2016

318a2855d6c708721181899244b82778Whoa, 2016 is ending in just two weeks, and it has given us 2016 reasons to be happy that it’s ending. In retrospect, it was a great year, except if you are black, Muslim, transgender, woman, middle class, lower class, animal or a person in the mannequin challenge. While for some the year ended in a jiffy, but for me, it was one long eventful year, with lots of happenings the world would have been better off without.

Obviously, I am talking about Brangelina break-up.

No, but seriously. BREXIT, followed by Donald Trump being elected as the president of the United States of America definitely top the charts, and will go down in history books sooner than we think. The following few years seem like a legit repenting to these two events.

And how will our very own Modiji lose this race, or any race! Demonitization or demon-ization or who-is-the-demon-realization has made the nation doubt the choice of their leader. Well, a step that looked far more promising as an idea has turned into a complete turmoil, and added to the experience that 2016 anyway was.

Terror attacks have been on an all-time rise. Libya, Turkey, Syria, Bangladesh, France, Pakistan, United States, Belgium, you name the country, and it has been in the news for terrorism. Pathankot to surgical strikes, the India-Pakistan relations back home also haven’t shown any progress. Well, the world that was said to end in 2012, 2016 seemed to have taken charge of it.

In the middle of all these “anti-national” news, our government took a very important step of instilling patriotism in the minds of the people – to play the national anthem before every movie screening. The only thing more patriotic than soldiers standing on the border, people standing in the movie theatre, and Aam Aadmi standing in a never-ending line outside the ATM, is that no-one is taking a stand on anything. *slow claps*

Talking about taking a stand, everyone at Bigg Boss is doing a great job. No, I don’t watch the show, but how is the 10th season going to be any different? 2016 marks 10 years of us allowing the show to run on TV – or the same number as the IQ of the Indian TV audience.

But who needs a Bigg Boss when our Lok Sabha TV is so much more entertaining. Fun fact: This winter session, the parliament was in session for only 19 hours of the allocated 21 days. #adjourned

It did prove a powerful year for the Indian women though. From PV Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik in the Olympics to Shobha De for her opinion about the Olympics, from Sushma Swaraj being as the only one who is digitalized in India to Priyanka Chopra rocking at Hollywood, from all the bahus on TV to Simar having more power than everyone put together in Game of Thrones, we have arrived!

Too hot, too little water, too much rainfall, too many silly internet challenges, too much noise at 9, too less governance, this year was just too much to handle. But hope is the only proverbial light amid the darkness.

Winterlust

d6cb812a2bd19a2f4a9107df033404e9.jpgIt is that point in the year when “Just chill” is not a metaphor for relaxing your mind or a shady Salman Khan Song, but you are literally chilling. Ok, maybe this is a very bad one, but what the heck, I am freezing out here! After all, it’s that time of the year when the weather is colder than the Time’s person of the year. Erm..

Well, for people who call themselves true blue ‘Bambaiya’, let me define winter for you. Winter is this season when it feels like smog, but doesn’t kill like one. It’s that climate when you guys ask – Is 6 layers enough or should I change my body settings to “activate coal stove”?

Winter is like my most favourite time of the year! I mean what’s not to like about it! To begin with – It’s not hot. I rest my case.

Anything and everything that comes with it otherwise, is all bonus. Like the morning sunrise! Sunrise is anyway beautiful, but winter sunrise – Oh my! First things first – it happens decently late. So you don’t have to wake up five minutes after you have slept to see it. And when you are shivering in the morning cold, in midst of fog-striken environment, there it come up as rays of warmth – it the most beautiful feeling. That brings me to the second-most wonderful thing about his weather – Sleep! Long, long, long nights. What else does one want?

Actually, I am not going to treat that as a rhetoric question. One, or at least I also want food! And winter is practically equal to yummy, lip-smacking food! From hot chocolates, to barbeques, to peas and carrots, pies and cheese, gajak and ghevar, this is the best season to eat. The list can go on, though for someone who knows me will know I do not need a temperature update to make a list of food I love, but so what – winter it is this time! Ironically, weight-loss tips and tricks call this weather great for losing weight as well. Though, my one tip to you would be to not get tricked! I mean what’s the point of avoiding that hot jalebi on a beautiful cold morning – are you nuts?

