Warrior of Email Battles

I have no clue how would I have fared if I was born in those times when Pandavas and Kauravas were dueling it out. I am not known for my prowess with physical sports but I would have made a very good archer. I think. I like those games of skills. Like dart boards, pool tables etc. I tend to believe that I am good at em!

There is another skill that I excel at. Really. Those volleys of emails that fly between offices, cities, people and times. Someone sends an email. You reply with your comments added inline. They reply with their comments in red. You get creative. Choose canary yellow as your color. They add smilies. You attach objects. They make presentations. You point to hyperlinks. They include a few colleague in the discussion. You are as relentless. You add your entire address boss. And some more stragers. Just for the heck of it. They cant be left behind. They add their address book and their relatives. And before you know it, you have lost the battle because the entire world with access to emails has been added on the list.

And this is just one of those things that you will nod your head to and have experienced while working. There is something about email that makes it exciting and scary at the same time. I mean most exciting things, by the very definition, have that element of fear built in. But nothing comes close to email. For starters, email is permanent. Any email that you send out ever is sort of etched into the rock and can and will be retrieved at a later date. I know people who have spent 30 years in corporate life and they have terabytes of emails that they have sent out over the years. I dont know what computer would they hook on that drive to when they need to find something. But, its their battle.

Second thing about email is that you can choose to ignore it. You may say that the email never reached me. You may argue that it got lost in those murky waters of email filters and spam guards. You may say that the content did not get past your corporate email policy. Or maybe aliens took over your mailbox and deleted all items that were unread or something. The point is that you can leave the other party guessing all the time, if their email reached you or not. Its like playing battleship! You keep guessing.

Third thing about email is that its official. There is nothing off the record. You cant really bitch about colleagues, clients, government, Anna Hazare, BJP etc. And this is the best bit. Nothing is personal. Everything you send, it is not really personal. Most of it is attributed to your employer. all liability, is thus your employers. Dont we all love when we fuck up and someone else is blamed? And all that is left and expected out of you, is to shrug your shoulder and say, "I did this in the line of the duty" or something? There are some hilarious emails that I have exchanged in the past that I wish I could publish here. The blog would reach the Internet Hall of Fame in one hour. Lemme know if you want to see some glimpses of brilliance in email etiquette!

Finally, and this is why I love the email most, it saves me from those face to face meetings that more often than not, turn nasty and tend to stretch till infinity. In a real meeting, every individual tries to prove their worth by harping about things that are inane to be honest. Everyone is vying for their 15 seconds. Everyone merely wants to prove their worth. And obviously these meetings glug away time as if it came with a never ending supply. With email, I am assured that I can be at a beach and yet pretend to be drowning into all the work that no one but I can do.

You know, if I had time, I could have went on and on about the merits and demerits of these email battles but then I need to go send out a few emails that need urgent attention. After all I am paid to be an email jockey. I am just wiating for the time when they make email-dueiling an Olympic sport. I can guaran-damn-tee a Gold for India.

Last post of the month and of P 0811, dedicated to Nefertiti. The latest (and the only other reader apart from me) reader of my blog. Thanks for reading.

Secret Dairy of a Corporate Bitch

I was contemplating putting in my papers. Unlike most people I know, I am the kinds without a plan. Like Joker once famously said, "Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just... do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans ..." Nah, I am nowhere close to the brilliance in thought that Joker represented but I like the whole thing about me not having a plan. At almost 29, not having a plan sounds like sacrilege of modern society and I do face the music at times. But then, I cant help it, can I? Neither could Joker. He just did things. I do things. Not working felt like the thing to do and I am doing it. I am doing not working. Whatever.

Anyways the post is not to whine about it. The post is about a question that has been bugging me for a couple of days now. Since I dont have no motivation to work, I am wasting time, energy, electricity, Internet, water etc. I ought to rather go somewhere else. For someone like me, someone who has no suicidal tendencies, home should be a the next obvious choice. But home bores me. I am tired of staring at the walls that I now intimately. I am bored of things that they show on TV. Even Cartoon Network is not funny anymore. I just cant go home. So if not an office desk and not my room, what else? The third place? That all coffee retailers in the world claim to own? Nah. I dont like coffee. I dont even like the ambiance. I want to goto a place where I could be comfortable. I could be myself. Where I can be silent. Or I may yell at top of my voice. Without being judged. Or be scared.

So where could I go? I could go see a movie by myself. But am I the kinds who likes to be a dark hall by myself surrounded by almost adult kids coochi-cooing? No thank you. I could ask a friend for a lunch or something but then I dont think there is a single individual in whole of corporate India who has this utter disregard for rules as I have. Taking an unannounced leave on a Tuesday for my friends is actually a thing that they could make a folklore out of. One fine day when they would have become CEOs, they would speak with pride that, on a warm August Tuesday, this friend (read I) asked them out for lunch and they took an announced leave for the rest of the day. The jaws of audience would drop as if all the gravity is concentrated on their jaws and they would come out praising the CEO as if he just saved the entire human race from extinction.

What other options do I have? I can drive around the city. May be go see the Ramlila Maidan where Anna sat for 12 days. Or go see the book fair at Pragati Maidan? Or may be just go home and catch on some sleep? I think I shall let a toss of coin decide the fate. But wait, I have three options and the coin usually comes with mere two faces. Reminds me yet another gem by Joker, "You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push".

Fiction! Part of P 0811. Other posts here.

0811 to 0911

There are two agendas today. One is to do a recap of P0811. The other is to put in place goals for P0911.

When I announced 0811, I had 4 things that I wanted to do. Write a post a day, travel, stop eating out and the secret project. I did try writing a post a day. Ended up skipping almost half the month. But then am glad for the other half of the month where I churned out a lot of gibberish. Someday these would start making sense to me. But till then, I am glad that I could churn out those posts. I did manage quite a bit of travel this month. Dopplr tells me that I was away from Delhi for almost ten days. Not bad. I hope September is as much travel. May be more. I am in Goa for DesignYatra between 7th and 11th. Anyone wants to catchup? I did eat out less. And I did not even start work on the Secret Project. All in all a very mediocre month, to say the least. Hopefully, September is better.

Coming to September, like I promised at the beginning of August 2011, the things I would do in a month, September is almost here and its time to announce the Project 0911. Here are the things on agenda.
  • Continue the post a day bit. I tried it all of August and I had a lot of enthusiasm towards the beginning. And then as the days past by, I sort of lost interest. I know that I am a bad finisher. With these monthly projects, I am trying to change things that I need to change about myself. From September, I need to ensure that I post each day. And I know that I am traveling but I will post. Even if its unformatted or untagged.
  • Rework on the secret project from the month of August. To jog the memory, here it is. Jevgr n obbx ol raq bs guvf zbagu. Gbbx vafcvengvba sebz uggc://jjj.anabjevzb.bet/ naq znxr Nhthfg zl Abiry Jevgvat Zbagu. Gb or ubarfg, ba qnl 1, V qbag ernyyl unir n fpevcg be n cyna. Ohg V jvyy jevgr n 50, 000 jbeqf. Naq yvxr Zngg (Phggf, bs gur Tbbtyr snzr), fnlf, qb rirelguvat va fznyy fgrcf naq V jvyy jevgr 1650 jbeqf rirelqnl. Hint: Rot13.
And thats about it for the time being! I shall add more things as and when I can think of. Godspeed to me!

Blues - Delhi - Connaught Place

Dear Manager at Blues,

Yesterday, some friends and I decided to party and decided to come to Blues. Yours is one of those famous places that serves overcharged alcohol and undercooked food by calling your outlet a pub. For the record, I dont booze. But I dont mind going to these dark caves and hearing loud music.

So I walked to your concierge and asked for a place for 4. And he told me, on my face that, stags weren't allowed. I promptly told him that my friends were running a bit late and would join in. The manager asked me, "do you have any girls?". I could have slapped him for being rude and using a language like that but then you had those goons (aka bouncers) manning the doors. I told the dude that yes there are men and women in my group and they shall be here any moment. The dude told me "wapas jao. come back when you have girls". Again, a moment flashed by when I saw myself slapping him. And by the way I was your place on Wednesday and no one even bothered to ask me what business I had there.

Of course you guys are a private place where you invite public and have reserved the right to admission and can deny anyone at your whims. But it would be courteous if you could give a sane explanation and your goons could talk properly.

By the way, you arent the first place to have denied me an entry. Discrimination is universal. I know that the way I look sucks. I know that I refuse to wear shoes and trim my beard. I know that your other patrons are scared to death because of the way I look. I know that they think I might just flip out a semi automatic and spray them with bullets. But let me assure you none of that is true. I am as educated as your average patron is. I can spend money. I know how to behave in a public place. I know my limits and I very rarely cross them. And when I do, its not at a public place. Especially not yours.

If ever I own a place, I would ensure that I am courteous to patrons.

