All posts by Saurabh

Wisps of Thought

In Harrow, London, United Kingdom

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Manners of the World

Isn’t it funny how kismet devices obscure methods to prod humans to contemplate over the more subtle subjects that life weaves around? Take boredom as one of those methods, for example. Or even dispiritedness. Whatever the cause, prophets and astrologers will probably hold the opinion that it was destiny that lead us to experience the thoughts that we do. While people nurtured in an atmosphere of science will believe it’s all to do with the biochemical reactions in the thinking centres of our brains. Either way, an uneventful day has led me to mull over the vague topic of the irony of human life.

I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

If people looked at the stars each night, they’d live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realise that there more important things than what people do all day.  

It is overwhelming to notice the number of people who are completely encapsulated in the mythical bubble of freedom. We are all victims of it. The constraints that compromise the concept of freedom have disguised themselves so well, that it’s almost impossible to actually notice the imperfections and limitations that it possesses, unless we strive to delve deep into its roots, which is when we realise how strongly imprisoned we all are.

Our own intelligence – the extraordinary power that humans have – which drives the significant forces of this massive world is instrumental in bringing us to our current position. The human race is so engrossed in materialistically advancing its own status (and it is very good at that) that it has forgotten the very basic values that humanity is based on. We are so blinded by the apparent wonders our hands have managed to unravel, that it has transformed us into mindless robots running towards this vague concept of success.

People from all walks of life and levels of hierarchy blandly follow the well-established frameworks and schedules that have come to define their lives. We all think we are free to act according to our own whims and fancies and that may be true to a certain extent, but if we take the effort to step back and take a look at the bigger picture, the reality will hit us hard.

We are going to receive blasts of monotony whichever direction we peek into. Most of us go through schooling all through our childhood and well into our adulthood to get equipped to survive the cold wide world that we are usually protected from until the longest time. As students, we fall into the timetable of waking up everyday to head to schooling institutes, learn for a fixed amount of time, return home to do homework and then have the remaining time to ourselves. Then comes the time to seek our careers and choose a particular field that will probably define the majority of our remaining lives; again following a work schedule that will govern the way we live. Countries fight wars to please their own purposes and intentions and keep themselves established. People maintain their own religions and ideologies and go to war with people with different beliefs, all because they believe they are better than the other masses. Do you notice the pattern that I’m trying to illustrate here? It is in this patten, that all of us have lost our freedom. Because other than a little flexibility in choosing our careers and maybe holding some room for manoeuvring from one field to another, we don’t exactly hold the power to decide our lives. And this isn’t fate that is at play here; that is another topic in itself altogether. This is all down to the actions of humans themselves. We have set up institutes and devised ways to make life easier, and these are what now govern our lives. In doing all of this, we have become entangled in a big pile of mess, but even there, somewhere in all of this, we yet find the audacity to believe in freedom.

It is very easy to get lost in this storm of materialism that has come to grip the whole of human population. People place their own principles at such a higher level compared to others, that the difference of opinions drives them to resort to all forms of deceit. There are seven billion people, yet we have a  hundred billion faces. 

It may perhaps appear that, considering there’s so much happening simultaneously, the reason for it is something vastly complicated. We tend to get caught up in the frivolous entities that actually besiege the singular most powerful ideology that fuels the working of the whole world. Fluctuating currencies, rise and fall of oil prices and GDP rates of countries, the increment in land rates…basically everything that is related to the world economy, all of it boils down to one single philosophy – satisfaction.

Everything that is taking place around has its roots embedded in the simple concept of satisfaction.  It is the only thing that breeds a sense of happiness in us. Humans have been chasing satisfaction ever since ancient times in the hope to someday achieve it, and yet, very few can boast they have experienced satiation in its truest form. Great philosophers since ancient time like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle have their own respective visions on life. More modern theories like Marxism (based on which communism later evolved), egalitarianism, totalitarianism and utilitarianism were created in an effort of various philosophers to try and understand the human psychology and explain to the world their take on the correct way the society should exist.

