Eternal Activist- a nonstop journey!

protestYou must have seen him, his pictures or read about him. He is the guy who is always being dragged by police, water sprayed, blocking roads, tying himself to trees and in the back of a police vehicle. Or you might have seen him protesting against protestors at city hall for raising minimum wage.

How did he become “him”? Could it be that the first seeds of protest were sowed when his 5 month pregnant mother was protesting against Vietnam war? Or could it be at the very moment when his father was rebelling against the machine by smoking a big fat joint smack in the middle of town square. It could also be when his mother decided to go topless at a public beach to protest against double standards for men and women at a public beach. But this man would never talk about his own journey while there are some 7,432 active issues involving humanity, animals, reptiles, environment and increasing incidence of cancer in south Pacific Hammerhead shark.

He remembers his first protest in middle school. He protested against beatings by class bully, after being encouraged by his mother. The bully beat him more, he protested more and at some point, after being beaten for almost a year it stopped. Bully probably got bored. But activist realized that protests do work although a little bit late. His mother celebrated this as his victory because he had succeeded in changing the aggressor without changing his own character.

He protested more in high school. He protested against meat in cafeteria, against milk in support of lactose intolerant, against religion, against cold war, against school mascot, against funding for football program and for saving turtles in Madagascar, seals in Sweden, for rights of Aborigines in Australia and Roma in Europe. At times he was protesting so much that he was hardly attending any classes. This resulted in expulsion which resulted in another fierce protest.

But he finally realized his true calling in college. He protested for Marijuana, against easy availability of alcohol on campus, for condom vending machines and against racial undertones of 18th century English literature. He climbed rooftops and refused to come down till Japan apologized to China for their atrocities. He chained himself to a tree to protest against honey industry and their inhuman treatment of bees. He taped himself to movie theater seats to protest against too much sex and violence in main stream media. He also protested outside the movie theater for not showing a banned movie with excessive violence.

He was known to protest right in the middle of a class if a white professor used the word black. He protested against the color of blackboard being black. He protested against police brutality but also against gun rights. He protested when rapper, “$-DOG” was not allowed to present his poetry to middle schoolers with lyrics like “bros before hos, my bitch ain’t no ho and kill the ho”. He wanted middle schoolers to decide what they want to hear rather than machine telling them what to do.   To be continued…

New-Thing- Productivity (Part2)

meetingThe newthing stood up. Newthing was very different from anything they had seen before. She got straight to the point, “I have been hired by company to bring in dollars, straighten things out and improve everything as things have not been good here.”

Granddaddy was clearly impressed by this opening. “Yes, things have not been good. We have had no wine with lunch in years”. The new-thing quickly gathered herself. “Thank you sir for your support and input!” (She hoped calling granddaddy sir and patronizing him will settle him down). Grandaddy “talking about support get me one of those chairs that can be controlled with all kind of knobs & buttons.” He has had an adjustable chair for years but had not figured out any controls yet.

Newthing “If there is anything I want you to take from this meeting is professionalism, professionalism and professionalism. Remember we are only as good as we look.”

Diva immediately felt kinship. “This is the same message I have been trying to convey for a long time. But nobody will listen to me. They keep on buying Chinese made crap that is completely classless. Will a client be impressed if you go in wearing a pair of Gap pants, Ann Taylor top and some nameless pair of shoes with no accessories?  Or you go in wearing Prada, smelling Pierre Cardin and accessorizing with Nicole Miller! Off course hair has to be done right. (She looked right at old secretary as diva felt everything about old secretary might be the reason keeping clients away).”

The newthing sarcastically, “Thank you for your thoughtful input!” The subtle nuances of communication were always lost on Diva.  Diva was already on a roll. ‘I generally keep my Thursdays half day off for manicure and shopping so my presentation can be good. May be we can go and do some shopping together.”

Granddaddy immediately jumped in, “That’s my day off to play golf with my buddies John the Cadillac dealer and Jimmy the divorce lawyer. I always need these guys”.

The foreigner has long realized that when Americans are in this mode of “let’s start with a clean slate” or “fresh start” or “think outside box” or “let’s hit the floor running” it always meant that one bad idea is about to be superseded by another one. He was always paranoid about these changes. He has seen numerous Hollywood movies/TV series and the foreigner always dies first. He immediately went into survivor mode. “Yes, we can.”

The meeting has taken a turn for worse, newthing felt. She knew exactly what to do. The book, “How to be an effective leader in 24 hours” had a whole chapter about regaining control of a situation quickly. This generally involved a self-deprecating joke and building up self-esteem of losers (staff). “What would I know? I am talking as if I know what I am talking about.” In her reading, the audience are supposed to laugh and say things like “oh no”. But she had not counted on this crowd.

