Here You Go, Another Post on ‘Nirbhaya’

In the wake of the most recent Delhi gang-rape case, a lot of brouhaha has ensued. Everyone’s moral compass has suddenly swung to ‘Protect the Indian Daughter’ mode. People are organizing mass rallies, posters with witty slogans are found on every paan-spit soaked wall and pillar and every other blogger is crying hoarse for justice, equality, security, yada, yada.

All the news channels are holding hour long debates where the same four – five stalwarts namely, Sheila Dikshit, Suhel Seth, Meenakshi Lekhi, Renuka Chowdhury and one or two extra fittings vehemently discuss how brutal the rape was, what the most tortuous punishment ought to be for the rapists, the hard-heartedness of the Delhiites who let ‘Nirbhaya’ lie sans help and the horrendous justice system with appropriately pained faces and a forced tear and anguished plea for sanity interjected once in a while when things get monotonous.

Basically, my head is spinning after watching, reading and endlessly discussing all this nonsense with every second person I meet. The basic problem is that all we are doing is just that. Discussing, probing, arguing. Conjecture is an art the idle Indian has perfected. We take an issue and dissect it limb-by-limb, criticizing everything and everyone associated with it, proclaiming ourselves to be judges of morality and civility while shaking our heads disapprovingly at others. But, do these so-called debates ever pan out to anything?

Take the case of Priyadarshini Mattoo. Or Ruchika Gehrotra. Or Aarushi Talwar. Or Soumya Vishwanathan. All these are high profile cases. All caused furore in the media and within the Indian community. There were rallies, heated debates and a lot of campaigning here and there (just as is going on with the ‘Nirbhaya’ case). But, a few months down the lane, all that remains is a hurried whisper and a stifled sigh. No new laws have been made, nothing has really changed, we’ve just moved onto a new story. Where is the action that follows a heartfelt discussion? Where is the law that follows a petition signed by a million odd Indians? Where is the court sentence that follows the endless chasing of the judicial system?

Who cares, right? Let us all just watch these debates, make some poignant comments here and there and then return to our old ways of turning the other cheek when we see someone teasing a young girl on her way home from college. Let us all ‘Like’ Facebook pages devoted to the ‘Nirbhaya’ case – albeit the only posts on them being photoshopped pictures of the nth India Gate candlelit-midnight peace walk or some passionate sloganeering-type quote that rouses the emotionally charged Indian to ‘Share’ the post on her/his feed, and feel good about herself/himself. ‘Cause like hell we’ll actually do something about it.

In reality, it is easier to make lofty speeches and discuss intelligently but, are we doing something constructive about the issue? It need not be a massive gesture or something groundbreaking – although those would be awesome – something thoughtful, I would imagine as being enough for beginners. Lighting a candle shows respect, I agree but, berating someone eve-teasing a young girl is what would actually make a difference. It is high time we stopped pretending to care and actually took action. After all, these are our lives, our people and our society we are talking about.

Virtue, Thy Name is Undervalued

Everyone everywhere complains about disintegrating society, the erosion of culture, customs and religion and the gaps between youth and everyone else. However, as pertinent as one finds the aforementioned issues, there seem to be deeper problems one needs to look at. Most of us have witnessed people cutting queues, seen a ‘hit and run’, vehicles speeding and not following traffic signals, the list is endless. Heck, most of us have indulged in one or more of the same!

The fact of the matter is that today virtues are largely forgotten, even mocked by most. Here are a couple of fast disappearing mannerisms, soon to become characteristics of the days of yore that are rarely practiced, seldom valued but, largely (and incorrectly) projected by most in society :-

Being Polite: Rarely do people bother to thank servers, cleaners and housekeepers. Scantly does one see a lady get up and offer her seat in a crowded public transport vehicle to a frail old man. Hardly do you see a young man let an old lady go ahead of him in a bank queue because he’s in a hurry to get his cheque cleared and go clubbing to celebrate his payday. Politeness is hugely undervalued, rarely encouraged and the polite are seldom respected and given the same treatment. More often than not, most polite folk are taken advantage of, mocked for being gracious and often considered easy targets for bullying.

