An excerpt from Quarter Life Crisis


As she finished taking a sip of water, I enquired, “Do you remember the time when I asked you out, here? It has been so many years since then.”

“You did not ask me out!” exclaimed she. “I had to lead you to it. You were so shy. That’s why I named you ‘Shyny’!”

“I wasn’t shy!”

“Yes, you were. I remember what you said, word by word.” She laughed and mocked me, “You said, ‘Neera, I want to say. . . I wanted to ask . . . I mean, I was thinking . . .'”

“I do not remember it happening like that,” I lied.

“I do!” she said, jubilantly. “You were so cute! I loved it.”

“Anyhow, let’s just agree that it was a beautiful moment, OK?”

“The funniest part was that you just gave up the plan. If I had not led you to it, you would’ve never done it. Thank God, I knew what you wanted to say – I saw it in your eyes.”

“You could always see through me.”

“Yes, I could and I can. And I know why we’re here.”

“Why, may I ask?”

She smiled and looked at me.


“Do it, Shyny,” she said.

“Do what? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“OK!” she said, getting up.

I held her hand, and prodded her to sit down.

“I think I will have to lead you to this one too, right?” she asked, her eyes gleaming. “No problem. I know you’re going to ask me to marry you. I know you’ll tell me how much you love me and that you’ll love me no matter what. Then you’ll say how you will always keep me happy and never make me sad. Isn’t this what you wanted to say?”

“Not really,” I replied, with a plain face. I wrapped my arm around her waist and continued, “You’re wrong on so many levels. Firstly, I don’t love you. I only like you and that too at moments you’re not a pain in my bum. Secondly, even if I did love you, I can never love you ‘no matter what’. I know Indian girls are beautiful before they get married but as soon as they have their first kid — boom — fat, like a melon. Thirdly, I don’t think, if we get married, I would always keep you happy. I mean, married people fight. We’ll fight a lot, no doubt. We might even come close to hating each other.”

“This has to be the most romantic proposal ever!” she giggled.

I gently caressed her face and said, “Darling, the only thing I can promise is that even if we do end up having a few terrible moments together, you’ll always know that there is a person who cares about you, as a friend and as a husband. I’ll make sure that every night we will sleep holding each other lovingly, even if it is right after a fight.”

“We will make a world with dreams, sweetheart,” she said, softly.

“You make me so happy,” I said before we kissed.

“I have something for you,” I said. “Yesterday, when I went out with Innaya, I bought something.”

I took out a magenta ring box out of my pocket and opened it. It held a gold ring, donning a small diamond.

She smiled and I slid the ring onto her finger.

“We’ll have countless beautiful moments all through our lives, Darling.”

“I know we will,” she replied, and we embraced.

When we arrived back home, Innaya greeted us cheerfully. She was aware of the motive of my outing with Neera, and she held both of us in her arms.

Maybe better times were coming.



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Book Review – Monsoon Minds by Ravi Nambiar

I usually avoid posting book reviews. Not only am I incapable of judging a book on its literary merit, I feel reviewing a book is like going to parents who are out with their kid and saying, “Do you want to know what I think about your child? No, no, don’t shake your head. You brought him out here, so now you will stand here and listen to me criticise him” – it serves no purpose, expect, maybe, offending a few people.

But, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and etiquette dictates that I post a review. If you read on, be well advised that my understanding of literature is quite elementary.

Now that I have berated myself enough, on to the book.

Monsoon Minds is a collection of eighteen short stories, most of them being set in a fictional – I think – village of Bhavli. The stories deal with a wide variety of subjects such as child marriage, separation of a mother from her son, domestic violence, to quote a few. Each subject has been admirably dealt with, and makes a lasting impression on the reader. The stories are thought provoking, and paint very clear and distinctive pictures of the residents of Bhavli. You feel what they feel, you see their world through their eyes, and they end up being a part of you.

By the time you finish this book, you would long to visit Bhavli, to sip a cup at Gafoor’s tea shop, and to take a stroll by the Bhavli River.

Kudos to Ravi Nambiar for penning this sublime piece.

The Confined Mind, By the Waves, and An Unbearable Retirement were my favourites stories.

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Book Review: Quarter Life Crisis by Anshuk Attri


Book: Quarter Life Crisis

Author: Anshuk Attri

Publisher: publishing

Genre: The ‘romance’ of life

In One Line: The trials and tribulations of life revealed in 299 pages

Characterisation: The protagonists of this story, Prachur and Neera have been characterised well. They have ample flesh and blood and one can imagine what they are like. His aside, what I liked was that even the side characters like the friends and the parents have been given personality enough to make them believable. As I read he book, the one I developed the greatest fondness for was Prachur’s sister. She was the right combination of modernity and tradition, emotions and logic, and sternness and softness.

Language: It is an easy to read book with some cliched lines and quite a few punches punched in throughout the book. One that made me smile came right on the first page – “All things considered, this campus probably…

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India’s Dire Need – Regulations for Organised Riots

So this morning with my tea, I took another dose of depressing news. Some guy was beaten up because of alleged buffalo slaughtering, and that too in full view of the police.

I am not someone who has the courage to go a state like UP to verify the claims of the report, therefore I have no options but to trust the news source. Anyway, who cares if the news is true or not? Even rumours cause substantial damage.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any way of talking some sense into these cow-vigilantes. I’d rather take up a project to teach Calculus to monkeys in Shimla, if the government were funding any such program.

Anyhow, since I see religious riots on the horizon and in my opinion there is no way we can stop them, so, I thought we’d rather start talking about setting some regulations surrounding them.

