Specially written for Nain's study break.

So Nain, I was kind of wondering what to write about, on account of how I never have anything (meaningful) to write about - at least not here. But I'm bored, and I know you're bored, and soon we shall part ways, and I don't know when we're going to see each other again.

Keeping this in mind, as well as that old adage about the uncertainty of life, blah blah blah, here is a list of things I would like you to keep in mind for the rest of your life. I would tell you this in person, but we both know you never listen to my (admittedly unwanted) advice, and you rarely have the courtesy to even pretend, so if I happen to die in a plane crash sometime soon, or if we have some kind of terrible fight and never talk to each other again, I want you to know that I care enough about you (and am bored enough at the moment) to leave this: a semi permanent record of things you should know in order to survive this pit that people called life we mostly just roll around in.

I. How to survive a shark attack.

There are approximately 370 types of sharks in this world. Most of them aren't dangerous. Some of the sharks that are dangerous include: great white sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, and hammerheads, to name a few.

Interestingly enough, even though the great white is the most maligned of the lot (I believe this is for two reasons: Jaws and its sequels, and because they are common off the coast of California. Incidentally, I suppose both reasons could be condensed to one reason: Americans are hysterical). However, they're not really as aggressive as say, the bull shark (more on them later). The trouble with great whites is this: you know how animals have particular senses that are strong? For example, eagles have excellent eyesight, and snakes use a special apparatus called Jacobson's organ to smell? Well, the thing about great whites is that they explore things using their teeth. Or to put it slightly differently: if they don't know what something is, they will bite it. Unfortunately sometimes this something can be a human being. Great whites aren't naturally inclined to eat humans, so often, after having a little nibble, they will swim away. The trouble is that a little nibble is often enough to leave said human headless or limbless; basically either maimed for life, or dead.

Bull sharks on the other hand, are a lot more aggressive. They aren't bothered by brackish and freshwater, and even move inland through rivers. And they will pretty much bite you because they feel like it, and they won't stop after a bite either. Anyway, I'm digressing as usual: I want to teach you how to survive a shark attack, so if you're ever floating on your back off the Australian coast, and suddenly see a grey fin, you'll know what to do. (I am leaving out obvious things like, "sharks sometimes follow boats. If you are on a boat and a shark is following you, do not enter the water.")

1) It's probably not a wise idea to venture into known shark infested waters if you're bleeding - even if it's from a small cut. Great whites, for instance, can detect a single drop of blood in one hundred litres of water, and can sense small amounts of blood from five kilometres away.

2) If you see a shark while in the water, get out quickly and quietly, using the breaststroke. Shouting, splashing, or kicking wildly, might cause the shark to think you're a wounded animal and it'll move in for the kill and then goodbye Nain.

3) If you are attacked: a) try to punch or poke the shark in the eyes, or gills. These are its most sensitive areas. Keep on hitting it no matter what; it might decide to go look for easier prey. b) If there are rocks in the water, try to keep your back to one. This means the shark can only attack you from the front, leaving you free to follow step a. c) Avoid swimming after dusk. Though sharks will attack in the day, they're more active in the evening. d) Never wear a watch or jewellery in the water. They glitter like fish scales. You don't want the shark to think you're a fish. e) Don't swim where people are fishing. Dead fish and bait may attract sharks. And finally, f) If you are diving or surfing, don't lie on the surface of the water. From below, you may look like a turtle or a seal, or other shark prey. Here's a visual example:

II. How to avoid becoming a target for a serial killer.

Living in Gurgaon, you're probably aware of the usual safety standards. However, there are other measures you can take, such as reading newspapers, especially if you're anxious to avoid becoming the victim of a serial killer. Everyone knows the story of Jack the Ripper, and other murderers who capitalised on his crimes (think Woody Allen's Scoop), and alright, probably if you were a prostitute in 19th century London, there would be very little you could do to alter your position. But if you were a sensible prostitute, and aware of the murders, you'd also probably take certain precautions such as hanging out with fellow prostitutes instead of standing around alone. Come to think of it that might be a problem because of the competition, and you wouldn't be able to afford competition, so...

Okay, that's not a good example. But I hope you kind of get what I mean because I can't think of any examples right now except stupid ones like avoiding orange cars if you hear about a serial killer who probably has an orange car, which will never happen in real life.

Something about cars though: if someone in a car stops and asks you for directions, make sure you stand far away from the car itself. If you go too close, it might give them a chance to stab you, or drag you in, and rape and mutilate you. Of course, they could still shoot you with a gun, but the chances of this are highly unlikely, and anyway, if you do see a gun being pointed at you, just dive as soon as you hear the noise and keep your arms over your head, since it is unlikely they will attempt to fire a second shot, and will most probably drive away. (My father told me this one).

Also, it takes the brain three seconds to react to something like a gun shot, or anything traumatising/shocking, so you might want to keep that in mind, and even use it to your advantage if battling with a potential rapist.

III. How to avoid unnecessary fights with your boyfriend.

When you're really pissed off, and in that stage where you don't feel like communicating maturely, and you might say something you'll regret (especially if you're drunk and in Nasty Nain mode), then just switch your phone off and make a voodoo doll of him and burn it. Catharsis, man, catharsis. Here's a video to show you how:

(Note: I have not watched it just in case it's a cursed voodoo youtube video but don't let my cowardice stop you).

