Game Of Thrown

What a week!! – I still don’t know if I mean this shockingly, or surprisingly. But that, only time will tell, I guess.

For our local, and global politics, this week may have been a great economic and political roller-coaster ride, but for me it was quite a learning experience. Major three things that I learned this week are:

  • Academic credentials and knowledge have very less, or rather no place while selecting/electing people for important positions in our country. (Throw away your books, kids). This current party in power things that all that we need to know to run a country is there in our Vedas and Shastras. Which is true if you want the society to regress, as against the popular belief that we must progress.

Just for their pea-brain to comprehend what their actions will result to, all I want to say is- You have successfully managed to throw out Ram from Raghu clan. Go figure. (Ok, was that comment evident as being sarcastic, or should I judge you guys for judging me?)

  • Europe has its own issues. What? You mean it isn’t that perfect destination where Yash Chopra’s heroines survive snow in chiffon sarees? Please don’t take that away from us. Anyway, this Britain exiting may affect them, but for us nothing changes. Film-makers will still shoot at Ramoji film city and keep our idea of Europe intact! Perfect. Beautiful. Romantic. Expensive.

Brexit-EU-referendum-Cameron-cartoonYou know, patriotism seems to be the last resort to settle any kind of debate, and to win any kind of election. Whether it is our own Marathi Manus craze, the “Hindutva” political party rule in India, or Britain exiting European Union. A popular belief is- If it can happen and has happened, it will happen in November as well. With that America loses all its hope around Trexit, and the trend targets towards Trenter. God save America!

  • Shirish Kunder is getting a lot of appreciation for his short film on YouTube. For God’s sake, he is the mastermind behind epic films like Tees Maar Khan, and Joker. Well my faith in creative film-making, or my choice of films was restored when it was revealed that this short film was an out-and-out copy of a Nepalese movie. Classy, I say.

Meanwhile, India is just blown away that we could vote British out. A country that ruled over more than half the globe has tasted “independence” now! Irony just died a thousand deaths. What this holds for them, whether it is an opportunity of a lifetime, or are we going to be witness to systemic destruction of Europe- only time will tell. More pressing issue at hand is how awkward is it going to be at Euro Cup now?

I know a bunch of people who have no clue what this Brexit is about, all I want to say is – Don’t worry. This buzz is not for the spoilers of Game of Thrones- though this may seem like a game of throne. No-one’s dying. Or are they?

For the rest of us, let not Britain’s black Friday hamper our weekend plans- It’s the sale season!

A Very Stretched Piece On Yoga

Before we begin- take a deep breath in, and slowly breathe out!

This was just to get you in the zone.

This week the world is going to celebrate its second International Yoga Day. I am assuming you are reading this in Malasana (The Squat Pose) – on your yoga mat, and not on the pot. As we all know, yoga is an ancient practice that we love, from the moment we came to know that the west endorses it.

Yoga is a stretchable, bendable, flexible, malleable form of exercise, originated in India. Ask me. I am an expert on yoga. I survived the intensive training sessions for all of 4 days!!

Yoga teaches you to put your leg where your head is supposed to be, and vice versa. Unlike all other forms of exercises where leg is exactly where it’s supposed to be, and head is exactly where it is supposed to be – in a protein shake! It teaches us to learn to ask- Why does anything has to be the thing you expect it to be?

Let me explain. When a builder promises to deliver a residential building in 3 years – based on which you start paying EMI- why does it have to be three years? Why not seven? Why finish it at all?

Ahem, moving on!

Well, I sincerely feel that yoga isn’t that appealing because it is not endorsed well. Baba Ramdev, for instance, is cool only if you have been alive for more than 60 years now, or Shilpa Shetty is cool only for Raj Kundra. And from the looks of it- and I am saying this in the nicest possible way- that Yoga may seem a tad-bit boring! Just a little bit. Also the fact that if you are not into yoga, your exercise regime is probably jumping to the tunes of “DJ wale babu mera gaana chala do”.All of this put together doesn’t make yoga so palpable.

