Monday, April 28, 2008

Mah religion

I have embraced a religion. It's called Guturguturism.
According to my religion, this is the list of activities that offend it -
1. The name of God in either the masculine or feminism gender. My God is a eunuch.
2. The portrayal of any god or goddess in the man-invented shackles of clothes. This means that I will be raiding all Hussain exhibitions that depict the goddesses in saris.
3. The evocation of any prayer without the acknowledgment that besides being all-powerful and all-knowing, God is also all-sexy.
4. I am against the killing of plants and can have them only by means of the flesh of other beasts. Hence, I expect all restaurants to abide by my tastes. That means, McD, which already doesn't serve cheeseburger and hamburger in India, would be picketed to drop the buns and the plant-grown seasoning too. Only the chicken patties would remain.
5. We believe that the most offensive part of a woman's body is her eyes. If we let women see the fuck we're making of everything, they will ultimately put two and two together, and upset the delicate unequal balance we have foisted on them. Hence, all women are expected to wear the antiburkha where their eyes would be covered by the black cloth and the rest of the body with guaze.
6. We regard all books by Harold Robbins to be the very words of our God; describing his narcotics-driven fantasies.
7. Our sons will have everything, but their foreskins, removed.
8. Our gods might not have invented the first airplane (as seen patently in the udankhatola) or nuclear missiles (sudarshan chakras). But we claim that he did invent the dildo and the middle finger. That, and the expression - Fuckin' A!'
9. Our Gods cannot be depicted in either idols, cartoons or portraits. However, carvings on turds are permitted.
10. Our first God appeared in the form of Bruce Lee. But he died before we could crucify him. We are waiting for the second coming that will happen three weeks after the Apocalypse. According to the epic, the God appears in the fom of a ram on heat and buggers all the other Gods doing the judgement right in the very courtroom. Then he bellows and tells the gathering - 'Go home you good-for-nothing c***suckers! Whaddya think this is - a f***ing exhibition?!?'


Any room for my religion?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who are these people?

snap coursey - Indian Express.


Who are these people?

What do they do?

How do they find the time to collect and protest over the misgivings of a small still-to-make-it-big idol like Sreesanth?

In fact, any other guy - be it a Bachhan?

Don't they have a life?

Don't they have financial responsibilities?

Don't they know that their protest actually means nothing to the guy?

Why are they not looking grief-stricken in the snap (in fact, one of the guys has a gentle smile playing on his lips?

If they're Sreesanth's fans, why are they holding Bajji's snaps?

Can I hire them to protest against my own pay hike?

Does it work? If so, how?

I am sorry. I am not from the South and hero-worship still puzzles me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Conversations

'There was this lady in ITT. Not exactly beautiful but very... very humpable. Really great ass. Matlab samajh raha hai na...’


Yup, I am.


‘ Uska, na, divorce ho chukaa tha. And she had a six year old son then. She was a single mom’, he takes a deep drag and passes the joint to me, ‘Woh office mein ek bande ko thokte huye pakdee gayi!'


I take a drag and watch the fumes hang like a cloud in the still, hot air, ‘You mean make out.’

‘Nahi. Thokte huye!’

It’s still probably just make out.

‘Someone from the office?’, I ask.

'Nahi, I don’t think so.'

‘So did they turn her out or anything?’

‘Of course, bhai. What do you think?!?’

I think that it’s not exactly an ‘of course’ case.

‘So was she financially liquid at that time?’

‘Huh??’

‘I mean you said she had a kid...’

‘Arre, mere ko kya pata, bhai!’


‘Ok’

We finish the joint between us, looking out at the eighth-floor power-cut darkness beyond the balcony.

V sort of moans, ‘Yaar, if she was looking out, she could have asked me!’

‘Hmm? Yeaa...’

‘What are you thinking?’

‘Nothing. Damn hot. Let's roll another one.'

'Hmm.'

V lights a flame under the hash while I sit waiting in the darkness staring at the red-white blip of an airplane climbing the sky.


Be a good son, kid. That’s the least you can do.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Falling standards in articles

I read for content.And perspective.

Blogging is a amazing confluence of both; the only caveat being the veracity of the facts stated is not set in gold standard.

Call me old fashioned, but I expect more from syndicated columns. A little beyond facts. If possible, insights that can make me pause beyond a second.

