The myth buster’s guide to Marriage

This post is dedicated to my best friend, my bro who just got married!

I almost cringe at the prospect of using the word Marriage for the title of this blog. So I turned 26 ceremoniously a few months ago and it has dawned on me that people are headed to the next phase of their life.

I personally would like to think of myself as a trivial man with humble needs. I have always chased things that I need rather than what I want, so far this simple tenet has served me well and I am unwilling to shrug this off.

I have used the following space to articulate and think out loud the merits of the institution of marriage.

Almost all calls with my parents end on an awkward note where they hint about getting me married. And the hilarious part is when they try to sell it to me. I think their honest hardworking career has fostered them to gain a lot of skills, but sales aren’t among them. I feel they are confident in my lack of ability to find a girl for myself which is sweet and also profoundly sad at the same time. So here is a sample of their sales pitch

“Son, we are really glad that you are doing well. You are surrounded by friends, you get to travel a lot have a good job and having so much fun. But it’s now time to get serious.”

That’s the worst sales pitch ever. I don’t think they can sell parole to a convict who is facing a death penalty, with that pitch. I wanted to write this article for a long time. But I think this is a good time, most of my good friends have got married and have suffered a social death. Their social activity comprises of sharing insufferable pictures of each other at eventful places such as the mall, parking lot, temples, restaurants, movie theater, beach, work and practically every place which bans nudity.

Arranged marriage or love marriage? I really don’t know how this is even a question. My answer is, “If it ends in a marriage, does it even matter? Hah, I know I am quite the romantic. *blushes*

I am aware of statistics which say “Arranged Marriages” last longer. I think it is partially skewed. In arranged marriages you are necessarily married to each other’s family. So most “arranged marriages” last longer because they are designed to. If you think breaking up with one person sucks, try 200. We Indians are so uncomfortable seeking a resolution that we will try to see the relationship or the people involved die, rather than mitigate.

At least in India there is a notion that divorce should be permitted only in extreme cases of violence, harassment and abuse.

It is lost on me that in my society, two perfectly decent people would not be allowed to go their separate ways if they can’t find happiness without being judged or hated.  And this is a question that every quintessential couple faces. And the most clichéd answer is “Love cum arranged marriage”. You see you cannot concede either of them because society is perverted.  So for a groom

Arranged marriage:  Society goes “Lucky him, it must be the dowry”.

Love marriage: Society goes “Must’ve knocked her up”.

Work Life Balance: Work life balance is by far, my favorite oxymoron. And I can prove it to you. I hope you love numbers

All the hours spent in a week

Number of hours in a week: 168

Number of hours spent working, avg: 50

Number of hours for recreation such as gym, going for a run, reading etc..: 10

Number of hours spent on commute: 6

Sleep: 42

Time spent socializing with other equally boring couples in activities such as dinner, movies or spiritual recreation: 10

Time spent doing chores, because I believe in equality. LOL: 10

Total time left to spend with wife: 40

Guys get it easy. The above list is crazier if you’re a woman.

A grand total of 40 hours! So, good luck trying to make her feel like a Queen; be a responsible husband and raising a happy and healthy family. Oh also try to build a house, tend to the never ending family members from both sides, raise children. If he is a boy, make sure he is engineer. If she is a girl, make sure she is an engineer. Fund their college and then help them get married and be pretty darn successful at it. Oh by the way, make sure you are HAPPY while doing it.

Matching expectations: People feel that people with similar needs make a better couple. There are so many traits that act as deal breakers. For example, a groom might be a perfect match except the fact that the girls family expects a teetotaler. My parents pitched a girl for me who seemed pretty agreeable. But under “Music” she listed Falguni Pathak, so yeah that’s a strict no-no for me.

And something that people always ignore is sexual appetite.  That should be a huge factor but is always never discussed. Now I am using the term sexual in a very non sexual manner, like a botanist. Because when you date, you have sex. When you’re married you have intercourse. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a very responsible word to me. And often responsibilities aren’t fun. Nobody has ever blown the party whistle and screamed words like “Hey guys, lets crank up the volume, get drunk and be RESPONSIBLE”

Guys are always trigger-happy, while with women it’s more of a methodical approach. For guys we would be up for it in an instant, a girl just have to give us the hint and even if we are stuck on I-75 we would floor the silly Prius for you and reach home ASAP.

