Saturday, July 30, 2005

Despo II

You won't believe who else they roped in for Desperate Housewives promotion- Karan Johar!
Well, he's reinvented himself with an OLD UNCLE look (His hair is a homogenous mixture of white and black...and the gay feel is starkly noticeable)I know I sound 60, but fashion has really hit its low-point. Is looking OLD and CRINKLY fashionable now ? You know..I really don't understand today's people...with the generation gap and all.
Three conclusions I've drawn within the last minute :
If you are naive' and read both these posts, you'll think I am obsessed with Karan Johar, Desp. Housewives or both. Well, thats not the case.
If you are like me, then you will feel a built-up urge to kill the subject (not me, Karan Johar!). I am proud of you.
If you are a news-reporter, you can go and blab about how thousands of bloggers are reshaping the world with their views. I can assure you at least 6 people read this and 12 pretend to do so. Thats quite a huge fan following.

Life's dull and revolving sluggishly around 2 planets - my office-life and my home-life. I can't wait to get back to Kharagpur. After that I can complain about my life at kgp and hence crib ad infinitum....sigh..


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Desperate Housewives

It has such a conspicuous title that 'Friday 10p.m' got stuck in my head. The journey from a cynical "what crap" opinion to a "I am looking forward to the Friday 10p.m show" was quite pleasant. There were a few bumps on the road. First and foremost was the active print-media propaganda (courtesy: Delhi Times). This TOI's supplement suffers from a chronic sex disorder. Here are the headlines splashed over the past week:

"MMS RIYALITY - Riya Sen on the MMS featuring .." - July 20th '05
"Is it okay to have a one night stand with a friend?" - July 19th, '05
"Sex up your Style" - July 11th, '05
"Would you like to Seduce me ?" - July 10th, '05

I am sure even the liberal parents of teens of the 21st century are having a nightmare, deciding how and what exposure to control. Squeezed between the clevage of Pamela Anderson's third marriage pictures and the legs of Mallika Sherawat is the current blog's subject. And ho ho! Far from the K Klan of "Kasauti Zindagi Kay" and "Kab aaegi Meri Zindagi Mein Bahaar", this title emits that formidable stench of sex, turning people away and towards it.

Then Star World decide to attack the issue from another angle. They brought the quintissential suave lady Simi Garewal to convince the ladies of India. With an accent that no being on the planet relates to, she reiterates in a five minute long commercial about how the women of India will (and should ?) relate to at least one of the protagonists. Ya. Thats what the overworked husbands require - An Indian wife who identifies with four desperate lives of four american females.

The 30 second commercials as usual highlighted the "SAX" in the show:
"He wants to grab my ass."
"slurp...." (Female licks young male's index finger)
"uhhhh..." (Female's towel drops and she runs down the street naked)
And then the reverberating voice of the narrator asks- "Are you a Desperate Housewife ?"

Despite all the above stated points, I did watch the first show. Here's what I thought:

Four housewives - Susan, Gabrielle, Bree and Lynette are the lead actresses. Their dead friend Mary Alice (also a part of the D.H gang) acts as the narrator of the show. Most of us (MALES) can be content just looking at Gabrielle (as happened with Pamela Anderson and Baywatch).
Thankfully, the show goes beyond the sex aspect. There is the "comical dating" content, similar to a zillion other Amercian shows. There is the "being a mother is a pain" stuff, which a broad category of females will enjoy. And the usual "control freak" humour, which is compulsory for any show to succeed.
(F.R.I.E.N.D.S - Monica Geller; SCRUBS - Elliot Reed ;TWO-1/2-MEN - Alan). Editing is slick. There is an annoying parallel storyline solving the mystery of Mary Alice's death. I hope they get over with it soon....

Have I muddled up my line of thought ? Here's the gist of it -
I liked both episodes I've seen so far, but the marketing is awfully annoying. Celebrities and their petty opinions were never squatting on my head, so it is OK...
I wonder if watching "Desperate Housewives" will gel with the existing personalities of the Aunties. Will they be proud/shy/happy to admit they watch the show. I can't wait till ZEE TV apes this concept too and comes up with "AUNTION KI DAASTAN"
Till then, watch the show...but hey! don't let your husbands/boyfriend know...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Good Days Bad Days

* A few defintions so that the newbies are not deterred by the terms :
-->Compartment/Boogie : the 72 berth module of a train
-->Coupe : The 8 berth module within a compartment

As my train (Jhelum Express : from Pune to Delhi) left the station in the evening around six, I arranged my three piece luggage - compacted it into two pieces, chained one of them, used the other rock-hard bag as a pillow...and gazed out. Pune city is beautiful...nature wind weather etc etc. I had great confidence that my diffident poetic self would find courage to emerge and spill some thoughts for the next July blog. The situation was perfect. By some grace of Laloo Yadav, my S7 compartment was empty. A few ticketless gentlemen boarded at Pune, but they were company only for a little while. I munched some chips, read the book(s) at a leisurely pace. Sleep itself wasn't a delibrate task. It just happened...bliss...

