The Blah Blahs and the Yada Yadas

I don’t know if there are people who enjoy visits to the barber. Statistically, I guess there would be some who do – people who revel in the wonderful world of styling, who keep up with the latest fashion trends for the neck up. I am not one to judge – It takes all kinds, I guess, so I would politely refrain from making fun of these hapless dim-witted weirdoes.

graciously tip

Instead, let me just state my case – My visits to the barber are purely functional; a chore to be endured. My best strategy so far has been to zone out as long as possible while the boring event takes place. Now, I have to confess that there has been a few incidents here and there where I could have benefited from being a bit more attentive and a bit less lost-in-wonderland when visiting the butcher of mane, but overall, being conscious doesn’t seem worth the boredom.

It is also a gesture of trust – It’s saying “Here, stranger with sharp objects, I’m placing a significant chunk of my appearance in your hands. I trust you will not turn out to be a practical joker with an inclination to modern art”. This strategy has worked so well for me so far – Nobody has ever said my hair looked awesome, but at least it’s not scaring children away – I set a pretty low bar for hair styling.

the low bar

Unfortunately, the zoning out gambit has run its course. Over the last several visits to the barber, I’ve seen that there’s a new addendum to the course. At least, I THINK it’s new.

I’ve mentioned before how language issues subjected me to an impromptu wax at my Arab habibis salon. Eventually, I decided to try out a new salon. I got in the seat and proceeded to zone out as usual. The first godknowshowmany minutes were pretty uneventful. I was calm and relaxed, in another world, only to be jolted back to reality with the sound of a bang… and a thud. The b. and t. in question would have been alarming on their own – it’s not something one expects in a shop full of sharp blades. But what was particularly alarming about this bang and thud was that they were felled directly on my head.

Now, I am a rather forgiving person, and I am open to letting bygones be bygones. So I was thinking that I could simply forg.. THUD! Oh, no. Another one? That was no mistake. That was an intentional rap on the head. I looked at the barber – Did I do something to him? Maybe I resembled a villainous family member who cheated him of his property back in his homeland? Maybe in my zoned out state, I made an offensive remark about his mother? That didn’t sound like me, but hey, why else would a virtual stranger be THUD BANG TUK TUK TUK TUK TUK…


Ohkeyyy, this was getting out of control. He was now rapping on my head with both hands. He interlocked his fists by intertwining fingers at the knuckles and continued; he started covering every inch of my head in rhythmic, well timed mini-punches. His hands went TUK TUK TUK TUK TUK TUK TUK, and my mind went OW OW OW OW OW OW. Forgiving as I was, I was less inclined to turn a blind eye to the assault and was considering turning one of his eyes blind.

But by this time, though, I was completely awake (If you can take about four dozen punches and still remain asleep, you may have bigger things to worry about than mildly violent barbers). No longer zoned out, I had started giving my full attention to the onslaught. It took a few seconds, but I dismissed the notion that this was an act of aggression. I reasoned that if the fellow wanted to inflict harm, he had sharp weapons handily lying around, after all. The rhythmic nature of the mini-punches, the chap’s deadpan expression as he delivered them, and the fact that none of the other patrons at the salon found the behaviour strange – all pointed to this being a matter of routine. It would have taken a duller mind than mine to remain perplexed by the mystery. I deduced – correctly, in fact – that I was at the receiving end of a massage.

This was delivered as a bonus; a free service given away with every haircut at this new salon of mine. As the dauntless chap continued his battery of my poor head, and as my brain undoubtedly rattled in its shell, there were a lot of thoughts that sped their way out of my head. Most notably, I was pondering in wide eyed incredulity, the fact that people actually pay for stuff like this. In upscale salons, I presume they even have a menu for a variety of cranial massages. I imagine a fancy fonted menu in which options like Judo, Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, and Muai Thai, are presented as the punching styles used for the massages.

not the relaxing

Now you may be thinking – Hamish, if you don’t like the gosh darned service, then you can just fudgin’ tell them no. Apparently, I think your thoughts are Disney censored, but let’s just overlook that for a bit. Yes, the massage is NOT mandatory. I’m sure that if I simply raised my hand and said “Excuse me, sensei, if you could just leave out the punc… the massaging, that would be great”, that would be the end of it. No hard feelings, except for injuries sustained till then, of course. But I can’t do that. Remember that for this salon, the massage was free! As a true blooded Indian, refusing free stuff is an Ethan Huntesque mission of epic impossibleness.

