Wednesday, August 31, 2016

G-spotted

Eavesdropping is a natural order of gossip. You listen something. You construe something. You spread something. Seldom do all these three activities remain congruent to the truth in place. Many a times, you listen something, you construe something else, you spread something completely different. That's how gossip functions and thrives in our soceity. It's an infection and quite a tricky trap. Once your word is out, you can't change it. Doesn't matter what is true or false; extra care is required when it comes to judgments on others. Which is why the greatest of minds urged us to trust silence more than words. Once you learn to obey silence, words will eventually obey you. But then, stuck in the rigmarole of 2016, isn't that too much to ask for? Perhaps. This morning, i overheard something interesting in office pantry. A female techie was talking to her male counterpart about something (presumably) related to work. "Tu samajh raha hai na main kya bol rahi hoon?" From his confused expression, i could tell there was no scope for gossip here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Jungle law and disorder

There are unwritten laws in jungle; laws that are older than time. All the inhabitants there understand and follow them without fail. Only one creature refuses to abide. And we know who that idiot is. For reference, let’s go back to that glorious scene in The Jungle Book (2016) when all the junglevasis, big and small, gather at the river bank to have their fill. Nobody’s attacking nobody there. Not even Sher Khan. On the contrary, he’s wary of having a human cub (read: Mowgli) at the venue. Which is ironic given the feline's violent record. It’s been a long thirsty summer and nobody could care less—other than Khan, of course—about a human presence. The reason why they could do so is there is a law in place. The reason Khan couldn’t do so is he shares a history with our species. He knows what we are capable of. In fact, he knows what Mowgli is capable of even though Baloo and Bagheera pretend to overlook the endless possibilities. Wonder how the world would have been today if the two-legged beings could stick to the laws instead of fire.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

(Re)mind games

The first movie i ever watched in a cinema hall was Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991). My cousin tagged me along and there's not much i remember about it except a scene where both Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt ate watermelon. Even today, whenever i come across that fruit, i think of that film. Just like pomegranates remind me of Biswa. The first Hollywood film i watched in a hall was Daredevil (2003). To my naivety, i found the whole blind superhero thing too cool back then. I watched it again seven years later and found the film short on so many scales. A film, unlike memories, doesn't change, right? Wrong. It changes with time just like we do. The way i felt about Amadeus (1984) the first time i watched at a film festival wasn't what happened when i watched it again three years later on a laptop. The same goes for Magnolia (1999). I think cinema has this spell on you for a time being. I firmly believe there aren't a lot of movies out there that remain constant in your mind. On the other hand, plays behave quite differently with your psyche. You watch one and then you watch another performance some months later and both of them are poles apart despite essentially being the same. The spontaneous nature of a play does this to you without your permission. My earliest memory of theatre is a Tulu play my amma took us (my brother and i) to when i was eight and i remember both our jaws dropped after watching a scene where one character stuck knife into another on stage. There was blood all over the victim's shirt. We two carried expressions that dangled between "THIS SEEMS SO WRONG" and "MURDER! MURDER! MURDER!" but kept quiet. The victim remained on the stage till the end. We were both looking for signs of life in him. None found. Inside our stupid heads, we thought he was dead for real. When the curtain dropped only to roll up again, all the actors walked towards the proscenium, folded hands to appreciate the crowd. The victim in his blood-soaked shirt bowed too, to add twist to our already confused minds. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Leave no reportage behind

