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Monday, 28 December 2015

# 19 - Goals

Apologies for the two month break between posts, I have been busy lazy, no excuses. 

It's that time of the year again, we look back at the past twelve months and feel pathetic about ourselves, we think of how we could have done things differently, how the planet and stars conspired and aligned themselves to, umm, ruin our happiness. 

Then we find a glimmer of hope in the fact that the year is about to end, 'maybe our bad luck ends with the year'. Maybe the next year will be the best year ever, 

I was browsing through random articles a few weeks back, and I came across the wikipedia page on Hunter S. Thompson. The name seemed vaguely familiar, and I read about him. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. In the very likely possibility that you already know who Hunter S. Thompson was, please skip the next paragraph.

Very briefly, he was an American journalist and author who pioneered a style of reporting called "gonzo journalism", It involved a first person narrative and unlike the traditional neutral style that merely stated facts, gonzo journalism sometimes incorporated fiction and was highly opinionated. 

I haven't read any of his works, nor do I intend to, but the man's life and his take on life was intriguing. He was a badass of the highest order, and had a wit to match. Don't believe me? Here are a few of his quotes :-

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.

If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.

I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.

You get the idea. 

Read more about him here. After you're done with this blog entry. 

Anyway, you might be wondering what does this crazy dead guy who had a flair for writing have to do with a post that's titled 'Goals'? Let's not digress any further then.

A friend of Hunter's (that's a helluva name btw) had once written to him, asking what he should do with his life. Hunter's reply is arguably the most insightful and thought provoking piece of writing I have ever come across, in spite of the fact that I couldn't understand a few portions.


April 22, 1958

57 Perry Street

New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

your friend,


Take into account that he was only 20 years old when he wrote this. But that's beside the point. 

Have a great 2016, and good luck with the resolutions.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

# 18 - The girl at the coffee shop

[NOTE: What follows is a short story I wrote sometime back, and which I now deem blogworthy, meaning it's good enough to be published in this blog, and this blog only. While it was written in a hurry, this pathetic excuse for a story has been redeemed by my editor (you know who you are) so far as grammar and language are concerned. The plot however, is beyond redemption. Nevertheless, have a look.]

As the in-charge of a coffee shop outlet, my day to day life may seem mundane to most, including myself to be honest. I have quite a few responsibilities, such as checking whether orders were being timely prepared and served, taking stock of the inventory, being responsible for the cash flow and so on.
This was a pretty important branch in a very important part of the city, terminal 1B of the domestic airport. My reputation for being a bright and resourceful employee had ensured my quick transition from a store clerk to the outlet in-charge, and it was pretty routine work by now.
This morning though, I had quite an unusual situation to tackle.
It was around 9, the store wasn’t quite packed yet, but there were nevertheless a few fliers who had reached early to the airport, the 10.10 flight to Kolkata, and of course the ones who had landed from Delhi at 8.50.

