Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heard about the Onion? Anyone?

Some months back, America’s finest news source and my favorite source for spurious information, hearsay and tittle-tattle,, stumbled across and came to me with an offer for the position of freelance writer. These were their exact words

‘Oh distant Indian boy. You are funnier than us. Kindly acquiesce to write for us’

Hard to believe, huh? Ok fine, they came to me with a request to apply for the position. Ok, I went to them asking if I could write for them. OK, I begged. Honest, I did.

Now that we’ve established some semblance of the truth, let me tell you what actually happened. It all started with friend and sehwagologist, srinivas , pointing me to a position that was apparently open for freelance writing at theonion. Yours truly jumped at the chance and promptly sent a mail asking what I had to do to get the job. This is what they said

‘Oh distant Indian boy. You are funnier …’

No? you don’t want to hear that again? Ok, here’s what they actually said.

‘dude, theres like this spot for writing stuff for our video segments. Ones like 'White House Reveals Obama is Bipolar, Has Entered Depressive Phase'
If you think you can write for a segment like that, we might consider you. Here’s the topic:

Well you know the economy is in bad shape right? We are thinking that a cause for this is the reduction in the number of mistresses kept by American businessmen. They’re not spending on their girlfriends and consequently, the consumer driven economy is not recovering.

Got it? Your job is to develop a script for a short video segment on this topic. Think you can pull it off? Oh and one more thing. Sign this release form saying all your work belongs to us now. Guhahaha!’

So there it was. That was the mission. I signed the release form, wrote a script within half a minute and sent it in. This was 3 months ago :| I’ve waited ‘an eon’ (get it? Sounds like onion. Yuk! yuk!) for them to get back. I don’t think I’m hearing from them. Therefore, I shall retaliate by posting the script on Let them retaliate by waving the release form under my nose and suing me. Hah! This is what I wrote.

Obama to Keep Mistress as Part of Bill to Stimulate Economy

Anchor: Welcome back and our top news today. President Obama is basing a bill on the Mistress Theory of Economic Recovery that has been mooted by noted philanderer and part-time economist, Dr. Namgurk. We have with us, Dr. Namgurk.

Dr. Namgurk, tell us about the Mistress Theory. How exactly will it help the economy?

Namgurk: Well it’s really simple, actually. The fundamentals of the theory rest on the fact that 30% of American women are whores.

Anchor: 30%?

Namgurk: Yes, and I don’t mean whores in a derogatory sense. I mean sluts who sleep with rich men to get fancy stuff.

Anchor: Absolutely.

Namgurk: Us whores, and I count myself as one of them, make businessmen spend. This is good for the economy. But in times of downturn, rich guys don’t have money to lavish on mistresses. They dump them, thus triggering a collapse in spending and sending the economy spiraling into a downturn.

Anchor: Dump them. Aha.. That is sad.

Namgurk: Right. Macroeconomic variables indicate that the number of mistresses in America has been on the decline since late 2008.

Anchor: So what you’re saying is, if these mistresses were back in their old ‘jobs’ as playthings for businessmen, the economy could recover.

Namgurk. Very much so. It’s the only way our consumer driven economy can now be saved. By encouraging businessmen to take on as many mistresses as possible.

Anchor: And that is exactly what President Obama has decided to do. ONN correspondent in Washington, Jane Carmichel has more.

Jane, tell us about the Mistress Bill the President is proposing.

Jane: The details aren’t clear yet, but our sources indicate that it will be faithful to the Mistress Theory proposed by Dr. Namgurk. Even as we speak, the Obama Administration is drafting a bill to ensure that no businessman is without a mistress.

Anchor: And how exactly does the President intend to do that?

Jane: From what we’ve learned, Obama is making it mandatory for CEOs who accepted government bailout money to maintain at least 2 mistresses.

Anchor: 2?

Jane: Yes, 2. Those who have accepted no bailout will be allowed to get away with just one.

Anchor: And how are businessmen reacting to this proposed intrusion into their personal lives?

Jane: As of now, they’re maintaining a dignified silence, but ONN investigators report that they’re secretly celebrating.

(Show scene of rich business types in suits shaking pompoms and blowing horns. They are surrounded by cheerleaders.)

Anchor: Yes, I see that; And Jane, what of Obama himself. Should America’s businessmen expect the commander in chief to lead from the front? Will he be taking on a mistress himself?

