A letter from the editor A balcony of a high-rise building Overlooking the slums 21st century India 19th August 2012 Dear reader It is my greatest pleasure to inform you that we completed 2 years of existence and 100,000 hits on the website this August. I love writing these letters. Probably because I write like once or twice a year. Still, over the last two years LTGTR has consumed me like nothing has ever before. What started out as a quest to give everyone a voice has turned into an online portal with 400+ articles from 100+ authors. The journey has been incredible but I won’t bore you with the history. Instead I’d like to talk about a challenge/accusation/moral dilemma that has faced us since the very beginning. And that is, we’ve never really been selective on the basis of quality of the articles. I’ll be honest, not everything we got was worth reading, let alone being publishable. Some articles were grammatically insufferable. Every day we some-20-odd-year olds, who were limited in their mastery of the language, would get into a miniargument on whether the article would be sufficiently interesting to our dear readers. We DO NOT bias ourselves against the opinions/experiences expressed in the articles/ stories/poems. Whether we embrace the philosophy expressed or think its bullshit, is no reason to not let you, the informed reader, make up his own mind. We’re not here to be another Time magazine, or god-forbid, a Times of India. And we’d rather shut down than present India TV like content to you. At the same time we are not going to act elitist and reject articles because they don’t follow syntax to the word. Or because the majority of people will not agree with it. We will always strive to be everybody’s magazine. And day after day, the handful of editors at LTGTR toil to ensure that we somehow find a balance between presenting a well written article to you, the esteemed reader, while trying to encouraging you, the silent author, to write. And I can assure you, we don’t do this because we’re vellas who have nothing
better to do than show our linguistic hegemony by parsing and rectifying the grievous oversights of individuals with no concern or thought for our mental sanity (see what I did there :P). We do this because unlike China and the Indian government, we believe that critics, intellectuals & stupid people have an equal right to express themselves. Not to forget the aamadmi! That being said, we have â€“ over the course of these two years â€“ been blessed by some incredibly stimulating articles and some very personal and touching stories. Not to mention, the plethora of perspectives that have truly broadened our sense of this world. This issue is a celebration of those articles/essays/stories. There are two ways to change bring change in the world. One is to do something truly dramatic, like dropping an atomic bomb, which makes people sit up and take notice. The other is to sensitize the multitudes of people who make up the world, slowly but surely into spreading good times. We took the latter route. And this is what we have to show for two years of effort. Cheers and keep the good times rolling. A face in the crowd,
The Best Of Good Times
Date A Boy Who Loves Music.............................6 The Rebel In Me....................................................9 The Divide..............................................................11 What’s Your Love Like ?....................................12 Let Them Work....................................................14 Holyday !...............................................................16 Qaidi Number 115..............................................19 The Common Man.............................................20 Hello Stranger !...................................................21 Old Age Redundancy..........................................22 The Ocean.............................................................25 Life In A Girl’s PG................................................26 Filthy City.............................................................28 Smoke Screen.....................................................31 The Other Side Of An Academic Break...........32 Don’t Cough When You Kiss Me....................33 Cheers To Democracy.......................................34 Liquored Departure............................................35 Woman Abused..................................................36 Pen, Pencil & Little Joys....................................37 No One Can Eat Just Once...............................38 How To Mess Up A Proposal...........................39 4 Most Horrible Examples That People Need To Stop Giving..............................40 Teach Me To Forget You.....................................42 Finding Your Roots...............................................44 Gay You.................................................................49 Writer’s Note......................................................50 Life Goes On Anyway..........................................52
Design : Cover : Photography :
Chinmay Maheshwari Sahil Mehta Shubhankar Pal Sahil Mehta Swagat Yadav Indrajeet Deshmukh Chinmay Maheshwari Vishu Bansal Anoop Nagendra Aman Wilson 5
Date a boy who loves MUSIC
By Shaonli Nath When you are walking down the Brigade road and you come across the little music store near 10 feet high, make sure that you enter it. Give your love for music some precious time out of your busy day. Look around at the posters and the t-shirts. If a guy who stands there admiring a Beatles key-chain and humming Love me do’s harmonica intro is engrossed so much that he doesn’t notice the girl staring at him, then you walk up to him to find out more. If he can hum so well, he would certainly want to hold your hand and love you eight days a week as well. Don’t wait for him to come and talk to you. He will not. His music keeps him happy, his quest to learn more about old bands and find out about the little leftover good music keeps him busy, and he still holds the first cut pretty deep. Check out his fingertips, and if they look stiff and damaged, ask where you can buy a capo since you broke your last one. He will not ignore a girl who knows what a capo is. Or if not, find any other way to talk. As he checks out the John Bonham poster, ask him about his favorite song of Led Zeppelin. If the answer is not Stairway to Heaven, talk to him about Yardbirds. Ask if he watched Across the Universe. And I’m not there. Discuss Nico. The chauvinist for sure will call her a trash promoted unnecessarily by Lou Reed. The one whom you are looking for will sigh over those silky androgynous vocals. Ask him if he likes Pussy Cat Dolls. If he admits liking their videos but hating the music, you know the man in front of you is, for the least, honest. Don’t expect him to ask you out. His music keeps him happy, and he is glad for having found a friend who thinks that good music is
The Best Of Good Times dead, except a few Bluegrass bands. Practice Layla and then sing it to him. He might find it a bit comical to be addressed as Layla but he might as well just play Wonderful Tonight back for you and ease your worried mind.
together. And then have another couple of pitchers. If he tussles around in the bed in night, for his future worries him, don’t try talking him out. A man who knows his music surely knows his priorities and ambitions well too, and no woman can help him with that. Put your expensive android to some use, go to spotify, and play Bridge over troubled waters. He will probably not talk to you, but when he sees your eyes, he knows it’s you singing through the voice of Paul Simon. Kiss his brows and let the sound of silence take over.
Find the guy who starts his day by karaoking to The Kinks while shaving. You don’t have to exactly be Lola, but if you just walk around the house dressed like one and drink Champagne like Coca Cola, every morning will be a good morning. And later in the evening both of you can spend hours interpreting the metaphorical Doors or just do a critical analysis of American Pie. Both of you might not have a clear consensus over the use of the word “Jester”, but a ten minute long song can surely be used as good background music.
When both of you sit and star gaze in the winters, whisper the first few lines of Yellow into his ears. At first, he will smirk at the cheesiness of it all but then he will join you in singing by the time the word yellow comes. And when he is away, and it gets tough for both of you, call him up drunk, and sing Leaving on a Jetplane to him. Dutch courage might knock off your vocals a bit, but emotions will just carry over fine with all the malt working. While he might be tired after a hard day and not exactly think that you are Annie, later in the night when he goes to bed, you will fill up his senses like a night in the forest.
Date a guy whom you can take to Crossword and buy a collector’s edition of Bob Dylan. Choosing birthday gifts for such a lover becomes a lot easier when all you have to do is get something which he loves. And he loves music the most. Though he already has every song of Dylan downloaded on his computer, yet having a collector’s CD will make him giggle like a little child. You might realize that you are his Joan Baez only for a while around, but years later when you sing Diamonds and Rust, you will only have sweet things to remember and cherish about this original vagabond.
Date a boy who is a freebird, for he will let you be one too. The lyrics of the songs he has grown up with has given him much insight into how life is and he knows how not to take things hard, and he knows it when things are not right. It will be easier to part and when the biting moment arrives you can sing Angie to him and he will know it’s time to let go. Second cuts are not that deep anyway.
Flick his T-shirts. He has the largest collection of T-shirts in the world and it won’t harm if you steal a Marley or two. He probably might not want to part with the recent ones, especially the ones which are not made in Thailand, so you can easily flick the old oversized Linkin Park from his schooldays. Or the Nirvana one in which you first saw him. And then surprise him with an Abbey Road bed sheet, custom made, so that he just doesn’t wear the Beatles, he sleeps in them too.
Date a guy who loves music. Or better, date someone who makes it. ----------------------------------------------------------------------Recently after reading a blog-article about a boy wanting to date a girl who reads, I brainstormed over the one thing which will make it for me. And nothing crossed my mind except music. A friend once told me that the reason why I sing and hum all the time despite having such a pathetic voice is because music is one of the very few things I am truly passionate about. Enjoy reading and basking in the warmth of love that you already have, had, or deserve.
Go to Hard Rock Café, settle down at the bar itself and order a pitcher. Sing the good songs together, boo the DJ for the hip hop that he plays, and irritate him till he plays your favorite Ozzy. Order the giant 10 oz burger and skim it up whole from the plate. This man will not want you to conform to the women he sees around in the club in fitted dresses. He knows that not many of them will understand much when the guitarist of the live band gets one note wrong. He notices your eyes unconsciously flinching when that one note goes wrong, and he finds that the prettiest flinch in the world. He adores his burger loving, beer guzzling imperfect girl wearing stonewashed jeans, oversized t-shirt and fake purple Puma slippers. He will stand behind you and both of you can do the YMCA
The Rebel in me By Sahil Mehta 8 am
Mom’s shouting at me. Can’t really understand much, too drowsy. She’s harping on about how we kids don’t know the value of time and are too damn lazy. I tell her I slept at 5 in the morning. She says it’s not her fault. Should I tell her that the only reason I sleep late is so she won’t keep poking around when I chat with my friends? Too much effort!
Just out of a freaky cold shower and into the smouldering fires of my dad’s temper. My 16 year old sister’s already there, looking like she just got hit by a bus. My dad has the newspaper open. Apparently he doesn’t like the college kids sitting on a hunger strike with Anna. He vents his ire on me, naturally. Somehow the discussion proceeds to how I am wasting my life and am good for nothing! Gee dad! Thanks for the vote of confidence. He finishes with a flourish “Your generation will ruin this country”. I want to point to him that he’s voted in the last 5 governments who screwed the country over. But too much unpleasantness for one morning already!
The idiot professor has thrown me out of the class again. Screw him. Screw them all. All I did was to point out that it was only an experiment if we did something new, and not copy instructions from an out dated manual.
The Best Of Good Times
Outside the college. Couples all around; snogging, chatting, cuddling. If only parents weren’t so uptight about relations, they’d probably be in class now and not bitching about last night to each other. Too much drama for one day! Need to relax. Should get a smoke.
I am pissed. Khan chacha, at the thadi, was being harassed by a policeman. He left only after taking his hafta and giving a moral lecture about how he shouldn’t be selling cigarettes to college kids. I wanted to pound that MF and shout at him “At least he’s earning by honest means”. I can’t, so I left a generous amount of change with Khan chacha for the cigarettes. My blood’s boiling now. Will go catch RDB. They decided to switch the morning show DDLJ for it considering all the youth agitation and all. Smart guys!
2 something pm
I sneer after listening to Madhavan’s dialogue about how the youth should join politics and all to improve this country. What an idiot, nothing can save this country. Few minutes later: I am cheering with the rest of the audience as DJ and his friends kill the Defense minister. Wish someone would kill the real ones too!
I was walking with Priya. She’s super-hot and my best friend. Hopefully I can convince her to be my girlfriend one day. Till then we share our frustrations to each other. Anyways, soon this thulla comes and berates us for behaving indecently in public. The nerve of that bastard! All we were doing was walking hand in hand. He threatens to lock us up. For what MoFo? I am angry now. I just stare straight back at him, till Priya pulls me away. I swear I would have killed him!
Just came back home. I’m early today. Rhea, my sis, is crying. Mom’s taken away her BlackBerry for a week because she didn’t do well in her test or something. My dad’s sitting in front of the TV with a smug look on his face. There’s been some sort of a lathicharge on the agitating students. He tells me that’s how the government should deal with such thugs. I snap. I tell him how he was stupid if he couldn’t see who were actually the thugs and how I wished some of his generation actually grew a pair and did something rather than sitting on their asses. Dad was taken aback. My sister actually smiled for an instant before going back to sulking!
I walked away before he regained his composure and unleashed a torrent at me. There’ll be consequences later but who cares. That felt so good.
Time to head down for dinner. The whole family is coming today. Grandparents, uncles, aunts et al. I climb down the stairs in a faded baggy jeans and metal band t-shirt. Rhea’s wearing a rather short skirt. My mom looks scandalized. She’s begging Rhea to go change. My dad’s giving me a disgusted look. Like I haven’t seen that before! The bell rings. It’s show time folks.
Rhea’s rebellion worked well enough. Grandma’s giving mom a lecture about how the kids have no values and how they’ve given us too much freedom. I almost choke on the food then. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Rhea looks content. For once she’s not at the receiving end of a lecture. Meanwhile my aunt’s fiddling with my long hair and narrating a story about how some “rowdy, long haired boy” on the motorbike nearly crashed into her car. The connection between me and him being the hair! I mumble under my breath that the only reason she got a driving license is because she knew someone who knew someone in the Road Transport Office!
We’re waiting for dessert. Someone asks me what I’m planning to do after college. My dad immediately starts of saying how I was a smart boy and would go to some IIM to do his MBA. Once his tirade had finished, I tell everyone that I’m just going to make movies. Everyone turns to look at me. Dad tells me not to act stupid. I tell him I’m not. We argue. Suddenly everyone else is quiet. Then they begin, all together. My grand mom is telling my mom how she’s spoilt us by giving us too much freedom. My aunt is telling anyone who will listen about my long hair. Someone has a problem about “these kids” answering back. And my grandfather is telling my dad how he needs to check our little “rebellion” before it gets out of hand. That’s the final straw. I get up and leave the room. I need fresh air.
