01 December, 2012

Older and more knowledgeable on meerkats

I saw ‘Life of Pi’ today…. And as always, the good lord was kind enough to put me next to a bunch of fresh-into-college people. Needless to say, the entire bunch kept talking, checking their cellphones, laughing for no apparent reason and the worst of all… when one of the bunch decides he wants to say something to another of the bunch who has decided to sit at the other end on the row - fastest way to communicate…SCREAM! And I just sat there thinking to myself,” Stupid bloody youngsters! No respect for anyone else. Not a quart of responsible blood in their veins and all they can do is behave like delinquents and be a nuisance to the public….”

WHOA! WHOA! WHOOOOOOOOAAAAA! What the *insert profanity* just happened there? Did I just think THAT? Oh my god, I’ve turned into a disgruntled responsible adult. Oh lord. When did this happen? I’ve not even had most of the required rights-of-passage to move on from teenager to young adult to responsible adult. And here I am going “this generation has no respect for anyone’. Yikes, when did I get old? Is it all these children calling me ‘uncle’ that has made my sub-conscience come to assume that I am old? And my thoughts are further going into the realm of ‘Youth will never understand the value of experience and experience has forgotten the impatience of youth’ and so on and so forth. I almost felt like I was Dumbledore given some fatherly old-man advice to Harry Potter.

Needless to say, the rest of the movie was spent with me trying to perform Occlumency to close my mind off to such thoughts.

Let’s now talk about the other annoying part of the theater experience. A couple among the rowdy bunch of irresponsible teens, was sitting next to me. Yes, the fellow who was trying to communicate with his friend at the other end of the row by screaming. He was sitting next to this girl who was clearly the subject of his attempts at courtship. How do I know? Well why else would one ask about what one had for breakfast? How they got to the theater? Whom do they stay with at home? What kind of movies they like? And so on. Yes, I was eavesdropping…. My life is THAT empty and boring.

Our friend here has seen the movie before; I know this because he’s already telling her about the story and and in a rather loud voice what was going to appear on the screen. Normally, the old grumpy cynic in me gets peeved and requests people to go silent, but it was more fun listening to Fresh-boy here.

Spoiler ALERT. (Don’t read if you’ve not seen the movie). Fresh boy decides to name the animals before they pop up on the screen. He predicts a butterfly will come now. Only that it wasn’t a butterfly, but a hummingbird. He then says that they will show a mother and baby pig. The ‘mother-pig’ was actually a hippo. Girl is sitting there going uh-huh…uh-huh to fresh boy’s evident lack of knowledge of the animal kingdom. Thank god he did not call the iguana a komodo dragon. But he did say that he saw the same in ‘Skyfall’. He even called the ‘Meerkats’ as ‘that one that came in Madagascar, they will start singing and dancing now’, to which the girl was ROFL-ing (stupid younger generation don’t laugh, they just go LOL, ROFL, ROFLMAO all the bloody time). Those ,dear Fresh boy are lemurs….L-E-M-U-R-S…these are Meerkats… M-E-E-R-K-A-T-S. Notice the subtle spelling difference?

But to the boy’s credit, he’s here in a movie, with a girl and hitting on her with his extensive knowledge of animals to which she’s giggling away, while ‘someone else’ came home and wrote a blog about it!!! I guess that’s what we older and wiser people do….. Besides eavesdropping on courting couples in the theater. Clearly my knowledge of the ‘difference between a lemur and a meerkat’ is not exactly of much value in the real world. Of course unless I took a zoologist out.

PS: I think yours truly is just jealous that extensive knowledge on rock bands coupled with minimal knowledge of playing guitar and near zero experience of being in a rock band is not creating the necessary buzz in required target markets while inadequate understanding of the animal kingdom seems to give one a fighting chance.

 Here's a little something to get you all started on your extensive journey of learning about the Meerkat.

22 November, 2012

3 hours i'll never get back...

Every time I go to a movie just because I have the hots for the heroine and I've more or less mapped out our lives together right from how we'd meet, how I muster up the guts to ask her out, one thing leads to another, mummies and daddies say yes, we get married, she continues to be a top actress and I become a really well recognized blues/grunge musician and so on; I end up hating the movie and swearing that I shall never ever let my love for a woman cloud my better judgment.

Needless to say, ‘jab tak hain jaan' was no different. As much as I have the hots for Anushka Sharma, (which is odd considering I don't normally like skinny creatures), this movie was one of the most painful things I had to endure. Those of you who have not seen the movie yet, please do NOT.

The plot of the movie clearly comes as an after-thought. It would seem as though the director just decided to shoot a whole bunch of scenes with Katrina dear running...just running around London, running through the field, running through the snow, running through the streets.... and yet, SRK is the idiot who manages to get hit by a car...Twice! After that he shot SRK, defusing bombs with the finesse that would make my neighborhood electrician proud. And last but not least, Anushka in those Ostrich legs prancing around all the cold places of the world acting all 21-st century independent woman. (Did not know modern women also had the ,”Machaan, hit it and leave it da. Who wants emotions? ” attitude about them. )

At the end, the editors tried to see what sort of common thread they could draw between the shot scenes, and hence we were subject to over 3 hours of the torture known as 'Jab tak hain jaan'. I heard that's what killed Kasab, he hung himself after watching the movie. (PS: No disrespect meant to families of victims - both terrorist attacks and the movie, please don't send police uncles to arrest me.)              

I won’t even comment as to how the SRK cannot even hold, let alone play chords after being a so-called established Bollywood hero for so long. I have renewed respect for Arjun Rampal who looked a more genuine guitar player in 'Rock On'. Also, how is it that all these homeless Indian people seem to be getting Gibson guitars and spend not an ounce of time caring for it? For the uninitiated, a Gibson guitar is one of the few things after food that makes me drool.

Ranbir from 'Rockstar' had the same thing going on. And even he did not bother to at least look like the notes he was holding matched the song. I know, I know...you must be thing why this unestablished two-bit rhythm guitar player is being so prissy? Well, it's the internet, I have an opinion and I'm going to share it. (PS: Rule applies only to matters that do not concern public interest because one had better agree lest they end up in jail with charges of sedition).

Then why didn't I leave the hall as each passing moment got unbearable? Sigh, what can I say. It's the blind obsession with the now anorexic Anushka Sharma. And clearly, this too ended like my many other real life interests in women. A lot of time and effort spent only to have me think 'What the f*** was I thinking...clearly I was not'. I look forward to the sequel ‘Jab tak hain after-life’…clearly jaan did not work out so well for most of us.

22 October, 2012

Uncle matt kaho na...

I'm sure a lot of you would remember the iconic 'Pooja Aunty' from the TV series 'Hum Paanch' which at one time featured the soon-to-be-ravishing Vidya Balan. Pooja Aunty was this character who would always detest being called aunty even though she was older than most of the people on the set. For the many non-Indian readers who come to this blog,(Google stats say I have people from South Africa, Greece, Israel,Italy and even Syria) aunty in India does not necessarily mean a blood relation or a god-parent type relation. Anyone way older than you, and on the wrong side of 22 is referred to as uncle or aunty (based on gender) by the younger crowd.

I was recently invited to lunch at my boss's house with the entire team. Never have I felt so out of place in terms of age. I seem to have found myself in that odd zone where you're not old enough to be 'old'(meaning 'married' and that side of 30 where you spend Sunday at home because you're tired) and not young enough to be 'young'(meaning you come to work on Monday with a hangover from Friday night's partying...maybe even the occasional hickey or tramp stamp which you can't account for.)

All my colleagues were present with their wives and children. The kids ran about frantically playing with stuffed toys...ah, the care-free tax-free life. I seemed to be the only out-of-place person with none of the responsibilities of my colleagues which included school-fees, child care, EMI for houses and cars. There I was with first world problems like 'Not enough gigs for the band' and 'Do I have a burger at McDonald's or the chicken from KFC' type concerns. Yet, when being introduced to the kids, yours truly is given the suffix of 'Uncle'.

Holy Crap...I'm Nikhilesh Uncle. It was bad enough I'm standing there resisting the urge to throw a tantrum and say 'Uncle matt kaho na', one of the guests even asked me why I did not bring my wife and children along? 'Chlidren'...plural... like seriously? Unfortunately, I had to just give a weak smile and inform the person concerned that I was not married. Why do people assume I am married? Is it because I don't care too much for the way I look in terms of the tummy and the rapidly greying hair, both which are beyond my control? Even at college, one of the girls asked me if I was not going home for Diwali to spend time with my wife.... and this was over 2 years ago. I'm sure she would have asked why I'm not home for the birth of my second child, had I gone in for the MBA this year. 'He must be married' is not a good reputation to have for a strapping eligible young George Clooney-esque lad like myself.

