Monday, December 13, 2010

My Statement of Purpose.

I’ve written many of these. In fact I write one every day. They have been written on purpose and with purpose, and I’m guessing of purpose too. But most importantly, they are not any longer than one sentence. But then, I’ve had difficulty in writing a statement of purpose for my own admission into a world-class university in Arkansas. And it’s not only because that statement ought to have at least 673 words. It’s because I’m a simple, honest man, who finds it increasingly difficult to wax eloquent about my increasingly modest academic achievements. It’s almost like being a doctor, a perpetual back-bencher from his medical college days, who is asked to perform a vasectomy on his own being. But being brave of the mind, I venture to write my own statements of purpose. And here it is:

“Ignorance is bliss.” – Thomas Gray

There cannot be three other words that can describe me better. Let me put things in perspective. After having taken some 13,642 hours of study over 22 years of kindergarten, school, high school and undergraduate programmes, I still seem to know little of significance. But little it may be, significant it certainly is. Let me elucidate.

All through my school years, I was consistently placed at 45 in a class of 50. One year, I even went down to 47 out of 48(two students faced suspension that year). But with sheer hard work, I managed to rise to an all-time high of Rank 36 in grade 7. This experience of mine will surely hold me in good stead in your college, which is ranked 19 out of the 23 in the state of Arkansas. I’m sure my peers at college will appreciate and learn from my own struggles at education, which I’ll carry with me to Arkansas.

I’ve learnt that everything in life can be learnt on a need-to-know basis. And for everything else, there is Google, Microsoft Office and of course, my dad’s Mastercard. All my life, I’ve been a personification of this minimalist school of application. What it therefore leaves me with is a lot of time. Which only gave me an opportunity to hone another great skill of mine – learning by observation. I’ve observed that I’m mostly a liability in any activity that is remotely curricular or co-curricular, and I’ve therefore learned to look in the opposite direction whenever I encounter any activity of the sort. You may be rest assured that I will hardly do anything to jeopardize any research activity or other such academic processes that have been instituted at your great institution.

Participating in new challenges that go beyond the confines of a Google search or MS Office is an enlightening experience. The growth I've experienced intellectually and academically through the opportunities I've been given and accepted cannot be described in words. Being able to say that I've not only "learned" but "applied" is something that most students in my kind of disposition are not able to make. Not only was I the captain of our Dumb Charades team in college, I was also deeply engrossed in the skill of tuning guitar stings for all the rock bands in college. So much so that in my final year of college, I was even felicitated by the Music Club in recognition of my contributions to all the Battle of the Bands competitions during my years in college.

Having identified, and then acquired all these unique skills, I was ready to take it to the next level. I assumed the responsibility of becoming the manager of a rock band in college. At that stage, in addition to my responsibilities in maintaining guitars, I also added the skills drum kit maintenance and audio check to my repertoire. The fact that the band could focus on all other PR activities, like attending dorm parties and sleeping during college hours while I was managing the responsibilities of helping them fulfill their academic requirements (running around for attendance, maintaining Lab sheets, submitting assignments and projects etc.) is a testimony to my managerial skills. Now, I look forward to become a liaison officer for promising rock bands at Arkansas.

I believe I would be a good candidate for many more reasons. I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities given to me, and put my best foot forward with every step. I plan to be employed at one of the Fortune 500 companies like McDonald’s or Walmart, which employ students like me, while I continue my lifelong pursuit of knowledge at your great institution. I've been working for the past 5 years, and have reached that stage in my life when I think can afford to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. And that is precisely the reason I feel the skills I've demonstrated and developed can still be improved further. And it goes without saying your college gives me that wonderful opportunity of achieving all my aforementioned ambitions.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

Statistics prove that the movie watching populace today is clearly divided into two parts. Those who know the difference between petrify and stupefy (may their numbers grow), and those who think these are no more than two words from Webster’s Dictionary. And the latter is an aging race that diminishes in number every time someone turns a page.

For the 11 of you who read this blog, and the 61 of you who haven’t read a single book of Harry Potter (and who, almost certainly, don’t read this blog), the seventh installment of this top-grossing movie franchise might be the safest place to begin the journey. Only because, Deathly Hallows part 1 is completely devoid of anything out of a textbook on magical creatures. Well, almost. Also, there are absolutely no boring potion classes to attend. No new spells to learn. No pretty seniors to ‘charm’. No accidents on the Quidditch field. No points to be won for Griffindor house. No Hogwarts rules to be broken. For Potterheads, it’s almost tantamount to being expelled during the Happy Hours at the Three Broomsticks. This is undoubtedly the most non-magical movie about the wizarding world.

Simply put, it’s a story of three young wizards, Harry, Ron and Hermione, who are absconding from the wizarding world in search of something called hocruxes. That it happens to be a bone of contention for Lord Voldemort (very much like Darth Vader from our times) is inferred when his minions called ‘Death Eaters’ (the dark forces) wreck havoc while chasing the three friends. And just as you figure out what the title actually alludes to, you realise that you’ve just watched the longest movie trailer ever, clocking at 150 minutes. Confused? Surely. The movie really wasn't made for you anyway.

But then, as your young friends will tell you, you need a lot more than just a wand or some spell to create some magic. And this movie is visual proof of what Dumbledore meant when he said something in the tune of ‘Love and friendship can encompass everything. Even that which your wand can’t’. (Well, something of the sort. Only read the books once, you know. But you get the drift, don't you?)

While DH part 1 may seem very distant from the magical realms of Hogwarts, it is the one movie that is most loyal to its protagonists. For once, we know more about Harry, Ron and Hermione without ever getting distracted by their academic or trivial pursuits. Here are three friends, who have been driven out of their cocoon of adult supervision, and are racing against time to survive several onslaughts from the dark forces of Lord Voldemort. And the only thing working for them, when even their own wands fail, is each other’s company. But then, it is under such immense pressure that the strongest bonds are forged. Here's where the world of wizards comes closest to reality.

The utter frustration of the characters under overwhelming odds considerably slows down the pace of the movie. At times, you feel as impatient as the characters themselves. At times, you feel a sense of nostalgia, thinking of the good old days at Hogwarts. At times, you are left wondering if it’s a children’s movie any more. The harsh reality dawns upon the characters and the audience alike, that childhood was a thing of the past. And life will only continue to be unfair. So much so that a few lighter moments that emerge out of long dark hours seem no more than a fleeting respite. A Waltz between Harry and Hermione when they are on the verge of giving up is one such poignant moment.

There are two other sequences that will remain etched in the memory for some time. Firstly, there’s Hermione who reluctantly erases herself from her parents’ life, thus keeping them out of harm’s way. And then there is an animated narrative of the legend of the Deathly Hallows. These were the best sequences in this movie.

However, for all its brilliance, DH part 1 does offer an unbiased critic a lot of scope for nitpicking. The effect of wearing a hocrux surely reminds you of Frodo Baggins. Lord Voldemort certainly doesn’t seem half as scary as he’s made out to be. And then, as is the case with most movies that are based on books, DH part 1 proves to be the proverbial mini-skirt, concealing a whole lot more than what it reveals. But among book-based movies, I’d rank DH part 1 alongside Godfather 2, in that it lays greater emphasis on the characters of the story, as opposed to the main plot. That was one aspect of the movie I found most fascinating.

Of course, we do realise that a critique for any movie from this franchise is a futile exercise. If you do watch this in a theatre, just pay attention to the disappointment of the 10-year old who is a complete authority on all magical creatures Harry has encountered so far, or the ecstatic 12-year old who has all the magical spells by heart, and is completely armed to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, come July 2011. That to me is the best critical analysis Deathly Hallows part one can get.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank you for the music.

Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Nobody described music better than Victor Hugo. And since I cannot write anything as profound to describe any of the albums below, I'll keep it down to one sentence each. The rules of this Facebook Tag are 15 minutes (no more) to name your 15 favourite albums. Here goes:

The Beatles – Abbey Road

Their last album, which begins with Come Together. How apt.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Cannot listen to just one track from this album and leave the rest.

Led Zeppelin IV

Clearly helped the band to be a rock, and not roll.

Pearl Jam – Ten

Have had the discography on me for half a decade, but I've never gone beyond their first album

Prodigy – Fat of the Land

90s, during my teen years, I had to love a band that came up with Smack my bitch up, even though I didn’t know what that really meant.

Kasabian – Kasabian

In an age when MTV plays anything but music, this album is the most definitive IV shot in music’s arm.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine

The first time I heard it in ‘07, I took the plunge, and I’m still immersed in it.

Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert

When Tracy Chapman pays tribute to Dylan’s village folk days, and Johnny Cash and June Carter relate his Country leanings, while Clapton covers his experiments with Blues, you Don’t Think Twice.

AC/DC - Back in Black

When one of the loudest albums of all time features a number called Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution, you have to admire this 'metal' band and their attempt at irony.

Metallica – Black

Many critics have blasted this album saying it was meant for losers. Boy, am I glad I was one.

U2 – Joshua Tree

If there’s one album that defines what really drove the band, it’s this one. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

RATM – Battle of Los Angeles

When you want to flash your digitus impudicus to the world, this is the album you play.

Nirvana – Never Mind

Funnily, my introduction to rock music was Come as you are. And here I am.

Simon & Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me. Need I say more?

Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

When you're down and out, When you're on the street, When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you
This album still has that kind of an effect on me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

15 literary influences in 15 minutes

No seriously. 15 minutes. Another minute of deliberations, and the list would have changed. So here goes:

1. Merchant of Venice - It took me 3 reads to start appreciating this one. And another 3 to be able to say 'To bait fish withal: if it feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.... The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction' from memory. And 3 more before my ICSE boards. But if it was not for this one, I may never have been able to appreciate the rest of this list. So numero uno it is, Mr. Bill.

2. Dennis the Menace - 'You can fool some people all the time, and all the people sometime. But you can never fool mom'. Life lessons learnt from pencil boxes, posters and newspaper cuttings. Damn, where did all that go?

3. Asterix - History books were never the same after reading this series.

4. Short stories by O' Henry - Wit. Wordplay. Warmth. And clever twists in the end. Damn, he'd be one hell of a copywriter.

5. Short Stories by Somerset Maugham - This man can inspire you to write. Period.

6. Short Stories by Saki - He taught the rules of English by day. And tried to rewrite those very rules at night. Uber cool!

7. Calvin & Hobbes - “We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.” Yes, it took a 6-year old to teach me that one. What a philosopher, I say.

8. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger - Everytime I fuck up, I think of Holden Caulfield. And then I realise that things could have been worse.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Forget James Bond. If there really is a personification of 'GQ man', than that honour should go to one Mr. Atticus Finch.

10. Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - It's an absolute must-read if you are in college and trying to hit on women with literary leanings. Quoting it always follows countless hours of conversations over coffee. ;)
PS: Whether you agree with the woman (the one you are hitting on, not Ayn Rand) or not, you better have an opinion of your own before attempting a pseudo-intellectual heist. Cheers!

11. The Trial by Franz Kafka - An awesome satire on the judicial system. Really makes you feel impotent. Not for the weak of heart and mind.

12. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre - If you are the kinds who has bottled up anger for many years, than take a deep breath, try and channelise it into wicked bursts of sarcasm and other unprintable variants. And hell, win the GODDAMN BOOKER as a consolation for anger management!

13. Animal Farm by George Orwell - This one inspired me to write a street play. And I must say, it was a one-hit wonder. At least as far as lit events at colleges in the proximity of South Canara go. :P

14. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, and Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin - It took the first book to inspire me to make a holiday list, and the second one to believe it was possible. I'd give myself 80 years for this adventure, though.

15. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol - One Reverand Dodgeson starts taking a trip of one bored 10-year old Alice Liddle, on a boatride. And the rest, they say, is hysterical. This book drove the literary world crazy with one question, "What was Lewis Carrol smoking?". Once revealed, with conclusive evidence, the stimulant in question ought to be legalised.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Writings on the Wall

Yes, Facebook can be fun. And since we never have the pleasure of enjoying comments on the blog, we thought of writing an entry out of comments from FB. Here's introducing the participants from what started as a FB Kavvi Sammelan and eventually turned into a hip-hop free-for-all.

Me: Writing a status message is but a pastime,
But now I struggle to get them to rhyme,
To get over writer's block,
As prescribed by the doc,
And get back to my writing prime.

Priyanka: The try was worth a watch i say
But puns i love i would daresay
Till the time u have more puns to spare
Ill hide my happy comments somewhere!

Me: Hide your comments, for what joy?
When they are so awesome, oh boy!!
Writing a pun,
May be fun,
But this is what I'm starting to enjoy! :)

Navin: Writing a rhyme
Is a bit like consuming a bit of thyme
Cathartic and therapeautic,
As opposed to getting high on an unknown narcotic,
Go on, make Ogden swell with joy,
...Keep the rhymes apolitical, unlike Ms. Roy !

Me: You are one quizzing freak,
It even shows in your poetic streak,
Why wake up poor ol' Nash,
for this rhyming mishmash?
...So lets not invite miss roy,
and keep it simpler, my boy!

Navin: Good ol' Nash wouldnt mind being pestered
Esp. when we unleash poetic prowess so unfettered,
Yeah, we are all scared of Ms. Roy,
After all sedition is no boy's toy,
This rhyme is a little simpler I hope,
...With verbal diarrhoea, daily I cope :)

Me: Is this rhyme much simpler, I'm not so sure,
Your references still demand a guided tour,
Not for me an Ogden, or miss Roy,
not even a Bradman, or Van Nistleroy,
I like natural references, like the wind, the sun, or even hay,
...Because they create an image in your mind, what say?

KD: when in trouble to make me sound,
dont let the worries let your world go round,
just get some xxx and then watch some,
and soon enough the poetry will cum!!!!

Me: And here come KD, with always a lot to say,
but never for conventions, he always has his way,
He sure has his references, just as his thoughts go,
But boy, he has talent, when it comes to innuendo.

Navin: This rhyme's taking new turn, me thinkee,
KD's turned it up a notch with da kinkee,
Yo, dis house is rockin'
50 cent's soul just possessed me, not jokin',
Yo Sudhir bro, you made dis shit viral,
...Who's gonna go next, Admiral??

Me: This looks like the job of KD,
with Priyanka, the only lady,
with Navin, our quizzing freak,
and this dawg, it's quite a clique.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The world according to Google

Here's my version of the dictionary, which one Mr. Rich was referring to in the New Yorker.

Yahoo: It's a reality check, especially when you take gmail for granted.

Ask: Seriously? Do you even need to?

Wikipedia: It's what googlers(employees and fans alike) fill up when they feel charitable.

Cricinfo: Is what Indians read, when they're not on Google.

Internet: Spot the difference.

www: Should be followed by

Microsoft: The world's biggest jokebook.

iPhone: That's youtube and gmail in your pocket.

Facebook: Nice interface, to discuss your favourite youtube video, or your blogger post.

Money: Is what we'll gladly share with you. Read terms & conditions for Google AdSense

Bing: Yea, right!

Monopoly: It's what you are accused of, if you are the only entity doing something right.

Information: A word that will soon be replaced by Google in all dictionaries.

Charity: Refer to Wikipedia.

Environment: Is what will be saved if you stop reading all the crap that is published, and read everything from google instead.