I am driving down the road on my bike at 100 km per hour, showing a sleeping policeman the finger. Feels good to break all the rules for once. The fresh air of my face smells so much like freedom. Of course I’m a rebel. You made me one! 10
The Best Of Good Times
By Rohan Chakrabarty
I see people like you walking down to me, handing me things I donâ€™t yearn for, saying things I donâ€™t savour of yet I sit idle, necessity makes me do so. I look upon the street, thick with crowd people like you, a melodrama of colors an epitome of hierarchy, both rich and poor. I wonder, do I belong here at all? Amidst pangs of hunger and search for shelter, intimidate self, for make believe selfexuberance I ponder, I know that I have no future here, and among the daily chores as an anarchical being. Do you have one? 11
Whats your love like ? Love is universal. It (unfortunately) permeates all, irrespective of age or status. Whatever Shiv Sena, MNS and RSS may say, I bet their members have loved (or atleast had a hard-on for) some chick or the other at some point of time in their sad existence. So don’t bother denying love, just read on and classify which type you come under. Oh and it’s all in good faith.
By Pradeep Damodara
Ooh! Look at them… they’re cute and cuddly little babies. Perfect together. Acting like sweet, lovestruck two-year olds…so lovable. It’s especially endearing when they’re not together, pining for each other like lost puppies.
Oh yeah, baby. Now we’re talking. Or maybe we’re not, depending on what “we” are doing… somehow looking into eyes just doesn’t cut it for these love-birds. Touchy-feely is the order of the day, or whatever time it is for that matter.
They know what they want for themselves and the future. Their love is very strong, but with the least outward manifestation. Always thinking about things to come, they know how to keep the relationship going without the need for physical connection.
A word to the wise, keep your hands to yourself, and this wasn’t what they had in mind when they said “lip service”.
If you come under this category, don’t feel too good about yourself. You’re getting old. And ugly.
For those of you in this kind of love, whining is a dog thing. No one really wants to know or care if you’re missing your ‘munchkin’. Keep it to yourself!
LOVE TO HATE
“She loves me, she loves me not”. Stop mutilating those poor flowers, for god’s sake. Man up, and go talk to the girl. Watching and drooling from a distance is NOT endearing. It’s called ‘stalking’. Get a grip.
Ah, the dramatic relationship. Both hate each others’ guts, and love being that way. This love is passionate, violent and dangerous. They crave each others’ attention all the time, and get incredibly jealous. Their deep affection causes them to quarrel even more. A fight for each other turns into a fight with each other. Happens every time, but they live for the relationship.
We’ve all been there at some point of time or the other... unrequited, one-sided affection. This one starts off all fine… staring, pointing him/her out to friends, trying and failing to talk, stalking them on Facebook, finding out what they’re doing all the time… it’s all really nice until he/she finds someone else. That’s when it gets painful. Watching the person of your dreams going around with someone else, sharing beautiful moments that were supposed be yours, your future memories. That’s when you become one of the Frustrated One-Sided Lovers’ Association.
If you’re a girl in this position, just go tell him. Guys love female attention and obsession. He’ll have a huge ego boost and might even decide he likes you. It’s all hormonal anyway. People, just don’t let it turn into an obsession. We all know how the horror movies end.
For those in this kind of love, your relationship is fine, but you might want to see a shrink.
They love each other dearly. But can never be together. They are unfortunate enough to be together emotionally, and never be able to commiserate their affection for each other. The fact that they hold each others’ hearts is enough to squeeze them full of pain. A double-edged sword, knowing they are there for each other, but they aren’t.
Where both the boy and girl love each other, but they’re too shy or timid to approach the other and come out in the open. This unspoken commitment creates a strong bond between both of them. They express their feelings with timid smiles, silent eye contact, and other sweet nothings.
Now you know why we have the zodiac calendar. Check it up from now on.
If your love falls under this category, you might want to learn to talk. Actions may speak louder than words, but don’t risk it.
For those of you in this boat, don’t feel too sorry for yourself. You’re not the only one. Look at the bright side, you didn’t get rejected, you just got walked over.
DISCLAIMER - If your relationship didn’t classify under any of the above, don’t worry about it… it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of you. But once it fizzles out (and it surely will), feel free to come to us for advice. We can also be your shoulder to cry on.
The Best Of Good Times
Let Them Work “In these situations a rather grim disturbing picture slithers into my mind’s eye - my comfortable existence is sculpted by the sweat and blood of little hands, I stomp on their delicate bare backs by just existing.” The freedom of expression is a beautiful thing. I can blabber all I want, spew out all the bullshit I believe in and you can’t do a thing about it (yes, you can passively resist by refusing to read or listen to my point of view, but there isn’t much you can do about the fact that I’m putting it out into the world for every intelligent organism to view). Also in the same spirit, you are entitled to have your own views and I can do nothing but crib and argue my point of view! It’s this freedom of expression and enforced tolerance that gives me the courage to write this little article. I will draw the wrath of people holding very conservative views on this subject, but all I need to do, is stick my tongue at them and walk away unscathed. Ahh…I love democracy. Now getting down to the point - let’s just start off with a general look at the problem of child labour. Indian society is perhaps the most populous in the world. Our concrete jungles and prehistoric villages (yes, it’s an exaggeration, but I let it stand for the effect) are crawling, milling with uneducated masses. In such a society, it’s not really surprising that children have to bear the brunt of poverty that comes crashing upon people when too little has to be shared by too many.
By Vakul Mohanty It’s not uncommon for us to see children working in factories, construction sites amongst other places. I wouldn’t deny that a child younger than me once worked at my home, she sent to school and all that, but she still worked while I lounged around watching TV. The very scenario leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. In these situations a rather grim disturbing picture slithers into my mind’s eye - my comfortable existence is sculpted by the sweat and blood of little hands, I stomp on their delicate bare backs by just existing. Every year around Diwali this guilt boils over when a bunch of kids and activists go around trying to convince people not to burn fire-crackers made by children and contribute in their little way to abolishing child labour. The government of India has also banned child labour and every now and then there are flashes of news about how the police saved a group of teens working in horrendous conditions and set them free. But set them free where? In the barren street s of India? With no food, because of your gracious heroics. The government’s present policy is just a punch in the kid’s stomach. Yes, there was this policy that every child who attends government school would get a meal or two, well, I know for a fact that half the food grains meant for the schools are swindled and sold off, so that strategy isn’t going to work, Sir! It’s about time you put in a little thought the next time you go barging 14
The Best Of Good Times really no hope left. The Indian government’s policy of abolishing child labour and making it a punishable crime for the employer really serves no purpose other than sow seeds of chaos in our already fragile social structure. You take these kids off their jobs and jail the man who employed them and feel good about the hard justice you have brought down upon evil. But did you wait for a second to consider that fate of the children you supposedly saved? Many of them are the sole providers of their family of tiny siblings, all of whom will die of hunger horrendous, so if you can’t save them, at least make the conditions tolerable. The only solution I see with the weak social system we have is to reach a middle ground where children aren’t allowed to take up extremely dangerous jobs, but they can take other jobs. It’s a strategy that is already in practice but if made a law, it might have a far more profound effect. True, my esteemed reader, I’m a kid from the Indian middle class; the suffering of the poor homeless children of India is alien to me. I will not even say I can empathize with them, understand their problem - all I have is sympathy. But I refuse to be blinded by guilt and sympathy. I stand by my point of view that simply abolishing child labour and preventing children from working isn’t a solution to this heinous problem. into a factory and rob a child of his only way of finding his next meal. I can already feel the glares and the fingers pointing at me. I don’t care, I will buy those crackers, I will employ that child, and I rather have him earn his meal with dignity rather than steal or beg for it. True, the conditions that these children work under are no water, no shelter? Set them free under the treacherous sun of India to burn in the heat? The guys up there are great policy makers, but in India, policy is rarely, if ever, effectively translated into action and when the policy itself is so flawed then there is
The Best Of Good Times
HOLYDAY ! “With one lunging movement, he bodily lifted up his opponent, and threw him towards the bucket, not heeding his frantic screams, and ran. The repercussions must have shaken the entire building. How did he get hold of such a crapload of firepower anyway? Something was wrong.“
then stiffened again. Wariness was his code, and he lived by it, and it, in turn, had allowed him to live to see another day. Almost involuntarily, his hand went down to feel the reassuring bulge in his pockets, he was loaded. Although what his pittance in the way of ammunition would accomplish, he didn’t know. Or rather, he didn’t want to think about it. Once he was on the field, things would work themselves out. They always did.
By Kartheik G Iyer The long, empty corridor was long, and empty. Slashes of vivid colouring stood stark against the peeling paint, and the whitewash beneath, a testament to events of the past, a wordless tribute to the martyrs of yesteryear. One old wooden door, slightly ajar, seemed to creak of its own volition. Apart from that, all that was still continued being still. The door, stained with a blotch of vivid crimson, now drying to a more forensic brown, creaked once more, and then opened by a fraction of an inch. A wary eye proceeded to survey the surroundings with all the caution of one who has had to grow accustomed to such surroundings, and survive. And surviving was not easy, the vultures were all well fed, and lay about on the roofs and turreted roofs, unable to move a flaccid wing until it was time for feeding again.
He stepped out completely. No overhead missile came at him, the range was too less, and yet, there was no shortage of trigger happy adolescents, heedlessly drawn into this merciless fray. He would have felt sad, if he had the capacity to feel anything any longer, but this was neither the time nor the place for it. With another crouching movement, he sprinted forward, his hands never leaving the vicinity of his pockets, like a quick-draw pistolero, the blisters at his feet causing him an endless amount of agony.
And yet, today was the day of reckoning. There were no two ways about it. He stepped out, still crouched, till he appeared almost bent double, and once again surveyed his surroundings. Almost all of the doors were ajar, the rooms empty. Casualties. He sighed, and
He came to a bend, and paused. Not the way a truck does, when it reaches a pit stop, but like a cat being offered a fish, balancing lightly on the balls of his feet, ready to spring either way. There were two unprotected entrances, either of which could house his enemies, which, at this point, was anybody who was not him. He breathed lightly, and reassured himself. The opening would most likely be empty. Who would be lurking so far from the epicenter of activity? He turned and strafed lightly towards the bend, and
then, suddenly, knew he’d made a mistake. Of course they would be there, the scavengers. Always on the lookout for easy prey. Darn it. Now, his back was turned towards them. They couldn’t have been in a better position if they’d asked him to dress up in the costume of a duck and hold a bull’s eye. And as he stood and thought of all this, his body screamed at him to take some kind of action. Move, damnit. He felt it on his back. Aim for the biggest target, that way, you’ll take something out, even if you miss. They had taught him, and now the hunter was the prey. Desperately, he twisted away, bending at the knees and pivoting on one foot till he was level with his assailants. Something brushed past his shoulder, and burst a short distance away. He felt his shoulder being showered with the fallout, sudden warmth. With a single bound, he reached the other opening and ducked inside. He touched his shoulder, and his hand came away wet, stained with red. He was hit. He swore under his breath, and then caught himself. Never lose your cool, son. He braced himself, and thought of what to do next. He spotted an inside passage, the way it was leading seemed to suggest that it met the outside world at the other opening. Good, he thought grimly. This is just what he wanted. But what if they wanted him to come this way, baiting him on with no other choice, till he would find both exits closed off, and then…he
did not want to think about it. He sprinted off into the darkness. Soon enough, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and the silhouette against it. Blending into the surroundings, he hoped that the silhouette was alone. With one quick movement, he snuck up on the unknown factor, and grappled him from behind. The assailant brought up another of the things he had initially used as a projectile, an oblong, green shape that he knew all too well. Was he insane? If he uses it in such confined surroundings, neither of us will survive. Desperately, he wrestled the thing away, and then spotted an entire bucket of the things lying nearby. Bloody hell. With one lunging movement, he bodily lifted up his opponent, and threw him towards the bucket, not heeding his frantic screams, and ran. The repercussions must have shaken the entire building. How did he get hold of such a crapload of firepower anyway? Something was wrong. As he got closer to the entrance of the building, things just seemed to get worse. The streaks of red on the wall did nothing to assuage his confidence, but he had no other choice. Whatever was in his pockets seemed pitifully inadequate now. Bodies lay on the ground, clothing tattered, faces black and blue, distorted out of all recognition. He might have even known some of them. He felt sorry that he could not feel sorry for them. Not now. 17
The Best Of Good Times And then he was out. The first thing that that assailed him was the awful noise. Then his eyes adjusted to the light, and the whole fray spread itself out in front of his eyes. Deadly in its intensity. He had not imagined that so many people had gotten involved in the rising. Even women and children had been dragged into it. Could nobody be spared? He darted out. If he could get the ringleaders, maybe the carnage could be reduced, some victims spared. Amidst the crowd, he spotted a face. One that he knew well. The color drained from his face as he saw the state it was in. One half of his entire face and body was stained red. He ran to meet him, shouting, screaming that he was here, he could help, but before he could reach, the body was engulfed in a wave of other bodies, obscured, and ceased to be an entity. What was no longer visible no longer existed. And now their eyes turned on him. In the excitement, the heat of the motion, the passion of being in furious motion, the crowd behaved as a single organism, and he was the odd one out. Missiles showered on him like rain, coming from all directions, heedless of what should happen if it hit anybody else. He ducked, and they whistled harmlessly overhead. He ran aimlessly through the crowd, throwing it into disarray, using whatever reflexes his quickly tiring body would permit him, getting dyed red in the process. Some of it his
own, the rest from the people around him. He felt a tugging presence near his waist. He turned back, and to his horror, saw that it was a woman. His code, even in such times, prevented him from any action against the fairer sex. He desperately tried twisting away, but to no avail. With a crazed look in her eyes, she pressed the lever of her instrument, a spray of liquid burst out, red as the setting sun, the moment it embedded itself against his skin. Apparently satisfied, she trundled away, looking for her next victim. Someone, caught him as he staggered forward, a complete stranger in a sea of chaos, a holy crusade, where it did not matter on what side you were on, as long as you wore the robe of colours that the field bestowed on all of the indulging parties. He was released, and staggered forward, a red handprint on his torso the only remnant of the chance encounter. He did not even remember the face. He struggled on, his body performing the motions required of him mechanically, twisting, turning, throwing, dodging, as soon, he resembled anyone else in the crowd. His foot slipped in a puddle of red liquid, and he fell, peacefully exempted from all further activity. It was a holy, holey, holie, holi, day.
