Thursday, November 5, 2009

An inevitably, unavoidably long and morose post.

Inevitable. Unavoidable. Age-appropriate. The normal progression. Any discussion between a late 20's man and his family/friends/associates inevitably and unavoidably drifts into his marriage plans, more specifically, the lack thereof, and always advocates getting married as an age-appropriate and perfectly normal progression of events in said late 20's man. Not to forget, inevitable and unavoidable. Alright, I think I used them enough already too, I just wanted to emphasize how often, repetitive and boring these discussermons become, and you would probably register this point by noting that I have created a whole new word just for it.

The fact remains, that every walking, breathing, earning man in his late 20's is perceived by our society to have an expiry date tattooed on his forehead. And a countdown timer, much like those in game show's, hovering over his head, making louder, more threatening sounds as time goes by. There is a deep rooted fear that once the timer reaches 0, or in this case, 30, this man is done for. The neighbors will talk! What will people say! How will we find him a suitable wife? And other such drivel seem to justify his family's need to get him married, or as they say here, settled in life. Free will continues to remain a theory best left discussed as objectively as possible, inapplicable to all men in their late 20's. And it isn't fair on this man. He got through college, and many of his friends got married the minute they had graduated. He had to endure their weddings, and his parents incessant grumblings about when he'd get 'settled'. Then he was recruited, and started contributing to society by paying taxes, even though TDS is hardly voluntary. And how did society repay him? Even more friends of his got married, those who bit the bullet earlier, as they graduated, even had the gall to make babies, and thrust them in his face. The parental grumbling had by now made way to their pointed barbs, some 'random' remarks about cousins getting married, distant relatives getting the pleasure of holding their grandbabies in their arms, and playing with them in the park, you get the picture.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Our late 20's man decides that he's had just about enough of all this nonsense, and get's himself a girlfriend, to distract him, so to speak(feminazi's please pounce, I might get a date out of it). Not to be confused with all the prospective wife talk that we did earlier. Said girlfriend is now known to all in the man's family, as 'that' girl. As if her character is somehow in doubt, her origins disturbingly suspect, and her very presence in his life akin to stage 4 cancer. Of course, all of this makes our hero(see how I mould his character and make you feel for him) very, very sad. In his despair, he argues with his family, and weeps on 'that' girl's shoulder. The consequences of this arguing and subsequent weeping please his family to a very great extent. I should explain that now, you see, when late 20's man, or as we now know him, our emotional hero, weeped night after night on his girlfriend's shoulder, while she did the decent thing, and massaged his emotions, what she was really after was a very different kind of massage(now its getting weirder). And some fun in the sun, shopping, weekend trips and..., you know what I mean. So, after a while, she get's tired of washing the saline smears from her shirts(tops, is it?), and tells our hero to buzz off. In the most delicate fashion, of course. We wouldn't want people to think she was in it only for the fun, and expose her shallow outlook, deep seated insecurities and overall 'just not cricket'-ness. Hence the pleased-as-punch parents, who have since renewed their search for the 'suitable' wife, and, who are certain that their son was saved from 'that' girl's evil charms only because they fasted every Thursday, and spent every waking hour praying to a whole battalion of Gods.

What they fail to realise, is our hero, and be rest assured, he is one inspite of all that has befallen him, is now an angry, bitter, cynical man. Angry at himself more than anybody else, for his failure to control how his life has been treating him, and where his life appears to be headed. For that is all that a man in his late 20's truly desires. Not a girlfriend, not a suitable wife, not a huge house and fancy car, not anything else. Our hero lives in a world where his earning potential should be peaking, or at least pretend to be. A world, where his peers are constantly one-upping him by getting married, making babies, moving to foreign countries, sending him endless picasa albums of said foreign countries, commenting on his facebook profile about married'y things, or about babies, about the different tax saving mutual funds he should consider, about real estate opportunities that if missed, will surely be the end of the world, and everything else under the sun. Our hero, who is quite angry, but doesn't show it, who is now determined to storm silently and alone into the darkness that his future appears to be, is quite literally, a lonely man in a crowd. And his way of handling it is to further isolate himself, and keep all interactions with other people at a bare minimum. When he returns home, his only words are a 'good night' here, and a 'food was great' there. When he finds himself in an event of a social nature, he finds solace in his smartphone, a dark corner and a glass filled with whatever poison appeals to him that night. He does shake a few hands, make the rounds and make sure people remember he exists. But, after a while, he is always alone. Sometimes, he feels the need to reach out to old friends, but then remembers they are probably making more babies, or travelling to other foreign countries, and as rapidly as the thought of reaching out came to him, he shift-delete's it from his mind.

I don't know where I am going with this account of our hero's life. I don't know because, our hero hasn't told me yet. Remember, he is now intensely addicted to being alone, untouched and unbothered by the rest of his world. So much so, that he has even stopped listening to that little voice in his head, that tries occasionally, to get him to shrug away his fears and walk amongst those who have inevitably, unavoidably done so themselves. It being a very age-appropriate thing to do, and just a natural progression of events. Bah! Why do I even bother.

Disclaimer: Remember people, this is fiction, it has no reference to any living man in his late 20's, and is certainly not a self-potrait, however much your mind may try to make it appear so.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Harley Indian dream

The Hog's are here!!

Find out how no other motorcycle in the world compares to a Harley-Davidson. Visit

The Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company has finally launched a series of motorcycles in India. They intend to find and tie up with a dealer network around the country and start delivering their bikes to Indian customers sometime in 2010. Good news? You're damn right! Its about time we got some Hogs around here! Give me a fatboy over an R1 any day of the week! The coming of the V Twins is a time to rejoice, a time to reconsider your priorities, because they are all simply wrong. These motorcycles represent the very best things in life. Someone asked me why there is so much hype surrounding the Harley's. He had never seen one, but thought they were bad performers, and looked absolutely garish! He went on to speculate that when compared to the Yam's Hondas and Suzuki's, they were inferior and anyone with a Hog bought it simply for snob value!

My reaction to him was from the heart. It goes like this. A Harley is not just a bike, its an experience. Its the sound of life getting bigger, of your daughter running out at midnight, of a V Twin kicking life into shape, of the boys who you won't let your daughter date, of a midnight ride that lasts 3 days. There are those who will feel the call of the Hog, and then there are those who won't. Why should a bike be built just to be the fastest, or most effecient, or best to lean into corners, or anything else? Why can't a bike be built from the heart. Logic, economy, practicality be damned!
Comparing a Harley with a Japanese will not make any sense. They are different beasts altogether. A Yamaha R1 will get you to the finish line quick! But the Harley will get you there in style. Style forged in metal workshops by grease covered men wearing overalls with a cigarette hanging from their lips and a monkey wrench in their hands. Men who are not afraid to walk that dark lonely road at night alone. Men who live to ride, and ride to live.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jeep Alert

The image in this post is of a Mahindra jeep. One of the old one's that shares its genetics with the great jeeps of the past. A jeep that came to be associated with either Hindi movie police or with hill station-roaming romantic heroes. What do people think when they see a jeep like this? What are the first impressions, the first reactions to a machine like this. If you ask today's yuppie, hatchback loving, ipod toting youth, they'd sneer back with a sarcastic, demeaning retort that would include adjectives like old, obsolete, rust-bucket, ugly and may even suggest a one-way trip to the junkyard. These demeaning words would be a by-product of their conditioning. They have been accustomed to farting around in their petrol hatches, which they adorn with decals, aftermarket exhausts, spoilers and whatnot. Their ideal dream car would fall somewhere between a Bugatti Veyron and a Porsche 911. Splendid as these cars may be, they are objects that one can only desire, with no hope to own or drive them. When anybody (me) even suggests that a jeep like this is a beautiful machine, one that I am saving up to buy, one that gives me goose pimples every time I spot, one that I feel looks more beautiful than a bikini-babe in the Mid-day, the immediate response is one of utter disbelief. Parents, friends, strangers all unite in the collective debasing of this worthy machine with no respect to its heritage, its practical and no-frills outlook and its completely delectable looks. I may be mad, but I know when I am right.

