Why I Greet People With a Salute

(And why you could too)

A lot of my friends know I do this. Whenever I meet them, whether it’s when we see each other during the first lecture of the day at college, or when we catch up with each other in the canteen, or when they open the door to me when I go to their house to hang out, I greet them not with a handshake, not with a nonchalant, “Hey, man,” or an embrace, but with a salute. Of course, I do partake in handshakes and nonchalant versions of, “Hi,” and hugs (hugs are the best, especially if it’s with a dog), but more often than not, it’s a salute. Here’s why.

 

Continue reading “Why I Greet People With a Salute”

I’M A YOUTUBER!!!

Okay, well maybe we can tone down that excitement a little, but yeah, I’m now on YouTube.

I’m an actual person who actually sits in front of a camera and says stuff to it and then uploads that stuff on YouTube. Its fun.

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A post or two back I said how I was working on creating content, and working the basics out for setting up the YouTube channel, and I didn’t say much as to what it is about since things were still finding their way then and I wasn’t sure myself if all that was going on then was how it was going to stay.

Well, since the channel is finally up, and we know fairly well what we want and don’t want, I can tell you more about it.

Firstly, the channel is called ‘Look What The Hat Dragged In‘ (you can click on the name to go to the channel), and its created by Aditya Deshingkar (who goes by the name ‘Deshingz’ in our videos and on our social media accounts), Rohan Marathe (who is our cameraman and part-time video editor) and me (going by the name Vyas, in our videos and on our social media accounts). Rohan is a college friend of mine, who I’ve mentioned on the blog earlier, and Aditya is someone I met through Rohan. Interestingly, Aditya was actually in the same school I was, just a few classrooms away, but we never met. I didn’t even know about an Aditya Deshingkar. To be fair, I wasn’t the most sociable guy, but its still interesting. In the image right at the top of this post, the dude on the left is me, and the dude on the right is Aditya.

Now, before I head into what my channel is about, let me tell you that it is nothing like this blog, which is why I’m finding the channel to be a great experience. Its something entirely new, the likes of which I’ve never done before.

The channel basically revolves around comic books, and comic book characters, and their on-screen versions in movies and TV shows. It is intended for people who are interested in these things, may or may not have seen some of it here and there, but for the most part don’t know much about these characters and their roles, etc, in movies and TV shows. It is the Golden Age of comic books with multiple comic book based movies and TV shows being released each year, and it can get hard to keep up with everything, even if you’re like me and don’t have anything like a ‘job’. So, what we aim to achieve with this channel, is to tell people that fit into this category, about some of the basic make-up of the characters involved in movies and TV shows and essentially brief you with all you need to know and expect from them, before you head into the movie theatre.

So, why the name, ‘Look What The Hat Dragged In’? Well, that’s because, first of all, its a pun, and puns are fun. But more importantly, its because we have chosen an inanimate object such as a hat, to be the decider on which character we pick next and discuss on the channel. It lends a certain uncertainty and therefore suspense, which is always welcome. Suspense is what keeps one hooked.

How the hat works, is that we choose a certain movie or TV show that we want to begin discussing. For example, on the channel we are currently doing a mini-series about The Suicide Squad movie that releases in early August this year. So after we chose this movie, we talked about what it is exactly, and gave a sort of introduction to it (which you can check out by clicking here) before we jumped into the characters. After this was out of the way, we pulled out the hat, and throwed 8 pieces of paper into it (each representing one major character of the movie) and randomly picked a piece of paper. You can click here to check out which character the hat chose, which will be the first character we talk about in the mini-series (this video of us discussing the first character should be out sometime tomorrow).

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So, if any of you are even remotely interested in comic books, comic book characters, or their related movies and TV shows that are flooding into theatres and on our televisions recently, you can go check out our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6BB4tVc82GNzZcqKz5lP9w

We also have set up social media accounts, where we regularly post comic book related stuff, including snapshots of comic book frames, iconic/funny/amazing incidents from comic book movies and TV shows and various quotes and GIFs of the same.