If a reporter reports that a riot is taking place somewhere, should there be an added responsibility on the reporter to stop the riot from happening? Going by the logic of some self-proclaimed humanists, it is the reporter's job to get personally involved. Instead of reporting an incident, s/he is supposed to avert a wrongdoing; journalism be damned! Well, that's what the tone of debate is nowadays. According to the aforementioned humanists, it's morally incorrect of a reporter to take pictures of a man walking, carrying his wife's corpse on his shoulder, because the ambulance apparently refused to help. The point of contention here is the reporter could have done much more to help than take pictures of a desolate man.
This discontent is misplaced on two accounts: 
  • You may say that the reporter is only focused on TRPs but doesn't that apply to you when you're on your way to office and overlook so many wrongdoings because you don't wish to get late at work? The nature of a reporter's job is to highlight the rights and the wrongs in a society; which in this case, the reporter has done admirably well. With his report, chances are that the health authorities will notice and might expedite their otherwise laggard services. In an ideal scenario, there would be nothing to report at all but we don't have the privilege of an ideal scenario. So, let's deal with our dystopian reality with a bit more maturity, shall we? 
  • You don't know for sure whether the reporter helped the man by giving him a lift in his vehicle (if at all he owns one). Who knows, he might have done that? We don't know that, now, do we? Either way, it doesn't matter. Who are we to judge a reporter for not stepping up when he's the one who is at least letting us know that something is wrong somewhere. Without his reportage, we won't even know what's going on in a remote area. Like in countries like China, North Korea and Turkey, where freedom of press is a dream for the dreamers and a nightmare for the reporters. 
There's no denying that the standards of journalism are nosediving in our country. Thanks partly to influential journos who believe holding a narrative is more important than seeking the truth. We get narratives nowadays, not breaking news. By the time the so-called news reach us, it's already broken beyond repair. Amid such circumstances, i wonder what more should a reporter do; the ones who are away from the luxury of metropolitan cities? It's very easy to smear someone by taking a higher ground—especially when you're basically being a keyboard warrior in an air-conditioned room—but it's only when you in the field that you understand what reportage is all about. I was a journalist for close to 3.5 years and i did my fair share of running under the sun. You get sunburned sometimes. Going by these pseudo-humanists' yardstick, a film reviewer should walk out of every bad film. Well, s/he can't do that. That's the job. You've got to sit through the lamest of films and then if that wasn't tortuous enough, you are expected to write reviews too. Of course, in film journalism, you neither face the dilemma of clicking a grim picture of a vulture waiting for a starving child to die nor do you commit suicide after that picture goes viral in a pre-Internet era. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A worldly burden

The world is beautiful. However it is, with all its flaws and disappointments. It's chaotic and unique. There's no other like it. My wife asked me yesterday, if i had all the money i needed to sustain, what would i be doing with my time? I didn't have an answer to that. I could have said i'd settle somewhere in the hills and write that book i always wanted to. But i didn't. It'd have been a lie because i lack the discipline to write coherently (which might explain the hasty paragraphs i leave on this blog). Which brought me to the world we exist in and the world we can't wait to exit. We often dream of a place where everything is fair without doing much about it. There are gaping holes, yes, but the only way to overcome them is to embrace them. Hug them so tightly that the flaws and the disappointments in you merge with the world's, leaving you with no choice but to be at peace. You hate the world because somewhere, deep inside, you hate yourself for not becoming the person you knew you were fully capable of. It's only when you accept this barren truth that you'd be able to smile at the world without holding anything back. That's also when your eyes shall well up admiring the beauty in front of you (for reference: check out the Into The Wild (2007) gif below) and you'll be relieved of that burden called tomorrow. Once you're able to accomplish that, kindly make sure you don't die anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

LOLJK

  • Seize the day. LOLJK. 
  • These Olympic gymnasts inspire me to lead a more disciplined lifestyle. LOLJK. 
  • Have impossible dreams so that even if you fail, it's totally fine. LOLJK. 
  • I'd change my DP if somebody sketched me too. LOLJK. 
  • There's nothing wrong with being yourself. LOLJK. 
  • Sweetheart, you'll make a great painting. LOLJK. 
  • I'm not scared of Mondays anymore. LOLJK. 
  • Be practical. Be yourself. LOLJK. 
  • Standards are falling but it's alright as long as there's love. LOLJK. 
  • If i die today, i'll be remembered for my chai and biskoot. LOLJK. 
  • Mahabharata is much more than a property dispute. LOLJK. 
  • I get what you're trying to say. LOLJK. 
  • Akshar Pathak's puns are what is wrong with Twitter. LOLJK. 
  • I finally woke up as the person i always wanted to. LOLJK. 
  • I'll kiss you even if my lips hurt. LOLJK. 
  • Don't judge a handle by its DP. LOLJK. 
  • Forgive me, Lord, for i've sinned. LOLJK. 
  • Anything is possible, including world peace. LOLJK.
  • Article 370 sucks. LOLJK. 