Whenever my vocal cords synthesize the words “Hey, about that free stuff – just cut it out, ok?”, the words are magically transformed by the time it reaches my lips to something like “Hey.. about that free stuff … Can I have two more of those to go?” So that’s a strict no to saying no. Sure, my head may end up getting bruised eventually, but gosh darn it, it’s fudgin’ free.

gluten free

I’ve been reading up on the barbers who give head massages. It’s far more popular than I thought. And most people seem to enjoy them. I guess one day, I will too… probably after my head injury gets a bit more debilitating and I can no longer differentiate between good and bad.

But a far more interesting, and an infinitely more entertaining phenomena exists – Cosmic massages. It includes your run of the mill head massage, coupled with a weird dance where the cosmic barber shoves cosmic energy into your head and face using his bare hands. I don’t care if you don’t believe it. I don’t care if you don’t understand or appreciate the wondrous supernatural gift that’s being used to service your cosmic spirits. I don’t care, because it’s hilarious.

cosmic hair massage

Seeing this, I feel completely shortchanged. My free head massage was nothing – a half-hearted halfway knockoff that brought in all the pain and left out all the jolly, insane fun of the thing. I am going to find one of these cosmic massage places and head out with a bucket of popcorn to watch the festivities; ‘watch’ being the operative word here. I just want to watch because –

  1. You can’t see the cosmic massage in all its hilarity while getting it done ON you. You only have so much peripheral vision.
  2. With a sure fire operation like that, there’s bound to be one hell of a rush to get cosmic massages. I am not a patient man.
  3. Last but not least… I expect that watching the procedure would be free.

14 Jan, 2015

Dissolved resolves

Posted by: hammy In: Life in the UAE|Stay fit, appear fit

What exactly is new, and when does it stop becoming new? I’d say that depends on the item under question, and how long it can be used. If it’s a soda that’d go flat after the first few minutes of opening the bottle, it could only be called new until you open the cap. If it’s a Japanese car that’s slated to last for the next 25 years with proper maintenance, I’d still call it new if it is in its third year. If the car is from General Motors, then I’d call it new if it hasn’t been recalled by the company yet.

So for something that is perfectly usable for 365 days, I find it wasteful that we only call the year new for the first day of the year. Hey, we’re only in the second week of 52 perfectly usable weeks, and I say the year is still new. Noting that we haven’t really done much with it so far, I’ll go so far as to say it’s in pristine condition – almost brand new. I think that’s enough justification for why I’m writing a piece on resolutions now, and not two weeks ago, like any deadline conscious, non lazy blogger would have.

So yeah, making resolutions is essentially one of the staple, stereotypical customs associated with a new year. It is estimated that almost 40-50% of people make new year’s resolutions, making it THE most common time honored tradition around a new year. The second most common tradition, equally time honored, is breaking new years resolutions.

Breaking new year’s resolutions is so common (reportedly, 92% of people who make them, break them) that very few people nowadays expect resolutions to stand beyond the first two weeks. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to have broken your 2015 resolutions already than to have taken down your Christmas decorations. The simplest remedy, of course, is to just stop making resolutions at all. Traditions schmaditions.

But then the nagging voice inside me spoke out, “Hamish, you are just being defeatist. Don’t let the world guide you. So what if statistics show it’s a futile attempt? Just turn it around on it’s head.” So that’s what I’m doing now – turning it around on its head; I’m going to break the resolutions first, and make them up afterwards.

So how does that work? I’m potentially subscribed to all the resolutions made around the world, plus a few that nobody in their right mind would make, and they would count as resolutions only when I break them. So that’s it. I’m set. The upside is that I’m already way ahead of most people. Of the umpteen billion jillion resolutions I COULD have broken so far, I still have tons of unbroken ones left. And I will have plenty to last me through the year.

