Thank you, stand up comedy

The alarm goes off at 6 am in the morning. But it doesn’t really matter because I was up all night staring at my phone waiting for the alarm to go off. Insomnia, mad amounts of caffeine and acute depression, all played their part really well.

If you spoke to any of my friends then, they’d tell you a story of ‘how I was taking my life down the drain with stupid decisions’, and they couldn’t be more right. Life really could’ve gone anywhere from there, but stand up comedy happened.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a long time so here it is.

I remember my first experience of watching stand up comedy was on this TV channel called Star One that doesn’t even exist now. Raju Srivastav, in a brown suit, was doing an impression of Shahrukh Khan buying mangoes in a crowded Delhi market. When I saw that, I wasn’t sure how it worked. How someone could just stand there and say stuff while people lost their shit. Especially that shit fuck Navjot Singh Siddhu who is single-handedly responsible for new kinds of sardar stereotypes being born, as if the already existing ones weren’t good enough.

Even when I started doing stand up comedy, I thought it was all about telling jokes and being that funny guy on stage. I’d be lying if I said that fame wasn’t on the agenda. To be honest, fame was the only agenda.

But after numerous bombings and 3 killings maybe, ISIS is set to launch a counter offensive against the allied forces trying to take over the strategic town of Mosul.

Sorry. :p

But bombings teach you a lot. From being an egoistic prick, the journey of self-acceptance began. When you tank in front of 30 random people at a coffee shop for the first time, you think you’ll come back better the next time. But when the trend continues for two straight months, you reach a point where you say, ‘Fuck dude, I know nothing.’

That I think is the day you’ve taken your first step towards becoming a stand up comic. And in the process you end up becoming a better person. Or at least I did. To a neutral (and to many comics) stand up comedy might just be going up on stage and saying/doing funny shit. But to me it is a journey of accepting your flaws and insecurities.

We all have an image of how we are as people in our heads. Which in most cases is actually very different to the person we are. Like pulling in that belly fat a little in front of the mirror, covering that pimple in the selfie, or behaving like a nice guy when you actually are a cunt inside. All our lives we run from this because we are afraid to accept who we are as people.

Tanking in open mics, however, takes that fear away from you. Because when you’ve made a fool out of yourself in front of random people again and again, you lose the fear of making the fool out of yourself because guess what, now you’ve accepted you’re a fool. Once you’ve accepted that you have flaws, you are no longer afraid to face the real you. And instead of hiding from it in every way possible, you see yourself and start making amends.

It’s been 18 months since this journey began. I’m not a stand up comic yet. I’m just a guy that goes on stage  and tells people average jokes. I might become a stand up comic in a few years maybe. But in these 18 months, I’ve learnt more about myself than in the rest of the 21 years (which for all I know might be 70 percent of my total life) of my life.

I cannot speak for my jokes but I sure am a better person now than when I started off with stand up comedy. And for that, I’d like to say, thank you, stand up comedy. 🙂

Men aren’t the enemy

‘Feminists look away now!’

You didn’t, did you? I’m sure most of you’ll went, ‘Why should a man tell me what to do?’

Well if you’re one of them, you are a part of the problem. And I’ll tell you why.

I hail from a family of strong independent men. Men who never hit their wives. Men who never hit their children. Men who never accepted dowry. Call it tradition or genetics, this was passed on to me.

Me, like all men of my family believe that women can do whatever they want to. And the right to do so isn’t ours to give them. It has been, is, will always be their call. By means of this explanation, I assume I am not a chauvinist. Neither are any other men in my family.

But my inhibitions were soon shattered. Because I’ll tell you what, the main problem is with this new sect of ‘women rights activists’ who will cry foul and play the victim card at any given time. Who will call me a sexist for calling my best friend, who is also a man, a bitch in good fun. Who will take offense on songs like ‘Balam Pichkari’ and say shit like the song is a symbol of male dominance because that is what ‘pichkari’ means.

These women will never travel to a village to help the poorer women. These women will stand up and shout slogans against men while demeaning house wives for what they’re doing. These women will sit in their upper middle class to very fucken rich houses and cry death to men, while having made sure their husband got a BMW as a ‘present for marriage’ and ‘not dowry’. That’s like saying ‘hey I got raped but it wasn’t rape because I was in the mood for sex anyway.’

