The Will

What if I was asked to write my will at a short notice, having been told that I just had a few hours/days or weeks to live? No, I’m not going to die anytime soon. But generally speaking, there are quite a few things I need to sort out regarding a will and who gets what. Since I was thinking about this loudly on Twitter, it’s only appropriate that some lovely people from Twitter [regardless of how close I am with them at the moment] get my stuff. But, nobody gets my camera. And I don’t think I need to explain why. Anyway, here goes:

1. Books: @vivekisms

2. Scrabble Board [yes my old one]: @Aletheaius

3. Hats and headgear: @panku_

4. Suits, blazers and related accessories: @Scotchaholic

5. One half of photos clicked by me: @RadhikaMohandas

6. Other half of photos clicked by me: @PolyesterPalla

7. Access to my Tumblr page: @Mystique_16

8. Access to my WordPress page: @hashkeys

9. All of my wacky stationery: @Desdemonaous

10. Some jewellery I had bought for some special ones but could never gift: @vishasuchde

11. My iPhone:@oneblackcoffee

12. My laptop: @Buttija

13. My iPod: @vantaskigoli

14. My Fitbit: @silv3rglee

15. The exercise wheel: @abhishekaggy

16. The earliest handwritten essays/thoughts I used to pen down: @thenesseeffect

17. My Zippo lighter: @TheBigDowg

18. My gym membership @phand00

19. My biology textbooks from school: @juneymb

20. My movie posters: @badaboomtheory


Stay Still

Don’t focus, you’ll make me look too happy,

I’m sad, not that you should know about it,

But then, your lens is too beautiful,

I like the way it locks itself into my eyes,

How it gets to know me,

Without saying even a single word to me,

It’s like, I’m talking to it,

All the time,

But it is not,

Yet it makes me look pretty, cheerful,

It strips me of my pain,

Knowing not,

That it is my shield,

Against happiness,

And that instrument you use,

Your lens.

Kuchu and the Sparrow

I wrote this story last year originally for Stories for Thing, at the request of my Twitter friend BziB.

“Chirp, chirp” Kuchu was getting ready for school. “Chirp, chirp, tweet tweet tweet” Kuchu wore one sock, and went to the window. There it was. “Chirp chirp chirp”. “Is she hungry? Is she not well? Why is she so restless today?” Kuchu thought to himself. Kuchu filled up some water from his school water bottle in a bowl and placed it at the window sill. The bird stopped chirping for a while and took some sips from the bowl. “Why are you so active today? What happened? Anything special” Kuchu asked. “Chirp chirp, don’t you know I’m the Sparrow?” she replied. “Oh yes, I do know you are a sparrow, but why are you chirping so much today?” “I am not just any sparrow, I am THE Sparrow! Chirp chirp chirp”

Kuchu was scratching his head to understand what being The Sparrow meant. “You didn’t understand what I meant, did ya, little boy?” she asked. “No,” Kuchu mumbled. “Ok, let me explain” and she settled down on the sill, puffing up her feathers a bit. “How many legs do you have?” she asked him. Kuchu looked at his feet – one without the sock and one with it – and replied: “two.” “How many feet do humans normally have?” Kuchu remembered what the science teacher had told them in class and said: “two.” “Ok, now how many legs do we birds have?” Kuchu remembered the pictures in his science textbooks again and said : “two”. “Now, how many legs do I have?” She stood up as she said. Kuchu took a look and said “One”. She smiled and then whispered to him: “That’s my secret little boy! The others of my kind think I’m not one of them and I’m a freak. But I’m not! Hehe, I haven’t told them this though, hence they worship me like anything.”

Kuchu said: “Really?” She then whispered to him again: “Well, long time back, me and Him were out looking for worms on a sunny day. And he suddenly said to me: ‘I’m feeling very dizzy’. I thought maybe it was the sun, but then he collapsed, and never got up again. And I did not even have time to mourn for Him, as a small but very fast object suddenly hit one of my legs, which you don’t see now.” “I was still trying to understand what had happened, when I looked down from the ledge where we had been sitting and saw two boys: one with long sleek object in his hands and the other with a small candy-like thing stuck to his ear. The boy with the long object was aiming it at me, and I quickly flew off. I kept on roaming around for a while and wherever I went, others of my kind started fearing me for my one leg, not knowing that I thought everyone – them or humans – could have been carrying those things with them which killed him. So I just chirped them away from all the feeding bowls that I could find.”

