Nov 30, 2013

How do you avoid losing at life?

We all feel like losers every time or the other. Your parents might make you feel bad, your friends might shit on your plans, your significant other might do things that might tick you off,  heck,  you might wake up grumpy and with a headache for no reason at all.

In fact,  many people keep feeling like losers for all their bloody lives and they don't even know it.

So how can *you* stop feeling like a loser if any of these circumstances befall you?

The first thing you have to do is to understand the game. Life is an incredibly long game. And we all lose in the end.

Only the *condition* in which we lose differs from each other.

And your only condition is your now and present moment. If you become hell bent and brutal on living every moment like it's an amazing gift, you can not only stop living like a loser but when the day comes that you die, you'll die happy.

You have to stop compromising your happiness.

That's all.

Nov 25, 2013

Every life is a series of horrible mistakes

Come on,  we all make mistakes. There is no escape from that. Right now as you read this, people are making horrible mistakes that will change the course of their life as well as the life of many others. 

That's the way the world works.  We live, we learn and there are times when we do not learn, so we pay for our mistakes.

People are often proud, which never helps. It only makes their faults and mistakes appear bigger and more difficult to correct.

Do you understand?

I've been busy in past week and my total spring output had been close to zero. That means for all the talk I do about nanowrimo, I might not be able to complete it this year. Many factors have contributed to this. Because that's the way life rolls. 

I've made myself immune to false hopes, so yeah, I guess I'll use my time for better things. Like?  I don't know.

I'll just sit here and vegitate.

Nov 1, 2013

How I Write

I have a laptop.

It is a Toshiba laptop. I know this because there is Toshiba written on its back in big, bold, all caps silver letters. It has a keyboard and it has a screen. I charge it with the supplied charger and it holds some three hours of charge. It is two years and some months old. It has a 320Gb hard disk. I don't know much else about this laptop.

The operating system I use is Linux Mint 13 "Maya" which is a long term release. It probably means that this edition of OS will be supported till 2017 or so. 

I've often felt the tingling need to change to another distro, but Mint works and it works well for me. So why fix something that isn't broken?

I use the Libre Office Writer and Pluma for writing. Pluma is like Gedit, but for some reason it's called Pluma in Linux Mint. I write most of my blog posts in Gmail and email them to the blog.

I backup things in Dropbox.

I have many notebooks and I write in them regularly.

I also write on my phone. It's an iPhone 3GS. There are many apps, but I use Notes app and email whatever I write to myself. I also use Day.One app to write something daily.

I write on my tablet, too. It's a Samsung Tab 2. The Android diary app Momento is good. I mostly write just after I wake up in the morning. Most diary entries are records of dreams I have the night before.

For fiction writing, I like to listen to Metal before starting writing. But when I am writing, I avoid music or listen to something soft (Sting's album The Last Ship is pretty good).

For any technical writing, I prefer silence.

And that is how I write.

(NaNoWriMo started pretty okay, wrote close to 3K words today)

Want to wish me luck? do it at @69fubar on Twitter.

Oct 31, 2013

Yay! I've got nothing planned for nanowrimo.

NaNoWriMo starts in less than 1 hour and I've not decided what I am going to write. Yet. But I am going to decide, because once I put my fingers to the keyboard, I'll force the story out no matter how painful it is. 

In my two "successful" NaNoWriMo attempts, I wrote what I really wanted to read or whatever was bothering/influencing me at that moment of time, but this time, I am going to let the story take its course. No planing. I am just going to wing it. Because planning is the first step towards failure. If I don't plan, I can't fail. I can only do what I want to do. And that is to write.

Which goes completely against my "advice" in the last few posts.

Now even then the question rises, what the actual fuck should I write? It's a fucking stupid thing to ask, but asking fucking stupid things just cuz they're fucking stupid has not stopped me from asking them.


You need to ask fucking stupid questions so that you don't make fucking stupid mistakes. You dig me? Are you with me? You get what I am saying? where I am coming from? Yeah? No? fuck no? How in the fuck does it matter. I just wanted to swear a bit. You can fucking ignore this paragraph just like you've ignored everything important in your life, you fat fuck.

So, let's skin this cat, because you can't actually tell me what you want to read, I am going to write what you might want to read. Simple enough? I don't know.

Let me know if you wanna talk about this. We should talk about this. My slow descent into madness and all dark places. You know my twitter handle, that's where you came here from anyway. It's @69fubar.

How To Read More Books, Faster

There are more books published today than ever before. Anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection can bring out a book today. While this gives readers a whole lot of choice, it also creates a big deal of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on genres of their choice. 

In my limited experience, you can only read more books faster when you're interested in reading a book. When the material grips you by the throat and keeps you awake till 3 in the morning. You'll know it when that happens.

So how can you read more books faster?

1) Get on Goodreads: Even though I don't like the website's design, it is still a very good starting point of keeping a track of what you're reading and how far along you are in your reading challenge for the year. There is a reading challenge on Goodreads where you can promise yourself the number of books you'll read in a year. Good stuff, I am on Goodreads here. I update it on/off.

2) Find a comfortable reading platform: While many people scoff at reading on screens such as mobile phones and laptop monitors, it is the future and it's coming at you full speed. If you don't suffer from any kind of eye problems, I don't see any reason why you can't read a book on a screen, because come on, you're reading this post a screen too. Consider a book like thousands of blog posts, read at your pace.

One thing I'd suggest if you're reading on laptop or computer monitor, is to get this app F.lux which can regulate the color of your screen to make it easy to read.

Another, if you want to read in your browser, and you have books in .epub format, you can get a number of .epub readers in the app stores of your browser. There are .epub reading extensions available for both Chrome and Firefox. Also, if you're into reading Kindle books, you can simply go to and read your kindle books here.

3) Invest some money in a book reader of your choice: Now, be it a kindle or an iPad or a Tab. It makes sense to go for something which has a slightly better screen than Chinese made cheap tablets. You get what you pay for, frankly. So get something good. You're a serious reader, you need a fucking tablet. No two ways about it. This is the future.

