A Pretty Good Me

I'm no cape-unfurling Superman.
Forget being an Übermensch.

A Lincoln's a far cry.
A Mahatma? Not in ten millennia.

I'm a poor facsimile of dad.
My bro's got a better mug.

But one thing I’m sure of:
I’m a pretty good me.

And the day I become
A poor imitation of I,

Sincerity will take a hike
And I’ll stop flattering myself.


Bullshit is Content

These are the days of content.

Text, audio, video, graphics, photos, animations, motion pictures, 2D, 3D, music, white noise, pink noise, SMS, tweets, newsfeeds, games, apps, blogs, HDTV, FM radio, pulp fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, memos, minutes, emails, reports, excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and so on and so forth—things that are making the world go round.

There is another form of content that has made a firm place on the menu dished out to us—BULLSHIT.

It is creative, it is pervasive, it is valuable (to some).

How exactly is bullshit content?

It is so because you can see it, read it, hear it, and, on some occasions, smell it on a person.

Bullshit is dramatic fiction—sometimes feel-good, sometimes narcissistic, and sometimes deeply offensive. Consequently, bullshit caters to all kinds of audience tastes—popular to perverse. Therefore, bullshit is dependable and salable content.

Not everyone can imagine up fictional worlds. Likewise, not everyone can produce bullshit. It’s an art form—some are born with it, some learn it from the environment.

There are no classes or tutorials for it; you just pick it up if you have an inclination to profit without putting in the effort.

Like the most influential ideologues, the best bullshitters are those who firmly believe in their own make-believe (‘make’ themselves ‘believe’ in their own bullcrap?). If they fail to do that, it would expose the chink in their imaginary armor and might result in their lynching…

… you know…human beings do that.

These are good days for bullshitters.

Social media has increased their reach and their audience’s gullibility. They’ve never had it so easy. Liberalization and corporatization have created new markets—boardrooms, annual reports, staff meetings, interviews, Supreme Court.

Politics has always been a hot, bubbling cauldron of bullshit.

Politicians have now found force-multipliers in technology, thereby dramatically increasing their ability to fool all the people all the time (apologies, President Lincoln).

God-men and god-women are the most accomplished bullshitters (refer para above on best bullshitters).

It helps that their subject is tasteless, odorless, colorless, invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Given that only they have a direct contact with the subject, it is just too easy to make up stuff.

Nowadays they serve the ‘prasad’ of their holy bullshit to their fawning, desperate, and scared audience through a multitude of media. For a small ‘donation’, they will even WhatsApp you absolution.

To a large extent, supply depends on demand, and we can’t deny that there IS a huge demand for depthless entertainment, sketchy inducement, and fraudulent succor.

There are eyes and ears everywhere, looking here and there with gaping mouths, ready to gulp down every bit of topical drug being broadcast over their TVs, newspapers, radios or smartphones.

In a world where content is king and bullshit is content, what should you do?

You should competently leverage existing exceptional manufactured products to interactively implement multifunctional web-readiness and credibly foster installed base content. 


You Win Some, You Lose Some

Some grow,
Some diminish.
Some work out, some don't.
Some hang on, some move on.
Some you hold on to, some fade.
Some keep standing, some wither.
Some you adopt, some you abduct.
Some you keep, some you let go of.
Some you're born with, some you acquire.
Some you achieve, some fall by the wayside.
Some change, some become more of the same.
Some fall into your lap, some you have to snatch.
win some, you lose some.


The Indian Incontinent

Almost in all major metros of the hot Indian subcontinent, a cloud cover is a welcome development with distinct foreboding overtones. Especially if it is a weekday, you know it's going to be cool outside, but you dread the traffic if it so much as drizzles. It's a good thing, but it's a bummer; you want to be happy, but you're being held back -- a schizophrenic feeling, adding to the already bipolar nature of an Indian metro, where the uber-rich live alongside the uber-poor,  where a Bentley is stuck in the same jam as a Luna. Why do they have to wait for a flood to declare a public holiday? Do it when you see the clouds in the horizon; we will telecommute. I promise I'll work! The geography of India is not weird, it's our cities -- they're just tumorous now. I can't help but crack a crude joke: "Is this the Indian subcontinent or the Indian incontinent?"



So, I was driving home the other night, and the weather in Delhi was especially lovely. Not too cold, not too hot, just right. I rolled down my car windows to enjoy the cool breeze outside. (Thankfully, the pollution wasn't too bad either.) What really spoiled it for me was the constant honking of cars and bikes. It was so bad that it could leave a normal person rattled and traumatized if exposed to it for above-average duration. Not to mention, the loss of hearing.

Why do some people honk so much when honking is either unnecessary or useless?

I have seen some people so overcautious about their driving space that they want to pre-empt every kind of intrusion/accident by constantly honking. "Get the @#$% away from me! Can't you see I'm [still] learning to drive?!" In Indian traffic, it only serves to rattle the nerves of both the honker and the honkee.

And then some honk like nuts because they have returned from a future where ultrasonic waves emanating from the car horn can sweep the road off all kinds of rabble. You just press the magic knob and the cars, bikes, humans and cows in front of you are just swept to both the sides, like an Audi-borne Moses separating the Red Sea of Indian traffic with his steering staff. But only that it doesn't happen in the present. I think they can't see it though. Dude, delude much?!

