Monday, December 31, 2012

Annus Futurus

The nicest thing about Monday is that it eventually comes to an end. Today, however, the same is true about 2012. It's getting over as well and one can feel it pass by. A few more hours and we'll be having 2013 on the masthead. Remarkable, isn't it? Our species has made it so far, leaving the history behind. The past means a lot to us but we seldom let it supersede the present. This particular year did something similar to my curious case of inertia. I experienced a lot of new things while achieving a bit of this and that. Being an entertainment journo facilitated most of them. 
  • For beginners, I graduated. Finally. At the age of 26. In BA (English Literature) though I'm still wholeheartedly committed to the noble cause of grammatical errors. Might do my Masters someday and then vie for PhD later. Hopefully, that is. What's the harm in dreaming? Didn't I once dream of becoming an innovative electronics engineer? 
  • I turned vegetarian and learned that it doesn't make an iota of difference to your soul. On the contrary, it made me aware of all the horror vegetables go through because of us. Ergo, I've effectively given up vegetarianism now. Food is meant to keep us alive and we are meant to kill it.
  • Prophet once said that travelling teaches us more than the books. So I did what was needed to be done. My dream destination has been Pakistan for a while now and I tried to sneak in through a Islambad-based youth conference. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it. As a consolation, I visited Wagah border and witnessed the pleasant height of jingoism. Too close yet so far. Next year, it would be Jinnah's Disneyland. No matter what!
  • Getting inked has been at the top of my priorities for years now. I got. At last. Two tattoos on each sleeves. One dedicated to Tibet and the other to my parents. They weren't impressed by either (as if I was expecting them to be). I'm certainly not stopping at two. There are few more to come and stay in the name of body art.  
  • Learned how to spell the F-word correctly on social media. Pallav from Twitter helped a lot in this direction. I still maintain zero-contact on timeline and deserve all the fuck-yous from tweeps who assume I must be a full-time snob. Plus, i reduced tweeting to as much as possible.      
  • Interviewed some impressive personalities like Binayak Sen, Lucky Ali, Shashi Tharoor, Bhanu Athaiya, Anand Gandhi, Kareena Kapoor, Ronaldinho, Salim Khan, Mira Nair, Aakar Patel, Daniel Craig, Gautam Navlakha, Jahnu Baruah, Adil Hussain, Pankaj Mishra, Rani Mukerji and Amish Tripathi. 
  • Watched a lot of brilliant movies—in theatres for a change. Not that I stopped downloading but still watching gems on big screen is something else. Being used to 19-inch monitor screen had limited my sense of perception. I kind of rediscovered its potential somewhere in the darkness of a cinema hall. 
  • Started the year with cycling (thanks to a friend) and ended it with jogging (thanks to a friend). Apparently my erstwhile six-pack abs miss me and vice versa.
There are many more stuff worth mentioning here but I don't remember them. I'm trying my level best but I can't. I guess I don't want to embarrass myself anymore. Besides, I'm growing old(er) at a worrisome rate. Being single for way too long often does that to people like me. Life is worthless anyway. Lastly, whoever is reading this tripe, I hope you quit next year. If not, at least overlook my narcissistic conclusions. May y'all reach such heights of success that vertigo becomes your nemesis. Best of all. Also, I secretly love you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Why do we cheer for complete strangers during a tennis/cricket/football match? Because we want our individual/country/team to win. Or maybe somewhere in our head, we think that cheering them will absolve us from the actual duty of performing in a match. We aren't good (read: fit) enough to participate anyway. Or maybe I'm mistaken as usual. It's perfectly normal to want others to accomplish what we possibly couldn't. At least that's the case with Indian parents. Intriguingly, there's a sense of achievement in others' success when it comes to sports. However, our species is not known for exhibiting such behavior as far as non-sports activities are concerned. Although we envy our neighbours we make sure we respect the brilliance of a guy wearing an opponent's jersey. That's how a sport rolls! Simply put, it allows us that exclusive space to be noisy, euphoric, sad, abusive, contemplative, opinionated, wasted, speculative and alive. Simultaneously. Plus, there are moments to take note of. For instance, when Federer lifts a grand slam title, you experience unchecked happiness although you won't extract even a cent of that million dollar cheque he just received. It's OK as you want the super-rich Swiss to bag five more such huge titles. On the downside, you empathize with Sachin when he goes limp in his final days and 'abruptly' declares retirement from ODIs. You acknowledge the burden those shoulders must have carried for more than two decades. The reason why you do so is you know that nobody can replace him. You'll neither watch a match for the sake of one cricketer nor switch off the TV when he gets out. In simple words, you'll never ever love a batsman more. On the other hand, when Messi scores 91 goals in one year, you are elated. To you, the Argentine defines the struggle of an athlete who had everything going against him—even his growth hormones. But you also notice that his triumph marks the victory of human endurance and hard-earned skills, coupled with uncanny humility. You want him to helm that World Cup in Brazil so that his detractors can shut up in peace. That's the fan in you talking to you. Like you have yours, every sportsperson has a melodramatic story to boot too. But very few amongst them make you feel their joy and pain. And that's precisely why they are your heroes. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A beginning of the end

