Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dew drops and Kabir

So far, I've tried to be a responsible blogger - I like to think that all my posts are relevant to somebody somewhere. Today, I'm breaking this practice. This post is only for me - for me to enjoy years from now, when the memory of this evening becomes hazy.
When my friend Susheel invited me for a satsang at his restaurant Vriksh and he told me that a renowned Kabir panth will be singing his doheys, I knew I was in for a treat. What I didn't expect was a soul-altering experience.
Shabnam Virmani, along with Vipul, mesmerized her small audience, reducing a good number of us to tears on more than one occasion. Each time she hit a high octave, I found my body tremble with ecstasy and the atoms therein rearranging themselves into a newfound harmony. Adding dimensions of power to her voice were her 4-stringed tanpura, a linear cymbal-like instrument and, of course, the contemplative poetry of the great mystic. During the brief moments when I was able to slip out of my trance, I marveled at the magic Kabir created by mentioning impermanence and un-truths. It was equally amazing to discover his ability to use Ram as a motif to speak about a universal divinity, including the spark within ourselves.
I think I better stop here. Trying to intellectualize this experience will only dilute it. Besides, years from now, when I want to recollect this evening, the relocated atoms in my body will refresh my memory.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The mythical mantra of success

In addition to less flattering instincts, we humans are born with the desire to make sense of our lives. Thereby, we spend a lot of time introspecting on our thoughts, feelings and actions. The rigidity of the past and the uncertainty of the future rankle us. We need answers. Now! And in this search, we might often reach a dead-end question:
how can I make perfect decisions when I don't even know why I am here?

What I've noticed amongst very many successful people is the exact opposite. They don't seem to be plagued by doubt. On the contrary, they seem to feed their lives with a diet of certainties. Per se, this is inspiring. The less fortunate amongst us can look up to these souls to derive solace and confidence. Yet, there is one questionable attitude in some of these successful people. And it is a result of the following linear reasoning:
1) My life has been a series of challenges which I countered with courage, stamina and a lucid perspective.
2) As a result, my life is a great success story.
3) Therefore, I must have stumbled upon the secret of the universe.
4) And it follows logically that if others follow my path, they too will find success and fulfillment.

To be fair, this linear reasoning isn't confined to the un-doubting successful people of our world. We've all done this at some point in time. Some of us indulge in it more than others, especially when we talk about domains that we appear to have "conquered." And the issue here is point #4. So long as our reasoning is restricted to points 1 to 3, we might just develop arrogance, an inability to empathize etc. But point #4 turns us into preachers.

Let me explore this phenomenon by alluding to a person who told us about the importance of perspective. She said that no matter what challenge we are facing in our lives, we can "switch" - like a light bulb - into a new paradigm of thinking, thereby allowing us to feel empowered and act accordingly. It's a beautiful concept.
If you think your life is difficult, your feelings will dishearten you and your actions will be laboured and ineffective. But if you change your thinking and say: "Life is beautiful!" then you will feel elated and your actions will deliver magical results. In other words, how a situation "occurs" to us determines our behaviour therein. Simple enough.
But can this be taught?
The speaker can say it and the listener can intellectually understand it. But can he accept it? Shouldn't he have to experience the "truth" of this statement? And what about those people who try it out and reject it as unworkable? Does it mean that the idea is untenable?
The issue here is not the idea but its dissemination. Life's lessons are better left open-ended. The most a teacher can say is: "Hey, here's an idea. It's worked well for me. See if it fits you. If not, another idea will come along."

The humblest amongst us might decide that self-awareness is a never-ending process. No matter how much we achieve and where we reach, we can continue to approach every situation with curiosity and wonderment. Such people will not see the situation as something "known." Instead, they will see it as something "new," an opportunity to learn and develop. And in this space, they will no longer feel the desire to extrapolate and "help" others with their findings.

