How can it not piss you off, man?


How can it not piss you off, man? You’re 28. Bjorn Borg retired when he was 26, after achieving every record in the book. Those Boston guys wrote and directed Good Will Hunting when they were your age. Were all of them prodigies? You gotta be a little pissed, man.

Greatness achieved, in any field, by any gender, at any place, pisses me off. It pisses me off so much that I wanna cry. I don’t mean it in any wrong way, no; it inspires me too, it inspires me very much, but the fact that they did it and I am sitting here sulking about my petty problems, pisses me off. The fact that the only aim of my life has been restricted to becoming the best amongst the mediocre, to being able to climb the ladder one step at a time, maybe two if it’s a good hair day, bugs me. No, I am not jealous of anyone making it big or finding new money with the mediocre talent. Not at all. You deserve it even if you are mediocre, because there will always be people who will look upto you. Look at our population, man. You can do shit and market it well, and you will be famous. But those guys, those guys at the top of the ladder (I am not sure if the metaphor of ladders even apply to them), those who have achieved greatness, I am so jealous of them.

How can you be jealous of them? Why are you comparing yourself to them? You are unique on your own.  No, I am not. I am not unique when I am climbing the ladder with you all. And why? Why can’t I compare myself with them? What do they have that you don’t have? Or I don’t have? They breathe oxygen, walk, talk, eat, sleep, fuck, just like the rest of us. Then what the fuck is the difference between you and them or between them and me? Don’t give yourself any excuse, man. Don’t. There is no difference. It’s just that we have been so comfortable in our boxes, in our little bubbles, that we don’t even aim for greatness. All we look for is the source of our next paycheque and the vacation that will follow after that. Fuck. It’s so fucking annoying. The more you try not to be a part of this herd, the more you end up grazing the grass. “I’ll quit and do that thing which I wanna do after three months, and these three months I will save.” And then these three months become years. The backup we had for ourselves, becomes our life. Risk was a term coined by people who feared failure. Oh that’s risky, let me get a good backup before I jump into that sea. And the waves flow, man. They won’t stop for you. Bye bye. See you on the next shore.

I am fucking done with all of this. But the next moment I would wonder, am I? Am I fucking done with all of this? Am I good enough to go out there and sail on my own? Is this the thing that I want the most that I will ‘risk’ everything? And that’s the thing, man. That’s the thing. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t even know what the fuck I want. I aim for something, then I get it and then that’s not the thing. Then I aim for something else, something small, which I know I’ll get, and I get it. And I reward myself for the success that I knew was always gonna be mine. Because you gotta celebrate your successes right? But was that really a success? It wasn’t. I am just fooling myself. Ah, another outrage on another internet site, let me fill my void with that. Fuck greatness. I can never be great. Let me be the best mediocre there ever was. Best is too much, maybe the second best.

And forty years later, when you will see a guy doing what you could have done, you will tell your kids, hey, make that guy your role model. Not me. You will root for that guy. Your kids will root for that guy. It won’t piss you off anymore. By that time, you will have learned to live with that feeling. You will have lived your whole life like that. You will give your kids a goodnight kiss, think about killing yourself for a passing second and then go to your bed. What happened, your wife will ask. Nothing, it’s a long story, goodnight baby.

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Kindle


Graphic Warning: This is very random. May or may not make sense. Read only if you are completely free.

Two years ago, when I saved flight money by not going home on Diwali, I decided to gift myself a little present. Being a Delhiite, buying a shit ton of crackers was my first obvious choice, but since philanthropists and environmentalists were getting laid a lot during those days, I decided not to purchase them. After all, there are just a limited number of ways where one can look up in astonishment and say “Oh God, this is amazing”.

Long story short, neither sex happened nor the crackers. “But what should I do with that 10k Air India money I saved?”, I wondered. I remembered something being on sale on Amazon. So, I opened the app and there it was, my long lost lust: Kindle. Prices were slashed from 10k to 8.5k, and the little aunties inside me screamed in joy. My e-reader got delivered a day later. I still remember feeling a bit less hipster for buying it as it was time to say goodbye to the paperback. A few weeks passed, and I was completely immersed in my new gadget. I orgasmed at the feeling of not getting up to turn off the lights after reading the book at night, because Kindle, as you know, has its own backlight. Now in my room, lights were always off. I read books left right and centre. I would take my kindle everywhere, on trains, buses, cabs, while taking a dump and sometimes even while getting laid for being a philanthropist. I remember not missing anything about the paperback, except maybe the fact that reading a bulky one used to develop my bicep for a short span of 0 days.

