It was nothing when it first started. It's something for me now. That's something. A few years back, I started blogging here so that a couple of friends (make that good friends) would critique my writing and gee me up. Well , frankly, they did not give a damn and not for lack of time. And that's alright (I am no Will, and this is no Good Will Hunting).

But so many people and friends came back with such special encouragement (always superlatives, always inspirational) that someday, I might just write a book (that goes to show how God, who BTW does exist, strikes celestial harmony). I have a couple of ideas, and the less bizarre one is about two talking animals moonlighting as everyday superheros with Lycra super costumes.

Something else beckons now. A more private space to chronicle the angular turn life has taken. My family is a couple of crazy canines, a laugh-out loud enabler husband and a little imp of a daughter. I want to write about that. I also want to write unfettered thoughts, the expression of which becomes constrained when I know opinions lurk somewhere, and rightly so, since I asked for them. Its a tough and responsible thing to do. And I just want to be an unleashed little puppy in the garbage dump for now.

In that space, I want to be quirky when I want to be. Obnoxiously opinionated when I have to be. Judgmental, irate, irreverent,surly, grumpy, hyper sensitive and hence, hyperventilating when I can be. Partisan, boorish, redneck, rightist, phobic. And then breezy and funny and existentially happy all over again. And liberal. And grammatically and semantically and politically incorrect.

This blog is a milestone I am digging in. On that highway I think I wrote of in here. Its not the end of an era (just shifting real estate, and going all Greta Garbo on it).

I know a few people still stop by and look for a new thought. I am going to email you some of the less irreverent writing I do. Will you let me know you are interested? And thank you, and you, and you. That pretty much individually and statistically all the readership I got. :-)

Bye for now. Shifted to my private equity.


Working Title - Eliminating world senselessness: making college education work (please!)

A discussion document

Straight from hell's overworked kitchen: Jaadu ka Laafa. We can grin it. We can bear it.

The Sanju baba guy (hey I thought everyone called him that!) once said that foul mouthed and bad-vibes people need to be warmly hugged because, like the rest of us, they want appreciation too. To that thought we owe Jaadu ki Jhappi. I don't agree all the time with that. Some foul(er) mouthed people need to be tripped, called and directed to the next know-thy-neighbour group therapy class. Every warm hug given is time taken away from the important activity of slapping foul mouthed people. And so was born the Jaadu ka Laafa. JKL.

Definition: A swift full-face-of-the-hand slap placed tightly, forcefully, likely madly on as much surface area of receiving cheek as possible. I think I crossed the lines between "definition" and "technical description" there but I don't care. And yes all this is purely imaginary. Purely, 100%, home-grown imagination.

Who dispenses: Whoever is faster. Figures.

Who receives: Who had it coming for years. Really. Things got to such a pass. And of course, the slower one.

What's special: Its directly opposed in principle and ideology to Mohandas Karamchand's Gandhi's non-violence beliefs. It actively seeks cheek. Option to turn the other cheek is that of the slapee's. A singular slap should be ideologically sufficient, but more slaps will be more fun. Its also special because its totally a figment of my imagination and I can take it to any level of chutzpah I want. And the best part, you have the freedom to slap without prejudice.

Why: Oh, this should have come earlier in the scheme. The JKL is administered when you are pushed to limits of human endeavor in the field of tolerating totally inexplicable occurrences of

  1. Rare Stupidity

  1. One that is home-grown and not attributable to any incident, favorable or unfavorable, occurring during and around womb-stay, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

  2. Not to be confused with the exalted standards of Forrest Gump's Stupid-is-as-Stupid -does – that's good old-fashioned doltness and silliness (considered cute and rare in a good way); this is full-bodied defiance of available common sense.

  3. This is best defined by the resulting symptom: rare stupidity is said to have occurred when upon someone's action or word, your eyes are spinning in involuntary and invisible circles, mostly inside your skull but sometimes, just dipping out. You are likely to gulp for air also.

  4. Words we are looking for: random, bizarre, irrational, WTF, permafrost

  5. Example statement: "People who keep their houses clean have very few friends" (fact, actually said, heard)

  6. Type of JKL recommended: Instant, once, immediate exit, absolute memory erasure thereafter

  1. Advice Hydration

  1. So called because it is the opposite of dehydration, sort of. There is so much excess molecular-level advice-giving propensity in these bodies that the bodies are dying to give it away. I use dying in a scientific sense. Almost every opportunity not utilized to dispense advice pellets is construed by the pituitary gland as not good. They live because they can give it away. I mean advice.

