Leave Football Alone.

I’ve been observing marketing and advertising trends for some time now (4 days to be precise), and I see some unusual partnerships emerging – the fascinating relationship between Bollywood and cricket being the most notable among them. It can be best described as a marriage of convenience, where the two parties involved have fuckall in common, yet they put up with each other for some common gain. Bollywood and its cluster of odious pricks couldn’t be bothered with the number of off-spinners in the Indian squad, and cricketers wouldn’t give a shit about the existential themes in Bodyguard, but still they are well aware that each can suck a lot of publicity piggybacking on the other’s successes. It’s free advertising for both partners: IPL ticket sales are certainly boosted with the celeb quotient in the stands; elsewhere Shahid Kapoor and Viveik Oberoi are spotted jerking off and yelling “Sachin, Sachin (fap, fap, fap)” when their movie is scheduled to come out the following week. See how that works?

But now, herein lies the catch. What does one partner do when the other is not doing so well? Makes no sense cheering for the Indian team when they are getting bent over in England, does it? What does a poor celeb do in such a scenario? Simple: engage in adultery till the slacking partner picks up. That is, choose another sport that’s doing well and start raving about your ‘support’ till you get noticed.

So it didn’t come as a surprise when Ranbir Kapoor recently announced that he was a Barca fan in this video. He tries so hard to sound convincing that you might die a little inside after hearing him speak. Here are some of his choice pearls of bullshit:

The way they play football, the way they bring up players…

Oh yes definitely. Check out this inspirational video. The ‘bringing up’ makes a lot of sense considering how easily they go down.

They have a lot of charity endeavours which help so many people

Awesome. Ranbir Kapoor supports Barca for their charity endeavours. For fuck’s sake, who the hell supports a football club for its charity endeavours? That’s like supporting Red Cross for their attacking football or Helpage India for their defensive discipline.

I’ve always been a fan of Barcelona since I think 19… uh early nineties.

O rly? Then why was he was spotted at the Nou Camp only in 2011? Did it take him 20 years to find Spain on the fucking map? Didn’t seem to have any problem finding Wankhede for the cricket final though, did he?

I’m guessing Ranbir won’t be the last celeb to go the football way. A couple more flop-shows from the Indian cricket team and most of the Bollywoodies would be taking a leaf out of Ranbir’s ass and popping up at football games. I long to see the day when Tusshar Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan turn up at Anfield and wave those “4 Reliance” placards around, or watch Salman Khan getting into a fight with Tevez and Balotelli and thrashing the Etihad stadium, or hear Riteish Deshmukh claim that Villas-Boas is his dad’s cousin. Until then, I’ll content myself with the Ranbir story in pictures. Forza Barza \m/.

Sole-Searching In Modern Times.

“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

Life is a sum total of experiences pleasant and unpleasant. Some experiences I would gladly embrace, such as a year-long vacation to Abu Ghraib prison, a 10 finger prostrate examination or being struck by lightning; others I passionately avoid, such as shoe shopping. But when faced with the prospect of going barefoot to work or being disowned by family over the condition of my current pair of shoes, I was left with no choice but to confront my fears.

I pulled on a brave face, played the Rocky theme tune inside my head and stepped into a shoe store at a local mall.

The display cases were stocked with approximately 10 million ways of retaining a woman’s attention span for over 5 minutes. I was partly confused and partly embarrassed just as Rakhi Sawant would be, if she were to accidentally stumble into a large book store.

I gingerly sat down in the only empty seat in the otherwise packed place, and performed a quick survey of my surroundings. On my left, a pretty lady was holding up a sandal barely 4 inches from her face. For over 10 minutes, she turned it in a clockwise, anticlockwise, clockwise, anticlockwise pattern like an experienced burglar cracking the combination dial of a safe. On my right, another lady was asking a salesman if they had any thing “more trendy”. Next to her was a large pile of shoes that she had tried and rejected, and her husband blankly staring at a far corner of the store in silent despair. As the minutes passed by, the pile of rejected shoes grew steadily, casting a ghastly shadow over the remnants of the shattered husband, and rousing the interest of local mountaineers that couldn’t afford a trip to Mount Everest.

A salesman spotted me sitting by myself and rushed over. He sported the Arindam Chaudhari fake grin and he shook my hand with the fervent emotion of a childhood friend at a school reunion. He appeared to be very concerned about my health, my family’s health, my social status, and my profession. When I told him that I worked as a software developer, he told me that he also had a computer at home. I nodded and smiled politely. The awkwardness reminded me of the time I’d gone shopping for underwear at a mall in Kerala and how the mall people had, in their praiseworthy wisdom, assigned a FEMALE salesperson at the men’s counter. I remember standing there, gaping like a chimp, as the lady stretched the underwear elastic to show its quality, and made a fist and punched the inside of the front to show its…flexibility probably. I remember how her colleagues giggled amongst themselves as I stood frozen in time during the most fascinating demonstration of underwear dynamics.

“So, what are you looking for?” he asked and shook me out of the flashback. I was tempted to say, “A surfboard, suntan lotion, a pair of floral-print shorts and some nasty waves up in this bitch” but I stopped short – after all, people aren’t expected to look for surfing equipment at a shoe store.

“Black formal shoes with laces please,” I finally said.

Now here’s the thing I discovered: shoe salesmen (or any other salesmen) refuse to acknowledge clear, specific requirements as a matter of principle. They take it as a personal insult if customers think that they know what they want. They laugh off your choice and your taste and show you 1,527 useless items that you didn’t ask for, and would never buy. Finally, when you reject each one of them while constantly reminding the salesman what you originally wanted, they scoff at you for wasting their precious time in showing you what you were missing out on.

Naturally, my request for formal black shoes was denied, and he proceeded to show me the “latest attractive attractions” such as flip-flops, sneakers, Buddhist monk sandals and the state-of-the-art jet-powered roller skates fitted on to a pair of Kolhapuri chappals.

“Not really interested in all this. I’m looking for something more professional,” I reminded him.

His interpretation of professional ranked somewhere between amusing and ridiculous. He placed in front of me a pair of ankle high leather boots with metal straps dangling from the sides. Before I could even open my mouth to protest, he grabbed my right foot, ripped off my shoe and thrust my foot into the leather boot.

“Go on, try walking around and see how it feels” he urged.

I got up and attempted to walk. In only a few seconds, the blood circulation in my leg came to a trickling halt. My brain strained hard to listen to any sort of communication from the estranged foot, but it was definitely out of coverage area. I looked down at my foot helplessly, and I empathized with James Franco from 127 Hours even though I’d been trapped in this shoe for just 1.27 minutes. I reasoned with the salesman that if he didn’t get it off me, I’d be forced to use a Swiss Army Knife on myself. He relented and took it off and I could feel my toes again.

