Living in darkness (Part 3)

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Read the second part of the story here.

Rishi returned home and did not look his mother in the eye. Not because he was pissed or anything, but because he didn’t want to expose his extremely red eyes. His high was coming down gradually, and he looked set for 5-6 hours (no office tomorrow meant that he would stay awake for a long time) of complete freedom. Alas, things didn’t turn out too well.

Maa and babuji are coming next month,’ his mother announced.

The news sent a wave of panic in Rishi because it meant that he will not be able to smoke up and masturbate. Their house was not a palace with many rooms, and two more people coming in certainly played havoc with his existence. Not for once did Rishi see their arrival as an opportunity to shower his love and earn some good karma points. His conscience did feel a few guilt pangs at this attitude, but that didn’t change his heart.

He just saw the negative side of things. He thought how he would have to purchase medicine, fetch glasses of water and refrain from shouting at his mom.

Rishi cursed god for making his life so difficult. As it is, he was not having the greatest of times at work. A joint at the end of the day, was something he looked forward to. With the arrival of his grandparent, even that would go.

He took a deep breath in sadness, and crashed on the bed to sleep. He hadn’t had his dinner, but he was too high and sad to care.

To be continued…

Living in darkness (Part 2)

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Read the first part of the series here. 

He started planning what all he would do over the weekend. There was not a lot lined up on television, and he knew that it would be a lot of smoking and smoking up, lot of watching porn and masturbating, some eating and if time allowed, some reading.

He thought about reading – that lost habit that gave him so much pleasure. How he would finish books in a matter of days. If he had this job, then it was somewhat due to his habit of reading.

But, with time people learn news things – the hollow created by not reading was filled by his new hobby – marijuana smoking. Another thing that he had learnt in recent past was the sense of intense competition that existed in most people. If only this sense of competition (and the fire it created) had come to him earlier, he would have been somewhere else by now.

It wasn’t too late still. He could still create a storm. He could work hard on something like a website that would become the next ‘ScoopWhoop’. He could become an entrepreneur and leave all those who overtook him behind. Ah! The thought of victory over those people was more intoxicating than the marijuana and wine he was having.

To be continued…

Living in darkness (Part 1 of 7)

Rishi returned to his home much more energetic than usual. It was Friday evening, that beautiful time that most working professionals in MNCs lived for. He had just started his working life (4 months), and had already come to absolutely love this period.

He threw his bag on the sofa, his pants on the chair. He sat down lazily on the chair and demanded a glass of Bournvita from his mother, who scolded him (for the 49,786th time in this life) for creating  a mess in the house just seconds after entering. For the 49,786th time, he ignored her taunts thinking that he had better things to worry about than that.

The next thing on his agenda was collecting the small wad of weed that he had stored at the bottom of a cigarette box. It only took him about 5 seconds to take it from a drawer that would rarely be used until a couple of months back.

After watching songs of new releases on TV for 20 minutes, he collected his wallet and made his way outside the house. His first purchase was a small bottle of cheap wine. His next purchase was a box of cigarettes and a lighter. Usually, he bought just a matchbox, but since the day was a Friday, he felt prosperous.

With this entire arsenal for intoxication in place, he made his way to his building’s terrace (taking soft steps and rushing past the door of his flat), which was a dark place – devoid of human intervention. The only light was some rays coming from the streetlights. With the help of the light from his mobile, he rolled a joint. Without delay, he lit it up and 3-4 drags later, he could feel his eyes shrinking, time slowing down and the adjoining buildings, the trees and the sky becoming more defined. His face tightened up, and he said to himself, ‘oh, what a feeling!’

To be continued…

Like what you read? Check out other short stories written by me.

17 films I saw in 2014

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movies collage

This was a year where I didn’t hold myself back from watching any movie I could. Here is a list of 17 movies I saw, and my thoughts about them.

1. Hasee toh Phasee

Surely among the finest movies of the year, this ranks up there as one of the best romantic comedies I have seen.  I still listen to a lot of the songs, and wouldn’t mind watching it again if they show it on some TV channel. A love story between a scientist (Parineeti) and a man (Siddharth) set to marry that scientist’s sister – this film scores high for being genuine.

