Popcorn with Sultan’s brother

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So, I go for ‘Sultan’ with a friend. We have the tickets at the rear end of the theatre. The seating arrangement for our row is such that there are two seats, a gap and then a solo seat. We settle down in our seats. As the lights go out, a lady accompanied by a man walks in and occupies the solo seat next to us. The man looks around and then plops on the floor (in the gap). I look at him and battle between gasping at the blatant rebellious (free?) behaviour of this man and pretending to be cool about his choice of seat for the movie. I do the latter. Who wants to be a stuck up person anyway?

As the lights flash on the screen, I look at the guy, albeit a little slyly. I don’t want to stare at this person whom I am suddenly feeling compelled to admire for his oblivion to society’s rights, wrongs and blah.

I tap on my friend’s shoulder and exclaim (although not too loudly, since I am still pretending to be cool) – ‘Is this Arbaaz Khan?’

My friend also stares at him and nods. Celebrities have to resort to such extreme measures to keep their lives private, I conclude. He must have wanted to watch his brother’s movie with no one staring at him; hence he chose to sit in the last row of the theatre. Plus sitting on the floor makes this a perfect place for him to hide from the public eye and watch the movie in peace.

The dilemma begins when the movie begins. I take the whole walking-in-other-people’s-shoes thing a bit too seriously. I am hypersensitive to what might offend Arbaaz, and of course all criticism of the film and Sallu bhai tops the chart in terms of what might offend him.

We appropriately laugh at the punch lines and my friend comments loudly as to how Salman doesn’t look 50 years old. I also nod along vigorously, adding in my expert comments on how much effort it must take for him to maintain a body like that. Of course, being on the wrong side of the Khan family is something that every Indian wants to avoid, unless one wants to increase the probability of being run over by their vehicle, while sitting on a guava tree branch.

Arbaaz seems lost in the film and has no time for our overenthusiastic-walking-in-other-people’s-shoes phenomenon. Of course, as a director, his job is to watch movies from a professional angle. We decide to take a selfie with him after the film. As soon as the movie finishes, he gets up and starts walking fast. At that moment, I discover that my friend is also a swift walker, in fact slightly swifter than him. She manages to overtake him and look at his face.

Then with an air of disappointment, she says-‘This is not Arbaaz’. I wonder if my perception of the film would have been different if this guy walking around, looking like Arbaaz Khan hadn’t biased my opinions. No more walking around in other people’s shoes. I also Whatsapp the half dozen people that I had already informed about Arbaaz walking around breathing the same theatre air as us, that it a false alarm.

Well, at least we got to stuff popcorn down our throats, while this side show was going on.

Image Credits- etsy.com

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Thunder, Lightning and the Speed of Thighs

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Image Credits: Dumpaday.com

Do you ever have a crazy mental dialogue when you go shopping alone? Or always, for that matter?

Date: 28th March 2015

Venue: Shopping Mall

Before visiting the mall, I checked out a website which tells you what colours you should wear depending on the kind of energy you project. I realised that I had been wearing dark colours all my life whereas I should have been wearing bright colours. I agreed with the same for lack of a valid counterargument and went shopping.

Brain: In order for you to accomplish this, look at all the colours that you would have never worn normally, before your life changing ‘which colour should I wear’ discovery.

Me: Ok.

I stayed off the dark colours and went to look for the more chatak(loud) colours. 

I picked out a few clothes, with slightly shaky hands. Changing the core colours you wear almost changes your identity in some way.

Brain: You will look like a fruit salad wearing these colours.

Me: Snicker.

I picked out a few of those fruit salad clothes, determined to feel good looking like a fruit salad. After all, if it lifts my energy and makes me happier(like a yellow coloured minion), who cares? I also picked out a few pairs of jeans and went in.

Now, before I go into the juicy details of the trial room, I want to give let you in on a conversation which I had with a senior on Yahoo chat almost a decade back.

X(For lack of a better codeword): Do you know that guys in the hostel call you thunder thighs?

Me: Umm.

What the hell is one supposed to do with information like this? And why do people feel like passing on such information? It is like going to a dog and saying ‘You know that you bark, right?’ . Uh! Ok.