Privacy: Is about the only thing you'll get if you ignore google.

Chill: Is what you should try doing if you don't like what you are reading(which BTW is on blogger)

Victim: You are. We are. Who isn't? Welcome to the machine(Which is a nice song by Pink Floyd. Don't forget to youtube it, and google the lyrics).

God: A manifestation of everything google cant give you. Privacy included.

Rajnikant: A superset of God. And google.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dilli Boor Asth

There used to be a time in life when I didn't know what I was up to. Things haven't changed very radically since then, besides giving me many more things to laugh about. So let me take you back safely to the beginning... of this piece.

I didn't know where my life was headed till advertising happened. And boy, did I feel at home once I got there. Not because it was full of almost-writers and almost-artists. Not even because there were some almost-film makers or almost-musicians. And certainly not because I was enamoured by a Don Draperesque work-life balance which involved having Martini lunches with clients, and doing hot secretaries in the office cabin.(The truth being, we neither have secretaries nor cabins. Hell, we don't even have lunch at the worst of times.) It was only because it was full of people who almost got there by chance, owing to having no inkling of where they were headed before they got there.

You may have already realised that I still have no sense of direction. And since there has never been a 'no looking back' situation in my life, I'll take you back to my first foot in the door. An Agency in Delhi found me a worthy candidate, or at least they said as much. Thinking of it as my first launchpad, I flew! That too, after promising to repay a borrowed sum once I got my first 'copywriter's paycheck'(kindly note that neither the lender nor the borrower caught that oxymoron). And what an eye opener that was. Err... I'm still talking about Delhi here.

Greeting me at the Airport was a queue at the prepaid Taxi stand. After asking my friend for his whereabouts, I hop onto a taxi. 'CR Park' I say with childlike excitement. 'Aji Kyun Nahi?' he says, in his Punjabi-Hindi, like that's were all of Delhi resides. After the taxi gets on to the main road, and I stick my head out like any country goon would at the sights of the city, 'Toh ji, kahan jana hai aapko?', he asks. Now here's where I felt I'd be taken for a ride.

'CR Park. Ek hi toh hai.' I tell him, defiantly. 'Bolne ka matlab hai, ki kahan sey jana padta hai?' Interesting!! I should have guessed. CR Park is probably not such a great landmark, after all. My good friend, the blue-eyed boy of a boisterous Bangla background, could have possibly given in to a patronising notion of CR Park being the capital of India. After all, he does polish off a plate of Macher Jhol before I can even break it down into coherent syllables. Surely he should deal with this driver. And introduce them I did, over phone. After speaking to the driver and explaining all that he possibly could, my friend tells me,"Ah! Don't worry. He's just playing mental games with you. Be firm. Be brave. And you have nothing to worry about."

If this was meant to be an assurance, it sure made me feel like I was on my way to spend a honeymoon in Siachen. 'Toh sir, hum ab Ring Road se chale?', 'CR Park wahi se jana hota hai na?', 'Ring Road se jana theek hoga?', 'Hauz Khas se Aage jana hai?', 'GK sey right lein?'. The migraine just got heavier with every question. On sensing this, the goon muttered, 'Kahan jana hai, pata bhi nahi hai. Bas, taxi mein chad jaate hain.'. That did it. Mental disintegration like I'd never experienced before. 'Kya bole aap?', I ask, not even awaiting an answer. ' Bolne ka....' he stuttered. 'Bolne ka kya matlab hai aapka', I beat him to it. 'Sir, aap to burah maan gaye?'.

'Toh aap samajte nahi ki mujhe CR Park pe utarna hai?', I try and put an end to his bluff. ' Aur aap kaisey bhi chalo, meine toh Rs. 200 dey di hai. Ab ussey aap mujhe Dilli ghumana chahte hain, to theek hai. Bas aur koi savaal naa karen.' Ah, that just had to be the Kayo. Try and better that, bugger! 'Lekin mein to yahi puchna chahta tha ki CR Park mein kahan niklengey aap.' Hell, these guys know how to make you feel like an idiot. And there's no reasoning with them. ' CR Park mein Police Station toh hoga?'I ask him, bordering on intimidation. 'Vahin se directions puchenge.'

Having had enough of this fellow, I decide to get off at the police station. There is only so much idiocy that I could take from one man. And as it turns out, he did have the last laugh anyway. He'd promised to drop me at CR Park, but only took me as close as two miles away from the final destination. I'm tempted to think this is but a metaphor for the ways of Delhi, to the uninitiated. After all, one Mr. Suresh Kalmadi promised to take the entire Commonwealth to the 'Best Games' ever. But after making so much of noise all through the decade long ride, we know a day before the event that what he presents tomorrow will be very far from what he'd first promised.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mr. Teavee is such an idiot

Found this awesome piece of verse from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Your comments, please.

Yes, ladies & gentlemen. It's been four years since I first introduced myself to bloggers at Livejournal, which was incidentally my first attempt at blogging. But 4 blogs and 218 posts later, little seems to have changed. The number of comments over the years has at best experienced a very modest, toned-down version of the 'Hindu Rate of Growth'. Maybe it's a good time for a review.

Initially, I was very kicked about maintaining a blog. I would look forward to writing a new post. I'd collect all my thoughts, revise all my puns, note down all pop-art or newsworthy references, all this while the BSNL dial-up struggled for ignition. After the blog was updated, there would be a joblist to be completed, which would encompass a 360-degree marketing activity. Casually mention the blog. Check. Rave about your latest post. Check. Refer to the 'one' funny comment on your blog. Check. Upload link on your Gtalk status. Check. Post link on an Orkut community. Check. Send link as a forward to dad. Check. This process went on for six months. Then on one fateful day, I stopped caring about my blog. And then I've always looked back ever since.

Now when I think about it, I realise why this blog has never been so comment-friendly. A guy who is in denial about his age, who is completely incapable of political opinion, who's not graduated from the musical collection of his college days, who's read Harry Potter a decade after it was a rage, who still laughs at his occasional pun, and whose Facebook Status draws more comments than his blog obviously doesn't have enough going on in his life to talk about. That pretty much puts this case to rest.

Now for the way forward. May be an insight or two from the 'Target Group' will give me an idea - a cliched line from the advertising industry that refuses to go out of vogue. From my recollection, blogs that boast of millions of comments belong to:

A) Celebrities
B) Women
C) Both of the above (Damn, this reminds me of my engineering entrance exam. When in doubt, mark C)

Now things are starting to get clearer. 17 days of determined contemplation, and my path becomes crystal-clear to me. I should assume a feminine non de plume. And stay anonymous. That's it. That way, I could be mistaken for any one of the above categories. I can safely write about some seriously earth-shattering topics like what I had for breakfast, what I had for a drink and where, and how I hate toddlers in aeroplanes, and how I hate cats and dogs, and how I hate nosey male bloggers who have absolutely nothing to offer to this world but for their comments on my blog. Oh boy, I cannot wait to read the comments that will flow from then on. Score!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Meet the Parents.

If there is one childhood memory which simply refuses to be buried in some obscure Hiding Room in my mind, it's my mom or dad, individually or in unison, reminding me how lucky I was or how unlucky they were as kids or a bit of both. Yes, you've heard that one too. And I'm sure you were as defenseless as I was when this was brought up in an argument. And I'm sure you secretly wished you had a kid like immediately, so you could try this secret weapon on him. To my utter surprise, a few older friends of mine admitted that while the memory of their experiences remained as fresh as it could possibly be, since they were still subjected to it, the idea of using this defense mechanism on their own kids seem to have been forgotten. It turns out that at least a decade and half of working life, 19 seasons of Simpsons, and three meaningless editions each of both the ODI and T20 World Cup Cricket seems to have rendered the parenting today into a soft, intimidated version of the one we experienced. Read on.

