30 Aug 2011

Blogging 101

I try not to preach. I try really hard.
A little because I don't sound nice when I'm preachy,
But mostly because I know how I react to preachy people and posts.

But since I started blogging I have had certain Great Realizations, some on my own and some from Spiff (which I found to be 200 'parsant' true) and I thought I should share; might be of use to those who are just starting out. Maybe they can steer clear of those mistakes that I thoroughly plodded through like a big, fat buffalo on rampage.

Anyway, coming to the point, there are two three parts to it -

The Writing Part:
1) Be honest in your posts. Readers can detect fakers a mile away. You don't have to over-dramatize everything just to make up a good post. And don't attempt abstract nonsense just to sound intellectual unless abstractness is your forte and you make perfect sense.

2) Write about something of common interest to readers. Even though blogs are a place to express yourself, nobody wants to read about how you brush your teeth in the morning and how many times you yawned in advanced history class. Unless you have a blog and followers which/who are exclusively dedicated to your life and times in which case, it's o.k.

3) Please do a grammar check before you post, you don't want to sound illiterate to the world, do you? And running a spell-check  is pretty simple too, so DO it. N 4 gawd's sak plz don typ lik dis n da blg - annoys the shit out of everyone. It's called text language for a reason.
Also, don't type whole sentences in capitals. It hurts the eye and the page. Use bold html tags.

4) Include pictures in the posts. RELEVANT ones. It helps break up boring text into digestible bits - says almost every blog-advice site. Heed if you want to be read. But this does not give you the license to go crazy and include like ten pictures for every three lines you write (unless you have a photo blog).

5) Reply to comments. DO reply. Readers don't comment because they are entirely jobless and have no lives. They comment because they like your work and want you to know they appreciate it. Acknowledge that. Even if you are the most popular blogger on the planet, reply. For without readers, you'd just be another person talking to himself.
Also, don't comment and leave a link JUST to increase your traffic without even reading the post, you'll only repel the blogger.

6) And for HEAVEN'S SAKE remove word verification on comments. This is a personal request as well. I comment on a lot of blogs and it makes it really painful. I don't see the point either. If you don't want direct comments, enable moderation. But please, NO word verification.

The Technical Part (even if you are a tech-geek, don't ignore this part)

1) Take pains to learn how your blog works. What comes from where, goes where et al. Blogger and WordPress both are very, very customize-able platforms. Learn a wee bit of HTML code, exercise common sense and you can work wonders for your blog. Customize, customize and more customize.

2) I recommend strongly that you pick one address that you are completely happy with, one name for the blog that makes you pat yourself on the back for your exemplary creativity every time you think of it and forget about changing it. EVER. You'll lose readers otherwise. Trust me I speak from experience.

3) I know templates are aplenty and us, writers, are a dissatisfied and easily bored lot but try and stick to one template for at least six months at a time.

4) Don't crowd your homepage with widgets. They might be cool but they take away the attention from the post itself. Keep it simple. Or atleast pick put those which are complimentary.

5) Make sure everything in your blog fits a certain theme, your theme. By everything I mean, color combinations, lettering and such. And please don't ignore alignment issues.

6) If you don't want to experiment on your blog as such, create a tester blog and use it as a lab rat.
Also, try opening your blog in different browsers. They tend to have technical glitches where everything seems fine to you while your readers can't see shizz (remember a very recent time when my blog was black and entirely too difficult to read?)

7) For God's sake, make sure your page loads fast. As an owner of a blog that loads like a snail (and doesn't know what to do about it), I strongly recommend that you do WHATever it takes to load the fastest. There is no bigger put off than a slow webpage.

The General Part:

1) Don't copy. I can't stress that enough. Respect yourself enough not to copy.

2) Don't be egoistical to admit someone else's blog is wayyy more awesome then your's will ever be. But take pride in your own niche as well. The key is to find the balance.

3) Don't be rude. If it's meant to be funny and a lot of people find it funny, it's ok. But telling your readers that you are better than a the whole lot of them put together, might not go down well with them.

4) Don't blog about current issues unless you know what exactly is going on and you are some kind of authority on it. Opinions are o.k but updates and newsy posts are not. Readers get those from far more authoritative sources then you.

And most importantly, be genuine. When you compliment, mean it.
Popularity comes second. Integrity, first. 