“But why were you chirping so much at my window today? There was no other sparrow there,” Kuchu asked her. She replied: “Well, I saw someone with that candy-like thing stuck to their ear around you and thought I may warn you, since you give me water and grains almost everyday.” And Kuchu turned around to see his mother still talking on the mobile phone near his bed.Image

Not an ODI

In the last three days, a prominent spot in the national Capital otherwise known to host peace-loving families out for picnics in winter, has been the scene of angry protests [pardon the redundancy] led by lots of young people. This was to show the pent-up anger turning to ‘zero intolerance’ over a 23-year-old woman getting violated in the most depraved of ways possible by six men in the Capital. I put out a lot of tweets on this, starting last Saturday and at first, I was deeply cynical of this ‘protest’ indeed, and maybe I still am to an extent. But, as things began to take ugly turns, [which again is not so uncommon as with other protests in the Great Indian Circus], the sheer spontaneity of it all did hit me, coupled with the more than ever before juvenile stance of the administration. Young people braving water cannons in the furiously dipping mercury and braving the police lathis and tear gas shells never fail to charge our adrenaline. But, as I have been saying, there is more to it always. Which is why, I have titled this post ‘Not an ODI’ [yes the cheeky reference to Sachin’s retirement from ODIs is the pun indeed]. I cannot think of offering solutions in one blog post, but I can surely discuss the two aspects to the situation: how our anger is directionless most of the times and how we Indian men or men across the globe view women.

A lot of what I think on the first part has been put across nicely in this piece. But I would still like to get my thoughts organised in this post rather than keeping them as scattered tweets only. Democracy is a farce in this country, not because we don’t have a voice but we choose to lend our voices by electing such people from our midst. We elect them, so it’s only natural that we suffer the consequences. To counter this, what do some of you suggest? Military dictatorship? Sure! But don’t crib when the dictators ask you go to be home by 8 pm.  What are those young people protesting? A gangrape only? Can’t be, right? And how is the media adding fuel to the fire? By treating every news of rape or sexual assault in any part of the country with the highest priority? Maybe yes. But more than that, headlines and captions like ‘India Spring’ are probably taking this situation too far out of its imagination. And even if it is a spring, look at where Egypt is today. The problem is, only ‘vote because it’s about you’ taglines don’t seem to help. We willingly vote to elect ministers who don’t value our lives at all. And then shake our fists.

Secondly, and more importantly, what causes, or leads to rather, rape? What do we Indian men, or men the world over, view women as? I know that it’s not just about men’s views on women but women’s views on other women as well. But as a man, it’s easier for me to speak about my breed. Would a topless male model’s picture sell as much in a tabloid as Kate Middleton’s did? Or will a male model shedding clothes for an environmental campaign do the trick? Or, coming back to our own country, will you – as a man or a woman – stop using expletives with sexist connotations even if you don’t mean it? After finishing this blog post, maybe I’ll utter one myself if something goes wrong with my work or anything else. What is a woman for a man? An object for titillation and subsequent invasion only? Do a group of boys in a hostel watch pornography to understand biology? Even me and a college classmate have been guilty of thinking along the lines of “ooh look!” when a female classmate had put up her picture in a bikini on a social network. Will all women carrying pepper spray in their bags get rid of this mindset?

As I said earlier, like many others, I can’t offer a solution either. But these are just thoughts, mostly in the form of questions that have been crossing my mind.

PS:  While writing this, I got into an argument with a Twitter acquaintance on not generalising Delhi or the attitudes of Delhi men. I had decided not to include that issue in this post since that has been dealt with in better pieces on the Internet already. But I do make a mention since one of her tweets to me was very pertinent: “Isn’t the government response to the protests stereotypical as well? You protest and you get lathi charged.” Maybe it is, but again, it’s probably a stereotype of our own creation that’s haunting us, sadly.

