has at least one thing that they always procrastinate. And with me, that thing is going for a haircut.

Right now I am looking like a Gujju film hero, who has thick side locks. I am a couple of days away from looking like Bobby Deol in Barsaat. It used to take me about 30 seconds to comb my hair every morning. Now it takes just about 30 seconds less than the time my wife takes to comb her hair. Every morning I get the “go-get-a-haircut” look from my boss. But still I don’t go. Why? Because I hate going for a haircut.

Back home in India, a haircut meant short trip to the local hair cutting salon. I enter the place, the barbers see me and then I sit around, waiting for my turn, reading old editions of FilmFare or CineBlitz. Within 10 minutes, my favorite barber after finishing whatever he was doing came and seated me on his chair, I asked him his haal-chal and he starts snipping. If you were one of those people who are really fastidious about their hair, you gave a brief 30 second explanation to the barber about how you wanted it to be. In any case 15 minutes later you are done. And every single time it was exactly the way I wanted it to be. It’s that simple. Outline of haircut in India:

* Walk into salon
* Read old filmy magazines for few minutes.
* Have a 10 minute haircut.
* Leave with cool haircut.

But now, when I walk into a hair salon here, I have this silly sign-up sheet greeting me. Why the hell do I have to sign-up for a haircut? Other than the one woman who was already waiting when I entered, I am the only person there. Is it so difficult to remember “American woman first, Indian good-looking man second”? Then as I uncomfortably wait (I hate unisex salons) for my turn, I wonder “why the hell do they have a place with 20 barber’s chair (the one in which you sit on) when at any time there are only 3 barbers”.
When my turn finally comes I explain
Me: “I want the hair cut short, but I don’t want it to spike. And please use scissors.”
Barber: “Ok. So a short spike?”
Me: “No Short hair but noooo (with head going from side to side) spike. I don’t want the hair to stand.”
(I cannot remember the number of times this has happened. Earlier I used to use the number system. But you know how bad they are with numbers. So I abandoned that strategy very quickly.)

Then the barber (invariably a women) picks up the hair trimmer and is about to start, when I say,
Me: “I want you to use scissors”
Barber: “Oh.. sorry I though you said don’t use scissors”
(You see after my first couple of haircuts in the US, I learnt that a hair trimmer is a weapon of mass destruction with which a barber can ruin your hair before you can even realize what that whirring sound near your ears is.)
As the scissors start snipping, she says,
B: “The weather’s so wonderful today, and it’s so pleasant outside”.
Why, why the weather. I fail to understand this incessant need the people of this country have about discussing the weather. And it always starts with the weather and ends up with a discussion about arranged marriage. So I’ve learnt not to encourage this conversation further. So all I say is, “Yeah”

Then after 20 minutes of intense hair cutting in which the barber uses scissors of many different shapes and sizes, she announces that she is done. The haircut is a disaster. At some places the hair is spiking up. And at some places the hair is too long. Basically I will be the subject of a lot of jokes and comments over the next few days. Earlier I used to panic but I am used to it by now. All I do is remind her that she’s yet to trim my side burns. Invariably no-one ever knows how to trim side locks using scissors and so out come the hair trimmers. What I write about next also happens without fails, always. First she’ll trim my left burn. Then the right one. Then she’ll check to see whether they are level. They are never at the same level. So the next 10 minutes are spent trying to level two side burns. Interesting that 9000 miles away, the same activity barely takes 60 seconds. But after the side burn fiasco, my happiness level is at a new high. I’m done with a haircut. I don’t even have to think about another one for the next 40 days or so. I pay the same amount of money with which I could buy one week’s groceries, then pay some more as tip and leave.

So here’s the outline of a haircut in the US:
* Sign up for a hair-cut
* Nothing to read while waiting.
* Explain and re-explain to the barber about the type of haircut I want.
* Explain it once again.
* Discuss for the nth time today, the weather.
* Excruciatingly slow 20 minute haircut.
* Even slower side burn trimming
* End result: Disastrous expensive hair cut.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


It’s the spring of 1998 and second semester as Ramrao Adik Institue of Technology (RAIT). The male variety of the seniors has found an unsullied canvas amongst the bunch of unsuspecting little FE girls. Each senior has his own plan of attack; the wheels of which have been in motion since the beginning of the first semester.

The first meeting between the senior and the girl went off smoothly. It was just by chance that they met. The girl was being ragged (inappropriately, I must add) and it was the senior who was her knight in shining armor, who got her out of the canteen and dropped her into the (then) welcoming and safe arms of lecture room. Or maybe the girl was traveling back in second class and the senior was in the same train because he had not got his first class pass yet and wanted to avoid the rush hour. He was sympathetic to the problems she was facing in this new world of engineering and was well equipped with funny anecdotes to make her forget her problems, even though it is just for that one ride. Or maybe the girl wanted to buy some second hand engineering books for cheap (considering that she could not get 299 PCM and now her “baapu” had to pay 32k year for a “paid” seat), and our bookworm had just the right book for her, and the cost was in single digits.

So what if the guy had to take “panga” with the wrong kind of guys when he rescued the grateful girl. Sold an expensive book for pennies? Never mind a few days of “tangi” now, the end-of-semester crash course embezzlement always returned good yields. But hunting season came just once a year and nothing was left to chance. Each meeting had been well though out. Unknown to the gullible girls, they are the protagonists in a plot so complex; it would put Ludlum to shame.