Anish Mukherjee, a 43-year-old techie remembers how scared he would be on the day his examination report cards were to be collected. Poor grades in any subject would mean he'd be forbidden from watching TV till the next set of exams, on the grounds of spending more time trying to understand his lessons. He still dreads the day his 12-year-old's Report Card PDFs are emailed to him. Poor grades in any subject would mean he'd be forbidden from perusing his RSS feeds till the subsequent set of junior's examinations, on the grounds of spending more time in helping his Prince of Wales understand his lessons.

Sugandha Malviya, a 38-year-old Web Designer fondly remembers how she used to work part-time at the British Library while studying in college, so that she could fulfill her hobby of reading voraciously, and buy more books. She's a firm believer that a child should be passionately involved in a hobby and as a parent, she'd leave no stone unturned to help her 11-year-old develop his personality. Last month, as Sugandha proudly claims, she took up some more freelance web-designing jobs to buy her momo the latest Playstation console for his birthday.

Hritvik Vaidya was not only a good student, but also excelled in extra-curriculars. The 46-year-old Investment Banker used to captain his school's quiz team, and led them to many state-level and some national inter-school quizzes. He continued to have a splendid quizzing record all through his Engineering and MBA days, and even made a mark for himself at Corporate quizzing. If he had one regret, it was that his parents had never really seen him win a quiz in his student years. Today, the Vaidyas positively respond to every Facebook quiz that their teenage daughter participates in.

Suniti Chadda, an Architect by profession reminisces how as a child, she was always seen, but never heard. According to her mother, Suniti would attentively listen to her parents discussing their day at the dining table, quietly finish dinner and then head back to her room to practice her sketching. But her upbringing, insists Suniti, has helped her immensely in meeting the demands of being a working mother today, at a time when children are encouraged to be more expressive. So at the dinner table, Suniti attentively listens to 13-year-old Disha's endless rants about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince IMAX movie, quietly finishes dinner, and then heads back to her drawing board in the study room.

While the world makes tremendous advances in Sciences & Technology, thus making our lives better everyday, it seems to have done little to make parenting any easier. From the sounds of it, parenting seems to have become more relentless than ever before. Now if only I could tell my folks that they had it much better than I ever will.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ode to nice guys...and girls.

I'd read this 4 years back, and have been looking for this ever since. It was definitely written by one intellectual whore from Wharton. And ever since he published it for the Wharton Undergradute Journal in 2003 (as far as my source suggests), it became a clarion call for all those men who've been suckers for intimacy. But boy, do we love it and keep quoting it. Here is how it reads.

"This is a tribute to the nice guys. The nice guys that finish last, that never become more than friends, that endure hours of whining and bitching about what assholes guys are, while disproving the very point. This is dedicated to those guys who always provide a shoulder to lean on but restrain themselves to tentative hugs, those guys who hold open doors and give reassuring pats on the back and sit patiently outside the changing room at department stores. This is in honor of the guys that obligingly reiterate how cute/beautiful/smart/funny/sexy their female friends are at the appropriate moment, because they know most girls need that litany of support. This is in honor of the guys with open minds, with laid-back attitudes, with honest concern. This is in honor of the guys who respect a girl’s every facet, from her privacy to her theology to her clothing style.

This is for the guys who escort their drunk, bewildered female friends back from parties and never take advantage once they’re at her door, for the guys who accompany girls to bars as buffers against the rest of the creepy male population, for the guys who know a girl is fishing for compliments but give them out anyway, for the guys who always play by the rules in a game where the rules favor cheaters, for the guys who are accredited as boyfriend material but somehow don’t end up being boyfriends, for all the nice guys who are overlooked, underestimated, and unappreciated, for all the nice guys who are manipulated, misled, and unjustly abandoned, this is for you.

This is for that time she left 40 urgent messages on your cell phone, and when you called her back, she spent three hours painstakingly dissecting two sentences her boyfriend said to her over dinner. And even though you thought her boyfriend was a chump and a jerk, you assured her that it was all ok and she shouldn’t worry about it. This is for that time she interrupted the best killing spree you’d ever orchestrated in GTA3 to rant about a rumor that romantically linked her and the guy she thinks is the most repulsive person in the world. And even though you thought it was immature and you had nothing against the guy, you paused the game for two hours and helped her concoct a counter-rumor to spread around the floor. This is also for that time she didn’t have a date, so after numerous vows that there was nothing “serious” between the two of you, she dragged you to a party where you knew nobody, the beer was awful, and she flirted shamelessly with you, justifying each fit of reckless teasing by announcing to everyone: “oh, but we’re just friends!” And even though you were invited purely as a symbolic warm body for her ego, you went anyways. Because you’re nice like that.

The nice guys don’t often get credit where credit is due. And perhaps more disturbing, the nice guys don’t seem to get laid as often as they should. And I wish I could logically explain this trend, but I can’t. From what I have observed on campus and what I have learned from talking to friends at other schools and in the workplace, the only conclusion I can form is that many girls are just illogical, manipulative bitches. Many of them claim they just want to date a nice guy, but when presented with such a specimen, they say irrational, confusing things such as “oh, he’s too nice to date” or “he would be a good boyfriend but he’s not for me” or “he already puts up with so much from me, I couldn’t possibly ask him out!” or the most frustrating of all: “no, it would ruin our friendship.” Yet, they continue to lament the lack of datable men in the world, and they expect their too-nice-to-date male friends to sympathize and apologize for the men that are jerks. Sorry, guys, girls like that are beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t figure out why the connection breaks down between what they say (I want a nice guy!) and what they do (I’m going to sleep with this complete ass now!). But one thing I can do, is say that the nice-guy-finishes-last phenomenon doesn’t last forever. There are definitely many girls who grow out of that train of thought and realize they should be dating the nice guys, not taking them for granted. The tricky part is finding those girls, and even trickier, finding the ones that are single.

So, until those girls are found, I propose a toast to all the nice guys. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of hearing yourself described as ubiquitously nice. But the truth of the matter is, the world needs your patience in the department store, your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile. For all the crazy, inane, absurd things you tolerate, for all the situations where you are the faceless, nameless hero, my accolades, my acknowledgement, and my gratitude go out to you. You do have credibility in this society, and your well deserved vindication is coming."

Self pity was never so bad. Really. At least if you could express it the way this chap did. And while every guy raved it, four women decided to work on a counter-argument to this piece. And this was their response.

This is a tribute to the nice girls. These are the girls who are safe. The girls whom guys who have girlfriends are allowed to hang out with because they’re not viewed as a threat. These are the girls who dress respectably . . . they don’t go and get “skank clothes” and parade themselves around, catching the attention of every drooling, testosterone-filled boy on earth. These are the girls who are okay with going to chick-fil-a on a date, hanging out, watching a movie, playing a game, or doing some other low-cost, high-fun form of entertainment. Because after all, it’s really about the quality time that they spend with the guy and not the amount of money that is flowing from his pockets in order to please her every whim and desire (or so he thinks) during the date.

This is in honor of the girls who take the time to ask their guy friends “how’s life?” and to listen carefully when the answer is given. The girls who go out of their way to make cookies or cheer up male friends in distress. Yeah, we know “men are from Mars” and “women are from Venus,” but a simple “thank you” is pretty darn universal.

This goes out to the girls who must sit complacently while their guy friends discuss the “hotness” of the girl at the next table over. They watch as these guys date or lust over each and every self-centered, trashy, insecure, flirtatious, and flighty girl they come into contact with.

When asked, most guys say they would like to date a nice girl. However, when faced with such an opportunity, they claim that “I love her . . .like a little sister” or “there are no such things as nice girls. They’re all evil.” These guys continue to complain about how all girls are “manipulative” and “gossipy” and wonder why in the world they all go to the bathroom at the same time.

