Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The computer-game addicts

Since times immemorial the topic of  'what women want' has been a colossal subject of controversy amidst members of the opposite sex. It has reached that stature where movies have been made, books have been written solely for the purpose of figuring out what the illustrious members of the fairer sex have in mind. ( Not that these have helped matters though...given the fact Blogadda is still organizing 'What women want' contests :P )

In all this hullabaloo surrounding the mystery behind a woman's supposedly convoluted way of thinking, the man has been conveniently forgotten without further ado. Seriously, how many times do we pause to think about what the men in our life want?
Duh we don't need to...we opine. 'Cause we know them all too well.

The grand-dad needs his morning cup of tea and the newspaper boy on time, the father wants his wallet and necktie in a place where he can easily spot it in his hurry to make it to work during the rush hour, the brother needs his monthly allowance way before the next month begins and a bigger room than the sister's, the son wants his mom to pamper him forever and rescue him from the dad's unjust wrath in times of distress....and the boyfriend demands constant attention like a love-struck puppy and an inexhaustible source of beer.

A man's mind is easy to figure out is the widely accepted public consensus. But is that really so?

Ever heard of a guy who willingly asks a girl, who is reasonably attractive and popular in college, for a rakhi? As ludicrous as this might sound there's not an ounce of imagination involved in this story. I happen to know the pair of them....who till this day share a brother-sister relationship despite being in the same class and continue to be the greatest of friends. No selfish interests or ulterior motives included.

Ever known a guy who thinks porn is the most disgusting thing on earth and is of the opinion 'What kind of retarded people watch that revolting crap? I puked the only time I saw a porno clip.'
I have.

In fact I also know of a guy who hadn't heard of the term "Counter-Strike" until I, the computer-game noob, enlightened him on the issue.

Will you think twice before generalizing a man's wants now?

A man's mantra in life can be summed up in the words "sex, cigars, booze"
Yes and no.
Not all of them think about sex every 5 minutes or drown themselves in alcohol at the first opportunity they get. Not all of them care more about the latest gadgets and Bugatti Veyrons over real people.

They will whine and express disapproval when served with a strictly veg menu at lunch but they will also be the ones eating without creating a ruckus once they know of the mother's sickness. You'll be at the receiving end of a death-glare if you stand in front of the tv screen during a do-or-die soccer match, but they will also dutifully accompany you on your shopping excursion no matter how much they may resent it. They may want you to dress impeccably and look your glamorous best every time you go out together, but they will also be the ones to brew some (barely edible :P) hot soup and care for you when you have a bad fever and look like a complete mess. They may blast Nirvana and GnR tracks at the loudest volume in their rooms but they will also be secretly appreciative of the melodious power ballads that you like listening to.

So maybe..just maybe it's okay to conclude that essentially men and women want the same things from life. Success, recognition, happiness...and to get along with each other. A warm, close-knit family, scrumptious home-cooked meals, a stable job( preferably with a boss who is NOT a jerk), a loving spouse, weekend outings and the occasional vacation.

However you should also be prepared to encounter the stereotypical "sex, cigar, booze" craving, selfish and slightly hypocritical male ego and sensibilities once in a while.
That's the catch yeah!

Written for Blogadda's "What Men Want" contest...just for the heck of it.  

Go to www.myntra.com and check out t shirts for men! Also visit the
largest community of Indian Bloggers at BlogAdda.com


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The other side of the coin

Last couple of months have been educational for me in more ways than one. It's a tad difficult task to explain how and why without using metaphors or resorting to ambiguity. Maybe I could say that I learned a lot about human nature and myself.

Judging by the interactions I have/had with people in the real and virtual worlds, most of them are intent on believing their perspectives as truth...and no matter how reasonable this may sound to each of one of us it is actually quite preposterous in a way.
How can one possibly forget the fact that they may or may not be correct? Having unwavering faith in your opinions is good, but maybe it's better to come to a conclusion after you've looked at the matter at hand from an entirely different angle or somebody else's viewpoint.
Imagine a world where everyone is talking at the same time and nobody is listening. How absurd will that be?

Many use the word 'hypocrite' in sentences all too frequently. Unfortunately enough, some get the spelling wrong and rest get the meaning wrong. There's nobody on this planet who hasn't ever been a hypocrite in his or her life. So maybe next time before blurting out this word as a form of insult meant for someone else we should analyze our own actions and cross-check whether we really are in a position to be pointing fingers at others.

There are those in this world who have no conscience and can never reform or redeem themselves, but more often than not it is our fault for letting them do as they wish. People prefer to stay mum on issues in order to save their own skin or be mute spectators and let events unfold as they may. And once all the mayhem is done they will sigh and say things along the lines of 'Ahh what a mess!'.