It’s also so festive! I mean so what if all our share of festivals are done for the year – after all, Vasudev Kutumbakam. Christmas it is. Who wouldn’t want to be secular, if that only means it is yet another occasion to receive gifts, and eat Plum cake. Hell ya, I am secular. And a kid. And accept presents – you know, in case someone is in mood for spreading some love.

Well, as a girl who also has a commitment to write a few hundred words more, I also love winter for the clothes! Oh my God, don’t you girls think winter-wear is gorgeous!  Sorry, dear feminazi, aimed the question specifically at girls because we all know guys would prefer summer in that respect. D’uh!

PS – When you snuggle with hot chocolate, dunk some marshmallows into them. Thank me later. #ProTip

Dear Zindagi,

Why do you do this?

Now, every girl with a recent heartbreak, is on streets looking for her own Shah Rukh Khan. Do you know, you have spoilt psychologists for us, like forever? Humph.

Gauri Shinde is a lyrical story-teller. For someone who could make such a local concept so universal in English Vinglish, something went amiss while making a fairly universal concept local with this movie.

I think ‘Dear Zindagi’ was a nice, feel-good, 2-hour pep-talk, but rather too naive for the subject. Having said that, I am not even sure if the audience is ready for a movie minus Katrina’s thumkas and Honey Singh’s..umm..words. It is probably not made for an out-and-out box office success, because a lot people struggling with getting their payday from the banks are a little too busy sorting their life-struggles out ( or “real” struggles as they are called) to wonder about their emotional sickness. But, at least the conversation has started – someone is finally talking about emotional well-being, and it is out there in the open for discussion. This movie is about everything that you have said in your mind, but never aloud.

It happened to remind me of a word that was doing the rounds a few months back – Urban Poor. It was a concept that only these “urban poor” understood, and for me, was a slightly romanticized notion for a situation that millennials had put themselves in. Theoretically, I always understood this concept, but I could never accept the dumbness of it all. Just by giving a label to something quite silly, doesn’t make it valid, you know!

Well this movie for me was like “urban poor well-being” – I am not saying that the struggle is not real. All I am saying is with what was shown on screen, theoretically one could understand Alia’s pain, but it failed at making me live it with her, and hence the very reason for therapy is somewhat shaken.

dear-life-not-a-challenge-wititudesHaving said that, I encourage everyone to see the movie – especially, people in tier II and tier III cities, where ‘modernism in thought’ is yet setting in. It is a great ice-breaker and conversation-starter between young adults and their parents about older taboos, et al. – which is pretty important. While it took some time for my mum to wrap her head around Alia’s choice of life, she was reasonably happy with Shah Rukh’s role of Krishna-right-out-of-Geeta-kinds.

Well, like SRK puts it in the movie – Genius is the one who knows when to stop. In my case, it’s at 500 words. So ya. Bye.

Genius, I say.

Peace Out, Bro.

Do you remember the time when as kids we would shut our ears, stick our tongue out and make weird sounds to signal that we have stopped listening to the other side, when in an argument? Well, blocking people on social media is exactly just that.

I remember the era when internet would take ages to connect with that peculiar voosh-voosh sound, and if and when it did, by the time it would even manage to open my email – which obviously had nothing urgent or important or mail – my time was up. Then with Orkut, it just sort of replaced our slam books and scrap books. With the overwhelming information that Google had to offer, it soon was sought out as more of an educational tool than a recreational one.

Internet had expanded our chance of having discussions, making informed opinions/decisions, but it also has given us the liberty of shutting the screen, switching off/or between tabs, and blocking anything or everything that challenges our views.

Internet was also a potential prospect of meeting with like-minded people. No, I am not talking about Tinder, d’uh! But, we become aware of other people who also are blocking the same things/views/people as us, and suddenly that gives a great power to our thought, ingrains it into us more than ever, and we block other views with renewed zest and enthusiasm. This is sort of leading to a “cult” culture over every opinion that we have.

putting-your-opinion-out-on-the-internet-is-frowned-upon-meme

So today it is very difficult to just say anything you feel like about any issue. Because the moment you open your mouth, you are either a bhakt, or an AAPtard, or just downright stupid. Either you are a feminist or a chauvinist. You become a libtard, right-winger, anti-national, intolerant or Pakistani even before you completely keep your point.  If you are against Trump, you are pro-Hillary. If you are against Hillary, you are pro-Trump. You are racist, body-shammer, islamophobic, or ….and if you aren’t one of these my-way-or-the-highway kind of peeps, then you are just ay!

