Thursday, October 29, 2009

A 'Wednesday'

Mid-week + existential crisis + consultant + 'secret ingredient' = below

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Adventures of Debacle Darwin

Read Chapter 1 here

Chapter 2: Wake up and smell the space junk

When Darwin was 2 years old, the world ended.


Earth, with its living billions visited the dark hole of oblivion, teetered on the edge, swayed back and forth, did a few takes and came back. While it was a turning point for earth itself, all it did was provide a few minutes of good drama for the rest of the universe. The solar system caught the action live. Mars would brag years later how he had the front row seating but would remain a little disappointed over sun charring his pop-corn. The rest of the universe caught the action ethereally, some several million light years before it even happened.

The event was the anticipated collision of a magnificent comet, perhaps lead astray by bad childhood, heading for a self-destructive kamikaze run towards earth. Kloe was a beautiful one, with flowing golden mane of dust and ice, long natural curves and a penchant for speed. But she had no qualms about dying, nor killing.

Earth trembled and stood petrified. The living billions on it panicked. Humans and their super-sized egos were left to invent what they were good at - something that would have a very large destructive power; something that would distract Kloe from french-kissing the Earth. They called it the super bomb and the best brains huddled together to create it, ably distracted and slowed down by bumbling bureaucrats, politicians, religious groups, comet-rights activists and news reporters.

The super bomb was built quickly; A sharp strobe of laser, that would smash the comet to smithereens. Earth waited with bated breath. The lions of savannah rose from their majestic sleep and wiped the stinking drool off their mouth; The Bengal tigers stopped running stood hand in hand with their poachers; The penguins in the arctic wished to climb onto a tall and majestic glacier to watch the spectacle but couldn't find one. It was the single largest spectacle the earth had witnessed and no one was going to miss it. It was so big that polar bears almost decided to come back from extinction just to watch it. What did they have to lose. It was massive for everyone. Well, almost everyone. The cockroaches didn't care much.They had seen it all when the dinosaurs had been annihilated

The whole world awaited while a bunch of mad scientists put together a contraption that hardly looked anything 'super'. Wires coming out here, large coils there, sparks flying around, it looked like something from the scrap yard. Global attention flustered the poor scientists. The lions began to shake their heads in disgust while the cockroaches sniggered silently. And just when it seemed like the humans would face the biggest embarrassment of their existence, the strobe lit up. A bright red beam shot up - there was some political wrangling over the color of the beam
but consensus was achieved in the end - hit the comet and blasted it to smithereens.

The earth breathed a sigh of relief but immediately choked in the dust and rock from the comet. As earth sputtered and coughed, the humans had a new task at hand - clean up all the comet junk floating around them.

And so, as Darwin grew up, the most popular job in town (earth, rather) was that of a garbage man - albeit in space.

(Next chapter Chapter 3 - May the space 'junkies' rest in peace)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Adventures of Debacle Darwin

2070 AD

Sometime late in the year 2050 AD, human race entered its golden era. In 2070 AD, it was perhaps at its peak. Homo sapiens had reached a level of sentience that allowed them to flourish. The air was pure and the rivers clear. Food was plentiful. People didn’t wage wars. The gods and devils had gone to sleep and lived on in the pages of fantasy and Goth. The new symbols of worship were large and white; dome shaped monoliths that rose into the clear skies imposingly. Inside these modern mosques, atoms accelerated only to fatally end in a jihad in the heart of nuclei whose split gave birth to energy which in turn evolved and flowed like blood through the power veins of the sprawling metropolis. Sentient bots were faithful slaves who did everything from washing clothes to assembling machines, catering to driving, cleaning to teaching, banking to selling. They built more sentient bots.

Humans, then, were left pursuing art and pleasure. They pondered about science and cosmos. And from this great Darwinian mess, emerged some existential questions. Leave a man alone to his thoughts for some time, and a million questions would emerge. Many not worthy of a pursuit for an answer. But some were existential. Even less were profound. But questions all the same. And ever since the day man shed his simian ignominy and found new incredible uses for the opposable thumb, his questions needed answering - The law of human pursuit.

But man became lazy. Too lazy, to find his own answers. In every man’s laziness, though, lies an incredible business opportunity.