Let the ambiance of the place and the kind of people you attract dissuade uninvited guests from coming in. For example, you may play rock music and it would ensure that Hindi pop lovers like me would not come in. Case in point, Hard Rock Cafe. They are brilliant and awesome. But I never enjoy going there as rock and beer is not my poison. I refuse all invitations, even when my friends are playing there. I know that I would get bored at a place like HRC.

Anyways whats done is done. I am now sitting in my comfortable office, sipping onto a Gatorade and thinking of some place to go tonight. Can you recommend some place that will not deny me entry? Not Blues please. It sucks. You know what I mean?

Next time I pass by your place and sneer at you or your staff, please know that its me.

Have a good business and life.

Almost a patron

P.S.: I hate that I cant do shit about things, because I am NOT Anna Hazare. And I refuse to go the Hazare way. All I can do is, not give my business to you guys ans ensure that when someone asks me for a recommendation, I turn you guys down.

Sad day for India

I wish I could write well. Anna Hazare just took the entire country for a ride. We are but a herd of headless sheep.

Mood: Sad.

For the records, Anna lokpal shit got approval today. Democracy as mode of governance, I am beginning to have my doubts on it :(

So Long, Mr Jobs.

My favorite businessman, shocked the world yet again. He announced his retirement. At a time when no one was expecting it. Of course he has been suffering from some disesase for a long time but no one expecte him to step down. Its truly an end of an era. Steve Jobs would be missed. Goodbye Mr. Jobs. And thank you.

Steve Jobs was the helm when all those iThings were thought about and created. His personality had such a huge impact on the products that it is hard to miss. He made things simpler, intuitive and cleaner. Ofcourse he has his set of limitations but Steve Jobs' net contribution to the human race is very very positive. And no wonder, he is yet one of those people who I would have loved to spend time with. He could have taugh me so much.

Thank You once again Steve (and your enviable team at Apple Computers) for bringing so many cool products to life. You guys showed us how to push limits and yet crave for more.

And in the end, a line that Steve Jobs made famous with his landmark commencement address, Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

A Phrase a Week

I subscribe to quite a few newsletters (apart from RSS feeds of a lot of blogs and websites). One of those is called a Phrase A Week by Phrases.org. Its an interesting enough letter than tells me about phrases that I used all the time without really knowing what they stood for. I recommend you subscribe to the letter.

Anyways, the point is that I shall convert each phrase that send my way (each week) into a short story (yes I am an aspiring short story writer, amongst all those other aspiring ???ers) and then post them here (or on sandbox).

Often, I crib that I dont have a plot and I dont know what to write about. Of course its a lame excuse that I give to myself to skip work. But then, things have to change. A Phrase a Week is a simple enough solution and is perfect for my needs. Each story can end with a phrase, or drive home the point about it or something. Lets see, how I do it.

One phrase a week and one short story a week. Let me allow someone else to control what I write about. Lets call this project, Project WSD. Project Wo Saat Din.

The compulsion to drink

As I move higher up in life, I have to meet more people and with them, goto parties. Though I avoid social places and am content with meeting rooms but there are times when I have to go out. The days when I had coke, I could get away by ordering a tall glass with coke and ice. I could sip onto ice cube the entire evening. From my vantage point of being sober, I could see people act funny, drop on the floor, hurl abuses at each other and generally make merry. I couldn't really relate to any of the fervor that surrounded them.

But like all things, life moved on and I reached a point where I had to stop drinking coke. And once that happened, I had no partner at all those all night binges. I tried my hands at ginger ale and red bull and juices but nothing seems to be working. Not that I mind but in the end up having that one off breezer. Right now, its at one breezer a week. And I know that before I know it would go upto two. And then once a while I'll have a Baileys irish. And then suddenly I would want to try all the brands that I admire. Read absolut, JD, Johnnie Walker etc. And like other natural progressions, I would end up being an alcoholic.

Being an alcoholic is not that bad come to think of it. There are a few dark sides but then what's the use of being all good. I mean what's the worst that can happen? I may find it hard to walk, it could be difficult to retain senses, I would not know what to say to whom (not that I know it when am sober), may be I would get those funny pics clicked and upload on facebook etc. If you at it from where all drunkards do, its actually not that bad. You'd be called the most happening dude, the dude who knows how to enjoy life to the fullest etc.

Compare it from where I stand, the most boring man to have ever walked the face of the planet, I think, if the transition happens, I'd be stark.

Tags: #phlogging #alcohol #coke #mobile

This is day 26 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Love The Way You Lie

I am posting a song after ages. Have always been an Eminem fan and have wanted to be able to rap. I cant. But I can do one thing. Appreciate talent and do my bit of things-fan-do. Like posting the lyrics!

This track is called Love The Way You Lie. Copied lyrics from here.

And on second thoughts, I shall not post lyrics now, unless I have written them down. No point copying someone else's mehnat. Go see the vid. Or may be click on the link to read.

Aug 21: Taming of the shrew

"What are you saying? You dont know about Taming of the Shrew? And you tell me that you read? You should be ashamed of yourself!" said she, when I told her that I did not know who the Shrew was. Little did she realized that I was not interested in any Shrew or its taming or mating or watever. I was merely interested in striking a conversation with her, hoping to get her to agree to come out with me for a drive, dinner, coffee or movie. In that order. Drive is my thing. I am at my best, when I am driving. If I could, I would have became a driver.

"I dont! There is so much literature out there and its tough to read all of that, especially if you started reading at 25." I replied. "So why dont you tell me about it?" I threw in a bait.

"There's nothing to tell you dude. Its a simple enough story, told well. If I were you, I would have read it before I spoke to me." She snapped back. And although this was on sms, I could feel the irritation in her tone. I am good at this. Putting a tonality and emotion on a mere text message.

"And why is that?" I was trying my luck by asking a useless and a prodding question, to a woman who was anyways pissed off with me! I told myself if I got a reply, I would be a notch closer to that drive. I was mentally preparing a step ahead and thinking of possible places to take her. She lived in Noida and that meant just a handful of places where you could go.

"You are persistent. Arent you?", she finally replied after an eternity. I checked the time and it was mere eight minutes since I had asked her. For someone like her and I, sms was as synchronous and immediate as a face to face conversation is. I had lost all hopes and was about to send another text when I got the reply.

"And you always dodge questions. Dont you?" Now I knew I was in the game. I tried pushing my luck further and sent a neg her way.

"Lol. What did I dodge? To invite this acquisition?" she replied. I had to be quick on my feet. And I have had enough of BS. This time, something snapped in my head and told me to be straightforward.

"The one about the shrew to start with. And then there were more that you dodged." It does help when you can type fast on a phone. It must have taken me all of 4 nanoseconds to read her reply, process it in my head, type that answer and hit send. Love the way technology is making lives simpler (and hate the way its making relationships more effervescent).

"Ah that one. You should read taming ... because I tend to believe that I am the modern day avatar of the shrew. And it would be mightily tough for a man to even tolerate me." Wow! I could not believe that she was opening up. Was she throwing a bait at me? I decided to make her wait. Why did I do that? I dont know. It just looked natural to me.

"You've given up already? Have you?", she asked. I was asleep when I got that text. I have a very light sleep and any messages, calls wake me up. Not that I dint plan to reply to her message, I just dozed off. And now that she was inviting me, I had to do something about it.

"Lol no. I just started reading the Taming ... and to be honest its a really boring piece of text. I wonder how could he write so heavy language. Please yaar, summary batao. It would help speed up things ;)". I said. I was told that you need to make conversation and always end a line with a question mark. Human instincts, they come in play more often that we realize. You end something with a question and more often than not, people would respond. And it is surprising that even simple obvious things stated as questions tend to get things done faster than any other mode of motivation.

"Dude, its a very long story!" Pat came the reply. Of course she had to reply. I had asked her a question. I had no clue how to read this one. At least she did not say no. However, I knew that its either now or never.

"Since you say that its a long story, lets go for a drive. You will have all the time in the world to narrate the story and give me all the gyaan about shrews.", I suggested. This was natural progression at play. I made the drive sound like an obvious thing to do. And I primed it so that the going-on-the-dive bit sounded like HER idea, rather than mine.

And then I dozed off again. And before I could get into the NREM-REM cycle, I heard my phone beep.

Inspired by a series of SMS conversations that I had once upon a time with a woman I thought I was going to live the rest of my life with. As you may have guessed, she is happily married with someone else and I have lost all contact with her. I have tried reading the Taming ... numerous times since then and every time I loose the plot in just the first few lines. Truth be told, I still miss her. If not the lifepartner, she would have made an excellent friend. Someone I could count on.

And yes, I did go for that drive. And many more after that.

Started writing this on 21st Aug. Finished on 28th August. Part of Project 0811. Other posts are here.

Aug 21: Red Bull and The Wings

Red Bull is apparently supposed to give you wings. What the wings actually do to you is open to interpretation. But to me Red Bull gives me that kick that coffee, tea or other such things induce onto other humans. It makes me sharp and allows me to concentrate on things.

