Why I chose to be a College Dropout!

There is everything wrong about how ‘Education’ is perceived in our country. I mean how many of you would say you are studying, what you should actually have been studying! I am a college drop out! Yes, that’s what I am! And trust me, that was the best decision I ever made in my whole life.

It was the year 2000, the start of a new millennium! A time when personal computers or PCs were a big thing in anybody’s home and that too as a toy for a 10 year old kid. But then I was never really a kid ever and grades back in school made sure, I was given what I demanded! Aah I miss those days! When you could swap your good grades with anything you set your eyes upon! But unlike the other usual kids in my school who demanded a new Hot Wheels Station or a new cricket kit, ( I got that 3 years back any way 😉 ) I was given a personal computer all for myself. And an Internet connection by Sify which was probably one of the earliest ISP’s in India. Now that was a big high!

I made my first website in class 3rd. It was for an International Youth Festival in CMS Lucknow. A website about Man Vs Machine. I remember, I won d 2nd prize for that, loosing only to a geek 4 years elder to me. And I was already in love with the Internet. It was like my first love. It opened an entirely new world to me. I was fascinated by what all I could do on it and I was glued to it for life. And that’s when everyone around me decided I would grow up to be a computer engineer. Not that I disagreed then.

I grew up, jumping one class after another with much ease and so did my love for computers. I was destined to be a computer engineer, every Pandit predicted that. That’s why I joined the best coaching institute in the city ‘JRS’, run by 3 core teachers Jha Sir, Rai Sir & Singh Sir, in class 11th. And that’s why the name! My parents paid a hefty amount to get me through it. A place where future engineers where made. So now this meant, I complete my school till 2, have lunch back home and at 6 in the evening, the time which was used to spend in the field playing cricket with my friends in the neighborhood, I get ready for my Engineering coaching.

It all went pretty well for the first month. I like new things. Unlike most people, I love changes. But I get bored very easily. And thats precisely what happened with the engineering coaching. It was getting monotonous. Not that I couldn’t cope up with it. In fact out of the first 3 tests we had in JRS, which eventually turned out to be the only tests I ever gave in that place, I was among the top 3 in a batch 800 people. The 3rd one was of Maths, and that is one area I have never tried to explore. Nor do I want to either. And this boredom, led to the amazing world of bunking classes.

I was usually found out at movie theaters, some random girl’s place which I was dating ;-), the beautiful ghats of Varanasi or the cyber cafe during my coaching time. I had a blast during that period. Learned everything that is good enough to spoil a bright mind. Though I don’t really see them as anything bad now. 😉 That was the age after all. Everyone was doing that. But yes, my love for the computers never seized. I Ironically, when I was finally caught for bunking coaching, before the end of the year, I was in a cyber cafe, browsing the internet and sending scraps on Orkut to my next date to be! :-p

I was slapped and told about what a big sin I had committed by using a social network site. And guess what, Today I am doing a job that pays me to work on Facebook primarily. The world is indeed round. 😉 Anyways back to the story, the house arrest followed. No more coaching classes, no more bunking, no more fun. Yes my grades had fallen and I was already loosing out in the mad race around. I was told, I had to do something about it fast, real fast or people would start calling me a failure. I got hold of myself, started doing what really was never a big deal for me and my grades where back to the best. And everyone started looking at me as the smart kid who would take the family name to greater heights.

I did pretty well in my boards, and got admission in an engineering college, right after school, in 2009. No prizes for guessing what my specialization was in. ‘Computer Science’. I was all set to shine. But I had a surprise in store for me. The first year papers had nothing about computer science really. It was all those crappy subjects we had learned back all those years in a new more complicated form with the word ‘Applied’ prefixed to them. Something we never really can apply anywhere in the real world. And as I was 700 miles away from home, nobody to monitor my progress, all to myself, I went back into the bunking mode. I was simply pretty bored with what I was taught. I skipped lectures to sleep till afternoon as I used to chat all night on Facebook, the latest and the most popular social network, with my friends. I was fascinated with the functioning of this thing. How one could make new friends, chat with them, see their lives moving in pictures, show off your own, update status about what you feel, get all the latest happening around the globe. It was a marvel of a website.