Chapter 1: “Answering questions since 2050”

Darwin was groggy and sleep deprived as he shuffled into the teleporter. His mood was nasty and his eyes bleary. He had spent the whole of last night tossing in his sleep pad, thinking about what he was going to say to the man he was meeting today. And by morning, he was nowhere close to a good speech than he was the night before. Muttering angrily under his breath, he started punching in the co-ordinates in his teleporter. The soft backlit keypad sang seductively under his touch.

"Please enter your charge code", a smooth digitized female voice insisted.

"fu**", Darwin muttered and quickly punched in the charge code that would capture the teleportation expense as the teleporter slowly vapourised….


Darwin stood in line at Kuku's breakfast and cafe to get his morning fix of caffeine. The bot servicing his queue seemed to be especially slow in processing orders today.

"Common!", Darwin snarled,"get your fu**ing act together. Its just a fu**ing cup of coffee".

The other people around him shot him shocked and strange glances.

When his turn came, Darwin shot the bot an ugly snarl as he plucked his coffee from her hands and hurried back to the nearest teleporter. A portly woman beat him to it and tucked herself into it. Darwin stared, confused and angry. He wanted to strangle her.

"You should be taking a space ship, not a teleporter!", Darwin muttered under his breath as he found the next teleporter and clambered in and entered in his charge code.

He sighed deeply. The incredible smell of the coffee in his hand was slowly improving his mood already. Savoring the smell, he took a sip from his cup. Winced. Spit. He had forgotten sugar. As his face contorted into an ugly snarl the teleporter slowly vapourised…


When he reached Frong Atomizers Inc., Darwin was pissed, nervous and sweating. He stood at the company's transfer portal holding his bitter coffee, waiting for his colleagues. At Frong, it was a busy day, as usual. All around him, bots dressed in smart business attire (a long white robe) walked from their teleporters to respective work stations. They made small whirring and clicking sounds as they walked. The sound grated on Darwin’s already frayed nerves and he grit his teeth to stop from strangling the nearest bot as she walked past him with a big smile on her face.

Incidentally, Frong Atomizers was the largest manufacturer of teleporters in the world and Darwin was a die hard Frong teleporter fan. Ever since he was a kid who played Need for Speed: Rapid Dematerialization in which he would always play with the Frong X Series, he was in love with those mean machines. The smooth curves, the shiny metallic colors. Even as he stood there, he couldn’t help but let some of his childhood nostalgia creep as he saw the teleporters materialize in rapid succession. It was like witnessing a rapid poof poof of a magician as the slick little machines appeared and disappeared in front of his eyes.

The mood seemed to be getting better as a new teleporter materialized close to where he was standing. It looked a little different. Although it was another Frong teleporter, it did not look like the other public teleporters. This one had a big bright logo saying NL on the top and Neo-Light Consulting written beneath it. And below that in slanted font were written “Answering questions since 2030”. Darwin’s furrowed brows relaxed just a wee bit as the doors parted and out emerged three people: a woman, a rather pretty one at that, and two men – one a young cheerful just-out-of-college kid and the other a fairly old grumpy looking man. The woman, although he knew her, always made Darwin’s heart race. The kid pissed him off. And the grumpy old man made him feel good about himself.

“Morning Darwin”, the woman smiled.

“Morning”, Darwin replied and quickly turned to the other two for a curt nod of the head

“Lets roll”

(Chapter 2: Wake up and smell the space junk be continued...)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Race of Nations

I think we are reaching that time when nations cant take anymore of each other. Or rather certain nations cant take anymore of certain other nations. I am talking about this in the context of the recent attacks on Indians in Australia and the coming out the closet story of a young professional being attacked in london.  

I dont blame the those countries for any of it. Nor do i blame the Indians. There will always be some loon who has the crazy idea of whacking an indian. That doesnt mean the whole country is looking to start race attacks. Just like there will be a lecherous goon in the alleyways of delhi looking to rape the first firang he can set his eyes on. That doesnt make india a nation of rapers, does it? 

