Honesty is such a turn on

This post is dedicated to one of the friends in office. I have been friends with with him from the past three years. He is one those guys “thought” sorted in the list. He is also the most witty among all. People who know him love him.

Now to give more perspective to what I will talk about, I think of myself as a struggler. We all have struggled at some point. But I have a master’s degree. Not that I struggle in every other thing. But on a broader picture I do (it is better to accept than struggle to hide the fact). When I’m serious most of the talks are based what am I or are you doing. Which is good until the point you start procrastinating at every single success story you hear. The mechanism of thoughts here works on fear. If you are scared sometime you take inspiration and you work on yourself. But not every time.

So I am having a chat with this dear friend with whom the frequency of chats have decreased over the time. Yet the love and compassion remains the same. We do our customary grudge talk of not talking often and then move to the usual serious talks. What next in future ? I get all whiny, saying its not leading to the point where I want. I am trying though. Now any struggler would connect to this thought. Yet I should say a foolish answer. I hear my friends answer and my heart is literally pounding. He says “I don’t have any hot shot goals. I come from a small town and now I work in one of the best cities of this country. I think where I am today most people aren’t. I want to lead a normal life”. I am dumbfounded at the simplicity of this person who reminded of the basics of leading a peaceful life. To top on this the honesty with which the words hit my ears, I AM SOLD! He is not telling me to show how cool he is, which he is. He is the answer to that sorry answer which pops out every time that “life is going no where”.

He adds to this, saying “I see people from big cities with so much knowledge (and exposure), I feel there still a lot to learn”. I have tears in my head at this point. Of all the assholes I have met who call themselves from city this is the most sensible and modest thing I have heard. A very few have this “there is a lot to learn” thought as their usual thought these days. I have been a true believer of this train of thought. Having said this, to have this ingrained in your head is hard. But reminders like these are such a turn on in life.

I think people easily let their guards down to honesty which is a fair assumption. Because you know there is safety. To give an example, a comedian, Zakir Khan, whom I follow loyally, is one who exploits this honesty thought brilliantly. To add to this Zakir confesses his mantra to the audience who feel more connected.

To put an end, now I know why my friend is “thought” sorted because he is. I am thankful of having people around who keep increasing my wisdom by their humble words. I hope I never lose such people.

“I AM A CHAMAN, I NEED TO LEARN”

Advertisements

Grief defined – Jagmohan Singh Dhiman

I have been wanting to write on this topic. I don’t write quite often. One of the reasons of it is that I write only when I have strong feelings on the topics. These feelings are so strong that on any day that thought remains intact. And such incidents happen infrequently, hence the laziness.

One fine day, I was enjoying my Saturday evening with my family. I was cracking some lame joke, the usual stuff. Now cracking jokes is a tricky business. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes not, sometimes it offends the listener and on very few occasions it brings a bad realization of insensitivity to the speaker. Apparently, the more such occasions of realization occur the more smarter you become.

You might have come across a song by Jagjit Singh Chithi na koi sandesh. The song briefly translates to an expression inquiring a dear person who hasn’t been in contact for a while. Usually I don’t remember the lyrics of many songs. However, most of the songs I like are driven by the meaning of the lyrics. For me, this song was a sad ghazal. So by distorting the lyrics to fit my joke, I would sing the caption to anyone not responding to me. And it happened on the Saturday evening when I jokingly sang this song to my mother, when my father interjected with a trivia.

He said that this song was sung by Jagjit Singh post the death of his son, Vivek in a car crash. This was a shocking news to me. One, a celebrity of Jagjit Singh’s stature losing his son must have been a big news of its time. Two, this legend was so dedicated to his work that when reality transformed him to grief, he transformed it further into a reality through this song. My father goes on to say that Jagjit was in depression coping up with the loss. That’s the beauty of the possession of knowledge, it never is dispersed in the rut but only when required.

