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A Guide To Rejection

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Unless you’re Hank Moody from Californication or a shade of Brad Pitt’s chiselled Greek-half twin sibling, there’s a good chance you get the my-blood-freezes-so-I-hose-down-the-armpits-and-stutter at the sight of gorgeous ladies syndrome.

This fear is triggered by thoughts of humiliation, in public mostly, and having your –delicate dandelion- masculinity trampled over by a girl and then not being able to handle the scene like a man.

FYI: Even for the few who did gather up their balls “this-one-time-in-the-summer-of-1987” and got rejected and drowned in a sack of rejection forever- there’s hope.

Like if you’re a premature launcher of excitement, the boo-boo fixer will write you a cure. Like a “relax, take a deep breath and exhale” routine.

So, here’s what you need to do.

Although, I bet even Hank Moody has his off days. Well, to be honest, and I know what you’re thinking; the guy is clearly a chick magnate, the woman-whisperer so to speak, right? But, he does have offs. I know. OK?

The real secret is practice and speaking with loads of women in your routine. You’re going to prepare and embrace yourself to be like a squash ball-resilient.

Pro tip: The hottest looking girls get hit on the least because most men assume they are already taken.

Location, location, location. The best place to approach hotties is either in a professional atmosphere or at a club or a social event (like a nude parade, kidding) when most girls let their guards down.

In short, it is easier to strike up a conversation there versus the creep who followed me home.

Are you with me?

Next, make it casual. Start the conversation with what you’re doing at that point in time. Like, if this is a girl working at the shoe store, walk in and stroll around for a bit and approach her with a “are those shoes available in red?”

Mimic the playground. Hesitation and fear can be overcome by speaking with women who work at coffee shops, the passenger in the next seat on the train home, at the office water-cooler, the gym reception, wherever they are supposedly employed for customer service, which in turn will build your confidence.

Pro tip: Walk into a ladies store and chat up the sales girls. You can use the “I’m looking for something special to give to my grandma or sister for her birthday/ anniversary” routine.

This again will build your confidence over time and reduce hesitation in speaking with the opposite sex.
With time, and once you feel you’re ready (and, you’ll know you’re ready), begin to approach ladies at clubs first (because they are their to have a good time and bonus is they are probably drunk).

Once you’re comfortable speaking with women, handling and composing yourself will become a lot easier. The best and easiest way to approach and handle any lady is with a smile, a non-obtrusive and nosy attitude and keeping your chin up no matter what.

Pro tip: Speaking in a soft voice will bring her closer to you (because she wants to hear what you have to say) and maintaining that tone no matter what.

Lastly, exit on an optimistic note (always) because there are plenty of fishes in the sea. Who knows where you’ll hook the next one. Cheers!!

Published originally on GQ.

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COCKYBOX

Resolutions

fuckthatshit

What? Not another New Year resolution? You’re feeling sea-sick? A stomach hurl coming along people. While others rant of in oblivion about all the things they’re never going to do, I promise to disclose the anatomy of it all (and, no, this is not a resolution in any form). In other words, the hard and fast of a promise – a resolution – we intend to never keep.

To begin with, lets see why most of us start to panic around this fragile time of the year. It’s peer pressure from your social or work network that triggers a grenade of flustering thoughts. What will I tell Frank and Martha at the gala? Will they think less of me? Will the guy in the cabin next to me at work frown upon my very existence- even though he looks like a walrus?

This is when you begin to fantasize about all the things you’d left uncooked, half-done or put in the far corners of a closet, now full cobwebs. These could be tiny little nothings i.e. going on a diet, smiling everyday, taking a bath every week, check of the imaginary number of women on my to date list, making conversation with complete strangers in alleys – you can add up, right?

And, once these resolutions or for the sake of conversation lets call them “verbal missiles” are in the state of launch sequence, the countdown of sweat trickles down your spine. At this point, it becomes a battle of ego and crushing what others have publicly addressed via blogs or the company newsletter.

