Wednesday, April 02, 2008

'Funny Man'

The other day while explaining the intricacies of ‘pangali sandai’ (Co-brother Fight) to an acquaintance new to this form of fighting, the topic inevitably steered towards a real life ‘pangali sandai’ between a couple of my friends. This acquaintance having grasped the essence of ‘pangali sandai’ (or Bengali Sunday as she called it) alluded these kinds of fights to a reel life example from the movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. This got me thinking.
Having watched thousands of stereotypical Hollywood, Bollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood and all other woods, I gathered that there are groups of people in real life who unconsciously portray these stereotypes. In any flick, you get to see a hero, his lady love and a ‘funny man’ who provides comical relief. 24 years of observing society, I noticed that in most groups these three kinds of people always existed. That’s when I felt sorry for the real life ‘funny man’. The writers, directors and producers of movies may have incredible talent in developing these characters, but there is always an iota of truth behind such portrayal.
The ‘funny man’ is always the young guy who ends up in the wrong place, almost always gets rejected by girls as he is either twisted or was just a ‘good friend’ and of course makes jokes. And these aren’t instances in just movies; I know a bunch of ‘funny men’ who actually live such a life. While he makes people laugh, he leads a pretty terrible life himself! In recognition of such hardships, I have started a society to morally help these socially awkward, mentally abused, orally witty ‘funny men’ called ITSFUNNY (InTernational Society For UNstable Neurotically funny Youth). I hope to make the miserable lives of ‘funny men’ better as it would someday help them become ‘heroes’. Women who have joined this society can try at the very least flirting with these young men to boost their morale. Please contribute and encourage this society as ‘funny men’ are also people.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Color of cold

Something about a blank sheet of white paper triggers a euphoric rush through my spine. It’s mostly because my brain conjures an imaginary black pen and mentally doodles on the bare sheet. As bizarre as it may sound, I feel like a dog that is excited to see a spot of moving red dot on a wall.
While it’s universally agreed that winter is the gloomiest season, I find myself having a familiar rush during this quarter. During winter, nature wipes its slate clean. The trees are bare, animals hibernate, earth is white and heat is turned off. A perennial chance given by nature to let our imagination run wild and fill those blanks with whatever we wish for. There are coconuts hanging from naked trees, with colorful African birds perch on its branches, singing. The incredibly sweet melody has calmed the usually boisterous chimpanzees, as they hang upside down drowned in the tune. The white roads are decorated with colorful ‘rangoli’ designs made by skillful women. Well… you get the point.
The gentle breeze that wafts across my after-shave smeared face has become part of my everyday routine these days. The chill is on borderline bearable, but the urge to feel the wind on the freshly menthol-ed face is similar to having a gulp of water after eating mint. It stings, but it feels good. While human beings cover themselves with immense layers to trap the body heat, it always made me wonder how cloth-less sparrows keep themselves warm during this season. They are probably the only sign of faunal life in the place I stay. They hop around collecting twigs, exhuming dead worms, shaking off snow from their tiny heads and anxiously calling for its mate. Well, it just makes me wonder how they survive the chill.
One thing that struck me odd was the portrayal of winter in movies. It’s always shown as a time of celebration and the holiday season. But the ‘real’ winter is felt only during the months of Jan and Feb. ‘Real’ people go about their usual routine during these two months as if nothing happened. (Of course there is an occasional grumble or two about having eaten too much during Christmas). There is no Santa Claus or Reindeers to help them trudge through the cold. But I guess that’s why Hollywood is so successful. They know how to fill the blank winter slate.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fun with depression


New York University came up with this online quiz where they tested if you had depression. Strange as it might sound, most people want to know about themselves, in spite of living with themselves their entire life. I am no exception. I wanted to know if I was depressed (!). By the end of the quiz, every question they had asked seemed to be addressing my personal problems. I pressed the ‘submit’ button and BOOM I suffered from depression. Depression can be fun when you see yourself from a 3rd person’s point of view.

Some of the best dark comedic lines spew out when I talk to him. Most of the talks take place in obscure places or positions such as while sitting down in the corner of the corridor, resting the forehead on the bathroom wall or in imaginary places with no idea as to where we are in the physical world. Some of the most melancholic moments were laughed at – the decibel of the laughter usually touching a maniacal limit, while the genuinely funny moments were deeply pondered upon resulting either to a stoic reaction or a mild smirk. Many times we used to wonder if this was because he was just becoming more mature or was it that his funny side was getting worn out. But again this thought was subject to loud and cruel laughter.