Happy blogging, y'all:)
Veteran bloggers, anymore? Let me know.

P.S: I don't claim to be an expert. This is from one learner to another.

28 Aug 2011


No, I did not die and abandon my blog, I was just busy battling a block and no, that's not an excuse either.


You know the feeling when you suddenly realize that things are changing wayyyy too fast for you to have any control over and there is nothing - NOTHING - that you can do about it?

Well, guess who got acquainted with Mr. Aforementioned Feeling yesterday.

You might well say that life is supposed to be like that and that change is the only changeless law but I will hear only yadayadayada because I love control. I love having control over my life and it's entailments.
So correspondingly, I hate that there are things that I can't change and have no control over, it's always been my bone of contention with God saar.

Cause of realization?
Two things:

1) My seniors' convocation. No, I was not there for the actual thing, it was held conveniently on the weekend we were due home but it made me realize that same time next year I will be attending my own convocation. While the event itself is not scary in the least bit (why would it be?), the fact that by that time, I'd have to know what I want to do with my life IS scaring the living shit out of me.

I know I sound like a directionless, spoilt teen but let me assure you I'm none of the three. It's just the fact that I have decided not to go onto PG like the rest of my class, so starting work, being an adult, is making me nervous, to say the least.
And the fact that I have less than a year to make those life-changing decisions makes me want to curl up into a tight ball like a porcupine and poke anybody who even mentions anything related. Poke them REAL hard.

2) Posts by Red and TayTay about their little brothers growing up have brought up all my fears about my own irritating version of a brother to the surface. He's 12 going on 13 and is already as tall as me, knows much more than me and is constantly beating me at NFS. Only seems like yesterday that he was a wheezing ball of cuddliness (who I used to steal Cerelac from, I know, I'm evil that way) and now he doesn't even let me hug him or meet his friends from school.

He talks to me about his PC like a grown-up, breaks my record of finishing HP and the Deathly Hallows every week and locks the door to his room.

I'm petrified.

I have already lost one brother (cousin) to a semi-mohawk, a voice that is as deep as my uncle's, low-waists and 6-feet-tallness. I don't think I'll live through another one of those drastic changes.
And I don't even want to think about when my princess, my baby sister, grows up.

What can I do to stop the race of time and freeze them all the way they are? So that they never grow up, never lose their innocence, never feel the hurt that the world has in store for them? I'll do anything.

P.S: Incase you didn't guess, metathesiophobia is the fear of change.

24 Aug 2011

The Miffed Spiff

There is this person whose blog I chanced upon in the middle of the night and got hooked so hard I spent my waking hours reading every single goddamn post of hers. So distinctly Malayali-sh yet so polished, she caused me to cry of laughter-induced stomach pain. That sardonic wit that so few people master coupled with a definitive opinion on topics make her a writer you will keep going back to for more, like an abused wife (for lack of a better expression):P She's also one of those few bloggers who take the time to read your post thoroughly and comment, not for the sake of comments or traffic, but gives considered opinions. It makes you want to trust her:)

Presenting to you, the grammar Nazi (which makes me re-check all my spelling on my comments on her blog and mails to her), the lady with the sinfully-sexy-chocolate-cake baking skills, a foodie who I'll admit to be even more fanatic than Joey and myself, a self-proclaimed cheergirl for Virgo, AN AWESOME writer..

And one of the blog owners who make it in onto my top-ten-most-favorite-blogs-EVER-list,
Spaceman Spiff.
Thank you milady, for being so kind as to write me a post:)

I’m going through a phase where Facebook bores me no end. I still log on to check updates, but I’m past the stage where my life depends on it. I figured out that, after all, I don’t have anything interesting to share with so many people. 

When I logged on the other day, someone on my friend list (I won’t call him friend, because he’s not. He’s there because we happened to study together in college. I didn't talk to him much even then. No, I’m not a snob, he’s an ass. We haven’t exchanged even a single greeting on FB) had put up a really sad status message. Come to think of it, he always puts up sad status messages. And sad here reads ‘LOSER’.

Something about how he’s unfriending people from his list because when he got online, even though there were over 100 friends online, only around 20 pinged him. Other status messages of his talked about how everybody is back-biting him, how people he trusts are cheating him, how he doesn't trust girls because they are all cheats and bitches, that someone very close to him used him and that God won’t forgive them. I got so tired of his status updates that, finally, I unfriended him myself.