A jeep like this is a work of art that was created in an automobile factory by men. Its the ultimate weapon that men built against bad roads, potholes and traffic. Its a throwback to the times when men drove machines built for real men. Men that understood that power steering and air conditioning were for the weak. Hard tops, doors, lumbar support, and soft suspensions were overrated. Aerodynamics, sensors and ECU chips are for aircrafts, not cars! Men drove these jeeps with the canopy down, the wind in their hair and the rest of the world would look at them and go "there goes the Man". Compare that to the cars we see today. Most of them are silver or grey, low, sound like an electric shaver, and try their best to insulate the driver from the wind, the sun, the cold and everything else in Madam Nature's handbag. Many others are either pink, green, aquamarine and every other colour that Maybelline lipsticks can dream up. People lose sleep over things like losing their car in the mall's parking lot. Simply because there are so many similar cars around that they cannot identify their own. What does this say for an individual's identity, "I drive around in the same car the rest of the world does". Why this need for uniformity, for blending in, for being well adjusted and for being recognized as "normal". Is it really that difficult to imagine a world where you drove a car that you could instantly identify as your own? A car that you spent the whole of Sunday tinkering with, and cleaning, and polishing, then ruined the entire effort by going for a joyride in the mud the next morning? A car that does not offer the comforts of your bedroom. No reading lights for the passenger, no music system to drown out the voices in your head, no drive computer, no power windows, no roof for God's sake! I'll tell you why. Because we are all sheep. Yes. You heard it. We will do what the sheep next to us in the herd does. We will do it without giving it a moments thought, because that is what sheep do. We will eat, sleep and die, just like the sheep around us. Pathetic, really. I'd rather be that sheep who got eaten by the wolf when he ran out of farm at night chasing butterflies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Male pattern hostility.

Go ahead, I dare you. Try it. Lets get it on. Make my day. And the list goes on. Angry, defensive and neurotic they may be, but these words are heard often enough during the course of any day. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but my bones will heal, and get stronger as a result of the break. Not so with words. Once out, there's nothing you can do to get them back. No amount of regret, however sincere can erase the effect of that pointed jibe, that uncalled for slur and most certainly, there is no known retraction for the verbal attack. That, as they say, is definitely that. It stands to reason that if chap A passes verbal diarrhoea on chap B, upon which chap B takes offence and challenges chap A to back up his talk with something more, both chaps A and B have reached the point of no return. Chap A can't back down from chap B's challenge, he risks ridicule and humiliation. Chap B too, now must realise that he has forced chap A's hand, and the resulting reaction will surely be anything but conciliatory. Enough about those chaps, you may say, they're both testosterone spewing neanderthals who need therapy, and some tranquilizers, you say, and you're probably right. After all, you've been hearing Dr. Phil, Deepak Chopra, and every other new age "expert", as well as reading the latest issue of the Readers Digest and Health magazine, where anger management articles, the evils of losing your temper, the hidden killer that is rage and a bounty of similar drivel points you to your assessment of the situation chaps A & B find themselves in. I think its about time I rain on your parade. You're oh! so wrong. You have no clue how destressing it can be to walk up to your favourite punching bag(not literal, henceforth called YFPB, for short), unleash the mother of all rages on him, all the while allowing him to counter your every punch(again, not literal), spot the chink in his defense, allow the adrenaline to fuel your cruel barb and thrust deep into the inky poison that is his ego. Definitely more interesting than a tennis match, and less dangerous than say, the Moto GP. There can be one of two results to such an encounter, result A and result B(I know, whats with the A's and B's, but bear with me). Result A is when you get your rage on and manage to demolish YFPB, reducing his self esteem to lows never measured before, all the while racking up points on your own rage meter, sometimes making a high score that surprises even yourself. This is particularly useful in future encounters of the same kind, where you can boost your performance by recollecting a particularly offensive slur, or a supremely demeaning turn of phrase. Of course, result B is the less preferred of the two. So supremely positive and irreverently mocking of negativity are we(chaps A, B, and such like), that we shall not dignify result B with even a briefest of mention.

 I am very much one of the aforementioned chaps. Not A or B specifically (I'd hate to steal their thunder), but a decidedly like minded neanderthal nevertheless. I will, on occassion, gnash the teeth and roar with positive conviction. It will hurt your eardrums, and drill down to the tiniest places in your soul where you're still a little child, scared of being punished by the Headmaster for missing assembly or chewing your fingernails. I will then proceed to strip every defense that age, ego, testosterone and watching Rambo movies has afforded you, and tear you limb from limb with only the exertion of my tongue, uvula, larynx and respiratory organs. It will therefore not astound you when I reveal that my rage meter is sufficiently well endowed. And by that I obviously underplay its stupendous magnificience. All of this may seem rather self aggrandizing to you, but no doubt, you may notice the complete lack of any stress, anxiety, self-pity or similar weakness on display. Chaps A, B and the rest of us barbarians, live free of these chains that civilisation uses to enslave our meeker colleagues. We do not tolerate political correctness, and will not hesitate to go to ridiculous extremes when provoked. We are the guys you are afraid to borrow money from. The guys you won't let your daughter date. The chaps you are most reluctant to invite to your cocktail parties. We are also the guys who shall inherit the earth. That other saying was just to screw with you. Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

The memory of her.