Jane: Yes, very much so. This President is not one to preach what he does not practice himself. Obama has made it clear that he will be keeping a mistress himself.

Anchor: Interesting. And will that be an official position within the White House? To be the President’s mistress?

Jane: Right, she will be called the First Concubine.

Anchor: Very matter of fact.

Jane: Definitely. While names such as White House Bitch and Baby Love had been suggested by many in the Administration, the President himself favored a simple name. If he’s in a good mood, however, he says he may even call her Mon Amour.

Anchor: How very Obama. Ha Ha. Now, tell us one thing Jane. In her capacity as First Concubine, will she be required to sleep with the President?

Jane: The White House has been ambiguous about this so far. The only thing that is certain is that Obama will be required to buy her fancy stuff and take her out to expensive dinners. Obama has said however, that he may cuddle her at night.

Anchor: Right, right. And has Obama short listed any candidates for the position?

Jane: Not yet, no. He is rumored to be looking for a person of Latin American descent. Not only are they hot to look at, they also like shiny things.

Anchor: Shiny things.

Jane: Yes, they tend to stimulate the economy better.

Anchor: Thank you Jane. We’ll wait for more updates on that. In other news, former President Bill Clinton has come out with a statement that he and Monica Lewinsky have been trying to stimulate the economy from as far back as the mid nineties.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stinky Stinky Shoes and the Rent Seeking Demon

Oh how I hate them, those rent seeking demons; those vile and servile creatures; now fawning, now patronizing; ever following, ever alluring. They, those auto drivers. I HATE THEM! I hate them for many things. I hate them for they made my shoes stink. And for that, I shall never forgive them.

Yesterday, I was the proud owner of a pair of Nike shoes; they were my friends, faithful and just to me. (yet, Brutus says they were ambitious) Today, they stink. And not just your average rotten egg / dead animal kind of stink. When I say stink, this is the worst kind of stink imaginable. Think of the stinkiest stink to ever assail your olfactory senses. Quick, think of it. Got it? This stinks worse than that. This is the stink to end all stinks. Stink of.. I mean think of Deepika Padukone’s acting. This stinks worse than that. And who is to blame? The auto driver.

One day, one day I shall have my vengeance. And I shall do so by giving him a taste of his own medicine. I shall kidnap him, I shall strand him on a deserted road. And then, I shall drive up in his own auto and make him pay meter + return. But till then, there is naught I can do but chronicle my misadventure. That unfortunate run in with the rent seeking demon that ended in my shoes stinking. That incident that I now refer to as:

Stinky stinky shoes and the rent seeking demon

The streets were flooded, the gutters were flowing
The rent seeking demon spotted his chance
He sidled up to me with countenance smiling,
He offered to shake my hands

Come into my auto, said the driver to his ride
Tis the smoothest auto, the cheapest, he lied
I knew his kind, I hated them so
Yet the water was high so I asked evlo?

Evlo is of course Tam for how much
And this is what I needed to know
For Autos in Chennai are known to be such
That take you for rides that end in woe

Night rate sir, plus rain rate too
All this, yes, especially for you
Only three times sir, of normal charge
No problem for you,’ cos your wallet is large

What sayst thou, of my wallet?
See’st thou the size of it?
Indeed yes, tis big as a mallet
And upon thy head, it shall hit

But you are sir, from a family big
And poor me, I live as a pig
Spare thy change, for I might eat
For the first time in months, a little meat

If thy charge is such, thou non vegetarian
Then indeed I shall prefer to walk
For I am not frightened by this little rian*
And from these floods, I shalt not balk

And thus it was I shunned that rascal
That rent seeking demon who would ruin my fiscal
And thus it was I began to trudge
Through knee deep fluids, that sewer sludge

For hours it seemed, I seemed to fight
The forces of nature, in all their might
Whence all at last, I finally reached
My home, sweet home, totally dreanched*

It seemed worth it, for I had won
I had not folded, I had not paid
Well yeah, sure it hadn’t been fun
Through all that slush, to swim and wade

But still I slept, happy as a charm
No care in the world, no set alarm
But as it turned out, I was wrong
The fat lady had not yet finished her song

I woke in the morning, the lark on the wing
The slug on the thorn, but the world not right
For damp was my room, stinky and smellwing*
Not at all the morning bright

And when I say stinky, I mean stinky
Not just any stinky, not your average stinky
This was the sinkiest stinky that ever was stinky
Soo soo stinky that stinky was stinky. Stinky!

