Do I look like Akshay Kumar?

We all love compliments in all shapes and sizes, don’t we? You innocent people. I also thought like that for a good part of my life, until one day at the gym…wham! Little did I know that day, that my myth of all compliments being good was going to be shattered.

So, I had finished my cardio and was sipping on some water, whilst standing on the terrace of the gym. I saw a dude walking towards me. Mind you, this is no ordinary dude whom you can forget in a day or two and free up the memory cells of your brain. This dude was someone whom you instantly know would occupy memory cells permanently in your brain, just like you feel about Facebook messenger on your phone. Like it or don’t like it, you will be forced to install it and have it happily eat up a large chunk of your memory just for sitting there on your screen.

So, this guy who looked like Sanjay Dutt although photoshopped to be a decade older, walked up to me, his shoulders moving almost like Sanjay Dutt’s shoulders would move in a slo-mo dance performance. He had worn sunglasses at night, so I assumed that he didn’t like any form of light whatsoever.

As soon as he was at a one hand distance from me, he said something that a normal water sipping gym going girl would not expect.

‘You have a gummy smile…like Akshay Kumar’ he said.

I looked at him for a few seconds trying to get my brain to elicit a response which would seem suitable for this kind of description for my smile. Mind you, he had taken all this effort to walk 10m and approach a stranger to say this. Hence, I could not be completely rude and walk off. And what if it was a compliment? Had I been a guy, I would have spent the night at the gym and gulped down a few liters of protein shake, thinking I had a possible career option as a kick-ass action and comedy hero waiting for me. Being a girl, all I could think of was saying ‘hmmph’ and walking away. But, I just blurted ‘Thank you’.

He continued ‘No, you really do’.

I said ‘Aha’.

He then mumbled something about his life. But I had traveled far and wide into my head, trying to figure out whether this comment was sarcastic or it was meant to be a compliment. I could not even see his eyes while he said it, because of those black beauties hiding his true, scheming self. I walked out of the gym after his story was over and went home. I threw my gym bag on the bed and went to the bathroom. I smiled. He was right. I had a gummy smile. I then googled a few pictures of people smiling. They didn’t have a gummy smile. I didn’t know if it was a good thing or not.I dismissed the matter, but I developed a habit of staring at people’s teeth whenever they laughed or smiled or opened their mouths, just to see if they shared this trait with me. So far, it is only me and Akshay Kumar. So if you see me jumping off buildings for a bottle of Thums Up, know that the jaws have possessed us and are making us do crazy things.

Years later at a dreaded dentist appointment(poor dentists, nobody recalls their visits to the dentists as pleasant, relaxing or something that they really looked forward to), a dentist told me I had a jaw overbite, wherein the upper jaw totally overshadows the lower jaw when the mouth is closed. I knew some of my rebellious nature would have seeped into some of my body parts. Perhaps my upper jaw decided that it would never align with the lower jaw, just because it was expected of it to do so. It causes the jaw muscles to be swollen and strained all the time. Things didn’t end there.

After having done ample amount of research to link all my life problems to this damn misalignment(since I could not even smile or laugh properly without inevitable muscle pain), I went to a dentist who asked me to slide my lower jaw in and out a few times. He was pretty shocked at what he saw. For those few moments in the dentist’s chair, I felt that he thought my lower jaw was some sort of Hot Wheels car, which he just wanted to slide up and down a road.

With a grave expression which normally follows such kind of shocked curiosity from dentists, he said ‘ Your jaw is not just vertically misaligned. It is horizontally misaligned as well.’ Leaning tower of Pisa?

He gave me a contraption to wear at night, which would be stuck to my palate, which would help to retrain the jaw muscles, the only issue being it is made of acrylic, which is known to be carcinogenic. I put it on a few times and felt more free than I have ever felt in my life. My only option now is to get braces or a surgery. Both of them don’t sound like a walk in the park. So right now I am trying to do it the natural way – talking to the jaws trying to convince them to let go of the rebellion. I am not sure it is working. I secretly feel that my jaws have joined AAP.

Imagine my skull being put in a biology class a century from now. People would think I am some sort of alien who walked the planet and there would be frantic phone calls to discuss and decipher this unknown species with such non homosapien type jaws.

