A Dowg's Life

I’m a dowg. Woof.

Second chances.

Life is not always fair.
Life is anything but fair.
We are looking for answers.
We are trapped in non-existing problems.
We hate our jobs.
We hate our society.
We hate our government.
We hate just for the sake of hating.
We are running.
We are stressed.
We are tired.
We are losing hope!

We need a break.
We need a second chance.

There are no second chances in life. And that’s what makes it so beautiful. Life isn’t fair because we fuck things up by assuming that we are in deep shit. We aren’t. Friends make life easy. Family makes life easier. Respect them. Respect yourself. Hating is the ‘in’ thing. It is ‘in’ because it puts you in a mess. A mess that you start liking because other messed up people start relating to you. You don’t want to hate. You just want the attention. You can get attention from optimism too. Learn the difference. Jobs are your way of making money. Use that goddam money to treat yourself. Pamper yourself today. No point waiting for your retirement. You may not be alive to see your 50th birthday.

We don’t get second chances because we keep looking for help outside. Only you can help yourself. Nobody else gives a shit about your existence. And that’s the truth!

Do you think you deserve a second chance?

Give it to yourself. You deserve it.

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I am fine… now.

Yesterday, I turned 31. Not that it makes any difference to my life, but it surely gives you an understanding, or better yet, an assumption of how my mind should work in today’s times.

Yes, the birthday was celebrated with lots of alcohol, food & cakes (Yes, I had three). Yes, I had my family & friends with me. Yes, I loved every moment of it. Yes, I feel blessed. Yes, this feeling lasted only a day.

Unfortunately, we, majority of today’s generation, are busy running a blind race. Everyone is running without a destination. Maybe, the destination is survival. Maybe, the destination is fame & appreciation. Maybe, the destination is just the journey. I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t have a destination anymore. I did have one few years ago, it was achieved. A new goal was set, that was achieved as well. Weirdly enough, I stopped setting myself new targets. This made me a drifter. A drifter through life. At 31, this isn’t a good sign. Actually, its never a good sign to drift through anything.

Fortunately for me, I keep having interventions on or around my birthday. I had one at 24, then at 28 & now at 31. All have been distinct, precise & have hit me like a tank!

Few months ago, on my second wedding anniversary, we received the first major bad news of the year. My father in law was seriously ill. He passed away three days later. It was quite a shock for the family.

Soon after, my father was diagnosed with Liver cancer – stage 4. This was his second cancer diagnosis (He had a lung cancer surgery in 2008). The following couple of months are quite a blur. I am not sure whether I stayed at home & visited hospitals or it was vice versa. After consulting doctors from around the globe, we finally came down to a specialised therapy. This therapy gave us hope. Sadly, like everything else, hope came with a hint of a threat.  “Liver can get better with time but it may damage the kidney.” Another set of hospitals visits & consultations followed this news. We decided to go ahead.

This was the second time I was sensing fear in my father’s eyes. This time, however, he was doing a much better job at hiding all the pain, anger and helplessness. I am not sure what was/is going on in his mind, but I am sure of one thing – he is not a quitter! Nothing explains his habit of saying, “I am fine.” even in the semi-conscious state, all through the three weeks that he was admitted in the hospital last month.

During this period, I started distancing myself from all my usual antics. Fewer interactions with friends, zero time for work, no road/air/rail trips with wife etc. Barely any ‘happy’ memories were made during these times. I’ve always had the luxury of having lovely people around me, and I consider myself really lucky for the same. If I believed in God, i would thank him for these wonderful souls. Regretfully, I stopped valuing them. I stopped valuing everything. I had/have no reason for this, no excuse either. I was distancing myself from all the people who mattered to me.

Early morning, on my birthday, my best friend came to pick me up for a surprise. I was still buzzing from the previous night’s drinkage. He took none of it, and forced me to go along with him to a ‘magical’ place. After an hour and half long drive, I found myself standing below the same hospital where my father is being treated. I thought it was a horrible joke. Instinctively, my voice became loud & I abused my friend. All this, in the middle of the road, in front of about 50-60 people.

After 5 minutes of verbal diarrhea, I followed him to the auditorium on the second floor. It was decorated to the last stone. It was decorated for a birthday party. No, it wasn’t a surprise party for my birthday. It was decorated for all the children present at the hospital.

You see, every two months, a bunch of volunteers, ageing between 17 to 65, come together and organize a party for all the children (patients or belonging to patients). It was scheduled for 20th of this month, but, due to the heavy rains in the city, it was postponed to 27th – My birth date.

I cannot express my experience in words because it still is too overwhelming for me to even fathom. I was there for almost two hours and was crying for most parts. No, it wasn’t boring or overly dramatic. It was simple & lovely. A stage was made for all the ‘entertainers’ and seating was made available for about 500 odd ‘guests’. By the end of it, the guests were the real entertainers.

The kids were everywhere. They were dancing. They were singing. They were having a crazy fun time punching the mascot in Chhota Bheem outfit. It was like the movies where a terminally ill patient comes to life for no rhyme or reason. Most of these kids won’t be healthy enough to enjoy 2017, maybe. They didn’t care. They just wanted to grab the spotlight & have a blast. They did it with much pride, flaunting the party hats and notwithstanding their breathing masks (a compulsion for them).

I was later introduced to the people behind the show; each had an interesting story of their own. Mr. Niranjan Parikh – The spearhead. Mrs. Ameeta Bhatia – The driving force. Dr. Brijesh Arora – The support system. And many others who were present just to make a small difference in someone else’s life.

Mr. Parikh quit being super rich the day he turned 50. He left his job, social formalities & started being at the hospital for others. He works with different NGOs and counsels the patients and their families. I think he is in his sixties, and about 8-10 hours of his day is spent in this hospital. Every day! Very rarely you see contentment & peace on someone’s face. You see it all over his face, especially when he sits with all the kids and laughs like a 5 year old.

Sanjeev, in his bright red pants & tight white shirt was busy singing with the kids. I was told that Sanjeev’s wife passed away in 2009 due to cancer, in this very hospital. He has made himself available for any/all functions, which are organized here ever since. This guy chose to smile & be happy. Something that most people find impossible even in their thoughts.

Mr. Yadav came to Bombay with his nephew in early 2012. The diagnosis broke all his hopes. He, along with the family, decided to go back home & wait for the inevitable. Mr. Parikh spoke to him and convinced him to stay and give his nephew a fighting chance. Today, his nephew is much better than the day he came to Bombay. Also, Mr. Yadav is now a regular volunteer at events & has started being just like Mr. Parikh – working with different NGOs & helping people who visit the hospital. “Hope & Faith is my new best friends.”, he said with a smile.

