Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Art of Criticizing

Yesterday I was just roaming around on facebook, as usual writing embarrassing comments on my friend's status messages. And in response to my friend Akshay's status, "Criticizing is an art if you know how to...". I wrote an essay length comment which ended up being of a slightly higher quality than my usual silliness. So instead of letting it get lost there I decided to make a blog post out of it. Here it goes, some ways to criticize people without making them feel like shit.

1.) KLPD:

The idea behind this is to initially give the impression of agreement and appreciation, causing a metaphorical erection. Then as the guy indulges himself in all the praise and admiration, smack, make your move (also called the Jhingalala stage). You can either make multiple low intensity blows and gradually bring him down, or one massive blow from which he is unlikely to recover. Both have their own advantages. Personally I prefer multiple low intensity blows.

Example: OMG Akshay, I love your status messages. They are so unique and insightful. If I had lots of money to waste I would make a book out of them. I'm sure it'll sell a million copies. But to be honest I think this particular status message did not match up to your own high standards. I mean yea I agree with it, but then everything is an art isn't it? Nothing special about criticizing. Although kudos to you for recognizing that, not many people can. Besides I quite like how you finished it off with three full stops. I mean sure it's not correct and everything but who cares. Plus you can always say that there are actually two more sentences there, just not visible to the stupid.

2.) Be Funny:

This one's pretty simple, as it says, make a critique but try to be funny. Crack a silly joke that takes the subject's mind off the recently delivered criticism. I personally find that ridiculous analogies work best here because if they aren't funny, they still deliver the diversion by being ridiculous by design.

Example: Naaa! Saying criticizing is an art is kinda like saying finding the right spot when pooping outside in a cactus field is an art.

3.) Rhyme it:

This one, is my favorite but it is pretty difficult to get right. Not everyone can rhyme, but if you can this is the best way to be critical. Actually this is the best way to do anything in writing. I'd kill myself happily if someone ordered me to do it in the form of an eloquent poem.

If I was a little baby I would fart,
To tell you that criticizing is not an art,
It's just a way to break someone's heart,
Unnecessarily showing that you are so smart.

4.) Confucius:

There's a very famous saying, "If you can't convince them, confuse them". So deliver a criticism and if you can't defend it, say something that will just screw with the subject's head. As usual analogies work here perfectly.

Example: Bullshit! You can't say criticizing is an art. It's not an absolute statement. We live in a multi-verse consisting of multiple parallel universes, multiple realities. Our existence is just one little part of the much bigger picture. How can you be sure that this statement is valid for all those multiple universes simultaneously? You can't! Long live Hama Kavula.

5.) Cuss out loud:

This my least favorite but sadly the most popular form of criticism. And technically you can't use this unless you want to be rude. But just for the sake of completion I have included it. Of course you can be a little artistic here as well, inventive new cusses etc.

Example: Yuck! What $#&^& crap you keep posting Akshay. Makes no sense at all. You're just a big pile of (*&$^%^.

There, I think I have covered all. More than these you can probably mix these techniques together and add a bit of sarcasm as well to make a lethal blow. The key thing is to really enjoy it, take pleasure out of criticizing. It need not be right to be convincing ;).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Revisiting an old "Revolutionary" Poem

This is my first post since the day I deleted all my old my posts, hoping to start afresh with frequently and better written posts. But me being the laziest creature in the history of our planet since the reptiles who were denied the pleasures of evolution because they were too lazy to come out of water; this space has remained blank. And so because of the fear of being denied evolution. I have taken a resolve to start being more frequent here, and this is not the first time this has happened.

Now the reason, why I was prompted to come out to land was because I stumbled onto a legendary poem "Sarfaroshi ki tamanna...", which is probably one of the most elegantly provocative (elegantly being the key term here) pieces of literature ever written, in any language. One can only imagine the influence it must've had, to have spread like wild-fire all over the country in the days when even print media was in its nappies. Probably also one of the works that justify the phrase "Pen is mightier than the sword" more than anything else. It is said that in those days, a mere mention of the first stanza of this poem made sure that someone was having a juicy firang for dinner. Alright that was an exaggeration but you get the idea.