You can check out our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheHatBros
And our Twitter handle here: https://twitter.com/deshingzandvyas


Aaand that’s it for this time, I hope this new venture appeals to some of you, because I sure am having a lot of fun at it. Do tell your friends about our channel, maybe some of them are interested in comic books too.

Thank you very much!

Until next time.

Naked With Black Socks

(Or the tale of how stupid I can sometimes be)

Okay, picture this:

Stage in front of you. People in the audience expectantly looking at it (okay, those people who aren’t staring at their blue-light emitting smartphone screens). You standing by it, or behind some curtains or something, dreading the time you have to go up there. Your heart is pounding, you’re probably sweating more than usual, maybe trembling a little, maybe yawning more than usual as well. But you’re still trying to keep a smile on your face (that’s probably gone white by now).

See the picture?

That was somewhat the picture I was a part of today. I wasn’t the only one though, it was a lot of other students as well, during our Hindi examination, which was orally taken. Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit up there, since the audience apart from our subject teacher, was comprised of fellow students who understood our predicament if we fumbled a little up on the stage.

So, we were supposed to give a small speech of sorts, on any subject under the sun (or beyond it, for that matter), in Hindi, ideally with perfect pronunciation, enunciation, and clarity. Beyond that, the examiner usually expects a little over-the-top, nerdy vocab if he’s to consider scoring the speaker anywhere near the 90% mark. You don’t use at least 4-5 big, long, royal-sounding words, then don’t expect a great score. Once that was done, he also asked each of us basic questions like where we lived and what our native place was, including questions from chapters from our textbooks.

Now I’d gone prepared with about a 2-minute long speech, I figured I’d improvise if he asked for more, but that hardly ever happens because they usually get what they want in a about 5-7 lines of speaking itself, and that’s exactly what happened. So that was all good.

Now, I don’t usually get flustered in the face of public speaking. At least not as much as most others. I’ve done it a lot all through school. In fact, I used to volunteer for such things. My dad’s profession involves him to do lots, and lots of public speaking. Hell, that’s what his job revolves around, so he’s told me a lot about it at times I’ve been scared to do it. However, when I had to go up to face the examiner’s questions, I was kinda nervous since he was going to ask us questions from chapters from the textbook, and I hadn’t really revised this a lot, going into the examination. Let’s just say I wasn’t confident about it.

So, he says, “NEXT,” and that means I’m supposed to go up. I walk up to his desk, sign on the sheet we were all supposed to sign on (which denoted our presence for the examination), and waited.

He began with the easy ones like my name and where I lived. But here’s where it got interesting. He asked me where I studied.

And I said…

“At home, at my desk.”

Yeah, I actually said that. Not even kidding right now.

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I did realise that I was supposed to answer with the name of the college I studied at and said it too, but, well…

So, yeah. That happened.

In my defense, I do actually study more at my home than I ever have at college, because there hardly ever are lectures to attend/interesting enough to attend.

Interesting thing though, I was worried about how I’d do at the questions he asked me from the textbook chapters and not about the rest, but I did really well at those questions and instead messed up at the basic stuff. Its all good though, I did really well at everything else in the examination and there were people who goofed up more exponentially than I did and I take solace in that fact.


 

So, have you ever had this kind of experience? Did you screw up publicly like this, and have despised yourself for doing that, ever since? Let me know, so we can laugh at each other’s momentary lapse in, well, intelligence.

Until next time, folks.

Post inspired by the following daily prompt – Naked with Black Socks

 

The Chewing Gum Conundrum

You know how there’s always those things that you can never find even when you look for them all over town, literally? But then those elusive little things end up with you when you least expect it. Take, for example, those chocolates that your aunt brings back with her when she goes abroad, or those bookmarks your dad got when he went for a business trip somewhere. Once you’ve eaten all of the chocolates and bookmarked the shit out of those bookmarks, you want more. So what do you do? You go look for it, in every store you can think of. Even the most fancy ones, but you don’t find it anywhere. Step 2: Throw stuff to express frustration. Step 3: ? Step 4: Rule the world!(?)