How can a junior assistant, to the assistant director, have a better New Year resolution then the boss himself? Its only when this topic comes up in a conversation over dinner, with a client, that the boss halts his schedule, sharpens his pencil and calls in the secretary with a peewee skirt – the kinds that make legs go all the way up.

Focus now. Moments later, a verbal missile would enter the email server trajectory by hitting every employee of the organization. This would be the mother of resolutions, one that clearly defines what every flea must do in order to sustain their position. If this was a “real war”, it would look a lot like Sparta.

Much later, the second week of the first month, the wounded have left (you know, the no-more-twinkies-this-year kind people), and others (the people who you never seem to notice, even when they wear yellow pants) have already forgotten what it was that they promised publicly.

For the rest of us who were in a lazy boy this whole time, with feet up, a glass of Cognac in hand, and enjoying the show, couldn’t help but chuckle over the whole idea. Cheers!!

Published originally on GQ.

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COCKYBOX

Men Are Tools

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You know what happens to the nice guys who pamper girls with flowers, chocolates, expensive gifts or give into her every whim because she has to buy that really cute dress from Palladium – the ones that try to hard at being the “perfect” man?

They get the “best friend” disease, which means packing up your tool and heading for the hills. Here, your best friend will be Lama, a mountain goat. If you want to be the tool women can’t resist, think like a Man. Drop the sissy pink dress and put on your rubber boots.

Men, from a really long time back when you weren’t around, have been born leaders, protectors of the tribe, hunters for food and fighters of life, ambitious for their dreams – the kinds women can’t resist.

Allow me to paint a vivid picture. How many times do you come across a gorgeous looking girl and think, boy, if I was with her? This is when you make the common mistake of putting her on the pedestal – a trophy to be won.

And, chances are you become a fire hydrant in this situation – only twiddling your thumbs. Outcome being, the girl drops you for another man, leaving you heart-broken. You console yourself with: only rich, successful men – the-guys-with-big-cars who look like sculpted Greek gods deserve such women.

Don’t worry – I’ve got the antidote for you.

The first rule to abide by: you are the prize – the trophy to be won. Let women fight for you. Be a tool – women rather share an exciting man than be committed to a loser.

Secondly, think like a hunter: trust your gut instincts. Think DO. In other words, stop counting goats and take the first step – throw that damn spear!

Thirdly, real MEN don’t sit around and listen to women all night, they run around like kids with their toys. They live on adventure and things that go really fast.

Lastly, my advice is like weaponry at your disposal. Avoid the by-the-book routine. Real men fight with lesser armoury like Bruce Wayne from the new Batman movie. Add a mix of your own style and girls will keep coming back for more.

Published originally on GQ.

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Learning Venus

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If women today were like our mothers, we’d behave like cowardly puppies. A ‘Mr. Dependable’ of sorts, if you will. Too bad women are unlike us men. They have evolved much faster and sharper in lesser time. This means the gap between Mars and Venus can only be closed with one of those really cool space shuttles from George Lucas’ version of the universe – Star Wars.

Since the majority of us don’t have Mr. Lucas on speed dial, we need to notch up our game. Just stay calm and rest assured it’s no rocket science. In fact, its merely about the simple things in this perpetually cluttered world.

To capture Venus is to capture the meaning of little things. It’s all about all those forgotten gestures you engaged in to “impress” on the first date (or even to land one, for some). Venus-setters date and evaluate potential mates on a points-based system. A hypothetical; an act of love – one point, bring her flowers – one point, compliment her new hairstyle – two points. Buy her a diamond ring – well, that one is a whole different scoreboard, if you catch my drift.

While women track score, men track purchases. We can’t help it, we equate real numbers. Bigger the purchase only equals more points. Or does it? Flowers, five points; expensive chocolate, ten. A diamond necklace, again, brings us to a whole new- and in our case- completely different scoreboard yet again. Take my word and get her some flowers and compliment her eyes. Result? Save a couple of thousands, gain some points of your own.

Venus is also about self-belief and confidence. You can no longer flex your way into a flock of women. Intellect and sweet charm is now fashionable. When the battle is between Hulk-Hogan and Bryan Adams, the latter takes the win.