That sign from above

Once upon a time, there was a monk who didn't know what Ferrari was. He lived in the wildness, away from everything that once bothered him. He kept lowering his wants every passing day. Make no mistake, he had a proper inkling of what was going on in the world outside; a world driven by countless ambitions and faceless cruelties. Regardless, he was keen on attaining enlightenment his own way. For that, he believed he needed to lead an austere life; a life devoid of greed or transgressions. He ate frugal and meditated most of his hours. He built a small hut for himself just to avoid rain. There was absolute peace in his existence. There were no wild animals to bother him. Every once in a while, a gecko sneaked in but his days of equating it with Komodo dragons were gone. He wasn't scared to die anyway. The only noise he heard were the chirping and the swirls of the river that flowed by, not very far away from his settlement. He loved walking to the river bank, to gaze as far as possible, absorbing all the beauty that nature has to offer in the form of tiny dandelions and mighty mountains. It'd be fair to state that he was closer to nirvana than the river was to his hut. Nothing troubled him, not even the vilest episodes of his past. There were no nightmares to escape. He slept blissfully and didn't have ulcers or gout or piles. He was in his early 40s but his skin radiated while his thoughts were clearer than the water in that goddamned river mentioned earlier. One afternoon, after having two pears for lunch, he was sitting outside his hut looking up at the sky. On cue, the clouds formed a middle finger salute. He couldn't resist a smile. Even the gods were envious of him. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ranga


That's Ranga and he adopted us last month. He just showed up at our door with twinkling eyes that said "You are mine!" No questions asked. It was raining and he chose us. He could have chosen the tenants on first floor. But no, he raised his expectations and called dibs on the ones on the second floor. No complaints so far. He's adorable and is far from a nuisance. He's not an exceptionally healthy dog and seems to be an odd man out thanks to his awkward body language. There's barely any strain of confidence in him. He is the only dog i've known who doesn't bark—at all—and ain't fond of bones. His favourite food item is—believe it or not—milk. Bread soaked in milk is relished and finished within minutes. In case if you're wondering why Ranga and not any other popular moniker like Tommy or Tiger? Well, he has wholeheartedly accepted the name and you should stop wondering. The other dogs in the neighbourhood don't like him and chase him whenever he ventures out for a stroll. As a result, he has become a fugitive of sorts who seems to be guarding our door (when he actually isn't). People who visit us, from the laundry guy to delivery boys, ask "Does your dog bite?" and we are like "Forget biting, he doesn't even bark." Ranga basically divides his time between our terrace and second floor with little to no interest for the outside world. Sometimes, i wonder what must have happened to him before he met us; who broke his heart and other poetic stuff. In conclusion, i believe he is better off now. He neither has 99 problems nor a bitch. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Words and inaction

