Online Thuggery? Common.

David Segal’s pro­file of an unscrupu­lous online oper­a­tor in the New York Times is the most fun story I’ve read in a long time. Deeper impli­ca­tions aside, how can a story with lines like this one not be fun?

Do you think I would think twice about uri­nat­ing all over your frame and then return­ing it? Com­mon.” [NYT]

The vil­lain of the piece is Vitaly Borker (“thug­gish Rus­sia born Brook­lynite”) who runs his online oper­a­tion in a man­ner fami­lar to any­one that has shopped for gro­ceries in India. It is a hilar­i­ous read that leaves you feel­ing slightly queasy at the end.

The cus­tomer is always right — not here, you under­stand?” he says, rais­ing his voice. “I hate that phrase — the cus­tomer is always right. Why is the mer­chant always wrong? Can the cus­tomer ever be wrong? Is that not possible?”

The next day, a man named Tony Russo called to say that DecorMyEyes had run out of the Ciba Visions. Pick another brand, he advised a lit­tle brusquely.

I told him that I didn’t want another brand,” recalls Ms. Rodriguez, who lives in the Chelsea neigh­bor­hood of Man­hat­tan. “And I asked for a refund. He got rude, really obnox­ious. ‘What’s the big deal? Choose another brand!’ ”

With the con­tacts issue unre­solved, her eye­glasses arrived two days later. But the frames appeared to be coun­ter­feits and Ms. Rodriguez, a life­long fan of Lafont, remem­bers that even the case seemed fake.

Soon after, she dis­cov­ered that DecorMyEyes had charged her $487 — or an extra $125. When she and Mr. Russo spoke again, she asked about the over­charge and said she would return the frames.

What the hell am I sup­posed to do with these glasses?” she recalls Mr. Russo shout­ing. “I ordered them from France specif­i­cally for you!”

I’m going to con­tact my credit card com­pany,” she told him, “and dis­pute the charge.”

Until that moment, Mr. Russo was merely ornery. Now he erupted.

Lis­ten, bitch,” he fumed, accord­ing to Ms. Rodriguez. “I know your address. I’m one bridge over” — a ref­er­ence, it turned out, to the company’s office in Brook­lyn. Then, she said, he threat­ened to find her and com­mit an act of sex­ual vio­lence too graphic to describe in a news­pa­per. [NYT]

The King And I

He’s there every week at the same spot in the air­port; dark glasses; some quar­ters and the odd dol­lar on a blan­ket in front, strum­ming a gui­tar and singing and sip­ping a cof­fee. Star­bucks. Star­bucks? Except today, he was white and singing louder than usual. Happens.

I ignored him with stud­ied indif­fer­ence and walked on toward the trains to the city, head buzzing from the bad cof­fee and last night’s bagel and the non-dairy creamer and the sit­ting in a metal tube con­vinc­ing myself that the seat­mate had aller­gies, not …

Number Two

If you thought my posts were crappy, wait till you read this one:

My first day at the bath­room here. Deed done, I zipped up pants. And then, a sud­den gush of water, and my pants got drenched. Sop­ping, drip­ping, heart wrench­ing wet. Yes, I did get the order of events right, Ms. Know-It-All.

Puz­zled, I did what every guy does. My care­fully tucked shirt came out, and I walked gin­gerly back. I real­ize I am smok­ing hot, but can’t these girls stop look­ing at my pants for some time?

Dinner Of The Absurd

And so, I am back. With plans — big ones — a Bangkok trav­el­ogue, sev­eral book reviews, the usual (at least a ) post a day promise, more Ileana pic­tures on the other blog, a short story, three nov­els and many, many such things I know you could care less about.

And so I am back, and what’s the first thing I read? Plans for a Sepia Mutiny meetup in Los Ange­les. A rare desi blog meet in this very coun­try, and where is it held? As far away …

It’s a constellation out there…

Harpreet Kaur lives for Hindi cin­ema. She loves Amitabh Bachchan (in a pla­tonic sort of way) and can’t imag­ine life with­out her daily dose of Lata. Harpreet is about a year into her Master’s in Com­puter Sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Alaska. Her dad, back in Lud­hi­ana and prone to hyper­bole, never tires of telling peo­ple about how the Amer­i­cans were bedaz­zled by his daughter’s intel­li­gence and gave her “full aid” at the “best uni­ver­sity in the world.” Harpreet did get finan­cial aid, but she can’t get Com­puter Sci­ence for …

Slim Pickings

Sonia Faleiro’s The Girl, a book I’d briefly men­tioned in this post at Sepia Mutiny, is a melan­choly novel set in Goa about two men and The Girl they both loved. The book begins with the young woman’s sui­cide — yet another tragedy in cursed Azul — and the two men are “achingly curi­ous” to find out why. And when one of them stum­bles upon her jour­nal, they use it to recon­struct her life lead­ing up to the sui­cide — the death of an unhappy woman whose last big …

Introducing SilverScreen

Some­one talk­ing to me for the first time is usu­ally struck by two things: How incred­i­bly hand­some I am, and how incred­i­bly smart I am. If they can get over this, they’ll be struck by two more things: How much I love movies, and how much I love books.

Some­one meet­ing Manoj for the first time is usu­ally struck by two things: How much he loves movies, and how much he loves music. Ok, maybe they’ll also be struck by how smart he is. What­ever. That’s not the point.

So …

Friends, Rolexes and Shirtless Men

Pic­ture Cour­tesy Wikipedia

Golden drag­ons sit atop the strik­ing green fa?ade, flanked by golden arches on the left and (over­priced) gold topped taxis beneath. A unsightly blue roof stretches along the entire street, designed to keep out the ele­ments and what­ever lit­tle charm the façade has to offer. “Jalan Petal­ing,” the mul­ti­lin­gual sign­board sus­pended from the low­est tier says. Petal­ing Street.

Petal­ing Street, a nar­row stretch of road in down­town Kuala Lumpur is the green dragon facaded, blue roofed home to a gigan­tic flea mar­ket sell­ing boot­leg mer­chan­dise. Fit­tingly, the …

This will do just fine…

In which a forced break from blog­ging causes one to over­com­pen­sate by writ­ing an overly long post.

I was six­teen. She must’ve been a few years older.

I was the kid that snot­tily buried his head in a book through the hour­long bus ride to school, except to look at the occa­sional poster. After her, I was the kid that was start­ing to fan­ta­size about bury­ing the head else­where. Dirty thoughts, I know, but not as dirty as you think. I didn’t know all that then.

In truth, she …

When Crummy, Cruddy, Cheesy and Crappy Compete

The last month has seen sev­eral truly remark­able things hap­pen to this blog: We turned into a group blog with two real con­trib­u­tors, and sev­eral imag­i­nary ones. Our fan fol­low­ing among phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies seems to have increased, and like all deliri­ous new fans, they can’t seem to stop writ­ing to us. (We might trash your let­ters, ladies, but your affec­tion means a lot to us.)

We watched four hor­rid Tamil movies. While that in itself is not remark­able, what is remark­able is that we have refrained from review­ing any of …