I knew that the store would be pretty much jam packed in another 20 minutes or so, around 100 people, including the ones who had no intention of buying anything, but were merely sitting for the air conditioning or the wi-fi, or worse still, checking out the crowd.
I continued staring at the girl who was making me sweat in spite of the famed air conditioning. What was she doing here?
She sat in the cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf.... her pancake lay barely eaten.
She looked moderately well to do, and was pretty enough to merit a second look, but it was the tainted knife that was playing on my mind. It was a potentially scary situation, I had no way of knowing what this girl at Table 3 could be up to or what she had possibly done.
Luckily there wasn’t anyone at the adjacent tables, and I seemed to be the only one who had caught sight of the knife. But, a few minutes of inactivity on my part could drastically change the situation.
I pondered the options I had, the security guard who was already dozing off at 9 in the morning clearly wasn’t equipped with the brains or the tools to handle the situation. Neither were the five other staff present in the cafe along with me. I didn’t want to create panic at the store. The last thing I wanted was a murdering, 20 something year old wielding a knife and threatening to kill the customers.
I had to call in the airport security, I had no other option. I went to the back of the store, from where I could see her, and dialled Rajesh’s number.
Rajesh was in the airport security department, and more importantly, a friend. I could explain the situation without too many worries of a publicity nightmare.
- “Hello Suhit, what’s up?”
- “Hi hi. Listen, I have got a situation here.”
In an instant his tone changed, and I told him of my predicament as quickly as I could, keeping track of the time.
- “Okay, I am sending a few plain-clothes fellows, four to be precise, they will meet you outside your store, you show them where the girl is, and they will take care of it, but you’re sure right? It’s a knife?”
- “Of course I am sure man. Else, wouldn’t have called you, how long are you gonna take to send these people?”
- “5 minutes max. And, listen, if she gets up to leave and all, don’t stop her, we’ll be able to track her down. I’ll also check if there’s an ambulance nearby..worst case scenario, send it over, near your shop.”
- “Yeah, okay, please....”
- “Will give your number to a guard, he’ll call you when he’s there.”
I hung up and went back to the counter, status quo, she was still looking outside. But there was no steam coming out of her cup, she was done or about to be done. I prayed that she would leave the store, as selfish as it may sound, whether she got caught or not was none of my concern, the well being of my paying and non paying customers at the store was.
Her blue scarf hid the knife, to everyone else who hadn’t been as observant as myself, she looked like just another customer.
And then, she stood up and with an air of familiarity and waved, “hey Aaraav, over here!” probably louder than she intended to.
The said Aaraav, who had just entered the store, was a handsome man of about the same age; he looked over at her, smiled and promptly sat in the empty chair opposite the girl.
I swore mentally, now she wouldn’t be leaving the store, and who was this guy, an accomplice, a potential victim? Neither of them looked like criminals, but in this day and age, there’s no way to tell, looks could be deceptive.
I looked at the time, five minutes had flown by, no sign of the airport security, damn it. And just as I was done mentally cursing Rajesh, he called me up.
- “Hello, where the hell are your security fellows man? She’s just been joined by a guy.”
- “Just come out for a second, we are outside”
I hung up and ventured out of the store, crossing the girl’s table hoping to hear what was being discussed, I managed to hear the words “police”, “evidence” and “court”. My panic had somehow disappeared, the fact that security men who were here and knew their job well had boosted my confidence. Dare I say it, I now even looked forward to a confrontation.
Rajesh was accompanied by four men in tee shirt and jeans, who seemed ill at ease in them; they were clearly used to wearing a uniform of some sort, much like me, except theirs commanded authority and fear, mine....not so much.
I quickly briefed them about the situation, gave a brief description of the girl and her ‘friend’ Aaraav.
The plan was to wait for a while to get an indication if they planned something here, figure out whether they had committed a crime inside the airport premises or outside, and preferably catch them at a place where no one else was present, to prevent a situation of possible alarm, but if the circumstances demanded, we needed to tackle them here at the store itself. This was a matter of national security after all (possibly).
We stepped in and Rajesh and his fellow men sat at a table close enough to intervene if required, and far enough to not draw attention. I headed back to the counter, imagining the possible headlines that may appear in the papers tomorrow...
“Brave store manager risks life, nabs criminals, gets promoted”
“City man helps in catching terrorist, flooded with matrimonial proposals”
“Sir...?” I came back to reality as a not-so-bright employee who felt that he had something important to discuss nudged me.
- “Not now please, in the middle of something important here..”
- “But Sir, this is important too.”
I stared back at him, but he failed to get the message, “What is it, tell me quickly”, I growled.
- “Sir, we are out of Swedish pancakes, we need to order fresh ones.”
- “Okay, remind me this evening.”
  He goes away and I get back to staring at the criminal couple. I wondered about their back story, jihadis, parents opposed to marriage, it could have been anything.
I have always believed in sixth sense, and mine told me that something more than what met the eye was at play here. But I couldn’t actually put a finger on it, well, it would be over soon enough.
Without warning, the girl and Aarav got up, Rajesh and his guards too, simultaneously. She carefully got hold of her scarf and her handbag, the blood soaked knife was not visible but I knew that that was what the scarf hid, and to my horror, both of them started approaching me at the counter.
Rajesh made a gesture and his guards immediately got behind them, close enough to get involved if the need arose. He also signalled me to be calm.
Not really convinced, but knowing that I could do nothing else about it, I tried to look as normal as possible as the girl walked up to me.
- “What is going on here? What are you serving ya?”
I really didn’t expect to hear this, I managed to blurt out a “w-what?”
- “Have a look at this....I am keeping it man. I will sue you.” She wasn’t loud enough to be heard by anyone far.
She carefully unwrapped her scarf, and the blood soaked knife was there again for me to see.
- “There’s f****** blood on your pancakes man!” her voice got louder. Her companion joined her “we know our rights dude, consumer violation. We can sue you for crores.”
I was too stunned to reply, by then my dim-witted colleague had joined me, he took hold of the knife and smiled, blissfully unaware of what I had been going through “oh madam, you shouldn’t bother Sir over this. You had ordered the Swedish pancake no?”
- “Yes we did. So?”
- “well madam, this is the ‘Blodplatter Swedish Pancake’. Blood is an ingredient, it’s mentioned in the menu itself.”
The couple were as speechless as I was; Rajesh came up to the counter and asked no one in particular what was going on. He didn’t look too pleased with me.
“Oh Rajesh”, it was time for me to say something, anything, I gave a feeble smile and a wave of the hand, “don’t worry, its nothing, it’s fine, everything is alright...some confusion about a dish.”
My sixth sense was right, something had been at play indeed, and looks could indeed be deceptive, be it the girl, or my not-so-stupid colleague.
Come to think of it, even Rajesh, his face was turning red, a lot like the main ingredient of the Blodplatter Swedish Pancake, and I wasn’t too sure if I could call him a friend anymore.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

# 17 - Becoming an Uncle - A lighter take (Part 2 of 2)

"Once you become an uncle, there's no going back."
Sharma Uncle (2003)

Anti Aging Cream - Check
Gym Membership - Check
Home cooked tiffin services - Check
Saying no to Domino's/McDonalds/KFC during weekdays - Check
Saying no to fizzy drinks/hard drinks/cigarettes etc. - Ummm

The journey to healthy living had well and truly commenced, 
For safe measure, I also started reading what I thought teenagers were reading, 

I switched over from The Twilight Zone to The Twilight Saga faster than you could name the members of the ever increasing Cullen family. 

Yet, something was amiss. 

I couldn't really associate myself with the things that were trendy and in. 
No matter how many times I listened to Taylor Swift or tried embracing EDM, just wasn't me.

I had grown up listening to Backstreet Boys (that's right), Indipop, Bryan Adams and Lucky Ali; and no sixteen year old could baby me into liking his shit.  

I was okay with that bit, what does looking young have to do with thinking young, I had thought. 

But after that first Sardar kid-Uncle episode (refer previous post) it seemed more and more people were referring to and treating me as an uncleji

"Call me bhaiya, not uncle" I said to a colleague's 10 year old daughter, She giggled in response, "Aap toh uncle ho...pata hai. uncle..Uncle...UNCLE...UNCLLLEEEEEE".


I went home for dusshera. Instead of career plans, the relatives were asking about marriage plans.

@%#$%#^$    *%^&$@#$%  

Me and my father were crossing a street side by side, someone called out "o uncle"....and both of us turned around in reflex. 

@%#$%#^$   *%^&$@#$%    #@$@#%@

But by far, the most embarrassing incident happened a few months later.

The lift in my housing society wasn't working, I had to use the stairs. There were a couple of kids who gathered around in the evenings to play some weird game sitting on the stairs (parks are soo yesterday) and as soon as they heard my footsteps, one particular kid complained "yaaaar, aunty aa rahi hai, uthna padhega..."

Then I entered their field of vision, and child no.. 2 (a snitch, there's always one in a group) came running to me, dragging child no. 1 along with him.

"Uncle, Uncle, issne aapko aunty bola! Maariye isse..zor se maariye

Child no. 1 protested weakly, I gave him a gentle pat. The not so gentle slap on the back was reserved for Child No. 2 - The Snitch, who looked back at me in astonishment, instead of being rewarded, he had been given a mild rebuke. I explained the reason, "Yeh toh mujhe aunty bola bina dekhke, par tu toh mujhe dekhke uncle bula raha hai. Uska kya karu?

I gave up. 

My quest for staying young had ended. Though hard to digest, I learnt to live with the fact that no amount of exercising and healthy eating could turn the clock back. Accordingly my health and fitness regime were abandoned without further ado.

Anti Aging Cream - Given away to housemaid.  
Gym Membership - Expired.
Home cooked tiffin services - Cancelled.
Saying no to Domino's/McDonalds/KFC during weekdays - Ban Revoked
Saying no to fizzy drinks/hard drinks/cigarettes etc. - Ummm

 It's been 4-5 years since then. Being called 'uncle' has become the rule and not the exception (except for those Pretty Young Things in office, who for some reason insist on calling me Bhaiya, as if to prove a point, I don't really know what).

I no longer mind being called an uncle anymore, in my head I am not a teenager. I see myself more as a man in early 20s.
There's a thought that occurs to me from time to time though, and I can't help but chuckle at the wonderful possibility.

That sardar boy.

By my calculations, he is just at that age when he is about to make that transition. 
One of these days, some kid will come up to him and call him 'uncle'.

Too bad I won't be able to see the look on his face then.


Thursday, 24 September 2015

# 16 - Becoming an uncle - A lighter take (Part 1 of 2)

When does a boy become a man?
And when does a man, become an uncle ji?

There comes a point in life when a guy realises that he isn't as young as he thought himself to be...this realisation may be self inflicted, (yaar, pehle toh itna daaru araam se pee leta tha, aur hangover bhi nahin, par ab....loosely and badly translated: dude, I used to be able to last through drinking sessions like this, with no hangovers, but now...).

But in all likelihood, its someone else that points out that you are past the glorious binge drinking, high fiving, all night partying, college girl eyeing age.

I was probably 26 or 27, in my head still a teenager. It was a working day, but I had left office relatively early; standing near my housing society, I was lost in my own world, pondering the options I had before me, buying a 500ml bottle of Coke or a 1 litre one. I had recently found out that one of my roommates had been consuming most of my drinks and diluting them with water (if by any chance the said roommate is reading this....yes I knew, I always knew, but you wouldn't want to know what I mixed in those drinks after that).

The choice became much easier to make once I saw that I had the princely sum of thirty seven rupees in my wallet, and I headed towards the little shop at the corner of the street that sold everything from Paan to Porn, little knowing that on my way, I would be coming face to face with the ugly truth that would change my life forever.

A tennis ball came rolling towards me from the overpopulated playground full of aspiring Sachin Tendulkars and Ronaldos, (ironically, no Federers) and I wondered whether I should kick or throw the ball back to the hopeful but impatient lanky sardar boy looking at me.

And then the said sardar boy, uttered those dreadful words...

"O Uncle, ball dijiye na"  - "Hey uncle, gimme the ball."

I froze, unsure if he was addressing me, I was used to being called Bhaiya, Bhai, Beta and other salutations starting with the letter B, but Uncle? I looked around, hoping I wasn't the intended recipient of the U word, but it was me alright.

I awkwardly picked up the ball and threw it to him, he was probably still a school going kid, or maybe had just joined college, why would he call me 'Uncle'?

By then the thought of getting the coke had fizzled out, I went to the chemist shop and enquired about the cream that would help wipe out the seven signs of aging from my face. I expected the guy at the counter to show seven signs of surprise at my absurd request.

He didn't.

Not even when I said that the cream was for my grandma. All he did was calmly point out to me that the magic potion was available for 650 bucks, and no, I couldn't pay him later on.

Approximately twenty minutes later, I was back home, the miracle inducing gooey ointment smeared all over my face.

I had to stay young, I wasn't done being a youngster. No college kid was ever going to call me an Uncle again.

Well, at least not for the next ten years or so....

To be continued.....

Saturday, 12 September 2015

# 15 - The rise and fall of the iPhone.....WAIT! WHAT?

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get."
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO (30th April, 2007)

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."
Ed Colligan, Palm CEO (16th November, 2006) 

In hindsight, they probably regret ever uttering those words. Ignore the 'probably' part.

Palm Inc. is now a defunct entity, and the less said about Microsoft's software share in phones, the better.

But these aren't the only two business heads who had written off the iPhone when it was launched. Most people in the industry had, but they forgot about another set of people, the consumers. The consumers lapped it up, and how! Year after year, version after version. Heck, I remember reading about a kid from China selling off his kidney to buy the latest iPhone.

It's been 8 years since the first iPhone was launched, and its juggernaut doesn't show any sign of slowing down, let alone stopping. And it's left a bloody trail.

It's destroyed Motorola, Blackberry, Nokia, Palm and a lot of others in these eight years, it's made Apple the most valuable company in the world, at one point of time held more cash than the USA and it's even made cheesy ad campaigns like 'if you don't have a iPhone, you don't have a iPhone' work.

It's even gotten away with not enabling file transfers via bluetooth (yes, in 2007, it was a big deal).

Somewhere along the way, iPhone has ceased to be a consumer product and has become, well, a cult. I mean, imagine, selling off a kidney!  This may seem like an isolated case, but the kind of excitement and media coverage an iPhone launch receives is unmatched for a tech product, or any consumer product whatsoever.

The question is, WHY?

Here's one more quote as you ponder the answer to the question:

"Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone."
Steve Jobs (9th January, 2007)

It's true, at the time of its launch, the iPhone was quite unique, it may seem pretty casual today, but even the 'Slide to unlock' feature received oohs and wows. That's how much of a pioneer it was. The touchscreen, while not a first, was far more competent and gorgeous than any other phone's screen.

And with every iteration something amazing just kept on coming and coming, the retina display, the app store, third party apps, the face time, Siri, the list goes on.

It had its share of controversies of course, Antennagate, Bendgate and all, but people didn't care. When you had the iPhone, you had the iPhone.

Steve Jobs blew his critics away and the shareholders happy. The criticisms didn't matter.

Apparently, it still doesn't, more people around the world are buying iPhones. While its arch rival Samsung has seen its sales fall, the iPhone has gotten stronger.

Or has it?

At one point of time, I was a proud iPhone 4S owner, and I loved it. It never lagged, never crashed, and while its keyboard couldn't match up to the BlackBerry's, it was a small price to pay for the awesomeness that came bundled. I hadn't been so amazed by anything since the Internet.

iPhone 4S was allegedly the last phone the development of which was personally overseen by  Steve Jobs (god bless his soul).

The thing about Steve Jobs was, he was a great businessman, but he was also a perfectionist. The irritating kind, he wanted the Mac's motherboard changed simply because it looked inelegant. Something that an average consumer would hardly see during the product's lifetime, and even if the user did see the motherboard, he probably wouldn't fret too much about its elegance or the lack of it. But it's nice to know that someone cared.

Steve Jobs was also great at lifting stuff which was already out there, and perfecting it, making it mainstream in the process. He didn't care if it took time, he worked on it until it was flawless.

Unfortunately, that's no longer the case with iPhones anymore. Barring the touchID technology, since his death, in most aspects Apple has been playing catch up. It's imitating features from Android, Windows and even BlackBerry 10. It's no longer setting the trend.

I think that Steve Jobs didn't really care much about what customers (potential or existing) wanted, he looked at things and wondered how he would like them to be, that may or may not be the right approach to things, but it sure as hell made iPhones unique.

But lately, iPhones have gotten bigger to appease Android users, started coming in gold and pink shades to win over asian users, and even fallen into the megapixel trap. Of course, you could say that all of these are essential to improve the phone experience, to keep up with the times, to provide more options bla bla bla, and you would probably be right, but where's the killer feature goddamnit, where's that ONE thing that no one else has?

The iPhone 6S may be a huge hit because of the better camera, and the next iteration may probably start with the default 32 gb storage space, ("OMG! 32gb!!! Must have it!!) but what after that?

I wish I could say that its not Apple's fault, its just that other platforms have gotten better, and there's hardly any more room left for innovation. But that would be wrong.

Ever since iOS 7 was released, the operating system and the built in apps have never actually been bug free, in fact Tim Cook even apologized for the faulty Apple maps that was undoubtedly a rushed work designed to meet deadlines.

The iOS may look better than ever, but it's not as smooth as it was. Every iteration just copies features already existing in other platforms and devices, and Apple is running out of things to copy.

Of course, the ever increasing pile of cash and the millions & millions of fanboys would ensure that Apple would maintain its leadership in terms of profit for quite sometime, but you never know in the field of technology how things end up. BlackBerry was the leading smartphone company in 2007, and in eight years it's all but dead. Nokia, the biggest phone company at the time, has sold off its cellphone division altogether.

Don't get me wrong, iPhones are still awesome, the operating system and the app store are probably still the best, but the costs don't justify that minor lead. That intangible feel good factor that I, for one, once associated with the iPhone experience, is simply no longer there.

But if the folks at Apple do find their mojo back, I would be the first one to write a post celebrating iPhones, and how it has always been the greatest.

I have a penchant for ending blog posts with quotes, here are two more.

"The products suck! There's no sex in them anymore!"
Steve Jobs (July, 1997, on Apple, right before his return)

"Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could - I'm searching for the right word - could, could die."
Steve Jobs (August, 1997, on his return as interim CEO of Apple)

Saturday, 29 August 2015

# 14 - Movie Review - Unbreakable (2000)

Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, Spencer Treat Clark
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

A security guard is the sole survivor in a train wreck, and a comic book shop owner tries to convince him that he might be blessed with superhero abilities.

At some point of time or the other, we have all wished that we were superheroes. Maybe aspired to have abilities that no one, absolutely no one, had. This forms the basic premise of Unbreakable, a movie that released 15 years back to lukewarm response from the audience, but has gained cult status somewhere along the way.

On the surface, the Dunn family seems as ordinary as the Joneses, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Audrey (Robin Wright) are going through a rough patch and their marriage is on the verge of a breakdown. Their son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) is a regular adolescent who hero worships his dad.

A train accident, through which David emerges unscathed, changes all that, he and his wife decide to give their marriage a second chance and David receives a note ('how many days of your life have you been sick?) that gets him thinking. It's revealed that the note was sent to him by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) who was born with a rare disease that makes him susceptible to breaking bones easily, his own bones that is.

Elijah is the owner of a comic book store that sells rare comic books, not the typical comic book guy this. He is convinced that David is 'unbreakable', because 'if there is someone like me in the world, shouldn't there be someone at the other end of the spectrum?'

Elijah evokes sympathy from the audience, but his bitterness and sarcasm stand out and make it clear that he is not one to be trifled with. David on the other hand seems bland in comparison, however, as the movie progresses, the many layers of his persona are gradually revealed.

Unbreakable is a tribute to comic books, but if you expected a no holds barred, typical superhero movie or something in the Die Hard mould for that matter, you would be disappointed. This is a slow movie, yet its anything but boring. Its a fine dish on simmer for most parts. Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis are excellent and make for perfect casting, but due credit to the Director and the Music Composer. The music (James Newton Howard) is fantastic, and this is the kind of score that makes you wish that real life had background music.

Like The Sixth Sense, the twist in the tale seems obvious after it occurs, but until then, in spite of the slowish pace it never occurs to you.

While I am calling the movie slow, rest assured that it is a compliment, the action occurs by way of revelations and dialogues, which I am not going to reveal over here. Samuel L. Jackson gets most of the good lines, deservedly, and Bruce Willis underplays his part (think Pulp Fiction).

The Dark Knight may have made critics sit up and take notice of the genre, but Unbreakable is undoubtedly the pioneer here. The detail and thought that has gone to the making of this movie, despit its single line story is worth lauding. If you didn't notice it in the first watch, see it again, this is a movie that asks, nay, demands for multiple viewing. Apparently this is one of Quentin Tarantino's favourite movies, you can't take it lightly then, can you?

A note on the ending, a lot of people found it abrupt and unsatisfactory, to me it seems perfect and the only plausible conclusion that this story could have.

Speaking of endings, what happened to Manoj Night Shyamalan? How can the director of a film like this come up with the ones that he is making nowadays. There was talk of there being a sequel to this movie, which as a fan, I would love to see, but I think this is a tale that doesn't need a chapter 2, its better for it to exist as a standalone movie. If you haven't seen Unbreakable, you need to go easy on the wrong kind of masala, and WATCH IT RIGHT NOW.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

# 13 - The magic of movies

There's something about cinema.

Whether it's the typical bollywood potboiler, the twists and turns of which you can spot at least twenty minutes in advance (Yes, even in case of Race/Race 2...especially in case of Race/Race 2...pun very much intended), or the Hollywood wannabe classic that everyone claims to have fully understood in the first viewing (and actually return home and read all about it in Wikipedia, we have all been there haven't we?).

Why does it happen? Why does the popcorn taste a whole lot better when the curtains go up and the lights go dim? How come your own day to day trials and tribulations are forgotten when Shahrukh Khan proclaims his love on screen to a girl young enough to be his daughter? What possible reason could we have to sympathise with the cause of a stalker-type-nerd-boy who rightly gets turned down by a PYT? Why do we quote lines from movies that had released before we were born?

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

And, you shouldn't too....movies are meant to be enjoyed, discussed, argued and possibly fought over. Trying to figure out why we love them is like asking a bengali what's the big deal with hilsa.

Personally, I have never gone to a theater and regretted it. Sure, I have seen a lot of bad movies, but heck, worst case scenario, I have slept through them. Waking up occasionally for the item numbers.

Nevertheless, the only criteria for judging movies are whether they stay with you or not.

I have seen movies the wafer thin plots of which have disappeared from my brain faster than I can finish a 5 rupee packet of lay's, there are ones which stay with you for a couple of days, and of course, there's the other, very very rare breed. The ones which stay with you for years. The ones that have a profound effect on you and who you are. They mess with your head, change you, change the way you look at the world and other people, for better, or for worse.

Truly, there's nothing quite like the movies.

In the coming days, I'll  try to write about movies............good ones, bad ones, awful ones, weird ones, of all sort. Hollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood (the bengali one) whatever.

That of course doesn't mean that this blog will be restricted to movies, far from it.  
But for the time being, hold on to your popcorn bucket, slip on the 3d glasses, and get ready for the ride.

Coming up: Movie review - Unbreakable. Estimated date of entry: 30th August, 2015.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

#12 - Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

After a sudden outburst of posts, the blog has remained action-less for the last month or so.

Not attributable to my laziness or busy-ness, I assure you.

I have been wondering what to write about, and my stupid little brain keeps recycling the same old ideas...movies, cricket, gadgets, bollywood, cellphones, saurav ganguly...see what I am getting at?

 Down with a clear case of blogger's block (if I may call myself a blogger) it seems there's no hope for me. 

Or is there?

Keep watching this space.

Naah, there's no mystery entry coming up, no shocking revelations to disclose, just my pathetic attempt to lure visitors. 

But seriously, keep visiting the blog, new post by Monday the next Monday (31st), promise.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

# 11 - Movie Review - Ahalya

Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Tota Roychowdhury
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh

A policeman visits an aged acclaimed artist's home to investigate a matter. But something doesn't exactly seem right.


Highly suggested that you watch the movie first, go ahead, just 14 minutes.

Done? Okay let's get to it.

First things first, there's enough brouhaha about the name of this movie, this is a modern retelling of the mythological tale of Ahalya/feminist twist to the classic tale etc. etc.

Bull****, yes it is. The names of the characters suggest that! But that doesn't give an additional dimension to the movie, nor is it of any particular consequence. Let's get over the dissection of the title and the possible connotations and implications! 

I doubt the makers themselves ever in their wildest dreams imagined that the public at large would tear up their hair discussing the movie title. Not that they would complain either. Do you, dear reader, ever wonder why Salman Khan's character in Dabangg was called Chulbul Pandey? Do you wake up in the middle of the night wondering the etymology behind Chulbul ? You don't ? Enough said.

Short films can be a very interesting and exciting medium, so far none of the big screen releases of compilations have really worked (Darna Mana Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai, Bombay Talkies etc.) but the success of Ahalya shows that maybe there's hope in the future (more than 7 lakh views on youtube in 2 days).

Back to the movie. 

More than just inspired by a story of Satyajit Ray (Professor Shonku o aschorjo Putul), and allegedly a spanish movie as well, the least the director could have done was acknowledge the source material. Barring that, Mr. Sujoy Ghosh doesn't give the viewer any reason to express grumble.

The script is tight, it had to be, every second of this movie is necessary. The viewer steps in to the shoes of the cop who has come to visit the veteran artist at his home for an investigation of a missing person, (played competently by Tota Roychowdhury) and what he expects to be a routine affair, turns out to be anything but that.

Inspired casting in the form of Soumitra Chatterjee (brilliant as usual) and Radhika Apte (she is suddenly everywhere these days, and for good reason, getting better and prettier with each movie) definitely lifts the movie.

The director leaves enough clues for the viewer to arrive at the possible ending, but that doesn't take anything away from the movie. He teases the viewer much like Ahalya, the titular character teases the cop. The viewer remains confused whether Ahalya is a seductress or a faithful wife till the very end. Likewise for Gautam Sadhu (Soumitra), is he really as harmless as he appears to be?

It's good to see a non bengali actor playing a bengali and getting most pronunciations right, Radhika Apte makes up for the horrible "Issh"es and "Sotti"s of Aishwarya Rai (Devdas, 2002). 

Finally, Ahalya is a good movie that should help its genre of films in India, and finally here's a director who's decided to get better with time after showing initial promise, instead of succumbing to Bollywood-dom  (Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, and Imtiaz Ali, please take note).

But seriously, Satyajit Ray deserved a mention in the credits.  

Sunday, 19 July 2015

# 10 - That time of the week

Forget the Monday morning blues, it's the Sunday evening sadness that gets to me.

It's a lot like the sun setting by the beach, the view is spectacular, but there's a melancholy to it, a part of you is sad, and you don't know the reason.

I don't do much on Sundays, and that's an overstatement, I do nothing actually, and quite enjoy doing nothing at all, but as evening approaches, a vacuum seems to engulf me.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, it probably could be because of the realisation of the futility of it all, but I suspect that that's not the case. It could be anything, or nothing.

It's the complete opposite of a Friday evening, when little can keep you down, it's not as if you have plans for the weekend or something to look forward to, it's probably got to do with the entire potential of it all. There's 48 hours which YOU have, spend it in whatsoever fashion you like.

There's a spring in your step and a song on your lips (yes, that cliched), as opposed to the mindless zombie facade you sport two days later.

The irony is, irrespective of what you do during your weekend, you end up feeling the same way as the dreaded hour approaches, I can't recall a happy Sunday.

Nothing, absolutely nothing I do can shake off the feeling, it's as if my brain is programmed to be unhappy.

Cometh the hour, cometh the sadness.

Pardon me for using 'you' throughout the post, most people I know seem to hate the Mondays more, but I am hoping that probably a few readers (yes, there are a few, more on that in the next para) would probably agree with me on this.

On a positive note, I am starting to see the number of visitors on the blog increase, whether it's by accident ('Damn, this isn't the site I was looking for') or by choice ('let's see what the #$@%@%# has written this time'), I don't know, but if there's a particular topic that excites you, or if you like any of the posts over here, do let me know.

Until the next post, goodbye.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

# 9 - Growing up, getting old, and getting real

"The trouble with growing up is, by the time we get rid of the pimple problems, there are wrinkles to take care of" 

- Anonymous 

"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very very pissed off." 

- Fight Club

During my young(er) years, I looked forward to growing up, becoming an adult.

I remember throwing, literally throwing my geography book away after my 10th boards geography paper was over, "I never have to study geography in my life again", I thought with relief, but nevertheless picked the book up a while later and kept it away ('what if I don't pass this time around?').

‎Alas, with the advent of calculus, my once favourite subject went the geography way. I waited for school to get over.

Then came college, and things hit rock bottom, or so I thought...‎not only did I have no inkling of what was going on, I had no clue what the future held in store. 

I wanted to hold on tightly to the present, forget growing up, take me back to the 90s, if that's not possible at least pause the time dear god!

A few years later came the sad realization that I was never going to be able to afford a Ferrari.

‎As you grow up and get older the dreams you have start to crumble, one at a time...the "outrageous" hopes and goals we had turn more realistic, and are battered down to something that's probably not even worth achieving.

We look back at the days gone by and wish that we could have them  back, but of course, that's not possible.

I miss the one month long summer vacations, I miss the ‎good old DD1 and DD Metro and He Man cartoons, I miss those old bulky landlines which you actually had to dial, I miss the innocence of friendships that I had in primary school, I miss waiting for the postman to deliver letters, knowing fully well that those letters had no relevance to me.

The other day I got a forward, it simply said "Imagine, 1990 is right now as far away as 2040". It seemed impossible till I actually did the math.

‎I used to be a bit tech savvy as a kid, but when I see 6 year olds surfing the net and doing things which I didn't know could be done, I feel a bit like the T-800 in the Terminator Genisys movie, "Obsolete".

And then I think, this is just the beginning, if I feel outdated now, how am I going to feel 20 years later? How am I going to last?

And then instead of going back in time, I wish I could just go forward to my retirement age, live peacefully in isolation,

‎From "little one" to "bhai" to "bhaiya" to "uncle", time does fly by quick.

Like this blog, this post too, doesn't have much of a point, but just a stark reminder, that we are just a speck of dust in this universe, our lives are of little or no consequence in the larger scheme of things, in all likelihood, most of us would not be putting a dent on the universe, in our lifetime, or later, yet we go on, hoping to make a mark, willfully oblivious of our un-importance. 

This post started off with two somewhat negative quotes, here's one more.

"Even if you are one in a million, on a planet of nearly 6.8 billion, that means there are 7000 people just like you."

So much for being an unique snowflake. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

# 8 - Blast from the Past - Movie Review - Ra.One

With creative juices running low, I once again rely upon what I had written years earlier, in order to keep this blog running...

I had watched Ra.One when it had come out in late October, 2011, and had for some inexplicable reason written a review of it too. Yes, I am fascinated with bad movies.

**SPOILER ALERT** In case you haven't watched this movie, DON'T. This review may make it seem better than it is.  

'Watch this movie because I am showcasing a brand new pose'

Back in the 70s, in bollywood, long before six packs, chiseled stars, vfx, sync sound and bikini babes flaunting ample cleavage had become common, there existed the concept of plots, around which movies were made. There were bad plots then, no doubt, but nevertheless, their presence was felt.

Since then however, the standards have become poorer and poorer, until now, that is.

Ra.One, the 150 crore, revolutionary (as claimed by the makers) film has no plot/story whatsoever.

The 156 minute journey to insanity starts off with an extended fantasy sequence, that has little or no business being in the movie, but reminds the viewer of 4 well-known facts, viz. (1) srk has abs (2) priyanka chopra is a well endowed women (3) sanjay dutt has bad teeth; and most importantly (4) bollywood isn't mature enough to handle special effects.