2. Gunday

I like Ranveer Singh. Even when he is clearly overacting. This film feels like an ode to the two-hero movies that were so popular in the 1990s. Full of over the top sequences, dramatic twists and turns, and filmy dialoguebaazi, this film gave me total bang for buck.

3. Queen

Another gem from 2014, Queen surpassed all expectations and became a huge hit. The film broke my belief that Kangana Ranaut couldn’t act. She played an endearingly awkward woman, called Rani (which means Queen) whose dreams of getting married were shattered as her husband dumped her. Set largely in Europe, this film doesn’t have lots of twists and turns, but keeps you gripped by the niceness of the characters, and novelty of the situations.

4. 2 States

I didn’t read the book, but the movie wasn’t too bad. The film had some funny moments, and the overall concept of families from 2 States finding it difficult to adjust together is relevant in our country. I also enjoyed the Tamil and Punjabi stereotypes that were portrayed in the film.

3. Humshakals 

The day I had seen Humshakals, I was not in a sane state of mind. Distressed with the world, I went to watch this movie fully knowing that it would be nonsense. It was nonsense, and I enjoyed some of it.

4. Ek Villain

A very unique film, this one would receive just passing marks from me for three reasons – some good songs, Siddharth Malhotra and a quote that I live by.

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ – Martin Luther King

The quote is somewhat the premise of the movie.

5. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania

I really like Varun Dhawan. This film could have been much better, but was heart-warming nevertheless. The sad song Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki, would definitely make it to my list of favorite 2014 songs.

6. Kick

According to me, this is much much better than the other Salman Khan movies. With twists and turns at every corner, this one kept me fascinated, amused and amazed all at once. The humor is great, just like Salman’s swagger. Just like the film’s title promised, this one gave me lots of kicks.

‘Aap devil ke peeche aur devil aapke peeche. Too much fun!’

7. Entertainment

It is definitely not easy to make a disaster movie like this one. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

There are a few bizarre scenes which bring you on the brink of laughter, but even with a jovial and upbeat mood – all I could manage was a smile.

8. Singham Returns

Again, considering this was a Rohit Shetty film – who had previously made the Chennai Express and Singham- I expected it to be more entertaining. But, it wasn’t a disappointment.

Though not in the same league as Singham, this one gave me total bang for my buck. Just that while doing a roundup list like this, I feel that this was not a memorable one from this year.

9. Finding Fanny

My experience of this film began with a tragedy. I bought the ticket in a hurry, only to realize that the show was in Hindi, and not in English which was how I had wanted it.

Barring that, this was an easy Sunday afternoon kind of a film that you would enjoy with a cup of hot coffee. It doesn’t have much of a plot, and it’s just a mix of strange characters and stranger situations. You can watch it on a DVD if you want, but don’t expect a classic.

10. Daawat-E-Ishq

This film didn’t fly at the box-office, but I really loved it! I went in with no clue whatsoever about the plot of the movie, and came out satisfied. Both Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapoor are energetic and charming on screen and that is what made this movie enjoyable for me. The script is also good.

I’ll definitely recommend this if you are looking to watch a Hindi rom-com.

11. Haider

I’d say this was the best film made in 2014. Harboring the lesson that people who seek revenge need to dig two graves, one for their enemy and one for themselves – this film had everything going for it. Great drama, great acting, great dialogues – and a superbly scenic Kashmir!

12. Bang Bang! 

Hrithik Roshan was so hot in this movie, that I had a man-crush on him. The scene where he is showing off his insanely ripped body while chopping wood sends the temperature soaring!

This film has a few cheesy sections, but I chose to ignore them. I went in to see a suave and stylish Hrithik pull off incredible action sequences accompanied by great background music. Bang Bang delivered what it promised.

13. Happy New Year

This was a nonsensical film but it didn’t pretend that it was not! A lot of the slapstick humor was lost on me, but a lot of it made me chuckle too. My favorite scene in the movie was how Deepika Padukone falls for SRK just because he speaks English!

