Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writer's Block

I am having a serious bout of what may be termed as “Writers Block “. I just cannot ,for the life of me, find an issue worth writing about ! A maniac realization has started creeping over my faculties that perhaps all is well with the world and all that has to be written about anything has been written already and there is nothing new to write about !

I look around myself and find that all grave issues have already been discussed threadbare and solutions galore have been proposed. The rains have poured all the cats and dogs for the next 10 years already, and nobody wants to hear anything about the roads anyway. Even the chief minister has given up on the Gurgaon roads and is now talking about "Pod Taxis" which would somehow hop, skip and jump from A to B.

I refuse to write about the Commonwealth games in reverence to the great Mani uncle, whose ardent admirer I have become by now. I wanted to explore the thrills and excitement of the trials on the dedicated traffic lanes for the CWG but one look at the forlorn look of my colleagues at office who have started appearing at rather odd hours makes the ink of my writing pen dry up faster than a sponge can absorb water ! Since I don’t drive to my office –I have the luxury of being able to walk to it – I have not been sensitized to the thrills of CWG trials ! Can''t write much about it, then !

I wanted to write about Obama Bhaiya also, commending on his astute statesmanship in making American companies more competitive in the global market by going after outsourcing .I almost wrote a sequel to “One Night @ The call centre" where Manju alias Michelle no longer has to explain to a citizen of God’s Own Country that his computer will not work unless he puts the darned power chord in the darned plug, the explanation done over copious exchanges of information involving the serial number, the operating system, the Hard disk capacity and the weather at Ohio; the bit about the power plug being discussed only at the fag end. But then I decided against writing about it because Chetan Bhagath would be rather unhappy if, I of all people, wrote a sequel to his novel, and what about Vidhu Vinod Chopra- would he really give me due credits when he would make a movie out of this ? Nah ! It was getting too complicated and besides, other than the thunderous acceptance speech that Obama Bhaiya gave after he won the elections, practiced and rehearsed over many years I am sure, there is not much that can be written about him !

I then turned to the entertainment industry and lo and behold, there was Sallu Bhai in his “Chhichhora” best . He broke all box office records and for once I thought that he has now found his true calling under the sun, that of an entertainer ,after having done with bouts of creating controversies either with his fist, his mouth, his gun or his SUV.But just as I was about the start writing the paean, he went about giving discourses on 26/11 and I then got confused .There went another topic out of the window.

Damn my writers block !! I need to break free of it !

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Spot on"- Uncle Mani !!

It’s been a while since I last blogged. In an attempt to break the lofty traditions of glorious inconsistency , I have been feebly trying to put thoughts into words for quite a while. The proverbial distance between the cup and the Sip simply kept on increasing !

Quite a lot of water has flown under lots of bridges in the last couple of months. Personally I had the tragedy of my Father passing away in July. Death, although inevitable and a certainty which no one can wish away at some point of time , has a way of reminding the fragility and finiteness of life. It brought home, to me at least, the fact that we are a minuscule event in the giant cycle of endlessness-our own lives but small journeys from point A to B, to be concluded, while the grand scheme of things has a much more grander agenda. The journey from A to B is best lived as fully and as lively as possible, without taking life too seriously !

Lately, thanks to facebook, primarily, I have been witness to a very intense phase of “reconnection to old friends” ,mostly from the college days ! This seems to have increased lately in Geometric Progression and I am definitely thrilled about this ongoing phase of buddy rediscovery ! It is nice to reconnect to folks after good 20 years or so, and very satisfying to note that you are not the only one afflicted with an increasing girth in the wrong places! . Also satisfying to note the increasing “face value” of the chappies, the increasing value rendered by a hairline which refuses to maintain status-quo with the passage of time. And equally shocking to note a few souls who by some strange quirk of nature seemed not to have changed a bit- yes, this species too exists !

The rains have created havoc in the “minimum” city that I reside in- the craters in the roads larger than many of the cars that try to ride over them. I have declared to my son that the Martians are about to land in Gurgaon and the craters are a conscious attempt by the administration to provide them a homely feeling when their aircraft lands. With common wealth games around the corner, you do anything to give meaning and life to “Atithi Devo Bhaba” ! He is a happy man now and looks at each crater with interest and we don’t crib about them any more .

