The 20-80 Principle – When Trolls Bray Loudly To Drown Out the Rest…


The 20-80 Principle – When Trolls Bray Loudly To Drown Out the Rest…

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Recently I had a resounding argument with a couple of friends on internet trolls and social media warriors. One of the most intriguing points we discussed was on the vocal 20% idiots who monopolize social media space 24/7 and drown out the rest of the voices and thereby get the undeserved tag of social media influencers. These morons with their disproportionate reach on social media due to their shrill volubility and idiotic arguments are often mistaken for representing the silent majority who prefer to keep their opinions to themselves, partly to avoid being trolled by these idiots and partly because they are too busy with their real lives to spend much time arguing on social media platforms. The first issue we debated in depth was the almost unanimous support to the demonetization debacle by social media warriors and specifically the software groupies.

One of the most oft repeated clichés of these keyboard warriors is that demonetization is a disruptive event and disruptions are good in general. Well as a common man let me tell you that I agree with you that disruptions are good in shaking up moribund societies, but those disruptions are meant to happen over decades and centuries, not in 50 days. Disruption, whole scale disruption in the short scale, happens when a foreign invader, say Timur the Turk, invades our country and builds a pyramid of skulls of our people, or a large scale tsunami wipes out entire coastal communities and changes our very shorelines. Those are the ones which classify as disruptive events in the short term which bring change willy-nilly to society. And they are always called as disasters when viewed with the long term focus of history.

Human lives and human society is not a software product which exceeds its lifetime and needs to be disrupted with a new product. These are lives we are talking about not lines on a computer. The biggest example to me of how our society has failed in regulating engineering colleges mushrooming everywhere resulting in substandard graduates with hollow degrees and no independent thinking capacity is the level of support software engineers have shown to demonetization merely because of the word “digital” added to it. So as I said in the beginning the braying of the idiotic 20% is drowning out the voices of the sane rest. This post too, I anticipate will attract the ire and venom of the vocal minority and time on their hands trolls.

But as history repeatedly shows when the good cease to speak the evil runs rampant. And hence I decided to raise my voice against all these online trolls, to stand up and be counted when it matters. And just to clarify who a troll is? If you speak against me, you are a troll, if you disagree with this post, you are a troll, if you criticize or comment against this post, you are a troll, if you debate any of my contentions or conclusions, you are a troll, if you think I am wasting your time writing this post and making you read this, just think for a moment about our troops standing on the ice cold borders of Pakistan facing terrorists and then tell me whether your time is more important that theirs and whether just reading this post is a bigger sacrifice than our suffering troops on the border. I rest my case.

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Mis-Steps…My Boringly Long Journey In Trying To Learn New Things For The Wrong Reasons.


Mis-Steps…My Boringly Long Journey In Trying To Learn New Things For The Wrong Reasons.

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[Post dedicated to fellow blogger Megha who gave me this blog prompt and made me write about long suppressed memories…so dear readers, both praises and curses (the most probable when you get to the end of this post) go to her account].

My very first memories of attending dance class (classical dance)- the earliest scars on my still tender psyche, one might term them- were when I was around 7 or 8 when a dance teacher, called colloquially as a natuvannar used to come home to teach dance to my sister and I was press-ganged into joining the class because my sister insisted on having company. My mother who was a big fan of actor kamalhasan in those day, was under the mistaken impression that an early start to my dance career would endow me with enough skills to reprise the salangai oli kamalhasan role in later life. Although unsuspectingly forced into learning the classical dance form bharatnatyam, I nevertheless stuck on with it for almost two and some years learning to not only pretend-dance to jathis and varanams but also giving rise to talk at home (to my absolute horror and nightmares) of an individual arangetram soon enough. But of course like all good things which come to and end, we moved houses away from the locality and with that all talk of my continuing my classical dance career were dropped from the family round-table discussion. After all these years the abiding memories I have of learning bharatanatyam are the sharp and painful taps on the toes by the jathi-kattiay (two sticks played on a wooden board) which the nattuvanar used to beat time to keep with the rhythm of my dance movements. The rest are lost to memory.

