As i'm getting older, i'm becoming more and more aware of the futility of youth. The arrogance young people exhibit and the ultimate decay they lead themselves to. I won't call myself old yet just because i've got the world to travel. So far, i've been to few places. I need to see what our planet is made up and how people are similar in their differences. I hope to breathe the freshness of knowledge and i wish to bask in the light of wisdom. I fully understand that these are impossible dreams with the current settings. There are mundane responsibilities to take care of. You can't just leave everything behind and carry on with a life-changing journey, can you? Even Forrest Gump stopped running after a while. But then, he had a good run. The most admirable bit about him was his stubbornness in not letting his youth get affected by the scratches of the world. No scars, please. I guess each one of us have to go through youth just to call ourselves "wise" someday.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Whoever i've spoken to since last night has shown one common trait: a nostalgic form of sadness for Dr APJ Kalam. It's understandable why this is so. We lack worthy leaders and APJ came across as a person who not only preached but also practised his words. An utter rarity in today's times. His austerity, as reflected in his manners and writings, shall always be a guiding light even to those who claim that Indians don't have non-reel idols to follow. After all, for a man of science to achieve a stature like his is no mean feat. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that he decided to run for President knowing very well that it could have backfired as it has happened several times earlier. Regardless, he could only manage to leave behind a lasting impression on the Parliament and more importantly, on young people. For a nation that has the highest concentration of youth on the planet, it speaks a lot about the person that he was. Even the best of personalities got charred by political fire, hadn't they? APJ, on the other hand, continued his journey of inspiring as many young minds as possible. Small gestures like standing in the queue to cast his vote and visiting his old teacher highlighted something we seldom get to see from a towering figure like him. His impact on impressionable minds can obviously make our country a better place. The reason i'm emphasizing on youth is there's little to no point in targeting the not-so-young ones as the mould is already set. The grief we felt yesterday is a testament to the loss that we suffered. Youngsters who confessedly don't-give-a-flying-fuck were seen grieving and sharing his quotes. One of the reasons why this happened was APJ led an exemplary life with no controversies whatsoever. There was not much left to achieve for this Bharat Ratna but he continued traveling far and wide, talking to students as much as possible. In fact, he passed away while delivering a speech in Shillong (which might explain the delay in his news reports given the disconnect we enjoy with Seven Sisters). How many of us would be fortunate enough to see our end while in the middle of something we cherish? Anyway. They celebrate Science Day in Switzerland on May 26 just because APJ gave them a presidential visit on that particular day. His rootedness, reflected in his Tamil-accented English, was admired for a reason. Of course, the peaceniks can cry wild that there's nothing nice about building missiles but if only our subcontinent was THAT straight. Besides, how many missiles have India launched on others so far? All things said and calculated, there's a gaping hole in our country today. And the question remains, who's going to fill it now?
Monday, July 27, 2015
Ask whoever you like (or don't) this question on the very basis that humans are evil by design: "What's the evilest thing you ever did?"
Chances are they'll take some time before coming up with an immediate answer. Besides, you aren't asking somebody their age so it's alright if they take their sweet time to come up with an answer. It doesn't really matter whether they are being candid or making shit up. But it'd be really sad if a person doesn't have an answer. Worse would be the person who'd be audacious enough to claim that s/he doesn't remember anymore. After all, isn't forgetting the evilest thing you ever did simply the evilest thing you ever did?
If you haven't watched Winter Sleep (2014) yet, please do. Running for 3 hours and 15 minutes, this Turkish delight is undoubtedly a cinematic gem. It's filled with beautifully shot scenes and succintly written conversations. In fact, the entire film is a series of dialogues between the pivotal characters. By the end, you realize how there are layers to the people featured in the film and they aren't what they seemed to be during the first hour.
Anyway, i don't really care whether you put yourself through this recco or not but i noticed something. Turkish cinema might be comparatively tinier than ours but it's true to what it is. It doesn't pretend to be something else. In simpler words, Turkish cinema is Turkish cinema. Can we say the same about Hindi cinema? (I deliberately used the word Hindi cinema there since Bollywood can arouse objection.) What's so Hindi about Hindi cinema nowadays? Forget everything else, do Hindi cinema even employ Hindi dialogues anymore? And please don't call it Hindustani just because Bollywood lyrics leech heavily on Urdu. The fact of this matter is we get is a mishmash of so many things that the essence of the language (among other features) is diluted as an end product.
Him: I want to ask you something. Not resisting evil...what does that mean to you?
Her: Well, one day, thieves attack you and you don't resist. I suppose that's it.
