Wednesday, September 30, 2015


My friend Tushar got me a special birthday gift when i turned 28 last year. He took my Facebook profile picture back then and created a t-shirt design out of it. With a kickass caption saying 'Wanted: Alive or Screwed', it was to go. The only issue being i wasn't very sure whether it was a good idea to wear something with my own face on it! I was already enough self-centered (and still am) to add tazzle to my narcissistic persona. The reason why people are narcissist is this way, they don't let others into their world, thus diminishing their chances of getting hurt. More on that in some other stupid blog post. As for now, let's go back to what Tushar said to convince me that it was an awesome gift (which it indeed was). How many of your friends have customized tees for you, huh? He simply said, "Agar tu apna t-shirt nahi pehnega toh kaun pehnega?" It was a straightforward question with only one answer possible. Since i'm not Messi or Federer to have kids wear my face on their torso, i'll have to make do with my own image. After all, the question is, if not me, then who else? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Leading from the front

When Gandhiji decided to do something for the country—India, not South Africa—he analyzed the pertinent issues of the time by traveling far and wide. He experienced firsthand how Indians' root problems existed inside their head. Indians didn't have shackles around their limbs. They were psychologically defeated by the British thanks to the constant reminder that they were inferior to the Whites. Which is why Gandhiji took the necessary measures to reverse the situation at the grassroot level. So, for that to happen, he himself had to undergo certain changes. During that era, Britishers were dictating terms (not very different from how stupid politicians do today) by deciding how Indians were going to lead their lives and earn their livelihood. It was always about economics. Money, money and more money! The Britishers didn't care about religion (if they did, we'd be the world's largest Protestant country in the world today) but knew their politics very well. So Gandhiji got down to business by requesting Indians to stick to the truth and channel the nationalism in them towards a greater cause. He called it Swadeshi despite knowing we didn't really have a country back then. The idea was to create the idea of a nation. Youngsters today mercilessly dismiss his work by saying it took him decades to get us independence while some even argue that he didn't get us independence at all. Two factors to be noted here:

1. Both the parties don't know what the heck they're talking about.
2. To gain independence, you need to have a country first.

Physical independence was out of question anyway. Mental struggle was the way to go. So what did this lawyer from England cum freedom fighter from South Africa do? He got rid of every little thing from his personal life that reminded him of imperialism. He stopped wearing Western attire for beginners. No Saville Row suit please! He started producing his own garment. He didn't stop there. He even ditched something as basic as soap and went back to the traditional besan flour. These are little things that make a lot of difference especially when you are the leader—a soon-to-be country's first national leader, to be precise—of an impossible dream. Can you think of a greater leader than him before or after his era? And we are talking about a time when there was no Internet and his messages relied heavily on newspapers. A media that was censored heavily and read by those who could read. India didn't have a lot of literates. And yet, he managed to reach so many millions with his travels. You know why? Because Indians might have been emotional fools but they could see clearly a man who wasn't swindling. They could have easily rejected him on the ground of his foreignness but they couldn't. If 5000 people attended his speech, his messages reached 10,000. They were clear and to-the-point. Which is why he could attract talents like Jinnah and Netaji and Bhagat as his fanboys (before they decided to chart out their separate journeys). I'm not deifying Gandhiji here. Just pointing out the subtle measures needed to make a difference. And as the cliché goes, it begins with you. He might have been flawed but he wasn't afraid of flaws. Maybe that must make us understand why we don't really have leaders anymore. There are way too many followers nowadays. And the ones we call leaders are actually salespersons selling products under the guise of advancing humanity. It's all about the big P now. No, not penis. Profit. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tweet-ups and lows

There are many things i haven't done since 2010. Swimming 10 laps a day. Cycling 6km (to and fro office). Playing weekly football with adequate training and warmups. Turning vegetarian. Donating monthly to Wikipedia and Greenpeace. And on the online front, i haven't engaged in public conversations in over five years now. Similarly, i haven't been to tweetups either (more on that later). But i've gone to meet Twitter friends who duped me with their 'surprise' of calling fellow tweeps without asking me first. But i must admit i do miss indulging in timeline convos, especially when people take silence for granted and misuse it against you. I've attended the funerals of so many brilliant comebacks inside my head since '10 that it's not funny although the comebacks were. I've somehow managed to resist myself for so long now that it doesn't really matter. When you're silent, you see the clearer picture. You witness otherwise normal folks resorting to misinformation and blatant lies just because they know you're not going to clarify anything anyway. 

