December 13, 2014

A good day with friends

These days, I'm in Balco. I've never written a blog post about Balco, a big township where I grew up, spent the first 17 years of my life. Studied in the same school, with the same idiots from class I to XII. The place I call home. Because home is where the heart is.

I'm in Balco to record our songs, for our band. It's with my school friend that I'm starting the band. He's got a home studio made in his new house and we've started recording our songs. 

The last time I was in Balco, it was about seven years ago. It feels so good to be here. I won't even attempt describing how good. Some feelings are so fine and beautiful that I'm wary my description of them with mere words will be underwhelming. 

This post will be a quick one, because I'm juggling our band's social media work right now. Won't have taken up this blog post, but yesterday was such a good day, I have to record it. Though I've been in Balco for two weeks now, I hadn't stepped out of my friend's house. It's only yesterday that I went for a stroll, saw my old house. Whoa... That feeling! The house where I grew up. That's the house where I was so young and stupid that I used to wet bed, my sister used to dress me up in her frilly frocks, I used to run out in them, used to pee on my neighbours when they'd hold the baby-me. The house where, as a teenager, I developed a love for pop music. Listening to the ballads and croonings all day, convinced that those melodies were conveying my feelings.

Ha! Like I'd said, I shouldn't attempt to describe those feelings. 

Yeah, so yesterday was a wonderful day. Why? Firstly, because I saw my old house after soooo long. It brought back such a rush of memories. Walking a li'l further in our lane, I found a litter of pups hiding under a car. Just like those good 'ol days when we were kids, and there would be puppies everywhere. Our evening playtime meant mollycoddling those pups. I tried getting hold of the pups yesterday, but they didn't come to me. In fact, a nearby cow charged towards me, perhaps thinking I was there to harm the pups. Was so good to be there. I'll visit my old place regularly now for my remaining stay here. I hope I do get to befriend those pups.

The second reason the day was great was because, well, I spotted a BEAUTIFUL girl in Balco! That was while returning to my friend's house after visiting my old place. Hair in a pony tail, dressed in a black jacket and capri-length slacks, she looked like... Man! You don't get to see a girl that beautiful in Balco. You get to see a girl that beautiful in Bangalore, where I stayed for six years. To see suchhhh a beautiful, attractive young woman in Balco was such a high! Such a high! Can't tell. Because usually for bird-watching, Chhattisgarh is a biiiiiiiiig disappointment. She's like an oasis in this desert. I think I'll fall.... No thinking. *Budbudbudbudbud* But I'll visit that place again, the same time, to catch hold of her. Perhaps. Most likely.

Thirdly, I visited a school friend who became papa two weeks ago. He was blessed with a son two days before his birthday. You know what makes it all the more better? He's married to a girl from our class. School friends, got married, and now stepped into parenthood. Such a special moment for them! I'm so happy I got to visit them. Held his li'l son in my arms. But the chhotu champ started crying when I took him in my arms :-/ Is it because of the half-dozen piercings on my face?

Fourth reason: At the stroke of midnight, we (my friend with whom I'm staying, his brother and I) went to the house of another school-time friend, to wish him a happy birthday. And we did wish him the way friends do. Birthday-bump style! Oh, we even got a video of the bromance-action-comedy moment. Such a pleasure it was to kick his ass. Wuhahahahaha... Mind you, it's cold in this part of the country, and it's mid-December. I put on my shoes, went to his house, kicked him, punched him, pounded him. And so did my friend. Ah, what a pleasure! The best part is that it's all recorded on the camera. Bliss. Pure bliss! Wish I could post the video here. But I shouldn't, so you'll have to make do with this photograph. I love my friends!

And the best part about yesterday, I recorded my vocals for a song! There's a reason the phrase "last but not the least" is in vogue. My first recording! And my music composer friend seemed satisfied with the takes. First song! Lead vocals! This is important, man! I'm not a trained musician, and have acquired a lot of bad singing habits by years of casual singing. Despite all that I could give a satisfactory take, hugely relieving. 

As I've got the band's social media pages to handle right now, I'll be quick and end this post here. Here's hoping I improve by leaps and bounds in music. And here's hoping I spend a lot more quality time with friends. We all grew up together. From when we were perhaps crying on day one of nursery school, to checking out girls together in class XII. It's a special bond. Will last forever. I hope I meet more of them, more often, and we make more memories to cherish and laugh about.

