Monday, April 27, 2015

Frog in a hot vicious circle

I think I am having an early onset of mid life crisis. Because I think the first trigger has arrived - to be aware of your mortality, that your time left in the world is finite and you will not be able to do all the things you dreamt of that you need to prioritise and be realistic (I cringe while writing this word here, I hate it, what exactly is meant by it), the dawning of the understanding that your youth is fading away and there is less and less time to do the things that you want and how you are behind on things you assumed you would have by now.

But my bigger problem is something else. It is that I am not striving for fulfilment or happiness but more like distraction and temporary amusement. So I drink beer and eat pizza one day, next day I drink Scotch and seekh kabab, the next time I want to go out to a pub because I'm bored of the first two. And when I get bored of all these three I start planning for a holiday. Then I come back and start this cycle over.

So I am gaining weight, wasting my time and losing my money on these things which give me no long term happiness. One such distraction costs me around 1000 bucks, with my current salary I can buy two such distractions per day, of course I need to pay rent, service my car, travel to office and do some other long term investments, but still I can afford these distractions at least twice a week. You can label this habit as living in the moment, enjoying the present, having fun in the now rather that saving for the future which is uncertain and some other shit like that. But I know the truth that it is what I called it is  - a distraction because I can feel the hollowness and the guilt & despair it leads. Which makes me crave for more fun, more instant gratification. So it goes on and on the vicious circle.

But this was still better if the circle did not keep on getting bigger and bigger every time it repeated. If I keep wasting my time like this I realise I will have no future. I will have extra 10 kgs of weight which I will not be able to get rid of, would have spent on my money on fast food and I will see 5 years later that my friends had bought houses and TVs from that money; and to top it all my career will slow down even further effectively making me poorer in the future due to the inflation. I am afraid I will slowly boil in this hot water of life like the proverbial frog without realising it at what point did it happen

I want to let it all out, to hear me say it or rather read me typing it because these days I can barely hold a thought in my head, all I'm looking for are distractions and more distractions. These days I have started taking my phone with me when I go to shit, which I never did all these years, maybe I cannot be with my thoughts alone even for 10 minutes. I had tried to meditate one day and plan to do more but that is to clear my head of thoughts rather than clear the thoughts in my head, actually to have clarity in my thoughts and face these issues that I am facing. I have started slacking off in my work, I was never a hard worker and probably never will be but I was never this bad, I go to office late, around 12, work for 2 - 3 hours, surf the net and check social networking sites for the rest of the time and come back home thinking about food. What will I eat at home, what dessert can I buy while come and what snack can I buy at the small canteen that has opened in office recently. I guess food is the only thing I look forward to these days. I have a Spain trip coming up sometime in the next 40 days but I am so scared of thinking about it or planning about it because if for any reason it doesn't happen I will be crushed.

I plan to work out more from the next month, give up on the junk food, start working hard at work, plan for my next appraisal cycle which will be due in October, meditate every day for 15 minutes but I have been thinking of doing all this for quite some time now, but I keep waiting for some big event to happen to push me into doing it. Some long weekend (I had twice in the last month), culmination of some life event (I have been having none), some great inspiration from somewhere, perhaps some book or movie that I will reread and my third eye will open. Along with all this I am also afraid and insecure that what if my life is going to stay like this, maybe I will never amount to anything, never even do at par with my friends let alone beat them, maybe I will live and die in anonymity and mediocrity. The past says other wise, I have risen to challenges in the past and have done equally well as my friends so I should be able to do it again. But maybe the hard work that I cannot or would not do is the final key, only it can unlock further doors.

But I need to do these things in the future, not in any order and to find the strength of doing it.


  • Get a new job after coming from Spain with a hike 30%
  • Lose weight, get back to 70 Kgs


So I can accomplish these things before I am 35


  • Buy a house
  • Buy a new Toyota Fortuner or an equivalent vehicle
  • Get a package of 25 Lakhs


And also these minor goals which also matter apart from the materialistic ones.


