How I forgot my delicates and Rupa came to rescue.

Overconfidence and I are chaddi-buddies, we go back a long way. I can’t help it now, it’s in my genes (mental note – pitch the idea of jeans with an in-built underwear).

I find packing my stuff for travel a chore, so I delay it till the 11th hour, just to make it more challenging and exciting (1% of you will have a I-know-that-feeling smirk on your face, yeah, wipe it off, because we forget at least 1 item every time).

This time, I flew without my briefs (and boxers).

Not a big deal you may think, airport has those stores, but dear readers you have to keep my thrifty behaviour also in consideration. Also, paying Rs. 900 for Benetton boxers makes less sense when you can get Jockey for just Rs. 300 (5% of you are nodding your head in agreement, yeah, we are cheap and we know it).

So I touchdown Bombay at 10pm (yes, 10% of us still call it Bombay) and after checking into my hotel I take an auto, my instructions were clear – take me to any mall/market where I can buy underwear. Imagine how awkward the conversation would have been if we had more women auto drivers. #EqualityIsScarySometimes

My knight in three-wheeled chariot took me through silent alleys and deserted lanes (so much for a city that never sleeps) to JB market. I hopped from one shop to another, finding Jockey was a joke in these modest shops where Rupa, Shilpa and Sheeba ruled the shelves.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I knew how packed my schedule for next three days was, and I knew how much I love my hygiene, especially waist down. So I did what the title suggests… (15% of you may remember Rupa Frontline ads. As kids, our favourite underwear joke was – Rupa ki underwear pehenoge toh Rupa kya pehnegi… gosh, we were dumb).

In a matter of hours, I was standing in front of a mirror, wearing one ill-fitting, ugly pastel coloured, snug in a surprisingly comfortable fabric. Those ugly ads at the back of auto rickshaws from my childhood became the harsh reality of my adulthood. A humbling experience this, it taught me one thing – that even if you stay at the best of hotels, concierge can’t help you with such brief hiccups.

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#THINGSIAMTHANKFULFOR

  1. An uninterrupted supply of entertainment. Be it a hard drive full of movies, a good broadband connection to stream TV series or a good old fashioned TV with the new and advanced HD channels, I have it all.
  2. A pile of books that can make me wise. Now all I need to do is to pick them, wipe the thin layer of dust off them and turn a few pages.
  3. SO MANY FOOD APPS. I remember a few years back I had to think hard about where my next meal is coming from, now, I have to think hard about where my next meal is coming from.
  4. No addictions. Social media burst really did a number on me. I was active on way too many platforms. Now I feel repelled by most of the content and most of the people generating that meaningless content online.
  5. My old age. I know I’ve cribbed a lot in the past about a few grey hair on my head and what not. But shutting elders up (the pesky ones) just because you’ve achieved more than those monuments of cynicism ever could, is a feeling you couldn’t buy with money or Mastercard.
  6. Flaunt value. It’s kind of a wholesome achievement. You flaunt your skills, your wit, your possessions (the ones you dreamt of as a kid/teenager/jobless youth), your future plans (more when you are unreasonably ambitious like me).
  7. The possibilities. Unlike many people of my age who are settling down, I am still enthused about life and all that it has to offer me. Yes, leading a relatively unstable life is scary, but hey, even those who play safe die in the end.
  8. You guys. Who read, like and subscribe to my posts. Seriously why do all youtube videos end this way?

I’ll write more when I think of more. You have any?

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UNFRIEND NON-BELIEVERS.

And no, I’m not talking about the ones who criticise you to make you better. I’m not talking about friends who pull your leg when you fail. In fact, maybe it’s not about other individuals. Unfriend the little pesky non-believer in you if you have to.

The reasons for doing so:

  • These are people who never had their own “Everest”, so it’s not just that they don’t believe in you, they are probably incapable of understanding you. Isn’t that the first premise of any friendship/relationship?
  • Their doubt is contagious. Even if your will is as strong and determined as Mohd Ali, sometimes these naysayers punch you out with their expert negative logic (secret: they put weights of their failed past in their boxing gloves).
  • They sometimes make sense. And that’s the most dangerous part. If Edmund Hillary had a friend like this who constantly told him drop the very risky plan to conquer Mt. Everest, it would still be a virgin peak. Men who like to be on top, gimme 5!
  • They will always be there to say, “I told you so” and if your dreams are big you’ll have many failures; you don’t want that kinda negative energy around you when you are already down.
  • If you could time travel, you’d know these people won’t do anything spectacular with their lives. They would happily be the puppet of time/situation/peer pressure/so-called-righteousness/system/government/dysfunctional family and of course luck.
  • So unfriend them today, because an year from now you would regret not taking an action even though a great post warned you about these demons who feed on your dreams.

