Monday, December 21, 2009

Career Counselling

Bob: Morning, Sir.

Durai: Morning.... Mister.... Robert Chettilingam.

Robert Chettilingam: Bob, Sir. And that goes to you too (at me).

Me: Sorry.

Bob (changed from Robert Chettilingam): Well that's more like it.

Durai: So... Bob... What's your problem?

Bob: I appeared for a counselling conducted by your esteemed firm. I have gone through all the thorough examinations and procedures so meticulously researched by your dedicated team.

Durai: I see you have taken the special offer with which you have to endorse our services.

Bob: Oh, by gosh! Why would I have to endorse your service? It endorses itself with its quality.

Durai: Let's not oversell here Mr.Bob. Apparently, the observations made by our team, we don't advertising is the right profile for you.

Bob (sad): Oh... is it Fighter pilot, then?

Durai: No. Not a fighter pilot either. Unfortunately, a person who falls unconscious in the 12th floor of his office cannot be a fighter pilot.

Bob: I have survived 13th floor of a rather not-so-tall high rise, Sir.

Durai: Let's forget about becoming a fighter pilot Bob.

Bob: A cricketer.

Durai: No.

Bob: A ventriloquist.

Durai: No.

Bob: A cunnilinguist then.

Durai: First of all, that's pornographic. And second, no, that's not really your field.

Bob: Oh please, don't tell me. I know.

Durai: What are you hinting at, Bob?

Bob: I think you will deem me irrepressibly drab and boring and condemn me to the life of... a chartered accountant.

Durai: I see where that notion might be coming from. But well, it's not Chartered Accountancy either, Mister Bob.

Bob (sad): A Banker, then?

Durai: Nope. Not a banker, either.

Bob: Ok. I wave the flag of defeat. I lay down my weapons. I bow my head. I let out the pigeon. I drop my badges. I beat retreat. I fail to second guess you.

Durai: That was quite dramatic.

Bob (emphatically): An actor then! I don't want the big limelights. A day time serial or soap opera is fine for me.

Durai: Forget limelights or day time soaps. On the contrary, we think that you should be a serial killer.

Bob: A serial what?

Durai: Killer.

Bob: Is it like a butcher?

Durai: No. It's like a killer.

Bob: So I kill wild animals? Like a hunter?

Durai: No. You kill human beings.

Bob: Like an executioner.

Durai: Like a murderer, Bob.

Bob: What?!?!?!

Durai: Yes Mister Bob. I think you should murder people serially.

Bob: Serially?

Durai: Yes. You should find a pattern in the murders you commit. By that, we mean you cannot murder people based on random instincts, but your targets will be chosen in accordance to rules set logically, socially or politically. It is but a series that you assign to your murders. A line that connects one target to the next.

Bob: Seems like a lot of hard work.

Durai: Indeed. Indeed. But that's not the only way you can get the tag of a serial killer. You see, Mister Bob, serial killers are a notch above being ordinary murderers. It requires a careful observation of your prospective victim's behavioural patterns and an acute knowledge of socio-political schemes of the world. You will then have to choose your method of murdering.

Bob: So, it's not just hack and slash you mean.

Durai: Not at all. You have to device your specific way of putting someone to rest. It will be like your brand. Complete with trademarks and guidelines.

Bob: Hmm. This sounds quite interesting. It's almost like Marketing.

Durai: Yes. You see, you have to distinguish yourself from the rest of the killers out there. You have to carefully place enough hints on a crime scene to ensure that the investigating officers identify that the murderer is you.

Bob: But won't they catch me then?

Durai: No, Mister Bob. Your real identity will not be known to the authorities. You will have a pseudo moniker, like Stone Man or The Ripper.

Bob: Or.. or... THE CAMEL'S TAIL.

Durai: Well, it's up to your discretion really. But don't you think, the Camel's Tail is a little on the lighter side?

Bob: No. No. The Camel's Tail is exotique. It gives this very Persian hashashin kind of an air.

Durai: I see. I have to say, I do not disagree. But what will be your modus operandi?

Bob: You see, I will stab the victim initially with a pocket knife. I will ensure that they are dead and then proceed to gouge their eyes out and stuff it with camel's hair.

Durai: Great Mister Bob. I see that now you are on the right path to become a terrifying and cold serial killer. Now that the counselling has helped you, you mind presenting me the fees?

Bob: Yes. Of course, of course. But first you must take this.

Durai: Oh my God. I am your first vict.... Hey Bob. Look. A comet.

Bob: You don't fool me with that....

BANG!

At about this point, life as we have known came to an end. Comet Copped struck a killer blow to Earth and wiped out all forms of life from this otherwise beautiful planet.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baraka - On blu-ray

A 700MB DVD RIP of this movie had moved me to some embarassingly moist eyes. For the uninformed, Baraka is an unscripted movie, non-acted by regular people, with no dialogues and no story. What it has, is some breathtaking music by Michael Stearns and some fantastic visuals thanks to a crew headed by Ron Fricke. And if I missed to say so, an unbelievable power to move you.

The blu-ray movie collection in India is rather embarrassing. The latest blockbusters come with few features to redeem its 2000 rupees price tag. And then you get movies like Spider Man 3 for 800 rupees. I have that movie with me, and it sucks.

So I had to order the blu-ray disc from US.

It came in a rather tacky cardboard case. But I knew it was what's inside that matters.

The blu-ray has been specially converted from the film original to great effect. The scenes are stunning. The colours, more vivid than I expected. The textures are breathtakingly gorgeous. The movie just takes the visual experience to another level.

Roger Ebert had apparently mentioned that Baraka is the reason you need blu-ray. And that is a bold statement. Because, Baraka is a movie that was released in 1992. We have come a long way since then. And for Baraka to be there in the forefront of HD, is an amazing feat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I. Am. The Villain.


I don't grow a socially unacceptable moustache. Neither do I give an evil look. My eyes don't squint at the sight of a prey. I do not clench my fist, gnarl my teeth or give sinister grins. Forget a maniacal laugh, I hardly laugh. But I am the bad guy. I am the villain.

There's a reason the heaven's light fall upon an angel. They shine only under that light. Bring an angel to the dark, and you watch him turn into another Lucifer. Plummeting into the depths of badness. No lights? No holds.

I am that angel. When the light shines on me. When the eyes track my every movement. I act. For civilization. For 'being' civil. Doing what a billion others would do. The grind. Milling it out on an assembly line of insipid lives. I glance at my watch. I look outside. There's still time to go. There's still time for me to become.

Till then it's paperworks. And then spreadsheets. Followed by meetings and conferences. All the feedback sessions, presentations, goals. All the work of the world, is but an excuse to exist for a world. A name on a business card. An exhibit of my existence. A lie I live.

The world is not black and white. It's not grey either. It's black. Black is reality. Evil is easy. Acting is tough. So is being good. Sins are classified. Beliefs enforced. Goodness an obligation. But instincts make us predators. And the predators, survive.

Being is easy. Consequences are tough. It's easy to be an asshole. It's tough when shit gets thrown at you. Work constipates. It blocks our urge for entropy. To go out and break stuff. Throw a stone at a neighbour's window. Kill someone. And guilt kills you back.

We are such feeble bastards. Not just physically. Emotionally. Surprising, that we lost in a mind game we started.