  • Learn rock climbing, climb something worthy for a beginner.
  • Go to Maldives and be able to pay for things that we want to do, though I think I will be still be worrying about money because it is a bloody expensive and you cannot compete will all the world's rich people

Maybe this blog will help. I have already thought about the problem now at least. Even my wife sees that I have problems and wants me to go on a vacation alone to sort out my issues,  a thought not very original as I had mentioned this to her a couple of times that  I wanted to do it.

Phew. I need help and I think I can only look within for it, Hell, who knows maybe my psyche will get fed up of this wallowing in self pity and bounce back on it's own; but till then I wish myself luck. And I remember that there is no luck in this world except what we make.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Incident 216598 - URGENT : Doomsday in Metropolis!







My name is Chintan Patel and I am not the fastest man alive, or the strongest, or a have a green ring which makes the defacto guardian of this space sector. But what I am is the co-owner of Patel Associates and PM (Project Manager) of Superman.

The origin story –

Let me start with the backdrop or as it is more commonly known as in comic book mythos as the origin story

The year is 2020, labour laws in US have become very tough with only 5 hours per day working, overtime rates are astronomical, everyone including superheroes have a right to union, and all workers have to be insured. And given Superman’s nature of work he is un-insurable. So as a result the superhero business, you know saving the world and shit, has been outsourced to guess what – India.

Now Superman works for an Indian company, my company – Patel Associates with the US government working as a client. And by working I mean actually do the superhero work, not his cover as Clark Kent in the Daily Planet, which was a pathetic cover by the way. This is definitely going in his annual appraisal as feedback from me. I plan to make him a Sardar with the name of Supreet Maan from Amrikka, complete with a turban and beard as his cover. This will be so much better than the current thing he does where he parts his hair differently, wears glasses and thinks no one will recognize him.

The process –

Before you go any further you should know that everything in a BPO or any service company for that matter works by a process and pre-negotiated terms. Any crisis has to be raised as a ticket. Let us see some examples

General Zod is in Metropolis – Has to be a P3 ticket, the damage is localized, no widespread disorder expected, people to be killed are in the 1 – 10,000 range.

Lex bhaai Luthor is causing a war in Qurac – It will be a P2 ticket. Damage is global, planet wide disorder expected but other parts of universe can continue their business as usual. Death toll between – 10,001 and 100,000,000.

Anti Monitor is causing crisis on infinite earths – This constitutes a P1 ticket. Anti matter cannon is about to bring an end to all multiverse. Damage is multi-universal and death toll is 7 x 109 to 10100.

The story –

 

But enough about Superman, while everyone agrees life is difficult for him what the general population doesn’t know is that life can be even more difficult for this PM and working with these inscrutable clients.
So it so happened that a monster shot into space from Calaton crash landed on earth went into a rampage in the American Midwest, punched his way through Booster bhaai Gold and a few other first level superheroes and finally reached Metropolis. At this stage a P2 ticket was raised by US Government but according to process I had to downgrade it to a P3 as the wildlife killed by Doomsday did not count in the death toll.
Superman responded within 3 hours which is within SLA. He had to finish cleaning his fortress of solitude first as part of the annual KPA.

There was a massive battle and half of Metropolis was levelled (as Doomsday was punched underground for some time and exploded a lot of gas lines). They hit each other so hard that the shockwaves from their punches shattered the windows of nearby buildings. In the end of the monster was killed and Superman was killed as well.
  
