Crazy Freaks- 1

8 Jan

My Scorpio ran across the sugarcane fields, as the eucalyptus trees rushed past, the blue sky escaped and the red sun started turning orange. My heart pumped at a speed that could beat the Scorpio, the head felt numb, the soul sank and the trembling hands could hardly hold the steering wheel. Nayan, my pillion, sat in his boxers, drenched, with a mix of the water I had used to wake him up and sweat that he could not avoid after what I had told him, murmuring all sorts of abuses.  I checked the AC. It was working. We shouldn’t have switched it on, it was December anyway. But there were a lot of things that shouldn’t have happened. But, they were still happening.

 

30 MINUTES AGO

 

It was one of those beautiful Sunday mornings, a little dark and cold, but not chilly. I sat on the bare Australian lawn of my large garden, sipping some hot unknown herbal brew mom had prepared, reading the heavy 48 page Sunday Times and enjoying the scenic beauty in intervals.

 

‘Baby I like it!’ my phone rang, loud, disrupting my thoughts. It was Sunday, and so the swimming lessons were off, and besides, it was my duty to wake Nayan up every morning, that good for nothing lazy log would never ring me up. Who would it be? I kept the newspaper down, ran through the door facing garden that led into my room and switched the ringer off. Some solid smashing would have awaited me had dad woken up. It was Vivaan.

 

‘What man! How often do I need to tell you that stop buzzing me so early in the morning? What went wrong? A flat tyre? Or bumped into somebody? Challan?’

 

The only reply was silence.

 

‘What? At least say! Got too much of a recharge? Then spend on Samara man, not me.’

 

Somebody sobbed. Yes, it was Vivaan. The sobs became louder with every passing moment. He must have had a break up, I thought. Wasn’t a big deal, he had had half a dozen break-ups in the last seven months, and I was now used to handle his odd time calls and weeps.

 

And what made me confident that it was a break up was the fact that only last evening he had shown me this bottle of Romenov Orange Vodka which he was going to have with his month old girlfriend Samara early morning in the outskirts of the city.

 

‘Don’t drink too much, it’s a 200 ml, make sure that no more than 100 milliliters reach your body. And yes, make sure that one of you doesn’t drink, you got to drive back too!’ was all I had to say.

 

‘I can understand yaar, relax! Everything would be fine between you and Samara. Should I call her?’ I asked.

 

‘You are a son of a bitch man!’ he shouted over the phone, still crying ‘Why couldn’t you just stop me yesterday? She’s badly drunk and wants to go home, I don’t know what to do you bastard!’ his voice wasn’t being the normal himself, it trembled.

 

Wants to go home? In this condition? I thought. Yes, she must have been badly drunk. She shouldn’t have said this, given her family background. The family was super orthodox and the dad was Additional Superintendent of Police. Vivaan was dead if she reached home in this condition.

 

‘O’ stop prankster! A 100 ml cannot do so much.’

 

‘I took three bottles.’ He confessed ‘I drank one and she drank the other three.’

 

‘The other two!’ I said, barely realizing that it wasn’t the right time for mathematics lectures and that he was drunk too. ‘Give her the phone damn!’

 

‘I love you Akash!’ she said, her otherwise crisp voice fumbling today, in a rather oriental accent. Must be kidding, I thought.

 

‘I love you too Samara! Break up with your boyfriend and come into my arms sweetheart!’ I said, thinking this would help them get over the prank.

 

‘I want to too. Your friend is an impotent.’ Her tone was rather disgusting. Impotent- this couldn’t be a prank.

 

‘You’re drunk, bitch!’ I shouted.

 

‘Am I? I’ll well be your bitch, my master!’ she laughed.

 

‘Where are you guys? Give the phone to that asshole!’

 

‘It’s on the loudspeaker, you idiot! And you know what,…’, she said, when suddenly Vivaan’s voice cut her in.

 

‘What do you have to say? You’ve taken my girlfriend from me too! You are such a bad friend Akash.’

 

I didn’t have time for all this nonsense.

 

‘Where exactly are you guys? I’m coming to pick you up!’