“You didn’t like it? It looked very professional on you,” he said. I assured him that I wasn’t Clint Eastwood, that I didn’t commute to work on a horse, that my profession didn’t involve killing pesky Sheriffs and hence he should show me “something more contemporary”.

Poor choice of words.

“Something more contemporary” was lost in translation, and he pulled out a thing of such exquisite ugliness that it made me stifle a shriek. I don’t think I can ever find the right words to describe the monumentally perverted creation, but it looked roughly like this: a pair of dark-reddish (he called it burnt Sienna) shoes lined with golden threading on the sides, matching golden laces, and abnormally high heels. It was as if a Salvador Dali surrealist artwork had had sex with a bullfrog, and prematurely delivered these hideously deformed twin bastard foetuses.

The salesman brought the shoes right in front of my face for a closer look. I shrank back in a corner and flailed wildly to get away from them. No doubt it was the handiwork of one of those snooty, sadistic bastards from NIFT or some such useless institution, the thieving cunts that come up with bizarre abominations and con dumb ladies into believing that it’s haute couture. I’m not kidding. I have seen women pay obscene amounts for designer shawls that looked like they had been processed by a paper shredder and then hastily glued back together by a 4 year old, marketed with pseudo-philosophical bullshit such as “the delicate material of the stole is a metaphor for the fragility of human life and the arbitrary placement of the perforations is a metaphor for the void in our souls.” Translated for normal people, it is actually “a long piece of cheap toilet paper, torn after multiple usages and now on display exclusively for you to wrap around your neck and firmly establish your status as the most Fashionable Retard of your community”.

Back at the store, the salesman had just about exhausted the last reserves of my patience. It was astonishing to see a 5 word requirement getting distorted into 5000 travesties. The final straw was when he brought out a pair of white tennis shoes.

I lost it and snapped, “I do not want shoes that adapt to environmental temperatures, I do not want shoes with USB 3.0 ports, I do not want shoes that transform into Autobots, I do not want shoes that were thrown at Bush or Kalmadi, I do not want shoes that General Luftwaffe was wearing in the daring Operation Sea Lion of 1943, I do not want shoes that resonate with the divine frequency of the universal Brahman and bring cosmic equilibrium around my feet, I do not want shoes that look like Uday Chopra’s face from a certain angle although they would make great conversation starters, I do not want shoes that Geoff Horsfield was wearing when he came on as a substitute vs. Portsmouth and scored with his first touch in a gripping final day relegation battle in 2004-05. I WANT FORMAL BLACK SHOES WITH LACES. Do you get me?”

He responded by bringing a pair of brown shoes without laces.

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door – I had to find the passage back to the place I was before. “Relax,” said the lady on the right, “they are programmed to deceive. You can check out any time you like, but do you think these Stilettos would look better in beige?”

Ask Doctor Ill-Advised.

Have you ever wondered about people (with names like Agony Aunt, Girl Shrink, Dr. Love and Bejan Daruwalla) who write relationship advice columns in newspapers? I always thought it was a miserable excuse for a career until I saw the fun part of it: stupid people get themselves into stupid situations, then write about it to major newspapers hoping for a solution in 200 words or less, thereby making their embarrassment public to millions of amused readers everyday. Come to think of it, it’s funnier than any comic strip that the newspaper might run anyway.

This is my attempt at recreating some of the typical letters and typical replies.

Dear Dr. Ill-Advised,
My boyfriend is hopelessly perverted. His complete moral corruption is just plain scary. Just the other evening, we were out on a romantic stroll on the beach when… when the bastard tried to hold my hand! Thankfully, I was well equipped to deal with this situation. I twisted his arm, dug my heel into his solar plexus, and then delivered a powerful roundhouse kick to his temple. When he collapsed to the ground, I took out my stun-gun and immobilized him. I might have overreacted, but the freaking pervert had it coming didn’t he? I was later arrested for attempted murder, but I feel the police force is full of biased male chauvinist pigs that turn a blind eye towards such potential crimes against women. The legal proceedings begin next week. What do you suggest I should do? – Chun Li.
(P.S.: Sorry, forgot to mention that I shot him twice with a sawed off shotgun that I carry in my purse too.)

Dear Chun Li,
All men are bastards, yes, and so what you did was totally called for. I’m no legal expert, but I think his being alive doesn’t help your case. You go ahead and slash his jugular vein right away because it’s the only way out. Look at Kasab: he’s killed people but he’s still chilling, isn’t he? I suggest you should hire his lawyer and do the same. All the best!

—–

Hiiieee Dr. Ill-Advised,
So this is about my close friend whom I’ve known for 20 years. Of late I’ve been getting this feeling that he is interested in me. Like he keeps dropping these subtle hints, you know? I mean like he turned down a seat in IIT-B and instead took up commerce in Ruthumbara college just to be in the same class as me. Then like he turned down an offer to work for Google just to join Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Jewelers where I work as a receptionist. Then like he comes over to my home every weekend with flowers and stuffs and gifts, you know? He’s also turned down marriage offers from many beautiful, intelligent girls from respected families for years now. I mean it’s crazy! I don’t know what to make of it! Then on my birthday this year, like he got down on one knee and was about to say something when my phone rang and I HAD to take it because it was my bestest girlfriend Dipshita calling me literally like after AGES, yeah? And like by the time I hung up, he had left. Well that was a bit rude of him, but I’ve forgiven him because he had left a diamond ring on the couch. So anyways, do you think he likes me or something? – Needs A Clue.

Dear Needs A Slap,
This could easily be the most predictable Sherlock Holmes mystery ever written.

——

Dear Dr. Ill-Advised,
My boyfriend tends to lie about things, or exaggerate them. This year, he forgot our anniversary, my birthday, and my dog’s funeral citing the following reasons:
1. “I was abducted by a mysterious inter-planetary intelligence that held me in a spacecraft and interrogated me through the weekend and dropped me back to Earth on Monday morning.”
2. ”The weather department has predicted a violent cyclone to sweep across the city and has instructed everyone to take shelter in the nearest sports bar.”
3. “I was suffering from a strange high grade fever that made me go out and watch a comedy movie with my friends completely against my will. And then it made me go to the nearest sports bar against my will too.”

Do you think he’s just making it up? – Truth Seeker.

Dear Truth Sucker,
It’s just horrible of you to doubt your innocent boyfriend like that. How could you? The poor lad is going through a disastrous phase and the least you could do is be a bit supportive, you get me? Here are the facts, in your face:
1. Alien abduction is a well-known, widely acknowledged fact that has been conclusively documented by credible sources such as Aaj Tak, India TV and Scientology. Haven’t you watched the X-Files series? Do you think Scully and Mulder, FBI agents no less, are lying about the aliens and the obvious government conspiracies? The truth is out there. (whistles the X-Files tune)
2. And again, are you out to question the Meteorological Department? Your boyfriend’s life was at risk there. He was only following the Met department’s storm-safety protocol by hiding in a sports bar. You should be proud of him for being such a law abiding citizen.
3. Yes, a certain strain of the fever virus is indeed known to make people go out and enjoy themselves against their will and remember nothing about it later. It’s basic patho-biology, for Alexander Fleming’s sake. I bet you don’t know who Mr. Fleming is. He was the one who discovered the famous antibiotic penis in 1928.

