Sunday, January 30, 2011

Height of decency

This is a new postulate that I have come up with:

“The level of what is considered decent in a society is directly proportional to the height of the partition between urinals in a public restroom”.

Before you guys start bashing me up. I have observed men in restrooms, changing rooms and gymnasiums in 3 different countries and I have evidence to back-up my postulate.

To start with, in India, the level of decency that you are expected to maintain in public places is very high. So, for example, if I wear shorts and go around in public transport, people give me the “look”. The “look” is a very powerful message which says – “Dude, you are not welcome here in these clothes”. Same is the case in swimming pool changing rooms. You are expected to cover yourself up in a towel, till you actually go to the pool and dip yourself into it. Anything less and people give the “look”. Naturally the partition between urinals in men’s restrooms in India is so high, that at times you wont even know that the guy using the urinal next to you is a celebrity.

The first time I stepped into a public urinal in the US, I found it awkward that they have no partitions whatsoever between urinals. Imagine, you can actually measure the pumping speed of the guy next to you in the urinal and compare who is faster! And then being in your birthday suits in public changing rooms is considered absolutely normal.

Then I went to Singapore. Urinals out there have partitions. But they are just big enough for you to not accidentally see the other guy’s tool. But you can very well chit-chat and strike a conversation – “How are you”? Same is the case with the public changing rooms. There are doors for every shower, but then closing them is strictly optional, and people won’t give you the “look”.

And then the level of what is considered decent also varies in the same proportion in the three societies. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t have awards for making such discoveries!! I am sure I would land up in a couple of record books for this.

While researching for this article on Google, I came across this video which teaches men restroom etiquettes. And, for a moment you thought only I had all the time in this world!!

Male restroom etiquette

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dream Run

Like every wanna-be celebrity, even I participated in the Mumbai Marathon. I like these “Marathon” events. There is the real marathon of 42.195 km that only the serious endurance runners do, then there is the half marathon for the guys who workout regularly, and then there is the 6km – kiddie run for the rest of us.

I am thinking of renaming the event to “Dream to run”. Cause its meant for only those people who dream to run. The kind who set their alarm to 5:30 AM in the morning to get up and go jogging, only to snooze away to glory for the next 2 hours while they are happily running on their bed in their dreams (that kind is me!). This time around I had decided that I will seriously prepare to run the entire 6km distance. I made a timetable a month in advance, and if I had followed it diligently I would have made it to 6km running in 1 month. I did get up 5:30 AM the first day and trust me I did “try” to run. But second day onwards it was too much effort to leave my cosy comfortable bed to get up, wear my shoes and go running. So for the next 29 days, I snoozed everyday promising to myself (in my sleep) that I would start running from the next day. On the 30th day, I did get up because it was the event itself.

The event venue was super crowded. I think half of Mumbai had signed up for the event. Getting to the venue itself involved riding super packed buses and trains and then walking like 3kms to get there. Then we all were put together in a packed ground where there was no place even to breathe. When the run was actually flagged off it was just too many people around me to even walk, forget running. So I (remorsefully) walked for a long time. After close to half the race was over, it kinda got clear enough to run. But by that time I had lost all my motivation to run and I ended up walking the entire distance (mind you – it has got nothing to do with my preparation).

Anyway, the dream run taught me that there are too many people who do it. And inconveniencing myself by snoozing the clock for 2 hours in the morning to prepare for such crowded runs is not motivating enough. I think sleeping is a better alternative. No more dream runs for me.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Celebrity Spotting

So Mumbai is the land of Bollywood. Ironically, in my three decades of existence here, I hardly remember bumping into any Bollywood stars. I am sure if you live in Los Angeles so long you are sure to bump into a couple of Hollywood celebrities.

The reason may be because Bollywood celebrities hang out at places that are prohibitively expensive for common men like me. And thanks to the traffic congestion, I hardly have ever been to the “hep” part of Mumbai where all the celebrities like to party.

So, I am pleasantly surprised that this time around, in less than 2 months in Mumbai, I already bumped into two of them. This guy sipping coffee at a local joint, and this guy at the airport!

Well, I know most of you don’t give a damn even if a celebrity walks by. But these two celebrity encounters have made me realize that I am a true-blue celebrity fan. My heart went all flutter flutter when I saw them (I can only imagine what would happen if I see a starlet!!). Now, I have never really given a thought to what I would do if I actually bump into a celebrity. But this is somewhat how our conversation went:

I give a “Hey, I know you!!” smile. In response I get “So what? Everyone knows me!!” snarl.

I respond with “I like everything that you do and am a crazy fan of yours” look (doesn’t matter that I have hardly seen any of your movies). He responds with a “You are a crazy guy” look.

Finally, I do the “Keep up the good work!!” grin. And he responds with “Yawn!”.

Sometimes I pity celebrities. I am sure everywhere they go people like me must be really getting on their nerves. To add to it, every little move of theirs’ is so closely watched by everyone around them. Can’t even sneakily dig their noses! Probably that's the reason why I never made it to be a celebrity. Should not blame everything on my signature and my last name.