Archive Page 2

08
Sep
10

Barabar barber

FYI: ‘Barabar’ is a Hindi word, when translated literally in English means ‘Correct’. I just confirmed that with my colleague, and YES, we have less work in the office nowadays.

This post is for the guys who have gone through the dilemma of finding a trustworthy barber outside of our small state.

While in hostel days in Dehradun, we used to have an in-campus barber who was old, bitter and grumpy. Considering the fact that he had a steady job, one would expect him to be a bit more chirpy. Haircut-Inspections were something that occurred frequently. So on the eve of one such, there would be a long line outside his small shop while he (Yes, there was just one barber for the 250-odd inhabitants of the campus!) hurriedly ran the electric cutter from “tukhum-to-tukhum” (tukhum:Backside of the skull!), snipped a bit on the top and front, shove you off the chair and call out ‘neeekksshhtt’!

His haircuts were as horrible as the experience of having him wrap you with cloth, supposedly to prevent hair from getting on your clothes, when it was already full of the previous guy’s hair and what-not. One could feel them pricking on the skin as he tightens it around the neck, slowly scraping the throat with the tingly feeling of uneasiness. It reminds me of one Uncle who took great pleasure in torturing kids at Family gettogethers by rubbing his Five o’clock shadow on their cheeks! (How I hated that then, but now I AM that uncle!)

By the time I reached my last few semesters however, I had enough courage and knowledge of Hindi to jump the campus wall and take a haircut the way I’d wanted it, from a local barber whom I slowly came to trust. I would always come back from My Barber’s Shop all rejuvenated and relieved, as if I’d taken a week long vacation. Those were one of the highlights of my Hostel-memories.

Now, coming back to the present, there were these 3 barbers, whom I assumed were brothers cos’ they looked extremely alike and collectively owned the shop. They have been my MY Barbers for almost 4 years now. Their shop would always have Africans, Middle-East or South-East Asians hanging out. They were friendly people and more than that, they gave good haircuts. Since they interacted with different cultures, they know what we want and they actually listen. And to top it off, they were from a different state, which meant that they were non-locals and that we have more in common.

I’ve had bad experiences (apart from the hostel scenario) with barbers, they were the reason I had grown my hair for months, TWICE, just cos’ I didn’t want to take a haircut outside Mizoram. But these guys restored my then wavering faith in non-mizo Barbers. (Racism has nothing to do with a good haircut!) Everytime I’ve been to their shop in the past few years (Except one time when I grew my hair really long cos I was balding and worried, but then gave up!), no matter how long the gap between each visit, they always remembered the last time I took a haircut from them. I always leave their shop a happy man.

I once paid more than Rs.100/- for a haircut when I visited a unisex Hair Salon in a posh area. It was late in the evening and I desperately needed a trim then. The shop was very elegant, the barber well-dressed and the equipments were state-of-the-art. But all that was worth less than the amount I paid, cos’ the man simply had no skills. Call it loyalty to what I know, but I paid the man, left and never again laid my good eye on the shop (The other eye is just incorrigible).

I recently went to take a haircut from My Barbers, but was greeted by their absence. (I’d stopped by a few days earlier but since they were not there and the young guy in their stead looked a little bit too young for an experienced barber, I had decided to come again a few days later.) It seems that they had left the shop for their home-town in search of greener pastures. The young man managed to convince me to sit on his chair while he carefully wrapped the synthetic cloth around my chest. He talked about how, back in Kuwait, (Bullshit! I thought!) he used to cut Filipino hair and he knows exactly what we want.. etc etc.

He leaned a little towards the gay-side, which I thought was a bit reassuring. (Sexism has nothing to do with a good haircut!) He talked a lot and said something about how my hair is like this and others are like that… I wasn’t really listening cos’ I was concentrating too hard on the mirror in front to make sure he doesn’t do something dramatic with my hair. When it was all said and done, I briefly looked in the mirror, paid him (Rs.30/- to be exact. I remember when they used to be Rs.5/- back home) and hurried home.

WHY?

