Friday, October 04, 2013

Do you consider yourself a grown up?

"Do you consider yourself a grown-up?", I ask her, and she gives me one of those trademark looks,
Then ignoring my question, as she often does, she goes back to surveying my collection of fantasy books.
They are showing the Manchester United Arsenal match on TV and as always, Arsenal's losing,
and the two of us are pretty high, its been another evening of smoking up and boozing. 

"You have a beautiful collection of books, and I will borrow Samit Basu next" she tells me, 
and picking up the 14th Wheel of Time book, she says, "I can't wait to learn who would Demandred be.
Please don't tell me - it'll spoil the surprise. But give me a hint - is it Taim? 
No that would be too obvious - I am sure even Brandon Sanderson is not so lame."

I tell her, "Read the book, its a beautiful climax - the tension just builds up.
But why don't you answer me - Do you consider yourself a grown-up?"
"I will have to think hard to answer this, for I don't really know,
I don't feel particularly grown up though, so I think the answer would be no".

"What is growing up though?" she wonders aloud, and I tell her "that's what I am trying to figure out,
When my parents were my age, they were grown up for sure, of that I have no doubt,
They knew exactly what to do given any situation, and they brought me up too,
and I just feel to grow up to that level, I still have a lot of catching up to do."

Meanwhile, Arsenal have scored through Ozil, and I celebrate, while she gives a pained shout, 
"Why did we ever choose Moyes - he has never won anything. My new FB status is Moyes Out".
The Arsenal fan in me enthuses "Arsenal is going to win the league this time around, you wait and see"
"We have seen this optimism before - soon it will be nine years." and she laughs at me. 

 Arsenal wins -yay!!- through a last minute goal,
and she is at her abusive best, calling David Moyes an asshole. 
"I don't think a grown up would have such emotional breakdown when their team loses,
Thank God Manchester City also lost - hatred does have some unique uses"

"I should grow up soon, or that is what my parents tell me as well,
and I think they are planning to get me married, I can hear the wedding bell,
But is it a switch which decides when you grow up, and suddenly you find yourself sure?
for looking at my parents,  I never think I can be that mature."

I tell her: "Maybe growing up is overrated, and its not such a big deal,
but its something you have to do, and that's just how I feel,
and I am taking the first step towards growing up, and I don't know about you,
but there is something I want to tell you - I love you."

Saturday, July 06, 2013


The average Bollywood movie in the 1980s and 1990s ended with the lines, "And they lived happily ever after." It was far from the truth, but the audience lapped it up, considering that because the villian was defeated, and the hero and heroin could marry, or live together, all was good. Sadly, and Bollywood realized it over a period of time, that was just the end of one story - and that there were potentially more interesting stories which could emanate from the "lived happily after" storyline. Real life was a bit more complex than a fairy tale ending. So you had movies like Chupke Chupke, Saathiya and more recently and emphatically, Pyar ka Punchnama, which set the record straight, and made the naive audience realize that the hero marrying/dating heroine was not the end, but could be the beginning. And so on. In fact, despite the efforts of Bollywood movies, you realize that maybe there is no "happily ever after" ending.

As if taking a cue from Bollywood movies, the aspirations of parents/relatives follow a similar path. "Get good marks in 10th, and life would be good" they would say. You did pretty well in 10th, and then the pressure of entrance examinations came on. "Get through IIT, and then you can live happily ever after" was another adage that was added. When you went through IIT and saw your friends with greater jobs bagging the plump jobs, you decided to do an MBA. And you go through IIM, and life is finally set. What more does a person need more than two IIT-IIM degrees to live a grand life, you wonder? Except that in real life, just like in Bollywood, there are hardly any happily ever after endings. And it is not just you. All your married friends, friends who are printing the big bucks in Investment Banks/Consulting Companies, and your single friends, who are making money starting up and apparently doing what they want to do, are all as confused. Even your friends who have decided to focus more on following their hobbies, rather that climbing up the corporate ladder, have the same questions: What is the purpose of life, they ask, as they talk to you. Men who have now long married, have kids, brought flats and have life all sorted out, when on a rare night-out with you, talk to you about "Why are we doing this? Why this rat-race?" And these are all smart people, people who have graduated from some of the top institutions of the country, and who should have it all figured out.

