Friday 27 December 2013

News These Days!!

What would I gift my kid?

This post is a part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life in association with BlogAdda

Ok, so I am not yet even close to getting married but I do have a plan for my future kids. Of course, I want them to be better than me on every front and that's a high standard to live up to IMHO. Ok, well not so humble opinion. Anyway, playing Santa for my kid, I'd bring the following gifts for junior-

1. A beautiful love story.
If it's a girl, she'd be reading Mills and Boons anyway but, I'm talking about my story. There is no feeling warmer than being brought up in a loving family. I'd do a Ted Mosby and tell my kids about how I met their mother and what hurdles I had to cross to be the man that I was so that she could fall for me. Also, I'd love to introduce them to the Great love stories lying on the folklores of India because I do believe that stories of selfless dedication help in building character and integrity. For those interested, I am already writing my love story for my kids on my blog-How I meet her
Of course, I will introduce them to it when they reach the right age. I can be their love guru too.

2. Access to my private book collection.
There is no joy better than putting up a ladder or stool to climb up your dad's old bookshelf and discover the treasures lying there. I'd love to see junior do that and would actually introduce him to Weber, Wordsworth and other suchlike great minds so that he can stay inspired.

3. A hobby
I know, I know, you can't gift someone a hobby but, I believe that us Indian parents treat hobbies as luxuries. Most of us. I'd identify his inner musician/ painter/ martial artist/ sportsman and let him explore it since early childhood. I am sure this gift will take him places.

4. An yearly trip to some far away land.
A wise man once said that there are only two kinds of wise people in this World. The ones who have read a lot and those who have traveled a lot. I'd give him the soul of a nomad. Teach him to respect all cultures, all religions and judge no one.

5. A cool dad!
I'd listen to them, be there when they're rehearsing for a big play, play cricket with them, take them out every once in a while. I'd gift them ME!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Indian Tango Contest by The Readers' Cosmos

So, The Readers' Cosmos has once again come up with a Book contest and an amazing book - Indian Tango by Ananda Devi is up for grabs. Here is my entry for the contest. Just a montage of all things that come to mind when I flash the thought of "India" through my mind.

Here are the details of the contest- Click here

Friday 6 December 2013

The Law Of Maximum And Minimum

Now, I am not sure whether what I am going to say has already been covered by some great philosopher or sociologist but heck, it's my blog and I am gonna say it! This is my law and I am going to call it "The ABD theory". Hope the World calls it that too some day.

When we study capitalism, we often see the haves and have-nots but in our societies, we have many degrees of both quantifiable and intangible assets. I am here to talk about two of those categories- first is the ones who have a lot of something and second is the category of those who have only the bare minimum. My theory is that these two categories achieve the most in life. In general, mediocrity breeds mediocrity while scarcity and abundance, both give rise to excellence. Now, this theory might seem like a no-brainer without an explanation and examples. Chances are that it'll still seem a no-brainer after I am done with the post but, bear with me-

Even seen a guy with a girl and thought to yourself, "Damn! How did he score that chick?" Well, the answer lies in the desperation coefficient. Higher the shortcomings in a guy's personality, higher is his desperation coefficient. This leads to the evolution of a self-deprecating style of humour which is absolutely adorable and covertly flirtatious. Also, the "aww factor" multiplies by the exact number of times the girl's is hotness is higher than the guy. Coming to the handsome guys, they score pretty well for obvious reasons.

Another example is of financial constraint. Guys who have no money strive harder for it and are earning sooner than the ones coming from better off families. Guys with a lot of money also end up earning well as they have a certain lifestyle to maintain.

This law can be applied in many fields but the more important point of interest here is- the exceptions. If it's a rule, then how come there are so many exceptions? So many poors who remain poor, ugly guys who remain single, rich guys who are unsuccessful, handsome guys who remain unmarried? The concept lies in "desperation coefficient", fortunately or unfortunately, desperation is a sociological and relative term. If, you don't feel the scarcity, you won't work hard to overcome it. So, here is where the psychology comes into play.

In the example of an ugly guy, if he is born in a protective environment, told that he'll be fine, he'll not try anything out of the ordinary to succeed and hence, end up in the mediocre zone. Now, to be judging him for this choice would be really shallow and as a sociologist, one must stop and the result and not conclude anything.

So, I am not saying mediocrity, scarcity or abundance are rivals and one of them is a winner. They're just lifestyles and adaptations according to situations.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Book Review- The Almond Tree

Book- The Almond Tree
Author- Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Publisher- Fingerprint Publishers
ISBN- 978-81-7234-487-0
Genre- Fiction
Price- Rs 295
E-book- Available

The Readers' Cosmos this time gave me a chance to review "The Almond Tree" by Michelle Cohen Corasanti and and I am thankful that they did. It was a delightful read with words woven out of pure emotions.

