Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Secret Agent
I was sitting on a beach, sipping lazily on the mojito that the waiter, who actually belonged to the Blue Panther gang, had served me, my mind like a labyrinth, wondering how to outwit my enemies next week in the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas, when I was stuck by a flash of lightening!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The 'story' of my life!
Here's how this is going to work(hopefully). Every day, my wife will be giving me 5 random words. I have to construct a story using those 5 words as the base. the words for today are:
Brook, Forest, Wizard, Cottage, Mount Crescent(what's that?). So, here goes nothing...
The Wizard Of Mount Crescent
Long long ago, in a forest not so far away(on Mount Crescent as a matter of fact, which is in New Hampshire), there lived a young Wizard named Stoppgappi. He was not an exceptionally great wizard, since he did not own a pointed hat(and made do with a baseball cap instead) or a flying broom(having to depend on his Hero Ranger bicycle for his transportation needs), but he was all the forest, it's denizens, and this author had, so we have to make do with him. Stoppgappi lived in a quaint cottage by a small brook in the forest, with no one to give him company except his Bai, Diana, who used to come in once a day every morning to do the dishes, scrub the floor, wash his clothes, and steal the 'desi ghee', in reverse order of preference!
Our story starts on a random winter morning, when Stoppgappi woke with the first knock of the Bai. He got out of his 'rajaai' and ran to get the door before she went back thinking(conveniently) that he wasn't home. As the Bai came in, the door remained open behind her. It was then that Stoppgappi noticed something amiss with the brook. He quickly slipped into his slippers and promptly slipped on the slippery floor, where the Bai had just started doing 'pocha'. But, being a wizard(even though an average one) has it's advantages. Since he had also slipped on his fur robe, he managed to escape unhurt, since the padding of the robe cushioned his fall.
Anyways, coming back to the brook, there was something weird about the colour of the water, it was blood red . Now everyone knows that wizards are the protectors of the forest and all the creatures living in it. And Stoppgappi took his responsibility very very seriously. He immediately asked the Bai to leave, locked his cottage, took out his cycle from the garage, and started cycling uphill to try and trace the source of the abomination. He toiled on and on for almost half the day, since Mount Crescent is a high peak, and finally reached the source of the brook. Unlike other brooks, this particular brook was coming out of a dark cave near the top the mountaion. Stoppgappi stopped his cycle, dismounted, threw up(it was quite a steep climb and he was not in the best of shape after all), took out his magic wand(he was a wizard, remember?), and started walking towards the cave. The blood in the brook had made him wary, and so he approached very very carefully.
As he entered the cave, tentatively skirting the water flowing out of it so that his new suede shoes would not get damaged, he spoke a spell softly while simultaenously switching on a battery-operated bulb on the tip of the wand. He could not illuminate his wand by magic, but the creatures in the forest need not know that. He walked on for around 200 metres through the dank, dark corridor, and suddenly, the darkness gave way to bright light, the cobwebs gave way to emulsion-painted walls, and his wariness gave way to horror. For inside a huge well-lit hall that he had stumbled into, he found.....Diana! Only, she was now at least 80 metres tall, and surrounded by 12 other females(for want of a better word), who were not that short themself!
"Diana, what is the meaning of all this?", cried out Stoppgappi as loud as he could, since he was not sure whether his voice would even reach her. But the cave was accoustically like a home theatre system, so his voice came out like that through a loudspeaker in a Ramlila. Diana looked down and noticed a speck, who, on closer inspection, seemed remarkably similar to her young master Stoppgappi. Now, if it were any other man, she would have immediately stomped him to powder, but this was her master, and she had, after all, eaten his salt(in addition to desi ghee of course). She mumbled a few words and immediately shrank to her 'normal' height. Stoppgappi was livid with anger."Diana, what have you been up to, and how many people have you killed that there is so much blood in the water?", asked Stoppgappi, full of righteous indignation. "Blood? Killed? What are you saying Stoppu baba?", bleated Diana in her meekest voice. The wizard was still bristling with anger, and started shouting at her again- "Don't pretend to be so inncocent Diana. The blood in the brook is sufficient evidence of your guilt!" It was then that Diana noticed the red colour of the water. And started laughing.....and laughing....and laughing!!!