And what was it that was stinky?
Not just anything, but my beloved shoes
Nikes they were, but now just stinky
Shoes no more, just stinky stinky juice.

Stinky stinky juice, how I loved thee
When thee were dry, when thee were free
Stinky stinky juice, wilt thou ever be same
As thee were before, free of thy shame?

Today I see thee, as thee wert before
Thy color is the same, thou art dry again
And yet I keep thee, outside the door
Never to be worn, for thy stink is thy stain

Stinky stinky juice, wilt thou ever be same
As thee were before, free of thy shame?

*spelling changed in the interest of rhyme

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Furious Days with the Dog in the Night Time

The incidents I am about to narrate are true. Some scenes may be graphic in nature, but this has nothing to do with my blog. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Some time back, when I used to get home in the evening, he used to bully me. He would block my path, growl, chase me around and make me angry enough to kill him. But before you misunderstand, I’m not a housewife, I’m not talking about my husband, and this is not the story of Provoked. (I may be known to eat the occasional box of special K cereal for special women, but this does not make me a girl!) This is the story of Man v/s Canine : when animals attack.

It’s true. The blasted dog used to attack me almost every other day. Err..night. On the nights it didn’t happen, I think the dog was silently watching me from the shadows, just to mess with my mind. Oh, he is wise, that mongrel. He is clever and calculating. He knows what I am afraid of most and he is not afraid to use any tactics, however shameless.

Why, the other day, he even had me attacked by a crow. But let me get back to that later. Let me lay down the basics; give you an idea of what it was like to come face to face with my canine nemesis.

Imagine a boxing arena, well lit and with thousands of spectators. The dog is in one corner and I, in the other. I’m wearing formal pants. The dog isn’t wearing any. (I told you he was shameless.) Thus, it continued night after night. Having to negate a road occupied by a pant-less dog. Now you know how I feel. No?

I know I can take on the dog if I want to (being a pretty big guy, I’ve heard things ranging from the harmless ‘aren’t you too big to be human?’ to the downright insulting ‘mommy, can I ride that camel’) , but he knows and I know too that I don’t want to get bitten. I have weight on my side, but he has rabies. The disease, I mean. Not the tiny creatures that grow into adults. Babies, I mean. Not the disease. You get what I mean. Anyhow, the dog knows that I’m scared of him. This is enough for him to block my road and make it almost impossible to get home without swinging from trees.

After weeks of doing so, I grew tired. I mean, there is only so much swinging that a man’s forearms can take. Anyhow, I decided to call in reinforcements.

Some weeks back, when I had my friends Lattim and Algnam (names written backwards to protect privacy) with me, I decided that it was time to take down the dog.

We confronted the mangy mutt at his favorite haunt (the middle of the road leading to my house) and tried to come up with a plan of attack. The conversation went something like this

Me: What say we throw something at it?

Dog: woof!

Me: Who invited you to the discussion?

Dog: woof!

Lattim: Sounds like a plan. But I think he’s onto us. Look at him barking. Son of a….

Dog: bow!

Me: Just ignore him. What shall we throw? Sticks and stones?

Dog: woof bow!

Lattim: Naa, those may only break his bones.

Dog: bow woof!

Me: Then what? Words? Call him names?

Dog: Raul! (strange howl, not a Spanish footballer’s name. Besides, we should be calling the dog names. Not the other way around.)

Lattim: Naa, words will never hurt him. We need something more potent. Something that can scare the life out of this dog. We need him to run for his life and never return.

Lattim fell into thought. I looked for rocks.

Now, it may be noted that this Lattim is a very resourceful guy. He thinks big. While I was eyeing a little rock, Lattim (who had been going to the gym for a few weeks) grabbed Algnam (a girl, btw), strapped her over his shoulder like a bazooka, and made for the dog while howling a fierce war cry. (in retrospection, the war cry may just have been Algnam screaming for her life. (No girl really wants to be thrown on a dog(or anything else for that matter))). Meanwhile, I gathered rocks in one hand, a stout stick in the other and charged at the dog from a different angle. While Lattim threatened the dog with the girl, I swirled the stick about my head and loosened a flurry of rocks. Algnam continued screaming at high pitched frequencies that only the dog could hear.

