Saturday, 31 December 2011

a Curtain Call

Compliments of the season! Been a while it has. For me, December was by far the most fun month this year. From a fancy pair of Bose head phones for my 20th (thanks mum) to grooving some sick beats at an otherwise boring C’mas eve midnight mass and the one thing I’ve prayed for all year long- bringing in Christmas with a certain special someone. Secret Santas did their bit to spread the cheer and brandy sales did reach an all time high all through last week and I would faithfully tune into Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen and drown in the festive vibe of the deco, food and well, it’s Nigella (lol)!

But as 2011 draws to a close and as the world reminisces each month gone by, the fondest memory I will take with me is the day I started ‘Turn Her n Smooch’. I am not much of a well pruned writer, no journalism nerd, hell I hate to read… but venting my thoughts out here is by far the best thing that happened this year coz this blog is the one place I can be me without being someone else. I want to thank each and every reader who has ever read through my blog, right from the first to the latest. My apologies if my stuff wasn’t good enough, but I appreciate the fact that you took the trouble to browse through, but I promise I’ll get better. Thanks for all the critiques and comments in the past five months…meant a lot.

Have a kick arse New Year’s Eve and have a great 2012! Happy New Year!

Thanks a ton,

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My Teen Checklist...sorta

Before you read any further, I should warn you that this article is sorely inspired by and dedicated to the life in times of the most formative period in a guy’s life as he claws his way through teenage hood. So needless to say, it’s going to be messy, disgusting, shameless, uncut and Sex’ified, so viewer discretion is advised. I’ll be 20 this December and as my Teen joy ride is coming to its inevitable stop, I’d like to take some time off and reminisce a few moments in the course of the past 7 years that made it all worthwhile. Sure it’s not going to coincide with what everyone reading probably went through, but at least a few definitely will.

Well, we (men) all did grow beards (up and down). A possible measure of a man, I somehow never quite was intimidated by guys with ‘macho’ moustaches or funky goatees; they kinda seemed hideous at the time. The first time I ever used a razor was much like my very own Bar mitzvah. Didn’t mean much back then, but looking back, it does bring a smile to my face. When I was around 15, a few guys in school just couldn’t stop fiddling with the half decent grown tufts of hair under their chin and not to mention the sudden craze to have these intricately paved side locks tapering off your ears. But for the sane non wannabe breed, we let the testosterone do the trick so yea…GROW A BEARD…check!

Most of us, especially me, tripped a lot, not to weed but music. My dad loved old country classics and most of the cassettes he collected sounded like these old cowboy dudes, sitting in a rocking chair out on the porch, a guitar in hand, they’d smoke a cigarette and sing about their horse or may be some honky tonk dame. Not much variety so to speak. The 90’s sure were dominated by the Backstreet boys and pop culture really wasn’t my cup of tea. I needed to find a genre that appealed to me, something I could listen to and relate to, my dojo music so to speak. I found it the first time I listened to Maroon 5. Now once you’re smitten by the music bug, just listening isn’t good enough. First you learn an instrument and play a song you love, then you wanna play it better than the original and soon you wanna write your own songs. This was the next phase of my teen years-starting a band. I played my first official gig when I was 16 and I remember screwing up a guitar solo and starting my vocal on a wrong key. But hell, the first time I walked on stage, the lights, the smoke machines, the crowd going insane…that’s something I’ll never forget. Over the past 7 years, music has been my escape from the ruts of reality and looking back I remember my first guitar lesson when I was 5, my fingers were sore from holding down the strings and my dad said “kiddo one day, it’ll be all worth it”…guess my dad was right…again. Now, I do the keys for a band called Ever Undecided (check us out on YouTube)…so yea…START A BAND…check!

Everything was going as per the Teen checklist- my hormones were going berserk; the word ‘funk’ was no longer a bad word so I guess I was finally ready to move to phase three. Guys, when we were say 15, most of us finally understood why things got HARD when we’d watch a slow mo Pamela Anderson wobbling and bouncing…uh…I meant running down a beach. Our reactions to a really hot dame on TV started with an initial giggle or a gasp and soon gave way to what Borat fans would refer to as a lil hand party. As the taboo status of sex in India was starting to wear off, so was my curiosity and not to mention fantasies. But once the initial involuntary hormone adrenaline spazzed out, as I matured so did my respect for women. But honestly, the hand parties felt damn good…LOL…so yea CONQUER SEXUAL FANTASIES…check!

On a more serious note, toward the latter half of any boy’s teen hood, he finally starts thinking  like a man and no matter how brief they may be, he has his moments when he actually gives his future a serious thought. We tend to develop keen feelings and bonds toward people, bonds that we make based on our judgments, one of them being love. Now most Teen shrinks and experts would claim that we-Teenagers, don’t completely understand the universal concept of love. Yea that might be true, but for a teen’s take on love, I did ok. I was head over heels this really amazing girl for almost 3 years. How did work out for us in the end? Well, we had our moments. But were we happy? Yes, very. We aren’t together anymore, but the time that we spent together, is something no one can take away from me, it’s something you have to experience to believe, it’s something playing by the rules doesn’t offer. Today, I respect her more than ever though sometimes I miss her, really a lot. So yea, I knew an amazing girl, fell in love, she changed my world….MY FIRST GIRLFRIEND…check!