Stoppgappi's expressions changed from anger, to surprise, to slight amount of fear. He was quite sure that he would be able to manage Diana and her friends under normal circumstances, but he was not sure he could take on a psycho woman who could grow up to height of 80 metres, especially on an empty stomach(he hadn't had time for breakfast, and had thrown up a few minutes ago, remember?). Diana put one hand into her pocket, and Stoppgappi stiffened. She was obviously going to take out some hideous weapon which she would use against him, and the wizard brought up his magic wand in anticipation, ready to say 7 different spells at a moment's notice to protect himself. Diana fumbled around in her pocket for a few seconds, and then, suddenly, took out her hand with a flourish. "What is this magic potion that you are holding in your hand", said the wizard, "I've never seen anything like this in my long and illustrious wizarding career of 6 months!" Diana walked towards him....and smiled. "This is known as a nail paint amongst you humans", said Diana. Stoppgappi stopped in his tracks,"You humans boley toh?" "You still haven't got it, hai na?". Diana said softly with what seemed to the wizard to be a menacing tone, "think about my name again, and you will get your answer. Diana, as in Daayan-a, I am actually a Daayan(demon)."
Stoppgappi almost fainted with fear, and if he had had his breakfast, I am sure he would have thrown up again, as it is, he felt bile fill his mouth. He had studied about these 'Daayans' in his 'Hideous creatures and how to handle them' class in wizarding school. The chapter on 'How to deal with Daayans' consisted of just one word: 'RUN'! But fear had frozen him in his tracks, his feet felt like lead, he tried to think of any spell that might help him escape from Diana, but his mind kept throwing up just one line-"Bhoot pishaach nikat nahi aawe, Mahavir jab naam sunaawe", from the Hanuman Chalisa, which, he had been told by his granny, was the best weapon to fight off ghosts and demons.
Diana took another step towards him. She had stopped laughing now. She was still hoding the nail paint in her hand, which she was pointing towards him like a gun. She took another step towards him, and Stoppgappi finally found the courage to start screaming! And while he was in the middle of this mother of all screams, he realized that there were many other screams mingling with his scream, 13 to be precise. He stopped screaming and realized that all the 'daayans' had a petrified look on their faces and were screaming their lungs out. "Silence", he shouted loudly enough to drown out their schemes, and there really was silence. "Now Diana, please tell me what is going on", he asked her in his sternest 'me Master you Bai' tone. And Diana started speaking...
"We are a family of 13 daayans, all sisters. Contrary to popular perception, we do not eat humans or animals, in fact, we are pure vegetarians, just like Brahmans/Gujjus/Marwaris/Jains amongst you humans. We have special powers that allow us to reduce our size from 0600 to 1800 hours. To earn our living, we work as Bais in various households during the day, and get back to our home(this cave) by the evening so that we do not get caught and lynched by humans, or devoured by animals . We are the last of our species, and just want to live out the rest of our days peacefully. So please please please don't hurt us or inform the other humans about us, after all, maine aapka namak khaaya hai."
Throughout this explanation, Stoppgappi was standing with his mouth agape, too flabbergasted to say anything. When Diana finally stopped, he found his tongue again,"I don't believe you because there's a critical flaw in your explanation." "What's that?. whimpered Diana. "The blood in the brook."
"Ohh that!", said Diana with a sigh of relief,"why do you think I was showing you this nailpaint? We got 50 tonnes of these yesterday from the market, to try on(aakhir daayan bhi insaan hoti hain, unke seene mein bhi dil hota ai, unki bhi kuchh tamannaayein hoti hain), and my sister Hidimba accidentally sat on the sack containing the nail paint this morning!"
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
This blog is not Lawaaris!
1. I am one of the laziest souls on Mother Earth, inertia being my middle name! I keep on procrastinating till I can, then just give up at times if too much time has passed or I have got too bored!
2. I don't convert to new ideas very easily, but once I am convinced of the strength and validity of an idea, I lend my complete, whole-hearted support to it!
