“Your Missing Comment” :)

Dear Mystery Girl,

I don’t know if you remember the first time we interacted. It was, like so many other hapless souls these days, over the internet. You commented on a post of mine and then accused me of deleting it. What started out as a friendly exchange of emails soon turned into a deeply meaningful conversation in which hopes and fears were shared.

We had not seen each other and we were already beginning to feel like we have known each other for a very long time.

Then we met. We fell in love but were unable to express it. You were unsure and I was still a kid. We made promises to keep in touch and drifted apart.

But the universe had other plans for us. We found each other again in professional avatars and we both tried to ignore the white elephant in the room that always loomed over us. Those unkept promises and those unsaid words of love and passion. We worked well together and achieved little, but it was always a pleasure to be around you. I haven’t met anyone else with whom I have shared so much. You know my deepest fears and my darkest moments. You are aware of things and people that depress me and you have helped me through my darkness.

We drifted apart when you mysteriously disappeared from my life. When I found you again, you said, “The people who want you in their lives will find you.” That made me smile.

We’ve laughed, fought, almost cried, smoked, smoked up and gotten drunk together. We’ve read, written and composed for each other. We’ve cursed each other and we’ve praised each  other. And even though we’re on different continents and separated by mountains, volcanoes and oceans we’ve sailed through it all.

Mystery Girl, you are a great friend, a fantastic woman and will always be the one that got away. I wonder what would have happened if we’d hooked up and given it a whirl. Oh well, if wishes were horses, I’d have a stable by now.

Yours always.

Me 🙂

For The Love Of Journalism

Once upon a time, there were two journalists – a boy and a girl – working in an over-crowded island that passed off for a city. The boy used to work in a newspaper, reporting on all the crimes that happened in the city and lived a dangerous life. For, the city had an abnormally high crime rate. The girl, on the other hand, was the editor of a magazine and reported on all the business dealings in the city. Unfortunately for her, the city was also the financial capital of the country, which kept her quite busy with no time for any fun. For the purposes of this story, let us call them the Reporter and the Editor.

One day, Editor was walking along the road, lost in her own thoughts, trying to avoid the speeding traffic and, at the same time, trying not to step into the potholes on the road. Trying to negotiate a particularly tricky pothole, she tripped on her high heels and fell on to the road. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a speeding truck rushing towards her and she closed her eyes, frozen with fear, thinking that everything was over. Just as the truck was about to run her over, strong hands grabbed her around the waist and pulled her out of harm’s way. The speeding truck, horns blaring and barely slowing down, rushed past her, splashing the muddy water all over back. For a second, she was confused. She wasn’t dead. She wasn’t roadkill. She looked up at her savior, the man who had pulled her to safety, and looked into the intelligent brown eyes of Reporter. He was covered in mud, just like her, but he was smiling.

“If you have a death wish, you can find better ways to kill yourself,” said Reporter with a smile. “Are you all right?”

“Ye- yes!” stammered Editor. “What happened? I’m.. I’m not dead?”

“Unfortunately, no,” he said. “Why did you fall over?”

“I.. I tripped,” she said. “You saved my life! Thank you!”

“I did nothing of that sort. I was walking a few paces behind  you on the road, and I saw you fall into the road, right in the path of that truck! I thought you were suicidal!”

She laughed, and gave him a tight hug. “Thanks for saving me!”

“Anytime,” he laughed. “What’s your name?”

“Editor,’ she said. “And you?”

“Reporter. Where do you live? You look like a truck just ran over you. You need to clean up. Let me take you home and make sure you don’t trip again.”

“I live just round the corner,” she said, laughing a little at his humor. “You can walk me home.”

So, arm in arm, they walked round the corner and he dropped her off at her house. “When do I see you again?” he asked, just as she turned to open her door.

She turned around and looked at him. He seemed cute enough. “Do you want to?” she asked with a smile.

He nodded.