This is now not only the story of the internet, but also in the outside-social-media life. The recent elections in America or Brexit has proved that we all are living a (judgmental) bubble of our own. But we forget that a bubble doesn’t even need something as sharp as a needle to burst, you know! And well, it has.

This change has been quite drastic, and rather too rapid for my liking. Of course, “change” has various connotations today, and I am not talking about the new prevalent – Do you have a change for 1000? – Kind of change. But, change must be such that it does not eliminate people or their ideas. Because this majoritarian attitude will only reduce our way of life to an idiot mechanism. As Shiv Visvanathan puts it – The change we need is a change in the idea of change itself.

Well, I am going to begin with not thinking that Indians who celebrated Thanksgiving have less IQ than the stuffed turkey on the table. Peace.

Call It A Day

There are people who wish to call it a day even before the day breaks. And then there a few people who strive to call anything and everything about our existence a day. We are aware of the number of bizarre International Days that we all celebrate. Most commonly celebrated are the days for different relations. If India had it its way, we would have had to celebrate some relation every day and all of 365 days of the year would still fall short of accommodating all the duur-ke-hai-par-apne-bahut-kareeb-hai rishteys. I was just going through the UN’s list of such days, and I have realized that we have a day for everything that we would rather not celebrate in life. Like Cancer Awareness Day, World Tuberculosis Day, Refugee Day (yes, we have a day for people who do not have a country), Sparrow Day, etc. We probably need to figure out how and why Fathers’, Mothers’, Daughters’, Sons’ Day made it to the list. But erm..

So today is World Toilet Day, or as I like to call it To-Let (out) Day.

On this auspicious day, I would like to put end to one discussion once and for all – Wash It, Not Wipe It! Let’s face it guys, beneath every excited scream – “Yaay, I am going for a Euro Trip!” there is a – “Oh hell, toilet paper again!” Why west, why?

Let’s try and imagine what must have happened. There was an early human, fascinated and astonished at something stinky coming out from his body, while looking at a beautiful sunset view across the lake! And then thinking – Shit, this feels dirty! He looks at all the water and wonders, “I used it for cleaning the house, having a bath, washing, rinsing. Oh my God, that’s too much for something so fluid. How can I use it to wash my poop?” Amidst all this worrisome thinking, he sees a tree, and goes like – Idea! And he cuts the tree, slices it, makes paper, and rolls them, and pats his back while patting dry his…IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

Well, anyway. I am getting so carried away, as if I am going to Europe tomorrow! Meh. Let me come to the reason why we need this day. To put things in perspective, there is about one-third of the world’s population that doesn’t have to choose between water and paper, because they do not have a toilet!

Fun Fact: There are more number of mobile phones in the world than there are toilets.

Untitled.pngActually, people are building toilets these days. In my two years of experience in this field, let me take you through the easiest and quickest way to construct a toilet:

Step 1: Find an images of slums and villages, and play them on slides with sad music.

Step 2: Also attach photographs of toilets in disuse, toilets filled up with garbage, field sized areas of sewage and stagnant water, which accompany explanations of why we need to reinvent the toilet.

Step 3: Then add images of women in India walking into fields to relieve themselves with captions about their vulnerability and statistics of their likelihood of being assaulted.

Step 4: FIND pictures of happy people standing in front of their shiny, newly constructed toilets.

Step 5: Add a quote by Bill Gates or Gandhi for the effect.

Easy-peasy, bro!

PS: The world has a shit of a problem. Butt, don’t call it a day yet.