On the flip side, some of the resolutions I’ve broken so far cover the most popular new years resolution items for most folks. Resolutions such as –


1. I Will Exercise More

The question is… more than what? If it were something like “I will exercise more than Garfield, the cat”, I think I would have that covered. But if it is meant as a call to arms in favor of exercise, then, well…  The fact is that the most exercise I get is the chewing motion of my mouth when I eat my food, the only games I play are on my phone, and the only muscles I flex are those on my thumb when I flip through the TV channels.

My wife, the Indefatigable Rhine, has embarked on a one-woman quest to drag me out of bed early in the morning for a morning walk. She is determined to  get this set as part of my routine, even if she has to carry me to the track herself.

But considering that – so far – I’ve skipped exercise more often than not, I’d say this is just wishful thinking. So I’m chalking this one up as a pre-broken resolution.


2. I Will Watch What I Eat

If this were more literal, and the only premise is to glance at the mountainous load of food I’m cramming into my pie-hole, then it would not be easily broken, and therefore, could not qualify for my pre-broken resolution list. However, the actual intent of this common resolution is to control food intake – to reduce overall consumption, reduce sweets, fried items, cheese/ butter/ oily items, and to have fruits and vegetables occupy a larger percentage of the daily intake.

This one got broken on the first half of day 1 of the New Year. New Year 2015, for me, was in India, in the immediate aftermath of my sister-in-law’s fabulous wedding. The aftermath came pre-packaged with a host of post-wedding engagements that were littered with an artery clogging stock-pile of scrumptious deliciousness. And I chomped my way through all of them.


3. I Will Save Money

There has been complaints within the family circle that I do not take stock of my expenses. I am an MBA graduate with a degree in Marketing. One could presume that I understand the tricks of the trade; how corporations use gimmicky illusions of promotional offers, marketing buzzwords, hidden costs and sales pitches to lure the unsuspecting schmuck of a customer into emptying his wallet for a bunch of useless products and services. One could presume that, of course. But one would not be correct.

The promise of being careful what I spend money on; of avoiding purchases that I actually do not need; this seems like a logical, simple, and actionable resolution. But considering that less than two weeks into 2015, my purchases include

  1. An internal hard disk of 6TB capacity, to be used for assembling a NAS system; something more suitable for a small organization than for a private individual at home.
  2. An iPad Air, an indisputably overpriced, though sleek tablet for personal use, despite already having another 5 month old tablet in perfectly usable condition, AND a 6 month old Kindle with nearly a hundred unread books.
  3. The Philips Air Frier, a new technology cooking device that promises to fry food with less oil, enabling the guilt free consumption of food like french fries or fried chicken or onion rings . A noble goal, if ever there was any – except that the ideal goal should have been to eliminate unhealthy foods, not marginally decreasing the unhealthiness of said foods.
  4. About 10 books from Amazon, many of which I already have on my iPad already, despite my declining reading habits.

I haven’t tallied up the total spend so far. I’m sure my wife will do it sometime, following which she will undoubtedly scream in frustration. So yeah, this qualifies as a pre-broken resolution.


4. I Will Give Up Drinking

This is probably the go-to resolution for drunkards – at least those alcoholics who realize they are alcoholics and sees this as a problem; they would probably have this as the leading resolution every year. But it doesn’t apply to me. Because I’m not a drunkard. Really. I can quit whenever I want, I just don’t want to. I only have an occasional drink once in a while anyway.


But for what it’s worth, since I had a drink a few days ago, this is also a great addition to my pre-broken resolutions list.


5. I Will Give Up Smoking

This is far harder to enforce. The chief problem is that I don’t smoke. I may in fact be allergic to tobacco, which is probably the one boon given to me by the health Gods. No, I don’t know if there is a God for health. But there should be. At least, a patron saint of health. Which saint, you ask? I…  I don’t know.

Getting back to my point, the problem is that I am not, nor have I ever been a smoker. So logically, this resolution wouldn’t apply to me at all. Therefore, it’s the perfect pre-broken resolution.

