Category Archives: Humour

THE 30 THINGS I LEARNT TILL 30 #LIFE #LEARNING #LISTICLE

So some of you know that I have this secret annual tradition called the ‘annual mail’, which is my way of saying both ‘Thank You’ to everyone I love, like or admire; and a way of sharing some lessons I picked up in the year gone by. I’ve been writing it every year for the last seven years (new edition coming soon!) but I’ve never made it public, because it isn’t meant to be.

But last year, on turning 30, I decided to put together every epiphany I had in my 20s as the ULTIMATE ANNUAL MAIL LISTICLE. It not only served as a compilation of the many truths that hit me over the years, but a snapshot of the many values I picked up from all the wonderful people I’ve met, loved and respected, and from the many awesome things I’ve been so fortunate in having been able to do.

On turning 31 a couple of days ago, I went back to this list and realised that it also comes in quite handy in reminding myself of who I am exactly and why I have chosen to be this way, each time I can’t seem to understand WHY HAVE I BECOME 30+!! WHY GOD WHY! Seriously though, I just thought maybe just this once I’ll make this public because if this helps me find my way when I’m lost, maybe some of it may resonate with some of you too 🙂

So here goes: the 30 things I learnt till 30:
(P.S. Watch out for the #ProTips!)
(P.S.II. When I wrote this last year, hashtags were still cool, I swear)

1. It’s all about loving your family. Basically, KJo is truth. There is nothing as gratifying as loving your family because at the end of the day, they love you not for who you are, but IN SPITE of it :p. Yes, families are not perfect, in fact they are faaaaaar from it, but a wise man once said in a web series, ‘Rishtey zidd se chalte hain’ :). No one can ever love you as deeply as family so nothing matters more than loving them.  Do what you’ve got to do in life, but everything comes after family, home and love.

2. Love is all you need. Suuuuuure, getting laid on Tinder just like that may have its pros (#whatevs #notjealousok), but in the generation of ‘swipe’ and ‘move on’, there’s nothing more beautiful than staying put. And holding on. There’s truly nothing more romantic about finding a person you love and BEING WITH THEM. And committing to them. Because your life can truly never ever suck if you have someone to come home to. (Even if your home is now filled with lamps and photo frames and flower bedsheets, which is totally, perfectly super-duper ok, of course). Truth be told: love is happiness. And so is marriage.  #TheBeatlesWereRight #EveryDamnTime

3. Don’t be an Asshole. Yes, life is tough, people suck, shit happens. But being an asshole won’t solve any of it.  On the other hand, being kind can make a tough life easier, mean people sorry, and shit less shitty. Here’s a secret: if you are kind, the universe is kind right back at you. If you treat people right, especially the lesser privileged, if you give tips, if you are tolerant, if you *understand*, if you smile at people, if you don’t look down upon them, if you GIVE A SHIT and are generally a not an asshole, Life. Will. Be. AMAZING.  (I gave a TEDx talk on the same, cheggitout :): http://goo.gl/HxxYMX) #DontbeaTrump #BeAnObama

4. All lessons you need about life, love, break friendship and everything in between can be found in 10 seasons of FRIENDS. ‘Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna LOVE IT!’#ChandlerBingIsMyHero #GumIsPerfection #UnagiIsTheSecret #ItsallaMooPoint #PROTIP

5. Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho, toh saari kainaat helps. The universe knows. It breathes. It lives. It connects. And it syncs with you. If you want something desperately, you get it. And if you don’t get it – you really don’t want it bad enough. Or you’re not really working for it (of course you gotta work for it!!!!!) Or you want, like, Emma Stone or something (YOU CAN’T GET HER, SHE’S MINE).

6. Be a Lannister; pay your debts! Be grateful. Your success is not your own, your happiness is because of so many and any time you’ve really got something you wanted, it’s because there’s so many good people who’ve wished you well. So pay it forward! Give gifts, pay compliments, be polite, be appreciative, hug those who matter and tell the ones who’ve been there that you couldn’t have been there without them. And be there for others because someone’s been there for you. Friendship mein SAY thank you and SAY sorry when you need to. Tyrion knows better than the Barjatyas do!

7. Not all scars can be seen.Yeh thoda deep waala hai. The thing is, everyone goes through shit, and all kinds of shit too. Depression is real. Mental health is just as susceptible and vulnerable as physical health. The more you get to know people, the more you realise, fuck, life is tough. Everyone has issues, insecurities, fears, pain. So don’t judge the surface. And don’t compare your life to anyone else.  Because they have problems you don’t know of, and you have a support system they can’t dream of. Be kind, be understanding, be human. And DON’T. TRUST. INSTAGRAM. Instagram is a scam!! No one’s *that* happy.

8. You can survive your entire life on paneer and ketchup. #TruthBomb #MicDrop #PROTIP

9. You don’t need to drink to PARTAY. You totally can if you want to, but you don’t *need* to only drink, smoke, get high, or do any society-defined ways of having fun to ACTUALLY HAVE FUN. And it’s not boring or bland or uncool to be your own person. Be different. Be boring. Be weird. Be comfortable. Be your own sabse favourite. Be YOU. Being you is the new cool. And if you want to get HIGH to PARTAY, BRING ON THE SUKHBIR! #OhHoHoHo #BhangraRocks

10. You are never too old to be young. So be enthusiastic, be excited, be childish, be cray-cray and USE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!! Maturity is a state of mind defined by the life you lead: it’s NOT about burying the child in you. There are a lot of things people can dislike about you but the *stupidest* of it all can be ‘why are you so excited all the time!’ Because LIFE is short and you won’t get brownie points… or actual brownies… for adulting. #SONAACHOSAAREGPHAADKE!!!!!!!!!!!

