Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How NOT to commit suicide

Before people start worrying about the fact that I'm becoming increasingly depressed, let me assure you that I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

NOTE – This piece in no way is intended to undermine anyone’s problems or to insult anyone. It is just my take on different commonly known suicide methods. I wish everyone good health and good life.

Suicide is a serious, well thought out step taken as a means to a resolution and I believe that 'to each his own' - it’s a person's life and he/she would know best what to do with it.

The inspiration for this post came from my friend Niks' comment  - "PJ, I suggest you try committing suicide by jumping off the ground floor." And I was thinking, how can I die if I jump from the ground max I might twist an arm or a leg. Then I realized that if someone's actually planning to go all out, I guess some basic precautions are necessary so as to make sure you don't get just broken bones and then an arrest warrant against you (Suicide is a punishable crime).

10. Wrist Cutting - Its actually one of the most commonly used method (purely based on my knowledge of literature, movies and news clippings). So the idea here is - people who can't stand the sight of blood shouldn't really try this out. Imagine trying to cut your wrists and then at the sight of the first blood splatter you pass out and actually end up NOT dying. Well, you are looking at mad parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/children or even worse, police. Plus you might have done some damage to your wrist tendons and you won't be able to tweet or update Facebook status again with that hand. So watch some blood and gore movies and maybe you'll just drop the idea.

9. Drowning - This is an easy one, quite a lot of people don't know how to swim. All you need to do is to take a ferry from point A to point B, and jump off in the middle of the river/lake. But just let me tell you, try holding your breath and count to 45, you'll feel a burning sensation in your neck and lungs. And in 3 minutes, your brain cells will start deciding how best to survive the oxygen depletion and will start sacrificing the not so essential cells to save the essential ones. Means first you'll lose motor capacity (movement), then eyesight, then hearing and taste and lastly cardiac functioning. Now, make very sure if you are planning to drown then please do drown, if someone saves you after you've been submerged long enough to have such damage happen to your brain cells, you might turn into vegetative stage and well, that wouldn't really solve your problems of leaving the world, in fact now you won't even have the power to choose your path. So instead of drowning in water, I'd suggest try drowning in sweat. Take up boxing, beat the hell out of the sand bag and tell me how you feel after that.

8. Vehicle Impact (Jumping in front of a speeding car, train or any other thing that is big, moves and has kinetic energy that can break you into two) - Now this is a pretty painless and quick method if the vehicle you've chosen is hurtling down fast. You'll be gone in less than 10 seconds and its all good. But again, if the vehicle slows down, and assuming it is a car and the first two tires have run over you and your internal organs are out on the road and you're not're going to be in a LOT of pain. And secondly even if you manage to die, you'll be lying half opened up on the street, your brains will look like a red-grey mixture and dogs would be licking it. Your nice shirt or that nice top would be blood stained and someone might try to steal your wallet, purse or mobile phone. And all this your departing soul would see. BAD idea! I'd suggest taking the car out for a spin and go for a long drive, if you don't have the car just get a bicycle and pedal away to glory. Its great cardio too.

7. Electrocution - Not many people do this, but then want to end it all. So you can do this, douse yourself with water (increase conductance) and just yank the power cord off the iron-press and POW…you get the jolt of your life. But guess what, you might end up paralyzed (you know how power fluctuates often), plus with burns also and a permanent speech problem. Do you really think its worth all that? Just chuck this idea out, it’s useless...and iron that shirt lying in the corner. Now!

6. Jump out of a high-rise building - This is probably the most common way to die. But choose the floor properly, based on your own body type and strength. If a John Abraham or a Kris Gethin jumps from even 3rd floor, chances are they won't die, just get broken bones and tendons. From Wikipedia directly - "This method, in most cases, results in severe consequences if the attempt fails, such as paralysis, organ damage, and bone fractures." A better way would to survey the city from a height and who knows the fresh air up at that height might clear up your head a bit?

5. Blowing your head off with a gun - A little difficult in India. You need to do lots of paperwork before you can get a licensed gun. And as for the country made 'Katta', you can't be really sure that it'll actually do what it was intended to. But trust me, nothing like blowing heads off enemies in Counter Strike or even better head to your local gaming parlor and try Rambo on  a Sega machine - the gun feels real and has recoil too!

4. Hanging - I'm particularly not fond of hanging as it’s a degrading way to die. Your eyes will bulge out, neck will snap and you'll not even be able to give out one last death cry (your larynx is broken). Plus you might just end up hurting yourself on the head if you weigh slightly on the heavy side or the fan hook is loose. The fan will fall on your head and you'll become a laughing stock when people will come to know how you got that bandage on your head. Relax, take a deep breath and fold the bed sheet you just took out for hanging yourself.

