Category Archives: Not-About-Movies

On Murder, Neighbors, Arab Kids and Ginger Cats

Every time I come across a murder case in the newspaper, I get lost in thought. While most people would ponder over the mechanism of or the reason for the murder, I think about the murderer… not about what he or she did for a living, or his nationality, or anything of the sort, but his thought process, if any—I always wonder, “What was the murderer thinking?”

Just put yourself in the murderer’s shoes. Imagine holding a rock in your hand and smashing someone’s head to a pulp. Why? Maybe you had an argument with the person. He insulted your mom. He called you fat. He took your money. His voice annoyed you. So you’re bludgeoning his head. Your hand goes up and down just like it does when you’re hammering a nail into a wall, but only this time, you’re denting somebody’s face.

What’s going on through your mind as you painfully end this person’s life? Nothing, maybe? In all the adrenaline rush, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re just flattening a person’s face, passively, dispassionately. Or maybe you’re feeling some bizarre form of exhilaration, a twisted form of joy you’ve never felt before.

Now he’s just a corpse. You’ve not just killed a person—you’ve ended a life, a good life that took nine months to create and many years after that to develop. A life that was worth so much more than this. Of course, you don’t know that when the rock’s in your hand. Maybe after committing the murder, you have an epiphany. “Oh Lord… I killed someone.” The realization must be terribly agonizing. Or it’s possible you’ve been so psychologically affected by the act, you’re not yourself anymore. You don’t feel bad about having killed someone. There are a few many people who savored their murderous acts.

Really, imagine being the murderer. If that doesn’t make you feel dirty, nothing will.

Most murders aren’t random acts of violence—there’s normally a cause, a stimulus. You can’t just kill someone without reason, however unreasonable. Murders are born from jealousy, feuds, depression… why, just a month ago, there was article in the papers about a software engineer who murdered his wife because she was irritating. It’s fascinatingly scary to think about where these murderous thoughts begin. Hard to think they’d originate from an annoying wife.

Reading all these articles about murder also reminds me of my neighbors. Oh no, my neighbors are not murderers, thank heavens for that, but the younger ones, the kids in the building… well, they do things on an almost criminal level.

I don’t mean to stereotype, and I am not racist, but these kids I talk about are mostly Arabs. They vandalize walls with unintentionally misspelled explicit words (c’mon, how hard is it to spell a four-letter word right?). They litter the corridors. They burn the plastic buttons in the lifts. They spit on their walls. They kick footballs at their neighbors’ doors. They bully juniors. (Many years ago, my sister and I were once cornered in a swimming pool by an Arab boy. I remember begging him to leave us alone as he mocked at our Indian culture. Today, I’m far bigger than he is, and, excuse me, but I can kick his ass.) They throw stones on cars. And their resourcefulness knows no bounds; they once threw a water balloon on a Mercedes parked below the building. Since they threw it from the twentieth floor, it managed to completely shatter the windshield of the car.

Every now and then, you will surely come across a teen with a blue eye, or with a serious injury. The more observant of you will find that these kids, far too young to have obtained driving licenses, go for drives in their parents’ cars. Do their parents know? I dare say, do they even care?

Day in and day out, these kids hang around the building, smoking cigarettes, doing really stupid, redundant things… it just makes me wonder what does on in their heads. I, like most people my age, feel horrible when I’m not intellectually stimulated in some way or the other. Either these people are really good at masking this horrid feeling or they have no intellectually stimulated memories at all to crave for new ones.

I am sorry if I come across as condescending, and I’m sorry if I’ve offended any Arabs out there. I’m not too sure about the attitudes of Arab children in general, I’m not even sure if they have a general attitude, but I can tell you I’ve stated nothing but the plain truth.

As much as the other children in my building partake in all these activities, none of them troubles me as much as the way they treat animals. I’ve seen them put a rabbit on a skateboard and slide the poor thing down a sloped surface.

