Four reasons why you should stop reading this article

Allow me to set the premise, you’re having lunch and you casually open up your favorite social media site, you see two types of posts

1.Pretty girl you used to hang out in college just got married. You click on the profile of her husband and observe that his profile picture only has 10 likes. You secretly think, what a loser! He has no friends and an uneventful life. Lol! I have 76 likes, everybody adores me.

2. Lists such as:

-Five reasons why School days are the best.

-Five lists why we will always miss home cooked food to the more exhaustive yet unoriginal -Ten reasons why your cat is secretly working for Putin or 27 reasons why you’ll never be able to date Lana Del Rey( P.S: She is not bengali)

If any of those topics remotely made you chuckle or interested enough to scramble your thumbs to click. Congratulations! you’re successfully a victim of click bait.
1.When is it okay to create a list: Lists are useful, for grocery shopping, taking a count of friends who you will invite for a dinner or an element of Computer algorithms which still gives you nightmares as you realize you’ll never be a competent software developer( Linked Lists).
Lists make it a mission to sound innocuous and in most cases are, as they try to make a case that they shouldn’t be taken seriously. But in reality, they are the bastions of sponsored content which is stripping the fourth estate (online) of any dignity that remains.
Because as enriching as it is, humor is seen as the ultimate lubricant to pass on ideas to the new generation. Oh, you don’t understand why you suck at relationships? Maybe you should read:
Ten reasons why you should never date a guy who wears crocs.
27 reasons to prove that your ex was a crazy bitch
These lists validate stupidity and intolerance, which is not a bad thing. Every now and then we need to be reminded that may be we are wrong, callous or overly judgmental. But online, you can always find articles that foster your ego, even if it is flawed.

And not to forget sensationalist tripe headlines like “Does Obama want your take away your egg muffin sandwich? Click here to find out.

Enters website: No, hahah. But hey while you are here watch this funny gif of fat people falling.
2. Click-baits: Buzzfeed, Scoopwhoop and other websites of such ilk don’t pretend that they are suave or intelligent. But any criticism of such sites will make you sound like a Grinch or a kid who slaps you with your own hand while laughing “Why are you hitting yourself, why?
The articles are so unoriginal but people still fall for it, all the bloody time. Remember the first time you clicked on an ad which said “ Single girls near you, hot moms want to date you”? I knew that it was Bullshit because I was living in Saudi Arabia.
I don’t know if you know Saudi Arabia well, but transparent tank tops and mini skirts are not in vogue over there.

How about more original pop up ads such as:

Single girls near you, wanna friendzone?

OR 40 year old hot women need help in picking groceries at whole foods.

Now, won’t you click on those ads?
3. And I was like: Let me describe this phenomenon. There is a lot to admire about United States and its people, there are the occasional sour apples but a majority of my experiences with them, have been rewarding.
But I never understood why they would add “And I was like…” whenever they had to recount anything in the past. Let me give you an example
Me: Hey man, how was your weekend.
Friend: Dude, it was amazing.
Me: Nice, what’d you do?
Friend: So, i met this girl at the bar right. And we were having a couple of drinks. I said something like how I like pastas and she said “Oh, but they contain gluten”.
And I was like: “Do you even know why gluten is bad for you’’?
And she was like: Oh, I don’t know
And I was like: I bet you think gluten causes ebola too.
And she was like: Omg, you’re so rude.
And I was like: Hell yeah, I am funny.
Then we exchanged our phone numbers and forward each other gifs from Buzzfeed.
IF you notice, people are always witty in introspection.Like, ALWAYS! Like an Aaron Sorkin tv show where all the characters are witty and filled with one liners. It always begins well, but by the time they are done, you want to punch them in their self righteous auras. Looking at you Newsroom
4. Meme’s everyone!: There is a self indulgent subreddit called r/reactiongifs. Basically it is a collection of gifs from various sources such as movies, viral videos or TV shows.  And whenever anything of importance happens in the news, some jackass posts a meme on Facebook. It weans me down because if foreshadows that nothing that would ever happen to me in the future would be new, it would always be relative to an experience and be reduced to a meme, or a gif.

