Date archives "January 2012"

4 Years In India

I’ve been in India for exactly 4 years today! It’s a bit of a milestone, didn’t think I’d be here for this long, which is what a lot of foreigners who come here end up saying. Infact I’ve been talking to a few expats who used to live here and they are saying they miss the place and would want to come back sometime.

We went out to an arts and crafts fair yesterday and it’s very revealing to see how many more foreigners are coming here, everywhere we looked there were westerners, families, businessmen, groups of friends etc. I’ve read that more and more people are looking to get opportunities in places outside America and Europe and given the pace at which India is growing it’s not surprising so many expats are ending up here.

A Lizard’s Tale

Around midnight last night (my resolution to sleep earlier not going so well actually) I was about to call it a night and climb in to bed when movement caught my eye near the ceiling. It was the lizard that had made itself at home in my apartment the last few nights and had eluded my somewhat half hearted attempts to locate it whenever it made the chirping sounds lizards here make.

Slowly I got back out of bed and made sure all the doors of the house were shut except for the main balcony door then I grabbed the lizard repellent (sometimes referred to as a broom) and set about the frustrating art of trying to shoo a lizard out of the house. For many people in this world shooing a lizard out of the house is not a common occurrence. I on the other hand am something of a master of lizard ushering.

Part of the problem with lizard ushering, for those of you that have never had to do it, is that they never run away from the broom lizard repellent as it approaches them from behind. They’ll run off to the side, up the wall, down the wall, back towards the bro…lizard repellent or in some cases make a giant leap of faith off the ceiling, land with a small splat on the floor and then race under the nearest piece of furniture. Basically anywhere but the direction in which you want it to actually go.

The process goes something like this: You start off being careful, trying your best not to hurt the little critter and gently maneuver the lizard repellent someway behind where it is lying and then slowly, slowly move it towards the lizard. At this point the lizard will see what’s going on and be working out the best trajectory to go anywhere but in the direction the lizard repellent is moving. So the process continues until it gets to the point where you are back where you started, the lizard is no closer to the door you want it to go out and your patience has worn razor thin.

At this point you become annoyed and the softly, softly approach goes out the window and more aggressive maneuvers are made. Now it becomes really fun because the lizard will leap, slip, slide, twizzle, slalom and sashay across the walls, floor, ceiling, small babies and furniture in a great big game of cat and mouse. Or human and lizard.

Generally in this game, the lizard invariable comes out on top as the human gives up in exasperation. However, like a man possessed I started jumping over the bed, hurtling around the room and thrashing at anything that moved with the lizard repellent, trying to get in to the mind of the hunted to gain wisdom and insight to its next flight of panic.

Eventually, and mostly because the laws of quantum say that given enough time anything can happen, the lizard ended up sort of where I wanted it, except it was hiding in the gap between the floor and the door. As I tried to gently move the door, the lizard simply followed the movement to remain hidden with just a small leg or a couple of toes pointing out. After series of ever more violent jerks to dislodge the reptile I had no choice but to ram the lizard repellent device in to the gap between the floor and the door to smoke the bugger out.

And how it shot out, like a bat out of hell on greased lightning it was gone in a flash before I could direct it to the open balcony door. Instead it made a beeline for the sofa in the living room and sought refuge underneath. Smelling blood and hot on the tail of my prey I threw the sofa aside like a toy and dived in after it. Totally stunned, the lizard froze with blind panic as it didn’t know which way to turn so I seized the opportunity to gently, but firmly, push it towards the balcony door with the lizard repellent device. Beaten and subdued it had no choice but to comply and slowly but surely it made its way to the door. When it realized freedom awaited on the other side it took the initiative to make its own way which is when I noticed that it was a whole lot shorter than it should have been, infact it was now about half the length it used to be.

Closer inspection revealed that it unfortunately acquired a number of war wounds including a wangy leg that seemed to go up and down rather than backwards and forwards and a tail that wasn’t so much injured as entirely missing.