I guess this is a losing battle. I must accept the fact that irrespective of my marital status, I shall henceforth be referred to by all kids as 'uncle' or 'mama'. Sniff! Such a burden this young soul must carry. And despite the fact that everyone I know is getting hitched and making babies and do truly qualify for the 'Uncle' or 'Aunty' zone, I have no intention to rush into it all. And yet, the fact that I play in a band, drink like a fish and am almost as irresponsible as a teenager when it comes to money, still does not qualify me for the 'Bhaiya' zone. I seem to have been given some sort of honorary status with them 'married' folks in being called Uncle.

I'm sure no one calls Daniel Craig as uncle. Why? Just because he's James Bond, has six pack abs and goes around hooking up with ladies. HE"S FRICKIN 46....and I am being called Uncle. Why this Kolaveri? I just hope people wont call me 'Grandpa' after I actually do manage to get married and have a kid (not kids...no business of plural) of my own.

29 September, 2012

My First Naysayer

The band and I decided to take our marketing efforts up a notch over the last few weeks. We shot a few songs on a regular camera and put them up on YouTube for the world to watch and listen. I spent a good part of last week trying out some rudimentary blues guitar scales and putting up those videos. While I shall be the first to admit that they are not particularly great, but one has got to start somewhere.

I spammed the mailboxes of most of the friends I know with the video…well, marketing 101, and cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than the cost of existing friends. And I’ll be damned if I don’t put those marketing classes to real use. While the number of views on YouTube match the number of friends to whom I sent the video to (thank you all for at least clicking the link), one of the videos seemed to have found their way into the search results of this unknown-to-me guy who simply hated my work.

Keeping in line with the great tradition of ‘giving friendly (and free) advice although nobody asked you for it’, I have been told to practice more. And that I clearly have no clue on how to play the scale or pick a guitar, and until I learn to do so, I should NOT upload videos on YouTube. And apparently somewhere I claimed I am an expert.

Now the contents of the feedback are secondary. I am just so thrilled that there is one person in the world, whose mailbox I did not spam and whom I don’t know, who found my video and sat through it and took time out of his busy ‘YouTube trolling’ schedule to give me some free advice. Not only that, despite hating the first video, the guy went on to see a second video and was equally disappointed enough to leave a second comment. What’s more, he even hit the dislike button. That’s definitely a point in the bag for my marketing and social media skills. Maybe this will snowball into an epic ‘gangnam’ style rage.

The content of the comments are equally inspiring. This guy is giving me good feedback on what he believes is pathetic and that’s fair enough. I do need more practice, but that does not mean I am not going to stop putting up videos on YouTube. All artists go through the phase before they can mature and make good sounding videos. And it is really a big deal to have someone hate your work so much that they go through another video of yours to leave discouraging messages. Lucky for me, I’m not easily discouraged in such matters. Dear friend, I WILL NOT STOP PUTTING VIDEOS on YouTube. 

It would be prudent for me to draw inspiration from folks like Justin Bieber and Vennu Mallesh whose music and videos everyone hates (some claim it makes their ears bleed), but they still do their own thing. I see no reason I should wait until I sound like John Petrucci to upload videos. As long as it is free, I will not stop.  I’ll sign off on this post before I start sounding like an inspirational speech from Rocky. Allow me to quote the artist who would have beaten Rebecca Black had it not been for ‘Oppa gangnam style’ – It’s my life, whaaateva I wanna do it.

PS: This Vennu Mallesh guy not only has a video on YouTube with about 1,500,000 views, he has a Facebook page, and his song can be downloaded off iTunes. Also autographed copies of his picture are available off eBay. That’s inspiring.  


PPS: I thank Google.com for the images. Don't sue please, no money. Will have to make other type of videos and play guitar in public then. At least you can ignore me now.

14 September, 2012


I always stay away from diets…obviously; the first few letters of the word are D-I-E. But I seem to know a lot of people who seem to have no problem whatsoever going claiming to go on a diet. And it is sheer coincidence that they are all women. Just to set the record straight, this is not a sexist post, but then again guys rarely make a big deal out of going on a diet. We make a big deal of other unintelligent matters like ‘Will the Indian cricket team play with 2 spinners and 1 seamer or the other way around’.

I have friends who tell me they have become as large as a cow. And when I do meet them, they resemble nothing like a cow…or even a calf. And quite frankly, it is very condescending to call yourself fat in front of yours truly and weigh only half of what I weigh. And don’t give me the whole, “dude it’s a relative thing…” nonsense. Then why do you have shirts sizes like XS, S, M and L, and have hardly any XL and XXL sizes stocked up. (Shoppers Stop does not sell shirts larger than size 44.... I have not shopped there since 2010) There should probably be a category called ‘gravitationally challenged’ and the smallest size in that should be an XXL.

Coming back to the point, these very people who claim to be on a diet abuse the poor word and cheat on it far worse than Bill Clinton on Hilary. Take this friend for example who from the time I know her has been claiming to be fat and on a diet. This involves having watermelon and buttermilk 3-4 times a day. But that is only from Monday to Thursday. Weekends are reserved for biryani, pizza and all the other divine food in the world. And yet she wonders why she isn’t losing any weight. The same friend comes along to a Chinese restaurant and does not allow yours truly to order the cashew nut chicken because of the calories, but has no problem with chopsuey. Am I the only one who sees the pointlessness of this so called diet?

Take example of another acquaintance who claims to be on a sugar free diet, except on birthdays, festivals and weekends. Barring the ice cream, jalebi, gulab jamun and other sweetmeats on those days, it’s a no-no sugar day, which is probably one day in the week. And yet claims they are on a diet.

The word ‘diet’ among women has seems to have reached the same whore-like status as the word ‘strategy’ among MBA grads. While I don’t want to take away credit from the serious dieters who have been blessed with a far stronger will power than I, I just think a vast majority of women are being unfair to them by claiming to be on a diet as well. I once went on a diet….6 months of no sugar, no fried food, no alcohol, no non veg except chicken, and I did manage to lose about 15 kilos. And it was tough business. This was back in the day when I was a little stronger when it came to will power. And THAT was a diet, considering my staple diet was chicken steak, chocolate mousse cake and cold-mint ice cream….EVERY DAY!

A diet is like the role of a mother. There are no off-days, there are no breaks, and there are no weekends or festivals. It’s a 24 hour struggle against temptations like gulab jamun, long island ice tea, pani puri, pepper chicken steak and oh so much more. Anyway, all this talk about food has made me hungry for a chocolate brownie, maybe with some vanilla ice cream. (Somewhere a diet-faker just thought to herself,” ice cream….hmmm….the chubby one might be right, it is time for ice cream. Besides, it’s the weekend.”)

On an unrelated note, one of our lovely (read skinny and brain dead) Indian models, Vanya Mishra won a ‘Miss Multimedia’ award at the Miss World. Since when the devil are they giving pageant contestants awards for sitting on Facebook? Of all the categories that include Beach fashion, performing talent, sports & fitness, beauty with a purpose and more…. We won the title for someone who spends most of her time uploading videos on YouTube and liking people’s inane comments on Facebook. (We could have excused her if she were following this blog… correct no!?!?!?!?)

24 August, 2012

A New Apprehensive Beginning

This whole starting off with an excuse for having over a month’s gap between blogs is getting quite ridiculous. But then, I really have no other choice. Life the last few months has just been that way. So what’s the excuse this time around? Yours truly has moved on to a new company after ending a 5 year long relationship with his previous organization. It’s almost unheard of for someone in my generation, working in the IT sector, to have spent 5 years in one company. While that did involve a break of one year in between for the post-graduation, the last company was the only company I had ever worked for right from the time I graduated in 2006.

 So where have I moved on to? I’ve moved on to India’s second largest ‘provider of business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services’. With all the various policies we have, I’m scared to put down the name of the company, even though it has been the bellwether for the Indian IT sector whose employees are driven by intellect and are powered by values. While the company is definitely going to be an experience to work for, almost everyone I know has questioned my timing of the move. Most folks try to play it safe and join places that are not being bashed by the media, employees and share-holders for less than commendable quarterly performances. Somewhere in that head of mine, I figure that all these big companies deal with this at some point in time and it is nothing new that I should get overly worried about. The way I see it, if we do emerge from this so-called downward spiral, we all get taken care of fairly and people call it a bold yet risky move on my part. And if we don’t well, I get to learn a lot and still have a pretty respectable addition to my resume.