But, we must confess, there are guys out there who realize the value of their nice friends who are girls. These are the guys who should be praised for their willingness to go with the flow, hang out, and chill. These guys, however, fail to consider these nice girls as anything more than friends or to step up to the plate and consider them for a Saturday night date or the upcoming dance even though they possess all the qualities that guys claim they are looking for. But, a note to the nice girls. Eventually all guys will (or at least should) realize that they don’t want to have a relationship with a girl who wants all of their money and who will only date them until a guy who is better or more enhancing for her social status comes along. So, until those guys realize what is right in front of them, a word of encouragement to the nice girls. You know who you are, and I know you’re sick of being treated like a doormat. In all honesty, you are valuable. Clearly, you possess qualities that cause your guy friends to want to hang out with you. The world needs your encouragement, your willingness to take part in spontaneous activities, your ability to continue to enjoy life even though you watch as countless nasty, malicious female sirens blind the nice guys with their alluring ways. For all of the random, frustrating, and seemingly non-sensical things you tolerate, don’t lose hope. Nice guys do exist and will someday realize that nice girls, who are not evil, exist as well. Fear not, your day will come. And perhaps your prince will too.

err......hummm......I guess it's not such a great feeling to be treated like a foot stool. Maybe we'll never know the feeling. Maybe we need to talk about it. Speaking of which, what are you doing this weekend?

Friday, May 28, 2010

If they pay peanuts, they need monkeys.

Just read this little story online.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done round here.

And that, my friends, is how company policies are made.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Redline (2007)

Redline is proof enough that creative minds are caught in the slowdown, too. It's hard to imagine how anybody worth his D grade in a course on film-making can release a ridiculous movie like this.

Redline features an ensemble cast starring a Mercedes SLR McLaren, a Ford GT, a Ferrari Enzo, a Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster and a Lamborghini Diablo Roadster. At least these have more personality, if not curves, than the actors driving them. Cheesy dialogues, corny one-liners and a masaleydaar plot are the other main ingredients in what is otherwise an automobile orgy with actors being the quintessential well-equipped nurses in a porn flick - mere visual props.

Read complete review here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Watchmen - Movie Review

Who watches the Watchmen?

Any comic geek-boy worth his Batman tee and an issue of DC Comics will tell you that this is the phrase that inspired the title for Alan Moore's 12-comic-book magnum opus, Watchmen. But the double entendre that the question becomes with regard to this Zack Snyder cinematic catastrophe seems as perplexing to answer as the rhetoric that the novel sought to address two decades ago.

Read the complete review here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What to write about in your blog?

An acquaintance of mine asked me this question yesterday. And since I have been going through bouts of blogger's (as opposed to writer's) block, I thought I might as well use this question as a subject for the blog. If this is the frustration you experience, I'm not sure this'll help you find a solution. I'm writing this post out of sheer admiration of your problem. Yep, I'm clueless about the problem too, and at the end of this post, I'd know if what I suggest really works.

For starters, I think one should ask himself what does he want to achieve out of running a blog. For me, it's a training ground. I use the blog to strip my mind of all its mess, so that I can go back to writing ad copy (which happens to be my Brittania brown bread earner these days)afresh. So by publishing this entry, I deprive myself of these lame thoughts when I write copy subsequently. Works for me.

One should remember that writing a blog entry is also like writing an essay in school. A blog entry is more than just a set of random words. Together, the words should represent a single thought. So if 'If your name was homework, I'd be doing you on my desk right now.' follows, 'I'd hate to have a kid like me.', you'd be killing two jokes, without a thought. You get the drift, right?

One should always write a blog responsibly, because once you upload a piece, you stand to create an impression. Even a good one, sometimes. But then, just like driving under the influence of alcohol wont cause accidents in the back seat, writing under the influence of testosterone wont result in you laughing all the way to the bed. It may however, land you a writing job in San Fernando valley. So write at your own risk.

If you are trying to cater to an audience, be sure to write about a subject they can relate to. Waxing eloquent about some movie of the 60s that no one has watched, by a famous director nobody acknowledges today will get you neither hits, nor comments. Here's the proof. The only solution to this is back-linking to your previous posts, and the previous link is self-explanatory.

Speaking of the audience which is global, be realistic of the response you'll get. By marooing a PJ in Hinglish, don't expect a blogger in Sierra Leone to recommend you on Stumbleupon. He may however appreciate your list of the 10 most 'civil' war strategies of all time.

And most importantly, learn how to end a blog entry appropriately. It helps if you can qualify your headline and summerise your blog entry in the last paragraph. For instance, it may not help me if I choose to close this paragraph by saying "I still have no clue on what to write about on my blog". Suffice it to say, "This exercise was a failure."

Friday, April 23, 2010


Today, I have finally realised that my existence has been rather listless for too long. Therefore it is time to prepare a few lists.

Buy and Large

My visits to super markets have been mostly unsuccessful. Shoppers like me usually resemble Ms. Gratel looking for bread crumbs in a colossal cabootarkhana (Pigeon house). And more often than not, we step out with pangs of regret, for buying something we never needed, or not buying something we badly needed. So here are 5 things I desperately need to pick up the next time I step into a super market:

1. A note pad to maintain To-do lists.
2. A pen to maintain To-do lists.
3. A pinboard to put up To-do lists.
4. Pins, to pin up To-do lists.
5. A paper bin, to dispose off old To-do lists.


I have a weakness here. I do not read books I buy, and devour books that I borrow. So from now on, I've decided to gift books to friends, and then borrow it from them. Here Are the books I want to

1. Bone by Jeff Smith

2. David Boring by Daniel Clowes

3. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

5. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My way is the Highway

I've already spent 87.42% of my life sitting on what my proctologist loves to analyse, so it's time to get a move on. These are the five places I want to visit:

1. Hrishikesh

2. Dharamsala

3. Kanha

4. Ladakh

5. Garo Hills

Face(off)book status

That is my only piece of communication to all my 5079 friends in the world. So it better be a sufficient answer to their collective 'wassup'. This is a list that's working very effectively. My last status message of "THIS IS JUST TO SEE IF CAPS LOCK WILL GET YOU TO LIKE MY STATUS." has prompted Developers at Facebook set up an office at Hyderabad, and introduce a customised thumbs down option. Sometimes your abilities to communicate can indeed change the world for better.

For a definitive list of my status messages, just follow me on Twitter and Facebook. That's only if your life is as listless as mine.


The 10 readers of this blog some 10 months have gone on to do greater things in life, like give up reading blogs for good and get back to working on their Research Papers. So to inspire the next 10 readers, I hereby announce that this blog entry will end here, rather abruptly. And the forthcoming entries will neither have anything of significance, nor will it be of any literary or entertainment value. So kindly go back to Shashi Tharoor's Tweets, Mandira Bedi's Blog or Axxo's torrents. Peace.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Countdown to the Commonwealth Games

Before we begin, let us remind you that this report is late. Of course, you may have understood that the Commonwealth Games are a matter of national pride. Which is why, we have decided to incorporate a ‘desi’ feel to it wherever applicable. And a late report is therefore putting our best Kolhapuri-clad foot forward.

Firstly, we had to tackle security. From the maoists. From the militants. And even from Mamta Bannerjee. On the lady’s advice, farmers raised a hue and cry demanding their land back. As it turned out, the sporting facilities were being constructed on agricultural land. When the media contacted Ratan Tata for his opinion, the gentleman responded with a god-bless-your-souls tone, “The authorities will have a tough time in trying to derail Mamta Di’s forces. We’d learnt it the hard way. The government will have to beef up security for the participating nations.”

