Of Mating Dances & Seduction

 Why do you read, she asked?

An innocent enough question, it seemed, on the surface, but the glint in her eye made me feel I’d better make it good.

‘Oh boy!’ I thought, but out loud I said, ‘Well, book reading is for me the same as mind reading, or atleast the closest I’ll get to it. I get to glimpse into the mind of another, develop perceptions and make judgements as they would, put on a different set of mind filters, and see the world tainted by their life experience. Why do you?’

‘Well, it lets me be someone else.’

Heavy.

Dont get me wrong. Despite the lack of sophistication on my part, I enjoy an intellectually stimulating discussion just as much as the next guy, but sometimes the vibe is just wrong enough for that kind of exchange.

You don’t want what was a light and playful interaction suddenly get bogged down by the sap of sentimentalism, the remains of what came before encased for posterity in the amber for future dusting off and drunk reminiscing and posthumous analysis.

On cue, a fly buzzed around our drinks.

She absent-mindedly flapped a hand at the intruder, determined to carry this conversation right into the graveyard of boredom.

‘I have a tough job, and a boring job. Reading, for a little while, helps me forget all my problems and life circumstances,’ she offered.

Oh, so she has problems. I didn’t know whether I should take it as a good sign or not. Only problem I had was figuring out how to steer this sinking ship away from the shark-infested deep and straight onto the nearest viable land mass.

A snarky comment about her being from an Ivy league university with honours coalesced in my mind but caught itself somewhere on the way to my lips. Why ruin what was a halfway good evening, by any standards? I gave it my best shot,

‘Oh, I understand. Sometimes I wish I can just leave this all behind and just go away for an indeterminate amount of time. I guess vacations are hardwired into the human psyche. We’d all kill each other otherwise.’

‘But we do kill each other all the time. Humans, I mean.’

The way she said it hinted at her considering herself not being in the same category as ‘those humans’. The barest hint of misanthropy. This girl gets more and more interesting.

She continued, ‘What do you think about this. Why are humans like that?’

The slightest instinctual response surfaced from the depths of my nervous system warning me of danger. The uncomfortable feeling was familiar: we were going in the direction of politics. Most people wouldn’t really call this a political question, but to be fair, those are the same people who find themselves in heated rhetorical arguments with random strangers regarding the direction the government should take in response to latest changes in regimes halfway around the world.

Occupational hazard of being a writer, I guess. People want to know what you think about things. What they fail to clarify, is that they want to hear what you think, so then they can tell you what they think. Tedium. Bedlam. Blahville.

‘Well, inasmuch what I have seen, people (Humans, she corrected. I made a mental note to ask her if she was vegan later).

‘Humans, I said pointedly, ‘also have an incredible capacity to love. (Yuck. I hated using that word without pointing out context, but desperate times and all that. So colour me green, I’m jaded).

‘For example, right now, you and me sitting here having the most fascinating discussion, and we didn’t even know each other when the day started. Humans connect, develop relationships. People love pets like their own children. Heck, our social instinct is so strong, we even have relationships with inanimate objects. For instance, there is this pair of tweezers I use that I’m very attached to. And I know, when the time comes to replace them, they’ll take a little part of my soul with them when I throw them in the trash. It’s lucky I’m so thick-skinned, or else I’d be heartbroken for those tweezers.’

I was surprised it came out so congruently.

She giggled and pulled her hair behind her right ear, giving me a glimpse of her jugular. The flush of her skin was very obvious.

This part of the mating dance over, the next logical step presented itself. I moved closer…

Sometimes it feels like life is a dancefloor. You ask a partner for a dance, both link together and calibrate to each other, feeling each other out, gingerly at first, and becoming more confident with each step. You weave in and out around other dancers doing the same, the music acting like the governing principle, God forbid lest someone jiggle and shake out of time, and when the song is over, you thank your partner and sit back down at your table, looking around for the next victi..partner for you to dance with.

And in the end, the dance you choose depends on what music is playing.

Why do we dance? Why indeed?

Yash Chheda

 

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Break Free In 2017 – A Manifesto

Fearful people are easy to control. It’s in the interest of those who are trying to influence you, for whatever reason, to keep you in a state of fear.

There’s a meme of negativity in the world right now. It’s a case of divide and rule all over again. The East India Company did it by dividing us on the basis of caste and religion but it seems the current crop of young people doesn’t care that much about communal and racial differences. People prefer interacting with people on the basis of similar interests and socio-economic background, with other distinctions not featuring much on the radar.

So this time, the people who would like to wield their influence are doing it on the basis of political affiliation & gender. By dividing people on the basis of political beliefs, they’re making sure that people don’t come together.

The whole neo-liberal, YouTube feminist, SJW insanity is a bunch of people so dumb with stress, that they’re acting out from a state of extreme fear and emotions rather than well thought out reasoning. And while people like these are just the minority (the argument could be made they’re not), they get proportionally too much screen time

Stress makes us stupid. Turns us into sheep. Makes us have strong fear-based opinions on what is the right direction for others to take to make us feel safe. Makes us impose our values and beliefs on others, while at the same time denying them their right to have their own. Stress makes us blind to our own hypocrisy. Makes us complain that we’re not meeting the right people on Tinder, completely forgetting the fact that it’s not other people’s problem that you don’t have your shit together.

There’s a TED talk by Steven Pinker that makes the argument that we’re living in the safest time in known history of the human race. Why then are people so fearful of the future? Why do they overestimate the effect changes in power, regime and heads of state will have in their day to day life?

How do we escape this mental prison that has been thrust upon us even without us knowing of its existence?

