Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Death by Humidity

Courtesy - Google images

The last few weeks my hair has been behaving like Salman Khan (and his many controversies). It simply refuses to settle down. On a good hair day I look like Sai Baba (the one who dazzled his devotees by fishing out gold chains from his armpits). On a bad hair day I look like I have been freshly electrocuted. In fact if I can perfect my roaring skills, I can be easily mistaken for Lion King.

Gurgaon weather has become a copycat. It has started mimicking Kolkata’s horrible humidity. The type where there’s so much moisture in the air that you start resembling an Amazonian forest in full bloom. Your back hasn’t seen a dry day since May and you alternate between taking a shower in salty water that your body generates and water from the showerhead. Even the tiniest physical activity like a walk to the neighbourhood veggie store makes your body weep and you leave behind not footprints but tiny puddles. Unfortunately, Gurgaon is yet to adopt Kolkata’s lack of work culture where everyone treats work with disdain and prefers engaging in heated debates about Spain’s economic crisis in between sips of chaa and leisurely naps.

The good thing is that this muggy weather has taken care of my vanity. I avoid looking at the mirror at all costs – don’t want to see a hair-framed glistening blob of oil staring back at me. I’m not exactly doing my heart a favour when I scream a loud nahiiiiiiiiin and it races faster than Usain Bolt. Sometimes I have so many oil deposits on my face that I fear the all new fearless America led by Trump will invade me.

It has also turned me deeply religious. I am either praying to the Rain gods to relent and wash us away with its bounties or turn me into a plant so that I can soak in the joys of humidity.

Even god prefers multiple options.

Since I have started resembling a leaky faucet, I have decided to put myself to good use. If I have to move furniture in the house, I simply sit on it and wait patiently for my sweat to start working its magic. Ten minutes later when I get up the chair is firmly stuck to me a like a baby kangaroo to its mom, ready to move to newer plains. If I spot stains on the glass windows of our 16th floor apartment, I hang upside down like a bat and start rubbing my back against it till it becomes squeaky clean. I no longer reach out for the salt shaker when I discover our cook has forgotten to season the dal yet again. I simply stir it with my little finger. I have offered my services to Moms who are looking to scare their kids for not listening to them. I discovered this hidden talent when I semi-glared at a kid who wouldn’t stop fiddling with the control buttons inside the lift. One look at me and he clung to his Mom like fungus, his eyes shut in fear.

Had I been a few inches taller, I could have easily replaced Bipasha Basu in the many paranormal movies she does these days.

Before you all start clucking in sympathy, let me tell you, it’s not all that bad. These days I no longer have to rely on makeup, strenuous workouts and a killer wardrobe to turn into a yummy Mummy. All I need to do spend an hour cooking and I emerge from the kitchen cooked to perfection in my perspiration and smelling of aromatic spices. Some days, I even imagine myself as Ursula Andress in Dr No emerging from the ocean. Only this time the desi Ms Andress is mumbling ‘kee gorom’ (it’s so hot) under her breath as she wrings out sweat from her dress.

It’s even better for men. They don’t have to rely on wit, a deep baritone and subtle flattery to make a woman go weak at her knees. All they have to do is raise their arms and their object of desire crumples in a heap at their feet. I have a feeling Shankar Mahadevan got the inspiration for ‘Breathless’ when he was travelling in a Mumbai local.

Subramanian Swamy is right. Not just ministers, all Indian men including waiters should switch to Indian attires. It’s no fun sweating in suffocating shirts and trousers and raising a stink when they can experience the joys of cross-ventilation in a dhoti!

Monsoons may tend to behave like a VIP guest who thinks it’s beneath their dignity to turn up on time. It may not be raining outside, but trust me, all of us are, inside our homes and offices. It’s as if we have turned into nimbus clouds dense with vapour, walking around like zombies. Swimming, guzzling cold drinks and snacking on fruits are only temporary solutions to combat humidity. I appeal to Ms Universe contestants to give up on world peace. Dearies, try eradicating humidity instead!

And till that happens, I shall sweat my way to greatness. Wasn’t it Edison who said, genius is 99% perspiration? Well, I am just 1% away from being a genius.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hello beautiful, you sent me out of control!

