#REF! (Relationships Gone Sour)

I work hard to not work hard.

Remember that allegory that featured some ants and a grasshopper?

I now think that that allegory is wasted on humans. We don’t need it.

See, no human is a grasshopper, we’re just one of 50 shades of ants crammed between dull grey and jet black.

Why am I getting philosophical? It’s a coping mechanism.

Why am I executing coping mechanisms? To cope with the failure of a hair-brained scheme that would have make things easier for me had it worked.

So this is what happened:

Today, in lieu of a long-overdue mother’s day present, I decided to help my mom with her Student Information Database. (My mother is a high school teacher)

It’s filled with every sort of information about all her students:

Their name, their father’s name, their mother’s name, the house that they belong to, their club, their co-curricular interests, their addresses, their bus routes, their religion and the name of their pet (If dog, specify breed) and on and on and on…

And the higher ups in administration have a fetish for coloured excel worksheets.

Which is why the teachers at my mum’s school spend the better part of their working hours cooking up colour schemes to go with their personal Student Information Databases.

The field with phone numbers are coloured in a sassy Atlantic Blue, The names of parents in a bold Cassanova Copper, The bus routes in a brave Voodoo Violet, email IDs in a subtle Welsh Brown and the addresses in a Sublime Bitter Lime.

But Excel is more than a colouring book!

It’s supposed to be a friggin’ database management system, right? I felt it was up to me to give those goofy higher ups a tour of the wonders of Microsoft Excel.

So I spend the whole day fostering bubbling relationships between the cells in different worksheets. I sat down to explain to them a few things about life and it’s struggles:

You don’t have to be told the student’s bus route twice, worksheet beta. Look! You’re a tiny but essential part of the database. Many drops make an ocean!

Why don’t you try talking to your neighbor?

Admonishing them ever so gently sometimes:

Tch tch…  No, Sheet, no! I won’t add up the number of students with ‘swimming’ as their extra curricular, you’re supposed to help me do that Sheetums, it’s character building stuff. Karo chalo. 

 

A few dozen hours later

  • Half the cells display an unrelenting #REF!
  • I’ve run out of printer ink

Maybe what I need now is a copying mechanism?

 

Love,

Bipolar Bear

Unicorns For Lunch

It’s not easy being an Instagram foodie. Baap ka paisa chahiye and restaurers ki galiya

 

“Hello.Food. Photography. Foodie. Food is life.”

“Sorry?”

“Me.Food Eat.Click Pictures. Upload Instagram. You Pay.”

“Get the fuck out”

“#YourNiceNiceRestaurant?#NiceNiceCaption?”

“Get the fuck out”

“#GotFollwersManyMany!”

“We’re listening”

 

That is to say you must be able to afford pretty much any overpriced piece of gastronomic debauchery and ineptitude, know how to look cool with a DSLR and a knack for finding the weirdest possible angle at a table for one.  We splay on it, climb under it and use every yogic posture in the book to click garbage with extra cheese on it from every possible vantage.

It’s no wonder then that only the cream makes it in the biz

The smartest Kashmere Gate monkeys

“Me.Want.Meet.Sheff”

 Supreme Food Porn Monkey, He Who Must Not Be Tamed

 

Yes, all of us are monkeys from Kashmere Gate. We visit restaurants in pairs, standing on top of each other in trench coats, sporting shades and a pipe.

It’s not about the photographs. It’s about how you click them and what filter your monkey brain decides to choose.

New Doc 2017-05-28_3 plain color processed

‘Fix it in post’ suggests Supreme Food Porn Monkey in his best selling, heavily pirated and undeniably definitive guide to being a Instagram foodie:  ‘Do a Hollywood, and always fix your shit in post.’

Ergo, a connoisseur must knows his filters.

Yeah filters.

Pro tip: Never use Clarendon  for the veggies, go Mayfair on those buggers.

Pro tip: Use Juno for that tomato gravy and Valencia for all those Bengali dishes (the yellow really pops out).

The trick is to filter the fuck out of everything that is kept on your table till even the most reticent Fondue becomes a motherload of sickly rainbows.

