Apna Baap Sabka Baap.

Posted by - Rohit

As I sit here, I hear these reverberations created by women, I'm looking at a fish tank containing species from Jupiter, looking at those dim lights in the pharmacy and I'm trying to avoid every kind of interaction with the Malayali nurses out here as it always turns out to be an intimidating encounter with them displaying more facial hair than I could ever think of having. At the same time I cannot stop thinking of my Dad's tryst with these infirmaries.

This first generation System Adminstrator who once found me hitting an 'ls' command on my laptop terminal and asked right away, 'Tu bhi yehi karta hain kya?' (Are you doing the same job that I did for 25 years?), has been through all of those trials and tribulations of life that one has to go through to eventually buy property in Mumbai and get two daughters married (they cost the same). I still remember when his routine visits to Datacenters had resulted into Bell's Palsy which froze the left side of his face. I was young and didn't know what his silence meant, but it did mean that he was in utter discomfort.

15 years later, one fine evening, during his routine Mallu Samajam meetings, he felt a twitching pain in his chest. He knew what it was but remained silent about the same and without uttering a word, had a drink, came home, saw a Movie, followed the norm of having a 13 minute argument with my Mom and then went to sleep. Before I carry on any further, let me digress into one of these episodes which goes to show why my father doesn't delve into convolutions. During one of those 13 minute routine arguments -
Mom - "Upar waala Sab dekh raha hain..." (The Almighty knows everything, so don't you dare...)
And before she could go on...
Dad - "Well, the Singhs have absolutely no business snooping into our issues."

The argument ended in 11 minutes and 43 seconds.

When he woke up the next morning, he was moving restlessly, swithching sides, changing his sleep positions continuously. On asking him what the issue was...he said, without a hint of doubt..."It's acidity.". "Why don't you try a Pundin Hara now?" said mom without wasting too much time.
The very next hour, without depending much on his judgement we got his ECG done. That day we learnt a huge lesson, Pudin Hara never cures a Massive Heart Attack. My father, totally unaware as to why his incessant belching made him believe that he had three daughters (after watching me cry that is), got him into the ICU, got him a luxurious room in Asian Heart Institute and a week later...a new artery.

This was 4 years ago.

A couple of days back, after I came home from work, he was at it again. Belching. Holding his potbelly with a frown on his face. I asked him what he feels and what does he think it is. With a long pause, he burped and said ... 'Acidity'. Without wasting much time, I called my friend who arrived in his Innova, we got dad into his car and in no time got him admitted. The dreaded 'A' word again played it's part. This acidity was nothing but an inflammed Gall Bladder in disguise.

So, here I'm keeping my distance from Mallu nurses, watching women complain about Alastair Cook's batting and hoping that the food in the cafeteria lives up to that of Asian Heart Institute. And when it comes to my Dad...he is going to come out strong.

Moral of the Story: If your parents have crossed sixty and are complaining about Acidity...just find a Hospital with a good Cafeteria.

P.S: Pray that he comes out stronger.

Y U No Show Love To Madrasis?

Posted by - Rohit

I watched her face beam with happiness, complimented by that sinister smile. I looked at her with utter disbelief when she said..."Let's watch Student Of The Year". 
The doors opened. We were in.

Seven hours and thirty seven minutes later: 
We walked out of the exit door, with none of us looking at each other's faces.  Something had hit us really hard and made us feel small, unwanted and frivolous. We asked ourselves the same question that a Pendant hidden in Pamela Anderson's cleavage would ask itself - "Am I really wanted in this big world?". The reason this disappointment was jutting out of our faces was - THERE WAS NOT EVEN A SINGLE SOUTH INDIAN IN THE MOVIE. 

(North Indian) Student of The Year, is a movie about a rich boy, Rohan Nanda, who wins a race and comes back to meet his friends after 10 years with a tattoo on his neck. He also has a poor friend, Abhimanyu Singh who cheats him with his cheater girlfriend, Shanaya Singhania, whose Hindi was dubbed by Claudia Ceisla. That's about it. 
So, all you Nairs, Nambiars, Mudaliars, Venkateshwarans, Iyers, Gullapallis, Goudas, Naidus, Reddys, Raos and all those people who have friends who say they know their language by saying "Yenna Rascala", I feel sorry for you, but for once, let's try to empathize and try to understand what could have been the thought process behind Johar excluding South Indians (which includes Malaysians and Arabs) from his movies.

For instance, let's just say that the rich son-of-a-business-tycoon boy, who wins the race and gets cheated, Rohan Nanda was named Rohan Nandakishoran. The crux of our assumption itself lies flawed. One, a rich South Indian either works for a rich business tycoon or a software company. Two; south indian boys are not allowed to race after school, three; how could one ever justify a hot girlfriend for a guy who has that kind of a last name; four, 10 years later the guy would be an Engineer in the US and would have new friends.
Now, let's think, What if the female lead in the movie Shanaya Singhania, who cheats her son-of-a-business-tycoon boyfriend was named Shanaya Subramanium. Again, our hypothesis is flawed. Question yourself, Shanaya Subramanium...is that name Loui Vuitton enough? What couples itself with a last name like Singhania is an attitude akin to - "Mera naam hain Shanaaya...aur lagta nahi ki tumne hain aaj Nahayaa" (Meaning - You heard my name...now get going.) And as far as a Subramanium is concerned, when you think of someone with a last name as that, you instantly start debating about world economics. 

When Krishnan Iyer M.A left his legendary mark in the erstwhile Agnipath, the younger Johar had one opportunity to cast a similar South Indian character for his remake. But then, the same question arose - Is the character Loui Vuitton enough?

In movies like Kal ho na ho, what if the central character, Aman Mathur, was named Ambati Gullapallis? One would have thought that the central character died because his last name was too heavy to be carried along and would have been happy for his death. There flies the sole purpose of the movie.
I tried to dig into every character that Karan Johar has created while directing a movie and looking at the list of Khannas, Malhotras, Mathurs, Talwars, Sarans and Khans for that matter, even a Venkatsubramnaniumramakrishnan seems microscopic.

After watching Student Of The Year, I couldn't sleep without being sorry for myself. I had Karan Johar in my dreams along with Renzil D'Silva conversing about the possibility of having one south indian character for their movie - 

Renzil D'Silva (RD): What do you think of Preethi Badrinath?
Karan Johar (KJ): What baby?

RD: What about Sukumar Parmeshwaran?
KJ: No Pomeranians in my movie hun, only Barjatyas use it.

RD: Tamil Selvan?
KJ: ...could you just pass me my purse?

This went on and on and on...and then I suddenly woke up shouting out loud "Rahul Anjali ka Jhagda...Rahul Anjali Ka Jhagda...Rahul Anjali ka...". My mom came running after hearing this cry of agony and she could feel my diminished self respect. With her eyes brimming with tears she patted my head and kept on saying "Mira Nair Beta...Mira Nair...Mira Nair...". I went back to sleep.

PS: Karan Jaganmohan Jagadeeshan,  (Hah! Take that Johar!) you are just not Joy Allukas enough for us.

My Rain forest.

Posted by - Rohit
I'm currently associated with a Social Organisation named MAD which cater to underprivileged kids. During one of those teaching sessions taken up by my fellow MADsters one of the students came up with absolute brilliance to create his own wonder world with his simple imagination.
The piece by this little 13 year old is about an imaginary rain forest, where in one of the pines was apparently created by his friend Vishal. Read on...

Here you go - A poem on Rain forests by Aniket 'Jordan' Jadhav.

"I am in the jungle
watching my friend dinosaurs uncle.
Why are you so huge and wide?
Because you take animals and make it fried.
To eat there are trees like Wollemi Pines
Who invented Wollemi Pines?
I am so fine!
There is one more tree whose name is Bristlecone pine,
Vishal invented it because he is so kind.
There are animals in the forest tiger, cheetah etc
Imagine there is a man called Mandera .:P
There are lakes rivers and ponds.
However they are nice but they are life for plants.
This is my rainforest.It gives us more gain,
when it rain.
But every body like the rain because it is so cool and friend.
This is what my imaginary jungle.
It is nice, humble."

Share and let's give more impetus to his creativity.

The Lover.

Posted by - Rohit
I wake up with heavy eyes, my body filled with guilt.
I look deep into myself, I understand, I've surrendered myself again.
I walk with my conscience nagging me to death.
Realised I failed to love myself again.

The day shines on me, and I don't look at myself anymore.
I close my eyes, I reach out for you.
My love so strong for you that I don't see anything.
You...my source of pleasure, relief, love, solace, happiness.