You know, back when I was young we used to have these chewing gums with a cartoon character drawn on both sides. One side was red and the other was yellow, and in thick black outline, a cartoon character that suspiciously looked like a cat and dog hybrid, was drawn on both sides. When you opened it, you got a silver paper in which the gum was. It was really big and juicy for my kid-small mouth then. I didn’t learn how to blow bubbles with gum until I was 12 or 13 (shame on me, I know) so I just chewed it for hours until it tasted completely hideous. It was a great pleasure. I saw these chewing gums till maybe 3-4 years back and since then they’ve completely disappeared. No shop keeps them. Blame it on globalisation, all these fancy new chewing gums coming in from fancy countries with their fancy wrappers, displacing really good local goods.

Anybody find those chewing gums, you tell me first. Got it? This is some important shit.

An Eventful Hour on the Bus

I had to wait for about ten minutes before the bus arrived. I was headed to the dentist.

Buses are usually full at that time of the evening. Between my home and my destination, a church was conducting a festival they conduct on a yearly basis for a few days and because of that, traffic was much, much slower than usual. Vehicles moved ahead by a metre or so every ten minutes; that slow.

When my bus arrived, I wasn’t sure there were any seats empty but I had to get in because I was running a little late, and I had to get through so much traffic. Upon climbing in, I realised I was right and there was no place to sit. So I just grabbed one of the handles hanging from the rod attached to the ceiling of the bus, and stood in the aisle, as a few of the other passengers were doing. I assumed I would eventually get a place to sit when passengers disembarked on the next stop, or maybe the one after that.

The traffic near the bus stop wasn’t that bad, but after a kilometre or so, it got worse, and even worse after that. Vehicles were virtually standing still, for as far as the eye could see. In the opposite lane, though, cars were coming towards us at normal speed and traffic was pretty manageable there, even after the arriving lane had been reduced from two parallel lanes to one; the other one being used to divert traffic from our lane and reduce some traffic here. Needless to say, it was working about as well as a band-aid on a fracture.

I just looked around, at the people in and out of the bus. There were a couple of college-going guys quite like myself, sitting in the backseat and talking about some games and apps on the App Store, their compatibility, and their opinions on the same. There was another dude sitting at the front of the bus yelling into his phone, speaking about how he was definitely not going to pay “that asshole” INR 25,000. You know, in India, places are so crowded and people are by default and quite literally, very close, the concept of ‘personal space’ isn’t as elaborate as it may be in other countries, like, say, the US. People don’t mind if there’s other people looking over your shoulder and into your phone screen when you’re texting your girlfriend. Hell, they’ll tell you if they think you should be typing whatever you want to say in a more “conservative” manner. At least its this way in Mumbai, and after that shouty dude finished talking on his phone, a bald guy sitting next to him asked him, “Aaj kal aisa hi sab chalta hai desh me, sab paise ke peeche! (This is exactly what is going on in the world today, everybody is after money!)” The two talked for a good twenty minutes before the bald guy had to get off at his stop. They even exchanged cards before doing so. Friendships on the bus.

The bald dude was the last to disembark at his stop and the bus driver immediately started the bus once he had. There was a lady about twenty metres away, running towards the bus just as he started it. He must have seen the lady, but since she wasn’t at the stop, he didn’t stop for her. Lucky for her, the signal ahead just turned red so she caught up to the bus there and climbed in through the front door, which, mind you, is strictly meant for disembarking and only senior citizens/differently abled people are allowed to embark from there. She looked really tired but angry. As soon as she walked up to the door, the driver told her to, “Please, get in through the back.” She just climbed in to the front instead and started scolding the driver for why he didn’t stop the bus for her when he clearly saw her trying to get to it, back at the bus stop. The driver explained that he won’t stop for every other person on the road, the bus stops only on signals and at bus stops. She then threw the ‘but I’m a woman’ argument at her. At that point her net level of respect in my mind and presumably in that of most of the people in the bus, fell quicker than Kim Kardashian’s reputation. After a while she realised her arguments were losing steam and now that the bus conductor and a couple of passengers had also chimed in with the driver, she acknowledged she was outnumbered and outmatched by sitting down in a huff.

