Age is but a giant, disappointing number


So, this week, of all weeks, I have a birthday coming up. Funny thing about age. It keeps increasing every year, pushing one to the brink of extinction. I was always taught as a little kid, when people age, they age like wine. So, apparently they have a ton of complex reactions, sugar, acids and taste funny. Funny good of course. I choose to age like milk. That is well past its expiration date. With great age, comes great wisdom. All I got was 4 wisdom teeth, nestled perfectly inside my gums, waiting to pierce certain nerves. Then I grunt with pain, have a surgery and get them out. Nothing wise about that. Get it? Wise, Wisdom, teeth? Eh screw you.

One of the main qualms I have with most of the youth of this generation is the sheer lack of functional literacy in terms of writing a sentence to save their lives. Back in my times, we were rapped on the knuckles for not using punctuation, using improper spelling and all of these in complete legitimate sentences. Everything these young people write is unfiltered, unedited, unintelligible and filled with crazy slang and infuriating abbreviations. Gone are the days when BTW stood for Back To Work, but now abbreviations are the new norm. Seriously people, WTF?

However, the digression is partly due to the fact that my attention span isn’t what it used to be. Neither is my waistline for that matter. I blame that on the advent of my middle age, where my age starts showing around the middle. Also, my tolerance for putting up with bullshit has also reduced significantly along with what used to be a hairline. Now, it just resembles a forehead suffering from gigantism. I have slowly started to learn that the walkman that I use actually has a knob that turns left. Walkman? You know the device that plays audio cassettes? Audio cassettes, which have two sides to it all full of music? Damn kids, with their youtube and Harlem Shakes. During my time, Harlem was famous for a bunch of insanely talented basketball players who used to roll a ball on one finger and dunk the baskets using trampolines. Warned you about the digression, didn’t I, kiddo?

When older people used to ask me to reduce the goddamn volume, I used to retort by saying “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” And now the negative volume button is pressed as quickly as the speed dial for emergency services such as Pizza or Chinese food. When the waist level on my jeans slowly start encroaching towards my chest, I will have then started the unholy process of aging. I know I have started growing old, because visits to the doctor now are more than an annual “Hello, how do you do?”. It’s started to lean towards:

Me: Doctor, I think I am having a heart attack.

Doctor: Why would you say that? What are the symptoms?

Me: Uhh.. Chest Pain, shooting pain down the left arm, sweating bullets, anxiety!!

Doctor: Ok. Chest pain is because of gas. Excessive potatoes aren’t good for people your age. Shooting pain down the left arm is because your bones are starting to get creaky and you can’t lift heavy grocery bags anymore. Sweating bullets is because you just ran up 5 flights of stairs to my office and you are grossly fat and unfit. Anxiety is because you are a hypochondriac and an idiot.

Doctor: Also, blood tests show super high cholesterol. So, stop shoveling down those potatoes and get some physical activity.

Me: But, watching sports, eating chips and guzzling beers already makes me so tired.

P.S. All the above conversations were completely made up. But it could have happened to somebody, right?

I have started to realize that the older I get, the more I start thinking about life’s responsibilities. Like choosing the right person to marry, how can I best save my money, how to buy a house in a good school district that is good for the kids, etc. And also, where my next dose of fiber is going to come from. You know, so I can comfortably crap out the gluttonous sins of the previous day, and hopefully, some toxins too. On the other hand, my cynical mind tells me, you are going to die anyway. Eat what you can, when you can. Before they start shoving it up your behind, hey i’m old enough to say ass, through a tube.

Yes, thoughts of buying a fast, two seater sports car have crossed my mind. But then reality kicks in and laughs in my chubby, bald face. That’s enough whiskey for today. It’s 9pm. Time to head in to bed. As somebody rightly pointed out, middle age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that’ll get me home sooner.

Get me my armrest and cigar now. And happy 27th birthday to me.