  2. Not to be confused with advice in general, which most people like receiving for some reason. This is more personal or what's-the-word-I-am-looking-for – person-specific? The person is intransigently linked to the cycle of advice giving and advice giving and advice giving, their nirvana wires totally messed up somewhere.

  3. Portentously, heightened activity is observed around unmarried women with still enough teeth to have a go at the sacred institution, childless marriages, catered funeral arrangements, someone else's kitchen arrangements, choice of post graduation subject and international long distance calls.

  4. Words we are looking for: Help, asphyxiating, compulsive, unsolicited, unwelcome, big polygonal proboscis

  5. Example statement: "If you don't marry now, you will be lonely when you are old. Refer Aunt Cha-cha-chi." Who, by the way, by the way, is living it up! Advice hydration is special because rare stupidity is a necessary pre-condition for admission. And then you need to have that extra tashan.

  6. Type of JKL recommended: Repeated soft assaults, such as to prevent the tongue molecules from regrouping to form words of advice.

  1. Purple Pantese (act of being a purple underwear or a drama queen)

  1. Behavior characterized by a strong wind of disproportionate, if not highly inappropriate, emotion, drama and kitsch last experienced in Shemaroo Video trailers in videotape format.

  2. You know you have been purple panty-ized when you say, "ok, good, now pass me the muffin" or "ok, I did not have to see that," .

  3. Rare stupidity is a necessary pre-condition of course, but purple pantese is specifically with a flair for drama.

  4. Words we are looking for: Spasmodically painful, stomach-sickening, deafness and blindness-inducing

  5. Examples:

    1. Shah Rukh Khan admirers whose DNA responds directly to any SRK criticism. They have restraint orders on them in some cases and are bombs with a loose-detonate reflex. There cannot be a tearless discussion on anything, not even SRK purported left chin cleft (there is not a thing in this world that is a left chin cleft).

    2. Office gripes (who are a subject of a dissertation I am right now pondering upon) who say -“I have always thought of you as my father, not my boss.” - what??!!!!, but you can’t prove it right???

    3. I have never lied in my life – my value system does not allow it – my integrity is worth being on a postage stamp” – Oh, certainly, I appreciate it, but will you at least once pay for dinner this once??

    4. Any blatant, sniveling, two-bit, half-bit lies that you don’t need Superman’s X-ray vision to see through.

  1. All auto rickshaw drivers, everywhere (all occurrences, without fail)

  1. Make your own JKL: There can be other challenging conditions prompting the release of a JKL, but upon closely observing the last ten times I came close to the act, I think I have covered good ground here.

Accompanying risks and likely solutions: I know it's not politically correct to go, like all slappin' people and all. Its largely not good by way of retribution risk also. So I would say pick the targets well.

Used correctly and judiciously, the force of the JLT is immense. But hey, this is my imagination. I am not slapping any twits in real life. So I can be indiscriminate in my blog. I can, like, not stop ever. What a game of mental comeuppance. It wont make them go from your world. It will make them go, ever so fleetingly, from your mind.


Missing some big pictures makes for a very boring highway ride

Been visiting Peter’s blog often and two things stood out for me. His writing can be persuasive, without being laid on thick. When speaking of values, change, a better life-as-we-know-it, it is easy, almost expected, to fall into the pedantic trap. His blog is not like that, it is very real. Second, his response to cynical Joes and Janes taught me something. I thought silence was a good way to deal with active negativity, but there is something better. Dignified closure. “I understand you have your views. You could try and respect mine. Other than that, have a nice day.”

When talk veers to “helping self”, I have not found one single thing that has worked, charm-like, for me. There are several incremental improvements that one makes, as one goes about the business of living. But there has been no sharp change I would ascribe to a How-to book. Life is vicissitude itself, and snap-changes are few and far between compared to the continuous version-updations we clock.

Anyway, Peter’s style of neatly laying out his experiences in paragraphs appealed to me. Splicing life by paragraphs does make everything look like a prĂ©cis writing exercise. I thought of writing up small things I have observed / experienced that worked out pleasantly (for me and others) from time to time. They don’t really fall into a very sharp taxonomy, more free falling.

