Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Basket-case Study

An old case study that was written a couple of years ago soon after the Foundation Course (FC) & Phase I:

Far across the oceans, in the distant Polynesian archipelago, there is the Mountainous Island of Yaess. This island is inhabited by a young migrant population. The ruling elite class also consists of immigrant population but of a different manufacturing date.

The story of the Yaess Island could be summarized as the perpetual struggle between the progressive and forward-looking administration and the regressive non-responsive citizenry. Citizens often alleged that the powerful ruling bourgeoisie wielded enormous unaccounted power, which was obviously untrue.

For instance, the Yaess administration was supplying hot water to the citizens once a day through Mark II pumps. As the Administration was very reform oriented, it wanted to introduce Mark III pumps which would supply water only once in a month. This would reduce water consumption greatly, thus contributing to the progress of the Island. The then Home Minister, Dr. Bakosh said in a press release that there was some resistance to Mark III pumps as the superstitious and traditional citizens did not adopt innovative measures such as bathing once a month.

Ignorant and unintelligent citizens often alleged the government of the Island to be very harsh on their basic civil liberties. One of their major complaints was the compulsory frog-hunting exercise undertaken in the early morning. This was being criticized by the Atheist & Rationalist Association of Yaess Island (ARAYI) as being superstitious and unscientific. Mr. Max D.D.T, President of the Association wrote to the Indian Hunter’s Union (IHU) complaining against the lead hunter, Mr. Shambhu. The first premise of this hunting exercise is that all human bodies are manufactured alike under factory specifications. Second premise is that compassion and usage of courteous language are cardinal sins. Martyrdom on the hunting grounds is the desired goal.

As per the law of the Island, criticism of the ritualistic frog-hunting is blasphemy. This has been specifically mentioned in Kon Duct Smruthi, the Ancient scripture dating as early as 1950 A.D. It also mentions that Frog hunting in the early morning makes your kidney hyper-functional and the pancreas muscular. The corpus callosum becomes Medulla Oblongata and the Oesophagus becomes the vertebral column. Elders in the island fondly recollect these sessions with goose pimples and tears.

Similarly, compulsory kangaroo riding is criticized by some intellectually challenged citizens. They have demanded that they be acquainted with more ‘mundane’ skills like bike riding taking into consideration that an astonishing number of the citizens didn’t know such skills. Lord Yarajesha, the Minister of Defence investigated this and found no merit in such arguments. He concluded that a proper understanding of the Kangaroo psychology would be very helpful as most people have basic underlying kangarufication in their psyche. The supplementary report by Lord White Tender said that riding a difficult animal like kangaroo helps one overcome fear. Infact, he recommended that in future compulsory riding on bear, tiger, lion and hippopotamus should also be introduced to cater to the needs of the fast changing globalization era. Enlightened citizens like Mr.Enemynta and Prof. Icepeak were thrilled to hear such proposals. Dr. Infinite Shiney, another prominent citizen and also a prominent medical professional hailed this decision on medical grounds.

Meanwhile, many misers amongst the citizenry led by Mr.Silver Shiney protested against rising food prices. The mid-day meal scheme was in quandary. H.H. Princess Sunken Emajinason, Minister of Food & Civil Supplies denied this. Prime Minister Sultan Ouou Lockkuar prepared detailed Excel sheets to study this allegation. Since Excel work sheet is extremely suited for this, the research work is expected to be completed by the very next decade. As luck would have it, Lord Srikrishna, the just, did not shower much blessings or rain in the Island for the sixth consecutive year. In short, rising prices and food shortage coupled with drought made the population rebellious.

However, petty talk over price rise and failed crops is considered unbecoming of a Yaess Islander who should not be worried of small things such as food, shelter and clothing. He is after all, the cream of the world. Such petty issues are for the beggars and the underprivileged wretched lot. But the sad part is that the non-progressive citizenry never rose above their petty concerns.

Meanwhile, there occurred a large scale infiltration of the Island by elderly migrants which resulted in acute shortage of essential commodities and basic facilities in the tiny Island. Many were rendered homeless and many lost their belongings to the invaders. Service-delivery deteriorated badly.

Another contentious issue facing the Island nation is the objection raised by fashion-ignorant citizens who termed the official dress code of the Islanders as ‘very very funny’. Subsequently, Lord Chou Oprah Commission was appointed which conducted a detailed inquiry and submitted the report thus:

“It is astonishing that the dress code has been termed ‘funny’ while the whole intent has been to bring in a grave mood by designing the attire modelled on an undertakers’ dress. We also note that the other option modelled on the Butler’s uniform has unfortunately failed to catch the imagination of the islanders. The Commission recommends that no change be allowed in the dress code and that it should be enforced more stringently. We need to perfect the dress code. The Commission is optimistic that in the near future we will achieve 100% dress code compliance. After that we will try to think about minor issues such as moral and ethical codes.” There was widespread rioting after the submission of this report and an agitated Ayyangar youth, Selvan L.Y Goodlaugh attempted self-immolation to demand statutory protection for mundu. Security proceedings were initiated against him by the District Magistrate, Lord Clockaani, under section 107 Cr.P.C as he threatened to set the whole of the island on fire. Finally, the issue was settled with Dr.Vaasu of the Paavaada Mundu Kazhakam (PMK) being nominated as a member of the Dress Code Implementation Committee.

It has to be noted that the past history of the Island has also not been very peaceful. The general public was so immature that it revolted in December 2007 A.D. Though the coup resulted in the overthrow of the then Prime Minister Lord Skylite Amberor, there were 107 casualties in the battle. Two contemporary historians Ms.Happyi and Ms.Happita have recorded the troubled times in their classic work titled “Post-modern positive trends in post-coup society-A Postscript”. This publication marked the paradigm shift in the administrative thought prevailing in society. The leftist progressive Intellectual, Prof. Murugan soon demanded that a study be made into the oppression carried out by the petty bourgeois over the citizens. The new post-coup administration decided to undertake a fresh look into the whole issue.

Soon, 8 study groups were sent out far across the distant lands to study and analyse how the citizens could be coaxed into accepting the modernisation programme of the Island administration. A comparative approach would then be made to find solutions to the problems faced by the administration and the citizens in this endeavour. The groups soon returned with lots of T.A Bills and a few diary notes.

Now the Administration appointed a Special Commission to go through the notes and inquire if there was any problem in the system which made life difficult for the citizens. And if at all there was some problem, should it be rectified?!