 

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Technology, trauma and tights


The year is 2013. If Hollywood had anything to dictate the terms on which science developed, then we would be living in space suits and driving hover crafts. On the other side, our world could have ended many times over either by asteroid collisions, giant floods, zombie take-overs, or worse still, have aliens invade us and then probe our asses. However, to be fair, the security personnel at the various airports do a better job of ass probing. And this ass probing is primarily due to the fact that technology is slowly but surely taking over the world. So much so that they can be used as weapons of mass destruction. Exactly the same way in which the George Bush government found the Iraqis using them or the Shiv Sena found on the Facebook page of that one innocent girl and her friend who “liked” it. Technology is very harmful and can be misused in more ways than it can be useful. Seriously, just ask the internet.

The reminiscing about how easy our past used to be, especially for people who grew up in India in the eighties, nineties sometimes goes overboard. Unless of course you were Amitabh Bachchan or Peter Andre. Yes, there were no cellphones. Or even if they were, they needed 3 people to carry them. Calling somebody using the STD, ISD facilities involved taking a couple of days off, heading out to the bank, withdrawing a truckload of money to pay for the STD charges and then pray that the person on the other side could hear you clearly without you having to shout like Celine Dion or Rakhi Sawant.

Which brings me to the advent of cellphones that can be held by one person in one hand. The other hand can now be used for itching, flipping somebody the bird or better still, driving. Cellphones have now achieved what a hot cup of coffee or bananas have been trying to do for generations. Enable a person to defecate in peace. People text when they drive, talk when they drive, run in to posts because their head is buried in a phone. Another person is standing in a corner with their phone recording this so that they can upload on to youtube and other people can watch, laugh and judge them with their phones. Phones are getting smaller, thinner and capable of doing useless tasks just like your average supermodel walking the ramps of Milan or Paris. People say phones getting smarter are making people get dumber. That’s like saying…. Uhhhh…. Damn I can’t think of anything clever to say. Maybe the naysayers were right.

Most people dislike Al Gore for 2 reasons. First, he makes documentaries. His documentaries are as useful as a high-end perfume and cologne store opening up on the mean streets of Dharavi. The second reason, more importantly so, is the invention of the internet. He is the reason why the average individual is like the population of India. Loud, sweaty and growing double in size every year. For those people using smartphones, let me make it clear. Internet makes people fatter. Gone are the days where the beautiful sound of a dial-up modem sounded like Mozart on an illegal drug. Hence most Indian men who grew up in the nineties get a titillating sensation when they hear this mellifluous tune. Internet has grown quite useful over the years. From pixelated, slow and blotchy images of Pamela Anderson in her famous red swimsuit, it has now enhanced to such an extent where people are capable of pirating movies with Sunny Leone acting in her very first Bollywood movie. Or even worse, Chetan Bhagat has his own podcast, where he gets to voice his opinion. But, to be honest, any place where porn, pizza, pastors and prayers can be ordered in the space of a few minutes must be a wonderful adventure. The internet is a wonderful place.

Attention span seems to have….. Oh look a tree that is shaped like Lord Ganesha. I must take a pic and create a chain email that would would force people to forward it to their friends lest they not get the blessings of Lord Ganesha. What was I saying again? Oh that’s right. Attention span seems to be diminishing by the….. ha ha ha look at that cat trying to smile. He thinks he is people. Let’s make a meme and call him smiley cat.

Technology can help you in wonderful ways. From making the world a smaller place where a conversation with another individual you hate across the world can be a few seconds away or you could actually watch Sunny Leone act *wink wink* in the middle of an aircraft restroom 30,000 feet in the air. It also helps you pass time when you are trying to pass something else out your body. I will leave the rest to your imagination. Can’t imagine anything? Blame technology.

Mind your f****** language


This post contains words or even sentences that would bring most refined and pure individuals to give a look that is reminiscent of a Chinese person being called a Japanese. If you belong to a genre of people who detest the F word or cringe at the S word, look away now. Clearly, on reading further, you don’t give a shit about what I warn you about, so you continue to read along anyway. Well, if you don’t give a Muroidea‘s Gluteus Maximus about your senses or my sensibilities, then read on. But don’t tell me I did not tell you so.