 

Chandigarh wasn’t exactly a very safe city. The outskirts always had heavy patrolling and if they were found drunk, they were dead. In a country like India, seeing a big man’s daughter was inviting trouble, especially in case of Vivaan, whose family lived in Mumbai. I had to do something.

 

‘I don’t know, there are hills.’

 

‘Is it the same place where you always go?’

 

‘Yes silly! How can I find new places for every meet. God, you are just so stupid.’ He laughed, hysterically.

 

I didn’t have much time.

 

‘I’ll be back in a while mom. Got to rush to Nayan’s place. Some important project!’

 

I rushed as I took the keys of the Scorpio, picked up my wallet and my cellphone. The ringtone seemed so ironic.

6 Important Lessons of Life

24 Apr

Lesson 1: The Naked Wife

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob.

After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 dollars and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks,…

“Who was that?” “It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replies. “Great!” the husband says, “Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2: The Genie and the Boss

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish” “Me first! Me first!” says the administration clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Poof! She’s gone. “Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii,relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.” Poof! He’s gone. “OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 3: Psalm 129

A priest offered a lift to a Nun. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said,”Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand. But,changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest apologized “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.” Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.”

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 4: Idle and High

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A rabbit asked him,”Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered: “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.

A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

Lesson 5: Power of Charisma

A turkey was chatting with a bull “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it wont keep you there.

 Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing it out! It lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug it out and ate it.

Moral of the story:

1. Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

3. And when you’re in deep shit, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

P.S: I didn’t write it. It was a mail that I was impressed by and felt like sharing.

By: SlackJack Kanungo 🙂

THE MONK

14 Apr

He woke up to find himself draped in dark maroon linen. For a change, his face wasn’t rugged today and no sense of hangover could be felt. So had he slept without boozing? For another change, he lay on a bed instead of the couch or the car seat. The room where he lay was huge, reminding him of the cavernous library where he had shot the commissioner a few days ago. He had been running since then.

 

Ghulam was his name. He used to laugh it off. Ghulam means slave, I’m the king, I rule, he used to say. But the king’s empire was in jeopardy from some time now. The new commissioner had arrested more than three dozen of his men, but he still didn’t mind, they were not as important and besides Vishnu Bhai would get them bailed soon. Talks were on if the guy could be bribed but the chances were slim. The only option was to get him transferred. Meanwhile, hell dawned upon when the commissioner arrested Parvez, his right hand.

 

He stood up, bending his neck sideways to find that the bones were intact, but a bit of pain could be felt in shoulder joints. The walls were old bleak cream colored, clean. No stains of blood or smell of gunpowder made him a little irritated. He looked out of the door only to find void. There lay a long corridor in absence of any human figure. It wasn’t afternoon, he had woken up early. It must be nine something, he said to himself, believing his estimate to be accurate, for he would not use his watch very often but still predict the time precisely. This was an art he had mastered, other than killing people without leaving stains of blood of course. Where was he? And how did he come here?

 

Suddenly then, somebody walked in the room. He was a white bald man, in his fifties probably, some ten years older than him. The man smiled. Ghulam didn’t, rather couldn’t. He had not known to smile for years now.

 

‘Hi! I’m Charlie. You must be wondering how you came here.’ The man said, smiling, in a typical English accent. Ghulam had never been to school. English was a difficult language. But he could still understand it well, thanks to his regular conversations with the suppliers in Latin America.

 

‘I was Thialand. Jungle, jeep, my mans.’ He said in broken English, the best he could speak.

 

‘You had an accident, a terrible accident.’ The man said.

 

‘My mans?’

 

‘You mean your men? People who accompanied you?’

 

‘Yeah!’

 

‘I’m really sorry that I have to announce this, but you’re the lone survivor. Everyone’s dead.’

 

There was nothing to be sorry of. He was still alive, and that was the only thing that mattered. The words sounded so familiar. Years ago, when Ghulam was a boy, he had a family too. His dad, an ordinary farmer, severally in debt, had committed suicide when it was the third consecutive year of drought. His mother too did not survive for long. People said the landlord had raped and killed her. Tooth for tooth, nail for nail was what he knew. He fled the next day, stealing all the money he found post the murder.