There were many such stories floating around in the room. The same room that I have crossed hundreds of times in the recent past but didn’t know existed.

It has been over 24 hours since the event ended and I am still trying to put all the pieces together. I think, with time, relations, situations & experiences, everyone changes their priorities. These priorities are often things that don’t even matter in the long run. These priorities are often sucking all our time and energies from our system. These priorities are often the reason why we get blinded with false sense of pride & ego. These priorities are often the end of us.

I see now that my priorities are all wrong. Hopefully, I am strong enough & ready enough to bring in the change. I couldn’t possibly have received a better birthday gift. As always, it was my family & friends who made me see the truth. As always, I’ve realized the worth of people who truly care for me.

After a long time, I have set a challenge for myself. I know I will beat it sooner than later. I’m sure not because I am good enough.. but because my people wouldn’t let me fail.

Happy Birthday to me!

Notes:

If you think you can share your time and/or wealth for such events, please get in touch with Mr. Gaurav Karia. He organizes these events at Tata Memorial Hospital. You can contact him at gauravkaria@gmail.com Or Ameeta Bhatia, Volunteer Social Worker, Pediatric Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital. Phone no. +91-9821617360.

The Happy Feeling.

I wrote this blog in 2010. Many things have changed since then and a lot many new learnings have been absorbed in the system. Somethings, however, changed for the worse. I would like to be this guy again. His life was uncomplicated and easy. Mine, well, maybe I’ll write about it some other time. 

I am a happy man. I have been happy for quite sometime now and it has nothing to do with my over flowing bank account or exceedingly fulfilling personal life. The sole reason behind this emotion is the beautiful atmosphere I breathe these days. No, It’s not the weather – It’s the feeling!

Let me explain, after 28 years of surviving this world & all that comes along with it. Recently, Finally, I sensed that I really didn’t have to survive anything. Nothing to be proved. Nothing to be conquered. Noone to be pleased. Noone to be destroyed. I feel so because, lets face it, life is way too short to please everyone! I have settled to please the one and only person, the most important person in my life – ME!!!!

Today, I spend every single second in doing things that make me happy. Materialistic or otherwise, I want it all. Selfishly enough, I have started taking part in other’s success/happy moments – at times it is genuine, at times it is purely for the love of free alcohol, arm candies & cake! I don’t lie to people to make them happy but I don’t disclose the entire truth either. I don’t want to hurt anyone; only to keep my life simple & hassle free. I want to experience every fascinating/stupid/expensive/free feeling that I wake up with. No one else exists in my priority list anymore.

Today, I have become too proud to lose my sleep over lost business opportunity. I am not saying that it doesn’t hurt me to face failures or to see money find another pocket, it obviously affects me, but, I know for a fact that there is enough work for everyone in the market (provided you aren’t a dumbass). I have seen money up close. I slept with her. I made her my bitch. Now I have lost interest, so, I don’t go looking for her every day and I’m more than happy meeting her once a month. I couldn’t care less who takes her home these days. She keeps me satisfied and that’s all that matters.

Today, the daily routine sucks up every bit of energy from my soul, thus preventing me from plotting all the horrendous plans we see in the daily soaps every night on every channel. Every individual has an obsession of cursing the ‘routine life’ and they do so for extremely valid reasons. However, I would like to say that one should not underestimate this ‘life’ even for a split second. If not for your tiresome, lonely, low paying, unfulfilling & completely frustrating routine; you would have to worry about issues like inflation, global warming, continuously decreasing life expectancy, water/land shortage, pathetic hygiene/health and the most dreaded topic – family/future planning! I am not saying that you don’t question yourself about these things, but you do it in your free time. Imagine if you didn’t have your miserable routine every day – you would have 24 hours of free time. What the hell will you do then?

Today, I have become exceptionally ignorant as well. Today’s headline is tomorrow’s waste. Be it Prince (the boy wonder) or Kasab. From Ayodhya to the CWG. I personally think that there is no real news in any of the news channels. No exceptions. For some unknown reason every ‘journalist’ concentrates purely on the negative and conveniently forgets the good in the world. Eg. they spent numerous hours/pages in talking about how CWG was the biggest scam in the history of all scams. They focused only on the 10% of unfinished work, and conveniently kept aside the 90% of splendor. Having said that, I think it is entirely our fault! They show what we want to see. Incase we don’t, we ignore it and change channels for some better form of entertainment. It is a slow but sure way of changing things. We have ignored things (stupid saans-bahu serials or declining levels of journalism) for so long that now it has reached a situation where everything on television is just an idiotic and fictitious take on society! Maybe the times will change and life will come full circle, but for now, we have to settle for ‘Chain se jeena hai toh jaag jao’ morons.

Today, I am happy because I have accepted few things about life in general. I have absolutely no qualms in declaring that I am extremely selfish, highly conceited, completely ignorant guy who has a pathetic and frustrating daily life!

Strangely enough these ‘drawbacks’ are proving to be the best thing to have happened to me.

Today, I am a happy man.

An open letter to myself.

Hello Big boy,

How have you been? Long time, no see. Been a while since we shared few beers & had a conversation. I must admit, I have missed our times together. If I didn’t know you better, I would have thought that you don’t value our friendship anymore. Anywho, let’s not make this about me, this is about you.

Last we spoke, couple of years back, you were talking about finding a new life in a new country. How is that thought treating you? Are you still looking forward to shifting to Australia or that small town in Europe? No, right? I knew it. You don’t have the balls to leave this country and lead a happy life. You will forever be stuck in this fabulous country, where corruption is the main religion. I still don’t understand why you wouldn’t use your money and bribe everyone to get the work done. You give too much importance to law, hardwork & ethics. It’s all bullshit. Its time you start following our national leaders & chill the fuck out.

Talking about chilling the fuck out, how is the family doing? Still worried about the upbringing of your future children? The safety & security of the next generation is still bothering you, isn’t it? You will never change. Today, you have the access to all the fantastic doctors who can guarantee you a son. You need to realize that, in this country, you don’t have to worry about anything as long as you don’t have a daughter. Besides, why would you even want to have a daughter; they are nothing more than a liability. Sons, on the other hand, are excellent investments. I’m sure you don’t agree & will throw your common sense at me, but dude, who needs common sense in this country? You just have to make sure that your son stays away from Chinese food, that’s a sure cure for all rape-ish thoughts. Get rid of common sense & its an easy life. Try it. (For more, talk to the marvelous men from Khap panchayat. They are awesome!)

