Stop Clicking Pictures All The Time


Phir se cake khilao. Photo acchi nahi aayi.

The above statement sums up the 21st century. I was at this family event a few days back. It was my cousin’s birthday. A grand party was thrown for all family members by my aunt in order to show off her wealth — because why not? It’s a common practice in India to throw a grand party for minor occasions to subtly notify everyone about all the arrogance that is being earned in form of money. This was one such event and as much as I hated attending it, I wholeheartedly loved observing it.

Essentially, the birthday party was just a mask to cover up the main event i.e. taking photos till the batteries die. First, 25 photos of the cake were taken from 12 different mobile phones. Then, the cake was nicely cut into portions for everyone to hold each piece near the kid’s mouth for about 15 minutes until the perfect photo was clicked. Retakes and re-retakes were taken until the ego of the person holding that piece of cake was satisfied by the way he/she looked in the photo. Once everyone was done with their photo session, after about 30 minutes, the cake was simultaneously fed to the kid and smashed on her face by her cousins for reasons everyone (including the inventor of cake) is unaware of. The only time I can understand smashing cake on everyone’s face is when the cake is shitty or the person is.

Anyway, everyone participated in this big fat photo session, from my cousin’s grandmother to my cousin herself. I lost my shit when the grandma requested my cousin to put cake on her face again because no picture was clicked the first time around. And guess what, the kid complied. After having dinner, they even went through all the photographs that they clicked an hour back, but let’s not get into that.

This wasn’t the first such event I’ve witnessed — where the entire affair is rigged up just to take photographs. Be it my friend’s wedding last year, his kid’s birthday, his kid’s first day in school or the first time he shat his pants. In some of these events, apart from the whole family clicking the photographs themselves from their expensive phones, they hire professional photographers too who come with their professional cameras and professionally ask people to put the tilak once again because they didn’t get it right the first fucking time. Everyone is busy “capturing memories” so that they can “relive” them. Relive, heh! To relive, you gotta live first. Also, my grandma is 88, she doesn’t have time to live. Why the fuck would she want to relive anything?

And no, sometimes it doesn’t stop here. These assholes then go to their respective social network profiles and upload the whole album of them posing like Baba Ramdev with different people. And they keep uploading them to stay relevant in a circle which can’t give more than zero fucks about them. Yes, throwback Thursdays I am talking to you. And no girl, that wasn’t a candid picture. I saw your boyfriend clicking 150 pictures of you to produce that one supposedly perfect “candid” shot.

It’s funny how most of the memories of our lives depend on a small piece of plastic. If there were no cameras, I bet it would’ve been difficult recognizing ourselves in our childhood pictures… because there wouldn’t have been any childhood pictures. If we think about it, we have invented certain things so that our minds don’t have to remember shit. No memories of your past? Invent a camera. Can’t remember data? Invent a computer. Can’t remember meetings? Invent reminders. Can’t calculate? Well don’t worry dear mind, calculators are there. And thus, our minds started getting less occupied. And what do you do when you don’t have anything in your mind? You invent. You invent more useless shit to comfort yourself.

For a fact, my family never had a camera. We never bothered to buy one. There are no pictures of me showing my small penis. I don’t have a reason to get embarrassed. There are no pictures of my parents having fun with my sister and me. We don’t have those big albums, which people tend to open whenever they start reminiscing about their childhood. We don’t have any properly framed pictures of ourselves hanging in our old house. You might find thousands of pictures of gods, but you can’t find a single one of us on our walls. And what’s the point anyway? You aren’t going to forget who you are or who your sister was or who your parents are! I don’t think we really need a camera. I mean we do remember stuff. If we can’t, then the stuff was probably not worth remembering. It’s not fucking necessary to remember every goddamn good thing that has happened in your life. The whole production of smiling and crying and smiling again after seeing the old photographs seems ridiculous to me.

