Friday, October 24, 2008

Because we need a superhero story.

Once upon a recent past, in a tropical island not so far away, there lived a girl called, what else, Tomoko. Of unparalleled goodness, niceness and sweetness. since she was a girl, and this has started off as a fairy tale, it obliges us to have a supervillain called evil-stepmama-san.
The evil-stepmama-san, the aerobics instructor, made her do all the work at home, and at her studio. But it kept Tomoko slim, and she didn't complain. And then, Tomoko decided to have other plans. So secretly, next to the cinders, she hatched her great plan of getting out of this mess, and finding a superhero.

She decided to cheat, and looked through the phone book, for all the alliterative names. And after rather bad attempts of making blank calls to people called Bunny,Bugs; Duck,Donald and Parker,Peter she found a name she thought sounded imaginary enough to be that of a superhero. [But I can't tell you what it is, because it would make it his story, and that would be unfair. And we will save his story for another day.]

So she packed her clothes, and her precious glass slippers and gladiator shoes, and set out to find her superhero. After a long day's journey in public transport, she found a little shack called Namastay. As soon as she checked in, she fell asleep. And as soon as she fell asleep, she started dreaming. And her fairy-godmother, poco coco, [a fashionista - Her aim in life is to eliminate all badly dressed people. But we will save her story for another day too] came into her dreams and gave her the message. She told our darling Tomoko, that the Cinderella look was outdated, and to ensnare the man, she needed to dress the part.

Latex body suit - green. She didn't care that sticky latex made her hot (not like thaaat) in that equatorial weather. Next, she coloured her hair an envious shade of green, and wore red lipstick on her grin, (taking inspiration from Joker, who suddenly seemed very popular). And she got a purple cape, which apart from giving her the superhero aura, , also served the purpose of keeping her warm, when the air conditioning froze her to the bones.

--End of story, maybe--

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bindra and all that.

As an Indian blogger, I can't possibly miss out on the Abhinav Bindra slice of the blogging pie.
Much has been said about how it's an individual achievement, about how India -- her govt and her people-- had little to contribute and yet dwell in his glory. A generous dose of sarcasm has been meted out to the officials accompanying the Olympic team, with passing comments on lack of sports infrastructure, and lack of money in sports except cricket. Much has also been said about the golden boy being born with a silver spoon -- his father being rich and being able to risk the head of a domestic-help and waste (invest?) money on his son's indulgence.

And yet, somewhere, maybe, we all miss the point. The onus is not on them. It's on us.


Very recently, I was at a friend's place. A single mother, she had a tough time controlling her little son who is hyperactive and showed textbook (wikipedia?) symptoms of ADHD. We sipped tea. On Tv, Olympic cyclists reached their destination of the badaling section of the great wall, after a grueling 5 odd hours of cycling. We spoke of their endurance. And A and I joked and bantered whether her son should be trained to be a fencer or a gymnast. The mother looked sternly at us, and said "You two can start a fund if you want, I am only paying for his education, and not for this". She stopped short of uttering the word "nonsense".

By the time the child is 14, he will be enduring marathon study sessions at his table. And before we know it, he would be sitting in front of the TV watching Olympics 2024, looking at the athletes with envy.

And yet, we crave that kind of glory that being on TV would bring us. We like to associate ourselves with glory. We all know "a cousin is a cricket player", "A friend who started his own business and made millions", "An uncle who won the Pulitzer prize", or the "colleague who ran the marathon". We didn't do it, someone else did. Then we spend hours evaluating whether s/he deserved it. If they are related to us, the glory somewhat rubs off on us, by law of association. If not, then we settle for dressing our envy with criticism -- how we are/were equally deserving and they cheated their way out of it, how we never had the opportunity. To give you a simple example, I love repeating that Anil Kumble was an alumnus of my engg. college. The sports teacher in college though, didn't have the nicest things to say about him.

For every one of them that succeeds, there are thousand others that fail. And naturally, we are not willing to take any such risks.

We don't aspire for glory, we aspire for mediocrity under the garb of security. So, the hypermobility is not a reason to take up swimming, it's just a cheap party trick. The big feet are just a shoe-shopping issue that mothers would complain about. And in the end, it's the marks that matter. And frankly, it's not anyone's fault. Without a social security system, the insecurity about bread and butter gets the better of us. Given that it's gonna be a while before this changes, our mindset changes, govt is better off spending their money on additional IITs.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Twittery tales

Everyone is talking about twitter. It seems to be the latest fad, much like the word "shenanigans", which seems to creep in every other review and blog post. Including this one.