How do you give a big fuck you to the insecure folks who’re trying to control what you eat, who you fuck, what you think, and what you put into your body?

By getting off this wheel of fear. Skip news media, incessant noise and constant attacks on your attention. Turn off your app notifications. Control who and what you give your attention to. It’s the thing that’ll starve them like nothing else. Don’t give them your money. Don’t give their YouTube videos your views. Starve them of the clicks that are their digital lifeblood. Use social media, don’t let it use you.

The process is begun. More and more people are waking up to this game being played around them. They’re disconnecting, tuning out and turning away.

And it’ll get worse this year. The battle for your attention is underway. Expect a renewed attack on your senses. The news will become more and more sensationalist. Not just popular media, but even the social media space will be rent with wailing, scared, hyperactive, loud voices insisting that you engage with them. When you don’t, they’ll try to get you to react. The clickbait will get worse as analysts collect data on what headline gets the strongest reaction.

The triggers will get ever more outrageous. Expect them to. You can tell you’re being triggered by the anger rising inside you as you read a comment or article. Refuse to engage.

The whatsapp forwards will get dumber. Cat videos will come at you faster and quicker. Learn to dodge them. Memes will try to drag you into the tar-pits of time kill.

Create space, both mental and physical, between you and what’s important to YOU, and the stressed out, fearful, negative population. The new filthy, unwashed masses, if you will.

Develop laser-like focus on the things YOU want to do. Make sure your goals and achievements are coming from deep inside your core, not generated by peer-pressure and societal expectations. Be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t feed off your own bullshit. You can do better than that.

Get healthy and strong. Fix your stress and clear your mind. See if maybe you can thrive, instead of just survive.

Get off this wheel of fear, and it’ll be your best year ever.

Happy 2017!

Things I Would Do If I Were An Evil Villain

Dr Evil finger

Can I get a hug?

Things I would do if I were an evil villain

Warning: read this list at your own risk. You will not be able to watch a movie and not notice these tropes again.

Trope Definition
Here again, instead of Websters, I’ll use the ever witty & increasing relevant Urban Dictionary. Here’s the UD definition of the word.

Trope: Despite the erroneous definitions already published here, TROPE on the interwebs really refers to an often overused plot device. It can also be described as another variation on the same theme. TV shows, movies, comics, games, anime & books are full of tropes & many rabid fan-sites now name & track said tropes with a self-explanatory title for each one.

1. When I have the hero cornered, I would just shoot him. No long speeches, no lengthy explanations of how he/his family/his friends/his community have hurt my wee li’l feelings, and how I plan on exacting revenge and how much satisfaction I’ll derive from his demise. If I’m feeling particularly verbose, I’ll kill him first, then give him a speech or a spiffy one liner. Essentially, I’ll save the gloating for later.

So many movie plot twists have occurred because of the villain wasting time and words on a hero, who is then rescued just in time or has time to think and figures out a plan of escape.

2. When I have the gun on my arch enemy, I’ll maintain my distance. Guns are meant to shoot at a distance, so I won’t just go up to him and hold it to his head, even though it looks much cooler that way.

At the same time, I’ll keep an eye out for any stuff within arms reach of the hero which he can use as a projectile weapon.

Better yet, if I need him alive, I’ll just shoot his arms and legs so he can’t use them. Alternatively, if I need him to walk or use his hands, then I’ll just shoot his arms or feet respectively.

3. I won’t be so overconfident as to give the hero a fighting chance to save himself. I’ll assume he’s stronger than me, and won’t waste the opportunity on such trivialities such as honour. I am the villain after all. Sportsmanship is for wusses.

4. I won’t leave the hero to fate, or presume he is dead. Two extra shots, one to the head, one to the heart just to make sure. Decapitation will be preferred.

5. I won’t leave an arch enemy on a downward sloping prison that leads to a sheer cliff face, just to make him suffer. Nor will I keep him alive just to make him watch the destruction of his family/love interest/planet. I’m fucking going to be killing him, how much worse can it get for him?

6. If killing him is not enough to satiate me, I’ll go do a course of meditation or something to get over my bloodthirst. Remember, anger hurts ourselves before it hurts others.

7. If I want someone assassinated, I won’t hire a cut rate assassin who’s likely to fail, just to save some money. I’ll get the best of the lot.

8. I’ll make sure there’s no way to stop the countdown on the doomsday device. Better yet I won’t even have a visible countdown so no one knows it’s already underway.

If I’m feeling even more evil I’ll have a clock where the destruction actually happens at 5 hours 45 minutes, but no one knows that but me.

9. As to the matter of hacking into the system, I won’t have it connected to the network/Internet/WAN, and I won’t have a hackable password or security holes that could be exploited.

10. The keypad to open the security doors won’t just open them when it is smashed or shot. That’s the stupidest vulnerability I can think of. Even a ten year old should catch it.

11. Passwords would be atleast 16 digits, and usually a phrase that no one except me would be able to guess. (D0nk3yB@llzB00g3rBr3@thM0nk3y)

12. There won’t be a big Red switch which when pressed aborts the doomsday sequence.

Why have any such switch at the console.
Evil villain level 99 : I’ll have that switch, which will be secretly electrified. If anyone tries to press it, voila! Instant brain roast.

13. I will have multiple secret lairs with the same equipment and high levels of redundancy so that if one is taken out, another will take its place. If money is tight, I’ll try to do as much via software as possible and outsource tech support to the Philippines.

This is a work in progress, as villainy as an art is an iterative process. I’ll add to this list from time to time as I think of more stuff and others share their own insights. Happy hunting!

Love,

Yash