14. Rang Rasiya

I expected more, considering the premise was so nice. The movie was a good history lesson, but the drama could have been better.

15. Happy Ending

Again, a disappointing rom-com. But, not a disaster. Govinda was funny in his cameo, and Saif and Ileana gave fine performances too. It’s hard to point out what made this film not click.

16. PK

I laughed out loud so many times while watching this movie. Hats off to Rajkumar Hirani! After 3 Idiots, the pressure on him to deliver again was intense. He delivers somehow.

His innocence about the ways of human beings is hilarious. Aamir Khan speaking in Bhojpuri is a master-stroke from Hirani.

It’s still in theaters, and you should watch it!

17. Ugly 

I saw this movie in INOX Gold Class, shelling out a mammoth Rs 480 (not because I am rich, but that was the only feasible show available)for the ticket. Despite the steep rate, I didn’t walk out of the movie disgruntled or disappointed. I walked out a little scared (I saw a 10.45 pm show and it was 1 am when I walked out) that some desperate and dark character on the road might do something to disrupt the harmony in my life.

Everyone from Rahul Bhat to Ronit Roy delivered stellar performances. Kashyap made some actors in the film cut their quota of sleep, not take a bath and even drink alcohol for the drunk scenes. The ploy seemed to have worked, as the actors deliver a great performance.

This one too is still in theatres, and you can catch it if you want.

Top 3: Haider, Ugly, Hasee toh Phasee

Just missed: Highway, Mary Kom, Main Tera Hero, Kill Dil, Citylights

New Year’s Resolution: Watch a lot more English movies. I saw only Interstellar in theatres this year.

7 things that happened in my life since I last made a blog post

Image Courtesy: Hartwig HKD on Flickr

Image Courtesy: Hartwig HKD on Flickr

A lot of water has flown in the Kaveri river, since I last posted here. I have changed considerably as a person (for the better), and probably as a writer (for the worse) too.

1. I have quit smoking

This is definitely the biggest thing I have achieved in my life so far. I can remember how difficult those first few weeks were. I can remember how close I had been to giving up. I can remember how incredibly dependent (I wouldn’t be able to sleep, wake up or enjoy a cup of coffee without it) I was when I was a smoker. I can remember the big hole smoking would burn in my pocket. I can remember (oh, how sweet is the memory) the sharp niggling desire I had to blow smoke through my mouth when I was quitting.

It was a tough mountain to climb, and I am enjoying the view from the top now.

2. I took a break from work

It’s taboo to be unemployed after being employed for several months. But, risks need to be taken, and I took one! My reasons – I wanted to quit smoking, I wanted to travel for a while to my native place, I wanted to break the miserable chain of existence I was finding myself in. (I have one more major reason, but I shall refrain from mentioning it here.)

Thankfully, the risk paid off and was not another one of those decisions that I’ve regretted.

3. I started gymming

It has caused a stark improvement in my fitness levels, as well as my emotional wellbeing. It has been fun, and I have become addicted. People look forward to the alcohol party on Saturday nights, I look forward to finding time for two hours of uninterrupted gymming! I no longer look at it as something that will tire me, but instead as something that will make me feel happy.

4. I became a cricket journalist

I used to write for TheHealthSite.com, but now write for CricketCountry.com. It is a major change. I used to give advice to people to better their lives then, I chronicle events and make small opinions based on how players’ perform now.

I don’t know if it’s the best thing for me.

5. I have started giving a bulk of my salary to my mother

Yes, and it is far more satisfying than spending it in a bar or a paan shop. Mother’s love is the purest and I try to seek comfort and love from her in times of trouble.

6. I went on a month long vacation

I went to Darbhanga, a small district in Bihar in the month of June and it opened my eyes to how fortunate I was to live the life that I live in Navi Mumbai. The heat, the dirt, the general lack of hygiene, the uneducated banter by my very close relatives – all seemed unbearable to me. And, has given me reasons to try to practice gratefulness daily!