There's also a website for the book and you can also read excerpts from

The first three pages of the book are full of praises and accolades for the book and its first time author. It is compared by many to the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in terms of its appeal and the way it makes you familiar, even empathetic, with the culture of a far-off land. The book does have a universal appeal as the Ahmed of Palestine can easily be someone from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Libya- any place where human sanity is crossing swords with fanaticism. Ahmed's struggle since childhood takes you through the conditions prevailing in the region and humanizes the numbers (of victims) that we almost daily see in news.

The cover design is well done with flowers set against a barbed wire fence and a handsome young man  representing Ahmed the character looking through the barbed fence with hope and determination. The back cover captures a barren landscape capturing the tough living conditions.

The language and the fonts are easy to the eye and are made for a smooth read. Hope of the characters' survival goes up and down like the pulse as the story progresses and the wordsmith has done such a complex task with use of a lucid words and common vocabulary. Kudos! Also, the familiarity with the culture makes one think that the author is from the Israel- Palestine region but reading in the introduction, you come to know that it was just based on what the author imbibed in one summer during a vacation; the respect for the way emotions are represented like one's own, increases manifold. It is this quality that sets apart good writers from great. Writing is nothing but understanding your characters and getting in their skin and this book does it well.

The story begins with a horrific incident that shakes the lives of a peaceful civilain family. This, and the way the family deals with it- sets the tone for the rest of the story. Ahmed, the protagonist witnesses death at a very early stage in his childhood and if not anything else, it makes him wiser. His intellect which exalts him from the rest of the characters specially in his academic pursuits, also enforces his identity as the protagonist. The questions that arise and the answers that he finds are what forms the rest of the story. Also, the story has emotional angles which tug at your heart, pinch you a little and make you smile and cry about how life plays us. Ahmed's marriage to Yasmine, the village belle, being one such piece. One cannot but feel sorry for her at times.

All in all, the book does a great job in character-detailing, story-telling and descriptions. I recommend the book to all who are looking for a good, thought-provoking read. Having certain bit of realism in it, the book might also interest non-fiction fans. I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars!

Happy reading.

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to

Monday 4 November 2013

Here's how I spent my Diwali.

So, it was another Diwali at home. God, how much I love these times. Every Diwali with family is special because of the special feeling of togetherness with people who are your actual pillars of support is a great feeling. It also brings you closer to the place you belong to, mentally and emotionally. It was another day where we began with last moment panicking and trying to shop, clean, eat, talk- all at the same time. There was so much to eat and so much to do- this abundance that comes with Diwali is my favourite part. People splurge on sweets, crackers and clothes. I do believe in charity but an annual show of such emotions is more or less therapeutic to an otherwise middle-class, medium income-group family.

Also, it is a delight to watch all the family members come together and enjoy. My day began a late as I woke up at around 8-ish with Rangoli playing at the giant plasma TV set my Dad had just got. I think this tradition of watching Rangoli on Sundays will never leave my household. From the era of Black and White small CRTs to LCDs, this programme has been setting the whole day's pace and mood for us North-Indians since time immemorial. Then we drove to our Chhatarpur home where we were warmly welcomed by grandparents. It is always the fuzziest, warmest feeling to meet them after a while.

The afternoon was replete with shopping for diyas, sweets, Lakshmi Ganesh idols and other items of Pooja. The colourful Diwali markets, especially in small towns form an organic entity. The throbbing colours, young lasses shopping for Rangoli colours, women and men bargaining for random items, creative artworks, fireworks etc are a joy to watch and absorb. This very Indian-ness is missing in those newer entrants like - "Cadbury's Celebrations" gift packets with little or no personalization. Later in the noon, my Dad used some messaging site to send out Diwali greetings to all his contacts. I miss the good old greeting cards' tradition.

Half of the evening was spent helping in the cleaning and setting up of lights while the rest was spent napping! In the night, there was the quintessential Puja where my Dad, as always, recited the "story of Deepawali" (katha) and then later, we all sang the Aarti together.  After that, we set out to put diyas in each and every nook and cranny of the house and then there was the prasad distribution and touching of the feet of all elderlies. Then of course there were fireworks.

So, yep! That was my Diwali. :)

Hope yours was as simple and delightful. :) 

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Our fundamental rights- Explained.

This idea of spreading awareness about our fundamental rights in a fun way has always lingered in my mind ever since I familiarized myself with the Indian Constitution. Finally today, I have found the push to finally sit down and write. So, without further delay, let's begin-

First a quick introduction- Our Constitution is divided into 25 parts, 446 articles and 12 schedules. (Originally, it had 22 parts, 395 articles and 8 schedules). Ok, so parts are like chapters dealing with different subjects eg. the subject of Part I is "The Union & its territory". Part III is our topic i.e. The Fundamental Rights. Over a period of time, parts IVA, IXA, IXB, XIVA were added and VII was deleted.
Articles are like clauses stating the rules and regulations regarding the subject; and within that, we have sub-clauses which include exceptions, special cases, specifications etc.

Got it? Ok, now let's begin.