We are who we are at dark. If we cry in the dark, we are cowards. If we fuck in the dark, we are rapists. If we love in the dark, we are an act.

So welcome to the dark side of things. Here no one sees you. If they don't see you, they don't judge you. Who you are is just a mask. And here, the darkness is your mask. Your identity shall be left outside. Along with your wallet, your cellphone and other electronic devices.

When you come to my darbar you do things the way I want. The way no one wants. And that's the way everyone really wants it to be. Off with inhibitions. Everything you do is a step closer to inevitable death. This is a suicide mission. If it makes things easier; so is Life.

The angels are awaiting their bounty upstairs. Guarded by the lights. You will go to them. As sinners. As disgustful people who has been up to no good. You have done terrible deeds. Spiteful to the core. You are despised everywhere for the sole reason that you are.

Like I said. You don't have to twirl a moustache. Or alter your face. Wear that mask under the light. You don't have to do things bad. Things will become bad. And later, worse. And disturbingly hellish. You will be cast down.

But you will go down into the boils as you. As an honest expression. As a Villain.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Purple Sweater, Pink Shorts and A Near Future


Purple Sweater

There she was. Walking down that same lane. Again. It must've been the fourth time I had seen her this week. She had the same glum look on her face. She wore the same white sneakers with bright orange inserts. And the same purple sweater. Hideous purple sweater. It wasn't even that cold out here anymore.

Should I muster up courage to go speak to her? Maybe politely ask her to perhaps change the dress she was wearing.

Maybe I should not. What if it has some emotional connection? Maybe it was her late Father's gift. Or worse. The memory of a boyfriend long ago. I am not foolish enough to believe that she must've been single throughout her life. She wasn't the conventional pretty, but she was the conventional cute. Even in that purple sweater.

What kind of guy would she have liked?

Her stride exudes a composure. Though she does not use an iPod, she might as well have. Her eyes seem so lost somewhere; I am sure, in some painful past. Burning calories, and burning memories. Lighting old birthday cards or photographs at one end. Watching the flame absolve her from guilt and misery. The smoke must've caused that glint in her eye. The ashes though, she kept in an urn inside her.

Wait! Did she just turn towards me? No. Probably not.

There is a glint in her eye. Maybe I am imagining it. But when the Sun peaks down at her from between the branches, he strikes her with a gleaming smile. And almost as if to prove my point, she brushed a strand of hair off her face. The glint was gone from her eyes.

I shivered under my loose t-shirt. Maybe I was wrong. It is a bit cold here these days. And on second thought, the sweater is not that bad, really. Purple is a nice colour. It kind of suited her. Her curls bounced off the knits of her sweater.

All of a sudden, I had this urge to hold the sweater close to me. To feel the warmth that she feels as she wears it. And to see the bits of her hair that's stuck to that sweater.

She started turning back for home now.


Pink Shorts

He was staring again. For the fourth time this week, he was there. On that park bench staring at me like it's the most natural thing to do.

Why does he do this? It's not as if I haven't gotten used to guys staring. They stare all the time. When you walk, run (especially) and even if you are sitting somewhere minding your own business.

But he was different. Maybe he was thinking of something else and just staring in my direction.

Nah. He's staring. And gosh! What's with that hideous pink shorts he is wearing? He seems to be one of the clumsy kind -- doesn't know purple from magenta.

But otherwise he was the okay looking guy. He must have looked nice if he's going to the office or something. Not much of an exerciser. Probably drinks a lot of beer. Look at that paunch. I am sure he's happily unaware of it. Sitting on that park bench ain't burning any calories, dear.

Did he think I just looked at him now? I saw the faintest flick of his face up at me. No. He's gone back to his thoughts.

The sun was really bright now. It must be late. I should be heading back home now. But I felt something over my face. I hated my curly hair. It was so messy it always kept falling over my face no matter how neatly I tied it up. And there was one of those pesky strands up to it again.

I felt it brushing against my lashes. Much irritating that is. I flicked my palm over it.

I turned around at the intersection.

Even he was getting up from the park bench.


A Near Future

He stirred the sugar in his coffee for the 50th time that evening.

She was sitting opposite to him. She took the cup to her lips. She probably just wetted her lips with it. He loved his coffee, but give her an ice cream any day.

She kept the mug down with a mild clang. He got the intimation. He looked up at her.

"What did you think of me the first time you saw me?" she asked in a straightforward tone.

"Why are you asking me that now?" He was confused.

"Don't answer a question with another question, Mister. Just answer me." she snapped back.

"Ok. The first thing I thought about you. Was the first thing that I noticed about you."

"And what was that. And don't be nasty now," she added hastily.

He leaned back, tipping the chair on to its hind legs.

"Oh..." he stated looking up dreamily. "That pair... just bouncing... as you..."

"SHUT UP!!!" she screamed.

He came forward. The chair back its fours. His eyes were wide with mock surprise. He looked around. No. No one was looking at them. There was a cute girl in pink at the corner.

He turned back to her again.

"Ok. Ok.. Don't scream now." he said.

"So are you gonna tell me?" she waited for him to respond.

"Actually. I was thinking about your sweater the first time I saw you."

"You thought it was bad, no?"

"Nooo," he shrugged.

His voice became earnest now. And he looked deep into her eyes.

"I thought if I could just hold them with me. To feel the same warmth you felt. To feel the same love with which you held it so close to you."

"Really?" she melted.

"Really," he replied.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Excuse me, I’m still a kid


“You are the eldest of three guys?!?! Unbelievable!!!”

That is the exclamation I get when I tell people that I am not a single child. “But you are not serious, or... responsible,” they continue. Well tough luck eldest ones -- the world seems to have a rather boring and dull view of us folks.

Reality, though, is that I have grown up as a single child. Confusing, I know, but stay with me. My brother was born a year after I crawled out. And his was a rather complicated delivery. So due to certain circumstances that I don’t really understand, I found myself staying with my Aunt and Grandma. Now, my Aunt was a widow and had no kids. And my Grandma was just old but had oodles of energy with nothing really to do.

So, amidst a room full of books, draws full of National Geographic magazines (dating from 1948), and the 14th cable connection in my locality, I grew up. Grandma was thankfully well-educated and even better read. I learnt poetry when I was all of 3. I never grew up to appreciate poetry is another case. But books really took up a lot of my time. Even the fun I had as a kid was to just play games helped with your imagination. My social skills obviously suffered. Having a 47 year old Anthony Chettan as my best friend didn’t help much either. But well, he taught me a lot of things; like how to repair a punctured tyre and everything to know about then about shock absorbers.

And plants. Oh, the plants! I still haven’t seen a more diverse garden than what my Grandma had then. It wasn’t one of those beautifully landscaped and pruned-to-perfection gardens. It was butt ugly, dirty and crawled with slimy worms and snakes. ‘Got space? Plant something,’ seemed to be my Grandma’s motto. It didn’t really rub on me, the horticulture; except for watering the plants. The delight when the sun is at just the right angle where a spray will form a rainbow. You tell me what else is more pleasantly surprising in life.

After five years or so, my parents came back from where they worked (Cherambadi, in the Nilgiri Hills; magical place that is, really). And we were back to a fully-functional, joined at the hips family. Not quite. I never got back to family. I was better off as a loner. And Achan had some differences with Grandma. He soon decided to shift into another house. He offered me the option of choosing who I want to stay with. And this is where realization dawned that I am never going to be good at maintaining relationships.