 

‘Money?’ he asked, the geep had money too. He had never thanked anybody and he did not feel it was necessary today. He had to go, places like monasteries are never safe.

 

‘We found it and we’ll hand it over to you, but why don’t you eat something before that?’

 

‘No. Money. I go.’ Money could buy all the food in the world.

 

The money he had stolen was more than enough to provide him with food for a handsome period of time.  For a twelve year old boy, sleeping on road under the quilt called sky was no big deal, if it saved money. Shelter in Mumbai was expensive anyway. He wasn’t the kind who could beg, he was the kind who would snatch. Twenty years, fourteen murders and with the supply of best quality grass, Mumbai saw him become a king in no time.

 

‘Okay’, said Charlie, ‘But as the custom calls, you’ll have to meet the Abbot, uh, I mean the Monastery head before leaving.’

 

Ghulam wasn’t interested. But, he said yes- money.

 

 

 

‘I’m afraid if he would even listen to the abbot. I’ve never come across a man like him in the monastery. His men and money was all what he asked about. When I told him that everyone else along with him was dead, he simply asked, “Money?” He is heartless.’ Ghulam heard Charlie saying this to another monk as he was entering Monastery head’s chamber.

 

‘He would. Everyone does. I haven’t seen somebody not listen to the abbot in years. I’ve never seen such a charismatic personality.’

 

‘Let’s see. But I still assume he won’t’, Charlie still wondered. He had seen the nerve of Ghulam.

 

The talk did not bother Ghulam, it just made him a little curious. But he wasn’t ruthless, he thought. He had dropped enough options for the stupid commissioner. Only if he had picked any of them, he wouldn’t be killed. But killing the commissioner was a mistake. He should have kept his cool and waited for the transfer. The Home Minister had assured him of the transfer in a few days. Dog. Dog was what the commissioner had called him. But it was him who died dog’s death. The minister had asked him to leave the country for a few days and so, here was he, in Thailand.

 

The Monastery head was an old man- bald and white, with heavy glasses adorning his plump face. Ghulam was astonished to see how a man in nineties could have such a magnificent glow over the face. He too was smiling, as he addressed a few young boys as Ghulam walked in. There was something very mysterious about this place, he thought. He had not seen a place in his life where people smiled all the time. They must’ve found guns with him, but they were still not scared of him. Everyone who knew of him was scared of him, then why were these people so placid?

 

He thought about calling the Abbot and get done with the proceedings as soon as possible. Waiting for someone was not his cup of a tea. But something stopped him- a force that he had never experienced before. He decided to wait and joined the bunch of young boys and sat at the end. The old man was preaching the young kids.

 

‘As Buddha said, there are three marks of existence children. The first one being Impermanence or Anicca. Everything in the world is impermanent, inconstant. Things come, things go, and nothing is permanent. For example, let’s say Chang eats a candy, which flavor Chang?’

 

‘Strawberry’ a young boy said as others laughed.

 

‘Okay, so Chang eats the big strawberry candy and savors every bit of the taste. Right Chang?’

 

‘Yes.’ The boy shouted, sounding ecstatic.

 

‘How long will the taste last?’

 

The boys were puzzled. ‘An hour at the max.’ a boy declared.

 

‘Exactly! And  because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile and it leads to suffering (dukkha).’

 

Ghulam was lost in his own thoughts. Attachment, the word sounded so useless. Some twelve years down the memory lane, he came to know that Sheeba, the girl he loved the most was divulging his business secrets. He had killed the girl her loved the most. He had never regretted his decision. There wasn’t anything like attachment.

 

‘The second mark, boys, is suffering or dukkha. What do you think it means?’

 

‘Pain’, ‘Sorrow’, ‘Anguish’, ‘Frustration’, the elder ones shouted.