I often write a to-do list just to make myself feel useful. A reason to live. To tell myself that I am still needed to do these unfinished businesses. This to-do list remains unchanged as days pass by, while the paper seems to grow newer everyday. But the words just tear themselves out of the paper and grow bigger by the minute. The blank ink expands while dexterously holding together the words it created. The words become blurry, but somehow he knows what they translate into and he can see them looming angrily above him. Wild predictions about the consequences of these unfinished affairs are made, while the very predictability of the end scenario makes him bored and lethargic.


The world is too loud. People bleat all the time. They all want to state their opinions and if ignored, they yap even more to argue about my unfair decision. Like sheep they all want everyone to accept them as being a sheep. On the other hand they all bleat differently to stand out without realizing that a bleat is always a bleat. Loud music is the biggest solace. His headphones are almost always on. High decibels, close to your ears numb the brain. All powers of concentration are forcibly directed towards the loudness. Brain maps data. If an already absorbed data is re-shown, the brain blurs it and creates blanks spaces. [This is why when you keep staring at a picture, the picture soon blurs up. This is because the brain is sending signals to let you know that you already know it] Loud music works in a similar way. The brain is aware of the loudness and within a matter of seconds’ reserves blank memory spaces to accommodate it. Memory soon fills up and everything around you blurs or vanishes. He thinks that Nirvana feels like this.

Everyone hates him. Hate levels vary according to the reason they hate him for. Some people hate him for his guts, some for his laziness, some for his aloofness, some for his foolishness and some for no reason. Actually between you and me, I hate him as well. I hate him because he has all of a sudden become disgustingly superstitious with numbers. Ever seen a person add up numbers in a number plate or in the calendar to see if it is his lucky number? That’s him. He does not base his actions on it, but he just feels good about it. I hate him for that and he knows it. I on the other hand want to be liked. This is very sheep like, but I don’t care. My attempts to make myself acceptable fail miserably almost all the time and I end up having people hate me, but at least I made an attempt.


Guiltiness for no reason is a gift. He can feel guilty for a junk mail he just got or even about a hypothetical situation! It makes his heart beat fast, churn his stomach and produce these muscle spasms. The muscle spasm thing is very cool. It feels as if you just got an electric shock and you survived it. It blanks the senses for a while and a tiny ringing sound resonates in your ears for quite a while. For a long time I thought this was due to the cold temperature.

Off late fast cars, tall buildings and elevator shafts look very inviting. The NYU quiz said schizophrenia was also a sign of you gone cuckoo. I think he is schizo.

In retrospect the entire thing sounds very ‘non-straight’.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How are you I am fine

How are you?

How are you doing?

How’s life?

What’s going on?

What you upto?

How’s it going?

And the list goes on and on and on. These are the questions that are usually posed by people you meet. It just pops up, no matter when, where or how you meet them. And every time I am asked any of those questions I have this urge to retort something like “There is a 54 legged beetle on your face” or “Your face looks like a pug”, but twenty three years of being a social animal twists my tongue into saying “I am fine”.

There lies my point. The person asking these questions very clearly knows the answer, but they still ask you. For several years I thought that these people really meant it, but after some sense was knocked into my head I realized that they don’t care one bit about whether you are fine or not, they just want to ask. And they expect “I am fine” as a reply.

So one fine day, I decided to control my mouth and started answering “Magnificent”, “never been better” or “Fabulous”. This threw people off guard. They are fine as long as you are fine, but if you are “absolutely stupendous” they become nervous. I am not sure if they are nervous because they didn’t want me to be better than them or if some “How are you, I am fine” mechanism in their head went cuckoo. This triggered another series of questions ranging from “How come?” to “That is being overtly optimistic don’t you think?”

To be quite honest, I hate questions. It makes me use my brain, which I don’t like. So to prevent myself from getting bombarded with these extra questions, I decided to stop answering them. This was also a very bad idea. They started asking MORE questions! They now pretended to be concerned and asked if anything was wrong or if everything was alright. So I had to again mumble some answer or nod my head.

Like I said before, I am a social animal. I didn’t want to go around hurting people, lest they form clandestine groups to pound me while I am asleep. I mean, what would happen if I said “I am not fine. Now give me forty thousand dollars. I have a family to support” or “I am miserable, now go to China”. Will they really do it?