7. My writing, and my reading habit has suffered!

So many positives have been mentioned, and it’s only fitting if I mention a negative too. My reading and writing have suffered, as I have tried to fix certain issues but both aspects of my personality must flourish as time goes by.

 

I cooked something delicious today!

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Capsicum and Peas Egg BhurjeeToday afternoon, after coming back home from a 15 hour journey, I wanted to get myself something to eat. But, a trip in the hot sun rendered all restaurants usless and overpriced. Besides, I was sick of eating restaurant food every day. Also, I can use that money to buy beer!

So, I decided, like an evolved human being to take on the challenge of cooking rice and gravy. Just to add flavour to the whole thing, I picked up two eggs to fry and put in the gravy. And make Anda Curry!.

I also picked up a bread in case the curry fails.

I have cooked rice and chapatis before, but never a gravy. (Maybe once, but  with mother’s running commentary) I didn’t know how much oil, vegetables or water to put. But, why fear when internet is there. I thought I’d look it up online and try. I did look up, but with limited vegetables – I thought I’d just read the beginning few steps and take it from there. (If I was going to learn, it was important to pay attention to the process.)

Here is a timeline of what I did:

1. I chop some Onions. No tomato. Oh no! Nevermind, I’ll just use onions.

2. I heat oil in a pan.

3. I pour a bit too much, I think.

4. I put the onions in the oil. Carefully. (I don’t want to burn my face.)

5.  I add jeera, turmeric, salt, and some other similar looking stuff to it.

6. ‘Ah! This is looking good. Not a bad start my boy!’, I tell myself.

7. Now what? How to make gravy?

8. Water? Maybe. How else do you make liquid?

9. But water if I put in burning oil, won’t it come to my face?

10. I can only experiment and learn! (*shivers*)

11. I cover my face with cloth, and put two three spoons of water.

12. Nothing happens.

13. I pour an entire cup.

14. Eeeewww!

15. This doesn’t look good.

(15 1/2). It didn’t strike me that I could have tried putting a combination of masalas to it.

16. I put peas and capsicum. They are the only ones left besides pumpkin which looked like it had to be boiled before being cooked.

17. The capsicum occupies space and soaks up a lot of water and oil, making the broth look less hideous.

18. Also, the capsicum seeds makes the dish look Chinese.

19.  I feel proud again.

20. Maybe, I can cook an omelette and put this broth in between two sandwiches with a lot of mayonnaise?

21. Sounds like a good idea.

22. I crush two eggs and have a brainwave.

23. What if I put these eggs into the gravy?

24. It’ll make an amazing omelette if I can turn the whole thing down too.

25. From gravy to omelette, classic improvisation Sameer! What a job well done! I congratulate myself.

26. The appearence of  the whole dish changes, and I can’t wait to gobble it up.

27. I try to turn it upside down but screw it up.

28. No problem. Anda Bhurjee is made like this only.

29.  I crush everything. Mix, twist and swing the whole thing in the pan.

30. The dish is ready. I add coriander and mayonnaise for seasoning. I can’t believe this. OMG I AM SO HAPPY!!

Not that I had any doubt, it tasted great too! And the eggs, peas and capsicum make it healthy too.

Now I am having a beer. Cheers!

4 quotes by Jerome K Jerome on Being in Love

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Jerome K Jerome

Here are a five quotes from Jerome Klapka Jerome on Love that I would like to publish on this blog.

Fortunately, it is available online and you could read the whole essay online.

1.

No, we never sicken with love twice. Cupid spends no second arrow on the same heart. Love’s handmaids are our life-long friends. Respect, and admiration, and affection, our doors may always be left open for, but their great celestial master, in his royal progress, pays but one visit and departs. We like, we cherish, we are very, very fond of—but we never love again. A man’s heart is a firework that once in its time flashes heavenward.

2.

But, there, of what use is it to preach? Who that feels the rush of young love through his veins can think it will ever flow feeble and slow! To the boy of twenty it seems impossible that he will not love as wildly at sixty as he does then. He cannot call to mind any middle-aged or elderly gentleman of his acquaintance who is known to exhibit symptoms of frantic attachment, but that does not interfere in his belief in himself. His love will never fall, whoever else’s may. Nobody ever loved as he loves, and so, of course, the rest of the world’s experience can be no guide in his case. Alas! alas! ere thirty he has joined the ranks of the sneerers. It is not his fault.