 

‘Pain, sorrow, anguish and frustration are mere connotations associated with dukkha. It, in itself is a very broad term. The human life is full of sufferings. ’

 

Sufferings, Ghulam thought, sleeping on roadsides with an empty stomach, working as a petty thief, running sleepless, being tormented by the police, he too had seen a lot of suffering. There was a time when he was freshly out of teens, full of zest, and he wanted to marry too, have children, but his life never allowed him to do that. He was a big man- yes. But being a big man had taken a lot of small pleasures from him. He could trust nobody. He had sacrificed a lot. He was alone, secluded.

 

‘It is to redeem ourselves from the pain that we as monks live a life full of sacrifices and in isolation, to break this cycle.’

Ghulam couldn’t take it anymore. It was a hard day. He had relived his entire life in the flashback today. He wasn’t in a mood to relive anymore. It becomes hard to survive when nostalgia hits on hard.

 

‘Abbot!’ he shouted, ‘Please stop. I need talk. Come there. I need go.’

The young boys stared daggers at him. Nobody asked their favorite Abbot to stop. He asked the boys to wait as he came smiling.

 

‘Yes my child! I was just about to finish with the preaching when…’

‘Money. My money?’ he sounded disturbed.

 

‘O you would find it on the gate with the monk who handles the lockers. You don’t like the life in here right? You don’t like the monks?’

 

‘Nothing like that. The little I you say the boys and I listen, me monk too.’ He said.

 

‘But ya, only different kind.’ He said after a long pause, winking as he bowed in front of the old man, the only time in the life he had bowed before someone.

 

‘God bless you.’

 

Charlie stood on the door, half dazed, flabbergasting, wondering what had happened.

 

Leisure

27 Mar

Here’s a poem by William H Davies that I came across yesterday. I fell in love with the simplicity of this work of art and the beautiful message it gives. Enjoy:

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

 

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

 

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

 

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

 

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

 

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

 

A poor life this is if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

 

 

 

Stress – What a Mess!

26 Mar
Hey guys, this is a guest post by our dear friend Satyam Sancheti about something that often bothers us. Maybe this post will help. Happy Reading!
It is said that there are many causes of stress. But you would hear no one saying, “It is me who is responsible for such a stressful life.”
Before talking about stress let me talk about life.  Why do most people fear the ups and downs of life? Why is  it such a complex trauma which is always accompanied by stress? Why are there so many questions and no answers?
To many, life is entangled, full of knots which they keep on opening till their death bed, free from all worries and liabilities. Those who manage to untie the knots, are said to be successful and vice versa. Those who couldn’t are deemed worthless failures. Why?
We need to change our perception about the phenomenon we call ‘Life’.
To me it is a gift, the zenith of joy, the deepest ocean of emotions, the plateau of  deeds  good and bad. It is the land on which we are to construct a skyscraper of success as we leap into our future.
After all, its all about direction we think in. You are what you think you are. So is with life.
Now let’s come back on track. STRESS – what a stressful word! Well, according to me it all comes from within. It depends wholly and solely on how you perceive things. We intend to relate stress to a cumbersome life. But why the hell do we take it to be cumbersome? If you take life as a rough, knotty rope, you’ll never be able to get out of stress. Instead you will be  haunted terribly by it. But if you look at life as a gift, you would be able to flush the syndrome of stress out of your mind easily.
As far as studies are concerned, enjoy every moment of that.
There is no external juggernaut compelling you to study. Students get stressed because they take studying as a grueling project with a fast approaching deadline. With time the stress levels soar leading to a nervous breakdown.
To develop a keen interest in studies, one just has to get involved. Keep one thing in your mind – Studies are not what you have acquired, but they how you evolve from what you have acquired. Same goes for work. One must understand the difference between gathering information  and developing a keen insight. The best and the most successful ones have insight. They know everything about their field and know how to apply that knowledge. Another important characteristic – they don’t stress themselves out. They know how to deal with it.
In life, there is no time to waste by getting stressed. The aim should be to excel and excel to the level unimagined. There is no time to think about the past or build castles in the air while thinking of the future. Remember – Yesterday is history. Tomorrow  is a mystery and Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the Present.
What is now is the only truth. Everything else is a lie, a myth.
There’s a line in William H Davies’s poem ‘Leisure‘ that I really like –

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

So live life to the fullest, and don’t stress. On this note, I shall take your leave and leave you alone to think. Have a good day & get set for a stress-less life! 🙂
PS: Special thanks to Slackjack Aastha for editing. Satyam Sancheti can be reached at satyam_sancheti@yahoo.com.