It's all in the words. The way we use it. And the way we choose not to. For instance, some newspapers today consciously made an effort to lionize PV Sindhu's inspirational final last night while others didn't. The latter used effete words like "settles for a silver", not necessarily to demean her efforts but because they didn't put in too much thought into the headline. However, we are fast moving into an era where the intentions don't matter anymore. The vocabulary does. If you call a Balochi freedom fighter a rebel but an Azadi seeker from Kashmir a hero, you are in trouble. If you mention "the men behind PV Sindhu's success" in your tweet, you'll be called a sexist although you were anything but that. This verbal microscopism has reached a point that it's high time we abolished men and women, male and female, from our dictionaries. Apparently, we are all single entity irrespective of our biological diversity. In a similar vein, the word 'justice' gets thrown around by the ones who can't help but brandish their flag of self-righteousness. Again, the intentions are not bad but the moment you get into the corridor of legalities, you've got to accept the overbearing fact that humans aren't capable of justice. It's also when we realize that we are just a few breaths short of using another circumstantial word called 'revenge'. Fast-backward to Hammurabi code before we know it? Yes, people are evil and wrongs are committed every single day without fail. But what's the solution? Will vindication of your own morality restore the faith in anything else except you? I highly doubt it. Whatever you do in the name of justice is mostly for yourself; to feel better about yourself; to be able to sleep at night hoping strongly that the perpetrator doesn't. The battle for justice turns into a circus of sorts, mainly because we are supposed to refer the law. Laws written by mortals like you and me. Laws that change every year. What was deemed lawful 30 years ago is a criminal offence today. What's unpardonable today might be granted a medical twist two decades hence. In such a miserable scenario, one can only hope for answers. Putting someone behind bars because you want to make sure they don't repeat the crime has less to do with that and more to do with your vengeance. For some reason, you're not willing to give somebody the benefit of doubt you'd happily present yourself. The benefit that he might not repeat his crime just like you firmly believe that you won't open your criminal account by committing that same crime someday in the future. I'm not saying we should ignore our great books of wisdom but i can't help but notice the helpless state we are in. Just like i am in when i wrote "repeat his crime" knowing clearly that i'm being sexist there. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

The rising feeling called sunset

What is the first word that jumps to your mind when you imagine sunset? Gorgeous? Gloomy? Dark? What is it? Think for a bit. Whatever it is, be assured that that word says a lot about the kind of life you are leading today. A sunset, by its sheer narcissism, tends to be more attractive than a sunrise. And there's a reason behind it. What it lacks in sound—there are no birds chirping around—a sunset makes it up with astonishing visuals. Almost like a canvas that paints itself. There's no escape from its allure. On the other hand, dawn might signify an endless list of hopeful things. A new beginning perhaps. A gush of life that was cruelly tucked away under the snore in the air. A second chance, please? A sunrise has its own charm but it doesn't say anything about you; what you are as a person or the existence that envelopes you. The rheum waiting to escape your eyes or the mouth high with sulphur seldom care about sunrise. When the sun is up, you may not even show up. You may be skull deep in your pillow playing puppet to your dreams. You may miss the action. You may miss the sound. You may miss the light. A sunset is unmissable because it reflects on you while getting manifested by your presence. When you're bidding goodbye to the slow receding yellow star, the horizon acknowledges your presence. You don't even have to stand facing the sky. You can be in your office with the receding brightness on your table. You peek outside and you feel that oneness. The changing shades of sky and what you feel inside are bound to match. A sign of a day well spent or a sign of day not coming to an end. The evening guides you to your true self. It's like Tinder on a cosmical scale where nobody has to swipe nothing. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

SURPRISE!

In an ideal world, nothing should surprise us. Absolutely nothing. Every little thing that happens or happened or shall happen would have a precedent. Be it India faring poorly at Olympics or ministers shamelessly partying in Rio or corrupt babus getting caught (to be bailed out soon) or the irrevocable mix of politics and violence in sensitive zones or the falling standards of journalism...and so on. Our imagination, fueled by excessive information in this digital era, can't outreach itself anymore. It has peaked like never before. We are finally at a stage where the word surprise is as redundant as the term breaking news. By the time, it reaches its audience, the news is already broke. And tired. Every generation likes to believe that it's the coolest, the most intelligent, the most self-assured of all. Alas, that ain't the truth. We cringe at David Bowie's clothes as much as Prince's hairdos or Cher's bellybutton; although they were the dominant forces of change in pop culture. Times change. People come and go. Events rise and subside. The course of history is edited by the key figures. However, the world we live in today owes a lot more to technology than the world that existed before the World War 1. 100 years ago, our species was fully capable of getting surprised. We awed as well as aww-ed at the silliest things. We don't have that luxury anymore. Even humour is not safe from the avalanche of memes. That's what technology has achieved with its overwhelming advents. There's no going back on the data we've harnessed so far. From the minutest of scientific details to the widespread of philosophical speculations, is there anything that has the potential to truly surprise us? If you ask me—which you won't lest i reply—the answer is no. Unless we see Loch Ness emerging from the water or alien spacecrafts dropping from the sky or Yeti sliding down the snow right into the camera. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Down-to-arth