11. Traffic is a great teacher.Pick a thing to think about, a story to flesh out, a problem to solve, a call (or calls) to make, new music or audio books or stand up or TED talks to listen to, and your greatest enemy will turn into your biggest friend. Your best ideas will come to you during traffic if you have an agenda. #Boom #JustChangedYourLife #PROTIP

12. Who you are is a choice you make.At some point in your life, decide who you are. (By that, I don’t mean fat and cute because you can’t help that.. NO, YOU CAN’T). I mean take out your moral compass and point it in the direction you want to follow, and then FOLLOW IT. You could be Salman Khan or Rahul Dravid and it’s okay to be either. But be either forever (try and not be Salman Khan). Yes, change to get better (and thinner) but your life is going to  be defined by the choices you make, and once you have made a choice about who you are, every other choice will be easy AF. Basically, ek baar commitment kar di, toh khud ki bhi mat suno.

13. Choose your friends and work with people you love. Really, CHOOSE the people who are always around you. You’ll make tonnes of friends in life over the years, but choose the ones who care for you, who are there for you, and who are essentially good and positive people. Life is too short to have shitty, sucky friends with bad vibes. It is also too short to spend working for horrible bosses, dumbass colleagues and asshole employees. The most important thing you learn about being happy (and ‘successful’) at your job is to not choose a job, but choose the people you work with. Choose your boss. Choose your collaborators. Choose your friends. And choose the hell out of your workplace (but try to ensure it’s not in Saki Naka).

14. Live your life like you are in an Aaron Sorkin TV Show. Try and live a life of honour, and try and and pretend that everything is happening because everyone else has honour too, it’s just that their honour is different than yours. Try and be like Aaron Sorkin wants you to be. He is ALWAYS RIGHT. #PROTIP

15. Success is a trap. The idea of success as something you get only when you ‘achieve’ a certain amount of money, car, a partner, designation or life is a load of crap peddled by people who aren’t happy themselves. You can be successful even if you are earning zero but have managed to build a family that loves you. You can be successful even if you are single at 40 but are doing something you LOVE from all your heart. You can be successful without doing engineering or a MBA or being a foreign return and you can be successful at YOUR OWN TERMS. AT ANY AGE. Success is about happiness. If you are happy doing what you do, guess what? YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL! Unless what makes you happy is the announcement of Chetan Bhagat writing as a woman for the first time, in which case, beta tumse na ho payega.

16. Everyone is clueless.Screw the ‘norm’. Screw ‘this is how it is’. Screw ‘this is best for you’. And REALLY screw ‘Log kya kahenge’. And DO WHAT YOU WANT, WHENEVER YOU WANT IT. You are not wasting your life doing something you want to do – even if it doesn’t work out. Mistakes are good because you know what not to do, plus you are TRYING! The best kept secret is: *Everybody* is clueless. No matter how old they get… Especially the older they get. No one EVER has their shit all figured out, and that’s OKAY. There is no expiry date to following your dreams. So listen to yourself (and don’t listen to *them*), trust your instincts, and go after your heart. After all, risk toh spiderman ko bhi lena padta hai.

17. Make a to-do list of stuff you’d like to accomplish at the start of the year and spend the year trying to make it happen.There’s something about putting your goals down that gets the universe excited about helping you, and something about cancelling it out that makes you feel like a rockstar. Make to-do lists every month, week and day too, and keep changing priorities so you can have your pizza and eat it too (yes, I love pizza). Of course, you won’t be able to accomplish everything on the list but that’s only because picture abhi baaki hai mere dost! #PROTIP

18. Find the thing you are passionate about and let it kill you (or make you really fat). A life without passion is a life without ‘life’. What’s the point of just existing if you have nothing to ‘live’ for? And if you love your work, it will stop being work! So find your passion and stay inspired.  Believe in something, keep sight of your goals, work your ass off, and you will make your own luck. Work hard because you care for something and do it for free at first if you have to. Because when you put your heart and soul into your passion, the money comes.. it has to!

19. REWARD yourself! Rewards are great motivators – they can be a weekend away with the ones you love, a trip with your family, a holiday with yourself, a car you’ve always wanted to buy, action figures that make you go nuts, DVDs and posters and pop culture merchandise you want to own, or you know stuff people who are not me may want :p, but it’s important to celebrate your life. Don’t literally kill yourself working. Take a break from the things you love to do other things you love, spend the money only because you have saved it, do small things that bring you great joy, waste your time in the way YOU want to, because YOU feel you have earned it. You’ll always be excited with life when the rewards are coming from YOU! Take a step back every now and then and tell yourself you are awesome because you are!

20. Be the master of one sin (and the jack of many).There are a hundred different ways you can while away your life (TV, movies, music, video games, books, food, LAMPS) but try and while it away on one thing more than others, so that you are called an ‘expert’ on it and no one can shove it in your face again. Plus you may get to host a show about that thing someday! #PROTIP

21. Sometimes, you need to get lost to find yourself.Failure is good. Failing early is even better. You learn what you suck at (and you *should* know what you suck at), you learn that you don’t know it all, you learn this amazing thing called ‘perspective’ and after a quarter life crisis, you realise that it’s OKAY. That people fail. And then they don’t. Because when things work, you get experience, and when they don’t, you get a story out of it :). Remember, at the end of (500) Days of Summer, there will be Day (1) of Winter.

22. Whenever life sucks, go to sleep early. No matter what, tomorrow will always be a new day.#PROTIP

23. Don’t go full ret**d. Yes, the internet is a great place for you to tell everyone you hate or don’t agree with that they suck balls, but the question is: WHY? Yes, there are idiots on the internet but the truth is, for them, *you* are the idiot on the internet. Nothing ever comes by being a full ret**d on the net so if you want to outrage and change someone’s opinion, do it gently and kindly and in intelligible words and if that doesn’t help, then, in the immortal words of John Lennon, LET IT BE. Change the world by your deeds, not your outrage. The world doesn’t *NEED* one more instant opinion without facts or research or knowledge or understanding. What it probably needs is an annual mail with all the opinions in points 😀 #AnnualMailRockOkay #OutrageDoesnt

24. Think on your own. There is *so* much noise all around us, so many opinions flying around, so many people who want you to believe in their truth, so much propaganda by everyone from media to politicians to your government, that shutting it all out and thinking on your own is probably the most difficult and amazing task that anyone can accomplish. If it’s getting tough to listen to yourself, leave your phone, go off of Facebook and Twitter, do a digital detox, but make sure that your opinions and your understanding of the world comes from YOU. Do not believe every copy-paste on Facebook, every forward on Whatsapp, every video that tries to make you dumber. Think before you share, post, tweet, anything… you can get smarter through a pause before every instantaneous reaction someone urges you to make.