All the while. All around me.
Voids get bigger, but you fill them everytime.
Call me addicted,
I'll call myself a lover.
Unconditional it is, repercussions...inescapable.

Pleasure takes over fear.

The Client/ Job Forsaken - II

Posted by - Rohit

I still remember those days when finding a job was as good as finding a Unicorn in Kurla. Those were the days when I realised two things; one, there were more software industries than pan-tapri shops; two, Samosa Pav was highly underrated and should've been the National Dish of India. But after 4 months, 40 odd IT companies and one bribe offer that my friend Pradeep and I were willing to give to one of the companies, we finally found that elusive job.

"9,800 per month" she said with a smile on her face. The offer was more than enough for the two of us as it replenished our hopes of being software engineers that our parents dreamed us of being. The de facto principle that every software start up adopts is - "If a client asks for your service...also offer him a glass of water along with a straw". They were what Ram Gopal Varma is to struggling actors. So, in order to cater to their needs and 10 hours of never ending love for the client everyday, we marched on with undaunted hopes.

With almost 37 days of experience, Pradeep and I were finally ready for client interaction. I was asked to meet up a client who had forayed into a new business, which was all about making juices with an imported juice maker. I had no clue, what kind of service I was supposed to give. Probable IT consultation? Or maybe he wanted to know how could he integrate or make IT synergetic with his business. I was given the client's phone number and we finally met as he arrived in an auto-rickshaw near a wholesale vegetable market. I introduced myself to him in some fake American accent which eventually sounded french and he replied back in American as well, but it still sounded Gujrati. I initially thought we were headed to his office, but we were instead headed to his home. Maybe he wanted consultation or maybe my accent was too big for his office.

We got out of the rickshaw and as he was about to pay he figured out that he didn't have any change with him. I had to do the honours, even though I made a mental note of it, I had made up my mind that I would not take money from him as it would really be a petty thing to do. 33 bucks? Really? I wouldn't even think of asking.
We finally reached his door, opened by his wife. Her little nod of acknowledgement was as sophisticated as Sharapova's to the chair umpire. By now I knew this interaction would be the right learning experience. They had a little kid who greeted me with a very innocent "Hello, Uncle". I didn't mind that jibe from the kid. No, really I didn't. Ok, I hated the kid right away. The kid went on to ask his mom "Kaunse uncle hain?" (Who is this guy?) to which his mother replied "Beta, mechanic hain?" (He is just another guy, who is good with wires.) I was shocked with this amazing act of typecasting techies into the category of mechanics. Before I could think much about it, call my mom and tell her to get me out of that place, the client asked me to accompany him to his room. As soon as I entered the room, I felt I was trapped between these walls made up of gelatin, clearly shouting out "My family is better than the one you watch on TV". He guided me to the only thing that was relevant to me in that room, his desktop PC. And then he clearly stated my purpose of being present at his place -
"I want you to print 12 labels on an A4 size paper."

Before I could look back at him in disbelief, tell him that I'm an Engineer, tell him not to judge me by my accent and tell him that I have a better purpose in life, his wife came in the room and asked "Khaana bhi yahi khayenge?" (Is he going to have food with us?) I was shocked with this act of non-chalance. Then I took a moment or two to regather myself and do what was sane and the right thing at that point of time - I started printing labels.

I was setting up the label template, getting the dimensions right so as to arrange the entire strip of 6 properly, I heard that little kid come inside the room and say "Aap ghar nahi jaayenge?" (I think you really are gawking at my mom. Don't you want to go home?). By now I wanted to tell that kid that his father is a loser and his juice business is not going to take off and that they are going to be miserable at the end of this venture.

I finally finished off all that I had to. Gave him his A4 sized pages with labels on it. he gave me a nod of acknowledgment as I kept feeling like one of those hardware engineers who would come home to repair our PCs back then in the late 90s, tighten up a screw and blame the motherboard for everything. With a sour taste in my mouth (I believe it was the Dal), I was all set to leave, I turned back to him and asked him for my 33 bucks I paid for the rickshaw.

These were the times when having a social life would have termed one a rebel, earning anything around 15k a month would term one rich and finding a job would LABEL one lucky. Happy to have lived that life, but then I still hate that kid.

Hope is...a Nomination.

Posted by - Rohit

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King.
 Great men of solid character have always lived with hope. Hope is that weapon in your arsenal that would make you witness the Haley's comet in 2061, witness Paris Hilton's steady marriage, a Ramgopal Varma hit, a Mumta Kulkarni comeback and witness Mr. PM saying "Hey...sorry". You hope, you win. Similarly, let's not be too pessimistic about India not getting nominated for the Oscars. If people can hope for The Bold and the Beautiful to end why can't we be optimistic about a simple little nomination. All we have to do is get the right members on board.
There have been many discordant voices rising against the nomination of Barfi as the official entry from India. Everybody, apart from Anurag Basu and some of his friends think that the committee appointed by the Film Federation of India should start watching movies. This is what Anurag Basu had to say -

Basu - "I'm Proud of Barfi"
Anu Malik - "Yeah dude...I feel better now."
Pritam - "Anu...*High Five*"
Basu - "And no, my movie is not the biggest collage work ever. We will win the nomination. Hope is a waking dream."
Nolan - "And you guys are in a Limbo...hah!...So you need to hope more than once. Keep hoping and you will still be dreaming. ha ha ha".

Murgadoss - "Pakaa mat be...And yeah, Aamir had more tatoos than Guy Pearce. Hah!".

To be really frank, Barfi seemed to be a promising movie, only after watching the trailer. The movie had a simple plot, with unwanted convolutions and larger than life characters with Priyanka Chopra  looking like a younger version of Susan Boyle. It, according to me was a good attempt with some stunning cinematography, but one cannot deny the fact that even though the story seemed to be original, the chunks that made the story a good watch was not original and can't be merely said to be "referred". With our board members' complete non-chalance towards some of these so called "references", the movie is all set to draw some flak. With movies like Jeans, Paheli, Hey Ram, Sagar and Devdas being selected as India's official entry to the Oscars, it is quite evident why this wait, for that elusive Nomination, is spanning decades. Looking at this trend of the selection process these days, I have formed a mental pattern of what factors are taken into account by the Oscar Selection Committee to choose a nomination. Well, this process is not complicated at all and so...

1: Shah Rukh Khan:
The one ingredient that seems to be working for Film makers to get some attention from the selection committee is Shah Rukh Khan saab's outstretched arms.
Paheli :
The selection committee member 1(SCM 1): "Paheli has SRK. He plays the role of a Ghost. Moreover, Rani says - 'I see dead people' in the movie"
The selection committee member 2(SCM 2): "Man! Do we need to watch the movie?"
SCM 1: "Nominated".

Devdas :
SCM 1: "Dude, SRK again. He plays the role of a guy who loves to drink and have sex but complaints like a woman without a credit card."
SCM 2: "Whoa! Split personality! Do we need to watch this movie?"
SCM 1: "Nominated."

Hey Ram:
SCM 1: "SRK has a small role is this movie. What say?"
SCM 2: "What is the total screen space allotted to him?"
SCM 1: "73 seconds".
SCM 2: "Ahh...even 30 would have been good."
SCM 2: "What is the movie about though?"
SCM 1: "Some guy named Ram goes to...".
SCM 2: "Doesn't matter. Nominated."

2. Should have the right credentials: 
In other words, you need a strong resume or a famous family or a family member. For instance,

SCM 1: "Boss, Jeans. Produced by Ashok Amritraj. Former tennis Player, brother of Vijay Amritraj. Has played in the US open and Wimbledon. Man! Wimbledon!"
SCM 2: "What is the movie about?"
SCM 1: "Aahh...two lovers go on a World Tour. Yeah. That is it."
    : "So, what say? Nominate?"
SCM 2: "Wimble-done! ha ha ha!"

And when it comes to Barfi:

SCM 1: "Awwwww..."
SCM 2: "Awwwwww..."
SCM 1 and SCM 2: "Nominated".

Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan. Three movies have so far made the cut and out of which one of the movie was directed by a Nair (Yaay!).
So as our very own Hellen Keller says - "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope"... let's hope that The Bold and Beautiful ends. And as far as our nomination is concerned, let's hope for better board members for starters. Hope begins right after.

English...Tailor made.

