Friday, May 27, 2011

Lost in the labyrinth of tweets!

As of now, Twitter is a religion. At least for the tweeps. For the uninitiated, tweeps are the ones who gave up on ‘real’ life and signed up for Twitter instead. It’s almost similar to the selling-your-soul-to-the-devil-at-a-discounted-price thing. Of course, we shouldn’t generalize the entire crowd on the basis of the majority. Yes, there are some exceptions who sign up and then forget their passwords, and in the process, save themselves from getting 140-ed.
For us, Twitter is more than just an addiction. It’s part of a lifestyle. Moreover, it won’t be an exaggeration to state there are 3 types of people on Twitter: those who never want to leave; those who are always here; and the rest.
You wake up and find yourself on the timeline. You are just dying to make an impression. You can crack a joke, post an url link or twitpic. And the best part is even that won’t make you an attention whore. One fish never accuses another fish of being wet. Everyone is in. Yes, some get luckier than others but it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s part of the stage and there is enough space for more. This urge to be heard via tweets is beyond typos. Sometimes, it’s beyond grammar, too. Unfortunately.
Like Tyler Durden once nearly said, “This is twittermania and it's ending one tweet at a time.”
Different people are on Twitter for different reasons. Majority are of the social kind. They don’t mind transforming the timeline back to the heydays of Yahoo! chatroom. Minuscule few are dedicated to mentionless tweeting. But one factor binds all the tweeps – their unconstrained disdain for Orkut and in some cases, Facebook. Anyway, it’s a bit hypocritical on our part to find our common alma mater at fault when it’s clearly not. Whatever goes.

Twitter's Unwritten Rule #1 - If you've got absolutely nothing to tweet, tweet.
So what do we tweet about? Well, we mostly tweet shit. No, seriously. We do. You know, stuff that don’t have an iota of significance, not even to the one who’s tweeting. In less harsher words, Twitter is an adult toy. We experience parallel universe, so to speak. After all, there is nothing wrong with it. Here, you become your handle. You don’t even need a topic to tweet. Just look around you. You see things. You tweet things. Simple. No hard and fast rules. No wonder we seem to get more news on Twitter than there is news in this world. Accordingly, we become a dreamer or an activist or a revolutionary. For a day or two or three or four. In a way, we successfully kill time. Sometimes we even kill celebrities. Remember the time when Twitter killed Nelson Mandela, Shashi Kapoor and Abida Parveen when they were pretty much alive? Good.

Twitter's Unwritten Rule #2 - Don't keep your crap to yourself. Your timeline is dying to *no*.
Twitter loves sad people and vice versa. Complaining about everything under the sky is a daily phenomenon. Nevertheless, you just find an excuse to tweet. For the record, you are a confirmed twitter-addict when you lose something in your house and search for it on your timeline. The point is you can be sad, cribby and lonely on Twitter. Facebook is not a place to cry your heart out. And even if you do, people will *like* that. Twitter allows you to be depressed. That’s one of the reasons why some of the most painfully honest gems (read: tweets) about sorry life could be seen post-midnight. It’s also when Twitter feels like a city annexed by hopeless romantics.

Twitter's Unwritten Rule #3 - Feel busier than you really are.
Twitter is dominated by social engineers who are busy wasting their precious talent on timeline. They’ve got all the solutions to all the problems to all the solutions in the world. Plus, there are some really creative people who are busy entertaining others. And there are the ones who feel bad for the world while staying comfy in their air-conditioned rooms. In short, Twitter is longer than 140 characters. Lots of characters, in fact. Some are trolls, some fanatics, some politicos, some so-called orkutiyas. But then, different people are on Twitter for different reasons.

N.B. I wrote this piece for Ashik Gosaliya's website so thought of sharing here, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Oui Federer!

French Open is on its way. As usual, Rafael Nadal is the favorite to win and equal Björn Borg’s record of six titles at Roland Garros. But Novak Djokovic is not far behind. The Serb hasn’t lost a single match this season and goes into the tournament with a 37-0 win/loss score. More significantly, he has defeated Nadal four times (twice on clay) this year which is a feat in itself considering Nadal’s unprecedented dominance since he overtook the No.1 ranking from Roger Federer last year. And that brings us to the guy in question.

Yes. Federer.