Was it so hard for him to see that the problem was with his own attitude, and not the rest of the world? The worst part was that for the 100-friends-online-only-20-pinged status update, there were actually people who liked it!!! Dude! There are actually people who encourage such sort of behaviour?!

So anyways, the point I’m trying to make is, there are certain people on FB who will like just about any status message. It’s like a reflex action for them. “Status message: hit ‘Like’ button”. As though on auto-pilot. I can understand if the update is genuinely interesting, but for extremely silly messages, I cannot fathom it. Are they getting paid to like it? Maybe my definition of interesting differs from others’, I don’t know.

So here is a list of status updates that I feel don’t deserve to/ shouldn’t be liked. These are just my views.
1) Met with an accident. Fractured legs. Please pray for me.
What exactly do you like about this message? That the person met with an accident? Or he/she has fractured bones? Or that your prayers matter? Hmmm? Please tell me, I want to know.         

2) Having 104 degree fever. Admitted in Yashoda hospital.
You’re a sadist if you like this one. Or are you merely appreciating the fact that in spite of being ill and in the hospital, the person took time and energy out to post it on FB? That seems to be the only sensible explanation. 

3) For those of you who didn’t know, my grandfather passed away. R.I.P.
First of all, it’s Rest In Peace, not R.I.P. (Whenever I see R.I.P, I get the mental image of a someone ripping apart a piece of cloth with their hands). And second of all, his grandfather passed away, he isn’t back from the grave that you should like the update. Also, a kick in the ass for the guy for posting something like this on a social networking site. 

4) Lost my walletL
Someone on my friend list had put this up. And got some 20 likes on it. The logic eludes me…

5) (On a small town’s community page) So-and-so person passed away. He was a great soul.
One of my friends told me about this. I bet the only thing the ‘likers’ saw was “He’s a great soul.”

6) It’s raining. Having a cup of coffee.
So? I also have a cup of coffee when it rains. I just don’t believe in telling the whole world about it.

7) (whenever there’s a cricket match on) Sachin’s batting/ Sachin hit a half-century/Sachin out at 99 L/ Dhoni fielding well/ Dhoni adjusting his cap/ Dhoni scratching his ass/Yuvi rocks/ Yuvi’s drinking water/ Yuvi spat out the water. Wow!!
Err.. do you know the difference between status update and running commentary?

8) Good morning/ good night.
What is it about good morning and good night that you like so much?

9) On my way back to Timbuctoo/ Reached Jhumrithalaiyya.
Ok, if it’s a holiday that this person has gone to, I can understand the likes. But for a person who travels 15 days a month, do you really have to like it each and every time he/she announces arrival and departure?  

10) Google+ is awesome!
You’re on Facebook, and you’re promoting Google+. That’s just unethical! This one, I’m SURE you were paid to like.

Ouch! I can almost feel the brickbats falling on me!

Spaceman Spiff blogs at Senseless Sense? Or Sensible Nonsense?

P.S: I have a crush on her tagline 'I don't wanna follow, I don't wanna lead. I just wanna lead life at my own speed'. Huge crush.

22 Aug 2011

Doings, Happenings and Other-Ings

Caution: This post has no head, no tail and nothing in between that is related. 

We had Gokulashtami celebrations in college, and some.
It's a huge deal for us; we get to work on making our department procession floats the most awesome (obviously hoping we win). The best part for us, girls, is that we get to dress up (read: Obsessive Compulsive Planning Disorder for at least two weeks now).

So I noticed some stuff, stuff that I shouldn't probably write about. But I will still go ahead and do it, because I am a blundering fool who loves getting her butt handed out to her for not having been politically correct. I don't like something, I will blog about it:P (yes, I can't keep shut, nor do I want confrontations AND I have an opinion. Quite a piece of work, ain't I?:P)

So anyway, blehs happen and make me go


1) People will do anything for power. And power here, in a college like mine, is getting to do what you want (even if it is the stupidest thing since Rakhi Sawant's implants) while trampling over the most sensible of ideas.