—–

Dear Dr. Ill-Advised,
My girlfriend is an extremely loving and caring lady. She pays close attention to all of my needs. For instance, she picks out my clothes, decides what I should wear and when, instructs me how to behave in front of her friends, suggests what topics I should and should not speak on in public. She always makes sure that nobody harms me. She has helped me in choosing a career, advised me to stay away from my dad as he is a “negative energy in my life force” and also prepared a schedule for bi-weekly telephonic conversations with my mother. We never fight. Whenever I make a mistake, she gently points it out by shaking her head and patting me on the head and saying, “No! Bad boy! Bad boy! That’s not what a good boy does!” That makes me realize my mistake and I don’t do it again.
Despite such a perfect relationship, some of my friends have been hinting that something might be very wrong here. They used mean terms like “dominatrix”, “dictatorbitch”,“Taliban”, “Robert Mugabe” and “Kim Jong-Il” to describe my girlfriend and extremely negative terms like “pussy”, “fucking coward”, “pushover”, “monkey on a leash” etc to describe me. Thankfully, my girlfriend had already warned me that they were a bunch of jealous, cynical losers who couldn’t accept my happiness. How do I make my friends understand this? – Lucky Dude

Hello Fucked Up Dude,
Before proceeding with the attempt to resolve your problem, I would request you to take this simple test:

1. Move both hands behind your back.
2. Touch the center of your back with your fingers.
3. Move your fingers slowly up and down your back and check for a bony structure.

All creatures belonging to Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Sub-phylum : Vertebrata possess a vertebral column or a “backbone” that distinguishes them from the invertebrates. Invertebrates are those creatures that lack a spine and are hence forced to crawl on the ground, often getting trampled upon in the process.

If your test results indicate the presence of such a vertebral column, then you must abide by the rules of evolution and learn to stand up for yourself instead of mimicking a fucking invertebrate earthworm that wriggles throughout its life before getting crushed under someone’s shoe. If not, then you are doing a great job of being a spineless earthworm and you must continue doing so.

Tired of being an invertebrate? Then eat calcium-rich foods and grow a backbone.

Hello Dr. Love,
I have been married for 12 years now. Back then, we were madly in love, fiercely inseparable and had committed lifelong loyalty towards each other. 12 years later, everything has fallen apart. We no longer love the same things that we did, have lost the mutual respect and trust that was once the foundation of our relationship, we hardly speak anymore. I can’t remember the last time we laughed together or enjoyed the other’s company. I knew my marriage was going downhill when we were having frequent fights, but now we don’t even bother with that. Apathy and silence have replaced anger and arguments. We live under the same roof as strangers, barely acknowledging the other’s presence. When I look at my wedding photos, I cannot believe that I was once that person: laughing, loving, happily married. I don’t know where things went wrong. I feel like I’m sinking deep within the waters and desperately gasping for breath every minute. Please help. – Depressed.

Dear Depressed,
Oh God, that is the saddest thing I’ve read all morning. Well, the second saddest. The first being my stock portfolio. Man am I losing money like a bitch. Maybe I should sue the BSE for Sensex-ual harassment. Bwahahahahaha.

Erm, sorry, this column isn’t about my clever wordplay, but about your problem. So we’ll get right down to it.
As I see it, there are 3 things that have gone missing in your relationship:
-Communication
-Passion
-Initiative/attempt to change

Let me illustrate to you how these 3 points hold a relationship together with a real life example: Barcelona FC.

Just look at the magic quartet of Messi-Xavi-Busquets-Iniesta. Communication isn’t necessarily all about talking – what sets them apart is the surreal telepathic awareness of one another. Xavi doesn’t need to shout “hey Messi dude I’m going to put the ball over there, so you run and get it ok?” before passing. He just spots a gap and knows that Messi would make a run, and weigh his pass accordingly. Likewise, Messi times his run to perfection, beating the offside trap. Busquets, on the hand, stays back and holds fort, and occasionally runs and dives inside the penalty box with the grace of an Olympic swimmer. This kind of unspoken bonding takes months of patient understanding and acceptance of each other’s game.

Apart from this, Barca place a lot of trust in their youth system, much like Manchester United, delivering fresh crops of talented youngsters who understand the club philosophy and carry forward the same passion and love for the game as their predecessors.

And of course, most of all, it’s the initiative taken up by individual players that makes them world class, formidable, nearly invincible. No matter what the situation, it’s the desire that drives them to come back from seemingly impossible positions to trounce the opposition. Now that is something that Russian or Middle Eastern oil giants can’t buy or infuse in their multi-million plastic squads.

Unfortunately, the time to revive your relationship is long gone. It looks a bit like this now:

—–
Hey Asshole,
What the fuck do you know about relationships to play the armchair love-expert? Have you any clue what it’s like to love somebody? Do you know what being in love means? Do you even have a girlfriend? – Gotcha There.

Dear Gotcha Where?,
Ah, the age old “do-you-know-what-it’s-like” argument. Great work.

Did Eratosthenes go into space to accurately prove that the Earth is round?
Did Copernicus leave the solar system to predict that the sun is at the center of the solar system?
Has anyone actually been to the core of the sun or seen atoms to understand nuclear fusion?
Do you need to be Jewish to abhor the despicable acts of the Nazis?
Does anyone ever need to sit through a Shahrukh Khan/Salman Khan movie to know that it’s a pile of shit?

Sometimes, observation and intuition are enough to reach approximately accurate conclusions.

If you feel that you are a part of some mystifying, magical, exclusivist movement then it’s time to come out of your delusion. Sorry for bursting your cozy bubble. Good luck with your love life though!

MTNL: The Long Road Home.

This post marks the fourth anniversary of my lovingly cherished relationship with one of the most prominent organizations of Mumbai: MTNL. For the uninitiated, MTNL is this passionate, thoughtful, dedicated group of people who have been faithfully serving the citizens of Mumbai and Delhi over the years. Their major services include passionately digging up roads to put in wires, thoughtfully digging up roads to take out wires, dedicated-ly digging up roads to take out Airtel’s/Reliance’s wires, sending pan chewing assholes to your home to tell you that your telephone line is permanently fucked, charging you 250 bucks for conveying this message, and so on.

But the most romantic part of this relationship is how it all started. Sit back and grab something to eat as I reminisce the beautiful memories of the 4 golden years.