And this class of women aren’t alone. They are backed by the new age rich men who have studied in Harvard/Oxford/My Father is pretty loaded institute of pretentiousness/IIMs (for low self esteem people). These guys come up with black and white videos on  any event related to women and give statements like ‘We are sorry, women. On behalf of all the men, we accept everything wrong with you is our fault’ while a sad tone plays on the piano in the background.

Really? I get it, the stars do it for becoming famous, but at the cost of feeding this bull shit to a generation of youngsters who at one point were certain Roadies was the best they could do in life? Is your need to be cool really worth all of this?

Tell you what, your form feminism is a failed ideology. It will never get close to even understanding the problem, let alone solving it and making the world a better place to live in.

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This is how stupid you sound.

The real problem is the system, not men. Right now you must be thinking ‘but it was men that created the rules’, hold on to that thought. It was women who backed it.

It is generally the mother in law that has an issue with the daughter in law taking up a job. It is generally the mother who has an issue with her daughter wearing small clothes. People say shit like menstruating women should not be allowed into the temples, it is the women who stop each other. If you’ll were really that righteous as you’ll claim to be, you’ll would have just carried on and done it anyway and before anyone could notice, the practice would have vanished. But no. And who is to blame for this? MEN?

I know the above is an over simplification of women’s issues and it doesn’t go to explain what the real issue is. Guess what ladies, that’s how shallow and stupid your version of feminism sounds.

I’m not denying there are asshole men in the world. But I believe it is time women understood that it isn’t men alone that are causing the entire inequality charade. Women are equally to be blamed for this. It is the system which is faulting women, it is the system which is pushing them back again and again. And if this modern day fuck all version of feminism is your answer to it, then good luck fighting for it till the end of the world because nothing’s going to change with this.

The only way change is possible when women accept the fact that men aren’t the enemy. The system is. And together we can overthrow it.

The diminishing fine line

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Morgan Freeman and George Carlin

Acting and Stand up comedy, across the globe, are slowly starting to come under the same banner. Although that can never be a problem, the fact that stand up comedians are also aiming to become actors might be a cause of concern for the traditional art of stand up comedy.

Speaking from a strictly purist stand point, it would be safe to assume that stand up comedy is all about being your real self on stage. And only people who actually are their real selves on stage manage to make it big in the industry.

George Carlin, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK and even Biswa Kalyan Rath for that matter are where they are because they just end up being themselves on stage, which is a completely new thing for audiences.

Often, stand up comedians are advised to be their original self on stage by experts of the field. And even though ‘being yourself is the best way to learn stand up’ might sound like a cliche, that remains the ultimate truth of the stand up industry.

Acting, on the other hand, is a completely contradicting art to stand up comedy in terms of its fundamentals. To be a successful actor, one must be able to let go of each and every aspect of his/her and adapt to the character he is playing.

Be it Morgan Freeman from Invictus or Nawazuddin Siddiqui from Gangs of Wasseypur, these actors are great because they convinced the world that they did not exist in the film. They convinced the audience that the guy they saw on screen was a person was actually a Mandela or a gangster from Dhanbad.

This is where my argument comes into play. As a comedian, a person must never let go of being himself, even for the silver screen. But if the comedian does let go of himself and plays a character in the film, and plays it brilliantly for that matter, he would never get back to the purist’s form of comedy again.

I am not saying that WILL ruin his comedy for certain. For all I know, it might end up being better. But that would ensure that every time the person goes out to do comedy, he will assume a character. He might say he is being ‘himself. But that ‘himself’ would be a character he cooked up in his mind with his characteristics and then play it out on stage. It is like wearing your own mask. Even though it looks like you, we can be certain there is something plastic about it.

Again, this post really doesn’t have a point or a supporting argument for any of these two sides. It is just an observation. And an observation, which I think often goes unnoticed.  For if it is noticed, we might have a completely different take on both – acting and stand up.

Stay

Stay. The only four-letter word that I think comes close to the word love in terms of emotion.

From times immemorial, only two feelings have ruled the world. The desire to love and the desire to not let go of the person you love – stay.

Though the word doesn’t even crack the top 1….. 100 romantic lines, it, for me, remains one of those words with the purest of emotions.