If you’re a guy, you would know that unless you wash the excess hair off your head after a haircut, you wouldn’t be able to see what it REALLY looks like.

After I had my bath, I quickly looked in the mirror, then stopped looking and slowly started admiring, “Not a bad job” I thought to myself. It seems My Barbers had left me with a worthy replacement indeed, but they will never be forgotten. They were them who restored my faith, my dignity and my close crop hair. (Although with some male pattern baldness now.)

24
Aug
10

inside and outside

On the outside.
Why do we care so much how we seem on the inside?
We live beyond our means, we dream beyond our dreams to look Normal. What is normal anyway?
Who made the definition of normal?
Does it mean being without feeling, living without passion, singing without soul, praying without hope?
What is normal, really?
Are we to abide by societies’ rules so that we are accepted?
Who creates society?
Do we, being social animals, require ourselves to be inherently social?
And if somebody isn’t, does that make him an outcast?
Who are we to decide who is an outcast when we are always on the verge of being one?
Are we bound to be the very element that society despises yet struggle to conceal it because of our survival instincts?
And, Survival of the fittest is still the law that rules humanity, be it the tribal forests, concrete jungles or in the comfort of each home.
We are happy securing the trust of majority, but what is majority when minorities are down-trodden and neglected?
On the inside.
Are we only as shallow as we seem on the outside?
Do we stress so much on the outside that we forget what we are on the inside?
We contort and conform to fit society’s description of an ideal person, yet we make no effort to fit it’s deeper meaning of an individual.
Is greed for personal gain the only objective we aim for?
In a state claiming 100% 80% Christianity, is this the example we are willing to set?
We spend so much money and resources on sending missionaries outside the state, but are we spending enough on the spiritual health of our own?
Spirituality. Do we stress a little too much on it while neglecting morality and humility?
We mix politics with religion, yet we look down upon the RSS, Shiv Sena, etc.. Do we think we are better off than them?
When we can’t control and understand the feelings of our youth, how are we to secure our future as a race?
Are we so self-righteous to the point that anyone we deem lesser requires spiritual cleansing?
Are we protestants to the Roman Catholic Church, or have we started forming our Churches more orthodox than what Martin Luther.Jr had stood and died for to abolish?
Why are petty addictions more evil than not having self-control?
Are small individual and personal sacrifices lesser in magnitude than attending regular services?
Isn’t the whole idea of “giving” be out of compassion rather than compulsion?
Etc etc…
17
Aug
10