*

Confused in Love

Two days after this incident, Editor was madly in love with Reporter. She didn’t know what to do about it and worse, she didn’t know how he felt about her. Meanwhile, Reporter was also badly smitten by the beautiful Editor, and wasn’t sure how to proceed. Both wanted things to move on and neither knew how to ask the other one out for an official date. They had met a couple of times over the past two days and had an absolutely wonderful time together. They enjoyed each others’ company and they jumped with joy when the other person called them. They were just too shy to ask each other out on a date. Or perhaps, they were afraid to make a move too soon and scare the other person away.

Love is such a fragile, fickle-minded thing.

So, one fine day, Editor couldn’t take it any more. She had to know. She contacted a friend of hers in another city and asked him to help her out in this dilemma. This friend of hers was known around the world as a famous Love Guru. He deliberated on her problem and came up with a foolproof, romantic way of bringing them together – a blog post. Though she was initially hesitant about the idea, she quickly realized the potential.

“Go ahead,” she said.

And the Love Guru started writing: “Once upon a time, there were two journalists…”

How To Spot An Indian

I’ve been hearing a lot of incidents of racial profiling, where Indians are ‘randomly’ pulled out of lines at the airport for a thorough check. It has picked up tremendously after 9/11 and I’m not surprised. As Indians, we unfortunately share the skin color and hair styles of the usual terrorist suspects. I would be racially profiling myself, if I said that all terrorists are middle-eastern, so I won’t say it.

A lot of people in Western countries shit their pants when they see a brown guy sporting a full beard. This fear is doubled if the brown guy is wearing a white kurta. And they practically run for their lives if this guy sports a Taqiyah – the traditional Muslim prayer cap. And there have been a few instances where a white guy literally had a heart attack when a brown guy he was talking to, used the word “Allah” in his sentence.

Terrorist SpottingThis is so ridiculous. There is a limit to paranoia, and taking it out on brown-skinned men and women, just because some brown assholes killed a bunch of white people in the past, is calling for trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I am shocked and disgusted each time there is a terrorist attack anywhere in the world. As a pacifist myself, I find the unnecessary loss of human lives intolerable. It is okay to be afraid, but it is not okay to assume that every guy with brown skin is a terrorist with a bomb strapped to his balls.

So, I have decided to write a small but useful guide to help people identify Indians in a line-up. Look, Indians are a harmless, gutless bunch of people who gave the world Kama Sutra, and wanted everyone in the world to live happily together, having awesome sex with each other. We are not the kind of people who would want to harm others. Hell, we go ballistic when our kids eat non-vegetarian foods and call them murderers – we believe in instilling guilt very early in our kids.

The first thing you should notice about an Indian guy in a line-up (I’ll get to Indian women later) is that he won’t smile. His passport photo will look as if he is attending his mother’s funeral. But this alone will not help you weed out Indians from terrorists, because terrorists don’t smile in their passports as well, as Russel Peters very eloquently put it, a few years ago. So, the next thing to do is check out a suspect’s facebook profile or, if he’s in the airport check-in / check-out line, grab his phone and check the pictures on his phone. Here’s what you will expect to see:

  1. If the Indian in question is a student at an American / UK / Australian university, he will have definitely stored pictures of himself posing in front of every tree, post-box, car and white guy he comes across. And in all these pictures, he will be wearing a pair of shades that are too big for his face, the thickest fur-lined jacket (if its winter) or a hat that can only be described as a fedora (if its summer). He will also have the smuggest expression on his face that seems to say, “Look at me, I’m so bloody cool!” Yeah, he’s an Indian, let him go. He will probably wet himself if he is questioned about bombs and guns. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at what I did when I was a student in New York. This is a link to my album on Orkut – I am so ashamed of myself that I hardly use Orkut these days.
  2. If the Indian is older and his passport lists him as being married, then his phone / facebook profile will have hundreds of photographs with his wife, taken on their wedding day – the wife will be posing solo in many of these, in a gaudy silk saree and a head-full of flowers, in front of various background images of waterfalls and mountains, arms raised in different gracious angles… He’s an Indian, let him go.
  3. If the Indian is older but unmarried, he will probably be trying to smuggle booze and cell phones into the country to distribute to his cousins and friends and parents. Hold him, but be warned that he will have a fantastic defense planned – something about being forced into this by a girlfriend or a dying kid from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I hope that I have made it abundantly clear on how to spot Indian men and I hope that this guide will aid law enforcement officials to avoid profiling of Indians because of their skin color. Always remember, we are the assholes posing stupidly in photographs. We are not killers.