Of course Superman was sent to the fortress of solitude in a stasis chamber to absorb yellow rays and stuff and finally recovered but even after my team member being nearly killed the client has been a pain in the ass. I think people are thankless for saving their lives if they have outsourced that. See the stinker they sent, I nearly pulled my remaining hair out –

“Dear Mr. Patel,
Thank you for solving the problem – 216598 in Metropolis, please pass on our thanks to your team member as well.
But there are some serious concerns raised by our stakeholders and we need your response on the below questions:
  1.  We need root cause analysis of this incident, why was this monster loose in the city?
  2. Why is the occurrence of natural and supernatural calamity so high in Metropolis? Every other day either some alien or giant robot or mad scientist keeps creating havoc in the city.
  3. How can we avoid such issues in the future? We need a roadmap to lower the rate of these things happening.
  4. Total time taken to defeat was 4 hours 13 minutes.
  5. There is an escalation from the Mayor of Metropolis, they say that there no communication sent from Superman to the city’s civilians that when this issue will be resolved and what was our action plan.
  6.  How are we going to handle the damage caused this battle?

Please submit a RCA document for this issue highlighting our learnings from this incident.

Also we have proposed the below formula for defeating of super villains, this is effective immediately.
Weight of supervillain
Maximum type permitted to defeat
0 – 250 pounds
1 hour
251 – 500 pounds
2 hours
501 – 5000 pounds
4 hours

Best Regards,
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of Defense
United States of America

I tried to give them reasonable explanation but I think they have adamantium skulls that nothing seems to get through, see the reply they sent. At this point I’m not surprised if even Superman jumped into a supernova after shooting himself with a kryptonite bullet while wearing a 1510 SPF sunscreen.

Dear Mr. Patel,
Please find my comments in red
I understand your point we can have a call to discuss these issues further. Also I do not think that classifying supervillains by weight is the most optimum way, this will classify Lex Luthor in the 1 hour category which is his biggest nemesis and the most formidable opponent.
Then we need to create another scale with classifying each villain into a type I to IV category. All classification should be assigned within 5 minutes of fighting the villain.

 1. The monster was supposedly killed by the people in Calatan and jettisoned into space as it was too unholy to keep it on their planet.
We need to proactively screen all space debris which is coming towards Earth to see if there are super strong evil monsters on them. Please submit an action plan for this.

2. We do not know what is the reason for this. Same situation is in Gotham and Central City as well. Lot of people keep experimenting on themselves with Particle accelerators, white dwarf star matter and gamma rays which almost always go bad and cause them to develop some super power and an evil attitude.
We need to be informed about any such potential new experiments minimum one month in advance with a rating of 1 – 5 scale on the threat level.

3. The appearance of intergalactic ancient monster on Earth is totally random and cannot be predicted.
Ok. Please provide all the monster appeared on USA soil in the last 50 years. Please classify them as human or alien.

 4. Originally known as "The Ultimate", Doomsday was born in prehistoric times on Krypton, long before the humanoid Kryptonian race gained dominance over the planet about 250,000 years ago. He has the gift of utilizing the power of whoever killed him and being reborn with it the next time. He is ranked 46th in the IGN’s list of best villains.
 Because of the above complexity it took Superman a long time to kill him.
We understand but this was a very urgent issue, violent wrestling competitions were being held in the city that day which were affected by this incident. The organizers are being sued by the people who bought the tickets but couldn’t reach the venue. Please expedite these issues from next time.

 5. Superman was busy fighting the monster the moment he laid his eyes on him and kept on fighting for hours. There was no time to communicate anything and with the general disorder present we also believe the all public announcement systems and broadcast signal were down.
Communication to the stakeholders is very important. Please include this in the best practices to be followed. After 5 minutes of confrontation and accurately understanding the category type of the villain Superman should then convey everyone in the list attached to this email, that the supervillain is being taken care of and what is the approximate  time for the calamity to be over.

6.Covering of collateral damage is not under the process of Superman effort. If the city they can raise a separate incident under ‘The Flash – Quick Rebuilding’ section which will be additionally charged
The city has refused to raise a new ticket and wants the damage rebuilt under the same incident. As the monster as well the actions of superman are not any of their fault they are not willing to foot the bill for the damage caused. Please manage internally and have the city rebuilt ASAP

Best Regards,
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of Defense
United States of America

Sigh! I wish to go to the anti-matter universe where perhaps the vendors will make the life of client difficult and send them stinkers instead. Tya koi problem nahi  thai.