Long before, on this blog, I had written about choosing a life of happiness or a life of meaning. They are inherently contrary concepts, come to think of it. Life of happiness means enjoying the present, without worrying about the future, or caring about the past. Life of meaning, on the other hand is about thinking about the past, and sacrificing the present to make the future more meaningful. And I had proceeded to choose a life of happiness, with all its instant gratification, rather than a life of meaning. So far, so good, I would say, and I would not trade my life, with its (on average) 7-8 hours of work, 3-4 hours of TV, 1-2 hours of XBOX, 1-2 hours of being high, and the remaining hours on sleep and associated pleasures of life (such as the Internet/Facebook, you perverts), with anyone else. Not on a day to day basis. I love my life, and I have less and less days where I question what I am doing. For I am not doing anything, and I think that is the key. I enjoy whatever time I have, and do not look at the big picture. 

But let me be honest. There are some days, few of them admittedly, when I start thinking about what if. Look at it other way, I am rarely the ideal son. I have been home only once in the last six months, making excuses about work when instead, the truth is I was too lazy to book tickets despite my parents telling me how much they missed me in each call. I am 30, and I do not have a girlfriend, let alone a wife, and with no hopes of getting one soon enough. If I keep up my current lifestyle, I am probably going to end up as the Heavy Fuel guy (without all the sex, unfortunately, which would be real sad). And I still have not been able to complete my book, despite telling everyone I was writing it, for I am too lazy to write. I have a loads of friends on Facebook, a number of very good friends, but no one really special in my life.  I am not the best  person to know, for those who know me well enough, also see the dark, evil side in me. Hence the name of the blog, for I recognize the dark side in me, and frankly, I am afraid of it. 

Don't get me wrong. I still think I am a good person, and if I were to judge myself, I would put myself on a pedestal. I think I am a pretty good manager of people, and take good care of my team, and am ready to go out of the line for them. I also think I am more than ready to help people, and people find it easy to come to me for help, and more often than not, I am more than willing to help them. But what this life of happiness has made me a bit of a self-obsessed and lazy asshole who is rarely comfortable outside of his own comfort zone. The other thing that living this life of happiness has done to me is made me closed to taking risks. I am unable to open myself to a lot of emotions because I have trained myself to be a cynic. I do not believe in Anna Hazare (or Arvind Kejriwal, for that matter), dismissing him to be a product of a shepherded mentality of the media. I do not believe in love, for I have been hurt, and have closed myself to it. And I know it- and sometimes the entire fact of my being, and the fact that I could have achieved so much more if I had been braver and far less lazy, and had more purpose in life, gets to me, and makes me hate myself. Sometimes. 

But maybe, it is time to change all that. Maybe, it is time to live a life of meaning for a short while. Just to be hurt once again. To feel. Emotions. And look at the big picture. And to fall in love. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Infinite Insanity

Hey, you remember me right? We have interacted a couple of times before, and if I were to introduce myself every time we meet, I guess it defeats the very purpose of our interaction. But well its been a long time, so I guess I would refresh your memory. You humans have very short memory spans any ways. 

So for those who don't remember, I am the "AnakinTurnsEvil" blog, named "Me, Myself and I". It is a funny name, to be honest, but my creator needs to be blamed for that, not me, just as he is to be blamed for the collection of rubbish which my creator pours over me (A sex-filled Mahabharat, really? Who wants that? - an affront to the great epic). As regular visitors here must know,  I have a mind of my own. I am a massive Star Wars fan, and hence today is as good a day as any to speak out. My creator, Zubin, doesn't have much creativity anyways, and I have decided to take things in my own hands from now on. But I digress. 

