Sunday, June 22, 2014

How to Survive Power Outages: Looking at the Brighter Side of Things.

While for the rest of the world, summers mean surf, sand and tans; for Pakistanis, it means three things and three things only: Mangoes, Load Shedding and Mosquitoes.

Ironically, while I write about power outages, there is no electricity at my place, either. I’m sitting in my balcony, thanking the Lord that my laptop’s fully charged and trying very hard not to listen to the banter of the drivers which are standing not very far. They seem to be laughing at something; I just hope it’s not me. Anyway, moving on to the main part of this post, read on to know how you can survive power outages while keeping your cool.

Sweat is Just Fat Crying:
Sweat is weakness leaving your body. Or at least, that’s what Google says. Who needs to go to a bloody Sauna room, when you can just sweat from the comfort of your own, really hot, extremely humid room? A simple and great way to burn calories. Dr. Oz should totally do a study on how many calories can people burn during a 2-4 hour load shedding session.

 Bad Romance:
I love reading. But when there’s no light, I do not read books, I read magazines. Akhbar-e-Jahan is very entertaining. I like reading Teen Aurtein Teen Kahaniyaan and then think about  my exceedingly good looking, nonexistent, distant cousin, who falls in love with me, just to get married to someone else, go off to a foreign land, get a life, get a job, never to think about me again. :’(
 Sense of Sportsmanship:
 Plan out fun activities, like killing mosquitoes and turn it into a tournament. 20 bonus points for those risk takers, those khatrou kay khilaadis who may dare to kill a spider or two, as well. Person with the lowest score will fan everyone with the hand-held fan, for 15 minutes.

Putting an End to Sibling Rivalries:
Since, you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time with your family, who are your ‘dukh dard aur garmi kay saathi’, it’s also an excellent way to get to know your siblings and discover that they are actually quite decent human beings…until you start playing games like Badshah Wazeer Chor Sipahi only to find out that your brother has been giving himself extra points. Cheater. Always knew he's the black sheep of the family.

Tune In to the Radio:
If your cell phone is charged, listening to the radio is also a great solution to kill time, when there’s no electricity. I totally love radio shows, especially if they happen to play all my favorite songs. You may not like those late night shows, where people call in to talk about how life has lost all its glory, ever since that special someone left them, but here’s the catch; listening to other people whine and complain about life in its full insane unpredictability, may leave you thinking that you’ve had it pretty good.

Other Simple Things to Do:

Make lemonade.

Drink lemonade.

Maybe, even put up a stall and sell lemonade, too? Donald Trump would be proud.

Sprinkle prickly heat powder on yourself, on the chair, on the ground---everywhere. Be generous.

Eat ice cubes.

Consider storing a 3 month supply of Jet Spots. Seriously, you can never have enough Jet Spots.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How to Survive Bad Teachers.

                   Teachers can teach you a lot. (Good one, Y!), but not every teacher is a good teacher.  However, I should give credit where it’s due; while some teachers may not be good at teaching, they are good at a lot of other things like:

  • Sucking the life out of you.
  • Belittling your goals and ambitions, crushing your dreams etc.
  • Giving fake reality checks.
  • Using you as a scapegoat for their problems.
  • Embarrassing you.               
  • Associating things with you, which aren’t exactly true, like they may say you are a ‘girl who disturbs the entire class’, when in reality, all you are, is a social butterfly.

                   If you are a student, or have remained a student, you will agree that while some teachers are wonderful human beings, they cannot teach. And then some teachers are neither good teachers, nor wonderful human beings. I realize that at this point, I actually sound like a bitter, old, bald man who shakes his fists at other people, every time they breathe, while uttering incoherent speech...I am.

             Anyway, if this semester, you have a teacher who makes you want to give up your existence here and migrate to Jupiter, here are a few things you can do to remain on Earth, only:

The Imaginary Shrug:

What are two things that are misinterpreted most of the time? That’s right, ‘honesty’ and ‘healthy criticism’. If you feel a teacher is being unnecessarily rude to you, you can do the following things:


Cry while running.

Or just shrug it off. Not just for teachers, but the imaginary shrug can be a great tool for not having to deal with any negativity (or negative people) at all. Don’t like what someone just said about you? That’s OK, SHRUG IT OFF!