The Commission observed,

“The profound view of this Commission is that life should be made as difficult as possible with increasing degree of torture such that on a later date when one looks back, you tend to feel good about the past. This feeling would emanate from the sheer feeling of relief. The emphasis is not to enjoy the present. Enjoy only the past. This is a quasi-intellectual, quasi-cerebral exercise. These tortures have to go on as it maintains the relevance of the Island administration. The Philadelphia-Minnowbrook line of thought has not forsaken the “relevancy factor.’ While there are so many other ways to remain relevant and important, this is the easiest/shortest way. As efficient administrators, one needs to follow the shortest path. Time-motion studies are guiding us in this regard.”

The challenge before the Island administration is not just to modernise the administration, but also to process re-engineer the citizens’ thinking process. This would result in the transformation of Yaess Island to e-Ass Island by developing knowledge-torture linkages resulting from widespread automation and implementation of innovative programmes like e-danda.

The Officer Trainees are to carefully read the above case study and divide themselves into 91 groups and discuss strictly within their groups as to how a change could be brought in the Island.
The questions to be considered are:

1. What are the innovative forms of e-torture which are practically implementable in the Island of Yaess?
2. What steps do you suggest to make the citizens more torture-friendly?
3. Design a replicable model based on the above case study using MS Excel, MS Project and MS Swaminathan with interpolation of MS Paint in Oracle based exhaustive Data Mining architecture.

You will be judged and evaluated on the actual change/torture that is made possible.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Letters from a Daughter to her Father: Week 6

Dear friends,

Yet again I managed to chance upon Bitiyarani's letter...barely managed to get it

Dear Papa,

I have my doubts that somebody is stealing my letters and also marking me absent in my classes. I have zeroed in on a few suspects who are trying many many dirty tricks on me. I have already put in a complaint to my counsellor.

This week we met an uncle who called upon people to abuse each other and walk around naked. He felt that civilized and normal people are a threat to the nation; further propounding that artists are deviant creatures and that “we can never understand how their minds work.” And that they are “helpless & impulsive”…they are compelled to draw naked and write filthy. (Artist Gunji was seen fiddling with his buttons. Maybe his impulse was getting better of him.) The uncle strongly felt that artists being a minority like the gays, their rights have to be protected….obviously this was the biggest issue facing the nation. He also saw it as a means to make socialism a reality wherein everyone would be a nudist. The language barriers would also melt through a compilation of universally accepted abuses. My classmate Ravishankar then expressed his opinion that MF Hussain should be sporting the same dress code as he portrays in his painting. Dirty boys with ultra dirty minds alleged that this demand has to be understood more in the context of Ravishankar’s predispositions. When the talk went into unchartered territory, Dr.Amit Saini, the renowned psychiatrist felt the Id within him propelling a thunderous outburst in defence of Hanumanji whose prasad was still lingering in his mouth. The discussion drew to an end when Sant Alok Tewari Maharaj managed to sufficiently confuse the uncle with his intellectual exposition.

After that class, a military uncle gave us training in air borne warfare and missile propellent technology. The prominent defence analyst Ms.Yasha Mudgal was keenly observing the scene. At the end of the warfare, we came to know that some land from enemy territory was acquired.

One day, the uncle paaji who comes on TVS Scooty told us of the necessity to do multiple farming. People like Shannu who were not even in a position to do single crop farming raised strong objection to such an elitist approach. He demanded some patta land but nobody listened to him.

3 or 4 uncles and an aunty descended in the afternoon to teach us how to cultivate in the mountains. But actually it was a trick played by the plain dwellers...they purposely did not even mention the word 'mountain' during the session. This was a funny sort of game played in some parts of the plains to make fun of the mountain dwellers. My classmate and prominent mountain dweller, Deepak Rawat was mighty upset. The NREGA expert Rajesh was looking forward to learning new technologies of mountain farming…and he was found in tears after the class. The cruelest joke on these enthusiasitic farmers of my class was played by two of the uncles who refused to even open their mouth at all. They are suspected to have been spraying pesticides sitting behind in the class room.

The best experience of the week was a grand old uncle gaving a demonstration on the treatment of insomnia in a combined session where we sat along with 3rd standard kids. The setting was really grand. Finally the entire batch was put to sound sleep and his poor assistant, a Professor was left standing and operating the PPT, unable to sleep. To cater to the treatment of those few who did not benefit from his treatment, judicial intervention was made the very next day, which was very efficient, though intermittent coughs were jarring. This intervention is believed to be an imperialistic conspiracy to infect the School with swine flu which had so far been masterfully avoided by canceling various trips abroad.
As all of us know, capitalism always wins… aah, Papa, ain't I sounding intellectual after spending 6 weeks in school?

Thats it for this week Papa.

Love you lots,


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Letters from a daughter to her father:Week 5

Yet again a letter from Bitiya Rani came across me..what a coincidence for the fifth week in a row!

Dear Papa,

This week began with an exposure to the efforts taken by the police to “mainstream HIV in all districts”. A police uncle gave a detailed exposition on the police approach in this regard. After his dedicated effort, AIDS has been considerably popularized in all the districts and it is spreading steadily. Dushmanta Behra, the Oriya par excellence then expounded the 'Equitorial theory of AIDS' which states that the HIV virus travels along predetermined lines after keen observance of the latitudes & longitudes. He had correlation studies to prove his point regarding the preference exhibited by the virus.

Handling urban poor using the systems approach was the theme of the talk by the next uncle. This involved manhandling the urban poor using systems’ jargon. Our classmate Madan felt perfectly at home during this lecture and he carried forward the systems’ discussions in the mess over tea. It was an exhilarating experience for him as he finally found one of his kind.

Abhishek Dev, the humble farmer then talked to us on ruralisation of Chandigarh and his efforts to promote agriculture on the highways. Efforts to identify excess holding of highway land beyond land ceiling limits by the NHAI and distribution of the same to marginalized farmers in pursuance of land reforms was explained in detail. This will apparently bring about the second and third green revolution at a single stroke. This project is undertaken as directed by CRS, Mussoorie.

“Empowerment of Shabana” was a One Act play enacted in our school by small time stage actress S. Habana Assami aunty. She asked the organizer of the play to read out a list of all the plays she had done. She was very particular that all her galli plays be mentioned and also that the many tokens of appreciation she received from various gallis and mohallaas be prominently read out. The story of the play was based on game theory. The game was called ‘haughty-haughty’. The play turned out to be extremely parliamentary in nature.

