Monday, December 24, 2012

India And A Bleeding Christmas

"Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse behetar banana padta hai." - Rang De Basanti.
I am a part of the youth of India. A part of the "We don't care generation." The same generation that has been out protesting against our nation's government for the last three days and counting. The same generation that demands change. The same generation that wants India to be "Our" country and be proud of it. Not a country where rapists, killers and brutal assassins are "held into custody" and an innocent youth is arrested, her father's clinic, the only source of the family's income is destroyed. All because she "liked" one innocent Facebook post against a dead political leader. This is India, the largest democracy in the world.
I've performed in 6 countries and several cities within India, I've met more people than I can remember and whenever I'm asked, "Where are you from?" My chest swells in pride, a smile comes onto my face and I say, "Delhi." And a bunch of people start thinking, "The capital of India. A metropolitan city. One of the fastest developing cities in the country." The last few days have murdered my pride. Now when I say I'm from Delhi, people are going to think, "Oh, he'll never respect women."
I have women who are friends of mine, some of them are 17 years old, some are 25. I have a 70 year old aunt and a 6 year old niece. None of them feel safe. Not a single women I look at feels safe. Every girl I bump into on the street, I feel like telling them, "Please. Go home. Go home, now."
I read a blog about a 70 year old women, limping on her walking stick who was groped by a teenage delivery boy, I read a story of a teacher who raped a 3 year old girl. I read a story of one women or the other being raped almost everyday and it makes me feel horrible. It makes me feel bad that I'm a man. It makes me feel sorry for what my side of the sex has done to traumatize and scar innocent women for the rest of their lives. 
Just yesterday I was playing cricket with a few friends when the ball flew out of the park and hit a lady walking by on her knee. I ran out, saw she was hurt, instantly got her water, a chair to sit on and a rickshaw to escort her either to a medical centre, her house or wherever she wanted to go. The moment she became calm, the first words out of her mouth were, "Get out of my face. Just go!" And I was left there wondering what was it that I'd done wrong. Surely, me or any of my friends hadn't purposely hit her with a ball, it wasn't in our control. We didn't even expect that a rubber ball could hurt someone.  
But then it dawned upon me, she didn't feel safe in the company of a man, even if it was one who was genuinely trying to help her. She might have gone with the image that I was somehow going to take advantage of her. And I don't blame her for thinking that way.
Our government doesn't allow peaceful protests, the Indian National Congress becomes true to their symbol and uses the, "Talk to the hand" policy. Water canons are used on men, women and kids. Tear gas used on protestors, and women lathi charged by the police. The same people who swear they'll protect us. Our home minister, Mr. Shinde says that people should be "happy" that Sonia "Ji" met them. Sir, you should be happy that the government hasn't been taken over by angry students who actually have managed to do more than your puppets have done in the last two sessions.
Dear Government Of India, if you're incapable of punishing the rapists, take a lesson from The Momento or Ghajini, put permanent tattoos on their foreheads that say, "I am a rapist" and let them go. It'll be a shame if more mosquitos get to them before you can. If you're incapable of changing the country for the better and not just filling your pockets, step down. Because each of you is defined by another Rang De Basanti dialogue, "Ghar ki safai mein, apne haath gande kaun kare."
Let 21 year olds run the country.  Let us change our country so that every brutal man doesn't mentally undress a women the second he lays eyes on her. Let us change our country so that every women feels safe to be walking on the street at anytime of the day or night. Let us change our country so that silent protestors aren't beaten up, innocent people aren't water cannoned or tear gased. Let us change our country so that we don't have labels of safe cities and unsafe cities, we have a safe nation. Let us change our country, so that it is OUR country. The country of the "We don't care" generation. 
And no Mr. Prime Minister, we're not going to look over our shoulders and ask somebody if what we said is okay or not.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pick A Card, Any Card - A Decade Of Magic

