Monday, January 31, 2011

Superman Without Pants

Have you ever been told to run towards the end of the cliff and trust a giant kite hold you high up against gravity? I was told this weekend. Sadly, the words look before you leap proved fatal, as the valley was over 4 feet deep. This weekend, our bikers group, decided to kick off the first ride of 2011 out of the world, just, we didn't realize it would be literally. We jumped from a mountain and hung in the middle of the air.... I meant para-gliding.

I should be honest, I was dead scared, I mean scared more than I ever was. The thing is, I have survived into a lot, bike crashes and even bomb blasts but this, this was the scariest. In the crashes or the blast, I was not aware what would happen in next few minutes, but this was different. I had to run towards the end of the cliff, take a leap of faith and let God lift me up. The scary part was, I never believed in God, but in that one second, I just hoped I was wrong.

In the beginning the glider refused to lift off, increasing my anxiety and fear and slowly pulling me to the edge of the cliff.

The man started cribbing about me being overweight and many attempts by him failed to raise me higher. I even asked him, if I can close my eyes while running and he started assuring me that its nothing to be scared off, yeah right, tell that to a man who is 40 feet above the ground.

To pass time, I asked them if we have a safety plan like a parachute or something, a bad idea because he laughed at me and said, this is a small jump, by the time you open the parachute you will crash land in the valley below. Do I have to tell you what was my reaction? He was packing something in his backpack and I had a tinnie tiny hope that it was a parachute but no, apparently it was a bag to fold the glider if we crash land, yes he said crash land in the valley below.

Now, physics tells me that one square inch of a drag is going to reduce my speed by 10% here the kite was a lot bigger, so chances of me falling and breaking my head were 0, but you know at that moment, this probability refused to come in my head and the only thing that I could see was the deep valley below.

But then finally the winds changed and another rider took over. In just five minutes, my legs were above the ground and I was up there in the air, doing a superman without underpants above my pants.

When I was up there, I just thought of one thing... perspective. If only you could see what I saw from up there. The endless weightlessness, the basic law of universe, gravity, broken and a feeling of eternal bliss. There in the wee moments in the air, I felt closer to the essence of the universe. As the old alchemist would say, I was in rubedo stage for magnum opus, the perfect unification of limited to the unlimited. I had taken a blind leap of faith into the universe and it did not let me down.

After some time, reality dawned, and Newton woke up, what goes up, comes down and I had to land back on the mountain cliff. Walking seemed so boring after this experience.

I learned one thing from this experience, take that blind leap of faith and let the universe lift you high up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Republic of India

The oldest memory of Republic day I have is that of my parents watching the republic day parade. Obviously as a small child I was assumed of having no brain and choice and come what I may say, no one would agree tom and jerry is better than the parade. So profound effect it had on me, that last year, I decided to see the parade in the stands, which was a boring experience, should I add and a pickpocket decided to use his right to freedom and stole the five hundred rupees from my pocket.

But then again, they say we should feel proud about the republic day parade and have a sense of patriotism on seeing the tricolor unfurl.  I never felt so. Obviously as a symbologist, I know that symbols have meaning and if conveyed properly they can move mountains (literally) or transform the thinking of a human being, but then also, if forced to believe in something symbols render no meaning at all.

On the night of 14th August 1947 at the zero hour (00:00) the Union Jack was pulled down and a shining new tricolor was unfurled which marked the freedom of the largest and the most unmanaged country in the world, symbolically we were free but practically we never were free. There were some people on top of us before and there are some people who are on top of us now, so what their nationality is Indian, does it really matter?

World largest democracy was announced on 26th January 1950 and with it, also inaugurated the worlds largest loop holes in the law and order. People who were earlier termed robbers and criminals had a new name MLAs and MPs. There was added a new breed of criminal activity, white color robbers, who would get old and die and not be tried ever. It really does not matter if you unfurl the tricolor in the Lal chowk of Kashmir, but we do care if there is no check of onion prices, we do care if there is 120 billion missing in tax money, which if I don't pay, I am a criminal and finally we do care if a IAS officer stacks up 30 million in his bed-sheet.