October 14, 2014

Our kitchen garden pics

As I've recently bought a smartphone, I thought I should post some pics. In this post, I'm uploading a few pics of our garden. We have quite some variety in our garden, have captured just a minuscule part in these pics. More pics later, as the season of other fruits and vegetables comes. 

I'll kick off this post with images of snake gourd. This creeper (as in creeper plant, not as in "Hemant's such a creepo!") yielded easily more than two quintals of the mineral-rich vegetables. And we hadn't even planted it. Some relative who had come to our house had just discarded the seeds near the mango tree. The soil is super fertile, so we got a healthy creeper that climbed up the mango tree and yielded soooo many gourds. You know, once when we were kids, there was water shortage in Doon. That time, our parents used to dig a small ditch around the mango tree for us and that's where we used to...

Sorry. This post is about pics, not words. Let me start.

How many chilli plants can you spot here?
I love this pic. It's so refreshing to see chillies growing in such abundance!

This vegetable has a beautiful name, tastes well if you cook it well, and looks just as beautiful. What pretty flower. Can you make out the ladiesfingers in the background? Ok, I was avoiding taking the name of the vegetable. I'm not sure whether it's called ladiesfingers or ladyfingers. No clue if it's two words or one word. 

Now, a few pics of Jack's girlfriend.
Don't tell me you didn't get the joke! 

It's a bad idea to cap up these beautiful pics with this one, but I'm too lazy to scroll up and put it up with vegetables. The collection of a few vegetables we grow in our kitchen
I just clicked pics, played no part in growing them. Just that I help mom with plucking these snakegourds, which hang high from the mango tree. 

By the way, a day after I put up these pics, this beautiful flower blossomed, so I captured its picture (at mom's insistence). So now I don't have to end this post with pics of snakegourd, bittergourd, chillies etc. This pic is beautiful.

October 13, 2014

What women want

The world would be so much happier if men knew how to impress women. No, spraying deo doesn't help. A sweet-smelling jerk will still be a jerk. So, what can guys do to get attention of women, besides being rich and handsome?

We need to know women's viewpoint. Guys helping each other out in this regard doesn't inspire confidence. When one of my best friends wanted to celebrate the second month anniversary of his proposal-acceptance and was wondering what to gift her, I suggested buying a kilogram of potatoes or onions. I reasoned it's so different, so freaky that she'll remember it forever. I think I had almost talked him into buying it. But there's a fat chance my idea might not have worked. 

A few days ago, I was chatting with a girl-friend (a hot girl I have a crush on, not girlfriend. Yet.) and she happened to mention a few traits of men that attract her. She mentioned just one, but I, like a good journalist, got her talking and came out of this interview like a diver who emerges out of a sweet-water sea with a pocketful of pearls. Aha! Nice analogy, but too many commas. 

This may not be a one-size-fits-all list, but does give an idea of what may work with girls. (Pssst! She's beautiful, hot and much-in-demand girl. So her thought matters.) Oh, now too many hyphens. Let's get started.

1. Stubble
Her words: "Ya, stubs are a turn on to me. Big time."
But I look like a pickpocket when not clean-shaven.

2. Height
"Tall guy, turn on."
Yay! I'm six feet tall!

Ok, she and I were talking about turn-ons here. Throughout. Not merely things that attract her. I was going to mention "turn-on" in the second para, but thought of making this blogpost PG-friendly. Point 4 will illustrate this post can't be kid-friendly. So I'll let the censoring be. Kids shouldn't be googling "What women want" anyway.

3. Deep baritone
She said she finds manly voice quite a turn-on. I interjected, saying like my voice.
"Your voice is verry cute types
Its not rough"

4. Ass you like it
"A cute small butt
Turn on."
Hahahaha... Reminds me of the Eminem song. "The way you shake it, I can't believe it, I've never seen ass like that, the way you move it," Ok, not the next line of the song. We still gotta maintain some decency. But guys, start running your ass off. 

5. Gummy bears. Kidding. Bear hugs
"Bear hugs turn on"
I thought hugs are just loving. Are they a turn-on to some? Ok, I'm not qualified to answer. Don't have much experience. Oh, do we mean here bear hugs that lead to... What am I... I've... Next point.

6. Hide 'n' Seek. Not the biscuit
"Crooked smiles
Turn on
Crooked matlab hiding while u smile
Coz men usually avoid to smile
Door se chupchupkr dekhna and pretending like u were not looking at me, turn on"
I tried practising in front of a mirror, but haven't been able to figure this one out yet. I grin like The Cheshire Cat.
But this part, looking while pretending not to look, you gotta make sure not to be so discreet that she never finds out you were looking. (This girl never got to know when I checked her out.)