4) Book reading apps: Book reading apps for tablets and phones are a dime a dozen on all kinds of app stores. My personal favorites are iBooks on iPhone (put your .epubs in Dropbox or email them to yourself, download and open in iBooks), Stanza app on iPhone (I don't think it's available anymore) Readmill (on Both iOS and Android), Moon Reader+ (Android only). I use some or most of these apps, and the best part about using multiple apps is that, if you get bored or fatigued of reading a book in one platform, maybe you can switch to a different genre or author in another app. Variation is the spice of life and everything.

5) Get Information about Books: While reading the genres of your interest is the best way to get more reading done faster, one should always explore other writing genres too. You can join online book clubs, or book specific websites. Buzzfeed has a good section about books, there are tumblr blogs about books, Amazon sends good emails about the books that might interest you or books that are free, you've to create your own reading flow when it comes to reading. You can follow your favorite authors on Twitter and FB to make sure that you're in sync with whatever new material they're putting out. iO9 and Tor often write good stuff about books. I am not linking any of them because I am lazy, and you're not, you know how to punch things into Google, right?

So, that's about it. You read more books by reading more books. Simple as that. The tips mentioned above can help you, but only till a degree, after that you're on your own, just like everything else in life. Happy reading!

[Got thoughts? Tips? Ideas? life hacks? hit me on @69fubar to talk about this post]

Oct 29, 2013

The Problems With Physical Books

I do most of my reading on screens. I buy paper books only when it's some really amazing book or it's a book that is really special, a classic or sorts. Or if i am giving a book as a gift to someone. Or if it's on a sale. The first problem with buying physical books is that they demand space. It's fine when you buy 2-3 books a month, but add them up and in a year, you've to devote some really good shelf space to that. Keep doing that for five years or so and soon you'll be keeping books in towers on the floors and god help you if you decide to move town.

You might not want to leave your books and you might not want to give them away. Even if you don't read those books every again, just owning them and possessing them creates a logistical nightmare that can only be solved if you're too rich to not care about trivial things like storage space for books. Sadly, I am not that rich yet and the living space is precious, so less paper books for me.

There are even more problems with physical books. They're basically designed to be attractive, and I've been burned too many times by reading a blurb that promised something amazing but the meat of the book was tasteless and vapid. The Unknown Soldier is one book that comes to mind. I picked the book based on the blurb, but struggled to read through it. That is not the only book. Lot of examples where I picked the book based on reading a few inner pages, blurb, cover image and the book turns out to be a damp squib. Been burned too many times and now those books are just collecting dust somewhere in my house. I don't feel like throwing them away, because that just doesn't feel right. Physical books are harder to transport and even harder to ship. Oh, and if you're shipping a book from US stores, the shipping charges are more than the price of the books. It's insane. 

And then add the problem of environmental degradation to physical books and that's another can of worms. Every books printed on paper is part of some dead tree. Why can't we print the books on recycled paper? Which is not really a solution, because recycling also takes a lot of energy which is produced by burning coal etc, it's a vicious circle.

With the technology available today, it's not too difficult to create a complete reading schedule through gadgets. There are some puritans who say that they like the feel of a book in their hands, and the smell of the book etc etc etc. Well, all that is good and fine. Such people should keep reading books the way they like it.

As for me, I've moved on to 98% reading on screens. Next post, I will talk about how I read on screens, which apps, gadgets, file formats, etc go best for reading on screens.

[Drop me a line @69fubar on twitter if you'd like to talk about something I said in this post]

Oct 25, 2013

on blogging

Why Do I Blog?

I've been blogging on different platforms for close to ten years and even after all this time, the need to say something, the desire to express, to learn, to do something new, it doesn't sit silent. Twitter dulled my blogging mojo for a while, but like a dead body floats to the surface of a pond, the same itch, the same bite to say something is back.

Why do I blog?

This blog was my primary source for writing stories, but I stopped doing that a while ago. I feel bad for stopping. So I'll start again sometime in the future. A lot of things bother me about the world we live in. Most of the times, I rant on twitter about all that is wrong in the world, but then there are other times when things need proper fleshing out, dressing down and complete analysis. A blog is just about perfect for those times.

There are times when you want to record something for future, for past, for remembrance, when you want to share something with the world, for now and for future. A blog is perfect for that.

Why do I blog?

I blog because I can, because I want to, and because I should.

Oct 24, 2013

How To Write A Story :: (Part 3 of 3)

Writing the actual story.

The big one. Now let's not beat around the bush here, you can punch into google the simple phrase that "how to write a story" and you will get thousands of results with posts and theories written by people who are more intelligent, smarter, experienced, and articulate than me. So why should I even bother? I think I should bother because I might have something different to say than people who've written about writing stories before me.

Science and Art
Writing a story is both a science and an art. There are technical aspects and there are emotional aspects, and a good story is a combination of both in the right degree. A story needs a soul, a story needs a voice, a story should say something more than what is being said on the page. Barring all these, a story should be entertaining, it should move the readers, it should delight and disgust them. Because every story is an escape. So, when you write, are you providing readers with that escape? Are you giving them something that is more interesting than their life might be? If not, then make it so. That is your job.

Answer to a Question
Most of all, a story poses a question and answers it. When writing your story, write down the question you want to ask. The bigger and most complex the question is, the better your answer will be. Read your favorite stories, think about the questions the writers were asking and how they've answered. More often than not, the question will be buried under layers of meaning and the answer will be out there in the pages. You might have to work your way backwards, but it's a learning process that we all need to go through.

Writing a story is difficult. So learn about it as much as you can. Find out all you can, and when you sit down to write. Just write. No distractions, no nothing till you've made your word count of the day. There will be better time to edit it.

A Journey
A story is a journey and when you write the first word, know the end. Then use all the other words to reach it and make the journey as interesting as possible.

