Thursday, July 30, 2015

Get ready for the Journey of Epic Proportion

It's been a year of gruesome writing. What started as a small short story for a blog, turned into a hailstorm and now is coming out as a novel. Get ready for contest, cover launch, teaser starting August and your chance to win goodies, signed copies and (if you really really plead) un-signed copies.
Join me on the facebook page where most of the contest will take place. The social media links are available on the sidebar.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Understanding the 'Defination' of Internet Trolling

A recent controversial article by Chetan Bhagat tried to highlight a moot point of how the Bhakts (as the Narendra Modi supports are called on internet) are sexually frustrated, male egoist and are people with no proper English dialect (which might summarize the last three characters in his books or any Bollywood film for that matter). But while his observations are completely without any research (as are his flat stories or half-cooked Bollywood plot boilers) the main purpose of this article to set the record straight.

Lets look at the facts without any masala added to it. Since the dawn of internet there were trolls who loved to seek attention. They first started email marketing sending countless emails about the exclusive offer they had. But as technology grew closer we brought all sorts of people together and with them we brought these trolls near us. This is a global phenomena and not limited to India.

A definition of an internet troll by Wikipedia is as follows

In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
Based on this definition I am a bit confused regarding Mr. Bhagat claim about Bhakts being internet trolls.The purpose of the article by Mr. Bhagat was to sow discord on the internet by starting arguments or upsetting people by posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community. If we understand the definition correctly, Mr. Bhagat is the troll in the whole episode who is doing what every accused person does, blaming the whole world for his problems.

But let's take a step back and look into the interesting topic that internet was debating a while back. Mrs. Shruti Seth posted something inflammatory and off-topic message during the #SelfieWithDaughter campaign and faced the ire of the same Bhakts (mentioned above). Obviously, she played the victim card and went above and beyond to teach the whole world a lesson. She was applauded by a few known people who love to discuss the issue in fluent English over cocktail dresses and evening gowns. But again if we look at the definition above, she was the troll in the whole episode.

What was missing in Mr. Bhagat article (and perhaps in his books as well) is the understanding of the bigger picture. What is missing in all our discussions is that - people are frustrated, yes. They are frustrated of living in a third world country with the third rate infrastructure despite being the worlds largest producer of engineering students. They are frustrated because despite working for twelve hours in a day, they cannot get proper peace and quiet that they deserve. They are frustrated that despite they paying all their taxes on time, the garbage in front of their doors just piles up. But not all of these frustrated people become Bhakts as Mr. Bhagat would like to see.

Some of these frustrated people leave India in search of greener pastures. Others are either waiting for that opportune moment or letting the frustration vent out on the internet. But then something changes, a lot of unforeseen (or perhaps foreseen) changes happen. A leader appears and captures the imagination of these frustrated people. Yes, he is a Hindu right wing leader but he does not speak religion, he speaks to them to their frustration and to their problem. They are the so-called Bhakts we love to hate. But some of them are still not convinced. Another young leader follows him and he manages to capture the imagination of few. He has no credentials but he speaks to a subset of the Bhakts, these people are called AAPTards on the internet (both the terms are not coined by me and merely used as a reference). What Mr. Bhagat missed in the article or for that matter a lot of the other so-called columns missed was that - this was democracy at its best.

Today in a country of 51% young adults workforce, majority of them are actively taking part in discussions surrounding their elected leaders. In a country where a few decades ago there was a mere 51% of voting, today we are having almost 70-80-90% of participation in elections. What Rajdeep Sardesai learnt in Madison Square park was something we all should learn- this is a new India that we are witnessing. This is the worlds largest democracy waking up having active discussions around their future and about their past. They are trying to identify themselves to their roots (be it connecting with being Hindu or Hindi).

We are amidst the biggest change this democracy has witnessed, it will have its repercussions. Some people will have problem (change is always unpleasant) and India will change - for good or for bad, only time can tell. But amidst all this chaos there is one thing keeping them all- the bhakts and the AppTards and the other frustrated Indians- glued together and that is hope.

Hope is never bad. Is it?

When someone like Mr. Bhagat or Mrs. Shruti Seth tries to upset the sanctity of their hope. They get upset and they respond in the only way their are taught. It might not be pleasant or rosy or mature. The responses may be wrong but their intent is not. The intent springs from a new-found hope that they are trying to hold onto amidst the frustrations.

Finally it is not they who are trolling anyone, they are responding. Those who try to upset them by posting inflammatory and disturbing comments might want to rethink, who is the real victim here?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tooth Raider: The Calcium of Teeth

"Don't be afraid, there is nothing to worry," usually when you hear these words from a pretty lady you are glad. Especially when she wears Chanel perfume, especially when she has the perfect smile, especially when she can challenge Galadriel (The white lady from Lord of the Rings) in beauty department but still I am not convinced. Mostly because she said those words while holding a drill near my mouth.

The story doesn't begin here and it doesn't end with me waking up from a nightmare (I hate when stories end that way).  A few days ago something moved in my mouth. The mouth inspector, tongue, sent a distress signal up to the head office. Turns out the thing that moved was a broken fragment of a tooth. Some calcium smuggling germ ring had camped on my tooth and were busy mining for the precious mineral. Turns out they wanted to reach the roots.

The thing about tooth disease is, no one wants to go to a dentist immediately. Mouth is the one organ we cannot see but use often. The though of having metal instruments used inside that organ is in itself scary. Considering the facts, I decided to let the shaky tooth remain as it is and pretend it never happened.

That is until four days later, the shaky tooth broke off . After a scary hollywood moment (remember those moment) I decided to do the walk of shame and let them judge me on my use of toothpaste.

The dentist clinic has a peculiar smell, isn't it? That smell, for want of a better word, is peculiar. It is not bad, it is not good, it is just. That is how you tell you are in a dentist clinic.

Another thing about the dentist clinic is that the dangerous chair they operate on. It looks like the design of the chair is inspired from a medieval torture machine. On top of that the lady dentist who was going to operate on my tooth was burning a pair of tongs on a burner.

The tooth raider was ready to raid the ruins of my teeth with weapons and flares. She was hunting for the illegal enemies who had camped on the places they shouldn't. "Tell me when it hurts," she said.

That doesn't look right, she just told me it won't hurt and now she tells me to inform when it hurts. This sort of mix messages gives dentist the bad name. She numbed my roots and continued digging. I lay there motionless, fearing every heated tong, every needle that went close to the mouth. I tried to focus on the Chanel smell, trying to guess which one was it but that still couldn't ease out.

And that's when I realized, getting the roots cleaned for your teeth is not for the weak. The tooth raider, like the legendary Tomb Raider fights daily battle against the germs in the ruins of a great civilization.

And also the real pain starts when the numbing agent starts wearing off and in the middle of you writing an awesome post on that experience.


Photo credits: Patryk Sobczak, Stock Images

Have you read my book yet?

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