Sunday, June 23, 2013

Top 5 Myths About Writers Which Ain't True

Hey people this is the fifth post of a new weekly series called "Saturday Top 5". I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis. Here's the last post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series


As a writer (well sorta), I have often come across strange myths about the art of writing which make no sense whatsoever. For starters, no all of us don’t beg publishers to be kind. No, not all of us wear geek glasses. No, not all of us own typewriters.

So this week, we decided to take on the Top 5 myths about Writers which float the market but are as truthful as Lance Armstrong's drug tests. Here we go

Everyone is a writer

Now that's all bullshit. The market is flooded with tons of books by new authors or what I called "The Chetan Bhagat" effect. Screw 3 Mistakes, the biggest mistake of his life is that he started writing. Now everyone who can spell correctly fancies him/herself as a writer. Online, having a blog is the rage. At least we have the decency to call ourselves bloggers(but hey, we also call ourselves writers, but not exclusively).Anyway, the point remains that just like porn online and  50 Shades of Grey, the world is flooded with "writers". Quick bit of advice. Writing 3 notes on Facebook and tagging your bestfriend ki chachi ke chachu ke bacche ki bhen doesn't make one a writer

Writers are have exquisite grammar and a phenomenal vocabulary

Reality check. Just because we write, it doesn't mean our vocabulary is excellent or our Grammar is impeccable. Why the hell do you think every acknowledgement note carries thanks Microsoft Word? Spell check on MS Word is amazing, fantastic, easy to use, dead helpful(okay don't get me wrong, we’re just friends *blushes like the Hindi film hero who's about to fall in love*). Trust me; we struggle with words as much as an average Chetan Bhagat. I still don't remember if tomorrow is spelt with one r or two m(s). But I remember to scout for the red line under the word

All Bloggers are writers and all Writers are Bloggers


No and No. This is as absurd as calling Twillight a good book. One simply doesn't say that. A person who writes a blog about food recipes is NOT a writer. Similarly, a writer of a newspaper column is not ipso facto a blogger. Fun piece of trivia though-George R.R. Martin, writer of the brilliant fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" IS A BLOGGER. Why you ask? Well because he runs a blog.DUH

We sit all day in front of a laptop, typing away

We do not spend our day hunched over a computer or a laptop, typing away furiously to complete the latest draft, no sir. This isn’t 2005 anymore, grow up people. We own smart phones (well I own a Blackberry which I am not sure of categorising. Is it a phone or a sadistic person who disrupts each important chat with a clock that doesn’t look like one) or tablets. But most importantly, we have the pen and the paper. Ink is simply fabulous. Not to mention, it makes for some really messy stuff

We have read all the great masterpieces of history and can quote them at will

Now this is an interesting one. All writers will seemingly seem to be elite literalists or connoisseurs of Classical works. Truth is that most of them haven’t even read half of the quotes themselves. They rely on good ‘ol Google to get their stuff. So next time you read a writer who quotes Christopher Marlowe, don’t imagine an old fart who twirls his goatee while writing the piece. Imagine some random dude surfing Google, and you’ll have it.

That’s it folks, this is this week’s Saturday top 5. Share and spread the love!


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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan- A Book Review


This post was originally written by me for a group blog I co-own named The Jalebi Chronicles.Check it out, it has some really good stuff.





Title:-  Those Pricey Thakur Girls
Author:- Anuja Chauhan
Length:- 390 pages
Price:-  Rs.350 MRP( Rs.184 on Flipkart)
Genre:- Rom-com






There are some books which are excellent reads, and there are some books which are simply brilliant in their plot. Then, there are some, which you just love. Those Pricey Thakur Girls is somehow an amalgam of all three. Anuja Chauhan is back, and she is back in her unique desi style which has enchanted bookworms all across the country.

This 390 paged novel is Anuja Chauhan's third book (after two sizzling rom-coms namely The Zoya Factor and The Battle for Bittora).



I LIKEY

 

In a departure from her usual style of writing, the book is narrated from a third person POV rather than her usual first person narrative. But, she nails it. In this book, we step into the world of the Thakur family, residing at New Delhi’s posh area, Hailey road.  You’ll slowly fall in love with the characters as well as the book with little nuances such as Justice L.N Thakur’s penchant for alliteration and organisation or Chachiji’s tantrums and whacky jadootona nuskas. As usual Anuja Chauhan draws you into her own world which is extremely familiar and homely. You definitely shall find the characters similar to some people from your real life. I sure did!