3. I love the mountains much more than I love the sea. Maybe one reason is that I get exposed to a lot of sea here in Bombay, while mountains are a tad bit difficult to come by!
4. I call myself 'mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent'. That is because I am a pushover in most matters, especially in my interactions with my close friends. But there are occassions when I feel the urgent urge to assert myself, when unfortunately, instead of turning into Superman, I get all mixed up and become the Incredible Hulk instead!
5. I am incredibly bad at decision-making, especially in my day-to-day personal life. Often, the biggest decision facing me, with the potential of changing the destinies of nations is: Where should we have lunch today?
6. Despite being a self-proclaimed movie buff, I am yet to see some of the all-time greats of Indian and Western cinema, including Mother India and Mughal-e-Azam!
7. Mess tends to accumulate around me, and I notice it only when it has become quite unmanageable. My office desk is a typical case in point.
8. I find it very difficult to watch horror films, get quite scared after the movie is over because my over-active imagination comes into play. I'd slept with my room lights on when I had come back at night after watching Ramu's 'Bhoot' for example!
9. I am almost an anarchist when it comes to my views on the Indian Polity, the Govt. and it's interference in people's lives. And I am not referring to the big issues, I am talking about helmet laws for example- How can the Govt force me to wear a helmet? If I am involved in an accident and die, it is my problem, it is not affecting the Govt. in any way, so why force me?
That's about it for now, have to get back to work. It's a modest start, but a start nevertheless. Aage aage dekho hota hai kya :-)
May the Force be with you!
Labels: The punarjanam?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
A gifted happy birday and more- Part I
I am not even going to attempt to explain why I haven't been writing on my blog. I'm sure that by now everyone remembers my usual excuses by heart! Will come straight to the events(pre and post) surrounding a landmark day in the history of the world, the 30th happy birday of yours truly. The buildup to the occassion was full of remarks from various 'friends' about how old '30' is! I often went into a flashback mode, remembering Jeetendra starring in the 30-plus capsules advertisement, and me and my friends talking about how people over 30 would actually be needing pills to survive the day! This was nostalgia I could easily do without. Anyways, as the great Lord Budhha said,"Que Sera Sera", so I started planning on my happy birday celebrations quite happily.
While planning the celebrations, a logistical difficulty came in the way. I was leaving for Bangalore on 28th evening(28th being my happy birday, which one was it??? Ohhh yes, 30th!), and so couldn't throw a party for my office friends on that day. Chose a compromise formula: Party for office public on the 27th to herald in the day, and party on 28th night for personal public in Bangalore. In the process, the personal public who were in Bombay and hence couldn't be at either of the parties would have to settle for just my best wishes!
27th night: 9PM onwards.
Venue: My boss' house.
Some 10 people went to my boss ka ghar straight from office. I didn't want to take everyone out for drinking since 2 such parties would have broken my back financially, and I would have had to girvi rakho my do beegha zameen in my village but I would not be able to reclaim the land ever, beacuse hand-held rickshaws are no longer present in Calcutta! Nothing much to report from the party, had fun, got lots of gifts, cut a cake at midnight... Will come to the consolidated gift-list a bit later.
28th night: 10PM onwards.
Venue: Firangi Paani and Sahab Sindh Sultan in Bangalore.
Reached Bangalore at around 9.20PM, our flight having been delayed by around an hour. Two people had come to pick us up, some 6-7 had been drinking in Firangi Paani(a pub) since 8PM. The plan was that we all would have a couple of drinks there, and then go to an attached posh Indian restaurant called Sahab Sindh Sultan(I think)! Anyways, we reached the venue at around 10PM, and then....the legendary partying spirit of Bangalore kicked in. Met up with everyone and had just started drinking when a waiter from the restaurant came and 'requested' us to move to our table in the restaurant since the last food order was at 10.45! We tried to stall, but one of the greatest unsolved mysteries since Creation is: How do you reason with a stuck gramophone record, otherwise known as a Bangalore restaurant waiter? 10.55- we were out of the pub and inside the restaurant, being forced to give 'last orders' at gunpoint. The funniest part: We were kicked out of the restaurant at exactly 11.45PM since 'the cops were coming'! Viva Bangalooru!!!