Just like the 'Shining India' campaign by the NDA leadership, the republic day parade is made to boost the confidence of the country. The parade symbolizes the faith of 200 million people in the blind goddess of justice and the sixty year old rule book that was written by many prominent people of the country. It also symbolizes hope that someday we might achieve what we were trying to for 150 years and prove mister Churchill wrong, that India is not left in the hands of goons but people who are much more awesome than the God and wife fearing brits.

I saw the brilliant symbols go past me as I saw the parade with my live eyes.

The army, navy and air-force are giving brilliant display of their skills and valor. Knowing that they have signed a life long bond protecting the people in an ideal world would be on the other end of their bullets.
The captain shows strict discipline in his platoon, knowing that the non-disciplined people are going to build Aadarsh societies on his grave and pay their kins death money. But then again he has vowed to protect the country, come who may, no questions asked, to whatever ends.

Then we also have the pageants of the states which symbolizes that hope springs eternal. They show the world how the states should be, rather than what states are. The Mumbai exhibit is not stuck in traffic for one day driven by a bhaiyya nor does the Delhi exhibit play loud Bangra music and try to overtake every other exhibit from wrong side. The Goa exhibit does not show hippies going dum maro dum, nor does the Haryanvi exhibit show the improper use of Hindi language by swearing out loud. The Gujurat exhibit does not distribute free khamang dhokla (now with 450 billion, they can invent iKhakra) and so Tamil Nadu exhibit does not have Rajnikant doing Yenna Rascala in a auto-rickshaw (praise the Lord). The show is a brilliant symbol of unity in diversity, far away from reality.

In school, they forcibly teach us one of the prime duties as the citizen of India is respecting the national days and joining tuition classes at the home of the same teacher, who teaches in school, for better marks. So it is the patriotic in me who stands up dutifully as the flag unfurls and the national anthem plays, but the inside me is still worried about the petrol that is to be filled in my bike on the way home, the favorite onion pakoda is getting rare on the street and my hard earned money is carefully being drained into the unknown swiss accounts and I am still the criminal if I do not pay the taxes.

Obviously why would anyone listen to me I am not part of any political party nor any minority group, neither am I from a lower caste nor am I have a lot of money, I am just a simple Indian, who is slowly getting extinct in India and want to wish you all out there.

Happy Republic Day. 

P.s. How is the new layout? It has got few hidden symbols and meanings...;)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Will you follow me please?

"Did you follow me?" I asked walking to my desk.
"What? You are just back from the washroom," he replied, "Why would I follow you there?"
"No, not there..." I replied correcting him, "That would be so Gay, I meant follow me on twitter..."
"Why would I follow you on twitter?" he questioned.
"So that you hear me speak..." I replied.
"Why would I hear you speak? We share the cubicle together and we are together for eight hours a day," he asked.
"Because I make witty remarks on everything on twitter..." I replied.
"But you make witty remarks on everything you see, and I don't like it...." he resorted.
"But my remarks are refined and subtle on twitter," I argued, "And I write them very carefully thinking about everything..."
"Where you doing that in the meeting with your phone?" he questioned.
"I saw you, staring in your phone deeply, while the presentation was going on... the whole room saw you infact..."
"No, they didn't..." I replied, thinking deeply, when was it.
"Yes, they did, people do notice if you are laughing when the manager is speaking about we not meeting deadlines...." he shrugged.
"But you should follow me on twitter, it is @sidoscope, thats" I replied coming back on track.
"I do not want to follow you anywhere, I know you always take the wrong turn and land on another floor in this building..." he replied.
"That happened only once, because I was tweeting while coming out of the lift..." I replied, "Other times I see the correct floor, just miss my cubicle..."
"Isn't that what happened right now?" he asked.
"What do you mean, this is my cubicle... I know my seat...." I looked around and surprised to see the cubicle different.
"No, you don't, this is not your cubicle, this is not even mine. I was just here to chat with someone," he got up from the seat, "Now follow me @ your cubicle..."

P.s. Now you can totally digg this... Check out the Digg button.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Are we there yet?

When I was small people always used to tell me, you will get this when you grow up. Hey, Shaktimaan airs late night, can I watch it? No Beta, you can stay up late when you grow up.
I don't want to go to school, I want to sleep late, No Beta, you can sleep late when you grow up.

