Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sound of noise

When i quit mid-day, the in-house cartoonist Amit Bandre drew my caricature. It was a farewell gift. As cherished as it is, i got it printed on a glossy paper and pasted it on our wall. If you notice, it’s an exaggeration of my face as a cartoon is supposed to be. What’s more interesting is the manner my love for Maggi and tattoos are highlighted; not just random tattoos but by a tattoo gun in my hand. I often wondered why exactly am i holding the machine in my right hand pointed towards my right ear. It’s not like i’d be tattooing myself and that too my ear! After nearly two years—being the duffer that i am—it finally dawned on me that Amit was trying to show me as a tattoo-maker; somebody who’d be comfortable with a tattoo gun. And if you’ve noticed a tattoo artist, you’d see that as soon as they turn on the machine, they draw it closer to their ear to check the sound the swivelling coil makes. It’s a peculiar habit before they dip the needle into the ink. Being a cartoonist who pays incredibly close attention to his subjects, Amit could ingrain this element into his picture. Took me a loooonnnng time to get it despite having 33 tattoos on my skin.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Enough is never enough

Is there anything called enough when it comes to money? If so, how much is enough? We seldom come across characters like Sudha Murthy or Scott Neeson who are big on giving back and low on showing off. These gems comfort us when we read about the kind of moolah the so-called successful people make. And more importantly, the kind of money they stash away in tax havens and other slimy places. Apparently, it’s a necessity for them. You want to save as much as you can by hook or crook. The bigger question: how much does a person need to fulfill his greed under an umbrella called security? When the Panama Papers got leaked, it had mighty names on the list, from Amitabh Bachchan to Lionel Messi to Jackie Chan to Kofi Annan to several famous political figures. Like they say in Hindi, sab ke haath mailey hai. (Nobody’s clean as far as wealth is concerned.) When Messi’s name surfaced, i was a bit dejected given his super-clean image. Later, i realized that, even if he washes his hands off the tax fraud charges—which he did by naming his father who also acts as his agent and finance manager—there is no denial that money is synonymous with more. That’s the magic of lucre. You’ll never hear anyone—be it a peon who earns less than ₹10000 per month or a footballing legend who earns ₹41535000 per week—plead with folded hands, “Please, no more!

PS. With the recent Football Leaks, we might be able to understand why the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (who is known for his philanthropic work) or Neymar or Coentrão or Sanchez are no different. After all, a footballer’s shelf life is relatively short. They get to earn a lot in a short period of time, yes, but if they miss the gravy boat, it’s their loss. Loopholes are meant to be filled.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Heartbroken? Maybe. Scared? Definitely.

There are pictures and then there are mysteriously amazing pictures. This one was clicked about an hour ago by my flat-mate, Pais. In case you're wondering who's that in a bright red winter-wear, it's Ranga. Zoom in to have a better look. It cuts a lonely figure. Like he's staring into the horizon having lost the purpose of life or something. We knew he spends a lot of time on the terrace—ours is a two-storey walkup and we stay on the second floor—but we didn't know he spends his time sitting on the ledge! That's the height of daredevilry; literally and figuratively. He can't get out of the building lest fellow street dogs attack him. As a result, he stays confined to his territory. It's been six months since he adopted us and almost everyday we learn something new about him. It's quite obvious that he hasn't achieved a lot of kindness from humans. Even when we pet him, there is an unhidable awkwardness from his end. Perhaps it's not easy to shed away years of abuse he must have endured like the way he is shedding away his fur this winter.

PS. We always wonder where he goes to relieve himself. Not sure but his absolute lack of vertigo must allow him to deface neighbouring terraces. Or sneak out at night. Shhhhhh...

Home sweet home

The boy and his mother were at a party. The night was getting heavier with every passing tray of drinks. An hour before midnight, she got up, kissed her friends goodbye and walked to her son's circle. "Let's go," was her commanding request. The chirpy group went silent and collectively stared at their hero to either leave or make a manly statement. Had he gone for the former option, they would have mocked him. So, the 16-year-old had to stand up, walk up to her, cup her face, look into her eyes dramatically and blurt, "Ma, you go. I'll reach home in a bit." She could sense the alcohol in his breath but then, social outings have a cost of their own. To avoid drama, she elegantly left the scene. After all, their house is less than a kilometer away. Two hours later, our hero is drunk as fuck. However, he somehow makes it home, rings the bell and can barely keep his chin up. The door opens and his mom is standing there looking at him worried. "MA, WHY ARE YOU WAITING FOR ME? GO HOME! I'LL REACH IN A BIT!" were his words before hugging the doormat.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dumb charade

In the world of copywriting, you try to (you should if you aren't already) write something different. It doesn't have to be new. Different is more than enough. Which could be why you dig deeper into the consciousness of acceptance. Besides, you don't write for yourself. You do so for people you will never get to meet. Keeping that in mind, you are expected to "dumb it down" because your copy often comes out as too smart. People like smart but not always. Apparently. What this line of thinking does is it inadvertently encourages the gust of mediocrity. A standard standard of acceptance with little to no room for experiments. Acknowledging dumbness is one thing but catering to it repeatedly, quite another. Many a times, this approach leads to creating a world where we end up asking ourselves how the fuck did Trump become the most powerful man on the planet.

Hurt locked

When you hurt someone, you don't get to decide the extent of the pain caused. Plain and simple.

What you just read should have been the first thing that life taught us.

But sadly, it doesn't.

Turns out the first lesson that life teaches us is, "You are hungry, dear. Go feed yourself."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

That wall of validation

Kind words go a long way, right? Not really. They go only as long as you want them to. Seems to me we are raring for the sort of validation we’ll never receive, be it offline or online, from strangers. The assortment of words that was poetic as well as genuine continue to allude us. Now they’ve devolved into something else. Maybe that’s why words of appreciation from family and friends are either taken for granted or not given enough weightage. So we end up hunting in the darkest of corners: social media. A tiny piece of the Internet which unwittingly calls for more anti-social and much more media. It’s a skewed system already. But that’s also what makes the whole hunt worthwhile. If not, why would you be elated on scoring 500 RTs when you know that’s too low a figure to make ANY difference to anything? The real world is too big. Plain arithmetic notwithstanding, the desire to get appreciated for one’s talent—be it good haikus or bad jokes or excellent riffing—is fast becoming the hallmark of our generation. So much so it has turned into a rarity to come across folks who don’t get this online craze at all. You can either admire such creatures or exude utter disdain for their ignorance. The worst type are those who don’t even feel the urge to click a selfie. C’mon!

PS. Going back to validation, how much do you appreciate that Uber driver or Jugnoo autowallah who showed up on time and dropped you safe and sound(less)? Don’t you think he too would have a better day ahead if some words of appreciation fall on his eardrums? The funny bit being he is connected to you through an online creation too—an app, nonetheless—but he’s doing a great job at it.