Pro tip: Hash tags won’t cost you shit.

Pro tip: #foodporn is God.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to call it art while you’re at it

Pro tip: Stop clicking bananas.

These are Trade secrets fellow simians, from me, the Supreme food porn monkey; From the horse’s mouth, nay: The Monkey’s mouth.

Remember, this is your passion: This and swinging on banyan branches and snatching ice-creams from scared little girls.

Oh and don’t bother to taste the dish unless it’s a banana.

Leave the tasting to the losers who like to write blogposts on food for some unfathomable reason.

Humans, eh? Hey Hanuman, give those schmucks some brains.

 

Love,

Bipolar Monkey

 

 

Some Clouds Who Wish to Become Diamonds

What happens when:

Ever shifting swirls bemoan;

Often pierced by unflinching metal birds now and then.

They dream of being a stone

Shaped, immutably, after the image of light

By a hundred metric tonnes of earth, fossil and bone

 

In fits of frustration Again and again

Ashen faced cumulonimbi roil again and again

And rain, there and then, again and again

But do these clouds truly toil?

And sweat rivers to become diamonds?

Are these really tears that drench the soil ?

Or have we been witnesses to a half-hearted vignette:

Describing a veritable foil

A season of pouring, failing to emulate

A thousand year’s broil ?

Band Baja Blogger

Are you a bathroom singer?

I am.

And as a bathroom singer I know what ails our kind: We are passionate creatures. Born to sing. Born to sing like donkeys. And donkeys don’t have much of a foothold in the music industry.

No, everywhere you hear there’s that frigging Arijit and  his band of playback cronies. Much like beauty mags and the Indian film industry, the Indian music industry sets insidiously high standards which are utterly impossible to achieve.

Vocal Shaming it’s called.

But us Social Justice Warriors, we know better:

We know that Fat people aren’t fat, they’re healthy.

We know that Disabled people aren’t disabled; they’re physically challenged.

And that Physically challenged people aren’t physically challenged; they’re differently abled.

We know that Lies aren’t lies, they’re alternative facts.

But what a lot of us still don’t know is this: besura singers aren’t besura we’re differently sured

That is why on this day, the 10th of May 2017 I reach out to all you bathroom singers with a call to arms!

Besure log, UNITE!
We want to sing our hearts and lungs out without being shamed. We want singing rights for the Differently sured:  this is radical self-love’s next battleground folks!

And guess what? Sarhad pe already hamare jawaan tainat hai. 

And as for you playback singers, beware you entitled pricks, beware! We’ve got Mobile Assault Vehicles. No peaceful demonstration, this.

Manning the MAVs are our very own shudh desi Band Baja frontmen.

I mean, this is toh obvious choice only!  These radically rad Ahuja Mike wielding Band wallahs (Or Mic wielding? Hop on this raging debate you incorrigible Grammar Nazis, you!) are known for their impassioned renderings of sundry lewd songs on burly columns of an Ahuja public address system. His minions work on finding the most blood curdling combinations of highs, mids and lows on an Ahuja Equalizer, loud enough to make Zeus’s thunder sound like the kind of elusive ‘pin drop silence’ the khadoosest of convent teachers yearn for

“lagta hai jaise saare sansar ki shaadi hai” -Mohammed Rafi

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Ahuja: Pioneering cacophony since 1940

So yesterday, I was asked to be a baraati. One of the many portfolios held by a Ladke wala. Naturally, I couldn’t keep myself from swooning when I saw one of these stalwarts in action. And I wasn’t disappointed.  The guy was a heroic champions of our cause, no doubt.

Our guy had pizzazz. He had the Oomph factor. Donning  a super wicked cap emblazoned with the words SONI BAND in a 300 point Times New जो मन, all caps (A dash of dynamism!), he belted out one garbled song after another. The rest of his garb gave him the illegally acquired aura of a sexily bedraggled Matador (A sprinkle of panache!), ready to take on an entire horde of bullish baraatis by their horns.

And his voice! Man o man his voice!

