La-La-Land votes for Pappu: Super Sundays – weekly blog

Disclaimer: The below blog is a work of imagination and any reference to any real-world person/organization/entity/place  is purely coincidental. Not to be taken seriously and not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments.

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Yesterday, in a historic national election, La-La-Land unanimously voted for Pappu. Excerpts from his interview with a news reporter from The Rhymes of India  – Curry Subramanian.

Curry: “Pappu ji, congratulations on a landslide victory. What is your first message to the nation?”

Pappu: “Thank you. The nation has given a clear mandate. I am humbled. I am also grateful to my mother for everything. Without her support , this could not have been possible.”

Curry: “What is your first focus area of work?”

Pappu: “Women empowerment!”

Curry: “Second focus area?”

Pappu: “Women empowerment!!”

Curry: “Sir?? Second focus area??”

Pappu takes out a paper from his pocket, fumbles for a second- “ I am sorry I thought you wanted me to repeat it”. He looks at the paper – “Reducing farmer suicides and improving their quality of life”

Curry: “Very noble thought Pappu ji. What are some of the initiatives which your Government is planning to take in this regard?”

Pappu again looks at his paper.. thinks for a minute. Curry hears him muttering “Yeh toh syllabus key baahar hai!!” .Pappu gathers himself back and says “I am not in a position to divulge confidential details.  Finance Minister and Home Minister are working on this.”

Curry: “Why should the home minister work on farmer suicides? Isn’t it the job of Ministry of Rural Development”?

Pappu: “Yes, yes… you are right. I am going to give both these portfolios to the Home Minister.. hence you know….”

Curry: “We saw two separate ministers taking oath for these two departments!! Are there going to be any further changes?”

Pappu : “No no.. the Rural minister just had a collapse, which many of you are not aware. Hence, I meant Home Minister. In fact, as we speak, I am in touch with his team over Whatsapp. Give me  a second ..”

Curry overlooks Pappu typing  – “Mom, what the hell is happening? This jerk is asking me uncomfortable questions. You never helped me memorize the answers to these….  In the next 10 minutes, either you come here or you fire this guy. Aur haan… Rural Minister ko collapse karwa do.. I have just told that he has collapsed.”

Pappu: “Curry ji, we need to wrap this interview quickly. The Rural Affairs Minister is in ICU and I need to see him immediately. I can take only a couple of questions.”

Curry: “Sure. Pappu ji, who inspires you and why?’

Pappu : “ Mr. Grump – the President of the DSA (Divided States of Hagey-rica). I like his ideas. I also want to build a wall around the nation’s border. The wall will be longer than the Great Wall of Hyena. Because of the wall issue, the Divided States had a Government shutdown. Building a wall here will ensure a full shutdown. Right now, we operate at 50% shutdown as half the days are lost due to strikes/walkouts. If we do a full shutdown, which will happen if I build a wall, then everyone can work peacefully without disturbance”.

Curry: “Pappu ji, your views on the Falafel deal ?”

Pappu:” We have discussed Falafel issues at length. No more Falafel discussion”

Curry:“Pappu ji.. since you had won the election on the Falafel deal issue, what next on this?”

Pappu : “ Correction !!!  The Falafel deal was not the only issue with the previous Government. It was a disaster on all fronts. I had a problem with everything. The previous leader was only a good poet, a very good marketer. He was good at filling containers with gas. Gas, Gas and Gas. All his policies were flawed. He tried to take certain bold moves but the bold cannot survive in this nation. Only the beautiful can survive. That’s why the TV series Bold & Beautiful didn’t do well in India !!!

The previous leader screwed the work-life balance of the bureaucrats. He insisted on Powerpoint presentations during Department reviews. He equated  bureaucrats to MBAs. MBAs can kill by powerpoint- bureaucrats can’t. Like a Sales Head.. Humesha number ka hi baat karta tha…. He was an inefficient Marketeer, who only gave fancy names to new initiatives with minimum execution and zero results… This nation likes status quo which is what I am going to do in the next 5 years… Maintain status quo… Do nothing !! Also, since the bureaucrats were busy working for last 5 years, I am going to give them a 1 year break. ..one last question please”

Pappu frantically sends another sms – “Mom, I told you I know nothing about the Falafel deal but still this joker keeps probing me. Please ensure he loses his job and gets deported !”

Curry:”Pappu ji, your final words for today”.

Pappu takes out another piece of paper : “ I want to dedicate this poem to the nation. Mom has written for me –

Pappu ki gadi tez hai, Pappu kudiyon mein craze hai.

Pappu ki aankein light blue….Pappu dikhta  angrezzz hai

Falafel haathon mein… Perfume Gussey wala…

Per Pappu cant dance saala..

……..

……..

Mitron ….. Khao aur Khaane Do….

