Man’s Man? No thanks.

So I attempted to have a nice, quiet Diwali this time. Without the crackers, you know. I’ve always considered Diwali a great festival for a lot of reasons, but the noise and smoke is not one of them. I dislike crackers with a passion, and I’d be lying if I said Eco-Friendliness is the sole reason. It’s very much personal – I simply don’t like the noise and the burnt-potash smell associated with most consumer grade pyrotechnics. Now, there are many who believe that such views are incongruous with my (perceived) identity as a twenty-one year old up-and-coming whippersnapper, including most of my relatives, some of whom had no qualms about telling me what they thought. They thought it was a girlish opinion.

I, uh, disagreed. Strongly.

I mean, really? Really, people? Why are so many people insecure about their gender identity? Why the hell is it almost compulsory to subscribe to the cheap pop sociology that tells guys they need to be unfeeling macho idiots in order to, I dunno, “earn” their place in the gung-ho male world. Why do they feel the need, the itch, to assert their “maleness” to totally random people who care to look?

News flash: If you have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome and have no issues with that state of affairs, you ARE male. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to prove it. You don’t have to shout it from rooftops. You won’t get any trophies for it. You are not entitled to any special benefits for being it. You don’t get to order people around. Others don’t get to order you around. You are entitled to emotions. You are entitled to being human. You, sir, are just another self aware organic lump with integrated support systems, cognitive thinking abilities and the potential to do as well and better than any human has done before you. Nothing more and nothing less.

Needless to say, our culture has problems with that kind of thinking. You hear the same old counter-arguments all the time. You hear the same rotten, beaten, broken, anachronistic Victorian era crabshit all around you, every freaking place you go in this broad land. The same torturous definitions of gender turn up again and again AND again, like a bad penny. It’s stupid, it’s false, and most of all, it’s time is OVER. Done and over.

Embrace yourself, for fuck’s sake. Be yourself. Be who you are. You are not a definition. You are not a labelled entity. You are a person with thoughts, emotions, dreams, ambitions, abilities, needs, desires, wants, illicit thoughts, noble thoughts, gentleness, charity, ethical systems, virtues, faults, issues, good bits and so much more. Don’t get crushed under the weight of labels churned out by little minds with little to do other than sitting around in stuffed armchairs, doling out dime-a-dozen social commentary to everyone else with nothing better to do. Screw the images hoisted upon you by TV marketing. Begone with images and labels. Be special, be one hundred percent, be YOU. Because YOU, sir are quite unique in this world.

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Happy Diwali!

So, Diwali’s here with all the usual lights, sounds and festive cheer. What will you do? Who will you visit? How will you make your Diwali completely awesome?

I’ve personally always been fond of Diwali, and it’s not just because of the Fireworks. I enjoy the lights, the general buzz in the air, the way people spend happy times with family, the way people decorate their own space whether or not they literally believe in the religious aspect. The buzz is infectious, and it gets me everytime.

Right now, I’m off to get my diyas and candles and make my contribution to lighting up the night in a way that keeps my hearing faculties intact. Here’s wishing anyone who wanders across this deserted webspace a VERY happy and prosperous Diwali. May you have fun, stay safe, and, of course, become insanely, ridiculously, rich. 😉 😀

Blame the Industrial Revolution

Narayan Murthy recently made waves when he claimed that the quality of students at the IITs is dropping  because of the impact of coaching centers.

As a not-so-proud IITian with a falling CPI (Cumulative Performance Index to the unacquainted), it’s my duty to rebut such silly claims and I will do so through the medium of my visitor-less blog. No one’s going to read it, of course, but at least I’d have done my duty.

Let’s start with some observations.

Typical scene at the lecture hall:

Professor X drones on and on. Student A wakes up long enough to jot down a few words of what seems like gibberish to her. Student B emerges from his stupor long enough to stare appreciatively at Student A’s behind. Student C dots all the T’s and crosses all the I’s, while dreaming languidly of vodka and all night sessions of Counter Strike on the college LAN.

Student D observes all this and makes a mental note to put it on his blog.

If you’re not as dense as me, you might’ve guessed that I’m student D. And now, I’ll proceed to lay out the REAL reasons why IITians today all seem to have crappy CPIs.  To do this, I will be using sophisticated analytical techniques perfected over four years of government-subsidized time here.

Okay, before you jump on me, let me admit it. Not everyone’s sold on Counter Strike. Not everyone likes staring at women. Some don’t even particularly like women, sexually or otherwise. There are some guys like student E too:

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF STUDENT E

Student E is breathing quickly, almost hyperventilating. As he sits in the lecture hall, he feverishly copies the professor’s words into a notebook, absorbs every word the professor speaks, fits it all into his memory and runs it all through his Pentium Chip brain on the fly. A worry process runs continuously in the back of his mind. He is worried about his perfect CPI. He is worried about his job prospects. He is worried about not being able to find a wife if his CPI falls by two more decimal points. He is worried about the firing he’s going to get from his dad and two sisters if he lets the family down. He is worried that he might not clear the Management Entrance Exams. He is worried that he’s forgotten something he should be worrying about.

Yes, there are students like that. But they’re rarer than Carbon atoms in a Nitrogen sample, so we may safely neglect their effect on the general mood.

With that out of the way, we may proceed to apply the aforementioned sophisticated methods of analysis.

Immediately, we come to the conclusion that the reason for the widespread disinterest in lectures is — *drumrolls* — Industrialization. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution is responsible for putting tech students off their studies.