Now since we spend a chunk of our teen years educating ourselves, the buddies we make through school and college are the ones that stick for life. And out of the lot, you have one bro or soul sister that looks out for you no matter what. He either goes on to be your best man or she stuns a congregation as your hot maid of honor. In my case, I’m blessed with both. When I was 4 I got into my first brawl with this guy on the school bus and things got pretty messy. He scratched my face, I almost broke his finger and today he is my brotha from another motha. He told me not to give out his name, so for further reference, let’s call him the Bear Jew (lol, now he’s gonna kick my ass alright). The Bear Jew never had second thoughts when it came to being my partner in crime. Even when we were occasionally busted, he would never shy off and rat on me. He’s the only one that believed me when I claimed to have met Captain Kirk of Star Command. He sure is the brother I never had and my best pal. As for the maid of honor, my bumchum dudette could really make Wayne Rooney look obsolete with her fancy soccer skills. A stone cold Tomboy, she put on her first pair of soccer studs before she played with her first doll. One of the few people I know who think from their hearts, she’s always been there to punch me in the shoulder on those gloomy off days. Most teen dames flip for a sore dark circled Vampire (in your face Pattison), but she adores Spain’s legendary forward- Raul (Rooney’s better though :P). All in all, I’m blessed with both the Bear Jew and my soccer dudette, coz they’ve always had my back no matter what. (*fistpump guys)…FIND DIE HARD PAL…check!

When it comes down to crunch time, every teenager has to fend for himself. It is important to find yourself your own skill set that will get you through if things don’t wind up the way you thought they would. Your education, your degree, your scholarships are add-ons to your armor but you need a plan B just in case. Realistic folk say that you ‘have to love what you do’ while the ambitious lot tell you to ‘do what you love’, neither really matter. A degree from a fancy University alone isn’t going to guarantee a lavish future, coz sooner or later everyone hits a dead end. It’s how you react when you’re pushed, that defines you. I learned that the hard way. For guys like me who have a tendency to get involved in whole lot of stuff other than what’s prescribed, ‘clicking off’ (as my dad puts it) becomes really hard. So either you get a few things off your plate or you build a bigger appetite; the latter is harder, trust me. I’m still working on my plan B for the future…but hell, CHART OUT A PLAN B FOR LIFE…check!

As for my check-list, I did ok, apart for one thing that’s not it…in the words of Barney Stinson, I say a Bang bang bangeddy bang a bang bang bageddy bang…(deep breath)…I got 2 months more, who knows…I just might get lucky…

The recent Nokia ads on Young Dramas are really cliché and over rated. Being a teenager is a lot more than sneaking into a club or having a ridiculous debate about shoes. Yea, the parties, the booze, the road trips, the weed, the brawls, the heartbreak is an integral part of teen hood but people or should I say the ‘grown ups’ leave out the transformation in the psyche of a boy as he becomes a man. My teen checklist isn’t full proof nor shrink certified, but I hope it had at least one criteria you could relate to dear reader. Coz honestly, your teen years are the best 7 years of your life.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Happy you?

Any comic book fans reading? Please check out the new trailer of the ‘Avengers’ on YouTube, if you haven’t already. The Iron Man vs Captain America puns are epic. Moving on…

Birthdays, the one day everybody- young or old, secretly or openly looks forward to. As we get greyer with each year, the enthusiasm invested into looking forward to our next cake only increases. It’s that day of the year we are officially bailed, out of our chaotic routines and even your worst enemy puts on a smile and gives you a hug. So whether you throw a flamboyant party and do tequila shots to karaoke music or laze on a beach with your girl and some Jack on the rocks, nothing in the world gets the lil kid in each of us up and happy than our birthday.
The funny thing about your birthday, dear reader, is that not only is it your special day but also a day marked out on the calendars of everyone who really cares about you. And the joy that you brought the day you were born, well it’s your friends and family that reminisce that feeling of happiness year after year just for you.

Now as most would agree, college is the one place the most insane yet innovative forms of wishing someone originate. Be it a stripper in a cake or an acapella quartet under your dates window, from lingerie as a sexy 17 gift to printed boxers for your panzy room mate, it’s that day of the year jocks don’t mind the nerds and the girls find the guy who got an A+ in math cute. A really good friend of mine turned 20 this Monday and prepping her a big surprise is something my gang will never forget. You make plans, you alter them keeping in mind how the birthday boy or girl will react, you brainstorm for gifts, ditch classes to go shopping, but the final expression of a happy surprised WTF you see on their face, priceless, not to mention totally worth it.

It’s also that one day you really can indulge in a little narcissism and look back at what you’ve achieved in the year gone by. I’m not much of a philanthropist but believe it or not we tend to make more resolutions on our birthdays than on New Year’s Eve and the ones we make on our day, we actually keep. You might be a billionaire or small time sales guy, on your birthday, everybody feels worth a million bucks and things really seem to go your way.

As for my pal, she kinda is every one’s sweetheart and normally spearheads the surprise plans for all our Big days; so this time, we thought we’d make her birthday this year, one she’ll never forget. Sure we had differences in opinions and the occasional argument planning the gifts and stuff, but in the end when we seen her face light up, it felt really good.

Birthdays are special. So if you dear reader are looking at the clock at 11.59pm on the eve of your birthday, just remember that there are in fact a whole lot of people that love you and are staring down the clock with you, waiting to tell you how much you mean to them. And for what it’s worth when it does strike 12, Happy Birthday dear reader…lotsa love Yorrick.  

Friday, 7 October 2011

We've lost our Jobs

First Eve, then Newton and centuries later Steve Jobs, the mystery of the Apple continues…It marked the birth of sin, cracked the Gravity code and in my lifetime, it gave us the iPod. As the world mourns the demise of its iCon, I try to wrap my head around a world without Jobs. He was my ‘look up to’ guy so to speak. When I jogged around the park today morning, I subconsciously flipped out my iPod, popped the earphones in but before I hit play, I looked up to the sky; do you think Steve, in his black T shirt might be chilling out with God, sipping some heaven lemonade going “Yo God, you know that lil thing he’s holding, I designed that…”.

Buzz and Woody from Toy Story
His famous speech at the 2005 Stanford Graduation commencement ceremony pretty much says it all. Be it the calligraphy classes he sat for at Reed College, the long walks to the Hare Krishna temple where he got one decent meal a day (coz he had dropped out of college), his tryst with Buddhism and his epic battle with Cancer, Steve Jobs was pushed all his life, but like he said “sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick, don’t lose faith, you’ve got to find what you love”. He gave the world Woody and Buzz as Pixar today is making every kid’s dreams come true.

