Thursday, March 31, 2011

Balding Gracefully

Hair and birds have a lot in common. They both seem to migrate south at some point – the only difference being that the hair isn’t coming back north.
As a bald guy there are some advantages. I never have a bad hair day or have to worry about buying the right kind of shampoo. Another upside is that if Star Trek was ever remade in Hindi – I could play Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s character.

Who am I kidding – of course Anupam Kher would get the part.

Anyway, I want to send a message out to the men with full heads of hair. We bald guys don’t really care for you. We may be your friend in public and even go and grab a beer with you – but we do not like you.
Don’t ask why – that’s just how it is.
But you know who we really loathe? Bald guys who wear wigs. Are you seriously that ashamed of being bald that you’re willing to put a mop on your head? I shake my head in despair at you people.

Or for that matter bald guys who get transplants. Anyone know how transplants work? They pluck hair from the back of your head and implant it in the front. It’s an economist’s wet dream come true – ideal re-allocation of resources.

There is another category of guilty bald men: The comb over. Like the men with wigs, you’re not fooling anyone, just delaying the inevitable “Oh my your completely bald!” scenario. But I don’t mind these guys as much, they have their own problems.

Like wind, for example.

Being bald is not about making a statement (yes I’m looking at you Diandra Soares) but just being you as nature intended. Losing hair is not as bad as it seems, especially compared to losing an eye or an arm.

So for the love of God – take that God damn wig off.

Please give me your ticket and I will buy you a hamburger.

1 billion people saw India beat Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup Semi-finals yesterday. From an Indian or Pakistani’s point of view this is our Superbowl. Our Champions league final. Our grossly over hyped death match. Offices in Mumbai were shut. Bars and restaurants packed. The news came to halt – cricket was the only item deemed newsworthy.

And then the match started…

6 hours later the game was still in balance. More people had seen this game of cricket than any other game. Which is why the question of the hour was “How much longer till the match ends?”

Let’s face it folks, cricket is a boring game. It takes forever to finish, has long periods of apathy and can dull the brain. I found it almost hilarious to see the bubble of hype burst as the first ball was bowled. At the end of the day, it’s just a game of ball and bat, and the minute the average non-fan realizes that they end up irked.

On the other hand, I’m an ok-ok fan of the game. I remember that amazing catch Ajay Jadeja took in the 1992 World Cup even though I saw it on a non-live basis. I remember the pain when India lost to Sri Lanka in the ’96 semi-finals and the disgust at the ’03 finals.

I expect the same hype to hit the final on Saturday when India take on Sri Lanka. I expect news channels to go ga-ga and the print media will descend upon Wankhede Stadium like Americans in an oil field. But what about you?

You’ve seen the India-Pakistan match. I agree, it was fun in bits and pieces but aren’t you glad its over? Now sit and relax on Saturday and watch the final in peace on your massive HDTV you’ve installed at home.

And don’t worry about that ticket in your hand for the final, just give it to me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Warning Sirens Echoing into Life

Yesterday as my wife and I were taking a bike ride into the late hours of the night when the roads of Trivandrum looks haunted and empty, there rushed beside us like a lighting, thundering through the road - an ambulance.

The siren seemed to echo in the silence of the night and it could be heard from quite a distance. But the relative emptiness in the roads brought them close to us in a jiffy. I had already given side to the fleeting vehicle and as it passed - I saw a face through the ambulance window.

It was an old man. Maybe in his sixties, or maybe even seventies. He leaned his head onto the shoulder of an other man sitting next to him. His face looked sad and there was on his face a pain - that seemed to make it so overwhelming that he couldn't even cry. What had happened? Who was it? Were they taking him to the hospital still alive, or were they taking him from the hospital, after he was just a memory - I will never know. But one thing I know for sure - this life, this moment and this day is really the most important time of our lives. Its not philosophy when people talk about living your present - its the only thing.

From the time thousands of lives were lost in the Tsunami to the hundreds that succumbed to in Libya/Egypt to the handful in Bahrain - its all over. It lives there that went in the sweep of time. A permanent departure into wilderness. A loss that never is replaced.

Life maybe harsh at many times than one for the many of us, but I feel that there is more reason to be happy that we all are alive - living - in love and for love, and that makes every single second spend, even in agony, worth it all. And this is something I learned that night, a lesson that came like a dream - totally involuntarily, and it is that Life is good and its so beautiful if you closely watch it unfolding before you, in patience and hope. You just have to soldier on in the right spirit and you'll realise that there isn't any place better for love. It is right here. It is right now.