I stood frozen, spellbound, as the fruits of a carefully cultivated ineptitude graced mine ears:

“Lagave lu jab lipistic , hilela Arra district
Zilla top lage lu
Komoriya kar lopa loap, lalipop lagelu”

-Chinese Proverb

It was love at first sight.

New Doc 2017-05-09 (1)_2 p
Tauba tera jalwa!

Love to bathroom singers and the Soni Brass Band,

Jai Mata Di let’s rock!

Bipolar Bear

On Matters of Scale and Perspective

The boy was always swift footed: like a deer. However, just as the deer chose to kick and leap and not to kick and maul so too did the boy chose to run not towards but against.

For the briefest of times, he had lived in a colonial bungalow that sits, even now, among lotus ponds and pebbles, neatly mowed lawns and meticulously manicured bushes. For the briefest of times he had a home nestled between stolid trees and the cooing of peacocks.

It was here, where white families of white colonels had long since vacated for brown families of brown ones such as the boy’s father, that the Indian army of Baroda lived, evanescently, in and between sempiternal enclaves of happy solitude. The coo, the rustle and the croak an ephermal reward — then for white and now for brown colonels alike — for a peace they’ve guarded, a war they may fight and a battle they might die in.

During ‘the briefest of times’ (of which there are more than a handful in a hearty lifetime) and betwixt horribly sultry afternoons and tolerably sultry evenings a boy of nine would scamper into a little grove outside his father’s bungalow where, unchecked, he would scrutinize a colony of ants. And would, for hours on end, takes notes on the million ways in which they scurried: in a single file, climbing and descending their knoll under the benign shade of a guava tree and often carrying the crumbling remains of a dragonfly. On some days, nice days, the boy would lie down with his prepubescent belly hugging the ground and a single eye shut: to become one of them. On other nice (or okay) days he would be treated to the sight of a contingent of soldier ants intersecting a cohort of workers steadfast on their worn path. Always these sessions would end with (an observer’s effect) his cheek leaving a gentle concavity near the anthill. And ants, with their feelers, would greet each other at the concavity’s edge, rerouting, to tread the fringe instead of the headings that ran straight across. The rest of the formicary was left as it was, pristine and unsullied. On nice and okay days, that is.

On a very different day and a fatefully hateful afternoon, however, his callous hands are destined to drop a garden hose next to the ant hill, creating lively rivulets that, in his mind’s eye, turn into angry ravines even as a couple more ravines roll down his cheeks in an earnest and unflinching acknowledgment of his newfound hostility.

wp-1494168590480.jpg

Because he will be old enough to see patterns gradually: In the hierarchies of men and beasts, and in the unspeakable laws that govern them. He will see patterns among the hurts perpetuated by other hurts and he will notice how they magnify. Because he shall have killed a hundred for only a single slap across the cheek, for only a dozen people pointing and laughing as he reddened with a shame and a smart.

Confused?

This is how it comes to pass:

A little while ago he was running with wild abandon, like the wind, like, in fact, a deer. He ran circles around a melee of kids playing football, a very calculated circle, described by a unique equilibrium between the opposing tugs of reticence (his own) and the reticence of his extraversion.

A lesser while ago the ball swooped towards him in an arc and the rarer of the two predilections (having won the internal tug of war) sprang out of his bony frame like a jack in the box. He kicked the ball, timidly (yet tenaciously, like a deer) setting it on a flip, shooting it past the goal and past the stands too.

The ball was soon to vanish behind the boundary of his school – And an ominously slow clap soon to echo afterwards, in the field, in the wake of a dead silence that was to follow, emanating from the hands of a tall woman who was to walk towards him, menacingly.

And the least while ago, he’d been struck squarely above his jaw by a PT teacher with a penchant for sarcasm.

Tomorrow, dejected, he will return to pay respects to the victims of his hecatomb. Only to witness a thin gathering of fresh spherules whose contours would seem vaguely, inexplicably, ineffably: familiar.

For what graces his eyes will be an unsafe haven for many a foolhardy ant but even so, an ode to their resilient march; a modest, evanescent knoll and a towering monument to ants that guarded a peace, fought a war and died in a battle…

wp-1494168583543.jpg
Photographs by Himit Parekh: finance guy by day, street artist by night. You can have a look at more of his work here: Painting Dreams on Walls.