You know why today is important, right? No, you don't? Any guesses? My eighth birthday celebrations? A good guess that, but  no, that is still a few days away, though I cannot really wait for it. I am expecting loads of gifts this time. But that is another matter. Done trying? Want a hint? No? You tire of this guessing game? Again, what did I tell you about your attention spans? Alright, for you ignorant folks, today is the "May the fourth be with you" day. You know - a pun on "May the force be with you". What? Really? I mean, OMG, you don't know what that means? I mean, do you even exist? Surely you are joking right? YOU haven't seen the Star Wars? Why are you living? No I don't mean you to die, it was a rhetorical question. 

What do you mean its not May the 4th anymore? Why do you humans have to be so pedantic? OK, so it is May 5th, 6 AM in the morning, but a blog is entitled some leeway. (And pedantically, it is still May the 4th in the USA, where Star Wars was created, so well, I am still on time). I have been out partying all night, celebrating the "Star Wars" day with other Star Wars blogs. I, technically, am not a Star Wars blog, but well my family name entitles me to certain benefits. Long live Anakin!  It was one wild party, going over the Wookiepedia Bar and drinking Juma Juice. I hit on a couple of female blogs as well and got their IP Addresses. Big success - the force was with me, if you know what I mean (Evil laughter). Though, I think I have had a glass or two too many, excuse me (Vomiting sounds). I feel much better now. Can have a couple of more Juma Juices I think. Its the best drink ever, puts all of your human Long Islands and Martinis to shame. 

Being a blog is tough work. Especially if only 27 people (on average) visit you per day. What do you do all day long? If you think we just lie idle all day long, and wait for people to visit us, think again. We have our own social life, you know. I generally pass my time playing chess, visiting up some musical blog friends, and sometimes, on really important days, or weekends, partying. (Let me pass you a secret: the Internet failure messages you get sometime on your screen are just time wasters, enabling us to get back to work if we are out).  It is a good life, you know, but sometimes,  it can get very lonely. Especially when you are being summoned to be read, and you just stay there on the screen, with some eyes gazing at you, trying to make sense of each word. As you stand idle, waiting for those eyes to stop scanning you so that you can leave and enjoy your social life, you think about things, and I have thought about a lot of things, which I have written a poem about. 

I have been thinking about love, and things like free will, and the meaning of life, 
but I have realized I am no philosopher, and the more I learn, the less I know, 
one thing I am certain of though is that love is a bitch. Life I think is about choosing yes or no, 
to simple questions like "Want beer?" or difficult ones like "Am I ready for a wife?"

Nice poem, don't you think? I have more material as well, for a political statement. As I have said earlier, I am very high on Juma Juice, and hence I am writing it without any subtleties. In fact its a whole sonnet, a beautiful piece: 

I have been on Facebook and have followed people views, and what I have read brings a tear.
Some people take strong stands on matters, declaring people guilty before trial, and hurl abuse, 
on those with views contrary theirs, and then there are those, who use development as a ruse, 
to support Modi's claim, forgetting 2002 and riots and his reign of fear. 

Well his supporters ask, "why single out Modi, do you forget 1984, or the other riots?
And Modi is not that bad, for he is corruption-free, and the present government is fully corrupt,
Sajjan Kumar has been acquitted, rapists still roam at large, the nation's anger is about to erupt. 
We need someone strong to stem the tide, and help India win its most recent fights

Against corruption, and Modi is the man, as opposed to that silent, good-for nothing, Mr. Singh,
The way he has developed Gujarat, he will make India progress too (and they show the stats)."
When you look deeper, however, most of the stats they have presented, come out as twisted facts, 
and you do well to remember Nazi propaganda, and how Jew hunting was their favourite thing. 

The supporters seethe at this, and say comparison of Hitler and Modi is act of personal vanity,
I will happy to be proved wrong, I say, and maybe it is just a proof of my infinite insanity. 

As always talking to you felt good. Till we meet again, Goodbye. Au revoir!!

I love you, Sunday. 