It's About Knowing
Now, near the end of this post, you might realize that I've said almost nothing about the technical aspects of writing a story. Because there is none. You can't write a good story in the first draft, and this is what participating in NaNoWriMo is about. Once you do it, you'll KNOW that you can write 50,000 words and then you'll KNOW that you can edit them too.

You might have something good at the end of it all, and you might not, but you'll always have the knowledge that you wrote 50k words in one month.

I wish you luck and swift fingers. May your muse sit on your head and beat you till you finish your word count.

[hit me on twitter, @69fubar if you want to talk about storytelling or anything else in general]

Oct 19, 2013

The NaNoWriMo Pre-Plan and Random Insults. (Part 2 of 3)

Come November, and all the hidden novelists come out of their caves, filled with vim and vigor to take on the challenge that November brings for them. To hammer out 50,000 words of a story that will propel them to the heights of stardom or some equally stupid dream like that.

See, if you're writing NaNoWriMo to be famous or to create a publishable novel, then put that thought out of your mind right now. This is not about writing your masterpiece or even your debut, that comes much much later. Takes much more than tears, bloody, frustrated yellings at all and everything in god's green creation.

Writing is not a novel vocation. You'd make much more money and have much more fun working for a call center or something. Still here? Good. Let's get into the practical aspects of how to get the 50k word count, because it's not really that easy unless you're prepared and you know what you're doing. More than anything, writing for NaNoWriMo is dedicating yourself to a routine and not letting anything deviate you from it. But things are going to get into the way of writing your daily count of words, things like life, family, kids, significant others, mechanical failures, lack of inspiration to write, and other such bullshit. But, if you're prepared, if you're determined, if you have an arsenal of tools at your disposal, you can crack it.

I believe you can crack it. How're you going to crack it? I'll tell you how.

The Pre-Plan

There are still some good 13 days to beginning of November and these days are your pre-planning days. You're going to prepare yourself and your life on multiple levels and also prep-up your novel (you've got the idea down by now, right?). Six aspects of pre-prep.

1) Get done with your reading: I failed to complete the NaNoWriMo in 2011 because being the idiot that I am, I started with the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire. And from then on it was all downhill. So, the no reading or low reading part is extremely important because of two factors. First, every page that you read is a page that you're not writing. Second, whatever we read can subconsciously leech into what we're writing. Which is never a good thing. You don't really want to end up with 50k words where the characters and situations in your novel mirror the overall collective of the books you were reading in November. But reading is important for writers, so read something that is non-fiction. And always read AFTER you're done with your daily quote of 1667 words.

2) Choose your weapons: Your weapon here is the software or tools that you're going to use to writer. Pen and paper? MS Word? Notepad? Scrievner? Dried skin of your enemies with their blood and tears for ink? It's all a matter of personal preference. You can Google around to find out lists and lists of resources that tell you about all the writing implements that you can use, but they mean less than jackshit if you're not committed to writing. So choose a tool that makes you feel good. Pen and paper or your mobile phone screen, choose and stick to it. Still, here are some things you must incorporate into your workflow.

    2a) Excel sheets: Mark out the days from 1-30 November in a column. Next column is your word count for the day. Which is 1667 to make it to 50 by end of November. Just highlight every day with green once you're done for the day and do not break the chain. If you know that you're about to miss a day or two, pre-plan and write more on a previous day. If you miss a day because of some reason, write more on the next day. It's simple as that.
   2b) Backup, Backup, Backup: Swear by your first born child that you're going to keep AT LEAST three backups of your work. Because losing even 1k words because you didn't save or backup is like a pain of first heartbreak. Maybe not, but you know how it is. Your choices? Save on local drive of your computer. Make a folder in your Dropbox account and third, save a copy in your Google Drive. If you're backed up in the cloud and you've a mobile with good screen estate, you can even push the word count forward whenever the mood strikes you. Peter V Brett wrote his first novel on his mobile phone while riding the subway to work. Remember, every word counts.

   2c) Organize: Writing 50k words ends up as a total mess if you're not careful. And if you're not careful, you might not even want to look at that dump of shit ever again. So organize with future in mind. The strategy that has worked for me in past is to create one master file with every day's word count added to it and at the same time, keep sub-files for each day that I've written. Files names are important for organization. I normally name files in a way that I can take a glance at the novel's folder and find out the status of the novel as well as the inspiration to write ahead. I organize files by numbers. Example: 1 Nov_Killing The Beast_1667. This helps me in knowing the date, the chapter name, and words. Also, as far as you can, try saving files in .txt format. Why? Because .doc files might get corrupt. It is also better to email the day's word count to your alternate email ID by copy-pasting the chapter in the body of the email. Less chance of getting into some kind of format problems.

3) The Time: While you can chalk out multiple times in the day to write, it can be extremely draining to write throughout the day. I've done it, so you can trust me on that. The best way to go about it is to wake up at 4 AMand then writer. Haha, insane? No? NO. NOT AT ALL. You're the one who wanted to writer a novel, aren't you? Why 4 AM? Because, no one is going to call you at this hour, your family will still be asleep, no one is going to ring the doorbell, there are no loud neighbors, or loud sounds of traffic, or anything at all. And 4AMis the hour of the wolf. It's when the muses come out of their shells to haunt the minds of people and put ideas in there. So, if you manage to wake up at 4AM and write even ten days, I can guarantee you that you'll be done with more than 50k in that time. The idea here, again is NOT to stay awake till 4AM and then write, but to sleep early and then wake up at 4AM. You can go back to sleep once you're done with your word count.

Alternatively, you can choose any time of the day when there are less interruptions so that you can write in peace. But my personal bet is 4AM.

Next Post: The actual story.

Oct 17, 2013

Some Thoughts About NaNoWriMo (Part 1 of 3)

There is a book in each one of us and most of the times it's not a very good book. But even the suckiest book that has been written is hundred times better than the most amazing, fantastic, blockbuster book that lives and dies in your head. (We've all had some of those, haven't we?)