Or is it? Come to think of it, the fact that I have never really smoked also means that I have NOT given up smoking. In fact, by definition, it may be impossible for me to break this promise, and as such, it should not qualify as a resolution for me at all. Hmm… It’s quite a pickle. But I’m going to leave this point here, though, because hey… I typed up all of these words here, and I’m far too lazy to replace this with some other point.


6. I Will Stop Being Lazy

Oh. Well, I don’t really know what to type in here. Maybe ‘LOL’ would suffice? Laziness being a core trait of mine, I don’t think that’s going anywhere.



In addition to these, I have also broken some resolutions which are so taken for granted by most sane people, that they are seldom elevated to the status of ‘resolution’. For example, ‘I Will Not Actually Fall Off A Van By Stupidly Being Distracted By The Phone While Climbing Aboard‘ is NOT on the resolution list of the average person. But it made it into MY pre-broken resolution list last week.

I was climbing aboard the company van, balancing my laptop bag on my left shoulder, working on my phone with my right hand, when I reached out and grabbed on to the the grab-handle by the door to pull myself in. Except – I missed the handle by a few inches or so, and I ended up wildly clutching at empty space instead, while still staring at my phone. Spoilers: It did not end well.

I went on a comically brief flailing frenzy before my fall. I managed to grab on to part of a seat on my way down. But it didn’t stop the fall; it merely slowed it down such that I swiveled to one side and banged on the rear door before finally falling butt first on to the hard tarred road. Onlookers were more puzzled than amused or concerned. They couldn’t grasp the reality of the situation for a while, seeing me bounce off two sides of the van while attempting a feat that can be casually accomplished by a competent  first grader on his first day to school.

I turned out fine. Nothing was broken. Except my pride. And the resolution. I’m sure there are more of these coming my way. But I’m ready, with my ever growing list of resolutions. 2015, bring it on.

08 Jan, 2015

Happy 2015, everyone!

Posted by: hammy In: Uncategorized

As anyone with a calendar and a moderate sense of awareness about the world around them can attest, it’s a brand new year. So… Happy New Year, everybody. Cheers, merriment, and well wishes all around. May 2015 be far better than 2014. And no, I’m not talking about the month May, 2015. Completely different ‘may’ there.


Procrastination. That’s the reason. Why have I not been writing for a long time now? I picked up several threads and started to write on them across the last few months. Good or bad, the threads just got abandoned after a while. I would think to myself “It’s ok. You can hold off for a bit. You’ve started the article, and that’s the main thing. You’re gonna finish it. I have faith in you. Now just click over to that link of the cat playing the piano.”

I wish I had a grand, satisfying reason for not dishing out articles over the past several months… or decades… I don’t even know. But it’s just good old fashioned procrastination that I have to blame.

That’s a really lame reason. I know. Let me try to analyze it better. There has to be a deeper reason. A reason to WHY I just put off writing. Why did I procrastinate?

Q. Did I run out of topics to write about? Not really. 2014 has been particularly eventful. I changed my job, made new friends, visited Oman, tried my hand at camping, and a bunch of other stuff that could have kept the blog running.

Q. Did I get overrun by work and other commitments? Sure, but that was always the case, and I used to find time for this as well.

Q. Did I get… hospitalized or something? No! Jeez. Bite your tongue.

Q. Did I get bored with writing? Wha? I sure hope not. I have always enjoyed writing… and I hope to carry that interest with me for all my life.

Q. So what, then? What reason do I have? Was I just being lazy? Hmm… bingo, I guess.

So yeah, that’s the deeper reason for my online disappearance. Not a lot better than procrastination. Actually, may be a lot worse.

But that’s the dead end, unfortunately. Nothing deeper to analyze here. Just pure laziness. Hopefully, I’ll be able to drive away the laziness demons a bit better this year. I’ll restart my engine, so to speak, and be more regular. Yes, I will do it. And I will start on this RIGHT AWAY. Right now, just as soon as I’m done with this funny cat video.

