The Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.

If you don’t like gushing, feel free to skip over the next sentence.

Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh I can’t believe it oh my gosh this is so amazing wow wow wow.

Okay, I’m done.

The amazing, wonderful Rambling Jess over at Thoughts in My Head (an awesome blog) has nominated me for this award. Thank you so much! You made my day.

Alright, so the rules for this award are as follows:
1. Display the Award Certificate on your website/blog. (Hopefully, I can figure out how to do that.)
2. Announce your win with a post. Make sure to post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination. (Done!)
3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers. (Only 15?)
4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post. (Will do.)
5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself. (That’s going to be tough!)

So, let’s begin.

Seven interesting things about me:

  1. I’m supposed to be writing a 1200 word essay on Nikita Khrushchev right now. Instead, I’m sitting here, desperately trying to think of seven interesting things about myself. I really should be getting to work, considering the only thing I know about Nikita Khrushchev is that he is not a woman.
  2. When using Microsoft Word, I always use the Times New Roman font. Calibri simply will not do. Even when reading documents typed out on Microsoft Word by others, I have to change the font to Times New Roman before I start reading.
    I know what you’re thinking, but I am not obsessive-compulsive.
    And I’m not in denial either.
  3. My favourite movie ever is The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin. Even today, I cannot watch Inspector Clouseau pronounce ‘hamburger’ without going into spasms.
    As you can see, I’m not the most intellectual of people.
  4. Unless you want to be cured of the hiccups, you do not want to watch me dance. I just might be the worst dancer in the world.
  5. I love English Literature, and I believe that the most complex, thoughtful and profound character in all of literary history is Winnie-the-Pooh.
  6. I am technologically challenged. When anyone mentions the words ‘processors’ and ‘operating system’ my eyes glaze over. Even typing out those words required a great deal of effort to prevent me from falling into a deep slumber.
  7. My favourite food in the world is dark chocolate (with 80% cocoa). But when it comes to chocolate products like chocolate cake and chocolate ice-cream, I’m not the biggest fan. It’s just one of my quirks.

And these are my nominees (in no particular order):

  1. The Daily Trip: This is a humor blog co-written by father and daughter. It’s absolutely hilarious. Every post makes me laugh.
  2. Lewis Cave: This blog is a perfect blend of humor, fiction and thought-provoking short stories. Love it!
  3. Snoozing on the Sofa: An amazingly funny writer, with two playful young boys. Enough said.
  4. Path: Ethic: A talented writer who can effortlessly switch between humor and thoughtful reflections. A perfect candidate for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’!
  5. Confessions of a Technophile: Very impressive blog – partly about technology, but mostly about the everyday musings of a schoolboy. Really funny.
  6. Peak Perspective: Read this to get your weekly dose of laughter and recipes for some delicious food. Humor + Food = Happiness.
  7. Things My Daughters Told Me: Adorable, witty, funny. Don’t miss this.
  8. Dirty Rotten Parenting: What can I say, I’m a sucker for mommy blogs. ‘Funny’ does not begin to describe this blog.
  9. Patsy Porco’s Blog: Free and Worth It: I recently stumbled upon this blog, and I’m very glad I did. Definitely worth it!
  10. One Tired Guy’s Thoughts: The funny side of life, dissected and analyzed.
  11. How To Be Good At Everything: A little but of humor, a little bit of philosophy, and plenty of useful advice.
  12. The Writer’s Nest: Beautiful poetry, book reviews, thought-provoking posts – this blog has everything.
  13. Listful Thinking: Every post has me in splits.
  14. Oh God, My Wife is German: The life of an American man, married to a German woman, living in Germany. The idea itself holds infinite possibilities.
  15. Over 50, under 5: The wittiest one-year old with a blog. Very entertaining.

So that’s it – my nominees.
Thanks for reading!

