In My Mind

How To Book A Place On AirBnB

A few days ago, I’d read about a terrible experience that a dear old friend (and idol), Naren, had with AirBnB. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, AirBnB is an awesome service that lets you rent Apartments and Private Rooms (or if you don’t care much for privacy, shared rooms) in pretty much any city in the world that you want to holiday in.

I have used AirBnB twice so far – for my trips to Barcelona last year and Paris a few weeks ago, and I have to say, the experience is way superior to the one you would get in a hotel, it is a great deal more convenient than any other living arrangement and most importantly, it’s considerably cheaper than getting a hotel room of an equivalent standard. At the outset AirBnB sounds like awesome doughnut unicorn land, but the truth is that there is a great degree of uncertainty, not to mention the fact that you are at the mercy of your “host”. My experiences with Airbnb have been pleasant because I have massive trust issues. I follow a certain set of rules while booking anything on Airbnb, and these rules have worked quite well for me, so I’m sharing them here and I hope they work for you too. So without further ado, here’s how to book a place on airbnb –

Rule 1: Read the reviews!

I cannot stress on this enough, especially if it’s your first time booking a space on the website. Also keep in mind that a place with a four star rating after 200 reviews is a safer bet than a place with a 5 star rating and 2 reviews. I’m sure the 5 star rating place would be great, but for your first stay you want something tried and tested, with special emphasis on the tried. And tested. I read at least 25 reviews before I zero in on a place. Yes. I know.

Rule 2: Verify your account!

Now, the hosts aren’t the only ones who get reviewed, the users/guests do, too. So it’s only natural that well rated hosts are more likely to give their houses to well rated guests, which can be a problem when it’s your first time figuring out a place to stay on AirBnB. The idea is to be the least shady as possible so ensure that you verify your account with your phone number and email.

Rule 3: Research the area

Where is the apartment located, exactly? What kind of neighbourhood is it in? Is it accessible by Taxi? How close/far away is it from public transport? There are great apartments in shady areas and shady apartments in great areas, so don’t be swayed by the photos of the apartment alone, look up the area that your housing is located in.

Rule 4: Know the apartment and its rules

I almost booked a fifth floor apartment which was in a building without an elevator. Imagine lugging around your baggage for five floors! High rise apartments are cheaper sometimes, but make sure to check if there’s an elevator in the apartment. Alternatively, you can pack light (a skill I’ve never managed to learn because really there’s no such thing as too many pairs of blue jeans)

Rule 5: If it’s too good to be true…

…it probably is. Pass.

Rule 6: Be detailed and polite in your email to the host.

For most spaces, you’ll have to send a message to your host explaining the reason why you want to book their place. Suffice to say “Hai Plz give room” isn’t going to cut it. Introduce yourself, where you’re from, who you’re travelling with to their city, how many days you’re going to be there, and how great it would be if they’d let you have their place for your stay. You don’t need to write an essay, but providing necessary details about your trip (especially about the people you’re travelling with) will make you seem like a more reliable guest.

Rule 7: Other Reviewers

This isn’t an essential issue, but I am conscious about the experiences of people of colour (hello fellow brown people!) in the apartment. The world isn’t the most perfect place, and it is better for the sake of your vacation to be sure that your host is one who doesn’t discriminate.

Rule 8: Respect the property

Congratulations! You’ve got a room using AirBnB. To ensure that future bookings go even smoother, you need a good review, and in order for that to happen, you should respect the other person’s space. This means tidying up the bed, cleaning the kitchenette counter, taking the garbage out and generally not leaving it like your own room back home.
I love AirBnB and ever since I discovered the service last year, I’ve not even considered a hotel for travels. It’s affordable, it’s efficient and gives your holiday a kind of authenticity that staying in a hotel never will.
Have you tried AirBnB? What have your experiences been like so far?
{FYI, This is not a paid post. That I wish it was is a whole different matter altogether.}

Five Podcasts I Love

So I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, to the point where I wrote about them for The Hindu THread. As an addendum, I just thought that I’d list down five podcasts I’ve been listening to recently, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

    
     

  • TED Radio Hour – The TED Radio hour ties together TED talks which have similar context and puts them together. I wasn’t very drawn to this podcast at first because it just felt too science-y (not a word but should be) for me, but now, I’m a total convert. The TED radio hour is super informative without being boring. Notable episode: The Unknown Brain 
   

  