The Polite, Kind and Humble Tree Shades the Weary Traveler

Kindness: A grossly under-rated virtue, kindness seems to be on it’s way to oblivion. Very few people are able to identify kindness, let alone appreciate or practice it. Most students think the ones who offer to carry something heavy for a professor must be doing it to butter them up. (The sad part is, most of them are.)

Gratitude: Few people are grateful (fewer can spell it right), more and more people are accustomed to privileges and think it is their right nay, their birthright, to have access to amenities like food (pizzas and such stuff), education (private colleges with dubious accreditation), transport (customized Hummers) and relaxation time (vacations to places which are ‘Facebook album’-worthy). However, a handful actually thank their parents, God, teachers or anyone with heart for giving them the opportunities they have. Perfunctory acts of gratitude such as the annual New Year card, Thank You note or hug are found aplenty but, real gratitude is hard to find today and, sadly is going the dodo-way. In fact, instead of feeling gratitude, most people feel obliged to help someone who has aided them in something at some point in life. Some don’t feel that either.

Humility: ‘If you have it, flaunt it’ seems to be the mantra today. One-upmanship rears it’s ugly head in even the simplest of things and keeping up with the Joneses is a matter of principle in most societies. Everyone is trying to make it obvious that s/he travels first class, dines at the best places with the creme-de-la-creme of society and has more visa stamps than s/he cares to count. Name dropping, brand-toting and showing-off are the current norms. Also, sometimes one wonders if people are trying to show themselves in better light or put each other down.

Knowledge and Learning Take a Backseat to Achievement and Winning

Knowledge: Perhaps the saddest case of all, knowledge or learning is an extremely undervalued virtue today. Schools train to achieve rather than learn, parents coax the bewildered student to get into a top institute as opposed to following her/his field of passion and peers deem a dedicated classmate as a nerd and bully her/him to no end. Most students score well but, application-wise they’re somewhere near zero. Rote learning rules the roost today. The majority of school and college goers have no idea what they’re studying, why they’re studying what they’re studying but, they’re all running to outdo the other.

Wisdom: Not many care about what the wise woman/man has to say but, show them a cunning woman/man and look at them run to get her/his counsel. Sadly, wisdom is considered as outdated as the IBM PC. Experience and learning leading to wisdom resulting in holistic development is fast being replaced with acquiring and manipulating leading to profit, corruption, cunning and exploitation for singular gain.

Wisdom Looks On as Youth Barely Notices

It is time to take a good look at the mirror and see where we, as a global society are headed and give virtues the emphasis they deserve in our lives. A strong society is made of more than high-flying corporate honchos. A virtuous woman/man is truly the only thing that has ever saved society in times of dire consequences.

A world with those who hold scant value for values will be of little value. It’s time for society to pull up it’s socks and look at leading holistic, meaningful and fulfilling lives as opposed to comfortable yet, empty existances.

The Lost Art of Holding a Conversation

Being a conversationalist, I enjoy a discussion on just about any topic. I find having conversations about anything and everything under the Sun not only triggers thought and results in exchange of information but, it also gives one food for thought to introspect and look at things in more than one way. I find talking things out not only to be therapeutic but, also enlightening.

Sadly, nowadays people value conversation less than cheap cologne, debating is misconstrued as arguing, discussions transform into gossip sessions and dialogues often become monologues. I find there is an increasing gap between those who are actually open to exchanging ideas and finding solutions and those who just want to shove their opinions down one’s throat. Isn’t the whole point of a conversation taking away something indelibly constructive, something that helps us piece the larger puzzle called life or am I missing something?

Ideal conversation must be an exchange of thought, and not, as many of those who worry most about their shortcomings believe, an eloquent exhibition of wit or oratory. – Emily Post

Often, when a group of girls start talking, it seems kinder to throw myself out of an adjacent window than endure the hateful gossip and bitching that ensues. Guys are not far behind, in fact guys can be nastier than girls when it comes to gossiping! Cattiness, thy name is gossip!