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Image Credits: www.boredpanda.com

As I thought about the thunder thighs label, which always brings up an image of Sridevi in a wet sari dancing with Anil Kapoor, who is her brother-in-law now (Bollywood, you scare me), I pulled out a pair of jeans and started trying it on.

Me: Ugh!

Brain(in an animated paan chewing driver’s tone as the jeans reached my thighs): Ab tak to Manali tak ka raasta tha, easy tha. Aage se Rohtang pass hai.

Me: Ssh!

I gave up on the jeans, as it probably gave up on me. I walked out of the store with my self respect intact. What goes on in the trial room, stays in the trial room.

I went home and did the weighing scale dance. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Remove all coins from your pockets.

Step 2: Get on the weighing scale.

Step 3: Blink a couple of times in horror. Hope that the blinks scare the damn weighing scale to lower the weight.

Step 4: Give the weighing scale a second chance, by checking its zero error. Who knows – the scale might be pointing to 5 kg instead of the default 0 kg?

Step 5: Bring out curse words with as much venom as possible. Make the weighing scale feel bad by screaming ‘Once a traitor, always a traitor.’

Step 6: Take charge of the situation and create a zero error in the opposite direction.

Step 7: Congratulations! You are now 5 kgs lighter. You can be the poster boy or girl in one of those pretentious weight loss commercials, in which only the ‘After’ photo gets photoshopped.

I want to hear about your crazy shopping and weight reduction experiments. Don’t be lazy. Comment below. Typing makes one’s fingers thinner, so I hear. 😉

Proudly yours,

Thunder Thighs

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

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Keys…Bermuda Triangle…Sigh!

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This story dates back about two decades. I owned a bicycle back then. Monotony didn’t feature in my dictionary back then. I loved riding the bike on the road in front of our house, back and forth, with no agenda to reach anywhere whatsoever. I loved the feel of the wind against my face, the quiet neighbourhood, the street dogs who would sometimes run behind the bike and the endorphins(although at that time I didn’t know about endorphins).

There was only one problem that interfered with this hobby of mine. A friend of mine used to pop by expectedly every day and snatch the bike from me. Well, I had been taught to share, so I managed to stuff my possessiveness of the bike and the aforementioned endorphins within me. That is what good girls did. And so, I didn’t say much during the first few days. After, he started taking my trying-to-be-good nature for granted, I had to do something. My kiddy brain gave me one piece of advice – to hide the keys. I don’t know who I was hiding them from, since he never came into my room to grab the keys. But, I wanted it out of sight, so that I could tell him that I could not find my bike keys. At that time, the guilt of lying was much lesser than the pain of being giving due to a lack of choice. My friend came, I told him that I had lost the bicycle keys(with much tsking to validate the point). Guess Bollywood resides in each one of us in the way we dramatise things. He went off, probably to find other people’s honesty that he could mess around with.

I relaxed that day, doing things that kids do. The next evening, I decided to sneak out my bicycle to go somewhere new, somewhere I would not bump run into this friend. To my utmost horror, I could not remember where I had hidden the keys. It was one of those duh moments, which I can never forget, as if the memory cells in my mind which had the information on where these keys were, had been sucked in by the Bermuda Triangle or something. I searched everywhere possible for the next few days. It was the dumbest thing to happen to me(and anyone I knew). I was the laughing stock for my family for the next few days. Ultimately, the lock had to be broken, when the keys were declared missing permanently by me. The next day onwards, I had to share my bicycle with him again, this time with a feeling of guilt and stupidity tugging at my heart.

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A magician’s rabbit on an Indian train

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‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ the magician with the carefully stuck on moustache announces.

‘Here is the rabb…..err….invisible rabbit,’ he proceeds to say, wiping off the drops of sweat that burst out of his pores in seconds. Where the hell was the damn Bunny Bugs?

The audience looked around in confusion, some clapping out of pity. Some refused to clap, shifting in their seats, mentally calculating how much they had spent to watch this phony magician who couldn’t even replicate the most commonly used trick in the book.

Meanwhile, at a railway station in India

Platform number 2 ki gaadi, ab platform number 4 pe aayegi(the train which is supposed to arrive on platform number 2, will now arrive on platform number 4),’ the harrowed announcer lady’s voice said.

