The irony of Planning

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We all love plans. We want to make plans for the future: for career or for marriage or even for the weekend. Our entire state of happiness and disappointment lies on how close we get to our initial plan. Some call it divine intervention or some call it Murphy’s law or some just call it poor planning but the reality always deviates from our plan. The funny part is though we all have plans we do not want to share our plans to anyone. We think that if we share our plans to people outside the plan, it will not work. We want to project to the outside world we are so impulsive and we ride the wave.

Well this blog is not a philosophical note on life or some serious take on planning. I am not walking that path of serious writing because of the obvious reason that I suck at writing anything matured. I just wanted to share some funny or ironical real life incidents when we were busy planning and God decided to play a joke by screwing up our plan. Here are some of the plan bloopers:

  1. People who planned to enjoy bachelor life without getting married, are slowly realizing that they are finding it more and more difficult to “enjoy bachelorhood” so eventually they give up. Finally their plan gives way to marriage and settling down.
  2. People who got expensive DSLR cameras with the plans of becoming the next photographer with a FB page, shooting candid HD photographs and blurred background macro shots, realize their plans are shattered when the only mode they use in their DSLR is creative auto.
  3. People who plan for traffic and start early to reach the airport on time will hit no traffic and reach so early unlike they planned. They get so bored and check in FB that they are at the airport travelling to some country outside India.
  4. We plan on having our own side of the bed in our bachelor pad, not willing to let go of our side of the bed not even to our better half. Then comes your kid, pees all over on your side of the bed and gives you a smile, throwing your plan of private space into the bin.
  5. You plan to impress everyone at the business presentation with the extra slides you added and get some brownie points. Only then all your slide gets moved to the appendix section making your plan ineffective.
  6. You plan to fill your passport pages, social media with wander lust hash tags and instagram filter photos, you either realize that it makes you bankrupt or backpacking or travelling on budget is not as sexy as it is seen on social media. So all plans and the extra pages in passport is not used anymore.
  7. With all fitness and marathon hype around, you plan on joining a gym, running marathons and doing yoga to keep you fit. Later you realize happiness is that extra hour of sleep or growing fat together and the plan of full marathon gets thrown in a corner along with the gym membership card.
  8. You plan to be the centre of a party, socializing and making sure you make heads turn with your dance moves. In the end, your plan doesn’t even take off when you are sloshed out in one corner even before the party starts and someone carries you home before others even knew you were there.
  9. Inspired by shows like friends or HIMYM, you plan to redefine getting old with friends for life. Your plans are no where close to reality when you realize meeting your friends once in a month is a task and when you meet all you talk about is loans repayment , gaining weight and which school your kid is in.
  10. Your plan of finding your life purpose, after MBA/MS with a new high paying job, falls flat when reality strikes. You realize life is same as before MBA/MS and you still feel like you are in the wrong profession

Whatever the plan bloopers are, I feel at the end God makes sure there is a happy ending. Life takes it own course so lets not get too worked about the details of it. We should not tie our happiness with plans. Lets plan and lets laugh at how our plans got screwed up for something better.

The Art of Arranged Marriage

Two things are very important for Indian parents: Deciding what you should study and deciding whom you should marry. Even if the first one goes haywire it’s alright but if the second one is tampered with all hell breaks loose. It is like you are taking away their birth right.You can take any girl home and show it to your parents they just have two things to say: either they are totally against it or they are against it. Well you are lucky if it is the latter because you can slowly change them from there to “I am with OK with whatever” state but if they are totally against it then it is a typical Tamil movie. (any Tamil movie since the 80’s since the stories remain same to a large extent)

The only good thing for guys who did their engineering or guys who are from the southern region of India is very few get lucky to get a girl and even fewer get to take her home to their parents. Rest of us believe in bharatmatrimony. For many people it may sound very ridiculous or they may not be even able to comprehend how arranged marriage is possible. But folks let me tell you it all follows a simple algorithm. If your age is more than 26 or if your FB news feed is full of wedding updates then its time to create a profile on any matrimony sites. So guys go around with their friends who have a DSLR and click for a perfect matrimony pic. Some even take professional help for getting this pic since this very picture will be a deciding factor on who you will live with for the rest of your life. You upload this pic, write how much you are earning, note down a few requirements (some get very specific and funny) from your future husband/wife and you are done.