Posted by - Rohit

Our very own alpha city Mumbai, formerly known as Bomb-hain has always been characterised by diversity. Diversity in everything ranging from varying taste of the same Kurla bakery biscuit circulated across the whole of Mumbai to having varied reactions towards girls in tube tops (Ok. Andheri doesn't react. Andheri acts). Mumbai comprises of Non-Mumbaikars (i.e the people who don't reside in Mumbai) and Mumbaikars (people who reside in Mumbai). These two entities together form Mumbai (people who consciously make an effort to scatter different colours of polythene bags across the city). This immense diversification is inevitable as people assemble to this Global city from different parts of the galaxy. But one little variation that always stands out is the dissimilitude in the English diction developed by people across Mumbai and when I say people across Mumbai, I mean Mumbaikars, Non-Mumbaikars and Bangladeshis. So, not considering Bangladeshis in our discussion here, the English spoken can be easily attributed to the speakers locality.
I was born and brought up in this city called Navi Mumbai (which apparently is a typo and should have been Nahi Mumbai or Nahi Bomb-hain). In the pursuit of finding happiness in Mumbai but in turn only finding traffic, I had to move along and have been learning and pondering about things that could only be amazing blog content.
So below I present the different types of English that co-exist in our city and what does it take to mimic them. Here's a lowdown.

Cuffe-Parade English:
60k per sq ft. Yes, that rate is as unjustified as Shilpa Shetty's 50L worth Bridal Saree. So, without anymore digression, the kind of English spoken here could be termed as sophisticated. The finesse and class that these people possess easily supersedes that of our very own Bond Girl...The Queen. If you want to speak Cuffe-Parade English all you need to do is stretch the words at certain areas. See to it that whenever you stretch it, you stretch it carefully or else it might sound like English spoken in Delhi. For instance your friend Soniya should be pronounced as, Sawn-ya; your friend Farha should now be Faa-ra. In short, Farhan becomes Foreign. Whenever you say "Are you sure you would have that?" just see to that you make the Rs, Ds and Ts in the end almost silent or treat them as residents of Vashi, which transforms the aforementioned sentence into "Aah you show you wou haav tha?".

Lokhandwaala English:
Also known as the land of struggling actors from Delhi. The kind of English spoken here could be attributed to our wannabe Raj Malhotras and Simrans who finally make it to Splitsvilla. To speak this kind of English you need to use a lot of 'a's and 'the's, just like Mayawati's usage of Elephant statues or interchange the use of 'a's with 'the's. Plus, the rule of stretching words; stretch your Cuffe-Parade English just a bit more and fill it in with some Hindi words here and there. Let us use one of the most frequently used lines in Lokhandwaala -
"Sir, give me one chance. I have what it takes." And it now becomes - "Sir, give me the one chance, I have the talent and junoon. This is the passion. Just one a chance."

Kandivali/ Borivali English:
Kandivali/ Borivali is in Gujarat. They don't speak English out there. Sorry for this section.

Ulhasnagar English:
Ulhasnagar is nothing but Sindh recreated just that the population of Sindhis is more than what Sindh could have ever thought of having. To learn the kind of English spoken here is the most simple. For instance, just carry on with the normal stream of words that you come across, example - "I think we can do business out here and the prospects of...", then go on and on, "Oh yes Dahi Koki for dinner...and yeah business...", but always, always conclude with "Jai Mata di" or "Om Sai Ram" or "Jhulelal Mandir Rocks".

Bandra English:
Once priced possession of the Portuguese, it's name apparently derived from the Urdu word "Bandar", it was then taken over by the British but then finally Vandre happened. So Bandra/ Vandre is the so called Queen of the Suburb and as a result an ideal troubled child. So here in Vandre, we have the English diction which can be considered to be an amalgamation of Portugese, British and Marathi diction. The only British part about the diction is that it sounds like English. To speak the Bandra way, you need to speak fast and use the word 'men' every time you breathe. Use the word 're' after every 5 cycles of  inhalation and exhalation. Use short sentences, for example
"Where are you going?" becomes "Where men?";
"What on Earth do you think you are doing?" becomes "What re? ha?".

Well, there are more variations though and they might only get better with my experiences. And as far as my English is concerned, it's not derived, influenced or characterized by locality. It's used in it's purest form. Even though my father speaks in Matunga-Dadar English wherein 'P' and 'B' work synonymously, I have a mild British accent which comes naturally.

Job Forsaken.

Posted by - Rohit

Not long back, there was this period when thinking of slavery in exchange of 2 cups of free coffee was enough to make it a virtue; a time when even a pink tissue/toilet paper would make one insecure; the time when you slept with a crucifix underneath your pillow to ward off all nightmares of your HR manager and the only time when you thought that the Pakistan Cricket Board with it's changing captains and board members was functioning normally. Yes, 2008 it was and recession had even become an excuse for constipation. 
We had just graduated out of college, my close friend Pradeep Chandra and I. We couldn't make the cut when it came to placements as we believed that placements gave room for complacency to creep in and as a result it made one overlook the immense gift of being synergetic with dissatisfaction. Ok...we sucked. But that didn't hinder us from trying. So, right after the completion of our exams, we created a resume from the already existing ones with Pradeep and I having the same qualifications, hobbies and once, the same Father. With almost 30 copies of a sheet which contained nothing but tabular, personal information of random individuals from the internet, their likes and dislikes and why would they be an asset to a company, we moved.

Like every other citizen of Navi Mumbai we surged ahead with lots of hope and heavy breakfast every morning, commuting in the local train among some protracting perverts with sleazy looks on their faces and facing the wrath of people in the form of abrupt gas emissions. We approached companies that ranged right from 10 storey edifices to those with shutters and common toilets. There were times when we approached a company and were shooed away by gatekeepers giving us a whiff of what Tushar Kapoor's life would have been without Ekta Kapoor. During this period we were good when it came to identifying a company as an IT company, they had lastnames...either soft or tech. SULA SOFT, SUBA soft, SABA SOFT, People SOFT, ULTRA SOFT, REALLY SOFT, etc. But cracking the aptitude was like finding a window seat in a Virar local...it just wasn't happening. There were times when we would blindly push the glass door and ask the receptionist what the name of the company was. Pradeep once confessed that the number of rejections he faced had overwhelmingly surpassed the number girls he only gawked at.

With increasing number of rejections, expiring seasonal ticket passes, no girlfriend woes, girlfriend woes and varying prices and tastes of Samosa Pav everywhere, we sat absorbed in our own blue funk. To make matters worse, Pradeep's Father retired from his job due to unforeseeable circumstances and my Father decided to have a massive heart attack. I had taken a break from wandering in the wilderness with a resume dressed up like a sales man to be there with my Father who was recommended a bypass surgery. Meanwhile Pradeep was still on the lookout. He would call me and give me reasons as to why this time just like every other time he failed the aptitude tests. Times were tough for both of us as we had to transcend or at least take places of men who have been our heroes all the while. 

Days went by, I was still enjoying the hospital food, Pradeep was setting high standards for future rejectees. Just then we got a call from a company named Geometric Solutions. They had openings for hapless wanderers or freshers. I didn't want to miss out on this oppurtunity but my Dad's surgery was scheduled on the same day. My eldest sister asked me to give the aptitude a good shot as she would be around at the time of the surgery. 
I finally met Pradeep after a long gap. We could see the agony of this lingering tyranny on each others faces. I could clearly read "MY FATHER RETIRED" on his forehead whereas he read "ASIAN HEART INSTITUTE HAS THE BEST CAFETERIA", written on my cheeks. 

We finally entered the company, looking at prospects of becoming those stiff necked shaven mavens with aberrant behaviour. Surrounded by glass doors, fire extinguishers every 2 feet, the spotless floors reflecting us, a receptionist wearing a fake smile and loads of foundation...we were already awestruck. We were then taken to one of their training rooms and the distribution of the aptitude test papers was about to start. Pradeep and I knew how big this was for the two of us; this was our only chance to give it back to those stereotypes who believed Campus Placement rejectees are prospective BPO employees. The paper distribution had just started. Pradeep looked at me. I could see sparks in his eyes. I looked back at him. I knew what was coming. Pradeep, with his eyes glued into mine said..."Dude, Samosa Pav is only worth 5 bucks here." I was right.

We got our papers and within the stipulated 60 minutes, we completed our test. We had to wait for about 20 minutes at the reception before being called by one of their Senior employees. We gathered into the same room where our tests were conducted. They started calling out names. "Vishal Sahani, Ravindra Shanbag,"...both of us now hoping to hear our names as well. "Jagannath Nadar, Rohan Tawade,"...Pradeep was getting restless and in his attempt to break through this unnerving period, he said, "Chal Samosa Pav khaake aate hain" (Let's have a Samosa Pav and come back). "Shekhar Shinde...Rohit Nair". I jolted on my seat, slapped my chest and went "BHENC..." then I abruptly stopped as I spotted a girl going "Sheee". Pradeep's name wasn't called out. With a smile on his face, he patted my back and congratulated me, just then the co-ordinator asked us to follow him.

