Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sex, Mike and Brassiere Measurements

* Disclaimer for female readers: Relax! I am not trying to objectify the female form. I think being a woman is a tough thing and I respect women a lot. Whew!

Creating new characters for my books is a lot of fun. But sometimes it can be a pain in the buttocks. Currently my protagonist is an eight-month-pregnant woman. To flesh out her character in greater details I have been doing a lot of research on pregnancy. My mind is reeling under pressure with 10 centimetre dilations, water breaking, swelling of mammary glands, etcetera etcetera. No wonder my attention span has reduced to 300 milliseconds. Man! There is a lot of stuff out there about pregnancy.

Information overload!
All systems down!

Luckily this character works for a fashion house which makes lingerie (India’s equivalent of Victoria’s Secret). So I have been happy digging facts about lingerie. I am astounded by the simplicity yet effectiveness of bras sizing. Here is a small primer for all patrons on all those terms we never understood – 36 D, 34 C (As a kid I used to think they were bus numbers, serious!). I am attempting to go where a lot of men have gone before and failed miserably (did you know that there are almost a dozen different ways in which bras are hooked – back, front, sides, neck …). They should have taught us all these things in school.

There are two variables which need to be calculated to determine the bras size - Band size and cup size. The band size is always an even number (according to international standards). The cup size is an alphabet like A, B, C, etc. So a typical bras size would look like - 34 C or 36 D.

Measurement of band size: A tape measure (inch) is used to measure around the rib cage directly under the breasts. The number 5 is then added to this number and it is rounded off to the nearest even number.

Measurement of cup size: The next measurement goes around the chest over and including the fullest part of the bust (usually at the level of the nipples). The band size is then subtracted from this measurement. The cup size is then determined using the following table -

Half inch AA
One inch A
Two inches B
Three inches C
Four inches D
Five inches DD or E
Six inches DDD or F
Seven inches G

Example - Suppose the measurement below the breasts is 30 inches. Adding 5 to that we get 35. Rounding it to the nearest even number we get 36. So the band size is 36. Now suppose the measurement over the breasts is 40 inches. 40 - 36 = 4 inches. So cup size from the table is D. Therefore, the bras size is 36 D.

* A few days back I was discussing with some fellow writers how Indian writers are pathetic at writing convincing love making scenes. All of us are working on a collaborative project and most of the stories have couples in them. Yet, very few of us wanted to go down that path where we would have to write about the couple making out. As a challenge I have decided to include a hot and steamy sex scene in my story. The first draft will be put up here for everyone’s inspection in a few days.

* Fans of PhD Comics the world over are waiting with bated breaths as Mike Slackenerny prepares for his thesis defence. Will he finally earn his PhD? Only time will tell. The man who has been rumoured to be around the Stanford campus since the 70s (parents of some recent grad students were students along with him) has been a source of inspiration for graduate students the world over. Procrastinator extraordinaire, Mike is adored by the Horrors for his love of food and sleep. If Mike gets a PhD I hope he joins the faculty at Stanford. Phdcomics wouldn’t be same without him. I can already see Babe (also known as Death and Research Boy in certain quarters) getting his doctorate in a few years. My boy is all grown up. Sniff sniff.

* Back to watching 10 movies and reading 3 books a week. Life is bliss. Saw ‘Finding Neverland’ yesterday and am still lost in the beauty of the film. Magical!!

* Thinking about –

I think there's too much burden placed on the orgasm, you know, to make up for empty areas in life.
- Woody Allen in Annie Hall

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It’s happened to all of us. Well at least it’s happened to those of us who don’t have anonymous blogs. How do you write about someone who reads your blog and knows you well? How do you write about your secret desires when you know they would no longer remain secret once they are published here?

I firmly believe that every thought, which remains trapped in the deep recesses of the mind, dies a premature death. Every thought has a life cycle – it is born, it grows up and then it dies. But its purpose is only fulfilled if it gives birth to another thought. A nascent thought needs to be translated into words (written or spoken) for it to mature. It dies if it isn’t heard or read. Yet there are things whose beauty lies in their being not spoken and kept a mystery. But if they are not projected outwards, they start haunting you (especially when you have an over active imagination like mine). This blog has always helped me exorcise those ghosts. But it fails when these thoughts are about real people who are close to me or know of me. I could cover those thoughts in a veil of fiction and write them here as I have done on a number of occasions in the past. But sometimes you wish to retain their purity. You store them away safely, to look at them when you are feeling low and need inspiration. They haunt you though – night and day – when you least expect. You might have a brain the size of a football field, but your referees cannot control every player on it. Life would have been bliss if you were born a vegetable. Then again, maybe not!

If you are wondering what the title has to do with this post – I saw the movie a few weeks back and loved it.

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;

- From the poem ‘Eloisa to Abelard’ by Alexander Pope

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A Day in the Life of the Poet and the Raven

The Raven and the Poet had been in the depths of Valhalla for more than an eon now. After an initial period of strife and animosity they both realised that in this place they had no one else for company and hence it would be better to forge a friendship. And as time went by these two became inseparable – the Raven teaching the Poet the fine art of warfare and the Poet teaching the Raven the intricacies of poetry.

Then arrived Phantasos (the worthy son of Somnus and brother of Morpheus; an exchange student from Olympus) and the three together formed an organisation which was to cause a major stir in the world of the Gods as well as us puny humans. This was the Dream Poets Inc., headquartered in Valhalla. But why talk of the Future when the Present is trying to scuttle past us.

Here we find the Poet - lost in the space-time continuum, thinking of his past sins - generally feeling like scum. The Raven on the other hand is smitten with the 5-7-5 syllable simplicity of the haiku and is composing his epic - Haikus from Eden.

Said Adam one day -
No apple for me today,
Eve has a headache.

So, my friend, what do you think of my masterpiece?

Hmmm. Hmmm. Mumble mumble grumble grumble. You have the structure, but where is the mention of the season and the two contrasting thoughts related to the same subject. My dear friend! You must follow the rules of poetry. Otherwise, the critics will slam your work as being pretentious and uninspired.

Critics!? What critics? I am writing these haikus for my own pleasure not for some blasted critic. Counting the syllables and maintaining the symmetry of the haikus has a soothing effect on my nerves. I don’t care if no one ever reads my work, except you, of course.

Ah! But what is writing, if it isn’t read. The triumph of the writer is in extracting a response from the reader – doesn’t matter whether they love it or hate it. You are right about the critics though. I hate them in equal, if not more, measure. But you must write as if your work is going to be read by millions. We both know there is no one else here other than the two of us. But one never knows.

Little did the Poet and the Raven know that in the next few years with the help of Phantasos (whose work it is to create all the inanimate objects in dreams) they would be able to broadcast their work all over the world in people’s dreams.

You are probably right my friend. Tell me, why you look so morose? Has someone broken your heart?

Ah! It would have been so much better had that happened. The pain of heartbreak is like manna for my soul. What I suffer from is guilt, my brother. All those broken hearts I left behind as I moved from shore to shore in search of fulfilment are tearing at my conscience. So many times have I been loved – deeply and unquestionably – and I have thrown it all away for my own selfish motives. And what have I achieved? I rot here, in this Scandinavian hell, for eternity.

Hmmm! But you have me for company!

True! True! So let’s hear some more haikus.

What is for dinner?
- Said Adam one day to Eve.
Apple pie and tea!

An apple a day
Keeps eve a little away.
Now for the doctor …