3. Poisoning (Includes everything under the sun from Ratkill to Cyanide to Arsenic to Pesticide) - Poisoning is a way to go for if you really hate yourself, as you'll turn blue (due to blood circulation slowing down), and your internal organs will start getting emulsified (kind of melting/dissolving stuff - think of a butter stick melting on a hot plate). So a better way would be to prepare a nice grand meal (cooking once in a while is therapeutic) and then talking to a loved one. Problem solved.

2. Self Immolation - Setting yourself to fire is a very, very painful way to go. It'll burn you through the layer of skin, fat, muscle, internal organs and finally to the bone. And all through this, you'll be dying inch by inch. Plus self immolation is considered not just an end, but rather a very strong symbolism.  So unless you are impervious to pain and are absolutely dead sure that nothing can really solve your problems, don’t do it.

1.  Creating Traps for yourself and then sitting in them – If you are one of those who like psycho serial killer movies like Saw series, I’m sure you must have thought about making a weird contraption for yourself and then sitting in it. But hey, if you could really something so mechanically intricate and totally cool, why not make things professionally and start a new business. You are your own boss and you’ll never think of quitting.

Bonus Feature – Watch mindless iconic movies like Prabhuji Mithunda’s Gunda, Diya aur Toofan, Chingari, Chandaal and Yamraaj back to back. You will either go insane or even worse, you’ll end up like me – yes, you will LIKE those movies and then write such utterly useless blogs.

P.S. And yes, there's actually a complete book on how to get it right. The Complete Manual of Suicide

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why would I want to die young?

At the outset, I'd like to clear that I'm not depressed, repressed or suicidal. I didn't have a traumatic childhood and definitely not a horrific adolescence. I am a healthy, socially active and funny man. I am just one of the million 'normal' people out there in the world.

Have you ever thought that the late 20s - early 30s are probably the years of our life when we peak...think of just about anything. I'll list some of the things for you,  rest please feel free to add in comments-

1. Physically - you are at your strongest best; you know how to use makeup and have the skin and hair to use it on; you are not going to get any taller; guys would be getting 2 - 3 creases on the forehead or crow's feet around eyes (gives the rugged, hardened cowboy image) while women would have the pout and there'll be little or no plastic in their bodies (I hope, naturals are always better).

2. Emotionally - almost all of us would have seen our share of relationships. And along with that the knowledge that comes free. We'd have seen heartbreaks and learnt how to deal with them. We'd have seen clingy/puppy-ish boyfriends/girlfriends and learnt how to keep them at bay. We'd have been deceived/cheated or would have deceived/cheated so we learnt how it feels from both sides. We'd realized the true worth of our friends, our family and our enemies also (that too is important)

3. Professionally - ok, people will say they have to go a long way, but the truth is...we'll never like what we do for a living. So chuck that out, we've received appreciation for work, been neglected for promotions, participated in office gossips, been targeted for being different/gossip worthy, seen office romances/been involved with a co-worker, harassed by a co-worker/boss, some of us might have even received undue attention from the boss, and yes...not to forget, at some point we all had the insecurity about being jobless the coming Monday.

4. Romantically - I want to assume all of us would have found our perfect companion, our best friend and confidant in our partner. People would have found the significant other in a friend, a co worker, a mysterious stranger, an arranged marriage but yes, we'd have found someone who'd make each and everyday worthwhile (sob sob sob....I can't write more syrupy story...I'll turn into Karan Johar)

5. Sexually - since this article defines its target group as 25 - 35, I can and I will safely assume all of us would have succumbed to the 'temptation' of the 'forbidden fruit' and done the 'original sin'. In fact some of us would have 'been there, done that' way before (this generation, I tell you). If you are 35, reading this article and still a virgin, think about it and do something about it.

6. Materialistically - we all work hard to buy stuff we don't need or will seldom use. But hey, we love to buy and accumulate :) Watch, touchscreen phone, a fancy tablet, DSLR camera, bike, foreign trip, car, house (some of us will) name it and it is lying somewhere round the corner.

7. Philosophically - at this age, we'd already have started questioning a lot of theories and teachings given to us. We'd want the answer to life's most twisted questions and would spend hours pondering about 'the meaning of life?', 'why am I here?', 'the grand design' (I love discussing this one, drop in sometime and we'll talk about it), 'does God exist?', 'why is the govt throwing the country into the gutter?', 'why don't people vote sensibly?', 'will this ever change?'