The film has no story whatsoever, is G.One a super hero? A robot? Or a BODYGUARD?

It seems as if there was no bound script, and the directors (apparently Karan johar, tarun mansukhani and SRK himself had directed portions of the film) were improvising all along.

There's a kid who looks a lot like shirish kunder, calls himself LUCIFER, and shares a strange relationship with his mother (they have condom jokes in a kids film, and a birthday party where exotic dancers outnumber the guests).

There's a video game where there are only 3 levels (seriously!?) And one has to be an olympic level gymnast/martial artist in order to play.

There's a superhero/robot whose motive and powers are unknown.

The list goes on and on.

The quality of the vfx is nothing to write home about, its good, but not revol-wow-tionary...

But what's more notable is the fact how the vfx element seems forced...the fantasy sequence was entirely unnecessary and did not contribute to the storyline, there are scenes where g1 (SRK, for the uninitiated) and ra1 (arjun rampal, if you really give a sh*t) are throwing cars at each other without any goddamn reason, and so on.

Ra.One seems like a movie where SRK thinks the movie's USPs are his presence, akon, the graphics, and its terminator-esque plot, but while salman khan can pull movies off by doing precious little, srk can't.

Kareena Kapoor looks good and she plays the stereotyped kareena kapoor character she plays in all her movies.

Arjun rampal looks thin and does precious little.

The kid in question, armaan verma, is irritating and should seriously get a hair cut else he risks being cast as a girl in the future.

Srk reprises his My Name Is Khan role, with little variation, (he punches, kicks and flies this time, and has blue eyes) and his performance doesn't merit a comment. But I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up with the filmfare award.

The viewers deserve better and srk too. I hope Ra.One doesn't get a sequel.

P.S: It's 2015 now. No sequels have been announced to Ra. One (good). Haven't caught the irritating child actor in any other movie since then (better), but Anubhav Sinha, the director of this masterpiece says he has a few movies in the pipeline (damn). 

Image sourced from here. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

# 7 - Should have taken the other route

22nd December, 2012 was destined to be the day that scarred Meenakshi for the rest of her life.

It started out like any other Saturday, waking up late, relishing the fact that there was no college, breakfast in bed and so on.

In fact it had been perfect till the evening.

Her friend Kanika called her up sometime around 7 and asked if she was interested in watching the latest Ranbir Kapoor movie that everyone was gushing about.

- Yaa, ofcourse! What time is the show? Who else is coming? Please let this be a girls’ night out only! 

- Sure babes, me, you, Rupali and Shikha. Sayak wanted to come along but am sure he will understand. Show’s at 9pm and you can all stay over at my place for the night. It’s been ages since we had a pajama party. I will pick you up at around 8.30pm.

Meenakshi was super excited as she put the phone down. She convinced her parents about the night out and got ready as quickly as she could, which just happened to be quick enough, because just as she stepped away from the mirror she heard the unmistakable honking sound of Kanika’s Nano outside. 

Just one more look at the mirror and she took off, hugging her dad and mom. 

Her dad stopped her just as she was about to leave.
- Listen Meenu, you be careful alright? You know how times are. Delhi isn’t getting any safer. Just call us for a minute after your movie is finished and when you reach Kanika’s place.

“Sure dad!” Meenakshi replied without thought. 

Midway through the movie, Kanika got a call her from mother, her brother had been in a bike accident, it was serious. 

Obviously all of them had to leave, Kanika was in tears, she had to leave and go straight to the hospital, to make matters worse, it was her car they had come in. 

She however offered to drop off the rest of the girls. 
It was Meenakshi who was the last one to be dropped, Kanika asked her if it was okay if she stopped the car a bit far from Meenakshi’s place and Meenakshi could walk home, else Kanika would have to take a long detour, usually Meenakshi would have refused, but seeing Kanika’s state, she just nodded silently. “Poor girl, what must she be going through. She had better reach the hospital soon” Meenakshi thought to herself. 

It was around 11 ‘o’ clock but the streets were empty, Meenakshi wondered which route to take home. One was longer, but it was through the main road, and there were street lights, the other was much shorter but slightly shadier. 

Pausing for a minute or two, she wondered if she should give her dad a call, but decided against it. She was in college now. She decided to take the shorter, darker route, figuring she would just reach earlier. 

It didn’t take long for Meenakshi to realize that she should have taken the other route, it was dark and deathly quiet, difficult to see even a few feet away, all she could make out in the darkness was the darker shapes of the building in the night.

She decided to count to 400, she estimated that’s how long it would take to reach home. 
Halfway through, she felt she could make out the shape of a person some distance away. She wasn’t sure.

Her heart froze when she realized that it was indeed a person, a person who was approaching her, at a brisk pace, the silence of the night now broken by her, and the stranger’s footsteps. 
She paused, wondering if the person would just cross, he was just about 10 meters  away now, and he slowed down. Observing her, he turned to her just slightly, and started taking slow, but decisive steps towards her, until she could feel his breath. 

He is going to rape me, Meenakshi realized, a bit too late, she wondered if she should scream, tried, but her parched throat refused to let out any sound . She tried to protect herself, to push him away, but he just pounced on her and shoved her to the ground. 

Meenakshi managed to put up a fight, she threw her purse at him and kicked him in the groin, something he hadn’t seen coming. He was hurt enough to let out a groan, and muttered a cuss word, and then “gayee tu ab”. 

The world paused for a fraction of a second for Meenakshi, she later wondered if it was due to relief or terror. 

She stood up shakily, but there was a change in her body language that the man could detect. 

She asked “Dad, is that you?”

# 6 - The Blogger Returns II

Yes, I am back, had promises to keep, remember?

Back with "fresh", "original" content too...

The next post is going to be a story, which in spite of my utmost attempts to stay original is probably inspired, but I honestly can't recall the source material....