Jai Hind”

Japan’s Iconic Commode: Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog

About a year ago, last April,7 of us went on a memorable 7 day family trip to Japan. Japan is an enigma and a must-see for travel enthusiasts. An extremely kid friendly country with huge parks and family size toilet rooms in every nook and corner of the country. Train is the cheapest mode of transport (cheap means 18,000 rupees for a one-week Japan Rail Pass !!!). The rail stations resemble malls, many having a Louis Vitton or a Gucci store. Experience Sumo wrestling live , gobble up Sushi and miso soup, stare at the Shin-juku crossing where lakhs of people cross a zebra-crossing in a minute, catch the famed Cherry blossoms in March and whiz from Tokyo to Kyoto in the famed Shinkansen ( bullet trains with speeds touching 320 km/hr). Further ahead from Kyoto is the inspirational city of Hiroshima. Hiroshima can give any world city a run for its money in terms of world-class infrastructure. As you travel around , amazed by its beauty, you will forget that this city had an atom bomb dropped … until you see the Genbaku Dome ( one of the few buildings that was left standing near ground zero). Here, you will realize why killing innocent civilians in the name of war is so grossly unfair on the affected families. The way they have quickly re-built this city makes you salute every Japanese you come across…

Japan and Germany have been most devastated by the World War 2, but the way they have leveraged technology to become the world leaders in electronics and automobiles is truly inspirational. The world’s best electronic brands – Sony, Canon, Toshiba.. along with household automobile names – Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi all have been built after World War 2. Ruthless focus and amazing execution excellence!! Same goes with Germany – BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, SAP, Daimler, Siemens, Adidas …

However, all this technological advancement has come at a cost for the Japanese. Most Japanese are intense work-a-holics. This explains high suicide rates and an ageing population. I felt that many people here do not have time for childbirth. Therefore, Japan has a very strong family policy with child benefits. Japan also houses “cat cafes”- where people pay money and talk to cats… Yes you heard it right !!! People pour their daily lives to cats. They talk to cats as if they are talking to children.. Have you heard about this in any other country??

The Japanese are very devout by nature. All through the year, you will find the “Inaris ” filled with devotees. This part of their culture resembles India. The fox is highly revered. You see a lot of threads tied on trees-a prayer, a hope,a feeling of gratitude for a fulfilled wish..

My best memory of Japan, which will remain forever , is the Japanese commode. The Japanese commode symbolizes technological prowess.The commode has various push-buttons, each having a different functionality. My first visit to the commode was awe-inspiring. For 20 minutes, I was just zapped by the push-buttons. I tried flirting with the various push-buttons. On pressing one button, cold water started gushing out. It was quite cold in April, so in panic I pressed the next button. The water suddenly turned hot; red-hot that my skin started to burn.

In panic, I pressed the knob next to the buttons. I turned it clockwise and lo.. the water’s temperature started to change. Temperature control , like an AC; only difference is the AC is used to control the temperature of a room.. in this case the knob controls the temperature of your bum. Zapped!!!

I was looking for the sprinkler but I couldn’t find one; I hate tissue paper and I was cursing myself… until I saw two more buttons!!!

These buttons were the icing on the cake. For the first time in my life, I have compared a commode to a cake !! That’s the experience it gave me. I pressed one button and. the water hit my buttocks from the sides. I was impressed. But wait.. I pressed the second and.. Boom Boom Boom… the water gushed out from nowhere and hit my buttocks from underneath! The Japanese have used amazing technology to eliminate use of both sprinkler and  tissue paper. Pure Genius !!!

And this commode was not in a 5 star hotel. It was in a homestay in the suburbs. I saw this commode everywhere in Japan- in a train, mall, park, 5 star hotel, ferry..

The Americans and Europeans should take a leaf out of the Japanese book. These so-called innovation hubs still use tissue paper, despite knowing that 70% of the earth is water and it depletes less quickly than trees. Cannot fathom why they are stuck in the Old Stone Age and still use tissue paper when we have the amazing Japanese sprinkler-free technology. After the Japan visit, I stopped staying in all “Park” brand hotels in India as they don’t have sprinklers. I hope an Indian brand of hotels sets shop in US, Europe and uses this technology as a USP to woo guests.

If the legendary Raj Kapoor was sitting in place of me in the iconic Japanese commode last April, he would be singing..

“Mera Commode Hai Japani..Yeh Patlun English-taani,

Meri Lal TV Sony.. Phir bhi Dil hai Hindustani….”

Jai Hind

Kavi Shastri vs Dhanmohan Singh : Wicked Wednesdays – weekly blog

Disclaimer: The below blog is a work of imagination and any reference to any real-world person/organization/entity is purely coincidental. Not to be taken seriously and not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments.

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Centuries ago, in La-La-Land, two legends, a poet – Kavi Shastri, and a statesman – Dhanmohan Singh, won the hearts of their nation.

Kavi cemented his place in cricket history as one of the great all-rounders of his times. He became a famous cricket poet post his playing days. In his last avatar, he coached the national cricket team. He had taken over this role in difficult times as his predecessor AK-47 had huge differences of opinion with then captain Irate Bohli. Kavi had a huge responsibility on his ferociously broad shoulders which he handled well.

Dhanmohan earned his name by leading economic reforms for his country post liberalization. He was an economist par excellence. Under his stewardship, La-La-Land regained its rightful place as one of the Chamakta Taaras of the world. Dhanmohan was liked by one and all for his financial acumen and was entrusted the responsibility of leading the nation. He led the nation for 10 years. Though he officially was the leader, there were strong rumours that he was just a rubber stamp in the hands of a lady – Ammonia Gandhi.

A journalist by the name Curry Subramanian stalked them all through their life and decided to compare these legends.