Dammit, i missed the doomsday once again. Fuck my life. I don't know how but i somehow manage to do it every single time there's an apocalypse alarm. Without fail, i sleep through it and wake up fresher than a lotus. It's almost like a gift. Or maybe it's not me. Our species is indeed blessed with the talent to survive a non-existent closure. Just to keep up with the flow, let's not give any credit to Mayans here. They were just messing around with their mumbo-jumbo from the very beginning. Moreover, unlike Indians, they didn't have an Aryabhatta or a Brahmagupta to do the calculations for them. In plain words, they sucked at math. So I'm not at all surprised by what happened the day before yesterday, yesterday, today and what's going to happen after today. The verdict is out: We are meant to suffer longer. Mother Nature is not going to put us out of our misery anytime soon. She's planning the most expensive special-effects movie ever made and she might ask Peter Jackson for assistance. The rest of us are on our own now. And going by the chronological iniquities, we haven't fully paid the price for our so-called intelligent brain. Speaking of which, has anybody seen that prophetic calendar yet? Does it have half-naked models on it? Yes? Bazinga! Does it have the-turbulent-end-of-Vijay Mallya scribbled anywhere? No? OK.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Deeply offensive

Nearly two decades ago, Kurt Cobain came up with his semi-controversial song Rape Me. There was a remarkable touch of lonely pain in those lyrics. But all things sung and done, it was a song. That's it. Flash back to today's unmusical reality as something terrible happened in Delhi recently. The horrific details that emerged out of this incident (mind you, not an accident) makes one's soul turn sick. Those who committed this unpardonable offense won't be able to forgive themselves. We shall never forgive them in any case even though we might forget them in the long run. And the girl who was the victim is going to find it unbearably difficult to move on. Our society—despite its righteous hue and cry—is too stigmatic to be conducive enough for rehabilitation. Rape is infamous for doing that that to the fairer sex. More so, men who do that give rise to questionnaire...endless trail of queries that question us.
    So how do we deal with this horror as a pseudo-society? Where exactly does the problem lie? Are we so sexually regressive that our very sense of morality gets clouded at times? Good apple, bad apple? Does sadism constitute an inherent part of our DNA? Don't we keep evolving as a species? Who are we? Misogynists? Unabashedly patriarchal? Can the media do a bit more than worrying about its TRP? Would the government show its spine for a change? Where are the fast-track stringent laws that'd discourage repetition? Will the real feminists please stand up? What role did our parents play? Religio-socio hypocrisy? Have they raised their daughters at par with their sons? Why do the former feel so insecure then? Kung-fu someone? Shall our poor victim become the physiotherapist she always wanted to be? Which direction might lead to a nobler world? Were we lost? Or we are going to be lost? Gun control in US and penis control in India? Go Shariah for a change? Castration? Damn, wouldn't that hurt? Isn't pleasure from others' agony is what this is all about? Let's redeem ourself, whatsay? Set up an incorruptible fund-raiser instead? Discuss? Abort misconceptions and inseminate knowledge? Open up our mind a little and embrace our imperfections? Shout a bit softer and listen a bit louder? Do we really don't need education? Sex education, huh? Mutual respect is dead? Smiling can be dangerous? Can't trust anybody anymore? Wasn't Gandhiji right? Didn't the Mayans just fooled humankind? Do you hear that? That's animal kingdom laughing at us. 
    As a nation, we are very angry. But this understandable rage has very little to do with the crime (or the criminals) in question. On the contrary, the somewhat hapless emotion reflects strongly on the kind of frail structure we've built over the years. When a system fails, it shows. Sadly, it requires a tragedy of such momentous scale to hold our attention for long. Ergo, we've failed somewhere and that bothers us. We don't know the answers to the questions this widely-reported anomaly (although the word is an euphemism) has given birth to. And that makes us more than furious. Perhaps it's high time gender equality is offered a job and rape, retirement.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sating heart and stomach