We then moved to the home ministry with the request. The response was far from ideal. “Our forces have been preoccupied. The forces have been assigned to various roles in Kashmir, North East, maoist-occupied India, states having their ‘annual’ elections and the venues of IPL matches. And currently, we are short-staffed. We are not able to match the employment terms of our rivals, and as a result there is a hiring freeze. We will have to look at other avenues.”

Desperate for ideas, our officials knock on the doors of Mr. Lalit Modi. After listening to the concerns of the committee, Mr. Modi astutely recommended, “Why don’t we move the games to South Africa. Anyway, you will not be earning so much of revenue from the sale of tickets as compared to television rights. Besides, it’ll save you several operational headaches. And most importantly, in the future, nobody will take your event for granted”.

Amazed at Modi’s presence of mind, our officials prepare to have talks with our counterparts in South Africa. But then Modi returns with another masterstroke. “Why don’t we just hold a bidding to decide the new venue of the Commonwealth Games. We’ll issue tenders to everyone who’d want to own the hosting rights of the Commonwealth Games. I’ll offer myself as the commissioner for the Commonwealth Games and deal with all interested parties.” We simply couldn’t believe their ears. We hadn’t imagined we’d been sitting on a landmine all this while.

The news was out. There would be a fresh auction for the hosting of Commonwealth Games, six months before the actual event. “If we could shift the IPL in a little under two months, I’m sure we could host the Commonwealth games three times in 6 months.", said a confident Modi.

The one clause that was added for the benefit of the host was that they could field a contingent by acquiring athletes from any part of the world. But they’d have to be suitably remunerated. This changed the dynamics of the games. Suddenly athletes from Australia, Canada, Britain and Jamaica who had expressed security concerns earlier, now expressed their availability to represent the new entity that would host the Commonwealth Games. The clause also stated that the new entity could only field one foreign athlete per sport, but had to fill the rest from their catchment areas. The definition of ‘catchment areas’ was then worked upon by a team of legal experts. Insider sources revealed that a catchment area would be a geographical area that had a population of at least 500 million citizens.

This prompted a huge response from prospective bidders in the BRIC nations. The European Union decided to form a consortium, since that would give them a strong entry into the Commonwealth games. The White House announced their interest, and President Obama and his team worked on yet another Cannes-winning campaign to garner public support in winning the hosting rights.

The team from Australia backed out. The Australian spokesman was heard saying, “We just do not have the resources to participate in the auction. We’ll have to settle with mere participation in the games. Also, we have to prepare for fresh competition from the new host. Our top position at the Commonwealth Games is no longer assured like in the past.” Teams from Britain and Canada followed suit, awaiting the results of the auction.

The auction proved to very competitive. The Chinese lost out because their delegates did not understand the English auctioneer. Brazil, Russia and the EU lost out to the might of an American and an Indian consortium. Eventually, the American consortium pulled the plug and forfeited the hosting rights to the Indian consortium; realizing that to cut operational costs, they would have to outsource operations to India anyway. The Indian team was triumphant. “The hosting rights was ours in the first place”, said an official proudly brandishing the tri-colour. While the Indian Consortium is still to reveal its members, the news is that it was a union of the Indian Home Ministry, the Indian Sports Ministry, and the IPL. “There was complete transparency in the entire process”, assured Commissioner Lalit Modi.

It was decided that ‘Mumbai Indians’ would be the name of the contingent from the host’s side, and that they are on a major recruiting spree. One Swiss Tennis player, one African long distance runner, one Russian gymnast and one American Golfer (who will only closely follow the pretty Russian gymnast out of an old habit) have already confirmed their participation with the ‘Indians’. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry is reported to be working overtime to address the security concerns of participating nations. Watch this space for more.

PS: This is a figment of the author’s imagination. If any real event bares even the slightest resemblance to the one in this article, kindly congratulate the author on his accuracy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My daily bowl of Pai-sm

Yea, my new hobby is soon becoming an addiction of sorts. So much so that I've limited my thoughts to 140 characters.

Here are some of my favourite FB status messages:

An awesome creative exercise for budding copywriters - writing a new FB status everyday.

Always have a long and controversial status message. Only the jobless will respond.

Sudhir Pai is a semi-machine gun that resembles an MP5, of Norwegian Spirit, on its way to NY City! Just SHOOT ME!

Said Perf, "I keep waiting and waiting, and then if I still don't find a reply for my message,I know it's you".

I just failed miserably in the "How well do you know Sudhir Pai?" quiz.

Everything is fair in love and 'mafia wars'.

" Is there a face-Booker prize for the best status message?", asks VJ.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

India's T20 Team Selector

The job of being a selector of Indian Cricket Teams is no longer an honorary role. I don't know if fans, with little cricketing history can apply for the job, but here's my application for the same.

So here's my 15 for the T20 world cup in West Indies:

Vinay Kumar
Manish Pandey
Dinesh Karthik

If Gambhir, Yuvraj and Dhoni are unfit, then the best replacements on form are Pandey, Uthappa and Karthik. I'd actually want to pick SS Tiwari actually, but I guess Uthappa beats him purely because of prior international experience.

A Friday in the life of a Copywriter

1.Park yourself on your comfortable chair, in front of your system

2.Read a magazine or a book lying on your inspiring work-desk(the more untidy the table, the better)

3.Log into gtalk, facebook, twitter, youtube, wikipedia, cricinfo, stumbleupon, and the rest

4.Carefully go through all your mailing lists, forwards and the works

5.Sign into your office id, go through your joblist

6.Attend the first briefing session of the day, completely geared up with clip board, paper and pen

7.End the session with, “we’ll get back to you after we’ve thoroughly understood the problem.”

8.Get back to your browsing. Bookmark or note down all the interesting stuff

9.Sit with your creative partner (Art Directors and Copywriters)

10.Discuss the movie you watched last night

11.Decide to discuss the brief over a game of pool or PS2

12.Discuss a great new ad that you watched on youtube

13.Decide to discuss this brief over a cup of coffee

14.Discuss our collective social lives, or the lack of it

15.Decide to discuss the brief in an isolated room (conference room for instance)

16.Discuss your personal lives, and try to figure how different it is from your professional ones

17.Decide to carry on this discussion over lunch

18.Discuss your love lives in brief, or most likely your brief but futile attempts of having one

19.Decide to carry on this discussion over a smoke

20.Discuss the new bar in town, and how you should head there to celebrate a great idea

21.Decide to shoot yourselves in the foot by asking the Creative Director for more time, but put all your feet in your respective mouths instead

22.Decide to work more seriously, and sit with a pile of advertising books

23.Decide to work separately, and start chatting online with greater intensity

24.Read the brief again carefully, and call the Account Executive

25.Give him/her an earful for a brief that had as interesting as the life-cycle of a goldfish

26.Stare at the wall and ceiling, looking for ideas

27.Carefully read some of the product’s technical manual, with a hope of finding ideas

28.Peruse a telephone directory, searching for ideas

29.Read the latest Chacha Choudary, for some inspiration to get the brain cells to work like a 486

30.Draw a few scribbles, write a few lines and go have a look at the Art Director’s progress

31.After shrugging shoulders and patting backs, get back to the system

32.Indulge in favourite creative exercise, coming up with a new FB status message

33.After success in step 32, indulge some more and write a new blog entry

34.Oh Hell, what do you know? It’s dinner time already. So go to the new bar in town to mourn the loss of another Friday night

35.Get back to work

36.Have a serious meeting at 12:30 am, where it is decided that you sleep over the brief

37.Update joblist, and head back home

38.Come to office at 11 am, Saturday morning

39. Repeat step 2-5

40.Encounter the Accounts Executive and remind him that, unlike his job, the creative job is not a postman’s job. Delivery times need more flexibility

41.Repeat step 8-16

42.Finally come up with an idea when repeating step 17

43.Build on the idea while performing step 18-20

44.Head back to the system with new found confidence, and start playing Mafia Wars

45.Write down some copy while revisiting the previous days crossword

46.Sit with Art Director and look for references, while repeating 12-13

47.Art Director works on the layout while you write copy

48.It’s time for dinner, and this time you decide to celebrate a good idea (which may possibly get shot down by your CD, his client, or even his grandmother) with a drink. If you’ve come from Step 51, then it's probably late, so settle for the Pepsi in your office fridge

49. 11pm on a Saturday night, sigh! Get back to business

50. Go back to step 47

51. It's 2 am. Art director gets a new idea. You get excited. Go back to step 46

52. It’s possibly 5 am Sunday morning. You decide to sleep over the brief, but this time, literally

53. 9am, you wake up wondering what just hit you? It’s the Art director who’s finally done. Decide to head back home to enjoy whatever is left of the weekend. And pray that next friday, you can simply perform step 1-5 and end the day with step 37. High Hopes!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Conversations in Rhyme part 2

Small Wonder and I tried to get it started once more, but our attempt, very aptly, remained a small wonder.