Second image taken from The Art of Dan Scott (DANSCOTTART.COM)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

9 reasons you should read this dumb-ass article. Number 9 will blow your mind !



1. Because you are moron who has a attention span of a fruit fly and cannot make your brain process more than 100 words in one sitting





2. Because you think compiling random and plagiarized GIFs is journalism. Then you must be also the person who thinks any click from a DSLR is professional photography and needs to be watermarked.




3. Because you think the world isn't stereotyped enough and it is good to know ‘5 things all Black kids go through’ or ‘the 13 things all Delhi girls do’. And of course every girl from Delhi either a millionaire or a beggar will be doing those things.

Bang! Shortcut to being worldly wise




4. Because you are bored at work and been through all the garrulity that every ‘Wordsmith’ of TOI had to utter and now you are looking for some more ways to kill time. Of course finishing your work and going home early will be such a waste of time.





5. Because the people at Buzzfeed, ScoopWhoop, StoryPick etc. are working so hard to produce 25 articles per day per person. And you want them to gather more advertising revenue and funding to let them have their convertible and yachts fast. Such a rapid production of listicles, plagiarized lists, uncredited pictures and lots & lots of user generated garbage is hard work and must be treated with respect or at least a click.





6. Because you are sucker for clickbaits or maybe you actually believe ‘what this girl did when she was called fat was epic’ is actually epic or maybe ‘This Is Probably The Worst And The Funniest Video In The World. I Can’t Stop Laughing’ is actually the funniest video in the world or you actually know someone who saved money by ‘Why using shortcut keys can save you hundreds of dollars a day’




7. Or perhaps you think that ’11 Political Lessons We Learned From “Gilmore Girls’ or ‘18 Things To Scream At A Cow’ is actually things you should know; or perhaps you did not know you hated makeup till you read ’ 18 Signs That You Hate Wearing Make Up’





8. Because you do not think that this kind of journalism is cancer to the internet it survives on. This is journalism fast food, good to look at and easy to prepare but un-nutritious and bad for you in the long run. It is in the same form a burger loaded with salt which makes you thirsty and then you sell a coke with it; similarly it gives you a bite size information which does not provide you any knowledge and then a link to another non sense article which you feel might satisfy that craving. Written word was always valued and books were touched to the forehead as they contained ‘Vidhya’; this kind of journalism (if you can even call it that) goes on to destroy that value that we had placed on it. Now Facebook and Twitter have nearly becomes a way to share links which have images sourced from PinInterest which were actually taken from Tumblr, about time we weeded this out.




9. Oh there is no number nine, just that having an odd number as the cardinal number gives the impression that you had something to say rather than shoehorning some random text in into a list, but of course the link to share this article is below

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The 30 for 30 list


What’s the difference between a clown and a man having a mid-life crisis? The clown knows he’s wearing ludicrous clothes - Anonymous


30 before 30 lists are so clichĂ© so I thought I would rather do something else. Anyways I think there is nothing I can’t do at 31 that I can do while being 29. I mean, I am already married so that takes the sex sandwich between Japanese twins out of the list, Skydiving is as risky now as it’ll be at 31 and Bikram Yoga is something I wouldn’t want even when I’m 60; so the point is that any such list is anyway silly. But I to keep up with the tradition I will make a list of 30 things, starting with:


These 10 things I wish I could tell myself when I was 20, even though I know advice like youth is wasted on the young –










1.       Rock is going to be dead. No need to learn the name of lead guitarist of Aerosmith, just ‘this guy plays guitar with Liv Tyler’s dad’ will suffice. The guys who are still listening to Floyd when they roll the joint are now big time losers.