7. Abey khamosh! 
"Asking me to shutup so u could speak, turn on
Hakk jatana, in a good way, turn on
Hakk se daantna, turn on"
I've never asked a girl to shut up. Sigh. Nice guys finish last. (After finishing reading, watch this music video, Nice Guys. It's funny.)

8. Get mad at her
"Kabhi kabhi gussa hona so I can manao, turn on
I am very good at manaoing"
After this chat, I began to realise why I've always been single. I stay polite: don't interrupt when someone's speaking, don't lose temper. God, where's the reward for being good? 

As I was wallowing in self-pity, that observing niceties goes unrewarded, she clarified.
"You shouldnt, agar concern hai toh dikhao, chillao, get mad at me, I like that
Coz I do the same
That's jjust a way of showing love"
I can't lose my temper. I've found it.

9. Intimacy (Yay!)
"I like it when the guy is putting his head on my lap, but once in a blue moon I'd like to put mine on his"
"Back hugs, I like"
Completely agree. So loving. Sigh... (Why sigh? I'm wallowing in self-pity again.)

10. That dress's inappropriate!
"Asking me to wear something to cover my body, in certain situations, I like
Giving me a long bhashan if am doing something wrong, I like"
By this point, I was thoroughly convinced mera kuch nahi ho sakta. I'm highly unlikely to tell a girl what to wear. About what she's wearing, I'll open my mouth only when she wants to hear she's looking great. Or in the rare case of wardrobe malfunction.
And, if she's doing something I think is wrong, I'll merely tell her my viewpoint no more than two times. Anything more than that, I believe, is nagging. Do I get the brownie points here or does this make me too nice to be, you know? 

11. Chivalry
"Lending me his jacket when am cold"
FINALLY! Oh, I will use all caps here. At last, something about me that works. 

12. Intimacy (...continued)
"Sharing the same blanket
I like to sleep on his chest or one hand
I just love it
Like when two ppl sleep, there shouldn't be a distance
Cuddling or spooning"
This is a hypothetical plus point for me. Because me getting this close to a girl is a hypothetical situation. But how I'd love to... No! Can't write more. My parents stalk me online and think I'm crazy.

13. Flattery
"I love, absolutely love when a guy kisses on my forehead
Shows the love, concern, respect
If he notices the number of tils, moles or marks I have all over my body
It just shows how much hes been noticing me
Feels good"
Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Showering affection. Love, concern, respect. Paying attention, noticing. My saving grace. 

14. PDA
"I like to hug from the side if we are in public and just standing
Looks cute
So my head on the chest or arm of the guy, if it's the other way round, even better
Like i said, I can be motherly all the time
It's weird though
But I like it"
I can just let out a cold sigh. Totally agree with her. Another hypothetical plus point to me.

15. Sadda haq, what the Donald Duck!
"I like to hakk jamao and say ki do this, do that, this is better and all
I want to point out things
I like it
But if it's the other way round, even better"
We're treading on thin ice here. There's a fine line between hakk jamana and nagging. As I go by the mantra of "Better safe than sorry", I'm not sure how I'll fare here.

16. What?!?
"I Do this alot, not talking but still doing usual things when am mad..haha"
I don't get it. What? That's why they say, it's tough to understand a woman.

17. Walk and talk
"Long walks, I can never get bored
Talk talk and talk, I like it when two ppl talk things all the time
Even if it includes arguing
Argumenting is my department"
Thank you, God. I'm infamous for making friends walk. When a friend comes to visit me from another city, usually another warns him about not letting me talk him into going for a walk. 
Arguing, ummm... I like being amicable all the time.

18. Careless whisper. Nah, just careless
"He should be careless about his stuff, so am there to take care off"
And my roommates know me for keeping even months of read newspapers so immaculately in a stack that one would think they're fresh out of press. Growing up, I had read a quote that impressed me: "A place for everything, everything at its place." This quote should have had an asterisk, saying "Conditions apply." Time for me to let out another sigh.

