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 smartass, 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 naivity, 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.

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”

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. 

Indu ji

History is filled with names who are always looked upon with fear. These names rose to fame and had their downfall even more fabled. And even today, whenever referenced, are done with a few eyebrows raising. One such personality in Indian history and politics remains Indira Nehru Gandhi.

I was fascinated with the idea that the evilest people are the least known people. Everyone has a vague idea of the evil but no body cares to dig deep into the reasons of how it turned evil. This holds true in case of a robber, a rapist, a terrorist or even a tainted politician. Indira too was considered one among the leagues of evils which has plagued the Indian community from the time she became the Prime minister of India.

Indian education system is such, that it does not include the post Independence era with much clarity or detail. Hence a common Indian man of 21st century would be bereft of any knowledge on the topic – Indira Gandhi. Yet everyone has heard stories from their parents or grandparents about the atrocities that Mrs. Gandhi did. And so any mention of Indira Gandhi would find you among ghastly stories.

So I decided to read about Indira. I found the best biography on her was written by Katherine Frank. This was 2012. I was in college back then. I could not find a online source besides the book was costly for a person like me, who then thought spending on reading anything apart from textbooks is a waste of a lot of resources at the same time. Foolishness! The idea took me to a find library – Delhi Public Library which is an excellent way to get hold of any book free of cost. Yet I could not get hold of the book due to some reasons. Skip past 4 years, I started to work for an MNC and I got hold of the book. Voila!

Before starting to read a book, I believe there should be a burning desire to read the book. And if the desire is not before you start reading it, the author should have the ability to ignite it. To add to my curiousness, I always had a doubt in my head – Why Indira, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru named Gandhi ? Did Mahatma Gandhi adopt her ? I open the book and it is divided in three halves – Indira Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Prime minister Indira Gandhi. What a wonderful way to segregate a life.

The first part starts with a background about the Nehru family and how things progressed before Indira’s birth. Post her birth, the book tries to establish a chord with the character Indira by making the reader aware of her relationship with her father and mother and then her extended family. Since Nehru had a foreign education so were his thoughts. Yet his father tried to impose politics onto him. The result of it being he had fairly little time for his family. Indira’s mother, Kamla Nehru had tuberculosis due to which her life was miserable throughout. Apparently, Indira too had tuberculosis whose cure was not known back then. So for treatment and education, Indira had to remain abroad. The part tries to emphasize on the point how disturbed her childhood was. The parents are torn among themselves. And none had the time for Induji (JN Nehru used to call her by this name, sometimes Indu boy). I believe time is something that binds people in a relation, yet if none is given, it remains dormant in case of a family. Indira cared about her parents but hated her life as a torn child. The first part sets the mood for the bigger event – Indian Independence.

The second part is an interesting one, where Indira Nehru meets a man Feroze “apparently” Gandhi. One thing I always try to do, while I am receiving any information though any media – movie, tv series, book, FB Post (yes these days they count too), is to double check its legitimacy. So I google Mr. Feroze Gandhi’s background like an FBI agent. I found he was a Parsi, like the book said, but he was Feroze Khan. Mr. Khan , though a Gandhi Bhakt, conveniently converted himself before marrying Indira. While reading Katherine Frank, I really admired how she would point to every shady areas saying that it is inconclusive. It adds to the fun given now we have Internet to rattle every bone of contention. The book informs that Indira comes back to India, her mother dies and she becomes an activist of India’s independence, each happening gradually. As she gained popularity she gained more confidence. People started recognizing her as a youth icon. Yet the relations between Feroze and Indira remained cold. Feroze was too flamboyant besides Indira was too much a puppet of her father. India gained independance and Indira get into a full time role of serving his father – India’s first prime minister. She learns a lot in the coming years about politics, foreign affairs etc. And then comes a great chapter – Three deaths. First her husband dies. Then her father and then the acting prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. This opens the stage for Indira to Prime minister’s seat.

The greatest asset Indira had was her connect with people was flawless. The third part commences with crowds going crazy at Indira contesting Lok Sabha elections. Indira even though was involved with all the politicians yet there were enough contenders for the top position. The book carefully shows how people get greedy and fight to snatch power. Indira becomes the Prime minister but tanks miserably in the early days. She had the experience of a laborer while serving Nehru but never did she thought as a Head. She was ridiculed and bullied, which I believe made her stronger. Luckily to her rescue was a solid team of henchmen including P N Haskar who was J N Nehru’s PA. Reading a little about Hasker I felt that a team is as good as the henchmen’s are and not as good as the leaders. Yet Indira never got the support a Head should get. Partly because nobody believed that she would take on everyone and still win the people’s confidence.