Probably because you don’t want everyone to stay. Or even if you want them to, you don’t really tell everyone to stay. But when you are in love (and I am talking of love beyond your girlfriends/boyfriends), the desire to make them stay becomes the biggest driving force for the relationship.

Parents, grand parents, a friend, a brother or for that matter even a job that you love! You want it to stay. Stay in your life. Stay with you. Stay so that you can be happy.

I have no idea why I am raving about this word. Probably because it has been bothering me for a while now. The idea, of wanting to hold on to someone and ask them not to leave. Asking them to stay.

Think about it?

Isn’t the word just beautiful?

No? Watch Hans Zimmer’s S.T.A.Y soundtrack from Interstellar. I am sure you’ll understand what I am talking about.

Cheers!

Pedestals

We as human beings survive on two basic instincts. One: Survival. That is one thing that remains constant through our lives.

The other thing, judgement. The only way one can survive is through a good sense of judgement. Because if we didn’t have our judgement, we’d soon become the hunted than be the hunters.

But here’s the thing. judgement in itself is a very tricky thing. Gone are the days when we were battling other species to survive. We are way beyond that phase now. Now all we are battling is one another in this world that we’ve built for ourselves. And the thing with a world like this is judgement becomes irrelevant yet our ages of evolution does not let us let go of it.

Often, the instinct to judge someone leads to you either rubbishing them or putting them on pedestals. While rubbishing them is a completely fine thing considering the outputs of this can only be inspiring the other person to prove a point, putting people on pedestals is what does a lot of harm.

We form ideas and images in our head of how a certain person is. Say an idol for that matter. This is until you know them. Once you do, you see a completely different side to them. And sometimes, or let’s be honest and say most times, you find them not worthy of the pedestal you have put them on.

And we end up hurting ourselves in the process. We tend to give up on people very soon for no fault of theirs. Because at the end of the day, they were just being what they were. It was us that put them up there and now we’re disappointed that they did not match out thoughts which we never conveyed to them in the first place.

We humans certainly are a funny species! Take that dinosaurs!

Home

The moon and the stars made the night look like a beautiful painting. Cool breeze blew across the city doing right to all the wrong the sun had done. The heat slowly settled down as the city was fast asleep, getting the much needed rest to deal with the next day.

As the clock struck three, he started to turn around in his bed. Thirsty, he was too lazy to get up and go fetch himself a glass of water, out of habit.

“Maa,” he called out half asleep, “I’m thirsty, water!”

He slipped into sleep only to wake up 15 minutes later. “MAA!! I’m thirsty!” he shouted. A hint of anger in his tone.

Hearing no response, he woke up, ready to give his parents a piece of his mind. Or a guilt trip, at least.

As he opened his eyes, his room looked different. This wasn’t his house. Bewildered and still waking up, he failed to understand where he was and how he reached there.

The confusion lasted a while, before he realised he was not at home anymore. He had moved into a new city, far far away from the comforts of home.

His eyes became numb. He had to speak to his maa.

“Haan beta, kya hua, itni raat ko phone? Sab theek hai na?”

A tear rolled down his cheek. “Haan maa, bas aapki avaaz sunne ka man kar raha tha.”

Change

There always seems to be a lot of talk about change. In fact, I also came across a phrase that said change is constant. But what if, there is nothing called change. Maybe, it is just a daemon that we have made up in our mind which comes back to haunt us in the form of change?

Let’s begin with the definition of change. It is something that used to happen in the past and doesn’t any more, in the simplest of terms. However, not behaving the same way might be natural to it.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re too caught up with living the same moment for the second time that we forget it isn’t going to repeat itself, because there would be no fun if everything was repetitive.

Maybe, it is all a natural process and we’re too engulfed in living the old moment again that we forget to value the current one.

On a lighter note, if you do not like change, get into an RTC bus. Those people do not believe in change, never have it and will never give it to you. In fact, they ask you to give them your change.

Can it get worse?

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I’m not a feminist. If ever, humans would be classified into things, feminism would be the last attribute in me.

But it disgusts me. Our society. When I say our, I mean our Indian society. I’m not above it. I am a part of it. And I feel ashamed.

If you think about it, in India, as a man, you don’t need to be worried about getting married. Because somewhere out there, there is a girl’s family who are ready to pay you an amount of money to take their daughter away and enslave her.

All this because you were born with a dick. Cha!

Women are human beings, not chickens!

But it isn’t the dowry system that scares me. As the recent developments have proved, while the world is moving forward, we’re going backward.

My biggest worry is, can it get worse?!

The mad dog theory

I’ve heard about The Big Bang Theory. What on earth is the mad dog theory? Calm down, calm down. Do not get agitated. I will explain.

The mad dog theory is about mad dogs. Duh!

Well, dogs are lovely animals. I am very fond of dogs. I love them. My parents love them in limited numbers. So everytime I ask them if I can get one, they very politely tell me that they have one in me and do not need more. :/

Okay no, this post isn’t about my love for dogs.

The dogs, they seem pretty normal, from the outside. All day, they just screw around here and there doing nothing. But they all, trust me, they all go MAD in the night.

This is how they are in the day. 'We don't give a fuck nigga' attitude. :D
This is how they are in the day. ‘We don’t give a fuck nigga’ attitude. 😀

My work timings are a little screwed up. My work goes on till say 12 am or so, and when I return home, there are dogs all the way to welcome me. Thank you Secunderabad Cantonment Board for not taking care of these animals.

Let me describe it for you.

Silence everywhere. Just the sound of my bike. And one earphone plugged in playing Pink Floyd mostly. That’s my ‘when I’m travelling back home’ band. Yes I have such things. :p

I see a group of dogs up ahead.

They’re just lazying around. I am just travelling. We’re ignoring each other. The same way you ignore your ex. :p I had to bring that up didn’t I? :p

Suddenly, the dog realises I am coming. I realise that the dog has realised that I am coming.

I am still ignoring the dogs. But the dogs, well they aren’t ignoring me anymore. They’re looking at me like I owe them money or something.

Yes, that's the look. The on that the black dog has.
Yes, that’s the look. The on that the black dog has.

‘Beeeehaaooouiuww!’ says the dog and all the eight mother fucken assholes start running behind my bike.

Now mind you all this is happening is a matter of seconds. The basterds run after me. Till they think its all cool. Then there is a next set of dogs. And it doesn’t stop until I reach home.

 

But it ain’t over yet! 😀

 

So I wanted to get rid of this shit. So what I do now is when the dogs chase me, i stop the bike and take me bike towards them. So almost every night, I end up chasing the dogs.

The secret is, I don’t think they know I will freak out if they chase me back. :p Lets keep it that way.

Lesson learnt: Make your enemy believe you are stronger. Because the day he figures out you aren’t, you’re fucked.

Lol, just kidding, the lesson learnt is every time you’re bored, you can blog and annoy people. :p

Insomnia

Let me tell you, I always wanted to be an insomniac. So I started fucking around with my sleep timings. And after three months of doing that, now I am an insomniac. Trust me, it sucks!

You think you are sleeping. You aren’t. Instead you are just closing your eyes and thinking you are sleeping. You do that for a while, and then you give up. You stare at the roof. You stare at it for hours together. You see weird patterns. And after almost 3 hours, you check your phone to see what time it is. It’s just been ten minutes. There’s still the entire night to go.

You try to keep your mind empty. You cannot. Instead, all the screwed up things come to you. You try to avoid thinking about them. But they are bitches. The harder you push them away, the more they get to you. So you give in. You revisit all the times you screwed up. If shit is going on in your life, it just adds to it. You are frozen in time, waiting for someone to come and tell you it will be okay. No one comes.

You are sleepy, you feel drowsy, but you cannot sleep. Try to go online. Do something on Facebook. But for how long can you do that?! At times, I sit in front of my computer. Just staring at the screen. Waiting for sleep to come. Time passes by and the screen times out. I move the mouse, I sit till the next time out. That’s all you do.

You feel like a zombie, retarded thoughts enter your head. You have no clue what to do, how to stop them and go to sleep. You look at the clock, its just 3 am, there’s hours more to go before the sun is out.

So you go back to staring at the roof. Frustration creeps in. You want to talk, to someone. Anyone. But you realise there’s no one for you. You are all alone. This continues till you know it is morning. You are ready for another sick day of your life. And this shit never ends.

I regret doing this to myself. Like a few other things that haunt me now. But it can’t be repaired. I suffer in silence.

PS: Insomnia sucks. Never bring in on to yourself.