This article on how credit cards cheat customers is an OK blog post but a column in Rediff Money section?

The authoress has not delved into any of the processes working behind the twin issues she had. No dissection at where it is going wrong and some fix-its.
It's a rambling - the sort you hear around your cubicle all day from people who can't actually be bothered to open the bonnet and see how the goddamn thing works.

This article should have been slotted in Blogs. It is only "You know what happened one day to me..." It has no value add in a Money section.

The few understanding I have of the publishing industry, I am distressed at the falling standards in quality and depth. Apparently, one of my friends is supposed to turn in an article within a week on a topic that prev. she had little clue on. And she does this in her free time since she is freelancing along with balancing a job. And the magazines in question are supposedly reputed.

Previously, you could tell a well-read man by the perspectives and insights he had had the advantage to go through and introduce in his thinking - beyond the everyday drawing-room discussions. Now these discussions, rather narrations, pass for insights.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Karan 2

I know my post regarding Karan was excessive. Without actually reading a single page of his book and knowing the guy, I made broad sweeping statements - some of which have already been proven wrong.
More than malafide intentions, it comes from a stream of radical comedy i believe in - mastered by Carlin and Pryor - of politically-incorrect, over-the-top, tasteless generalizations just to make a point heard. I think it's much more needed in our country, where the mainstream corruption and mediocrity have entered the national psyche so deeply that we have even stopped realizing that.
An example is the intellectuals highlighting the list of achievements of NorthIndians in Bombay. Just by doing that they are acknowledging the right of a beat-up politician, propped by his dynasty and little else, to launch a violent ethnic attack on unsuspecting people struggling to make a living.
Who the fuck is Raj Thackrey to question anyone? A hair on the asshole of his patron that got shat away in the last elections. How can anyone question the rights of any citizen to his own country? It reminds me on the dialogue from Hey Ram where Kamala tells Shahrukh to go back to where he has come from and Shahrukh replies tersely – “Mere mulk se mujhe nikaalne waale tum kaun hote ho?”
Butcher this guy - lampoon him - and make jests about how he's really pissed coz he was buggered by a Bihari kid in a sulabh sauchalya. Make claims as outrageous as his, it can never be worse than the violence he manufactured. Take him seriously and you're giving him power.In fact, the scene of an unsuspecting LT passenger is reason enough for twenty years of incarceration for RT - and I am not going overthetop here. Our everyday inviolable rights are like the lady on a DTC bus – no one has the right to touch them. Period.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten that. We’re loud, cock-sure coz we know we’re standing over a pile of shit and we don’t want to look down. It’s time we start asking us some tough questions.

And I believe that the best weapon is humor – tasteless, irreverent and loud – questioning the limits we have set for ourselves on what can be said and what cannot; exposing the everyday hypocrisies of our lives.
Sometimes, you need to keep slapping a person to bring it to senses. Likewise for nations.

What vexed me was that KB was not a RT. I was doing the broad generalization against a guy who was nothing like RT and whose only sin was the employment of a shamelessly deceitful mean to promote his book; though only a subtle one.
Amit tells me that he is a "placecommer, top 10, P&G PPO kinda crap". For the non-IIM guys, that means a BigSwingingDick (BSD), at least in IIM jargon (a jargon some of us don't give much credit to). But all said and done, KB is an achiever, who also managed to get a book published. Laudable - not many of us have the patience and application to do that - at least, the person in this room hasn't.

But if this is so, my frustration is aggravated.All the more reason that Karan didn't really have to do this. He should have the guts, the confidence to be willing to be judged on merit alone. He has the privileges of talent and achievement to show the way; instead he’s resorting to shameless and deceitful self-promotions. I would believe that his need to write a book emanates from a need to find a bigger truth in himself, just for the sake of himself. Money would not be the issue – he is not starving. His book might still be a good read but if I, a chef at a restaurant you’ve walked into, come out of the kitchen holding the dish you ordered under wraps, telling you to just have it since I went to IIM once and got an Aditya Birla school, what’s your first take on my cooking skills?
There is an artist – temperamental and pure; and there is a bhaand.
Of course, it is KB’s call where he wants to stand.The reclusive, eclectic PankajKapoor vs. the dancing at the wedding, anything for an extra soundbyte Shahrukh Khan – the king of self-promotion.
But Shahrukh is in an industry known to favour only star-sons – he’s clawed his way up.
What’s your story, KB? Why do you feel the need to spam like those mails promising me an extra 4”? Why do you want to taint the purity of your writing aspirations with a lie? You never did see what my friend’s reading list was, right? So, you lied. Period.