Something
great
will
happen
if
you
are
the
type
of
idiot
who
believes
in
something
much
bigger
than
you
can
possibly
imagine
but
the
problem
is
our
ego
doesn't
let
us
think
straight
and
that
is
also
the
reason
why
we
are
having
here
this
mystical
exercise
of
reading
straight.

You are welcome.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Discontent by your reach?

You create something. It could be anything from a poem to a video to a recipe to a tweet and you release it online, hoping strangers will appreciate your work. In all probability, it's an innocent expectation. You put in time and effort to do something and you hope to get some feedback, if not validation, for the same. Not too much to ask for. However, here's the catch when it comes to the Internet. The content doesn't matter as much as the manner in which the content is sailed (not shipped, mind you, because that'd be too corporate-ish). A lot of elements go into play, mostly technical and data driven, and they decide the reach of your work. Algorithms, not emotions, have an upper hand. Which makes sense when you think analogically certain patterns on social media. For instance, on Twitter, if a tweet crossed 100 RTs, it's a big deal whereas on Facebook, stolen tweets passed off as personal property make lacs in likes. What does this tell you? One, plagiarism prospers when your audience is idiotic enough to not care about authenticity. But that's beside the point of this blog post. Let's not get into morals. What is more essential is to understand that there is ALWAYS an audience for ANY given content. The fight is to find a channel and reach them and on time. 

Dance like you're watching Nate Ruess

I've written about Nate Ruess' Nothing Without Love before but back then, i was specific to the lyrics with little emphasis on the another aspect of the song. It's been over a year since i got in touch with this masterpiece and i'm still a fan. You usually get bored of a song after a while. You listen to it repeatedly, on loop, only to stop at a point to avoid hating it. THAT didn't happen with Ruess. And coming back to the dancing bit, i'm yet to come across a music video where the crooner grooves as recklessly as the tiny man does in this one here. Truth be plugged, he dances with a rhythm that indicates his oneness with the lyrics of the song. There are no beats to be missed as his limbs move perfectly in tune with the set meter. Of course, there is editing at play here. But still, his act makes you want to dance crazily under the sky and in the water—alone or with your sweetheart. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A modern fixation with carelessness?

They'll tell you you've got OCD if you do any/all of the following:
  • You keep your desk clean and table, cleaner.
  • You arrange things properly, be it in a fridge or a cabinet.
  • You don't litter around and help the environ stay tidy.
  • You even pick up stuff others dropped carelessly. 
  • You switch off the buttons in your room before leaving. 
  • You switch off the buttons in your flat-mates' rooms too. 
  • You have an organized desktop with everything in their place.
  • You HAVE to stop others from wasting resources like power, water, etc. 
  • You just won't allow wastage of food—no matter what. 
  • You close the door of the cabinet after use. 
  • You close the door of the cabinet after your flat-mates use. 
  • You run water over your plate before placing them in the sink. 
  • You NEVER forget to shut the kitchen window and balcony slider at sunset.
  • You need to have the doormats and the rugs at exact locations.
  • You remember all the bills to pay and the calculations. 
  • You got to have every single transaction on record. 
  • You don't fool around with civil responsibilities. 
What they don't tell you while claiming you've got OCD: 
  • Keeping the desk or a table clean helps in concentrating better. A messy desk/table only adds to the troubles we already face in abundance. 
  • Placing stuff properly in a fridge/cabinet goes a long way in avoiding time wastage. You know where the milk is and you know where the rice is.
  • When exactly did littering become cool and that too when Indians are supposed to be more literate (oh fuck, there's a difference between literacy and education!) than ever before?
  • It's better to pick up that wrapper dropped carelessly on the street than cry that our country is filthy. 
  • Wasting electricity in a time when we're fully aware of the consequences our kids and grandkids are going to experience is plain cruel, if not stupid. 
  • Flat-mates often leave their fans and lights on without realizing the impact it has on the villages that are yet to receive electricity. Thinking of power as a well with limited amount of water is needed. 
  • It's called desktop for a reason. Otherwise, they'd have used 'bottom' somewhere. 
  • Nowadays, common sense is derided off as gyan and that's a dangerous trend. 
  • Food is one of those things kids on the outskirts dream of (quite literally) while we waste it thanks to our entitled attitude. If participating in selfless campaigns is too much to ask for, how about taking only as much food as required?
  • Lizards, amongst other undesirable beings, get in when you leave the cabinet open. 
  • Lizards have an OCD of staying in your house without your permission. Not cool.
  • When your plate dries up by morning, the maid hates you a bit more than required. 
  • Squirrels get in if you leave the window/slider open. Which is cute but sometimes they get stuck behind the fridge. Not so cute. (Mosquitoes and monkeys slip in as well.)
  • Doormats lose their purpose in life if they are placed three feet away from the door. The same goes for a rug that is nowhere close to providing warmth when required.
  • Bills play a significant role in maintaining healthy relationship. The closer attention they are paid to, the better. 
  • Money can ruin relationships in a second. Better to be a step ahead than behind. Flat-mates change. Relationships shouldn't. 
  • Being responsible ought to be given a chance. Peace might return on its own. 