If you have something to say, say it. If you want to maintain a diplomatic silence regarding a subject then stick to that decision till the very end. After all it's not a sin to have a sense of self-preservation or a 'It's-none-of-my-business' kind of attitude. However don't try to jump on the bandwagon later to have a go at criticizing just because it's the popular thing to do. Believe it or not, having double standards is possibly one of the most despicable character traits ever.

So before outright rejecting my thoughts, pause for a minute and think about it.

P.S: Even if this post hurts your sentiments, I'm unapologetic about it. For this piece of writing was not only meant for you but for me as well. 
P.P.S: The story will have to wait for the moment....given the dreaded exam season is back once again to torment lazy engineering students.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Part 2 - Am I a stalker now?

So the second part is here.
For the uninitiated ones, here's the first part of the story which I'm presenting to you in the format of a series.

It's raining now. Not heavily....but in a light, steady drizzle. The atmosphere has a sombre mood marked by the absence of a cool breeze and a humid ickiness that people hate the most. The cloud cover makes the night resemble even darker...more ominous.

I cross over to the other side of the street as the signal turns green, looking at the black stub of my umbrella somewhat in amusement mingled with disbelief.

Two months back I would've never bothered carrying around such a thing. Me and an umbrella don't really fit into the same scenario. I have a tendency to lose things too often.

It's almost 8 o'clock and the streets are fast emptying out. All around I glimpse tired faces of people returning from work, eager to get back to the comfort of their homes.

Why am I walking around so aimlessly? In my quest for replenishing the stock of stationery items I seem to have wandered far off from my neighborhood.

Meeting her outside the lab that day was clearly a stroke of bad luck.

Speaking of which.....she can't be working today right?
Of course not. It's much too late for that.

I stop right in front of the mall, hesitate for a moment and then boldly march inside. I've to buy stuff after all.

"I'm NOT here to verify my assumptions. NO."

I've been here so many times since the past two months that even if I were blind right now I would've been able to make my way from the revolving glass doors to the elevator without bumping into a solid object.

As the elevator starts moving upwards I experience a faintly familiar sense of nausea. But then again I don't feel half as uneasy as I used to before.

Not quite out of the blue my phone starts vibrating in my pocket for the third time that evening. Thank god I put it on silent mode otherwise I would've earned myself a few looks of disgust from the those inside this cramped space. My ring-tone is a Nightwish track after all.

"Man...where the heck are you? the beer's flowing in here....stop being such a wimp an......"

I sigh in frustration before interrupting.

"Rahil I'm busy tonight okay?.....I got stuff to do."

"Yeah like what Gaurav? mope over some weird girl who dumped you for a weirder reason?"

"Dude.....you're drunk. And she ain't weird." I say through gritted teeth and disconnect the call.

By the time I'm inside the convenience store...I'm still practicing breathing in and out. I don't swear at the slightest provocation...at least not any longer.

I pass by the numerous shelves of neatly stacked groceries and make way towards the required section a wee bit stealthily.

But of course she can't be...

"Avni..." My voice comes in a hoarse whisper as soon as my eyes confirm her presence.

There she is...at the very last counter at the far end of the section housing lifestyle products, trying to appear as dignified as possible in that ridiculous cap and apron, wearing her best courteous smile....jabbing away at the keyboard keys and handing over the slip to a customer...and proving all my suspicions right.
She looks as energetic as she must have looked in the morning...but I know she is ready to drop down dead on a warm, cosy bed.

Forgetting all about what I needed to buy.....I storm outside, fuming.


---> Part 3 - Catharsis

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part 1 - Distance

The monotonous droning of our professor on circular queues, stacks and trees never used to bore me so much before. In fact I was usually the one telling others to pay attention since we took the pain to show up in class in the first place. The least we could do was keep the whispering in hushed voices to a bare minimum, take notes and stop distracting the regular geek-crowd, who for obvious reasons shoot us with looks of pure loathing now and then.

But then why does attending this class today seem equivalent to enduring some form of cruel punishment?

I almost want to succumb to my weariness from last night's shift at the store or stare out the window overlooking our sprawling campus where I can spot the class-ditchers or just get up and leave the class-room ignoring the teacher's death-glare or even better...go enjoy a casual smoke in some dark corner without anyone noticing.

No wait...I can't do that. Rather I won't.

"Yo...you alright?"

I hear someone asking me a question in a half-apprehensive tone and my slower-than-usual brain takes several seconds to register Manasvi's familiarly hoarse voice.

