Thursday, June 25, 2009

Safe Shopping, Happy Shopping !

Although my Cheque book is heavily battered after a recent tax related splurge, July I hope would bring some solace - as sales galore! "Prices slashed here", "Liquidation" sales there and "Special Offers" abound... The temptations are enough to make even the most hardened miser rethink their ban on credit plastic. After spending the entire month of June throwing money at the Government, the prospect of a gift to oneself sounds pleasing and even well-deserved.

Many people fool themselves into thinking that if they buy something on sale they are saving money (as I always wanted to believe). The truth is that whether the item is discounted by 50% or offered at 25% you are still spending your money. Smart shoppers generally wait for the sales to stock up on items they need rather than what they want. Many of us (including me), however, do not practice self-control and buy merchandise at full price and then splurge on sale goods because the offers look so tempting. The problem with this type of shopping is that we end up with 15 white silk shirts, unworn Van Heusen socks and a very happy shopkeeper!

If we took some time to add up how much money we waste in a year by succumbing to these impulse buys, we would sink into despair (believe this man). Let’s face it; most of us (bloggers, that is) could survive for a year without buying a single thing (except groceries). Designer clothes, premium footwear, electronic gadgets and gizmo’s are not vital to our survival.

So to get the impulse shopping monster under control you have to devise a strategy that will make you think before you hand over your cash for that gold cufflink. You simply need to impose a 24-hour moratorium on all purchases, which are say, over Rs. 100. During this 24-hour period, the dialogue between "I need" and "I want" will go on in your head. This is when you should start to think about Japanese aesthetics (stay with me, this has relevance), in particular the Japanese concept of "Wabi". Wabi is about cultivating a simpler life, viewing excessive consumption as a burden that diminishes rather than enhances our existence. Giving yourself a night to think it over will take you away from the seduction of the retail environment.

If we take a step back from the lure of massive megamalls, designer labels, sublimely "buy that" mall music and persuasive shop assistants, we will recognize and realize when we have overstepped reasonable limits. I am not saying that you must survive on bread and live in a hut but rather ask yourself if that new LCD TV purchase is going to materially improve the quality of your life. You will find that 90% of the time the answer will be no (besides LED TVs are in/LCDs are passé). This awareness of the tricks and triggers that incite us into buying action is half the battle, the other half is a commitment to the goal of saving. So remember, when you go shopping, buy safe and spend safe. Extra cash in hand and the Bank is worth priceless when you have an emergency. Happy Shopping.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Crush Nostalgia

Last week, I hit into an old crush of mine (someone I was secretly crazy about) at a pet store. Even after 8 long years, she hadn’t change much; she still looked charming and graceful, slender with good looks and curving bodylines, brown-black eyes like pearls and an accent that still seemed like music. I can proclaim this crush publicly for two reasons. One, she still doesn't know my pen name and two; she is not the blogging or reading kind. Thus, my crush satisfies the major crush criteria. It's my little secret, between me and my conscience (and now several readers) and it will remain unrealized, thus preserving my innocence, my dignity and my stato coniugale.

But let me not stop short my crush's total hooking power. She has a classic Colgate smile and a blushing, almost childlike grin. I won't objectify her further except to say, she's just breathtaking. Or let's just say that she's exactly the kind of women who would never go out with me anyway! And of course, I still barely know her. She used to go out with a software guy with a dumb face and an almost dead silent posture. Yet, we had lunch once, all of us together with a couple of my former office colleagues. And, for the most part he was a blank slate but she was brilliant. I could project onto her what I want. I used to think, it’s a pity, she is not single! She was a walking, living antidote to the sameness of my former workplace.

My friend describes this phenomenon as "anonymous flirting" and considers flirting harmless. He feels powerful erotic tension between passing strangers is as normal as part of growing up or growing old. My neighbor calls it “girl watching”, but then he is a sexually constipated, jealous old man, his characterization strikes me with pity for him. Girl watching, are something greasy-haired, sex-starved, pubescent boys do, not sophisticated Guys like me.

Less charitable critics might say that any admiration of unknown beauties, is a form of stalking - an objectification that hides a bubbling psychosis (remember Alicia Silverstone in the movie - Crush) but, I feel this is an unjust exaggeration. If I turned and followed the objects of my fascination after they passed, then perhaps. If my fascination persisted and grew dear; if I followed them home and waited outside their doors with fistfuls of shabby roses - well, then, yes. If I took photographs of them with a telescopic camera and wrote them love letters that I never mailed, if I trailed them when they went out with somebody, keeping a discreet distance, filled with jealous rage, thumbing a sharp-edged knife in one hand and weeping quietly in frustration - now that would be stalking.

To me, though, such crazy characterization aside, a crush is lively and interesting. I've come to think of it as an art, and art of crush is not about lust or sex. Sex is too easy - as simple and instinctive as masturbation and once it is over, it loses its charm. The crush in contrast, is a spell that, because it remains unconsummated, is never broken by reality's inevitable anti-climax. Because, there are no first dates, no hungry first kisses, no rocky times, no ups and downs. There is only the crush - part nostalgia and part hope, the infinite possibility of what may or might have happened, so far yet so close. The truly accomplished crush artist never falls into the reality trap; he is in fact, a grinning celibate! but if things come naturally, (I love it, when it does) to hell with celibacy.

