Monday, 29 June 2015

Hierarchy in male friendships: A treatise

Hello cretins. Google analytics tells me you guys didn't miss me, and that's just fine because I didn't miss you either. Either way, I present to you, a treatise about male friendships.

So what is friendship? It's a relationship of mutual affection between two people, an interpersonal bond. Male friendships are instrumental in nature, we share activities (not feelings!) and we don't always feel like staying in touch and don't always manage to stay in touch but things don't change drastically. Things remain pretty much the same.

Male friendships are of many types and depths. From that random guy who challenged you to a game of FIFA and with whom you proceeded to play four hours of video games to the guy you call your best-friend, we meet so many people and form different types of bonds.

Here's how I'd like to break them down for you - 

The 'Look and Nod'
This is somebody you know, but don't really know. On most days you see this guy, though you might know his name and he doesn't know yours, or vice-versa. The extent of the bond is a quick look and nod. These are the guys who bump into you during your daily schedule.
You don't know these people, but technically you see them more frequently than you see close friends or family, which does bequeath them with some life relevance, no matter how random.

The 'Hey, how've you been, bro?'
However feigned the interest in the question may be, the fact that either party demonstrates the keenness to even ask that question is in itself a stepping stone above the 'look and nod'. Oh, and the use of the term 'bro' also helps the cause.
At first, this kind of relationship is kept for the sole purpose of not coming off like an asshole to the other, not genuine interest.
It should be noted though that this kind of friendship - a pretty surface level one - doesn't limit what sort of content is available for discussion. For example, there was a guy in the mess who always came up with deep comments like, "Life's going to start now, bro" in reference to how life changes after college and I listened to him, while we hardly knew each other.

The 'Let's do this together'
I'd argue that 'Let's do this together' is the implicit kickstart to an actual friendship. Once this line is dropped, it's been established that the potential for friendship exists on both parties and hanging out may actually happen. 
This in a sense is a transitional phase in any friendship. One either falls back to the 'How've you been, bro' or takes it to the next one.

'He's my guy'
After the 'Let's do this together', there lies an opportunity for parties to take it to the next level and strengthen the newly formed friendship. 
You actually have fun talking about career, women, football and other random shit and tell each other you should do it again.
Congratulations, you've made a new friend.

Close circle
This sacred circle consists of an ensemble of friends you can kind of count on to support you, just as much you can to have them make fun of you and most probably invade your personal space unapologetically.
Life can be pretty shitty and lonely without this genre of friends.

Bonus: The best friend
He's the one who stands out in your close circle.
I've noticed something very mysterious and odd happening to guys and their best friends at a certain point - which is, they're no longer actual best friends. They might still employ this title and use it to describe each other (which is definitely justified and understandable), but their actual time spent together wouldn't evoke best friend quality.
It shares a resemblance to how a lot of people feel around certain relatives and exes. The weight of history, memories and arguments has the propensity to make the relationship less enjoyable and a bit uncomfortable.
In sum, the highest level of friendship is the best friend who isn't actually your best friend.

That's all I've got for you this time.
Leave a comment, even if you don't want to say anything. They just make me happy.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Nolan Mashup

"Do you wanna know how I got these scars?"
Now anyone who has interacted with the Joker would know the words to follow would be in no way pleasant.

"I want to see my wife and kids, please."

"My PT teacher was a disciplinarian. And a visionary. He would inspire me. He would ask me to dream, to let go, to be free, to run after what I want. I dreamt of becoming an actor. And then you know what he did? Hmm? He said that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't a good enough an actor. But I never stopped acting, I never stopped dreaming. I could never distinguish between what's real and what's not; always getting high on the laughing gas available at the chemistry lab. And as strange as it may sound, you remind me of my PT teacher. And by now, you must've realised that I absolutely hated my PT teacher.", he said as he slit across the victim's mouth, before brutally stabbing him to death. Then he laughed. A laugh so hard, so resonating that it would consequently wake him up.

[Back on home turf]

But there was something unnatural about Gotham. Gotham seemed vaguely appeased with his presence. He was amused with this, as it seemed to entirely contradict the sole purpose of his existence.

Joker couldn't really recollect when he'd fallen asleep. Or when he restitched his torn underwear for that matter.

"What next, sir?"

Joker looked towards the man accompanying him. As much as he pressurized his memory into giving away who this man was, he couldn't succeed, though mysteriously enough, he was convinced of the stranger's affability to him. The man wouldn't stop rubbing his palms together. Joker didn't ask the man of his identity as he realised he isn't really getting a hold on things happening around him.

"What next, sir?", the man asked again, never halting the rhythmic flow of the furious rubbing of his palms. Joker was even more perplexed, for it seemed like he had been a man with a plan.

"Tell him sir. What's the apprehension all about?"
"Yes sir, tell him. It's simple."
"We kill the Batman."
Joker, unaccustomed as he was to the concept of a protagonist, could do nothing but nod in affirmation, which was understandably uncharacteristically subdued.

The man guided Joker out of the station towards the most probable hiding destination of the outcast. No matter how loathed, how despised the Batman had been, he still was a formidable opponent. And a hero of Joker's caliber was a necessity to terminate his tyranny.

As they crossed the roads, Joker, still perturbed by the stranger's neurotic rubbing of palms, met scores of civilians, who unanimously cheered for his victory.

"He's over there, at the end of the tunnel. He's there."
Gordon seemed to have been patiently waiting for their arrival. While the stranger was accompanying him to his destiny, Joker spotted the Batman, who seemed petrified by the sight of him.

"This is it. Now is the moment. He isn't even up for a fight. Finish him sir. Now is your moment. Kill him sir.", the stranger whispered rubbing his palms.

A gun.
The last device he would've used to outdo his arch nemesis but at that precise moment he was too confused to do otherwise. He shot the Batman, point blank, as Gotham erupted in joyous unison.

Joker might've been the only person in Gotham who wasn't celebrating. And he was increasingly growing sick of this new, friendly Gotham.

He wanted an explanation. A closure. To what? He did not know.

"Wait, I need to see my totem. I must have it here somewhere."

Cobb let out a crisp laugh, rubbing his palms all the while. He kept smiling suggestively. A very inanimate smile, that would've horrified the living daylights out of anyone but Joker. Cobb himself couldn't comprehend the mystery of the deadly slit across his mouth.

"I am your totem, sir."

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Emoticons & Emojis

First things first, emoticon and emoji are two different things. If you didn't know that, grab something to eat and hit the internet. By the time you'd finish eating, you'll know that I am right. Not if you were to eat a traditionally prepared dosa though, you'd understand the difference in the middle of eating that dosa and will have to finish the rest of it aimlessly. That shit is made with the sole purpose of wasting your time.

Emoticons are older than you think. Take a guess, wild guess about the first time somebody proposed the use of emoticons.
People have relentlessly tried since time immemorial to convey stuff through punctuations and symbols. I can understand that for cave men and their early successors but when in 1881, somebody in some US magazine proposed the use of emoticons and tried to pass it by calling it "typographical art", my mind was blown away. (Believe me, I was there. As a fly on the wall)
This is what the proposed emoticon art looked like - 


That didn't catch on. No computers! Imagine how ridiculous one would've felt while drawing typographical arts on their letters in the 19th century.

Pigeons, mercury, and an elevator.
The sideways emoticon - the smiley, got its start in 1982 during a discussion on the online bulletin board in Carnegie Mellon University.
The discussion started with people wondering about the prospects and consequences of a free-falling elevator, such as whether a pigeon would still fly in it or whether mercury will rise or fall. Somebody tried to make a joke about it and suddenly there was a rumor that the elevators are contaminated by mercury.
That's when people started proposing all kinds of ways to avoid further confusion. One Scott Fahlman posted - 

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: 
:-) 
Read it sideways. Actually, it's probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given the current trends. For this, use:
:-( 
Thank You."

You can read the deep, funny and intellectual full conversation here

Nowadays, we use pictures. Emoji, it's a Japanese word (E + Moji (Face)). There are so many of them, I can't even comprehend 80% of the one's I know about and I have no idea how many emoji actually exist. 
Their wide use started in 2010 when they were adopted into Unicode (Hint: Google "Unicode") and in 5 years they've clawed their way into the way we write and text.
They say a picture says a thousand words, but if I don't know what the fuck those words are, an emoji is rendered useless. 
But, to my disbelief, there's even a version of Moby Dick written entirely in emoji

The ones that I know and commonly use are - 


I know some of you will judge me for my apparent lack of skills in using emoji but I semi-believe in the words of the famous philosopher Hank Moody about using abbreviations and emoji in texting, which are - 

"It just seems to me that it's a bunch of people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the king's English."

Emoticons and emoji are more than simples punctuations and images. One wrong emoji and you're fucked, a right one will bring a grin to your face or a smile on another.

Do I need to keep reminding you to post comments?