2.       There is no end or start of the rat race. Whether you flunk or ace the next exam you will have to compete again tomorrow with a different set of people for a different set of things.

3.       You are not too thin. You will wish a body like that when you are 30.

4.       Having a car will not get you chics, or a sports bike for that matter.

5.       You will not be drinking single malts while wearing a Hugo Boss suit and look like the Hugo Boss model when you are 30. You will be drinking a moderately better whisky in moderately better clothes while doing only moderately more mature stuff.

6.       People who want to meet their friends in a quieter place are not old and boring, they just don’t hang out with their friends that often and want to talk instead of head bang when they meet.

7.       And ya that means that the set of bean bags and 5000 W home theater system that you wish to buy will not have a lot of use. You will have to call and ask your best friend whether he/she is free that weekend.

8.       Don’t worry about being the cool guy, the cool guys are either forgotten in a few years or avoided as they keep begging for some help or other.

9.       Rebel without a cause might have been good for Marilyn Brando but don’t be that in your home. Be nice to your parents, they have put up with a lot of bullshit because of you.

10.   It is not too late for anything, and certainly you don’t have to do whatever everyone else is doing around you;  you can be a professional guitar player, baby seal killer, surgeon, used cars salesman, economics PhD, entrepreneur, IT worker or anything else you like. Your whole life lies ahead of you.

Now that Mary Schmich part is done, let me get into Buzzfeed mode.  

10 reasons why being 30 sucks –















11.   Parents no longer give the ‘koi baat nahi baccha hai, seekh jayega’ respite when your screw up.

12.   You have nothing to impress girls neither a tight tee shirt nor a 3 series BMW; and sucking your gut in can only be kept up for so long.

13.   You have to prove you are mature enough for 40 year olds in weekdays in office and fun enough for 25 year olds in weekend with whom you actually want to party.

14.   Your body is becoming more mysterious to you than a 12 year old girl having her first period; you can’t wake up at 7 after sleeping at3, spicy food gives you acidity, hangovers are a killer, you start panting after climbing three stories and bowling 2 overs at medium pace gives you a shoulder ache for 3 days.

15.   You start instagramming your food rather than yourself. Because that has started to look better in your life and you, less so.

16.   Parents put this insane pressure on you / your wife to pop out a kid before you hit this magic number. People who have succumbed to this pressure flood your FB wall with ‘Oh my angel’, “first video of him/her pooping’, ‘vote for my baby for the cutest baby contest’ etc. etc.; makes your resolve even stronger not to succumb to the pressure.

17.   70k bank balance on 1st, then starts car EMI, house loan EMI / rent, credit card statement, money to maid, bills, groceries. By 10th bank balance is 5k. By 15th you are living on the credit card.

18.   The realization that getting that someday for learning the guitar or pottery or how to slam dunk, bike trip to Leh via Manali, reunion of all school friends, passionate affair with a Czech woman that is your neighbour, discovery of a hidden till now but prodigious talent, etc. is never going to happen.

19.   And top of the realization that whatever you mugged up in school and college – Periodic table, square root of 5, minerals found  in Tanzania, angle of drill bit, average height of Cupola, 4 differences between anode and cathode and Porter’s 5 force are going to count absolutely zilch in the rest of your life.

20.   Ads for getting prostrate exams, hair grafting, liposuction, cholesterol check etc. start catching your eye rather than deos and condoms.

But then being 30 is an exciting time, your parents can disown you and you have an actual chance of survival, you have people to boss around of your own at work, men’s and women’s sex drive is equal for the first time and you CAN’T HARDLY WAIT for the next phase of life *drum roll*….. The Midlife Crisis or The 40s.

10 things to look forward when you are 30 –













21.       A hair graft to look like in Beckham in his 20s

22.       A big, shiny, diesel guzzling SUV. Because penis enlargement pumps don’t really work and this is the next best thing to feel great about.

23.       An affair with a 20 something woman; nothing breaks the monotony of married life like getting caught having an affair, endless nights on the couch and the threat of divorce and alimony payments for the rest of your life.

24.       Grey hair add character.

25.       Now you can seriously compete in a sport – Golf, because now you can afford it.

26.       Being an aimless drunk can now be attributed to the mid-life crisis.

27.       Chances of getting beaten up in a road rage incident is really less, the muscular Jaats will now excuse you by saying “Chod na yaar, Uncle sathiya gaya hai ”

28.       Now you can be sure that you took a bad career option instead of pondering over at it at nights when you were 25.

29.       You have children now to unnecessarily push around to fulfil the dreams that you couldn’t.

30.   BEING ALIVE! This really is the cherry of your cake, now you can say a big ‘Fuck You’ to all the people who said ‘marega sala’ to your rash driving, to the people who said it causes lung cancer when you were smoking too much, talked about early heart attack every time you called McDelivery and said it was suicide to jump off the cliff in Rishikesh when you were drunk and thought it was a good idea.

So here is my big cheers to being 30! As the card to Rachel said “It is better to be over the hill than to be buried under it”, isn’t it?


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Life In A Non Metro





The movie Queen and this ad reminds me a lot of 2000 and Kota. And let’s face it Queen is no Sholay but an IMDB rating of 9 is due to us finding her character very endearing because we all identify with her. All this might seems laughable or cringe worthy now but back then it was the life. Going out with friends meant eating Kachori in one of the famous shops, everybody had a teri wali, which meant one girl who we have never spoken to once in a life but we could recite her phone number, house number, Scooty number and tuition timings; Hero Puch was a good way of travelling but the real cool guys had a Hero Honda Splendor; everybody wanted to have a Sachin Stance or Glenn McGrath’s run up and action but all this had to stop before dad got back home; Letters to Penthouse was a Bible; and finally though everybody said they wanted to get into IIT / AIMS but we all secretly hoped that our college had girls in skirts dancing in the basketball court.

 

 

 

 

EAT


Every town has a ‘best’ shop for everything. You want to eat Samosa? the best ‘Samosa’ is made by Ratlam Sweet Shop. Kulfi? The best Kulfi is of Shrinath, or the push cart which used to come in front of your house ringing a bell selling Matka Kulfi. Kabab?  Ahmed has the best kakori kabab. We did not have restaurants specializing in any cuisine; most restaurants sold Masala Dosa, Chowmein and Dal Makhani, they were only differentiated with what they had the best of. Ambience be damned. I don’t think any of us knew what it meant back then back there, only whether it was a ‘Family Restaurant’ or not. Having a bar in a restaurant was unimaginable and people who had booze outside were either denied entry or given the stink-eye by every table in the restaurant, though most alcohol aficionados either went to a ‘Pack and carry’ place and had their food in the car or went to some dhaba outside of town. And having knowledge of what is best where is today’s equivalent of having a mobile phone, dialogues like “Ye koi Malai Kofta hai? Mere saath chalo aap ko main aapko Ambar Restaurant (pronounced as Rest o rent) ka malai kofta khilata huun” were quite common.

But most of our life was spent on the small road side places which specialized in small meals. Those were the pick-me-up or ‘Har choti khushi ka celebration’ places. Flunked the last test? Go dig in the Hot Pyaaz kee kachori at Jodhpur Namkeens and the pain lessened a lot. Aced the test? Let’s have a pineapple pastry at Bakewell. Got your pocket money? Let’s go Shiv Bakery to have patties. Distances were less, time was ample (Sigh!) 