My tryst with Red Bull started at MDI when they agreed to sponsor our fest, Imperium and sent a cool Red Bull car, a couple of VERY cute women with tiny skirts and bags full of icy cold Red Bull. And since I was part of the organizing committee, I got all the access to the vehicle that I wanted. It tasted like cough syrup. And the fact that I loved the taste of a cough syrup dint help. I was hooked! I loved everything about the product. The taste. The feel of holding a cool silver and blue can in your hand when everyone else around you was struggling with PET bottles, the long swag you took and relished the taste when you rolled the liquid in your mouth, the little marketing they did and everything else around it.

In the following years, throughout my struggle with Coke addition (thankfully I stopped drinking coke this year), I continued to flip to Red Bull and kept returning to coke. Now that I dont drink coke, I rely on Red Bull more and more. To the extent that one drink, refuses to give me any kicks. Its like water to me. So what do I do now? I drink two! Together. In fact, because of the nature of my work, I, at times have to work long hours, I need something more than mere food. Also, I have very light sleep, get knighmares (yesterday I saw a kid flying over me and trying to snatch my blanket. I did wake up but I wasn't screaming or sweating. More on this later) and hardly sleep about 4 hours a day, my muscles need rest. I think Red Bull does that. Gives me that extra that I need to keep going.

And before the mother/father in you, the reader, Mr. Sob, kicks in, ya ya, I know. Red Bull is probably more harmful that Coke and I need to save money as well but till the time I find another alternative for my drinking needs, I shall keep calm and carry on. Hello @sgMS. Remember Keep Calm?

This is day 21 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here. I have missed updates for days 19 and 20. I shall post few more today but that does not mean that I compensated for the loss. Again, more on this later!

Aug 18: The Twitterati. 10 steps that can help you become one.

So there are few people who use twitter that well that they are now called the twitter celebrities. Or twitterati for short. They are as ubiquitous as Amitabh Bachchans of the world. In fact a time is not far when these twitteratis would actually start appearing in those soaps and give Ekta Kapoor and Colors a run for their money. And like all other kind of celebrities, these guys leave an indelible mark on the fabric of the society we live in.

I was so impressed by their mere existence that I thought I need to give them more time and attention. I in fact spent some time running an analysis and figuring out what separates an average twitter use and a twitterati. Of course since my “study” was conducted over twitter users in India, these may not be applicable to everyone. But I think the underlying principles shall remain the same.

Here are few rules that I put together in a hurry, which may help you realize your lifelong dream of becoming a twitterati.

  • Drop the words Anna and fast in the same tweet and you have taken the first step towards becoming famous.
  • Step two is even simpler. Pick on a famous personality and post a provocative comment. May be against Anna only. Dont know how to come up with an original rant? Search twitter for it! And once you have posted that comment, dont budge. You need to ensure that debate follows and the world is divided into two kinds of people. One, who are with you and the other, who arent.
  • Third, though, this is tough, but knowing a celeb would help. He could be your neighbors’ best friend’s classmate’s distant cousin, but hey there is a connection. Anyways everyone is connected to everyone else by just 6 hops. Or may be 5 or 4 as enabled by the Internet. So in theory, Amitabh Bachchan knows me. So does Kofi Annan. And Sachin Tendulkar. And Anna. And his fast. Ofcourse I know them as well. And you ;P (Note to readers: See, how easily I dropped the two keywords here).
  • Fourth. Proclaim the greatness of new media and effectiveness of the online medium over the traditional media. Look at the way twitter has helped Anna talk about his cause. Take a potshot at leading media outlets as if they have defamed the country by their mere existence. And yet at every opportunity to suck up a reporter, of even a Punjab Kesari or a Times of India, thou shalt bend over and invite em! I call this backrub algorithm. You rub mine, I rub yours. Goes a long way. Trust me.
  • Tweet to Anna and all the bollywood and cricket celebrities once every hour, as if they owe you money and you are chuddi buddies since your mothers were pregnant. Irrespective of if they reply or even bother. After all success is 1% genius and 99% perspiration.
  • Retweet every inane request that you get from other aspiring twitterati (remember the backrub?). These retweets could be jokes, blood donation requests, classifieds, gathering of support for Anna or whatever. Of course at first if people dont, you send them direct messages and then keep sending till the time the phone runs out of memory or money.
  • Download a good collection of double meaning jokes and comments. And use a bot to post a joke once every 15 minutes. This will help you remain on top and despite the fact people find your comments awful, they would not have a choice but to take note. Of course the double meaning bits would sound offensive to some communities and people but then its a democracy that we live in. You have the right to freedom of speech. Look at Anna. And look at the way I have dropped his name, yet again in the post.
  • Yet another sure shot way is to take up a cause. Like stand up for Anna. Every tweet that you post could have a reference to the great mother of the nation (I mean we have one undisputed father in MKG. I think Anna and Mumma have a nice ring to it.
  • Use hashtags. #evenIfTheySoundStupid. #evenIfTheyAreUseless. #popular #great #iAmAnna #BharatMeriJaan #annaIsSexy so on and so forth. More hashtags you use, better it is for you.
This is about it. I am not sure if these are 10. I used the number in the post because it helps with the search engine rankings. May you want to use this hat-tip! Of course I aspire to be one. I am on @altsaurabh. Please retweet this blog, follow me, ask your friends to follow me and make me one. If you dont, I promise I would go sit on a fast. Will call it sobpal.


This is day 18 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
I could have called this post as 10 ways of putting Anna Hazare's name in a blog post, without letting people know. But then I thought the readers of my blog (the sole reader) is intelligent enough to guess that! Time for a question. Did you?

Aug 17: The chase of idleness

Last few days have been really tiring. The only time I got to catch on sleep was in flights and in transit. Every other moment, I was working. Not that what I do is rocket science but it’s a lot of coordination. Coordination, as they say, is the mother of all jobs. Its tougher than taking initiative. And is far more complicated than solving the Fermant’s last theorem. You could even fit that damned light bulb. And is made all the more difficult by a boss who travels more than you do, by colleagues that are nincompoops and by clients that are more concerned about making a fast buck and saving their jobs rather than working. I just hope that no one from work is reading this.

When I was just passing out of my MBA, all I could pray for was a job that kept me busy. And dude, am I busy? I should’ve heeded to that advice about watching out for what you pray for. Some prayers actually do come true. In my case, they come true more often than not. Like I wanted to travel and I now shuttle between cities more often than the airline pilots do. The sad part is that my company flies me economy and I don’t get any brownie points. I do get those boarding passes though, the ones I like to collect.

Coming back to the chase of idleness, since I am neck deep in work, there is hardly any time to engage myself in those idyllic pursuits. Reading, writing, talking, conversations, ideas and other such things. And the regular readers of this blog, with the combined readership of exactly one (including me), would know how much I love all these things. And I miss those days when I had time for myself. In an ideal world, I would be working at a place where I would be paid for writing and reading. But then, its an ideal world thingy. For a change, today, after a couple of meetings, I got an evening. I had planned to meet few friends and talk about some work (not the work work but the play work). But then I thought, let me spend this time on myself. Chill out at some place and write something!

In the long run, I would have to figure out a permanent solution. As they say, a man's got to do what a man's got to do, I am trying to create opportunities to intervene on the lack of mental orgasm. So for example, this project, where I am writing a post everyday. I plan to run this next month as well (despite me being AWOL from work and family for a week). And start a couple of more projects. Shall post the details as and when get closer to the end of this month. But for the time being, I am loving the idleness and I loved the pasta and the pastry that I just had at this cafe in Bangalore.

This is day 16 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
Note to self: When I write, I start with the title and then I goto the contents. Ideally, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Aug 16: The 500 word conundrum

Hello dear regular readers of my blog (aka me!),

How are you guys today? Its been long since I write to you. I have been busy writing over the last few days and for one reason or the other, I could not address you guys directly. I sincerely hope that you are doing well. I always think about you when I am praying.

You would have noticed that over the last few days, I have become really active with posting on my blog. I dont really have a specific reason but I just wanted to restart my habit of writing. All this while chasing a bigger dream of writing a full length novel some day. Would it actually materialize? Only time shall tell (assuming that by the time I get around to publishing it, people would actually be reading books. I am not sure cos of the dwindling time and attention span in the 149 character era). But anyways, I made a promise to myself that I would write at least 500 words everyday for one entire month. I did know that it would be a bit hard but I had no clue that it could drive me crazy. With all the work, meetings, travel, I thought I can take out twenty minutes easily and sit down in quiet and write something. But then I was wrong. I have missed it twice already. Its like taking the Sundays off. When I first thought about it, it seemed as easy as walking on the beach with sun playing hide and seek with clouds. But as I progressed through the month, I realized that its no simple task. It takes a lot of effort to just show up and actually start writing.

The surprising thing is that I really love writing. I know I am nowhere close to publishing quality, yet, but I do love the feeling of writing things. I love the way thoughts come to my head spontaneously. I love the way my brain cooks up connections in my memory and prompts me to type a set of words. Most of them dont really end up making any sense, but the few ones that do, they justify all the effort.