I stopped attending tweetup for following reasons: 
  1. Tweeps who came across as aggressive (read: abusive) on the timeline were actually fuddus of the pitiable type. They just imagined themselves as Hulk while typing. In reality, they had a slouch and their elbows were almost at 90 degrees thanks to their phone in the middle.
  2. Women with their photoshopped DPs and feministic fringes were generally the least admirable aspect of a tweetup. No, it had very little to do with the fact that they appeared far from attractive thanks to hitherto hidden obesity. All of a sudden, you thanked technology for keeping the DPs' mouths shut!
  3. On the other hand, i found guys to be far more wonderful and engaging. There was no pretense in their persona. They were exactly the way they presented themselves on the timeline. I felt odd with them though because i never felt cool enough. 
  4. Unlike on the timeline, there was no tweet-up fight ever happening. Twitter fights let you know who stood with whom and the overall equation between two conflicting ideologies. At a tweetup, nothing of that sort happened. Just forced conversations, no debate.
  5. If a tweep was 120% entertaining on the timeline, his entertainment quotient dropped to 23% in a tweetup. Can't blame him/her because it's difficult to manage in the real world without the help of hashtags and trending topics. 
  6. After a point, everybody was just seeking an excuse to leave the tweetup ASAP. Just that they didn't want to be the first one so they are waiting for somebody to make the grand move. (For the record, i used to shamelessly do the honour every single time!)
  7. Bitching and gossiping were common features of tweetups. And that was irrespective of gender. 
  8. Everybody exchanged number but nobody contacted nobody later. Or maybe it was just me.
  9. Mouths opened wide and tongue rolled out as pink carpet when you told them you don't drink or smoke.
  10. None of the tweetups ever end up in an orgy. 
I'm pretty sure (or at least i hope) things must have changed a lot since 2010. 

Identity crisis of the highest order

Is it just me or you also have those awkward moments when somebody is introduced to you and within 5 seconds, you forget their names? Following which, you are just trying hard to appear cool about your absentmindedness while figuring out ways to find out his/her name. Of course, there is always a way out: like you can ask for their surname hoping they will repeat their first name once again! Such instances are always stressful (while it's happening) as well as amusing (after it has happened). 
Imagine such a thing taking place while you're fast asleep. 
Last night, i met my friend/colleague Maithri in my dreams and for some reason, she had a 5-year-old son named Kayash. She informed me that two kids from his kindergarten were bullying him. She basically wanted me to straighten up these little rascals. So, i spent the rest of my dream walking around in this huge school that looked more like a college. In your dreams, you often do pointless things but in this dream, i was trying to make sense of what was going on. I was on my own sent on a mission to reprimand two kids whose name i didn't know or bothered to ask. To make matters worse, i was supposed to be looking for them but in my mind, i was wondering "How does Kayash look like?" without letting anyone else know. 

Please die!

  • What doesn't kill you makes you wronger. 
  • What doesn't kill you makes you spend time on Internet.
  • What doesn't kill you makes you a reincarnated Hindu.  
  • What doesn't kill you makes you wiser.
  • What doesn't kill you makes you crib a bit longer than necessary.
  • What doesn't kill you wants you to suffer a bit longer. 
  • What doesn't kill you mocks. 
  • What doesn't kill you makes you vocal about death penalty. 
  • What doesn't kill you makes you tweet more.
  • What doesn't kill you makes you suicidal. 

Read and right

Although i've been pro-Poor all my life, i am not really a victim of poverty. My parents were. I didn't grow up in an affluent setting, yes, but my parents ensured that my brother and i were taken care of. My dad worked 12+ hours a day while ma earned her bit from sewing. Their single-minded dedication towards getting us education from a kischan school made all the difference. And for that —among other things—i'll always remain grateful. I didn't pay them back by teaching them English even though they often expressed interest. I was way too shy to even correct their incorrect pronunciations. Now, when i look back, i wonder if it's even possible to repay someone who made you realize how promising life can be. I know the answer to that but still, every once in a while, i prefer visiting my past to dig deeper. Like, what were the factors that stopped my parents from sending us to a Marathi-medium school or a BMC school? They could have taken the easy way out. After all, they were in no position to pay higher school fees. But they did what they thought was best for their children.  How many parents manage to pull off such gambles? I'm quite sure it's an uphill task because i don't really see a lot of young students nowadays who appreciate the efforts their parents put in. Time is changing, no doubt, but it'd  be nicer to see more parents betting on their kids' future than their present. The power to learn isn't to be taken for granted. The fabled University of Life might have helped our case in the 19th century. Not anymore. Last century, Pink Floyd tried to fool us by going to school themselves and preaching that we don't need no education. Not happening in the 21st century.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Death by your faith