P.S If you are trying to google Akshay Kumar pictures, please google ‘Akshay Kumar Gummy Smile.’ 😉


Disco, fake President and a fingerless ghost

We went for IIT-Kharagpur(KGP) spring fest in our second year of engineering. This decision was taken after no introspection. It was just one of those things for me, where I knew that spending five days in the campus of a college that I didn’t make through, would do me some good. Maybe breathing in the KGP air would endow me with some more IQ points using which I would be able to top my class in the college that was kind enough to give me admission. Fat dreams.

So a bunch of us(equivalent to the number of people you would fit into a mini bus), headed towards IIT. The train ride was pregnant with an air of excitement and anticipation. We would be in a free place for the next five days. Having stayed in a hostel with heavy rules, it felt pretty good. We reached the IIT campus late in the evening and headed to the dormitories, the place meant for us to shiver through the night, thanks to the KGP winters.

We slept pretty late at night owing to the noisy college girls from another city(not to be named), who found it imperatively crucial to discuss clothes and makeup at the top of their voices at 2 a.m. It felt as if they had a secret bet on who could shatter the glass windows first. Thankfully the glass windows had probably weathered such specimen in the past as well and were pretty robust. We woke up next morning with enthusiasm and sore throats.

But this was no time for us to sit and lament over our throats and talk about the burdens of life. We had to get ready. The college guys were waiting for us for breakfast. Now we are no queens and we didn’t have an elaborate makeup, hair and clothes train routine for us to cater to. Food motivated us to get ready in a few minutes . We headed out. The campus stood out in all its splendor and freshness. IIT has a pollution free campus and you can use your leg joints, bicycles and rickshaws to get to different places. We decided to lubricate our leg joints. We were informed by the guys that there were tiny breakfast joints right outside the campus. The cold wind hit against our faces and increased our anticipation of the hot coffee that we would find outside.

We had breakfast comprising of hot idlis, sambar and coffee at Rs 10(or a similar amount). We were thrilled at how inexpensive the place was, considering that we were students and we loved a cheap bargain. God knows what we would do with the saved up amount, but it came in handy if we had to fill in fines of some kind in our college, which we eventually ended up doing more frequently than you might imagine.

We stepped back into the college campus wondering where to head next. We decided to walk around to the area that we had alighted the previous night after we had been picked up from the train station. There was loud music playing. Curious we headed over to the area where the main fest celebrations would be. There was a huge open area, enclosed by tents(food, games, dating booths…etc). Few people were dancing in front of a stage. Dancing in broad daylight on a dance floor was a concept that I was not familiar with till then. After the IIT trip, all these tiny, irrelevant and useless inhibitions were shaken off. The gender ratio was extremely skewed in IIT, we realised. We were told that there were 600 guys and 6 girls. I don’t personally vouch for the numbers, but me and my friends did feel like queens given such sparse female population. Guess you don’t need a clothes train, a crown and an elaborate makeup routine after all, to feel like a queen.

There were chants of ‘KGP ka tempo high hai’ happening all over without any prior warnings. We also decided to create a ‘K…I…T…S….Dhishkiyon’ in order to keep pace. Just because we couldn’t make it through the IIT exam didn’t mean that we couldn’t create funky slogans. The ‘dhishkiyon(sound of a gun shot)’ had to be done with our fingers shaped like guns and pointed towards the sky. Pretty stylish, eh?

I will reiterate that one of the most liberating things was that we were on a different campus. The reason I am doing this is to justify in advance the series of incidents we found ourselves in next. The girls hostel entry time was 2 a.m, if my memory cells are on track. Boys were scot free as usual with no entry timings. Deep breaths. We decided to play rebels that day. Some of us wanted a bonfire and a night out. The chances of getting caught were slim, given that there was no one closely monitoring our entry into the hostel and we were not such VIPs that we would have wanted to imagine. Our only goof up was that given the IIT campus was quite large, we didn’t realise that we had set up camp right behind the girls hostel. Yep, the girls talking (screaming?)about hair and makeup were maybe around a hundred meters from us. Shudder. But, we didn’t know all these facts then. We laughed, admired the fire and felt free. There were rounds of Antaskshari that happened. But then…..he came.

He who was not to be named…since we didn’t know his name in the first place. This specimen, who you might have guessed was a man(and probably still is), came on a bicycle. At first we brushed aside his presence in the shadows as just another passerby, someone who would just stare at us, judge us and cycle away. But no. He came towards us. Do you realise how unnerving it is to have a stranger cycle towards you at midnight in an area where there are more trees than buildings and there is a foggy undertone to the environment? He reminds me of Boman Irani in 3 Idiots when I think about him now. Actually, I have forgotten his face and now I can only remember Boman Irani’s face. So I will name this character Boman.