You may not readily see how this result was arrived at, but that’s only to be expected, because you don’t have access to my techniques. To understand how this conclusion was arrived at, consider this list of Top Ten Distractions at IIT (extendable to most Tech Schools):

TOP TEN DISTRACTIONS AT IIT

 

  1.  Members of the opposite sex who you can now actually date (as opposed to just fantasize about)
  2. Multiplayer Gaming
  3. Free time
  4. Money
  5. Free 24×7 high-speed Internet connection at your beck and call
  6. Alcohol
  7. A huge bunch of erstwhile overachiever friends gone rogue, who are totally tired of studying and are now ready to have some fun
  8. Cultural fests
  9. Tech fests
  10. Malls

Distractions like these make lectures seem incredibly boring by comparison, so that many students would rather have a root canal than attend a lecture (the majority of them also consider passing the exams to be easier than having a root canal, so logic forces them to attend the lectures anyway. But that’s besides the point). You may ask : So where does the Industrial Revolution come in?

Easy Peasy. Let’s start from the bottom.

Malls: No Industrial Revolution, no malls. Goodbye, food-court with Wi-Fi.

Tech Fests: I mean, come on. Seventeenth Century technology isn’t exactly fascinating. Nobody wants to hear about your brand new device which helps you scratch your balls while wearing medieval armor.

Cultural Fests: Without electric guitars and rockstars?! Are you kidding me?!!

Overachiever Friends: To have real fun, you need to get out of the campus. And for that you need the internal combustion engine. NO one wants to cycle forty kilometers to watch a movie play.

Alcohol: Procuring alcohol bottles on bicycles turns out to be more nightmarish than one might think.

Internet: Good luck getting 0.05 kbps on your home-made modem connected to your  hand-crafted laptop with twine and tar.

Money: What’s the point? The only thing you might be able to spend it on is prostitutes. Believe me, the novelty wears FAST.

Free Time: What do you do with it? The best you can do is play soccer all day. With a crummy home-made ball and no shoes.

Multiplayer Gaming: Would have to be offline, since your network speed would be around 0.05 kbps. You’d have to be content playing multiplayer soccer with a crummy hand-made ball and no shoes.

The Opposite Sex: Would still exist. But if you can’t text them, what’s the point? And there’d be no such thing as Birth Control…so yeah.

Life’s so good in the twenty-first century. Sorry, Infosys, but you guys are a couple of centuries too late. IITians just wanna have fun.

Losing a Cousin to Society

So, I had a family night yesterday. Went to this marriage ceremony.

The thing with Indian (or at least North Indian) marriage ceremonies is that despite the tremendous efforts of a small army of forced volunteers and the tremendous expenditures, they can end up being so excruciatingly boring for everyone (bride and groom included). There are only three classes of people who seem to enjoy going to Big Fat Indian weddings: foodies, alcoholics and Aunties.

For biological and sociological reasons, I am not an Aunty. Also, while I enjoy Paneer Tikka and the occasional pint of beer, I am not sufficiently monomaniacal about either of those to jump for joy at the thought of the next wedding in town. Company is generally rare. I feel out of place at both the car-o-bar and the food stalls. So I can usually be found sitting around with others of my ilk in one of the numerous chairs scattered around the place, intensely absorbed in a game of Angry Birds or some such.

Maybe I’m too young, or maybe I’m too naïve, but I really don’t see the point of all the showbiz. I don’t see the point of Inviting Three Hundred and Fifty Seven people, not counting kids. I don’t see the point of giving out obscene amounts of food and alcohol, and spending obscene amounts on what’s basically a big party. It’s not just that, though. After all, many Indians are more than rich enough to afford obscenely expensive parties. I may see it as a waste of money, but who’s to say my definition of waste is better than theirs? That’s not what I really want to write about. Last night, I witnessed something much worse than just showbiz.

Last night, I went to a party thrown by parents who pressurized their daughter into marrying a misogynistic moron. These same parents then paid a pundit to chant Sanskrit verses in the background in the hopes of making her married life a happy one. Last night, I went to a party where these parents sold out to social conventions that unilaterally decided their daughter was ready to be married. I saw them surrender to the toxic brew of a fake morality, of a fake culture,of such an…intensely, incorrigibly fake country. I saw them leave someone they surely loved, to the mercy of the winds on the rough seas of life.

I knew this woman, one of my cousins. I say knew, because I no longer know her. She was ambitious and smart, spirited and cultured, happy and vivacious, confident and charming. They took half of her away. I can see only the smartness and the culture, the vivaciousness and the charm .The ambition is gone. The spirit is gone. The happiness is vanished. The confidence is non-existent. All the rest of her is gone, into some deep recess of her conscious mind, some black hole from which there is no possible escape. What’s left is a vast, overpowering, overwhelming darkness around the fake halo of a fake personality. They succeeded in fitting a square peg into a round hole, destroying the peg in the process. They’ve built this sickeningly beautiful porcelain doll that smiles and laughs and cries like a human, but has nothing truly human about it. They did it without turning a hair, in yellow-bellied deference to that cruel mass called society, that terrible force which spares none and takes no prisoners, that horrible agency which makes devils out of loving parents.

I felt nauseated last night. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt sad. The sort of sadness one feels when looking at a hurt kid.  This cousin is older than me. She is no kid. I should not feel that way, but I do. It’s none of my business, but saying that over and over does not cure the nausea. She’s a grown woman who married a grown man who expects her, in this day and age, to simply give up her career because he says so.  Married a man who talks about treating her like a queen, but orders her around as though she might be a bonded slave.

I felt so completely sick of this nation last night. So sick of it’s perversions. So sick of it’s horrible conventions. Screw you, society.