 

I NO LIKEY

 

Pointing out the book’s low points (which are almost non-existent), we arrive at something really dicey. As I mentioned earlier, she uses a new style of narration which is a departure from the one her fans are accustomed to. Being one of them, I can safely say that it did not affect my reading experience much but it may be a deal breaker for others. Secondly, although Anuja wraps up the main plot brilliantly, she surprisingly left a sub-plot hanging this time. It would have been a huge shocker but to my great pleasure, the next page announced her next book, a sequel to this book itself. Yet, I would have preferred a finished story.

 

In Few Lines

 

On a whole, the book is something that I really enjoyed reading. Anuja Chauhan has clearly emerged as one of the leading authors from India in recent times and has done the impossible by creating an unique content style which resembles a mix of Salman Rushdie, Arvind Adiga and Chetan Bhagat. It’s simply the best of all worlds. As a parting note, to every person (read male) who thinks Anuja Chauhan’s work is something that people classify as “chick-flick”, man up, buy the book and give it a read. You’ll realise it on your own that stories like this aren’t just femme-friendly but are excellent novels which reach out and touch your heart.




Click here to buy on Amazon or Flipkart

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Top 5 Ways To Piss Off Grammar Nazis

Hey people this is the fourth post of a new weekly series called "Saturday Top 5". I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis. Here's the last post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series


Each one of us has that friend who supposedly has impeccable grammatical skills and is colloquially known as the “Grammar Nazi” of your group. Now these ticks have always acted like savants and bugged you endlessly. I’m sure each one of you, on at least more than one occasion, has been interrupted mid-sentence because of a stupid grammar rule. OR you definitely have been thrown off topic when a serious chat message is responded to with a chiding for a missing comma.

Remember those Value Education lessons where we were taught to give back to society in the same terms it has given it to us. Well I say we take it one step forward and stick it back to these fanatics. We bring to you the top 5 ways to make a Grammar Nazi cringe and basically make their life living hell.



1. The “Their, There and They're” rule

Okay so this one is an instant killer. Simply interchange these three similar sounding words and Grammar Nazis become as angry as a guy whose Xbox was just wrecked or as pissed as a girl when you ask her if Blair from Gossip Girl is a dude. For a better effect, use all 3 of them in a sentence, but just in the wrong places
Example- “There from Uttar Pradesh and they’re hometown is also their”

2. Later and Latter

I personally have used this one unwittingly and it works like a charm. Skip a “t” and it will hit a Grammar Nazi like scalding tea(I AM NOT GOING TO APOLOGISE FOR THIS SAD JOKE).  My draft reader probably has a template saved on her phone which reads “GUPTA! It’s latter and NOT later”. But this works only in isolation and overdoing this may not cause as much damage as intended. Although coupling this with the other methods can prove to be a game changer.

3.It's its but its not it's

Now this is a tricky one. It’s denotes it is or it has and maybe something else as well while its denotes possession. This sentence passed the grammar check of Microsoft Word so if any fanatic is reading this and losing their brains, good for me but please sue Bill Gates. To everyone else, imagine the trouble an average person would experience while reading the first sentence. Now make it grammatically null and you’ll have the remote control to a Grammar Nazi’s mental anguish. Use them in place of each other and you’ve struck gold!

4.Comma laga ke rakhna

Now this is a bit odd for the simple fact that it often backfires because a missing comma often results in a foot-in-mouth like situation or as I like to call it, an “Ass-Aram” moment. And yes I found this funny. Anyway, the absence of a comma can simply wreck havoc on a Grammar Nazi as he or she grabs their hair in frustration and search for some rat poison. Do the world a favour and send them a bottle beforehand.

5.tYpIn lyk dis

Unfortunately, a wide majority of today’s teenage society finds it kewl 2 tYp lyk dis cozzz itz kINdA hiP *Insert wink smiley, tongue out smiley, laugh smiley, smile smiley, big smile smiley and of course a LOL and a ROTFL*

This pisses off almost everyone, ranging from sane people to even people like Rahul Gandhi, whom I cannot refer to as insane as I fear a defamation case by the Agra mental asylum. Anyway, it does tick off Grammar savants as well because of the simple fact that this is not even proper language rather than a sentence which follows a proper grammatical structure.