Yesterday I was at my friend’s housewarming party. Before moving to Bombay, I never understood the concept of house warming parties. I mean you got a house, everyone has a house, what’s the big deal. But now that I understand the herculean job of house hunting in Bombay, I get why people would want to celebrate it. I got a nice place for myself like a year ago and I still keep treating myself and my friends while being in complete awe at this structure of four walls and a roof.  Anyway, so as I was making myself comfortable and others uncomfortable by talking about the book that I was reading, a girl randomly stated this opinion as a generalised statement that paperbacks are obviously better than Kindle. I was perplexed, because a) how could she say that coz being a girl aren’t you like interested in environmentalists and all b) how could she be so confident while saying this bizarre thing. So I got into the argument and tried to defend my year old happy relationship with my Kindle. Her arguments varied from how she likes the smell of books to the turning of pages and which makes you realise the progress you are making with the book. Many people agreed with her too. I didn’t understand how some people could turn such a blind eye towards technological advances. I couldn’t fathom how “It can store like over a million books” didn’t occur to any of them while they unanimously agreed on sniffing books like street dogs. What’s in the smell anyway? Is it really that good that you will carry ten books in your luggage while going to a hill station? And if you like the smell so much, maybe just carry one book with you all the time, and read from a kindle. If you start missing the smell, sniff your paperback. I posed all sorts of properly framed rational questions to them like “Are you fucking mad?” “Will this sort of hipster culture ruin our civilisation?” And “why the fuck are you reading news online then, do newspapers smell bad?” to “Will you sleep with me afterwards?”, etc. None of them seemed to leave any impression on them. You can underline an important passage, they would say; you can highlight on kindle, I would promptly reply. In a train, you can know what other people are reading, they would say; nobody wants to know that, I would reply. But the smell is good; fuck your smell. It’s like they had already made up their minds and nothing I could say would ever convince them. Sad thing being, they never tried the Kindle. “This new hipster thing of not using technology will be the end of our civilisation”, I said to myself and went back to my place.

Lying there, on my bed, was my kindle. I looked at it with loving eyes and all sorts of self doubts like “how my nose might not be working as properly as other people’s do” vanished. I opened my Kindle and she asked “Do you wanna read me?” and I pounced on her. Lights were already turned off.

I am gonna write every week now


I am gonna write every week now.  Earlier I used to write whenever I had a good premise, but now I will write every week. Even if the premise is not good. I will write with bad premises. Please don’t read if you don’t want to. But I will write. Every week.

Thanks.

Oh and also did I mention how frequently will I write from now on? Yeah, every week.

I Am Scared Of Feeling Nothing


The whole day I avoided reading anything about the recent rape controversy. The moment I saw or heard the name Asifa, I turned off my TV channel, scrolled through my timeline until a piece of Bollywood gossip appeared, or left conversations with my colleagues midway. Basically, I did everything to avoid it. I knew what happened but I didn’t want to know the details. I was scared. No, not scared of reading the news, but scared of what comments or opinions other people might have about this heinous and brutal crime. I was scared I would punch someone in the face if they tried to justify it by using whataboutery, I was scared of pushing their heads into whatever they were eating till they stopped breathing if they even tried to bring religion as an excuse to justify this, but most of all, I was scared of feeling nothing at all.

What if my blood didn’t boil the way it should? What if I had already given up on anything good our society has to offer and the apathy had overrode my indignation? I am afraid of a day like this. A day when we stop feeling anything, the day when a rape case becomes just another news, the right-left-hindu-muslim-whatabouththis-whataboutthat arguments becomes an obvious part of any coverage, the day when anything we see or feel is politicised to an extent where the suffocation which we feel now becomes the new way of breathing.

It feels like some of us have already given up. How can anyone explain to any of these people that no matter what religion or caste, rape will always be a terrible crime? How do so many of you have the patience to keep writing or voicing your opinions just in the hope that that one guy who defends this heinous activity, has a change of heart? If this act can’t boil that guy’s blood, how are so many of us thinking that our words will? Is there any solution to any of this? I don’t know. Maybe let’s just not read the news. But right now, it feels like I can’t help it. I will let my blood boil for a few hours until something else occurs on my timeline. Sometimes, it’s important to be independent and feel suffocated at the same time. Dear blood, please boil. I haven’t become that weak. Yet.

Reminisce


In this fast-paced world, you don’t get a lot of time to reminisce. There aren’t a lot of moments when you get to just sit down and ponder about what all happened in the last year. Or the last decade. You are always busy, juggling with stuff, with a toast in one had and a cigarette in the other. If you choose to stay alone, people start sympathising with you.

“Why aren’t you going somewhere? It’s a long weekend. Did something happen?”

No, nothing happened.

But they won’t stop for you. They shouldn’t. It’s a long weekend after all. They gotta drink, then watch some stuff, drink more, Tinder, make plans for lunch, then for brunch, then invite someone over for dinner again, drink even more. Oh, and its Monday again. Well, what a good weekend it was.

