Arctic monkey

The Initiation

Long time readers may find it hard to believe but recently, I’ve started to drink. Beer, whiskey, vodka, rum, moonshine, whatever, there isn’t a drink that hasn’t been in my piss stream. I haven’t told my parents yet so shh. The rationale for keeping it from them being a) I don’t enjoy drinking. I am as indifferent towards drinking now as I was before I started drinking, and b) I don’t get drunk. I remain sober no matter how much I’ve had to drink. No point in letting my parents make me feel guilty for something I don’t enjoy! The Nazi officials should have used the same defense at the Nuremberg trials. “We didn’t enjoy torturing them, your honor. We are therefore not guilty. Please set us free. We have much to contribute to the new world order.”

The thing about drinking is that it puts you amidst drunks. The thing about being amidst drunks is that they’re brimming with Dutch courage and are ready to pester the opposite sex. The thing about being amidst drunks brimming with cheap booze and fake courage and ready to pester the opposite sex is that it gives you the opportunity to play the knight in the shining armor. You get to be Shrek, the drunk gets to be the dragon, the woman upon whom unwanted attention is being bestowed gets to be Princess Fiona, and Eddie Murphy gets to be the donkey. The thing about rescuing possibly slightly inebriated damsels from booze-sponsored dragons is that it gets you fast-tracked into their good books- and if lucky, into their other good things. (Wink)

The other night while I was trying to leverage a stranger into my wingman, things took a turn to the violent as they are wont to do under such circumstances. The dude wasn’t pleased that I was preventing him from hitting on this woman. He started to punch and kick out at me. His words were no less violent. I tried to laugh him off but he put me in a chokehold. I didn’t have the power to break free. The dude was enjoying the dominance, the primordial exhibition of manliness. I was deprived of options. I reached for the only one I had, his balls. No one could believe what I’d done. India, after all, is still quite homophobic and Indians shy away from touching another dude’s balls even if it’s a life or death situation. But not me, I don’t feel restricted by such mores. I take advantage of them rather.

And in this instance, the dude was predictably gobsmacked. He instinctively let go and put his hands up in the air- as if I had a gun against the back of his head, as if he was at a music concert and the DJ had ordered him to do so. I didn’t reciprocate by letting go off his balls though, I ain’t no damn monkey. I adjusted my grip and made him wince some more. I asked if I reminded him of his dad. The color slowly began to return to his face, rage was taking over from shock. I goaded him on some more, he reached out for a glass and smashed it against my face.

The referee called for the bell. The dude was disqualified and I got to keep my world heavyweight championship.

smiling brad

Lament of a pretty woman

Before the age of arctic monkey, I could walk down a street without being spoken to by random strangers. I didn’t know then that this would become something I would look back fondly upon.

These days I can’t get a moment’s peace even if I am with a man, even if I am in Saudi Arabia. They just won’t stop asking me out. It’s as if all these guys look at me as an opportunity they’d regret not seizing. Most of these guys who were too shy to even make eye-contact, they come right up to me, introduce themselves, say how they feel attracted to me, and ask if I would like to go out on a date. At first, I was flattered by their effrontery but nowadays it’s simply gotten to be too tiresome. There are just too many bold dudes out there in the world. I wish they’d go back into their shells and returned to being their mama’s boys. We girls should have been careful about what we wished for.

It’s as if the gene responsible for the ‘fear of rejection’ has been excised from the body. Once upon a time, we used to complain about how guys lacked the guts to ask us out and how miserably intimidated and tongue-tied they were. But then, ever since AM, we can’t catch a break. It’s a constant bombardment. For one thing, the friendzone doesn’t exist anymore. AM pretty much made loitering in it a statutory offense. It’s guarded tighter than the mythical Area 51. Guys no longer hang around offering their shoulders on the off-chance we may give them something more than a few errands. They are frustratingly upfront about it these days. They come right out and say why they are here and what they expect to get out of this. They demand clarity, they no longer beat around the bush. Oh god, how we used to love the bush. We can’t get away with vague promises either. And to think we were so good at those.