Granddaddy, “I know. You are just a little kitty and not ready to play with big boys yet”. The foreigners realized he has to say something or he will be considered to have low motivation. “I love kitties. I used to tie them to kite and fly them.” Grandaddy “my pit bull will eat your kitties in seconds. What kind of man likes kitties”?

Diva threw her hands in air, “I am so disgusted by this objectification of women. I keep on being called hot, super-hot, lava-hot, delicious, vibrant, classy and charming. And it’s ok but can’t someone come up with some new ones.”

The newthing realized meeting had been effectively lost. Besides granddaddy had fallen asleep and his snoring was not conducive to any further discussion. The old secretary had immediately placed a CPAP mask on him. But she wanted to end meeting at least on a positive note. “We achieved quite a bit. We all know we have a long road ahead. We just need to start with a clean slate, get a fresh start, let’s all think outside box and hit the ground running.” Foreigner held his head in both hands. There was no hope from this point forward.


My Physical

questionAfter waiting in waiting room, then in examination room and being grilled by his assassin of a nurse, good doctor showed up. He was a serious looking guy. He acknowledged my presence without even looking up with a curt node. He kept on looking at his papers with an expression of concern. I had a feeling he was trying to find some imperfection in my perfect physiology.

He had the kind of personality that will even find a way to ruin a twin delivery with something like, “Congratulations you have twins but they ate their 3rd sibling.”

He just kept on looking into these papers. Occasionally he will mumble an “hmm” or “oh”. What could it be that this great scholar had found out simply by looking into these papers? Finally he looked at me. He gave me a kind of quick look over that a customer gives a piece of meat at a deli.

I tried to break the ice by pointing out that his kids are very adorable. He looked somewhat puzzled. I pointed out to the picture on the wall. He told me they are not his children. It turns out that this was a UN poster for hunger among children. The kids were of 6 different races as well. I apologized sincerely. I am sure he thinks I am some kind of a smarty pants. I made a mental note of putting my glasses on next time.

He asked me a whole bunch of questions. They all would be considered a serious violation of me and my privacy if he was not a doctor. Their obsession with bodily fluids, cavities and orifices is second to none. He kept on asking me if I have seen blood in one or all of these areas.

Then he gave me the good news that I will have to undergo a lot of routine screening. I will be screened for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney disease, liver diseases and anemia. If I want he can check my prostate “good old-fashioned way”. To leave no doubt in my mind about what the “good old-fashioned” way was, he raised his index finger. I told him I don’t know what this particular organ is supposed to do but I am sure it is fine.

After this he went to give me a whole lot of advise about things which you are supposed to know by the time you come out of high school. Only in US, a doctor will be considered a “good doctor” by insurance companies for talking about it for 15 minutes and then checking 200 boxes and writing 4 pages about it. The advise went something like this:

Eat greens, wear a seat belt, stay hydrated, get enough fiber, exercise, lose weight, don’t text and drive, don’t eat and drive, don’t drink and drive, don’t fall asleep and drive, look for blood in urine/stool/spit/sputum, don’t have a seizure and drive, don’t drop dead while driving, get vaccines, take Aspirin, eat fish and have safe sex with strangers. I told him I am married. Is he advising me to have sex with strangers as long as it is protected? I also told him that my wife might not approve of it but if it is something life saving then what choice do I have? He corrected himself and apologized for not realizing that I was married.

To be continued…


New-thing; Increasing the productivity

The new-thing was brought in to improve the morale, streamline processes and increase productivity. The new-thing was a result of months of search and a high-five figure commission to a PR firm paid by six figure earning “leadership”.

The new-thing called a meeting so, “We can hit the floors running”. The old secretary was immediately concerned about running part. The granddaddy was informed. He was not the kind of man to take this lightly. He thundered right into CEO’s office. She was alarmed. It was not everyday that granddaddy stormed in. Granddaddy was the longest-serving board member and also carried a title, which nobody understood. A legal glitch had resulted in an ironclad clause that granddaddy stays a board member till the day he dies. Nobody had foreseen that he would live this long and will take this role so seriously.

The CEO tried to quickly make a run to bathroom but granddaddy had seen it all. The CEO’s hiding in bathroom, under tables and behind plants! “What is this new nonsense about me having to run and hit the ground? I am granddaddy. I don’t run for nobody and definitely won’t hit the floor.”

CEO tried to explain that this does not involve him at all. Granddaddy told CEO that even without meeting the new-thing he was sure that she was incompetent. She is only 36. What would she know about reproductivity? When I was 36, I did not even know how to ride a bicycle. CEO corrected him that nobody would try to make him reproductive and he was probably confusing months for years. Granddaddy tried to leave the office through the bathroom door. CEO guided him to office exit.