1. One of the most under-rated joys in life is talking to children - as yourself and as themselves

Talk to children, and this here means you are not playing provider, giver, care-taker, explainer, teacher and responsibility-holder and even if you are, that’s all in the background. Person-to-person them. I am not a parent yet but I have known real joy with children. I have taken long walks with a nine-year old girl and our conversation has been equally poised between she listening me out and me hearing her out. I am not innately a Pied Piper with under-10s but this simple arrangement was working very, very well.

As soon as a child wants you to level with him / her, he / she will let you know. From that point on, just level. Show you are vulnerable, friendly and as eager to know things as they are. It will be a different world. Espouse this and for one reason alone – there are no better listeners than children. For all those who have not been parents, this is the most gorgeous preview you can have into that other thing which is absolutely not overrated: watching your child grow.

As if on cue, my iGoogle threw this out today “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity and tolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.”

2. Let people finish sentences, listening can be a second step

It is difficult to listen-listen. No doubt about that. Our mind is drifting into daily could-have-beens and it is nary an easy task to refocus. But something needs to be done about the nimbleness with which we pre-empt the way people would like their sentences to end, and jump the gun. If on occasion, we do let them finish, our rejoinder is planted with the quickness, but alas not the continuum, of a relay-race cucumber. Hear out the way sentences end, and do away with the longing for one’s own voice. It does not have to recur with a vengeance every few seconds. It will be possible to live. When we start hearing the endings of more sentences, a few things in our life will sort themselves out.

3. Use humor, by all means, but first…

Humor has made great people God-like. It has also redeemed scumsters. Check any greatest quotations page. We all love ruthless humour till we are not in the business end of it. I can extol its virtues and concurrently say that there are other variants of humor which are decidedly not pointing you “directly to hell”. The plain-faced, seeking no-one but sparing no-thing, good laughs kind of humor. I have seen that this wonderfully charming brand of humor has one core element – self-deprecation. A sense of humour is nothing if not used well against oneself. If you can laugh at yourself, loud, full-throttled, then the world will be at your feet. Guaranteed that people bring their walls crashing down the minute someone adds unexpected humour. Make laughs and remember you laughed at yourself first.

4. Proven never to kill: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

No bottomless rice bowl of knowledge, beauty or other God given gifts can help anyone defy a natural law. For instance, gravity. I wish genuinely felt and extended mutual respect became a natural law.

We are an only roughish sum of our beliefs, intentions, feelings, world views, knowledge, absorptions and observations, and I am sure a triple hundred other X factors. With so much variability person to person, the only thing that we can assure every one is mutual respect. Respect that opinions will never be a single person’s dominion. Or that a single person’s opinion is just that – one person’s valid expression of his / her view. Accept it first, then respect it. Not the opinion specifically, but that this matrix will exist. No amount of name-calling or aggression can change that one fact. Our living is not a land-mine chequered with bombs waiting to go off at the slightest differences of opinion.

Extending respect, and of this there is no doubt, is a choice we make. It’s not a congenital ability or lack thereof. But so many times, it seems so. Our environment, upbringing and education shape how deep-seated “respecting” becomes, but beyond that, it is something most "of us" should be able to do.
It's a pity if we don't.

5. 13 messed up expectations and nowhere to go: then turn

There will always be expectation-perception mismatches. And there is no easy way out - it will always be around people you care for, cared for, wanted to care for and thought had a good thing going. Till I discovered “Happy Corners to Turn”, I was a little disturbed by what I thought was, and here come the quote signs, "my reading of someone being insensitive, unaware and generally neutral to my sum total." Like an old school buddy you just cannot connect with. Like the autumning of a somewhat-great friendship. Like hard work unrewarded. Like love returned cold. It smacks of pain. And of course, on learning lesson 4, I respect that these mismatches are inevitable.

So I try and turn the corner before the horribles can come in. I tell my mind to think of all the good things - like open the floodgates of light - like the final scene of "Escape to Victory". And hopefully, within minutes, I have killed the horribles. But they are hydra-headed, so I need to keep trying harder. The mind has a staggering ability to do your will. Will it to stay away from pain and hurt. And at any rate, not seek it out. And it will. Startlingly, without any baggage.

As though on cue again, the funny quote on my gmail said today: “The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool."