December 28, 2007

Happy New Year, And All That

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This is the post where I recount the last year, look forward to the next, say what I will do and what I won't, explain why last year rocked/sucked, expound on why next year should be different, and all that jazz. Frankly, all that really happens is that a date changes. Ha ha ha.

But then, I figured, this could be fun. I don't make "New Year's Resolutions" because I realised (at the tender age of 8) that I have a habit of breaking them on January 2nd. And by now, my resolutions - if I had any - would look like this:
- Work instead of pretending to work
- Study instead of pretending to study
- Be nicer
- Eat more
- Sleep less
- Learn to "party" (just realised how horribly geeky that sounded)
- Stop wasting time on MSN
- Stop wasting time on blog(s)

All in all, rather depressing. So I don't make those resolutions. Just writing them here hypothetically makes me pity my own life, and that's not a feeling that I feel often or want to feel often. QED. (Okay, add "Stop talking like Humphrey" to that list of resolutions.)

But what I will do is make a list of things I learnt in 2007.

1. 99% of the populace my age does not know why it's doing what it's doing. We drift into something that we're not particularly passionate about or averse to, stick to it because, hell, we got in, and finish it because, hell, we stuck to it. Some of us find, on the way, that it's not really that bad. Others can't stand it and need to find their way.

2. The more intelligent and creative you are, the more confused you are. No, really. Because nothing on the conventional side can hold your attention long enough, and there's too much on the unconventional side that you'd like to experiment with.

3. There's a lot more to every person than you'd think. You can never really know what they have in them until you give them a chance.

4. Being sundered across cities does not come in the way of giggly, crazy, idiotic, rock-like, thought-provoking, telepathic friendships.

5. There are a lot of smokers and boozers and dopers in this world.

6. Girls analyse too much. We read too much into every goddam thing on this planet, and we need to stop, pronto.

7. Life is strange, death is bizarre. And a type of bizarre that hurts badly, even if it concerns someone else and not you.

8. Some of the people I know are incredibly brave.

More later, maybe. Meanwhile, a very happy new year to everyone in advance. Don't drink and drive. :)

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On the Bhutto Tragedy

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http://hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=88db29ad-7ab1-4429-939b-1bdba2a0c929

I have lesser and lesser to say now. Except that it's apalling.

December 16, 2007

Ischool Ke Tem Pe, Aana Gori Daeym Pe...

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*TV Reality Show voice* Ab agar "Tic tic tic" South ki shaan hai toh "Ischool ke tem pe" North ka noor hai. Preeeeee-senting... the one and only... "Ischool Ke Tem Pe"!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJJgZAwR9f0

And if you think it's not worth your while to watch this, my heart grieves for you, for you know not what you miss.

Part Altaf Raja, part loud dandiya track, and a whole new meaning to diction.

This is also the song that, Shoumeli says, was banned in Jharkhand because, apparently, it encouraged truancy. *snigger* I am not suprised.

Oh, did I mention? Please find me the school that has high red heels as part of its uniform. Please.

PS - Lau letter...! Yes, completely.

November 28, 2007

Yes, The Easiest Way Out of Writing Original Stuff is Recommending Stuff That's Wayyyyyy Better.

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Why I love Aamir Khan:
http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=47&contentid=2007112620071126233559468ae880b68

A column that reminded me of English, August so much that I just had to put it up here:
http://hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=070b14c0-22a0-42e8-ae99-3cfad7a69d0b

And to all those slaving away to become "auditors": http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Auditor


Clarification: Links to the right are those that are great, but that are expected to be consistently great and hence get replaced by themselves week on week (Eg. Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, once in a while Karan Thapar and Shashi Tharoor). Links here are the ones I love, with no continuity factor.

November 11, 2007

One And A Half Movies




Yeah, the newspapers are tacky enough to discuss it. The news channels are bikaoo enough to air promos all the time. The remaining channels are zonked enough to call the goddam "stars" to every reality show. It's time we stood up to this media circus and ignored it all. Ignore it, and they'll automatically fail.

Filhaal, you guys can do that. Ignore the circus. I, on the other hand, shall add my two bits worth to the millions of opinions floating around, and pretend that people read this blog and are affected by what I write.

For starters, let me make one thing clear. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a genius. A magician. He's achieved the impossible. He's done something that I thought no one would ever be able to do - make a movie that I walk out of in the interval.

Yep, I walked out of Sawariyan. My whole family did, in fact. And there were others leaving the theatre with us who sounded like they were never coming back.

I don't believe in wasting energy on crap movies. But this is a fascinating sort of crap movie. It's aesthetically pleasing - I love the way he's used lighting, though the whole blue-green effect does make you feel like you're swimming 2000 ft under water. And sometimes reminds me of moss and algae. Yech.

The first half is a showcase of the esteemed director's dream city - cobbled roads, gondolas, train chugging through, towers, etc. All very interesting if you're an architect. Or a psychiatrist. Bhansali now confirms my opinion - he seems to only see, not hear. To him, maybe, aesthetics and beauty are a substitute for substance and reality. As, indeed, they are for much of his audience, and he's welcome to that adulation and support. But his movie - just like the "shringar and ghunghat" comments (ref. post below) - proves that all he seems to care for is eyes, not ears or minds. I'm sorry for him.

Anyway, I can't comment on the second half because by that time I'd fled the theatre (to freedom and happiness, let us escape) and headed to the theatre next door where a bunch of friends were watching Om Shanti Om. Got there in time and saw the whole movie.

Maybe it's just that after watching Sawariyan, even Hulchul would be enjoyable. Maybe it's just that I find those digs at the 70s, at Hindi movies, at South Indian movies, hilarious. Maybe at the end of the day, I'm just an Indian who wants to be entertained out of her mind when she watches a movie - "Paisa vasool" hona mangta hai. Maybe shallow ploys (like getting Hrithik Roshan into the movie for a measly 4 seconds) get me excited. But whatever you say, I enjoyed the damn thing.

There's no logic. And the only reason why this is acceptable is because the film doesn't pretend to have any logic. It's jazzy (especially the 70s bit), melodramatic (mostly throughout), and funny. SRK weighs in with a decent performance (Who would've imagined? The man is getting better... the 3rd decent movie in 15 years! Gosh.) mostly because it's the kind of character he loves to play. The best thing about the movie is, I guess, that it spares no one. It pokes fun at everyone and everything, and kudos to Akshay Kumar and AB Jr for being so damn sporting and funny.

Khoya Khoya Chand hasn't released. Aaje Nachle, with gorgeous Madhuri Dixit, hasn't either. What do you have? Om Shanti Om and Sawariyan. No prizes for guessing which one I'll back. (Though Apahij Pyaar and Mind It would be still better.)

Until then, "Shotgun, Murugan... Yenna rascal-a...! Mind it!"

PS - "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Nice touch... But I hate it when people don't get it!

PPS - SRK's six packs and Ranbir's towel - yech. Spare us, please. Former looks like a coolie and latter like an Italian taxi driver.

PPPS (Later) - I love the digs at Sooraj Barjatya, Govinda, Shabana Azmi, Manoj Kumar, actresses' mothers... damn, the list is endless.

November 04, 2007

When Celebs Put Their Foot In Their Mouth, And Feel Happy About It

Younis Khan (Pakistani cricketer), in an interview to HT Cafe...


Your favourite actors?
Anil Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan.

And actresses?
Aishwarya Rai and the one who was about to get married to Abhishek Bachchan... but didn't... Rani Mukherji.

And Madhuri Dixit?
Nahi yaar, unki to shaadi or bache ho gaye hain.

But even you're
married?
I'm a guy.

Forgive me for being dense, but the connection is...?

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And then there's Sanjay Leela Bhansali (director of the interesting Khamoshi, over-the-top Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, disastrous Devdas and overhyped Black) in the Mumbai Mirror with...

Your women seem to belong to another age.

The modern Indian woman does not excite me. My women are strong. But they're also covered, guarded, cherished. My women are strong without screaming about
feminism. The Indian girl has lost her identity today.

That's not true at all. You forget that the Indian woman is still fighting
against a tradition of subjugation.

Does she need to cut her hair to do that?

The Indian woman plays a lot of roles in life. May be it's just simpler to
manage short hair. What's wrong with it?

Then cut your hair! But my heroines in my films won't. Where is the shringar today? The beauty is lost. There is a certain beauty in the ghunghat too. When a man loves his woman a lot, he doesn't want others to see her, he wants to protect her.

That may mean claustrophobia to women. That's when it's obsession, not love.