2) Saris can be EXTREMELY fun to wear. Quite a statement coming from me because till yesterday I despised saris (because they can and are worn in all the wrong ways while still being called a traditional dress that makes a girl look 'homely'. PAH!). But since yesterday, I have altered my statement slightly and say, yes, saris, if worn properly, can make you feel like a frikkin' princess:)

3) There are a whole horde of people who will do absolutely no work, contribute not so much as a sneeze in the direction of the celebrations, not emotionally, not physically, not monetarily and still find it in their heart to turn up, take part and turn their goddamn snooty noses up about how mediocre it was.

4) Guys (read: I speak about one particular breed:P) look SEXY in traditional attire. Much more than you believed possible :D

5) People will get drunk at all inconvenient times. And make you yearn for a couple of shots yourself just so you can handle the tension in the air. Too bad I don't drink, I wish I did.
6) Drunk people say wonderful things:D Enough said.

7) It is VERY easy to 'trim' one of your eyebrows off in the middle making it look like a half-mowed mini-lawn (yes, that was one of yours truly's feats and no I'm not going to put up a picture of it).

8) People love freaking out. We love making a scene about how things are going wrong and how we'd have done it differently and all the bull that goes with it.

We love telling people how THEY were wrong as well. To hell with productivity and co-operation. And people love rubbing our faces in how many tonnes of work they did, how they single-handedly lifted Mt. Govardhan.

9) It's trendy to be different. Who cares if you actually believe in the cause. You come up with the most retarded idea which has no connection to the project-in-question and that, my child, will earn you respect and adoration and adulation and whatnot that you crave from the very depths of your being.

10) I have the most uncooperative, divided class ever which doesn't give a shit what other people feel, do. I include myself in this.

Now that my bloodlust is satisfied (and I have avenged my bff on several counts:P Another story), I move onto happier things..

I'm fast approaching 100 posts:)
And somebody teach me how to install Disqus without losing previous comments.

It's been raining awards. Making me one truly happy and at-peace blogger.

First Risha did.
Then Spaceman gave it right back to me.
Then Gowthami decided that my blog is lovely.

And Madame Tay-Tay says she digs my blog.

Which I want to pass on to PsychBabbler. I was looking for the perfect award for her and now I have found it for I totally, entirely dig her blog.

Creme de la creme? BlogJunta's Junta of the Month (July - Veteran Blogger)

Well, what more can a blogger want, I say. I am truly very, very honored, it doesn't stop being true how many ever times I keep saying it. The attention-junkie in me is screaming out in ecstasy.

And it's a wonderful feeling when, what you consider your highly mediocre writing talents, are admired by people; enough that you come to mind in the same sentence as award. Means more than I can ever convey in writing (which is saying something, considering that is the only way I know to express things properly).

Thank you, peepuls. So berry much.
(I promise never to bore you with so much rant or emotion overload any more, ever again)

Now I go to sleep dreaming of the yummy pasta that I'm going to polish off without mercy tomorrow. Thank you in advance, Nandu.
And get ready for Spaceman Spiff's lablooey guest post.
She's brought it, and how:)

P.S: I did the linkbacks only this time, since I did the whole hullabaloo last time. Not like y'all want to know hundreds of random things about me, right?
P.P.S: I worked black magic on my comments box and a lot of the previous comments have changed order. I don't know how to fix it, so please don't be mad if my replies have come above your comments.
P.P.S.S: Did you know I have a blog badge? Just saying:P 

20 Aug 2011

The Ultimate 'Pet Pooja'

Are you familiar with the concept of food?
Must be, considering you eat every day.

Well I just happened to realize that this particular passion of mine has hardly gotten to occupy the limelight on my blog, hence the whole post dedicated to it.

That statement requires me to state my philosophy about food, which is

No, I’m not a glutton; I just love food, all kinds of it, in all shapes, sizes, varieties, assortments and… you get the point.
And I completely agree with Joey when he says, ‘Joey doesn’t share food’. I WILL get you an extra plate of fries but don’t expect to get away alive with picking food off MY plate.

Ok well, maybe a lot of people are going hungry while I’m contentedly polishing off my second plate of cheese penne, so I’ll share if you will give me proof that you are under-privileged in the ‘food’ department.

(I just read through this again for typos and find that I sound like a pompous pig; trust me, I’m just in love with the concept of food and food-affiliated entities. So please don’t judge me, I’m still the semi-nice girl who wrote The Bike Ride and Moments.)