Another sad fact is with the advent of Social networking Sites, organic conversation has taken quite a hit. Facebook chatting and Skype never really seem the same and often when one meets a pal or actually talks to them on the phone after a long, long time, conversation is muted and awkward.

Moving on to body language during conversation; People hardly maintain eye contact, fiddle around and seldom display any interest if the conversation doesn’t involve gossip or dirty little secrets or confessions. Not only does this make the other person feel like they’re not being taken seriously, it also makes one doubt the interest factor and the validity of the discussion!

Also, why do folk keep talking about useless stuff like movies or music? I don’t think discussing movies and what-not is insipid but, it’d be great to discuss something worthwhile once in a blue moon! Why don’t people like discussing things like society, politics, philosophy or art? And, every time one initiates a slightly serious topic, either the topic is changed or turns into a mud slinging fest. For instance, try talking about politics and the ‘Obamacare‘ bashing begins.

At the end of the day, sometimes I just want to have a meaningful conversation about something meaningful – a heartfelt one-on-one about something not related to Taylor Swift’s newest song about her newest ex-boyfriend.

What about you? Take the poll!

Five Insufferable Things To Be Passionate About

1. How You Look: You’re freshly tanned, very nice. You just got RiRi’s bleached blonde ‘do, very hip. Flashed everyone your perfect pearly white grin? Very cool. Just gave the plumber a booty tooch to show off your taut ass? Very in. Now stop it. You’re coming off as ridiculous, not to mention fake. FYI, nobody’s thinking about your ‘wonderful’ assets. They’re all thinking how humongous a loser you are.

Frankly, you’re not that great looking. You may be the beauty/hunk of your family and/or workplace and have these folk fawn over you (or be ‘jealous’ of your fantastical features) but, here’s the truth, honey; Though you may qualify for a second glance (based solely on your Kith and Kin’s evaluation), that’s pretty much where it ends, ‘kay?

2. How Others Look: Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and you my dear, have Madras Eye in that case. No one asked you if XYZ looks nice or not. Don’t dump your inaccurate and condescending beauty scale on anyone patient enough to listen to your cockamamie. Who’re you to decide if the ‘traditional’ looking girl you saw looks like a country ho? I doubt even Anna Wintour stands a chance against your caustic (and inaccurate) tongue.

Oh, and not to forget the ones who go to great lengths to stress how much they do to look better than you. Their weekly spa treatments are up on Twitter, they go on about their haircare routine like it’s a matter of international importance and their Facebook photo streams (in the ever popular ‘duckface’ pose) of their new YSL flapper dress never end. Ever. And, these factors apparently give them the upper hand in style, fashion and beauty. To you, only one thing needs to be said – quit judging people, you’re not so hot yourself.

3. Who You Pray To: Okay, so you believe in Jesus/Allah/Bhagwan Ram/Gautam Buddha. You pray diligently and observe your religious customs and rituals flawlessly. Commendable. But, why are you trying to shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat? There is no need to mock somebody’s God just because you think yours is better. Isn’t there just one God, many avatars? The main point of prayer and tradition is inculcating peace and discipline in one’s life, isn’t it? Frankly, no one’s religion is ‘the best’ simply because all religions are the same.

Islam = Hinduism = Christianity = Zoroastrianism = Buddhism = *Insert Religion Here* 

It’s high time you realized religion is a way of life, not a way of condemning others’ lives. Your faith and God are important to you, good. Just remember that the other person’s beliefs are just as dear the her/him. If you’re confused, go back to your Holy Text and refer to the part about respecting others. Yes, it doesn’t matter which Holy Text you revere, they all have the same teachings. It’s just the chronology that differs, hope that clears up the mist in your mind.

