What i’m into this week #002

* i’m going to write everything in lower case. it’s a full-blown war against capitalising alphabets. i won’t do it.

* i’m really into bj novak. in fact, the idea of writing about things i’m into every week came from his (now mostly inactive) facebook page. that and the fact that it also aligns with me trying to be in the present. well, i think i should at least attempt it considering i got a tattoo on my left hand that says transience.

* i’m into this show called love by judd apatow on netflix. (aside: i hate how naturally americanised we are, us wasted urban indian youth. do we even have a real identity? or are we just brown clones of american twentysomethings?) i like how casual the show keeps itself. it’s a romance that isn’t a sensory overload of music, melodrama and convention. instead, it takes its time while also being immensely watchable.

* i’m interested in the american way of life. well – i’m not into the philosophy of it, but since i saw so much of how americans live their lives on my recent vacation, i can’t stop thinking about and (ergo) talking about it with people. so here’s how they live. it’s an idea i’d like to call compartmentalisation. let me break it down.
* they go to work at 8 and they come back home at 6. in this time, they don’t do smoke-breaks and chai-breaks and le15 patisserie breaks or whatever the fuck that we do so often in our workday.
* they wrap work and do their shit. some of them run incredible distances and say offhand things like, ‘i dunno. i ran maybe 15-18 miles. it’s ok, i guess.’
* others will stand outside their balcony, smoke a j and debate @ length whether a car that just passed by had a cop badge on the side.
* some others will hang out with friends from tangential occupations and discuss work stuff like ‘is ms office superior to google docs or is google assistant listening to your conversations and should it be looked at as a great tech innovation instead of merely a great privacy threat?’ (aside: if more than two of them are meeting up they’ll mandatorily send gcal invites with navigation assist)
* and of course – they’re also apes so there are americans who don’t work at all. i can’t say for sure what these guys do because i didn’t meet such persons on my trip.

* i’m currently into second hand stuff. i could really do with a new phone or a gopro or a personal movie theatre right now. i don’t know, i haven’t bought new tech in ages and i guess i’m a little touchy about new tech since i love scrolling through their websites and seeing all the specs and dreaming of a day when i don’t have to see any of that bullshit and just hit up the checkout button. but until then i’m into second hand stuff.
* since i’m an optimistic guy i’ll just drop a link to all the stuff i’ve been surfing up hoping some magic materialises. i have a great idea – you guys can take a look at it, divide the logistics among yourselves and get me that stuff. start here – http://amzn.in/fAWEfuv
* (aside: i’m not ashamed to ask for things. this country is built on subsidy. at least i’m just casually asking and not burning buses and saying i need reservation no?)

* i’m also into making my short this week. i’m figuring out how to do it right now. it’s scary and new and i’m afraid of failing so much that it has crippled me into inaction. but this time around i have decided to persevere. to tell you a little bit – it’s a short story set entirely in a car and it doesn’t star Tom Hardy. crazy right?

* finally, i’m trying to figure out what ‘what i’m into this week’ is all about. right now it feels like an attempt to stay in the present. it also feels like an attempt to tell you i’m alive. have i succeeded in both counts? drop a comment to send my dopamine into overdrive.

until next week.

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You can rip off The Tonight Show, but you can’t rip off Conan

Because it’s Conan who makes Conan great. It’s why he lends his name to the show.

Conan O’Brien is a master of improv comedy. He weighs in with the funniest possible response to every situation he finds himself in. His wit is acerbic and self-deprecating, which means it doesn’t come at the expense of the people around him. Being your joke’s biggest victim is a great asset in an increasingly sensitive world.

Apart from being a marvellous interviewer, Conan enjoys great respect and admiration from his contemporaries. It does wonders to the quality of conversation on the show.

On the flipside, Jimmy Fallon is the anti-thesis of Conan. He isn’t witty. Neither is he insightful. His greatest contribution to the show is his uproarious laughter which, despite being fake, makes his guests feel comfortable.

Jimmy’s instinctive response to something is to laugh. But it robs him of the ability to counter-question his guests, effectively breaking the volley of conversation. However, he makes up for it by moving to the next cue on his script.

Fun and games are really what keeps The Tonight Show going. The show-runners do a commendable job of identifying activities that get the best out of their guests, accomplishing through format what they don’t through the host.

The format here is the duplicable entity. It took all of one season for Abish Mathew to adapt the show to an Indian setting. He ran with it because it’s a format that’s paper-cut for him. Abish is an all-around good guy but, like Fallon, is more performer and less improv genius.

Someday, I’d like to watch a Conan-esque guy host a late night show in India. In a country with personality cults and inflated egos, we really need some deprecating humour. Now I dunno how long that’ll take. What I do know is that we’ll all know when that day comes. Because the name of the show will be the name of the host.

‘Unwanker’ Pitch by Hipster Fruit Communications

Dear Mr Sridhar,

Greetings from Hipster Fruit Communications, we are a cutting-edge PR firm providing rudimentary communication services in the pretext of differentiation and good vocabulary.

As we understand, you are facing what you believe is a public relations crisis, but is actually a fundamental personality deficiency. You think people think you are a wanker. While in reality you really are a wanker, no doubt about it.

Well, you’ve come to just the right people. We at Hipster Fruit Communications are wankers too, but we mask it with thick beards and Koovs shirts. The highly-acclaimed Urban Poor Socio-economic Classification was actually a long-reads feature on our company culture.

We digressed. Apologies for the digression. We don’t digress often but when we do it is to hint at how well read we are. BuzzFeed is, after all, truly the brain food of our generation.

Let’s get back. You were saying you were a wanker, right? We’re glad that’s established. Here’s what we can do about it.

We’ll call our campaign ‘Unwanker’, and you must know that we spent several brainstorm sessions finalising this name. Other highly effective campaign names that we rejected were, ‘Don’t Wank, Abhi’, ‘Wankim Chandra Chatterjee’ and ‘Pls add two more names before you send out the email’.

First up – we recommend you start saying the word ‘surreal’ more often. A research (Google inc, circa 2017) says that people who ascribe cosmic significance to every mundane detail of life are considered to be deeply sensitive individuals. Please find enclosed a sample scenario where you can use the word:

‘Dude, my chai has malai.’
‘Chai mei malai? That’s so surreal, bro.’

Next, we suggest you ditch your usual tee, denims & flip-flops for a pinstripe suit. Our gut feeling is that the Corporate Slave image is a huge leap forward from your wanker image. In fact, we wanted to suggest something more outlandish, but an intern accidentally sent that draft to another client, Mr R Singh, who has totally run with it.

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Our client, R Singh, after we accidentally emailed him the draft meant for you.

Then there are books. We cannot recommend books enough. Of course, we don’t mean you actually read them. You just need to routinely post photos of open books to all ephemeral social networking platforms like Snapchat and its knock-offs (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger).

Finally, physical endurance is critical to destroy the wanker image. Nike Running Club is a surefire way of going about it. Download the app, go for a run and don’t forget to post a selfie with the caption, ‘#NoPainNoGain’.

We’d like to state upfront that the above ideas constitute only the initial phase of our campaign. We will be consistently monitoring your progress to suggest new ways of Unwanking in due course. This is subject to you hiring us on a retainer, of course.

Please note that we don’t recommend any lofty ideas such as patience, persistence or hard work as these techniques are time-consuming and incremental in nature. Our commitment to building shallow personas is much acclaimed in today’s instant gratification universe. We’ve always stuck to our motto of ‘Why fix something that’s already broken?’

If you like our pitch, we should definitely meet soon, preferably at a hip place like Social Offline, because who knows when it’ll stop being hip, right?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Make hay while the sun shines AF, Mr Sridhar.

Kabir Ameerwala
Designation Ninja
Hip Fru Co