Qaidi Number 115 By Pankaj Chhabra Main qaidi number 115 engineering college ki salakhon se bahar dekhta hoon, Kagaz ke tukdon ko degree mein badalta dekhta hoon, Is mess se mujhe sambhar ki khushbu aati hai aur har baar mujhe ghar ke khaane ki yaad dilati hai, Yahan ke teacher mujhe kasai jaise lagte hai Jo students ka bhavishya apne haathon mein rakhte hai, Woh kehte hai college mein padne ki zaroorat nahi, fir kyun har baat mere CG pe aa jaati hai, 9 pointer kehta hai ki main us jaisa nahi, fir kyun mujh jaisa woh lagta hai Main qaidi number 115 engineering college ki salakhon se bahar dekhta hoon , Coaching mein padte bachhon ko dekhta hoon, Kehte hai khud ko student aur mujhe engineer bulate hai, Engineering ka soch ke kyun apni zindagi doobate hai, Unhe dekh kar fir se us samay mein jaane ka mann karta hai, Woh ek samay tha jab kuchh kar dikhane ka mann karta hai, Main Qaidi number 115 engineering college ki salakhon se bahar dekhta hoon, Umeed ke rangon mein lipte ek engineer ko dekhta hoon, Maa baap ke khwabon ko poora karte , khud ke khwab bhool chuka hai woh, Physics,chem aur maths padte padte, jeena chhod chuka hai woh, Hostel mein masti karne ka jee karta hai, Hostel ke liye toh ek aur zindagi jeene ko jee karta hai, Woh kehte hai yahan se jaane se pehle tumhari naukri lag jaayegi, Phir kyun mujhe koi khushi nahi jab ke ek badi tankhah ghar aayegi, Main qaidi number 115 engineering college ki salakhon se bahar dekhta hoon .....
The Best Of Good Times
The Common Man By Sayonee Ghosh Roy is in tatters, but they paint it red and entangle me in it instead.
I’m not in the habit of speaking much, but today I shall speak about myself because you need to know and so does everyone else. Pick a face in the crowd, I am that. I am anyone, everyone and also no one. I’m the façade behind which the populace hides. I’m paraded as their crusader. I come in different variants but for the sake of R.K. Laxman, I am a slight, old man, always humbly dressed in a dhoti and a kurta. And I also wear glasses. Why? The better to see you with my dear! For observing, is what I do. I’m not short-sighted but I’m short-changed. I appeared in your daily papers around 40 years ago, but I’ve been around longer than that. Where there’s a concept of power, there is me. I’ve seen the kings of yore come and go, right before my eyes. But what do I care about their wars, their lofty ideals, their might, their opulence…..that kind of life is not for me. But it could be, if you were to believe these rags-to-riches stories. Such people must have started somewhere and that baseline is me. I’m level one in the game of Fates. So you see, I have so much power to transform! Yet I’m so powerless. Times have changed but my predicament hasn’t. I still go to work, stand in queues, provide for my family, worry about their future, fret over taxes, make both ends meet etc. I watch as the so-called custodians of our country play out their daily drama. It amuses me, frustrates me, disappoints me, saddens me, angers me and sometimes even alleviates me. I thought they would use the tape at hand to mend our nation which
Every year, on National Holidays, when I’m supposed to be a proud citizen, I grumble profusely while waiting in a mile-long traffic held up, to make way for a personality I had directly or indirectly placed on the pedestal. Nice way to treat your kingmaker, I must say! I grovel, snivel and warm pockets at government offices because if I thunder, rage and tighten my fist, I may rest assured that I’ve given them a piece of my mind but it would also mean giving up my peace of mind for my work would never get done. Everyone commands respect these days. They say “Apni gali mein kutta bhi sher hota hai” and this trickles down even to a mere bearer at the door. But I’m not onetracked. I don’t spend all my time looking up the ladder of power. Refreshment does come my way in the form of life’s mere frivolities and humorous ironies. They call me the Common Man and I share my last name with Super, Spider and Bat, but I’m no hero. There’s nothing heroic in what I do because the person next door is probably going through the same things I am. And I don’t want my existence to be a war I wage daily. All I want to do is breathe easy everyday and take things in my stride, without adding further complications in my life. Like I said earlier, I’m just a name, to be glorified in electoral manifestos or given as an explanation for haplessness. I’ve been pretty much silent all this while, maybe edged in a word here and there, but I need to break out from the chrysalis and show my different sides. For though the Constitution clearly draws the Us vs. Them line, why do they always forget that we are all, ultimately of the same constitution. 20
The Best Of Good Times
Hello Stranger ! By Vidya Ramamoorthy Hello stranger. What a beautiful day. Yes,I do go here. Well,it’s nice to meet you too. Oh. Pleasure.
Oh no,you did not. You did? Haha,well it sure was worth it : ) Hey,I saved you a seat. Well,I can come with you ,if you like. No I’m not scared of walking back alone. But you can come with me too. Not that I want you to (but I do).
Hello there! We meet again. Nothing much really. Just a bit of trouble. The usual. Whatever. Why,thank you! No,there’s really no need. Oh,well if you insist.:)
Hello! Yes,I did call you last night. That’s strange. No,go ahead. No hard feelings. Really.
Hello! How’ve you been? Sure sounds like a good weekend. Wow! Well maybe we can go together. No,I don’t like pink at all. I like blue.
Hello. Long time,no see. I beg your pardon? Did you really just say that? That’s not true. I can’t believe you would hold that against me. Fine, then. I saved you some banana milkshake but I’m guessing you want to pass. ...well,I was always a good guesser.
Hello. Ooh you’ve got me something. And it’s pink. :/ :/ :| :) :)) :D :D :D :D
Hello. ……… ……… …….. Well,bye then. I’ve got to go to….. Oh yeah,you’ve got to go too,to that…. Cya.
Hey! Wait up for me. Missed you too. No,I’d like that,actually. At seven then? Hello,and thank you. That was lovely. Oh! Let’s get us some banana milkshakes. Well they’re my favorite too.
“Hel…um”. That was harder than I thought it would be. I can’t believe this is it. Hello,stranger. 21
The Best Of Good Times
Old Age Redundancy “Whenever you want to be a part of something, you’d have the door shut in your face because there would always be vastly superior people. You’ll want to be a part of other people’s lives but you’ll realize soon enough that no one really has the time to spare for you. There will be no meaningful way for you to contribute to the world.”
By Sahil Mehta
Redundancy. This word has generally been used to describe my writing, my statements, my work and sometimes even my life. Just kidding, it’s not that bad, yet. Anyways the dictionary meaning of redundancy is “the state of being redundant”. And the dictionary meaning of redundant is “being in excess; exceeding what is usual or natural”. But it is in widespread use to describe things that no longer serve any purpose to people.
The Best Of Good Times Now I will digress a little. There are many things that people fear. Some of them are very basic and physical or tangible like the fear of heights, the fear of spiders or even the fear of spiders. But there are some fears which are more deep seated in our minds, which do not directly impact our actions but which guide our principles and actions. We sometimes call them insecurities. Why this little explanation about fear? I have a very good reason for it, of course. One of the greatest insecurities that people suffer from is the fear of becoming redundant, of being of no use to anyone, of being replaced by a superior being. I am going to assume, the very few of you who are reading this are all the same age as me, and are indifferent to such a concept. But if you are blessed enough to have your grand-parents still alive go ask them. And their answers will move your soul in ways you cannot imagine by reading this. Of course, some of the elderly might, in order to protect you or themselves, tell you that they are not bothered by such things but the truth really is that they are some of braver ones who have made peace with the fact. You may not have thought about it till now, but I promise you the day it hits you, you’ll be shit scared. I’ll tell you how your world would be if you became redundant. Anything that you could do would be done in a much better way by someone else. Whenever you want to be a part of something, you’d have the door shut in your face because there would always be vastly superior people. You’ll want to be a part of other people’s lives but you’ll realize soon enough that no one really has the time to spare for you. There will be no meaningful way for you to contribute to the world. No one will give a damn whether you live or die. Actually I’m wrong, people will be concerned that you still live and waste the precious little amount of oxygen we have left. You’ll feel miserable and no one would even console you. Not because they don’t want to, but because there’s nothing honest they could say to make you feel better. And as time goes on, you’ll find that whatever little you were useful for is disappearing by the second, that your bones are rotting and mind decaying. Sad, alone, crushed you’ll be put away in some corner waiting, nah, begging for your death. Begging for an end to your misery, and it too will taunt you and make you wait till everything in your life is destroyed. This is what thousands of elderly in our country suffer every day. Thousands and lakhs of people of the same age as your grand-parents, are forced to seek shelter in old age homes because brilliant people like me
and you, who think we know it all, have made them feel redundant. We treat them as misfits in a young country, making path breaking progress every day. We drive them to a mental state where either they have no self-esteem left or either they choose to leave the homes that they built in order to preserve their selfrespect. And if you think I’m writing crap, just Google the no. of old age homes in India and, more than that, the rate at which they are sprouting up. Lage Raho Munnabhai isn’t really based on fiction. Okay so you come from a more traditional background, your grandparents still stay in your house. You meet them once or twice in a day, say hello and then go sit in front of the idiot box, or your computer or start chatting utterly useless shit with your friends. You have nothing in common with them. Well, you ungrateful prick, do you even know what their interests are or were? They are not just old people who you take care of because they took care of your parents, they are people who have lived a full life and seen things that you will never have the vision or heart to do because you can’t seem to think beyond yourself. Would it kill you if didn’t go out one day to ogle chicks and called your friends over and sat with your grandparents? It’s not as if they’re really boring or anything, they are more than willing to tell the most amazing of stories of the past. Stories which will have you actually have you ROFL. And if you fucking say that it’s not cool, I‘ll light a firecracker up your ass. And it’s not just about your or mine grandparents. In general, the elderly are fine people to spend time with. They may not help you with all the exams you have to crack, and all the presentation you have to give but they can help and guide you to lead a more meaningful and satisfying life. They can show you the way to attain that peaceful state which you find so elusive. They teach you the meaning of values and responsibility in ways books and lectures never can. The kind of bonding they had with their siblings is not something you will ever be able to achieve. You think you ARE very hard, that you have achieved much more professionally, that you can feed your family better. Talk to them and you’ll understand how narrow a definition of family you have. They are the only ones who can make you realize that “blood is thicker than water”. Everything is not about how much you earn or how many Facebook friends you have. It’s not as if they ask for too much from us. No one really expects you to hold their hands and help them cross the roads anymore. All they want is you treat them with a little dignity and respect and regard that they did achieve something in life. All they want is for
The Best Of Good Times you to be sensitive to their health and other problems. All they want is that you respect the values and ideals with which they lived. All they want is for you to not regard their slow moving wheelchairs as inconvenience. And honestly, the problem is deeper here in India than abroad, where they don’t use culture and values as a blanket to cover all the other problems. Ironical, isn’t it. I am not going to assume that my writing will have too much of an impact on you. None of you is going to an old age home this weekend. But at least, pick up your phone, call your grandparents and let them know they still mean something to you. This is in tribute to my late grandfather, who taught me a lot of things including caring about other people. If you’re reading this Dada, I wish I had spent more time with you. R.I.P
The Best Of Good Times
The Ocean Dangling from her fathers figure she walked to the center of the rickety old bridge. She climbed onto him and gazed at the ocean drenched in moon light. The beauty of the sight held her gaze, drawing it towards the endless mysteries of the ocean. Nestling in her fathers bosom she wondered what lay beyond the vast stretch of water, did the ocean truly merge with the havens, overflowing into the abode of the gods? She was to be married soon. With a cascaded blur of emotions she walked up to the very spot where years ago her dream had taken shape. She stared at the serene ocean, inviting her, calling her. Her journey was about to begin. Time had come for her to cross the ocean and see what destiny had in store for her. Life rarely flows the way you wish it . And her life never even hinted to become the fairy tale she had wished for. Her husband turned out to be a drunken degenerate. He came back late in the evening stinking like the sewer. Tortured by circumstances and hard work, he took out all his frustration on her. He pounded her to the ground. Her soft delicate form changed into a grotesque monstrosity. Her face was swollen from the abuse, her eyes sunk into purple patches, and her nose shattered- held together by a bloodied piece of cloth. She worked gingerly, unable to use her twisted hands. She silently tolerated the torture hoping, hoping for light in the darkness. But even hope was beyond her reach; she was barren and would never bear a child. Her husband married another woman, and her torture continued. Pain, pain was all she felt now. Her anger was drowned by her agony; she felt no happiness, no hate, just pain. She walked in along the sandy beach trying, hoping to sink her anguish in to depths of the ocean. But the ocean washed her steps away as if ashamed that she was even there. Her beautiful vision was no longer real; the ocean was no longer a refuge from reality. She had been abandoned to the reality of her life, to her pain. 25
By Vakul Mohanty A storm raged, but it was nothing compared to the storm that raged within her. She was torn between the pain of her reality and the comfort of death. She was torn between pain and sin; between hell during life and hell after death. She walked to the same spot on the bridge and stared at the ocean- pitch black, its surface torn by the storm. Tortured and mulledâ€Ś.far from the serenity she had once seen. She drowned herself in her dreams, shunned reality. For reality meant only pain, and pain she wanted no moreâ€Ś.!!