< one sentence of silence>
717 dead, 805 injured. What the media reports on the stampede in Mecca today. It's a tragedy. And like all tragedies, it could have been averted. Nonetheless, somebody or the other would be labelling this event as a will of God. And i wouldn't blame them either; neither the deads nor the alives. When it comes to holy places, a bit of sentimentality is granted. On 9/11 of this year, a construction crane in Mecca collapsed killing 107 people. The engineer went on record saying it was a will of God. It doesn't matter how much technology one employs, blaming the Creator can never go out of fashion. The company's recent findings further established that the crane was “technically faultless”. How can you argue with such formidable belief system? But then, when people die, questions are waiting to raise their head. Just that there's innocence in people crushing each other to death while praying. The in-built theory is that whoever dies during a pilgrimage receives automatic entry into heaven. But what about those who wish to delay this trip? When a person dies in a fire, the burning skin creates so much fume that it practically chokes him/her to death. Before the pain kills you, your lungs give up. Which is why it's worth wondering how hundreds of human bodies, with voices in them, play out the final act before calling it a day. On a second thought, isn't stampede something that comes close to dying for one's religion? Strapping oneself with bombs or brandishing swords or guns is fake. The real shit is to pass away with no hatred whatsoever in your heart. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two wheels, million excuses

I used to commute on my bicycle when i was working for Morningstar. The distance was about 2.5km and i was so used to observing the road closely that i was thorough with every single lumps and potholes. Many a times, the tyres of my bicycle troubled me. Punctures. But it was alright. As of now, i can't imagine commuting on self-pedaled two-wheelers. The distance has risen to 6.8km and the Gurgaon traffic can be excruciating at times. On top of that, if the tyre/s give up on me, i'll be stranded. The problem with being a bicycler is there aren't a lot of us left on the busy roads. If a car breaks down, chances are that a passing by car would stop by to help. If a bicycle faces trouble, there's probably only one solution left: walk the darling home!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The difference between culture and art

Indians can't help being pretentious. More so, when we are online. We can't help but submit ourselves to the harsh fallacies of intellect and stupidity. We are so submerged in American Civilization that we're unable to see where we come from. Look around you. Is there anything "Indian" about your life except the food maybe (if you excuse the technology that goes into production)? Where exactly is our culture rooted? Before this happened to us, we were clouded by British Colonialism. To be fair, it's difficult to ascertain who we really are. We take immense pride in the bygone era called Indian Civilization though we barely know much about it except our patent on zero. The history is too long and life is too short. Understanding anything takes time. We took years to understand our parents despite being close to them. Understanding doesn't come easy. To make matters worse, art has always been complex. Which might explain why given a choice, we'd take the first flight out of the country on a holiday instead of exploring the historical places that might hold clue to our identity as a people. No wonder we are yet to make peace with our past. However, that doesn't stop us from showcasing our ignorance in the form of knowledge. Whenever the topic of Indian culture arises (and the ambiguities attached to it), Indians online are bound to highlight pictures clicked at Hampi or Ajanta & Ellora arguing "Look how open-minded our ancestors were!" or "Look how sexually repressed our society has become!". Intellectual pursuits, philosophical conquests and everything else take a backseat. Only sexual liberation matters. The only problem here is they are missing the chronological as well as the social context. Those explicit paintings and carvings were the creations of accomplished artists of their times. They didn't reflect the society. People weren't banging each other in public or ass-fucking a cow before milking her. Artists, be it of any era, are meant to push artistic boundaries. And our Indian painters and sculptors did exactly that. The plus points to be taken into consideration is the patronage they commanded from the rulers of their era. Which ensured that their work would stand the test of time. But the modern Indian idiot won't understand that because there is a HUGE difference between culture and art. Just because MF Hussain chooses to paint Mother India in nude doesn't mean we all subscribe to his idea. Of course, we are expected to respect artistic integrity. Something people from our good ol' civilization remarkably did. But who's going to explain these subtle nuances to those wanting a random Sanskrit word inked on their body just because Adam Levine has one on his chest?