S: Oh! how much do i miss,
Our conversations in rhyme,
But cant we try those now?
It takes neither skill nor time.

F: I simply beg to differ
I'm not as good as you!
It takes quite an effort
to write a line or two!

S: Your modesty I see,
To reply in rhyme,
In just a day,as I say,
It took you no time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It ain't me, babe.

There was a time when I dreamt of writing for Rolling Stone. Those were years of innocence; of confidence in your own abilities, and of believing that the world has faith in you. But that little shining bubble of mine vanished the minute I heard this prick of a song -

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage,
You might have drugs at your command,
Women in a cage,
You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody,

That's the kind of influence Dylan exercised on his fans. He'd make you believe in life with one song and then present a complete volt face with the next one. Lift your spirits with one song and then play turncoat while talking about it. Talk about being a two-faced Gemini.

And how many deaths will it take till we know,
that too many people have died?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.

It supposedly took Dylan about 10 minutes to write this one. He put words to the melody of an old slave song called No More Auction Block. The following evening, Dylan took the song to a nightclub in Greenwich Village, where he was due to play a set. Before playing it, he announced, "This here ain't no protest song or anything like that, 'cause I don't write no protest songs."
This was getting caught off-guard of Everestine proportions. Very much like computer teachers in the 90s, when they demonstrated the use of the internet and keyed in

So long, honey babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
Goodbye's too good a word, babe
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right.

And here's what the man had to say, "A lot of people make it sort of a love song - slow and easygoing. But it isn't a love song. It's a statement that maybe you can say something to make yourself feel better. It's as if you were talking to yourself."
It sure made me feel like I was on the top of the world, just after getting dumped.

She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

This song sent women's groups on a critical overdrive, because of its disparaging lyrics. I wonder if he tried to point out the difference in being old enough to have a child, and being old enough to be a mother.

I believe no other artist had garnered as much fame in denial, as Dylan had. When he was knighted the king of rock, he quietly turned to country. When they believed he was the voice of the anti-establishment movement, he let big establishments use his his music for commercials. Without his influence, the Beatles would probably have been held in as much regard now, as Backstreet Boys will 30 years from now. And yet, he chose not to speak of those days in his memoirs, like Bill Clinton would in a Cigar Convention.

I guess it takes a Bob Dylan to be what everybody dreams of becoming, and turn astray. To get his fans swear by him, only to betray later. To put it in his style of denial, if he hadn't believed in himself, Bob Dylan would've been an atheist.

Who will promise never to part,
Someone to close his eyes for you,
Someone to close his heart,
Someone who will die for you an' more,
But it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What do you name your child?

I believe Brian Lara named his child Sydney, because he scored his first century(277) at Sydney. I wonder if Sehwag would name his daughter Bloemfontein or his son Multan for similar reasons. Or can you imagine a Faisalabad Singh Dhoni? Or a Chennai Sachin Tendulkar.

Now that brings me to my own kids, when I have the honour of Christening them. Should I name them after my Favourite Holiday spots? Blair Pai sounds good, after Port Blair. And then come Hampi Pai, Gokarna Pai, Palolem Pai, Pondi Pai. But why only after Indian Places? Taipei Pai sounds interesting. Or Fremantle Pai. La Paz Pai sounds uber-cool. Wont say the same about Harare Pai. Or Timbuktoo Pai. My kid would surely disown me if he were named Addis Ababa Pai.

Probably I should name them after my favourite authours or books. Somerset Pai? Holden Pai? Moriarty Pai? Corleone Pai (as opposed to Zynga Pai)? Joseph K. Pai? Jerome K. Pai? Harper Lee Pai? Alan Moore Pai? Actually Osamu Tezuka Pai sounds perrfect!

That does it. It's either Osamu Tezuka Pai, or it's Calvin Pai (of Calvin and Hobbes, not Klein.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Law is Sherlock's Ho(l)mie.

I'd read my first Sherlock Holmes novel,"The Hound of Baskervilles" when I was 10. And even though I was awe-struck by the sheer skill and astute observation that defined Sherlock Holmes, Baskervilles remained my last Holmes till much later in life. So while I cannot claim to be his biggest fan, I was impressed enough as a 10-year-old, as is the case with the inherent innocence of age, to believe there is as much reality in Conandoyle's fiction as there was in being thrown out for reading his book during class hours.

Guy Ritchie's version is probably Arthur Conandoyle's version '+' not-so-healthy amounts of Nicotine rushes '+' a few joints here and there '+' one ecstasy in the intermission '+' one three hour acid-trip '+' one jab in the posterior '+' one kick in the groin.

Yet another childhood hero goes down the CGI route, with the innocence of childhood reading fast meeting a gut-wrenching end. Guy Ritchie's film is filled with sensational sights, over-the-top characters and a desperate struggle atop Tower Bridge, which is still under construction (A great case of attention to detail, mind you!). While it's likely to give a tremendous boost to Holmes' fan-following, the 'Baker Street (Ir)Regulars' will settle for going back to the books.

If you wondering why this reviewer has not got into the plot of the film, we pray you'll need to wait some more. Ritchie's Holmes requires an introduction for movie watchers who haven't read the book; even those who have, given that Ritchie has converted the great detective and his 'partner-in-crime' into the boxing and martial-arts champions of London. While that is not so far away from the series, with Holmes being an expert in Baritsu, the portrayal is ridiculous, yet entertaining. The audience are introduced to the Detective's deductive powers when the man envisions his fight sequences in super slow-mo and dead-pan mental commentary, and executes it to the last broken rib in whip-lash reality.

The plot challenges the viewers' intelligence, never mind the detectives own. The villainous Lord Blackwood, arrested and executed for voodoo practices in the opening scenes, somehow engineers his return from the dead and hatches a nefarious plot to rule the British Empire. While this would send the great Sir Arthur Conandoyle rolling big-time in his grave, and smoking it up too; he may not really criticise Ritchie's character sketches and the settings of London in the late 19th century.

Also the movie's dialogues are very characteristically Ritchie, with several great references to Conandoyle's stories, which keep the Sherlock Holmes fans happy. Downey provides his character the brains, the wit and the thinking-on-the-feet it deserves, and Law erases our own perception of Watson as a mere sidekick, by being a a fleet, dapper and a womanising Dr. Watson, who also enjoys a bit of an intimate 'bro'mance with his good friend and colleague.

Sherlock Holmes will continue to remain a must-read among school kids, and the greatest service this movie could do is to get kids today to go beyond Harry Potter in the world of literature. And the fans who will revisit all the novels and the short stories will picture Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in their minds. We're guessing that the character of Sherlock HOlmes which has survived among other things, great illness, substance abuse, a broken heart, a few scandals and abject failure to commercialise, will surely survive this new Avataar of SXF and CGI, and continue to be bored by a sedentary life.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sach is Life.

