20 minutes: A very short short story

Meg took out the six-pack of Maggi noodles from her basket, placing it on the shiny counter as the cashier looked at her impatiently. She had to place it just so, facing upward and facing the cashier. She had this peculiarity about the arrangement of her groceries since she was old enough to go with her mom to the store.

She paid her bill and left. Unfailing politeness meant she had to smile at everyone who made eye contact. She went home to her one-year-old rabbit. It was dark, she drove slowly trying to avoid the shadow of the street lamps falling on her car, it made her think of lightning and thunder. Her home was silent, a mercy.

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Memorising Memory

I read this poem a couple of days ago, Where are My Glasses, by Alessandra Liverani, and the humourous poem made me laugh, but it also rekindled my interest in Memory.

Memory is one of the most interesting things I have ever studied. We go through life so dependent on our memories for everything we do, but how often do we think about it, not in a “O! My memory is so bad” kind of way, but with more awe, like “How does my brain remember all this stuff?”

Memory is usually defined as the process of encoding, storage and retrieval of information, trust me, I know the definition by heart, but like all complex things, this definition does not do justice to the enormity of it, or to its importance in our lives.

Memory, has always held a fascination for me, I used to wonder about how we learned things, and how I could remember exactly which spot in a book a particular line appeared. This was just the beginning of my speculation about memory, and I think its pull on me has only grown as people in my life have started to struggle with it more and more.

The failures of memory have upset me, when people I love stop recognising me, when my mother forget things I have told her repeatedly, when I forget things I really shouldn’t (such as turning off the stove, Whoops!).

Memory has been my constant companion, way more than my shadow ( that disloyal thing appears only when there is light) and I wonder what happens when or if it abandons me like it has my grand-father? What then? Or worse, what if it leaves my mother, and she no longer recalls my face, the way her father is fast forgetting hers?

I worry.

If anyone is interested, you can find the Liverani’s poem at:

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/where-are-my-glasses-humour/

(Sydney, Australia – 2005)

Honesty has never been so entertaining

Watching the Honest Trailers has become one of my addictive past-times. If you love funny videos that make fun of some of your favourite movies, the Honest Trailers are the best thing you can come across.

As part of my fortnightly YouTube binges, I watch a bunch of the Honest trailers, in addition to more serious material like TED talks and actual movie trailers. The clips just call to me, and pretty soon I see that three hours have passed since I opened the first YouTube tab. It’s no wonder, what with the numerous links, my compulsive need to open them, and the slow buffering of the videos. I really cannot expect anything to get done on those evenings.

What I wonder about is why the trailers are so appealing, when they make fun of movies we actually loved. Maybe, it is because they pick on the faults we noticed in the movies, and never had the confidence to mock with such brash charm (an oxymoron, I am aware).

Whatever the case, the commentator (Jon Bailey) has a huge fan-base, and Screen Junkies take on these movies is absolutely hilarious. The brand of humour appeals on a different level than great literary critics or whomever appeal to intellect, but it is infinitely more interesting to watch Bailey rip a movie to shreds than to read some critic’s written review. This is  because of the freedom they have online compared to “serious” critics, but I wonder if their work doesn’t reflect the sort of thing people would like to see more than the traditional ‘3 out of 5 stars’ boring write-ups. They have re-invented the review to make it a much more engaging event in anyone’s day.

A couple of my favourites of the Honest Trailers include the ones about Divergent, The Hunger Games, Frozen, Iron Man 3, Captain America:The Winter Soldier, and of course The Hunger Games. I won’t include the Twilight trailers, because there really is no point, the movies mock themselves without any one else trying.

The Honest Trailers were created by Andy Seignor and Brett Weiner as a part of the shows on the Screen Junkies channel on You Tube. They have more than 2 million subscribers, and this speaks to their abilities better than I can.

LOL is NOT an appropriate response

Is it just me or is LOL the most annoying response you can possibly receive when you go to all the effort of typing out a long, funny joke with all the appropriate punctuation? Or when you are genuinely trying to complain about something, and the other person is typing….typing…..typing….and finally you are gifted with LOL.

LOL may sound better than YMMS or TMMS (You/That Made Me Smile), but honestly, those are much better expressions. I for one rarely laugh out loud at something I read, and I have made it a point to try not to reply with a meaningless pacification for the writer’s ego. So instead of mindlessly LOLing, why not find a way of replying to something funny, like with YMMS or TMMS or if you are feeling adventurous, maybe even a “you are so funny”! If it isn’t asking too much.

Just to ensure that my English Nazi (that phrase made me smile while I was typing) side is balanced with some actual humour, I thought I would share some stuff that I wrote. Try and figure out why I would be so jobless, for lack of a better term. Use your imagination and go crazy with it, even though my reason was quite practical, why not have some fun with it?

Here it is, and theft of intellectual property is mean (and frowned upon everywhere), so keep that in mind.

Dear Guruji,

I am a 19-year old and I have started hearing Happy by Pharrell Williams every time I go to the bathroom. And then I feel really confused and don’t remember why I went to the restroom in the first place. What can I do to stop hearing the song? What medicine would you prescribe?

  -Confused

Dear Confused,

You need to drink four glasses of water every hour. Your problems will completely disappear. I guarantee it.

Dear Guruji,

I am an engineer, and with my extensive knowledge, I am quite sure that red lights at traffic signals are the way aliens are trying to contact me. I know they see me look at the lights, but I don’t know how to speak to them. Please tell me what I should do? Do you know what language they speak? I really want them to know I am open to interplanetary travel.

-Welcoming of Visitors

Dear Welcoming,

To communicate with inhabitants of other planets, I recommend making friends with those on this one. I am not an expert in such matters, but you can probably use Google to find some people who speak the language of the Visitors and can teach you.

Dear Guruji,

I have been experiencing a lot of back pain for the past few months, ever since I got this new bed at the magic store called the “Bed of spikes 2.0”. Do  you know what I can do to alleviate the pain?

-Sufferer

Dear Sufferer,

It might be advisable that you cover your bed with marshmallows, just to make sure that your pain has nothing to do with your bed. It is well known that bad posture can cause back problems, don’t blame your environment. Sit up straight.

Dear Guruji,

Last week I was hit by a bus and now no one talks to me and my family spends a lot of time crying. I tried to write them a letter but when they got it they looked at the envelope and cried some more. They also got angry, complained about the insensitivity of people, and then my brother burned the letter. Can you tell me why they are ignoring me? What did I do wrong?

-Nobody’s listening

Dear Nobody,

I strongly advise that you rattle chains, bang doors shut, throw things (especially breakable objects), and turn the air conditioner temperature lower, your family will definitely notice your presence and welcome you back with some ceremony or the other. Do not worry if they seem very frightened, people are often afraid of the good things that happen in life.

Well, did you LOL, or just smile, or am I not in the least bit funny? I guess I might have to reevaluate my position if many people actually laugh out loud. But that is something for another rare free hour.

Overheard at a play

Last week I went to a play that was quite ambitious-a musical remake of The Jungle Book, performed in three languages. There was also one acrobatic scene with a long piece of cloth and its manipulation, but I won’t get into that.

During the interval, this occurred, “Mamma, when will the movie start?”

‘Mamma’s’ response, “It’s not a movie.”

I turned around and sneaked a peek, the culprit was around four-years old and looking perplexed. I smiled.