Yet another play named “Employee Productivity, Motivation and Discipline (EPMD)” was enacted before us. This was an emotional melodrama and many onlookers had to use hydraulic pumps to control the outflow of tears. The story is based on macroeconomics and not on science fiction as was rumoured earlier in the day. Probably this is the first play to be made on macroeconomic theory. Lord Vyasan, the eminent economist was thrilled with this thought provoking economic drama.

The theme of the play revolves around the economic question, -whether free option is available or not? The award winning actress, Madhabiben Mohapatra, who plays a banker, puts this disturbing question to the chief protagonist, played by Aravind Swamy. The hero is an honest and upright Chartered Accountant with trade union background who firmly believed that free options were available and he loudly proclaims this before the cruel world. Thereafter the heroine bursts out in rage and walks out..straight to her Maikka. This free-option issue becomes a bone of contention between the Parivaars of the hero and heroine. Swords were soon drawn. This is the setting of the play.

Superstar of the nineties, Ashish Kumar, plays a character-role in this play. In a heated moment, he shouts at the hero with the Talwar drawn and ready. He enumerates what all the heroine had “…bank mein job, karodon ki daulat, naukar chaakar, motor car, chaar variety hair dye, do kuthe , theen bache aur do-theen degree. Tumhare paas kya hai..? Tum aakhir kaun ho?” Aravind Swamy, the hero delivers the punch dialogue “Mere paas Mess hai...”

[The question of “Tum aakhir kaun ho?” meanwhile stirred the sleeping Arthur from his slumber. This question had been asked by so many thinkers and philosophers and yet none got answers till date. The philosopher in Arthur had this question thrown to him for the first time. He decided to undertake a pilgrimage to St.Tavern’s Cathedral that very evening to ponder over this question.]

The highlight of this play was Bengali actress Pausumi Bandhopadhaya’s item number. (Special binoculars were supplied to the spectators on the back rows so that the tiny actress was visible on the stage.) At the climax, Madhabiben Mohapatra decides to leave the hero, with whom she had serious differences of economic theory. She then decides to adopt the item bomb shell and they lived happily every after.

ONGC, Reliance and ICICI Bank sponsored this play which had a social message.

An entrepreneur saw an opportunity to make a soap opera, “CC Bhi Kabhi OT Tha” (CBKOT) based on this play. The casting is still on and interested actors may contact Sri.Ashutosh, the reliable who believes in doing everything in the private. He has produced quite a few movies/tele-serials/plays privately; but they flopped basically because he insisted that everyone should watch the movie in private. He will have nothing to be done publicly. He says, “I just hate the public sector.” People may kindly contact him privately for casting purposes.

Meanwhile, Gopal Yo Yo, the classic playboy, the Casanova, was yet again attacked by a posse of non-vegetarian girls. This time he had a close shave. The first attack was late in the night at 11.00pm when he was getting into the bed after vegetarian meals. The females continued to torment him and tried to impress him through various non-vegetarian means. His DC cheated him and did not tell him to take precautionary measures during such interactions and associations. So needless to say, all get-togethers were without any precaution. The implications of these meetings will not be known immediately; only time will tell.

So Papa, that’s about this week. The school is getting wilder by the day and if all is okay I’ll mail you next week.


Bitiya Rani

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Letters from a daughter to her father:Week 4

Dear friends,

Here is the copy of this week's letter sent by Bitiyarani to her dad. I had some difficulty getting a copy, hence the delay...

Dear Papa,

Last week was exciting! There was strong rumour that some vested interests from within the school had approached the Supreme Court in appeal over the s.377 order of the High Court, precisely with the intention to upset the ideas of a few gentlemen changing their cadres. On the other hand it is rumoured that the CM of Orissa had a role in this appeal, aimed at stalling the exit of a few good and proven guys like Ballu and Bhau. For the time being, the benches are as frozen as before.

This week, our school witnessed a virtual trek. We were all taken to some Tibba from where we trekked for over 14km and then came back. (Shri. Sanket Bhondve organized a photography competition during the trek.) This virtual exercise was done within one hour and we were all exhausted after the effort. On the way back, we saw a movie as well. With the advancement of technology and with daily reflection practice, we have become capable enough to have simulated experience of almost anything. Similarly we underwent a plane hijacking in Israel and escaped unscathed. A virtual simulation of hijacking in Indian context was also sought to be run. But we knew that if such a simulation took place, none of us would be rescued. So we stopped the simulation exercise as and when the hijacking began.

This week we had one uncle who taught us how to dig holes. (His inspiration and motivation in life has been his spiritual Guru called Swamy Ayya who had also come along to grace the podium.) The uncle specialized in digging holes and later filling it up. But the secret of his success has been that he measures the holes in groups of ten or twenty before filling it up. This is colloquially called “Nappy”. This is the first time that nappy was used to measure anything. Swamy Ayya was witness for all this innovation.

For two hours, the uncle elaborated on the socio-cultural aspects and macro economic ramifications of digging well-measured holes in grouping of ten and twenty with special reference to other geospatial occurrences which might be as innocuous as El Nino or as significant as the third button hole in a Bandhgala. It was quite complex; next to rocket science. Ultimately everything boils down to how well you dig a hole, he said in all humility. The nappy needs to be real solid and we need to hit hard on the parasites… For every second sentence the humble disciple would call upon Swamy Ayya to bless him and his children. This went on and on and on…

Finally, after two hours of silence, Swamy Ayya, the revered Guru spoke on how Nirvana was attained.

Guru Swamy Ayya narrated a story: Swamy Ayya had visited a house in Rajasthan. The lady of the house had left some portions of the wall without whitewashing so as to save some money. However, Swamy Ayya went on pestering her about the gap in the wall and how unstylish it looked. It was not at all contemporaray. Fed up with such comments the lady told Swamy Ayya that the marks on the wall needed to be preserved to keep account of the money that the Sarpanch owed her husband. Swamy Ayya broke down into tears and attained Nirvana then and there.

Later Swamy Ayya ate the chapattis that the lady gave her and experienced bliss.