I've been blogging for two years, tweeting off an on for a year and a half, managing a Facebook page for close to three and a YouTube account which is probably the most successful failure Google would have ever seen. All for the undying, ever growing, constantly evolving love of hearing people applaud.
In my decade of doing magic, and my years across social media, never ever have I written or spoken about myself. Even when I'm invited by institutions and organisations who are sweet enough to sit and listen to me talk about pursuing passions, I never include myself as a subject or someone to look up to and I have absolutely no humility. But I'm pretty sure that I'm not a person who people can or should look up to. But off late a few people have been asking me to write about how I feel about magic, what I feel about showmanship and the beautiful world of performances, so my tiny little thoughts, much like most of my days, start and end with the phrase, "Pick A Card, Any Card."
But it's not all magic.
I've torn ligaments, bruised my thumbs and scratched my fingers. Who thought sleight of hand and mind reading could hurt you so often? I've been ignored by some friends and called a donkey and someone whose wasting his life doing magic by some people from my school.
I've acted across Delhi. I've played Voldemort, a Punjabi Police Officer and a British Rapist. Nasser Abdullah thinks I'm scary, Ayushman Khurana says he hasn't felt more shocked in his life. I've shared tech with Rajiv Makhni, I've been called creative by Farhan Akhtar. Hariprasad Chaursaia thinks I can play the flute a bit. Ranbir Kapoor has had coffee with me and Rannvijay thought that I'm India's answer to David Blaine. All I can question is why is it only men who praise me?
Kirron Kher kissed me on my forehead and said my magic is more of fooling people but I have an honest smile. Yes, finally a woman. MS Dhoni said he wants me to get inside of the opposing captain's head and Sachin Tendulkar has said a nonchalant "Good Job" to me.
I've performed outside one of the world's largest Apple store and Didier Drogba said he'll never be able to get me out of his head and I've successfully read Derren Brown's mind and left him with a smile. Yet, after all this some old uncles insist on wanting me to make their wives disappear or take a rabbit out of the hat for their grandkids.
After every performance, I reach home after hearing beautiful, all consuming applause only to be told by my mother that I should clean my room. After every performance, I begin to miss the applause, become lonely and go into a phase which I like to romanticise as the dark place creative people go into from time to time.
Shah Rukh Khan calls me "Yaara" and my 3 old nephew thinks I'm PC Sorcar. I like to think he's young and stupid.
I'm over ambitious and see myself as my biggest competitor. Just to have that feeling of bettering myself. I stand on stage time after time, making it a point to keep one seat in the front row empty, just to imagine a younger version of myself sitting there laughing at me and saying that he was better. I smile back at him at the end of every performance and think in my head, "Next time, I'll be better than you."
And now I smile at all of you reading, who've supported me throughout. And because you're here, "Pick A Card, Any Card..." and it all starts again. To be continued, after another decade.

Monday, October 29, 2012

An Open Letter to Sir Alex Ferguson

"It's a disgrace. It's a disgrace. It's a fucking disgrace." - Didier Drogba
Dear, "Sir" Alex Ferguson,
You're an amazing man. For 26 years you've been at the top of one of the most supported clubs in the world. And you've done an amazing job. I mean you came in at a time when Liverpool were giants, GIANTS of not just English but European football. You came to ManUnited and ended that run of Liverpool. ManUnited are the team to fear, they've been the Red Ferocious Devils for the last 26 years, unbeatable, insane fighting spirit, brilliant superstar players, excellent management.
I mean, it's not easy is it? Managing egos like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane and the list goes on and on and on. Imagine the pressure you might have had dealing with those men. Maybe that's why each and every one of them ended up "arguing" with you and "agreed" to leave United. Agreed with whom?
You're so respected in England and across the world that the referees, the impartial bodies seem to have a soft spot for your team too. Either that or the fact that if something goes against your team when they are refereeing, they don't get to manage your team for years on end. In some cases, the poor chaps end up resigning from the beautiful game all together. Not to forget the legendary stories of some of the referees who manage one game, your Red Divers.. sorry Devils, end up losing and the ref doesn't get a single United game for a year. Then he gets one and surprisingly all the decisions go your way.
Suspect One: Chris Foy, oversaw Liverpool beating ManU 3-1. Didn't get a game for a year and a half. Got the Manchester derby, two penalties for United and a sending off for Vincent Kompany.
Suspect Two: Phil Dowd, oversaw a United loss. The very next game, gave them a penalty against Blackburn. A 1-1 draw and the 19th Premier League Title.
Suspect Three: Mike Jones. Falsely awarded a penalty to Demba Ba against United. The next time he refereed a United game, three penalties against Stoke out of which two got converted.
The list goes on and on and on, I'm sure you have drinks and dinner dates with Halsey, Atkinson, Wiley, Oliver and the world knows you're on the verge of adopting Howard Webb. If you haven't already that is.
Alex my man, I'm sure you get pissed off with all these comments that stupid people such as myself keep making but then you have this wonderful old man, David Gill whose your CEO, who for some reason is the vice chairman of the FA. He pretty much has power over the man who decides referees for every game in the country. Oh and who is the man who decides the referees? Your boy Riley. The man who was accused of being a United fan all his refereeing career, not by fans, but by managers David Moyes, Rafa Benitez. 
Fergie, bro, I'm sure the queen knighting you has made you slightly more powerful, and I'm sure if Evans was to trip you the way he tripped Torres, you would stay on your feet and run for the closest referee. Because like you said, obviously, in your day, you wouldn't have tripped on a tackle like that. Knights do have insane amount of power eh? And in England, the powerful help the powerful.
I have nothing against you Alex, but why do managers like Rafa Benitez, Andre Villas Boas, Jose Mourinho become laughing stalk in the press when they accuse of something which isn't football happening? But when you go against mangers, you're a master at playing with people's heads?
Why is it that all the referees who made wrong decisions in various matches officiating subsequent Premier League games and the ones who made right decisions against you officiating league two and league three games?
Fergie bro, I'm sure keeping a club on the top for 26 years isn't an easy task. Winning so many titles isn't an easy task. Keeping up with the pressure isn't an easy task, especially for a gum chewing heart disease struck knight like you. I mean the English fans are brutal, especially on an "old, defenceless (like his team) man." But seriously, there's a beautiful game we love to watch, please let us watch it, if we loved watching corruption and drama, we would watch the Indian Parliament in session.

