Saturday, April 9, 2016

Behold, he cometh!

I woke up with a jolt. A distant voice, intending to be melodic but failing miserably at it was beckoning me to rise and take notice. As I sat in my bed contemplating if it were just a dream or something real, I inadvertently reached out to my phone and tapped gently on the YouTube app on the screen. Beads of cold sweat trickled down my forehead as my heart raced like its pants were on fire. I woke up my peacefully sleeping wife and showed her the screen, she managed half a yelp and exclaimed – “ Gosh.. it’s Taher, he is BACK!”


The morning brought sunlight, and with it the relief that the world hadn’t come to an end as I had imagined it would the night before. I reminded myself that back in 2013, when Taher Shah had spun the entire planet out of its axis by his mind addling music video – Eyesto Eyes, we all somehow managed to survive, albeit with indelible scars. Back then, I had pretty much watched his video on loop till I had internalized his every move (read: gently swaying from side to side), every glance (read: looking flirtatiously into the camera and then turning away with unprecedented coyness), his every illusion (read: spawning a clone of himself, dressed in black but doing the same shit), and the killer smile (read: the kind of half smile you give when you really ‘need to go’, but they won’t let you). Hell, I even found myself humming the song while reading a book at a coffee shop and stopped only when a stranger seated on the next table threatened to stab me with a fork if I didn’t.

The point is that he messed with the marbles in my head and I did succeed in putting them back in their place. But that took time. This time around, I had to be better prepared, after all, I had been there once, I had seen what he was capable of, and I knew he couldn’t throw something at me that I wasn’t prepared for. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Look into his eyes... look! 
This time around Taher drops the pristine Simi Grewal look, escapes the confines of a walled structure, sprouts wings from his belly fat, and turns into an angel, actually, as he insists, “Mankind’s Angel”.  Playing this abominable creature, Taher roams in green fields, singing blissfully much like a cow that has found itself on the other side of the fence. He proceeds to spin a web of unfathomably complex lyrics, which need some serious deciphering. If you haven't been exposed to the video yet, I suggest you have a look before you read ahead. 

Now here’s the thing, while the song seems comical to many, it is actually a chronicle of the evolution of mankind itself. The song documents three different life- phases of the lost angel who probably got dropped on earth because he was unbearably heavy for heaven.

In the first phase, we see him wandering around the fields, singing longingly around a diabolically twisted tree. Dressed in purple and teal gowns, with a wand in hand, and a tiara on his head, he keeps looking heavenwards wishing for a soul mate who clearly God is reluctant to grant him (I am assuming that would be because God is just being kind to the rest of the world). But then he delivers a really compelling argument which moves the heavens -

Dearest creation, by God
Heaven on earth, mankind’s Angel
Lonely for you, like an Angel
Your love is, my true Angel
Without you I always, live alone
As the heart beats, without a soul
I fall in love with you, always….
Like Angels, love other Angels
Angel Angel, … mankind’s Angel
Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa”

As you'd have observed, the words are way too moving and with the “Laa laa….”  in the end, he just nails it.

Anyway, so God grants him a mate. And lo and behold she appears, a vigilante with an eye mask but much like him otherwise in girth and wings.

The vigilante angel
This is where the song enters its second phase. Our man angel breaks into a senseless love lyric where he compares himself to a mermaid and kills it for all normal men who have always had fond imaginations of mermaids.

“You are my lovely, … sweet Angel
Without you my love, … stays alone
Like a mermaid, … lives alone
When I found you, I was so glad……
As I gained,… lovely heaven
Angel Angel,… mankind’s Angel
Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa, Laa”

Yet again, he uses the “Laa, Laa….”  to clinical effect, driving you, the listener/watcher, one step closer to the kitchen knife.

The third phase is kind of predictable. We have a man angel, a woman angel - who is quite like the man angel - they sort of get together so logically, there’s a child angel.
My heart goes out to the child though, who is not only made to look like our man angel but is also decorated with a blond wig in one of the sequences, ostensibly to look like his angel mother. This of course, leads to an absurd output and a really disgusted child in his father’s arms.

" I hate you daddy! "
The song closes with yet another rendition of “Laa, laa, ….”  which I reckon are Taher’s best words in this song.

Taher’s “Angel” has already started having an impact. I have spent the afternoon going over the lyrics multiple times. His face, which is arguably the largest any man has ever carried, is looming larger still in front of my eyes. But I will fight this out. I will not fall under his spell. I will survive this too.

Until next time,
Love. “Laa, laa, laa…” 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Bubble Wrap Syndrome

Dear friends , 
Image courtesy:

For some time now I have been planning to write to you all but could never get down to it. I was contemplating if a phone call, or possibly, an in person meeting would be a better way to execute this communication task. 

After much thought though, I concluded that a phone call would leave my visual senses vulnerable to distraction and hence deprive my words of the intended emphasis. I also realised that a face to face meeting would give all of you the opportunity to lock me in a pillory of shame and affect an immediate execution. Hence, I decided to put down my thoughts in writing instead. 

Let me start by setting the context. 

A new purchase is a thing of joy, well, for most people. Unfortunately , I am not one of them. I suffer from a condition that not only prevents me from enjoying my new purchase but also adds persistent stress to my life; I call this the Bubble Wrap syndrome 

Bubble Wrap syndrome: A condition where one is so obsessed with the newness of a purchased good that the anxiety to preserve this newness supersedes the resultant joy of using the good itself. The inflicted individuals often identify themselves with a duty-bound bubble wrap, hence the name. 

