Sunday, February 23, 2014

When Vulnerability Withers

Your excuse could be coming back home late from work every night. You seem to believe that the quarter of an hour saved at the non-operational Gurgaon toll booth doesn’t really help. Your work requires you to wake up early and so it requires you to go to bed on time. You talk about never having looked at anyone at your office in that way. Work is priority, and we know how much you mean it when you say that. “I am dating my laptop”, you say, following it with a slight chuckle (and a suggestive hand movement, if you’re a guy). I mean, there’s just too much to work towards career wise. And, it shuts everyone up around you.

Your excuse could be a checklist which most candidates fail to comply with. You seem to believe that a person must be something more specific than just a person for you to feel some attraction. After all, as we all know, mystery never has a role to play. You want someone who shares the profession, or probably not. You say you have a type, which ironically is defined by the characteristics of just one person you were once with. The checklist provides you with enough reasons to speak of when someone asks why you don’t feel anything for the friend you spend a lot of time with. If all else fails, you say that your parents wouldn’t agree. And, it shuts everyone up around you.

Your excuse could be a statistic that tells you how arranged marriages last much longer than love marriages. You seem to believe that your parents deserve a say in who you should spend your life with. You talk about how they know better because of age. You digress into the way you’ve been brought up and how you owe them the right to decide what is good for you. After all, they have your best interest in mind. An arranged marriage lasts longer because of acceptability to compromises, you quote an article. Your parents had an arranged marriage, too. Maybe, you’ll have an “arranged-cum-love” marriage and everything will fall into place. So much like it is the multi-usability and convenience of a “sofa-cum-bed” that you talk about. And, it shuts everyone up around you.

You could find a quadrillion more excuses to shut people up, but none to shut the voices in your head that speak of a longing to meet someone who’d give you company in the office cab, or keep you up all night on a free minutes calling plan. You know how falling for someone who is the complete opposite of your criteria makes for a more interesting story to narrate to your friends for years to come than to talk about someone who magically fit a little over half the things on your list, and thus made the cut.

You think the excuses will cure the disease that you call an inability to fall in love again. A belief that a safe distance preserves you for the love that will come with marriage is more synonymous to hara-kiri than to self-defense. It’s not the fear that you must fear, for it is to be embraced as a sign of possibility of feeling the love again. As long as there is fear, there will come a love to restore the balance. Because if there was no fear of being broken down by love again, there would be no reason for love to come around one more time or maybe more, and someday shut not just the people around, but the voices inside your head.


Here's leaving you with this beautiful illustration I found on zenpencils. You might want to download and zoom in on it to be able to read the text. Also, don't judge me because I called this beautiful. I'm really macho and shit, ok!

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Friday, February 7, 2014

A Dodo's Reading List for the Resumé

Having passed my CA finals recently and not having found the modesty to not mention it at every possible opportunity, like the one above, I am yet to reach the point where the feeling finally sinks in. My parents have been trying to make me feel like a Chartered Accountant through words that sound like, “now you’re free to do whatever you want; choose wisely” but literally translate to “we will always have the power to veto your decision of a career path, the girl of your choice and the kind of pictures/posts you put up on facebook”. To compensate for the lack of authority in areas that really matter, I’ve been given the power to interview and select trainees who I think are fit enough to work in our firm.

Yes, I get to ask cliché pseudo-smart shit like “tell me five reasons why I should not select you”, to which the smartass replies with “my handwriting is not very neat”, thinking that it’s a safe answer to give because these days everyone works on the computer and typing speed is more important than one’s handwriting. However, I get to own him immediately after when I tell him that for the first three months his job will be to fill government applications that are required to be filled by hand, and he is unfit for the said position. But before I can enjoy my moment, the wonderful hobby called “reading” glares at me from his resumé and I can literally spell out the books and authors he will mention in the next two minutes.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If only Paulo Coelho were a Bollywood fan, he’d have figured how his book made record sales in the Indian sub-continent only because the very few who had read the book and also watched Om Shanti Om spread the word on the grapevine that the novella takes inspiration from Shahrukh Khan’s, “Kehte hain kisi cheez ko agar dil se chaho toh saari kayanath tumhe usse milane ki koshish me lag jaati hai”. Consequently, the bhed-chaal just bought copies off traffic signals to feel patriotic and go ape-shit about Mera-Bharat-Mahan and Shahrukh-is-so-romantic at the same time.

In case you mention Paulo Coelho as your favorite author, please make sure you do it not because the orange colored pirated copy on your book shelf is just a little over a hundred-fifty pages long, making it the longest story you’ve ever read, but because you want to be bitchslapped for not even knowing the names of two other books written by the Brazilian author.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Only firm believers and practitioners of the Secret mention the book during an interview; which is something I can say with unshakeable faith because I’m sure the interviewee had already visualized the interview in his head fifty-six times and made himself believe that talking about the law of attraction would really impress the interviewer. However, truth be told, a person spends more time feeling the smooth picture of the wax seal on the cover than reading what the book actually has to say, which is: ask, believe, receive.

I won’t blame the poor “reader” kid though. He’s seen the secret work for people like Vivek Oberoi, who “asked” for trouble when he messed with Salman bhai, “believed” in Aishwarya’s love for his silky hair, and then “received” one tight slap from the twitterati when he compared his performance to that of Heath Ledger’s. Really worked for him!

But, going through a few pages that look like an adult’s version of a kindergarten pictorial story book, in which the idea is repeated again and again and again and again so that the little five year olds understand it better, does not count as reading!

Three Books by Chetan Bhagat

If a movie adaptation actually turns out to be better than the book, you can safely say that it’s not the director who is brilliant, but the book that is shitty. I must clarify though that I do not hate Chetan Bhagat. I’ve enjoyed reading some of his stories like they’re the first drafts for a Bollywood B-grader. But, it pains me immensely when a person mentions Bhagat as his favorite author. It’s all the more ridiculous because the so called reader has read not more than three books by Chetan, and the reason why he stopped was not because he realized they were the three mistakes of his life, but because he then took up a job requiring him to spend more than one night at the call centre.

The Monk who sold His Ferrari & 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Either of these two books will feature in the list because the interviewee:
-had been hearing about them at personality development seminars and other places where you’d form a crappy social circle
-found them for cheap at a traffic signal
-makes him look intelligent in front of his Chetan Bhagat reading friends
-has learnt up the names of the authors but not cared to read the books because oh-gawd-so-boring!
-thinks it is still safe to mention it because every goddamn self-help book under the sun has the same things to say.
-has read The Secret as well as quoted Shiv Khera’s “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently” in the one debate he participated in during school. So he can pass off shit from there in either of these without really getting caught.
-the interviewer has them on his shelf but hasn’t read them either because oh-gawd-so-boring!

Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Realizing that all our purchases are made at traffic signals, it’s easy to just grab one pirated book seller and list down all his items for sale in such an anthology. However, I will give some extra points to the person who has read the Da Vinci Code, provided he also admits to having read Angels & Demons and getting inspired to design ambigrams thereafter.

Even if the interviewee has not read anything apart from these two books by Brown, I will not judge him for calling him his favorite author because it takes talent to make stories about the church and dying naked old men interesting.

And now for the one answer that will guarantee a throw-up for the interviewer and throw-out for the interviewee:

The Newspaper

“So what were the headlines of today?”
“Sir, today I did not read it because I had to prepare for this interview!”

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