Almost all of us at one time or another have been guilty of trying way too hard on social media to be funny, witty and smart to gain likes, hearts, retweets, followers and what not. Way too hard. The reason I am bringing this up is because I was deeply influenced by a single episode of a TV series. Now usually my social commentary about TV and movies is usually limited to discussion with friends and a mere single tweet at the max. But this time it was different. I watched the first episode of Season 3 of Black Mirror last night and honestly, it hit really close to heart. It was the story of a young woman who lived in a society where social media popularity or “rating” was something that had real world implications. Your interactions with the physical world affected your ratings and your ratings affected how the world interacted with you. I don’t think we are that far from this future. Today no matter what the event is, good or bad, the first thing that comes to mind is what witty post can be shared on social media to garner social clout. Minds start racing to think of that one witty tweet that will get all the RTs in the world. Taking selfies for Instagram and Facebook takes precedence over actually making that moment worth it. The amount of effort that goes in keeping up and maintaining this facade could easily be diverted into actually building character and hobbies. But who does not know all this? We are like any other kind of addicts. Smokers know that the cigarette is killing them, so do drug abusers. Yet somehow constantly looking into that 5” screen has become socially acceptable. I am in no authority to point fingers or preach any cure for I too am one of the addicts. A self-aware addict who knows that every single funny Reddit post is 2 minutes I will never get back and yet here I go swiping away to the next post. I know the solution. We all do. Yet. Maybe we love our ratings more than we know.
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The concept of patriotism has never come naturally to me. Gender, race, nationality, religion etc are traits that I have but had nothing to do to get them. I was born a male brown Hindu Indian and that was the default setting and I never had a say in that. If I say I am proud of being a male I will be termed as a sexist, a white person is called a racist if they claim they are proud to be white, we all know how much issue secularity causes in our society but being proud of once nationality is not only socially acceptable but is rather expected. Even worse there could be sever consequences if someone is considered non-patriotic in India. I am not saying that I don’t feel good about being an Indian at times, many times, but pride does not come naturally. Hence I implore the people who think they are proud Indians, please help me reach the point where you are because I do want to be there. Thoughts?
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The thing about Udta Punjab is that the the track involving Alia Bhatt, who has performed the best of all, has nothing to do with drugs. The reason for the misfortune of that character was not drugs but greed and if you really want to stretch it, curiosity. It could very easily have been guns, gold or top secrets. So no matter how much you appreciate the antics of that bihari girl that is a story unrelated to the core story. I am pretty sure there was some back story to Kareena Kapoors character but for some reason it was not told to us. So it was really hard to understand where her “activism” was coming from. The speed with which Shahids character reforms is mind bending. I have no idea about drug addiction but I am certain it does not go away that fast. The only character that stayed true to the story and was actually the portrayal of everything drugs affect was Diljits character. He gets to display a range of human virtues from greed to despair to immense loss ending with redemption. I will not comment on the controversy because I didn’t actually find anything controversial but the movie was definitely worth one watch. The starting star wars sequence was a nice surprise.
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This is probable the most popular quote of the great Muhammad Ali. And trust me it is not just a quote. If you go and watch any of his fights on Youtube you see all the floating and the stinging happening. Some people deserve to be called legends. Ali was one. And not because he was a great and successful boxer. But because he had the attitude of legends. There is almost no person on this earth who does not want to be great. Of all these people “wanting” to be great, a very small portion work towards being great. Of these people who are working towards greatness only a handful sustain the hardships of the world and not give up. And out of these few people only those people become great who believe, or even better - know, that they are meant to be great. Ali was one of them. So with a slightly heavy heart I share with you my favourite quote of Ali
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I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was
A bird can just be a bird. When the sun rises it isn’t accompanied by a feeling of dread. It’s daily tasks are solely comprised of being a bird and being a bird still.
Humans are a problem. There’s no place for us. I cant just go out into the woods and be a human. But then again, I have a taste of the finer things and I’m an enlightened person that doesn’t care to live in the woods anyway. So I have a job, I put in my 40+ hours a week, I pay someone for the privilege of having a roof, I drive 15 miles a day, and I take care of a dog. Read more »
This lifestyle has cost me friends. It has cost me relationships. I cannot visit my family without it being rubbed in my face that I merely live like a king. That’s right- a king.
November is here and someone has introduced you to the concept of Movember. Not the exact philanthropic cause observed by men throughout the word but the oversimplified version – don’t shave for a month. And now you are a Movember bro because its easy to do and now you have a valid excuse for looking scruffy. Anyways now since you have decided to do it, why not do it right. Here are a few tips for Movember Bros who are all new to this growing and keeping facial hair on how to get through the month without losing your mind and dignity. Read more »
[caption id=”attachment_1348” align=”alignleft” width=”212”] That’s us![/caption]
They say love begins to fade 7 years into a relationship. The ‘7 year itch’ they call it. The habits and actions you like in the beginning no longer seem cute. All you see are the dark parts of the relationship and hence the itchy irritation. I don’t believe that. Read more »
I stopped looking up to god for specific things a long time back. For it is possible that what I think I need or is good for me might not be. And also it wouldn’t take god, if he exists, too long to realize that this kid only comes to me when he needs something. Since then my prayers have been super generic leaving all the burden on god himself to figure out what is good for me and then make that happen. Now it is hard to keep this resolution. Time to time I am in the mood to tell god that it is the right time for my Maserati and that a Gulf Stream makes sense now. Festive times are especially hard when you are constantly tempted to make a request or two. Today also I have a list ready of things that I want from god as my Christmas present. Again I will not ask for anything specific or materialistic but again it would not be as vague as world peace (dear god, if you could manage, world peace would be nice). I am a selfish being and most of my desires are local.