But I digress.

Twitter, twitter, twitter, the lesser said the better. It works, and it works well. The authoritative post on why twitter works is here.

I have taken rather well to it. It makes things easier, given my ADD-type behaviour, and because I am always doing ten things at once. As much as I would love to spend time on IM and write long emails, it's getting increasingly difficult to focus on work. Most often than not I just need a quiet little space to share links and tools, debate and have short discussions which are not about the weather :). And to record (and broadcast?) the stream of consciousness. And banter. It's perfect for that. I love the delightful randomness of it all.

The constant flow of information could be overwhelming. Constant tweeting could cause a drainage of ideas, what will you blog about then? I have no idea how people follow tweets from 200 odd people, and have 100 updates a day. I am already confused at 20. Plus, the twitter ego-system is yet to evolve fully for me to figure out what's right and wrong (much like we figured, at some point, that writing in all caps on IM was rude)

Right now, since it doesn't have the penetration, twitter is not diluted. Believe me, even orkut was clean and fun and nice five years ago. Most people are discussing ideas and tools, and not people. Not too many personal updates either, and thankfully, no leetspeak. But I am afraid it's a matter of time before people start murdering grammar to kill time.

But till that happens, I'll write about my life and times in 140 characters or less.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Ooh, I was digging up drafts and I found this. This one written in late Jan sometime:

The one indulgence I allow myself year after year, is writing the birthday post. (Dig up archives you curious people) And this year, I missed the birthday post! I missed the opportunity to write a deliciously self indulgent post about the discovery of another strand of grey hair. Ah, old age... we really should leave it to the kids.

So, today we were having this conversation at a dinner. And everyone claimed that they had no idea where the last ten years went by. I thought it was strange, for I remember having felt each day giving me gooseflesh as it passed me by. I told them that. They thought it was strange. I am miles away from where I was at 18. Ten years is a long time! I have lived, I have grown, I have learnt. And I can say it with no bitterness.

And yet, they ask me to grow up. I heard that four times last year, one for each quarter perhaps. "Grow up", they said "We are waiting". Why should I?

Maybe they are just jealous.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


"Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another, if I have to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice"

One always want to enter the book loving the hero and hating the villain. That's how it's meant to be, isn't it?

For the record, I am not a graphic novel fanatic. Yet.
I bought the deluxe edition of the "The Killing Joke" only because it looked beautiful on the shelves, and I fell in love with the glossy shiny pages. I also seem to have lost the patience for reading books. It took me three weeks to read the last one which was only 200 pages long, and I had already watched the movie. It's temporary, I tell myself.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fool's day

Today was good. Awesome, even.

I was surprised with my own enthusiasm.

Was off gtalk. And Facebook. And Yahoo. And all other social stuff.
Checked feeds only twice.
Listened to Bowie.

Sent a few emails though.

All too weird, I know. Who am I trying to fool?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back in Black

In the past few days a few people have asked me where I have vanished, and whether I have abandoned this already neglected child of mine. Considering how little I write here, thanks, I feel flattered (while secretly wondering why anyone is waiting for me to write anything). In this world full of rock-star bloggers and prolific writers who get TV coverage and book deals, may be, I am the indie artist with a small, hidden and devoted fan following. Maybe after it's all over, someone will dig up the archives and fit me into well-stitched quotes, word for word. Till that day comes I will stay in the square brackets, stay aside. And yet, I beg you, don't feed my ego so much, please.

Blogging is not what it used to be. People who I used to read have moved or moved on. Busy with lives, or have found other suitable obsessions. Some people who are still writing have lost their edge, like characters in the last season of a long running sitcom who have refuse to evolve. I know them, I know their jokes, and yet the laugh-track seems all too familiar. It's almost perverse... The others who are still writing have few hundred people leaving comments of the order of - "How sweet", "How beautiful" or "How right". It's cloying. Yeah yeah, who am I to say anything? Their blog, their spiel. They are better known than me anyway.

Oh, and the meta blog I liked has been linking to such pointless pieces -- it's almost depressing.

And to be honest, if I still needed to stalk, I have facebook.

Just a handful of bloggers remain who I actually *like* to read.

And I am not talking about anyone or any specific blog, nor is this a state-of-the union address, I am just trying to figure out why it doesn't feel the same anymore. Or maybe, I am not reading the right things.

Anyway, time to dig up the drafts. And to try and write again.