After a long period of staying away from dance, I finally had to return to dance school during my college undergraduate days as I wanted to escape college by attending any and every cultural programs hosted by other colleges. The easiest way to do this was to join the dance troupe, stand in the last line and just wave my hands and stamp my feet. Or so I thought. But the humiliation of being trounced again and again in successive cultural s and the deep seated feeling that I was making a foll of myself in font of crowds of screaming girls (almost all of them more good looking than the girls at my college) made me opt to learn western dance forms this time on. I went and enrolled in the neighborhood dance school signing on for hip-hop classes which were the in-thing during those years. For those not in the know this was in the middle 2000’s when western dance or any dance at all had not yet taken off in everyday popularity like they did later on due to manada mayilada and all those TV dance programs with fat price purses. Those learning western dance in those days ( I specifically exclude Tamil film dance as done by Kala master and troupe which I will talk about later on) were a sort of elite bunch segregated into different schools. I joined swingers run by prasanna master and very soon I was be-bopping like there was no tomorrow. And as a sidelight we ( I include myself only marginally in this broad we as it was mostly my dance school mates) often used to get into fights with a neighboring dance school boys- the famous JB troupe- John Brittos class. If you have seen any of jackie chans old kung fu movies you will have a fair idea of the dance school rivalries and consequent street fighting between students of different schools. Worse, I had a couple of close friends who had opted to join JB but as I was a swingers boy we had no option but to meet on the battlefield to defend our dance schools reputations. Of course both prassana master and britto master must have known what we boys were up to from time to time but they preferred to turn a blind eye to our youthful spirits. I suppose I showed a little bit of talent in hip hop for I was invited to join a professional troupe of hip hop artistes and even went on a few shows with them. But again studies called and I had to abandon hip hop to sit and study for my undergraduate degree.

After finishing college, and getting into a reasonably well paying job the dancing bug again bit me and this time I opted to learn a dance form which suited my age- Latin- salsa, meringue, bachata, cha-cha and all those smooth moves. In those days the only school which taught these dances was the academy of modern dance at cathedral road run by kokila ma’am (who to my constant surprise every time I run into her somewhere- still looks exactly the same as she did when I was a young kid learning from her)- a bit of a long commute for me right across the city. But hey when you want to learn from the best distance is just a minor irritant right? Besides the primary attraction of learning these were they weren’t done in a group but as couples only moves. I thought it would be a good way to meet some single girls and start dating them in addition to dancing and I did do double duty- which experiences I will share later on but let me finish about the dance first. The thing about Latin dances are that you not only have to move gracefully and smooth (with a lot of hip thrusts) but also need to constantly make sure that you are in sync with your partners timings as otherwise both of you will end up looking clumsy and foolish and staring at different directions for the same movement. So a prime requisite for any Latin dance is a partner who moves with the same rhythm as you do. And in this I was tremendously lucky. More by luck than by design , as we were constantly switching partners and trying to find the right one to suit us, I happened to run into a girl who was pissed off by being rejected by another accomplished dancer who had judged her as not good enough to partner him. She wanted to prove a point to him and luckily our rhythms coincided and we hit it off as a pair. Pretty soon we were inseparable on the dance floor as we could both fluidly move as one without a single misstep. It was all hunky dory and going well until I made a mistake (typically) by enmeshing my personal and dance lives together my dating my dance partner. Suffice to say that it was a complete disaster and prompted my disappearing from the dance class to save myself from a irritating and persistent stalker who was immature enough not to take a no for a no. Lips sealed.

So after all these years whenever I see a dance competition on TV or hear a bit of peppy music automatically my knees start wriggling by themselves but thats the extent of my let loose and dance like nobody is watching feeling. I always rein myself in, smile wryly at myself and get on with everyday life. Those days are far behind me now and I can only look back fondly on them in my dotage.

p.s. I did try out Kala master’s kalanjali natya school once- to try and learn our local tamil filmi style dubbakanthu style of dancing- I lasted exactly one week there (although I had paid one months fees in advance) – before I realised that my taste in dancing didn’t run into kuthu and savu molam ishtlye. I have never repeated that experiment again.