P.S: The very fact that I wrote this essay means that I'm a long way away from attaining this ideal. :).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A paean to curd rice

I am an Indian from the south
And when I want a treat for my mouth
I bring together curd and rice
A dish simple, elegant and nice

The rice could be fluffy and hot
Or refrigerated, lumpy and taut
The curd might make my teeth chatter
Or be creamy like the moon's lather

The two ingredients do not matter
The resultant dish I will not barter
You might see a beauty and a beast
All I experience is an irresistible feast

So whether I've finished a seven-course meal
Or it's a deep pang of hunger I feel
I reach out for rice and curd
In comparison, anything else is turd!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thoughts and emotions

Ever since I read A new earth by Eckhart Tolle, I've been ruminating about the cause-and-effect relationship between thoughts and emotions. It's been an eye-opening journey.
Many years ago, when I first took the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) test and found that I was an INFP - which meant that I was a Feeler, not a Thinker - I felt smug. I now see a blind spot behind this smugness. What was that blind spot? The illusion that Thinkers were cold-blooded creatures, that only Feelers can be termed true humans.
Tolle put me in my place. He left me in no doubt that emotions are derivatives of thought. So I was a creature focused on the product, not the source. Now I know that, as a human, I have a choice to inspect either my thought or my emotion at any point in time. And irrespective of which entity I choose to inspect, I can gain an insight. When one eliminates biases, life becomes that simple.

Having reached this far, I asked myself another question: why do emotions exist at all? What value do they add to life as we humans understand it? After all, emotions keep getting in our way, causing us to stumble at every turn. For instance, in the throes of a pressing deadline, if your boss shouts at you, you might be left feeling angry, depressed and inadequate. Instead of refocusing on the task at hand, your brain might get busy churning and masticating these emotions. And while this is happening, the clock ticks away and the crisis worsens.
See my point? At a superficial level, emotions appear to be stumbling blocks. But they serve an important purpose. Chiefly because they have longer life spans than thoughts. Thoughts are fleeting. They can easily escape our scrutiny. On an average, our brain processes 60,000 thoughts a day. In the same duration, we might experience a few dozen moods at the most. And within each mood, we might experience a select few emotions.
Since emotions make a more lasting impression on us, they can potentially help us identify the thoughts that have bothered us. In the example given above, let me speculate that two thoughts bothered you. The first one was evident and you identified it right away. This thought said: "My boss is a syphilitic, impotent, #$@* baboon!" This thought can easily explain your anger. But what about your other emotions - depression and inadequacy? If you introspected further - either with the help of a therapist or on your own - you might discover that the second thought said: "I don't deserve good things in life." Hence the depression and inadequacy.
If you probed deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper... you might reach an ancient memory.

You are five years old, standing in the middle of a crowded fair, and your father is looking down sternly at you, saying, "After the way you behaved, you don't deserve this cotton candy."

There it is! The root cause. You now realize that you took a minor act of disciplining out of context and allowed this misinterpretation to define your personality. You didn't deserve that cotton candy, so how can you deserve this cushy job?
I ask you: would this journey of self-discovery have been possible in the absence of emotions? Perhaps. We will never know. But we do know that emotions, by the sheer act of arresting our attention, allow us to dig deep and emerge with an answer.

It is in this context that I present you with a quote:

"A thought is like the spark that ignites a firecracker. And emotions are like the ensuing glow. You might miss the spark, but the glow will reveal what was hidden in the darkness within you."

Do let me know your views on it. Cheers!

P.S: There is another purpose of emotions - they motivate and power you towards your goals. They help you keep your commitments. Perhaps we should examine this aspect in a different post?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keeping my own counsel

There are a few excuses for staying away from this blog. None of them is convincing. Perhaps I should open with this one: after nine years of anonymous struggle, I now have a contract with one of the biggest publishing houses in India. Ergo, my novel titled Behind the silicon mask will be released sometime soon. Not later than Jan 2013, I hope. It's a thriller linked to the Indian IT industry, set in a city in the American Midwest. It has been written with the mass audience in mind and should do quite well. So much for that one.
The other big excuse is that I am now studying to be a counselor. Over the past few months, people have been approaching me for counseling and, although they generously declared that I was being helpful, it occurred to me that my potential ineptitude might be affecting them. So I decided to go about it the right way. Learn the theoretical ropes and thereby be certain about the process and effectiveness of my counseling. And now I'm officially a student of this complex craft (I'm told nobody ever becomes its master).
At this juncture, I have learnt a few commandments applicable in the field. And they are so interesting that I feel compelled to share them with you right away. Here they are:

1) Thou shalt not solicit
A mantra that, ironically enough, applies equally to sex workers in Singapore!! Ply your trade but do not solicit clients. In other words, a counselor must never counsel unless a counselee asks for counseling. Assuming that a person needs assistance is out of the question. So don't try to fix your family member, neighbor or that cute dog-walker from across the street. They are all fine. Perhaps your tendency to spot problems in them points to your own problems.

