Thursday, 13 November 2014
Let’s roll out the list of disclaimers right away.
1. This article is by no way an indication of my impending marriage. I still have some years to go before I decide to embrace martyrdom.
2. This article is by no way an indication of my impending fatherhood. I still prefer to remain the child in my house.
3. Step 1 need not precede Step 2.
Children, they say are an extension of their parents’ soul. Parents often make an endeavour to live their dreams through their kids. In some cases, the child has to become a doctor, because "hey! I am a doctor, and hey so was my father, and his father, and his father, and his father. Too bad he aspires to be the next Sachin Tendulkar!” My father, too wanted me to become an engineer. He is not one and neither was any of his predecessors. So, I could never comprehend why he wanted his son to become the first engineer from the clan (and I grew up in an era where you thought you had arrived in life, if a day went by without you getting spanked by your dad). So, naturally, I never asked. So, my managing a forceful 15/100 in my Class 10 pre-boards in Physics, or a mysterious 5/100 in Chemistry was not a deterrence as far as his resolve to make an engineer out of me was concerned. So, naturally, when I took up Commerce in my plus 2, I had waged a bitter battle against him. And then when he thought that may be I’d do my B.Com and become a C.A. (still a respectable profession among the Bongs), I chose BBA. And, then when he thought that I’d probably finish my MBA (still a respectable degree among the Bongs), and will choose a white-collar job, I opted for Journalism. And today, I am engaged in a profession, that I can’t explain to my parents or my 85 year old grandmother (who thinks I am an actor) or for that matter to any of my relatives or those who are not connected with the media. I AM A NEWS PRODUCER, and no neither do I finance my channel, nor do I appear on TV.
Sorry, for taking a detour and exploring into the darkest pits of my academic career, but I always wondered what was it that gave me the ‘balls’ to choose a steam slash degree slash profession that didn’t have the parents’ stamp of approval. Was it courage/endless desire to follow your heart? Or was it the neatly scripted strategy of staying away from books and lectures? Frankly, it was neither or may be both. And, as a 27 year old single man, who has been attending a wedding every four months for the last two years, and has been getting more wedding invitations than friend requests , I must admit, these days the thought of fathering a child some day and making a foray into Parenthood some years down the line is a fascinating dream which I can’t wait to be realised. Frankly, fatherhood is more than a ‘Michael Phelps’ of a sperm making it to the finishing line. It’s about instilling in your child the confidence that he/she can live in this world on their own terms, make their own mistakes, learn their own lessons, choose their own goals, chase their own dreams, make their own pegs, and worship their own God. Probably, for someone(yours truly), who still depends on his Maa to discover his pair of socks every morning, a lecture on Fatherhood may sound like a pontification, but trust me, this basic question will come to haunt you one day: What kind of a parent would you be to your child?
We live in an intolerant society. We don’t have the slightest patience for someone who doesn’t subscribe to our views. The Lefts think that the Rights are communalising the environment. The Rights think that the Lefts are too Bourgeoisie for their own good. The ‘Nationalists’ think the ‘Pseudo-Secularists’ are pushing the nation back. This vicious cycle of hatred goes on spinning endlessly. Our opinions are no more our views, it’s a poisonous tonic that we wish to thrust down someone else’s throat, against their wish or consent. Well, I am no cynic (I am still hopeful that Salman would get married eventually and SRK would start making more sensible films). But, I sometimes wonder how can we, who stereotype people on the basis of their opinion/ideology/choices, choosing to like or dislike them depending on the side of the axis we ourselves are on, give our children a world they believe can exist. BUT, while, I have no crystal ball to foresee the future and make an accurate prediction of what the future holds for me, I am pretty certain about the Father, I am going to become to my child. I am henceforth going to refer to my future child as a She, from here on (I don’t want any sexist tirade coming my way, at least for this blog post)
1. My kid can choose her own dreams, and chase them on her own terms. As a father, I’d never stop my kid from falling, but pick my child up and put her back on the the path of her dreams. She can choose to be a painter, singer, lawyer, teacher, actor, environmentalist, activist whatever she wishes to become. I’d always be proud of her.
