Wednesday 24 October 2012

Being Alone is Cool Sometimes

When you've been single as long as I have, you sort of learn to be self-contained and happy with yourself. I have friends, sure, but I find joy in taking myself out on 'dates'. And as I have learned, these come with a lot of benefits too. So, even though I risk sounding like a #ForeverAlone person (which I am, so more power to us!), I present to you five reasons I like going out alone:


1. No More Waiting!
So I am not the most punctual person around, but it really irks me when someone doesn't arrive at a stipulated time and you have to sit around and wait for the person to show up. When you take yourself out, there's no waiting, baby! The minutes or hours you would generally spend waiting for your friend/date to arrive can instead be spent on having that extra mug of beer.


2. MOAR FOOD!
I do not enjoy sharing food, not particularly. Eating out by yourself is the best way to avoid stray hands grabbing your french fries. It also makes eating a more pleasurable experience. Instead of engaging in conversation, you engage yourself in the gastronomical sensations you experience while eating.


3. Spoilt for Choice
"Where do you want to eat?"
"I don't know. Where do you want to eat?"
"Hard Rock?"
"Too expensive!"
"Pizzeria?"
"Too far!"

Hate such conversations? Well, you won't have them if you're taking yourself out. Go wherever you want, the world is at your disposal. New abstract art show at the museum none of your friends want to go to? Go by yourself! French documentary about chairs no one wants to see but you? Go go go! Don't let someone else decide your plans and do exactly what you want to.




4. Contemplate, contemplate!
Being alone gives you a lot of time to contemplate, think about the bigger things in life and perhaps even get answers to some important questions. Go to a coffee shop, grab a cuppa and zone out into contemplation mode. Grab a notepad, write. Making things clear is a lot easier when you are with yourself.


5. General Badassery
Last week, I was at a seedy bar with my friends and there was this woman there all by herself, drinking, smoking, the works. And I thought to myself, "Wow. Badass!" Being out with yourself gives you an air of mystery and a general badass vibe. And what else can a #ForeverAlone person ask for anyway?

So there you go. Going out alone sometimes can be an enriching experience and I urge you all to let go of your awkwardness and inhibitions and take yourself out. It will be fun, I promise.

(All images sourced from Google)

Sunday 30 September 2012

The Burning House

"If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question." - theburninghouse.com

I have often found answering questions like 'If I die tomorrow, what things would I do/If I was stuck on a lonely island, what would I bring/What is my all time favourite movie?' very difficult. It is almost always difficult for me to narrow down on things that are really important or lifechanging for me. Maybe because I have so many.

Then I came across someone's very interesting photo project called 'The Burning House'. The premise is simple enough-the photographer photographs items of sentimental (or otherwise) value a person would grab if their house caught on fire.

As I browsed through the hipster-like, sometimes pretentious, items (I mean, someone had said they'd take Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' with them. Can you say Hipster?) I began questioning myself about this topic. What things would I grab if my house caught on fire?

The obvious things came to me first-wallet, phone, camera and important documents. The bare necessities were a given. But when it came to things of sentimental value, I was absolutely stumped. At first I racked my brain, trying to think of pretentious books I could carry, but realised I had none. None that I'd re-read anyway.

Would I carry that photo album my late grandfather made for me? The one and only love letter someone once wrote for me? My diary as a teenager? My favourite T-shirt I own since 1999? Or something else?

I have no definite answer, because the above is a tiny fragment of a huge list that is my life. So many instances, so many memorabilia and so difficult to choose one that means most to me.

I suppose what matters are priorities. And once I have that figured out, I will revisit this question and maybe have a concrete answer. Till then, I pray my house never cathches fire.

Friday 28 September 2012

Friday Links

Here are some amazoballs links I have encountered in the last week. If you haven't seen them already, go see them. Your amusement level will definitely increase.


2. Worst Movie Death Scene


3. Star Wars Crawl Creator

4. The Best Delhi definitions, ever (Sample: Vree verb. Feel anxious, worry. Example: "Oi, koi nahin pakdega (nobody will catch us). Daunt vree so much!")

5. The Cast Of “Full House” Reunited (Except the Olsen twins. Sad.)

6. Tunak Tunak Tun Meets Metal


7. Hilarious Medical Miracle (feat. A dead Mithun, his brain and a lesbian Madhoo)



9. A firangi's commendable take on Sunny Paji's 'TAREEKH PE TAREEKH!'



And that's it! Hope you've enjoyed this week's edition of linkages. 