For Eg:
Our reaction when rahul gandhi is being interviewed
funny-rahul
Our reaction when US is 13 trillion in debt but yet refuses to wean on war against drugs by exaggerated incarcerations, or over militarization of Israel or refusal to invest in education while fucking the students with ridiculous student loans.
Try to create a meme for that.
And anytime someone comes across a real life (or fake situation) you share the gif to show how you feel.
For eg: My reaction when my single friends spend all their savings on a wedding
MRW
Things are fine and dandy when you get the references, but if you don’t it is so easy to get flustered and take offense. I always feel like an outsider when my American colleagues joke around me, I just don’t get it. But they insist that they are funny. There is a sudden need for everyone to be funny, in  way it is almost Michael Scott-ish

So, Dhanesh that was a terrible report you made the other day. I think you should be reprimanded.

Me: What?

Boss: Lol, I was just kidding
Dhanesh: Hey Mike, how did you spend your thanksgiving
Mike: Hey, it was brutal man. I stabbed your entire family, created a hula hoop with their intestines and played it with my asian adopted daughters
Dhanesh: What the flying fuck?
Mike: Oh, that line is from a movie, I didn’t mean it literally. It is okay man, you have to watch the movie to understand the context.
And I was like…

Advertisements

Lessons from an Offline Experiment

The new years eve is always a daunting one as we all try to formulate resolutions. It is a feeble attempt at retrospection and fix things that we think are wrong with us. Mine was pretty innocuous. I saw a Ted talk about an author who shared his experiences after he went offline for a year. That sort of captivated my attention and i wanted to give it a try.

As a writer one of the most embarrassing yet educational things you can do is to go over what you have written in the past. I delved into my sent mails section, old messages, tweets and Facebook posts. Needless to say a lot of it was cringe worthy. I used to like Roadies. Blasphemy!

That is why i rejoice writing because it is like a personal memorabilia which you can use to reflect and contemplate. And when you open it for criticism in the form of a blog, the results can be pretty interesting. I noticed that i was apologetic to assholes and an asshole to those who were apologetic. It’s a strange thing as you are more drawn towards interesting people who aren’t necessarily nice and find nice people to be boring and one dimensional. For example it is always the people who you love, who embarrass you. For example my uncle would type comments in capital, without spaces, on my photo’s something like.

DHANESHILIKEYOURPHOTOVERYMUCH.LOOKINGVERY GOOD DEAR, REGARDS

UNCLE AND AUNTY.

And you wonder why they killed the Indian postal service.

I decided to go offline for a wee bit and see if I suffered from any of the withdrawal syndromes. The task wasn’t very difficult for me. I discontinued using Facebook. Most people use Facebook to check up on what their friends are up to in their daily lives. I am not a sociopath but i find the trials and tribulations of people to be boring. So going offline wasn’t necessarily difficult for me as i had already unsubscribed scores of people whose (online) lives i deemed to be boring.

And in doing so i observed that most of my newsfeed were from pages related to movies, sports or science. I often took a holier than thou perspective while commenting  and always tried to be witty about what i would say.  I never wanted to be the last word freak, so i conveniently wouldn’t answer comments on my pictures or posts.

I would like to open the following activities for further scrutiny as i think they merit more discussion than the rest.

Check ins: Truth be told, ever since I saw the movie “Up in the Air” I knew what kind of lifestyle i wanted. Fortunately, my current job permits me to travel to far flung cities, stay at expensive places and dine at the best of restaurants. It wouldn’t be a misplaced opinion if i said i found joy out of it, by the attention i got. I wanted people i knew to know that I am having a good life and if it brought envy then i wouldn’t be lying if it made me a little happy.