Get the smoke out

Last Sunday night, as I laid down for the night, I started thinking about stuff to try and get me to sleep, but all I could think of was about cigarettes and how much they have affected my life. I woke up Monday morning and read GoldiBlog before work, and that kinda inspired me a lot to try and quit smoking.
I would always say b**s** when a colleague tells me he quit smoking, or is planning to, and it gave me all the more reason to pull his leg. It had always been a joke to me when I hear stuff like that in the office or over the phone. And maybe it was partly because of such attitude they received from people like me that they would always start again. I’m not looking for support, but I’m not looking for temptations either.
Quitting smoking is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve always put it off for later, maybe for when I get older. Since I’ve become a regular smoker, I’ve never once tried to quit it, simply because I never wanted to. I convinced myself that I don’t smoke as BAD as other people I know, cos’ I was only smoking a pack of 10 a day, while people smoked a pack of 20 in less. It was feeble reassurance, but it did it’s job.
But heavy smoker or not, it slowly affected my health in ways described in detail by Goldbum himself, so I will not go there. But where I WILL go, is an experiment on me. So here it is:
AIM:
To quit smoking, or reduce the frequency drastically to a point where I am no longer considered a smoker by my closest friends. (They are quite the critics in such matters!)
MATERIALS REQUIRED:
1 smoker desperate/bored/<describe yourself in one word> enough to make a lifestyle change.
1 Cigarette for each day
Time and Perseverance
Determination and willingness
<More to be added as and when required by the smoker>
THEORY:
– If I am allowed to have just and only 1 cigarette a day, and I can choose the time, it will eventually be something I look forward to everyday. I will savor that one cigarette, and realise that if I cheat and have another before the day is over, it will never taste as good as that. Smoking a cig and not enjoying it has been what I have been doing all this time and this is to change that.
– As days passes, the urge to smoke would be more difficult to resist. Thats when I will need large amounts of Determination and willingness, without which I will not pass beyond the phase. At this point, I guess the only thing that would keep me going would be the pure ecstasy in that puff from my daily dose of nicotine.
– The next part of the theory is a little vague, for it is difficult to determine as to how long it would take me to get used to the routine. But once accomplished, it would enable me to stretch it to once in 2 days and so on.
– I know this theory may suck, but it’s the best one I’ve got at the moment. I desperately need to setup some ground rules.
OBSTACLES:
– This is my first attempt. So I know I will either go all the way, or reach beyond the half-point only to crash and burn in Mono-oxidic pleasure.
– The second attempt will definitely not follow soon.
– Its definitely easier said that done, but it’s possible, at least I’ve got to believe that.
– I had one smoke today in the evening, and it felt like the first tryst, the tingling, etc. but now as I type this, I have a feeling that I’m not doing something which I usually do, I mean, it made me understand that it had (Past tense.. tralala) become such a habit I sometimes unconciously lit one and finished it even before I realised I’d done it.
– So technically I may not be quitting smoking, but this will be my way of dealing with it. I’m not really worried about withdrawal symptoms, as I will at least have one smoke a day, and with India’s pollution levels, that’s probably less harmful than being a Traffic cop for a day.
PERSONAL GUIDELINES:
– Finish the smoke at one go, not saving it for 2,3,4,5 or 6 gos go’s goes instances of smoking. (Never met another who went more than that!)
– One day at a time. If one day is too long, go with Morning, Noon and Night, or Hour by Hour, or Minute by Minute. Last for one timeframe, then last the next one, then the next.
– Judge and rate my urges based on the scenario.
Need-a-smoke-while-going-to-the-loo-urge : Low
Had-a-fight-with-my-boss-and-now-need-a-smoke-urge : Medium
Just-had-pork-for-dinner-and-need-a-smoke-urge : High
Cute-girl-in-smoking-zone-asking-for-a-light-and-now-need-to-show-her-I-smoke-too-urge : Way-up-there Critical!!
– Save the smoke for the evening, and if I am able to save till bedtime, savor one right before hitting the sack for a sweet dream.
OBSERVATIONS (So far):
– I know it supercalifragilisticexpialidociously early to make observations, but unless I type something I’m afraid I might light one up. (I haven’t thrown away my ashtrays and lighters as most “Quit smoking” guides suggested be done first. Why?? It’s just too early I guess.)
– So the whole day, I didn’t really feel the urge, cos’ I know I smoked enough over the weekend to bring me a few hours closer to death.
– Its funny when you tell people, mostly your smoking partners, that you’ve quit or trying to quit. The first emotion they display is of utter disbelief, then denial, then doubt, then a short hint of pity followed immediately by words of encouragement and support for your cause. Its true. Try it out.
– Its about exactly 24 hrs since I had my last smoke, after which I decided I will have one smoke a day, after which I had a smoke, so, to be precise, its probably 9 hours since I had my last smoke and I’m a mess.
– But, tomorrow will bring a duller day, my only saving grace being that one cigarette I have always Loved to Hate.
– I feel like I am being saved by the Cigarette, before it will kill me… more observations to follow hopefully…
23
Jul
10