If you’ve traveled in a Bombay local train ever before, or even seen one on youtube, you realize that you are in kissing distance to sweating individuals who believe deodorants are like common sense. Those who need it the most never end up using it. So, good wishes and courtesy quite often take a back seat. A quick look around and the choicest obscenities are uttered like it were unwanted pregnancies after a prom night. It’s that common. In fact, the Railway Authorities, led by Lalu Prasad Yadav, conducted a survey in which they asked everyday train users what the most common abuse they heard. About 30% said madarchod (mother fucker) or bhenchod (sister fucker). And the remaining 70% had their faces pressed against another man’s sweaty armpits.

Hailing from a country that has 22 official languages and countless dialects, which also comprise of Bambaiyya Hindi (Hindi spoken by residents of Bombay), language played an important role in my upbringing. Almost every language I have learnt to speak, have started from an obscenity that roused my creative curiosities in learning said language. But growing up in a world where even words are segregated by class, namely good words and bad words, my leanings have always been towards the bad ones. Which is when a fight broke out in a local train we were traveling in and an individual happened to say, “Tereko main latesht gaali sunao kya” (can I interest you in an obscenity I just came up with?), my ears got a little pointier. Who are these wordsmiths who invent these wonderful phrases? Well, a common man such as myself you say. Very interesting.

India places way too much importance to protecting people’s sentiments. In fact, it is the second most important activity in an Indian household after creating babies. Hence, there are 31 children born every minute whose sentiments can now be hurt. So much so, free speech is curtailed by people such as Kapil Sibal and Mamta Banerjee, both of whom need a hug, preferably by a straitjacket. To be honest though, our collective sentiments seem to resemble an arthritic set of bones. Doesn’t take much to hurt them. Which is why when Salman Rushdie came a visiting, “minorities” had their sentiments affected. Yet they let Chetan Bhagat spew out utter nonsense in the disguise of literary awesomeness.

As Hank Moody once quoted, “People… they don’t write anymore – they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people in a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.” All of this coming to you via a blog nonetheless you say. Hence, the immense amount of self loathing. Personally I place a lot of emphasis on accurate usage of words as they were meant to be. Like, literally I wish you’re mama read this shit you write herr. Correct spelling gets me as excited as the announcer of the spelling bees. Only I don’t get to judge kids when they spell  flocci­nauci­nihili­pili­fication (whose meaning is worthless. No, seriously)but I do internally judge people who misspell common words. Pacify me please. There, Their, They’re.

As Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a f***** name anyway?”. Now get me that elusive publishing deal. I am ready to vomit chunky literary garbage. Ala Chetan Bhagat

Alcohol: One swallow does make a summer


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Truer words were never spoken. As the sober guy, managing  a group of 5 other, of what I can only describe as, jejune individuals, the entertainment was far supreme compared to any movie I had seen. That grown men would subject themselves to pole dancing with trees, getting arrested, doing push-ups on the street in front of random strangers, bar fights and the whole nine yards was as humorous as seeing a guy get his junk hit by a football or his kid. Only the repercussions to the sober guy and the drunken juveniles end up being as painful as said struck junk.

For generations now, alcohol has played quite an important role in shaping brilliant stories and even more entertaining movies such as The Hangover. Movies such as this particular one is something that continues to inspire people to commit mayhem in the name of having fun. It only gets better when they start associating themselves with the characters of the movies. Fist fights ensue about who gets to play the role of Zach Galifianakis. And how everything that happens in Key West must stay in Key West. Or was it Vegas. At this point in our drunken menagerie, location is of utmost irrelevance. Those series of events are about as interesting as any Uday Chopra movie.

To top it all, the plethora of options at one’s disposal named ever so elegantly such as Slippery Nipple, Jagerbombs and the potent 151 shots. Then there is beer, whiskey, gin, tequila, rum and the list goes on. Introduced to beer at the tender age of 18, King Fisher Beer was my poison of choice. Although, I never got to savor it as much as I would have liked. Once every 6 months was all the beer consumption I could partake in due to the fact that my uncle was my principal provider. Along came graduate school and with it the pressures of competing in a rat race of every semester. That, along with, fellow crony rats was when we coined the phrase “group binging” and the more potent spirits were introduced to my palate. Along with that came the dreaded hangover.