25. Mard ban yaar! Be a man! | Aurat ban yaar! Be a woman! (#equalrights) You don’t have to or need to declare your affiliations or beliefs, but it’s important to stand up for things you believe in, and that starts with standing up for yourself. Respect yourself and don’t let anyone take you for granted whenever push comes to shove.  You don’t need to be aggressive to be respected, you don’t need to demand respect to command respect. But unless you treat yourself right, no one else will.

26. Something motivating about being fit and healthy that I will try and learn in my 30s. #PROTIP

27. TRAVEL!!!!!!!!!!Get out of your bed, get out of your city, get out of your country, AND TRAVEL!!!! It’s literally the best thing that can happen to you. There is so much culture, art, inspiration, hope, happiness, life out there that you’ve never seen, known, lived or experienced that you truly can’t be whole without the perspective you get when you travel. Meet people, talk to them, hang with them, share stories, share histories, share moments, live in hostels, live in AirBnBs, live in dorms,  live out of a backpack, live out of a car (ROAD TRIP!), just go LIVE. The world is so beautiful and rich, and you don’t need to be rich to travel, you just need to want it. #GoToEurope #EuropeistheBest

28. TELL YOUR STORIES.You don’t have to be a writer or filmmaker to tell your stories. You don’t even have to tell them on a big screen or a small screen or any screen. But you *must* tell your story. Write it on blogs, Facebook statuses, tweets, Instagram it, Snapchat it, or say it out aloud. Make it funny, make it emotional, make it what you want to be. But TELL YOUR STORY. The reason the world is lopsided is because your stories are being told by other people who are representing them in ways that you are not. It is only being told by louder people, or people with money or just people with more balls but perhaps skewed perspectives. The only way to change that is to step up and use the wonderful invention that is the internet, and put your story out there. So more truths, more perspectives and more stories can get out there and *everyone* is represented.

29. Remember to pack your sherwani’s pyjama when you have a destination wedding. #PROTIP

30. Everything is Awesome if you choose your Shire.The reason we spend most of our lives thinking everything is NOT awesome is because of the problem that plagues our generation. The problem of TOO MUCH CHOICE. The previous generations had stuff allotted to them and were told, this is how life is, and they had to live it like that. We have the internet, we have the phone, we have APPS, we have infinite choice, and having too much to choose from is ultimately what makes us unhappy and makes us believe nothing is awesome. So the trick is: find your Shire. As in the Shire from Lord of the Rings. And when I say find, I mean CHOOSE. Choose your intangible. Your Shire or intangible could be having great friends, great love, great family, a great hobby, a great home (SHIRE!), it could be the one thing that’ll always be what it is, that’s worth saving… it’s the good in the world that’s worth fighting for. And when you know what that is, even when something goes wrong in your life, you’ll always have your intangible or your shire, and everything will be awesome!! And just knowing that it’s there, will make the journey awesome, even if it’s towards Mordor, okay maybe not if it’s towards Mordor. So what’s your Shire?

Liked/disliked the piece? Leave your comments below!
Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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MTV Inside Story: The 12 Best Kept Secrets of MTV – II #Humour

Recap: MTV is not one of those regular, boring, filthy rich companies where all it takes for the organisation to succeed in life and make truckloads of money is a few hard working employees, a few hard working bosses and a few hard working coffee machines. NO. Because at MTV, there are no few hard workers… at MTV, *everyone* is… hardly working.

So then it’s empowering to know what is it that makes MTV India the world’s No 343,2459243th ranked brand, and how we have managed to sustain (a mind-boggling) over 14 fans (not including employees’ relatives) in India for all these years. In last month’s issue, I revealed to you the 6 secrets of MTV’s energy… *our* energy – including the Sutta Break, FREE Coke machine (true story), Madira, ex-employees, Jose (and Ramesh) and the mysterious Vault. The rest of the secrets are for your eyes ONLY. DO NOT SHARE THEM WITH ANYONE or the world *will* come to an end in 2012.. because of YOU.

7. The Table Tennis Table

When you find alliteration in a MTV magazine, you know that it is possibly the most important thing ever written. But the table tennis table at MTV is not just an important literary device, it is also the most important reason the employees at MTV exist. It is not a mere form of entertainment for them, no. It is, in fact, a way of living.

Time itself stops at the table tennis table at MTV .Why do you think the attrition rate at MTV is so low? Because the thought of getting to play table tennis during the lunch break, before work, after work, and of course, during work is what drives most employees to come to MTV and STAY there. It inspires them to do their work faster and often, better, so that they can play table tennis without being disturbed. In fact, healthy professional rivalry at MTV stems from this very fact – “if I perform better than my colleague, I’ll get to play MORE table tennis than him and hence, I will rule. Lols.”

Apart from longevity, satisfaction and inspiration, at last count, the table tennis table at MTV has been widely acknowledged as responsible for employee loyalty (both to the company and to their respective spouses), high employee attendance at work (some employees even come on weekends to play table tennis) and of course, the perception of the world that all the points given before are because people at MTV are working hard. HA! The world will never find out (except the 14 of you reading this) that it is the table tennis table that keeps employees happy… and of course, the Digital team.