You want to call it race. Fine. But isnt any clash between nations just a fight of race. I guess this is the whole genesis of the concept of nations - race. Nations are nothing but races of people. So the next time you make a comment that generalizes an attribute across an entire nation, stop patting yourself in the back for not being a racist. When you call Australia a racist country, arent you being racist yourself? I am sure you are not referring to the scores of blacks and immigrants living across australia when you make that statement. Rather, your mind is most probably painted with the image of a beer guzzling, bulky white australian.So you are referring to a particular race of australians.  

Well, to set the record straight. I am a racist. You are too if you think, many pakistanis are scum and many australians are spoilt white snobs who cant bear the sight of a dimunitive dark sub-continental.

But we are transgressing. The point of my post was to point out other aspects that seem to be triggering a, what looks like, wave of hate crimes against Indians - London, US, Australia. It is racial attack, probably, in the sense that it was targeted at an Indian (a sub-continental probably) but it could well be an attack triggered by what the nation represents or what the nation stands for. 

You see, in many ways India is an aggressor.

I agree that we dont fly our jets over other countries dropping bombs like the United States. In fact, in terms of posturing our armed forces we are one of the weakest nations.We rarely use it as a point of leverage nor do we even issue threats to nations. We are a nation that follows the 'live and let live' policy sometimes (in the past) even going out of our way to help out weaker states. 

But we are intellectual aggressors. We invade jobs. We plunder opportunities. We take over more and more of the business of making wealth across various nations. 

We are cultural aggressors.The glamour and the glitz of indian culture pervades across societies and takes over. From the spicy curries to bollywood and music, it is seeping into all parts of foreign societies. The united states did it very effectively in their organized quest to become the greatest nation in this world. They marketed their culture and let it pervade into all other nations. Its a subtler form of conquest.An inside out approach. In the case of india one would think that it is less due to any concious marketing by the country(our government is too inept for that) but more due to the scores of ambassadors for this nation spread across the globe.

While there is no question that the first instance of intellectual aggresion would no doubt tend to leave a few pissed off firangs in its wake the second case of cultural aggression, one could argue, might actually bond people together - bring them closer. True, to most extent. But then there are always people closed to other cultures and other walks of life who wouldnt see it that way. Any infusion of foreign culture would be perceived as an act of taking over, dilution of the true american, english or australian way of life. (There are countless such saffron clad groups in india to whom any semblance of western culture is dilution of the true 'Indian'ness). These people would react with hatred - a natural response to a perceived aggresive act.

To sum it up the history of the world is always about nations trying to one-up each other in whatever way possible and the concept of a world where all nations work in peace for the betterment of the entire world is utopian. And, in this quest when a nation seems to begin to dominate certain aspects there is bound to be hatred and violence. You cannot become a powerful nation without being hated for it. Thats the fact of life. Perhaps, India is on the edge of that line. We may not be an economic superpower. We may not be an industrial superpower. But we are at the cusp of becoming an intellectual and cultural superpower if not one already. 

And it scares people.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tales from the black hole - part 1

The man who stole the smiles.....

We are trying out a new routine at the office these days. We start our days at 8 and end them at 7.Working lunch. Quick coffee breaks.  The works. 

Why? So we can have a life in the evening. Stop the 'Burning out' from happening. Have a healthy life style. Do other things like spend time with girl friends, babies, dogs, So we can grow to become strong consultants with multi-faceted capabilities!


Until now, you may not have truly understood the irony in all this. I am sure you couldn’t appreciate the sardonic humor of our daily office existence either. Fortunately for you, it is my fault. It is in my inability to construct coherent tales - relevant context at the start,  an intrigue to start things off and the unraveling in the end - wherein lies the genesis of your ignorance. 

To begin to understand the joke you would have to be introduced to an additional variable. Another parameter that makes this a np hard problem. The villain of this piece. 

So, let me continue with the beginning; From the start this time.

Think of it like an old western. It isn’t really that hard to picture the office as a barren desert. In one corner is an old saloon - a favorite haunt. The locals called it Madonna. The origins of the name no one knew. But legends did float abound. Those stories are for another day. In Madonna, there is laughter and bonhomie. At this point i would request you to be just a wee bit imaginative and make up a nice little guitar riff for the background - probably a melancholic tune. Maybe some old man singing of roads not taken or the general idea thereabouts. Now the music shifts. Slowly. The strumming gets deeper. Faster. Maybe a little menacing. 

