Monday, May 10, 2010

Who am I?

You are sometimes defined by what you do. Sometimes by who you are with. Sometimes by who is with you. Sometimes by what you have been. When you don't have an answer to any of them, the mind calls for an identity. And the heart joins in the tirade.

Who am I? What is my identity? I search for an answer. But I cannot find one. A little surprising considering that I have always thought of myself as someone who comes to answers by logical conclusions. And then I dig deeper, and realize why I could not find my answer. There is no answer.

My identity right now is a clash of personalities inside me, if you will. One that says that to be successful, you gotta start young. To another that says you gotta live your younger years with all its color and vigor. A personality which says work is all that defines a man, to another that says work is just a means to an end, an end in itself. And I am right in the middle of all of this, trying to find my way. To make my identity. I don't have one. Logical conclusion.

Life surely has come a long way. I used to be good with words; I still am, but mostly in writing. When I can gather all my thoughts and punch them in rapidly, in solitude, before they desert me. The vocal skills are gone, for lack of someone to talk to. The big bright eyes have given way to eyes tired and sleepy with hours of staring at the Macbook. The fit and lean body has been replaced by occasional layers of fat, from hours of sitting on ergonomic chairs. The body bursting with positive energy that not only pushed me but excited others around me to go out and explore is now a body that needs to be inspired. The excitement of going places has given way to dread, of losing out valuable time that could be better spent on work.

But not all is lost. It is easy to think so when everything seems so far apart, but there are flashes. Of hope. Of friendship. Of love. Of good work. Of good satisfying work, that can one day define who you are. It is often through the dreary haze they call alcohol. The liquid that burns your throat, fucks your stomach and throbs your head the next morning. But you need something to to hold on to, to give you company, to calm your nerves and to fuel your body. Through the dreary haze, the silence has been carving out a clearer head. The loneliness has been feeding a stronger heart. The war of personalities trying to define an identity inside me has given a purpose to actually create one.

It is just a phase, and it shall pass. The loneliness and the confusion will give way to a clearer head and steelier resolve. I will define my identity, my mind says. And the heart joins in.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Life changes. Life changes every couple of months. Or so you think till you are 27, married and your wife is pregnant with what you want to be a boy so that he can take care of you when you are old and unable to take care of yourself. Sorry for the long sentence, but you get the hang of it, don't you? But that's beside the point, as always. Let's get to the point.

I have grown up as I hinted in my last post. I have gotten out of college and gotten into work. I have gotten out of one relationship and gotten into another.....NOT. Now that could be because my charm muscles are aging. Or some other parts of my body. Or that I live in a shoddy part of Kolkata and there is nothing particularly exciting about the route I cover daily from home to work and back again. Or that I am too busy to even bother about it? (eh, do you say?).

Whatever part of that might be true or not, but at least this is true -- I am now bonded. By time. Bonded. By sub-ordinates. Bonded. By internal deadlines. Bonded. By the soul-fucking software world where everything is 1-0-0-1-1-0-1.

Yes, the spontaneity has gone out of my life. I am not the master of my own time. I can't eat at my own will. I can't drink at my own will. I can't piss at my own will. I can't sleep at my own will (that needed some luck all the time anyway). This sucks. You should be the master of your own will.

Yes I watched 3 Idiots today that I must say is one hell of an inspirational movie (not more than the book, but then more people can relate to it). Without boasting, this is something I have believed in and talked about even before the book or the movie came out. So yes, give me some brownie points and brownies for it.

So here's my point finally: Live everyday of your life as if it is your last day on Earth. Don't live your life for someone else. Live it for yourself. Live it for what you want to be -- not what your mom, dad, uncle, aunt, brother, in-laws, neighbors, dogs, milkman want you to be. Live it for what will make for a proud story to your grand children. Live it for what will make you happy on your death bed when you are counting to your last breath. Live it for all that it's worth!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You know you have grown up when….

I am gonna pass out of college in 2 months. This is the phase when you start getting nostalgic about things you weren't so crazy about in the first place. So these were the best four years of my life – see what I meant by the earlier sentence; when I actually had to go to college and write exams, I couldn’t wait for engineering to end. But anyway, all of that is beside the point. 

So what is the point exactly? Yes, that’s one thing which is always difficult to make out when I am writing. I normally start writing a post without anything concrete in mind and then just carry on with the flow and then at the end, I see where I have reached and accordingly give it a title. It works fine for me that way. Anyway, that is beside the point too. 