Loads and loads of love,
A lover of the beautiful game.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Remembering The Man - Steve Jobs

There's going to come a day when we've all grown up, had a career, maybe got married and had kids, when we're all going about our daily routine. Maybe you're driving to work with the car radio on, or you're making dinner with the tv on in the lounge. Life as usual, and then we hear a name. It's the name of the person you had a blog dedicated to when you were 16. The person you had posters of up on your bedroom wall, or as your desktop background. The person of that show you used to watch every week, as soon as it came out, or that band you used to love. The person from the cast of a movie that changed your life, or the character who you scrolled through page after page of google search results of. You haven't heard that name in a long time, and it brings everything back. And then the name is followed by three words you thought you'd never hear. Has Passed Away. And then you put down the potato peeler and lean back against your kitchen bench, or you pull over to the side of the road, and tears are streaming down your face. And all over the world, there are people who used to be just like you, with tears marking their cheeks and sobs forcing their way out of their throat, because they remember. They remember and realize the volume of what has happened. Because all they can do is remember.
And as we remember, one year on, Apple has changed. It's had it's up and downs but the man's legacy lives on in his company. In one year, Apple has been the fastest growing company in the history of the world. It's share has grown 78% in just one year. It's worth 620 billion dollars as of today. That's more than Microsoft and Google (Apple's biggest competitors) combined. The iPhone 5, while it may have a couple of downsides is the fastest selling smartphone on the planet. All because of one man's vision. All because of Steve Jobs.
On this date, one year ago, my father woke me up and said, "Steve Jobs has passed away." Lying there in my bed, I didn't know how to react. 
All of my teenage had been spent watching Steve Jobs' keynote adresses, watching his product launches, interviews, documentaries, reading books, articles and stories about the man and all of it was gone. In just three words.
What had been a major focus of my teenage life was gone with it. In just three words.
What had not just changed my life, but the life of billions of other people around the world was gone. In just three words. 
"Has Passed Away."
The three words that I knew I was going to hear one day or the other, but didn't know what was going to happen when I actually did. The three words that in a very dramatic way, changed my life for the better because I realised that at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who we are, or what we do, what matters is our work. What matters is that we're here, in Steve's words, "We're here to put a dent in the universe." Because at the end of the day, what remains is that dent, and our legacy. And boy does his legacy live on. 
35% of the people who read my blog read it through an iOS device, 19% read it through android. And since Android just copied iOS, it's safe to say over 50% of the people reading just my blog read it through a device he helped built. And that's not counting Macs and the Safari browser for windows.
Steve Jobs once said, "I want to build a company like Hewlett Packard. So that even after both Hewlett and Packard are dead, their company lives on." Well Steve, you succeeded. Thank you. Thank you for giving us visions that changed the world because you were crazy enough to think that you could change it. Thank you Steve, thank you for everything, you're missed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Psychology Of Handshakes... And Barack Obama