I decided not to plug in my headphones this time, and in retrospect, it was a fruitful decision since I probably wouldn’t have been able to write this post as well if I had.

A Rare Breed

During the latter stages of school and for most of college, complaining how bad your teachers are, is pretty commonplace among student circles. At least that’s the way it is here. And its no different with my friends, and friends of friends, and the friends-so-distant-you-don’t-even-know-they’re-the-least-bit-related, and the people I overhear complaining about the teachers. But occasionally, that too if you’re lucky, there comes a teacher who you just cannot nitpick about. And its not just the teaching part that she’s so good at, but also the being-a-likeable-human-being part. Remember how I said ‘if you’re lucky’?

Well, here’s what happened. I switched subjects this year (I’m in the 12th Grade, or the second year of Junior College), from Mathematics to Philosophy. I had taken Math in the 11th owing to some general advice of a school teacher and also an administrative misdirection by a college official, and Math didn’t work out for me. In the meantime I had also decided that I wanted to pursue Psychology as a career (still working out the details, doing some research). Since I didn’t want to continue with Math, the obvious choice was Philosophy as opposed to the third option of History, since not only is Philosophy an immensely interesting subject to me, personally, but it is also a good subject to have a background in if you want to pursue Psychology.

Now, the procedure for switching subjects like this was no doubt a lengthy one. I started inquiring about it towards the end of my 11th and the process dragged on all through my pre-12th vacations and well into the second month of 12th until any official announcement came from the college. So right until it got wrapped up, from my point of view I had a very realistic chance of 50-50 of having Philosophy as a subject to study. When it did get wrapped up, it was a relief like no other I’ve felt in recent times. But that’s not the point of this post.

The teacher I’ve got for Philosophy is, in short, pretty much awesome. There’s different kinds of awesome when it comes to teachers, and it depends on what kind of student you are. If you’re the kind that likes the subject to be stimulating, something that makes you think, genuinely be drawn to the subject in a natural, progressive way, then awesome would mean a teacher that explains the subject very well, makes lectures not seem like lectures, makes them interactive, doesn’t stick to the text, and does not give you everything on a silver platter. That’s the kind of teacher I’ve got. Not only that, but she also takes interest in every student, she knows a lot of our names, and comes off to me as a very pragmatic but passionate person.

About a week or so back I had to go pay a small amount of money to the college as administrative fees for carrying out the whole subject change process. But the time they’d allotted for us to pay the money fell smack in between our Philosophy lecture of the day so I missed about half an hour of it. I thought I’d still go and try to explain why I was late. When I got there, to my surprise, the classroom was completely empty and our teacher was sitting by the table on the podium, reading something. She was still expecting people to turn up, because as soon as I walked in she asked me if I knew where the others were. These kind of things happen sometimes, everybody decides to bunk the lecture on the same day, knowingly or otherwise is something I won’t comment on ;).

Anyhoo, since I was there, she asked me whether my subject change process had come to a close so I could finally concentrate on Philosophy, and I told her that it was done now that I had paid the money. She looked genuinely relieved, and for a second, almost as much as I was. I’m usually a talkative person if I feel comfortable in the company I am and such teachers usually are that way, so we talked about this and that for a few minutes. Naturally, as a teacher she asked me what my plans were, academically, after I passed the 12th Grade. I told her I was pretty dead set on Psychology but was still considering the exact options I had in that field and had it narrowed down to Counselling, Sports and Criminal Psychology. She expressed surprise at the fact that I was so sure ‘so early’. The fact that I have a blog also came up. She was even more surprised, in a good way. During her lecture a couple of days back she had told us she was quite into fiction, especially the Agatha Christie kind, so there was more surprise for store in her when I told her I had started the blog primarily for the purpose of fiction, the Agatha Christie kind. She told me she was very impressed, and that made me feel really good. Like I was on the right track, more or less. The fact that I was from a reputed school and a reputed education Board, and had done well there, made her even more impressed. Then I realised I may have set the bar too high for my own sake because she told me she expected me to score at least a 95% in my 12th Board exam. sigh

Guess I’ll just have to get down to the books now.

