A Country of Labels

Facebook posts, tweets, open letters and hundreds of articles later what have we achieved?
We told the world that WE are a country of rapists.

I see my feed flooded with posts about how men need to change, how we need to respect our women more and how we need to promote equal rights for women. But between all this outcry and anger we have changed the actual common man.

Social media is generally a platform for the educated and civilized to create a ruckus about black and white dresses. But when we are writing, sharing and liking strongly worded posts, the virality (yes! It’s an actual word) stays limited to the millions of people who aren’t ignorant about the facts. And will you seriously tell us that it is the fault of men? Do we have to be labeled as ‘perverts’, ‘jerks’, ‘rapists’, ‘eve-teasers’ and such? Why do we have to fear everytime the bus hits a speed-breaker and we bump into the girl/woman/lady in front of us? Fear that they’ll turn around, shout at us and slap us in public while some self proclaimed feminist is filming it for his blog on his smartphone. Why do we have to be ashamed for being men?

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When we waged a war on terrorism and racism, we all spoke out saying “all Muslims are not terrorists.” Now there is another war on our doorstep. It is a war in which heinous, unspeakable, unthinkable and unforgivable acts are committed by people who are anything but human. But is it not YOUR duty to make sure that the words you spread condemn the criminal and not an entire gender? When you write “friends we should respect women”, do you honestly think that the danger lurks in the heart of your friends? When a person looks at our country all he/she sees in the subtext is “all men are rapists.” Is that right?

The people who are actually to be blamed lurk in the shadows, out of reach of common sense and morality. They are the ones who stalk women on the internet, who have no sense of right and wrong and to whom social media posts are all but impermeable. And the thousands of girls out there who actually have faced the trauma and the torture fight another battle to make their lives better. They don’t sit on social media and rant about it. WE do. People, dear to us, who have been through hell and back don’t tweet their struggles. WE do.

I’ve seen too many labels. I’m a brother, a son, a friend, a mentor and a boyfriend.
I am a man and I’m not a pervert.

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Ramblings of an eccentric

(Warning: This post is way too long for the weak hearted. Enter at your own risk)

(Disclaimer: This is a work of sleep-deprivation. The writer/s have no frigging relationship to this post whatsoever. )

One day, when you have eaten something particularly indigestible, you’ll sit down for a long time and let your mind wander. If you’re lucky enough to have ignored a certain blood-pumping organ of yours for most of your life, then mark my words! For you, sir, are going to need a nice, thick magazine in your bathroom from now on. However, if you don’t fall in that particular genre and have always been unlucky, you’ll see all the people that were. Don’t let your mind wander too far for you’ll remember all the bad parts because you haven’t reminisced the good parts enough. But you’re sitting in absolute silence and all that you see is a crimson ash falling like snow. What do you do then? You start remembering.

After an absolutely preposterous and illegal amount of caffeine, I understood that it kills when the person you worry about is absolutely oblivious to it. What if someday the veil rises and you find out that you weren’t enough? Perhaps some of us have been doing it wrong all these years. We were fools to believe that all those motion pictures and all those bestselling books were true. It was our fault not to have been able to discern between reality and, well, the non-existent.

NO! I’m not going into a rant here against matters of the heart. Definitely not! (My girlfriend will publicly stone me if I do!) I’m just making an observation. We let people into our lives. Be it a friend, family or fiancée, the people we love hold the power to break, shatter and puncture our heart. Yes, we hold that power over them too. But nobody really thinks that way, do they? It’s okay. We are all a little selfish. We don’t want to change. Even if we do, we don’t want our dear ones to change. And when all of us have changed, it’s time to set fire to that house of cards we so carefully built. I’m a small-city guy with small dreams. I don’t know how it works in the big cities. I don’t know how to be ‘cool’ and get into recreational substances or recreational adultery (I do know sarcasm though!) and I certainly don’t want my friends to go that way. But then, I’m a small-city guy. What do I know about the culture and the society in the big bright cities of the world!? What do I know about independent women and the ‘players’ of this earth? Nothing, I believe. It all seems like a hazy dream to me. A dream many wouldn’t want to be in.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that life is a long game of Texas hold’em poker. You are dealt a hand and you play with it. You win some and you lose some but nobody leaves the table till a certain grim reaper is involved in the picture. I may seem slightly crazy but just think about it! All our choices and our decisions are not always right or always wrong. We travel on a sine curve, aiming towards happiness and then cascading downwards to a little misery. All the quotes and sayings about ‘not having any regrets’ seems a little bullshit at such indigestible times. After introspection and many a sleepless nights it’s pretty clear that we get screwed severely when we get a full hand of hearts. Because even if we get a straight flush, the house always wins.

But then, I’m a small-city guy. What do I know?

Why Do I Write

(Over the years many people have asked me the same question over and over again. “Why do you write?” I decided to answer it now, on the eve of my 22nd birthday with a slightly doped brain and an absolutely lonely heart.)

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I write because I want silence. And not the loud kind of silences which make you low. I just want a few moments of solitude. No disturbances, no noises. Just me and a scenery. I want to investigate, accumulate and contemplate the beauty of nature, of creation. I want to marvel at the simple mysteries of man and the world and not be bogged down by unnecessary worries about career, life, family and finance. I do not want to sit idle and give myself excuses to resort to alcohol or smoking or any other thing that I know kills me. For a few minutes everyday, I want to feel like I’m my own captain and that my ship is sailing in the right direction. I want to wake up thinking that it will be glorious day ahead instead of cringing at the thought of putting on my tie and feeling like a dog on a leash.

I write because I want to affect lives; affect in a good, non-destructive way. I want to touch hearts, to bring smiles, to create a sense of warmth and nostalgia inside others. I want to create something great, something concrete. My life’s works may be all but two lines, but I won’t mind as long as a million souls remember those few words for their beauty and simplicity. I want to stand up for what I want and not be another sheep in the flock. I want to revel in the torrent of flashbacks which run inside my head and feel happy; happy to have known so many wonderful, unique and even preposterous people.

I write because I have a lot of stories to tell, a lot of emotions to express. The stories may be good, may be bad or maybe plain old boring. But I write because I believe that I can tell stories.

I write simply because I want to. What about you?

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Would You Like Some Tax?

(Beg your pardon for my long absence. I had to disappear since the authorities were after me for my despicable criminal activities. Apparently kicking a professor in the nuts does not come under freedom of expression!)

This article is dedicated to the Income Tax Department of India, trolling Indians for decades now.

Income Tax!

The Indian middle class is the most trolled sub-species ever known to human beings. We are not poor enough to get rice for 2 rs a kilo or to never know the meaning of things like comfort and basic amenities. And we are definitely not rich enough to be unaffected by all the hustle and tussle that goes on in this country. But the average middle class Indian is mostly satisfied with the ups and downs in his life for most part of a financial year. The only speck of rust in his not-so-perfect pittal di duniya is the time of income tax filings.

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As a Le yet-Jobless-Engineering-student I do not know if the government has been decent enough about the slabs and tax rates but in reality it looks like what an average Indian gets is a very big Babaji Ka Thullu (colloquial for squat) in the long run. I am a layman. Not at all versed in ‘Economical’ jargon (or whatever those fancy CAs call it). So please le government, explain me how you would justify the following.

A white collar job is so horrible that you ask a man to pay tax for the 100rs he won in the Samaj Aggarbatti Lucky draw just because it adds to his income. He has to pay you more if he gets a bonus for doing his job properly at the office. He has saved some money by working his chappals off at the same firm for 21 years at the same position. How do you justify putting your grubby and dirty little hands into his account and taking away 20% or 30% of it when Dr. ‘Moun’mohan Singh & Co. yawn at scams of impossible amounts like 2400k crores? It’s like asking for petty change from a beggar. Is this his punishment for being honest foolish enough to enter his PAN number (for those who do not know: it’s kinda like social security, but a lot less cooler) in all his documents and accounts? Tell me, O learned finance gurus of the country, why do I have to pay 17% tax in a restaurant which is already overpriced? Are the mango people of India destined to have 10 rs waala Raj Babbar meals on the roadside forever? Are our life savings never to cross, say maybe, 2 lakh Indian rupees so that the creamy layer of our country don’t get an inferiority complex?

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Tax laws in the country do need to be restructured regarding a man’s life savings and his taxation. Give him some relief so that he does not have to sell a kidney or two to provide comfort for his kids in this age of inflation.

P.S. This is not an Arvind Kejriwal inspired publicity stunt. You see, I never went to IIT.

tax wish

 

Sunshine

(This is about the one person who lights up your world at all times. It maybe your father, mother, brother, sister, wife, fiancée or simply a friend.)

You are in that dark desolate place inside you where you force yourself to go after it seems as if you have failed at everything. You are a bat in a cave, a mole in the earth, disgusted by light and savoring solitude. But someone makes a chink in that armour of yours which protects the pieces of your heart of glass, which keeps safe pieces of your shattered will and broken dreams. A single orifice and slowly sunshine walks in. You are blinded at first and you try to hide. But as your eyes slowly adjust to the light, you open the chink a little more. You let sunshine in to fill up the darkness left behind for reasons which you’re starting to forget. You like the light, the warmth it brings. You like how it pushes your shadows away, You know the sun is far away but you feel connected. You feel that life is once again beautiful and that you owe it to ‘sunshine’.

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You may end up in a dark winter where the sun doesn’t pierce through for days, you may end up in the shadow of a huge eclipse. But you know that whatever might happen, the dark clouds will disperse and soon there will be a hundred days of summer. You know that the eclipse is but temporary. And when the sunshine walks in all fog will disappear, the roads ahead will be crystal clear and all will be fine. You let it fill you up with warmth and hope; you let it remind you that life is beautiful. And no matter how much your world tilts away from the sun, you know that sunshine will reach you no matter what. You let her/him be the twilight to your autumn sky, the dawn of your dark winters.