The obnoxious kid stared right at me as he squealed, "Aap utro, ye poora boogie hamaara hai!". I looked at my watch to decide whether it was Rahu-Kaal enough to slap the moron. It wasn't. I retorted, "S7. bateeees. mera hai." He turned and walked away. The train began to rumble a few seconds later. I peeked from my side berth. A gazillion replicas of the kid of various sizes began boarding. I thought it was all a bad dream. The kid appeared again and repeated himself. I replied ditto, at an increased volume. He probably heard me this time. I slept no more. The army in orange had arrived. As they established base, I peeked through half-closed eyes, plain confused. Another kid (probably 12 years old) emerged from the chaos, with teeth that screamed chocolate dosage and behaviour that oozed pampering. I enquired, "Kahaan jaa rahe ho aap log". "Vaishno Devi" he said. Pat came the next question, "Kitne log jaa rahe hain?". He nonchalantly replied,"four hundred". Thats when I noticed the t-shirt graffiti - 'Ma Vaishon Devi Samiti, Durga Chowk Itarasi (M.P)' The front side had a curvy 'Jai Mata Di' imprint.I knew it....
This was penalization for all the sins I had committed over the last 20 years - the extra bit of tea I poured in my cup at home, the scale I didn't return to Sameer, the beer I shouldn't have had, the classes I shouldn't have missed...This was the ulitmate Hollywood horror film, and I was the ultimate blond in the bikini screaming at everything, minus the sex angle (Sure, there were two good looking females. But like...nothing happened).

Once the T-shirt ceased to interest me, other aspects took precedence. What amused me initially was that all the saffron people had an urgent need to move in the other direction. And I am giving a full half hour buffer for travel confusion. Bade Miyan, Chote Miyan, Mama Ji, Bhaiya, Fufaa, Fifa - each had a duty they were completely aware of, and it had to be accomplished within that minute...or else.. They pushed and jostled and continuously transported boxes and bags towards and away from where I sat and meekly observed. Aunties screamed for 'mera waala blue bag' while males sincerely searched everywhere. Soon, amusement sublimed to form irritation.

My pee sessions were momentous tasks. I had to plan, mitigate, evaluate and implement mission impossible amidst the din. As I said, the JMD highway no. S7 was no place for mortals like me. I feared I would be swept to the end of the coach by the stampede. Believe me, I have waited over 20 minutes finding the right monent to get down.
Getting down itself consisted of 3 acts -
first : Making sure the floor was clear for the next 30 seconds
second : Spreading whatever stuff possible across berth no 32 so that encroachment was minimized
third : finding my displaced sandals before another contingent attacked.

Ironically, the prettiest lady with the most squeaky voice gave me the dirtiest looks whenever I rummaged under the berth. When I removed her sandals and placed them aside, mama ji sitting above received a curt order, "Mama ji..mere joote andar rakh do !"

While I have felt anger, amusement and indifference for the Pantry workers, this journey evoked a completely fresh chemical reaction - pity. The poor guys (Binay, Jitender and others...) had to wait indefinitely while the JMD gang did all this. And their signals weren't a subtle 'please wait a second while I clear this'. It was a rude stare, followed by 'abe ruk naa yaar!' or a more terse 'time lagega'. This behaviour was quite naturally aped by the kids.

Here's the final pee incident, before you close the window with revulsion. One of the little ones did a little pee-pee (specifically on the pretty lady in the yellow suit). She yelped and handed over the baby to mama-ji and rushed out. I noticed a glittering puddle on the berth and I am sure the other JMDs saw it too. A minute passed and another wandering JMD felt an urge to sit at that very spot. Yes, over the past minute the baby had received all the attention while the berth lay neglected. The tapori's hand rested over the little puddle. No aahs ! No screams. Uninformed, he coyly wiped his hand on his trouser and continued to enjoy the breeze. I silently screamed inside and prayed to Mata that things shouldn't get worse than this.

