Screw this 'Pehredar Pia Ki' petition

There is a change.org petition making rounds which is asking for a ban on a TV serial “Pehredar piyaa ki” on grounds of it being a bad influence for “our kids”. A quick summary for the fortunate ones who don’t know what it is. The story is basically a 10-year-old getting married to an adult woman, who is basically his bodyguard. The perpetrators of this petition have problems with the visuals of the kid “flirting”, “stalking”, and other related negative words this grown ass woman. They have a problem with this being a) aired and b) aired at prime time which might affect “our children”. Just be clear, whatever is in quotes in this writeup is that way deliberately.

First, my thoughts on this. All of this. If this show is bullshit and regressive, this petition is bullshitter and regressiver (yup, i made words). If you put a gun to my head and ask me to choose one to defend I will defend the show against the petition.

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Man-spider

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - The spider that bit Peter Parker gets Peter Parker powers.

“This is it.” he thought and closed his eyes. All eight of them. He had been standing here for more than an hour now, not that human units of time mattered to spiders. He had tried jumping many times over but stopped himself at the very last moment. This time he did it. As soon as his feet, all eight of them, left the branch instincts kicked in. Pure primal survival instincts. He realized what was happening. That’s what you do when you have super sharp reflexes. He started working against the instincts and pulled his libs inwards to turn himself into a ball. He needed to gain momentum and enough speed to make sure that he breaks through the surface tension of the pond and drowns. Yes, drowns. That’s important for this to be a successful suicide. Suicide. That’s a funny word. Until last week he did not even know it existed. Until last week everything was different. He was just another teenager. A little rebellion here, a little angst there but nothing out of the ordinary. Just like any normal teenage spider. School was good. Webbing was his favorite subject. Because MJ was there. Beautiful MJ. What? Who’s MJ? I meant Silky. Yes. Silky. The most beautiful spider in the whole world. She was the reason he took Webbing. What kind of spiders needs to study webbing he used to think. Things were going great. Until last week. Now he can’t live with himself. Live with this guilt. Uncle Ben’s death was his fault. He could have saved him. How could he face aunt May every day? She didn’t know that I was there when Ben was shot. She couldn’t know. She would not be able to live with this knowledge. He couldn’t live with this. He had thought a lot about it and suicide was his only option. Yes. This is the only way to rid himself of this agony. “I should have impacted by now. Or maybe I did and died and didn’t even feel it. Maybe I am in spider heaven.”. He opened his eyes and he saw water. “I must be drowning. But I don’t feel wet. And I can see water. I should be in the water”. He uncurled his first left leg and reached for the water. He touched it. Yup! Water. He was confused. He uncurled his body to try to figure out what was going on. “Why am I hovering over water? Are spiders repelled by water? I should have paid attention in the physics class. What now?”. He twisted his body around to see what was going on. Nothing. It’s just his luck to be stuck like this. He just wanted to die. Was that too much to ask? “How am I turning around? What am I pivoting against? Don’t tell me”. He turned around to see his back side. “Spidergod damn-it!”. He could see a thin shiny strand of silk going all the way from his back side to the branch from which he had jumped. “Fuck this habit” he muttered as he pulled himself up by the silk strand. “I can’t go through this again.”. “Oye fly-fucker! What the hell do you think you are doing?” someone yelled. He turned around to see who it was. Steve, his best friend. He can’t deal with him now. He will be all questions now. He just can’t. Steve was already there by the time he reached the branch. “Did you not hear what I said?” asked Steve punching him on his third right shoulder. “What are you doing hanging here? We are not supposed to be near the pond. What’s going on?”. He will have to tell him now. “I’ll tell you everything but you will have to promise that you won’t try to stop me. I could have saved uncle Ben that day. The day he was shot, I was there with him. And I didn’t do anything to save him. He will never be back and I can’t face Aunt May anymore. I just..”. I was interrupted mid sentence by a jaw breaking smack right across my face. My vision was hazy in 6 of my eyes and I tried to concentrate on Steve with the remaining 2. He was yelling at me. “Are you on drugs? What is the matter with you? You tell me what have you been doing these days? We are spiders. We come out of eggs. We don’t have Aunts and Uncles. Who the fuck is this Ben who you are babbling about? I knew something was wrong with you. You have been acting weird, weirder, ever since you went into that building on the dare. Did any of those humans do anything to man? Tell me what happened”. Recollections started dawning on me. Yes, I went into a building last week. I did not want to but I was dared and I didn’t want to be called a weakling for not completing a dare. I had to bite a human there and come back. Yes. That’s what I did. I found the scrawniest, most loser looking kid and bit him. He was the runt of the litter. All other humans were mocking him and teasing him yelling “Keep up Peter Parker.”.

