Now being published as a novel. Click the picture to find out more:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shut it, please?

The other day, I was in an elevator with a lady. She was listening to dont-mess-with-me headphones – the ones which look suspiciously similar to the ones that were used to communicate with aliens in the early science fiction movies. This was before they discovered telepathy and video-conferences.

I think headphones are a wonderful invention. It allows you to carry your own personal brand of ambience around. No need to worry about anything around you. No danger of being forced to engage in inane social small talks. In fact, no need to think about the futility of inane social small talks either. In a way, you are carrying your own world around with you. It is literally wrapped around your head.

Sometimes, this world spills out of your head. It is not pleasant, especially if that world consists of Justin Bieber. It can become utterly obscene if Justin Bieber inadvertently bursts into a just-need-somebody-to-love through your mouth. The best part is that you may not even be aware that you are breaking into a hum at dangerously audible decibel levels. It can be embarrassing in much the same manner as it would be if someone were to release an incriminating tape of yours on the internet without your knowledge.

This lady in the elevator did exactly that. No, she didn’t release an incriminating tape – Not that I am aware of at least; but she started to sing Justin Bieber aloud in a manner which would put anybody to shame, including Justin Bieber. In an alternate world, Justin Bieber, actually did hear her singing and immediately decided never to sing again, thereby making for a better world. In the present world, however, I was confined in this elevator for a full minute listening to her recital. This experience now tops my list of most forgettable experiences. It required a lot of deliberation on my part to grant this the #1 status as it faced stiff competition from #2 on that very list (turning thirty). In the end, I eliminated turning-thirty from the list since I have already forgotten if that event ever happened. Already forgotten, it couldn’t possibly be ‘forgettable’. Minor but important technicality.

When my colleague reported to me a similar excess he experienced in office, I was so moved that I contemplated turning into a superhero that will rid the world of such ignorant and untalented singers. I designed a logo, made a costume out of curtains, frills and empty detergent boxes and was just thinking about inventing the usual gizmos, the utility belt and the likes, when the inspiration dawned upon me. So I decided instead to use this space to write some techniques that can help you in dealing with such atrocities in the most humane manner possible. These techniques don’t involve any binding/ gagging or pulling out of nails; not even any odd kick to the skull. Here you go:

Break into a version of a dance involving some karate chops and pulling your hair. When the culprit looks at you with admonishment in his/ her eyes, simply say – you provide the score, I do the choreography.

Tap on the shoulder and compliment the lovely voice s/he has. Also suggest lining up for Americal Idol auditions.

Proceed to give him/her a CPR. Ignore all protests. Call an ambulance. Destroy the CCTV and leave before the ambulance turns up.

Step in close to the person. Take out your ultra small foldable pair of scissors. In a swift undetectable motion, cut the cord. Abort if it is a Bluetooth.

Entangle the cord into some fixture to allow for a slow-motion tripping of the culprit. Lend a helping hand and mention what a health hazard the headphones are.

Write a fictitious report with the headline – Headphones discovered to be the prime cause of brain tumors. Carry a print with you at all times. Pretend to read it while keeping it in full visibility of the unsuspecting hummer. Ensure font size and colors are attractive and readable.

If nothing works, take this opportunity to swear at the person in vernacular. This emotional outlet will keep you sane for the next six hours. Find another culprit in the mean time to fuel your addiction.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Alternate History of Time

A cricket ball was hoicked out of a mildly high dimensional universe by a galactic batsman. Having descended down to an unoccupied universe, the ball hit a piranha that was floating in nothingness and fused it with consciousness. Awake, the piranha was at once furious and hungry. It proceeded to viciously shred the ball into many sub-atomic pieces. Thereafter, the piranha was never seen or heard again. It is said that it went off somewhere in search of the batsman who had hit the shot. The story could not be verified till the time this piece went to press.

If it were a tennis ball or a golf ball, I would not have been around to write this article. But, it was, in fact, a cricket ball. And someone had given it a good rub so that it was a little shinier on one side than the other. This shine had survived even down to the sub-atomic level which led to a kind of a reverse motion. The particles, instead of floating away, started to converge. It seemed they wanted to gain their form back.

The reverse motion moved past the tipping point without losing a heartbeat and soon threatened to tear through the fabric of time and space. From the other side of the fabric, the batsman (yes, the same one, they just couldn’t get him out; it helped that he owned the only bat in that universe) assumed it to be another shady tactic of the fielding side and hooked it out of that universe again to widespread awe. This is also referred to in the history books as the big bang. No, not the one with Debbie in it. That came a lot later. And hardly worth a plop, if you ask me. You may want to check out Sheila instead.

It was such a ferocious hit that the ball immediately dissolved into gazillions of particles who then shat their pants and raced away at a breakneck speed. They have not stopped since. In fact, they are running away even faster, petrified to the core. Some found comfort in numbers and clustered around to form stars. The early stars crumbled under the collective fear of the willow and so the particles formed even complex structures such as galaxies to hide within.

Over time, the memory of the big bang started to lose its intensity and some of the particles settled down in distant parts of the universe in the form of planets. A few decided to lead the revolution to form their own cricket team to tame the galactic monster batsman. After quite a few trial and errors involving fins, webbings, tentacles etc, they moved onto four legged animals. Seeing that such animals could not throw a ball if their lives depended upon it, they finally zeroed onto a two-legged creature.

By now, so much time had elapsed, that the two legged creatures weren’t sure of their place and purpose in the larger cosmos. Initially, they amused themselves with sex, religion and wars. They were then depressed for a while but after a bout of cold, they quickly discovered philosophy, rock-n-roll and drugs. Nowadays, they mostly scratch themselves, fart and make faces in no particular order.

And now, the most intelligent cluster of particles walks this earth in the form of yours truly. I mostly think deep thoughts and withdraw money from the ATM. Yesterday, my ATM asked me if I was single and I responded – No, just delusional.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Resident Dormitus

This is going to be a short post.

Let me start by apologizing to my imaginary fans for not writing for some time. You will understand my reasons by the end of this article.

Let me now tell you why I started this blog in the first place.

A while ago, I attended a talk. We were asked to write on a piece of paper a list of future accomplishments which when achieved will give us a sense of fulfillment. The items on this list were to be struck out over time as and when the respective activity was accomplished.

I wrote many things on my list. Some have been struck out since but the #1 item on the list still remained intact…..on the list. It has mocked me for as long as I can remember. This accomplishment was to become a published author.

When I embarked upon writing a novel, I realized what a lonely life an author leads. I couldn’t share my little project with anyone for fear of ridicule or for fear of what I would term as contamination of the story to the point of rendering it not-so-original.

Not sharing my project meant lack of both feedback and in-process encouragement, leading to lack of motivation. So, I started this blog for the selfish reason of keeping myself motivated.

When my novel was being rejected by agents and publishers alike, it created more doubts in my mind still. But while my novel gathered rejections, this space continued to accumulate glowing comments. So, what started as a selfish enterprise became much more than just that.

My much fancied reader, you have provided great encouragement which not only helped me in finishing the novel but also eventually in getting it published.

So, I am pleased to inform you that my novel has been accepted for publication in India. Past few days, I was busy with the same and could not attend to the demands of maintaining an active blog. But I think, my reliable ally, you will understand. As always.

Service will resume as usual shortly.