Are you still reading this? Oh, good. I needed an advice. I was reading about the crores-worth welfare parks & stunning elephant statues propping up in some parts of the country. What do you suggest, should I use my tax money to buy a new car or invest in a new property? Or should I take family for a luxurious trip around the world? Or maybe, I should buy jewellary for the wife. Tough choices. Oh wait, I almost forgot, you are the one who believes in paying due taxes to the government. The same money, which is later shipped to Switzerland & is never seen again for the betterment of the country. Hehe. Idiot!

You really thought that I would ask you for an advice? That’ll be like asking you how to spend time without news channels & daily-soaps on the television. You have a comment about that too, don’t you? I knew it. You think that today’s media will sleep with you if you show them some money. You think that they are ignorant dicks who have sold their souls to the devil. You think that news channels are biased & that they don’t report the complete truth. You think that they pick up stories & then hype it up purely to gain good ratings. You think that these daily-soaps aren’t based on true life, and that women don’t dress up like a Christmas tree every freaking day. You think vamps & backstabbing people don’t exist in every family. You think that watching Bigg Boss is not good for children. Well, Sir, you think wrong. You should leave all these imaginary thoughts & come back to reality. Everything we see on the news channels is true & nothing is completely unbiased. Daily-soaps are mandatory for every individual’s personal growth. Our children don’t need funny cartoons; they need to see blood, violence & brutal deaths.

You need to relax my friend. Spend more time on the wonderful world of social media. Facebook & Twitter are a great way to stalk random people & then report them to the authorities. It really doesn’t matter what you report them for, because, once you accuse someone for ill-treating your religious believes, it’s for them to prove their innocence. What? You don’t believe me? Go ahead and read the IT laws. They are made to help you, to help you get rid of all the people you have grown to dislike. Use it. Also, please don’t treat these platforms as a medium to express yourself; someone will report your ass to jail.

Incase you don’t fancy social media, try watching some Bollywood movies. Enough with your desires of wanting a crisp script, sound logic, acting talents and originality in the movies. Look at the box office returns of movies like Ek Tha Tiger, Rowdy Rathore, Housefull 2, Jab Tak Hai Jaan & Bol Bachchan. All have crossed the 100 Crore mark. What more can a viewer ask for? These numbers say everything about the movie. Your demands are wrong and baseless. It is high time you become a part of the herd & enjoy these epic movies.

Also, I must point out that you need to start believing. Start believing in the constitution of religion. Your concept of one God is just stupid. How can one God treat the whites, blacks, brown & yellow people, equally? How can one God allow you to eat meat & then stop others from doing the same? How can one God be responsible for 7 billion people? People are not stupid to follow religion for thousands of years. People are not stupid to kill those who don’t believe in their God. People are not stupid to vote for politicians based on caste & religion. People are not stupid to not help other religion, lest it helps the overall growth of mankind. People are not stupid, You are! And hey, God accepts bribes too, just call it ‘chanda’ or ‘donation’.

I hope I was able to knock some sense in your stubborn head. Life is easy, don’t complicate it. Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra.

PS, posting this letter for all your friends too as most of them are following a wrong path in life. I hope you idiots learn & start trusting our distinguished leaders.

PSS, Before outraging, have your daily dose of sarcasm.

PSSS, Don’t drink & drive.  

 

Peace!

– Your conscience.

 

I sat on the road but did not get dirty.

It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. I started the day with a heavy head & zero work pressure. Parents were leaving for Dubai in the afternoon, and hence, last night was spent with them over an extended dinner & few close friends. The only agenda for the today was to drop them to the airport & then meet a sweet couple for lunch.

Morning was nothing special, it mostly involved Father & I talking about cricket and the weather as Mother & my wife were busy making some delicious breakfast.

“Aaj toh zaroor baarish hogi”

These words from my father were enough for Mother to start her mandatory pre-travel ranting.

“Aaj hi honi thi baarish? Pura sheher paani mein doob jaega. Hamari flight toh pakka cancel ho jaegi.” 

“Lo… shuru ho gayee Ram katha.” said Father, as he walked towards the bathroom.

Last minute packing was over. Breakfast was had. Goodbyes to the neighbors were said. It was time to fight the traffic and reach the airport on time. As a custom, we left an hour and half before time ‘cause, well, my father would rather reach his destination with few hours in advance than sit at home and relax. Works for him like a charm, I find it bloody frustrating.

We reach the airport just about on time, heavy traffic made sure that father was correct with his suggestion & we had yet another reason for me to enjoy the walk of shame. Final goodbyes were said with moist eyes, Mother & my wife shared their special moment. Father gave me a firm handshake. We were all smiles again & just then father realized that he brought two printouts of Mother’s ticket & none for his own. It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. A retired commissioner, who is known for his meticulousness, had forgotten his own ticket. Life was beautiful again. Hehe

Few quick calls and they were set to fly off. And they did. I miss them already 😦

We came out of the airport, wife went on to finish her work & I was on my way to meet my friends.

A quick message “Hello, what’s special for lunch? See you in 20” was sent as I lit my first cigarette of the day. Few traffic signals, light drizzle & another later cigarette later, I received a reply: “Some work came up, can’t do lunch today. Sorry.” And just like that, the plan was canceled & I was left with an empty, growling stomach. It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. Home was still an hour away & I had no intentions of heading to office, it was my ‘off’ day. It was futile to call any friend as everyone would have been busy with their usual routine ie. Abusing their boss while they work like a donkey!

Just when I was about to take a U-turn & head home, a car blocked my way – it was a friend who I hadn’t met for many years. It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. The weather was too good to be wasted sitting at home & we had a lot of catching up to do. Also, my carnivorous stomach was getting louder by the moment. Simple solution for all the above, we went for lunch. Couple of hours, few beers & long chats later we bid adieu to each other with a promise to keep in touch. One problem, we didn’t exchange numbers. Hehe

The climate was now way too delicious & I had a long drive in mind. Unfortunately, the flooded roads took the thought away from me rather quickly. It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. There was no traffic but there was enough water on the road to mess up a smooth ride. A mere 10 minute rain had caused many auto-rickshaws to stop working in the middle of the road, trucks were now shitting out devil’s smoke & the all vehicles were going slower than the Indian economy.

“I got the deal. Get a cake if you can. Love you :)” – Wife’s message brought a smile to my face. I was happy again.