8. The Digital team

What is the digital team, you may wonder? Is it a team of robots that secretly works at making MTV a better place to live in? Is it the only team that knows how to operate Facebook? And why in the world is it more important to the survival of the human race, than all the other teams at MTV like the hot intern team, the canteen admin team or the team responsible for selecting bikini models for Splitsvilla?

Yes, all these questions are justified… if you live under a rock! No, not under Dwayne Johnson, but under boulders from the time everything was analogue. Ladies and gentlemen, the Digital team at MTV is the solution to all of life’s problems. It is the team that has brought to you, the MTV India facebook page, the MTV India Twitter handle, The MTV Roadies facebook page and MANY more!

It is the reason because of which over 3 million (yes, million) lovelorn and desperate teenagers in India get up in the morning, log on to the internet and comment on a MTV post with lines like, “Hi gals, add me as friend if you are good person” or “Gals, m Haryanvi boi, so add me add me add me add me.” It gives a sense of hope, a sense of community and a sense of virtual sex to the many, many digital fans of MTV (And of course, I work for the Digital team but that’s just a coincidence, obviously). The hope that these pages give to MTV fans is almost similar, if not less than the hope that the songs from the IT department give us employees, that yes, the world may just survive 2012.

9. Songs from the IT department

If there’s one department in every office that actually embodies hope in human form it’s the IT department made of up of computer engineers, bachelors in computer applications, NIIT graduates and all other people in India. Apart from the love for computers, they are united through one hope: That the girl they “proposed to” will say yes someday, even if she… err.. got married 10 years ago.

And that’s why you will sometimes see notes like “Boy loved girl but couldn’t tell girl, she got married and he died” on their notice boards and songs of Kumar Sanu and Sonu Nigam about unrequited love emanating from their hub. Of course, every now and then you’ll hear other hopeful songs like “Taakat watan ki humse hai” or “Ae mere watan ke logon” and feel inspired to be Indian at work. Although I have to admit, if there’s anything that inspires MTV employees more than these songs, it’s the promise of a new office.

10. The promise of a new office

After my job interview for MTV, two things were instrumental in my taking up the job – a) The free coke machine and b) The promise of a new office in Andheri (which is close to where I live and where most of the people in MTV live… but mostly, close to where I live). This was in October 2010. As we enter 2012, we have yet again been promised – for the 45th time – that we are shifting this month.

The new office is inspirational for a number of reasons but only one of them matters the most – It will be closer to Lokhandwala. Which means, the number of hot chicks who are struggling models and reality show aspirants who will come to our office, in short tops and shorter skirts, will increase 10 times! That’s obviously a good thing for the employees and the IT department, but it may just make Cynthia mad.

11. Cynthia

Cynthia is the second most powerful employee at MTV after Haresh Chawla, the Viacom18 boss. And since Mr Chawla is hardly ever at MTV, she is the most powerful employee at MTV. It’s not the fact that she assists Mr Chawla that makes her powerful, it’s the fact that employees have come and gone, bosses have come and gone, interns have come and gone, but Cynthia has stayed on… to terrify generation after generation of new employees and interns.

On most days, she may be seen doing any of the following bizarre things: a) Threatening to send an intern/new joinee to jail because he drank beer during an office party, b) Threatening to send an intern/new joinee to jail because he work chappals to office, c) Threatening to send an intern/new joinee to jail because his hair is longer than the length that she has specified or d) Cutting the hair of an intern/new joinee because he didn’t listen to her the last time (true story).

But as all stories go, Cynthia may be tough from outside but she’s one of the nicest people to exist in MTV, in Mumbai, in India as well as in the world (and I don’t say this because she may kill me when she reads this). She was, in fact, singularly the coolest thing about MTV for the longest time until…. Noise Factory happened.

12. Noise Factory

Yes, dear fans, the last and most important best kept secret of MTV is this magazine that you hold in your own hands. It is such a secret that there is a Noise Factory branded cabinet at the entrance of the office but it’s always empty. It is such a secret that there are over 3000 people on our Twitter and FB handles but they don’t know Noise Factory is a magazine.

It is such a secret that no one outside of our 14 fans know of its existence. In fact, it is such a secret that no one outside of the 14 people on the credits page in the beginning know of its existence. And YET – Noise Factory is the coolest thing to have happened to MTV, the magazine world, the youth of this nation, and to the world in general. And by not sleeping during the length of this column (and not sending me hate mail yet), you have approved of it. THANK YOU, dear fans. THANK YOU, all 14 of you! 

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in January, 2012

Read part I of the post here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/mtvsecrets1

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MTV Inside Story: The 12 Best Kept Secrets of MTV – I #Humour

IT’S NOISE FACTORY’S ANNIVERSARY ISSUE!!!! AND THAT’S WHY IT’S OKAY TO USE CAPS LOCK AND EXCLAMATION MARKS AND COME UP WITH ATTENTION-GRABBING HEADLINES SO IT MAKES THIS ALL LOOK REALLY IMPORTANT SOMEHOW!!!!!

But truth is, while you may think it is MTV Roadies, the Splitsvilla babes, Anusha’s hotness, Raghu’s bald head, Rajiv’s bald heads or all the other bald “heads” for that matter, that are responsible for MTV doing so well, there are other mysterious elements at play in making MTV what MTV is – by which, I obviously mean, AWESOME. Here are the 12 things about MTV knowing which will make you powerful and super-heroic (but will still not help you qualify for Roadies… Thank God for that!):

  1. The Sutta Break & The Grey Chairs

For all those who think that people don’t do any real work at MTV and only chill, party, stare at Splitsvilla models and discuss Raghu’s iconic acting career, you are right. That is all we do… *at* MTV. And that’s because all the real work happens *outside* of MTV – during sutta breaks. Interestingly, all of MTV’s best ideas have happened while sitting on chairs owned by next-door ad company, Grey. Because obviously, we can pay money for Ayushmann to take off his shirt and dance in MTV Grind (and to Jose to NOT do the same), but we can’t afford our own chairs outside the office.