Finally, the now much smaller lizard was out on the balcony and I had to go back, locate and dispose of the missing tail. Fortunately though it wasn’t too hard to find because it was literally thrashing around behind the sofa I had thrown across the room when the red mist had come down. I had to do a double take because it was like a worm wriggling around except it was definitely a lizard tail, completely separated from the body but making a determined bid to get on with things and lead a normal, bodiless life – and probably thinking about claiming disability benefits from the British government in the process.

A very freaked out Wikipedia search later and I discovered that shedding the tail is a defence mechanism employed by many lizards and in a few weeks it will grow another.

And that is the story of the lizard’s tail.

Here is a Youtube video of what the tail looked like when it was wriggling around, it’s not my video but it’s pretty much the same thing that happened.

The Future of Football

I came across this video today and decided that it is without doubt the future of football. I might start a Government petition to get it included in the Olympic Games too. Even if you don’t like football and think it’s a bunch of overpaid sissies running after a bag of air, you’ll want to watch football if it was played like this. Dubbed boblefotball, it was invented by those crazy…Norwegians. Now every player can bounce and roll around like Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo whenever another player comes near them. Actually, thinking about it, we should wrap the original man of glass, Michael Owen, up in one of these the next time he steps out in a United shirt.

My New Year’s Resolution

I forgot to publish a New Year’s Resolution, I hope I’m not too late! I’m going to keep it simple this year, so here we go:

1. Learn English proper, like. I’ve been told by many people that I have a wonderful writing style (Naaw, thanks guys!), but I’ve also been told by an equal number of people that my grammar sucks, my girlfriend even told me that a little piece of her dies every time I use an errant “are” instead of “is”. To rectify this (and to save my girlfriend) by the end of 2012, amongst others, I will have finally mastered the common apostrophe, know the exact times when to use the semi-colon, the colon and of course the hyphen and be the foremost expert on the tricky difference between “which” and “that”.

2. Lose another 4kg. It doesn’t sound like much, it doesn’t need to be much, I just need to be lighter at the end of the year than I am now.

3. Turn 29. Well, I need to have at least one resolution that I’ll be able to stick to! I’ve now successfully turned 29

4. Go to bed early. If I’m going to turn 29 this year then I need to stop going to bed at 1am and stop writing blog posts at 12:30am like this one, even if it is a Saturday tomorrow.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, it should be good enough, I’ll see you in 2013 to see how we all got on.

How Did John Terry End Up On A Packet Of Cigarettes?

Not sure if it’s been widely reported back in England but it’s making the national news here in India. Apparently someone from the Indian Directorate of Visual Publicity decided to use John Terry’s image as part of a health warning on the packet of cigarettes here. Obviously this wasn’t authorized and Terry has taken legal action against ITC, the manufacturers of the cigarettes. Judging by the comments in the link below it seems many people in India don’t understand what the fuss is about.

From my own experience I have found there to be a certain copy and paste culture in India where people will copy the content from a website and pass it off as their own not realizing the legal or ethical problems with it. A case in point is that I do all the writing for my company website and marketing literature and I’ve lost count how many other Indian IT companies here have simply copied and pasted my content, in some cases forgetting to even remove the company name! An SEO candidate came for an interview once and was very proud of the book he had “written” on SEO and used it to show off his skills. A quick search on Google showed that it was a PDF anyone could download for free. I know copying and pasting happens everywhere but the feeling I get is that it’s more endemic here because there are no implications should you be found out.

In the case of John Terry, I’m sure the designer simply did a Google images search, found this image from the Internet and didn’t see any problem with using it – after all, it is slightly blurred, right?! I’m actually kinda curious as to why they used this image instead of an Indian man, it’s not like John Terry is particularly famous here – although he is now!

BBC News - 'John Terry' image appears in India anti-smoking drive

Terry plans legal action over Indian anti-smoking picture–soccer.htmlRepresentatives of John Terry are taking legal advice after an image resembling the England football captain appeared on cigarette packs in India.