Don’t flinch

Don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.
Stare at his bright clothes.
Stare at his tiny hands, his shoes.
Stare at his future that drowned with him.
Stare at the million ways he could have been saved.

Don’t look away.
Feel numb. Feel hollow. Feel anything.
But don’t look away.
Don’t close the window hastily because you can’t see such pictures.
Don’t look away because you won’t be able to sleep.
Don’t thank god that this wasn’t your child.

Imagine this was your child.
Imagine that was your country you were running away from.
Imagine you holding your family, praying for a better future.
Imagine you holding their dead bodies, staring at the ocean.
Imagine you wishing the earth to break in million tiny pieces.

Imagine you are the police officer who picked him up.
Imagine you looking at the boy when you turned him to pick him up.
Imagine the lightness of Aylan’s tiny body in your hands.
Imagine the heaviness of your heart.
Imagine you going to your home that night and stare at the mirror and wonder if God exists.

Don’t flinch.
Don’t flinch when you see a vulture waiting for an African boy to die.
Don’t flinch when you see a naked, terrified Vietnamese girl running on a street during a war.
Don’t flinch when you see the body of a dead, three year old on a beach.
This is our legacy. This is what we are leaving for our children.
These pictures.
The pictures that our children will judge us by.
If they live.

Hope.
Hope that our children grow up.
Hope that one day they will see these pictures.
Hope that that day, they will come home and look straight at us. Through us.
And flinch.
Hope, because that would mean the world will be a better place one day.
Hope, because that would mean our children won’t repeat our mistakes.

So, don’t flinch.
Stare at three year old Aylan.
Stare at him lying on a beach, his face half buried in the wet sand.

Why aliens have not attacked us till now

I have figured it all out.

There have been numerous alien sightings all over the world. People have seen discs flying overhead, pilots have seen strange objects flying next to their planes. People diappear around the world and when they come back, they have no recollection of the missing days. It does not shock us anymore. Of course, Hollywood’s brainwashing antics have a role to play here which cannot be ignored. There isn’t a city in the world which has not been destroyed by the very human-like aliens who want our resources (as if we haven’t sucked the Earth dry already) or want us as slaves (as if we haven’t done that already to each other). Buildings topple, humans scream and then the countries unite (surprise! Surprise!) to defeat the villians before they can go back to bombing each other for oil.

Of course, no alien attack has happened in reality. They haven’t even made a friendly appearance (how snobbish of them!). But prey, why?

Here’s why.

They are keeping an eye on us. They are the guardians of the universe and they are holding the door so that we do not escape and unlease our destructive potential over the universe. Think of them as the item girl in Bollywood movies who keep the villians (us) engrossed in their pelvic thrusts so that the good heroes (kind aliens) keep the universe intact. Imagine the havoc the villians will create if the item girl is not there.

Let’s admit that we are a shitty race. Look at the turtles or the snails. Even the spiders. They live in perfect harmony with Earth.  But not us. There isn’t anything left on the Earth that we haven’t monetized for profits. We have raped her of her dignity and we will keep doing it till she dies. We are cutting the branch on which we are sitting but who cares till we are mid-air falling to our doom. We believe our religion will come to save us and a wad of notes will cushion our fall. Our children are not our priority and the aliens in their flying saucers know this. They know that if (heavens forbid) we become capable enough of flying outside the solar system to inhibit other planets (which is highly unlikely. We will probably have a World War 3 before that), we will end up repeating our Earthly mistakes on it, killing it in the same way.

As Agent Smith rightly said to Neo, we are the virus of this universe.

And the aliens are here to contain us. So, will they ever attack us, you may ask?

The answer is – Yes, they will.

If they ever get the slightest hint in the future that humans are capable of moving their house out of the Solar System, you will see a full Independence Dayish assault that day. They will spray their pest control laser beams on us and finish us long before we start the countdown of our Noah’s Ark into the space. Just like what you will do if you see an increase in the cockroach population in your house.

So, humans you have been warned. Please stay where you are. Send probes to Mars and Pluto. Gawk at the ice mountains on them. Be surprised at the Earth size storm on Jupiter. But, never ever dare to develop a technology that will let you find wormholes and travel to other galaxies. Because that will be the day when the alien mothership will direct a high precision laser beam at the Earth and break this begging-for-euthanasia planet into a million pieces.

Mechanophobia minus Matrix

image from here

image from here

No, I am not going to rant about the impending doom of humanity because Terminators are here. Neither am I going to convince you that we live in the Matrix. And no, my laptop did not transform into a Transformer and attack me.

What I am going to tell you is that I am suffering from mechanophobia. I fear machines. Not the imaginary machines whose fear Hollywood have instilled in millions of us over the years, but the real machines that surround us all day. It is strange how that fear is instilled by small minor incidents that stay with us and grow their inky black tentacles in our brain as we grow up.

Take for example, the ceiling fan. A very harmless machine, you might say. Not for me. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago how a man was decapitated by a ceiling fan that suddenly decided to part from the ceiling. I was a kid and the story stayed with me and every time someone would switch on the fan, I would look at it with fear as if this was going to be the last swirl of air to hit my face. Till date, winters is my favorite time of the year. A few days after my grandfather told me this story, a ceiling fan fell over my uncle’s massive and turbulent tummy as he was sleeping. It is another story that the fan just bounced off him because of the fats he had accumulated over the years. He lived to tell the tale.