Thus started our Bangalore New Year's Trip. This was just the beginning. On this trip, we were a part of our own version of Bigg Boss(Big Brother's Indian version), and Animal Planet. Watch this space for more on what I have labelled as 'Our Big Fat Soap Opera'.
May the Force be with you.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Main Zinda Hoon
So, where have I been??? Nowhere actually. Just haven't got down to writing, mostly because of the lack of time, and to some extent due to pure, unadulterated laziness. My apologies to everyone who has been writing sarcastic comments about this on my blog as well as on their own :-)
This has been one long weekend, with just Monday spoiling the opportunity for getting 5 holidays in a row. And yes, I did not go home for Diwali this year also!!! The idea was to rest in Bombay. But as always, holidays are becoming more hectic than work-days, what with all the socializing, drinking sessions, movie watching et al!
Watched both Don and Jaan-e-mann over the weekend...obviously! Don on Friday evening and Jaan-e-mann on Saturday afternoon. Didn't have too many expectations from either of them, but one of them did manage to surprise me.
Don first, since it came first in the chronological order of my watching it. Frankly, I still haven't got the point- why did Farhan Akhtar make this movie? I am sure that an acclaimed director like him, with an established scriptwriter for a father, would not find it too difficult to find an original script on which to make a movie. But as the great Lord Buddha said,"Vinaash kaale vipreet buddhi"(When disaster is destined, you start making stupid decisions- very loosely)! Did Farhan not know that people will compare this movie with the original at every step? Was he not aware that SRK is no Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka is no Zeenat Aman, and worst of all, Arjun Rampal is no Pran- Koi Chance Nahi! The characters were the same, the dialogues were the same, the songs were the same, so what did Farhan Akhtar have to do for making the movie? This guy seems to be lazier than even me! One twist(a good one, I must admit) does not, and cannot make this movie original. All said and done, it is as good or as bad as a remixed song, and we all know my views on them!!!
Jaan-e-mann, on the other hand, was a revelation. It is a movie that everyone who appreciates and enjoys Bollywood kitsch will absolutely love, and that is the precise reason why my old bete-noire Mayank Shekhar(who, incidentally, does reviews for OUR channel)has given it just 1.5 stars while giving 3.5 stars to Don. He is the same guy who trashed Main Hoon Na on the front page of Mid Day on the day of it's release. IT's all a matter of the right sensibilities. But wait, I digress. Jaan-e-mann is a movie which you should not watch. Yes, you read me right. It is a movie which you should allow the wonder-struck child in you to watch. It is an experimental movie in terms of the treatment, and if the windows of your mind are open, trust me you will laugh through the movie and clap joyfully after every two minutes. It is one of those movies. But I should not forget to mention Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan- they make a great pair, as always. Preity looks old in places. The songs, if you listen to them on a CD, are very ordinary. But within the movie, they are just perfect in terms of the music, the lyrics and above all, the picturization.
That's all for now folks. A belated Happy Diwali and non-belated Eid Mubarak to all of you. May the Force be with you.
p.s. A note for my non-Hindi speaking readers: The title of this post means- I am Alive!
Monday, September 04, 2006
Munna Bhai meets Hrishida
Don't have anything in particular to write, have been kept quite busy by work, and hence have hardly had any time to myself. But one of the fringe benefits of working in the entertainment industry, especially a Hindi film channel is that watching the much-anticipated big releases becomes a must! Hence, saw KANK on the night it was released, and the same was the case with Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Enough has been written about KANK in various fora by a variety of commentators, and there is really not much that I can add to pan the movie! Two anecdotes are all that I want to list down:
a) While watching the film, heard 2 girls, sitting in different parts of the hall, say aloud the same thing: "I wish I had a husband like Abhishek(the character)!
b) Towards the end of the movie, when the soporific title song is playing, I simply dozed off for 5 minutes! I know it is pretty insulting for any film, but I just couldn't help it!