Mutual understanding

We like to believe that it's impossible for one person to be in love with more than one person at a time. Although it's a noble notion, what if it doesn't apply to all individuals? What if love is much greater than relationship? What if there's a limit on the number of relationships we have but none on the number of people we love? What if some people are capable of loving more than one with justice done to all the parties involved? After all, isn't the very concept of love as an expression and idea unique to each? What if that disgusting word called affair attests to a person's capacity to juggle emotions? Morals hurt, yes, but aren't we expecting everyone to be constrained to our assumption of what and how love should be? Although physical exertion is no match to the celestial nature of love, aren't some men capable of gratifying three women at the same time while most can't please even one? What if we don't understand love as fluently as we understand lust? That would explain the mess we usually find ourselves in.

Not today

Someday, i'm going to let myself free, consume alcohol, light up a cigarette, get into a fight, break bones (both mine and others'), try LSD, get wasted, spend an entire day planting saplings, run a marathon, cook for my family, walk naked on a beach, hug a dolphin/penguin/lion/tiger/whoeverisavailable, save a life, stop a street fight, lecture college students, click selfies inside a coffin, write a poem on my penis, give into temptation, smoke up a joint, swim in the ocean, go on a Himalayan trek, get over my bad health... and much more! Someday.

Man, woman and them

Is man by nature polygamous? If so, then it's unnatural. Because nature doesn't believe in marriages. A penguin's or a flamingo's decision to stick with one mate is entirely exceptional. A man, on the other hand, is a product of society. So the right question should be, is man by society polygamous? Again, the answer is based on exceptions than on rules. In some cultures, it's entirely alright for a man to have more than one wife. Just like some cultures allow polyandry. Depends on the patrilineal or the matrilineal upbringing of the individual in question. After a while, it becomes a matter of convenience. Just like it's convenient for a Kanun-observing Albanian woman to "man up" and look after her family with a gun by her side. It's entirely up to her whether she wants to do that or not. A clear clash of nature versus society. It might be in her nature to be low on courage but the social structures in place might demand her to expose her bravery. The lack of a strong masculine presence in her life compels her to be dutiful. Had the society been in her favour, she would have had more than one husband and thus balanced it out. But that's not happening in her part of the world. 

App kahaan ho?

With every passing decade, we are witnessing the change in fads and trends. Some things are going up while others are scaling down. Apps are going up while CDs/DVDs are scaling down. So much so that we might be needing an app just to help us find the app that we were looking for. No, no, App Store is useless in this particular regard. In the world of apps, there is always space for one more good one. So, here's my idea for an app: 

Since we spend a significant amount of our time online, we often end up promising people (friends?) that we'll visit them if we are in proximity. Whether these promises are made with honest intentions of meeting that person or not is secondary. The primary concern is we may not remember these promises made in the first place. So, an app that would remind you of those you are supposed to meet will come in handy. It'd be very simple. All a user has to do is enter the person's name and location. The app will coordinate with GPS and whenever you are traveling nearby the person you've bookmarked to meet, it will give out a notification with the exact distance you are at from that friend (people?). Of course, it won't force you to meet anyone no matter how close you are!

Inward approach, perhaps?