Before I start with this post I should point out that whatever I'm going to write in this post does not guarantee to work 100% of the times but if done properly it'll work wonders in your professional life, personal life and if you happen to have any horcruxes, this should work in your after life as well.
Everyday an average human being speaks to 15 people. That's 5,475 people in a year, obviously a large number of people are repeated on a regular basis, but being who we are it's natural to want people around us to like us. Equally all of us want to be around people who we like and about 90% of the world knows if they want to be friends with someone or not within the first 150 seconds of meeting them.
A girl knows if she sees a future with a man in the first 90 seconds of a conversation. We are all judgemental no matter what we may say, we all trust our opinions over anyone else's and we all find our jokes funnier than others. Okay, the last one's not true.
The moment you meet someone, be it the first time or the last time, the first action often dictates how the rest of the conversation may pan out. That first action is a handshake. Look at the picture above for example, notice how Barack Obama's hand is tilting downwards? That's not by accident. Go on Google and do a search for Barack Obama handshakes and look at the images. Each and every single handshake has Obama's hand tilting downwards. Keeping aside the fact that I was bored enough to notice something like that, you may question, why does Obama do that? The moment you meet someone, you want them to like you. If you're Obama, you obviously want to have a sense of power over them, even if you're not Obama, let's face it, all of us love to have a sense of power. The moment your hand is tilting downwards, when the handshake is done and completed your hand will be on top, subconsciously it gives you a sense of power over them because you're on top right away. 
It's not just Obama, other people who do this are Jose Mourinho, Christian Bale, Shah Rukh Khan, Derren Brown, Stephen Fry to name a few. And this may come as surprise to some of you Indian readers, so does Prathiba Patil. I don't know if she actually knows the science behind it, but she does. Look at the picture below for example.
What Obama is doing right there is typically known as "The Politician's Handshake." When someone comes to shake hands with you and their hand is tilting downwards, what do you do? Well you take their hand and just keep your other hand on top of theirs and shake their hand. And while you do that you smile like you're a two year old whose just won a fancy dress competition like Mr. Obama is in the above picture.
But wait there's more. Look at the picture above now. See how Obama's hand is tilted downward AND his other hand is holding the other person's arm? For those of you who did Google Obama's handshake would have noticed him do this in an awful lot of pictures. Why is that? The moment you touch someone's arm or shoulder pretty subtly, for some reason they start paying more attention to you and start giving you more importance and in doing so end up liking you. 
So when you meet someone the next time, tilt your hand downwards, if you see them doing the same use the "Politician's Handshake", touch them on the arm or shoulder while shaking hands to get that sense of power over them.
Oh but there is, One More Thing....

How many of you have seen a lot of Obama's pictures? How many of you have noticed that in each and every single picture he's wearing either a red or a blue tie? Particularly during the election campaign? Again, that's no coincidence. Red, as some of you may know is the colour of love. Blue on the other hand is the colour of support. Barack Obama very subtly give you the love and in return asks for the support. Meanwhile for those of you who've seen Obama's speeches and videos, how many of you have seen him point his fingers or do actions like in the picture above along with nodding pretty constantly? Again, no coincidence. The moment you nod while talking, it's natural human tendency to nod along when the person looks at you, in essence agreeing with the speaker. Couple that with the blue or red tie and the handshake philosophy and you have a winner for your meetings, your get togethers, your speeches... in short, your life.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Being Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

I have a very weird feeling most of you who end up reading this blog are going to go back to Facebook or Twitter thinking, "Why so serious?" 
Every now and then, something comes along that appeals to my weird little brain and ends up fascinating me so much that I wind up doing something so important like writing a blog post on it, which about 20% of my Facebook list and twitter list read (not counting the random strangers who come onto the blog without knowing how or why they got there).
Off late thanks to the usual craziness of Mr. Christopher Nolan and the insane musical genius of Mr. Hans Zimmer has got me hooked onto everything Batman. We all love superheroes, the obvious exception being Abhishek Bachchan's genius Drona. More than that we all love super hero movies, but there are two dialogues of Nolan's Batman trilogy that really caught my attention.
The first one is from The Dark Knight:
 "I'm like a dog chasing cars. I want it, but I dont know what I'll do with one if I actually catch it."
We're all dogs. We all want something more. None of us, even the most successful of us are satisfied with what we have. Which sort of raises the question? What do we do when we actually achieve what we wanted? We dont know what to do with it, we keep it aside and start chasing the next car to achieve that something more. And the cycle goes on and on and on.
And with the hope that I haven't made The Batman dull and boring, the second dialogue from the trilogy that caught my attention is from Batman Begins:
"It's not who we are within, but what we do that defines us."
All of us have three different faces in life. One that we show to our parents, one that we show to the world and one that we take with us when we die. No one, not your parents, not your friends, not your partner or anyone closest to you knows the real you. No one know you better than you do.
Quite like The Batman and Bruce Wayne all of us have a split personality, we all present ourselves differently in front of different people. To our parents, we're the good kids who need a lot of time shut up in their rooms listening to songs or playing PS. To the world, we're intelligent people who can be (in our heads) quite charming and likable. To our closest of friends, we still have a child like glow to us, we still want to play kiddish games and want to love and be loved by other people and aren't afraid of acting stupid. But deep down, everyone, even the most selfless of souls, deep down, all of us are selfish. All of us want good things to happen to us before they happen to others, all of us want each of us to prospere and achieve more than any of us around us, which is primarily the reason we put on a facade of being someone else in front of the whole world.
This also sort of gives rise to an old cliched statement, "We never get a second chance to make a first impression. Which is why I think I like The Batman so much."
And for those of you haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises do yourselves and the world a huge favor, save yourselves the embarrassment and go watch it. If you still dont, as Christopher Nolan would say, "You have my permission to die." 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Karan Singh Magic: "Saltus": Preview

Before I start, I must have the smuggest of smiles on my face and say I am India's first ever publicized Psychological Illusionist and my show is India's first ever one man mind reading show. First ever. You have a chance to be a part of history, that alone is reason enough to come for it.
Alright, I'll keep the smugness and self obsession aside and move on to my "endorsements" or what people have said about me which I swear on the life of my unborn children that I'm not making up.
"I have absolutely no idea how you did that" - Derren Brown (The world's leading Psychological Illusionist)
"This guy is scary." - Rajiv Makhni (India's leading tech reviewer, Cannes film festival red carpet walker)
"Read my mind like a book" - Farhan Akhtar (Actor, director, musician, singer)
For more such charming one liners you should really watch the video below, trust me, it's probably one of the most amazing videos about me, and I have a video reading Derren Brown's mind so THAT is saying something.
So the one question that I'm getting asked more than any other by journalists and other people alike is, "What is the show about?" People my age say, "Oh what do we look like? 2? We don't want to attend a magic show!" Younger people say, "Magic? What do we look like, 2 year olds?" People older to me say, "You think we're two?" And two year olds, well year olds don't really say much except for "Mom" and "Pee."
So for those of you asking and for those of you who care, it is as my dirty PR tactic highlights, "India's first ever one man mind reading show" And trust me, no two year olds would even be allowed to sit in the auditorium. What is going to happen? I can't tell you that. It's like a thriller movie, only if I hadn't told you that, you wouldn't have known that it's a thriller. It starts out as what looks like a fun filled evening and hopefully moves on to become slightly darker and murkier and every thing that I did in the show sort of comes together in the end to fill the purpose of a very weird thriller movie.
And this time it's not a dirty PR tactic but the ending blew me away, it is quite simply THE best show that I've ever come up with, and I've done over a 100 performances in the last year or so with more unbelievably sweet standing ovations than I can remember. And this show, tops them ALL.
Be there, book your tickets by clicking on this and if you dont like the show once you've seen it, you're all invited to murder me and bury me in front of the KFC in Greater Kailash in New Delhi the following day. If you have to kill me, I might as well be buried opposite a place I spent half my life in.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