Right now I have this pretty neat trick going on, which seems to work pretty well. Diversion. I divert the topic or their attention into something else. I reply something like “Did you watch the football game last night?” or “How was your trip to Timbactoo?”. This intrigues them, because now they will be talking about their glorious self for a very long time. By the end of their talk they are too exhausted to listen to you, so they just say “bye, take care” (Ah! “Take care”… I could ramble about this line too. But never mind.)

So for all those people out there plagued by this question, there is the solution! But, in case you have a better idea or if you are a seasoned mad man, let me know how you handle it.

(Thinking about it… A “Waggly woogly beeeeee” or “Pffft booop eeepperr” would also be a terrific reply. This would completely stop people from approaching you!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Family Problems

It was like any other night. Everyone was sleeping peacefully, when all of a sudden, from the adjacent room mom rushed out with her bed sheet and slumped in the hall, pretending to sleep. Dad came out of the same room apologizing profusely and asked mom to come back and sleep in the bedroom. Their teenage son whined out of his bedroom and asked everyone to shut up, while his younger brother stared blankly at the entire scene. In spite of dad’s pleadings, mom was stubborn. She said that she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom if dad kept talking to his girlfriend……..

I live in a very queer place. I live in a huge apartment with four other guys. But despite the fact that they are just four normal guys, when they are all together, they fuse into one typical nuclear family. There is a dad, a mom, a spoilt elder son with teenage problems and the younger son who lives in the shadow of his elder brother.

The dad is a very typical dad. Just like we never knew our dad’s age (‘cos all the information we needed was that he was just dad and he was old) no one in my apartment knows his age, but he has claimed to be thirty for around 3 years. Like every typical family, everyone assumes that he would pay the monthly bills (which he would), plan some weekend activity and bring home some candy that he got in his office that day. And not surprisingly, he asks everyone how their day was and mysteriously disappears into his room at 9:00pm claiming some ‘office’ work.

The mom isn’t much of a ‘mom’ mom. I.e. (s)he doesn’t care about you like our moms do, but he does all the other activities that we have all seen our moms do. He is home all day. Whenever you come home, he is there for you. And, he just cannot resist watching serials on the Television. He follows about 4 to 5 serials and discusses every plot with miraculous clarity. I say miraculous because, any other topic of discussion other than TV series would project him as a seemingly dull person. And since he is home all the time, he is almost always on the phone gossiping, while claiming to do preposterous part-time activities. In addition, like so many homes, in spite of everything being spick and span, ‘mom’ keeps cleaning stuff ( and also folds clothes, arranges used plastic bags, irons clothes, sweeps the floor etc) all the time. But unfortunately, he is like a House Fly (and a house wife), because even though he cleans himself and his surroundings, somehow everything around him is haphazard and dirty.

The spoilt elder son is a very interesting character. He is the tallest in the ‘family’ (like most first borns) but cowers when he stands in front of ‘dad’. But ‘dad’ has a special corner for his eldest son and believes that he would make it big in this nasty world. I should mention that he is about 22 years old, but by heart he is yet to get out of high-school. Like a classic teenager, he has amazing mood swings and plays loud Hip-hop music (‘mom’ hates it when he plays loud music and laments loudly to his ‘husband’). One second he is making jokes and laughing and the next second he becomes the broody type. He thinks that no one gives him importance and often complains about his life. And yes… his sense of humor. His type of humor revolves only around anatomical parts. Any mention of the lower abdomen, the ‘bottom’ or ‘people who make owl like sounds’ evokes instant laughter and gets classified as a ‘Wery Funny Jhoke yaar’.

The youngest son dotes on his elder brother. He thinks his brother is coolest guy around and he does almost anything his brother tells him to do. He is not very out-spoken and mentioning the words ‘girl friend’ guarantees instant blushing. And like younger sons, his true character isn’t revealed that much, because he is always shadowed by his ‘family’ members.

There are often by-the-book scenarios that take place. For instance, the dad often complains to mom that he spends too much, while mom claims that he buys only stuff needed for home. The elder son randomly talks about business and marketing, while a beaming dad listens to him with genuine pride. The mom keeps asking her youngest son if everything’s alright and keeps handing over food which he receives without a word of protest. (“You are so thin! Eat some of this. You will become nice and healthy”)

But this family is going to break soon. Dad is planning to marry his long time girl friend in Mumbai and would soon abandon this house which he got from mom. I hate to see moms cry and it sure would be heart breaking to witness the day when dad leaves the family.

If you are wondering what role I play in this apartment, then here it is. I play the irritating guest who has no intention of leaving the house in the near future. I grab stuff from the fridge, empty milk cartons, come home during unearthly hours, make loud noises, crack bad jokes, write blog posts about the family with whom he is living and… well, you know how irritating guests are.

