Category Archives: Humour

Chanakya’s advice to Chitragupta!


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja (Source: blog.buzzintown.com)
Varalakshmi Vratham Pooja (Source: blog.buzzintown.com)

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Every year, the married Hindu women in the southern states of India undertake the Varalakshmi Vratam. It is a pooja (a prayer ritual) to honour and worship goddess Varalakshmi, the granter of boons (Varam). Varalakshmi Vratam falls on the Second Friday or the Friday before Poornima (full moon day) in the month of Śravaṇā, also called Śawan in Hindi and Aadi in Tamil, corresponding to the Gregorian months of July–August.

Last Friday, my wife on invitation attended the Varalakshmi Vratam celebration at three houses of our Hindu neighbours.

This brings to my mind an apocryphal yarn about Chanakya and his advice to Chitragupta, the Hindu god who keeps complete records of actions of all human beings on earth and decides whether to send them to heaven or to hell after their mortal death.

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Chankaya (Source: religion.bhaskar.com)
Chanakya (Source: religion.bhaskar.com)

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Chanakya, traditionally identified as Kauṭilya or Vishnu Gupta was a teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and royal advisor to Chandragupta, the first Mauryan emperor. He authored the Arthashastra, the ancient Indian political treatise.

In Hinduism, the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction cum transformation are personified as a triad of deities, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.

Chitragupta and goddess Varalakshmi noticed that every woman in the course of the Vratam prayed to the goddess to grant her the boon of getting married to her present husband in the next seven incarnations.

Chitragupta also heard the men pray for a new wife in each and every future incarnation!

Chitragupta and goddess Varalakshmi were perturbed.

So, they approached the four-faced Brahma, the creator deity, for advice.

Brahma: “The wish of these women are laudable! So, what is the problem? “

Chitragupta: “Lord, every woman wants her present husband to be reborn and marry only her in her next seven incarnations, but all men want a new wife in each and every future incarnation!”

Brahma: “Yes. It is a real dilemma indeed!”

Chitragupta: “Lord, what are we to do?”

Brahma thought for a while and said: “Go to Earth and seek the advice of Chanakya, the wise man.”

Chitragupta and goddess Varalakshmi appeared before Chanakya. After relating the problem they asked the scholar for a solution.

Chanakya smiled at them and said: “This is not a problem at all. Tell those silly women that if they want their present husband to be theirs for the next seven incarnations then they will have to accept their current mother-in-law too to be theirs for the next seven incarnations!”

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What Happened to the Three Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi?


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Almost 68 years have elapsed since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, in New Delhi. By the way, have you ever wondered what happened to his three famous monkeys?

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The 3 Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi (Source: daililol.com)
The 3 Monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi (Source: daililol.com)

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Well, the three died in due course, but I gleaned more about their posterity:

The offsprings of the monkey that closed its eyes became judges, lawyers, policemen, and priests.

The progeny of the monkey that closed its ears became politicians, heads of governments, government officials and their lackeys.

Finally, the descendants of the third monkey that closed its mouth proliferated beyond expectation and are now the voting public

 

Foolish Questions…


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Today, I received a copy of a clipping of the poem titled “Human Anatomy” from my dear niece Fiona Devotta Vazirani.

I remember having first read this humoristic poem  in the mid-1990s. Since then it had appeared in many newspapers and clippings – sometimes with long titles such as “Let’s call it, unsolved mysteries of anatomy” and at times without any title at all.

The author was William Rossa Cole.

Here is that poem appearing under the title “Foolish Questions” (adapted) from “Oh, Such Foolishness” (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978) as found in Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, edited by Bruce Lansky (Meadowbrook Press, 1991).

Foolish Questions
by William Cole

 

Where can a man buy a cap for his knee?
Or a key for the lock of his hair?

And can his eyes be called a school?
I would think”there are pupils there!

What jewels are found in the crown of his head,
And who walks on the bridge of his nose?

Can he use, in building the roof of his mouth,
the nails on the ends of his toes?

Can the crook of his elbow be sent to jail?
If it can, well, then, what did it do?

And how does he sharpen his shoulder blades?
I’ll be hanged if I know – do you?

Can he sit in the shade of the palm of his hand,
and beat time with the drum in his ear?

Can the calf of his leg eat the corn on his toe?

There’s somethin’ pretty strange around here!

William Rossa Cole, an American editor, anthologist, columnist, author, and writer of light verse was born on November 20, 1919, to William Harrison Cole and Margaret O’Donovan-Rossa of Staten Island, New York. He was the grandson of the Irish national hero, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

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William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)
William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)

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William Cole served in the infantry in Europe in World War II, rising to sergeant and receiving the Purple Heart. After military service, he entered the publishing industry. He served as publicity director at Alfred A. Knopf, publicity director and editor at Simon & Schuster, and publisher of William Cole Books at Viking Press. He was a columnist for The Saturday Review, a vice president of PEN American Center and a member of the governing board of the Poetry Society of America and the executive board of Poets and Writers.

William Cole wrote children’s books and light verse. His whimsical poetry appeared often in Light Quarterly and was widely anthologized, He was an author, co-author, editor, and co-editor, of about 75 books of which 50 were anthologies. The American Library Association were honoured three of his books:

  1. In 1958, “I Went to the Animal Fair: A Book of Animal Poems” which was on the List of Notable Children’s Books of 1940–1959.
  2. In 1964, “Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls: Poems“.
  3. In 1965, “The Birds and Beasts Were There: Animal Poems” .

His marriage to Peggy Bennett in 1947 and his marriage to Galen Williams in 1967 both ended in divorce.

William Cole died on August 2, 2000, in his Manhattan home, aged 80.

Seamus Heaney, Member of the Royal Irish Academy and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 memorialized William Cole in a poem.

In Memory of Bill Cole
by Seamus Heaney

As Dante when he entered Purgatory

Was greeted by Casella, and the song

Casella sang sweetened his memory

Of earthly love and music and their long

Afternoons of wine and poetry,

So I, when I heard that William Cole had gone

Among the shades, imagined him and me

Meeting in an earthly paradise

Where we’d never met on earth, in Co. Derry,

On the banks of the Moyola, and his voice

Rising to sing in an Irish tenor brogue

MacCormack might have envied, or James Joyce,

Or Moore in Avoca, by Avonmore and Beg,

River-rhyming, over-brimming, young

At heart again, and younger song by song—

For always Bill belonged in Tir na n-Og.*

*“Tir na n-Og” means “land of youth” in Irish

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A Thanks Giving Day story: The Letter Addressed to God.


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A still from the film "Slumdog Millionaire"
A still from the film “Slumdog Millionaire”

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A few days ago, during the incessant rain and floods in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India, a little boy wanted 100 rupees to buy food for his family who had not eaten for two days. He prayed to God. When nothing happened and no one officially came to help them, he decided to write a request letter to God.

A puzzled post office staff on seeing the letter addressed to God forwarded it to the Chief Minister.

The amused Chief Minister thought that 100 rupees would be a lot of money for a little boy to buy food. So, she instructed her secretary to send the little boy 30 rupees instead from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

When the little boy received the money he was delighted. He wrote the following ‘Thank you’ letter to the CM:

Dear God, I thank you for sending me money through the Chief Minister’s Office Secretariat in Chennai. However, I would like you to know that corrupt asses there must have swindled 70 rupees as their commission! “

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RELATED IMAGES

Images of floods in Chennai in November 2015 (google.co.in)

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Chennai floods and the aftermath (thehindu.com)

Do You Have Tight Nuts or a Rusty Tool?


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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An old ad for wd-40

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The above leaflet from the 1960’s  created by a master craftsman is a gross and most brazen advertisement loaded with double entendre for WD-40. It is an innuendo that seems to work with the true facts of what WD-40 can do. Even though the ad is a fake, it gives the impression of a real advert from the 1960’s with the stains and frayed edges.

On November 4, 2014,  a user posted this image showing a printed advertisement for the WD-40 spray lubricant  in a “funny photos” thread on the US Message Board, asserting it was an ad from 1960. As the image got shared on sites such as  Facebook, Imgur, and Reddit, the date changed,  with the most common claim being 1964.

Several attributes of the advertisement give it away as a fake:

1. If this was a genuine, high-profile ad for WD-40 why is it the only photograph available on the Internet documenting its existence?

2. If you look at this image critically you will note that it is not a photograph at all. The  paper on which the advertisement appears looks old and crinkled, but the letters are straight. This implies that the text is  a digital overlay on a background image of a crinkled page.

3. The image describes the product as “WD 40” when its name is, and always had been, rendered as WD-40.

4. The image refers to a ‘red knob‘ whereas the distinctive red cap that now tops the WD-40 cans was originally black!

By the way, those of you not familiar with WD-40 must be wondering what the hell it is.

Back in 1953, Norm Larsen founded the Rocket Chemical Company. The fledgling company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry.

Working in a small lab in San Diego, California, Norm Larsen, a persistent chemist, perfected his water displacing formula on his 40th try. So, WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement, the 40th formula“, a name that came straight out of the lab book used by Norm Larsen.

The formula of WD-40 is a trade secret. Out of fear of disclosing its composition Norm Larsen did not apply for a patent for WD-40 in 1953. The opportunity for patenting the product has long since elapsed since the application for a patent should have been filed prior to any public use or public disclosure of the invention anywhere in the world. Even today, the original secret formula for WD-40 is still in use.

The Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California, built the SM-65 Atlas, for U.S. Air Force. It was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States that became operational in October 1959. The Atlas missile’s warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

Later on, for almost half a century, the Atlas missile served as a first stage satellite launch vehicle.

The balloon-like paper-thin stainless steel fuel tanks of the Atlas missile were and fragile, and when empty, to prevent them from collapsing, they had to be kept inflated with nitrogen.

Convair used WD-40 as a corrosion-inhibiting coating to protect the paper-thin stainless steel outer skin of the fuel tanks of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion.

WD-40

WD-40 worked well to inhibit rust and corrosion. This prompted several employees to sneak out some WD-40 cans out of the plant to use in their homes.

A few years following WD-40’s first industrial use, Norm Larsen reasoned that consumers might find a use for the product in their homes as some of the employees had. So, in 1958, he put the product into aerosol cans and made it available in stores in San Diego.

In 1960, Norm Larsen’s Rocket Chemical Company doubled in size, growing to seven people and sold an average of 45 cases per day to hardware and sporting goods stores in the San Diego area.

On Monday, September 11, 1961, Hurricane Carla, ranked as the most intense US tropical cyclone with a highest wind speed of 280 km/h made landfall near Port O’Connor, Texas.

To meet the disaster needs of the victims of Hurricane Carla along the US Gulf coast, the Rocket Chemical Company filled its first full truckload order for WD-40 to use in reconditioning flood and rain damaged vehicles and equipment.

In 1968, soldiers in Vietnam received goodwill kits containing WD-40 to help keep their firearms in superb working condition by preventing damage from moisture.

In 1969, the company changed its name to WD-40 Company, Inc., after its only product.

In 1973, the company went public. On the first day of listing, the stock price increased by 61%. From then on, the WD-40 Company, Inc., grew by leaps and bounds. In 1993, WD-40 sales grew to more than one million cans per week.

WD-40 is now virtually a household name in America with 80% American households using it. About 81 percent of professionals in many consumer and industrial markets such as aviation, automotive, manufacturing, construction, hardware, home improvement, farming, and sporting goods, use it regularly.

WD-40’s main ingredients as supplied in aerosol cans, according to U.S. Material Safety Data Sheet information are:

(1) Aliphatic hydrocarbons – 50%”.
According to the manufacturer’s website this ratio in the current formulation per se is not Stoddard solvent which is a similar mixture of hydrocarbons.

(2) Petroleum base oil – 25%.
Probably a mineral oil or light lubricating oil.

(3) Low vapor pressure aliphatic hydrocarbon – 12 to 18%.
To reduce the liquid’s viscosity for use in aerosols. The hydrocarbon evaporates during application.

(4) Carbon dioxide – 2 to 3%.
A propellant used instead of the original liquefied petroleum gas to reduce WD-40’s flammability.

(5) Inert ingredients – 10%.

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Two Cows in Political Isms …


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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In the ancient days to convey their viewpoint across to their listeners orators used metaphors, similes, and analogies. Now, to explain complex ideas we use simple and humorous images and share them using the internet.

Yo have two coves

The various anecdotes that start with the saying “You have two cows …” refer to a form of political satire. They involve variations of a scenario, where eponymous cows are used to demonstrate the functioning of some political systems.

A column titled “The Class in Political Isms” in The Chicago Daily Tribune of December 3, 1938, attributes a version involving socialism, communism, fascism and New Dealism to an address by Silas Strawn to the Economic Club of Chicago on November 29, 1935.

A Canadian writer and journalist Bill Sherk mentions that such satirical snippets circulated throughout the United States since around 1936 under the title “Parable of the Isms”.

In the collection of humour in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” compiled by the Lisgar Alumni Association the following snippet appears on page 71 :

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

Socialism: You have two cows. You give one to your neighbour.

Communism: You have two cows. You give both cows to the Government which lets you buy part of it back.

American New Deal: You have two cows. The Government shoots one cow, buys the milk from the other cow and pours it down the sewer.

Nazism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and takes the cows and sells the milk.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Social Credit: You ‘shoot the bull’.

As early as 1944, the humour of this type attracted the attention of scholars in the United States. An article in The Modern Language Journal lists the following classical ones some of which are similar to those in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” :

Socialism

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbour.

Communism

Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then gives you some milk.

Fascism

Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then sells you some milk.

Traditional Capitalism

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

In the late 1960s, comedian Pat Paulsen on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour appended this comment to capitalism: “…Then put both of them in your wife’s name and declare bankruptcy.”  Later on, he used this material as an element of his satirical US presidential campaign in 1968 and was included it on his 1968 comedy album “Pat Paulsen for President“.

Nazism

Nazism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

To these, we can add Bureaucratism:

Bureaucratism

 

And also:
Venture capitalism

 

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This is How Babies are Born!


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Bill Cosby and Raven -Symoné
Bill Cosby and Raven -Symoné

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Grownups can sometimes be so thick, it is not easy to explain some facts to them.

In this video, this little girl Olivia Kendall (played by Raven-Symoné) is having a hard time trying to explain to the doctor for women (Bill Cosby) how babies are born.

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This is How Babies are Born!

 

Doctor:  And this is my office

Olivia:  What do you do?

Doctor:  I am a doctor for women.

Olivia:  What do you do with them?

Doctor:  I deliver their babies.

Olivia:  Deliver?

Doctor:  When the woman has the baby inside of her, then I go in and I take it out.

Olivia:  No you don’t. Everybody knows that the stork brings the baby.

Doctor:  Who, who told you that?

Olivia:  My daddy.

Doctor:  Okay. Well, the stork puts the baby inside of the mother… and then I go in and I take it out.

Olivia:  Ah, aah. The stork brings the baby to the hospital, drops it in the bassinet.

Doctor:  So you’re saying that the baby is not inside the mummy? Then why is it that the mother gets real big?

Olivia:  Because she eats a lot of food.

Doctor:  Now let me get this straight. You say that the stork carries over, puts the baby in the bassinet, and the mother is real big because she eats a lot of food?

Olivia:  You got it!

Doctor:  I see. Well, then why is it that the mother has to go to the hospital?

Olivia:  The stork brings the baby to the hospital, drops it in the bassinet. The mummy goes to the hospital and gets it.

Doctor:  If the stork does all that, why doesn’t the stork just bring it to the mummy’s house?

Olivia:  Because it’s too far. His wings will get tired.

Doctor:  Where does the stork get the babies from?

Olivia:  Heaven.

Doctor:  Okay. There is a zillion skillion babies in Heaven. How does the stork know what baby goes with what mother?

Olivia:  They are in a line. You know, like you go to the baker and get a number.

Doctor:  Why when I put my hand on the mother I can feel things moving all around?

Olivia:  That’s not a baby.

Doctor:  What is it?

Olivia:  Gas.

Doctor:  Well, thank you for explaining it to me.

Olivia:  You’re welcome, but you still didn’t tell me what you do.

Doctor:  I’m in charge of gas.

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William Henry “Bill” Cosby Jr. (born July 12, 1937) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and activist. Cosby’s start in stand-up comedy began at the hungry i, originally a nightclub in North Beach, San Francisco. It was followed by a starring role in the 1960s television show I Spy. Beginning in the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in The Cosby Show, a television sitcom, which aired from 1984 to 1992. It was rated as the number one show in America for five years, 1984 through 1989. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family.

Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman (born December 10, 1985) is an American actress, comedian, model, singer, songwriter, dancer, television producer and a talk-show host. She first appeared on television in 1989 on The Cosby Show as Olivia Kendall.

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Tit for Tat


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

Source: cartoonstock.com
Source: cartoonstock.com

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“Tit for tat” is an English saying dating to 1556, from “tip for tap”, i.e., retaliation in kind, an action given in return.

Here is an example. If you knock your sister in the head and she knocks you back, that’s tit for tat.

Tit for tat is like “blow for a blow.”

If you offer someone a chocolate  and she gives you one back, that’s not tit for tat, that’s  just offering a sweet.

On the other hand, “tit for tat” is meaner. It is something like when you hit someone and the other person retaliated with something equally bad.

This phrase is like saying “Let the punishment fit the crime!

That’s what you see in the  following video.

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Oh, what a punishment!🙂

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I Got Out Early…


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj
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Source: Deccan Chronicle - Counter Point  March 27, 2015
Source: Deccan Chronicle – Counter Point March 27, 2015

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The following news appeared in the Deccan Chronicles on August 22, 2014. I wonder whether it has some relevance now.  You be the judge.

Restriction on wives, girlfriends for Indian players during tours?

DC | August 22, 2014

Mumbai: The Indian cricket board on Thursday denied the reports that they had restricted the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of Indian cricketer during the away tours, according to reports.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India were contemplating to ban the players’ partners during the foreign tours. The rationale was that the Indian cricketers’ performance was getting affected by the presence of WAGs.

While the BCCI had allowed the wives of Ashwin, Vijay, Pujara, Binny and Gambhir to travel with them, the Indian cricket board had approved Virat Kohli’s request to allow Anushka Sharma to travel with him, reports.

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Jugaad Innovations


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Jugad Innovation (Custom)

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Jugaad is a colloquial Hindi-Urdu word that can mean an innovative fix or a simple workaround, used for solutions that bend rules, or a resource that can be used as such. Jugaad can also denote a person who can solve a complicated issue.

Here is a video of Jugaad technology put to use mainly in India and in a few other countries. I am proud to say that the majority of Indians can boast of such innovations.

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.Jugaa