Good night.

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Not to brag, but I can smile in sign language.

For last 9 months I’ve been working with a great guy who’s deaf and mute. This is the first time I am doing something like this, and surprisingly it’s easy and awesome. At first, I had no clue how it was going to work out, as he is my art partner and I am in the business of communication.

So the exchange of ideas started with us writing stuff on a piece of paper. I couldn’t talk to him without my pen. And this is how it went sometimes:

Me: I think you should reduce the font size. 
Him: No.
Me: If you do it we’ll have more white space and the layout will look clean.
Him: Size is ok.
Me: Well, it’s totally your call. No pressure. But more white space means eyes will go straight to the message. It’ll be loud and clear and yet not in the face. It’ll be noticeable, but not shouting for attention. It’ll be there, but not there. You feeling me?
Him: Hmm…
Me: So will you do it?
Him: No.

From drawing letters on hands to typing on the phone to explaining stuff with hand gestures to laughing at client’s feedback, we’ve come a long way. Now I even know how to swear in sign language (just one word, and yes, mostly used for the same client).

What’s magical is that now he tells me about his family, how naughty his kids are, how hot the weather is outside, how much he hated Fan, and how bad Vodafone is, and that’s when I have to make calls for him posing as him to threat the telephone network. Sigh! We do all great things friends do.

Aren’t all human relationships similar? You can’t truly understand each other, but you still try to work things out. The only difference is that you expect the other person to understand you better, because technically you speak the same language. Maybe if you speak less and smile more (and obviously, smile it like you mean it), there will be less friction and more understanding.

Hey, it worked for me.

 

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My advice at 29 – have more dreams.

I was always driven. Even as a teenager. I wanted to do something fruitful with my life, even though I was as confused as any normal teenager if not more. My teenage ended 10 years ago and now I have all that I imagined.

Sounds great, right? It is.

But what follows after you get what you want it an endless void, a vacuum, which sucks you in if you don’t have the next dream aligned in the barrel of your cannon that lets you shoot for the stars.

Having a dream is no wild goose chase. It actually determines who you are as a person and who you can be.

Today, I’m just a designation. Today, I’m just the salary that gets credited in my bank on every 1st of every month. Today, I’m just my boss’s apprentice. Today, I’m just a guy who wishes for a lot of things, but dreams about none.

All this, because I had a very few dreams.

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Don’t let your dreams take the backseat.

It has already happened for most of us and we don’t even notice it. The daily grind is so overwhelming that we forget what we really intend to do. ‘Pursuit of happiness’ awaits while the mundane duties/responsibilities/routine  consumes us.

We’ve found our comfort zone in living the same day, every day. There’s something peaceful about a life with ‘no surprises’ and we are getting too used to it.

Buddha once said, “the problem is that you think you have time” and this captures our lifestyle in one line. We are waiting for a miracle to happen, for stars to line up, for perfect opportunity to show itself, for something to happen while we live the ‘busy’ life.

Ask yourself – what’s keeping you busy? And can it keep you happy forever? The answer might help you prioritise your life better.

 

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He types HAHAHA with a straight face and sends emoticons when he runs out of words.

He woke up on a Tuesday morning and realised that he was late for work. Not late like ‘holy shit, it’s 10 am and I’ve missed a meeting’ late. Real life is not that dramatic you know. He was late by his ideal and a very ambitious wake up time, understandably so, because he missed his ideal ‘go to bed and sleep’ time, by a couple of hours. Sigh! His smart phone really makes him do dumb things.

He isn’t known to make great decisions and he goes to sleep again, because that’s how he competes with his failures, big or small. It’s 10 am and now he is late for real.