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Remember when they say that life isn’t possible without sunlight. It is true. And if you do want to label that someone just because you are that kind of person, then label them as your sunshine.

A very happy new year to everyone.

Growing Up

DISCLAIMER: Any resemblance to persons dead or alive is freaky!

Note to Reader: If you think this is too long then just skip it, press the FB like button below the text and go watch season 2 of Arrow or season 7 of Big Boss on YouTube. I’m informed that they have a very good viewership.

(Personal note to Ms. Pandora, who opened the ‘Box of Troubles’: If you’re reading this then know that ‘I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.’)

growing up

Remember the text messages you used to forward during high school? “Broken toys and lost pencils are better than broken hearts and lost friends…”, “…No care in the world…” and what not. And now when I sit down and reflect upon my life a few years ago, I’m astonished at the amount of change we all have undergone.
If I surmise the experience of stepping out of the house into the real world then it all culminates down to “Growing up sucks”. Though I do feel like “To hell with this. I’m going to Narnia”, the major reason why I would want to stay a kid is I don’t want to lose the parts of me which made me a kid. I’m sure some of us still know how to have fun but some of us have faced unimaginable losses and have been through hell. Some of us have become a completely different person; some have become polar opposites of what they used to be! (And I do include the looks department in it too). But the price we’ve paid is a very big one.

I doubt if I’ve any shred of innocence left in me. Blessed are they who still retain some of it. They’re lucky people indeed. It’s as if we’ve crossed some invisible line which triggers a flurry of hard truths; nailed deep into our lives by the hammer of ‘life’. I’ve forgotten what it felt like when I used to call everyone I knew a friend. When the world wasn’t complex, when we weren’t a part of a rat race stepping over each other and pushing everyone aside hankering after the piece of cheese at the finish line; when we didn’t know the meaning of ‘bad words’. It was wonderful a life when we could be ourselves without the fear of being labeled ‘crazy’. I’ve lost the part of my life when I went to sleep every night with my parents standing watch over me. It is SURPRISING how all the bad aspects of the world were mostly hidden from us. When death and disease were such a remote concept we never understood.

Responsibility: oh how the human race… Forget race. How I used to fear this word! Yet that is not what pushes me away. It’s the busy nature of our lives, the scarcity of time, increase of distance and exponential rise in phenomena like ‘misunderstandings’, ‘loneliness’, ‘greed’, ‘selfishness’ and, the biggest and baddest one “Change” that makes me want to build a time machine. How petty seem emotions, how stony have our faces become! Unwanted worry lines have become more abundant than forced dimples. Sigh!

It is the fact that we’ve replaced “share and care” with “Each man unto himself” which scares me.

Well, to hell with this shit. I’m off to Narnia anyways.

P.S. Eat, pray, love and don’t tell your parents if you drink. (Dad, if you do read this one then know that I’m just joking.) Peace out.

Old Is Gold?

(Disclaimer: I’m not Don Quixote neither am I on a mission to civilize. This is a work of joblessness and imagination and should be considered as such. All the facts stated here might hold true in a parallel universe.)

The world has become too fast paced. We’re moving ahead and growing up too soon and too much for my liking. Social media has conveniently made us more alienated from everyone than ever. We’re trapped in a universe of memes, trolls and Comedy Nights with Kapil!

There was a time when the word “catching up” held some meaning. You meet someone after years, sit down, have coffee and find out what’s going on with them. But that magic has disappeared thanks to Google+, Yahoo-, Bing*, FaceBook, ButtScript and the latest upcoming social media site- mylifeisonline.com.

Old friends

It pains me gravely when I meet someone and they ask me what’s going on. The conversation becomes something like: “I started a blog.” “Yeah! I saw in my feed. Dark something no..?” “No it’s dark cells actually. Have you read it?” “Naah! I just see it in my feed” “Okay! What’s up with you?” “Duuuude! Don’t you see my status updates or what?”. And I move on with a new promise to never talk to that dimwit ever again. Instead of staying in touch with everyone, we have fallen victims to resentment, stalking, ass-holery and stupidity in general. Very few of us have actually managed to stay in touch with the people we love and respect. The trend has become so alarming that we’ve actually started shying away from people we once knew very well just out of the fear of letting in someone new in our lives. Studies by Meking Itup Institute of Technology in Hong Kong say that people will make new friends every 2 years  now and get over old ones in just 2 weeks. Kapil Sibal is trying his best to make Senti SMSes and Love letters illegal for school students citing that “It is destroying the youth culture of India”.

Well, enough of cribbing. Moral of the story: Get off Facebook and call your old friends once in a while! And if you don’t, then make it a point to ‘ping’ all the 10,234 friends in your ‘friend-list’.

Happy Diwali to all my friends. May the force be with you!

P.S. The person beside me says “Google ki Maa ka Breakfast!” **

**Those people who don’t know Hindi: Good for you!