Also published here  

Courtesy - www.mensxp.com
Indians often take flak for being among the least friendly. This disturbs me deeply because it’s far from being true. Granted, most of us would rather stare intently at our phone than make polite talk when in close proximity with strangers. If an unfamiliar person smiles at us, we immediately start speculating about their mental health. It’s more a genetic thing. Somebody forgot to tell us smiling is not taxable. Pushing, jostling and snarling come naturally to us. When we are driving, our middle finger is permanently raised and our cuss vocabulary will make even hardened criminals turn a deep shade of beetroot red. But in no way does it reflect our lack of friendliness. Okay, maybe not all of us are walking embodiments of congeniality. But our men more than make up for it with their friendly overtures towards the opposite sex.


Ask any woman and she will vouch for it. The time she made eye contact with her colleague as she laughed at his joke – and he promptly started making plans for their weekend getaway. Or the slightly tipsy woman at the pub who smiled at the wall and now it won’t stop pestering her for her number. Or the man she met at the party, enjoyed talking to him, even shared her number and now he texts her, ‘Sweeties, I miss you, lets meat!’ 55 times a day. Grrr!

Interestingly the not so single men she encounters are invariably the sweet ole chap victimised by the shrewish wife. By some strange miraculous coincidence ALL of them claim to be married to a woman who does not understand them at all. He’s just a lonely hardware looking for a software upgrade. Tch tch..

So now you know why the Indian woman is a tad grim-faced compared to her male counterpart. As a girl growing up, we felt the pinch of skewed sex ratio in crowded marketplaces, in the first bus we took, at the local tailoring outfit where our 13 year old self felt puzzled by the elderly darzi’s strange touch. Pretty soon we developed a snarl, a well-aimed shove with our elbow, a dead fish look to keep strange men’s unwanted advances under control. We discovered that the male has a strange manner of appreciating female beauty. When we walk on the road, we realise we are more effective than the traffic light at the intersection to make cars and scooters slow down. The helpful Samaritans they are, they offer us a ride not once but again and again. Dear Delhi police, I’m not sure why you’re wasting money on traffic lights, when all you need is a comely femme preferably in shorts, to bring traffic to a grinding halt. Some men become so consumed by passion that their grey cells trigger an avalanche of emotions and send furious signals to important body parts. Their hand reaches out for the motherboard, their genitals and they start scratching violently. Their mouth starts generating copious amounts of saliva which they respectfully direct at our feet. The vocal ones prefer making strange noises that closely resemble the mating call of chimpanzees. Good to know they are in no hurry to forget their ancestors! But this is also a highly evolved species that does not let a woman’s age, weight, skin colour, political leanings, dietary preferences, schooling, family background or the lack of it, hold them back. In fact they treat all of us with equal lust and are in turn treated by all of us with equal disgust.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Unbearable Burden of Being a Class XII Student in India

Image courtesy www.careerindia.com
If you are a parent of a teen who has just appeared for her board exams, you will know exactly what it feels like when the results are about to be declared. It’s like waiting for your own results. Only this time, you are not a carefree teen but a worry-wart adult plagued by ifs and buts and what will the world and its aunt think if your child scores an abysmal 85%. Even Mrs Chatterjee’s useless son scored a 97%! Oh, the triumphant look in her eyes when she distributed sweets in the neighbourhood. Too bad she got the mithai from a third rate halwai.

The thing is, we all seem to think scoring in 90’s is a breeze, till it’s your own teen’s turn to appear for her boards. It’s then you find out how much pressure we put on our kids by making abnormally high scores the new normal. Fact is only those who score high share it on social media. The rest keep mum. Consider this. Out of a total of 1,067,900 candidates registered for this year for class 12 exam, 89,000 students scored more than 90% in aggregate. Which means only 8% managed to breach the 90’s barrier. 

So, where does it leave the remaining 92%? Why don’t we talk about them? Why don’t newspapers follow their life journeys and come out with reassuring stories that scoring ‘low’ was not the end of their life? I wish more and more parents would tell their children that marks secured in exams do not define them. A child who obtains 78% may have a better grasp of a select few subjects and the ones who score a 99% may simply be able to memorise better. Many school teachers have mastered training their students in the art of answering correctly. Plus, the structure of the question papers is such that some students can work around the format and get high scores. Your exam score is certainly not the only indicator of your intelligence or the lack of it.

They will tell you high scores let you pick and choose the subject and college of your choice. Sadly this is not always true. When anyone who does reasonably well in exams opts for a handful of courses in a handful of premier colleges, there’s a mad scramble for their limited seats and not everyone manages to get in.  It’s quite likely that after battling stress and anxiety and studying for 12 hours a day for months, you secure 95% and will still not get into the college of your choice.

It’s not your fault. You did your best. But so did 7,000 odd students who scored above 95%.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Indian man and his love affair with his boxers


Also published here - >

Not so long ago the Indian Aunty discovered an unhindered, unclasped and drawstringless existence in her nightie. In this stifling world of patriarchy that’s constantly trying to suffocate her with its custom-made list of do’s and don’ts and only-meant-for-her morality, she found liberation in this one piece wonder garment. She boldly turned it into a cool daywear that smelt mostly of sweat and spices.

What the Indian woman does today, her male counterpart thinks of tomorrow. Even as she was outgrowing her fascination for this tent-like apparel and switching over to no-nonsense tracks and tee, the Indian man went ahead and found boxers. True, the lungi discovered him much earlier. But a garment that parts willingly at the slightest hint of a gust or lust can have hazardous consequences for the beholder, especially female. Unlike the male that gets excited at the slightest show of limb and imagines the rest of the anatomy, the female is more horrified than filled with desire as she espies upon his lush Amazonian foliage on his limbs and upwards.

The boxer in its cottony soft splendour is its perfect substitute. It comes with cute fly buttons that do a fairly competent job of containing his excitement. Unlike boring trousers, boxers come in bold colours, graffiti, floral and cartoon prints that let him express his naughty side. Its dangerously short length ensures it keeps the beholder’s pulse racing. You never know which part of his appendage will pop out this time.

Understandably, he fell for it hook, line and sinker and like his female counterpart set out to conquer the world in it. While mankind elsewhere continues to wear it as a roomy undergarment, the Bhartiya bhaisahab has turned it into a versatile pair of shorts that can fit into any role he wants. One day it’s a cool gym wear as he huffs and puffs on the treadmill in it. Never mind the incredulous look a certain lady named Purba running on the machine next to him continues to give. Perhaps he mistakes it for adoration. Ever since he was a baby boy his mother made him believe he was the best thing to have happened to womankind. And mothers are always right.

As he prowls around the gym constantly checking out his imaginary biceps and rotund belly, he realises the boxers need to travel more of the world with him. He turns it into resort wear, evening by the pool wear, ‘let me have breakfast in it at a public place’ wear. He knows his good looks and charms can turn even an ordinary chaddi into a fashion statement.

Don’t know why Adidas, Nike and their ilk spend millions on Climacool technology. The Indian man doesn’t need any technology sheknology. He can keep his cool in his boxers. No wonder he’s not scared of global warming. He’s ready to face it in his chaddis.

Monday, May 9, 2016

How to be a true Patriot

Also published here 
Image courtesy - Hinduphobe Purba Ray

With the advent of the great leader who can do no wrong but is always wronged, India’s timeline can now be divided into BAD (before acche din) days and SAD (super achhe din) days. During BAD days being a patriot was like being a blogger. Anybody could be one as long as you were Indian. It helped if you loved almost all things Indian, swore by Bollywood, supported the Indian cricket team by heckling Pakistani cricketers on field, looked for Indian restaurants (usually called Taj Mahal) when on a foreign trip and not complain when you ended up with diarrhoea the next day. Since we were governed by a corrupt dynasty, it was perfectly okay to fret about the country’s future which seemed to be wandering aimlessly like a cow in the city. We’d often critique the lawmakers who’d break laws with impunity and crack a few jokes at their expense even if it meant going to jail. 

Despite all misgivings, candle marches and angry Facebook posts against all that we felt was wrong with our country, we could take her love for granted. It was a ‘tedha hai paar mera hai’ kind of love.

Not anymore. Now that our great leader has banished all evil with a flick of his finger and even taken selfies while doing it, we are living the SAD days. This is the golden era where everyone’s tolerant towards each other and their beliefs, debate is actively encouraged and we can express what we feel without getting lynched by trolls online. Yet, there’s a section of ungrateful citizens who think otherwise. They create controversies by finding faults in our faultless leaders, return awards that nobody’s heard of and write scathing articles questioning our elected, to spread dissent.

This cannot be tolerated, especially by proud Indians.

So, they have decided to take matter into their own capable hands and made patriotism the new Maggi. Like Maggi, patriotism has to pass stringent quality tests, but can still be declared suspect at the slightest slight that can be imagined as insulting to Mata B. The MSG is clear, Mata’s affection cannot be taken for granted. It now comes with terms and conditions. We have to prove our love again and again to not one but a rising number of hyper-nationalists who are crawling out like termites from woodwork.

Mata is now behaving like a bombshell who demands unquestioning devotion while you place her on the pedestal and worship her. Like any complete package, if you adore her, it is your duty to pay obeisance to her Daddies in saffron and her many pets who spend an awful lot of time barking. Dare you have reservations against her many Daddies, you are obviously a moronic Hinduphobe traitor.

Beam them to Pakistan, Scottie! Or is it Satyaveer now?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Why Do People Find It So Tough To Be Kind To Others?

Courtesy - quickmememe.com 

A friend while driving got hit by a car that appeared out of nowhere. When he saw the car slow down he braced himself for a lengthy altercation; a norm in the NCR. People would rather kill or prefer dying than admit it was their fault. Just as he was rolling up his sleeves and taking deep breaths, the fellow got out and apologised profusely for his rash driving. When he offered to pay for damages, my friend couldn’t believe his ears.

A common courtesy in any part for the world but certainly not in Gurgaon.

In a city where everyone’s is always in a rush but no one ever reaches on time, we are forever engaged in mortal combat. We push, step on each other’s feet, honk louder, raise our middle finger and are ready to snap at even the slightest provocation. Rarely do we stop to let someone else pass at a busy intersection. We are like raging bulls, ready to charge at anyone who dares challenge us. When an odd soul does stop to let other raging bulls pass, let the hassled lady take the coveted parking-spot, all he gets is a dead fish look. The husband makes it a point to hold the doors of the elevators for women with kids in our apartment building, yet I’ve seen no one turn around to give him a grateful smile.

It’s as if saying thank you and sorry is a bigger sin than hurling expletives at strangers.

I get it, you’ve had a bad day. Your new boss is a fire breathing dragon and a blood sucking vampire rolled into one. The last time you got a bonus was before the big bang. And your girlfriend who can’t even spell loser just called you a looser. Of course you are &*%#&*)&$ mad! And the only way you can restore order is by making random people around you (usually lower in social hierarchy) as miserable as you are. Who in turn dutifully pass on their angst to yet another hapless soul. Sooner than you can say ‘tere baap kaa…,’ the world around you is like a cauldron of negativity. You hold your aching head in your hand and wonder, why is everyone one around me so nasty?

It’s like being stuck in traffic and complaining about it. Dude, you are the traffic!

Add to it a strange persisting mentality that equates aggressiveness as a show of power and niceness as a sign for ‘come trample all over me and take advantage’. So it comes as no surprise why people are almost afraid of being nice.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gurgaon Gets a Behenjee Avatar – Gurugram

Image courtesy - Rapidleaks.com

For long Gurgaon was chhoree Gurgawan, a behenjee who loved spending time with buffaloes and her Jaat bhais. Once a year during winter, her glamorous cousins Dilli Billis would visit her and frolic away in her many picnic spots. She didn’t mind her uneventful life before fairy godfather DLF and her many cronies set their sight on her and decided she was their future bright. Thus began her grooming, intense sessions at the gym and shopping for a hip wardrobe. Before she could say ‘kay chal rahya se’, she had transformed into a glam diva with a BPO accent. She was now Ms Gurgaon who mwah mwahed with global Fortune 500 companies and sipped Chianti as she swayed to Yo Yo Honey Singh. Dilli Billis could not believe that their behen in two oily plaits was now being wooed by the rich and the famous. The same men who had sworn their undying love for Dilli a few moons back. And why not? Compared to the billis, she looked shiny, new and so full of life. She had willingly shed her rural past and turned up her snooty nose at her cousins Kaphasera, Dundhahera, Bhondsi and Jharsa. Her new friends had fancy names like Jacaranda, Veranda, Harmonica and Magnolia and looked like Victoria Secret’s willowy models from a distance.

Her mercurial rise took many by surprise. She was rich and powerful in no time.

Besotted by her good looks and flirtatious charms, many moved into her welcoming arms dreaming of a rosy happily ever after. Alas, the happily ever after lasted as long as a made in China product. It didn’t take long for them to realise, her glamour and sophistication was just skin deep. Beneath the layers of makeup and designer threads lay a pockmarked, misshapen, unruly, uncouth chhoree. Initially they dismissed her frequent blackouts, wild ways and almost non-existent hospitality as teething problems. They tried their best to ignore the heebie-jeebies she gave them when they were out alone late at night.

Like any loyal lover, they were not willing to give up so easily on her. She was after all their lugai who could not be ditched. They protested, fought relentlessly and demanded she be set right. They had after all lavished their love and riches on her and all they got was disappointment and stress.

It was difficult to come to terms with harsh reality. Was she was just a cauliflower pretending to be a flower?

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