Restaurant Etiquette

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I hate going out with friends. I admit it outright. It’s okay if there is one or maybe two other people. Very specific people. But certain times are such that you’re hard pressed to excuse yourself out of a decidedly dull and pointless getting-together of ‘friends.’ Yes, ‘friends.’ Those people who, by social standards, are classified as such without thought or fair reason. At certain times, you’ve to lunch with these people. And lunching is the worst.

After dilly-dallying with the schedule, you finally get to the restaurant which will inevitably be a crowd-pleaser (read ‘bad choice’). Once sat, you notice that you are flanked by your least favourite people- so conversations are out of the question. The food arrives painfully late, and you start digging right in- stuffing your mouth so you don’t have to participate in the corny millennial talk. But then the rest of your food suddenly disappears. What happened to it? Oh yeah. Sharing. You’ve half a mind to tell these people to sod off and eat their own shite choice of food.

But all this is nothing compared to the small matter of settling the bill. It is commonplace for people to expect the host to pay when it’s a birthday party or the like. But a random meet-up? Shouldn’t one pay for what he ate and be done with it? No. They choose to find excuses as to why you should pay a certain amount because you had done that thing 4 months ago. And because you want the afternoon to end as soon as it can, you end up paying for the buggers. But does it end? Nooo. The turds then take pictures. Oh yes. A dozen pictures each, at least. Selfies with a graceless pout. Food pictures taken in an artsy way (so they think). Nightmarish.

Seriously people, have you ever come across the term ‘restaurant etiquette?’





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I’m the type of person who expects negative outcomes- a pessimist. This helps me deal with failure. To plan contingencies. To not be disappointed. And so far, it has done me plenty good.

But I figure, one must aspire to be something, to do something worthwhile. Preparing for negative outcomes is, in a way, feckless. Aspirations drive the force of will within us. Doesn’t matter if you’re implacable or resistant to change- good things need to happen. Oftentimes I notice that preparing for the worst brings out the worst in both us and the situation at hand. Think about it. Every time you do that, you’re simmering your spirits. You’re telling them something is incapable of happening or that you’re incapable of making it.

Also, not every outcome is bad. And not every outcome is good. It’s a balance. But why prepare for the bad when you can prep for the good? It would certainly pull up your spirits and your attitude. It might even push you to work harder for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Have some positivity. Ask and thou shalt receive. Thoughts and emotions have power, and you have the responsibility to manage them. Good things always come. Bad things may be good things in disguise.

So always, aspire to achieve. It doesn’t matter if it takes a little more time.

What does it mean to be human?

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The question might sound trivial but in time, it’ll be the most important question that will decide the next course of action because if we don’t know how to be human, how will anything we create?

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die” – Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

What you just read is considered to be the most moving death soliloquy in cinematic history. Roy Batty is a Replicant, a non human, who spends the entire movie and his lifetime trying to figure out what it means to be human. And in what is perhaps the most beautiful display of his phantom humanity yet, he realizes that all his memories and the feelings it evoked in him would be lost forever. Are a lifetime of memories and the feelings they evoke in us a testament to our humanity? Definitely.

Our memories shape who we are. They are the only immortals in an entirely mortal world. We cling onto them like Roy as long as we can. Memories and the need to constantly saturate ourselves with them in the hopes that they would weave a comforting blanket to wrap ourselves in while we knit each thread in place is half the reason why we get out of bed everyday. Memories are the box that holds our desirable and hence distorted versions of reality. Take away a man’s memories and he is not himself anymore.

In a true sense, humans aren’t the only ones to have memories. Your dog is elated when he sees you. Even a computer could be programmed to classify its “memories” as good or bad. What happens when you feed a person’s memory into a sentient machine and make it believe the memories are it’s own? What happens if someone else gains access to yours? These are questions that complicate matters. So now that we can’t single out memories as the one quality that makes up the entirety of humanity, let’s examine something I feel is a little more unique to us.

Compassion, empathy, the thought inside our heads that urge us to save that child on the railway track. Haven’t we all wished to have superpowers to protect the innocent and make the world a relatively better place? All the above translates to regard for a human life. Compassion is the ultimate selfless sacrifice as it requires us to put someone else and their needs before ours in this narcissistic, self glorifying, validation seeking society. With empathy comes the knowledge about how precious life is and in turn we will fight immensely hard to save one. We think with our heart and this is where we differ from a machine. Black mirror’s “Metalhead” shows a woman fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic future from human hunting robots. We see no difference between them throughout the episode except when her actions are tinged with empathy- like risking her life for a dying child’s toy, getting caught sending a long goodbye message. This contrast against the brutal black and white world of the machines is powerful in showing a few glimpses of how she hadn’t lost everything.

Will a machine give up it’s life for another? Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” sees an AI being led to believe she has to rescue her new friend, Caleb, the guy she has been programmed to manipulate into falling in love with her. In the end, all she does is use him to get herself out of that house and leaves him to die after having fulfilled his purpose. Movies like “I,Robot”, “2001 a space Odyssey” all contain famous movie tropes- the Sentient AI that wants to kill everyone. Of course, the lack of such qualities throughout our history shows how easy it is to lose what makes us human. It seems humanity has always made efforts to appear as non-human as possible.

“Lord of the flies” and “the Mist” brush upon the aspect of whether the above are just products of a civilized society and if the lack of one would drag us down to our primitive instincts- survival of the fittest. The former sees a group of normal English boys who become savages after getting stranded on an island together. It sees the slow death of reasoning, knowledge and empathy. The latter is the story of a small town being invaded by creatures while its residents take shelter in a supermarket. “We’re a civilized society as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw throw people in the dark, you scare them and no more rule”.-David Drayton, The Mist. The residents, on the advice of a religious fanatic, go as far as plotting a human sacrifice in the hopes that it would appease the monsters.

Can true progress be made only by sacrificing what makes us human in order to get to the next perceived evolutionary level? Do emotions and empathy stop us from achieving a state that transcends “human”? Probably. Should we go for it? No. I feel the true challenge is not how to overwrite these qualities because that’s easy, but how to best enhance them and work alongside them, accepting that these are our strengths and not weaknesses. The day a machine sheds a tear because he couldn’t save his counterpart and cherishes their memories together is the day we’ve truly got competition.




The profound impact of public opinion on an individual is unbeknownst to most. Imagine this. You go to the cinema on a fine evening with a couple of your friends to catch a movie. You get through it and you initially feel you like it and have already started suggesting it to your other friends. But then you go online to read about it and the search engine’s widget pops up with an aggregate rating of 1.5/5. You look at it and you sigh. Scenes flash through your head and it kind of makes sense to you that it isn’t a good movie after all.

But does that matter? Why is it that someone on the internet has control of your opinions? Why does that have to influence your personal feelings or long standing ideas? This happens to us all. Our subconscious works that way. To make us not feel alone in thinking that something is good or bad. Because, deep down, most of us are simply trying to fit in.

Should we?


Unity and Strength

Another year over. 365 days of triumph, happiness, sorrow, struggles, highs and lows. For most of us though, it was just another dreary year of doing the same things over and over again.

When will we be rid of the monotony? When will we just stop…just stop and take a moment to see the world around us…see it and not just look? Will it ever happen?

I took such a moment towards the end of 2017. I reflected on the things that I see but notice everyday. Pain, loss, death, tragedy. From hundreds of people out in warzones to the tiny sapling in our backyard, struggling to exist. It is just poetically sad.

World peace will never exist. That is an absolute truth. Like how there can never be an ideal machine that is 100% efficient. It is one of those things coded into the weave of existence by the creator (whoever/whatever).

But we can get awfully close to it by simply extending our love of life, our desire for a better world and our passion for everything in it- by simply extending all of that to the dozen people we talk to everyday. It isn’t hard. It is gratifying. It is like how Portia from the Merchant of Venice puts it- “Mercy is twice blessed. It blesseth him that gives and him that receives.”

The smallest things make the biggest difference. Let us, together, hand in hand, make the world a better place as every day of 2018 goes by. One conversation- at the right place and time- can change lives. One hug. One handshake. One smile.

One love. #2018


Ironic. I’m sitting here with the word ‘Inspiration’ written on the title bar, and I don’t know what to write.

People always say “I need some inspiration” or “Oh I have writer’s block” or what-not. But I fail to understand this, despite being afflicted by similar feelings.

The world we live in is so vivid, so full of life, so much right and wrong, that saying we lack inspiration is a betrayal of our short-sightedness.

We sit down. Stand up. Pace back and forth. Thinking hard enough to cause perspiration (and irritation). Wholly unnecessary, if you think (sorry) about it.

Thing is, sitting at home at the same desk we sit in every single day isn’t going to inspire us to do anything. We should get out. Take a bus that goes wherever. Just observe the little things around and about.

The world is our oyster. And there ain’t going to be any much more inspiration come out of it. It is but for us to see and not merely look.


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People kill for anything these days. I recently read an article about a man who murdered his friend while arguing whether Nvidia or AMD is a better brand. Political leaders in India are offering bounties for killing/maiming actors for being part of a ‘history distorting’ movie. Note that the movie in question was loosely based on a 16th century poem. So basically fictional representation of a fictional work meant to entertain people for 2 hours. Distorts nothing but the future of civilisation.

Speaking of, I was under the impression that ‘civilisation’ refers to a highly developed society. One where people co-exist peacefully and work together to benefit all. Instead, we have people in positions of power showing themselves as raving idiots on social media (which was built on the premise of bringing people closer). There are people who kill simply because of jealousy. One man’s pride is another’s motive, more like. Gun-toting imbeciles shooting people up. Gun-toting idiots shooting animals up.

I’m sorry, but either the definition of civilisation ought to be changed, or the word must be dropped from usage. It simply doesn’t represent the state we are in right now. Front page news covers everything wrong with the world. All the astounding achievements made by man everyday? Yeah, check page 18. In fact, skip to page 18 if you don’t like the idea of purgatory.

Peace is for suckers, I guess.



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Remember when we were half as tall as we are, when we said what we thought and meant it?

Boy, are those days over. Now, every sentence uttered is riddled with ulterior meanings and innuendo; truth never betrayed to the subject. Never ones are we to serve the churning soups inside our heads. The face isn’t really the index of the mind (at least the mouth isn’t).

No, we care too much about our made-up ‘image’ and ‘prestige’ and ‘integrity’ to share what we think in an honest manner. It’s like clothing, in a way. We want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Whatever is ‘in’. Such is the will to blend in that it masks (if not replaces) our actual desires.

With every interaction, the mind makes some adjustments to the equation and its variables. To speak up (introverts), to shut up (extroverts, or in some cases, introverts trying to be normal), to be more direct, to beat about more.

Ugh. People are so difficult. Communication, one of the basic constructs of life and civilisation, is such a confounding thing, isn’t it?

It goes to justify the burning desire to marry our beds and stay on them for years on end.

Vagaries of the mind

Funny. I started this blog along with a couple of friends (chiefly @lordofthefandoms), thinking that this would be our outlet- the bottomless sink where we poured out our thoughts and emotions. And it has been so.

But how quickly the mind loses interest. I’m writing here after such a long time. Seems I’ve forgotten how powerful it is. I’m remembering again.

We don’t write here for followers or people to like our posts. We write because we like writing and that’s exactly how we wanted it to be.

But as stuff comes and goes, such simple necessities are forgotten. Put in the deepest chasms of the endless gossamer that is the human brain. And that’s a bummer, because the little things are what matter. The little things are the ones we can control. The little things are the constants in our pitiful lives.

I haven’t lost my way in writing this; just wanted to remind myself and anyone who reads this to always remember to

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife.”

Beat ’em

I hadn’t realised I was so competitive. Despite it being pointed out to me several times before, I stuck to the thought that I didn’t care. Turns out I do. And it makes sense.

Being competitive makes me who I am. See, it isn’t that others shouldn’t do well- it isn’t jealousy. It is simply that I should do better. And not at everything- that is impossible. I know what I’m good at. For example, I’m not that good at writing. But I am good at editing. And I will aim to be better than anyone I encounter at it. And I will get better. Not fulfilling that desire pushes me into the doldrums of the soul.

Now that I’ve realised, I don’t have to attempt to veil it. It is how it is. It makes me better. It nourishes my growth as an individual. It drives me to do better. And it possibly makes people around me do better. That’s a win-win.