The Logic Tales

Tired of listening to the taunts of being jobless? Does your mother too rant the daylights out of you? What if I tell you a job where all you have to do is make impressions on a paper with no compulsion whatsoever upon the sensibility of the same and also a good fair chance of striking gold? Yes my friend you got it right! Your job as a scriptwriter at the Indian film production awaits you. Not only you get paid some crazy load of cash for writing something whose level of comprehensibility equals that of the doodle on your table, but also the opportunity to go “modern-artish” with something on its way to affect probably crores of minds.

The Indian entertainment industry is on the pinnacle of success and the bottom of its sanity. If you switch on an average living-room television set in India and try to look for sensible content, chances are that you are gonna end up either falling asleep flipping the channels or give up completely. The fun part is that you could tell me anything about an Indian soap opera and I would believe you. I seriously would believe even if you told me that in a daily soap with some hundred word long name (which kinda sorta maybe resembles the lyrics or the hook of a song) had some saas order the bahu to herd giraffes who kept eating cupcakes on some planet like Kepler-22B for 5 months, because any serial writer in this country would stoop to any depth to cross the “milestone” of ten grand episodes. If you find THIS ridiculous, you’ve just felt the tip of it.

Given the type of content that is aired on the tv and silver screen these days, there is a serious question raised on the magnitude of human threshold sensibility. Either it is the people making such “commendable” programmes who are underestimating the basic intelligence of their audience or it is us overestimating theirs. The only logical stuff that I watched before completely losing my affinity towards hindi television was cartoon network. If you are 90s kid you would have probably seen the initial rise and subsequent downfall of the level of sense in the television; to me, it actually hurt, seeing the IQ of the indian creative writing teams fall rapidly in front of my very eyes. Change happened, but for the worse. The lack of variety in content punched the primitive television right in the face and paved the way for the new fad, cable tv. The Indian television went from Doordarshan, (a channel popularly known as ‘pardon?’ and ‘whas that?’ in today’s teenage peer groups) via cable tv, to “Sansani” and “Star Parivar Awards”, the standards touching a new low with each new channel.

The cinema is no good either. With all its shimmer migrating to the tv. Prior to the release of every new movie, you can see two or more of its actors doing some incredulous cameos in every drama, making special appearances on reality shows and doing all nonsense you can think of. I’d rather let your imagination go wild. Last week i literally saw Shahrukh Khan on 4 different shows that too on 4 different channels giving shape to most of the results of your imagination. Leaving a handful of directors, no one today focusses on a meaningful script or at least questions the legitimacy of the cinema they produce. Because for such filmmakers it is something intolerably unjust to compromise their earnings due something as trivial as rationale! And we as audience shove it off as we categorize any such film under the very broad terms like “commercial films” and “bollywood masala movies”. The music industry too hasn’t spared any efforts towards staying loyal to its cinematic origins in its ways. I mean you know there’s something horribly wrong with the music preferences of a country’s citizens when their answer to the question “Who’s your favourite pop musician?” is Honey Singh.

So with the small screen holding no promise, the bigger one being at its wits’ end, and even the neighbours house becoming much less interesting after the invention of the former two, is there any silver lining to look out for? Something a tad bit more ambitious? Probably yes! The rise of Indian standup comedy.

In the past decade and a half, this exotic species called the “standup comics” has seen a rapid increase in its growth patterns, all across the country. Carrying the legacy of Jaspal Bhatti and Shekhar Suman, forward, these comedians have already found a soft corner in people’s hearts, or at least the younger lot who respects logic and appreciates the ones pertaining to it! With the springing up of numerous open mics in various Indian cities, the new industry is trying to deem in the already saturated entertainment arena. Coming up with fresh ideas like podcasts and online sketches, these standup comics are either on their way of getting a devoted fan following or already have one. As for now many standup groups like East India Comedy and AIB have become household names already and have their shows lined up not just in India but also abroad. Owing to their quick popularity these people have also endeavoured to make social impacts through their videos using topics like victim blaming, net neutrality etc.

Yes the stand-up scene in India is most promising but just in case you too are feeling optimistic, you’re probably new to India. There is hardly any incentive for making a career in standup comedy in this country. Because in an average Indian middle class home, telling your parents about considering an off-beat career like stand-up generally has hazardous consequences; it’s literally Armageddon. And the ones who dare to be the torch-bearers stand a constant risk of getting themselves shot or slapped in public because India probably cannot handle silly jokes on themselves. India might be the fastest growing nation in terms of economy but apparently not in its mindset.