It was another 5 years or so that I stayed with Grandma and Aunt. The rift between my Dad and Grandma eased afterwards. But I was always scared of having to share my freedom with anyone. By freedom you have to know that I am talking about my Sega Genesis or cable channels or PlayStation; I was a sucker for material joys. Still am.

Once my social phobia was clearly defined, the closest connections I had to real life started wearing off. In a span of 3 years I was practically orphaned. First to go was my Grandma; which was a shock, really. She was, I think, 84 but in great physical shape. And it was a rather sudden exit; not those weary, tired and long-strained departures. “I am happy she (or he) died like this without suffering,” people say about deaths all the time. And I don’t believe it half the time. But with Grandma it was like removing the headphone jack of her life. Looking back, I was more ill on the day she died than she herself. Well, God’s a genius, isn’t he?

But the death of Aunt took away all that “Hey! I’m here, and now I’m gone!” feeling. She had cancer. I still heard people say on her funeral, ‘Oh, thank God she didn’t suffer much.’ They are lying, of course. She suffered -- for months. Which is why I hate cancer. Right from the start when you have a prognosis and not a diagnosis and the inevitable doom of it all. But, well, you’ve heard it all elsewhere. Many great human beings are doing their bit in this war against cancer.

So at the tender age of 22, I was reunited, wholly and in a legally binding way, with my parents. And it’s difficult; to have lived almost all your life as a loner and suddenly thrust into a fully-functional family. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I never made the cut.

Which is why I’m still a kid. I don’t know what to do in life. I have high ideals and even higher ambitions (risks, as I like to call it). I tend to shy away from any binding relationship, because I am not ready for it. Things are going to get tougher, because as much as I’d like not to, I am growing older. But then again, maybe existence is reason enough.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Final Fantasy


The first time I heard 'RPG', I had to look it up on the internet. And the first RPG I played was the only RPG I have completed.

It was the year 1997 (I think), I got this amazing video game console called Playstation. Behind the console packaging was a list of games along with its thumbnails. Final Fantasy VII was the first title in the list. It was listed as an exclusive or featured title. The thumbnail for Final Fantasy was this steel head of a woman. I realize now that it is the character Jenova from the game.



When I got the Playstation initially, it was from Malaysia and had some really terrible games coming with it. So it was when my Uncle came from USA that I asked him to get me Final Fantasy VII. He told me that it is more expensive than the other games and I might have to shorten my wish list if I wanted this game. Lucky I went for FF7.

When I finally got the game in my hand, I realized why it was so expensive. It was a monster of a game and I mean that quite literally -- 3 CDs of gaming goodness. I put it up and was stunned. It opened like a Hollywood blockbuster; with a cinematic video. And it just blows you away to see this pre-rendered graphics movie. And the first mission of the game happened on top of a moving train. What more would a 15 year old boy want? Bliss!


I was hooked to the game in no time and couldn't help but not give up even after losing all my save data halfway into the game. Any other game, I would've kept it aside and moved to the next title. But this one I started over from the start.

I so badly wanted to beat the game that I even had a game guide. Yes -- an actual game guide. I used to keep referring it to find everything about the game. I wouldn't have found half the stuff otherwise. You just have to compare the wear and tear on the Final Fantasy Walkthrough Guide against the other more academic guides to see which one was used more.




It was a very fulfilling game. To fight a boss battle and wait for the cinematic to happen afterward. To hear the wonderful conversations between the characters. To visit these new places and to meet these wonderfully quirky characters. I think the story and characters of Final Fantasy were what appealed to me the most. Especially the relation between Aeris and Cloud. Even the funny bits in between and all the goofing up (the parade rehearsals come to mind) eased the tension of the game. And honestly, I didn't cry when Aeris died, but it certainly moved me. It actually gave me the motivation to go ahead and finish the game. To take revenge.

And that's why I am writing this now. The last RPG I tried was FF8; which I felt was too tedious and uninteresting for my time and effort. Even in my PS3 I haven't come across a game that emotionally fulfills or drains you; you feel so disconnected with the events. Maybe it is because I have grown up. Maybe it's because I haven't played another decent RPG afterwards.

Final Fantasy VII has become part of nostalgia for me now. Part of what I used to enjoy during more innocent times. And I wish I could regain that feeling I had of playing FF7. As of now, my only consolation for all this is Nobuo Uematsu's brilliant soundtrack for the game. And it really takes me back to places -- right now to the church where Cloud falls down and meets Aeris the second time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birth

Pieter's Bullet swerved down the highway like a golf ball rolling down a hillock. The thumps from the exhaust punctuated an otherwise silent night. He wasn't alone. There were three other riders with him. They had gone for a gig all the way from Goa. None of them were married except for Pieter. And Pieter right now had another huge burden in his chest. As he sat on the Bullet's modified saddle, the bike's thumps seemed to resonate with his own heart beats.

Donna was 8 months pregnant. The last time the Doc visited their place, he brought up the possibility of an early pregnancy. And now in this dark night, the only light illuminating their way being the hazy gold of the Enfields' headlights, the image of Donna writhing in agony with only Aunt Martha as her sole help was much too vivid for Pieter to bear.

They weren't married for long. Donna was already a month into pregnancy when they decided to tie the knot. A small event at the church with only their friends and Donna's parents. Pieter's parents passed away a long time back. It was in some friend's garage party that Donna and Pieter met first. And from then, their relation was amply aided by the greens. Grass, MJ, ganja, whatever you may call it; that was how they got to know each other. It was after their fifth spliff that sparks began to fly between them. And how! Floyd's deep riffs spread out over the whole garden where they first made out. And time stood still as their bodies snaked into each other. Each nerve trying to rub against the others' body, trying to generate a feeling that would send shivers down their bodies; again.

Quite coincidental then, that it was Floyd again that made Pieter take a brief hiatus from Donna at such a stage. Pieter had a small garage band thing going in Goa. And they had the chance to cover a few Floyd songs in a rather popular restaurant in Mumbai.

The gig was over now. And another 100 kilometers ahead, there were other screams that awaited Pieter. He shrugged all the thoughts from his mind. The road waned right and Pieter almost didn't see it. He closed his eyes shut for a second. When he opened it, only the road remained. Better somehow, than never.

***************

"PIETER!!! How dare you leave her like this!!!"

Pieter hadn't even stopped his bike as Jojoes came running. SMACK. His fist connected sharply against Pieter's left cheek. Strong smell of feni surrounded Jojoes like an aura.

"Where is Donna?" asked Pieter as he rubbed his jaw.

"She's at Martha's"

"The baby?"

"I don't think its come yet. But you better hurry."

Pieter ran. He jumped the makeshift compound wall and across the stretch of farmland that separated his house from Martha's. There was a dim light that came out of Martha's first floor bedroom.

"Donna?" Pieter asked the lady who waited at the front door. He hadn't seen her before.

"She's upstairs," replied the lady. "The baby must come any moment now. You better wait here though."

Pieter didn't expect this. Waiting like this is rather strange. It was possibly the most important part of married life. And he had to wait like an unwanted guest. He fished into his pocket and got out a small bent joint from his baggies.

And as soon he took the first drag, he heard an unmistakable cry from the first floor. He ran upstairs without thinking too much. The lady downstairs wanted to say something, but now was not the time.

