R A N D O M: V

When nothing else works, random does. 🙂

I’m sure Random will inspire me to write good articles and new stories in the future. I had been blanking the ‘Stories’ section for too long now. Speaking about stories, yesterday a friend compared me to Chetan Bhagat first, and then to Jug Surraiyya (when I told him I’m interested in writing columns. Comparison with Jug was a BIG one though). In fact, in the last few months I have received quite a few compliments (so it seems) that I can be a Chetan Bhagat (I mean a writer like CB). I dont know if it is a compliment. I’m personally not a big fan of his (or his writings). I think his style of writing is very easy one. And I dont want to match it at all. Without being critical of him (since I dont like to criticise people in the creative field), I’m in fact trying to evolve a more complex and intriguing style, myself. Some thing that will keep the reader glued and guessing (Some one said Robert Ludlum, eh?). And apply the same style to my love stories. Ha! That makes some sense. (it is supposed to make a sense).

(Too many bracketed disclaimers)  🙂

Have you bought a house? I have. By no means I want to look down upon you, in case if you haven’t. In fact I would look up to you. At least you are saved of the ‘EMI ka Phera’. When 60% of your hard earned salary goes into paying House, Car, Education load EMIs and another 30% on household expenses and bills, that is when you realise how dreadful is the Phera. It is an absolute, humongous, capacitive, redundant force that stops you from doing almost every thing you want to. You cant just plunge into a business unless you have a contract in hand. Even if you have, you compare the earning with the value of the EMIs. You cant think of an alternate profession. You cant fight with your boss. (what if he fires you? Who’ll then pay the EMIs?). You get nightmares that recovery agents are banging your door. You cant think of any thing but that… You cant this… You cant that… You cant blah… You cant bloop… !!!

Waiiiiiiiit a minute!

Now I know why I’m not able to write good stories for last few weeks. Good that I have found out. The sinking feeling is going to sink now. I’m going to be right on it. Tell me, do you also face such randomness? Just splash some water on it and you’ll feel fresh. 🙂

I AM

(PS: Here ‘I’ is not equal to Mayur Pathak, but not too different either 🙂 )

Figure for me is being able to wear a ‘jeans’ without getting too cramped. I find Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor as sexy. And I think Dilip Kumar is a great actor.

I eat Burgers and Pizzas when in Mumbai or Delhi and vouch for Panipuri and Aloo ka Paratha when in New York and London.

I criticize the BMC and comment on why Mumbai can not be like Shanghai or Singapore without ever visiting any of the cities or for that matter, without even living in Mumbai.

I try to teach how to hit sixes and win matches to Sourav Ganguly and M.S. Dhoni when my own hard hit shot doesn’t even cross the compound wall.

I feel the cricketers have taken bribes every time they drop a catch, get dismissed or lose a match.

I idolise Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Chetan Bhagat and Raj Thackeray.

I like all songs by Pink Floyd, Madonna and Michael Jackson without knowing what genre of music they make or play. And I dance to them when in a discotheque. Though my dance moves are as if I’m dancing to a Punjabi Dhol.

I find movie tickets+popcorn+coke at 300 bucks as reasonable whereas Apples at 100 bucks a kilogram as costly.

“Kitne Aadmi the…” and “Tere Paas kya hai…” are still my most widely used filmy dialogues. But I hate Bollywood movies that fantasize too much. And yet, Star wars, Jurassic Park, Matrix and Terminator are my favourite movies.

I criticize every ruling party and always think the opposition would have done better, no matter who is in power.

I always think my boss is an Idiot and I can do a better job than him. But I never fail to flatter him, in order to get a good appraisal.

I obey traffic rules only when I see the traffic cop standing at the far end of the junction.

Being a spectator to a road side quarrel is a great fun to me.

I like writing and reading about myself.

I AM … an Indian!!!