People who wish to fight over killing cows and buffaloes should be allowed to do so. This is a free country, after all. My only concern is that such riots must not include people who want nothing to do with this trivial issue.

Keeping that in mind, I think:

Firstly, we must demarcate a particular area and time in towns across the country where the riots are allowed to take place. Flyers should be issued by the police stating, “Come one, come all! Massacre Hindus, Muslims, Christians, anyone you want! No offence shall be taken by any side.”

Secondly, jerseys should be provided to different sides of the argument. We would not want people to kill others who share the same point of view. That would be insane – the only insane thing in all of this.

Thirdly, the people who do show up, must be adequately armed. No one should be able to say that she or he was discriminated against based on her/his religion, caste, creed, or sex.

Fourthly, since the government cannot discriminate between sexes, killing of women would be encouraged. Children mustn’t be spared, as well. Rapes would be highly recommended.

Fifthly, the winner will only be declared only after no person with a different point of view survives.

Finally, the winners must be shot by the police as well, because they’re useless to a civilised society anyway.

I am sure I am missing a lot of key things. We must make sure that no loop-hole is left in this regulation. Also, I think state legislature across the countries must think about strictly implementing a better version of these guidelines.

PS: In case a moron (read a cow-vigilante, a religious nut-job) is reading this, know that this is written ironically. I think this is pretty easy to infer, but human stupidity is boundless. Clarifications, especially in the time we live, are absolutely essential.



Culture of Low Self-Esteem

We, Indians, get offended way too soon.

We can’t have people mock our Gods, our religion, our prophets, our space program, and what’s more, we can’t have people say anything about our country, unless it is flattering.

Someone makes a joke and we look for our pitch forks. The CEO of Snapchat calls our country poor – which it is, to be fair – and lynching of Snapdeal starts. Why? Well the pitch fork has to go up someone’s ass, who cares what colour the ass is – white or brown?

First of all, someone claimed that Mr Spiegel said what he said, I don’t think that there is any undeniable proof of him doing it, anyway. Even if he did, so what he called our country poor? Does he not have a right to decide which country he wants to expand into? More importantly, is India a rich nation? I know that once our country was called “Sone ki Chidya“, but that bird has long flown away.

The users of Snapchat have every right to boycott the app, if they think that the comments made by Mr Spiegel were in anyway hurtful to their national sentiments. I am quoting this particular case just as an example of how harshly we react to trivial things.

Not that a joke cannot ever be in bad taste, but it is, after all, a joke – forget and move on.

Do we have such low self-esteem that we need to punish people who mock us? In my opinion, this stems from our desire to get validation from others – the west, primarily. A mission to mars is not an achievement enough for us, unless ISRO is praised by the media all over the world.

Get a sense of humour, my fellow citizens.


Being Fat : A Boon

Tired of listening to people telling you to lose weight? Are you tired of people quoting new scientific reasons to get slim everyday? If the answer is yes then read on. I, too like you, was tired of hearing these taunts. But instead of moping like every other fat person, I chose to educate this world about the benefits of being fat. Since I was tired of providing personal guidance to every self-righteous lean guy, I have decided to make these facts public for the good of rest of the inhabitants of this hell we call Earth.

1. You always get to eat what you want: This is one of the biggest advantages of being fat. Have you ever diverted your attention towards the diet of a lean person. They fear food. They fear they would become fat and thus avoid lord’s blessings in the form of cheese, butter, sugar etc. What good is your life if you can’t eat what you want? A fat man, on the other hand, can enjoy delicacies that a lean person can’t even think about smelling.

2. You get what you want: Imagine a situation. You are with your 5 friends and are enjoying a packet of biscuit with them. Suppose it only has 6 biscuits. Now even if each one of you get one there would be one biscuit left. Now here comes in the best part. If you are fat you can easily lean in and pick up the last biscuit. Sure your friends will taunt you, but at the end they would sympathize with you and think, “Let him eat, he needs it to run his normal body functions.”.

3. Get Unlimited attention: Obviously if you have a group of lean friends everyone will notice you. I mean, for example, look at the night sky. There are like 4000 stars visible from one hemisphere of the earth but you can’t really miss the moon. Imagine yourself walking into a bar or a restaurant and having everyone look at you. On an average you will turn heads of more ladies ,if you are fat, than your lean friend. Yes, you too can become a ladies man. All you need to do is to be yourself and eat more.

4. You automatically become the “Funny Guy”: Yeah that is true! If you are fat you automatically become the “funny guy” of the group. Everything you say or do will sound and look funny. What is better than having all the attention to yourself? How many comedians that you have seen are fat? The answer is: Almost all of them. Thus, being fat brings in money too.

5. Be spared of hard work: If you are the “lazy type” then you need not worry. Being  fat makes you the last person to be picked incase there is a task to be done. Because you are fat, people will expect you to have lower efficiency . So why work? Spend your day at work just doodling around and let the lean guy take the heat.

6. Push people around: If you are fat you can push people around. Break the queue. There would be two reasons no one would even think of fighting with you. Number one, let’s face it you are fat and they would think you are a bully because no one has any idea you too are just a normal guy who goes to bed with his arms wrapped around a teddy bear. And number two, because they would think, “Oh! The poor soul is trying his best to keep his fat ass to himself”.

I hope I have succeeded in changing your mindset towards yourself. So ask yourself this: Why be lean, rhyming with mean, if you can get to eat what you want, get unlimited attention, get rich, be the “funny guy”, be spared of hard work and easily push people around?

Keep Eating.