Surprisingly to this day it instills the same amount of passion in anyone who manages to read and understand it, in its entirety. It also manages to give a very clear idea about what was going through the minds of the youth of India, in those days. So I thought I'd write something about it on my blog and share it with /dev/null

Before copy pasting the entire poem from somewhere, let me first set the tone in which it should be read for maximum effect. Here's a scene from Rang De Basanti

Get the idea? You have to really feel it, read and understand every line, try and relate to each sentence, understand the meaning and context of each word. It took me a while, but I have no complaints, absolutely worth it. So here it goes. But first, thank you wikipedia. To paraphrase Lord Blackadder, "Without you my life is like a broken pencil, absolutely pointless".

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में है

(ऐ वतन,) करता नहीं क्यूँ दूसरी कुछ बातचीत,
देखता हूँ मैं जिसे वो चुप तेरी महफ़िल में है

ऐ शहीद-ए-मुल्क-ओ-मिल्लत, मैं तेरे ऊपर निसार,
अब तेरी हिम्मत का चरचा ग़ैर की महफ़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

वक़्त आने पर बता देंगे तुझे, ए आसमान,
हम अभी से क्या बताएँ क्या हमारे दिल में है

खेँच कर लाई है सब को क़त्ल होने की उमीद,
आशिकों का आज जमघट कूचा-ए-क़ातिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

है लिए हथियार दुश्मन ताक में बैठा उधर,
और हम तैयार हैं सीना लिए अपना इधर.
ख़ून से खेलेंगे होली अगर वतन मुश्क़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हाथ, जिन में है जूनून, कटते नही तलवार से,
सर जो उठ जाते हैं वो झुकते नहीं ललकार से.
और भड़केगा जो शोला सा हमारे दिल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

हम तो घर से ही थे निकले बाँधकर सर पर कफ़न,
जाँ हथेली पर लिए लो बढ चले हैं ये कदम.
ज़िंदगी तो अपनी मॆहमाँ मौत की महफ़िल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

यूँ खड़ा मक़्तल में क़ातिल कह रहा है बार-बार,
क्या तमन्ना-ए-शहादत भी किसी के दिल में है?

दिल में तूफ़ानों की टोली और नसों में इन्कलाब,
होश दुश्मन के उड़ा देंगे हमें रोको न आज.
दूर रह पाए जो हमसे दम कहाँ मंज़िल में है,
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है

वो जिस्म भी क्या जिस्म है जिसमे न हो ख़ून-ए-जुनून
क्या लड़े तूफ़ान से जो कश्ती-ए-साहिल में है
सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ू-ए-क़ातिल में

If you managed to get this far without getting the strong urge to do something crazy or have something outrageously non-vegetarian for dinner. You did it wrong. Rinse, repeat or go have a coffee and try after some time.

For those who did, I would like to share a beautifully written, satirical version of this poem by Piyush Mishra from the movie Gulaal (highly recommended flick, and music album). The song beautifully throws a critique on the state of the current youth.

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ुए कातिल में है

वक़्त आने दे बता देंगे तुझे आसमां
हम अभी से क्या बतायें क्या हमारे दिल में है

ओ रे बिस्मिल काश आते आज तुम हिन्दोस्तां
देखते कि मुल्क सारा यूँ टशन में, थ्रिल में है

आज का लड़का तो कहता हम तो बिस्मिल थक गए
अपनी आज़ादी तो भैया लौंडिया के तिल में है

आज के जलसों में बिस्मिल एक गूंगा गा रहा
और बहरों का वो रेला नाचता महफ़िल में है

हाथ की खादी बनाने का ज़माना लद गया
आज तो चड्डी भी सिलती इंग्लिसों की मिल में है

वक़्त आने दे बता देंगे तुझे आसमां
हम अभी से क्या बतायें क्या हमारे दिल में है

सरफ़रोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है
देखना है ज़ोर कितना बाज़ुए क़ातिल में है.

That's it, I have very cleverly written a long enough post without writing much myself. But if I could write even a tenth as well as these guys above, I promise I would be world's largest exporter of spam. For now, it is a distant dream.