He does what he does everyday, miss his exercise and breakfast so he can later crib about his not-so-healthy lifestyle taking long drags of the cancer stick. He takes great pleasure in helping irony write itself.

He sits for hours in front of a computer and stands with his head down looking at the portable screen. He is more wired to the word and less connected to himself. He types HAHAHA with a straight face and sends emoticons when he runs out of words. He leaves office early like he has to be somewhere, drives his car through the same roads, listening to the same music, going past the same houses, sheltering almost the same thoughts he had yesterday… he reaches the same destination – the place he calls home.

Wait, he just lived his yesterday again and it looks hauntingly familiar to the day before that. He lives just one day, again and again. He is a victim of routine. He wonders how did he come this far and what he has become while scrolling for answers over the internet, finding solace with other victims; strangers he can empathise with. People who are like him – stuck, confused and capable of so much more.

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Keep calm, you are in Bangalore.

So my first trip to Bangalore comes to an end as I write this post from the airport. Yes, apparently I am one of those panic buttons who reach places way too early and then are left way too much time to waste. But you can’t blame me completely for being a bit paranoid. You have to blame this city.

I was stuck in a traffic jam for three hours. It was the longest and the most chilled-out traffic jam I have ever got stuck into. All thanks to this breezy, comfortable, lullaby-like weather, Bangaloreans don’t lose it. They just go with the flow. For hours. They don’t change lanes erratically, they don’t honk impatiently, they manage very well without hurling the mother-sister magic words.

They also drive a lot of KTM Dukes *respect* and a lot of Mahindra Veritos (why?!?!) Maybe Macchas iked Jimmy Shergil’s manly avatar with a mustache (if you don’t know what I am talking about then click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOwR4ZC41QA)

Another unexpected delight that I found in Bangalore was great North Indian food at Rasovara (it’s Rajdhani; same group, same thali, same font on the menu with way too many options of Gujarati and Rajasthani delicacies, served with warmth and more options of dessert than any other Rajdhani restaurants in Delhi). It’s in the UB mall, which is Bangalore’s version of DLF Emporio with more options to booze, obviously. And one of the best products to come from Vijay Mallaya apart from Kingfisher Draught.

I’d love to talk more about Bangalore, but this is all I could do in less than 20 hours. So stories like ‘the best places to have mysore pak’, ‘dil garden garden ho gaya’ and ‘how Bangalore women respond to creepy Tinder messages’ will have to wait for my next trip.

Hope it happens soon. Next time, I will bring a big carton to pack some of the priceless fresh air of the city.

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SCREW POLITENESS.

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As a nation we put a lot of stress on “Tehzeeb”. Being polite gets us in all kinds of trouble. I have seen many of my friends suffer in a bad job, because just when they were about to quit their boss asked them to stay, politely.

Our “I don’t want to hurt him/her” feelings keep us in stuck in bad relationships/friendships. Hurt that bugger, you know you want to!

By being extra polite on many instances like this you get very rude to yourself.

You deny yourself the right to happiness/ease/whatever-I-want-to-do.

All this for what? I’d rather be rude/impolite/inappropriate/selfish and happy.

This cloak of greatness that our parents/teachers/society wanted us to wear is too heavy for my shoulders. It’s reminds me of those cheap woollen blankets that keep things warm for some time but then ruin it with a lot of static charge stored under it.

I trust people who swear a lot. They are honest in my opinion and they fear nothing.

I don’t trust people who judge other people a lot. I think we all have reasons to be who we are and how we are.

There’s nothing wrong in being extra polite. It’s just not a happy choice for me.

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Here’s to bad decisions!

It’s Friday night. Some of you should be half drunk by now and if you are not, your bartender is doing a lousy job. Even if you are at home, like me, with an ice cream tub in hand, raise it and make a toast to all the things that didn’t go your way.

Why you wonder? Because one of the greatest poets of all time, Mr. Kanye West said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Example?

Shitty jobs remind us the value of life.

Horrible bosses make us humble and detail-oriented.

Bad relationships teach us how important friendship is.

Bad friends are a lesson in trust and honesty.

Being in a bad shape motivates us to run.

Running out of breath tells us to quit smoking.

All the resentments make us think.

And thinking leads us everywhere.

So next time…

Try and turn a “damn” into “damn good”.

Cheers!

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