The Indian Hipster’s Guide to Instagram

Instagram – or as I call it – Hipstergram – is what you do when you want to tell the world that the blackheads on your nose are not ugly. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration. But yes, Instagram is THE tool for hipsters across the world. It’s given them more purpose for existence than the best…drag…anyway. So, you’ve got your smartphone (preferably the one i have, yes by i i mean me) in place, your oversized clothes and your Geisha/Ganesha/whatever image suits your mind bag and your dirty hair in place. Hence, the next step is to build an Instagram feed that tells the world you’ve arrived as a hipster. But what will you click? Rather, what will you click in the country of Kalmadis and Coalgates?

Here’s a list of things/entities you could probably click in India and apply that #hipstergram filter on – to show the cosmos your BC (Before Cool) quotient:

1. An incredibly huge and white cow (with huge horns or whatever) standing in front of a wall, and possibly a man standing next to it and giving it a stoned stare.

2. Cats. All sizes. All shapes. Enough said.

3. Crows – preferably two or three sitting slightly apart from each other against the backdrop of a anaemic, I mean cloudy, sky.

4. More cats. More crows.

5. Someone’s pinky hanging on (for dear life) to a handrail in a crowded local or Metro train.

6. Food – and make sure to add the tricolour chutneys/sauces on some special holidays.

7. That beggar at the traffic signal – preferably a psycho case wearing stuff gathered from everywhere. Goes with your hipster image.

8. Tea in an earthen cup, preferably with some raindrops around it which are saying to themselves: “Look Ma, no hands!”. Screw the fancy coffee in fancy cafes.

9. More cats.

10. A self portrait – you in a second class compartment of a train and looking out the window (even though you are mumbling to yourself: “WTF no AC?”

So, take your pick. And click your pic. Sorry, enough of bad jokes.

From pillar to post

Maybe I haven’t seen enough of life,

Maybe you have,

Maybe your heart broke into a million pieces,

And mine into a thousand,

But then, both broke,

Maybe you don’t know what you sought,

But I did,

Maybe your intention was not to hurt,

But you did,

To this day, and for some more,

I can’t fathom what you see me as,

Could this have been easier?

Or maybe a little slower?

Let time answer that,

But for now,

I do know,

That every moment is ripping me apart,

Taking me down,

As I try to look for a way,

Instead of keeping my calm,

From pillar to post

No, I’m not dying

No, I’m not dying. But yes, my capability to communicate is. And so is my ability to perceive things normally, without reading between the lines. I’m getting upset over things that should not upset me. I’m concerned about things that should not concern me. Which is leading to this vicious circle of the need to step out and crying hoarse in the crowd, and retreating immediately by the fear of it, and the urge to step out coming back. I don’t know where this is leading me, or if this leads anywhere at all. Do I need help? Maybe I do. Do I need attention? Maybe I’m craving for it. But I know what I certainly don’t need: that thing called ‘sympathy’. It’s worse than slow poison, as I see it. And it better not come near me. And that is all I have to say for the moment.

Sorry, I can’t relate to your ‘issues’

So, over the last several days, there have been some columns on the issue of trolls and such things on Twitter. And this issue has got some balanced responses indeed. This morning, I came across another column on the issue of Twitter fights. Though it is not new for such issues to be discussed in the media, given the fact that Twitter has been around for a while. But, what I find most amusing is the esoteric level of these columns, more particularly the second one. In fact, I was not so pleasantly surprised by the content of such columns, because I really could not relate to them. To put it more crudely, would you rather care for a squabble that’s going on in your next apartment or on the street where your house is situated, instead of people taking it out on each other in another universe probably? Don’t interpret this as my cry for ‘shun the virtual world and focus on the real one’. I’m as much addicted to the virtual world as you are, or probably more.

What I feel is – in a country with teeming billions, where we need television to tell us every Sunday about the horrors that eat the masses, quite literally, I wonder how quarrels relating to heads of state and their soiled linen seems to gain more visibility than the fact that daily existence itself seems to be a struggle. And even when the discussion zeroes down to the country – what is it that we are shouting ourselves hoarse about? Why the ‘happening’ people in a certain city have the right to party till whenever they want, and/or wherever they want. And so we have some conscientious people from the same city trying to raise their voices above the crowd – saying that is not the real issue. And then there is counter jab to this counter jab – “it’s not just about the parties folks, it’s about the excessive use”. Ok. I just a circle being completed. And I hope you did too. 

It’s just like the psyche of watching movies – you want to see what you don’t see in your real life. This is not to take away the brilliance of some filmmakers who have had the courage to stay away from candy floss. But, you want to run away because there is only so much crap you can take in a day, or a week, or a month. Fair enough. But, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost. Expand your avenues of entertainment and you see the paradox. You pay and enter glossy places to laugh at yourselves and balance it out with a few drinks. Sorrow sells my friend. And there may not be anything wrong in that. Really. But then, it ends there.

Twitter and Facebook are open forums indeed. But, is it too open because our real world is too closed for our own good. Are our smartphones and other gadgets mere appendages for us to have fun for some time and become harmless drones again? Maybe that is beyond the scope of discussion of this blogpost. But, as we are told in serious expressions by our parents and elders from time to time – “focus on the long term”. Well, life is too short, as you and me would like to think. But, are we making it shorter by getting lost in some banalities? Whatever be the shape and outlook of the path you’ve chosen to tread, does it help to take too many distractions?

There has been so much talk of an Arab Spring, and the subsequent disappointment. Hence proving, that all this has only remained talk and nothing much beyond. No, this does not equate to me telling you to stop whatever you are doing and jump on the streets with a placard immediately. You and me need to talk indeed. But, I’m just concerned about what is that we’re talking about, rather than when and where we are talking. Have your distractions, enjoy, gossip about random affairs etc. But, have some more focus on what actually affects you, because I guess that could make your daily affairs somewhat less of a monotony and somewhat more of a party, yes?

Why I am perfect husband material


Yes, I am perfect husband material. And I am the one who rants about being scared of marriage/commitment day in and day out on Twitter. So I am the perfect example of Super Hypocrite. Having said that, I will still try to convince you why I am perfect husband, or even boyfriend, material, if my recent experiences on Twitter are anything to go by (mostly in the form of the infamous slytweets):

1. A certain lady who is very proud of herself [like KRK] had problems with me commenting on her tweeting style, and simply rebuked us as to “why do you even follow me?”. So not so subtly, I was asked to unfollow. I did.

2. Another lady [who I don’t know if she is proud of herself or not] asked me to not go by anyone’s DP or nature of tweets. So I said this in response and shut up. In other words, I did what I was told to.

3. I had posted this tweet last night as a joke [which obviously went wrong] and was sharply rebuked by someone [yes, a lady again] with whom I share an otherwise decent rapport. I was told not to talk about such stuff. So I did not. In other words, I did.

4. And a while back, I was asked to stop communicating with yet.another.lady who I got to know through Twitter. So I promptly removed her from my following and Facebook friends list. That’s right, I did.

5. Two other girls [you see what I mean?] on Twitter keep on telling from time to time not to outrage at others. So I try not to [the rebel husband]. But at least for the time being, I zip up. Yes, I do.

6. Certain women on Twitter bug me at times. I do not want to communicate with them for a while. But they cry their heart out [no, that doesn’t mean I’m a George Clooney or a Howard Roark] when I do so. So start I talking to them again. I do.

7. I’m met with the loudest of “no’s” when I dare to disagree with opinionated people on Twitter. so I meekly end up agreeing with them. I do. Meow.

8. I should not take others’ ill-timed and crass jokes seriously, yet others have every right to take my joke seriously and tell me that it is hurting the GDP of the country. So, I comply. Baa!