So, to understand how exactly how work happens, here’s a totally-not-made-up conversation that signifies the origins of MTV Splitsvilla:

Dude 1: (on seeing a hot chick from Grey exit the building) Dude, that chick is hot

Dude 2: Yeah dude *takes puff from cigarette*

Dude 1: I wish that hot chick had many hot chick friends and they could be in a house alone with me and they could fight over who gets to be with me and all the while, they’d be in bikinis.

Dude 2: Yeah dude *takes puff from cigarette*

Dude 1: I’d call such a house Splistvilla because, you know, it would be a villa and I’d totally be doing Splits in my room as a form of physical exercise.

Dude 2: Yeah dude *takes puff from cigarette*

Dude 1: OMG I THOUGHT OF AN IDEA FOR A TV SHOW!

Dude 2: Yeah dude *puts out cigarette*. Now let’s go celebrate by getting ourselves FREE COKE.

2. The FREE COKE Machine

It is both an irony and an encouraging sign of dogged determination (or not) that the most physical exercise MTV employees do every day is climbing the stairs to the first floor, so they can have FREE COKE. The free coke machine is MTV’s best-kept secret.. I mean, *literally* – the free coke machine is tucked away in that dark corner of the first floor open terrace you’d usually bury dead bodies or sexual harassment cases against Siddharth… or umm… both. So each time you make it to the corner, you feel sinful, badass and grateful-to-be-alive, all at once. And to celebrate, you have the FREE COKE! And in case FREE COKE…umm… COCA COLA, or the more hardcore, FREE THUMS UP, just won’t cut it, it’s best to wait for the beer and breezers to flow.

3. Beer, Breezers and Madira

When the people at MTV aren’t combining national holidays with weekends so they can go to Goa and get drunk, they do the next best thing – don’t go anywhere and get drunk right at office! No, no, there’s no need for all of you young, impressionable and morally upright readers to get scandalised at the thought of this – the HR *does* have good reason to give away free beer, breezers and every now and the occasional Tequila shots.

I mean, when there are so many legit occasions to celebrate… like Roadies finale (the fact that it’s getting over, yes), new show launch, Christmas eve, Diwali eve, India cricket match, summers, monsoons, end of the month, Friday, end of the day and just-because-we-can. Obviously, we don’t do it every day, you know, we are cool like that. (And also because, for every day, there is Madira – the shady bar-cum-restaurant that smells like Delhi, opposite the MTV office, which serves alcohol in the morning too, just in case ex-employees drop by and we obviously *need* to catch up with them for a drink).

4. Ex-employees

It is interesting to note that 50% of the work that’s done by MTV’s employees is actually not done by MTV’s employees – it is done by people who quit MTV. This only makes sense because these ex-employees, in their time as MTV employees, would also look up to employees before them, to save them. This may stem from the fact that none of us have any clue about what we are doing (except Ramesh). And by the time we understand what to do, we realise that we deserve much more money for doing it, so we quit and work for freelance. But not all are like that, obviously. That’s precisely why the other 50% of the work done by MTV’s employees is done by Jose (and Ramesh).

7. Jose (and Ramesh)

For all those who don’t know Jose, he’s the only existing MTV VJ who was at no point connected to an MTV reality show (or connected to someone *from* an MTV reality show.. *cough*). Which obviously means that he is the only one who knows what he is doing. Which is obviously why he hardly spends time at MTV anymore. But even the few seconds that he spends every other year at the MTV office are responsible for the greatest TV shows that… you’ve never seen. Those TV shows will come at a time when the audience is intelligent enough to understand them.

But when I say the above, I am not talking about Ramesh, who is already more intelligent than the audience and everyone else at MTV – because he has the best job ever. No, it’s not applying oil to the bodies of Splitsvilla contestants (because such a job doesn’t exist L). It’s the next best thing – he is in charge of ALL THE MTV GOODIES. And no one knows where they are kept… the apparent existence of a ‘godown’ is mere speculation. Maybe it is because of him that The Vault exists? It shall never be known…

6. The Vault

Yes, we do have a vault at MTV. And no one knows why it’s called The Vault because the most precious thing it contains are remnants of food and drinks left by people who come there for “meetings” but actually just want to sit on the bean bags (what it does NOT contain is money collected over a period of time for Raghu’s hair transplant, nope). The only other precious thing that The Vault contains is time… because this is the second place where time comes to a standstill inside the MTV office. The first place is, of course, the….

TO BE CONTINUED

(*insert mysterious haunting orchestral music*)

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in December, 2011

Read Part II of the post here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/mtvsecrets2

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MTV Inside Story: A Fan-tastic article #Humour

Today, I want to take a moment and be grateful towards the people who’ve made it all possible for us to be awesome at MTV. No, not my Mommy, Daddy, chaiwallah, etc; no, not the molested goat from MTV Bakra; no, not Raghu’s shining bald head and no, not even the bikini girls from Splitsvilla. Okay wait, maybe the bikini girls a little bit. But mostly, *drum rolls* it is YOU, oh ye awesome fans. *Breaks into Anu Malik’s classic, ‘Kaun main? Haan tum! Bas tum? Offo!*

Over my extremely entertaining and overly satisfying tenure at MTV, which is bound to result in me being paid more money than Anil Kapoor has chest hair, my interactions with MTV fans have resulted from having my photo clicked (because no ‘famous person’ was available.. .not even Siddharth) to getting friend requests on Facebook like “Hi frend, add me, m Haryanvi boi” (True story) to being told very seriously that my ‘sar’ and ‘g**nd’ are one and the same thing, because I work at MTV.

