Sunday, October 19, 2014

A brief guide to the three types of people you will meet on a trek

Planning to go trekking? With my one-time trekking experience, I'm happy to bring you a handy guide that will introduce to you the three kinds of people you will meet there:
  1. The one who won't make it: This is usually me. This person is the one who slows down the entire group with their inability to do anything. They cannot climb rocks, and will do so only after panting like your pet Labrador and after frequent and unnecessary pit stops. They cannot climb down rocks and if they do it will be only after worthier folk have had to sacrifice hand and limb to help them down. They cannot get through caves and will be heard gasping for breath. And after it all, they will be the first ones taking a selfie and posting their achievement to Facebook as though they did it all by themselves.
  2. The superman: Or woman. This person has done it all. Scuba diving, sky diving, mountain climbing. Clearly they are trying to kill themselves and failing miserably with each attempt. This person will valiantly help the fallen, impress the guide with their prowess and generally be a huge pain in the behind to even look at. Just humour them because they're going to save your ass if you belong to category 1, above.
  3. The photographer: This poor sod has clearly got the rawest deal in the entire trek. He clicks every photo and appears in none, save for those annoying photo photographing the photographer ones. He has to run behind everyone with his DSLR, capturing them as they tumble through ravines, skid down rocks and then arrange their dishevelled appearance in record time as soon as they realise the camera is trained on them. And then listen to abuse if he decided to click a 'natural' shot of them instead.

Now, excuse me while I post my solo selfie to Facebook with the words 'First trek #MadeIt #Achievement'.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why I May Want to Marry My Mother

I was just contemplating every awful relationship I've been in to date (not that all of them were awful), and came to the rather shocking conclusion that I'm not - as most psycholorying to find a man who is like my father, but seem to be on a desperate endeavour to find one who is like my mother. It's almost as frightening as that bit when Haider kisses his mom but without all the cool bloody scenes that remind you of a Tarantino movie.

I have always looked for a maternal figure in my life, owing to my own work-in-forever-progress relationship with my own mother. I have not been so fortunate as to have her give me that useful advice every girl needs growing up about anything really, not even as to why I was suddenly bleeding out of my nether regions when I hit puberty. She's never showered any special affection on me - she only grudgingly hugs me when I'm leaving after a visit and even then that happens only if we aren't fighting at the time. If we're fighting, I don't get even an eye to eye goodbye. She hasn't made me feel like I'm an important part of the family; I only hear from her when there's some pressing rant she has to spew and her other daughter isn't available. I know, I sound like Eminem right now, but tonight I'm cleaning out the closet (you see what I did there).

So, seeing as my mother is manipulative, is quite capable of lying to one's face, is forever complaining and finding fault with everyone and everything, dislikes me and doesn't go out of her way to make me feel wanted, is always fighting with me and is forever dependent on others to do things for her, I realised that pretty much matched the description of the man I was prepared to spend the rest of my life with. 

It's scary, the things a bad childhood can lead us to do. I am forever making maternal figures out of any woman who shows me a passing affection, much to their embarrassment. There was the high school teacher I showered with attention and expensive gifts every year for five years after leaving her class; the random blogger who was coping with child loss I decided to send an emotional email to, the aunt whom I attached more importance than she knew what to do with. 

I guess it's just a matter of time until the next mater figure comes alone in either male or female form. My apologies in advance.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Originals That Are Way Better Than Their Famous Covers

Since my clients haven't caught me slacking off at the job yet, here comes the follow up to my previous blog post on Cover Songs That Were Better Than their Originals.

There are several songs that became famous only because someone more famous than the original artist covered their music. This has unfairly obscured the bands who created something that sounded beautiful when it first came from their lips; even if they were unsung back in the day. Feel free to disagree.

1. Torn by Ednaswap (Covered by Natalie Imbruglia)
Only this Australian could have converted something painful and poignant into something mainstream and corny. Oddly, enough this served as Natalie's claim to fame and it's little wonder that she hasn't produced anything comparable yet.


2. You Lied (No Quarter) by Peach (Covered by Tool)
Tool is awesome. But this song sounds pretty great from the original band, as well. You kind of look forward to the scream at the end.



3. Ray of Light by Curtiss Maldoon (Covered by Madonna)
Only Madonna could get away with something like this. But thousands of teenagers bopping to the tune back in the late 90s must have been well worth it.


4. The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie (Covered by Nirvana)
This is really for any 90s baby out there who'd convinced themselves that this particular song was Nirvana's best. No. It was just one from Bowie's amazing repertoire.


5. Spanish Faster (Tired of Being Sorry) by Ringside (Covered by Enrique Iglesias)
This Indie rock band may be obscure but they make better listening that Enrique's popular atrocity.


6. You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive (Covered by Flo Rida)
Ignore the crazy hair, the hilarious video, and the chorus, and what the hey, the whole entire song and just shoot me instead.



And I'm going to stop right there for now because I'm veering dangerously towards the edge. Do you have a favourite original I can listen to after having unabashedly enjoyed the cover version?

Monday, October 06, 2014

My version: Cover Songs That Were Better Than the Original

Today is the day after the long weekend. So little work was done; instead, music was listened to. Therefore, I bring to you the fruit of my labours - my very own compilation of cover songs that I much preferred to their originals.

1. Chris Cornell: Billy Jean (Original by Michael Jackson)

Move over, MJ. This guy's a smoother criminal.