To me this was an eye opener. Now I listened to the song with all my attention. The lyrics of the song are so deep and justify what he was feeling. To part with someone you have lived forever is devastating. To lose a dear and young one forever is traumatizing. The thought of using the same hands, which nurture a child, to lay them in their grave can melt mountains. And somewhere it did inside me too. To add to it, since it was a car crash there was nothing he could do about it. With the lyrics

Ek Aah Bharee Hogi
Humne Na Sunee Hogi
Jaate Jaate Tumne
Aawaz To Di Hogi
Har Waqt Yehi Hai Gham
Us Waqt Kahan The Hum
Kahan Tum Chale Gaye
Chithi Na Koi Sandesh

These lines replicate the pain in such simple ways that is disturbing to the brain.

There is a thin line between being insensitive and being demeaning to someone. When it involves dignitaries of the highest form the line is even thinner. To understand this and implement in life is another challenge because the brain is not programmed for such trivial stuff. Besides making fun out of situations like these expedites the entry to the category of imbeciles. Learning this, from the incident was invigorating.

Since this became an intriguing topic for me, to find what happened before and after the incident, I followed few documentaries of Jagjit Singh. The person was gifted with such a melodious voice. One of his lesser known songs, Baat niklegi to door talak jayegi is another masterpiece which gives you a heartfelt piece of his mind. But the real transformation happened post the unfortunate incident. The songs became much profound with the voice spinning the magic.

The legend continued his journey providing his voice to poems of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to entertaining the audiences with Bollywood songs. This day – 10th October, six years back (2011) the maestro left for his heavenly abode. To remember him and his legacy is the least I could to pay my gratitute. Hope people keep following him for many more years to come.

When time is at your luxury

Life keeps moving fast when you follow your routine. You find time moving faster when you are having fun and slower when the struggle is real. But there comes a time when you go past these states. When you know there is enough time and you are feeling the happiness of having this time at your side. This feeling is one of a kind and hard to put in words.

Krabi

I was in Krabi post my adventures in Phuket. Krabi is a wonderful place to get lost in its beauty. When you plan your destinations, you always feel that too many beaches would saturate at one point. Krabi had to be one those places. And to disappoint our planning,  this place was a dream. Our hostel was a road away from the beach. I have never lived anywhere this close to the beach. The day we reached Krabi, we were all tired but we knew there was a great party in the evening cause it was a Friday. We were taking in the aura of the hostel which has a TT table to kill time and to top that it has a gaming station like the ones we had memories of playing on with in our childhood. Time was swooping. We rested and prepared ourselves for the party.

To this date I was all about exploring places but within my comfort zone. Krabi was the turning point. I am not much of a party animal. One of my previous posts clearly defines it. But on this eventful Friday, I partied. And it was something on a different level. To some extent I enjoyed it. And then we came back because we had to leave early for our tour the next day.

The tour next day did not start well as the rain gods were not kind and we had to take many detours. The islands near Krabi were completely different from what they were on Phuket’s tour. We hopped from places to places naked in the overcast day. Yes, I don’t have much experience remaining topless for more than 30 minutes. But I did for a complete day. Bringing clothes to Krabi is futile. Just pack some swimming shorts and that should do. And if you think you would surf against the tide and wear clothes, then be ready to be outcasted. Nobody wears heavy clothes, which was awakening for me. Travel light they say. Now I understand.

The swim on the beaches, the dive in the sea, the non-swimmer’s nightmarish snorkeling exercise and exploring the caves of Hong Island was all that took up our day. If canoeing was the highlight of Phuket’s tour, diving in the sea had to be of Krabi’s. Taking the leap into the water when you don’t know swimming takes a lot of courage. And it was well appreciated by the other travelers on the boat. Swimming takes a lot of energy and when we were back it brought the inevitable hunger. It started raining heavily, however we had the option of good Indian food just 5 steps away from the hostel.

The next day was a complete turnover from the island tour we did. It was our jungle tour. We started off with Emerald pool. Like yesterday, the rains were there to welcome us. However, that did not dampen our spirits. We took off to the jungle where this pool has formed. Although the images had my expectations sold yet it did manage to engage us in some fun. Next we moved over to the hot springs. Now the rains were so heavy that most of the people were shivering. Like yesterday, clothes were bare minimum. To take the hit of hot spring’s water on any part of the body was devastating at first. It seemed as if someone poured boiling water onto you. However slowly the warmth adjusts your body (or the other way round). Laying down inside a hot water spring with heavy rain droplets falling on top was an unusual experience.

Our next activity was a trek of 1300 steps. It might sound easy but these steps were really steep. Your need to be in a good shape to climb them in one go. At the top was a Buddha statue. The statue was majestic but what took our break (apart from the trek) was the view from the top. Clouds underneath you, mountains underneath you. Above all civilizations a place to introspect live. Worth the every step of the trek. We came down the trek like a breeze, partly because of the wonderful chat we had with fellow travelers. Learning about the lives of people around the world was liberating. Some amazing friends made was a lifetime prize. We tried the local cuisine of Thailand amidst jokes and rants about the spices. And then we left for our hostel.

Krabi was special. Everyday of Thailand too. But what was lost and gained was to remain forever.

P.S – Next destination was my solo travel journey. Watch out for more next week.

To the land of beauty

Its been a week since I have come back, hence got no time to write. To add to this, my phone’s dull battery hasn’t allowed me to utilize wordpress on phone.

Phuket

Picking from where we left in the previous post, I roamed around here and there to beat the time in the airport – Don Mueng. Apparently, Don Mueng happens to be one of the better Airports with all newly built facilities. Sleep at this point has become a long lost friend. My flight takes off at the usual time and reaches on time. I take a taxi and off to the hotel to join my friends.

Now Phuket, it seems, has very few roads and to reach Patong, it took me around 1.5 hours. The roads appeared like they are in South India – calm, breezy, green. I reach the hotel and unpack. As I unpack, I discover that my blue shorts are missing. Damn! I left the blue shorts on the bunker above mine, thinking that it is someone else’s. To add to the loss, there were headphones in the shorts. Ahhh! First learning of the trip, always be careful of the number of clothes that you take out of your bag. Noted! I eat something (my friends – Shobhit and Nishant had saved some food from the morning buffet. Saviours!). Let the bygones be, time to explore Phuket.

In Phuket, if you want to travel around, the best mode of transport is motorbikes and scooters (just like they are in Goa, India). So we book 2 scooters. Now I am not a pro at riding the scooters so I take the role of the guide. We devise a plan to cover South of Phuket with all the beaches and viewpoints. Google Maps to our rescue and we vroom through the uneven roads and bylanes of Phuket to Karon Beach. The feeling of blue water and sands is scenic. The sun is just above us and the heat is little concerning. However, Phuket’s weather changes every second. The beach is overwhelming. We stroll along the beach and realise that our next stop would not have many food options. So we stuff ourselves from the nearby  market.

We head towards the Big Buddha Temple, which is on a hill. Now the road to this place is complete uphill. The roads leading to this place had so many scenic places with lush green farms, hills, huts, stray animals, gentle people. Time was at our hand so we utilized it exploring the place steadily, stopping wherever we thought. The breeze and clouds in this part added to the fun of riding a scooter. Once we reach there, the statue of Buddha is phenomenal. The place had a pious aura with Buddhist hyms being played on mics. As we entered the premises, we saw a woman rubbing a big plate and it played huge vibrating sound. This was a thai gong. We sat down tried our hand. This was good fun although one of my friends was not able to get sound out of this gong. We visited the temple. Clicked a beautiful time lapse and came down.

The journey’s next stop was Promthep Viewpoint near Kata Beach. This place was famous for sunset. We took a coconut water break at the Kata Beach and then parked the scooters at Promthep Viewpoint. Now the view from anywhere here was already mesmerizing. We decided to trek down the Viewpoint hill to the end of the land. I was exhausted much but the view kept me going. After half an hour of jumping down the rocks we came to the end. The wind was hitting every part of the body, the sun was simmering down and the ocean roaring its waves. We sat there watching the sun go into the sea. Surreal!

We headed back to our hotel. Had a good dinner and left for thai massage which rejuvenated our broken muscles. The massages are funny because usually you don’t allow people to touch you at places which are restricted 🙂 However, the ladies were professional and did a good job loosening every knots in the muscles.

A new dawn, a new place, a new plan. It was our island tour today. The taxi taking us to the tour’s ferry place got late, by an HOUR! This was frustrating as we got ready fairly timely. Once we reached the ferry, the fun just started. Nishant had brought his bluetooth speakers and that started our boat party. Luckily we had a good company from our Russian friends Inoor and Margharieta, who sport enough to waltz to our desi tunes. The dance, ocean, islands were all going amazing. We stopped at a beach and then headed off for caves. The caves in Thailand are like an artist’s creation. We were in our kayaks driven by a professional (called chacha by us). Chacha gave us the oars and we took the kayaks for a round. Next we had our personal kayaks which we glided through one of the islands. Learning to sail a kayak was an adventurous experience. Next we headed to another set of caves where we sang throughout. Our songs filled the place with an energy liked and appreciated by everyone around. And then we came back to our hotels.

After a good night’s sleep it was time to say good by to Phuket which treated us with good care. Krabi was our next stop though a ferry.

 

P.S – When you loose your first item it is always painful. However I did not let it ruin my mood.

Bangkok – Tired + High spirits is a deadly combo

I have been traveling now for a week. Mainly to – Bangkok -> Phuket -> Krabi till now. I’ll pick each place and give you my travel diary. Hope you enjoy it.

Bangkok

It started off bad with only 2 hours of sleep in 24 hours. I was a bit exhausted. My purpose to halt in bangkok was to shop till I drop. So being a smart-ass, I booked a taxi from outside the airport ( I read somewhere on internet that it is cheaper outside). Luckily I got one too. Now to cheers to my naivety, the driver spoke only Siamese/Thai (official language of thailand). Thankfully there was google translate to save me. And you won’t believe, we talked throughout the way about each others lives using the translator. I felt like winning a battle that I never intended to start. The next big challenge was, I booked a hostel for the first time while I was traveling alone. Living in a hostel is one of a kind experience. Although my stay in Bangkok was only one day long, I met a few people. And then headed off for shopping.

Bangkok has some of the biggest shopping hubs in Siam. I was short on time so the game got tricky. I had to choose from a range of super expensive to cheapster malls. I chose MBK mall. This mall has everything that you can think of. From a flea market to high end brands. I started from the flea market. It was a maze for me. I started from somewhere and ended somewhere new. At times it was fun however I would have wanted more control on which market I was headed to. After 4 hours of grilling and few gifts being bought, I was off to Nana plaza – The red light zone of Bangkok. I had my belly full with a exquisite greek sandwich and ice tea and was fully charged up now for some window shopping. Now these streets are a little intimidating. People (if you know what sort) drag you like anything. But I had my intentions clear. The place was bustling at 10PM. I was shit scared intially to roam around in a city, like bangkok, in a shady place, with no experience. Yet I pulled it off. At 12 midnight I came back to my hostel. Luckily my hostel had few people in the room and I had the liberty to pack my bags for flight which was scheduled to take off 7 hours later. Although it is always a good way to travel at night and watch the city in afternoon and evening. Sometimes it gets hectic. You need to space it even taking account of the unfortunate happenings that are inevitable. So I started packing my bags with the heaviest clothes on me ( I was in no mode going overboard with the luggage as I had already paid shitloads on that). And slept around 12:30. Got up at 3:15 (Yeah you read it right) prepared my self by 3:45 and booked the taxi. Reached the airport in 20 minutes which is unusual for bangkok where there were traffic jams almost round the clock. Smooth! Off to next place phuket.

P.S – I left my headphones in my shorts, which was in my checked in bag and there were like 3 hours to kill. Bah!

When you think you will rock this ship

Comtinued from previous post…
People who are reading, firstly thanks guys for taking your time. So my plan was on the clouds and I was beaming with confidence. Kolkata received this guy with a crooked grim. I think if kolkata were a person, it would have been a butcher. Just as the butcher feeds the sheep, cares for it and then “THAK” butchers it, kolkata had its deceptions clear.

A fairly straightforward airport. Now mind you, I have flown from an international airport only once. So I am super concious. Surprisingly cleared the immigration like a boss ( after a few interesting looks from the bong immigration oficer ). Easy peasy. Now I look out for the international lounge. I had a great deal for the lounge. In seconds i find myself inside the lounge. There is food, beer, beverages and what not. Nothibg can go wrong.

At 12:30 in night I started stuffing my belly. Its 1.30 now and I find myself eating. I check the airport updates and I find my flight to start boarding. I rush to the gates and am almost the last guy.

Here comes the “THAK”. The tyre of flight has some issues. And we are being locked inside a chamber with 80-100 odd bongs. With no disregard to the community, I believe bongs are natural fighters with sunny deols in their throats. In 15 minutes the chaos has reached into bashing a glass door, fights with the security. I thought why are these people fighting. What ia more important safety or time. I understand everyone has plans but screaming won’t help.

However, our flight guys had other plans. They knew I loved getting my passport painted so they cancelled our immigration. Took us back to square one and got us to oard the flight. Its 4 am now. Interestingly the night is taking a new turn every hour. I am laughing in my head because I know tomorrow (or should i say today) is going to be another crazy day.

This day last year

Last year this day i was all yellow. Yes, you read it right. Down with jaundice. I think i never had any dangerous diseases apart from the usual common colds. To cope up with the struggles of life and this disease, was one challenge, i will always remember. It taught me who the real dear ones are. This year today I am traveling to Thailand (please start judging me) and Singapore (you might have ignored this place while reading). I take stride to come up strong off the disease and celebrate the fact that I am hale and hearty today.
The trip started with my nervousness taking my last day’s sleep. I know traveling should be fun. But I consider this to be a big investment which will bring a lot of learning for sure. Thanks to my lovely cab drive to office, I could sleep well. Cut to reaching the airport. Somehow airports give me a boost. Whenever I reach an airport, the business traveller in me becomes active. I am smooth as hell. I do the formalities and wander to discover the beautiful IGI airport in delhi which was clad to celebrate independence day. I was checking out on almost every thing – outlets, lounges, food courts, women, uncles everyone. I had enough time to soak in the aura of this interesting place – airport. I talked with my friend, making plans for Singapore. Completely in control. And I feel its time to move to the gates.
As I move to the escalators I see an Indian celebrity Kailesh kher. Now I am sure he is Kailash kher but I move past saying him name on his face – “Abe kailash kher” (I know. Dumbass) Now something in me said put your ego aside and run for a quick snap with him. So I did. Running towards him, asking him for a quick snap just when he was about to reach the downstairs escalators. Nobody had seen him yet. And my grumpy old camera freezes. Bah! But somehow I manage a quick one greeting him. He is such a gentleman. What an amazing start. I am beaming with pride having met someone on my first international trip. 
With this goodness in my head, I head towards Kolkata where my next flight awaits. I write to you from the plane watching at the sky and clouds below me. Truly feeling above the clouds.
P.S – I thought the metro is the only place where people fart. Thanks Jet Airways.

From cable to youtube

I have been living​ with my parents for quite some time now. It is a boon on any tiring day with everything being taken care of. And sometimes its like George Costanza (for those who do not get the reference, watch Seinfeld) struggling to survive. Its been a journey one of a kind. 

A usual dinner table in my house includes all of us and some shitty news channel playing on the TV. These channels have become such a mess. Usually, the screen is divided into 5 boxes and all the people in these boxes speaking simultaneously. It is so difficult to find crisp news just like old days. Simple information is a luxury. People ranting for hours in the name of debate is not only foolish but also sheer noise. To add to this, the credentials of these so called experts are botched up. So what you hear is not even accountable. 

These thoughts took my over brain this winter. So I got a plan/experiment. 

I watch a lot of youtube web series, stand-up comedy videos. I wanted my dinner table to play YouTube somehow with some light hearted videos. That’s a tough task if you ask me. So one day, I insisted on playing a web series instead of news. I chose TVF’s Humourosly yours. Big time failure. The show was fine until the language got unparliamentary. Next, I picked Amit Tandon, a standup comic. It worked this time.

After trying many combinations, I found that the shows/videos had to have some common topic and could not be too bold :). And it came to my mind why not play old tv shows on youtube which I liked in my childhood. Shrimaan shrimati came to my feed. I gave it a try and it became a seller. The quirky gay playing Dilruba, the notorious kid and a consistent theme every episode took some days on our dinner table.But eventually it got monotonous.

Then a black horse appeared – Malgudi days. I had seen the show when I was very young. But my memory sucks and I didn’t​ remember any episodes. The show is a work of genius. Simple theme remains its strong point every time. Like the first eight episodes talk about how a child copes up with the friends he loses in school. What an evergreen thought for any show. I don’t think for years, anyone can think of finding this theme outdated. I could relate to it. My father too. 