I have, in these obviously beautiful and heart-warming interactions, learnt about everything from the various kinds of English prevalent in India (the most popular one being the one in which you addzzzz ‘z’ tozzz everythingzzzzz… lolzzzz) to how apparently I need to “blast myself”. From all these lovely experiences though, I have successfully been able to identify the 5 different kinds of fans! Yes!! *self applause* *bows* Here they are:

  1. The Hardcore fan

My favourite kind of fan. They don’t make them anymore :’) <— khushi ke ansoo. The hardcore fan is the rare species that loves your brand so much that his sole purpose in life is to stalk the crap out of all your pages, the pages of VJs and even its employees. Yes, I said “HIS” sole purpose because girls, umm, have a life. And no, I haven’t offended this fan by dissing him because he’s THAT loyal. Anyone who can survive eight seasons of Roadies and even *volunteered* to write a Roadies blog, had his happiest day when Raghu acknowledged himby making eye contact, has quit jobs that paid him real money to join MTV, and can now be seen gloating about it all in Noise Factory… yup, nothing can possibly affect him now in life.

2. The Emo fan

This is the kind of fan who PMSes even if it’s male… especially when it’s male, actually. He’s the person you avoid in social events, in professional events, on the streets… you get the drift right? Because if and when he manages to catch you, what will inevitably follow is any one of these:

a)      I miss MTV of the good old days.  (Translation: I miss Shenaz Treasurywala)

b)      Are you guys still doing Roadies with that bald dude? (Translation: I HAVE APPLIED 30 TIMES! WHY DIDN’T YOU SELECT ME?)

c)       Why are there so many reality shows on MTV? (Translation: I miss Shenaz Treasurywala)

d)      Aren’t you supposed to be a ‘music’ channel? (Translation: Hip hop videos have nudity in them)

e)      WTF was MTV Grind? (Translation: I miss Shenaz Treasurywala)

3. The Greedy fan

The fan who wants gifts, merchandise, passes, tshirts, your brains, liver, and everything that comes with it. Will take part in every and any contest and spam you with answers until you make sure he gets to see anything from a MTV shoot to you digging your nose at the MTV office so he can update his Facebook status saying, “I SAW THAT HAPPEN LIVE! I AM SO COOL.” But of course, there’s a silver lining to having him – you get to take screen shots and show your boss, “See, I made that happen for him! I am so cool!”

4. The Pseudo fan

The pseudo fan is obviously the most annoying kind. They’ll pretend that they aren’t really fans of MTV India and are wayyyy too awesome to give any kind of crap about it, but will line up first on hearing any of these words: “Free”, “Giveaway”, “Grind”, or “Shenaz Treasurywala”. Most of the times, they are found working at MTV, so we shouldn’t say more bad things about them.

5. The fan who doesn’t know he’s a fan yet

If you like dissing MTV Roadies, Coke Studio @ MTV, MTV Grind, MTV Unplugged, MTV Splitsvilla, MTV Stuntmania or any other MTV show… you are still talking about “MTV”! By definition, you are a fan. Thank you very much!

 

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in November, 2011

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MTV Inside Story: Intern-al Affairs #Humour

There are a very few times in my life that I’ve hated movies, even though they are my first love. The first time was when I landed up in an engineering college and realised that colleges don’t look ANYTHING like the ones in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Main Hoon Na – the only hot chicks in our college were found in the tikka masala at the dhaba beyond our college walls (true story).

The second time I hated movies was when I broke up with my first girlfriend (it was mutual, I swear) and only later realised that unlike the movies, in real life if you try to get back your girlfriend, she calls it ‘stalking’. And informs her new boyfriend. Who looks like Godzilla in size, but is a shade uglier in appearance. And who tries to kill you and eat you up.

The third time I hated the movies was when I started working. You see, I was always under the illusion that there’s a bevy of young and hot chicks, traditionally called secretaries, who’d do anything to work under you (figuratively speaking) because you are young, successful and let’s face it, awesome (and by you, I mean me).

Since I haven’t invented Facebook, at my age the only secretary I meet is the pot-bellied, balding uncle who collects my building’s maintenance fees from me every month, against my liking, of course. And so, I didn’t mind settling for young and hot interns who’d someday be young and hot secretaries and the world would be a better place to work in.

But then, as is usually the case, life has happened. Over the course of 3 years, and roughly 30 interns, let me take you through the different types and kinds of blood-sucking, over-priced, hard(ly) working, annoying, egoistic, and usually very, very male interns I’ve had to deal with in life:

  1. The Important

This type of intern, usually found in the South region of Bombay, considers himself to be a gift to mankind. He was born not to be an intern but the king of all interns and their masters everywhere, and is merely doing you a favour by allowing you the opportunity to be his boss… until, of course, he decides to buy you and make you slave. He will come when he wants, do what he wants, since he’s just spending some time with the mortals to learn the ways of the cattle class. If you are lucky and have puppy eyes, he may even offer you a job at his father’s company. As an intern, of course.

2. The Sicko

This kind of intern is usually… umm… not found in office at all. Not because he doesn’t like to work or is shirking work or has another intern job to pay his bills and feed his widowed mother and blind sister, but because he’s ill. It’s apparently always a mysterious disease that has the same symptoms as that of ‘faking it’, but is, in fact, a real disease, that only allows the intern to turn up for work two days of the week. For the entire duration of the internship. Until he’s found another job that requires him not to be sick because there are hot female interns as colleagues. True story.

3. The Sacrificial

This is the intern who’ll consider all his options when he’s given some menial, but obviously meaningful work (in the larger scheme of things). And once he realises he doesn’t HAVE any options, he’ll do the work, but not before informing you how it’s only genuine people like him who do such work, because they believe in the greater good (money). He’ll talk about all the sacrifices he makes by taking the train to work, by giving up on eating from his favourite Pav Bhaji stall because there isn’t one near our office, or by not taking up a job with the rival company whose employees were willing to strip to employ him – just because he likes you! Usually, he’s found eating Pav Bhaji outside the same stall once he discovers there IS no more money for him, since there’s no money for YOU either L.