Where have all the gutless and spineless boys gone? Damn you Arctic Monkey!

There’s no on left to listen patiently to our complaints through the night. Seems all the free therapists got swept away in an epidemic. They won’t chat, unless it’s personal or raunchy. They’ve wisened up and it drives us crazy. They used to be so happy with so little but these days there’s no pleasing them, unless there’s actual pleasing involved; if you know what I mean. It’s like the price of their company has gone up. A smile and a hi!! won’t do anymore. It’s all gone inflationary and we don’t like it a bit. Hey Rajan, how about raising those interest rates? Hey Bernanke, ease up on the quantitative easing. To use an analogy, they don’t accept cheques anymore, they want cash!

This new found appetite for risk, it’s a virus that goes back to arctic monkey. We can’t have our calorie-free cake and eat it anymore. And we hate that. Bring back the wimps, or we stop looking pretty.

White ball of healing light

Imagine being a newly minted vice president at a financial company. Imagine being in your late twenties and yet never having been in a relationship. Imagine reading a book and coming across a diagnosis that declares, “Single men are deemed particularly lacking in emotional well-being.” Imagine being struck by that line. Imagine thinking, “Being single can’t be good for my career.” Imagine that line gnawing away at you even as you attend conference calls and client meetings. Imagine making a resolution. Imagine screaming at the doorman. Imagine watching a French movie at the local French embassy. Imagine hearing a character say, “The world belongs to those who wake up early in the mornings.” Imagine changing your schedule. Imagine going to the gym in the morning. Imagine spotting a lady who you think will be deemed particularly attractive by your colleagues, even the blind ones, at the gym at this new hour. Imagine getting your game face on. Imagine setting up an ambush. Imagine letting her overhear you are the vice president of a financial firm. Imagine asking her out. Imagine her saying, “There’s a movie I’ve been meaning to see.”

Imagine you’re a college student. Imagine you watch at least a movie a day. Imagine you are very particular about your entertainment. Imagine you are proud of your likes and dislikes. Imagine being more choosy about the movies you watch than the girls you go out with, although that makes no sense at all. Imagine harboring dreams of doing something creative one day. Imagine not having the guts to admit that to yourself, however. Imagine judging people by their choices of entertainment. Imagine being called a snob. Imagine looking up ‘snob’. Imagine looking it up even though you think you know the meaning of it. Imagine opening a new tab. Seriously. Imagine typing s-n-o-b into the Google search box. Imagine it to mean exactly what you thought it would mean. Imagine thinking, “Yes, I’m a snob.” Imagine wearing your realization on your sleeve. Imagine literally.

Imagine you own a movie theater. Imagine you lack the capacity to distinguish a good movie from a bad one. Imagine believing there can be no objective standards to judge movies by. Imagine thinking it’s all subjective. Imagine watching every movie that comes out. Imagine enjoying them all the same. Imagine being obsequious. Imagine being a clueless fool who’s happy with his life. Imagine pissing off the self-important snobs. Imagine not knowing why you piss them off.

Imagine reading this post. Imagine leaving a comment that parodies the style. Imagine being pleased by your smart ways. Imagine tomorrow’s going to be a better day. Imagine being able to drop a bad habit. Imagine making something of yourself.

Imagine being silly enough to title this ‘John Lennon’.

Blinkered lives

Sub: Emergency meeting

Dear Non-HR employees no.57 to 86,

This is to inform you about an emergency meet that’s scheduled to convene in 15 mins in conference room no.3 (Barbados). We’re aware that this will eat into your lunch time (no pun intended) and we deeply regret the short notice/inconvenience.

PS: Don’t panic, no one’s going to get laid off.

HR employee no.23

Boss no.1 (pensively): Used to be that numbers went off the charts whenever our latest product was promoted on Facebook. It’s no longer the case. We can’t afford this becoming the norm. You’re all here to offer some suggestions to stem this decline.

Boss no.2 (interrupting): Giving our products titles that don’t intimidate and perplex our target audience might help.

Boss no.1 (amused): Are you saying the launch would have gone off much smoother had the product had a different…and slightly less eccentric name?

Boss no.2 (glad): Precisely, calling “Tony gives birth to a catholic rabbit; hijinks ensue” eccentric is putting it mildly. It’s convoluted and needlessly complicated. As a leader of a publicly traded organization, you should work on reining in your eccentricity. Limit your eccentricity to that personal blog of yours that you write under a pen-name. As you’re aware, our shares took an almighty hit after that botched roll-out. Eccentricity will prevent you…us from reaching a wider audience.

Boss no.1 (defiantly): What if I don’t want us to reach a wider audience? What if I only want our customers to be of the selective and high-brow type?

Boss no.2 (smugly): I know that isn’t what you really want. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this crisis-meeting, would we?

Boss no.1 (resignedly): Yeah, yeah, you’re right. Goddamn share-holders. I have to ask you this though. Do you think the customer is getting stupider by the day?

Boss no.2 (challenging): By stupid, do you mean less well-informed?

Boss no.1 (impatiently concedes): Yes.

Boss no.2 (aghast): Now why do you have to recklessly throw the word stupid about? It’s a PR disaster waiting to happen. Do you want John Oliver making fun of us? I guess you’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Boss no.1: But seriously, don’t you think people are getting dumber by the day? You certainly don’t need to be smart to roll in the dough anymore. Just the timidity to suffer boredom.

Boss no.2: I disagree with that. Just because they don’t have the free time to widen their knowledge-base or whatever doesn’t mean they’re getting dumber.

Boss no.1: If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time. The thing is they just aren’t curious anymore. All they care about is doing the bare minimum. They lead blinkered lives and call themselves successful!

Boss no.2: Blinkered lives, I like that.

Boss no.1: Maybe we should call our next product that. Or do you think that’s too complicated for our audience as well?

Boss no.2: The word ‘lives’ is suitably simple. People are drawn to stories, which the word ‘lives’ promises. Think it’ll work.

Boss no.1: This better work. Thanks for coming everyone. It was a good talk.

(The thirty non-HR employees begin to walk out. Most of them are wondering why they were even asked to attend. One of the employees who isn’t leading a blinkered life says, “we were the meat in the room.” The other employees don’t get it. Have none of you seen “In the Loop?,” he implores. They ignore him.)

All creative pursuits are essentially narcissistic. Being creative, they say, means keeping in touch with your inner-child, a period of your life when you’re actually allowed to be narcissistic!


“Have you ever been struck by lightning?,” asked the orderly as we moved down the corridor lined by the confinements of the mentally deranged. I was struck by the choice of his words, alright. I might have taken his question in stride had the day been of a cloudy nature but it was warm and sunny outside with as much chance of rain as the dead coming back to life.

I was there at the institute to meet a friend, Jim. Jim was how all the parents of the neighborhood wanted their kids to be. “Why can’t you be more like Jim?,” was the constant jam. Jim was a quiet child who never crossed paths with mischief. Jim excelled at tests even though he wasn’t particularly driven. Jim was a good-looking kid whom the girls seemed to fancy but he never did notice. Jim was above desire. Jim was an only child and pleased with that. He was content being by himself, and that felt like a reproach to the rest of us who were always seeking company. I need to clarify, I didn’t actually become friends with Jim until much later.

Jim fell off the wagon during his college years. With no drive and no desire, he couldn’t possibly cope with the demands of the professional world, and he came to live at home. He had failed to make something of himself, and worryingly for his parents, he didn’t seem to regret it either. Jim’s parents were lost. They took to approaching me. They were hoping he would snap out of his stupor on watching his more successful peers. But alas, Jim wasn’t made that way. Jim never thought of himself as being in competition with the rest. The qualities that led to him being lauded in his childhood were working overtime to thwart him in his adulthood. Anyway, I did my bit. I took to visiting Jim, as per his parents’ wishes.

On one of my bi-weekly visits to the Jim household, Jim came up to me with heretofore unseen enthusiasm and asked, “Which movie character do you associate the most with?.” I thought for a moment and replied, “Han Solo.” He said, “I know.” Before I could laugh at his witticism, he added, “The character I most identify with is that of Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road.” I hadn’t known Jim had a thing for movies.

Turns out Jim always had a thing for movies, it was in his genes. Jim’s father had flunked out of high school after spending too many days at the cinemas and by red carpets. That he eventually turned out to be a successful person was a moot point for him. Jim’s father, on account of not having much education himself, was obsessed with everything education stood for. He wanted his son to be nothing like him, and for a while, it did appear that his wish would come true. But then Jim went to college, and fell off the wagon, whatever that means.

Following the death of his father, a mortal, Jim outdid himself. He ran away to a mental institute. Some of the neighbors saw it as just another instance of Jim running away from responsibility. Others nodded in agreement. Jim’s mother took a vow. She vowed that her son wouldn’t lack for any facility wherever he may choose to spend his days. She was convinced that movies were the only thing keeping her son alive and made arrangements so Jim could have access to all the latest well-received and festival favorites.

I offered to be of assistance. I wasn’t paid for my services, not that I had any wish to be, or that it was anything but a pleasure,  but I was given the title of ‘Entertainment consultant’. I was at the institute, on this day, to visit Jim, in this very capacity.

As the guard busied himself opening the door, I peeped in through the looking glass to see Jim, turned away from us, hunched over a piece of paper. Jim didn’t even turn around when I entered the room. I assumed he was working on something close to his heart. Letting go of any propriety, I peered over his shoulder. He was working on a questionnaire; to be taken by whom, I had no inkling. These were few of the questions:

1) What is Brad Pitt’s highest grossing film?

2) Arrange the following films in the decreasing order of their box office receipts: Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen.

3) a) Pineapple Express isn’t one of Seth Rogen’s top 10 grossing films. True or false. b) Can the same be said of Jonah Hill and Wolf of Wall Street?

4) What story do the box office collections of the Spider Man trilogy tell you?

5) Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Which actress’ highest grossing film is that?

“I know the answer to the last one,” I said, by way of hello. “Well, good. I would have felt sorry for you otherwise,” he replied.

Fast Five

Miscarriage of Justice

A: We should go to Cape Canaveral. There’s a shuttle launch.
B: But it’s five hours away.
A: We can take the jet.
B: It’s five hours away by jet.
A: I’ll fly.
B: It’s not that I mind flying, I can’t leave the State.
A: You have to change your lawyer, man. One drunken brawl and you can’t leave the State? Talk about miscarriage of justice.
B: Let’s do something closer to home.
A: We can volunteer to read books for the blind kids…
B: I’d rather make a donation. That gives me an idea. I should ask my lawyer if donations count towards community service.

The Lottery

X: Fifty bucks if you know what ‘It follows’ is.
D: Fifty bucks? I can’t even get my shirt ironed for that. I say, raise.
X: Can’t, man. My accountant says I shouldn’t bet more than fifty a pop.
D: Stop being such a conformist. That selfish bastard is probably looking out for his salary.
X: Actually, he works for us pro bono. There was this lottery that I won, and the prize was a free accountant.
D: That’s rad, bro… Isn’t Bono the lead singer of U2?
X: Yes, they call it pro bono because of him.
D: Hmm, that makes sense. Must be like how they got carte blanche from Cate Blanchett.
X: Dude, we should totally go see Cinderella.
D: Can’t go unless we are accompanied by a girl. The theatre won’t let us in otherwise.
A: Let’s hire an escort. My dad gets a discount.

The one with the Gun (short)

C: Shit shit shit, I’ve got an exam in an hour and gun to my head, I know nothing. Nada. What have I been doing the whole semester? Or even the past week? Or even yesterday? Why do I always have to wake up with no bullets in the middle of a gunfight?
L: Just shave and tuck-in your shirt. You’ll be fine. Mama always said that, God bless her soul.
C (exasperated): Did someone put a bullet in her head? Please tell me someone put a bullet in her head.