For anyone looking from the outside, writing books by making up things looks like fun work! They think that people sit in front of their laptops and hammer out books by the dozen and then live all their life comfortably drowning in wine, women and wow life.


I won't say more than that.

On to NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. Actually, any month can be a novel writing month, but there is some weird positive force associated with large groups doing stupid things together. There is this sense of "Community" that tells people that maybe the impossible is just a little bit possible. It's not, most of the times, but the weight of the crowd is often enough to carry everything forward till the lines blur and the differences don't matter anymore.

So, in November, people from all over the world decide to write novels they might have been thinking about for the whole year. A noble endeavor, even though more than half of them quit in the first week and only a fraction of the people who start make it to the 50,000 word limit by the last day of November. Because, unlike some people think above, writing even the shittiest novel is work. It's hard work. It can make you tear out your hair in frustration, ignore your daily life, become addicted to a number of drugs and do wonders for your ability to sit in a chair and procrastinate.

But, and it's a beautiful but, it can be done. And next up, we (you and I) will create the mindset and conditions needed to complete the NaNoWriMo without losing our minds and create something that is something slightly better than a pile of steaming shit at the end of November.

Oct 1, 2013

What should *i* blog about?

TL; DR Write whatever the fuck you want.

The Long Version
The first ever blog I made was in 2003 on a very simple website called That blog is still there and no I am not going to tell you the address. For me, it is a reminder of where I've come from and I often go back to that blog to read the posts that were simply horrendous and in complete disregard of some of the rules of blogging that I follow here (I follow rules, heh, who'd have thought).

So, what did I blog about back then? 

Who the fuck cares? I don't. Really, most of that shit is just cryptic ramblings of a person has been exiled from his only home and thrown in a new environment without any safety of parents, a place he knows or friends. It was a confusing time and so were those blog posts. So be it.

So, how does that relate to now?

That relates to now in the sense that none of us can see the future, (I talked about this some posts back, you can scroll down after you're done reading), BUT, the beauty of time is that all of us can see the pastas long as we manage to remember it. 

And to remember it, we must catalog it. And nothing is better than writing about it to maintain a steady/unsteady log of whatever is happening right now, so that you can reference to it in future.Your memory will fail you in future. That's guaranteed. Do you remember what you ate for lunch on 1 October, 2012? or how you were feeling? or what nice, awesome or terrible thing happened to you? You probably don't, UNLESS you wrote it down in a blog, a diary or on a wall with the blood of your enemies.

Coming back to the question, "What should I write about?"

The answer is that I don't give a fuck what you write about. You should not either. Just write whatever the fuck you want. No one cares. Your blog is not a newspaper that people will read and write angry letters to the editor about. Write about your day, the weather, three nice things, or 100 nice things that happened to you today, keep a gratitude journal, keep a journal of your evil megalomaniac schemes to take over the world, or whatever.

And you should do it because your time is fleeting, and when you're older it's fun to remember.

That's all for now. Tomorrow, maybe I'll talk about the HOW of writing. Or not.

Got a word to say? hit me on twitter, @69fubar. I won't bite unless you give me a reason to. Then I'll tear your face off and wear it as a mask for the rest of the day.

Sep 30, 2013

Burning the bridges that have grass growing on them

How do you get things done? Do you take it cool and calm and chilled out and let things take their way around, go with the flow, so zen...summer comes, grass grows, type of thinking?

Or do you straight out fucknut insane, fire up all engines, blast through the doors, kick down all obstructions, burn the grass and then get cracking with the things that need doing and things that need fucking up?

Both approaches are perfect for when you need to get things done. Work that needs to be done, needs to be done. You can choose either approach, but beware of the price you'll have to pay for both. Different case scenarios, different approaches, different energy expenditures, similar outcomes. 

It all boils down to the level of energy you want to put in it. Some things need a calm and collected (summer comes, grass grows) approach, others need a burn down the bridges and everything around them kind of approach.

TL; DR? The genius of a person lies in knowing which approach to apply at which occasion. You fuck up in knowing that and you might as well forget getting those things done. You can't slow down an explosion and you can't speed up growing of grass.These are not facts, this is science. And science is true, whether you believe in it or not.

That's all that is boiling in my brain bucket for now. 

Sep 28, 2013

What really happened at Barbecue Nation?

Do you like to eat? I bet you do. Food is fuel and food is fun. We all eat. There is not one person living on this planet who does not eat something.

I presently live in Chandigarh, Punjab and more than rest of India, food is serious business here. Extremely serious. The only thing people of Chandigarh take more seriously than food is drinks. Hard drinks. The liquor is cheap here. And people here like loud cars. They spend more on buying a VIP number for a car that costs half the amount they pay for that number. But back to the food. We love food. There are whole markets devoted to food. For a city that is as small as Chandigarh, there are at least 4-5 McDonalds, 4 KFC restaurants and a number of other food specific establishments. There are two Barbecue Nation restaurants here, one in Chandigarh, and one in Mohali.

A friend gave me the link to this news today.----

MOHALI/CHANDIGARH: As many as 27 persons, including four children, fell ill after consuming food at a swanky restaurant in phase-V on Thursday night. Three of the seriously ill have been admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in sector-32 in Chandigarh.

According to the police, 23 employees of an IT company in phase-VIII of Industrial Area went to Barbecue Nation restaurant in phase-V for snacks. Immediately after consuming the food, they started vomiting and a few of them lost consciousness.

Health officials also reached the spot and took samples of the food. They said that it appeared to be a case of food poisoning.

Back in 2009, I went with a colleague to BBQ Nation, Chandigarh and being out first visit there, we ate like normal Punjabis do. Which means, we ate like it was the last meal on earth and the whole planet was going to be swamped by zombies in the coming hour and we'll never see a shred of meat in our life ever again. Which means we ate a lot. And there was beer.