A few days back, a guy died in our locality because he had left his laptop switched on to download movies in the night as he went to sleep. The battery developed some problem and emitted some sort of a poisonous gas. The poor guy did not even knew what hit him. Now, I have this habit too and ever since I have heard this story, I have developed a fear of leaving my laptop switched on at nights. I do not want to wake up in heaven without even knowing what happened. I have started sniffing my laptop and I look very suspiciously at it.

Whenever I am using the grinder in the kitchen to chop onions or garlic, I have this fear that while I am putting them in the grinder, it might get accidentally switched on and I will lose half of my finger. Every time I operate this machine, I imagine half of my finger finely chopped with the chopped onions while the other half squirting blood like a fountain. I just can’t shake off the image.

The machines that carry us places terrify me even more. Whenever I sit in cars or buses, I keep wondering if this is my last day on Mother Earth. What if the car explodes in flames or one of the tyres of the bus burst while the driver is over-speeding? What happens if the Metro fall off one of its pillars? What if the train I am travelling in collides with another one and I am stuck with entangled metal and dead bodies with an iron rod jutting out of my shoulder? I can’t sleep at nights in a train. I keep imagining that all of us are going to DIE! Whoever came up with the bloody idea of running this crazily heavy machine on two thin metal tracks was a fool.

And ever since that Malaysian flight has vanished, my fear of flying has multiplied. Think about it. There is this huge machine made up of a million part flying thousands of feet above the ground and you are encased inside it. Thousands of things can go wrong. One small part stops working and that it it. You will end up screaming to glory, falling to Earth in a huge ball of fire. Or worse, end up as shark food.

And don’t get me started on lifts. Every time I hear that slight creaking of the lift as it fills, I keep imagining that the metal wires that keep it dangling are going to snap and we will all experience zero gravity before splattering to our death. I hate confined spaces that does not give you any chance to save yourself.

I fear the drilling machine too. Every time dad brings it out to drill a hole in the wall, I get all panicky when he switches it on. I keep imagining that the drill bit will fly out of the machine any time and head straight for my head. You can’t imagine how many deaths I die before that machine goes back in its box. I keep imagining the drill bit embedded halfway in my forehead.

And I can go on and on. What if my mobile phone explodes? What if the room heater catches fire while I am sleeping? What if the CFL falls on my head (It fell off once in my room and shattered to pieces. Thankfully, no one was standing beneath it)? Sometimes I feel like a walking Final Destination. All Parts.

Of course, I do not let anyone around me know of my fears. I behave as if I don’t care and am perfectly normal like every one else. They have no idea about the storm raging inside me. But then what do I know about the kind of fears other people are living with? On a basic level all of us are the same. Phobia is a part of our psyche. There was a time when I thought that I was going mad, fearing things that are a part of our every day life. I thought I needed some help. I realized it is not the fear of machines per se. All the phobias stem from our fear of death, of losing something. If you ask someone what they fear, you will always get a couple of things – Dads, Bats, Lizards, Darkness, Men, Women, Loneliness, Sea, Company, Self etc etc. So, I think I am all right. I am not falling to pieces. Not yet.

Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and kill a cockroach. I am the only one in the house who is not scared of them.

Money in the blouse and other stories

images from here

images from here

The Toofani Couple

A few days back I had an early morning live implementation. As my cab driver played Need for Speed on the roads of Delhi at 5.30 in the morning, I kept an eye on his nitro consumption which basically means that I was wide awake ensuring that he does not squash me in the rear of a truck. Suddenly, a car overtook us near Hyatt. I noticed that it had two toofani couples in it. Now the couple at the rear seat opened their respective windows, pushed their sorry head and torso outside and planted their butts on the windows. They then went ahead and smoked the same cigarette, passing it to each other from the top of the car.  The eyes of my cab driver went wide while I studied them with mild amusement. I was more worried about my cab ramming into their car and the driver flying out to join them. They smoked the whole cigarette and went inside like the neck of a scared turtle. I narrated the whole incident to my team at office and one of them remarked – What’s so toofani in that? It would have been toofani if they would have exchanged the cigarette from the bottom of the car.

I guess I am getting old.

Another not so lucky Toofani couple

The same week, while returning home enduring my rickety office bus, I saw an accident on the highway. A motorbike was racing in the wrong direction (Yes! On the highway!) and rammed into an Audi. People actually stopped their cars and came out to help (Surprise!). The woman and the bike ended up between the front and rear wheels while the man was dragged to safety. Now they were not able to pull out the women because the Audi went over her. So they tried to get the Audi off the woman by picking it up. I hope she survived but the chances are slim. This happened a day before Diwali.

I wondered if I could show this whole sequence to the Toofani couple in the earlier story, would they still think what they did was cool? Would they care more for their life?

Money in the blouse

Why on earth do people keep their money in their undergarments? The other day, I squeezed myself in a shared auto, which is basically a metal entity used to carry 10-15 people crammed in a space for 6. Sitting in a shared auto will be the closest you would come to understand the feelings of Jews jostling for space in a gas chamber. So, while I shrunk my butt to adjust in the pitiable space provided to me, I saw an elderly aunty ji sitting opposite me, staring in infinity. As the auto traversed the potholed roads, the aunty ji suddenly realised that her stop was near and thrust her hand inside her blouse. After my initial shock subsided, I realized that she was not trying to seduce me but frantically searching for her purse. She fumbled her right breast first but could not place the purse. Then she took out her left  hand and in went the right one to disturb her left asset. While all this was happening, I was obviously not looking at her but I could comprehend what was happening from the corner of my eye. Finally, she was able to find her purse that was hidden in some remote corner and the trauma ended.

