Second degree burns

Friday, June 16, 2006

Square Pegs in Round Holes - a Modern-day Parable

Quite a few people I know have just given their board exams and are at a loss regarding career choices. While the cardinal rule is that one must always make a career out of doing what one enjoys the most, there's no point being dogmatic regarding this, if one's interests clearly don't pay well. Collecting spiders, for instance. Despite all those various cartoon storylines regarding megalomaniacal super-villains and their queer (to put it lightly) zoological interests, doing such things, in real life will just earn you a dirty room and few less flies. A corollary to this would be that one must always cultivate lucrative interests. And a slightly less regarded rule is - NEVER EVER make your career choices in a hurry. If you do find yourself in a bad situation doing something in which you have no interest, then keep an open mind and be ready to make compromises when it comes to your goals. A small fable will probably underscore this point best.

The protagonist of this tale is a certain Mr. Chandru Kumar. On completing schooling in the interiors of India, he reviewed his progress in school and discovered that he had a flair for experimentation and logical deduction. And he had always done very well in Science in school. Hence, it was rather easy for him to decide to become a science graduate. With his rudimentary knowledge of the internet, he surfed websites of colleges, and, finding a Life Sciences institute most suited to his needs (he had to consider a lot of factors such as courses offered, fee structure, proximity to home, and, maybe the most important criterion for him, the sex-ratio), he proceeded to apply there. Securing admission was not a problem, and, having accomplished the more tedious task of convincing his father to part with his hard-earned but rather meagre savings, he reached Caravan City with dreams of discovering radioactive pixie-dust a-la a modern age Peter Pan.
However, this is not the end of the tale, rather just the beginning...
On alighting from an extended train journey (7 hours late) in Caravan City, and reaching the college, he discovered that he had made probably the biggest mistake of his life so far. For, on the sign-board he beheld that the college name was, in fact, Parnav Rait Institute of Creating-Life Sciences (PRICLS). Which is why the girls-to-boys ratio was so strangely high, he reasoned. "That what you get for mixing business with pleasure," he admonished himself, thinking about all those hours spent on the internet.
However, such clarity in hindsight was but small solace for him. Using this new-found lucidity, he reasoned that he was short on money, having already paid the fees online, and if he went back home in these circmstances, then his folks would surely put him out to pasture, literally, since farming was their original career choice for him. So he decided to accept what fate had in store for him, and soldier on.
The first few months were the worst for him. Being raised in a conservative family, he was appalled to see the various facets of procreation being discussed so openly. At night, he cried himself to sleep. Every weekend, he sent a letter to his family back home, and narrowly staved off his father's visit a couple of times.
However, his perseverance slowly began paying off. His distaste in some of his subjects having been eroded over all those months, he began to take more interest in matters he previously considered heretical. He even discovered a latent talent in subjects such as "Critical Appreciation of Literature" and "Ancient Techniques". He would especially look forward to lab work. With his enthusiasm and diligence, he began to improve his grades, so much so that he began to be ranked among the top five students of his class.
His social life began to swing upwards too. His best friend was a Bengali by the name of Arun Dutta, who would pronounce the college name as "Porno Rat". And his earlier decision to choose a college based on the sex-ratio as well turned out to be a wise decision in the end. He also met lots of people in Caravan City who, like him, found themselves as square pegs stuck in round holes, to use a rather appropriate metaphor.
His three years at PRICLS came to an end rather too quickly for him. Being rather good-looking as well as diligent, he managed to find employment in a prestigious movie studio as a body double, and he took to his job as a fish takes to water. He's quite happy these days, especially when Mahesh Bhatt announces a new movie. He is also very passionate when it comes to his job, which makes it easier for the cameraman as well.
He, however, is one of the very few who has managed to find success despite his initial lack of interest in his field. This has been possible only because he kept an open mind and persevered long enough to be able to turn all his setbacks into stepping stones to success. Also, such events are possible only in a place like Caravan City. Like the rather under-rated uber-proverb goes - Don't try this at home.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Real existence in a surreal world

Friends, fellow bloggers, and other flies caught up in this miserable web called existence, lend me your consciousness. After many days of thought, meditation, and other excuses for an excuse, I've come to this remarkable conclusion - life is more bearable if one is a surrealist. Because then, the world makes more sense and existence is not a bitch any more.

A surrealist sees less and feels more of the world he lives in. Which is not to imply that logic is a worthless commodity for the surrealist...just that he or she is more attuned to a higher logic, that one must peek behind the curtains to get a better look at. And the web turns out to be a marvelous curtain of intricate design, euphemistically called 'Life'.