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Jack and Jill really need health insurance

During a recent trip to London, I decided to take the ‘Jack the Ripper’ tour offered by many tour companies in the city. Expecting to see only a few tourists at this tour, not meant for the faint hearted, I arrived at the starting point, but to my surprise saw about forty people waiting eagerly for it to begin. To my further shock, parents had brought along little children as well, ranging from the age of five to ten. “They probably don’t know who Jack the Ripper is,” I thought to myself. But when the tour began, I realized that they knew exactly who Jack the Ripper was, and so did the kids. In fact, the children were the most interested. They would edge their way to the front, listen intently to the tour guide’s stories of blood and gore, examine the victims’ photographs, and they’d even ask questions. The only time I heard a peep out of those kids was when the guide told us that, in one of the letters allegedly written by the Ripper, he had claimed to have eaten the ear of one of his victims. Hearing this, a five-year old said, simply and elegantly, “Ew.”

Now some parents might blame young children’s increasing comfort with the concept of violence on the black magic box, also known as television. It’s an easy target – it just sits there, so parents can blame it all they want without any fear of it protesting. Actually, it’s the parents’ fault. Without realizing it they have been telling their children gory tales of violence, physical abuse, murder, disease and mental illness.

We call these tales ‘nursery rhymes’.

Do you remember the lullaby your mother used to sing to you to put you to sleep when you were a little baby? Of course you don’t. But it was probably ‘Rock-a-bye-baby’. Sounds comforting enough. ‘Rock-a-bye-baby, in the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock.’

Not a perfect rhyme, you might think, but bad rhymes aren’t known to be potentially harmful. So what’s the problem? The problem lies in the next two lines.
‘When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
Down will come cradle, baby and all.’

Wow, that escalated quickly.

Within four lines, you’ve just been exposed to the concept of child abuse, parental neglect, and infanticide, not to mention sheer stupidity. And you’re only a few days old. Already the seeds of violence have been planted in your little mind.

These ideas were reinforced when you went to nursery school. You learned about Jack and Jill, whose search for water ended with them falling down a hill. What are children supposed to take from that? That it’s better to die of thirst than of a fractured skull? Then we have Humpty Dumpty, a dim witted egg who sat on a wall, fell off and then broke into a thousand pieces. Strangely enough, Humpty Dumpty isn’t the stupidest character in the rhyme. The stupidest character is the king, who had the brilliant idea of sending his horses to glue an egg back together. If they could speak, the conversation between the horses would probably go like this (please excuse the terrible puns):
“I say Alice, it’s a really whinny day, the egg shell pieces are being blown away. Get the superglue quick, will ya?”
“Neigh, Charlie, I can’t. We’ve got hooves, remember? It’s snort easy without thumbs.”
“You’re right Alice. Darn evolution and opposable thumbs!”

There’s little Jack Horner who decided that pulling a plum out of one’s pie classifies one as a very ‘good boy’. No doubt his parents had very low standards for him. Then there’s Simon, who was so obviously slow that even his name suggests it – ‘Simple Simon’. We also have Yankee Doodle, who was possibly verbally challenged, because he called the feather in his cap ‘macaroni’.  And who can forget Wee Willie Winkie who ran through the town in his nightgown, looking through children’s windows? That’s just plain creepy.

Animals do feature widely in nursery rhymes, but not the cute and cuddly type. No bunnies or puppies or anything of that sort. Instead, we’ve got spiders. And mice – blind ones at that. The spiders run around frightening young children and falling of spouts, while the mice run up and down clocks and have their tales cut off by a butcher’s psychotic wife.

No, wait, I’m wrong. There is one cute and cuddly animal that features in nursery rhymes – it’s the little piggy. But, not surprisingly, he too is mowed down by a railway driver whilst innocently picking up stones on a railway –
‘Piggy on the railway, picking up stones;
Down came an engine, and broke Piggy’s bones;
“Ah!” said Piggy, “That’s not fair,”
“Oh!” said the engine driver, “I don’t care!” ’

Themes other than cruelty against animals, mental retardation and violence against children also feature in nursery rhymes. There’s the Black Death, portrayed in ‘Ring a ring o’ roses’. Yes, that’s rights – the ‘Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down’ part represents the last stages of life of a Plague victim.

