Tuesday, May 29, 2012

If by Rudyard Kipling

It's funny how I posted this without ever posting the original. Well, there can only be one If, and this is it.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

This just has to be my favourite piece of poetry. Oscar Wilde at his best.

 He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked 
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain, 
Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
"That fellow's got to swing."

Dear Christ! the very prison walls 
Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought 
Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves 
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young, 
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long, 
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
Fingering a watch whose little ticks
Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
That sands one's throat, before
The hangman with his gardener's gloves
Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
The kiss of Caiaphas.


Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
Its ravelled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer's collar take
His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
In the black dock's dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
In God's sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
Two outcast men were we:
The world had thrust us from its heart,
And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
Had caught us in its snare.


In Debtors' Yard the stones are hard,
And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
The hangman's hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher's doom
Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
Pent up in Murderers' Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
Could help a brother's soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
We trod the Fool's Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
The Devil's Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
Crawled like a weed-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
Another's terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
To feel another's guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
Was the savour of Remorse.

The cock crew, the red cock crew,
But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
Like travellers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
They trod a saraband:
And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and loud they sang,
For they sang to wake the dead.

"Oho!" they cried, "The world is wide,
But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
In the secret House of Shame."

No things of air these antics were
That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
God's dreadful dawn was red.

At six o'clock we cleaned our cells,
At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
Had entered in to kill.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
Are all the gallows' need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
Of filthy darkness grope:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
And what was dead was Hope.

For Man's grim Justice goes its way,
And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man's heart beat thick and quick
Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
>From a leper in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman's snare
Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats,
None knew so well as I:
For he who live more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.


There is no chapel on the day
On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain's heart is far too sick,
Or his face is far to wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God's sweet air we went,
But not in wonted way,
For this man's face was white with fear,
And that man's face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
In happy freedom by.

But their were those amongst us all
Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
Rushed like a dreadful wind,
An Horror stalked before each man,
And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were spick and span,
And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer's heart would taint
Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God's kindly earth
Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
Bloomed in the great Pope's sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
A common man's despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who tramp the yard
That God's Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
They did not even toll
A requiem that might have brought
Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
By his dishonoured grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
To Life's appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.


I know not whether Laws be right,
Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in goal
Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother's life,
And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
In Humanity's machine.

The brackish water that we drink
Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
Becomes one's heart by night.

With midnight always in one's heart,
And twilight in one's cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life's iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God's eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper's house
With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
His soul of his soul's strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
Became Christ's snow-white seal.


In Reading gaol by Reading town
There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.

And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Much Inspired

As a kid, I'd raised myself on a diet of highly inspiring hindi cinema. True story. They were the perfect side order along with Maa ke haath ka khana (Transliteration: Mother's hand-cooked food). The movies were usually full of endearing gems like a woman pleading with a testosterone-charged Shakti Kapoor, "Bhagwan ke liye mujhe chood do" (Transliteration: Leave me alone for god's sake). To which, he'd laugh nonchalantly with a quick remark," Arrey, agar tumhe bhagwan ke liye chood doon to mein kya karoon? Prasad khaoon?" (Transliteration: If I offer you to god, will it get me one extra packet of moti choor laddoo?).  After which, the lady comes back with torn clothes, and declares, "Mein tumhare bachche ki maa banney wali hoon" ( Transliteration: Now you are so screwed, man. Wait till my hero brother comes and kicks your ass! What were you thinking when you tore my top?)

It takes great amount of skill to come up with those corny dialogues. No doubt. I can't forget the knowing smiles on the faces of the audience, who anticipated these dialogue much in advance. Where have those writers gone? I don't know if they still dish out screen plays between cups of tea, brought to them by one chotu from Ramu Kaka's road-side stall. But I think the post-90s liberalisation gave these fellows many alternatives. I know many who still entertain their fans by writing official emails in the corporate world. The only difference being, they don't need the proverbial Ghar ki jawan beti ( Transliteration: In-house bimbo) anymore. They just have the language, which they "mother+sister" by "reverting" from behind and "touch base" to their heart's content.