The hangover, the feeling of utter disdain and regret that pounds your head the morning (quite possibly afternoon) after, is one of the worst feelings a person can encounter. The feeling where Manmohan Singh whispering sounds like Mayawati yelling on a loudspeaker planted on your ear, gives about the most accurate description. One of the feelings that could potentially produce the most useless phrase ever created. I am never going to drink again. And then comes another semester and then another one, till you graduate. That phrase is probably repeated more often than the word Baby in any Justin Bieber track. I promise I did not hear every song and count it. I just google worthless information of the kind.

To be fair to people though, they have been inspired by stories of debauchery, bacchanalia and other such activities by the people they worship. In the Hindu religion, the Gods churned some awesome stuff from the ocean and got pretty wasted. Jesus Christ’s blood is supposed to be made of wine. I can only imagine what a fun loving person he might have been. At this point in my life, I probably have coffee running through my veins and he had wine running through his. Lay men that we are, we look to the heavens for inspiration. Every occasion deserves a toast, a cheers, a salud or just a plain clink of the glass. Be it happy, sad, friends, sport rivals. Alcohol is kind of a bond that brings people together. Kind of like religion. Only with less disastrous consequences.

Speaking of wine though, that might be a hobby I might take up after I am past the ripe old age of 30. Don’t get me wrong. I have tried wine. But the classification of wine, for me, varies from potent, not so potent and sparkling water. I couldn’t appreciate the nuances that apparently wine aficionados build a career on. Color depths, hues, smells of tiny amounts of exotic substances, color of grapes before it was stomped,  humidity of sweat on foot of stomper of grapes. The nuances are hard to notice when you are buying $5 bottles for purposes of “I’m bored of beer today, let’s try some wine”. But hopefully, with great age comes a greater sense of maturity and appreciation of finer things in life.

Alcohol is not the worst thing in the world though. What is life worth living for, if not with some regrets? And whoever heard of a fantastic story that began with, “And I had a delicious salad”. Let the debauchery continue but sensibly so. Don’t drink till your liver is as dark, shriveled and defunct as Johnny Lever’s (the comedian, not the whiskey. Oh that’s Johnny Walker you say. Well screw you) stand-up comedy sketch. Bear in mind though. With the advent of technology, the drunken stupidity can now be viewed on a  global scale. It’s not the worst thing in the world you know. Online fame can be a wonderful thing. Just ask Psy of Gangnam Style fame. The video below is for your viewing pleasure only.

I Heart Bal Thackeray (Mummy kasam. I really do)


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If there was ever a man to invoke the kinds of crowds that are generally reserved for weekday mornings in trains from Virar to VT, it had to be Bal Thackeray. It finally happened. The man they called the Tiger passed away to pastures new. Cue angry mourning Shiv Sainiks going from apartment to apartment asking people to take down their Diwali lights, asking the local shopkeeps to pull down their shutters and generally emptying the streets. In an island city teeming with over 22 million residents, the sight of an empty street is as rare as a pig in flight. The unforeseen happened. No, no they did not find a swine in flight. They found several empty streets in Bombay. So, who was this person and why did people fear respect him to such an extent that they would be willing to sacrifice their annual celebrations of the Festival of Lights, close down their stores on the day when they would probably rake in a good amount of business selling their wares.

Bal Thackeray was a right-wing leader of an ethnocentric party that catered to the rights (?!) of the natives of Maharashtra. He championed various causes during the course of his long political career. Some valid, some controversial and some downright ignorant. As a cartoonist in his early days, he focused his attention towards creating a separate linguistic state of Maharashtra. But then saw the “immigration” and hence growing influence of marwaris, gujratis and south indians in to Bombay. This led his party workers to start violently targeting said workers from other states.

Certain causes he fought were quite valid which included an end to Pakistan sponsored terrorism which particularly hurt Bombay the most, the limiting of freebies offered to Dalits. Let me go in further to describe this one. Dalits were, at a time very early in Independent India, considered the untouchable caste. So, Dr. Ambedkar, who was a Dalit rights activist and also one of the main authors of the Indian Constitution suggested that certain rights be reserved for Dalits, but only for a period of 10 years, by which time they should be self-sufficient. But 66 years hence, Dalits have more than 60% reservation in most walks of life including premier educational institutions.

But as a young boy watching an old Muslim man have his beard set on fire in the middle of the street, 1992 was quite a harrowing year for a 6 year old me. The communal riots that ensued after the Babri Masjid demolition by Hindu Extremist leaders, was horribly destructive and led to so many innocent lives being lost. Religious tensions were at their peak in Bombay in that year. This was followed by 1993 Bombay bombings which was claimed to be a retaliatory strike by Muslim extremists for demolishing the Babri Masjid, the killing of innocent muslims and inactivity of the police towards these innocent muslims. Ever since that incident, Bombay just became an easy target for Pakistan sponsored terrorism and people who live there are in constant fear of being killed, yet carry on with their lives one day at a time.

In times like these, it’s hard not to hate a man whose every single ideology revolved around the concept of Hindutva. Religion based politics have been the bane of our country ever since it got independence. And with regional sentiments seeded in people’s minds, the non-Maharashtrians were viewed as the enemy. Personally, I have lived in Bombay for the most part of my life and would still consider it my home and my city even though I am not remotely Marathi speaking, even though I am a Maharashtrian.

Balasaheb was undoubtedly gifted with an intuitive skill to sense the fissures within our social fabric, divided on caste ,religion, language and ethnic origins. It was no co-incidence that he realised the potential of a huge political capital in this divided sense of identity, particularly in a metropolis city like Bombay. Considered historically as a city of opportunities, it was only natural that people from across the country of all hues would pour into Bombay, to eke out a living or to realise their dreams. Bombay was destined to have a multi-layered composition of its populace . Plurality in terms of language, religion and ethnicity has always been the essence of its identity. A talented political cartoonist then, for Thackeray, this was a perfect setting to arouse and incite a dormant regional identity of the Maharashtrians, giving birth to a myth called “Marathi Manus”. Deftly using a combination of satire, sarcasm and vitriolic, his oratory and prose succeeded in solidifying this myth in the minds of aimless, rudderless Marathi youths of an entire generation.

Marginalisation and cultural isolation in one’s own homeland is indeed a strong passion of victimhood that has huge political value. Thackeray, the politician, used it unabashedly as an effective currency and a potent tool to carve out a distinct political space in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena ,thus became the Nazi party of this Fuhrer, Sainiks, his storm troopers, let loose on the streets. The agenda was plain and simple. Threaten, persecute and terrorise all “outsiders”- read non Maharashtrians. This admirer of Adolf Hitler could shockingly play out with impunity the dangerous game of identity politics, as long as there were targets. From South-Indians to Gujaratis to North-Indians(UP/Bihar) to Muslims, he and his party invented the causes that were inimical to the interests of his Marathi Manus, and so accordingly targeted. What he preached through the party mouth piece “Saamna” , his storm troopers would practice on the streets of Mumbai and Pune. The “pride” instilled in the Marathi Manus was borne out of prejudice against target groups, rather than positive virtues inherent in them. Thankfully, the goons in the guise of Sainiks could not carry out ethnic cleansing and restricted their terror tactics to vandalism, destructions, arson and injuring their victims. Slowly yet firmly, this paper tiger sent a strong signal to all non-natives that they were not welcome in Bombay. As he grew in strength, he colonised other parts of Maharashtra, notably Pune. For those who chose to stay on and continue to work in Maharashtra, he sought a tacit compromise. That is, to give in to his diktats as and when he issues them.

Later, as he and his senseless game of identity politics became increasingly irrelevant and a stale theme to arouse or disrupt, he expanded his themes .Although Balasaheb exhibited extreme right wing Hindu nationalistic ideology, the new targets like works of art and literature had wider implications than the narrow Marathi manoos cause. Ironically some of them, like his steadfast stand against any concession to Pakistan or whole hearted support to the Indian Army during the Kargil war were indeed welcome deviations. But essentially, he remained every inch a fuhrer till end. He revered in imposing his will on others, could not brook any dissidence or disagreement. Loyalty to him was the ultimate virtue. Authoritarianism, just as his idol Hitler, came naturally to him. Even Bollywood and business community could not afford to earn his ire and overtly offered obeisance to him to remain in his good books. The legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray, if at all there is one is unmistakably that of regional extremism, intolerance, rigidity of misplaced ideas, coercion, vandalism, arson, rioting, and plain goondaism. All of them, when put in one basket is what Shiv-Sena stands for today, in stark contrast and incongruent to the of 21st century progressive mindset.

Ironically Balasaheb’s legacy of intimidation played out most eloquently even in his death. While the Bombay police issued advisories to its citizens as if some calamity has struck streets and by lanes of this maximum city wore deserted looks with shops and services closing down, people remained indoors in hushed silence stocking up essentials for the impending crisis, the designs of the lurking legacy was unmistakably sinister.
With the end of the phenomenon called Balasaheb Thackeray, his hard core followers may feel deeply marooned. His progenies, Son Udhav and nephew Raj have inherited his legacy to a great extent, both genetically and by virtue of close proximity. MNS, the mutated version of Shiv-Sena is promising to outdo the latter in the dangerous game of identity politics. But eventually, like all such parochial mindsets, they are all destined to be lost in the quicksand of time as they will become irrelevant in the growing globalised identity and priorities of Bombaykars such as myself. If we have survived multiple terrorist attacks, this too shall pass.

RIP Balasaheb Thackeray.

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My dog, the parlimentarian.


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Reasons why the average Indian politician is pretty much like my dog:

1. My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.
2. She can eat whenever she wants.
3. Her meals are provided at no cost to her.
4. She does not need to pay for medical insurance. She visits the doctor once a year for her checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.
5. For this she pays nothing, and nothing is required of her.
6. She lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than she needs, but she is not required to do any upkeep.If she makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.
7. She has her choice of luxurious places to sleep.
8. She receives these accommodations absolutely free.

9. All of her costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.

About 5 years ago, India and China were portrayed to be global superpowers. While China continues to grow, the picture that emerges from India is that of a great country in a state of moral decay. The immediate future seems to belong to the doomsayers rather than to cheer mongers. We suffer from a fatty degeneration of conscience, and the malady seems to be not only persistent but prone to aggravation. The life style of too many politicians and businessmen bears eloquent testimony to the truth of dictum that the single minded pursuit of money impoverishes the mind, shrivels the imagination and desiccates the heart.

Q: What is the difference between Parliament and my uncle’s rusted old Bajaj Chetak scooter?

A: Both don’t function. But the scooter is better at implementing reforms.

Young, dynamic people all over the country are well aware of this dire situation. They wake up in the morning, read the papers, and think to themselves: “Good God! It is high time people like me stepped forward to intervene, before it is too late to restore the nation to its rightful glory.”

After which they think to themselves: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That was some pure comedy gold. I will now go and fill my US visa application.” However, there is one major hurdle that young non residency-prone professionals must overcome before they fly abroad: deal with tremendous social guilt.

In the past, going abroad for work was seen as a good thing to do. Talented people left, made some money and then sent most of it back home where responsible parents and elders invested the money safely.

But now, oh how times have changed.

So, how does a young, dynamic person like you deal with this entire social guilt-tripping? Here are some methods:

First of all, you must loudly and frequently announce your intention to move back to India at the earliest opportunity.  Say things like: “I don’t even want to go yaar. But these guys have a policy of training everybody in New York. The very day training is complete I am flying back on the next Kingfisher flight.”

Secondly, you must constantly say how you are upset at leaving the “most exciting market” in the world. Use terms like the “this is where the action is”, “the next big story is India” and “the untapped opportunity is immense”. Keep saying this till you are well inside the aircraft. And then start right away on your American accent dude!

The next canard is to tell people that you are only going abroad to make enough money to come back and set up your own enterprise. For added brownie points, make it one of those “social entrepreneurship” thingumajigs. But make it sound complicated enough to warrant your going abroad. Try things like “sustainable grassroots biodiversity microfinance for the girl child”.

Also effective is to tell people that you are going abroad with the medium-term plan of “doing higher studies” and then coming back to teach, say, at your alma mater. “We must go to Harvard, learn their methods, come back, and then beat them at their own game!” you must say, preferably whilst waving a large flag.

And finally, if nothing else works, tell people that you’re going abroad because your parents are forcing you to. Actually, you can’t even imagine spending one night outside our international borders. But the parents insist. And their happiness is more important to you than anything else. Later, move your parents abroad with you. Then tell people that they’re too old to move back, but now they never want to live alone again.