After a few hours of food-panthi, when we were sure that in case of an impending zombie apocalypse, we'd be able to survive on basis of the food we'd eaten that evening, we left the restaurant. My colleague stepped outside the restaurant, stumbled, and balanced himself by putting a hand on a parked car.

Then, he started to puke.

You might wanna skip the next few lines. Don't say I didn't warn you.

There is nothing beautiful about puking. It's gross. It should not happen to anyone. But this dude, he took puking to an extreme level. It was like a torrent (not the kind that we download) of all the meats that he had eaten. It was a multi-colored offering that stank like fuck and made people in his immediate vicinity shrink away in disgusted horror. A stray dog near him fainted and died instantly.

I think about that now and I can feel my bile rising. It was horrible. But then he stopped. Took another step and started to puke again. I was too drunk on food to notice that this was food poisoning, plain and simple. He puked four more times after that and looked noticeably weaker. Somehow, he reached home, and so did I. That was that. BBQ Nation has not changed in all those years it seems.

The problem with Barbecue Nation lies with the meat and the open fireplaces/roasting place/whatever the fuck they're called. Fine, the meat is prepared by the staff, but you can never tell the conditions in which it was prepared. The restaurant might have all the health certifications and inspections in order, but slip-ups happen. And when slip-ups happen, people fall sick. People who are your customers, and that's never a good thing for a business.

Conclusion: Food is as dangerous a business as war. And in the food business, the casualty is always the customer. Rarely, the establishment. I am not going to eat at BBQ Nation again, because thank you, I like my food to come out of the designated end only and I'd very much prefer it follows a one way path through my body.

Sep 26, 2013

You are not that great


You are not that great.

Actually, none of us is really very great. The fact that you have time to read this and I have time to write this simply means that we are not using our time in the best possible manner.

Of all the things we have, time is the only thing that is perishing away at an increasing rate. Every moment that passes means you've less time to live. Like the saying goes, RIGHT NOW is the youngest you'll ever be.

I also like to think of it as -- once your exit your mother, it's a downhill ride into earth or fire.

Have you ever studied any of the productivity books? All that GTD stuff, Kanban, To-Do lists, productivity matrixes n shit, yeah? Maybe you have, maybe you have not. But all these techniques just aim to do one thing, to make people do work. Do work that is useful. Work that means something. Work that can maybe help them and others and make some money along the way and leave the world a bigger, brighter place.

BUT, at the same time, all those productivity methods are in place, because the default nature of man is to NOT do the work. You don't need a to-do list to breathe, eat, fuck or shit.

Man was designed to hunt in jungles, wear animal skins and live to 30-40 and make space for the next batch. We were not meant to sit in chairs and type shit because if we were, we'd all have more fingers than ten.

As world has progressed and life spans have increased, there is less space, more specialization and very few of us would be able to survive in a jungle environment. The lack of Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and toilet paper would kill most of us in a day or two.

Crux: Stop thinking that the sun shines out of your asshole. Because it does not. You're crap like the rest of us.

Sep 25, 2013

What's going to happen in next five minutes?

Let's not lie to each other. You and me. What we have going on here is not a social experiment. It's not a way to get a reaction out of you. I am not selling you anything (yet). There are no books, no t-shirts, no courses to make you a better blogger, human being, or whatever the fuck you want to be.

What you and me have here, is, by a freak chance, an honest relationship. I am writing something and you are reading it and it might make some neurons in your head trigger a little bit differently, and that's about it. Or maybe not. I won't know it. But you, will.

Now, let's talk about the illusion of control. Here's how it goes.

You're reading this on a screen, maybe your smart phone or your laptop. Maybe you are in office, or home or anywhere else you like to catch up on your reading. Just take a look around you, everything is
calm and collected, because if it were not, you'd not be reading this.

But who, or what says that things will remain this way, say, in the next five minutes.

And you say, "Of course, Pallav, what kind of crazy talk is this! Things will surely remain calm and collected for the next five minutes, and I'll finish reading this blog post."

To which, I'll say, "Dear reader, you cannot see the future, you don't have prescience, you have absolutely no fucking idea what's going to happen in the next five minutes, but you're absolutely sure that it's not going to all explode in chaos, bloodshed, and tears."

Give this a thought.

The illusion of control.

Thank you.

Sep 24, 2013

Write Angry [updated]

You've just downed a small mug of black coffee like a vodka shot. Your eyes are open, your pupils dilated, there is a mad energy behind your eyes, you're typing like a god possessed by another god and you're not making any typos. Your fingers a blur of the keyboard, flinging letters on the screen with the passion of new lovers flinging their clothes in a dark empty room, and the backspace a distant memory. Fuck auto-correct. We are taking this thing down the old fashioned way.

There is a fire behind your eyeballs and there is electricity in your balls. You're not writing from the brain anymore, it's all impulse. All natural. All madness. Fueled by amazingly bad coffee that felt more like downing a mug of old engine oil. It has set fire to your neurons and the blank page is a vista that you're going to cover with the black blood of words that you will slaughter mercilessly on the page.

Inspiration? Muse? Creativity? FUCK ALL OF THEM.

You don't need them. Grind the writer's block under your mighty finger muscles and snort the dust and get high on it. So high that you never want to stop. So high that even if the computer breaks down, you'll grind this keyboard to pulp by mashing your fingers on it, till you're just left with bone stumps covered in tattered skin.

You come to the blank page. You come to it angry. If you don't write, you'll die. Here and now and they'll pry your dead fingers from the home keys of this keyboard with rusted crowbars. But your soul will be stuck here. Forever.

Sep 23, 2013

Surajmukhi Complex :: WTF is that?

You probably know some people in your life who think that everything is about them. If you don't know anyone like that in your life, then congrats, you're that person.

You're infected with a condition called Surajmukhi Complex. Surajmukhi as in sunflower. While the sun rises and sets on its own, the flower things that the sun is rising and setting as per the flower's convenience as it turns around all day to face the sun.

