Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kuchh Toh Blog Kahenge

I’ve never really talked about the story of this blog: the real reason for maintaining it and about all the fears and emotional reasons that led me to writing. This will be slightly long and personal, but I’ll try not to make it boring. Also, if you know me personally, you would probably be able to identify some of the people I will be talking about in this little narrative; however, I would request you to not reveal the real names in the comments or anywhere else and respect their anonymity.

Chapter 1: Mr. Sexy Pants

I had a bunch of wonderful friends in school. Now, even though I went to an all boys’ convent, one of my friends was (and still is) the closest real life version of Kareena Kapoor from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. He will probably kill me if he reads this because how could I not call him Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada because the latter is so much more classy. Anyway, the benefit of being around such company is that such people know how to pronounce all the French words and give great style tips. The disadvantage, though, is that you end up feeling like you’re growing up in an all girls’ school.

This friend, who we will call SexyPants, is a great guy: intelligent, charming, funny… till you don’t make a faux pas like pronounce the name of a very popular hotel in Delhi as Lee Meriddiun, at which point he goes batshit crazy and calls you gavaar among other names. This was treatment that I was subject to quite often as in my simple world, Gucci rhymed with Gukki. I used to be so nervous in front of him that I remember him once pointing to a banner that read “poverty” and asking me to read out the word. I thought it was a trick question and the O was supposed to be pronounced as “aa”. So, I ended up saying “paaverty”, for which I was mocked again in front of a few peers.

Small incidents like these made the fifteen year old me realize how stupid and unaware of “classy” things I really was. More importantly, it made me not want to communicate in English in front of Sexy, lest I would be humiliated again for being so gavaar.

Chapter 2: The Mis-Editing of the School Magazine

In Eleventh Grade, I found a guide for the CBSE English curriculum called BBC, which was short for Brajindra Book Company. I would learn up all the model answers before every English exam and end up scoring the highest marks in all English tests. It came as quite a shock to the other top scorers of the batch as I was not someone who was considered to be great at the language to be getting top scores consistently.

At around the same time, I applied for the Editorial Board of the school magazine as it was one of the coolest clubs you could be a member of in school. My objective was to make it to the Ed-Board only to enjoy some popularity that came with designing and working on the school magazine. I hated writing and had a terrible fear of being made fun of for saying or writing something that would be grammatically incorrect. Surprisingly though, I was made one of the Editors, a title that gave me a position of pseudo-authority over the other members.

The tough part came when as an Editor I had to submit at least one piece for the magazine. I kept dodging the requirement till there was no way out. I finally wrote something with lots of inputs from a friend and submitted the article.

The year long stint with the magazine made me realize how terrified I was of being judged by people, assuming that everyone else was superior to me and could see all the faults and shortcomings that I had as a person. By the end of that year, I was relieved to know that I was no longer the Editor and would not be asked to write anything again.

Chapter 3: College Tactics

My college had a prestigious club of street theatre artists, which I badly wanted to be a part of as I had had a long history with theatre through my years in school. I went and spoke to the club’s President, informing her of my interest to join the team. I was told that they wanted someone who could write a good script for their next production. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I told her that I loved writing and could help the team with it.

I was selected at the time of auditions and was soon a part of the street play society. The real challenge came when I was then asked to work on a script and I knew I couldn’t run away from writing. I wrote several drafts, which others improvised on, and the script was ready.

Writing for the street play didn’t seem as hard as I had imagined because the script was supposed to be in the form of dialogues that required heavy colloquialism and was not meant to be read as literature. It was a test of my creativity, but not one of my writing skills, per se.

Chapter 4: Book Editor and Co-Author

Years had passed and I had still not overcome my fear of writing. I could see how I equally feared public speaking, and this fear was more of public opinion than anything else. I feared being mocked and thought of as someone lesser than what I was. To quote Bollywood, “duniya ka sabse bada rog; kya kahenge log.

Soon came an opportunity in the form of a leading educational publishing house requesting my parents to author a book on auditing. It was too tempting an offer to let go. I decided to help my parents with the project and spent months writing the manuscript with them. I also took up the task of editing the whole work, proof-reading it and making it ready to be printed and sold as the publisher did not want to spend on an independent Editor for the job.