Conversations cease.

The doors separate. There he stands. The most feared bad-ass of our lands. The man whose infamy preceded him. No one even knew his real name. He was known by a two-letter abbreviation made of the letter D. A common story was that he stole people's smiles and that the two letters indicated that. He did seem to have stolen the smiles around the room as he stands with his hands on his holster..err...pockets. 

His strength and armory is intimidating. A small paunch punctuates his muscular frame. His eyes are armed with glasses that don’t miss a single little detail. Above all, his

Vocabulary had the toxicity to deafen his enemies. His mouth worked like a greedy gold digger of the gold rush days.  

Fool's gold, maybe. But the real question was -  who is the fool?  

to be continued... 

Friday, January 23, 2009

2015 AD: The un-poem

If you have reached here, comment on the post to receive your clue

Its they who have won,
that mighty Euro, they 
fell them, their 
blood spilled, dust

Its they who have won,
from the west to
the near east from
northern trip to

Its they who have won,
but civilizations have died,
freedom suffocated,
culture denied,

Its they who have won,
all but the final battle,
one city resists,
them maniacs,

Its they who have won,
those religious fanatics,
the souless terrorists,
the jihadis,

Its they who have won, 
who were just animals,
who spread across,
like infection,

Its they who have won,
except one final battle,
as humanity watches 
nervously, the nightmare

thinking about it now...

this will probably be more well recived in a radiohead'esque rendition...i am almost imagine yorke crooning the lines...

satan is passe....jihadis are in...


An old fool's rant

I had written this a long time ago...dunno why it didnt make it into the blog until now...

"Spirals. And boxes too. That's what they have over on the plateau. Don't be scared. It ain't one of those scary multi coloured spiral infinites. Besides, they have birds too. Those cute fluffy ones - multi-hued and chirpy. The predators are there too but they mostly lurked in the darker hours. Coming back to the point of the spiral, the one I am talking about is nothing like what you are expecting. How do I know what are thinking, I hear you asking. Well, lets just say that yours ain't the first dark mind I am encountering. In fact, dark is a redundant qualifier when it comes to human mind. The organ is so infinitely complex that sooner or later it is bound to churn up a combination of impulses that cross the boundary of what is popularly perceived as sanity. Who defined sanity anyway. It is just another one of those over hyped behavioral assumptions we often make. So don't be offended when I naturally assume that your mind is even now filled with dark psychedelic patterns of spirals zooming in and out. But I assure you, these spirals are different. I cannot quite put it in words. Ever had the most amazing visual in your mind which you couldn't express. Happens all the time? Yeah I've been there as well. Hell, I am there right now for my mind is filled with such rich visuals which I am unable to quite put in words. Its moments like these you realize how uni-dimensional words are. They box your thoughts within grammar, symbols and sequence. Talking of boxes, they have that too over at the plateau. No, no don't be scared, I am not talking about caskets. I am not talking about bunkers as well. But then thinking about it, you may need some bunkers there. Why, you ask me? Well I can see your face twitching with concern. Don't worry, its all good. Bunkers are just for some emergency which will never happen. Its like preparing for a nuclear disaster. You know its never going to come. I should probably talk to the minister about a bunker up there on the plateau. It will be a nice addition to the place - wont spruce up the landscape though. Which brings me back to the boxes. These boxes are basically habitats. Dull looking really but then they are there to serve a purpose and they do that effectively. Purpose is to provide a habitat?, you ask shrugging your shoulders in an understanding of the obvious. I nod wickedly and snicker a little as well. That's impolite isn't it? Well, what can I do.  That's just a habit of mine. Don't interpret it to mean anything else. The boxes are fine. You'll love them.

So what else is there on the plateau, you ask? Well, technically anything. Its pretty dynamic as well. The birds I talked about earlier, they are there all the time. But again, that's only for me and I am kind of a special person out there. I am what you would call an aborigine to the place. But there is so much of negative connotation attached to the word that I am very circumspect in using it. I can see that you have clarity of thought and appear well read as well so I am taking a risk here. Besides birds, there are children and music. For the more vain of you, there are intoxicants and women too. You should try our special drink called the - er ahem. I am not telling you. Whets the charm in telling everything right? There are women who will do things you cant see women do down there on earth. Ah! I see that I have captured your attention at last. That's all right - in my job I have seen many eyes widen with desire.... 'Besides how else will I pull people down there?'....