I have also seen men putting hands in their underwear to take out money. Please someone tell me what is so irresistible about rubbing cash on your private parts?

Exercise in Patience

I have realized that writing a book is an exercise in patience. When you are doing research, you are impatient to start writing. When you are writing, you are impatiently waiting for the day when it will finish. When you finish, you are impatiently sending it to publishers. Then you wait very very impatiently for the publishers to respond. After a positive response, you patiently twiddle your fingers and wait for the book to hit the market. So, it you are a very impatient person, try not to write a book unless you have some sort of a mental asylum fetish.

By the way, I have started writing my second book. But now there is a kid in the equation, so it will be a while before I finish it. Deep breaths. Patience.

Mars and Traffic signals

There is a very busy traffic intersection on the highway near my home. Since the last two years for which I have been here, I have hardly seen the signal working on this intersection. Although people living in the country of Uttar Pradesh don’t believe in traffic signals and treat them the same way we treat a stray cow and beggars, I still believe that some day we will find people capable enough to mend the said signal. I know that there is some extremely complicated machinery inside it but I am sure that since we have sent a rocket to Mars now, we will be able to find people suitable to handle the neglected signal. Maybe we can consult a few top scientists at ISRO?

I usually do not write random posts but I had to share the ‘money in the blouse’ story and since I do not want to come across as a pervert, I added four intellectual stories to the post.

Chronicles of Dearth : The case of missing Yaun-doms

long_time_ago

….there was a planet called Dearth. The dominant specie on the planet was called Insane (pronounced In-saan*). The name of the planet had seen better days but Insanes had squeezed out all of the planet’s resources and thus a resolution was passed to change the name of the planet to commemorate the achievement.

An interesting episode happened on POL011 on planet Dearth in the klear 5690*. POL or Piece Of Land is very similar to how we define countries on Earth.

POL011 was the second most populated POL on Dearth and this was a major concern for the King. Now the king did not have any real power other than to be a poster boy or pardoning convicts he found sexy. The real power sat with his Prime Minister who was a part of a governing body. Sadly, the Prime Minister was as helpless as the King. He was deaf and dumb and was puppeted by the governing body run by Madaam Pasta.

Population explosion was such an immense problem on POL011 that the King, PM and Madaam Pasta decided that insanes have to be educated about not producing babies every time a power cut happened. Educating the insanes of POL011 was as difficult as asking the PM to speak two words, so the governing body finally passed a bill to put 11000 yaun-dom* machines throughout the POL. Yaun-dom were special devices very similar to our condoms but with a special chip embedded in them which made them reusable.  They were almost like mini- robots that could lid the desirable places.

One fine Klatoony day (Klatoon was the name of their Sun), a minister came running as Madaam Pasta was pouring  cere-lack in baba’s mouth. Baba was her 40 Klat-years old son.

“Madaam!! They are all gone!” the minister said as he kissed her ring.

“Elaborato,” Madaam said with exasperation.

“Madaam, all the Strawberry flavoured yaun-doms are missing from the machines!” the minister said.

Madaam raised one of her eye brows and looked at baba.

“What? Noooo! Of course not! And that is not even my favourite flavour! Why don’t you ask Zeezaazee?” Baba said throwing his hands in the air.

” Your Zeezaazee is a poor farmer. I don’t think he uses local brands,” Madaam said thoughtfully.  

A few minutes later, an SOS message was sent to the ministers to immediately teleport themselves in the King’s War room. After everyone had arrived, the Prime Minister was the first to speak. He talked in sign language which was interpreted and voiced by a T608BOSS robot standing behind him.

“Did we check with Ass-aram? We might have to raid his ass-rum,” the robot said.

“I don’t think he uses yaun-doms,” the King said trying to hold a giggle which earned a stearn look from Madaam.

“What about Imraan Kissme?” a minister asked.

“Checked. He is clean.”

“No one in this fuc*ing POL uses a yaun-dom. That was the fuc*ing point of installing the machines. Do you even realize what will happen if the media gets a whiff of this?” Madaam Pasta screamed, Unable to hold herself anymore.

The robot coughed.

“Get the MIB on it,” Madaam said.

The MIB (Madaam Investigation Bureou) was a coveted organization that was given only those tasks that were supposed to linger on for hundreds of Dearth years. So this decision emancipated nothing but a collective gasp from the ministers and a quick sign from the PM which made the robot gasp an electronic gasp.

The MIB started its investigation but things were about to get worse. Soon, the chocolate flavoured yaun-doms went missing from the machines. And then the news was leaked to the media. And then the banana flavoured ones went missing too.

The media houses did everything from organising panels to discuss the order in which flavours went missing to showing closeups of yaun-dom vending machines for hours as hinsanes (male insanes) cried bitterly holding the machines in their arms. As the king pondered over a proposal of installing hi-tech fly shaped, almost invisible 6755SONAM cameras on all the machines, media houses conducted audience polls to know the favourite flavous of the citizens.  Unsurprisingly, the result came in exactly the order in which the yaun-doms went missing.

pollfinal

[Others including lichi, pomegranate, butter scotch, vanilla etc]

Even after the cameras were installed and MIB worked full time on the case, flavours after flavours vanished from the machines. There was anger in the inhabitants of POL011 as they loved getting things for free and the King seemed simply incapable of providing them the simplest of such free pleasures. There were marches on the street where insanes dressed up as huge yaun-doms and burnt outdated robots dresses up as the King, PM and Madaam. The Po-lice was deployed who stunned the protestors (especially shinsanes (female insanes)) by touching them with their tasers at inappropriate places. The situation went quickly out of hand.