Indians and Manners: Part II

Separate incidents-

  • I was on my way to office today morning and driving on the Ghod Bunder Road on the out skirts of Thane. I was about to overtake a bus when a polythene bag full of vomit (yuks!) was hurled out of one of the windows of that bus. It landed barely few feet in front of my wind screen. You know what would have happened if I was driving a little faster. Whoever threw it didn’t even bother to see if any one else was coming from behind. How’s that?
  • IBM, Oracle Financials, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, TCS, LRN and India Infoline. These are some of the companies, all top rated, who have their offices in the commercial premises where even I go for work. We have two common canteens in the complex situated side by side. One of them has a counter which sells cigarettes, pan masalas, gutkhas etc. Whenever you pass through that area, you will always find the cigarette buds and empty sachets littered around. The poor attendants have to clean up the garbage every now and then. Now if employees belonging to such high profile companies do not know how to behave, who else will?

The primary reason why we are still called an underdeveloped country despite having what it takes to rule the world is the attitude we have towards our own country. We complain about the apathy of the Municipal corporations and unhygienic conditions with the same ferocity with which we stomp on the  cigarette bud thrown on the road.

When will we learn?

What Does a Marathi Manoos Want?

… a question that goes unanswered in all the elections. From wherever and whenever the Thackerays started wooing the Marathi junta, I dont really remember one good initiative taken by any one to ask the real ‘Common Marathi Manoos’ as to what his real demands are.

In fact, in between the digging of the cricket pitches, the riotings and the banishing of the so called ‘Bhaiyyas’, the real cause of concern has been getting lost time and again. The situation is that now the real common ‘Marathi Manoos’ doesn’t know where to start and what does he really need from the innumerable political agendas being manifested and bulldozed on his own name. May be he has accepted the silent corrupt (read Congress) over the shouting bigots as his and Maharashtra’s saviour for a better future. Yes, Raj Thackeray has won 13 seats in Maharashtra. We have seen all the talking he did. May be we can see things improving on the ground level too. May be…

Anyway, I’m not spending too much time on who has done what and who wants to do more. I’m just addressing the plain question asked by a ‘common marathi manoos’ and I want you (YOU the reader) to answer it for me.

PS: In my opinion, all a Marathi Manoos wants is better opportunities for him, better living conditions in his own motherland, greater financial stability and peaceful dwelling. And of course he doesn’t like some one else dominating his life. But I’m sure he doesn’t care who sits next to him in his office, whether a Gujarathi or a Bihari.

The Enemy Within

Movies continue to inspire me to write some thing. I watched the movie ‘Shaurya‘ over the weekend. Although I knew the movie was inspired from ‘A few good men‘ , it is a good watch none the less. It is a story of an Army lawyer (Siddharth Choudhary played by Rahul Bose) defending a soldier (Captain Javed Khan played by Deepak Dobriyal) against a charge for culpable homicide. Javed has killed his senior officer and is charged with a murder and links to terrorist organisations. Javed actually is a victim of racism and hatred. He is targeted because he is a Muslim.

Kay Kay Menon, who plays Brig. Pratap, has very efficiently echoed the hatred most of us have against the people who are always credited for spreading terrorism. He (as in his character in the movie) has lost his family to a conspiracy by his house help, who happened to be a Muslim. This is very identical to some one who has lost a member in the innumerable terrorist attacks in India and abroad. We dislike an Ahmed or a Khan because some other Ahmed was one of the accused in a bomb blast case. There are many other names. So we end up hating every one who is a Muslim. Dont we ignore that the ‘good Muslims’ are equally troubled? More blasts and attacks occur in Pakistan these days.

It is not about one particular caste. I think we are pretty damn selfish when it comes to hating or demeaning a race, caste or a religion. As a Marathi, I have seen fellow Maharashtrians making fun of Gujrathis, Sindhis, Punjabis, Biharis… and I have seen the others making fun of each other just as we do. It is nice as long as done in good faith. But you never know when the fun gets transformed into hatred.