Well, most know him as a Sultan of Silicon Valley, few know Steve Jobs the man. Put up for adoption as a baby, he was a family guy, a loving husband, an extremely private and humble colleague, a considerate businessman, a legend. Most people woo and cheer a win, not many offer the effort any solace, not Steve. He believed that you define the measure of a man not by the wars he’s won but by the scars he was inflicted with. All is formative years, he was victim of adversity yet he kept the faith and lived happily with his wife and children, and he was a doting barbeque burger flipping dad too.

Today he’s no more but his legacy continues…As a baby, put up for adoption, as a boy, fired form his own company, as a man, fought cancer, as a legend, he gave the world Apple. In a world of non believers, he found what he loved and changed the world. And he did it in a simple black T shirt…Have fun in heaven Steve…

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Are we Indians becoming hypocrites?

Before I get to it, I’ve gotta admit that the whole of last week, I couldn’t stop wondering who the hell is Barney’s bride going to be after all. I mean after season 6 ended with Nora and 7 opened with a Stinson- Robin tango, I was a little confused. What happened to ‘I only have ONE RULE…Never do a sexy tango with your ex’? (Unless she’s HOT). And since a friend of mine found out that ‘How I met your mother’ now has confirmation for another 3 seasons, it’s gonna be a really long and annoying wait until we finally get to met Mrs. Ted Mosby. But hell, Paris Hilton does seem to mind, as our media are busy ranting on her. The delicate fussy blonde that she is, she ‘cutely’ demanded that people take her seriously coz she considers herself to be a serious business woman. Aha, no wonder the Sensex shot up like 400 points.

So as the roller coaster ride the country was on all through September comes to a halt, I couldn’t help but notice the transformation in the psyche of today’s Aam Admi. A majority who not so long ago, gloated about having a one of a kind intellectual prime minister with a vision, is now using Dr. Manmohan Singh for target practice as it fires all the bottled up grief via issues the opposition so willingly bring up. As for us -India’s youth, like a Mexican wave, a sense of urgency and contradictory unrest surged through the every dude and dudette whose opinions added a whole new perspective to the likes of Anna’s campaign that left the government aghast. With every recent RTI launched, every small issue blown wide open via the media and as the ‘Youth’ sector ups the ante, are we turning to the dark side in our quest to better the system?  Now I’m not against change, in fact I support the fact that we finally have the guts to stand up and fight the wrongs in our country. But even though the recent string of events have worked for us, aren’t we over doing it with the whole Anti-Government sentiment that is rampant in India’s majority today? Are we slowly becoming hypocrites?

Firstly, I’d like to make myself very clear. I’m not saying that the Government has a clean slate nor am I saying they’re outright hoodlums that we are recently portraying our various ministers to be. That may sound diplomatic, but cmon go with it, it’s politics. We expect them to come through all the time despite all the serious allegations we blatantly impose on them. Most people and our ‘esteemed’ Opposition leaders play the ‘democracy card’ slyly trying to elude the crux of what a democracy really means. I won’t quote laws from the Constitution coz honestly I know none (accurately) and neither do most of the billion people I call my countrymen. For a year that started rather well (mine did not…reasons don’t matter) all it took was a rainy August, a senior citizen in a ‘topi’ and a 15 day fast and we overlooked almost 5 years of progress. For the sadistic critics who might sulk when I say ‘progress’, how should I put this delicately, ‘a finger out of a fist’ to you all. We underline the lows and forget the highs, it’s the way of the world, I know that, but can we for a moment stop worrying about our bucket list of things we need to get done and take a minute off and think about say the man running the show…Dr. Manmohan Singh. The guy cuts through a by-pass surgery and is back in office the next week signing some major deal that probably might have panned out good for the country. At a time when America hit rock bottom, our economy sailed through and the government’s strong economic policies are still keeping the boat steady. But no, we still have a land scam to complain about…?

Things are getting so out of hand, that we aren’t even cutting India’s magnum opus-‘The Indian Cricket Team’ any slack. They won us ‘the Cup that matters’ this April and by the time we lost the first Test match against England, we wanted their heads. Speaking of sports, we reached an all time low when we finally admitted how hypocritical we actually are when the brave heroes of the Indian Hockey Team were crowned Asia’s champions. The epic battle between the IHF and Hockey India raged on while the sport bore the brunt, as usual. Against this heart wrenching back drop, our boys got us home. And what was proposed in their honor, a humiliating 25,000 bucks. I’m guessing that’s how much a cricketer spends a day on tour. Not to mention Sachin Tendulkar and the essence of hypocrisy. As he moved into his new dream home earlier this week, I can’t help but wonder what exactly was on his mind in England; a win or that infamous century, Bresnan eluded him off? Earlier this month, Messi fever hit the country and suddenly football fanatics came out of hiding in anticipation of the first international friendly we’ve ever hosted. The hype and excitement gripped sponsors all over and somewhere in a little Football Federation office was the ‘THUD’ of a dusty box file with documents of India’s soccer woes opening. O no, let’s blame the government…or better still, fast…?

Next up, the youth. In India, getting into the IITs is dream only a few privileged students see coming true; I kinda went crazy myself preparing for the JEE. IITians are smart, there’s no denying that, but they can be real douche bags at times. Most of them are really sore losers that just can’t accept defeat at anything, willingly. Things seemed hunky dory when Mr. Kapil Sibal defended the premier institutes and even proposed another outlook with getting the IITs to teach medicine. But just last week I read about the bitter disgust the students at IIT-Bombay felt when the same minister thought of scrapping the entrance test better known as the IIT-JEE; so much so that they boycotted their classes last Friday. ‘If we had to go through with it, so should the students that follow’- that seemed to be the line of thought of the…should I say ‘mature’ IIT-B breed. Facebook soon had an anti-Kapil Sibal page that show cased rather retarded recommendations from a few more disgruntled selfish nerds. Getting a darn BE degree at a reputed college at the cost of your humane side that doesn’t hesitate to bring a person down? ...No thanks.

