Opinion

Beware: Creeps & perverts live among us

They have no labels to identify them, and they come with no warning signs. Instead, they lurk in the shadows, hide behind familiar faces, and wait patiently for that one opportunity to make their move. No, there is no science to identify a creep or a pervert, but make no mistake, they are real and they do live amongst us.

This article is inspired by a true event. A friend of mine recently confided in me about her story and wanted to share it with the world. It started with one message. It seemed like a normal conversation between an employee and her boss. He asked her to stay back in office, as he had something important to discuss with her. Naive and unsuspecting, little did she expect what came next. In that isolated dark corridor, he imposed himself on her then and there. 

In the coming days, he was sending her lewd messages, calling her throughout the day, asking her to spend the night at his place. From threatening her to manipulating her to assaulting her, the man who works at a hugely popular corporate firm had used her, abused her and would have continued to do so had she not stood up against him and fought back. 

It’s not an isolated event either. At least three women I know have shared incidents of molestation as children, and several others have encountered running into perverts and stalkers, sometimes as strangers and sometimes as boyfriends. What makes these people highly dangerous is their ability to blend into the surroundings like normal, sometimes even charismatic men. They seem like ordinary men and might even fool you to be good men at times.

The other quality that makes these ruthless serial perverts dangerous is their rugged determination in pursuing their “prey”. Once a creep has his eyes set on you, he’ll go to any and every length to get in your pants. At times, he’ll pretend to be a gentleman, one genuinely concerned about you. He’ll pretend to be your best friend and make a move when you are at your most vulnerable. If that doesn’t work out, he’ll use his position of power or influence over you.

And if that also does not yield, he’ll go route one and outright threaten or blackmail you with information you only shared with him. He’ll stalk you through hundred different mediums, he’ll get information on you from your closest people, he’ll use your biggest vulnerabilities against you. But most importantly, if you let him, he’ll break you beyond repair.

So why am I telling you all this? Because, you need to be prepared for what’s out there. The onus is on you to protect yourself from these despicable men. They are experts at hiding their true faces and presenting a facade to the world. The onus is on you to unraveling their truth and keeping them at bay. For all the honourable men reading this, it is your responsibility too to protect the women in your life from these creeps.

To the women who have suffered at the hands of these pedophiles, stalkers, and abusers, remember – you were not the first and you will not be the last. So, stand up for yourself today and take the fight back to them. Tell others about the kind of men they were, scream about it if you have to to anyone and everyone so that no one else should suffer what you did.

How do you really know when you can marry someone

Today I was asked probably the most difficult question I’ve faced all my life and given that I have no experience in the area, it was even tougher. So, what was this mysterious question? How do you really know when you can marry someone? 

I took a deep breath, stalled for a bit, brought out all my philosophical and MBA skills, tried to frame it instantly and then blurted out whatever came to my head. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, I’m sharing the theory or rather the flowchart, which I hope can help people looking for guidance in the area.

Step 1: Evaluating a person 

What do you think of the person? Do you respect them, do you trust them? Do you think they are genuinely good people?

This is the most important step since 2 years down the line, you don’t want to have ended up with a person who is nothing like who you first met. Here, you need to consult other people, close friends, acquaintances etc. to see what they think of this person. Peer evaluation is necessary here, as you alone are not enough for the job.

Next, you have to observe them closely and their actions when they’re around you. Don’t let your heart make the decision here, give power to the brain. Be objective about evaluating.

Ask them questions that show the kind of person they are. Ex: “What would you do if you got a girl pregnant? Did you ever cheat in your previous relationship? If an innocent person is being hit by bullies, would you help them or walk away?” Tough questions that show you the real face of the person. These answers should be the ones you respect and should never be opposite your value-system. If you can’t respect who you are with, it will only create conflicts in the long term. Love, or what you thought was love can dwindle over the years, but respect and trust live on forever.

Remember, any red flag in this step and you need to stop. End it then and there. Because you won’t be able to afterwards. Move to step 2 only if you are sure about step 1.

Step 2: Mutual love

indian-marriages

Do you fear it or do you embrace it?

Ok, step 2 is about how much that person matters to you and how much do you matter to them? If they disappeared from your life right now, how much would you miss them? And if you disappeared from their life, how much would they miss you? Is it just right now that you would miss them, or would it be the same 5 years later? (The last part is tough and you may not have the answer. That is totally fine but give it a shot.)

How much can you sacrifice yourself for them and how much can they sacrifice themselves for you? Do you give up some things so it makes them happy and do they do the same in return? Because, if they do, they will be willing to accept your flaws and you will be willing to accept their flaws as you go along in your story.

Remember, it’s not their words that matter, it’s their actions and their gestures. Anybody can talk about love, very few can really pull it off. I don’t even want to get into the grey area about what love is, so let’s keep it simple. Do they put your happiness over theirs or is it always about their happiness and you just go along with it?

Let me remind you this step comes only after 1st step, once you are sure about the person. Don’t jump directly to this step or you’ll regret it later on. Jumping to this step without evaluating the person or having respect for him leads to a fling, or infatuation which will not be long-lasting and end up leaving emotional scars on you.

Anyway, so if the person has passed through both these checks, there is only one logical thing to do afterwards.

Step 3: Take a leap of faith 

You’ve made a fully-informed choice. All you need now is to trust your gut and jump into it all the way. Sometimes, things will not work out. Sometimes, even after all this, people will turn out to be jerks.

But if you’ve thought about it long enough, made the right choices along the way, chances are that you have just found the perfect match for yourself.

Just one final check: Close your eyes and ask yourself are they the right person for you? You and you only know the truth, you and only you are responsible for the person you end up with. Make the right choice, take a leap of faith and say yes. Because they clearly deserve you and you clearly deserve them.

I am a writer and I am offended

Once upon a time, there was a Bihari boy called Madhav. He fell in love with girl called Riya. Madhav didn’t speak English well. Riya did. Madhav wanted a relationship. Riya didn’t. Riya just wanted friendship. Madhav didn’t. Riya suggested a compromise. She agreed to be his half-girlfriend.

Script for a cheesy C-grade film? I wish. No, this is the latest offering by the pioneer of Indian literary world, Mr. Chetan Bhagat. Mr. Bhagat, I don’t have a problem with you telling half-baked and rehashed cheap stories to people dumber than 5 points on a scale of 1 to Kamaal R Khan. Go ahead and do so as you please, but please for the love of God, stop pitching your books as novels and yourself as an author.

Name the books as “Manoranjak Kathaein” and they will still sell like crazy if not more than before. Or, maybe produce a show on MTV about youth and relationships with bad actors handpicked by you. You will still have a fantastic audience; in fact, you can reach more people than before. You are still meeting your primary objectives: 1) Money and 2) Telling  really bad stories to people.  Why are you so desperate to write books then?

Because, it is clear you don’t even have the time to write them. I can only imagine you brainstorming before your new novel: Hmm. Boy. Girl. Sex. Obviously. Friends/lovers. Shit happens. More sex. More shit. The End. Maybe, you even have a group of proxy writers who fill up the pages of your novel. With such bad writing, you can never tell.

chetan-bhagatI am a writer and I find it offensive what you pass for as books and novels. I find it offensive that you continue to publish book after book, rehashing and republishing your first novel with different covers. I find it offensive when I tell people than I am writing a novel and they ask me, “What? Like Chetan Bhagat?” I find it offensive that you think language is a dish best served fragmented and bereft of any structure.

You want to tell a story? Please do. Make a film. Release comic books. Rebrand your books as Champak. But, please don’t give out the illusion to the public that you are a writer!  Please stop reducing the attention span of a billion people by means of your books. You are making them dumber and you know it.

You have enough money, go hang out on a beach or something, but stop making the guild of writers come off as a bunch of phonies and sissies. You don’t spend enough time on quality writing, you don’t spend enough effort on scripting a good story, it doesn’t mean all writers don’t. And that is pretty much the message about writers that you are giving out to the public.

If I had the time, I would go on to rant a little more about Bollywood and your associations with it. I just read you were one of the co-writers for Kick. No wonder. But, the two of you are made for each other. Just leave the writers alone please. We still think of writing as an art, and storytelling as a wonder.

I hope I never have to read your books again and more importantly, I hope you never have to read your own books ever again because you might not survive them, you know! Adios.

Man of Steel. Why Hollywood, why?

I was so geared up for this movie that I had almost written this review even before I saw the movie. The expectations had been soaring you see. Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen and 300, Christopher Nolan, writer and producer. What else could one really ask for? The trailers too added to the hype around the Man of Steel. I was convinced that this was going to be the movie of the year.

And, what happens when you expect too much? Of course, you come crashing down. Some critics have already laid siege into the Man of Steel (no pun intended). But, make no mistake, this is a pretty decent film, much better than what Hollywood passes for action movies these days, but something is missing. What you ask? At the risk of being disrespectful towards Snyder, the movie lacks a little bit of Christopher Nolan.

Snyder, to his credit has made some terrific films, Watchmen and 300 being at the helm of the list. The good aspect of his direction is that he gives a lot of attention to the smallest of details. The flaw? He makes very long movies, as a natural consequence. And it really does show here. The original cut of Man of Steel was three hours and twenty minutes long. The theatrical version stands at two hours twenty eight minutes. As a result, the movie suffers in the pacing, which feels very abrupt and disjointed. The action just starts out of nowhere. Why Hollywood? Why? Why the need to cut down? You can almost feel that Snyder and Nolan’s vision has been trimmed down to this.

The Man of Steel soars, but it never really starts flying.

Nolan’s influence does show in the first half with the non-linear style of direction. Kal-El/Clark Kent’s past too has been dealt with aplomb by the Man of Steel, unlike most of its predecessors. Despite the criticism of the score, Hans Zimmer’s music does draw you in, though he is guilty of overusing some of the tracks here and there. Acting, especially by Cavill is absolutely praiseworthy. He really does look the part. Others also do a good job, though Zod (Shannon) is slightly let down by the script. And, that’s where the problem is: the script. It looks more like David S. Goyer’s than Nolan’s. Motivations of Zod and some of his actions are not fully convincing. Yet, the movie makes an alright case with the story.

That brings us to action. The action is scintillating. Snyder, the man who revolutionized slow-mo action switches to ultra-fast action here, and it looks good for the most part. You can almost feel that it is real. It is befitting of how super-powered aliens would fight each other in the streets in reality. Though amidst all the action, the conundrum of Kal El’s mind is slightly lost.

All in all, a very good movie. But, could have been so much more. So much more. I for one, am waiting for a director’s cut, although Snyder has denied that they might release one. Go see it, if you are a DC/Superman fan. Others, flip a coin.