Where Am I These Days??

confused-chicken1Every second, half a child is born in the world. Er, I mean, a child is born into the world every two seconds. This statistic cannot be trusted, but I swear it seems true. I’ve just been seeing a lot of babies lately. Friend’s nephew, nephew’s kid, kid’s little sister, and so on. Sometimes, I think I’m growing too old to have fun anymore.

So, where have I been these days? I’m not posting anything new, I haven’t been commenting regularly, I’ve been ignoring my comments and not replying, and I’ve completely ignored MirrorCracked Labs. There’s a logical explanation to all this and no, it’s not, “…too much work.”

A few days back, I realized that I’m a man with too much ambition. I was aiming for the stars and falling short quite terribly. I decided to hold myself back and aim at the moon instead. It’s not that having too much ambition in life is a good thing – it’s just not fair to live life optimistically. Too much optimism is really bad for the health and wellness of an individual. That’s why I change my underwear twice a day, and when I was busy trying to balance myself on one foot, trying on a bright blue underwear, I toppled over and fell, hitting my head on the bed.

Luckily, no bones were broken. But I did have a revelation. I decided to give in to pressure and accepted an invitation from Manipal University to write a paper for their communications fest. I wrote a paper on Web Entrepreneurship, which got nominated, and now, I’m a delegate on my way to present my paper in Manipal on the 26th. I could really have done without more traveling in my soon-to-be nomadic life, but that’s just my luck.

Anyway, I’m leaving tomorrow for Manipal. I’m recording my talk, and if technology permits, I’m gonna post it up on the blog when I return. I miss the blogosphere. Sigh.

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Blah?

blah

What would it be like to write a blah post where every word is ‘Blah’…? I ask this because I just came across a blah plugin called PenisPress, which promises to replace every blah word in a post with the word ‘Penis’.

Er, I don’t know why anyone would be blah jobless enough to even write a plugin as crazy as this. But hey, the world is filled with jerks, and the least we can do is acknowledge them. Right? 😀

Anyway, I’ve been quite held up with a lot of blah work and I’m hoping some time clears up soon enough for me to be a bit more active online. There’s a trip to blah Manipal in the offing, for their blah communications fest, where I’m probably presenting a paper, and there’s a lot of interesting things cropping up in the blah job-hunt scenario.

Did I say blah job-hunt? I meant something else. Er… What? Shit, I should not write when I’m blah drunk!

Image blah Courtesy: Pressx2select.com

Five Questions And A Domain

mirrorcrackedA week ago, after a heavy meal, I was sitting on the pot and contemplating the evolution of snowmen, when I had a thought – I decided to take the plunge and get my own domain. With Joel guiding me every step of the way, literally telling me where to click and what to type, I purchased MirrorCracked and set up a hosting on SurpassHosting. I was so excited yesterday that I printed out the URL in big bold letters and stuck it in my cubicle! I plan to migrate to that domain pretty soon, once I get the hang of it.  It’s quite a pain to install themes and plugins and all that shit.

It’s funny how I started and ended the last paragraph on a shitty note.

Anyway, back to the main purpose of this post. I’m a well-known tag killer, as many people have realized the hard way over the past months. I frown upon being tagged and I hardly do any tags, because I usually have a backlog of posts going up to 10 to even 15 drafts at times – posts waiting to get published. On busy days, I log in, go to my drafts, pick a post and hit the publish button. In the midst of all this, Apar came up and requested an interview.

Ok, ok. I literally begged for it. She was grateful enough to spend a lot of time in thinking of questions for me, and today, at 7:19 pm, just like a Nadal forehand, slapped the questions on to me. I felt obligated to answer them immediately lest I forget.

1. Do you always choose matchboxes which are larger than your cigarette boxes?

Bigger Matches

Interesting history to this question. I think the image would explain better. I was desperate for a smoke and I did not have a matchbox/lighter on me. It’s very frustrating to be stuck with a lot of cigarettes and nothing to light them with. And a ridiculously huge pack of Home Lites matches was the best that Spencers was able to offer me. Sigh.

So, to answer the question, I’d have to say anything goes for me. Big or small, as long as the thing burns, I’m happy. But, of course, I prefer hot women to larger matches.

2. Where do you get your sense of humor from?

I wish I knew. I don’t even know if I have one. There was a time in my life when I was strung up by my underwear, from a rusty nail on the wall, and slapped around by my headmistress for calling her a fat moron. I guess that traumatized me enough to treat everything around me with a sense of awe-struck indifference.

3. How many personalities do you possess apart from the “God” persona?!

Ah, this is an interesting one. No one believes me when I say that I’m God. They think it’s either just a phase in life that people go through believing they’re divine or that I’m plain crazy. Denial will only fuel the fire, so I’ll refrain from making any sort of comment. I’m God. Period.

4. Since you claim to be God, what does nirvana mean to you?

Something that smells like teen spirit and tastes like beer. You know what I mean?

5. Beer on the dance floor or wine on the beach? (options do not include “both”)

Beer. Any day. Anywhere. Any time. Any mode of consumption. Any amount. I hate wine.