 4. The Over Qualified

This is the kind of intern who’s plain embarrassing to work with. Not because he breaks out in an item number every now and then, no, but because he’s usually older than you are, and wants to intern for reasons that range from ‘profile building’ to ‘mid-life crisis’. He’s usually the worst kind of intern to have, because, you find it strange to give him work that you’d usually give your slave. Also, you are scared he may beat you up if you don’t treat him right. He usually goes back to his real work once he finds an office hottie who makes him realise that money is, after all, everything!

5. The Go Getter

The award for the most annoying intern ever goes to this one. This intern is the most enthusiastic, happy, willing to work and eager to shine guy ever – except that he wants to work and shine at the job YOU are doing. He doesn’t want to do work given to him because, obviously that work’s for an INTERN and not for someone as awesome as he is. Instead, he wants to do your job because that’s where his real skills lie, and it doesn’t matter that you had to make coffee for the security guys on your way up to this level – because he is smarter than you and he won’t have to go through that route. Until, of course, you fire him because it’s not legal to bit*hslap people at work.

These are just the basic type of interns out there to destroy your peace and happiness for the money YOU give THEM. There are obviously many more interns out there if you look harder, and I’m willing to bet they’d do the same for free. Now if only the intern was a hot chick, I’d totally not mind any of this at all. *HINT*

 

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in October, 2011

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MTV Inside Story: Hair today, gone tomorrow #Humour

Let me start by giving you all some background: Growing up, people used to call me ‘Anil Sami’ because I was hairy and fat – I was like the Anil Kapoor version of Adnan Sami. I have had *real* conversations where friends have asked, “Yo what up dude! You look even more awesome than usual. Have you been trying to grow a beard?” and I have responded, “What up man! Not really, I’ve just not shaved this morning.”

Out of all the unmentionable nicknames given to me all my life, the ones that, unfortunately, *actually* had some semblance of truth were ‘Bhaloo’ and later ‘Papa Bear’ (and not ‘Lo*uchand or ‘C**tprakash’). In fact, I have had friends – girls – give me ‘Veet’ for my birthday. Veet is a hair removal cream. So yes, the point is, I’ve been hairy all my life.

And then, I came to MTV.

I don’t know what it says about the awesomeness that is the MTV office (or ahem, about me), but  on my first day at MTV, it wasn’t the kickass colourful wallpaper that caught my eye, nor all the hot chicks roaming around in bikinis (maybe because there were none… #FAIL), nor all the Roadies posters with Raghu and Rajiv looking even angrier than usual (Tees Maar Khan had happened), and not even all the badass looking Noise Factory magazines being ogled at by only like, everyone. No. I distinctly remember… the first thing I EVER noticed about MTV was, “Woah. SO. MANY. BALD. DUDES.”

At first, it was a passing joke between me and my friends – how Raghu and Rajiv were, in fact, communicable diseases. Because bloody every third person was bald, and as a consequence, angry and mean. It seemed that we had entered the matrix but instead of fighting to save the world, we were all preparing for Roadies auditions, step one of which was: lose all your hair, and step two was: grimace. (Step three, by the way, was: Teri ma ki @#$!#@!$#%@ #$%!$!@#$!@#%!$#^#^()#$%*)

But then, something strange started happening. Initially, I thought I was being paranoid. That it was all IN my head and not ON it. But then, the signs began to show. If I’d be with my friends in a car on traffic signals, little beggar kids would say to them, “Aye Hrithik Roshan, paise de na! (Oh Hrithik Roshan! Gimme some money!” or “Kya Akshay Kumar lag raha hai! Kuch paise de na! (What Akshay Kumar you are looking like! Gimme some money!” But when my turn would come, they’d say, “Aye UNCLE, paise de na! (Oh Uncle, gimme some money!).  No, not Hrithik Roshan, not Akshay Kumar, not even like a Govinda. But UNCLE.

I’m 24 (JUST turned 25 but because this article is set in the entire year, I’ll say 24) but one of my evil bas***d friends has started playing this game over the last few months called, “How old do you think Nikhil is?” And NO ONE GUESSES ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE TO 24. My maid has started charging me more money because she thinks since I’m so old I’d be earning a lot, my mom wants to marry me off “while there’s something left there” and my barber suggests a hundred different solutions “that can produce gardens on barren land”…  because I’VE STARTED TO LOSE HAIR too!!!!!!!!!

The curse of the bald twins struck me swiftly and unexpectedly, but from what the mirror suggests, it’s here to stay. Things have become so bad that sometimes, when I’m in an office meeting with some of MTV’s senior bald employees, while they are talking, all I can think of is, “He’s bald, he’s also bald, even he’s bald, and he’s also bald. THIS is my future too *insert tears*” And then I start imagining what bald-hairstyle would suit me… should I just shave off everything on my head or should I crop my hair to porcupine-type length so it seems like I’ve done it on purpose? Or how about, I just DIE !@#$!%$?

Now everywhere I go, I can see bald people. Who don’t seem to care that they are bald. Except for Dr Batra who’s screaming from every newspaper, magazine and hoarding I can see around me to “act, before it’s too late!!” I find myself staring at my old pictures where I was young and rash and didn’t tell my hair enough what it means to me. I’ve also found myself paying close attention to shampoo ads on TV. I even remember shampoo slogans and punchlines and can now identify which shampoo can help my hair to be “jadon se mazboot.”

But all of this is in vain, because apparently, research shows that after the age of 22, an average male loses 100 hairs per day. Only, in my case, the male has… umm… already lost. So I’ve now decided to stop whining over it all, and turn into Raghu for all practical purposes. I’ve started abusing random people in my office asking them, “Tune kiya kya hai life mein bho1#@$%!$% ke.” I’ve also started picking fights with anyone and everyone screaming, “Roadie banega!!#$ Hai g**nd mein dum?!@#$.” And now instead of ‘Hi’, I greet everyone with a grunt.