I might never buy a camera. I don’t want to capture my kids’ childhood. I don’t want to cry looking at the photographs when they go away to study or earn. I don’t want that shit. I don’t give a fuck about what toys my girl played with when she was small. And I bet on my life, she wouldn’t give a fuck either when she’s 20. Capturing a picture of your girl playing with her toys and reminding her 20 years later about how you cared about her says a lot about you. Well, I certainly won’t need validation from my kids. And what if my kid is ugly? She surely won’t need a thousand pictures to remind her of that fact. No, I am not being mean. I am just being rational.

Funny how in the process of capturing memories, we are forgetting to make some. There is nothing sadder than the sight of a couple enjoying the sunset in front of their cameras. There is nothing stupider than the sight of a group of friends on a hill getting killed while clicking a selfie. There is nothing special about anything you see in pictures. Whatever there is, it’s out there. It’s not in your camera.

First published on Huffington Post.

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Bob Dylan To Write A Fictional Novel


Bob Dylan is all set to publish his first fictional novel to prove to the purists of Social Media that he deserves the Nobel Prize. On 13th October 2016, when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for having created new poetic expressions all around the world, the Social Media warriors seemed to have an issue or two with this news and the uproar was mainly noticed on Twitter and other major life altering social media sites. When Bob Dylan wrote historic songs and poems around the civil rights movement in the 1970s, he didn’t know that he would have to defend all of them by writing a novel in 2016, but as they say, nothing comes easy, especially when the cause is Noble.

A 21 year old self proclaimed writer named Preeti, seemed largely dissatisfied by the Nobel committee’s decision of not asking her opinion before awarding Bob Dylan the prize. She ranted on Twitter about how her understanding of literature is narrowed down to the fictional books that she has been reading for the last 6 months, and how “musicians” should not get Nobel Prizes. After reading this and thousands of other tweets from other such boys and girls, Bob Dylan thought “well, the girl is right. I am just a musician at the end of the day”. When asked about how Neruda got the prize for his poems and how Dylan’s collection of poems is also significant considering the context within which they were written, the girl shrugged her shoulders and said “Well, I wasn’t on Twitter at that time, or else I’d have protested against Neruda too”. The self confidence of this girl was extraordinary and her respect for and understanding of literature was astounding. She agreed to talk a lot more about this but since we had a job to do, we politely refused and contacted Bob Dylan about his new book.

Bob Dylan, whom we all know as the guy whose song was covered by Guns N Roses, was not as ecstatic as we thought he would be after hearing about the decision of the Nobel Prize committee. When we asked why, he said that he didn’t care about the prizes as long as the money was good. The joke was good and we all laughed, but the sadness in his eyes was apparent. This guy had nothing to do with the award but he was still getting the hate as if it were he who had demanded the award from the Nobel committee. He also seemed clearly perturbed by the comments of some 21 year old kids, and hence took the decision of writing a novel to teach all of them a lesson. When we asked more about the book, he said that the writing is still in progress and that the book will be published within the next few months. The plot of his book revolves around feminism, misogyny and workplace sexism. He told us that these are the things which attract the youth nowadays and since the civil rights movement is more or less done and dusted, fighting for equal rights for women is the next best thing he can do. But there is a slight twist in the novel : he is writing from the point of view of a person who has completely misunderstood women and the concept feminism. We all know how that’s gonna turn out. The title is not yet finalised, but as of now the working title is “One Indian Girl”.

With all this brouhaha around his Nobel prize, we think that this book will calm down some of the young boys and girls. The rest of the people, who think that he deserved the prize, are busy sharing clips of Blowin’ with the wind on their Facebook and Twitter timelines, as a mark of respect for this legend, who is ironically not on Social Media. If times like these continue and we keep narrowing down the definition of what we call literature, then shortly a time will come when the Nobel Prize would be awarded only to tweeters whose body of work will contain 100k tweets and two Buzzfeed articles around their tweets. As Dylan said, The Times They Are a-Changin’.

Signing off,
BBC News.

First published on Huffington Post.

Me gavaiyya hu.

Me gavaiyya hu.