Oh, I don't mean the veil literally, nor do I mean negative obsession. But
there is a positive obsession in love. But why are we discussing all this, we're
going off track.

Strange, I haven't seen anyone yet say that Indian men have lost their identity when they cut or grow their hair, or fight for their rights (which is what feminism ultimately is, even if "screaming" about it seems to bother Mr. Bhansali so much).

September 23, 2007

"Off with his head!" he said.

Dear 24-7-on-the-warpath VHP,

The news, nowadays, really is a delight to read. So much entertainment. So much masala. Wild quotes fly around, threats are made, people rush in and out of jail. But I have to hand it to you, you take the cake. What you will hate, of course, is the fact that you share your limelight with Karunanidhi, CM of TN. And, to be frank, I personally prefer him to you, just a wee bit more.

After all, this 83-year-old atheist is still young and happening. I don't know why, but I feel he's getting an almost vicious, sadistic pleasure out of spouting quotes like "Rama was a drunkard." And somehow that's hilarious and endearing. It's the sort of thing I would feel like doing, just to see the reaction. I mean, imagine throwing the nation into tumult with one sentence, which is nothing more than an opinion. Brilliant.

And things go as expected. Some loony from your side is offering an equal weight in gold if someone can behead Karunanidhi. Come on. The man's 83. Cut him some slack. Not because he's old, but because all he has done is state an opinion and question mythology. Anyway, if you believe in your God so dearly, why does Karunanidhi's opinion make such a difference to you?

And then, the VHP itself has no great place in India. I mean, okay, you have a few rabid Hindu fundamentalist supporters. So what? The media pretty much hates you, the political parties are scared of being associated with you. Even the BJP, which began its journey with you as a companion, now hedges and mouths platitudes about secularism when questioned about their connection to you. Face it, you're in a pretty sad position. And coming up with "Off with his head!" type of dialogues made even the Queen of Hearts a pretty unpopular character in the 19th century (or whenever Alice in Wonderland was set) so I don't see it benefitting you greatly in this day and age.

Finally, Karunanidhi is such a dude. I mean, those black glares, the nonchalance, the atheism, the stubbornness, the sarcasm. Do you really think he'll give a damn what you think of him or what you want to do to him? This is a man who survived a midnight rough-up by Jayalalitha's men quite suavely a few years ago. Proof enough of resilience.

Plus, southern states. Now this may sound like I'm stereotyping, but they do have a larger-than-life image of every icon. Be it Rajkumar (of "Tic tic tic" fame) or Rajnikanth, no one can beat the southern states for pure idol worship. A bit of that extends to their politicians as well. To many, Jaya didi can do no wrong. The same rule applies to Karunanidhi. And admit it or not, public adulation for a person will always be more than that for an organisation. So you kinda start on a weak footing in that department, you know. And if you think he will lose the next election because of this, dream on. He may lose the next election, but that'll probably be because of anti-incumbency, or negative policies, or something that affects the people more than whether Rama drank liquor or not.

Be broad-minded. You wanna fight over the "Ram janmabhoomi," go ahead. You wanna propagate silly ideas of a Hindu nation, your wish. But don't yell blue murder when someone else decides to make statements that are equally controversial, and don't threaten homicide when someone questions your God's existence. Believe and let believe.

Wishing you a healthier, happier, less violent tomorrow,
The author of this blog.

PS: Remember the Sethusamudram project? That's where this started. Just thought I'd remind you. Not that it would matter to you, considering you've attempted to understand science just as much as I've attempted to understand the bloody blinking yellow and orange lights on my printer. But hey, I think the coral reefs out there are a bigger reason to save it than it being the "Ramsetu". There, I said it. So, now what? Off with my head also?

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Unrelated to this, but, "I want to thank you back home Pakistan and where the Muslim lives all over the world."?! Excuse me?! Since when did "Muslims all over the world" and "Pak supporters" become synonymous?

September 22, 2007

Random...


A few brilliant entries by some of my favourite bloggers:

Rama Rama (Greatbong) - http://greatbong.net/2007/09/13/rama-rama

Sastrigal and Engineers (Neha Viswanathan) - http://www.withinandwithout.com/?p=1310

God Resigns (Amit Varma) - http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/god-resigns/

Don't insult pasta (Amit Varma) - http://indiauncut.com/iublog/article/dont-insult-pasta/

Finally, I could say a lot about the match but wouldn't be able to say it as well as it is here - http://greatbong.net/2007/09/24/we-won/ (Greatbong again)


PS: Blog turned a year old a few days back. I think it's high time I rechristen it, especially considering that the first Mindspace is more or less defunct now. People with suggestions please leave comments. Thanks!

September 12, 2007

Writing For The Market (Sounds like a B-grade management kitaab, doesn't it?)


It is often said that the most important thing to think of when you write something is the market. Different publications want different things, as do different categories of readers. I would like to set forth, in my own humble way, a list of things you should do for each.

Say, for example, you were writing for that Holy of Holies, Bombay Times. (That supplement of TOI that has gone from 4 pages to... 12? 14? in a matter of years, and from news about BMC carelessness and civic consciousness to the colour and location of Koena Mitra's tattoo).


7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for the BT:

1. Maintain contacts with the spot boys, makeup artists and struggling designers of the film fraternity.

2. Make sure that when something significant (e.g. the chipping of Sushmita Sen's nails) takes place, you are the first one to be informed.

3. Have a constant horde of psychiatrists, sociologists and small fry of the industry on standby for quotes. If not that, the easier (and better) option is to ask them to give you full liberty to print what you want as a quote from them. [While this may strike many as improbable, it is a fact to be noted that small fry in the industry have no qualms about being misquoted as long as their names are in the paper. Front page, even.] So when Kangana Raut has a bad hair day, you have a trichologist who will give you 2 columns on the likely problems, a psychologist talking about how hair affects subconscious behaviour, a "PYT" describing her own horrendous experiences with hair ("Ooh, I remember, like, I woke up one morning, and it wasn't silky!!" *tone of anguish*)

If you get really lucky, Kangana might herself give you a quote about how it felt, and hint at the cause being disastrous relationships et al. This, naturally, will move this article from front page bottom to front page top.

4. Polish language, make up a few quotes, put words in people's mouths.

5. Get a few photographs (Google Image Search would be the obvious choice) of celebrities all over the world having bad hair days. Also dig up stories of international celebs with bad hair days. If possible, random quotes by anyone about bad hair days.

6. Round it up with words of wisdom for those suffering from the deep angst that comes from bad hair days. BT is the only paper they read anyway.

7. Get back to your cabin, write a story, submit.


7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for Mid-Day:

1. Go to the panwalla across the street.

2. Buy a pan.

3. Ask him, "Toh, aaj khabar mein kya hai?"

4. Don't write down. Rely on self to remember.

5. Ask, "Aur gossip?"

6. Repeat Step 4.

7. Get back to your cubicle, write a story, submit.


7 Easy Steps to Writing a Story for JAM (for college students only):

1. Recall your day's conversation with your friends in the college cafeteria. [Brainstorming]

2. Select a topic at random. [Ideation]

3. Call up 2 more friends (preferably the kind who wouldn't know Bush from Al Gore) and ask for their opinion on that topic. [Research]

4. Write 300 words on your laptop about it while eating cookies, playing Solitaire and surfing Orkut. [Multi-tasking]

Note- At this point, it would be good to remember the FSS rule: Fabricate, Stereotype, Sensationalise.

5. Read it once. [Self-congratulation and vanity-pleasing]

6. Run a Spell check. [Optional, because very often they don't either.]

7. Submit. [Your value addition to the coolest youth magazine in the world!]

N.B. All opinions expressed herein are purely personal. And very strong. Do what you want.

September 07, 2007

I Hate Writing

I hate writing.

I hate writing because it never seems complete, a process that doesn't stop when you put the pen down.

I hate writing because it occupies my mind, my thoughts, my world whenever I write even a paragraph.

I hate writing for the words that swim in my head, elusive, backing away, vague.

I hate writing because every word, every sentence, very paragraph has me obsessed.

I hate writing because I know that nothing matches it. I hate writing because I hate this feeling, this "knowing".

I hate writing for the unfinished thoughts, the broken sentences, the words that never seem quite perfect when I create them.

I hate writing for the mood swings it inevitably brings with it - the excitement, the disgust, the despair, the apprehension, the conflict.

I hate writing for the dark, vast ocean of things you can do with it, and for the choice you must make to choose a single way.

I hate writing for the power it single-handedly wields over the mind.