9. I get asked questions about myself at a speed faster than light [by women mostly yes] but when I ask anything in return, I get the ‘you don’t know me well enough to ask this’ response. Ok, I won’t, do that again. Mummy!

10. I get egged on to ‘enjoy life’ and ‘stay off Twitter’ for a while by my many well-wishers. So, I’m writing this blog post now instead of tweeting.

Hence, I’m that spineless individual you’re looking for, that dog who will not bark but just squeal. All I can be is a rabid squirrel and look funnier with my peanut anger. Marry me.

I am angry. And confused. And angrier

I am angry. Enraged. Furious. And many more synonyms that come to mind. And yes, as any other ‘depressed’ individual would say – with ‘myself.’  But that’s a reality. I am angry and upset with myself. Or, with this strange creature living inside me rather. Who is it? What does it want? Why can it not leave me alone? Well, if it did, you may not have been reading this post. But. Oh well.

I am angry – for not having chosen the beaten track. For not taking up an engineering course in a mediocre college with my mediocre rank in a not-so-mediocre competitive examination.  I am angry – for not going for the ‘safety’ of a government job either. For choosing a course which the ‘smart’ people didn’t opt for. For taking up something as my first job which had none of the bells and whistles of a glorified farmhand.

More importantly, I am angry – for constantly believing for the last many years that I can do something ‘different’ in terms of a professional and personal life. Pray, what difference can there be in clicking a few picture and uploading them on social sites and earning a few compliments out of them? Or, who cares if I decided to see things ‘differently’ from my Twitter account? Look at the world – what does it want? Your attention – unqualified and unrestrained – be it in terms of cash or kind. It wants you to listen and not be the one to be listened. Fair enough! Man is as selfish an animal as social. So, why would anyone care if I suddenly decided to vent some of my average sounding thoughts on to a blog like this? Hence, I am angry – because is there any point in going on like this if nobody cares? Again, you may say – “I do care.” That’s nice of you.

But some of you out there – what is it that you actually care about? That’s right – my attention! And in forms that one need not elaborate. Yes, those of you may have your reasons for doing so. And that is when you conveniently forget that the person on the other end is not just that wind-up toy you can buy off a shelf and discard when it starts acting up (in other words, shows some ‘feelings’). Maybe I’m trying to climb a moral pedestal knowing fully well that I’ve been equally guilty. But, that does not, in any way, redeem you of your acts. Because you know, we really can’t legalise stealing because it fills the stomachs of some poor thieves. Yes, I know it is perfectly ‘cool’ for you to keep your online and offline lives separate. Good for you. But remember, if there is a collision course ever – it’s better you face it rather than try to project yourself as a generally nice being. Humans do have imperfections and we have to live with them. But, if you have chosen only to show ‘that’ [read: aspects usually not defined as virtues] side of yourself, just defend it. Besides, in this age of Twitter and Facebook, if so many of us are happy about finding ‘friends’ and ‘soulmates’ online, then the ‘totally virtual’ argument doesn’t hold much water.

Am I trying to generalise? Maybe not. I’m speaking for myself. And maybe the preceding paragraph is what I’m trying to get at through this post. But, that is also part of my anger. Because I’m angry and upset with myself for having been that football which you would just kick around in your playground, also known as your mind. Maybe my heart is responding to your mind. Maybe that is not how should it be. Which is why, I’m angrier – for having falsely believed all this while that this ‘alternative’ sphere of communication could have brought any change to my life. I’m ashamed of myself for having believed that, truly.

But having said all that, it did bring a change to my life – and that’s perhaps the only positive thing coming out of my rant – I have resolved to not entertain your shallow self any more. Not that I have the depth of a saint, but it won’t make me shallower than what I’ve already become at least. And maybe I’ll be on the track to reverse this some day for sure. Some day, indeed. Till then, and even after that, you can keep building your castles in the air – just that I do not wish to live in them and come crashing down the next moment – because, unlike you – I do not have the capability to take the impact from such crashes every now and then. Does that mean I am weak? Maybe I am, or maybe that is where my strength lies – to not expose my weakness for you. Ever.