Then after my first year, I got un well and was bedridden for months. It brought me closer to it. I maintained a normal life like all other jus because of Facebook in spite of the fact that I couldn’t go out, hang around with my friends, couldn’t party and was almost close to death. Facebook was a life saver. After my recovery, I started a Facebook page called Jannat, wherein I could help people like me who were suffering from cancer and gave them a reason to fight. I had finally started utilizing the media to its best possible use. Though by then, I had lost all my patience for the boring un-happening engineering I was burned with. Not that anybody forced me to it, it was always my choice. But it was simply because I knew no other fields apart from engineering and medicine back then. When my friends reached their final year and were placed in different companies, and I was still stuck in the second, I decided it was time to say goodbye . I now knew what I wanted to do. Social media marketing was my thing. I was an expert in that. I could make any page look better with my contents. I could network better than my peers. I had finally found what I really wanted to be.

What followed was pretty easy for me. I made up a resume, added the little things I had done in the past and uploaded it on the major job sites. And lo behold, I landed up with a job within a week at a package that still makes a lot of people very very jealous. :-p I started earning, when most of my batch mates were still stuck with the crappy subjects they had to mug up willingly or unwillingly a day before the exam to graduate next year. Probably, when they finally start doing the job they were placed in, I might have already got a promotion or two. Who knows! 😉

I don’t say what I did was right. Everyone likes to have a graduate degree. Its the norm. That’s how the world would see you as a respected citizen. I want one too. How else can I do my MBA, and be ‘certified’ a pro in my field. I have now applied for a three years distance education degree in Bsc. IT which fast tracks my course and would complete by the fall of 2013, so technically I am graduating in time. 😉

But, I don’t find it right. We should have a system wherein we choose what to study. It can be anything – Cooking, singing, dancing, playing, eating ( I wish there was a degree for that! 😉 ) and there should be no pressure on a child whatsoever to pursue the aim of his life. People take time in realizing what they really wanna make out of their lives, and they should be given that time. Not be forced to do what the world thinks is right. Because in the end, nothing is really right or wrong, it is just how you see it. Sweet and simple. 🙂

Matters of the Heart

Aah its been too long..

And I feel like writing again.. There is something that initiates it. The feeling when you want to express your thoughts. When you want to let the world know what’s going on inside the frontal lobes of your brain.

And these thoughts are a culmination of all that’s going around us. Every action initiates a thought process in us which sums up to millions of thoughts that comes across in our minds each day. These very thoughts are the reason why we do, what we do. Why we behave, like we behave. Moreover, we can segregate a good though from a bad one and act accordingly.

And that’s the problem with the heart. It works on an entirely different philosophy. You don’t speak your heart, It speaks for you. You don’t decide what you want for yourself. It will for you. You can only come up with a plan. It’s the heart that would actually come up with the will to accomplish it.

Its a very complex organ. It will dance to its own tune, no matter what you must have thought of, for yourself. And mine is even crazier a specimen. It just doesn’t stops the salsa & jazz inside me.

The way in which our heart functions, has always amazed me. Plus god forbid if a girl is involved in the proceedings, rest assured you have a roller coaster ride up your sleeve.
I would blame the movies for this, but I have always fancied a classical love story for myself, the kind, legends are made up of. And due to which I have fallen in love and out of it quite often just to find my perfect story.

I remember long ago, one of my close friends asked me one day, What do you think about Love? I instantly replied him, ‘Love is a habit.’ That was the time when I was in my I-want-a-perfect-lovestory phase. And it continued for quite sometime. Till few things changed around me.

I found myself bald, on the hospital bed, with a deep scar on my belly. Some kind of a liquid was being injected inside me through a pipe that ran right inside my veins and ran all the way to my chest. I don’t know if it was that single moment or a collective thought. But, I found Love.

It is never about having a perfect love story with the perfect person. Its about being able to admire someone with their imperfections . All our lives, we keep searching for the right person for us, and in the process ignore the ones that has been there all throughout and yet never complained. Look around you. Are you with the right people? The one you say you are in love with, is it really love? Sometimes asking these questions to ourselves might show us the real picture. And that picture, my friend, can be scary!