Until of course we stumble upon a video of a white girl performing “Sun Salutations” in her gym clothes. Oh, yoga just turned into the coolest thing ever!

But it comes naturally to us, here in India. And it definitely reflects on the rest of our day- in our business and otherwise. Bending the rules, stretching our limits, flexible timings- are our natural traits, just to name some.

A few of my favourite new-age asanas, which I religiously perform all day, are:Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 7.58.32 PM

Taptapasana (The Tapping Pose) – Where I use my fingers to melodiously play on the keyboard- for specific purposes like trolling, and attacking Bhai-haters. Because, #BhaiRoxx.

Shoutasana (The Shouting Pose) – Wherein, the bigger the mistake, the louder my voice – to put the blame on anyone who isn’t good at this particular pose. It’s a part of my couples Yoga class!

Shirksasana (The Ostrich Pose) – Wherein you lay in mud all day on one leg, with so much free time that you write useless articles like this.

Well, before you drift off into Shavasana (The Awesome-most Pose), take a deep breathe in and do yoga for non-political reasons, and not just because your government said so!

Lights, Camera..Cut!

Warning: This column is not yet rated.

A scientific study has proved that about 90% of India’s economy is dependent on important people giving stupid statements! (The rest is powered by subah ki ek cup chai). Only this can explain why day-by-day our newspaper headlines are about politicians turning into pre-primary school teachers, and treating everyone in the country like toddlers. By proposing 80-90 cuts in the movie Udta******, the censor board not only showed the film-makers their place (i.e. 18th century), but also revealed how the certification board is merely a political puppet.

A lot of the concern comes from how films might affect kids. This argument is as tiresome now as it was when I first heard it- as a kid. It is like taking a kid to a pub, and fighting for Junior’s joy box. I’m sorry, but you cannot enforce public policy based on the opinion of your child. What are you – the Congress party?

In this particular movie, the controversy is around showing Punjab in a bad light. I mean, come on! We belong to a country where our favourite pass-time is to make babies, and kill the female ones. A team of 4-5 Aloknath-bred so-called moralists don’t have the right to moral police the entire country- on screen. Because off-screen, we could really do with some censoring of our actions, our mentality, our collective conscience.

The controversy over cuts made in the film Udta Punjab reveals a deeper dilemma about the role of a film certification board in a modern democracy. Does the Board stand as the self-appointed guardian of community and religious sentiments, which are to be interpreted as it likes? CBFC stands for Central Board of Film Certification, yet it is known as the censor board in popular parlance.

censorshipNobody gives you the right to interfere with somebody else’s right to freedom of expression. Five people cannot decide what millions and billions of people should or should not watch. The whole censor board itself is a farce in a democracy. And I think, we’re the ones to blame for this. Of course, when I say ‘we’, I don’t mean myself. I’m talking about people with stupid sentiments.

British essayist George Orwell rightly said that “threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen”.

Also, it is perfectly okay to not like a movie. You don’t have to like everything you buy a ticket to, be it a movie, a play, a comedy show or the midget bowling alley. You have the right to come out and tell people what you thought of it. What’s worrying is when you use your personal opinion to stop others from forming their own. Seriously, go away. You’re not a….

…[The censor board did not let me finish my article]

 

PS: Just in. Kudos to Advocate Dharmadhikari (what an apt name) for saving us from taking baby-steps to becoming North Korea. He said – “We want creative people to survive, and an industry to survive. You have to show the reality!”

Comedy Mein Tragedy

The funniest thing that happened last week was that a certain Tanmay became a Bhat of all jokes! Alright, I know it is passé, but what is anybody going to do about it? Send some goons to chop my legs of? Doesn’t that sound bizarre? So it was when a certain righteous party threatened to act in a not-so-righteous way!