If the above mentioned atrocities aren't enough, my coupe was also turned into the nerve centre of all food activities. Movement, emotions and volumes escalated during the distribution. The time-table as I remember it :

9 a.m : Poha, Jalebi and Biscuits
11a.m : Tea for everyone - homemade..not pantry stuff.
1p.m : Food : some squishy stuff
4p.m: Kela. Cartons of them. Each individual probably received more than one.
5p.m: Samosa and Cold Drinks
9p.m: Dinner - Pulao and Raita

Ahh..So you noticed the abnormal interval between Pepsi Time and Dinner. That my dear reader(s), was Puja time. And you know what Puja Time is all about ...

dhum dhum chuk, dhum dhum chuk...Three drummers, a clarinetist and thankfully no vocalists. The little babies and aunties presence around me ensured that they sat 3 coupes away. But hey! enthusiasm and raw noise knows no boundaries. Each significant station's arrival would herald a cacophony session lasting for indefinite periods of time. The ensuing energy burst would ripple through the annoying kids, leading to more kiddy-panju behaviour...aaah...

At Nizammudin, as the train left the station, you bet I didn't wave goodbye to a single soul. I didn't exchange addresses. I didn't make small talk with ANYONE throughout the journey (except the abject pantry-waalas) . I didn't smile at the cute babies. I finished a book from start to end, in that order. I do hope one of those JMD's accidently lands up here. That, would be a real test of bhakti...whatever that is...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

You've got rain

Ever had one of those days with azure skies and light breeze where the air is so delicious that you want to take it all in, and the cheerful people strolling on the road wave to you ? Well then, you certainly aren't in Delhi.

(I had no intention of writing this. I read this 'rain' blog on Poornima's and well...I had to trash / complement it.)

It rained a few days back. This isn't about that. It is about this...

Rains look good from a distance. I like the concept of wet-ness and I love wet t-shirts, but I don't want anything to do with it. The surreal impressions of rain, eschewing umbrellas and hairbands, rebelling against the norm, being normal and dry...Sure, the greatest writers and filmakers have caputured felicitous moments and these have percolated through our subconscious too. But are they the moments we know...or just factitious memories ?

The rain is an escape. It is the garibon-ka-saathi politican, the ice-cream vendor, the alms for the beggar, the slayer of heat and its sidekicks. It is the hard-cash we impatiently wait for at the ATMs, the vrrrom.. sound of the vehicle on a cold morning, the weekend after almost a week of labour.

Rain is a phenomenon we all experience. It isn't an everyday experience, like traffic lights, the sunrise or poverty, that become so hackneyed that our emotions have turned stale. Albeit rains occur every year (well, almost), the 9 month gestation period gifts it a refreshing countenance. It is the epitome of equality. It requires no money, no car ownership, no Hutch connection. I have as much freedom to love, hate, comment, enjoy, observe and write about it as any other being on earth. But of course I don't. I have better things to do.

The rain looks pretty while the obese earth pulls it towards its surface. The auditory senses are delighted when the droplets patter on the planes of concrete and tar, or when they merge with their other little friends and go plop! Alas! Man afflicted with the infamopus 3 second attention span doesn't want them around anymore. The poured rain is no longer the cynosure. It is the ex-girlfriend, the vanilla of ice-creams. It is the MMS boy and girl, the guests after dinner..

"Sure we had a good time. Now if you don't mind, could you please go through that hole...Yes right there..the left exit. Watch out for that gulley trap...Quite tricky you know! It isn't that long a journey. You won't even notice the smell. See you soon.."

As I said before,like unpotty trained kids and panju houses, I am happy watching the rain from a distance. A home (with or garma-garam tea) is the perfect place for the rain hedonist. Out there, it isn't a picture. It is war. On the road, the line between the haves and have-nots grows into a deep groove (or a bump, as you like it).The slush on the ground is a good contender for Mr.Equality too. It is either the worker on the cycle or me who gets the splash. I hate wetting him, but hey! at least I am safe..splosh!

As the clouds gather a few kilometres above my head, a rationalo-meter inside my brain warns me of impending danger. It isn't "Aishwarya Rai in Taal" that occupies my head. Nor is it the pakodas at home. My previously defunct survival instincts urge me find a shelter. The desire to reach my office has never been this intense. An instant belief in God materializes, as I pray that the rain doesn't pour down for the next few minutes. It doesn't. The reach the firm almost dry. Already late, I settle into my chair and pretend to work. Ahh... four walls and a roof-slab. What else do you need in life ?

God bless Architecture.