Bunny Bugs stood at the platform, in his tweed jacket and a bunch of hats stuffed in his oversized bag. He would have to rush fast to the stage, into the magic hat. Luckily, the train directly routed him onto the stage. Some said he had political connections, others kept mum. But, time was ticking away. He was aware of the difference in time on the stage and the train – 1/100th of a second on the stage was equal to ten hours on the train. But, he was slightly late, since he missed the previous train, where a man in a red checked shirt had completely blocked the way, while this lady in a rusted golden elaborate piece of clothing ran to him, her arms outstretched, at a speed which people wearing such clothes do not normally try to run. There was a man with a large moustache who was standing on the platform, screeching ‘Ja Simran Ja. Jee ley apni zindagi(Go Simran Go. Live your life).’

The lady managed to get into the train, but Bunny Bugs who was running from the opposite side could not. The next train was in an hour. After pleading with the railway people to get him a seat, they offered him a side lower berth and asked him to keep his legs up, since people invariably liked bumping into people who got the seat(which actually belonged to the aisle walkers, the ticketing people claimed, laughing for no apparent reason). Bunny nodded and smiled feebly. He had to concentrate on the show. He was the life saver of the show, yet he had to make peace with only a few carrots. Damn carrots. Where did these humans gets these rabbits-love-carrots  notion anyway? There had to be better food in the world. Damn the carrot dude on television, munching away as if he enjoyed it. He got paid a lot for it, for sure. Bunny craved burgers and fries. Sometimes even noodles with burnt garlic.

As he took his side lower berth, the tea seller sporting a faded light green kurta and pajama with a cream turban walked past him. Bunny, as advised by the ticketing guys, kept his legs up, not that his legs were dangling too much anyway.

‘1 of those,’ Bunny said.

He was a newbie in this human world, having experienced it only during the magic shows, when he was required to travel. English, he had learnt by watching television shows.

He was handed a tiny plastic cup with a brown liquid floating in it. Was he supposed to drink it, he wondered?  Maybe he had to dip his arm in it and suck the arm. Ouch!

Suddenly, he saw the guy with the outstretched arm, who had blocked the entrance trying to get that woman’s hand (perhaps for an arm transplant), sitting opposite another woman and four giants. They were sitting diagonally opposite him. Must be his imagination, Bunny thought, reading the latest issue of ‘Who Said What to Whom?’

But this dude started singing. And the giants seemed to take notice.  They were the really big kinds, like the XXL variety of human beings. Bunny thanked his stars that those kinds didn’t exist in the rabbit world. What if, the magician expected an M sized rabbit and an XXL came through, ripping that damned boring black hat? No, Bunny thought shuddering a little, albeit not too much, because the brown liquid was still in his hands. Bunny silently clicked a picture of the dude who was all over the place, just in case someone came looking for him. The girl who sat opposite him started singing for no reason. The guy who was everywhere also started singing. Copycat. Bunnies have nothing against cats, but he could have danced or something, for God’s sake. Bunny returned to his magazine and sipped the sugar factory in his hand, after ensuring that no carrots had been mixed in the brown thing. The train went on its way and B.B dozed off.

His alarm rang the next morning. The sun was shining softly through the clouds. This was it. He had to make his move now. He packed up his stuff and started on his journey to the stage. He had to first climb the roof of the train by using a rope ladder which he had been presented with. Humans had overestimated his ability to hop and thought that reverse hop somersault could be done easily by a normal, non athletic rabbit like him. He asked them if they could do floating yoga and they started stammering. The budget for the rope ladder got approved. After jumping up the rope ladder, the train people would open a secret tunnel way and lead him to the magic show, where the fake moustache man with makeup, would just pull Bunny out holding him by his ears, and taking all the credit from the crowd….without having to hear ‘Platform number 2 ki gaadi, platform number 4 se jayegi‘ over and over again till his ears turned blue.

The rabbit started climbing the rope ladder, holding onto the flimsy rope tightly, hoping the poles which swished past the train would not be too close to the train. He had done this multiple times on the previous train which he missed due to the guy who was everywhere. As soon as he got on the roof of the train….guess what? The same guy was here also, dancing as if it was normal to dance on rooftops of wobbly trains. ‘Jiske sar ho ishq ki chao…..‘. Sigh! Perhaps, this guy should be hired to appear inside the hat….since he managed to appear everywhere without any effort.

P.S Years later, the bunny found this video on Youtube.