Meanwhile, few of my classmates in their neo-literate enthusiasm were taking part in a literacy campaign in the class when forces of darkness and ignorance snatched the books of knowledge from those devout readers. It was returned after two long hours of fast-on-to death agitation. This great occasion is celebrated throughout India, especially in Varanasi as Book-vaapsi Divas. The great leader of this movement, Shri.Alok Tiwari has promised that at least one elephant will be constructed in the classroom to commemorate this event.

This week also saw more wild and nutty schedules of badminton being experimented by the Playboy club of the school. Stalwarts stood stunned on the sidelines as the hyper-flexible playboy, Mr.Mallick displayed his caliber and stamina, again and again, throughout the day and late into the night. he a playboy!

This week also saw the launch of a new Service, IBS under the able guidance of the Great Maratha contingent. The first bakra for the bakr service was Shri. Anurag Tiwari., IBS who gracefully accepted the honour. An experiment conducted in collaboration with the Duke university showed beyond doubt that even after 7 odd years into the job, the ‘bakr-ism’ does not die out. Books, bags, it's contents etc are of mere ornamental value serving no purpose at all…the real stuff is ‘bakr’. That’s what makes us stand apart. For two whole days, one gentleman in Phase III carried around the bag of a Phase II. does it matter!

Papa, though there were many other events this week, its time for me to go and enjoy my extra physical training with 17 other lucky ones…so bye for now. Take care.

Lots of love,


Letters from a daughter to her father:Week 3

4 July 2009


On the occasion of completion of 3 weeks in the academy, Bitya Rani's one more letter in the series of "Letters from a daughter to the Father" has come to my hands. Kindly peruse for information and no necessary action:

Dear Papa,

The recent Delhi High Court order has created quite a ripple in the school. Few dirty fellows were telling me that my close friend Jhabua ka Babua had fought and won that particular case. But he has totally denied this. I believe him entirely.

On the contrary, I have my doubts on few others. I am told that with this order, a new vista has been opened…a window of opportunity…a rare possibility. Now to change the benches on which we sit, we need not strike friendship with a friend of the opposite sex. Same gender courtship can in the near future be a ground for changing our benches (or cadres, as they are colloquially referred to). Whatt ann idea sirrjee…

With the benefit of the new interpretation of 377, the animal angle for cadre change is being examined in detail by Dr.Basavaraju, the renowned vet. People interested in Assam may court the Rhino and those courting the Ridley turtles may get Orissa. An affair with an elephant can take you to Karnataka, while a fling with Khataknath chicken can take you straight to Jhabua! A window of immense possibility has been thrown open and our batch may be the first to exploit these.

It is in this context that the eminent social scientist, commentator and leader of the moral brigade, Dr.Deepak Rawat requested the authorities to keenly observe the room mates who display suspicious behaviour.

Our morning meditation sessions have been disrupted due to rain and I really miss it. The 3 piece bikini movement has thus come to a grinding halt. But we try our best to meditate during the classes with increased vigour.

Papa, our school is very liberal and actively encourages alcohol consumption. Those who take just a quarter peg have been put in quarter group. Similarly, there are pint groups, half groups and full groups. Only my friend Arthur sits in the full group.In our Quarter group sessions there was extensive discussion on onion, potato, chicken(murga) and other food items. The debate was basically as to what goes best with a quarter peg whiskey. A chicken rearing experiment carried out by a young active, honest and dynamic IAS officer in Jhabua was discussed in such a session. Murugan the subject expert on murgi on being contacted however refused to comment on the merits of this case.

During a quarter session, Raghav, my friend described how best he tried to create a law and order problem in the sedate town of Madurai. It is not rare to find such drunken people create nuisance after consuming a quarter or half. Raghav after a quarter peg apparently tried to break down a wall and this led to clashes and police firing.

The other day, after a quarter or so, Dr.Dange expounded a detailed presentation on Total Sanitation Campaign. She apparently conducted surprise checks in the village in the early hours to strictly enforce it. Social Scientist Pausumi Basu was very much interested in the nature and content of the competitions held for the villagers, as part of this campaign. But going by the snaps displayed during the presentation by Dr.Dange, the toilets constructed in the district did not have any doors and it was theorectically ‘open defeacation’. Besides, health activist, Dr. Saini observed, that with such extensive 24x7 coverage using installed cameras, some people might unreasonably feel shy to enter the toilets. He gave a detailed diagrammatic explanation to explain the psychological thought process of an individual who enters such a toilet. It was brilliant. Not even Mona could give such an exposition.

The faculty wanted a concerted effort to create awareness for Total Sanitation to be implemented.

The renowned thinker and philosopher, Ajit Patil, after consuming a quarter, however gave a more practical method of implementing Total sanitation. His idea was to have NREGA workers armed with air guns to patrol the village fields in the early mornings.

Soon after that, Dr.Gunwant gave an emotional talk on gender issues which left the thinker, philosopher & Social scientist, Pausumi Basu wondering whatz the difference between gender and sex. After meditation, it dawned upon her that as far as she was concerned one is a verb and the other a noun.

On Monday, we had an uncle who came to talk to us on how he was forever hounded by all the District Collectors because they were all hydrophobic. This uncle was the only sensible person left on the planet and only he knows how rain happens, how rivers are formed and how oceans are filled up. It was lovely to listen to him. With 4 snaps and a kurta, he could hold us spell bound for 2 hours. He advised the Government on water issues. This monsoon season, he is very much occupied as he is currently advising God almighty.

The most interesting session this week was a discussion on ‘to be or not to be’ led by 10 fools who had ‘never been’ but hope ‘to be’ and made to so discuss by those who ‘have been’…all initiated by a write up by someone foreigner who ‘has never been’ and 'will never be', quoting someone who ‘had been’ and who probably wants nobody else ‘to be’. It ended on a positive note probaabbbly because primaarilly it could not end on any other note.

Today we were visited by an uncle who is suspected to carry swine flu virus. We had dinner together, we standing and the uncle sitting. My friends and I always kept a distance of 3.5 metres from him, while our teachers and seniors were jumping around him. They were probably expecting some special dish called empanelment-masala. He followed a highly unpredictable trajectory while having soup and hit upon many unsuspecting pupils who were keen to avoid him. Every time he coughed, we shuddered.

Tomorrow is the big day Papa! Granny Chabbees foot Traditionwali, the chairman of our school management is arriving tomorrow. The entire school has been spruced up. We just hope that as has been happening with our batch throughout, this event may also be cancelled happily and we may get our week end back!