So if I love writing, why is that I missed on those two days? Not that writing feels like a job to me. I really want to write and writing is play for me. I could give a limb if someone paid me enough to write. Enough to be comfortable, drink all the coke, travel the world and play some poker. I love writing and writing actually helps. If nothing else, then at least its a nice conversation starter.

And then its not even that I dont know what to write about. I have tons of things that I want to write about. And I have more than 4 projects that I want to start. I have no clue where does all my time goes. May be its commuting across Delhi, twice, each day. Or its the nature of work I do where my time is not mine. It belongs to my office, my managers and my clients. And secret, since I get paid peanuts for it, I feel like a loser after I end most of my days. Writing post work, at least puts some sanity back in my head and I feel as if I have done something productive with my day.

Today, despite the fact that I havent done much work, seems like a day spent well. You know why? Because I am writing this piece. At 0100 hours. Just before I sleep (not really. Have to leave home at 0430 and catch a flight).

Oh, btw, does anyone wants any freelance writers?

This is day 16 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Aug 15: Two months of coke detox!

This day, in June 2011, I had Coke for the last time. Or was it Diet Coke? Whatever variant it was, since then I havent had any coke. I have been to many trips post that and yet I did not have it. I mean when I travel, the only other companion, apart from my bag and my notepad, is Coke. Coke is as ubiquitous as probably air is. Coke has to be the most recognizable logo of the world.

Coming to the question, why did I stop coke? There are few reasons. One, to save on all the money I spent on Coke and Diet Coke. Two, get fitter. Everyone I know tells me that carbonated drinks arent healthy and all these drinks are but sugar and water. Three, I was bored and I needed something that I could shower my attention on! I know its a lame reason. So now that it has been two months, lemme see how I fared on each of the three.

Save on money. I keep track of each paisa that I spend. Been doing it since Feb this year. Note to self, I need to post summary of that excel sheet and uplaod a template for everyone else. So the spending on food has reduced considerably but I cant really attribute those to non-consumption of coke.

Next was getting fit. I think quitting coke aint no help. I have stopped eating outside and yet I am as fat as I was when I was having coke (assuming that there were just two things making me fat - outside food and/or coke). I dont drink any milk, tea. I do drink that occasional coffee but thats about it. And I am not losing any damn weight. I need to hire one of those Rujuta Diwakers for myself.

And attention. I did fairly well here. Everytime I see coke logo, I think about those wonderful days when I used to dote on coke and then I tell myself that I need to stay away. And as they say that staying away from your object of attention is more difficult when you can see it!

But then all in all, a very interesting experiment. Been two months. Lets see how many more can I clock.

This is day 15 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
P.S.: I dont like the way this post is written. This is way too bland, basic for my taste. I plan to rewrite this eventually. The content and the takeaway shall remain the same. Keep watching this!

Aug 14: Maid in India

Apart from being a mere domestic help, maids in India play myriad roles.

The chief one being the unofficial communication channel between women of a particular locality. This unorganized and apparently rag-tag channel is infact better and faster than most of the other traditional medium. Even the breaking-news-by-the-minute tv stations. In fact, more than mere messengers, these maids are like clearing houses for all the gossip. It also helps that these maids often come with life time warranty and terrabytes of gossip storage capacity. They can store specific pieces of gossips for decades and retrieve it at any later date with an uncanny ease. You can nudge them on shoulders and drop unconnected word and they would weave a story around it. The impact they have had on the peace deserves some gallantry award. At times, its this intervention of maids that has prevented those intra-locality battles.

Then, these maids often serve as advisers to our housewives. Ask them about cheapest grocery store around, ways to clean those ziddi daags, projection of gold prices over the next ten years, plots of ANY of those million saas bahu soaps (where the story, the richness and fancy clothing remains the same), reasons for corruption in India, spat between Ambani brothers, performance of Dhoni and his boys (and grown up men) in the test series against England and all other things that a woman of substance should be knowing.

Coming closer to home, all those times when you thought that your wife made that extra spicy gravy, the way you like it, it is your maid at play. Every time you spill that gravy on the cushions, and you thought your daadi maa ka nuskha shall clean it, its the maid. She is the one that ensures that your pot is clean. She is the one to wipe and dust those shiny surfaces that you otherwise know as television, ref, music system etc. She is the one who would more often than not carry your letters (if you still get those) up to your place. She is like that invisible hand that you always wished you had!

Of course our dear maid is one those those unsung heroes who end up remaining anonymous, not because their contributions are miniscule, but because they always work under the shadows of larger, more powerful allies. Its time we give them their rightful share of respect that they have always deserved. Lets stand for them. Lets do that candle night vigil, that walk to Jantar Mantar. Any anna's, bedi's, political parties want to take lead?

This is day 14 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
Once upon a time, I used to be an account planner with an advertising agency. I may have actually used this as a briefing document for the creative team. Gosh, I miss those days!

Aug 14: Of hits and misses

I missed it. Again. This was the second time when I missed working on Project 0811 this month. I was so correct about myself. I just need one opportunity and I am out of leash.

Of course I was busy but finding a mere twenty minutes wouldn't have been difficult. I actually asked a friend what she wanted me to write and she gave me a couple of ideas. I did start a few but I dint finish it.

Need to work equally hard for the remainder of the month to ensure that I do not miss anymore posts. A super hectic week is coming up, with travel to Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai, some important decisions about life and career, lot of introspection and some reading to catchup to.

Aug 12: Any answers Mr. Garg?

There was this time, about two-three years back when I loved to drop the word QLC in any conversation, where I was trying to score BrowniePoints. Ofcourse I totally believed in the idea and I knew that I was suffering from it. I did not see a therapist obviously. Like everyone else, whos suffering from other such delusions, I was in the denial mode. I wondered all the time, how can it happen to me.

With time, things got moving and I got busy with work. So much so that I hardly had time to sleep, leave alone reading or thinking. I forgot about it. It would pop-up once in a while on those off days when I would have time. Or at those odd times when I would think about career and future. And when I would compare myself with my classmates from MDI. The fact that they were making a bomb and I was still to reach peanuts.

Yesterday, I met this friend of mine and we got talking about life and other such things. And I realized that maybe I am not alone. There are more people, apart from I, who suffer from these things. And they lead perfectly happy lives. Came as a revelation to me! But then the most shocking bit happened. During the conversation, I somewhere said that I am almost 30. And then I realized, o crap! Am I not the age that is the precursor of the dreaded middle age, AND the precursor to, the Mid Life Crisis?

And this is when the world came down crashing at my feet. At heart, I am still a 12 year old, who loves to day dream and believes that world is a fair place. Ofcourse my mind tells me to get back to work and accept the fact that Ovarian Lottery is a reality and I am unfortunate to have lost out on it. And, the mind adds, that since I lost on the lottery, I would have to live with whatI have got and work harder to compete with the beneficiaries of the lottery (read rich heiresses, cricketers, film stars, singers, politicians etc).

Hang on for a minute. Did I just say work harder? w to the o to the r to the k? work? If I could work, I wouldn't be wasting my time writing something that has a combined readership of exactly 1, including me! I would rather be sitting in my office, thinking about the next presentation I am supposed to write for that very demanding client. Uh! I AM sitting in my office conference room, occupying the most important seat (the one facing the wall, in the corner), seeing my fingers fly on the keyboard, pretending to think on launch ideas of cars and writing this!

I need that kick on the backside that would get that 12 year old, trapped inside my 30 year old body, out of my system and let me face the world. The way a 30 year old is supposed to face it. Which to be honest I have no clue. And unlike when I was facing QLC, this time, when I am daunted by MLC, I shall seek help. From the sole reader of my blog. Any answers Mr. Garg?

This is day 12 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Aug 11: Apologies. To Myself.

I did not post yesterday. I broke the rule. I Of course I have few posts in the stock, but I cant rely on those. That was not the point. Point was to write a piece everyday. Irrespective of it ever seeing the light of the day or not. Yesterday I did not. I am so sorry.

I am all for breaking the monotony but I cant tolerate when someone breaks a promise. And this is such a simple thing! All I asked for was mere 500 words in an entire day. About 15 minutes of time (if not less). And that too a thing that is supposed to excite me!