Talent can move faith out of the picture

AR Rahman converted to Islam in 1989 at the age of 23. He gave up his Hindu name (Dileep) and assumed his now world-famous moniker. Rarely do you hear someone say Allah Rakha Rahman, now do you? It's always AR. Besides, how many times do you find people discussing his religion (ex or current)? This is interesting if you follow his career (chronologically) and see how he managed to stay clear of the smear that often follows someone who proselytes in a religious country like ours. For one, he was remarkably talented and his early work at the onset of 90s only made his transition to Bollywood a natural progress. Secondly, he never shied away from talking about religion; he never hid the fact he converted much later in life for spiritual reasons. Thirdly, the religious temper (if there can be scientific temper, why not religious?) in Tamil Nadu is far more mature than other states. These three reasons are set against an event—the demolition of Babri Masjid (1992)—which is yet to divorce our present. Naysayers will point out that his splendid craft in sensitive films like Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998) highlighted his nationalism whether he intended so or not. Then, there was his unforgettable rendition of Vande Mataram too on India's 50th independence anniversary (1997). But, all things argued and perceived, what's worth wondering is, can we imagine an upcoming talent in India today who recently changed his course of faith, and is public about it, to be as successful and embraced as AR Rahman?

Ctrl+Alt+Beat

Youth can have many distractions. Alcohol is merely one of them. In some societies, the adults are OK with their coming-of-age kids taking to beer. Some societies won't tolerate that nonsense. In the latter part of the world, a young man came home late night all sozzled stinking of the so-called soft liquor. He was barely able to stand straight at the doorstep when his mother opened the door. At first, she couldn't believe what happened. Something must have gone wrong with his upbringing. She was about to blame herself when common sense took control and she did what she had to. She didn't let him get inside the house. Taking hold of her father-in-law's walking stick lying nearby, she beat the nonsense out of her son. Within seconds, the halo of alcohol fled the scene. But the yelling woke up the entire neighbourhood. 
One neighbouring kid asked her mom, "Why is she beating him?
"He showed up home drunk," was the reply. 
Pat came the follow-up, "Why don't you beat up dad?"