Btw, I heard that on the next weekend we’ll be forcibly asked to enjoy a pleasure trip.

Nothing else Papa, allz fine here.... Bye…


Bitiya Rani

Letters from a daughter to her father:Week 2

26 June 2009

Dear friends...Since nobody has taken up the task of stealing and publishing Bitiya rani's letter this week, I once again take upon myself this onerous task. On the wonderful occasion of completion of the 2nd week at the Academy, I present the second in the series of “Letters from a Daughter to the Father". As always, don't ask me from where I got the letter!

Dear Papa,

You won’t believe me….I talked to one of the numerous flies in our Mess. And the fly talked back to me! I seem to have become a Dr.Dolittly. My friendly fly is “e”, a tamilian fly in the Mess. He has been in our school for quite some time and is very knowledgeable. “E” has so many fundas that he has learnt from our esteemed faculty. He always keeps telling that ‘probaabbly a super cyclone is waiting to primaarilly acktually happen if the system is not reformed in the immediate conceivable future with concerted and co-ordinated effort from all stake holders who could in all probaabbility be an unassuming entity primaarrily intended to involve themselves in the affairs of Koraput while I was traveling with the SP’…. . I often fail to understand such profound language that he has imbibed from the learned. Nevertheless, we had a good conversation. In the future mails, I’ll tell more of the tit bits that he gave…

Our class teacher Ashish sir told us that yet another face would be put on display in the coming days. You know, I’m myself already into 2nd face now. I saw quite a 4th face people also. I heard that 3 faced people would soon be joining our school. How exciting!

This week, the main learning point is that even practical things can be presented as theory. Our teachers can even teach swimming in the classroom within the first 100 days. I heard they’re planning a postal course on swimming with online feedback mechanism. We’re eagerly waiting for this.

Our daily meditation is going on nice. A Ashok and B Ashok Committes look after acoustics and music content respectively while Nila Mohanan Committee keeps watch on the birthdays of the students. During meditations, renowned researchers, Dr.Neeraj and Dr. Saini were seen conducting serious studies on the body weight apportionment on either lobes of the posterior while sitting in meditation. Papa, things are really changing and everything is getting modern. Things have become quite fashionable and a new and strong clamour for 3 piece swimsuits in the school is heard very loud and vocal. Our uncle, the man of few words is in the leadership of what is now referred to as the 3 piece swimsuit-movement. History will remember this movement as 3PSS Movement.

One fine morning, Nila Mohanan Committee introduced Japanese music by one Mr.Katori Kuttakari which sent tremors through the spines of dessert lovers like Sanjay bhayya. He recollected that the dessert katoris have recently become micro sizes. Such conservatives have always discouraged administrative reforms. We expect that micros and mini micros may also make an entry as an innovation.

The other day, we were meditating right under the shade of the memorial for martyrs, an eerie patriotic song was played that really startled me. Most of us felt that we’re being prepared to make the supreme sacrifice. Speaking of martyrs, my friend Ajit Patil denied any links with the latest martyr in Madhya Pradesh. Ajit claims to be quite a straight guy.

Conducting time-motion studies on students is another development by the school administration. For accomplishing this, unlimited motion has been ensured for all students through critical bowel intervention. The time motion studies have now acquired a momentum of its own and no force is able to contain it. This is referred to as attaining critical velocity, making the entire experience pretty loose.

Today we saw an 1850 Bangla movie called “Ration” (kindly pronounce it the Bangla way) which questions basic concepts like time, space, brain etc. It was our classmate Chaitra’s Birthday treat to the class. People who had seen the silent version of the movie 4 times and didn’t understand it had the opportunity to hear the dialogues for the first time.

It was an emotional movie on implementation of NREGA in a forest area. It shows two NREGA workers trying to dig pits by poking locally made swords in the soil. The heroine is the Panchayat President, Kamalakshi Amma. During the course of the movie, it so happens that an ant is killed by one of the workers. Then they sit together and describe various versions of how the ant was killed. There is heavy rainfall and Mallika Sherawat does an item number in the background. They are not able to come to a conclusion and they are thoroughly confused because of the distraction by Mallika in the background. At the climax, the BDO tells them that it was a National Permit Ashok Leyland lorry that ran over the ant. The driver of this truck is then arrested by the local SI and his mustache is shaved off as a mark of respect to the late ant. Without mustache, the NREGA workers are not able to identify the lorry driver and thus the confusion continues as to what is the ultimate truth. Truth has many faces, with and without mustaches.

Whereever the movie was screened, it has always left the viewers with a lot of disturbing questions like… Who will refund my tickets? Did the Gram Sabha select the beneficiary for NREGA? Which blade was used
to shave the driver? Was castrol used in the lorry engine? Were the muster rolls properly kept? Was IAY implemented there? .….so on and so forth.

This is considered as a classic movie and 101 interpretations of the movie have come out. The director is no more and it is speculated that he committed suicide after hearing one of the interpretations in which both the NREGA workers develop a passionate gay relationship which the Panchayat President does not approve of on account of the medieval morality concepts.

On the whole, this week was fine and I’ll mail next week, provided I’m fine till then.

Lots of love,
Bitiya Rani

Letters from a daughter to her father: Week 1

19 June 2009

One week up!

On this auspicious occasion of concluding the first week of Phase II training in the Academy, let me have the privilege of publishing the first in a weekly series on “Letters from a daughter to her Father”.

P.S- Don’t ask me how I got these letters!

Dear Papa,

I reached Mussoorie comfortably and my first week went off very soundly and sleepily. First day was basically looting and I lost Rs.1205/- in the first round. Very coarse briefs were supplied thereafter and this evoked different languages from most our friends here. These languages were tested and certified in a place called Sampoornanad. Historians tell me that once upon a time, there were persons by this name! How horrible…

Everyday morning all students do frog jump and other rituals to please the mountain Gods. This continues. As you know, the local custom is not to bathe for days. The school is helping us to adjust to this local tradition. Now a new local custom of wearing unwashed clothes is also fast catching up. The Laundromats have also been shut to facilitate this.