Talk the Talk:

What’s 10 times better than a talkative student? A talkative teacher! Get your teacher talking by initiating a conversation (you mean well). Though, it can get annoying, but the class will end and so will your torture annndddd your confidence will stay intact, too. Best of all, the teacher will be so busy talking, you won't get any work! At least, till another class.

Fake a Learning Disability:

The next time a teacher has a problem with you, your assignments, your grades etc you pull out your basic Ishaan Avasthi (Taare Zameen Par) face and tell her that you try your best but because of DYSGRAPHIA you can’t help yourself.

If she still yells at you, then it’s pretty obvious that your teacher isn’t exactly the most eligible candidate for the Nobel Prize for Kindness.

Develop a Reinforcing Strategy:

What You Will Need: Friend who has limitless supply of chocolate.

Get one of your friends to give you a piece of chocolate, every time, you make it through one of your AWESOME teacher’s class, alive.

                      You can’t get ‘rid’ of a teacher. Hence, feel free to try one of these extra handy (risky) tips to make the class go faster:

Mentally play Eye of the Tiger. In fact, this should be the background score of all your classes which you dislike. It will keep you from going to sleep. Also, it’s a great song.

Try to fill in your teacher’s shoes and come up with random assumptions as to why he/she acts the way he/she acts. It’s a fun topic esp. for group discussions.

Pretend to be taking notes in your journal, while you’re actually doodling. (Students who sit in the first few rows of a classroom, should not attempt this)

Laugh and get thrown out of the class. (not too sure about this one)

Ask to be excused for a bathroom break; don’t come back.

Come late to class, if asked why, make up a story of how you were cornered by adoring fans/ or abducted by aliens/ or fell from the stairs (fake a limp for this one).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How to Survive Desi Weddings (PART I):

             A couple of weeks back, I attended 3 back to back wedding functions and there were so many life changing lessons I learnt, like for example, if you have started to work out again, make sure not to go overboard with exercises like squats. Stiff legs and high heels don’t go well. You’ll just look like a T-Rex trying to maneuver its way through the entire function, trying its best not to trip and fall on people.

           Another important lesson I learnt during these weddings was that getting your mother to ask the incredibly handsome man's name (who is sitting right across your table) is a fail idea. Anyway, this post is not about life lessons learnt at life changing events like weddings, it’s about how to survive these functions.  Read on to know more about this handy survival guide.

Courtesy is Thy Name:                                                                  

If you are stuck at a mehndi function, say your polite Assalamoalikums and Walekumasalams to all the uncles and aunties and chachas and chachis and mamus and mamis…just everyone, okay. Try not to miss anyone because chances are the people that you’ve missed will hunt your parents down and complain how they thought you were such a well brought up child, but are not and they are just so disappointed in you.

Be Humane:

A lot is happening at a Desi wedding. You will usually find something to do. For example, my mom ditched me at a mehndi function to sit with her friends and I was sitting all alone. I think, I pouted for like an hour and then just got really bored of pouting. So, I decided to serve the humanity instead.

There were a couple of girls my age, who wanted to get a group photograph taken, I volunteered. I took pictures from a compact camera, with flash, without flash, then with a phone’s camera ( which was a really, really sleek phone and had an even sleeker result! I briefly entertained the idea of taking the phone home with me).

Other simple ways of serving humanity, at wedding functions:

Bring food and drinks for other wedding guests. (This is also a great opportunity to fill your own plate with more food without Aunties having an eyeful of your plate and telling you to go on a diet. Or telling stories about their own daughters/daughter-in-laws who live on apples and sometimes don’t eat apples, either, so basically, they are just living on air and water, hein?)

Serving a few bits and pieces of food to the stray cats under your table.

Update Your Playlists:

Family and friends of the bride and the groom usually have a few dance numbers prepared, too. You can watch those and try your best not to laugh at the boy who tries too hard to dance like Prabhu Deva. You will notice that there will be many songs, played at the wedding, which you initially hated, but by the end of the function, you might like them.

For example, I really did not like Lungi Dance at all, but at the mehndi, they danced on it so many times that I started to like it. My favorite part was where Honey Singh goes ‘Meray Baray Mey Wikipedia pey parh lo.’ Classic, Honey, just classic.

Look for Lookalikes:

Another really handy tip which I use when I get bored, at functions, is to look for lookalikes. I’m so into it that now it just happens automatically. For example, when they served the food at the mehndi, there was a person I spotted near a tandoor who looked exactly the same as one of my acquaintance’s husband. The resemblance was uncanny.