Or even, why can't I go to school on my cycle? Bus is so boring. Grow up, grow up grow up. To which I would finally say, ok, I want to grow up, grow up. Now, twenty five years on the planet and I ask myself is 'are we there yet?' is this what it is to be grown up? Oh well, it sucks. Now can I go back? Apparently I can't.

Now, if you think about the average active partying life of adult male as fifty, after which you probably watch television late night on new years eve, you can say I am half way there. Now obviously, as I mentioned last year, twenty five is the time when your standing male life starts disintegrating. Twenty Five is the time where your parents want to see you get married and when every girl you have known from your class, is either married, pregnant or engaged or lesbian and chances of you hitting the singles bar are slim. This is not America and there is obviously no singles bar, the choice you face here is either Chandni bar (if you want to spend the rest of life alone) or Club Mando (if you are hunting for a soul mate) or the local Madras Cafe (If you want to find a Savatri for your mom)

When you are twenty five, people have a different way of looking at you. They stare at you when you are watching Ben ten on television or they utter the world tsk tsk tsk, if you sleep late. The heavy hitter words like 'Responsibility, working hard, karma' are uttered everywhere. The toothless Aunty smiles shamelessly when she asks you if you have a girlfriend, making you awkward whether she is asking or telling. Or suddenly you find your dad asking your blog name to give it to some distant relative who wishes to know you more. Mom as usual disagrees with any girl you bring home, because she is not from your community and suddenly, long lost, distant forgotten relatives start calling your parents to know what is the status as if you are distributing free lottery.

When you turn fifteen, you spend a lot of time hunting for a perfect folder hiding software on windows to hide your dirty secrets from your parents. Surprisingly, now that I am twenty five, I find those dirty secrets lessen over the time, when the brain says, bro move on, now that you are hitting boundaries, don't catch the ball sitting in the audience.

But then again, in childhood, you were worried about parents finding out the bad marks or teachers remarks, in your prime teens it was your dirty secrets, now you are worried, your parents might find your stuff. So the worrying is there, only priorities have changed.

Now actually I stand on the threshold of manhood, where I won't be qualified as a teen and my stupidities won't be excused. I will have to pay the fine for doing the right thing, which is carefully concealed as tax and added as a civil responsibility. My hard earned money will be robbed by the government into one of their another bofors scandal and I would feel proud of it. And now, I realize that a marriage certificate is more important to earn the respect in the society of strangers (whose approval apparently I need for God knows what reason) than my engineering degree certificate (if I knew this long back, I would never join engineering) and if thats not all, life is coming on you faster than the rabbits can make babies.

But then again just like my android, there is always a better and newer app out there and the problem is, I have limited space to install them all.

Finally, now that I am halfway through, I think I did pretty well, and I think I deserve a standing ovation for making it up so far. Taking a bow, I stand straight, take a deep breath, smell the fresh vintage wine, put myself in top gear and silently say to life,

'Bring it on'

Happy Birthday Me. Twenty Five not out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And So Facebook Shut down....

"Dude, its the end of the world," screamed my hysteric friend over phone, "After nineteen years I made 300 stable friends and its all over..."
"Huh," I asked checking who was calling me, early in the morning, "What?"
"Wake up Sid," he shouted, "Facebook has shut down...."
The nerve cells in my spinal chord, which usually don't wake up till heavy dose of coffee, suddenly shot up high-sparks into my brain causing a heavy headache, "Dude, you kidding right?"
"No man, no," he cried loudly like a big baby who lost his butterfly, "Dude, she had added me man...after so many years man, she found me on facebook man."
He hung up, crying out loud. I immediately got down from my bed and crash landed on my android, 'Cannot fetch notifications now, please try later' the smart phone replied.

Nails biting and nervous splitting, I did not know what to do, trying hard to remember what the officer had told me during the fire drill, I crashed again from my bed. The phone rang again,

"Don't come out..." she replied, in full on panic mode, "Three random people have already asked for my fraadship on the street. The world is going crazy out there."

I tuned on the television and realized, world war III was about to began. The whole world was going to attack the United States and a massive manhunt for Mark Zukenberg had began. As there was no facebook around, I decided to run to the coffee shop for a fresh cup of coffee.