2nd standard class is not really different from 1st standard except that we can now slowly understand what is going on around us. Maybe it is a stage in the development of the brain. Lessons are not very difficult and this year I may pass without tuition. Many of my friends have ditched their old friends in 1st standard and have become chums with new. Angry old friends said that it was for sitting on a better bench. I am convinced that certain benches are indeed uncomfortable, unless one has been brought up sitting on those very benches. For example, my bench is the made of the old coconut tree that stood in out backyard- I find it wonderful to sit on. My bench-mate Ajit is developing a taste for coconut of late. Govind tells me that his bench is full of thorns, while Suhas says his is so comfortable that he feels like a King. I recall that Karl Marx rightly said that the beauty of a bench lies in the tough posterior of the beholder. We should ask Sanket as well, but he was in mourning.

One of these days here, I met a long haired nice uncle who reminded me of my Great grand Uncle who used to tell me happy-ending stories. This uncle was sooooo nice! I bet he said many goody goody things; I was meditating and hence could not hear much. But it must have been good. As you know, my concentration during meditation is immense.

My meditation has become even stronger after a new meditation ritual has been started in the school. After a heavy breakfast we are supposed to sit erect in the garden and meditate for half an hour. We usually count the travelling ants if meditation doesn't happen fast. Music is also played so as to mask sounds which are locally referred to as snores. One uncle sits throughout staring at us. He knows only 4 sentences and 2 verses which he repeats everyday with great precision. But by his looks and expression, he seems contented with whatever he knows. Boy, what calmness…what composure….I’m almost tempted to place a cracker under his seat. No papa, I won’t do that.

Papa, that didi whose daddy comes and gives us a speech whenever he visits her, has finally passed out of the school. Our prayers have been answered, or else we would have heard that uncle in 3rd standard also. Papa, you are always right, God is great.

Btw, a new teacher from Patna came the other day to teach Aitty Vaitty. He looked dashing and Anindita didi asked him for an autograph. He instead gave a photograph and took the next train to Patna. I don’t know why. We were then told to make friends with him; but then I remembered what Mummy had said- never talk to strangers. I hope I did the right thing. Nila didi has said that I did the right thing. A dashing young lady teacher with American accent also came to take class and my close friend Mohanraj took a special liking for her, but she just shook his hands and said bye. None of us could meditate in this class as our eyes were popping out.

And finally Papa, Madan, the boy with the bag who was on Maunvrat finally spoke today. Indeed we humans are nothing before technology. I’ll mail you next week, Papa. Hope I’m okay till then.

Yours lovingly,

Bitiya rani

Monday, April 21, 2008

Are you happy?

Are you happy? If you honestly answer this question, with no politically or intellectually correct formulations and formulae, I believe there is some reason to read on.
What is this something outside each one of us which seems to pull us so much so that you want to cease to be yourself, and be subsumed in some other identity; yet not be willing enough to absolutely forego the individuality or ‘ego’? You always wanted to be something else. You are not satisfied with what you are at any point of time. There is something which tells you about something further, just across the mountain, something like a promised land, something like a mirage which keeps moving even as you advance.
Now, one could argue that this is the innate urge for perfection. Conversely, it could be that shameless materialist within you seeking something outside all the while, without realizing that peace and contentment is within you. You can subscribe to any of these views depending on your ideological presumptions, philosophy of life and inherent biases, but the question remains unanswered: are you happy? If your philosophy of life doesn’t give you happiness or contentment, what worth is it to you…or is your Philosophy of Life for mere academic consumption?
Ultimately isn’t every shade of philosophical thought a pretext to rationalization of life? Rationalization, justification and reconciliation of ones urges, needs, selfish deeds, motives and all those subtle unexplainable elements which determine human behaviour is cleverly secured through ‘philosophy’. This is not to denigrate philosophy but to try and understand the utility of philosophy.
Coming back to the question; are you happy… the answer would be predicated by what philosophy you subscribe to. The sad fact is that the dominant philosophy of popular culture is one that values ‘success’ as its desired goal or objective which incidentally is hammered into the cognitia of everyone from childhood. Success here would connote not mere materialistic success but a wider entity. Consequentially, a subscriber to popular philosophical thought would see the terminal value of success as the sole rationalization of his life and deeds. And resultantly, failure signifies a breakdown of philosophy and hence lack of rationalization of life and effort. With the breakdown of rationalization of the apparatus of life, one ends up being discontented and unhappy.

Now, how common is success? Life is not so generous. Not more than 2% of all human effort would result in success if one seriously thinks of it. To those who felt 2% is pessimistic, let me suggest that even 2% is quite an overestimation. Of all the cumulated desires, urges, wishes, aspirations and the resultant efforts indulged in by an average human being, is it not true that bulk of these go unsatisfied? And in such circumstances, should a philosophy that has as its terminal value an attribute available only for 2% be the norm? What about the 98% which seeks to rationalize failure? The popular philosophical thoughts of the day give him no room for rationalization or justification of his failure. He is doomed. He is sad. He is discontented.
To be happy, you need a philosophy of life that justifies and accepts failure, if not eulogize it. To put it bluntly, winners do not need to philosophize. It is the losers who need a philosophy. A philosophy which ignores 98% of humanity is not worth its name.

(The snap is of a school child in Katekalyan, Dantewada enjoying her mid-day meal. She was happy.)

Capitalist Blogger

People who came over here would've found that I was away for a while. Others who did not come over to find that out deserve no acknowledgement from me. To hell with them. I was really busy over the week.I didnt update my blog for long. I've valid reasons and excuses my friends...

Last week, one of my friends bought a Mercedes E class. He didn't know to drive it properly. Since I'm well accustomed to driving Mercedes since childhood,I offered to teach him. But I often get confused with the gear handle of my BMW with that of my Merc... it was a very difficult task for me.So this kept me very busy for so many days...I hope u wud all sympathise with me.Life is indeed very difficult. Especially if u belong to high places.

Meanwhile, my latest ipod fell into the jug of imported vintage french beer when I bent forward to take my gold chain which had fallen across the kashmir carpet in my private bar. I really really hate ipods that smell beer. Just when I was going to throw it from the fifth floor of my small house, my conscience pricked me. I decided to auction it for charity.I really wonder what a wonderful place this world would be if everyone thought and behaved responsibly like me. But yeah, it is always difficult to behave responsibly. Life is indeed difficult, more so when u are high among the highest. And as u know, as a hi-fi person I'm next only to the famous diamond mearchant, Varghese Patwari.

Btw,I had to urgently pay a visit to the plantation estate as well. The bloody workers there were demanding a wage hike. This was the 7th time they were demanding a hike this year. I always knew that they were born greedy. So I never listened to their earlier 6 demands. I won't mind their 7th either. Greedy beggars. To hell with them.
On the way back I gifted Rum bottles to the Union leader as a token of respect.He wrapped it in the pages of a Communist Manifesto to hide it from the gaze of dirty drunkards who wud do anything to get it.

