Arctic monkey

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If I sing No Dames in a room full of women will they know enough to be offended?

White boys be like close that front door, you’re going to let in the cold; black boys be like close that front door, you’re going to let in the flies.

Getting up is a struggle. Some use coffee to get over it, I rely on twitter, and Oscar Isaac recommends a humanoid: “She wakes you right up, doesn’t she?.”

It was the night of the Iowa caucus and the morning of the day after. Bernie was giving Hillary a run for her money over there and it was also a day for polling over here.  I was more familiar with the names and promises of the candidates in the other country’s elections than those of my own locality’s. For that reason, I felt justified enough to not exercise my right to vote.

A decision that incidentally is much frowned upon these days. By afternoon, I put the spin on it and was going around saying, more to myself than (to?) anyone else, that my not voting was a form of protest. It was a protest against the lack of power of the municipalities, it was a protest for meaningful decentralization of power. It’s not apathy, it’s concern. It’s not irresponsibility, it’s sending a message. (When teens exhibit reckless behavior in movies, doesn’t the movie psychiatrist always interpret it as teens sending a message?) The low voter turnout was going to be a message, not that we didn’t care about democracy but that the elections you are holding are a sham. I almost wrote a letter to the newspaper editor, to help them see the real reason behind the low turnout.

x—-x—-x—-x

There must be something you want to do, something you love, something you’ve imagined yourself doing, something you’ve dreamt of. Don’t judge its viability and measure its possibility. Don’t dismiss it as a castle in the sky. Tell me, tell me your innermost desire. Let go of the fear of being judged, don’t be so afraid of being vulnerable. I’m not here to judge, I’m only here to help you. I’ve heard you say you are not interested in any of the conventional paths. I’m assuming you think they’re small time ambitions. That’s fine, having big dreams is good. I’ve always believed that if your dreams don’t scare you, then you’re not aiming high enough. So tell me, tell me about your aim.

My aim, as you put it professor, is to make people feel so insecure in my presence that they start reeling off their achievements for no rhyme or reason. I want them fabricating  experiences. I want them stretching the truth. I want them shining turds. I want them yearning for my praise and I want them seeking my validation. I want it so everyone wants to impress me.

Are you saying you wish to be an MBA school?

Hush professor, you’ve said your piece. Now let me say mine. I want people to wonder why they were being so obsequious to me once I’ve moved on, I want them to not understand their overpowering need to impress me. I want them feeling like I’m their all-powerful boss, even though I’m not. The feeling I want to invoke is purer, something straight from Colombia.

But why?!

Because that’s power! Some people gain access to it on the back of their Benjamins and some get it through their vocation but I want it just for being.

Wait, are you saying you don’t want to earn power but BE power? Does that even make sense?

I’ve already warned you once, professor. Do not interrupt me while I’m speaking. Stop being so much in love with your own voice. I can see you were very shy and quiet as a kid but now’s not the time or the place to play catch up. I beseech you, for your own safety. Keep your trap shut. Now give me a nod so that I may continue.

The professor nods.

We leave the room.

x—-x—-x—-x

Let me tell you the story of how a woman with a great ass made two guys act social towards each other. Well, there’s nothing more to say actually- that’s pretty much it.

The passing game

Would you like to go sailing?
I don’t know, I can’t swim.
You’ll be fine, I’ll get you a life jacket.

Would you like to go for a drive?
I don’t know, I can’t drive.
What do you mean you can’t drive? Everyone I know is either over 18 and driving legally or under 18 and driving illegally.

Would you like to dance?
I don’t know. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t dance to THIS music.
Ok, what kind of music do you dance to? We can put that on.
The kind no one else dances to? Please don’t ruin the evening for others on my account. Look at them. They definitely like this music. Don’t change it… on my account. I’m fine just standing by myself.

In fact, acting lonely and bored is my favorite trick to pull at social gatherings. You wouldn’t believe the amount of pleasure I derive from being a sore thumb.

There are two kinds of socializing; one that leaves you drained and one that leaves you energized. I’m sad to say but this is of the former variety. I can’t wait to go back home and regret coming here.

You look awfully lonely. Would you like something to drink? Name your poison.
I shouldn’t, really. I am just out of rehab.

It’s too bright in here, if only it were darker. The number of people isn’t right. It seldom is. There are always either too many or too few. In this case, there are too few. There aren’t enough attractive people.

There are too many attractive people. Attractive people make me self-conscious.

I am too tall, I can’t get lost in the crowd like everyone else. What others see as a blessing, I see as a curse. That’s my superpower. Natural talent is nothing but an albatross around the neck.

I don’t like being the center of attention. I don’t know how the actors do it. I’m thinking I should join an acting class. I could be the next De Niro and shit, you never know.

Would you like a drink?
I shouldn’t, I’m expecting.
Haha, very funny.

Hey Tommy, come over here. We’ve got a funny one.
(Tommy comes over) Go on then, tell us a joke.
My name Jeff.

Tommy: Give us another one.
I try to post on Facebook at least once every two weeks because if I don’t the rights revert back to Marvel.

(Would you like to live?
I don’t know. I’m not immortal.)

 

Learning French via Kendrick

Martin avait un reve
Martin avait un reve
Kendrick avoir un reve

Toute ma vie je veux de l’argent et le pouvoir
respecter mon esprit ou mourir de la douche de plomb
Je prie ma verge obtenir grand que la tour Eiffel
donc je peux foutre du monde pendant soixante-dix deux heures

Putain je me sens incroyable, putain je suis dans la matrice
mon esprit vit sur un nuage neuf et ce neuf est jamais en vacances
Demarre ce Maserati et vroom vroom, Je cours
de prendre des pilules dans le hall et je prie qu’ils ne trouvent pas nue
et je vous prie de negros hait, tireurs aller apres Judas
Jesus Christ si je vis ma vie sur mes genoux, ne sont pas pas besoin de faire cela
gggarer en face de Leuders, a cote de cette Church’s Chicken
tous les laches est perdants, tous mes negros sont gagnants, hurlant

Toute ma vie je veux de l’argent et le pouvoir
respecter mon esprit ou mourir de la douche de plomb
Je prie ma d*** obtenir grand que la tour Eiffel
donc je peux foutre du monde pendant soixante-dix deux heures

This is just the first verse from Kendrick’s ‘Backseat Freestyle’ which you can listen to here, and find the English lyrics here.

(Before you get any ideas and form any opinions, let me say I relied on google translate. My French is barely beginner. Salut, au revoir, bonjour, around that level.)

 

Continued coverage from Syria

Assad doesn’t pose a threat to the wider world. Assad is open to political dialogue. ISIS’s stated goal is to bring about an apocalypse, naturally there’s no negotiating with them. They can only be defeated on the battlefield. Assad, on the other hand, has time and again indicated his willingness to sit down for talks. Assad has as little interest in seeing the world burn as you and I. The members of ISIS would kill their own mothers if they thought that would bring about the end of the world.

Given this background, you’d think the self-proclaimed leaders of the human civilization would do the rational thing and have their priorities straight vis a vis Assad and ISIS. But boy, ain’t that naive!

They don’t want to talk with Assad, they just want him gone. They say this is because of the crimes he’s committed against his own countrymen but even the slightest bit of reading reveals how they’re usually perfectly fine in having as allies and even exporting weapons to countries brutally suppressing their own civilians. So that moral indignation they’re putting on?, it’s just a big pile of elephant shit. And only a noob who doesn’t know his history will fall for that. Tough luck, self-proclaimed leaders of the free world- some of us can see that the emperor has no clothes.

Only reason they won’t talk with Assad is that he isn’t *their bastard*. Only if Assad was Erdogan and the people he was suppressing were Kurds, or he was Saddam and the people he was suppressing were Shias. Then they wouldn’t have had a problem, they would’ve invited him for lavish state dinners.

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks, it looked like the greatest nation on Earth and its allies would finally get their priorities straight. They made noises suggesting they were open to cooperating with Russia and that even before Assad, ISIS had to go. But surprise surprise, only a few days on they were like “Cooperate with Russia? Only over our ISIS bullets- riddled bodies!”

With the shooting down of the Russian jet, Turkey has gone beyond mere non-cooperation- it is now actively thwarting Russia from operating in Syria. Turkey, the country which kept its border with Syria open so that jihadists from all over the world could enter Syria with minimum hassle.  Turkey, the country which sat back and looked on with glee as ISIS pummeled Kurdish cities. Turkey, the country whose President vilified and started a full-blown civil war with its minorities to win parliamentary majority. Turkey, a proud member and indispensable part of NATO, one for which the US is contractually obliged to go into war.

Turkey: Syria :: Pakistan: Afghanistan.

As for the Turkish argument that Russia was bombing its allies in Syria instead of ISIS, why the fuck does the Free Syrian Army still exist? Why are Assad’s military and these Syrian rebels in a war with each other while ISIS is running around establishing caliphates? Why do the western nations continue to arm these disorganized and poorly trained rebels in the hope of overthrowing Assad knowing there’s a high chance of most of these weapons eventually falling into the arms of ISIS? Why are they so obsessed with Assad?

Assad going will be a big blow to the likes of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia. And that will make the likes of Saudi Arabia and Israel and hawks from the cold war era very happy indeed but shouldn’t terrorism trump geopolitical considerations at least for a little while? Apparently not. The hegemon knows the best after all. They want their geopolitical gains goddammit, the Syrian people can go to hell and ISIS? ISIS can be dealt with later on as well, chances to overthrow the Assad regime and break the Shia coalition’s back don’t come around too often. Or so goes the memo in the Pentagon.

We need to talk about the sectarian rift

Stop simply calling them bombings of Beirut and Baghdad. Be a bit more specific. Call them for what they are. Call them concerted sectarian killings of Shias. At a time when Shias are being persecuted as vehemently as Jews were in another, it becomes our duty to acknowledge the fact, to throw a semblance of a spotlight upon it. It’s the least we can do.

Those Muslim clerics calling for peace would do more good and be more useful if they were to just declare and accept Shias as Muslims. This Saudi-Iran Sunni-Shia conflict is even more embedded than the Israel-Palestine conflict, how else would you explain Saudi and Israel ganging up on Iran?

The Sunni-Shia conflict, like any battle between ideologies, is a major detriment to world peace. Would the situation in Syria have deteriorated as much had Iran and Saudi not had their own agendas? Assad and his Russian backers were willing to strike a deal early on but the Americans and Saudis were unwilling to strike up any deal with Assad, simply because he was an Alawite and close to Iran and Russia. These crusaders for freedom and democracy didn’t give a damn about the Syrian people, they just wanted the “Shia axis” broken. So, from that moment on the West and the Gulf monarchies with a little bit of help from Turkey got busy funneling weapons and resources to whoever willing to fight Assad. Many of these weapons unsurprisingly ended up in the hands of ISIS because that’s what happens when you arm militias. Now, France too was part of the Western coalition that backed Assad’s opponents, and thereby to a certain degree responsible for the clusterfuck in Syria. And when the refugees borne out of this ill-advised interruption and escalation turned up at the European borders, those in the know termed it a case of the chicken coming home to roost. The refugees were what the Europeans reaped for the crisis they deepened. Maybe if America was reachable by boats, the Yankees would be a little less arrogant about stirring up shit?

What happened in Paris has nothing to do with refugees of course. They are both victims. Anyone saying otherwise has a political party that wins votes when people feel xenophobic. What happened in Paris is what’s been happening to Shias at the hands of intolerant Wahhabism. Wahhabism holds that anyone not a Wahhabi is an infidel and deserves to die. The Saudis love to spread this message and fund madrassas around the world for this purpose. Teaching hatred it seems is a basic tenet of Wahhabism. I am not saying that all madrassas are bad, I am just saying that every madrassa connected with Wahhabism is bad.

In a world straining under the violence caused by extremist Sunni groups, it is the Shias who act like canaries in a coal mine. A world where Shias are safe is a world where all of us are safe.

Going back to Paris, it’s natural that some of us feel a tighter bond with Paris than with Beirut or Baghdad or any other city, for that matter. Paris after all is a modern day civilizational beacon. A city so iconic, not even the Nazis could bring themselves to bomb it. They had no trouble bombing London.

People who look at Paris just as a western city where white people reside are betraying their cultural ignorance. They don’t know what it is to be human. Paris is the best of us. Paris should always be the last city standing. Protect Paris. Be outraged for Paris. Hurl yourself in harm’s way for Paris!

This has been a fifth grade production.

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.

Regards,
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!

Jim

“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.

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