Since this post is a narration on surrealism, let me also include in this a much-delayed introduction to this blog.

This blog is quite different from other blogs in the sense that the reader will not find my opinions on the world at large, or other such incongruities in this universe (not too often I hope). What you will rather encounter are characters in an imaginary place called 'Caravan City'...and with the help of these characters and their mutual interactions, I shall attempt to metaphorize the various incidents in my life.

Having said this, I now invite you to share in the lives of these characters, and with the help of them, I welcome you to my life.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya - the true story

Himesh was a brilliant student in college (straight A's et al). His brilliance was well-complemented by his diligence in college, as well as home (the only channels he watched were Discovery and National Geographic for kids, and he had a self-imposed blanket ban on watching movies in the theater).
And then, one fatal day, his friends (a.k.a the Society to Help Introduce Tasteless Timepass to Youth or S.H.I.T.T.Y.) decided to spice up his humdrum existence, and took him to a Salman Khan movie (the one in which he is topless for most of it...oh wait a sec, that happens in all of his movies!!).
And then, life was never the same!!!
Himesh got a shock on getting his senses assaulted with extremely tasteless bullshit, and went brain-dead.
The various doctors, hakeems, shamans, vaidyas and other quacks were hard-pressed to find a cure.
And then, one ingenious chap came up with a great plan - why not carry out a transplant from his butt onto his head to replace the damaged tissue?
The operation succeeded beyond everyone's wildest expectations (the SHITTY guys included) and, following his extremely quick recovery, Himesh Reshammiya was up and about in a couple of weeks.
Alas, this happy state of affairs was not to last, and like every good potboiler churned out of the Hindi film industry, this tale too had a twist - or a few, in this case. Soon, everyone started noticing that something was different about Himesh.
Most noticeable was the fact that he always had to wear a cap in public to ensure that no photographs were taken of the butt-cleft on his head, which had also got transplanted during the surgery. And then, when he opened his mouth, the most awful wails would emanate (truth be said, there was a marked difference of opinion on his voice, oscillating between melodic and awful, depending on whether the person asked was sitting on the rickshaw driver's seat, or behind it).
What shocked his close(t) friends the most was that, although he was not very sociable earlier, now noone without appropriate earplugs could come 500 metres in his near vicinity before he broke out into his inimitable braying about unrequited love.
Thus, the blessing soon turned into a curse. However, Himesh was not one to let personal tragedies come in the way of his (vastly changed) goals. He soldiered on, and by a freak stroke of luck ("Nature always sides with the hidden (!!) flaw" - Murphy's law), he found himself signing a recording contract that guaranteed him the right to sing an unbearable number of bowel-movement-inducing songs for the edification of the general public (that means us, I think).
This, my dear friends is Himesh's story. A classic rags-to-riches tale that is possible only in Hindi movies (unfortunately for us) occured and altered the Hindi music industry, and the look of disgust we achieve on viewing countdown shows.
Hence, the moral of this story is - before trusting your doctor, make sure that you do not find any old newspaper clippings carrying photographs of him shaking hands with Himesh Reshamiya. In case you do, kindly call on this toll-free number : 91989-MOLOTOV. We guarantee secrecy...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The armour we wear

"Where does one find 'real' people...?" Hemant asked.

"I'm still looking dude..." replied Manas. "I'll find one soon I hope."

They were sitting outside a cafe, sipping their cappucinos. They were a pretty odd duo - Hemant with his three day old stubble, faded jeans, wrinkled shirt, torn shoes, and Manas with his neat trimmed goatee, well-ironed shirt, dapper pants and new Nikes...Hemant with his dark humour and Manas with his affable, chirpy attitude...They were the best of friends...

"It gets so disgusting sometimes - everyone's got a mask that they wear. At times, everyone seems so plastic."

"Hey they can't help it, Hemant. Although we live in a civilized world, it's much more dangerous here than before. The masks people wear is their best self-defence mechanism against whatever the world's gonna throw at them."

"Yeah right, self defence mechanism. The problem is when they don't realise when the armour they wear becomes their chains. I'm sick of looking at plastic people and their recycled lives."

"Well, look at the better side of things," said Manas.

"And that is...?"

"That you are better off than those other fools because you are able to see past these little potholes that most get stuck on."

"My dear friend, in this age that we live in, in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is not king, but a cripple...He can't share in the collective mirage that drives others on..."

"True..."mused Manas. And for once even he became enwrapped in a brooding silence.

Suddenly, Hemant got up with a start. "Hey, its getting rather late. I've got to get some stuff to take home...I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah me too. Got a party to go to. See you later."

And both went off in their different directions without a backward glance...