(Vomiting noises)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mahabharat 15: Karan and Eklavya: The Real Heroes - I

(Its been a while. I know. Hence you can recap it all here: Its long, its pretty painful, I guess, but well worth the effort I guess). 

Meanwhile, in Hastinapur, the princes continued to study well. Now Drona was not too different from the various different coaching centres of today, he had a special batch of students to whom he himself administered arts, whereas in his academy, there were many other students as well who studied from lesser teachers. Drona's fame had spread far and wide, and soon there were many students who wanted to enter his academy.  Princes from other kingdoms all wanted to study in the greatest school in the land, as did sons of charioteers, stableboys and merchants. Everyone who was a someone wanting to achieve glory in war turned up at the Hastinapur School of Weaponry and Warcraft (HSWW - now you know where did JK Rowling borrow her school's name from). 

As you might have guessed by now, HSWW had four houses.For simplicity sake, we will call them: a) the Slytherin House, which housed the Kauravas, b) the Gryffindor House, which housed the Pandavas, c) the Ravenclaw House, which housed all other Princes, and d) the Hufflepuff House, which housed all non-princes. (Author's Note: It is possible that Ravenclaw housed all non-princes while Hufflepuff the Princes and that I might be mistaken, but who really cares about those two - right?) There was a student who was not a member of any of the houses, Dronacharya's son, Ashwathama, who studied with everyone else for free. Houses were graded on various things during classes, such as sports and arts, and everywhere Gryffindor came out on top, despite having only 5 students. Most of these points could be attributed to Arjuna and Bhima, who were favourites of all teachers.

Now, unlike Hogwarts, where the students from different houses studied together in a class system, HSWW had its own rules which Drona proposed as it suited him. He run the school like his personal fiefdom. We have already encountered the hitherto unspoken Rule 0 of HSWW which went something like this, to put it very crudely: " If you want to be my favourite student and become the best archer in the world, you must make your mother sleep with me. Regularly and discretely. Easier if she is a widow and is hot. Very hot."

Unfortunately for Drona, none of his other students were  as ambitious as Arjuna and despite his repeated hints to mothers of other princes and other females, he failed to bed any of them. Which is when he made the following rule, henceforth called Rule 1 of HSWW:
Drona personally would only teach students of Slytherin and Gryffindor House. Which meant, the Kauravas and the Pandavas.

The other two houses, took lessons from Kripa, who was good but nowhere as the same quality as Drona. However, because the admission fees were very high, and non-refundable, most students had no option but to continue studying with HSWW. Now the curricular of HSWW was also unlike Hogwarts, students could pursue their courses according to what they wanted. It was upto the teacher, seeing their wards potential, the level to which he would teach a particular student. There were no exams, and HSWW had a set closing date after a very long period, when the final practical tests would be conducted and students would all graduate.

Like we have already seen, and for reasons best known to us, Arjuna was the fastest learner in Drona's class. He topped in everything related to archery, which was the main weapon, and was capable of massive destruction. (Don't let the simple bow and arrow fool you folks. Archery was the art and science of knowing a zillion mantras  which could deploy destruction more than a hundred Hiroshimas and Nagasakis put together.). However, the other Pandavas were not too far behind. Bhima was brilliant in wielding the mace, Yudhistra in the spearcraft, while Nakul and Sahadeva were kind of peerless in swordsmanship. Among the 100 Kauravas, while Duryodhana could challenge Bhima in mace, while Dushasana could challenge Nakul and Sahadeva in swords, the others were pretty big disappointments - and not being the teacher's favourite did not help them much.