As we moved out of that room, I noticed the name plates with designation mentioned on each door - I looked towards the left - "General Manager", towards the right - "HR - Manager", left - "Head of Operations", right - "Ladies", left - "Gents". These names shone under the luminescent yellow light. They were uniform in their appearance. As we moved forward, my aspirations were marching towards having my own door with a name plate shining under that luminescent yellow light but, just then, I saw another door with text in bold Green colour font saying "EXIT". Before I could turn back, look at the co-ordinator in disbelief, he nonchalantly  said - "Thank you for coming."

I couldn't fathom this unjust treatment towards us challenged mortals. Before I could sit back, think, sulk, cry, squeal, thump my chest and tell that shameless Vishal Sahani to have some self respect and stop laughing, I got a call from my sister and she broke the news of my Father's surgery being a success. I gave my melodrama a miss.

P.S: These were testing times for Pradeep and myself but probably one of the finest times I had with my closest friend. We eventually started our career with a start up (which had a door and a shutter). And as far as Pradeep's tryst with Geometric Solutions is concerned, it was very brief as he got kicked out in the second round. I was happy.

What's in a name?

Posted by - Rohit

There has been quite a lot of talk about the uniqueness that couples itself along with Malayalee names. Most of them comprehend our names as senseless and laugh at this enviable novelty. So, for the majority who think that our names are nothing but sounds and that it has no meaning, here is a lowdown on some of the complex rules that goes into creating a marvel...also known as a Malayalee name.

Your name should always remind you of your creator.
Jomini Jose one of my finest friends is entitled to this name which absolutely means nothing, but his name is an amalgamation of those two individuals who created him, those two individuals who created one of those many unique Malayalee beings on earth. Jose and Ambini => Jomini. Similarly, Shreekumar and Geeta => Sreeta. Sulekha and Chandran => Surendran. This practice only inculcates values and culture within us as we willingly imbibe it to respect those who placed a soul within us. (Plus, Jomini Jose has a very cool pet name...JoJo...cool, no?)

You should be found instantly on Google.
Do you think you have a name that you share with every third person in this world? Well we don't. Who would have ever thought of easy access to specific beings in this big world filled with similar identity? Who would have ever thought of ways to keep your identity intact? Who would have ever thought that Google would be the new resume? Well, our ancestors did. Our name is a unique key, when searched gives you a unique value, which is us. You don't believe me do you? Google for Winster Thomas. Civil Engineer and my friend, Malayalee. He is right up there. And now try a Pradeep Singh or a Pradeep Patil or an Arpit Mehra. Ha! You will find a melee if nothing else.

Should have deeper meanings.
Our level of creativity is something most people can't comprehend as it trancends way above to a level far from their level of thinking and understanding. As I previously mentioned about our names being a fusion of individuals; it most of the times is also a rendition of respect, a truly complex theory and an abstract idea.
Siddhartha Within => Sidin.
Absolutely Sinless => Asin.
A future recruiter => Jobin.
The employable => Jobish.
The Braveheart => Sherin.
What do you do when you have too much garbage in your hands? => See bin => Sibin
The REM Fan => REM-yeah => Remya
A Son who loves Banjo => Sanjo.

We don't stress much. We believe in 'soft' endings.
Even though it's a no-brainer, let me tell you that we are innately very cool, inherently simple and indigenously level headed people (Ok, Sreesanth is an exception). And our names solely suggest that. My sisters are named Preethi and Deepthi and 'h' in both the cases provides the desired cushioning. So the names should now be read as 'Preedhi' and 'Deepdhi'. Isn't that better and effortless as compared to calling out to a 'Suthikshan', 'Kushagraha', 'Saptarishi' and all-those-names-that-existed-even-before-Mahabharatha-did.  You can call me 'Rohidh', and try doing it for some time. You'll rethink about pronouncing your names as well.

Challenge the dictionary.
Our names are inimitable, unimaginable, unthinkable, incomparable, indisputable and original. We are a few of those who create and don't imitate. Our names could be the one's which would live on for centuries as Mythology evolves simultaneously with Generations. Saaju and Lijo the mighty brothers who saved Praisy from the hands of the evil Boobikutty, Benji the Mundu GI, Swaghi the hapless abductee, etc. Moreover, you won't find our names in any Dictionary of this ordinarily usual planet. For example, when you are into a very general conversation with a friend and you tell him/ her - "You are so Lucky...I'm Happy for you", you would find at least 7 Punjabi heads roaring "Haanji" as 3 of them would have the name "Lucky", the other 3 would have the name "Happy" while the remaining one of them would be an overtly social Punjabi wanting to be 'Fraands' with you. This, right here my friends, is killing Novelty. We defy being common.

So rethink before you state any one of our names as nothing but pure sounds. It's more than that as it comes from the land of the complex crackerjacks and the abstract experts. So respect me as soon as I say "I have been named by a Malayalee".

Us and Them.

Posted by - Rohit

Looking back at those days when one could accelerate on to the open spaces without thinking of a cemented block hindering one's way; wearing shorts mended at multiple areas was a generality; when one would come back home with one's feet covered with dust up to the shin, I feel those golden moments have eroded with time. But evolution plays it's part, so do the now over-educated parents along with their over board concerns; and skyscrapers that have hacked into the open grounds in the name of development. As a consequence lethargy is making it's way into the list of routine activities as children get even more inclined towards the virtual world which has augmented itself to the real one making itself an indispensable part of reality.
So times have changed, and one can easily sense it now-a-days with children getting smarter by the day but at the same time inactivity is becoming a normal phenomenon.

I would usually get my haircut and routine shave done from a local barber who had his setup underneath a tree, resulting in two very happy individuals; the barber and I. A haircut that costs Rs 30 on an average in any barber shop with doors, now would help me save up to Rs 15. But as the friendly neighbourhood got even friendlier to the extent that snooping became a virtue, my Dad made it a point that he took his son to the right barber shop. He even decided my hair cut a couple of times. This reminded me of a time when my next door neighbour "Babbu" would take me to a barber shop. As a 7-8 year old, I would be commanded to adjust my head, neck and chin so that the barber could have proper angles while cutting my hair. Those were the times when I barely had a choice to decide my own haircut.
"Kaise kaatu?" (How should I cut his hair) - the barber would ask,
"huh?" (Baaah!) - Babbu would say.
"Theek hain" - (Yeah, even I don't care)
I recently met a parent who had taken her 7 year old daughter for a hair cut. As I asked them where they were returning from, the little one said "Javed Habib". Before I could overreact and exclaim at this sudden jolt, I was told that the little one decided her hair cut. For a moment I looked back at the parent and the daughter and back at the parent and asked "Are they doing it for free today?". The kid asked me to grow up and left with her Mum.

When I was all set to hurry home to watch "Pyaar ka Dard hain", I met this very old friend who was hit by a huge wave of nostalgia as soon as he saw me. Looking at the children around he went - "Look at them...playing on tiled floor, whereas our wounds still have soil grains. Would they ever know what it feels to taste mud, sweat and unfiltered water?". I looked at my watch and told him it's only 5 minutes to "Pyaar ka Dard hain". Both of us hurried to my place. But the point made by my friend is totally valid as that rawness amongst children seems to be missing now-a-days.

As I mentioned earlier, children are becoming smarter by the day and fairy tales are only limited to 6 year olds as they become Miley Cyrus fans later on. Just like most of us had a fascination with G.I Joes back then (well, I still have my collection), kids these days have a fascination with all devices and gadgets particularly those starting with I, to the extent that they even know that Nokia made a mistake by cutting a deal with Microsoft. IPOD, IPAD, IPHONE...I-Cant-take-this-anymore. They know what the world comprises of, the who is who of the world.

I had once volunteered to play Santa at my sister's residential complex. I was longing for this moment as I could see that shimmer in my little niece's eye as soon as she heard that Santa was coming. And that was it, 'The Amazing Santa Claus' arrived. I was flanked by kids, parents and grandparents all the while. Every little kid willing to shake my hand, so were some grand parents in the fore. I distributed gifts, sweets and blessings (yes I do get carried away). As I was bathing in this pool of attention and importance a little toddler asked me -

"Hey Santa...where is Banta?"

Moreover, my niece recognized it was me all the while as she said I didn't shave properly.