Welcome to 2016 men. Your A-game should be all about confidence, intellect and natural charm. Ooze swagger with subtlety, and do all those simple things you know you secretly love. In other words, be a not-so cocky-confident-corn(y)ball and you will be, guaranteed, fluent in Venus.

Published originally on GQ.

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Laid in the office. A guide to office romance

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Today, we spend a considerable amount of time in the workplace and come in contact with several people from the opposite sex. And, with polished stock readily available, it’s a matter of time before sparks begin to fly.

For the sake of conversation, imagine (and this could be you right now) you’re at work, and you can’t stop thinking about the girl who’s arrived in the next cubicle- she has a penguin tattooed on the point where her bum divider meets the lower back (you leched/drooled/peeked while she was digging into the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet). By a single whiff of her perfume you get hard that can only be described to the tusk of an African male bush elephant.

With everything to lose, you gather up the courage – armed with an excuse to borrow her stapler – and take the first step towards her cubicle. Second step later, reality kicks in and you realize there’s no way the cutest girl in office is going to notice you and plus the office has a strict no-dating-your-colleague policy.

Broken, you step back into you cubicle because the only thing you’ll be spreading tonight is an excel sheet.

Don’t worry, I’ve done the legwork and prepared a step-by-step guide, which will have you performing and climbing the company management in no time.

Firstly, avoid the mistake which most men make i.e. attempting cheap parlour tricks to get attention i.e. cheesy pickup lines.

Instead, go with the stapler, which is a perfect way to squeeze in an introduction.

Your cue: step in after a guy has made a move and use the opportunity to console her by adding a “some people in our office will never respect women” garble. Be genuine and throw in a joke but refrain from being Russell Peters (because only he can do the Indian accent and get laid afterwards).

If you play your cards right, she’ll probably lick vanilla off your tusk from under the table in your cubicle. And once everyone leaves, you can pantomime an entire boss-secretary role-play in the bosses cabin and move to the old on-the-office-photo-copier for a detailed examination. It will be your wildest fantasy coming to fruition. But in order to keep it sizzling fresh you must not let an office rumour axe your tusk.

With some mutual understanding and teamwork, you can follow three easy steps. One, you must behave as if you weren’t doing anything (think of the days when you only jacked off to the thought of her riding your tusk) i.e. avoid mushy notes and conversation in office hours.

Two, maintain one-arm’s distance (this is usually where most people get caught), again, think of her as any other colleague who happens to sit in the next cubicle because it will become evident in the eyes of peers that you’re spending way too much time with this girl (instead, in public glare, and for the sake of tusking around, steer clear of her and request her to do the same i.e. avoid leaving from and arriving to work together).

Lastly, don’t tell anyone and try to keep all your adventures as far away from work as possible i.e. your house (perfect for those living alone).

Happy tusking.

Published originally on GQ.

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Anatomy Of A Hug Vol 2

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Before we get into part two (part one), I am going to share an incident with you. At an early age I learned some cheap parlour tricks by incessantly watching Joey and the infamous “How you doin?” on the hit TV show “Friends”. The idea of scoring women during my early teens was empowering and thrilling. Filled with delinquent ideas and raging hormones, I’d carom myself between girls in the school corridor – with little or no success.

Little had I known that I looked nothing like Mat-Le-Blanc and nor did I star in a TV show. Upset, I sat in a corner –by the steps during lunch- one fine day and watched the other kids have a good time. This is when the cutest teacher from school came and sat right next to me (she’d notice my lunch box open with the contents intact). She asked, in her soft voice, if I was going to eat my peanut butter and jam sandwich. On seeing a blank face, she sensed something missing from my usually mischief face and threw her arms around me in a bear hug.

Boy, when you’re 13 years old and the cutest teacher in school (the one with long legs and blonde hair) throws a hug on you – you throw one right back at her and let her know who’s man. Yes sir you do. Till date, I remember those 8 seconds very clearly. She smelled like a freshly cut fruit salad with strong notes of watermelon. The sun shining above her head – like a halo – and as I moved into her arms the noise coming from a distance numbed – my first bliss cross nirvana moment.