Fun fact: The title track of AIB in their videos is – Tragedy mein comedy. But who thought that comedy could end up being so tragic! Oh, not for Tanmay! I am talking about India. Tragic for India. I just realized it this week that the cumulative IQ of our country is far less than what I had imagined!  You know something is really amiss when a country wants to put a comedian behind the bars for an unfunny joke; and nobody cares or dares to talk about a terrorist’s call to a politician!

Cartoon-on-freedom-of-expressionYes the joke wasn’t funny. Yes it was crass. But so is IPL to cricket. Is anyone complaining? People who like it, watch it. People who don’t, switch the channel to watch Sooryavansham. So if you don’t like the video, don’t watch it. Simple. If you can make fun of one person on this planet, you can make fun of anybody! There are so many jokes on Raj Thackerey. I am surprised how he was not offended by them! Oh, maybe they were true! And exactly why this is not true. It’s a stupid joke!

Jokes apart, why do we take ourselves so seriously? Why are we always so offended?

I think our insecurity lies elsewhere. Identities have become our only anchors in a wild river of change. Actually, our social identity to be precise. Whether we are an AAptard, Gandhian, overweight, gay, Bihari, Salman-fan, engineer, Modi follower, or God forbid, Donald Trump – anything – but it cannot be a laughing matter for anyone else! And beyond that identity, please don’t ask who we are. Because, nobody knows!

However, we are offended by everything we are not. You can’t eat the food you like but I don’t, can’t read books that I don’t understand but intensely hate, and lately, can’t joke about Sachin Tendulkar or Lata mangeshkar, because I am a Marathi Manus, and so are they! Well, till now I believed you could only not construct fly-overs near their residence. But apparently, you can’t even joke about them! Touché.

But you know what, we are not offended by a child-marriage story being telecasted at prime time! We are not offended when lots of sexist and misogynist jokes become viral on WhatsApp. We are not offended when the government is drowning all its citizens in a cess-pool, when all they should being doing is create more cesspools! We are not offended when political parties don’t get so worked up about communalism or rape, as they do about a stupid joke on a stupid app that no one even knows about. Bravo.

The joke is on us.

A writer’s block

There are times when I know exactly what I want to write about, and then there are times when nothing appeals to me, there are just no new ideas, and an entire week goes by without me even deciding what I am going to write about. What works best in this situation is the last minute panic, and when you don’t know what you must write about, the best thing to do is to write about exactly that!

The only thing to note in this whole confusing paragraph is that I have blatantly called myself a writer. Oh yeah!

So, let’s explore how to unblock this block, and what things may help one do that:

  • Spend a morning at a coffee shop:

Well, that’s the solution to every problem we face. From not being able to concentrate on studying to not being able to get that girl. After all, as the famous café claims- A lot can happen over coffee. NOT. In reality, nothing happens over coffee. Four hours later, you still have no new ideas, and you are broke from paying a bomb for not-so-good coffee.

  • Carry a notebook:

Right from Kinder Garten to Undergrad College, this is by far the most popular advice given by teachers to students – beyond all courses and regions. Note down your idea as soon as it strikes. If you have never worn a pair of skinny jeans, you know what I am talking about. We barely manage to fit our thighs in there, let alone a small notebook and pen! Even if one does, it is highly optimistic of us to believe that they will get “ideas” in such uncomfortable situations! Phew.

Well, I can hear my sister screaming – TMI bro, TMI!

  • Break your routine:

One syndrome that our generation is facing right now is leave-your-job-to-travel-the-world kind of bucket lists. That’s one stop solution to this monotonous life, and one of the most romanticized answers for this daily humdrum. Well, if you know me, I need a break from all the breaks I keep taking all the time…umm, I hope you have not taken this very seriously, papa?

  •  Watch people:

Ride the bus. Take the train. Watch people in their natural habitat. Watch them run, watch them eat, watch them at a busy street, watch them at a mall, at a concert. Observing people, their actions, and their outlook is one of the most effective ways for self-growth. While you are making your way into the crowded trains smelling various degrees of sweat, don’t forget to get inspired and learn!

  • Do something creative.