Boman got down from his cycle and put on his cycle stand(irrelevant I know). He had worn gloves and had a gray sweater on, obviously with a shirt underneath. We all stood up and stared at him. He was unabashed by the presence of a bunch of overenthusiastic, hoarse voiced people who were creating a ruckus a few seconds back. He went around shaking hands with everyone, mumbling – ‘Shake hands with me. I am the President of India.’ We complied. So far we had considered only two options as to the issue with this gentleman – 1. He was loony OR 2. He was drunk. We figured he would leave us alone and scurry off after he introduced his Highness. One of the girls in our group was next in line to shake hands with Boman. She extended her hand and as she shook hands with him, she started screaming. Now, when someone starts screaming in a blood curdling fashion, you follow suit. You don’t draw up a Powerpoint presentation with a detailed analysis of why this person is screaming.

She shouted ‘He is a ghost.’ Our faces lost all colour. The man indeed scurried off, probably to get his head or eardrums examined. But she was hysterical by now.

We shouted ‘What?!?’

‘He has no fingers’ – she screamed.

At that moment, we could have realised that it is possible for a man who looks like Boman Irani and who walks around pretending to be President at 4 in the morning, to have lost his fingers in an accident or something. But being scared at that time was better than proving our valour(and foolishness) by sitting there lest he should come back. We got up and started walking towards the hostel. It was during this time we realised that we were almost sitting on the fence of the girls hostel. We decided we would say we had gone for an early morning walk. God knows who wears such clothes and earrings to an early morning walk. As we entered the hostel, we saw a lady whose face turned into the colour of a sleepy beetroot as soon as she saw us.

One thing I know is that if you say anything with confidence, the other person buys it. But this beetroot was no ordinary person. We tried our flimsy morning walk excuse. She screamed like a banshee on her period. After she cooled down, she said ‘You will have to attend a DISCO tomorrow.’

We were thrilled for a few innocuous moments where we actually mistook DISCO to be a place where people danced and wore sexy clothes. I imagined people in IITs didn’t like going to discos, maybe because they were intelligent and reasoned a disco to be a place where ordinary commoners with not as high IQs as them, wasted their precious time on frivolous things like dancing. We smiled a little.

‘Disco?’ one of us endowed with nerves of steel dared to ask.

‘DISCO. DISciplinary COmmittee meeting’ she said.

Why would they do this to us – raise our hopes and then prick them with an acronym which hurt the depths of our already harrowed souls?

We hardly slept that night. The makeup girls had already slept off or maybe passed out from sheer exhaustion from their previous night’s conversation. We looked at each other with hopelessness and fear. We were afraid that this incident might be reported to our own college and we would have to pay dearly for it. Although the 10 Rs breakfast had ensured that we had plenty of financial cushioning for fines, the sin committed by us was so huge that the paying dearly would be in the form of a non monetary punishment.

The DISCO started the next morning with authority figures staring at us with disdain. I figured they would have thoughts aplenty of what this generation had come to – enjoying their birthright of freedom and everything.

One of us narrated what happened the previous night with the glove man. Their expressions turned from disdain to one of defensiveness in a matter of seconds. They assured us of our safety and swore that IIT campuses were safe and we should not make a big deal out of this outside.

We nodded and left the room. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of relief exiting a DISCO. More on this trip to follow, once I am able to put together my incoherent thoughts into a readable format. 🙂

Bad haircuts and dance performances


I was always into dance performances when I was in my teens. I would participate in local dancing competitions, school functions, Independence day parades and so on and so forth. There were two issues which presented themselves during these dance performances, which make me slightly discount the endorphin, adrenaline and serotonin high I got from those performances.

Firstly, the dances were of the nature which required a girl to have hair which could be tied into a bun. In those days, I used to get an embarrassing haircut called the ‘Mushroom cut’. Till date, I don’t know what possessed me to get those haircuts. I looked good in them, but it was not me. I would get those haircuts and then spend the next few months defending the haircut. There is an unsaid rule in my life that only I can make myself feel bad about my hair. No one else can.