Both Kavi and Dhanmohan never used to say “No” to their respective masters – Bohli and Ammonia. They acted like loyal Labradors. They did not pee unless their masters permitted them to. Their loyalty to their masters was so strong that their spouses got jealous and hired private detectives to check for infidelity. Their marriages almost collapsed due to this…

Favorite TV series –“Yes Minister”

Favorite song – “Aey Malik tere bande hum…”

Only 2 rules in life:

  1. Never take a decision without approval from your boss.
  2. When in doubt, follow rule 1.

Favorite rap lyrics – “ Hum dono hai alag alag… hum dono hai juda juda…Oh-ho-ho-ho….Main anadi ..mera boss khiladi”’

Favorite movie dialogue – “Rishtey mey aap humare baap lagte hain… Aap ho shahenshah… aur hum pussycat”

Favorite hobby – puppet shows

Favorite drink – Teagram’s Royal Tag… Its your Life… Make it Large*

*subject to boss’ approval

Kavi and Dhanmohan also featured as a case study in La-La-Land’s best B school – Pee Pee M Meh-meh-dabad. The brainy geeks there analyzed their decision-making styles in great detail and concluded that they followed a very unique approach – MBRC (Management by Remote Control). The students there took pride in masturbating their way out of B school by quoting case studies in every possible corporate discussion. Even if Ammonia G’s dog pooped, then Pee Pee M Meh-meh-dabad would turn this episode into a case study and analyze the process-oriented approach used by Ammonia in cleaning the dog’s poop.

Kavi and Dhanmohan had quite a few differences…

Kavi liked minimal clothing. He always used to hang around in his boxers, even during media interactions. He was a True Rangeela. In each media interaction, the color of his boxers varied. Dhanmohan, on the other hand, was usually wrapped from head to toe and could only afford a single white kurta with a buttoned coat. Rarely have the countrymen seen him in a different attire.

Kavi spoke a lot and his recitals as a cricket poet became the stuff of legend. Once, while reciting poems during the final of a close cricket match, Kavi yelled “Slashed…..slashed hard”. The recital was so brutal that all the folks listening on TV were immediately rushed to the nearest hospital. Tons of blood had oozed out from their ears. Kavi was temporarily banned from reciting. “When you slash,..slash hard” became a legendary corporate success mantra. In Hindi, it translated to “ Kaatna hai kisi ka…toh acche sey kaato. #Cutgaya”.

Dhanmohan rarely spoke. His continued silence at times used to become so unnerving that people thought he had lost his voice. “Speech is silver, silence is gold” was his mantra , unlike Kavi  who believed that “his voice” was mightier than both “the pen and the sword”.

Kavi was allegedly a serial womanizer. Dhanmohan was rumored to have spoken to only one woman, apart from his wife, all his life.

Kavi had the most obvious responses to any question asked. Once, with 5 overs left in a close match, Kavi was asked by the media to predict the outcome. Kavi’s obviously obvious lines “The match is too close to call. All 3 results are possible” made it to the Wall of Shame.

Dhanmohan had a weird and standard response to any question asked. As the leader of the nation, he was once asked his opinion on the nuclear deal. His response – “ Iska uttar sirf Ammonia G hi bata sakte hain. I am not allowed to speak on this” stunned the nation. This inspired Warnab Go-Tommy to start a successful show – “ The Nation Wants to Know”…..

Curry Subramanian felt there was some divine connection between Kavi and Dhanmohan. He stalked them till their grave. At the graveyard, he couldn’t believe his eyes. On both their graves – the following cryptic words were engraved …

“Bohli kya, Ammonia kya…..  Sab Katputli hain.. Bhagwaan key katputli…

Jab Tak hai Jaan… Hum hain desh ki shaan… Katputli hai naam…

Jai Hind”

Koffee with K-Joke – the most ridiculous show on Earth – Freaky Fridays – Weekly Blog #6

Legal Disclaimer : The below rant is a work of pure fiction, written by an extremely deranged writer. Any reference to any individual/organization/brand is purely coincidental.  No animal was injured while writing this piece of crap.

Last Sunday, I was watching Koffee with Karan Jokar ( some people fondly call him K Jo… a la J Lo… Kahaan J Lo ..aur Kahaan K Lo… bas humare K Jo ko Jhelo..  aur is chakkar mey sabki Le Lo … Jaan Le Lo… #arzkiyahai #waahwaah). If you are cursing yourself why on earth are you reading this rotten shaayari , then hold on.. I get the same feeling whenever I watch K with K. The show gets excruciatingly ridiculous with each passing episode. Yet, people lap it up and the show gets ridiculously high TRPs .Proof of the pudding is its amazing sponsors :

  1. Poppo – a leading mobile brand ( the parent company had Khaali-wood superstars Vanveer Singh and Deep Ka Paad Kaun as brand ambassadors ). Why on earth are they paying money to sponsor this ?

If I had all this money, I would rather give 100 rs to every individual for not watching the show. That would build more credible brand loyalty and brand connect. A less farzi way of brand building in today’s age.

2. Woreal – a global beauty behemoth. It has some heavyweight brand ambassadors like Cashwarya Rai , Wrinkle Khanna yet it doesn’t trust the brand strength of these stunningly beautiful ladies. I Guess sponsoring this is a brand ambassador-hedging strategy.

Deyd dimaag marketing waalon – budget hai toh referral scheme chalao .. Get 2% cash back for every Woreal product referred.

“Blimey !!!” (Wrinkle must be thinking)

Recently, K-Joke won critical acclaim for his mind-blowing episode with cricketers Soft-dik Panda and K Yell Gandhi.  Good questions asked, even better responses , praise all round. Soft-dik and K Yell were given Lifetime Khel Ratna for their inspirational words in this show. The previous title sponsor Koogle Home smartly disassociated itself from the show. They thought their low sales of their newly launched clone against Durexa (which is the market leader) will increase so much after this episode that they will be out of stock.