Similar to that, there are honknuts who think that everyone but they can fly. So, they honk-honk hoping that the other vehicles will just do the right thing and fly off, take the aerial route and clear out terra firma for them to drive on. Like gleeful little kids running screaming into a flock of pigeons, they want cars to flutter all around them and go settle on trees and parapets. These innocent people don't even take the hint when other drivers make gestures at them that mean "Why the @#$# don't you fly over me, you moron?" All they think is, "Yes, yes, fly away, tweety bird, fly away!"

Is it, like, an itch that needs to be scratched? I suspect so, in some cases. But more than that, I think it’s a twitch. Some Indian men honk the car horn just they way they scratch their crotch in public -- nonchalantly, matter-of-factly, instinctively -- without caring for what impact that act is having on men, women and dogs around them. They don’t know they’re scratching, pulling, shoving; they don’t know they’re repeatedly pressing something. They can’t hear the sound of the horn; they don’t know and don’t care whether others can.

Car manufacturers should really be selective about who they give horns to. They should give it to those who actually deserve it rather than giving it to every Ombir, Diggy and Harinder. They should probably have a prelims and a mains exam followed by a viva voce to select people who can wield such immense power -- power over an instrument of mass annoyance.


Gulliver's Travails

It was destiny that washed up Gulliver to the shores of that island nation, that kingdom ruled by tiny intellectuals. Gulliver's ship was wrecked and he was desperately seeking land while floating on a plank of rotting wood. So, it was only for the good that the tropical storm that thrashed him one night, also landed him on the shores of Lilliput.

When you've been marooned for days, any company is great company. So, Gulliver took to the Lilliputians like a cat to dry land. Despite differences in size and perceptions, Gulliver was only glad to have found his feet.

After spending around five years in Lilliput, Gulliver had had a good time, learned a lot, made friends, But now a sense ennui was slowly creeping up on him -- he had reached a plateau, and he felt a strong need for a change. Desperately seeking counsel, he called his wise friend, Newton.


"Hey, Isaac, it's Lemuel!"
"Heeeeyyyy...Lemuel! 'Sup dawg?"
"I'm cool. What you doin'?"
"Ah, nuthin, just chilling under mama's apple tree. It's kinda loaded this time of the year, but I'm too smashed to pluck one myself, so I'm just waiting for 'em to fall. Wish you were here too! We could've done this together!"
"Naice! K, lissen, Issac, I need you to sort this thing for me, man. You know, in Lilliput, I'm the tallest guy around. So, naturally, I can see the farthest. After five long years, I've seen as much as I could from this island nation. I want to see further. It's weird to say this here, but I want to grow taller! What do I do, man? It is either here or Blefuscu. And the only difference is in egg cracking."
"Lemuel, bro, know this: if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
"Say whaaaaat?"
"Bro, I think you should move to Brobdingnag."


Call It a Day

And before I know it is time
For me to call it a day
Eyelids laden with sleep
Consider the passage of age:
“What transpired today that stood out
In the backdrop of yesterday?”

The day was like any
Of the six others that make a week
Like a uniformly drawn rainbow
Of seven white bands
A single bright bow
Stretching from peak to peak

An urban, mechanical truth
Of things zipping past in a blur
Work and business not stopping
To say hello and chat
To look at one's feet and smile
In deeply satisfying wonder

Days, like granules of white sugar
Melt in the stove of eternity
And all that is left floating
Is a memory caramelized
That questions the fickle faith
Of terrestrial fraternity

Ask the guardians of chronology,
"What happened of the day?"
They say, "We don't know,"
"It turned into a week!"
"And what about the week?"
"We can't say," they say

"It turned into a month!"
"And where did the month stray?"
They say, "Well, it seems,"
"It is now a whole year!"
And before you know it is time
For the year to call it a day


In the City Zoo

In the city zoo.

Look out the tiny cage
Of my personal space.

Listlessly. Aimlessly.
Fed and burped.

Millions of visitors.
Unlisted Exhibit, I.

Survey around to find
Animals of hues all.

Living in content cages
Of their personal spaces.

Millions of residents.
Don't see, don't hear.

Don't need.
Don't want.

Eating, drinking, mating.
Eating some more...some more.

In cages of personal spaces.
Aimlessly. Listlessly.

In the city zoo.


Put Some Water Out

It's hot!
Burning hot!

Seared senses perceive only mirages
as the sun rains down fire with a vengeance.
Wind, like invisible flames, licks the very soul of beings.
The horizon looks close and far.
The destination seems unknown, unachievable.

Put some water out..

For thirsty of the earth,
the birds, animals and people without shelter,
whom god has forgotten today.

Put some water out..

For the parched of love,
who never got a full cup
from the vessel of life.

Put some water out..

For there is a drought of hope
in this conflicted city-state
of harsh realities.

Put some water out..

For that seed buried deep
in the bosom of the fertile
may sip and reach out.

It's hot!
Put some water out..



A single blank page
In a one-paged journal

One spotless page
For today, only today

To be filled with words
That lived today
For today, only today

A journal that will be discarded
Into the invisible sea of yesterday