The Neighbour

My relationship with wooden panels dates back to college days when I stayed in a paying guest accommodation that had rooms separated by thin cardboard like panels. One could easily hear the girls in the adjacent room talk on the phone, giggle and make small talk with each other or their parents. While it was tolerable in the day, during the nights you could just bang on the panel to let them know that they could be heard. Some wouldn’t stop even then.

The second time I encountered wooden panels, it was 2 years later.

There’s a particular spot in our rented house where I like to write. It’s a comfortable sofa with a puffy to keep one’s foot on, sounds luxurious and it is one luxurious sitting spot too. The cosiest in the house, according to my mother. If there’s a downside to this spot, it has to be it’s close proximity to the dreaded wooden panel. This panel is more solid than the one in my pg in Delhi and connects the other side of the floor through an equally strong wooden door.

My neighbour is a Parsi lady of big built, short salt and pepper hair, wears spectacles, and has a friendly but usually loud voice. She lives up to the image you might have of a Parsi lady in her 50’s. My neighbour lives alone and works at a hospital during the day, takes piano lessons twice or thrice in a week and makes really good tiramisu.

Almost like a ritual, she calls up a woman, whom I will call the lady on the phone, between 8-9 in the evening. The next one hour is followed by my neighbour, gossiping, catching up and sharing trivial details of her life with the lady on the phone.

I mostly saw this as a nuisance since I find it difficult to find interest in what my neighbour ate during the day or what she plans to do after she keeps the phone. I usually didn’t cope with her conversations very well, since it would make me get up from my favourite spot. If you have ever met me at my house between the hour of 8-9, you will know that it’s not the best time to visit.

One such evening, I was sitting with my laptop struggling to come up with something to write for my blog, I had been struggling for days now. Mind you, my blog may not have readers, but publishing on it is good writing practice.

Meanwhile, from the other side of the wooden panel, I could hear a phone ringing. It was my neighbour’s call to the lady on the phone, she had put it on speaker. Before I could roll my eyes again, I started listening intently.

My neighbour went on and on, taking few breathers in between to listen to the lady on the phone. The lady on the phone had rather few inputs to give. my neighbour would start with when she woke up, what she did when she left the house for the office. My neighbour would laugh in between, mimic someone she met during her day dramatically, laugh even more loudly and the lady on the phone would follow up with an equally loud laughter. My neighbour’s peculiar habit, to keep the volume of the receiver very high, so the lady on the phone’s voice was audible, a fair mumble of words and crystal clear laughs.

My neighbour would mention the advice she gave to a person called Nazeer. Often, she would complain about her weight and her inability to lose the fat.

Sometimes, there were detailed comparisons of people’s dressing sense, with detailed comparisons or why she doesn’t use Jet Airways to fly to Bombay.

One evening, there was a bit about how one lady called Rajni has been messing around with Jyoti. I also knew that as part of her preparation for her trip to Mashobra, she had packed her warm Adidas sweater. “Maine toh Kuch Nahi Karna wahan, main Toh Apni saheli se milne ja rahi hun,” she explained, laughing.

My neighbour had met her mother one morning, she started that bit by telling her friend where her mother was sitting. She also appreciated her mother’s spontaneous nature and how she would have agreed to go for a trip to Shimla, on a short notice.

My neighbour has numerous things to say, I wonder if she uses WhatsApp like we do, constantly, to give fragmented snippets of information about our lives to various people. My neighbour, I am assuming fits all those text messages into one long hour of verbal dialogue.

Maybe I will listen again, the wooden panel, me and her unending phone balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Selfie camera is the most important feature of a mobile phone”, say teenagers

Research has shown that the latest among the new age diseases is human beings obsession with themselves. Humans these days can be seen posing absurdly in front of their mobile phones and using their mouths to form what is being called a “duck face.”

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One of the many examples of the now trending, “duck face”.

Simultaneously, two alternative hypotheses have emerged to explain this behaviour: either some humans have an undeniable obsession with ducks or they just love looking at themselves because they don’t believe in the concept of mirrors.

Research is ongoing to know the root cause of this. Boyd Lutham, who is heading one of the research clusters became a part of this effort when he heard his child’s first meaningful sentence, which was, “Imma take a selfie.” Mr Lutham added, “I am shocked, scared and I really want to solve this problem. 95% of young adults spend 60% of their day going through their own photos or photographs of people they don’t really care about. The world needs more sensible people at the moment.”

Majority of such humans can be seen in shopping malls, usually in groups. A marauding teenager who was roaming in one of the city malls, “just ’cause”, said, “I want to belong, I want to be kewl, and I want to just be liberated. Taking a selfie gives me the freedom to express myself the way I want. It’s almost poetic.”

Genius inventors have built their businesses around it, such as the creators of Snapchat. An app which provides people with a platform to post multiple pictures of their faces with unrealistic filters and editing effects. With this, more teengaers are getting empowered. Josh, another one of the selfie enthusiasts, said that he identifies himself as a honey bee. When asked the reason he said that he looks really good in that particular Snapchat filter and would like to live the rest of his life as a bee. He shouted, “I was always a bee in a human beings body.” His parents are confused but they will support his decision because “everyone has the right the live the way we want.” Josh added, “I am going to start a movement where in humans who identify themselves as bees will come together to demand people’s respect and a space in society.”

Some advertisements and feature improvements in phones are based on human beings tendency to behave this way. It is not yet known if these developments are the cause or the effect of such human behaviour.

Case in point are the two advertisements by phone companies, Oppo and Vivo where an invention that is being called a “selfie camera” is being promoted by famous people who earn a lot of money.

The selfie project.jpg

Crazy lady who bought this phone because it has the best selfie camera in the world. “The only feature I care about”, she said.

 

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‘I am passionate about trying out different filters that new age apps are coming up with,” – Delusional Bollywood guy.

 

Mostly, humans are seen taking multiple pictures of them because it increases the probability of a good photograph. The current tradition calls for the best of these pictures to be laced with filters and other effects that validate the people that they are truly beautiful. Sceptics, however, have argued that these people simply need to “get a life.”

Rest of the research results are yet to come in. Till then, we can try to build a useful conversation in this direction so that humanity does not lose it’s purpose.

 

 

The murdered raccoon

How to Solve a Murder the CID way

Last night, a racoon was found brutally murdered in his Sunset Boulevard Mansion in San Francisco. The racoon, Shaun Shaunesy, a rich heir of his mother’s G.I Joe business was last seen by 100 people in his house since a party was going on in his mansion on the night of the murder. Shaun was known for his affluent lifestyle and good taste in antiques because he could afford it. Apart from this, Shaun was a peaceful resident and was planning to marry Lily, a heiress from East London.

The San Francisco Police department officials, who reached the scene after a month were unable to find the body. Only some blood stains that tasted like tomato juice and feathers that probably came out of Shaun’s favourite goose feather pillows, were found. Shaun was also a part-time goose, and the feathers found on the crime scene were suspected to be his. All the other people who attended the party were not present at the crime scene since they thought one month was too long a time for them to wait for the investigations to begin.

The police have declared that murder is a surity, however, they are not sure who committed the crime since they have no skills to find out.

They have put down the names of a few suspects, but inspector Gregory George wrote these names on his hand. After eating food, he washed his hands and he figured that the ink was not permanent. Gregory wasn’t available for quite some time after this incident, but when he was, he said, “I didn’t realise the ink was not water proof. I was hoping to keep the names on my hand as a tattoo, forever.” Considering this as a failure for not knowing basic concepts of inspection, Gregory quit and he pursued a career in developing permanent ink. According to him the world needed more permanent ink.

Investigations are likely to go on until the case has been forgotten. Stay tuned.

 

One of the picture's from my profile.

How my Instagram profile got me a job

The title is not for click bait purposes. The incidents mentioned in the following paragraphs are purely incidental and bear 100% resemblance to the truth. 

As bizarre as it sounds, one of my social media profiles, got me a job. Read on to know how.

On an average Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from my friend who recently joined a start-up in Bangalore. (Adding an unnecessary, irrelevant heads up: whenever someone moves to Bangalore, it can mean 2 things and 2 things alone. Either he/she is joining a start-up or he/she is starting one.)

So I pick up the phone and she tells me that my Instagram profile has a new viewer, one of her companies founders. The founder liked the way I captioned my pictures and thought that similar content could be used to build out of the box marketing campaigns. He expressed interest in meeting me and I promised to meet on the following Friday.

Friday morning came and it wasn’t the best morning for me. Not only did I find a cockroach casually hanging out on my t-shirt in the washroom, I found myself succumbing to screams and horror thereafter. I was wearing that t-shirt, by the way. The cockroach, let’s call him Mogambo, was half the size of my middle finger. Yet I screamed, cringed and cursed my life for bringing this morning to my doorstep.

My next step was to grab a repellant and spray it all over Mogambo. Mogambo tried to run away and finally breathed his last in my roommate’s bedroom. His last words were, “Don’t take this as validation to use the spray again. It’s not the spray that killed me, it’s your roommate’s bedroom. It’s never the spray. Sprays are a hoaaaaaaxxxxxx!”

In the next 15 minutes, glad that I had gotten rid of Mogambo, I was stepping out of my washroom when I slipped over the repellent’s remnants on the floor. Nothing except my bum and spirits were hurt and broken.

Till this point, I had not remembered about the meeting I was supposed to go for.

But soon, I was reminded about it by my friend. I tried to gather my spirits, but they were really upset. Somehow, I managed to convince them, they came together to enable me to do what I had to. I got up, bathed for a change, and mentally prepared myself for what was to follow.

Unlike other interviews, I was unprepared for this one. I knew a little bit about the company and what they do. I downloaded their app to see what they had to offer.

Other than that, I had nothing prepared. I took an Uber and spent an hour listening to Bonobo’s “Kerala” on repeat.

Now I had finally reached the destination and my stomach was already witnessing butterflies that were trying to spread the nervousness. I didn’t let them get to me, how could they, they were inside my stomach.

I walk inside the very pleasant office space, following the founder. Asked to take a seat, I sit and smile. The founder starts the conversation with me where he asks me questions about me, tells me his vision for the company and how it all came together.

It’s very exciting to see people talk about something they love doing. Their eyes shine, almost as if they are picturing their motivations and dreams as they speak of it.

I was told about my role, the impact they’d want me to make and so on. Following this, I was introduced to the other employees and was told to prepare a task.

I met the founders on the following Monday where I was asked to present my ideas. These were people who believe in their company more than anything else and who now wanted to test my abilities. Could I bring something out of the box to the table? I didn’t know.

So I pick up a marker and stand in front of the whiteboard, shaking and trembling because I get anxiety when in front of audiences. Even if the audience is as big as 3 people. I am recalling the time when I was in school and in class 10, I was given the responsibility to read out a prayer on the annual day. Trying my best to hide my nervousness, I read out the prayer in one quick robotic speech. But wait, suddenly, I forgot the line I was on, panic struck and all I could say was a loud, very clear, “SHIT!”

So it’s evident that I am not the best at handling anything at all.

Moving on, inside the room where I was being interviewed, complete with white fluorescent lights and a deadly silence, these people were interested in what I had to say, their eyes fixated on me.

I go ahead and start speaking, taking reference from a notebook I had scribbled my thoughts on. They questioned, suggested, probed, gave me a few on the spot questions and I continue my streak.

A series of more tasks and conversations later, I submitted my final task.

The weekend goes by and I am told on Monday that they liked my ideas and wanted me on board.

How cool is that? Now I could write about this experience and had a story to tell.

Click this for more information

In latest news, researchers have found out that procrastination is the root cause of satisfaction. Procrastination entails a false sense of satisfaction that ultimately leads to death by dissatisfaction and about 50% humans are affected by this disease. The researchers involved were Mr Bob I’ll do it tomorrow & Mr Bill I will make a to-do list. Both are graduates from the University of Home Schooling.

They took a sample of 50 people who wanted to change the field they were currently working in. One of the subjects from the sample, Ms Bloomsword said, “I want to be a writer someday and I have been working towards that for the last 90 years.” Miss Bloomsword died shortly after this very unnecessary question-answer round. This interview made her realise how the only words she had ever written were, “I will write the most words someday”,  in her journal. This further made her think about how delusional she had been all her life and collapsed owing to a cardiac arrest. Every member of the sample study expressed grief over Ms Bloomword’s sudden demise and said that they will pay their condolences to her family tomorrow.

All the sample subjects wanted to do something different with their lives but had been unable to do so because they were too satisfied for knowing anything else. Blinded by satisfaction, they thought they were doing enough with their lives. Some also thought that thinking about doing something the next day, makes them happy in the moment. They were ardent  supporters of the quote, “Live life a moment at a time.” The thought was so deeply ingrained in them, that they figured they were passionate about living.

This created an even deeper delusion in their heads, about how they were the greatest, for just breathing. Hence they romanticised every moment of their lives. Mr Tucker said that the favourite moment from his entire day was being able to take in the air and then release carbon dioxide. He jumped at the thought of this and died because he inhaled too much oxygen.

The result of this research is that when an individual thinks about doing something later, it makes them happy in the moment which is the definition of procrastination itself.

Thanks for reading “The Times of Tomorrow.”

This is Jennifer Stone, signing off, later.

 

 

Lessons from a Cartoon’s Life

Bored Bob is a cartoon character I created when I was 6 minutes old.  After I was done with the mandatory post birth crying indicating I was alive, I signaled my mother to bring me a paper and started drawing Bob.  Bored Bob’s character spans the life of a face (he doesn’t have a body because I never got to that out of sheer lack of the urge to make it.)   Why it is important that Bob is a cartoon is because being a cartoon he is just observing the people around the world, he is not biased. Since he is not human, he offers the most neutral opinion on how human beings conduct themselves.

Why I drew Bob is a question I can’t answer, since I fail to find the answer even after an extensive google search.

All I know is that Bob was inspired out of boredom and the feeling of being unamused by almost everything in the world. Bob is pessimistic since he wants human beings to think about the downside of being in a certain situation. He expects you to think about the negatives before the positives. Having said that, Bob is a practical individual too, since through his pessimism he is constantly trying to improve. It’s efficient pessimism, in other words. Or is that called being a realist?  He wants you to not find a silver lining always. Bob feels that boredom can lead to great things. Take for instance, the case of a glass that is half filled with water, or empty. Compare this to the entire volume of water that the earth has inside it today. If we keep thinking that the glass is half full and are satisfied by that thought, we will never be able to look at the problem of there soon being a dearth in the water supply. Hence, Bob’s practicality is established.

If you are still not convinced, think about it, if you are always happy and moderately satisfied with your life, how will you be able to drive change? You will continue to be in a very comfortable bubble and keep doing the same things till you die. It is only when you feel bored that you think about other possibilities and other great things you can do with your life. Bob does not encourage pessimism to the extent that there is no coming back from it, he just urges you to think if you are amused or excited about anything, often enough to keep you going.

Bored Bob was very happy being in his mother’s womb, but now suddenly, he was out in this cruel world. A world in which people chase useless things. Someone is running after money, some people are running after getting themselves degrees to hang on their walls. Some our building resume’s so that they get a higher paying job which is equally un-interesting. Worse, some are just fulfilling their parent’s expectations because they are too chicken to follow their passion, which they don’t even know exists. They think it is okay to do drab work and have a few hobby’s on the side. Little do they know that maybe those hobbies could be what could fuel a brilliant life. So, finding a silver lining everywhere will lead you no where.

“If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” is  a quote by Sarah Dessen and it couldn’t be truer.

Bored Bob knew what kind of a world he had entered into. He always knew that he had to chase boredom, critique and comment on everything that the world was up to.

He was greeted with negativity as soon as he was born. Negativity related to his father not giving him enough attention because he was clicking selfies with him, negativity because his own mother was off to work after delivering him, skyping to console Bob. Bored Bob was lonely minutes after stepping into the world. As a mechanism to protect himself from the cruel world, he became a hard core pessimist and decided that nothing will make him happy, so it’s better to bring to light these negativities so that more people realise how dysfunctional they are. At least that way they know that things need to be changed. Boredom is a like a point of inflection between being average and being great.

When he was born, his parents were amused by the number of cares he could not give.  There has been one exception though, there was a time when Bored Bob chuckled for a duration of 30 hours. He just couldn’t get over how humans follow routines every day. They wake up at a certain time of the day and get ready to work and complain. Why do they get caught in these ruts, is not understandable. Imagine a world where there’s a majority of people doing what they love. There will be less depression, less worries and more peace.

But why is Bored Bob important at all? He is important because he stands for all those people who couldn’t care less about the world. Who couldn’t care less about what you ate for lunch, or how many babies you want when you grow up. Bored Bob and his followers, which are none at the moment, stand up for the right to be indifferent to all the non-sense humans have created.

Agreeing to what this giant leprechaun once said, ” If it were not for pessimists, optimists would be all the people in this world. “

Cows expected to do Makeup to look different

The inspiration for this post came when I was watching Sapan Verma’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, online. He happened to mention the incident where, in Maharashtra’s Malegaon village the police made it mandatory for cows to have ID cards with their mugshot for easy investigation of cow slaughtering cases. Click here to get some context.

 

The Maharashtra Police has decided to have cows queue up in front of dilapidated buildings and get themselves registered under the “Beef Bachao Yojana.” One of the reporters from Times of Tomorrow went to ask the cows about how they felt about the scheme when one cow said, “Moo moo mooooooooo?!!!” The reporter probed the cow standing in front of her and he just ran away making a peace out sign with his hooves.

Dejected, the reporter committed suicide.

Later, however, a very dumb officer over thought the need for these ID cards, post using his brain after being in the service for 5 years. According to him, having photo ID’s for cows was not a very sensible idea.  After 2 months of research, he found out that all cows look the same and it is difficult to tell one from the other so the purpose of an ID card could not be established.

This officer then came up with another plan.

He requested all the women from in and around Malegaon to donate all their make-up to the police authorities. The police officer then used this makeup to give every cow his/her “individual niche look” with the help of some local beauticians. The mug shots were re-taken and life was easier for the beef banning government.

Years later, however, it was realised that they could have simply put number tags on the cows than wasting resources.

Since then universities and colleges across India, introduced a B.A. in Your brain and how Additionally, a case of sexism and anti-feminism was registered on all the residents of this village for staying in a place called, “MALEgaon.”