Ok so, the guys at the helm of Constitution making in the Ambedkar days wrecked their brains, argued till their throats got sore in putting together this part of the Constitution. It was discussed for as many as 38 days as our founding fathers wanted it to be really strong. #respect.
They're like the guarantee you have which is given to you not by the govt but by the Constitution ie. the basic law of this land. All the prevailing negativity aside, you should take immense pride in being a citizen of such a country.
But the question comes- guarantee against whom? Who is going to harm my fundamental rights?

Answer lies in Article 12- It tells you that the guarantee is against the State! Yup! It's the authority that is most likely to infringe on your rights. Now you'd ask- what exactly do we mean by state? Well, our founding fathers left little room for ambiguity. Here are the villains (in case they cause harm to you) that your Rights protect you from-
- The Govt and Parliament of India
-The Govt and Legislature of each of the States
-All local authorities like municipalities, district boards, Panchayats, Improvement trusts etc.
-Other authorities within the terrirory of India.

Now you ask- "Other Authorities Who?!?" Well, these cover the authorities created by the Constitution on whom the powers are conferred by law eg. State electricity boards, LIC, ONGC, DTC, Finance commission. Even private bodies with public service responsibilities entrusted to it can come under this category.

Now to those of you who are bit of smartasses, yes, I know what you're thinking and no, you cannot count High Courts and the Hon'ble Supreme Court in this list. Ok?

The next Article- Article 13 defines "Law" in order to establish that the Constitution must prevail in all cases. It ends all laws that are in conflict with the Rights whether made before or after the making of Constitution. Law here means all temporary, permanent laws, rules, regulations, notifications having the force of law; even customs like marriage etc.
Ok, enough setting stage- let's begin now.

The Rights- They are divided into six broad categories. We begin this series with the first category-


Article 14- Every person has the right not to be denied "equality before the law" or "equal protection of the laws" within the territory of India.
This right is available to everyone in India. Even those who are not citizens of our country.
So basically, if the traffic guys fine a scooter rider for not wearing helmet, they have to fine a Mercedes driver for not wearing seat belt too. 
There is of course provision for intelligent differentia for example- An Ambulance is exempted from penalties of breaking traffic rules on reasonable conditions.

Article 15- Available only to Indian citizens, this right states that the State cannot discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, caste, race, sex, place of birth or any of them. Here "only" is important as it gives state the right to discriminate on the basis of one or more of these articles PLUS also on other ground(s) would not be affected by this article. And the state can discriminate on basis of residence.
So, you can use a public toilet no matter what your religion, caste, race, sex, place of birth or any of them is. 
Clause 2 of the same article says that one cannot be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to- (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to use of general public.
So, you can jump into that municipality swimming pool, no matter what your caste is; but you cannot jump into it if it is Vijay Mallya's private pool!! 
Clause 3 empowers the state to make special provisions for women and children. So, no! You cannot use the Ladies' Washroom!
Clause 4 empowers the state to make special provisions for advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the SCs and STs.
Clause 5 (added  by 93rd amendment on 20 January 2006) empowers Parliament to make special provisions by law for socially and educationally backward classes and for SCs and STs in regard to admission to educational institutions including private aided or unaided institutions other than minority institutions.
Now as you might find them, Clauses 4 and 5 are a bit ambiguous. There have been questions raised on reservation. Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that, "caste and poverty may be both relevant for determining the backwardness. But neither caste alone nor poverty alone could be the determining test".
Ok, moving on...

Article 16- Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment. 
Clause 1- All citizens of India are guaranteed equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
So, if you're from Goa, you cannot be denied the job of a peon in a school in Maharashtra.
Clause 2-  No citizen can be discriminated against or be ineligible for any employment or office under the State on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth or residence.
So, these clauses make you eligible for all jobs in the country for which you hold the qualifications. Now, before you get all happy, let me introduce you to the subsequent clauses which are basically exceptions to this right-
Clause 3- Parliament is empowered to regulate the extent to which it would be permissible for a State or Union Territory to depart from or expand or supplement the general principles enunciated in clauses (1) and (2).
So with this power, Parliament passed the Public Employment (Requirement as to residence) Act, 1957 which repealed all the laws in force prescribing any requirement of residence within a State or UT for any public employment but exceptions were made in cases of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and the Telangana area of Andhra Pradesh where residential qualifications were prescribed for a limited period not exceeding five years on grounds of backwardness of the areas. But then in one case, SC declared a part of this Act unconstitutional as Parliament cannot impose a residential qualification in just a part of a State.
Clause 4- It is an enabling provision for the State and empowers the State to make special provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any "backward class of citizens" which in the opinion of the State are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
Mandal Commission's much debated report recommended 27% reservation in view of the 50% limit imposed by Supreme Court. On 16 Nov 1992, SC decided that 27% reservation for socially and backward classes excluding the creamy layer was in order.
Clause 4A- Added by the 77th Constitution Amendment Act- in matters of promotion in services under the State in any category or categories, the State can make reservations for the SCs and STs.
Clause 4B- 81st Constitution Amendment Act, 2000- unfilled reserved vacancies are to be treated as a separate class and are not to be included under the prescribed ceiling of 50% reservation of vacancies per year.
The 85th Constitution Amendment Act, 2001 further clarified that the employees so promoted shall also be entitled to consequential seniority. The 85th Amendment came into operation w.e.f. 17 June 1995.
As you can see that the emphasis is on social backwardness and not so much on economic backwardness which makes the matter highly political.
Clause 5- provided that a law may prescribe that the incumbent (holder) of an office in connection with the affairs of a religious or denominational institution, or a member of the governing body thereof shall belong to the particular religion or denomination.
So, a Head Priest at a Hindu temple cannot be Christian by religion. Makes sense.