We live in exciting times, don't we? A world where bananas have more trade regulations than AK-47s. A world where suicide is fast becoming a significant cause of death. A world where ignorance is more than just bliss. A world where kids are fed technology instead of values. For some cute reasons, the logic behind most events nowadays is left behind. We are running like never before, knowing very well that we are only in a hurry to be late. Our system is so integrated that it has become claustrophobic. Where is the space to breathe and be ourselves? We are performing wherever we go. No other creature does that, neither to themselves nor to others. In the meanwhile, we are doing this planet wrong and we all know it. Yet, somehow, we pretend as if it doesn't matter. We litter and spread plastic instead of education, conveniently forgetting that we are going to suffocate our children's grandkids—if at all they happen. The pollution won't let them sprout. Who knows? Going by the rate we are messing up the ecosystem, there is little to no time left to get our act together. There are about 422 trees per person left today. Sounds like a lot, no? Not enough actually. Their figures have dropped more than 50% since human civilization bothered to take place. We've been fighting with forest when we should have taken them into confidence. We've befriended oil fields assuming that's the only way forward. It isn't. The worst part is we don't even know where we look for answers. National Geographic enlightened us for more than a century. We owe a great deal to them but the sad part is they recently got bought by 21st Century Fox. Do you really thing a boardroom of businessmen are going to do a better job than scientists, explorers and dreamers? I don't know for sure. The problem is we never know. There's no past or future. Only present and we are busy screwing it. Our priorities seem misplaced. We are piling up weapons instead of libraries. If something isn't working for us, we need to get out of our comfort zone and discover. But we are too afraid of the consequences. Less than 5% of the ocean world is discovered. We are trying to figure out the universe that doesn't give a fuck about us. Maybe we should look inward and try to understand why we behave the way we do. Didn't we come from the sea? Shouldn't there be depth in our thoughts?

Eight tentacles, no fucks given

I recently learned that after octopuses breed, they develop dementia. Following which, they live the rest of their lives in a confused state of existence where they really don't seem to connect themselves with what happened in the past. It's like they sacrificed the time they spent until that moment for the sake of progeny. Imagine an octopus bumping into a friend after the great grand act of sex and failing to recognize him/her. Wouldn't that be awkward? The only way it won't be awkward is if that friend also managed to get laid. Worse still, the two octopuses who mated refuse to recognize each other as soon as they are done. Who's going to take care of the kids now, honey? All of a sudden, i've developed immense respect for octopus. I've always had a thing for sea horses (even got one tattooed on my arm) for the way they move—so damn slowly, yet so damn gracefully! In conclusion, i wonder what must be going on inside the head of an octopus who's being eaten alive in Korea. I hope s/he tries to distract themselves thinking of the wild times they had before their memory got fucked. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Songs from our past

As a kid, my dad often requested me to sing old Hindi film songs on Mondays. That used to be his weekly off. Still is. Since nobody else had such expectations from me, i felt like a rock star. I belted out sentimental songs from gems like Dosti (1964) and Purab Aur Paschim (1970). There were other movies too but i don't remember them in detail anymore. His favourites used to be Jaane walo zara mudke dekho and Jab zero diya mere Bharat ne—among others. He used to throw his head back on the chair and close his eyes as if relishing my songs. I automatically presumed that i'm a good singer. It was only after i left home to stay in a hostel the reality dawned upon me. One of my hostel mates even threatened to complain to the dean if i continued singing while washing my clothes. Another said, “Sing na, i want to laugh!” No wonder i stopped singing for good! But i did wonder how come my dad enjoyed my singing like nobody else did. Oh wait, there was nobody else! Only him in this category. I haven't sung for him in a long, long time now but i'm sure that he'd still enjoy my voice. Maybe this has something to do with his affection for old films that helped him a lot in learning Hindi when he moved (escaped, actually) to Bombay. Or maybe he took immense pride in my accent-less Hindi. As usual, i don't know for sure nor do i wish to be. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mug life

What makes a coffee mug so special? Is it because of the way your fingers slip into the holder so nicely that you FINALLY feel you're in control? Or is it because the coffee inside makes your day, if not somehow makes you get through the day? Or does it have something to do with the stains it quietly leaves behind? Did we choose the mug life? Or did the mug life choose us?

I really don't know the answer.

My best guess is a coffee mug is somebody who stays with you through your highs and lows.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nonsense of national humour