3.

It is just at the very age when a man’s character is forming that he tumbles into love, and then the lass he loves has the making or marring of him. Unconsciously he molds himself to what she would have him, good or bad. I am sorry to have to be ungallant enough to say that I do not think they always use their influence for the best. Too often the female world is bounded hard and fast within the limits of the commonplace. Their ideal hero is a prince of littleness, and to become that many a powerful mind, enchanted by love, is “lost to life and use and name and fame.”

4.

And how madly we did worship! And how sweet it was to worship! Ah, lad, cherish love’s young dream while it lasts!

I hope you enjoyed reading them. You can also read Jerome K Jerome On Being Shy. 

23!

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7th November was my birthday

I just turned 23. There are so many years ahead of me. But, do I look forward to them? Not one bit. As life is passing by, the noose is being tightened and happiness is harder to come by.

Yet, despite all that. A change in age should also coincide with change in perception. And boy! Has my perception changed from last year?

How I looked down upon hardwork? And, how I look up to it now.

Still, there is a sadness. Hard to explain why. I feel very strongly that my best years are behind me, and what beholds is pressure, pressure and pressure.

Also read: Influenced

 

 

On self-consciousness and confidence

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confidence

In order to kill time, post more and improve as an individual- I have decided to do an exercise. Every now and then, I’ll answer a few questions posted in the exercise section of this book that I am reading – The Art of Public Speaking. 

I’ll remove one or two questions, depending on my convenience. 

What is the cause of self-consciousness?

Personally, whenever I speak something lame or inappropriate, I punish myself by being silent. It seems better than speaking scrambled sentences or appearing like a salivating wolf.

“It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” 
― Maurice Switzer

What is your observation regarding self-consciousness in children?

Children are very uninhibited in their dealings. Yet, whenever they go to a new place or setting- they feel very uncomfortable. Still, it is very difficult to say as all children are different, and some express themselves well, while others remain in their world.

Why are you free from it under the stress of unusual excitement?

Whenever I enjoy myself, I am not self conscious at all. My excitement could arise from receiving respect (both from within and from others) or simply a few pegs of good rum and good company.

How does moderate excitement affect you?

It gives a pring to my step, a song to my lips and a general feeling that things are going to turn out well.

What are the two fundamental requisites for the acquiring of self-confidence? Which is the more important?

In my opinion, two prerequisites are superiority and speaking skills. Superiority is more important to me because I have never felt awkward or self conscious speaking to an autowallah or a street vendor. It has always been someone of a higher or an equal stature.

Good speaking skills is equally important, as someone who communicates well gains the respect of the listener and that makes you respect yourself too.

What effect does confidence on the part of the speaker have on the audience?

One of the best speeches I had heard was by a female Bharat Natyam dancer from China. His story was so compelling and it was evident he wanted to inspire others. And, why not! To be a success in a field doomed so unsuitable for you gives you confidence. And, the audience can see that the person is speaking from his heart. (Read: Seeing and Winning)

Write out a two-minute speech on “Confidence and Cowardice”.

Dear readers of this humble blog,

If I speak about confidence, it would be a disservice to the word. But, if I have to speak about Confidence and Cowardice, I might just make some sense.

Heaven knows, like a coward I have left many things unsaid. What harm could have come out of saying them. Nothing much, but maybe- just maybe- something good might have happened. My career, my romantic life, and maybe even my health has suffered the brunt of this cowardice. If people in the audience feel the same, please raise your hands so that I don’t feel alone.

(I see raised hands. This is my blog.)

So today- On this platform- We make a pledge! A pledge to root out our cowardness, like a surgeon pulls out a bullet out of a wounded leg. A pledge to forget all the poor things we might have done, like an adult forgets half the things he learnt at school. A pledge to shower ourself with confidence, as if it was like the water running from our taps.