The PM finally addressed the POL. The robot stood behind him and passed on his message as the PM gestured.

Finally, the yaun-dom machines went empty and MIB searched fervently for an excuse for its incompetency. The MIB chief got a personalized slap from Madaam Pasta. The King launched a new scheme called YYHH (yaun-dom yaun-dom Hota Hai) where the citizens were given door to door service of their favourite flavours. A huge amount of currency was transferred from the SOD (Save Our Dearth) fund for this activity.

The flaw in the scheme was stark the very next year when the sale of balloons declined during the festival of la-colourina*. The king realised with horror that the insanes of POL011 wanted to collect free yaun-doms for an entirely different reason but it was too late to make any amendments. To recover the losses, Madaam Pasta gave a brilliant idea to increase the breathing tax.

*  *  *

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring POL92, the notorious gangster The-wood was laughing hysterically in the company of the King of POL92 and his ministers. POL92 was enemies with POL011 over a disputed area called POL011-0191.

“This was a brilliant idea. Who needs killing drones and bombs?” the King said.

“The-wood is a brilliant mastermind. Who would have thought of this,” one of the ministers said.

“Yes, they are already on the brink of a collapse, teaming like nanodrakes*. All we had to do was to give then a nudge. And no one believes in using yaun-doms in that POL. The idiots believe in the more the merrier,” The-wood said.

Later at his home, The-wood went to the store room and took almost half an hour to select a flavour to use that night, chuckling at his idea of using a teleporter on a robotic fly to steal the yaun-doms.

*Insaan – means human in Arabic. It is a commonly used word in Hindi

*yaun – Copulation

*nanodrakes – very similar to ants. They can copulate from both ends and hence indulge in chain-mating.

*la-colourina – A festival similar to Holi but played only with  balloons. In recent years, price of balloons have gone up in POL011, just like the price of petrol in India.

*klear 5690 – Similar to Earth years. On Dearth, a klear consists of 225 days. Each day is 12 hours long. Insanes work only for 3 hours a day.

The news that inspired this post – 10,000 condom machines missing, CAG finds

Its time I answer some questions

I have been mercilessly tagged and awarded in the last one year. Ok. I was awarded only twice and tagged twice but I like to think that it was merciless. Feels good. And its my bloody blog so I will define what merciless means here.

I ignored the tags and awards for a long time but I had a dream last night in which a Tag and an Award took human forms and tried to strangulate me. They were crying while doing so and thus awoke my conscience. I promised them that I will honor them and hence this post.

I will try not to bore you with my answers.

U.S. Pandey who blogs at One Grain Amongst The Storm gave me the Liebster Award and here are the Q & As –

Top 4 authors, or photographers, you love

Charles Dickens (The first novel I read was an abridged version of Oliver Twist that I won in a debate competition in class 6. I don’t think there is any novel by dear CD that I haven’t read)

Arthur Conan Doyle (Ah! They don’t make them like him anymore. The Hound of Baskervilles and The Sign of Four are my all time favorites)

Orhan Pamuk (There is something very grounded in the way he writes his incredible stories)

J.M Coetzee (The most gifted writers of our times. Read Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace and you will know what I mean)

Top 4 Movies

Ok. That is a crazy question. Anyways, my top 4 movies are – Spirited Away, Pan’s LabyrinthThe Shawshank RedemptionAmélie

Top 4 singers/albums

Kishore Kumar (For the sheer variety), Shreya Ghoshal (For the divine voice), Asha Bhosle (For those seductive punches), Mohammed Rafi (For melting my heart again and again)

What would you do if you were to be stopped from writing?

I will start painting.

Are you in favour of banning books?

God No! Adults write them and adults read them.

Are you in favour of capital punishment?

If we are absolutely sure that the person committed the crime, then Yes. If there is a 0.5% chance of his/her innocence, then No. You can’t bring back the dead.

Are you in favour of veils for women, as in hijab?

I am in favor of  religion not telling anyone what to wear.

Which is the best translated work (or works) you’ve read?

Night train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier

Moments you cherish.

My time spent in Manchester. It was the first time I realized that humans are capable of not littering the roads and piss on the walls and not honk and….I can go on and on.

Moments you’d rather forget.

One day I will gather the courage to write a blog post about it.

Is blogging for everyone?

No. Sustaining your creative streak is never easy.

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Tushar who blogs at My Life, My World gave me the same award as USP and here are the Q&As –

1. Why did you start blogging?

I was bored.

2. You are getting an all expenses paid trip for two to a place of your choice? Where will it be and with whom?

I need mountains around and loads of snow. Place doesn’t matter.

3. Dog or cat? And why?

Errr…none actually. I am not an animal person really. I like them though.

4. Half a million dollars for slogging for 6 months year or a week’s peace on the beaches of Bahamas?

Why is that even a question? 🙂

5. What is your deepest fear?

That one fine day, I will wake up to realize that I cannot get up from bed without anyone’s help. One day a nurse will take care of me while I lie on a bed.

6. How did you propose your girl/guy? Or how you plan to do so?

I am married and I didn’t propose. I just asked – So, what do you think? And she replied – Mm..Hm. And that was pretty much it.

7. One ‘Ctrl + Z’ moment of your life? Something you want to undo if you had a choice?

Loads of them. I have a fear that I will leave my zipper open one day. I will jump off a building if that happens.