What purpose does laughing serve? No, not the unfancy LOLs or ROFLs or LMAOs or the imaginary laughters we have inside our heads. No, not even the over-exaggerated emoticons and the ever-multiplying emojis. I'm talking about the real laugh. The one that we exhibit when we are actually amused and know not what else to do. Yes, THOSE kinds of bursts that seldom happen. And the fact that they are rare in nature makes them more so special. We can spend an entire day watching “funny” videos/GIFs/whatever on Internet but still, at the end of it, how much do we really laugh? Do our lungs get their surprise attacks? Does our face turn pink? Does our stomach hurt to the point that we feel that we are die of asphyxiation? Or to put it firmly, can anything make us laugh anymore? Isn't everything a meme of a meme of a meme nowadays? One joke inspires so many mutations that the exercise is very predictable. In such a humbling scenario, wonder what can tickle our funny bones—if at all we are left with any!
Let's digress a bit here.
It's often noted that India as a country doesn't support the idea of satire. We as people are fond of laughing at others but we aren't comfortable with the idea of laughing at ourselves. This cultural vulnerability creates a picture of us that isn't flattering. We are pushing 2015 and yet we don't know what to laugh at. Think about it. There can always be a higher voice telling us that we don't need to be told who to laugh at/with. Agreed. But take a moment to reflect on what we actually laugh at as a nation at the moment. We laugh at Sardars, conveniently forgetting that it's more communal than humorous. North Indians laugh at South Indians and vice versa. We laugh at politicians we ourselves elected. We laugh at our teachers and our education system even though we did little to spread education once we left the classrooms. We laugh at each other's accents despite having one of our own. We laugh at old age and we don't hesitate laughing at our poverty (both intellectual as well as economical) everyday. We basically turn into an insulated entity when it comes to matters of hilarity. I put the blame partially on those who were supposed to make us laugh. Their sense of humour, if any, barely touched the skin of enlightenment. Their jokes have usually been a folly of lameness fueled by more lameness. All one has to do to check the depravity is turn on the TV. Our news channels hinge on the most regressive of stories—with as minimum empathy as possible—thinking they are being funny. The only ones doing worse are the so-called comedy shows. If only we had someone with the calibre of Jon Stewart or Bill Maher or Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel to tell us better! After all, a nation that knows what to laugh at knows when not to laugh at. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A reason to prosper

Whenever i talk to my dear friend Rudra, i realize that the answers we are looking for are usually hidden in the question itself. We met after three years and we were conversing randomly. We've known each other for more than half a decade and yet the manner of our conversation hasn't changed. We ask questions and delve into various answers without any intention of arriving at a conclusion. As per our ritual, seated on the balcony, we were shuttling back and forth queries and possible replies. One such query caught me off guard. He asked me the reason why poor people remain so. I countered pointing out that there are 7.3 billion people on this planet and less than half of that figure is ACTUALLY poor. In fact, the number of people who pulled themselves out of poverty during this century is astonishing, not just in China and India but across the globe. So, my digression was that poor people don't ALWAYS remain so. In my mind, i was thinking that he'll counter by saying that poor people don't give birth to rich people so that the equation doesn't fall in the underprivileged's corner. 
Turns out he had something better to say. 
His theory is that the reason why poor people remain so is they are unreasonable. And this aspect is evident not just in their general characteristics but also in their very essence of being. For instance, according to him, isn't it unreasonable to have x number of babies when you know you don't have the capacity to nourish even one of them? Similarly, isn't it unreasonable to believe in certain things that have not yielded you anything except despair? Of course, he was referring to the extreme mode of religious inclination that poor tend to exhibit no matter which faith they affiliate themselves to. He also referred to the risks poor people take with respect to their health by visiting/committing stuff that is supremely unnecessary. The best part about this argument is he extrapolated by adding that we don't have to emphasize on poor people as individuals. We can push a step further by replacing poor people with poor countries and still his theory maintains relevance. Poor countries, more often than not, compromise on reason and history is ripe with instances when (and how) this attitude backfired. Rich countries, on the contrary, have always made sure they find a good enough reason to get richer. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Same old new silence

Not a day goes by i don't get the annoyingly amusing “Why don't you reply?”—mainly through online comments. The irony in replying to someone explaining why i don't reply beats me. Besides, i'm feeling too old for this shit now where i'm expected to explain my actions/inactions. Especially when the whole idea was to be online without giving a crap about who thought how about what. Thankfully, i've continued to post whatever i felt like sharing be it on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp. I'm not answerable to anyone and vice versa. At least that's what i maintain from my end. Some days ago, somebody messaged me saying that i could have gained a lot more followers had i bothered to converse on timeline. Apparently, it's good for one's image! I thought about that for a bit and it actually made sense. People who got addicted to Social Media years after i did are far more influential than i'll ever be. Apparently, i've created a snobbish image for myself. And that's something i fail to understand. How is a person who is not bothering you AT ALL a snob? Shouldn't it be the other way around? People expecting complete strangers to interact with them as if it's a birthright should be considered snobbish, shouldn't they? Anyway, i don't really care who calls whom what. I must admit though that my style of expression has changed a bit. I don't try to be funny. I'm so much more comfortable in being random nowadays. In fact, i'm convinced that humour is the curse of our generation. Everybody is expected to be hilarious all the time that it's not funny anymore! I'd rather prefer to be morose and stark. Life is like that. A few gobs of alcohol or a gust of smoke can't change that. Sorry. I understand humans better than most of those breathing around me. Just that i'm not manipulative enough. About three years ago, i wrote a blog post on similar lines and I can tell you that the change in tone has nothing to do with the fact that my hair is greying at a phenomenal rate but because after a point, you really don't give a fuck. After a point, you don't check your mentions or google your name or check the stats on which lame tweet performed well. You do so despite fully understanding that you're just fading away leaving behind a digital footprint with the potential to embarrass. Coming back to the original question, it's not true that i don't reply. I do. The only difference i don't create an unnecessary scene out of it. People have conversations on the timeline with the sole intention of upping each other in terms of wit, if not insults. It's a show business with no money rolling. The timeline is a stage and everybody's performing. I used to do that back in 2010. That was then. As of now, i do have an open DM. So anybody who's desperately dying to talk to me can message me so that we can converse like civilized people usually do—privately. But seldom does anybody do that. Everybody wants to have a freak show on the timeline, not a decent conversation where thoughts are exchanged. Maybe that's why i never receive DMs asking me “Why don't you reply?” ending with an emoji. 

Zomato Order

Day 1.
He is occupied by his phone as Hannibal Lecter enters the room. As is the bane of this generation, the man on the couch doesn't even realize that his privacy has been violated. On top of that, both are hungry. But only one has a phone in his hand. His fingers are dancing on the touchscreen scrolling through options exhibited by his preferred app. Little does he know that he's going to need help more than Yelp within the next few minutes. He is planning to go out for dinner but like all law-abiding, tax-paying, time-saving, resource-wasting citizens do, he decides beforehand where he'll land up for grub. Hence the preoccupation by phone. Regardless of where he decided to go for the night, let's just say that he didn't make it. In fact, he didn't even make it past the door.

Day 2.
Being an exquisite foodie and an excellent cook, Hannibal spends the morning harvesting his spoils in the kitchen, designing the art out of his culinary prowess. If only his guests at the lunch knew what they were really consuming. Going by their appreciation for his skills, they will never know. They assume that he believes in sharing food when the truth is he only believes in himself. Nothing else. Perhaps a reason why he isn't on Instagram sharing food pictures.

Day 3.
Day 2 repeated with a dinner party thrown in instead of lunch. Invites guests are again going gaga about his cooking tricks. In his mind, however, he's wondering whether a man weighing 96kg could have been more productive on a dining table!

Day 4.
Hannibal is out of food. And he's feeling too lazy to hunt. He can do with a non-humanitarian diet for a day or two but he just doesn't feel like cooking, let alone butcher a random stranger. He takes out his phone and orders food in. No prize for guessing the app because a serial killer of his order doesn't repeat the mistake of his victims.

Day 5. 
At breakfast, somebody is overheard saying "The delivery guy is delicious!" to himself. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A (more) suitable toy

Where do all the ideas come from? Good or bad or worse, what is that place where they germinate? The easy answer to this question is mind. But wouldn't that be too simplistic for a complicated situation? Sometimes, we get an awesome idea in the middle of the night but we don't get up, assuming that the idea will remain in the recess of our brains when we wake up in the morning. However, when the cock crows, that idea has already divorced you, leaving you sad and empty. What really happened was that idea and your memory had a battle which the latter obviously lost. It's like deleting a file through utter negligence without your permission. The greater justice would be expecting the mind to come up with a similar epic idea, right? Wrong. A mind, no matter how streamlined it is due to a person's behaviour, doesn't really turn into a production line. It acts randomly. If not, you wouldn't really be worried sitting on the edge of the bed at dawn because you'd be assured that another great idea would come your way the following midnight. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Every single idea that strikes you or could have struck you happened for a reason. It's like a wave that keeps moving on from one person to another over a period of time. An idea that strikes you in the middle of the night (and you felt great about it but you were too lazy to do anything about it other than pulling the quilt over your face) moved on to another suitor who would take notice and pull himself up from his bed. But the story doesn't end there. The idea keeps moving looking for a better toy to play with. So, it's quite alright.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The lost moomentum

