Monday, October 06, 2014

Bride walks in wearing glasses, "femalia" walks out

February 17, 2020. Bhaelgarh, India.

In an internationally unprecedented event, a myopic Indian bride decided to walk down the aisle wearing glasses despite being seriously advised to do otherwise by everyone in the family, including nuptial veterans such as her aunts and grandparents. The females in the clan, or "femalia", couldn't believe the sight and boycotted all photographs with the bride in the frame (pun intended). It is being said that what was supposed to be a moment of pride turned into a walk of utter embarrassment for the father of the bride, as he avoided the piercing glares coming from both sides of the aisle.

The bride in question, name undisclosed to protect her identity from the rioting fashionistas, is currently hiding at her sister-in-law's (unmarried and 27) home with her new husband, who, as it turns out, is bespectacled himself and "doesn't get it" (one way or another). Media is stationed outside the homes of the prominent players of the story, desperately wanting to get a quote from anyone, to understand what led the bride to make such a spectacle of herself and those who always wish the best for her.

The days leading up to the wedding have been nothing less than a roller-coster ride for the two families tying the knot. The bride, a 29 year old fair and beautiful girl, who is also a mathematician doing research in Sweden, finally gave in to the family's "request" to get hitched to a boy. Open minded and far sighted as they are, they accepted their daughter's boyfriend into the family. To their delight, the boy is a highly regarded engineer in the USA (but from a different caste). However, the seemingly agreeable and polite girl slowly unfolded into an unorthodox "bridezilla" - she cancelled an appointment, acquired by pulling a lot of strings, with a renowned ophthalmologist for a long overdue vision correction surgery. To add salt to the wounded and seething mother-in-law, she refused to wear contact lenses, not once, but "till death do us part".

We, at Sparkle Magazine, were able to track down the mother of the bride just before curfew, to hear her opinion. "I didn't want my daughter to go through what I had to face," she said, teary-eyed. "Numerous proposals turned away from my doorstep at the sight of my glasses. In fact, my wedding is literally a blur in my memory, because I didn't have my glasses on." Before walking back to her home, she added, "but deep in my heart I also feel a little vindicated."

We shall hold our spot outside the bride's current residence all night, glassy eyed and caffeinated, to be able to catch a glimpse of the "spectacular" newly-wed. Stay tuned or follow #bespectacular.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"I am trying my best"

It's that time of the year again, and I thought I should write something about Papa, for myself and for everyone who still thinks of him. My memory disappoints me in recalling the finer details of my time with him, so the little figments that remain with me are bias blends of what actually happened and what I thought happened. The human mind has a tendency to scale up the bitterness when registering an event from the past, which leaves you with little to cherish and a lot to blame. It's not a good thing, but it is what it is.

When I hear others talk about having shared a very happy moment Papa, it creates an image that sometimes conflicts with mine. I was, after all, a kid at first and later a teenager with the usual issues of self-indulgence and he had to be a strict father and say "no" more often than he would have liked to. Eventually, I feel puzzled and guilty for not remembering things correctly and keep my side of the "story" to myself, like a research publication with sketchy references to back it up.

Recently, my Gmail account started complaining about lack of space and forced me into going through 10 years of mails to get rid of some. It's worse than cleaning a hoarder's room, really. You are talking about going through 10 years of conversations and feeling embarrassed by your 10-years-younger self. You are talking about Orkut as opposed to Facebook, about college lingo that was a horrible twist on English and Hindi, about countless chats discussing fickle crushes, about being the center of the (your) universe. I got rid of tonnes of emails asking to "make 'frandship' because u have a nice profile", why did I save those emails in the first place?!

Interspersing hundreds of useless emails, there were some exchanges that had been treated with utmost indifference, but are now precious gems due to an unforeseen development in 2009. Email conversations with Papa were to the point, like text messages (SMSs) used to be in the 90s and early 2000s. They were mostly about whether he had reached safely at a conference and whether he thought his talk had gone well. Some mails were more generously worded and ended with "love you two/three" or "missing you all" or something of that sort. While he was in some foreign land prepping for his presentation, my sister and I would ask Ma if he was going to wear the "white-wala" or "grey-wala" suit. Sometimes she'd know which one, other times we'd find out from a picture of his presentation. His signature bandhgala suits.