But for women, the process is more measured. They prefer treating them with attention, love, respect and all the adjectives you would find on a hallmark card. I am not a sexist; I am merely outlining the differences in approach towards a Darwinian act.

 Every matrimonial site ever: You see I have never been a huge fan of meeting people online. But once you are cruising towards your late 20’s your parents are  in a panic mode. It starts with it would be nice if my kid gets married to OMG PLZZZ someone marry my baby. The indian matrimonial sites reeks of parental influence. Most of the profiles are either tied to education, wealth, caste or culture. Nobody describes anything about what their personality is like.

I thought it would be a fantastic idea if such sites were designed like Amazon.com which would have user reviews. Where people would share review the families based on their experiences. Something like even though the groom’s father is Jain, I once saw him outside Steak and Shake.

My parents started sending me pictures of attractive women, I was surprised at how good of a wing man my dad could be. Then it struck me, the horror!

My dad uses Internet explorer as the basic browser whose home screen is set to Bing!

Happiness and loneliness: Most people marry of happiness; we grow up on stories where we are told if we behave good we will get a good wife or a husband who would make us happier. The flaw in this approach is lack of accountability. If I am getting into a relationship, I need to be sure of what I can contribute towards it. Are there qualities in me that would make the other person happier? Am I mature enough for that (I know it is a rhetorical question). Happiness is only true when shared and in order to share we must be prepared to give.

Loneliness: I think being alone and feeling lonely are completely different from each other.A major trigger towards getting married is the fear of ending up lonely. And I can assure you that it is morbidly terrifying to be left alone. Our society never accepts people who are lonely; they are either cast as greedy or gloomy. But in order to embrace happiness, one must like them. And you can only learn about yourself by embracing solitude. If you don’t like anything about you, it is ridiculous to expect others to.

We should realize that happiness is merely a state of mind; it is like those happy pit stops at the coffee shops while being on a road trip. One has to work towards it and it will last only for a while, but the mere pursuit makes the effort worthwhile. And if you can find someone who shares your view of happiness, then it is safe to say that you are going to have fun!

This post is dedicated to you bro! Good luck on your marriage.

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Am I socially stupid?

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Facebook tells me that I now have 890 friends. That is a lot! So as a social experiment, I am trying to see if that count is reduced after people read the following blog. And thanks to the new Graph Search, my social experience on web is going to suck even more. So in order to protest I have written the following piece.

During the past one month, I have been able to spend more time over things that I liked to do. And one such activity is culture spotting. Culture spotting is the activity where an individual with a preposterous ego monitors people around him/her for their amusement.

Exhibit A: Me.

But if you observe in real life, many people are obnoxious to tolerate. Most of them are miserable with their career, education, debt, marriage, pollution and what not. Hence I felt it is inexcusable to make fun of them as it is not a level playing ground to anyone.

But with the advent of social media, we can allow ourselves to put our pretty foot forwards and appear more approachable and amicable out on the web. Also it is an excellent tool to establish our intellectual authority.

So in this case I observed some of the most stupid things that people do on Social media, in this case Facebook and I am attempting to note them below for our mutual amusement.

  1. Photography: I don’t understand why most IIM’s (Indian IT Male’s) are suddenly into photography majority of my friends own a DSLR and they take really shitty pictures. Having a DSLR and taking trashy pictures is like owning an orchestra and playing Niki Minaj.

Here are a few tips that might enhance the probability of your social acceptance:

  • Never name your album “Random piczzz/clicks” or “My Experimentation with Photography”. – You just purchased an electronic device worth 500$ or more. There is nothing random or experimental about it.
  • There is nothing extraordinary about a high definition picture of a flower, with a bee buzzing around. I am old school as I think Photography is more about Context than Clarity.
  • Never upload pictures of kids without their parents’ permission. Internet is rife with child abuse, you don’t want to enable that. Trust me.
  • If you take a mirror shot of yourself with a DSLR camera, do realize that you share your I.Q with a door knob.
  • Use your discretion while uploading albums. Don’t upload the same picture with different filters. It is intellectually offensive.
  • If you are a shitty photographer and still have the temerity to add a watermark signature on your picture. Just realize that you are making your imbecility official.