Eureka! I discovered hugs! Along the way, I’ve tweaked and worked some great hugging techniques. In my first article we talked about the basics, but with number two, I will walk you through the language of hugging.

Firstly, and most importantly, being a namby-pamby is not going to land you any action. Put your heart into it and not muscles. Make it genuine. And remember, like lies and fake orgasms – a fake hug might rub someone in the wrong way.

When a girl has her arms around a man’s head, she wants to feel closer to him and there could be intimacy between the two. If the hands are below the shoulders (around the waist) it’s a friendly hug – but not if their chest and lower body are touching and rubbing against each other.

Tip: Like many other Europeans, you could spice up the hug by squeezing her butt with one hand while the other runs through her hair. In advertising we call this the 360 degree approach.

The next time you’re out on a date, at one of your favourite restaurants, sit by her side and sneak your arms around her. Imagine you’re in school and you can’t let the teacher see (the very thought is a riot). Tickle her forearms and elbow when she’s repeating the order to the waiter. My favourite is having her rest her head on my shoulders, while my hands play with her hair and a footsie ensues under the table.

Tip: While seated, with her head on your shoulders, slowly rub her inner thighs under the table with your nimble fingers.
Looks like dessert will have to wait…

Published originally on GQ.

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COCKYBOX

Anatomy Of A Hug Vol 1

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Today, in the Metropolitan jungle, we’re expected to be etiquette-ready for any situation. On a single day you could be hopping between a traditional Indian wedding to meeting the CEO to drinking beer with your pals at a local pub to a blind date.

In between tea, cocktails and small talk, there’s that moment – the 5 seconds where you pop in for a hug and a peck on the cheek, although the later is rare in India – when you meet and greet people. Cut short, with my step-by-step guide, the next time you’re in a social or professional situation with a future client or spouse, there will be no awkwardness – you won’t go red in the face or fumble and crash face first. In the first part of this series, I’ll walk you through hugging your girlfriend.

Hugging her should be simple, provided you know which buttons to press. Begin “slow”- pull her close and tight (but don’t strangle her), in a smooth butter-like movement. Make her feel sexy and desired. Once you feel her breadth between your ears and neck, try a combination of slow small clockwise circles and up-down and across movements with your palms on her back – making sure the palms remain in the middle because too high suggests friendship and too low gives the wrong idea.

Give her warmth and safety. Think bang opposite her belly button. Once she throws her arms around your neck, do a little lift (give her the feeling of sweeping her off her feet). Throw in little nothing puppy dog kisses on her ear lobes and mid neck and shoulder area. Once you have her back on her feet, and if she’s biting her lip, slide your hands in her jean back pockets (sneak up on her with a butt hug) keeping it very casual unless you’re alone and she wishes to go further.

If you’ve mastered this, hug her from behind and flirt with her belly area. Depending on the mood, tickle her belly button and love handles with feather like fingers. Remember, not all, but most women love to be cuddled. Again, think cute, funny, gentle and innocent – nerd like. Leave her room for imagination to build a story she’ll never forget.

Published originally on GQ.

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How not to be a complete schmuck

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From what I have previously discussed, you’re A-game should be selling the idea of adventure, looking sharp, chest hair and making the first impression on Venus. That said and done, how does one go about this with little or no experience?

Begin here. Take a brief moment and think about all the times you’ve driven a group of girls to the mall, picked up their clothes from the dry cleaners or even stayed up all night listening to them rattle away about how men are dogs.

Honestly, if you partake in any of those activities, my best bet is, you’ll always remain the friend – one of the girls, so to speak.

The first thing you need to do is tell yourself, “(put your name here), you’re not going to run after women”. Repeat this in your head a few times every day. This should kindle some confidence and ignite dormant male hormones. I know what you’re thinking:

But, by doing so, wouldn’t this eliminate all my chances with females? The answer is, ‘NO’.

Here’s why. Think about all the men that run after women – making them a trophy to be won. And, here you are with the couldn’t-care-less attitude making women curious and fuelling imaginations – become the trophy.