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Hello World

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - Magic is discovered to be real. The catch? Spells are just like computer programs: difficult to write, and even harder to do correct the first try. You’re a spell bug tester, and you’ve seen just about everything go wrong, but today’s typo is on a whole other level…

It is a yet another uneventful day. Deepak is still a pig but that isn’t new. All testers are explicitly taught to always sandbox the environment before testing any spells but noooooo that was too mainstream for good old Deepak. Spells are like code. Just giving them a read is never sufficient to fully understand and verify what they do. There is a reason our jobs exist. So that we test all spells written by rookie wizards before they are moved to production to find all bugs, yeah we copied nomenclatures from programmers; sue us, and check them for all boundary conditions. It’s tedious but fairly basic. You setup the environment, isolated and as per the specs and run a battery of tests. Having been doing it for 4 years now it has almost become a second language to me. I, for most spells, can tell the issues that will come in a spell even before running any tests by just reading them. Yet, I never assume, like this ass Deepak, and follow the testing guidelines to the T. And that is why he has been in the form of a pig for 3 days and I have the “Best Spell Tester” trophies for all the years I have worked here.

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I'm feeling lucky

This short story is in response to a writing prompt on Reddit. The original prompt is - Google released its new self-driving car. You step in and press “I’m feeling lucky”

“God fucking damn it! What does it even mean? Tell me what does “Late LG load” even mean? You stupid car! I said “8 MG road” I yelled at the car. Regret had started creeping in my mind. Early adopter my butt. I should have waited for Google to perfect their voice recognition before getting this stupid self-driving piece of junk. Every. Single. Time. I watch this snazzy product video and fall for it. Stupid stupid. This thing doesn’t even have a steering wheel. Why would you do that? I’ve been at it for more than half an hour trying God knows how many destinations to try to take it for a spin but Indian accent + Indian road names = Big fucking nope. This is bullcrap. It will have to go back. I didn’t get to drive it even one. What a shame. It would have been so cool to be driving down the Delhi roads in India’s first self-driving car.

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Book Review : Modern Romance

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Lets do on thing. Lets take a break from the genre of dystopian novels and discuss something else this time. I recently finished watching Master of None, highly recommended by the way and that gave me an idea that we can in todays video discuss Modern Romance. A book written by Aziz Ansari the protagonist in Master of None and a well know comic. Most of you might have seen him in Parks and Recreations and his own standup specials. I read this book very recently and saying that this is an enjoyable book would be an understatement. Now one would assume that a book written by a comic would be humour only with very little meat. One would be wrong for assuming that. How do I put it. This book is freakonomics with humour on steroids if that means any thing.

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Book Review : Ready Player One

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So there is a famous quote by George RR Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones books - A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one. I like reading a lot. Now I could go on a hyperbolic monolog professing my love for books and how i could eat and breathe them but then that would be tangential to the point. I don’t get to read as much as I want to or even as much as I used to. This situation I have remedied by taking 2 steps

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Book Review : Fahrenheit 451

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The first quarter of 2017 was mostly dedicated to dystopian novels. One book that belongs to this genre, which I mentioned in the last 5-minute review which you can find here, is Fahrenheit 451. It is one of the most recommended books of this genre and it sits in the league of 1984 and Brave New World. Fahrenheit 451 was written by Ray Bradbury in 1953 and is considered one of his best books and I definitely agree with that. This book won Bradbury many awards including a Retro Hugo award and a Grammy Nomination for the audiobook which was narrated by Bradbury himself. I had listened to this version of audiobook only which I am sure must have added a lot of extra value to the text.