That night I had a decent party at my Bunglow with classic champagne flowing all over.Boy it was fun. But thats how hectic life is. Very difficult indeed.

Until yesterday, I had to tend to the stream of celebrity guests who had come to see my new dog's kennel. With a higher pedigree dog comes higher responsibility. The bone-warming function was conducted by Bejan Bonewalla, the famous astro-palmist and leggist. It was morning 3.30 when the last guest departed. Still I managed to attend the afternoon seminar on Food Crisis in Guatimala. Its not impossible to do so many things and yet be a blogger.But yes, life is indeed difficult for people like me.

Losing Bachelorhood

It was sometime in the early 1990s, when I was in the 6th or 7th grade that I actually understood the gravity of losing bachlorhood. Our beloved Edwin sir, who taught us malayalam, used to wear white shirt and white dhoti/mundu. On one fateful day, he came to the school without wearing mundu. It was quite a scene.
Those without perverted mindsets would've understood that he shifted to pants and jeans. The mundu-era had ended for him.The next week on, he started wearing T-shirts too...something totally unexpected of a puritan like him.It was something like Pt.Bhimsen Joshi singing rap.Those who knew Edwin sir were baffled.We kids, nevertheless enjoyed the transition.
The reason for the change:He got married.
In our school, we had a friend by the name of a South Indian deity, whose abode is not accessible to women.(I'll not name him considering the risks involved.)However, he was very much found in the company of women, especially during the college days.Everytime I met him, his girl friend was brand new.The final news that came in was that he married yet another girl(ie. none of the 10-15 ex-girl friends) of the junior batch in his college.A Punjabi kudi.
His second love was beer.After marriage, he totally quit avoidance of beer. Instead he took up Vodka.
The reason for the change: marriage.
Another guy who did his masters from a well reputed Institute in India went to the US to make money.He felt as if he were the moon, up above the earth, viewing the earth from a distance..detatched from responsibilities..nobody to question..and lots of money.One fine day,he was forced to marry by his parents.Immediately he started blogging.
Another friend of mine, two days after his marriage, sent me an urgent SMS. He wanted me to buy a recharge coupon for his cell phone.That was strange request. He is holding a responsible position in the government and draws a decent salary.Its I who used to ask him to buy this and that, given my then status as 'unemployed youth of India'.Anyway, I bought the recharge-talktime coupon and sent him the 'secret number' by SMS.Then I called him to verify the position.I was greeted by an Airtel "aunty" who told me in Kannada that my friend is 'out of range'.Boy..he is in Karnataka!( For the uninitiated and millions of my international readers, KARNATAKA is our neighbouring state. And btw, if you don't know yet,'we' live in KERALA.)So thats why he wanted a recharge coupon from some one in KERALA. Fine.So far fine.
Later,the real shock came when I was told later on that he was in Bandipur with his wife for honeymooning(no word like that?But its apt, na?)Now, the point is that this is a guy who is mortally scared of snakes, frogs, cats, dogs, cows, mosquitoes,house flies,deer,giraffe, hippos,horses, rhinos, rats,bats,lizards,antelopes,elephants, lions, tigers,leopards,oxen,centipede,millipede,all varieties of worms,and above all ants.Certain varieties of plants also manage to scare him. And this guy takes his newly wed wife for honeymooning to Bandipur! Of all places, Bandipur! Rediculous.
The reason for the new macho-make over: marriage.
In short, marriage alters life. Some changes may be as drastic as a change from beer to Vodka. Other changes may be silly like shedding mundu for jeans.It could in rare cases stimulate blogging. Whats your view on this...?
P.S: None of the perons mentioned here are real or living.If anyone finds any similarity, kindly keep it in your own mind.I assure you, its not you.

The Communist Blogger

Dear friends,
I was very busy for a while..
Meanwhile, I reformed. I've become a born again marxist. I gave up beer and whisky. Religion is an intoxicant. So I gave up Christian Brother's rum too. Now, I drink only Romanov Vodka. Purely secular.
My favourite colour is red and favourite food is 'parippu vada' and chai.My official mouth piece is beedi. I love lungi, especially the tied up version.( Neo-colonial capitalist studies estimate that 70% work time is lost in communist kerala as a result of the tying and retying of the lungi.) I regularly rinse my mouth with party slogans and eat boiled red rice.
I own quite a few industries (to create workers for the revolution) and business establishments in the name of the party.I'm a poor man basically. You could either address me as a poor fisherman or as a humble farmer. The choice is yours.
I firmly believe that one day, there will be a final revolution. Then all capitalists would be flushed out of this world.Only the workers will survive.People who think this is similar to the Final Judgement day are either capitalist imperialist spies or revisionist traitors.Anyway, for that day to come, we have to unite and address our daily slogans to St.Marx, our prophet.
Btw, we are facing certain Y2K like problems when we consider the Dictatorship of the proletariat.For instance some of us may have to leave our beloved work and become rulers. And as a rule, we hate rulers. So we'll kill them.That would be a perpetual problem as we'll kill all workers that way.Secondly, once we kill all the managers and owners of the industries, who will pay us wages at the end of the day? Anyway, all such issues could be dealt with at that time.The Polit Bureau is actively considering this issue besides next month's Bandh and hartal.
Our prophets, St.Marx,St.Lenin,St.Mao and St.Stalin are infallible, therefore always correct. We have other comrades waiting to be beatified. Once they are declared as Saints, their books shall be taught in the party study classes.
Guys, no more time for small talk....we've to rush to the next junction to throw a few urgent stones on the nearest bus. We need to register our protest against the imperial agression in Iraq. Bush will be terrified after this protest march.

1100 years of solitude

This is a surreal narration with a tinge of magical realism. Children may seek parental guidance.Parents may seek their children's guidance.