Poppo and Woreal continue to think that this ridiculous show is going to give exponential sales. Their management that their sales are going to improve at the rate of 2 raised to the power 129 cr every month because of the viralness of this show. Smart marketing brains.

Some ridiculously consistently annoying moments of this show –

    #1. K- Joke : “ Van-bir or Van-veer? “

         Me thinking : Dude, why ask this question to every celebrity who comes on the show everytime ?. Deep ka Paad Kaun being asked this question is understandable. But why ask this to Vijay Dey Gun, Bloodart Malhotra, Hippie Kaushal, Kameena Kapoor and hubby Safe Balidaan.  I pity those celebs.

     #2. K-Joke : “ Were you ever dating X, for a brief while?”

           Scenario a): Celebrity Y: “ No, we were just friends and the media just made this up”

           K-Joke wickedly smiling : “ Mujhe toh sach pata hai… Nee Nini Nee Nee… If you are not buying two chocolates, I am telling your mom about this ”

Scenario b): Celebrity Y: “ Yes, for a brief while… but we have now moved on”.

          K-Joke in delirium: “For the first time on national television, we have Y admitting to her link-up with X. That’s THE best part about being on the couch. Mazaa aa gaya , Mazaa gaya .. yippee”.

Me thinking : Dude, is he a psycho? Why ask personal questions about exes when clearly, its not a comfortable question to be asked. Obviously, people link up and move on if it doesn’t work out. Just because you are a big shot director, who’s been lucky to be born with a silver spoon, you think you can get into the personal space of entire Khaali-wood…..

     #3. K-Joke :” Who among the following would you BAE/PLAY/SLAY ?”

Me Thinking : I will BAE-friend my maid ( else I will never get to know when she’s taking chutti), PLAY with my dog and SLAY my Dhobi (he never gets my clothes ironed on time and i am forced to wear second choice clothes for job interviews).

#4. The torture continues in the Rapid-Fire Round. Celebs need to take a coffee shot if “Yes” is the answer.

   K-Joke : “ Have you ever been in a Friends with Benefits Relationship ? Have you had crush with your co-star? If yes, did you make out on the set? Have you pooped in your vanity car? Have you spat in the face of paparazzi?

    If the celeb takes coffee shots to any of these questions, then K-Joke gets up, screams orgasmically –“ Yasss Yasss Yass Yass Yass…. X has admitted this on national TV”

          Me thinking : Moron ! Don’t you have anything better to do in life?

     #5. The final nail in the coffin – The Grand Finale Quiz Round with Tie-breaker question.

K-Joke :” I want you guys to call up 3 vela-bonds . The need to answer on speaker phone –“ Hey K-joke, this is me,, and I am right now licking your….”.

Me annoyed : “ Please stop this shit”     

Adding insult to injury, the celebs are ecstatic when they receive gifts for winning the rounds. As if they have won the football World Cup for India after 50 years…

Ridiculous show… Ridiculous to the extent that it’s one of the most watched, commented, Retweeted, Regrammed show on Earth.

Khatam Kar Pagle … Aur kitna rulayega?

Kuch Kuch Hota Tha.. Ab nahi Hota

Jai Hind

9 types of bahus – Kyunki Bahu bhi kabhi saas banegi; Masaledaar Mondays – weekly blog

This blog is dedicated all the bahus of this world , who have bitched about their mother-in-laws at least once in their lifetime. Basis my interaction with bahus around me in the ozone layer, I have categorized the bahus as below:

  1. The Devil Wears Prada bahu – she’s  extremely jealous of the way her mother-in-law carries herself in society, the clothes she wears and the perfumes which she buys. Therefore, her only mission in life is to ensure she exhausts her husband’s monthly salary to buy all things designer – clothes, shoes, lingerie,mats, dogs, cats, rats, bats and so on.
  2. The Fake Pati Parmeshwar bahu – she gives a false impression that she treats her husband as Pati Parmeshwar and her mother-in-law as her MAA. All her outward actions seem to be pleasing her husband and her mother-in-law but secretly she’s waiting to poison both of them and usurp their wealth Humraaz style.
  3. The ACP Pradyuman ( CID) bahu – her criminal instincts resemble ACP Pradyuman in CID . Whenever her mother-in-law offers milk to her and her son, her immediate reaction is “ kuch toh gadbad hai”. She will offer the milk to her dog and if the dog doesn’t die, the milk is passed to her husband for drinking.
  4. The Bhai bahu – she secretly goes to the gym and starts toning her body. She doesn’t like people talking against her or her husband. If the mother-in-law does something which she doesn’t like, she immediately ensures all social access is blocked. The mother-in-law can’t act any longer in movies, she can’t be Brand ambassador for any ads, no director will offer her scripts etc. Husbands and Mothers should be wary of such Bahus. Always praise them. If you ever cross them, then you are doomed.
  5. The Himmatwala bahu – she thinks that the way to take the remote control of her husband from her mother-in-law is by taking his son out clubbing, showing off the choicest of dance moves, grooving away to glory and mesmerizing her husband to completely forget about his mom. However, fate ensures that while the bahu shows off her dance moves like J Lo, the husband disappoints by showing off his Jitendra-style Himmatwala moves. Eventually, the status quo is maintained in the Bermuda triangle.
  6. The Aruna Irani bahu – she thinks that emotional blackmail is the best solution to win over her husband from her mother-in-law. She always uses this as the tool to get things done. Her character resembles Aruna Irani’s repetitive role of emotional blackmail in yesteryear Bollywood movies. She initially succeeds till the interval, but in the end, the husband has the final say.
  7. The Sprite Bahu – she’s a Bol Bacchan. She talks big in front of her husband and builds false castles in thin air. She promises that staying separately from parents will transform them into a utopian world where husband and wife are always super happy. Alas ! Ground reality shows both husband and wife fighting every second day and then promising not to fight again. The husband secretly thinks – Ye Sprite ki tarah hai – Bhujaye only pyaas, baaki all bakwaas
  8. The Bhadrakaali bahu – she thinks that she has been blessed by Goddess Durga Maa to kill anybody who comes near her husband, including her mother-in-law. She’s always angry and feels that her mother-in-law is a demon, who plans to devour her husband. She may kill her mother-in-law with the trishul on the coming Vijaya Dasami to put an end to this evil force.
  9. The Politician bahu – this one is the most dangerous bahu of all. You never know what her true affiliations are. She may change party depending on the tidal waves. Sometimes, she will be super pally with her mother-in-law. At other points in time, she will bitch about husband to mother-in-law, sometimes vice versa. Only she knows what she’s actually thinking. And the gap between her stated intentions and actual execution can be equated to the distance between the North Pole and the South Pole.