Article 17- Abolition Of Untouchability
Untouchabiliy practice is treated as an offence and is punishable under law. It is also the bounden duty of every citizen to ensure that it is not practised in any form. (Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1976)
So you cannot show your ancient scriptures if someone catches you practising this barbaric practice.

Article 18- Abolition of Titles
Prohibits the State to confer titles on anybody, whether an Indian citizen or a foreign national. Exceptions are Military and academic distinctions.
Clause 2- A citizen of India has also been prohibited from accepting any title from a foreign State.
Clause 3- A foreigner holding any office of profit or trust under the State cannot accept any title from a foreign State without the permission of the President.
Clause 4- No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the President, accept any present, employment, or office of any kind from or under any foreign State.
 So yes, you cannot call yourself Sir Abhyudaya Shrivastava!

Sunday 27 October 2013

Do Boys Gossip As Much As Girls?

With my 6 months' stay in Delhi and my earlier 5 years in Davangere, I have been exposed to many guy groups. Guys who are supposedly kool with a 'K'. I regret to inform you though that I am a bit disappointed with what I have seen and observed. I am here to bust a few myth which is going to be inconvenient but it needs to be done for the welfare of mankind in general.

Myth 1- Guys don't obsess.
This is the most untrue stereotype ever created. I have seen a guy who would have only have one single topic of conversation i.e. girls. It tired me and I slowly tried to distance myself from him, which was an awkward process. It is often said that women fixate over stuff while guys are quick to move on with low attention span. I think this guy broke all those assumptions and stereotypes. Talking about girls was funny at first, then it became slightly boring, later days, I used to sing myself a lullaby as he went on and on about how that girl was looking at that guy etc.

In their obsession, guys forget that the subject of their obsession is also a human being. Sometimes, they are too busy playing the game that they end up trying too hard. One guy I knew liked this girl. He talked to her a couple of times at a metro train station, and the other day he just adviced her to keep her hair loose because he liked them that way. Now, if that's not creepy, what is?

Myth 2- Guys are direct. They don't play mind-games.
This is such a cute lie that I want to find the person who told it first and beat him with a bat! Here is how a typical Indian guy approaches a girl- He stares at her in the commute or in college or office for a week or so. Once he attains a certain level of creepiness so much so that he cannot hold it anymore, he says 'hi' to her. It is supposed that she'd be totally fine talking to a complete stranger as if they were long lost soulmates. Now, a few days later, he asks for her phone number but wait, that's too direct! So, he actually asks for her email address/ BBM pin and presumes that a phone number would be soon given. Even if he does ask for phone number, he wraps it in language like "Hey! Do you have whatsapp?" or "Do you need my notes? You can call me if you want. My number is 98486XXXX!"

They also aren't forthright in their conversations. Their conversations are always affected by their bruised ego if God forbid the girl hasn't been giving them their required dose of attention. They want the girl to worship them. In case that fails to happen, they'd play all sorts of games like pretending that they didn't notice her, abrupting ending conversations, suddenly being rude and all other things we generally associate with feminine traits.

Myth 3- Girls don't understand these tricks.
The fact is that they do. It is like the ostrich-desert situation. Those who pretend to ignore girls think very highly of themselves while most times, the truth is that their primitive behaviour is analysed, dissected and laughed at by womenfolk at their kitty parites. We can't win with them at mind games, guys! They invented them, remember?

Myth 4- Girls like it.
Fact is-- most girls, at least the sensible ones, do not like or encourage these mind games. They deserve to be treated like human beings and not some alien species who'd find it amusing if you whistled and jeered at them. Also, the time you spend trying to come up with a plan could be well spent talking to her like a regular person. Getting to know her would make it less of a chase and more of a converation. What's more? The world will be a better place to live! At least for girls!

Saturday 26 October 2013

Dancing It Out With Indiblogger!!

My #DanceItOut cause- 

We had performed a small skit-based dance about #EducationForWomen in the event. It was a cause close to my heart because as a male member of the society I see women rising, fighting so many adversities and balancing all roles that we assign to them; it humbles me to walk this Earth with one of the most tolerant and benevolent species in the World i.e. Indian Women. This may seem far-fetched for a person belonging to a metropolitan but truth is that the subordinance of women's role in the society is still quite deep rooted in our society. I see even among my female colleagues this nonchalance about their career as they consider marriage their 'escape plan' from every challenge to their professional lives. You know you're fighting an evil demon when even the victims happily resign to their fates.