India, Sex and Shah Rukh Khan - The Psychology Of Marketing

The moment I wrote the title of the blog and pressed enter to come down into the part where I write the content, I can't help but look up and think that this title sounds hauntingly like an Ekta Kapoor daily soap. But that is something that in our country sells, along with a lot of questionable pop corn at the movies but that's a story for another day.
Everything around us is marketed. Everything around us is sold. You are marketing yourself and selling yourself at every point in your life. When you go to hit on someone in a bar, you're selling yourself. And of course, some things are sold better than others.
In the world, at every second there are over 10 million people looking up sex on the internet. I think it's safe to say that be it India, be it England, be it Antartica, be it the world of Harry Potter or Twilight, sex sells. The time it took you to read that sentence, approximately a 100 million people looked up sex.
The psychology of selling things however is way more complicated than it appears. Really well trained salesman and marketers are taught to hang on to every word the customer says because those words reveal a lot about a person's personality.
If somebody walks into a music store and says, "I'm looking for a music system." That statement will be very different from, "I want a music system" or "I need a system that has the best sound quality." This single example tell us a lot about how a person's brain works.
A person who says that he's looking for a system, will pay a lot of attention to how the product looks, it's design should be nice and create a feeling of want the moment he sees it.
The person who says that he wants a music system, he'll have a lot of emotional needs in life and will want something that has a brand connect with him.
The person who says he needs something with the best sound quality will be a person whose done his research before talking and knows the best and the worst in a field.
This is not just for the particular music system but in general life to. A person using words like, "looking, seeing, watching" will have a very powerful visual connect with things, so to convince him or her, you must give a visual example of a particular thing that you might need from them.
A person using words like, "need, want, have, require" will be a slightly emotionally needy person, he or she will want to be shown a lot of love from people around them.
A person using words like, "sound, specs, ask, question, ideas" will have done his research on matters before questioning. So if someone knows that you've lied to them, but you don't know that they know, they will try to get a confession out of you, that will be the time to watch out for words like that.
Of course, marketing requirers a lot of emotional connect with people. And this brings me to the next "thing" that sells in India. Shah Rukh Khan. At a recent brands meet, CEOs, Marketing Heads, Directors and all sorts of important people were giving talks about their brand which bored the media and the audience in attendance. Shah Rukh came up and said, "Brands are all around us. I wake up in the morning and I pick up my Nokia phone to look at any calls I might have missed at night. I brush my teeth with Pepsodent, using Dish TV I watch the news on my LG flatscreen TV. Before going for work, I put on my Van Huesen suit, Tag Heuer watch, get into my Hyundai i10 car and go for work."
He turned a boring conclave into an amazing one with just a two minute speech where he named every brand he endorses. THAT is marketing. THAT is why India has Sex and Shah Rukh Khan selling every minute of every day. And we must ask ourselves, "Are we selling us perfectly? Are we a brand amongst our peers?"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dell Blogathon - One Of A Kind

15 years ago blogging was a concept unheard of. Rewind another 15 years, and the only way to interact with the world and get your views across was through writing a book. A surprisingly tiny number of people are skilled enough to write a book though.
Lets rewind another 15 years, if you had a hobby, which was rather unconventional, for example, doing weird things to animals, you had to travel across cities or even countries at times to meet somebody who had a hobby like you did.
Fast forward to 2006, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging. In short, a social media explosion. All of a sudden you had thousands of people across the world, who like you, were passionate about doing weird things to animals, or whatever it is that you like. And ALL of you could connect with just a click.
Fast forward another six years to today, 2012. There are stores all over the world which have the tag line, "All cars under one roof." Well the Dell Blogathon (#dellblogathon) was an "All bloggers under one roof" event. Everything from tech bloggers, food bloggers, poetry, social issues to fashion, photography and psychological illusions. Never seen an event like this one before, though I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing an awful lot of them in the foreseeable future.
Talking about the event, it started of with talks by people from Dell, and Belkin, no surprises there, as sponsors of the event, this was expected. After that came probably the most awesome part about the event. Free food. Free booze. And the people there were reportedly saying, "Hey, we blog for a living, we'll eat anything as long as it's free." Weirdly, I couldn't help thinking that if one of us was the CEO of some amazing company, we'll still hog if it was free.
After that came a little performance by yours truly which as always I'm not going to describe keeping in mind that there are people who haven't seen me perform and I wouldn't want to spoil it for them. My page for those of you who saw me there.
I was followed up by Abhishek Baxi, who DESIGNED HIS WHOLE WEDDING ON AN APP CALLED EVERNOTE! Insane, isn't it? 
If you think this was insane, wait for more. Abhishek was followed by a guy, Uncle Andy, who casually got up on stage and mimicked 18 different accents. Scottish, Welsh, Brit, American, Arabian, Irish, Japanese, West Indian. You name it, and the guy did it. 
And now the real reason for me doing a review of an event, I've never ever written a blog which isn't even remotely related to magic, but I just felt that I had to this time around. Why? Because the lovely team that organized the event helped get #dellblogathon trending on Twitter. And for a while there, I was trending on Twitter too here in New Delhi. Only the second time that's happened to me. And I got to tell you, it feels pretty great.
Seeing the fact that it was the inaugural event and it got trending on twitter, that alone speaks volumes of the event.
I think it's safe to say that the times when we had to travel across the world to meet someone who has the same passion as us are way behind us. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Psychology of Lies and Liars