Smiles for the people I love and people who love me - all the wealth and all the tasty foods of the world combined cannot match the happiness that the smile of a loved one can get you. Please always give them the reason to smile. Make me the mean to it if you can. Read more »
Today is Dussehra, or Vijayadashmi as many call it. For those who do not know, without getting into much detail (which you can get here) I can tell you that this Hindu festival is celebrated because supposedly on this day many many years ago (Lord) Ram finally killed Ravan for having kidnapped his wife Sita. The essence of the festival is much more than just revenge as it might seem from my over simplified definition. The festival is said to signify the victory of good over evil, light over dark and truth over deception. Ram is worshiped in our homes as god and is usually pointed at as the ultimate role model for mankind. Not that I disagree (completely) with this but at times I wonder whether todays parents really do wish for a child like Ram. Are we truly aspirational towards having a Ram-like attitude towards life? More importantly, would the story would have remained and ended the same way it did if it had happened in this age and would Ram have been still able to come out victorious. And if somehow we manage to answer all of these answers with a yes, then despite knowing the benefits of being Ram-like why do we, all of us, have more in common with Ravan than Ram.
‘Honesty is the best policy’, ‘Thou shalt not steal’, ‘Respect your parents’ and other such saying are not bound by religion, region, race or color. You do not have to be devout Hindu, or even religious or educated and not even just literate to have known these ‘virtues’. Everyone knows them and understands them. How hard is it to understand - “Don’t lie”. And yet we are dishonest in our behavior, we lie. It does not matter if it’s a small innocuous lie like “I am almost there”. A lie is a lie. And Ram supposedly never lied. We all steal. Maybe not directly like burglars, robbers and shoplifters but we do. Tax fraud is stealing. I really think Ram would approve of you manipulating your balance sheet to save tax (This by the way is a lying + stealing combo). I am sure we all love our parents a lot but are we as devoted towards them as Ram was? You can go deeper and deeper into all the aspects of your life and in the end you would only come back with a conclusion that we are much closer to Ravan than Ram. This confuses me. If we all know that being Ram-like is going to end in victory and is also the right way to go about things why are we all Ravans? Read more »
I usually know what I want to write about. I have a basic idea of what the central theme is and more or less the title as well. Today I don’t have anything. There are millions of things in my mind and it is absolutely blank at the same time. Another rape happened. No. Another rape that got the attention of mainstream media and woke up the sleeping outrage among Indians, mostly the online kind happened. I know I had said that I will not write about rape but I have to let it out somehow. The discussions, debates and monologues about the issue are all around. People have moved from blaming police to westernization to chowmein to victims to even Pakistan. Demands of public castration and instant hanging of culprits can be heard everywhere. Everyone is appalled by the ‘heinousness’ of the crime and everyone is questioning the depths to which the mankind can fall. Everyone has their remedies as well which range from highly obnoxious kind like marrying the girl the moment she turns 10 or not allowing girls to wear jeans to increasing the amount of police force and setting up fast track court for rape cases. Everyone has a cause, explanation and a remedy and yet I am clueless. Who should be blamed? Or should someone else be blamed at all. How can the police force be more vigilant? It’s not like such incidences happen under the nose of the police personnel. At least not always. What can an increased police force do? They still cannot be one policeman for every civilian. What would be the point of setting up fast track court? It would clearly mean that we have accepted them just like traffic violations as a part of our society.
I sat down last night trying to think of what is it that I can do make a change and help make the country safer for women. I could not come up with anything that I, or people like me, are not already doing. I have never harassed a girl in any way possible. Not even a single missed call ever. Neither have I tolerated this happening to anyone. All my friends and colleagues are people like me only. We do not do such things and have never even let them happen around us. One of my friends had once beaten 2 boys black and blue for harassing some girl he did not even know. I am always very cautious about the safety and security of my employees and all this I have been doing forever. Yet incidences like this happen. I am not one of those who like to live under the happy illusions that sexual and physical harassment of girls is an epidemic found in economically backward parts of the society only. Or only uneducated people are responsible for doing such deeds. I don’t feel that even “desperation” is a major cause. The ability or intent to physically violate and hurt someone is not something that comes from being poor or uneducated. If this is happening in all the segments of the society irrespective of financial or educational background what is it that we are doing wrong? This cluelessness and the accompanied helplessness makes me angry. More sad than angry. I want to make the city safe for women but I do not know what I should do or what I should ask others to do. Read more »