19. Be a sissy. Sorry. Fussy
"So guys act all tough when in public with their frnds but act like total fussy kids in front of their girls, love it
So u know how much he looks upto u"
How do I relate to this tough-fussy paradox! I play the fool with my friends all the time and have never had a girl. Wait! Playing the fool always? Maybe that's why none of the girl-friends ever became interested to be the girlfriend. (The real reason: I made all the girl-friends sister. By the time I wisened up and stopped making sisters, new friends started making me their brother. #KyaKaregaPanduJabKismatHai_____)

20. Ask her out. Not that way
"Oh I like when am asked for my opinion on something imp"
Yeah, yeah. Massaging the ego, giving the feeling of importance. I'm really good at that. I'm awesome at it.

21. Pappis
"Every sane girl, would choose pecks over kisses"
And every insane guy would choose pecks over kisses. Hahahaha...
Ok, just kidding.

Points 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 16, 18 and perhaps 19 too are not in my favour. Considering we've listed intimacy twice, there are 20 points. Even if I claim benefit of doubt for the hypothetical-situation questions, I score less than half the points. No wonder, all girl-friends are sisters. Mera kya hoga!

Why did I include point 4 here! #thinkingoutloud #nevermind #amicrazy #notetoselfshutup. Ah, too many hashtags.

“Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
—George Carlin

September 29, 2014

The most bizarre run out

Been quite some time I haven't been blogging. Have got too many fantastic ideas in mind, but I've been too lazy to write. Superhectic work kept me busy for the first half of this year and since then superlethargy has been the culprit. But a couple of nights ago, I had such a bizarre dream that I could not not write about it. What transpired is so whacky that seeing it happen alarmed me. Actually alarmed me. I got up from my sleep. Never mind it was about 10 am.

So, here's what happened in the dream sequence.
Characters: My school friends and I. We're 15-16 years old.
Location: Our school's playground.
Activity: We were playing cricket.

After our class X board exams, we used to play cricket at the school ground in the morning. This dream took place in that setting.

Now, I've always sucked at cricket (and at other sports too). I'd never get to bowl as most of my balls would go wide or fly above the wicketkeeper's head. I was always one of the last batsmen as I had neither the technique nor the brute strength to score runs.

Ha! But in this dream, I was asked to open the batting. I remember, in the dream too I was slightly taken aback at this. Every schoolboy wants to be the first to bat. So it was surprising that a weak link got to open, unopposed. I was at the non-striker's end. My friend scored a run and then I was on the crease to face the next ball.

My moment had arrived. To prove I'm not a bad player. I'd always crib that I never get a chance to bat. And when my chance would come, half of the time I couldn't bat out because mostly I'd be in the last batting pair and the other guy would get out. But this was my moment. I was ready.

The bowler started his run up. I was neither nervous nor excited. I was confident. The bowler hurled the ball towards me. I swung my bat with power, fully sure of making the full contact of the blade with the sphere. Sigh... That was misplaced confidence. And misplaced bat. The ball touched only the upper edge of the bat and flew over the wicketkeeper's head, backwards.

Now, the school's boundary wall lies less than 10 metres behind the batsman's crease. The six-foot high boundary wall separates our school from a park. The highlighted green patch on the right side of this pic shows part of our pitch.

The ball kissed the upper edge of the bat, sailed over the boundary wall and into the park. When such a thing happens in reality, the game gets paused till the ball is retrieved. But in the dream, my batting partner and I ran to score runs. I was wearing hawai chappals and was not able to run fast enough. Was struggling to keep my chappals intact. As I was running back to the batting crease, the fielder who had jumped the boundary wall to fetch the ball threw it from the park, and the ball directly hit the stumps when I was a long way from the crease.

Run out. Done and dusted. Gone. Just like that. Faced just one ball, couldn't connect it, running was more of save-chappal campaign, and got run out in the most stupid fashion. Who gets out like that! Such misfortune! Why did Murphy's Law had to apply to me! Why'd they ever let me bat again!

This type of run out was so bizarre, I was so crestfallen and in such disbelief that the feeling jolted me out of my slumber. Sad way to wake up. 

What did this dream intend to convey? That I'll forever suck at sports, no matter however much push I get? But the truth is, I wasn't too bad at sports by the time I reached classes IX. I was an OK cricketer and decent at football, pseudo-good at volleyball. Then what could this dream mean?

Wait. That one cannot run fast with chappals on his feet? But I already knew this!

“My mom told me to follow my dreams, so I took a nap.” —Unknown

July 28, 2014

Why I had chosen journalism

In July 2008, as part of the admission procedure at my journalism college, IIJNM, I had to give a small write-up on why I wanted to be a journalist. I found that piece today among old documents on my computer in my hometown. Hahaha... I had joined journalism to change the world, but what did I do as a journalist in my 4.3 year-long career? I'll come to that in a later post. As of now, let's have fun reading an unrealistic young idealist's Utopian dream, written in poor English, pasted here verbatim. It starts on such a narcissistic note!

