March 9, 2011

Project: Become Normal Again

An old school friend of mine came to Bombay and I spent the whole weekend catching up and talking about old times. It was a great relief spending time away from what I call the "usual intellectual nonsense" which includes reading dozens of articles on science, politics, humor, religion, philosophy etc. and follow it up by deep thought, connecting ideas, looking for patterns, gaining perspective, commenting, sharing and debating about things that has nothing to do with anything going on in my life. It is fun and satisfying. But I also realized how far I have gone from being "normal".

Thus Project: Become Normal Again was "incepted"! My first course of action was to get away from IIT and NOT spend time with IITians (especially my philosophically inclined friends) and try to "live in the moment".

Living in the moment is easy. All I had to do was not think much before speaking, not analyze the funny things that I spontaneously say, not observe those silly things people do, not make mental notes of life's little ironies as they happen, not scrutinize the little hypocrisies we all are part of, not read those hundreds of editorials on national politics and stay away from all the “usual intellectual nonsense” I am usually immersed in.

Living in the moment was simple and straightforward. I rediscovered that talking about what “people are up to” can be as interesting as trying to understand "why people do what they do!" Narration suddenly felt better than ideas. Counting how many girls in our school are already married was fun. Not using advanced statistical analysis methods for inferring generalizable insights into the career paths of young women from semi-urban areas was even more fun!

It was a weekend well spent. I wanted to finish it off attending a birthday party of another school friend. Most of the people at the party were her colleagues at TCS. I pondered if on an average day they have more fun on than I do by doing the simple things and living in the moment.

As the party progressed, I felt we lived in two completely different worlds. I wondered which world I really belonged to. I could feel the restless friction in my thought process. I began to appreciate the fact that everyone is capable of a different personality depending on the environment. I lamented that not everyone appreciates this amazing fact like I do.

I was in the middle of a rare intersection between two of my worlds. I was trying to define these worlds and capture the differences between them. I could see the little differences and the individual beauty of each world. I was amazed by the complexity that lied beneath this simplicity. I was now convinced of my near-invincible ability to switch between worlds and “live in the moment” at will.

Then it struck me – that I was not “living in the moment”; that I was no longer away from my “usual intellectual nonsense”; that I can never be away from “my usual intellectual nonsense”; that I am way past the point of no return. This has to be the ultimate FML.

P.S: Speaking of generalizable results, I think from this blog post we can safely infer that anyone who comes up with “Project: Become Normal Again” can never be normal! 

P.P.S: I really hope this wont affect the number of party invitations I get!

March 2, 2011

The Secret Celebrity Protocol for Constant Attention

With great power comes great responsibility” quipped Donald Duck. (name changed to protect identity) A celeb’s superpower is an insatiable thirst for attention. To convert that power into responsibility, the celeb must divert a little bit of attention towards some remotely irrelevant cause and hope to shine in the reflected glory of someone else’s agony! Barely a week into celeb-hood, the lack of constant attention is already driving me crazy because attention for celebrities is like sunlight for superman. I turn to my fellow celebs for some inspiration on how to get more attention for myself.

Keep it Simple (and) Stupid

The easiest way to get some attention is to say something really stupid and hope someone takes offense and criticizes me on twitter. Then I can go on the mainstream media, play victim and claim that the internet is a conspiracy of Internet Hindus whose goal is to transform India into an Orthodox Conservative Hindu Dharmocracy with Narendra Modi as the PM and Pramod Muthalik as President!

This strategy works well for Sagarika Ghose but unfortunately stupidity doesn’t really go with the whole “Computer Science @IIT Bombay” thing I’ve been pulling off for almost 5 years now. Also I am not married to the Chief Editor of any news channel!


Female celebs have it easy. All they have to do is attend some children’s charity event without proper underwear and oops! Male celebs however have to undergo a sex change operation before staging the wardrobe malfunction. I don’t think my mom would approve of this strategy!

Go Veggie

Wait, I’m already vegetarian, the kind that removes the chicken pieces before eating chicken biryani, but still technically vegetarian! I can go one step ahead and go vegan. But veganism is sort of a cliché already. Maybe I can take it up a notch and be something cooler than vegan, like a Jain-vegan!

Jains don’t eat anything that grows under the soil. Vegans don’t eat anything that comes out of anything that is capable of voluntary biological motion. Jain-vegan is what the kids get to eat when a Jain marries a Vegan! I really hope my invention catches up. 

A Jain-Vegan thali

Become a Reality TV Judge

If Siddhu can be a judge for a comedy show, I can be judge to anything! Judging someone with self-esteem so low that they’re ready to marry Rahul Mahajan just to appear on TV and then go to Rakhi ka insaaf to sort out their marital issues with the wife-beating-dope-head may not sound like fun but I look forward to insulting them!

The Grass is Greener on the Celeb side

Why bother about saving hungry orphans and dyslexic dolphins when I can save planet Earth? After all, being eco-friendly makes you feel good doesn’t it? Who knows, high self-esteem could be the trick to save the planet!

When it comes to being green, no one is greener than an A-list Hollywood celebrity. I have so much to learn from them. Julia Roberts lives in an “eco-friendly” $30 million mansion and she also does little things like composting and reusing Chanel reusable bags. Al Gore spends his summers in his $9 million yacht.

Leonardo DiCaprio uses an eco-friendly $3200 toilet! I have a feeling he was duped by the sales guy because the greenest way to defecate is to do it out in the open without using toilet paper! A mug of water can be used as long as the mug is biodegradable. The greenest of them all is adorable actress Rachel Bilson. She asks flowers for their permission before picking them♥

All these people inspire me to be greener than the statue of liberty. Global warming is a war against time, nature, evil corporations and cultural inertia. A noble and holy war to save M.E (Mother Earth)! The tag eco-friendly is way too lame to describe that emotion! We need something more powerful and heroic. What we need is a title like Planet Crusader!

Isn’t that the message we as celebs ought to give to our fans? Make them feel sad and insecure about the things we have and they don’t. Make them feel that they’re a burden to the planet while we’re a blessing. What better way to achieve that than demonstrate “To be really green, you need a lot of green”?

So there you have, my final Jain-Vegan, planet crusader, unpublished writer, amateur cartoonist, celebrity blogger mug-shot -------->

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