The Common wealth games have of course created immense wealth to motley crowd of politicians, officials, bureaucrats and businessmen. I have nothing more to add to what has been already been said. Of course, I had to develop a grudging respect for our great Mani Uncle- it was he who was the spoilsport from the very beginning. While I never admired his slimy ways, I had to concede that he was bang on this time, when he advised folks to stay miles away from the Wealthy games !

Rahman’s music too seemed to have got afflicted with the mediocrity that has come to reflect the games. My very personal opinion after hearing the theme song is that he has been and is, capable of much more creativity . This is strictly my personal opinion, mind you, and I don’t mean to disrespect those who for some reasons might actually like the song and naturally take umbrage at my “distorted” sense of music !

Maybe we expected too much ? We always do, huh ?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stiff Upper Lip

I have been toying with the idea of doing something constructive with my life- you know like learning new things, going to new places, rediscovering oneself, so to speak.Some of the options crossing my mind include learning Thai Kickboxing, playing the banjo, bungee jumping,ice skating -you know, something really exiting and bindaas,which would give me a complete image makeover. Yes ! An image makeover is what I am aspiring for now ; enough of living life in the ignominy of predictable mundane half witted existence that characterise mortal life ,more so if you are the hoi polloi

Image makeover ,experts have opined, is not the easiest of goals to achieve.Especially at an age where the personal characteristics-physical, mental and emotional-are already stamped and sealed,at least to the outside world.You are always preceded by your image-in society,in your office, in the bar-wherever ! "Aha… here comes the bald man with the round belly who is an insufferable moron who is no good and who has just not made it !" Or maybe here comes the hunk who is an 8 abs wonder with 8 micro gram of grey matter tucked somewhere in the knees but who has a gorgeous lady for company ! Or here comes Chatur who can rattle off encyclopedia Britannica at the drop of your hat, can snortle at your ignorance and who can teach you a thing or two about advanced calculus without really understanding what it all means ! You see what I am driving at-the reputation or images of these gentlemen precede their arrival on the scene .Typically, you would not imagine the hulk to be reading "The Theory of Relativity" during bedtime, nor would you imagine the fellow with the beer belly frolicking in the company of gorgeous ladies . You would stick to the stereotype.

Therefore, it becomes significantly important in life to work towards an image makeover.It does wonders to your self esteem,besides reigning in your self compos,and providing a much needed dose of healthy wonderment and excitement. Oh Boy! The joy of watching someone eat his own words when he realises that he is actually talking to B when he thought he was talking to A while B is a later manifestation of A and A and B in spirits and person are the same person and A became B because he wanted to do an image makeover ! What fun these simple predicaments can provide !

Coming to image makeovers, I am informed that the easiest and the shortest way to success is to cultivate the Stiff Upper Lip ! Yes, Jeeves might have taught Bertie Wooster a thing or two about the stiff upper lip, but I am nor really referring to the Angreji version here. I am alluring more to the Desi version, where a stiff upper lip is something you develop when you suddenly become superior in life. Maybe it is a promotion, or a material success, or even a feigned ascent up the social ladder. The trick involves suddenly walking with your nose a good two inches higher in the air, and generally ignoring all and sundry that your were bum-chums with even till yesterday ! You strut around with an extremely superior air around you and stop responding to greetings and being called by your name. You " look through" people when you cross them, and make a slight click with your heels after the crossing is over.You have no inclination to acknowledge that the other human being is also, well, a human being and the look you give him, even if perchance, is one that you would reserve for the tiniest ant that ventured your way.

And thus your image changeth over !

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Once Upon a Time ....

Once upon a time there was no mobile phone.
There was no way then that someone could check your whereabouts with a "where are you" call or SMS (“Where the hell are you" if the tracer is a loved one).Going to the bar really meant freedom to drink at will and to let the creative side of your brain create the most convincing alibis to explain that you were miles away from the bar! Today, even if you ignore the call or SMS, technically you are still traceable within a resolution of 1 square meter and that holds true even if you dip the phone in a large pitcher of beer.