This ambition-killing exercise sickens me because of its sheer magnanimity in our society. Even the most educated ones take it for granted that a girl has to be married by 25-26, otherwise there is something seriously wrong. We have systematically eliminated her dreams to make room for our conveniences. The women who have broken this stereotype have to pass the test of 'balancing both lives' on a daily basis without uttering a word. And that's just the mild urban face of the problem.

In smaller cities and villages, the situation is much more dismal. It bears close resemblance to all the stereotypes we used in our dance performance. The boy is encouraged to study while the book is snatched away from the girl, she is encouraged, almost forced to learn cooking and other household work so that she can be married off to a 'respectable' family. Later, she is married off in almost a way one disposes off a huge burden from his shoulders. She is now tested on those generic parameters at her in-laws' home and God forbid if they don't like her 'house-making' skills, she is subjected to sharp critique and in some cases, harassment. During all this, her mental aptitude, her ambition, her education- it all just becomes a joke. A sad joke which isn't even funny. True, the pressure is much less in larger cities but this whole attitude is still prevalent as after years of training, now it is self-imposed.

I hope to see a change in this attitude through this post and if I can get my message across to even one person through this, if I can get them thinking, the purpose would be considered fulfilled.


The Event

It was my first time at an Indiblogger Meet and I now realized what I had been missing till now. In collaboration with Zee TV's Dance India Dance, Indiblogger came to The Oberoi, New Delhi and took our breath away. It was a party that although began a bit late but when it did, it thumped its way all the way to our hearts. The DID judges Mudassar and Feroz danced and partied with the Indiblogger cool gang. As pointed out by the the dynamic host of the evening, it was 'Dance India Dance' and not 'Sit India Sit' so, all of us were given chances to #DanceItOut. Live tweets were displayed on the giant screens in the ballroom, it was fascinating to see the power of social media come alive. It was one big happy family. I was almost a recluse though, humbled by the sheer aura of the event and celebs; also this hot girl was sitting right by my side which made me sort of nervous and jittery. Times like these I wish I was more of an extrovert and had the power to talk to women. Anyway, when she stood up she was like way taller than me, it'd not have worked out. So, grapes are sour. Anyway, I am deviating. I also saw so many celebs from the blogging universe like Anukriti Sharma et al, whose blogs inspire me to create better stuff, but didn't really have the courage to go up and say 'hi'. Maybe next meet. :D

I did meet some amazing bloggers and made friends too. Here are a few photos of mine with Deepika, Swarn, Divyanshu, Yogita and of course Nimi.

I did meet a few friends viz Nimi Vashi (Readers' Cosmos) and Monica Verma (The Forthright). I am proud to say that both my friends left an indelible mark on the event. Nimi through her Amitabh Bachchan-wala step. (She won headphones for that! You go Nimi!!) and Monica through her Lungi Dance stole the show.
The judges were really sporty and they even taught us their signature moves from the the theme song of Dance India Dance. It was a gala time. Later we were served dinner. Now, this is not a food blog but the Bhuna Gosht (Lamb) was particularly delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the mango pudding too. There was an open bar and I am so sad that I had to hurry back home which meant I couldn't get my hands on the drinks. All in all, it was a fun event. And yeah! We got cool Indiblogger DID mugs as souvenirs.

Ok, this is pretty much it. I'd once more like to mention my cause #EducationForWomen. Please help us trend it and bring more and more awareness about it.

Cheers to Indiblogger and Zee TV DID.

Here are the links to
Indiblogger on FB-
Zee TV on FB-
Indiblogger's FB album from the event- The Album

Thursday 24 October 2013

Texting in a relationship- The Hidden code

Friends, SMSing or texting as we know it, came to us with the advent of the digital era and the introduction of TDMA and CDMA technologies. Little did its founders know that it will soon develop into a code language of its own. Since it has the disadvantage of not being as expressive as a face-to-face conversation or a phone call, the users have developed intricate textual signals which convey the message, sometimes even more subtly than a live conversation.

Relationships too, are not untouched by the phenomenon. I think the credits to developing this language goes to couples who spend more time tapping the keyboard than anything else. Relationships thrive on conversations. We are all strangers programmed to treat each other with suspicion until we start talking. A couple is basically two strangers who talk a lot. Most of these talks happen in their minds. All the backspacing one does while typing a long expressive message is the actual conversation which remains unsaid. Unsaid doesn't necessarily mean unexpressed. Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, friends- we all leave nothing unexpressed. Here's an attempt based on my tryst with the devil called 'texting' for understanding the hidden code behind those words-

1. The salutations.
'Sup?' might be the most common way of a guy to sound cool while trying to start a conversation with a girl. It is non-chalant, it was sort of cool when people first started it using. Now, it has been over-used yet, finds place in the vocabulary of 15 to 19 year old males with sparse moustaches and half-cracked pubescent voices.
Next comes the 'Hiiiiiii'. It's a 'Hi' suffixed with the amount of "i"s directly proportional to the cuteness being attempted by the sender. Other variants are "Hellooooooooooooo", Or "Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy" or "Hellozzzzzzzzz". These used to be girly expressions but not anymore. The market forces of supply and demand have now made the extra vowels added at the end of salutations sort of mandatory. In few relationships, a simple "Hello" or a bland "Hi" represents that something is not right. It might also indicate the aftermath of a huge fight and may soon be followed by the dreaded "We need to talk."
There are also the foreign salutations like "Hola", "Aloha" etc which sound exotic. These are basically pretentious in origin and are used most commonly by guys who are trying to get laid.

2. Something is wrong.
When you tell your girlfriend something you did last night (party, night-out, texting with that random chic on FB etc) and her reply, after 5 minutes, comes as "Hmmm.. K". You have got to be an idiot to think that everything is "K". Sometimes even with the number of 'm's in the 'hmmm', you can estimate the number of sly comments that are going to come your way in the future.
I think 'K' is the most versatile character of the English alphabet in terms of its utility in texting. 'Hmm.. K' expresses dismay while 'Oh.. K' may express surprise or shock. 'Kk' is used to express affirmation while a plain 'K' is an emphatic conversation-killer. 'Okay' is used to express agreement while the same is expressed by girls using "okie-dokie" and sometimes just "okie". Lastly, 'Hmph.. K' is used to show exasperation and is sort of like saying "I give up, you win!"

3. The sign-offs.
Goodbyes are the hardest part in texting. A plain 'Bye' sounds more like "Goodbye forever! Good riddance!" A girl might just be using 'Bye' to show her indignance to your behaviour or might just be flirting- trying to see how restless you get when she starts to leave. If you read it wrong, you might end up infuriating her. And if she's the rare kind who uses 'Bye' for the meaning it was intended, and you keep talking, you might be viewed as a 'pile-on'.
A 'Bbye', 'Buh-bye', 'Byeeeeeeee' are politer ways of signing out. A smiley emoticon and sometimes three to four ones (as necessitated) are required before completing the sign out.
'TC' is another critical tool to express various meanings. When someone says 'tc' abruptly, they might not necessarily want you to 'take care' as much as you might imagine. 'Tc' is more of a semi-polite goodbye which when expanded, reads- "TAKE CARE of your own business, leave me alone".
Ok, it is a vast universe with ever-changing definitions and if I delve any deeper, I risk irretrievable damage to my actual language skills. So, I'd just stop here. Hope you learned something.

:) :) :)






K.. Bbyeeee! :*

Monday 21 October 2013

How to bring about a revolution?

One wonders what is common between all those who brought about 'big change' in the society. Something that escalated their status from ordinary humans to revolutionaries. There lived a Gandhi who transcended all boundaries and joined mankind with a thread as fragile and invisible as 'ideology'. How does one bring in himself the conviction to stand up for something he believes in and the tact of convincing others about his ideology.

Is it an art or is it something more basal? Are we born with a 'revolutionary' gene or is it a matter of destiny? How does history choose its heroes? Why is it that some achieve a mass appeal while others with the same conviction wander off in unknown territories? There are some like Rajiv Gandhi who have greatness thrust upon them and slowly learn to live with it. And then there is Vallabh Bhai Patel who rises from the soil and takes his place in history just like a king rises to power.

I do think that there is a strong component of timing at work in these situations. There are times when times demand for a certain leader. The person chosen by the universe to be the center of this demand, the representative if you will, becomes the revolutionary of those times. But then, it is not as simple as that. I cannot claim to understand what really makes someone great because I haven't (yet) achieved greatness of any kind. No one looks up to me and wants to be like me. No one feels inspired by my thoughts. There are no thoughts even if one was insane enough to do so. I haven't yet formed a value system that is resistant to change and adversity. I don't think it is an easy thing to form. This fact itself gives a bit of a clue to solving the problem I have at hand.

A definite value system does make a big difference. It requires continuity of thought. It also requires the individual to sacrifice a little on the "flexibility" grounds but then, it's a small price to pay for the greatness that awaits him. This is a state of oneness with your ideology. You cannot envision Rajiv Gandhi shunning technology, Mahatma Gandhi talking about war or Nehru turning into a sage. You become one with your ideology and that's when you cease to be a person and turn into an idea.

I for one, am opposed to such an idea. I'd rather stay a human and yet bring about whatever small change I can bring to the society. When we give any person a larger-than-life, holier-than-thou image, we snatch away his right to be wrong, his right to question himself and his right to turn back. It all scares me a bit. For example, if I were Gandhi, I'd always wonder how it would feel to just wear a three-piece suit for one day instead of khadi. I'd be tempted to try non-vegetarian food. Not because I want or like those things but because I am too flexible to stick to my own ideology of the world.

I do think that a great thinker would know that there is no conclusion in the social sciences. Every great man is respected not because of his ideas, most of the ideas grow outdated and are replaced by newer, smarter ideas; but for his conviction, the way he dedicates his life to them. I wonder if I can change the world around me without changing myself...

Sunday 13 October 2013

Comic Book Review- Akhiri Dhruv

Title- Akhiri Dhruv
Publisher- Raja Pocket Books (Raj Comics)
Artwork and Story- Anupam Sinha
Editor- Manish Gupta

Today, I'd be reviewing a comic book on my blog. Being a big fan of this art, it was always due on my part to review one of these amazing stories that continue to fascinate and capture the imagination of everyone who is young at heart.

I am aware that a sizeable population of my audience might not be aware of these characters and stories but I have had an awesome childhood just because of these. Here, I'd be reviewing one of my favourite characters- Super Commando Dhruv's comic book- Akhiri Dhruv. I picked up this book from a small stand near Patel Nagar Metro station, New Delhi. The ownder of this stall seemed like a comic book enthusiast himself. He told me how his collection of comics is the largest in the whole area. Also he dared me to find these comics anywhere else in Delhi upto New Delhi railway station.

Anyway, coming to the comic I have in my hand- Raj Comics has been improving a lot to match up to the international standards these days. That is visible in the glossy paper used and the amazing coloring effects. I think the first comic of this new age was Kohram which changed the whole way we viewed Indian comics. Akhiri Dhruv is also one such comic with a complex and amazingly entertaining storyline. It is based on the back to the future theme where there has been a major exchange. The lineage of Dhruv has survived in the future and has been defending the world against the evil. Now one of Dhruv's successors- Dhruvishya had to come back to past while Dhruv has gone to the future due to some mishap. This major exchange pits the two greats against difficult problems of each other's eras. When it's Dhruv, you know he will come out as a winner. No matter what the situation. The indomitable spirit of this guy keeps amazing me every single time. I have never come across a bad Dhruv comic and that is because of the unique problem-solving attitude of this superhero.

Anupam Sinha's artwork and story is as always, spot on! This guy keeps getting better with every comic. If anyone has the right to be called the Stan Lee of India, it's him! I just hope he keeps churning out many such tales from his stable. The concept of the futuristic cellphones with 3-D images is mind-blowing. The cover page art is dynamic too. The colors in Dhruv's costume always brighten up the pages. I wonder why this character never falls victim to petty vainglory given that he knows how awesome he is. I bet that'd be a great concept to work upon for Anupamji.

Ok, now a few brickbats- the decision to do away with the calligraphy in comics and go with the printed word has backfired with Raj Comics. For Hindi purists, there are far too many spelling and grammar mistakes in the text and even if you ignore them, the comic sans-like font is a bit tacky. One other minor problem I have with the artwork is that sometimes, Dhruv's face keeps changing it's contours in different frames. I think in this regard, Anupamji should take a leaf out of the book from Manu (Doga-fame)'s artwork. His drawings of different characters were fairly accurate and even without the mask, we could easily identify Suraj aka Doga in each frame.

Anyway, that hasn't been a big problem and I have been thoroughly  enjoying the super adventures of the Super commando Dhruv! Here's hoping for many more such comics!!

Sunday 6 October 2013

Who is reading my blog? And why?

As I see the viewership details of my blog in my blogger account, my eyes widen with a weird feeling. I get around 100-200 hits on an average per day on both my blogs and but when I view the geographical details, it seems that most of my viewers are from the United States of America. So much so that the India : US ratio is somewhere around 1:10. Now, I don't think I have those many fans in the US so chances are- I am just being snooped on by the Big Brother. Well, I think that means someone in the US is reading this post too. I tell you what, Uncle Sam, this is just a lame blog post with nothing in it about terror or anything that you MUST know to preserve your national security so stop wasting your resources on me.

Anyway, here is my "Destroy America" plan because I just can't see you guys working so hard for nothing-

 I hope to write more non-sensical stuff like this until my master in a far- far away galaxy takes notice of my work and decodes the hidden messages in my blog. That's give him the signal to come over to earth and destroy one country in particular (Yup!) and after that, I can tell him to go away through my secretly coded blogpost messages and he shall comply because he is actually a nice person at heart. After that, I can hope to no longer get 200 visits a day which do nothing more that boost my ego- which in turn would enhance my productivity and I can blog more.

There! That was my plan! Oops! Am I busted? LOL!

Wait!! I see a drone outside my window!! Eeeek!! *Runs*

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Humanity Still Alive In Delhi

I was walking down the sidewalk near Patel Nagar metro station today. It was dinner time and I was getting my aloo paranthas parcelled from the roadside dhaba-like shop. I do despise having mundane paranthas for dinner but sometimes, I impose them on myself as they are the cheaper option. Anyway, as I was saying- I was waiting for my dinner outside the shop when I saw a neatly dressed, otherwise nice looking guy sitting on the roadside holding his head in his hands, sweating profusely and grimacing in pain. I wondered whether he had come running from somewhere and was just sitting down to catch his breath. I was analysing the situation in my head from a distance, staring at him with slight amount of pity.