There’s harassment, shown in ‘Georgie Porgie pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry’.

There’s cannibalism, indicated in ‘Davy Davy Dumpling, boil him in the pot; sugar him and butter him, and eat him while he’s hot.’

And ‘London Bridge is falling down’ is just pure sadism.

So what do we do about these malevolent nursery rhymes? Obviously, we can’t use them anymore. So what do we sing to children when they’re refusing to sleep? What do we ask them to recite in nursery class? It’s simple: teach them advertisement jingles. They’re simple, effective and contain no gore, thanks to television censoring Nazis. And the best part is, when your kids grow up, they’ll know exactly which washing powder to buy.

My ‘Freshly Pressed’ Acceptance Speech

Let me tell you the story of a girl – the story of a girl with a dream.

She dreamt of being Freshly Pressed.

No, she wasn’t confusing herself with an orange.

She wasn’t confusing herself with a crumpled T-shirt.

All she wanted was for the admin of WordPress to recognize her blog and give her a place on the ‘Freshly Pressed’ page.

And on the twelfth of July 2013, thanks to the Daily Post Challenge and a post titled ‘I like you, WordPress. I like you a lot’, her dream came true. 
                                   _____________________________________

When I checked my inbox, expecting to find nothing but dust and cobwebs, I was amazed to find a hundred-odd e-mails waiting for me. My first thought was that all the spammers of the world were writing to show their appreciation for my uninhibited support and to thank me for advocating that spammers too are human beings with hearts.

But I was wrong.

All the e-mail was from WordPress. 
                                   _____________________________________

To everyone who liked, followed, commented or reblogged: I cannot thank you enough. Thanks to your kindness and generosity, I now have enough e-mail to last a lifetime. I refuse to delete even a single one of those e-mails. Next week, when my inbox falls into a state of disuse once again, I will look at these e-mails wistfully, and reminisce about the good ol’ times.

To everyone who commented: While I did try my very best to respond to every comment, I apologize if I missed any. I would also like to apologize profusely for using too many emoticons and too many exclamation marks. You see, plain words weren’t enough to express my joy and excitement, so I had to resort to colons, capital D’s and close bracket symbols.

And I’m also very sorry if my comments started to seem repetitive. This was partly because of the sheer number of comments coming in, and partly because of my very limited vocabulary. I was unable to express my gratitude in ways other than ‘thanks’, ‘thank you’, and, just to mix it up a little bit, ‘thank you very much’. At one point, I thought of saying, “From the very bottom of my heart, I would like to offer my deepest gratitude,” but then I decided to ditch the idea for fear of sounding over-sentimental.

In a few of the replies, I did try to be witty, but I apologize to all the bloggers who were witness to this horror.

I also thought that I should tell you that I took the suggestions offered by some bloggers, and hired my mother to help out with the comments. However, I was left no option but to fire her when (seeing that her daughter’s post had received so many likes) she began to shed tears of joy. The last thing I needed was an emotional employee.

And, last but not the least, to all my spammers: I thank you very much for standing by me in the very beginning, following me and commenting on my very first posts, thus encouraging me in the initial stages. But I don’t need you anymore. I’ve got real people following me now.

P.S. I must say, it appears that my acknowledgement of spammers as being people with hearts seems to have emboldened them quite a bit. One particular company was brazen enough to give me writing advice. “Your keyword must appear in the title. You must make sure it has a keyword density of 3-5%. Your keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence. You should have relevant usage of bold and italics.” Then they offered me plug-ins to do this, just in case I failed to comply with their demands.