Can the most basic ethical system of truth and lies be subverted in the name of marketing?
Am I old-fashioned if I call KB’s mail and the email telling me that I have been chosen from 1lakh people to receive a personal loan – lies?
Isn't a lie anything contrary to facts stated despite the knowledge of facts?
Or have the marketing gurus found another jargon for that too?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Excerpt from Shashi Tharoor's Article

In engineering, a lot of my friends debated whether Humanities as a subject should be included in the curriculum.
My aces in Humanity sort of put my argument for the inclusion biased, coz of the jack my GPA got courtsey these courses. In fact, I tried to squeeze in some more Humanities courses in my electives but the institute, for some reason, did not allow Humanities to be included even in the non-departmental open electives.

Shashi Tharoor talks about the need for Humanities in Engineering course here. I personally buy his argument tho' the context - to stop engineers from becoming terrorists is still ridiculous to me.
Just by statistics, the best brains go to engineering( read: most not all!) since it is usually at the frontier of the future - CivilEngg in the 20s, Chemical in 50s-60s, Electronics since the 60s, Computers since 80s, AI, Genetic Algorithm, Nanotechnology, etc.). The reason some of the best brains flock here is the challenge (again, some not most). Genius comes with its own burden - the burden of knowing that impact, wide and influential, is within reach in the future. The article ignores the social impact that many of these brains go to make - NGOs, social initiatives, awareness forums. Tho' I know that the author is aware of it.
It is also a presumption that Humanity per se is a sure-shot vaccination against the infection of terrorism. Some of the most violent men have been the most well-read - the Communist leaders, Pol Pot. The inherent violence (open to interpretation) of the superman ideology of Nietzsche is essentially a Humanities subject.

How do you fight violent states in today's age through any means but terrorism?
Big men, who believe they are big and destined to change the world, have the end in mind and not the means - the end being a better future: as they interpret it).
There has always been violence - it started with tribes, evolved into civilizational, national and ultimately ethnic clashes. The leaders were some of the best men of their times. Every collective violence is a reflection of the violence of the individual - be it a nation against a nation, or a race against another, or a group of mountain guerrillas swooping for a kill in the valley.
I do not offer glib solutions to terrorism as it is as complex as any pan-human phenomenon.
I agree with the author's broad views on the advantages of Humanities studies.
But his broad generalization and simplistic solutions mimic my feelings regarding Tharoor's most books and writings: good, heartening, promising - but not deep enough.

"...the argument in favour of studying the humanities. I have always believed that the well-formed mind is preferable to the well-filled one, and it takes a knowledge of history and an appreciation of literature to form a mind that is capable of grappling with the diversity of human experience in a world devoid of certitudes.
If terrorism is to be tackled and ended, we will have to deal with fear, rage and incomprehension that animates it. We will have to know each other better, learn to see ourselves as others see us, learn to recognise hatred and deal with its causes, learn to dispel fear, and above all just learn about each other. It is not the engineering mindset that facilitates such learning, but the vision of the humanities student. The mind is like a parachute — it functions best when it is open. It takes reading and learning about other peoples and cultures to open (and broaden) minds.
Ignorance and lack of imagination remain the handmaidens of violence. Without extending our imagination, we cannot understand how peoples of other races, religions or languages share the same dreams, the same hopes. Without reading widely and broadening our minds, we cannot understand the myriad manifestations of the human condition, nor fully appreciate the universality of human aims and aspirations. Without the humanities, we cannot recognise that there is more than one side to a story, and more than one answer to a question."

Minister for Youth Affairs

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dalai Hitler

Two of my abiding interests through the years have been the rise of Nazism and Tibet. The former arose from class VIII when I chanced on a coffee-book at a teacher's room where my young eyes stood paralyzed at the sight of bones coarsely draped with the semblance of white skin piled in a heap like a Holika (I still remember that picture).

Through the years I swallowed books and articles to understand the mass psyche that can invoke this cold, grotesque reality.

Tibet fascinated me from my trips to the Garhwals where I chanced on is depleted yet fascinating civilization. After meeting Tarun, I read more on Tibet and have always anguished at the gradual deculturization of this great body of knowledge, art and philosophy in the blood-red hands of an expansionist and anachronistically totalitarian machinery.

The recent rhetoric by China against the Dalai Lama calling him "wolf in monk's robes" and talking about suicide bombing squads reminded me of Hitlers' own tactics of attacking nations by claiming unfettered violence from . Ah! His genius! Of rhetoric, playing the aggrieved party while being the aggressor, of the wolf calling the lamb the predator.

Totalitarianism - both left and right -has always thrived on rhetoric and repression of thought within.

As a result, I searched on Google if anyone else had commented on this obvious parallel - besides the timing of this Olympics and the 1936 Berlin.

So far, I haven't come across any such articles. The closest I came was this article - written in 2006 whose logical flow still evades me.

But more interestingly - here it is China which is comparing the once-free Tibet to the Nazis!

I think China's hypocrisy is fast rivaling that of Hitler and Stalin's own.

It is, in my opinion, a great tragedy that we have empowered China economically(by allowing it to trade in the world economy by exploiting its totalitarian "advantages" - of slave labor, unfair financial practices and enforcement of mass migration and resource deployment) so highly, that it can mock us with its barefaced lies and genocides. Instead of denouncing its corrupt and inhuman governance over a fifth of the humanity with embargoes, we have succumbed to the lure of cheap goods manufactured against the laws of comparative advantage (simply because they do not come from the law of free markets) and allowed this festering red dragon to hold in terror a significant part of the world. From its own people who refuse to hear the world Tiannamen even in the cubicles of US, to the Maoists in Nepal, to the Naxalites in Telanagana forests, to the evil junta in Burma and to that grand old man in Dharamshala who weeps at the thought of how a great culture like his breathes the last, unheard gasps on the deathbed of Tibet - and human dignity.

Sneaky Pricing strategies

I normally don't discuss my work here. But I found these tips to be very common-sensical. Which is what I like about my industry - retail: it touches our everyday life immenself.

Sneaky Pricing strategies

  1. Irrational pricing is putting the price of items at say $4.95 instead of $5. The reason is based on memory processing time. Rounding upward involves an additional decision compared with storing the first digits. Furthermore, due to the vast quantity of information available for consumers to process, the information on price must be stored in a very short interval. The cheapest way to do so, in memory and attention terms, is by storing the first digits. Customers think they are getting a better deal than they in fact are. (Besides, by pricing like this, you force the cashier to make change, reducing opportunities for fraud.)
  2. The purpose of the discount vouchers is not to save customers money, but to get them to buy products they don’t normally buy, or to buy more of it. Look again at the terms/ offers associated with your loyalty card.
  3. Eye level is buy level: Products positioned at eye height sell twice as well, so place your highest margin (not most expensive nor most popular) items there.
  4. Known Value Items (KVIs) can be sold below cost to try to beat the competition: these are loss leaders. Margins must be increased by raising prices on other items that are not KVIs, and then upsold with the loss leaders. Consumers exaggerate the perceived value of the savings and tend to spend (more than) they thought they saved. NEVER run a loss leader on an item that os not a KVI.)
  5. Buy one Get one free ('BOGOF') has been shown to increase purchases by up to 150%. Unlike 50% off, which actually does save money, 'BOGOF’ deals accustom consumers to buying more of a product than they normally do, so when the offer ends they are likely to carry on buying more.
  6. Value add or bundling. Bundle a few complementary products in one package and charge marginally less. Or, add value by slicing/ opening/ cleaning/preparing a product. Anything that spells convenience is worth extra dough – and well beyond the cost of adding the value.

Monday, April 07, 2008

To comment or not to comment

I have started on 3 blogs and got really hooked on to them.
One is a photoblog with an entry for each day since 2005.
The other are witty and evocative commentaries on everyday India - one of them a hugely popular blog.

Many a times the posts are so complete in style and substance, that they leave little to be said other than the vapid "Wow!" and "Me too"s.

I have succumbed to the temptations of leaving some comments here and there just to show that I was there. But they are inane and redundant - and I know that.
But I have stopped doing that now - I just go and check them regulalry without commenting.

That's one issue with me - if I am seeing something that moves me, I have to tell it that I am there.
Sabby, the sleeping giant, had the quality that he could walk up behind you every day, hear you singing, smile and go back. And never let you know he was there. Or leave a flower at your doorstep in the morning, and never mention it. And when I went wild over - Why don't you tell her it was you! - he would just laugh heartily at my impatience.

Where does my impatience take me - disturbing the serenity of that which I see,
Where does his languid patience take him - silent and unknown to most, but himself.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A friend like an old shoe; sometimes shoes get worn out

It still gives me a kick – a hefty darbaan pushing the door open for me with a salaam, the huge golden foray, huge bouquets over centre-tables bigger than most loos in Bangalore apartments, the sprawling sofas. Big everything. I can easily see why some guys can get hooked on to living off the suitcases in these places. Room service, continental buffets, Anything else I can do for you, sir? But, I guess, what’s really thrilling is the fact that you don’t have to shell out anything from your own pocket for living this life. A golden cage.
The pansy-looking guy eyes my T-shirt and stubble but still decides to like me. He gives me the kind of smile that goes around with everything – really big.
“Yea, Sudda... No, (what the hell is his name) – Sudipto Mukherji. Room no. 12 something.”
“Room No. 1217, sir.”
“Cool.” Like it means something to me.
He calls and listens.
“Why don’t you wait in the lobby, sir? Mr. Mukherji will be down in a moment.”
“Sure”
I look back and decide that the maroon sofas would be the lobby.
I wait.

Most people think Sudda and I go back to school. Coz we studied in the same school since class I. And weirdly enough, we went to the same engineering college and then did our MBA together too. But to be honest, we hardly registered each other for a decade. Coz sometimes I guess things have their own time. People, money, girls. You never know when what happens t you. I believe that, truly do. That’s why I keep shuffling and walking around – the more I meet, the more I see sort of improves the probability of my hitting something, right?
Anyway, I don’t remember how but somewhere in the second year we landed up in Delhi together on a train with 30 bucks between us. I think it was some college fest or something – yea, it was. We were sort of roaming around CP at midnite trying to get an auto for the dough we had and then the cops took that too. So, we just started walking. Along the way, some autowallahs half-heartedly tried to mug us but we didn’t have any money left. We just bummed a cigarette off them and walked till almost dawn to reach the fest. Sudda was in some choreography affair but he was so pooped out that he missed the audition and the team got kicked out – they were going to get kicked out anyway, he told them. I was sort of just goofing around – part of the free-riders. In the evening, I caught up with Sudda at the canteen. We both had been sleeping the entire day and just sat there checking out girls. On a whim, we paired up for some literary events happening somewhere and next thing you know we are winning everything. I mean, I still remember this dumb charades event – there were guys from Mumbai, Bangalore and Cal who were so fast that watching them do the chopping and signalling was like watching someone having a seizure; or getting electrocuted. And both Sudda (at least, then) and I are not exactly very hurried in our affairs. But we won coz we just read each other’s minds like there was a big prompter sticking out of our heads; with font size 100. Like I got this movie and I just signalled the first letter was an A and Sudda was Amadeus. He just declared it; didn’t even go like ’Amadeus?’ And there were these guys from some law college who got the fits watching us. They ranted for hours on how we had some secret cheat codes that had to be “ferret”ed out (the guys actually used this word) till Sudda had to roughly shove them off – That scared the shit out of them coz Sudda was huge even back then.
And what a gas. Our entire team, an entire truckload of contingent, didn’t win anything in the festival other than what Sudda and I won that evening.
Once back home, we started hanging around. Our gangs merged – some people dropped; ultimately, most of them. But Sudda, Faizal and I stuck.
It’s funny. But I never gave it a thought. Why I landed up with Sudda. And why it took me so long. Just that when things with Nidhi started breaking apart, I thought of him one day. I was thinking of those nights we used to climb a big water tank away from the campus and talk about anything under the stars till dawn. I wanted to speak with him – just wanted to tell him that I am thinking about those nights.
And I had no number to reach him.
And sometimes you just want to call up someone you haven’t called for years and just have a ‘Hey, remember that?’ and they go – ‘Yea’ and you sort of just relive that moment. Coz you know this other person also remembers it and you’re both remembering it right now.
I was in that mood then.
That day, I sort of went over the roads we had covered together. Not like relived every moment, but more like traced it in the map. And, to be honest, it was more like broken roads; all potholes. A little tar ther, a little there – but that’ it.
Sometimes when I am in a horny mood, I think about the girls I have been with and it’s the same. There are some girls I can’t even remember what their eyes looked like. Even the make out sessions – I hardly remember anything.
Then there are the friends I know I had a great terrific friendship with; once. But I can’t recall a single moment or anecdote with.
I don’t know what all this means- this wiping out of the slate again and again but it sort of makes you think what was it all worth.