Now most of these dances were of a traditional nature where we had to wear saris and artificial jewelry along with ‘alta’ which is a Bengali red dye applied on hands and feet(imagine Madhuri and Aishwariya’s look in Dole Re song). We wore big bindis and five kilos of makeup. I didn’t have an issue with makeup, but it clashed with my mushroom cut look. It presented me in a bad light, as if I was deeply confused about my identity in this world. Was I the spunky chick who sported a funky hairstyle, but had decided it is not sanskari for me to do so? Or was I the traditional young lady on a rebellious streak, who would just rebel in small ways and not do anything too drastic to upset the other traditional people? Still trying to figure out what that look meant.

I had to use false hair/artificial bun to make things easier for the audience. I now know from experience that it plopping a bun on top of your head, while the rest of your hair falls naturally into a mushroom cut look, makes you look slightly retarded. It looks like an ice-cream cone, with the scoop being too large for the rest of the cone, maybe because the scoop wanted to make a loud statement just like Rakhi Sawant. This ice cream cone look didn’t have any particular impact when it came to my dance performance.

Once I had used false hair for a performance. In the middle of the semi classical and eloquent dance steps, my false hair decided that it had had it. It just slipped effortlessly on the floor. I picked up the false hair, in a series of dance steps to make it look choreographed. and then slipped off the stage as if that too was planned. I then frantically clipped on the false hair, mumbling a few curse words(which were of an innocuous nature at that time and mostly included donkeys). I then slipped back onto the dance floor quite shamelessly, as if the last seconds of my life had never happened.

Secondly, I detested the fact that they made me Mahishasur(the obese devil with a big handlebar mustache whom Goddess Durga killed, which is why we got ten days school holiday every year). Yes, so in a way, I was responsible for those holidays. You can thank me and send me gifts if you want. But, I could never understand why I was picked as Mahishasur. Was I a natural for the part? I did have fairly bushy eyebrows till I started getting them threaded. The confusing part was that I was Mahishasur but I had the Dole Re look, with the ice cream cone bun and everything. For people, the question ‘Who am I?’ comes after a lot of spiritual and deep meaningful years of pondering. For me, I think the seeds of doubt started sprouting after these performances.

We were once performing on a huge ground on the occasion of Independence day. The sequence was such that I had to dance normally, then fall under the Goddess’s foot on a particular cue for her to kill me(it always felt like walking and then fainting under her feet for a few seconds). After she killed me, I had to get up and start dancing again(maybe this was the afterlife dance). I had rehearsed this fainting and afterlife dance sequence enough number of times, so much so that I stopped feeling humiliated about why they chose me for the part. But…..I don’t know what came over me that day. I decided to fall at the Goddess’s feet a few seconds earlier. Maybe this is what the inevitability of death means. You know it, so why fight it? She got confused and mentioned that I was before time. This was the only time in my life when being before time led to the air being distraught with panic and utter directionlessness . After a few awkward moments later of sheer inactivity between me and the Goddess, I was killed by her.

If you find me sobbing uncontrollably at a hair salon if my hair gets cut too short, you know why.

Image Credits:



The wildlife Zumba class

So, I start going for a few dance classes at my gym. I want to believe that I am a decent dancer, so I avoid looking at the mirror(which is on my right). Ignorance is bliss. Delusion is Heaven(don’t buy into this. I am just getting carried away).

I go for a Zumba class. This lady who is in flawless shape puts on the music and starts instructing us. We allow ourselves to be instructed, thus maintaining the decorum of the class. There is no mention of any kind of fish market from her, so I assume she is happy with us, although the music is so loud that I forsee fish market people saying ‘What is this? A Zumba class?’ sometime in the future.

She dances really well and we try to follow her. Then she adds in her instructions ‘Be sexy. Like a tigress.’ Now I have been a human being all my life, so I try hard to ape her. I can see that everyone else is also trying hard. You can tell when one is trying hard when they have strained expressions(inside the bathroom or outside).


She shouts ‘Sexy tigress.’ We take it that we are doing well. Pardon me as I decide to speak for the whole class. She gets flustered and shouts ‘tigress’ once again. I am trying hard to coordinate my left foot, right arm, left eyeball and my ponytail while still trying to feel and look like a tigress. A tigress with love handles.
I don’t think that a tigress can do all this shit at once, while trying to look like a human being.

Then she exclaims ‘Tigress. Not Hello Kitty.’

So much for the sexy moves. Come to think of it, I always liked fluffy cats like Garfield better than some tigress who multitasks.

Image Credits: Unknown.

#dance #garfield #funny #ilovedance