January 27, 2008

The Satyam Diet

I lost weight during the year I spent working in India. Most of it can be attributed to the Satyam Diet plan that I followed in Bangalore. My eating habits changed to accommodate my work schedule. My hours spent in the office were from around 10 in the morning to 7 at night. One hour on each side could be added as traveling time. Since my carefree existence allowed me to indulge in at least nine hours of sleep a night, by the time I woke up and got ready, there was no time for breakfast apart from some fruit or juice picked up on the way to work. The office gruel served at lunchtime was so consistent in its putridity that eating even a tiny portion of the fare tormented my taste buds and stripped me of my beloved appetite. Apart from the tasty morsels provided by office belles the amount of food I consumed during the midday meal was severely diminished. With two of the days three meals much smaller than I regularly had, dinner became a meal of meals. I would visit the finest establishments around the city, having food of singularly high quality but with a diversity of flavour, ingredients, and preparation.

No diet can be successful unless it combines both food intake and physical exertion. The exercise portion of the diet was provided by the 8 floors I had to climb every time I took a break (a surprisingly large number of times) with my colleagues or went to lunch. There was only one elevator for the many hundreds of employees, and with a significant proportion of these taking a break at any one moment in time, the elevator was always stuffed to overcapacity. The dozens of Satyamites left behind on each trip eagerly hoped that the next time the elevator opened its doors, they would find themselves within its friendly womb. Unable to bear the thought of lost productivity due to waiting for the lift, I resorted to using the stairwells to physically transport myself from the bottom of the building to the top and vice versa. During these breaks, often times I would partake in strenuous games of table tennis. My innate talent was not enough against my experienced opponents, so I had to work on my conditioning and reflexes. Other times I played carrom, a game similar to billiards or pool but played with bare hands.

Combined with the occasional escape from a wild mob or leap from a bus, the Satyam Diet worked wonders. Not only can a job provide opportunities for career development and financial stability, but it can also have a profound impact on other facets of life.

January 13, 2008

The Measure of A Man: Custom Tailored Shirts

In India due to the low cost of labour, it is usually more affordable to have custom tailored clothing made by the in house tailor at a brand name store as compared to buying the pre-made goods available there. I planned on revamping my wardrobe with only custom tailored clothing fitting my drool worthy physique, but time constrains allowed me to only commission two dress shirts. Having identified the most prominent tailoring franchises in the country, Raymonds and Reid & Taylor, I had ordered one shirt from each as a test of their capabilities. Based on the quality of the finished product, adherence to instructions, price, service, and variety of fabrics available, Reid & Taylor was declared my favourite.

Within days, a shirt designed to meet my individual needs was stitched together. If the material available at the store was not to my liking I could bring in my own fabric. Then the tailor would be summoned to take my measurements. It is wise to know the amount of material required and all the aspects of the body that need to be measured for a complete form fitting dress shirt to be made. Raymonds custom tailoring resulted in the delivery of a short sleeved shirt when I had assumed a long sleeved one would be created. The total cost of manufacturing the shirt would equal the sum of the fabric cost and the tailor's fee. A receipt would be issued along with a note stating the expected completion date of the shirt.

What to Measure:
  1. Neck - the circumference around the entire neck from the base where neck and shoulders meet and around the Adam's apple
  2. Shoulders - turn around and measure from one shoulder edge to the other shoulder edge tracing the slope of the shoulders
  3. Chest - the circumference around the largest part of the chest
  4. Waist - the circumference around the largest part of the waist
  5. Hip - the circumference around largest part of the hip including the bum at its peak
  6. Shirt - the top of the shirt at the collar seam to the desired level at the bottom, recommended: trouser crotch level
  7. Sleeve - from the shoulder edge to the hand at the desired level, recommended: where thumb and fourth finger join to make a 'V'
  8. Wrist - the circumference around largest part of the wrist around the bony bump
Recommended Tools:
  • Measuring tape
  • Assistant

January 04, 2008

Parental Spanking

During my daily commute aboard my favourite form of mass entertainment, the SkyTrain, I witnessed a spanking incident between a woman and what I assumed to be her son. There are poles placed at strategic locations throughout the train compartment so that standees may grab hold of them for support during their arduous journey. The child, full of youthful enthusiasm, was using one of these aforementioned poles as a piece of gymnastic equipment, propelling himself around them at greater and greater speeds. While the train was stopped at a station, the boy almost launched himself through the open doors. After each rotation around the pole, the child was told to stop and sit down by the mother, who was getting angrier and louder with each gyration.

As the boy's behavior did not change with repeated warnings, he was given a light smack across his bottom by the frustrated mother. "Stop, you can't do that in front of everyone!" yelped the whippersnapper. "I just did" replied the mother, "That will teach you not to jump around all over the place".

After this comment, the boy went into a frenzy, his pace increasing as he pulled off various acrobatic moves. The mother, face red, yelled "That's it! No McDonald's for you today!".

"Noooooooo!" shrieked the boy, as he simultaneously ceased rotating. "Why???"

"Because" the mother responded.

"Because is not an answer!"

"Because I told you so! Because I asked you to sit down but you wouldn't and now you're talking back."

"Uhhuhuhuhuhuhhhhhhhhhhhh" bawled the boy.

Five minutes of uncomfortable silence followed until the pair got off the train. An "I'm sorry" whimper and a "So am I" response was overheard by some passengers as they exited. In the meantime, I was trying to recollect the exact details of the Guidelines for Parental Use of Disciplinary Spanking that I had read. This useful document had been published by the American College of Pediatricians. Conditions included:

(a) Spanking should be used selectively for clear, deliberate misbehavior, particularly that which arises from a child's persistent defiance of a parent's instruction.

(b) Spanking should always be a planned action (not a reaction) by the parent and should follow a deliberate procedure.

(c) Spanking should always be administered in private (bedroom or restroom) to avoid public humiliation or embarrassment.

(d) Spanking should leave only transient redness of the skin and should not cause physical injury.

(e) If properly administered spankings are ineffective, other disciplinary responses should be tried again rather than increasing the intensity of spankings.

Condition (a) was followed by the mother, although the child was given no prior spanking alert before impact was made. This leads me to conclude that condition (b) was not met and that the mother had lost her cool when she had applied corporal punishment to the rear of her son. Condition (c) was definitely not met! Although I did not inspect the boy very closely, condition (d) appears to have been met. The mother stopped at one disciplinary spank and used the McDonald's maneuver thereafter, as the boy had become enraged at the public punishment and taken his misbehavior into the next level, so condition (e) was met also.

Overall Spanking Score: 3/5

January 01, 2008

A Year of Change

The year that was will be remembered as a seminal one in the Chronicles of Arnabia. As with any year it was a year of gain and a year of loss, but above all it was a year of change. The hero of our tale concluded his work term in his ancestral homeland of India, then circled the globe spreading goodwill among EU nations, before making a triumphant return to the place of his ARNABirth - Canada.

Not only did the physical location of my residency on Earth change, but also my career path and community involvement. I bade farewell to Satyam Computer Services, my faithful employer during my internship period, and engaged in a new working relationship with ResponseTek Networks where the prospects for developing my technological skill set seem encouraging. I took on greater responsibilities within the local Bengali community, infusing it with youth and receiving from it many learning opportunities about my cultural background. I redefined the ARNABody in a shape so formidable that the many women enrolled in the ARNABstinence program had second thoughts about whether to renew their membership for the new year.

With all these changes in 2007, the stage appears to be set for a more stable year of continued personal growth in 2008, with one significant storyline to look out for being the continued search for the ARNABride.


"It is said that the present is pregnant with the future." - Voltaire