But I know why Sudda and I never got together in school. We were parts of different gangs. And don’t ask me how that happened. The guy you are seated next to knows another guy, you know a guy who was in your team in a game, then you’re sent out of class with another guy who knows the guy you sat with last year. That’s why I never look back – it can either look all predestined; or random. Depends on how gullible or cynical you are.
But anyway, Sudda was with these guys who were totally into athletics and I was more like a cricket, soccer and resteasy guy. Sudda told me that I hit him once in class V or something with a blue plastic bottle. I don’t remember that. But if he remembers the color of the bottle, I guess he has it right. Yea, that was a down phase for me. I got a little too violent because of this guy in my gang, Saif. He was a senior and totally cool. I guess everybody in those years has a gay phase where they have a crush on a senior. And I got a little rough coz I wanted to impress him. But Saif got rusticated and it was a sort of waking call for me. Anyway, after the initial years, fights got too rough for me – knives and kattas and stuff. I once was walking along the back alleys of Hazratganj and I saw this fight, or rather a guy getting bashed up. All hockey sticks and steel pipes. And it made me goddamm sick – especially the sounds. I sort of became a pacifist after that day.
I don’t know what Sudda’s trip was in those days: I never asked him too. What does it matter anyway; everything changes after college.

Sudda finally walks out. Or rather his paunch walks out and he follows. He’s wearing a suit that looks expensive; but I really am not the best judge. In school I could never understand the concept of uniforms; at work, I never understood suits. Especially in a hot place like India. How the fuck does a thing you wear define how good you are. I think it all started with imitating your white imperial masters and by the time you arrive big enough to change things, you ‘re so full of gas yourself that you sort of start wanting the suits around. And gawwd I hate those shirts with different colored collars and cuffs – usually something like turquoise blue or parrot green. Like a guy who can’t make up his mind on whether it’s a boardroom meeting he’s going to or a disco. If you have to wear shackles - wear them with dignity - grey and dull - making them fluoroscent ain't going to change a thing!
Suits: In an age when you have Tshirts, cargoes and jeans. Sheesh!

Sudda has this sheepish grin when he sees my Tshirt and corduroys. I also grin.
Three years, I say.
Three fucking years, he says.
We hug.
He’s busy all the time; checking his Blackberry after every couple of seconds; walking off to a corner to take some shushedup calls; and coming back with – Yaar, bahut maar ke rakhee hai.
Whenever he takes a call, I play a shooting game on my mobile.
We catch up.
How’s Maddy? Is it true about Vids and Gopalan? Pondy kahaan hai, bhai!?! Tere ko yaad hai...?!? Guess whom I ran into in NY? Rads ki bhi shadi ho gayi. Yea, I heard he got divorced some time back. Hmm, he’s running a start-up. She’s on a sabattical. Dude, check out his wife if you meet him! Fuck man, three years!
I skirt around Divya since I know.
He doesn’t skirt around Nidhi since he doesn’t.
‘How’s Nidhi?’
‘Yea... doing fine.’
‘Kahaan hai?’
‘London.’
‘Tum log shadi kab kar rahe ho?’
‘Hmm, I dunno... we’ve sort of...’
‘Don’t tell me you guys have broken up!’
‘Sort of...’
‘Abe, kya? Kaise? Fuck man! Everybody in the gang – true love to rahaa hi nahi.’
‘It’s a lon.. I mean...Hmm..’
‘I’m sure you must have been the culprit.’
Thanks for the moral support, pal.
‘Kisee aur ko dekh raha hai?’
‘Nope, taking a break.’
‘Abe kar le shadi, you’re 30 now!’
A 30something divorcee advising a 30something bachelor to get married.
‘Hmmm. How’s work?’
‘Hectic man, hectic. I have been awake yawn for the past 30 hours on this project!’
Phew.
‘What about you?’
‘Yea, can’t complain.’
I have been awake for the past 12 hours only.
‘So is XXX planning to go for an IPO soon?’
‘Dunno, haven’t told me yet.’
His Blackberry rings.
‘Hmmm... hmmm... ok. Aa raha hun.’
‘Dude, I have to leave for the presentation now. Catch you at the canteen?’
‘Cool.’