The movie 'Chillar Party' could be summarized as an excellent attempt to make children come out of this fully furnished sunless shell of comfort that even helps them remain content. What they've portrayed in the movie are possible snapshots of the director's memory as the ecosystem specified in the movie existed way back in the 90s when we looked upon a Nintendo as a time machine.
Well it's good to see them grow smarter by the day and a sense of practicality can be induced in them at a young age itself.

Your children are getting smarter by the day but sluggish too.

P.S: Just a clarification. My enemy here is not technology. Technology can't be ignored, it lives with us. I don't say the life we lived was the life to be lived. Everything has it's own drawbacks, so does advancement of technology which is not much compared to it's merits but certain issues are prominent and can't be ignored.

The Door.

Posted by - Rohit

The moment I stepped in,
my eyes were held on to you.
You, my source of light, redemption, freedom, merry.
You help me breathe.

Held on the hook,
That abhorrent stench...absorbed,
Mortals piled, pulled me down,
In the babel of a jarring journey,
Salvation, I see in your open doors.

As I inch towards you,
Wrathful eyes of contention pierce mine.
A maze I couldn't fathom,
A fence of bones I couldn't break.
An escape is all I seek.

Rage and motive overcome these shackles,
through cracks of these walls,
of flesh and bones.
Every hook ushered me to your light.

I'm here right before you,
My hands just reaching yours,
But, they push me back underneath the sunless sky.
Behind the barricade again,
Salvation, I still see in your open doors.

YHAI Aut to Jalorie Pass. The trip that was.

Posted by - Rohit

Time and again one might think on ways to end this jinx of perennial slavery that most of us pseudo mavens are entitled to. Where once upon a time one created those days of thunder with one's flamboyance was now dealing with days of blunder with flamboyance depleting with every passing day. Days of misery, suffering is contributed by whining wives, girlfriends, crying boyfriends, competing colleagues and that sick coffee machine that only serves hot milk or milk powder just tend to get worse. As a result you pack your bags, move with your friends, get sloshed and then whine about life or go to Thailand and get a massage or more; divorce your husband/wife, or just commit suicide. So before doing the unthinkable, giving up on life, sulking in that air conditioned boardroom understand that in every one's life there is a Messiah. So was one in my. No, for a slight change it was not Mammootty or Lalettan (Mohanlal) but this organisation named YHAI (which stands for Youth Hostels Association of India).
So they come up with a lot of expeditions, camps and treks which usually starts in November and goes on till mid June. Check out their site to know more about them. With my love for cycling growing with every passing day and my ever never ending pursuit of Nirvana led me join this cycling expedition in Himachal Pradesh to be conducted by YHAI. OK, the truth, I was putting on weight, becoming obese and was frustrated being single...so. So, I enrolled for this 6 day programme wherein we had to cycle almost 88 Kms and scale a height of 10,300 ft.
I, as consequence of my endless thirst for seeking Nirvana, along with a group of people whom I had only seen as 2 dimensional photographs on facebook were all set to move to Himachal Pradesh. There I met, Meena “Iron Lady” Barot, the oldest member Jasti Jagan Mohan Rao (59 years of age), Surinder Wadhawan and his wife Urmi Wadhawan and the youngest member to be a part of the cycling expedition, Dhairyash Kotwani (19 years of age). So we had them all, the oldest, the youngest and the hottest (no prizes in guessing who the hottest was). We belong to a group known as the Palm Beach Riders (super cool, no?) but have never cycled together. All of us reached Bandra Terminus on time to board the Garibrath and Dhairyash (DY from now on) was yet to reach. Apparently his entire family (Mom, Dad, brother, goldfish, etc) had come to drop him. The last time my parents accompanied me anywhere was on my 5Th grade results (I remember my father yawning profusely). That was it, we moved.

Palm Beach Riders

With some really good household food and with continuous lookout for better tasting tea we reached Delhi Sarai Rohilla, freshened up in the station public toilet (also known as the waiting room) and were off sight seeing. We had a bus to board at 20:25 from the ISBT Bus Depot which was all set to reach Manali in 14 hrs. We boarded the bus and moved.
What's the last thing you want your 14 hour journey to turn into? An 18 hour journey, owing to a strike by the HRTC union. We got out of our bus and were witnessing the cacophony when suddenly one of our group members, Surinder went missing only to later be seen as a part of that unmelodious union. There was a melee, confusion, uncertainty but the most intolerant part was the union's chaotic chorus - “Sadda Haq, Itthe Rakh”.

With a whole lot of luggage and some help in seeking direction towards our destination by the wonderfully effective, cooperative and beautiful locals we finally made our way to Aut, our base camp. So the base camp was basically 4 rooms all set to accommodate a consortium of 40. I could see a group of guys who looked as old as I do (well I look younger but...), with a look in their eyes that said “Ha! Another wannabe cyclist”. I gave them the stare, so did they and one of them asked me...”Are you a pro?”...I gave him a very humble, modest reply “Not yet” and a smirk which said “You'll know”.
I met all of them and came to know about their whereabouts. Most of them were from Gujarat, many of them from Mumbai too, 2 guys from Hyderabad, some from Dhule (in Maharashtra), Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. On day 1, we couldn't interact much, but all of us had the same misconception that everyone out here was a professional cyclist. I have been cycling for sometime but this expedition was also going to be my first cycle ride in 2012 as a consequence was pretty unsure about the outcome.

On Day 2 nothing much was scheduled except for a trial ride in the evening at 17:00 hrs, so all of us got some good time to know about each other, know about each other's occupation, brag about imaginary office environments, salaries and girlfriends. But these interactions let all of us know about Mohit Baitheneni - from Hyderabad (even though his last name sounds Italian). He won his battle with obesity by cycling 60 kms DAILY!! And the exact opposite of Mohit was a so called Pranav Shah – from Bhayandar who kept on telling us “Mein cycling ka 'C' bhi nahi jaanta” - well, was this an extravagant attempt to humour? We were all set to know. But then, something was missing, I could sense that there has to be one element missing, one missing piece of that jigsaw puzzle, one void that needs to be filled. But then arrived Shailesh NAIR. My chammanthi podi loving, idli hogging, sambar loving, ever complaining, communist, Malayalee brother. Shailesh had come from the land famous for two things primarily among the Mallu youth...Motherjane and Avial. Need less to say, we shook hands, embraced each other and shed a tear as finding a fellow Malayalee in HIMACHAL PRADESH was nothing less than a miracle. We later met another Malayalee named Nitesh Gopalan. Sailesh later said he now believed in God.

The Gang

So before we could start with our trial ride, all of us decided to play a game of Dumb Charades wherein we encountered the Gods of the game. The Solankhi brothers, namely Raghav and Madhav Solanki from Pune. In the movie Unbreakable by Manoj Night Shyamalan, Samuel L Jackson mentions that opposite exists, Jackson was Mr. Glass whereas Willis was the Unbreakable; similarly we found our very own Mr. Glass. In other terms the worst Dumb Charades player to be ever produced - “Dhairyash Kotwani”. He was trying to enact “Tang” so that we could guess Tango Charlie. We also came across Nivedita Chavan whose skill was to wrongly guess movies. One of her artful guesswork was “Mein Bhoot ki Bhabhi”. But now all of us bonded big time as we had the same point of interest – DY's acting skills.
So our trial ride eventually happened and the next day we had to wake up by 5:00 AM, have breakfast at 6:00 and then scoot by 7:00 AM.

Day 3: Aut to Fagpul (17 kms, 500 ft)
Level: Yawn

We got up by 4:30 am to some frenzied movements in the morning as Mohan Rao's waist pouch and Mobile phone were robbed. So, not the ideal start to the day as suspicious looks flew everywhere. As a result our start was delayed by 2:30 hours. Prior to that we were given some instructions by our camp leader Mithun Das that we should avoid heroics on the road. You see, a wheelie was child's play to me...but then Mithun Das had avoided competition right from the onset. Jagan Mohan Rao (Sir), who successfully completed a 200Km track in 11hrs and 50 minutes (BRM 200 to be precise) was rightfully appointed the leader of the group and Surinder was our co-leader. And then we were off.
The ride started off through a 1.5 Km tunnel and our roads were alongside streams, a dream ride already. The gradient was less and managable as we would scale only 500ft after riding for 17kms. This ride made me realize that “Gaon Ki Gori” was never a myth. We met Kalpana. Beauty couldn't have such a divine definition. Kalpana worked in a small shop and all cyclists had taken a halt just in front of it. That place was supposedly a landmark and we knew why by now. Our departure from the shop was delayed by some time owing to Ajinkya “Look-at-my-canines-while-i-laugh” Soitkar as he refused to come out of the shop and kept buying mentos for everyone, even though no one was asking for them.


