every single day of my life, i have tried something new - something exciting for the first time. for every single time i've said "I Have Never...", i actually have. in bed, at work, in a disco, at a bar, watching TV, or at the dining table, in the stock market, at the gym... in life. and i'm dying to share it with the World. welcome to my life. welcome to the Virgin Journals.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Have Never... Been Thirty

It’s really been getting to me. This whole turning-thirty-stuff… seriously irritating. It's bad enough that I've been dreading the actual day, but now, everyone’s been asking me about it… and the only way I’d know is when I actually am thirty! Jeez.

And today, I did.

A couple of great buddies ganged up on me with an awesome surprise party, and i breezed into the great unknown thirties like a horny teenager and his right hand.

And what’s changed? Well, here’s a few things I could recognize as definitely being different from the person of old:

Partying. Suddenly, I’ve toned down the amount I party. Hangovers are actively avoided, and driving after a drink is a strict no-no. I rarely share a drink with strangers, and my circle of friends is more important to me.

Friends. I’ve been meeting more old buddies, early lovers, past schoolmates, and early contacts than ever before. It’s been weird, and has left me feeling guilty about never taking the time or effort to stay in touch with anyone. And I mean, anyone.

Money. My cash balance has consistently remained zilch, and collection agents are hounding me day and night. But I’m the proud owner of a big car; I surround myself with the top-of-the-line electronics; I own expensive gadgetry and am obsessed by gizmos; my wardrobe equals the GDP of a small third-world country; I rent an apartment that’s far too large for me; I’m a regular at particular restaurants and clubs; I loan money to everybody around me, interest-free, and never collect on it; I own atleast a hundred things I desperately sought, but have never used since; I earn a lot of money. But the bottom-line is I’m unsatisfied, and I don’t know what I’m looking for.

Caution. I drive more carefully than ever. I fret in traffic. I actually employ a full-time driver and man-servant. I scream at people for not wearing their seat-belts, and yell at my boys for riding without a helmet. I almost never party during week-nights. I actually employ a vague budgeting of my money. Even more incredible, I’ve begun planning for the future.

Laughter. Worryingly, I’ve noticed that I smile less than I ever did. It’s takes a lot more to make me laugh.

Regulars. I have certain fixed points around which my life revolves: hotels, clubs, restaurants, food, friends, petrol bunks, websites, brands, shopping, travel, celebrations, movies, books… and everything else I can think of. Arrgh! I can’t believe I’ve lost all spontaneity!

Sex. I’m always got more than any one man could ever want, and it’s never been better!

Mentor. I’m suddenly a mentor and example to many people in my life. People actually look up to me for advice, support, help and I’m often caught unawares. I can no longer just live my life the way I want!

Ecology. I’m now concerned for our crappy environment, our polluting way of life, and I believe in the Greenhouse Effect… I preach a lot, but rarely practice!

And here’s an insider’s secret: being 30 is exactly like being 29. Seriously.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Have Never... Been 'Shoed'

It’s now official.

Shoe-throwing isn’t just awesome fun. It’s a sure-fire way to your 5-minutes of fame, glory, and knowing our idiot-run predictable media, a sizeable fortune too, if you have any sense for business.

Lobbing smelly footwearat someone is bound to be fun. It sure does look it.

Besides, it’s turned into a global phenomenon. Technically, Bush wasn’t the first one to be shoed away. Almost every angry rhetoric, the world over, uses the threat of being slippered to get their furious opinions across. And many have actually resorted to doing so. Many entertaining moments have been captured on camera, much to the joy of the general public. Today, we even have organized events to cater to this special-interest-sport.

I’m glad I’m not a politician or government servant in India today. Every one, from Prime Minister to a lowly constable, has been the recipient of poorly aimed foot wear.

Which brings me to an important question that no one seems to be discussing: Are shoes really that hard to throw?!

I find it difficult to believe there are so many people in the world who just can’t chuck stuff with basic accuracy. I’m someone similarly challenged – I couldn't throw a ball to save my life. However, that's exactly why I wouldn't try something like that in public! I'd be more embarassed at missing than anything else.

But consider that almost every single incident till date involved loads of planning, dreams of glory, analysis of possible trajectories, and full knowledge of the outcome of one’s actions, and you’ll see where I’m coming from. Why the fuck can’t these morons make contact with their sitting-duck targets?!

Maybe shoes are just built wrong. Lobbing stuff possibly requires that the object involved have some kind of aerodynamic styling, especially when they’re required to travel some distance.

Then again, the intention of lobbing footwear at someone is usually to make maximum contact – and that would result in maximum embarrassment. There are two aspects here which are most important: the sole of the shoe, and the target’s face.

The closer you are to either of these, the closer you are to complete success. Focusing on air-resistance and geometry will turn the shoe into trajectory-based bullet, which greatly reduces the embarrassment factor. If your target is harmed by your pointy-toed missile, he gets a lot of sympathy, which is not the intention, mind you. However, too much work on such stuff takes away from all the fun involved. The 'impromptu lob' still gets my vote.

And practice makes perfect, eh? I should probably put out my own 10-pointers on How To Throw A Shoe, but there are far too many of those out there.

FAST FACT: If you can’t hit your target with a shoe, after planning for days or months, you must be a real tool.

I got shoed today - but in a great way. My office staff got together and gifted me a cool pair of Reebok runners seeing as my birthday is coming up. I’m smiling.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

I Have Never... Had SexMS Fun

The year was 1998, and I was the only student in my entire college toting a mobile phone. Telecom entrepreneur BPL Mobile, then headquartered in Coimbatore, had just launched their GSM services across a few neighboring towns, and ownership of these enviable pieces of technology was strictly for the privileged. They had just introduced the 160 character Short Message Service (SMS), and were actively promoting it by subsidizing the service. Consider that sending a short-message to another phone cost just a tiny fraction of the Rs18 per minute call back then, and you’ll understand why it seemed like such a boon to us users-in-the-know.

The only reason I owned one was because my liberal NRI parents were more worried about my safety and whereabouts than the exorbitant cost involved in owning and maintaining one of these units. Besides my parents, who both carried a cellular phone each, the only other people I knew with a similar device was a young doctor in a nearby college, and an old school-mate across the border in neighboring Kerala.

Imagine my delight when my trusty brick-shaped Motorola STAR TAC suddenly buzzes, alerting me of an incoming SMS, very close to midnight. My room-mates and I were upon the charging mobile phone in an instant. Bleeping (yes, those old phones actually went ‘bleep, instead of ‘beep’) my way furiously through the single-line menu, I found an SMS from a number we couldn’t recognize as belonging to anyone we knew.

And it said the most incredible thing: Hi handsome.

I simply cannot translate to you how I felt. My room-mates, however, chose to play the devil’s advocates and volunteered a hundred different scenarios. Everything from lustful vamps and lonely college girls to depraved female politicians and entrapment by the CBI were suddenly very strong contenders for my e-attention. With shaking hands, and vociferous prodding from everyone around me, I typed out a hesitant reply: Hi, who is this?

Not many of us were chat-savvy, and we had little mastery over the new SMS-lingo.

A reply: You looked so smart today. Your beard is very very very sexy to me.

I felt faint. Banished were all the fears that the SMS was intended for someone else. This truly was for me. Finally, the hundreds of rupees I was pumping down the throat of that idiot scissor-wielding barber had paid dividends. Almost everyone I knew suggested that my fresh-grown patch of beautiful facial hair looked more suitable on the pelvic region of a popular Malayalee porn-star, but I wasn’t to be easily deterred. And now, someone rich and famous had finally acknowledged my brilliant good-looks. After all, everyone knows that a prophet is never welcome in his own town... or whatever.

After a lengthy debate on the use of a suitable endearment, and with many dissenting members of my suddenly fractious band of buddies angrily shouting down against anything creative I came up with, we finally decided on a suitably demure response: Thank you for the compliment, dear. I am not able to recognize your number. Where are you now?

Prompt came the reply: I’m staying alone, darling. I wish you were here with me now. Are you alone now?

Ack. Chest pains now. My heart really was pumping like a freight train on jet-fuel. I needed no prompting from my friends for this response: Yes, I’m alone also. What are you doing, dear? I aimed to find out where she was studying, or possibly working. And now that I’d started, I just couldn’t stop saying ‘dear’, despite how foolish it sounded. Our National abuse of this supposed endearment is legendary, and i'm glad to say i contributed significantly too.

I could suddenly feel the weight of the night upon me. The air felt warm and fetid, and I could barely breathe. And with good reason too… looking around, I realized I was mobbed by eight hot-blooded and aroused young boys who were either leaning against me, peering over my shoulder, or breathing down my neck. Furiously shrugging everyone off, I stood up to take a deep breath.

Another SMS: I’m in my nighty lying in my bed alone. I’m feeling very hot when I think of you and I don’t know why.

If you don't know what a nighty is...

The mob was back at my shoulders, and their hooting and cat-calling was loud enough to begin attracting attention from the neighboring rooms. I was desperate to find some space alone before a particular part of my own aroused anatomy began calling unwanted attention too. As it was, we’d been on the verge of going to sleep, and I was sporting just a pair of rather skimpy football shorts. Damn.

Quickly moving to other end of the room, I sat cross-legged on the floor, and hugged a pillow to my belly. Phew.

Innumerable suggestive text messages flitted through the dark sky that night and I found out I was in contact with a black-haired, wheat-complexioned student named Preeti. I’d already envisioned a lithe feminine form, curled up in a large lonely bed, ensconced by a warm quilt that she kicked to the foot of the bed in her burning desire for me. Yes, for me. And my macho beard. Oh God. I was weak and trembling from the constant overdose of adrenaline and testosterone coursing through my throbbing veins.

The textual adventure began getting truly raunchy, and that night saw the lot of us staying awake till the wee hours of the morning, when she finally said: Goodnight, my darling. Very soon we will be together and my lonely nights will be over when you touch me.

Despite my emotional exhaustion, it took me another hour to doze-off, bent double as I was with a painful erection.

Predictably enough, we were in close contact for the next few weeks, and the texts became increasingly erotic. I honored everything Preeti asked me to do - from staying away from other girls, to never sending her a text message unless she began texting me first. We’d now begun discussing everything intimate, from our underwear and sexual positions, to the things we would do to each other in bed and the number of times we would do it. Even a Nat Geo reporter would’ve blushed.

It was two whole months before I discovered the awful truth… Sure enough, Preeti was young, lithe, wheat-ish, and sported pretty black hair. ‘Preeti’ was an employee of BPL Mobile who worked the night-shifts in their call center, and happened to have unrestricted access to the demo-handset during the wee hours. However, Preeti’s real name turned out to be Prabhu.

Yes, I know: Ouch.

That I befriended him, made sure he got his comeuppance, and finally got my rocks off is entirely another story.

Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Have Never... Dialed The Happiness Hotline

Word Count : 600

An expensive mobile phone lay on a steel sheet with its innards spread. The technician poured over it, while a young boy, possibly an apprentice, watched in either rapt attention, or sheer boredom. I leaned over to get a better look at the powered-up electronic entrails, fascinated at the tiny parts the guy was poking at.

I jumped a bit when the store-owner barked crude Hindi at the boy, who promptly swiveled on his stool and disappeared behind a filthy-looking curtain. Ambarish Bhaveshamjibhai Champak was the pan-chewing stereotype, his name typed in runny ink on a certificate issued by the Commercial Tax Office hanging next to his fat sweaty face.

The apprentice was back at his attentive act after placing a glass of yellowish water on Shri ABC’s ancient counter. I idly wondered if it was the glass that was dirty, or the water itself. Christ. How could they drink from that? Shortly, the oily bastard handed over my just-repaired mobile, and rudely thrust a crumpled paper with an exorbitant fee at me.

I was flicking through my wallet, when a raucous buzzing from the technician’s counter sent both the boys jerking back in alarm. An unexpected incoming call had the phone’s loose vibrator jumping like crazy over the steel plate, and the repair guy looked sheepish.

He picked up the violently errant electronic in his fingers, and held it up for all to see. Predictably, he made a slow to and fro motion with the still buzzing vibrator that would’ve been understood the Universe over as meaning only one thing.

Men will be men. But I was flush with embarrassment as I hurriedly left the oppressive store closely hounded by the sounds of their lewd laughter. I fumbled with the mobile phone attempting to switch it on as I negotiated steaming puddles, careening rickshaws, loud vendors, over-flowing drains, and the thronging public.

Now home, alone, stripping out of my sweat-sticky clothes, I realized that I’d been thinking of only one thing during the tedious walk back. Old jokes and one-liners on the topic suddenly seemed unfunny. I shivered slightly in the mild air-flow of my ancient air-conditioner.

Even the strongest dams of repressed desire need but one trigger to create a flood. And mine happened as I sat cross-legged on my bed, a meager meal in front of me, and the TV remote in my hand – an eager advertisement in the middle of Grey’s Anatomy had just sent me spinning with unbridled lust, and my palms were sweaty.

A little into the next hour, I lay awkwardly in bed and surveyed the chaos around me – the tired air-conditioner thrumming on maximum, shredded condom wrappers, a mauled tube of KY Jelly, tons of tissues, the now lube-slick landline phone that came free with my broadband lay by my side, and the sheets in terrible disarray, stained as they were with the excess lubricant oozing from my greasy nether region.

I was perspiring, panting mildly, and I felt weirdly stiff. Heaven. Right here in my 10 by 10.

Grunting and barely able to move for fear of hurting myself, I rolled over carefully to reach for the landline again, grinning wickedly to myself. Even as I dialed my own cell number for the hundredth time in the last hour, the TV blared out the advertisement for an Italian invention based on too much cheese, too little meat, tasty olives, cleverly disguised calories, taste-bud-approved joy and free home deliveries - my trigger on rerun:

“…delivery in 30 minutes, or free! Dial-in for a slice of happiness. Our Happiness Hotline number is…”

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