PS: It’s quite easy to spot an Indian woman – she’s very hot and she screams in terror when any guy gets too close.

PPS: This post is not meant to be offensive to anyone. If, in the process of putting down my opinions, I have inadvertently insulted any religion, caste, creed or camel, I apologize.

ARLI Bloggers’ Meet Bangalore

What’s the difference between a man and a life insurance policy? Eventually, the life insurance policy matures.

Aegon Religare Life Insurance LogoThis past Saturday was quite interesting for me. I attended a bloggers’ meet in Bangalore, hosted by Aegon Religare Life Insurance (ARLI) in the morning. My first thought, on receiving the invitation, was, “Oh my. It’s about life insurance! I will need a good book to help me sit through this one.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought this at first. I arrived at Mocha with some trepidation, and waited for the other bloggers to turn up and the event to start. The event was managed by their agency and their point person was a lovely young lady called Anuradha. We chatted about this and that until we could begin, and I took a seat among the other people who had turned up.

At first glance, I could make out only three familiar faces in the audience, and the other three looked ominously like insurance salesmen! The Chief Marketing Officer of ARLI, Yateesh Srivastava, kick-started the meet with a brief introduction and took us through a well-structured presentation on their new product. This is where it got slightly more interesting. Apparently, people can now buy their life insurance policies online, in under eight minutes. It’s a concept, he explained, that hasn’t really taken off the way they hoped, but was making steady progress nonetheless. The product, called iMaximize, was launched twenty-one months ago, and has clocked 15,000 sales. Any decent life insurance salesman will tell you that this figure could have been better, but for a completely new concept of buying a policy online, I think its quite a decent start.

As I had suspected, quite a few of the people who turned up were not bloggers, but insurance agents and independent salesmen, and at first, it was fun to see them debating with the ARLI reps about the pros and cons of their online product. Very soon, however, it became a messy affair, with almost everyone in the room getting bored of hearing two people argue about vague topics. It would have been better to take that discussion offline.

As a person who has organized close to a hundred bloggers’ meets for the past five years, I was not too happy with the way this was held. I don’t blame the organizers one bit because most of the usual bloggers who attend meets in Bangalore were present at the Yahoo! Code Jam, happening at the same time Saturday. I have had enough of Code Jams to last me a lifetime. A lot of bloggers in Bangalore who are part of the Bangalore Tweetup were left out, and though I made it a point to invite them, it was probably too short a notice. Apart from this fact, I think the event was a success with some very good information being shared. But if I am allowed to disperse just one bit of gyaan – don’t invite non-bloggers to a bloggers’ meet. It’s not a healthy sign.

Gokarna & Why I Go There

This one goes out to all those unfortunate, uninitiated and uninspired individuals. Get off your high horse and read this.

There may be a hundred reasons why a person goes to Gokarna. People looking to get laid, people looking to score and get high, people looking for a nice, secluded beach and people wanting to offer their prayers in India’s most sacred temple. I don’t know if there are any other reasons, and frankly, I don’t really care why people go there.

I go there for a totally different reason, and its none of the above.

I lead a difficult life. I need to balance my passion to work, my unceasing urge to travel and roam aimlessly across the country, my singularly fierce attraction to beaches and my bank account. Juggling these four volatile substances while playing air hockey with the family, the bosses, the peers, the juniors, the friends, the foes, the creditors, the goons, the loons, the whackadoodles, the geniuses, the crap, the stench and the slippery slopes of bankruptcy, unemployment and loneliness around every corner is taking its toll on my nerves.