Rejoice people. We are alive!

Monday, March 28, 2011

No country for Old People? Not in India.

India, with the youngest populations in the world, is being run by geriatrics who are running the ideals of this nation into the ground. I’m not saying elderly people magically turn into a herd of assholes, but rather that they do not deserve respect purely for being old.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Curse of the Voodoo Dolls

For many of us, the only education we have of voodoo dolls is from the lyrics of Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. Apart from that who really knows about them, or put better – whoever would believe in that?

But there are times in life when reality looks you so straight in the eye that you can by no chance ignore what you have seen by your eyes and felt by your soul.

This all happened to my friend.

Misery and agony kept forming the warp and weft of Dopey’s family till there reached a point in their life when everything backfired in their life. Normalcy was never a state for a long time. It was then that somebody suggested that they should go and seek guidance from a priest who resided nearby and who was known for her super natural powers. It was that advice that brought them to this priest who gave them a shock of their lives by her divine insight. She said that she exactly knew what the problem was and she said that something wrapped in red was buried in the NE side of their house and that is what is bringing ill luck in the family.

Having got the root to all their problems the family searched frantically for “that thing which is read and that which is in the NE part of the house”. But the search ended in failure as they couldn’t identify or locate anything fitting the above two criteria fully. They returned back to the priest and this time the priest came herself to their home.

She walked around the house and stopped at a point in the NE part of their home and starting shivering as if she got possessed by some cosmic energy. And she said – “dig here”. They quickly got a shovel and started digging at the point that was shown to them and before they got too deep – there it was! A red piece of cloth which covered some inscriptions written on palm leaves. The priest deciphered it and said that the language was Aramaic and it was satanic verses which images that resembled voodoo dolls. And it was that which brought ill luck to the family. She then looked up to the house and pointed at the window of the kitchen which opened just opposite to the dug site and asked, “did some calamity happen here lately”? It was exactly there that Dopey’s father got a Cerebral Stroke, when he was standing in the kitchen right opposite to that site. And uncle had nearly succumbed to that if it wasn’t for some “divine intervention” – which Dopey’s mother still vouches for.

So, the satanic verses, the ill luck it brought and the nearly life threatening damage it caused them – just cemented the fact into the minds of everyone and proved beyond beyond doubt that there existed some force out there, which we can never ever decode. Something that is far more complex and intriguing for our minds to understand and too overwhelming to digest. Something that is out there in that unknown realm, that which is best un-understood than otherwise. Something dark, something scary, something so powerful.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paranormal Activity

Before anything else, I want to thank all the readers for taking interest in the last blog entry on ghosts and for such wonderful comments. Makes me want to write and discuss about it all the more.

This particular incident I want to tell you today happened when Dopey was in his dad’s place back in the village. He always thought that there was something creepy about that place because very strange incidents have also happened in the past in the same house, about which I will mention later.

Now this particular night, Dopey was watching something on the television late in the night when he heard something hitting on the door that led from the drawing room to his brothers bed room. He thought it might be a sudden gush of wind and ignored it. The next time the door shook again, but this time a little more strong in its vibration. He still tried to wilfully ignore that sign thinking that the wind might have flown a bit too harder this time. By now he was already a bit uneasy because of the silent, windless, moonlit night that enveloped his house and contrasting rattling of the doors inside.

Just before he could let his thought fleet anywhere towards the dark forces, the door just slammed violently and just on the other side of the door stood his brother – profusely sweating, terrified and dazed. The first thing he asked Dopey was, “did you see him?”. As if the events weren’t enough creepy already, it just left Dopey shocked because other than the images in the TV, he saw nothing else.

His brother narrated to him exactly what had happened. His brother was deep asleep tightly tucked into bed when he started feeling a bit uneasy, hot and like as if he was caught in vacuum. He tried to ignore the signs, but when he felt it was really annoying, he opened his eyes. The sight he saw then is still the scariest thing he ever has seen in his entire life. There float above him, perfectly parallel, a middle aged man, looking directly into his eye. He was wearing a ‘checked shirt’ and looked intensely into his eyes. Green light illuminated the prior dark room. That is when his brother realised that he had been nearly paralysed ,with him unable to regain any voluntary function of his body. He could barely breathe and couldn’t lift his hands either. He with great difficulty slipped from the cot onto the floor and wriggled to the door which he finally managed to open in the third blow.