Disclaimer: If you are my roomie and you are reading this, make sure you fill up the fridge, ‘cos we are running short of milk, tomatoes, onions, bananas, dhal and roti.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

A girl, a sorry, a threat and a metrosexual

I received my first real threat over a girl recently. We will come back to the core matter later, but what I did realize was I was ‘sightable’ material. This was confirmed by an ABCD girl living in my building who apparently nurtured a soft corner for me! Naturally after hearing that piece of news, I was a flattered. Smitten by this, my head got swollen to incredible levels and I was floating around, with my swollen head aiding my locomotion. But like the old saying, all good things must come to an end, my new locomotion aid was popped rather abruptly by the same female who saw my photos (online) and stated that I was nothing like how I looked in real life and I was branded ‘non-sightable’. With a smaller head and a broken ego, I called upon the greatest philosopher of modern times (Me) to unscramble this rather dark mystery.

Many people I know have often stated that they don’t have a photogenic face. People, otherwise quite lookable have refused to stand in front of the lens, claiming a non-photogenic face. So, what does the camera do to them? The obvious conclusion is that the camera has its own evil brain and makes sure that certain people it hates appear appallingly ugly in print. Cases of broken cameras caused by the non-photogenic segment of the society who had wanted to flush out the evil brain by inflicting physical pain to the camera have been reported recently. But what they don’t realize is that cameras can communicate with other cameras in a language unknown to man. (This is why non-photogenic people look ugly in all pictures!). Resorting to physical torture obviously won’t work. So, start showering love to your camera and start taking pictures without you in the picture. Some day, some time, the camera might start liking you.

Coming back to the threat issue. A friend of mine threatened me not to see or talk to this ABCD female ever again, because he was trying his luck on her. A little background about this ‘friend’. He is about seven years elder to me, which almost qualifies for a generation gap. He has a concentrated version of Gujju blood flowing through his veins and the twist to all this is, is that he thinks he is American. He is convinced that he is part of the executive class Caucasian American and is also pretty sure he has a debonair American accent. (But only those who have listened to him talk know that he sounds like Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (from the Simpsons) mixed with Vijayakanth’s English accent). The ‘S’s are pronounced with a ‘Sh’ and the ‘R’s are pronounced with a ‘Zh’. For e.g, Seize is pronounced as “Sheesh” and America is pronounced as “AmerZhikka”. Books on American lifestyle are mugged up religiously, prompting him to behave like he is Metrosexual, which in reality looks very homosexual. The adjectives ‘cute’ and ‘sweet’ are used in almost every sentence and the movie Titanic is very violent. That’s pretty much him in a nut shell and with these characteristics it pretty obvious that he stands no chance against the ‘cute’ ABCD girl.

Ah! We are back to the ABCD female. Honestly speaking she doesn’t encompass the definition of the female sector of ABCDs. A true ABCD female (or ABCDFe) is breathtakingly beautiful. But this particular ABCDFe is good looking but doesn’t make the air thin. Anyway… the first time I met her was in the lobby when she accidentally tripped over me (Waves were crashing normally, birds were still flying and milk when over heated still spilt out. Nothing ever stopped) and said sorry.

Sorry… This made me take a resolution to never name anyone “Sorry”. Imagine a person called Sorry. He would have to introduce himself as “Hi, I am Sorry”, making others wonder what went wrong. Or when as a kid he has collect an award, the teacher responsible for making sure that the right student is sent to the stage to receive the award asks him if he is Sorry. Sorry obviously gets confused as to whether he has to answer “Yes, I am Sorry” or “No, I am not sorry to receive this award”. Leading psychiatrists claim that such situations cause serious mental trauma to people named Sorry. One such patient, a failed Cut-out maker, when questioned was quoted saying “My mom named me Very Sorry and I have been Sorry from that very day. My career came crashing down when a customer asked me to make a cut-out of myself as a sample and I had to cut a Sorry figure”. Top actor and politician Vijayakanth hurt the sentiments of several people named Sorry when in one of his movies he claimed that Sorry (or feeling Sorry) was one word he didn’t like in any language, erupting a nation wide protest against the movie.

As a humble request, don’t name your child Sorry or you will be sorry for the rest of your life.

Anyway, back to the ABCDFe, the threat and the metrosexual. Only time will tell.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Life and Times of Cool Dudes

During my 23 years of existence, I have come across several fellows who try to get attention by claiming to be ‘cool dudes’. Cool dudes (or “Kewl” Dudes) stand out from a crowd mostly because others don’t think they are cool.

