Confessions Of An Ex-Teenager

Every number etched on to the scoreboard of life brings with it a certain set of follies and eccentricities. At one stage we’re drooling babbleheads, bawling, laughing, throwing up and tripping over at random, much to the amusement of people around us. Once this phase passes, we realise that we shouldn’t have drunk so much the previous night and WHO IS THIS HAIRY WOMAN LYING NEXT TO ME???

But indulging in crazy, drunken acts is something that most of you might have to wait for, until you’re as old as Alister Pereira at least. This brings me to the subject of this article.

How To Cheat On A Blood-Alcohol Test.

Ok no, seriously, I’m talking about teenagers. Maybe you’re a teen, maybe you’re not, but there’s no way you can ignore the pimply brats. Especially if you, like me, were a part of this brigade not so long ago.

When I look at the teens of today, I can’t help but contemplate on the fleeting nature of time and how the shift into ‘adulthood’ suddenly alters your priorities. I contemplate for about two seconds, after which the teens’ cargo pants catch my attention. With enough pockets to hold the entire cast of a Barjatya movie (dog included), these pants dangle off the end of their butts, as if to show gravity the finger. Only they show a lot more. Not a pretty sight. When it comes to hairstyles, the gelled look is dominant, with styles ranging from ‘I look like a mafia don (with braces)’ to ‘I look like the dominatrix from that movie which I saw when I was alone at home, but my friends think the style’s like cool, so yeah, like whatever’.

And that’s just the guys.

The girls, as always, are smarter in that they actually look older than they are. This gives rise to awkward situations, such as when a friend spotted a deceptive specimen (he later termed her as a BHBB* – Badi Hokar Babe Banegi). The sight of her brought about several thoughts in his ex-teenager mind, thoughts about acts that are illegal in all civilised countries.

Yes, he was thinking of using her as a suicide bomb to blow up Parliament. All because he was stuck in traffic for hours due to a political rally. My friend has shit for brains really. An air-strike is way more effective than a suicide bomb.

Anyway, I see all these teenagers with the same bored expression on their faces, hanging out at the same old malls, scoring dope from the same old dealers and my sympathies go out to them. For this is the generation that has never even heard the electronic moans of a dial-up modem, never paid a paisa for incoming calls, never enjoyed a movie on a 50 buck ticket and never, for the love of God, watched DD Metro for more than 5 minutes.

And if this privileged generation sits around all day with a glazed expression that says ‘Lost a PS3, Found an Atari’, then something’s really wrong. Apart from the fact that I don’t own a PS3, that is.

My generation ushered India from the socio-economically straitjacketed era, to a glorious era where Shahrukh Khan did not have an ugly block of hair sticking out from behind his neck. We couldn’t do much about his nose though.

But can these these young padawans lead us into the future where, to misquote Tagore, the head is held high, and the fridge is never without beer?

I mailed this question to a few teens and have been trying to decipher their replies ever since. Here, you try:

im a rtrd n cnt typ 4 nutz lolllzz v rockkzzz

*The opposite of BHBB is the classic concatenation, Bunty.
Babe + Aunty = Bunty. This message is issued in public interest.

Toon: Vivek Thakkar

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

Humour Writing for Dummies

As a writer, I often have to deal with hordes of maniacal fans, both male and female, ranging in age from the young, to the middle-aged and even those from the Simi-Garewalosaurus era. Some fling their earthly possessions at me while others (read: ‘Hot women’) fling themselves at me.

That’s when the alarm clock screams.

I realise that I’m two hours late, and what’s worse, I don’t think The Boss will accept my usual excuse of ‘Aliens abducted me to further their research on a cure for AIDS. My special DNA holds all the answers, they said to me.’

There’s a time when honesty *is* the best policy. There’s a time to be a man. I stride up to The Boss’ volcanic expression and say in a level voice:

“There’s a mouse under your chair.”

Chaos ensues, as people scamper onto chairs, desks and other people’s backs. Tardiness forgotten, I live to write another day.

Which brings me to the topic of this article. Humour Writing. Although I possess well-informed views on serious issues such as poverty, nuclear proliferation and the names of Abhiash’s unborn children, I still prefer irreverent humour as a release for my Freudian complexities. It fascinates me that an idea born in the deep recesses of my mind can cross borders, reach out and make the reader think, “What WAS he smoking when he wrote this?”.

It is this fascination that makes me want to share the professional secrets I’ve gathered over a career spanning around 9 months, 22 days(and counting). Here goes…

The Beginning:

If you look back a couple of paragraphs, you’ll notice that the main point of the article(i.e humour writing) is a good 3 light years away from its beginning. This separation allows you to ramble like a drunken lover, about things that don’t really matter. A friend of mine loves to use the term ‘verbal masturbation’. Why is it this way? Simply because if humour writers knew what the hell they were writing about, they’d get to the point and be done with it. And that would be no fun.

For e.g

Maximus Stupidus

I write humour. Humour writing is fun. I went to the zoo yesterday. Mummy says I should have stayed there.

Ashish Shakya, Class II-B

See what I mean?

The Subject:

This is the most important part of a humour article and requires copious amounts of research. The first step, naturally, is to get some food. Food is the source of all inspiration. As Michaelangelo famously said, ” I’m not painting that goddamn ceiling till I get a pizza!”. Dominos obliged (in less than 30 minutes), and as a result, the Sistine Chapel came to be renowned worldwide for its ability to give people a crick in the neck.

The next level of research includes browsing through newspapers, scouring through web feeds and amusing co-workers by belching out Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The quest for inspiration can go on for days, as writers immerse themselves in a deep, meditative trance punctuated by peaceful snores. Inspiration, like death, can strike anytime – in your sleep, in the bus, on the pot etc. But it usually strikes when The Boss gently reminds you that failure to submit the article soon will result in your (insert name of appropriate body part here) being (insert unprintable act here).

The article begins to take shape amazingly fast now.


Contrary to popular opinion, metaphors do not lie between metathrees and metafives. Metaphors and similies, if used wisely, can pump up the humour quotient of your article.

For e.g, consider the following sentence:

” My college principal is ugly and stupid.”

Although it conveys heartfelt opinion, it’s quite bland. You could jazz up the sentence to read like this:

” My college principal is the fruit of Gollum’s dalliance with a dodo.”

Disclaimer: The above technique can be injurious to your academic life. It is best performed by trained professionals who’ve finished college, and have collected the necessary marksheets, certificates and caution money.

So there you have it. All that I know about humour writing lies before you. Looking back at it, I realise that I don’t know much. But I do know this: If you can’t think up a subject for your article, you can always write an article on ‘How To Write A Humour Article’.

PS: Maximus Stupidus is the column I write for JAM (apart from many other articles). Will post here every fortnight, along with my usual ramblings.