Category Archives: writing101

An open letter to Isaac Newton


Dear Mr. Newton

First off, take a minute to realise that every teenager in every country on every planet is cursing you at this very moment.
Some because of the 23-year old who conceptualised calculus and integrated hell on so many levels.
Some because of 40-something guy who wrote 3 laws and created enough material to torture young souls from when they are 13 to when they are 30.

Many adults are also cussing at you… Because they realised they spent their teenage years learning calculus and physics for nought. NO ONE GIVES A DAMN HOW THE FRICKING DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS PAN OUT!!

I’m sure you are already surrounded by loads of physicists wondering why you left the world with so many ideas that made their lives hell. Why you debunked so many myths. And why you just couldn’t stop your brain from running from one idea to another preventing so many other physicists from making their own discoveries. “You attention hogger” seems like a kind way to put it. All your inventions and ideas may not keep you from taking a beating at their hands (unless you take a book out of Hawking’s theory and displace yourself to another universe where you didn’t do all this stuff. Oh wait. You can’t.)

Now that you’re totally in a mood to trash this letter… Take a moment and pat yourself for the many beautiful things you have left us with. A telescope to look up to the stars. The reason why the pretty rainbow is so. The reason why lightning and thunder go hand in hand… But not ear in ear. You had your hands in so many pies and left us something wonderful to remember you by in so many fields.

I’ve had my fair share of dissing you. For so many years. And am now at the age that I respect what you must have invested to leave all this behind for us.

Thank you.

Now gth. Not really. But kinda.

Cheers
Devil

P. S. As I wrote this I oscillated between extremely enraged and totally thankful. So I started enraged and ended thankful. And then enraged. And then thankful. Kinda summed up it well yes?

Tell me who you write a letter to? And why? And if you want to add a few words to Newton… Comment!

If homemade clocks could make you famous…


I would have made like 10 a year!!

For the uninitiated, this is in reference to the arrest of a 14-year old in (of course) the US of A for taking along a homemade clock to school… Apparently the clock was mistaken for an explosive device.

I carried a tube of toothpaste with me on a flight once. It was the approved travel pack of less than 10 ml (or whatever unit it is that you folks want to convert it to… ml is the official SI unit. Across the pond readers may need to look it up on Google to understand that the rest of the World is on ONE standard.) So I was obviously surprised when I was stopped at security and my bag was manually frisked. To my surprise it wasn’t the tube if toothpaste that caught the security officer’s attention.
It was a battery. Apparently a spent one at that (which I discovered 2 hours later when I tried to get the alarm clock functional. But then… A homemade clock would have got me in more trouble yes…?).

A spent battery. How much damage did they think I could cause with it? It’s not as if the airplane’s system ran on AA cells and I would swap it out and the flight would get grounded…
Right?

My 1×1


Having talked about how I don’t particularly liked cellular slaves, I am not one bit ashamed to admit that I am partially one myself. It’s not only my means to remain socially connected with people I cannot meet often, it’s also my most important medium to write on.

I know. Legacy writers love the sound of pen on paper and the smell on ink on a fresh sheaf of papers (have you ever smelt just-photocopied documents??!). Many writers I know prefer to do a lot of their writing on paper (in their diary or on sheets) and turn to their computer only when it’s time to publish (or for the occasional spell-check). They enjoy the feeling of writing something, crossing it out, noting new thoughts and corrections in the margin of a document or simply balling up the piece of paper and trashing it. Some writers refer to their stationery almost as fondly as they refer to their writing environment. THAT pen. THAT notepad. THAT desk with the familiar dents. They feel it lends character to their writing.

Some, however, are not as fortunate.

Before you conjure up an image of me being homeless and writing on scraps on paper balanced preciously on the walls of a building, let me clarify that statement.

I am not fortunate to have a fixed location from where I write. Partially because my day job involves a desk that spurns imaginative writing altogether (did I tell you I’m an investment banker…? We don’t involve ourself with lowly imaginative stuff… we devise solutions that will confuse the pants off of you and charge a bomb so you won’t have much to buy yourself new pants) and loads of travelling that doesn’t quite help in the way of “fixed” locations. My work life is a breeding ground for ridiculous ideas to write about – but it’s rare that I find myself in one place for too long for inspiration to conk me.