You also had the thrilling experience of booking a trunk call if you wanted to speak to someone in some other town or city. Your success or failure of getting the "trunk call" materialize depended either on how loudly you barked the order while booking the call , or how much sexy you managed to sound , depending on the gender and digestive status of the operator taking the booking. The excitement of waiting and jumping at the expected ring of the phone could be matched only by the sudden appearance of the operators voice in the middle of your animated cooing once the 3 minute slab would get over, asking..umm..err..barking if you wanted to extend .

Night life had a much more exciting meaning then when phone rates were halved after 10 pm.The ability to talk cheap, with an operator listening in to your intimate conversation, while a hundred people lined up outside the public call office (PCO) all praying and wishing that the telephone chord strangled you for talking so long-all added up to a night life much more exciting than the predictable IPL parties that you have nowadays!

Once upon a time, there was no cable TV.
You did not have to fall off the chair due to any "Breaking News" informing you that Shahrukh Khan's Cat eloped with Mamata Banerjee's dog. You did not have to reach for the deodorant when the enlightened panel discussion dwelled on the sweat (equity) given by a minister to his fair friend. You did not necessarily believe that you could have been a grasshopper in your previous life as there was no hypnotizing voice suggesting anything to that effect to anyone. You did not hear thousands of singers who seemingly sing better than the original singers and you did not think that dancing was an extreme adventure sport with a statutory warning not to practice it at home preceding the dance programs. You remained pretty naive about the love between the saas and the bahu and you of course never saw any wardrobe malfunction. You were a step behind in the evolutionary progression of mankind and you remained happy with a bi weekly Chitrahaar . Krishi Darshan was the closest you came across as adult content on TV.

Once upon a time there was only the Ambassador Car.
You had to be incredibly rich and influential to own and drive one. Driving one was a test of character and muscle, and only the most gifted could go from point A to point B without losing sanity, hair or a combination of both. The front seat was way more romantic than today's darned bucket seats, provided you knew the difference between the gear and the pretty lady cozying up to you in the single piece seat. Life was ever so much more exciting-your brakes could fail, your gears could get jammed, your engine could fall off on a steep downhill drive and you did have the possibility of experiencing going left and right at the same instance of time and space.

And then once upon a time there were people who did not write insane blogs :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tweeter takes over the world

Tweeter has taken over the World.

All of a sudden, you have kingdoms crumbling through a "tweet" . You have accusations, counter accusations, explanations, demands, exclamations, exasparations; all being tweeted away by the high and mighty, by the dull and sundry! And there are millions (I am told) who are lapping it all up -gleefully! You have film stars tweeting away letting you know when they are doing the undescribable, you have ministers tweeting away banal and sundry details , you have other ministers and politicians who have no clue what tweeting is all about also climbing the "tweeting" bandwagon saying something or the other about tweeting ! At this rate, "tweet" is soon going to replace the most common four letter word which so far has been indispensible and irreplaceable.

Few samples of common phrases in the tweeted world when the mighty four letter word is taken over by the mightier five letter word, tweet - "What the tweet!!”, when you are surprised, "I got Tweeted by the car dealer" to express fraud, "Tweet You" to express aggression, "He tweeted up again" to express incompetence,” what the Tweet is going on here?" to explain displeasure, etc, etc.

You get the gist, I presume! A little birdie told me that all the "tweeting" controversies are actually funded by tweeter-it is a part of their advertising budget.

While Tweet is still an English word which I understand, my aging grey cells have given up on some of the newer terms and phrases which have popped up. Take "Sweat Equity" for instance. Despite all my research, I have not been able to understand "Sweat Equity”. But I am sure it is a big and important thing because a minister had to go because of this ungodly smelly thing called sweat equity .Before you can say thundering typhoons I am sure they will come up with a matching term like body odour debt or something equally serious and alarming! God save the person who then gets caught giving about body odour debts to beautiful women ! I do feel morose at times at my lack of understanding of these contemporary terms and phrases and I attribute this to the global warming which is drying up my grey cells! You know, one always likes to keep up with the Jones in terms of intellectual exchanges of opinions at the water cooler, but how the "tweet" does one talk intellectually about Sweat Equity??