Though their supporters outnumber their critics by huge margins these stand-up comics still have barriers quite high to cross. They have sure travelled quite a lot on their own but the rest depends on us, the people of this country. Even today India has a choice, between letting this high-potential low-resource industry flourish and taking it as a mere fad that may fade away to oblivion; come on people! we can still choose logic over increasing the TRP’s of India TV. Well, tilI the decision boils up I might as well catch up with those giraffes’ death sequence. I heard they died of food poisoning.

Sitting through the umpteenth day of my seemingly useless coaching class, my mind reels with confusion. “Chad!” The teacher calls my name to ask me another mind-boggling question that I’m destined to doom. It seems so strange, to have such less affinity towards the great works of renowned scientists, the formulae worked out after such hard toil. It is quite surprising though, not being able to fully appreciate their extreme genius.
But somehow all this just doesn’t appeal to me the way i thought it would when i was still in class X. And here i am, another student stuck between his own wrongdoings and clash of choices.

As a class XI newbie i always thought to have made the prefect choice for myself, decided upon my ultimate goal ardently. A mistake thousands of students make every year. I still remember fade traces of the then new energy that ran through my veins at the thought of being a competitive exam aspirant, my bright future glistening in my daydreams. Hardly i knew what my heart lay in, what i enjoyed profoundly. I could never DIFFERENTIATE between “want-to-be” and “meant-to-be”. And i paid the price, of not understanding myself.

I struggled through the years of intensive study programme. Never being able to respond to the teachings of my talented teachers, never being able to comprehend the reason of my failures. But i never quit, and continued to fight off my failures, always ending up beginning again the battle of brains against my own instincts. But nothing happened. My scores never went up. Frustration began to mount up.

Disgrace and disappointment haunted the daylights out of me. The fear of failure, the fear that every student who has not even once in his life been unable to make the cut feels, began to grasp me in its unbreakable shackles. I felt as if there was no way out of my problems. I had come to terms with my thoughts of lacking wits enough to write my name correctly. I had accepted my gruesome life with its difficulties along with my new status of “brainless idiot”.

But then one day something happened. As dramatic it may seem but that day i found the solution to every problem of mine. I had just realised what i had known for ages. I was never made for what i was chasing. Despite hearing the same words for the last 6 months from various sources, i never found it even an inch close to my set of considerations. How strange it was, i had thought it better to consider myself a git rather than pondering over my own self.

A new thought struck me as i came back to my senses from the feeling of silliness over my basic thinking algorithms. I started to think what i was meant for. Well that is supposedly “supposed” to be revealed to me at another such unpredictably lucky moment of my life. Till then, the search for information in the apparent black hole continues.

The Coaching Mania

The Coaching Mania

Ever heard of a place where high school education increases the chances of someone’s death? Welcome to India! Our education system is sure to give you a premature stroke or at least the live catacombs or “hostels” as they are fondly called, would certainly accomplish the job.

The coaching industry today has begun to exercise control in areas beyond the concerns of education. They have a very big role in shaping the thinking patterns of the young students as it has been observed. Besides teaching the ways to run a marathon like a sprint, they inculcate much more than just studying habits: one of them being fear. Fear of failing, rather falling, as it seems. Fear as stark as drowning; in the sea of one’s own desires and ambitions. Fear of what would become of them if they fail to accomplish what they, or in most cases, their parents had dreamt for.

Majority of students in India are enrolled in some or the other coaching programme; tenth graders making it more of a trend for peer groups. Seriously though tenth graders, there are better ways to doom your early teenage years than messing up your already-messed-up-brains in a (mostly) useless class! But what is sure for all aspirants in the +2 programme is the guarantee that more than half of them would never get through, regardless of the lump sum of money they stuff the coaching institutes with. Instead of making better future citizens, raking in moolah is their prime concern. Their motto is not to make students capable enough to think for themselves, but to make them that lion in the circus who “intelligently” knows to jump through a flaming hoola-hoop whenever threatened with a hunter. Perhaps they don’t understand the difference between “well trained” and “well educated”.

Such institutes may help one section of students achieve goals but it destroys the self-confidence of many. Many students live with the nightmare of studying in a lower batch or putting in true words, any batch except the topmost one. They suffer from sleep deprivation, obesity and depression while some poor students even commit suicide . Of course, only a lunatic would dare to visualise a mentally sound person living in a pigeonhole for a hostel room, eating crap for food and working 18hrs a day. Whom or rather what are we raising then? Kids or cattle?