Love is what Love does

I haven’t been inspired enough lately to make any post, it seems whenever I decide to start something, my mind wanders elsewhere. I’ve been a little obsessed with time, space and multiple dimensions, Carl Sagan and the theories he professes… etc etc.. Then I came across Aduhi’s Post and it gave me ample reason to post this followup.
I’m not the most romantic guy, or ‘zei’ or ‘CK’ or… you get my drift. I’ve tried, pretty hard too, but I guess I’m not that type. I was always uncomfortable around the opposite sex, probably still am, not great with the ladies, and even if I do talk to one, I’d probably bore her to death. I don’t know what girls like to talk about.
I’ve read countless magazines where they write that girls like to talk about themselves, you should compliment them, blah blah… never works out if you don’t say it right. A tall, dark and wholesome guy may utter total nonsense and girls would simply swoon and feed on anything that escapes his lips, while in one corner, I would timidly be mumbling something worthwhile, yet be simply overlooked.
But then once in a while, a girl comes along with whom I would feel totally at home with. Uptil now, I’ve met exactly 2 of them. The first recently got married. She was a few years older than me, and it didn’t matter. We weren’t a couple, we were just very good friends. I could talk to her about anything under the sun. She was like an older sis with whom I can discuss anything I can’t with my older sis.
I don’t think I need to elaborate much on the second one. Fifth year along and we’re still great together. We do have arguments, dramatic fights but the patching up is always better than the last.
Years ago, a single me used to think that relationships are as rosy and beautiful as the ones you’d see on hollywood flicks. A world where as long as two people love each other, the universe would fall into place and everything would work out for them. That’s partly true, but they forgot the fine print, the part where there would be hardships to endure, doubts to do away with, temptations to face and bad memories to share before they get to the happy ending.
I used to have a list back then, but now, that list has become pretty redundant. I guess when you love someone, its not the things that you love about them, but rather the little things they do which makes you mad that makes you love them so much more. I know, it sounds mushy-gushy, but I can’t put it in words better than that.
AND, Mr.Sandman is probably right about guys blogging anything remotely related to their girl, if you’re a guy, that is. I’d probably be ecstatic if she blogs about anything I do, be it the last time I woke up and didn’t know where I was, or the time I went for a concert and didn’t remember enough to give a report, or the time… and that one time when.. doesn’t matter what.
BUT, for the record, here is my list:
1. Loving
2. Cooks pork better than I do
3. Beautiful
4. Independent
5. Respected by peers
6. Hard working
7. Loves animals
8. Stylish and smells nice
9. Loves her mom
10. Laughs on SouthPark 🙂
15
Jun
10

Weekend trip

It didn’t start off bad, and the ending was pleasantly relaxing, but in between was the “worth-remembering” part. We had gone for a night-out at a Farmhouse outside Pune to celebrate a friends Birthday, we all needed the change of air as well.
We left on a Saturday afternoon, it was a little over an hour’s drive from the city and we reached early. The rest of the evening and night went pretty much as any other gettogether would of a nearing-thirties-north-east gang.

We all woke up pretty earlier on Sunday, around 7:30 and got ready to leave. We were planning to make it back on time for Sunday Church 🙂 We left by 8:00 with plans of having a heavy breakfast on the way.
The path to the farm from the Main road would take about 10 mins on wheels, and we were to spend the next 4 tiring hours on it. The previous day was sunny, so the road was pretty much dried up and we had little trouble reaching the farm. But it had drizzled a bit the night before (Funny no one seemed to notice then.) and it seemed the route was laid with fine black silt from the foothills of the Western Ghats. (No one noticed that either.)
Never in my life had I seen such sticky mud, maybe that’s why the soil was really good for cultivation. Mud stuck up the mudguard of our bikes blocked the rotation, and there was no way to scoop it out. The next logical thing to do was simply break them, apparently one friend was an expert and took great joy breaking them all. There were 5 bikes, luckily we had suggested to leave the cars near the main road, very luckily.
Before
After
We would push the bikes for about 10 meters, clean the mud, and then start all over again. I would really like to stress on how tiring it was, parched throats, muddy wet shoes, stinking black mud, etc, but no words can express the experience, and the feeling we had when we finally made it out. It was pure bliss. The end.
And here’s the dog that kept us company (He didn’t help much)
03
Jun
10

Emo

OK. So the post is not about the skinny, lifeless, dull and self-loathing pathetic excuses for a breed of teens. Anyone reading the post in search of sympathy for being one can stop right here and click on the “BACK” button on your browser, or the red X on the screen’s top-right or whatever..who cares. This post is about emotions, real ones, that has impacted generations and the decisions made on its account.

