Of Earthquakes, Outrage and Ashish Nehra

January 19, 2011 at 4:31 am | Posted in Random Rants | 11 Comments
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So, an earthquake happened in Pakistan, last night. Tremors were felt in Delhi and Jaipur. As usual, I heard it first on Twitter. It was my third earthquake on Twitter. I remember messaging a friend in Port Blair about an earthquake last time, and then having to explain what is Twitter. Anyway, we digress. Well, two natural calamities happened. A 7.3 Earthquake occurred in Pakistan and Ashish Nehra scored the winning runs in a cricket match with a BAT and not a Ball.

As usual, we on Twitter were making fun of Ashish Nehra.  Hashtags and puns were flowing around. Even Murli Vijay had come to the party. And then the tremors happened. Twitter went through the usual cycle. Updates were coming in fast. Everyone was eager to know the amount of damage caused. Some people were really shaken up by the tremors in Delhi. I don’t follow a lot of people from Pakistan but I am guessing it’d have been the same there. And while all this was happening, some jokes on earthquakes flowed in from the usual suspects and many unusual ones. Outrage followed.

People were upset with the insensitivity. Unfollows, follows and blocks ensued. Also pouring in were sympathy tweets for Pakistan and Pakistanis. People were suddenly looking for their Pakistani followers and appeared worried about them. That is when my medulla oblongata malfunctioned and I posted these tweets:

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A lot of discussion followed. Insensitivity, opportunism and the price of being funny were discussed. I learnt a few things. Sadly, I missed the ‘How not to tweet when you are mildy outraged’ lesson. So I tweeted this:

 

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This didn’t go down well with a lot of my friends. Apologies. I didn’t word it properly. I’ll try and do that now.

I have a serious problems with sudden gushes of sympathy. I was #outraged when Aircel was screaming 1411 tigers in my face. I hate it when people are moved by numbers. A bomb blast happens in Pakistan every other fortnight. People die. Do you tweet on your timeline asking your Pakistani friends if they are ok? Just because the probability of some Pakistani(and I don’t say that in a J.P.Dutta fashion) who follows you dying in a bomb blast is mathematically less than the probability of someone dying/getting hurt in this earthquake? I didn’t stop there. Posted some more.

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My outrage was misguided, may be even unfounded. But I refuse to believe that every follower of mine who tweeted about the loss(am not really sure about the damages yet) of Pakistanis, was genuinely worried about them. And that is what boiled the blood. And the medulla oblongata. So I questioned. And like everything on twitter, a lot of us took it personally. They had my imaginary finger(not sure which one) looking in their direction, my bald head tilted towards them, my questioning gaze questioning(duh!) their emotions. A lot of them responded with logic. Some responded with smart-alec-ness. I apologized and made a run for it. Having @thecomicproject to talk to, helped.

I still believe that there is nothing wrong with joking about a calamity. If you can tolerate someone talking about Sania Mirza’s pubic hair, you shouldn’t have a problem with someone joking about a death. If you can tolerate the mention of the word ‘Chinki’ in a conversation or a joke, you shouldn’t really be outraged by hypocrisy. I personally believe insulting those who live is worse than insulting those who are dead. If you can tolerate one(or even enjoy it), you might as well take the other.

And that is all there is. My Wednesday is fucked and only I am to be blamed.

P.S.: Some people unfollowed me during this. I promptly went to friendorfollow and unfollowed them back. I understand your urge to unfollow. Had I been in your place, I may have done the same thing. I have a policy – I follow people because (a) I like their shit and (b) they like my shit(given they aren’t, for the lack of a better term, orkutias). The moment (b) ceases to be true, I don’t see a point in following you anymore. On an unrelated note, @daddy_san, @unnamedentity, @pranavbakliwal, @stupidusmaximus and @thecomicproject – I am glad that I follow you all. Thanks for driving reason in.

Dear 2010.