Round the street, a college kid was being chased by cops for writing on the street, he had written,
"LOL, just saw a fat cop," while the cops where chasing him, two people appended the saying, "1 Person likes this."

Nervous with what I was seeing, I bumped into one of my colleague on the street, she was so glad on seeing me, she immediately blurted out,
'Yo man, wassup...'
'hey Hi, see the crisis around?' I asked nervous, lest she decides to poke me in the eye.
'Yeah man... hey listen GTG...'

By the time I could decipher GTG, she had poked someone else and was out of sight. Still not believing what was happening, I saw the neighborhood family out there with their photo-album, shoving it in faces of people as they walk.

A person was begging me the watchman to let him harvest few crops in the local garden and the watchman was having hard time stopping people approaching with spade in the garden. The more I realized what this all was getting into, I pictured people going to buy real guns to play Mafia wars on the street.

Suddenly there was a big shout in the library only to realize people have decided to throw books in people faces and tag them facebook. A heavy lord of the rings (hard bound edition) was flying towards me and I had less time to duck, when someone shouted, 'Facebook...ha ha'


The alarm on my phone was tired of going on snooze for the last time, woke me up. Android dutifully reported 5 notifications on facebook and I gave a sigh of relief. No facebook did not end that day and I hope it won't, not because I am addicted to it, no I am not, but because I am scared what will happen to all the people now busy updating their facebook status suddenly become free? Scary thought no?

P.s. This is just a spoof on the news story (apparently rumor) that Facebook will Shut down on March 15th, so far no credible sources confirm this claim and is to be considered rumor. Although the site which posted it does mention Aliens will attack us in 2011, so lets be prepared.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Me.

I am not a good person, no means I am not the villainous Amrish Puri type bad person (I do have a big laugh though, just like him) but I don’t exactly fit into the social structure of a good guy. I do not give alms to beggars (to each his own), I do not care about family members (well, I do care about them, but not to the extent of sacrificing myself for them), I drink a lot, I have no problem with smokers (I don’t even have problem with passive smoking, again too each his own) , I do not pray to God (Any God for that matter, I don’t discriminate against any God, I hate all of them equally), I support gay rights and marriages (its all about individualistic freedom) and I am completely open about my masculinity (Remember the old saying if you have it, you got to flaunt it right?)

So you see I am bad, or people say I am bad but then I ask them, Define bad? Or worst, Define good. Sadly everyone has a different answer for it.

My very good friend mentioned that she gives alms to a particular beggar lady near Saras Baug every Thursday, she feels good doing it. Is this good? lets say for example, I give a ten rupees note to a beggar on the street and he is hungry since two days. He probably has a wife and kid at his house. My ten rupees is not going to fetch a morsel, but he might spend it on bad habits like Bidi (cigarette) or even alcohol, go home and trash his wife. Well, Ok thats worst case, lets take the best case. I give him ten rupees, proving him that not doing work and loitering around will fetch him his morsel, thus rendering him incapable of finding any source of income henceforth. Thus you see, by not giving him any alms I am doing him a lot of good. Trusting in the good old, human adaptation power I let him hungry on the street.

How can someone define good? Who judges what is good or no? How can a human define if other human is good or bad? Then suddenly we come to the part of priest and monks who are ’so-called’ closer to God. I decided to ask one of their kind, the questions.
‘Son, you do good deeds, you go to heaven, you do bad deeds you go to hell,’ said the old eightish monk in a Goa express. I should point out, I was busy reading nag-raj comic, his followers provoked me. I do not attack anyone unless you provoke me first or I am hungry (its not me, its your karma.)
‘How do you define good and bad deed?’ I asked.
‘You do bad acts and you are condemned in hell…’ he replied, ‘Bad acts like killing people, smoking, drinking…’ and the list increased.
‘So, If I am to understand,’ I replied pretending to think deeply, ‘My friends in army have already signed off for hell? So people should not join defense forces?’
‘No, they are fighting for the country so they will go to heaven…’ he replied. Nice try oldie, dodge this.
‘Then, if I am to understand, the terrorist who acted for their country and killed thousands will get heaven and I am condemned in hell, when I even paid taxes on my beer?’
‘No, they will go to hell.’ he shot back, bad move mister, ‘They have hurt a millions…’
‘But they were working for their country, weren’t day?’ I quizzed.
‘Yes but they attacked the innocent citizen of the country…’ he replied, ‘It is not good to harm the innocent.’
Again I repeated, ‘But then, my friends in the army will be doing the same thing on the border… what difference does it make here and there?’
‘You see on border it is fine, they know what they are going…’
‘But does God know? you mean, is it OK religiously that I kill someone on the border of the country but it is not ok if I do the same inside the country? Hold on, hold on, does God recognize borders?’
One of the follower told me, we will continue the question-answer session later as his guruji wanted to sleep. My question was left hanging in there. Strange, they did not talk with me the whole trip.
The old priest was talking about Mahabharata and how Draupadi had 5 husbands, he went on to mention that the 5 pandavas where actually Indras in their past life and had same wife. I pointed out to the fact that Arjun had 7 wives, but the old priest nor the old saga, Mahabharata had any explanation for it.