The other night, we had a tragedy here in Pune. A friend and an old roomie passed away. He was only 40. Too young to die, of a brain haemorrhage. He had a history of High blood pressure, and surely a lot of stress. But still, 40 is too young to go. He had the stroke while in his office, and never recovered. He was admitted in the ICU, but slowly his organs failed him, and had to be put on Life Support, living off a machine. After 3 days, he was declared dead. It was tragic. He had a family whom he supported back home. God bless his family.

The night we stayed in the hospital, we had a discussion, about the juvenility (Not sure if that is a word) of our race. I would love to give the credit to a friend, but I hate mentioning names.

Let’s get straight to the point. We lack the Emotional maturity of our peers. We, as Mizo’s, are not entirely ready to face the corporate world, because we are too short-tempered, figuratively speaking. We make decisions too easily when we are overwhelmed with any emotion, from happiness to sadness, from fear to anger, from love to hate. We do things we easily regret later on, and regret we do.

I’ve laughed and made fun of the usual routine of cab-drivers in Kolkata, screaming their heads off with faces barely an inch apart. I used to think that they are too chicken to fight, to be the one to throw the first punch. That, it may be, but on the other hand, that is how civilization functions. You don’t see managers negotiating with fists, the pen has become mightier than the sword, much more so than what the author of the saying would’ve anticipated then.

Yet from our perspective, that is a waste of time. We are eager and easily coerced to get physical if we are taunted. Funny incident was when I watched a BasketBall match while at home. It was between Tuikhuahtlang and Champhai for the YMA Touney. The latter being the “outsiders”, the crowd was mostly Pro-Tuikhuahtlang. There was Jersey no.11 (I think, one of the twins) who practically won the match for Champhai, and in the last few minutes of the 4th Quarter, I could hear determined yet disgruntled comments from behind me saying “After the match, we kick no.11’s ass!” (Loosely translated from: Match zawhah no.11 khi kan hnek dawn nia!)

When things don’t go our way, we quickly get agitated without making an effort to conceal. And when that happens, we start to think with our hearts and not with our heads. We become blind to the consequence and can only see what’s in front of us. That is when we become Emotionally High which blurs our inner-vision and logical-reasoning. If we are denied something which we truly wanted and deserved, we mutter “F..K it! Let it be! What the F..K do I care.. blah blah..” and storm out without looking back. Although at that point, even though we may have felt justified, to others, we give the impression of being juvenile, vain and completely hot-headed, damaging our image permanently.

On the other hand, a more mature person would keep his cool, concealing his anger and possibly pass a snide, but not-overly obvious remark about his disappointment, congratulate the “other” guy and go for a coffee break with the same individuals who had just turned him down. Even though it may have been a transparently unfair decision, he emerges as being the bigger individual.

And it’s not just anger. Let’s talk about love. I bet our state has the maximum number of teen pregnancies, not to mention teen-marriages. Calculating the ratio of the number of pregnant/married teens to the teen-population of each state, ours would be right up there. I’m not saying that it’s wrong for teens to get married, but that teen-hood is the era in everyone’s life when one is most emotionally vulnerable, and it is easy to mistake feelings when you suddenly start experiencing so many which you haven’t felt before. And making decisions while on that love-high may not be the best decision ever made, and that is something you’ve gotta live with.

Childhood was simple, everything was black and white, no gray areas, you either felt it or you didn’t. You like something, or you didn’t, but as one gets older, the fuzzy logic creeps in, complicating everything.

Love is as strong and intense as anger itself. It has driven and still drives the young and old alike, to commit suicide. While being high on the Love drug, decisions made can be sloppy and improperly thought out. And under its influence, it is easy to make decisions without looking further beyond.