I drive into the campus. Sudda is nowhere around – still presenting I guess. The guards remember me and wave me in without asking me to sign anything, the canteen Prabhakar grins and embraces me, Chhuttan is shy and hides his face in his hands as he giggles when I tickle him. Prabhakar prepares a kadak chai for me and asks me a hundred questions – woh lambe wale saab kahaan hain? Aur Kholu? Sudda abhi aa raha hai? Shaadi ki?
I roam around the empty corridors.
I usually hate coming back to campuses. I feel lonely; all the guys I spent my times here with are gone and to the new guys I’m just a stranger. I was in college when this old guy landed up at my door in the morning and starts telling me about how he’d been in this room, years ago. And I felt really sad for him even tho’ he’d woken me up and everything.
That’s my point – why go over something that’s no more? Memories are never happy – they are always sad. Even when they have happy moments, you get sad coz those moments are not there anymore.
Sudda walks in like a filmstar: surrounded by fans. They jostle and try asking smart questions. Sudda has this face that he couldn’t care a fuck. A guy pushes forward and tells him that he’s Rank 2. Seriously – right there in front of everyone. Sudda steals a glance at me and can’t resist it. He puts on a very grave voice and says – ‘That means you’re not trying hard enough.’
I guffaw. Sudda and I barely scraped through.
Sudda drops on the chair, greets Prabhakar and yawns. The crowd disperses tho’ some wannabes lurk about. Eyeing a live top-notch IBanker.
I wonder what they think of me. They probably think I’m not even from here. If they do, they’ll probably think I am a loser.
I wonder what if I come to sell my company here – an obscure low-salary start-up. Probably not even the bottom-of-the-barrels will turn up. But I don’t feel shitty about that – placements have nothing to do with the real world.
Yawn yawn YAWNNN.
‘You wanna sleep?’
‘With whom?’
‘Is that what your standard of humor has fallen to?’
‘I have this really hot girl in my team – looks like a fucking Ms Venezuela. But she sleeps only with MDs.’
‘So how many years do you have to become one?’
‘Oh, lots.’
He nods his head sadly. Probably he thinks the girl won’t stick around till then.
‘What time is your flight?’
‘Huh... ah... 5 in the morning.’
How the hell can they live like that?
‘You sure you don’t want to crash somewhere?’
‘Nahi yaar, this is all the time I have. I can always catch a nap in flight.’
‘As you wish.’
‘Tere ghar par daaru padi hai?’
‘What do you think?’
‘Chal phir.’
He slaps his thigh and gets up and stretches.
YAAAAAWWWNNNN!



After a break-up...

Things that change

  1. No body calls you with a "Kahaan ho?" unless they want to catch a drink with you. (slightly exaggerated)
  2. You stop caring whether the toilet seat is up or not.
  3. The maid routine lasts a lot lesser in the morning.
  4. You can have a week old stubble and nobody cares.
  5. You smoke in the room; and not the balconies.
  6. You become a minor guest at the parties of married friends.
  7. You start looking; but nobody looks back at you now.
  8. Your phone bills reduce by 95%.
  9. You can have parties and binges till midnight and no one sulks in the other room.
  10. The mood swings from day to day are more wild.

Things that don't change

  1. The world still rotates.
  2. Your parents still love you.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Watching an old classic again

I think it's every cinema buffs favorite pasttime to scout for movies where the truly greats come together. Even Hoffman and DeNiro, perhas at their worst, in MeettheFockers can run a chill up your spine when you see them there together on the sceen and the entire oevres and history behind.

"On the Waterfront" - offers three greats - at their prime!
Lee J Cobb (Jury2 in 12 Angry Men and the legend of his Willy Loman that I have only heard about)
Brando, of course
and the brilliant Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night, Dr. Zhivago, Oklahoma - from my limited exposure to his works).

And I haven't even mentioned Karl Madsen!

Raw, brilliant, brave, groundbreaking, relevant: backed by acting of this class.
Watch this movi if you haven't. Also, read about its social context - why and how it was made.