For a nation that takes immense pride in cattle-worship, shouldn't we be worried more about what's happening with the ones that are alive than about the ones that are already dead? Shouldn't we prioritize the way these four-legged patient creatures should be treated? I clicked the above picture in Gurgaon early morning before she could complete her breakfast. In a rural setup, she wouldn't have to dwell on garbage to fill her stomach but in a city, it's no surprise that she'd consume plastic (of all things) to fill her gastronomical chambers. If you are from north, you must be aware of the manner these beings halt our traffic by standing in the middle of the road for no reason. My best guess is they do that to get some answers to the questions posed at the very start of this piece. 

Goodness gracious grandma

My ajji was a wise soul and a kind one too. She faced hardship—being pushed into situations an ordinary being in her 30s would have easily trembled under—only to emerge out stronger. And the defining feature about her was she could forgive. Holding grudge wasn't her thing. For some weird reasons, she found gossiping a wastage of time as well as energy. And we are talking about an era devoid of entertainment. There was no TV or radio. People gossiped. People still gossip. Some things don't change. She had better things to do with her time, like raising five kids on her own. She just didn't find talking about people behind their back amusing. She'd politely excuse herself from conversations that parasited on pulling others down without giving them a chance to explain themselves. Maybe she could be the bigger person because she didn't feel the need to be part of the club. Many a times, we find ourselves doing stuff just because of peer pressure. She was happy being this person who understood what we really do when we backbite. Despite having little formal education against her name, she fully gauged the weakness people exhibit when they feel strong about an opinion. That was my grandma there! I don't think i can ever be proud of anybody else like the way i am about her. Not even my adorable dad or inspiration ma. In my lifetime, i haven't met a person who'd say a word against my ajji. Not because she is dead and gone but because it's difficult to badmouth breeze that brought you nothing but joy. She used to tell my ma when she was young that the most important thing in this world is to become a good person. And the second most important thing is to remind oneself that becoming a good person is not enough. To believe that you can be a better person is. 

Weak in, weak out

I've been in a lot of pain of late. My back hurts a lot and my head aches too. Much against my self-serving principles, i took four painkillers this week. I don't think i've done that before. On my own, i mean. Must have taken loads of tablets under medical supervision fosho. Going by conditions, i pretty much need to visit a doc soon. But then, i don't trust them. Most of them are terrible listeners. I try to tell them how things are with my constitution while they are too busy checking out my tattoos. Doesn't work when a listener is judging you when s/he should be empathising with your fragility. Anyway, i need to get back in shape. I miss my stamina. Oh, i miss my six-pack abs which i took for granted. I hope they miss me as much as i miss them. I need to eat well and on time. I ought to run, swim, play football regularly. Waise, i played football today after ages. I must admit i never felt THIS old ever before. People my age were running like they've trained when they haven't made me diffident about my lifestyle choices. The only plus point being i got a wakeup call. I must make my muscles count for what they were meant for instead of withering away assuming i'm getting older and weaker. I should do something about it. I don't really know what went wrong with me. I stayed away from bad habits and never indulged in anything that would make me regret later. I don't know how i ended up so fucking weak! Even the excuse that when you're approaching 30, you feel like you're ageing faster than ever before (although nobody else believes you) isn't working either!

Bubbles that are afraid to burst

What genre does Fight Club (1999) belong to? If you thought it was action, you're sorely mistaken. It's a comedy. Don't laugh. It is a comedy. The whole idea was to make us blush while blood spilled. The deeply philosophical narrative was full of humorous punches that left us gasping for more. That's what made the movie different from what we usually feed our eyes with. There is an unexplained angst in the storyline which remains so despite the buildings crashing down in the finale. The emptiness that the narrator feels from the very onset of the story could be best metamorphosed by the soap that becomes an integral part of the cinematic journey! So much so it appears on the film's poster. If you remember the conversations between Jack and Tyler Durden, you'll notice that a soap is more just than a domestic utility. It can be a weapon of mass destruction. And this was way before 9/11 happened! However, that's not all. Can you think of any other man-made product that best defines the distinction between the rich and the poor than a piece of soap?