They keep saying that showing up, is half the battle won, even though I may be churning out BS, I need to keep writing. I am chasing quantity, not quality. I am trying to program my mind that writing everyday is as natural a process as breathing is. My mind should understand that both, writing and breathing, have an important role in my life. I am incomplete without either. I reckon once I develop this habit, things would be much smoother (or may be slower, depending on how much creative juice, the juice Haruki Murakami, talks about in his book, you're left with). Anyways, coming to today's post, I am not doing a piece of fiction. I will try something totally random. I will list each color that I can remember today. Not the exact shade but lets see.
  • White. Saw this guy in white starched dhoti and linen shirt. And a multicolored, jaipuria turban. I am sure the dude must be son of a bada aadmi and would have hazaar naukars scurrying about for even tiny errands. But then, the poor dude was standing in the security check line, like all commoners.
  • Yellow. The dress of JetAirways hostesses. Some on them were stunning. The air-hostesses I mean. The color is brilliant and they should have better dress. Totally average. I wonder why dont these fashion designers pitch in?
  • Gold. Saw these really funky gold on black teeshirts with whacky lines. But again too much for someone like me. May be some actors, cricketers want to try em. You wear em and the world would go blind! You would get all the attention that the world has to offer.
  • White. From the window seat, looking down at clouds, they were that bright that eyes hurt to even look at them. I have not seen anything whiter. They were sheer brilliance. I dont think anything else can reproduce that color. If there is God, dude, hats off man!
  • Gray. Once I landed in Delhi, it was raining. It was so beautiful. Everything had taken the shades of gray and was a pleasure to look at. I got soaked in the baarish after ages. I was traveling in a richskaw. I put my phone in my bag. Peered out of the rickshaw and let the rain hit my face. It was blissful!
  • Red. The traffic signals all over Delhi. Like Mr. Murphy chasing me with his wretched law. Each time I reached a traffic signal, it would magically turn red and make me stop. I think today, en route to work, I shall count these!
  • Some unknown color. The color of frustration. Over a lot of things. I could see it everytime I closed eyes but I cant pinpoint what color it was. Need to work more on this and find the color!
  • Pink. The Strawberry iced tea that I had with a friend after I was done with work. I actually dont mind a life like that. You slog hard for a day. Then you meet some friends and just while away time over random conversations.
And I guess thats about it!

This is day 11 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
May not be 500 words, too low on energy to take a count but I did give in my best while writing this piece. Anyone likes this?

Aug 09: Untitled

Waqt ki quaid main zindagi hai magar
chand ghadiyan yahi hai jo azad hain
inko kho kar meri jaaneja
umar bhar na tararte raho

This couplet, defines the way I want to live life. These are from the famous, aaj jaane ki zid na karo. I will not go into the history of the song but whoever wrote these lines, would have a been a mini-rockstar. Not mini, but poora rockstar. The lines are as deep as you need them to be able to touch your soul. The lines are as simple as you need them to be able to comprehend. The lines are, in short, brilliant. (I wish I had a larger vocabulary, I could have talked about the beauty of this song in more vivid details #wishfulthinking)

There are times I wonder what are all these poets made of. They must have been really sad when they wrote these things. Or may be really drunk. A normal guy, can never ever write such a beautiful song. I can actually feel the author crying and longing for love of his life. As if some part of him is being taken away by force and there is no way that bit of him is coming back. The wailing is magnificent and depressing.


Apart from this, today, since I am posting a regular blog post (instead of fiction, fact, non-fiction etc), I want to talk about this vid that rr sent me. Its called Move and is a part of the three part series made by a couple of guys. After I saw this video, I got really depressed. The simplicity of the idea and the brilliance of execution of this video sets this apart from all those hours of footage that is uploaded on youtube and vimeo and other websites every day. Please do watch this video.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

I really want to know how do people come up with so simple ideas that even a fifth grader can execute, and then pull them off to perfection, that would leave the most thorough professionals looking sideways.

And last but not the least, apologies to myself and the project that I am on, that I havent been able to do justice to todays post. It does not matter that I have to write a presentation and then catch a flight. What matters is that I made a promise to myself and I am breaking it. I know that its ok to take a day off once in a while but I am scared that this one off day might just become a regular habit and before I know, the project would be in tatters :(

Tomorrow, I am traveling the whole day a longish drive of about 300 KMs. I sincerely hope that I do post something interesting. I might have to use my phone to update the blog, but I shall, at any cost, do it!

Just wish me some luck.

This is day 09 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Today, for a change, I did not write a piece of fiction. Actually I did start one but never got around to finishing it. Maybe some other day. I know that todays update is not really an update and is a sham but its ok to have one off day. But then, the important thing to note is, that you have to show up! irrespective of how you end up doing, showing up is half the battle won!

Aug 08: Up In The Air

In last three days, I have spent time in three cities, taken 4 flights and managed very little sleep. I am infact writing this from the comfort of my economy (read coach class) seat. My legs are cramped, the air is bit too cold and experience, less than pleasant.

Am calling it, Up in the air.

From luxury of my seat, I can hear the chitchat of the air hostesses, the jokes they are sharing about which hostess is sleeping with which pilot and which passenger is a lech etc. Its been about 24 minutes since we took off, the in-flight food and beverage service about to be started. And since this is the holiday season, the flight is almost full. Thats 184 passengers on board.

As I child I have always wanted to fly. Have wings, take control of myself and see places that I have read about. I wanted to be free and wanted to do things my way. I saw flying as the ultimate freedom. What else can be better than spreading your arms and taking off, at your will? But then, this was a long time ago. Today, I dread every time I have to fly. And considering what I do for a living, I have to fly very very often. Call it the occupational hazard.

Come to think of it, flying is not that bad. Atleast the cruising bit. It gets scary during the take off, landing and turbulence. Let me talk about turbulence first. Everytime the plane hits the turbulent weather, it shakes as bad as my juicer does when I am making yogurt with diced fruits and curd. I actually, at times, when I am home, take my juicer out, throw in some diced fruits and switch the juicer on. And I can actually see myself in that juicer, the plane shaking like the juicer, and I being tossed around. Helps me calm down for some strange reason.

There are times when turbulence is that bad that air hostesses actually spill coffee, tea, water or whatever they are carrying. They spilled water on me once and for a nano second I thought I was drowning. Drowning up in the air. Now, it sounds funny but that time, it was potent enough to give me a heart attack. So when turbulence is really bad, they have to be sent back to their resting stations. And this is when the low gasps and scared moans start. And once someone screams, it becomes a roller coaster ride with everyone screaming and trying to outdo each other with their shrillness. It becomes really scary. Obviously, there are announcements that tell everyone, including myself, that its just turbulent weather and it will pass away soon. But do I really believe in these announcements? Do they really calm down people? They dont help me. I am not sure if they help passengers.

You know, funny bit is that, if I compare scales, an aircraft weathering turbulence is similar to a car going through a country road. The car jerks as much as the aircraft does. You are in the car, in your seat, with a safety belt, holding onto your seat. And, to make matters worse, statistically, air travel is the safest mode of travel. The probably of your aircarft crashing is about 10,832 times less than your car being hit by another. And yet, everytime we hit turbulence, my heart skips a beat. My palms get so wet that I cant even hold anything. And all this despite the fact that the air temperature inside the pressurized cabins is maintained at 24 degrees C for comfort of passengers.

There are times when I am flying into cloudy cities. Clouds are different monsters all together. Though I love rains. I love the sight of dark clouds filled with all the serum from God. The thought of a nice rain elevates my spirit to no end. But not when am flying. A plane passing through the clouds is no less than those torture machines that they used on informers and prostitutes in the medieval ages.

Since there are clouds outside, you cant see anything. All you see is the whiteness. Yes, the darkest of clouds, when you are up there, are white. I dont know why. I ought to know but I dont really care. Second, the blinkers on the wings and body of the aircraft, they illuminate the whole goddamn cloud and it feels like you are passing through white. The kind of white they typically talk about when they talk about a white passage that the dead must go through. Everytime I hit clouds, I pray to God for my life. Every single time.

Take off is ok. At least, you know that you are closer to ground. Though once you are in air, it doesnt really make a difference if you are close to ground or up at 33000 feet. If something wrong has to happen, it will happen and there is not an iota of thing that anyone, me, you, the ATC, the ground crew could do about it. Landing is a bigger challenge if you ask me. Since you are diving nose first, towards the ground, at about 500 kmph, at times, you wonder if you were to keep going, how big a crater would the impact make? As large as the craft? Or as small as the nose? Anyways, so this is the part of flying that I am at ease with. Anyways, I read somewhere that pilots are mandated to log 4 times more hours on landing practice compared to take off practice, on the simulators. And in fact, as I write this, I think, the time to put that practice into action has come. I am almost home and hopefully would put my feet on solid ground within another 13 minutes or so.

"Thank you for flying with us. Hope you had a wonderful flight ladies and gentlemen. Have a good day and a pleasant day". And with announcement, I replaced my headset and turned off the mic that I, and all other pilots use to address the cockpit, crew and passengers. I then wiped away all that sweat from my face, my neck and my bald head and fished for the logbook that we pilots have to fill in, after every successful flight.

This is day 08 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Aug 07: So Gaya Ye Jahan

Another day on the road. Another post from the phone. Since am on road, I shall write a piece about romanticizing roads. Will try for fiction. Let's see what comes out.

Jack loved driving. And he loved nights. And the only thing he loved more than the two, was driving at nights. He had this theory. That while you are on the road, you not only burn rubber and add kilometers to the odometer, you travel within and you get closer to yourself. Ofcourse no one understood a thing back then.