Lage Raho Munna Bhai, on the other hand, was everything that I was expecting, and more! I have said it before and I am saying it again, Vidhu Vinod Chopra is one filmmaker who is a genius in the art of storytelling. Even when he produces a movie, you can clearly see his stamp on the film. But Rajkumar Hirani deserves full credit for scripting and directing this modern masterpiece. What a film! More than anything else, the reason I loved the film so much was that it is so 'Indian' in nature! The values that we grew up on- the values of honesty, non-violence, unconditional love, being happy at small things, that somewhere went missing in our mad rush to overtake the world...those values find a place of pride in LRM! That's about as feel-good as it can get! As for the acting- Sanjay Dutt rocks as Munna Bhai(as usual), Vidya Balan proves that Parineeta was no fluke, by playing one of the most lovable female lead characters in recent times. But it is Arshad 'circuit' Warsi who is the real star of the film. Simply brilliant- amazing timing, voice modulation, and expressions. Just listen to him in the brilliantly picturized 'Samjho ho hi gaya' song, you'll understand what I am saying!
Hrishida passed away last week. No, I did not know him personally, but it seems like someone very close to me is no more. His movies have made me smile for so long, it seems as if he used to make movies for me, so that I could laugh when the chips were down. His movies have made me cry so often, it was almost as if he understood that my emotions needed a vent! Amitabh Bachchan acted in 8 films directed by Hrishida, the most he did with any director(jointly with Manmohan Desai, and he did some of his best work, some of it not very widely known) with him. Most of us have seen him in Chupke Chupke, Abhimaan and Mili. See him in Alaap if you ever get the opportunity! No one could make Dharmendra look as good as Hrishida. If you don't believe me, watch Anupama and Satyakam! Rajesh Khanna was a superstar, but he was a great actor only in Hrishida's films like Anand, Bawarchi and Namak Haram(All right, I admit, he was very good in Asit Sen's Khamoshi and Shakti Samanta's Aradhana and Amar Prem also, but you get the picture!)
Rajkumar Hirani openly admits that the Munna Bhai series is spiritually inspired by Anand and the whole genre of Hrishida movies. Somehow, his statement doesn't surprise me! May your soul always keep smiling Hrishida, and thanks for all the smiles that you gave us :-)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Weirdos from another planet!
The other reason I don't even need to repeat, it's my standard excuse :-)
Anyways, while I was away, I was tagged by AFJ(who herself has been out of action for centuries), to list down six weird things about myself. Not too difficult a task, people who know me would say! So, here it is, in no particular order:
1) If someone comments on my food when I am in the process of eating it, I leave the food item there and then. Don't like anybody saying "don't eat this or you'll become fat" kind of things!
2) I talk to myself, aloud! Actually, I don't believe this is weird at all. I have checked it up with a lot of people and I now have a theory on this. The theory is: Almost everyone talks aloud to himself/herself, but only a few of us come out of the closet and admit it openly.
3) I have this violent hatred towards that green leafy food(food???) item that we call dhaniya, the Maharshtrians call kothambir, and the English speaking world knows as coriander or cilantro. In fact, I am a member of this global online community called ihatecilantro.com! Can't stand even one leaf in my food, and am known to return food in restaurants if I detect a single leaf in it, despite me having warned the waiter while placing the order itself.
4) Whenever I am agitated or nervous, I start rubbing my hands together. This habit has rubbed off on non-agitated, non-nervous times also, so you will often see me rubbing my hands together for no apparent reason. In many circles, I am recognized by my hand-rubbing habit rather than my face!
5) I have this inexplicable 'need' to come to office by 10AM everyday, howsover late I might have stayed up at night, working or partying. What makes it even more weird is that it is perfectly acceptable in our office to come in at any time, as long as you are delivering your work according to deadlines.
6) And finally, my OCD for grammar- it's too well-documented for me to repeat :-)
That does it. Got stuck towards the middle, and for a minute, I actually thought that I had only 3-4 weird habits. Then I introspected and said, "Naaaaah. not possible!" The balance ones flowed quite easily after that.
That's all folks, I hope I don't wait for another month before writing my next post!
May the Force be with you.