IV. How to deal with wasps in the bathroom.

I don't know if you suffer this problem at home, I doubt you do, but I have in the PG, and it might come in handy in the future. Now, the trouble with wasps in the bathroom is that you're essentially defenceless. It's difficult to run away if you're sitting on the pot about to do, er, what people usually do while sitting on the pot. Trick is to keep a can of Hit with you. So you can just sit there, at ease, on your throne, doing your thing, and if you see that nasty yellow bugger heading straight for you, just pick up the can, press the little white cap thing, and pffft.

V. How to handle Mawii when she's very, very drunk.

I'm not going to be in Delhi this year, and you two are, so I thought this might help. Now Drunk Mawii passes through several stages. You're familiar with the first two: she gets loud, and she starts dancing. You're better equipped than I am to handle the dancing, and the loudness, well, there's nothing anyone can do about that. But those are just the initial stages: there are more. She sometimes gets paranoid and so, you cannot leave her. If you do, she will become hysterical and think you're getting raped somewhere, and will probably have a heart attack (chances of this will increase as she gets older especially if she doesn't quit smoking). It is important that you stay by her, constantly reassuring her of your presence. She also becomes very obnoxious and makes socially inappropriate comments which is why it's also important to keep her away from sensitive people. If the situation is really bad, and you need to control her, do it with a joint: a joint is to a drunk Mawii what a Scooby snack is to Scooby Doo, and what the boatman is to the dead in Hades' Underworld. Finally, the best way to deal with Mawii when she is absolutely plastered, is to just get even more plastered than she is (or pretend to) because her natural sense of responsibility will kick in, and she will attempt to look after you, sobering down in the process.

VI. How to deal with feeling alone, unloved, and very close to going to the garden and sadly popping worms in your mouth.

You can't always depend on friends, unfortunately. There are going to be times when you call them up, feeling absolutely terrible, and they're going to be sympathetic, but busy, and they'll have to get back to you later. There are going to be times you aren't even going to feel like talking to anyone, not even people you love best. According to me, there are four ways to cope: 1) Get very, very drunk, and play dark wrist splitting music really loudly, and secretly revel in your misery. 2) Sleep it off. Either the world will look a lot brighter once you've had a good nap, but if it doesn't (sometimes it takes a while), you can just hide under the covers for a few days and no one will judge you. 3) Ignore the feeling and hope it will go away. 4) Identify your problem, the cause for your depression (there is always a cause even if you don't want to admit it) and tackle it logically, taking a step back from your emotions as it were. This is the one I recommend, because it's the only one that really works in the long run, although, between you and me, the first option is the most fun.

VII. How to lie convincingly

We are often told that lies are "bad". This is not necessarily true. Lies are told for a reason: they help you avoid unnecessary drama, they get you out of trouble, they often save other people from hurt, and they save a lot of time. There is one golden rule to telling a lie: always remember the lie you have told. People usually get caught because they lie about something, and then forget about it, and then it pops up in a conversation with the person they lied to, and then the inevitable "...so you lied to me?" follows. Liars must have good memories. This is non-negotiable.

Lying convincingly is an art form, and it must be perfected. A half lie is the same as a half truth, which is neither here nor there. You want something that is definite, something that is wholesome, something that is pure and unadulterated. Your first step is to make it possible for yourself to believe your own lie: note the word "possible". Your lie therefore has to be truthful in some ways, especially when it concerns your own character.

For instance, once (this is, naturally, a hypothetical situation, Dad) I was sixteen years old and had a love bite on my neck. My mother did not approve of love bites back then (I don't think she approves of them now but I don't remember the last time I had one, which is another indication of the dull dreariness that is my - never mind).

"WHAT'S THAT ON YOUR NECK?" She screeched at me one day.

A lesser person would have said, a mosquito. That is ridiculous, everyone knows the difference between a love bite and a mosquito bite, and I did not make the mistake of underestimating her intelligence (another important point to keep in mind: do not underestimate your opponent's intelligence...and yes, the person you're lying to is an opponent. Don't be deceived on that score).

"Oh, Jahnavi and I were really bored yesterday, and we were reading a Cosmo article on love bites, so we tried it out on each other."

My mother gaped at me.

However, she bought the lie. Why did she believe it? Because she is familiar with my personality, and with my friend Jahnavi's personality, and with the fact that we often read Cosmo, and she believes us capable of performing such an act. Also, she was unaware of the fact that I sneaked my boyfriend into the house the previous afternoon, but that's not the point.

The point is this: while my mother undoubtedly questioned my santity, she has been questioning it for years. It was nothing new. So while it probably didn't improve her opinion of me, it saved me from a long and tedious lecture on how I was "too young to be flaunting my sexuality".

So in order to make your life a lot less stressful than it is, learn to lie, and to lie well. A quick recap: always remember your lies, make sure your lies are characteristic of your personality, and since you're lying anyway, make it good.

Let me end this post here, on the subject of lies, by revealing a lie: I did not write this post for your study break. I wrote it to give myself one.

But you will also know that it is not an artistic lie, and that I am capable of much better, and so are you. 


Naintara said...

This was not read during my study break. All of today unfortunately, has been a study break. :( BUT, I was supposed to start working at 10:45, got your text and immediately switched my laptop back on. :D
Thank you for all the advice etc. Some of it was much needed (I'm a terrible liar + Mawii), some of the situations I'd obviously never really given much thought to (shark/serial killer target). It was a fun read though, especially because I can imagine you saying the things you wrote (in varying degrees of volume and tone depending on agitation/I feel wise and mellow levels).
Oh and shut up. You will see me again. I will come to Cal this year.

Anonymous said...

:) Not too bad... but you need to edit the para spacings...

Philophobic said...

I liked this post. Especially the bit about sharks.

Mawii said...

And also- Don't let people photgraph drunk Mawii dancing like above.