I can only imagine what kind of inspiring quotes that will come from the desktops of these connoisseurs of the cliche.

"Dont think about what the country does for you. Think about how you can value-add to the country with your vision for a sustainable business of manufacturing nuts and bolts"

" I have a dream. That one day, I will turn this into an organisation that manufactures highly advanced Hawaii Chappals with out-of-the-box thinking."

" Be the change you want to see in this organisation, which is committed to manufacturing butter-knives with cutting-edge technologies"

" All our dreams can come true – if you have the courage to align your thinking with the company's vision of manufacturing tricycles that can transform lives. Because at the end of the day, our target group is growing."

Monday, May 21, 2012


Just found this modern rendition of Kipling's classic 
If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills, 
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, 
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, 
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it, 
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when, 
           through no fault of yours, something goes wrong, 
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, 
If you can face the world without lies and deceit, 
If you can conquer tension without medical help, 
If you can relax without liquor, 
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, 
If you can do all these things, 

Then you are probably the family dog. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

What kind of an amateur writer are you?

I have an admission to make. I did read one issue of Cosmopolitan when I was in college. Yes, I know. I wouldn't be caught dead with that magazine today, but those were the days when I was younger, broke-er and preparing to give Electronic Power Instrumentation Circuits (EPIC) for the third time. And between an EPIC text book on Instrumentation and death itself, I'd prefer the latter and reserve the presidential suite in hell.

So coming back to Cosmopolitan, I remember being really fascinated by the magazine's personality quizzes.And ever since, I've been wanting to become a personality quizmaster. (If you know of any quiz clubs that help you hone your personality quizzing skills, let me know)

So here's one I just thought of for all the guys out there who've read Cosmo at least once, but hate to admit it :


 What do you do when you come across a word like maladroit?
a) You work it out from your knowledge of word roots, which you learnt while preparing for the GRE.
b) You check out the dictionary and try using it the next time you write
c) Really? I didn't notice that word at all. I follow the flow of thought and don't stop at every odd looking word. The stream always finds its way across any boulder, after all.

What do you think is the hardest to write
a) A Letter to the editor of a daily for the intellectuals
b) A Letter to GQ magazine, which wins you Satya Paul tie
c) A Letter to Penthouse

Who is your favourite book
a) Facebook
b) Ayan Rand, especially "Fountainhead"
c) Did you just say "Who" is your favourite book? Was that a typo or were you trying elevate the book from its inanimate form?

What is the best thing you've written?
a) A FB status I wrote the other day when I wrote "I just failed a How Well Do You Know Sudhir Pai quiz". Got it? Well it got me 10 likes, 6 friend requests and 4 pokes.
b) Well, this article that got published in my college magazine. It was a big deal. Why I even mentioned it on my CV
c) A note I wrote for someone. Which was promptly returned with her phone number (Wink!)

If you were to attempt writing a book...okay lets make it easier. So if you were going to start writing a blog, what would be your first post about?
a) About Me? Duh!
b) The name of the blog. Yes, those need to be something inspirational.
c) It would be just like the intro I've written, for the book I've been attempting to write, but just cant find the time to complete it.

What did you think of this quiz?
a) You mean it's over. Cool. Let me check out the....WHAT THE....
b) Aren't you surprised I'm still here? I've seen these quizzes before...did you actually write it yourself?
c) A very decent attempt as an amateur writer. But there's much room for improvement. Especially with the humour, which at times seems very forced. And at times, very copied. But that's our little secret, old chap. It's like what Mark Twain said about plagiarism, you know. (punch on the shoulder!)