Image Credits: http://www.funnytimes.com

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The can…the worms…sob!

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It is not every day that I muster up the guts to write about my negative traits. I guess the pretense of perfection that I wanted to put up is gone, all due to this writing prompt. Sob(banging head on table, albeit softly). It has to be done, so lets get to it. This is not the first time I got a sneaky sign from the big guy to be open about my flaws. It all started when I watched a Ted Talk – The Power of Vulnerability, wherein the vulnerable lady, Brene Brown talks about the power of being open about your flaws. So here goes.

If there was an award ceremony with my top 3 flaws nominated, the nominations would go like this.

1- Complete inability to stay in the present moment- I have tried and failed. And tried and failed. Thoughts in my head seem so much more interesting than being present. I know there is something obvious here that I miss, which leads me to entertain the crazies in my head, but as of now I have made peace with them.

2- Don’t tell me what to do – This is a big one. A part of me doesn’t like anybody on the planet telling me what to do, if they do so in a bossy tone. I am aware of this. I will do something about this, apart from enrolling in kickboxing classes.

3- Delusion, perhaps- This one is solely because at this moment I can’t think of any other negative trait in me apart from being obsessed with caffeine, haphazard with household work, emotional, moody and a little crazy. Phew. I guess I have only two negative traits then.

I am consoling myself by watching this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FufVhpPVqro

I am trying to get myself to sing a song just to show you my strength. ;). I guess you will realise that point number 3 was indeed right, about me being delusional about my weaknesses.

And the winner from the nominations is …..1 – ‘Inability to stay in the present moment’ host at the award function says.

‘1 is not getting up from her seat. She seems to be thinking.’ host says.

‘She seems to be mentally engrossed,’second host says.

‘2….Can you tap on 1’s shoulder?’ host says.

‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ 2(the rebel)says.

‘Alright. Please do it. We would value your contribution,’ second host says.

‘Ok. I will do it,’2 says. 2 then taps on 1’s shoulder.

‘Huh!’ 1 says, her eyes glassy.

‘Go take the award,’ 2 says.

‘Can you tell me what this is about?’ 1 says.

‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ 2 says.

‘Please…’ 1 says.

And this goes on for a long…long time. Hmm, perhaps time management and the need to be right should also feature in the nominations above. Too late.

Image Credits – www.someecards.com

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If I ruled the world…

If I ruled the world….Well, let me first take a few breaths to get into the king’s character. I don’t fancy becoming a queen, because I feel like throwing my weight around and queens generally don’t have much weight to throw around.

Now, let’s take this in a systematic(ugh) way. First of all, if I became a king, I would have to grow a lot more body hair. From my memories of kings in India, where I hail from, no king was worth his salt if he didn’t have a lot of underarm hair making itself known rather prominently. Of course, I would select a crown(nothing too heavy since it would probably damage my skull or something) and in order to speak sense, which is vastly overrated these days, I would need a proper functioning skull with cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla intact. Seriously, who came up with these names? Had it been me, I would have just named it front, middle and lower part of the brain. Over simplistic, eh?

The next thing I would have to do to slide into a character worthy of the throne, is to get a bean bag chair. None of the metal jarring into my back bone while I flaunt off my rings and tummy fat.

The third thing that I would need to do is to go shopping for king-worthy clothes. While at it, I will gorge some french fries and other deep fried goodies. I am sorry if I sound like a hog, but kings are supposed to look well fed.

Now for the day I will rule the world. Well, to be honest I feel pretty clueless as to what to do. Eradicate poverty, caste systems, gender biases and violence all seem like the natural option. But it sounds like a lot of work which will not get done in one day. If it were so easy, wouldn’t it have been done already? Yes, perhaps I would learn how to cast positive spells on people. And while I jabber sitting on the bean bag chair, moving my hands, I would (sneakily) cast a spell on the people to remind them that their lives are limited. It is something that is obvious, innit? But, everyone seems to have forgotten it. I will cast a spell on myself too. I am no holy baba(baby?) sitting here.

And while at it, I will also declare a concept of no-money. Sounds radical, eh? Well, you get your turn to undo this change when it is your day on the throne(psst, you can borrow my bean bag chair). Anyway, I will leave the world back where it was, with the barter system. When I get off the throne, I would buy a big bag of popcorn and watch the show that will follow my radical decision of no-money. I hope the head of a certain corrupt political party in India and her son provide enough entertainment in the world after they have lost all the stolen money which I will have declared null and void. Oh, do I see the prodigal son scrubbing floors to earn a living?