O hey, it’s not like the non IIT students are any saints. The world deems us to be a rebellious lot that has no definitive objective. And most of the times we prove them right. A government that has opened heaps of horizons with educational reforms at the school and university levels, they have made us the ‘Indian Student’ a force to reckon with. We pretend to be sloshed booze guzzlers when we crib about the legal drinking age being raised but the lousy truth is that a vast majority of college students can’t even down a pint of beer. It’s not the restrictions on alcohol that bothers us, it’s just that the liberties we enjoy today has made us so thick skinned that we’ve forgotten what it means to do what we’re told. Look back at the past couple of years, we can stand up for a right cause and we have. Today the youth is empowered more than ever as we initiate change, steer growth and do our bit. Young MLAs run cities and youth MPs fight for our rights while we just go through a day at college. The government has given us a rope, we don’t mind yanking at it but when they get a lil stringy with us, all hell breaks loose.

With the recent buzz around the proceedings over the 2G scam, the Opposition is having a field day churning out charges against the Government. The other day, I was in a local train. Amid the sweaty men brushing against each other and the whiffs of sticky damp armpits (eww…yea I feel the same way typing it too), two men were having a conversation about how Sonia Gandhi isn’t a true Indian. I mean cmon, were in 2011 people. It’s that exact school of thought that’s slowing the country down. Since the day I was born till date, when you say Sonia Gandhi to me, all that comes to my head, is a really strong determined lady in a saree doing a namatse over her head to a crowd of people and delivering a powerful speech, one that’s soaked with what we refer to as Indian-ness. She is the master mind behind the Congress that has largely benefitted India. What more does that woman need to do?

All in all, India is changing. In the words of the great visionary, Ali G (west zide iz de bezt) lets all keep it real. We are soaring to huge highs and hitting unimaginable lows, all in our bid to…I’d say be happy, but honestly, our bid to make more money. All through this article I often referred to the myself and the people I was offending (LOL) as ‘WE’; and that way I’m trying not to be hypocritical at least to you, my fellow reader, my fellow Indian, my brother or sister…ah cancel out sister…

The government isn’t against us and if we really want to make a difference, let’s start my keeping in mind the ups before we criticize the downs coz at the end of the day they’re human and hey, we elected em. Let’s not be hypocrites and curse them just to clear our marred conscience, instead let’s stand by them and help the government make India a better place. I still believe in the government of today…Will you?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Jack of all trades OR Master of one

Contradictory to the original English adage, the title to this article seems more realistic, at least to me. Lemme explain how…When my dad was a kid, novels and comics were the most sort after forms of indoor entertainment apart from the gentleman’s sport called ‘ गोटी’ or marbles. Be it cowboy stories or Rudlum classics, they enthralled kids back in the day and gave them something to believe in. The good guys in each of those stories were these ‘know it all’, ‘been there done that’ dudes who at the end of the day rode off into the sunset with either bags of gold or a really hot latino damsel in distress. My dad doesn’t admit it, but I bet sometime in the course of his ‘black n white to color’ transforming childhood, he must have wanted to be the cowboy he so admired and adored. Not literally with horses and magnums but the whole ‘Be good at everything’ trait every muchacho he read about sported. Those were the 70s; but after the cowboys giddy-upped into history, the Beatles took over and then we had Elvis and the music revolution that followed. But the bottom line of any star that people looked up to with bated breath was the fact that they were damn good at something and that success rubbed on to other stuff. Gradually the common man no longer wanted to be the Jack of one trade. The good guys were now expected to be good at everything. Master of all…is it possible?

Take Captain Kirk for example. The dude was Star Fleets youngest commander and yet he had to take on flimsy Spacemen, become the fleet’s best navigator, hug a certain Vulcan (but Spock was epicJ) and hell he even managed to fly through a Black Hole once. I wonder what Steven Hawking has to say about that… (*computer voice “The universe is big…blah blah...”). 

I grew up alongside Harry Potter and honestly I got through high school faster than he learned *expeeecto patronum…! But even Potter was expected to do a whole lot of stuff other than just wizard voodoo. I always wondered why like a lousy pansy he’d faint immediately after he took out the bad guy, but I guess he needed a break. If the pressure of being the ‘boy who lived’ (LOL) wasn’t enough he had to be a pro Seeker, darn good at portions (that was thanks to Snape’s book but still…), beat the dark bald ‘you know who’, fall in love…twice, hectic don’t you think! But at Hogwarts he pulled it off, try doing it in the Muggle world Mr. Potter…

I’m ‘trying’ my hand at engineering and it’s by far the most agony inducing 4 years of academics a man can endure especially when you’ve got the Mumbai University watching your back. Any MU engineering undergrads reading, *fistpump. Regardless of what I was told before I got into it, I tried the same formula of all round awesomeness that I applied all through school. And how did that pan out…3 KTs in my first semester (facepalm). An audiophile that I am, gigs are an important part of my scheme of things and so are debates and publicity events and Musicals um…and Malhar…your getting it right! Also I was dating, so life seemed bliss. At the time, my girlfriend was way more sensible and mature than I ever was so she did her bit to keep me sane. They told me so, but I didn’t listen. A good all round student in school, I thought I could pull it off in college, man was I mistaken. You see much like the cowboys in my dad’s novels, Capt. Kirk or even Potter, when I got one thing right, people expected me to be good at other stuff too. And to be honest, I thought I could catch em all (“BULBASAUR…attack!”).