This incident haunted his brother for ages, till something nearly the same happened to his father. A known case of CVA, his father is on regular medication for diseases of the heart and brain. Uncle was wide asleep when he heard someone whisper in his ears to come along with him. Anxious about the weird phenomena, he opened his eyes to see his dead brother sitting next to him and calling him to go with him. On a later date when Dopey’s brother asked his dad about the voice/ghost he saw, he recalls it was his deceased younger brother calling him and was wearing a ‘checked shirt’.

The shock on Dopey’s brother face wouldn’t leave him easy for a long time.

More to this coming up in the next blog entry. Hang on safe in there. Happy Holi.

To be continued...

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Favorite Douche of 'Em All.

It's true. There is one douche out there that I absolutely adore. Well, maybe not adore, but he sure makes me laugh, and I love cathing up with him week after week. So, what d-bag has captured my space? It's Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother. He may be the ultimate womanizer (one episode centers on his accomplishment(?) of sleeping with 200 women), but every now and then, he does show a shred of human decency and having a heart.

And there's no denying just how quotable he is! See for yourself in the video below! And credit must be given to Neil Patrick Harris for playing one of my favorite TV characters of ALL. TIME. He WILL win an emmy for this role soon. I demand it!!

Barney is, though, the ultimate douche. He follows Bro Code (and apparently published a book about it!). He has a playbook filled with ploys and scams just to get laid. And we've only seen him have one legitimate relationship on the six seasons of the show. And he's all about the fist bump - just one more douche-tastic quality to add to the list.

As much as you should hate him and feel disgusted by his man-whoring ways, it's impossible. And I often find myself quoting him. True story.

Of Blackmagic and Voodoo Dolls.

Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with my childhood friend who came to visit us home. It was interesting because apart from catching up on the latest and old gossips, we ended up discussing a lot about black magic, voodoo dolls, curses, paganism and evil spells and of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers. It was interesting. But a bit scary too. A bit for me, a lot for my wife. And just so because Deepu narrated to us about true life incidents that seemed to have affected him too – in a large way. In a way that we couldn’t have imagined and in a way you couldn’t possibly ignore.

What started it all was when he asked me if I knew a certain child from school, of the time when we were kids. I did not know her that well, but I knew she existed. Facebook has this concept of sending friend suggestions right? So I had got her connection many times. With about 60+ common friends. But did not add her just because I did not know her personally and did not want to look stupid. Anyway, the point was – this particular friend could see ghosts from the age of 7. But she wouldn’t tell anyone about it because as expected, no one would believe her. And she had reached a stage where she would not talk to anyone because she feared something. Something considerable. Something dark. Something so compelling.

What was it? No one guessed.

As if that was not enough, she could talk to ghosts too. As much as your jaws dropped reading this, ours did too when we heard it. Living with this problem or gift that she possessed, she knows now that it is not advised for mortals to have a conversation with the ghost. She recalls the time when she used to be aloof from everybody else and says she had talked to a spirit of an old man and he kept stalking her for a long time, disturbing her a lot. He wouldn’t leave her side even when she was asleep. She had reached a point where she almost lost her mind, but then like some miracle, she pulled herself out of it. And we still don’t know how.

She says that ghosts should not be talked to. They are present all the time, at many places and we would have no clue that they would be present with us. (Now that sounds creepy, doesn’t it?) But they believe that they cant be seen and its best if we don’t try and communicate with them. Because if we did, they would try and communicate back. Since they always have some unsolved issues that stopped their flight into the heavens, they would try and vent their frustrations on you and you never really can say how. Sometimes its by following you everywhere like what happened to her or maybe by trying to harm you. But a connection they will definitely try and establish. And that’s not good.

Today she says that whenever she sees a ghost, she pretends as if she hasn’t seen them and life is okay. She also finds it hard to differentiate between a mortal and a ghost sometimes when she is in an unfamiliar place. At home or a place she knows who should be there at that time, she knows when they are there too. And hold your breath because now, her kid can see them too.

She says that all kids have a power to see ghosts, but this power vanishes the moment the child starts assimilating memories in the memory bank. And she says that so do animals, especially dogs.
And this is how we embarked on a very very interesting conversation that lasted for a while.

When have you actually felt something alive in the other dimension? What real-life incidents do you have to share? Think about it. A whole lot of interesting stories which I intend to share with all of you in the posts to come. So sit back and enjoy reading. Atleast you know that even if you think you are doing that alone, you never really might be.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.
She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.
She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.
She requested that every day for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife's divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outsidethe door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.
On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.
I drove to office.... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.
Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I'm a loving husband....

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don't share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

[Stumbled upon this piece somewhere on the internet by some unknown author. Was worthy enough to share.]


"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."

- Arundhati Roy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Rainbow Bridge

Someone sent this poem to me a few months ago when I had written about our aging dog back home, Bruno and I truly believe it gave me comfort. Just want to share it with all of you who live with your pets and are blessed with their unconditional love.

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...never again to be separated.

Author unknown...

Love in the time of censorship.

Tom and Jerry is now rated PG13! It’s Tom and Jerry for chrissakes!! C’mon! We all watched it and a few of us went out there and became extremists, but violently speaking, the majority of us turned out alright, right? Ok, I’ll admit, it’s not so much the Tom and Jerry thing that’s bothering me; it’s more that the hype around sex and violence is made such a big deal out of, that when you give a kid a Bob Dylan record nobody even raises an eyebrow. Kids can’t watch the same cartoons as us but they can and do listen to the same music and nobody questions it? What’s my problem with love songs, you ask? They’re deceiving, and have been for generations!
Love songs make you believe that the person you fall in love with will be able to express his love for you as romantically as Bob Dylan or the Counting Crows. And the disappointment on learning that not everyone is as lyrically in tune with the world of romance as these heartbroken conjurers of poetry are, is likely to cause much more damage to a kid than watching a cat and mouse beat the living daylights out of each other with pots and pans. At least the violence depicted in Tom and Jerry is real and not some cover up trick for the real thing.

Love is real, as is heartbreak… but these guys make it sound like it’s an amazing, beautiful feeling. It’s not! Having your heart broken and dealing with the emotions of falling in love are the most painful things you could ever experience. A physical wound will heal faster because you can see it and heal it. You could live with the pain of a broken heart forever and noone will see it, so noone will care and when they step on it, they won’t know because they can’t see it…but you’ll still feel it. And it’s not the kind of pain that’ll go away with a painkiller and there’s no heartbreak ward in the hospital that you can check into. You are in it alone and only you can get yourself out of it. And no matter how many times you listen to ‘Something’ by the Beatles or (if you have bad taste) ‘Total eclipse of the heart’ by Bonnie Tyler, the pain is not going to go away. But you’ll still listen to it on repeat... making yourself more miserable and falling deeper into the hole of self-pity.

People will warn you about sex, drugs and violence…but nobody prepares you for heartbreak. The only thing you can hope for is that it hits you so hard and so fast that it dulls you and your heart, forever. Should you be so lucky, you’ll have on that invisible cloak that all of us have been wishing for since we were kids. You’ll think you’ve conquered the world; that you’re indestructible. But in truth, they’ve taken your soul and rendered you dead. But it’s such a smooth, clean kill that there’s not a trace of evidence. No evidence means not guilty, so the love song gets off scot-free. In the meantime, while the heartbreak casualties increase, censorship boards continue to waste their time with sex and violence. I don’t get it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

House Warming Party

That was the invitation we made for inviting the 2/4 GR family to our house. All officers and their families. This event should have happened as soon as we settled down at our new home, but then, all of us have been in a spin with various commitments and finally today the stars have been aligned and Babi and I am all set to play host to 20+ guests at our home for dinner.
This is going to be the point in Babi's cooking tenure because she has cooked almost all of the hors d'Ĺ“uvres, main courses, bread and pudding by her self. It amazes me to see her doing all this in immaculate style. This mind you is the same Babi who just knew how to cook 2 minute noodles. Today she knows what should be the theme for a dinner night, what the spread should be, cutlery and crockery, flower arrangements, everything. She never fails to surprise me by her eye for detail. And today when I told her that she needn't put so much of effort and that we will outsource it, she said,"I know its a big thing for you and I would go to any extend to make sure it clicks!". What can you ask more from life after you have someone like this in your life as your spouse. Its in moments like these that I feel a lump in my throat and I can barely speak.
Shall update you all about how it goes tonight. Wish us, especially her, all the luck.