Call me crush-prone. I had a torrential crush on Resham Kidwai in my eighth grade and the dusky Juliana in my ninth grade. In my tenth standard, I was silly over my school librarian Nupur who still remains one of my favorites besides Daisy Fuentes of MTV, Alexandra of Channel V, movie stars – Kelly Preston, Madchen Amick, Kristy Swanson, Monica Belluci are and remain, my monster crushes for the ages. I have had many more but they all have lapsed over the years.

In an era of high-risk sex and gender common workplaces, a good crush in its truest sense is harmless, simple and uncomplicated. And although, it's hardly a substitute for the euphoria of actual sex or the excitement of actual courtship, a good crush has spiritual and self-worth benefits, which many experts agree. A crush may awaken your vanity from the routines of domestic life and may boost your self esteem.

The crush concept also makes even more sense today। The modern workplace, college, school, club, or the neighborhood is a fertile breeding ground for crushes. It's where we spend most of our time. It’s a contained universe. You see the same people everyday. You've likely to share similar thoughts and backgrounds. People grow on you. People grow into crushes. The sexual charge released by a crush unleashes a creative energy, which can benefit us, professionally and it’s proven that teams composed of men and women are more productive than same sex cohorts. And these crushes can be very healthy, also as long as they're kept under control. Alas, control. If it’s not kept in the proper perspective, a crush can become entirely more complicated than it's worth and ruin a perfectly good and friendly relationship.

Forget productivity, creative energy and good health. Crushes make the daily grind easier to bear; they keep our eyes open and our egos healthy. After all, they keep us happy and awake.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Relive the 1980s with this Original Teen Comedy

In 1982, Amy Heckerling directed her debut movie with a teen comedy based on a best-selling book and screenplay by the later Academy Award winner - Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), then a young writer who worked for Rolling Stone magazine. Called the “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, it had a very young cast featuring Sean Penn (in a superb stoner role), Judge Reinhold, the beautiful Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Robert Romanus besides the film debuts of Nicolas Cage, Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards. Universal Pictures gave it a limited release unsure of its potential. However, its candid portrayal of the teen generation of those days and a splendid all-star performance, ensured a fantastic opening and subsequent nationwide release across America and beyond.

Since then, even after 25 years, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” has consistently remained popular and is considered by many fans and critics alike as one of the most original pieces of the 80s American Cinema or rather, an original teen slice of life movie that still has social relevance.

I was in my kindergarten when Fast Times at Ridgemont High released and I didn’t see it until I was a mid teen, when I inadvertently rented it on a videotape from my neighborhood video rental assuming it to be a typical teen sex comedy (as indeed it was flasely advertised). Thanks to a friend, you can now relive this popular snapshot of the 80s teen culture and appreciate its original charm. Download and enjoy.

Free Direct Download - Single Link Avi Video File -

If you see an improper page - please cut, copy, paste the link in your browser. File available for download for a limited time only.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

G-Spot Expeditions and Other Carnal Stories

Caution: The following article is rather sexually explicit so, all readers are advised prudence.

A significant element of my vocation is editing and reviewing scores of writer submissions for syndication and lettering critiques. And one of the greatest windfalls is reading different styles of prose and dissimilar streams of thought that perhaps would never go to press.

Last night, I reviewed this rather inflammatory article on Women and Sex by a Canadian author who no doubt, I could determine was an anti-feminist. While most of his arguments centered on sexual harassment in offices vis-à-vis consensual sex and male rights, he however made some interesting and rather factual observations of the opposite species that got me thinking; and to a large extent, he was indeed true.

Why, after so many feisty and intellectual debates on social and gender equality, do women (wives, girlfriends…) still think they’re doing men a huge favour by occasionally agreeing to have sex? Even the most urbane and refined woman insists on playing out an elaborate courtship ritual in terms of which the hapless male is unilaterally assigned the principal role of seducer, knight and 100% do gooder. She, in turn, adopts a patently dishonest persona comprising one part superiority and nine parts computation.

Tempting though they are, women’s bodies are not holy shrines, and all men are tired of being cast as high priests with a craving for defilement. In reality, the female life form is no more than nature’s artful and clever compilation of blood, bone, water and spongy, fleshy bits intended primarily to keep cosmetic companies in perpetual business and replicate itself with highest commotion.

The fact that Men find this living being absolutely attractive and desirable is a marvel of God’s genetic programming, not to mention an unassailable vindication of Duggan’s Theory of Form versus Function in a Meta-Universe. (This should not be confused with Big Al’s Conundrum, which relates that any woman to whom you are sexually fascinated immediately becomes a lesbian. whew!). In reality, female composition borders on the bizarre, some of the most sought after parts being located in places so illogical that they could have been conceived only by a hastily assembled committee in the heavens (with several dissenting members of course).