The trouble with being Federer is that no one expects you to fail. But he is failing terribly. Come to think of it, Federer has created a monster of sort for himself. And that shows, especially when he suffers against unhailed opponents. He is currently No.3 after losing his No.2 ranking to Djokovic in March. To top it all, he has won just one title this year at Qatar which is nothing less than a bad half-season for a player of his stature.

Critics love to write Federer off. They’ve been doing this for a long while now. Age is definitely not on his side. At 29, he is among the oldest in the top-10 league. Of course, his remarkable 16 Grand Slams and 17 Masters Titles can’t be overlooked at any cynical cost. You don’t teach Federer how to play tennis nor can you beat him at it. Only Federer can defeat Federer. Or rather, only Federror can defeat Federer. Lately, Federer has been lacking focus and committing errors thanks to desolate second serve and misplaced forehands. Even psychologically, he appears faded and a dark shadow of his former self.

For the record, if Djoko makes it to the semis, Nadal’s No.1 is still at peril even if he wins the GS. Nadal’s recent slip-ups prove that no matter how great a specialist you are, you are bound to slip on the clay sooner or later. This is a lesson in denial for Federer. He can pick up a thing or two from Djoko’s attitude towards game which is based on one principle: Be positive till the very end. Ironically, Federer’s Achilles heels lies in his head. He gives up long before the match ends.

For instance, in the semifinal match in Miami, Nadal totally overwhelmed him. Federer was hardly playing. It was like a worthless stroll across the court. Something Federerphiles are not used to but sadly are getting used to. Fortunately, Federer showed some grit when he met Nadal again in the Madrid semifinal by dominating the first set but Nadal fought back and won the match. Interestingly, if everything goes according to the rankings’ script, Federer will be facing Nadal in the semifinal for a spot in the French Open final. Let’s wait and watch.

Have to admit no one is bigger than the sport. Not even Federer. He aims to collect at least 20 Grand Slams before he hangs up his racquet for good. Going by his contemporaries’ current form, it seems like a distant reality. Every great champion has a crest followed by a trough. We are witnessing Federer’s trough much against our wish. Federer lost to Tomáš Berdych in the quarterfinal match at Wimby and it’s been a downhill since with a sliver of inconsistent revival every now and then.

Whatever be the case, my money is on him. Between Nadal and Djokovic, Federer will always be the in absentia winner. Snatching the French Open under the victorious nose of Nadal-Djoko duo shall be a perfect rejoinder to all the questions about his downfall. Hopefully. May the phoenix rise and rewrite the tennis mythology!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Disclaimer: Unlike a majority of my posts, this one comes directly from the bottom of my dark narcissistic heart. Okay. Not exactly but for the most part, yes. 

Chernobyl disaster happened in the final week of April 1986. Nearly two weeks later, I took birth and fixed the whole nuclear glitch. Rest is history. Legend has it that I was born on May 9th, on the very same day Tenzing Norgay died. I can excuse you if you don’t know me but you ought to acknowledge him as he was the first human being ever to scale the mighty Mt. Everest. For the record, he died that morning and I appeared around sunset. He used to climb uphill and my life has been a downhill since then. If your math is as bad as mine, I’ve completed 25 years on this planet. Although I’m planning on living forever but even if I die at 100 (give or take), it’s like completing a quarter of my life. That’s a huge number. By today’s standards, nonetheless. I don’t exactly celebrate birthdays. Now, before the words “You stupid self-obsessed self-piteous cretin…!” springs to your head, let me make myself clear. It has nothing to do with my usual cynicism. I don’t hate birthday, so to speak. But I can’t deny the fact too many birthdays will eventually lead to my death. 

As a matter of fact, birthdays are wonderful. But that’s only as long as you are a kid. Once you grow up and know the functional benefits of being an adult, birthdays are just a date people don’t even care to remember coz Zuckerberg will always be there to help. I mean, that’s what Facebook is for–to remind you of your friends’ birthdays, right? 

For the birthday boy or girl, it’s a trip down memory lane and trying to match those childhood days when birthday meant something words can’t even describe. As for me, I never cut a cake or blew candles. It was never part of my upbringing. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my younger brother’s twin died a tragic death just days after my third birthday. So my parents avoided blowing trumpets out of birthdays and it has stayed that way since then.

I hate being so corny! Forget it.