Of course most of the real food came from the vegetable vendor’s push cart. ‘Aaaloooooo, tamaaaatar’ cry at the top of their voice were their CRM strategy and I actually used to wonder if they went to some sabjiwaala school, because the volume they maintained throughout the afternoon did not look humanly possible and every sabjiwaala uncannily sounded like the other. Then the ladies of the came out in the battlefield or rather that’s what they thought it was. Every vegetable was sniffed, scratched, analysed from every angle and sometime even cut to see if the claim was genuine. After that was settled the second battle was started of bargaining for the prices; there was no information asymmetry in this market, the women knew the current prices of vegetable and fruit in every mandi in town. I tried to fake this by asking every vegetable vendor “Bhaiya ye kaise diya” whether he said 8 or 18 made actually no difference to me I will buy whatever was asked by Mom at whatever price he or she was selling it. And the final battle was the Nimbu Mirchi battle, nobody bought Nimbu or Mirchi or Dhaniya it just came complimentary with the other vegetables you had bought.

PRAY


I don’t think we were more religious than sixteen year olds anywhere is the world are but we did pray very had sometimes :– 

Before an exam – Well we were students, exams and results mattered. And of course the bigger reason was in the exam time going to the temple was the only outing allowed on those days, so went to the temple to pray. There was one near my house which most of us preferred, because it was near my house, and we could play cricket in my driveway, also that temple had a pond where we could play skipping stones or temples also offered, how do I put it …. Let’s just say other kind of darshan as well.

Smoking a cigarette in a back alley – That was our rebellion. Our badge that we are not a kid anymore. The access card to the bad boys association. And the test every Childe had to give, it went like this – The big boy moved the cigarette to you, filter first and said “Piyega kya?” you could chicken out here and say “main cigarette nahi peeta” and get the disapproving ‘this guy is a still child’ look or you could take the cigarette upping you ante; but to cash in your chips you had to inhale the smoke and puff it out without coughing; if you could do that then that was your knighthood, otherwise what you got was a resounding laugh from everybody and the dialogue “Ye baccho kee cheez nahi hai bacche“ and the tag of ‘wanna-be’ for your whole life. But these tough guys were scared shitless when their neighbour uncle’s scooter passed through this alley and they prayed on to every god there is that either the uncle didn’t see them or won’t report it to their parents. What they did not know that their mothers already knew they smoked; not in spite of the supari and mint they chewed but because of it.

Porn – I remember one teacher telling me that in her hostel they had hollowed out a wall in the common toilet to serve as a library, that is where they stored their Mills & Boons. Being an all-girls college in the middle of nowhere (Laxmangarh) this is what they sustained themselves on. And the book store which used to import the Mills & Boons was near a temple, the risky task of smuggling the book was left to the final year students and all the girls took the book first, then prayed in the temple for not getting caught and then went to the hostel. I found this whole action plan very familiar, we also did pray very hard whenever we were smuggling Mastram in the school or the ever popular worth-shedding-blood-over ‘Letters to Penthouse’ and dreamed of going to America where everybody’s wife was blond, 34D and a stunner; and whenever your car had a puncture in the middle of nowhere she was more interested in having a tumble (thrice) in the empty cabin nearby (which always used to be there) rather than nagging you to death that she had reminded of getting the spare tyre repaired two weeks before.

But these were the pursuits of lesser men, the Big Kahunas dealt in motion pictures. And the highly revered guys were who knew a guy, who knew a guy who could get the real hardcore stuff. In which ‘upar ka aur neeche ka dono dikhaate hai’ they were the small town equivalent of drug dealers. And the boys understood more about the universe in those one and a half hours what Copernicus and Hubble did in their entire lives.

TB6 deserves a special mention here. It was Russian channel which suddenly was started being broadcasted here in India and used to telecast Adult movies late in the night. It was inspiration to a million teenage to ‘Study’ till late night in the TV room.

Cricket – Enough said. Back then Sachin was in process of attaining the status of God,  Azharuddin was un-tainted, the sight of Kambli in tears was fresh in in our memory and everyone prayed extra hard for us to win the Super Six against match against Pakistan in 1999 world cup, the cup be damned, that was our World Cup !