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Happy Women's Day! Now let's talk about gender pay gap

Today is Women’s Day (2017). So Happy Women’s day. Now I would not wax poetic about the importance of women in our lives in all the forms and how we all should be thankful. I could, but I don’t think I’d have anything new to say which hasn’t already been said, so I won’t. Instead, I would want to discuss a topic, an issue, which I feel needs a lot more discussion and I think I can contribute to it. Lets discuss the gender pay gap. According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI) on gender for 2016, women in India earn 25% less than men. The number is huge yet totally believable. Now instead of looking at it from the gender angle, let’s try and look at it from a pure capitalist angle. The relationship between an employee and an employer is a very special form of buyer-seller relationship. The specialty in this relationship is that the employer and the employee keep interchanging the roles of the buyer and the seller. The employee is the buyer in the case where he “buys” a job and compensation from an employer in return for his work and the employer is the buyer in the conventional way where he buys his employees work in exchange for compensation and perks. All buyer-seller relations are about negotiations and bargains. From a capitalistic point of view, a person will want to pay as little as possible for something he wants to buy. If multiple sellers are offering the exact same product, it’s only logical to go with the one with whom you can negotiate the least possible price. This is all economics. This is exactly what is happening with women when it comes to the wage gap. They are, in most certainty, being out negotiated into accepting lower pay. The usual bargaining chips that most employers use for such negotiations are

  1. Most women might not want to travel far from home.
  2. Most women might quit or be on long leaves for marriage and maternity
  3. Most women are not ok with working long or extra hours or hard enough and similar reasons.
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Dear Karan Johar I am happy for you

Fatherhood, compared to motherhood, is almost never celebrated. It is. But the reverence that is given to motherhood completely overshadows it and there is no denying that. When it comes to a child, everything is about the mother. And rightfully so. She is the one who gave her sweat and blood, literally, to bring the child to this world. She continues giving even after the child is born. In comparison to this, a father seems rather small. He is standing somewhere in the blurry background. He is happy with whatever credit he gets in return for whatever fatherly duties he fulfills. Many girls dream (not sure the right word, seems strong) of being mothers some day. Detailed stuff. What they will do with their kids, what kind of mother they will be and what not. People do not expect men to be like that. The idea that a boy thinks about being a good father one day seems weird, almost alien. I am not sure why this but I can say one thing. It’s not that true. Many men want to be fathers. They want to be the one who provides for a young life and be someone the little ones look up to. This must be exactly what must be going through Karan Johar’s mind. Irrespective of what his social, economical, political or personal life is, I can completely understand his desire of becoming a father. What I admire more is that going against societal norms he went for it. Unlike a lot of us, who let go of our wishes and dreams just because “what will the world think” he made it happen for him. I am happy for Karan Johar. You should be too.

Context: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/karan-johar-is-dad-to-twins-via-a-surrogate/articleshow/57471741.cms

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All good things need to be forced

This is what my usual day looks like. I am up by 6.30 am and in the gym by 7.15 am. Depending on what my workout of the day is I usually am able to come back home by 9.30 am (showered and ready to leave for office). I am in my office by 10.30 usually and unless I have a meeting elsewhere I am there till at least 8 8-30. I reach home by 9 9-15, depending on the traffic, where I spend the next 1 hr or so having dinner and catching up with my wife. She is usually in the bed by 10 am and I by 11 am since we both are early risers. I am sure this is more or less (except the workout) your schedule as well. Our lives are a hamster wheel loop of sleep-work-sleep which we are turning, trying to be faster, all day every day. Most of the leisure, let’s call it that though I prefer the words culture or happiness, we defer for weekends. Not much is accomplished on such weekends. I wish I could read more. I wish I could do something about my health. I wish I could travel more. I wish. We all carry a lot of such related regrets on our shoulders which we take off your back from time to time, stare at them, sigh and put them back blaming the busyness of our lives for not being able to do what we wish. Days go by and one activity that kept us busy is replaced by two more and the chance of ever making time for the “I wish”s. I realized that I am stuck in this loop and there is no way out of this. At least no immediate way that I could see. Finally, I came to a conclusion that I will have to force the culture and my “I wish”s into this loop only and somehow make it work.

My first wish was that I wanted to incorporate some kind of physical activity in my live. Around 3 years back I decided to force this in my life. Like most of us on New Year, I too started as resolutioners, highly motivated to build a healthy life. Soon I realized that motivation was not enough. Motivation will get you out of your bed on a cold Delhi morning maybe for a week but will fail, rather miserably, to do so in the subsequent. The human mind is great at making excuses and will come up with such great ones to skip a workout that you yourself will be amazed. When motivation fails, discipline comes to the rescue. Fortunately, I was able to force the habit of regular workout into my life and not it is not something I do or have to do but something which is a part of my lifestyle. This is now a habit for life and I could myself blessed to have been able to do it.

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