My grandma used to say that there's no such thing as good or bad. "Only hunger exists." Those were her exact words... in Tulu, of course! What she meant to say was we do things because we want to. Even if it's something that contradicts the person that we are. We commit our deeds—well or evil—because an urge as strong as hunger—if not stronger—does the deal on our behalf. It's all about being in a given situation. People react differently under different conditions but they do react. Like, when you see an old lady finding it tough to cross the road, you just stand there transfixed wondering whether to go ahead and offer her an helping hand or not. And by the time you resolve to attempt your one-good-deed-a-day, she has already made it to the other side. The hunger to serve was lacking; nothing else. We tend to think too much about things that doesn't need pondering and conveniently overlook what necessitates burning of brain cells. One doesn't need to be a anthropologist or a sociologist to notice that behaviour makes us who we've become. An individual with a filled stomach is going to act in a certain manner. Facing starvation, that very individual is most likely to act in an uncertain manner. Ergo, it's advisable to find some food before your empty stomach nibbles on your conscience. Every time we waste food, someone dies of famish somewhere. This might sound statistically absurd but it surely holds some grain of truth. As my pious grandma never said, hunger is the religion that binds every creature on this godforsaken planet.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Asleep for good!

Everybody leaves their home sooner or later. One can't stay in the nest for long. The little boy of our story seemed to be in a hurry though. All of seven, he was already fed up of his family's dysfunctionality. Apparently, circumstances left him with nothing but the decision to leave. So as a part of preparations for the tough life that lays ahead of him, he stuffed all his comic books into his satchel and filled the water-bottle too. He wanted to leave his house that very night but then he reminded himself he's way too young to be not afraid of darkness. In the end, he also convinced himself that waking up early and carrying out his plan would serve him better. With that delightful thought, he resigned himself to sleep. At dawn, the sun rose up. The cock followed suit. However, our hero remained in his bed. After a hour or so, his mother woke him up with a smile that was nowhere else to be found. All his anger evaporated at that very instance. It was one of those moments when you're glad for not being able to wake up on time.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Woes of a lazy journo

This piece was supposed to be written by a former trade journalist but she's apparently too lazy to do the needful. What's intriguing though is the behavioral interpretation of whether she was/became lazy before/after she switched careers. However, what we expect of journos is that they are meant to be on their feet 24/7 with their eyes and ears wide open. But then there are exceptions too. Not all scribes are like Clark Kent (just so you know Superman has quit his job as a journalist and is currently vella!). If that weren't the case, the present standards in media wouldn't have been in love with gravity. There are people who take things for granted and it has more to do with their personalities and less to do with their profession. So what makes a mediaperson complacent? Is it the rigorous call of duty? Or are there other reasons? For instance, transcribing is considered a bane in print media. Conducting interviews is not half as cumbersome as the task that lays ahead. Typing while listening to the dictaphone lets a journalist acknowledge how indolent s/he can truly be. Media often abuses its right to speak out of turn but it's funny how you can't transcribe out of turn. You've got to wait for the interviewee to finish the sentence and then you can go ahead and twist the quotes! This is just one example of how the sinful sloth works against you. There are many more. Besides, journalism is where you get more things done out of laziness than not. And the trick is to put the know in journo and the media in immediately.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Being a goal model

