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.


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?’.

The Blunder Years

I’ve always been fascinated by cinema and film trivia, especially of the obscure and degenerate kind. I’d link this attribute to an open and unfettered mind that is unbiased in its acceptance of knowledge, but the truth is that, as a child, I must’ve walked into one glass door too many.

How else do you explain the fact that not only do I remember the entire lyrics to Govinda’s chart buster ‘Meri Pant Bhi Sexy/Meri Shirt Bhi Sexy‘, but that I can also conduct a thrust-by-thrust comparison with a similar Mithun Da number, in which he describes the sartorial actions of his lady love with the lyrics ‘Dhoti Ko Phaad Ke Rumaal Kar Gayi‘?

And what of the Dolph Lundgren action movie, that I remember watching with great interest the night before some engineering exam? (Dolph Lundgren, in case you don’t get cable TV in your cave, is an actor who wouldn’t have survived a minute in my school with a surname like ‘Lundgren’.)

I’ve also watched masterpieces like Umrao Jaan, Baabul, and Nishabd (for journalistic reasons of course). So imagine my disappointment when all the theatres in the vicinity pulled out Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag – the Big Daddy Of Bollywood Trash – barely a week after its release. Even the local shady multiplex, with its 10 a.m shows of films like ‘Salwar Mein Talwar’ and ‘Laal Tamatar Ka Juice Choos’, decided that it wasn’t worth a slot. And that is how I lost the chance to watch RGV ki Aag – probably the greatest mid-life crisis to have been transformed into a film.

See, that’s the thing about being RGV. To add zing to your life, all you need to do is to make a film, and then gleefully watch as audience members beat themselves to death with their food trays.

But what can I, a common writer, do to resolve my crisis?

No, not the mid-life crisis – that’s still years away, and considering the number of articles I’ve read about it, I shall be prepared to look ridiculous. The problem I’m referring to is, of course, the quarter-life crisis.
(Note: This should not be confused with an actual ‘Quarter Crisis’, which is what happens when college students order a quarter at a swanky bar, only to be reminded by the sweet staff that “we only serve pegs, and you will have to sell your kidney to buy one.”)

No, a quarter-life crisis hits you in your early 20s, and before you know it, the ‘Mature Decisions Department’ of your brain, which had been on strike since you were born, has suddenly decided to get back to work, without consulting you on the matter.

For example, consider the 9th of September. It was the final day of I-Rock, a mega event that sees rock fans from all over the country unite in an attempt to smuggle booze into the venue. The old me (which, technically, was the young me) has headbanged at Rang Bhavan, cursed the pandus at Gateway and sung along at Chitrakoot. But this year, I didn’t go. And why? Because I had a meeting early next day, and I needed the rest. (Next person to call me ‘Uncle’ gets shot)

So instead of being pushed around by dopeheads with questionable personal hygiene, I chose to spend a quiet evening with a bunch of 22-year old friends, discussing (this is absolutely true) the Air Cargo Industry, including the role of Third Party Logistics.

(Yes, I’ll wait till you’re done making that L sign on your forehead. Done? Good, now move on.)

Keep in mind that these are the kind of guys who, at any given point of time, can rattle off 43 different slang words for ‘boobs’. It scares me when guys like these – childhood friends of mine, no less – start comparing India and China in terms of aviation market potential. Whatever happened to conversations that began with “I don’t really remember what happened last night…”?

Thankfully, the business talk digressed towards airhostesses, where the aforementioned 43 slang words came in handy. However, the incident did force me to look for my inner child, but the punk was too busy getting smashed at I-Rock.

It’s interesting – in the same way that being chased by a randy orangutan who thinks you’re his mate can be called interesting – to see where this ‘growing old’ business will lead to.

For instance, I wonder if I’ll ever turn into one of the wine snobs. You know the type – sniffing at wine glasses, commenting on aroma, swirling the wine about till it gets giddy and yells at them to cut it out – doing everything except actually drinking it. I’ve always been a beer person, although on several occasions I have offered an objective opinion after tasting wine
(“Ack! Horse piss!”). My multiple beer bellies would feel betrayed if I switched to wine.

Jokes apart, I think it’s high time I began to find some meaning in my life. This can only happen when I move out of my comfort zone, and go to Sion, where I believe Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag is still playing.

This article was published in JAM, dated 15 Sep-29 Sep 2007.

Wiggle Me This, Wiggle Me That!

In moments of solitude, my mind is often flooded with thoughts about the past – thoughts such as “I shouldn’t have eaten the entire 14-inch pizza before sitting down to write.” But the very fact that you’re reading this article establishes an undeniable truth, i.e the pygmy slave who lives under my cupboard and writes my articles is bloody efficient.

Anyway, let’s move on to more important topics, such as Jessica Alba.(I can already see a bunch of people rolling their eyes, thinking “Oh there he goes again, writing inane stuff about hot chicks that will eventually lead to a bunch of beer jokes, degenerate puns and sexual innuendos.” Yes I get that a lot, and I’d just like to say that this article is of a scientific nature…with sexual innuendos coming up a few paragraphs later. So hold your horses, yeah?)

Back to Jessica Alba. You might have come across a recent report in the Times Of India, which said that mathematicians at Cambridge – and this is true – have proved that Jessica Alba’s wiggle is the sexiest of them all.

A wiggle, in case you didn’t know, is the sashaying of women’s hips as they walk ‘the walk’. You know which walk I’m talking about – the same one that female models use while on the ramp, until a wardrobe malfunction reveals that they’re just a bunch of really thin guys.

The study was commissioned by a women’s hair removal corporation to “see what gives women their wiggle”. Now I’m no businessman, but shouldn’t women’s hair removal companies be focussing their resources on tapping lucrative markets, such as engineering colleges? Maybe the corporation thinks that if a woman’s walk is sexy enough, we might ignore her soft, Grizzly-bear pelt. Maybe the corporation is smoking a medicinal herb.

The scientists studied some famous women including Angelina Jolie and Eva Longoria, before declaring the Dark Angel as the sexiest..umm..wiggler?

To my mind, these guys – and you just know they’re guys – are surefire candidates for a Nobel Prize in the ‘HAHA! I GOT PAID TO DROOL AT JESSICA ALBA’S BUTT’ category. They even have the power of mathematics on their side, as you can see from the following excerpt:

“The academics found that it is the ratio between hips and waist that puts the sway into a woman’s walk-and the nearer that ratio is to 0.7, the better.

This ratio provides the body with the right torso strength to produce a more angular swing and bounce to the hips during the walking motion. Therefore, a woman with a 25-inch waist and 36-inch hips would have just the right proportions to carry off a sexy swagger as she walks, like Alba’s.”


The above findings are described, in journalistic terms, as ‘A Load Of Bull.’ But as an engineer, I can imagine and fully comprehend the jubilation that erupted in the Cambridge math department when this study was commissioned.

Mathematician 1: (thinking wistfully) Someday, I’ll be like Matt Damon from ‘Good Will Hunting’ and score with a chick who has a cool name like Skylar. Actually any chick would do…

Mathematician 2: Hey have you heard? A corporation is paying us to study hot celebrity butts!

Mathematician 1: This news just caused an exponential increase, if you know what I mean.

Of course, now that the study is public, these guys will become heroes. If England had a King today, he’d probably knight these guys. For now though, the knighthood is on hold because women, including the Queen(citation needed – she seems like a very old robot to me) just cannot appreciate ‘Leching’ as a career option.

However, knights or not, these mathematicians have given a new hope to their brethren around the world, whose idea of ‘a hot time’ until recently involved bets like ‘Let’s see who can stare at this rotating fractal pattern the longest without going dizzy!’.

Cambridge will now be flooded with applicants seeking to research topics like ‘The Paris Hilton Perkiness Coefficient’ and ‘Lindsay Lohan’s Leggy Logarithms’. (Notice the absence of degenerate puns on ‘bell-shaped curves’) Meanwhile, the biomedical guys at Cambridge are thinking, “Screw stem cell research…let’s do some math!”

If I owned a large corporation, I wouldn’t spend money on pointless research – I would just buy Jessica Alba. There are also other socially relevant purposes that money can be used for, such as sniping customer care executives. But that’s matter for another article and another day. I have to go celebrate now. You see, I completed an entire article without cracking a beer joke.

This article was published in JAM, dated 30 Aug – 14 Sep 2007.

Toon courtesy: Vivek Thakkar


It’s been sixty years since the first light of freedom shone down upon our sleeping nation, causing irritated citizens to draw the curtains and go back to sleep. Keeping this patriotic spirit in mind, I’d like to talk to you about how to optimise our ratio of GDP to fiscal deficit, with a special emphasis on agrarian reforms.

Haha, just kidding! I’ll stick to my usual modus operandi and talk about something that I have no idea about, something like say, seduction.

Throughout history, men have tried to seduce women and given our population, I’m sure a lot of them succeeded.

The prehistoric-era techniques of seduction did not have much to offer in terms of variety and class. It was always “Hey baby, want a ride on my big, woolly mammoth?”, followed by a whack over the woman’s head if she refused. This technique is still popular in many parts of North India.

Then of course, we had the cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro, where women frolicked freely in public baths. This caused a lot of engineering colleges to be set up in the area. Things were fun for a while, but the civilisation declined when all the engineers flew to the US.

Cut to the present. We may not have public baths anymore (except when it rains), but I still think we’re better off than our ancestors, and the reason is cars. Yes, cars are the ultimate seduction weapon and give us advantages that the Romeos of yore never had. Those guys had to rely on horses, often with embarassing consequences. For example, picture the following scenario:

It’s sometime in the nineteenth century. A fair maiden steps out on to a dark road. She’s missed Ye Olde Call Center Pickup, and is wondering how to get home, when suddenly two horse-drawn carriages, manned by two gallant youths, race towards her, reaching her at the same time. Wondering which one to climb into, the fair maiden is jolted out of her thoughts by a big, fat *PLOP*. The pleased-looking horse on the first carriage has just made a deposit, if you know what I mean.

“Ewww!!”, she says, and climbs into the second carriage.

The man in the first carriage goes home alone, spends some time tinkering around in the horse shed, and invents the world’s first car.

Ok so that’s not how it happened, but do you really believe that the inventors never thought of using their cars to score with those prissy, overdressed women? You think the backseat was invented to take whiny kids to school? Ha!

Figuratively speaking, a car adds about seven inches to a man’s trousers – it makes him feel like more of a man. So I completely understand the need for our kind to show off. After all, it’s in the noble name of seduction. But every once in a while, you come across a man who deserves to be sodomised with his own gear shaft. Last week, I met not one, but five such men.

My friend and I were driving around in his car, indulging in the classic Navi Mumbai sport called Driving Around Aimlessly Just Because We Have Good Roads. Suddenly a car cut across from the left, hitting our front bumper as it did so. Furious, my friend sped up behind it, and when we were close enough, I yelled out salutations to the five guys inside, suggesting that they were too close to their female relatives. Pissed off, they stopped by the side of the road and so did we. They were drunk and a full-blown session of “AYE!, AAAYE!!, KYA BE!, KYAAA BE!” went on for about ten minutes. In the meantime, my friend and I continued to sport our angry-henchmen-from-bad-mafia-movie expressions. Then came the moment that I shall tell my children about. One of the drunk guys, in an attempt to intimidate us, exclaimed with full emotion (I swear this is true):

“(I’m so tough) bullets come out of my ass!”

Of course, he said it in Hindi (“Mere G se G nikalta hai!”), which made it even funnier. We got into our car, dropped our henchmen expressions and had a good laugh.

While women claim to not judge a man by his car, how many ugly chicks have you seen inside a top-end car? I’m guessing none. Of course, the only thing more seductive than a car is a good humour article *wink wink*. However, if humour writers are not your type, then I can fix you up with a guy who shoots bullets out of his ass.

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15-29 Aug 2007.

"This Might Hurt A Little Bit"

Famous French existentialist philosopher and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre (not to be confused with Baban Rao Sartre, the famous beedi seller from Sholapur), led a tough life. This was because Sartre (Jean-Paul, not Baban Rao) was what the French refer to as ‘le intellectual’, and every little statement he made was analysed in the quest for deeper meaning. I imagine that if he pointed to the loo and said “I need to go”, admirers would type out a flurry of papers, remarking upon “the eternal quest of Man to rid himself of the burden that society, and last night’s stale cheese, have thrust upon his free Self.”

However, one of the genuinely clever statements Sartre made was: Hell is other people.

By “other people”, I’m sure he was talking about a lot of people I know. To be more precise, the people who open their mouths to say “Hi!” and end up bombarding you with their entire medical history.

For example, once in college, a classmate turned up after quite a few days of absence. He remarked, to everyone within earshot, that he’d been struck down by piles. He then went on in great detail about the symptoms, the experience and basically how his toilet was so red, it’d put a Communist to shame.

People like these are unaware of the searing effect they have on society. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that I’m one of them.

Ok before you stop reading this column and knock me off your Orkut lists, I’d like to clarify that I’m not as bad as the piles guy. In fact, I swear to you right now that if the Red Sea ever invades my bathroom, I’ll take that secret to my grave (which will be kind of tough since I’m Hindu and we don’t really have graves, but I’ll manage).

That being said, I admit that in my buffet of Social Conversation, a few dishes are named ‘Medical History’. There are two things you might deduce from this:

1. I wrote this when I was hungry, which impaired my ability to think of good metaphors.

2. I don’t have many friends, and the ones that I do have are dimwits who can’t think of an excuse quick enough to get away when I start talking.

Seriously though, my friends are quite supportive. Whenever I’m faced with a life-altering medical condition, I can be sure that they will turn up to crack dirty jokes about it. It helps that of late, I’ve been suffering from the weirdest afflictions ever.

For example, I recently accomplished a feat which put me in the same league as Sachin Tendulkar – I developed Tennis Elbow. This is a condition wherein you get excessive news coverage, earn crores from endorsements but can’t really use your hand. It prompted my friends to express concern by asking “Haha! Now how will you pursue the favourite late-night activity that is generally pursued after everyone has gone off to sleep?”.

A few weeks before the Tennis Elbow, I was struck by a disease that mainly affects Mumbaikars. It is called Jumping Off A Moving Local Train And Crashing Onto The Platform (now you know why this column is called Maximus Stupidus). As a result, whenever I tried to bend my right leg, my knee would send a signature petition to my brain, asking it to stop. The doctor used words like “incision” and “surgery”, to which I said “Oh crap” and “Bye-bye”.

It’s not like I’m scared of inviting foreign objects into my body. In fact, the process is fun if you’re one of those whip-brandishing, black-leather-wearing kooks. But I’m more of a brown-leather-wearing kook.

Also, I’m not sure about the capabilities of medical personnel employed in state-of-the-art hospitals. Once I’d gone to such a place after two days of headaches and fever. This is what happened:

Nurse: (checking temperature) Sir, you have a 106 degree fever.

Me: Surely you’re mistaken O kindly, overworked, underpaid woman who looks younger than me. That’s 4 degrees away from death. Please check again.

Nurse: No Sir, it’s 106. I’m telling you na…

Me: (making Angry Eyes) Check again.

Nurse:(after re-checking) Oh..it’s 100. Sorry. *Giggle*

Me: (thinking to myself) I should just smash her head with that empty beer bottle lying in the corner…waitaminute..why is there an empty beer bottle in the hospital?

True story, that.

You know what they say: Prevention is better than cure, and cheaper too. So I request you to go online and sign the petition to cover all railway platforms with soft, fluffy mattresses.

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 30 July – 14 August 2007.

Shut Your Hole!

“Man is a social animal”, droned our Social Studies teachers in school. Some kids repeated after them and took notes, while others, more inclined towards Biology, kept “accidentally” dropping their erasers and picking them up. I,on the other hand, was thinking ” Is being a social animal really a good thing?”.

It’s a thought that’s stuck in my head all these years, as have the scientific observations made while innocently picking up fallen erasers (“Aaj blue hai”). But let’s focus on the whole society thing for now, shall we?

Thousands of years ago, the concept of society was in its infancy. Primitive men, armed with spears and clubs, roamed silently through the wilderness, looking for Chinese food and beer. Grunting and scratching one’s crotch were the only forms of communication. As a result, the world was a nice and quiet place, where people spoke only when absolutely necessary.

For e.g:

Inacceptable conversation:

Primitive Man: Grunt Grunt?

Acceptable Conversation:

Primitive Man: Grunt Jhinga Oooga Booga Scratch Scratch!!
(Look out…there’s a sabre-toothed tiger lunging at your ding-dong!!)

So far, so good.

But then things began to change. No one really knew how this happened, but suddenly everyone was supposed to be “civilised”. Why? Because everybody ELSE was being civilised, and nobody wanted to be a “social outcast”, even if they didn’t really know what the term meant.

This had grave repercussions on mankind. It meant getting rid of the body lice that men had grown so fond of. And if that wasn’t enough, “get-togethers” were also invented, where erstwhile grunters and scratchers had to actually TALK to other people. This practice evolved to become the modern social phenomenon called “Small Talk” or “Chit Chat” (I believe the scientific term for it is “Homicidal-Tendency-Inducing Vapid Verbal Ejaculation.”)

As with most people, I was introduced to this phenomenon at a tender age. There I was, a precocious toddler, busy sticking crayons up my nose, when all of a sudden, there appeared a voluminous mass of whale blubber wrapped in a sari. It pulled at my cheeks, messed up my hair (NOTE TO THE WORLD IN GENERAL: You NEVER mess with my hair!) and asked me if I knew the alphabet.

“Of course I do! “, I said. “F is for F*** You, Can I Go Play With My He-Man Now?”

Ok so I didn’t really say that. Blame my manners on the absence of cable TV.

Things didn’t really improve in the coming years, as random guests dropped by and amused themselves by testing my memory.

Uncleji: “Helllooo beta..remember me? Ehehehe..I had come to your parents’ wedding..”

Me(thinking): Hey retard..I wasn’t present at my parents’ wedding. They’re not exactly Liz Hurley and Arun Nayyar y’know.

Actual Response: “Umm..no Uncle, I’m sorry I don’t.”

Uncleji:“..then I saw you when you were one year old..you have grown SO big beta..it’s amazing!”

Me(thinking): Not really. You see, every night my parents bury me six feet under, and sprinkle on me water and fertilisers enriched with DNA extracted from Dara Singh’s earwax.

Actual Response: (a constipated smile)

And so it continued, the filling up of spaces with meaningless chatter. The lift, the grocery store and even my own bedroom – no place was safe. There were kindly senior citizens who asked me what college I went to EVERY SINGLE TIME they met me (Bharati Vidyashit College Of Engineering, if you must know), while others discussed job prospects, the weather, Laloo Prasad’s third nipple and other such scintillating topics. The ‘civilised’ Me smiled and faced it all, thus saving the actual Me from getting thrown out of the house.

But then my generation grew up, and boring chatter ceased to be the domain of the ‘Unclejis’. The Internet, originally developed by the US Department of Defense as a storehouse for Jenna Jameson videos, degenerated into a fertile sowing ground for Small Talk. As a result, there was born an intrepid race of friends, foes and people you talked to for 30 seconds in 1997, that has made it their life’s mission to scrap, buzz, tag and poke the living bejeezus out of you. Armed with the intellect of a retarded snail, they leave their droppings all over the web. Like this:

1st Scrap:

(Two days later)
2nd Scrap:
Hieeee…u dnt reply 2 my scraps..bhul gaye?
(20 scraps later)
hieee…u still nt replied 2 a single scrap..y..wat happ..anyway wassup..

To this, the actual (ok fine, uncivilised) Me would say:

You wanna know why I haven’t replied? Let’s see now. Maybe I’m too busy having a life. Maybe you have the charm of a gooey butt-pimple. Maybe I’d rather have my pecker pecked by a woodpecker, than engage in a conversation with you. Get over it.

But of course, the civilised Me does no such thing. After all, I wouldn’t want to be a social outcast now, would I?

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15th – 29th July 2007.

Rain Is Falling Chhama Chham Chham!

It’s here! It’s finally here! No, not the Apocalypse. (The Apocalypse happened last week when due to low disk space, I was forced to delete some “important video files”. *Sob*). I’m talking about the monsoon – a time for poetry, for love, loneliness and water-borne diseases.

No seriously, I love the monsoon. In fact, if monsoon were a woman, I’d fall for her in a snap. And who wouldn’t? Think about it. She’d be wild, delicate, sensuous and beautiful, all at once. Plus she’d be wet ALL the time.

Of course, when I say ‘monsoon’, I mean the Navi Mumbai monsoon, and not its Mumbai counterpart. Yes, the two are different – if the Mumbai monsoon were a woman, she’d smell of overflowing gutters and would scrap people like ‘Dillistud’ and ‘bedrocker69’ for fraandship. And even they would refuse her. (Well, maybe ‘Dillistud’ wouldn’t, but then Dilli men are known to lech at anything even remotely female, including hairclips.)

No siree, if you really want to enjoy the monsoon, come over to Navi Mumbai and do as the locals do – gaze out the window, watch the rain lash against an expanse of half-constructed malls, and exclaim, ” When WILL that mall open? I’m bored.”

Let’s face it – there’s not much to do during the monsoon. The internet behaves like a stubborn mule, the city police messages you to stay indoors (‘or else…’)and after a while, the sight of all that water gets really monotonous. The poet S.T Coleridge aptly summed up this frustration when he wrote:

“Water water everywhere
Makes me wanna pee.”

Weirdly enough, the news suddenly becomes the most-watched programme on television. And it’s fun too. Of course, you have to be somewhat sadistic to enjoy watching hapless souls battle the rains. But worry not – if you’re reading this column, you’re already on your way to moral degradation. And now, it’s time for (cue in sweeping 20th Century-type music here)

News For The Extremely Bored

News Anchor:
Good Evening, and welcome to News For The Extremely Bored. I’m Chudaman Sumdipatti Rao. Tonight, we bring you a special feature on the tree that uprooted and ran away in panic when Aishwarya tried to marry it. “How can I marry a girl who is more wooden than me?”, were reportedly its last words before it fled.

But first, our main story. The monsoons are finally here and everyone is rejoicing at the prospect of wanton flooding and bosses/professors being washed away into the sewers to become rat food. Our weatherman Bobby Badal will now tell you what to expect in the coming days.

Thank you Chudaman. As you can see, there’s a huge depression region building up over the Bay of Bengal. Preliminary reports indicate that this may or may not worsen over the next few days, with a hitherto unexamined possibility of heavy or light precipitation in certain parts of the country now becoming an ambigous uncertainty, to be determined stochiastically by the Anthony Gonsalves Level Of Haemoglobin In The Atmosphere. Mumbaikars are therefore advised to stay indoors on all days that rhyme with ‘Gay’. Back to you Chudaman.

I see. Some dark times ahead indeed. Let’s move to our correspondent Pinky, who is standing outside Mumbai’s infamous Milan Subway. Pinky, what’s the situation like over there?

(dressed in a pink windcheater, looking like a member of the Ku Klux Klan: Paris Hilton Division)
Yes Chudaman. I’m standing outside Milan Subway, and as you can see, it is entirely flooded. We believe this happened because a stray dog piddled in it during high tide. The flood has left thousands of people stranded, all of whom insist on crowding around me and looking at the camera. Like that’s gonna help!

What has happened here is that Gravity, along with the Cosmic Attraction Force Of The Potholes, has resulted in the formation of huge Black Holes that..

Random Black Guy In The Crowd:
Hey watch it! How would you like it if someone talked about YOUR anatomy on TV huh?

Err..yes..well..hehe. As you can see, Chudaman, the people are quite angry here. Who will come to their aid? Is the government even listening? Why does this happen year after year? Why can’t you give me the bloody nightlife beat? WHY DON’T YOU GET OFF YOUR COMFY STUDIO CHAIR AND GET YOUR BUTT HERE, YOU FILTHY PIECE OF…(sound goes off)

We appear to be having some technical problems. Now would be a good time to go watch some of those “important video files.”

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 30 June – 14 July 2007.

The Night Of The Pappurazzi

Some of my friends from college, who are now software engineers engaged in challenging corporate projects such as Rapid Minimisation Of Messenger Windows When The Boss Walks In, seem to think that being a writer is “glamorous and easy”. They have visions of me in silken bathrobes, cavorting with exotic dancers and puffing at cigars the whole day. “I should have been a writer too”, they lament.
I have two problems with such ignorant views:

1. It is completely inappropriate for male friends to have visions of me in silken bathrobes (or any sort of bathrobes for that matter).

2. I hate cigars.

Yes, we journos do get invited to parties/events at swanky venues on a daily basis – parties that the average man does not have access to. But far from being frivolous, these are highly important news-making events that offer mediapersons a chance to build up their contacts. Also, booze is on the house.
So you can imagine my reaction when I was invited to watch Ocean’s 13 at a “star-studded” premiere, a good 4 days before its international release. I believe my exact words were:

You see, the premiere was at Andheri, which is about 3 light years away from my house. For those of you not familiar with the western suburb of Andheri, it is, as a friend once commented, “the armpit of Mumbai.” If you take the local train, there’s a 50% chance that your remains will have to be scraped off the compartment floor. If you go by road, you might arrive at the venue with two kids and a mid-life crisis. Once you do reach Andheri, you’re greeted by the sight of autorickshaws engaged in fervent copulation, nudging at each other from all angles and renting the air with ‘horn’y cries.

“It’s not like I haven’t been to a premiere before”, I said to myself, thinking of the Spidey 2 premiere years ago, where I had had an intimate encounter involving Bipasha Basu. I was busy trying to locate the booze counter, when I was swept away by a violent wave of photographers. The cause of the commotion was Ms. Basu’s entry into the theatre, and as the lissome beauty walked past, I couldn’t help but think, “Where’s the bastard who stepped on my foot?”.

However, Andheri evils and past mishaps weren’t going to put me off. I had a movie to watch, and the fact that the event was sponsored by Bacardi did not alter my journalistic integrity one bit. On a totally unrelated note, did you know that their pure and classy white rum is brewed by the Gods themselves, and is worth selling your children for?
Anyhow, I made it there and it is this intrepid streak that allows me to bring to you (drumrolllll)

The Page 3 Report You Will Not See Anywhere Else
It was a muggy night in Mumbai, and random beautiful people hung around waiting for entry to begin. Sweat trickled down their designer-embossed crotches, but they were still smiling – botox can have that effect. The night began to find its groove when the horde of insignificant TV stars made its way into the multiplex. Carrom Board and Goofy Dude were in their casual best, trying to convince the media that they were The Shite. Item Number was seen chatting with Toilet Cleaner Man , even as Ugly-Without-Makeup was glued to her cellphone. The movie started more than an hour late, causing Non-Important People to collapse due to excessive perfume inhalation. Hoity-toity people stormed the bar like refugees at a relief camp. All in all, it was a “great success“/”night to remember” <other butt-kissing cliches go here, so that we do not offend any bloated egos and get invited to more such events>.
(Names have been changed so that faltu people do not get more publicity than they deserve)

PS: I did check Pg.3 and was elated to find a picture of the celebrity who had brushed past me on the way to the loo. It’s a story I shall tell for years, just as Bipasha will recount her encounter with the handsome man at the Spidey 2 premiere, who was wincing because some photographer had stepped on his foot.

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15 – 29 June 2007.


Dr. Freud led a long, busy life, most of which was dedicated to correcting people when they mispronounced his name. “It’s pronounced like Reuters!!”, he’d scream in frustration. His temper was obviously a manifestation of a very complex Complex, which is explained in great detail in his book ‘The Interpretation Of Dreams’, which, as the title suggests, is unmatched in putting people to sleep.

However, people like Freud have made significant conclusions like “Man is a highly complex animal”, which are mostly true, except for the fact that men are not complex – they are just animals. So in an effort to help the ladies understand them better, I present to you (drumrolllll)

Things You Always Wanted To Ask Guys But They Were Too Busy Watching Football To Answer Your Stupid Questions.

Now while the following question may sound idiotic and even blasphemous to the average guy, keep in mind that it is an actual doubt that has been put forth to me.

If two guys are peeing, do they ever peek to see whose is bigger?

I was floored when I heard this question. It left me bamboozled, befuddled and utterly zapped (as you can see from the usage of words like ‘befuddled’). Why, in the name of everything that is holy and heterosexual, would girls think such a thing? (Mind you I don’t have anything against gay people – they make for great stereotypes) I was then told that “chicks totally check each other out in changing rooms” and the realisation that “mine are bigger than hers” have made many a girl happy. Now you see why it would be totally natural for girls, who are genetically designed to go to the loo in packs even if just one girl wants to pee, to ask such a question. And the answer is:

No. Nada. Nyet. Never. NAHIIIINNN!!

Whenever guys step into a public urinal, their eyes automatically start searching for The Blind Spot. This is a spot that lies somewhere in the lower confines of the urinal, where the chances of seeing another guy’s you-know-what* are zero. Once their eyes lock on to The Blind Spot, they focus on it with monk-like concentration, until the deed is done. Although I must admit, it’s getting harder and harder (no pun intended) to find The Blind Spot, what with new fangled minimalistic toilet designs and extra narrow slabs separating two men. It’s a salute to our evolutionary skills that we can find The Blind spot, even when we’re peeing on an open road.**

Peeking is not even an option according to The Guys Handbook, which states that “If two guys are peeing, and one of them needs to talk to the other, then he must talk without turning to look at the other guy. Even if one guy is peeing, and the other’s not, you DO NOT LOOK.” An exception can be made only in emergencies such as The Deadly Zipper Bite, wherein a guy has full liberty to turn towards the victim and laugh and click pictures. It is also perfectly acceptable to walk up behind a friend who’s peeing, and push him so that his face meets the wall ahead in a collision worthy of F1. This is a safe prank, unless the would-be victim turns around, striking pre-emptively with his hosepipe (this never happens though – it’s a tricky manoeuvre)

So there you have it, ladies. While you’re gossiping and comparing sizes in the loo, guys are busy pushing each other into bathroom walls. I’m putting myself at great peril by bringing you this Classified Guy Information, but if I don’t write about real issues like these, then who will? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the loo. And if anybody tries to push me, I *will* use The Force.

**No girls, we’re not gonna stop doing that, no matter how many disgusted faces you make.

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 30 May – 14 June 2007.

Sue Kar Mere Mann Ko…

There comes a time in every writer’s life when the words just don’t flow like they used to, choosing instead, to indulge in constipation of the mind. At times like these, the writer must retire and move to Tajikistan, where he must eke out a living by sculpting celebrity statues out of yak droppings.

Unfortunately for you, this is not one of those times. So you’ll just have to sit your ass down and read the following (mostly) true story.

Our story takes place in a land far far away, where baby boys with names like Edson Arantes Do Nascimento Pele grow up to challenge Sri Lankan cricketers in an ‘Oh Baby Say My Name!’ contest (Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas tilts the balance in favour of the Lankans). The place I’m talking about of course, is Brazil, also known as the land of topless women, although for the sake of finishing this article on time, we shall not think about that now. And by ‘we’, I mean ‘I’.

So, back to our Brazilian story. A man here has done what most guys around the world can only dream of achieving. For legal reasons, the man cannot be named, so let’s call him Mr.X.


X has got to be the coolest letter you can put in a name. In fact, I think ‘Xerxes’ is one of the most kickass names around. Just look at it! It should be the name of one of the X-Men. He’d be a lean, mean killing machine who’d kick Wolverine’s ass without batting an eyelid.

Although in reality, most boys named Xerxes are rosy-cheeked, soft-spoken Bawas who’re capable of killing only one thing – the Hindi language.

Digression ends.)

Mr.X was a beer taster at a brewery called Ambev. His job involved drinking an average of 1.5 litres of beer everyday. He used his refined senses to come up with important feedback for the brewers, such as ‘Burrrp!’ and ‘Mmm..beeeer.’ He also received a bottle of beer at the end of each shift (their version of homework, I’m guessing).

Now comes the twist in the tale. After ten years of faithful beer drinking, Mr.X did what some term as ‘unimaginable’. As a popular Hindi saying about backstabbing goes, “Jis bottle se piya, usi mein moot diya”. He filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that the job had turned him into an alcoholic. Mr.X said that the company had taken no measures to ensure that he wouldn’t turn into an alcoholic. The news reports say:

“…the employee’s alcohol dependency had worsened in recent years and that even on vacation, the employee felt like drinking the same amount of beer he drank at work.”

– Source: Associated Press

Mr. X gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘workoholic’, doesn’t he?

The company defended itself by claiming that Mr.X was an alcoholic even before they took him on. Solid strategy, I say. It’s kinda like employing an impotent man to clean up after a drinking game in the nuclear plant control room goes horribly wrong. I mean it’s not like his reactor core is firing. So the job gets done, and nobody gets hurt. Sounds logical, no?

Apparently not, for the judge ordered Ambev to pay Mr.X a compensation of 100,000 reals (US $49,400). Let me sum it up for those of you with short attention spans.

Man gets paid to drink beer. Man quits. Man says beer made him alcoholic. Man gets paid some more.

Now I know what you’re thinking. ” Why am I struggling here with all these stupid books, professors and exams, when I could just go to Brazil and become a beer taster? My parents can even tell the neighbours ‘Mera beta foreign gaya hai, kuch chemical research ke liye'”.

I don’t blame you of course. But think of it this way – India is shining right now. There are jobs opening up in every sector, and companies are loosening up their purse strings. Money is pouring in, and employees are empowered like never before. So instead of using deceit and taking advantage of a flawed judiciary in Brazil, why not do the same in India? As it is, Babubhai Katara won’t be able to fly you out anymore, so make the most of what your country has to offer.

The software guys could set the ball rolling. The headlines would read:

” Young software engineer sues employer; says coding killed his sex life.”

The scenes in the courtroom would play out like this:

Engineer:(sobbing) “…and then, milaad, she threw the martini in my face and said ‘Your pen drive ain’t big enough for my ports, loser!'”

Company Lawyer: “I object! This is not my client’s fault. It’s a well documented fact that an engineer’s sex life is comparable to that of coral. In some cases, even coral gets more action.”

Judge: “Overruled. The company is hereby ordered to pay the engineer Rs.5 crores, and set up an office for him in Amsterdam.”

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make up your own lawsuit today. And when you do strike gold, don’t forget the writer who made it all possible. Cash is preferred, but payments in the form of beer will also be accepted.

Toon: Vivek Thakkar

This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15 – 29 May 2007.