And while I am sweating it out in the unbearable Delhi heat, I am planning to have my own tweeter account today! I do need to keep up with the Jones, sweaty or otherwise!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reality thy name is Sansani

It was an usual Monday afternoon lunch at the office with some colleagues. The Monday Blues had typically been replaced by weekly bewilderment by the time lunch time manifested itself.There were few people going about with purposeful looks on their faces- grim determined looks radiating confidence and purpose, while a majority of the populace had the bewildered look which I allured to earlier. Amongst the din the TV on the wall was showing images of the "breaking news" of one of the Sansani channels-the news reader exuding dollops of suspense and sensations pulsating with a ear splitting high pitched voice. The overall effect would have made Ramsay Brothers proud- but that's probably also the reason why Ramsay brothers have stopped making horror films- they got replaced by sansani news !

The news grab was showing the "debate" on the Women's Reservation Bill to be presented to the parliament.The camera zeroed in to some "parliamentarians" shouting , thumping their desks and jumping over each other ,which were followed by exciting scenes of objects being hurled. I could make out some of the objects as microphones, paper sheaf's, etc. Something flew real fast which almost looked like a chair.I could never be sure on that one ! Maybe it was a table !

My colleague remarked that if he had his way, he would enforce a "seat belt" system in the parliament- belts which would get locked once the esteemed parliamentarian would manage to squeeze his/her rear into the seat and which would get opened only at the end of the day .I hastened to remind him that that would possibly make parliamenatry debates less exciting and pave way for the return of Ramsay Brother films, and he had to then chose his piece of entertainment- he could not have both ! The purposeful look on his face was instantly replaced by the bewildered one , and he quietly went about playing with his lunch.

Speaking of TV shows, if sansani news ( they call it insightful news) were the creme de la creme of all entertainment programs, they are closely followed by the reality shows on air these days. "What about Saas -Bahu shows?" you ask me. "Nah…they ain't interesting any more. A little bird told me that all the Saas and Bahus worldwide have made peace with each other and all that oozes out when they cross each other's path is kindness and love, with no evidence of animosit√© being manifested at all . Thus, the Saas Bahu shows could not sustain any more, and reality TV has replaced the same". Ekta Kapoor is currently jobless.

Today you have reality shows on anything- your imagination is the only limit."Musical Talent Hunts" , "Past Life Investigations " ( I badly wanted to take part in one but they refused me on suspicious grounds), " Dance competitions ", "Bone Breaking competitions" , "Dating Shows ", "Dating Catastrophes shows", "Swayamvar" show ( ones in which no body gets married eventually) "Swayamvar" shows ( ones in which some marries all or all marries someone), "divorce shows", "pre divorce shows", "post divorce shows", etc, etc. Coming soon, I believe, are "Fired from jobs" shows, "Shiny Bald Head Talent Search" shows, "Future Life Investigation" shows, "Bathroom Idols" show,"Size Zero to Size 10" shows(Kareena kapoor is the hostess for the Size 10 show ),"Office Politics" show( they search for the most slimy top gun) ,"Kitchen Fights" shows and "Best Cows in the Traffic "reality show.

I have expressed my willingness to participate in any of the above shows, in the either capacity of participant or host . I have approached all the production houses and am currently waiting for my big break ! After so many years, I have realized that that is the job I really want to do - the calling of my liking !

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Light,and the Fight !

It's been now almost a month since I last posted any blog. Caught up in the business of life the thoughts ,albeit rampant, never materialized into the bits and bytes of the written word. Swirling thoughts popped up only to get buried in the mundane absurdities of a life going about it's daily business of existence.

While most thoughts never quite made it to this article, a few did ! And in no particular order :

The High Beam ! Yes, I wish the beam of my car was higher and stronger than all other cars. This is prompted by the fact that my driving sanity gets reduced to a pulp the moment I set out to drive at night. I normally keep my headlights on low beam, as is I guess expected in any City Driving. But very soon I start wishing for the most powerful, the most "high" light source to be available in my car. Usually the sequence of events is as follows: (a) The opposite driver is coming at me with all his lights blazing ! (b) I signal by flicking my lights in an attempt to appeal to his good senses to keep the beam low (c) My signals have absolutely no effect on the resolute proponent of the high beam(d) I start wishing that my car had a battery of lights which I could switch on, then, and scare the living daylights of the oncoming driver !
The other day, Pappu was sitting with me in the passenger seat when he was witness to my demeanor changing from the normal to the insane . On being prodded, I told him that I get irritated when people drive on high beams right even in a well lit road !