Some B grade bollywood movie? unlikely....

Some wikipedia page? Possible...

Some whatsapp forward which claimed that if I didn't post it in my blog within 365 days I would shrivel up and die? Now we're going somewhere...

What's more, pissed off with the limited views, I am going pro, i.e. I am posting the link to my blog on Facebook.....if you are reading this, you better keep checking this page once a month (and click on ads too, will ya?), else you will be stalked, and I will message you personally until you visit the blog, or quit Facebook, or of course you could unfriend me.

You have been warned.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

#5 - Salman Khan, BlackBerry, and a teenager with messed up priorities

Back in 2003, I was a very scared boy, I was in class 11th g‎oing to class 12th, but the impending board exams didn't worry me, something far more crucial had been weighing me down.

You see, Salman Khan‎ had been going through a lean patch then, the biggest ever in his career, and in an industry where you are only as g‎ood as your last hit, Salman Khan hadn't seen one in a long long time.

Not only had his last ten movies been box office washouts, Hrithik Roshan and Vivek Oberoi were touted to be the next big things; the other Khans weren't doing too badly either.

It didn't help that Sallu bhai was balding, and the new generation of cine goers hardly identified with his kind of movies; consequently, David Dhawan and Govinda too were past their "best before" date.

And if that wasn't enough, the icing on the cake was that he was embroiled in a number of court cases..drunken driving, shooting blackbucks and what not.‎ He didn't have a hit in his hands, but he surely had a hit and run case (sorry).

The big shiny cherry on top of the icing was that the new kid on the block, Vivek Oberoi called a press conference and spoke of how Salman Khan had, in a drunken stupor, called him 43 times (post midnight of course), threatening of dire consequences if he continued to be close to Salman's ex-lady-love, Aishwarya Rai.

Vivek "besotted" Oberoi said, "he (salman) is a frustrated fellow, his career is dead and he knows it. But if he threatens me, then boss, you're messing with the wrong guy."

Ab bas yehi bacha tha.

We felt for Salman Khan, I don't know why but we did, we swore to boycott Vivek Oberoi and Aishwarya Rai movies.

Sallu bhai maintained a dignified silence amidst all this, but we, his loyal fans, had no doubt in our minds that Salman Khan was finished, this was the end of the road for him.

And then came "Tere Naam", ‎with a modest budget, average director and an unheard of heroine, and Salman found his mojo back. 

The good old days were back, back were the fans and back was his cocky confidence, he's never looked back since then.

It's 2014, Salman Khan is arguably the most bankable actor (?) in Bollywood, and I am getting the butterflies in my stomach again‎, though my concerns are of a similar nature, this time they aren't for Salman Khan, it's for an erstwhile Canadian corporate giant....BlackBerry.

‎I don't remember when I had first heard of BlackBerry, but I knew the moment when I wanted one.

A rich kid in my college was flaunting it, and I couldn't help but be amazed, this magical device didn't have a camera and a lot of other features that lesser phones had, but it looked aristocratic, the way a Rolls-Royce does.

Whaaat? This thing can send emails too? It was as easy and as fast as sending sms.‎

I desperately wanted one, but it was priced way beyond what a college kid could afford. Even if somehow I could manage to buy one, I wouldn't be able to use it, the rich kid assured me, the average internet charges for a phone was 10 paisa for 10kb of usage, with a blackberry the rate went up to 50 paisa per kb of usage.

"That's 50 times more?!" I shouted, doing the math, and taking way too much time.

"Yes" my new found hero replied coolly, "not many can afford one" subtly letting me know that he had it, and I didn't, rich is rich, poor is poor, and never shall the twain meet.

I didn't need a BlackBerry then, and I don't need one now. But I was hooked, some day I would own a BlackBerry, and that would mean that I had arrived.

"Watch out world, here comes Kanishka Chakrabarti, fiddling with his BlackBerry, look busy!"

People tend to do sweet things with their first salary, usually giving it to their parents or buying things for them. Not me, sometime in 2009,half an hour after I had gotten my first salary, I was buying a BlackBerry and using up slightly more than three fourth of my income, it had gotten much cheaper, and the data rates ‎had fallen drastica‎lly too, so the feeling of having arrived had gone, but I was happy.

5 years have passed since then, BlackBerry is no longer a force to reckon with in its field, it is scrambling for survival, I have switched handsets too, but have always come back to BlackBerry.‎ Therein lies my loyalty.

Qwerty phones are out of fashion now, sleek touchphones resembling anorexic models rule the roost.‎.and much like Salman Khan in 2003, BlackBerry's make or break time has come. People have written it off, I know only a handful of people who own or swear by BlackBerry (though the fact that the world's most powerful man is among them makes me feel a little better), and if BlackBerry doesn't come out with a "superhit" handset now, it will be all over for it.

I am rooting for BlackBerry to deliver, there's a certain pleasure to see a somebody becoming a nobody become a somebody again...this time the stakes are higher than it was in 2003, I could settle for any other hero if salman khan movies stopped coming (except for vivek oberoi ofcourse), but I don't see myself using a touchscreen phone...and I don't have any alternatives.

Let the battle begin, and here's hoping that BlackBerry can do a salman khan.

#4 - The blogger returns

It's again been a while (around three years) hasn't it?

Frankly, there's no reason for me to continue, no one reads my blog, I have 181 page views since this blog was created, 90 percent of that was probably me checking the blog, though for some reason, the stats show that a few Americans and I kid you not, a few Russians visited the page!

But, like Rocky Balboa after round 6 of any boxing match, I ain't giving up..

Besides, I like writing, so boo-freaking-hoo, this blog now stands restored...and to all my fans in Russia and US, I promise to be more regular, at least one post a month.

My next post isn't going to be something fresh though, I had typed it out on my blackberry sometime last year, I had meant to post it here, but better late than never right?

So that's me signing off for now, slightly older and significantly more irrelevant.

Yo adrian, we did it!