Sunday, 29 June 2014

Begging

I'm travelling now. I'm in a train full of people. As I sit down, arrange my baggage below my seat and stare out the window, Shakira daring me to "kiss her with everyone watching" and the wind blowing on my face, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It's a lady asking me to pay her so she can bless me. I wave her away with a careless, "Please go away. I'm not interested" and look out the window. A few minutes pass and another beggar walks past, loose change clinging in a box he's carrying. As he walks past, a few people offer him a rupee or two. A generous man offered him 5 and looked around to his beaming wife, as though he gave him a corneal transplant. Again, I declined to offer any money to the beggar. I don't appreciate beggars. It's something like a principle. I don't mind buying an extra packet of "sundal" from the boy selling food in the beach, but I will just not give even 1 rupee to a beggar - whether they're old, young, hale and healthy or maimed. Does that make me heartless? I think not! India needs to learn not to promote beggary. Now I can already hear people scoffing at me, "You think everyone has the same comforts as you in life? You don't know poverty." Its true. I don't know poverty. Yet, I will be more than happy to help a person willing to make an effort to come up in life. Begging is one of the worst ways to make money. The only thing worse is probably peddling and other illegal activities (not that begging is perfectly within the framework of legal "remuneration"). I once saw a double amputee cycling with a wagon full of bags, transporting them to another place, for a living. I was sitting in a bus. We stopped at a signal and I saw someone reach out with a 5 rupee coin and offer it to him. He got offended! I was pleasantly surprised! He told her that not everyone needs to beg to make a living and that he would rather live with dignity than with money obtained through begging. Now when I can see people like this, I am only bolstered into believing that begging isn't the way to go, even for people so poor they can't afford a bar of soap. If you think helping beggars will appease your Samaritan soul, I suggest you buy them a packet of food. Don't offer them money. At least that way you're making it clear that you care but you don't like that they're begging to survive.
I didn't mean for this post to be didactic. I think its a topic for healthy debate. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Courting of Indian Women

DISCLAIMER: I have the utmost respect for all women! I'm not just saying this. People who know me personally can testify that I wouldn't post chauvinistic comments on women, unless it was for the sake of a few laughs! :P So, if you're offended by my post at any time, in any way, please get un-offended immediately! I'm not ready to face lawsuits or any other sort of protest as a result of a few cheeky remarks. Thank you!

This is not a legal article. It does not relate, in any way, to the courts of law. I will not allude to that meaning of the word anywhere in this post. So now that we know what I'm talking about, I shall delve into the depths of whatever knowledge I have of this subtle and ancient art. Yes, it is an art. Not (just) a vile and demeaning prelude to a masculine conquest. It involves tact, subtlety and a sense of Indian-ness that should traverse the invisible line between you being "bhaiyya" to becoming "honey"! :P

It starts with a glance, a look, a gaze, a stare and then it transcends into, "Dei ava kannu paaru da! Dei ava mooku paaru da! Sammaya irukka da!" In case of introverts, the conversation happens dans la tĂȘte while in case of crazy extroverts like me it could even happen on social media! XD This admiration, adoration, recognition of superficial beauty, "sight-adichifying" or whatever else you may want to call it, is what it usually starts off with. I have had people tell me what a shallow person I am to go by the looks when I get infatuated. But then, what else would a "deep" person go by? Her opinions on FDI?

Anyway, so this adoration sometimes translates into the acquisition of a certain 10 digit number which can lead to your image becoming less "shallow" in the minds of other people. Now, getting a girl's phone number is easier said than done. One does not just walk up to her and say, "Hey! I'm XYZ! Can I have your number?" One has to be more dextrous in approaching her! A typical can-I-have-your-number dialogue may go like this.
Dude: "Hey! I'm XYZ. I think we met in that lecture on Biofilms the other day and I was very interested in that doubt you asked Sir because I'm also a very bio guy and I think bacteria are really cool and I think I could sort of learn something from you maybe if I could contact you whenever I had any doubts and then you could help me out with this because I'm not really all that good in studies and it's so bad that I even have arrears in 3 subjects for the last 2 semesters and I think you can help me out because you're a very nice person oh my God sorry I didn't mean anything by that I'm just saying that I want some help with this assignment."
Girl: "Umm.. okay.. 97xxxxxxxx"
Dude: "Okay awesome! Bye!"
Girl: "Right. Bye"

Following this exhausting ordeal comes the tricky part - not getting friend-zoned! The subtlety in this art form is so blatantly apparent when it comes to the actual courting. Your presence in her life is directly proportional to the time past 11pm that she replies to your messages! Simple enough eh? Not really. Her replies could be tacit implications of a mutual feeling or curt replies signalling an enraged peahen who wasn't impressed by your rain dance. "How will I know?" you may ask. Let this be your standard scale. When you say something, you may measure her interest in you by the length of her "okay"
1. "K" - Not really interested. Just stop messaging me please!
2. "OK" - I'm too lazy to continue this conversation but maybe if you're willing to call me (but I won't because I need to save up my balance) I'll talk to you for a while
3. "Okay" (or) "Kay"- I acknowledge your statement and genuinely think there's nothing more I can add to it
4. "Okkkkkkkkk" (or) "Okkaaayyyyy" - Keep going! Just keep going. ;)

Well of course, after this comes the deciding moment in that segment of your life. You finally can't take it anymore and you profess your "love" for her (or as some would call it "propose" to her!) and nervously wait for a response. Nobody writes letters these days. It's all about the talking. Movies still show dudes passing notes to their paramours via best friends. But that happens verrrry rarely and I've not really come across such a case either. So I won't be talking about that. The proposal has a certain ritualistic approach to it. Now the funny thing about this ritual is this. (I'm talking based on a few funny cases I've seen/heard of. Not to be considered as a generalization)

Case 1:
Your best friend (aka machan) forces you or drags you in front of her and drops you there with a sly grin and tells her that you have something to tell her and walks away. Enter Ms. Best Actress when she acts like she has ABSOLUTELY no clue what's going on and innocently asks you what it is about. You kneel down (trust me I've even seen this happen) and "propose" to her. You tell her how much you love her, etc. etc and wait for her reply.

Case 2:
You drop her a text that goes something like this - "ILU" (or) "I love you". If it's WhatsApp, the agony is unbearable because of the last seen feature. If its old school SMS style, the agony exists but is bearable to an extent as you don't know whether she's ignoring you or not and her reactions are left to your imagination till she replies.

Case 3:
You call her up and tell her what you think about her. How she's a great person, a fun person, etc. You then wait for her reply.

In all these cases, when the woman wants to say she loves you too, she will just say, "Okay!" Even if it makes absolutely no grammatical sense to have that there!

Guy: "I love you"
Girl: "Okay"

This dialogue is actually an example of a "proposal" that went well! XD Never fails to amuse me! And yes, what is funnier is that the guy will then get off his knees and immediately run away from the spot, in search of his machan, to relay the good news to him. He does not give his new-found companion a hug, doesn't walk with her nor does he tell her he'll be right back. The actual "going out" happens only the following day.

When she wants to decline, she will take a long and circuitous route going all the way from "I consider you one of my closest friends. Please don't change that!" to "I really don't think of you in THAT way!" When this happens, you either try going back to being friends, which is, IMO, very difficult. Or you could just move on with life and find a new doe to get enraptured by. Many fish out there in the sea! :)

The male members of the Homo sapiens species is very stupid when it comes to matters of the heart. He is always in search of a partner, a companion, a better half, a paramour or a lover. These pursuits lead him into many disappointments but then, what's life without its fair share of ups and downs? I think this trait is somehow inherited along with the Y chromosome universally, from grandfather to father to son and so on. The masculine need for a better half is satiated only upon tying the knot and the courting and coaxing of women generally fall into this motive. (although I'm not really a fan of the institution of marriage myself!)

So before you start glancing,  realize that there are 9,823,598 ways in which you may/have to make a fool of yourself but life has to go on, either with or without candy!

DISCLAIMER#2: The above isn't a lab manual on how to court women. Rather, it's just a lighter take on the protocols various people follow to do so. If your results do not tally, I am not to be blamed because, as I earlier mentioned, this is an art! It's not a physics experiment where the pendulum always has an oscillating time period of 12 seconds son!