Rain wasn’t so heavy close to home, it was slightly more than a drizzle. I entered my favorite bakery with a mouth full of saliva ready to run down, waiting for a bite of the gorgeous cakes displayed in front of me. I ordered two cakes, ‘cause you know, the more the merrier. As I walked towards my car, I saw a woman sitting right in front of my car.

There wasn’t enough room to get the car out and I was getting too impatient to wait. I repeatedly asked her to move but she didn’t respond. Maybe she was deaf. I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I couldn’t really understand what she was doing sitting on the road, getting soaked in this light but steady drizzle. I stopped talking once I saw her face. Infact, I am pretty sure I stood there for couple of minutes without even moving a muscle. I honestly did not know what to do. It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life.

She was an old lady, easily in her 70s. Dressed fairly decently, including well braided and oiled hair. Sadly, she was crying. She was crying because the polythene bag she was carrying broke and everything she had recently bought was on the ground. She was trying to pick everything up and put it in another bag. Here is the problem, amongst other things; she was trying to pick sugar, wheat & rice. Her trembling hands didn’t help much either. I tried to talk to her but she was too busy picking up the now-wasted grains.

vahu ne gusso aav se” (Daughter in law will get angry) is all she kept mumbling. It broke my heart, and I am pretty sure that if I had a soul, it would have cried as well. Knowing that no amount of convincing would make any difference to her, I did what I thought was right. I sat with her and helped her collect each & every piece from the ground – now mixed with rain water, mud & other road filth.

Once everything was safely in the bag, she stood up straight. Tears had stopped; the pain was still visible on her face. We had a small conversation where neither of us understood a word the other one said. I asked her where she stayed or if I could drop her someplace. She just nodded and walked away in a tiny lane next to the bakery. I stood there for a while. I was numb. I don’t quite remember how I drove home.

“What the hell happened to you? Did you fall? Are you okay?”

I didn’t have any answer to my wife’s questions. And to make matters worse, I had forgotten the delicious cakes on the road.

It’s funny how you can never plan anything in life. Ever.

MSD, the rise & demise of the Captain Fantastic.

This article is not about the game. This article is not about media. This article is not about the records. This article is not about the fans. This article is about the incidences on/off field which have/will heavily influence this great sport in India. This article is about Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

India is blessed with the abundance of talent across all walks of life. Sadly, not all get to see the bright light & achieve the fame, which they truly deserve. Others, however, can turn anything into gold by a mere touch. Unfair, right?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is probably the most well known name in India today. The captain of Indian team, who, with his ‘Midas’ touch, has managed to win everything that any Indian would has ever desired. Cricket World Cup, T20 World Cup, Number 1 in Test match cricket and the elusive wins outside the Indian subcontinent to name a few. This guy has gone further than any other Indian captain has ever been. However, does he deserve all this praise? My answer: HELL NO!

Strangely enough, the experts haven’t talked about his wicket-keeping skills. Numerous catches have been dropped in the last couple of years and still, nobody questions his technique. Having said that, his record behind the stumps is remarkable but is a wicket keeper in the team only to catch the balls once the batsman lets it go? Whatever happened to cheering up your bowlers? What happened to cheering up the team? What happened to ‘Aai ga’ ‘Shabbash’ ‘badiya hai’ chirps caught by the stump mic? Why is it that MSD smiles/shows happy emotion only when he has taken a good catch? Wicketkeepers are supposed to be the energy force behind the bowling team, where has this disappeared in the last few years? MSD is capable of all the above, and yet, everything seems missing from his game.

It’s an understatement to say that MSD is not the same batsman as he was during his initial days. The flamboyance has disappeared. The genuine passion for the game, which dripped from his face, is missing. Failures have taken a toll on him and he is now struggling to put forward his usual brilliance on the field. There is no doubt that MSD is an exceptional hitter of the cricket ball, why is it that he hasn’t done it often enough? Why has a butcher turned into a sheep farmer? I understand that at times, the team requires you to construct a cautious innings. Only at times. As a batsman, there are only a handful of innings that he has played to change the course of the match, and most of it, came when he wasn’t the captain of the team. We have seen his infamous ‘helicopter’ shot more in commercials and less on the field. I was an admirer of his attacking play (I still am), but its heartbreaking to see him lose that aspect of the game so early in his career. Yes, I do believe that he has a long way to go, provided, he gets back to being the MSD that took the world by storm.

Dhoni’s captaincy has not changed from day 1. His mantra is pretty simple; let the players do what they desire as long as they bring the positive results. It sounds good till things start to go south! Since 2007, when he took over the captaincy, there are hardly any noteworthy performances by him on field. They say, ‘Captain must lead from the front’, how often have you used this term for MSD since 2007? Infact, at times he has done things, which no international cricket should do: Choosing domestic cricket over international games. Two years in a row, MSD has taken a break from international cricket (Against WI & England) citing ‘overload of cricket’ as the excuse. Why didn’t he sit out of IPL if he thought he was getting burnt out? Agreed that IPL is all about the money & glamour, but at what cost? His policy, “players at this level know their responsibility & should do as expected.” Sounds good to the ears, but how practical is it? Virat Kohli has a documented history of abusing umpires, opposition players, fans & media personnel but MSD hasn’t done much about it – How do I know? Well, what did Kohli do after scoring his first Test century? Yes, BHENCHOD!

Clearly, everything that MSD has believed in, has failed miserably. Seven straight Test match losses are enough proof. As a cricket fan, I don’t mind the losses; I mind the manner in which my team lost – Repetitive mistakes, no planning, zero inspiration/motivation, unwillingness to improvise and lack of fight. This is unfathomable; especially from a team which was World Number 1 just a year back.

I have no qualms about players endorsing different brands, admit it, nobody minds some extra cash. Hell, I enjoy watching the IPL and passing comments on how stupid these players look in different commercials. Having said that, I am sick & tired of feeling let down by the team that, in an ideal world, should beat the crap out of most opponents.

As any other Indian, even I have certain suggestions for Captain Fantastic:

  • If you have cherished all the praise & adulations given to you by the media, learn to take all the criticism as well. It is a shame to hear you talk about quitting the game when the team is in the gutter.
  • People like Kohli & Shreesanth are immensely talented and as the captain of the team, it is your duty to help them channelize their energy in the right direction.
  • No more ‘he plays like that and we can’t do much about it’ statements for players like Sehwag.
  • Adopt the Steve Waugh method of being shrewd with the bowlers & make them learn the basics of batting. It was pathetic to see Zaheer Khan throw away his wicket every time he walked in to bat in Australia.
  • Stop the BS about constructing the innings; you are at your best when you destroy the opposition’s bowlers. Do it!