Next, how do you fix available-on-a-whim tag without losing friends? Simple. Become exclusive, stay busy or for the sake of conversation, the next time a girl calls you to fetch her lip-gloss, let her know you’re doing something important – stuck at work, flying a plane etc.

Get the picture? By doing so, you’ll no longer be “available” all the time. In other words, you’ll come of as exclusive – the kinds women lust for.

Lastly, become or stay mysterious in the eyes of women. You can do this by speaking less about yourself, giving generalized answers and turning the conversation back on Venus. The gift of gab work like a charm, so read more newspapers, magazines etc.

Remember, be exclusive, remain mysterious and avoid chasing girls – like a dog chasing its tail – and you’ll be the man girls can’t stop talking about with their friends.

Published originally on GQ.

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High Flier Program

flight

As I snuggled my way into the economy seat of a Being 747, with a flask half-full of rum and my iPad in position for a theatrical odyssey, hoping to avoid any in-flight food and entertainment, a sexy crisp-cracker like voice on the overhead speakers of a Boeing 747 had me entranced.

It was the pilot – a female in her early 30s, and moments later, she handed over the mic to the co-pilot, another woman – although this one sounded like a girl I met at a bar in Berlin, who happened to work as a part-time belly dancer. I’m guessing this wasn’t her, although, that would be a fantasy most of us would fancy.

In a lech-like state, I pictured the first voice in garters, topped with a sexy short blue skirt, piercing white shirt littered with medals and hair tied neatly in a tight bun under a cap. And, the second voice in an electric yellow and pink Punjabi suit, with wavy hair down to her Angelina-Jolie-like bum. Think Katrina Kaif from Namaste London but with Sheila’s feline prowess.

It was only when Linda – a sexy flight steward – interrupted with a glass of Jack that I noticed the drool on my upper left shirt pocket. She knew this wasn’t the airplane food that had me in a dog-looking-for-bone state.

Around 3 am, two hours into the flight, and a few innocent glances later, I could see Linda step up to the lavatory door and press her comely body up against the door, biting her lip, big-Barbie-eyes fluttering, left hand combing her hair and the right slithering down from bust to hip in slow motion – showcasing her a body like the girls introducing a Chevy convertible on The Price Is Right, hosted by Bob Barker.

A heady clutter of thoughts ensued as I gathered my legs to follow Linda into the high-flier loyalty program. We began to work each other like clothes in a washing machine – nimble not to awake fellow passengers.

I kept thinking, Linda’s damn flexible – she had both legs wrapped around my neck, while her bum balanced on an inch of shelf. This is when I lost balance and ended our kinky jugglery by sandwiching Linda’s bum against the counter, dislocating a tap.

The sound of gushing water deafened my ears. As I regained consciousness from a sozzled slumber I could see Linda crouched over, dabbing my face with a wet towel. Apparently, I had one too many and zonked out two hours into the flight.

Published originally on GQ.

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Girls To Avoid Vol 2

Senior Designer, Brand Designer, Experience Designer, Art Director, Creative Director, Branding, Brand Consultant, Brand Strategy, Brand Architecture, Brand Engagement, Brand Experience Design, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Freelance Designer, Freelance Graphic Designer, Freelance Web Designer, Packaging Designer, Poster Design, Album Cover Design, Branded Environment Design, Environmental Graphics, Signage & Wayfinding, Logo Design, Brandmark, Brand Identity, Brand Driver, Brand Positioning, Naming, Verbal Branding, Visual Driver, Brand Guidelines, Book Cover Design, Editorial Design, Lookbook Design, Communication Design, Copywriter, Blogger, Brand Design Studio, Toronto, Downtown Toronto, New York, New York City, NYC, TDOT, GQ

I’m sure all the women out there, who’ve read the first of this 2-part series, will brandish me as the creep-who-generalizes-women in one egotistical-male-chauvinist induced confab. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’d say there’s truth down that road – where men are spectators to women playing dodge ball with their –ahem, cough *clearing throat- sack. In my defence, this literary trek levels the playing field for my brothers.