So I write in my very own 1×1. That I take along wherever I go. My very own “desk”, with a built-in cupboard for amazing ideas and a secret drawer for ones that I’ve locked away. Dented in its own special way, my 1×1 has character of its own (and is a character in itself). It is cluttered with stuff I’ve been meaning to clean out for a while now (that I’m quite sure I will never get around to).

My 1×1 is me. With my phone. In a noisy train or in a stuffy cab or in a crowded elevator. It is my mobile (pun-intended) inspiration centre and experience re-creator. It is my home away from home.

P. S. Ironically, I wrote this post almost entirely on a laptop. My phone had network issues (sigh). That’s one thing pen and paper writers don’t have to worry about eh?

Things social media throws up…


… That may make you throw up.

As I was horsing around on Twitter today I found this tweet courtesy of a media house.

Let me give you some background on this groundbreaking quote. Earlier this week, the municipal corporation of Mumbai (where I reside) passed an order banning the sale of beef and mutton for four days, allegedly to appease the followers of Jainism, who began their annual 10 day fast on 10 Sep. Let me say that again. Ban on beef and mutton. Chicken was explicitly allowed to be sold, as were fish and eggs.

The over imaginative people that we are, we spent the last 4 days wondering why other “non veg” foodstuffs were exempt from the ban. We thought beef and mutton both pertain to meat obtained from sacred animals. (albeit sacred to different religions… The Hindus worship cows. Jainism is a religion that believes that ALL creatures are equally sacred.)
Than we thought they were trying to save us few bucks by asking us to buy cheaper meat for a few days.

But this logic had me stumped.
Fish are dead as soon as they are out of the water so they aren’t slaughtered??! Did they willingly fly out of the water and into the waiting nets? Or did they just love your pretty mug and decide to surface to “take a selfie” with a cute duck face? Lack of oxygen apparently implies that a creature isn’t slaughtered… So that’s probably a safe method to take care of your boss eh…?

I’m trying to be as respectful as I can about religions and how politicians interpret them to suit their needs. Because if we are truly a ‘secular’ country… This sort of ban says very little about how tolerant we are about others’ beliefs.
This kind of reasoning sets us back many many years… And make me wish that we never evolved to make it out of the waters in the first place.

P. S. As I wrote this post (through the course of the day) the corporation chickened out (tee hee) and was forced to retract the ban to just 2 days. We could argue that there is simply no rationale as to why a 2 day ban would make people of a religion feel less “offended” than usual… But maybe there’s a logic that will follow in a tweet tomorrow. Like how 2 is the only even prime number less than 10 (duh of course) and how even numbers are more auspicious than odd ones.

Do you have any ideas on why chicken is exempt from the ban? Tell me… Or tweet about it 😉

P. P. S. In a juicy twist to this meaty controversy, the High Court has (apparently read my blog and) stayed the ban on meat on the same grounds that I rubbished it in the first place – why only certain non-vegetarian foodstuffs and why only certain days!! While it is still unclear on whether I will be inducted into the bench in order to assist them in their future efforts to keep this city safe (and sane), this fellow vegetarian blogger is happy to announce that the ban has been er… banned. Two negatives make a positive. Math lives on!

Cellular slaves


I browsed through the images at Unsplash.com – a super awesome site for natural unprocessed images of life… Of people, rolling hills, pretty clouds, winding rivers, yada yada.
And then I hit the jackpot with this image.

See the calmly building clouds? The perfect lighting provided by the sun so perfectly obscured by those clouds? The water body at the head of the image depicting the power play between the clouds and the sun? Probably not – because your focus was inexplicably shifted to the phone.

Can you believe this person (whoever it was) actually preferred to enjoy nature through the screen of his phone and not… Naturally?! What’s worse… I completely lost track of the serene sight in the image and was left fuming at the person’s stupidity in the face of such beauty.

Took me back to a few weeks ago when someone shared this image with me.

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So true how we’ve become addicted to our phones for everything… From phone numbers to birthdays and fitness routines to emails. I remember a time when (not very long ago) I was given a phone for a few hours each day and that too because it seemed to be the most efficient way to get a hold of me as I made my way through college life. Today I hear of people leaving home without their wallet… But never without their phones.

The smart phones we invented to free up our time have made us lose more time than we can account for. Beyonce asked (and then declared) that girls run the world… sorry babe, I think its these palm-sized bots.

Damn. Skynet isn’t far away.

-posted using WordPress for mobile-

My Preciousssss


I own a little silver ring that I picked up at a thrift store when I was a teenager (which is so far back that I’m surprised the ring is that old!!). It’s silver and I bought it in India, which is to say there’s (almost) a fixed rate for it. My mom and I did some killer bargaining and brought the guy down a few bucks (I’m not even sure we made up for the cab fare to get to the store, but, as all Indians will agree, a bargain is a bargain no matter how much you save). I also bought a small silver necklace from him (but we didn’t get as good a bargain on it). Mind you, these events occurred many many years ago – but I’m still upset that we didn’t get a good deal on the necklace (not that I minded… I was 14 or 15; at that age my parents paid for every darn thing I wanted to own and I had no balance sheet of my own to bother with!!).

The teenage-me debated getting some elvish inscription on the inside of the ring (after all, it was the year Lord of the Rings had come out and inscriptions on rings sounded oh-so-cool). But then I realised that, as proficient as the fellow may have been, there was no way he was Elven-educated. So I let the engraving me, picked up the ring & necklace and traipsed out the store.

I remember wearing that ring to school (and college and university thereafter) like my life depended on it. Like somehow my life force was tied to the existence of that ring and that it’s sole purpose was to hang around my neck and protect me. Many of my more fashionable friends picked up necklaces with more stylish motifs (yin/yang, dog tags and even one leaf that I remember), but I stayed loyal to my ring. I added an odd assortment of pendants through my teenage years (a key, an anchor, even a crucifix!), but that silver blob of twisted metal remained on me through many of my years. I thought it gave my rebellious soul some character… and I steadfastly refused to part with it.

Today I work in an organisation where even the ‘bling’ is conservative. Muted gold ornaments and polished matte platinum accessories share office space with pastel shades and soft bobs. I let go of (most of) my wild uncouth wavy hair and now sport a (sort of) conservative pixie cut (my hair are still wavy, but that’s a topic for another post in itself). My stylish black t-shirts and faded jeans have made way for cuffed shirts and smartly-pressed trousers. My custom converse sneakers have been phased out and sleek black office shoes adorn my feet.

But my precious. Joins me at work every day.

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My precioussss

3 things my city police does so well that I sometimes faint


… from laughing out loud.

As I walk/ride around this gem of a city called Mumbai, I am often treated to sights that… frankly have me on the floor rolling in laughter. Not surprisingly, many of them are courtesy of our super vigilant police force. Don’t get me wrong – I completely respect the effort the force puts in to keep our city safe every now and again… But I think sometimes they take a break and leave us in peels of laughter.
These are 3 things I’ve seen around the city that baffle me to the point of stomach cramps

1. Incorrectly placed signage

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(If you can’t read/understand Marathi, here’s the translation:
Mumbai Police
Matunga Police Station (pertains to the locality where I nabbed this image)
Stop.)

Exhibit A is this beautifully constructed and exquisitely painted sign asking a vehicle to stop. Problem is… it is placed right behind an electricity junction box so that the only person who sees it is an unsuspecting pedestrian who maintains a ridiculous blog.
I took the cops seriously and stopped.
😀

2. Incorrectly positioned checkpoints
There is a faux checkpoint (because it is temporary construction and not cemented/bolted down) not far from where I work that I am forced to navigate every day. What makes this the most incorrectly placed checkpoint in the history of checkpoints (other than Checkpoint Charlie) is
a. It seems to serve no purpose since the cops don’t really frisk/ scan anything or anyone.
b. It is so strategically placed that it blocks 1 lane of a 2 lane approach road to a business district.
c. Sometimes it isn’t even manned!