Why I Want To Pursue Journalism
& What I Hope To Achieve Through It

95.69 percentile in MAT – the candidate would get admission in any good b-school he wants (isn’t it?), can opt for a lucrative career as MBA. If he decides to let it go and goes for journalism, much less rewarding in terms of pay, it is clear that the individual’s passion for the chosen field exceeds his preference for luxury and money.

I’m very keen to join journalism. I want to be a very popular and influential writer who’s capable of awakening masses and charge them up. I’m very patriotic in nature, I love my country very much. That’s why it hurts to see how this country, once known as ‘The Golden Bird’ has deteriorated in every sphere. 60 years past independence and we’re still a developing country.

Basic amenities like food, cloth, shelter still inaccessible to majority of population. We in Mumbai house Asia’s biggest slum. Millions live below poverty line, millions still illiterate; despite the overtly leniently set limits for both. 60% of our population living neglected and overlooked life in villages. We produce surplus food, yet thanks to ill management we’re facing crisis. Communal harmony, concept of equal society still a distant dream.

High corruption, bureaucracy, red-tapism, complacency are all taking us down. For what we are, where we are today, we, the common people are as much to be blamed as our politicians.

As a journalist, I wish to bring up
all such issues into conscious and subconscious minds of our middle class (the most influential section in any democracy) and make them lot more active, aware and involved in our democracy… To bring upon the necessary changes and turn our potential into performance, to bring back the “legacy” to the name I N D I A.

~The end~

P.S. To meet my objectives, I needed to learn not journalism, but Godism. 

May 14, 2014

Dear diary, I totally rock

A few days ago, I took out my ink pen and my diary to write stuff. Writing diary is cathartic. Oh, and reading it is pure entertainment. You go "awwww" when you read something downright stupid and find it cute. You feel sympathy and empathy for your younger self. And you feel proud for being so cool and so emotional.

So that day, I got so involved in reading my previous posts and getting impressed with myself that I forgot the need for catharsis. I thought of sharing some of my gems here, on the blog. Isn't blog like a diary anyway! The more I blog, the less I write in my diary. The more I write in my diary, the less I blog. Of late, I do neither as I've become lazy.

My diary is going to be published as a book after I become an iconic rockstar (pretty soon). So makes sense that I give my fans a taste of what the book's gonna be like. So let's get started!

There's one thing that caught my eye, jutting out like a sore thumb. "My heart brakes on seeing a heartbreak." Can't believe I wrote this. My heart "brakes" on seeing a heartbreak? Otherwise it accelerates? I was really an emotional fool then, using foolish English when emotional.

When it came to studies, I merrily looked the other way
But there are a few high points too. I had written the following post ahead of the final semester exams of my graduation. And I'm so proud of my devil-may-care attitude. I've got some spunk, man!
"Just 24 hrs. more and I have to write an exam on a subject I scored just 3 and 1 out of 10 in two internals. Hell with exams! My loneliness is killing me." 

That's how that diary entry began. I was so impressed when I read this! So, the next day I had an exam in which I had fared superbadly previously. I mean 1/10, 3/10? That's pathetic! I'm so cool that despite such poor score I couldn't care less about the final exam even though it was just a day away. It takes guts to brush away a semester exam like that. I'm mighty proud of myself!

And the diary entry that came two days after the abovesaid post was like the icing on the cake. "Novel padhte hain. Hope tomorrow's paper turns out to be a cakewalk."
Hahaha... That's something. So, I have a semester exam the next morning but I'd rather read a novel than prepare for the exam! Boy, that's cocky. That's confidence. That entry means, "Who needs to study to pass! To hell with the books and the course! I can cook up answers to pass. Let's party!" I like this immense coolness and confidence I have. This clarity, that I didn't want to score well, needed merely to pass, which I could do without studying. Oh yeah!

Of God and girls
Then there are so many paras addressed to God, devoted to girls. I wrote this one just two days after joining my journalism college in Bangalore. "Why the heck do I get so nervous while talking to girls here! My English just sucks when I'm talking to girls. Man, my Hindi sucks too when talking to them. Shit it's so embarrassing. I'm going to get over it. I'll speak slowly-slowly."