Life In A Girls’ PG “Staying up till five in the morning or spending sleepless nights discussing philosophies of love, separation, marriage in the balcony with a coffee mug; ordering ice cream at midnight when one of the roommates suddenly craves for it; slamming away the prank calls that one of the roomies’ receives and sometimes trying it yourself; bursting into laughter about anything and everything; inviting the aunt to curb it, these are some of the fantastic moments of a life as a PG.”
By Prachi Gupta A new settlement in a completely alien and liberated place, away from your near ones who had till date gripped you in the warmth of their love and care, has the tendency to leave you motionless for a moment. But then starts the journey (Shaan’s song “tanha dil” in the background) with your mind oblivious to the future. The first few days are passed into accommodating oneself into the room, to squeeze in all your stuff into one cupboard and checking out the market and places around. And then begins a new saga of learning, entertaining, experiencing and most of all ‘living’. The life as a paying guest in someone 26
The Best Of Good Times aunt to curb it, these are some of the fantastic moments of a life as a PG. Of course, it falls short of awesomeness without a nagging b**** as your PG owner who cribs about electricity, cleanliness, water and sometimes about issues that are out of the world (yes, my aunt got offended about not wishing her morning and evening)! Concocting stories about how to irritate the woman and scare her to the core terminates abruptly when the innocent one saves all the new contact numbers into the devil’s list.
else’s home is an amazingly different experience altogether. All what a person has planned, all the wise advice by “experienced” people gets whitewashed when one meets the roommates. Whether you are a very introvert person or an open book, it is almost certain that you will end up confessing everything to your roomies. Nicknaming the other one weirdly, exchanging all kinds of stuff (yes, all sorts of!), teasing by the crush’s name and bitching about the third one in her absence becomes second nature. It creates everlasting memories when you burn the midnight lamp and yet end up scoring almost nothing in the tests next day. And you religiously repeat it the next day too. You always cherish it; sneaking together into aunt’s kitchen secretly and cooking ‘food’ for yourself, no matter how raw, tasteless the maggi, coffee, soup or even halwa is. Excursions throughout the city, grabbing opportunities for free passes to a concert or fair, contributing money to dine in expensive places are some of the light moments that make your bond stronger.
Another great part about staying in a PG is that you do all sorts of acts that you have never done before such as arranging for your roommate to go on a date, celebrating birthdays as vodka parties without alerting the aunt, bribing the gatekeeper, and assuring the parents’ of your roomies when she is out without phone. The facet that is most talked about, is living with a bunch of friends who are jealous gossip-mongers and create impediments in your work. It becomes a lot worse when you don’t share a good bond with your roommates. However, a PG accommodation besides giving you a “fully furnished, air conditioned, three meals and well connected” room also provides you an exhilarating, cognitive and refreshing experience and a new improved perspective towards life and people. You tend to take or be redolent about the route that shapes your life and be more concerned. Or learn to let it be as it goes!
Staying up till five in the morning or spending sleepless nights discussing philosophies of love, separation, marriage in the balcony with a coffee mug; ordering ice cream at midnight when one of the roommates suddenly craves for it; slamming away the prank calls that one of the roomies’ receives and sometimes trying it yourself; bursting into laughter about anything and everything; inviting the
The Best Of Good Times
The Filthy City “To a cyclist, the city seems to be in limbo. Occassionally, you slow down, sometimes by choice, as you see the sun go down between two enormous cranes busy creating yet one more floor for a high-rise skyscraper, or a kid struggling to climb a wall with one hand, a mango in the other.”
By Kartheik G Iyer I checked my hands. Yep, two of them. Still attached. Legs? Present and accounted for, too. Torso? Still holding it all together. Other assorted appendages? Internal circulation mechanism? Ocular, acoustic and olfactory equipment? All in a working or at least workable state. So far, so good. One can never be sure with these mass manufactured goods. I then looked at the shitty cycle, wheels high on air, rust in all the right places, and checked my footwear to see if the brakes were fine. It all seemed fair enough, and I set off. The city is a big place. Big, at least, for those who actually walk, or cycle, and look around you while doing it. Its Its a huge, winding, rambling, ramshackle organism filled with so many varied elements that it is impossible for a scrap of paper to describe. But then there are those who simply roll up their car windows and drive from point to point, ignoring the traffic, the crowds, the beggars and the eunuchs, the flower sellers, the kids peddling pirated copies of popular books and cheaply manufactured toys, the chana and shingdana peddlers, and the filth. To them, the city’s just as big as the map tells. To a cyclist, the city seems to be in limbo. The petrol, diesel and other decomposed animal and fart powered vehicles whoosh by, not deigning to notice the humble two wheeler. The pedestrians, on the other hand, seem to be frozen in mid stride, as you
pedal past. Occassionally, you slow down, sometimes by choice, as you see the sun go down between two enormous cranes busy creating yet one more floor for a high-rise skyscraper, or a kid struggling to climb a wall with one hand, a mango in the other. You gaze, dumbstruck by any of the million things that make the city the place it is, a recalcitrant elephant urinating all over the sidewalk, splattering pedestrians, the poor mahout poking ineffectually at it with a blunt stick. You look at beggars pulling a rude passenger out of an autorickshaw, for in the city, they can be choosers. At a temple in the middle of a slum, surprisingly clean despite the surroundings, the idol gleaming yellow, bedecked with small sparkly scraps of colourful cloth. At the roof of the slum, where hundreds of digital television antennae receive the evening’s prime time entertainment, so many, that they could all be interfaced to form a giant radio telescope, probably. At the trains. At the rains. Sometimes, though, the choice to slow down is taken out of your hands. The highway is treacherous, to all those who attempt it under their own steam. It goes up, and you cycle up the incline, huffing and puffing, while tempos try to run you over and bikers make weird faces. You reach the top, and gloriously start the downward journey, determined to build up speed till you can breeze by the next incline, but no, at the bottom, where you’re fastest, lies a fiend, cunningly disguised to look like a signal, that waits till you coast down and then turns red. Poof goes your speed, pop goes the weasel, and you look at the next upward slope and feel like your sphincter burst. Another antagonist in the general scheme of things for a cyclist, is the bus, the great equalizer. But that’s a story for another time. And there are times when pedestrians exist solely to jump at you, as if suicide was the plan, 28
but if not, a damn good fight will do just fine. But you sense that I’m not telling you what you need to hear. Only what you want to. I praised the city and insulted the buses, fueling your patriotic ego and giving you something to bitch about. But there’s more to it, and this is the pill that’s usually difficult to swallow, especially since you’ve got so many troubles of your own, so many worries. There is a point where cycling is no longer possible. When the shanties are clustered so closely together that there’s barely enough space to even walk by. These are the parts that you walk by every day, the parts that you pretend do not or should not exist. For once, imagine, that you park your cycle, and go in. These are grim, gritty surroundings, and by subconscious intent, you pat your pocket just to make sure your wallet is secure. You see the piles
“They say, that in the really big slums, you’ll be able to find anything under the sun, ranging from imported car parts to women claiming to be your grandfather, to convoluted political propaganda. I don’t know which is worse.“
of garbage, and imagine that there once must have been a bin underneath it, if you look hard enough you can even see a corner sticking out. Dogs and crows scavenge among the litter, unmindful of the broken bottles and other pieces of glass. If there was a walkway above, people would throw their trash right off. There are kids playing nearby. The smaller ones run after tyres and sticks, making sure they don’t fall with a surprising dexterity, the slightly older ones have already begun paying homage to what will most probably be a lifelong devotion to cricket. You go in, and a riot of smells assail your nostrils, already overloaded from the stink outside, so thick you could scoop at it with a spoon. They say, that in the really big slums, you’ll be able to find anything under the sun, ranging from imported car parts to women claiming to be your grandfather, to convoluted political propaganda. I don’t know which is worse. A lot of stuff is cooking, fish is being fryed in cheap reused oil, vada’s emit their particular scent, so does garlic, somewhere. Someone’s using some cheap cologne, clothes are drying, they’ve been starched too much. There are a thousand cheap television sets and transistors playing, their individual noises blending in to the combined din. Traffic blares on, unheeding. You wouldn’t hear a person screaming to death in this place, you realise. The thought makes 29
The Best Of Good Times you uncomfortable, and your initial curiousity begins to fade. But you feel that this is something you have to do, and you push onwards. Some housewives are washing clothes, and the entire ground is slippery. Others are taking a bath. The handpump has a well cared for look about it. You climb up a rickety spiral staircase, and come out on an asbestos landing, among some television satellites. You see where the cable lines are spliced together, where the phone lines are tapped from the mains running along the road, ditto for electricity. Although authorities are cracking down on this, its not really helping. Where one wire is cut off, ten others will spring, like the far reaching effects of an underground revolution. Or the hydra. From here, you see some of the older children from up here clustering in groups, openly suspicious of your presence, yet not with the fear of the hunted, but with the desperation of the hungry. The ones who begin to realise the effects of being born in a country like ours in a place like theirs. The rapid disillusionment setting in, the way one feels that some doors are closed
before they could get a chance to even reach them. That good and evil are but words and at the end of the day, one still needs to fill one’s stomach. The thought that morals are only for the rich, and the poor need to do whatever they can to get by. The thought that all the childhood ideals are precisely that, stuff for children, the thought that there’s nobody out there who cares. There’s one thing you need to realise before you get out of here, climb on your cycle, and go back to your life. This is real, all of it, and poverty is not going to go away just because you pretend it doesn’t exist. But that’s not even the worst part. The worst is the indifference. You may have realised a lot here, but unless you hold on to it, unless you cherish the thought of your well being, of your incredible luck, you will forget. If you do, come back and read this again. The city needs help. Whether you choose to help it is your decision.
The Best Of Good Times
Smoke Screen They had turned yellow and brown and had begun to fall I thought of things that I could say; so she could by swayed I fell terribly short; I was lost and all my hope unmade
By Harsh Joshi
I cleared my throat loudly, so she could hear She was on the edge of cracking, I fear I couldn’t think, my judgement clouded and dense And I realise now how it all makes sense I reconsidered quitting and putting a time to it But I was foolish; thinking I could quit.
As I sat there and waited patiently Cigarette in hand and lost in melancholy She sat by my side deploring, her anger visible to me Hoping perhaps; from this habit of mine, to be free I stared back pondering, trying to understand her Trying ever so hard as I did so; to placate her.
‘I’ll help you’ she said, reading my mind Puzzled I asked, “Are my thoughts so easy to find?” “Yes”, she replied a smile warming up her face All her anger and turmoil vanished leaving no trace We got up, and strode together out of the park My last ever cigarette lit; still glowing in the dark.
She parted her lips; rosy as they were Words stuck in between, waiting to unfurl I couldn’t understand for the life of me Why couldn’t she just let my smokes be! It is not as if I were addicted yet “I have just started, you know”, I said. She wouldn’t listen, but kept quiet I failed to see the reason for her to fret “I won’t keep this up”, I said hoping to converse I knew that instant though, I couldn’t have done worse She jumped at the opportunity; that of making me quit She kept at me and I couldn’t then quietly sit. “Promise!” She cried, “Promise that to me!” Said I, “I cannot! At least not yet; can’t you see!” She crumbled back into her layers; their depth unseen I kept on thinking, “It was my mistake; I was too mean” I tried pursuasion; some words mellow, others gruff Remembering all the promised last puffs. I remembered all those half hearted promises I had made Promises left incomplete; their memories starting to fade It was Autumn, leaves strewn around us as I now recall
The Best Of Good Times
The Other Side Of An Academic Break Sometimes I find life to be extremely monotonous and boring. People all around me seem to have developed a habit of continuously searching for something that keeps them engaged, even when they are doing perfectly fine. They want things to move in a succession; as soon as one thing gets over, they want the next best thing to come their way. I agree that this behaviour is justifiable. But I fail to understand why these people are so cynical about anybody who is taking a break in life for a while. Students, particularly, seem to have started taking life a tad too seriously. If they do not find the right colleges, they get admitted into the wrong colleges simply because they think they cannot afford to lose a year. If they didn’t score well and couldn’t gain admissions into their preferred courses, they go for other, non-preferred courses. After graduation, when they start searching for jobs, if they cannot find the right jobs, they are pressured enough to take up the wrong jobs. They want to keep themselves involved somewhere or the other, without even considering whether such opportunities will benefit them or harm them or make no difference to their profiles and, more importantly, lives. I feel that it is perfectly fine to take a gap, especially after having studied so hard for so many years in succession. Such a gap will offer them the wonderful opportunity to identify what all they want to do in their lives, and how they should start preparing for them. If they are already aware of their passions and interests, they should start looking out for opportunities which would assist them in getting where they want to be. They should find out about all the different colleges/institutions which offer programmes they want to pursue, and start preparing for the entrance exams. They should do internships with different organisation, or assist some family member, relative, or friend in their business and gain some practical, hands-on experience. They can even volunteer for youth organisations and NGOs and devote their time in community development. All
By Pranav Sukhija these experiences add a lot of value and credibility to any student’s profile, thus enhancing their possibility of gaining admissions in their dream colleges or getting the right jobs. On the other hand, if a student is not sure what he should pursue in the future, he can utilise a break by meeting career counsellors, researching on educational portals, visiting different colleges and universities and finding out all the potential courses and career fields that he can pursue. On the basis of his skills set, financial conditions and various other parameters, he can select the right option for himself. Students can also spend this time in pursuing different vocations like painting, cooking, dancing, singing, swimming, photography, writing, etc. They can join short-term courses on personality development and improve their communication and other inter-personal skills. One thing which any individual taking a sabbatical deserves is support from his/her parents. It is therefore the prerogative of the parents to stay optimistic about their child’s future, and help him/ her find a good place to study or work. Lastly, the students or professionals need to have faith in themselves. They must understand that dropping a year or six months now is far better than regretting the choices they’d make in hurry. And that motivation, perseverance, diligence and positivity is the key to success. 32
The Best Of Good Times
Dont Cough When You Kiss Me By Anuj Suri You were wearing pink And pink was my world then With time written in all colors of ink Come inside if you want the notebook Come with me into the dark And then we kissed, please take a look If my sister’s still outside in the park Yes she is, come kiss me again And please turn off the only light But instead I pushed you against the wall I won’t, it’s making your wet lips shine so bright
But I pushed you closer and I held you tighter And baby I had my reasons too It was half the warmth of your body And half the fear of losing you.