I hate it.

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Written in a rare dark mood. I think I'm getting old.

September 04, 2007

Update - Yet Another Random Entry to Prove I'm Alive

I'm back after a break of nearly 3 months. Nothing much to say, except: please watch "Mona Lisa Smile" if you haven't already. (Yeah, I know, I seem to be specialising in entries that are more like random snippets of conversation and don't even deserve comments, but I'm past help.) Brilliant movie.

The rest, later. If there ever is another entry. I seem to be facing writer's block of a peculiar kind - nothing seems important enough to blog about. (And then again, considering I've blogged about absolute random crap in the best, this shouldn't be happening.) So until I actually feel like writing... blah.

June 18, 2007

"She's a woman," "This is tokenism," yakkety yakkety yak...

Why is Pratibha Patil's nomination such a hoo-haa issue? To the best of my (admittedly poor) knowledge:

1. No one raised a hue and cry when Sonia Gandhi was set to become PM (in spite of her track record being considerably shorter than Ms. Patil's). In fact, the "woman" issue was not even raised. Please explain. Does being a part of the Nehru lineage make you a natural choice for PM? Even, pardon me, if you're Italian?

2. Nobody talks about tokenism when it comes to Sonia Gandhi or Mayawati (even though Sonia Gandhi stands for tokenism of a different kind - the political lineage kind). There are women in Parliament, in the states, and in every goddam place. What's the shock at having a woman President?

3. Pratibha Patil is as good (or as okay) as the rest. Clean record, educated, but quite frankly nothing extraordinary (as Kalam was). So what? Is Bhaironsingh Shekhawat extraordinary? Is anyone else? People like Kalam are few and far between, especially in the world of politics. I myself would love for Kalam to continue for a 2nd term. But now that he won't, we must be clear about one thing - just because we have once had a Kalam, our standards may rise, but the chances of another person of the same stature are close to nil. I don't see another highly qualified nuclear scientist up for public service with full support anywhere in the near future.

Bottomline: We need a President who is neutral, incorruptible, and strong enough to take a stand (I used to love the way Kalam returned bills to the Parliament.) If it's a woman, so be it. If there's a man who can do these things better, make him President. "It's high time we had a woman President" is no argument. "We want the best possible candidate," naturally, is.

Also - what's with all the faff about a woman President being able to address women's issues much better? Did Indira Gandhi achieve more than ordinary success with women's issues? Did the women of Bihar be empowered under Rabri Devi? When a CM or PM can't bring these changes, why push for a woman President on the grounds of "women's issues will be solved"? Women's issues in India are wide-ranging, ingrained and will take a few more decades (at least) to solve - right from foeticide to dowry to domestic violence to harassment to discrimination and the proverbial glass ceilings. No President, PM, CM, MLA, MP, blah blah blah is going to be able to solve them with quick-fix solutions because there are no quick-fix solutions. Putting a woman in the chair ensures nothing unless she is the best person for the job.

Agreed, she was nominated the wrong way. Agreed, she seems like the bottom of the heap, the last option, etc etc. Basic point - if she's good, why not? Conversely, if someone else is better, why Ms Patil?

Why must we cloud simple issues with complex gender factors? Don't put her forward if the only reason for putting her forward is her gender. And don't oppose her nomination if she is, indeed, the best person for the job.

Also overheard on We The People - someone says the ladies in UPA and ladies in media should have campaigned properly for Ms. Patil. When a male President is proposed, is it just male party members or male mediapersons who lobby? Why is it in our country that a man is a person, but a woman is a woman?

To all those who say that Ms. Patil's Presidential nomination is a safe choice, a political choice, a manipulative choice, a default choice, a random choice, (insert other criticism here), I'd just like to say - it always is. As long as they bring in someone who doesn't fall asleep in the Rashtrapati Bhavan or sign everything that the ruling party sets before him/her, and as long as he/she does a good job of opposing wrong, politically-motivated decisions, welcome them in.

P.S. This issue comes under the head of non-issues. But I just watched a heated 1-hour debate on NDTV on this which made no sense whatsoever, so I hoped writing it down would help me clear it out in my own mind. Someone please answer - what the hell is our problem with pure meritocracies? Be it here, in Parliament, or in educational institutes - why must we reserve and reserve and reserve?

P.P.S. Women's reservation in Parliament - &#%&@#* is all I can say. The ones who are there are not significantly better than their male counterparts, nor significantly more effective in tackling female illiteracy, dowry, assault or the millions of other problems faced by Indian women. So bringing in more is not gonna help.

P.P.P.S. On a different track, have cleared the CPT with a decent score. (Relevant story - guy with exact same marks says he's 23rd in the country. If true, so am I. That brings illusory happiness but there's no corroborating proof so let's consider it pure nonsense.)

May 29, 2007

Yet Another Random Post - Will The Menace Never Cease?

May 29 (almost): If you're sleep-deprived, tired and a normal human being, at close to midnight you'd probably be asleep. But if you're sleep-deprived, tired and me, at close to midnight you'd be writing a blog of no consequence to any person in the world, without a topic and without any sense of direction.

CPT (i.e. CA entrance to those untouched by such horrors) results are expected on Friday. The damn exam took place on May 6th, with an Eco paper and a Quant paper that made me feel like tying the paper-setter to a stake and burning him slowly. But just in case you're reading this, uncle, that's all crap, I only pander to my audience of 4 people, and in fact I greatly respect you and admire you. (Just as a suggestion, if you can play hookey with the computer that checks my paper, it'd be wonderful.)

On the positive side, no CA exam for the next 2 years. Read: 2 blissful years of appearing only for college sem exams. And we care as much about those as Bush cares about the President of Malawi. (Nahi bhai, I'm not racist. Nowadays you can't take a step without someone labelling you something.)

And I know I ought to blog about news now. Looking through my past posts, I think it's been a ages since I wrote about anything that actually makes a difference. (Cynical Thought For the Day - Does anything make a difference? Ponder.) Will do so soon. Hopefully.

Meanwhile, I say to all and sundry - subscribe to Dilbert and Calvin and Hobbes by email. Thou shalt not regret it.

Also check out http://umang2007.wordpress.com/ - the official Umang blog. (Yeah, what's my blog for, if not to promote people and items as and when I wish?) Write in, people, write in. Or send photos etc. Just remember, plagiarism will be punished. Be afraid. Be very afraid. *Evil laugh*

And to all, good night and good luck. W.r.t. Friday, as A. R. Rehman famously says, "Pray For Me, Brother."

May 10, 2007

Things to watch / hear before you die

Things to watch / hear before you die:

1. "Tic tic tic"
What happens when you create an English song to use in a South Indian movie? This:
"Eef you come chuday... You are too yearly...
Eef you come toomaarow, you are too laayyyte...
You peeck the taaaaaaayme,
Tic tic tic tic tic tic, Ah, Tic tic tic tic tic tic,
Daaaaarrrlleeeeeng...!!!"
(Those who know me may check out the same in the videos on my Orkut profile. Others, run a YouTube search for "tic tic tic" - trust me, it's famous.)

2. "Rukmani, Rukmani..."
In a bid to come up with the weirdest lyrics ever written in this nation, someone decided that this song would be their best bet - and why not? It comes in at number 2 on this list!

3. "Roop suhana lagta hai..."
This has to be watched. Hearing it will not complete the ecstacy. I won't spoil it for you, except to say that it has a South Indian hero and Juhi Chawla, dressed as if they're in medieval times, with a hundred sworded warriors behind them, doing a strange form of war dance in the middle of a desert.

Just by the way, why is every South Indian hero moustached? All these songs also remind me of this one school trip to Karnataka, when the TVs in our hotel rooms had only:
1. Gemini
2. Udaya
3. Sun
4. Other-South-Indian-channels-with-similar-names

So we spent our free time watching South Indian movies and songs. And those of you who think that you can decipher a movie without knowing the language, think again. Here we were, 4 people in a room, a total of about a 100 14-year-olds, going bonkers over what we, in our childish racism, called "undu gundu."

There was this one song which was the crowning glory. I may not be able to explain it fully here, but I will try. The only word we understood was "Indra-dhanushhhhhh" which occured at regular intervals. There were 2 heroines (firm in their belief that puppy fat is cute) and 1 hero. 1 heroine was on the phone with the hero. The hero was simultaneously prancing around with the other. It wasn't even a cellphone, so don't ask how. So, on one hand, you have Heroine 1, cooing sweet nothings into the phone, on the other you have the hero, cooing back (on a landline). On the third hand (What, we can have only two hands, men? What about the Great Indian Mythology, eh, men?) you have the hero dancing through gardens, fields, lakes, forests, deserts, hills, plateaus (you name it, it's there) with Heroine 2. At the end of it, we decided that there are only 3 possible explanations:
1. The hero has a clone or a twin
2. The heroines are both the same (they all look the same somehow)
3. There's something going on between the heroines and they're making a fool out of the hero. (Well, we were 14.)

All in all, great entertainers.
[Note - I have nothing against South Indians. I love their food. And them. So all those looking for a fight, thanks, but no thanks.]

And while we're on the topic of "Things to watch before you die", let me also add this thing called "Kaun Banega Champu" on Filmy (every Sunday, 7.30). While the script is pretty silly, the guy who plays SRK deserves an award!! Every nuance, every look, every tone is copied and mocked at so perfectly that I'm in splits. Right from the irritating laugh, to the condescension, to the self-obsession... Hilarious. [SRK lovers... I still say to you... there is time. There is a way to be good again, as Rahim Khan would say.]

Also, listen to "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" by the PussyCatDolls... (insert spaces wherever). Blondest song of the century, the first time I heard it I thought it was supposed to be funny. Turns out it wasn't.

Watching "Aila Tendulkar" won't hurt either. While the gags are painfully stupid at times, the concept and the sheer uninhibition (word? check dictionary) make it a treat.

Also check out billboards and ads for this soap called "Doli Saja Ke". The tagline goes, "Paida hote hi mujhe ek naam diya gaya... manhoos." (Or some such thing) Anyone who relates to these soaps, please write in. I'd love to communicate with you (if you excuse the fact that I'm not an angelic, sacrificing, suffering young girl who mouths phrases like "mera kartavya" and "mera sansaar" et al) and figure out your psychology.

Genuine appreciation for a Van Heusen ad for their Women's Wear line. I don't remember details, except that it was great. I suppose being a high-end luxury product (by Indian standards at least) they have a target audience that they know will respond to something like this much better than the archetypal "Bhala uski saadi meri saadi se safed kaise?"

[Lame joke - What does Madhuri Dixit say when she meets M. F. Hussain?
"Bhala uski daadhi meri saadi se safed kaise?"]

And a query for all and sundry... I hate to be picky, but why do those compositions by Gwen Stefani come under the head of "music"? Eef you know, pliss tell. I'm waiting to find out, men!

May 01, 2007

Between Posts

New Sony Ericsson ad. I the endorser. 'nuff said.


[Disclaimer: This entry was here just to show that I'm not dead. Yet.]

April 14, 2007

Today's Gem

Extract from my Statistics reference book:

----------------------
A man wants to marry a girl having the following qualities:
White complexion - the probability of getting such a girl is 1 in 20;
Handsome dowry - the probability of getting such a girl is 1 in 50;
Westernised manners and etiquette - the probability of getting such a girl is 1 in 100.

Find the probability of him getting married to such a girl when the possession of these attributes is independent.
----------------------

I don't know what's worse - the prerequisites for marriage, the absolute lack of anything that remotely makes sense or the low probabilities of finding such girls according to the author. All that I can say to the book's credit is that it was printed in the 1960s.

Initially I found it half-disgusting, half-funny and somewhat antiquated.

But here's something to ponder on: Has much really changed? Don't matrimonial ads today still read "Wanted: Fair, beautiful, convent-educated, home-loving bride"? In contrast, the ones published by women looking for men at least have some variation and novelty, and a sign of an independent mind at work. And when wants diverge so much, is it any surprise that fewer and fewer people are getting married?

April 07, 2007

I want to be a taggee too!! *Tantrum*

Somebody, tag me. Please. Please. Please.

I have an insane urge to blog, but cannot think of anything to blog about. Life nowadays is, not to put too fine a point on it, a crashing bore. A typical day is a combination of studying for a damn CA entrance, watching inane shows on the telly, coming online to talk to nuts and trying to make sense of a Rakhi Sawant video wherein the lady mumbles something incoherent and crushes bullets to dust with her bare hands.

People who are tagged all the time have it easy. I mean, you don't have to think of a topic. What's more, questions are hardly ever deep. Most are on the lines of "How many times did you brush today?" and "What is lying on your table?" Much like a Govinda starrer, no brain exercise is needed. And unless you've spent four hours doing a fourth of a chapter in Accountancy, you will never truly understand the deep, wild desire for a complete lack of brain exercise.

Which brings me to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, which formulates this course. The Accountancy book does not have page numbers in the true sense. Pages are labelled according to chapters. For example, 1.1, 1.35, 2.1, 2.67 and so on. This is apparently to jhonkofy dhool in the eyes of unsuspecting students. The message they wish to send across, I suppose, is, "Now, now, children; We know this book looks like a monster from your worst nightmares. But to reduce your stress, we won't show you how many pages it actually is." Little do they know that the first day I tried to begin, all I did was add up the last page numbers of each chapter, get a whopping total of 718 pages, and spend the rest of the day hyperventilating. The Math book also does not have commas, or decimal points. What fun.

Anyway, getting back to what I was saying, taggees (?) have a good life. Firstly all taggers and taggees are part of some weird clique, leaving comments on each others blogs to say stuff like "Hi!! Kewl!! Cya dude!!" Not that I'm saying they shouldn't. But since I'm not a part of such a clique, a little bitterness is inevitable. The other thing is that they will all tag each other all the time, so the necessity of thinking up new stuff to write about is erased.
4 simple steps to bliss:
1. Read blogs
2. Comment
3. Get tagged
4. Tag others
While 1 & 2 seem like hard work to many, one must remember that they pay rich dividends - in the form of 20+ comments on each entry and several tags. What a life.

Post May 6th, there are a number of things on the "To do" list - more, in fact, than there are now. A few hundred movies, a few thousand books and a quite a few friends to catch up with. Post June 1st (when the results come out), if I pass, I must start internship. And internship to me can mean only the following things:

1. Uncomfortable formal clothes for 10 hours everyday will replace the good old kurtas and jeans.

2. A ghastly bore of a boss will make me turn into a homicidal lunatic.

3. Days will be spent submitting reports, correcting reports, re-submitting reports and... well, you get my drift.

4. I will slowly - but surely - become one of those people who do victory dances when 10 cells in MS Excel tally up.

5. The end of social life. If you work Monday to Friday and study for a graduate degree and a CA degree on weekends, and want to pass, and do not want to be fired, something's gotta go. And that something is your social life.

6. I hardly ever swear *halo glows bright* but that will change.

7. Daily gossip (So what? I'm frank enough to admit that I gossip. And it's not a ladies thing. Men gossip a lot more. Trust me.) will go...
From: "X is dating Y on the sly! He told A, who wasn't supposed to tell anyone, A told B and B told me but I'm not supposed to tell anyone. I'm telling you, but you don't tell anyone, okay?"
To: "Did you know? Z steals paper clips from office stationery!! I had it from A, who saw him with her own eyes!" [On a random note, why do people say that? Who else's eyes would you see anything through?]

8. At the end of 4 years, only two things can happen. Either I will have become a depressed person for life, or I will have become so immune to it all that I will actually enjoy it. And I don't know which fate is worse. Probably the first. The latter will at least help me make money.

The good thing about the points that I have just listed is that they enable me to appreciate my present position. I can watch TV during the day, I don't have to take BS from ghastly bores (unless you count my books) and I can always waste time whenever I want to, just like all of today. [FYI - I have not worked at all today. I have at least 2 Umang assignments to do in the next 5 days, at least 2 Umang interviews to prepare for (again, in the next 5 days), and 600 pages of CPT Math to do. But I have not worked at all today. Do I hear you ask, "Why?" Answer: I am an idiaaat. A bleddy idiaaat.]

Meanwhile, please do tag. "I'm willing to tell you, I'm wanting to tell you, I'm waiting to tell you!" (About my 5 favourite places, the mess in my room, the people I hate, the type I love, my ideas of perfect dates, weddings, divorces, funerals, etc etc. Also where I stash my horde of chocolates, my best friends, my worst enemies, the colour of my curtains, my ringtone, the number of digits my calculator takes and so on.)

------------------------

Added Later: Linking to Barkha Dutt's column is becoming a routine for me. There:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=0f711d1c-c7dd-4b78-98d3-3af50e2680df&

Added Even Later: For a few laughs, check out http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Main_Page ! Run searches for Wikipedia and George W. Bush and see what you get.