The ups and downs of a problem

One of the finest traits of great personalities is they seldom try to impose themselves on others. They end up oozing greatness without even realizing it. Some anecdotes concerning them will remind you about their easy way with an otherwise difficult life. They seek solutions to problems while slyly seeking more problems to solve. Come to think of it, they love problems more than solutions. If all the problems were solved, what's there to look forward to? And this commendable attitude is evident in the manner the greats pass on their legacy. One such incident i came across recently on the Internet is about Steve Jobs and how he had his way with the downsides. The story goes that a guy from Apple's design team walked up to him with a work-related problem. Jobs had a heart-to-heart with him without saying anything on the core topic. Yes, instead of focusing on the design-centric problem at hand, he decided to dig deeper into the problemer. In the process, the guy revealed the personal problems he was facing and Jobs advised him on how to tackle them. By doing so, he helped the young man unshackle himself from all the things that were stopping from finding the solution to a problem on his own. This story has a lot going for it given how a leader can act in any way s/he deems considerate but Jobs (in this particular instance) chooses to solute instead of problemate. I've heard how people started using the elevators in Apple's headquarter only after Jobs passed away. This was so because he was known for confronting random strangers inside the elevator and enquiring them about their vision for his company. Well, nobody wants surprise quizes and that too with someone as formidable as Jobs. So, they started taking the stairs—not to get fitter but to avoid finding the solution to a presented problem. Unlike Steve Jobs.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Caste Away

A unicorn is a title earned by a startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion. That's a big achievement if you consider the disappointing stats the startupverse throws up every and now. All things dreamt and done, only 5% of all the startups in the world stand to see the sunrise in two years' time. Which is precisely why there are only 170 unicorns in the world today. Out of which, nine are Indian. They are as follow:
  • Flipkart (Banias)
  • InMobi (Brahmin)
  • Mu Sigma (Brahmin)
  • Zomato (Bania)
  • Ola (Bania)
  • Paytm (Brahmin)
  • Quikr (Brahmin)
  • Shopclues (Bania)
  • Snapdeal (Banias)
Interestingly, more than half of them are founded by Banias and the rest by Brahmins. Not to suggest anything ulterior here, but the emerging pattern is interesting given how some members of some communities in our country tend to be more driven in some areas (business in this context) than the rest. Startup India is no different in this peculiar regard. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pehle aap, pehle aap

Social media is a strange animal. You can't tame it because you can't be sure how it is. It's quite impossible to be certain what will click or won't. The only thing one can do is try. Punch the keys and post the stuff and hope it works. Sometimes, the best of thoughts and campaigns fade away without a blip while the lamest of memes go viral. It's an unfair circus but incredibly entertaining. There's a perverse form of justice here. Many a times, the success of a tweet or a status message or a Instagram post depends a lot on the initial pickup. The early momentum. Herd mentality has a huge role to play in this phenomenon. You see people liking something and you force yourself to like it too. You basically join the crowd, not out of peer pressure. You can choose to be aloof and not click on that green or blue button. It's totally up to you but something in you persuades you to join the gang. It's like volunteering to join the jury of validation. A cute practice and something i've observed for about a decade now. If a tweet gathers 25 RTs within 10 minutes, chances are it will cross 100 easily (although 100 isn't a big number when you compare it to the number of people who work with you on your office floor) but then, that's the beauty of the game! If you ask me, the way a crowd behaves isn't very different from the way it behaves in a local train. If a beggar enters a compartment and people ignore him for a long while, he's going to go marginally empty handed. But if one person offers him a change immediately, then others will be compelled to do the same out of dear pressure. Bottomline: Begging has never been more sophisticated. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An open letter to Shobhaa De







































Go home. You're drunk.

Without a mask or cape

You remember that scene from Spider-Man movie wherein our hero puts everything in him to stop a train from flying into doom? By the end of the scene, you almost feel his weariness. He could barely stand. But then, superheroes aren't meant to stay tall all the time. They fall again and again and again; the reason they do so is they rise each time. Yes, some clich├ęs are too necessary to be ignored. However, do you remember that scene? You do? Good. That guy was supposed to be me. At least that's what i thought when i was a little kid. Nose deep in comic books, i had a fancy view of the world where everything was in black and white. I was going to be the good guy and i was going to get rid of the bad guys. In other words, i was going to be a poolis and i'll arrest the chor. Of course, this was just another phase (prior to which, i wanted to be Mowgli and following which, i wanted to be a cricketer) and didn't last long enough. A convincing explanation for why i didn't hold on to the fantasy of becoming a superhero might be impossible but i firmly believe that our childhood shapes us in an irreversible fashion. While watching Daredevil (season 1), i couldn't help but keep going back to my fantastical past. I could have been that guy today had i focused harder. You never know. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Survival of the spirit