I am not a Dhoni fan, but even I believe that he has it in him to help Indian team bounce back & be the world leaders in the game of cricket. It is safe to say that his honeymoon period with the media is over, it is time for harsh realities & he needs to grow a pair and face it like a man. Domestic fixtures like IPL & CLT20 are good on the eyes, but that’s precisely where their importance ends.

On that note, here is a question for all: Do you think Dhoni would have secured his position in the team for so long if he weren’t the captain?

The big fat Indian wedding.


Let me start by saying that Sooraj Barjatiya has ruined the entire ‘wedding experience’ for the bride and the groom. Agreed that its fun for everyone to sit back & watch a million dance performances by the family & friends, but it has become increasingly impossible for the married couple of sport the fake all the fucking time.

I have just returned from a three-day wedding, which makes it four weddings this year – including mine. As is the custom with most weddings these days, an entire resort was booked to accommodate the guests. I must add here that it was one of the most well made & maintained resorts around Bombay. Having said that, I question the money spent on the overall ‘experience’ provided to each individual who was there to bless the happy couple. They could have bought a small country with that money.

Anyway, coming back to the wedding & it’s ever evolving ‘rituals’. With time and a number of Bollywood movies, the whole concept of weddings functions has changed drastically. The basic concept remains the same, but a lot many layers are added to it to enhance the core meaning. Layers are bought by money, the more money you have, deeper the bond between the couple (Bullshit!). Just like any Barjatiya movie, every wedding has a lot many characters. At times, too many to remember. This is my humble attempt at listing down these characters, incase you don’t fall in any ‘category’ then consider yourself as the forgotten one.

The Fathers.

These two gentlemen are the real deal. Hard men, who have seen the world and know the right from the wrong. Sadly, they can’t do shit about the wrongs during the wedding. To think of it, both the fathers aren’t that different from each other (Unless there is an ego battle ‘cause of an inter-caste love marriage). They are the foundations of the weddings, making sure that everything is smooth and flawless. However, there is one distinct difference between the two legends: Bride’s father will walk across an entire football field while talking on the phone with some dude trying to sell him credit cards. You see, he is in the can-not-be-rude-to-anyone mode. On the other hand, Groom’s father merely shakes/nods his head to show his approval. He is the king of this jungle, bitch!

How to spot Bride’s father: The only person at the wedding who has his hands glued together with Fevicol. Also known as Manmohanji’s clone.

How to spot Groom’s father: The dude who is smiling from ear to ear and has everyone laughing at his shit jokes. You need to respect him like Congress respects Soniaji.

The Mothers.

Do not, even for a slight moment, think that the two ladies are friendly with each other. This is the closest that they ever get to face the war. No words, no signs, no gestures, nothing. This is hottest cold war you shall ever witness. No matter how busy the mother is, she will always make a point to check out her ‘enemy’ with a microscopic perfection. Having said that, apart from the war, there are other battles to be won for these women. Groom’s mother is a winner by default. Yes. It’s as simple and pathetic at the same time. Nobody dares to win against her, not even the king of the jungle, ie. Mr. Groom’s Mother’s Husband. But irrespective to everything, Bride’s mother goes away with the ‘Strongest women on the planet’ award post the wedding. She goes through all the possible shit behind the curtains and yet manages to glow like a queen and smile like a shy princess.

How to spot Bride’s mother: She is the first to lose her voice amongst everyone present at the wedding.

How to spot Groom’s mother: You don’t deserve to be at the wedding if you don’t know her. This is serious, yo!

The Bride’s Family.

Here is where things start to get weird. Most of the elders are in-charge of the hospitality & stuffing all the desserts down every baraati’s throat. The male members do a fantastic job of it, but the females ignore everything and get busy with the gossip or singing random wedding songs. The so-called youngsters are responsible to amuse one and all (Ya, right!).

How to spot Bride’s uncles: They are always the first to get ready and stand at the entrance behind Bride’s father.

How to spot Bride’s aunts: They never smile.

How to spot Bride’s cousins: Everyone making a fool of themselves on stage by pretending to dance to a highly expensive choreographer’s tunes.

The Groom’s Family.

No movie is complete without the villain, enter groom’s family! Weddings will lose its charm if not for these creatures. Charm = Misunderstandings, unwarranted demands, highly mediocre behavior & utter disrespect for the other family. For some unknown reason, they feel that they own the Groom and have the right to dismiss the Bride’s family with complete disdain. Their only intention is to criticize everything at the wedding, including someone else’ ability to criticize. It’s true.

How to spot Groom’s family: They’ll tell you. Also, you’ll keep hearing “Hum ladke waale hai, samjhe?”.

The Bride’s Friends.

Probably the most excited bunch of people in the entire wedding. The phrase ‘Baigaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana’ is tailor-made for them. For no rhyme or reason, each one suffers from high blood pressure and anxiety attacks. Women are known to lose shit loads of weight during the wedding while the boys are often seen trying their best to shoulder the burden that Bride’s father/brothers/uncles have, only to fuck it up beyond any repair.

How to spot Bride’s female friends: They can be found standing/sitting/eating/giggling next to the Bride. These women are apt for Vicco Termeric adverts from the 1980s.

How to spot Bride’s male friends: Easy! They cry in the bathroom after a scolding from one of the family members. Funnily enough, most of them act, walk, talk & look like Sreesanth.

Groom’s Friends.

They are the most chilled out lot of the decade. Nothing/nobody matters to them for as long as they have alcohol and food on their table. To be honest, very few even know the function timings and venues. Two things matter the most to them: A, Mini-bar & B, Swimming pool.

How to spot Groom’s friends: Erm, why bother? They are as good as the extras behind Hrithik Roshan or Katrina Kaif. You know they exist but nobody really cares.

Good ‘ol Mr. Perfect.

There is always one person from each family, often an eldest member of the family, who is extremely particular about the muhurat, rituals, tradition, respect and similar notions. They are probably the only pure hearted people who, unfortunately, are often misjudged under any/all circumstances. For reference, Google Amrish Puri’s character in DDLJ.

How to spot Good ‘ol Mr. Perfect: Your soul will shiver the moment you look them in the eye.

The Groom.

This dude should ideally be the center of attention for most of the functions but, sadly, never gets the due credit for being one of the only two reasons behind this circus. It’s safe to refer to him as Rahul Dravid of weddings. He manages to sport the near perfect smile even though he is shitting bricks in his silk pants, and mind you, he has been continually shitting bricks in his pants ever since the engagement date was announced.