Reading this makes me laugh at myself, for being so stupid. I remember vividly. I'd get tongue-tied and the words that'd come out of my mouth were neither Hindi nor English. I did get over the nervousness in a few weeks. I was 20-1/2 years old and had hardly spoken to girls earlier. A small-town guy amid city people. Shuru-shuru me phatna toh banta tha. 

My discussions with God about girls continued. It went like: "God you know I'm a good guy. I deserve lots of good friends, don't I? 
Ok, I admit I like that girl ______, but nothing like crush so far :-) I wish to be good friends with her."

Ten days later, I was still talking to God about the same thing. "God I'd really like to make lots of good friends, and again, especially girls ;-) But well you know that I really admire/adore them and that's it. I suppose you agree with me that I'm a good guy :-)"

Hahaha... Just because God doesn't talk back doesn't mean you take His silence as His approval. Then, I indeed was a good guy. Many of my prayers were for others. Like this one, in which I requested Him to see to it that the girl I liked (realised later that I loved her) is united with the guy she loved: "And God, get these two together, please. Be kind on at least one couple I know. No, two actually. Include ____ and her love too. Heed to my request.
And great yaar, I'm always given the role of side-hero. Hero kab banaoge!?! And where is my heroine?"

Yes, God, I still have the same question. I'm still getting the role of side-hero in failed love stories. Mera number kab aayega?

Comedy (in brackets)

In my diary, I pester God a lot, request a lot of things. This request was found worthy of putting here simply because of my attention to details.
"I want a physique of an underwear model (male model, i.e.)"

Hahaha... I might have thought that if I don't specify "male", God might grant me the physique of a female underwear model. That would have been a disaster. Thank God for parenthesis. They are a beautiful communication aid. For example, take the parenthetical interruption in this May 2010 entry:
"I want to have a beautiful, accommodating, understanding, super hot, sexy, rich and very loving (not in this order) life partner. Whoever she is. She should be very loving, caring and understanding. I must be in love with her too." 

In this list of qualities, beauty comes first, love comes last. Ouch! But this is not what I meant, that's why I immediately wrote in brackets "not in this order". "I must be in love with her too." Hahaha... Yeah, one-way traffic, don't want. I always paid attention to details.

When I mean business
All of my entries were not about girls and looks etc. This entry, written two-three months after I graduated from my journalism college and was jobless (had chosen not to work immediately after college, so hadn't appeared for a single placement) makes me proud. I knew what I wanted. Finally, I got it.
"I want to establish myself as a very efficient employee at desk. I give the best headlines in no time. My copy-editing is flawless and ultimate. I am MVP of the company. I know every little nuisance of English language."

Yup. I see that I wrote "nuisance" when I meant "nuance". Yes yes, I'm ashamed. The correct sentence will read: "I know all the nuances of English." Being a sub-editor, I cannot not correct an incorrect sentence. Awesome alliteration. Yet again!

Buri nazar wale tera muh kala

I was aware that my diary could fall into someone else's hands. Realised that in the middle of writing some sentimental crap. So immediately wrote a polite note, requesting them to leave my diary alone: "[ANY INTRUDER READING MY DIARY, I'LL KILL YOU IF I FOUND OUT YOU DARED LAY YOUR HANDS ON MY PERSONAL STUFF]"

I just deleted three-four paras about a friend who read up my entire diary. Haha.. Will write about it in another post. But 
I wonder whether anyone's still reading this absolutely self-indulgent blogpost or it's just me, getting amused with my own sense of humour. You know, like new parents who unleash a barrage of their baby's pictures on Facebook. Although me getting a girl and we tying knot seems a highly improbable event, if and when I do become a father, I'll not upload baby pictures. Promise.

I don't like ending write-ups abruptly, but I think this narcissist blogpost needs to be terminated here and now.
“Please read my diary, look through my things and figure me out.”
—Kurt Cobain

February 11, 2014

Again, what is love?

So Valentine's Day is just a couple of days away. Let's talk about love. "Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired," celebrated American poet Robert Frost had opined. How beautifully it sums up the truth! That feeling. That craving. That longing. To be with the one you want. To give them the best joys the universe has to offer. To get to your personal best, and to keep bettering it, because they deserve nothing less from you.

When you're in love, the only thing you want is to give. You don't need anything back. Seeing the joy and gratitude on their face is the best gift perhaps you can get. That warmth is all you need to keep the fire burning. The contentment-kind-of love is perhaps the best state of mind you can have. You don't expect anything from them. You don't need it, in fact. You are grateful that you know them, that you can tell them you love them, how much they mean to you and that they appreciate and reciprocate your feelings. An unspeakable joy that remains.