Paradise can be perceived as a state of infinite satisfaction.We work hard towards realising satisfaction, and when we do achieve it for a fleeting moment, its pleasures introduce so much of joy into our lives, that our attention is completely captured by it when it leaves us. And satisfaction vanishes really swiftly, leaving a huge void in its wake. After which we follow it like lambs, slipping back into our same old robotic scheduled lives in an effort to attain satisfaction again.

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Wazza News! – Part II

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The universe is huge. It’s just huge. We’re going to spend our entire life educating ourselves about new things – new hobbies, new skills, information about the tens of thousands of cultures, technological advances, linguistic variations, psychology and behavioural characteristics of various humans, space discoveries, and new facts. Even then, it’s never going to be possible for us to be exposed to even 0.1% of all the stuff out there. It might peak at 1% for Barrack Obama, or the NASA guys. Or Batman. (Kidding, Batman is fictional.) But that doesn’t mean we stop learning – because that would imply we stop living.

I’m not going to try to increase that percentage. We’ve got Wikipedia for that. I will, however, pursue to entertain you with these weird, hilarious facts.

(Missed out part 1 of this series? No worries, check it out here.)

A Pizza Parlour in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England claims to serve its customers the world’s ‘hottest pizza’. Nicknamed Death By Pizza, it is so spicy that it can make people’s tongues bleed! Definitely wouldn’t want that to happen to me – love my tongue too much for that. What’s more, the pizza, which is full of 20 Trinidadian Moruga scorpion chillies (yes, that’s an intimidating name), even induces heart attacks. It rates a whopping 12 million units on the Scoville scale, which is used to rank spicy food.

During the Sochi Olympics, the US security officials had issued warnings to all airlines that were operating outbound flights flying to Russia to check for toothpastes which may contain dissolved ingredients to prepare bombs while the flight is air borne. I have to say, the terrorists do have a creative mind, don’t you think? If you think the security officials were out of their minds to issue such a warning, you should probably know that in 2009, a nigerian man tried to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a US bound airliner.

The Walking Dead fans will probably know that the mid season kicked off recently, about two months back. Well, the advertising people went a step ahead this time to publicise the return of the mid season. They staged an elaborately thought out prank in New York City to scare people out of their minds at Union Square Park. Dressed in meticulous zombie costumes with the elaborate make ups, similar to that in the show, these people were ‘lurking’ in the sidewalk grates, with hands dangling out of the iron bars, to get a grab at peoples’ legs. You can easily imagine the magnitude of the shock those poor pedestrians must have received! Wait, why don’t you watch the clip yourself?

As you all should probably know by now, (it’s a shame if you don’t. Seriously.) WhatsApp was recently bought by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for a staggering 19 billion dollars. WhatsApp, supposedly the most popular instant messaging service, is used by 450 million users, while adding an astounding 1 million per day! What is more interesting to note, is that the widely used service hires only 55 people, 37 of them being engineers. That is ingeniously simply mind blowing.

UK crime author, Lynn Shepherd, found herself at the receiving end of many angry remarks and hate comments after she urged JK Rowling to stop writing because she “had [her] turn” and that the other authors needed “room to breathe”. While I appreciate her guts to make such bold statements, I certainly do not appreciate the intention behind it. As a wild fan of Harry Potter, I greatly respect JK Rowling and her fantastic writing. But if you think about it, this lady actually improved Rowling’s reputation, by highlighting the fact that Rowling is one of the toughest competitors in the world in the field of writing. Gotta thank her for that. I think it’s fair to assume that Rowling didn’t even have to bat an eyelid to combat this crazy lady – the millions of fans, including authors, did it for her.

Starting this April, all climbers with a dream to scale the world’s tallest mountain will automatically have to become garbage pickers. Those who make it past the base camp of Mt. Everest will have to bring back at least 8 kilograms of garbage – a bold move taken by the Nepali Government in a desperate measure to declutter the beautiful mountain peak. An estimated 13 tonnes of waste has been accumulated since 2008 – including oxygen cylinders, human waste, and, yes, hiker’s dead bodies which haven’t been decomposed due to the subzero temperatures.