4. How You (In)Tolerate ‘Outsiders’: There’re all kinds of people in this world. They’re all the same; they’re all different. So, don’t annoy everyone by proclaiming your countrymen are superior. You’re as idiotic as the next immigrant. Don’t generalize Italians as womanizers. Don’t classify Pakistanis as terrorists. Don’t call Indians ‘job stealing gits’. Quit blaming ‘the west’ for ‘spreading homosexuality’. Quit harassing fee paying Indian students in Australia.There are a million contrary examples that pass you by but, your shitty tunnel vision catches only the flaws of said groups.

Also, a desi (Indian, for the uninitiated) take on this: Just because you’re from Assam doesn’t mean you’re hot stuff and if you’re from Gujarat don’t think you’re the next Ambani – it means you’re suffering from a ‘regional halo effect’ (coining my own term here). All you idiots in New Delhi calling every dusky girl a ‘Madrasan/Geek/Kolaveri Di’ and all you sycophants in Chennai advising anyone who mentions the humidity down South to leave the city, you guys are closet regionalists. All you great thinkers who riot around *Hint: RSS* throwing out the people who come from out-of-town to make a livelihood in Mumbai, go screw yourselves.

5. How You Are Better Than ABC: So, you think you’re all that, eh? You’ve got a minimum wage salary and are currently ‘living it up’ in a shared apartment with three Asian dudes and you think you’re better than Bob from across the street (because he’s just a struggling musician) and you miss no opportunity to highlight your assumption. Reality check: In five years’ time, Bob will own a duplex, a yacht and have a Swiss bank account whereas you’ll remain stuck in your $30,000 p.a. job.

Just because you’re bangin’ chicks left, right and center like Hugh Hefner (doesn’t mean you’re minting money like him), quit showing the sweet nerd down ‘cuz he’s on his way to a happy ending and you’re going to get AIDS. Just because someone is being kind enough to not point out what a massive asshole you are, don’t think you’re a rockstar. All you are is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Seriously, think about how insipid these issues are and how much time most people spend obsessing about them. Be passionate about stuff that matters, like the environment or politics. Get a life, do something meaningful.

Ten Reasons Why Facebook is a Royal Shitfest

Hey guys!

I’m sure this is a topic you’ve all discussed, in varying degrees of likability. Here’s why I think Facebook is more or less a platform to seek attention and boast! :-

a. Useless Pictures of Useless People Doing Useless Things: Okay, now I get that you’ve got a face with angles and stuff but, do I need to see your pockmarked visage in fifty different angles? Ladies, please spare us the ever popular ‘Duckface‘ picture, the ‘come hither eyes’ photo and the ‘jutting out boobs’ snaps, ‘kay? Guys, gangsta poses don’t suit you unless you’re Jay-Z, period. Also, don’t share the same pictures again and again till people just get tired of ignoring the hideous ‘clicks’ and half-heartedly ‘Like’ them. FYI, just one decent picture is enough.

b. Useless Pictures by Useless People of Useless Things: Why are you posting images of trees and piles of leaves and shit? Why is there an album ‘My Cutiee Kitty Cat <3’ on my Newsfeed and a request to ‘Like’ some page you made for your dumb pet? I’m not gonna. Now scat!

c. Useless Pictures of Useless People Doing Useless Things Together: Here’s the skinny on couple photos, group photos, family portraits, et al on Facebook. Just what the hell are you trying to showcase? Ooh, this is me with my Porkie-Pie sucking my face! Look at us, we wear matchy-matchy socks ‘cuz that’s what love is about, innit? Ooh, look at our amazing family, we’re all so gorgeous and close-knit we’ve decided to take a fam-fam picture in full regalia! Doesn’t matter that we bitch about each other behind each others’ backs, ‘Like’ our glam photo, please! And, the creme-de-la-creme, *drumroll pleae* group photos of college chicks. There’s the group snap of girls’ feet, group photos of girls going ‘Yo!’ at the camera, group hug photos, butt snaps, group duckface pictures. As if these weren’t bad enough, there’ll be multiple photos with the same expression or pose but, with slight tweaks in lighting or ‘elegant’ photoshopped versions of the same.