3 A.M.

A silhouette of leaves against
The slow birth of a new morn
Birds chirp, an eerie delight!
But a cacophony of warring dogs
Clueless and distraught, do taint
The anticipation of light
And a silent pinching borne
Of mosquitoes forlorn, stop
A contemplation in its tracks
And start another, a fear.

Remember:
If ever a phantom there was
For it the stars wait skeptical
Tapping their heels in disbelief
And whilst the leaves are dark
A ghost is surely off its mark
Because the dogs have stopped
Then a memory is smelt,
a memory felt
Which the chirps, they have wrought.

Such was a night
In which I sat on a bench
And saw a light so bright
That my eyes it did drench
Beholding a monstrous might
That bellowed and carried freight
Against the morning light
That followed suit
Homeward bound
Then, bound
No longer.⁠⁠⁠⁠

A Walk to Remember


Abstract

Between a Honda Activa and a Hyundai Santro I’ve got six wheels that never refuse to roll on command.
I Probably drive the two most resilient rides that the post-industrial world has ever created.

They’ve both aged like wine. Scratches and dents adorn them like battle scars.

My 17-year-old Activa is not as fussy about keys as the fancy new ones are.

“As long as you’ve got a key, you can drive me” she says.

Which is why when I lost the duplicate, I decided to let a roadside Key Maker explore the depths of his creativity.

The Keymaker

He crafted this wonderful simulacrum of the Tower of Bara-Dur complete with the miniature eye of Sauron.

Ash kilos durbatulûk, ash kilos gimbatul,
Ash kilos thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

He whispered in the Dark Tongue of Mordor as I fished for loose change in my wallet to pay him his fee.

“Avhaav liwo be 25 rupeeuk.”
“Sorry?” I asked

“Aargh” grunted the Orc. “You didn’t get any of that did you?”

One key to rule them all, one key to find them,
One key to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
That’ll be 25 rupees.

I stopped looking for stray rupiahs. “Here,” I said handing him a Fifty, “Keep the change”

They’re misunderstood, Orcs.

The Conundrum

What do I choose for my commutes?

A straight answer, my brain refutes

This conundrum is subject to moot

What do I choose for my commute?

The santro, it is brave and tall

Alas, the Santro is a fuel hog

Though the Santro shall never stall

While the Activa, it is oft a log

But never the Activa in the base of a mall

Always outside where, peed on by a dog

Although the Activa I sometimes do haul

Also, on the Santro, I can safely take a call

What do I choose for my commutes?

A straight answer, my brain refutes

This conundrum is subject to moot

What do I choose for my commute?

What Tips the Scale

Not to be bested by newer specimens of technology, my Activa has recently incorporated a new feature into its design (Aww you didn’t have to Activa!)

She’s got touch sensitivity. Or should I say clobber sensitivity? To switch on the headlights, I now only have to thump the headlight time to time.

She’s got automatic speed control. That’s because the handle grip isn’t glued to the accelerator, not anymore.

She’s got a collision braking system, i.e. she only stops when she hits something.

And as if this plethora of new features wasn’t enough she also likes to throw all kinds of surprises at me once in a while just so we can spend quality time together.

Every day I ride the Activa, My Activa, to a swimming pool across town. I’ve worked out a nice little swim regimen. But this particular day the Activa, My Activa, had other ideas.

New Doc 2017-04-29_1

This day, en route, it emptied its fuel tank in the middle of a highway to have a nice long romantic walk to a fancy place instead.

Me, her, the setting sun and a million vehicles dumping a corrosive mixture of sulphur and death on our faces.

Some People We Met on the Way

1

A tyre guy who sat on his haunches halfway beckoning us lasciviously.
He owes his existence to the pressure differential between deflated tyres and inflated wallets
Hawa nahi? Puncture fix?” he asked, ogling the Activa.
Nahi” I replied brusquely

2

A man who got philosophical when asked for directions. “Hume nahi pata bhaiya” He smiled, “Jaise aap waise hum” he declaimed.

A preacher sans congregation? Ghor kalyug hai!

New Doc 2017-04-29_3

A Fancy Place

“For the lady, perhaps a litre of extra premium petrol?”
Kya?” The waiter asked, irritably.

Pachas ka sada petrol dal do”  I whispered in his ear

Zero dekh” he said in the most fervently apathetic tone he could muster.

Sure enough, there was a zero on the digital display. Now, I’ve seen better magic tricks but I kicked open the side stand on my ride to free my hands and, dutifully, clapped. Kids, remember, always be polite.

He didn’t look at me as if I were mad. In fact, he didn’t look at me at all. A testament to the poker-faced defiance of a man who hasn’t seen pretty much anything he didn’t want to see.

Back in Business

Well now, all that was left was to wear my pink helmet, choke on my embarrassment, pull the choke, give the old girl a kick and zoom away to glory and the fading of guffaws.

I had a regimen to adhere to and some ladies at the pool I couldn’t possibly disappoint.

My Swimming Regimen

20 lengths every day.

What It’s Not

20 lengths every day except Tuesdays.

Why It Should Be What It’s Not

The pool is closed on Tuesdays.

Guess What Day It Was?

Tuesday.

Love,
Bipolar Bear.

Names Have Been Changed

And then he shall destroy everything. Everything, just like that. Just like the time he decided to be God. Hahaha. Messages like these freak her out. That was his intention because he is insane. Remember that time he cried in the fucking class? Remember that time he cried! He cries and magical things happen. Shame likes to pay him a visit sometimes. So he… He? Nah. She comes, and what a grandiose entry it is! Not grand, no. Grandiose.

“I, shame, have come to claim you, for now, I am personified and can call myself I. Meet other thoughts you must and other people like yourself too!”

“Meet Shakuntala, she likes to cut herself, isn’t that grand? Not grandiose, no. Grand. Hahaha”

“You, shame, have no shame,” says I “I rechristen you shameless”

Such joking was hurled to and fro. Not in the class anymore we were when I looked around. In a hospital? Perhaps. The loonies they have here. The loonies they keep near, the loonies to me they’re dear.

Or not?

“Meet Sharman,” says shame “You’re in his idea. You’re a thought in the mind of him”

“How then do I think” says I

“You don’t,” says shame ” you lie”

I do lie. To my shame. So I do indeed and so I did.

And said I “No”

Said as soon as I

In front, on one of the beds in the ICU was Lie.

Lie lay lying. Hahaha

Lying dead when in fact he was lying. Alive.

Alive? No, I lie. Not dead, yes. That is a truth. Not dead is not alive. Nothing but a truth. And so, lo and behold! Truth was personified. But nowhere was he to be found, somewhere though he was.

“There he is!” says lie

Turned did I. Should have known better, I.

I should have known better. Oh, there was someone all right. But not truth hahaha. For who is a lie who doesn’t lie?

Love,
Unipolar Bear

Carbon Monoxide

Hello World!

I don’t scream obscenities at people’s faces while I’m driving. I live in the city of civility after all. Tehzeeb ka Shahar.

No, I’ve taken to something that’s way safer and almost as gratifying: screaming obscenities inside my car with its windows firmly shut.

Ever so often, I even throw a rude gesture into the mix. This I do only after I’ve ascertained that the receiving end does not have any political affiliations whatsoever.

In Bhaiya land you know a car belongs to an Adhikari before you know what make it is.

It’s best to, quite literally, steer clear of Toyota Fortuners and Mahindra XUVs. Especially the ones with flag holders (doesn’t matter if they have a flag or not) and window films (the exact shade of Amawasya). Inside one of these is either a Politician or a Zombie. Both spontaneously combust when exposed to daylight.

Driving across town, I was particularly nasty with my expletives today. That’s  because I was on a mission. I was, in fact, racing against a deadline. Urgent AND Important this work of mine. Not a joke it was, serious stuff theek hai? Super serious.

By the way, Do you know who really causes road accidents? (Not speeding. Arrey Modern life is toh fast-paced only na. What to do?)

Demented steering huggers in the fast lane! That’s who. Don’t they know the pecking order?