2. Atif Aslam: Gulaabi Ankhein (Original by RD Burman, sung by Mohd Rafi)
No, this doesn't mean I'll also be providing links to Anu Malik songs here. But this heart wrenching remake that only Aslam's voice could provide, is worth a listen to on a dark night.



3. White Stripes: Jolene (Original by Dolly Parton)
A lot of people seem to do Dolly Parton covers a lot better than she ever did.


4. Johnny Cash: Hurt (Original by Nine Inch Nails)
I love Trent Reznor as much as the next alternative music fan, but Cash's version has a way of making your skin crawl with humiliation that the original seemed to have missed somehow.




5. Queens of the Stone Age: White Wedding (Original by Billy Idol)
As if Billy Idol's version weren't creepy enough, QOTSA manages to put the fear of god in the sisters of brothers everywhere.


6. Rammstein: Stripped (Original by Depeche Mode)
Because if you say Rammstein sucked, they'd probably find you and kill you. Heil.


Nirvana didn't make this list, simply because the originals were pretty good as well (David Bowie's Man Who Sold the World & Meat Puppet's Lake of Fire). This blog post needs a follow up with originals that were better than their too-famous covers. Soon.

And now, I would like to solicit your opinions, dear reader, on what your favourite cover(s) of the past decades have been.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Indian in America

What is it about America that turns us Indians into blithering idiots? While there are several of us who foam at the mouth at the very talk of 'Western culture', chances are once they get that American visa in hand, they will immediately look forward to taking off their shoes, belts and dignity in an American airport.

When our erstwhile Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, went to visit George W. Bush, the then American president, in 2008 at Washington DC, he babbled like a lovestruck teenager who finally got to speak to that Aunty with the big boobs with the sari palloo that slipped at the most opportune moments, about how much India loved him. Granted, he only did so to get the Nuclear deal signed to add to the Congress' repertoire of nation plundering exploits. Why would you tell a man who made up fictional weapons of mass destruction in a country he wanted to go to war with that was criticised the world over that your country loved him, when it clearly did not?! It can only be put down to the Yamreeka bug.

This year, Narendra Modi became Indian PM. The man had been banned entry into America for close to a decade, over his role in the Gujarat riots of 2002, where there was a genocide of Muslims. Modi, being the CM at the time, did little to discourage the slaying and even, as sources have it, seemed to encourage it, due to his strong ties with the pro Hindutva organisations that gave him the PM seat this year. It is of little consequence that Obama welcomed a mass murderer into the country with open arms; he is the father of killer drones that murder children in the name of antiterror programs, after all. For a man of the kind of strength of character / ego that Modi claims to possess, it was amusing to watch him bound happily along to America the first chance he got once he became PM, much like that uncle who curses Bunty for wearing jeans saying it's an American invention but will gladly forget all this when his son working in America finally summons him there to visit. Struck with the sheer joy of finally having made it on American soil, Modi went on to change the name of the father of our nation, successfully turning him into a Malayalam film actor, and went on to make a completely inappropriate Star Wars reference because clearly that's the movie that Hugh Jackman is best known for (see video). Which just reinforces the American belief that all the knowledge Indians possess of the USA can be attributed to pop culture references.



So let's continue to idolise the country that doesn't hesitate to carry out invasive air strikes in West Asia instead of focusing on errands of peace, the country that has denied a robust health care policy to its own people and that treats Indian diplomats and citizens like potential terrorists. Our ultimate aims is to be just like them someday.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Woman Outdoors

It's hard being a woman. Especially when you have to be a woman in public.

We can't EVER walk in a crowd without fearing getting felt up, brushed against or rubbed against by a member of the male species. So, if we've decided to walk in a crowd, we've pretty much given up any dignity we possessed till that moment. So when you feel that strange guy pressing his entire body against you and you're literally crushed from all sides, you have to quell the indignation rising within you and just sigh, awaiting your final destination. And you get to make jokes about it, which helps too.

We can't give lifts to strangers. I don't like taking my gigantic car around if I'm travelling alone in the city, but I don't have much of a choice since, well, I'm alone again. Several times, I see people requesting a lift - always men, of course. I feel bad for these people. Here I am, driving by in a diesel guzzling wagon that can hold upwards of seven people and I can't even give them a lift because they might rape / kill / rob me. They brought it on themselves, really, the men did. I do however cheerfully give lifts to schoolchildren whenever I can and it's always fun to hear what they think of the tiny woman driving the big car with dents and scratches all over it. Really.

We can't walk around without covering ourselves up to our necks unless we want to feel like our breasts are now on display for public viewing. Even a teensy hint of cleavage can send men into a sick frenzy where they stare down every opportunity they get (which in a bus is the whole trip) in the hopes of god knows what. Are you waiting for the top to disintegrate with the force of your stare? Perhaps the heat of your lust will burn it off? Do you really get off with seeing the divide between two breasts? Then why don't your cousin brother's moobs get you off as well?

Yet, we are quite happy to force our way through crowds and gawking teens and strangers who try to paw us. What choice do we have, really?




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Okay

The Fault in our Stars is one of those movies that likes to keep you crying. I mean, of course there's a perfect love story - but it's between a teenager with half a leg and a body full of cancer and another teenager whose cancer won't let her breathe without the help of an oxygen machine she has to lug about everywhere she goes. Is it overkill? Just thrusting these emotions and facts in our faces till we feel so bad to be healthy and yet incapable of such enduring love; or is it that we need to learn how to make the best of the hand you've been dealt even if that hand is choking your internal organs and threatening to take you away from your family at any time?

Definitely not a movie to watch when you're depressed, in any case.