We reached Fagupul in quick time. No Baboon Butt and Red cherries casualty were reported during this ride.

Raghav, Mohit and Rohit.

Evenings were filled with fun, frolics and alcoholics sans alcohol. Dumb cherades almost uprooted our tent, shook our ground and almost got Ajinkya and me rolling out of the other side of the tent owing to heavy bouts of laughter. The Reason – DY. He was asked to enact “Vicky Donor”. Well, he didn't try to enact “Vicky” nor did he try to enact “Donor”, but tried to enact that little drop of fluid that creates life.
Dumb Charades.

Day 4: Fagpul to Jibhi, 15 kms (2500ft.)
Altitude to be reached: 6000ft.
Level: Ok, now we are talking.

There was high drama early in the morning as men were not allotted washrooms and toilets but were given the freedom to let it out in the open. Ajinkya and I, with a bunch of toilet paper and water in that 2L Saffola oil container were in the hunt of finding a place to poop in peace. But most of them had already marked their territory. We finally found a toilet but before we could get in we were warned by a local. He gave us the impression that the toilet was haunted. Ajinkya and I laughed our asses just to convey sarcasm to each other, but ran away far from that toilet.
We were done finally, found an open space and marked our territory.
At 8:45 am we started off through the smooth terrain, little did we know this ride was only meant for all those men who appeared in the movie 300. This ride was similar to watching a Shahrukh Khan movie, simple in the beginning but painful throughout.
I was gasping for breath, pedalling for shorter intervals, crying out “amma, amma” when no one was around, throwing stones at Mohit to stop him from overtaking me. Mohit was whistling his way to the destination.
Mohit and I.

We had heard about a local delicacy called Siddu. We halted at a restaurant named Garden Cafe and probably had the world's best Siddus ever. (The recipe of Siddu is not in the scope of this blog, please find a suitable blog for that or click here). 

Maa kasam! Foodgasm!

This was it, as Ajinkya said all the time, “Instant Foodgasm”. We reached Jibhi with Mohit still whistling, Raghav “the horse-rider” Solankhi only panting and I was cursing the world around.
In the evening all of us came together under one roof. Later there were families that came out of their rooms to understand the disharmony, clamor and lamentation among a supposedly troubled gang of young cyclists, but they later came to know that we were only trying to sing. These were fun sessions with Avishkar “trying-hard-for-his-french-beard” Mokashi singing nice and loud. Deepesh “always-forgets-his-lines” Tourani cited some wonderful lines of famous Ghazal singers.


Day 5: Jibhi to Sojha, 7 kms (2500ft.)
Altitude to be reached: 8500ft.
Level: Are you fucking kidding me? Who the fuck do you think I'm, an offspring of Bachendri Pal and Lance Armstrong?

This was by far the toughest route as the gradient was VERY high, the terrains were rough. Just 3 kms up and I was done. Mohit asked me if he could go on, I said yes. I tried throwing stones at him but they weren't reaching him and he disappeared. I went on, dragged my cycle until I could find a less steeper road as once you stopped pedalling there was no way you could be back on the cycle since you find no momentum and power to push yourself upwards.
I then did what cyclists aren't supposed to do, drag their cycles. I dragged it for a good Kilometer and with Krishna “Ajinkya's-no1-fan” Kumar who gave me good company and was giving me reasons why dragging the cycle is always better than riding it and how you lose more calories when you drag the cycle. Dragged it for another 500 metres and that was it I started riding it again as I could find less steeper roads now.

Trust me, it was tough!

After 2 hrs and 50 minutes I reached our campsite, I wanted to remove my t-shirt, run and celebrate. But that is when I saw Mohit and Raghav “the horseman“ Solankhi yawning.
Later in the evening, Krishna, Viral “the-fake-22-year-old” Kacha from Gujrat and camp leader Mithun Das and I went trekking. We went deep within the forest to find some really spooky pine trees. Some trees were hit by lightning and you could see the devastation it had created. An epitome of mother nature's fury. Beautiful.
Nature's Fury

We went ahead and Mithun spotted shit, I asked him what kind of shit was that, whom did it belong to? He said it probably was a leopard's shit. I immediately picked up a pointed rock not for self defense but to save my companions. They couldn't see the love I had for my fellow cyclists, instead made a mockery of my efforts. Ungrateful tyros.

The Savior 

Day 6: Sojha to Jalorie Pass, 5kms (~ 2000ft)
Altitude to be reached: Almost 10300ft.
Level: Anything that has got nothing to do with cycling is a cake walk.

We moved on through the rough terrain taking pictures, discussing the past four days, talking about how awesome I was on my cycle, rumours about finding testosterone tablets in Mohit's baggage. (We later came to know it was Crocin). It took around 2 hrs to reach the top and it was blissfull with the view of the Himalayan peaks adding to the sanctity of the entire place. I looked at my fellow Malayalees and told them “This is a moment right here brothers. Three Malayalees at 10300 ft in Himachal Pradesh, on a foothill of the Himalayas is rarer than the occurrence of Haley's comet.” We smiled and hugged each other.

On the top.

Day 6: From Sojha to Aut.
We took a bus down from Jalorie pass to Sojha and were scheduled to move back to our first base camp Aut which was 38 kms away and at an altitude of 3500 ft.
With kachha roads all over and really steep slopes we had to control the brake and the handle thoroughly. With brakes applied we were moving with a speed of 45 to 50 km/hr. Control was the key as this was the most difficult part of the entire expedition at the same time the most adventurous.
We covered the distance of 38 kms from Sojha to Aut within 2 hrs and 30 minutes.

The perfect getaway, most of the time for people is with someone they've known for long, someone who is close enough to play the role of a punching bag on the way and someone who would pamper, empathize and shake his/her head when you want them to. But being with a set of people whom you've never known personally, never seen before is another experience altogether.
While cycling uphill there was no end to the mind felling steepness, but the only way to over come them was to over come them without thinking about it. Mohit and I cycled most of the time together and never looked straight ahead at the upward curve. That helped us move on, without thinking of what lies ahead. A principle we could apply in our lives as well.
For some of the guys, the trip was a confidence booster. For instance Sailesh Nair and Ajinkya Soitkar are not professional cyclists but on the stretch between Jibhi to Sojha which was the steepest of all the routes, they did not drag the cycle a bit.
The expedition was wonderful, my love for cycling has revived but beyond all this was the joy of meeting and getting to know these unknown faces and we eventually made lifelong associations.
For instance, Meena “Iron Lady” Barot, has lived life in her own terms and her stories forced out the stereotype in me. She has even carried the Olympic torch in Beijing. Vidya “Vagabond” Kulkarni, travels alone every year, twice, in an attempt to combat loneliness. She is a working professional currently based in Bangalore.

Meena "Iron Lady" Barot

Many more teachings and findings, which is just out of the scope of this piece. Maybe I can write one dedicated to all the people I met there.
We lived every moment, right through the rocky terrains, the steep hills, the unnerving downhill slopes, the feeling on reaching every destination; high exhilleration yet benign. The beautiful streams, innocent, unconventional children and Kalpana.

Rejuvenated, rehabilitated, refreshed and rewarded. We lived.

P.S: The food provided by YHAI was the finest 'Ghar ka khaana' ever. That is when Ajinkya came up with Foodgasm. 
In all of our campsites we were allotted tents. Except in Aut and Sojha where we were allotted rooms. (10 in one).

Geeks - The Gods of Chastity?

Posted by - Rohit

We may be termed as new age mazdoors who play around with extreme combinations of Alphanumeric characters, who contribute to that piece of code which integrates into an all pervading software, for whom calculation of complex Mathematics and untangling algorithm is just a way of life, and who believe that Tom Cruise is a sane guy.

But haven't you ever thought why we haven't struck the right chord when it comes to being socially active and finally finding that girl of our dreams. But like most of our ill fated brothers we succumb to falling in love with that one dimensional pic and live with that 3 dimensional figure. Brothers...there is more to us, more to being limited to a life behind spectacles and orgasmic feelings which are only reserved for CPU specifications.
So, here is a list of don'ts. I care.

Analogies are meant for certain deductions that only make sense to us.
Yes, there would be a time when you would want to lend your shoulder to someone to lay their head on and wipe their tears, but that is just not enough as such sentiments are always coupled with words that consequently change the course of those tears. But understand, we are not good at it. Matters of the heart, such maudlinness, should be treated with little less practicality.
She - "He is getting engaged to someone else".
You (who secretly likes her) - "Hey, life here in Mumbai is faster than Internet in the US".
She - *A blank stare for 43 seconds*

Buy her stuff, don't expect her to buy your axiom.