Once upon a time, there was a young boy called Mukesh Batliwala who lived in a forest near the village. Similarly, there lived a lion in a village near the forest. One fine day, the boy decided to go out to the village in search of water and cocacola. The climate was really hot (unlike in Shimla). In the forest there lived a small family of 23 members. The youngest in the family was Ursula. Her mother’s name was Brihandala.
Meanwhile, the Sensex had gone on to new heights from where the girls’s father was finding it difficult to get down without a ladder. But the lion was keeping a keen watch on all proceedings. (You must remember that the local hunter, Shikari Shambhu was out of station). After sensing the gravity of the situation, Newton initiated a dialogue process with all concerned parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, which would also respect the rights and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Suddenly, the father fell down along with the Sensex. Mukesh and Ursula had also fallen in love by this time. Meanwhile, the lion was caught in a compromising position along with a local bar waitress which led to mass resignations from the bar council. NDTV had indeed made an impact.
By then it was over 1100 years since Mukesh Batliwala had gone out in search of water and cocacola. He had become very aged and the cocacola ads had become too complex for him to understand. Suddenly he saw ants carrying a bottle of Mineral water along the ground. “Ursula….”, he shouted and fell down. And he was no more.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Health hazards with risky humour

A personal disaster occured to me of late when I was beaten black and blue by a gentleman who thought I was rediculing him. I regretfuly recall that I had innocently, and in retrospect, needlessly commented ( usual stuff!) on my friend's blog. The subject was re-remotely connected to this gentleman. Other learned Professors, including Prof.Alexander were also there to give company. All of us were put in our respective places by this gentleman who taught us that our poor "jwaaakes" will not be tolerated by him. Consequently I suffered a shock. I spent the next four hours in deep meditation in a den, alternately called as my room. I got enlightenment. I pass on the gospel on 'risky humour' to the society at large....
A voice from the heaven told me that Humour is defined as the ability of people, objects, or situations to evoke feelings of amusement in other people. Its a form of human communication which makes people laugh or feel happy.
The voice then startled me with the revelation that sense of humour is the ability to experience humour. This referred to as First Law of Humourology.It depends on variables like geographical location, intelligence, culture, maturity, level of education and context. For example, young children particularly favour slapstick( as in cartoons) while satire tends to appeal to more mature audiences.
The next revelation was the Second Law of Humourology. It states that jokes are funny only when told the first time.(ie. mostly..unless its too good a joke or ur audience is too dumb.)
Intense Meditation then revealed to me that the important ingredients in humour:
The relevance factor.
The surprise factor.
The novelty factor.
For example:
A man speaks to his doctor after an operation. He says, "Doc, now that the surgery is done, will I be able to play the piano?" The doctor replies, "Of course!" The man says, "Good, because I couldn't before!"
Hope u get it. No? Forget it.
Humour is of various kinds but I'll just move on to my favourite kinds of the risky variety which could pose problems:
Sarcasm, Irony, Surreal humour, Satire, Stereotypes, Droll humor, Anti-humor and Nonsense jokes....Good, did I give u a fright? Read on to be further terrified...and yes, these are the most dangerous of all humour!
Sarcasm is sneering, jesting, or mocking a person, situation or thing. It is expressed as over-emphasizing.To understand sarcasm requires good general intelligence and better social intelligence. Sarcasm can be difficult to grasp in written form and is easily misinterpreted. To prevent this some people end sarcastic comments on the Internet with an emoticon emphasize words with italics, bold, and/or underlining. But that can also kill a joke!( But again, it can land u in trouble as I did crash land the other day!)
Irony is a gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says, and what is understood.
"You have the face of a pig" is sarcasm: "Your face is so beautiful..... for a pig" is ironic.
Surreal humour is a form of humour based on bizarre, absurd situations, and nonsense logic.Probably the most common form of surreal humour is the non-sequitur, in which one statement is followed by another with no logical progression.
The learned Prof.Varghese Panamthundil Alexander specialises in this. Yeah, Karthik's limericks too show this quality! I'm also a fan of this style when you just don't have to follow time or logic. (Thus you can have Sonia Gandhi& Maneka Gandhi intervening to stop India's partition in 1478.)
Satire is a mode of challenging accepted notions by making them seem ridiculous.It requires an opponent who is sensitive to feel the arrows of wit levelled at him.On the other hand, some works of satire are so subtle in their exaggeration that many people take it seriously true.(Again, a problem that I encountered the other day!)
Priya often does beautiful satires...I remember one in which she ascribes inanimate things with motives and intentions. It is not necessary that one should have a underlying inner meaning as in The Animal Farm by Orwell.
Droll humor is an often dry, witty form of humor that elicits laughs through amusingly odd, sometimes zany behavior or speech. Due to its more subtle nature, this type of humor is not commonly used by comedians.An example is gven below...
I'm alone in the House. I hear strange noises at night like creak, groan and "Prasanth, I'm going to kill you." ...So I remembered what my mother told me, "Whenever you feel afraid just whistle a happy tune... [whistling] ...then I felt a hand around my throat and a voice said, "Thanks. I thought I'd never find you in the dark."
Anyone reminded of Sowmi shtyle?
Anti-humor is a type of indirect humour that involves the joke-teller delivering something which is deliberately not funny, or lacking in intrinsic meaning. The audience is expecting something humorous, and when this does not happen, the irony itself is of comedic value.
Anti-jokes may rely on deconstruction of the joke, deriving comedy from the unexpected or inappropriate use of technical language
It could sometimes cross over and become a meta-joke:
"Three blind mice walk into a bar. Hmm...They are unaware of their surroundings, so it would be irresponsible to derive humour from their predicament."
Yeah, Varghese does that too!
Nonsense jokes lack intrinsic meaning, and become funny simply because they are absurd:
Q: What is the difference between a duck?
A: A slice of soup about this color. (said while indicating some width with one's hands)
Made any sense? Precisely. Funny? Well, it depends on the delivery mechanism!
Stereotype Often a stereotype is a negative caricature or inversion of some positive characteristic possessed by members of a group, exaggerated to the point where it becomes repulsive or ridiculous.
Stereotype production is based on:
Exaggeration or distortion
The innumerable Sardarji jokes are based on this variety. Ever heard of a Sardar taking offence to it? Just imagine a proper well built Sardar pouncing on you.....its not that they can't repond. Its just that they are too good and are really fun loving guys with great humour sense!
Not all groups are like this. And there are individuals who are very intolerant of criticism and who lack humour sense proper! So beware...
So, one can easily sense that my preferred kind of humour is....well... sort of dangerous. If I overuse it, it's like chilli, it will burn the entire stuff. A little here and there spices things up but you don't make many friends by sprinkling it in everything. And unfortunately if anyone with a "differently abled" sense of humour comes in the way, you are doomed!