As a student, there comes a time when no matter how good you are at something, you begin to doubt yourself. Your friend’s opinions beg to differ but you just don’t feel right. There must have been times in the past when everything seemed gettable and nothing was beyond reach. You had belief and the will to slay any dragons along the way to get to your goal locked up in some god forsaken castle (Shrek moment alert). How do you describe that ball of stress in your tummy that just won’t let you fire up and reach for glory, something you would normally do? You’d be surprised how often this happens…in fact I’m going through a similar phase right now. When you achieve something noteworthy, something not a lot of people have tried their hand at, it feels good and makes you wanna go for more. Well at the time, it seems doable and since nothing succeeds like success, you go ahead and nail em all. Much like the old English Kings, you conquer kingdom after kingdom and soon you have an empire, a mighty one that too whose citizens love you. What you forget is keeping the people happy isn’t as easy as winning them over. When you’re good at a whole list of stuff, staying good at all of it is just impossible. I highlighted ‘all of it’ for a reason.

Now I’m not saying it’s bad to be an all rounder, in fact I urge people to try new stuff. It’s just that critics need to cut the good guys some slack. Just coz your good at something need not mean you can nail the other. And people need to realize that. We’re just busy hounding good students to be good musicians or killa musicians to get an A+ in Algebra or get a soccer forward to play the flute…WHY? I hate it when people compare your good traits to your bad ones and ask you to whisk the latter away with a meaningless explanation like “Beta, you play soccer so well and you got a C- in math, shame on you”…Sigh. A vocalist who topped the college can miss a goal in a match. That does not mean he’s not as committed to football as he is to his band or his books. Well that’s in his defense!

I am now talking to any of you readers who have been college reps at events, members of bands, debate team champions, parts of college teams, good students and all rounders who dared to defy the shackles of the system, follow your heart and do what you love. I have immense respect for each of you coz I kinda am the same breed. When you do something different, when you win, you try and make it a habit. And mind you, people notice. So it is natural for them to raise their level of expectations and matching up to that level every time, day in and day out is hard. They take no pause in criticizing you just as they didn’t hold back their applause. You may pull off an impossible save and keep everyone happy once or may be for years, but trust me, you will crack. The weight of being numero uno at a list of things is heavy and like holding a wet brick, your arms are going to cramp at some point. So hold on while you can, but gradually start clicking off and reducing the number of things on that list or the pressure will get to you. I realized this the hard way.

Now since I’m talking about a college scenario being the Jack of all trades in college is something everyone should try and achieve. I mean it’s awesome, you just can’t deny it. The attention, the popularity, the girls- every boys dream. Enjoy it, but don’t make it a way of life. If you’re good at something, stick with it, master it and don’t let people tell you different. Coz at the end of the day people remember you for what you achieved not what you tried out. Jack of all trades or Master of one…You choose…

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

6 Apps i wish the Samsung Galaxy Tab had

US Open ’11, Federer lost again! But Nadal followed suit, so I’m happy. The Djoker’s ripping serve, impossible service returns and his uncanny unpredictable on-court presence sure has made tennis forecasting even more difficult. Speaking of forecasting, far from Flushing Meadows, the number of Indian consumers surfing the TAB-loid wave has reached an all time high. Be it Apple’s beloved iPad or Samsung’s range of Tabloids and smart phones, the word ‘Android’ seems to be the most sort after product description feature. Now I for one am a hardcore indulgent Apple fan and my iTouch pretty much does the trick for me. But as the Tab revolution rallies its troops in India, it’s safe to say more and more computing giants have begun ‘Apple’-izing their toys. The features and Apps (short for Applications) that are loaded onto a Tab or smart phone, has rendered even the versatile Swiss army knife obsolete. But how cool really are Tabs? Can they tame all realms of realism? Well here are 6 Apps I wish the Samsung Galaxy tab had…(*I Photoshop'ed the pictures below myself and the modifications are original) 

1. Peek-a-Boo

Now, if James Bond has goggles that scan through clothing ‘checking for weapons’ (Yea right), imagine an app that could do it for you. Who knows you just as well might die another day.

2. Jarvis

O yea, Tony Stark aka Iron Man’s kickass artificial intelligence program that does most of the work behind the suit. Any boys dream, imagine how awesome it would be to have a similar system on your TAB, one that not only talks to you but has a gangsta attitude and a sarcastic spunk…
3. What the Fart

Like the iFart satires all over the internet how about an App that not only detects the stinky sly culprits around you, but also breaks down the contents of the wiff.

4. Autobot

Your TABs not gonna transform don’t worry; I’m not that unrealistic (but hell, what if it did). Picture this- your all cozy in the back seat of your car with your sweetheart and you just have to get somewhere. You can’t steer the car and a kiss all at once! Well, how about an App that drives your car while you take care of business (get what I mean). Your own personal Auto drive…

5. Wingman

Ahem, gentlemen, sometimes shady pickup lines back fire and you can’t always get her drunk. So let technology do it for you with an App that wings em straight toward you. For once you’ll know what she wants with the Wing-o-meter.

6. Cloudentity

Remember the last time you saw a cloud that so reminded you of something…Well, Cloudentity uses a high tech cross referencing system to narrow down those resemblances for you.

In conclusion, firstly I apologize for the rusty but original Photoshop work; it’s been a while since I used it. But just imagine a world with Apps like these. As Angry Birds replaced Monopoly, even kids today speak in ‘Tab’; The Nintendo of old is passé. The sky’s the limit for creative applications, so dare to dream and do comment with any brilliant ideas for revolutionary Apps. I’d love to hear them …;)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Decoding the Terrorism cipher

*Disclaimer: Sadly, no terrorists were harmed in the writing of this article… *

Firstly, happy Onam to any mallu readers!  Today morning, my neighbor-Mr. Iyer , came over with this massive bowl of payasam and as usual bragged about his absurdly nerdy son getting into some top notch B-school in the city and blabbered about how the building secretary should do something about the rick stand opposite my place coz Mr. Iyer’s pampered brat “Doesn’t get ann Otto to go to hees Yem Bee Yae Ko-liage”. Yenna Rascalla! Anyway, coming back…On this overcast and drippy Friday as the city wraps its lungees and some walk up to Mount Mary’s, the festivities sure are doing their bit to level out the ‘antagonizing turmoil’ the recent terror attacks added to the government’s woes. As I skimmed through today’s Times of India, I must say I was disgusted by the way the whole aftermath of the Delhi blast was portrayed. Dramatic pictures of a young Rishabh watching his father’s cremation or even a wounded niece consoled by her family as the doctors try to salvage her Uncle’s life. What is the media trying to convey? I’d say it’s an outrageous stint to let each reader re-live the blast; something that we honestly don’t need to be doing.

Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the horrific 9/11 twin tower disasters, US security forces take guard as the threat of an eminent attack has sent America hurling into flash back to those live news feeds of planes thrusting into the World Trade Centre. Ironic isn’t it, coz earlier this year Obama himself ‘suited up’ in a designer tux and proclaimed that America had done the world a favor by taking out Osama. The speculation that followed the mysterious ‘snatch n grab’ op those Navy Seals carried out on that moonless night in Abbottabad, probably could be one of the reasons that raised serious doubts in the minds of US investors. Well nearer to home, in terms of geopolitics, a new era began post the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The city cracked down on security flaws and the vested interests of most civilians was taken in hindsight. But alas, it was just that initial knee jerk adrenaline that saw a few additional cops around with visually bigger guns and what appeared to be camouflage bulletproof gear.

Russel Peters in one of his many brilliantly thought through pieces broke the ‘Arab’ stereotype and left an American audience stunned when he rubbished the ‘crazy terrorist’ notion most people have about Arabs. If you look closely, terrorists aren’t that hard to figure out. Now most people portray them as these religious fanatics, clad in black, a chequerred cloth around their faces just revealing their blood shot eyes, an AK-47 in their hands and them going ‘Akhllllamada kallldh…Boom’. Their motives are wrong, agreed, but the code they live by, is something India’s cops should admire and if possible adopt. I don’t mean strapping 5 blocks of C4 to your chest and blow up a criminal hideout but the sheer dedication these menaces have. Beating a terrorist on his home turf isn’t too hard. Coz believe it or not they are freakishly dumb and some, certified nincompoops. Oh, I almost forgot cyber terror. God, terrorists can be stupid. Sending a threatening email is like the height of how naïve terror groups are today. Counter Terrorism isn’t about fighting fire with fire; it’s about dousing a raging inferno and Obama’s glorious ‘Operation Geronimo’ has just pissed off a whole new generation of terrorists. Graduating from terror school is just as hard as getting into the IITs or the IIMs. But ask yourself how smart really is a terrorist. Well it may shock you, but wiki leaks reveal major terror screw ups that for once didn’t cost lives. America sure is the land of Burger King, Hollywood and Playboy but their premier universities, am sorry to say have educated most of the world’s terrorists. Wonder what graduation day for a terrorist batch would be like… But the truth remains coz in the nuclear winter like aftermath of the failed US economic policies as countless Americans try and claw out of bankruptcy, terrorism is again ringing her death knell as the 11th of September draws near.

In India too, days after Delhi bled, where do we stand today? How safe really are our cities? Trust me; better weapons for our cops will only blanket a sudden outburst. We need a kickass intel group that just focuses on tapping the hell out of suspects and going down right CIA style espionage with them. Our computer grids and networks with game-boy like security firewalls lure hackers in. With most of our defense secrets out on the internet, each time we buy a new ‘Star Trek’-like tech loaded jet, the media blows the story to the world, defeating the whole purpose of the bold CONFIDENTIAL stamp on military tactics.

 I was in the bus the other day and this guy reading a news paper was gloating about an article on Katy Perrys’s pair of soft luscious massive…ahem…(go ahead, Google her)…and right next to that retarded article, read a headline “IAF secures stealth bomber”…that guy didn’t even look at it. The government is trying to do its bit; coz in an enormous country like ours twined in a maze of streets and villages it’s near to impossible to have a camera monitoring every corner. So instead of crying foul why not stop acting dumb and craving for more attention which the media like sly wolves are just waiting to unleash. Coz they sometimes are doing it at the risk of national security.

In the words of Mr. Iyer “We mallus are Yevery where, call cenders, muldi naashionelle kompaanis, you nyame it“, kudos to the malayalies ya. Must say. They’ve beaten everyone to it. I always feel if our country could be run just the way Mr. Iyer runs his household, we’d have out a man on Pluto by now. There always is something ravishingly pleasant and euphemism-ically speaking laid-back about any mallu family not to mention the strong smell of coconut oil you get when you step into their houses. They are never too critical and tend to see the bright side of everything. Now that’s something the majority of India’s society just can’t do. We just gape with dropped jaws at the facts and suspect which side the spinning top of a problem may land instead of tipping it over and ending the pointless wait. So why not try a mallu approach with terrorism too; instead of the regular charade - The media blows the news out of proportion, the opposition erupts in the immediate session of parliament quiet ‘photogenically’ if I must add, out of the blue you find articles on CCTV cameras flooding print media, a few exclusive interviews on prime time news with the home minister or in synch with the ‘In-thing’, some random guy starts fasting in his quest to become a newly minted Gandhi. Where is Anna Hazare by the way…?

Loosing someone you love is never easy. Terrorism has a gory reality no amount of humor can mask. First Mumbai and now as the terror masterminds proudly cross out Delhi from their story boards they do it not with traditional red felt but with the blood of the innocent victims whose lives they ruthlessly took. As the country tries to switch on the festive mood and fight back, picking up the pieces after every bomb that went off, India marches on. But unless the domestic problems and petty differences are sorted out, the terrorists will always have a field day. They aren’t geniuses or indestructible soldiers. We can beat them but only if we save the country from ourselves first. But it is the true grit and zest of an Indian that no terrorist bomb can blow away. My heart goes out to the victims' families in Delhi. Keep the faith, keep fighting back!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

“But dude, I can’t defend…!"

