Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dawn of Justice...

Clash of the Titans?

It's almost here! One of the most anticipated movies in history. The showdown of the century. The battle of the braves! It's... Batman vs Superman! Or is it Superman vs Batman (following normal sporting conventions where the home side is mentioned first, this title would be more accurate)? Yes, I'm making the guess that the battle takes place in the ruins of Metropolis, as opposed to Crime Alley in Gotham as in Return of the Dark Knight.

As usual, this is a post for those people who tend to want to ask questions during an epic movie, preventing their neighbours from following plot points as they unfold. Therefore, you should (get them to) read this, so they'll pay attention.

When someone 'respectable' asks you a stupid question...

When 'respectable' person gets an answer that highlights his own stupidity.

It's been almost 2 years since the events of 'Man of Steel'. The world's population is divided. Some are galvanized by the thought of having a saviour. Others are afraid of him. What if he decides to take to politics? What if he interferes with government? How does he decide whom to save and whom to abandon? What does he do in his spare time? Can his blood cure cancer? How would they know if they can't even draw blood from him? Who's to stop such a powerful being from doing whatever he wants? There are entire committees and military branches geared towards studying this individual, but so far, their efforts have yielded no ways to keep the Man of Steel in check. The next logical step for them is to meet him directly and talk to him. He has been avoiding the press. He prefers to go about his heroic business as he sees fit. But world leaders are restless. They need to know whose side he's on.

He's aware that the world is uncertain of him. And why wouldn't they? They see him as this all-powerful being who can do incredible things. As much as he wants to solve all the worlds problems, he needs to have the people on his side. They need to trust him. That's why he never wears a mask. If the world sees his face, they can probably rest easier. Politics and government are murky waters that he'd rather not trudge in at them moment. He decides to stick to the regular saving lives protocol. Rescues mainly. However, he's still labeled a vigilante. And there's a vigilante that's painting a bad picture for others out there. Since Superman is all about good PR at this moment, dealing with a rogue like Batman is a good step forward. he thinks that terror is the wrong way to go in inspiring public confidence. Someone should step up and give the Batman a piece of their mind. And who better to do it than someone who's invincible, right?

"If I wanted it, you'd be dead already!" #alphamale

The terror of the Gotham criminal underworld. He's a nightmare for the wrongdoers. He's feared more than he's loved. He doesn't mind it. He was the king of the jungle until an alien showed up, whose might far exceeded his own. Now he has to contemplate, like the authorities, whose side he's on. He doesn't know that the authorities are thinking the same thing about him, and constantly trying to devise the means to keep him in check. However, unlike them, there's no red tape with him. He also has the brilliance and the resources to set in motion his own contingency plans. But, like any good contingency, it starts with research. He (most likely) installs appropriate tracking software in his personal satellites to follow the Man of Steel around and try to figure him out. The first thing he learns is that, Superman neither kills nor maims. That is something he intends to use in his favour. He doesn't like surprises, so he studies his opponent as much as he can. But how can he hope to go toe to toe with the Man of Steel? Batman's world is filling up with powerful beings that cannot be controlled. What is their agenda? What if they intend to destroy his home? How will he be able to stop them?

Fake it until you make it?

Wonder Woman
This powerhouse demigoddess, the patron saint of women emancipation, has to keep the egotistical Batman and the overconfident but naive Superman in check. She represents the best of both. She has the dark, gritty character and the unbelievable strength to make the boys scratch their cleft chins. At least they both notice at once that she's not your average woman. She doesn't mind standing by their side, but she's neither to be belittled nor underestimated. Make no mistake, she can hold her own (I'll personally be disappointed if she whimpers for help). They don't call her the Warrior Princess of Themyscira just to make her happy.

The fists of justice are unisex.

There you have it, folks. Now you can concentrate on events as they unfold without wearing that confused look. Only tap your neighbours if they are excited by the same thing, not to ask them, "How come she punched that guy and he flew thoooooose ends?"

Friday, March 11, 2016

Of Lady Strange and Irish Coffee...