The Application Phase

Since the dawn of time, no living human has EVER got through this phase without a hitch. The Indian government has in fact announced a grand prize for any citizen whose application doesn’t get rejected in the first try – they will be awarded the Param Vir Chakra (posthumously, if that is the case) and felicitated on Republic Day. They would get to share the elephant ride with kids who have won the Bravery Award probably for passing their Board exams in the first attempt, and wave at the President who is blissfully sleeping on the chair.

The Reapplication Phase

So now, like the rest of us, you drag your sorry ass back to the MTNL office because your application got rejected due to any of the following reasons -

1. You used black ink, whereas only blue ink is permitted.
2. YoU DiDn’T FiLl ThE FoRm In AlTeRNaTiNg CaSe.
3. There was a slight crease on the form. How can a CAT scanner or a Large Hadron Collider process your form if it has a fucking crease on it?
4. You didn’t sign it using the blood of 666 fallen angels.
5. Because kuch kuch hota hai asshole, tum nahi samjhoge.
6. You are supposed to fill the form only in Sanskrit, Hebrew or Ancient Gaelic.

Raise A Hue And Cry Phase

By this time, you feel like you’re in a Christopher Nolan movie, getting lost at every turn, unable to figure out what is going on, losing your grip on reality. Finally, the confusion and the anger get the better of you and you scream out in frustration, only to be chucked out by the security.

Regret The Previous Phase And Get Down On Your Knees And Beg For Mercy Phase

MTNL staff show no mercy. You pleas for help will be laughed off with a Nazi-Taliban-esque grace.

Nothing Worked, So Use The Trump Card Phase

I remember the day back in December 2006 when my friends and I went to the MTNL office to personally talk to them about our pending connection. We were asked to meet a certain Fat Aunty about our problem.

Mrs. Fat Aunty was the branch-deputy-information-something-manager. In short, the person we were looking for.

We nervously entered her office and waited. She was talking to someone over the phone (what are the odds of that?!). 5 minutes passed with no change in status quo. 10 minutes passed and the impatience was growing. We politely cleared our throats to get her attention. She never even looked up at us. A few more minutes of audible throat-clearing yielded no results. We increased our pretend-coughing to the point that her colleagues suspected us to be Whooping Cough patients and started covering their faces, but Madam Fatass just continued to orally pleasure the phone.

Finally, some 450 hours later, she hung up. She motioned us to come over and take a seat.

“Problem?” she said.

My friend spoke rapidly: “Madam, we applied for an internet connection 3 months ago but still haven’t received a word from you… actually we needed internet ASAP to blah blah blah- “

Fat Aunty cut in: “Not possible. There are about 85,588 people who are ahead of you.”

My friend was nearly in tears: “But but… it’s been 3 months…I have to…”

Fat Aunty: “NOT. POSSIBLE.” (makes a full stop with her eyes)

The other friend tried his luck: “Madam, please try to understand. We have been coming here everyday since the past 3 months. We are students-“

Fat Aunty scowled: “If you are students, you should go to college! Don’t hang out at MTNL office and complain about low attendance! This is not a youth hang out joint!”

(silence, crickets chirping)

I stood there, tongue-tied like a nervous boyfriend in front of a girl’s Hitler reincarnate mom.

My friend composed himself and tried again: “God hasn’t been too kind to us, Ma’am. We come here and stand everyday, sun or rain, summer or winter, weekday or weekend, in sickness or in health, with a bright hope, an undying belief that you would just look at us once and listen to our story. Look at us, Ma’am, we’ve been greeted with only withering bouquets of rejection every time. We are falling apart just like the plaster on the walls of this building. We have nowhere else to go, no one else to talk to. We are the middle children of history, Ma’am. No purpose or place.”

3 of her colleagues and 2 security guards had broken into tears.

My friend had nailed it. He had hit the second most vulnerable part of the female anatomy – her heart. We could see the sympathy welling up inside her. We had lived the dream.

“Arrey Ramesh, come here!” she yelled at the clerk.

“Yes madam?”

“These 3 students need an internet connection urgently. How soon can it be arranged?”

He looked at her as if she had asked for his father’s hand in marriage. “You mad?!! No way… no more connections till the first bird chirps in autumn next year.”

Madam cranked it up. “Shut up! Don’t give me this bullshit. I’m not the general public. Get them a connection this week and if you dare say no…”

Ramesh gulped and murmured something under his breath and ran away. The 3 of us looked at Fat Aunty quizzically.

“And so it has been written,” she said with the mysticism of an Indian Yogi, “your internet would be active before this Friday.”

We immediately fell to her feet and cried, for our emotional rollercoaster was finally going to come to a stop.

Post Acceptance Installation Phase

True to Aunty’s word, a guy came to my place that week, armed with wires, CDs and the symbolic screwdriver.

15 minutes of sorcery later, he spat: “Installation complete. 500 bucks please.”

I asked: “Is the connection working?”

“No. It will work only after you call the customer support and ask to reset the password after which a virtual connection needs to be established after which an I.P. needs to be assigned after which you would need to prove that you are the son of the noblest blood.”

“And how much time will that take?”

“Should be done in 10 to 15… light years, I think. Now, the 700 bucks please.”

“You said 500 a minute ago.”

“Consulting charges extra.”

Post Installation Traumatic Stress And Eventual Suicide Phase

This is the time after the connection becomes active, when you start getting weird problems and such frequent disconnections that your life becomes an unending nightmare. You live in the paranoid fear that the internet would suddenly stop working one day and the visits to MTNL office would start all over again. You feel like a war veteran who has come back home after long years of conflict, but still hears the sounds of guns and bombs, cries of compatriots, horrors of the battlefield. You want to leave them and switch to another provider, but are left with no energy or guts to fall into the routine once again. So in the end, you quietly curl up in your seat and stare at the modem, clinging to a fleeting hope that the lights would keep on blinking, keep on blinking…

5 Authors You Must Read Before You Die.

#5 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie rose to great fame as well as infamy with his controversial book The Satanic Verses. The subject matter was always going to be risky but more importantly, the long, winding, intricately woven narrative smothered with half the pages of Merriam-Webster was so verbose and confusing that the Muslim community from the Middle East hit out with violent protests. They were so frustrated with his incredibly obscure prose that they issued a fatwa against him – demanding that he either write in simple English or be executed, whichever is easier and less painful. Ayatollah Rasgullah Khomeinini, the fatwa issuing dude said, “Ya thanks God I stop reading at page 2. I don’t understand one word of hi-fi English, so it must be offense my religion and God and Rushdie must die.” A lot of literary critics also agreed with Khomeinini, as they tore their hair out while struggling to figure out the jumbled plot of this brain-fracturing salad of a novel.

It’s been over 20 years since the book was published, but the “offensive parts” have still not been found/understood. Can’t blame them: Rushdie’s patience-raping writing style takes 80 pages to describe a person walking from point A to point B, which also includes the description of the person’s clothes, a brief history of the clothing, the political situation, the atmospheric composition, share market prices at the time, what he had for lunch that day and other random facts thrown in.