I am often touted as the paragon of BWS in my social circles, thanks to you guys .  So when I bought a car, my biggest purchase since I started earning, it made big news. Some of you got together to discuss how I would demonstrate psychotic obsession for the car's newness, others steeled themselves for the imminent emotional storm that I would unleash, my wife got down to praying with unprecedented devoutness. 

It's been 5 days now since the car arrived, and to be honest, I've kept myself well within boundaries of rational behaviour, only occasionally straying here and there. Here's a list of some very restrained behaviour that I have exhibited : 

1. I have covered the floor of my car with multiple copies of Mumbai Mirror. Some might find this weird but I think the car is definitely newsworthy. Also, it keeps the floor carpet clean. From feet which have shoes on them, which in turn have dirt. Get the point?

2. Every time I get out of the car, I carry out a thorough inspection. I do this to check if there are any scratches / blemishes that need my attention. Mum  pointed out that our building guard, who is a regular witness of this routine, has been looking at me with an expression which alternates between pity and suspicion. I have made mental note to not tip the ass anymore. 

3. I have instructed my fellow occupants to carry polythene bags along with their umbrellas . Their umbrellas should go into these bags when they come aboard. This is a well thought out measure to prevent the water dripping umbrellas from wetting the newspapers on the floor.  I have sensed some discomfort amongst co-occupants, especially colleagues hitching a ride,  who are not willing to understand the rationale behind this . Hence, I have stocked extra polythene bags for people who don't carry one. My car, which now has several newspapers and polythene bags inside, somehow reminds me of the dump yard next to the neighbourhood public toilet. 

4. I do random rounds of inspection of other people's cars. That's right. After my car got a few scratches, I was distraught. The only way to lessen the pain was to look for others who shared it. I was seeking a sense of belonging to a community of car owners who have been subjected to similar atrocities.  I agree that I did catch a lot of unfavourable attention as I moved from one car to another, inspecting each with a keen eye to look for signs of disorder, often rubbing these cars with a handy cloth to check if a suspected scratch was real or just a mark of dust, but all this did make me feel a part of a much larger group . It's nice to know you are not alone when adversity strikes.

The list is actually longer but I guess I have made my point. As you'd have gathered  , I have sound reasons to back my actions which, I do agree, are somewhat a product of the aforementioned mental condition.  

If you thought that the intention of this note was just to explain my recent behaviour, you would be only partially right. Through this message, I would like to accomplish at least 2 more objectives :

First, I would like to thank you all for putting up with me so far, and Second, I would request all of you to carry polythene bags with your umbrellas the next time we meet. 

Lots of love.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The football game

“Would you like to go this time?" , my wife enquired from the other end of the phone. This wasn't for a trip to shop or watch a rom-com, instead, she wanted to know if I'd want to go and play football with a few of her friends from office.

" Sounds great... I am in!", I replied, making sure that my voice was loaded with uncontrollable enthusiasm. Deep inside though, panick had struck hard.

I hadn't played football in 18 years, in fact, I hadn't really played a team sport in a decade. I told myself that it wasn't a big deal, after all , I wasn't called Speed Pete back in school for nothing. It would all come back to me the moment I would walk into the field. Besides, I had recently played cricket after a long time and I did well enough to get some cheers from the crowd. If anything, the ball here was much bigger and I didn't have to middle it with a 6 inch wide plank of wood. "Piece of cake", I told myself as I tied my shoe laces.

I knew I was clearly bluffing myself though. No matter how I much tried to comfort myself, I couldn't get myself to ignore the one bit that made all the difference - unlike football, you could hide in cricket. I know this because I’ve done it a million times - I would plant myself at a position in the field where the batsman was least likely to hit the ball. I would agree that it is easier said than done, but you could always figure out the blind spot with a bit of effort. Once you've got yourself in the comfort if this cove, all you have to do is hang around , encourage the bowler, and rush into the celebration every time a wicket falls. This would take pretty much of your playing time and nobody would ever get to know that ‘ butterfingers’ was your middle name. 

In football however, no matter where you run, the ball invariably finds you. It will not only find you, but roll in nicely next to your feet, and invite you to make an ass of yourself. The other players would look at you expectantly at first but soon this expectation would turn into disbelief, followed by well deserved disgust.

I knew all of this but I had no choice. I contemplated making a late excuse but then my wife would've seen through it and the last thing I wanted was being asked to grow a pair. I dragged my heavy feet towards the field. Destiny had had me and I needed to play along.

Just so that I have the expectations set right, let me clarify that this isn't a tale of heroic turnaround. Nothing like that happened, not even a semblance of it. It actually went something like this - 

I ran around the field in all earnestness, always alert and ready to contribute. Deep inside though, I willed with all my heart for the ball to stay away from me, but of course it didn't. It came to me several times and left me befuddled on every occasion. I noted that a funny thing happened every time the ball landed up with me; time changed it's pace and acquired a new formula . A second, which usually is a 60th of a minute, decided to promote itself and be more of a  whole damn minute itself, which essentially meant that time really crawled for me.The ball came to be me, I looked at it and , in all possibility, it looked at me, and then we just stood there  - right next to each other as I heard distant, helpless cries of  - “ It’s all yours.. score it….”,  while I did absolutely nothing useful.

The game got over after an hour, everybody shook hands, patted other's sweaty backs and left. I came home, showered, picked up my iPad, and kicked Brazil’s ass in a game of soccer.
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