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

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.

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.

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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.

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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. 😀

Bollywood

An Inconvenient Question 1 coloured
“Shoot.”
An Inconvenient Question 2 coloured
“Yes, sex.”  
“Err.. What do you think sex is?”

“When a guy and a girl dance around trees singing songs and falling in love?”

“Well, that’s it. That’s sex.”

“Wow. You know everything Yash bhayia!”

“You betcha!”

I’m an Organ Donor!

Before you start applauding: It wasn’t a will to save lives that prompted me to sign up. I signed up so that some of my body parts are able to live longer than me. I’m actually doing good in the world because of my selfishness. Ayn Rand would be so proud.

Plus, I get to carry this cool donor car around in my wallet.

Isn’t old school snail mail amazing?  I just love getting an unexpected letter! The funny thing is that a physical mail network seems more fascinating to me than electronic mail. Maybe that’s because an overload of technology has spoilt me. Heck, it has spoilt humanity. We’re so used to e-mails and the internet that we seldom think about how all that information travels at light speeds around the world.
Have you ever thought of all those underwater optical fibres that make this possible? I’ve read that some are placed as deep inside the ocean as the height of Everest! Wow!

Sidenote: They always state facts like that on listicles. Not: Did you know: Mariana Trench is 10,994 meters deep! But: Did you know? Mariana Trench is as deep as Mount Everest is high! Can’t blame them. Most listicle afictionados aren’t very clever.

IMG-20170206-WA0006
Look no further

On the other hand, some very fascinating technologies have been lost because of the internet. Ever heard of Pneumatic tubes? These were tubes used to transport small packages and letter through a network of vacuum tubes for short distances by the New York Post Office as far back as 1897. Even NASA used it.

NASA Pneumatic tubes
Look!

Cats, dogs, mice, roosters, guinea pigs, monkeys and a fish in a bowl have been transported through these tubes. All of them survived, even the fish.

“the pneumatic tubes of New York City’s General Post Office, when they launched in 1897, ended up whisking away … a cat. Yep. A live cat. A black cat. A probably quite indignant cat.” –  Megan Garber, The Atlantic

Pneumatic tubes that could carry humans were patented but never successfully realised. Up till now, that is. They have been brought back from the dead by Elon Musk, the Tony Stark of real life. Hyperloop technology it’s now called. They say it’ll be faster than air travel and it’s cheaper to boot.
Can’t wait to ride one!

Love,
Bipolar Bear

Fal Ki Chinta

Hello World!

These days I’ve been walking around sporting an amulet of sorts around my neck. It’s a piece of wood shaped into the Buddhist symbol of ‘Karma’. I confess I do not particularly brood a lot about the consequences of my actions. A prerequisite for a strong belief in Karmic influences on your life. Or is it? I don’t know. The point is, I don’t know much about ‘Karma’. Even though It’s a central tenet of the Dharmic bigwig: Hinduism, the religion I was born into. Despite that, I didn’t know what the ideogram stood for when I bought this piece of wood attached to a string for forty rupees from Majnu Ka Tila. Neither (and I say this with a certain sense of shame) was I very keen on knowing the meaning behind it. The reason why I searched for the meaning of what was then to me this ‘weird but sort of pretty Buddhist thingy’ was that I didn’t want to look stupid when asked what it represents.

Karma

Now, even though I am a staunch atheist, I’ve got a soft spot for Buddhism. I like their pacifist ideology and their clergy: the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. I like the way they (as John Oliver puts it) play a cosmic game of Tag. It’s a cute faith. The idea of rebirth is comforting and proselytising the philosophy of Karma can’t hurt. God knows the world needs to own up to its faults.

It_Shoots_Further_Than_He_Dreams
It shoots further than he dreams

Coming back to the amulet. For me, it fulfils two rather shallow desires: A strange want to accessorise myself and a reminder that life sometimes needs a little harmless mysticism, even if you’re a rationalist to the core.

“We are not rational creatures who feel; we are emotional creatures who rationalize.”  – Devdutt Pattanaik

With this in mind, I present to you the Deepak Chopra Quote Generator. Go ahead, follow the link, bask in the wisdom of the greatest mystic of all time (Here’s my actual opinion of him).