8. Spiritually - I don't have a clue about spirituality but I think we'd have fixed that thing by now.

So this brings us to a very sad conclusion, from here on it's all downhill...

You've crossed the apex of the 'bell curve', the tip of Mt. Everest and have now started your descent...a descent which ends in a bucolic smelling, pristine white hospital room where you lie down on a bed (if you want to call that a bed) and tubes, monitors are hooked up to you, you see faces around but can't really make out who they are (memory loss, bad bad thing), you might be a little hearing impaired also and you don't have the strength to tightly hug your loved ones one last time. And then...Game Over time!!

People will gather for your funeral, remember you and say that back in the heydays what a charming man he was, what a beautiful woman she was, he was the life of every party, she was an amazing talent, he was so strong, she was so slim...blah blah...while you are just a shell of what you once were. Actually, you are plain DEAD.

When I evaluate myself on these parameters, I see only a few years left before I can tick off all the items on this list. So meet me before I meet the 'eligibility criteria' and let me have the opportunity to entertain and regale you and myself.

After reading this, you'll either think about the same or at-least you'd sit down to evaluate if you are 'qualified' to die young.

So...are you 'qualified enough'?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

To the JOHNs of the world

Many centuries ago a great poet and playwright, William Shakespeare wrote the epic lines – 

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”
I think what Shakespeare wanted to clarify that the names of thing or people don’t matter much as much their qualities do. Clearly nobody had referred to him as “Bill” Shakespeare. Bill…hmm, that would taken away the nobility, the gravitas out of that name, maybe…

But some names are such that by the sound they exude power, passion, success, an aura of superiority. And more often than not, such a name might be used for fictional characters in popular arts (movies, dramas, stories, novels) and their real life holders are equally intriguing personalities.

So while we are here, why not pick up one name which has clearly been the ‘favored’ name amongst all names – JOHN.

JOHN, the sound itself is…”Hell Yeah, Step the F*** out of my way or I’m gonna mow you down!!!”

"John is a masculine given name in the English language. The name is derived from the Latin Ioannes, Iohannes, which is in turn a form of the Greek Ἰωάννης, Iōánnēs. This Greek name is a form of the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן, anan, which means "Graced by Yahweh""

So here, I present my favorite 10 JOHNs.

10.  John Rambo

Aah…this is what inspired me to take up the word JOHN in the first place. Blood, Guts, Insanity, Sorrow rolled into one character and played by the iconic Sylvester Stallone…John Rambo is the pinnacle of being the average ‘no-nonsense-bad-ass’ guy. Everything about Rambo reeks of steely determination and strength whether it’s the mountain hide-n-seek with Sheriff Teasle (Rambo: First Blood), or the punishment he endures at the hand of Lt. Col. Podovsky (Rambo II) or the game of buzkashi with the Afghans (Rambo III) or the mad intensity with which he dispatches Major Pa Tee Tint (Rambo IV) to hell…John Rambo is what every guy wants to be deep within…unchained, unleashed and totally freaked-out maniac.
Picture  -

 9. John Gotti (October 27, 1940 – June 10, 2002)

First up, I don't condone crime and I certainly believe crime doesn't pay..even in the case of John 'Teflon Don" Gotti. He became the head of USA's most powerful crime family - The Gambinos, in 1985 at the age of 45 by killing the then boss Paul Costellano. Some achievement that was. He was given the nickname "The Teflon Don" after three high-profile trials in the 1980s resulted in his acquittal (i.e. the charges didn't "stick"). Being the true gentleman that he was, he always offered FBI agents coffee before being whisked away for interrogations or for trials. But he was every bit as hard, coldblooded, calculative, tough and unforgiving as you'd expect a mafia don to be. (He got his neighbor killed by throwing him in an acid drum). For the first time, a mafia don's real life was in full public view and he was what a Don Vito Corleone would have been in real life. 

P.S. Personal opinion, but I think Eric Roberts' character Salvatore Maroni (The Dark Knight) was inspired from the original don.

                                                                 Eric Roberts

John Gotti

For more reading - John Gotti

8. John D Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937)

An oil industrialist, an investor, and a philanthropist, John D Rockefeller was one of the pioneers of the greatest modern day empires. An empire which didn’t rely on weapons to stretch its boundaries rather used economics and capitalism to do the same. Just like the sun never set on the British Empire, Standard was the first and by far the largest MNC the world had ever seen. Eventually it was broken up by the US Supreme Court on grounds of monopolist tactics but the spin offs itself grew to be huge companies in their own right – Conoco, ExxonMobil, Chevron…each of them are giants in their own right.
The man may well have been the richest man in the history of humankind (in 1937, his personal wealth was $1.4 billion against the total US GDP of $94 billion!) but he’ll always be known for his philanthropic trusts and contributions toward setting up colleges, universities and research grants.

For more reading - John D Rockefeller 

 7. John Cena

You Can’t See ME!!! Weighing at 251 pounds, from Tampa, FL…John Cena!
Mix up a baby-face with a rapper’s ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude, add tons of fan followership, spruce it up with a solid built and theatrics in the ring…you get this all round entertainer. WWE has never been this interesting until John Cena, a man who thinks of himself as a soldier and a people’s poster-boy came along.

6. John Doe

The ambiguous, the unknown, the one person whom no one will look out for. Even if he’s dead, no body will search for him, there’ll be no wreaths on his grave just an unmarked grave…at the most a name on the tomb stone – John Doe.

The names "John Doe" for males and "Jane Doe" or "Jane Roe" for females are used as placeholder names for a party whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld in a legal action, case, or discussion. The names are also used to refer to a corpse or hospital patient whose identity is unknown. - John Doe

Frank Capra directed a movie “Meet John Doe” which was later copied in Hindi movies as “Mai Azad Hoon” starring Amitabh Bacchan. The concept was the same – a letter from an anonymous person turns into a political revolution and since the John Doe never existed (it was a hoax letter), an unknown person is brought in to embody the idea of a John Doe.
P.S. Mai Azaad Hoon was marred by super hammy acting by Amitabh Bacchan but had an awesome song – “itne bazu itne sir, gin le dushman dhyaan se….haarega tu har baazi, jab khele hum jee jaan se”

He's just a nameless face, forgotten, alone, left to die/rot somewhere in the shadows...maybe he had a story to tell, maybe he had a family, but for all we'll ever know...he was just John Doe.

5. John E List (September 17, 1925 – March 21, 2008)

A big 19 room 3-storey bungalow, a pretty wife, 3 school-going bright young kids, and a mother. Life must have been great for an account in New Jersey in the winter of 1971 (the house was the most expensive house in the locality at that time)

But under the surface, things were not right – John Emil List had lost his job, he owed $11,000 on his home loan, his wife was suffering from syphilis (contracted from her ex-husband), the eldest daughter was smoking and the mother was not keeping well (she was 85)

So there were two solutions, either go for state welfare program (which would hurt the ego) or kill the family and send their souls to heaven.

 The List family in happier times

John List's mother, Alma, was murdered in the attic. She had been closed into a storage hall off the kitchen, and a dishtowel was placed on her face. Her body had been oddly positioned on her back, knees spread and her calves under her, as if she had fallen to her knees and then gone over backwards. The police lifted the towel and saw an expression of horror on her face. She had been shot above the left eye.

The wife, Helen had been shot in the left side of the head in the kitchen and dragged by the feet down the hall to the ballroom.

Patty, the daughter lay on her left side. She was wearing a coat, as if she had just come in from outside. She too had been shot in the head and then dragged to where she lay. Youngest son, Fred was on his stomach, also wearing a jacket. There was a pool of blood under his head. Brother and sister appeared to be merely asleep.

The middle child, John Jr. was another matter. His winter jacket was unzipped, showing that he had come in the house and then tried to struggle. He had been shot repeatedly, in the chest and face, an attack more savage than the others had suffered. In total 10 bullets were removed from his body.

It was Westfield, New Jersey's first murder in eight years, and it was a slaughter.

The FBI lost the trail and case went into cold case files, never to be solved. But 28 years later, with the help of America’s Most Wanted TV program…on June 1, 1989 the FBI got a mysterious tip and finally John E. List was caught after changing his name to Bob Clark, remarrying and living a comfortable life in Virginia.

Case Closed.

For further reading - John E List

4. John McClane

With little or no regard for rules, sarcastic wit and loads of problems with the ‘bad guys’, this is one police-man you wouldn’t want to me mess with.

He has all the needed ingredients for making the perfect bad-ass cop – , foul-mouthed, wisecracking, almost always suspended or being reprimanded at the job, a wife who is seeking separation, children who don’t listen to him, a never say die attitude and on top of that megalomaniac villains who just don’t to take him seriously…and kabooom! He goes into overdrive.