Or some bullshit like that.

The point is that the moment you start thinking that it's all about you, it stops being about you. It becomes about everything and everything associated with you. No one can live in a vacuum, no man is an island and till you're not that, stop thinking that it's all about you.

Control is just an illusion that can be broken so quickly that you won't even have time to reflect and shed a few tears. It's all a downhill ride from the moment you're born.

And it only ends when you die.

Sep 21, 2013

About NOT giving a fuck.

We're an angry lot, man.

Every day, people are not giving fucks about a lot of things. People don't give fucks about the environment, the planet, the world, their parents, the animals, the music, the news and shit lot of things, when you come to think of it.

Every day, you can find someone making hateful noises in their real and virtual space that they don't give a fuck about a certain thing/person/behavior/whateverthefuck.

This is completely and absolutely wrong.

These people who say that they don't give a fuck about things are motherfucking liars. Why? dear Pallav, , you ask, who died and made you the absolute authority on the capability of people to not give a merciful fuck about things?

No one actually.

It's based on my own experiences and my failure to NOT give a fuck about things. I kept thinking to myself that I don't give a fuck about most things, but then I realized that I WAS giving a fuck about those things. Just that those things were not in the background of my mind, but they were still there. Now there are people who say that they don't give a fuck about say, Bollywood, (good enough topic to not give a fuck about). But then the same people religiously follow every Bollywood related account on Twitter, read about Bollywood in magazines and find out ten thousand ways to declare Bollywood as corrupt and useless. They'll troll movie stars and directors, write blog posts declaring the reason why a movie fucking sucked.

Though, fuck all that, here's a picture of Deepika Padukone looking fucking fantastic.

You don't give a fuck about things, by NOT giving a fuck about them. Figure it out yourself. 

Sep 20, 2013

Why this generation is fucked - part 1

Yeah man, you've got apps n stuff, but what do you actually want to say? Are you saying it? If yes, then are people listening? If people are listening, are you making some kind of impact? Are you changing their world, their thoughts, their ideas in some manner? because if not, then why the fuck are you even doing those things.

Is there any actual value of reaching out if you're not even touching someone? Which sounds pretty perverted, but give it a few minutes, and it just might make sense.

If you're not connecting with people, then you might as well stand inside a bathroom and yell at the walls. Same effect. The sad problem of our generation is that people do not realize this fact. Every day, people are talking to gods, their favorite movie stars, and people they crush on, without closing the loop of communication. Let me throw some social science your way, because I really don't want to let my degree of Masters of Mass Communication go to waste.

This is a model of communication. See the blue arrows, that is the loop of communication closing. The source sends a message to the receivers and gets their feedback, hence closing the loop of communication. That's successful communication.

But, here, in our case, the loop is open!

Get that shitty little fact inside your fucking heads. You hope to be heard, you hope that you'll be listened to, you hope that someone will love you back, I say fuck that shit.

Hope is for losers.

To communicate, you must make an impact, and you can't make an impact by blindly throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick.

More thoughts on this later.

What the fuck should I write about?

Yup, the profanity up there. That's a sign of the things to come. That's how it's gonna roll around here from now on. I've been thinking of things to write. Topics visit the empty brain-shell I call my head, sit there for a while and when they find that it is not a fertile ground for breeding, they take flight.

I've been seeing and observing things all around. Things keep happening, but are these things worth talking about? Would they matter in the next 100 years, if, by any chance, these words make it through that time and space? That's how long term I am thinking. Or at least trying to.

So, anyway, here's a bit of thought and wisdom or useless advice. (It all depends on where you're looking at it from.) 

Learn to say NO.

Yup, that's it. It's very easy in principle, but in action, it's tough as trying to eat an apple full of blades.

Someone will get cut, someone will bleed, someone will be put through discomfort when trying to say NO. And if you actually say NO, then the rewards might/might not be immediate, but as the saying goes, NO is easier to say, YES is difficult to do.

As with all pieces of advice, use your better judgment, use your discretion, use your fucking head to make sense of things.

That's almost fucking about it for now. 

Sep 19, 2013

cranky mood post

Every day that I don't update this blog, it's on the back of my mind. So the natural question that arises is that why I don't update this blog? The lack of thoughts is not a problem, the lack of time is not a problem anymore, the lack of will? Maybe.

It's a confused fudge state of thinking where nothing makes sense and the life around you is not moving at the same pace that you want to move and it's all a slow, burning, chaos.

I read about an experiment where they waited some 67+ years or something for a drop of pitch to drop into a beaker. The dude who was in charge of this experiment died in the meanwhile, without having seen the pitch actually drop.

I miss the old days of this blog every day. Maybe when this blog was younger and so was I. More than anything else, the tensions were less and the atmosphere was electric. Perfect for creativity. Now I do a "job" all day and that kinda just sucks the fun out of writing. Maybe I was never meant to be a writer.

But if so, then fuck it. I don't care. I set out to do certain things, I did them. Consequences and results be damned.

I've told many many stories on this blog. Hundreds of them and now I feel that the well has run dry.

Even writing that sentence feels like ashes in my mouth, but I am not going back to delete it. Fuck it, as I said above.

I am going to free this blog from its story writing chains and make it about anything and everything that comes to mind. If the stories come, they're more than welcome to be here, but till they don't, I'll shoot my mind off about whatever the fuck interests me.

Consider this a warning or whatever, because I am not a happy boy and I need to vent. 

Aug 7, 2013

Smoke Storm

Jenna's first memory of smoke is the grey curl rising from her father's pipe as they sat by the fire and he cradled her in his lap. She remembered feeling the smoke curl inside her nostrils, sneezing and her father laughing and putting away the pipe on the table. She kept looking at the curls of smoke that kept rising from that pipe on the table.

Her father told her a story that night. About bears and princesses and honey and truth and lies. 