That’s what our now college team striker Duane told the coach at soccer trials two years back. It paid off, coz he went on to score in crucial championship games bringing us home more often than not.

It’s funny how many lessons in life you can learn through sports. Be it the nerve racking patience and concentration of a golfer who birdies his way one stroke at a time, the killer instinct of a rookie boxer, an F1 driver sucking up the stomach twisting G-Forces at sharp corners, a 6 foot muscle-clad brawn-imposing dude dunking the hell out of a Spalding basketball or even a soccer forward curving a seemingly impossible angled ball way past the keeper into a now fluttering net. Offensive discourse as sport analysts put it is surprisingly the success story behind many a Wayne Rooney, a certain Shaq or even a really kinky Tiger Woods. These guys today are legends who’ve accomplished heaps and the resounding similarity with all of them is the fact that their playbooks had offensive plan As and few or no defensive plan Bs. But it worked! Well Salman, Anna and Naseer sure are the brave new additions to this cult.

In the blue corner, weighing in a staggering 120 pounds, unbeaten in two general elections, thrashed the BJP via direct knock out, the ‘Turbanator’- MANMOHAN SINGH! 
In the red corner, weighing in a competitive 100 pounds, an amateur with heart, aka the Gandhi of the 21st century, the man with the farmer fists- ANNA HAZARE.

Needless to say it was a revolutionary bout, nothing short of an Ali-Frazer rematch; one that lasted almost two weeks and is still far from final resolution. What started as a lone man’s quest to get a bill passed transformed into a nationwide cry against corruption. Was it called for? Most say yes, I say no. All it did was befuddle an audience much like Inception and it made them suspect a possible end and they eventually picked a side. Frankly I’m sick off all the speculation and it’s about time the ‘I am Anna’ human billboards got back to their old lives. Anna Hazare did the country a favor and pushed for anti corruption, agreed, but I bet he never fathomed the uproar he fuelled. So much like an egoistic football striker he left the midfield aka the country, whirl pooling in debate while he waited for that one cross to score. I never quiet was pro Anna, but the way he went about giving a shit about what the world felt kinda got to me. He wasn’t a defensive guy so to speak. He’d always draw first blood be it with Kiran Bedi singing on the dais or him chatting with Amir Khan who randomly squatted next to him. Like a con artist he sold an idea to his ‘supporters’ and it was their questionable belligerence that helped him make his ninja puff-of-smoke getaway. He even went offensive (not literally) through the media as their camera crews swarmed their lenses over the crowds during the entire fiasco. A cabbie who paid a 250 buck bribe just to get his permit renewed suddenly became the face of what a certain prime time reporter called ‘the 2nd freedom struggle’. Dude…seriously..! Anna’s movement really got to most people so much so, when I was stuck at Bandra station during one of those protester rallys, a group of irate women perched on the ground when the cops asked them to leave and yelled ‘ye andhar ki baat hai, police hamare saath hai’ (LOL). And astonishingly they kept getting louder each time a cop tried to move them. So in like the next 15 minutes, half of the massive crowd at the station hilariously ranted at the cops. That’s what Anna achieved. Here’s a 61 year old man fighting a country’s democratic policy instead of getting cozy near a fire place on his rocking chair. Must say, he just can’t defend…

Salman Khan, a genre in himself. Rumor has it Robin Hood turned in his grave the day Dabangg released. And while I write this, his candid admirers are on a high with the stupendous success of his latest ‘Bodyguard’ where he plays a familiar Kevin Costner’s doppelganger in an old south Indian movie remake. The Salman hangover surged through the country yet again all through last week and the fans are still loathing multiplexes. Though it really is quiet a ridiculous typical Sallu movie, the actor in his own, made it work this time even flexing his biceps to a beat (try that Shiamak). So I hear that his latest venture completes his 100 crore movie hat-trick but the question remains- what makes the fans accept this once prodigal son? I’d say Offensive discourse! Now be it Lovely Singh or the ‘dhinchak’ Chulbul Pande, pretty similar roles if you look at them. Yet Sallu, sets out to kickass-iffy the job of a boring security guard or a corrupt cop with the same zest and flamboyance that Christopher Reeves probably had when he played Superman.

In recent years, be it humor, drama or gravity defining action, the actor has delivered in his own style. Another thing I’ve noticed is the way a Sallu release comes just time to rescue the aam aadmi from a seemingly uneasy phase. Dabangg was the perfect cocktail to calm a pointless Baba Ramdev fever and today with millions of w’ANNA’bes still sporting their white topees, his Bodyguard is just what this country needs to take some time off from the action packed last couple of weeks. Sallu Bhai is an offensive forward waiting to score; he don’t defend.

The Indian Cricket today is having a really rough run both on and off the field. Sore from the Test series debacle, Dhoni and Co are trying to recoup fast to make a stand in the ODIs (I hope). But the one thing that has always bothered Indian cricket is its fielding. It’s a  known fact few of us care to bring out, but when a known Brit calls our fellow countryman a ‘donkey’ on live TV, yea that gets our attention. It’s funny the number of controversies Nasser Hussain has been a part of. In his latest donkey-gate splat, he once again rubbed Indian fans the wrong way. This came days after his embarrassing roe with fellow commentator Ravi Shastri. Now it is a matter of concern the way Nasser has over the years been prejudiced against Indian players with his hard hitting ‘opinions I am paid to give’. 

There comes a time when old on field unresolved issues seem less daunting but getting back at a team that screwed you over, well that’s just ‘sad and sadistic and sorry to say sissy’ (o hey tongue twister alert…). You don’t just rat out at players like that especially in India. But I wonder what Harsha was doing when Nasser threw his donkey fit...Well some things never change. Yet another example of dudes who can’t hold back, but Nasser is more of the flopside to this.