How to spot the Groom: Dude with the most expensive clothes but moves around like a headless chicken.

The Bride.

She is easily the most talked about individual during the wedding. For some unknown reason, every girl has a dream to get married in the most perfect manner possible and thus, she has been planning for her wedding ever since she was 5 years old. Yes, dressing up Barbie dolls was just an excuse to perfect the color combinations for the attractive themed events during her wedding. Having said that, most often than not, she goes away winning all the awards. Yes, she is the SRK of weddings.

How to spot the Bride: Well, DUH!

Now that we have all the core characters fixed, it’s time to add the layers and transform these dates into something unforgettable for the couple. Read: Show off your social status while making your children a scapegoat. I know I am wrong in judging people for the money they spend on weddings, but dude, if you are going to invite me, you are giving me the right to criticize you as well. Consider me as family. I have seen weddings where people have served cuisines from each continent, made by the best of the chefs from each continent. Parents have insisted on getting the flowers flown down from Spain. Wine has been specially packed & delivered from the French countryside. Event planners from London have flown down with their entire crew to organize a wedding in a small part of Rajasthan. Imagine a fashion show during the Mehendi function because the designer has designed the couple’s dresses for free or watching Ricky Martin perform at an Sangeet function. (Both the scenarios are true and have been witnessed with sheer disbelief by yours truly)

My point being, if weddings are all about bringing two individuals together, then why not keep them as the only reason to celebrate. Why create a noise about the venue, star performers, alcohol, costumes, jewellary or the profile of guests involved? I am yet to attend a wedding in the past 5 years where the couple had everything as per their whims and fancies. Agreed that the family is an important part of the whole process but that doesn’t give them the right to choose the perfect manner in which the couple should be married.

Ps: I haven’t mentioned anything about the Pundit ‘cause I think they are the biggest assholes on this planet. How else can you define an individual who takes money to bless a couple? No further comments on them.

Pss: It’s high time that people stop blowing ridiculous amount of money over such private affairs.

Psss: Few of my closest people are wedding planners and they agree with the above-mentioned point.

Rockstar, indeed!

These days, I am asked to write an open letter to anyone and everyone. It has become a standard reply from most of my friends. My ‘15 minutes of fame’ died a rapid yet glorious death and left me with a happy grin about the success of it all. I wonder if Imtiaz Ali feels the same post the incredible directorial venture, ‘Jab We Met’.

Unfortunately, every actor and director in Bollywood has carved a comfort zone for himself or herself & very few dare to step out and risk their market record. Imtiaz Ali is no exception. Four movies. Four love stories. Having said that, all his movies have been ‘different’ and yet had a similar underlying theme, “You don’t find love, it finds you.” Well, I maybe wrong but that’s my take on his movies so far.

Rockstar, for me, is all about passion. It’s a man’s journey from being a complete nobody to an international icon only to realize that he never wanted this dream to come true. It’s about a woman who has everything and yet feels empty from inside. It’s about journalist who would go to any level just for the ‘front-page’ story. It’s about a friend who goes to lengths to protect his eccentric friend. More than anything, it’s about people living their whole life fighting just to run away from themselves.

Moments before the intermission, my wife whispered, “Is this a no-interval movie?” No, not because she was bored, but, because she couldn’t believe the pace with which the movie was moving forward. I shared the exact same emotions. Barring few scenes, I thought the first half was excellent. Sadly, the second half couldn’t maintain the same pace and almost like a mandate for Bollywood movies, it became slow and sappy!

It’s not an original movie by stretch of imagination. You see Rose & Jack when JJ/Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) taunts Heer (Nargis Fakhri) of being Miss. ‘Neat & clean’ and then helping her live the ‘other’ side before her marriage. You also see Bella & Edward (from Twilight) when Jordan belongs physically incapable of staying away from Heer and she starts living off his presence and unconventional behavior.

I was highly disappointed with A R Rahman’s music till I saw the movie. He has delivered a masterpiece and you need the whole package to experience the beauty of it. Each & every song has a different feel and it has been wonderfully captured in the movie.

There is something really likable about an Imtiaz Ali movie. Fourth time in a row, he has made people sit up & take notice of the characters on the big screen. He has the ability to keep the star name off camera & convert them into the solid characters he believes in. Also, it takes tremendous efforts and courage to sell a love story without using the four-letter word even once.

Nargis Fakhri looks delicious even during the weakest moments in the movie; her acting skills are non-existing. This is not such a bad thing considering a certain Katrina Kaif is ruling the industry by doing exactly the same.

Now, let’s talk about the real Rockstar. Ranbir Kapoor. Forget the disastrous debut. Forget the off-screen persona. Forget the rich heritage. Say hello to the next superstar of Bollywood. I can bet my house that Ranbir Kapoor can and will be the biggest star that this industry has ever seen and the reason is simple, he doesn’t need to act to be a good actor. He is the Hrithik Roshan of dance. He is the Amitabh Bachchan of crisp & clear dialect. He is the Ajay Devgan of intensity. He is Salman Khan of charm. Acting seems as natural as breathing for him and that makes him extremely believable. You are forced to believe him when he screams in pain. You want to believe him when cries at the realization of losing his everything. You do believe him in the last scene when he has nothing left, except a glimpse of someone who has left this world and became hers forever.

Special mention needs to go for Mohit Chauhan. I can’t imagine any other singer who would have done justice to Rahman’s music and suited Ranbir’s character. Infact, if I were Ranbir, I would have only Mohit Chauhan sing all the future songs.

Rating: Watchable.

Notes:

  • Bollywood needs to rethink the strategy of selling foreign destinations. There was absolutely no relevance of including Prague as a destination; the same could have been pulled off with any other location.
  • PVR needs to rethink its strategy of making money during intermission. 25 minutes are way too much for anyone to digest!
  • Second half could have been half an hour shorter & still would have left the same impact on the audience.
  • I had goose bumps during the ‘Saada Haq’ song.
  • I am gay for Janardhan Jakhar!

An open letter to SRK.

Dear SRK,

First and foremost, let me congratulate you on creating the biggest ‘product’ in the history of Indian cinema. I call Ra.One a product simply because it’s not just about the mind-blowing (literally) experience you have provided in the theatre. It’s about the constant & consistent torture we have been through, ever since you started ‘dreaming’ about taking Bollywood a ‘step ahead’.