This is when you will actually realize the generation gap and the difference in what you call as good-looking and what your parents call as good-looking.  All the profiles you like will not pass the filter criteria of your parents and all the profiles your parents like you won’t even want to look. Incase there is an intersection between both, the girl will not respond. You try to talk, you try to shout, you try to fight your parents out of their filters,but then you remember it is “Arranged Marriage”. So you sit down and continue to wait for the perfect profile to Show Interest.

After extended subscriptions of the matrimony account and frustration your filters slowly give away. You agree to 1 profile in 10 profiles that your parents send and decide that you should have a chat with the girl. Two awkward things happen here: one you should ask permission from your parents and the girl’s parents before even saying Hi and the next awkward thing is After you say Hi to the girl you don’t know what to speak. Imagine:

Potential Groom   :  Hey Hi

Potential Bride      :  Hello

Potential Groom   :  hmmm….looks around…pause…hmmm

Potential Bride      :  …not even looking at you…

Potential Groom   :  Guess we may get married so Whatsup!

Potential Bride      :  You never know!

The most awkward conversation ever. Some strong-willed and patient people cut through all filters and finally come out of the funnel to have their marriage fixed. Now is the stage where arranged marriage scores over love marriage hands down. The groom and the bride need not worry about any preparations or any convincing or any guest lists. Everything will be taken care. Your only responsibility is to say Yes and tie the knot. Maybe that’s the calm before the storm!

Then all the hoopla and merry-making happens. Almost everyone in town comes to eat briyani, give old cup and saucers as gifts and take a photo with the couple. Though all the guests know that they will never get the photo nor the newly weds will include their picture in the wedding album still taking photo is mandatory. Amidst all this two poor strange souls have to keep smiling at strangers standing next to each other and pose for photos. Now the arranged marriage algorithm is successful and everyone is happy.

The best thing in arranged marriage is the belief of the couple that they were long-lost lovers brought together by destiny. Somehow mysteriously during the entire funneling and decision process this belief develops. So the couple take the entire onus on them to paint the town red. The newly weds follow the bellow set of protocols so religiously that some guys who went against the society and got married to their lovers start feeling jealous/confused.

  1. Update FB relationship status.
  2. Do FB check in of every place you go to.
  3. Click selfies together
  4. Change FB and Whatsapp DP to couple only or even better your wife pic.
  5. Attending Birthday parties and wedding functions together.
  6. Post Thank you messages on FB for the Maggi or curd rice made by their spouse.(along with photos)
  7. Wish birthday to your spouse on FB when he/she is just lying next to you on the same bed.
  8. Posting love messages like the best birthday, best new year, best surprise as if so long you never had a life
  9. Start countdowns,war of gifts and international holidays for every anniversary (hourly, monthly gone are the days of yearly)
  10. Find a new group of married friends to hang out as couples and asking all other single friends when they are planning to tie the knot. (hidden intentions beware)

After all the art of arranged marriage lies in doing the above set of activities in proper combination and timing to get most likes. Many of us get so busy in making the world believe that we are having the perfect life to an extent that we forget the arranged reality.

Growing up is not optional..it is induced!

I read this one liner some where…”Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional!” but little did I realize then it is so untrue. I would say growing up is not optional but it is induced.

The work has not changed drastically, the place has not changed drastically, the group you have around has not changed drastically but still everything seems so different now compared to the pre-PG work days. Then you realize that the only thing changed is your age. You have no option left other than to grow up and act matured. The reason why I say this is induced is majorly because of these various reasons.

Facebook:

Your FB activity will involve writing messages like “congrats wish u happy married life” or “congrats…both of you look good together” more often than birthday wishes. All these photos and status updates like “welcome to the world” “committed for life” just make you realize that people around you are moving to the next phase in life but you are still stuck there. So sub consciously you start feeling that you shouldn’t be left out.

Phone calls from friends:

Slowly reality strikes that your friends never call at the same frequency they used to. Even if they call it is just to announce that they are getting married or they are going abroad or they just got a new house. There are no more calls just to shout after you get drunk or no more calls just to laugh when you know your friend had a break up. Anyways you can’t help it and eventually you will be sitting and planning your leaves just to attend your long list of friends’ wedding.

Boozing:

Well gone are the days when you have a really crazy night after drinking. Gone are the days when you dance after drinking. Gone are the days when you listen to song after drinking. Now thanks to your body, your drinking capacity has reduced. You start getting high in a single beer or two. All the booze talk is now just about people who got married, people who got new jobs, your ex’s who got kids or about your boring work and how badly you are looking for a change. After all this talk you just crave to hit the bed so that you can forget all this and just SLEEP.