8. Who is the most ‘marriage-able’ celebrity?

I don’t know. I don’t know any of them personally.

9. One thing that can take you to the ultimate heights of fame?

You mean people-trying-to-grope-me and tearing-off-my-clothes-in-public fame? I don’t want that.

10. Do you follow any sports, team, club or a person? Why this love started?

Hell no! I try not to follow anyone. I am not a stalker.

11. Did you like coming to this blog? And will you visit again?

Too personal! 😛

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Afshan who blogs at The Pensive tagged me a long time back. She gave me 25 questions. 25!!!! Afshan, I can’t answer your questions right now with honesty because I will be lying in most of them. I will pick your tag later when I can give truthful answers. Thank you for tagging me though.

I love this aura of suspense that I have created!

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Reema who blogs at My Random Thoughts tagged me in the Stone Age. Here are the Q&As –

1) Your most beautiful post.

Costa Chatter – Sita and Draupadi – I found this series satisfying mainly because I can go back and read it without cringing.

2) Your most popular post

My most popular post was I am with about 1,25,000 hits. God knows why!

3) Your most helpful post

They were How to shop with a lady and stay sane & Facebook photos uploading etiquettes

4) Your most controversial post

I won’t call it controversial per se but a lot of people did not like what I wrote here – Why SBI is the worst bank of India.

5) A post whose success surprised you

The Hitchhikers Guide To A Sane Life. I don’t know why it was so popular back then and why I wrote it.

6) A post that you thought did not get the attention it deserved

Traffic control gadgets for the ASIRW (Average Stupid Indian Road Warrior). I poured my heart and soul into it and came up with such innovative ideas and no one read them.

7) A post which you are most proud of

I liked the caption posts I did a long time back – Fear and Have you ever…

I would like to thank all those who read the post till the end and if you have scrolled down and this is the first line you are reading then you missed all the gossip from my personal life. Also, I am not tagging everyone because honestly I don’t think there is anyone left.

And for those who awarded me –

funny_award1

image from here.

A house in the photographs

I believe that our home is like our mind. It turns overwhelming after a while. Maybe because of passage of time or because of the limited capability of our brain to run in a thousand different directions, we end up stacking a lot of memories in boxes and forget them. Ditto for our home.

But then sometimes, while staring at a drifting cloud or a bird going home, there are memories that rush back, memories that we had long forgotten, memories that surprise us because they are still unknowingly breathing inside us. It is a breathtaking moment when you wonder if a particular memory was actually a dream.

And you ask yourself – Did it actually happen?

I shifted home two years back. It was a painful experience. I had spent 25 years of my life in that house. The house has been a silent spectator of the emotions that everyone living in the house went through – bliss, heartache, gloom, love, togetherness, separation, marriage and death. The house was a member of the family; it was where everyone returned, where everyone found each other.

While I packed my life to move to a new (and bigger) shelter, I stumbled upon memories stacked away and forgotten. I opened boxes to have a look into the piece of the past they contained and was transported back. There were tears in my eyes when I fell upon a shoebox full of my collection of post-cards of Bollywood actors and actresses. Like every other teenager, I was madly in love with them. There was a shop that was a ten minutes walk from my home where a kind, obese uncle sat with his kind, obese son as I rummaged through the postcards for my picks.

My family was not rich. My father was barely able to meet ends and so the importance of money was etched in my mind from childhood. But then I had hobbies. So, I collected every single rupee that was given to me. Every coin added to my piggybank was yet another step towards acquiring a postcard, towards buying a second-hand novel from the Sunday Daryaganj market, towards getting that cassette recorded with the latest Bollywood songs from the local music corner, towards buying the latest comic book of my favorite superhero, towards buying Filmfare and reading all that our stars had to say. There were times when I had to wait for days to accumulate sufficient amount to buy a dream but the wait was always worth it.

IMG_1754_filtered

My sister always wanted a Barbie – the new doll with wavy hair that had recently hit the market. She would look hungrily at the shiny dolls wearing glamorous clothes displayed in the windows of toy shops. Of course it was too expensive (Rs 100 a doll back then) and we could not afford it. The hair on her doll’s head was fewer in comparison and would come away after a few combs. I decided to make her happy. I took a nice, long needle and some spare wool (left from a hideous sweater that mom knitted for me) and started adding hair to her doll. I took off the head of the doll and pierced her head with the needle from inside. I then pulled it till the end of the wool and then snipped off the wool so that she now had a hair till her waist. I repeated it a hundred times and soon the doll had lush green woolen hair till her waist that my sister could comb to glory.

When my sister saw Aishwarya Rai become Miss India, she had a sudden urge to host a Miss World in our house. I again came to her rescue leaving my Hot Wheels cars and my plastic animals behind. I drew a lot of lovely women on paper wearing exquisite gowns and sashes of their countries. I then cut them and made them stand by pasting a thin cardboard strip near their legs. I made around 200 such drawings and gave them to my sister to play. She made all of them stand on a table and gave them a number and chose the next Miss World. Oh! How she loved it!

I found the lovely ladies in a box, lying on top of each other and smiling at me.

I found truckload of capacitors and resistors that my father used while repairing our old television. He had done a course in electronics and I would gawk at his notes with that immaculate writing and the complicated circuit diagrams. I found those notes.

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I found Mom’s old black and white fairy photograph. When I came across the bag containing all the pictures, I desperately searched for her photo in which she was wearing a black pahari dress. As a child, I used to think that she was a fairy whenever I looked at that picture. I promised myself that I will get it framed. I found dad’s photograph in which he looked like Rakesh Roshan.