See on the other side, folks!

Kinda Confused What The Title For This Should Be

Ever seen a platypus wandering in the desert? Or a man born in 1846 teleported to Times Square of 2015? Obviously not unless you ARE the platypus and the man out of time.

But have you ever entered the wrong room? Like, you have an exam, your Finals maybe, and you’re scared shitless, because, let’s face it, you’re underprepared, so you’re walking in the hallway, your head bowed down, skimming as speedily as it can over the book you hold in your hands. You bump into every other kid, but at least you’re not looking down to your phone screen, right? There’s a chaotic typical Middle Eastern bazaar kind of situation in your brain, with exam material shooting from one end to another, interspersed with thoughts about self-worth, including, but not limited to your attire at the moment, your hair, whether you’re giving off a too-nervous vibe, and tons of other stuff. Among all this hullabaloo, your brain messes up with your memory and serves you up with the wrong classroom number, which you obviously believe is right and walk into it. You don’t see your serial number on any of the benches. What are you now?

I’ll tell you.

Confused is what you are.

Believe it or not, that little thing above was all just an introduction, a prelude, a prologue to this post.

But yes, confusion is what I’m talking about. There’s a considerate amount of confusion going around in my life these days. And I think about it now and then. Sometimes it overwhelms me, but other times I’m like, “Yeah, I got this,” and then I sort out all the shit in my head but it gets un-sorted before I can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. So I’ve learnt I should write stuff down.

I’m 17 so you kinda get the different kind of things that may be confusing me.

I’m not naive to think that adults don’t get confused. I was that way a few years back but I get it now that there’s a few things that never go away.

But the 16s and 17s are a weird age. 18, 19 and 20 are probably thinking right now, “Oh, we gonna come in like a wrecking ball, yeah!”

I’ve seen posts on Facebook and stuff that go, ‘2015, go easy on me” or “October, please be gentle” and at first I’m grinning a bit and then later I’m like, the hell is that about? You want to do the exact same thing you did in September and you expect October to be easier. How in the world do you expect to have luck that outrageous? So yeah, your grades aren’t going to shoot up if you’re still playing Battlefield all day.

I kinda drifted away from the topic, confusion.

Basically, I was thinking about the blog, and writing in general and brainstorming today morning. And I was reflecting on the last few posts I’ve made, what I think works and what doesn’t.

And then something dawned on me. I don’t know if it can be classified as an epiphany but its definitely something. I was thinking that I created this blog for the primary purpose of writing fiction. I used to think that I will probably write something more than that but I always thought I would have enough fiction pieces to not need too much more to keep the blog ticking over. But I was wrong (yeah, pragmatic part of my brain, you can say “I told you so,” now).

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. One thing I understood right at the beginning is that this blog is something I want to have for a long time to come. I want to write, for a long time to come. I also understood that things like this evolve, over time, into what they are meant to be ultimately. What I didn’t understand however, is that what I’ve started out doing, may not be what I end up doing.

There's a lot of confusing stuff in the world, but the good folk over at 9gag just solved one of them.
There’s a lot of confusing stuff in the world, but the good folk over at 9gag just solved one of them.

What I mean is, I started out with this blog to write fiction, 90%. In the end the pieces may not fit that way. That’s what the confusion is all about.

I get the feeling that fiction is what I want to do. But at this point in time, its non-fiction that’s coming more easily to me. Maybe its just a phase, but its certainly made me think.

As I said, the 16s and 17s are a weird age, and I’m discovering so much right now. And I don’t mean discovering stuff on the internet, I mean discovering, coming to realisations, borderline epiphanies when I’m just sitting around looking into the sky, thinking. And this is going to happen a lot these days since my holidays have started and the number of things I need to do add up to a staggering number of nil.