There is an urgent need to ask ourselves if we really need to put ourselves through such (again mostly) unnecessary pain that too for a formal permission to enter into colleges, another name for “level-2” of the mental harassment programme. Or is excelling in every sphere of life more important than our lives. The most appropriate answer would be a giant “NO”. We seriously need to relax our adrenaline levels a bit about petty exams or even as many people would say “life-deciding” exams; or at least not consider them above all reasons for existence.

Having suffered from the nausea that follows the roller coaster ride of ranks for 5 years in a row in one such institute; I can surely say that whatever be the reason, it is just not worth the time or at least one’s precious heartbeats. And the same applies to any such “life-deciders”. Literally, stop fretting! even if you completely screw them up. Because, as one of my favorite writers Rohan Joshi says , “No matter how big the train wreck, it is a promise, tomorrow is going to be okay and there is always a place for you in the sun which is not dictated by mere numbers on a sheet of paper.”

I Got It Bad With Winter

I Got It Bad With Winter

With dry winds getting chilly with every delayed sunrise and sudden disappearance of ants, the most awaited (as per the views of my family) season of the year is on the arrival terms. You know when winters are round the corner when you start hearing “changing weather” and “D-Cold” in the same sentence.

The season is undoubtedly quite a sought after one  for no good reason apparently. The concept of liking winters is something completely beyond my “band of understanding”. I mean for me, you wouldn’t  probably like winters unless you are someone who loves lethargy and babbling for a whole day about how much unfair it is to be woken up by your mom at 6 o clock even when it is still dark outside. Talking of matters as delicate as sleep, even the nature is understanding enough; making provisions on its own for conservation of human glycogen reserves. But telling your mom about the kindness of the divine would be the last thing you would want to do early in the morning because for the species called ‘Mom’, only the ticking sound of a clock marks the outlines of day and night; and time doesn’t usually go on some yearly hibernation mode like us humans (though unnaturally).

The season, like every other thing in the universe, means differently to different type of people. To the working class it comes as a discount on energy expenditure; for them it is great relief, getting to save the labour to wipe sweat off their backs. To the younger lot, the season brings the pleasure of staying wrapped up in warm quilts and a delay in the school timings and the best part, extra sleep! Owing to the biting cold nights, people get a good excuse to shake some work off their hands too; the shopkeepers benefited the best. You can definitely attribute to winters, the fact that you see shutters down as early as 8:30 in the evening. But there is this one last and unusual category of people which i fall under; the people who take winters as a freedom to eat. Honestly whenever people like me think of winters, all what comes to our mind is gajar ka halwa and gond ke laddu. These are probably the only things which count as the “flowery band” that keeps me bounded to the earth in winters.

Besides the invention of cold and flu, the wicked season is convicted of much more, charges which it can probably never get itself cleared of: innocent lives. I do not write to advocate the plight of the destitute but of some sheer unlucky souls whose community i belong to. People like me seem to be affected with some sister syndrome of HIV which doesn’t act on your immunity system as a whole out of philanthropy but in turn chooses one disease and recovers all its favours. Cold and cough being the lucky winner in my case. Every year, there is this one point in the season when I’m trying curb my feelings of hatred, and am even successful to some extent; thanks to the extended holidays and my napthalene-odour quilt. And at that very moment, winter again plays dirty with all its strength and I get a full amplitude cold , a really bad one; it is like if there was a Richter scale for cold, mine would score no less than 9 points. All this eventually results in the loss of all my goodwill for the season once again.

Cold is not considered a very serious disease in medical sciences, but even Charaka would agree that it is the most irritating disease ever. It is just supposed to last few days and give you some breathing problem, a pink-coloured running nose and probably a headache. But it makes full use of those few days and renders the whole of your body useless. No one can probably concentrate with a  nose that constantly needs to be taken care of to avoid embarrassing public accidents. And with lucky ones like me, it happens on an yearly basis.

But frankly enough, since I cannot pretend to like winters, I’ve recognised a way to cheat my own senses; turning on the ostrich mode. Because the best way to deal with things that you can’t change, is to ignore them. Now if you excuse me, I need to get back to my ‘almost-finished’ box of tissues before my nose starts to revolt about my bad nanny skills.