As I progressed through the emails and slowly approached 2009, I found an email that hit closest to heart and has altered my memories forever. It was an email sent from Korea, I think, a part of our conversation on how he should buy a web cam or some other electronic equipment while he was there. In those days I felt it was my responsibility to give my father free advice on electronic purchases and how to keep up with technology.

I am trying my best. 

My response to the email was of a cocky adolescent who thought she knew more than her parents. The conversation is from a time that cannot be changed. It also epitomizes everything that my mind chose to tuck away in some dark corner of my brain, only to make room for unnecessary bitterness and egoistic dissatisfaction. It has brought back all those forgotten moments, when he had tried his best for me, for you, for all of us. And that's all that should have mattered, and counts anymore.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Our "Instagrammed" Retrospect

With Facebook taking over Whatsapp for $19bn, people are raving about the "poetic justice" the Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton should gloat about. Tech geeks have unearthed Acton's tweets from 2009 that record job rejections he received from Facebook and Twitter. "It's a $3bn loss for Zuckerberg!" It's not the first time an entrepreneur-turned-billionaire has a history of setbacks from his very own competitors (Google guys, but that really was Microsoft's mistake), and every such story is followed by social media updates on how fate has its interesting ways of turning things around. Let me poke this bubble of yours - in all likelihood, Acton would have been fired from or quit those company jobs in 6 months anyway. And the world would have been deprived of a free cross-platform chatting service for at least two more years. Here's why...

Let's go back to 2009 for a bit. Acton is looking for a job. He knows his skills lie in coding and he's confident his ideas are worth a listen by big names in the field. His brain is figuratively bursting, because his vision is clear and ready to be materialized...or maybe he is just broke. These companies are looking for a candidate who is smart, knows his stuff extremely well, and would make a good employee in their team-driven environment. They had a job profile in mind and were really looking for a guy that fit the bill. Acton meets them for interviews and they like his genius, but maybe there's something about him that doesn't really meet their requirements. So they turn him down. Those very reasons are probably what set him, and Mark Zuckerberg for that matter, apart from the guy who actually got hired instead. Acton and Zuckerberg are entrepreneurs and you can't tie them down to a chair and a desk for others.

In my opinion, it's just the difference between an entrepreneur and an employable person that worked out in everyone's favor. There's nothing wrong with being either. I, for one, think that I belong to the latter kind. Share your idea with me and I'll help you bring it to fruition. I will give you my ideas and ask you to paint a vision out of it. Facebook did not miss an opportunity to own the intellectual patent behind Whatsapp by not hiring Acton, they probably helped sow the seeds for its development. You may argue that Whatsapp could have been born in a cubicle at a Facebook office, but my guess is that that would have taken longer. The world is more often bestowed with a boon every time a smart guy is put in a tight spot than when he is comfortable on a couch watching TV. In the past, when Acton was unemployed and dejected, things did look bad and nobody knew how the future would unfold. In retrospect, however, it sounds cool to say "burn!", but there is no reason why it should go down in history that Acton was vindicated and Zuckerberg had made a mistake. In the grand scheme of things, it could not have gone down in a better way.

We 20-somethings are fortunate to have friends who are entrepreneurs. I know a few, and I know they are just different. All of them have been unemployed, broke, rejected. But it's not something you can change by employing them in a company. They'll pull the whole thing down and start afresh or just run away.

If we do want to take something home from this, it's that no startup app is worth THAT insane amount of money.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Little White Porcelain

I'm just a little piece of white porcelain
Sitting on the mantlepiece, often wonderin'
That how the world turns to the left or the right
Everytime you pull a book out from behind.

It's nice to feel belonged n loved whenever you see me
And wrap me in your fingers, to dust the shelf underneath
And when you proudly tell the story of how we met
They always pick me up to check my bum instead.

On days that you come home right when the hours are wee
I make a mental note of where you dump your keys.
And try to fight my porcelainity to help you find
The next day when you frantically lose your mind.

I see your friends are here, both the good ones and the creepy
The bond you share with them is beyond my plasticity.
Coz they come here they talk they laugh, you hear more than you say
But I'm your sole supporter on your rainy day.

THIS one of yours is just a piece of work
I fail to find a way to pass you on the word
As she stands next to me n waves a finger at thee
She's threatening to weaponize the shit out of me!

I hope against hope she's just checking my bum
But she flings me right at you and her aim just sucks.
I end up as a pile of mud, my broken self then prays
She stumbles on her way out, cracks her hollow head.