  • Modern Love Podcast: The Modern Love Podcast, which is by The New York Times is essentially essays read out loud, either by the author themselves, or actors. The essays are usually a little old, in the sense that they’ve been published a few years before, but that’s actually to facilitate the “Where are they now?” section of the podcast which follows the reading. Some of the stories are really emotional, so if you’re very sensitive, or having imbalanced PMS hormones, prepare for tears. Notable episode: Maddy might just work after all, by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  
  • The Simblified Podcast: Probably the only desi podcast I listen to (although I really should listen to more), Simblified has super-bloggers Chuck Gopal & Narendra Shenoy break down complex concepts and relevant issues which we (ok, I) usually tend to skip in the papers. Lots of fun, incredibly relevant, and might even make you a better person. You’ve been warned. Notable episode: Of Stock Market & Lollipops
  
Would also greatly appreciate podcast recommendations, so fire away! 

13 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 13

There appears to be a tag on the rounds – thirteen pieces of wisdom that you wish your 13 year old self knew. No one has asked me to do the tag, which is probably why I’m so eager to type it out this wonderfully busy Monday afternoon. Before I begin though, two major observations – One, I was 13 twelve years ago. Two, I was 13 TWELVE YEARS AGO. I’m pretty sure there’s Scotch my age that is being sold with a “vintage” label.

Sad face.

Anyway, here goes:

1. Eat healthy. I know that eating junk food the way you did was nothing short of an art, but I have to tell you that 19 year old you had a really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY hard time losing the weight you accumulated with your specific diet of top ramen noodles, cheese on everything and potato chips. A thumb rule: 3 Pringles are ok. 3 tubes of Pringles in one go while watching the Johnny Bravo marathon aren’t.

2. Don’t judge people. This is something you’ve recently begun to do, miss. Just because someone is ‘X’ never implies that they are also ‘Y’. Everyone has a story, and everyone knows something you don’t. The quicker you stop doing this, the less annoying you will be when you grow up.

3. Make strong friendships. This is the age when real friendships are forged. It’s good to have “lots of friends” but it is so much more important to forge close friendships – especially of the female kind – invite your friends home, go to their places, don’t bunk birthday parties because you were feeling lazy, and spend half an hour after school talking about nothing. When you grow up, they will become the people to whom you can send TR Speaking English videos without the fear of being physically abused.

4. Read. Read everything. You have a great reading habit. Don’t get lost in the literary quicksand that is fluffy young adult. Read the classics. Read Shakespeare. Read Russian writing. Read poetry. It all seems overwhelming now, but I promise you’ll get it. Put The Princess Diaries down. Please.

5. Get Good Marks. Sorry to sound like Amma, but really – if you can get 80 by not studying and watching Cartoon Network all day, imagine HOW MUCH MORE you’ll get if you actually studied. You can be a topper! You’re smart enough! Why are you not listening to me? Fine, don’t listen to me. They’re your marks. YOUR LIFE. Do whatever. I am not paying for your college. *slams door*

6. Play A Sport: Even if you suck at it (which I know you do). Nothing comes automatically, but sport gives you an hour to take the day off, and indulge in something for fun. It gives you team mates, new friends, a different social circle, and makes you an interesting person. Note: Competitive Eating is NOT a sport.

7. Work on Your Writing: So I found something you wrote recently, and while the writing itself was beyond awful, I will tell you that it had a lot of potential. You can be really good if you work on what you have. You will lose a lot of writing competitions in school despite being the English teacher suck-up simply because you were too lazy. Read more. Write even more. Work, work, work. (If you had worked hard, I wouldn’t be writing crap in this blog now. I’d have been writing crap in newspaper columns. Sigh)

8. Get back to Paatu Class/ Dance Class: But don’t get back to both. One is enough. Get back to dance class. Or Paatu class. But get back.

9. STOP BUYING TURTLENECK T-SHIRTS OHMYGOD. Seriously.


10. Don’t Be Embarrassed By Yourself:  Ya. You’re chubby. People make fun of you. But guess what, people will make fun of you even after you’ve dropped the 25 extra kg and got yourself a nice haircut because people, they suck. Don’t listen to them. You’re pretty cool. Except when you’re being whiny and annoying because then you’re totally not cool.

11. Geography isn’t as difficult as you thought it was: You’d know too, if you actually read it instead of sleeping in class and trying to mug the lesson at 5 AM on the day of your exam.