Characters I wish were real: Sherlock Holmes

22 Mar

” Excellent!” Cried I.

“Elementary.” Said he.

Watson (left) and Holmes (right)

Yesterday, I finished ‘A Study in Scarlet’ and although unimpressed by the overstretched, slightly absurd plot of the story (compared to the crisp and fascinating ones of the short stories), I was left awestruck by the pivotal character of Sir Arthur C Doyle’s first Holmes novel yet again. Set in the 19th century London, Holmes’s adventures can never cease to be interesting.From the very first short story, I was hooked. Never had I found a character like him who was so normal, yet so extraordinary. It wasn’t long before this man captured my heart. This is the first of ‘Characters we wish were real’ series posts, and therefore, I dedicate it to the one and only –  my dear Detective Sherlock Holmes.

About the Man

Readers are usually engrossed in the plot of a novel or even a story. They flip the pages excitedly to know what happens next. Characters are mere tools to make things happen. I’ve been a great Harry Potter fan, but it is about the story, not so much about the character (Sorry Harry, I love you, but you know, I love the magic more.). Sherlock Holmes stands out as an exception where the character is just as gripping as the story and sometimes, even more. This is probably why he’s an ageless, unforgettable classic.

Silhouette of Holmes

Mr. Holmes is so famous a character that even after about 130 years of his time, we can’t resist his charm. A man of few words, Holmes possesses a keen and almost supernatural sense of observation which often ends up stunning both – the characters  and the reader himself. It is interesting to note that he shares his reasoning powers with his elder brother Mycroft Holmes who is surprisingly better than the revered detective. Mycroft however does not bother to verify his logic which anyway, is always right.

Holmes sketch by Sidney Paget

Holmes is described as a nimble, middle aged man with a lanky built and ‘hawk – like’ sharp features. He is usually neat and has a a “cat-like” love of personal cleanliness, but Watson often complains of his room being messy. He smokes his pipe very often (which is why we can’t image Holmes without it) and also uses drugs occasionally. A master of disguise, he has knowledge of martial arts and is also a dexterous swordsman and boxer.

Holmes in his lab

Like his elder brother, Holmes too is not a very social man. His only friend and companion happens to be the simpleton Dr. John H Watson, who narrates most of his adventures. Talking about Watson, he can be described as the ‘Common man’ who lacks the astute reasoning ability of Holmes and is often left surprised by the very nifty Holmes. Often very critical of his narrations, Holmes finds them ‘full of emotion’ and ‘exaggeration’ instead of being described as ‘an exact science’. But had it not been for the amicable Dr. Watson, we wouldn’t have known him as we now do!

Holmes playing Violin

Holmes is almost ‘invincible’, and those who manage to trick him are just as noteworthy. One of them, Miss Irene Adler, was the woman who outwit the analytical machine in ‘A Scandal in Bohemia‘. Although it was just a short story, she is perhaps one of the most famous Holmes characters for the way she managed defeat Holmes.

Like everyone else, Holmes has his fair share of flaws and vices. He has a big ego and his petulance sometimes borders on arrogance. He is vain, no doubt, and loves being flattered, especially when his superior reasoning skills are praised. He loves to baffle police inspectors with his superior deductions with a sardonic smile on his face.

However, Holmes enjoys the nature of his work and does not pursue fame .

Holmes and Watson in the train

Although a keen observer of the human nature, Holmes himself is cold and inexpressive, and is rather averse to women. But he is very attached emotionally to Dr. Watson which becomes evident when in ‘The Adventure of the Three Garridebs‘ when Watson is shot, (it turns out later that the wound was superficial). Watson is very moved by Holmes’s reaction:

It was worth a wound; it was worth many wounds; to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

Despite the excitement of his life (or perhaps seeking to leave it behind), Holmes retired to the Sussex Downs to take up beekeeping.