2) Thou shalt listen
D-uh, right? Of course, a counselor must listen. But how? Answer: attentively, non-judgmentally, expertly and empathetically. This requires the counselor to sideline all the nonsense he has received and all the nonsense he doles out. He must ignore all the values he believes in and all the "truths" he stands by. In comparison, it's easier to start a religion.

3) Thou shalt not solve
A human being is not a Rubik's cube or the possibility of a unified theory of physics. He isn't an equation that must be cracked or a code that must be deciphered. He exists in his own cocoon of perfection. Even if he does ask for advice, the counselor must suppress his own know-it-all gene and, if required, suggest actions that the counselee may or may not accept. Everybody is born with an innate ability to solve his own problems. The counselor must either be a catalyst in this process or nothing at all.
3a) Thou shalt not understand
This commandment is especially confounding for most of us. Having accepted that another human being cannot be "solved," let's take one step further into the darkness and accept that we have zero ability to understand anybody else. Oh, sacrilege! People married for half a century might turn around and quip: 'But I understand my spouse perfectly!' Really? Then why did he or she behave in a manner inexplicable to you last Tuesday? Claiming to "understand" another person is akin to claiming to understand the nature of the universe. People are the way they are because of the lives they led. At best, you stayed by their side for a decent spell. Even twins baffle each other by their behavior. So the counselor must, at all times, desist from using the phrase: 'I understand.' The counselor cannot wholly, fully, completely, comprehensively understand. Yes, he does his best to understand the counselee. He perhaps even succeeds to a great extent, but end of the day, all he can really do is help the counselee understand himself.

4) Thou shalt be self-aware
I pondered long and hard whether to put this commandment at the top or the bottom of the list. The bottom won. In many ways, this is the cardinal commandment. You cannot counsel unless you have a certain grasp of yourself. You must make attempts to know your demons, your dark alleys, your neural mazes. Again, you need not "solve" yourself. You just need to bring self-awareness into the complex process of counseling. Once you know your own truth-filters, you will listen attentively and non-judgmentally. Once you realize your own imperfections, you will neither solicit counselees nor try to solve them. Once you accept that you cannot wholly understand yourself, you will not feel the dire need to understand others. Instead, you will treat yourself and others as works in progress. And you will be able to offer your humaneness to the person seated on the other side of the table. In most cases, that will suffice.

That's all I've learnt so far. Many more lessons are in the offing. And I just might be tempted to publish them in this blog as I sputter along this chosen path.Meanwhile, gnothi seauton. That's apparently Latin for Know Thyself.