LOVE


Now you gotta get the scene first. The place is a middle sized town, the time is Circa 2000, the rich boys wear Reebok instead of Action, Maruti 800 is still an aspirational thing and parents have this habit of making you call every girl more than your age as Didi or making them call you Bhaiya if they are even one year younger.  Co-ed are the exception rather than the rule. Teens Today is the progressive magazine where girls complain that their 21 year old boyfriend after 6 years of relationship now wants to get physical. Nobody has Swag. And carnal knowledge is equivalent of Sainthood, nobody except the most blessed get it. Get it?
But of course there was no lack of trying from our side. And all techniques (also known as seetbaaji back in those days) came down to these –

Stare a lot – This was the most basic of all and practiced by everyone, you just sit behind her in class and keep gawking at her, you can even touch her hair if you were close enough  but the real jackpot was when you could find one day that one of her bra strap was showing, that would make your day and become the topic of conversation all evening.

Follow Home – This one required a mechanized mode of transportation and thus excluded the base of pyramid who had cycles. At the end of school there was a mad rush and throttles were sent to their maximum at the war cry of “Bhaai teri waali abhi nikli hai . Chal !” Thus you followed your waali back to her home, honked a lot, and overtook her once or twice just for fun. One anecdote here is worth mentioning (without going into names of course), our pack mate once wanted to go beyond the follow home routine and overtook the girl and braked right in front of her to make her stop, she did stop but not in the way our guy hoped, she panicked, braked too hard, skidded and fell down, what happened after that is not worth telling the tale of, but you should understand even this routine wasn’t without this risk. Another side of this routine was the stake out, this is when you spot the two wheeler of someone’s waali either parked or in motion and dashed out to his house to inform him that “teriwaali wahan hai, jaldi chal !” 

Make crank calls – This routine required more patience and hard work than the last one, you had to first find out the address of the house and then scan the whole directory by her surname until you zero in on the combination to find the phone number. This is when you started making the crank calls. Some people even tried to talk when the girl picked up but I don’t know anyone who got a decent reply from the other end. And since we are on this topic this killer line by our Dinh (read the dark tower novels to figure out what it means) is worth mentioning
Dinh: Priya ko bula do
Priya’s dad: Aap kaun bol rahe ho
Dinh: Main Raj
Priya’s Dad: Kaun Raj?
Dinh: Yahi to raj kee baat hai
*total silence for a minute and then we burst out laughing

Ask for notes – This one was certainly not for the faint of heart as this required having an actual conversation with the girl like a human being! Which very few of us could pull off.  No doubt the girls saw through this but I do know a few people who actually did get notes upon asking for it, and thus the staring of the whole class. And the people who were too far to understand what went down got the smile from the protagonist which Muhammad Ali gave the media when he won the gold medal and got back to USA.
Bash up the other lover – This technique was used frequently by people who had muscle power behind them. This is something what Komatsu had in mind when they had their motto as Maru-C, son instead of directly attacking the target you encircled them by knocking other pieces off the board. Conversations often went like this –
Guy1: Saale Priya ke ghar ke bahut chakkar laga raha hai

Guy2: Tereko kya?

Guy1: Mere mohalle kee ladki ko mat ched

Guy2: Kyun teri behan lagti hai wo?

This is when the fight started. The girl in most cases had no idea all this was happening because they did not know these two guys existed

Chat on Yahoo messenger – Finally, this is what the smooth operators did. The Johnny Depps of our times. They had already broken the ice and the girl had reciprocated, so now they sat in dingy Cyber cafes, logged onto their HandsomeGuy_84 IDs and chatted the hours away. And the final climax of this was when they sat in the same cyber cafĂ© in the same cabin and … Let’s just say- did not chat

There was also this intermediate categories who had girls (or Aunties) in Philippines or USA and had their private show whenever they were online. I know one guy who even nearly 3000 dollars wired to his account by an Aunty from US.


Sigh! Those were the days!