12. Be More Careful With Your Stuff: I still don’t get how you managed to lose your pens on an everyday basis.


13. Boys Your Age Are Stupid: If you must absolutely have a crush on someone, pick an older boy – in fact there is a really cute boy with the most incredible brown eyes and half a pair of dimples about 4 batches senior to you in Vidya Mandir. Keep an eye on him but for heaven’s sake don’t creep him out the way you creep other guys out THIS IS IMPORTANT OKAY.

Those Two Marks

Much hullabaloo was raised yesterday on the many methods of gentle persuasion that schools are employing to ensure that their students are watching the Prime Minister’s Teacher’s Day address that will be aired on DD today from 3 pm to 4.45 pm. Here is one example:

The more you read it, the funnier it gets. Photo Credit @masalabai

This is where this post stops being about our Prime Minister and his speech.

I studied in PSBB, where we took our “annual day” very seriously. We were so serious about it, that we didn’t even call it “Annual Day” like the other schools did. It was the school Anniversary. The Anniversary, like most weddings these days, was essentially the same programme that was performed over a span of three days at one of the biggest auditoriums in the city. Day 1 was for students, Day 2, parents of Nungambakkam and T.Nagar branch, and Day 3, parents of KK Nagar branch. Each year, the programme would have a different theme based on which the teachers had to conceptualize dance/music/theatre performances.

The anniversary usually began on a Wednesday, and after the three days of performing, the weekend was off for the participants to recuperate and begin school refreshed. This was something I got to know only after I saw my sister participate – she has participated in the programme every year she was in school, apart from giving the School Pupil Leader address during her last year. I was a non participant all my years in school – I quite enjoyed being one too – my holiday began two weeks before the anniversary – amidst the wonderful chaos that would ensue in the auditorium with multiple practice sessions and cross-batch bonhomie, I would get about 7 free periods during the day to catch up on sleep that I didn’t need. I did do a voice recording for a Tamil play as Avvaiyaar in Standard XII because the girl who was supposed to do the part got a sore throat, but I’ve never been on stage because I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t sing, and while I could emote, I “wasn’t stage friendly”, which was basically polite for “we can’t have hippo sized students on stage”.

ANYWAY, once the programme was all done and we got back to routine and extra classes to make up for those we missed, there would be an Anniversary Quiz. The quiz, based on the theme and the performances in the anniversary, would be for twenty marks, which would later be shrunk to two, and added to the marks that you’d already scored in your Half Yearly exams. Most of the questions were from the synopsis of the programme that was attached with the invitation, and the questions that weren’t from the synopsis were always vague and open to interpretation, like, “What are the benefits of honesty?”

Everyone cared about the Anniversary Quiz, whether they were hoping to turn their 38 into 40 (“The Anniversary Miracle”) or their 98 into 100 (“The Anniversary Centum”). I was a recipient myself of The Anniversary Miracle when I got 38 in Economics (40 was pass) in Std XII and it was this completely, completely, pointless quiz with academic consequences that prevented the school from calling my parents up.

The reason I took the trouble to write all this down, is not because I wanted to write a lofty sounding post about how sometimes you need to know more than just the subject (such as the benefits of honesty) to get through school, or because I have problems with anything that the Government is trying to do (if you do want to read my opinions on the Government read my columns where I write under the pen name “Siddharth Varadarajan”), but because, for the first time, it feels like my school has prepared me for the future.

A Good Speech

I love a good speech.
It’s amazing, the power that a good speaker possesses. In his element, he can make you believe that he has moved a mountain using his little finger. Even better are the speakers who make you believe that YOU can move a mountain with your little finger.
My favourite teachers have always been excellent speakers. Every time, before an examination was about to start, they’d deliver a mandatory rhetoric about how we were like race horses, like generals before battle, and how, if we trusted ourselves enough, we were capable of everything and anything that we have ever dreamed of, and more. We were bound to fulfil our destiny.

I love a good speech.
When you listen to someone who has more faith in you than yourself, you want to stand up and say, YES! I am everything that you just said I was.

I love a good speech.
Motivation fills it’s way through your bloodstream and finds itself in your brain, waking up all the little brain cells which were snoozing until now. “Wake up!” says motivation. “There is no time! We must get up, we are like race horses! We must get up, we are like generals before a war! Arise and fulfil your destiny!” Your brain is immediately filled with great buzz. We have a new leader! The brain cells seem to say, and get into work, their energy which had been so diligently conserved, finally put into use.

Half an hour later, you hear his voice.

“What’s the point?”

“I am like a prize race horse fulfilling my destiny!”

“No you’re not. You’re a 22 year old girl whose destiny is to make dosas. That is reality, that is the truth.”

“That is not the truth.”

“Really? Let’s try again. What’s the point?”

You don’t know. And he knows it.

“I love a good speech too darling, but be happy while you still can, go, watch a movie or something”

As Laziness walks back in, Motivation walks out. But the speech stays in memory.

Bullets

Some people were asking me to write and some other people were asking me if I was too busy to. The thing was, I used to be all My-Blog-Grammatically-Correctest and made a decision that if I ever were to write blogs and all, they had to be like publishable. Then I realized that I don’t really have anything like that the last three years I have been writing here anyway, so yes, I’m afraid all of you all have no choice but to put up with another update of my life you didn’t really ask for.

1. I just realized all the cool people are doing and saying what all the uncool people were/are doing and saying to be cool. I am sure all of you all have noticed the widespread usage of worst spellings and SunMusic I love you Arthy by G.Siva SMS language floating around in all these social networks and being used by cool people. I had always been one uncool only, but one word which I have major issues against, but everyone (cool people also!) seems to be using is Hai. There is something about that spelling which disturbs me. This is the first time I’m saying it out loud, by the way. Had I said it before, I assume my extremely well educated, late grandfather would have made me sit down for a sermon about how I am being unnecessarily elitist and how the French spell and pronounce Anglaish worse than the Indians do, but they’re proud of the fact that they can speak a language apart from French and never poke fun of their countrymen but we’re the ones who do and also that Hi isn’t even a proper word to have a proper spelling and that I should be proud of the fact that we came up with the phonetically superior spelling, much like the Americans who came up with program and color instead of programme and colour.

I am glad we never had that discussion. Also, Hai (Two Ramya Iyengar Bakery sandwiches says you cringed).

2. I am sure all of you all are aware of the fact that the family put one numbers trip to our Ancestral Village, the village where aforementioned grandfather was born. If you weren’t, it’s ok. My family put one numbers trip to our Ancestral village. I had always been of the opinion that Thamizh Movies exaggerated the whole village scene but I got mild metaphorical current shock when I realized that they don’t. The village I went to looked just like the one in that 1980s movie where Ramaraj has all these unnatural feelings for Cows. And Kanaga. We went to the Banks of one of the tributaries (8th standard geography I remember, see) of  Kaveri/Cauvery/Caveri/Kauvery as well. It was very smelly, but it was also very cool. Maybe it was the smell of coolness.

3. Then what. Oh yes. I worked in my father’s office for a couple of weeks on an assignment. I had two other colleagues working with me. One played the mridangam and the other was 7 feet tall. But both of them were petrified of my father so I was very glad to know that we shared common ground.

4. I hope all of you all aren’t of the opinion that I write numbered paragraphs all the time. Because I don’t. Sometimes I put bullets.

5 reasons why it’s probably a good idea to deactivate your facebook account

5. Because everyone else is having a better time than you are
The home feed is a constant source of depression. Everyone else is going to more exotic places than you are, getting haircuts that are better than yours and of course, partying. There are DJs, there are shiny dance floors, multicolored drinks, hazy pictures of too much fun had and of course, that invisible, but strong reminder that the last “party” I went to involved a 6 year old cutting cake and Winnie the Pooh. On the bright side, I did get a picture with Winnie the Pooh.
4. Because Facebook knows all the people you never liked in School and wants you to be friends with them. 
For the last time, I don’t want to add R.Srivatsan who was my bench-partner in V-B for 4 days as a friend. Especially because he changed schools right after stealing my brand new Hero pen. That pretty much sealed the end of our friendship right there. Also.
3. Because Facebook is not a pleasant place when you’re academically incompetent (Like me)
Just when you come on to Facebook to get your mind off your exam results, the first story on your feed is some moron with an AATHA! NA PASS AAYITEN!* status. There is obviously something wrong with the system.
2. Because Facebook loves to remind you that you’re not getting any younger
If your friends aren’t getting married, they’re probably having babies, that kid who used to take “how to play with Barbie” lessons from you is celebrating the 6 month anniversary with her second boyfriend and apparently, 18 ’til I die is just a song.
1. Because Facebook is the new TamilMatrimony
The other day, my mother was on the phone with an aunt, and the subject of discussion was the ongoing “looking” process for a cousin. Apparently the Aunt had mentioned something about how they had got a “good match” but had no clue about how said match looked like, for which my mother immediately remarked – “Pera sollungo! Facebook-la paakalaam!” (Just say the name! We’ll find him on Facebook!).

Deactivate button, anyone?

[Based on conversation with the erstwhile @idlingintopgear]

* – Roughly translates to “MOMMY! I HAVE BECOME PASS!”

Angst

Everyone wants to be everything these days. It is making me very angry. You want to be software engineer means you be software engineer. You want to be writer means you be writer. But what is this I want to be everything nonsense? 
You are software engineer but you open blog. As if that wasn’t enough you write one post, two post, three post about your love failure, your amma appa, 5th standard Lakshmi miss and all. Then you act like you are one Aravind Adiga and put comment on other peoples blogs also saying this this can be better that that that is nice. As if that is not enough you are telling everybody on your Facebook please read my blog please read my blog. We don’t want to read your project report only, what makes you think we want to read your blog? If you want to write means write Sriramajayam 108 times. Atleast some punyam will come for you.  
Then everybody wants to be photo grapher also. Everybody is buying big big camera and saying I am photo grapher I am photo grapher and taking pictures of cow, street lamp, dog and all. If you’re taking photo, at least take photo of nice looking people no? Cow, dog, road, leaf and all nobody wants to see. I don’t think cow only wants to see how it looks like in photo. You give it banana, it will be happy and bless you. Why can’t you be like that? Instead you are running around with camera. 
There is that twitter also. You are having twitter account na you are one Shashi Tharoor a? This much buildup you are giving there? If you have any news means you share. Instead you are tweeting tweeting all day saying aiyo my flush is not working aiyo my bladder is not working. Thoo. These ladies on twitter no? they are worst. I think they are having twitter account to talk to boys only. All the time they are giggling with someone or the other. You don’t even know what he looks like or what kind of family he is from, why do you want to giggle with him? Then talking openly about drinks also. Are you all not from good family? Simply talking with boys and putting scene as though you are one models when you are one attu piece. This is why Jeppiar College have iron bar in bus. They are correct because there is no culture only.  
Pah, and this is only the starting. There are other people who are actually accountant, manager, mechanic but putting music and singing and all. Everybody who has keyboard is AR Rahman a? Voice you have means you will sing a? Even dog has voice. Is it singing? Seriously I am asking. 
People these days are losing too much culture because of westerners. This I can be everything thinking is also western philosophy. They are seeing James Bond movie and thinking oh, I can also be like James Bond and drink drinks and run around with jetty girls. 
Thank God world is ending in 2012. 
Because there is a little tea party in all of us. 

Resolutions

At the risk of sounding like all those text messages you were spammed with for the last three days, Happy New Year, everyone! Now I’m not usually a resolutions kind of person, but I have 3 resolutions for 2011, which I should hopefully be able to stick to, so here goes.

1. Write 
To be honest, I haven’t been writing as much as I should have. Maybe it’s because I think before I write anything now (which is a complete rarity by itself, I never think before I do anything. I usually do something and then think about why I ended up there which usually results in me concluding that I should think before I do something. It’s complicated) and blogging has gone from being enjoyable to something like writing an exam. So this year, I’m going to forget it all and go back to writing like I used to, writing like I want to. You have been warned.

2. Study
My CA final exam is up this May. Meet my syllabus.

Yea. I know.

3. Eat
I lost a lot of weight the last year. When people ask me how, I giggle and say the stress of doing CA got to me. It didn’t. (Warning! This is going to get mildly serious-boring-depressing.) The past year (and a bit of 2009) I had a bonafide eating disorder. It started out as depression induced (because I had been a pseudo-flunkie), and then it started giving everyone around me depression. I still don’t feel too comfortable to give complete details about what happened, because it’s something that I’m really not proud of. The amount of control the disorder has over you, is scary – to the point where you associate everything that’s important with being thin. After what has been a difficult year, I want to reclaim my appetite, and I want to eat without feeling remorse after every meal. Being thin doesn’t make you happy. Nutella does.