And this is not a pledge we make today, we will make it whenever we feel self-conscious. I’ll end this speech with a few lines of a poem called Speak by Faiz Ahmed Faiz,

Speak, this brief hour is long enough
Before the death of body and tongue: 
Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet, 
Speak, speak, whatever you must speak.

If you have anything to add on the topic, or want me to discuss a point I made in more detail- please feel free to use the comments section. For similar posts on the blog, you could read:

Image source: Confidence

4 funny things I did in school

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schoolboy image

Like everyone, I too look back at my school days with a lot of fond memories. Even though, when I was in school I mostly felt tortured by the ‘system’, saddened by the workload and relieved by excessive escapism. It was like that for me in college too, and will remain to be for the rest of my life.

But, with time comes good wisdom

and I have now realised

the importance of working hard

and giving in to the system. 

That said, it never hurts to indulge in mild to moderate escapism. Which is why, today on a weekend I’ll open the clogged pipelines of my memory and relive those days by sharing 4 funny things I did in school.

1. Effortless wit

A lot of times I cracked jokes without even intending to do it, i.e. I would be completely honest and say what I feel and the whole class would erupt with laughter. An example,

There was this time when I was made to stand outside the school, as punishment for coming late. I was totally chilled about it because humans get used to things. The head boy, who was a classmate looked at me and said with a heavy dose of authority, “Sameer, this is the third time you are coming late!” I merely corrected him saying, ”Fourth time.” With this remark, the entire prefectorial body and other late comers giggled making me feel like a dude.

2. The Lunchbox

Extremely embarrassing when it happened, this incident is extremely funny in recollection. What happened was, I had bought chicken for lunch and considering I usually got bland food I thought I’d eat it up in the first period itself. (This thought was encouraged by my partner, who too had a growing boy’s appetite.) Slowly and slyly, me and my partner finished the lunch even though the teacher was teaching Geography. The plan was executed and I was happy.

But, alas. Just as I was packing everything up to keep in my lunch bag, the entire paraphernalia fell and I felt as if I had dropped the secret cure that will save the world. The whole class burst laughing, and I had given entertainment to everyone as people like to see someone being made a fool of by the teacher.

3. Answer sheet

Not being a good student, has many undesirable side effects. One of them, is being extremely bored while writing exams. And, you just have to subject a creative guy to boredom and see him weave his magic.

Among the many goofy things I have written in my answer sheets, my short description of a road accident takes the cake. (It was slightly inspired from a Radio Mirchi ad. :P)

“One day, a red indigo and a black indica were driving on the road. Suddenly, they both banged into each other. The driver of the Indica came out and instead of scolding the Indigo driver sang, ‘Naa tune signal dekha, naa maine signal dekha! Accident ho gaya, rabba rabba!‘ I was watching all this from the footpath and couldn’t control my laughter. The police came and seeing me laugh, thought I was responsible. I am writing this from jail.”

Probably, this isn’t funny but to write it in a serious answer paper felt funny. And, I boasted about to everyone I could set my eyes on and they too found it funny. Sadly, the teacher didn’t.

4. Mimicry

Anyone whom I have known after leaving school, is unaware of this. It’s a well guarded secret. But, in school days (11th standard) it was my claim to fame.

The Great Indian Laughter Challenge was really popular during that time, and taking inspiration from it I mimicked everyone from the scary fellow in Sansani, to a depressed person speaking in a Telebrands ad to Saif Ali Khan. What more? I performed in front of the whole school on Teacher’s day and it was really popular.

Girls started hitting on me after this, little children complimented me on the stairs, classmates looked at me with awe and suddenly, I was as popular as the athletes. Sadly, I couldn’t sustain this popularity and soon saw my world crashing down because my strength had become my weakness – I had started cracking bad jokes.

So that’s it. If you have a funny incident from school, that you’d like to recollect then you are most welcome to use the comments section.

For more articles on school, you could read:

1. The Farewell Day

2. Annual Day in School

3. Make Hay While The Sun Shines (Recommended)

Image Source: Flickr/spaztacular

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