Dear stranger,

I don't mean to sound strange, but I must compliment you on how delightful you are to look at. The high stool that you're sitting on is doing wonders. Even the semi-bright backdrop of the gardens works in your favour, because you are an exquisite silhouette. You hold your head straight, supported by an elegant slim neck, flowing downwards to the neat arc of your back, rounding off at the seat in your subtle but well shaped derriere. Whoever invented those 'pencil skirts' did us a huge favour. Even while sitting, the skirt terminates right above your knees, caressing that tender flesh like butter on bread. You've rested your heel on the foot-rest of the stool, with the stilletto heel dangling in the air. You rock your foot back and forth, highlighting toned calf muscles. You must be taking good care of yourself, girl. Good for you indeed.  You sit there, with your dainty little fingers gently stroking the screen of your phone, prompting a few laughs from you time and again. It's not a boisterous laugh. It's more like a chuckle, with your wonderful white teeth flashing and your mouth just barely open. They must have trained you on how to be polite and carry yourself with class.

I know we've never met, but you've been alive in my mind for the whole time you've been sipping on your Sprite. I saw the frustration on your face when the waiter initially brought you a Krest. I would have been disappointed too. It's not like you had asked him to bring a 'soda in a green bottle'. But, people make mistakes and you realized that mid-rant. It's one of the things I've liked about you. Your big, kind eyes are not just for occasionally stopping my heart. Your full and vivacious eyelashes are not just to send waves of desire in my direction. I've been enjoying watching how you delicately flick your hair to the side while you prepare to take your numerous selfies. Oh wait, I didn't accidentally appear in the background of one of them, did I?

It's almost unfair for someone to look as remarkable as you do. But hey, if the Irish coffee has already kicked in, you might be a figment of my imagination. Lo, just as I'm about to pinch myself, you ease off the stool, whisper something to the waiter next to you, and start walking towards me.

When you spin and walk, it's like time around me has slowed down tremendously. You're surprisingly light on your feet and comfortable in heels. As you sashay towards me, I feel like my heart has stopped and I'm staring at an angel. You cast a glance at me, over your shoulder as you walk by, and I can see the mesmerizing splendour in your eyes.

You glide past me like the total stranger that I am, but before my shoulders can fall with resignation, the calming scent of jasmine wafting in the slipstream of your path lifts me right up. I almost absentmindedly rise out of my seat to glide along with you. I'm stopped in my tracks by the sudden clatter of crockery as I accidentally bumped the table on my way up. Thankfully, by that time you've disappeared around the corner and I have little embarrassment to concern myself with.

I come to my senses eventually, and realize that your table is empty. The waiter even took away the Sprite bottle and is now preparing the table for another customer. I cannot afford to have my memory tainted.

I'm glad to have spent the afternoon basking in your delightful company. Now that my coffee's done, I can leave, hoping to see you again one day. Maybe then I'll actually talk to you instead of playing out scenarios in my mind. If not, at least I'll have this blog post to remember you by.

Monday, March 7, 2016


"Where are you now that I need you?"

He becomes aware of Justin Bieber crooning from the speakers. He mutters under his breath at his disappointment for leaving the laptop on overnight for the umpteenth time. 'It's not as bad as sleeping with earphones on,' he consoles himself. Something about bacteria building up ridiculously fast in your ear the longer you leave earphones on. He fears bacteria.

He opens his eyes suddenly, but has to close them again as they are bombarded by the sunrise. He shields his eyes and gradually his eyesight clears. Clears to the sight of highway in the distance beginning to fill up with commuters. He catches the gentle touch of the morning breeze and sighs pleasantly. Then the smile turns into a frown upon realizing that the window must have been open all night long. He checks his arms and runs his finger across his face, looking for telltale signs of swelling. There are none. The mosquitoes must be having an off-season. On any other day, they would have punished him for such an error. The recent heatwave has made sleeping under a mosquito net untenable. So it is with much relief that he throws his head back on the pillow.

He rolls over to the left and spies a glass with a finger of colourless liquid. That explains his black out. His favourite poison, gin and tonic. He reaches over to the glass and takes in a generous whiff of the gin, catching along with it the sweet remnants of an apple-scented shisha stem on the table beside the gin. 'It must have been an eventful night,' he thinks to himself. His mind is still fuzzy and in no mood to put together the pieces.

He's shaken from his bliss by the harsh summoning of the alarm. 07:00 it reads, playing his favourite ringtone. He set his alarm tone the same as his ringtone because he knows a phone call is hard to ignore, unless you're unconscious for real. There's a certain sense of urgency connected to a ringing phone. The brain knows it, and will always react to it as long as it's capable. Even if the body is not willing. He wonders how exactly he managed to wake up before the alarm, but it doesn't matter. He has only an hour to get to work.

He jumps out of bed, but cringes and crumples over as a sharp pain races through his calf. He considers sitting down for a moment to gather himself up, but decides against it. "No one ever said they can't get to work because of an aching calf. Haven't a clue why it's hurting anyway," he remarks.
He presses the power button on his laptop and limps to the bathroom as the music fades in the background.

Several minutes later, he's heading towards the door, looking fresh. But he knows his mind is not up yet. "Why do they call it substance abuse when I'm the one who comes out the worse for it? It should be called human abuse." He stops by the fridge, but is greeted only by a half-empty bottle of tonic and an egg. It's strange that there's only one egg. He ponders the circumstances under which there could only be one egg left, since he tends to prepare them in even numbers. But that's not what's on his mind. He groans at having no water in the fridge, and resolves to boil some when he returns. He remembers something and darts into the bathroom. He glances in the mirror and sees what he's been suspecting all along. A tired face wearing a concerned forehead, a sarcastic eyebrow and a pair of flaming red eyes stare back at him. he considers going to work with sunglasses, but that will only cause people to stare at him the more. The whole 'wearing sunglasses indoors' is for celebs only. Musician celebs. He can't sing to save his life. While he examines each eye he mutters, "Perhaps if I squint, no one will notice."

The harsh wind from the boda ride to work sets his mind straight. He wonders if people know to be vigilant while they ride these traffic-ignorant steeds. He has a habit of telling the boda what to do, in case he has a slight case of indecision. He likes to be taken at a comfortable speed and not be put in unnecessary risky situations. He almost has his shin grazed by a Harrier. As the boda passes by the car, he casts a dirty glance at the driver. She's a well dressed, middle aged woman, fair as the sunset. She's wearing sunglasses. Not surprisingly, she's talking on the phone. She turns to face him in that fleeting moment. It feels like five minutes as their stares meet. He gives her the best stink eye he can muster. She responds with an incredulous eyebrow. He raises his hand with a 'what gives?' motion. She puts her hands together, bowing her head slightly, with a hint of a sheepish smile. He turns away, while giving her a thumbs up. It's too early in the morning to be giving a hapless commuter the middle finger.

He gets to work with 15 minutes to spare. There's that Monday morning status meeting that he usually looks forward to. And if last week was anything to go by, he has nothing to worry about this time. The meeting is lengthy, but it finally comes to an end. Which is a good thing because he's beginning to feel dizzy. He almost collapses from his chair during the meeting. He gets a smirk from the boss and a concerned look from his boss' assistant. He's more concerned about the smirk. It means the boss is going to be keeping an eye on him all day long. He needs to freshen up and keep his act clean. A generous drink of water should help with that. His colleagues thought he was still sleepy but he knows he's dehydrated. The truth is stranger than fiction, so he sheepishly agrees to their suppositions. After the meeting, he makes a beeline for the water dispenser. his eyes widen with disbelief as he notices something wrong with the dispenser. he flipped the valve, but nothing's coming out. Then he looks at it closely. It's a lot shorter than he remembers. So there's something missing. It hits him like a lorry a couple of seconds later. There's no water container on top. He claws his throat as dryness and dizziness begin to overwhelm him. His brain feels like there's heavy duty construction going on; thumping and pounding and drilling. The noise is almost unbearable and his body is beginning to shut down. As he staggers away from the water dispenser towards his cubicle, his mind drifts towards the betrayal he has just been dealt early on a Monday morning.

"Where are you now that I need you?"