Amongst all this tamasha, the poor husband ends up becoming the victim. He goes through extreme mental harassment. He has been with his mom for 25+ years and suddenly he finds a new woman in his life trying to take that place. He doesn’t have a choice also, as he can’t afford to piss off the love of his life. His next 25 years of existence depends on his equation with this bahu. Invariably , he ends up making the biggest sacrifice of his life, like Ekalavya and decides to give the remote control of his life to wife, although he secretly hopes that he can control his mom and wife. He thinks he’s the hypotenuse of a right angled isosceles triangle , but in reality he’s a poor football , who can be kicked around at will by anyone and everyone.  He also pities his mother, who is the subject of immense mental torture by the bahu. He thinks spending time in Tihar jail is better than getting sandwiched between two women he loves equally .  He comes home confused with all these thoughts not knowing what to do. He switches on the TV and Star Utsav plays “ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” in a soulful tune. He sees a big wide smile of Smriti Irani on screen. He secretly smiles and says to himself – “Apna Time Aayega. Yeh Bahu bhi to kabhi Saas Banegi”. Everything is fair in love and war.

Jai Hind.

Would you be OK if your child decides to become a Bartender? Freaky Fridays – Blog #4

Folks, this week’s topic for the weekly blog is interesting yet touchy. It’s a topic which most of us will have an opinion on. It’s related to children. OUR children. Let me start by asking all parents/soon-to-be parents/couples planning a child in future a simple question. Would you be OK if your child DECIDES to become a “Bartender”? If the immediate answer in your mind is NO, then YOU are screwing up your child’s future. Read on to find out why and how.

The biggest mistake our middle-class society has done is lay disproportionate focus on education and more specifically, higher education. The importance given to education by our Indian society is so high that sometimes it becomes an obsession and in turn, we forget that there are other things to do in life. Many a time, we forget that there’s more to education than our child becoming a great doctor/engineer/MBA/techie. For most of us, higher education means higher and higher degrees. Even if this comes at the cost of compromising our child’s aspirations, interests, dreams, quite a few of us are fine with this.

Let me elaborate further. Most of the Indian society thinks that the only way their child can have a great future/ secure future is by becoming either a doctor/engineer/MBA/techie. Coming from South India, I have seen this attitude in quite a few parents.  To me, this notion of a doctor/engineer/MBA/techie becoming an extremely successful individual is a big myth. Ask yourself this question – is every doctor/engineer/MBA/techie financially super successful? My definition of financially super successful is someone earning at least 75k per month at the start of his/her career after graduating from either of these professions. In my view, less than 10% of the working population of urban India earns this salary at the start of their career. I have not done a lot of consumer research but looking at people around me, I don’t think there’s more than 10% in this bracket.

Just because a few doctors/MBAs/techies/engineers have been successful, the typical Indian parent thinks that is the best career path for their child. Therefore, without understanding the child’s interests, passion and skills, quite a few parents decide to enroll their kids for IIT coaching from a ridiculously early class 6 onwards. The kid wouldn’t even know the full form of IIT at that age and wouldn’t even want to know.  We look at Engineering /Medical State Topper front page newspaper ads and get inspired. We want our child’s photo to come in this ad and make us proud. It’s a great feeling of pride for us, isn’t it? “US” … But does the child feel so? Have we had an honest discussion with our kid after class X, XII whether “S/HE” will feel proud if his/her photo comes in the front page? Is THIS his/her aspiration? Or is their aspiration something else? For all you know, becoming a world-class guitarist may be their aspiration. Or representing India in kabaddi. Or a chef.  Or a violinist. Or a singer…

My hunch is many of us parents will

 a) not have had this conversation with their child on his/dreams/aspirations

 b) not have understood what their child’s strength in terms of skill sets are.