You just witnessed an outpouring from my mind. You should probably sit down and process if you read this from one of those stand up desks I hear you people have at workplaces now. Contrastingly, you should probably get up and take a few rounds around your couch if you were sitting in the first place.

Once you’re done, do let me know if you guys have ever been through stuff like this? Epiphanies, confusing thoughts, too much time on your hands, whatever, let me know about it 😉

Normal Conversation

Friend: So, what are you reading these days?

Me: Textbooks. I’ve been reading textbooks.

Friend: Your exams are a month away. Guy like you would top them even if you started a week before they begin.

Me: Sure.

Friend: LOL, seriously though, I’m sure you’re reading something good. Back to Grisham for good or still lingering on Baldacci?

Me: Yeah, there’s this real awesome book I know. You’d love it. Its the best work in crime fiction so far.

Friend: Best? Is it new?

Me: Very.

Friend: So that’s probably why I haven’t heard of such a book. What’s the name?

Me: I haven’t decided yet.

Me: (smirks)

Friend: (rolls eyes)

Awesome Quotes: Quotes

No, that isn’t a typo. I didn’t type ‘quotes’ twice, while suspiciously sneaking a colon in there. Quotes, is this Friday’s theme for Awesome Quotes. That’s right, quotes about quotes. Pretty neat, huh?

200 (6)
“Turn to page three hundred and ninety four…”

“Life isn’t about quotes about life.” – Unknown

“Life itself is a quotation.” – Unknown

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.” – Ambrose Bierce

“[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.” – A. A. Milne

“Speaking one’s mind once is more honorable than quoting a thousand men.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“I quote others only in order the better to express myself.” – Michel de Montaigne

“I called an insurance company to get a quote. They gave me one of Oscar Wilde’s best.” – Jarod Kintz


Aaaaaand that’s it for this week’s Awesome Quotes! Hope you enjoyed this little rabbit-out-of-the-hat thing (quotes about quotes) because I was really excited when the idea to do something like this struck me a couple of days back.

Come back next Friday for more Awesome Quotes! 🙂

Awesome Quotes: Quotes About Writing II

Writing is a topic that obviously means a lot to me.The first Awesome Quotes was dedicated to quotes about writing and it deserves to have a second edition in Awesome Quotes.

So here is a new collection of quotes about writers, the writing process and more!


“There is only one plot – things are not what they seem.” – Jim Thompson

Food for thought.

“A fiction writer is nothing more than the ambassador of an alternative world of their own design. Their success dwells in how many people their work entices to relocate.” – Carl Henegan

Perspectives.

“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.” – Mignon McLaughlin

Can’t help smiling away at how accurate this is.

“As a writer, one is allowed to have conversations with oneself. What is considered sane in writers is mad for the rest of the human race.” – Alan Ayckbourn

So, I guess, I’m not paranoid.

“It’s often said that writers sometimes need to go around the block a few times to get where they’re going.” – Christopher Bram

Kinda like warming up before the game.

“People visit exposed and vulnerable; writers live there.” – Alisa Hope Wagner

Still smiling away at the accuracy.

“Flow is something the reader experiences, not the writer.” – Verlyn Klinkenborg

“I only write when I’m inspired, and I make sure I’m inspired every morning at 9 a.m.” – Peter De Vries

Teach me, O great master.

“Write what should not be forgotten.” – Isabel Allende

Easier said than done.

“A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.” – W.E.B. Du Bois


Aaaaand that’s it for this week’s Awesome Quotes! Hope you were smiling away at all the accuracy as well. If you write then you definitely were. If you don’t write but are thinking of starting, these quotes either galvanised you to face the rigours of this work or you’re all like, “Chuck that crap.” Me? I’m somewhere in the middle. (Aren’t all of us once we’ve seen both sides of writing?)

Also, these Awesome Quotes aren’t over until I remind you to check in next Friday. So, yeah you know the drill, come back next Friday for more Awesome Quotes that reaffirm the wacky truths you’ve been suspecting of the human ‘civilisation’ (ironically derived from the word ‘civil’) and steel you to face aforementioned ironically named civilisation.

Toodles.