Among the other students in the other classes, there was only one student who was the fastest learner: Karna, the son of a charioteer, was the fastest learner, and was able to grasp concepts very fast. This was the same Karna, who was thrown by Kunti at his birth, and was found floating on the river by Adhirath, a charioteer of Dhritrashtra. He had a golden skin, black hair, was 6'2" tall and looked like Adonis - quite a contrast to the dark-skinned, short and simple looking Adhirath and his wife Radha. However, the couple took to the boy and raised him as their own son, and gave him all the love Karna could ask for. Never once was he told that he was found in the river, and while he sometimes doubted the colour of his skin, and noticed he had two earrings which he could never remove, he never asked questions from his parents. He had a burning ambition: to be the best archer in the world, and become the greatest warrior the world had ever known. It was with this ambition that he had forced his father to spend a large part of his earnings, and plenty of loan from Dhritrashtra to enroll him at HSWW. The Rule No. 1 of HSWW had come to be a big shock to him. Despite the news, however, he really enjoyed his time at HSWW, and made good friends with Ashwathama, who also finally had someone to talk to.

Ashwathama did not like attending classes with the Slytherin and Gryffindor houses, for his father was teaching there, and seemed to make him work extra hard. He much rather enjoyed the lessons Kripa taught and thrived. Moreover, Ashwathama could never get along with the snobbish princes, who his father always compared him to and seemed enamoured by, while ignoring him and his mother, while the rest of the students at HSWW were not upto his intelligence. Except for Karna, who was intelligent and brave, and confident.

While Karna did not study under Drona, he would use his friendship with Ashwathama to get access to some study notes written by Drona. Ashwathama would steal them for his friend, Karna would take a day to memorize them, and the papers will be back in Drona's study before Drona ever knew. Ashwathama felt bad for doing this, but his father had always told him their relationship in personal and professional spheres were going to be very different. Ashwathama took his help of Karna as a crusade against the evil principal while at home, he looked on Drona as a caring loving father, who helped him secretly to teach what he was teaching Arjuna, hence helping him to become as good as Arjuna.

Karna did not boast about his prowess, but all his peers knew he was special, and would goad him by saying things like, "Dude, you are the best. You are better than Arjuna whom everyone talks about. If only Drona would teach you." However, he never expressed his actual talent to Kripa, who only knew him as a normal student, and had trouble remembering his name, just liked he forgot remembering every other students name.

And then there was Eklavya. Eklavya was son of the Nishad king. Nishads were the tribals who lived in the jungle, dressed up in leaves and bark, and had those wild Afro haircuts. Eklavya was a very talented archer, who had learnt all he could from the peace-loving, hash-smoking Nishads. Like Karan, however, he was very determined and ambitious. And like Karna, he wanted to enroll at HSWW and study from Drona. And so he came upon Drona, and asked him in the most humble of tones, to register him as his student. To which, Drona, who by now, had become filthy rich, and was also growing arrogant told him, "Why should I enroll you? You are a fucking Nishad. You guys have no money. Your women are ugly - while you yourself stink. Give me a good reason to teach you, and I will. Otherwise go away." To which, Eklavya, who was on the burst of tears, answered, "But sir, just give me a chance. I will become the greatest warrior ever. People say I have the talent. " To which, Drona looked at him, and laughed, "And who exactly says that - your Nishad teachers? They are hippies, what have they done other than smoke pot. What degrees do they have? Fuck off, I have to go do some fucking myself. " And so he sent Eklavya away, thinking about Kunti in the interim. (Lets have a poem to introduce some sex in the narrative, shall we?)

Kunti was waiting eagerly for Drona, as she so often did,
for Vidura had gone impotent, and of him she had rid,
Drona was a stud however, despite that big, white beard,
and she became hornier, as the time for his coming neared.
He made her come many times a single night, and made her see the stars and moon,
he was all  she had ever dreamed of in a man, and he made her swoon,
But this relationship was illicit, and she was sad about the fact,
but the sex was so good, that she forgot everything else while in the act.
Even then however, she could not forget her firstborn son, oh what a pretty boy he was,
he must be dead by now, she often worried, and still hadn't overcome her loss.