The Death and The Return

The Death of Holmes

Conan Doyle wrote the first set of stories over the course of a decade. Wanting to devote more time to his historical novels, he killed off Holmes in “The Final Problem,” which appeared in print in 1893. But unfortunately for him, Holmes was now no more an ordinary character. His fame such that after resisting general public outrage for ten years, the author finally gave in and had to bring him back  from the dead.

The Influence and The Fame

Although Sherlock Holmes is not the original or the first fictional detective, his name is the first that comes into one’s head  on this subject. Often the simplest reference is to dress anybody who does some kind of detective work in a deerstalker and cape (Although Holmes himself is never explicitly mentioned to be dressed in the same). His stories also include several stereotypical detective story characters such as the loyal but less intelligent assistant and narrator (Dr Watson) and the well established yet inefficient official (Lestrade).

Holmes examining evidence

His influence is not limited to pop or literary culture alone. Sherlock Holmes remains a great inspiration for forensic science, especially for the way he pays attention to the slightest of details like cigar ash, odours and smells, footprints and tire impressions, as well as fingerprints, and handwriting analysis, now called questioned document examination. One remarkable example I remember is that of  ‘A Case of Identity‘ in which Holmes studies the typewritten letters to solve the mystery. All of the techniques advocated by Holmes were in their nascent stages at the time  Conan Doyle was writing but they were eventually realized.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed a posthumous honorary fellowship of their organization upon Sherlock Holmes, for his use of forensic science and analytical chemistry in popular literature, making him the first fictional character to be thus honoured.

Calling Holmes fictitious now seems to be an insult to me.Why, he has achieved more than any living man in the same profession!

Legacy

221b Baker Street

The Sherlock Holmes Museum, London was the first Museum in the world to be dedicated to a fictional character. Guess the address? 221B Baker Street! The living room has been impressively preserved in it’s nineteenth century, Victorian glory with Homes’ and Watson’s belongings (journals, magnifying glasses, slippers) in place so that it actually feels as though one has traveled back in time! I absolutely have to visit this place once!

Why I wish he were real and alive?

Statue of Holmes in Edinburg

Well, after such a long ramble, I don’t think I need to say much!

In times of such trouble where atrocities of all kinds are committed and the culprit still roams free, a man like Holmes would be a godsend. I long to see him smiling mysteriously and explaining his logic at the end of every case. I wish to see him working with that fire in his eyes. Criminals and crime advance with time, but the logic stays the same!

Everyday I read reports about disgusting yet commonplace acts of crimes which stay unsolved proving Holmes right yet again when he said, “As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.”

But alas! All he can do is stand there and inspire us while we try to reason things out – in everyday life and in crimes. Holmes makes one thing very clear, and that is, if we try to observe things properly and use some common sense, we would not have to look too long for the answers to our questions.

Yes, I admit that I am very much influenced by him and try to deduce things whenever I can, only to chuckle to myself when have my ‘Watsons’ astounded or to laugh when I am proven wrong.

“Excellent” They cry.

“Elementary.” I smile.

Who is your favourite fictional character and why?

The New Face of ‘News’

20 Mar

So this is my first official individual post on the blog. Nervous, I am. I cannot write about how big a lazy bum I am or whine about things that are not fine. C’mon, a first blog post is always special, like the first kiss (sorry for the ridiculous comparison, but if you ruin the latter, you suffer for an eternity-  same is the case with the former. So, I’m in no mood to ruin it, and carry this insignia of disgracing the blog forever). If you don’t understand whatever you’ve been reading, and find it rather ludicrous, not your fault. It was just an example.

This morning, I was just wondering what to write about when an old trick came in my head. Go, scan some good international news, and write an ‘opinion post’.  Supposedly excited and relieved, I googled ‘international news’ to know what’s in these days rather than going for my usual BBC or CNN. This was possibly the biggest mistake. Placed just above BBC and CNN, was a link to ‘Yahoo!’. Yahoo was ‘in’, even a few of my friends had told me. Why not dash into it, I thought. What followed was a sheer disaster. The top ‘news story’ that I saw, couldn’t have had a better impact- my head spun into a tizzy, eyes popped out, finger bones cracked and ears went deaf (now this is too much of drama, isn’t it? I call it the ‘Yahoo impact’). Have a look at the headlines yourself:

1. New ‘Wonder Woman’ costume revealed– A photo is released of star Adrianne Palicki dressed for her role as the Amazonian superhero.