Create. Create anything. Draw, paint, sing, dance, bake, play with clay dough, teach, inspire, do some community service, create knowledge for the poor, electrify shelters. Just about anything that interest you, and helps someone else.

“Are you telling me that one the ways to counter me not being able to create an article is to create something else? Are you even listening to yourself?” Sigh. Trust you to kill my glamourized sentiment.

Well, until next time, you will find me at the closest coffee-shop, doing a research on my next “break”.

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Cheeni kum

8732d8f6055db0399ec521695c74b311I am so ashamed of myself. And not because I did something as clichéd as uploading the picture of yummy dessert from last night on Instagram, but because I actually had it. The whole of that mouthwatering, yummy, delectable, delicious blueberry cheesecake.  As of now, I am supposed to be on diet, and hence eating anything that even remotely tastes good is criminal!

Like most people, I can always say that fitness is my first priority. I don’t miss my exercise unless there are more pressing issues like sleeping, working, reading, watching a movie, sleeping again, trying that winged eye-liner for the hundredth time, failing at it, looking like a panda and then sleeping…you get the point! If it weren’t for these distractions, I could have managed to fit an entire Bangladesh in my thigh gap.

And then sometimes I get tired of all my excuses, and decide to rather get tired at the gym. There is a lot to lose, you know! Earlier gym were simpler. There was stuff to pick-up and then, heavier stuff to pick-up. Now it is much more complicated. Now, to upmarket themselves, they sell sauna, spa packages, aromatherapy (not talking about sweat here), yoga, Zumba or aerobics, nutrition counselling – if it has a taste, spit it out. But the great thing is, you lose weight as soon as you join the gym, because they charge both your kidneys as fees.

Staying fit and healthy is a community service, because everyone around you is trying to stay fit as well. Knowing about fitness can be of great help to avoid awkward social interactions. One day you go to the gym, and the whole world is trying to tell you – don’t eat carbs post 7 p.m., and even if you do then team it with a high protein salad, which for him right now is my brain. I generally have wheat bran chapatti – which my grandfather tells me was by-product in their times – and now are “imported” and sold in a better packet than wheat. And of course blah blah blah green tea.

The beauty of the whole thing is you don’t even have to be fit to advice other people. The other day, I saw someone with so many potatoes in the market, that I couldn’t control telling them if they have any idea how much starch does the thing has. Turns out, he was only trying to sell them!

Well, it is going to be challenging, but I am going to keep at it. Having said that, I feel there is too much hogwash regarding this topic, and people are talking more than they are following. I think it is so exhausting to even think about it, that you already need a big piece of anything unhealthy to recuperate. Nevertheless, I ain’t missing my protein-packed dinner for anything. And of course, green tea.

I wrote about this topic because how can you go to the gym and not announce in the newspaper? I would be such a waste.

Long Shot

In a population of 1.3 billion people,hockey-copy-650_022712061716 it takes some amazing skills to not excel in any sport other than cricket! Indian sports as it stands today is not what it once was. Indeed, India had significant victories in football and hockey earlier in the century – a far cry from the sorry state of affairs today.

Let us consider the top 5 reasons for sports not working in our stride!

  1. No infrastructure:

Of course! That is our answer to everything! It’s like we have accepted that it is an acceptable answer, and then feel sorry for ourselves. Why doesn’t the government make pet shelters? No infrastructure for people, how can we create one for dogs? Okay, why isn’t there shelter for everyone? Because they rented it out. Oh yes, why should they shift to a better facility, if they can earn an added income, and still enjoy the perks of being under poverty line?

Sure.

2. Education:

At school, and at home both. We are taught to be great at sports, only after we excel in academics! One of the more popular sayings in recent times is – “If you are good at something, do it after engineering.” That essentially sums up our entire education system. Sports is not encouraged in schools, or at home. Forget it even being an option, it is royally looked down upon and used as sarcasm if you don’t score well – “Aur khelo bahar jaake!”

It’s viewed as a mere hobby in our country, and not a career.