Cool dudes are always found in crowds and can easily be identified by their uncanny ability to either push the limits of self control in other people or help them build the psychological stone wall.

Distinct Cool dude characteristics are as follows….

The Atheist

Ever come across a person in their early twenties claiming to be an atheist? If you have, you have just spotted a cool dude. These Cool Dudes are not atheists because they have made an in-depth research on the field of atheism but rather fancy themselves to be atheists because their life sucks in abysmal levels and they throw the blame on God. They just hate God for having given them their mundane life and very similar to kinder garden kids, they just ‘stop talking’ to God.

In a crowd, they incessantly stress the point that they are atheists until someone notices them. And once someone does acknowledge them and question them about their belief, it triggers coherent lines of complete BS. At the end of their Five minutes of recognition, they have made a complete fool of themselves, but inside them they feel a natural high for having talked to someone. And this high is indirectly proportional to the next gathering (i.e. as they foresee another crowd, the high keeps diminishing, until they claim to be atheists to another ‘listener’ in the other crowd).

The Movie Guy

And then there is this Cool Dude who claims to have seen ALL the movies ever released by man kind. Movies are an integral part of conversations. Cool dudes take a complete advantage of this. Whenever someone in the crowd talks about a movie, the Cool Dude raises to the occasion and starts critiquing the movie. 99% of the time, the Cool dude hasn’t even heard of the movie or has just seen the trailer.

People who have genuinely seen the movie get highly irritated, but like a stubborn donkey, Cool dudes just prevent them from talking. Again, like I said previously, when the crowd has dispersed, the Cool Dude feels high for having ‘won’ an intellectual argument without even having seen the movie. But again, the crowd doesn’t feel the same way.

The Singer

During a quiet bus journey or during a relatively silent atmosphere when the mind is numb and relaxed, cacophonous sounds resembling some old Hindi or Tamizh song at a borderline decibel level( which doesn’t qualify as a whisper, but merely passes as a normal hearing volume) wafts through the ear disturbing the peace and serenity of the atmosphere. You turn around and see a person sitting in a supposedly cool pose humming a song with his/her eyes half closed. You have just witnessed a Cool Dude. This is a very sticky situation, ‘cos this Cool Dude doesn’t exactly know you, but WANTS to know you. His/her conversational skills are near zero, but he/she thinks highly of his/her singling abilities. What he/she doesn’t realize is that this is the 21st century real world and not some 1980s movie.

We just have to bear the singing for we are too polite and once we are certainly sure that the cool dude has stopped singing, we just comment on the singing thus posting a huge smile on the face (of cool dude) who is incredibly happy for having grabbed your attention.

The Rajnikanth

I have witnessed just one of these kinds, but I am pretty sure that there are loads roaming hungrily in the land of attention grabbing. I am talking about the one who thinks he is Rajnikanth. They are highly irritating, ‘cos they think they are ‘naturally’ stylish but blatantly copy Rajnikanth. They talk like him, walk like him and laugh like him (I hope ardent Rajnikanth fans get this analogy :P ). They smoke right at your face and try very hard to come up with witty one liners. At the end of the conversation they leave you with a big headache partly due to the Carbon Monoxide and partly due to the their very personality.

The Maverick

There are these Cool dudes who follow reverse psychology. When the crowd paints them with attention, they remain aloof and refuse to participate. They want to play the role of the maverick who feels these crowd activities in the bigger picture are worthless and insignificant. Inside them they are craving for someone in the crowd to continue their persistence and make them participate. Surprisingly, some might actually make the Cool Dude participate. Internally the beast controlling the Cool Dude becomes euphoric, but Cool dude HAVE to maintain his maverick status, so he remains aloof.

After the crowd disperses, this Cool Dude actually feels a bit stupid for not having made use of all that ample attention. But what to do…. Cuch is Cool Dude.

On the whole Cool Dudes are very pathetic creatures and prey on attention. Philanthropists out there usually pity these creatures and feed them with ample attention. But be aware that Cool Dudes don’t want friends, so don’t expect anything in return.

WARNING: Please do not confuse Baais and Cool Dudes! Baais know that they are acting like Cool Dudes and keep their Cool Dude activities among their own circle. Real Cool Dudes are usually loners and have no idea that they are being Cool Dudes. They unleash their Cool Dude-ness only when they are among a crowd that barely respects them.