Saturday, October 27, 2018

Why men suffer from Shopo-phobia

Humor




Whoever thinks that nothing can beat the agony of a man in a lingerie shop hasn’t seen a man in a grocery shop. With a shopping list in his hands, he is as clueless as Rakhi Sawant in a library. But nothing can shake his confidence. Remember how Kangana was oblivious of what she was buying at a sex toy shop in Queen? Confident but clueless. 

Each time I venture in a grocery shop, I observe men shopping for everything the lady of the house ordered. Don’t judge me. I’m not a sadist, but if you are a writer of any denomination, your discerning eye and an ear for nuance are always an asset. 

So it’s a lazy Sunday and I’m at 'Needs', a supermart teeming with women shopping for Diwali festivities. And there he is – dressed in casual shorts, a lost boy look in his eyes and a massive trolley at his disposal. Despite the bounce in his gait, he looks oddly vulnerable. He peers at the list with such seriousness as if contemplating what to say at the UN Security Council meet. Focus. The moment he spots the listed item, he adds it to the basket with an impenetrable air of an ultimate executioner. ‘One down, nineteen to go’. 

I smile, because no matter what he does, he is bound to get into trouble. The ‘Honey Nut Cheerio’ he selected with a certain smug certainty is not the sugar free cereal his wife wanted. The orange marmalade he picked is not the mixed fruit jam his daughter loves. The black olives he singled out are not the green seedless variety his mother needs. And that’s not Sabut Kali Masoor dude, that’s Dhuli Masoor dal you just pulled out. 

Same hi to hain, what’s the difference you ask? Well, I’d let your wife be the judge of that! 

Given the number of soda bottles and snacks he is picking, looks like there is a Diwali party at home. Half way down the list, confusion gets to our lone shopper. As expected, he flips out the phone and makes a call. “Baby, should I get Tropicana Orange or Minute Maid Pulpy Orange? And Macaroni is pasta right?"

I’m unable to over hear what his wife said, but he decides to take another life line. “Excuse me, where can I get Pasta sauce?” 

“Sir, second from left.” 

Don’t chew me to bits but men can be IIT toppers or MBA’s from top business schools, and yet, following directions is as tough for them as applying mascara. They can straddle the corporate world with amazing ease, hobnob with the world’s who’s who but will not remember where they parked the car in the parking lot. So for unexplained reasons, our guy lands at the wrong counter. This section has an assortment of salad dressings but no pasta sauce. Rather reluctantly, he calls the wife again. “Baby pasta sauce is red but all I see here is mayonnaise?” 

At this point, I’m fairly certain the lady at the other end is pissed. Because the guy is almost apologetic, “Okay chill, I’ll ask someone.” Given that I have enough masaala for my article, I guide him towards the pasta sauce counter. As I contemplate which oil to buy, I notice the guy has pulled out a bottle of ‘Buy One Get One Free’ Olive Oil. While he thinks he’s clinched a deal, it is likely that he picked Extra Virgin Olive Oil used for dressing instead of Pomace Oil used for frying. Once home, his perky sense of optimism is likely to be trampled by his wife’s heavy boots of reason. 

To top it all, worse awaits at the billing counter. Given that Diwali is round the corner, the queue moves slower than the queue at ATMs during demonetization. Finally, when he is almost ready for billing, the lady ahead in the queue nudges her daughter to hold her place while she sneaks away to pick some bread. 
Truth is, the odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one. No wonder men prefer on-line shopping. It is not surprising why men are Shopophobes and women Shopoholics. The saving grace is that in the era of on-line shopping, both can co-exist happily. On the phone that is! 


(The article is not meant to stereotype men.)



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Manmarziyaan - Flaws of Attraction









One of the most popular dishes of Bollywood – the ‘love triangle’ gets Anurag Kashyap tadka in Manmarziyaan. Think of it as raw meat cooked on a high flame of romantic passion with a dash of Jab We Met, a sprinkling of Dhadkan and a pinch of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. You relish a few spoons, but by the time you finish more than half of it, your tummy begins to protest. Finally, when you are done, you wonder if you have bitten more than you can chew. 

Given that the clichéd love triangle is given some contemporary flourishes, what really happened? Also given that it is cooked by a seasoned director (Anurag Kashyap) and spontaneous actors (Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan) what could possibly go wrong? 

Ah, the usual. They know how to create a conflict but don’t know how to resolve it. 