Read this excerpt from the first page of his novel, and understand why the Ayatollah was so angry:

Gibreel, the tuneless soloist, had been cavorting in moonlight as he sang his impromptu gazal, swimming in air, butterfly-stroke,breast-stroke, bunching himself into a ball, spreadeagling himself against the almost-infinity of the almost-dawn, adopting heraldic postures, rampant, couchant, pitting levity against gravity. Now he rolled happily towards the sardonic voice. “Ohé, Salad baba, it’s you, too good. What-ho, old Chumch.” At which the other, a fastidious shadow falling headfirst in a grey suit with all the jacket buttons done up, arms by his sides, taking for granted the improbability of the bowler hat on his head, pulled a nickname-hater’s face. “Hey, Spoono,” Gibreel yelled, eliciting a second inverted wince, “Proper London, bhai! Here we come! Those bastards down there won’t know what hit them. Meteor or lightning or vengeance of God. Out of thin air, baby. Dharrraaammm! Wham, na? What an entrance, yaar. I swear: splat.”

#4 Rhonda Byrne

In India, when a housewife feels bored, she turns on the TV and contributes to the revenue of channels such as Star, NDTV Imagine and Sony, or partakes in astrology, numerology, religion and other forms of such horse manure.

But in other parts of the world, things are not so pleasant. There, the bored housewife does the unthinkable – she write books! 21st century is marred with horrifying instances of women famously venturing out of the kitchen, penning down nonsense and actually making money out of it – the darkest times in the history of the human race. As if Stephenie “Gay Vampires” Meyer and Elizabeth “Eat, Pray, Waste The Alimony Money On A Bullshitting Trip” Gilbert weren’t enough, along came this one other pricelessly deluded bitch named Rhonda Byrne – the author of The Secret and The Power. According to the deranged screwball, everything in the universe can be accomplished with the “power of attracting success through belief”. Needless to say, this kind of stupid wishful thinking has become immensely popular among unemployed dumbfucks who sit at home and positively visualize money, cars and women flying and sticking to their magnetic bodies.

Rhonda’s 3 step “secret” to the universe is: Ask – Believe – Receive. Yep, that’s all you have to do. So fucking simple, isn’t it? You just ask for stuff, believe you will get it, and magical fairies will deliver it to you within 3 business days from the day of believing.

Amazingly, many of her readers have testified to the true power of her books. So far, all of them have been sedated, straitjacketed and are being treated at leading mental health institutions. Try keeping that a secret, you hallucinating voodoo crackpot bitch.

#3 Paulo Coelho

Paulo is yet another noble soul who believes that the universe revolves around the Earth. Take for instance his bestselling book, The Alchemist. The idea for this book came one day when he lost his pen. Instead of looking for it around him, he set out on a world tour to find it. On his way, he rubbed stones, consulted kings, travelled with tribes, smoked weed, followed the moon, got raped by 8 foot tall Zulu tribesmen, participated in wars, lost all his money, set up a tea stall outside the Egyptian Pyramids. 5 years later, his VISA expired and the Immigration Authority of Egypt deported him back to Brazil. On reaching home, he found to his utter astonishment that the pen was lying on the chair that he’d been sitting on all the while! He dropped his luggage and had an orgasmic epiphany about the universe conspiring and giving him his pen back. And to think that the key to Cosmic wisdom was under his own ass all this time is certainly the work of a Mighty Divine Power, whose job description comprises solely of misplacing and replacing the insignificant possessions of 6 billion insignificant creatures on an insignificant planet. “Cosmic chutiyagiri”.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if Paulo Coelho married Rhonda Byrne. Paulo will sit around and wait for the universe to do stuff for him, while Rhonda sits around and positively imagines doing stuff. Together, this couple will accomplish fuckall. But that’s how most marriages work, don’t they?

#2 Suresh Kalmadi

Kalmadi is the author of radical economics and business strategy book, Fraudonomics: A Rogue Fraudster Further Hides the Hidden Side of Everything.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or want to grow your existing business, whether an honest person bored of honesty or a government employee looking to cover years and years of scandals, this book is just for you. It essentially brings noble virtues such as corruption and tax evasion back in fashion and has the power to inspire the crook in the most divine of individuals.

For more than 10 years, the author, a professional jholler and a pioneering asshole has sucked the well-endowed breasts of the Indian treasury dry to achieve business success. He regularly advises politicians, criminals and other respectable citizens of the society on how to manage their business, how to erase the evidence and then boldly lie to the media. These time-tested strategies provide an in-depth analysis of everything right with the world today, and build successful business models to get rich instantly for anyone enterprising enough to make a “few modifications” here and there.

The book comes with a foreword by another remarkable individual, Ramalinga Raju, who set a great example in fudging records in his best selling book “About the profits that we projected last quarter… well, they weren’t really there LOL TTYL GTG.”

#1 Chetan Bugger

All through recorded history, Indian literature has served as a powerful and an enlightening legacy that stands testimony to the incredible intellectual prowess and foresight of the great men who wrote them. From the four Vedas and the Upanishads, the Herculean compendiums of literary and philosophical greatness of India, to the inherited ancient wisdom in the works of Pran’s Chacha Chaudhary – a man whose brain works “faster than an Intel Celeron Chipset running Windows 95 on 2 MB RAM during a power cut” – the tradition still lives on. India has seen glorious works of fiction in famous epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the equally endless and complex plots adapted in the saga “Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics” by A. K. Tayal. India has managed to startle even the forward Western societies with the explicit details and illustrations of Vatsyayana’s classic erotica Kama Sutra, and the practical application of Vatsyayana’s old school hammering techniques in Shobaaa De’s autobiographical novels. In the recent times, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Amitav Ghosh have taken writing to new heights.

Now that Rushdie, Roy and Ghosh are taking a nap, it is time for another hero to rise. He has already gained international fame and acclaim with his seminal works, winning the Nobel, the Man Booker Prize and Bollywood’s Man Hooker Prize in just his first year of publishing. New York Times described his writing style as “…unmistakable 4th grade school humour…scantily clad outlines for Bollywood movies whored out to dipshit producers”. Literary critics have identified his audience as “the one that hails Himesh Reshammiya as the Beethoven of India and thinks that Wren and Martin are New Zealand cricketers.” Chetan Buttock was, quite bizarrely, even named on the Time’s 100 Most Influential People List. Mercifully, the list shows its true worth by including other such wonderful “influential” personalities as Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Aishwarya Rai-Braindead, Taylor Swift and the beloved Didier Drogba. We can only wonder where the world would have been, if it wasn’t for the blessed influence of these people. Read the whole list if you don’t believe me.

In 2011, Chetan Blubber will be back in his trademark style – with a shockingly refreshing love story about a guy educated at IIT and IIM, a concept so new and rare that people are largely clueless about its implications. Also this time, Chetan will be wise enough to include copyright warnings on each page to ward off evil people from “copying” his breathtakingly original tales of nerd love.