Foxy FOB
The Fresh-Of-The-Boat girl is a city slicker and sucker for designer label replicas. Although, her days in foreign were premature, her accent drivels your mind with vocabulary that blends English and Hindi in one extra large peanut-butter Oreo ice cream shake – a gulping feat for many. In the sartorial department, she’s a cross between Govinda and Lady Gaga – a pretty picture indeed, if you’re a cross dresser working at Barney’s Steak House. Although she’s an eyesore, you’d be surprised with her devil-may-care attitude and assertiveness. A piece of advice, keep your ears open and pivot quickly.

Bollywood Bebe
From a wardrobe that’s right of Kareena’s latest movie to pelvic thrusts, this girl’s got Bollywood covered better than Malika Arora’s legs. Oh, by the way, don’t tell her I said that. You’ll bump into this dame outside Salman’s bungalow in Bandra or at PVR, first day first show of (put name of Bollywood movie here). Her father will have a striking resemblance to Simran’s dad from DDLJ. And, don’t act surprised if she slips “I’m a bad girl, (put name of Bollywood actor)!” in bed. Ideally, this crescendo should end in a typical song and dance sequence, in a cotton field, with the both of you running apart in slow motion.

Virgin Vixen
Wipe that grin of your face, you’re no longer in school – and by being one you’re not going places. By and large, the Virgin is a mercenary of the almighty and society. Her favourite quote “mujhe bhagwan ke liye chod do” (please leave me for god). Join her and become Celibate Princess of No-Action Ville, leading an army of desperate nuns and fat chicks. You can kiss those fantasies goodbye – especially the one where you sport a birthday suit.

Facebook Fairy
As the name suggests, this is your gossipmonger, the mother of social networks i.e. faster than your Facebook status update. Even though women – by nature – are talkative beings (which is cute in a way), this girl is going to put you in an open source market – everyone will know your “pinky-swear” secrets. Don’t bother looking for Privacy setting on this Facebook page because even Zuckerberg doesn’t know where they are.

Published originally on GQ.

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Girls To Avoid Vol 1

boat

Over the years, with my experience and trained eye, I’ve compiled a flock from Venus who make us cringe, dig a grave or even recluse for the hills. These women are everywhere – living next door, at work, the coffee shop and (while you read this on your iPad) in bed sleeping. And, truth is, most men are unable to decipher Venus code, leading to the point of no return – marriage and kids. I say, lets attune those senses, drivel the past and start afresh – the right way.

How does one go about doing such a thing? Simple, understand the opponent, keep your ears open (like Toby Maguire from Spiderman), observe the finer details and pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you next.

Xena – Femina Warrior
Most commonly found in the corporate jungle or a leadership position. The sword, steel bust plate and Greek lace are replaced by Gucci ghetto. She oozes feminism – you’ll often receive a women-have-bigger-balls indictment. And, male chauvinism will be frowned upon. The flipside, however, has some advantages i.e. dominatrix in bed, lots of leather and spanking. Unless you’re secretly a man lesbian, you’d be better of with The Tease.

The Tease
This breed embodies a cute cuddle-like face, perfect bumpers and nature similar to Cameron Diaz from Charlie’s Angels. She’s fun, flamboyant, drinks like a bear and a natural trophy with your boys. Being with this girl is as good as bungee jumping without rubber. Every moment will be a Kodak one, you’re face will glow and life will be beautiful. But, you’ll be pissed because after all that attention, “the special-feeling”, so to speak, she’ll drop you like a peanut the moment you spill your beans i.e. speak your heart. Be prepared with tissues and lots of vodka.

Pocket Poojari
Usually found buzzing around rich ugly men with deep pockets – like flee on shit. The Pocket Poojari (devotee) is usually a 10 – every square inch dipped in sexy vanilla goo that makes men week in the knees. At this point, you’d be thinking what’s he got? The answer – my friend – is in the pocket of credit cards that sit next to a Mercedes engraved fob. Unless you’re one of the Lehman brothers, prepare to auction your assets.