I found my old sketch book about which I blogged here.

I found a card with the picture of a village belle in the front and a sher written inside by my father. I found his wooden miniature airplane.

I found my kindergarten report card.

It was a beautiful day. The boxes that I had stacked away in my mind and completely forgotten were magically opened one by one. As the memories tumbled out, I thought that moving the house wasn’t a bad idea after all. It was refreshing. It took me to another era. It made me realize how much I have changed. It humbled me. But there was a nagging guilt that I was leaving the house behind. And then I felt as if my old house was smiling at me.

“You are not leaving me behind. I am in all of those pictures. I am the wall behind you. I am the floor on which you stand. I am coming with you,” it said.

Sometimes I pass that house and look at it from my car. Someone else is living there now. It is a part of another family.

Does it still remember me?

10 Commandments of driving in the country of Uttar Pradesh

crocodileThe prosperous and vibrant country of Uttar Pradesh holds a special place in my heart. I am now officially a resident of this high on testosterone land. In such a short span of time, the Gun Ka Achaar, the poems of Ma Behen, the misty winters of cold shoulders and the daredevils on the pot-holed race tracks have taken my heart away.

The citizens of this country are a class apart. They work tirelessly towards bringing to life what the rest of the Indians consider unachievable. There are times when I have tears of happiness in my eyes while driving as I see everyone following the following 10 commandments of driving in this amazing country with such seriousness.

Thou Shalt driveth as in America

The citizens of this great nation realized long back that the fastest way to develop the country is to flip the way they drive. Driving in the wrong lane is not taboo here. In fact you will be amazed by the vehicles running in the wrong lanes. It gives you an instantaneous feeling that you are in America. It is a sign of progress. In fact any tourist who visits Uttar Pradesh immediately gets comfortable seeing the roads here after jumping from their hotel windows.

day-dream-while-driving-funny-quotesThou shalt smirketh at the followers of the substandard rules

Now smirking and making fun of people who try to apply the rules followed in India is considered a privileged activity in the country of Uttar Pradesh. Outsiders are advised not to take it negatively. You really have to understand the emotion of the citizens behind this act. Try to drive in the wrong lane for a resounding acceptance. In fact, educated and well placed Delhiites who buy posh flats in NCR here end up following the American rules of driving. It is a matter of pride.

Thou shalt honketh for brotherly prodding

The enthusiasm with which the citizens of this great nation drive might drive an outsider crazy. The honking is like a symphony that reaches a rhythmic crescendo especially near traffic signals. Try listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony while driving here and that might be the closet you will get to achieving nirvana. Honking is nothing more than brotherly prodding. It is a way to tell you that a bullet is always faster than the speed of your car.

Thou shalt achieveth orgasm jumping signals

The adventurous zeal with which the citizens here drive is commendable. It keeps the heart healthy as it keeps pumping at the rate of 150 bpm. It is a fantastic alternative to exercising in our busy lives. So, the next time you see UP-ites stopping at a signal not because it has turned red but because they are going to die otherwise, try to understand the smart logic behind it. Almost everyone (except a few sissies) in this great nation has a habit of jumping signals. Multiple jumps lead to multiple orgasms.

sign board 2Thou shalt haveth no fear of traffic cops

The traffic cops are a non-existent entity in this great country. After living here for a while, it is evident to me that the country really don’t need them. The citizens take great care of each other in all sort of road related issues. There is so much caring and sharing that people have rods, bats, fists, honks and swearwords ready in case of an emergency. On exceptional occasions, even if there is a traffic cop standing next to the lamp-post remotely trying to streamline the traffic, he is royally ignored. He is similar to the lamp-post, only less useful.

Thou shalt enjoyeth pot-holed racing tracks

No matter how badly damaged the road is, the citizens of this great nation never take it to heart. Mostly, the speed of their cars is so high that they fly over the potholes. The act is therapeutic in nature. The constant flights and occasional jolts rejuvenate the body. Also, the mind remains in an alert state when so many cars are racing in the same direction. It is very similar to a computer game where rickshaws, cows and pedestrians are added to attain higher difficulty levels. Sometimes potholes are filled with sand and a few days later you might see a plant sprout out in the middle of the road.

Thou shalt decorateth the roads in red

Where else in the world will you see such ardor in the citizen of a nation where they can achieve the frightening feat of opening the door of a moving vehicle to spit on the road? In fact the citizens are so hell-bent on decorating the roads and give the nation a colorful appearance that at any point of time, you can see multiple doors opening on a road and paan flying out. It is almost like a synchronized performance of children sitting in a stadium with colorful placards.

Sign boardThou shalt useth traffic signboards for personal use

Since the country has such compassionate citizens, it is not surprising that the traffic sign boards are used for the benefit of the common citizens and politicians. So, you can see a ‘BOYS PG’ poster right over a ‘NO PARKING’ sign board. There might be a colorful mega posters of politicians draped on overhead sign-boards on highways. It is heart warming to see people using government resources for the benefit of all.

Thou shalt stopth anywhere you fancy

The citizens of this amazing nation do not believe in parking areas. Outsiders might be surprised by cars parked at unimaginable angles and in no parking zones but it exhibits the adjusting nature of the citizens. There are auto-rikshaws parked at busy intersections while their drivers pull helpless pedestrians inside. They even pull in men watering the walls midway in the act of donation. These acts (the pulling ones) restore my faith in mankind.