He barged into Aunt Martha's bedroom on the first floor. And there he was. Still tied to his Mom through a cord.

**************

"Ok. First question. He or she?" asked Donna as she laid sprawling on the floor, a joint in her hand.

"He," said Pieter.

"Hmm. Even I think it'll be a he."

"If you think it's a he, it's a he," agreed Pieter.

"What do we call him?"

"MJ."

"Bastard!" said Donna as she lazily kicked Pieter on his butt.

"What's wrong with MJ?" asked Pieter innocently.

"I have bad feelings about that name," replied Donna.

"You have something in mind? What about first parts of our name?"

"Peena?" shrugged Donna. "You think he will be a drunkard?"

"No. What about Dopey?" suggested Pieter.

"Dopey is a weird name."

"We are weird."

"Yeah. But still..."

"Let's get him some boring christian name for the church," interrupted Pieter. "But we will call him Dopey"

"Dopey..." repeated Donna, losing herself into the effect of the smoke. "It's kind of cute."

"Dopey. That's what we will call him."

**************

"You enter this room with that?!?!?! What kind of a father are you????" shouted Aunt Martha pointing at the joint.

Pieter didn't realize he still had it. He took a drag and killed it with his shoes. Martha waved her hands in front of her face. Pieter looked at the baby again. Martha had cut the cord. Donna was exhausted and apparently asleep. He watched as the baby was cleansed and wrapped in a towel. Martha kept the baby next to Donna. And Donna stirred awake, her eyes hardly open. Pieter slowly moved towards Donna who now saw him. She had the ghostliest of smiles. He placed a hand over her forehead. She turned to the other side to look at the baby and then turned back to face Pieter.

"Take him," she whispered.

He turned questioningly to Martha. Martha nodded and turned to cleaning some vessels and clothes.

Pieter gently lifted the baby up. The baby hardly weighed anything to Pieter as he held it close to his chest.

"What do we call him?" asked Pieter.

"You forgot?" replied Donna.

"I thought we were joking that night."

"No. We weren't," said Donna. And she paused.

"He will be Charles Peter Marcoss," completed Donna.

Pieter's eyes dropped a bit.

"Charles Peter Marcoss for the church." continued Donna. "And Dopey, for us."

Pieter smiled. His eyes shone in the dim light as a tear or two sparkled in them.

"Our Dopey," repeated Pieter.

The gentle smell of the stubbed out joint lingered in the stuffy room. Somewhere on the floor, the joint was still burning, almost as if it wanted to witness this event. And it will keep burning, across all the major events of this small family's life -- Donna, Pieter and Dopey.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Friend Gerin

My neighbour, whose name I don't remember right now, told me that her relatives were joining Sivagiri (Vidyaniketan). Unfortunately, I was a bit snobbish; being there in the school for around 7 years then. And a new face will of course be treated like an alien. So I'd a preconceived notion of being a bit of a grump.

There was this neighbour of mine named Jerine. I knew her from when I was a kid. And when I heard your name, the first thing that came to my mind was 'Geez, this guy has a girly name.'

You are honest though. You exude a nervous energy, and I like people with nervous energy. Actually I like people who have energy. And soon, I realized that you were brilliant; in your conduct, in your academics, in almost everything. You are a great person -- the kind of person I can never dream about becoming.

Soon we were hanging out together through our early adolescence. And trust me, I cherish it. I don't remember the details now. But Cherai comes to mind first. Your Mom's cooking was fabulous. And love your house as well; the old more than the new. Your Ambassador, the driver whose name I don't remember -- he took us to the Cherai beach numerous times. And remember we tried playing Monopoly, or stock market or something like that? Few facts of life here: I am weak at maths. And numbers in general, you are awesome at it. So no surprise you beat me in those. And Monopoly is THE Test Cricket of board games.

Well Gerin, the reason I am writing all this is because somewhere down the line, our life gets so blurred with details, that things we thought would always be cherished, get buried under a rubble that is so inconsequential. When I used to hang out with you in 9th and 10th std, I thought you'd be my best friend ever. Now, I don't think I will have a best friend.

Tomorrow, new faces will show up. And today's faces will be buried under another rubble. That's life I guess. But I just want you, Gerin, to know that, you were, at one point of time, the person I'd thought will be forever my friend.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Social networking and marketing blunders


Last I checked my real friends, none of them was a laptop computer.

Facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites are a huge cluster of people willing to share things. But to put something on it, you have to really become a part of it.

Like the image, there are a lot of other blunders of trying to market things through facebook.

I am no expert on these, but here are a few things I know:

1. Do not create a regular page for a product, celebrity or group
Doing so makes you look like a fool. There are specific pages that you can create for these. Addendum: Do not change your page name to another product. That's creepy and dishonest.

2. Do not rely on Google ads
As much as the figures talk great about Google's adsense, very rarely do you find something interesting and click on a Google ad. This is essentially what went wrong with BJP's approach in entering the web. LK Advani on each and every page didn't help much either.

3. Understand the medium
Networking through Facebook and Twitter really needs a great understanding of how things work. How a 'Like' button or 'Share' button work on facebook. How to bring things to the spotlight on a home page. And about '@replies' and RTs and hash tags in twitter. It's tough work, but you can really reap benefits.

4. Do not be seasonal
People can smell an advertisement from as far as another galaxy. Doing it wrong will be like that 'friend' of yours who tries to make you part of a pyramid scheme. Don't be a politician. Keep in touch, don't vanish after announcing your agenda.

5. Make it interesting
You don't create a viral video. You create a video, and it goes viral; as in it spreads from person to person. Have activities on your pages. Send regular updates that makes a worthwhile addition. Shareability is the keyword.

6. Be funny
Funny has a way of implying honesty. All good communication has that straightforward tone. Take digs at yourself. Publish something that you found interesting (if it remotely related to your product, great). Make sure people come back to your page for more.

7. Encourage discussions
There are few things as ghastly as an empty Facebook wall. So fill it up. Do not moderate unless outrageously offensive, or spam.

These are all I can think of right now. I am sure there are a lot more. But doing a few of these right can definitely help your product not end up in a blog like this.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dementor's Song



If the day is looking grey,
Don't worry no more, I say
It's the dementors
They are floating in sky.

They are black and quite smoky
Shrouded in a cape a li'l cocky.
And their skin is wrinkled
To a point beyond repair.

They cause a lot of gloom
Makes you think you're headin' to doom
But that's not to say
They are the ones to pay.

It's their characteristic trait
That they trouble you sans respite
But the witches and the wizards
Sure got a way.

Pick up your magic wand,
To do that sleight of your hand
And kill the glum
Shout Expecto Patronum!

The silver light that springs out
If a unicorn, you deserve a lout
But it does the trick
If you even cast a crick.

So there you see my folks
That dementors are no hoax.
Look around you
Now you know why it is so blue.

Now you know how to treat 'em
Not by force or by your cloak's hem
But with magic watch the day
As it turns... so... bright.... AGAIN!

Monday, August 24, 2009

a very small review of 'Wake Up Sid' soundtrack


I loved all the songs. There are not many. Five I can count on one hand and another club mix I can count on the other. That's six songs.

So this is not a review. 'coz I loved all the songs. This is gonna be 'the one part that made the song for me' note about each song.

Here goes.