So how does it feel in the new place? Well, it’s very different from the old place. There are things about the place I really like, and things I am not comfortable with. It could just be that I have gotten used to a certain way of doing things from working at one place for 5 years. I only hope that I get used to the same here. The first few days were a world of difference. The sheer size of the campus and the number of people had me feeling a bit lost….. Kind of like when you travel by the Mumbai local for the very first time. The usual apprehensions of being a little fish in a huge ocean set in, but then that should go away with time.

 The first question a lot of friends asked me after the first day was regarding members of the opposite sex. Some even suggested I post one of those ‘Tam Bram boy seeking alliance with girl’ ads on the various forums available. Dear well-wishers, trying to find ‘The one’ in this place is like standing in the middle of CST in Mumbai and hoping some girl sees you and the whole ‘love at first sight’ nonsense happens. Maybe if it were in a Switzerland train station or something, that’s a different story….. I digress. Besides that, with all the sexual harassment policies in place, I’m afraid to even look at women here. I find a certain comfort in staring at my shoes and walking only to glance up occasionally to ensure I don’t walk into a pole. So that’s where it will remain. I still don’t get how people meet their significant others in a crowd of people like this. Luck… planetary alignment…. Love potions…. I don’t know.

I remember walking in with a lot of expectations purely based on what a lot of my friends who joined said company way back in 2006 had told me. I could not help but feel a little let down. And it’s no ones fault. I guess it has to do with this whole ‘growing up and maturity’ nonsense. I guess the expectations of a kid who gets his first job with this company vs.  a grown up with over half a decade of work experience differ greatly. One tends to not get overly impressed with features but tends to look for more deeper(read boring) things like the kind of customers, the time it takes for decisions to be made, exposure to higher management rather than the obvious (read truly exciting) stuff like subsidized beverages at the Coffee Day, girls decked up on a Friday, the tennis and basketball courts,etc. Whether those expectations will get met, only time will tell.

The apprehensions aside, I’m pretty pleased with the move. I know two people who for some unexplainable reason are overly happy. The parental unit is super proud and is going around telling people that their son is in the marketing team of *insert company name here*. I don’t think they’ve been so proud of me in a really really long time. Needless to say, they’re already telling me to buy a new car, make investments, and buy land and what not. Whoa parents whoa! Let’s calm down. While I am taking home a prettier sum than before, let’s look at the way the prices of everything is going up. Best not to get carried away, and buy a whole bunch of nonsense that I really don’t need, and really can’t afford.

And if they are expecting the marriage thing to kick in by the end of 2013, I’ve got to have some savings. Unlike a lot of my peers, my profile does not allow for these on-site visits where you make a ton of money and buy houses once back and start every sentence with, “from my time in the US….” Come to think of it, most of my peers must think I am pretty retarded to bother with a profile that does not allow one to go onsite. All that aside, the truth is my folks are middle class Indians with typical middle class dreams. Despite the fact that almost every second person you bump into has worked for said company, it is still a matter of pride for them. And I guess I owe them that much after a decade of disappointment.

Anyway, I hope you all will pray that I have a good time here and do well in my job. I hope to go back to writing more often about the things I see. I am sure a lot of interesting insights (sarcastic view of the world from being single and lonely for so long) will emerge as time goes by. I shall make a sincere attempt to not start the next blog with an apology.

09 July, 2012

And the hunt begins…

I knew turning 28 would bring about its own set of challenges, but I did not expect it to come so soon. If you've not guessed it already, the challenges I refer to are the challenges with regard to marriage proposals coming my way and me ensuring I do not get desperate enough to say yes without thinking it through. While some of you might think it is not fully up to me, I do have the parental unit acting as a firewall and are barring all requests that come my way, for now. While my mother figures that I’m still fairly immature to be given the responsibilities of another human being, my father is just worried that I might come to him asking for money to set up a house and what not considering current wage situation.

However, the firewall cannot be present at all times. Take the recent wedding of my cousin (the first one in our line, thanks to which we will all start to fall like dominos), the aunts (blood-related and otherwise) were jumping out of dark corners and ambushing me with proposals. All refusals were met with the standard Tamil equivalent of ‘Beta, mil toh lo…’ Clearly, all these match-makers were coming without either the knowledge or the permission of the brides to be. Let’s face it, I’m an acquired taste and I don’t think women would go for a fluffy marketing manager in an IT company on their own. And I’m sure if word got out regarding my non-veg eating, scotch drinking, tattoo obsessed, rock music, anti-curd rice self, I don’t see very many of the aunties approaching me.

Even then, nothing seems to stop these people with proposals. The quality of the proposals received so far wasn’t particularly grand. Most seem to be very very young with almost a 6-7 year difference in age. “She’s just finished engineering…. Meet her at least”. Imagine that, me marrying a 22 year old something who has no clue of the world or any idea of the concept of ‘maturity’. I know I am being unfair to judge without having met the girl, but since that isn’t going to happen and she’s probably not going to read this blog, let me say that I know what it is like to be 22 and fresh out of college. While all men desire younger women, I’d rather marry someone more my age and with more maturity.

If it’s not proposals, the aunts were busy on some sort of fact finding mission. One of mum’s childhood friends smartly ambushed me at lunch and asked ‘ Sooooo beta, what are your qualifications?’,’ So where do you work and what is your designation?’,’ How do you go to work? Ooooh….you have your own car?’,’ Do you have a house of your own?’,’ Are you looking to go abroad any time soon?’….and so on.  These feel exactly like those telephonic interviews from the HR departments of companies where they ask all the questions and finally either don’t come back to you with a call for the next round of interviews or they deem you as ‘ not a strategic fit with their organization’.  And imagine, all this is just my side of the story. Assuming I say yes, there is that whole nervous period where one goes through of having the girl to agree to the marriage as well. And patience is not exactly a virtue I have.

I say yes to a meeting, matchmaker sets up a meeting; girl puts on charade of nice south Indian tam bahu and serves coffee and vada, parents ask us to go to the balcony and talk. I being nervous would probably say something very unpleasant to the occasion or ask something stupid like, “what are your hobbies?” Girl gives general cold response because she does not want to get married. I profusely keep on sweating while thinking and re-thinking everything I say. Girl happens to mention she likes music and I go off on an infinite rant about Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Metallica and the others. Girl was referring to Carnatic music and wonders what the hell I smoked before coming to meet her. Parents call us in. Girl’s parents say they’ll get in touch. Girl calls up friends to tell about chubby boy who came with mummy-daddy and spoke of some person called Pink Floyd. Girlfriends have a good laugh at my expense while I’m nervously waiting for the verdict and resort to listening to more Pink Floyd at higher decibels. Girl says no because I clearly have no high financial ambitions and speak of going around the world and playing with a band, also I am chubby. Girls parents skirt the real reason by stating that girl wants to marry green card holder or something. I spend a day or two listening to Pink Floyd songs like ‘Sorrow’ and ‘Comfortably Numb’. After coming to terms with it, I listen to more Pink Floyd songs like ‘Coming Back to Life’ and ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’. Life goes one until next proposal. Cycle repeats.

Well, I’m pretty certain a lot of what I mentioned above will happen. So I don’t want to put myself through that ordeal unless I am really sure that I want to. I’m not overly annoyed at having to say no, but let’s say that one of the proposals caught my fancy. And apparently those who have seen the girl say she’s really pretty, and is one of twins (yes boys….you read right….twins) and is a practicing physiotherapist also. You know what that means…..Free massages! (And a broken neck in case I tick her off). We did however say that yours truly is not looking at marriage at the moment. (PS: I somehow see myself kicking myself in the rear for saying no to this, some time in the future) All said and done, the next few months are going to be very interesting. My only prayer is that 28 years of being single shouldn’t get to me and I do something dire like say ‘yes’ to whatever prospect comes along without understanding if both of us can have a future together, as a couple and as individual people too.

PS: This seems to be an optimistic far cry from the last post of how I am going to die single. I guess the recent pilgrimages have had some sort of adverse effect on my fortunes. I prayed for the band to do well…. Don’t know what the fellow above heard.

21 June, 2012

Spock was not there in Star Wars....erm..so what?

Before I proceed with ranting about random issues….erm…I mean problems in my life, just requesting all my readers and followers to find time in their daily prayers for the quick recovery of a dear friend who met with an accident last week. Hope to see him back on his feet (literally) in the next few months.