Birthdays: This is a phenomenon mostly observed in girls or women. They usually hyperventilate over their birthdays with statuses like “OMG, I am so excited for my birthday”, “Just 3 weeks before my birthday”, “I am going to go to a dance club for my birthday”. So ladies, a couple of facts for you:

    1. Earth revolves around Sun, so you are bound to have at least one birthday. Every year.
    2. Birthdays are no achievement unless you’re ailing from a life threatening disease. I am 25 and the only thing I had to do; to achieve this was to make sure I look on both sides of the road before crossing.

I personally believe Birthdays are private events and a time to celebrate and remember the good times with your friends while reeling from the kicks to your scrotum in the name of birthday bumps.

Language overload: Lingual affluence is a strong indicator of one’s intelligence. Most Indians  speak, write or read more than 3 languages. But I don’t understand how people add Hinglish (Hindi + English) or Tanglish (Tamil + English) in the “Languages they speak” section. It sounds more like a Jewish dessert than a language

Vacation: If you don’t know already, these German scientists have made this official. Uploading your holiday pictures makes your friends jealous. On Facebook, depression will be mocked and happiness shall be envied upon. Tells a great deal about our society doesn’t it? Don’t embrace the ugly truth but at least resist to avoid it 🙂

Chat log: Again, it is mostly girls who commit this social blunder. Some of them share their chat logs as pictures with their friends to often show people around them that they are hilarious. Repeat after me, you shall never share your chat logs and you are the only person who thinks you’re funny.

Acknowledging Insecurity: At the risk of sounding sexist, this gaffe is once again committed primarily by women who are insecure about their looks.  This can be understood by observing how people react to compliments. Say there is a girl x, who has a pretty picture. Now naturally it would get attention and people would complement and comment her on the picture. They generally fall into 3 types:

    1. Various versions of “You look hot babe :* ”- Primarily women, mostly overweight.
    2. The more neutral and subdued comment: “Great picture”
    3. Indirect compliments with deplorable humor such as : “Awsm pictrr, credits to photographer Lolxx”

And the girl now can react in following ways which may or may not exhibit her desperation

  1. Reply by saying a polite thank you: Desperation level =0
  2. Like everyone’s compliment: Desperation level =1
  3. Thank everyone Individually for their compliment: Desperation level = infinity

After reading the above points you might wonder, what makes you the judge? Do you think you’re smarter than me? Am I proud of what I just wrote?Allow me to answer in the negative. I am not smart nor am I an intellectual. I am just another cynical tool with a connection to the internet who is allergic to dolts.

Humor-us

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Global warming- meh, Terrorism- Bad but sigh, Corruption- yawn, Unemployment-Duh! None of these global phenomenon’s affect me much anymore. What gets my goat is what goes around in the name of humor.

People as you see and have read, I can be extremely, very, somewhat, remotely funny sometimes but I have acquired a taste in humor over the years. I used to laugh at the drop of a hat and I was ever so easily amused. But then began a chase which has worn me down. I continuously sought more humorous material either via books, movies, friends or comedians to a point that I think I have laughed myself out of it. I can no more relate to what goes around as humor. And if you think otherwise, I think many of you out there need a hug.

I think I have a healthy, palatable taste for humor (Not sense of humor). Saying “I have good taste in humor” is different from saying “I have a good sense of humor”. Let me illustrate:

Scene: Snickering at people who frantically press the elevator button repeatedly as if it helps – Taste in Humor.

Scene: The project has been well received by the clients and those who deserve will get a raise(Project Manager)- Sense of Humor.  

Ironically enough I have never met any guy who doesn’t think he is funny. You know what is sadder than a guy with no sense of humor? A successful guy in power who thinks he is humorous. I remember a project director hounding a friend of mine for not laughing at a joke while the other members laughed so hard as if  they didn’t want their tonsils anymore.

If you are single guy into your mid twenties humor is your last resort to get lucky. So it creates a hurried sense of insecurity in you even if you are trying to be normal. And we all know what insecurity lends, don’t we? – Lack of confidence.