Nahi Chahiye Bhai Ghar Me Kutta


If you consume Facebook for lunch and Twitter for snacks, you must’ve seen that crispy story floating around your timelines in which a girl rejects the guy because he doesn’t like dogs. The story has been covered by all the mainstream online journalism sites (sadly, that’s what they are called) within no time. If you still haven’t read that private WhatsApp conversation made public by some dumb schmuck, be my guest or alternatively log on to your Facebook or Twitter account and wait for 5 seconds until the story pops up in your newsfeed with the caption “You go, girl”.

My first reaction to anything covered by these online journalism sites is similar to my reaction when my mom sends me those totally made up “conspiracy theory” styled WhatsApp forwards: “Mat karo yaar ye sab, nahi padhna mujhe”. But this story was something different. All the levels of bullshit were crossed and a new milestone was created in the history of things that have went viral so far. When I was heading to office this morning, I didn’t realise that by the end of the day I’d be having an opinion about whether or not dogs should be allowed to break marriages or if a girl asks to keep her dog after the marriage, is she right or not. But clearly, two hours into the day and every guy on the internet needed to have an opinion about this in order to be relevant in their little social circle that they have online.

The story seemed totally bullshit to me. But the way it was presented made the whole thing even more disgusting. So, basically the girl called off the marriage because the husband wasn’t open to the idea of having a dog in his bedroom, which to me, seemed like something normal. After all, it’s completely acceptable in an open society to fear animals or not feel comfortable around them, isn’t it? Heck, even I am not comfortable around cats. I’d totally understand someone not being comfortable with some other animal as a pet in his/her house licking their pants all the time for their entire life. It’s a huge commitment and telling your partner about your issues with pets before hand seems like a completely rational thing a smart person would do. The only thing which seemed a bit out of place in that whole story was that guy asking her to marry the dog. I mean, that was a bit too rude of him to say that but consider his situation for a minute. Firstly, it was an arrange marriage so clearly he wasn’t able to find the love of his life. Secondly, the guy got rejected because the girl chose a dog over him. I mean, with this frustration, I’d kill the fucking dog if it’s trying to harm my chances of having sex, but that poor guy just asked her to get married with the dog. I mean, it’s okay. It’s not like you’d start covering every rude person in the town for generating your shitty content. Everyone is rude on their odd days. We are humans and no one is perfect, especially those guys who are planning to have an arrange marriage.

The thing didn’t stop here. All the animal lovers, PETA, any fucking dude who has anything to do with animals, basically everyone just climbed upon that poor guy like hungry dogs (ah, the metaphor). Their pointless arguments included: “How can he not live with a dog?”, “It’s love when you start loving a dog for her instead of dumping it”. I mean are these people kidding me. So, let’s say a few days later, a girl says that she has two cobras and a leopard as her pets and the guy she is going to marry rejected her because he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of sleeping with snakes and leopard. Will you guys outrage again? Bear Grylls would surely warn his girlfriend if he pets a tiger in his house and if she isn’t comfortable with the tiger, she obviously won’t marry him. It’s sort of that thing which starts with ‘L’, ends with ‘C’ and has “OGI’ between it.

I mean, come on, some people are into pets and some are not. It’s the couple’s choice if they want to have a pet or not, YOU don’t have a say in it. If someone loves their pet far too much, it’s their choice to call off the marriage. And clearly, as far as I can see, the girl didn’t dump that guy for her dog; the guy refused to get married to her because his mom had issue with the dogs.  It looked mutual to me, and even if it wasn’t, the guy wasn’t wrong in cancelling the marriage. No one was a hero in this story. It was plain utter bullshit.

Stop telling people how to live and how to adopt and how to compromise. Stop making an issue out of every fucking thing. It’s not funny anymore. Stop.

Rape. Apathy. Rape.


Indian woman who survived shocking gang-rape attack is raped AGAIN by the SAME five men who are out on bail

I’ve formed an evening routine of sorts.

I wake up, catch some horrific, graphic news about a rape(s), get overcome by a chilling mixture of hair-raising anger and helplessness, take a moment to thank God about the fact that my girlfriend, sister and mother are safe, before switching the channel to MTV to catch a rerun of Roadies. Or maybe Splitsvilla. The conversation that should be about rape, quickly shifts to Raghu.

Rape comes as part of my daily bulletin, with the same frequency as weather updates. 1 woman brutally gangraped in Surat. 2 women raped and found dead. Kopardi rape case. Ahemadnagar rape-murder trial. Two rapists walk free. Rape victim commits suicide. It’s all very confusing.

“Ye kal wala hi hai?” my father asks me.

“Nahi, ye naya hai”, I inform him.

In the top 20 news bulletin, rape cases somehow always manage to appear at the 19th or 20th position, after rains in Mumbai and Salman’s rape comment.

After Salman’s rape comment. The priority of an actual rape case is lower than that of news about a stupid actor making an analogy about rape. That will tell you everything you need to know about our world. This is our defining moment. Someday when aliens take over our fucked up world ( and I hope they do it soon), they will know us as the place where rape generates less news that a comment about rape.

My eyes have now learnt to glaze over the rape updates. But when I hear a story like one where a girl is gang raped again by the same men, I am no longer just angry at the world. I am furious with my country. Is the law and order across India that incredibly fucked up or is Haryana the place where the last shreds of humanity go to die?

Incidentally, Haryana is setting up a 24*7 helpline for cows. For fucking cows. A girl is getting raped in your state twice within 3 years by the same 5 gentlemen and you are setting up a helpline for fucking cows. Is this state a joke that I am not getting because it sure isn’t funny anymore. Your gender ratio is already fucked up because you don’t want girl children because your arguments defy all logic. Female foeticide is as common a practice in your state as boxing is. Even the Supreme Court has issued you a notice regarding the sudden spike in rape cases. And you start caring about cows all of a sudden? At lease use your resources wisely, goddamnit.
For once, if India had its priorities straight, if the various stupid women welfare organisations cared more about actual rapes than about Salman Khan’s comment, if our media ran enough stories around rapes to raise awareness instead of 1 hour podcasts of jerking off to Virat Kohli’s greatness, the situation could’ve been slightly better.


The sad thing is that it’s not just in Haryana, it’s everywhere in India. If we count till 2014, there are over 31,000 rape cases pending in India. That’s almost more than the future female population of Haryana, if we keep their devastatingly skewed gender ratio in mind. 92 women are raped daily here. Ninety-two. If that number doesn’t take your sleep away, I don’t know what will. Sadly, this number is increasing every year and these are just the rape cases which get reported. Hundreds of rape cases don’t even get reported because the victims fear that they will lose their respect in society. A society which is doing nothing for them, except maybe that one time when it blames the clothes they wear. With rape cases becoming so common, the law and order becoming so inefficient and ineffective, I wonder if in coming years, we will start treating rape as yet another crime. Yet another robbery. Yet another rape. Yet another victim dies while fighting her case. Yet another rapist gets freed. The time will soon be here when these cases will die with dust on their files, the screams of the victims will not reach our ears and our sympathies will be wasted somewhere else, on some pettier issues.

 

I sat on a flight the other day, next to a lady who was reading a headline on rape – this time about the young woman in Surat who was raped and set ablaze by her ex-boyfriend and three of his friends. She gasped and turned to her friend.

Her friend, typing away furiously on Whatsapp, turned for a second to look at the headline and turned back to her phone saying, “ It’s not that more rapes are happening these days, it’s just that more of them are getting reported. This world has always been a fucked up place. Anyway, chalo shukar hai hum toh nahi hai.”

My first instinct was to grab her phone from her hand and throw it onto the fiber-glass window of the aircraft but then I thought…maybe she’s right.

I am just another guy in this system who is watching the chaos unfolding. But sometimes I wonder, if someone else can even see this or not. And if they can, why is no one talking about it. Why are we just happy with a once in a year candle march? Why do we ask our women to be safe when they complain about their workplace harassment, or about that stalker who has been following them since last month? Why don’t we try to take any action against those people? For the last time, it’s not a small thing. Rape is not a small thing. It ruins a person’s life. It ruins her family. It questions everything which we stand for. Are we still undermining its gravity? And if not, then why, why do we just sit there and just watch it all before changing the channel? Is humanity dying or are we becoming threateningly apathetic?

I don’t know how to change those statistics. I don’t know to bring down the number of rapes in India. I don’t know how to make those fast track courts even faster. But the one thing I know is that a conversation should happen around it. It should happen everyday. Till the time when the number goes down to zero. We shouldn’t be ashamed of having this conversation; we shouldn’t get bored of it. We should have it as frequently as possible. After every rape, after every incident. Everyone should talk about it. Then only people will get to understand the seriousness of the issue. Who knows, some guy, who was gonna have revenge sex with a girl who asked him to stay away from her, might get stopped by his friends because they start fearing the law. Who knows he might just delete her picture and the whole thing gets over right there. Who knows if your conversation might stop him from taking that extra step.

All I am asking you to do is, let’s not just change the channel for the next few years. Let’s just keep having the conversation. Let’s.

Scroll


You swipe left. You swipe right. You check your Facebook feed. You like a few pics on Instagram. You scroll your Twitter TL. You read a few articles on Medium. You scroll your Twitter TL again. You check your Snapchat. You scroll. You keep the apps open. You close your life.

You make your own tea. You light a cigarette. You smoke while scrolling. You scroll while smoking. You eat your breakfast. You take an auto. You scroll. You scroll till you reach your office. You ask for a coffee. You scroll. You listen to a few songs. You watch a TV series. You look around. Everyone is busy. Scrolling. You light another cigarette. You start contemplating. You take out your phone. You scroll.

You see poor people. You see stray dogs. You want to help. You click their pics. You keep on walking. And scrolling. And walking. Till you reach your place. Where you can sit down comfortably. To scroll.

Everyone is busy doing nothing. To do nothing you have to feel nothing. You feel nothing. 2015 was like yesterday. 2014 was like a week ago. Your life is getting scrolled. By realities. In a few years, this all will be gone. Hi, I am working from home today. Working from home, heh. So what did you learn today? I learned how to scroll better. And I avoided meeting people. I think it was great. Working from home was great. I will try this again. Till I can completely stop learning. I want to scroll till eternity. I don’t like to experience things. I love to read them. That’s why I am on reddit. I read everyone’s shit. I up vote it. I engage in useless battles. I am a warrior. My fingers are my weapon. I keep finding new ways to scroll. I listen to podcasts as well. They are good. They remind me who became famous and why and what’s happening around and that way I don’t get to scroll. Because hey, sometimes I hate scrolling. I listen to some random guy who gets paid to do that. I feel enlightened by listening to him chatting with some other guy and I feel everyone should do it. And then, I share his voice on my social networking sites. To provide scrolling material for you. So that you can scroll. And listen. And scroll. And don’t get out of your precious little comfort zones. Get all the experiences delivered to your home. Order some food maybe. But do not get out. It’s not good out there. You might feel ignored. Or small. You are not.

So scroll.

One fine day you will wake up and throw away your phone. You will cry. You will remember your experiences. Remember that day when I kept scrolling and it was raining outside and I posted three pics and scored that chick online. Remember that day when I was in the hospital and my mom was dead and I was trying to get sympathy online. Remember that day when I had nothing to do so I just made that anonymous account and it became famous. Remember that day when I cheated on my girlfriend with that chick I swiped right. Remember when I introduced myself by my alias. Remember when I died. I posted a pic two hours before dying. Remember?

Experiences. Crazy little things.

Scroll.

 

I want to be successful without going to the fucking mountains


Himalayas is too fucking far and it’s too goddamn risky; so dear successful man, can you please give me a piece of advice which doesn’t involve going to mountains or beaches? Because no, I can’t afford that and yes, I seriously do need your advice. Actually, no but whatever.