Him: I don't want an example. Give me a logical definition.
Her: I wonder if there is any logic in it.
Him: A logical definition of not resisting evil is to remain indifferent to incidents defined as evil within an ethical framework.
Her: How's that?
Him: For instance, if we were to make this idea of not resisting evil the basis of our behaviour, what kind of life would we have? What kind of life? What would it be like? Thieves, murderers, psychos
would prosper. Chaos would reign everywhere.
Imagine the above exchange in Hindi. Imagine how that'd sound like. If you can, you can save Hindi cinema by writing for Bollywood!
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Have you ever wondered what they mean by "growing in a relationship"? I might be mistaken (as i usually am) but here's my 50 cent (filing for bankruptcy in advance) on the said topic: I think growing in a relationship is a paradox. If two people are in an union, they go through phases. Acceptance. Denial. Angst. Power. Calm. Storm... so on and so forth. As they continue moving, they come to a point where they are comfortable with themselves as an individual. This is the point where they've FINALLY found themselves with a lot of help from their partner. If it weren't for their significant others, they wouldn't have reached this stage. Fortunately, they do realize this fact. And what's paradoxical about this whole thing is once you reach that stage where you're one with yourself, you don't really anybody else because you've finally found that inner peace which you were blindly searching for in others for so long. Yet, you want to continue moving with that person. Growing up in relationship for starters.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I knew this day was coming. Just that i pretended otherwise. You don't want a good event to be interrupted because you are SO used to it. Which is also why you never take a break and wonder how things are going to be after the closing of an episode.
As this evening is drawing towards the night, it also marks my last working day with Akshar as a colleague. He's quitting the company on Friday and i'm going on a study leave from tomorrow onwards so this is it. Speaking of which, i should have ideally completed my PhD by the age of 26, especially when Shashi Tharoor earned his at 22! I'm 29 and am about to appear for the fourth (and final) semester of MA. I don't think PhD is ever going to happen.
Coming back to Akshar, it's been a delight working with him. He's a fabulous guy. A rare breed, actually. For the past six months or so, i've spent on an average 10+ hours with him per working day. Although there's hardly anything common between us (other than our love for movies and drum beats in songs), it was more than easy to be with him. Or should i say, it was much easier for him to crack jokes on me which i heartily laughed at? He is a restless soul who finds calm in music. Regardless, the thing about him is he lets you be. He neither forces anything on others nor lets other force anything on him. For a 25-year-old, he's achieved quite a lot in a relatively short period of time but somehow manages to not let popularity get into his system. And i firmly believe that's how a creative person should roll in today's world of overexposure.
I don't know about others but i'm going to miss him a lot. In fact, nobody else in this building shall miss him as much as i will. It'd be odd to turn to my right on Monday, dragging my chair sideways, only to not find him there with his blaring headphones on. But i guess i'll get used to that as well.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Absurd dreams and i go back a long way. The only problem is our point of contact begins and ends with my closed eyes. As usual, i saw a weird dream last night wherein this huge monitor lizard was trying to get inside our room. It was darkish in hue and made a hissing noise as it opened its tiny mouth. It was also screeching against the floor. To its credit, it was raining outside and i won't blame it for rushing in. My immediate reaction was to look for my partner. After all, she is the one who chases lizards from our room. However, out of habit, i vividly remember a shiver i felt both in my dream and as well as in my bed.
I woke up instantly and believe me or not, it began to drizzle outside at that precise moment. Must be around 3-ish in the morning. Thankfully, there were no reptiles to deal with.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
[A vella (obviously) is crying for his girlfriend but he confuses her for his soulmate. Anyway, it doesn't matter because he's not going to get her as he needs to lower his prejudiced standards.]
Chain ek pal nahi... aur koi hal nahi
[There's no content nor remedy to this madness as his obsession with Lord Vella is coming in the way of social sanity. And he can't help it either.]
Kaun modhe mua... koi saahil nahi
[There's no wind to turn the sail nor a sailor to rely on. The ship is bound to sink. Titanic used to be my favourite movie? Sucker!]
Kya bashar ki miza... aaj hai kal nahi
[What do you expect from a mortal? He's here, won't be tomorrow. Deep. Deeper than the sea in which the ship recently sunk.]
Chorr meri khata... tu toh pagal nahi
[Please overlook my mistakes. I'm stupid, unlike you. Besides, this is 90s and people are not addicted to Internet yet.]