December 31, 2010 at 1:46 am | Posted in Bhery Phunny | 18 Comments

Dear 2010,

Like Kumar Gaurav’s acting career, our ‘brief’ encounter must come to an end. You have been nice to me, nicer than Congress ever was to A.Raja. I remember waiting for you with bated breath, hoping that you’ll wipe off all bad memories of 2009. Wipe off you did, all the bad memories and the good ones too, for you held more surprises than I could handle.

With the agility of Sania Mirza, you tossed me to Jaipur(and tossed her to Pakistan). You gave me the first hostel experience of my life and my mushy bottoms still bear testimony to that. You made me walk to a wine shop after a hard day at work only to find it closed. You made me buy a Kingfisher and climb a mountain to have it in peace. To this you added rain to make the experience more surreal. How thoughtful.

You made sure that we don’t have a cooler in our hostel in the Jaipur summers so that I take a bath everyday. You sly year, you. You ensured that I eat the best Malai Chicken Tikka at Take Away Kebabs, on Mahatama Gandhi road. Some twisted sense of humour you have.

You took me to Ranthambore where I had hoped to see a tiger but all I managed to see were a tiger’s behind and truckloads of peacocks. Thanks to you, I now understand why Peacock is the national bird of India. You then took me to an IPL match where I screamed my guts out and all I could ever see is a glimpse of Shilpa Shetty, fully clad that too. I, therefore switched my loyalties to Mumbai and screamed my guts out, so much so that one Rajasthan Royals supporter came up to me and asked ‘Bhaiyaa, aap log practice kar ke aaye hain kya?’.

Not to be outdone, you decided to take me to Mount Abu. To delight me further, you gave me a driver who had no idea of where we are headed. A driver who drove for 400 kilometers instead of the usual 110 only to land us in a land of ruthless adivasis, who as a part of drunk revelry , rob cars that cross their area. I bet you didn’t see the part where a benevolent dhabawallah will grant us political asylum at 50 bucks a night, the best dhaba food we’d had in ages and rotis the size of Dolly Bindra’s waist. Not to mention a hidden room with chilled Kingfisher.

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You still had your little revenge next morning, when I had to attend Nature’s call next to a cactus bush which threatened to acupuncture me with the slightest gush of wind. But I survived. I survived your little joke and reached Mount Abu and gained enlightenment(and a picture that will come in handy as a cheesy display pic).

Remember the time when you took to me Amer fort and let me have the best Aloo parathas in the world at the dingiest shop possible? I was happy. But you just had to put in a guide who’ll talk about the King’s penis instead of the actual history of the fort and will abuse his brother-in-law instead of enlightening us on the curious practice of donating alcohol at the temple inside the fort. Remember the incident when in a crowded local bus(where you had to scream ST ST to get a student discount), you gave us the gentleman who’ll fart in our face and smile at our misery. Laugh even. Ha ha. Not. Remember the incident where we had to share a tempo with a goat to reach a multiplex to watch Kites. What were you thinking?

To compensate, you did offer a set of new friends and a few cheap thrills like doing yoga to the tune of ‘Dhak dhak karne laga’ or stopping drunk friends from breaking all the doors in the hostel or swimming almost naked in a corridor full of water. Fun times indeed.

And then, with another swoop of your wand, you decided to ship me to Chennai. You ensured that I’ll lose half my salary flying from the land of leather to the land of sultry weather. I still think that this decision of yours was influenced by the nightly visits I made to Sun TV to watch those item numbers but I also paid equal attention to the Bhojpuri item songs on Mahua TV. Why not transfer me to Bhojpur? Or were you angered by my constant cribbing about the lack of tweetups in the land of powercuts? So much so that you ensured that I met twitterwallahs at Jaipur too in what can be termed as the pink city’s first tweetup?

All your evil plans backfired anyway. My first flight was a great experience. The airhostesses were nice(go Indigo!) and one of them actually thought I was 19 years old. I also used the public loo for the first time in my life as a gastronomic catastrophe unleashed itself on me at the Delhi airport. Though the experience wasn’t as traumatic as I feared it will be but asking a gentleman to watch my bag which had my laptop and worrying about the same with my pants down did build some character.

Ever since I’ve been to Chennai, the weather has been excellent(take that!). After fighting with three PG owners and changing four houses in as many months, I’ve also managed to find decent accommodation in a building that has two table tennis tables, one basketball hoop and more air-hostesses than Kanpur airport. Thanks to you, now I also know what Chicken 65 means and I’ve also come across something called Dragon Gobhi(which doesn’t breathe fire but can give you a lot of wind if you know what I mean). Now, I can also tell a Parotta from a Paratha, kappi from coffee and Aditya Pancholi from Vikram.

I’ve also caught the intricacies of a new language. Like adding an aaaa to a word will make it a question. So Hindi terimaaa? would mean ‘Do you know hindi?’. I’ve also understood that this rule doesn’t apply to words like ‘Chumma’ so ‘Chumaaaaa?’ won’t mean ‘Will you kiss me?’. Chumma again is a superword that can be fit into any sentence and any context if you are clever enough. Its usage gives us North Indians, coming from the land of ‘Ek Chumma tu mujhko udhar dei de‘ and ‘Jumma Chumma De De’, a kind of a temporary thrill, cheap but exhilarating.

To add to my excitement, I’ve discovered the secret Bengali concoction, the Ghooseberry juice. When administered in controlled quantities, it can convert a normal man into an internet hindu and give him amazing screaming powers and the ability to write horrendous books.

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Dear 2010, you have also taught me some important life lessons.

Like never to trust colleagues with action figures. (especially an Iron Man who thinks he is Amitabh Bacchan)

Or to double check the gender of a toilet before using it. For this I totally blame the owner of the pub where the aforementioned event happened. How, in my drunken stupor, am I supposed to realize that the elaborately drawn face on the toilet door is that of a lady and not a man.

Or the time that I traveled in an auto full of transvestites. In a hurry to reach office, I jumped into the first shared auto that came my way without realizing that the other occupants belong to the third gender. As expected, a wave of embarrassment followed by a wave of fear was experienced. In sometime though, shame was replaced by questions. What am I ashamed of? Juvenile jokes that my friends will crack when I tell them about this incident? An officewallah spotting me and using this as the weekly watercooler gossip? Are they as ashamed of being spotted with us as we are with them? And so on and so forth. All their clapping and mockery was dedicated towards other passerbys. They didn’t direct any of that to me. In fact, they were friendly enough to tell me when my stop arrived. I couldn’t talk to them or face them with a straight face. Maybe someday this repulsion will die a complete death, a part of it died in those 20 minutes.

With your assistance and a little help from autowallahs I have also mastered the art of dumb-charades. I am sure you wanted to test my patience when agent of yours, cleverly disguised as an autowallah, dropped me at Besant Nagar after assuring me that it is Adyar. He also offered to drop me to Besant Nagar if I wanted. It was only by the shrewd identification of a TASMAC that I discovered the treachery of the autowallah and avoided adding further injury to my insult. Of course the other autowallahs I met were more friendly and understanding. Like the drunk one who kept shouting ‘bahinchod’ every 5 minutes to anyone who could hear him because he was extremely happy to learn that I am from North India. Other friendly ones have this habit of kidding when they say ‘Not cheating saar’ or ‘Cheating nahi kar ra saar’ while quoting 3X the standard fare.

I am sure you didn’t plan the joyride the first taxi in Chennai gave us when he did a James-Bondish car stunt on a flyover in a Black Ambassador. Or when my office cabs turned out be gorgeous White Ambassadors. Or when we had coffee at an empty Marina beach on a rainy afternoon. Or when that cute girl got the seat next to me on the flight thus breaking the ‘curse of the ugly co-passengers’. Or when that beautiful girl came and sat opposite to me at the KFC outlet on Delhi airport.