Anyway, let’s talk grub:

Have you ever had ice-cream so awesome, that you don’t feel like eating it for fear that it’ll get over? The texture, just so smooth and creamy, while the bits of chocolate or butterscotch (or whatever you got) lend it that extra crunch that makes you go ‘MMMmmmmmmm…!’ making people around cast dubious and slightly perturbed glances at you, though you ceased to care long back when that first lick/bite rendered you oblivious to the Universe while you floated around in a state on nirvana stuck between the ninth and tenth clouds?

Have you ever bitten into the luscious crust of a pizza so exquisite that it makes your eyes water with sheer love for it? That first bite that has your stomach preparing for battle with the cheese dripping off so alluringly and the corn sizzling it’s way straight to you heart while the jalapenos steal your breath away… it makes you want to write poems describing a marvel, so common, yet so under-rated.

Have you ever dug into plain old dal-chaawal that Amma made, with that achaar, so lip-lickingly gob-smacking, that it becomes your comfort, your way of knowing everything is alright with the world? The achaar itself is a ninth wonder, so spicy and so tangy, with that right amount of bite that has you drinking water to quell the fiery sting on your tongue while reaching for more with the other hand.

Have you ever brewed a cup of coffee with so much care that one would think it was your baby, but little do they know that it IS your baby, so lovingly measured, so longingly filtered? The familiar and adored aroma hits your senses making you yearn, yes yearn, for one more whiff and before you know it, you have the packet/contained jammed up your face. You hold on to the cup for the sheer warmth it exudes while it expels rainy-day blues. And when you take that first sip, the light bitterness gets to your very soul, it warms up Life itself, makes the world a better place instantly and takes a headache right out of the window making the day deal-able, faceable in just a jiffy.

Now do you get why food is not just a part of life; food is what makes it so much more interesting, more light and wonderful. Also, they feature in most of our favorite memories: Amma’s home-cooked specialties that you start missing the moment you step out of home, that dark chocolate bar that got you through some tough nights, the crunchy cookies that gave you company while you slogged the night away on the presentation for the next day, the Maggi that was the highlight of so many hostel nights when you got hungry raising hell when you had an important submission the next day, the cold frappe that you almost spat out when he got down on one knee and proposed, right there. The chocolate hearts you got her for your first V-Day together… Food is omnipresent, the ultimate goal and the Mecca of all sorts of problems and people.

Worship or perish.

P.S: Yes, I do worship food, so much so that I will write an entire post about food-worship. No, I don’t have weight issues, not yet :P

P.P.S: These were just a few things I came up with, I could go on; if you want me to include a description about your favorite food, do tell me. If I have enough, I'll do a part two:D 

17 Aug 2011

*The Happy Dance*

Yes, I am a forgetful fool.
There. Now that I have admitted it, we can all move on.

Sweetheart of a Risha awarded me and said such sweet things about me.
And I forgot to repost.

Anyway, she gave me this.

And made me number nine on her list.
AND called me a brilliant writer as well.

What can I say,
Thank you so much once again,

Comments like those from KN., Israr and Atrocious Scribblings and awards and recognition from fellow-bloggers are what makes me go on with my writing, whatever little flair that I have.
You guys make me look forward to writing on my blog and publish it rather than in my notebook and hide.

Linkback: Check.

7 random things (as if I'm not random enough already:P)

1. I recently realized that I have grown up and there is no way I will get away with licking chocolate wrappers in public (unless of course I want people to think I'm retarded).
2. I also recently realized that I will be passing out of college in less than a year and I still have NO clue what I want to do (yes, irresponsible and indecisive are my middle names)
3. I get furious with people about small random things that they do and never talk to them for a long time leaving them to wonder what the hell happened.
4. I love getting mails from bloggers. I don't know why.
5. I hate tomatoes in curries. Raw tomatoes are faaaiyynn. But cooked are just plain repelling.
6. I'm inordinately proud (and a little jealous) of my sister for having written a book so early in her life (She's 11).
7. I love rainy seasons. Including all the slush, mud, ruined makeup, wet clothes parts.

What? You said random, ok? :P

My Favorite song: These and more

My Favorite Dessert: Death By Chocolate. Last thing I want to eat in life as well.

What Pisses Me Off:  Not crediting work appropriately, double standards, people borrowing my things (and not returning them) and fake friendships.

Biggest Fear:
 Losing my mother, my siblings or my guy. Stuff that my nightmares are made of.