N.B. Glad i stopped here itself and didn't proceed to ruin this beautiful song. I translated/fucked these lyrics for dear B who thought i understood Urdu more than i did back in 2013. For the record, Junoon (1997) was the first album (read: cassette) i bought from my pocket-money.
Friday, July 17, 2015
My amma doesn't really understand what i do at Zomato. When i was at mid-day, she could at least look at my bylines. That's not the case here. To give her a picture, i keep telling her that i write shorter stuff nowadays. Besides, i don't really see myself doing anything else other than playing with words. Creative process works differently in a startup-turning-corporate structure. Nobody gets a byline. It's a team harvest. Somebody thinks of one idea which gets modulated over the period of discussion, hopefully reaching a better stage of execution. And the final product may or may not be similar to the 'original' idea you suggested. I was a bit queasy about this process but over the past six months, i've learnt to be comfortable. Now the idea was to repeat the same with my amma. So i sent a picture of a bag badge which we hand out to new joinees. On it is a line written by me as you can note in the above attachment. I was expecting maternal accolades from her before she said, "Doesn't the tree look lovely?"
I'm quite active on five social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Blogger. Although it might not come across, of the five, i feel the deepest connect with my blog. And i'm not just saying it. I've been actively writing on this platform since 2007 and my frequency has only increased so far. Yes, i refuse to promote it on other platform for several reasons. The primal one being, what's the point? I write for myself here. Unlike a tweet which i might have framed keeping the readers in mind, i don't write 140+ character material. So naturally, i don't expect much in terms of followers (which currently stands at 321, an embarrassing figure indeed!) either. But that's how social media works. If you don't exhibit or scream or both, you don't get noticed.
That said, every once in a while, you experience something which makes you feel better about yourself. For instance, a student of my brother's walked up to him after the lecture and asked him a question. "Are you Shakti Shetty's brother?" My brother nodded and asked the young fellow, "Do you follow him on Twitter?" The student replied, "No, i don't like his tweets but i love his blog!"
Socrates, Plato, Vincent van Gogh, Mathew Brady, Franz Schubert, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Sylvia Plath, Oscar Wilde, Sammy Davis, Jr., Johannes Vermeer, Karl Marx, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, Franz Kafka and Stieg Larsson.
The thing common to all the above mentioned names is they were all geniuses. Thinkers and doers of a different kind. They weren't bonded by that limitation called society and hence could break the threshold of human acceptance. But they also had their own insecurities. Some domestic, some existential. Socrates' wife was fed up of him. Gogh went on to chop off his ear. Schubert was deemed mad by his peers. Keats died a virgin and of tuberculosis. Poe's life resembled his writings—macabre. Thoreau failed to break the jinx. Plath ended up with her face inside an oven. Wilde didn't want to end up with a bad sense of humour. Marx couldn't even complete the only book he's known for today: Das Capital. Fitzgerald passed away not giving a damn about The Great Gatsby because nobody else seemed to anyway. Kafka played a huge price for his maverick leaning. Larrson never imagined that David Fincher would be interested in his work someday.
In other words, all these personalities died assuming that they were closer to failure than success. And our curse is we are living assuming that we are closer to success than failure.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
It's the age of overreaction. The worst part is there's no distinction between the online and the offline worlds anymore.
BBC India's Twitter account goofs up on a tweet and takes its own sweet time to rectify the error. In the meanwhile, outrage takes over. Politeness is kicked out of the window as harsh words are employed. Speaking of which, one tweep goes to the extent of demanding the firing of the one responsible the tweet.
There are several questions worth pondering over here:
- Do you apply the same sets of standards at your job too?
- What if somebody takes you more seriously than needed?
- Do you know the track record of the person who posted that tweet?
- When exactly did you become more righteous?
A girl found a bug in the poha served as breakfast in office. She cautioned her colleagues against eating it. To pick up the tempo, the HR decided to annul the vendor's contract solely because of this incident. The track record of the caterer wasn't even considered. There were no explanations demanded nor made.
There are several questions worth pondering over here too:
- How can you be so sure that the bug is from the kitchen, not office?
- Why wasn't the girl's misfortune taken into question?
- Given she's a non-vegetarian, she might want the worm processed through chicken?
- I don't like jeera but have i ever made a fuss about it? I segregate them and move on.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
- When the mummified Ramses II was flown to Paris in 1974, he was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as “King (deceased).”
- If you're born on an international flight, your place of birth is listed as 'born at sea' on your passport.
- You aren't allowed smile in a passport photo because it hinders face recognition software used in airport cameras.
- Jogging is illegal in the city of Bujumbura (capital of Burundi). Twenty-one people have been sentenced for life in prison for doing so.