Reality Shows I’d like to See

Now that Rahul Mahajan has finally been married (and made it as a trending topic on twitter – knocking off Justin Bieber no less), it looks like reality TV will take a break for sometime. But why wait for another cuckoo? Here are my proposals for the next big reality show – 

1. TR-in Thangachi Thaedal [TR’s Search for a Sister]: It’s a fact that Vijaya T Rajendhar (M.A), apart from being a one man film unit, mouth-percussionist and the inspiration behind that hairy alien-thing from Star Wars is also Tamil Cinema’s greatest big brother. His moving analogy where he points out how a woman’s virginity is like a torn cloth that cannot be mended (as opposed to a man’s, which is like a wet cloth that can be dried) to his sister and looks like a constipated gorilla AT THE SAME TIME is stuff of legend. There’s very little that can actually be written about how he goes around protecting his sisters on screen too. You don’t mess with girls whose big brother looks like something that just escaped from the Vandalur Zoo man, you don’t. But the truth is, there is very little that is known about TR’s real sister. Does he even have one? I don’t think he does (even if he does, let’s just assume that he doesn’t), and that is where this show comes in. 

TR-in THANGACHI THAEDAL – where TR scours all of Tamil Nadu to find the one girl who is worthy of his big-brotherness. Parameters include age (The Man doesn’t drink from the fountain of youth, he IS the fountain of youth. He’s a hero in Tamil Cinema! You don’t expect old ladies to be his sister now, do you? Girls no older than 25 can apply), moral competence, rhyme skyllz and knowledge of tamil culture. TR shall evaluate the contestants himself and pick one very lucky girl who gets to be his real life sister and can be the blessed recipient of his endless paasam. 
Probable Sequel : Thangachi Tharkolai – Nadandhadhu Enna?
[Sister Suicide – What really happened?]

-> What A Man. 











2. Dr.Joseph Vijay-in Director Deal: As Dr.Joseph Vijay inches closer to the world record for longest string of flop movies, it is up to his fans to dig deep among themselves and find someone competent enough to direct him and make full use of his versatility. The winner, who will be selected through a rigorous process that involves finding not one but TWO differences between the roles that he’s played in the past ten movies will get the opportunity of a lifetime to direct Dr.Joseph Vijay in a role most suitable for his polished and elegant demeanor namely mechanic, courier boy, bike mechanic or vegetable vendor, thus enabling him to finally achieve the world record for longest string of worsttu movies. Since it’s for such a noble cause I’m sure we can expect plenty of participants. A fake press conference YouTube video is also part of the deal. 

3. Gaptun Vijaykanth-in Arasiyal Aarpattam (Gaptun Vijaykanth’s Political Ploys): 
The Indian Army couldn’t handle a man of his calibre, which is why he’s a full time politician now. While we understand that he’s a one man army, somehow the whole idea of local MLAs tagging behind an enigma is just not fair. Which is why Gaptun himself needs to get out there and recruit men who will be able to complement his stature. Contestants who want to be part of the man’s entourage will have to pass through rigorous training and exercises in bullet dodging, mustache flexing, shock absorption, pigeon language learning, a complete study of Bakistan’s topography, Media Player skills, and most importantly, English lessons. His criticism in the show will be brutal ofcourse – if the participants don’t eieieidowhathesays, rest assured that he will send them out with a flick of his collar (when you’re Gaptun, there really is no other way). 







-> The Gaptun shows us how it’s done. 













4. Namitha’s Size Zero Mission: I don’t know about entertainment value but I’m sure as hell that this show will give megaserials a run for their money by becoming the longest running show on television. [Note: Clicking on the link will give you google’s image search results for said actress. If you know who she is, you wouldn’t click on that. If you don’t know who she is, go ahead, click, but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.] 

5. The Amit-zing Race: I love the Amazing Race series. For the uninitiated, the show involves 12 pairs of people from different backgrounds who are made to travel around the world with a camera behind them to perform unconventional tasks. The pair that completes all of them first, wins the grand prize of $1 million. I say, put 12 pairs of Amits (Surely you know who an Amit is by now. They’re the guys who are convinced that Chennai SUXX YAAR!) in our beloved city and put them through a set of unique tasks like catching an auto from T.Nagar to go to Besant Nagar with a budget of 50 Rs, buying SeppanKazhangu from Koyambedu Market, get away from a Chennai Traffic Cop WITHOUT paying anything, watch a TR movie without running away from the theatre and so on. The Pair that finally completes all these tasks will win….something. Ha. Let them complete first. Then we’ll think about the prize.