I'm talking about unconditional love. Using the adjective is redundant, because if it's not unconditional, it's not love. If you have the fortune to be able to give unconditional, absolute love, it's like you have tapped into a sanctum of the universe that gives you everlasting peace and joy. When you experience unconditional love, this love becomes like the laws of universe, like gravity. Whether a good man falls from a building or a bad man falls, gravity cannot not act. Likewise, when it's unconditional love you experience for them, you have the comfort of knowing that this feeling will last forever. It will last even if they, God forbid, hurt you and cast you aside. You still wish them well and pray that life be kind and merciful to them. They will forever be with you, in your prayers and your memories. You are never away from them. It's a deeply satisfying feeling. May all have the fortune of experiencing this state of being. There's no looking back then.

One thing I wanted to discuss here is whether love is a verb or a noun? I remember reading in some newspaper/magazine or website recently that love is a verb, something that you have to keep doing, keep expressing, otherwise it fades away. I disagree. If it is possible "to love", then it must be possible "not to love" too. Just like you can choose whether to eat or not to eat, whether to jog or not to jog, you must be able to choose not to love. But nah, that doesn't happen.

Losing your heart is like losing your virginity; if it's gone, it's gone. A lover is like Wanted's Salman Khan, jisne ek  baar commitment de diya, phir toh woh bhi khud ki bhi nahi sunta. Boyzone captured this feeling wonderfully in their 2008 comeback single Love You Anyway:
"It’s unbelievably hard to love you, but I love you anyway.
I’ve been trying too hard not to love you, but I love you anyway...
"I don’t get it, I really don’t get it,  I try to walk away but my feet won’t let me."

"Unlove" just does not happen. It's not a verb, it's a noun. It's a state of being that you just can't help. Maybe that article meant about doing things to express love. Advice column it was. 

One of my faourite bands, Westlife, throughout their entire 14-year-long career, sang about one and only one thing: love. Bon Jovi described this feeling as a bad medicine, but U2 said it's a miracle drug. It's this, and that, and more. Many sages have interpreted God as nothing but love.

Woah woah woah! APPLY BRAKES, Hemant Gairola. This philosophical, sentimental stuff doesn't work. Write something else. Hmmmm... Yeah, I should write something funny. My non-love stories, maybe? The follow image (courtesy: Klearchos) is more like me talking about love:
But let's end this post with a quote that goes with the theme of this blogpost minus the previous para.

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both the sides.” —David Viscott

Pssst! Four years ago, I'd have said love is this: What is love?

January 07, 2014

Long, impromptu post about a long-lost friend

Ok, I was slightly flustered when I decided to resort to the blog for letting off steam. But right now, I'm listening to my new favourite song (What Does the Fox Say?) and am gobsmacked all over again. How could they make something so brilliant! Music helps me relax, so I'm good right now. Ah, listening to Westlife now. Love these guys.

Yeah, this is another random, unplanned blog post. Writing it just like that. For the past couple of years, I've been conscious about posting only the stuff that is funny/witty/amusing. Now I'm going easy on that self-imposed restriction. A blog called 'Straight From The Heart' does need to have a few posts every now and then that justify the title.

Hahaha... So these songs made me forget what I was going to write about. Oh yes, I wanted to rant a bit about having to return the laptop. I'm typing this on a friend's borrowed laptop. The friend had gone out of the city for a few days so had been kind enough to give me her laptop to use. She's back so I'll be returning it to her. Which means I'll again be left without any source of entertainment and leisure. Yeah, this is what I wanted to rue about. Ever since I left home five-and-a-half years ago to come to Bangalore, I've been entertainment-starved. And I don't like it. I have missed great storylines and comebacks in WWE, which was once my lifeline. I have missed great songs.

Oh yes, one event I want to record: Today, I met a friend of mine after a gap of 14-and-a-half years. We were childhood friends. Same school, same class, same section. Were we together since class I or since nursery school? Whatever. We were good friends. Ok, I was about to write we were "very" good friends, not just good. Maybe I'm hesitating. Why hesitating? I totally stopped talking to her—and other girls of my class—in the summer of 1999, when we had just started class VII.