Listen dog, don’t you do me wrong Come hold my hand, let me show you the way With different shades of darkness let us Paint the picture of a perfect day
You know you’re good at lip service, you said And in all senses of the expression I bit your lip and you whispered Well, that statement’s open for reconsideration
But now why aren’t you reaching out Not holding my hand, not showing the way To where you’ve planned to go alone Are you moving on, are you going away?
We saw us rise, we saw us fall And we saw you see me drown You turned me on, you turned me off And we saw you turn me down
Or are you already gone And have I already been replaced And has the picture of that perfect day Already been defaced You pervert, no, not that tight, hold me right I know this is no dance to you But you see this is the song of my life No music, no lyrics….me and you
That there, was the point of no return On you and in you, in your bed I coughed and said, “I’m cold” And it was then that you said,” 33
The Best Of Good Times
Cheers to Democracy “The truth is that our government, as a collective body, is in love with the idea of being a democracy without actually understanding what it really means to be a democracy.” own government know about defending sensibilities? Let’s recap and try to remember how many of our kids couldn’t get into college because of the bill that made it mandatory for several quotas to get priority listing. We made the mistake of not having a distinct enough caste and our shiny 99 per cent marksheets were laughed away as our seat was given to some undeserving schmuck with an ‘OBC’ placard stapled to his head. Not that I have anything against OBC’s, or even have a proper idea of what injustices these poor people’s predecessors faced before I was born. It’s just that the government approached this the same way the American government tried to fight apartheid. By shifting the power balance to the wronged community instead of, you know, BALANCING it.
By Abhay Gupta You know what? I totally called it. Kapil Sibal is a tyrant. Well, fine, I can’t take credit for that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spotted Sibal’s vendetta against internet freedom. I’m sure many of you have encountered these messages, or similar ones, when accessing your beloved torrent sites and your bookmarked porn hubs – “This site has been blocked as per the instructions of Competent Authority” I can’t say I wasn’t shocked. My initial reaction was to get out of home, track down said-competent authority and ***************************. What? Don’t tell me that wasn’t your immediate reaction. But I’m going to ease up on Sibal this time because, for all his faults, he’s not the master-criminal to this heinous act of shackling the internet. The truth is that our government, as a collective body, is in love with the idea of being a democracy without actually understanding what it really means to be a democracy is. See, their arguments for screening our content and taking down websites like Vimeo, Torrentz and any number of porn websites is that it stands to offend the sensibilities of certain religious or secular groups. Here’s a fun question. When have we, as a collective population, not succeeded in doing that, intentionally or not? Or more specifically, what on earth does our
But I digress. As I’ve said multiple times before, the internet is a domain where people are free to express any opinion they so desire. The government’s argument is that there are various Facebook groups promoting ill-will towards secular groups, porn websites depicting religious deities and forums inciting people against political parties and this is cause of civil unrest within the nation. That’s all fine and dandy, dear government, but pause for a moment and understand that just because your carpet has a wine-stain on it doesn’t mean that the only feasible solution is to set the thing on fire. Blocking entire websites because of the stray offensive content on it is going to stir up nation-wide protests and possible riots and I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the irony in this move. I’m also fairly confused as to why our government has a problem against piracy. I can somewhat understand America’s capitalist need for monopolizing their content, but why are we bothering? Whose sales are they going to affect? The road-side dvd-salesmen who can’t sell you their
camrip knockoffs of movies because you’re perfectly content finding better quality on pirate bay? Motive aside, another thing that’s laughable about this whole campaign is the method and approach. For starters, it is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to screen every single website and filter through potentially inflammatory material. For every one website that you shut down, twenty more have already circulated. The only end-result is that you’ve gone ahead and upset a whole number of communities who just wanted to watch a harmless cat video on Vimeo, only to find that MTNL, Reliance and other such telecommunication centers strongly disprove of your love for cat videos and probably trample kittens in their spare time. Now I hear Sibal’s been asked by Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Union health minister (yeah, I don’t know why he cares either), to assist in the formulation of the restrictions on the internet and how to go about making our lives miserable. Let’s all raise our middle fingers to these fine men in a lovingly sarcastic salute! Before the decision to censor the internet, I found no reason why we had to march to China’s tune and give up being a democracy. Blocking Torrentz before the release of Don 2? Why? So that you can continue to hike the prices of movie tickets and make the cinematic experience that much more expensive? It’s like banning cycles or walking so that people started using more petrol. Is there a group on Facebook depicting Shiva as a pot-smoking philanderer? Well, shit, if only Facebook had an option that enabled us to REPORT IT AS OFFENSIVE. Then we wouldn’t have to turn to our mother government’s knees and cry about how our feelings got hurt! Honestly, there isn’t anything wrong with the system as is. If enough people report a page, it goes down. For every ten people downloading a movie, there are still three people willing to pay full price to watch it on the big screen. For every hate-page towards a political group, there’s a political group rioting and proving the hate-groups right in every possible way. And, as a final kick in the ovaries, they’re attacking porn. The one thing we ALL universally love about the internet. For all the stupid decisions the government’s made, this HAS to be the kingpin of it all. Bravo, dear Government. We may continue to have our taxes mishandled, our education system wrecked to a bleeding mess and corruption rampant amongst our governing bodies, but you’ve reminded us that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more important than Censorship of the internet, the media and all public opinion. Cheers to democracy!
The Liquored Departure
By Pritika Magima Glistening red liquid, dancing on the lips to once again, make me live. Like the wind, Like the whims of a teen. The clanking of glasses, In fake joy, In forced reassurance, of a brighter day tomorrow. Where sabotage isn’t the motto, where sweat is accounted for, where questions aren’t left to rot. My drunken stupor and the so called words of wisdom, of philosophy and future, of love and life lost, pave the way to the glories, of a world unknown to all. Tomorrow the world will glow, in submission to the synchronized behavior of work and play… Tomorrow will be another day. Yet tonight, is an escapade, To lands of leprechauns and gold like honey, of jovial nature and unnatural glee. I let the liquid dance on my tongue, and let rainbows decide my fate. Of mist and mint Of not an obligated journey, Of dreams and fantasies, and thus, a contempt of reality.
The Best Of Good Times
Woman, Abused jaw she fights back a shudder of tears. A firm-set jaw so tightly clenched as if to restrain her grieving soul while the onslaught begins yet again.
By Shweta Khare
She has scoured the depths of her soul; she has searched in the hearts of her heart, to know why. To know how can a person be so merciless, so heartless. But all she is left with is a pervasive, overwrought helplessness and the blue-black of scars she will forever hide from a million eyes.
She sat beside her sleeping daughter nestled in the warm depths of woven layers. Her gently rising and falling chest was a hypnotic rhythm, a slow drip of analgesic spreading through her veins. She looked at her delicate outline awash in lambent moonlight and felt the knotted pain dissolve into sedate nothingness. Half-conscious and drifting, she could almost touch the Elysian calm. But she knew, the storm was not so far. Surging and unbridled, she could feel the tempest pounding at the floodgates, not so far. She looked at her watery half-reflection in the dark mirror; she saw the glaring imperfections screaming out at her. At times she wonders what scares her more. Is it the mortifying abuse he wields or her infinite capacity to endure it all? … Her withered past plays out the macabre reality of her life. Consumed in rage, he was shouting at her. His deafening voice was the only thing reverberating within, crushing her inside with its sheer intensity. Her leaden heart sinks at the sight of pure hatred, at the sight of pure vengeance etched out on every single line of his hardened face. With a firm-set
It felt unreal, like this could not possibly be happening. Years of violence had left her with a distorted sense of reality, numb and unfeeling. Although she had grown to become so dead inside, she knew that the pain was very real…The pain that stirred her when his acerbic subtle corrosion at her self-worth, flayed her flesh. Every word, his every action bore into her- that she is an ugly, a worthless being until this was the only truth she knew. Living a life of contradictions- a smile on face, her façade to hide her writhing despair. Ending it all is the only escape. So alone, so miserably alone and for so long she has suffered….there is nothing left in her hollowed remains. The thought is almost happy, the thought to be finally free. But then she is appalled at this vile thought, disgusted by her spineless, craven self. No, her daughter’s dreams are not as hollow; her daughter’s dreams are not as empty. And when she looks at her, the fell clutch of misery slips away…Maybe she wasn’t beautiful in the eyes of the man she had once pledged her heart to. Maybe she didn’t get the love she so yearned for, from the man she had once pledged her everything to. But now when she saw herself through the eyes of her daughter, she knew she had someone to give her unconditional love to, once again. She was beautiful…Once again. She picked up her daughter, rapt asleep and clutched her to her chest as she left that night. She was leaving, leaving behind the weight of yesteryears. She was leaving, leaving behind all her fears. The wind wailed for her sorrow that night, rushing past her silently falling tears of absolution. She was leaving, leaving behind the weight of yesteryears…and she was a woman abused, no more. She is a woman and God! She is beautiful.
The Best Of Good Times
Pen, Pencils & Little Joys “And we did our little dance of joy. Of having grown up. Of having passed another milestone in turning big.”
By Shaonli Nath It was a cold afternoon in the dusk of 90s, may be 1999. I had dutifully secured the extra sheets to the main answer book with the thread and was waiting for the final bell. As the teacher shouted “Last 1 minute” I picked up the pencil shreds and tried to see if they could be put together to make some decoration. I always related the shredded pencil’s design to snowflakes, and joyously discovered one long unbroken red and black string of Natraj’s outer skin. Though the inaesthetic callous me could never bring a single piece of craft out of it, yet the wannabe creative genius made sure that I diligently packed it all in my pencil case. The bell rang, sheets were collected and I got up. Carrying the board and pencil box under my arms, I walked outside the class to collect my bag. She stood there, having come out from her class, smiling and her eyes twinkling with excitement as her mouth opened to say something. “Hor pencil di lod ni” (There is no need of pencil anymore) “Kyon?” (Why?) “Fifth class to pen use karde ne.” (From fifth standard onwards, pen is used) “Sachhi?” (Really?) “Haan. Aappan vadde ho gaye ne.” (Yes. We have grown up now.) “Haan. Pen taan vadde use karde ne.” (Yeah. Pens are used only by grown-ups) “Hor ki. Hun aappan vi karaange.” (You know right! We will use it too now.)
And we did our little dance of joy. Of having grown up. Of having passed another milestone in turning big. We strode down and joined others on the way to our school buses. Fourth standard had come to a very fair merry end, and soon we were going to use pens. In that spring, apart from buying the new text-books, note-books, brown covers and stickers, I did some new shopping; shiny bright pens. I bought two Foutain pen and a pretty pot of Chelpark Royal Blue Ink. I asked my mother to get a Gel pen too since everyone in class was buying them but she insisted that I should start with a “proper” pen so that my writing shapes up well. And when I walked inside the V-C class that March, I had ushered into a new state of grown-upness.
And over the years I ushered into many more. One by one, I crossed many bars which grown-ups had sanctimoniously reserved for themselves. And today, as I see the wedding pictures of that girl who once told me that pens are not required anymore, I am filled with immense happiness for her, along with the numbing echo of her words from 12 years back, “Aappan Vadde ho gaye ne”. Really we have. Nothing will get my pencil shreds back; the many that I collected hoping to make some designs out of them. They withered, along with a time when the pride and satisfaction which came by graduating from a pen to a pencil, can’t be brought about today by the finest of appraisals and best of Entrance test percentiles. Good bye Pencil. 37
No One Can Eat Just Once “Is greed really a sin? Isn’t our greed for knowledge the reason why the human race is at the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree?”
By Nishant Boorla GREED No one can eat just one. Simple. Brilliant. For one who has always been an admirer of genius marketing campaign slogans, this one in particular stood out the year it was coined. Coupled with a catchy jingle that’s a blink and a miss, this slogan for Lays potato chips caught the fancy of millions across the nation. It’s appeal lies in its simplicity. Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, fact is we all hate sharing good food. Add greed to selfishness and you’ve got a knock out marketing strategy. It’s as simple as that.