Friday, April 20, 2012

He who could not be tamed

In August last year, I left a message on Murtaza Razvi’s Facebook wall, congratulating him on his super courageous article titled What a state to be in. ‘I hope you are safe,’ I added.
His reply was pithy and shorn of emotions: ‘Safe as can be.’
Two weeks ago, I read Where to with anti-Americanism and responded with a comment: ‘Courageous piece. I expect nothing less from you, Murtaza.’
As is evident, the leitmotif of my recent interactions with Murtaza was a single word: courage. Till the very end, he continued to write pieces that required exemplary courage, honesty and introspection. If the thought of personal safety crossed his mind, he didn’t allow his work to reflect that.
Today, as I sit here in shock and denial, I cannot help thinking of our first meeting. It was the morning of our first day at the Asia Journalism Fellowship in Singapore. Dressed in formals, I was waiting along with a few other Fellows for the bus to take us to the University when Murtaza – wearing cargo shorts, a collared T-shirt and glitzy sunglasses – walked up to me. He grinned and said:
‘You must be the other Fellow from India. I was looking for you.’ I shook his hand. ‘Sutta peethe ho?’(Do you smoke?) I nodded. ‘Tho chalo, chaoon mein khade hoke shauk farmathe hain.’ (Then let’s enjoy a cigarette in the shade.)
Just like that, he had used his easy charm to win me over. Over the next three months, I saw him employ this trick many times. It took but a few moments for him to connect with the human being across from him. Having done that, he would use his razor-sharp intellect and ready wit to seal the deal. Yet another friend was made, yet another barrier breached.
I suppose it was natural for us to strike a deep friendship – despite external appearances, we had so much in common. We had both spent longish spells in the US. More importantly, both of us were fond of Bollywood, Hindi music from the 60s and 70s, ghazals, smooth whiskeys, filter “ciggys,” and sub-continental history. I discovered that he could talk knowledgeably for hours on any of these topics. On one occasion, he stoked my jealousy by stating that he had managed to meet Gulzar in flesh and blood!
‘So many of your idioms come from West Punjab,’ he had told Gulzar sahb on that pleasant afternoon many years ago.
‘Where else would they come from?’ the great poet had replied.
We sat in the reflected glow of this nostalgic conversation, wondering aloud how conjoined India and Pakistan really are. We kept returning to this theme of commonality, whether we spoke about minority rights, gender issues, terrorism, bureaucracy, the Indus Valley Civilization, the rich-poor divide or geopolitics. Since both of us were veritable owls, we worked together till late into the night, often breaking into abrupt conversation to banish monotony. For instance, looking up from the manuscript he was writing on Musharraf at that time, he once asked me, his voice dripping with adulation:
‘Isn’t Waheeda Rehman one of the most beautiful women ever?!’
Another event of note happened during our stay in Singapore. Although he was already a renowned journalist with proven credentials, he could not get an Indian visa on time to attend a family wedding. He appeared to take the setback in his stride, declaring:
‘There are jokers on both sides of the border. Can’t be helped.’
I’ll always miss this, his willingness to look beyond the current situation with objectivity and humour. But what I’ll miss even more is his genuine warmth. Few know that Murtaza was not only a superb host but also a great cook. He seemed to revel in the opportunity to feed people. At least a dozen times in those three months, he told me:
‘Aren’t you fed up of that Food Court stuff? Come over. I’ll cook the evening’s meal.’
This was in addition to the festive pan-Asian potluck dinners we Fellows regularly enjoyed, in which the star dish would usually be the one cooked by Murtaza.
In Murtaza’s presence, I always felt as if I was at a crossroads he was familiar with. With him, I could always share the anxieties and joys of being a father to my daughter Risha. He, in turn, would talk with rare pride about his wife and their three angels – if memory serves me right, they are named Maya, Priya and Dina.
The last time I heard his voice was when he called from New Delhi.
‘Can’t you catch a flight to here?’ he asked. ‘My visa is not valid for Bangalore.’
I regrettably told him that I had committed my time elsewhere. I don’t remember now what those other commitments were, but I’ll forever regret not taking up his offer. I wish I had caught that flight to New Delhi. I wish I could have spent one more memorable evening with my dear friend from across the border.
All I can do now is to send out a silent prayer to him and his family. And hope to convey to him that he will be missed more than he can imagine.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bangaloreans, please spare 8 minutes


Some of you might remember that I and a few like-minded people launched a social initiative called Midnight's Children of Bangalore a couple of months ag As part of that, we've launched a comprehensive survey titled "Night Life in Bangalore." You'll find details here.

I request every Bangalorean and erstwhile Bangalorean to offer their valuable feedback. As for the rest, I'd be much obliged if you spread the word. We need 10,000 responses to the survey. And we need a 100 volunteers who can implement the offline component of the survey. Looking forward to your support.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fare thee well, the gentleman

Wrap Chinnaswamy stadium in a black armband. Inform the four winds that a great game came to a standstill today, albeit for a moment. Freeze those glorious statistics and post them on eternity's slate. Stand up and applaud till your palms bleed.
For a devoted son of cricket is taking his final bow.