Wake Up Sid
The delicate strumming of the guitar

Kya Karoon
The finger snapping. Most evident at the beginning of the song

Aaj Kal Zindagi
Again, the delicate strum of the guitar that floats over the entire song

Iktara
The rhythmic use of the word Iktara. Ik-Ta-Ra-Ik-Ta-Ra.

Life is Crazy
The metronome that keeps ticking in the background

Wake Up Sid (Club Mix)
The clock that keeps ticking in the background. Haha!

Well that's it. A nice and short review (I hope) of a nice and short album. Give it a listen. It's been playing here since morning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Third Eye Blind

'The Grate Gambular'

Stuff like these, written behind autorickshaws, makes me wish my cellphone's camera was working. On a similar note, here's something I had taken more than a year back but hadn't posted. This is Hyderabad, though.



What's bad for the afternoon?

Whisky -- and neat. Really, really bad. Where's a can of beer when one wants it?

I hate dry days. (Dry days - days when you cannot get any booze)

An elusive search has landed on the phone number of someone who can deliver beer at your door step. Now I have to find enough people to dutch in so we can get a good deal.

Thinking this must be an easy deal? Surprisingly (shockingly, in fact) it ain't. Not with an uninterested bunch. A teetotaler brother doesn't help much either. Someone should be able to help me.

Someone....... someone, like you!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Like It Matters

For the nineteenth time of the day, he looked up at the cloudless sky.

It's been the same from the morning -- grey and dull. 7'o clock looked like 7'o clock. 10'o clock looked like 7'o clock. So did 11 and 12 noon. 2'o clock in the afternoon still looked like 7'o clock. And things weren't different at 5 or 6 in the evening either. In short, time came to a halt at the dreariest of hours.

He went back to sleep. That must be an overstatement. He tried to go back to sleep. Actually, he hadn't slept a second in the last four days and three nights. Not that it was uncommon for him. Such bouts of sleeplessness regularly haunted him.

But this time was different. His loneliness compounded the stress. His roommate was no longer there. Not that it really helped him in getting sleep, but somehow the presence was rather comforting. Can't blame him either. Why wouldn't someone want to go for a week long trip to Manali with their girlfriend?

His roommate had invited him, but he turned it down. Why? He liked self-flagellation -- of an emotional kind. He believed that such torture helps him recover from much greater heartbreaks. And he had a lot of those. And he didn't want to suffer those anymore. And he wasn't gonna stop risking another relation so he could escape from such torture either. The best of two things often gets you in a ditch. But he was willing to climb.

He pulled the curtains tight. The damned light still managed to somehow wriggle its way through sides unreachable for the curtain. He wished he had one of those thick iron shutters to pull down.

He flopped down onto the bed. He felt that the coil inside the mattress sprang up to pierce his back. The feeling was so real, he got up from the bed. He ran his palm over the mattress for the fifth time that day. No. It was all his imagination. He tried to convince himself.

He flopped down onto the bed -- again. Masturbation is supposed to help you get sleep. Will it work now? It didn't work the last five times. He was willing to try again. He pulled the laptop close to him and switched it on. Its bright screen melted his pupils. Argh. He squinted. He typed the url into the browser and waited for the page to load. His loins ached as the pictures on the screen started working his hormones.

Half an hour later, he was still awake.

Now what? TV? Music? Books?

He picked up the magazine lying next to him. He'd already read it thrice. Another time should not hurt. Especially if he could get some sleep. He picked up the magazine and realised why he hated it the last two times. Its frame always collapsed. What was it made of? Banana skins? He folded the magazine by four and started reading the editorial. It sure was boring, but not really soporific.

He picked himself up from the bed mouthing inanities. His living room was clean, but not exactly comfortable. For start, his furniture was cane. Still, he managed to crumble his 6ft frame into the 4ft wide sofa. He switched the TV on. Click. Not interesting. Click. Not interesting. Click. Not interesting. Click. Not interesting. Not feeling sleepy, either. His eyes grew tired, but not in a way that put him to sleep.

He went back to the bed. Now what? He picked up his laptop again. If he wasn't getting any sleep, might as well do something useful -- he thought. He opened his blog and started writing a new post. What should the title be? Like it matters. That's not a bad title. 'Like It Matters' -- he typed. And then he started writing about his evening, the cloudless sky and everything.

Wow, that worked! He thought as he woke up the next day. He took another look at the post he wrote and published it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Showing the way

(Phone ringing)

Will (receives the call):
Good morning. Distress call services. How are you distressed?

Jack (over the phone):
I'm stuck!

Will:
Well I see. What exactly are you stuck to, Mister....

Jack:
I'm not stuck to anything. I am stuck. As in lost.

Will:
(sigh) My condolences. But I have to follow the protocol. Your name please.

Jack:
Jack. Jack Ferries.

Will:
I didn't get that. You are on a ferry or are you ferrying people?

Jack:
No! Ferry's my name!

Will:
So, Jack Ferry. Have you called us before?

Jack:
Yes. Now can I know the direction to...

Will (interrupts):
Our database doesn't show any records of such a call Mr.Jack. Are you sure you called from exactly this number?

Jack:
I don't know. Maybe I used my friend's number.

Will:
You remember the friend's name?

Jack:
I think it's Melissa.

Will:
And what's her number?

Jack:
I don't remember.

Will:
Can you check that for me, please?

Jack:
You are crazy! I am stuck here in a downpour. I am lost. And I am looking for directions. And you are asking me for my friend's number?

Will:
Like I said. Protocols.

Jack:
Ok... hold on... it is...... 9.7.5.4.6.3.1.2.2.6

Narrator (comes out of nowhere):
Before some of you desperate ones head off to call this number, know that all this is a figment of the writer's imagination. There will not be any Melissa on the other end unless you are really, really lucky.

(pause) Now wait... (dials the number)

(after a while) We can confirm now that, no matter how lucky you are, you cannot dial the number and get Melissa on the other end.

Jack:
What was that?

Will:
Space filler. So... where exactly are you stuck, Mr. Ferry?

Jack:
I'm stuck at St.James' Park.

Will:
Aha... and where do you wanna go?

Jack:
Romilly Street.

Will:
Can you hold on for a second while we check it on our system?

Title:
"As they held on for a second"

Narrator (out of nowhere):
Now. The black bunny really did not exist. It was but a formulation of the idiosyncrasies of the 18th century feudal system. Where they called the feudal landlords 'black bunnies'. Bunnies, because they ate into the produce of hardworking farmers. And black, because they were evil. Religious symbolism always associated black with evil. Except in Hindu mythology, where Lord Shiva and Krishna are dark blue, or almost, black in colour, even while being a 'holy' concept.

Will:
Mr. Ferry? Are you still there?

Jack (sneezing):
Oh yeah I am. But I'm not mighty happy about it.

Will:
Well... we do have the map open now at St. James' Park. Now.... where did you say you have to go again?

Jack:
Romilly Street.

Will:
Ok.... Romi...ll...eeee street.... yep found it! Are you looking straight at a big pin? almost at the center of the road. It's named 'The Mall'.

Jack:
A big pin on the middle of the road??????

Will:
Yes. That's what the map shows. It's a big pin, with an oval head. Red in colour. Dull red rather. With a pristine white centre.

Jack:
I don't see no pin. But I do see a mall ahead.

