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?
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