In Hinduism, they say Ram was the epitome of good, the Purushottam, the perfect man, the people who fight fearlessly for the name of Ram slowly wane out their voices as we come close to Uttara Kand, when the king Ram abandoned his wife, who has already passed the Agni-parishka, on questioned by a Dhobhi. This stage the definition of Goodness shatters. No, don’t you go build up words to defend Ram, for the story goes on further to explain that Luv and Kush, two teens manage to defeat the vast army of Ram, because the right is on their sides.

Strangely I find the name Ravan, who fought God for the insult of his sister, very suiting to me.
Many people say that my views are leading me to hell, I don’t mind, if standing for what I believe is right, is leading me to hell, so be it, I would happily enjoy the trip. Better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven isn’t it?

When I helped my friends elope and have a inter-caste marriage, many people shunned me. They even called me Ravan out of spite, sadly for them, I was enjoying the word, so much that I rechristened myself as Ravan which has become a popular word online.When I talk to my friend who is a gay, people look at me in disgust, his parents talk tell me to talk him ‘out of it’. Say what I might, but the story of Shikhandi in the battle of Mahabharata does not remind them of anything. They would rather their son die, that live in the house with them.

Some say I am anti-social, I softly deny, while I do not harm the society in any way, I am what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object. I am where the laws of society disintegrate, where I question what is fair. I am simply an agent of Chaos brought to this society on itself, and you know the thing about Chaos is? it is fair.
I am what you define as bad, but the simple point is, before defining me, define good.
Now, I don’t know how you will judge me on reading this post, but you know, the good part of being bad is, I don’t really care what you think I am.

True Story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Of Arrange Marriage and the debt of Parenthood

When you are born in India, from the zero hour you have a deep long dept with your parents. You are literally born into it with no option or choice. Whenever you talk about living separate people look at you as if you are Osama Bin Ladens right hand man, as if it is a crime to hang until death.

In olden days there was this feudal law that you had to have sex with any girl, your parents lay hand on. There has also been a tradition of sharing your wife with brothers, but that for another day. They left you with no choice and many crore worth of land deal used to be signed between parties. It was better in those days, atleast officially you could get lots of money.

But then the brits landed on our land and got jealous of the richness and they stopped it. They said child marriage is a crime and the elders agreed, what they missed out was totally arrange marriage is a crime Isn't it?.

Now the pseudo modern family of India do not force their kids to marry, they torment them, torture them and finally emotionally blackmail them into marrying the girl of your parents choice, with the greatest weapon known to man... debt of parenthood. They list all the things they did, since you were a sperm and they tell you that. They will emotionally blackmail you and then smile in the community that 'the kid had his choice, we just approved.'

You send a lioness into the lions age, doesn't mean the lion liked her, hello, let him lose in the jungle and see how many lioness he bangs in. Nope, the girl should come from your community, she should be of appropriate age from you and she should have approval stamps on her butts from the longest living decedent in your family.

Government should make it compulsory for parents to put a (*) before purchasing the items in childhood. It is a shocker when you hear about it twenty four years later in a chronological order.

"Beta, you want the compass box right? So here is the deal, I will buy it to you, only if twenty four years later you will marry the girl of my choice," Mothers should say with a signed bond.