So folks, this is all I have this week. To all Grammar Nazis, I love you guys and no offense meant*


*Hey all non-grammar Nazis, notice how I used offense in place of offence.That’s the secret sixth tip **DO EVIL LAUGH


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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Gross Injustice In The Aarushi Talwar Case

The Gross Injustice In The Aarushi Talwar Case

As I sit typing this article, I am, to be frank, disturbed. I just finished reading an article by one of Aarushi's relatives about the entire ordeal. I was, to articulate the least passive emotion I felt, stunned. I often put situations in perspective and by the timeline of the murder; I would have been 13 at the time of her death, just a year younger to her. The way our nation(and by this I mean everyone and anyone ranging from our media to our police to our courts) have vilified her innocence, I shudder and in a disgusted manner, am grateful that she is dead because these baseless allegations would sure have reduced her to a lifeless cocoon.

A 14 year old girl's life was splattered on to the television screen as everything about her was questioned. Her character, her friends, everything. The thought itself is horrifying. May such travesties never befall your close ones, but for moments just imagine it to be one of your sisters or your mother or any female friend in Aarushi's place. Now experience the pain. Chauvinistic males discussing how a ruptured hymen described sexual activity before the murder( a highly pertinent point to be noted is that the original forensic report filed a few days after the murder read that the vaginal area was "NAD"(sic) yet a report filled latter suddenly manifested anomalies), high-headed conservatives deeming pyjama bottoms and cell phones to be sexually provocative, disgusting cheap reporters who are not fit to report even a stupid traffic jam abashedly claiming her murder to be caused by a sexual affair. There have been purists claiming she sent messages to her boyfriend which possibly prove her supposed promiscuous behaviour and justify her murder as an "honour killing". To all of you cringing in disgust, this is what the Talwar's are going through.

The nauseating lack of prudence by the media at reporting this case, coupled with their sensationalised depiction of each and every step in the judicial and investigative process has led to a common phenomenon which is known as "trial by medial". Virtually, the nation has sentenced the Talwar's already for murdering their only daughter and their servant Hemraj because of two reasons: the knowledge the two possessed about Dr.Rajesh Talwar's affair and the sexual activities of the two.

Here's the shocking truth. The previous sentence, in no part has been proven. There has been no evidence, not even circumstantial evidence or a hint or a clue which supports the hypothesis that Dr.Rajesh Talwar was having an extra-marital affair. The entire theory was based on a sole statement by Krishna, his assistant at his clinic and Hemraj's friend. Ironically, Krishna was originally one of the named accused and was also arrested but later let off on bail. The police recovered from his room, a bloodied kukri (Nepali weapon) and a bloodied pillow. Yet, no action was taken after his release. As of now, he is untraceable and reportedly in Nepal. Moving on, the clashing evidence with regard to Aarushi's private parts and the long decay and decomposition of Hemraj's body before being found points at one thing- the theory maybe correct, but as of now, nothing proves it. Lastly, the Talwar's are merely named suspects, but no evidence, no court of law; no investigation has backed this suggestion by proof. Wild expeditions by the media has distorted reality and painted a world which has already sentenced certain people based on nothing but theories which drive TRPs to their channel.

I do not claim to be an expert at anything and pronounce judgements. The criminal could have been anyone, maybe the Talwar's themselves. But maybe not, and that's what makes all the difference. The entire case has exposed India. A archaic police with nearly dysfunctional logistics, a flawed Judiciary with improper communication, a detrimental and disgusting media which has clearly stepped beyond its mandate and taken advantage of a tragic moment for their own personal good. Equally are to be blamed are us. We, as a populace have matured but the monotony with which we are doing so, with a complete "today this tomorrow that" attitude, is astounding. Not one person has questioned the blatant violation of ethics and freedom by today's media. Vehemently the media has argued for its right to free speech. But does free speech include wild incitement? Does it include the right to pronounce people guilty? Does it give them the right to discuss a girl's private life, even though she's dead? We have been sucked in by the mantra today's media follows- "Flash something. Flash it big. Flash it many times. That’s the truth. Everything else is false." I confess I too am a late entrant with regard to certain facts about the situation and I have no excuses to offer. But today, we have failed. As people, as citizens, as humans and definitely as a country.

It has been 5 years since the horrific double murder. Scams, development, news, results, weddings, deaths, all have come and gone. But we await justice. Justice for Aarushi, whose life was snatched away. A life that may have been anything. She may have been the next Prime Minister, a dentist or a common thief, anything. But she won't. For most of us, life shall move on, and actually is moving on. But we carry on our shoulders, the burden of humanity, and as people, we owe it to truth and justice.

I leave you all with a small thought. God forbid such a happening, but in Aarushi’s place, it could have been you or your sister or daughter or anyone of your female relatives. Would your careless attitude still reign?