When she slept that night, she dreamed of a bear with eyes made of fire and claws made of ice. The bear set fire to the things it touched and it roared and roared and how it roared!

In the fury and the fire, Jenna woke up and she saw that the bear was real. And in its furious dance of fire, it was on fire itself. She cried in her bed as the flames engulfed her and the bear came for her. She saw wisps of smoke curling from the bear's yellow pelt and as the bear came closer. Somewhere in there, in the heat and confusion, Jenna lost her consciousness. 

She woke up in her father's arms. His face was awash with tears and he kept repeating her name again and again. 

A group of firemen were still dousing their house with water to quench the flames. 


I just want the older times back when I could write without editing. 

Apr 8, 2013

This has been pending

I've serious doubts that anyone is still reading this blog. Maybe people are, maybe they're not. I won't push the link to this post on twitter or facebook or any other place. Let's take it back the basics. Whoever gets here by natural means, gets to read this. 

Fair? I don't know. And I don't care.

Now, let's not mint words here, I am telling this to me, as much as I am telling this to the invisible reader, the blog has been as good as dead. There were some flickers of life, but activity has been slow and very low, overall.

Why? Because I have something called a real life and crippling addiction to getting attention. And the blog doesn't scale up to the attention model like it used to in the earlier times. This is 2006-2007 years, when getting every comment on the blog was a small high, a rush, and back when I was a student, extremely stupid, and much less jaded. The only difference in 2013 is that I am not longer a student. 

There I go trying to sound smart. Hah. 

The deal here is that the day-job has become a weird kind of stone around my neck. I can get out, but the cost of getting out is tough. I am not able to figure out how to make everything come together and work in sync. Too many factors at play, but then that's real life for you. If I leave the job, my whole lifestyle gets disturbed to a major degree. 

But Pallav, you ask, what the fuck does that have to do with writing stories on the blog?

To which, I'd reply, every fucking thing.

Blogging takes some amount of planning in advance and some amount of mental energy and time. And when you come back home after dealing with bad text all day, the last thing you want to do is deal with more text, to polish it, to make it look good, to put out something that makes more sense than this blog post. 

So, yeah, that's a problem, but now that I've come clean with it (kinda) I'll try to fix it. 

Because what else is there to do? You identify problems and you solve them. 

You slog on in the face of life and spit in its eye, because giving up is not allowed for people like us. 

We bounce back, harder. 

I don't know what I am going to do with this blog next, and that shit excites and terrifies me at the same time. 

So it goes.

Mar 16, 2013

The Carnival Without Clowns

When the carnival danced into the town, Sheriff Cowen wasn't so sure about their intentions. 

For all that they were, the dancers, magicians and jugglers in the carnival looked normal, but something was amiss about them. There was a trick of light when you looked at them that didn't let your eye rest on them for a time longer than it took to take in their presence. 

But the winter had gone on for too long and now that sunny days were here, the town needed some entertainment. So the sheriff relented and let them all in. This was his last wrong decision as a sheriff, because he forgot to notice that the carnival didn't have even a single clown.

The carnival folk set up their shop in the open ground behind the town hall and when night fell, the lit up their torches and lamps that bathed their tents in a golden light. The townsfolk came to see the carnival like moths to the flame. 

The jugglers juggled things, the rope walkers walked the ropes and the few sorry animals with the carnival went through the motions of entertaining the crowds. 

And boy, were the crowds entertained. 

The children hooped and hollered and laughter, the adults clapped and the teenagers scuttled away in the dark corners to do the dark deeds that teenagers do. Still, there were no clowns!

When the program for the evening ended and a collection hat was passed around filled with coins and paper notes of all kinds, the people went to their homes. Entertained and satisfied, they slept unaware of the fact that they had refused to notice the un-existence of clowns.

When night fell and the town slept, Sheriff Cowen heard a noise that woke him up. He got out of his bed and went outside. The town was burning. A child ran past his house with his night dress on fire and two clowns chased him on pogo sticks. The flames that burned the houses kissed the night sky and more clowns pored from the fire to create mischief and mayhem. The clowns had come.

Sheriff Cowen went back in his house and tried to sleep. He was still awake when the flames reached him.

Mar 8, 2013

The Gift - 8 - It All Ends in Fire

Razvik stood in the sunlight and let it wash all over him. He liked the subtle heat that spread through his skin and warmed his core with a golden glow. He was going to cause some mayhem, might as well enjoy the sunlight. He went back in the van that was parked some distance from the big bazaar.

"Will this end your problems?" he asked Elina.

"For some time to come. Without the bazaar, they can't send gifts out in the world. And without the gifts, strangers won't end up here."

Razvik nodded. "Hook up the keyboard. Let's do this."

The black keyboard shimmered in the dull light inside the van. One side of the van was occupied by a large screen on which a green cursor blinked with a muted urgency of waiting for something to happen.

Razvik took his place in front of the keyboard. He placed his fingers on the home keys, and started to type. The ground under the van shook and for a small moment his fingers were distracted from the keyboard. He got back on track and started to type. Outside, people were starting to scream. He had a maniac grin on his face by then. Elina looked out of the van's window and a shadow of doubt passed over her face. Had she gone too far by letting Razvik know what he was capable of? A geyser of molten lava erupted a few feet from the van and the heat made Elina shade her eyes and duck back into the van.

Wazif was looking at Razvik with a hypnotized expression on his face as the small man typed away to glory. The keystrokes grew louder in the small confines of the van and each time his finger struck the key, it jagged a ragged little nerve in Elina's brain. She knew the man had gone too far and it had to be stopped. She took out her gun and pointed it at Razvik's head. The van turned turtle in that instant. Elina fell into one of the seats and hung on as the van started to spin. Razvik sat in a floating bubble with his keyboard and the screen. Elina saw her gun float up to her face. It came closer and from the corner of her eye, she saw Razvik grin at her.

"What have I done?" she thought as the bullet sprayed her brains all over the dash of the spinning van. Razvik didn't stop typing. The van started to come apart around him and the pieces broke away. He floated there with his screen and his keyboard and he entered his final wish into the keyboard, crossed his arms and stared at the screen with a glaring anger.

The world around him started to bleed from the edges. There was a stink of sewage in the air and the wind picked up speed as it spun the broken fragments of the world that he had destroyed. There will be no more gifts. There will be no more travelers to this side. There will be no more of what once was. He took a deep breath and released it.

He was standing back in the field where he had entered the big tent. He looked at his watch. Only few minutes had passed and he could still make it back before the lunch time got over. He looked at where he had parked his car.

It was on fire.

The End

Mar 6, 2013

The Gift - 7 - Home Keys

The gun to his head was less of a terror compared to the blinking cursor on the screen. He forced his mind to work. To say something. To make the fingers hit the keys and write something that will save him. And nothing appeared on the screen. The barrell of the gun pushed into his skull, sweat pored from his face and got into his eyes, but he could not take his hands off the keyboard to wipe off the sweat.

Then, something clicked, and his fingers moved.

The sweat disappeared from Razvik's face.

He felt the cool sensation of sweat taking off from his face and he smiled.

The gun is a carrot.

The gun in Elina's hand was a carrot. And this made her laugh. She laughed loud and hard, bent over double with the carrot in her hand like an obscene trophy.

"He did it!" She pointed the carrot at her brother who also had a smile on his face.

She bit into the carrot. "Look, Raz," she chomped around a piece of carrot in her mouth,"you've to help us, man."

He looked at her. How easily she had switched to asking for help when just a few seconds ago she was threatening to blow his brains out of his skull. But Razvik was a gentleman.

"Sure, what kind of help do you need?"

"You remember the fair where you first came to this side?"

Razvik nodded.

"We need to burn that shit to the ground. We can't have more people coming here. It's creating a havoc with the magical ecosystem."

"Why can't you do it?" he asked as he put his fingers on the home keys once more.

"We're not allowed. Only someone from outside and someone with the right set of skills can do something like that."

"The skills with the keys." Wazif added as he picked the dishes from the table. "We'll go there and then you can do your keyboard magic to make that place dust. Then you can go your way and we can rebuild this place the right way."

Razvik thought for a few seconds and then he nodded. This was a way to get back home for him and it'd also help these people. A voice in his head asked him, how far he was willing to go with the keyboard? He didn't know the answer.

Feb 7, 2013

The Gift - 6 - Moment of Truth

They ate their dinner in silence and the keyboard on the table just sat there like some animal shamed into silence. There was an animalistic glow about the keyboard and all that Razvik wanted to do was tap on its keys and write something amazing and disastrous with it. He didn't do any of that. Had Wazif not been present at the table, he might have risked a tap on the keyboard. Elina might have stopped him, but he was ready to take her on if it meant that he'd be able to spend time with the keyboard. 

He was lost in these thoughts when he realized that the other two had stopped eating and they were looking at him.

"Did you really say all that, buddy?" Wazif had a half-eaten chicken bone in his hand and now it was pointed at Razvik like it was some kind of accusatory finger. 

"No offense people, but this keyboard just looks too tempting."

"You want to type on it?" Elina asked.

"I sure as fuck do. You heard me thinking out loud."

Elina nodded as she put a piece of chicken back on her plate and wiped her hands with a table cloth.

"Fair enough. It's your gift and we are nobody to hold you back."

She got up from the table. "I'll hook up the keyboard to a screen."

"Fuck yeah!" Razvik raised his hand to Wazif but the big man still shooting him angry glances and Razvik had to make his high five into a half-hearted air pump gesture. 

Elina set up a screen on one of the walls of the hut and connected the keyboard to the screen. The screen blacked out and a blinking green cursor appeared on the screen. Razvik had a grin on his face and his fingers felt like they were going to tear off from his hands and start writing on the keyboard by themselves. 

"All yours," Elina motioned him towards the keyboard and Razvik didn't need to be told twice.

He placed his fingers on the home keys and his mind went blank. He had been looking forward to this but now when the moment of truth was in front of him, he didn't know what to type. He felt a cold circle of steel, the unmistakable shape of a gun barrel, press in the back of his neck. 

"Better start typing," Elina said, "or I'll paint the screen with your brains."

One or two more.

Jan 29, 2013

The Gift - 5 - This Guy is Different

The hut was small but somehow it had ample space for a table with three chairs around it. The black man was busy at the pot, cooking the chicken he had chopped into small pieces. He told Razvik to set up the table for three. There were plates and spoons in a cupboard at the back wall and Razvik busied himself with setting up the table as he kept thinking about the girl from the market.

Elina. That was her name. As beautiful as she was. While they prepared, the black man, Wazif, told Razvik about Elina. How she was tasked with taking care of all those who came to get their gifts. There had been people before, but they all got lost in the forest. Razvik was the first one to reach the hut. And I followed only my sense of direction, thought Razvik.

There was sound of footsteps near the door of the hut and Elina walked in, silhouetted by the sun behind her, framing her hair in a golden halo. She had a package in her hand. It was the keyboard that Razvik had left somewhere back in the room.

She put the keyboard on the table where plates were arranged for dinner. She pulled a chair, sat down and held her face in her hands.

"Is everything okay?" Wazif asked her.

"This," she pointed at the keyboard, "and him, she pointed at Razvik, "are everything that is wrong."

"This guy is different, Wazif. He is not like anyone who's come through before."

"I told him that already," Wazif said as he brought a cooking pot to the table and started filling the plates with cooked chicken.

The keyboard sat in the middle of the table, unattended. The three sat around it and ate. They'd deal with the keyboard later. Razvik knew there were important things in life, but he was hungry and food never tasted any better than in this weird place.

It ends in next part.

Been fighting a funky state of mind. But i'll finish this story before i blow my fuse.