Physique:

I still remember when I used to wonder why people get down from bike and comb their hair even before parking their bike. Now I finally got the wisdom to understand why it’s done. At this age you start worrying about your hair fall, grey hair or tummy about which you never bothered earlier. You go somewhere now you have to make sure your shirt is not too tightly tucked in so that your tummy is seen. You curse the wind which has played a spoil sport and you cover your hair to hide your scalp. Whatever you try to be all the DUDE your body gives away and people start calling you UNCLE.

Settling Down bull shit:

Suddenly people talk about investing, buying house or saving. You feel guilty if you hadn’t thought about all this. You can see people posting photos with their new cars, new house, new wife or anything just with a tag line “My first…”. You see that all freaked thinking why there are no more photos of gulping down a mug of beer, or posing near someone else’s car. Whatever you just press the like button on the photo with the thought when will I get all these and start seeing for options to get settled financially.

Society:

The entire universe seems to be worried about you growing up. Suddenly everyone wants to know everything right from why you have not shaved to what you are doing to when you are getting married. Just to give them answers you feel you should probably get something done. Ridiculous pressure just to avoid the blank face when these questions are thrown.

Arranged Marriage:

Most of the times the advice you hear from friends are like “OK I understand, let’s go drink!” but suddenly you can hear these friends cribbing about arranged marriage and how difficult it is to find the perfect girl. Your parents,till now, were worried about you coming home thin or about not eating properly suddenly ask you about requirements for marriage. You sit there not knowing how to handle the awkward conversation while slowly the thought of getting late to the party will reduce the probability of getting a good girl is put in your mind. You slowly give way and get ready to lose your bachelorhood!

Dating:

You can’t find single girls to date. All you can see is people already dating someone or in a relationship or in a committed relationship or engaged to someone or already married or even worse with kids. If you see someone who just had a break up then its like a vacant seat in a crowded bus, people just rush towards it. You get tired of this drill and turn to the arranged marriage episode.

All of this that I have mentioned above and many more reasons which I have not listed push you to the next stage of life. People want you to take the next step irrespective of whether you are ready or not. The thought that you shouldn’t be left out in the rat race drives you. But who cares I don’t want to be in the race. I just want to stand and stare!

Alcohol Allies

Drunk Star
Drunk Star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of us, I mean fellow drunkards, have a certain group with which we are comfortable drinking. It’s not that we can’t drink with random strangers we just prefer to drink with certain people unless the alcohol is free. I was trying to think and dissect why it is that few  people make it to the drinking partner zone and others don’t. Actually there are few characteristics of people who when combined with alcohol causes certain reactions. So basically it is how tolerant we are to these reactions or how amusing these reactions are decides the social drinking circle!Here are a dozen amusing reactions that I have come across, few present in my social drinking circle or the so-called Beer Buddies!

The DEV-D:

Some guys keep talking about their sad love life, their past, their future, their plans of becoming a sage and so on. They keep telling everyone in the table how the entire thing of going behind a girl is “Maya” and how The Monk who had sold his Ferrari related with this idea…sighh..What I wonder is why none ever tells to change the topic or to shut up which wouldn’t have been the case without alcohol.

The Wall:

These guys can keep drinking quietly with just a smile on their face. They just need some alcohol and a glass. They don’t care who is puking nearby, who is crying, who is dancing, who is shouting, who is getting angry. They can just finish the drinks, the dinner and pay the bill. But thanks to these guys they help in making sure the entire group reaches home after drinks and then they go home and sleep as if nothing happened.

The Actor:

There are two types of drunkards: one who get drunk others who act drunk. Atleast one guy will be there in the group who will act as if he is super drunk and there is very little blood in alcohol inside his body. He will do something stupid just to make the Blender’s Proud. But sometimes actors can get really drunk and can end up in blood shed or doing something that must not be mentioned!

The ABCD guy:

AnyBody Can Dance movie title will be true with these people. They start dancing showing off their weird moves, bringing on their Salsa, folk dance, shoulder dance, tap dance or some even just lie on the floor and dance!

The Romeo:

These people want to talk about their prospective girl friends and get advice on how to make her real girlfriend though they know that half of the table is filled with single guys who can’t get a girl friend for themselves. The single guys also can go on and on giving their valuable tips right from every little thing to how the entire universe is waiting for them to get together.

The Loudmouth:

They keep talking non stop in high volume making the entire bar know that we are drunk! They can even stand up on the table and shout so that the entire bar knows exactly how much money he needs to pay his bill!

The Oxford Return:

Some guys start talking in English Only after Mr. Monk goes in. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between desert and dessert but now they can even translate Tirukkural in English.

The Singer:

Incase while drinking by any chance if a song that comes on TV is known, alcohol can give the impression that you have the same voice as that comes on TV. These people will start singing along with the same lyrics, with awesome face expressions but only with unbearable (or sometimes feel like killing yourself) voice!

The Angry Young Man:

Everyone gets angry and takes revenge if the person is weaker, forgets the incident if you can’t do anything and acts like you have forgiven things. But alcohol does this peculiar thing of bringing back bad memories and making people more angrier. The problem is that they forget they didn’t do anything earlier because of the fact that they can’t do anything. But now with Knock out going in they start thinking that they can knock out anyone and take their revenge. That’s the beginning of a funny story that would be told over and over post drinks!

The Mr. I can’t hold my drink:

Every group will have this one person who will want to get sloshed with drinks. They keep drinking round after round just to realize their body has lost count and now their dinner wants to take a walk outside. Then the rest of the night becomes history in washroom with all the pukings and showers!

The Confessionist:

Everyone has some secrets. But alcohol as this awesome capacity to bring all the secrets to table. Some people just start feeling that there shall be no secrets and think they can bring world peace by confessing their secrets. They start telling all stories that they wish they hadn’t told the next day morning!

The Ladkibaaz:

All guys drinking session is never complete without this guy. He starts talking about the girls, how he wants to take his colleague out for drinks, how he likes the girl who came in the elevator with him and then he officially starts the guys favorite countdown 😉

Well, with girls the guys don’t drink much they just act drunk most of the times to blame it on the alcohol if something bad happens else they can say they are not drunk to drive the girls home. So excuse me for not mentioning the reactions of girls or guy’s reactions with girls in the group 😉

25* not out….

Probably this is one of the many posts on internet on Quarter life crisis but I give a damn, I need to write one on this. I always felt quarter life crisis was little over rated until my recent (read it 4 months back) visit to Bangalore for my UG friends reunion.

This phase of life is really a bad part, you are caught in between two worlds. You can’t accept the fact that you are growing old and at the same time you can’t be a part of the younger generation too. You feel that the 90’s, so-called Gen Z’s, way of thinking is too amateurish to accept nor the way your elders expect you to be is totally unrealistic. Whatever was cool during our golden days are not cool anymore. Definition of boozing has changed from throwing out to getting hurt after being drunk, definition of dating has changed from awesome dinners to awesome breakfasts, definition of bunking classes has changed from proxies to changing the faculty and lot more thought process changes happened in just three years. You suddenly become the oldie and matured guy where people can’t believe you could have been the crazy guy once upon a time. But back home still you are the good for nothing lazy laid back guy who doesn’t know what to do with life!

You don’t want to do a 9 to 5 job so you go back to a B-school only to realize you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. You don’t want to be in a serious relationship so soon only to realize the entire meaning of relationship has changed these days.

Once you turn 25, things change:

  • All elders around you start expecting that you have a perfect career planned out.
  • Your parents start joking about your marriage  when you still haven’t shaved since your last breakup!
  • You realize that your drinking capacity has reduced but you blame it on “i-don’t-like-acting-stupid-getting-drunk”.
  • You can suddenly feel that there are no single girls around. If there are, they see you like uncles and bhaiya or rakhi bahiyas.
  • You never understand why you wanted to do whatever you are doing now.
  • You realize that rather than knowing what you want to do you will know what you don’t want to do.
  • You feel that people around you are having a ball either by changing jobs for a better pay or updating FB albums and relationship status after getting engaged or married.
  • You talk only about girls from your college who got married or committed with some “palak” types guy.
  • You long for your wonderful past or crib about your future in all your beer sessions!
  • You start covering your scalp which says “Hi” due to hair fall or you count the number of gray hairs which you wish didn’t exist.
  • All your ex girl friends have a new guy or has got married to a guy who is rich and living abroad.
  • Though you pretend not to worry about your package, at the bottom of your heart you feel you are worth more!
  • Small kids in the neighborhood start calling you “Uncle get the ball please!”
  • You don’t want yourself to be called orthodox or traditional but you are not open and you have your own idea of preserving culture and all that comes along with it.
  • You have all the advice on relationship yet you know you will end up with arranged marriage!
  • The number of Facebook updates you do is inversely proportional to the time you spend on Facebook.

I don’t know why I am writing in bullets. Probably that’s the after effect of lot of PPT.

Whatever be it, this phase of life too will have a lot of stories to tell!