See you next Friday with more time wasters!

Thursday 27 September 2012

Fuck Me Sideways

The human condition is one that I will never be able to understand. I have tried, several times, but I have sadly been quite unsuccessful in my understanding. This is not to say that I am above human, a demi-God like figure sent to this planet to understand the ways of the homo sapiens.

Though that would have been mighty sweet. And a potential plot for a blockbuster Hollywood movie (I'd like to think).

Simplicity, as a type of behaviour, is lost somewhere. The same can be said about consistency. You may argue that no person can have a consistent behaviour, there are often mood swings. That is true, but there is also a simplicity attached to those who are moody and have strange behavioral patterns. You expect them to act crazy one day, and normal and chirpy on the other.

What about those who you think you have figured out, and BAM they bitchslap you out of nowhere? What about those you thought have pretty consistent behaviour and BAM, they snap at you?

The bottomline is BAM. I will never understand people.

Dogs, on the other hand, are pretty cool customers. I wish people were more like dogs. I'd understand them so well then.

Or maybe wish I were a dog. I'd much rather spend my life sniffing dog butts, chasing my tail and eating my own poop than to try to figure out a person's personality.

Maybe I could. But then you'd just call me crazy.

   

Thursday 20 September 2012

The Little Things

It's 2:00 am in the morning, and I cannot find sleep. Instead, I find an all consuming rage and a hint of self loathing.

There are some who quite enjoy this state. These are also those people who constantly complain all the time. I am not one of those people.

I am also not a perfectionist. I'd like to think I try, but that might come off as a lie.

What I would really like is the life of a snail. Sometimes I liken myself to one. And I even make up for the lack of shell by constructing an imaginary one all around myself. I retract in this shell quite often. No one else is allowed in.

Routine sickens me. I find no joy in the usual. Is life really the same thing over and over again? Since when did we get stuck in this infinite loop of sorrow and misery?

I also hate when people have very utopian ideas about reality. Such people romanticize even the mundane. That, to me, is one of the most difficult things to accept.

What is to become of me? Where am I going? Am I even going anywhere?

Questions. Questions. Questions. Instead of finding the answers, sleep finds me.

Good night.

Friday 10 August 2012

18 Things I Want

I have to tell you this. My current obsession on the internet is this amazing website called Thought Catalog. If you haven't visited the website, quickly do so. And bookmark it too. It features some very insightful, silly and  inspirational articles I have read in a while.

Recently, I came across this article on Thought Catalog called 18 Things I Want by Gaby Dunn. I liked the article, and it inspired me to write something similar. To quote her post:

I made that list on my blog after wondering if I could, without really thinking, come up with 18 things I wanted right at that moment...Don’t worry about looking outward or #firstworldproblems. Don’t worry about seeming shallow. Consider this an inward exploration of what you want, deep down, without the pressures and outside influences that are usually clogging everything up. Maybe you’ll find out something about yourself you didn’t already know.
So here I go. Here's my list of 18 Things I want right this very moment. Written live. Let's see how this goes. Share your list on your blog too. And pass me the link so I can read.

1. A dog. Doesn't matter what breed.
2. Really, really long, voluminous hair.
3. A lipstick that lasts all day no matter how much you eat/talk/make out.
4. Someone to make out with.
5. The metabolic rate of a supermodel.
6. The ability to never gain weight.
7. Shoes that would actually fit my huge feet.
8. A time machine that would take me back to the 90s. Then I'd break it and never come back to the present.
9. Finish the entire Game of Thrones series.
10. Get George R R Martin to finish writing the series.
11. The ability to follow through on all the decisions I make in life.
12. The destruction of email so we could go back to writing letters again.
13. The ability to never, ever sweat no matter what.
14. A hair removal cream that kills the hair follicle forever so I never have to shave again.
15. A soft, sensual kiss.
16. The ability to let go and move on.
17. A trip to Spain.
18. The ability to be a better writer.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Game of Thrones, Anime and Lost Ambitions


Yesterday, I was travelling by train when I chanced upon a very interesting conversation that took place between three college girls. And unlike the usual "aaj kitni garmi hai na?" or "dinner mein kya bana rahi hai?" conversations that usually occur in the Ladies' compartments, this one was quite unique. And it held my attention for the longest time. 