Even at death’s door, the man has the guts to spew out quality witty rejoinders to villains. Sample this,

Villain Hans Gruber (Die Hard) describes him as "just another American... who thinks he's John Wayne,". McClane replies that he "was always partial to Roy Rogers.”

When Villain Thomas Gabriel (Die Hard 4) asks him where is Mai (his side-kick), this is what McClane replies (in true McClane spirit) – “Mai? Oh, yeah. Little Asian chick, likes to kick people? I don't think she's gonna be talkin' to anybody for a really long time. Last time I saw her she was at the bottom of a elevator shaft with an SUV rammed up her a**.”

So if you are a bad guy, stay away from John McClane, else...well...he'll simply shout "Yippee-Ki-Yay-Motherf****r!" 

 Once a bad-ass....always a bad-ass

3. John F Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)

"Let every nation know... that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"

"For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed."

On a chilly January morning of 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the youngest president of USA. And his short term of little less than 3 yrs in office (Jan 20, 1961 – Nov 22, 1963) saw some of the most notable events in the course of world history - Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War.

He was a true hero at heart, serving as a boat commander in the WW2 in the Pacific Theater; he conducted many rescue operations and earned a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for bravery. He was never the one to surrender to the enemy but understood that everyone’s decision can’t be the same and everyone must be given a fair chance. An example from WW2 when he attack boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer ship Amagiri, he asked the remaining crew of his boat -

“A lot of you men have families and some of you have children. What do you want to do? Fight or Surrender? I have nothing to lose.”

Like any other humans he too had his failings, he was known to have had a number of affairs more notably with Marylin Monroe (She sang “Happy B’Day Mr. President” at the White House)and Marlene Dietrich.

In the end if there was one US president who has still managed to capture people’s interest is JFK, as he was called. His death was also a major controversy at that time, and with that the days of open-convertible rallies came to an end.

2.  John Woo

Chow Yun Fat. Gun Kata. Heroic Bloodshed. Mexican Stand-off. Stranglehold. Face/Off. Mission Impossible 2. Sounds impressive, eh?

What Alfred Hitchcock did to the thriller genre, Spielberg and Cameron did to Sci-fi, this unknown movie director from Hong Kong did to action genre. Never before had we seen an almost lyrical, fluid motion in action sequences, with slow-mo and bullet time capture. But this guy knew how to make even the most standard ‘one-man-against-ten’ gun battles look glamorous. For him, nothing was a more glorious way to die and kill than a Mexican stand-off.

He introduced the world to Chow Yun Fat (A Better Tomorrow), (Info for my action loving friends, the same movie was copied by Sanjay F Gupta to create Baba and Nawab’s legendary friendship in Aatish (1994)). He continued making action movies, each of them a landmark in itself – Hard Boiled, The Killer and then he went to Hollywood…rest is history. Hard Target (Van Damme), Face/Off (Travolta/Cage), MI2 (Tom Cruise) and Paycheck (Ben Affleck).

His style of gun-kata, slo-mo and bullet-time has been used in multiple movies and video games(Equilibrium, Matrix Trilogy, Max Payne (both game and movie)).

You don’t mess with John Woo, else a lot of bullets will come and hit you in slo-motion :)

1. Dear John

It’s a known fact in the primarily English-speaking word, that if a letter from a wife or a girlfriend to a guy opens with the words “Dear John”, it may very well be the last letter from that person. Dear John letters are the symbols of break-ups and have been around from the time of World War 2 when a lot of men on active duty received letters every week letting them know that the woman of their dream has found some one else, some one better.

 Why me? What did I do wrong?

A "Dear John letter" is a letter written to a husband or boyfriend by his wife or girlfriend to inform him their relationship is over, usually because the author has found another lover. Dear John Letters are often written out of an inability or unwillingness to inform the person face to face. The reverse situation, in which someone writes to his wife or girlfriend to break off the relationship, is referred to as a "Dear Jane letter.” – Dear John

Now John might be ‘deserving’ for this, maybe he cheated on his girlfriend/wife, maybe he was in a job which entailed travel, maybe he was serving in the armed forces…but the least a woman could do was to offer him the dignity of a break-up in person and not by a letter (that’s been replaced by the email, SMS, FB messages, tweets and what not). 

After seeing the picture below, I realized I'm badly missing my dog. :(

 I'm your best friend and will never leave you

Actually, I lost my train of thought as to what did I want to write about this Dear John, never mind. I’ll that sometimes later when I remember.