Will:
Well, what do I say. You can test your luck, I guess.

Jack:
Ok. I am near the mall. Now what?

Will:
If you look eastwards you must see a yellow road.

Jack:
Road sign you mean.

Will:
No. A yellow road. It must be completely yellow. Nothing else.

Jack:
No black tar?

Will:
No black tar.

Jack:
No white stripes on the middle?

Will:
No white stripes. It's a yellow road.

Jack:
You gotta be kidding me. Look mister. This is not funny. I am near the mall. There's a shop here named 'Lille's'.

Will:
A little shop?

Jack:
No. Lille. As in L-I-double L-E.

Will:
Wait. Let me just zoom in here. I am afraid we do not have information from this height. Would you like a complimentary cookie from Cookie Monster?

Jack:
So you mean all this trouble was for nothing?

Will:
Well, if that's what you think about our exciting offer, then I have to agree, Mr. Ferry.

Jack:
What a waste of time and effort....

Will (scoffing):
Hmm.. tell that to the jackass who's writing all this.

Narrator, Will and Jack (together):
YOU JACKASS! GO ASK YOUR BOSS FOR MORE WORK!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Small Blue Place

"It's blue. And quite small. Does the database have anything on it?" wondered Danube more to himself than Freeng.

Freeng's sixth tentacle (what they called habiosporad) was fiddling away inside a transparent green orb made of wax. From the center of the orb sprang up words and numbers of bright purple and attached itself on the surface. It formed words and sentences, probably entire essays -- but in an alien script.

"Earth," said Freeng, his smoky grey eyes gleaming with a green hue. "Inhabited. Formation: 4.5 billion years ago."

"What's a billion?" asked Danube curiously, his face still stuck to the window of their vessel.

"Well. I don't know really. The place is not on our database. I got this signal from something called w.i.k.i.p.e.d.i.a. Seems to have a lot of information about this Earth place."

"Is it the same guys who sent the first message?"

"No. That was. H.e.i.n.e.k.e.n. They seem to make some kind of elixir. It's golden. Look."

Danube shouldered closer to Freeng, his eyes fixed on the surface of the orb. On it was the picture of a glass of golden brew, patterned with silver bubbles on the sides.

"Looks good, doesn't it?" Danube quipped. "Maybe we should sample this to Cranel. I am sure Glofilia will..."

He was interrupted by a buzz, as the lights inside the vessel started blinking.

"Demascus save us! The autopilot's switched off! There seems to be a clutter in front. And we are fast approaching," exclaimed Freeng.

"Put the support factor on. I am taking controls."

Danube was quick into action.

"Brine my big runt! What in Cranel are these?"

They were looking at a space debris. Thousands of satellites dumped into the gravity-less space. Just floating around, unclaimed and unwanted.

Freeng and Danube's head craned to the left as the vessel steered cleared of an approaching metal.

"Don't they know the rules? They should have sent signs. And instead they send elixirs. What a stupid, selfish bunch!"

Danube was losing it and quickly. His ear was turning blue. It didn't look good against his light brown skin. In Cranel it is not supposed to be a good sign. It is almost offensive. Craneloos wear a shield over their ears when they work in hazardous situations. In such places it was common for the life rate of the Craneloo to reach such high levels that their ears turned blue.

The only reason Danube wasn't wearing the shield was well, there were only two of them. And they were comfortable, physically; being in the vessel for years together.

"I'm sorry about that." Danube explained to Freeng. His ear was now back to the usual light brown.

"That was crazy wasn't it," said Freeng as he settled back into his co-pilot's chair.

"I was beginning to think this was a kinda good looking place. I must think otherwise now."

"Let's not get into such early conclusions. Remember Yuteria? Looked horrendous first didn't it?"

"At least they had proper alarm signs on," mumbled Danube.

"Yeah. Even then. It looked rotten from the outside. But the people were quite nice. You were getting quite friendly with one hocky looking Yuterian."

"Velina," sighed Danube and his eyes gazed out dreamily. Greeting it was a sight of the blue planet. "This Earth place. It looks rather cold. Why don't we go back to Yuteria?"

"You know Haman's orders. We cannot track back. The goal set to us was gan planets. And we are still at ryut."

Danube looked dejected. Add to it the memories of Velina and he felt miserable inside. Freeng saw his mate's worry.

"Maybe there's a sweet human being waiting for you here."

"Hunag what?"

"Hyu-mahn be-ing."

"Hu-mang buh-ing? Is that what they call the creatures here? I am telling you, this sounds like a terrible place."

"We'll see in a while, won't we?"

"Are you telling me we are touching down here?" asked Danube, now looking perplexed at the audacity of the option.

"Haman's orders Dan," replied Freeng.

"Haman haman. What has he ever..."

"Careful Dan. This might be recorded."

Danube fell silent. Danube was from the Crothilian sect of Cranel. Haman's party failed badly in the elections in Crothilia. There was a huge tussle as Haman's aides wanted to take revenge at Crothilians. It was rumoured that about a hundred Crothilians lost their lives. After this incident, Haman took over the military of Cranel and revolted against the then prime Carnelian, Marnagia, overthrowing her finally.

Danube's thoughts were interrupted by a slight whir from the tail of the vessel.

"I am setting the coordinates," informed Freeng as he fed in the new destination. Danube could feel the vessel swerving to the left.

"Ok. Put self-fly off. I will take the controls." Danube's voice failed in showing any enthusiasm.

The small, blue planet was becoming bigger and bigger. Tufts of green sprang up from the otherwise radiant blue. Patches of browns formed, as if the blue and the green of the surface was getting corroded at places.

"Nugit bedits to air scratches," commanded Freeng.

"Gan, mut, benda, nugen, ryut, kadli, wing, beng, ugo."

"Surface wetting released," informed Danube, hitting a small patch of silver in the controls in front of him.

"Arrival steps have started," said Freeng and he took his tentacles off the controls.

Freeng and Danube slumped back, their eyes screwed at the sight unfolding in front of them.

The greens and browns started getting sparer. The blue hung in front of them like a curtain. It moved gently to the tunes of an unknown conductor.

"I see another surface change," said Freeng as he leaned forward to look at the orb.

"Will our wetting hold in the new surface?" asked Danube.

"Hmm... I think it should. Brace tight. We are almost there."

And with that the vessel plunged into the water making barely any splash. Even the ripples didn't last more than seconds against the waves of the ocean.

Inside the vessel, Freeng and Danube sat dumbstricken against the vision unfolding in front of their eyes. There were bright splashes of yellows and reds, framed against a magnificent dark blue background. Danube craned his eyes upward to see a majestic green light hovering above. His ear turned pink.

"I see that you've already started liking it," remarked Freeng. "And you still haven't found your Velina yet."

"Freeng. We are approaching surface," noticed Danube, taking his eyes off the splendid sights and concentrating on the panel in front.

"We are set for vessel exit, Dan."

Even Freeng's ear turned pink as he un-safed himself from the seat. Danube followed his actions. After adjusting the pressure inside the vessel to match that of outside, Freeng released the exit latch.

The door dropped open as some bubbles escaped from the tiny cavities on its sides. Freeng and Danube floated out from vessel. Their tentacles floated around their streamlined body. Their feet joined together to take the shape of a tail fin.

"By Brine! This is just like Cranel!" exclaimed Danube.