Consider this situation which you would find in any dumbfuck Hindi Romcom which involves the goofy guy meets the serious girl (OR) the serious guy meets the goofy girl. The guy is at a friend’s marriage and being the verb that pretty much fucks your chance of getting laid Decent, you eyeball the girl only when she is not looking. You ∑ courage and go up to her. “You are pretty”, she goes What? You panic and reply “I am joking”. And she stomps off.

I believe humor is like a hiccup, it is best if it’s natural, you can’t force it. If you do it will only make things more awkward and give inception to a new Rom com script as described above. And the urge to impress the fairer sex has brought upon many such abominations to the world:

  1. Adapted humor: Its spelled plagiarism with a capital P. Did you have that friend in college who would go through your phone for funny jokes? Chances are that he isn’t looking at them to have a good laugh. He is trying to overcompensate for his lack of humor.

Course of Action: I hate such unoriginal people and wish fate curses them with eternal, mushy, clingy love.

2.Tag a billion: There isn’t shortage of such Tag whores. They are people who browse through office mails, reditt and other joke forums to find a picture which is as funny as getting Aids. No, the prick won’t just laugh at it. Instead he would upload it on Facebook and tag everyone who had ever said a Hi to him. Why should I validate his pitiable sense of humor?

Course of Action: Click on the dropdown next to the post, Unsubscribe from this person.

3.To Complement or ! complement: Compliments have always been a tricky issue for me. As often in my school the only response to a compliment was a walk to the principal’s office and later being forced to become the “brother” of the victim.  For people who grew up in the western culture let me illustrate. In U.S if a guy is naughty at school he ends up with a lot of girlfriends, in India especially in my school if you are naughty you end up with more sisters than Mother Teresa.

Now if a guy has a feeling for  a girl and proposes it via a letter or something there are two possible repercussions:

a)      She complains to the school principal who would detain you. On top of it the girl would “punish” you by tying you a “Rakhi” which makes you her brother. I never understood the twisted logic behind that.

b)      She would complain to her parents who would call your parents up and school them for shoddy parenting. By shoddy I mean raising you as a heterosexual boy.

Since compliment always lands us in hot water, we look for other alternatives. So even if a girl looks viscerally stunning, the only compliment we imbeciles could afford is in this format:

Yada yada yada (Compliment), blah blah blah (Negating the compliment!).

Eg:

Your “friend” for the lack of trying uploads a pretty picture of herself.

“You look stunning!” ”Good job on Photoshop”. Every time an idiot comes up with such a lame compliment, the terrorist camp falls short of one box of Kleenex.

4.Revenge of the emoticons: I enjoy emoticons as much as Mel Gibson enjoys Hanukkah; I could forgive the regular smiley or the sad expression. But I have an unhidden disgust for this one :P. What does that mean? Were you trying to be cheeky, Are you insecure of your statement, Must I not be offended by your stupidity?

An exclamation mark is supposed to mark a sense of surprise. What in the name of baby black Jesus is this?

 “!!!!!!!!”  Did you have a stroke or are you enjoying the moment so much that you are typing with one hand? And the ever unforgiveable albeit atheistic remark OMG LOL!!!!!

That one seals your deal and your chances of reaching heaven as you mock the existence of a Holy one.

All this while it may seem that I am being apathetic by picking on guys all along and trying to earn brownie points with the ladies, But I stand corrected. I have rarely come across a girl who I have found funny. I am not saying women aren’t funny, I am just saying they needn’t be funny.  Though there are exceptions, guys like me would testify that there are only two reasons we laugh at your jokes.

Either because you are pretty or we find your spirit and intellect too weak to handle sarcasm.

😛

Surviving a PowerPoint presentation

Surviving a PowerPoint presentation

Kill me now

I think that most presentations are an untapped cure to insomnia. Except those which have me in them, either as a host or as a recipient. After I get my prize or certificate, I pretty much don’t care who gets what. All I look forward is to make sure that my picture was captured properly, no gaffes such as a closed eye, bending over a little too far etc…

Presentations after the lunch are the worst. It’s like asking Arnab goswami (Times Now) to read you a bed time story while having a migraine.

But let us shift our focus to PowerPoint presentations. It is one of those products of Microsoft which I sincerely loathe. It is because of the way how it is being used rather than hatred for the product itself. People think fancy fonts and tacky animations make a stronger point in presentations. Call me old schooled but I still think it is down to your delivery, on how you present your ideas in your voice and body language. Your words bring more life to your ideas than any animation.

In the following space, I shall enlist a few strategies which I have employed and observed over a few years. I hope it helps

Repeat the last two words

Often if the topic is obscure to you and if you aren’t paying enough attention, the speaker might notice. Now if the speaker happens to be the person who signs on the dotted line it is better to be safe rather than sorry. Repeat the last two words of his/hers sentence silently and with a pausing effect.

Art of nodding

Now being Indians we are not averse to nodding are we? So why not use our gift to our advantage. Now I am not (only) a con man teaching you to feign emotions, I am scientific too. I shall employ Doppler’s theory in this.

The frequency of your nod should be directly proportional to

a. The rate at which their topic flies over your head. Be casual about it you don’t want to sound like you are having a violent fit of silent hiccups.

b. The proximity of the speakers gaze: Again if the speaker is looking out for response and their role is superior to yours increase your nod’s frequency. If not who gives a shit at the first place?

Track patterns

This is one of my favorites. Every speaker has some pattern in their speech or antics. One of our professors who taught (allegedly) computer networks used to swing his hands. It looked like he was bowling to an imaginary batsman. And later he would also wave his hands mimicking the motion of a cover drive. Pretending to take notes we would take the score.

Ask for repetition

It often happens with imbeciles like me who often drift off during the course of presentation. The speaker uses the board to draw some shape to explain a concept. And we start to giggle if it resembles a half boob. And then the train of thought changes tracks which might be uncharitable to discuss in this space.

Requesting to repeat something is quite acceptable and wouldn’t be frowned upon, even if you weren’t interested in their topic in the first place.

Practice Graffiti

This technique is employed by folks of all ages from classrooms to board meetings. This involves drawing random shapes, angular fonts and thinking that they should try their hand at anime or animation.

So if there are any other creative solutions to survive a presentation please do share your thoughts in the comments section

Damn IT

Engineering Colleges: Colleges::Cricket: Sports in India

This corollary unfortunately is no longer a joke (apologies if you did not find it funny the first place). It is quite sad actually. To kids after their to their 12th and parents alike, nothing seems more glamorous than an engineering degree.

After the results of entrance exams are out. There would be discussions and opinions over the so called “Trending courses” such as biotechnology, mechnatronics, ECE, EEE and a few more… I wish if more and more students chose course over college. Many of them don’t have to sell out their dreams even before they give it a shot.

Parents ask their relatives who always have “That cousin who did that degree and is in a good job”- advice. They assume that it is the god-signed doctrine that anyone who completes that degree will get a similar career.

Three years into the degree, the hallowed season of placements begin. And what you see is a dog-eat-dog competition. It is a time when IT/computer students dread the most and are mighty upset with students from other streams. For the uninitiated this fear and hate might seem uncanny. How could two streams of engineering compete with each other for jobs? Aren’t the domains entirely different?

Welcome to India. We are like that only.

The fleecing market (IT industry) in India doesn’t think so. Their Human resources are so insipid that their criteria for selection goes like this “60% in every semester, no back logs”. What about knowledge you ask? They are hiring for  “resources” an euphemism for labour. They are looking for lab rats on a wheel, presented as “hard workers”. They want someone who would scoot when said fetch and coin this quality as “adaptable and dynamic”.

Students from other stream directly eat into the living of IT students because of a certain corporate behavior. And there are two sides to it. So I suggest you read along for a few more minutes before you call me a high browed asshole.

One: Amount of work which is put into by the students of electronics, mechanics and other streams go into waste. So many hours of hard work, project, knowledge and enthusiasm for their stream is lost in the annals of IT when they switch careers before they even graduate. What is the point in having other streams of engineering if you channel all your students to a particular field of work?

Two: Students who genuinely liked their streams are forced not to continue or excel in their field. The only options left are degrees from IIT or a few reputed universities. Otherwise the only option left is a master’s degree from Universities abroad. Not everyone is as smart as to get into IIT nor as well heeled to go abroad.

So you are essentially killing an entire generation of genuinely enthusiastic engineers just because their interest lies outside IT.

Very few non-IT students who get into IT retain the enthusiasm to strive for longer periods in the industry. They turn towards MBA. A vision for a career in electrical engineer veers off its path by first getting into IT and then working as an investment banker. Is this trend really healthy?

High school(biology)->College(Electrical Engineering)->Work(IT-Infosys)->MBA(Finance-IIM)->Now investment banker(ICICI).

This is not a delusion of a schizophrenic lunatic in a straight jacket; it is the dream career path of an average Indian student.

Because

Dogma is the sacrifice of wisdom to consistency

Alt + tab

After cnrtl + C , cnrtl + V. Alt + Tab is my favorite shortcut on keyboard. It has played a prominent role in my life. Right from the day I “discovered” the beauty of internet to this day when I type this post alt-tabbing with visual studio 2008 riddled with 14 errors as we speak.

When I was introduced to Internet, it was among much fanfare and restrictions. Privy neighbors already warned my parents about children who get “addicted” to internet. Hailing from a middle class family, we were aware of the ridiculous charges BSNL used to charge for their dial up.

So I was assigned fixed schedules on when to read the Olympiad questions put up on educational websites. My mother banned me from “downloading” she still thinks downloading is a wrong activity.

So here I was burning the night lamp, my thumb assuming its position on alt and my ring finger on Tab. One of the windows I browsed did belong to NTSE. Oh and btw I barely cleared any of those Olympiads though I used to get good grades in school.

Venue: Ground floor computer lab, fourth semester of Computer Engineering. We were attending the practical sessions for “analysis of algorithm”. A subject I did not fancy. Though not being the brightest with coding, my lecturer and HOD did think that I was studious. Not willing to shed that veil, I used to put up a serious face attempting to code.

While in reality the original source code would be present in a shared folder which was created by a genius classmate of ours. And we used to Alt-Tab between that and a wretched goblin named Borland C. I would copy the whole code, paste it on the coding window and delete it. And slowly with focus of a monk I would press undo (Cntrl + Z).

Every time she passed me by there would be a few more lines of code to see. Presto. 21/25 in practicals. 55/100 in theory. And that is how an engineer is made.

Post my graduation, I was employed with a software firm. And I was bored with my job description in a matter of few weeks. We had firewalls and strict warning from seniors that indiscretion towards sincerity would not be tolerated.

My fellow fresher’s were sincere to the code and hardly flinched from their seats even for loo breaks. But fools go where angels fear to tread. Being a compulsive reader I would humor myself to the likes of ken follet, robin cook ,tintin or any piece of literature which would not make my face sullen as droopy the dog. Again focus on Alt +tab and vision beyond the scope of my monitor.

A funny observation: In corporate environment staring harder into your computer screen outlines your sincerity towards work, not fading eyesight.

So when I am reading about football or movies or music, I would stare so hard into my monitor like Stephen hawking staring at the sky.

While working I used to be relaxed and calm faced, a façade usually worn while you do stuff which make you happy. And it is very unlikely to be work related.

So now I know why my supervisor thought that I really found my work very interesting.

Any hoo moving on.

Our testing department was in the fifth floor of the building and it was almost as big as half a football ground. It was split into two divisions. The hard working employees and minions were provided cubicles in center of the office which resembled like a giant moratorium. If you happen to run into employees when the coffee machines were down, you would mistake our office for a set of 28 days later.

The Human Resource folks, project Manager’s and project leaders were assigned cubicles between these two divisions as it was near the window. It provided a picturesque view of powai lake.

Now while passing alongside their cubicles I would intentionally cough or stomp aloud a step. And 9/10 times I found them busy on the same social websites which were firewalled for us. They would shudder and hurry up to alt + tab.

The funny thing is no one would bother to look around to see who made that noise as it would be a giveaway. They stare even harder at the screen after alt+ tabbing. And I get away scott free.

The indulgences of a meek minion.

Byte me

• Picture : courtesy PHD comics.