Meanwhile, her two sons Rajiv and Sajiv (later changed to Sanjay since he was caught in England so had to change his passport) were all grown up. Rajiv married Sonia and led a sincere life becoming a pilot. Sanjay (who is allegedly not Feroze’s son. Hints of which have been given throughout the book) had an astonishingly notorious mind. He failed in an attempt to create  an automobile company. He then took to politics to make his dream come true. Indira was known to keep politics away from relations. This she had learned from her own childhood. Yet Sanjay penetrated. Sanjay was Indira’s weak point which he exploited exceptionally well. He had opened illegal businesses. He removed P N Haskar since Haskar knew of Sanjay’s actions. He installed his own people in Indira’s diameter. This is where I felt was when the nail in the  coffin was driven. Indira even though was known a strong women, sub consciously played the puppet’s role better. And Sanjay was in control of Indira now. When her opposition in the cabinet started to join hands, an emergency was induced by Sanjay into Indira’s head. Started as a nation building activity, emergency was exploited to the worst extends.

Indira reigned 11 years in India with 2 years of emergency. She was ousted in the general elections of 1977 yet she returned back in 1980. By this time, a lot of regional violence took light. Team Indira (on more research found that Indira gave Sanjay this task) devised a plan to attack violence with religion. This backfired. And this backfire took a community’s sheen and Indira’s life.

The book very delicately describes both the aspects of the violence and Indira’s stance. It never provides you a myopic view so that you draw any misconceptions. That is what is the beauty of the book. The book opened a lot of secrets of Mrs. Gandhi’s life too. The book also briefly addresses the post Indira violence which worth knowing.

Today marks the 32nd death anniversary of Indira Gandhi. After reading through the book, I have a quite different conception on many celebrated lives. Yet I think, that the evil is always concentrated to one, even though there was an army of evil that was disarrayed. Indira had strengths but had weakness too, some deadly ones. I hope she rests in peace.

A new word in my vocabulary

Recently, I was reading an article about the India-Chinese relation. The Chinese Prime minister was in India for the BRICS meet. With the attacks on the Indian army bunkers in near future, the Indian diplomats were all guns to gain attention to this fiasco. This they chose to do by alienating our  neighbor – Pakistan on a world stage. This act got some attention and sympathy from the stalwarts like US and Russia but Pakistan’s ally China had other ways to deal with this situation. China decided to the play the “aggressor-victim” card. I have heard who a passive aggressor was, but this was something new.

China is a very smart nation, it is known to support Pakistan from ages. The only reason for this act being that an enemy’s enemy is a friend. China never supports Pakistan for any of its acts openly, yet it supports it cause. And it did the same this time too. It accused India for blaming Pakistan for the terrorist attacks. This being one off situation where it aggressively supported Pakistan and came out of the veil. The fury was directed towards India for being insensitive to snap a friendly atmosphere in the South East Asian region. The stance was strong, with BRICS meet around there had to be balm along with the bruise that China inflected. And balm came in the packaging of victimization of Pakistan. China addressed that for any terrorist attack Pakistan cannot be made responsible. Adding that Pakistan is state working for peace and has been sufferer of terrorism more than any country. What a wonderful way to make your goon-like presence felt.

How do you respond to such a stance seemed a tough question to me. You cannot go all out on China considering that China made Pakistan a victim to gain any sympathy in any case of backlash. You cannot listen to the rant in silence given India would find itself as a weak state globally. To add to this, the timing of the statement could not have been perfect with the BRICS meeting around. India had called off the SAARC meet which included Pakistan, but could not afford to sideline China in BRICS given the stakes were higher in this situation. India however chose to stick by its stance without putting any pressure on China. India carefully steered out of the situation. I am no world diplomat, neither am I a connoisseur of diplomacy but the solution did not convince me personally. To which I thought, do I face such aggressive-victims in my life?

To my surprise, I do, almost as frequently as I can. These people I am talking about are aggressively fighting among themselves and when confronted of their mistakes to be the cause of the fight, play the victim almost instantly. Now the situation has parallels to the Sino-Indian situation. Though, I act as a mediator in the situation. My task remains to calm the parties involved in conflicts. The problem remains that I cannot blame anyone, I cannot point to causes of the fight yet I have to calm the aggression. I too, like my state India, go for diplomacy. But in personal matters diplomacy generally backfires pretty bad.

The word was new in my vocabulary. It gave me a new perspective to the various type of people involved in my life. Now whenever I introspect I do take the aggression-victim as one of the major points. I believe it powerful quality too. Making a good use of this quality with correct timing can do wonders. Like it did for China.

The Instinctive Run

A usual day. I am coming back to home by metro. I am tired. I am standing at the door of the metro to get down at the next station. I am surrounded by the usual metro crowd. The metro door opens. Suddenly, everyone around you starts running. And in a reflex, you find yourself running too. In the middle of this run, you think what made you run and you don’t have a clue. But you don’t stop, cause you are enjoying it. Or you think that it is pleasurable. Yet pointless!

Quite similar to our lives.