07 Aug, 2014

The Neverending Story

Posted by: hammy In: Stay fit, appear fit

When talking of grand endeavors and large scale projects, people tend to think global – building The Burj Khalifa, manning the space station, mining asteroids for minerals, restraining Mel Gibson, punching Justin Beiber… For me, however, the grandest endeavor (incidentally, one that relates to large scales in particular) has always been the battle of the bulge.

The most important key to this battle… is determination.

There comes a moment in everyone’s life when you know… you simply KNOW… that you will win. No matter what the odds, no matter how herculean it seems at the time, you know without a fraction […] Continue Reading…

17 Mar, 2014

All Growed Up

Posted by: hammy In: faux pas|Gadgets

Growing old is inevitable. But growing up is a choice. Not my own – somebody wise said that. I simply endorse the view. It makes sense, you know. But it’s hardly new knowledge. Not a day goes by without someone or the other telling me to grow up. It’s quite clear that they know it’s a matter of choice. It’s not in debate. My only question is… why?

There has to be some plus side to growing up, of course. Every kid I know has this instinctive expectation that growing up is just going to be awesome. But the awesome […] Continue Reading…

The world has been shrinking for quite a while. It has been, for a… No, not in terms of mass or size… Come on, don’t act like you haven’t heard that before. With the blazing pace of human advancement, continents, countries and people have been getting more and more interconnected, making the world seem smaller. You know it, if not from the media trails, then from Walt Disney, who has been trumpeting “It’s a Small World” into your eardrums since 1964.

Anyway, like I was saying, the world’s been shrinking. It has been for a while, and with the advent […] Continue Reading…

21 Feb, 2014

Brake Dance

Posted by: hammy In: Life in the UAE|Taxis, Ricks and Traffic

They say you never truly appreciate what you have until the day you lose it. It could be anything, from eyesight, to your big toe, to bladder control, to your car keys. This phrase has never rung as clearly as it did for me last weekend.

Some of you may know that last year, I joined the polluting horde of the driving force by buying a brand old Honda Civic, pretty much alarming pedestrians across the UAE. Contrary to popular predictions, my behind-the-wheel experiences did not cause an appreciable increase in road fatalities in the region. It has been largely […] Continue Reading…

29 Jan, 2014

Codes must be crazy

Posted by: hammy In: College Files|Designs

I was an Engineer by education at one point. Engineering college is slowly becoming a pleasant, but vague memory of the past. The time spent goofing around with friends, will, of course live in perpetuity – Who can forget that time when, after five beers on a dare, we shaved that cat and kicked it into that well two days before the final exam? Of course, there is always that possibility that it was just a dream, cos hey, I don’t really remember what happens after the fourth beer. But in between the beer bouts, the movies, the parties, […] Continue Reading…

He’s back.

Long time readers of this site may remember that I had been willfully targeted by one of the earlier drafts of God, Zeus. For those who don’t know him, Zeus is the ancient Greek god of thunder, lightning, weather and other random sky related phenomena.

For reasons unknown, Zeus had gotten into a personal vendetta against yours truly. I wrote about our first epic battle a long time ago. And we have had other battles on and off. As is often the case when men go to battle against divine, all-powerful, supernatural entities, the battle tends to be a […] Continue Reading…

06 Jan, 2014

Resolute Resolution

Posted by: hammy In: faux pas|Gadgets|Life in the UAE

I was fishing around for an idea for a blog article, when my friends suggested that I write about my New Year’s resolution. They said it’s usually written towards the last day of December, but hey, better late than never. They advised that the key is to keep things realistic and manageable.

Fine, I thought… I can do that. So my new year’s resolution is pretty simple. It’s 4K. I mean… It would have been 4K, but then again, if I have to be realistic about it, then I think 4K is just a bit too far ahead of the […] Continue Reading…

  • hammy: @aleem: Hello, Aleem. Welcome to the club... It's a pretty big club, but don't worry. You'll get your license. Eventually. But good l
  • Aleem: Wow , I am going through same problem today I failed at assesment second test with error you have mentioned here , according to me I drove well but wi
  • Knocking on Hamish’s Dome | The Blah Blahs and the Yada Yadas: […] mentioned before how language issues subjected me to an impromptu wax at my Arab habibi’s salon. Eventually, I […]

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