I am tired of reading posts / listening to speeches which begin with follow your passion and follow your dreams and follow your heart. Hey man, when you were writing/speaking that goddamn piece of shit, were you following your heart or were you getting paid hugely which creatures like us can only dream of? It’s high time to get real, bro. I want to be successful without going to the fucking mountains. I don’t have time for that shit. Give me some real advice instead of framing “follow your dreams” in five different sentences in five different speeches. I want to know how many times you failed before succeeding and what you did when you got horribly depressed after your first job. Did you take drugs? Did you beat your wife? Tell me your real story. Who the fuck are YOU? I want to know about your experience, I want to know about your mistakes, and I want to learn from them. If I had to read some goddamn pseudo intellectual shit, I’d have logged on to twitter or something. This is not who you are and even you know that. I have heard a lot about you and trust me, most of those things are bad. So instead of repeating the same lies, how about giving me some truth? How about some real insights? Some real data, maybe?

You know who I am? I am someone who is tired of everything around him and I am not even 23 yet. I live in a alone, make my own food and skip the gym religiously. I am just another happily-depressed soul searching for someone who would guide him to the right path. And I am too goddamn egoistic to admit that. I would literally stalk you to death on all the Social media sites, I would listen to all your speeches, read all your articles and try to gain perspective. And you are not the only one on my list, I have hundreds of other guys like you and I do this shit daily. Stalk them till I get fucking delusional. Till I lose my own identity. And do I admit that I dream of becoming like you? Nope. Never. To the world, I am a wanderer. Searching for his passion. To myself, I am a loser. Trying to choose too many right paths at once. So when I say that give me some fucking real advice, I mean it. Because one of these days I don’t want to end up in Himalayas for nothing. Himalayas would come only in my speeches, just like yours.

Everything isn’t going to be all right


Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to convince yourself that everything’s going to be all right because you have seen people and you have seen things and you know that everything is not going to be all right unless you do something about it. And the thing that sucks the most is that you absolutely don’t know what to do about it. What now? What should I chase after this? What will make everything all right for me?

The fact that everything’s going to be all right is probably true but the important question is, what is your all right? Is your all right something so mediocre that no matter what you do now, ten years down the road, you will achieve something which you never wanted to achieve, earn significantly higher than 50% of the population and have a small rented apartment in a not so expensive part of a metro city and a small car with a huge EMI and a few colleagues with a similar lifestyle? Or is your all right something completely different from this, something which you are still trying to figure out?

It’s not easy. Setting goals is not easy. Having clarity is not easy. Sometimes I feel like, I will end up doing everything to figure out what I want in my life and by the time I figure out what I love the most, I’ll be 45. 45 and married. With a sucky job. Pretending to be happy. Waiting to die.

You’re 22, you will figure out something in two-three years. If nothing works out, do MBA. Ya UPSC dedo. IAS ban jao.

This is our reality. Either you have chased this, and now you’re working as a bank manager or something, looking for an alternate career option; or you are trying to chase this to get out of the dilemma that you are facing now. The fact is most of us aren’t doing something that we love. We are just trying to love whatever we are doing. I know it’s a stupid generalisation to make, and I know I haven’t met even 0.001% of the population, but most of the people I’ve met are like “Bro, job chhodna hai. Nahi ho pa raha”. Is this what I want? I am not sure. I have adjusted enough in my life, and do I want to adjust in the next half of my life too? Umm, nope.

But what’s the solution? I don’t know and if I don’t get to know in the coming few months, I might start losing hope. It’s like I will be hopeless about achieving an unknown dream. But then why don’t you quit your job and do something that you like?  Well, I am doing something which I like, but I’m not sure if I am enjoying it. And seriously, quit your job and do something that you like? The amount of horse shit in this statement is unreal. Why? I am not going to explain this to someone who is either being a corporate slave himself or who is rich enough to afford talking shit like this.

In the last eight months, I have realised that taking risks needs a pair of balls and a bit of clarity. It’s not easy to play in an open field at day time and sleep there at night. You always need to have some amount of certainty in your life. A place where you can head back to. A place which is close to that field. And it seems like, finding a place which is close to that field is a huge task in itself. Once you reach there, the field is all yours. You can play whenever you like to.

For now, this sounds right to me. 2016 for me will be all about finding that place. Hope you find it too, if you haven’t already.