March 31, 2007

News Snippets

Would recommend everyone read Barkha Dutt's column in Hindustan Times today on the whole reservation issue. Yeah, I know, the issue's been done to death, but this particular column is great.

(Opens in a new window... apparently my 12th standard education wasn't a complete waste!)

Meanwhile, our state, along with Gujarat, Karnataka and Kerala, has banned sex education on the grounds of "It is against Indian values." So Indian values apparently mean that 13-year-olds can continue visiting "sites" and getting misleading information from 14-year-olds, but will not be allowed to get correct and important information from a reliable source. Interesting.

[Do also read the entry below this one, it was posted just yesterday and I don't want it to suffer on the present one's account. :) ]

March 30, 2007

On the State of Newspapers, Yet Again...

I'm one of those people who love reading columns. I mean, the news interests me as well, but the columns fascinate me. Depending on their quality, they can convince you of either the superiority of the human race, or of the fact that we deserve to be wiped out from the face of the earth.

Subscribing to Hindustan Times and the Times of India, I get a pretty wide range of stuff.

TOI: I, the best newspaper in this country (to read my reports on myself, turn to page 3, 7, 9, 12, and 15), have Shashi Tharoor, Jug Suraiya, Bachi Karkaria!
HT: Save the twaddle. I have Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Karan Thapar, Vir Sanghvi. Hah!
TOI: Damn. You seem to have the upper hand right now. I must get Kim Sharma.
HT: I'm working to get Narayana Murthy too.
TOI: Crap! We just have to get Bappi Lahiri now!

No prizes for guessing which way I lean. When it comes to the main paper, I'm a Hindustan Times fan all the way. (Though, of course, Tharoor was a great acquisition for the Times.) But with the supplements, I'd say, it's anybody's game.

I mean, on one hand we have Bombay Times, Westside Plus, Mumbai Mirror, What's Hot, Buzz, Rouge and Life! (Have I missed out any?) On the other hand we have Cafe, Lives West, Splurge and Brunch.

On one hand is the fact that Bombay Times consistently prints stuff about Hrithik Roshan's 1-year-old son's birthday on front page. On the other we have Splurge, where almost all items that are showcased also read "Price on request."

On one hand we have Bombay Times that seems to have an obsessive interest in Anju Taraporevala, Pravina Mecklai and Monica Vaziralli. On the other is HT Cafe with every social "do" being rated as "Mwah" "Mmmm" and "Hmmm... uhhh" (How's that for journalistic and editorial "pen is mightier than sword"?) On the positive side, HT Cafe has a lot of cultural news. And Bombay Times has... comic strips.

Bombay Times: Mere paas Pritish Nandy hai, Shobha De hai, "PYT" aur "TLC" jaisa lingo hai! Tumhare paas kya hai, aye?
HT Cafe (solemnly): Mere paas Honey hai! Hah!!

This is one front on which HT Cafe does overtake BT. HT Cafe proudly presents a column called "Under Honey's Hat" every single day, despite the regular death letters and suicide notes that pour into their offices everyday on her account. Now, I am no writer, but today I solemnly assert that I can write a better column than "Honey". (I'm putting her name in quotes because I shudder to think that someone reading this might actually think I call her honey.)

Today's "Under Honey's Hat" column reads as follows:
Note: I'm including opening lines only. All formatting (capitals, bold letters, italics) are reproduced exactly.

Box 1: Disturbing news I got on my sms right now..

Box 2: So, how are my shammi kababs sizzling this morning? It's getting soooo hot in the city.. the wrong kind of hot that is.. that I've just landed in London with my makeup men in tow.. not that I need that.. but still..

Box 3: Gawd, they won't leave me alone in Vilayat even.. will they? MADHU my MOTTI maid called hysterically to say that she has espied MAANYATA curling like a python all around SANJAY DUTT!

Box 4: Ooooooh.. just put on the television channel here.. and got the fright of my life. Rakhi Sawant was on Boo Boo Chhee, raving about her dhansoo role in something called Buddha Mil Gaya...

Box 5: O me, O my. Madhu the Motti has been asking for a salary hike. Don't know what's come over her.. but ever since she heard in the market that Sneha Ullal, is asking for Rs. 25 lakh per film, Mottu thinks she's more attractive and happening.

Apparently, HT Cafe didn't complete the column name. It should have been, "Under Honey's Hat... Lies An Empty Head."

No, frankly, I understand this is the age of tabloidism and voyeurism. But can we at least have journalists who write correct English? And who are reporting something more interesting than the fact that Shamita Shetty brushed three times today? Why must we have columns by people who address their readers as "dahlings"?

And in a move that takes "dotting your i's" to a whole new level, the Edit page of the last Sunday Times of India had all "I"s written as "i"s. Having been editor of the school mag, this naturally irritated my senses. I feel I'm back at 15, poring over submissions from kids whose handwriting, spelling and grammar formed a lethal combination that almost always made me want to tear my hair out. I do remember reading some twaddle by way of an explanation a few weeks back, but whatever it was (and I can't recall it), I don't think anything justifies writing "i" all the time in a newspaper column. Please, STOI. Please. Don't make columns such a damned torture to read.

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P.S. To everyone out there who wants to watch a movie - forget about Namastey London or Hat Trick, please, and go watch The Namesake. Great book, good movie. There are, of course, changes and deviations, but the essence is beautifully preserved. Also a case of perfect casting and great performances.

P.P.S. Watching a movie alone is great fun! Finally got to try it out. :)

March 20, 2007

Traumatised...

Bhaiyon aur behenon, those who got the shock of their lives when they read the title; and sadists, who were feeling happy; take a deep breath. I love exaggeration. No trauma in my life. At least, no major trauma. Today's minor trauma is that there's a box of Milano in the house, and I cannot find it. And believe me, when a person searches the whole house, not just the kitchen, for a record twenty-five minutes, and a box of cookies still doesn't turn up, things are bad.

Duggu makes me think of Milano. Oops. Just realised that there was a Freudian slip there (thanks, Venkat, for teaching me that term!). That sentence was supposed to be, "Milano makes me think of Duggu." Anyhow, the point is, I'm presently thinking, Duggu is the only man in India who can wear a rose pink tee and not look like he's on the wrong side of "metrosexual", dance like a dream and sell biscuits with panache. (As a reference point, you might want to think of SRK selling 'Sunfeast' biscuits). Also can make Shoumeli and me do stupid things like send each other SMSes that say "MTV. Now." whenever they're showing "Dhoom Again". Or make Peru, an entirely sane woman (er... maybe not) send me a message that says, "I have D:2 on DVD... original print! Now Mr. A is mine, all mine! *evil laugh* "

Duggu cults aside, I am presently very bored. And the extent of my boredom will be clear from 2 simple facts:
1. I log onto Orkut three times a day.
2. I have had "Who's your type?" conversations with Shoumeli and Sunny. [Have discovered that all our respective "types" are impossible to find, and that each of us is unwilling to compromise. We all want someone perfectly tailored to suit us, and that unfortunately, is rather... er... difficult. 15 years down the line, I predict a "Singles Club" happening. But what the heck, statistics show that the top 4% and bottom 10% of population are single, former being too choosy and latter having no choice. We like to persuade ourselves that we're in the top 4%, even though the statistical probability thinks otherwise. ;) ]

I have also just realised that I promised in my last post that my next post would be as short as Uday Chopra, and this one is presently not going anywhere. So I would like to now talk about my encounter with the babudom.

I grew up in an era where we were firmly made to believe, "Customer Is King." This belief has been reaffirmed with the treatment we get everywhere - from mobile service providers to home appliance sellers.

Airtel, for example, scarcely ever lets a day go by without telling me about its exciting offers... "Ghar mein samasya, kaam mein rukawat, pyaar mein mushkil. Jaaniyein apna bhavishya panditji se!! SMS karein ___" and "Free Ringtones! Salaam E Ishq, Red, blah blah. SMS ___. Chgs apply." (Free AND Charges Apply. Nice.) But irritating SMSes aside, they usually provide good customer care round the clock - take my calls, listen to problems, be nice to me even if I'm at my sarcastic worst.

So in my naivete I imagined that the government would be, if not as good, a close second. My rationale was, "The government has to move with the times, or it's going to become an obsolete relic of a red-tape-ist regime." Little did I know, that it already is.

I need an MTNL broadband connection. So in December, one dude from the government comes home and creates a new phone line. Except that when a phone is plugged in, there is no dial tone, or for that matter, any sign of life. So we spend a month chasing the babus and phone repair guys to come and fix this.

By mid-January, it's fixed. I call MTNL Broadband Services (For sake of convenience, all phone numbers will be referred to as P1, P2, P3, etc.)

So I call P1.
Lady: Namaskaar.
Me: Oh, er, hello. We've got a phone line for a broadband connection here, but no connection. Work Order No. hai...
Lady (interrupting): Idhar ka problem nahi hai. P2 pe phone karo.
Me: Ok, thanks.

I call P2.
Lady:
Namaskaar.
Me: Haan, namaste. Phone line hai, broadband ka connection daalne ko koi aaya nahi hai.
Lady: Ithun kasala phone karta? P3 pe phone karo. [My Marathi skills are non-existent.]
Me: Er... Bye.

I call P3.
Lady:
Namaskaar.
Me: Namaskaar. [Gave in, finally.] [I repeat the problem]
Lady: Woh hum handle nahi karta hai. P4 pe phone karo.
Me: Arre lekin mujhe aapka number diya!
Lady: (As irritated as she would be, were I a credit card seller calling her at 1 in the night) Bola na, hum handle nahi karta hai. P4 pe karo.
Me: Mutter mutter. Slam.

I call P4.
Lady: Hello?
Me: (Relieved) [I repeat problem]
Lady: Madam paanch baj gaya. Office bandh hai. Kal phone karo.
Me: Kya? (Yaaron, 24x7 service ke zamaane mein, jab aisa koi bolta hai, I feel I'm dreaming.)
Lady: Arre kal gyaara aur paanch ke beech mein phone karo.
Me: (This time I'm too surprised to say anything. I just replace the receiver.)

I call P4 again, the next day.
Guy:
Namaskaar.
Me: Haan. Abhi suno. [I repeat problem]
Guy: (Yawns) Kya Bhurk Aardar Number bola?
Me: Huh?
Guy: Arre Bhurk Aardar Number kya hai?
Me: Oh. Achha. [I repeat the Work Order Number]
Guy: Ek minute. Haan. Aisa koi Bhurk Aardar nahi hai.
Me: (nonplussed) Mere haath mein hain!
Guy: Aisa koi Bhurk Aardar nahi hai. [He's apparently been programmed to say just this.]
Me: Aisa kaise ho sakta hai??
Guy: (Thinks) Kab ka hai?
Me: December
Guy: Toh humara koi aadmi aaya hoga, aur ghar pe koi nahi hoga.
Me: Toh aap cancel kar dete ho?!
Guy: Arre nahi, humne uss number pe phone bhi kiya hoga. Kisine liya nahi hoga. [Sounds happy, for some reason.]
Me: Lekin woh number ek mahine ke liye dead tha! Dead phone pe phone karega toh obviously aisa hi hoga na.
Guy: (A silence that says, "Fine. Now can I go back to my vada pav?")
Me: (Refusing to give in) Abhi kya karneka?
Guy: (Silence again)
Me: Kya karneka?
Guy: (Sigh) Naya form bharo.
Me: Phir kitna time lagega?
Guy: (At the end of his tether, apparently) Arre, humko kaise pata! Woh Telephone Exchange mein poochho.
Me: (Resigned) XYZ area ke Exchange ka number hai?
Guy: P5.

Conclusion: To get any work done in a Government Office, you must be:
1. Related to the CM, Commissioner, Governor, et al
2. Fluent in Marathi
3. Willing to bribe
4. Very patient, in spite of 1, 2 and 3.

Thankfully, I do eventually have a broadband connection now and it's a wonderful thing. God bless. All is forgiven.

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This entry is dedicated to Peru - my "Soul Sistah" in the blogging world. Freakily coincidental blogs, freakily coincidental thoughts, freakily coincidental comments, freakily coincidental drafts, even! Add to that the fact that she's just sent me a message that says "Do you take me to be your freakish karmic soul sistah, for rich quotes and corny, poor jokes; in text messaging and in poor signal, till low battery do us part?" My reaction was a solemn, but emotional, "I do." [We stopped there, for anyone who's wondering.] Whom blogging hath joined let no Blogspot/LiveSpaces malfunctions do apart.

March 13, 2007

How To Safeguard Your Image, and Life, While Speaking To Certain Factions

What not to say to a woman (For men, naturally. Women can get away with telling each other almost anything):

1. "How would you like a gym membership on your next birthday?"

No, she will not believe that you are offering it simply because you think she might enjoy working out.

2. "Nothing."

In reply to "What's the matter?" or "What are you thinking?". Even if it IS nothing, she won't believe you, so you're better off with "Tired" or "About the match" - lame, but she'll believe it. After all, women do think all the time, and something or the other is always the matter with them, so they assume it is so with men too.

3. "Let's go for a cricket match - more fun than a dinner date, na?"

While the first half is acceptable, the second half will almost always land you in deep shit.

4. "No offence, but your best friend is insufferable."

Uh oh. Thou shalt not underestimate the power of thy girlfriend's best friend. The best friend will be told about what you said, make no mistake, and will initiate a break-up.

5. "No, I don't obsessively collect our photographs. In fact... hmm... *with amusement* I can't recall where the last bunch is, yaar!"

Nostalgia and mushiness usually form the core of any woman's personality. Stay noncommital here.

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What not to say to a man (Here, I don't think it matters what gender you are. These are things that are just not to be said.):

1. "You're not as cool as you think."

The person to whom this is said will either ignore it, or sever relations with you. But whatever the case, he will never believe you.

2. "Sports aren't really as great as they're made out to be."

This might just be acceptable if you're Angelina Jolie, but otherwise, it's a no-no.

3. "You're scared of bikes/dogs/swimming/horses?? HA HA HA!"

A certain large -but fragile- something called the "male ego" is broken here.

4. "Ask for directions, na!"

No. The First Principle of Manhood, all the world over, is, "Never ask for directions. We can find our way, even if it means getting lost thrice and wasting a gallon of fuel."

5. "You don't have a chance with her."

Will be met with disbelief, in every single case, so quite pointless.

[The above points were based on observation of my friends of both genders. So maybe I know only a few nutty teenagers who are hell-bent on growing up too fast. But as a general rule, it is true that even the most smart, pretty and funny woman won't believe you when you say she is all those things; and even the most idiotic, halfwitted, and boring male won't believe you when you say that he is indeed, an ass.]

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What not to say to a teenager (For adults):

1. "Don't you have to study?"

The 'S' word is a no-no.

2. "You're a child. You won't understand."

Note: The teenage ego is almost as touchy as the male ego. You do not say such things. Because, frankly, you have no idea of the number, and the monstrosity, of the things a teenager can do to prove he/she is an adult.

3. "What are your plans?"

This is okay if you want to know where he/she is going today and tomorrow, but for a time period longer than that, no way!

4. "What were you talking about?"

With reference to the 1-hour conversation he/she just had with his/her best friend. Trust me, you don't want to know.

5. "You really like this music?!"

Okay if asked in an appreciative, or at least, curious tone. Not okay if asked with wide eyes, a disbelieving tone, and a "God-yeh-kya-bakwaas-hai" look.

6. "Your uncle's wife's sister's son's wife's brother is getting married tomorrow, you have to come. Agar nahi aaye toh bahut bura lagega, beta!"

He/she is never going to buy that.

7. "You met your friends just yesterday! Why do you have to meet them again?"

This will induce instant dislike.

8. "Blue hair? I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!"

While surprise, shock and disbelief will be met with equanimity - since they're all expected - a sentence like "I will not let that happen" will have the worst possible effects. She will do a combination of blue and green, just to show you where you stand.

9. "You should socialise more."

While "socialise" with reference to friends will be a welcome suggestion, most people usually mean with relatives. All you will get is, "God, I tolerate them for 5 hours sometimes, at a stretch. Instead of applauding me for my bravery, you want MORE?!"

10. "How can you be bored so often? There are so many things to do!"

No, there are not. At least, what qualifies as "things to do" in your language does not even form the periphery of an average teenager's life and routine, and he likes it that way.

[I realise that I've just painted a picture of myself that is very Hrithik-Roshan-in-first-half-of-Lakshya. Not true. I am, in fact, one of the most patient and hard-working people of my age, whose tolerance level for pages and pages of shitty Economics deserves a mention somewhere. Ditto my dislike for long conversations and obsessive "He/she likes me - likes me not - likes me - likes me not" stuff. *Thinks* That probably makes me abnormal. Sigh. Another cross to bear, but I can live with it. :p]

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What not to say to a Bombaiyya (If you come from another part of India. I'm not counting Bombaiyyas themselves here, because they never will say such things in the first place anyway.):

1. "This city makes me sick."