There are very few things I’m passionate about, and those that I am passionate about, I am so with a vehemence unseen in anyone else, for anything else. I do not go to Gokarna to ‘do drugs’. I do not go to Gokarna to ‘sleep with women’. I do not go to Gokarna to ‘drink drinks’. I do not go to Gokarna to visit the temple and offer my prayers. I do not go to Gokarna for the sea food. I do no go to Gokarna for the rustic beauty of the village. I do not go to Gokarna to ogle at half-naked women lounging in the sun. I do not go to Gokarna because I love beaches and water. I do not go to Gokarna to swim in the ocean. I do not go to Gokarna to live. I do not go to Gokarna to die.

I go to Gokarna once every three months because I need to get away from the Greek tragedy that my life is fast unraveling to be; to clear my head of all thoughts – good and bad; to reboot myself. I go to Gokarna because its the only place on Earth that welcomes me without judging who I am or what I have done. I go to Gokarna because that is the only place on Earth where I am at peace. Completely.

I have a sea rock, which I call my own, ten feet out into the ocean, at Om Beach. Its a bit of a hike to get to the top of the rock, and once I get there, I sit, looking at the waves crashing into me on all sides, rising twenty feet high and spraying me with a mist of cold, salty water. I listen to the rush, the gurgle, the power and the wordless songs of the waves and as I stare out into the horizon, imagining a place beyond comprehension, where the sky kisses the ocean, I realize that I am peaceful, within and without.

Gokarna - kudle beachNothing of what is happening in life matters here. Time stands still for me, for the 48 hours I’m there. I put my feet up at a cafe, sipping sweet tea and reading a good book, or people watching on the burning, golden sands. I take a nice pleasant trek up to Kudle through thick brambles and open moors and I wade in the white sands until the sun starts to set. I walk back amidst the gathering darkness to Om Beach, walk all the way up to Half Moon and back again. As night descends around me, so does the peace, deeper inside me.

I need this. I can’t do without it. For the unfortunate, uninitiated and uninspired individuals, I recommend it. The only thing I get high on, when in Gokarna, is Gokarna itself.

Twilight Saga: Bella’s Revenge

For those of you who haven’t seen the Twilight Saga movies, here’s a quick update:

Twilight: There’s this girl who falls in love with a vampire.

Twilight – New Moon: This girl now falls in love with a werewolf.

Twilight – Eclipse: The vampire and werewolf fight over the girl, but eventually team up together to save her from other bad vampires who are hell bent on killing her for some obscure reason. The werewolf is so much cooler, but the stupid girl rejects him and continues to be in love with the vampire.

Great. Now that you’ve been brought up to speed on the three movies, here’s a sneak preview of the secret, unreleased book and movie. This story happens in between ‘Eclipse’ and the soon-to-be-released ‘Breaking Dawn‘.

We left off the last movie with Jacob, the werewolf, lying in a bed with his bones broken by an evil vampire. The girl, Bella Swan, sitting beside him and telling him that she chooses to be with Edward, the vampire. She then meets Edward and tells him that she’s ready to marry him. Stephanie Meyer did not want me to reveal this, but there were three distinct events that happened on the same day that Bella Swan agreed marry Edward. In chronological order, they are:

  1. Before leaving home that morning, Bella Swan would have poisoned her father’s coffee mug, dosing the rim with a peculiarly rare venom from a werewolf’s anus, hoping that it was the humane thing to do. She did not want him to die a painful death at the hands of an evil vampire. Little did she know that her father did not drink coffee. He only drank beer. If she had spent a little more time getting to know her father and a little less time with wild creatures, she would have known that he used the coffee mug as a vaginal alternative. Well, he did, and he developed a painful infection on his private parts and died of complications on the way to the ICU. Well, she accomplished her job, but it definitely wasn’t the humane way to go.
  2. Bella’s classmates at Forks High had been mean to her in the third movie, calling her deranged and stupid, questioning her integrity and her character. So, to exact her revenge on them, Bella tells Edward after agreeing to marry him, that she’ll only do it if he kills the four assholes in school for being mean to her. Edward jumps at the opportunity to taste human blood, and ambushes the four students in a dark alley behind the local movie theater and rips them apart. He literally eats them up and drinks their blood. There is no evidence left at the scene and very little blood splatter. For obvious reasons.
  3. Owing to the particularly heavy meal that night, Edward the vampire develops a bad stomach ache and goes into the woods to take a dump. In his discomfort, he does not realize that he is knee-deep in his own shit in werewolf territory. Jacob the werewolf, gets his scent, and despite the broken bones, attacks him viciously. It’s a battle to the death and at the end of an hour, both the vampire and the werewolf lie next to each other, broken, bruised and gasping for their last breaths. Bella comes out of the shadows, smiles vilely at them both and shoots them in the head.

Stephanie Meyer could not reveal these incidents as they would have put an end to the ridiculous franchise. Instead, she built up a cock-and-bull story of how Bella gets pregnant and … Oh, I almost killed the suspense of the last movie. Go, pay your hard-earned money and watch it for yourselves, but trust me, it’s a falsification of the facts. It’s sensationalism of the truth. It’s pure and unadulterated yellow journalism.

Nefarious, Investigator-Kidnapping Horror From The Isolated Labyrinth

This isn’t a name of an upcoming movie or a third-rate novel being written by someone purporting to be a novelist. This will be my name if and when I become a vampire for a day.

I have been having some really strange urges in the past few weeks because of the monotony in my life. There have been times when I thought I’d just give in and do something stupid. I toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo, and though this urge still hasn’t died completely, I’m beginning to discover reasons why a tattoo would be a bad idea. I contemplated writing for money in a random blog competition and I did. I contemplated quitting my job and working in a bar as a bartender, but I found out that a basic bar-tending course in India costs a hand, a foot and a few hairs from a ‘special’ place. Too expensive, in short. And finally, I started a subtle rebellion against the society at large to excite me out of my monotony and jumped to the idea of vampirism.

It wasn’t a direct jump, though. I did decide to worship the devil and invoke him through a satanic ritual on me terrace. I bought some candles, drew a rough circle with table salt and drew a six-pointed star inside the circle with red water paint. I put candles at all the nodes and sat in the middle and had a smoke. That’s when the foolishness of what I was about to do struck me. “This will never work,” my brain told me. “You have to be naked for this to work.”

Given that my neighbor is an old pervert peep, I dropped the idea of nudity and jumped to a safer alternative which does not involve any indecent exposure. Vampirism.

I did some research online and found that there was a cult right here in Bangalore! I was way too excited. I read up some of their forums and found out all I needed to find out about them. I was hooked. Imagine a bunch of jobless idiots dressed in black, wearing black makeup and standing around drinking wine (imagining it to be blood) and having casual, unprotected sex! I would fit right in. Except that I don’t drink wine and that I usually prefer a contraceptive. Usually.

Still, the idea has some merit and I am seriously thinking of signing up for a week or so. I would rebel against society in my own way and I would dress completely in black while doing so. Awesome! I would also need to buy plastic fangs to make it look like I can suck blood right out of the aorta of a poor, helpless, sexy woman at night. I would be able to transform into a bat at will and I will be able to control hordes of rats and wolves and other undead creatures.

I would be the Nefarious, Investigator-Kidnapping Horror from the Isolated Labyrinth! (Imagine this with the slushing sounds of blood being slurped through a straw.)

PS: For those of you who have realized that my name is actually an acronym for the title of this post, I have a treat. I won’t suck your blood.

PPS: This post is written in red color. Request you to please imagine that this is written in blood. Well, its actually maroon. So, imagine this is clotted and congealed blood.

Image Courtesy: http://spicyvampirefiles.wordpress.com