Pappu could not believe that I actually drove with my lights low by default ! He was aghast at my "timidity" and advised me to knock off the low beam switch of the lights. "Arre".. he told me in utmost disgust.."in Delhi,you need to be aggressive when you drive ! Otherwise you will be pushed out of the road !

Success-thy name is controversy ! It is interesting to note some of the recent events when it comes to success and controversy. As soon as 3-idiots was released there was this big hullabaloo about writer credits etc. Personally I was siding Chetan Bhagath, more because I thought the issue was more about grace and humility. Whatever be your thoughts, post controversy, not only did the movie did superbly,but the sale of the book also shot up ! Coincidence ?

This was soon followed by MNIK ,Sharukh Khan and the various Senas ! While the whole controversy was at it's peak, the TV stations increased their TRPs, the Newspapers did not have to search for a catchy headline and the Sena got a heavy dose of coverage,not to mention the awesome opening which the film garnered. In the end, they all went laughing to the bank , while you and I took sides ! Coincidence ??

I sorely need a controversy now, to spice things up !

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Republic,and the Fog

The first month of the new year is almost over and the year is now longer new ! I realize that my phone's inbox is still full of "Happy New Year" messages sent during Christmas and New Years' eve, and it's time I deleted them to make some space.I also got a few during the Republic Day, wishing me a "Happy Republic Day". I of course thank the sender for thinking about me and having selected me from his phonebook before pressing the "send" button.

The "Republic" that we live in is of course 60 years old of being a republic, and that is no mean a feat. Not sure how "happy" we are allowed to be while celebrating this day,but frightened and gullible we surely seem to be getting. There are increased warning of "don't go to a mall some loony might blow himself and all of you alongside". Crossing state borders is increasingly difficult because the cops put up amazingly complicated barricades which of course slows you down considerably, but I have my doubts as to how many terrorists have they really nabbed this way ! Some trains were late by as much as 30 hours- they were advised not to travel during the night as someone feared that some other loonies might blow up the tracks. I am not being cynical about these efforts- human life is indeed precious and anything that can help lives to be saved , however ancient, however imperfect, however inefficient, is definitely worth the effort ! So that we can all live and wish each other "Happy Republic Day" and "Happy Independence Day " the next time too.

The other topic which took some prominence in the month of January is the dreaded Delhi fog.Conversations would always veer towards how intense the fog has been this time ! Many maintained that this was the Worst ever; it so happens that this train of thought is usually repeated every year by the proponents of these thoughts. Animated discussions happened over whether you could see ahead of an arm or ahead of the nose ! Airlines go bonkers and the blasted CAT III never works - it was never meant to , anyway ! There is always a sense of excitement and impending calamity - this particular feeling espoused by many a office goers who secretly hope that the dark fog may engulf the office building in such a blanket of impenetrability that no mortal can enter the premises for a good one month, at least . This feeling is usually the strongest between 7 to 8 am,every day, after which resignation to fate sets in .

Let's see what February has in store.May the cellphone operaters beat their last years sales from messages spreading " Happy Valentines' Day ".We don't seem to be having a "Pink Chaddi Campaign" this year- perhaps more exciting events are in store !!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Few Good Heads

"Papa, why are you bald?" my 8 year old son asked with innocent curiosity .

I was left groping for an appropriate reply which could satisfy his curiosity.Various thoughts flashed across my mind- androgenic alopecia,alopecia areata,alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis,etc,etc The grey cells effortlessly churned out various technical terms, symptoms, cause effects, etc, etc.I was on familiar grounds on these technicalities and I was about to rattle out the information when it struck me that probably none of these would really answer the "why" part of the question rendered earlier.

Baldness,after all, is something that the best minds in science have not been able to conquer,yet ! Many a fine heads went completely bald trying to figure out a solution to this eternal question; a mystery which hasn't been solved yet.

The onset of baldness is always accompanied by a sense of abject and complete denial.The phenomenon initially manifests itself in the form of some stray hair found in pillows and combs.The subject ( a term which we will use to describe the person who is afflicted) tends to initially ignore the phenomenon altogether and on increase of severity, usually maintains that the he is not the owner of the said hair and sometimes tends to attribute the presence to subnormal and paranormal happenings.

