Sunday, December 30, 2007

Titleness Eludes Me

I've been sifting through old photo albums. Pictures from my childhood. You know how biographies of famous people contain at least one picture that is a sign of things to come? An astronaut's album has a picture of him (or her) as a kid, wearing a spacesuit. Or a fuzzy picture of a business tycoon manning a lemonade stand at the age of five etc.

Well, I managed to find two photographs of me at the age of three. In both those pictures, I am comfortably and contentedly perched on a sofa. All right!

Taare Zameen Par: a two hour-long PSA? But that doesn't quite explain why so many people seem to be going in for repeat viewings.

I am simply dreading The Party tomorrow. Indian DJs seem to have (suddenly?) discovered electronica. (Correction: they have discovered boring electronica. Most other DJs here still seem to be spinning The Eagles and Def Leppard.) And when those break-beats begin, they like to turn up the volume beyond 10. How am I going to proclaim my undying friendship to drunk strangers and hatch business plans now?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Chiku Chronicles Continue...

Remember Act 1, in which the hero spoke about how his vacation involved lots of food and odd news stories? Well, that Act ended rather poorly with the protagonist coming down with stomach ache, fever and chills. However, and this is the dramatic conflict of the story, so pay attention, people around him grossly misdiagnosed the situation with a "illi neeru indu abhyaasa illa" (he's not used to the water here.) The hero was ashamed. He was once again branded an outsider. Then he grew worried. What if he died of bloating and flatulence? Sure, life stinks, but death by gaseousness stinks worse.

Now, Act 2 should have been a short, humorous sequence involving a funny-looking physician, some bizarre side-effects produced by bad medicine etc followed by an emotional Act 3 in which the hero's mother comes to the rescue of her son, thanks to her decades' long experience with her "boy's" stomach's workings. "WE ARE LOSING HIM! Give me a scalpel, some pudin hara and a gulab jamun."

Alas. Act 2, the bane of all screenplays, turned out exactly like Act 2 in all bad films. Nothing happened. OK, the hero was put on a starvation diet for a day, but what's the comic potential in that? And what about Act 3? It involved the mother dragging her son to a Hungarian film. Mind you, no hugs and kisses, no "mera raja beta, thoda aur kha", but "it's an Istvan Szabo film...I don't want to miss it".


To the chiku-seller who sold me TWO kilos of hard, unripe, sour chikus: Dude, WTF?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


After five onion parathas, two boiled eggs and two cups of tea, the soul seeks a little stimulation. So I turned to the morning papers.

India's first school shooting. A chai-walla strangles and burns a jeweler, because he (i.e., the chai-walla) could not pay back a loan (lent by the jeweler at 85% p.a.) High school kids hanging themselves over poor grades.

I love the papers' format for reporting crime stories. They recount the series of unfortunate events thrice - once in the main story, second time as a bulleted list and the third time in the form of a comic strip. But I think they are alienating a huge section of their readership that likes its news stories communicated through haiku, interpretive dance, pottery and mime.

??! has chosen me as the expert in the "classic rock/jazz/new age" music category for a fantasy blogger team. Yes, new age music. Will I also be fielding questions on World Music and Smooth Jazz? Because god knows there's nothing I like better than those genres of music. I demand an apology NOW.

Time for another cup of tea or three chikus or the obituary section.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Three Cities

There's the Bombay one imagines. There's the Bombay one remembers. Finally, there's the Bombay that is. The triptych was on display all day yesterday.

Two old buddies and I ambled through the city. Cafe Samovar's chicken vindaloo rolls were good and the service was above par. The portrait painters operating outside Jehangir Art Gallery were superbly awful and tacky. The two or three remaining street-side booksellers still sold pirated versions of Norman Vincent Peale books. While I was sad to see my favorite vinyl record stands had disappeared from Fort, one brave Luddite still operated, enticing his all-important dread-locked, tank-topped demographic. He had a well-preserved Kraftwerk album to sell. Major salivatory occurrences on the way home. Oh, to be doing the robot while eating Usal Pav...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home's Where It's At

If jet-lag didn't exist, man would have to invent it. I may be up since 3AM, but later this morning, the entire household - including the Bihari "temp" - will be showering me with sympathy, hot coffee and breakfast in bed. All this will change when my sleep cycle is restored, of course. The sympathy will be replaced with harsh, cold orders to visit so-and-so for lunch. The hot coffee will turn lukewarm (and sweet - ugh) and I will be asked to eat at the table. Maybe even the Bihari temp will stop laughing at my jokes delivered in "bhaiyyaese".

The day I can sleep at night, I am just like everyone else. *Sob*.

Someone tell me if I am wrong: there is a *desperate* need for a good newspaper in this country. You know, something for us grown-ups. Serious news, serious analysis. That means no fucking Garfield, no horoscopes, no dieting tips written by film stars but most of all, a newspaper that runs STORIES WITH CORRECT ENGLISH OR AT LEAST CORRECT PUNCTUATION, FOR GOD'S SAKE.

To save tigers, we must kill them. They mistook this tiger for a man-eater and shot him to death. Sweet. And you thought wildlife conservation was difficult?