Greed and Gluttony go hand in hand, add a catchy jingle to that and you have the holy trinity of food ad campaigns. But why do we need to pay attention to a simple advertisement? Because it’s one in a long list of commodities sold, targeting the greedy child in you. Don’t take my word for it. Think about it. Take shoes for instance. You apparently don’t need just the one pair, you need separate pair to run, a pair to walk, a pair to work, a pair for yoga and so on. Don’t even get me started on footwear for women. Shoes to match your eyes, shoes to match your top, shoes to match that cute kitten you chanced upon on an exotic holiday! Just one example. And if that didn’t make an impression here’s everyone’s favourite - Greek Mythology. King Midas was the ruler of Pessinus. He found Silenus and returned him to Bacchus. You don’t need to know who they are. Long story short, Bacchus asked him to wish for anything, Midas asked for the power to turn 38
anything to gold upon touching it. So here you have a prosperous monarch, with all the wealth in the world who wants to turn everything around him to gold. Just like a child who always dreams of a room full of candy. Predictably, his food and drinks turned to gold, so did his daughter. Yeah food, drinks and daughter in one sentence, I’m insensitive, bite me! Is greed really a sin? Isn’t our greed for knowledge the reason why the human race is at the pinnacle of the evolutionary tree? One may sugar coat it and call it the thirst for knowledge but it is what it is - greed. It’s greed that helped man invent the wheel. It’s greed that pushed him to invent an engine to power his wheel. From a primitive bicycle to a Boeing jet, from a telegraph machine to a Blackberry every product that makes our lives easier to live is a direct product of our insatiable desire for more. Take technology for instance. There was a time when we were content with cassette players or walkmans as they were called. Then came Discmans and before people figured them out - hello MP3! But a simple MP3 player wasn’t going to be enough. Of course not. We needed a click wheel. We needed a screen. “Alright, the iPod it is then. “ “Oh no wait, it’s too bulky. “Fine, you may have the iPod Nano but that’s it. “ “No, too many buttons.” “Ok the iTouch.” “But I can’t make calls” “You ingrate, iPhone should do the trick.” “No Bluetooth?” ”New iPhone.” “But it’s not as functional as my PC.” “Stick to your PC then. “ “What if I’m on the move.” “Mac Book. “ “Too many buttons.” “Fine.....only cause you said please..” “But I didn’t...” “Just go with the flow ok? Here’s the iPad!” “But it’s too big....and I can’t make calls...” “aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh” So we’re all as greedy as God apparently felt we would be. We’re all sinners and are all destined for hell. Where’s the moral you ask? Come on you greedy prick, how much do you want from a simple essay? And as a parting thought....does hell have an Imax screen? Avatar’s just not the same without one!
How To Mess Up A Proposal By Rachina Ahuja Yes, that declaration of affection, of feelings that are more than just fraandship is accompanied by several hazards. Steer these waters carefully or forever go down in ignominy as ‘that boy/girl who proposed me by *insert explanation of embarrassing circumstances*.’ 5.Use a form of ‘endearment’ such as ‘baby’. 4. Ask ‘Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend?’ with your group of pals chuckling/whistling/giggling behind you. 3.Compliment the person lavishly and give them the entire story of how you’ve been feeling since the first time you saw them (3 days ago). 2. Do it by text/any form of social media. 1. Use the L word. What’s that whooshing sound? Ever watched Road Runner?
The Best Of Good Times
4 Most Horrible Examples That People Need To Stop Giving “It is pretty hard to deem an example good or bad, but there are some that are just plain wrong and even Kapil Sibal should have given them a thought before he decided to ban free speech itself.”
By Dhvanil Raval People have always had this nasty habit of giving examples to prove points. “Oh, you think I am kidding? Here’s an example of me giving an example to prove that people give examples.” Now the problem with examples is that they are tricky things. Most of the time people would listen to an example, smile smugly, and say, “Pfft! So you think an oasis proves that a desert is a lush green forest?” On the other hand, some people in Scotland will tell you that all monsters are real because, of course, the Loch Ness Monster EXISTS! It is pretty hard to deem an example good or bad, but there are some that are just plain wrong and even Kapil Sibal should have given them a thought before he decided to ban free speech itself.
entrepreneurship. No, wait, death is way more interesting. The only people interested are the social activists in the first row nodding their heads like a drinking bird mechanism. But suddenly, in the middle of this uninteresting and somewhat insulting presentation, there comes a slide which makes even the last row ogle. The slide always shows Bill Gates/Steve Jobs/Richard Branson/ Larry Ellison, always giving their trademark smiles, and always reads something to the tune of – ‘The Billionaire who dropped out of college’. These slides are insanely popular. In fact they have transcended the traditional power-point presentations and have descended on social media encouraging all the budding failures at engineering colleges into believing that Bill Gates loves and understands them all. But, this example in particular, needs to be stopped because I have hardly seen it being taken in the positive sense at all. People need to get in their heads that Bill Gates dropped out of HARVARD, with an
#4 “It’s alright! Even <insert super-rich entrepreneur> dropped out of college” You must all be familiar with this scene. It’s a college seminar hall. The speaker is an arrogant guy who takes the ‘favoring-girls-and-ridiculing-boys-makesyour-seminar-more-interesting’ system too seriously. The seminar is on the death-like boring topic of 40
The Best Of Good Times IDEA that put all the other geniuses around him to shame and with an INSANE WORK ETHIC. So, if you are dropping out of Bumfuck Institute of Technology because you couldn’t generate ideas enough to pass, and your work-ethic includes boozing, you are approximately as close to Bill Gates as Alpha Centauri is to Earth.
#3 “I read a lot of books.” -> “Oh, which ones?” -> “Um… Harry Potter…” Disclaimer: This one is NOT for douchebags. Not to be too hard on the Potter fans, all those morons who argue that they are total bibliophiles because they read ‘one’ of the following – Twilight, Percy Jackson, Bartimaeus, Artemis Fowl, etc. – fall into the same category. Why, you ask? Well, because having read the Harry Potter series is not proof that you read books at all. That’s like saying you can cook because you know how to boil water. The series was everywhere, translated into more languages than you know and read by virtually every age group on Earth. It was less of a book and more of a phenomenon. Saying that you read Harry Potter doesn’t serve as proof for anything at all, except maybe, that in the entire period between 1997 and 2007, you were alive, not living under a rock, and not caught in an African civil war. Still don’t believe me? Well, that’s why you should read the disclaimer.
#2 “I am a great engineer. Now let me prove Troll Scientist Wrong.” Disclaimer: This one is FOR douchebags I personally don’t feel like elaborating on this one. Virtually everyone knows and hates the person I am talking about. But in the benefit of all those who feel their scientific awesomeness is being persecuted and can’t understand why, here’s the reason: Troll Scientist is just that. TROLL. When he shows someone levitating over a floor full of magnets by wearing a suit made of repelling magnets, you are NOT expected to comment on the non-aerodynamic nature of the human body and explain how the drag and gravity forces overcome the magnetic forces. You are also not expected to lecture everybody about escape velocities when Troll Scientist suggests the construction of a huge slide to launch oneself into space.
There are certain subtle differences between Facebook and a conference of particle physicists in Richard Feynman’s backyard. Facebook is also used by average Joes, Commerce and Arts students, and housewives who still watch daily soaps for entertainment. When they see your glorified scientific disapproval of their daily dose of humor, they are bound to hate you. P.S. – It DOES NOT make you look any smarter than you already are (which isn’t a lot, trust me).
#1 “Hey, <insert random epic fail of popculture> is AWESOME! Look at all those fans!” And now, ladies and gentlemen, we shall raze all arguments that people who secretly support Justin Beiber make to prove that there has got be SOME talent in the guy (Still not too sure about the ‘guy’ part, though). These people argue, that if the number of hits on YouTube videos and the record sales for Baby have anything to say, there must be a LOT of people totally into Justin Beiber’s music, and since there are a lot of people diggin’ that shit, da shit’s gotta be rad! But the truth, friends and neighbors, is that ‘the popularity argument’, as the above paragraph is popularly known is worth exactly diddlysquat when it comes to measuring talent. Here’s why: Quick, how many of you wanted to watch The Hangover 2? How about the golden-globe winning, Academy Award nominated Hugo? Or maybe The Descendants? I can assure you the difference between those two answers cannot be calculated on your fingers. The fact of the matter is, that we, the masses, hardly know what it takes to make a REALLY, REALLY good movie. Most of the time we satisfy ourselves with Optimus Prime ripping Megatron’s mouth open, Bradley Cooper’s incisors and Robert Pattinson’s paleness. And while there’s nothing wrong in that by itself, it is totally wrong if you use the same logic to compare the skills of Christian Bale and Daniel Radcliffe. Popularity simply doesn’t measure talent. The same thing applies to all other categories. Music, for example. What comes to mind when I say the 70s? Led Zeppelin? Pink Floyd? Deep Purple? Well, these are the bands whose talents got recognized over decades. In the 70s, the most popular song was Sugar, Sugar by The Archies. Now try listening to that without upsetting your digestive system.
Teach Me To Forget You By Anonymous
concept of breakup of best friends passes tangentially across my head. To deal with this is as impossible for me as it is to run a C program all on my own.
“Bitch, it’s better to be dumb with you than not talking to you”.
I met him a year ago. He is a year senior to me. And a football freak!!!
My ex-bf, (Read it as best-friend or boyfriend…as you wish. He meant to me more than any “defined” relation), texted me this once. These were the days when we had an awesome friendship, when we texted each other all the time, when we shared every small and insignificant thing related to us, when we thought we would be best friends forever, when half the campus guessed that we were in a relationship.
It was my first day in college. I met a second year guy while I was walking along my hostel road. After the brief ragging or interaction session we exchanged our phone numbers. And we became good friends after that and hung out frequently. People thought we were going out. But lite…he got committed to someone else. During these days he introduced me to his best friend. Trust me, this is the only good thing he must have done in his life. Life was great then. These two
But all this is a past. Now we are strangers. This
The Best Of Good Times guys used to be in the same hostel room and text me at the same time. They used to wish me luck for exams on each other’s behalf. Anyways, this best friend is the protagonist of this article. He is the guy who turned out to be my bestest friend later. Time passed and I was blessed to have my best friend.
and I kept updating myself). I know every fucking thing about him and so does he. We had a few things in common. We are obsessed with Indian Air Force, want to do MBA after engineering and were big SRK fans (I still am but now he isn’t). This was the “old” him. Now he has changed.
Then came the Fresher’s Day. We went to a Salsa workshop. I have forgotten all the steps I learnt but there’s still a vivid picture in my mind of the moment when I almost fell and he held my hand to catch me. I remember how we looked into each other’s eyes for the first time. Wow!!!! We got a picture clicked but stupid me (I always act impulsively) I deleted it. Little did I know that it would become part of the beautiful memories. This was followed by going out to watch “Anjaana Anjaani” and many more things.
That was an unfortunate day. He text-ed me he does not want to talk to me anymore. We should go our separate ways. We are no more compatible. We were friends before but now we are not. I was shocked. He was going to change our friendship like the graph of a unit step function. I argued a lot. But he had made up his mind. During the span of our friendship I did every small and big thing I could to make him happy, I cared for him, I thought about him every second. Never did I hurt him. The only mistake I did was that I became possessive about him. I got emotionally attached to him. But was it such a big mistake that he abandoned me? I asked him for a second chance, everyone deserves it. He denied it. I said I would never ever give him a chance to complaint. He didn’t listen. I asked him why? He said he had become cold blooded. These things don’t matter to him anymore. He was no longer interested in SRK’s movies.
I repeat life was great. We were with each other all the time (through text). He text-ed me when he was in class, when he was with friends, all the time. We text-ed all night until one of us fell asleep. We also fought a lot. And he used to manaofy me “Tujhe manaane mein sahi maja aata hai” he used to say. He said I am lucky for him and I wished him every time he played poker and he would give me the credit on winning. He said we are like the pieces of a puzzle, we complement each other. He said he would never let me go. When we went out with our friends, we got things for each other. I still have many things that I could never give him. And his birthday……OMG!!!! It was the most anticipated thing. I wanted it to be the most memorable day of his life. I had so many plans. I was looking forward to it even more than RA.One (I’m a huge SRK fan). Talking about him…..hmmm…I can actually write a book on him. What he likes, what he doesn’t, what he wants to do in life, who all are the people he hates on campus, his childhood stories, his cute brother, his awesome grand-maa, what pisses him off, his favourite football team, both in Spanish league as well as English, his favourite album (it kept on changing
“But what about me? I don’t know how to forget you. I remember each and every conversation we had. Still your name brings a smile on my face. I still can feel the hug you gave me on the steps of the football ground.”
As I was thinking about all this, all the Facebook status updates like “Never let your true friend go”, “Love can change everyone”, “Try and try, till you succeed” and shit like this revolved around my head and I got inspired. I decided to fix everything on my own. I continued to act as if nothing had changed. I still texted him. I was sure he would stop all this drama and be my friend again. But I was sadly mistaken. His heart cells had mutated. He said it’s just impossible to restore things. I asked him a last question: “Will you miss me?” and he said he has learnt not to miss people. But what about me? I don’t know how to forget you. I remember each and every conversation we had. Still your name brings a smile on my face. I still can feel the hug you gave me on the steps of the football ground. I still remember holding your hand and talking to you. Every day I wake up expecting a good morning message from you. I still hope that I would receive good luck message “my bitch, do well” before my exams. Why did you end this? Bolo na…..aisa hota hai kya? You always said “bitch, it’s your wish”. Then why did you take this decision on your own? Why did you put an end to all my wishes? I was ready to change myself for you, why dint you give me a chance? And why didn’t you teach me to forget you???