It's that time of the year when the so-called 'Spirit of Mumbai' gets invoked. It's very similar to the imaginary fourth seat that you demand for in a crowded local train. They don't exist but still do somehow for convenience. This seasonal garment has nothing to do with the fabric of humanity. It's an abstract reality, that's all. A function of necessity more than a root of compassion. You can't sit at home for long no matter how much it rains. Your financial conditions don't permit. So you venture out, keeping the cogs of the city running. And the ones who have a way with words term it spirit, not helplessness. That's how the language of a city unable to rectify the wrongs speak. That's also how an island city keeps itself afloat. It knows no other method. This is it. A poetry abandoned by reality; a lullaby cautioned by nightmare. If only there was a way to figure out why does the city clog after a heavy rainfall EVERY SINGLE YEAR without fail. How is it even possible for a metropolitan to be not prepared—consistently. Two monsoons ago, i was trudging along on the railway track towards Kurla station after our train broke down at LTT. On my way, i stumbled upon two lil' rats soaked and trembling on the rail. The two must have lost their families to flood. Fortunately, none of the people walking by bothered them. Perhaps, both the species, no matter how different they are, are one in the spirit of survival.

L for learning

About a decade ago, we as a nation had no idea what dyslexia was all about. Many of us thought it was something best left to the dictionary. And then they released Taare Zameen Par (2007); a film that dealt with delicate issue of learning disabilities. It was beautiful. The entire film, including the hard-hitting songs (yes, even the one that made dads look bad), was a much-needed homage to serious yet entertaining cinema. Something Bollywood is otherwise not keen on. Moreover, there hasn't been a mainstream Hindi film before or after TZP which brought forward a child's innocent lack of control in such a compelling manner. Speaking of which, my nephew could only compel me to laugh at his learning disabilities. He came home from school one day and told me he failed in two subjects... while flashing three fingers!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lean on yourself

At lunch, they asked me today whether i'm a right-wing or a left-wing. They are confused about my leaning and i don't blame them. To set the record straight, i don't like the idea of having to lean when it comes to politics, especially when we're all fully aware of its filth. One day, i'm expressing sympathy at Rahul Gandhi's helpless state of affair while on another day, i'm spewing bile against the hollow dynasties that has become our country's legacy. One day, i'm requesting people to at least give NaMo a chance because it's quite clear by now you can't see how things really are when you're blindfolded by bias. On other days, i remind the world to not forget what fascism accomplished in Godhra. Some days, i'm all for Kashmir's azadi from totalitarianism while on others, i wonder why kids are bunking schools to throw stones at men with guns. There are days when i fully grasp Europeans' fear of immigrants but then, there are afternoons, when i know for sure there's a weird colonial justice in mixing whites with the brownies. On a normal day, i vouch for the spread of the stronger culture, the greater culture, a culture that gives strength to values like liberty and equality. On a not-so-normal day, i'm reduced to accept that our species is fucked beyond repair. Some afternoons, i watch a Hollywood film and begin to wax eloquence for the progress American civilization made in a relatively short(er) period of time. Some evenings, i can trace all the root causes of the problems in the world back to the USA. Some nights, i accept Karma indeed worked overtime to get someone like Donald Trump as a presidential nominee. There are mornings when i wake up and i feel blessed to have been born a Hindu. After all, what's there not to like about a philosophy that just...well..lets you be? And then there are mornings i wake up only to acknowledge that the crystal clear philosophy has been hijacked by muddled personalities who can't go beyond a shallow word called Hindutva. I don't have the patience to lean on to anything that has a human touch; something that is based itself in hypocrisy and convenience. It's not going to last forever. One should lean on something that will. I wish i could lean on the sky.