Thou shalt be fearless

Of course, despite all the brotherly love the citizens shower at each other, there are terrible accidents almost every day on the roads. It is a very common sight here to see weirdly crushed vehicles. Over the years, the citizens have developed a heart of steel and carry on abiding to the 10 commandments with the zeal of a warrior. They are the true heroes of the nation of Uttar Pradesh.

And in the end, I promise to follow the 10 commandments with all my heart.

I am proud to be a part of the brainless brotherhood.

driving quotes

My other posts on the same topic that might interest you –

A country called Uttar Pradesh

Traffic control gadgets for the ASIRW (Average Stupid Indian Road Warrior)

[Images from 1,2,3,4]

10 Disadvantages of being a Male

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It is not easy being a man. Today when India is hit by a tsunami of Feminism, the men stand at crossroads. Should we jump in too and let go the flood of tears we have been holding since decades? We too have problems with the way the world and nature treats us. It is just that we bear our burdens in silence.

Here are the 10 biggest disadvantages of being a male.

No homemaking

There are times when we don’t feel like slogging. There are times when we are tired of wiping our boss’s spit from our face when he has finished shouting. We have to carry on the mundane task of being a cash machine. We are not even allowed to think about the alternative of letting our wives take that responsibility. How we wish to puff those pillows, dust those expensive showpiece, make dinner, raise our kids and be a perfect homemaker, but all those are distant dreams.

The Tennis Ball

Do you realize the kind of pressure we undergo when Momma and Mate pull us from both the ends? We are not allowed to sit and watch the tennis match between the two ladies because we are that ball. That ball, which is smacked violently and repeatedly in this never-ending match. We are supposed to take sides. Our eardrums hurt.

Road runner

There is always a war on the roads in India. A woman driver is given space and respect because everyone in her vicinity thinks that they will die otherwise. Men on the other hand have to jostle for each and every inch of a road amidst roaring honks and glaring swearwords. We are all Gladiators ready to beat the daylights out of each other.

Probably a rapist/child molester

We are at the end of our tethers trying to duck every woman and child out of our way. A slight brush of our hand on a woman’s skirt and we might be under a hailstorm of sandals. We might talk to a child with a smile and we might end up being pasted to the road by the his father’s SUV. Do you know how straining living like this is? We are a human bomb walking on needles. Of course there is the other end of the spectrum too, but they are more animals than men.

rugby-concussion-demotivational-posShares. Stocks. Bonds. Budget.

Men are supposed to act smart. Even if we believe that shares are sung in a Mushaira and Bonds is the name given to all the girls who bonded with James Bond, we are supposed to act like Harshad Mehta. We should follow the rise and fall of the stock market like a Bollywood actress’s bosoms in a dance number. The latest budget should be on our tips if we want some respect.

Under a lens. Always.

Ever since we open our eyes, we are under constant scrutiny. Our parents burden us with all their unfulfilled dreams as if we are a cargo ship. Then we spend the rest of our lives dodging our wives as they suspiciously go through our shirts for a whiff of an affair, our bosses as they take a smelly dump on our career and our children who start treating us as losers the moment they develop sex organs. When we are old, the nurse treats us as an unwanted cockroach that she is too scared to crush under her feet. Ditto for our children.

Sports Journal

Even though the only sport we are good at is the in-the-night-no-control types, we are supposed to have passionate knowledge about a sport, preferably cricket. God forbid if we confess that we are not interested in it or do not remember the color of the underwear Sachin wore in an unforgettable 1993 series, we will be immediately shunned like a woman carrying an illegitimate child. Knowing about Soccer, Baseball and Rugby is an added advantage. It is not easy to be a walking encyclopedia on sports when all you really like is burgers and breasts.

The rise and fall of Junior

The problem with junior is that it is like an alien entity attached between our legs. Like the Ring of the dark Lord, it has a will of its own. It sometimes rises with the Sun and refuses to subside. It refuses to rise and shine when it is actually required to because of performance issues. It rises at the most inappropriate of places and thus has to be covered up with whatever props we can muster – a book, a lost puppy, a bowl snatched from a beggar. Compare this to women – they might be aroused even in a funeral and not a single soul will know. They could be walking on the street, sitting in a bus or sleeping in a room full of guests and no one will ever point at a hill between their legs and laugh. Oh! The pleasure of that freedom!

Facade

Since childhood we are brainwashed into being a real man who don’t cry, who does not take but give emotional support and who can break a jaw at the drop of a hat. Basically we should be robotic providers who do not go beyond a Hmmm when our children run towards us screaming that they have been selected in IIT. It is taxing. We feel desperately like crying at times, we sometimes wish we could treat our children as friends, sit with our wives and pour our heart out but we can’t. We feel unmanly with the mere thought of it. Instead we get drunk and scream swearwords at strangers on roads.

Dispensable. Always.

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Yes! She could have saved him!

What boils our blood is that whenever a tragedy strikes or there is a war, we are the ones who are left to die. Women and children are the first ones to be saved. If time and situation permits, men are given a thought. Remember when the Titanic sank? Men were left on that sinking shit while women and children sat on lifeboats and saw the show. Rose had a whole goddamn wooden plank! Why are we always so dispensable? Just because we are in excess and selectively chosen over girls to live does not mean we don’t have a life and can be treated like a street dog.

So you see, it isn’t all that rosy for us men too. The world has been subjugating us in its own way. Nature have had it’s revenge too as we can’t even have pleasure at our own convenience. We are living in unbreakable molds like a Mummy and there is no escape.

[image from 1,2,3]

The Middle Finger Awards 2012

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Welcome to the Middle Finger Awards 2012 presented by Mashed Musings. The awards honors the best news makers of 2012 in various categories. We are committed to an unbiased and honest approach toward selecting the nominees and the winners. If you have any concerns about any of the winners not deserving his/her award, please keep it to yourself.
So, lets begin the ceremony.

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*Drum rolls. Trumpets Blaring*

Here is the first category :

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The Middle Finger Award for the Most Courageous act of 2012

And the nominees are :

Dr. Manmohan Singh – for gathering enough courage to address the nation 7 days after the protests and letting everyone know that he too is a father and there aren’t enough commandoes protecting his daughters. Theek hai?

Sheila Dixit – for having the courage to come to Jantar Mantar and lightening something that looked like a half burnt candle while the crowd booed her.

Anushka Sharma – for wearing a blue XXL vest in Kashmir for a Yash Chopra movie.

Delhi Police Chief, Neeraj Kumar – for his courageous act to save Delhi Police from further shame and twisting facts. Apparently, he hasn’t heard the story of the shepherd and the wolf.

Madhura Honey – for her courageous act of walking with the Indian team in Olympics opening ceremony in a red top and blue jeans looking completely out of place. Just like all those students in Student of the Year.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drum rolls* Manmohan Singh!!!! For his courageous bland as boiled pasta speech to pacify the nation.

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Our next category is :

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The Middle Finger Award for the Most limelight hungry Indian of 2012

The nominees are –

Abhijit Mukherjee – for the dented painted comment and letting Indians know that the President has a big mouthed son.

Kailash Vijayvargiya, Madhya Pradesh Minister – for talking about Laxman Rekha when he should have actually zipped it up.

Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP MLA, Rajasthan – for being disturbed by girls wearing skirts as he found it difficult to take his eyes off their legs.

Haryana Khaps – for leaving no stone unturned to be on national media and make us realize that humans haven’t completely evolved from apes.

Dharamvir Goyat, Haryana Congress member – for sharing his pearls of wisdom with us about 90% of rape cases being consensual.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drum rolls* the Haryana Khaps for their consistency in churning out drivel!!!

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Our next category is :

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The Middle Finger Award for The Best Blind Eye of 2012.

The nominees are –

Delhi Police – for using teargas, water cannons and Lathis on college students and women and then wondering why people threw stones at them.

BJP ministers in Karnataka – for turning a blind eye towards all the cameras pointed at them as they enjoyed porn in the assembly.

Indian Citizens – for craving for popcorn while they circled the rape victim lying naked, shivering and bleeding on the road.

Indian Politicians – for ignoring thousands of rape victims till waves of people came out on roads and threw stones.

Vijay Mallya – for donating 3 Kg gold to Tirupati temple while his employees went without salary for months.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drum rolls* the Indian Citizens for achieving the impossible of turning back the clock of human evolution.

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Lets move to the next category which is :

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The Middle Finger Award for the Most Confused Indian

The nominees are –

Pratibha Patil – for pardoning rapists and murderers and getting confused about her right to not to be a puppet who has to sign a pardon when asked.

Sushil Kumar Shinde – for confusing students with Maoists.

Arvind Kejriwal – for confusing the nation by jumping from one issue to another and giving everyone a terrible headache.

Saif Ali Khan – for his role in the movie Cocktail where he confused the audience in the first half into believing that he wasn’t playing an assho*e.

Delhi Police – for discussing confusing matters of jurisdiction as the rape victim and her friend lay on the road naked and bleeding.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drums roll* Pratibha Patil for letting loose deranged criminals on the society.

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The next category is :

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The Middle Finger Award for the most Dramatic Indian of 2012

And the nominees are –

Salman Khurshid – for his saas Bahu dialogues about replacing ink with blood if Arvind Kejriwal tried to enter his domain. No shit.

Robert Vadra – for collecting unmatched black wealth, mocking the nation and then getting away with it by saying something with a mango and banana in it.

Mamata Banerjee – for her histrionics by equating rapes to political conspiracies and asking profound questions like why men and women are allowed to mingle in our society.

Ponty brothers – for their swift and fortunate exit from the world.

Suresh Kalmadi – for having the nerve to express his desire to attend Olympics after being released on bail for the CWG scam.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drum rolls* Robert Vadra for his unmatched feat of taking the whole nation for a ride.

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The next category is :

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The Middle Finger Award of the most Senselessly Swift Indian of 2012

The nominees are –

Mumbai Police – for their swift response in arresting two girls for stating the truth on Facebook.

Delhi Police – for swiftly arresting 8 random men after a constable died in the protests and filing an FIR without any proof.

Akbaruddin Owaisi – for swiftly going underground in London after his arrest warrant was out in India.

Indian Government – for swiftly moving the rape victim to Singapore when it became apparent that she was not going to live.

The Dengue Mosquito – for swiftly taking away the king of romance, Yash Chopra in the blink of an eye.

And the Middle Finger goes to *drums roll* The Indian Government for acting in the nick of time to save themselves from the blame of the rape victim’s death.

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The Middle Finger Lifetime Achievement Award

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The  award goes to the man who held a whole city to ransom for years, who divided the country on the basis of the state in which you live and who wore sunglasses even in dark rooms – Shri Balasaheb Thackeray.

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That’s it for this year folks! We sincerely hope that the viewers enjoyed the awards ceremony and congratulations to the most deserving winners. We will be back next year with more fun filled categories!!!

[image from 12, 3]