NOTES: Join this campaign for Justice for Aarushi Talwar (LINK)
Also read these articles for a greater understanding of the gross miscarriage of justice in this case
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Toke by Jugal Mody -A Book Review






Imagine the weirdest conversation you've had with your friends. Now imagine the funniest conversation you've had with them. Mix them up. Multiply it by 100.Divide it by zero. That’s how weirdly funny this book is!

Toke is Jugal Mody's first book and I have no clue what to make of it. The book is unlike any other book you'll have read and I would like to take this opportunity to give a small ovation to Harper Collins India for having the balls to publish this work. I do not say that it is bad. On the contrary, the outlined plot is pretty simple and has nothing absurd about it. It’s the details that derail it from reality. But the writing is fresh and brash; a refreshing change from the monotonous attempts by newbie’s to be Salman Rushdie or Shakespeare by diving into literary metaphors which make no sense.



To give you a sample, just read Toke’s blurb:


 


So Lord Vishnu showed up one morning when I was really stoned and asked me to save the world from turning undead. How did I save the world? I didn't. We did. And while saving the world, I got to forcefully kiss the girl of my dreams. Many times. My best friends got to smoke a lot of good stuff. A lot more than they would have otherwise smoked in that much time. They also got to crash an airplane into a slum outside Santacruz airport. But don't worry, there were only zombies around when that happened. We were joined in our quest by two Japanese girls who can kill people with their pinkies, one of whom forcefully kissed Danny. Yes, there was a lot of non-consensual kissing in this adventure. With tongue. Hi. I'm Nikhil. This is my story. And I swear I have a T-shirt to prove it.

The plot is pretty simple and is actually what I liked about the book, because it's unique. X along with two of his college friends is empowered by Vishnu to fight the evil taking over of the world. Along the way they get help from magical buttons, giant eagles, crows, crashing planes and Billy Joe. Also, they smoke pot throughout, so well... All I need to say is that “Toke” is aptly named.(To those who didn’t get the joke, two words: URBAN DICTIONARY)

The "thumbs-down" for the book goes to the absurdities. I felt that Jugal stretched the weird stuff a bit too far which simply wrecked the whole thing. I can't mention much because of spoilers but after a while, the ploys of marijuana high characters get boring.

In all, the book is a fine weekend read. Nothing enriching or invigorating. But definitely funny. Read and laugh fellas!

Click here to buy from Amazon





Saturday, June 8, 2013

Top 5 Ways To Annoy A Flight Attendant

Hey people this is the third post of a new weekly series called "Saturday Top 5". I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis. Here's the second post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series


Flight attendants are like little kids. They run around frantically smiling for no reason. You can force them to do what you want, and when you visit their family, they stand by the door to say “Thank you”. Anyway it is always easy for a flight attendant to piss you off(again a kid like trait). I mean how hard is it to bring me a cup of coffee with 2 spoons of sugar, low fat milk with just a dab of lemon enriched pistachio flavouring, heated for exactly 47 seconds. Till date those idiots mess up my in-flight coffee.

Moving on, as I sat on a two hour Mumbai Delhi flight, I came up with this list. A list of the top 5 things you can do to annoy that hot but bitchy air hostess!

1. Press the attendant button and say you were reaching for the light

Now this one is superb to use and easy to execute. All you’ve got to do is reach up for anyone of those weird looking buttons, but make sure you press the flight attendant button. You’ll know it’s correct when you hear a cross between a BEEP and a PING and the flight attendant runs towards you like Kajol ran towards SRK in DDLJ

2. Ask to see the cockpit

Nothing, absolutely nothing pisses off a flight attendant more than a grown ass person asking them to see the cockpit. Pester them with questions and requests and they are bound to crack. If you want, you can call them “Uncle” or “Aunty” (Remember the male is the uncle and the female is the aunty. Mixing them up can annoy them to a disastrous level) and ask with a puppy face!

3. Have a panic attack

This requires thodaacting skills to pull off. You can have a panic attack over anything. Start pointing randomly at things and scream “BOMB” or keep asking them if the left engine is working or if the right wing is functioning or not. Preferably do it in a loud voice with a shriek. Throw in some sobs and you’re golden!




4. Talk to them in your native language

Start blabbering in your native tounge at breakneck speed. A smart, efficient way to annoy anyone including flight attendants. Be loud, abrasive and brash. Nothing annoys people more than taro naam su che?  Or a Tujha Aai Cha!