Now coming back to the point of selfishness in hating some one. Consider this, a Marathi will hate a Bihari for spoiling Mumbai, but will cheer loud when Dhoni and Tendulkar are playing together for India. They wouldn’t mind a Dhoni or a Sehwag leading a Dravid or a Agarkar. We fight amongst us as states, but come together for a national cause. So a Marathi or a Gujju will become a Hindu and will despise a Muslim because a Muslim terrorist was caught blasting bombs. So all the Marathis and Gujjus and Punjabis will stick together and you will have a 1993 Mumbai riot or 2002 Godhra riots. Despite this, Hindus and Muslims will come together to fight for India. This has happened in the past during the freedom struggle. Hindus and Muslims wanted to drive the Britishers out of the country together. So both hated the British. But they still helped them in World War II against Germany and Japan. Why? Known enemy was better than an unknown friend. India also has had political conflicts with fellow Asian countries such as China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia… However when you look at the immigrants in Australia, UK and US, the Asian populations sticks together for their rights (Although we Indians are still known as ‘Indians’.) So they try to ward off the racist attacks in Australia together. And I’m sure we all will stick with each other if an alien planet declares a war on earth   🙂

So if we indeed have a ‘Earth Army’ to fight, say Mars, who amongst these soldiers will be a Marathi? A Punjabi? A Muslim? A British? An Australian? I think it is stupid to hate people. It is you yourself who have proved time and again that you can compromise your dislike for the ‘other caste’ on more than one occasions. So why still detest it? Your enemy is not on the roads… the enemy is within you. Why live on premonitions? Forgive and forget. Live and let live. Kill the hatred and half your problems are already solved.

“Courage is not in killing 100 enemies and standing like a brave soldier. Courage is in recognising the truth, adhering it and standing by the last word of it.”

For Frodo and Sam, Merry, Pippin and the Shire

lord-of-the-ringsLord of the Rings is my favorite movie… one of the favorites you can say. Its a story of a powerful ring wielded by Lord Sauron, the ultimate evil lord, and the ring bearer Frodo who is set on a mission to destroy it once and for all. It is Frodo and his friends quest against all odds that are destroying the world of men and the very factors that contribute their growth and existence… thats the environment.

I dont know if Prof JRR Tolkein thought of writing an epic story to teach us all a lesson to protect ourselves from the evil in and around us. But I can surely take a cue from the movie. Look at what Sauron and Saruman’s on today’s world are doing. There is enough evil around us. That includes the elements contributing to the pollution. The movie shows the evil lords cutting trees, destroying human life, blocking rivers, killing animals, eliminating races and warming every thing. Aren’t we, the evil ones today doing the same? Global warming is at its alarming rise. The silicon is polluting our office spaces. The air conditioners are destroying our resistance and the air outside our office or home is destroying our respiratory systems.

green_treesWe know the environment protects us, breeds us and feeds us. But minds of men are so easily corrupted. There is evil that wants us to resort to unfair means, to corrupt and be corrupt. We know what is good and whats is not. But we are lured by the riches of the unfair and we forget what is rightful. All that is here and foul can still be undone. Before that it is important to destroy the evil within.

Be very environmental friendly. Try staying out of corruption. Make a conscious effort to reduce all kinds of pollution. Plant at least one tree a month. Save trees… Save the middle earth.

Bon Appetit

paneer-chilliI’m just back from lunch. I had gone out to a nearby restaurant. Since this is a busy area and there is a dearth of good restaurants  around, naturally the ones here are in demand irrespective of the taste. So I had to share a table with another guy. I found he had an extraordinary appetite!

When I joined him on the table, he was feasting on a fried masala papad. From the look of the plate I guessed it that it was probably papad numnber 2. While I placed my order for a Pav Bhaji, the waiter served him a bowl  of some chinese soup along with half a bowl of fried noodles. That followed with a Paneer Chilli and two (yes two) butter naans. Even before he could finish all that (and I could gasp through the Pav Bhaji and the only extra pav I ordered) the waiter served him some thick shake. And I had no two guesses if he hadn’t ordered rice as well.

I some how pushed the additional pav and left the restaurant. I wish I could have that sort of an appetite. 🙂

Scary Picture

I saw thie movie ‘Eagle Eye‘ over the weekend. While it was just a movie, it scared me a bit. The movie makes an attempt to show the invasion of technology in our private lives and lets us know how vulnerable we already are. I dont think any thing I have done so far, except what is there in my mind is private. Google Chrome proved me right yesterday.