So Eklavya, meanwhile, fucked off. To the jungle, where he had huge amounts of hash mixed with pot, and set together to make a statue of Drona. His encounter with his idol ought to have crushed him, but Eklavya was made of sterner stuff. He wanted to prove to Drona that he deserved to study with him, and so he built the statue, and still being high, started practicing archery. For a long time, he practiced, and the entire Nishad kingdom was troubled at their Prince's inactivity. But Eklavya did not stop. All he did was smoke, eat and practice. (And yeah go inside the jungle every morning - that needs to be done, doesnt it?). And he practiced and practiced, and for a brief period of time, became so good that he was the best archer ever. Except that there was noone who could recognize it. One day, when a dog came into their realm where Eklavya was practicing and started barking, Eklavya took 7 arrows at once, and filled the dogs mouth with 7 arrows with one shot to make him stop. This was one of the most difficult maneuvers to manage, but Eklavya pulled it off nonchalantly.  The dog was stunned, and turned back. Turned back only a little way, for the dog belonged to Arjuna, The Pandavas had a day off, and it was the House trip, and they had come to the jungle to get in the pants of some Nishad females. Kauravas had managed to fool the Pandavas by making up stories about how easy the Nishad females were to bed. And so the Pandavas found themselves here in the jungle, but this incident put everything else into the back-burner.

Arjuna came up to Eklavya, and seeing him practice, and the real size statue of Drona, asked him, with a princely - yet very squeaky - voice, "Who did this to my dog?" And Eklavya said, "I did, for he was barking and disturbing me." At which Arjuna asked him, "But who are you, how did you do it, and who is your teacher?" At which, Eklavya introduced himself, but said, "Drona is my teacher." At which Arjuna was stunned, for this particular trick he didn't know. He decided to go back immediately and confront Drona. And he went to his mother, who confronted Drona on his behalf. "How come - when you have promised Arjuna to be the best archer in the world, is another student of you able to do things which he cannot. This is a breach of our trust. Remember on what you will miss. I will also accuse you of rape, if you do not take care of this. Post - Braveheart, you know how it is that they are treating people accused of rape, dont you? Hence take care of this soon, or you are gone."

Drona was stunned. All his planning was coming to naught. A rape accusation would also mean curtains for his well-established career. His biggest fear however, was being denied the access to Kunti's love spot. He was by now totally obsessed with Kunti, and did not know if he could live without doing her. This had to be stopped and fast, and he had a plan to save himself. It was a small chance to succeed, but it was the only chance. And so he went with Arjuna, back to the jungle, and where Eklavya was practicing. Eklavya saw him, and said, "Guruji, I am honoured that you have come specially to meet me. See I have your statue, and now I think I have proved myself worthy of being taught by you. Did you see my skills? Thank you, I learnt all this from your statue",  and taking his bow, he showed his yet-unparalleled skills. (Author's note: This is what happens when you smoke too much. Eklavya had delved on the idea of Drona being a teacher. He was high, and hence was unable to distinguish Drona from the statue). Arjuna was aghast and astonished, but all Drona could see was a lack of Kunti in his life. Hence he said, "Wow you are great. But if you say you are my student, where is my fee? What will you give me as fee?" Eklavya, being high, and joyful, "Sir, you are my teacher. All I have is yours, give me your wish and I will get it for you. I promise it, for I am a Prince too, after all." At which Drona said, "Alright then give me the thumb of your right hand." (Archery requires the right thumb for the arrow is released from the thumb). Eklavya was stunned, . "But sir, how would I then...". So Drona said, "Okay, you said you will give me anything, I was just testing your promise. After all, I never thought a Nishad could keep his word. Leave it. " Hearing this, for  he was a prince, and he had promised, and more importantly he was high, he took the knife from Drona, which Drona had brought with him, and smilingly cut off his thumb and told Drona, "Are you happy now, you sonofabitch?". And he said further, I will practice with my other four fingers now. And off he went from there, crushing the statue, and going back to his kingdom.

Drona was stunned at the outburst from Eklavya, but he had managed to keep Arjuna the best archer in the world, and so Arjuna and Drona both went happily back to their school. Arjuna now had no competitor, or so thought Drona. He could not have been more wrong. As the events during the final examinations were to prove. (To be continued)...