2. My kid can choose to follow/unfollow my religion or any religion for that matter. I never knew I was a Hindu, until my mom told me I was. I believe I wouldn’t have been a tad different had I been a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic or for that matter an Atheist.
3. My kid is not my fixed deposit, who I shall wait to mature. She will be independent to fly on her own wings, and I’d be the air beneath her wings and not a cog in her wheel.
4. She will be free to love the person she wishes to, go on dates, marry the person she wants to. As a teenager, I mostly went to weddings where the groom and the bride were not only Bongs, but also happened to be from the same community, same gotra (I have no clue what that means), and at times even shared the same surnames. I don’t know how this blends into this pluralist society of ours, that we claim to be a part of.
5. Our kids would grow up in a world way different than the ones we grew up in. But, they’d still be children. And as parents, we need to ensure that the advent of technology and commercialisation and internet and Whatsapp, do not rob them of their innocence. And though, there would be times when we’d fail to see logic in their views, we’d have to accept them and move on. Remember, our parents never understood us either, and their parents didn’t understand them.
6. I’d never want my kid to be a reflection of me. She’s d be her own reflection, her own shadow, her own portrait. I’d actually be cool if she prefers Vodka over Whiskey or Breezer over Beer. Hmmm, actually, I’d want her to love whiskey the same way as I do!
And maybe one day, when I have turned old (but still young at heart), and while the Mrs. Is at the parlour, my child and I can sit down with a print out of this blog, and do a performance analysis of my role as a father. I hope I can pass with flying colours.
Friday, 7 November 2014
Boy meets girl. She is astonishingly beautiful and manages to steal his heart at the first go. He, smitten by her beauty, tries every rule in the book (and those beyond it) to woo her. Three movie and four dinner dates later (by when the boy has conveniently blown up his father’s hard earned-money and helped Airtel/Vodafone earn a fortune, courtesy the late night chats), the girl finally gives in to his earnestness and says 'Yes'. And they live happily ever after!
Right! For all those who think that this is going to be a lesson in romance or a beginner’s guide to the Kamasutra, you are woefully mistaken. I am sure Google has all the answers to your raging hormones. Today, I am going to write about the golden period in a guy’s life, which they pray they never go through, but which in fact make them what they are: Men of character.
It is the most revolutionary thing that can occur to that any guy post puberty (or in India, post Sunny Leone, these days). Well for a Punjabi, it is KLPD (ask a Punjabi friend to explain it better), for a Gujju, it’s an investment gone bad, for a Bong its that moment when you suddenly realise that not every woman is your maa or mashi. But break ups are honestly the most constructive/educational/life-changing/aspirational/
formative experience of your adult life. You cry for a day, whine for two more, play unrequited tributes to Mohd Rafi for four more days, get a boner on the seventh and try to imagine her instead. All these are routine moments that any guy (henceforth we shall refer to them as Bro) goes through. But, if you follow a meticulously planned out approach (drafted by none other than yours truly) to deal with your Break up, Bro, I assure you your heartbreak shall be memorable.
Step 1: SHE DUMPED YOU, BIG DEAL!
This step involves consumption of copious amounts of Old Monk (not whiskey, not beer, only Old Monk). It also involves occasional bursts of anger, requires a friend who has the guts to tell you that your mom and pediatrician touched your whiner before she did, and usually lasts for four days
This is the time when the Bro should not dwell upon the sweetness of the relationship that has past its expiry date, but rather analyse the cons, that came with it. Inflated phone bills, expensive gifts, remembering dates, remembering periods, analyse whatever you think would help you find solace. Of course, your relationship had its share of sweet, memorable memories. But, now is not the time to dwell on them. Love defies logic, but Break-ups are pure science. You have to balance out the good with the bad. You have to outweigh the pros with the cons.
Your Heart: She was beautiful.