2. Tiger Woods’s ex-wife buys pricey mansion– Elin Nordegren’s beach-front property in Florida reportedly dwarfs the golfer’s new bachelor pad.

3. ‘Stand By Me’ cast reunites 25 years later- Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and Wil Wheaton gather for the re-release of the iconic film.

And if all this wasn’t enough, look at this-

4. Signs your partner may be cheating- If your mate discloses (and justifies) past betrayals, pay attention.

The other headlines were – Biggest security threats on Facebook, 6 protein-packed snacks that fill you up, 13 things your barista won’t tell you and Six surprising ways to get cleaner laundry.

There is a difference between a tabloid and a news portal. Tabloids are sensational; this isn’t even sensible, let alone sensational. And it brags of having most hits on the net. Where are we heading? I don’t say that news portals shouldn’t have entertainment news, it’s equally important with the changing times, but when 9 news articles on 10 are of the kind, it becomes intolerable. News has to be enlightening, it has to be expressive and thought provoking, not flashy or ostentatious. Or did the word ‘News’ just change its meaning. In fact, this was the first time I’ve seen ‘Top News Stories’ that do not have issues of national, international or even regional importance. Sports neither!

Funny thing? The search result for Yahoo reads, ‘…in-depth coverage of world news headlines.’ Wow! It clearly shows! The world is dying to know about the new celebrity mansions and the dresses they wore to the Emmys. Also, we can’t start our day without some wisdom on the ‘signs’ of cheating partners. What about the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan? Meh! So boring! Who even cares! It won’t be long before Page 3 stuff makes it to Page one.

And it’s not just about Yahoo. Almost every other website or magazine or newspaper these days is busy serving their readers pure, scandalous gossip instead of food for thought or ‘knowledge’. Besides, calling it people’s call would be wrong too. People read or watch what they are served. It’s time to call for segregation. Split your website into two parts- the scoops segment and the news segment. But, stop fooling us. It really pisses me off and people in general.

Since I wasted my entire morning on that stupid site, I must take your leave now. But I’m still left with a question unanswered – if dim-witted things are the ones that get popular (Please don’t read Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian), will somebody read my blog?

Also, do you get just as pissed off as I do when this rubbish is served in the name of news?

Painting the Canvas of Life: Holi

19 Mar

Hullo there! This is our first ‘official’ post on our ‘joint’ wordpress blog! We’ve blogged individually before, but I believe it takes two to tango! 😀 This blog is a little effort, to spread smiles and happiness, to lighten the lines between being mature, acting one’s age and having fun.

Our country India is known as the ‘Country of Festivals’. If all minor and major festive days were to be declared as national holidays, we would have around 150 days off! Now isn’t that big? Talking about festivals, one of the most prominent ones, ‘Holi’ falls tomorrow.

Where Diwali is called the ‘Festival of Lights’, Holi is known as the ‘Festival of Colours’. Although both pertain to Hinduism, people from all other religions enjoy it just as much because Holi, simply defined, is the fun festival of colours rather than that of religious rituals. We rub colours on each others faces, throw balloons filled with coloured water on people and use water guns or ‘pichkaaris’ to splash each other with colours! On this day, even the most self-controlled and reserved people come out of their shells and go wild! Had this been some other day, you won’t take a flash to slam anyone who tries to do all this, but it’s holi, the spirit in the air asks you to do the same, and with even more vigour. To add to the effect, there is Bhang Ki Thandai – a drink popular in many parts of India which is made by mixing bhang with thandai, a cold beverage prepared with almonds, spices, milk and sugar. What does that do? Let’s just say, it makes your head spin and makes you do things you could not even think of when sober. Aastha says, “Once my uncle had so much of it that he snored away for three days, waking up occasionally only to have some tea!” And if you’re smart enough to resist the dangerous Thandai, we have other options like sweet Bhaang balls or tablets which can be mixed in anything you eat. So beware! We have Holi parties, rain dances and all the crazy things you can think of. In fact, people at times lose control to such an extent that usually one needs quick access to authorities! They justify this outrageous behaviour by the oft repeated phrase ‘Bura na maano Holi hai!’ (Don’t mind; don’t get mad, it’s Holi! Funny thing? The smart cops use the same phrase after beating up those who break the law or indulge in things like eve teasing. Fair enough!)

