Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hot girl walks into a bar

When does a look stop being an act of appreciation of beauty and start becoming harassment? Growing up in India with all the taboos and cultural stupidity regarding the opposite sex, this is not an easy question to answer. Oh our culture teaches us to treat women with respect. Oh most women are very happy in their marriage, just look at the low divorce rates. These statements confuse me a lot. What does it really mean to treat someone with respect? Let me try to understand it with the help of a couple of characters.

Hot girl walks into a bar hotel

'Level headed' guy, 'Confident when with friends' guy, 'Thinks he is better' guy and 'Will play people for fun' guy are sitting at a table. They are very different people but united in their complete lack of guts when it comes to talking with girls.

We allow for a moment's silence where everyone at the table takes in this new development. From top to bottom, lingering at the curves a while longer. Only the 'Thinks he is better guy' does not join the others in doing this. Yes, of course, because he thinks he is better.

Confident (when with friends) guy is the last to break the eye-body contact. He blows a low whistle or offers a few expletives to set the tone. Looking at this reaction, (thinks he is) Better guy realizes that in his pride he has missed something quite unmissable. For the rest of the conversation, he will be focusing on stealing glances and opportunities to stare at the aforementioned object. Confident guy is continuing with description of her breasts and how tightly her clothes were hugging them. (Will play people for) Fun guy ventures that he could clearly make out the outlines of her bra, and that it was silk for sure. Level headed guy is silent till about now. He, being level headed and all, makes a rational assessment of the situation. With a rack like that her boyfriend must be f***ing her at least twice a day, he summarizes. Further expletives are let out by the Confident guy, partly in anger (directed towards the yet unseen boyfriend) and partly in pleasure (imagining the twice-a-day event).

Fun guy, strategically shifts the conversation to why is it that such girls tend be not with us. Specifically, he adds, what is stopping any one of us, from 'getting' this particular hot chick? Level headed guy suggests the receding of their hair lines or advance of the waist lines as probable causes. This is generally ignored. Better guy forwards the age old wisdom of beautiful girls being so dumb as to choose stupid partners. This is very well received by the audience resulting in downing of beer glasses and ordering of a fresh round.

Meanwhile fun guy ploughs on with his instigation, covertly directed at the Confident guy in order to get some action going. 'Degree hain, job hain, bike hain, l*** hain. Aur kya chahiye sa** ko!'. In fact some of the guys around the table have amassed much more than that - like a wife and kids. But that is quite understandably left unsaid. 'Look at the way she is looking around, I bet she is ready to f*** the first guy who goes up to her', Fun guy continues. This finally has the desired effect and Confident guy brings down his empty mug with intent. Others smell blood. 'Abhi usko ja ke hi bol de', level headed guy chips in. Confident guy gets up and pushes his chair back. But the confident feet have other plans. They wobble and the confident body sinks to the ground for the lack of chair at the said location.

Let us pause and come out of the bar/hotel for a moment. What has happened so far? Have they treated the girl with respect? Maybe they have not treated anything so far, except their eyes perhaps. Thoughts are only a problem when they get converted into action. Right?

There is very little chance of action here (much to the disappointment of fun guy). As mentioned before, no one at the table has the guts (or the balance) to go trouble the girl anyway. But what if they were not in a busy place. What if there was no one except them and her? If it was late night and no help was forthcoming? Would that have emboldened them? Probably. Now, if they had done something stupid (otherwise perfectly nice married guys) who is to blame?

The thoughts? So are thoughts really harmless? Or perhaps we would just say that being at such a place, at such a time, in such a dress, the girl had it coming.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Arrogant Geniuses

What has arrogance to do with genius? Nothing really. At least not in real life. But somehow onscreen they seem to be inseparable.

Arrogance we are taught is a bad thing. Good people are humble. So obviously we get attracted to arrogance like smoking of that first joint or getting wasted in defiance of our preachy family and friends. When Mark ridicules a girl in the 'The Social Network' because he can think faster than her (and perhaps speak faster than he can think), we love it as an audience. When Steve abuses a programmer for not thinking as big as he does in 'Jobs' we join in in the abuse and marvel at the grand ideas that the hero is capable of. When Alan in 'The Imitation Game' fires a few guys unceremoniously, guys who have toiled at the problem as much as he has, the whole theater erupts in laughter. I wonder what I will feel if my boss fires me for having a low IQ and the whole office laughs their heart out pointing at me.

Obviously we are not putting ourselves in the shoes of the people getting put down. We think of ourselves as the conquering hero. We get to be a brilliant scientist revolutionizing science itself. Or a passionate entrepreneur who changes the way people go about their very lives. When the canvas is so large a little fun at the expense of a dumb-witted guy is OK. Is needed in fact. To prove the authenticity of the intellect in question.

I'm a woman in a man's job. I don't have the luxury of being an ass - Joan Clarke in 'The Imitation Game'

Is it indeed a luxury? Would a genius look less of a genius if she is always pleasant and nice to people? If he is not socially awkward? I wonder how a Albert Einstein or a Swami Vivekananda will be portrayed on screen? They were undoubtedly few of the greatest minds the world has ever seen. But it is hard to imagine them as arrogant. Of course I am not saying that Alan Turing, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg were or are asses. They might be sugar for all I know. But Directors choosing to show them as crazed go-getters and we loving them for it, tells us something about ourselves.

Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes... hollow. - Alan Turing in 'The Imitation Game'

I have had opportunity of really hurting people with words. And I have let my tongue loose on many a occasion. I have been on the wrong side of the deal often times too. That crushing feeling when you are smaller than the smallest object in sight. And I have realized that truly smart, really wise people don't do that. They just can't. In fact, it is so true that it can be a test to understand someone with. I think we have mistaken style for wisdom. And bling for style.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. - Albert Einstein

If I become a genius I would like to be shown like Phalke in 'Harishchandrachi Factory'. A brilliant inventor and artist who is many times funny and always likable. Even in the worst of times he is never crass.

And yes, I believe genius is a matter of becoming. Not being.

[Pictures courtesy -,,,,]