The Best Of Good Times
Finding Your Roots “Yet it didn’t feel right. I put on a big smile and a few bad jokes which passed well enough in the light atmosphere yet something was missing. My parents called to congratulate me. It was noisy in the hall, so the conversation was short. But I don’t remember them even asking if I was coming home. All they said was that they were proud of me.”
By Sahil Mehta When my mom called me up on the weekend to tell me that they had sold the house and would be moving to a new one, it did not immediately register in my head. I had been gone a long time from home. 8 years now since I had lived there regularly. These last 8 years were dotted with a few visits to the “home sweet home”. Visits that got increasingly shorter as the years went by. Indeed it had been over 6 months since I had last gone back, back to my hometown. Hence, the news about shifting fired a blank in my head. Mom wanted me to come back the next weekend and help with the shifting. Not help really, my parents had got used to my absence - better than I had to theirs’ when I was a child. No, not help! She just wanted me to come and get my stuff from my room and throw away all the toys and games and clothes that I didn’t need. She said they would help someone else build a new life. Always so practical, they had brought me up with such values and it had gotten me a long way in life. I told her that I had a busy week in office with loads of deadlines to meet and would probably be working overtime every day. It was not untrue. We were in the midst of launching a huge product, a product which could very well change the way people lived in the future. It had been my brainchild and when I first proposed it 3 years ago fresh out of one
of the bigger engineering colleges in India my bosses had been very impressed. They gave me my shot and three years later it was just about ready. Three years spent working day and night, meeting deadlines and coordinating things. Just like the week ahead. I explained to mom that it would be difficult for me to get away and that a lot was riding on me. I knew my mom would understand. Moms always understand. They understand better than we do more often than not. They just don’t want to hurt our “educated” and inflated egos by saying the truth. Anyways understand my mom did. She said she would put my things in boxes and that I could sort things out whenever, no if, I had the time to come home. I told her to just give away everything rather than carry the extra load. Always practical! The conversation ended soon after with a customary “hello”, “hi”, “how are you” with dad. It wasn’t really that long ago when I used to spend hours and hours talking to dad trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Now the conversation ended in just under a minute almost always. Those days were behind me. In one week I was going to be the talk of the town, on the fast-track to stardom. Dad would like that. I went back to work. That week was a blur of shapes, colors, sounds, tempers & emotions. The product was to be launched on Wednesday, as all auspicious things in India are. Tension and planning dominated Monday and Tuesday. This was the biggest launch for not just me but also my company. It was of a magnitude that if even the slightest thing went wrong, it would leave a 10 feet deep crater in place of the 30 storied building I worked in. My career would be dust not to mention. Wednesday was as frantic, as I spent my
The Best Of Good Times time in making arrangements for the guests in the press-conference, making sure that there was enough press-coverage and nervously checking all features of the product to check if everything was working fine. I had two shots of tequila to steady my nerves. It was the first time in over 10 years that I touched alcohol. I had it only once before, with my best friends when I was in school. I hadn’t thought about them in many months. As it was I need not have worried, the launch went off smoothly but that was only half the battle won. I slept that night in the office and so did most of the other staff. Everyone was up by 4 a.m. next morning. All nervously waiting for the paper to come out. And it made an entry worthy of a film star. A loud thud on the main gate which certainly shook up everyone! I remembered how I used to get up early in the morning and get the paper everyday back home when I was a child. Someone opened it, slowly as if opening Pandora ’s Box itself. But like I said I need not have worried. All reviews were good. One paper even went to the extent of saying that we had discovered fire and reinvented the wheel all over again. I don’t remember much of the celebrations that went on all through the morning. It was all chaotic. A few hugs, loads of handshakes, infinite pats on the back; I remember there being a cake and the office looking like a 10 year-olds birthday party venue. But more than that I remember feeling uneasy inside! I remember thinking about what I was going to do next and not feeling glad at that the thought. The rest of the day was spent in preparing reports and all on the launch and on the reviews. It was the last time I would have to do such menial tasks. I was destined for bigger things now. Friday was the official and formal party of success. It was like my debut in the cutthroat, ruthless world of corporate biggies. I was introduced to the high and mighty of society. Never a free moment as I was whisked my one boss or other to explain the technology to the rich and lazy idiots who couldn’t bother reading the newspapers. More than a few gave me advices on how to stay on top. Music, money and alcohol flowed alike as over-made up female colleagues of mine came onto me like I was a magnet. It was everything I had imagined and more when I first started working. Yet it didn’t feel right. I put on a big smile and a few bad jokes which passed well enough in the light atmosphere yet something was missing. My parents called to congratulate me. It was noisy in the hall, so the conversation was short. But I don’t remember them even asking if I was coming home. All they said was that they were proud of me. They were happy for me and the life I had made for myself here. But I wasn’t happy. Three years of working with a single minded determination for this had made me a
workaholic. I knew then that I needed a break. An hour later I found myself at the airport. The benefit of living in the age of jet speed technology is that you can make up your mind very quickly and change it sooner. I was going home, not to the miniscule apartment this crowded city had offered but to the place where I had grown up. As I waited for the flight I pondered on what made me decide to take a plane and go home all of a sudden. It had been a spontaneous and instinctive decision that much was sure. But why? I had trained myself to fight instincts and do the right thing all through college when it made me bunk classes, fall behind in studies and in general feel miserable. I had slowly and slowly trained myself to do the sensible thing and not give in to temptations. Then why all of a sudden had I decided to go home? The responsible thing would have been to go to office tomorrow matter-of-factly and show my bosses that I was still as work-oriented as ever. Now they would feel that success had got to my head. Nevertheless what was done was done. I thought about fighting my instinct again and cancelling the ticket but the thought was hardly a flicker. Something was pulling me back home and I didn’t have the heart to resist.
The Best Of Good Times The flight was a late night one. It would reach Jaipur, my hometown at about 1:30 a.m. I hadn’t told my parents that I was coming home. There had hardly been any time to tell them really, it had all happened so quick. Anyways I wanted to keep it a surprise. I did call up my oldest and closest friend. We went back a long time, right back to pre-school days. There was a comfort between us that I never had with anyone else. We had never had any argument over anything, not in living memory. He understood me well, as well as I understood him. I had kept in touch with him all through college but since joining office the calls had become less and less frequent. He was nowhere in my “recent calls” list. I called him up, told him I was coming back; don’t know how long I’ll stay and if he was free sometime maybe we could catch up. He said sure, asked me how the sudden plan and when I was reaching etc. etc. The flight was 2 hours long. I had an economy class ticket, so was hardly comfortable. Sleep eluded me, and I fell into deep thoughts about how I was living today and tried to compare it with the past. I tried to think about what it meant to be selling the house. But it still didn’t really click. Everything was blank. Slowly I tried to draw out the memories that I had of that place. It was a slow flashback and it started backwards. The vacations from college when I spent my time hurrying meeting relatives, friends and catching up on movies and food; high school and those two years of hell that I went through while preparing for engineering; the years preceding that, which was when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life; and still earlier playing cricket in the driveway with friends and going out for movies. I remembered my parents and the way I grew up. All the things that me and dad used to do; how we used to corner mom together on various issues; how I used to always ask mom first if I ever needed anything. I wondered how my room would be. Mom always wanted to clean it up and get rid of the posters. She had had her chance to do that in these last 6 months. Time passed quickly in the land of nostalgia. The flight landed just 5 minutes late and I checked out the airport reasonably quickly. No baggage at all. I came out the terminal and was wondering whether to take a taxi or auto when I heard a familiar voice call out my name. My two best friends were waiting for me at the airport at 1:30 in the morning in 5 degree centigrade temperature. Just like the good old days. Nothing had changed them, both were still the same and soon I too was my old self. Gone was the formal tones and fancy vocabulary used in office. It was the same swear words and silly jokes
that marked my adolescent years. We were three 25 year olds behaving like 15 year olds. There was so much catching up to do. We didn’t directly go home; we went on a long drive, picked up ice-creams in the middle and chatted like women do in kitty parties. I do not remember what we talked about, it was mostly nonsense as usual. But I remember how much I laughed. I laughed as I hadn’t in many a years. It felt good to be back. At about 5:30 in the morning though I finally succumbed to the call of my house. I asked my friends to drop me home. I promised to call them in the evening to set something up.
I entered my house just as the first light of the sun was breaking through. Everything seemed so familiar. I had struggled to picture it my mind on the flight but now everything came back in a flood of memories. I had come back this late (or early) once before also. That had been the day of my farewell in school. What had been forgotten for so long now seemed so fresh as if it was yesterday. I bounded up the steps with the same energy as I had when I returned for the first time from college. I rang the bell. It was the same sound I had heard countless no. of times before. The ding-dong melody. It reminded me of the days when I used to stand next to the TV while watching cartoons in the evening. And how I would switch it off and run away whenever the bell rang in anticipation of my dad coming. He hadn’t scolded me for a long time now. My mom opened the door. Her face was a mixture of surprise and joy. It was the same expression which I used to have when I saw mom coming back from work in the evening. She was so surprised that the first thing she asked me was if everything was alright. I touched my mother’s feet. I never used to do it earlier, at least not too much, but today it just seemed right. I joined my parents for tea in the verandah. A tradition that had lasted over 2 decades. It was one the longest morning tea sessions in my life. I talked and talked. I enquired about their health, told them about the product, about my role in it, about my future prospects in the company. They had seen the product 46
The Best Of Good Times launch on TV, but listened anyway. My dad gave me a few suggestions to make it better too. Just like the old days. No matter how hard I tried, I was always a step behind dad. It was better that way anyways. This was all so familiar. The tea winded up at about 11. I went to my room to freshen. All over the house, I could see things being packed. It seemed odd to find things missing in so many places. I entered my room, dreading to find everything gone. It was just as I had left it. The same rickety bed on which I had spent countless hours studying, watching movies on my laptop, sharing jokes with my friends and just daydreaming. The poster of Sourav Ganguly, who I idolized and worshipped as a god right from his debut to his retirement and below it my first cricket bat, covered with dust and looking forlorn. I had outgrown it many years back but I had preserved it. I shared an attachment with it that went back to my first memories. I had played with it for a long time. It introduced me to my first love and I could never let go of it. You know, every child has dreams. We let go of most of them for more achievable things and call it growing up. But sometimes that one dream remains which you just can’t let go off. This was mine. I had wanted to be a cricketer ever since I could remember. I had loved playing so much. I would forget everything, time, hunger, weather, everything. It was pure bliss for so long. Then I started growing up. I still remember the day when I made the choice to pursue my academics over cricket. It had all gone as I planned, I was successful today, but I could just never let go off that desire. My mom had tried many times, always unsuccessfully, to get rid of that bat. There was no way that I was going to give away that bat. I don’t know if there is a higher power above us or not, but I was suddenly sure that if there was one, he brought me back to save my precious bat. I fell down on the bed and relaxed. Relaxed until the practical me took over and told me get on with it. I
started slowly taking out my old stuff, one item at a time. I sorted things into two groups, the ones which I would keep and the ones to throw away. The first few items found their way into the “DISPOSE” group but it was much harder to let go than I had imagined. The past soon caught up with me and the rational me ran off scared. My first fancy dress costume, my preschool uniform, the tie from farewell with messages from my friends, the photo albums with all my friends and family, my stamp collection, the scrapbook with photos of my favorite cricket stars, the books I had grown up reading, my first computer which was incidentally my second love, everything thing lay in that room. It was all my life scattered on the floor in front of me and I had to choose which parts of my life I would take with me in the future and which I would throw away. How do you do that? How do you prioritize between two memories each as sweet as the other bitter? Seconds turned to minutes and minutes to hours as I pored through all my material possessions, reliving the memories and experiences associated with each of them. I did not even bother trying to sort them into the two groups. My mom came to ask me for lunch, but when she saw me sitting cross-legged on the floor poring over old photo albums with the entire room in disarray, she left wordlessly. She returned with a plateful of food and kept it on the table. She left me again to my solace. When she returned 3 hours later to check on me, the food tray was still untouched. I spent hours going through the photo albums. They were full of my extended family, full of cousins and uncles and aunts and cousins of uncles and aunts. They had all doted on me when I was young. Now I recognized the faces but struggled to recall the names. Where they were now, how they were now? I had no clue. So many of my cousins would have been married by now. I hadn’t attended more than a couple of marriages in the last 3 years. I was probably an uncle to so many kids now, but unlike my uncles
“It was all my life scattered on the floor in front of me and I had to choose which parts of my life I would take with me in the future and which I would throw away. How do you do that? How do you prioritize between two memories each as sweet as the other bitter?” 47