Related image


Set in Amritsar, Manmarziyaan opens with Taapsee Pannu as Rumi sneaking away to have some fun under the sheets with local DJ, Vicky Kaushal. Lest you are mistaken, Rumi, the 13th century philosopher has nothing to do with our fiery Rumi who sells hockey sticks when she is not zipping the town on her bike and unzipping for Vicky. Like Bitti of Bareilly Ki Barfi, Rumi of Amritsar is unapologetic about her smoking, drinking and two-wheeler escapades. In fact, she is like a bomb that explodes anytime, anywhere. Together, Vicky and Rumi are like a carousel on speed spinning through Amritsar’s bylanes. To say that blue haired Vicky is as wild as red haired Tapsee would be erroneous, because he lacks her spunk. Each time Rumi suggests marriage, Vicky gets cold feet. And yet, he can’t see Rumi married to anyone else. 

Enter Abhishek who reminds you of Dhadkan’s Akshay Kumar and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’s Ajay Devgan - an embodiment of patience and forgiveness. As Robbie, the NRI banker, Abhishek is ready to marry Taapsee even though he knows she loves Vicky. Yes, the same old dish served in Amritsar. 

So far, so good. 

The role of a fiery Punjaban is a piece of cake for Taapsee and she doesn’t disappoint. When she smiles impishly you feel as if she is keeping a delicious secret, when she cries you want to console her,and when she throws a tantrum, you can’t stop but marvel the incredible softness of her eyes. Taapsee reminds you of Kareena Kapoor of Jab We Met each time she plans to run away. This is not to say that her character is without flaws. Despite Rumi’s spunk, she has a brain of a ten year old. 

As an actor, Vicky Kaushal is the find of the decade. I had to pinch myself to convince that this tattooed good-for-nothing lout is not the restrained police officer of Raazi or the shy Gujju from Sanju. If Vicky couldn’t get to do ‘ghapa ghap’ in Sanju, a roll in the bed is all he wants in Manmarziyaan. 

Abhishek appears on the silver screen after a self-imposed hiatus. Dressed in a turban to please his family, he plays to role of an NRI banker with perfect ease. Mostly, because he is playing himself. 

As it happens, after the interval you begin to get flustered with all the ‘yes-no-yes-maybe-no’. Just when you are about to scream, “Yaar decide kar lo kiske saath rehna hai” there are some hilarious moments. Like when Abhishek and Taapsee are on their honeymoon and the parents call to ask, “Aur beta honeymoon kaisa chal rahai? Maza aa raha hai ki nahi?” And just for Taapsee’s blunt retort, the second half becomes worth a watch. I’m not telling, go watch it for yourself. 

While the young protagonists can’t make up their minds, the film takes you through the highs and lows of parents who are blind spectators to the manmarziyaan of their kids. We have a come a long way from the days when parents or our 'zaalim samaaj' used to create obstacles in the path of love. Today, it’s our own mind that creates confusion, conflict and complexities. Earlier one night of passion would result in ‘Main tumahre bachche ki ma ban ne wali hoon’ and today sex is like a cup of tea. You can have it anytime, anywhere. 

Towards the end, when Taapsee and Abhishek are clearing the table after cooking up a storm, I emerge clueless as to why Vicky decides to move away? Suddenly? Just because the director didn’t know what to do with him? And what did those dancing twins signify? Despite inordinate songs populating the film, I remember only one – the foot tapping ‘Dhyan Kithe Dhyanchand’. And despite Anurag Kashyap being a professional embroider of tales, I am not convinced with the way he resolved the crimes of the heart. The ideas are half baked and film jumps from the frying pan to fire in the second half. Some slices of the pie are delectable but the soufflé doesn’t quite rise to perfection. 

A 2 for the film and 1 for acting. 3/5 
Image from here

Sunday, July 1, 2018

All in our Jeans


Picture Credit Topshop


Someone asked a businessman, “What do you do?” 

He smiled, “Whatever it takes.” 

In a jeaneus masterstroke, Baba Ramdev is all set to launch his clothing brand, Patanjali Paridhan. If ‘swadeshi sim card’ was not enough, Patanjali is about to flood the markets with their ‘sanskari jeans’. Patanjali’s Acharya Balkrishan says, “Swadeshi jeans will be designed according to our customs.” Business is incidental, for the aim is to redeem our culture, preserve its sanctity with indigenousness duly certified. 