I have never been a fan of your acting skills except for maybe three movies. First (DDLJ) when I knew nothing about cinema or acting. I just wanted to be Raj Malhotra, not because you inspired me to be a better person, but because I wanted to get laid and my acne-prone face combined with zero conversation skills was just jealous of your onscreen persona. Second & third (Swades & Chak De) are probably your best movies till date. To be honest, according to me, you were incredibly believable in the movie only because you chose not to be yourself and stopped your gimmicky acts.

Having said that, I have been the biggest fan of your marketing skills. You, Sir, are a beast when it comes to doing justice to the product you endorse. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can do a better job than you at providing value for money to your investors. If you ever think about conducting lectures on marketing & promotion skills, I promise I’ll even pay to be there. (Provided it’s affordable, which I highly doubt.)

Anyway, that’s all in the past. The present belongs to you and Ra.One (The movie, not Arjun Rampal).

I’ll be honest; I was forced to watch your movie. I tried my level best to get out of the evil plan conspired by my mother & my wife, and I failed. But, as they say, at times, there are blessings in disguise. I am glad I went for the movie. I have learned a lot & contrary to the popular opinion, I found many social messages hidden in this epic movie.

I loved the way in which you summed up the reasons behind the global recession. You did it in the very first scene. The investors & stockholders should lose money if they invest without the thorough knowledge of what they are investing into. It was great to see big-chested Shahana Goswami talk in Hindi in front of foreign delegates and then watching them jump around like bunch of schoolgirls about a technology, which evolved a decade ago!

You then went on to show the power of dreams. I thought that the longhaired girl, who acted as your son in the movie, was exceptional. For me, she was the real star of the movie. I was surprised to know that she wasn’t the director of the movie.

I can’t even begin to express my joy when I saw Kareena Kapoor. No, not because she looked like the yummy white butter made from fresh milk, but for her first few dialogues. It’s been long since someone took a stand about woman’s empowerment in Bollywood commercial movies. Her strong desire for eradicating all the abuses directed towards mothers & sister and starting a new trend with cussing the fathers & brothers is applause worthy. Also, considering the fact that you have promoted this movie keeping in mind the children of today’s India, it makes perfect sense to teach them the art of cussing from an early age. Terms like, Iski lee, Uski lee, Sabki lee, Condom-condom, Bhai ka bhocha, Tere baap ka poda etc would have definitely made a strong impact on the young minds. Bravo!

I wondered at first, as to why would you change your look so drastically that the audience would fail to even recognize you? Slowly, I understood the reason. You wanted to give hope to the many millions who have no etiquettes, lack common sense and are downright cowards with zero self respect but still desire to nail a hot chick. The specially designed pubic hairpiece was a masterstroke. Your South Indian accent was unreal but what was most noteworthy was the fact how effortlessly you forgot about the accent & spoke in fluent Hindi in most of the scenes. Also, I loved the way you butchered Michael Jackson’s steps in front of your children; a fitting reply to someone who did “BAD” things to these little angels.

In your earlier movies you have ventured with the thought of loving your family but in this movie, you have hit the nail right on the head. It’s all about keeping your children happy. The way you listen to your son & went out of your way to fulfill his unrealistic & almost stubborn demands was incredibly…erm, believable. If it were me, I would have slapped the little rascal and grounded him for days. Again, young minds watching this movie would have benefitted a lot by seeing your son banging the door on your face or calling you a coward in the middle of the road and getting away with it. It makes me really happy to know that the young India will now use the same language with their parents to get their work done. Wow!

You, Sir, have given out the gutsiest possible reply to the world. Not only did you outsource the music to the Americans, you followed it by mocking the black singer in one of your songs. This, to me, is the best example of India shining. We are not dependent on any of the first world countries; we have massive egos and even bigger bank balance to back it up. You have made me really proud. Thank you!

Most, if not all, of us fear death. But dare I say, I’m looking at it from a completely different perspective ever since I have seen your movie. I am thinking of canceling my insurance policies & other investment plans and buying a robot clone. If your movie is to be believed, a wife can get over her husband’s death even before the glycerin is wiped off her face. A child can forget about his father’s death and move on with life as long as he is given a ‘cool’ video game for company. Infact, the ungrateful child will value, respect & accept the game far easier than he ever did with his father. Question, why didn’t you approach Fast Track for merchandise for these ‘We move on faster than the speed of light’ sequence of events in the movie? Also, it was incredibly brilliant of you to show that different religions can co-exist. Just two scenes & all the bitterness go away; Kareena was shown sprinkling the ‘ash’ after they have buried your dead body. Marvelous, I tell you!

I admire the manner in which you kept your audience guessing about the true origin of Kareena’s character. Her sudden Punjabi accent in the second half threw me off a little but I figured that you were probably hinting that we should remain true to the country rather than from specific states. Hindi is our national language and the accent should not matter. Infact, we should keep changing our accents as often as possible. Fuckin ace of a thought!

Needless to say, only a genius like yourself could manage to keep Arjun Rampal a secret, not just during the promotions but also, throughout the movie.

This movie is a giant leap for the special effects in Bollywood. Without a shadow of a doubt, Ra.One is the best-animated movie I have seen under any Indian banner. My only disappointment was Chitti. I thought you could have ridiculed Rajnikanth slightly more by making Chitti look even shittier. It’s clear that you tried your best, but I think you left some room for improvement. Also, what was wrong with that Chinese dude? Why was he acting like a machine once he was transformed into a machine? I mean, shouldn’t a new comer like him take notes from you and learn that even machines must have feelings and hamming expressions? He showed some potential but failed miserably by playing the role of a machine absolutely perfectly. Sigh!

As I mentioned earlier, you make every penny worth the troubles. Nobody could have even dared to show so many Hollywood movies in less than 2 & half hours. I mean, you stopped the train like Spiderman, saved your heroine & brought her to ground likeBatman, had a big hole in your chest with a fitting energy source like Ironman, protected the mother/son like a Terminator, rode a Tron bike and displayed a hero/villain rivalry straight from the Gerrard Butler movie – Gamers. Everything, in the price of one. Just one Bollywood movie encapsulates six of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Take a bow, dear writers!

I ended up spending around Rs. 1000, which seemed a lot at that moment. I was pissed, but soon after reaching home, I realized that the overpriced tickets were really your biggest contribution to the society. I did some mental calculations and realized that in Rs. 1000, I would have bought 200 cigarettes, which, in turn, would have reduced my life by 36.5 hours (yeah, one cigarette reduces life by 11 minutes).  By watching your movie, I lost only 2.5 hours of my life. So, technically, I gained 34 hours of my life. All thanks to you!