Note Vote Hai Rabba

Amidst the smog-bound Delhi, and poll-bound America, Modi played a trump card that for sure has given a smog-like experience to all, even if not in Delhi – and don’t even ask me about the visibility status in Delhi. Forget visibility status, it has even fogged out the “status” in Delhi from Tu-jaanta-nahi-mera-baap-kaun-hai to Bhaisaab-ek-khoke-ka-chutta-milega. You can judge that from the very beloved and honest CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet – “BJP will lynch everyone who speaks against their wrong doings.” – As a response to the fate of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes. The smog, for one, has definitely blurred Arvind Kejriwal’s vision. When the centre has taken a strong step in the direction of the only thing on their party’s mandate, Arvind Kejriwal is as if running to his mom and saying with welled up eyes – “But he cheaaaaated! That was my thing!!” I am not saying Arvind Kejriwal is dishonest, but every time he fights corruption, Mamata Banerjee’s nose grows an inch.

untitledWith a plethora of memes and messages on social media, the past couple of days have felt like a self-declared holiday! To me, it felt like a mass India’s Got Talent with the number of “hidden” jewels I didn’t even know existed around me. I mean kudos to all the people supporting the India-Against-Corruption movement against themselves! The great thing out of this whole fiasco, I mean of course other than the obvious ones, is that when padoswali Gupta Aunty tells you – “I know how much you had last night”, you can reply with a “So do I!” *wink*

On this note let’s observe one minute silence for all the aunties with huge kitty piggy banks in a constant state of poverty for their husbands. While we are at it, let’s also give a big shout-out to all teenagers, who are hooting for Modi. What do these innocent jackasses, living in their snapchat bubble, know about their fathers sweating over a bag full of money-turned-paper in the next room?  I won’t blame these children actually. I mean if an entire country could live in so much of a social media bubble that their president elect bewilders and shocks them all at the same time, then these tiny pouting creatures still haven’t grown brain-cells.

To my brain, the American election still feels like some kind of a social experiment – and it is just not gotten over! I mean I am still waiting for Cyrus Broacha to pop out from somewhere and say – Bakra!

Because this election has proved that no matter who is on top, the pervert parade is still larger in numbers, if not in IQ points. But I don’t blame the Americans. It’s like you are on a mission to lose weight – and you have to choose between not having fried food and not having sweets. I mean both are harmful, and have different ways of messing your goal up. The bottom line on choosing any one is – you are still heavy and now even a moron!

Well, anyway. I know that post the announcement by our PM, life is a struggle for quite a lot of us, but it is a short-term discomfort for a greater good in a long run. Just like not having that sweet AND that deep-fried potato!

Trump(et) Vs. (Clin)tons Of Email

branco-trump-and-hillaryI have no idea why the never-ending America’s election is so big even here in India. Or is it because I am watching too many late night shows from America. Hey hey hey! Hold your horses’ guys. The late night shows there are more about making jokes, and not a joke itself! So anyway everyone is talking about the big day this week when America elects the first female president, or the first person, as Deepak Chopra puts it, whose consciousness is stuck in his first Chakra. (I suggest- go find out where it is located).

The possibility of a Donald Trump presidency is now listed as one of the ten top global “risks” by The Economist, somewhere between a Chinese economic meltdown and an oil price shock, and right next to the rising threat of terrorism. How can you not judge an entire nation when you read something like this? Firstly, how does one manage to be a global “risk” when your name is Donald. I mean don’t ruin my childhood for me, you!

The problem with most Americans is that they don’t love any of the two choices. How do you choose between someone who is under Federal Investigation for using a private email server and someone who has proposed about banning a religion, said women should be punished for having abortions, called immigrants rapists, lost a billion dollars in one year, had a fake foundation, was accused of committing sexual assault, caused violence in his rallies, bragged about not paying income tax, and not to mention about the “locker room” talks. I mean how should one choose when evidently none seems worse? I agree with you America, it is rather difficult!

The guy who seemed to have been the only one blowing his own trumpet about a year and half back seems like a legit winner today! Who would have thought? Imagine Donald Trump as the president though! I can totally see him do all diplomatic communication via his Twitter account- @CEOUSA. And just like his companies, he may invest big. If it works, its big returns as well. But if it doesn’t, then it’s going to be a completely different story.

The more I think about both the campaigns – Trump in the US of A and Modi here in India, I can draw a lot of parallels between them. If Trump comes in power, for one thing, they’d have a lot in common — both would be conservative, both suspicious of Muslims, both elected to power promising to work a miracle cure on unemployment and the economy, both banking on their leader’s charisma and fondness for showmanship and rhetoric to sell the seductive idea of “making America great again” or ushering in “achche din”. He even went ahead and used those golden words – Abki Baar Trump Sarkaar. Whoa, did we just elect a Trump back home, and are laughing at them? DID I VOTE FOR THE INDIAN DONALD TRUMP?! *faints*