[If you had expected Chetan, considering his distinguished academic background, to write something intellectual, educating, and with a foresight, stop kidding yourself. His books breathe the spirit of castrating any semblance of intelligence from the skulls of gullible teenagers and forever turn them into retard-romance-seeking faggots; whoring pathetically bad puppy love stories under the IIT-IIM tags. For crying shame, no one has issued a fatwa against this assclown till now.]

For the fans, here’s an exclusive preview of his next book, “1 Has 2 Do 3verything 4 L0ve”:

Once upon a time there was a boy named Babaloo Bhatia. Babaloo had done M. Tech from IIT B and was a topper in his class. In his spare time, he drank vodka and studied quantum physics. He was now pursuing MBA at IIM A.

One day in the canteen he saw a hot girl named Bipasha Sherawat, who strongly resembled Megan Fox.

Babaloo approached her and came straight to the point, “Hai, myself Babaloo but you can call me Bubz. I am cool dude. I am also topper in IIT and IIM. Please see these attested copies of my marksheets as proof. Will you do an friendship with me?”

Bipasha smiled and replied, “Oh yes of course Bubz! You are so nerdily cute in a nerdy way that I might fall in love with you even though we are only on the first page!!11″

Babaloo, the smooth talking bastard that he is, pushed further: “Ok now let me impress you with my awesome funny personality. So what did the proton say to the electron?”

Bipasha replied, “Hahahaha I dont know what?”

Babaloo coolly answered, “Dude, stop being so negative! Hehehe!”

Then she blushed and said, “Hahahaha oh my god you are so cute and funny that I’m deliriously horny now and come on let’s have awesome sex for the next 4 pages!!!111oneone”

COPYRIGHTS 2011 ALL RIGHTS IS RESERVED WITH ME CHETAN BUTTHURT. DONT STEAL MY IDEAS FOR UR MOVIES. THAT MEANS YOU, MR. HIRANI.
AND NOW TURN TO PAGE 2 FOR SEX BETWEEN ME… ERR I MEAN BETWEEN BABALOO AND BIPASHA.

Chetan Butthurt's Next Masterpiece

***<3***

A Brief History Of The Internets.

Welcome. This is the first in the series of my 1 part article on modern technology. In this informative article, I’ll be using my extensive experience in IT to describe the origin and growth of a revolution called the internets. This article intends to examine the historical development of the internets, provide a basic understanding of its working and appreciate its contribution to the contemporary society.

Historical account

The earliest reports of the internet can be traced back to Mesozoic Era, about 300 million years ago. It was an era most famously known as the one when Microsoft’s Bill Gates broke new grounds by launching the definitive version of Windows: Windows ME (Mesozoic Edition). It was an instant sensation among dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs, angiosperms and primates from all parts of the Pangea. Microsoft were so overwhelmed with the positive response that they didn’t change any of the features for 300 million years, until recently, when they added a few fancy graphics to it and called it Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. This is, naturally, noted as a glaring anomaly in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which is based largely on the idea of “survival of the fittest”. How the miserably unfit Windows managed to survive this long without evolving is still a mystery that continues to bewilder modern day biologists.

Archaeologists have also been able to testify to the technological progress in pre-historic times through fossils excavated from various parts of the Earth. These key pieces of evidence are extremely helpful in reconstructing the very first structure of the internet.

1. The early prototypes of routers and broadband connection equipment used for trans-continent communication after the start of Continental Drift. These are still in use at MTNL.

2. The beginning of the Microsoft-Apple product market rivalry.

3. A modern day MTNL employee setting up a broadband connection using modern day tools.

Architecture and working

The internet is based on the client-server model, as shown in the figure below.

How it works:

Client side

-When you type a website address, say http://www.facebook.com, in your browser and hit enter, a request goes to the server.
-If the request is polite enough, the server processes it and displays the Facebook page.
-You then login to Facebook and post stupid status updates about your day.
-Your friends then send requests to the server to remove you from their list.

Server side

Servers are powered by 4 key elements.

1. Large, powerful coal engines located at an undisclosed location have to be kept running day and night to keep the internet online.
2. Cheap labour from poor countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar is employed at $0.08 an hour to manually operate little hamster wheels which supply power to all servers in the Southern hemisphere. Although the wages are meager, the exploitation illegal and the working conditions miserable, it is still better than what Reebok and Nike pay them for making shoes.
3. Unknown to most religious junkies, their hopes and prayers help in protecting the internet against the evil eyes of atheists.
4. The Pakistani cricket team also helps in covering the cost of server operation and maintenance. How? For every match that Pakistan fix and throw away, bookies donate 10% of their profits to the True Chartity Party/Internet Party (TCP/IP) as a goodwill gesture. If it wasn’t for the Pakistan cricket team, the cost of an internet connection would be so high that none of us would have been able to afford it. (I request you to take this moment to include PCB in your thoughts and prayers.)

Backup server of the entire internet is hosted on the brain of India’s most richly talented actor-par-excellence-par-awesomeness, Upen Patel. For those unaware, Upen Patel was born with a rare congenital birth defect that left him with severely contorted facial expressions, an unmistakably hilarious speech impediment and a photographic memory. The comical facial expressions and gay voice came handy in “bumbling gay bimbo villain” roles in classic movies such as Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani; the photographic memory in systematically memorizing every web page on the internet over a period of 2 decades. Till date, Upen has memorized billions and billions of web pages and databases and is the only backup should the internet be bombed by terror groups. As such, he is understandably the most sought after actor/ backup utility in our galaxy.

Etiquette

1. Usage of emoticons is a vital component of internet communication. In most scenarios, the usage of emoticons determines the intent and the tone of your message.

For example, “You stupid half-brained douchebag” is offensive due to lack of emoticons that are required to soften the tone of the message.

Contrast the above with “lol u stupid half-brained douchebag!!! :D :P”
Clearly, the sensible choice of using emoticons has prevented the sentence from hurting someone’s feelings.

2. Hypocrisy is not only permissible, but actively encouraged on the internet. It is not uncommon to see attention hungry girls uploading close to 500 albums with 1000 photos in each album, detailing every stage of their life – right from conception to embryonic development to their first school drama rehearsal to how they once tasted an alcoholic beverage at some party. These very girls will then complain about “sites not respecting their privacy” and expect sympathy from equally intelligent roadside Romeos who are only more than happy to oblige. And to top it off, this exchange of mutual ass-suckery will most likely be in horrendous English.

3. A rule of thumb: everything is fake and gay on the internet. Any claims/photos/videos of accidents/miracles/conspiracies/accomplishments are fake and gay products of Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. For instance, this:

Applications and usage

Broadly, the only 2 real uses of the internet can be narrowed down to:

1. Spamming.
2. Pornographic studies.

If you are not using it for watching porn, it is assumed that you are busy spamming at the moment. When the spamming stops, it is implied that you’re occupied with porn. However, certain people have demonstrated that both these activities can be performed simultaneously: by spamming porn or watching porn about spam.