Your Mind: So is your mom. Next
Your Heart: She made me feel complete.
Your Mind: So does a large pizza, and she oozed out all your pocket money
Your Heart: She was the first love of my life
Your Mind: Ya bitch, but not your last!
Remember, a Bro’s break-up is neither the first in this big bad world, nor the last. Give the anger seething within you an opening, let the stock of Old Monk exhaust itself. Your neighbourhood wine shop owner would be blessing you.
Do not, and I repeat, Do Not call her! It’s not worth it. Remember, she left you for someone else. She’s the villain! Yes, there is no place for rationale in this step.
STEP 2: THE WORLD IS NOT OVER
The bro might have had a break up, but the world is not over. Go out and meet people. Remember, the time a break-up hangover can last is inversely proportional to the number of people you meet. Catch up with old friends, who you have been neglecting thus far, as a parlour date with your ex-lady was far more important. What more, you can draw solace when you see your male friends fretting over their partners, with the latter driving them to the wall. It is also important that you meet the right kind of friends. People who treat you like a victim, as if you have just been sodomised or give you that ‘oh, so sad, he had a break up look’, should strictly be avoided. Remember, you are still the master of your destiny. The author of the 'best post break-up pep talk' should be you and only you. Ah, and before I forget, try not raking up your personal life in front of strangers, or for that matter, even friends. Preserve the sanctity of your relationship. Let it not become a matter of public debate.
STEP 3: WOMEN
Bros, I know your former lady was possibly the person, you’d imagine as the mother of your kids(I remember I had) and someone you'd imagine would accompany you to the bank to collect your pension, but for god’s sake, look at Women!. One honest soul who once had a drink too many said, ‘There’s a lot of fish in the river.’ Trust me, there is no other better visual exercise. As long as you are not ogling at a friend’s girlfriend or the next-door married aunty, it's perfectly normal for you to admire pretty women. After all, they are God’s most beautiful creation and far more superior to us men. We’ll leave that debate for another day but Bros, if you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a plethora of hot, eligible women, trust me its not a conspiracy. They were always there. Probably, you were too busy with your lady love to notice them. Try engaging in some platonic(I use the word in an academic way) female company. Nothing boosts a male ego better than some quality time spent with a beautiful woman. So Bros, try looking at pretty women. You’ll realize that your break up was the stepping stone for something far more fascinating that awaits your destiny.
STEP 4: BEING RATIONAL
Bros, when in a relationship, couples shower each other with gifts, ranging from clothes, bags, shoes to souvenirs to parlour bills in some cases. Now that your relationship has hit the shore, try not being too judgmental about the gifts. Remember, the gifts were fine, it was the relationship that fizzled out. It’s time to be rational, the step I had mentioned of in Step 1. You can lock up the gifts at a corner in your wardrobe. A corner that you would never venture into. But do not entertain ideas of burning gifts and disposing them. It makes for good sitcom, but in reality, it sucks. Do not disrespect your relationship, it had you at one point. Break ups, though a possible low-point of your life, is not judgement day. Try analyzing where it went wrong, and what you could have done to salvage it. But if it involves more than ten minutes of hard thinking, I think you are overdoing it! Focus on your priorities, do things which make you happy. Keep your friends close to you, and the dreams you nurture, closer. Expect a miracle coming your way and before this starts sounding like a Personality Development Workshop, let’s shift gears to Step 5.
STEP 5: THE CLOSURE
And one day, a common friend would inform you that she has got engaged, probably to the same guy she dumped you for. And you would thank God, for pulling you out of it before it was too late. C’mon, you have moved on. You would have had numerous crushes post that. You would have shaved a thousand times, gulped down beer/whiskey a zillion times. Chill, the world is still a better place. This step is called the Closure, where you have obliterated the person from the desktop of your life forever. Well there are some memories left in the recycle bin. But your desktop is free from the virus called ‘Ex-Girlfriend’. Well, if you don’t feel all this, go back to Step 1.
*Any resemblance to any character, living, dead or sleeping is purely coincidental.
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Folks, my words are generally not perceived to be pearls of wisdom. For those who have known me long enough can vouch for my immaturity, my idiosyncracies, my handling of critical situations, which has only gone from bad to worse after my deft handling. I may not have solutions to the global warming crisis, the communalization of politics, why SRK is not taking a VRS etc etc. But, my credentials as a Baraati or the Grooms' friend is exemplary and above any scrutiny. As some one who has attended five weddings in the last year and a half, that's by no mean a small feat.. So what does a Baraati need to do at a wedding. Here's a small tutorial that can help you survive any Indian wedding.. What more, you can actually have loads of fun... So, let's get started
1. GET THE BASICS RIGHT: Get one thing drilled into your head right from the start. It's your friend's wedding or martyrdom, however you may wish to call it, not yours. So try not to hog the limelight as you won't get any.. Remember,as the Baraati, you are there for exactly 3 purposes:
1. Eat like a Pig
2. Drink like a fish
3. Dance like a maniac...
So, keep it plain and simple. Focus on the Kababs, Get drunk and and once you are three pegs down, noone cares how you dance..
2. LAST MAN STANDING: Folks, remember, you've had the best time of your life while you were drunk. All those adventures or misadventures you and your friend indulged in, that time when you cried your heart out over the girl who you loved, the post break up conversations where he lifted your morale, the time when you burst a cracker outside your landlady's apartment, and all those drunk texts you sent out to your crush-- none would have been possible without copious amount of alcohol. So, once you are at your friend's wedding, remember he is just paying you back for all your love and support... and the Bar is all yours.. It doesn't matter if you are standing right next to the groom's mamaji or fufaaji or mausajii at the bar. Remember, they don't know you.. you don't need to know them. no pleasantries required.. it's time for Black Label on the rocks...
3. FIRST MAN STANDING: Taking into consideration the fact that no Baraat in India starts before 8 o clock, you have enough time to change into your sherwani, gulp down some vodka shots and kickstart the Baraat proceedings.. And since you are high anyways, and you have anyways been shameless always, do not hesitate in taking the lead and being the first man to start grooving at the baraat. I suggest you advice the bandmaster to start with 'yeh desh hain veer jawano ka'.. It's a safe bet always.
4. SCREW THE PROCEEDINGS, FOCUS ON THE KABABS: Now, remember.. you are the neither the pandit, nor the bride's brother. your attendance while the wedding rituals are on is not paramount. Instead. its time for you to satiate your tastes buds. Plus the fact that your friend, who has probably paid for the buffet is starving, should motivate you to eat on his behalf as well.. Take a good look at the spread once.. Focus on your strengths. For example, if you prefer continental food more, don't try the biriyani right at the beginning. You can come back to that once you are done with the Pasta. You can go back to attending the ritual once your tummy has been satisfied and you have stocked up booz for the night. This is really important. So, I suggest you don't waste your time attending mehendi ceremonies and high tea functions, and instead focus on stocking up alcohol resources for the night.. The mehendi. the sangeet and the pheras are for the family members. Your focus areas should be: the pre-sangeet cocktail party in the groom's room or the post-sangeet party in your room.. Stay focussed, Stay High..
5. GREETING THE COUPLE, A FORMALITY: Now this can be tough. No matter how hard you try staying away from the wedding ceremony, your attendance on the dais for that exclusive snap with the couple is a must.. There is also this customary 'hey I am so happy for you guys' type greeting that one has to indulge in.. I suggest, just walk up to the couple, utter those magical eight words... 'HEY I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS' and walk down
6. BE THE BEST MAN: Know your USP and be ready to deliver. Who will the groom come to when he is nervous before his dance performance and needs a swig or two? You. Indulge him
Who will the groom come to when he is bogged down by the weight of his sehra and sherwani and wants a shot off your glass?? You.. Indulge him..
So, that's it folks... Follow these basic instructions, and become the most awesomest Baraati at a wedding!!