So, to end –
I’m extremely grateful to WordPress for featuring me on Freshly Pressed.

But I’m even more grateful to all the WordPress bloggers and readers who commented, liked, followed, reblogged or just appreciated my post. You made me feel warm and fuzzy again.

The closet narcissist says thank you.

Confessions of a Shopaphobic

Wikipedia defines retail therapy as “shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer’s mood or disposition” and that it is “often seen in people during periods of depression”. For my part, I don’t understand this. Even when I’m not depressed, shopping makes me feel suicidal. And while I agree that suicide could be a cure for depression, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘therapy’. It’s more of a last resort.

Frankly, I can’t even believe that ‘shopping’ and ‘therapy’ could ever be in the same sentence. Unless the sentence is ‘People who like shopping really need therapy’.

Shopping is one of the most stressful and agonizing things I’ve done. From the time I walk into the store until the time I walk out, every moment is excruciating.

When I enter, the guard at the door wishes me a ‘good morning’. I know that he’s trying to be polite, but I can’t help but feel that his words are slightly mocking, because how can he wish me a ‘good morning’ when he knows that I have to spend the rest of my morning shopping? That can’t possibly be his, or anyone’s, definition of a ‘good morning’.

Then I have to hand over any other bags that I might have, to the lady at the baggage counter. She spends an eternity searching for a free baggage compartment, then stuffs my bag into it, and hands me a token that I have to keep safely for the next few hours, if I want my bags back. Yeah, thanks a lot. This is how you treat potential customers. You give them tiny plastic discs that they’re not allowed to lose. That’s basically like saying, “Thanks for coming to our store. Here’s your welcome gift: stress. Enjoy your shopping!”

After that comes the actual shopping. All I need is a T-shirt that fits. But then a swarm of enthusiastic salespeople coming rushing towards me, offering to help me find myself a whole new wardrobe. “I just need a T-Shirt,” I say quickly. “What colour?” they ask. “Umm…red, I guess.” I say. So they go away for a few seconds and then come back with all the T-shirts in the store. They proudly display T-shirts that apparently are shades of ‘crimson, ruby, rust, maroon, salmon’ and more strangely, shades they refer to as ‘desire red and lusty red.’ “But all I need is red,” I say helplessly, “Plain red. No lust and no desire.” This usually stumps them. So I leave my mother to decide which shade resembles ‘red’ the most, and I go off to the footwear department to measure my feet on the foot-measuring gauge for the umpteenth time and to wonder why my left foot is a size larger than my right.

When my mother comes back with an almost red shirt, I have to try it on. I go to the changing rooms which is jam-packed with people asking their relatives and friends if the clothes they’ve picked out make them look fat. Well, I’ve got news for them. No one ‘looks fat’. Either you are fat or you aren’t. If you’re fat, you’re going to look fat as well. Skinny jeans are not going to make you miraculously thin. When I finally manage to squeeze into a changing room, I wear the shirt cautiously.  I have no idea why, but until today I have never worn a T-shirt to find that the first size that I pick is the right size. I’m forced to try on every size until I find one that fits. And that’s only if I’m lucky. Usually my size is an odd number, and since they only make T-shirts with sizes in multiples of two, nothing really ‘fits’.

By now I’m frustrated and almost weeping in despair so I just grab something wearable and go to the billing counter. But here too I’m forced to stand in a line because only one billing counter’s open because the others are off ‘having lunch’ at eleven a.m. in the morning. In shopping store speak, ‘having lunch’ means ‘watching cricket’.

I’m invariably stuck behind a woman who has bought new wardrobes for her entire family. Apparently, she’s also carrying her entire family with her in her handbag, because when the man asks for her credit card she rummages through it for an hour, one by one procuring everything she owns. When she’s finally found it she hands it over, and then the man gives her a scratch card and says that she should text the alphabets on the scratch card to some particular five-digit phone number, and then she might win a trip to Malaysia. Or, less extravagantly, a 5% discount on her next purchase. She scratches it excitedly and then spends the next hour searching for the letter ‘x’ on her cell phone keys, while I try very hard not to kill myself by slitting my wrists with my fingernails.

When I’m finally done, I rush towards the door. But once again I am forced to wait while the lady at the baggage counter struggles to find my bags that are sitting right there in front her.

When I’ve finally got everything I rush out into the open air, and breathe in the freedom, like a prisoner stepping out of jail after being imprisoned for ten years. It’s a good feeling.

I’ll summarize by saying that the things which make shopping so bad include the queues, the meddlesome salespeople and the dim-wittedness of some shoppers. But the absolute worst thing about shopping is this: There is no solution to it. It is something we will be forced to live with.

I can end by saying only one thing:
Shop till you drop is the worst consumer advice ever.

I like you, WordPress. I like you a lot.

The day has finally come.
I am now an Important Person.

It may sound like I’ve taken a spirituality course called ‘The Importance of Being’, but I haven’t. Neither have I read a self-help book that says ‘every person plays an important role in this world’ or any of that hogwash.

I know because I now get e-mail. And that’s because of WordPress.

Until I joined WordPress, my inbox remained eerily empty. I did occasionally get emails from some very nice people offering me medicines to cure my pattern baldness, but since I do not suffer from that ailment, I was forced to write back, saying that, while I did not have any need for such medicines at that particular moment, I was deeply appreciative of their campaign against premature balding and I sincerely hoped that their efforts would be rewarded in the future.

Other than this, and a few death threats from Satan that I was forced to forward to other unsuspecting souls, I received absolutely no e-mail.

And now, thanks to WordPress, I receive e-mail every day. Actually, rather than e-mail, I like to think of it as fan mail. I feel like a celebrity. I feel important.

I feel like the little girl in the movie The Help, to whom Aibileen (WordPress in this case) says, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

When WordPress sends me e-mails telling me to ‘moderate my blog posts’ and ‘approve comments’, I feel like the C.E.O of a company that cannot function for a minute without my expertise and irreplaceable skills. When WordPress congratulates me on obtaining one ‘like’ from a reader on one of my blog posts, I feel ecstatic, even if that one like is from my mother, which it usually is. The e-mail reads – “(name of blogger) liked your post. They thought your post was pretty awesome.” I read that, and for the rest of the day I’m filled with a warm, fuzzy feeling, like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when he realizes that he has won a Golden Ticket.

And recently, I received the best e-mail that WordPress could send me.

You’ll have to sit down for this.

Ready?

I now have five followers.

Five, can you imagine? Almost half a dozen!

To be fair, my five followers do include myself, my mother, and somebody who appears to be a spammer. But even spammers are people. Spammers have hearts too.

Compliments and reminders aren’t the only things I can count on WordPress for. Like a good friend, WordPress is great at pointing out character flaws as well.

Recently, while scrolling through my blog posts, I accidentally hit the ‘like’ button on one of my own posts (I repeat: accidentally). Of course, I ‘un-liked’ it almost immediately, but by then WordPress had already sent me an e-mail telling me that I had liked my own post. “You’re so vain,” it read. “You probably think (name of post I accidentally liked) is all about you.” This made me wonder: Am I, in fact, vain? Yes, I know I did ‘like’ my own post accidentally, but as the wise old Master Oogway says in Kung Fu Panda, “There are no accidents.” I wondered about how long I had taken before I ‘un-liked’ my post. I did it almost immediately, didn’t I? Almost. I must admit, there were a few milliseconds during which I thought, “So what if I ‘like’ my own post? Nobody will know.”

That day, WordPress made me realize that I am a closet narcissist. That is, if such a thing exists.

Another WordPress feature which makes me feel like I rule the world is the Stats – or rather, Statistics. When my Stats show me that somebody from a far-flung country has viewed my post, I feel a certain thrill, even though it’s entirely possible that they accidentally clicked on my post when they meant to click on the one below or above mine. But, as I’ve ascertained above, there are no accidents.

Honestly, I can just sit and refresh my Stats page all day, calculating my ratio of views to likes, and obsessing about why, of all the people who view my posts, only a few ‘like’ it. As the numbers change on the screen before me, I pretend, once again, to be C.E.O, monitoring my sales and income. Maybe everyone does it. Maybe I’ve had too many magic mushrooms (Just kidding: Read About me). Who knows?

To summarize: You know how people say that if you think you’re not important, and that nobody cares about you, you should try missing a couple of payments? I’ve got a better idea.
If you think you’re not important, just join WordPress.

 

In response to the Daily Post Challenge.

Only a genius can operate the idiot box

How do you know when it’s going to rain?

Those who claim to be clairvoyant know because they can feel the rise of the winds of change. Those who have rheumatism know because their joints start hurting. Those who have windows know because they can see the dark clouds gathering. Those who don’t have windows know it’s going to rain because the weather department says that it’s not going to rain.

But I have a special device that tells me exactly when it’s going to rain. I don’t need to look out of my window, I don’t need to read optimistic weather forecasts and I don’t need to have rheumatism. All I need to do is turn it on.

This special device is called dish TV.

Our provider is Tata Sky: The name is ironic, because whenever the clouds gather in the sky, we have to bid ta-ta to the television. It’s a standing joke in my house. In fact, I say clouds, but I’m being a bit too generous. The tiniest cloud drifts into view, and our TV retreats into its shell out of fear and loathing, displaying the tenuous message, ‘Your set top box is not receiving signal.’ In fact, it goes far enough to say, ‘If it is cloudy, please wait until the sky becomes clear to resume the signal.’ Not even so much as an apology.

For my family, this is the momentous event that marks the beginning of the monsoon season.

The first time this happened was the monsoon in the year we first installed our set top box. After years of enjoying trouble-free cable television, we were shocked and alarmed to see that modern television was sensitive to change of weather as well. We immediately dialled a helpline number, and the man instructed us to press some buttons until we got to a screen that had a bar graph depicting signal strength, which, at that moment, was zero. Then he advised us to stare at the screen until the signal strength became a hundred per cent, at which point, he said sagely, we would be able to watch television again.

To tell you the truth, this turned out to be rather fun. Occasionally, the signal strength would inch upwards to two per cent. “It’s two per cent!” I would yell excitedly. Then it would fall to zero once again. For one lucky minute it would creep up to five, and then fall again. It was like watching Formula One racing. Nothing happens for a very long time, but when something does happen, you don’t want to miss it.

That year was a year of heavy rainfall, so we didn’t expect this to happen next year as well. But it did. This time we were really annoyed. I even resorted to taking photographs of the screen depicting zero signal strength at various times of the day, in the vague hope that we might be able to sue our provider in some sort of consumer court with this evidence. A man did come over once. He stared intently at some wires, turned off the television, waited ten seconds (because eight seconds just won’t do), and then turned it on again. But when nothing happened he just told us, resignedly, that unless we were Bruce Almighty, there was nothing we could do about it.

Since then we’ve grown smarter. Now when the rains bar us from enjoying television, we simply caress the set top box, trying to cajole it back out of its shell. Or we will it to work again. Both of these methods are better than what the company advises us to do, which is nothing.

I’ve never understood why television has had to become so complicated, what with harnessing the sky and some force I will refer to as black magic because I have no idea what it’s all about. Recently, my grandmother was out of town for two months, and she returned to find that her television had shut down completely and was refusing to operate until she called some people, sent some text messages and pressed several buttons to prove that she still existed. Had I not been there to help, she would still be without television, haplessly stabbing at buttons. Why all the security?  It’s a television, not a nuclear facility. It doesn’t need to go into complete lockdown mode when it isn’t used for a while. And even a nuclear facility doesn’t need complex codes and an ability to deduce patterns.

So what should we do with our television in the monsoon season? What do we do with dish TV when it locks itself up in its room refusing to come out until we make the rains go away? I say, just give it to the Met department. At least it’ll get the weather right for a change.

Only keyboard players will understand

You know how they say that every child should learn how to play at least one instrument? I always thought that it was to encourage creativity and unleash your ‘musical side’. But now I know the real reason.

It’s so that you don’t annoy people who can play instruments with your lack of musical knowledge, your stupidity and your sheer hopelessness.

You probably get that I’m a little annoyed here, so I’ll just go all out and say it:
I don’t like it when people touch my musical instruments.

I play the keyboard – computer gamers don’t get excited here, because I mean the electronic keyboard. I’m quite proficient too, if I may say so myself. I’m proficient enough to play Beethoven. But whenever we have guests over, the first thing they say when they see my keyboard is, “Oooh, a keyboard! Can you play ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’?” I respond by laughing haughtily, say something like ‘watch and learn’ and then proceed to play a complex symphony. And when I’m done, they look at me blankly and say, “That was nice, but I want to hear the birthday song!” So I decide to give in a little bit, and begin to play the birthday song. But at this point they decide that they could improve the traditional birthday song considerably if they stood next to me and pressed the last key on the keyboard at sporadic intervals. So this is how the resulting song sounds:

‘Happy (ping) birthday to you (ping),
Happy birthday (ping) to you (ping),
Happy (ping) birthday to you, dear (ping),
Happy (ping) birthday (ping) to (ping) you (ping)!’

Once I’ve finished playing the song, I look up at them and glare, but they assume that I’m just jealous of their musical genius.

It’s even worse when I try to show them my musical ability. I once told my cousin that I was going to play for her the most difficult song I have ever learnt (Maple Leaf Rag) and once I finished, I asked, “So, how was it?” She looked up from her Blackberry and said, “Oh, are you finished? Could you play ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ now?”

Even worse is when they decide that they want to learn. From you. “So how do you play the birthday song?” they ask. I try my best to show them, as patiently as I can, which key to press, and when, and with which finger. But when I’m done, they immediately forget everything I just told them, and, still convinced of the immense musical capabilities held by the last key, they return to pinging gormlessly until it’s time to leave.

Some guests decide that the world deserves to enjoy some of their original compositions. So they sit before the keyboard, smashing their fists and laying their palms on twenty keys at a time, with the occasional ‘ping’ thrown in for good measure, until they are convinced that the noises they’ve just made is the most beautiful song the world has heard since its inception. Then they ask you how you like their ‘song’. You’re forced to nod politely and try to top yourself from saying that what they call a ‘song’, Al Gore would call ‘noise pollution’.

But the absolute worst is when they discover that, on an electronic keyboard, you can press buttons to make it sound like the instrument/sound of your choice. When they realize this, there’s no stopping them. They embark on a journey of pressing every button and turning every knob within their reach. Out of the 600-odd tones offered by my keyboard, they try every permutation and combination, until they decide that the one they like the most is number 599- the ‘recorded human laughter’ tone. Then they listen to it incessantly, until I get so fed up that I’ve vowed never to watch any more sitcoms for the rest of my life. I often feel like telling them, if they like the sound of recorded laughter so much, they should display their musical skills to an audience of strangers. They won’t really like the sound of laughter so much after that.

There’s only one way to solve this menace. And the solution lies with companies that make these sorts of keyboards. So listen up, Casio and Yamaha. The next set of keyboards you make, be sure to fit it with a button that gives mild electric shocks when you press it.

So the next time an annoying guest decides that they like the sound of ‘recorded human laughter’, I’ll tell them to press that button.
And then they’ll get to hear the sound of ‘live human screaming’ instead.

 

In response to the Daily Post Challenge.