Monday, December 03, 2007

Things that irritate (Part 2)

(Formal versus dehyde)
During this recent event I was also asked to choose "formal" clothes. I had appeared with a dark blue suit a light blue shirt and a dark blue tie (pinched from Mottai Shankar Ram) with yellow darts on it. This wasn't considered formal.

Me: But this is formal enough for BT VP
Mum: Dark colours are used only for mourning. Abasakunam. Abasakunam.
Me: But traditionally Hindu's wear white for mourning.
Mama: Which reminds me, don't wear that light colored shirt.
Me: Which leaves me with nothing to wear.
Dad: How irresponsible can you get? Important function and you don't even bother to pack your clothes.
Family: And look at the Western wear. We will not tolerate such clothes. You need to be formally and conservatively dressed.
Me: But this is formal and conservative.
Mama II: But western. Though we respect the western tradition of wearing dark clothes at a wedding so you shouldn't.
Chorus: And also no light clothes at wedding since it is Hindu Mourning Color.
Me: Joy!!!

So I spent a large part of my fortune and time on Saturday trying to purchase a piece of garment that was not dark and not light. Here were the formal requirements for my clothes:
1. It could not be dark
2. It could not be light
3. But it had to be bright (pallichu for the Tamil speaking)
4. But not too showy
5. Modern (but no cargoes/t-shirts/short kurtas or long ones)
6. Yet traditional
7. Veshtis are passe
8. Yet jeans are not in.

Finally after a long afternoon spent with salesmen who had every reason to believe I was mad, I finally got the following:
1. A pink shirt: By far the only thing that satisfied requirements one, two and three
2. Khaki pants: That satisfied four to eight

Thank God they still think homosexual still means "sex with humans".

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Things that irritate (Part 1)

(Causation versus correlation)

I was in Chennai recently for a "family function". Here are a few general observations about people:
1. They get terribly offended if you don't do exactly as they do
2. The reason they get offended is that they think since your action isn't exactly what they would have done, they have to defend their choice.

Considering that there are a million things you can do which is different from what your relatives do this can lead to some fairly interesting conversations.

"You brush with your left".
Considering that I am a part lefty that's about the only thing that makes sense. However...
"I brush with my right. You know Vatsyayana recommended brushing with the right since it stimulates the karmic center of the wave function".
I refrained from mentioning that Vatsyayana may have recommended brushing with the right hand but it would certainly not have been the teeth.
"You use Close Up. I prefer Colgate since it's been proved to be effective in preventing plaque". And thus went the long afternoons...

One of the things which came under this category was of course the assertion that "the reason America has so many divorces is because they do not have so many rituals governing their marriage".


The statement above is a perfect showcase of bad thinking. Let's see how.

The statement hinges on the assumption that divorces happen when rituals do not happen. However even if we are willing to concede that rituals (or the lack of them) are a very important factor contributing to a divorce how do we know if they are the one all important factor which cause divorce.

This is a classic case of causation versus correlation. While countries with high divorce rate have lower rituals they also have higher GDP and happier citizens. Whoops! The point is countries with higher divorce rates also has a lot of happier women. In fact countries with a higher divorce rate all also lie to the west of India. Co-incidence. I guess not.

That's the problem with causation versus correlation. Something that anybody who took QT anytime in life should be able to appreciate. Guess our man hadn't taken that course.

P.S: The guy who made the statement did take a QT course in his lifetime. Guess he just doesn't feel like applying himself to the subject or the subject to himself. Watch out for Things that irritate (Education versus Literacy)

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Family Values

I don't like tradition. Marriages are tradition. According to those over forty in my family they are the only institutions that foster "family values". I wonder what those are? If those in my family are any indication they include:
1. An apparent dislike towards supporting anybody over eighty which leads to what I call the super-senior lawn tennis tournaments.
2. An apparent dislike towards treating your wife as your equal
3. A stodgy determination that borders on incenstual xenophobia
4. A fond belief that anything today is described in the vedas including lingerie, MTV, educational cess surcharges and the Smashing Pumpkins.
5. The ability to treat your kids as your own property. Even if they are already married. And if they are not they are tradeable properties.
6. A fond reverence for anything with a three letter or less label (IIM,IIT,REC,MS,PHD). Sorry SOB still does not qualify.
7. The ability to eat only vegetarian food at a Continental Restaurant in Singapore.

I forgot to add these
8. Claiming that the University of Oklohama is amongst the ten top universities in the USA
9. The fond but unique belief that Johnny Walker is a shoe brand for the aged.
10. An apparent need to listen to scratched Mohammed Rafi LP's recorded on DVD's through a BOSE home theater system.


What's your family's values?