The real test to this is, when we loose it all. That’s when the lot that sticks to you are the one’s for the keeps. During my cancer days, quite a lot of my so called ‘good & real friends’ thought I won’t survive and left my side. There was a time when these very people used to hang around me 24*7 but then I was, what we call, the ‘popular guy’ in college. Do I feel sad, for they left? No, never. In fact, I am thankful to them. They taught me the biggest lessons in my life. They made me appreciate the one’s who stayed by my side through the pain and brought me out of it. The one’s that never complained, the one’s that never lost the hope on me. Love & Friendship are two very twisted cases. And we always make the wrong choices first, that way we realize the value of the one’s who are meant to be, better.

Nothing has changed much from then on. Two years later, I still am the ‘popular guy’ in college & my workplace but I have my ‘real friends’ by my side. And a newfound ability to judge people right at Hello. I don’t make the wrong choices anymore.

Life has its own way of teaching you stuff. I have learned it the hard way but its engraved in me now.

The Jar of Life

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Makkhi, Aiyya, Chittagong – Too Much too soon!

I don’t really like watching animated movies. The only reason being that I prefer to watch real emotions by real people on screen instead. Not that they are any bad in terms of story and execution, infact movies like Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Wall-E and lot more, can actually move you like anything and are literally a visual masterpiece but still if I am asked to choose between watching an amazingly good animated movie and an average movie, I would still go with the latter.
Anyways, coming down to this Friday, around 6 different movies released together. Talking in terms of economics, None would be able to raise the bar as people are still watching OMG Oh My God & English Vinglish. Plus these 6 movies have been marketed very poorly leaving out any scope for growth. If we forget about that it is actually a treat for hardcore movie lovers. There is so much in the platter for them to choose from.
While the ‘once’ Queen of Bollywood, Rani Mukherjee returns on the silver screen with quirky and naughty Aiyyaa, backed by Anurag Kashyap’s production house which is known for coming up with innovative ventures all the time, on the other hand we have Dark Lord aka Ram Gopal Verma churning out ‘Bhoot Returns’ from his factory, which marks the return of Manisha Koirala & Chakravarty( Satya fame ). Then we have Prem Mayee another comeback venture, this time for Chandrachur Singh ( Maachis fame ). Next in line is a ‘In the Name Of Tai’ that marks the debut of Asha Bhosle as an actor. But the last 2 movies releasing this Friday i.e. Chittagong & Makkhi are something that surely deserves our attention & appreciation. Chittagong is a brilliant motion picture that tells the story of Masterjee read (Manoj Bajpayee) and his bunch of students who took it upon themselves to bring down the British Raj. We did see the Abhishek & Deepika starrer ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se’ last year on the same issue but its the execution & characterization was the reason why it turned out into a complete disaster inspite of the big star cast and production house.
The final one on the list is a very special movie. When EEGA, directed by S.S. Rajamauli, released a couple of months back it created an frenzy of sorts with every one going gaga over the innovative concept of a man killed by an evil business tycoon exactly when he is about to get the love of his life, takes rebirth as a fly and how the fly takes the revenge forms the crux of the story.
It is now dubbed as Makkhi in Hindi, and trust me its one of the most amazing movies we have come across this year. Technically it is right there at the top with all the hollywood biggies, but the concept is the really killer here. You can’t help but be amused at how the fly takes its revenge from Sudeep. Inspite of being a south indian movie, its sure to find appreciation all over the globe. Sudeep really deserves all the praises here. He is really amazing as the bad guy. It ain’t easy to act like your life is being made into a hell by a fly that is animatedly generated and doesn’t really exists. This is one fun film that you should definitely go and see with your kids.

My Cancer Story – From Rajneeti To Dabangg

Movies have always been a dominating factor in my life since the very start. When I was born, Maine Pyar Kia was the biggest hit of the year and broke all the previous record set by its predecessors. Salman Khan was the nation’s new heartthrob. All the girls where drooling about him and all the guys wanted to look like him. Every body secretly wished they could use the Pigeon trick to woo the girl/boy of their dreams. ‘Will you be my Friend?’ was suddenly a cool innovative way to kick start your love life. I would say it was a very filmy time to take birth.
Though the biggest influence of movies, in my life, was most evident during my cancer days. Like you must have already realized, I am big movie buff. I make sure I am updated with all the movies coming up one or two years in advance right from their ‘Mauhurat’ days to the post production and release. I am that crazy about them. In fact, when I was probably 12-13, I promised one of my uncles that I would win the Filmfare Award for the best actor one day. He still has that piece of paper laminated with him, with my signature on it and often keeps pulling my leg for it. Though I couldn’t keep up the promise, but the love for movies in me has never seized to grow.
Two years back, when I was diagnosed with cancer, everything started happening around me at a lightening fast speed. I came to Gurgaon the next day itself, was hospitalized in Medanta Medicity, and the following day, I went through a major operation that lasted for more than 8 hours. When I finally opened my eyes after being unconscious for 5 long hours, I saw 40 stiches and 20 staples running like a scorpion’s tail all throughout my abdomen. I tried to lift up my body to sit, but I couldn’t. There was no pain though because of the anesthesia that was being subjected into me through this pipe that ran right inside my nostrils to god knows where. Rajneeti was supposed to release 6 days from this day.
It was my younger brother’s birthday, so we had planned to watch Rajneeti along with my cousins in Delhi, tickets of which we had pre booked a week back as the advance opening had started two weeks prior to the release.
But luck had other plans for us, my operation happened in between. The day I came back to my cousin’s place in Delhi, I.e. The third day from my operation, my brother and cousins told me, that none of them would go for the movie now. ( You know the kind of sacrifices your family members would do for you just to make you feel good ) Anyways, I didn’t take this news in good spirit. I announced right away that no matter what, I am going to watch the movie on the set date. The only glitch was, I couldn’t even sit by then.
I forced myself to get up for the first time, on the 4th day. Somehow I reached the door of my room but the pain was to its extreme now, and I couldn’t make it any further. The next day, I made up my mind, its now or never. I stood up and started walking. It took me about 15 minutes to stand straight but once I got my balance, I gained the confidence to walk. I walked for the next 15 minutes and went back to sleep.
Finally it was the D-Day. My mother went hysterical at the very thought of me going for the movie. After a long debate, I convinced my Dad, which I always do in a situation like this. He agreed to come along to ensure I am alright and in the next ten minutes the whole family was ready for the show, including my Mom.
We all went to PVR Saket and saw the movie. I sat for 2 and a half hours without any major trouble. That’s when I realized, if you want to do it, it can be done. And that’s about the same time Salman Khan had started his promotions for his most awaited movie ‘Dabangg’.
After the successful Rajneeti stunt, I was made sure I took proper rest from then on. The biopsy report arrived right next week, that diagnosed the tumor to be malignant with Non Hodgekin’s Lymphoma of the Burkitt type, or simply said I had cancer of the lymph nodes, which was spreading all through out my body, Chemotherapy being the only cure. I was back to the hospital where my first round of chemo started. My mom took a flat right in front of the hospital and the treatment started. My Doctor had given strict instructions that I should not be allowed to go out anywhere except for the flat and the hospital. That’s when the second announcement came from my side. I told my Dad that ‘ I know I am going to get out of this cancer thing soon and I will go to watch Dabangg on 10th September and if I am alright by then, cool enough otherwise I won’t continue with the treatment.’ My parents had no choice but to agree to it. After all they just wanted me stay happy.
From then on, it became a mission for me. I promised myself that no matter what comes, I will defeat this Cancer and get out of it to watch my favorite star in action on the big screen. Four moths later, after completing nine rounds of chemotherapy, four days before the release, My reports said I was 100% free from cancer. It was gone. I had done it.
On 10th September 2010, I came all over the way to my college in Noida, met my friends and we all went to see Dabangg in Waves Noida. Almost 30-40 friends of mine, had come up just to welcome me back. I couldn’t be any happier. It was the biggest victory of my life.
So what transpired from Super Hit Rajneeti and lasted till the All Time Blockbuster Dabangg, that’s my cancer story, as I love to call it.
Sometimes the biggest joy in life comes from the most basic things. And that’s the beauty of life. You don’t have to strive too hard to stay happy, you just need to be!

For Mom & Dad, With Love!

The Best People In The World - My Mom & Dad

The Best People In The World – My Mom & Dad

This life that we have, no matter how deep a shit we might be in at the moment, is the most beautiful gift we can ever have. People come and go, situations change but the basic truth remains, Life goes on. And in this never ending cycle of events, there are these one set of people who will stay with you, guide you, protect you and shower over you that unconditional love, forever and ever, Our very own Parents.
Some one rightly said, God can’t be every where so He made mothers. And its indeed so. A mother is perhaps the only species in the world that thinks from the heart and heart only. She took the pain of carrying you within her, for 9 long months and though the doctor may have cut the umbilical chord at the time of the birth, but the connection with her child remains well intact all throughout her life span. She is one person who can actually die for you, just to see you happy and successful.
Similarly for the ‘Fathers’. If you ask me, every time I am in front of my Dad, I try to impress him. He is like my idol, the only person in the world I actually look up to. My Dad has taught me some of the biggest lessons in life. The virtue of patience and humility being numero uno. I wish I could inherit even a small bit of his nature and abilities, I would consider myself an accomplished person.
I cherish being with my parents more than ever now. When I was a kid, just about to go to school, I had to live at my maternal grandparent’s place due to some safety issues since my Dad was posted in Bihar then and kidnapping cases in Bihar were very common. My Dad being on a high post in Education Department, couldn’t risk it and plus there were hardly any good schools around. So I had to stay with my Nani, Nana, Mama, Mami, cousins. Not that I had a bad childhood, my Nani and Nana are probably the best people in the world, but yes, I did miss growing up with my own parents.
It almost took me 20 years to realize their true value. In 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer, after completing the first year of my graduation, my mom and my brother left everything else and stayed with me for 7 long months in Gurgaon while I was under going treatment. Dad used to be their in the weekends and trust me, it might sound crazy to you all, but those were the best days of my life. I might have been dying then, but I never felt better.
Though they were in a lot of pain then. They never let me know about their agony, but I could see it in their eyes, how much they loved me and couldn’t see me in a state like that. It is for their love and care that I am alive today. I wouldn’t have survived it otherwise. My life really changed from that point onwards. I was like any teenager before, confused, with no set goals in life, fascinated by alcohol, girls, late night parties. These 7 months changed my outlook towards life. I now seek the goal in my life which is to make my parents happy by being a successful person. I have given them enough reason to worry for long, its now time for me to pay back. They have given me this beautiful life, and I have now dedicated it to their happiness. I have promised myself to work real hard and make their dreams come true.
Some day they will have no reasons to complain, someday they will be proud of me, for being their son. And that someday is going to be very very soon! Amen!

Sunburnt in Noida

My head is still spinning at the beats of Nick van de Wall, commonly known to known to the world by his stage name ‘Afrojack’, who performed live today at Sunburn Noida 2012, a Percept production brought to us by Nikhil Chinapa and his amazing group Submerge. Sunburn Noida, an Electronic Music & Dance Festival witnessed 2 stages, over 20 of the World’s greatest artists including Afrojack, Pearl, DJ Shaan and of course my favorite Nikhil Chinapa.
There was something spectacular about today’s show. Not because it was perhaps one of the best parties organized in India, Not because it was Sunburn after all but because it was organized right here in Noida of all the places. The lush green Unitech Golf Course and Country Club witnessed a foot fall of over 15000 people today. Even to this date, Noida is still ain’t a preferred party place here in Delhi-NCR, in spite of boasting of the only super club in the country, Quantum. The reason behind it is debatable though. A lot of people tell me it’s because of the crowd here. It ain’t safe for the women and what not. But I beg to differ on this. If that would have been the case, Sunburn couldn’t have pulled this off here. The one reason why people prefer partying in the capital instead is maybe since most of the people in Noida are new to it. It has just seen a revival. Hundreds of residential apartments are now coming up here and its turning into a second home for many of the Delhites and other places in India. With projects like Wave City Center coming up it sure has a bright future.
Today I could see one the craziest party lovers in the country right here in Noida dancing to the tunes of Afrojack. The energy in the crowd was so amazingly evident. They were totally loving it. The whole ambience was one to die for. If we go by this the party scene in Noida is only going to get better and better. Sunburn really was a killer show. It was one evening Noida and its people would remember for days to come.
P.S. Though I did get upset a bit for the age restriction of 25 for buying alcohol inside the event but more on that later. For now, Give Me Everything Tonight!

Some Backstage Action with Nikhil Chinapa

Some Backstage Action with Nikhil Chinapa