I kid thee not, but I have been scratching my head ever since. Weren’t the denims all about expressing rebellion – a symbol of defiance? I’m not sure how the cultural denim pants will hug our pert derrieres in a sanskari way. I’m not sure if they will have any ‘Left’ pockets or smell of chandan to drive away risqué thoughts. Perhaps the cultural version will come with a drawstring instead of zippers which are a reminder of our zipped up colonial past. I’m not sure if their brand ambassador will be Alok Nath or Shilpa Shetty, but what I’m sure is that the desi denims will be so pure and pious that even if Twinkle Khanna tries to unbutton them during a fashion event, she won’t be slapped with charges of obscenity or vulgarity. Even better, this Paridhan will purge prurient thoughts that knock your head when you watch Italian football players. Above all, these denims will not be responsible for the age old legend of girls luring boys to their downfall. Yes sir, that good. 

“I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes,” rued Yves Saint Laurent. Truth is, denims were originally invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, who according to Rahul Gandhi, could well have been small time tailors engaged in altering clothes at the Lajpat Nagar market. Right? Well, partially. While Levi Strauss arrived from Germany to San Francisco and set up Levi Strauss & Co that sold denim cloth, W Davis, was a tailor who actually made blankets and tents. When a customer asked for a pair of sturdy pants, Davis used the denim he bought from Levi Strauss & Co. Later, Davis and Strauss patented the pants and called them denim jeans. 

As it happens, fashion becomes fashion when everyone wants to follow it. If the fifties were about marines and rock stars embracing denims, the sixties were about painted and embroidered denims - a symbol of rebellious teen freedom. And today, the # MeToo movement, a socio-political phenomenon has found an expression in denims. Women are designing denim jeans, shirts and jackets that have stories of sexual harassment etched on them. The goal obviously is to start a conversation on taboo topics and make sure that people don’t forget about it. Interestingly, earlier this year Topshop created a ‘Fake News Jeans’, I am assuming in the honour of President Trump. Equally interesting would be if news anchors who sanctimoniously shout from their studios are made to wear Fake News Jeans and Jackets. 


Picture Credit  Here
News about sexual harassment etched on denims

My somewhat unreliable and alcoholic sources are telling me that designers are already designing newsworthy denims for the Indian market. Specifically for Delhi, there is an ‘Anarchist Pret Line’ with special Dharna jeans that can be worn at work and also when you sleep on a sofa. Likewise, we have ‘Achche Din’ denims that will make you feel on top of the world even though there isn’t much to cheer about. And finally, a sturdy ‘Secular Line’ for khadi clad storm troopers that will enable the Mahagathbandhan to survive the test of time. 

Given that the slim fit would be too uncomfortable for our pure and pious pollies to get their jollies, Patanjali can design a baggy fit denim coloured in Indian Indigo held by cotton drawstrings. No points wrangling, because unlike wicked Wrangler, the Patanjali clothing line will be a hallowed as the ‘khadi’. Maybe Patanjali can call their new jeans Born Players as an alternative to Jhon Players. Even better would be Pevis instead of Levis,  because Pee in place of Lee would be too odd, no? 




This piece was first published on The Quint.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Morning Special



If you have an early morning train or a flight, there are two things that are unlikely to be on time – your cab and your crap. It’s almost a rule. It doesn’t matter whether you book a Meru, Ola or Uber, like the police in an eighties Bollywood movie, your cab will arrive at the last minute. Given that three Uber’s cancelled last time, you decide to book a local cab this time. 

The fact that you wake up at an unearthly hour much before the pigeons on your AC is a torture in itself. It’s four in the morning. To play safe, you call the cab guy even before you brush your teeth. “Where are you? I have a flight to catch?” As expected, he refuses to pick-up the phone. And just when you give up on him and contemplate calling an Uber, the guy on the other end wings it like a politician. He mumbles, “Madam, reaching in five minutes. I’m on my way”. You know he’s not even out of his bed. Finally, when he finally arrives, he invariably lands at the wrong place. You can shout all you want, “C tower, bhaiyya. Didn’t I tell you C? C for Calcutta?” 
“Madam jee, that ij K. K for Kalkatta. I’m opojite B tower. B four Bombay.” 
You have no time for Sena speak, “BC, it’s is M for Mumbai!” 

When you are feeling as helpless as an honest tax-payer, wondering how Nirav Modi’s cab arrived on time for him to flee, the unapologetic dolt arrives. “Madam, don’t worry. You won’t miss your flight. Main hoon na.” Bless you, because this is the closest you get to Shah Rukh. And after this reassurance, he has the gall to stop at the nearest CNG station. “Only five minutes.” 
Damn. 

