Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cock and bull stories.

Let me tell you a story. Oh yeah, I've liked stories ever since I was a child. Not the ones where the dude wins the affection of the dudette and 'they live happily ever after' sort of thing. Wacky, unexpected endings and smart fables were ones that got my attention. Here we go....

Once upon a time, there lived a bull in a forest. He was a very wise and intelligent animal, always teaching the other animals a lesson or two on how to live a full life. His horns were curved downwards, giving him the appearance of a well learned sage. Even animals from neighbouring forests came to him for words of wisdom. So famous was he for his practicality, that some of the carnivores were in danger of dying of hunger.

Once upon the same time, there was a cock who lived in a barn on the border of the forest. Having all the hens to himself, he was one of the most content beings around. He strutted about, proud of himself. But patience was something he never tried to achieve. He just couldn't control himself in matters of focus and perseverance. There came a time when he hit a rough patch in his life [who knows, maybe a midlife crisis]. Not knowing what to do, he began to lose his confidence and drive. So one day, in total desparation, he decided to have a chat with the bull. After sharing his personal life with the bull, he asked the usual question, 'What do you think I must do now?'

The bull gave it a good deal of thought and then answered in a soft voice, 'You must have a little of my dung.' A little of his answer to nature's call? That couldn't be. Impossible! Maybe he had heard wrong. So he asked once more, 'What must I do?' Again the same reply. The cock was convinced this guy had lost it. Or maybe he was making fun of his situation. He started to shout and make a noise about it; but the bull calmed him down and repeated that that was what he would have to do. So the cock told the bull that if it didn't work, he would, in return, have to eat his droppings. Ridiculous, eating a bull's dung. So what if he was the wisest?

Next morning, just as the sun was rising, the cock comes to the bull and is offered a little dung. Wanting to get it over with [and deep down, thinking that if this failed, the wisest of all animals would be eating his droppings], he nibbles at a small piece. Suddenly, he is filled with a new energy. The world ceases to be its bland self and begins to fill with vibrant colours. Everything comes to life at that moment. As if a veil had just fallen off from before his eyes. His senses are heightened like never before. Now he can see clearly, hear clearly and feel the surroundings with all his being. The bull begins to say something but he is too impatient to stay there and listen. Not looking back to even thank the bull, he starts to run. When he reaches the tallest tree in the forest, he looks up and sees its branches that seem to touch the sky. But the new energy in him urges him to climb to the top. Within no time, he is on a very high branch, crowing out his lungs with all his might.

The bull, waiting behind, hears a distant sound. He recognises it - the sound of a gunshot. He turns away sadly. If only the cock had had the patience to hear what he had to say.

Moral of the story: Bullshit can get you to the top but it can't keep you there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Great, original ideas. Copyright copying material.

A man walks into a bar and asks the bartender, "If I show you a really good trick, will you give me a free drink?" The bartender considers it, then agrees. The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a tiny rat. He reaches into his other pocket and pulls out a tiny piano. The rat stretches, cracks his knuckles, and proceeds to play the blues.

After the man finished his drink, he asked the bartender, "If I show you an even better trick, will you give me free drinks for the rest of the evening?" The bartender agrees, thinking that no trick could possibly be better than the first. The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the tiny rat. He reaches into his other pocket and pulls out the tiny piano. The rat stretches, cracks his knuckles, and proceeds to play the blues. The man reaches into another pocket and pulls out a small bullfrog, who begins to sing along with the rat's music.

While the man is enjoying his beverages, a stranger confronts him and offers him a thousand for the bullfrog. "Sorry," the man replies, "he's not for sale." The stranger increases the offer to ten thousand cash up front. "No," he insists, "he's not for sale." The stranger again increases the offer, this time to half a million cash. The man finally agrees, and turns the frog over to the stranger in exchange for the money.

"Are you insane?" the bartender demanded. "That frog could have been worth millions to you, and you let him go for a mere five hundred thousand?" "Don't worry about it", the man answered. "The frog was really nothing special. You see, the rat's a ventriloquist."

Fine, fine..... I copy-pasted it from a joke site. Don't come suing in the name of plagiarism. I just used up the last of my pocket money. To be more precise, left-side ass pocket money.

That brings to mind one of my music gurus, the one I've looked up to whenever I wanted inspiration to make my keyboard sound like it had had a hangover - the walking, talking, belching jewellery store, Bappi Lahiri! He really took the cake when he sued Dr. Dre for copying his aweful music. What was he thinking? I'm talking about Dre; didn't he get anyone else?

Right after this incident, my second-in-line guru, Anu Malik [sorry, he is now Aanu Mallick] makes a mind-rattling philosophical statement that with music having just seven notes [felt like strangling that chap, doesn't even know his music correctly; there are twelve semitones], something or the other is bound to sound similar. Listen to his 'inspired' music that's a direct lift from 'The final countdown - Europe' and one gets the idea that Malik/Mallick/Male-lick can go creatively brain-dead to the extent of sounding just the same. Inspired, my foot!

Then there was a certain Kaavya Viswanathan who absent mindedly copied certain parts from a couple of other books. But it slipped her mind to make changes and sound a little more original. Can't blame her for that, what with all the hectic schedules at Harvard. Her case was even worse than that of Malik/Mallick/Male-lick. Two songs sounding the same are tolerable; not two books having nearly the same scenes repeated - just names changed. And then being nominated for an award.

But who am I to talk, I just copied a joke. Word for word, punctuation for punctuation. Ventriloquist punch line for ventriloquist punch line. I cracked an 'already cracked' joke. That means I cracked it further. Does that imply good jokes break? Forcible, excessive repeated cracking. Or maybe they just begin to look like a shrivelled old woman. Covered all over with wrinkles. With one ridiculously big tooth.

Whatever the inspiration, I salute the guy who came up with that winner of a joke. After a month-long examination and a little loss of hair [for the same reason], that joke cracked me up. One of those times when a manic laughter forces air out of the wrong end. It may have been the desparation or frustration. Of exams where they tell you to assume suitable data where printing mistakes have occurred. But who cares? I'd forgotten how to laugh for months. And make an uncontrollable ripping noise at the same time. The noise that starts with a p, ends with a p, having only t's and r's in between. No vowels. Not listed in the dictionary. Just plain old ophthalmic insult.

My laughs had become mechanical. More like an asthamatic attack - the only difference being that I was blowing out each Ha!, not drawing it in. So this joke was a lifesaver. Like those inhalers one uses in case the Ha! is being drawn in.

But now it has all changed. I can laugh aloud once again. Stupidity-induced six-pack developing convulsive action. Till Dad threatens to hit me with the large rice spoon in his hand.