- Queen Elizabeth doesn't need a passport, as all British passports are issued in her name; she just has to say that she's the queen.
- It is legal to take pictures of people in public places in the US while the same practice is outlawed in Japan. Also, it's illegal to be fat in Japan!
- Back from the Moon, Apollo astronauts had to go through customs and declare moon rock as cargo.
- If you want KFC in Gaza, you can pay a company $30 to smuggle it through tunnels across the Egypt/Gaza border within 3 hours.
- It is illegal for children in Tokyo to make noise when playing — the legal decibel level city-wide is the same as a library's.
- Google maps show country borders differently depending on which country you are in.
- When you walk into a room and you forget why you walked in there in the first place is the phenomenon known as "event boundary."
- Up until 2015, it was illegal to cheat on your spouse in South Korea and the crime was punishable with up to two years in prison.
- Men in India receive a free gun license if they get a vasectomy.
- Before the assassination of President Kennedy, it was not a Federal offense to kill the President or Vice President of the United States!
These are some of the gems i came across over the past year thanks to FactlyIO and this is just a drop in the ocean of ignorance that drives us as a species. We know so little about ourselves that it's no surprise that we'll continue to bask in absurdity. And thank darkness for that!
I have nothing to share. I'm a void right now. There are many things going on. Some very interesting, some not so but the overall effect on my writing is nil. But if you know where i come from, i believe in words. I very much dwell on them and spend an appreciative amount of my time on understanding their flexibilities. It's part of my job too. They are just so many of them and you can never run out of the variations. Be it through lame tweets or (almost) profound FB status updates or wannabe snaps, i try to find new verbal verticals. It's an attempt to see things differently. Most of the times, i fall flat on my nose but every once in a while, i break the code. The holy grail of creativity is kissed. That doesn't last long but it's worth the wait.
Waiting as usual.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Some anecdotes always make you smile, if not chuckle. I remembered one such incident from my brother's past this morning.
Our amma had taken him for his kindergarten interview. Needless to add, she was nervous throughout. Although she had done her level best to teach him the basics, she was worried he'll goof up. By the way, the school we two went to eventually had the Father of the church as the principal. So imagine my ma's horror when she was sitting next to the boy right across the Father's table. My bro wasn't dumb. Just that he was one of those bright kids with learning disabilities. He would keep forgetting stuff but was good with numbers. Anyway, the interview began and the principal started asking him “What's your name?” and “How old are you?” and similar My Self question. I don't know how he fared with them but my ma loved regaling us what he did when the superior took the ABC book out. He was pointing out random pictures in it, asking my brother what they were. “Cat”, “Dog” and stuff like that. It went well until he pointed out to the Q letter. There was a picture of a queen against it. Q for Queen. Befuddled, my cute lil' pie looked at the Father once and then pointed his finger at my ma.
Father couldn't help chuckle.
Sunday, July 5, 2015
- At least coffee doesn't pretend to be something it ain't.
- At least my sorrows are above average.
- At least nobody is vying to have the perfect soul.
- At least our lame one-liners shall outlive us.
- At least the trees stand up for what they believe in.
- At least mosquitoes don't talk behind your back.
- At least pretend to pay attention while i'm talking to you.
- At least your demons are madly in love with you.
- At least the crazy ones don't pretend to be normal.
- At least be honest to your lies.
- At least ISIS has job vacancies.
- At least those who click selfies aren't selfish.
- At least cricketers don't dive.
- At least Hindus can always claim reincarnation as the last resort.
- At least show confidence when you're doing something wrong.
- At least scratch my back before you stab it.
- At least pain is paying attention to you.
- At least Monday comes to an end.
- At least the suiciders aren't commitment-phobic.
- At least the believers aren't lazybones.
- At least our enemies don't disappoint us.
- At least the damaged folks accept who they are.
- At least the liberals in Pakistan aren't hypocritical like ours.
- At least those who change their DPs accept that they're ageing.
- At least our shadows resemble each other.
- At least the losers can claim to be self-made.
- At least those who can't speak don't lie.
- At least the Army doesn't tweet during working hours.
- At least science doesn't expect us go on a pilgrimage.
- At least the illiterates are spared from writing suicide notes.
- At least nobody can hate us more than we hate ourselves.
- At least the misogynist jokes pay full attention to women.
- At least they won't levy doping charges against Indian athletes.
- At least fat people don't crack thin jokes.
- At least the women in urban India have a voice.