New York Herald Tribune

M: There are two kinds of people in this world- those who watch and those who do. All you ever do is watch and write about movies. I am so sick and tired of you and your movie outings. If it’s a Truffaut film festival this week, it’s Godard the next. And your bucket list is just as pathetic- Toronto film festival and Cannes? Don’t you have any desire to actually do something?
T: Like jump out of a plane or ski down a mountain?
M: Exactement. Admiration is the only verb you seem to be familiar with.
T (throwing up his arms):  You certainly never mind when I make YOU the object of my admiration.
M (glaring): I want someone who is capable of things more than mere admiration. I would appreciate it if you can vacate the apartment. I am done living with someone who lives the life of an imprisoned and invalid old man. Oh, and take that fucking Breathless poster with you. I am sick and tired of having to compete against that New York Herald Tribune-selling-French-speaking-American-accented whore.
T: I am going to pretend you never said that- for the sake of your own dignity. Also, that’s the second time you have used the phrase ‘sick and tired’ in this conversation. You should maybe work on your adjectives.


Time’s Arrow

(PS: If you can’t make heads and tails of this piece, google the title.)

D: It literally has conversations that go like this.
E: Well, why haven’t I heard of this before? I love such wacky stuff!
D: For the trapped person, who’s our narrator, it’s like watching an entire movie by pressing the rewind button.
E: Whaat!
D: Strictly speaking, it’s nothing more than the biography of an ordinary man, but it’s written from the perspective of a different person who’s trapped inside the man and experiences that life backwards.
E: No, should I? What’s it about?
D: Have you read the Martin Amis novel called ‘Time’s Arrow’?


Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What do you mean a girl keeps poking you on Facebook.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: We’ve all been there.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Can I poke her?
Daryl: It’s a free country.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: It’s all in your head.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Does your girlfriend know?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What if it’s a test?
Daryl: Aww man, I hate tests.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I don’t use Facebook.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Do I know her mother?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Hope she’s on the pill.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: You sure it’s a girl? Why would a girl be interested in you? Even your profile pic isn’t of you.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Does she want a relationship?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Maybe she has daddy issues.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What does a poke even mean?
Daryl: No one knows.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Tell me something I don’t know.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: TMI.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: When can I meet her?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Seek forgiveness.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: C’est la vie.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What does it matter? In the end, we’re all dead.

Ramesh: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Suresh: Je baat, party kab de raha hai?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Woo, poke her back.
Daryl: I’ve already did. We’ve been doing it for over a month now.
Damien: Did you at least take her out for dinner first?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she fit though?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Are you her dealer?

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: You’ve got the upper-hand, bro.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: That’s just what girls do.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she into God?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I’m going out. Do you want anything?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: May the force be with you.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Is she on Instagram?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Better poked than not poked.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What if she’s a Russian spy?

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: Mazel Tov.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: I didn’t know you had a Facebook account.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Swipe to the right, man. Swipe to the right.

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: Should I save a date?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Do the Turing test.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: A poke in need is a poke indeed.

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: My man’s about to get laid. Give me 5!

Daryl: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Damien: What if it was by mistake? 10 bucks she’s going to delete her account within the next 5 minutes.

Ramesh: A girl poked me on Facebook.
Suresh: Ja beta, jee le apni zindagi.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: What’s her major?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Can we have a menage a trois?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Will I be your best man?

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Big deal. My little brother keeps getting poked all the time, and he’s gay.

Daryl: A girl keeps poking me on Facebook.
Damien: Why are you telling me this?

Damien:  How many pokes have you two lovebirds notched up?
Daryl: 162 and counting.
Damien (lets out a whistle): Aren’t you worried about being harassed in the future? She can use this as evidence against you.
Daryl: Evidence for what?
Damien: Did you at least get a prenup?
Daryl: A prenup for pokes on Facebook? You crazy, bro?

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum:

Sharon: ……
Tate: Hey, what’s up?
Sharon: Nothing, just browsing.


The classical Greek philosopher Plato is renowned for his Dialogues, none of which revolve around getting poked on Facebook.

Brooklyn based hip hop artist Jay-Z uses the line “No one knows” in his seminal ‘Niggas in Paris.’

162* is the highest ODI score of the author’s favorite cricketer.

Sharon Tate was one of the victims of the Manson family.

The author himself doesn’t know what’s up with this post. (Nah, I’m kidding. I know very well what this is about.)




Of Emotions and Superstitions

Yesterday was Jessica Chastain’s birthday. I took that as a sign. I didn’t think bad things could happen. I believed they’d win. Every time it looked like it was slipping, I forced myself to remember that it was her birthday and that things would end alright.

I am a man of superstitions when it comes to rooting for my favorites. I believe I can influence the outcome by what I do or don’t. I have a routine for Djokovic and I have a routine for the Proteas. The routine for the Proteas is pretty simple. Unlike the one for Djokovic, it can be carried out anywhere. It simply involves being optimistic about their chances. I started off well yesterday but then bludered by first complaining during the rain-break and then by downplaying their chances over a phone call with 5 overs to go. Who knows what would have happened had I kept the faith and been stronger. AB and the boys could well have been having the times of their lives right now. I should apologize for their pain. (PS: Don’t be alarmed, this is an intro to “How Superstitions Work 101.”)

There won’t be an expert analysis or a postmortem report. I won’t scrutinize their decisions or remark upon their follies. I will not speak about the weather or construct a historical narrative. I shall not criticize. I shall try to be warm. This is a new thing for me. So you know, I am going to have to crawl before I am able to walk.

That post on the other blog stemmed out of a dark place, from the need/weakness to be right. I am ashamed of those posts. When you take your child to a track event, you don’t gather all the other parents around and start telling them about the weaknesses you’ve noticed in your child and explain why you think he/she won’t come first. You just support them. And be ridiculously proud of them irrespective of the result. You don’t criticize your child’s efforts. You pat them on the back and take them out for ice-cream.

I was the biggest ass this side of Kim Kardashian when I made a list of all their weaknesses and published it to show off my knowledge of them. Of course I know them, they’re my children. The parent-child analogy has gone too far? (Ego says mention that you mentioned Grant Eliot in that post.)

AB said something to the effect of “this wasn’t for us but for the fans back home. Wish they’re proud of us.” Well, duh. You mean more to us than the results. Who are we to criticize when you’re giving it all while we ourselves don’t even show the slightest bit of passion in our own pursuits? If anything, you’re our heroes, our inspiration. You make us want to be better versions of ourselves. We are just parents watching from the sidelines. You make us want to cry with pride.

About AB: the way he chose to bring himself on in a semifinal, the way he was willing to put himself out there on the biggest stage and put his hand up to do something he isn’t very adept at, while we spend our days shying away from much lesser challenges- Oh my god! He’s the best of us, and not just at batting.

Couldn’t think of a better way to end this Jessica Chastain themed post than with a Jessica Chastain themed quote: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”


Me and the opposite sex

Adam: Did you know that Hyenas roam the streets of Addis Ababa the way dogs roam our impoverished neighborhoods? Can you imagine being in a situation where you are walking down a street of your city at night and a pack of rabid Hyenas goes screaming past you?

Eve: Hmm, I am never going to that place.

Adam: You should really make time to listen to BBC’s From Our Own Correspondents podcast. It’s amazing.

Eve: My boyfriend sucks. I asked him for a new handbag, and he said he couldn’t. Could you get me a new handbag? We could go shopping together! ;)


A: Hey, wassup?

E: Just looking at some of the photos from the Ukraine protests. They’re so beautiful.

A: I didn’t know you were into geopolitics. Am a big fan of geopolitics.

E: Oh, a friend sent me the link.

A: The Western media likes to make a big fuss to further the geo-strategic cause of their nations. Like in the Syrian crisis, the number of displaced is 2.5 mn. It sounds like a lot but when you compare to the 100mn Chinese who were displaced as a result of the Japanese invasion during the WWII, it doesn’t seem like a lot, does it?