So I’ve got two accessories now: A watch and a talisman. And as motifs, they represent two diametrically opposite philosophies. One always goading you to live by the cliched maxim of time being money and the other telling you to take a break, to step back, to deliberate and only then, to actuate. Because you’ll be back. Now you don’t want to come back as a cockroach do you?

Love,
Bipolar bear.

P.S.
Fal ki chinta = Concern for the fruits of your labour.
Derived from the Hindu adage “karm karo fal ki chinta mat karo” which, I think, means one should do good work without thinking of the fruits of their labour.

Finding Flora

My twelve-year-old sister’s got two Guinea pigs. She calls them Flora and Alex. We took them out to the society park today where I let them out to roam around a bit. How much trouble can two cute furry animals create? Well, we were soon to know. All I’m going to say right now is this: pandemonium ensued. But before I tell you the story let me tell you some things about pigs:
Pigs are dumb.
If a Guinea pig’s brains were written in C++ this is what the source code would look like:

How a Pig works

Ergo, they lead simple and fulfilling lives. With next to no worldly cares to cater for, a guinea pig attains nirvana almost as soon as she is born.

human

Humans aren’t very adept at achieving even the most basic levels of contentment.

I think The Hitchhiker’s Guide really put its finger on the problem when it said (paraphrasing):

“This planet has a problem, which is this: most of the people living on it are unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these are largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because, on the whole, it isn’t these small green pieces of paper that are unhappy.

And so the problem remains; lots of the people are mean, and most of them are miserable, even the ones with digital watches (something humans think is a neat idea).

Many are increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some say that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.”

 

Holy Pig
Pigs may be dumb but they’re saintlike all the same.

But I digress.

All you really must know about pigs to understand why a bedlam was to stem from a decision to take them to the park is this:

Guinea pigs love closed spaces. They are claustrophiles to the core. When a pig sees clear skies she starts running around as if she’s been put inside hellfire.

g-pig-open.jpg

And you can bury them alive six feet under in a 1×1 box with food to last their lifetime and they’ll be happy.
G Pig inside

If you keep her out in the open she is sure to run to the nearest closed space. I’ve been told this is a survival instinct.  The pig mantra is “If I can’t see my predators they can’t see me”

Didn’t work for me.

failed

Now that know all you need to know about guinea pigs, let’s begin. Swoosh! We’re in fairytale mode. (yeah, just like that)

Here’s some fairytale music

Once upon today, there was a bloke called Yash. He was noble and strong, feared by his foes and admired by his friends. Of his prowess at battling Guinea Pigs, tales ran far and wide. It was said that with the single swoop of his hand he could hold a guinea pig by the torso and shove it into its enclosure.

Alas, the bugger was a little too proud of his abilities. One fateful day (today), in his vanity, he released the beasts into a field of dappled green. Sensing freedom, the creatures scurried away to hide under a thicket of bushes. For all his swiftness and cunning, our hero could not stop the beast from entering a capricious thicket.

Our hero, now having realised his mistake sat next to the said thicket, distraught. A gaggle of kids crowded around him, talking in hushed tones:

“Did you see it scamper into those brambles?” said one.

“I’ve heard there are snakes in there.” said another.

“The poor thing is probably dead by now.” said a third.

For a brief moment our hero was faced with a dilemma: To venture into those brambles was madness. The place was full of peril. The adventure, if it were to be undertaken, would be fraught with danger. Yet, the creature (if it were still alive) had to be saved from the clutches of any monstrosity that lurked in the labyrinthine depths of those bushes. But soon the moment of doubt passed and something dawned on our hero: A new perspective. This was an adventure of a lifetime, he thought. This is what his life until now had lead up to, he thought.

Plus his sister, the leader of this band of unruly children, had sort of pushed him into the bramble before he could apply more deliberation to the circumstance.

The children looked with trepidation as our hero entered the bog. Bending down he parted the bushes with his strong hands to look for the pig but found not signs of his furry friend. Surely the snake had devoured him. As our hero inched ahead with caution his leg landed on muck. He almost fell. Regaining his balance, he continued his search. He looked and looked and looked. After ten minutes of eternity, he finally found what he was looking for, through the thicket, he could see the mottled coat of his furry friend, alive and well, and eating a wildflower. He pounced on the beast and with his fabled might, wrestled the guinea pig into submission. Standing among the bushes, he then lifted it into the air, holding up the spoils of his valour for everyone to see to tumultuous applauses and cheers by the crowd.