Holi

Holi

India is a mix of numerous cultures, and everywhere, holi is celebrated a tad differently. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, thousands gather to witness the hysterical Lath Mar holi when women beat up men with sticks and men try to protect themselves with shields. Quite the day for some sweet and colourful revenge, don’t you think? 😉 In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, The Baithki Holi begins from the premises of temples, where Holiyars (the singers of Holi songs) gather to sing songs to the accompaniment of classical music, making it a melodious festival.

It is notable that on the evening of the day preceding the festival, bonfires are lit to symbolize the legend of Holika.

All sorts of sweets and delicacies are prepared and you just can’t get enough of the music and the colours. Friends and family unite and all past mistakes are forgotten for a new start (or new mistakes to be made!). Talking about the colors, how can we not talk about the positive roles they play in our life?

Fill some colours in your life!

Fill some colours in your life!

Red signifies passion and fire. It induces the feeling of strength, confidence and power. It is also the warmest of all colours. Anyone for some romance?

Blue is the color for tranquil and trust. It is also associated with aristocracy and refinement. If all the colours were personified, Blue would be the quietest, but the sweetest!

Green is the color of Mother Nature. It signifies fertility and bliss. Have some friend who’s expecting or wishes to start a family? Don’t forget to put some green on her! Also, it is recommended that you paint the landscape green by planting some trees! That would be your way of wishing ‘Happy Holi!’ to the earth!

Pink is usually associated with femininity, it is also the color of universal love. Lovers of beauty favor this lovely colour. In fact, it has a dual nature – quiet and submissive on one hand, and wild and expressive on the other. A pink carnation means “I will never forget you”.

Yellow reflects the brilliance and warmth of the sun. Those who love yellow have vivid imagination. They have clear thoughts and are well organized with a tinge of pride and arrogance. Yellow also signifies friendship, which is why yellow roses are so popular on Friendship day.

Orange portrays ambition and motivates one’s creativity. It is the funky colour! So if you are not afraid to do your thing, Orange is your pick!

Violet is the royal colour which also signifies mystery.  Flamboyance, mischief and elegance! Red isn’t the only sexy colour after all, is it?

By the end of the day, everyone can give the circus clowns a run for their money. In fact, most people are not even recognizable! It takes a lot of soap and almost a week to come back to normal.

Under all these rituals and the frolic,  Holi has a special message. It signifies that our life is like a canvas, and we must paint it beautifully with colours of love, forgiveness, trust, happiness and nobility. It is about the spirit of life, about being a bon vivant. Often, our negative, vicious, self –depreciatory thoughts make our life, sad, dark and colourless. Holi is about washing it all away to start painting afresh.  There are people who don’t know how to express their love for others. There are people who regret things and want to apologise, but can’t. Holi signifies that it is all about shedding your inhibitions and painting your life in as many vibrant colours as possible. Want to dance on the table? Do it! Haven’t apologised to an old friend? Do it! Never told your nasty elder brother how much you love him? Go ahead, say it! Afraid to be different than the league and to do your own thing? Just do it! There is no perfect time for things and you can’t sit around wasting your time like that. It also asks us to enjoy our present to the fullest and dance with joy and gratitude for whatever god has bestowed on us. So stop complaining, forgive, forget and get dancing! Happy Holi to all! The Slackjacks hope you add new colours to your life this year. What’s your colour this time?

So You Want To Write A Novel?

19 Mar

So You Want To Write A Novel?.