As I was fresh out of college and did not have a professional qualification at the time of the book’s publication, it was decided to not put my name as co-author due to my lack of credentials. I was instead given credit for being the Editor of the book.

Even though this should have been a huge boost to my self-esteem and a punch to my fears, I thought it was not a true reflection of my capability as a writer because the subject matter of the book was technical and did not require any creative writing skills.

Yes, I’ve been a self-doubting moron all through.

Chapter 5: Not Giving a Hoot

Tired to see how the constant fear of public opinion kept me wallowing in self-doubt and held me back from trying new things for the fear of failure, I made up my mind to start a blog. So, one night, I decided to not sleep till I would make my blog. I wrote a quick post and created this site on the internet to put all my opinions in the public domain, finally freeing myself from the fear of negative public opinion.

Over a hundred posts down in the past three years, I know this blog doesn’t have readership running into numbers that I could boast about, but I’m glad that I took this step. I’ve found a number of friends in the few who read the posts that I put up.

I think I am my worst critic and hate most of my posts in terms of content and expression. But I carry on in the hope that may be slowly and steadily, I might improve as a writer. I also feel terrified of writing about topics (like this one) that others may find boring and stupid. But I continue to write because I hope I can overcome the remaining little shreds of this fear over time.

If you’ve read this tediously long post right up to this sentence, I thank you for being so patient with me and being a part of this project. You probably don’t fear failure and public opinion as much as I do, but if you do even slightly, I would suggest that you take a step to face and overcome it at the earliest. I will be more than happy to offer any help that I can.

A Few Acknowledgments

I would really want to thank a friend from college who introduced me to the concept of blogging back in 2009. She probably doesn’t read this as we have not been in touch for years now, but I hope to tell her some day that I am really thankful to her for this huge contribution.

I also want to thank all those who comment on the blog with both positive and negative feedback as it keeps me motivated to continue this project. I am also thankful to all the other silent readers, if there are any, who read the crap that I put up. This blog may not entertain you much, but you must know that you are really helping me by reading this. Thank you :)

To show you how much this blog has contributed in making me a cool person, read what Urban Dictionary has to say about me.

Yes, I’m extremely talented, but please don’t Sarthak me sure anytime.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Date a Man who is Balding

Date a man who is balding. Date a man who has felt the pain of losing something special. Date him for he knows that he must care for what he has lest it slips out of his pores some day. Date him because he knows that even when you try to hold on to things too tight, they dwindle if they are not meant to stay. Date him for his maturity that shows not just in his receding hairline, but also in his acceptance of his loss with grace.

I know you’d want to date a man who reads; who knows his Shakespeare’s by heart and debates against the cultural disapproval of Rushdie till date. He’ll sip on a glass of wine and pretend to be artsy, but date him if he is balding. Date him if he will not just discuss, but actually end up looking like a Shakespeare or a Rushdie some day. Date him because he will know not just beauty in secularism as evidenced in Padma Lakshmi, but will also be a Salman through the way.

I know you’d want to date a man who sings; whose voice will charm your heart away. He’ll playback for a Ranbir or a Ranveer and make ladies swoon of all age. He’ll Sa Re Ga your Ma-Pa with a song in praise of the Lord, and express his love for you in front of friends at a Karaoke. But date him if he is balding. Date him because the lights at a club shine brighter on a bald pate. Date him because Himesh’s career plummeted with a hair transplant and Mohit Chauhan still rules the air waves.

I know you’d want to date a guy who is funny; whose jokes will crack you up on a gloomy day. He will know stand up, sarcasm and word play. But date him if he is balding. Date him because he’ll know how to play the charm of self-deprecation with a smile and shoot jokes from the top of his head. He’ll know that a pun falls flat if you follow it up with a “pun intended”, and he may have left it hanging in the previous sentence to be picked up by his bae.

Date a man who is balding; whose friends call him Akshaye Khanna or Anupam Kher. Date him for he will lovingly run his fingers through your hair than preen his own even on your tenth date. Date him because he doesn’t hide, he doesn’t lie; he just accepts beauty in its own way. And if you ever wish yourself to be the date of a Greek God, don’t forget that he has a halo at the end of his pate.

Image Source: en.wikipedia.org