#
“Ayee hero!” Cried a society uncle standing on the other side of the boundary of the park “Nikal waha sey, Nikal!”
“Sir,” said our hero, taken aback “Guinea pig ghusa tha sir jhaad mei, ussko nikal raha tha” He held up the pig as proof
“Kya ghusa tha?” the uncle asked even as he ignored his answer and the pig. Then, not waiting for an answer he said “Tu idhar aa, tujhe toh akal honni chahiye!, kyariyo mei kyo lote pada hai?”
“Sorry uncle”
“Aainda mat karna yeh!”
#

And the guinea pig chomped away happily ever after…

THE END

Love,
Bipolar Bear

#
An English translation for the benefit of those who don’t speak Hindi

Uncle: Any male from a generation that came before yours.
Society uncle: An uncle who belongs to your society’s welfare body, Resident Welfare Associations they’re called.
Hero: An upstart

“Oi Hero!” cried an uncle standing on the other side of the boundary of the park “Get out of there!”
“Sir,” said our hero, taken aback “Sir, my guinea pig ran off into these bushes next to the flowerbed, I was only trying to catch her”
He held up the pig as proof
“What ran into the what?” the uncle asked even as he ignored his answer and the pig. Then, not waiting for an answer he said “Why are you rolling around in those flower beds?”
“Sorry uncle”
“Never let me see you doing that again!”
#

Don’t Hangry Me!

I’m Hangry.

Or at least I was while gobbling up huge dollops of Maggi.
Now I’m more calm and serene than The Buddha. Thank you, Maggi.

Years of meditation can’t do what a packet of Maggi can. I don’t care if they have lead in there or MSG or frigging Cyanide. Whatever works, right?

imag0575_1

It all started early in the day, in college, when my stomach started growling like a Lion. This went on for an hour or two. I needed to get me stomach filled with some food. Did I say some food? I meant an obscene amount of food. I wasn’t the only one, the class was full to the brim with Tiffin pirates and Tiffin vultures (I’ll explain the distinction later) and prey was difficult to come by.

So I decided to get myself a Kabab roll from the canteen…

Only to find Canteen predators everywhere!

They hide in corners waiting to pounce on you as soon you’re done buying some food. Not a place for clueless first years, the Amity canteen. So the lion inside my stomach and I decided to beat a hasty retreat.

Later, whilst eating a bowl of Maggi in my den, a realisation dawned on me. The realisation that what I need, what every hangry denizen of Amity University needs, is a survival guide.


Here’s the survival guide:

After Vijay Bhaiya hands you your warm kabab roll, you’d be tempted to gulp the whole thing down in one go.

Don’t. Rookie mistake.

Wait for the inevitable predator to come by… Offer her the roll and let her have as huge a bite as she can.

All you’re losing on are the initial bits of Maida you’d rather not have anyway.

That’s the beauty of Vijay Bhaiya’s Predator Resistant Kabab Rolls. Remember, after the predator has had her bite, (and this is the tricky part) with the sternest voice you can muster you must ask her to give the roll back.

Chomp your way to the bottom then offer the last bite to the predator if she is still hanging around. That’s Maida too.

imag0572_1crop


If you’re still getting caught unawares: here’s an easy way to recognise different species of the college food chain (a skill that might save you from starving to death):


The Predator

“Tiffin laya hai?” – Tiffin Pirate
“Treat!” –Canteen Pirate
“Give na thoda sa” – Tiffin Vulture

imag0574_2
Prey

“Mai aaj Puri Sabzi laya hu” (easy)
“Meri ma ne do tiffin pack kare hai, ek tum logo ke liye and ek mere liye” (way too easy)

“No money in wallet bro, ghar girvi rakhta hu canteen allowance ke liye” (not so easy)         “Khaa liya tiffin subha hi”(difficult, nay, impossible)


Well, that’s it really. Hope it helps.

On your guard, get set, go!

Love,
Bipolar Bear