Response will be, "You make me sick. Bye."

2. "I tried Vada pav / pav bhaji / pani puri / bhel / ragda pattice yesterday. It's okay, men."

No, men, saying nothing is preferable to saying "It's okay." We live for our stomachs, and food lies at the core of Bombay, just like pandus at a signal and Gujju rummy-players in a 1st class compartment. Anything that falls short of "Wow!" when you first taste Bombaiyya food, is unacceptable.

3. "Aap please bata sakte hai nau-adattis ki Churchgate ki gaadi humein kahan se leni chahiye? Humne suna hai khaali aati hai."

The person you are talking to, at the station, has: a. No time. b. No knowledge of the "hum" and "aap" variety of Hindi. c. No patience with people who speak like this. The question must be rephrased thus: "Bhaiyya, nine-thirty-eight ka Churchgate kidhar aayenga?" to which he will say "May-dom, kaiko time khoti karta hai. Indicator saamne hai," and walk off.

4. "Ha ha, what a weird dialect of Hindi you people speak."

Chances are, that is the only form of Hindi he knows.

5. "Tell me, why does your city vote for the Shiv Sena?"

Now this is perfectly correct and hence will touch a raw nerve. We don't know why we vote for the Sena. And we don't know why we don't know. But the last thing we want is to be questioned about our political blunders by "bleddy outsiders."

6. "I saw Shweta Kawatra in Lokhandwala yesterday, men!!!"

Ho hum. It's not news unless you spotted Hrithik Roshan, SRK, AB, Kareena and Aishwarya together in a car, and they waved at you.

7. In a whining voice: "Three people stamped on my toes in the train yesterday!"

No, we don't sympathise. That happens everyday. Learn to laugh.

8. "I want a 1 BHK furnished flat in Bandra. Rs. 5000 a month should be more than enough, right?"

Are you for real?

9. "I'm overworked. I have to work from 9 to 5 and 2 hours overtime!"

No, child, you are overworked only when you work from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

10. "Delhi is better than Bombay."

This is the ultimate blasphemy. If you said Bangalore, or Chennai, or Kolkata, or Pune, or Hyderabad, the more charitable souls will think you're an eccentric and nothing more. But mention Delhi, and you've had it. After a stunned silence of 5 seconds, where the listener will wrestle with his first instinct (i.e. strangling you), you'll get a few Bambaiyya gaalis - a healthy mix of Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, Gujarati and English - followed by "Go back to where you came from, bleddy moron!"

[The above being gained by personal experience. Having grown up on vada pav, kanda-batata-kothmir instead of pyaaz-aloo-dhania, A-1 Pav Bhaji Stalls, Chinees Corners, Shezvan Noodle and Sendweech Stalls, I loathe category 10 like any Bombaiyya and almost fainted when a close friend told me that she would prefer Delhi to Bombay for university. While, in a kind-hearted moment, I forgave her; the memory still rankles and things can never be the same again.]

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Afterthought - The length of my posts is getting to be horrible. A little longer, and this would have been as long as Chidambaram's speech on Budget Day. Next entry, I promise, will be as short as Uday Chopra.

March 07, 2007

Of Post-Exam Euphoria and Random Musings on Life

Bombay, March 6: In a surprising show of strength and fortitude, a compulsive-but-senseless blogger emerged from her exam hall, with a pale face and a set look. She had just finished the most pathologically boring exams of her life, and for a day, could not believe her luck at having survived through exams which asked her questions like "Do you like jokes? Why?", "Do you want a pet? Why?" (Horrifyingly bizarre though it may sound, these are the questions asked in an English paper of HSC, Maharashtra State Board - the one and only - in Feb 2007.)

Which brings us to the point of this entry. The point is that I (I'm abandoning third person narrative now, sorry, too tedious. And anyone who yells "Inconsistency!" can go back to doing whatever they were doing before they came - accidentally or intentionally - to this blog), after having studied Shakesepeare in school (God bless ICSE) expected Dickens in college. Instead, into my hands was rammed an unsightly green book called "Yuvakbharati". (I kid you not, the English book has a Hindi name).

This little masterpiece, which refers to photocopies as "Xerox-copies" and curriculum vitae as "bio-datas" (look up the dictionary, it's not even a word), also has sentences like "There is no obvious connection between a picture of a smiling girl and a certain brand of sweets, but most people like looking at pictures of pretty girls," which, I assume, were written in rare (but unintentional) flashes of honesty. The high point of this subject, of course, is the paper itself, which asks you to choose between:
1. TV - Advantages and Disadvantages
2. If I were the Principal of my College
3. My Favourite Game
as an essay topic. Naturally, then, the key to cracking an English paper is hypnotising oneself to believe that one is 8 years old.

Apart from the English paper, I have several bones to pick (is that a correct phrase?) with the State board, but we'll save that for another day.

I can only summarise by saying that:

1. I'm glad that I never have to:

  • Study that Remedy For Insomnia, O.C. (Organisation of Commerce, not the high-drama soap in which people are constantly getting entangled in relationships).
  • Try to figure out what are simple, compound and complex sentences, or change one to the other - which invariably results in what the paper-setters of the SAT would call "awkward construction" and "unnecessary verbosity", but which, unfortunately, is what this board seems to love. (Just noticed that the above IS a single sentence. Unnecessary verbosity will be my death one day.)
  • Go through the psychologically demeaning and intellectually scarring experience of having to write an essay on "T.V. - Advantages and Disadvantages." (I know, I know, I'm harping on the damn thing, but I still haven't recovered!!)
  • Try and remember a thousand formulas (formulae?) for sin -θ, cos 3θ sin C.sin D and sin C + sin D and so on, because I've been trying and failing to do so for over a year now. (In case you want to know, my Math II paper was NOT good.)

2. I'm also glad that over the next week or so, I freely can:

  • Daydream without setting time limits
  • Blog
  • Go out without feeling guilty
  • Eat roadside food without worrying about bacteria, viruses, and the thousand germs that supposedly should attack your system but never have, in all my life.
  • Sleep 10 hours a day
  • Gloat about my exams being over, to other, less fortunate people.
  • NOT have to answer the questions "How much have you finished?", "Foreign Trade aata hai?", "Why you online??!" (The last one being posed by horrible uncle-aunty types, who are aged 16-20, but behave like they're 47.)
  • NOT receive messages that read "Eh Mudu, pak raha hai. How much you finished?" I mean, really, once, twice, three times. But EVERY SINGLE DAY?!

I've also realised that I must resign myself to the following things (they don't come under the head of "Post-Exam Euphoria" but what the heck... the point of this blog is that I can blog about anything, be it exams or my neighbour's cat):

  • Shoumeli Das (my friend currently cut off from humanity - at least what WE know as humanity - in a hellhole called Jamshedpur, and, for some reason, desperate to see yours truly hitched to a loser, come what may) WILL keep telling me "You na... you'll toh find a damn cool boyfriend when you go to IIM!!" until the actual day when I score a 90 percentile on the CAT and can gain admission only into Thakur College, Kandivli.
  • People, fully aware of the fact that I was doing Umang, Malhar, MoodI and ELA while they were studying, WILL tell me "Chup kar... sab aata hai... don't lie!" and behave like the deaf adder when I insist that I have had neither the time nor the inclination to study more than 30% till January.
  • I will remain 5' 2" all my life. (For those interested, though, there are a lot more advantages to being vertically challenged than you ever imagined. First, you get to be at the front of every group photo. Second, people call you "cute" simply because you're shorter than them. And third, and most important, you can avoid people easily by hiding behind cars, stalls, autos, tables, or... umm... other people.)
  • Efforts to sell a lit magazine in the canteen WILL beget responses like "I don't read."
  • Questions like "Have you seen 'Dor'?", WILL, 67% of the time, get answers like "Have you seen 'Shaadi No. 1'??"
  • On a wider level, Himess-bhai WILL continue to sing and irritate, and auto-wallas WILL continue to play his stuff.
  • The Times WILL continue obsessed with "When are Aishwarya and Abhishek getting married?" Really, now, I'm sure they'll do it in full public glare - I've never known either to miss a chance to get publicity. So why bother?
  • SRK-supporters (God bless their misguided souls - because it is my belief that they are more to be pitied than censured) WILL staunchly defend their demi-God, contrary to all logic, reasoning and common sense.
  • Comparisons WILL be made between SRK and Hrithik Roshan (and this is probably the last time I want to mention both in the same sentence).
  • Asha Bhonsle, one of our best singers, WILL make videos with Brett Lee wearing a bright green shirt and singing "Uh Maye Toomara Hoo, Toomara Hi Rrrrahunga!"