Best Feature: My 'Chinese' eyes that apparently disappear when I smile (I don't know, ask my friends)

Everyday Attitude: Don't kill or get killed.

What Is Perfection: A day by the beach with my brother/sister, a day of shopping with Amma, a dinner with Nandu. 

Guilty Pleasure: F.R.I.E.N.D.S reruns, Plants vs. Zombies and chocochip cookies during exams.

And passing it on to another 15 bloggers
(Oh, wow)

  1. Spaceman Spiff

  2. Psych Babbler

  3. Felicity

  4. Bikram

  5. Srinidhi

  6. Meghana

  7. Soumya

  8. Hamza Bin Laden

  9. Ugly Shoelace

  10. Joshi Daniel

  11. KN.

  12. Aesthetic Blasphemy

  13. Rubber Soul

  14. MSM

  15. Phatichar

(In no particular order, except Spaceman. I MEANT her to be first)

Though I would love to describe each one of these blogs in superlatives, I realise it would make an inordinately long post. So I'll be content with saying that they are AMAZING blogs, each special in their own unique way.

Visit each one on the list and I promise it'll be worth your time and more. Each writer has his/her own unique style and each one of these blogs are those which I keep checking to see if there are any new posts. I wish them all the luck in the world with 
their writing and life, in general as well. Keep writing and entertaining us, readers:)

And sorry again, Risha, for being SO late with the posting :|

P.S: I have fiction on my mind. A six part series about eight friends. Any takers? Let me know:)

EDIT: Ok, there seems to be confusion regarding this - by 'passing it on to 15 other bloggers' I mean that I'm awarding the mentioned bloggers with the same award who I think are deserving; it's not just a mere mention of their blogs. 

14 Aug 2011

Oh, Is 15 August Independence Day or the other one.. kya naam hai.. Republicans Day?

The following are my opinions alone and I'm no expert of any sort,  feel free to disagree but don't expect me to feel any differently unless you have indisputable proof otherwise.

Here I sit on the eve of my country’s 65th (?) Independence Day, preparing for a flag-hoisting and my sister’s book release and all I can think of is how cheap Airtel can get for charging for texts tomorrow.

Angrezon se toh aazaadi mil gayi par in cheapskates’ ke ab bhi ghulam hain.

Anyway, I was wondering what we have so much to celebrate and be proud about. Ok fine, chalo, granted that after ghor parishram and all, our freedom fighters dilaofied azaadi for our supposedly great nation, but wasn’t that, like, eons back?

I don’t get the point.

It’s not like we youngsters care about the Lokpal bill or how the Government is doing everything to prevent it from being passed (which itself makes the whole thing smell worse than a week-old-fish).

It’s not like we know who the newly-appointed naval chief is nor does it matter in our lives.

We don’t know what our national flower is or the national bird. Nor do we know that we even have a national animal. What difference does it make to us?

It’s not like we give a damn whether the Mumbai blasts (at least the most recent ones) have been solved. It’s always been easier to just blame Pakistan (mainly the Prez, who gives a blind bat’s backside what Pakistani people are like or how we almost became bhai-behens) and let it all blow over.

It’s not like we like wearing Khadi or eat desi-produce. *Puke*. We don’t mind shelling out three grand for a pair Levi’s or 500 bucks for a ‘bucket’ of chicken; they are obviously better and most certainly not down-market like Indian-made goods. Shresht kurtis, pani puris and golas toh out of question not to say unhygienic.

It not like forwards making fun of our country fellows is not funny. They are so damn funny, we send it to everyone we have ever known or met in the last decade.

It’s not like we are going to live here, in the slums and the dust and the dirt, without any air-conditioning (God forbid!) when we can live as second-rate citizens in the U.S or U.K or anywhere else in first class. So what if India needs the new technology and development that we come up with more than them. Everything is better there. Chicks, food, lifestyle, clothes, papers, schools, roads, offices, shopping… EVERYTHING.

And we’ll cheer Danny Boyle on when he highlights the worst part of our nation on an international platform and takes home Oscars for it. And we’ll also wait till Pookutty wins an Oscar to Google and find out who he is.

It’s not like we’d remember to pick up one piece of waste paper or used Pepsi can from near our feet to save India’s environment, the whole country is full of muck anyway. This one bit is not going to make any difference. We won’t turn off our taps when we brush our teeth, ‘cause we like the continuous flow of water down the drain. Besides, conservation is for tree-huggers.