"Yeah. It sure feels the same. I think it's a little warmer."

"Where are the hunug begums?"

"Human beings, Dan. And I don't know. I couldn't really see how they looked even. Thanks to that junk they have kept around the planet."

"I see some people coming our way," said Dan pointing ahead.

From the bleak blue of the depths of ocean were floating a number of dark bodies. Their features were still unclear as the haze was rather thick at these depths.

As they came closer, their features became apparent. They had a pale silver skin. Smooth, with no hairy growth. They didn't have any limbs, except for their fins. Their nose was pointed and their eyes formed a small black dot. Three slits on each side, marked where they breathed in and out.

"Hello." greeted Danube. "How are you folks? Hunag begi..."

"Human beings?" corrected Freeng.

A particularly slender one from the group came closer to Freeng and Danube. It screeched. The creature had pearly white teeth that slanted to form really sharp incisors and a pale red gums.

"Scimilion your name? I am Danube. You can call me Dan. I must say you have a beautiful smile."

Freeng flicked around towards Danube.

"Looks like you've already found your Velina," said Freeng coyly.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Dumb Thing

I watch porn for sex education

I do dumb things for fun

I bark at dogs thinkin’ I’ll get a boner

I do dumb things for fun

I say yes when they ask me for my sex

I do dumb things for fun

I’m writin’ this even when I’ve topped in Physics

Coz I do dumb things for fun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Simple sentence constructions

1)
The blue lake on the side of the grey plankton runs wide from the narrow ledges, straining the edge of the horizon -lit bright with a bolt of golden yellow - by peeling the sky in two and inviting the golden rays of sun light that has travelled light years before reaching our planet that's stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere, mystifyingly so, even as I watch all this in Discovery channel where my transmission is rather unclear, I think to myself, 'Am I really worth this trouble?'

2)
The crowd erupted in a rupture to cheer the team that's won the finals, but barely so, after a performance so chivalrous that the opposition team (even with their bitter rivalry that spans decades) did a whole row of bowed greetings which marked a gesture rarely seen in sporting circles of which the country really did not have much to be proud of; and the question in the minds of those in the crowd that weren't cheering was, 'Is this football?'

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mob mentalities of internet commentators

Uploading a picture or playing a flash game on the internet is no more a big deal. It has become all about sharing and discussing. Here we look at the trends of comments on various social forums.

Facebook:
This is probably the safest place on the internet to comment. As difficult as it is to believe so, the people in your facebook profile, are your friends. Or just people you know. Ok. Or maybe that babe you found too hot not to poke. The essential goodness of facebook is apparent in the absence of a thumbs-down or unlike button.

YouTube:
A place of constant chaos. Exhaustive researches have shown us that there may not be a single video posted on YouTube that does not have an against-the-majority opinion. Put up anything, and there will be at least one person who makes a negative comment. But, the availability of a thumbs-down button for comments buries such 'derogatory' remarks, six thumbs under.

Flickr:
A great place for upcoming photographers, flickr is the equivalent of a mutual mastur........ mutual ADMIRATION society. Noone completely disses another's work. The negative remarks here goes more like, 'maybe the lighting was a bit harsh' or 'try playing with the exposure settings,' as against what you might find in YouTube -- something like, 'i can feel the heat from that steaming pile of turd all the way here in New Mexico. what a waste of internet space!'
The mutual mastur........ (why am I getting stuck on that word?) The mutual admiration society at work in flickr is also evident from the various communities formed here; notice that there are no 'The Worst Pictures Ever' community in flickr.

Digg:
The conception of digg was probably something like, 'Hey! Look at all these cronies on the net going at each other. You bet they would wanna do the same if we do it for regular pages.'
And digg was born. Here you will find YouTube like comments and comments-within-comments and comments-within-comments-within-comments and comments-within-comments-within-comments-within-comments-..........
(the original poster of this blog died here because of exhaustion. The rest of the post is made by a new guy. And coz he's kinda new to this job, ye' know. take it easy people.)

4chan:
The sub-species of the internet. Humans, but not quite. They talk in a language that is vaguely similar to English. To understand 4chan you have to become one among the sub-species. But these vastly territorial beasts of the internet can sniff a n00b (newbie for the uninitiated) from distant galaxies. A sensible way of getting into 4chan is to observe the space for at least 6 months or moar. Oxford and Cambridge have plans to start a course for 4chan-isation seeing the rising demand for such.

Well, that's all for a quick look at mob mentality and the internet.

Huh? What do you say? Rediff? Ok. Wait. Let me just check.


(Sorry to inform you about the sad demise of our new writer. His IP was last tracked to a rediff message board about Shiney Ahuja rape case. So, we have decided that,)

Rediff:
Possibly fatal. Avoid at all cost.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Discussion

"He was always great."

"Yeah. He was. But I don't think he was always great. He had his downs. Ye' know what I mean."

The study had eight chairs. Actually it was only three. He didn't like too many visitors -- not in his study room anyway. That was his personal space. He always wanted one. Right from the time he was living with his folks in that dump near the railway tracks. That house had just three rooms. And his brother and sister all had to pack into that tiny room for the kids. But he always dreamt big. So when he finally made it big and had enough cash to splurge on a mansion, he insisted on a big study room.

He lined it with books. Not all of them he read, though. Being a big star in this circuit meant he had to project himself as an academician. But he had read most of them. The interesting ones. Which they were, no one had any idea.

His family pulled up the other five chairs in the study. Occasions like what they were having now called for such. His Granddad (still alive, even with a major nicotine hook) was always a little negative about him. Grans attributed his success to 'excessive luck'. His entire family was there for this meeting. From Grans to his favourite nephew Jack.

Jack was always in awe of him. He is in his early 20s now and aspires to become an actor as big as him. Talent he possesses not, but still he had starry eyes.

His Brother and Sister got settled much before he became famous. So they weren't all well off.

"He always told me that it was I who supported him the most. Remember when he returned from the screening of that movie. Which one was that dear? It didn't go down too well with the them journo kinds," said Sister.

"The Swan Brigade?" her husband helped her out.

"Yeah the swan one. He came straight to me. Said he wanted my support."

"Bah! He called me up from the theatre when that movie was screened. Was in much distress that boy then. Said, 'Grans... I don't know if I will be able to come up from this ditch.' I told him he will. And he did."

"Everyone liked him. But he always appreciated my sense of a story. Remember it was I who suggested he take the role of that cowboy. That was such a blessing for him. He thanked me for that." His Dad wasn't his biggest admirer. But he always believed that the lad inherited his talent. And his talent was mostly limited to the fake smile he gave to convince people into buying crappy cars.

"No matter what, I was his first fan. From the time he did that three scene role for Hunting's movie. I told him to take. That it will be his real break. I knew he was good. I saw all his school plays. And even Mamma hasn't done that."

His Brother's remarks failed to invite a response from his Mom. She sat quietly at the corner -- part of the discussion she was, and part she was not.

"But as the oldest in the family, I think it's rather easy deciding this. I don't have much time left myself." It was kind of weird when he said those last words. If he was least concerned about how much time he had left, he would've quit the stick long back.

"But they don't need old people. I think they need someone young. Someone who still has the same charm that he had," Jack was insistent.

"The same charm you say. How exactly do you have the same charm? You were rubbished even in that role of an extra you did. Stan told me personally that this little bugger is a black sheep of the family." His Sister never really liked Jack -- or Jack's Dad for that matter. Maybe it was sibling rivalry.

"Hey! Watch who you calling the black sheep. I am sure he will do well. He has another major role coming up," an ever-doting father his Brother was.

"Now now. We have all come here to discuss and not to fight," his Dad interfered.

"Yeah. Let's get to that," supported his Sister in fear of another rift.

"As his Dad, I think it should be I who get to go."

"Maybe Aunt Gene should go," came the voice from the far end of the study table. It was his Sister's son. Dennis was the quiet one in the family -- and he never really had an opinion. Even if he had, he never expressed it to others. But this was one time he expressed it.

There was silence all over the table. His Mamma still didn't look up. She had this white napkin clutched in her palm. She occasionally wiped her face with it. It was rather futile. There weren’t any tears. It had all dried up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She still had her white napkin in her hand. She clutched it ever so tightly. It had his initials on it -- 'J.K.' She had stitched that for him. He always used to sweat when he was tense. And was he tense during his first shoot. The napkin was her small gift to him. They say he always had it with him; even when he wasn't tensed. People thought he considered it lucky.

And as she climbed the stairs to the stage there were tears in her eyes. The host of the show handed her the golden statuette. She could barely see through her moist eyes the rows of celebrities all standing up in an equivocal ovation. She held the napkin to her eyes. And he felt the tears on his cheeks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Stoner's Ink Pen

It was all over his brand new white shirt. Roe's Dad got him this white shirt for job interviews. And there've been a lot of those. Not white shirts. Job interviews.

These days they all blamed it on recession.

"So do I get a raise?"

"What raise?"

"You know... salary hike."

"What?!?!?! They are paying you a salary????"

The boss rang a bell. That's weird. Because these days no one has that kind of clerical bell. That's such an 80's government office phenomenon. Anyways.

"Accounts? This boy here says he's getting a salary."

Roe just stood there. "Bastard! Didn't even offer me a seat," he thought.

"So waddyamean it's peanuts. There's a goddamn recession on, and I am not entertaining any salary."

He put down the phone. Now, wait. Didn't he ring the 80's government office bell? Anyways.

"Ha! Salary it seems!"

The boss eyed Roe with mock disgust. On second thought, the mockery was either very subtle, or non-existent even. It was pure disgust.

"Some people think they are still working centuries ago with such medieval notions like salary." he kept mumbling.

He looked up again at Roe.

"What are ya lookin' at?!!!? Go on. You are fired!"

"Well, so much for a raise. Now I am in gutters." With that thought, he'd started his journey. For a new job. In a recession-plagued society.

And this happens.

Roe's Dad's intentions were good. You know. Anyone would want their kid to have a new shirt and a new pen for interviews. Especially when they are in the gutters. Shows that someone's there in this world for them. But the mistake was. Ink pen.

Roe hadn't used an ink pen since he was obsessed (and then irrevocably dis-obsessed after a few months) with the Hero pen. Oh yeah! The sleek hero pen with its shiny golden cap and microscopic golden nib. Its ink sucking mechanism was almost space age.

But this one wasn't anything like that. It was black and bulky. Like what you'd see in British actors from the 70's. And it never worked when you wanted it to. Like British actors from the 70's.

So what does one do? Not to the British actors! To the pen.

Shake it like you are trying to bring a dead rabbit from its grave.

And what do you get?

Ink splatters all over your sunshine white shirt.

Roe didn't see any point in going for the interview now. He was more of a pessimist, you see. And the recession is a bad time for pessimist. It's like too good a home for the pessimist. And you wouldn't put up with much struggle in your home, would you? Roe was like that. He wasn't gonna put too much effort during the recession.

So he went back. Not to his home. Not to his parents. Not even to his neighbouring Midnight Booze Bar. He went to Dango's place.

Dango isn't his real name. It's Elango something. One cannot remember much at Dango's, let alone Dango's real full name. That place is just kinda abusive. So Roe went to Dango's.

He opened the door. Dango's doors are never closed. There's not much in there to steal anyways. But I am sure the cops would have a truckload of stuff to take away if they ever got a sniff of Dango's. For starters, he had an aquarium that didn't have any fish. Or water. He grew some plants in that. Plants of a 'banned' variety. So Dango was never really scared of the cops. He was an optimist. A little bit too much of an optimist. And Roe wanted an optimistic trip. That's why he was at Dango's.

"Heyyyy.... dude....," said Dango in his trademark drawl. He always drawled. Even when he wasn't stoned. But Dango was always stoned. So you wouldn't know if he ever talked straight.

"Wassup bro..."

Roe sat down in this flamboyant pink carpet with the picture of Shiva on it. Usually people wouldn't sit on such carpets. But Dango wasn't very religious. Neither was Roe.

"Don't ask man. This recession. It just kills me."

"Ah... aspirations from life. I tell you...," he paused, trying to scan Roe's name from his smoky little brain.

"Roe... the whole existence is pointless. Job is a 20th century invention. All you have to do is breathe. Let your soul loose. Let it wander the world. See the beauty of the Spirit's creations. The mountains, blue lakes, green hills. Hold on."

Dango got up and walked to his laptop. He played some song. Actually, you cannot really call it a 'song'. There was a woman wailing, a wolf howling, sirens screeching, monkeys playing guitars, hamsters snipping off a chimpanzee's hair, and an owl playing the piano; all at the same time. No. You couldn't really call it a song.

"Well, where was I...," Dango fell down on to the carpet. "Ah... yes... spirituality, man. That's everything. You should know... there's the Spirit... and nothing more. You'll detach yourself from the world's sufferings."

Roe never really believed in all this crap. Being a pessimist and all. But today he wanted it. He took a deep drag from the joint.

The stuff slowly started hitting him. Dango said it was Afghan. It didn't really matter to Roe.

Roe took another deep drag. The grey cloud enveloped his vision as the stuff clouded his awareness. He took another look at the ink splatters on his sunshine white shirt his Dad bought him for job interviews.

Blots of blue ink transformed into majestic oceans. Blending slowly into each other. Separated by white sands. Bright white sands. It shimmered under the bright sun. Almost blinding Roe. The water started sparkling, reflecting a clear blue sky above it. Majestic waves slowly started forming. It crashed into the white beach leaving a small, frothy trail. He took five steps backward. Like those old toy cars. Couple of inch backwards. And he hit the blue ocean like a kid who's found freedom from school.

And Roe wasn't pessimistic anymore.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hic!

Buy yourself a drink from the bar.

Buy a mocktail for the teetotaller chic at the counter.

Buy a cocktail for the girl on the dance floor.

Share your drink with the girl in the lounge.


Buy yourself another drink from the bar.

Buy a cocktail for the teetotaller chic at the counter.

Throw drinks at each other with the girl on the dancefloor.

Keep the girl in the lounge waiting.


Buy yourself another drink from the bar.

Offer a drink to the teetotaller chic who’s no longer at the counter.

Wait in the lounge for the girl on the dancefloor.

Why’s that girl in the lounge staring like that?


Buy yourself another drink from the bar.

Buy a cocktail for the teetotaller who's doing trick bartending now.

Play with the teetotaller's cute little goatee.

Kiss the teetotaller's burly hand placed on your shoulders.


Buy yourself another drink from the bar.

Hey! You're flying out!