Some "subjects" maintain this demeanour silently while others are more vocal about this. They reject the notion outright and any other person suggesting that indeed the hair loss could be attributable to the "subject" can sometimes be subjected to violent outbursts of denials . "It just can't happen to me", maintains the "subject".

The above stage may last a couple of years, after which comes the stage of grim realization. This is when the "subject" starts realizing that his combs are running rather easily through his head, and dimly lit rooms get somewhat lighter when they enter such rooms, the natural laws of reflection having started to take effect by now.This stage is further characterized by mood swings, mournful sighs and bland looks at nothingness. The search engines start cranking , and the Internet ,the library and all other information sources are searched meticulously for a panacea.

The subsequent stage is one of hope. This is where the "subject" believes whole-heartedly that there "must" be a cure for this.Even if it hasn't worked for the whole humanity, the subject firmly believes that "he" is different and all medicines which did not work for anyone will surely work for him. That is when the medical economy gets a hearty boost, and any pill or potion which promises any sort of hair revival get their sales numbers met.Some subjects go through this stage surreptitiously while others are more forthcoming and their attempts visible.No medicine is spared, no oil is left untouched, and no advertisements from " Miracle Hair Growth Center" is unread .

The branded and advertised pills and potions are used interchangeably with "home remedies" suggested by various good Samaritans. These can get pretty elaborate and I shall spare you the details. Suffice to say that common ingredients includes eggs,onions, lemons, cucumber,ginger,chillies, etc. The "subject" is by this time best left unmonitored and uncontrolled , as failure to do so results in unpredictable repercussions.

All this while, the dimly lit rooms which I mentioned earlier now get considerably brighter when the subject enters the same. The combs are rarely needed now,although the subject still possesses and uses one.

The following stage is akin to that of salvation, or "moksha" . By now, the "subject" throws away the pills and potions. Various theories espousing the fashion worthiness of male baldness does the rounds including one which maintains that some bald males are attractive to women, a theory which has many hopeful takers amongst the males but has not been proven yet.Flattering similarities with Yul Brynner and others of his ilk are discussed and disseminated.This is a stage of acceptance for some of the subjects ,and passive resignations for the others.

And then to a very few souls, enlightenment strikes, and the answer to the greatest mystery of mankind emerges. Yes, to a very few,select subjects.

I turn to me son and reply "You see, God made a few good heads, and the rest-he covered them with hair ".

My son gave me an incredulous look, nodded his head, and walked away.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Grand Scheme of Things..

Perchance I happened to flip through albums of old photographs kept tucked away in some remote corners of cupboards not opened very frequently.The act was probably prompted by a sudden desire to go back to the past.Inexplicable and irrational, but these thoughts do appear now and then.

The photographs date way back to my childhood. Digital cameras were not in vogue those days and the photographs had the old world charm of film photographs aging gracefully with time . Aging ??

Yes, the photos are aging ! Some of them have curled up at the corners,while some have got stuck to each other in facing pages of the album.There are some black and white photographs taken while I was probably a toddler. Some of them are now turning Sepia .All of them hold stories of ages gone by, of sunny days and rainy nights, of happy contentment and abject miseries. Stories of days bygone, some distant and almost a blur in the memory, while some still fresh and crisp.

In today's fast paced life, rarely do we get time to get nostalgic. Demands of staying alive today and securing a future often obliterates the past. For some, the past is something best forgotten and done with, while for some it holds many a fond memories .

Faced with the various predicaments of life now, suddenly the past showed me the answer. After all, I did survive yesterday, so there is every probability that I will survive tomorrow as well . I lived through so many years, seen so many smiles, seen so much sadness, so there is every probability that I will continue to do so in the years to come. Our lives are a minuscule event in the grand scheme of things, and if you care to step out of "yourself" just for a while, you will realize that it really does not matter ! To anyone ! Yes, all our sorrows, all our happiness , all our pains, all our bliss- they are just small specks in the endlessness of time and space.

And so, if these things really do not matter,then why worry about them ?

Don't worry.. Be happy !