But before I tell you what these girls were talking about, let me describe them for you. All three were Average Janes. Hair tied back, thin as reeds, carrying heavy book bags. Except for the thin part, that was how I looked in college too. I usually listen to music during my daily commute, but my Skull Candy earphones failed me (seriously, never buy those!) I tuned into this conversation these three girls were having. And this is what they spoke about: Japanese, Anime and Game of Thrones.

For the first five minutes of the conversation, I honestly was quite stunned. One of the girls started talking about manga and anime, saying she loved Bleach and was watching Durarara!! these days. She made a quip about how her brother started singing Bolo ta ra ra ra! after he heard the name of the show. This took me back to my own manga and anime fascinations when I was in school and college. My first memory of anime are NinkuGhost Sweeper Mikami, Pokemon and, of course, Dragon Ball Z, which were my favorites during school. In college, I would watch InuYasha and I was also a big fan of Fullmetal Alchemist. In fact, I even read the entire manga series along with watching the anime of the latter. 

I was already impressed. Then these girls went on to discuss how they were learning Japanese. That just impressed me even more. In fact, one of the girls' said she is learning Japanese only because she is so passionate about anime. As for me, I don't remember the last time I was passionate about anything. John Abraham, perhaps. But then, he's not a thing. And my 'passion' there is of the amorous kind, so that doesn't really count.

Finally, one of the girls' removes a book from her bag. It's none other than Book 1 of the Game of Thrones series. At that point, I really wanted to give these girls a standing ovation because I am in love with this series. They started discussing the books, the author and Ned Stark. My insides were bursting, because I really wanted to talk to them, but I figured I'd look like some creep, so I stopped myself and got off the train instead. And also because that was where I had to get off. 

Someone once said "The youth is wasted on the young." But these three girls proved it wrong. Dear Japanese speaking, anime watching, Game of Thrones reading girls, wherever you are, a salute to you. Go forth and prosper. And remember. Winter is Coming.


Monday 23 July 2012

Moving On


Life is all about changes, isn't it? The sooner you accept this, the better your life, in turn, will be.

On Friday, 20th July, 2012, we had to move houses. From a home where we spent more than 20 years, we would have to start all over in a new one. For the longest time, I just could not come to terms with that, so I chose to ignore it. But as the moving day came closer, my heart kept sinking. Everything I saw around me started reminding me of particular memories.

The old house had not been painted in very long, so paint was peeling all over. But there was a distinct shape this had created on the wall above my bed. So when I woke up everyday, I saw that mark, which to me looked like a horse. Somehow, this horse-like shape was very comforting to me.

There were a lot of such small things around the house that made me feel really sad. The day the movers were supposed to come home, I did not want to wake up at all. But once I started packing stuff myself, I just did not have the time to be nostalgia.

13 hours later, our house was empty, as was I as I took a stroll around what used to be my room. Suddenly, everything seemed so 'pariah', as they say in Hindi. I did take one last look at my horse-shape mark and it was still as comforting as ever.

And now, I am in the new house. It's been three days, and all of them have been spent in unpacking and arranging. I still don't feel at home here, perhaps in a while. Perhaps there will be a comforting mark on the wall here as well. Only time will tell. For now, I accept change.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

A Break, Maybe

Hello beautiful people of Twitter!

I have been contemplating this for a while, but now is the time to announce, I am taking a (temporary) retirement from this wonderful website. Since August 2011, I have had the best time, sending out silly tweets, getting to meet like-minded people and sharing LOLs along the way.

Recently, however, I have felt I have run out of things to say. I want to be funny and I want those who follow me not to question why they do. And to be honest, it will be very unfair if I can't tweet awesome sauce stuff all time to the amazing minions who follow me. So, it's time to say goodbye.

This retirement could be as temporary as an hour. Maybe a month. Maybe a year. I know I will return, but only when I am sure I can tweet meaningful things AKA actually funny dick jokes.

If you need to contact me, send me mails and naked pictures of yourselves on meblag at gmail dot com. And I will always be here on this blog, making super sporadic posts.

I'll see you on the other side. Till then, later, minions!

Saturday 14 July 2012

On Photography


Congratulations! You have just purchased a new DSLR. Believe it or not, this little device you hold in your hand can actually make you a great photographer. That is not to say you cannot achieve the same results with a regular compact camera or even your cellphone! The point is about making images that are timeless, and a camera is simply a tool to aid you capture pivotal moments.

As beginner photographers, we are all so excited about the kind of images we will make. The initial days with a new camera are the best, because we make so many images in that span of time. Unfortunately, this is also that time when we have the tendency to fall into a trap, where we start considering ourselves to be really, really good photographers. I will elaborate on this a little later, but at this point I would like to tell you a little something Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern photojournalism once said - "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."

Can you believe that? Unfortunately, there is truth to this statement. So, how do we become better photographers? What should we do to make our 10,001st image a masterpiece? Following are some tips I can give you which will definitely help you along the way.

Learn the Basics
To be honest with you, I do not believe it is necessary to go to a specialised institute in order to learn photography. You cannot learn photography, you can only learn how to use the camera. What matters most is seeing, and how you perceive the world. It is all about how effectively you can translate your vision into a photograph.

So while an institute may not be able to teach you to see and perceive, what it can teach you are the basics of creative control. You can just as easily do this on your own by reading up on the various things your camera is capable of and how to harness these powers into creating your works of art.

Revisit the Masters
There is a reason why photographers Ansel Adams, Helmut Newton and Robert Capa are considered legends in the field of photography—it is the legacy they leave behind with their photographs. A great way to learn about photography and to get tips on how to improve your own style is by familiarising yourself with the works of such great masters. Read their interviews or works written by them. View and review their images. Analyse why they make for such great compositions. These masters should be your photography teachers and will certainly be able to take you on a path of better photography.

Think Before You Shoot
Before you make any frame, give yourself a second to think about what you are photographing. Is it meaningful? Will this make a great image? More often than not, we find ourselves making photographs of the poor and underprivileged, in the guise of practicing street photography. Before you do so yourself, just ask yourself one question—"Will my making this photograph make any change in this person's life?"

Another advantage of thinking before you shoot is that you will be putting a lot more ideas into your photographs and making intelligent frames.

Steer Clear of Photoshop
Photoshop is a great tool, as it has proved time and again. But if you are just starting out with photography, I suggest you keep away from it. I have seen more than the normal amount of images that feature selective colouring. It is one of the ugliest and most useless type of image editing. Just don't do it.

A lot of new photographers also severely overprocess their images, completely ruining it. Photoshop is meant to enhance your images, not make them jarring or look fake. You can always learn about this software in order to understand how to make minor adjustments to enhance your photographs.

Be Confident
Walking up to a person and photographing them can seem daunting, because we do not know how a person will react to our presence. In such cases, we become shy and stay away from photographing anything at all. You must learn to break out of this mold, because you may be missing out on a chance for a great photograph.

Photographing people is a very fulfilling experience. If you are hesitant in simply pointing a camera in someone's face and shooting, make eye contact first. Smile. Make conversation. And see how easily you will be able to make people photographs. If you can, email your subject their photograph, as it increases goodwill.

Try Everything!
In the beginning, we are not really sure about what kind of photography we want to do, so we become confused about what genre of photography we prefer. As beginners, we must try our hands at every kind of photography there is! Only when we shoot enough will we realise what subject we really like photographing, which can eventually become the genre of our choice.

Be Careful of Criticism
Remember when I was telling you about how we start considering ourselves to be really good photographers? Well, this point covers that topic. Facebook is a great website to showcase your photography. However, it also acts as a severe ego boost towards images that might just be sub-standard.

The most important thing to do is to never take any criticism you receive from your friends on Facebook to heart. They may just be saying nice things about your photographs just because they are your friends, or they may genuinely appreciate your work, you'll never know. The best advice about your work can come from someone you know will give you an unbiased opinion on your work. Always seek for the same.

And that's it! Before I end this article, there is just one more thing you must do in order to become better photographers--just keep shooting. And remember, rules are meant to be broken!

If you liked this article, do leave your comments below. There is a lot more about photography I would love to share, and if you would like to read, let me know. If you have any photography related questions, or otherwise, you can email me on meblag [at] gmail [dot] com. Cheers!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Give Yourself a Break

Life means existing, doesn't it?

But does it mean mere being present? The phrase 'Get a Life!' has a lot more implications than what is observed from just the surface level.

Most will argue that their job keeps them away from 'getting a life'. Sometimes, I too fear that this life will end before I know it, and I will not be able to do all the things that I have wanted to. Some of these things include:

1. Lying in bed in a vegetative state for at least a week.
2. Act in a play.
3. Travel all over India. And the world, someday (I hope)
4. Read all those books I had promised myself I would.

All of this will only be possible if you give yourself a break. Take some time for yourself. While having a job is important, it is also important to have peace and stability in your mind.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Short Stories


"You know what your problem is?"
"What?"
"You have no passion in life."
"What do you mean?"
"When was the last time you did something you truly loved?"
"Last night. You."
"I'm serious!"
"So am I, honey. I love you."
"You will never change."
-----------------------------------
René stared at the Eiffel tower. He squinted his eyes, and everything was a blur. He opened his eyes, and everything was clear again. He didn't think he would ever see anything more beautiful.
"Is this seat taken?" she asked, her voice dripping with honey.
"No," he smiled, looking at the Eiffel tower again. No, nothing would ever be more beautiful.
-----------------------------------
"All the wine. All the wine is all for me!" he staggered into the room. The front of his shirt was soiled with vomit, his shoes caked with mud. "Woman!" he hollered. "Come here, let me fuck you."
Shauna was in kitchen, slicing onions for the roast. Robert loved roast.
"Woman!" he hollered again, stumbling into the kitchen.
"Hi Robert," Shauna smiled, her knife firmly in hand.
-----------------------------------
"I don't think I will never love again."
I say that to myself a lot. Not since Jasmine have I ever felt a need to love someone. Sure, she left me, she dated another guy. I think she may not even remember me anymore. I have forgotten her too, her memory slowly fades away into some part of my existence that I don't like to think about. I'd like to think she's gone away completely. I still keep her severed head with me, though. It gives me company.
------------------------------------
"I like you."
"I'm into S&M."
"Whip me."

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Untitled


Image by Tamsila Mihai

Sitting on a wooden bench, a pond of blue glimmering in the bright sunlight. Ducks flap their wings, hunting for those breadcrumbs Mrs. Belemy had scattered for them.

The air smells crisp and clean. The sky is a blanket of blue, dotted by white, fluffy clouds. There is a woodpecker on a tree nearby, the silence around punctuated by its constant tek tek tek. The weather is pleasant—not too hot, not too cold. However, a strong gust of wind blow Sarah James’ skirt in the air, much to Nick Patterson’s amusement.

There is green grass, flecked with yellow-orange fallen leaves. Two lovers sit under a tree, their bodies entwined, their lips meeting in soft kisses. At a distance, a family of four set a long pastel sheet on the grass. Johnathon smiles, as his 3-year-old Rickon tugs on his trousers, motioning hims to pull him in his arms. Johnathon obliges, and Rickon gurgles happily.

Ned leans against a bench, a hardbound book in his hand. He adjusts his glasses and flips a page. There is a hint of a smile on his lips. He is reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. He has read the book thrice before. It reminds him of Shelby each time. He pauses for a moment, remembering her red, pouty lips, her pink nipples, those eyes of grey. His pants feel tight all of a sudden. Deftly, he adjusts himself, and continues reading.

Ronald is on the other side of the bench. He takes a sandwich out of his bag and offers you one. It is a robust sandwich—ham, cheese, mayonnaise, and what looks like bits of lettuce. You never really liked mayonnaise. You nod your head no.

There is something about Ronald, but you cannot point out what. There is something wrong. Like a crescendo, it rises in your body, your heart races a little faster. You realise you don’t like Ronald.

Ronald offers you the sandwich again. This time, he pushes it into your hands. This terrifies you, and you want to run away. But you find yourself unable to move. Instead you throw that sandwich into the pond, the ducks immediately flocking towards it. You hear whispers around you.

“She hasn’t eaten in days.”

“What do you think she’s thinking about?”

“I don’t see a way…”

“Lob…”

The voices trail away. They aren’t there anymore. Just Ronald, holding the sandwich, nudging it towards your mouth.

You close your eyes tight, clench your fists. A dog barks in the distance.

You open your eyes. It’s gone. Everything’s gone. No ducks, no benches, no lovers, no books. No Ronald. It’s just you. A white room, a glass of water, a half-eaten pill.

And a sandwich.