Really? You Sure?

“Man, your posts are boring nowadays…”

“They have lost the quality…”

“Who are you and what have you done with Nikhil?”

“Makes me wonder why I’m reading it after 2 lines…”

“Your blog has become so boring, dude!”

“You have lost that touch…”

“Why aren’t you writing like how you did before?”

“You are not being yourself but working to the formula…”

“I almost hate MirrorCracked now…”

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feedbackThese, and a plethora of other feedback have made me sit up and take notice. I look at myself in the mirror, searching for the cracks that were once so obvious, and fantasize in my head about them still being there. I wonder to myself what went wrong along the way. Maybe things went way off the mark and somewhere in the process, I focused more on being more than myself. Come to think of it, this may be the case.

Generally, negative feedback makes a person more focused on where they are headed in their venture. It forces them to re-look their act and make adequate changes to please everyone. More often than not, negative feedback makes people take a break, rethink their strategy and come back strongly with a fresh outlook on everything.

When it comes to blogs and bloggers, most negative feedback is meant to be a cause for improvement. I’ve known bloggers who’ve changed their complete profile of writing styles because of feedback. It helps some, it irks some. That’s life, I guess. After all, we all look in the mirror, hoping to see the tiny cracks that make us who we are, and panic when we don’t find them. For all those who’ve given me feedback, whether good or bad, I am indebted. Thanks for taking time off your life to show me where I’m slacking and where I need to improve.

Unfortunately, I’m a stubborn mule. I think MirrorCracked is a space where people can have a laugh, with me and at me, and I don’t see a reason to change. I will not change the way I write and I cannot promise whether my next post will be as uninteresting as this one, or as brilliant as something I wrote a long time ago. I write mainly because I feel obligated to share the details of my weirdly exciting life, and if, on some days, my life’s bland, then it’s not my fault, is it? Maybe it is… I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t care, as long as I’m happy in whatever direction I’m headed.

I repeat – I do not mean any offense to any one who gave me feedback. I am deeply indebted to you. It’s just that giving feedback to me is like throwing water balloons at a wall, hoping to make it topple. Sad, I know, but true.

I started this blog with two things in mind:

  1. Make sure that every person – man, woman, child, animal and jerk – who visits this space gets a good laugh or even a smile.
  2. Write scathing posts about the assholes of the world and show them just how much of a burden they are to this over-populated planet.

So far, in my posts, I’ve succeeded in both. Wouldn’t you agree? 😀

Quod Erat Demonstrandum!

The Voyeur Next Door!

voyeurIn a nutshell, the 40-year-old woman next door saw me naked this morning. It all happened so fast that it took a good two hours for it to sink in. I had my bath, wrapped a towel round my waist and came into my room, switched on the fan, stood under it and whipped the towel open. That was when I heard a scream.

I panicked, fell to the floor for cover and picked up the wet towel and covered my body. I slowly stood up and looked around. The window directly in front of me was open and through it, I could see on to the terrace of my neighbor’s house. Amidst all the clothes that were hung out to dry, I saw this woman hiding behind a particularly heavy saree that sagged the clothesline. She was standing behind it and it looked to me as if she was covering her face with her hands. I gulped and looked on, and after a while, she slowly peeped at my window from behind her saree. On seeing me staring at her, she let out a giggle and ran back into her house.

I stood there, butt naked but for the towel, drained of all my decency, and wallowed in the realization that the woman next door is a voyeur. I felt used and abused. I felt as if my manhood was up for sale, auctioned off to all middle-aged voyeuristic women! I felt dirty. I felt weird.

Luckily for me, I don’t interact much with the neighbors and I’m rarely at home these days, so I think this incident will pass. I hope it does. Jesus Christ! A man can’t even change his clothes in privacy!

Let’s Have A Conference Call, Folks!

conferenceSingapore. Canada. California. New York. And, to ice the cake, Bangalore. The conference call was scheduled to start at 9:30 in the morning, and at 9:29, I realized that the phone in the corner did not have an international calling facility. I was sitting there, all prepared, my papers spread out in front of me, my pen handy, my head going over the different methods of opening the conversation, saying “Hi” or “Hello” or “Good morning”, and then, I sat there listening to the sweet yet hideous female voice telling me that this service isn’t available on this phone.

I wondered what to do. The clock ticked away the seconds of the one minute left for me to sign into the call. I gulped and took a decision that I knew I’d regret. I flipped open my mobile and punched in the numbers. I prayed hard, hoping the call would end in a few minutes. It didn’t. It lasted for an hour and fifty minutes. I sighed and resigned myself for a fat bill this month.

Conference calls, according to me, are a supreme waste of time. I think more work can be accomplished through an email. The first twenty minutes are obviously spent in introducing all the people in the call. The next thirty-odd minutes go away in outlining the agenda for the conference call. The remaining hour or so is spent in asking people to speak up; apologizing for loud cell phones; apologizing for the rackets behind their respective backs; and finally, asking everyone present if they understood the last point. More often than not, there will be at least three jerks who would not have paid attention, and they would ask you to repeat the last point.