Finally the meeting started. It was attended by granddaddy (due to some other legal glitch he could sit in on any meeting), diva (“if it’s not channel, it’s shit”), the foreigner who always suspected everything new was just to torture him and baby face whiz-kid whose expression varied between various shades of depression. There were also some other people who only came out once in a while from their high towers. They had such titles as vice president-marketing, vice president-development, VP-finances, executive vice president, junior vice president, vice president to vice-president and such equal and powerful titles.

The staff included old secretary (whose moods fluctuated between suicidal to homicidal and memory between BC and AD), the other secretary, (who has just undergone another facelift and literally was expressionless), the new hire data analyst who was trying to find her feet and the lady-like coordinator whose every response was absolutely lady like. That meant you had to wait for few minutes to get any response. The gossip-hawker was there already whispering something in next person’s ear. The quite and withdrawn assistant was well, quite and withdrawn.  To be continued…

Physical prior to Physical Trainer.

As my physical trainer is hell bent on getting me to see a doc prior to initiating my exercise, I had to call and make an appointment. One of the things that strikes you when you visit a doctor’s office is how healthy people are. Not a single person in waiting room looked sick to me. in fact they all seemed to be having a jolly good time. Some of them seem to have become friends by waiting long periods of time in same doctor’s office over the years. I can smell an occasional romance blossoming amid walkers and under the sweet smell of chlorhexidine, hand sanitizers, death and dementia.

The other thing is amount of information they want. Your name, gender, DOB, address, Insurance, ethnicity, religion, spouse’s name, emergency contact etc. This is followed by next layer of welcoming material. These include forms about status of your health. This is a masochist’s dream come true.

Do you feel safe at home? Do you own a gun? (What if I own a gun and still do not feel safe? Are they going to get me an army tank?). Do you wear seat belt? Are you sexually active? Do you have STD’s? Have you noticed any blood in your saliva, stool, urine and sputum? (Some elderly couples seem to do this as some kind of a trip down the memory lane). Do you feel threatened at home or work? Do you use drugs? Have you had sex with another man? (No, but if doc suggests it then I might give it a thought). To be honest, I stopped reading the questions after first few and just circled the whole page and wrote a big NO.

As there is always a long wait, they have quality entertainment. There is a TV which seems to run only lifetime channel. There are some magazines with such exciting titles as “beautiful home”, “home and garden”, “retirement” and “golden sunset” (which apparently is even further down retirement road and for someone who is seriously considering dying). They have flyers about retirement communities, diapers for incontinent, potty chairs, colostomy bags at discounted prices, straight catheters, walkers, canes, special shoes and god knows what else. If you did not have depression before you come here, you sure are going to walk away with one.

The other problem is that some of the folks who are here seem to consider it as a social event. As soon as you sit, they start chatting up. They will say two polite things and after that it is all about their own health. They all believe in uniqueness of their complicated cases and challenges they have presented to medical world. I have a hypertensive on one side whose BP is not being controlled by collective might of American healthcare, pharmaceutical industry and three different pills. He seems almost proud of this. This dude apparently has to come in twice a week for just a BP check. He has been on every category of medications. Either he develops side effects of his “man parts” not working or it does not do anything. I told him may be he should just give up. Life is very over-rated and death is a golden sunset. I handed him the magazine with same title.

There is a lady who is talking to another lady about her Insurance problems, weed problems in her garden, husband losing memory, frequent UTI’s, not being able to sleep and her daughter living way too far. She is gifted (or cursed) with a high pitch voice that can drive you homicidal, suicidal or both. I honestly believe she should not be allowed anywhere near a medical facility. I can also understand her daughter choosing to live away so far. How long do I have to be here?

Conversations with a Jihadi

Me: How are you doing! Thanks for talking to me.

J: Infidel! Come to the point. I have rockets to fire and IED’s to place. Me and my Jihadi brothers are under attack everywhere.

M: But why do you want to do such things?

J: Infidels need to be stopped. They are killing our brothers in Somalia, Syria and Disneyland.

M: I am very sad to hear that. I am also very sad about what happened in Paris. Should a Cartoonist be killed for a cartoon?

J: Well, you know how French are, killing and raping our brothers.

M: That does not sound right. No matter how weird French are but raping brothers might be a stretch. Why do people fear your radical ideology so much?

J: I have no idea why anyone will fear us. Just because we carry rocket launchers, blow ourselves up when mood strikes and are trying to run over all of Middle East! But you know how they are! Killing our brothers in Madagascar.

M: Who are “they”?

J: You know Americans, Chinese, Russians, British, French, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, gays, lesbians, transgenders, Arabs, Turks, whites, blacks, browns, yellows, colorless ones and those blue ones who live on another planet. You know how they are!

M: Why do you expect people to support you when you are committing inhuman crimes?

J: We feel everyone is supporting us. Do you want to give me name and exact address of someone who is not supporting us?

M: But don’t you think that the world order you want to establish is medieval and frankly cruel. It treats women as secondary citizens and has inhuman punishments.

J: I agree they are not citizens of any class and should serve men only. Do you want to use a rocket launcher? Trust me, it is crazy fun.

M: Thanks again but I am good. What about cutting hands for theft?

J: I agree it is wrong. Their heads should be cut.

M: Why should a woman need to have 4 witnesses to prove rape?

J:I agree it is unfair. They should need 10. Do you want to blow a bridge?

M: What drives you?

J: Toyota pick ups mostly though sometimes we get Hummers. Is that an iphone6? Can I see it?

M: I mean..

J: Do you want to exchange this phone for a rocket launcher?

M: No, I have no use for a rocket launcher. Why would anyone shoot Malala?

J: She is an American agent, works for Mossad and still unmarried at 13. You know how they are! You sure you don’t want a rocket launcher!

M: Do you realize that 99.9% of the world including people from faith you claim to represent don’t support you.

J: Infidel, I must warn you that you are entering serious blasphemy territory. I will declare a fatwa so fast you won’t even know what hit you.

M: I am sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.

J: But, you did!  You uncircumcised, non rocket- firing, non-bridge blowing bastard! Leave now.

Empowerment videos/ BS and then some

Recently there was a video made by Vogue in partnership with Bollywood star, Deepika apparently about women empowerment. I am a strong supporter of equal rights for all. The video though is over the top, confused and frankly re-emphasize female stereotype. As a man, I am trying to go sentence by sentence and put my spin on it.

Vid: My Body! My mind! My choice! To wear the clothes I like as my spirit roams naked.

Me: I tried the same exact thing. But neighbors complained and yada yada yada, now I have to keep clothes on.

Vid: My choice! To be a size zero or 15. They don’t have a size for my spirit and never will.

Me: Is that why Clooney, Damon, DiCaprio, Depp and Pitt always land those sexiest man alive pseudo-awards? Must be because of their size 15! Double!

VID: To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe you can hold expansion of universe or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand.

Me: That sentence is so BS that I won’t even bother to respond. If I stand at a street corner and say things like that, I will be in a Psych facility in no time.

Vid: Your mind is caged, let it free. My body is not, let it be.

Me: You seem to be talking about either LSD, Mushrooms or Pot. Just don’t break any law!

Vid: My choice to marry or not to marry. To have sex before marriage, outside marriage or not to have sex.

Me: Some of my brethren men also expressed themselves in the same manner, by having sex outside marriage. Now their wives and attorneys have cleaned them out, they are homeless and living in a Motel6. So please extend same courtesy to my peeps.

Vid: My choice to lust temporarily or to love forever.

Me: You can always fake lust as love. Win Win!

Vid: My choice to love a man, a woman or both.

Me: As men, most of our fantasies involve women with other woman. So please go ahead and spare us no details.

Vid: Remember you are my choice; I am not your privilege.

Me: Remember it was your choice to sleep with that clown, Ranbir Singh. Don’t blame all men for your own bad choices.

Vid: Bindi on my forehead, ring on my finger and adding your surname to my name. They are ornaments. It can be replaced, my love for you cannot be. So treasure that.

Me: I totally agree. That’s why I don’t do a bindi, ring or the surname thing.

Vid: My choice. To come home at 4 am and don’t be fooled if I come home at 6pm.

Vid: So then don’t bitch if we come home at 4 am and go out again after coming home at 6 pm.

Vid: My choice to have your baby or not.

Me: My choice to impregnate you or not! No pressures.

Vid: To pick you from 7 billion choices or not.

Me: Are we freaking including children, al-Qaeda, Putin and people in coma as well.

Vid: So don’t get cocky. My pleasure may be your pain. My songs your noise. My order your anarchy. Your sins, my virtues.

Me: Did you really have to pay someone to write this crap? This is as nonsensical as; my sugar may be your salt. My apple your orange. My head your feet. Your body odor my fragrance.

Vid: My choices are like my fingerprints. They make me unique.

Me: My fingerprints are not even my choices. So what the heck does that make me?

Vogue, just because you shot the video in black and white and added some classical Indian music at the start does not make it “classy”.