When i was in india and i witnessed the spoils of my friends in the promised land, i was more envious than happy. I think one can truly be friends only when they can be happy for each other. It is very easy to share sadness because we all have some level of empathy. But whenever you find yourself genuinely happy for a friend’s accomplishment, it should count as a victory. When I check in at an expensive hotel, I hear an amateur exuberance within which screams “Hey, I have made it”, show it those people who didn’t think so, lets prove a point etc… I think everyone is entitled to some level of bragging, but it should slowly fade away.

2. SHARE EVERYTHING:

Why do we have to share everything we do, on a regular basis. I mean “Dhanesh is feeling meh [insert absurd smiley]. Why do people have to know what am I up to, all the time? Why do my friends have to know where i spent my weekend or whom with?

I’ve often been told that I am full of myself and I take that as a compliment because I’m so self absorbed, that I often forget that i am surrounded by people. Now don’t take me wrong, I am not smart or good looking enough to be a narcissist. I don’t engage myself with people who I would disagree with. I realized that I had surrounded myself with people whose ideas I share. I was being a smug liberal at best. I found joy in proving other people wrong, but rarely participated in discussions where my opinion was minority.

Also I found that every article people shared either made you immediately happy, sad or angry. As someone who enjoys reading, I want to formulate my own opinion on what is going around me. But we all live in a bubble which is in constant need of reassurance. I felt I was sharing news only because i wanted to be judged by my friends as witty, intelligent and wise member of the society.

From the feeble fame i achieved through the space of this blog, I feel people consider me to be kind-of-funny. As I dabble with humor and sarcasm, people tend to “like” my comments or status. Not that I am complaining about the attention, I feel the Gamification theory, i.e. rewarding every popular comment with a “like” can be disruptive.

Once used to the internet fame, I said or did things that would be popular rather than genuine. I would never participate in an argument where I know I am in the minority. I mean it is really not difficult to make a joke about Rahul Gandhi, Justin Beiber or Islam. You can easily make a cartoon and make your living. Am I wrong?

I feel it is healthy to get your views challenged, so surrounding myself by people who have similar taste kind of made me feel superior.I would feel intelligent when I share an op-ed piece by De grass Tyson or Paul Krugman. I’ve been also guilty about just sharing a news story just because the headline seemed controversial.

Facebook permits you that so in the end you surround yourself with likeminded people and then lose a sense of reality when people you meet in real life aren’t so accommodating.

3. I-know-everything-syndrome: I felt that i suffered from I-know-everything-syndrome, as i scourged internet constantly. I would be an endless supply of suggestions and opinions. In a social setting, I could easily distract the conversation about something I read and beat you down with facts. The last time, I remember shutting up for good was earlier today when I was getting my tooth drilled at the dentist. I forgot how to listen.

3. Rebel without a cause: Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for social deduction.You can easily judge people based on their affiliations with literature, movies, causes or music. I am generally superficial and judge people a lot on what they speak and how they behave. I know it is not a respectable quality, but who’s got the time to give every human being a chance. My fingers got a carpel reflex typing that sentence out.

By all means I wished more people read, but not the likes of buzz feed or upworthy. They are nothing more than captions with gif’s. Since when do we need pictures and gif’s to accommodate   text. Are we 12? Articles like “37 ways to know that your dog hates you” make me want to choke those hipsters by blocking their access to Instagram.

And why are we so divided by opinions? Do you think Rahul Gandhi gives two shits about your opinion? I mean in the end who cares? As an educated member of the society I wanted to be pro-something. Enough of anti-racism, anti-corruption, anti-pollution. I want to own up to things I am bad at and DO SOMETHING about it. Our brain convinces us that just by creating a Facebook page or liking a cause means we have done something for it. I am 26 and by all means an Adult. I don’t have to be a rebel, I think i should be quite capable of taking a cause and working towards it.