So while Sallu’s fans ‘Feel the powerrrr’ of Bodyguard, as Nasser deals with his deprived childhood issues and good old Anna recovers from playing Gandhi, I’m gonna call Duane, need to ask him if he’ll cover for the injured defender, but I think you know what he’ll say…;)

Thursday, 1 September 2011


I’ve always wondered what makes a special operations soldier so bad ass. A recruit runs for almost 6 hours a day followed by intense combat training exercises and the all important hours at the shooting range. Much like marines in camouflage battling tanks and blazing bullets, we civilians, survive the brutal war zone each Metropolitan city blasts wide open, coz in a sea of democracy, diplomacy is one fish that just doesn’t take the bait. You need your own Shield of Achilles to help you push through and survive. The bond between a soldier and his rifle is what the blue dudes in Avatar describe as ‘Tahelyu’, once made, the rifle and the soldier are one…of course…the Avatars with absurdly long pony tails bonded with these dinosaur-dragon cross breed creatures but in dark skinned ‘man’ language- the gun saves your ass. “…My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless”, these are a few lines from what the US army refers to as a ‘Rifleman’s Creed’, the code he must live by to stay alive. In urban warfare, more often than not you hit a dead end, are pinned down and are taking fire. You need someone to get you out or a bazooka to blast your way out of your sorrowful, sometimes guilty abyss. A couple of years ago when I was way behind college enemy lines; lost and outa ammo in a gloomy damp July, ‘twas a Saturday as I recall, I made the ‘Rifleman’s Creed’. I found my shield of Achilles, my Cheryl.

It was pouring that day and we caught ourselves waiting out the lashing shower under this old barn shed. Now Cheryl was new in town so we hadn’t quiet ‘broken the ice’. Yea, it was a little awkward the first time our eyes met. A wreck at the time, I really didn’t make quiet a smooth first impression. But there was something about her that saw right through me but she didn’t say a word. Her eyes, deep and sublime yet brown and indulgent; her cheeks, not too puffy but jiggled gently when she’d smile; a light tint of mascara smudged onto her skin. Her lips were moist and had a natural creamy glossy feel as I hoped she’d nervously smack them (ok… she was HOT). She had a black over coat on which she soon unzipped and like a loose fruit skin, the coat peeled down slowly, all the way to her feet. My throat gulped in eye rubbing disbelief as I saw her in this sexy beige outfit. A lit orange bulb in the barn, gave her silk-like dress this summer sheen as the fabric wrapped around her delicate bosom and curved along her toned waist. A lil drop of rain brushed her forehead as it trickled down her cheeks caving its way down her tender neck deep into her heaving... (36C…I guess). After shamelessly ogling her, I walked up to her, looked her dead straight in eyes, twitched my eyebrows and said “hi, I’m Yorrick”. She didn’t flinch.

 I was having a really rough run at the time. My parents, who’ve always been extremely supportive, did their bit to try and keep me afloat; but nothing seemed to click; I was still off my game. Call it raging testosterone, I just wasn’t playing my cards right. I was bleeding chips; be it with my grades, the band, I lost this all important job interview and my best friend was seriously ill and fighting for her life. I just wanted one bloody thing to go right. To be honest, there were heaps of things bottled up inside me and no one to make sense of it. But when Cheryl walked into my life, things changed. She wouldn’t do much, just patiently sit and listen to me venting out the entire gunk locked down and eventually when I’d figure things out, she’d hang in there and cheer me on. We’ve known each other for a while now and she’s always been the silver lining no matter how dark the cloud. How’d she do it?-I’ll get to it.

Ok, back to the barn shed. Flirting 101 says: if she doesn’t respond, talk about the weather, divert. So I tried it. Cheryl still gave me nothing. As it so happens, she didn’t speak English. Then after about a 30 second awkward moment of silence, nothing, absolutely nothing could prepare me for what happened next. She looked at me and gently held my hand, placed my now numb palm just above her waist and pressed down slowly. Her dress had these six threaded laces running down her chest all the way to her waist. I took a moment just to wrap my head around what was happening. Let’s recall, hot Cheryl, sexy beige outfit, a perfectly curved rack, my hand on her waist, (techno music)… Wuhuuu…yea baby! Ok back to the story…

I gently drew her in and slyly slid my other hand across those laces as I held her tight. Her hair curled around these little hair lugs, and the loose strands flirted with her face as I brushed a tuft around her ear. Her breath got a lil heavy, as I’ve gotta admit, things got really steamy. Now Ted fell for Robin in one date but it seemed like I was head over heels for Cheryl in one glance. Another drop took off from her forehead, this time my finger rode it gently as I rolled it along her neck, down her perky chest. I mowed her neck slowly with my left hand, while my right tickled the laces around her belly. She’d shiver occasionally, but I still kept my fingers going, slowly sending waves of passion (LOL) down her body. I sat down and she coiled around on my lap, as I wrapped my arms around her. She just wouldn’t strip down though, like a weird fetish; she liked it with her clothes on. We lazed around under that shed, the whole night as we ‘calmed each other’s senses’. I didn’t know the language she spoke, but as long as I pulled all her strings right, I’d get what she’d wanna say.

It’s been six years now since that first glance and Cheryl and I are still lost for each other. Our first date was different, we weren’t mushy; in fact we got right down to it. There have been times when my life coaster has derailed and friends have stabbed me right in the back. It happens to the best of us. But no matter how bad things got, she would always see me through. When people ask me how we understand each other, coz we don’t speak the same language, I always tell them about the first time she looked at me. I didn’t know what it was back then but today we have a bond, one that matured with each lean time when she’d stick with me. She knew I was a mess the day she first met me, yet she chose to be the light at the end of the dark tunnel I was stuck in. Riding solo will only get you so far, coz sometimes even Batman needs Robin to bail him out. I found my silver lining the day I met Cheryl and she’s hung in there ever since.

Oh, by the way, Cheryl is my one and only six string acoustic guitar. So yea, you might wanna read this piece again…;)  

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