It’s not like we disagree with NRI’s returning and complaining about forgetting how ‘Last-

Century’ India is, how we *still* don’t have health insurance.

Not like we love Afzal and Zalima and Stephen and Katy the same way we love Karthik and Aanchal. They will always be them.

Not like we care if our girls are beaten up in pubs, raped on trains and killed when they are just fetuses. As long as we can get away with our shortest pair of Lilou shorts and tightest pair of Reebok tees, we don’t care. We will get married gowns and forsake Kancheevarams’ and Benaras’. We’ll choose pencil skirts over half-saris. The first women speaker does not evoke even an iota of interest in us.

It’s not like we love our country, not like we’d do anything for it, not like it matters who calls India and Indians what names. It’s not like we vote to make things better. Not like our being the WC champions with the Indian Flag flying at the forefront (even before the Australian one) matters since they screwed the last game up. Not like we say ‘Saare jahaan se accha, Hindustan hamara’ and mean it. Not like we tear up with bristling pride or even stand every time we hear the Jana Gana Mana.  

We will live-in together, cheat on our spouses, breast-pump our milk for our children and make deep-cut blouses a way of life. Getting drunk and being stupid are awesome. Getting high on weed is even 'kewler'. Emulating Paris Hilton and Rihanna help us find who we are and kitty parties are more important than annual days.

We are proud of our State, its language, our homes, the rich history our family and ancestors have. We are proud of our friends, our dads, our lives and careers. We are proud of our nephew’s first steps, our promotion, our laptops and mobiles. What’s there to be proud of our nation.

So let’s not make a big fuss, pretend to be willing to die for our nation for one day in a year, eat sweets they give us after flag-hoisting in silence and go back to our Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy with our traps shut tight.

Let’s not fake-love India. She deserves much better. 
And happy Independence day to us.

P.S: I'm the one who sobbed from sheer emotion when the WC 11 stood in a line with their hands on their chests and lipped the national anthem. The one who picks up all the chest-pin-flags off the ground when 15 August celebrations are over. The one who never has voted till now for lack of will to vote for useless people. Life has made me cynical.

But I'll always be the one who does, and forever will, take great pride in being an Indian first and then a human being.

10 Aug 2011

The Test, A Newspaper and My Alarm

09 August 2011
2.40 p.m
Final Year, Mass Communication classroom

Supru, our class advisor, tells us to ‘put our books away and take a sheet of paper to write the test’ (yes, our college is lame beyond repair that way). And yours truly is sitting in the last but one bench and chiding herself for not having read the newspaper (it’s a current affairs test). She looks around to see half the class scribbling the answers down furiously while the other half (which includes herself and her best friends & family) look at each other and grin that special grin which is used to denote that *I’m-scoring-single-digits-on- this-one*.

Since I’m usually one of the furious scribblers and the one whose answer sheet gets passed around, this throw me a little bit. So, I make a resolution.

I will wake up at 6.45 am tomorrow, get dressed soon and read the newspaper. How difficult can waking up half an hour earlier be? And I can get so much work done as well.

10.00 p.m
Hostel room

I stop reading all the blogs open in 25 tabs on my browser, stop refreshing my dashboard every three seconds to see if I have any new comments and wind up my FB business for the night. I feel a small pang as I disconnect the net - ‘maybe someone’s sent me a mail, maybe a new follower, maybe a new private message’.. I shake myself out of the creeping obsession and firmly shutdown the laptop; I’m not even going to watch Grey’s Anatomy tonight à efforts to sleep early, in order to rise early. I have had it uptill here *points* of birds getting worms and all.

Anyway, I’ll just head over to the other room to see what’s going on and say the customary good night’s.
(Note: The ‘other room’ is where the crazies live.)

10 August 2011
1.00 a.m
‘Other room’

I am dancing, steps which are too weird to even describe (one would be the chicken-dance of Chandler fame), with a party hat on my head, a ‘cape’ (bed-sheet) around my neck, a party popper in my hand (blowing in full volume), camera in the other, music playing as high as humanly spunk allows me to and surrounded by seven girls giggling madly and without reason and getting high on coffee and sherbet. 

Yes. Plain coffee. And sherbet made of water and concentrate.
Don’t ask.