A hundred years from now, when young cricketers study the career of Rahul Dravid - as they will - they'll ask each other:
'Did he really carry his bat into the twenty-first century? He seems so... gentlemanly.'
Hopefully somebody will remind them that true greatness is timeless.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The debacle Down Under

Indian cricket is at a crossroads. This cliche can be used to describe just about anything that happens in our favourite national pastime. Yet, let me insist on the point: Indian cricket is indeed at a crossroads.
Because we're too attached to the past, too fearful of the future and, resultantly, completely clueless to the present. All the more reason to acknowledge the instructive nature of our recently-concluded tour Down Under. Despite the plastering, or perhaps because of it, we received a clutch of takeaways. Having said that, the real fun is in analyzing the takeaways for each individual player:

1) MS Dhoni
Captain Cool sucked in the longer format and played the "will he/won't he" card in the ODIs. The Unreal Times carried hilarious articles on Dhoni's penchant for bottling up his aggression till it was almost too late. Pundits either mocked his depleting skills or lauded his amazing poise in a crisis. However, I feel that nobody really placed a finger on Dhoni's true achievement in that freakish win against Australia. I mean, the man was a floundering mess of incompetence till the last over. He wasn't timing the ball. Nor did he have an answer to straight length balls bowled slightly wide of the off stump. Yet, he found the strength of character to launch a stratospheric six in the last over. That shot was followed by 3 plus 3 off the next two deliveries (only one of which was legal), and India was home. If you want to praise Dhoni, then do so for his ability to leap from the brink of shame and land safely on the turf reserved for heroes. Even though his perseverance with some players sometimes gets the better of this man, he still holds the key to our immediate future.
2) Virat Kohli
The kid made a momentous contribution in the World Cup finals. For that alone, his fame should outlast a nuclear annihilation. And on this tour, he underlined a fact that was already becoming evident: his wicket is the most precious in a batting line-up that includes Tendulkar. 'Nuff said.
3) Gautam Gambhir
There was a time when this chocolate boy packed the nougat's punch in his dimunitive frame. He still does. But is all well with the man who outplayed Sri Lanka's attack in the WC finals? Let's wait and see.
4) Virender Sehwag
I can hit every delivery to the boundary. Whoopie me! But then, I'll fall to a ruse so simple that even 4-year-olds will wisen up to it. Boo-hoo. I'm born to frustrate. On some occasions, the opposition is frustrated. More often, I make my own team weep.
5) Sachin Tendulkar
The few Sachin-bashers ridiculed his not-so-secret obsession with milestones. The horde of Sachin-lovers still see him as divine. Unfortunately, as a nation, we still can't muster enough Sachin-centrists. As usual, the man himself will decide his future, leaving us with no option but to observe silently from the sidelines.
6) Rohit Sharma
If he had that little something called presence of mind, he'd bat like Vivian Richards. In reality, his imprudent shot selection comes straight out of Vivien Leigh's Batting Manual. He's theoretically the best Indian batsman of his generation. Practically, he's a big nothing. He'll redeem himself yet in the Asia Cup. And we won't kick him out till he's done enough damage.
7) Ravindra Jadeja
The boy never surrenders his spunk. He showed, yet again, that he has a big heart. But is he the answer to our prayers for an all-rounder? Well, the Lankans have Mathews and the Aussies have Watson. Need we draw the full comparison?
8) Yuvraj Singh
He wasn't there, but his absence seeped into the middle order like battery fluid making inroads into an electronic chassis. The quintessential brat of Indian cricket is fighting a man's battle in a distant land. Everybody loves him right now. That's how it should be. He's showing us that the 21-yard battleground is a mere facade to issues that matter.

That rounds up the batsmen. I can do a round-up of the bowlers on popular demand. Meanwhile, IPL season is upon us. Anybody feeling the desire to retch?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A perfect evening

This week began with a fulfilling culmination and is coming to an end with the freshness of new beginnings.
I've written a bit and kept a few promises. At this moment, like in half a million homes around the world, Jagjit Singhji is singing to me. Standing tall by my side, a cup of strong tea is attaining the perfect temperature. A good friend has dropped by. She is excited about discovering her soul. She is owning up her mistakes, clearing her mess, creating newness in her relationships. Her mere presence is inspiring me to proclaim with joy, the following words:
If at all perfection exists in this world, it is here, right in this moment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Midnight's Children of Bangalore


This is my latest initiative. While my context is Bangalore, I suppose you'll relate to the theme in other Indian cities as well.

Midnight's Children of Bangalore

Do spread the word. We might be able to bring together different aspects such as law and order, lifestyle, employment opportunities and harmony. Your feedback is valuable as always.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 will rock

Time for my random musings for the new year.