My friend Navin inadvertently gave me a goldmine of a source for material. A forward doing the rounds right now is about Sachin's appraisal meeting with his boss. Here's what was not Chronicled. It's Sachin's tete-a-tete with his real boss- the spokesperson of The Cricket Fan(TCF), the 'Zara Hatke' version of the Indian Cricket Fan(ICF). These are people who 'Stand out' rather than 'Fit in' among the millions of Cricket Fans. Here are the minutes of the meeting:

TCF: So Sach, congratulations on the success of Gwalior. Your performance was truly unprecedented. We cannot imagine another individual who could have displayed such a stellar performance that day.

Sachin: Thank you, Sir. You are kind. I owe it to the Indian Cricket Fan, who has supported me for 20 years. And stood by me all through all the ups and downs in my career. I dedicate my performance to the ICF.

TCF: We at the TCF are truly honoured to have this meeting with you. It always gives us immense pleasure to see somebody as talented as you are reach great heights. And always wish you greater success.

Sach: Thank you, Sir.

TCF: But now, let's be objective about your performances at large. Allow me to give you some background, for you to understand our disposition. We are people who love your work, but then we do not let our emotions impair our judgement.

Sach: I understand your position, sir.

TCF: We are aware of your demi-god status among the ICF, and your popularity among other departments, including the Australian Cricket Fan (ACF), and the Pakistani Cricket Fan (PCF). So much so that some members of the PCF applauded your performance, which bettered PCF's one-time blue-eyedMr. Anvar's performance in '97. That speaks volumes about your attributes, which make you a good role model.

Sach: I was only doing my job, sir.

TCF: At this stage, we thought it apt to discuss the ICF's claims of you being the best ever. You see, it took Sir Don some performances at stratospheric levels to assume his position of the greatest ever. And many have aspired to take his place. Probably Sir Viv was making great progress, and came closest to Sir Don. And you come form a time when there were quite a few who have given you a run for your money. I wont take any names, but you are aware.

( Sach nods.)

TCF: You see Sachin, we live in terribly competitive times. Being the best one in your team is just not good enough for you to become the best ever, even if your team is the second-best in the world. None of us will ever remember the runners-up, will we? I'm sure you are a great asset to the team, but unless you carry your team forward with your performances, you cannot lay claims for such an appraisal. I mean, this project at Gwalior was great, but what about the one at Hyderabad in '09. Or worse, the one at Chennai in '99. Now I'm not going to bring up your other performances like Edgbaston in '96 or Newlands in '97 or Sydney in '08. But you get the drift. For every success of yours, your bosses will remember three of your team-failures. And though you may have performed exceptionally as a team-player, those failures of the team are also your personal failures.

So keep up the good work. Stay focussed, and one day, you'll get what you really think you deserve, i.e. a better ranking among your peers worldwide. All the best. Make us proud.

(shakes hands with Sach)

The authour is known to switch loyalties between the ICF and the TCF, based on the outcome of the assignment.

Sach is Genius.

This was one damn cool piece from Time Magazine, if I'm not mistaken.

When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.

When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to "open" the Nehruvian economy.

It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hallo Frands! Myself da Punjabi.

Hair is something they never taught you in Iskool.

A is for Aiscreame

B is for Backside, and it has nothing to do with your butt. It is an instruction to go to the rear of a building, or block, or shop or whatever.

C is for Cloney and its not a process for replicating sheep, nor is its first name George. It is merely an area where people live e.g. 'Defence Cloney'.

D is for Dally, the Capital Yaar!

E is for Expanditure, the spending of money.

F is for Frands, who hang out at da Gudgaon.

G is for Gaddi, and the way a Punjabi can pilot his gaddi puts any F1 driver to shame. And it is also his license to get da kuddi.

H is for 'Haal', and if you ask Aamir 'Ki haal?', he says 'All iz Well'.

I is for Intjaar, and to know more about it see P.

J is for Jiyoo, Long live da Punjabi. And 'Jugaad', something da punjabi cannot live without.

K is for Khanna, Khurana, etc, the Punjabi equivalent of the Joneses
(e.g.'Keeping up with the Khuranas ji')

L is for Loin, the king of the jungle

M is for 'Mrooti', the car that an entire generation of Punjabis were in love with.

N is for 'No Problem Ji.' Because you can always go back to H, ji.

O is for Oye, which can be surprise (Oyye!), a greeting (Oyy!), anger (OYY!) or pain (Oy oy oy...).

P is for Punj Mint, and no matter how near (1 km) or far(100 km) a Punjabi is from you he always says he'll reach you in punj mint (5 minutes...).

Q is for Queue, a word completely untranslatable into Punjabi - does not exist in the culture.

R is for Riks, and a Punjabi is always prepared to take one (risk), even if the odds are against him.

S is for Sweetie, Simmi and Summi, and all the soni kuddi, to impress whom men buy half the cars in Delhi.

T is for the official bird of Punjab : Tandoori Chickun.

U is for when you lose your sax appeal and become 'Uncul-ji'

V is for VIP phone numbers @ Rs 15 lakh and counting.

W is for Waat, as in 'Waat Nansense?'

X is for the many X-rated words that flow freely in Punjabi conversations.

Y is for 'You nonsanse', when anger replaces vocabulary in a shouting match.

Z is for Zindgi which every Punjabi knows how to live to the fullest.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love All

Talk of a consistent scoreline! Well, I guess some things choose not to change that fast. Or at least they seem to respect this day of the year, with only one exception. Let me explain. I've been using Feb 14th as a frame of reference, and a review time for the years ahead. And yet, I'm always at the safest position, that of making a fresh start. Probably that, or just that I've been so madly in love with beginnings. So much so that my realtionships(???) of the lack thereof are no more than fresh beginnings. So am I happy? I guess so. Just as anyone is at the prospect of a fresh beginning. ;)

So here's to you who was first love, till I decided to grow up. And to you, who knew the best way to end a relationship that just started. To you, who "didn't like the way our friendship was heading". Or you, who thought "we were just friends". To you, who'd do nothing to "lose a friend". And to you, who'd marry the ex anyway. And also to you, who thought I was too nice a guy to be a rebound. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bar Stool Economics

Just read this and found it pretty cool. Since it was on Taxes, I thought you should be dying to read this one, in all 'certaininty'.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go
something like this:

The first four men (The poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all
such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily
beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they
divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They
realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from
everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up
being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be
fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded
to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to
drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare
their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to
the tenth man," but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth
man. "I only saved a dollar, too It's unfair that he got ten times more than
I!" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back
when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute,"
yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The
system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down
and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they
discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of
them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how
our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most
benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being
wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start
drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Thanks Dr. David R. Kamerschen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why I don't write about politics?

I've never written anything on politics, because being 'politically correct' is second on my list of favourite oxymorons, following 'platonic relationship' and followed by 'happily married', 'working lunch', 'bad sport', 'soft porn', 'bad sex' and 'personal blog'. Now that I've used all the interesting key words, I'll know if my statscounter really works.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You have my Word

This is a result of my continuing battle with word processors. All through collage, I suffered a false sense of security that I was well looked after. Its only after my first stint in the press that this realization had dawned upon me. I had to get my ax right, or my dreams of writing adds would reach a dead end.

Then began the long battle one of my short comings. Of being vary dependant on spellcheck on MS Word. And by the looks of it, my efforts have not gone in vein. This effort, for instance, was typed while completely overlooking what MS Word had to say, about my spelling; or even my grammar. And you could'n spot one period misplaced, could you?

Human 1 : Word Processor 0