6.45 a.m
Own Bed

The Evil Alarm

Eduardo (from The Social Network) is down on a knee with a big, fat diamond and an adoring expression....
The alarm goes ‘Daddy mujhse bola..’ (yes, that IS my alarm tone, helps me get a kick start *stares defensively*)

One eye opens reluctantly. The other refuses to co-operate/coordinate. I take a sneaky peek at the bed below mine; Indu’s already up, the big, fat goat. Makes me feel guilty.

I groan.
Ok. Five more minutes won’t make a difference. Alarm set for 6.50.

6.50 a.m
Own Bed

Waking up when the needles are not in alignment is bad luck.  And also, by 7.00 the bathrooms will be free. And reading the paper takes what, like, ten minutes?

7.00 a.m
Own Bed

Already?! The clock is wrong. It has been fixed. Somebody has paid it money to torture me out of bed. It’s a conspiracy!!

And hence, I refuse to abide the time that it shows. Hmph.

7.15 a.m
Own Bed

One eye opens again and checks out the other top bunk and finds a similar eye (the other roomie) checking it out. They reach a mutual understanding and go back to sleep. If they are late, they’ll be late together. And that, we can deal with.

7.30 a.m

7.45 a.m

8.00 a.m

8.15 a.m

8.30 a.m

Dressed. Out-of-breath. Running.
Missing ear-rings. Forgot to take wallet. And ID card. Forgot room key. Forgot breakfast. Forgot pen.

Forgot to take newspaper from Warden’s office.

8.45 a.m
Final Year, Mass Communication classroom

“Ma’am, hostelites. Water main broke in the hostel, we had to wait for soooo long to take a bath. Such bad services for the good money we pay, tch, tch….”
Attendance gained.

10 August 2011
2.40 p.m
Final Year, Mass Communication classroom

That special grin which is used to denote that *I’m-scoring-single-digits-on- this-one *. So I make a resolution.

I will wake up at 6.45 am tomorrow, get dressed soon and read the newspaper. After all how difficult is it waking up half an hour earlier than my usual time. And I can get so much work done with the extra time I’ll gain.

And here we go again….

Previously titled "The Alarm That Was 'Fixed' By The Ones On The Dark Side"

7 Aug 2011

An Ode To A Best Friend

There were once two little girls who drew on classroom walls and invented a ‘computer language’ that only they could understand.

One bit the other during a fight, made herself the butt of all ‘teeth’ and ‘dog’ related jokes for years to come and it was the start of something called friendship.

One had an irascibly know-it-all attitude and the other, an inevitably bad haircut.
They tried recruiting members for their ‘club’ and when everybody called them crazy, they moped.

They grew up ten minutes away from each other. They argued over who’d marry Rahul Dravid and bonded over Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin’s Armaan, Rahul Dravid and WWE.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S fanatics, they became. ‘Dog’ biscuits, they ate. ‘Evan’, ‘Conner’, they crushed on. School was a blur of nonsense, long walks & talks and secret meetings at one’s place.
Same obsessions, same loves, same pains. But two entirely different people.

One knew what the other was thinking and they smirked at everything in perfect tandem.
They wrote letterto each other about the five hours they spent apart and laughed about it the next day.

Bhajans they attended, dances they performed, called each other five times a day (they dialed each other’s numbers on auto-pilot every time they picked up the phone).
They started blogs and blogged about utter nonsense. They went to lame farewells and still had fun.

One fell in love with an entirely wrong person and the other picked up the pieces. One had sense to limit the damage and the other was, predictably, an idiot.

Then they grew up.

The secret visits dwindled. The dreamer chose the dreamy life and the practical one, the proper one.

They made other friends, lived separate lives.
The bond dissipated. They no longer knew what the other was thinking.
They ran out of things to talk about.
Their beliefs changed. Their crushes did too.
WWE and SOC lay forgotten in the deep recesses of their hearts.

Today, they stand at different places, looking in different directions, wanting entirely different things from life.
One doesn't miss anything else from her old life except the girl who understood her better than her own mother.
And she is scared that the old bond is gone forever and a part of her childhood that she cherishes the most, is lost in the sands of time. The worst part is that she knows she has no one else to blame but herself.

Gayathri Chandrashekaran, whatever happens to us, you will always be my first best friend and you’ll always be special.

I love you. And I miss you.
Are we still on for the world tour?