Now back to me, a week prior to my birthday I had a panic attack of sorts. The panic attack was caused by the sudden realization that I might actually die alone. Hear me out…hear me out… I know we all die alone, but I meant ‘die alone’ in a ‘die ALONE’ sort of way.  This epiphany dawned during a conversation I was having with some people on Facebook after a friend posted the full trailer to ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ movie. The conversation went somewhat like this:

Friend: Oh hell yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! This is going to be one hell of a movie!
NM: Nice.... "Meri" Jane Watson.... I call dibbs!
Friend:  That isn’t Mary Jane ;) she's Gwen Stacy
NM: Whoa! Thanks for letting me know.... that's odd! Spiderman without MJW is like Batman without Alfred... even in the comics, Gwen had a 'first love' role before MJW....kind of like what Lana Lang had in the Superman series before Lois was introduced....anyway, I still call Dibbs! Emma Stone... I
Friend: You can say like Batman’s first love was Rachel and then comes Saline Kyle :-)
NM: Batman has too many love interests...there's Vicky Vale, Talia Al ghul (with whom he has a son - Damian Wayne...who is one of the many Robins)....and Julie Madison (considered to be Wayne's first love interest....played by the lovely Elle Macpherson in the very painful movie "Batman and Robin”)

It was at this point it dawned on me that I am so far down the geek-rabbit-hole that I don’t see any point of return. I retraced my steps and realized that I know way too much about comic book heroes and I always get so excited and animated when I talk about them that I more or less zone out. And this demon has cropped up one too many times into conversations with the opposite sex. No wonder I’m never taken seriously. I know more about Bruce Wayne’s love interests than my own. (PS: Subtle hint that FB status is ‘single’ *wink wink*)

 Which woman would want to be with a guy who would admonish her for confusing the ‘Tesseract’ (from the Avengers) with the ‘All-spark’ (from the Transformers)?  I can’t even visualize how berserk I would go if a girl I took to see a super-hero movie said something like,” Why can’t Hulk and Superman fight evil together? It would be cool no?” My hypothetical reply,” Sure…why don’t we try and disprove Heisenberg by saying where the electron around the atom is, and at what speed it is going at, AT THE SAME TIME? “

I am going to surely die alone. The only two ways out of this problem are that either we find a dame who is equally enthusiastic (retarded) about such geeky stuff as I, so that we can have long romantic conversations into the night about ‘who is more annoying in the Star Wars Universe - Jar Jar Binks or General Grievous?’ or a rainy Sunday afternoon, sipping hot chocolate, looking into each others eyes, discussing ‘Which Robin is better - Dick Grayson or Tim Drake?’ (We all know that Robin is weak even otherwise, and that the girl even wanting to discuss this forms grounds for breaking up…. just saying).

The other way out of this problem is to find me a ‘Penny’. (Anyone else just thought the title of this blog should be ‘Penny for your thoughts’?) I have discussed this option with some friends and we all agree that we need to find a Penny like girl, move her into the apartment opposite to mine, ensure her shower does not work, and then see sparks fly. Now, I know most of you would think I am being shallow and the only reason I am saying Penny is because she is….in the words of men….. Smoking like a Tandoori chicken! (Ok, the tandoori chicken bit was just me) But no…what do you think I am?

 Sheesh….inner beauty people, inner beauty. Penny is able to love and tolerate a comic, sci-fi, gaming loving fellow like Leonard and even quote Yoda after ‘you-know-what’. Have any of you had anyone quote Yoda after ‘you-know-what’? And she knows the difference between ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’. Behind all the temper, and golden locks, she’s a nice person and really cares about her friends…although that might some times come off as insensitive. I should probably stop here because I just started drooling on my keyboard. Quoting what is written on Wikipedia - has great social skills and is very knowledgeable about pop culture….She is also messy and disorganized, but appears to like it that way….While usually very kind, Penny has a bad temper which has erupted on many occasions…Sheldon compares outbursts to The Hulk.. Chinese character tattooed on her right buttock…..claimed to be vegetarian, with the exception of fish and the "occasional steak...I love steak!"….. Surprisingly good the first time she played Halo 3…. quoted, "Do, or do not. There is no try" while in bed with Leonard, and even mentioned she knew it was from The Empire Strikes Back…..

So that’s my theory, we need to find me a Penny. None of the women I know or have met in my limited life time will tolerate such nonsensical dedication to comic books. Also note, there is the demon of music that can go into debates about ‘Was Pink Floyd better after Syd Barrett or not?’ or ‘Was Dave Mustaine’s exit from Metallica instrumental in making Metallica what they are? Or would they have just ended up sounding like Megadeth?’ Keeping all these demons in mind, I fear for the parental unit who some time next year will be taking their dear son to the ‘marriage market’ with the slim hope that some woman out there would accept their whack job of an offspring.

PS: To the one friend who told me that I have a year’s time to change, I say, “Dei….if I change who I am, then what is left of me? Next she’ll be asking me to give up non veg also….not happening boss. Music, non-veg, OH-molecules, comics, Manchester United and Star Wars stay…period”

Until we figure out a permanent solution to this problem, check out this video of Batman (yes...ironic) on his night out. 

12 June, 2012


So I turned 28 on Sunday, many thanks to everyone who remembered and wished me despite me not setting up a reminder on Facebook. I am kind of disappointed I’m not part of the ‘curse of 27’ dead musicians club, but then again I’m not a musician either. Also, I’m not pulling a Cobain, I love myself too much. And therein lays the problem.

Sooooo…..28, that means I’m one step closer to the ‘M’ word… nope, not ‘marriage’ (yeah, I know most of you thought that)… I am referring to ‘maturity’. ‘28’ is apparently the age where you are no longer forgiven for ‘the mistakes of youth’. Most people my age have more or less figured out what they want to do in life and who they want to be with. I know many who have kids big enough to start saying the F word, and not stop saying it over and over again if they hear you say it. (No, that did not happen, but I have this bad feeling I’m going to be the propagator of some new vocabulary to some of my friend’s kids). While I look upon my friends who are so sure of their careers and lives, I can’t help but feel I’m a fairly different from everyone else. And I don’t know if it is a good different like an Ernest Hemingway or a bad different like a Hannibal Lector.

Society deems marriage (followed by children) as signs of maturity. Yours truly does not fall into that category. Well, who else gets a tattoo on their birthday after deciding on the design at 8 in the morning over coffee. So much for ‘maturity’. While most people my age are busy working their butts off making money and dying to go onsite to make even more money, I’m more worried about the set list for the show my band has on the 24th of June (subtle marketing….tick) and finding a jam room for the ‘other’ band (subtle marketing part 2….tick)

So is it wrong for me to be this way? And it isn’t like the parental unit has tons of money which affords me the luxury of not caring about where my next paycheck comes from. So where is the wiring in my head all wrong? Shouldn’t I be clamoring a trip onsite to make money, shouldn’t I already be scouting for the will-settle-for-you-to-be ‘the one’? Shouldn’t I be incurring loans for a new house, new car? None of that seems to figure in my head. Going by general consensus, it’s all going horribly wrong for me….but I don’t seem to really care.

While one is looking for a relationship with a member of the fairer (and lovelier) sex (subtle hints….tick), one is not killing oneself over it. One is just happy to be 28 and still be able to pursue his silly dreams of being a part of a popular rock band and hopefully quit his day job because the band pays enough for what he needs. To be honest, if someone were to give me the following choices –

a)    A career where you play with a band and make enough money to ensure 3 meals a day, all basic amenities, a house and tons of friend with whom you can talk music. No fancy car or holidays in exotic locations like Mexico or Argentina.
b)    A career where you work for a big company, slave all day long, marry a nice girl (maybe the one of your dreams), drive a Mercedes Benz, live in a house in one of those ‘Palm Meadows’ type places, travel the world but never play music

…..I’ll probably choose the first one. There is this huge part of me that wants to just be on stage playing guitar and singing for people every day. Writing songs that people go to when they are happy, or sad. But then, one does understand that life rarely gives it to you that easy. And I need the monthly pay check to keep things moving along. I understand that my parents are not getting any younger and as their only son, I need to start saving up to support them and myself financially in the next few years. And I guess for 28, that’s enough maturity I need.

So on that note, thanks to everyone once again who made my Sunday awesome…especially my new tattoo guy who played Metallica, Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden while I got inked. We should put him in one of those ‘Bengaluru ink’ TV shows. For those of you who missed it, it is fine I know we’re still friends….but do note the same for next year…10 June…mark in big bold letters. My thanks to my awesome parents who allow me to get tattoos (and once even paid for one) and are not badgering me to get married just because I am 28. A special thanks to my mum from whom I get all my musical (lack of) genius. My thanks to cousins, who patiently waited at home for me, with a cake while I went and got drunk on Ultimate Long Island Ice Tea and Jack Daniels. It was a fun day overall.