Holy Bebe
You will bump into her at the temple, post prayer or pre service. A moment you will regret later with your half-baptised brain. The “Holy Bebe (typical Indian aunty)” has an answer from God for everything, including a holy cure for infidelity. At first, all this may come of as cute and funny, but once things get serious you’ll experience frequent pooja-path (prayers) – even before sex, and maybe even after. Be prepared with holy books, candles and oodles of meditation.

Matrimony Devi
You’ll meet her in cooking class, at the gym or during morning yoga in the park. Her innocent brown eyes, soft-spoken nature and simplicity will have you howling in the middle of the night like a thirsty cave man. Being with her is all about mushy talk, incessant updates that sound like where you are, have you eaten, have you pooped, did you wake up, where are you now? Her cute dimpled-smile will –in a short span- turn into annoying rants of how you should get married. If you’re a typical Indian man who’s an over possessive nincompoop, I’d say get the hell out of here.

Published originally on GQ.

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The European Bluff

Senior Designer, Brand Designer, Experience Designer, Art Director, Creative Director, Branding, Brand Consultant, Brand Strategy, Brand Architecture, Brand Engagement, Brand Experience Design, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Freelance Designer, Freelance Graphic Designer, Freelance Web Designer, Packaging Designer, Poster Design, Album Cover Design, Branded Environment Design, Environmental Graphics, Signage & Wayfinding, Logo Design, Brandmark, Brand Identity, Brand Driver, Brand Positioning, Naming, Verbal Branding, Visual Driver, Brand Guidelines, Book Cover Design, Editorial Design, Lookbook Design, Communication Design, Copywriter, Blogger, Brand Design Studio, Toronto, Downtown Toronto, New York, New York City, NYC, TDOT, GQ

For the past week I’ve been at the receiving end of sarcasm-tossed and mischievously-rolling-in-it jokes at work. And, now all thanks to social media, and with a little help of my colleagues – Round 2 has ensued on Facebook as we speak. They can’t help but snicker over the fact that my European jaunt had Ostrich wings.

So, to set the record straight, here is what really happened in between check-in, immigration and a bottle Jack. Last month, I had scheduled a trip to Europe, to land in Barcelona and later celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris – a short vacation to get away from a life in media exile. Excited, I prepared myself for the end of December, daily crossing out dates on iCal – a calendar App for Mac.

The thought of one week in Europe, in my language, was going to be nothing short of orgasmic. Boy, was I thrilled all month. I even had this uncanny smile pop along (like a jack in the box) on several occasions – even during serious client meetings, which I admit was kind of awkward.

But somehow this scripted journey had a twisted plot. Even Sherlock Holmes would’ve flinched on this one. All right, I made that last bit up.

On “the” day I was to board a flight for the Capital – from where I had a connecting flight later on in the night, there was a 3 hour delay due to heavy fog, which only left me enough time to grab a beer at a local shack before heading to Terminal 3.
I chartered an auto and on the way received a text from the airline informing me about the delay in schedule. At this point, unperturbed, I slipped the phone back into my jacket. Little had I known what was in store – for all of us flying out from T3 that night.

On arrival, I found a sweet spot in a corner of Costa Coffee, and spent my time wrapping up pending work. Four hours later, around 3 am, I walked up to a queue that looked a lot like something you would see outside an Apple store when Steve is about to launch something magical.

The airline crew was politely addressing passengers. It looked like we weren’t flying out that night – the fog was playing peek-a-boo with the plane. However, we were taken to a hotel in Gurgaon on the pretext that we’d be on board the next morning.
The bus ride to the hotel – which should take 15 minutes on a sunny day – took 45 minutes, and this is when I crossed into Melinda, a British national, who was in India on vacation. We had hit-it off in the buss and later one of us had suggested the idea of getting drunk at the hotel and playing poker.

To be honest, now that I look back, glass of Jack in hand, can’t help but think how Melinda and I managed to play poker without a deck of cards that night. Two days later, after speaking with the airline, with only 4 days to go in Europe, I decided to drop out and return home to my colleagues and friends with a poker face.

Published originally on GQ.