d. Comments: “Awwwwww”, “OMG“, ‘omq’, “Gorgeous”, “Why this kolaveri di?” (the last one is expressly Indian) are some of the most common comments one finds on Facebook pictures, posts and statuses. Just how do you respond to these comments? IMHO, “Whatever” or “Fuck Off” seem appropriate.

e. Status Updates: Please, don’t spam our Newsfeeds with five minute updates on your Bipolar mood swings, don’t tag people and places and irritate us and please, just please, STOP updating quotes as your statuses. If I want inspiration, I will go to www.quickquotes.com myself. Also, don’t post stupid shit such as “OMG! ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ this update on your wall if you are a true 1D fan. 1D fandom foreverrrr!!!” Um… no, thank you. Finally, before you click on some shit link and spam all our walls, spread some dumb virus around and post “I’m sorry, you guys! IDK what happened, I think I’ve been hacked and the links sent from my account have viruses. DON’T CLICK ON THEM!!! Luv Ya!! XOXO”, please do us a favor and go jump off a cliff somewhere. Because, basically, you’re a dumbass who clicks on shit without prior thought and then proceeds to blame anonymous nerds. Please, even hackers have class.

f. Farmville, Mafia Wars, Tag This, 20 Questions, What-not: I don’t care about your corn, cattle and haystacks on Farmville, a’rite? I don’t want to get multiple arsenal bombs and dry hump the slutty chick on Mafia Wars. I couldn’t care less about cashin’ in my ‘Texas Hold ‘Em Poker’ chips. I don’t want to answer questions like ‘Do you think Dan likes cookies?’ or ‘Is Melissa a MILF?’ Gross.

g. Sickly Notes: If you want to write or share feelings that the Facebook ‘Status Update’ textbox can’t handle, please join www.wordpress.com (Hollaa!). Spare us inane ‘Notes’ on how sad you are, how you love this song and proceed to post its lyrics in VIBGYOR and please let polls be conducted by Gallup. But, most importantly, stop posting questionnaires with one hundred and fifty questions and if you must, please stop tagging us in them.

h. Poke! Poke! Poke!: Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Geddit?

i. ‘I’ is for ‘Information’: Not musings, not bragging, not plagiarizing. The ‘About Me’ section on Facebook profiles gets me cracking every single time. People enjoy making complete asses of themselves by filling this section with just about anything. ‘If life’s a game, I’m playing it very smart’, ‘I’m on a quest to find myself’, ‘I’m a shining star’, etc. are some of the gems I’ve come across. If you don’t know yourself, kindly go and introspect or just leave the space blank, capiche?

I, personally have only two reasons for being a part of Facebook. It’s a handy tool to remember people’s birthdays though, admittedly I could get this service on another platform as well. Also, Facebook chat has given me some wonderful conversations with my best pals in India and abroad. Again, Gtalk, Skype, e-mail and phones can help me with that aspect of connectivity. But, yeah, that’s about it. That’s what Facebook means to me.

Ciao!

Your Crush Is Not Thinking About You, ‘Kay?

Okay, you guys, we’ve all been there. That sick yet, wonderful place where we fancy someone. It could be anyone – a friend, colleague, actor or some random face you saw on the bus or something. Basically, the fact is you like ’em and, they, well, may or may not reciprocate your temporary Arrhythmia. Most of the time, crushes are ones-sided affairs and the one suffering getting crushed under this huge weight is the last one to know that. So, let me make things easier for you, poor dear by telling you why the girl/boy you’re drooling over will never, I repeat, NEVER be your Coochie-coo and why you’re just wasting your time :-

a. You get up and think of the idiot as you get dressed for work/class/whatever with her/him in mind. You change your ‘outfit’ three times (Which one will s/he like more?), realize you’re running late, skip breakfast and rush.