5. Freebies

Whatever they bring to you, ask them if it is free. Water, chocolates, tissues, anything. And if it is free, keep asking them to get it more. Come on! You’re not a true Indian if you do not see freebies and grab them. I once drank 5 cups of coffee aboard a flight when they told me that it was free! The part that annoyed them was that I kept sending them back to get more. This works best if you have a seat in the middle rows!

So Amigos, with that we have come to the end of another “Saturday Top 5”.

On a very serious note, I would sincerely like your feedback on the entire series because the next post shall be the end of the pilot and I would not continue with this series unless people like it. With that said, Adios!
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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Top 5 Ways To Slyly Brag About Your New Mobile Phone

Hey people this is the second post of a new weekly series called "Saturday Top 5". I guess the title is self explanatory and anyway, it shall be on a pilot basis. Here's the first post of the series(LINK).Please leave your feedback about the idea and suggestions as well for the next post in the series





Ever since Apple unleashed the touch screen based iPhone on this holier-than-thou world, cell phones have begun sprouting everywhere and anywhere. Useless quirky upgrades are the pick of the season as people flip phones faster than Severus Snape running from shampoo. If you didn't get that reference, go die you Muggle!

Anyway. With new phones and re-iterated upgraded models of pre-launched mobiles hitting the market every day, we are faced with a huge dilemma; A dilemma which would only be understood by us and none of our ancestors. HOW THE HELL DO YOU SHOW OFF YOUR NEW PHONE TO THE WORLD?

See the problem is quite simple. All of us live to brag but all of us love to be modest about it as well. Although that is a lot like Grey's Anatomy trying to be a sensible show, today we bring you the top 5 ways by which you can boast of how you just blew up your or your father's hard earned 40K over a piece of plastic

1. Facebook status update

With the advent of mobile computing, Facebook has rolled out native apps for almost all devices. Now a rather nifty feature is that when you update a status using these apps, a tiny line beneath the status reads "via Facebook for an expensive piece of junk". Now most people ignore it so I have devised a fail proof backup. Make the status update as if you lost a lifelong partner or a cute dog or all that crap chicks care about. If you're a dude who can't imagine such scenarios, imagine that you just lost your Playstation(God Forbid such travesty to happen on any soul, not even Kapil Sibal deserves this fate). Be as dramatic as you can, as drama always attracts eyeballs*.
*Pro Tip: Thrown in smileys. A lot of them

Here's a sample status

"I'm so going to miss my Nokia 1100 :(  :'(

Another one

DAMMIT MOM! WHY DID YOU GET ME AN IPHONE 5 >_<

2. Get your friends together for a photograph and shout out all the brilliant camera features

Now this is a slightly tricky one to pull off. Get the people you want to impress for a group photo. Now whenever they’re ready (you know when you start seeing those people make abnormal faces which they pass off as smiles), start rattling off your phone’s camera specs in a manner which seems relevant to the photo. Examples include “Oye!Ek second ruk I need to use Paranoma to capture the scene “ OR "Abbey light ki tension na kar, flash hai!"

3. Bitch about the features and how annoying they are/their absence is(even if you don't believe so)

To pull this off, you need three things:
A. Whiny voice
B. Acting skills
C. Ability to make up bullshit out of thin air

So in case you're Justin Beiber or Miley Cyrus, this is perfect for you. All you have to do is whine about how a particular feature is messing with your life and is super annoying all the time OR how its absence destroys your everyday life. Maybe bitch about how the Lumia 920 doesn't let you send music via Whatsapp OR how Android phones don't let you make a group larger than 10 people!
4. Like/RT/+1 related pages

Invade your friend's newsfeed on Facebook or timeline on Twitter with endless "likes", "Retweets" "+1s" etc. Bombard them with such useless stuff. This fact stems from the proven knowledge that a human being is attracted to nonsense; just like USA is attracted to peace via war.

5. Go Gay with Multiple Picture Uploads!

Upload gazzilions of photographs! Of your phone's box, the insides of your phone's box, the useless 12th pass nut-bag who sold you the phone as the "Apple Genius”, that last 500 rupee note you handed before getting your phone, everything. Also, I have been given to understand that it's a thing to click a picture of oneself in the mirror with a face that resembles a duck. Do that and make your phone prominent. Pronto response!

Well folks with that, we end today's Saturday top 5,which I wrote on Friday but didn't upload it because it is "Saturday top 5" and not "Friday top 5".Do read the disclaimer before implementing these!

DISCLAIMER: The writer claims no responsibility to the damage done to the reader's social life by following these ways. Any threat to the writer shall be treated with as much seriousness as North Korea's nuclear weapons.



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