The Idiots Guide To Yoga Class – How I Joined Up And Ran Away From One


The Idiots Guide To Yoga Class – How I Joined Up And Ran Away From One

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So there I was with a few day of leave right bang on the hottest days of the year and nothing else to do and nowhere to go to and so what do I do? I sign up for the toughest of all fitness programs available today- yoga class. Now before you start correcting me that yoga is not all that hot a fitness trend let me state that I have been officially informed by the government of india that yoga is great for fitness and for losing weight and for general health and all that we worry about as the inches and the kilos creep up our frames. Maybe that itself should have warned me- when the government starts supporting something so enthusiastically it inevitably ends up being a scam. But then again every minute a sucker is born and you live and learn by your own mistakes, right?.

My mistake in this case was believing in all the yoga hype and going and joining a yoga class in my near neighbourhood. I even stopped going for my walks for a couple of days to prepare myself mentally for the coming change in my fitness levels courtesy yoga- for i am a great believer in getting rest whenever you can and however much you can, in anticipation of being worked off your ass later. So fully rested and fully prepped up both physically and mentally i went to my very first yoga class wearing loose dresses as prescribed and anticipating being wrung out dry by all those asanas i would soon be doing.

The new age yoga guru- i wont use the exact word i have in mind for him as this blog contains the occasional family readers- who had charged me extra for a one on one class to better handle my fitness concerns and to give me proper solo attention as he explained when he asked for an eye popping amount as that month’s fees, started off the class by handing me a bright pink yoga mat and asking me to plonk my generous sized butt on to it.

“ Observe me closely, we will start off by practicing proper breathing techniques. Till now you have been breathing improperly but now i will show you how to breath” intoned my yoga teacher leaving me flummoxed. Call me a cynic but the very first thing we do as soon as we exit the fluid filled mothers womb we call birth,  is to start breathing on our own, a reflex which evolution developed over billions of years as we crawled out of the primordial ooze to become land based animals. And here was someone telling me that for all those billions of years we have been doing it wrong.

“Open mind, open mind, be open minded believe your guru and his words”  i chided myself, don’t be so cynical and common sense based I told myself for even the prime minister has said yoga is good so there must be something good in it, so lets wait and watch i counselled myself and turned back with full reverence to my yoga guru who told me to breathe in through one nose and breathe out through the other. “And then…?” i asked eagerly? “Repeat this till i tell you to stop” intoned my wise yoga master. So feeling slightly foolish but willing to experience new things i continued to breathe in and breathe out through alternate nostrils while the yoga guru sat on his mat checking his mobile phone, watsapping someone, checking out you-tube videos and generally looking bored.

At the end of thirty minutes which was the halfway mark of my allotted one hour of yoga class he asked me “Now how do you feel? Do you feel tired?” Strangely i didn’t feel tired at all. “Bored” should have been my candid reply but having recently decided to be always polite and also as my ass had gone to sleep following an unaccustomed sitting on the floor, i replied “yes”, and hoped we would move on to all those asanas shown on tv by sexy women doing yoga.

The yoga teacher smiled knowingly at me and said good “You have done pranayama correctly and that’s why you are so tired. Now i will show you a new asana- its called savasana- you need to lie down and stretch your arms and legs. Now close your eyes and follow my instructions carefully. Feel yourself. Do you feel your feet relaxing? Do you feel you arms relaxing ? Do you feel your eyes relaxing? Relax completely” And i followed his intonations and and was lying there relaxing completely until how long i didn’t know when he suddenly said “Now you can get up. Thank you for coming to yoga class and see you next class”.

I looked at my watch and saw that i had spent the remaining half of my class lying down and relaxing. That’s thirty minutes of sitting and breathing and thirty minutes of lying down and relaxing for a total of one hour of yoga class. Against my better judgement i again went back to the same class twice more hoping that at least this time i would be taught something proper but as the usual routine of breathing and sleeping did not vary, i decided to abandon yoga once and for all and go back to walking in my neighbouring park.

So the lesson i learnt was that yoga is just bullshit masquerading as ancient indian wisdom and most if not all yoga teachers are scamsters and rogues who prey on the too stupid to know better crowd like me who follow fitness trends instead of trusting to gods own two legs given for walking which is the ultimate fitness tool. I advise all my readers to learn from my lesson and dont be like me – run if anyone talks to you about yoga. It sucks, it really truly sucks.