3. Electricity:

You would say I have a knack of starting with any topic and bringing it to a point where I bash our government for core issues. Well, what do I do if they function that way! This year a few of our players were robbed of a chance to participate in the Rio Olympics only because – wait for it – power failure! What? Yes, you read it right. In the part of the country when people use generators to prepare lassi in a celebration, one couldn’t be deployed for something as important as Olympic selection, is a sham(e).

4. Role-models.

How can this not make it to the list when Salman is involved! There was a whole fiasco regarding the ambassadors for Rio Olympics, and Salman Khan was one of them. Since we don’t encourage sports, we need to borrow from Bollywood to represent us in sports as well. Anyway, given the collective IQ of our country, we come to know about our great sportsmen only when a movie is made on them! Sigh.

Though, Salman is a great choice. He is a great shooter himself.

5. Genes:

This is my favourite! I was bowled over when I was doing my research and realized that a lot of people believe that we don’t excel in sports because we don’t have the kind of body required for it! In a population of 1.3 billion people. Bravo!

If anything, we are great at making excuses, and no one can beat us to that. Not even close.

An Open Letter To All The Moms

According to a research on development of human race, Mothers are ..umm..kinda very important!

They take care of the next generation, shape them, mould them to take on the world, ask them to wear better clothes, to clean up, and while you are at it, clean the room as well, you must help around in the house, come for the wedding just for half an hour, you need to moisturize, and why don’t you…you get the point, right?

multitasking-mom4Well on this very grateful mother’s day note, I would like to ask only one question to all the mothers in the world – Are you insane? And I mean this is the nicest possible way! Why would you take up a 24*7*365 days job of standing on your feet, eating only after your “associate” does, no holidays, no vacations, giving up your body, your life, your hopes, your dreams, and sign-up for a lifelong unpaid internship at Sacrifice and Strain Pvt. Ltd.! I appreciate you guys for what you do, not only for the fact that it’s noble and important, but also because it looks tough – yes kiddo, tougher than the board exam that you jusssssst managed to clear yesterday!

I am of that age when my news feed on Facebook is filled with Baby albums titled “My Angel. My Life.”, “Welcome to the family my munchkin” or “Aww, here’s the end to all my hopes and dreams. And sleep.”

There is a beautiful saying on a traffic island in Bandra, it says- “A child gives birth to a mother.” Wow. I think it is very fascinating, but I just don’t know what it is doing in the middle of the road! Anyway, the credit, for moms being as awesome as they are, is all ours! Yaay. And knowing mine, she will happily let me take it!

But seriously, kudos to you guys! I think you are incredible.

I don’t remember ever wishing my Mom properly on Mother’s day. I mean what’s the point of this one day, when I can trouble her for all the rest 364 days as well! And then I could always buy gifts. But, it is very difficult to gift something to an Indian mom. Here’s how the conversation goes:

Me: Mom, let me take you out for dinner to that amazing new place that everyone is talking about.

Mom: I will make better food at home. Don’t waste money.

Me: Look Mom, this is a necklace so expensive, that had we been ruled by British even today, they would have taken this to keep besides the Kohinoor. (Yeah yeah, Kohinoor was “gifted”.)

Mom: Oh that! I know a shop that will make the same piece for one-tenth the price. Don’t waste money.

Me: Mom, look what I…Forget it!

I will just dedicate this column to her. This is something that she cannot make at home for cheap. I think.

PS- Cannot thank you enough for everything. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Scroll

XX-Cartoons-Ironically-Showing-Our-Smartphone-Addiction__605You swipe left. You swipe right. You check your Facebook feed. You scroll through your twitter timeline. In the meantime, you receive a few good morning messages. As if text chat wasn’t enough, you snapchat. You read some breaking news about a leading actress-turned-black magician. You keep your apps open. You close your life.

You eat while scrolling. You scroll while eating. You wake up, and scroll. You scroll before sleeping. You look around, and everyone is scrolling. You see a beggar, you witness an accident. You want to help, but instead you click and upload. You fish for likes, you want approval. You are oh so cool. And then you go back to scrolling – scrolling your life away.

Do you know the feeling when the roller coaster stops and you are still, but the world is still moving? I am perpetually in that state! The world is moving too fast- change is too hurried. Even before one adopts and adapts to change, it has changed already. And may be twice. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, our maps and world view are out of date because the world is changing really rather fast.

More and more it feels like our lives have turned into a gruelling race towards a finish line we never reach.  Curiously, there has been very scant discussion about this dramatic speed-up of society. People may complain about how busy they are, how over-loaded modern life has become, but speed is viewed as generally positive – something that will help us enrich our life.

tb538ea_Boy-that-escalated-quicklyWhen I say the world is changing, I am speaking about every single aspect. From the literal sense of the planet Earth changing, to the people, the mentalities, the beliefs, the cultures, the technology, and the most important one: purpose. People have lost the sense of purpose, putting them in situations of utter confusion. We do not have time to sit and think about life amidst all this conundrum!

Having all the information on your fingertip kills the surprise element of our life. By the time kids are 25, they have been witness to everything that can be experienced by body and mind! Nature of the mind is such that it is always looking for newer experiences, something unique to keep it going!

In this age of high-speed internet, way too much information is thrown at you. There is a simulator for every kind of experience that there is. One knows how a different part of the world looks like, how the cosmos looks like just by sitting in their room! There are no revelations, no secrets, no privacy, and no novelty in this day and age. As one theory states – Don’t be surprised if suicides increase henceforth. Because the mind may want to explore beyond death, with the death of curiosities in this lifetime.

To sum up, I will use the last few lines of one of my most cherished poems by David Weatherford,

“When you run so fast, to get somewhere – you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower

Hear the music, before the song is over.”

Sum-Marr

Therm_skyIt’s that time of the year when you’re bombarded with headlines like “23 Ways to Beat the Heat!”, “Perspire or Expire” and “Look hotter than Summer- wwww.cheapclothing.com”.  In keeping with that theme, I present the only real solution to summer, i.e. leave. Head to the hills and only come back with 10 Tibetan flags to stick them to your near and dear ones!

It’s that time of the year when all the teenagers go like, “Let’s go to LADAKH and get LEH’ed!” because YOLO! In the remaining of free time from all the free time that they have, they tag their friends on every buzzfeed article that reads, “20 places you must visit before you turn 20”. What they don’t know is the writer of these articles hasn’t been to any of those places even at 30, and is earning from writing it to suffice his travel expenditure between Churchgate and Andheri. Because YDE- You Die Every day!

It’s that time of the year when kids have holidays, and parents are looking for summer camps just to get them off their back. Judge me all you want, but it still blows my mind that we no longer have summer holidays. No more three-month periods of doing nothing. If I could, I would enforce that rule in the adult world as well, leading to a worldwide vacation, as essential services ground to a halt and the global economy crumbled to a point where we were back to barter system. Wait, aren’t we headed there anyway?

It’s that time of the year when a lot of our history was made. Call it poetic or call it dramatic, but, “He protested against them by fasting in the heat, and fought without drinking a sip of water” has an impact! And then there’s me. I wouldn’t even need to be tortured or anything. If you want to get state secrets out of me, just put me in a room with a fan that the bai forgets to turn on after jhaadu. In three seconds, I’d confess to everything from hum aapke exactly hai kaun to killing Gandhi.

It’s that time of the year when we really, actually, truly, essentially wish that we would have been born on other side of the globe. Because our government has a sure shot way of torturing us and giving us something that we just don’t need – power cuts. I am sure there are more humane ways of letting us know that you hate us, and don’t care a damn once all the income tax is filed in March.

It’s that time of the year, and probably the only bright side of summer, when we can relish on Mangoes- a fruit known worldwide for its ability to drive Indians nuts. Because otherwise we are pretty great at it ourselves.

There’s about six weeks of this nonsense left, so it would be best to pack your bags and go to the hills – and no, I do not mean Pandavlena!