STOP! Here’s why: You’re changing clothes like it’s a do-or-die thing! It isn’t. Rest assured, your Crush won’t even see the Houndstooth scarf or the Ferragamo tie you’re donning. ‘Kay. Quit it. Besides, it takes time and effort to wash, iron and darn those outfits! You’re missing breakfast, Bitch! It’s the single most important meal of the day. Don’t you know you’re going to fall sick if you skip meals like this? And, for what? Some ninny who doesn’t even remember your name.

b. All the time you’re spending thinking about this female/fellow is useless. You read a page of your notes/file and promptly start thinking about the color of said Crush’s eyes. Is it Bluey-Gray or Grayey-Blue? Hmmn. Must notice next time you accidentally-but-intentionally bump into her/him at lunch/the water cooler. You ‘Google‘ the girl/guy and actually go past page four in hope of finding out something, anything about the person. You stalk her/him on Facebook/Twitter and go through all her/his posts, pictures and friends and obsess over any good looking friends s/he has of the opposite gender or interacts with frequently on these platforms. You go for a movie and midway start thinking about how the second lead looks so much like your crush. What a cute ass s/he has! You wonder if s/he thinks about your ass. You make a mental note to go to the Gym so that s/he notices your perfect teacup shaped buttocks as you sashay past her/him. (Okay, if you’re a guy and think of sashaying and shit for a girl, you’re probably kinda gay and stuff. But, you can replace words to fit in your predicament, a’rite?) You forget the plot and piss off your friend to fill you in.

Aaargh! All the time you’re spending painting frescoes about your Crush and you which could parallel the ‘Mona Lisa‘, you could’ve finished all your assignments/work, taken that week off and gone for that awesome hiking trip you’ve been wanting to for nearly six months now. Your Crush, on the other hand, is probably zoning out somewhere and is not, in the slightest way, thinking about you. Also, your poor pal just wants to see the frickin’ movie, don’t irritate her/him by constantly jabbing her/him to fill you in! Bros before Hoes, remember!

c. You strategically position yourself so that there are a million chances for you and the Crush to ‘interact’ or to devise stratagems so that s/he notices you as you pose and pout or act sophisticated and flirty. You think of a hundred witty comments and imagine the wonderment your Crush will feel when s/he hears or sees you in action. “S/He’ll be starstruck once s/he hears me discussing Quantum Mechanics/ROIs with Delilah/Dave and maybe a little jealous if I touch Delilah/Dave on the shoulder? Man, this is an awesome plan!”, you think with glee.

Umm…okay. Hold your horses, mate. Not. Going. To. Happen. Why? Well, first of all, your Crush will be bemused why you’re screeching about shit that no one cares about and poor Delilah/Dave will just stand there flustered and scared while you deliver your ‘performance’ and wonder why you’re hitting her/him for no reason. Secondly, all the time you spend craning your neck to see if said Crush has noticed you will make you look like a moron and may result in sore neck muscles, a possible neck brace and a lot of money spent at the Doctor’s. Furthermore, if you’d used the awesome power of the amount of Grey cells that you used to devise ploys to entice this girl/guy, we’d probably have a cure for Cancer by now.

d. Any time you see your Crush with a member of the opposite sex, your heart starts sinking, you start tearing up and you start thinking of killing the POI or start hearing sad violin-type music *heart broken*. You frantically run around to get details of this mystery girl/guy and start obsessing if your Crush and the POI are an ‘item’. You start analyzing their body language, throw your pencil right near them and snoop around to hear snatches of their conversation.

Hello? They’re just talking, okay! No need to panic. And, even if they have a thing going on, it’s not like you didn’t know that s/he was never into you in the first place. Quit making a fool of yourself! Your nerves are on edge half the time and your brain’s on overtime for the rest of the day! Just forget the female/fellow and MOVE ON already!

I mean, it’s okay you have a crush and all that but, let’s be realistic. It’s a crush, it’ll go away. You probably don’t even like her/him that much. You’re just tired of being alone/bored/horny and need a release. Get your Klingon avatar on and redirect your energies into other stuff! Talk to your friends, go places and really immerse yourself in those experiences. Stop fantasizing and if you really, really like her/him so much, just go over and say ‘Hi!’ already!