Okay, so as I look back at what have I underachieved over all these years, I run short of errr… excuses. I haven’t got myself a career yet. I’m just a two-bit transcriber who writes three-bit pseudofunny quotes and posts them on Twitter and repeats ‘em on Facebook. Ironically, I am way too content playing with words and one-liners. I haven’t traveled to Ladakh or Tawang or Kashmir or anywhere north of Maharashtra. I haven’t helped Tibetans gain independence, either. I never got into a relationship (but secretly, I’m all smart about it!). I’m yet to receive an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I haven't touched snow yet (Seriously, Mumbai needs snow more than I do. Snowfall can solve more than half of its problem). Net-net, life has been devastatingly dull. Had it not been for my acute ignorance, I could have, well, killed myself on my 16th birthday when I was writing bad poems which eventually graduated to worse and now it’s, as one can guess, worst. Thankfully, I have given up on poems. In other words, poems have given up on me. 

On the rosier side, I am happy too about some fabrics of my repugnant personality. Like I don’t wear watches. I ride my ‘cycle as far as I can and don’t plan to own any other vehicle. By the way, I’m tired of flat tires so maybe I’ll commute on a horse someday soon. I don’t have beverages be it coffee, tea or aerated drinks. And most significant of all, I’m deeply in love with cinema and I’m terribly proud of it. I’m brutally honest as long as I’m not forced to lie. I conserve energy too by not working too hard. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. That’s all. Of course, these are not Nobel-worthy traits but somehow I cherish them. 

You don’t grow intelligent with age. It’s an illusion. No one has anything coming. People just say so to feel wise about their amnesiac past. We are almost dead if we don’t know what to do with our time because in the long term, time is the biggest asset of our short lifespan. All you’ve got to do is live without being a pain in the ass of others. If you manage to share your time with the ones you care for, good for you. If not, it’s alright.

In your declining years, you go back to your own disappointments and accomplishments and the interrupting moments of happiness. That’s how it is. As for now, I may molest words like anything… and most probably will continue to do so provided the marbles rattle in my cranium. Any which way, who gives a damn? I’m growing old and I’m loving it!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Commoners Wed Society

Last week, third rock from the sun witnessed one heck of a royal wedding. Nearly two-sixth of humankind was glued to the live event which substantiates our hopeless belief in medieval fairytale. In related news, many were wondering whether it was Beckham's wedding for he sure as hell looked a whole lot nattier than balding William. Similarly Kate’s sister stole the limelight right under her Diana-esque charm. No big deal. It’s all part of regal folklores now.

Anyway, if you paid attention to the extravagance, the ultimate question hits you sooner or later (most probably, sooner): Who’s going to pay for all of this? Well, as usual, the monarch does everything except the payment. When Lakshmi Mittal spent $78 million for his daughter’s wedding, he actually could afford it. On the contrary, here, the bill's is shared by the taxpayers. Yes, common people like you and me and the aliens up in heaven. Some of the lessons of history are debited to future.

Personally, I don't attend weddings. I mean, what's the point when I can't stop it from happening? No, seriously. And if I at all, I do, out of familial pressure or emotional blackmailing, I feel rather sorry for the couples who have to plaster that fake smile throughout the procession. I even fail to understand the significance of this hackneyed marital ritual. If two people love each other, why waste precious time on something as insignificant as announcing it to the society that’s attending just for free food? And then there is the act of divine fraud when the couples exchange “I do” and then do it again and again. Of course, that’s a different story altogether.

By the way, isn’t it amazing that almost every human being, be it from any part of the world, acknowledges the institution of marriage? Perhaps it’s part of social devolution. Yes, people will retort that had my parents not married, I wouldn’t have been typing this drivel here. Nor would you be reading it. True that, in both cases. We are Indians, after all. Maybe that’s precisely what I’m trying to imply here. It’s time to free ourselves from unnecessary bondages of societal validation. It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about why it is so and why couldn’t it be not so. No, I ain’t advocating live-in although I don’t find anything amiss with it, either.

Going back to the royal marriage, media as well as the social media couldn’t help orgasming. They got royally high on a wedding they allegedly didn’t give a damn about. That’s the extent of our blatant hypocrisy when it comes to current affairs. On a lighter note, I’m glad Osama could witness this wedding before embarking on the long-awaited journey to meet 72 virgins. The only thing the $34 million wedding lacked was Indian flavor. You know Dhol, Band Bhaaja, Bharaat, irritating fat aunties and stuff. Okay, forget it. Chicken Tikka Masala is more than enough for Brits.

PS: We’ve got bigger problems than weddings – followed by divorces – so I guess this blog piece was a pure waste of time as always. May y’all have a royaler wedding! Amen.