The Best Of Good Times I hardly had time to visit them. All the faces in those albums had taught me something. I had remembered the teachings but forgot the teachers. This was what my life had become. I was an ungrateful and selfish man who did things only for his own good. I knew then I had to change things. I knew then what was missing. I figured out why I felt uneasy. It wasn’t that I was a workaholic. I just didn’t belong there. I belonged in here, in these photo albums. I belonged with my friends, my relatives and mostly my parents. They had all made me the way I was. I may have achieved a lot of success but these were the people who gave me the recipe for success in so many small insignificant ways. And it wasn’t just my family and friends, so many others were there. my driver who drove me to tuition, the domestic help who gave me something delicious to eat whenever I was hungry, the postman who got me the stamps everyday for my stamp collection, my cricket coach, my teachers, the postman who brought my results, the computer repair guy from whom I learnt how to fix my computer, our family doctor who made sure I got better on time, the restaurant waiter who got me my coffee before other people’s orders. And this city, it had given me so many opportunities. In aiming for the stars I had forgotten where I came from and who I was. But this trip back home helped me rediscover my roots. That abyss about my feeling for my house suddenly disappeared. My house was the foundation upon which my life existed. I had built a lot of memories and stored them in the subconscious but all those memories led back to physical things which were housed in this building. Leaving this house would be leaving behind my past. It would be as if most, if not all, of my previous existence would be wiped out. I was in a very pensive mood at dinner that night. My dad could sense it. It was as if he was feeling the same way. He asked me what was troubling
me. I kept quiet for a few seconds and then blurted out “Can’t we keep the house?”. It was a childish plea and I could sense the desperation in my voice. No one answered. No one needed to. I knew the answer even before I posed the question. I felt embarrassed at having lost control. But it was my last ditch effort to find redemption after years of neglecting my home, my friends and my family. It was my way of apologizing to my parents for not being there, over these last few years. That one moment will be one that changed my life the most. In one moment all was forgiven. My mom and dad cheered me up with stories from my past. We would have gone well past midnight had it not been for the fact that the movers were coming in tomorrow. This was our last night in this house. It would be the last of many peaceful sleeps that I had in my bed. I got up the next morning, Sunday, all set for a new beginning. I knew today what things I wanted to keep and what to dispose off. I picked up all the photos, all the cards, and a few gifts from the people whom I treasured. The rest was all to be given away. The material things didn’t matter. The memories they made were there in my head & the lessons that they had taught firmly in my conscious. All I needed was to make sure that the people associated with those memories were there in the future. I resolved to do that. The movers came and took away the furniture. I went with dad and gave away all the stuff that we wouldn’t need to charity. It felt good to give. Soon the walls were bare, the rooms empty. Soon it would be time to say goodbye. I met the people moving in. A young working couple and their four year old son. They were both graduates from top B-schools working at top positions in big MNCs. They had recently moved to the city. Their pay allowed them to afford a bungalow and other comforts at such a relatively young age. It all seemed picture perfect until you saw the sadness and loneliness in the eyes of their son. It told the very familiar story of what is our “professional and work oriented” generation. I said my goodbyes to my house and as they walked in I felt as if my past walked out but my future was walking in. A lost man, who did not realize that life had more to offer than just material comforts. That future had to change. With a last symbolic gesture, I took down the nameplate from the main door. The house now bore no signs of us ever having lived there. It was completely empty except for that cricket bat which I had left behind. My past had taught me a most important lesson in life. It was time to let go of it. It was time someone else made new memories with that bat. 48
The Best Of Good Times
Gay You By Anuj Suri Every night in his feebly lit bedroom, he stands naked in front of the mirror, stares at his sexually confused reflection and feels nothing. He then lights a cigarette, tries to masturbate but never makes it to orgasm and then, dozes the night away. He wakes up to the same question every day, a question he doesn’t know who to ask. He was open to the idea of being homosexual, at least till the first time he got a hard-on after accidentally watching a male friend take a shower. The threat was now real and he feared discovering his true sexual alignment. He hadn’t experienced an orgasm for almost 3 months and believe me, for horny teenage boys, three months is a pretty long time. Pornography confused him even more. The sight of naked women was still pleasant to the eyes but he
could hardly achieve an erection. Fiddling with his naked self every night wasn’t working out very well either. A hooker, he thought, was the answer to all his questions. “But I don’t want to open with a hooker” and this option too, was discounted. There’s very little that we know about how things figure. It was another night of mind-boggling meaningless masturbation that took forever and, out of nowhere, his phone rang. That was probably the first time the metallic pink phone was uneasy to look at. “Pink? What was I thinking?”. He, then gathered what he thought were “all things gay” in his room, hoping to find himself somewhere in the heap. He wept that night, with almost an expressionless face. And that night, in his feebly lit bedroom, standing naked in front of the mirror, he gave his sexually confused reflection the answer “I may be gay but I don’t want to know” and broke the mirror. You’re strangled by your servile hunger. Struggling with the odds isn’t really the question. Acceptance is only a mirror away. Gay you!
The Best Of Good Times
Writers Note Have you ever met a guy who introduces himself as a writer? They always have this narcissistic air of self-importance and elitism. I would know. My name is Abhay Gupta and I’m a writer. And I happen to be better than you. Relax, I don’t really believe that. Honestly, I don’t think you can qualify yourself as a writer until you’ve written things that people can appreciate as good work. It’s pretty simple. You don’t attach an MD to your name just for knowing how to perform CPR or administering first-aid. You need to earn that glorious insigne in order to call yourself a writer and that requires incorporating a simple set of skills that differentiates you from a guy who writes. Well, what makes a good writer? Verbosity? A command over the English language? The ability to flawlessly plagiarize works of those who are well established in the field? Well, let’s start simple. What are you writing? If you’re writing an article, you need the necessary rhythm
By Abhay Gupta and flow. Construction is the key here. Collect your thoughts and understand that paragraphs are not blocks of text that people use to make their articles look pretty and neat. They’re singular building blocks of information that construct the entire article. They need to consistently illustrate a point without disconnecting from the overall idea or theme of the article in question. At the same time, they need connectors so that the entire article flows in a smooth fluid manner. Don’t vomit your ideas all over the article, collect the similarly themed points and
The Best Of Good Times construct them within a paragraph. Pick a rhythm. Your written words are your readers’ dancing partners and it’s up to you to decide what music’s playing. You may provide the hottest prom date in the world with some great thoughts penned down but you can kill the mood if you lack rhythm. Like playing Tubthumping in the background.
that any and every article is as open to subjectivity and opinionated interpretation as a painting would be. If you try too hard to make an article abstract and full of hidden meaning, you stand to alienate a lot of readers by confusing them silly. If you don’t put in the right amount of effort into it, you’ve made the writer’s equivalent of a finger-painting.
The next step is to be clear about why you’re writing in the first place. Are you doing it because all the cool kids are doing it? Are you doing it because it’s easier than getting a bachelor’s degree in Engineering? (Nb: Just so you know, Abhay wrote this column and I helped with the editing and both of us write because we are disgruntled engineers to be!) Like everything else in the world, you put your best works out when you’re doing it because you’re passionate about writing. You feel for whatever it is you’re translating into text. Writers write because it’s their ideal and most channelled release of the ideas, thoughts and emotions that they have bottled up inside of them. It’s all about expression. Express all that you feel and think about what you’re writing and you’ll find
Finally, mould your own style. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a writer. If your vocabulary’s weak, don’t fret. Some of the best articles that I’ve read used the simplest words and sentence structures. The trick is to find a style that’s both natural for you and appealing to your readers. Adapt. Incorporate new things into your writing and pay attention to what works for both yourself and your readers. Never shun criticism in any form. Criticism is good. It means someone actually paid enough attention to your article to realize where it’s inherently weak. Remember that your articles are a reflection of your skills as a writer. If there are holes in your article, there are holes in your technique and you have to revise your technique if you want your future articles to get better. When you’ve grown into your own customized style of writing, you’ll find that you’ve established your signature and groove as a writer and it becomes a part of who you are.
“Well, what makes a good writer? Verbosity? A command over the English language? The ability to flawlessly plagiarize works of those who are well established in the field?” that writing is really an effortless skill if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Paint a canvas with your words. Create a world of imagination and invite your readers into it by structuring your words in the most tantalising form possible. While writing is undoubtedly a skill, a good writer will always recognize it as an art form. Are any of you reading this fans of art? Yeah, me neither. I don’t get it. Some paintings are just scribbly colours or abstract images that probably mean something profound but need a little explanation or the right amount of LSD to understand. Once, I walked into an art exhibition and there was a painting of a blue background and a giant red dot in the centre. That’s it. That was the whole painting. It’s like walking in to a Foo Fighters concert and finding Anu Malik singing on the stage! I asked the artist what it meant and he gave me some artsy jargon involving a tragic love story and the fight between good and evil. Honestly, I just saw a big fucking red dot in the middle of a lot of blue. My point to this is
So what have we learned today, folks? Is writing a skill or an art form? Is it structure more important or vision? Is it important to write the way you want to or to appease and please your readers? My personal opinion is a big black tick mark in the box next to ‘YES TO ALL’. Seriously, it’s like trying to answer “Does breadth contribute more than height does in calculating the area of a rectangle?” (Nb: That’s how good we are at engineering. Neither of us could come up with anything better than area of a rectangle!) Just write the way you want and work it out as you go along. That’s the fun of it all. And if you ever find yourself hitting writer’s block, understand that a true writer would see it as a momentary pause in their thought flow and not a full stop. We writers are obnoxious and pretentious and believe we’re better than everyone else because what we do is more than just scribble some fancy words for you to read during your bathroom breaks. We consider ourselves elite members of a society whose primal task is to influence the way you think using something as basic as a pen and paper. The pen truly is mightier than the sword. Unless you’re in an actual sword-fight, because then you’re a fucking idiot for bringing a Cellopoint to save your sorry ass against four and a half pounds of chiseled steel. Words of wisdom for you, kids. 51
The Best Of Good Times
Life Goes On Anyway !! “I was shocked. Life is a bitch. Just when you think you have got everything sorted out and everything is perfect it messes up things.”
“Bangalore ?!... but why? We have enough coaching centers here in Hyderabad as well, why do you want to go all the way to Bangalore?” asked my dad looking up from his morning paper. “Because I feel like a loser here, because I am bored, because I desperately need some change!!” I wanted to say, but these are definitely not the reasons parents would like hearing so I just said “Sunil says I will have better chances there,he knows a few coaching centres that guarantee jobs immediately after the coaching is done.” “Well we shall see,let me talk to Sunil first.” said dad. “No, we won’t.” It was my mom, “You are not going anywhere and where will you stay?! In those hostels?! Have you not seen in the news the things happening to girls these days? and you tell me you are going to go and stay alone in some unknown city?! Definitely not!” I don’t understand why mothers think that all the crimes shown in the news are likely to happen to their children. As I was going to answer my phone rang, I got up and went to my room, it was Sunil, “Hey did you speak to your dad?” he asked. “Ya but he wants to talk to you first and mom freaked out as expected!” “Don’t worry,I’ll talk to them.Now stop thinking too much and be happy.” Sunil is my cousin, three years elder to me. He went to IIT, got placed in Microsoft in his third year and knows every damn thing about a computer. I was sure he was going to convince mom and dad as people generally tend to trust an IITian when he is giving advice on studies, career and stuff.
By Tejaswi Vemula As expected my parents finally gave in and I was leaving to Bangalore the next day. The next day I got into the train after saying goodbye to my parents and settled myself on the seat next to a window. I gazed outside. The platform was full of life and activity. Everyone seemed so happy and clear about things in their lives. “Oh god!! What am I going to do now?! I’m Such a looser! I dint get placed in even one of the twelve companies that visited my campus, I can’t do MBA anywhere as I have a horrible CAT score and my visa application was rejected so I can’t even do my masters! Perfect!! Doors closed on all the sides! I have no idea what to do with my life now. How am I going to face people now? Dad and mom must be thinking that I am useless. Every idiot I know, asks me the same question ‘what next?’ What’s my answer going to be? Oh why the hell cant people mind their own business?!” I thought to myself. The train started, I took out a Jane Austen and started flipping through the pages to distract myself. “Awesome book! Isn’t it?” a voice broke my morbid train of thoughts. I looked up and saw a guy sitting in front of me , he looked like a typical software hunk. I ignored him and went back to my book. “Hey, aren’t 52
you gonna say something?!” he said. “Oh please shut up and mind your business” I wanted to say, but I just smiled and said “Yes, it is.” “I am Rishi and you?” he said. “I’m Keerthi.” “So what do you do?” he asked. “I did my B.Tech from Hyderabad.” I said wondering in my mind when he was going to shut up. “Oh, what’s next?” Now that’s it I wanted to push him out of the train, in my imagination I already had! But then I thought “Hey wait, he doesn’t need to know the truth! I can tell him anything!” So I went on and said “I got placed in IBM Bangalore.”, wondering whether that was ever going to happen. “IBM!! I worked there for 2 years and then left.” He said. “Why did you leave?” I asked. “I wrote CAT and got into IIMK, so I left the company.” “Cool!! You have been to IIM?! Life must have been amazing for you.” I was suddenly jealous of this guy.
month after joining IIM and had to sit at home for a whole year. I never graduated from IIM.” He said. I was shocked. Life is a bitch. Just when you think you have got everything sorted out and everything is perfect it messes up things. He went on “I had no job, I couldn’t complete my MBA and that after slogging hard for two year sacrificing everything to get into IIM. I was stuck up at home uselessly, but then life doesn’t wait for anyone does it? It goes on anyway and so must we. We can’t sit crying over what happened. I started brushing up my skills in designing, I was always good at it but never considered it as a career option for obvious reasons. But then there is not much you can do sitting at home right? Now I am an interior designer and have my own company. I do not earn lakhs and lakhs but I am happy with the way it has turned out. I married the love of my life and my life is just great now!” I was amazed. The next day as I got down the train, I still didn’t know what to do with my life, I didn’t know whether I was going to work for IBM ever but I knew one thing, when life closes doors on all the sides and you can’t open them, then you must break them down!!
“Well, actually it wasn’t!! I met with an accident a 53
The Best Of Good Times