Other body parts are of such an abstruse nature that they are understood only by specialist doctors with an unseemly clinical interest in mucous membranes. Take the G-spot for instance. Most experts agree or rather everyone knows there is no such thing called a real G-Spot. Show me one verifiable G-Spot in a woman and I’ll show you my flickr collection of my recent extraterrestrial trip to Mars aboard a flying saucer!

And yet many men (yes, many men) still spend countless hours searching for the damn thing, their vain expeditions further compounded by reckless women’s (and men’s) magazines and innumerable sex-related Web sites that perpetuate the G-Spot myth by publishing fake accounts of moist treasure hunts, complete with intimate details and illustrative maps of the female genitalia. As a result, scores of men continue in their elusive G-Spot searches while women continue remaining splendidly and persuasively mysterious, their innermost desires and weird compulsions hardly understood, their bodies a loaded and largely unexploited source of mystical myths and carnal legends.

Daily work life, love, relationships, peer pressure and inter-personal hiccups make unjust demands on many men, and sometimes they lose direction. Even if men are not trapped by stereotyping or male bashing (i.e. men are lusty, men have a perennial sex drive, women are more interested in intimacy and love than sex alone, etcetera), men become upset and distressed because most women transmit perplexing and ambiguous signals.

“Yes” may indeed indicate a woman's consent, but when men stray into the “Yes but not now” or “Yes also means No” territory, the issue becomes downright cloudy or utterly risky. Ergo, they're obliged to wait until the message from her is so loud and clear that it’s a wonder the neighbours don’t complain and even then most men misinterpret the actual contents.

I have this somewhat confrontational theory. Rather than being besieged by their potent sex drive, most men initiate sex because they see it as the best way, sometimes the only way to express their love and feelings. Yet many men feel it’s something of an anti-climax, as if sex isn’t really sex unless it’ s accompanied by energetic thrusting, a munificent exchange of body fluids and at least one or two gloriously climactic orgasms.

What most men sometimes fail to realize is that almost all women have the amazing ability to enjoy closeness without actual penetration or simply put, intimacy without the sex. Loving words, soft caresses, romantic scents, dark chocolates, mellow music, verbal fantasies, etc – all these alone can arouse greatly sexual feelings in a women without necessitating the wham-bam,ooh-aah thing. Men ignore this hard truth at their own peril as a sensually aroused woman will sooner or later will herself make the first move. Perhaps, this would work if only men could wait a little longer and women could get over with their touch-me/touch-me-not moods faster. And now, only if they could ever agree...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shortcuts to Getting Rich and Famous

First, let me apologize for being such a snob and not updating this blog for the last 2 weeks. Honestly, it was unintentional and I never meant to disrespect any fellow Blogger (as my post at a blog forum has been misinterpreted). I did want to blog but mercy me, there is hardly any time and besides, I have been traveling. Yeah, the same old story but when you are on your own, time flies. Or rather it evaporates especially when you have distressed clients seeking your positive Midas touch or at least that is what they wish.

Added to this, I was honored to be featured as an “Entrepreneur To Watch” at Your - India’s No. 1 Entrepreneurship Portal that highlights the free enterprise fortitude and profiles successful entrepreneurs (both young and old). As if this was not enough to raise my gung-ho spirits, my name was in the press on World Environment Day (which was also my birthday) acknowledging my activist role at Green Coalition Network. Well, the news spread and I have since been receiving messages of all kinds in my inbox from clients, family, friends and foes alike. A few were quite candid expressing their sincere greetings, a few with the obligatory congrats and a couple of them, suspiciously anonymous, loaded with outright sarcasm and witty compliments.

Whether Entrepreneur or Activist, it’s great to be acknowledged but awards and recognitions are nothing more than your 15 minutes of fame. They come and go and unless, you win a substantial Cash award (which our undeserving cricketers get in excess), they don’t make a real difference in your immediate world. After all, your credit card agent doesn’t care who you are and what you do for a living; all he wants is your money. Perhaps, awards add value in the long run.

Anyway, what surprised me were the alarming number of emails I received from fellow so-called entrepreneurs; some praising me to the point of sycophancy and a few asking me for “short cuts for getting rich and famous” as someone had expertly phrased. Maybe these folks are stupidly naïve or have a skewed way of perceiving success and most likely don’t realize how tough it is to become (and remain) an entrepreneur.

Being an Entrepreneur is indeed a lot of fun and it’s an indescribable emotion you get every day but it’s not a magic ticket to prosperity, fame or opulence. Mostly, it’s like fishing. If the spot is right, if the weather is good and if you have got the right gear, you’ll get a good catch or you’ll waste an entire day and not even catch a worm. Some of my friends who also happen to come from the same league put it differently – like speeding in a fuel guzzling, expensive turbo car and never knowing when to hit the brakes. Starting on your own is almost like this. The car will almost certainly make many heads turn and make you a star but unless you know to control it, you’ll blow a lot of money and probably sooner or later, fuck you up in a needless accident.

So Awards or Not; brothers, sisters and fellow entrepreneurs, the key to success is learning and knowing your art, fine-tuning it, refining it and then hitting the life highway. And it’s better to always wear a helmet. Play safe, work smart, die hard. These are my shortcuts.
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