I was watching some TV series today. I spent the whole day glued to my TV. Episode after episode. They just kept playing. It was 3 pm. Then 4. Then 9. And I just kept consuming. Then in the middle of an episode, I just turned off the television. Just like that. A part of me was curious to watch what happened in the rest of that episode. But the rest of the body didn’t care. It reminded me of how I used to turn off the TV when my sister used to watch it. Back in Delhi. Like 10 years ago. She was younger than me. And autistic. She would wake up at 4 in the morning and play Dexter’s Lab at full volume. My parents developed the habit of sleeping through that sound. Parents somehow always find a way to do that. Just letting their kids be themselves. However, I, on the other hand would wake up, shout, and ask her to shut it down. She wouldn’t. So I would snatch the remote, turn it off, and put it under my pillow. That was the safest locker I had back then. Putting stuff under my pillow. Sometimes, I would get creative too and put stuff inside the pillow cover. Anyway, so she would cry. But eventually sleep. And I went through this routine every day of my childhood, as far as I can remember. We often had huge fights about it. Sometimes, my dad would wake up and take my sister to his room, and he himself would come back and sleep on the couch. She would go back to my parent’s bedroom while cursing me the whole time. “Nau bees nahi hai. Sab uth. Utho”, she would say. She didn’t know how to tell time or how to even say things properly. But my parents and I were well versed in her secret language. The above sentence meant, “It’s not that early. Everyone has woken up already. You guys should too”. She probably would have added some abuses as well if she knew how to say them. Nau Bees was her template time. To convey anything about time, whether it’s about getting late or early, or if its time to watch her favourite show’s twenty seventh rerun, she would say “nau bees ho gaye”. I think nau bees is easy to pronounce, maybe that’s why. When I look back, I guess whenever the clock would strike 9:20, at least three people in my family would smile. It’s probably a memory she has planted in all of our minds.

Anyway, so what was I talking about? Yeah, sometimes, in this fast-paced world, you should just sit down, stop everything and reminisce. Maybe the smile you have been chasing the whole day, might be captured somewhere in the past. From time to time, try to pluck it. It feels good. Oh damn, it’s 9:20. Phew.

Guess, I should play the episode back.

I don’t know


I don’t know.
On a good day, I speak about 20 sentences out loud. On an average, 10 of them are generally “I don’t know”. Do you know this has happened here and it’s affecting that? I don’t know. Do you wanna like go out and get something to eat later today? I don’t know. Have you figured out life like what will you do in the next five years? Well… I don’t know.
There are times when I feel like I really don’t know what I want. More money? Eh who doesn’t want that. But will it ever be enough? All of this? Any of this? I don’t know. Matt Damon once said in an interview how grateful he was when he won an Oscar at 27, simply because of the fact that then he had nothing to look forward to. It is the highest accolade that one looks forward to in that industry. Many people, all their lives keep chasing that trophy and when they finally get one in their 80s, they realise this isn’t what they were looking for. This didn’t fill the void. This never will. Nothing ever will.
Then what next? I don’t know. It’s really bemusing how we never really know the way we are gonna live our next day yet we keep making these plans, the short lived non sensical plans to give ourselves the satisfaction of stability. Ah, my life is so stable. I have plans. “You wanna watch a movie this Saturday? I will book tickets.” “Yeah sure, why not.” Let’s at least plan the three hours of the next weekend and worry about the rest of the days later. Something to look forward to, at least. Something to hang by, to console yourself life isn’t that bad after all, let’s try killing ourselves after Saturday. Let’s watch that damn movie. So the saturday comes and you go watch that damn movie. Movie is over, now what, asks the void, spreading it’s legs all over again. Well, I don’t know, you say?
And the void says nothing. And you say nothing. You go back home and sit. Maybe read the review of the movie you just watched and agree with whatever one person on internet has said and outrage on whatever the other person has said. And you write one piece on how you agree with the first person. You post it in a hope that many other people will agree with you for agreeing with that person. Some don’t. You block them. You don’t want negativity in your life. Void is enough. Validation too, somedays. All Vs. Time is passing by. 7 years have gone by. Oh shit, 10 now. You look back at one of those reviews and think how naive you were. Posting your opinions on an outdated site. Ugh. You are wiser now. The void is wiser now. You have stopped sharing anything with people. You assume they judge. Then one day you meet someone who doesn’t. You go out for a movie with that person. You try to impress that person. Share your opinions. Seek validation. Post it on the new site that you are on. People agree. Disagree. The person doesn’t turn out to be what you expected him/her to be. Ah, not again, you sigh. Told ya, says the void. Should I pop those pills? Maybe. I don’t know.
The point is life is tough. Plans are short lived. All that is there is the void. Don’t kill yourself. We gotta survive. But why? I don’t know.

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.