Top 25 Ways To Avoid Studying!

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Once again, the time has come when college lectures come to a grinding halt and the tez talwaar of exams dangles perilously over your head. The time where all your procrastination comes back to bite you on the kundi and the 35% mark starts to resemble Mt.Everest.  The worst part is that there’s no way out of this…or at least you thought so! Before you choke on your Junior Horlicks that your mummy specially brought for you because you have to do a lot of padhai-likhai, I’d like to make my point very clear. Though there isn’t a way to avoid being home during study-leave, there is a way to avoid all the hard work of studying without giving it away to your folks. In fact I can name 25 of them right off the top of my head! Now pay careful attention to this piece for a while and take in every little detail, for if you master these techniques, you’ll never have to break a sweat again. Chalo pen-pencils-paper ready? Ishtaaart

25)  With a straight face, say the following to your parents. “Mere text-book knowledge doesn’t make the cut these days. There’s a vast ocean of information online which one just can’t afford to ignore.” After they are floored by your dedication, proceed online and poke, superpoke and throw sheep at your fraands on the web!

24) Ask any school or college topper what is the secret to their success and they’ll unanimously tell you, ‘Drawing two extra margins on the left and right hand side of the page’. Practice this art religiously, till you reach a point where you can draw poker straight margins without a scale. After all one has to draw the line somewhere na?

23) After you are bored throwing livestock at your near and dear ones online approach your folks once again and this time say the following, “Mere academic brilliance is not enough. One needs to holistically develop a well-rounded personality by way of hobbies.” Do this right and your folks will beam with pride even if your ‘hobby’ is collecting toffee wrappers from all around the neighborhood in a polythene bag.

22) Poor, little, innocent trees all over the world are being chopped down each day to print abominations such as Mumbai Mirror, Mid-Day and that other three lettered magazine. Off-set this deforestation by offering all your notebooks and textbooks for recycling and make Captain Planet proud!

21) Grab highlighting markers of four different shades and start highlighting random phrases in your text book from cover to cover. Make sure you look very harrowed during the process.

20) Walk around the house lip syncing your favorite song, text book in hand and Watch your parents’ eyes well up with tears of admiration.

19) Isolate yourself to a room every two hours or so and make sure you look exhausted when you return.

18) Convince your folks that you study best when you have the house to yourself and then call your bf/gf over for ‘group study’.

17) Lie flat on your back with your text book on your chest and take a nap.  If your folks wake you up, immediately snap at them saying, “I was mentally doing a walk-through of the chapter. Now I’ve lost track because of you!”

16) Take the time out to tell your mom what a good cook she is. Compliment her specifically for the dishes you like and before you know it Mummyji will say, “Bas kar padhai-wadhai, main tere liye gajar ka halwa/ kheer abhi laayi! Haat-muh dho kar aaja!”

15) If that doesnt work, strike up conversation about the good ol’ days. If my complex mental calculations are correct, your mom will dreamily recount tales of times with 10 paise ka ice-cream, Aakashvani radio and Rakesh Sharma (not related to the author of this article) the astronaut.

14) Video-tape a half-an-hour study-session and then minutely analyse it for 48-72 hrs to focus on areas of improvement just like the pros do!

13) Make a mnemonic song to remember key points of your answers and then annoy the living hell out of your family by endlessly singing it!

12) Resolve to your parents that you will wake up early to study, set an alarm for 4.30 AM and actually wake up. By then your folks will assume that you really want to study. Seize the opportunity and watch badly dubbed Late Night TV Shopping Network shows!

11) Convince your folks that your professor has planned ‘extra morning lectures’ to discuss important topics from the exam perspective and then proceed to your nearest multiplex to watch the sasta morning show.

10) Refuse to study after sundown saying you are trying to offset the additional global warming caused by the simultaneous Live Earth concerts in 2007.

9) Sit at the study table and continuously stare into space for about five minutes. Then scribble something on a piece of paper for the next fifteen minutes. Repeat!

8 ) Claim you are exhausted from studying and take a nap. The claim that you are too sleepy to study and then take a walk. Then say the walk made you too hungry…you get the idea right?

7) Annoy your classmates by calling them one by one and saying , “Bas that’s all you’ve done? I’ve already finished 6 chapters!”

6) ‘Accidentally misplace’ your books a day before the exam and enjoy the chaos!

5) Engage your family members in a discussion about how the present educational system tests rote memory capacity and not actual knowledge and is therefore not a good measure of one’s understanding of a subject. If you don’t manage to convince them you’ll at least kill and hour or so. But if you do, they won’t give you a hard time even if you flunk! Win-win situation no?

4) Tell your folks that it doesn’t make sense to study until the night before the exam as  research on memory has shown that the more the time gap between learning (studying) and recall (exam), the more are the possibilities of forgetting.

3) Dress up in white overalls like a Baba on Aastha TV and say that you have stopped pursuing worldly goals such as Passing exams with First Class.

2) Devise a detailed hourly plan and then follow it to the T for a day. That should shock your folks enough to not bother you to study for at least another week!

1) Write a column that gives tips about how to waste your study leave creatively during your study leave just like the author of this article!

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Bedardi Sardi – An Uncommon Tale of a Common Cold

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A wise man once said, ‘Sardi hona aur pyaar hona, similar hota hai.’ In case you’re wondering who said that, it was me…and yes I said that when I had a cold. Now what’s the similarity between falling ill with a cold and falling in love, you may ask. Well, everything! Your raaton ki neend and din ka chain are taken away, food loses its taste, days are bitter and nights longer than ever! Now you tell me yeh pyaar hai ke sardi ke saath bukhaar hai? But beware, both are double-dholaks. There’s a dark side to both of them. Just like in pyaar, ishq and louve one goes through dard-e-dil (not dard-e-disco), one experiences the full-blown wrath of dard-e-sardi while suffering from a cold.

Dard-e-sardi is pure agony my fraand, it’s Mother Nature’s way of personally whooping your pichwaada. Think about it, Mother Nature knows all our weaknesses. She knows that we are puny little bechara oxygen breathers. So what does she do? She does a rasta-roko on our main oxygen passage…a.k.a. the nose. And as if having to breathe through your mouth wasn’t bad enough already, she decides to make your throat dry and scratchy so that you begin to sound like Anu Malik singing Opera. Conniving as she is, she has connected your nose and your throat with your ears, such that if either one is affected all three collapse like Harbour railway on a rainy day. And finally, the coup de grace, Mummyji Nature won’t even reveal the top-secret cure for this deadly monster. Don’t believe me kya?

Well my fraand over the last two weeks everyone from dadi-ma to baaju wali aunty swore to me that they had a sure-fire cure for my cold. ‘Steam le lo beta!’, said one. ‘Vicks laga lo!’ said another. ‘Hamari family ka super special, karela-chaap kaadha pee lo beta. The rest is all nonsense. This is the good shit!’ said another enthusiastic aunty. But to no avail. Honey and ginger, turmeric and salt water gargling, D-Cold etc etc. all proved impotent before the almighty sardi which refused to budge like a Kanpur-wali Mamiji who came ‘visiting’ for a couple of days and ended up staying a month. Sad no?

Today, thanks to technology we may have sliced bread, elastic-wali chaddis, soap bars that pani mein reh ke bhi melt minimally, but somehow through it all we haven’t been able to figure out how a blocked nose can leak endlessly. What’s sadder is that despite the fact that colds are incurable and incredibly contagious (and did I mention incredibly annoying already?), we still don’t take them seriously. To this day, school teachers consider the words ‘cough and cold’ on a leave note as ‘I was just plain lazy to come to school yesterday’ and make a murga out of your poor little sniveling bacchas. It’s about time we changed this trend. We must create more awareness about bedardi sardi through all forms of the media. Heck even a Taare Zameen Par based on a kid who suffers from acute maxillary sinusitis if that’s what it takes (Aamir Khan, are you listening?). Only then will poor victims like me feel sardi mein bhi pyaar ke warmth ki garmi ka ehsaas. Chalo, I’ve done my bit promoting this noble cause. Mera kaam to ho gaya. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go search for my hanky! Achooo!

P.S. The writer of this article made a full recovery from his sardi but next week wonly it relapsed. After multiple guesses by fraands and family alike, the doc said ‘Sinus-it-is’. As you can see it has taken an adverse effect on his writing. So please to forgive him!

Bigg Boss Ka Ghar

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Other day only new show has come,
Which is called Bigg Boss,
Jisme our Indian culture,
Has gone for a toss.

In Bigg Boss ka house,
The besharam ladkis swim
Wearing deep cut blouse.

And then they sit and smoke,
With the useless ladkas
Who are telling dirty dirty jokes.

What great contestants
They have choose!
All of their characters,
Are vary vary loose

Some are dancers from item song,
Some have been in jail for long,
Some of them are beating wife,
And all of them are having no life!

So I am requesting you
Not to watch these peoples
Who are having no shame or darr.

Pick up your cellphone now
And vote to keep them inside wonly
In Bigg Boss ka Ghar!

Mamma Mia! Review

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I watched Mamma Mia! with journalists from various publications and various age-groups, each of whom had their own distinct take on the movie. Some found it surprisingly amusing, others compared it to Bollywood and some even dared to go as far as saying that it was ‘a Hannah Montana episode with a grand budget.’ But the opinion that stood out came from a gentleman who in no way stood out from the crowd in his appearance. ‘Bahut zamaane se aisi picture nahi dekhi.’ he said with an obvious sense of joy and nostalgia that probably took him back to the carefree days of his youth. For him and for many others who belong to the 60s and 70s, Mamma Mia! is nothing short of a reason to celebrate.

ABBA may have never written the most intelligible lyrics. None-the-less they defined the music of the 60s and the 70s. There was a rare quality to their music that made sure that it remained stuck in the listener’s head year after, generation after generation till it became a part of the listener’s life, and a part of his dearest memories.  Mamma Mia! throws caution to the wind and brings those memories back to life.

If you identify with the current generation however, Mamma Mia! may be as embarrassing as watching your parents dance in their old, sequined bell-bottoms. But hedonistic nostalgia and marshmallow sweetness aside, this is one well-done musical. The timing of the music is near-perfect – all right words seem to pop in at all the right times to the extent that memorable ABBA tunes almost begin to have a conversational quality to them. The actors too dare to indulge themselves in the maddening euphoria as if they have nothing to prove and nothing to lose. The by-standers too actually seem to be a part of the song and dance and not paid extras who do a jig on cue. It all fits brilliantly into place.

Cheesiness and thread-bare plot notwithstanding, Meryl Streep emerges as the star of the show, looking more lively at times than her on-screen daughter Sophia (Amanda Seyfried). Colin Firth takes the viewer back ‘to the days of flower power’ with his controlled humor and of course his spiked dog-collar. Heck even the ex-007 Pearce Brosnan, sings a duet (and he’s not half-bad). Julie Walters and Christina Baranski too are outstanding as Meryl Streep’s, refusing to age, sidekicks. The 60s brigade in fact, puts on such a show that quite often the younger actors seem to struggle to catch up with them.

All in all, in a year that has seen dark masterpieces such as The Dark Knight and endearingly intelligent animated brilliance in the form of Wall-E, Mamma Mia! is right up there with its distinct flavor of mindless fun. This reviewer definitely recommends Mamma Mia! if you’re the kind who is open to experimenting. But if you can’t fathom going for a musical where actors pushing 50 groove to tunes from the 60s, pass the ticket to your folks. They’ll definitely love this one!

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

Metallica’s Death Magnetic Reviewed Track-by-Track

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After consecutively delivering five of the most definitive metal albums ever this giant started to sway with Load/Reload before falling face-first on the frantic(tick-tick-tock) mess that was St.Anger. But just when all hope seemed to be lost this metal-monolith rose to its past glory with Death Magnetic. Yes, people Metallica are back and they’re coming for you…each and every single one of you! Be it a loyal 80s thrash enthusiast who swears by Kill ‘Em All or a Black Album junkie, each Metallica fan will find something to cheer about on this record. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Metallica’s return to form.

1) ‘That Was Just Your Life’ – 7:08

The pounding heart at the start of this track only heightens the listener’s anticipation regarding. And then slowly, the track begins with a low-tuned, haunting guitar intro reminiscent of The Black Album. At a minute-thirty however Metallica delivers a knock out punch straight from the 80’s. James Hetfield sounds mean and vicious as ever with his breakneck delivery of the catchy opening verse. Instrumentally this track couldn’t get any better either, with a trademark grinding riff courtesy Papa Het and a sick bass-line by Robert Trujillo who sounds as if he were always a part of Metallica this track moves on like an army track on steroids crushing everything in sight for the first five minutes. And that’s when Kirk Hammett is let off the leash for the first time in almost a decade. And boy does he deliver! Oh and by the way, the trash can lid from St.Anger is history!

Rating: 5/5

2) ‘The End of The Line’ – 7:58

Fans first heard the intro to this track almost a year and a half ago under the working title ‘The New Song’. Back then, it was a rough, unfinished demo. In its studio avatar, this track sounds more old school than ‘new song’. With the good parts of Load/Reload thrown in and complex stop-start drumming by Lars Ulrich this track will definitely test the band when it is played live. Robert Trujillo’s bouncy bass-line gives this track an almost RATM feel while Kirk Hammett delivers yet another killer wah-solo. James Hetfield makes it two in two with a vocal performance that has shades of everything from Master of Puppets to Load/Reload.

Rating: 4/5.

3) ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’ – 6:25

With a ‘Slipknot meets Enter Sandman’ intro this song is a perfect example what Rick Rubin has been able to achieve with Metallica. Featuring one of the catchiest choruses on the album this song is Metallica’s 27 year journey packed in a little over six minutes. ‘Rise/Fall Down/Rise Again‘ may sound alarmingly cheesy (Remember ‘Fuel/Fire/Desire?’) but fear not, James Hetfield’s teeth grinding vocals and the overall instrumental brutality on this track are sure to make this one a new mosh-pit favorite. Pretty soon, one will see humongous mosh-pits screaming ‘Show Your Scars’ in unision. Kudos Metallica, this one’s as good as anything you’ll ever do!

Rating: 5/5

4) ‘The Day That Never Comes’ – 7:56

The fate of this album literally depended on this song. Being the first single, TDTNC faced the uphill task of once again winning over the fans who were ‘madly in anger’ with Metallica after the last album. Fortunately, it manages to do so. With a first half that sounds like ‘Fade to Black’ and ‘Bleeding Me’ rolled into one, this track totally takes the listener by surprise when Hetfield and Hammett unleash a lethal double-guitar attack towards the sixth minute. But the high-point of this song comes when Kirk Hammett launches into a furious fast-tapping solo. The song however goes wayward for just a wee bit in the middle, but none-the-less, faith restored!

Rating: 4/5.

5) ‘All Nightmare Long’ – 7:58

From the title this song sounds more goth than Metallica and even the first minute of this song shows no clear direction, until a brief stop after which James Hetfield starts off with his classic speed-thrash riffage. Until minute number two, this sounds like St.Anger done right. That is only until Papa Het unleashes yet another catchy hook ‘LUCK-RUNS-OUT‘. After that it’s five-odd minutes of stop-start-solo madness. Kirk Hammett really blows the listener away this time around with mind-boggling shredding on an almost Iron Maiden meets Joe Satriani solo. . Lars shows us once again on this album that he can handle complex time-signatures and God-alone knows how Robert Trujillo must have finger-picked to this song. Overall, weak title, but rock-solid in all other departments.

Rating: 4.5/5.

6) ‘Cyanide’ – 6:39

For a band that has a history of burying the bassist deep beneath a mountain of riffage and solos, this one is a breath of fresh air. Early reviews tagged this song as the weakest on the album, but even this is head and shoulders above most of their material post-The Black Album. The verse lyrics may not be the best on the album but the chorus more than makes up for this flaw. I, like most other fans, first heard the Ozzfest soundboard version of this song and I must admit that on some parts I prefer the live version. Somehow this song holds back just a little bit, but then again I say that because the five songs before this one threw everything including the kitchen sink at the listener. That aside, the band sounds very tight despite the unusual song structure.

Rating: 3.5/5

7) ‘The Unforgiven III’ – 7:46

‘The Unforgiven’ was epic, ‘The Unforgiven II’ didn’t disappoint either, but would Metallica be third-time-lucky? Surprisingly, YES! For the third straight time, Metallica succeeds in giving a new angle to an old theme. The melodic piano intro backed subtly by violins and trumpets pay homage to S&M without losing track of the task at hand. ‘The Unforgiven III’ features what this reviewer considers the strongest lyrics on this album. ‘How can I blame you/ When it’s me I can’t forgive?’ sings James Hetfield on a note which most fans thought he couldn’t hold no more. Two-thumbs up to Metallica for daring to meddle with an already epic song and not screwing it up. And once again, take a bow Mr.Hammett!

Rating: 5/5.

8 ) ‘The Judas Kiss’ – 8:00

Listening to ‘The Judas Kiss’ for the first time felt a lot like the first time I heard ‘Master of Puppets’. I may have to eat these words later, but for now all I can say is that the chorus of this song has knocked me senseless. I don’t know about you but for me ‘Bow Down/Sell your soul to me‘ evoked the same feeling in my heart as ‘Master! Master!’ or ‘Die!, by my hand…’ As Kirk Hammett begins to solo again with the solid backing of Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo, I get the feeling that I may not have to eat my words after all. You simply ‘Cannot resist The Judas Kiss!’

Rating: 5/5

9) ‘Suicide & Redemption’ – 9:57

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the song lengths next to the titles, but this one is just 3 seconds short of a full 10 minutes and is officially the longest Metallica song to be released. This is one song where James Hetfield gives no one a chance to complain about his vocals. Brilliant vocal performance, you may wonder? Well actually, this is an instrumental the likes of which Metallica haven’t done since ...And Justice For All. While AJFAs ‘To Live is To Die’ is best remembered for the memorable lines written by the late Cliff Burton, this one will certainly be remembered for the current bassist Robert Trujillo’s performance. If the fans don’t accept him after this, I don’t know what it will take to convince them. All I can say is ‘Jason Who?’

Rating: 4.5/5

10) ‘My Apocalypse’ – 5:01

The last and the shortest track from Death Magnetic is an absolute, class-A, thrash-fest! Heck it’s so fast that Metallica couldn’t slow down for a chorus on this one. This song proves that in Metallica’s case ‘What didn’t kill ’em, made ’em stronger!’ At the same time I have no clue how the guys will manage to pull this one off live! Oh well, who cares! Head bang away for now!

Rating: 4.5/5

All said and done Death Magnetic is destined to be one of the biggest albums of the year as well as one of the biggest Metallica albums of all times. May I daresay this is the best album the band has done in over 15 years (or 20 depending on what you consider their last good record). Welcome back Metallica!

Overall Album Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Here’s to Christine!

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Christine,

Now I know everyone else has already said most of what’s there to be said to you by way of letters, pictures and even dedicated blog posts. So let me begin by saying the things you should not expect from this:

  1. This was not written to say that ‘I wanted to but couldn’t cry at the airport.’ ( No offense to those who cried, but I don’t express myself that way.)
  2. This is not Metamorphosis of Chaddi for which you’ve pestered me for so long now. A very good reason why I never wrote one for you (besides the fact that getting all the bhaav is fun is that you brought so much laughter into our lives…intentionally, (unlike some of our lesser fortunate victims…I mean fortunate friends).
  3. No long origin stories of our louve and fraandship like the first part of a bad superhero movie. For that you can refer to this earlier letter.
  4. Pretty much don’t expect much, okay? (Kidding!)

Okay so let’s get to the actual things I wanted to say to you. You and I may have never spent time in just each other’s company and not really had too many one-to-one conversations, but it would be a great understatement on my part at least (and I hope yours too) if I said that you didn’t occupy a significant place in my life over the last few years that I’ve known you. Despite the fact that the time we spent together only decreased as the years went by and you graduated from college, we didn’t grow apart. That’s one of the things I’m thankful for.

Surprisingly, I never really imagined us being friends outside of college when we first started hanging out, but the time gone by has only proved that wrong and as it turns out, you have been one of the people who have been consistently around in my life through changing times. If you actually go to see it you in a way you did hold all of us together. Every time you came to our side of town, there’d be at least half a dozen folks who’d want to spend time with you just as much as say Oscar or I. So ‘Christine’s coming to IC’ was like an unofficial reason to get together. After everyone’s schedules got crazy, those were the only times I can remember that most of us hung out together. At the risk of sounding mushy and cliched, I can say that now that you’ve gone to Canada, it’s the end of a chapter not just in yours but all our lives as well. A chapter we’ll all look back fondly on until you return (with a different hair-cut and further accented English and worsened Hindi) from Canada.

Another thing for which I can’t thank you enough is my first memorable birthday party. Though its a world of fun to throw someone a surprise party, its totally something else when you’re on the receiving end of surprise. Thank you for putting your own farewell second to make my day. Also, a big hi-five to you for not being a girly-girl (well mostly) around all of us guys. Being in a class full of girls has made see to a certain extent how it can be hard to relate when there’s absolutely no one of the opposite sex around. So for everytime I made a sour face at the mention of a Shahid Kapoor movie and for every time I tried to talk Oscar out of going for a chick-flick with you (to no avail anyway), I empathize and offer my half-hearted apologies (I still can’t bring myself to watch 27 Dresses or Jab We Met, sorry!).

Also sorry for all the Amit Naik jok….nah, not really sorry for those.Finally thank you for being the person that you are and for warmly accepting those who meant something to me as your own friend unlike some other so-called ‘best pals’. And for all the Bollywood song and dance, for the movies we watched together (complete with loud comments), for cheesecakes shared in Theos and that outrageously expensive god awful joint, Just Around the Corner, for all the fun times embarrassing random strangers in trains and for ordering hideously huge amounts of McDonald’s food in our inimitable style. I wish just as much as the next person that those times would never end, but that would be selfish, so with lots of love and fond memories of louve and fraandships, I wish you basht luck for everything you do. We’ll never let you go out of our hearts…or in other words Sodnaar Nahi!

Louve,

Paras.