Obviously, this is too much for any dog to take. He whipped his tail between his legs and made for the mountains. He has not been seen since. Apparently, man had won the battle over canine(The operative word being apparently).

A few days after the incident, while I was walking in broad daylight, a crow snuck up on me and scratched my head. Honest to God, he did. While running from the crazed crow, I have a sneaky suspicion that I caught a glimpse of a dark shadow behind a tree. The shadow of a dog. And he was giving me the middle finger.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mayawati Menace

In what could end months of mental torture endured by the common man, the Government of India may finally have figured out what to do with the Mayawati statues that have been popping up all over the country. As one may remember, the population explosion in Mayawati statues had started with an innocuous figurine that had appeared all of a sudden in UP. At that point, it had been dismissed as a random event.

However, over the course of a few months, it had reached a point where one could not turn around without bumping into a Mayawati statue. According to a victim of the statue menace, Kuttappan Singh Yadav, ‘I was taking my morning shower. By chance, my soap fell down. When I straightened myself after picking it up, Wham! There was a Mayawati statue along with me in the shower’ Kuttappan, who went into seizures on taking one look at the statue, is now suffering from chronic epilepsy.

Incidents like this have become all too common in the country, with statues turning up at every nook and cranny. In some remote corners of UP and Bihar, parents have stopped sending their children to school for fear of them being terrorized by the statues. Some kids, who dared to look at the statues indirectly through the clever use of mirrors and artificial lighting, have not slept since. Curiously enough, they have been screaming at night and complaining about the silence of the lambs.

Clearly, this has been a nation that went through its darkest hours in the last few months. However, there is now a glimmer of hope. Economists have suggested that the statues be exported. As they are to be found in abundance, there is no difficulty in declaring them as a natural resource and thereby bringing them under a list of commodities that the government can trade in.

The only problem that remains to be solved is ‘who in the blue hell will want to import them?’ Though this is a pressing concern, there have been positive signs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Parts of the country, which are thick with jungles, are often plagued by animal attacks. Wild life experts believe that the statues could find employment as scarecrows; except, they won’t be scaring crows. They will be scaring rhinos.

Meanwhile, experts have also declared that the Mayawati statues rank third in the list of scariest things known to man; and animal. The second scariest is a portrait of a smiling Mamta Banerjee that is locked away in a secret vault in the CIA headquarters at Langley. At moments of national peril, the US pulls this portrait out to interrogate terrorists. Topping the list, as the scariest thing in the world, is the vision of Uma Bharti in tight jeans and a tank top. (To imagine the horror, please visualize). Thankfully, no one has ever seen this. Should this event ever transpire, the universe as we know it will end.

Mayawati, who was contacted for her views on the matter, shockingly turned out to be a statue herself. Unfortunately, she is now indistinguishable from the hundreds of other statues and is hence unavailable for comment.

In other news, National Geographic has come out with its much anticipated list of evolutionary mistakes, a.k.a. creatures that should never have been allowed to evolve. This list, which includes the likes of the extinct Dodo and the soon to be extinct Panda, has been topped by Karan Thapar. He is closely followed by Arnab Goswami.

Rakhi Sawant, who many had expected to be on the list, has interestingly been disqualified from consideration and instead been classified as a mythical creature. It appears that history should remember her as one who may or may not have existed. Much like a Minotaur; only worse.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Plane Truth

If you guys don’t know yet, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Flights in India are always delayed. Always. Don’t even try to make it to the airport on time. These guys are professionals; they’ve been doing it for years. Tell you what; I’m sure they even have trained employees whose sole purpose is to ensure that planes are late. Even if a plane does get ready on time, these guys hide it so it can’t take off as scheduled. I’m not kidding. I’ve seen people rolling planes away when they think no one is looking.

But all this is before you board the plane. Even if you’re on it, there are still things they can do to keep it grounded. ‘Technical snag’ is a popular ruse. Now this is not something you want to hear when you’re supposed to be flying through the air in this particular piece of equipment. You expect everything to be shipshape. Or rather plane-shape. (Get it? Yuk! Yuk!) And besides, what exactly is a technical snag?