Strictly Tongue In Cheek


Strictly Tongue In Cheek

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Dear so and so, i am writing to you from Australia. I saw your profile on so-and-so matrimony website recently and i think you would fit my family and myself very well. I am currently working as a senior software engineer in a prestigious multinational company and now currently based on-site in Australia where i have applied for permanent residency. As i am very much particular in my career i want someone who will be home loving as a spouse and i think you have the right qualifications for it.  I have asked my parents back in India to get in touch with your parents and take this forward. If everything goes forward satisfactorily  then i will probably see you when i visit India for my annual vacation in December. I will be staying only three weeks in India so if our marriage gets arranged it has to happen within that time. Now if you agree to all my conditions and are ready to shift over to Australia by December  i think we can proceed further with this. Do mail me at the earliest as i have to finalize many things before my trip to India. Please revert at the earliest.

The Return Mail:

Dear so and so, thank you for expressing your interest after seeing my profile in the matrimony website. I am pleased that you would consider me as “fit”  for your family and then you- in that order. You know, even my local tailor who has been with me for a decade  finds it difficult to stitch me clothes with a proper fit- but you, from far away Australia, pronounce me as a perfect fit…if i weren’t rendered speechless right now i would go around screaming i am fit i am fit , i am fit and a girl from Australia has certified me so.  I am also very pleased that you recognize me as home loving and having the right qualifications, whatever they are, which you are looking forward to in a spouse. Seriously i don’t know what they are but i do agree that whatever they might be- i have them, i have them all, don’t i? I mean you wouldn’t be mailing me from Australia if i lacked even one or two of those sterling qualities you are looking forward to in a man, right? Anyway i have absolutely no qualms in quitting my current job immediately and getting ready for our wedding in the remaining few months till December (how will i get my trousseau ready? Will Rohit Bal be available at short notice or should i try Ralph Lauren or Issey Miyake? Should it be a tux or indian ethnic?). And finally about quitting my job and moving with you to Australia as a house husband- well i just go to a job not to be a burden to my parents, so if you are willing to take care of me financially for the rest of my life as you have written in the mail, i would be pleased to quit immediately and join you in Australia where i can take care of the family while you work in that big important job of yours. I am looking forward to meeting you in December and i think three weeks is more than enough to get married if i can only get a visa within that time to travel to Australia . So do look me up when you get to India in December and and we can take care of a few things in person. I am looking forward eagerly to it. Bye.

(Disclaimer- based on a true story but names/sources withheld for privacy reasons)

Déjà- You? Based On A True Story.


Déjà- You?  – Based On A True Story.

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And so this happened a few minutes ago.

Standing alone at one (hidden) corner of a rocking anniversary party of a famous institution, my seventh sense alerts me to someone else standing alone in an opposite corner. The sight of a well endowed backside encased in a tight and short mini skirt drags me over almost involuntarily and so I sidle up there to strike up a conversation. And as she turns over to face me, it’s a déjà vu moment…

Me: Hi, you look familiar. Have I dated you before?

She: Uh, no…I am a famous actress. My name is Ca….

Me: Really? Famous uh? Sorry I don’t remember you …

And I carefully sidle out of there.

P.S. If it looks like an ex, talks like an ex, it probably is an ex and a sign for you to make a fast ex-it….

End of story

Moral of the story:  If you keep dating enough women, you are bound to forget one or two as time passes and start asking them out again. Its just age related senility and loss of memory- no insult meant to the ladies.

An Invitation For A Public Kiss-In


An Invitation For A Public Kiss-In

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So I got this email today from some guys who label themselves as free thinkers and whoare organizing a- what they call a public kiss-a-thon to show all those old conservative fuddy-duddy rss types that “hell yeah, we CAN” the “Can” in this instance referring to kissing-in-public. On my first read of the mail and even on my second, I was non-plussed. Why, oh why, do they want me to kiss in public? Did any of my ex girlfriends blab about what a great kisser I am? Did they share the technical details of their rapture with total strangers (the above-mentioned free thinkers) who then decided to invite me to headline this, of all events? Ahhh…the price of fame…. Hmm…I can hear you smirking dear reader so let’s pass over my technical skills in the love making department and move on to less personal things.

Now, I am a big votary of kissing- I vote with my lips for kissing and more kissing given every opportunity. But I am certainly not in favor of kissing in public or any other kind of pda shit which makes me go “aww, get a room guys”. For there’s such a thing as exhibitionism and perversion both of which are closely related to each other. If someone feels an over arching urge to kiss someone else (lets skip the specifics on this) it isn’t asking too much to have them hold on to the thought till they get some privacy for themselves where they can do it to their hearts content. And don’t talk to me about the mood and the moment- last I heard -the lips don’t need an erection to kiss. If you are able to hold on to it and don’t piss in public or shit in public or fuck in public you don’t really need to kiss in public- unless you are just doing it to make a point- that the public space is your personal space and regardless of place or time- your personal feelings have no boundaries and you can act as you wish.

In fact, the only one instance i can think of as a mitigating factor for public display of affection is innocent youth. We were all young at one time and I think its quite understandable and excusable (for public kissing) when are young and in your teens and you don’t know when/where/with who you are going to smooch your next kiss from and don’t want to waste the opportunity you get at a weak moment of your partner- in that “making hay while the sun shines/totally spontaneous decision to kiss moment” that I can understand and sympathize with. The root cause for which is the overcrowding populace of our country with very little privacy everywhere- including our homes where even the parents (and annoying siblings) get to drop in every few minutes even into the privacy of our rooms- just to keep tabs on whats going on. But to cold-bloodedly plan to kiss someone in public in front of all the world- it’s either a stunt to prove what a stud you are or simply a kind of perversion where you indulge in exhibitionism in public – neither of which applies to me.

So, I am not going to bore with a lecture on good old Indian values vs. western freedoms and things like that. All I want to say is that personal freedoms and freedom of expression have nothing to do with the fight to kiss in public. The right to speak your mind against the enemies of mankind and against despots who crushed humanity and the human spirit cannot be degraded to the level of being a justification for public displays of affection. Think the pre-French revolution monarchy, think the communist gulags of Russia, think the fascist book burning Nazis, think (closer to home) the jallianwallbagh British empire – those are the kind of fights humanity fought against to demand personal freedoms and freedom of thought, speech and action- not the freedom to kiss in front of a million people. And its idiots like this who first trivialize and subsequently disgrace all those hard fought freedoms for which thousands gave their lives to defend. It’s insulting and degrading to utilize such lofty concepts for such perversions. If you really want to show your kissing skills in public guys, make an mms and watsapp it to the world – just don’t call it “THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM”. That’s a blatant lie. And its insulting to all the rest of us.

And finally, I am not going to the public kiss-a-thon, even if they offer to provide me with a good looking girl to kiss- its just not in me- no thanks- the decline’s in the mail.

 P.S. by the way, what the —– in-hell does a free thinker mean? Are they insinuating that the rest of us, the world at large, are made of paid thinkers? Isn’t that insulting to all of womankind?

P.P.S. if I said the above with regard to men- mankind-getit- there wouldn’t be much of a reaction, would it? Men tend to shrug and laugh things off…but reference something as an insult to womankind, and you can be sure that the wannabe feminist brigade would wade in to strip the free thinkers off to their bones…two birds in one stone, what say?

YOUR 7AM FRIEND.


YOUR 7AM FRIEND.

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So there I was talking to a friend of mine who stays alone in the city, actually works alone in the city, with her family in a different state and I was talking generally about how boring festivals like Diwali are when you are alone in a lodge/hostel room while the rest of your colleagues are off celebrating with their families and the talk slowly veered around to friendship, best friends, close buddies and the recently much hyped 3AM friendships – where you designate any friend (preferably one without an irate/jealous spouse) as the one you can call without hesitation at any time of the day or night and demand they come over immediately to satisfy any issue/fancy of yours which arises after midnight and which cant wait till sunrise.

And so this girl was asking me “So can I count on you to be my 3AM friend?” and I answered truthfully “Hell no, don’t count on me like that. At best I can be your 7AM friend- I sleep so soundly that even a canon let off near my head won’t wake me up midsleep- let alone a ringing mobile phone. So the best I can do is wake up at 6AM, see the missed call on the mobile and get to you by 7AM. Is that acceptable?” Needless to say such candor on my part was not received with the appreciation honesty deserves but was derided as inadequate friendship. Well that the way of the world, isnt it?