If a) and b) would have happened with most parents, then we would not have had

  1. A staggering number of parents enrolling their kids in IIT coaching from class 6,7,8
  2. a zillion engineering colleges in the country with many of them struggling to get students placed
  3. a few thousands of MBA colleges in the country but only a few colleges in which the average CTC is more than 10 lacs per annum
  4. the number of medical and engineering test applicants running into lakhs for every state but only a few getting seats in reputed institutes
  5. coaching centers for higher education running akin to a parallel MAFIA where they send a few good students who get good ranks to good colleges, but majority of the students would have fallen by the wayside

Why is this happening? Isn’t it BUT obvious that both parent and child are NOT on the same page in terms of what makes them happy? In my view, Indian parents have the biggest herd mentality. Just because they have seen some doctor/engineer/IIT/MBA become successful, all Indian parents want all their children to follow this. And then we complain about lack of jobs, lack of skilled labour etc. The problem is WITHIN us parents. Not WITH the child. If a child is not interested in pursuing engineering/medicine, then S/HE will not make a successful career out of it. Period…

Just because our societal fabric doesn’t allow disagreement or difference in opinion to be seen in positive light, many of our poor kids conform to their parents in class 12 or beyond and do not rebel against their parents’ decision. They have too much love and don’t want to see their parents’ dreams shattered. If they raise their voice against this decision, our great Indian society and even greater neighbors/relatives will label the child as a brat/rebel etc., So they take up their parents’ dreams and end up in mediocrity. They spend the whole life regretting the fact that they were cut out for something better. This explains the fact that only a handful (less than 2%) of the people score high marks in engineering/entrance exams. The significant majority have just wasted money, their time, energy and been an also-ran. And I will NOT blame this significant majority of students. I will blame their great parents for this. Just to satisfy their vision without understanding the true strengths, passions, likes/dislikes, they have blindly decided that IIT/IIM/doctor etc. will be the best fit for their child.

Very few parents give the freedom of choice for the child to decide at an early age. I was one of those lucky few. My parents empowered me to make my independent career choices post class 10. Seeing others around me, I took the call of becoming an engineer. I decided to go with the herd and decided to take up Electronics engineering as it was considered as an evergreen course. I did reasonably well, scoring 79%. Was not the class topper but would have been in between 15 to 20 in a class of 60? But I realized that this is not something I wanted to do. So, I decided to pursue my MBA. MY MBA. MY DECISION. I didn’t want to go abroad as I wanted to serve my parents when they retired. I passed out of XLRI Jamshedpur. Again, every decision was left to me and my parents offered me financial, moral and emotional support. Nothing beyond. Unlike many other parents, they backed my independent decisions and they knew if I am doing something out of my own calling, then the probability of me being successful is higher.  Therefore, I have done well for myself at age of 31 and today in my age group, I must be in the top 10% ile of salaried people thanks to my efforts. I have done this for myself. Not because of parental force. But I am pretty sure there are so many ALSO-RANs who regret their decision to do an MBA/become a doctor/become a software engineer. I feel sad for these folks as they have no choice now but to continue.

SAD because our great hypocritical society will not allow them to change their career track. If a software engineer after 3 years of work and wants to become a singer because he found out his true passion, our stupid society will again pass a judgement saying this bloke is confused, he’s gone nuts, ACCHI KHAASI NAUKRI CHOD RAHA HAI, GAWAARA HAI. The poor software engineer may not find girls for marriage as the girl’s family mostly will think this guy cannot secure their daughter’s future. But the same hypocritical Indian society will pay a 1000 + bucks to see a Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan perform. These folks understood their strengths, passion and decided to pursue a career of their choice. Not become a doctor/engineer/MBA. Our great Indian society will applaud all these artistes but if their child comes up with such an idea, the typical risk-free Indian parent mentality will be “BETA, Padhaai pey dhyaan do. Ye sab as a HOBBY kar lena?” Who the HELL is the parent to kill the child’s aspirations? The role of a parent is to enable the child to find his/her strengths and help in achieving the child’s dreams. Let me tell you how this stupid parental behavior affects India as a nation.

  1. We Indians are not the physically fittest in relative to others. Our society neither encourages sports as a career nor stresses on physical fitness at early stage. Therefore, our Olympic performances are abysmal compared to the likes of China, Russia, Brazil.
  2. We continue to churn truckloads of mediocre engineers/doctors/MBAs every year and cry for jobs when those poor kids never wanted to be one in the first place.
  3. Barring a few musicians and actors, we have very few artistes who perform at the world stage and are famous across the world. This is because our risk-averse society does not encourage global exposure at a young age. Most parents think their child may not adapt to such lifestyle and are afraid to take a financial risk. They want to see their child growing in front of them even after class 12. Nothing wrong but check if THE CHILD also has the same thought process
  4. We have very few MICHELIN STAR Chefs coming out of India.

For us, a CHEF means somebody who could not be a successful DOCTOR/ENGINEER. Many of us think that alternate professions like being a chef etc. will not help our child find a suitable life partner.

  • Our script writing quality in movies still has tremendous scope for improvement. Why can’t an Indian filmmaker make movies like INCEPTION, MINORITY REPORT. Because we don’t have a strong enough ecosystem which appreciates alternate professions and backs them. Lot of our Bollywood stars are still scared to experiment with off-beat movies thinking our audience will trash them.
  • Our world football rankings continue to be outside 100 because we parents feel there’s no money in Indian football and even though our child wants to pursue football, we just clip the child’s wings.
  • Our health ratings as a country are poor, we continue to have high degrees of stress related illnesses because we don’t have a focus on fitness since childhood and this sedentary lifestyle with an excessive academic focus takes a toll on our lives

At the core bottom line of this irrational parental behavior is a very poor risk-free mindset of Indian society. Our society doesn’t appreciate risk-taking behavior. Classic example is when someone says s/he wants to quit his job and start a business; our first reaction typically is “ARE YOU SURE”? The intent of asking this question is right but we should stop being risk-averse as a society. We should start believing in ourselves, our child’s abilities. Just because we took the safe path doesn’t mean the CHILD has to take the same SAFE path.  Times have changed and we thankfully now live in a society where many alternate professions are respected.

Take the case of hairdressing for example. My friend Gaurav Gupta, quit his job as a Sales rep in a Pharma company, decided to enroll in a hair dressing academy 8 years ago and today he’s one of the top hairdressing trainers in India. To many typical parents, he’s a barber, not a hairdresser. This mindset needs to change. And who’s going to CHANGE this? YOU …and me. Not our neighbors, not our relatives.

Most important, our tutoring system of bringing up our children is flawed. I would bring my child up in the following manner.

I would make him/her enroll in all kinds of activities in early childhood – not only academics. In the initial few years, I will enroll my child in various activities like swimming classes, dance, crafts, singing. I will check what the child is liking and taking an interest to. I will make a few assumptions and periodically ask my child whether s/he is liking what she’s doing and what else can I do to help. I will continue to have these conversations till the child tells me it has found its true calling. Let’s assume the child tells me that it is really interested in kabaddi, I will act as the biggest enabler for him/her. I will find out good mentors, take the child  to watch kabaddi matches and ensure that his/her passion is not lost. I will be a super proud DAD if my child represents India in the kabaddi World Cup and if this gives happiness to the child. To me, seeing my child fulfilling HIS/HER dreams is more SATISFYING than making him/her achieve my unfulfilled dreams. For me, Academics is not everything. I will ensure that my child gets access to the basic education needed to survive. Beyond this it’s HIS/HER’s wish on how much he/she wants to move academically. If EVERY Indian parent can do this, I think our motherland will fare much higher on all the above-mentioned points.

Coming back to my question at the start of the blog, if your child aspires to become a bartender, try and enable him/her to achieve this. There are some excellent coursers offered and lot of countries which value this skill. Some top 5-star hotels across the globe need exceptionally talented bartenders. It is not something which should be LOOKED DOWN by YOU as a parent. Your child will travel the world over and entertain people with amazing skills. It’s not an easy skill. You need the right mixing skills, the right jugglery skills. This could lead the child to pursue related line extensions like Jugglery, Cooking etc. So, it’s not a bad financial choice as supply of good bartenders is few. More importantly, your CHILD is happy with this choice.

My final message to all parents/future parents is – Parenting is a great opportunity to make a difference to your child. Understand the child’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, aspirations, dreams and help the child achieve his/her aspirations. Be an ENABLER, not a DREAM-KILLER.

Every child is special. TRULY SPECIAL.

Jai Hind

Wrestle Mania 2019 – Hari vs the “Corporate” Meal Pack and the Aluminium Foil-sealed Rotis Freaky Fridays – Blog#3

This Friday’s blog is about my struggle encountered last week. I was at a job interview. There was a lunch break between 12 30 and 1 30 pm. Multiple rounds of Interviews were happening pre and post lunch in a single room. In order to save time, the HR person had organized for a packed lunch which would be served inside the room at “sharp” 1 pm. As expected, the lunch arrived at an even sharper 1:20 pm. (Being from Hyderabad, any time given to me, I would discount it by at least 15 to 20 minutes). I was super hungry. To add to my woes, my next interview was supposed to start in 10 minutes time. Therefore, I was expected to be a Bakasur and gobble everything within 10 minutes. This Looked difficult but I told myself – “Impossible is Nothing Hari… Nothing! I will finish lunch in 10 minutes come what may.”

The lunch was served to me in a corporate meal pack. The office staff smiled and placed the corporate meal pack at the table along with a closed packet which was made of aluminium foil. I smiled back and the office staff left. That’s the end of his role in today’s blog. He reminded me of Anil Kapoor in Mission Impossible 4. Anil came and left in a jiffy in the movie. Sorry for the brief digression. Back to the corporate meal pack. I had 10 minutes left to devour the food. I stared at the corporate meal pack for a minute. It was a plastic plate with various compartments having dal, salad, curry, rice and some sweet. It was wrapped by a transparent plastic sheet. I wondered why an annoying plastic plate wrapped in an even more annoying plastic sheet is termed as a “corporate” meal.  What’s so corporate about this meal… It looked plain… shitty packaging. Corporate I thought meant classy. This was more sleazy than classy. Instead of being a classy Kal Ho Na Ho song, this was a cheap Sheila Ki Jawani. Why the hell do people call this a “corporate “meal man? Some idiot would have coined this term and without thinking, we blindly follow this idiot like a herd of cattle and call this a corporate meal. I lost about a minute in these thoughts. I only had 9 minutes left.

I looked at the aluminium foil packet. At first, I thought it was papad sealed in an air-tight packet. I touched it to reconfirm but I found out that it was soft and mushy ,unlike a papad. I continued pressing this soft part for a few seconds. Before I could drift further into fantasy land, I saw that 2 minutes were gone. I guessed that this was chapatti and not papad and I tried tearing the packet. To my surprise, it just refused to give in. I tried inserting the plastic fork and making a tear. The bloody packet would just not break down. I tried another time. As I was at an interview, the idea of tearing the packet with my teeth didn’t sound appealing. I was scared that if I got caught doing this, the HR would have seen it through an imaginary web-cam and docked some points thinking this was an indication of violent behaviour. So, I gave up on the rotis temporarily. I focused on the “low-hanging fruit” – the CMP (Corporate Meal Pack).