Did the pilot forget his keys? Did a tyre have a flat? The last time I was on a plane, I decided to clarify. I approached a stewardess - which is what they call a flying waitress - and asked her what the problem might be. The conversation went something as follows:

Me: What exactly is this ‘technical snag’?

She (smiling inanely): The wings, sir. They’re fixing them. Can I get you anything, sir?

Me (horrified): The wings??

She (smiling inanely while nodding her head): Yes sir. They fell off during our last landing. Nothing to worry. Coffee for you, sir?

Me (panting and sweating): The wings fell off??

She (smiling inanely while nodding and pouring coffee): Oh nothing to worry. Happens all the time. Why, I remember that one time when the engine fell off. He He. We all thought we were going to die. Giggle. Ended up having a good time in the sea. Giggle Giggle. Enjoy your coffee, sir. Giggle.

Ok, I may have exaggerated that conversation. But just a tad bit. She did say that they were fixing the wings. And she did smile inanely. They do that, these flight attendants. Look calm no matter what. The plane may be tossing about in turbulence, bouncing up and down like a yo-yo or hurtling towards the earth at great speed. But they’ll keep calm. And smile inanely. And nod. And serve you coffee. Oh! and they also end every sentence with ‘sir’. This makes me suspect they’re robots. That would also explain they’re prefect figures. (Unless you’re on Air India; and even they come in standard sizes). But that’s a story for another day.

Fixing the wings, it seems. Did she mean fix as in ‘repair’ or fix as in ‘glue to the side of the plane’. Whichever it was, it was damn scary.

Aren’t the wings the things that keep the plane in the air? Without them, it isn’t even a plane anymore. It’s just a giant tube trying to fly through the air. That’s not possible is it? Ask yourself. Have you ever seen a bird without wings? Flying, I mean. Not a dead chicken at KFC. I didn’t think so. Hell, the only thing I know that can fly without wings is a rocket. And that’s only because it has fire coming out of its end. As far as I remember, paramount airways flight I7-474 was no rocket. Ergo, it could not fly without wings.

And so we waited. For how long, I cannot tell. I do know however that a pregnant lady gave birth and watched her son take his first steps on the plane. The pilot bounced him on his knee and what not. By the time he was old enough to shave, they said they couldn’t fix the wings. Instead, they were going to get us another plane. Just like that; as though you could send the errand boy to the stationery shop for one.

But to their credit, they did find one. Probably one of the planes they’d hidden earlier. Soon as it was ready, they brought us a bus type thingy to take us to the other plane; which, incidentally, was parked 5 metres away. But instead of walking, they made us board the bus, take us around the airport 10 times, do a couple of wheelies, break down in the middle of the tarmac and cause another plane to skid off the runway. Finally, when we did enter plane 2, we were met with inane smiles from new flight attendants. Till that point, I was ok. It was when they started nodding their heads and serving coffee while calling me ‘sir’ that I started screaming like a mad man and ran away to catch the train.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Chicken

She asks me to lie down on her couch and close my eyes. I do so. She puts on some soft music and tells me to tell her what I see. I say I don’t see anything. The first thing, she says. Tell me what comes to mind. Let yourself go. And so I do.

There’s this chicken. Its white. Its standing on the side of a road.

And is it going to cross it?

No, it doesn’t cross it. It thinks about it, but its confused. It’s a highway. Its dark; and raining.

Whats it doing there?

Nothing. It just stands. For a while. Getting wet. Then it looks around.

What does it see?

On its right side, theres a briefcase. On the left, nothing. Behind, it’s the woods. I stop.

Go on. Take your time.

The chicken looks at the briefcase. Casually. It may have belonged to it, but it isn’t sure. And there are handcuffs.


On the handle. Of the briefcase.

Is the chicken chained to the briefcase?

No, its not. It thinks that it may have been. But those are handcuffs, it thinks. ‘HAND’cuffs. A chickens got wings. Not hands.

Then what?

A thought enters its mind. ‘I may be a flightless bird. But I’m still a bird’

Does the chicken want to fly away?

No. I don’t think so.

What does it want to do?

Nothing. Its just waiting.

For what?

For what comes next.

And what is that?

A truck. A big one. With steam coming out of its side. It rolls into view from beyond a bend in the road. Its headlights are powerful. The chicken can see the raindrops that the light hits. The chicken thinks they’re beautiful.