What? no....I didn't say anything. I see that you are suddenly looking very suspicious. Why,  you offend me you mortal. Don't I look trustworthy? Ask your friends who have known me for quite a while.  I am trustworthy and I say this: come with me to the plateau and I promise you an exciting life. Alright, you say? That's the spirit my boy! Do you want to join right now. I have free membership for the next 50 members - its a very good offer as well when you consider people would pay anything for getting access. I have to tell you this story. There was this lady, pretty charming gal she was with golden skin and blue eyes and a hair that's silky like a  - oh sorry, I drifted out. Where was I? Well, yeah this woman, she was so desperate to get to the plateau and of course, I was charming as ever as well. In any case, she wanted to taste the fruits and smell the air on the plateau that she screwed over her boy friend. She screwed him real good. So bad, it lasted for generations hence forth. But the good thing is she is now in the plateau and having a pretty good time as well. With me you ask? Well, I have moved on. My friend, I am a man with places to go and people to see. Interesting people like yourself to convince you to join me on my journey back to the plateau.

Where is the what? The form? Oh the membership form...yes yes of course, how stupid of me. You are itching to sign up and here I am ranting like an old fool. Well I am an old fool as you would have probably guessed from the way my hands shake as I hand out the pen for you to sign. But that's not just age. I get this way when new people sign up for the plateau. Watching their reaction and emotions when I they arrive is an experience I have been living for. How long? Oh boy, that's a naughty question. But I will forgive your dangerous curiosity and pretend you didn't ask that. Ah! There's your signature. Excellent.

Welcome son. Welcome to Hell. Oh and by the can take your place at that torture capsule over there...."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My Blackberry beeps. 

Groaning, i pull the device out of my pocket, and look at it. In the darkness, its whitish LED glow sends ripples of pain through my eyes before i can focus on the words in front of me. 10:38 PM, the small digital clock on the screen reads. Small notices, of new mails in my inbox, flash in the corner of the screen. Someone has left me a voice message as well. My to do list flashes brightly, with several 'incompletes', like a glowing testament of my inefficiency. My calender subtly reminds me that i am supposed to be in a conference call at the very moment.  

Damn it! I had totally blacked out. For nearly an hour... 

Somehow, I cannot bring myself to finding out what the mail was about or who was trying to reach me. The very thought, suffocates me. I close my eyes for a moment. Visions of hoardes of phone touting executives flash through my head. They are droning on and on about something and they are all approaching me, arms outstretched,  as if to strangle me. My breathing becomes visibly heavy and i realise a growing panic. I move the device away from me, almost as if being exposed to its rays can cause me severe brain damage. 

It feels good but for just a moment before the blackberry goes "beep!"

I begin to feel my hands start to shiver a bit and i drop the device onto the seat beside me. Beads of sweat begin to trickle over my forehead and neck and i struggle to breathe. "Beep", the blackberry goes again and i am now fighting for my breath. I gasp loudly. Loud enough for the driver to turn and look at me in concern. 

"Sir, are you all right?"

"Yes", I answer, not very convincingly. The driver turns away, not convinced of my answer. But he doesnt care. No one does, really.

The car continues to plough through the empty freeway. I look out through the tinted windows at far away lights inside homes. Probably, a family was having dinner. I feel alone. I am not really alone, am I. Alone is the state where you have only your thoughts to focus on. But i had more than just my thoughts. 

I consider the silent device lying face down on the seat near me and suddenly feel very silly.

What the hell was I doing? It was just a piece of silicon, plastic and metal that someone, a low wage worker leading a brutal existance, built, in some factory in China. How did it assume such a big personality that 30 years of my existance cant dominate it? I can choose how i use it, cant I?. What the hell was i now getting paranoid about, anyway. I ponder on this for a while and reach no real conclusions.