So basically… It’s a blockade in the wrong place and (during peak office traffic) at the wrong time. While on foot once, I asked a cop what the checkpoint was for. He answered, “Sahab bole laga ke gaadi ka checking karo, hum laga diye”. (Translation: My boss asked me to put it up and check vehicles, so we put it up). It still didn’t answer my question, but his answer was so sincere that I left him to his fate. And the traffic to its own.

P. S. Most days I pass by the checkpoint with a mix of laughter and anger, so I’ve never been able to steady a shot of the place. But I promise to make an honest attempt of sharing this most spectacular checkpoint for y’alls amusement.

3. Confusing parking/tow zones
I’ll start by accepting that I’m not quite sure who’s responsible for updating the signs informing people about parking zones… But since you have to get to the cops to get it ‘untowed’ I’d say the buck stops with them. I know the signs are put up by the traffic police… But I’m sort of unclear on whether it’s their job to update it or that of the municipality folks.
I am proud to state that my city is home to the most complicated parking zone signs ever seen (by me or you or any extra terrestrial creature). Exhibits B and C below explain how a particular side of the road is a no-parking zone on even (or odd) days. Even. Days. What’s next… quizzing me about parking on prime days??! Or Fibonacci days?! Or god forbid Perfect days?!

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And I wonder how would you really enforce it…? Would you drive around as 12:01 am on the morning of the 3rd to tow away cars? And do you really expect me to set an alarm for 12:01 am every other day to re-park my car??! I don’t even see dog owners being as punctual!! At this rate I would need to invest in a smart car just to tell me which side of the road to park on (and smartly park itself on the other side at midnight).

P. S. I own a two-wheel one-gear bicycle. It has never been towed on odd or even days.

With a promise to bring you more earth-shattering news from the financial capital of India… This is me signing off.

Encouraging Thunder


It was super cool of Colette to nominate me (yes me!!) for the ‘Encouraging Thunder’ award. You can read her post here.

The rules are very simple:

  • The nominee posts the Award on their blog and adds the logo. (check)
  • Pass it on by nominating others.
  • Thank the person that nominated you; also add their URL to your post for ping back. (check and check. And thank you again Colette!!)
  • Mention your purpose for blogging.

I write because I can. I can’t doodle or dance or jiggy (or twerk). But I can write. So I do.

Simply put, it’s one of the many things in my life I’m proud of and I’m a mighty show off. So I write. If you don’t think I write too well, you’re probably right; but you know what, I’ll shake it off (cuz haters gonna hate hate hate right…?). I will still write about stuff I’m passionate about or crazy stuff I encounter everyday. (Some) Fairly sane(ish) people follow my blog, so I’m quite convinced I’m not all bonkers (maybe a little, but not all). So I will write. Till I learn to doodle or dance or jiggy (I ain’t never learning to twerk y’all!!).

As for my nominations, I didn’t see any rules about the “profile” of the blogs we are allowed to nominate (i.e. we can nominate blogs with any number of followers) – so I’ve nominated a few folks that I think will have fun with this particular post.

  • Anand will likely narrate a story involving his mom and/or mom-in-law and/or wife to make his point. I look forward to it more than I’m letting on 😉
  • Fellow nutella lover will probably draw up a thought-provoking list to let us know why she writes. You will definitely connect with at least one of them.
  • The unsuspecting word inventor will probably define another word that isn’t so we understand their purpose for writing
  • Charlotte will secretly (or not) curse me for dragging her into this mess and post it under “E”. Or “T”. Or not. I hope she gets a good doodle in though…

That’s it on my end. I can’t wait to see how these unsuspecting folks tackle (?) the award and I hope you’ll all spare a minute to check out their blogs.

Coming soon… A post on a few things to avoid whilst traipsing around Mumbai (or most cities in India)