(To be continued..)

Friday, March 24, 2006

So, how is LA?

So people have been asking me how is LA. In one word: different. In two words different but great (3 words actually).

In the 5 years I have been in the US, I've stayed at a lot of places all over the east coast. First I was at Syracuse in upstate NY, then Daytona Beach in Florida, then Charleston in South Carolina. Although each place had its individual flavor, at the very least you still felt you were in the same country. All of them had a very relaxed atmosphere, easy going life and the biggest ethic group was caucasian white. The roads were perfect, there were no traffic hassles, they were sparsely populated and things were distinctly American. I never though twice about my personal safety of the safety of my belonging.

Los Angeles is very different. It’s crowded, dirty and disorganized. People are running all the time. It is the home to the maximum number of Mexicans, Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese outside of their countries, so you see a large number of ethnic people (yes, even more than you see in New York city). Here the roads can compete with the roads of Bombay in terms of the sheer number, traffic is a major problem (Mumbaites: You think Saki Naka is bad? Try I-405 during peak hours) and so is parking and people drive like crazy all the time. Things cannot be taken for granted, you cannot expect the bus driver to stop for you, you cannot expect the cashiers to greet you, and you cannot expect people to always overtake your car from the left lane (what the hell, you cant even expect them to not overtake your car from the exit lane). And yes, you have to be safety conscious here.

Notice however, that I said things are different here. That does not mean I am not enjoying every minute of it. The bad roads and the traffic conditions remind me of my beloved Bombay. More ethic people mean more ethnic places to eat or more ethnic co-workers. There are twice the number of Indian restaurants and grocery stores in a 5 mile radius from my apartment, then all the restaurants and grocery stores of Syracuse, Daytona and Charleston put together. And plus I have a lot more Indian friends here than I have remaining in Bombay. Maybe things will change but I am not complaining right now.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Defies common sense?

I just realized something this morning and it's been in my head ever since. Why do they have braille on the digits of drive up ATM'S? It makes no sense at all. I tried looking this up online, feeling sure that this was in compliance with some law, but found nothing. Just another of those things that defy common sense?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Great week for cricket

From Binary-Fusion: Sports:

"Does anyone else remember a week more glorious for cricket than this past one? Recent times have not been good for cricket... " (more)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Missing my TV

Yesterday, Syracuse beat number 1, University of Connecticut, in the Big East basket ball tournament, and that too in overtime (86-84). McNamara hit a 3-point shot with 5.5 in the game, to sent it to overtime. I did not watch the game because I dont have a TV. I sold my Sony Wega when I moved from Charleston. I am really missing it now. But moving a TV when you change apartments (or cities, in my case) is a big headache and with our lease running out at the end of this month, it really doesn't make sense to buy one right now. So no March Madness for me :(

BTW, I think that now there is little doubt that Syracuse will make it to the NCAA tournament now as an at large bid.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Google Calendar

From Binary-Fusion: Technology:

"I rely heavily on my Hotmail calendar right now. I use it to remind me of birthdays, anniversaries, travel dates, memorable events and what not. It's got a lot better recently. It allows me to add categories to an event and share appointments with other people. But it still.... "(more)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Hello World ver 3.0

The last few weeks have been eventful for me. I've moved to Los Angeles to start a new job. Everything is new for me here, new coast, new city, new job everything. So why not a new blog?

Actually the reason I have a new blog is that I got tired of hosting my blog on my own machine. Besides the obvious, that my blog went down whenever my machine did, I did not like the hole security hole. Not that DotNetNuke has security problems, just that I was not sure I was doing the necessary house keeping.

So here it is, my third "Hello World" post. Pasted below is my first "Hello World" post.


I have been hearing about blogs since quite some time now. But when I heard that "Blog" was the most popular search on, I knew I had to jump onto the bandwagon NOW. And so here I am writing on a strange website, not knowing if anybody is ever going to read what I write. But this will give me a chance to write and sometimes I really enjoy writing. So I hope I get a few hits and people enjoy reading my blogs.

Today is the 5th of December. Another day I wasted not studying for MCAD. My original plan was to give a test before I leave for India (22nd December), but my motivation levels to study over the weekend after a tiring work-week are downright non-existent.

Today I watched the Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers 47-17. Donovan McNabb had 5 TD's passes. Was fun watching a guy from my university (Syracuse) on TV :)

Today was also the first day that I had to turn on the heater. Although it was for a brief while, it reminded me of the days at Syracuse and how much better the weather is here at Daytona.

I spend most of the day trying to setup my new desktop computer. After installing the operating system (XP professional), the first thing I did was to install the must haves like Winamp, VideoLan, FireFox etc. Tomorrow I will install a FTP server and IIS. I am planning to use this machine to host my website, which I will develop in ASP.NET. I was waiting since a long time for this. All the commercial hosts for hosting ASP.NET web pages are too expensive. So this way I'll save some cash. Whether I will actually get around to making the website is questionable though. LOL.

Anyways.. this is the end of my first post. I have already edited it 3 times. Here's to many successful, entertaining and popular blogs. Cheers.