Fast forward to today, while Jack is away, everyone misses him. They know somethings missing from their lives but they can't pin point what it is. May be that intensity, or that earnest expression, or that attitude that challenged all norms. Or may be it was his armchair philosophies and theories on everything under the sun! Most of these are unspoken but they do talk about his exploits on the race track.

Back then, it was really tough for a boy of his means to get active with underground racing. Wtf, even now, its tough for any boy/man with any sort of means to get an entry into motorsports and we are talking about a 15 year old rubbing shoulders with men twice his age and grinding them to dust.

Some attributed it to his luck. Some said it was his foolhardy attitude. Some even went to the extent of saying that since he was what he was, he had nothing to loose. And the glory, the aura, that came with the podium finishes released more testosterone than a boy his age could handle. And it showed. Though he kept to himself, he was very intense. Even at that tender age, most people found it hard to meet his gaze.

Life was all good before that fateful night. They were to collect toll road slips of all the 4 toll points around the city. They could choose to do them in any order, take any road, do watever. But they had to reach the starting point fastest. To make things exciting there were no finish lines and no audience. These guys were gonna be following the racers they could catch upto.

What happened that day, is the stuff legends are made of. And yet there has been some sort of silence reigning over the sequence of events that night. That night changed Jack. He was back to being a normal 15 year old and soon faded away into the oblivion. And one fine night, when people had grown indifferent to Jacks absence (or presence), he packed his bags and slipped out of the city.

I wish I could write about that night. The race. The victory. The defeat. The brightest flicker of a nebula, before Jack and his story turned into a blackhole!

This is day 07 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.


This is probably my fourth post that I am typing on a phone. This mode, the phone one, gives me some kind of an exhilaration. I know that phone is not making an iota of a difference. The readership remains dismally low. Am nowhere close to bringing the change I want to bring in this world. Am last, not writing any better. And yet am hooked on!

But then, irrespective of things, something draws me towards this. May be I am trying to talk to someone. May be this blog gives me the feeling of authority. Maybe am trying to compensate for lack of action on FB and twitter. I don't know but I am hooked to blogging all over again.

Its like, am back in the 2004s again! Loving it!

Tags: #phlogging, #blogging, #mobile, #personal

Aug 07: Re-living Mr. India

"Kamra. Kamre kay aage balcony. Balcony kay aage garden. Garden kay beach. Beach kay aage samunder. Samunder main pani". So said the great Anil Kapoor, before his Slumdog, 24 and MI4 days. He was peddling a room to the lead actress of Mr. India and describing in vivid detail, the beauty of the room and the view.

Am at Goa right now, waiting for a meeting to happen. And while the client wakes up from her deep slumber, I am idling away my time at this amazing place.

Goa is a coastal state and is hence dotted with beautiful beaches. Here, beer is cheap, women come by scores, poisons easy to find and time, all the time to while away pursuing intellectual conversations and thoughful ramblings. Goa is a classic example of a place where time moves slow and things happen at a leisurely pace. You could choose to gape at the ocean, drowning in the sound of its music, wondering about that lone boat that you see docked in the horizon. Or you could choose the walk on the beach, feeling the sand, waves kissing your feet and whispering those unexplainable messages, as they come and crash against your feet. From your vantage point, you could also choose to let your gaze follow that beautiful lady in red, walking on the beach and paint a picture of her life in your head. Like this woman am looking at, she must be one of those MBA types, she's moving in a straight line, at the exact place where waves just end. Very calculated, precise, sure. She would be single. I don't see any signs of commitment. And at the pace she's walking, she is not in any sort of hurry to go anywhere. She is content by herself, the way she's hugging herself. Probably the serious kinds. I have been seeing her move around for a while and she is yet to kick some water or bend down to pick those shells. Obviously well to do, as evident from her taste, clothes I mean. Probably here to take refuge from corporate jungle that she lives in. Am wondering if I should go and try my hands at being the kamra salesman and see if I can make an offer she can't refuse. But then, the question remains, is she looking for a kamra, with all those benefits that we spoke of in the beginning?

And yep, in the movie, Mr. Kapoor, aka Mr. India, did manage to sell the room to our heroine, and eventually, lived happily ever after.

Tags: #movies, #anilKapoor, #goa, #travel, #peopleWatching

Aug 06: The Art of Dropping Subtle Hints in an Conversation

So todays post is a bit different. Am typing this on the phone. Tough, considering that I can't format, use html, check spellings (I can but lemme exaggerate), do a word count (all my posts have at least 500 words), type with my fingers (and see my fingers do the jig on keyboard), and worst of all, I would not have the luxury of editing, copy pasting or proof reading this.

But like some things need to be kept sacrosanct, am trying to develop this habbit of penning something each day before I sleep. I have no clue if I would be able to do this in a long run, but I know that I can do it today and here is the post. Am calling it, the mobile revolution (note: changed the title once I started writing). Because, you guessed it, I am using a mobile phone to type this out. And I will write a piece of fiction. Am calling it, The Art of Dropping Subtle Hints in an Conversation.

A: Hi! Ssup? Too late to text? Is it?
B: Nah, not really. Was about to sleep. Have an early flight tomorrow. Wassup with you?
A: nothing much man. Just bored outta my wits.

A: wow! My boredom is infectious. Looks like you've slept. Anyways have a good flight. See you around

A: oh ya, get me some fenny while you are there. Heard its really potent.
B: Haha. I will try.

A: Ok. Lemme be blunt here. How does one make a conversation with you?
B: lol. I don't know. The way you're doing right now?
A: nopes. Its not helping. Ok, here's another Q. What's the weirdest question someone has ever asked you?
B: ummm, tough one.
B: I know. It was "How does one make a conversation with you?" :D
A: Hehe. Nobbad Ms. Smarty pants! And what's the weirdest answer you've ever given?
B: thank you thank you.

A: so?
B: oops. I don't remember sorry. But it was to the effect that, dude, get lost. I am younger than your grand daughter.
A: Aha. Some oldie pervert tried hittin on you? Is it?
B: ya. Sorta. Let's not go there. Anyways. I guess I should sleep. I don't want to miss that flight.
A: Okies. And where's your sense of adventure? Dint expect you to be this boring!
B: ya, Mr. Judge o personalities types.
A: How'd you guess? Its actually a specialty!
B: no kidding. Let's test it. Tell me what am I thinking?
A: Easy! You're thinking when would this guy come around and actually ask me out for dinner.
B: holy cow! So when?
A: There's no time than now!
B: :)
A: Is that a yes?
B: almost.
A: Define almost.
B: let's meet at the airport. Am sure they would have some seats left on that plane. Lemme finish the meeting in a couple of hours and then we will talk about dinners and questions and answers.
Oh yes. See you around. Tc

This is day 06 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Promise me, Son

Promise me,

that you would give your best shot. Each time.
that you will not leave a single stone unturned. In any quest you agree to undertake.
that you would be honest. To yourself.

Promise me.

Tags: #miniNonFiction, #motivation, #inspiration, #randomness, #whatever, #mansSearchForMeaning

Aug 05: The God Delusion

We, the people, the children of Gaia, believe that we are strong. We tell ourselves, all the time, that we can achieve anything that we set our eyes on. We are invincible. Its us, ourselves, who hold back any kind of achievement. After all we have conquered the entire planet. We have breached the limits and set foot on moon. That too about half a century back. We have created mammoth structures that can be seen from the outerspace. We can now play God and create life. We are no less than God himself.

I say, BALLS!

We are probably the most fragile of all the nature's creation. Take us to cold places, our heart stops pumping blood. The brain does not get its oxygen and and we get giddy. Take us to hot places, we start secreting vital minerals. Make our heart work overtime and try and pump more blood, to make up for the loss. Keep us off food, water, air, sleep and we get cranky. And then we get angry. And then we lose hope. And then the mind. And then the body. And then the soul.

We are so fragile, and yet, we bicker over small things like religion, caste, money, authority and other hazaar things. We need to rather realize our place in the universe. Accept that we are as insignificant as a grain of sand in the great Sahara. All this while, we liv our lives chasing greatness. And we refuse to notice supreme greatness, surrounding us, all the time. Everything, from that innocent smile on a kids face, to a smirk on the face of a prankster, to that street dog trying to cross the road, to that new leaf that has just sprung up, to all those rivers, clouds, rains, mountains, everything screams of greatness. Greatness of an artist that no one has known and will never probably know. With all the limitations of this human mind and body, how can we even think about competing with the greatest artist and his greatest creation? Who are we to even touch the magical creations that we can never ever even think about creating? Who are we to stake the claim to superiority when we are mere blips?

We should, rather be grateful that so much diversity is at our disposal. To help us get through this passage that we know as life. We should be thanking the mother nature for the sincere and honest creations. We need to try and preserve them. We need to try and give back.

You know, I have no clue if God exists. If he does, he is really unfair. If he doesn't, good for us. The bottom line is that we need to realize that when we are feeling most heady, that is the time when mother nature (you may choose to call her God) would spring a surprise and show us our tiny little place in the scheme of things. And humble us.

Time for a lot of self-reflection.

This is day 05 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
I thought about this first when I was en route to Mumbai. I was travelling with a friend who is very scared of flying and yet has to take more than three flights a week. While talking to him, I realized that we are probably as delicate as glass, or may be dreams, to use a poets metafor. It takes a split second for that blip to disappear.

India of Tomorrow

There was a time when I was an active contributor on this website called Mutiny.in. I was part of tons of bloggers, all spread across geographies and time and each one of us, would religiously take time off to write things for Mutiny. We could write about things that interested us. Business to politics to sports to policy to education to fiction to cartoons to and anything else under the sun. And we wrote things that mattered. There were grand plans for the website. The owner/editor was talking about print publications, subscriptions and what not. But then, I dont know how and why, it slowly faded away. Everything comes to an end, sooner or later. Somehow, the entire bunch disintegrated and we were left with a url that doesn't even work now!

Coming to the agenda, I want to resurrect Mutiny. Or maybe create a clone. Or a better avatar. I dont know what to call it yet. I will have to ask HK and RN. They are two of the most talented people I know. I take their word without any arguments. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

The Big Idea.
The idea this time around will be simple. We (everyone that i reach out to and I) will try to imagine a better India. An India that we would love to live in. A India that we would be proud of. We will create content that citizens of this better India would want to consume. When I say better India, I mean a utopian India where elections agendas would not be religion, hunger or poverty. Where youth would not grow up on Roadies, Big Boss or Kyonki Saas ... .Where media would not be a mere entertainment channel. Where ideas would get merit over eloquence. Where we would live with morals like equality, freedom and respect. Where we would be responsible for what we do and we would own up to our actions. And more importantly thoughts.

The Details.
To start with, we would create a simple, group blog. Multiple authors post their opinions and make themselves heard. Unlike other outlets, we will not run this as business and money would never be a motive. We would have no political inclination. The endeavor would be to present an opinion and encourage debate. And hopefully stir something within the readers.

The End Notes.
I dont really have the gift of the gab and its tough to get the sentiments across but I am sure this can get started. The Internet gives us so many opportunities to socialize and meet other interesting people. Of the 100 million or so Indians on the Internet, cant I get just a handful to help me with the idea?

Aug 04: Welcome to Africa

So far i have written 3-4 posts under Project 0811 and so far, this is proving to be the toughest. I am back to square one. Where I know I have to write a piece and I am clueless what to write on. I am out of stories, anecdotes, ideas, data that I have no clue what to write. Ideally I want to write a short story, in 500 words, but then nothings coming to my head. And starting today, I wanted each blogpost to have a picture/photograph that best sums up the post! But then, dear sire, we need to have a post in the first place!

Let me attempt a short story. Ok heres the deal. I shall find a random link on google and write a piece of fiction inspired by the content on that page. I googled and I found randomwebsite.com. Let me generate a random website link. Drum rolls, confetti blasts, here we go! So it pointed me to AllAfrica.com. And heres the story.

"You dont understand me at all. I cant tolerate you guys for even a minute now. I am going.", said my daughter. She is 13. And I had caught her red handed while she was trying to steal money from my office. Moment she said, you don't understand me, something snapped inside me. I could clearly see what would she do once she leaves home with that money.

She would go buy an ice cream. After all, like father, like daughter. Then she would go for a walk till she reaches the dockyard, which is about 100 meters from our bungalow. No one else but us, call the bungalow, bungalow. This used to be a chawl till about 5 months back before I bought the entire place and created this sprawling landmark.

She will then board the vessel docked farthest from the shore, scared that I might find her and fight with her again. She would get curious with all the instruments, compass boxes, wheels, navigators, maps, logbooks, pens, radio sets, levers, cranks, the tunnels and will get lost in her world where she would play the pirate and fend off the crusaders. She has to be the pirate. The kingpin. Nothing else would do. There is something intriguing about being on the other side of the law. I, I even went to the extent of patching my right eye.

Without her realizing it, the ship would set sail. It would take her to Africa. I could see that cloth banner, that read the most dreaded words I had ever laid my eyes on. Welcome to Africa. She would be surprised at first. Then she would feel lost at a place where everyone is topless, dark, smelly, humid and cold. Then she would be surprised for a bit.

And when the reality would hit her, she would not flinch, leave alone crying. She would be brave. Probably braver than her father. She would take less time, far less to make her fortune in the land of black gold. I dont know what business would she pick but whatever she does, she would survive and reach the top of the game. All the while, slogging, to teach her father a lesson. No other emotion makes a person work harder than hatred.

And sooner than later, one fine day, just like that, she would decide to head back home. And see that banner, the Welcome to Africa banner, for the last time. Ever. And come back, to claim her place. To erect the tallest skyscraper the city had ever seen. At a place where I built a majestic home. Where my parents rented a 6 feet by 8 feet, shared toilets with 30 other "homes".

I could see everything. As clear as you could see things.

History, as they say, repeats itself. I was determined to keep history at bay this time. Just this time. For once. I fought back the tears, ran after my daughter. And dug my head in her neck and allowed that lone tear to roll down my bearded cheek. And I had no clue, who was more surprised. She or I.

This is day 04 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.
Note to self: Need to fix my woulds and wills, coulds and cans, so on and so forth.

Happy Birthday Kishore Da

Did not realize that today was Kishore Kumar's birthday. While reading for this post, I realized how little I know about him. Like, I dint even know his name! Or the fact that he was a Bengali by birth. But then, better late than never. Did read some interesting tidbits about him and absolutely adore the guy.

I dont know how many songs he would have sung during his long career but he left us with so many wonderful hits that its really tough to put in a list. In fact if you asked 100 people to choose their favorite Kishore Da song, I am sure you would get 100 different songs. Thats how Kishore Da is. To each his own. There are so many facets to his life, his personality, his work, his talents that its tough to even summarize his achievements. He is one those, jinka naam hi unka resume hai.

From his work, Pal Pal Dil Kay Pass remains my favorite. Then there is O Saathi Rey. And Mere Saamne Wali Khidki. And Jhumroo. And Musafir hoon yaaron. And Saagar Kinare/ And the list can go on and on. The wikipedia article actually does a good job of summarizing the list. And burrp has a good post as well.

He is one of those people who I really wanted to meet. And like all the other people I want to meet, I would not know what to ask him. And here an idea drops into my head. What if I make a list of people that I want to meet, along with the questions I want to ask them?

May be later. But for the time being, happy birthday Kishore Da. You truly rock!

Aug 02: Dear Humans

Dear Humans,

Before anything else, without any further ado, let me clarify. I did not cross the road. Not this road. Not that road. Not any road for that matter. And I never thought about crossing any roads ever. And I checked, my cousins also, had no fancy thoughts of doing such a ridiculous thing. And nor my forefathers and their forefathers. No one is interested in your roads. No one in my family and extended family wants anything to do with you guys and your roads. You may please keep them to yourself and create your own jokes.

You see, we are peace loving ... things. We just want to be left alone, to do out little jig with the torso, the neck, the beak and the chicken dance. I know you guys must find it amusing, the way we bump our head into ground all the time. But then like us, you guys have tons of rituals that our race hasnt been able to understand. I mean what could be so interesting about a naked, saffron loincloth clad man, dancing in weird postures that lakhs of women try and imitate all his actions? What happens on that night every year when you guys almost burn the entire city down with so much fire and lighting that it actually hurts.

May be it hard to believe for you guys, but we do have sleep cycles. We dont really have those REM cycles but we do have our chicken cycles and we need to spend a large part of our lives sleeping. And when we sleep, we want to sleep in peace. In one piece.

Thats grudge no. 2 btw. The last letter, listed in great detail, the tortures that every single one of us goes through all the time. The impending cage. Ofcourse it is really tough to spot your relatives in that huge a bunch of while haired things, all looking the same. The lucky ones reach the pressure cookers fast and they happily melt away with all the spices and gravy. The unlucky ones, us, the ones looking at all those of us being carried away, that sight is scary.

The next on agenda is all those filthy cartoon films. Do we really look that yellow? that furry? that tiny? that fragile? Do we deserve to be sold at traffic signals? And not just sold, but renegotiated on and bickered about. And its not even a genetic clone. It is made up of plastic! I know you guys are 7 billion and we are mere a few thousands but this is no way to treat us. If Noah had his way, you and us would have been in equal number. And since we dont have to wait for 9 months to produce the next generation, we would have grown faster. Mmmm, that could have been interesting. Imagine the menu reading butter aadmi, aadam musallam, aadmi changezi, aadam shawarma etc.

So, I am short on time. I understand that roads hold a special place in your life, lores and development. They connected you guys and helped moved faster. They allowed movement of people, things, thoughts and stories. Including the one about me crossing the road. I mean, who could even think of it? And why? Can you even imagine a chicken on the road?

Guys, can we please cut it out? Dont you guys think you have stretched this one, a little too much? Isnt the joke now too old, too predictable and too boring?

The Chicken

This is day 03 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Two down. Two to go.

Time for a small update on the Project 0811. I like the ring of it. Every month, I think I need to think of some interesting things and call it Project . Anyways, we shall cross the line when we reach there.

Coming to the update, its just the third day in the month and I already broke a rule (of the 4 I made for this month). I ate outside today. An iced tea at a CCD and some Chinese food from Yo China.

The second rule, the Rot 13 one, I was supposed to start it on day 1, I havent even started on it.

Not happening Mr. Garg. Time to pull up the socks!

Aug 02: Love Letter 101

Dear You,

You know who you are. I am not sure if you read this blog. Nah, you dont have to be ashamed of the fact. No one does. Its one of those pointless things that people love to engage in. Actually I am not sure if people blog anymore. After all its the twitter generation. If you cant say it in 140 characters, not even words, characters, you are taking too much time and your audience has already moved on to the next effervescent thing. Effervescent. I think that is the word that defines conversations and relationships in this generation. Side note. Its funny how within my lifetime, I have seen multiple generations come and go. From the days when chatting on yahoo used to be in vogue, to orkut, to blogs, to facebook, and now to twitter. Wow. Thats 5 generations. Within the last 10 or so years. Anyways, coming back to conversations and relationships. Split second decisions and short term view is the name of the game now a days. You decide on drop of a hat and you move in an instant.

I, however, am still an old timer. I still love the fuzzy feeling of holding hands while walking on a long road. I still want to send flowery and cute greeting cards. I still want to write letters. I still want to read out long narratives on life and living when I am with someone I love. I want to do all those things to you. And more.

I am the kinds who thinks that 140 characters are too short for professing love. For that matter, even 140 words, or 140 letters, or even 140 long walks are too short to express how I feel about you.

Come to think of it, you and I, its really funny. If I was to ever describe the kind of woman I would want to be with, I could have never ever thought of someone who would resemble you even a bit. And now that I know you for a while, I am sure if someone asked you for your kind of man, I would probably be the last man on this planet!

You know, it was not love at first sight. When I first saw you, I dismissed you as yet another woman who was different from the crowd. But then like all different women, you had something that was, different! Slowly but gradually I was hooked. To you. The way you talked. They way you dressed. The way got the sunshine to peek through the clouds. The way you made things simple. The way you reassured that things would be better. Eventually.

And once I realized that its you, I started making those foolish attempts at trying to woo you. And was it difficult? Phew!

I have dropped hazaar words, hints, gestures, things, all trying to get your attention. All in hopes of telling how much you mean to me. You, however, refuse to catch the line. Is it me who is trying too hard or is it you? Too smart for someone as hopelessly in love as I? Anyways I believe that hope floats and wishes do come true. They take time, but they do.

Pray tell me that you understand. Tell me that you are just acting up and acting pricey. Please give me that smile that can brighten the gloomiest of the days. Give me that touch that can make all the pain in the word go away. Give me that sign.


P.S.: Anyone is free to use this letter, in any form they deem fit. If you do use this letter, please let me know. Thank you.
This is day 02 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Aug 02: On Samosa

Samosa, ladies and gentlemen, happens to be the best thing that has happened to mankind, since the discovery of fire. For the uninitiated, two things. One, if you dont know what a Samosa is and if you havent had one, you have wasted your life. Its divine. The crunchyness of the thick crisp shell, the smooth thick and hot potato paste, the tinge of chillies on your tongue as you bite in, the texture of the chutney inside your mouth, all of it is an experience par definition. Its actually a sin to try and capture it in words. I should be castrated for the sin. No kidding.

So, typically you buy a samosa from any of those million nukkad shops selling all kinds of savories and sweets. Invariably, the shop would be called Agarwal Sweets or Agarwal Corner. Or any other combination of words Agarwal and sweets. It looks like that all those Agarwals descended from some other planet and create a base on all the busy intersections and markets and now they have monopoly over them. I challenge that you goto any habituated locality in India and you would find at least one Agarwal doling out sweets and samosas by dozens.

Coming back to samosas, my love affair with samosas goes all the way back to my childhood. Ever since I can remember, I dint really have a sweet tooth (I could face a court-martial and can be charged with conduct unbecoming of a true Baniya, and disowned by my family, if my dad was to read this. Sweets and Baniya are like dagger and clock, like Batman and Robin, like Sherlock Holmes and Watson, like Razor and blade, unthinkable without each other). I liked things a little salty, a little tangy. And no wonder when all my friends were clamoring for that jalebi, I was happy with my samosas.

To put things in context, I dont really have the luxury of statistics here but I bet, India sells more samosas that America sells hot dogs. Per capita. A samosa infact has as much impact on the fabric of our country as much as a chai ka cup or a golgappa has had. Samosa transcends generations, genders, race, age, location, political inclinations, castes and all other such frivolous word that divide our society. Everyone loves samosa. There is no bias. Its like alcohol. If Harivansh Rai Bachchan was alive today, and if he was asked to pen a piece on samosas, the outcome would have been a more convincing case in favour samosa than his seminal Madhushala made for alcohol and bars. I am sure an entire generation would have converted into alcoholics after they would have read Madhushala.

Samosa, typically is made with potato but then there are people who innovate. They put in everything from peas to minced meat to eggs to even ice cream. Yes, ice cream. Apparently, the shell is that hard that the ice cream does not melt when the samosa is deep fried. To be honest, I havent had the icecream variety but I do not doubt for a single instant that the ice cream samosa exists, and is as good as its other, more famous and common cousins. I detest cooking to the extent of actually going without dinner, if there are no options, otherwise I would have tried making the ice cream one for sure.

Anyways the samosa rant has been stretched to the extent of becoming intolerable and its not even half funny. I wanted to write 500+ words and with this line, I am sure I have met the deadline.

But, next time you happen to be close to an Agarwal something, please do order a samosa and dig in. And do share your thoughts on what I think should be our national savory. Wait, do we even have a national savory?

This is day 02 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

Aug 01: Of Writing, Reasons and Promises

Like I promised myself, that this month, each day, I shall update this blog. Here is the first post.

And guess what! I am stuck on line 1. I thought writing came pretty naturally to me and I could write more than the longest epic of our times but I was wrong. I have been staring at this page for more than twenty minutes now and I have no clue what to write. In fact as I write, I have not even filled up the title of the post, apart from the customary "Aug 01:". Once I finish writing this, I would get down to the title - which in my humble opinion should not be that difficult to pull off.

So let me talk about why I want to do the 31 day challenge. Quite a few reasons actually. The single biggest reason being that I want to create some discipline in my otherwise haphazard life. There are some things that are under my control and there are some that I cant control. Over the past few months, I have tried to work on things and have seen some good results. Not that I am a changed man but I do believe that taking baby steps does help become that giant that you always wanted to become.

Second, I realized that writing de-stresses me. Even though I am belting crap that no one in the world would care for, I still find pleasure in writing. I love the feeling when my fingers dance by themselves on the keyboard (I have used the finger dance metaphor at-least thirty times in past five years) and they end up producing a piece that is coherent. The piece may be grammatically flawed and factually incorrect but then I dont mind it. After all, no ones reading it. Not even you anymore.

Third, more I write, better I get. Like everyone who can speak English, even I have a budding author hidden somewhere inside me, amongst a hidden cricketer, commentator, guitarist, businessman, film maker, philanthropist, teacher, polymath etc. Writing is something that I can work on and improve. Of course story telling is a gift that you are born with, writing on the other hand, you can work on it. Did I come with the gift, time shall tell. But I will ensure that by the time I hang my boots pen, I would be an accomplished writer.

Fourth, once I start writing, my otherwise dead brain, the vegetable bit of me, starts functioning. I get ideas that I never thought I could come up with. Well, most of the times. Like right now, I dont really have any ideas that can potentially make that dent but most of the times, I do get those ideas. And I park them in another document. Or scribble them on a piece of paper. Its funny how our brain operates. In terms of creating new things, I dont think it can. I think it can only link up things that it had processed earlier and then make new links and then tell us on the surface about the new idea.

Five. There is no five! I mean I am sure there is a five but I cant think of it right now. May be some other day.

So what all would I be writing about in the coming days? I do not want it to be boring. I do not want it all to be too similar to each other. Although I suck at it, I would try my hand at writing different genres. Humor, Fiction, Non-Fiction (I think this piece may qualify for non-fiction), Personal, Rant, Review etc. I would try changing the way I write. I want to write something in third person (most of the things I write are in first person). I want to write something like a letter (I did try my hand at a fictional letter once up on a time. It was that bad that my friend had to drop the damn project!). Actually now that I am writing about writing letters, I realize that I want to write a lot of those. A love letter, a hate mail, a ransom letter amongst other things.

I think thats about it for the day. The wants got too much no?

And, the title. I will call this post, Of Writing, Reasons and Wishlists. Why? Go figure!

This is day 01 in a series of 31 daily blogposts. Other posts are here.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?