Cuss words are just not our thing.
We are good human beings in other words. We don't hit your feelings. The human nuances is what we can't comprehend but if we get angry we talk about destruction right away.
"I hope you find love in front of a Nuclear reactor...and make love there...and hope your babies look like Stephen Hawking"
As of now, there is 0.1 percent chance of getting a girl, but you might just end up getting into the  negative quadrant with such lines and your overall chance with "any" girl can be shunned and shattered forever.
Yes, we do use some of them but they are just not powerful enough to blow the opposition away. Plus comebacks are just not good enough, just like the one below.
"What do you call a guy who is not familiar with Protons, Neutrons and Electrons - A Moron".
Teenage girls do better than that. What are you thinking?

From the Normal to the Paranormal.
So we don't think on the same lines as others do most of the time and our sense of humour, that accurately deduced scientific analogy, most of the time is comprehended as boring and absurd. So make sure that, that golden sense of humour is secured and sacred, as they would be quashed away and termed as "nerdy" one liners that don't make sense. For instance, my friends and I were playing pool when this extremely hot girl came in and joined us. While taking a shot my partner was focussing thoroughly on the dynamics and kinetics involved in hitting the cue ball and how would the ball ricochet in order to get right striped one in the right pocket and as a consequence was taking time.
Just then the other guy said "hehe...your session just timed out dude." We gave him a high five and conveyed, "Man, that was cool".
The girl went "Tch". See.
Brothers, they won't understand, they were never meant to. So the next time when you hear that nerdy joke, just go "Tch". Give him the high five after the girl has gone.

From the Paranormal to the Normal.
It's ok to try and come to a level of the expressive mortal but don't try too hard. For instance when this really good looking female colleague asked one of my team members, "Hey, the server doesn't seem to be enabled in the pool (of servers)", which made my colleague move restlessly (and with a slight smirk on his face) as if he was eagerly willing to crack something here, he went - "hehe...it's not in it's swimming suit yet...ha ha". Why?
The girl went "Tch", so did I (I learnt from the pool table incident).
This is just not what we are good at. Yes we are aware of this very old saying "When in Maharashtra do what the Malayalees do", but you really don't have to.

We just love our "Normal" Jokes. Give it away now.
Please, please give away the "Normal" joke once and for all.
Girl: "You are not normal."
You (The paramortal): "Yes because I'm not perpendicular to you."
You will be deemed by them as a weird pervert having geometrical fantasies.

There is a significant difference between those (mortals) who believe they understand Artificial Intelligence by watching Ra.One and us (the paramortals) who rightfully call it a sham. The significant difference, one, is our capability to scrutinize, ask what and why, to boldly go where no man has gone before and, second, the incapability to just not scrutinize, to not ask what and why, to be a bit less abstracted and the incapability to come out of that little world made out of equations. Which brings me to my next point -

Impersonation is good!
We need to come to terms with their terms and our (sacred) terms can be used within us. There is suggestive difference in the way we suggest things and some of them are showcased below:

Mortal: I think, I have started liking you
Paramortal: You are the only girl who talks to me.

Mortal: What is your favourite sport
Paramortal: Terrorists or Counter-terrorists?

Mortal: Would you come for a coffee.
Paramortal: Can I show you Counter Strike Cheats?

Mortal: I'm Horny
Paramortal: I'm Radioactive.

Mortal: I love Mills and Boons
Paramortal: Richard Stevens gives me Goosebumps but Korth made me cry.

Mortal: These are testing times
Paramortal: I'm in the Beta phase.

Mortal: You are just not stable
Paramortal: Your nucleus is devoid of protons.

Mortal: I'm now losing my appeal
Paramortal: I never had it.

(To be really frank, you just can't say you are horny. Being Radioactive is really cool! (I already feel like a mutant now...*swoosh*). Use it as a code word, but give away the rest or at least start working on them.)

It seems the Greek sex industry is now battered by an economic storm and people are now calling them Geeks. That's the kind of prejudice we need to dissolve. We aren't practitioners of celibacy, nor do we think it's a virtue. We are Bohemians, vagabonds, gurus, wannabe mutants, the obsessive intellectuals, the able crackerjacks and the dexterous weirdos.

I'm trying. I will arrive.

It's not late. Gods of Chastity? Revolution, 'We have arrived'.

Chakka Maara/ Maara Chakka

Posted by - Rohit

If I were to define Mumbai, I would say: "It's a supposed cosmopolitan city characterised by a whole lot of diversity (fought over by two brothers and none of them seem to win it)". Diversity in lives, lifestyles, etc. would always leave someone in shock and awe of this mammoth city. Railway, BEST, Slums, Shiv Sena, dirt, the Queen's Neckace, Wada Pav, Dharavi, Highways thinner than cycle lanes, Capitol talkies, The Gateway, Crawford Market, shithole suburbs and last but not the least, Eunuchs or Hijras define Mumbai.

Hijra, the Urdu word solely means "leaving ones tribe". In older India Hijras were referred to as Kinnars, a much respectable term. They are known as the third sex as most of them are born apparently male with ambiguous genitalia. The Hijra community has marked their significance right from the days of the Kama Sutra. They add a lot of colour to Mumbai and without them Mumbai would probably be deprived of it's novelty and craziness which has been an indespensible ingredient in making Mumbai what it is currently. But here in the land of look-a-likes, you would find the Hijra wannabe who dons the wig just to make easy money. So you know, just by looking at them that they are trying too hard to get in the groove. 

So let me emphasise a bit more on the other kind of Eunuchs and why and how do they contribute to your daily entertainment. Colourful, dark, fake. I don't know why they do what they do. They can be defined as stress ball stuffing, foundation puffing, flat palmed clapping and Wig donning MEN! I initially commuted in the second class, but regular bouts of Malaria and Typhoid forced my mom to flail at me some really dramatic Eminem style Malabari Rap on breaking shackles of miserly being and I've been travelling in the First Class thereafter. Eunuchs usually hover around in the second class, that is where they most of the time get their "Vasuli" (money made out of Bullying).
Their targets are usually silent, smiling individuals. I still remember in my college going days, when I was chubby  with absolutely no facial hair, I used to wear (fake) diamond studs. Those were the days when I was most targetted by Eunuchs, one of them even pulling my cheeks and pampering me. My good friend Umesh said they probably saw a potential them in me. I stopped wearing them ever since.
I would usually wade them away by a stern "Maaf karo Bhai". I remember once when this absolutely lost and forlon soul who was peeping out of the window, oblivious to what was happening in the train got slapped by a Eunuch who was probably insulted, because his flat palmed claps were falling into deaf ears.
Plus, once I was bullied by one of these men, when I was having a peaceful conversation with a girl friend who wasn't my girlfriend and the way I chickened out that day she would never want to be one.

So we (Mumbaikars in general) usually are very tolerant to all these happenings, we get squeezed, stamped, robbed, pushed, pinched, punched, and pampered too; but we still move.

Here's a bit of a trivia: In Navi Mumbai (formerly known as New Bombay), the highest abundance after Maharashtrians and Malayalees is that of Nigerians. Ok, I was exaggerating about Maharashtrians. I have absolutely no clue as to how/why has there been such a considerable influx of Nigerians. When you ask them what brings them here, they would say they are students and if you asked a middle aged Nigerian he would say that he is the father of the guy who claimed to be a student here. Hah!.

So I was once commuting back from work in a Second Class compartment and right opposite to me there was a Nigerian sitting. He seemed to be a simple, harmless guy very new to the city and culture. The compartment where we were sitting was the bigger one with 3 doors.
As we commuted, at one of the stops three Eunuchs came in one from each door, clapping profusely. I donned my serious look and practiced a couple of "Maaf Karo"s before I could actually say it out to them whereas the rest, some went to sleep, some put on their earphones, some of them dug into the newspaper and noses while the remaining were ready with their offerings. The Nigerian...cluless and culture shock written on his face.
One of them approached me, I gulped and went "Maaf Karo" (bang on target). It worked. Now the Eunuch approaching others. Some succumbed to the bullying, some acting against it. The Eunuch now saw the Nigerian who was staring back at him. (In the dialogue mode now)
The Eunuch: "A Raja, Kya dekhta hain re" (Meaning - What are you looking at Babe)
The Nigerian (say Yakubu): "..."
The Eunuch: "Dena re" (Meaning - Give it to me baby)

Me (Thinking): "No Yakubu no...don't give in to the rage. When in Mumbai, do what the Mumbaikars do. Tolerate. Can you Rap?".