Last but certainly not the least, I would like to thank you for answering the oldest question known to mankind. “How many lawyers/presidents/cricketers/musicians/monkeys does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer is simple, it takes only one, yesONE, Rupees 150 Crore dreamer who mouths songs by an International artist, romances Arjun Rampal disguised as Kareena Kapoor, invades the privacy of a billion Indians, gives crap a new definition and runs to the banks laughing like a true Baadshah.

Finally, I sincerely hope that the following groups of people watch your movie:

>  Aspiring MBA students.

  • I am not sure what most management colleges teach, but you have surely taught one of the biggest lessons to these young boys and girls. It’s simple; the end product does not matter as long as everyone is hammered with non-stop promotions. You need not have any concept to the promotions as long as you can buy out each & every medium of branding. The age old saying is indeed true, “paisa fekh, tamasha dekh.”

>  Salman Khan & Akshaye Kumar loyalists.

  • If they thought that nothing could get worse than Tees Maar Khan or Bodyguard, you came along and proved them wrong. I have the utmost respect for you for enforcing the fact that there is always scope for improvement.

>  Aspiring Bollywood writers.

  • I sincerely hope that these guys watch your movie on repeat mode. Hopefully, they’ll choose another profession unless they have enough contacts to find themselves a big star to promote their movies or easily get ‘inspired’ by other movies.

>  Koreans, Japanese & Chinese nerds

  • These guys are doing it wrong. I hope they watch the movie & learn that creating the most complexed game & then bringing the characters to life is, in reality, a child’s play. All you need are four fancy screens with Matrix screensaver, ability to hit keyboard without typing anything and most important, an understanding mother like Kareena.

>  People who doubt their gut feeling and drift in life

  • I knew for a fact that this movie will be a big torture the moment I saw the first poster printed on the very first day of this year. I knew for a fact that the movie will break all the existing box office records without being a good cinema. I knew for a fact I will regret watching this movie. Unfortunately, I gave in to my family’s emotional drama and saw your ‘dream’ on big screen. I hope my experience is a lesson to those who doubt their gut feelings and start following their heart rather than the bullshit that surround us at all times.

Notes:

  • You looked the best for precisely 2 minutes & 20 seconds. It was during the promotion of Don 2.
  • Kareena Kapoor can be my chammak challo, anyday!
  • The loudest laughter during the epic was for the new History channel advert shown during the intermission. It featured Salman Khan.
  • I may have completely misinterpreted the movie thanks to my heavily diminished intellect.
  • You have lost a lot of loyal fans but have gained me, a new believer of “What doesn’t kill you; makes you stronger.”
  • This is not a movie review. I am not as educated, qualified or paid as Taran Adarsh.

Finally, I would like to say that everyone should watch this movie as thousands of people have worked endlessly on making this product, a reality.

Thank you, SRK. Thank you so very much.

My life. My story.

When I was 19, my idea of a successful career was to earn thrice as much as my age. I didn’t fare well on this criterion though, I barely made 15,000 rupees a month till my 21st birthday. Having said that, I had zero responsibilities and a five-figure salary was enough to have a good time every weekend. Especially on people’s birthdays, free booze & drinks. Ofcourse!

When I was 21, all my friends were already half way through their postgraduate degree. The only person left was my best friend; incidentally he was the reason why I applied for a job immediately after my Computer Science degree rather than approaching different colleges for two more years of torture and pain in the classrooms. Ironically, he applied for an MBA degree as well. I was left alone. Not literally, but you know what I mean.

At this point I did exactly what any sensible guy would do, I quit my job and bought the admission forms for the same college where he had applied. Two months of hardcore preparations followed & I was ready to ace the entrance exam. But as everything else in my life, there was a twist to this story as well. Yes, it was my father who brought this twist, along with some ice cream. This was probably the first ‘talk’ that we had. After a lengthy heart to heart, I was left with one question and one advice: “Where do you see yourself after twenty years?” | “Life is simple, do not complicate it.”

I answered the question by not attending the entrance exam & taking another two months to figure out what I really wanted to be in my life once I am old and wrinkly. I kept it simple and answers poured in with immediate effect. I didn’t have the precise answer but I did get a good idea of my future.

I figured that I wasn’t meant for a 9-5 job. I wasn’t meant to follow instructions. I wasn’t meant to work for people who didn’t value my potential. I wasn’t meant to be someone else!

At 22, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. A reputed company offered me a job at 6000 rupees per month. I took it. I learned the tricks of the trade from the best in the business, I learned marketing from a genius, I learned client servicing from a master and I learned to value money from a Sindhi!

At 23, I quit. I quit being an employee. I quit being a small fish in the ocean. I bought myself a small pond and became its Lochness Monster. All this was possible because I knew that there was enough business for everyone. No exceptions.

I became greedy. I became selfish. I valued people based on their social status & bank balance. I had a set definition for the ugly, face or personality. Money mattered more than people’s feelings and their expectations.

250+ ‘friends’ attended my 24th birthday. Everyone I could think of was there. I was happy and I was drunk. Infact, I was stoned beyond recognition. When everything settled early in the morning, I found only 5 people around me, my best friends from college. Yes, they were still there, helping me back on my feet and carrying me home. Everyone else had left. Everyone else had a great time at the party but didn’t give a shit about me!

I didn’t go to my office for couple of weeks post my birthday. I didn’t feel like meeting anyone. I didn’t want to meet anyone. I just wanted some peace. Unfortunately, I thought women, drugs & alcohol would help. Wrong choice. Wrong fucking choice!!

Thankfully, common sense prevailed and I gave away my pond to the newest shark in town. I finally changed my laptop’s wallpaper, which for few years had read, “It’s better to burn out than fade away”. I didn’t want to fade away but I was too young to burn out.

What followed was four years of bliss. I traveled. I met each & every member in my extended family. I met strangers. I striped myself of every pleasure I bought with money. And I did everything I had missed out on because of studies and later, work. More importantly, I was keeping it simple!

At 28, my bank balance hit rock bottom. I was happy in life but I was broke! So, I dug myself another pond. Back in business, back to the usual rat race. The only difference was that I didn’t lust for materialistic things anymore. I was in love with life and everything that made it beautiful.

Today, at 29, I am happy. I am not content with life, but I am happy. I have a wonderful family & excellent bunch of friends. Hell, I even have a dog. More importantly, I finally have the answer to my father’s question. In twenty years from now, I’ll be dead if I don’t live today!