In a recent movie I watched, the playboy Dad tells his daughter “You can’t learn from my mistakes. You’ve gotta make them on your own.” I guess that pretty much sums it up. Unless we make mistakes, we don’t seem to learn. We are a practical breed of north-easterns, we like gettin’ down and dirty, we like a hands-on approach and don’t mind getting physical. We will make mistakes and we will need to learn from them, sooner or later.

13
May
10

Jailbreaking the iPhone

How I Jailbroke my iPhone and installed full versions of free PIRATED apps using Wi-fi:

Disclaimer:

Firstly, The below mentioned steps are what I have personally performed on my phone and although I am sure they would work 99.99% of the time, please make sure to backup your phone using iTunes to have the option of restoring it, Just in case.

Secondly, I am not responsible for any tragedy that may befall your iPhone should things go wrong. So proceed at your own risk.

Thirdly, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes running and update the iPhone software to the latest available. At the time I performed these steps, I had OS 3.1.3 on my phone.

And Lastly, all images and links are used without permission, and if any of them are your copyrighted material, please, please don’t sue me. 🙂

I exchanged my phone with sis, iPhone for Corby Pro, not a bad deal. It wasn’t just because I badly wanted the iPhone, but seeing it being used to make and take calls, browse the internet and take pictures was kinda painful, considering the vast possibilities that IS the iPhone. So, barely a week after I first laid my hands on it, I bring you this:

There are 4 steps to jailbreaking the iPhone and installing free Apps, so I have explained them in as much detail as possible with screenshots, hope it helps:

1. Jailbreak iPhone using Spirit (This automatically installs Cydia as an App on the phone)
– Download Spirit for your OS from the link :  http://spiritjb.com/
– Connect the iPhone to your computer with the USB cable and once it is detected, launch Spirit from the PC
– If you are using Windows Vista or above, make sure to change the Compatibility mode of Spirit.exe to Windows98/ME mode by right-clicking it, then click Properties>Compatibility:
– Also, to launch Spirit.exe, right-click and select Run as Administrator.
– You would get a screen that looks something like this: (The screenshot is for iPad, but it’s more or less the same!)
– Click on “Jailbreak” button and after a few minutes, you will get a “Jailbreak Succeeded” screen:
– You may click on “Quit” to close Spirit on the  PC, in the meanwhile, your iPhone will restart automatically.
– Once Booted up, you will get the Cydia icon in your App list like so:
Note:
* Beyond this point, the iPhone requires to be connected to a Wifi internet connection.
* Also, before you proceed to start installing any App using Cydia, be sure to install at least one App from the Apple AppStore, whether Free or Paid does not matter. You will get an error when opening Cydia unless you have done this.

2. Add http://cydia.hackulo.us as a source in Cydia
– Open Cydia from the iPhone and you will get a similar screen
– Click on the “Manage” option at the bottom and you will see the following screen.
– Click “Sources” and once opened, you will get an option to “ADD” a source from the Edit option
– Add the link http://cydia.hackulo.us&#8221;, this will throw a “Moral” disclaimer, but if you’ve come this far, I don’t think there’s any turning back. 😛
– Once added, you will get “Hackulo.us” in the Source list
3. Install Installous
– Click on the “Hackulo.us” source and look for Installous
– Select the option to install the App
– Once installed, you will get the Installous icon in your App list
4. Install cracked Apps using Installous
On opening Installous, you will get a menu similar to that of the Apple AppStore where apps are categorized. You can search for apps or simply install whatever you want.
– Installous uses free file-sharing websites (Rapidshare/Mediafire/AppScene, etc) to download and install cracked IPA files, hence some links may require you to wait for a few seconds for the download link, some may require you to enter Characters for security, and yet others may not work at all, but then again, not all Torrent files work either, right.
– Pirates can’t be choosers! 😛
– I haven’t gotten around to getting the screen-shots on how to use Installous, but if required, I shall post them soon enough.
– There are other guides on how to manually download the cracked IPA files and install it on the iPhone using USB cable without the need for a WiFi connection, haven’t explored that feature as yet. This works fine for me.
– Also, if you ARE able to make use of this guide, please do let me know.
References: