Monday, September 28, 2009


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?"


"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.