E: :)

A: I am not saying I am more perceptive than the Western media but sometimes I get the feeling that I am more wedded to truth and neutrality than they are.

E: Hmm


E: What are you doing up so late? :O

A: Waiting for the game to start. These daylight savings are ruining my beauty sleep, I must say.

E: Daylight what? Can’t you find anything more worthwhile than staying up to watch soccer?

A: Like chatting with a boyfriend? :P

E: You don’t know how to talk to a lady. Take some tips from your little brother.

A: And it’s not soccer, it’s FOOTBALL!

E: Whatever.


A: Hey there, want to go see a movie this week? You might not like it but it’s going to be really good.

E: Who’s in it?

A: That’s immaterial. Fincher directed it.

E: Fincher?

A: Yeah, Fight Club.

E: Yuck! I’d rather go see Our Faults in the Stars.

A: Seriously? That movie’s got an 8% rating on the tomatometer.

E: I don’t care what this tomamameter is. I just loved the book.

A: Are you kidding me? That book’s downright terrible.

E: Snob.

A: Oh lord, When will these masses learn to respect their entertainment and come to appreciate true quality?

E: It’s just entertainment dude. Chill the fuck down.

A: I take it you are the type of person who texts during a movie?

E: Yeah, I have to let my friends know about how boring the Fincher movie is.

A: You are a piece of trash, you know that?

E: Bye darling. You are not worthy of my time.


E: Aww, I just got gifted this cute new puppy for my birthday.

A: Happy Birthday!

E: You didn’t wish me since morning?!

A: That’s right. I don’t get this celebrating birthdays fad.

E: How’s being miserable coming along?

A: It’s so darn wonderful. You should try it sometime.

E: I am really enjoying this conversation.

A: The person who gifted you that puppy, all they want is for you to feel miserable 12 years down the line. Think of it as a down payment.

E: I am going to go bang my head against a wall. Brb.


//The names Adam and Eve are a nod to the movie Only Lovers Left Alive starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton.

//The reason for this post is this.


Vous Parlez

On a Delta Airlines flight from Dallas to Des Moines, sitting next to each other are a late-twenties Indian looking guy and an early thirties Chinese looking guy. The Chinese looking guy is absorbed in his Wall Street Journal and is minding his own business, the Indian looking guy is having trouble keeping his head still. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was his job to memorise all the faces of his co-passengers. But he’s got that excitement about him, so it couldn’t be work. He may be visiting Des Moines for the first time inspired by what Jack Kerouac had to say about the girls of Des Moines. I would have been just as excited in that scenario, but no, he doesn’t have the face of a person who’s into books; everyone’s into looks. He has the face of a person who lives an unexamined life.

I: Say, may I have the sports page?

C: Excuse me?

I: Ah, nevermind.

I: I recently spent a month in China, away on work. I was analyzing the pollution levels, you see. I work for the Environmental agency here and they sent a few of us over there to see just how bad they’ve got it. Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed about it, about the pollution in Chinese cities. I guess you don’t read the New York Times, seeing how you’re reading the Wall Street Journal. Anyway, I explored quite a lot of your country. I visited some 15 of the 22 provinces. Pretty extensive, right? Now tell me, which part of China you are from and be amazed by how much I know about your place. I don’t mean to embarrass you with my depth of knowledge but that’s a possible side-effect.

C: Pardon?

I: I was asking which part of China you’re from..

C: (sternly) I am from Virginia.

I: (thinks for a while) Damn, I am sorry. This is so typical, isn’t it?

C: (dismissively) It isn’t, actually.

I: Well, it is. You think you are an expert in a subject, you boast about it, and then bam! you are knocked out cold in the first round. There’s always this little thing you somehow look over, and when the moment of reckoning arrives, that little thing comes up and brings down the whole edifice.

C: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I: Virginia! Which part of China that I overlooked is it in?

C: *blank stare*

I: I’m just kidding with you. I know where Virginia is. You from the CIA?

Cut to black.

//The challenge was to convert a little joke into a little blogpost. Does Delta airlines operate between Dallas and Des Moines? Je ne sais pas.




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