Alas. Green card.

Picking up women – 101


If you were looking for an article which would give you a fool-proof way of picking up women at bars, massage parlors, search no further. Here is all that you were always curious about but were afraid to ask.

These are the qualifications that you must have:

Name: Vasant Dhoble
Age: 56
Designation: Assistant Commissioner of Police, Social Service (SS) Branch
Previous posting: Vidhan Sabha security
Member: Police commissioner’s special squad

Track record
>> Suspended (1989): for taking bribe in Pune
>> Sentenced (1994): to 7 yrs imprisonment
>> Fined Rs 1 lakh for custodial death of Abdul Gaffer Khan after alleged torture (Jail term overthrown by HC in 1996)
>> Dismissed (1994): for Khan’s custodial death (reinstated in 1996)
>> Pending: Departmental inquiry for Khan’s death after SC order
>> Responsible for: Misplacing 12 dossiers related to gangster Dawood Ibrahim
If you satisfy all of the above criteria, then grab a hockey stick and rush to your nearby bar, club, hookah bar, and pick-up the girls that rejected your advances. Make sure you label them as prostitutes, questions their parents’ ability to raise their children in a wholesome family-oriented atmosphere and then go back home and sleep.

On first glance, ACP Vasant Dhoble looks like that uncle (read pedophile) from your colony who always seems to know anything and everything about the people residing there. The kind that gives Zaid Hamid a bad name. Dig deeper and you find that he is a vigilante who has the city’s best interests at heart. He is trying to instill culture into wayward teenagers and trying to dissuade them from “doing bad things”. How can that be so wrong? Apparently, residents of Bandra and Khar are complaining about the noise pollution that is destroying their sleep. Well for them, there are always ear muffs. Not that I am trying to justify the flagrant law-breaking of noise and crowd levels of the aforementioned places, but there is always a solution. Isn’t the policy of Bombay, “Boss, thoda adjust kar na please”(Buddy, could you adjust a little bit?) ? From a 4th person on a train seat to an extra person squeezing in to an already over-full train compartment.

The nature of this man’s belligerent jingoism borders on being fanatical. Just because we have patrons drinking in pubs does not mean that we carry an assault on their integrity or label them as being the outcome of a licentious upbringing. Such bawdy behavior on the part of the law enforcement should not be tolerated anywhere especially in a so called ‘democratic’ nation – we do not live in a fascist state after all. However, what is most unfortunate though is that we have laws that are vaguely worded and archaic giving free rein to such individuals who owing to their intrinsic bigotry deem women who drink in pubs as being ‘prostitutes’ – it’s disgusting and indicative of a ‘perverse’ and parochial mindset.

Ours is a country where a lot of emphasis and pride are placed in the cultural superiority of our people as compared to people of the West. So when people do go party, the immediate go-to thought in most people’s minds are “loose people”. Women, even more so, than guys. But you probably were already familiar with the sexist nature of our society. So, when Mr. Dhoble gets a lot of phone calls everyday from concerned citizens about the immoral atrocities in their neighborhoods, you can’t blame the poor guy for doing something. Otherwise, you would start comparing him to our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is as vocal as Charlie Chaplin in his heyday.

I think the root cause of all these problems is regurgitation of ancient laws such as “No individual is allowed to keep more than 12 units of alcohol in their own home”. Also, the new laws stating that everybody over 25 who wants to have some alcohol at any point needs to have a piece of paper called the liquor license. So, if some friends decide to have an impromptu get-together, make sure it doesn’t involve alcohol. Or just to be safe, keep that piece of paper on you at all times. It should probably do a good job of reminding you of the rampant corruption that plagues our country. How? You probably gave the officer some “chai-paani” (bribe) to obtain the permit in the first place.

Speaking of crazy Indian laws, here’s one that I will end this blog with. Under section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, it is a criminal offense if anyone commits any obscene act, sings, recites or utters any obscene words, in or near any public space.

So next time, you call your friend with the choicest obscenities or get in to a fight with a random stranger because he/she pushed you in the train or bus, make sure that Dhoble isn’t around. He will go tell your mummy that you are a bad boy/girl.

Saaheb, jaoo dyaa naa….