Could the chicken see anything before the truck came? How dark was it?

Quite dark but not pitch. The moon was out, albeit weakly.

What does the truck do?

It stops near the chicken. The driver leans across and opens the passenger door. He’s a big guy. Fat, and with tattoos on his arms. He says ‘can I give you a lift, mac?’

What does the chicken do?

It nods. And it climbs into the truck. The driver points to the briefcase and says ‘aren’t you forgetting something?’

What does the chicken say?

It says ‘I’m trying to forget’

And then what?

That’s it, they drive away.

She asks me to open my eyes. She tells me what she thinks. You hate your job, she says. The briefcase with the handcuffs shows that you’re tied down by it. You want to fly away, you think you deserve better. But you’re too chicken to do anything about it. You have a choice, a road to cross. Perhaps a better opportunity. But you’re too passive. You want that big truck to come and rescue you. You cant be like that. ‘Carpe Diem’, she says. Seize the day. Don’t wait for anything. Believe you can fly and you can do it. You don’t have to be a chicken. Be an eagle. Soar over the skies.

She makes me pay. She smiles. I can see that she thinks she solved my problem. But she hasn’t. I still don’t know what to do with the chicken sitting in my truck.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tharoor Lobbies For World Class Slum in Trivandrum

Trivandrum: MoS for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor was in the city today to deliver a talk on urban infrastructure planning. After gathering an audience at Symphony Hall, Tharoor wished them a very good morning, cut his talk short and declared that he would Tweet the rest of his speech from the privacy of his hotel room which also has a gym; neither of which the auditorium has.

Before the stunned crowd had a chance to react, Tharoor attempted to sneak away by shutting his eyes tight, pressing his back to the wall and moving sideways on tip toe; all this while his Wi-Fi enabled laptop was balanced on top of his head. After two minutes he opened his peepers and realized that he was moving in circles around the podium. When he saw a hundred angry eyes trained on him, Tharoor gave them the stiff upper lip, cryptically remarked 'This is why I need privacy and a gym; neither of which the auditorium has' and beat a hasty retreat. Sources who were close to Tharoor at the time reveal that he raced to the exit and sped away in a brand new 4-wheel austerity drive.

True to his word, Tharoor was on Twitter within the minute. How he managed to do so while driving is still a mystery that is yet to be solved (just like most mysteries). Top scientists suggest that perhaps the man shares a symbiotic relationship with the social networking site, both feeding off each other and growing in stature at the same time. But this is beside the point. The fact remains that in the space of a couple of hours, Tharoor managed to upload a 15000 word speech onto Twitter. At 140 characters per tweet, this is an incredible feat that would've taken the average human no less than..forget it! the average human could never have pulled this off. Not even if he had bequethed his speech and his twitter login ID and password to his children and asked them to complete if for him.

Yet, our Tharoor made short work of character restrictions on Twitter and revealed his plans on how he would make his constituency Trivandrum a global city; just as he had promised pre election. According to Tharoor, who has spent hours studying great Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, the only thing that they have that Trivandrum doesnt is world class slums. Though Trivandrum has a small one at Chengalchoola, Tharoor calls it a pathetic excuse for a slum. Occupying an area of less than 1 sq. km., Tharoor tweets in disgust that the slum doesnt even have a decent beggar to speak of. 'They all have jobs. Thooo!', tweets Tharoor.

To address this slum problem, Tharoor has called in international expert on slums, Danny Boyle. Danny Boy, who is also an expert on dogs and millionaires, asserts that if Trivandrum were to have a world class slum, he could make a movie (oscar winning), call it Slumdog Mallu Nair and thus put Trivandrum on the world map.

When asked on Twitter how he plans to bring this scheme to pass, Tharoor claims that he has alredy identified land for the project. In fact, he has put in a proposal to the Union and State Governments to acquire property in a circle around the city. His dream is that but for the sea on one side, Trivandrum should be fenced on all sides by slums. In the future, he hopes that Kochi will also be surrounded by such a slum, with the two circles of slums meeting somewhere near Kayamkulam. He also tweets that he has tears in his eyes when dreaming of such a future for Trivandrum. When asked whether he would spend a night with one of these slum dwellers, as many congress leaders on an austerity drive are prone to do, Tharoor tweets that he would certainly do so; provided the slum has privacy and a gym; neither of which the auditorium has.