How predictable.

The days are getting longer, the sun brighter, the little blue ball takes another turn.

A new job brings new work and new people. New stories and new lives.

The tiny grooves in my soles don’t pick up tiny pebbles. They squeal in protest on polished granite.

The smoke rising from my cigarette is reflected on the glass towers. Until it gives up.

From my chair, I see the planes take off in the distance. Up, up, up, get the fuck out of here.

An elevator has mirrors to show me my hair. Can’t I do anything about it? Shouldn’t I chop it off? Couldn’t I give a damn?

Does knowing the spelling of scintillating, knowing ‘something other than enjoy’, make you a writer? Does the lack of interest slash ability to make wisecracks disqualify you? Does it matter?

Birthdays and weddings, bills and deadlines, events and meetings, the distractions keep you busy while life gushes by.

Or is this life itself? And you, the child who wants to be an astronaut, the dog chasing the red dot? Perhaps you are still to learn; you see, a fish’s dream should stay in the sea.

The days are getting longer, the sun brighter, but the winter of discontent rages on.

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Life’s too short for India Gate

Years ago, I was young and foolish. I know, it seems astounding now, but it is true. I wore long hair and jeans with pockets torn off and flames painted on them (by myself).

One evening, around 7, I was walking towards Ansal Plaza, a mall in one of Delhi’s poshest, ‘cleanest’ localities. Two guys passed by on a bike. They said something which took a few moments to register. Something I ‘d rather not repeat here. It was getting dark, and they had seen someone with long hair walking alone. That was enough. They realized their mistake as they saw my face (or my lack of boobs, perhaps; I doubt they look at faces) and one of them squealed with laughter, yelling to the other, ‘Abe banda hai!’

It made me laugh. And then it made me sick in the stomach.

There’s been enough said about this during these past few days. The problem with most of it, as usual, is the same. Most of the people analyzing and pontificating, most of the people in charge of everything, have one common factor that disqualifies them, that invalidates everything they say. They all have penises.

If you’ve never known what it’s like to live like a second-rate human being, how can you be expected to understand what the big deal is?

This is who we are. This is what we are. This is precisely what our glorious culture is.

From religion to mythology, fables to rituals, laws to TV shows, misogyny runs deep. Protest all you want, shout until your voice croaks with pain, it’s not going away. Not until the penises are in charge.

What can you do about it?

Get the fuck out of here, while you can.




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Rearrange me till I’m sane

Why do you look so … sad?

You’re pretty quiet, aren’t you? I thought you creative types were always talking, full of energy and all.

You should try yoga. It really helps when you’re feeling low.

It’s important to keep in touch with relatives. Nobody can replace your family.

Why don’t you ever answer any calls? Stop acting like an asshole and taking friends for granted.

You went for a holiday alone? What’s wrong with you? Are you like, depressed or something?

Sometimes you just have to do these things, whether you like them or not.

Do you only listen to these sad-type songs?

We’re trying to have a more vibrant atmosphere here. We need you to be more energetic.

Why don’t you sleep on time, like normal people?

How can you not like parties? What are you, anti-social?

Why do you always want to work alone? You’ve got to involve the team, you know.

You know, just doing good work isn’t enough. Social skills are just as important.

Any plans for the New Year’s? Or will you sit at home and read books. Haha.

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A train wreck of thoughts

6 hours, 27 minutes. Yeah, that’s enough. Of course it’s enough. You only need 6 hours. I’ll probably snooze till 9 anyway. No, I really should go on time tomorrow. It’s the last few days. Not that I have anything to prove. These fucking dogs. Man’s best friends. Won’t let man sleep, best friend. Isn’t there something wrong if your best friend is another species. Stop doing that. Get a new pillow, for god’s sake. Where do you get a new pillow? I’ve never seen a pillow shop. Where did these come from? No clue. Maybe you get them at Zara. Zara? What the hell? Fuck it’s 4? Oh fuck me, I can’t wake up on time now. Maybe I should smoke. What the fuck? You almost threw up your lung just then. But it does help you sleep, doesn’t it? Don’t be an asshole. There’s polonium in your lungs. It has a half life of 20 years or something. So it’s already like a nuclear reactor, no? One more won’t hurt. Will. Critical mass. Maybe that’s why I’m still feeling hot in December. January will be a change finally. Try and do other things too, like save some money. And not waste all your fucking time watching shit. Really? We’re doing resolutions now? No really, I need some money. I’ll need to move out before the summer. Fuck, summer, horrible. We should have our own Game of Thrones meme. Brace yourself. Summer is coming. Picture of a corporate type with a vest-shaped sweat patch on his shirt. And sticky powder on his neck. Yeah, that’s not going, you know. It’s called smoker’s cough. Aur pee le cigarette, bhenchod. What if I don’t get a new job? I can’t stay here. No way. You know my ego won’t allow it. I can’t go there either. That’ll just make me suicidal. You are suicidal. You just don’t have the balls. Fuck off. You know you love this, on a weird subconscious level. You like being depressed and shit. I can’t sit at home, I’ll go crazy. God, I remember that time after college. That was hell. Actual hell. At least you won’t have girls treating you like garbage. Or did you like that too? Sad bastard. At least I could write better. Yeah. Fucking Dostoevsky you were. Did my tooth just magically stop hurting? Shut up, don’t remind it. Think of something else. Don’t see the time. What’s the point, don’t do it. I’m going to be late anyway. Deal with it in the morning. Oh fuck it, this is not working. Okay, one smoke. I won’t in the morning. Not until lunch, I swear.