The frustrating thing about these conference calls is that you cannot abuse anyone verbally. If the same meeting is held over emails, then before sending each and every email, you can let out the wonderful stream of expletives, and feel good about yourself and the other person’s lack of knowledge. You can question his/her ability to think straight, his/her man-/womanhood, his/her ridiculous name, and lot of other things.  But on a conference call, you have to hold your tongue and treat even the most outrageous of jerks with an amount of respect. It takes so much out of you. You can’t even make fun of funny names!

Anyway, I have had too many conference calls till now. I think I’ve devised a formula to survive each one of them. I call it “Apparent Indifference” – if you give the impression to the other jerks on the call that you’re indifferent about the outcome, then they’ll fall over themselves to spell out each and ever point of concern and make sure that each and every doubt has been answered. This, of course, helps me in making the meeting a success.

Oh, I hate conference calls. Of course, the only advantage the conference call has over board-room meetings is that you can fart loudly and get away with it. 😀

The Land Of Beautiful Women :)

I felt like Johnny Bravo, trapped in a strange land with nothing but beautiful women all around. Everywhere I looked, there were hot, sexy women flaunting themselves, lost in the oblivion of beauty. And for someone like me who hauls from a concrete jungle where the only eye-candy is found in a mirror, I was irreproachably lost and felt a pang of jealousy for every man who walked the streets in that Paradise.

I was in Ahmadabad for the weekend, arriving in Bangalore only last night. The return flight was anything but comfortable. Indigo Airlines has a reputation for more heart-in-the-mouth moments than any other airline and last night, I experienced it first hand. The plane was rattling to the bone, crunching and creaking at every seam and the nuts and bolts could be heard deafeningly loud in the ear. The pitiful whine of the engines added to the mayhem and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one sitting hunched up, hugging myself and my dear life.

Indigo Airlines DeathtrapBut the deathtrap was worth it’s airfare as it dropped me safe and sound and in one piece in Bangalore, when I promptly fell to the ground, kissed it and flipped two big, fat middle fingers to the plane. As I walked down the rickety ramp, I could sense the huge beast breathing heavily and sighing with relief from the strain of being pushed to its limits for two-and-a-half hours.

Ahmadabad is a Paradise with a violent past and a glorious future, living in it’s quiet, picturesque present. The people are warm and fuzzy, and they talk about their Paradise with a pinch of salt, cringing every time memories come flooding back. Being a lion from a concrete jungle, I had no connect to their violence, no sense of belonging in a bloodshed past, and nothing to offer but a kind ear.

The women – oh god, the women there are breathtakingly beautiful. I felt so relieved that I was in love with the most beautiful woman in the world, because if I wasn’t, I would have been so tempted! Some of the places I visited were absolute thrills, and for a few minutes, I was comparing God’s creativity and Man’s imitation of the same – the women and the architecture, respectively.

The Architectural Splendor At Adalaj
The Architectural Splendor At Adalaj
Adalaj Step-Well
The Play Of Light At The Adalaj Step-Well

The step-well at Adalaj was so perfect in more ways than one – every turn and every bend boggling the mind with the complexity of the labyrinth; the light sneaking in at every turn, break and crack, throwing up fascinating shadows and reducing us to mere silhouettes; the throng of people, open-mouthed and yet, cautiously silent, awed by the hidden divinity of the place; and the beautiful women made the picture complete.

The Serenity At Sabarmathi
The Serenity At Sabarmathi
Rare Peek Into The Mahatmas Room
Rare Peek Into The Mahatma's Room

Sabarmathi Ashram was the other major pitstop I had, and amidst the quiet chaos in the heart of the city, the place had an eerie calm to it, ensconcing the visitor in a shroud of silence and almost forcing everyone to marvel at the power that Gandhi wielded without touching a single weapon, without commanding a single army and without having the luxury of wealth, office and politics. It made me feel proud. It made me feel small.

The obvious highlight of the trip was meeting three of the sweetest bloggers – Manushi, Sakhi and Alice. It was a different thrill meeting each one of them, and it did not feel awkward or constrained at all. The fact that each one had in them something different to offer to the conversation and add to that my fascination of finally meeting them, made what could have been a potentially disastrous meet into something akin to absolute fun. You three are great and I take my (non-existent) hat off to you.

Of course, the most prominent part of my trip was my reunion with a dear old classmate/friend/confidante/curse-buddy/beer-buddy/sutta-partner of mine – Chucks. She was back in India for a semester break during her MBA in Sydney, and meeting her was an absolute thrill that cannot be expressed. I raise my glass of beer in toast to you, Chucks, and hope that you succeed in whatever you do. Tiny steps, remember?

All in all, it was a great weekend. I got some quality work done, met some absolutely fantastic people and saw some breathtaking places. Ahmadabad must be on every traveler’s list. It’s worth a re-visit.

All images are taken by me, using my Nikon L12.