Very very few people are skilled at covering lies, either they have an extensive knowledge about human behavior or they are psycho killers. This post is written keeping in mind, that neither of you fall in one of those categories.
"I have read the terms & conditions & I agree to them."
Everyone lies. You do, your friends do, your parents do, if there was a God, I'm sure he'd tick the terms and conditions box without actually reading them. Of course, there's a certain psychology involved behind that.
No one would fill a massive form and then end up not agreeing to the terms and conditions. You know the terms and conditions are important but the form you've just filled is more often than not provided by a sort of big shot company or person and you know that they won't try to trick you and have stuff written in the terms and conditions which might land you in prison for using their service. Equally, you know you are a good person, even if you're not, you believe you are a good person and won't take advantages of their said terms and conditions and break the law, so might as well tick the box rather than read that 12 page form.
That is one utterly pointless lie that all of us would have said at some point or the other in our lives. However, that is something commonly known as a white lie. A lie that might not have any serious repercussions. 
There are other similar lies that 93% of the population says at some point or the other and make very very similar gestures to give away the fact that they're lying.
One of the most common lies being, "No mom, everyone got horrible marks on the test." When in reality, you know that you're the only whose flunk the test in the whole class, your mom knows that too. In fact she said a similar a lie to her mom at some point yet nothing happens to you and you get away with it.
But this is a lie which we are actually nervous of while telling it. So the sentence is usually accompanied by your hand being raised to a part of your face. Either to scratch your nose, rub your ear, touch a part of the forehead or something along those lines. Why do we this movement? Simply because when we lie, there's this awkward silence when no one is saying a word. We feel that silence because we are the ones who are lying and are nervous, however, the person we are lying to will NOT feel that silence most of the times, unless we shows signs of nervousness by doing one of the actions mentioned above. 
If however a lie is of bigger proportions, like telling your boyfriend or girlfriend that you haven't cheated on them when in reality you have, the rubbing of the nose, ear or forehead will also be accompanied by swallowing of your own spit. So if you want to catch someone while doing this, look at their Adam's Apple and see if it moves. If it's a girl notice her throat move.
There will be times when you're telling a serious lie, could be anything and to anyone, to a friend or family, you'll notice your breathing rate increases and when that happens obviously your chest begins to heave. If you think someone's lying to you, this could be another way to figure out. Just stare at their chests, and risk being considered as a creep. 
These are some of the basic behavioral changes that occur when someone is lying, and by reading this post, you can sort of begin to make sense of how easy, we as human beings can be to read. So what should you do to control it? Simple, NEVER bring your hand to your face while lying, try to breath as less as possible, try to be drinking water or something else which is non alcoholic while telling the lie so that the swallowing motion is covered.
Also, just so you know, the people who lie the best are the ones who continue talking non stop. And can tell a tail as it happened and can also recollect the events that supposedly occurred in reverse order. Every liar practices a story, no one practices it in reverse.
And yes, I HAVE read the terms & conditions once in my life. Just so you know, they're utterly pointless.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Fear Of Yourself - Weirdophobia

