The Road To Nirvana Is Paved With Distractions

During this lockdown, I’ve maintained a disciplined schedule of working out, sleeping well, eating healthy and lying shamelessly. But the one activity that I’m honestly trying to get better at is meditation, and yes I’m gonna ignore the fact that taking deep, relaxing breaths during a pandemic marked by breathlessness feels a little bit like showing off. It’s like running 100-metre sprints during the polio crisis or telling Okinawa war vets that kamikazes are delicious and they should totes try some.

For the record, I’d like to state that meditation truly is a life-changing invention, like the wheel or the ‘Skip Intro’ button. So any shortcomings are mine and mine alone. For example, on most days, I can spend six hours staring at my toenails but when I decide to meditate for just fifteen minutes, I suddenly have the schedule of an ER surgeon who’s also the President Of The World during an ongoing alien invasion.

The next step is to open the Headspace app on my phone (no, this is not a paid post – also nobody has paid for the written word since 2008.) But when I unlock my phone to open Headspace, some magical time travel happens and boom, it’s one hour later and I’m still on Insta and Twitter and now I want to slap people more than I did at the start of the day, so I’m worried a 15-minute session won’t cut it but I can’t do longer because remember, the aliens have just blown up the White House and I’m Bill Pullman giving a speech while simultaneously performing a C-section with my feet but whatever, let’s start.

Lights dimmed, notifications off, just the calming session playing and I start taking a few deep breaths, shutting out the world, my body relaxing as I focus on the inhale-exhale cycle, in through the nose, slowly out through the mouth, in through the nose, slowwwwly out through the mouth, in through the I LOVE IT WHEN WHEN YOU CALL ME SENORITA, NA MAIN SAMHA NA MAIN JAANA ugh earworm, okay focus, inhale, slow exhale, inhale, slow MUJHSE NAZAR NA PHEROOOO wow always the Abhay Deol voice, stupid brain, okay focus focus, why is my butt suddenly itchy, is it a symptom of colorectal cancer, is this how I die, I’m glad they called it colorectal cancer ‘cos if you told people they had ass cancer they would just laugh haha, oh hey that broccoli in the fridge might go bad soon, isn’t it weird how broccoli looks like gobhi that ate a lot of broccoli, oho is this what they call a veg joke wow Ashish aaj toh angaar hi angaar OKAY FOCUS YOU IDIOT and remember what you learnt: don’t try to fight the thoughts, let them come and go, don’t latch on to them, see them as clouds drifting across the sky, bye bye ass cancer thought, okay the mind is clear again phew, let’s just count breaths… 1… 2… 3… deep breaths deep breaths deep breaths deep RACE SAANSON KI!! I give up.

The lockdown is by no means my first attempt at meditation. I started a few years ago and by ‘started’ I mean I did it only when I felt like it, a strategy I’d also like to apply to taxes. My aversion was partly because I was once made to attend a three-day meditation camp as a kid. This proves the adage that whether it’s religion or karela, if you were forced to do it as a child, you’ll probably hate it as an adult. (Heroin is a notable exception to this rule.)

Anyway, this happened when I was ten and visiting my cousins in Ghaziabad, a town in U.P famous for its traditional murders, power cuts and murders during power cuts. But something worse was in store when I found out that I, along with two cousins my age, were to be bundled off to some meditation camp for kids, probably because the nearest gulag was full.

To be fair, some of my older uncles had gotten into meditation and wanted us to experience the same clarity of thought and peace of mind, which we did anyway BECAUSE WE WERE KIDS AND THAT WAS OUR DEFAULT STATE. In fact, the only stress I had in life was about being plonked into this camp during my summer holidays, which I’d planned to spend going back and forth between comic books and TV while slowly replacing all the fluids in my body with Thums Up.

My cousins and I protested the decision but minority voices in U.P are often ignored. Three hours later, we were deposited at the camp in Delhi whose name I forget but it was run by the same people who run that famous 10-day vipassana course that your hippie friend won’t shut up about. That’s the one where you wake up at 4 a.m., meditate for about 10 hours a day while maintaining absolute silence for the entire 10-day duration, but by the end you feel amazing because you get to leave.

Thankfully, as kids, we had way fewer hours of meditation. The sessions were split across the day and drove home the basics: focusing on one’s breath and blocking out all thoughts about how much you hate your uncles. The No Talking rule also only applied to a small radius outside the main meditation hall because the headline ‘INSTRUCTORS MAULED BY TWO HUNDRED FERAL KIDS, NO ONE SAW ANYTHING’ would’ve been bad PR.

There were other non-meditation activities as well like drawing, playing in the park, slowly digging a hole in the wall and covering it with a Rita Hayworth poster etc. We also had multiple meal breaks where we enjoyed khichdi and lauki, the scintillating cuisine of jaundice patients. A huge curtain ran through the centre of the dining hall, separating the boys and girls, which was hugely discriminatory against a boy who had just spotted a cute girl and fallen in love, something that happened every three days at that age. It was pointless though. Even if I’d had the guts or the charm to talk to her, what could I really say at a meditation shivir? “Heyyy… nice nostrils. You inhale really well. Do you want to get some lauki tonight?”

Of course things have changed since, or as the poet Rilke once wrote, “Friendship ended with childhood, stress is my best friend now.” And while it’s definitely not a substitute for professional help, meditation has served as a helpful anxiety mitigation device, much better than my other techniques like large whiskeys and restless leg shaking that looks like Elvis getting electrocuted.

But you don’t need to wait for undue life stress to kick in before you try it. That sense of focus and equanimity feels great at any point. The only side-effect is that you might use the phrase ‘high on life’ unironically, in which case please walk into the nearest glass door repeatedly until that urge subsides.

Also, to the women reading this: in case you were at that meditation camp and think you may be the girl from my story, do feel free to get in touch. I don’t know your name but I will recognize your nostrils.

A Mostly Unhelpful Guide To Modern Dating

I like to think that I’m up to date with modern culture. For example, just today I found out what a Billie Eilish is: a device that mumbles so that 12-year-olds can feel something. But recently a friend mentioned the term ‘Dracula-ing’ in the context of modern dating, and I was clueless. My first thought was, “Is that a fetish where you get turned on by the sight of your lover in a coffin?” but nope, that’s just called divorce.

No, ‘Dracula-ing’, according to this young, forever-tormented generation, is when a romantic interest / future-therapy-topic surfaces only at odd hours of the night to text you the classic ‘hey u up?’. This text is seen as disrespectful to the English language and also to people who do not want to be treated like Orgasm Vending Machines.

There are other terms that I’ve learned recently: Zombie-ing, which is when a hook-up who had ghosted you ages ago, re-appears with no explanation or apology, asking to be let into your pants. There’s also ‘V-lationshipping’, which is when a long-lost ex contacts you around Valentine’s Day to see if they can cut open your chest and fill it up with excuses again.

There are a million such dating terms, because coining names is easy and adds a nice blanket of humour over the festering roadkill that is your love life. But in all our hand-wringing about modern dating, we sometimes forget a few basics.

First of all, we wanted this. We wanted to defy tradition and have the freedom to pick our next drinking problem. Even when we didn’t have the technology to simultaneously sext three people while taking a dump, we knew we wanted choice and that’s the weird thing about choice – it turns out that other people have it too. Someone could be your main window and you’d just be one of fifteen open tabs or vice-versa, and that’s just how it is, according to this browser analogy that I feel we should now minimise to avoid shitty puns.

And sure, tech is an enabler, but the core behaviours aren’t really new. Previous generations just called them ‘Trust And Communication Issues’ (and then went out and got scurvy or whatever they did for fun back then, I dunno.)

My favourite manifestation of these issues are the ‘No Label’ relationships. They sound great on paper, except you dig in a little (two drinks) and realise that one person would actually like a label but can’t really ask because the other person will leave and then nobody will ever love them and they’ll die alone and all their exes will turn up at the funeral to sneer and laugh and swap stories about their weird birthmark shaped like Rajpal Yadav.

Look, it’s not inherently cooler to have “no labels”. Being “Undefined” is also technically a label. And what are the rules? Are you allowed to hook up with other people? Will you meet each others’ friends? Do you go dutch on the abortion bill or is it like drinks – ‘I’ll get this one, you get the next’? Because it doesn’t matter what you call yourself – ‘Friends With Benefits’, ‘No Labels’, ‘Poly But Upvaas On Thursday’ – if you haven’t discussed the rules, then one of you will spend several nights sobbing along to the sad sounds of Kumar Sanu’s nose. (Spoiler Alert: It’s probably you.)

So is there a bright side to this nonsense or are we all doomed to spend our lives chugging from the Fountain Of Perennial Disappointment? Of course there is. This churn is good, because every Dracula, every Zombie, every Goblin (that’s when you date a tiny magic banker who’s a dog-whistle for the Jewish community) – every one of these encountered is a bad option eliminated, paving the way for better ones to come along and meet a smarter you. (OR you’ll just build an emotional Great Wall Of China and push away anyone who tries to get close, but hey, save that worry for the 2 a.m. internal monologue.)

In my personal experience, it does get better with time simply because you get better with time. I remember how frantic and hyper we used to get in our 20s, and how much garbage we would tolerate. We’ve all been on both sides of conversations like this:

Friend: Woe is me, why do I keep dating shitty dudes, why why why? This one keeps yelling his ex’s name during sex.

Me: Dump him.

Friend: Nooo, maybe it’s an honest mistake?? ‘Cos her name is so similar to mine?

Me: Is her name also Pooja?

Friend: Close. It’s Eyehfuwjjføjasihkhfhghyykshjull.

Me:

Friend: She’s named after that Icelandic volcano.

Me: So you gonna ignore my advice now or later?

Friend: Never mind, marrying him tomorrow!

Things improved only once we discovered this wonder drug called self-esteem. Oh man, you try it once, you never wanna go back. Sure, it’s not the easiest to manufacture, although society deals it to you quicker if you’re a dude. But take one hit and suddenly you’re doing things like “being confident” and “setting boundaries” and “not settling for bullshit behavior just because they have a nice butt that fills the parent-shaped hole in your heart.”

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still extremely single and my last intimate encounter was with a packet of Peppy Chips. But now there’s a certain equanimity about the situation, which helps tackle the biggest dating fear of them all i.e. settling down with someone only because you’ve hit a certain age and not because you feel, in every atom of your body, that this is the person whose adult diapers you would hate changing the least.

I know modern dating is way more complicated than before but we also have more freedom than anyone’s ever had. If we use it well and keep our spirits and standards high, then maybe one day it’ll work out. Yes, I know that statement makes no objective sense but neither does the assertion that ‘It’ll never work out’. Both are equally baseless from a logic perspective so why not latch on to the nicer thought? The thought that maybe one day, the universe will notice and it will give in and whisper in our direction those powerful magic words, ‘hey u up?’.

We’ll Be Right Back After These Messages

If you’re here, you’re either a regular reader wondering why this space hasn’t been updated in two weeks, or a casual visitor who drops by whenever some noble soul shares a link on his timeline. You might also be one of those accidental visitors who get here by googling wonderful search terms like – and I wish I were making this up – ‘sunyleone ‘s pelvice’. You, Sir, are a hero.

As of today, this column is going on a break for a few months. As much fun as it is to sit here every week and bang my face against a keyboard until something semi-coherent emerges, I’ve realised that some time off is necessary, for the sake of the content. I’ve been writing this for almost six years straight now, so it would do well to step away from the fatigue for a bit.

So thank you guys for reading, lurking, commenting, trolling, sharing and providing me with tons of validation over the years. It’s been pretty overwhelming and I cannot complain.

I wish I could tell you that I’m taking the time off to go off on a rich-person sabbatical where I’ll learn the meaning of life while scuba-diving with Katrina Kaif in Spain. I wish. But I’m going to be around in Bombay, working on some exciting AIB projects that you’ll be hearing more about soon. If you liked the content here, and if you like the work we’ve done so far, chances are that you’re going to like the new stuff as well. Except maybe you, Pelvice Guy. You should probably move on to another site.

An Open Letter From The Pakistan Foreign Office To India

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 9th Aug 2015.)

From

Qazi Khalilullah

Spokesman

Pakistan Foreign Office

To

The citizens of India

Subject: It Wasn’t Me

Dear Indians

On behalf of the Pakistani government, I’d like to condemn the recent attack on an Indian BSF convoy in the Udhampur district of North-Eastern Pakistan Jammu and Kashmir. It is exactly the kind of attack that aims to undo all the trust and goodwill generated by Bajrangi Bhaijaan. So please put all your logic and common sense aside and for once, trust me when I say that Pakistan isn’t responsible for this attack, just as it wasn’t responsible for the 3463874979 attacks preceding it. Contrary to what the facts would have you believe, Pakistan is not the designated fluffer for the LeT.

Sure, I can see what it looks like. You apprehended one of the “terrorists” who claims he’s Pakistani, and it doesn’t help that he looks like Kasab on day six of a juice cleanse. (By the way, Kasab wasn’t Pakistani either, but like the case against Hafiz Saeed, I’m going to let that one slide.)

There’s a very simple explanation for this. The suspect, Mohammad Naveed, is trying to defame Pakistan and you’re falling for it. Have you even considered other options, such as the fact that his entire video confession was morphed? Surely a country that produced Shaktimaan and Captain Vyom has the VFX muscle to do this.

Or maybe Naveed is a cybernetic organism – living tissue over a metal endoskeleton – created by a brand for the purposes of internet virality? The kids are really into all that Youtube stuff these days. (Psst… Superwoman, if you’re reading this, I ❤ you. Please make a video on #ShitDesiGovernmentsSay?)

Hey, maybe the guy is Chinese? They’re trying to sneak into your country too, you know. Plus if a Chinese kid trains really hard, he can grow up to look Pakistani. Who knows what these mystical Orientals are capable of?

Anyway, the point is that much like Dawood ‘Goggal Mein Kya Mast Lag Rela Hai Bhai’ Ibrahim, Pakistan has nothing to do with this guy. I understand that this very newspaper got hold of a number disclosed by Naveed and called up one Mohammad Yakub in Faisalabad, Pakistan who – picture me making air quotes as I say the next word – confirmed that he was Naveed’s father.

It’s a classic trick. I mean if an Indian chap gave you my number and I answered and said, “Hello, Michael Jackson speaking” will you show up outside my house for a concert? Nahin na? Phir why you’re doing like this?

This just brings back memories of 2008 when Indian security forces went back in time, crossed over to Pakistan, ensured the hookup and subsequent consummation of the marriage of a random couple in Faridkot, just so that after 26/11, that couple could be paraded around as the parents of Ajmal Kasab.

Your jihadi Marty McFly act was so good, even Geo News fell for it, thus giving the world an “irrefutable” Pakistani link to 26/11. There are claims that the ISI has since tried to kill Geo’s senior staff, including executive editor Hamid Mir, but that’s just how we celebrate a free press.

I urge you to not let this little hiccup derail the talks between the national security advisers of both countries scheduled for later this month. In fact, if you happen to bring up terrorism, our man will be forced to raise his hand and say “Same to you no returns.” We’d appreciate it if you stuck to the most pressing issue at hand, i.e. supporting our claim to the Pakistani half of Nargis Fakhri.

At the time of writing this, there were reports of yet another attack in Udhampur. I’d like to make it abundantly clear once again that Pakistan has nothing to do with this and the whole thing is a holographic sequence projected onto Kashmir by aliens. Please consider this reason binding for any attacks that may occur in the future.

Yours sincerely

<Insert signature that looks like a middle finger>

(Chief Bovine Excreta Deliverer)

HAPPY RANDOM MARKETING OPPORTUNITY TO YOU!

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 2nd Aug 2015.)

Today we celebrate Friendship Day in India, and by ‘we’, I mean teenagers and people who watch Bindass TV un-ironically. The concept of Friendship Day was first promoted in 1930 by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards. This was followed by McDonald’s promoting Cholesterol and Self-Loathing Day. According to noted historian Mr. Wikipedia, the Friendship Day fad ended in the US by the ‘40s but much like Bryan Adams, it did well in Asia despite being dead.

The concept lived on thanks largely to the efforts of an organisation in Paraguay called – and this is true – the World Friendship Crusade, who introduced the concept of World Friendship Day in 1958. Their plan was to turn the world into a giant Black Or White music video. Maybe it’s just me, but calling it a ‘crusade’ probably wasn’t the best idea. That word stands for friendship in the same way Bombay stands for green open spaces.

A World Friendship Crusade just sounds like a bunch of savages galloping from village to village, forcing people to tie friendship bands around their wrists while singing Purani Jeans. In fact, you can make the nicest, most innocuous thing sound fierce and warlike if you add the word ‘crusade’ to it. If you want to appear extra manly, don’t tell people about your first kiss – tell them how you went on a Hormonal Tongue Crusade.

The World Friendship Crusade continued to pester lobby the United Nations until 2011, when the UN General Assembly declared 30th July to be International Friendship Day. And people wonder why nobody respects the UN. It’s hard to, when you see them spending time on a concept that’s already covered by the most competent authority of all – Bollywood.

Bollywood is the place that first taught us that ‘ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte’ unless the ladka and ladki are actors being interviewed by people whose idea of journalism is ‘tell na who u making sexytime with’. Classic Bollywood is how I learnt to make friends, especially with the opposite sex. The basic procedure went like this:

  1. Be the college stud.
  2. Wear jeans, jean jackets, jean shirts and jean banyans.
  3. Spot the new admission. She’ll be the pretty one in a frock that looks like a Monginis cake threw up on her.
  4. Make a move only to get rejected because The Song hasn’t happened yet.
  5. Chase her around with your mawaali friends while singing about her nakhra, which is all just code for ‘Y U NO LET ME TOUCH’
  6. The girl smiles and eventually gives in to the creepy denim gorilla.
  7. Stockholm Syndrome complete.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad. There were other lessons I learnt i.e. celebrate Friendship Day by losing to your tomboy friend at basketball and then marrying her when she gets hot.

It was pop culture like this that led to students cutting up perfectly good ribbons and turning them into friendship bands. When I say students, I mostly mean girls, who expressed love with meticulously crafted bands and handmade cards involving six types of glitter. Meanwhile, the boys stabbed each other with dividers.

This isn’t to say that boys aren’t civilised. As a kid, I once handed over a card to a guy friend on Friendship Day. It wasn’t handmade because that would be weird and as an ode to our manliness, it featured a commode and some pun about poop. Who’s immature now, huh??

Friendships work differently now, especially in frenetic, stressed-out cities like Mumbai. The older you get, the harder it becomes to make friends, mostly because there’s no time and everyone thinks everyone else is weird. The loneliness eventually leads people to take extreme steps, like arranged marriage.

You do end up accumulating a lot of acquaintances though. It’s easy to mix the two up, but an acquaintance is someone you bump into at bars and make small talk about football with, whereas a friend is someone you can get embarrassingly drunk around, trusting him or her to not turn your stupidity into a viral video. Consider yourself lucky if you have more than a handful of these around. Keep in touch and if you’re feeling extra nice, grab yourself a divider.

Seven Old Monk Facts That May Or May Not Be Made Up

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 19th July 2015.)

Like an aunty who just saw the neighbour’s daughter with a boy, I have plenty to talk about this week. We were witness to the incredible Pluto flyby, a testament to the power of science and curiosity that reminded us yet again of our place in the universe.

This was overshadowed by another great scientific achievement when Professor Emeritus Of Center Parting And Net Banyan Studies Salman Khan announced his theory of ‘Selfie le le le le le le le le le le le le le’. His fans scrambled to follow his instructions, leading to a number of injuries because it’s difficult to take selfies when there are three of you on a bike.

But the news that struck deepest was the imminent collapse of Old Monk, aka Molasses That Went To College. It was reported that the dark rum was on its way out, until the makers clarified that yes, there had been a dip in sales, which they were dealing with by downing Patialas and listening to Jagjit Singh, and no, Old Monk was not going to be taken off shelves.

So in celebration, here’s a list of Seven Old Monk Facts That May Or May Not Be Made Up:

  1. As the name suggests, Old Monk was first brewed in the hills by an actual monk, because living in a monastery is so boring that watching sugarcane ferment seems like legit entertainment. Old Monk is made using the moustache hair of a military officer ranked no lower than a Colonel, and the tears of a first-year engineering student who just got dumped and in response, will spend the next four years wearing the classic T-shirt that says ‘99% of gurlz are beautiful….. the rest are in my college’.
  1. Old Monk is manufactured in Ghaziabad, a city that shares a border with Delhi and is known for its wide variety of kidnappings. It likes to say that it’s part of the Delhi-NCR region in the same way that Kambli likes to tell people that he’s Sachin’s best friend.
  1. Old Monk was the largest selling dark rum in the world for years and is India’s most loved export since Anil Kapoor’s English at the Oscars. Oddly enough, the world’s finest hash also comes from India. See, that’s the kind of patriotism I can get behind. Once I’m done with these six packets of chips, that is.
  1. The large Old Monk bottle is genius design because it shows you the exact shape you’ll turn into if you don’t stop drinking. You can also smack people over the head with it when they start intellectualising the drink instead of shutting up and just drinking it. 
  1. Old Monk fans swear that it is great at curing colds and coughs, which proves that your friends will say anything to get you to drink. In every group, there’s always that one guy who will offer scientific logic like ‘See diseases are caused by germs and alcohol kills germs hence proved SO DRINK NA SAALA LADKI HAI KYA MARD BAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE IN A COMA JUST DRINK NA BASTARD’.
  1. For some reason, Monk fans also swear that it does not give them a hangover. These people are either lying or they’re Australian. It’s amazing how, as a die-hard fan, you could be curled on a bedsheet adorned with the previous night’s partially digested nachos while your head feels like Ganesh Acharya is tap-dancing on it, and you’d still go, “Dammit, it must be something I ate.”
  1. Because Monk is primarily a guy drink, men get turned on by a woman who can chug the good stuff. So yeah, date a girl who drinks Old Monk. Date her because her sweat smells of rum and that’s hot. Date her because she can fart the opening riff to Smoke On The Water. Date her because that girl is so much like you. No wait, she is you. You are alone, and you deserve to be if you’re taking dating advice from stupid listicles.

On that note, it is time for me to step out and get my weekend drink. If you see me performing an ode to my drink, please smack me over the head.

Did They Just Say What I Think They Said?

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 12th July 2015.)

I don’t mean to exaggerate but this was one of the greatest weeks in the history of India, second only to the time we invented gulab jamuns. Let it be known that in the seventh month half-way through the second decade of the second millenium, the Chief Justice of India said that a blanket ban on porn sites would be a violation of a citizen’s fundamental right to liberty. This was in response to a plea that wants the government to block all porn websites in India, probably by turning off the big switch marked ‘Internet’.

The petitioner’s contention is that watching porn leads to an increase in sex crimes so it should be banned, which would make sense if the theory were – how do we say this – true. I could be wrong though. I mean porn is banned in Pakistan and as a result, things are so much better for women there.

This wasn’t a ruling, but nevertheless, the statement was seen as a happy glitch in the matrix. It’s because we live in a world where our priorities tend to be all over the place. For example, this is how our politicians react to consensual adult pornography:

“MORAL FABRIC OF SOCIETY IS BEING DESTROYED PORN CAUSES CRIME BAN EVERYTHING INCLUDING THINKING ABOUT OPPOSITE SEX.”

And this is how they react to actual incidents of sexual violence:

“Blame chowmein because short skirts and jeans and mobile phones and boys are like this only what to do her star was in the wrong quadrant VOTE FOR ME.”

To be clear, the pronouncement was not a celebration of the pizza delivery guy/plumber/agent documentaries that people hold so dear, but of the freedom to privately consume the most offensive, vapid content out there, be it smut or Comedy Nights With Lowest Common Denominator. It’s heartening to know that as of now, you can legally enjoy this freedom every day, or several times a day if your exams are going on.

If there are any minors reading this, I’d like you to know that this column in no way endorses the consumption of content not meant for your age group. Remember, the cops will come banging down your door and worse, your parents will know. They always know. Even if you’re in your room googling ‘Fermat’s Theorem’ for fun, they’re just going to assume something’s up. So please continue watching Shin Chan or Superwoman or whatever it is that you guys watch until you’re of age, by which time the government may just have banned porn, thereby keeping you safe from the dreaded phenomenon called ‘buffering’.

It’s strange to see Indians be hypocritical about matters like these, especially when the data suggests otherwise. A 2014 survey released by the Pornhub, the world’s largest adult site, reveals that India ranks fifth in terms of total visitors to the site. Sunny Leone is the most searched for star, thereby reaffirming our total lack of imagination.

The site’s Android traffic from India ranks third, only behind the US and the UK. I’m sure there are a ton of iOS users who intend to log on but they’re done after like ten seconds of looking at their iPhone. The report says that 25% of Indian visitors are women, which is obviously a lie supplied by the ISI to discredit our angels. Everyone knows that an Indian woman does not seek pleasure – she receives it telepathically whenever her husband is happy.

There were other results about the kind of content people watched, but the most popular fantasy for Indians is to live in a society that doesn’t believe in bans. Until that happens though, we’re just going to have to make do with the next best thing: buffering.

Life Hack: Get Douchey Or Die Tryin’

(Note: This is my Hindustan Times column dated 5th July 2015.)

First up, I’d like to inform my editor that even though this column arrived sixteen days late, it is not my fault and has nothing to do with the fact that I was neck-deep in a pizza-and-Daredevil marathon. No, what happened was that I’d sent the email across at the same time as a bunch of MPs and the data packets got held up by the ministers’ data packets. The whole network was jammed as my electrons waited patiently for the ministers’ data convoy to pass through. You could tell it was VIP data because it was moving through the cables in a white car with a license plate that read ‘TU KYA UKHAAD LEGA’.

Man, I wish I could really use excuses like that in real life. Given how the VVIP culture works in this country, I’m sure I’ll get the chance someday. There was a flamboyant display of the overlord mentality this week, when reports alleged that an Air India Leh-Delhi flight was delayed and three passengers were deboarded to accommodate Union MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and the deputy CM of J&K, Nirmal Kumar Singh. On the bright side, it’s always nice to hear that an Air India flight got delayed for reasons other than the fact that they’re Air India.

However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation gave a clean chit to the ministers in question, so that’s that. I imagine that in cases where the government has to look into its own, there’s a standard template for the investigation that goes like this:

Investigator:
Did you do the thing that they say you did?

Minister:
Nope.

Investigator:
Cool. So what do we tell everyone?

Minister:
Choose from the following:

1. This is a conspiracy to malign my good name.

2. “Woh mera judwa bhai thha – Laxman Prasad Dashrath Prasad Sharma.”

3. Aila, chest pain.

4. THOSE WHO DISAGREE CAN GO TO PAKISTAN ‘COS PAKISTAN SUCKS AMIRITE GUYS GIMME A CHEER IF YOU THINK PAKISTAN IS COLON OF ASIA

So if the ministers were in the clear, it logically follows that the statement issued by the airline station manager, as well as all the news reports claiming otherwise, were incorrect. This makes perfect sense because as we all know, the airline-media nexus is infamous for spreading rumours about powerful people misusing their power. They need to make up stories because it’s not like real incidents ever happen.

For example, I’m sure last month’s story about an airhostess on a Patna-Delhi Jet flight being manhandled by Bihar MP Pappu Yadav was totes fabricated. Pappu Yadav – a name that belongs in a film where Manoj Bajpayee goes around killing people in some place that looks like it’s yet to discover deodorant – is known for being a sweet chap with only one murder conviction to his name.

So naturally, the airline-media nexus had to ruin his reputation by claiming that he pushed the attendant forcefully and at one point, also took off his chappal and threatened to hit the crew with it. What I love about this story is that there is nothing more Indian than smacking someone with a chappal. This shows what a true patriot Mr. Yadav is and so we must take his word that the airline staff is lying, QED.

These are just two cases. If you google ‘VIP delay flight train India’, Arnab Goswami will jump out of your computer, scream at you for six days as the bottom of your screen bursts into flames. But that’s not the best part about VIP culture. The best part is that if given VIP power, most of us would do pretty much the same thing.

The guy who jumps queues at the ticket counter would also make flights wait for him, if he could. The parents who defend their eve-teaser son with a “Boys will be boys” statement would also get witnesses bumped off if he ever killed someone, if they had the lal batti needed to do so. Basically, everyone is a douchebag – it’s just that some work harder than others. And if that’s not a life goal worth having, then I don’t know what to tell you except GO TO PAKISTAN TAKE THE FIRST FLIGHT OUT UNLESS IT IS DELAYED DUE TO NETA.

India Destroyed After Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage

28th June, 2020:

As India descends into the vortex of horror that is social equality, it would serve us well to look back at the manicured hands that pushed us to our doom.

It all began five years ago, on 26th June, 2015, when the US Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right across the United States. This verdict dealt a crushing blow to those who insisted that Americans stick to less deadly fundamental rights, like the one that lets them buy assault rifles at Walmart.

But it didn’t end there. Indian radicals, under the influence of Western common sense, started pushing for similar legislation in India, beginning with the scrapping of Section 377. With no respect for the hatred and superstition that binds us all together, they started voicing their demands on social media, overshadowing more important debates such as #23YearsOfSRKSpreadingHisArms and #WhoWillLalitModiScrewOverToday.

This online outrage led the Indian government to take another look at the deeply complex issue of whether or not anyone should give a sh*t about anyone else’s choice of partner. Then the unthinkable happened. Threatened by the prospect of alienating a liberal minority with no real vote share whatsoever, the state buckled and granted legal status to same-sex marriages. And that’s how they invited the wrath of the heavens in a country that was otherwise doing great, all the illiteracy, overpopulation, sectarian violence, corruption and terrorism notwithstanding.

Little did these peacemongers know that they’d started a chain reaction. The Butterfly Effect would hit us hard, and as science tells us, butterflies are just gay locusts.

After the verdict, Indian parents slowly came around, heartened by the fact that gay marriages would get them gay dowry. Scores of same-sex couples across the country tied the knot, including men and women so old, their first date happened before humans had invented the gods that would judge them.

These despots continued with their propaganda about true love and soulmates, knowing full well it would psychologically cripple their younger opponents who were still trying to get that one right-swipe on Tinder. Parents, now faced with the task of explaining equality to their kids, chose the easier option and just shot themselves. This led to a spike in the number of orphans, who were then adopted by gay couples – all part of a master plan orchestrated by the Gay Illuminati.

If you’re alive and reading this today, there’s no way you’ll ever forget what happened after.

The skies turned gay and rained gay fire upon the country. This was followed by a wave of gay tornados, and you know they were gay because the twisters did the YMCA before they attacked. Gay tsunamis, or gaynamis, engulfed our coasts, drowning millions and leaving survivors with advice on not to pair black pants with tan shoes. This was followed by a gay mushroom cloud erupting over the Indian landmass, forever cutting off our sunlight with a blanket of unicorn dust.

In the darkness of gay nuclear winter, every unnatural act you could think of became reality. People were consumed by an urge to marry their pets because that’s just how gay marriage works. Straight people suddenly found their wrist bones missing, causing their hand to flop about like a gay plastic bag in the gay wind. You have no idea how difficult it is for me to sit here and type this, with my hand flopping all over the keyuygrjsbdfuywgr97wy%$$08whfnuefwboard.

But I will not give up. My wife is now a beautiful German Shepherd called Moti, but I will fight. The world around me cowers under the thumb of the gay Pakistani general who took over when we were busy watching Modern Family, but I will not give up. I will not lay down and die.

I will survive.

Dammit, that’s a gay song, isn’t it?

(Note: This is my HT column dated 28th June 2015.)

Keep Calm And Do Yoga For Non-Political Reasons

(Note: This is my HT column dated 21st June 2015.)

Today is International Yoga Day, so I assume you’re reading this while standing on your head and inhaling deeply through your toes. As you know, yoga is an ancient discipline that we’ve loved and respected ever since we learnt that Madonna was doing it. It seems to work great for her too – she doesn’t look a day over dead.

But yoga just got bigger thanks to Narendra Modi, whose 2014 address at the UN general assembly led to June 21 being declared as International Soft Power Day. The main event involves 37500 people performing yoga at Rajpath, which, on Republic Day, is used to showcase our deadliest weapons like nukes and BMWs piloted by Delhi boys. In addition to this, Indian missions are conducting yoga sessions in 192 countries, in a bid to create a world record on Most Number Of People Cramping Because Of Too Much Pizza In Life Day.

At this point, I’d like to add that I’m a yoga expert, having gone through an intensive training period of four sessions. No, seriously. I just took up yoga, and while I’d love to credit Mr. Modi for this, the truth is that much like Pepsi or Chandrachur Singh, it was never a first choice. A little injury I suffered last year prohibits me from taking up the fitness regime that I really like, which is to run and lift and look in the mirror every six seconds to see if my biceps have grown.

I needed something that didn’t look like it would kill me, and yoga was it. The fact that the instructor comes home, thus requiring minimal effort on my part, has nothing to do with my choice. (And now, if the government’s reading this, here’s a timely reminder that I’m really enjoying Ayush Spam Day.)

I have to admit that before I started yoga, I was wary of the pseudo-spiritual hook that’s sometimes used to peddle it. If someone tells me to breathe and stretch a certain way in order to build strength, it makes sense. But if someone tells me that they can see a glowing aura around my head, then I’ve probably been in a radioactive accident and will be turning into a superhero real soon. (This would be a good time to mention that I’m really enjoying the amazing rhetoric around Religious People Missing The Point Day.)

I was also hesitant because from the outside, yoga looks – and how do I say this politely – deathly boring. I mean where is the glamour in sitting in one place and pretending to be a human rubber band? I’m used to moving and grunting to the beat of ‘Aunty Pullss Bula Legi’ in a room that smells of socks and farts. That was real exercise, or so I thought, until I found myself on my back, trying to hold a leg raise and realised that I have the core strength of a grape. And this is just the easy bit – I can’t wait to turn into a hardcore yoga evangelist, at which point people will stop inviting me to parties.

The problem is that yoga doesn’t really have cool brand ambassadors that young people can look up to. There’s Baba Ramdev, who is cool if you are my grandmother, and Shilpa Shetty, who’s cool if you are Shamita Shetty. But other fitness regimes are always drawing new recruits. For example, you can’t walk ten steps without running into some CrossFit guy. You know he does CrossFit because this is how the conversation goes:

Me: Hello.

Guy: I’m great. Life is great when you CrossFit!

Me: Okay…

Guy: You wanna see a burpee? *does 200 burpees in two seconds*

Me: Dude, we’re at your grandfather’s funeral.

Guy: YAARGGHHH I CAN BENCH PRESS DADAJI!!

I’ve already started seeing the benefits of yoga. For example, I now have rock-hard abs and have been cured of my tendency to exaggerate. The asana I most enjoy is the shavasana, which is where you lie down, shut your eyes and zone out, pretty much like the BMC. And on that note, I’d like to say that I’m absolutely thrilled to have witnessed yet another The Government Tells You What To Do Day.