Birthdays are a time hopes and aspirations for the year ahead. Here’s wishing the bands (yes…plural) go places, the new job goes awesome, and it won’t hurt if fate ( or any of my friends) is/are kind enough to at least introduce me to ‘the one’ this year. BTW, next blog topic will be about how I think ‘Penny’ from Big Bang Theory is ‘the one’. 

PS: A friend told me that I am getting way too cynical for my age and that at 28, it is high time to get married. Dear friend, do you expect me to become less cynical just because I’m married? And you call yourself a ‘Business Analyst with a leading IT firm’.

PPS: Below is the picture of my new tattoo….it’s my 5th. It’s a ‘Nautical Star’. It was used by sailors to find their way home. Hence, symbolizes direction….. So here’s hoping I always find the right direction wherever it is I happen to be going….. And I don’t mean that in an ‘I need to find the route to 18th cross Malleswaram’ sort of way.

03 June, 2012

You don’t have “issues”…you have “problems”!

What better way to come back to regular writing than an awesome Grammar Nazi blog. Let’s get right to it. Let’s set the scene for any of the readers who don’t work, or have never worked in the ‘IT Services’ sector. A typical day, you’re sitting there, minding your own business while staring at lines of code that represent the configuration of a server somewhere in the world. Your overly enthusiastic colleague is doing something similar. It turns out that some ‘business biggie’ somewhere isn't receiving emails on his blackberry (oooh….aaah….for he’s a blackberry boy). The colleague isn’t able to figure out what’s wrong. They turn to you and say, “The customer has an issue. He’s unable to receive emails on his blackberry.”

You, being the smug Grammar Nazi turn to colleague with a bewildered expression and say,” What’s the fella got against emails or blackberry? Is it a religious thing? We’re not here to fan the fires of some person’s personal beliefs. Maybe he should talk to the local padre.” Colleague continues to stare at you as though you just spoke to them in German (Nazi…German….get it?) and says, “Dude, the customer has an issue. He is not receiving emails on his blackberry.” Sarcasm fails you the second time. That is when you realize that years and years of bad English education, which includes the very first Indian in the IT Services sector confusing the words ‘problem’ and ‘issue’, has resulted in a generation of people who don’t get my sarcasm. Tsk…tsk…. What am I to do?

Still don’t get it? Alright. Here goes. (Clears throat). According to the English language, the one and only English language (American English is NOT English….and ‘I am an Indian daaaa’ is also not an acceptable excuse for talking like an idiot if you do it with an American accent), the words ‘issue’ and ‘problem’ hold two very distinct meanings.

Let’s take some real world examples; ‘rash-driving’ on the streets is a problem. How can it be solved? By ensuring that people are of the appropriate age to drive, and once they reach that age, impose several punishments for rash driving. That is a problem. However, is 18 the right age to be allowed to drive, or is 21 the right age to be allowed to drive? Now that is an issue. There is no right or wrong. Some people feel that if someone is 18 years of age, they possess the adequate civil sense to drive responsibly, while others feel 21 would be a more apt age to hand someone a driving license. While both remain equally valid points of view, by consensus we choose 18 to be the legal age to drive a motor vehicle. But we all agree that anyone driving in a rash manner should be punished. We have a solution to the problem, although not a permanent one.

Hence, going by the example,

Problem – An unpleasant situation to which corrective action that can be taken hence is mitigating the unpleasant situation. The solution is not open to debate. There may be more than one way to solve a problem, some better than others, but it is still solvable.

Issue – An unpleasant situation to which there is no one solution and the topic at hand is open to debate. Issues normally arise from different points of view about something, with both views having their own pros and cons. There may be corrective measures to help solve the same, but those measures are generally temporary and are open to debate.

So if the darn customer can’t receive an email on his blackberry, that’s a problem. It is not open to debate. Some software or hardware is not working properly and needs to be fixed. And it can be fixed. That makes this a problem. We are not going to debate if that person should be allowed to read email on his blackberry or not? There is no issue. Should people read email in general? Should Blackberry be a proper device upon which to read email? These are topics we could discuss over a long coffee.

I remember the first time when we were told that we would be solving customer issues, I thought I’d spend hours of time on the phone consoling people like I were some sort of a Shrink. Then I figured they meant problems. On one such occasion, one of the fellow engineers told a customer in the UK to call him if he had any issues. The customer politely told him that his personal issues were his own and that the engineer should just ensure that IT infrastructure was up and running. The engineer thanked the customer and cut the call blissfully unaware of what just happened. Yours truly on the other hand was laughing his head off….. And no wonder they think I’m a little off my rocker.

What annoys me is that this is a ‘problem’ and it can be solved. The ‘issue’ lies in telling someone that 12 odd years of schooling was wrong and they’ve got to learn to say the right thing. The worst part of all this ‘issue-problem’ business is that even graduates from premier business schools joining the IT services sector make the same mistake. And these are chaps who aced the ‘English-knowledge’ section in their entrance exams.

My fellow engineers, we are here to solve problems like ‘Internet not working’, ‘email not accessible’. We are not here to help customers with questions like ‘Are gay-marriages alright?’, ‘should I hand my 12 year old his first bottle of scotch?’…the latter are issues. Our awesome degrees do not permit us to be judges on the same. So for heaven’s sake, please stop saying that ‘The customers have issues and we solve them’. We’re the ones who have issues with such deplorable English.

PS: The author of this blog is not sitting on a high horse nor has he had any personal relationship with either Wren or Martin. He’s just a concerned fellow Indian who feels that it is his place to help correct such basic problems. If you have an issue with him, please do not write to him for he shall blog about it.

PPS: I know some of you will now hunt for grammatical errors in my post and then ask me not to correct people's English when my English isn't that great.....to you I say "Whatevaaaaaaaaaaaaa"!

31 May, 2012

Like Arnold says...

Ola, blog readers....I hope you've not abandoned me for not posting anything in ages. My apologies on the same. Life has been busy, really really busy. So many things to write about and share with you guys. Stuff about retarded air-hostesses to how marriage is supposed to solve my 'cynical' problem and what not. I've just not had the time to write anything down. I'll be back this weekend with 4 posts at least. God promise....

Take care till then, hope you guys enjoyed the last few posts. Oh, in case you're wondering who Arnold is, I am referring to Schwarzenegger in his ever so eloquent role with hard hitting dialogues that moved one to tears, as the Terminator..... I'll be back.

05 May, 2012

Erm…the colour is mauve!

Here is another entry to be recorded for the day when I finally become a matter of much discussion among the psychotherapist community. I am sure it will unlock some of the secrets of the ‘Magnificent mind of Mr.Murthy’ (the title for autobiography motion picture I will make one day). Friday casual dressing is a fairly sought after affair in the IT circles. It is the day all the women get to dress up in all the fancy (sometimes expensive) clothes they’ve bought the previous weekend and the guys…well we just turn into the big bad wolf from Little Red Riding Hood…”all the better to see you with my dear” …you get what I’m saying.

I was hanging out with some of the office colleagues when one of the girls in the group came wearing a top to which one of the other girls commented, “Tumhara yeh purple colour top kabhi nahin dekha. Is it new?” Forgetting that I was in a public forum and I am required to keep my trap shut, I very nonchalantly said out loud, “The top is not purple, it’s mauve”.

Too late…too late… my alter ego did a face palm. My colleagues were quick to comment that on more than one occasion, I’ve abandoned my macho side and gone about referring to colours in the correct fashion. While I vehemently kept denying this for the fear of them either thinking that I have a girlfriend because no normal guy would not know that otherwise or that I’m a little lah-dee-da and hiding in the closet, the group were quick to point out examples where I have corrected people by saying things like, “The Ferrari colour is not red..it’s scarlet” or “ That’s not brown leather interiors…it’s beige” and have gone on to use refer to colours such as lavender, turquoise, parrot green, moss green, crimson, cyan and fuchsia.

Now every reader of this article will go, “OMG, that’s way too many colours for a straight man to know”. What’s worse is that I unconsciously correct women who get annoyed and think I’m being a smart Alec. Way back in school, my parents sent me for one of those art summer camps because I used to enjoy drawing and painting where one was taught to appreciate colours for what they are and refer to them appropriately. While most of the boys went to karate, hockey and cricket camps, being tubby was at my disadvantage, so it was the arts camps for me. Also, I got tired of being picked last or being made the goalkeeper.

While this camp was over 15 years ago, and I’ve taken my artistic sense to music and away from drawing, a part of it still remains. And it’s the annoying part that tends to make people raise their eyebrows every now and then. So the next time you see me say stuff like, ‘That car was a lovely electric blue’…please please do not say things like, “For a straight guy you know too many colours”.

Speaking on the matter of me drawing, here’s a little joke. One of the girls from school wrote in my slam-book (remember those?) “You are a good drawer…” I’m still confused if she’s calling me a piece of furniture or some sort of underwear.

18 April, 2012

It wasn't me who started it...it was a because of a girl!

I know…I know…it’s been many weeks since the last blog post. Year ending, year starting, all that corporate stuff. There has been much ‘getting on top and going deeper’ sort of discussions going on. Besides that, I’ve been having friends and relatives over and not finding much time to write. My apologies, this is exactly the kind of thing my boss tells me to avoid. “Think of what is urgent and what is important”….and I don’t quite remember the rest. Anyway, I’ve been moved into a new role at work where I am now the marketing in-charge for India. (Kindly clap) Part of me wants to jump for joy, and the other part (the fun one that dreams to be a full time paid guitar-song-writer-blogger type person) just wants to breakdown and cry.

I had a close friend who stayed with us for a bit before he shipped out to another country to make his fortune there. One of the evenings, all of us went out to dinner. During the course of the conversation my friend asks if I was truly a bully in school that I claimed to be. I know…I know….you’re going, “Nikhilesh, a bully???!?!?!?! What the ….. No chance!!! Such a benevolent soul….looks like a ferocious grizzly bear, but is actually warm and fuzzy like a panda “…… yes folks, I carry a dark passenger, one that was violent and would bully everyone. This was not limited to younger kids or classmates, but even students in the higher classes for which I have sufficiently been beaten up, but won most fights thanks to size.

I had forgotten this, but it turns out that the bully I am is all thanks to my parents and this one girl. (Everyone reads the word ‘girl’…reads it again…and now reads more intently). Here’s the story…it will come in handy when they make a life time documentary about me…like ‘Hannibal Rising’. When I was a child, until the age of around 6-7, whenever it came to someone picking on me, or even beating me up, I would never react. Not because I am Gandhian or anything, but mostly out of fear that if I were to beat up the other guy, and something were to happen to him, my parents would give me the sound thrashing of my life. These are the same fears that I share with my other life idol Dr. Bruce Banner….aka the hulk.

One day, at school, in class 3, one of the senior girls had invited me for her birthday party. For whatever reason, I was unable to go. The next day, this girl caught me at school, pushed me to the ground, sat on top of me and began whacking me. (Don’t get any kinky ideas….it’s class 3) And I being the gentle soul that I am took the beating. The girl even had the audacity to ask me where her birthday gift was. Being a sucker when it came to women (that was back then) I got her the gift next day. All would have been fine. The violence could have ended there, but then I had to ask, “Now that I got you your birthday present, where’s the return gift?”

Clearly, I didn’t know much about women about 18 years ago, matters have not changed since. I was subject to another sitting on top and being given a sound beating. When the school reported this home, my folks asked me why I never defended myself. My reasons were simple - ’the fear of being admonished at home’. Now this is the inflection point…. My parents told me that if anyone were to hit me, I had every right to hit them back, but never to throw the first punch.

My poor parents, they had no clue what they created. Armed with what can only be described as 007’s license to kill, I managed to talk me way into a fight and leave with a fair number of scars inflicted on others. I once even broke a guy’s hand because he was messing with me. The bullying continued until college. It became way too easy after that. It has been a while since I’ve gotten into a fist fight, but I know, somewhere inside, the dark passenger waits for the moment to show himself.

My friend who asked the question didn’t know what to say, so he conveniently started laughing at the fact that I got beat-up by a girl. Well, he’s getting married….hahaha!

Anyway, the point is that it was a girl that made me this violent, angry, sarcastic person. And for some reason, that’s so cool. It’s almost like Randhir Kapoor in ‘Rockstar’. I’ve now got my own personal woman related trauma that changed my life. I can now write dark songs about it and what not. Killer lyrics like “You sat on me and bet me up…you made me the beast I am”….ok, ignore those lyrics, I can write something much better (and something that sounds less vulgar), but then isn’t it cool? Come to think of it, if we had Facebook back then and if I had stayed in touch with that girl, who knows where it could have gone? Maybe she secretly liked me or something….kuch bhi ho sakta tha! Behind every successful man is a woman, and behind every violent man, there is a girl who beat him up in school!

PS: Any HR reading this for reference, or background checks, I have been clean and non-violent for over 10 years now. I choose sarcasm, blogging and tweeting to get back at people now. You can try to deal with that by blocking social media websites at the work place, but I have a phone with 3G. 

PPS: I am excellent at bringing comedy to corporate brochures and other marketing collateral, no matter how pedestrian your product or services....please note that in the relevant forms.

25 March, 2012

It is ‘Rock’…live with it!

I was recently criticized for not having a wide listening range of music by someone whose idea of Rock music or Heavy Metal probably starts and stops with what they heard on ‘Rock On!!’ which was a movie I did enjoy. The conversation moved on to them telling me that people like music with some rhythm and not the stuff that Metallica plays. What?!?!? Excuse me….did you ‘human’ brought up on Bollywood music just tell me that Metallica has no rhythm? Do you also believe that ‘Rockstar’ was about an actual rock star or just a brat with a temper with a lot of access to Gibson guitars? Can you try repeating that to the 30,000 fans in Gurgaon who never got to see the band and went on riot? Or try saying that to the 40,000 odd fans in Bangalore who came from all over India.

Rhythm is where one finds it. People tend to listen to one song and generalize an entire band. And which band did they choose to marginalize as non-rhythmic? Metallica…. So clearly ‘Fade to Black’ was just some meaningless drivel that got me through not killing myself during engineering. ‘Unforgiven’ is obviously something written on a cocktail napkin that appeals only to every person who feels belittled trying to meet society’s burgeoning expectations. ‘Master of Puppets’ has nothing to do with addiction to drugs. ‘One’ is definitely not an analogy to how at the end of a struggle that nearly kills you, you’re left with nothing. I could go on and on about this “non-rhythmic” music that clearly no one except retards like me listen to.

To readers, and non-readers, musically inclined and otherwise….music is not defined by rhythm alone. Each and every one of you was calmed down as babies by the beat of your mum or dad’s heart when they held you close. That was your first exposure to rock music and the beauty of bass. And you have the nerve to listen to the sounds made by the likes of Manu Aalik(name changed for legal reasons) and tell me that Metallica are not a rhythmic band? Next you’re going to tell me that Eric Clapton’s blues guitar skills are meaningless, but Jatin-Lalit’s starting intro to ‘Koi mil gaya’ from ‘Kuch Kuch Hota hain’ is divine. And you have the nerve to tell me that I don’t listen to good music.

I almost feel pity for you lot with closed minds. You, who have become happy listening to one type of commercial retrograde music and believing every other form of music around you, is irrelevant or silly. It’s not the music my friend, it is you and only you. This is merely a reflection of the closed mindedness you are handicapped with. I did not enjoy Metallica the first time I heard them as a band. I was more in love with Iron Maiden.(Another “non-rhythmic” band….che, only galloping riff they keep playing) But now, as the years have gone by and I’ve opened my mind to jazz, blues, Carnatic, rap, trance and so many other forms of music…. and I worship ‘Metallica’ more than God himself.

You will never know what rock or metal is all about. And yet it is all around you. Whenever someone is looking to have a good time, what do they say? They say ‘Let’s Rock’or ‘Let’s having a rocking time’, …..ever hear anyone say ‘Let’s Pop’…or ‘Let’s ‘Bollywood film music’. Do you know why? It’s because ‘Rock’ music and forms like ‘Grunge’ and ‘Metal’ that have grown from that, are synonymous with energy and a good time. But you go on dear closed minded friend. Go listen to your Bollywood music and feel happy about it. I don’t blame you. You’ve not been as fortunate as me to be associated with people who know so much more about music in general. People like my mum who introduced me to music as a child to  carnatic music, to my dad who had only Boney.M or Abba tapes and played them, to the first friend who gave me his 'Number of the Beast' Iron Maiden tape, to the other friend who played 'Master of Puppets' which I frowned upon and then played 'Enter Sandman' which is my favourite Metallica song, to the teacher who opened my guitar to Beatles and Deep Purple, to my other teacher who showed me glory of Blues guitar, to my former band mates who introduced me to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.....let's admit it. I've got some awesome people in my life.

But all these people would have been irrelevant if I had kept a closed mind and stuck to listening only to Boney.M. And the same goes for so many art forms. The worst thing one can do is to dismiss art without understanding art. I don't understand dance, I don't get it. But yet there is something so beautiful in bharatnatyam and something so sensual in Salsa and something so alive in Jive. But I don't know any of these forms....and yet I don't catch it, label it and put it into the cold storage.

We rock and heavy metal fans do not have to explain our music to you. Either you get it or you don’t. We don’t have to explain why we wear black t-shirts to you. We don’t have to explain devil’s horns to you. A reporter once asked Louis Armstrong, "What is jazz?” He replied " If you gotta ask, you'll never know."....replace jazz with Rock or Heavy Metal....it's still the same story when people were figuring out jazz. If you've got to ask, you'll never know.

BTW, just check out the number of people who had come to listen to the "non-rhythmic" band known as Metallica.

(Picture: Courtesy www.metallica.com)

05 March, 2012

Boundaries Gentlemen….Boundaries

How far is one allowed to stretch their friendship at the office? More times than not, we forget the thin and almost blurred line that separates college buddy and office colleague. I’m not sure if this is only relevant to the IT industry, so rather than generalize and have many IT-fan boys tell me that ‘casual is the new professional’, I had better come to the point.

Early afternoon two weeks ago, I was invited to present some whachamaycallit to a firang (white-skinned former master). I was invited by one of my colleagues,  with whom I share a decent rapport with and I have worked with him on numerous occasions since I joined my current company. I was walking to the room where everyone was gathered to present when this colleague and a firang (whom I assume is the kasht-amar) step out. I stretch out my hand to greet this person whom I know.

With me so far? Good…. Instead of returning my handshake, this colleague goes on to step right next to me and start patting my tummy.

Excuse me ? Hello? Why this kolaveri? That too in front of foreign uncleji?

I’m way too shocked and stare at this fellow while he continues to pat my tummy in a manner that you rub a dog’s belly. He just does not stop. He goes on to ask me in tamil how I’ve been. In my moment of terrible discomfort and social awkwardness, I decide to introduce myself to the firang.

Phew, the patting stops. Dear Mr.Firang kasht-amar decides to be cheeky and respond by saying, “you guys seem like good friends.” Oh my lord….what has happened? So much for him adding me on Linkedin and me being able to send my resume build connects to improve company-customer relations.

I am not a good luck charm whose belly you rub to get good luck. I’m not a dog that becomes more affectionate with a belly rub. Also, I’m not a teletubby. This is inappropriate behavior not only for the office, but is inappropriate behavior for any place. And just because I’m larger than average people and my tummy sort of enters a room before I do, does not… DOES FRIKKIN NOT give anyone the right to pat it. I’m not a college chum…or chum of any sort. No public display of affection please. A hug is alright…tummy patting or any other form of touching is not.

15 February, 2012

"Bah! Humbug....It's Valentine's day"

Valentine’s Day post… I’m Mr. Predictable. Anyway, I’ve got the remaining 364 days of the year to whine about being single, so I thought I’d put some thoughts on V-day out there. I was fairly alright with spending yet another V-day being single until I saw this girl in the auto next to my car holding this bouquet in one hand and a really big box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in the other hand. She had this beaming smile about her, very similar to the one I get when I enter a guitar store. And that’s when it got annoying for me and I had to write something.

I understand that V-day is supposed to be that one day in the year where you can be as cheesy as you can be while professing your undying love for your significant other and no one will say anything. On the contrary, the “Awwwwwwww” meter would be going all over the place. Some argue that undying love or temporary love until you move on should be expressed every day of the year. While that’s the ideal situation, I don’t think life works that way. You need to probably have someone called Hallmark hold a gun to your head and scream in your ear, “Tell her how much you love her/him”.

 So all the mush and justification aside, I’ve always figured, from the many movies I’ve seen, romance and love are supposed to be a private affair between two people. It’s probably not about the grand gestures of candle light dinner, French wine, billboards, airplanes writing names in the sky but more about the subtle moments spent together knowing the other person. Please note that I am writing without an iota of experience in this domain. While I’ve grown fairly immune to the heart shaped balloons in store windows, excessive red all over the place (favourite colour, so not complaining), mushy ads, forwards offering me discounts for couple’s spa massage, etc., etc….this new pain in the neck called Facebook is really annoying.

It’s bad enough the entire world is witness to people’s private lives the other 364 days of the year, the single folks now have to tolerate the couples mushing it out on public domain. I came across many updates where people were missing their significant others so much that they decided to bring it on to FB. Boy writes “First V-day after D-day…missing the wifey “. Wife instantly likes status update and replies, “Miss you too sweety….wish we could be together. See you in the evening.”

Whaaaaaaaat? Hold on… “See you in the evening?” You mean you guys are in the same town, left the same house in the morning, after waking up from the same bed, and all of a sudden you’re ‘missing’ one another? I would have been alright if they were miles apart, different time zones….but nooooo! We miss each other, even though we are in the same town and we are going to meet in the evening for a romantic candle light dinner with wine and much hand holding. And then all the women friends associated with that relationship have to…I mean HAVE TO like the reply and go, ‘Awww….you guys are cute.’, ‘ You two are made for each other’,’ That’s choooo chweeet that you miss one another’.

Hello?!?!? Excuse me…but what’s with the PDA? Is there a soap opera going on? While so many things are excusable, Facebook updates are not. Do people have no sense of personal space? Why must everything be advertised like a darn reality TV show? If you want me to subscribe to this conversation…make a *beep* tape and put it on the internet. Instant fame….ask Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. I have not seen those two master-pieces yet…officially. And you lot who are replying and encouraging these main characters are equally at fault.

A big blame goes to TV and Facebook. Romance just isn’t what it used to be. There’s no courting, there’s no privacy, no hand-written letters, there’s nothing left. All about perfect bodies, 6-pack frickin abs, terrible text messages with poor English and corny pick up tactics (refer to previous post) and grand public displays of moronism in the guise of “Romantic on Valentine’s day”. Get a room people…get a room.

I’ve gotten fairly annoyed with all the updates of couples forcing romance down everyone’s throat. We get it, you’re happy and excited….roses, dinner, all that jazz… and you want to shout it from the rooftops, you want to apparently ‘share your joy’ with everyone. You really want to share your joy….send me some money, or at least take me along for dinner. I promise not to drink too much wine and pass out. I’m supportive of putting engagement, wedding, new car, holiday, baby updates on FB, but minute by minute cheesy romance….sorry, the line has to be drawn.

Through the many painful public display of temporary affection aka ‘I’m getting some tonight because Hallmark Cards say so’, there was one interesting conversation shared with me on FB where the girl puts a picture of a huge bouquet sent by her husband who is in some other town. The usual ‘miss you…love you…XOXOXO’ goes one, at one point the girl says, ‘I’ve sent a gift for V-day. Hope you love it sweety. Look forward to receiving my gift’. The hubby replies, ‘Erm…. Was I supposed to send a gift too?

Anyway, here’s a song for all the single optimistic idiots like me….cheers! C’est la Vie!

PS: My apologies to all you couples, fresh-in-romance cases, 'I'm going out with him/her because I don't want to be single' cases, etc., to whom Valentine's day is a joyful commercial affair sponsored by Hallmark Cards, restaurants with dim lighting, manufacturers of chocolate covered strawberries and French Wine and the Florist Union of the World, this post comes from a person marginalized by society's over-burdening expectations of conforming to social norms. I'm not so bitter otherwise...it was those Ferrero Rocher Chocolates I tell you.

06 February, 2012

A Breakfast on Sunday keeps the Douchebags away….or not.

Prologue: This incident really happened. But for the sake of avoiding sheer embarrassment, all names except mine shall be masked.

It sometimes amazes me that at one end of the spectrum life seems so cruel to me, almost like it is playing some sort of a practical joke, you know, like the one my company pulls at the end of the month with the paycheck. And at other times it is just so awesome that I don’t even have to try to have a great time. Great times just happen. This post is about one such great time….for me that is.

I was to meet this very good friend of mine (although I don’t know if we would continue to remain on talking terms after this post) for breakfast. We’ll call her ZZ (listening to ZZ Top….so only name that popped into my head). ZZ and I have been planning to meet and catch up for quite some time now, but work and life schedules thought otherwise. We finally decided to meet up this Sunday for breakfast at this quaint little joint known as ‘Hole in the Wall’. We got a table after about 30 minutes of waiting, and soon got yakking away. Suddenly ZZ gets up to meet some person she knew, who was waiting outside the joint to get in. We’ll call him D-boy (for Delhi Boy….that’s where he was from. Kindly note, references made to the people of our nation’s capital are purely intentional unintentional).

ZZ comes back in looking a tad worried. ZZ was introduced to D-boy at some party which was organized by a friend of ZZ’s mum, and D-boy works for that friend….or something like that. Apologies for not getting the relationship correct….but all that matters is that ZZ has met D-boy only once at this party and merely exchanged pleasantries. It turns out D-boy had rushed back home to get a present he made for ZZ’s budday (I like saying budday instead of birthday) which was almost 45 days ago.

Now all of you please go ‘Ooooooooo…..ZZ and D-boy…sitting in a tree…K-i-s-….’ (I dare not finish that rhyme for fear of having a sharp object hurled at my head). ZZ has met D-boy only once in the past and he already “made” her a present. “Made” like Alisha Chinoy…’Made in India’ type ‘Made’. Ok! Kind of a creepy thing to do when you’ve met a girl only once. The only thing I have made after meeting a dame once was an excuse not to meet her again. Before you all start judging me, in my defence, which woman in the right mind tells a guy she just met, who after much courage called her back, ”You’re cute like a rossagulla”.  Anyway back to ZZ. I was joking that he’s probably going to return with a 2x4 frame with pictures of her downloaded off the internet and maybe he was one of those 'K..k...k..k....Kiran' SRK type psychos. ZZ is clearly freaking out.

D-boy returns with a packet in hand. 

Ok….drumroll please…..dumdumdumdumdumdumdumdum.......

The packet contains a pencil sketch of ZZ that D-boy made.

Now go,’ Awwwwwwwwwwwww….that’s cho chweet’. Ok stop. It’s not sweet….it’s creepy, that is what it is. Creepy for the girl….I’m having a ball of a time laughing away in my head. D-boy just pulled “THE” move of the century on ZZ. So effing hilarious….right out of the movie ‘Vanilla Sky’. So ‘Titanic’ too. I had to muster up all the will in my body not to burst out laughing. You’d think that would be the end of it….oh lord no…this gets better. While ZZ is staring in absolute shock, d-boy says in pukka delhi style hindi, “ Maine apne life mein kabhi kissi ladki ka sketch nahin kiya. Tu pehli ladki hain jiska maine sketch kiya”.
(Translation for non-Hindi speaking friends: I’ve never made a sketch of a girl before. You are the first)

Hoo boy…. cliché  cliché cliché. He did not just say THAT?!?!?!?!....nope...he did. Can we bring in SRK with his white sweater playing the violin? Could this fellow's vain attempt at wooing a dame actually be so filmy? I've only heard of these 'I am vant to make the fraaandship with you' types, but here he was, in flesh and blood, freshly imported from Delhi, D-boy aka 'The new cliched king of the block'. ZZ’s still speechless. I’m sitting there with a grin that would make the Cheshire Cat green with envy. D-boy continues,” Maine yeh sketch aapse milne ke baad banaya tha. Main roz subah uthke yahin tasveer dekhta tha. Aaj mera kismet acha hain. Maine baahar se dekha aur socha ki aankhen to vahin ZZ se milti hain, aur yeh dekho, aapko dekha. I vant to vish a happy baarthday belated to you.
(Translation: I made this sketch after meeting you. I see this every morning. My fate is good today. From outside, I saw and thought that those eyes matched ZZ, and here you are. I wanted to wish you a belated happy birthday.)

Our D-boy was hitting on ZZ like there was no tomorrow, clichéd line after clichéd line. ZZ’s sitting there all freaked out of her life. D-boy goes on to show her pictures of herself which he’s stored on his Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. I sort of blanked out for a few moments looking at the phone….Samsung S2….drool….. only to be brought back to reality with ZZ requesting him to delete those pictures. Clearly, this is a strategy that works in Delhi. I must give the boy credit for being so bold. One of two things could have happened. ZZ could have made a scene and slapped him…..a risk I will never take no matter how much I like a dame. Or, in some twisted universe, I could have been the over-possessive boyfriend and I could have slapped him…an ever bigger risk. But D-boy was pulling off every clichéd filmy dialogue in the book with unabashed thought to where this might end up. I’m actually a little insulted that he thought there is no chance in the world that I was the over-protective boyfriend types who could beat the daylights out of him. Must be the haircut and glasses.

Anyway, D-boy decides to join us for breakfast, even though he wasn’t invited. Sits down, right next to ZZ, almost like he were in a crowded Delhi bus minus the groping, orders chai and toast for himself and goes on talking about people called Radha and Anitha whom we don’t know…..but Radha is getting married in June, so I wish her the best and hope she didn’t meet her husband in such clichéd fashion. Clearly ZZ is uncomfortable with the brazen approach of D-boy, she does her best to ignore him and just keeps conversation with me not even acknowledging his presence. He still does not care and goes on saying stuff in rapid Hindi.

Now this is where I know I’m an absolute moron….I decide to make D-boy feel a little more comfortable involving him in the conversation. And not because I’m a nice guy, I just know it would get ZZ all wound up. Poor chap was clearly finding it difficult to speak to me in English, and sticks to his rapid Delhi-styled Hindi… I decide it is a good time to switch to Hindi too. Every vein in ZZ’s forehead wants to smack this guy in his happy place for not taking a hint D-boy, ZZ and I continue with the conversation till the end of the meal....well it was either only ZZ and I or D-boy and I, never ZZ and d-boy. Feels almost like one of those CAT exam questions.... A, B and C are sitting around a perfectly round table at equal distances from one another. A and B are men while C is a woman. A is talking to B, C is talking to B. A wants to talk to C, but C is not replying. the reason for this could be one of the following options:
a) A is creepy and over-confident of scoring with C and is trying every filmy tactic there is.
b) C feels creeped out to be in the presence of A and wishes he'd leave immediately and ignores him.
c) B being the good guy....who according to the popular saying finishes last.... is encouraging A to hang around.
d) All of the Above.

It’s not over folks….picture abhi baaki hain. I know, you’re thinking how does this get any worse? For ZZ that is….I’m enjoying every minute of this episode. We’re done with breakfast; D-boy goes in for the kill ....in one swift move, he asks ZZ out to coffee. In true corporate style, she replies, “I have your number. I’ll check and get back to you. Maybe next weekend.” D-boy, “ Main yahaan har Sunday aata hoon. Akele bait tha hoon. Aaj aapse mulakaat hui.” (Translation : I am here every Sunday and sit by myself. Today I met you. ) On that note, D-boy decides to be all bro-like with me and gives me a dude hug. I had to hug back because it would have been odd if my hands are by my side and a skinny Delhi boy with his greasy hair in spikes and pink t-shirt was hugging me. He proceeds to attempt to hug ZZ, she pats him on the shoulder….much like one would pat a dog that fetched a ball back after you threw it.

I’m trying so hard not to literally fall to the floor and die laughing. After he leaves, ZZ turns to me and says,” Why didn’t you do anything? Why were you encouraging a conversation with him? I should have beaten him up…or you should have done it. You sat there, having a ball of a time with the wheels turning in your head to a hazaar jokes. I know it. I saw the look in your face. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BLOG ABOUT THIS!!!” And that’s precisely what I did….with permission from ZZ of course.

I’ve got to hand it to D-boy. The risk, the spontaneity, the pencil sketch of a girl he met only once…and he was clearly a smitten kitten. I’ve never ever be so bold. This dude managed to get a pencil sketch, compliment a girl, sit right next to her, and ask her out…all in a few hours’ time. I’d probably spend years contemplating if I should even send a friend request. Part of me so wants to be D-boy….. maybe replace the sketch with ‘ I wrote a song for you’ and run home to bring my guitar and play in public. Naaaaaaaaaaaah! Too cheesy and oh so clichéd….and so not Nikhilesh Murthy. I prefer being the ‘endure pain in silence over a scotch’ types. Also, it would be very unbecoming of me to behave like I were a 'I'm a stud in my head and my dad knows a guy in politics so I can get away with anything' sort of guy from a certain capital of a certain country. I choose being non-confrontational, single and desperate over being a total creep any day. Yet it amazes me that guys actually use this strategy, and heck it even works....just not this time..... I think. 

Female readers of this blog - Has this cliched filmy 'Kya hum pehle kahin mile hain?' tactic ever been tried on you? 
(Translation: Have we met somewhere before?)

PS: ZZ is actually looking forward to this post, however, I don’t see her leaving any comments for the sake of anonymity.