Too young to take such a Bheeshma pratigya, but I was seriously unhappy with these girls' penchant to tell on us. The boys would come to school, but bunk most of the classes and play cricket. We were 22 boys, so we had two teams of 11 players each. I still cannot fathom what pleasure these girls would get by informing our strongly-built sports teacher that we're bunking. And then he'd make us stand in a queue and beat our behind black and blue. (That rhymed! That rhymed! Alliteration too!) This would happen often, the silly girls would tell on us every now and then. And there was more of this backbiting stuff. I got seriously offended and decided not to speak to any of them. And this is how it remained. That's how I cut myself off from this friend too.

I could have made nice long long ago as there never was any hostility from her side. Call it my obstinate nature or whatever, I always spurned the olive branch. Well, now, it was I who got in touch with her two months ago. I learned from a mutual friend she was getting married and that it's a love marriage. Now, I've been a side hero in many a failed love story. "I've seen love come, I've seen it shot down, I've seen it die in pain." (lyrics from Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory). I've seen lives of my best friends getting ruined because their love wasn't blessed to graduate into marriage. But here's this girl, a friend I grew up with, was pretty close to... She has the fortune of marrying the one she loves. Ask me how rare it is! Plus, I know the guy she's marrying. He's a great guy and I myself am fond of him. How could I not be happy for her!

So, out of excitement I messaged her on Facebook, congratulating her, telling her how happy I was to learn of her good fortune. To my surprise, she didn't express any grudge towards me for not talking all this while. She was happy to hear from me. Again, to my surprise, I felt happy to see her response. And this is the girl I had chosen to ignore. Our well-meaning mutual friends had tried in vain to convince me to patch up with her. I was adamant.

And today I met her. This meeting came 14-and-a-half years after we—I—stopped talking. A decade and a half. For years, we were in the same township, same classroom, went on the same school trip. On that school trip, in class IX, well-meaniing juniors and even a teacher tried to persuade me to let go of my grudge. I didn't budge. (Wow! I rhymed again, without trying. Man, I'm made for writing lyrics. Ok, we'll get back to the topic). A few years ago, I even received a text message on my birthday from an unknown number. It was signed with her name. (Though I can't vouch it was she who sent it. Our mutual friends are big idiots, who love playing such pranks. Still, what if it was indeed she who had sent that message? I didn't reply.) For long, we were in close proximity, but distant. Given all this acrimony, she had every reason to snub me and ignore my message when I wrote to her.

But nah. She wrote back, saying she was very happy to hear from me. Today, I met her—I'll repeat for the sake of emphasis that we met 15 years after we stopped talking—and I could see she was happy. I met her family: mom, dad, elder bro. We were like family friends and I'd often go to their house and her parents would come to ours. It felt really good to meet all of them.

And now I'm like... I was wrong, yeah, in not patching up earlier. No hostility from her! She has reasons to be upset with me. She should be. And she must be. Maybe she is. Maybe this didn't come out because we couldn't speak for long, araam se. Had we sat and spoken, just she and I, things would have come out. Hahaha.. Even I have a couple of amusing things to tell her.

I'm genuinely happy about meeting her. Ok, so word-length concerns can go for a toss today. The point is, I'm feeling a bit humbled by the affection. The feeling is sinking in that I was being an idiot all these 14-and-a-half years. So it's only two months ago that I chose to be wiser than I was as a grumpy 11-year-old.

I don't think you'll come to my blog (and I hope you don't!), but I want to say "sorry" and "thank you". Might have said it today, face-to-face, had we got a chance to speak, just you and I. Never mind.

Hmmm... I lost once-a-good-friend because of being adamant. What are the other stupid notions I need to give up? I must be having many. One of them was not having ice cream till I am single. (Oh, and this ice cream-abstinence had come into effect the same time I had stopped talking to this friend!) What else had I resolved to do/not to do then? No no... Need to reconsider all resolves afresh. Yeh toh too much ho gaya...

“I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart, and that is softness of head.” —Theodore Roosevelt

January 06, 2014

A poem I wrote

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play make Jack a null boy.
All work and no play make Jack a single boy.
All work and no pay make Jack a poor, single boy.
All work and no pay make Jack a hungry boy.
All work and no pay make Jack an angry boy.
All work and no pay make Jack a sundry boy.
All work and no pay make Jack a grumpy boy.
All work and no pay make Jack an irritated boy.
All work, no play and no pay make Jack a dull, null, single, poor, hungry, angry, sundry, grumpy, irritated boy.
All work and no pay make Jack a jackass.