Friday, July 23, 2010

No to PJs

Say no to PJs!  Abolish PJs!  Play your part!

PJs* are a cheap source of humour from the common man trying to eliminate competition from talented comedians. What started out as just a joke is now threatening the very existence of all sorts of non-PJs. It all started in 1977 when a professor of IIT Madras from the DOMS department cracked a PJ just as a joke and people happened to laugh at it just to mock the joke. Since then PJs have started growing rapidly and today, 78% of all the jokes that are cracked are considered poor.

*(not to be confused with PH which is the measure of proton concentration in a solution on a negative log scale)

PJs are threatening the existence of other forms of Comedy such as Situational comedy, Sarcasm, Puns, Anecdotes, Dark humour, catch tales, irony, mocks, spoofs, practical jokes, dead baby jokes and so on. The governments of over 212 countries have signed a treaty to control the number of PJs cracked each day but in vain. A few organisations have been set up to revive the endangered forms of comedy. UNECRO (United Nations Endangered Comedy Revival Organisation) has been set up with Matt Groening as president to make sure the other forms of comedy don't go extinct.

You can do your part to control the rapid spreading of PJs
  • Protect yourself: When you know some one is about to crack a PJ, think about dying kittens and make yourself sad. This is one of the most effective forms of protections available.
  • Post laughter precaution: If you happen to laugh at a PJ, the best thing you can do is immediately insult the PJer to make sure he feels bad and doesn't crack more PJs.
  • Abstinence: The best way to handle PJs would be to abstain yourself from the need for laughter. Although difficult at first, its easy to master. Within a few years you will be an abstainee.
  • If you see a person cracking a PJ, go tell him about the dangers of PJs. Educate him of the rights and the wrongs. The greatest battle is the battle not fought but if he doesn't listen, he is all yours.
  • No matter what happens, do not laugh. Laughter may be the best medicine but laughing at a PJ could be the best medicine for the PJ as well. Laughter encourages people to crack more PJs.
  • Organise regular public gatherings where you can spread awareness about the negatives of PJs. You could start of in your campus or office and it can grow with time.
  • Scoring system: Whenever a person cracks a PJ, give him a -10. When he cracks a good joke, give him a +10. Maintain scores of each person you know in a spread sheet and keep them informed about their scores. The human tendency to improve himself will take care of the rest.
  • File a petition to make it illegal to crack a PJ. It would help a lot if there was a law preventing the crackage of PJs. A few petitions have been filed already, offer your support!

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. The power is yours!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A day at the passport office. (Entire day)

It all started on 19th February June 1990, the day the author was officially born to his proud parents. His parents saw the cute baby and based on the skin colour immediately decided that he should go to the USA for higher studies so that he could be amongst people of the same colour. To go abroad for higher studies, the author needs to write the GRE for which he needs his passport as a primary ID. Funnily, the mess card from the 6th semester, the 12th standard library card, the Genilia D'Souza fan club membership card and even his facebook profile doesn't serve the purpose as a primary ID, all of which used to work perfectly fine everywhere else. The author had to apply for his passport and hence he writes this blog to tell the readers about the wonderful journey he took to get his passport.

Two days after the author was born
First of all the following details need to be given with proof to a passport officer before he approves your passport.

  • Date of birth
  • Current address
  • Educated/Uneducated
  • Student/Working
  • Smoker/Non-smoker
  • Alive/Dead
  • Terrorist/Non-terrorist

The above details have to be furnished. It may look simple to your eye at first but several complications do arise.

Usually your matriculation certificate will be good enough as a date of birth proof but if you happen to be unfortunately born to an evil mother who on purpose delayed your birth so that you are born after January 26th 1989, you will have to compulsorily furnish your birth certificate. This may also be simple but if you happen to be born to an evil father who thought you were too intelligent to stay home and made you join school a year early and also happened to change your date of birth given at your school later on, resulting in a conflict between your birth certificate and your matriculation certificate, things can get tricky.

In such cases, you may have to apply for a for a fresh issue of birth certificate making an embarrassing statement that you were born at your residence and your uneducated parents didn't know how to register your birth. All these happen only in hypothetical scenarios and no one really has to give much thought to it. The readers are however advised to make sure that their birth certificate is in English, birth certificates in any other language are considered to be that of a terrorist and immediately rejected. The author's sister has a unique hobby of changing her date of birth and she has managed to re-register herself in the office so many times that she contributes to 0.007% of the Indian population.

When the author went to the passport office to get his passport, he was asked to get his spouse's passport as an additional document for proof. The author tried explaining that he wasn't married yet and showed the officer an earlier post in this blog as a proof in vain. He had to wait for a year to turn 21 and be eligible and get a passport as proof but he decided to wait for the retarded officer to leave and he silently sneaked in to the next level.

For the address proof, you need one of the following
  • Electricity bill, water bill, telephone bill of a house in your name
  • Electricity bill, water bill, telephone bill of a house in your father's name + paternal identity proof
  • Bank pass book which shows at least 7 transactions in every month in the past one year.
    (Clearly a person who uses a bank at least 7 times a month is unlikely to be a terrorist.) Also terrorists don't live in the same place for more than a year and this fact has been used effectively to filter out terrorists. The applications of people (like my good friend Rikin) who haven't lived in the same place for over a year are immediately rejected because they are very likely to be terrorists.

For the paternal identity proof, one has to get his and his father's DNA sampled and a DNA comparison should be made and the relation should be established. The report should be attested by a gazetted/government officer. Since government officers are not usually corrupt, they are required to approve the report. Since the author hadn't sampled his DNA yet, he had to go to the bank and make a few transactions to raise the number and then get his passbook updated.

The passport system in India has been designed to minimise the number of terrorists who get passports. The current system will soon be changed to nullify the terrorist intake percentage to 0. The modification requires a passport applicant to have a valid passport in his name in order to apply for a passport. This will ensure that only non-terrorists will get a valid passport.[Proof by induction, base case left as exercise] All the readers are urged to get a passport as soon as possible before Arjun Singh makes sure the new system is implemented.

For Tatkal applications, one of the following documents are required.
  • Ration card
  • Arms licence
  • OBC/SC/ST certificate
  • Voter's identity cardProperty documents
  • Pension documents
  • Railway cards

Since 8 out of every 10 students have a ration card and the arms licence and 7 out of every 10 students have property documents and pension documents and since 47.2% of the students belong to OBC/SC/ST, the system is considered to be very student friendly. The passport system of India has been nominated as the youth icon and will probably be a successor to Orkut which won the title a few years ago.

The author thought the job was too easy for him and could be given to some one else and took the advice of his best friend (he has many) and approached a passport agent in Gandhi Bazaar. Passport agents save a lot of time by making the applicant stand in queue for several hours in front of the passport office and saves a lot of money by making the applicant pay them a hefty sum of Rs 600/- for the sole job of filling up the application form. [Meaning disambiguation: Agents save a lot of their own time and money]

In fact, one spends so much time in the queue that he makes a lot of friends. The author's number of friends on facebook has grown by 16% after his visits to the passport office. In fact, if one isn't already stuck, he can even get a girl friend or a dozen just by being with them as a support in their time of grief at the passport office.

Once inside the passport office one will have to go through 3 levels, each level tougher than the previous one. A set of passport officers have been sorted in the order of increasing optical power and have been divided into 3 groups, one with the least vision, the one with the best vision and the rest in the other. The one with the least vision does the first round of screening and the ones with the best vision do the last round of screening essentially on the same set of documents. People with poor vision take little time to process the documents and the ones with the best vision take a lot of time actually going through your telephone bill and may even question you about people who you frequently call.

Some innovative industrial engineering principles have been used in the office to boost productivity. The number of people processing documents at each step should depend on the speed of the step and hence the speed of each step is assigned as a weight to calculate the number of people at each step and hence the slowest step has the fewest people and the fastest step has the most number of people. An adobe flex based software which runs on Internet Explorer 6 which crashes every time a photograph of a guy with his eyes closed is taken. Thus such loss of productivity is balanced by the other measures taken to boost productivity.

Some of the emerging businesses because of this system are Passport agents as mentioned earlier, Passport trauma care centres to treat people who undergo trauma after their visit to the office, Passport office Cupids who play the game of match making at the passport office and finally facebook like-pages. A few friends of the author yesterday liked "standing in the passport office for several hours and not getting a token and coming back", "trying to fill passport application, first page done .... 5 minutes later slept zzz ..." and played facebook games like "what kind of a passport are you normal/tatkal/rejected?" and "What kind of a passport rejection will you face?" and so on.

Any way by the end of the day after 12 hours of hard work, the author got his ACK at the office and only a police officer dude stands between him and his passport. The master of pain has mastered pain and managed to keep his calm all thanks to a small tune that kept running in his head.

The readers are requested to comment if they feel the pain of the author or have been pained by the author at some point of time or hates it when the author uses "the author" instead of "I".