They talk about labor pains  mother took while harboring you, holy cow, I don't remember the first three years of my life so that part should be avoided right? But no...they remind it, making you wonder... what exactly where they looking for? a human being or a puppy?

Do I remind you of the day I was made to sit in my own piss, while mom got busy doing some work around house? Should I remind you the time when my head was accidently banged to the headboard and instead of calling the doctor, they rubbed it with hand and said some words which made me believe that there was magic? And what about Santa Claus? Should I repeat the years that they made me act nice because Santa will give me gift? And then after a year of acting nice, when you ask for a sonic blaster gun to destroy your neighborer kids you get a toy car? Do I tell you that? If I try telling.. ill be the bad kid.

The debt is so high, that some random people, whom maybe your parents know, but you don't, get girls for you to show. Now, in a normal world, showing girls is a very bad profession isn't it?
But the same people who call these bad professions bad come with girls to show you on phone call. Now hello, uncle, don't get me wrong, but what is with you and fixing things between two people?

Now, tell me, how can I give graphic details of the girl I want on phone? Lets say I got a hair fetish or maybe a eye fetish? How do I convey this to the uncle who expects me to tell him what girl I want in fifteen minutes.

Don't you find it cheeky when they ask you what you earn before they marry off? Tomorrow lets say I want to leave my job and harbor poultry, am I obliged to work hard then?

"If you have to live in the house and want property, you should listen to us," they announce.
Hello, isn't that feudalism? Wasn't Hitler killed in the process destroying half of the planet earth with him saying these words?

No offense, to the arranged marriage couples out there, but frankly, these things are so complex, that a little schizophrenic mind of mine get so lost with it. And you know what, thats why God send down beer, to face the debt of parenthood,


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oh, so the New Year is here.

When you wake up to a brand new year, you expect something different, something new and something fun and then suddenly the gong strikes and at around noon you wake up with a heavy hangover, a horrible headache and a trigger happy family who screams 'Happy New Year' at every second they get chance. If that is bearable, the phone rings every two minutes, spoiling the favorite ringtone which took you hours to finalize and crop in ringdroid (an Android App that lets you cut parts of any song and set as ringtone, oh and I got an Android wuu huu).

So, you wake up late and you walk down to the local shop to get some jam, when you over hear this conversation.

'This time,' wise man number one speaks to wise man number two, 'I don't think I need any resolutions.' He orders a smoke from the local pan shop, and fires it up.
'Of-course,' says the second wise fat man, 'Who needs them anyways? Its a foreign imitation. We don't have to do everything they do, do we?'
'Yes, of-course, we have our so great culture out there,' the first wise man agrees, deeply destroying his one lung with the most ancient cultural tool, 'Who wants to imitate these foreign devils?'
'You do know this ciggirate you are smoking is also their creation?' I interject in between, 'And this fat belly you sprout proudly, that is also not a good 'cultural' thing mister.'
'You see,' the first wise man speaks, puncturing his lungs with four holes, 'This is also a foreign imitating devil, speaks to elders like he has no respect.'

I simply move on to my jam hunt.

A decade into the new millennium and we still see judgmental television ads which mother gets upset on seeing a long haired boy with her girl. The ultimate solution, they device is marriage. So was the neighboring Aunty screaming on top of her voice, 'I do not know what to do, why own daughter is divorcing her husband.' she said, 'These modern kids, I tell you, can't bear a little beating.'
I looked at her spellbound, beating? I heard beating?
'We, in our old days, my husband used to trash me for hours, I said nothing and my own daughter? Separating from her husband for just one beating?' she said, 'Oh how will she face the community members? How will she attend the community marriage? What will I tell my friends, aayioo...'

Why don't you give some foundation to your daughter madam to hide the bruises from trashing she receives.

So, finally we are one decade down the millennium and currently we have a great journey ahead of us. So we did nail some corrupt officers and tainted them black, but remember there are still many daughters not safe here.
Lets see what the coming decade has to offer us. I am sure it will be something really special this time, till then,

Don't mind me, I will always be the agent of chaos disturbing the normal lives and breaking all the plans the normal people have in store for us.

Happy New Year,

P.s. Did you like the new signature for 2011?

Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
An epic adventure across space and time