Santa Claus(e)

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So what did you get for Christmas?

I think the whole charm of Christmas in India is about the thought of getting something for free! Christmas is synonymous to Santa Claus here.
Though Santa may take a while to locate your residence in the increasing pollution in our city, but you know, he will figure out. Anyway, he isn’t used to the heat in our country, but such dedication! Always manages to put a few candies in that old stretched stocking on your bed! Aww our parents! First they spoil us and then complain we aren’t prepared for life! Such cuteness.

But in this festive season, we see them everywhere – probably more here in India than the west! Walking on streets, at Christmas parties, hotels, malls – they are at all places where people can afford a Santa Claus! Some of them could look like they could do well with some goodies themselves, but nevertheless, putting smile on faces of little brats.

It is a mass gift exchange season, with secret Santa played in every office- the epitome of which was a social media secret Santa, which essentially thrived on the idea of you gifting something to one person, and receiving 36 in return! Whoa, that is some enthusiasm in receiving gifts!

Some people do not believe in a Santa Claus, but believe in being a Santa Claus! There are people who go to orphanages, or school for disabled and spend time with them. While some others donate blood. Everyone finds their way of expression, their own way of being a Santa for someone else.

But even that essentially is a part of feeling great about oneself, if you know what I mean. Its great people are doing all sorts of things for others, but has no meaning if they expect a return favour some other day! Selflessness has just become another word in the dictionary, which is more fiction than fact.

Having said this, I have some experience in the rural sector, and know that getting something for free has done more harm than good! People get so used to receiving something, that they stop working, and wait for things to come to them! This, in the long run, is quite damaging to our society, and is not how a healthy society works! We know value of things, only if we earn it, and not if we get it. This year’s hot Christmas proves how since nature is free and abundant we hardly care. Look at what we have done to our climate!

Something that is true beyond all age groups, races, communities, and countries is:

Everyone wants a fantastic job, but no one wants to suffer 60 hours/week.
Everyone wants a happy marriage, but no one wants to sacrifice.
Everyone wants an amazing physique, but no one wants to sweat it out.
Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.

But you know, as the story goes, even Santa gifts the child who has been good all year. No wonder they say,
“Nothing comes easy in life, even Santa comes with a clause.”

It’s A M’ad World

WARNING- Do not try this at home. It’s written under professional supervision. Oops, vision. Oops again, promotion.

'Great ad campaign. Now all we need is a product.'

It knows what makes you shop. It shapes your desires. It invades your dreams. It classifies class. It makes you realise the importance of 30 seconds, while waiting for your video to load. It distracts you on the app. It is everywhere! It is the ad world that makes our world tick. It is a mad-ad world at that. We make this mad world.

Do you ever see a commercial and feel like tearing out your hair? Well, bald men are exempt from answering this question. Unless, you were able to grow all that hair back, all thanks to the 2 a.m. ads. This night binge watching of ads is a trap.

I know a gazillion people who can actually have just one air-filled-air-tight chip. Yes, they stop at the first one! APOCALYPSE! (Well no. They are on a diet, and shouldn’t have essentially eaten that one as well).

I know no one – NO ONE – who because of their super white clothes, or even fair-er skin landed them THE dream job. I mean of course Will Smith and Nelson Mandela aren’t famous. Or loved. We are all just jackasses.

Obviously, one doesn’t see many scantily clad women on the street charging at a man just because he smells nice. Actually, one doesn’t see scantily clad women on the streets, period. And just for the record, most of your faces are stronger repellent. The women in commercials aren’t crazy either. I mean, money talks, honey!

Don’t you think the soap brand took it too far when after Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, they claimed their soap has done wonders to Shah Rukh Khan’s skin as well. SRK! Really now?!

And I, for one, can vouch for how using a certain network is one of the worst “ideas” of my life- though it did give me the idea to write this column. Don’t judge me, now! – I am not from IIN. *cries tears of blood*

The point is how dumb do you think your target-audience is. Well, the companies that pay millions of dollars to professionals for all those fancy surveys don’t always get it that wrong. I mean they must be doing something right if they are willing to spend so much on these bizarre commercials. What this mumbo-jumbo essentially means is these companies consider most of us dumb. Well, you do buy the product? Yes? Then you’re dumb. The truth is out there and it’s bitter.

Having said that, some ads are creative geniuses. From utterly butterly creative ads to pa parara pa rara, I think a few ads go a long way!

All said and done, you like them, you love them, you enjoy them, you detest them, but you cannot avoid them. Just like no one can read this one without the tune:

Washing powder Nirma, washing powder Nirma.

Doodh si safedi nirma se aayi,

Rangeen kapda bhi…..Caught you!

Prem Ratan Dhan Se Payo

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Canvas Laugh Factory bought the Bombay High Court? Sigh.

Once again, there was mockery of justice by Indian judiciary! Unfortunately, that is not surprising at all!

This 13-year long legal odyssey, with its share of twists and turns, has not been any less than a masala Bollywood movie. In the first frame, a crime is committed. And then the protagonist (national heart-throb) finds himself in the courtroom, with his honour at stake! Evidently, he was accused of a heinous crime that he didn’t do! The viewers sit through this entire nail-biting  episode, watching the actor suffer, but giving a tough fight to this nasty judicial system – even served a sentence for the added drama. After all the struggle, the hero fights against all odds, and leads this movie towards a happy ending! Only, in this case, there is no love story. Awww.

In the meanwhile, Abbas-Mustan are busy taking notes, this time determined not copy from another movie, but directly from Bhai’s life. May be they get a better star cast, considering Bhai would want to volunteer for it! 500-crore recovery plan! Wohoo!

But, life isn’t a Bollywood movie where “hero” wins towards the end. Sometimes villains take the cake too. On a day like December 10 when some believe justice has been delivered (for now) to one man, a superstar disdained by legal woes. Others believe justice has been denied because he has not gone to jail. All said and done, it remains about Salman Khan, and Noorullah is forgotten somewhere in this whole star-studded affair!

Watching the brouhaha on television channels and scanning tweets was both an entertainment and a depressing exercise. What was lost in this cacophony of screaming and counter-screaming, with TV anchors clearly playing to the gallery while thundering about the “injustice” done to the aam aadmi, were the legal points. SinceIMG-20151212-WA0000, the little birds tweeting aren’t heard or valued, shouldn’t a well-meaning legal eagle take this route to ensure some form of justice is delivered to the victims?

Over the years, the Salman Khan chronicle has shifted from Being Bad Boy to Being Human. His success and fan following has
multiplied by truckloads. There’s no logic to his success. Just like there is no logic to what his fans say-

“If courts sends people to jail to make them a better persons there is no better or best than Salman. If he did one bad thing then he did 100 other good things too that cannot be ignored. Everybody makes mistakes then why only he is getting haunted by his mistakes even after 13 years. I am feeling so much pain my heart.” Like really? That shit you are smoking is damn good, bro!

However taking inspiration from this successful attempt, Salman has plans of starting “Being Animal”, to get away from the Black Buck case. Oh wait, didn’t the forest authorities of Rajasthan already find a suicide note? My bad.

Well, in short, to quote a friend of mine -“To err is human, to forgive is Indian Judiciary!”

PS – Salman Khan is a very accomplished driver, he took our whole judicial system for a ride. I had to “re-tweet” this one here! #BHAIROXXX

Dear Karma,

148244_20130918_164325_tumblr_mje5i0r02U1rzkceno1_500I don’t need to ask you how you are doing. Witnessing things around me, I know you are having a ball of a time! We need to talk.

We are in December 2015! Yes, the year is ending already. You were more rotten this year than the stinky cheese that’s forgotten in my fridge! Why is everyone else’s life perfect! At least, Facebook says so. From getting the flawless candid profile picture in 2347th take, with a scenic background (of course, of another country) to eating that picture-perfect blueberry cheesecake, everyone seems to have everything. While I am stuck here gulping my own version of cheesecake: low-end-cheese-slice-sandwiched-between-brownies. True story.

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Unfortunately, the cheese slice between brownies is true. Sigh.

Well, this is what Karma has come down to. Karma is one of the more popular words used today, and more so for vengeance! People mostly use it in terms of cosmic payback! On any other day I don’t believe in God, or supernatural power or anything like that, but if you mistreat me, universe will pay you back! Wow.

Instant money, instant noodles, instant information has spoilt us, and has made us impatient. Hence, we want everything instantly! If you give someone five sweaters this winter, by general logic, you must also get five sweaters back! Do you see the flaw in this? It rather is if you help someone in “their” need, you will receive help in “your” need. And these two needs can be completely different. Having said that, if you help someone with the intention of increasing your Karmic account, you have lost the trail!

A very common way of giving solace to a person in anger or any other extreme emotion is- Karma will do its work. But Karma IS work! Karma means action.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

This view of karma makes a lot of sense to me. It isn’t about payback, or evening scores. Rather it sings out of the mystery of interconnectedness, about choices, and consequences in a way that seems true.

Each thought, each action, is something like a brick in the edifice that we think of as ourselves. And out of each thought and actions something is built. And a lot of it by our own hand. But, it doesn’t lead to fortune or poverty. It is more fundamental.

Action. Habit. Character. Destiny.

So, if I do something, whatever that something is, it is unlikely it will lead to a simple reaction or response. The universe is too big, and too many things are going on at the same time. Very few things, particularly in our human lives, can be traced to a single action. So, that thought, that action, to shift the metaphor, is a thread we add to the weaving of our lives.

By itself, not so much. But then add another thread, and then another, each woven into the great fabric, it begins to matter a lot. Perhaps even for everything.

Rather more important, I think, than dreams of just deserts.