You had your share of laughs the day I washed my hair with a facewash or when I went to watch A-Team in Devi Kala theatre on a 7.5m screen or when a speeding carwallah gave me a middle finger when I was trying to cross a road or when I wasted 2000 bucks on a Burberry perfume. I bet you laughed yesterday too when you saw my three digit account balance.

But I also think you felt sad for me when I had to spend my birthday on a shitty bus traveling from Delhi to Kanpur, unable to take any calls or messages. Felt annoyed when I told myself that I’ll buy a DSLR on the first day of every month and spend all the money by the 15th and then crib about it. Felt my pain when I accidently formatted my hard disk with the Pictures folder, losing all the precious memories, some of them lost forever.

Dear 2010, you have been a curious year. You have been the proverbial roller-coaster, pepping up my life with the ups and downs and rounds and rounds. You have given me new friends, some of whom have altered the course of my life in their own little ways. You given me opportunities to win and fuck up and I’ve made the most of them both.

As I move on to new things, a new blog, a new year and a new calendar, I wish you luck and happiness as you ascend into Calendar Heaven. You’ll forever be remembered as the year that gave us Dolly Bindra, Rakhi ka Insaaf, Radia ki Kahani and Sheila ki Jawani. You’ll go down in history as the year when ‘Munni badnaam hui’ and ‘2G spectrum scam hui’. The year of the iPad and the iShqiya. The year in which ‘Sir U made lakhs’ and Aishwarya Rai proved that she is better in Wax.

Dear 2010, Fare thee well.

XOXO or something like that.

Tantanoo.

(This is going to be one of the last posts on this blog before we move to Tantanoo.com. So it is a farewell of sorts for the blog too. *sniff*)

The One With All The Plans

December 22, 2010 at 3:09 am | Posted in New beginnings | Leave a comment
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Clearly, I’ve been watching too much Friends.

Anyway, it has been a while since I’ve posted something on this blog. Infact in 2010, I’ve treated this blog with the same indifference with which I treat Uday Chopra’s movies. Apart from a faking news post here and there, or a comic-idea at thecomicproject’s blog or a presentation for a slideshare contest, I solemnly swear that I haven’t been upto much good this year.

I’ve experienced the benefits of retail therapy and have decided to apply the same to my blogs. If you follow me on Twitter(and care to read the crap that I post), you’ll remember that I’ve bought tantanoo.com. In the days to come, I’ll be moving TGAT to tantanoo.com. To continue my blog killing spree, I’ll be shutting down Comicry.org and moving the comics that I like to tantanoo.com/comics. As of now I am struggling to setup Comicpress on tantanoo.com but I hope I’ll figure that bit out soon. I’ll also be needing some SEO gyaan(fokat ofcourse) so if you are an SEO-expert-thingy, drop some good words in the comments. Also any suggestions regarding tantanoo.com are most welcome, including the ‘you suck, stop blogging’ hints.

Tantanoo.com is an exercise in narcissism that I’ve been dying to try. Shutting Comicry down is a painful decision though, considering that it had gained a lot of publicity(not adsense revenue, mind you) in the last few months thanks to some journos. But I’ve always doubted my comicing abilities. Now that I look back, of the 100 odd comics that I’ve made I hardly like some 8 or 9 oddd comics. I don’t have a special style like say FLF, TVI or Chuck, no consistent characters and no themes. I’ve tried everything from memes to venn diagrams to toondo comics. It is because of this inconsistency that I’ve turned down offers to make comics for magazines and websites. Those jobs have gone to more worthy, deserving candidates. So instead of a separate website for my comics, I am going to club that with Tantanoo.com which should make them look like little lab experiments of my own.

Whether this is the right thing to do or not, only time will tell. But as of now, Imma gonna go forward with these plans. Yalgaar ho!

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