While in the cab, you remember the other causality. Your urge to go. There is no denying that we Indians are particular about our ‘time to grace the pot’. No marijuana involved here, this is strictly about getting rid of your solid waste. Most of us have a fixed time. Truth is, our entire day hinges on the time, amount and ease of the process. And yet, no matter how much coffee you gulp, there is no sign of any advancement of troops. Not even an itsy-bitsy spasm. It’s like your girlfriend has ditched you at the altar. 

Why, only yesterday you went twice, so what happened today? You can keep solving the puzzle but there is nothing you can do about it. As your cabbie zooms the Wagon R like SRK, alias Major Ram Prasad Sharma, aiming for Mission Milap with your flight, you dread the thought of using the airport loo. Have you seen the grim faces queued up at an airport loo in the morning? It’s like a war scene - sombre, painful and inevitable. After every gush of the flush, few soldiers emerge winners with a pleased look of Shashi Tharoor. Odder still is the sight of those who failed - they look like a hybrid of Mani Shankar Aiyar and Meenakshi Lekhi. Which is a pity, because their final trial is worse - the aircraft loo. 

But if you failed thrice, even D.Raja - the sole custodian of all prickly feelings looks more pleased than you do. If anything, it’s your meeting that’s down the drain. Because constipated people don’t give a crap. In the absence of any bowel movement, there is no guarantee of right vowel movement. The trip anyway is doomed. There goes the hotel’s complimentary buffet breakfast, your sightseeing and even your meeting. No cheesy lasagna with juicy zucchini or a pancake dripping with honey for you. All you get is papaya and fresh watermelon juice. 

So next time both your cab and your crap arrive on time, count your blessings. Visualize hundreds who wake up early to endure this pain – pacing, stretching, waiting and cursing with anxiety ripping them apart. Thank your stars. Write a gratitude post. Or visit the nearest temple with eleven coconuts. 

This piece first featured here - The Quint

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

User Manual for Parents with Adult Kids at Home



There comes a stage in life when you look at exasperated, somewhat embarrassed parents of toddlers throwing tantrums with a sense of longing. And amusement too. You reminisce the good old days of your own kids who are now adults. Except, the parents on the other side don’t get it. Continuing to mollify their baby, they give you a cheesy smile, ‘You sicko. Don’t laugh at our misery. Why don’t YOU tame this monkey, huh?’ 
But you’ve come a long way from terrible two’s to turbulent twenty’s. What comes to your mind is your own kid - far away in college. And the eerie silence of your empty nest. 

That is when you solemnly place a hand on your heart. You promise that you will not yell when you spot wet towels on the bed and shoes strewn all over, as if in a war zone. No grumbling over pizza crumbs on the bed and nail clippings on the side-table. No questions asked. Just come back. 

If you are fortunate enough, they return - only to fly out forever. But once your adult kids are back home, you learn to balance the equations all over again. Truth be told, it is time to control yourself, not your child. It’s a good idea to dump your trademark gems - ‘It is for your own good - Do what you want - You will thank me one day - When you are my age you will understand’ in the nearest dustbin. Their efficacy is no more guaranteed. 

For starters, learn to ration your questions. Talk when they want to talk. It’s a tightrope walk between zipping up and speaking your heart out. What to say. How to say. And above all, when to say. Remember how you waited for your parents to be in a good mood when you wanted them to listen? Exactly. 

Nothing scares you like the announcement, ‘I’m taking the car.’ Of course, they will drive. Adults do. You did. But this one sentence can cause tremors worse than a major quake. 
It is past midnight, and you are pacing down the corridor. Waiting. Different voices in your head begin to strum. While dads begin to snore as soon as they hit the sack, your motherly fingers linger on the Whatsapp. Last seen one past midnight. Must be driving. When you hear the door click, your motherly instinct will urge you to pop out of darkness and ask ‘beta khaana khaya?’ 
Calm it. Learn to override the old parent kid relationship. New boundaries are a key to better understanding. 

Whats App is a blessing when you don't wish to intrude

If your kids were in a hostel, they are not used to explanations about their whereabouts. When the timing is right, remind them to send texts as a matter of a family safety rule. There’s a thin line between your maternal fear and genuine safety concern. 
I understand, it is not easy to give up that privilege of popping ‘when, what, where and why’. After all, these gems were the pillars of your parenting. But now you are dealing with adults who are at home for a brief period when they could well be living in New York or Singapore. So even if every cell of your body is screaming, ‘where were you’, your parenting is now about respecting independence. 
Emotional support, yes. Physical support, not as much. Intrusion, never. 

Bear in mind that they survived without you in college. Their nocturnal routine is likely to press your stress buttons. Yet, you can do little about their unearthly hours. What can’t be cured must be endured. This is not to say you can never express your discomfiture. Look for the right time and the right way to convey what is not acceptable. 

Since you are mastering self-control, reign in the urge to pass on the phone to make them talk to relatives. I understand the relevance of family, but for reasons unfathomable, talking to relatives over the phone is as painful as their first period or a deep gnash while shaving. Extend invitations for family functions, but don’t force togetherness. As with most of us, they will interact when they wish and not when you force them to. 

Self-explanatory, right?

Despite all your restraint, three consecutive late evenings and there is the risk of you reverting back to your old obsessive self. "Shakl dekhe hua Zamana ho gaya". 
Reign in the paranoia and count your blessings. Because if your kids were in a different city, the outings could well be five nights in a row and you wouldn’t get a whiff. Moreover, there is always the risk of being too presumptuous and imagining the worst when all they were doing was hanging out with friends or watching a movie. At the risk of sounding preachy, it is best to trust your upbringing. Mostly, young adults are more responsible and mature than you imagine. 

All said, parenting doesn’t get easy, it just gets different. And by the time you’ve mastered it, the rules change. Damn! Must mothers always oscillate between challenges? 
Well, yes. 
Once you accept that you are now an emotional consultant and not a quality manager, it’s a beautiful phase. A great opportunity to bond before they fly out to raise their own families. Above all, tech-support for your phone and laptop is just a knock away. 




Blasphemy

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Death by Dance




There are different ways to celebrate a win. Jumping up and down is one of them. As is punching the air. Snake dance is equally effective. What used to be a signature move of a drunken uncle during an Indian wedding became a patent of the Bangladesh cricket team. During the recent T-20 tri-series, the boys in green mastered the ‘naagin dance’ by making it a viral social media trend. 





It all began when Nazmul Islam celebrated a wicket by breaking into an impromptu snake dance. His signature move went over the social media boundary. The bite was so infectious that legendary Sunil Gavaskar began swaying after Dinesh Karthik hit the last ball for a winning six. But there was a catch. While the Indian fans found his euphoric sway cute, the Bangladeshi fans called Gavaskar a baboon. Ouch! 



Truth is, cricket and dance moves go back in time. Remember how West Indies celebrated their T-20 win in 2012 by bursting into celebrations with ‘Gangnam style’. If ‘Gangnam style’ can hook cricketers, why not our home grown ‘snake dance’? 
Dance and celebrations go hand in hand. Once snake dance loses its charm, anything can be next. Bhangra anyone? When the occasion calls for pointless abandon, ‘Balle Balle’ rules, right? 

As for me, nothing intimidates me like dancing in public. It doesn’t matter if it’s a marriage ‘sangeet’ or a cocktail party. All too often, weddings are incidental. It is the choreographed ‘sangeet’ that trumps all ceremonies. Everyone and their bua-ji has perfected their moves. Plus there is an intimidating choreographer more flexible than Tiger Shroff. While you want to be a part of impromptu celebrations, it’s the rehearsed performances that intimidate you. Moreover you belong to the Deol family, with Sunny being your uncle and Sunil Shetty your distant cousin. 

The giggling cousins take over the stage and set the bar so high that nothing you shake can match their performance. You dread the moment when someone will drag you on the floor and nudge you to show what you got. The moves, I mean. Finally someone pulls you centrestage with hundreds of expectant eyes looking at you. While everyone is cheering, you feel like a warrior being thrown in a Roman arena with hungry lions. Aware of your dancing skills, your husband and kids hold their breath. Going with the flow, you attempt something as lovely as Tabu in, ‘Ruk Ruk Ruk, Are Baba Ruk’. 
Dance, as the saying goes, like no one’s watching. But you constantly look over the shoulders to check if your loved ones are embarrassed by your booty shake. 

Finally, the agony ends. Or so you think. Someone made a video of your dance and shares it in the family WA group for posterity. With trepidation you click the play button. 
Oh. Shit. 
The only thing you can draw hope from is watching the legendary Gavaskar doing the snake dance. And feel better. 


Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times, NDTV Sport and Cartoon by Satish Acharya

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Writing About Not Writing



When you have nothing to write, write about not writing. So said a writer, tongue partly in cheek. Others too have dispensed valuable gems. Write even when you don’t want to. It’s about discipline. Today I’m going to do just that. Write about not writing.

After almost eight straight years, lately, I haven’t published anything. Truth be told, my draft folder holds a dozen odd unpublished articles. Some cooked, some half-baked. But for some reason the soufflé didn’t quite rise to perfection. The idea that one must write no-matter-what seemed repugnant – too dictatorial for a Freebird. What article, after all, is worth sharing if it doesn’t flow from free will?

Writing, for me has been about self-expression much before it was a literary endeavor. If you’ve read my blog you know that I write about news and media. Despite the stench emanating from the media cesspool, this is what I enjoy the most. And yet, Padmavati pandemonium, Trudeau’s fancy dress, Media’s madness, R.Chaudhary’s cackle, Yogi’s debacle, Sridevi’s speculation, and N.Aggarwal’s indiscretion – nothing nudged me from my idyllic stupor.

Even if I ignore the public disenchantment with news, the biggest challenge was to write straight away. Quick. Tez. Sabse Tez. Because if you don’t write within twenty-four hours, others will. Today everyone and his neighbour is a writer. As a result, the topic becomes as stale as old beer within a day. News is ephemeral. What makes waves today is gone tomorrow. Remember the shocking news of a dead couple, lying naked in the bathroom early this month? What did the autopsy report say? We forgot all about the couple as soon as the NE election results were out. Then there was the news about the sudden demise of Sridevi. By the time I had penned a piece, the web was flooded with tributes. If I publish that tribute today, readers will sneer, “Leave her alone. Aren’t we over her demise? ”

Above all, writing a blog sets to establish that you want readers. Validation. The moment you press the publish/post button, you are looking for an audience. Blogging, over the years, has lost novelty in direct proportion to its readers. The online blogs on news portals attract more traffic than personal blogs. With shortening attention spans, online readers look for brevity of Twitter and the charm of video blogs. Pixels over print. Bullet points over loopy sentences.

Today when I look at my blog traffic, the post that drew maximum page views was the one that read, How to write like a twenty year old when you are sixty.’ At a time when Google answers all our queries, the sure shot way to grab eyeballs is to write ‘How To’ articles. You can cram your posts with funny anecdotes, literary gems, poetic pearls or biting satires, but in terms of cold arithmetic, only three words get you hits – Why, Where and How. Which is why food, parenting and travel blogs are more popular than non-fiction musings. 

People want answers. Information. Not opinions. Well, mostly. Accept that, ‘How to reduce a double chin’, will find more readers than your musing about news.

Then there is twitter. Even though brevity is not exactly conducive for an in-depth discussion, short attention spans have ensured that readers read a summary and move on. Not long back, we loved reading articles on Readers Digest, newspaper editorials or satirical centre page spreads. Not as much anymore. 
Another reason for what appears to be my disenchantment is the fact that twitter is infatuated with lies. A study reveals that false news on social media travels six times faster than the truth. Worse, it reaches far more people. So if I pick news from Twitter, chances are I will be expressing views about something that did not happen at all. On the other hand, if I wait for confirmed news, the topic is done and dusted faster than Usain Bolt.

With shortening attention spans, the only thing shorter than public memory is public enthusiasm. Strictly in terms of public interest, Trudeau’s faux-ethnic ensembles provided more fodder for writers than Emmanuel Macron’s substantial visit. 
Finally, its a rough phase for political satires. People have taken sides along the fence. Any joke on their side is taken as a personal assault. Today, jokes are not about harmless fun but kicking the 'other side' and tarnishing reputations. There is little space and understanding for 'on the other hand' kind of arguments. Issue based analysis is being smothered to death by binary positions based on your likes and dislikes.

So is it time to enjoy the luxury of keeping ones thought’s to oneself? Perhaps rationing is a better idea. As Santosh Desai writes, ‘Time has come to revisit the pleasures of not sharing, of not reacting, and of not enacting our feelings as they occur.’ But then what will writers do? Bury their pen? Ah, herein lies the dilemma. 

Coming back to the moot question: should you force yourself to write? If you want to pursue writing, you should. The initial push is hard. Perhaps the key is to keep writing and wait for the day when you are aroused enough to publish. Once you have penned a hundred odd words, you will know if the juices are flowing. It may not be the best you baked. Yet, it will be fulfilling. Write for the sake of your own clarity of thought. Like I did today.