To start of, do not Google the word "Weirdophobia", it's not an actual word, I just wrote that to make the tittle of the blog sound better. Which now, when I read it again makes it sound weirder and rather uninteresting than it actually should be. But now I'm very non creative and lazy to change that.
I was talking to someone the other day and he asked me, "A lot of performers, while they're on stage practice a famous technique of imagining that the audience is naked so as to distract themselves from the nerves, do you do that too?"
I don't do that, if that's of any comfort to any of you. What I do do, is imagine a younger version of myself sitting in the crowd laughing at my present self doing all sorts of things to entertain people. And keeping aside the fact that I said do do, you may question why do I do that?
For the simple reason that we must NEVER stop thinking like a kid. We must never stop being that kid who asks "Why?" We must never stop being that kid who finds almost everything around him funny. It's that imagination that makes us unique. It's that imagination which makes us think of different things and makes us who we are. If that dies, we are like everyone else in the world sucked of all the imagination and happiness by the dementors from Harry Potter.
Imagine yourself walking in a crowded area, you're looking at things around you when you bump into someone. You turn around to say sorry to that person, and the moment you do that, you realize that you've bumped into.. yourself. 
That is probably the scariest thing a human being can experience. The moment you realize that you've bumped into yourself, you stand naked. Not literally but figuratively (in some cases, you might want it to be literally, but I'll leave that up to your imagination).
You stand naked, because no matter how much somebody knows you or how well somebody knows you, NO ONE, not even your parents, your kids, your partner or your best friends know the true you better than you. And the thought that another "version" of you is out there somewhere makes all of it a very scary thought.
I always like to believe that there's a version of me somewhere very close by, who other people know. That version may have sides to my personality which it shows which I don't like to show. So the fear of those people knowing certain things about me which are very private to me is the greatest motivation I have to keep thinking like a kid. Because it's that imagination that overcomes the darker sides of mine or anyone else's personality.
So all I'd want to say to end this wayward blog post is NEVER stop thinking like a kid, never stop asking, "Why?" If you do, you're imagination is dead. If your imagination is dead, your ability to develop conversations, ideas, thoughts is dead. If your ability to develop thoughts and ideas is dead, you're only left with darker sides to your personality which you don't want the world to know. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In A World With Apple - The Trillion Dollar Company.

No matter how technologically advanced we might be today, we might be connected to people all across the world through the magic of social media. We might get news on the go, we might send emails from phones and tablets, yet we, or at least I can't stop wondering what it might be to grow up in the times of Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. What might a world without cars and electricity be?
We feel incredibly lucky to live in "The 21st Century." But people in the 19th century would also feel how incredibly advanced and developed they were, while we, sitting in the 21st century laugh at them for being weirdly backward and not having access to smartphones. People 3 centuries from now may sit and laugh at us for being so excited about smartphones and tablets and think how incredibly backward we were.
However we have an amazing story to tell our kids and grandkids, we can tell them that we grew up in the times of Steve Jobs and Apple. We can also tell them that we grew up in times of Blackberry if we want to tell them horror stories before bed time. The Apple story however, is a story that has reserved it's space in legend. In 1997, the company was on the floor, it was a quarter away from bankruptcy, which is when Steve Jobs returned and scripted what is quite simply the greatest comeback in American corporate history. Because as we know it today, Apple is the largest company, IN THE WORLD! 
Apple's net worth is at a staggering five hundred and fifty billion dollars. It's share price is touching 600 dollars. That means it's cheaper to buy an iPad than a single Apple share. All of these numbers make for a very interesting reading.
Here I go, Apple's net worth makes it larger than the ENTIRE United States retail sector. More than the combined GDPs of Iraq, North Korea, Vietnam, Puerto Rico and New Zealand. Bigger than the worldwide illegal drug trade, and that's a massive number.
Apple is larger than Google and Microsoft COMBINED! If Apple only sells Mac computers and laptops and stops selling iPhones, iPads and iPods, it'll still be the 22nd largest company in the world! It's worth approximately 608 million iPads! Worth more than 300 space shuttle endeavors! More than five hundred and twenty six NFL teams. It's finally worth more than Exxon, the world's former most valuable company. 
Apple has more cash reserves than the United States government. This one point alone is a story worth a space in the books of legends. 
But there is, as Steve Jobs would say, "One more thing...."
Apple is worth more than 31 Mark Zuckerbergs and 8 Bill Gates combined! Who feels like the richest man in the world now? 
If the company keeps growing, which I believe it will, we may soon have the world's first ever trillion dollar company and it'll be called, "Apple." From a $3 share in 1997, to a $600 share in 2012. From bankruptcy in 1997 to $550 billion dollars in 2012. This is a story that will be told and re-told and re-told for centuries to come, and I couldn't be more excited to have lived in these times.