Security concerns

The internet has been instrumental in making the world a smaller, simpler place where distances, languages or cultures are not prohibitive factors anymore. It is astounding when you even begin to comprehend the amount of data travelling forth over the internet, its rate of growth, its global reach, its vision for the future; to realize that, in essence, the perpetual repository of the entire human civilization is available at any point in time to any person at any location.

However, as with any system in the world, the growth and spread of internet has not been without an opportunity for exploitation and malice. Moreover, it is much simpler to blame technology which only obeys the instructions dished out by discerning humans.

For eg, Twitter has been held responsible for spreading internet AIDS by letting cheap Bollywood celebrities with 140 or less functional brain cells post their shitty updates in 140 characters or less. Twitter takes care to verify the celebrities’ accounts but does nothing to verify their intelligence – a serious security flaw, as viewed by many.

One of the biggest concerns for most parents is that their child might get access to pornographic material online. Thankfully, there are a lot of sites and softwares today that advise which porn sites are paid sites and which ones are free, so that children are not duped into paying for porn which can be obtained for free – relieving the parental concern over credit card misuse. Many thoughtful individuals have also contributed towards this cause by publishing lists of “paid members” usernames and passwords free of cost.

It has also been suggested that internet addiction is driving people away from real life social interaction, that people are not spending enough time with their families and that people are okay with the idea of online relationships as opposed to one in real life. I’m not sure of these claims, but I will do some research and post my detailed analysis on Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, MySpace, WordPress, Blogspot, Posterous, Picasa, Flickr, Tumblr, Typepad, LiveJournal, Hi5, Savita Bhabhi and a few other sites soon.

***

That wraps up what little I know about the internet. Hope you found it informative and illuminating.

Oh and before you leave, don’t forget to collect your free gift for being the 999999th visitor. :D :P

Happy Teacher’s Day.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was our country’s first vice-president, second president and the third person to have a chain of expensive schools to his name.

Dr. Radhakrishnan celebrated his birthday on 5th September. The celebrations would usually be a private affair, with only a very few close friends and family gathering at his place, cutting the cake and struggling with his complete name while singing the Happy Birthday song. They would have a plate of samosas, potato chips, a cup of Fanta and then head home with their return gift of a pencil, an eraser and a plastic scale. Literally very old school celebrations, you see.

However, on his 50th birthday, his close friends and family got together and planned a different theme for his surprise party. As the clock struck 12 on the night of 4th September 1963, about a 1000 friends, students and relatives raided his home with 10 tankers of tequila, 50 cartons of colourful pills and an unknown number of male and female strippers tucked away in as many birthday cakes.

The drunken revelry went on till the wee hours of the morning, when the neighbours, ably assisted by the National Security Guards (NSG) finally managed to drive everyone home and clear up the evidence.

When Dr. Radhakrishnan opened his eyes in the morning, he realized that two floors of his 3 storey house were not there anymore. He found himself lying upside down on a large strawberry cake, with a couple of silk stockings around his neck, a golden sceptre in his left hand and a live grenade in his right hand. A few feet away, two people were lying face-down on the ground. He identified one of them as Lord Mountbatten with his pants missing.

That was when he decided he had enough of birthday parties.

The very next day, he addressed the press and said, “Umm, birthdays are cool, but you know what I would really like? If instead of celebrating MY birthday on 5th September and thrashing MY house, you celebrate it as Teacher’s Day! Nobody pays much attention to them anyway. And I’d appreciate it if you cleared Mountbatten off my backyard immediately.”

Dr. Radhakrishnan’s missing floors and Mountbatten’s missing pants continue to remain history’s unsolved mysteries, but India has since observed 5th September as Teacher’s Day – a solemn tribute to the memorable party.

***

Today, on Teacher’s Day, I am going to revisit my school days and pay homage to some of the most amazing teachers I’ve had the privilege of learning from.

Mr. Man-thony.

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach gym.

Whenever I think about Mr. Man-thony, the Physical Education teacher, I always wonder: what makes a man “manly”?

Some of you might imagine tough cowboys from old Westerns taming wild horses and eating bullets for breakfast as manly. For others, it might be sportsmen such as boxers and rugby players who regularly break bones with a smile on their faces.

Well, I beg to differ with all of you.

According to me, a real man is the one who doesn’t pause to think when it comes to beating 9 year old kids for not standing straight during a physical exercise routine in the blistering summer heat. Depending on his mood, he would beat kids with his bare hands, a wooden scale, or with a cane. On many occasions, it became very difficult to choose between the 3, which is what made Mr. Man-thony special : he always knew how to hit, where to hit and what to use for hitting. His decision making skills were impeccable, making him a formidable figure in the fascinating world of Physical Education teachers. And that, my friends, is what made him “manly”.

Now that we have covered his personality, let us go a bit into his abilities as a teacher. I have to start by pointing out the stark, ridiculous irony that Mr. Man-thony, himself out of shape and weighing over 100 kgs, being entrusted with Physical Education. This minor discrepancy notwithstanding, we were expected to take fitness instructions from a man with a belly so huge that it made us believe he was pregnant with quadruplet rhinoceros babies.

That said, it must be noted that Physical Education is not an easy thing to teach. This is not like pussy Mathematics or Science which you can learn sitting in the comfort of classrooms; this is much more hands-on. Children have to be taught the mystic art of running, jumping and waving their arms in roughly symmetrical patterns – a skill previously practised only within the closed confines of the Shaolin Temple. Much respect to him for sharing with us this invaluable, rare superpower which transformed us mere school students into hunky Greek Gods with sculpted marble physiques.

On Teacher’s Day, I want to thank Mr. Man-thony personally. Thank you for taking out the anger stemming from your utter incompetence and failure at life on little defenseless kids. You sir, must be awarded with a private dungeon equipped with the finest quality Italian leather belts, spiked clubs and canes made of redwood trees that you can use to discipline future generations of unruly 5th graders.

Miss Virgin Scary

Dear Lord, please protect me from your followers.

Miss Scary was one of the few teachers that I didn’t relate to. She taught us history, but I never understood why she had to commence all classes with prayers praising Jesus Christ. I’m not making this up – she really did this. She would ask us to close our eyes and pray to someone’s Holy Mother for a reason we are still not entirely sure about to this day.

I vividly remember a day back in sixth grade. I remember that day because it left a lasting impression. It was the day she told us about “The Rapture”.

She had a crazy, deluded look in her eyes… the look you find in the eyes of people who wear “The End Is Near” signs around their necks and stand around street corners. It was probably due to the temporary unavailability of antidepressants at that time, or maybe the cult that she belonged to had a nervous breakdown; we’ll never know. What we do know is that she seemed very disturbed that afternoon.