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Fatal exceptions

My office, like every other miserable office, has a lot of Windows PCs. And as we have grown up to expect, they keep conking off with a warmly reassuring regularity.

What drives me crazy is how people react to this. Every other week, I see someone making a big fuss about it, going around with their tales of suffering, blaming everyone from the IT guy to Bill Gates. Or, I see them sitting quietly on their desks, fiddling with their phones, looking bored in an accusatory way, as if the world owes them a constant stream of holiday pictures and gagworthy memes.

Last week, a vile strain of trojans went full-scale thermonuclear on my ugly, old laptop, and it surrendered. It took a bit of Googling and some help from a friend, but I managed to get it from bright-blue dead to perfect working condition within an hour. I didn’t complain about the IT guys, I didn’t sit around waiting for someone to come and fix it, and I didn’t play angry birds and wait for the sun to go down. Nobody in my office even knew about it, although the computer belongs to the company. But then, so does my time.

This morning, I saw an esteemed colleague drumming his fingers on the armrests of his chair. He said he can’t do anything – anything – because his PC has gone out. Ignoring the voice in my head (Can you see? Can you think? Can you imagine a cat behaving with comically appalling impropriety?), I tried to help.

Me: Did you try Safe Mode?

EC: Yup, didn’t start.

Me: How about System Restore?

EC: I don’t think I have than enabled. Waiting for the IT guy to come in.

Me: You can try repairing with a Windows CD. We have one in the cabinet.

EC: I don’t have a CD drive! Can you believe that?

Me: Yes. But ask X, he has the set-up on a bootable USB.

EC: You know, I don’t want to waste my time on this shit. Fixing computers is not my job.

I walked away with a smile, wishing I was the Creative Director so I could tell him what exactly his job was.

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Of all the things we’ve lost,

Lately, I’ve been losing a lot of my stuff. My nails are also growing much slower than they used to, and those two things probably have the same level of deep metaphorical-ness to them, but what the hell, let’s try anyway.

When I was child, I had a GI Joe figure who had a tiny plastic sword. It was like a Samurai sword, straight and flat, and I used to love it more than all the tanks and airplanes that I also had. (Parents trying to assuage guilt by buying toys, and all that. Long story, but I didn’t complain. I had Castle Grayskull too.) I remember the day I lost the sword. It was small, detachable and almost transparent, so it was inevitable. But I cried like child. I still don’t know why it mattered so much.

But ever since, I think, I haven’t been too attached to things. I like them, but I seem to have got over the pre-pubescent madness for shiny toys which is all the rage these days. I never dream of buying gadgets or clothes or bikes, or anything at all. And I don’t stop for a moment to lament the loss of objects.

But recently, after a particularly unlucky streak, I’ve been thinking of all the things I’ve lost over the years. I like to think there’s a guy somewhere, walking around wearing my sneakers, my Benetton jacket and my Ray Bans, listening to my Springsteen albums on my music player, sending embarrassing texts to pretty girls from my Nokia phone, and flicking my Zippo on fire (not an innuendo). He may also have a drawer full of my cassettes, my books, my pencils, my Hot Wheels, my comics, my Sega cartridges, my hard disk full of ‘movies’, and my Sony Discman which was once the envy of my primitive, tape-rewinding peers.

I’ve been thinking about this, because today, I imagine that guy walking around with a newfound hope. I imagine him walking purposefully with his head held comically high; looking at the sad, hopeless people around him with a mix of contempt and pity, thinking he’ll show them how to live a life; looking around at the garbage that surrounds him and smiling, believing he’s meant for something bigger and better.

If you see this guy, could you tell him I’d like my Zippo back, please. It was a gift.

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The alarm clock in the sky

Each morning, I’m woken up by an animated 3D alarm clock vibrating cheerfully on the screen of my phone, singing ‘Like a rolling stone’. Most mornings, it does a fairly acceptable job. But the problem – and this is the problem with most of our technology – is that there are 5 ways to shut it up. Two of them stop it for good, and the other three put it on a 5 or 10-minute snooze. And I’m expected, in the middle of my often too-disturbing-to-describe-here dreams, to perform complicated swiping and swooshing gestures to find the right option.

So, yeah. I woke up late this morning.

I think I slept through the alarm, because when I woke up, I’d been dreaming a peculiar dream. I was walking to work and everyone around seemed like they were dying to get somewhere. They kept glancing up at the sky, where a big, round clock hung menacingly. The minute hand crept, tick by tick, to the top. It struck 9 and let out a screaming ring that drove everyone crazy. Cars honking madly, people running across the roads, bikes racing across pavements. The ringing kept going louder and higher, until it woke me up.

Come to think of it, it’s hardly a fantastic dream. It’s just like any other dull day, in fact.

I’ve been thinking of this for a while, and it’s absurd. People say we’re a slave to technology. No, we’re a slave to the ticking clocks. We weren’t meant to live like this, racing each other at 80 km an hour, shoving each other in trains, scared to death that we might get 10 meaningless man-made time-units late. Oh, what a catastrophe that would be.

Perhaps also because I’ve been meaning to start reading The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. On the back cover, it says:

Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralysing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.

Somewhat trite, yet potentially interesting. (Update: No. It’s a waste of time.)

So, in protest, I decided not to look at the time today. The sun was mild and there was a cool breeze blowing in from the mountains, reminding me that winter’s on its way. I did not rush to reach office on time, did not break for lunch on time, and did not troop out for coffee breaks on time, like a goddamn machine.

It’s three quarters past six, and I’m yet to look at the time. You should try it sometime. It’s delightfully pointless.

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