Then I saw this passer-by who stopped and asked the guy who was sitting down whether he was okay. The guy said he'll be ok and he was just feeling a bit unwell. I was still unsure of the level of compassion this passer-by had in himself and it'd be an understatement if I say I must have underestimated him. He insisted the guy to stand up and come show to a doctor. The sick guy, in turn, refused the offer politely- perhaps trying to be modest and self-sufficient.

Then, I saw a crowd forming around the guy. It was a strange phenomenon. Till now, no one was stopping to see the guy sweating and reeling in discomfort but as soon as someone else took an initiative, people started hoarding to view the tamasha. All this while, I was a part of the onlooker crowd which makes me really disappointed with myself being a healthcare professional myself. This thought should have come to me. Suddenly, I realized there was so much to learn from this world for me. I think for every one bad deed that deters you from being good, there are a thousand good examples that you can take inspiration from.
Eventually, the helpful dude grabbed the sick one by his wrist and insisted on taking him to a doctor and getting him medicines. I also saw him getting some juice from the nearby fruit juice shop for him. Once the sick dude had his juice, the stranger clasped his hand tightly and led him to a doctor.
As others looked on.

I heard the crowd mumble- "He shouldn't have left home if he knew he was gonna fall sick." and "What a pity!" etc etc. 

Muzaffarnagar Riots: A Timeline view

Here is the link to The Forthright article with which I collaborated to create this piece.The Forthright- Muzaffarnagar Riots- Why? All thanks to +Monica Verma for her patronage and encouragement. Do check out the site for more.

Here are a few glimpses from the cartoons I drew there. Check out the link for all of them.


Comedy Nights With Diggy

Thursday 19 September 2013

Groundwater levels fall in Hyderabad

So easy, right?

Perhaps it's just me or maybe things aren't as easy as they seem. I can talk of Indian scenario as a context as I don't know whether other countries too are this difficult to live.

Often I ask myself why don't I vote? Being 25 years of age and a socially aware citizen of my country, there is no reason I shouldn't be voting in all elections local or national, voicing my opinion and being a part of the change. Well, the answer is- I am yet to settle down. The conditions that allow an individual to vote in a particular constituency require a minimum amount of domicile period. Also, I was in Karnataka during most of my growing years and I don't think I'd have succeeded in getting a voter ID issued there, being a non-native. Also, I am a student and somehow was restricted from the political scenario as these were supposed to be my formative years. Now, BAM! I am 25 and voter-ID-less. Voting? Not so easy.

Being a regular commuter in Delhi these days, I wished I has a bus pass so that I could navigate my way across the city without any hassles. Turns out, the pass would cost me more than what I'd pay for if I bought ticket daily. I don't think that is how it is supposed to work. A pass is govt's way of showing thankfulness to the commuter's loyalty, not looting him! Also, even if I wanted a pass, it's not available at the nearby bus stops. Any of the metro stations can have a small window near the gate that can issue passes with photo IDs. Strangely, no one has thought of this, and I'd have to specially go to the bus depots which lie at the end of the routes to get my pass. Not so easy.

Being a cartoonist, people often ask me- why didn't you go for cartooning as a career? Why don't you send your cartoons to newspapers? How am I to explain to them that I have been sending all my cartoons, even my resume to all the newspapers in every corner of India. There have been only two type of responses- either no reply or Mail Delivery Failed as we were unable to reach the server. Yes, once, I got the response from Deccan Chronicle where they invited me to draw for them. But, with a few changes- instead of commenting of social issues, I should draw popular jokes, also- I should dumb down my humour as they were unable to get it. A dozen tries and a "mere three cartoons going to print" later, I had to quit. And now I see others draw cartoons in newspapers with jokes that those Deccan people would outrightly scoff on, and helplessly stare in the zeroness. Being a professional cartoonist? Not so easy.

Every estimation regarding the time to be taken to reach a particular destination in India has to be multiplied by two. If you make such an estimate beforehand and start out early, you'll reach too early. Being somewhere in time? Not so easy.

I see beggars on the streets and asking for some money. I feel like helping them, not because I pity them but because I can. I put my hand in my pocket and suddenly realize that I am still living off my Dad's earnings. Same happens when I feel like gifting something momentous to someone special or having a pompous meal. I settle with dal-roti and let the beggar children cry with hunger. Being kind, even to yourself? Not so easy.

And lastly, during my BDS, I was told that dentists earn big money. I completed my degree, looked around and there were vacant seats in govt hospitals yet no openings. The private practioners offer Rs 5000 to freshers and sometimes nothing. It is a shameless lie that the education system plays on millions of gullible life sciences students. Changing the system? Not so easy.