She skipped history lessons for the day and started telling us about how the world was going to end very soon. She said that in the year 2000, a great flood will begin, that it will be pitch dark outside and it will rain day and night, that only a red cross will be visible high in the sky, that the only way to save ourselves and our family was to cover our windows with newspapers and read from the Bible. Those who believed in Christ the Saviour shall be saved, the others doomed. She told us all this in the kooky, shivering voice of a woman who lived alone in her apartment with only stray cats for company.

I was 11 at that time and I was fucking scared. So were my friends.

I went home feeling extremely rattled and repeated whatever Miss Scary said in front of my mom. My mom was pissed. She said, “What kind of humans are they to brainwash my little boy with such utter nonsense? Don’t they understand that such obscure religious statements can have a drastic effect on a child?”

She then sat me down and calmly explained that there was no such thing as a Rapture, and even if it were to happen, nothing could harm us Hindus because our Lord Krishna was there to protect us. He was the dude who had once lifted the Govardhan hill with his pinky, saved a whole village from heavy monsoons, and then played an awesome flute solo inspired by Jethro Tull. As long as I prayed to Him, I didn’t need to worry about any floods.

Problem fucking solved! I was so damn relieved. Haha, losers! You can’t touch me, biatches!

You can very well see how that incident has helped in shaping my religious beliefs.

This is my holy book. Amen.

On Teacher’s Day, I want to thank Miss Scary personally. Thank you for confusing 11 year old children with your stupid religious ideologies. Thank you for believing that faith is something to be enforced upon and not something to be experienced by oneself. The year 2000 is long gone, but I’m still waiting for the Zombie Apocalypse. The umbrella and the Bible that I bought to save my family are still untouched. Do give me a call if J. Christ and da J-Unit decide to show up.

Mrs. Fat Gujju Aunty

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

I cannot stress enough on the importance of arts in a child’s life. Have you ever noticed how children seem to be blissfully lost in their own world when they are drawing? It’s probably the only time their imagination is fuelled, their creativity is unrestrained and they connect to a part of themselves they’ve never seen. With a blank canvas, a pencil and a few crayons, a child’s mind breaks free of all barriers and explores distant avenues. For once, the child experiences true freedom from the somewhat rigid patterns of thinking required in regular subjects.

But Mrs. Fat Gujju Aunty, my drawing teacher, didn’t give a flying fuck. To her, drawing fell in 4 categories: grade A (very good), grade B (kinda good), grade C (stick to Math, you nerd) and grade D (did you puke over this?).

I enjoyed drawing the most, but dreaded it only for the fear of getting a C or D.

I don’t blame her. She is a part of a system that believes art classes are a waste of time. Drawing classes meant copying obscure images of sunflowers, animals and a bunch of vessels from textbooks and having an older sibling (or worse, parents) help out with the colouring. These would then be impartially graded (Gujju kids got better grades because they were… well, better than you) and even if you got a D, it didn’t matter because it wasn’t a subject that you needed to pass in.

This is how creativity is stifled in schools. At an age where talent should be identified and encouraged, children are made to believe that it is worthless. If you’ve watched Taare Zameen Par, you would know what it is like to be Ishaan Awashti’s parents.

On Teacher’s Day, I want to thank Mrs. Aunty personally. Thank you for scribbling large, red ‘D’ marks over our drawings and firmly putting us back in our place. Had Vincent van Gogh been your student, he would have shot himself before the class even ended.

Miss Palm-ela

We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talent.

Miss Palm-ela was my English teacher in fourth grade. She got her nickname from her trademark open palm slap which would just sweep you off your feet. I have fond memories of being one of the gifted few to have tasted her meaty palm across the face. To this day, I rate it higher than Federer’s backhand and Nadal’s forehand.

Miss Palm-ela was no ordinary woman. When she entered the classroom, the whole class would drop whatever they were doing, shut the fuck up and wet their respective pants inside 4 milliseconds. After all, she was this massive beast of a woman with a voice of… ah her voice. I appreciate her voice much more today than I did then because it sounds EXACTLY like this.

Oh yeah, she was Satan’s daughter herself.

I remember experiencing my first Palm-ela slap when I struggled with the pronunciation of a particular word during the English class. The impact sent me reeling to the ground. She stood over me and bellowed:

Palm-ela: To manipulate the fears of others, you must first learn to master your own. Are you ready to begin?
Me: I-I can barely stand.
Palm-ela: Death does not wait for you to be ready, death is not considerate or fair and make no mistake about it, here you will face death! Now read that sentence again!

I tried again. I failed again.

Palm-ela: I’m trying to free your mind, Sachin. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

She then pointed to the classroom door. I walked out quietly.

Our principal spotted me standing outside the classroom and asked her why I was punished. She didn’t answer, but during lunch time that day, she ate his liver with Fava beans and a nice Chianti.

On Teacher’s Day, I want to thank Miss Palm-ela personally. Thank you for demonstrating how the human hand can break the sonic barrier with illustrative examples. Discipline is necessary, but damn you bitch, those slaps really hurt. They still hurt.

***

Moral of the story?

Some of this might seem amusing, some tragic, but this is how the Indian education system works. A system where Mathematics is about mugging up formulae; where arts, music and sports are looked upon as “out of curriculum” subjects that add no value to education and actually interfere with studies; where parents are told that their 8 year old or 10 year old will never do well in life because of low scores in a fucking mid term test; where the story of our own countrymen who gave up their lives for freedom is worth about 10 marks in the exams; where poems are not meant to be understood and appreciated for the emotion conveyed, but for parroting out as is; where your grades will determine how successful you will be in life; where the notion is to carry on with the same old textbooks with obsolete information and still expect kids to be the future leaders; where beating, scolding and yelling is supposed to improve a child’s learning abilities; where parents feel the need to send their kids to private tutors, many of whom are teachers at the same school; where many children are denied love and attention they might not get at home; where society can’t break out of classroom walls and the mental walls where young minds are imprisoned at a very early age.

And in spite of this sad state, you find some of the brightest young minds coming from India. I think this is probably because for every bad teacher, there is one good teacher who’d set things right. For every teacher who beats children, there is always one to pick them up. For every teacher you hate to see at school, there is one you look forward to learn from. Those lucky enough to have that one good teacher turn out okay.

On Teacher’s Day, I want to thank all the good teachers personally. It’s your values and your blessings I live with today, and I’m proud to have learned from you. You might not be in the majority, but even a small number makes a world of difference to thousands of young students growing up.

I hope there are more teachers like you and less of those who poison a child’s mind with doubt, insecurity and fear. I wish that children can look at schools as a place for learning and growing, not as a place where dreams are crushed under an absurd load of unrealistic expectations. I’d like to see schools without illusive boundaries, clipped wings or indelible red ink marks.

Happy birthday, Dr. Radhakrishnan. Happy Teacher’s Day.