At the end of three weeks of being offline, I found I had tremendous amount of time and energy left and now i am slowly utilizing them to create new hobbies.

Update after 3 weeks: Forget everything. I’ve come to realize that people are shallow, unforgiving and boring. Get back to facebook, twitter and Instagram! But I still hate Buzzfeed.

Why do we get Offended?

My friends and I were heading to an Indian restaurant the other day and we saw a car swerve around us. A guy flipped us off screaming something like “curry Indians” and sped away. I was pissed but my friends and I decided to shrug it off. But I realized if that happened to an American, god forbid a gun lover; things would have gone from weird to George Zimmerman in no time.

So I thought of listing things that get easily offended and decided to pen about them. But I thought well what if I end up offending more people? I kind of buried that instantaneously. Because when you think of it, you’re always forced to be nice and say nice things about people and places. Think about it.

Say I visit Delhi for the first time. And I undergo several unpleasant things such as being spat on from the roof, getting robbed, having to listen to Honey Singh in a stuffy taxi or worse encountering Rahul Gandhi at a mall (while he attends “fuck the poor” convention). That would leave a very unsavory taste for me, right? So don’t you think I should reserve a right to say “Delhi Sucks”? Imagine if I had some mileage as a socialite and I uttered those words. Mobs would be all over me.

So that being said I will assume a right to have my opinion and exercise it poor humor in space below. I think there are three entities which are constantly offended.

Women: Whenever there is a discussion about Women’s role in the society, A lot of men resort to whipping the rhetoric by saying things like “All women are my sisters or mothers and I have a moral obligation to protect them”. Some men even push the envelope and go from being apologetic to I-hate-that-I-have-a-penis.

The agenda shifts from solving a problem to Worshipping/Respecting all women. I think to myself, Well isn’t that is cocky? Why should we generalize, I mean I am sure there are a lot of good women out there. But respect all of them? Why? Jokes apart, I highly recommend reading this article by Shoma Choudhury titled “Women in India, Sluts or Goddesses”.

I think on an average, an urban woman gets more offended than an urban guy. And I think a lot of men are at fault here.  You see growing up in an orthodox south Indian middle class society taught us men boys to be non-confrontational with women.

Punching a boy in the face and splitting his lip-

Social Reaction: Oh boys will be boys.

Having a fierce argument with a girl

Social Reaction: OMG, ZOMG Your son is going to grow up into a wife beater/rapist.

I remember this vivid incident, a few years ago. I was walking down the road the other day from my school and there was this fire truck going past us and a whiny girl in our group said “Why the fuck are these fire trucks and ambulances so loud. Ughh, they’re so loud & dumb”

I so badly wanted to grab her by the arm take her to her father and tell him that he should sue the school and get a refund on the fees he spent on her.

But I didn’t, I just nodded along. So when women go through their best years without any arguments from men (man bitches) like me. They take things for granted and get offended when people don’t agree with their opinions.

You see as a guy, I know my limits. My friends wouldn’t spare two seconds before pointing out that my argument is flawed, I am stupid and I shouldn’t be such a jerk. But I don’t think women have that feedback mechanism in them. And no grown man ever confronts or argues with a woman over a fallacious discussion because, uhm how should I put it mildly

………

……

.because they want to sleep with them.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Governments

Image

One thing that I love about United States is their freedom of speech. I mean Anthony Weiner got into so much of humiliation for sexting and got kicked during the mayor election. And we have rapists in our legislative assembly. Imagine this conversation between a female reporter and a male politician.

Hot Bong Reporter: Sir, why do think women get assaulted on the streets.

Random Wannabe Politician: Because when women wear seductive clothes like salwar kameez, jeans & t shirts they know that they create attention and want to be teased.

HBR: You are such a sexist!

RWP: *Blushing and pushing the microphone aside*, Aap bhi looking very sexist madam, kyun party warty ho jaye?