And so the transition happened. Now if the cable is not available, my father switches to youtube himself. I feel this change had to come. The usual channels on television have become so dull. Moreover, the whatsapp forwards have taken the standards to a new low. To pick an intelligent content has become a task from the sea of options. Hope this transition to Youtube stays.

Misogyny

What a precise word to describe the ingrained prejudices against women – Misogyny. Most of have heard this word, some have heard the likes of the words in this genre. In the world of outdated laws and medieval patriarchy it is a fair assumption to have come across such experiences. The good thing is people are now opening up about it. With Internet around we get to hear stories from across the world. Some very touching, some total farce. The movement has started to reap its benefits with people giving their deep fears and hatred an introspection for the good. Incidentally, the post is about Misandry.

Never heard of this term. Those who have, never got a chance to use it. The ones who used could never make sense to anyone. Misandry is the brother of Misogyny. Its about the prejudices about men. Since I am man, I can only sympathize with Misogyny. My empathy is towards Misandry. There is an omnipresent DO NOT DO list for men. The consequences of picking any action from the list qualifies you in the apparent lesser individual category (which is another fucked up thought, people have) – Gay, Women, Eunuchs. Pathetic as it may sound this is the truth, at least in India. For once, why is there a lesser individual category? If there is one you also have features and attributes to categorize people into it.

So this happened in an event, when the event manager was being courteous enough. It looked over the top because we never had any education in hospitality. To count a few attributes, the manager, a man, was nicely dressed, had a great walking style and had a thick English accent. And there you go – He is Gay!. The poor guy was being a gentlemen. Most of you reading might have classified me too for noticing the details of another man. May you rest your mind in peace!

Coming to the point when men notice colors, fabrics, food ingredients etc. The first expression thrown – How girly! This is still a decent exclamation. It gets worst. We have this set in our heads that clothes, cooking etc are for women to judge. To top on to this why say it in a condescending tone.

I believe men are much aware of this insecurity of being classified into a lesser category. And they are a little too smart rather over smart. They are like the auto correct which corrects every written “boob” into “book” 3:) . Men auto correct these insecurities, before they begin to become prevalent, into macho-ism.  Now we (I’ll put myself into this macho category too. We all have done our mistakes) put a banner of MEN on things we do. Just to be clear to people to not put them in any category apart from Macho.

The media has been a big proponent of this Macho thought to sell products. And I think Media has and will always shape the thoughts and actions of generations coming (which is the topic of my next post too). My suggestion to anyone who cared to read this is to stop judging people on the basis of the general notions. Had everyone thought as per the general public there would never have been specific people whom you remember.

 

PS: I know the title is misleading. But I am sure had it read Misandry you would not have cared to click. 🙂

Most beautiful space in the world – Memories

​Its 12:15 in the night and I am going back from a tiring day of work. I take a cab and move  out of the corporate jungle – Gurugram (yeah that’s what it is called now). I am stuck in a jam on the toll road. I don’t believe my eyes how the roads can be packed with millions of cars (yes we live in india where millions is nothing). Traffic jams are all about patience and I have none after a complete day of work. I ask the driver what could be the reason of the jam, he says it is an odd day when there are many weddings. 

People have put their car’s  engines off.  They are out of their cars lighting each others cigarettes. The atmosphere is as if it is never going to end. I am watching a movie “the great dictator”. The movie is a  classic. Suddenly I hear a lot of noises. I see baloons in a bus. I hear loud music. I see the bus filled with students. They are enjoying themselves. There are laughs and chuckles. These students are least bothered about the jam. And my heads rolls into a flashback.

I’m reminded of the time when we would go to college trips. I could find the same joy these students were experiencing in my head. November used to be such a happening month. That bus outside the college at night, teachers in their casual avatar, everyone in their night clothes,  some with parents and some packing at the last moment. A thought in everyone’s head to be with their friends for the next few days and enjoy to the fullest. The dumb charades, dance, talks, games would never end. And we used to think this is what is meant to unwind, what we did not know that we were unwinding the whole college period.
Ah! That hurt!
 The emotional pain was relieved by the short-lived balm . The jam was cleared. We were off to 100km/h, the speed of our lives now.