Yakubu: "..." (his eyes totally focussed on the Eunuch)
The Eunuch (Now teasing): "Kya re...Dena...kya dekhta hain" (Meaning - Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me).
The Eunuch now went on to pull his cheeks...once.
Yakubu: "..." (with deathly rage in his eyes, looks back at the Eunuch).
The Eunuch now went on to pull his cheeks...once again.

Now I exactly don't know what Yakubu said entirely but it sounded something like below:
In total rage, he went;
(Nigeria currently has 521 languages, this was one of them and that was all I could derive of it)
And Yakubu stood...and SLAPPED the Eunuch real hard!
The remaining Eunuchs immediately responded to the sound by running out of the same door they came in from and the slapped Eunuch was out of there too getting his wig right with that helpless agonising cry, "Maara re..." (Meaning - Fuck, run).

Again Yakubu said something and obviously I couldn't make sense out of it nor could anyone. He was absolutely not rhythmic, as if trying to pacify Mr. Hyde within him. My sympathies are with Yakubu though since he was new to the country, going through a culture shock and seemed to be totally unaware of the crossdressing cult. One of those routine commuters alongside me looked at the funnier side of things and said "hehe...chakka maara". So Mumbaikars, pat your backs, you guys have been wonderful examples of tolerance and are unknowningly preaching Ahimsa!

So what happens when a Eunuch meets a Nigerian? Well, you come to know that not every guy who looks like Akon can Rap.

P.S: Buggers, don't call me racist now. I'm 100% not.

Melancholy Baby

Posted by - Rohit

"I could sense your happiness even though I was your small dot of hope and your bond to faith. Sounds of celebration, contentment, I could hear them all. We spoke about us, our lives after I arrive. Your caressing touch as you spoke to me. I wish I could touch your hands back. Early days they were, was a matter of time.

You spoke about life, I didn't know what it meant. I was still that speck within you without an identity. You spoke about Love, it sounded beautiful and you said it trancended everything. You said you loved me and that we were connected for eternity. Within you I could see myself grow. You spoke about aspirations, you spoke about potential, you spoke about dreams, you told me what life is all about, what it could be. You said I would be born to a proud Mother.

You made me hear a voice, A voice that spoke with you. Father, you spoke with her. I heard a voice full of promise, strength and ecstacy. Mother, you said our soul is connected, our hearts beat in unison and that you breathed in life, just for me.

I could sense your restlessness Mother. That deafening voice. Father, you are losing your voice to him. It is now getting stronger, I can sense him coming closer to us.  I can sense your silence. The  vociferous voice now fades. But father, what is in an identity? Why would it change anything?
I hear more sounds. I have heard these sounds before, they use to come with laughter and accolades. These voices now seem to pierce us. Mother speak. Don't let them talk into you. I can't comprehend your silence.

Where are they taking us? Your silence still palpable. I can feel that constraining grip. Talk to me.

"She is a girl"...is all I heard father say and you finally spoke, asking for forgiveness. "Let her live"...begging for mercy. I can sense your pain, your cry, your fright. The wounds I know I'm inflicting on you but tell me why am I doing this. Give me a chance to live.

I can hear you shout. I can hear your pain. I feel you shiver, I can feel those tremors. You are calming down, they made you calm down. Stay calm Mother, stay calm.

I would have been as beautiful as you. A deception too early to understand. The knife now stares at me. "

What is it with people quashing those lives that they deem inferior to them? An act of insecurity itself deems one inferior. What is it with people trying to abolish that same life that creates another? Let us not create ironies.

Save the girl child.


Posted by - Rohit

Pinne,  a five letter word in Malayalam which is ideally used in different contexts but most of the time used as a sarcastic dagger that rips your self respect apart. For instance, when I told my Mom that Shashi Tharoor read my blog, she had the same look that Nana Patekar usually had in his eyes and said "Aaah...Pinne", meaning "Yeah...right". Then there were times when I tried to ask a Malayalee girl out, but she would smile back and say "Pinne...not now", meaning "Later". And there's another context that the word is generally used in, for instance, when I gave the same news to my sister, she went, "Yawn...Pinne?"...meaning, "And then?". But this word to me is just not a word to be used in limited context, to me it's a sound that came out of an Angel's silhouette, a sound that helped me see dawn, it's a sound that made, that fading speck, a full moon in the sky, a sound that said "Brother, you are not alone"

I, along with my gang of slaves of the 21st century decided to come out of these shackles of captivity and apply for a leave on Friday which would have given us 72 hrs of self inflicting sinful intoxicating sessions. So we decided to leave for Diveagar, a haven for sea food lovers, beach lovers sans babes or humans for that matter, a place where we could remove the lid cast on us by society which had limited our imagination, a place where we could give our creative side some leverage and create sand castles that looked like office cubicles. Diveagar is 180 Kms from Bombay, another 17 Kms from Diveagar is Shrivardhan, another paradise in the Konkan.
Alongside the roads that led to Diveagar, all we could find was authentic Konkani restaurants, which was not desired by the divas within our group. "Do we have a Pasta joint here?" queried one of my friends, which needed that sarcastic jab. Using my inherent mallu traits I said "Aaah...Pinne". Behind me was my friend Matthew Varghese who knew what I meant which led him to pat my back and give me a look which said "Nice". The Diva said "Yeah...Penne sounds good.".

Penne? Pinne. Poda (Me and Matthew)

The night was stark dark, potholes were roads, we moved on as the headlights illuminated the swaying trees. This, three hour pursuit of ecstasy, was taking longer as signages were our only hope, at the same time they were a rarity. None of us knew what our resort looked like. We stopped by and called up the resort. A woman picked up the phone and spoke in what seemed to be Marathi spoken in Southern America. The phone rotated amongst us and all of us through our conversation with the lady could only make out two words - Ganesh Chowk. It was almost 11 now and we were still searching for Ganesh Chowk. We couldn't find a single guy on the road or a signage that would lead us to the aforementioned place.

11:45. We had delved into deeper convolutions and had found absolutely nothing. We moved, with my friend Aditya, almost giving up the idea of moving ahead. That is when we could see a dark silhoutte with it's back towards us fading into darkness. We rushed ahead right next to him and without wasting much time asked him in Marathi -
"Ganesh Chowk kuthe aahey?" (Where is Ganesh Chowk)
The guy seemed pretty reluctant and conservative but replied back in Marathi -
"Asa jaayecha..." - (Go this way - in Marathi)
"Tasa jaayecha..." - (Then go that way - in Marathi)
"Pinne..." - (And then - in Malayalam. What?)

Before he could say another word, I jolted on my seat and before I could derive my conclusions I scanned him thoroughly like an American Security staff scanning Shahrukh Khan for all the wrong reasons.

Sleeves rolled up to just above the elbow - Check.
Two buttons from the top open - Check.
A Lungi - Check.
Folded just above the knee - Check.
Green Lungi with fluorescent green flowers - DOUBLE CHECK.
Paragon Chappal - Ok, I'm asking for too much now.

But that was it. Without a speck of speculation in my mind, with my eyes now widened, my mouth open in shock, I stammered with my words not finding my tongue or my tongue not finding my words, I managed to ask him -
"Natile Evade?"
(If a Malayalee meets a fellow Malayalee, the thumb rule is to ask 'Where in Kerela do you reside?'. The 2 words "Natile Evade" solely means that, but has sentimental inclination which means "My brother, how are you coping? Are you Ok here? Have you enrolled your family to a Malayalee Samajam yet?")
As he heard my question he stopped abruptly. He looked at me, so was Matthew Varghese, absolutely clueless as to what was happening.

The string of words that followed was similar to listening to Malabari Rap. The guy who seemed to be a conservative Maharashtrian had transitioned to my coconut tree loving, chamandi podi hogging, ever complaining Malayalee brother.
He gave us every detail of our destination, also giving us details about stones 23 metres away from our resort. When we parted, he stood there waving his hand till the car became a tiny dot whereas Matthew Varghese and me leaned out of the window just like the Pomeranian from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, waving back at him vigorously till we could see the last flower on his lungi. Eventually the resort turned out to be a room with 5 beds (on the floor) and a toilet.

Hallla Pinne!

With tears and sparks in my eye, I narrated the entire episode to my Dad, who was seemingly unperturbed and with the world of confidence shimmering through his face he just smirked back and said "Son, right from being placed in fine leg of a cricketing field to being appointed by the General Assembly of the UN, we've come a long long way. Congratulations." And we sniffed in happiness.

 - A proud Malayalee.

P.S: After reaching our room, my friends got sloshed and were pillow fighting.