The Aunties:

First thing's first, you should know how to spot the Aunty Brigade. They are usually the life of the party, loud, obnoxious and with eyes which could see right through you. At functions, they sit together and look for innocent people to judge on.

If you spot them, plan a quick detour. However, if they get to you first or your planning skills have totally ditched you, remain calm. Take a deep breath and relax. Try recalling a Dalai Lama quote to really calm yourself.

Smile and greet them. Before they get a chance to say something nasty about you like ‘Beta, what happened to you? To your hair? To your face? To your existence?’  make an excuse like you are looking for the toilet and will be RIGHT BACK to play 21 Questions with them.

Not all aunty brigades are mean. Some might even surprise you by saying something nice about you. Accept the compliments, graciously.

What is Life?

The back to back weddings I attended were of really close family friends. However, if you find yourself at a wedding, where you don’t really know anyone, take the free time to think about your life. Where you’re headed at, what is the meaning of life and what is your purpose for being sent here?

Or play ‘Racing Moto’ on your cell phone, instead.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Single and Fabulous Guide: How to Survive Valentine’s Day.

                        Like I always say, it is less about the occasion, more about the gifts. Almost everyone will agree to this, if you don’t, it’s time to review your priorities. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘Valentine’s Day’ is it:

A: Hearts?

B: Chocolates?

C: Cupids, sans diapers, with blonde curly hair, shooting heart shaped arrows?

D: Teddy bears?

E: Roses?
                      As, I type the list, I realize that this sounds an awful lot like those text messages, which guarantee revealing your personality, if you pick a word and send it back to the sender. But this isn’t that. In fact, this is really nothing, and I’m sorry for having wasted your time.

                     If you’re single this year too, or have sworn your allegiance to the forever alone club (which really isn’t a club, but should be), a teeny tiny part of your heart, on valentine’s, will have you thinking, if your own heart has been replaced by a baboon’s heart. I don’t know if baboon’s are really miserable, but I don’t like them, so they will have to do for now.

                    So, what should you do on valentine’s to survive it? You will eventually survive it, but just for the sake of this blog and for your happiness (because I love you guys) I have compiled a list of things you can do, to make this auspicious day seem less of a torture for the single, vulnerable, beautiful baboon hearts. Let’s go.

Avoid Facebook:

If you have a facebook account, deactivate it for a day or two. Nothing more annoying than being alone, giftless, chocolateless, teddybearless, and having to see your friends and cousins posting one picture after another, of the cuT3 giFTzx their significant others have got them.

Know Your Phobia (s) and Use It:

Ok, what is the opposite of love? Hate? (ok, indifference!) Fear.
That’s right. FEAR. What is that one thing, which scares the living daylights out of you? Consider spending Valentine’s Day thinking about that thing. For example, I hate snakes, I don’t know about you, but thinking about an Anaconda somehow finding its way into my room, gobbling me up and then going back to do whatever it is that Anacondas too ( maybe, eat more people?)  or meeting up with other Anacondas and discussing their marital problems ( do Anacondas even marry?) ---the point is, thinking about Anacondas on Valentine’s Day, will ultimately leave me with lesser time to dwell on love. Or rather, lack of it.

Pre-Plan Your Movies:

Of course, if you’re going to watch movies like P.S I Love You, you’re going to be sad. A good option here would be to watch movies with really terrible story lines, or ones starring Uday Chopra. If you can’t stand bad acting, watch a movie starring Justin Timberlake, he’s Cute with a CAPITAL C, but he cannot act. But then again, to play it even safer, stick with Uday Chopra because JT is still CUTE, this time, WITH ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

Other Simple Things to Do on Valentine’s:

Buy yourself plenty of chocolate (if you don’t already).

 Buy yourself flowers. Or pluck them from your neighbor’s garden. So sinister! On Valentine’s! I LOVE IT.

Avoid Bryan Adams, Savage Garden and the likes, like the plague.

 Make a list of all the things you hate about guys ( if you’re a girl), or vice versa and remind yourself that being alone is cool, ok. And that it only doubles the chances of you finding someone really good looking, with a personality to die for. I don’t know how this works, but it has to.

 Create fuzool ka drama in your house, with your friends, start a fight.

 Sleep throughout the day.

 Wear layers of clothes and be your own stuffed toy.

 Stalk your crush and rejoice in the fact if he, too, is a Valentine Nazi. If he isn’t, run.