This one’s quite hilarious. An American airlines plane was forced to divert to Kansas city of an emergency landing due to  – brace yourselves – not a technical glitch, but because of Whitney Houston. Yep, you read that right. Shortly after taking off, an avid fan of Whitney Houston started singing, raucously indeed,  I will Always Love You, which won Record Of The Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 36th Grammy Awards in 1994. The other passengers could bear with the singing for a while, but later on it got too irritating, ultimately requiring involvement of the flight marshals, who handcuffed her and took her away. There’s even a clip of it on YouTube.

A crazy man in New Zealand lost a bet five years ago and actually went ahead to take the penalty – the  official changing of his name to a 99 character one. Fortunately, the New Zealand laws don’s allow names more than 100 characters, otherwise it’s hard to imagine what form his name would have taken. I’m sure you’re interested to know what his official name is. Well, here goes – Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova. 

That’s it for now. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any of such stupid crazy facts. Stay tuned!

Let Me Take You For A Musical Ride On A Big Jet Plane

Music triggers all – Electric currents of Nostalgic pangs flowing through the body. Invigorating minds. Sending shivers down the spine. 

“That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people, and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.”

– David Groehl

I believe every piece of good music has a tale to tell. Every definite note, every subtle element, every frivolous tune and every unique beat strikes up a different memory. Taking us to a different era altogether, good or bad – Sometimes, gripping us, numbing us, paralysing us in awe of its power. But it’s a personal tale, known to no one, but us. Which is what makes it so special.

It seems so fitting to compare music to Dumbledore’s Pensieve in Harry Potter. Only, in this case, we don’t voluntarily store memories. The ‘commit to memory’ is always on. We’re always going to associate our most liked song of a certain period of time with that time. And when listened to later, this song is what is going to help us experience those past times. Subtly, but surely, helping us to delve into the labyrinth of a mind palace existing in the folds of our brains.

Music is powerful enough to become a religion. It has the power to assuage any sort of grief. Or better yet, it serves as infallible solace in those troubled times when it seems impossible that the sun is going to rise. And it just gets stronger every time we escape into its Elysium. Ultimately leading us to finding musical bliss in Blissful music, and isn’t that exactly what we aim to do?

Let me share with you some of my music. While I like to think that I have a pretty good music collection, you’re free to feel otherwise.

The effective Antidepressants and Bubbles of Happiness

Worried that your noradrenaline levels have dipped to a new low resulting in the sulkiest mood of all time? Then you must try these songs!

  1. Counting Stars – OneRepublic. This song simple makes you feel alive.
  2. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz. The simplistic theme of this song is what appeals to so many people on so many different levels.
  3. Belief – John Mayer.
  4. Cello Song – The Piano Guys. This song is an absolute masterpiece by these guys.
  5. Starlight – Slash.
  6. Ordinary Love – U2. I think this is the best song U2 has ever composed! No wonder it got nominated for the Oscars!
  7. Heart Skipped A Beat – The xx. Another personal favourite. The guitar in the latter part is just crazy.
  8. Lazarus – Porcupine Tree. This song is happiness redefined.

Add-ons: It’s Time – Imagine Dragons, Heart Of Life – John Mayer, Sweeter – Gavin DeGraw, Love – Matt White, Funny The Way It Is – Dave Matthews Band. 

Dance Dance Revelation

Warning: These songs are going to pump huge dosages of Adrenaline through out your body, forcing you to drop everything you’re holding and start waltzing away like a maniac. (So please ensure your hands are free.)

  1. You Will Leave A Mark – A Silent Film.
  2. Up In The Air – 30 Seconds To Mars.
  3. Trespassing – Adam Lambert. That flamboyant artist has delivered.
  4. Annie’s Theme – Afrojack. This song is going to get you rocking in no time.
  5. I Need Your Love – Calvin Harrris
  6. Typical – MuteMath.
  7. Electric Daisy Violin – Lindsey Stirling. (If you like this song, make sure to check out the entire album by her.)

Add-Ons : My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark – Fall Out Boy, Belly Belly Nice – Dave Matthews Band.

Pacifying Tranquillisers

Before taking those crazy side-effects clad drugs to deal with your stressed out life, or giving in to alcoholism to calm the brain down, why don’t you give these a try? I’m sure they’ll work like a charm.

  1. In Loving Memory – Alter Bridge. This song is really special to my heart. It has never failed to get me out of anger.
  2. Big Jet Plane – Julia & Angus Stone.
  3. Mad Sounds – Arctic Monkeys. These people are uniquely brilliant. Their new album, AM, is simply genius. It’s got a subtle rustic guitar theme to it.
  4. Fly Me To The Moon – Atlantic Five Jazz Band. Jazz music always does wonders to appease anger.
  5. Fix You – Coldplay.
  6. Soleil – Dualist Inquiry.
  7. Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World.
  8. Black Tables – Other Lives.
  9. Night Beds – Ramona.
  10. Everything In Its Right Place – Radiohead.

Add-ons: Of – Broadway Project, Sleep – Poets Of The Fall

Thoughtful Melancholy

This one’s to satisfy that ruminating side of yours. Sometimes we just like to sit back, relax, and think about life. These songs just help to accelerate and trigger those ideas.

  1. I’m Not Yours – Angus & Julia Stone. Light me up a cigarette, put it in my mouth…
  2. One Last Breath – Creed.
  3. Call Your Name – Daughtry.
  4. My Immortal – Evanescence.
  5. The Way It Ends – Landon Pigg.
  6. I’ll Follow You – Shinedown.
  7. Another Love – Tom Odell. I wanna cry. I wanna learn to love, but all my tears have been used up… 

Era Of The 90’s

Although I don’t have any memories of the 90’s, the unexplainable mood that these songs create appeal to my brain wonderfully.

  1. Streets Of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen. This song is surreal. Especially the lyrics.
  2. Always Somewhere – The Scorpions.
  3. Take On Me – a-ha.
  4. I Want To Break Free – Queen.
  5. Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Pure Ecstasy

These are the sort of songs that I would love to listen to on a long night drive, driving around the countryside, cutting through the mountains, trees on both sides, with the cool rustic air mixed with an aroma of wet mud slapping across my face. Just thinking about such an exhilarating experience excites me.

(The Order works its way towards the best song.)

11. Get Lucky (Feat. Pharrell Williams) – Daft Punk. These two french artists, who rarely appear in public without their robot costumes are geniuses when it comes to the guitar.

10. Dig – Incubus.

9. Otherside – Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

8. Wait For Me – Motopony. The background beats really enhance the entire song.

7. Tamer Animals – Other Lives.

6. Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel. This is probably the best song by Simon & Garkfukel. The lyrics to this song are really something.

5. Lazarus – Porcupine Tree.

4. Angels – The xx. This band is another special one. The beats of almost every song by them are superb.

3.  Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National. I love the chorus! It will require a few listens before you begin to appreciate its beauty. Just stick with it.

2. The Noose – A Perfect Circle.

1. House Of Cards – Radiohead. Sensational. Mind blowing. Fabulous. The guitar is god-like. The lyrics are beautiful. The way they approach stark reality, it’s just unbelievable. It’s a multicoloured song. Whenever I listen to it, I am completely consumed by the song alone. It fills up my mind, mollifying me, caring for me. (you will need to listen to it for more than a few times to realise its true potential.)

And Lastly, a music video. Because a music post cannot be complete without a music video. While I personally find the music in the video a tiny bit vexatious, the video is pretty damn cool, portraying, according to me, a very simple message: Spread The Happiness; Spread The Love.

Enjoy.

*The title of the post is inspired by Big jet Plane by Angus & Julia Stone. This duo is coming damn close to becoming my favourite artist. Thank you, Raashi, for suggesting it to me.*

The Hate Post – Closing Gates to the Nonsensical Mind State

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Hate starts in the gut. Deep down there, where it stirs, and churns. And then it rises. Hate rises fast, and volcanically. Spreading through your veins. It erupts hot on the breath. Your eyes go wide with fire. You clench your teeth so fast, you think they’ll shatter. And you hold fists tightly, digging your nails in the palm of your hands, completely oblivious to the pain. 

It’s so easy to hate. Especially in the spur of the moment, when you’re unjustly offended, and the entire focus of your anger is that one unreasonable act against you. And you’re not fit to even consider other possibilities. Everyone experiences that. The important and distinguishing factor between you and others is to identify these ‘hating’ feelings – because that’s half the battle won.

We’re quick to judge people. Quick to jump to conclusions. It makes perfect sense to. After all, they messed up. They screwed up. So they should be the ones to suffer, shouldn’t they? We swiftly shrug all responsibilities off our shoulders. It is just so easy to blame them. 

I believe there are two kinds of hate – the sort that is thought-provoking. And then there’s this useless kind of hate. Which is based on completely absurd ideologies. A fitting specimen would be the kind of hate that Justin Bieber has been recently  on the receiving end of. So many people ridiculing the teenager. He’s literally become a laughing stock in the internet society. Want to get more Facebook likes? Make a hate status on Justin Bieber. Yes, he’s messed up a lot in life. Yes, in my opinion, his music does suck, to the core. Yes, he used to sound slightly girlish when he was young (A problem a lot of men faced in their early pre-teen years). But is that deserving of lewd, vulgar jokes? I’ll let you decide. My opinion is that he got sucked into the cruel vortex of fame at quite a young age, and probably didn’t know how to effectively handle it. No, that’s definitely not an excuse for his arrogant and egocentric nature, but surely reason enough to give him a break. It is a ‘thing’ nowadays to speak strictly against Biebs. A cheap trick to gain a small amount of popularity. Kids are being forced to ridicule Justin Bieber. A statement in favour of Bieber means you like him, and hence are worthy of being called a  ‘faggot’. To avoid bullying, we simply join hands with the crowds and declare our indefatigable hate against Bieber to the world. The question that begs to be asked here, is, why are we so desperate to merge into the herd of sheep and suppress our own thoughts instead of giving them a definite shape and form a unique opinion – our opinion? No doubt we are going to face problems while going against the crowd, but it’s definitely worth it.

The hate that accompanies a relationship break up is vey unexplainable. You tend to put your significant other on a pedestal, treating them with the utmost care you can possibly conjure. But it’s all gone, and probably, indefinitely replaced by loathe. All those qualities you found unacceptable but ignored so effortlessly, are now the very source of the dislike you claim to have for them. But in reality, you never stopped caring. Which is what is going to hurt the most. It takes time to get over it. But if its going to be so difficult, why not actually reconsider the decision to break up, unless it’s absolutely necessary, without a shadow of a doubt? It’s tough to overlook the fact that they’ve messed up. But if they genuinely look like they’re really sorry for what they’ve done, its a definite sign they care about you, probably more than you do about them. Hasty decisions will take us nowhere in life.

Ever got annoyed of that daft guy on the bus who’s uncivilly screaming into the phone without giving the slightest thought to the other passengers? Or the guy on the motorway frequently cutting lanes making it difficult for you to drive? Or maybe those people near your house making a racket at two in the morning disturbing your beauty sleep? Ugh, so selfish, so inconsiderate. You feel like just walking right up to them and slapping against their cheek until their face goes red. The satisfaction that this mere thought provides is sometimes enough to suppress the desire to actually admonish them. Sometimes.

There’s always that possibility that they’re just being pure dicks, but why not give them the benefit of the doubt? Why not, (as banal as it sounds) maybe, rise above them? Because look, here’s the thing – in most of the cases, the offender doesn’t have the faintest clue that you’re pissed off at them. They’re going to carry on with their lives, completely oblivious to the fact that you’re cursing them. So you’re at loss, aren’t you? Because you’re just going to continually think about how inconsiderate and unceremonious they were, and probably end up obsessing over it. All it’s going to do is stunt your ability to channel your thoughts and decrease your productivity.

And that’s why, I find it easier to think up of explanations for their irrational behaviour, however wild they may be, and just forget about it. Yes, I understand that it’s tough. It’s always an effort to put our judgements aside and look at someone or a situation with compassion and empathy, and be magnanimous, but we’re better people for trying – even if we don’t always succeed.

My father has always been telling me to develop this unbiased point of view. To consider all possible dimensions of a multifaceted situation. And putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. To help give some insight on the other person’s mentality.  You know, more often than sometimes our hate and anger are based on shaky grounds. It also teaches us how to deal with such personalities. Because the world out there is full of them.

I invite you to think about what I’ve said. It’s a difficult task to suppress hate, but surely not impossible. And like I said, recognising the cause is half the battle won.

Drug Dealer, Virgin, Stripper, Runaway

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You may not think there is much difference between drug dealing and drug smuggling. I mean, to-may-toes to-mah-toes right? But for the small-time Drug Dealer David Clark in We’re The Millers, the seemingly negligible difference colossally changes his life.

David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) gets robbed of his stash at knife point while trying to help out a runaway homeless teen (Emma Roberts) and gets into trouble with the drug lord (and villain) Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). Brad Gurdlinger sends him to Mexico across the border to smuggle drugs back into the country, promising to pay up a handsome amount if he succeeds in the task. So David rounds up the virginal dim-wit Kenny (Will Poulter), an unhappy debt-ridden stripper Rose (Jennifer Anniston) and the homeless teen Casey he had helped earlier and hires them to be his pretend ‘perfect American’ family with an RV, in an attempt to make himself inconspicuous to the border guards. This is where the plot sets in. They meet another American family at the border, Don Fitzgerald (Nick Offerman), Edie Fitzgerald (Kathryn Hahn), and their daughter Melissa Fitzgerald (Molly Quinn), which is where the real comedy starts. The drug smuggling obviously wasn’t going to be a walk in the park and the Miller Family meets with a bucketload of obstacles (the least difficult of which, ironically, is crossing the borders) on the way ranging from corrupt police officers to Pablo Chacon, (Tomer Sisley) a more dangerous villain, and his one-eyed henchman (Matthew Willig).

“Yeah. I say, give me somethin’ that says, ‘I get up every morning at 5:30 and commute for an hour and a half to some bullshit job where my jag-off boss expects me to kiss his balls all day just so I can afford to keep my ungrateful, screaming kids decked out in Dora the Explorer shit and my wife up to her fat ass in self-help videos until the day I get up the courage to put a shotgun in my mouth.’”

This dialogue best describes David Clark’s laissez-faire personality, and serves as a paragon for the overall dialogue in the movie. The characters have well defined personalities, the weakest of them being Jennifer Anniston’s Rose O’Reilly (although she makes an effort to spice up her character a little). Jennifer Anniston’s stripping definitely deserves a mention. I found Will Poulter’s acting the best. He pulled off his character very well, helped along by his innocent and slightly foolish appearance. None of the characters is someone you would look up to, or wish you could be, or be jealous of, and yet the talented actors manage to endear themselves to your heart. I felt the movie dissolving into the cliche style in the latter half, but it quickly recovered from that.

We’re The Millers (directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber) delivers exactly what the trailer promises, a 110 minutes of an uncomplicated and carefree (and not particularly romantic) entertainment. There is an energetic earthiness to the movie which I found quite appealing. I really like these types of movies, which are a wonderful amalgam of comedy and badass bordering on the vulgar. The starting and ending weren’t as gripping and the movie did lose it’s tempo in a few parts, but I quite liked the overall setting, enhanced with the funky soundtrack. Although there was a smooth flow from scene to scene, a little more coherence would have improved the overall experience.

All in all, the movie has a lot of Laugh Out Loud moments, and the basic plot engages the viewers effectively. So I would definitely suggest a one time watch, especially if you’re looking to set aside the brain and just relax, you know what I’m sayin’?

My Rating – 8/10