The fast lane isn’t for you if you think all gear shifts above the second have been placed there by Satan.

The worst part? These buggers know they won’t be blamed for causing accidents! They don’t even bother to adjust their rear view. I have these dream sometimes where I’m driving a Tank on the fast lane, crushing retards who clock below 60.

Then you have your honkaholics. Because they believe with utmost shiddat that the guy in front of them represents everything that’s wrong with their life. Plus Inka baap koi hai.

And yet, one can curse people and feel good about it. The good thing about living in a country crammed with 2 billion people? You’ll never run out of people to curse.

Deadlines, however, you can’t cuss your way out of.

Viciously sneaky abstract temporal constructs, Deadlines.

Not people are they? but the fact that they aren’t people does not stop them from being assholes of the worst sort: Slow when you don’t want them to be, fast when you don’t want them to be, and much like honk-freaks they give you unspeakable headaches.

In a way they are every kind of bad driver rolled into one.

So there I was, sandwiched between bad drivers and worse drivers as the deadline whooshed past me. I rolled down the window, threw caution to the wind and yelled at everything that carried itself on wheels.

Everything that carried itself on wheels yelled back.

That’s when I had an epiphany.

You don’t need to meditate in the Himalayas to experience the oneness of humanity. What you need is a good yelling at by a sea of humanity suffocating within a miasma of our own making.

New Doc 2017-04-08_3 picasa paint

Only the choicest expletives! Only the choicest toxicity.

Brought to you by humanity.

Love,
Bipolar Bear.

The Saraswati Badminton Club

Hello world!

King Khan would soon be flaunting his Dermi Cool sprinkler and the Onida devil is lurking around the corner.

647631918
Naya cooler?

Now that these afternoons have started becoming ominously warm, the occasional evening breeze is welcomed with open arms. Welcomed by everyone. That is, everyone except the members of the Saraswati Badminton Club.

Members click their tongues in disapproval as an unruly shuttle sways to the tune of a stray breeze like a drunk baraati on a naagin dance spree and lands way outside the boundary, utterly unapologetic. Well, cocks can be cocky sometimes.

Apart from this drawback, however, gali badminton is picking up in localities where gali cricket is losing sheen. No flower beds trampled on by fielders trying to find inexplicably well camouflaged cosco balls like american soldiers navigating their way through a vietnamese minefield. No dictatorial uncles confiscating said coscos in leiu of you paying the RWA for a fresh pane of Saint Gobain.

Not surprisingly then, many  a notorious gali cricketer has morphed into a shuttler overnight. However, their shameful past often betrays the Probably because they swing the racket with both hands and shout “Six hai!” whenever the shuttle goes outside the court.

The shuttlers of Saraswati Community Park are a motley crew.

There’s the struggling entrepreneur: A computer guy who used to run a cyber cafe until smartphones came along and ruined a service industry that was already trying to compete with ever reducing broadband connection prices…

…a garment shop owner…

…a college student (me)…

…two middle schoolers…

…and two guys who work at the local offices of the Unique Identification Authority of India.

We’ve got a court, a net (no holes!),  aluminium alloy rackets and (get this) a bench for spectators.

We’re badass.

By 7 P.M. everyone’s on the battlefield, their rackets drawn.

The UIAI duo is formidable. These guys have seen Saina Nehwal matches. They know the rules. More importantly, they know what backhand means.

The middle schoolers are a close second. They’ve perfected the art of bending rules. “Rules” philosophised one of them when I tried to tell him off for trying to score a point on the sly “are meant to be broken”. Humbled by his sagacity, I ceded his point and he got a point.

The rest of us are a distant third. Trying to understand cross serves and getting served with whizzing smashes when we do manage to ‘cross’ our serve.

Love,

Bipolar Bear.

Edit: It’s been more than a month since I published this post. A lot has changed since that era. No longer am I a clueless greenhorn, no sir! In fact I’ve blossomed into a player every bit as fomidible as the UIAI duo. The kids say I’ve turned into a badminting monster. The upstarts have been plotting my downfall ever since I hit that six year old with a smash right in his loser face. I’m so proud of myself. 😀