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, puhleeeez, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

#pappu #fiction #prompt #india #king #royalfamily #desi

Image Credits: Minionnation.tumblr.com

If I Ruled the World

Interviews, Zippers and Mistaken Identities

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Interviews. I think of zippers whenever I think of interviews. Strange neuro-association, isn’t it? I can hear you mumbling neuro….what? Neuro- association is the way in which the brain links up two things together which it considers logical. In my (over)analysis of my neuro associations, I have gasped multiple times at the ludicrous neuro-associations in my brain and then tapped on my face to remove those ‘logical’ neuro associations(read about EFT tapping before you judge me). Sigh, I secretly dream of a world where we all are as weird as I am. That doesn’t seem likely unless I create billions of weird-face-tapping clones of me.

Back to zippers….and interviews. Interviews bring up images of folders with a resume in them, complete with a passport size photo in my mind(apart from zippers, of course). It feels insensitive to call it a resume, it should be called the ‘Shining Glory of My Life Spent on This Planet’ or something like that. Aah. Anyway, I had carried my ‘Shining Glory…blah…blah…’ to the interview room few years back, after having fixed my hair and lip gloss a few dozen times, aiming to give a perfect impression of my sincere-shining self. People walked in, asked me questions, nodded a lot and then informed me that few other people wanted to interview me. I smiled unnaturally, as is natural to do so in the interview. Perhaps, people finish their quota of smiles(and lip-gloss) in the interview room and then frown for the next few years they work in that place.

I first stared at the walls of the interview room, which I feel obliged to do in such situations, where nothing else seems to fill that time between the going out and coming in of people. I then stared at my skirt. It looked nice…black…formal…and dull. Good. But then, I noticed that my skirt zip(on the side of the skirt) was undone and spoilt. So now, one could see the holy white tucked in shirt, through the black skirt. Eeks!

I didn’t know how any of this was my fault, but I was convinced it was. In some way it was…as it always was. My hand immediately covered up the gap…the gap which would put gaps between cliffs which people dream of jumping to shame. I felt handicapped at that moment, with only one hand of mine operational, since one hand had to do its job of saving my izzat(respect). The other hand  would have to be used to shake hands and wave animatedly in the air in order to declare my passion for the job. The second set of people came in and asked their stuff. I replied, one hand stuck to the side of the skirt. I sensed that they sensed that there was something wrong with my arm. But, I was determined to not let ‘the gap’ spoil my interview. Finally my interview ended and I walked out with a sense of confidence that I could single handedly(sense the pun?) sail through an interview.

My neuro-association is prompting me to write about yet another embarrassing situation where I was asked to wait in a coffee shop for an interview. I had checked the Facebook profile of my interviewer the previous night, as part of my research. Amazing how one can do anything under the pretext of research. So, I was looking for this lady of a particular nationality to come and interview me. A lady breezily came up to me and said ‘Hieee. I’ll be back in a moment.’ I smiled politely and rummaged through my brain for the Facebook photo I had seen of the interviewer the previous day.  Mismatch! She was not the one.

Perhaps, she had decided that she wanted her face to match another nationality’s and had then gone through a series of painful plastic surgeries to make that happen. I settled(sank) into my chair and waited for the lady-who-had-changed-her-nationality. To my horror, I saw a person with a face that matched the Facebook photo I had seen earlier walk towards me. She sat next to me and started asking relevant questions. I started spurting out my replies in an organised and rehearsed manner. The breezy-lady-who-I-thought-had-changed-her-nationality popped up again and stared at me and the interviewer-whose-photo-matched-the-Facebook-profile.  I just pointed at the interviewer’s head and nodded as part of some secret code that the breezy lady seemed to get. She nodded apologetically and walked off. The interviewer stared at me and I blabbered something like ‘She must have assumed I am someone else’ and continued jabbering my answers…..as if nothing happened.

Over to you. What weird(funny) interview experiences have you had? What pops into your mind whenever you think of interviews?

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, puhleeeez, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

Image Credits – Unknown(but brilliant).

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