Friday, July 30, 2010

An appeal...

An appeal to (Indian) writers writing in english...

I'm writing this, not because I think I am eligible to criticize, and think I can do a much better job (maybe I could ;) ); but after having been disillusioned and disappointed by some recent works, especially the things (for the want of a better word) which go by the label of "fiction" (if it's a "youthful" story set in a college, beware!!! ), I am fervently praying that better times are to come, and that I no longer have to waste time or money on trash...

First of all, dear "authors", you need a story to tell. And if your story is just 3 lines : boy and girl like each other, they have a misunderstanding, they make up & live happily ever after, please donot fill 300 pages with pure drivel, just for the sake of making the book seem thicker - the chapters should carry the plot further, but then, when the plot is missing, you can't do anything but pout drivel...

FYI, students do study in colleges. Lectures do happen, and students do have an academic life - even if it is a novel, it is plausible and acceptable to say that students attend classes. And listen in them... There is no need to mention classes at all, if it is only mentioned as an obligation (it is set in a college, for God's sake!!!); or as the ideal situation for bringing characters together (what's a better conversation starter than a common nemesis??? )

And how many stereotypes do you need??? All Surds are for cracking jokes about? All tam-brahms are traditional? All bong girls wear tight t-shirts and shorts? Guys who study are "uncool" & boring? The 'coolest' gang can't be seen in class? There is a fine line between genuinely funny and crass...

Yes, we know. That sex sells, and so does SRK. We have heard it often enough. But that doesn't mean that it is the only thing on people's minds. It happens, but there is a life beyond. Why is it that most characters in 'fiction' (I don't know what to call it) are forever planning their next encounter / date? Or thinking about the last one. And please, we donot need 10-page descriptions (written in the style of a third-rate movie dialogue). Cut it out, please.

And if you can, please learn some spellings and grammar. Even "Indian English" has some base rules. Mixing hindi words with english (unnecessarily) does not show your 'mastery' of two languages, it often ends up sounding like you are trying too hard to sound cool, and know the 'in' things. Which is a sign of desperation.

Beyond all this, if possible, please create believable characters - like real people, instead of one-dimensional single-faceted zombies with a one-track mind... And who speak lines like in the actual world. (I remember some of the lines I have come across, wish I could erase them from my memory... it's like a bad aftertaste which refuses to leave my mouth)

The descriptions - you donot have to use your background for everything - describing physical appearances in civil engineering terms??????? Ugh!!! (Why do most books about IIT have atleast one 'Disco' episode?? Why do all college students swear every time they say something? Is it no longer possible to have a conversation without an f-word (maybe you feel great using them, of maybe you feel that the *'s used look like a design, or maybe you just don't have enough words in your vocabulary, and fill it up with trash) Why does every college student have to booze, smoke to be popular?)

Last, but not least, please write only if you do have something worthwhile to say... (Save paper and be eco-friendly if you can only rehash the same old trash)... And before you put your pen to paper (or your fingers to the keyboard, in the case of the techno-savvy 'writers' (ugh!) ); have you read some good books? (Not for plagiarising, but because they'll help you 'write' 'better' (they can only help you, they cannot create something that does not exist, as in a story when you have none). And if you do read good books, then why do you write like a digestive system - where all kinds of delicious and good things go in, only to come out as shit. Or is it a case of like-input-like-output???

All hope is not lost, there are still diamonds among the coals. Looking forward to finding a diamond (but what to do, trash is more common than a gem :( )

Disclaimer : This is my personal opinion. You don't have to share it or accept it.

p.s.: This is just about recent Indian writings in english. (Thanks to CB, every third person thinks he/she can write and we the readers are at their mercy - it's enough to put anyone off reading!!!) Not about books in general.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Surviving in the classroom : an alternate perspective

Location :

The front-benches have traditionally been reserved for the nerds. Enough has been said and written on the topic of back-benches as the only place to have fun. What about the middle benches???

Speaking from personal experience, the middle benches are a safe bet, with numerous advantages. For one, when you are in the middle of the middle row, it's highly unlikely that the professors will actually be able to reach you (the amount of work required to get there is enough to put anyone off!!). Moreover, you don't get tagged either a "nerd" (reserved for the front-benchers"; or a back-bencher (often used to mean mishief-makers). Which gives you enough scope to do what you want to without the fear of being labelled. And the chances of you being called to the board to solve a problem are slim. And you can waste a few minutes under the pretext of finding your way out (disturbing a few friends along the way), by which time the lecturer would have moved on to the next target, and you earn brownie points from your friends for providing the much-needed relief...


During classes, it's often a good idea to sit with an open notebook in front of you, and a pen/pencil in hand. Just put down your head once in a while and take some notes. (which can be anything from the actual lesson being taught, in case you are a nerd, or a to-do list or some random lyrics, in case you're like me )... If you can keep an expression of total "concentration" on your face, so much the better. You can even nod in your head once in a while (to shake off sleep, as it nears the lunch hour; but an action which can be (mis)interpreted as your earnestness in following the lesson)...

The art of sleeping is one of those things that require patience and experience. However, with persistence, even that can be learnt...


This is just a personal viewpoint. Written in a lighter vein. And not meant to be taken seriously.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The science behind the Leak???

It's been so long since I posted something... The reason being an inherent laziness :)

Now moving on to a serious question (!!!) that has been plaguing me ... why do men piss on the roads / walls ???

Everyday during my bus trips (and even walks to and from the bus-stop and elsewhere), I find the roads literally filled with men attending to their "business". In full view of the public... Standing. Sometimes sitting. With their bikes/scooters parked nearby. (This is often depicted in the movies, where the hero takes a cycle or a bike while chasing the villains, as the owner of the cycle/bike has just gone down to take a leak!!!)

Especially in major bus-stops, where people cannot stand (the stench) while waiting for the bus. But have to...(I'm no yogi, can't hold my breath forever. When I finally do have to take in some air, well, I don't want to describe it)...

Open highways are another thing. Maybe it's a sense of having done some personal civic duty by "watering" the plants and trees lining the roads... (Mineral water???)

The irony is that when there is public toilet nearby, you find more people outside than within .... Saving a rupee to contribute to the economy of the nation???

I never could understand the reason behind this. Saving the water which you use at home??? (I came across an article which claimed that a large amount of water is saved by pissing in the open ... But please do spare a thought to the others who have to bear the sight and stench, without wanting to... Ugh!!!)Or do the open spaces and walls ask you to "water" them??? Or just reluctance to walk the few steps leading to public loo? Or "it's open, it is free, I get to see more out in the open than behind a door"???

Most walls aren't spared either... Except for the few buildings which have a guard outside, or if it's an "important" building. It's pathetic when you have to resort to painting your walls with "Plese don't pas urin here" and putting some religious symbols underneath (here, the clever secular people paint symbols of all major religions, so no-one can claim it's not their God's property!!!)

Why???? Oh why???

I know that not all men do this, but well, next time you travel (not necessrily by bus, be it on your bike/car or an auto, just take a look outside (though not if you're driving!!)... The odds are, you can travel for about 5 minutes without coming across any of the above-mentioned... (I'm assuming you use the general public roads)

Alas, I have another trip to make in a while :(