I first tried to open the transparent plastic top cover by the edges. I tried really hard but I guess the CMP had seen my Wrestle Mania match with the rotis and must have understood that I was pretty lame. It decided to make life miserable for me. The plastic cover would just not break. I guess some joker pasting this cover on the CMP would have used all the available Fevicol in the world, having got inspired by its tagline – “Tootega Nahi”. BC- Toota Hi Nahi.  Cover todney key chakkar mey Goti Muh mey aa gaye the. Ravi Shastri will be proud of this Goti comment. I tried an alternate strategy of trying to tear the cover. I took the plastic fork, and decided to launch a brutal attack. I used all the weight of my elbow to punch a hole in the middle of the CMP. This was the exact mid-point. The intersection of the two diagonals. My maths teacher would have been proud of the way I arrived at the midpoint and applied her concept in a real-world application. I punched the hole and Yo – it was first strike. I had found an opening. Hari 1 – CMP 0. I felt overjoyed. Having found an opening, I decided to go for the kill. I tried tearing away the rest of the cover. For a couple of seconds, I succeeded but then again, the Fevicol overpowered me. The bloody sheet was just not willing to tear open further. Even the fork could not go beyond this. Only a small hole had been created in the middle of the CMP. Nothing beyond this. I gave up with the Fork strategy. Hari 1 – CMP 1. I took a time out. I had only 6 minutes left.

This time, I decide to use the “Attack from the Corners – strategy”. A more abusive corporate jargon for the same would be “Flanking strategy”. I used to tear open the four corners one by one with my hand. This started to work. I took the extreme bottom left corner, used all my fist strength and found an opening. The cover started to tear from the corner. All the corners were part of the square shaped compartment. So, I tore two sides of the L shaped bottom right corner. I thought I had cracked the code. The score was about to become Hari 2 – CMP 1. Alas. The Fevicol started showing its strength again. While I had pierced the outer sides, the inner sides of the square shaped compartment just refused to give in…. just refused! I guess they were inspired by the Wall- Rahul Dravid. I used the flanking strategy for the other corners as well but same result. The two outer sides of the square shaped compartment would open but not the inner sides. My Frustration levels skyrocketed. I had only 2 minutes left. In 8 minutes, I had not able to open a simple CMP. Me– a so called MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur. What’s the point of a fancy MBA degree if you can’t open a corporate meal box??……

Hari 1 – CMP 2. At this point, I decided to use a more realistic approach. Make use of the available opportunities. I realized that the middle part of the cover, which I had cracked open had jeera rice. With a half open CMP, I started gobbling the jeera rice through the small opening. I only used to get 1/4th of the spoon in every serving but I thought I will repeat this action a million times and fill my stomach. After all, small actions create a big multiplier effect. This is what my boss had told me. I started cramming morsel-after-morsel. Hari 2 – CMP 2.

Suddenly I realised that in one of the corners which was half opened, there were items I could lay my hands on. So, like a street dog , full of heat, which wants to hump every other dog which it sees on the street, I decided to eat whatever I could grab from the corners. I could fill 10% of the spoon with the dal but that was good enough. I used the same strategy to pull out a few salad pieces of cucumber, two or three pieces of aloo from the other half-opened corners. I was now able to eat most of the compartments. Yes, I felt that I was eating an actual plastic compartment. It was 1:35. I guess the HR would have peeped through the window and thought – “Wrestle Mania ka interesting match chal raha hai. Launde ka match khatam honey do. Fir interview start karenge”. As most of the food was getting emptied despite the cover being half open from most of the sides, I could pull out the entire food and finish the entire CMP. I guess the CMP had given up. The CMP had mentally disintegrated. The collapse of the CMP reminded me of the “Sachin out- TV off” era where the other Indians would just collapse after Sachin’s wicket. The Fevicol, who was the Sachin of the CMP team, also gave up. I could tear open the entire cover and finish the food.

I was overjoyed. What a victory. Hari had played well in the finale and finished the match 3-2. Unlike the South African cricket team which chokes in most of the important matches, I had held my nerve when it mattered most. I was overjoyed. I stood victorious. In the WWF days of the 1990s, the Rock would win the World Championship and raise the WWF belt by standing on top of the ring. The crowd would give a standing ovation. I felt like standing over the chair and lifting the battered CMP and showing the world outside that I had conquered it. All these thoughts were going in my head until suddenly, the HR knocked at the door. He said he would send someone to clear the plates and start my next interview at 1: 50. I got back to reality. I had spent 30 minutes trying to eat a CMP. However, I was still satisfied that I had got the better of the CMP in a closely contested match 3-2. A feeling of pride was running all through me. This time, another Anil Kapoor came to clear the food. He smiled at me and said- “Saab, aapko roti pasand nahi hai kya? Aap toh roti khaya hi nahi?”

I looked at the unopened sealed in aluminium foil with rotis. Damn !!! Hari 3 – CMP 3.

Life’s a bitch.

P. S : Next Friday’s blog : Will YOU be OK if your child wants to become a bartender?