So what is the point exactly? Okay, now that’s 2 paragraphs in a row which start and end the same way, which is not good. So now I will get to the point – I have grown up. I have grown up and matured. One keeps growing up all the time, so how do you know when you have “grown up” grown up? Well…

You know you have grown up when:

  1. You have more chest hair (We are only talking about the Indian male species here)
  2. 1999 seems like the time when you were young and foolish – and now you are young no more.
  3.  You know WWE is not actually real, so you shouldn’t really try it at home.
  4. Some of your childhood friends are planning to get married, some are married and some have a kid named Sonu.
  5. You don’t have to know about every new Facebook application that comes out.
  6. You don’t watch a 3 hour movie for a 2-minute bikini scene in somewhere. You just download the bikini clip and watch it – many times over.
  7. Quite a number of your drunken conversations end with - “That’s life”.
  8. You start expressing concern about the bleak future of the country, now that you are a part of it.
  9. Your idea of a nice Sunday is good food and good sleep (and good sex if you can get some).
  10. Your email address isn’t a random mix of “hot”, “kool” and “dude” anymore. Instead it simply is your first name followed by your last name.
  11. You have more money to spend, but a responsibility to earn it too.
  12. You don’t try and break every law that there is in the book. There are some you respect, some you dispute, some you fear and some you live with.
  13. You watch Aaj Tak instead of Cartoon Network for a good laugh.
  14. You put your ass down on a big black chair and write this on a Saturday night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A tribute to Bollywood

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you the truth - this is not a tribute to Bollywood. It's actually the opposite, a 'dis-tribute' to Bollywood as I would like to call it, for lack of a better word or more precisely, my lack of knowledge of one.

Bollywood has been seeking inspiration from Hollywood since eras long gone by. Stunts have been inspired, dialogues have been inspired, entire scenes have been inspired, names have been inspired (remember Fight Club: Members Only) and most frequently, entire movies have been inspired. 

Here's the Bollywood-Hollywood relationship from a different take. What if some of the Hollywood movies were made in Hindi with their names translated literally? Well, here's what we would get:
  • The GodFather - Bhagwan Papa
  • Psycho - Paagal
  • Rear Window - Peeche ki Khidki
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Anguthi ka bhagwan: Raja waapas aa raha hain
  • One flew over the cuckoo's nest - Ek Koyal ke ghosla ke upar se ud gaya
The list could have gone on and on. In fact, all of what I had to do was open up the IMDB Top 250 movie list and one in every 7 movies made it to the list. As for the other 6, some of them were too long (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb), som too short (Wall-E), some Chinese movies, some I couldn't understand how to interpret (The Departed) and some which you wouldn't have understood after I used the Hindi word as suggested by Word AnyWhere (Google's first result for English to Hindi translator).

And if you think the above list is funny, the actual names given to the Hollywood movies when dubbed in Hindi are no less. The best example of this that I can remember is Tomb Raider becoming Sherni No. 1. And Slumdog Millionaire becomes Slumdog Crorepati - what about the Slumdog part of things? I know it's a little difficult to translate that but then how about coming up with an entirely different name for it as is the norm? How about "Jamal ka Kamaal"? (For those who haven't seen the movie, Jamal is the name of the lead character in the movie)

Before I round up the post, let me do some justice to the title of the post. And how? Let's re-vist the legendary "Gandhiji ki dhoti mein" game. This game is a part of growing up of every Indian guy, and the girls who happen to be around them while the game is being played. For those of you who don't know about the game and think of me as a sick, perverted and repulsive bastard, well the game is exactly what you think it is - Think of a Bollywood movie name and then prefix "Gandhiji ki dhoti mein" to that and say it aloud. After years of playing the game as a teenager and loving Bollywood for it, here's revisiting the best of it as a 20-something:
  • Kaante
  • Hungama
  • Sholay
  • Zanjeer
  • Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag
  • Andaaz Apna Apna
  • Golmaal
  • Main Hoon Na
  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
  • Heroes
  • Dhoom
  • Aaja Nachle
  • Bhool Bhulaiya
  • Darna Zaroori Hai
  • Halla Bol
  • Jab We Met
  • Mere Baap Pehle Aap
  • No Smoking
  • Shoot on Sight
  • Ugly aur Pagli
  • Phoonk
  • Mere Do Anmol Ratan
Gandhiji ki dhoti mein Bend It Like Beckham, anyone?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A random assortment of facts

My mind works randomly. It hits a note, stays put for some time and just when that note is about to peak, it hits another note. I know it's a weird analogy to draw but then weird things can be explained only using other weird things, or else they would sound just like a I-woke-up-at-10-in-the-morning-and-went-to-the-toilet-and-took-a-long-piss kind of thing. Anyways, so I told you that my mind works randomly. And when it's working randomly, it works really fast. It is the closest I can come to the multi-tasking performed by modern operating systems and the fairer sex.

I am talking rather randomly, am I not? So let's cut things short and let me do what I do best - split incoherent text into cohesive pieces of text and give you....ahhhaa....bulleted text. So, these are the latest notes that my mind hit and my fingers took down in the GMail Drafts folder (I don't trust my hard disk when it comes to my "funny" blog entries):

  • When was the last time you tuned into a news channel and they weren't airing "Breaking News"....can't remember right? It's pretty much like the last hot chick you saw on Roadies whom Raghu didn't ask to dance (aka "Entertain something....can you dance? Music please" - with a big smile and expectant eyes).

  • Ever thought of why so many children have been ending up in trenches and ditches ever after the Prince incident? That incident took the entire nation by storm with everybody anybody knew following the rescue operation as if they were following the stock market after the Satyam fiasco. But after that happened, I can distinctly remember atleast 3-4 more of the same incidents happening, government coughing up compensatory sums everytime when the media blamed them for leaving the trenches open and yup it's "Breaking News" everytime.

  • When was the last time you logged into or for that matter and you don't remember seeing a "The Hottest Bollywood Babes" link floating around somewhere on the homepage? And if you happen to click on the link, which you would if you happen to be sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do, it will be the same old collection of Mallika Sherawat, Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra and Gul Panag (she looks like a Goddess after the Maxim Metamorphosis though) with the same old saucy chessy text written all over. Is it that our country doesn't generate enough news (which is highly improbable having a country of a billion and more and a proportional number of Sa-Re-Ga-Ma type shows - "Himesh ko gussa kyon aata hain" - a full 6 mins, 37 seconds coverage on you-know-which-channel showing how Himesh got into an argument with one of the co-judges) or is that in India, no matter what sells and what doesn't, sex forever will (after all we are from the land of Kamasutra, so the legacy has to continue).

  • How low would the self esteem of call center guys be? I mean, first of all they have to put on accents and change names, so Sudhanshu becomes Sam and Annapoorna becomes Anna, which basically means they are faking identities and .... oh no I forgot I was talking only about call centers, so they are only faking identities; keep awake when the rest of the populace around them is sleeeping and then listen to absuses when it's not even their fault - it must have been some sleepy-eyed programmer who might have said to a co-programmer at 1 in the night when the coffee machine wasn't working - "Let's forget this bug. Let's just forget that it even exists. I mean, those 250 call center guys shouldn't be paid for doing nothing and that too when their coffee machines and stress balls are all working fine. And what do you think we could put in the new version anyway?"

    No offence to you call center guys, I would still much rather talk to you than have the following conversation, say when I want to know my tariff rates:

    Me: Hello, hello, haalllo..
    Automated voice replies: Hello and welcome to BadaFone...BadaFone mein aapka swaagat hain...Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Hindi...
    I press 1 because hearing an automated voice talk in Hindi kind of reminds me of the Ramsay brothers
    Automated voice: Press 1 if you want to know your account balance...Press 2 to recharge your account...Press 3 to know more about our value-added plans...Press 4 to know more about our roaming facilities....Press 5 to ....Press 8 to....
    I am still waiting for some option that could be useful to me....There is a pause at the other end...I am waiting to hear "Press 9 to talk to our support department"....
    Automated voice (starts all over again with the menu options): Press 1 if you want to know your account balance...Press 2 to recharge your account...Press 3 to know...Press 5 to...Press 8 to...
    Me (talking aloud to the automated voice): I would much rather press my balls and talk to someone.
    Automated voice: Invalid option...please listen carefully and then enter your choice...Press 1 if you want to...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mark Twain, Rodney Dangerfield and Mahatma Baba

It's been 3 and a half months since I last wrote anything. Well, I have been....busy. Anyway, here I am back again to writing but since I am all rusty, this is what I will do - throw in some Mark Twain one-liners followed by my favourite Rod Dangerfield one-liner followed by my own sporadically written pieces of what I thought was funny.

Mark Twain:
  • The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
  • It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
  • The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
  • Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
  • I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Rodney Dangerfield - my favourite

I don't get no respect. I played hide-and-seek, and they wouldn't even look for me.

Mahatma Baba

  • - "I came, I saw, I conquered" - Julius Caesar - to succinctly describe one of his victories
    "I saw, I conquered, I came" - Mahatma Baba - to add to the list
  • There's no such thing as a free lunch unless you look good in a tight skirt.
  • To err is human, to err again is Bengali.
  • Everything that blinks is not an indicator
  • How does a lawyer change the case he's working with?
    He presses Caps Lock
  • Heard about Chetan Bhagat's "The 3 biggest mistakes of my life"...well reading it was my biggest mistake
  • What will happen if India is chasing 324 in a day-night match against Australia?
    All out and good night
  • What do you call a tubelight which takes 10 mins to get lit?
    A tubelight.

P.S. I haven'd added too many of Rod Dangerfield's one-liners, even though each one of them betters the other, to prevent my own list from loosing any sheen - it's not like I am comically challenged or anything but it takes a lot of effort to write succinct pieces of text, put everything into context and be articulate and funny at the same time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"I always knew he could do it"

"Just before he was boarding the plane, I met him and by the look in his eyes, I knew he would do it"...these would be the words of "experts" when on TV commenting on the performance of our Olympics heroes. When anyone succeeds on a global stage, everybody wants a piece of the cake.

Numerous IOA officials will now jump to the occasion and talk about how they had hand-picked Abhinav Bindra when he was young or saw the fire in Vijender Kumar's eyes and recommended him to some sports authority. News channels and websites will go even a step further and talk about what they had for breakfast before the medal-winning effort, talk about the first girl they kissed and whether they used their tongue, pick out photos from their family albums in which our beloved medallists would be wearing shorts and sporting half-grown moustaches, and even go to the Great Khali for his opinion on the same. Little known or outgrown celebs like Priyanka Kothari and Manisha Koirala (pardon me if any of them got their spellings changed after going to numerologists and realizing that their names add up to 9 which is an unlucky number) will try to cash in by saying: "I have a crush on Viju". Just formed bands like "The Street Rockers" (its a fictitious name - please do not try googling it) will come up with songs like "Olympics Conquered". Their school principals will talk about how they instill discipline in school from a young age and teach their students the value of sports and of all-round growth when in fact, they might not even be having a proper cricket cum football cum kho kho cum kabaddi cum "Stand outside in the sun for the whole day" field.

State governments will announce cash awards one after the other - "Madhya Pradesh government announces a cash prize of 5 lakhs for Sushil Kumar", stadiums will be renamed after them - "Patna Indoor Stadium to be renamed after Abhinav Bindra", free lifetime railway and air passes will be given to them, PhDs will be conferred on them (it might happen you never know), their coaches will be felicitated, their parents will be made members of some really prestigious societies, their uncles, aunts, grandparents, girlfriends, first cousins, dhobis, milkmen, pet dogs everyone will be honoured in one way or the other. Endless endorsements will follow: Insurance companies - "Having insurance made me forget all my worries and focus on my aim", soft drinks - "I had a drink just before the match which kept me refreshed throughout", biscuits - "It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to become a true champion", mosquito coils - "It allowed me to have a good night's sleep before the big day", condoms - "I always play safe" etc etc.

I have nothing against the Olympics heroes - I respect them from the bottom of my heart for their glorious achievements. They make me feel really patriotic. They have brought honour and glory to the country and they should be given their dues for it. But my question is - why all of this only after they became heroes? Why did none of the state goverments put in so much money to build any kind of infrastructure for the sport which they so swear by now? Why did none of the IOA officials talk about Bindra's golden eye or Vijender's speed or Sushil Kumar's tiger prowess when they were embarking on their Olympic journey? A word of encouragement then would have meant a lot more than all the "I knew he could do it" lines now. All that said and done, the Olympic heroes with all the money and power in their hands now should try and build their sport - ask for better infrastructure, support budding youngsters and spread the sport. All in all, they should let the sport bask in their glory, not the state governments or IOA officials.