I pick up the blackberry as it beeps yet again. Another mail in. The little black devil vibrates in my hand as if it is mouthing an evil curse in morse code. I feel infected. A strange uneasy sensation passes through me accompanied by glimpses for my to dos and conference calls. I begin to shiver and drop the phone in the process. The chunky device thuds onto the soft carpeted floor of the car and rolls beneath my seat. I sit there feeling the futility of it all. Eventually the device would be the victor. As if to underline my point, the driver turns and announces "Sir, we are here"

Time to leave. And time to pick up the phone. 

I reach down, my fingers feeling the soft floor, trying to grab my phone; except i cannot find it! Seeing my plight, the driver switches on the light filling the inside of the car with an ugly yellow glow. I look around for the phone in vain. My hands reach under the dark depths of the seat, shivering with tension, as my fingers fail to close in on the cold lifeless form i was expecting. Flustered, i begin to rummage on the floor and under the seat. Not a trace. More confused than frustrated, i check my pockets again. No device. Finally, after nearly 15 minutes looking in vain, i give up. I instruct my driver to hand the device over when he finds it and walk back. 

I feel free. Liberated. The air around me richer. As i walk to my home, i realise that the streets are wet. It had been raining. There is a pleasant smell in the air. 

"Sir!", i halt. My heart sinking fast, i turn around. The driver is running toward me. His fists balled up, holding something. I know what it is. As he comes closer, the device gleams under the streetlamps. Its grinning its evil grin. 

"Found it!", the driver says, panting, happy as he hands it over gingerly, almost with reverence. He knows. He knows who his boss is. It isnt me; he knows. The Blackberry. He knows. 

But it was time. Time to show him who the boss was. 

I look at the blackberry; my mind conjures a million ways to establish my dominance right there. I could throw it way like an outfielder on a cricket ground. I could stamp on it like those over sized wrestlers. I could dissect it part by part, with the fiendish glee of hannibal lecter, and savour every moment of its distruction. I had to think fast. The driver has to see me do it. 

The phone rings; My client. Status update on the upcoming workshop? Urgent meeting? Query on the deliverable? 

May be i should just take this one final call.  It could be important. I can choose when i want to destroy the device. The driver is walking back now. I feel like a man who was on the cusp of getting out a deep dark precipice slipping back into it. My fingers arent holding any longer and i slip back into the abyss.

I press the green answer button on the phone, "Hello?"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A movie made in hell

Aditya chopra went on a hiatus for 8 years. Perhaps, during this time, he sold his soul to the devil and has come back to carry on satan's evil work; to unleash upon this world; a pain so massive; a cruelty so gruesome; a movie so boring that he can be called a facist. The problem with 'Rab ne bana di jodi' ( i am already beginning to snooze before i can type out the entire name) is not that it is bad, it is so bad that i might be looking at some serious therapy time. I did contemplate on whether i should spend my time writing about this dredge, but decided that a post on this - in its own small way - is a social service to humanity and a serious boost to my social guilt conscience (which takes a serious blow everytime i bribe a cop). 

Rab ne starts off as a slow, acceptable mediocrity devolves into silly tripe and becomes the cess pit of wasted screen time and tortured audiences. Perhaps, just perhaps, if despite the pathetic screenplay, everything else had been good, it would have been watchable (barely). But when there is only one real actor in the movie - even he, at times, takes a dip to the realms of dramatized 'overacting' (perhaps all the talk about how great an actor he is is getting to his head) - backed with average music, cliched dialogues and utterly silly base off which the entire movie is built there is only one way the movie is going to take you - downhill into hell. 

Rab ne will easily rank among the worst movies i have ever seen in my life. Coming from someone, who has had his diet of Vijay movies in tamil, it is a serious allegation. Even in some of the crappiest movies there have been some rare moments when i have marvelled at a little technical artistry with the camera or a piece of awesome soundtrack or even some interesting exchange of dialouges. But i am at a loss to recall any single 5 minute stretch when i was engrossed in this movie at all. Horrible screenplay, monotonous dialogues, meandering story with no real purpose (at least to me), worst female actress i have seen (she just looks like a well dressed barbie in most of the scenes) and just a hollow nothingness that stretches for nearly 3 hours and make you want to drink your way to sanity in the end!!

Dont even make your worst enemy watch this....