"Mmm...hmmm"  I mumble incoherently, my head propped on my folded left arm resting on the desk while my right hand keeps jotting down the teacher's explanation at top speed.

By the time the class ends...it feels as if eons have passed and I've lived bearing witness to centuries of history.

Gosh what is wrong with me?

"Dude....you should've cut class today....you're clearly straining yourself."  Manasvi chides me as we make our way outside the confines of the classroom into the long corridor outside.

She and I are often 'lovingly' referred to as a couple. I tell her others are jealous of our friendship. And this makes her viciously happy for some reason.

" 'Dudette' " I correct her for the umpteenth time since the last two years and go on to add  "I'm fine...really. I could totally run in a marathon right now and win first place."

My tom-boyish best friend offers me a half-annoyed, half-reproachful look at this point.

I make a mental note to myself that I need to learn how to lie more convincingly.

"Avni...I know you miss hi...."

"Dude...let's go get a burger shall we?" I cut across in a mock-Manasvi tone, grab her arm and rush across the corridor in a sudden display of energy.....'cause I don't want her to finish the sentence.

And at this inopportune moment the computer lab doors open. Just my luck.

The same pair of stupid red converse shoes, faded over-used jeans, the sparkly gay ear-stud, the familiar black-rimmed geeky glasses perched on the bridge of his nose factoring in the intelligent quotient into his unexpectedly kind face, the obnoxious, cocky swagger.....

He stops in his tracks to look at me just for a second...before walking away without a word. And I realize why time seems to have been passing so slowly for me these days....

Just how on earth...did I end up dating such a guy?

"Avni...." There's a nervous and awkwardly gentle edge to Manasvi's voice this time, I can detect.

"I hate those shoes..." I mutter.


Part 2 - Am I stalker now?

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Friday, November 05, 2010

A pleasurable dilemma

What if you were so beautiful and accomplished that you could make any man on this earth fall for you in an instant? What if you were blessed with the disposition of a goddess, one without any mortal flaws or inconsistencies, and three dashing, talented young men were ready to offer you their affections? Whom would you choose?

If I were to present the readers with a gist of the 1940 movie The Philadelphia Story then the above three sentences would suffice. Without digressing any further let me clue you in to the plot of my most recent watch.

Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) is a rich Main Line Philadelphia heiress who divorced her equally wealthy ex-husband and childhood friend C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) on grounds of alcoholism. She is all set to marry the nouveau riche George Kittredge (John Howard) and enter into a new life. But there's a minor setback to her plans as two Spy magazine reporters Macaulay "Mike" Connor (James Stewart) and Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) pose as friends of her brother Junius to cover the wedding in detail. However Tracy is not deceived and reluctantly agrees to let them stay after Dexter informs her that the Spy magazine editor Sidney Kidd has a scandalous article on her father Seth whom she believes has an affair with a dancer. Much to Tracy's chagrin both her mother Margaret and teenage sister Dinah welcome Dexter with open arms and to add to the mess she finds herself torn between her ex-husband, fiance and the reporter Mike. 

To be honest the movie doesn't have much to offer in terms of the central plot or story but fabulous performances by stalwarts like Hepburn, Grant and Stewart, rich dialogues laden with wit and sarcasm and classy one-liners will keep you engrossed from beginning till end.
Sample this :-
Tracy : Did you enjoy the party?
Mike : Sure. Sure. The prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges.
Contrary to popular perception I'd say this movie did not seem anything like a romantic comedy to me. For a woman torn between three men in her life...it's impossible to say with conviction that she is genuinely in love with any one of them. And the choice she makes at the very end appears to have been made more in accordance with the situation rather than for any other reason.

I'm not remotely proud of this confession but I'm usually the one who always roots for the female protagonist under all circumstances. But despite that I can't get myself to feel any empathy towards Tracy Lord or her dilemma. She considers herself to be the epitome of perfection and yet commits a blunder by kissing another man in a bout of drunken stupor on the eve of her wedding. Furthermore she refuses to recall what happened the previous night on the morning of her wedding when her ex-husband, sister and even her fiance had witnessed everything that had happened. She even keeps on treating her loving ex-husband quite harshly till the very end even when he is the one covering up for all her gaffes.
That's why I'll remember Tracy Lord not for being a woman of character but for being an opportunist.
Compared to Tracy the characters of Dinah, who strongly disapproves of her elder sister marrying Kittredge, and Liz, the photographer smitten with Mike, will remain more memorable.

Final thoughts on the movie : Cary Grant is (appropriately, was) hot . And Katharine Hepburn not as beautiful and charming as Audrey Hepburn. (fans not to murder me after this, please)
If you're one who admires classics, go watch it now.

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