Fed up of the new ‘slow’ version of Firefox, I decided to try out Chrome. Whn I was done with installation, just before starting up Google threw me a question. It was asking me if they could store my browsing history with them and use it for analysis and study purpose. I instantly clicked ‘Nah!’ Why would Google want to know what I browse? Of course for the Ad Sense, Ad Words, for future improvements of Chrome… as a Google fan you will answer this. But what for? And what is the surity that Google will still not store my browsing history? I think I have already exposed all my passwords and other details about so many things linked online to a web browser (May it be IE, FF, Chrome, Opera…). And it is not just about Google alone.

We were already captured on innumerable CCTV cameras around our world. The bank websites already know all about you, your history, your family, your possesions. Face book knows all about your friends. Linkedin knows all about your business contacts. WordPress knows all about you blog. Visa knows all your credit dealings… and your bank records. And the insurance company knows every thing about your family. What if you were caught nude on a CCTV camera in a changing room and it has come back to haunt you now after 10 years? What if some one hacked your browser and siphoned the money out? What if the entire data was being stored in a big storage space and your life is being monitored day in and day out?

The picture is scary and we cant do any thing about it.  :mrgreen:

Surviving Truth

“Sach ye hai bekaar humein gham hota hai… Jo chaha tha, duniya mein kam hota hai.” are the words of a popular Ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh.

That probably echoes the reality today. What we think, it hardly happens. It is not that the truth exists or that the truth is troublesome… it is our inability to take it in ‘as is’ form and live with it. After all, truth is not so good every time. How many of you can actually digest the fact that the person you loved unfortunately got married to some one else and is getting laid every night by a person you would love to hate till eternity? Do you actually say ‘how nice’ where (s)he says his/her spouse is very romantic? No! You just smile and say WTF to yourself. You wish you had better luck. But you didn’t and thats the god damn truth. What you do is probably just move on.

Its not just about this example (I probably quoted the one that will hit one of the the hardest). Truth is always difficult to accept and then to survive after you have accepted. A lie, for that matter, is very easily digested. Ask yourself how many times you have spoken the truth when you could have lied and easily got away. Most of you might answer audaciously say you spoke truth every or rather most of the times. I’d say this is one of the times when you didn’t. Fooling one self, in my opinion, is very easy. In the entire life we keep walking on the brink of the thin line between the true world and the false world. And it is very difficult to tell when we have crossed the line. Take for an example, we dont know what we are. Meaning, we are not aware of our own true potential. So we might be under confident and think we are no good. Or we might think the opposite. So most of the times we are portraying a false image of ourselves in front of the world. Afterall haven’t you seen a shabbily dressed voluptuous woman thinking she is one great xxx bomb around? The problem lies within us. We are oblivious to what we are and what the world around us is. Being a normal human being, we are bound to do it. But what if we all start accepting the truth as is? Will we lead a good life?

I’m happy with my life and that is indeed a truth. But if you ask me, my truth is a life I wanted to live on my own terms. So that I never have to speak a lie or accept a lie. But I know it is a, well… may be another truth. Can life give me one day to chug all my bound and live like a free bird? just one day!

How to define freedom?

I seriously want to know how do you define freedom. India’s 62nd independance day is just around the corner. We take all the pride in the world to celebrate it and boast the fact that we are free. But what do you exactly mean by free?

Is smoking on the road, spitting on the compound walls and cursing the Municipal corporation for not doing its duties called as freedom?

Is voting for the relatively less corrupt self proclaimed leader means freedom?

Is sweating it out day and night just to clear the GRE and flee to US for a better living called freedom?

Is outraging some body’s modesty in public called freedom?

Kicking out the so called outsiders from your city and being a falsified self proclaimed guardian of the culture called freedom?

Guys, if you are reading this… please do not just pass away. Take 2 minutes of your time in writing a comment. Please define freedom for me. I want to feel free.