The Pink Shirt

All my life, ever since I can remember, I have hated the color pink. Especially when someone wears it. It could be pants, socks, hats, teeshirts, shirts, gloves, undies, anything, the colour pink sucks. It’s the most inhuman color to have happened to us humans. My hatred for the colour pink is well documented. I have gone on record and have even publicly humiliated friends and strangers who have dared to wear pink in front of me. 

 Well, who would have known that someday I would end up buying a pink shirt. I was window shopping with a couple of friends today evening when we casually walked into a Fabindia store. For some reason they dint have anything in my size, except a pink shirt. Since both my friends were trying stuff, I was bored and went ahead and put on the pink shirt. And rest, as they say is history.

When I tried it, I felt as if it has been crafted specially for me. I fit so well into it. I have the weirdest structure that the humankind has ever seen and yet the pink shirt fit like an old glove. It was so comfortable that I could have died in it. It felt like second skin.

I was skeptical about it but then I thought what the heck and I just bought it. And since I haven’t worn it with friends as yet, the jury is still out, but yes, I am a proud owner of a pink shirt.

Happy Birthday Dear PD

Dear PD,

Happy Birthday.

Every year, for last few years, I have been trying to cook up a novel way to wish you. This year I have been lazy and have just this blog post to show for my love. I know you'd understand.

Have a great day and a wonderful year ahead.


The Count of Monte Cristo

For the last week of so, I have been having strange dreams. One day I woke up trying to console Mercedes that Edward will come back, sooner than later and all would be well. The other day, I thought I was in the grotto at the island of Monte Cristo. And yesterday, I thought I saw the confrontation between Mercedes and Edward where Mercedes pleads to Edward to spare Albert's life.

I mean I have read The Count of Monte Cristo atleast twice before this reading but I dont recall seeing the characters and incidents in my dreams. May be this time, while I am reading it, I am mature enough to comprehend the meaning and I actually understand what is it to be in love. I also understand the true meaning of longing. Ofcourse I dont really have any enemies that would have hastened the process of my separation with my love but I feel what the Count must have felt (had he been a real guy). The way Count plans his revenge on his enemies and the way its executed, I get goosebumps at the mastery. There are times when I actually want to believe in the existence of God and providence!

Coming back, its been more than a week that I have been reading it (I am reading the unabridged version) and its on my mind all the damn time. I have wished, countless times during the reading that there was a time machine and I could actually go back and speak with the Count and learn from him. Alexandar Dumas must have been God himself to have created such an epic body of work. Every character, every part of the story, every incident is just perfect. There is nothing that I would want to take away from the narrative and there is nothing I could add to make it better. Its no secret that I want to be a writer (the blog is an endeavor in that direction) and the day I think I can create something as complex and as interesting as the Count of Monte Cristo, I would have justified my existence.

And just in case you are not yet mesmerized by the Count, check out this character relationship map!

What if you lose your passport?

So this friend went on a road trip to France and Spain and while on the road, he lost his passport. Ofcourse he had two options. One was to get panicked and run from pillar to post. The other was to figure out the way to get it resolved.
So if you are abroad and you lose your passport, you need to do the following.

  1. Lodge an FIR with the nearest police station. So before you head out to a new country, you need to have the phone numbers of the tourist police and the emergency number (like they have 100 in India and 911 in US).
  2. Once you have the FIR, you need to goto the Indian consulate. This may or may not be in the same city as you are in. Get prepared to travel to the city that has the consulate. Here is a list of all Indian Embassies abroad. 
  3. At the consulate, you would need to give the FIR, your photographs and an identity proof that ascertains that you are an Indian. It would be perfect if you have a scanned copy of your passport but if you dont, your Indian driving license and other such documents would suffice. 
  4. And then follow the process the consulate recommends. Surprisingly, unlike the most Indian government offices, the consulate offices are surprisingly efficient and they issue either an Emergency Certificate or a new passport within 24 hours (An emergency certificate allows you to travel back to India and your passport allows you to carry on your itinerary as planned).
And that’s about it. Losing a passport is a very common thing and happens to a lot of people. If you DO lose your passport, its not the end of the world (unless you tear it away yourself and you are seeking refuge :D). Just follow these 5 things and you are sorted. And if you do come back, please get me some postcards!

At the cost of repetition, here is a checklist before you head out to a new country for a road trip.

  1. Always keep a scanned copy of your passport on the internet. Use services like Dropbox to ensure that its easily accessible. In fact on my Dropbox, I have this folder called legal that has almost all the legal documents that I may need (driving license, PAN card etc) at any time.
  2. Always carry a cheat sheet about the places you are going to visit. I use this sheet that I made for myself. This is one printed side of an A4 and has all the things that I may need - emergency contact numbers, hotel numbers, airline PNR, address of the nearest Indian consulate etc.
That's it! 

The Angry (and not so) Young Man

Without the formality of an introduction (or a beginning), let me dive straight into the heart of the issue. At this instant, I am a very very angry man. Here is why.

I live in a lower middle class locality of the capital city of a developing nation. And as a result, there are a plenty of problems - high density of population, bad traffic, lawlessness, petty crimes, broken roads, lazy officials etc. But then, I have had the privilege of getting really good education (private schools, bachelors in computer science and a MBA from one of the best colleges in India) and my job takes me to places that I can never afford, even if I was paid a bomb. As a result, I know how amazing life could be. Things could actually be perfect and there could be an Utopian world where everything is in order and you can work on things that are worth investing time in (rather than chasing people to get your Internet connection fixed). This dichotomy, of my aspirations of living in a Utopian world vs the expectations from the Banana Nation where I actually live, is in one word, fucking my head. Note to self: that's three words Mr. Garg!

Coming back, here is a small list of things that has gone haywire in the last one week or less. And this is not even exhaustive.

  1. Its simply too hot to live in Delhi. I can live in extreme cold but I cant stand heat. Even at 7 in the morning, the heat is that harsh that you cant sit in the open. You have to have air conditioning. 
  2. I crashed my car. Almost got attacked by a bunch of rowdy taxi drivers. And paying through my nose for the repairs. Will get the car back in about 15 days and as a result, I cant move around the city as well. I can take Metro but I am not a woman and men refuse to take bathes or use deodorants. 
  3. The Internet does not work. I have an Airtel connection and they have the most incompetent helpline (or customer care, as they call it) ever. Apparently they always ALWAYS have some "server problem" and they can not even lodge a complaint. And there is no supervisor or an escalation process to expedite resolution. Airtel used to be good, till about two years back, but now, they are worthless. Oh, did I mention that they charged me 50 paisa, per minute, to lodge complaints? I am sure TRAI can do something about it. I will write into them soon. And no, the @airtel_presence on twitter is of no use either. 
  4. There is no current. And no, I am not talking about the city of Delhi but in a block of 20 houses. From my balcony, I can see the shining street lights, the well lit advertising boards, the shining LED board for a gym and the constant hum of the ACs at my neighbors. But its me and some 20 other fortunate neighbors that have been blessed by the power cut. Apparently there is some short circuit somewhere. Despite repeated calls to BSES, no one wants to fix and I am left poking in the electric board with a wooden stick, hoping that I would live another day and actually write a few more of these blogposts. 
  5. I have been thinking of a month long vacation. Nothing important but I think I am stuck at what I do an I need to recharge my batteries. I also want to take it easy, get fit and read. Every place that I have called (have spoken to at least 15 places), everyone is booked till July/August! Imagine, the entire world wants to go to Himachal in the month when I want to go. How fair is that? 
  6. And then, apart from all these things that I cant control, there is that issue of not knowing what I want in life. I am almost 30 and in a few months, I would be on the wrong side of life and I wont know what my epitaph would say! How bad is that! All this while, I have always joked around about me suffering from QLC. Now I know what QLC/MLC actually feels like. There are days when I want to see a shrink but then I wish I could afford one. 
The funny thing is that I have tried everything that I could have. I called up the cops when I got into that accident. I have tried waking up early so that I may avoid traffic and heat while going to office. I have tried complaining against Airtel at all possible forums. I have called BSES multiple times, each time getting assurance about someone fixing the bug. Have called and exhausted all travel portals, agents, Justdials of the world. And have planned and thought about what I want from life. 

I guess my effort hasnt been that great and I need to do more. I dont know! All I know right now, is that, I am a very very angry young man. I now believe that the world indeed is an unfair place. Its definitely not a movie and there are no guaranteed happy endings. Reminds of that line from a song... "...yeah you bleed, just to know you're alive". I wish I had realized this while I was 20. 

And end-note, please do not make impressions about me just by reading this. I want to believe that I am far saner than this. If saner is a legitimate word. I am a mere human, suffering from the curse of mediocrity, wading through life, surrounded by more vegetables and I dont even see a sliver of hope from any corner.

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?