 It was 10 AM on a Saturday morning, and as his eyes opened, they instinctively scanned the bedroom doorway. Force of habit, paranoia, whatever they termed it as, he knew and trusted his instincts. It wasn't his luck that brought him this far. Every closed door had been either broken down by steel-toed boots or forced open by inevitability. He showered, dressed himself and as he walked out towards the living room, his nostrils caught the slightest wisps of a once-familiar perfume in the air. The muscles in his jaw involuntarily tightened, as if in protest against the memories the smell brought with it. Memories of a time when those same jaw muscles would smile more easily and often than frown. His body, as if pulled toward the source of the perfume glided toward the balcony, from where the scent seemed to emanate. As he moved past the furniture, his limp lifeless arms and legs clumsily bounced off them, breaking some of the items they collided with. The noise from their breaking jarred him from his reverie, and he awoke as if from a dream. The first thought in his head was unpleasant. He chided himself for day-dreaming, and reminded himself that people like him are seldom allowed the luxury of fantasy, living in a world of facts, of decisions, of pressure, a world that not only demanded performance, but the very life in his limbs. The next minute he spent in clearing the damage, and loudly berated the inherited blood in his veins that drove him to passionate action, making a mockery of the quiet, deliberate nature that he spent a lifetime cultivating. He got himself a cup of coffee, and made his way to the offending balcony, determined to train his errant emotions, a determination that he completely abandoned when the scent hit him a second time. This time, there was a face to go with it. His memories painted a young, pretty enough face, that was lit up by a cheery smile, flanked by bangs of dark hair running shoulder length. His breath left him as if he taken a punch to his stomach. He could feel the heart beat in his temples, and had to grab the rails to keep his balance. Slowly, he slid down the balcony rails, to the floor, his body had the look of a defeated man, crumpled and withered, but his eyes were still sharp, still bright. How could they not be. They were being shown a picture, that came from another lifetime, that he had hidden away in the dark recesses of his past. She was not the most beautiful woman in the world, and both of them knew it. But she was the only woman who had understood him...completely. She knew of his forced calmness, of the vivacious mind behind the slovenly exterior, of the beating heart in his chest, that demanded adrenaline as much as could be had. She loved that he would whistle the notes to her favourite songs while he showered. She loved that he would pretend to be asleep after she was awake, to jump at her and grab her as she walked by. She loved when he pretended not to be affected by that emotional moment at the movies, and she always pretended not to notice him wipe the solitary tear that he couldnt stop. She loved that he filled her life with his presence. 

 As his eyes slowly came back into focus, he could feel the heart beating steadier, his breath approaching its usual rate, and his strength flowing back into his limbs. It was as if he had been knocked out by that memory of her. He remembered exactly the moment that the memory had been from. He had been away from home for a week and a few more days, and had returned home by the last train. He remembered having to walk the 4 kilometers that separated the train station from his house, every step taking him closer to her. He remembered the moment as if it had been just yesterday. She opened the door to his knocking, wearing the smile that could thaw the coldest heart. He remembered her welcoming eyes, her wavy hair, and remembered best of all the perfume that she wore. It wasn't overbearing, but it always defined his memory of her. The years they spent together were littered with many such memories, these memories were all he had left, to remember a time of his life when his step was light, his heart danced and his very core shone with a glow that could only be attributed to contentment. He lost her to time, to the inevitabile sequence of human existence. From the very beginning of his association with her, he had debated what would become of him should he lose her. And each time he had prayed he be taken from this life before her, to escape the loneliness and devastation her loss would bring. And each time he would pray the universe ignore his last thought, for the thought of causing her sorrow by leaving her alone instantly made him regret his words. 
 Now, he said to himself... I am getting what I asked for. I am living with the ghosts of our past. With the vast emptiness of the current, while the memories remind me of better times. I am happy she does not have to experience this emptiness. And as he walked out into the world, his lips involuntarily whistled her favourite song.