I’ve also started growing a French beard… err… I’ve already grown a French beard even though I started yesterday. And that’s the bloody curse of the bald twins – hair all over the body but not where it matters the most.

 

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in September, 2011

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.

MTV Inside Story: Balle Balle! From Lokhandwala to LA! #Humour

It took me a trip halfway across the world to realise how worthless I am. Yes, technically, all my years as a money-less writer-type should have helped me reach this obvious conclusion long ago, but then again, I was hobnobbing with the likes of Bappi Lahiri and Annu Malik in those years (true story), so my thinking capabilities were destroyed by their awesomeness.

But when, in June 2011, six months into joining MTV, I got the chance to go to Los Angeles (Hollywood, baby!!) to do an interview with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz for their upcoming movie, Bad Teacher, I calculated my life’s worth by this formula:

My life’s worth = Justin & Cameron’s time/ My time

=  Time Justin & Cameron’s gave me for an interview/Time I spent going to LA + interviewing Justin & Cameron + Coming Back from LA

= 4 mins 41 seconds/120 hours

= 0.00006504

This complex mathematical equation can be explained in simple terms as: My life is worth roughly 0.007 % as much as the lives of Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz. Although this is a depressing fact and should push me to do something more worthy with my life like audition for Roadies than whiling it away calculating its worth (since Raghu’s life is worth approx 1234676123970209143 as much as that of Justin and Cameron’s lives – because THAT’S the no of people who want to be ‘a Roadies’), there are two things that stop me from doing that:

a)      I went to Los Angeles for FREE!!!!!!

b)      My hands touched Cameron Diaz’s hands!!!!!!

Yes, being seen in the same circles as Bappida and Annu sir (Thanks be to God) paid off in such a huge way for me that I was first hired by MTV, and then was sent by MTV for a Sony Pictures’ sponsored junket for Bad Teacher to Los Angeles (Hollywood, baby!!).

It was not only my first trip to LA, but my first trip to USA as well. And that’s not a good thing. Because I have seen so many bad popcorn flicks about bombs at airports, that I was dead sure I’d, at some point in my trip, make a joke on bombs and then be treated to third-degree frisking in uncomfortable places.

So I spent the entire length of my 24-hour-long journey, right upto my arrival at the Tom Bradley International Airport in LA, trying very, VERY hard NOT to say ‘bomb’. While it may sound simple enough, I’m so twisted in the head that I’d deliberately make the process difficult. For example:

American immigration custom’s office: How are you, sir?

Me: (saying) I’m fine, sir, how are you?

BUT Me: (thinking) I’m Mr BOMBATIC say me fantastic. BOMB. A BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, BOMB.

American immigration custom’s office: How was your flight, sir?

Me: (saying) It was great, thank you very much.

BUT Me: (thinking) It was a BOMB of a flight. A BOMB. BOMB. BOMB. BOMB

American immigration custom’s office: Oh, is that so? Where are you coming from?

Me: (saying) From BOMB…. MUMBAI. It’s called MUMBAI now. It was called Bombay earlier. But it’s Mumbai now. Hehehehehehe.

Me: (thinking) I JUST SAID BOMB!! I SAID BOMB!!! THEY’RE GOING TO ARREST ME AND PUT A TORCH IN MY ANUS NOW!!!!

The torch-thing, thankfully, didn’t take place. The very nice American officer allowed me through to Hollywood city, where I took a taxi straight up to my fully paid-for hotel, Four Seasons, on Beverly Hills. (Yes, this is called names-dropping, dawgs). My interview with Justin & Cameron was to take place in the same hotel on the following day and the agenda for the day of my arrival was: watching the premiere of Bad Teacher.

The movie was, in all honesty, damn good fun (and I obviously don’t say that because Sony Pictures’ India will see this article, feel very happy and send me on more such trips for free), and by now, Cameron Diaz’ hotness was too blinding for me to think about anything else but desperately wait for the interview.

In the moments leading up to the interview, I had thought of a million things I wanted to ask Cameron Diaz, if I’d even get one minute off the camera with her. But as anyone who’s been to one of these things (there ARE like 2-3 more from India in the last 10 years, *ahem*) would know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get even a minute off the camera with the stars.

So imagine my shock, when I sat in the chair in front of the two stars, and a loo break was requested by one of them. Not because even Hollywood stars, with all their money, can’t control their pee (I just found it a remarkable thing for some reason), but because I got two minutes alone with Justin Timberlake. And the cameras were off. The Two. Most. Awkward. Minutes. Of. My. Life.

Because I had thought of a million things to ask Cameron Diaz, but when Justin – the man who has, well, done Scarlett Johannson, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel in the past – was in front of me, my twisted brains had only ONE question for him: ‘Looking like that, HOW are you NOT gay?!?!! HOW?! HOW HOW HOW?!?!’

Yes, I did manage to control my emotions at that moment and had the following things to say to him: “What’s up, man?” But thankfully, before I knew it, time passed, and I was officially on for the interview. 4 minutes and 41 seconds later, the interview got over, and my hands got to touch Cameron Diaz’s hands.

Epilogue:

I came back to India and calculated my life’s worth. I’ve continued working at MTV and write such columns in the hope that someone will send me back to LA for free again.

Justin and Cameron went back to earning millions of Dollars after the interview. They’ve not kept in touch with me.

The interview can be seen on TV every once a while and on www.mtvindia.com/badteacher. You can also turn to Pg ( ) for a preview of its awesomeness.

Sony Pictures’ India will release Bad Teacher on August 19 and if the film works, I’ll credit this column and the interview for the film’s success wherever possible.

MTV and Raghu Ram are now planning Season 9 of Roadies.

No bombs were harmed in the making of this article.

My hands have lived happily ever after.

 

Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in August, 2011

Watch my interview with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/justintimberlakecamerondiaz/

Watch my interview with Adam Sandler and Katie Holmes here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/adamsandlerkatieholmes/

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.