Most As


You were the chap who topped in English in your 10th boards. And you did no serious writing for a few years, because you were focused on cracking IIT JEE, and later topping your graduation. You were also the guy who aced GRE with a 700 in verbal or a 99 percentile in CAT and became an authority in English on the strength of knowing more words. The smart boy who reads The Hindu over TOI, because it improves your English. You've read every book that people will talk about, e.g. Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen, Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer. You have a strong opinion on the written language, but have never attempted to write anything more than a Facebook status message. Or an introductory blog post to your personal blog with the word “Ramblings" or "Rants" on its title. Or a corruption of a song title like Simon & Garfunkel's "Dangling Conversation"

Most Bs


You won inter-school writing competitions. You maintain a diary of your own ‘poems’. You jumped on to the blogging phenomenon very early, and have made a genuine effort in keeping it running. You possess the ability to make clever observations and then articulate it with words. But rarely do. For instance, you'd have thought of half the things mentioned here, and then said "Damn it! Why didn't I beat him to that joke." You have identified literary influences, and remember some of your favourite lines and phrases from the books you've read. And you quote it to impress. Women mostly. Like the time you said "It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" to someone who you knew hadn't read Harry Potter. You may also have a letter which got published in a daily or a magazine, and continue writing to publications with a hope of winning a prize for it.


You appreciate writing in any form, be it a greeting card or a technical journal on Rectoscopy. And that's because you appreciate the importance of writing styles. You are a serious blogger who writes authoritatively on various subjects. Even if it's a subject that involves you to make tongue-in-cheek statements like "Check out those buns" when you are outside the neighbourhood bakery. You are a voracious reader and a completist when it comes to authors whose writing you admire, be they those who write for Economist or those who made a career out of writing joke books. You don’t have a favourite writer or book, but could list down exceptional writers based on their subjects of expertise. You may also be approached as a freelance writer for many assignments( Call me!), or may even have gone on to write the title of an unpublished book, which you are hoping to write every night. Okay, on weekends. Make that Sunday evenings after you are done watching the latest season of Big Bang Theory, which by the way you watch only because of it's smart writing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

God! How much work!

 On the first day...I was hung over. After a weekend of binges. "Let there be no light", I say as the curtain is drawn in my room. "You are late for work!!", I'm told, by my seriously concerned old man. No amount of coffee can help me get started at work. So I spend the day playing Solitaire.

On the second day...There was no water in the loo. Annual water problems every summer. The water tanker is stuck in the rush hour traffic. "Let there be rains, so I have a valid reason to walk in late", I say. There are no rains. But then I'm flooded with work when I reach office at half past noon. Surely, I cant be expected to finish it all. Let me just sign in to Facebook.

On the third day... I'm woken up by vibrations. Phone is under the pillow, again. "What on earth is the matter?", I bark. "Meeting at 12. And it's a two-hour drive. We have to leave immediately", I'm told. Stuck in the traffic. We push the meeting by an hour. The client rushes off for another meeting. we wait for another two hours. For a three-hour meeting. On how we can be more productive with our deliverables. Hell. With all these meetings, when does one work?!

On the fourth day...I reach the work-in-progress meeting on time, but I have no idea what's happening. As always, I'm kept in the dark. It took me the whole day to figure that there has been no progress at work. Shucks! And it's Thursday already.

On the fifth day...the office is teeming with managers who are never seen during the week. "Too much work for one day", I crib. "Cant work on a Friday evening", I decide. And I go out for drinks.

On the sixth day...I head off to work. At a time the world is lazying around in bed. "It's Saturday Morning!!", I cry out loud. "It better be fruitful", I'm warned. The amount of work multiplies, and fills the desk, with me subdued by it. After a long day, I'm done for the week. Well, only just. I see the amount of work completed after a week's labour, and I say to myself "Very Good". And I go out drinking.

On the seventh day...I spend the day in bed. Watching Season Three of Friends. For the fifth time. And I saw that it's good. Still. Maybe the next week will get a little interesting. With such wishful thinking, I go out drinking.