I think I have now covered nearly everything I wanted to say. For those who came here looking for coherence and substance, well, really, you don't know me. To be honest, my plan WAS to write about a recent interaction with the babu-dom which left me rather zapped, but that can wait. Till next time, then, bye! (And just by the way, if I continue getting 4 comments per post, I might shut this blog down. *Thinks* Is that a good enough threat? *Thinks some more* Probably not. Damn.)

P.S. And to those who read this and who are fortunate enough to NOT have taken 12th Board exams recently, I say this - Count your blessings. You may have just read an entry that made very little sense, but at least you have the good fortune of not having suffered through those exams, or of having forgotten what it feels like.

P.P.S. If you're someone from the Education Department reading this (one-in-a-million chance, but I like to cover all possibilities), get the hint. E-mail me, or anyone my age, for that matter, and we will readily provide you with a list of the 103 basic, and 486 secondary changes that are required in the system. Oh, and for starters, just so that you know - "weightage", which appears in nearly all your books, is not a word.

February 12, 2007

Signing Off (for the time being)

Why is it that studying has a direct effect on your levels of creativity? Just sat down to write something, and the only thoughts that came into my mind were:

1. Yesterday's episode of Koffee With Karan was the most thanda show I've seen for ages.
2. Honeymoon Travels HAS to release during my boards!
3. Valentine's Day is coming up, and there are hearts all over newspapers. *shudder*
4. I don't know anything in Math II.
5. I ate a pizza yesterday.
6. Prelim results... erm... sucked, to say the least.
7. I'm in today's Education Times! (Looking a little bit zapped, but what the heck.)
8. My verbosity has suddenly gone down and I'm not liking it one bit. My day doesn't feel complete without having talked crap to at least 3 people for at least 5 minutes each.
9. I think I'm growing immune to coffee. It's not keeping me awake, no matter how much of it I drink.
10. Every day, in the morning, I promise self, "Today, I will finish X, Y, Z chapters, even if I have to stay up till 1 a.m." At 10 a.m., I'm all energized. At 1 p.m., I'm hungry. At 4 p.m. I'm reading a Harry Potter. At 7 p.m. I'm going "Shit, shit, shit." At 10 p.m. I'm exhausted, and I go to sleep.
11. 'Dor' is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen.
12. K K Menon's dance to "Sajna Wari Wari" is the BEST thing I've seen in a long long time!
13. I'm sick of all sorts of chocolate except dark chocolate.
14. I swear on Hrithik Roshan's eyes, my 25 year old neighbour is watching Pogo or something. Why? Why? Why?
15. This blog is going nowhere.
16. Writer's block. Shit, shit, shit.
17. It's all the fault of HSC!!! You took away my creativity! (whatever I had... which wasn't much to start with)
18. These points started as the things I was going to blog about. Now they're random thoughts!
19. Do I care?
20. Writer's block. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh.

Okay, okay, okay. I hereby promise not to blog until March 5, except under extreme provocation / frustration. Hopefully the end of exams will help me get back some originality and creativity. Till then, all my faithful readers (there are 3 now), good bye and good luck.

P.S. Got published in Education Times (Feb 1 and Feb 12)! Also gonna get a new cellphone (finally). People with suggestions can leave comments. (N.B. I want a FLIP phone.) And those of my friends whose names are in today's Education Times solely due to me *smirk* should do the ethically correct thing and reward me in some way. Chocolates will be preferred.

P.P.S. I know this is a little late in the day, but don't watch Salaam-e-Ishq. Unless you wish to lose your sanity, time and money. Akshaye Khanna and the music are probably the only tolerable things in the movie. On the "Pain-Inflictor" index, I'd rate it somewhere below KANK but several notches above Phir Hera Pheri.

P.P.P.S. Karan to his guests on Koffee With Karan: "So, don't you think KANK was somewhat unfairly criticised in several places?" Mr. Johar, I would say ANY amount of criticism for KANK is less. My cable-walla showed it a month or so ago. Even on TV, where I can channel surf and come back, it was unbearable. I shudder to think of the fate of those who watched it in the theatres. There was actually a point where I thought the damn thing was getting over, and that was when "Intermission" flashed onto the screen. I almost bribed a Bombay goonda to "supari" you off (or whatever the expression is). Anyway, the main point is this - that after making a movie so highly pathetic, I'm surprised:
a. You didn't spot it when you were editing / previewing. Or was it too late then?
b. The actors of that flick still like you. It is each of their personal worst performance.
c. You made a profit on that movie. How? How?? How???
d. The NRI audiences love you.
e. Half a year on, you're still justifying that movie to all and sundry. And you think people are believing you.
f. You ACTUALLY brought it up on your show and didn't expect it to look narcissistic / vain / bullheaded / idiotic? Why rake up justified criticism and try to prove it wrong on home turf? Not cricket, my boy, not cricket.

January 28, 2007

Some News, Some Bakwaas

A lot of weird stuff has been happening.

For example, yesterday (or was it day before?) the Bachchans went to a temple. Now, considering that they visit a temple (ANY temple) at least once a month, you'd think this doesn't really make news. Yeah, if AB Sr. had been an atheist so far, and suddenly walked barefoot to Siddhivinayak shouting "Jai Hanuman!" all the way, that'd be news. But really, for the family that makes it a point to go to temples all the time, I wouldn't say this was remarkable.

What the media was ACTUALLY going ballistic about was that there was some red stuff smeared on Aishwarya Rai's forehead. It's "sindoor in the maang," they declared. Oooooooh. How exciting.

Now assuming that it WAS "sindoor in the maang," what are they going to do? Or how is it going to matter? Farz kijiye that the shaadi is over. So what? Are you going to stand outside AB's bungalow at 5 a.m. tomorrow to congratulate the happy couple? And is AB Sr. your chacha that he's going to come out specially for you and say "Arre Bittoo," (for want of a better name) "thank you, thank you. Andar aa na!"

Why, oh why does the Times care if there was a dab of red on Ms. Rai's head? And even if it WAS sindoor, you've clearly missed the bus, na? That would mean that the wedding is over without any "exclusive" photographs or interviews to you. So why don't you shut up and print something that makes, umm, SENSE, rather than indulge in an analysis of what exactly the red stuff is.

Stuff going on in other parts of the world - Shilpa Shetty faces racist comments on Celebrity Big Brother. Okay, I agree, it's a rather horrible thing for anyone to go through. But why do P. Chidambaram, some ambassadors, the foreign minister and the Parliament have to get involved? At the end of the day, Celebrity Big Brother is best described as third-rate voyeurism at its worst. Why suspend talks on educational policy, crime, and infrastructure to dicuss what Jade Goody said to Shilpa Shetty yesterday? Chidambaram ji, don't worry. When Ms. Shetty steps out of that show tomorrow, she will have a few hundred thousand pounds already, and offers worth more in the week that follows. More compensation than a court would provide, I'm sure.

And more - BMC corporator elections are approaching. Thanks to the Mumbai Mirror lists (this newspaper DOES have a few good features! Kudos to the "Vote Mumbai" campaign), I now know who all are standing for election in my area. But I'm damned if I've ever heard of them before. And I promise you, I'm not one of those youngsters who spend the year only studying/playing/blaring loud music/watching 'Friends'/throwing 4-letter-words at all and sundry. Basically, I do have a bit of political awareness. But I haven't seen/heard about this guys EVER! Maybe I should stand for election, I'll have as good a chance of winning as the next guy, I suppose.

News channels, especially Hindi ones, have weird methods of breaking "sansani khez" news. (And just by the way, every time they say "sansani khez" I start seeing Kareena Kapoor wearing a wreath and dancing to "san-sanananana.") Anyway, they guy who's on the spot is usually as excited as Bush would be, had he found Osama. "Haan Kavita, main yahaan khada hoon. [Then to the viewer] Aap-jo-ab-dekhenge-isse-aapki-aankhen-khuli-ki-khuli-reh-jaayegi!!!" (breathless whisper that slowly escalates into a shout). Arre yaar, tu news bata raha hai yaa drugs bech raha hai?

Anyway, no more to write. If I try and cover ALL the C-grade news of the world, you'd feel as if you're reading another edition of the Times of India (Picture-less and colour-less though). So I'll stop now. Till next time, bye!

p.s. "India Poised"? What the...?!