- At least we can try to be happy.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Since everybody has an opinion nowadays, we've arrived at a stage where we really don't know how to draw a line. One can clearly see this change exposing itself on the online world. If somebody doesn't agree with somebody else's thought process, that somebody becomes this somebody's enemy. Just because their opinions didn't match! The fact that their underwear matched on that day doesn't count. Perhaps this is what happens when we are overflooded with data—most of it unverified. Everybody begins to form a thought school of their own, each building on the legend that they know everything about everything. In such a scenario, rigidity of discussion grows ultimately leading to poverty of intelligence. After a point, arrogance in one's knowledge sinks so deep that there's no space left for philosophical intervention. To make matters pitiable, words like overrated and underrated is used to express a point.
Wait a minute.
Who is rating whom?
Let me take a guess.
You? Oh yes.
You are the one who is rating based on your own experiences and you wholeheartedly expect even Standard & Poor's to oblige your expertise.
The topics of debate don't even have to be about black hole or how Angelina Jolie manages to look hot despite doing whatever she did to her boobs. It could be a plain vanilla chat about how somebody's tweet is stupid or jokes, lame.
Needless to add, when such a conversation takes place in the offline world, the dynamics are quite different.
Offline world scenario:
A: *smiling like a shy chimp*
B, C, D and E: "Your haircut doesn't look good, man."
Just pull back for a second and see what happened above. A seemed OK with his haircut. Chances are he liked it a lot. Maybe he's having an affair with the barber. We'll never know. But the point is he was OK with his haircut. BCDE group felt otherwise and expressed their opinion. For some reason, they felt it was their duty to let A know what they thought and more bizarrely, that they thought that their thought mattered. For a few seconds, they made A realize that his haircut was the second biggest mistake of his life. Not that BCDE's opinion would make things better either for themselves or him but still, opinion has a way with people. An opinion is like those streakers who expose themselves hoping somebody will notice them.
However, let's not neglect several points:
a. A wanted that haircut hence had it. Just like they wanted to be opinionated.
b. BCDE felt they knew better, not because they actually did but they just felt like that.
c. A could have easily given rise to a conversation which wouldn't have ended with OK.
d. His biggest mistake continues to be his absence on Facebook, where everybody likes everything.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Dear 20-year-old-in-office, there's something about you that tells me that you are at the maroon (pink is for whites) of your health. You are energetic and always on the run. Looks like you're going to be awesome if you aren't already. Let's call it professional rush. It lasts for a few weeks and if you're lucky enough, a few more months. Following which, moribundness sets in. The fight is to avoid that phase. In the process, young people like yourself end up in the spiral way too easily. It won't be your fault to be honest. Corporate culture. And before you realize it, you're part of the herd that can't distinguish between personal life and office hours. One of the ways how this seamlessness is built into the system is by getting addicted to something that provides you momentary relief. It could be anything from insane cups of coffee to an energy drink that beats coffee at caffeine to a tar-blessed cigarette to a fattening beer bottle. Colleagues often bond better over addictions because everybody in the group is stressed looking for an outlet to feel better even it that lasts for a few minutes. Which might explain why you'll go to a pub/bar after having a tight day at work instead of going home, bathe and relax. Let's call it prisoners' code. Each follow it blindly. The amount of abuse the body takes is conveniently overlooked but guess what, your body isn't THAT blind. It can afford to love you but for a limited while. After that, it strikes back. Do you really want that? If yes, don't think twice before borrowing that cigarette from a colleague who insists that you should just because you're 20 and expected to try everything. That said, saying no is a part of everything too.
I hate blank pages. But there are something i hate more. And that's me being complacent or my mind being incorrigibly blank. I hate being that person whose comeback is always 1.6 minutes late. I hate myself when i know better but don't do much about it. I should be attempting lot more than i am currently daring to in any case. I'm so fucking scared all the time but i hide behind my coy smile. I should be investing more of my breaths into things that might outlast me. Instead, i'm silently carving out an image that doesn't suit me anymore. I'm not what i was during the noughties. If there is one thing that i've realized on my own, it has to be the proper evaluation of time. They say time doesn't wait. Why would it? And for what? It's meant to keep moving with whatever happens. So, the only way i can make it is by being in collusion with its dynamics. Once i do that, i'd stop time-traveling and reply just in the right moment. I might even end up in a place where i shall dictate the terms—not my circumstances or my inadequacies. Only me. If i don't give myself time to catch up with time, i'm bound to fill up the blankness of my existence with something worthwhile. Hustle is the keyword here. Because that's what matters in the beginning as well as the end.