Let me begin with Kun Faya Kun. I tuned into the song quite late; however, I've been making amends by listening to it 20 times or more each day. I'm beginning to think that Rahman took every other step in his journey so that he can keep delivering Sufi songs to us. Had he not, at a young age, found new energy in a spiritual guide who followed Sufism, would his music have found its strength? And how much would modern Indian music have lost in the process?
The phrase Kun Faya Kun is straight from the Quran. It means: "Be. And it is." In the holy book, this phrase alludes to the power of God to will the universe into existence merely by imagining it. But perhaps there's another meaning here: that we - by which I mean puny humans like you and I - too can create any result in our lives merely by declaring our resolve to do so. In other words, we're prophets, all of us, and every time we generate a thought and back it up with actions, we will achieve the desired results. Perhaps that's one of the reasons we're supposed to seek the divine amongst our fellow beings. We may never know if we're made in His image, but we've been given the power to lead our dream lives.
Kun Faya Kun.

Half an hour before my plane descended into Bhubhaneswar, we crossed the Eastern ghats. From 36000 feet above MSL, I saw a veil of morning mist lift itself off a hoary series of mountains, each resembling the other to a shocking degree, as if seen from the proper vantage point, the world has a perfect design. No human eye can punch a hole in this tapestry, apparently.
Below me, to my immediate east, I also saw a cloud cover so uniform and vast that it looked like the salt pans of the Rann of Kutch. On this soft feathery bed of altocumulus clouds (I'm guessing), I could see shadows of cirrocumulus clouds that were hovering far above it. God, it seemed, had breakfasted well this Tuesday morning and was in the mood to create beauty and tranquillity.
The same evening, I heard on TV that Cyclone Thane was all set to hit the eastern coast. Landfall was supposed to be on the southern tip of AP. As it turned out, Puducherry and Cuddalore were the worst hit. I couldn't help but think about the tsunami. More specifically, I thought of the forlorn look worn by NH-45A from Puducherry all the way to Thirukkadaiyur. And the devastation that I witnessed in the village of Kuttiandiyur was something else altogether. Brr.
Let's move on to happy thoughts this new year.

Have you ever had chenna poda? If you've even heard of this dish, chances are that you'd have also heard an Oriya passionately claim ownership of that prince amongst sweets - the Rosagulla. If you thought the sweet originated in West Bengal, this article will make you think again:
Kling Canoes At Tamralipta
It's written by a Sengupta. And endorsed by another Sengupta (my friend Pat). And since two knowledgeable Bengalis have accepted that the Oriyas invented the sweet, I now consider the matter closed :P
Why this neither-here-nor-there topic? Because my daughter is half-Oriya and I must get ultra-familiar with elements that constitute the Oriya pride. And believe you me, a typical Oriya would sooner disown the Kalinga empire than lose ownership of the Rosagulla!
Incidentally, I feel distraught that my daughter's best friend will relocate to Mumbai for the next academic year. Must our children experience such a loss at such a young age? Anyway, happy thoughts. I clicked a lot of pics of the two girls together. Perhaps in the advanced digital age, they'd reconnect 20 years later and be more connected than today.

Did you hear about all the hoopla surrounding Sachin's 100th ton? You did? Well, that's because our performance Down Under has been dismal and we don't have much else to talk about. Had we performed superbly, well in that case, things would be different - we'd then hear about all the hoopla surrounding Sachin's 100th ton. What? That's just the same? Huh. How about that?
By the way, anybody wants to bet on another miraculous win at Perth?

Finally, let me describe a hypothetical scenario:
Suppose you're leading a project. A few people are assisting you in its implementation. You're allowed to make use of their skills, but you have been given no power to dominate them. No matter how badly they fare, you cannot blame them, get angry at them, put them down or bribe them. In other words, you can offer them neither carrots nor sticks. All you can do is be there for them, keep working with them and ask them, through your actions, to reconsider their attitudes even as you reconsider yours. End of the day, if you fail to produce results, your boss will ask you why you failed to inspire them.
Does this model sound too harsh? Does it have too many constraints?
Well, if you lead your life the way you're asked to lead this project, it will become extraordinary. It's just an idea. I'm requesting you to chew on it.

Have a fantabulous 2012, everybody. This year is gonna rock.