You can’t even pass a bill that says criminals can’t contest in election. I mean that’s like allowing repeat sex offenders to become pastors and hang around altar kids. Oh well, you get the idea.

In order to scrutinize governments let us revisit one of the pillars of our education which went by the name Discipline. All of us wore the same uniform, studied the same kind of subjects and proceeded to carve similar careers. It felt more like being a part of an industrial supply chain rather than schooling. More importantly we were taught to think ‘ALIKE’. Respect your elders. Don’t talk back to teachers. Aberrations to the norm set above were punished.

So when we become a spineless generation that was raised from the same ground, this fear of being disciplined is ingrained in us. We do not question authority, we do not ask ourselves why we are way we are. It behooves all of us to respect the authority and even questioning/reasoning it, is seen as a mark of disrespect.

And when anyone questions the authority they are jailed or as they call it in China “Government Sponsored Holidays”. It is easier to control people when they are united in fear. So when people question the authority; they are vilified. But my argument isn’t absolute and must be taken with a pinch of salt, especially after the whole fiasco over authenticity of “Syrian Rebels”.

Religion

Image

Religion has been getting offended since the dawn of humans. (Insert Darwin joke- Check!)

Talking about religion isn’t my favorite hobby, but as a confessed atheist I definitely have a morbid curiosity to learn how it affects humanity.

They say criticism of religion is the beginning of criticism. But I haven’t come across a single religion which promotes reasoning. Each religion only allows questions that glorify them. It’s like every networking session I have ever attended at school. Q&A sessions were reserved only for sucking up.

I’ve always wondered why do religious people get offended so easily and react with violence when reasoned. From stoning the heretics in the black ages to blasphemy laws in a few Islamic countries in the middle east.  When scientists like Galileo, Copernicus proposed their theory on our solar system, the church didn’t condemn them for being wrong, but for being offensive.

The reason why religious people are so insecure is because religion happens to be an Idea which is seemingly immutable. Which means we can never edit it or nurture it. We can’t even add stuff like, child marriage should be banned or men shouldn’t control reproductive rights of women. They seem like good ideas right?

We won’t be here if we didn’t question ideas. The idea of energy, language, evolution, music, food etc… All of these theories were tested, improved and perfected.

Ideas are powerful and sometimes immortal. They can masquerade as ideals. Ideas are hard to give up especially when an idea grants you power over your fellow men. And that is the reason why some people want to treat them with impunity. Say what you want but all the religions have always worked in cahoots with the government in one way or other.

*Profanity ahead*

I agree that people must have freedom to have their own opinion, but not facts. So when a clusterfuck politicians discredit Global Warming to pacify Big Oil companies. It affects ALL OF US. So screw them, if they’re offended.

The same goes with gay marriages. If you are not for gay marriage, I am sorry; fuck you. You know why? It has nothing to do with you. Although you are allowed to be a homophobe within your community , you cannot ostracize a legitimate part of our society just because of their orientation.

What irks me most is when religion claims copyrights to morality. So even if a belief system is flawed you can’t question it because you can’t derive morality without it. Now this is the single reason why I chose to become an atheist. My mom used to say that when we were not so advanced, religion is the reason which taught us to be good and not kill each other.

I refuse to accept that humans who are capable of tremendous feats such as stem cell research and interstellar travel can’t figure out that killing others and beating the shit out of your parents is wrong.

We’re living in an environment which is increasingly becoming hostile to people who question the norm and attempt to hold organizations accountable. The riots in the middle-east, collapse of oligarchy’s in South America after legalization of drugs and Europe’s exoneration of the financially irresponsible are few but telling tales that there is a movement in motion. We should raise the next generation on how to learn and not force them what to learn.

If you find yourself offended all the time, I want to end with this quote.

“If you run into an asshole in the morning. You ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all the time, YOU are the asshole.”

P.S: I have heavily referenced this article. So if you’re offended please realize that you are pissed off over facts, not opinions.