One day, my mother found a ginger-colored cat with a belt fastened tightly around its neck with one of its hands in it. No doubt, one of the kids did it. My mother, being a major cat lover, repeatedly tried to reach for the cat, but to no luck. She then saw this Russian boy, around ten years old, who lived on the nineteenth floor. He smiled sweetly and asked my mom what was wrong. On being told of the ailing cat, he simply reached for it, unfastened the belt around its neck and started petting it. He smilingly told my mom that he was going to keep that cat at his place. I had met the kid after that incident, once with the cat. He seemed to be a real nice guy, not like the other destructive (maybe destroyed?) kids.

Why can’t more kids be like that boy? What pushes these children, the future generation, to forms of violence so needless and so primitive, it borders on being the acts of Neanderthals? (No, that’s not a hyperbole, I’m serious.) Is it them acting out against their sad lives? I strongly doubt any of them have sad lives. So what’s the reason? Is it fun to be violent? I’ve never gotten into a physical fight, so I can’t really say. Is it modern video games? Playing ‘shoot-em’-up’ video games so often has possibly sparked some rebellious soul in them. But that’s not likely—I have several sane friends who do nothing but play said games.

How did the kid feel when he fastened the belt around the ginger cat? How did he feel knowing he could’ve killed the poor, yelping creature? No too different from the murderer smashing someone’s head, I think.

Quite clearly, there’s something very wrong with the workings of things if children are resorting to such ridiculous actions. Sadly, I can’t even think of something to say to soften the blow of this article. I can’t even end with some little streak of hope—let me try…

Maybe there are still some children out there bound my good values, raised on morals—like that sweet Russian boy from the nineteenth floor who unbelted that ginger cat and took it into his house.

Maybe there is still hope.

Or maybe there isn’t.

My mother just told me that they found that ginger cat splattered all over the ground outside our building. The watchman said it fell from the nineteenth floor.

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off.

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Memories of My Travels Around the Globe

Our Fridge... clothed with our world-wide-magnet collection

“Oh yes, we’ve been all over the world,” my father booms proudly as my mother places a pile of photo albums on the drawing room table before the guests. My father and mother continue: “We’ve been to Paris, we’ve been to London. China. New York. Australia. Canada. Singapore. Switzerland.” My family and I have been to such a variety of places around the world as my dad, being a business man, gratefully, had the means and need to travel. And so now and then he’d take us along.

The guests smile and nod curtly, occasionally saying things like, “Really? Is it?” or, “Wow, I’d love to go there!” Then, quite rarely, the guest booms back, “Oh, yes! Beautiful place! I’ve been there too!” That’s the cue for my parents to take a rest and listen to the story of the guests’ wonderful holiday at wherever-they’ve-been.

The guests now and then ask my sister and me about our vacations to all these places round the globe. We shyly recount stories of how we saw this show, or touched that animal, or tasted this dish, or walked on that street, or bought this souvenir (mother brings souvenir to guests).

The truth of the matter is… I don’t remember doing any of that. I was a very young boy. And I can’t blame my lack of true memories regarding these travels solely on my youth. I was also a very strange kid… I wouldn’t take in my surroundings as keenly as most kids would. I wouldn’t take in just the essentials either. I would take in the most irrelevant, unimportant things that, at that time, seemed like the most important things in the world.

It is the dream of every young individual to visit Disneyland. What a magical place!; with all its wonderful rides, all its costumed characters prancing around, the glorious castle with its sky high turrets, the truly spectacular parades… just like walking through a dream! One of our holidays was spent in Paris, specifically Disneyland. We stayed there for a fortnight or so. You’d think I remember all of it, but no, I don’t. I’ll tell you what I do remember.

There was balloonist in the lobby of our hotel. He was making the most exquisite balloon animals and passing them around to the children who had surrounded him almost as though they were worshiping him, me included. I was given a yellow-and-black bumblebee! (I paid no heed to what my sister was given, but something tells me it was pink or purple, whatever it was.)

That bumblebee balloon is all I remember from my visit to Disneyland, Paris. I went to the place every child fantasizes about, and I came back with memories of a balloon that tried hard to look like an insect. And at that time, that balloon surpassed everything around it in my eyes when glory and magnificence was concerned. I had eyes only for that stupid balloon; it was the object of my temporary obsession.

It burst on the very first day. I forgot how, but it did. I, being the resourceful kid I was, picked up the deflated bumblebee, with black and yellow stripes on it, and put it on my little finger, like a cute one-finger glove.

Today, if you ask me about Disneyland, Paris, I can tell you how wonderful the whole experience was, how terrific the rides and the parks, but most of what I tell you is sourced from what I’ve seen online, what I’ve been told and, most of all, what I’ve seen in the photographs my parents clicked.

In fact, if you really think about it, most childhood memories are sourced from what you’ve been told and what you’ve seen in the photo albums. Do you honestly remember all that stuff you did? Surely, your memory was aided by photographic aids and the like. At least I hope it was, or else I had some unique psychological defect as a kid.

I remember just three things from my holiday in Switzerland:

1. That bat-mobile toy I bought from I-don’t-know-where (the toy is in a cousin’s house now, but it has no wheels to speak off). Come to think of it, I’m not sure if I bought that great toy from there. Maybe I bought it from Paris. I dunno.

2. I remember reading the green ‘EXIT’ signs and pleading to my parents to take me out of wherever-we-were.

3. I remember walking on glorious, snowy mountains, and touching the clouds (It was then that I discovered you couldn’t stand on clouds. ‘Mary Poppins’ was misleading, damn her!)

All I remember from New York is a Batman VHS my parents didn’t buy me for some reason. And a Superman VHS they did buy me (it’s right here in my room). Oh, also the King Kong poster (or statue?) in the Empire State Building. And the yellow signboard of that Indian restaurant that served Idlis (a great relief for us, Indians, in New York).

All I remember from Australia was the hotel room, which had a kitchen. And the statues in the hotel lobby. And the fat white couple we met… I think, again, I’m not too sure.

All I remember from Canada was the people we stayed with, and even them I remember because we met them again years later. Oh, I also remember a blue water slide. It was huge, dark, and closed. I went on it eight or nine times, pretending to be Bruce Wayne from ‘Batman Forever’, sliding down that big blue slide to his Batcave. Only, my Batcave was a pool of water that was deeper than it should’ve been, and my awesome Batsuit was a swimming trunk.

Sure, I have some other memories of these places, buried somewhere in my head maybe… very faint memories, but nothing substantial at all.

Now, when I’m old enough to remember things, our family doesn’t do much foreign traveling. See the irony of it all?

Oh, wait, I remember something more from Paris! We spent a lot of time with a cute, blond, foreign girl my age, maybe French or Romanian or something! No, actually, I don’t remember that at all; I just saw the girl in one of our many photo albums, standing right next to me in several pictures. Perhaps, at the time, I was so caught up with my balloon and my toy car that I didn’t care to notice her existence or commit it to memory. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to notice that girl, and maybe gather up the guts to talk to her. Paris might have been more of a memorable experience.

*****

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off 🙂


OMG!! ROTFLMFAO kool dude! Lollllzzz!

Dere wz a point of tym wen i neva stukk to propr grmmar rulz n i chattd lyk dis. Many of my friends were, and still are, used to chatting that way. Of course, now it hurts me to miss a comma. Call me condescending.

Two to three years ago, when I first forayed into the online worlds of MSN, Facebook, and the like, I, like most young teenagers, wanted more than anything to fit in. I remember doing ridiculous things like posing for pictures, with the camera on self-timer, trying to look as ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ as I possibly could, which wasn’t remarkably too much so. I’d then hurriedly upload those pics on Facebook and wait for comments (which I rarely got).

I remember how I used to chat with my friends too.

‘Krishna says: Waazzaaaaa dude!’

The shame. “Waaazzzzaaaaa”. Number of ‘a’s and ‘z’s proportional to the enthusiasm or boredom, whichever was concerned.

I remember this one time I tried to look cool: I typed, “It rocked!” I realized it didn’t sound cool enough. So I changed the “It rocked!” to “It rockeddd!!!” Then, I went and made it “it rockeddd!!!” (Notice the capital ‘I’ is gone.) After backspacing and editing, I ended up with a reasonably cool, “it rokkkddd!!!”.

Like I said, the shame. I wish I had a time machine to go back in time and stop myself from being so incredulously wannabe (Today, I still am, but at least not regarding internet lingo.)

Apart from the misspellings, there was the ‘LOL – OMG’ thing. And ROTFL later. LMAO. ROTFLMAO. Sigh. I would be lying if I said I didn’t use ‘LOL’. I still do. But I feel this odd sort of guilt after using it… I mean, think about it: How many of you are actually laughing out loud when you say ‘LOL’? I feel ‘LOL’ is being abused. Everyone says it for everything. It used to be a substitute for laughter, but now it’s just a meaningless triad of letters. ‘LOL’ could mean, “Haha! That joke was funny!”. It could also mean, “I’m not really listening to you, but you don’t know that do you? Haha.” I’ve always felt using these chat-speak short forms reduces the clarity of your communication. But they’re big time-savers. Maybe I should start using them to save as much time as possible so I have more to waste.

While I’ve been able to erase all traces of those things I used to do (Yes, I’ve even gone and deleted all those Facebook pictures), there’s still one skeleton in the closet, or rather hanging around my neck. My e-mail id, made in the good old wannabe days, goes, ‘krishna_niceguy@…’. See that? ‘Niceguy’. No, that wasn’t a reference to ‘No more Mr. Nice Guy’ or anything like that. I made my id that way just so people would think I was a plain, nice guy. Maybe my brain was still in its early stages. Maybe it still is.

I haven’t changed my e-mail id since, always felt it too much of trouble to do so. My friends and I have hearty laughs every time we see those glaring words ‘niceguy’ placed in my e-mail id. Their e-mail ids were laugh-out-loud hilarious too, but they’ve all taken the pains to change theirs. I remember one ‘gangsta’ and one ‘cooldude’ and one ‘rockzz’ and one God-knows-what-else.

I’ve seen the effect of the internet language of short forms and misspellings influence people’s daily lives. For example: students writing ‘tym’ instead of ‘time’ in English exams and such other things. I’m glad I quit it. I don’t know why I stopped writing that way. I guess it was my all-too-early exposure to the great writing of Roger Ebert, or maybe my all-too-late stumbling upon classics of children’s literature. (I was eight when I discovered it was ‘Enid Bylton’ and not ‘Gnid Blwton’ like I thought it was from her signature on her books)

Whenever I look at what I’ve recently written, I am consumed by a pompous sense of pride; like I’ve climbed some kind of personal ladder by trying my best to adhere to rules of grammar and punctuation. Sure, at times, I appear condescending or patronizing, saying, “Oh well, nothing much, really,” when my friends ask me, “Waaaaazzzzzzaaaa duddeeee!??” But so what? Hu carez kool dude? Lollz.

(Note to reader: I am truly sorry if I’ve offended anyone out there who chats in da kool internet way. Srryy dudes. No offense, k? Tc. Hf. Ttyl. 🙂 )

Cynimatik jkass syning off! 😀 Cinematic Jackass, signing off! 😀

***

omg = oh my god
lol = laugh out loud
wtf = what the funk, fish, fudge… nah, kidding, you know. 🙂
wth = what the hell
rofl = rolling on floor laughing
lmao = laughing my ass off
ttyl = talk to you later
imho = in my humble opinion
idk = i don’t know
idc = i don’t care
idr = i don’t remember
jk = just kidding
r = are
u = you
…and so on