If Messi doesn't inspire you, nobody else can. And you don't even have to be a football fan to be messimerised by this little genius. Last night, he scored his 86th goal of the season for Barcelona thus breaking a 40-year-old record. But what's amazing about him is not the statistics attached to his career. He loves to humiliate arithmetic week in and week out. Like they should be saying, records are meant to be broken... by Messi! People around him keep pointing out his humility and it shows in the post-match press conferences too because unlike most of his contemporaries, he's quick to unburden himself of accolades. He's different from others. The style is lacking but the basics are strong like anything. He doesn't believe in showboating as he has a job to do and he'll get things done before the final whistle blows out. The best part is he makes it look easy. But then the catch about magicians like him—alongside Federer, Ronaldo and many more in sports entertainment—is they successfully hide what it actually takes to be them. They somehow don't reveal the pain and the hardship that went into their making. In about 3 weeks, we'll get to know whether he'd become the first player ever to win four Ballon d'Or. 

According to an extensive study conducted by yours truly: Messi > Ronaldo > Ballon d'Or

There's no point in comparing Messi with Iniesta. Also, it's high time we replaced apples and oranges with Messi and Cristiano for comparison's sake. The former inspires superlation while the latter invokes awe and this particular blog post is unabashedly in favour of the flea! Sorry but I'd like to believe that it's alright as the person concerned is an once-in-a-football phenomenon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The right to remain silent

I don't converse much for two reasons.
1. I'm not good at it. 
2. I don't want to be good at it.

Much against this distressing dilemma, i often get asked on Twitter why i don't reply to mentions. Keeping up with their expectations, i don't answer that question. Besides, i commit enough typos while typing my lame tweets that i’d rather not wish to increase my errata count. Or maybe i'm one of those who let others have the last word by not replying in the first place. And if at all i were to say something that could come close to explaining my stubbornness, i'd preferably not say it. I’m not accountable for my tweets. They are Grade A rubbish in any case. Similarly, it's a choice to stay away from timeline conversations. Not that i find these wit-induced gabs boring but then i don't find them overwhelmingly enticing either. Some talks make you giggle whereas some make you cringe. Both are OK as long as nobody is pointing a missile at your crotch and forcing you to read. For the record, i'm yet to witness an insightful chat taking place between two tweeps. People arrive with certain mindsets and log out with the same. Absolutely nothing changes. And they repeat the procedure tomorrow as well. This isn't my theory because we know this for certain. A majority of us converse on social media for the sole sake of marking our attendance in the virtual world. Practically speaking, we haven’t graduated much from Orkut even though we won’t admit it. Of course, there's nothing wrong with it as this attitude pretty much serves the whole purpose of garnering attention—not to forget, validation—we otherwise lack in our real world. But the ultimate gospel states that tweeps are merely killing time.
       However, coming back to my self-imposed silence, i used to be part of this circus till circa 2010 before i stopped participating in the celebrated verbal-diarrhea-fest. Just like that. Of course, i pay for my heresy by getting constantly bombarded for being a mute. I also lost the followership of some brilliant tweeps who thought i was an outcast now. After all, people from media can't afford to be isolated but I'm doing fine. I'm neither a huge fan of letting others know what kind of shitty tabloid articles i write for a living nor a huge critic of digital networking so my chosen technique works for me. Anyway, i don't know what I'm doing but i fortunately know what I'm not. I don't respond while i continue to listen to the never-to-be-addressed grievances. So those who think I'm not a good listener, you're mistaken. Despite hectic schedule (yeah, there are folks out there with high-demand-low-paying jobs), i check my mentions every now and then. Got to admit that very few tweets make me laugh harder. In my defense, at least i don't discriminate when it comes to replying mentions. Unlike most of the tweeps who bother to talk to only those whose intellect and follower count matter. To me, all are equally important as well as unimportant. No wonder i haven’t blocked even the worst of trolls yet. Moreover, my responding to their mentions won't change a thing. We were and we shall remain miserable, no matter what. Lastly, to answer your question why i don't use my reply button: Well, because i can.