Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Prestige Quotes

Cutter: Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called magic "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."

Cutter: Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled. Alfred Borden: Are you watching closely?
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Alfred Borden: The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.
Officer: Do you have to say?

Alfred Borden: Abracadabra.
< Alfred Borden: You went half way around the world, you spent a fortune, you did terrible things - really terrible things, Robert, and all for nothing.

Robert Angier: For nothing?

Alfred Borden: Abracadabra
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Robert Angier: For nothing?
Alfred Borden: Abracadabra.

Alfred Borden: You went half way around the world, you spent a fortune, you did terrible things - really terrible things, Robert, and all for nothing.

Robert Angier: For nothing?

Alfred Borden: Yeah

Robert Angier: You never understood why we did this. The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you can make them wonder, and then you... then you got to see something really special. You really don't know? It was... it was the look on their faces...
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Alfred Borden: See? He's fine!

Boy: But where's his brother?

Alfred Borden: So... we go alone now. Both of us. Only I don't have as far to go as you. Go. You were right, I should have left him to his damn trick. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of things. I'm sorry about Sarah. I didn't mean to hurt her... I didn't. You go and live your life in full now, all right? You live for both of us.
Boy: But where's his brother?
Fallon: Goodbye.

Nikola Tesla: You're familiar with the phrase "man's reach exceeds his grasp"? It's a lie: man's grasp exceeds his nerve.

Cutter: Take a minute to consider your achievement. I once told you about a sailor who drowned.

Robert Angier: Yes, he said it was like going home.
Boy: But where's his brother?
Cutter: I lied. He said it was agony.
Boy: But where's his brother?
Boy: But where's his brother?
Boy: But where's his brother?
Sarah: Alfred, I can't live like this!
Alfred Borden: Well, what do you want from me?

Sarah: I want... I want you to be honest with me. No tricks, no lies, no secrets.

Sarah: Do you... do you love me?

Alfred Borden: Not today. No.

Alfred Borden: Everything's going to be alright, because I love you very much.

Sarah: Say it again.

Alfred Borden: I love you.

Sarah: Not today.
Boy: But where's his brother?
Alfred Borden: What do you mean?
Boy: But where's his brother?
Sarah: Well some days it's not true. Maybe today you're more in love with magic. I like being able to tell the difference, it makes the days it is true mean something.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Rapist's Psyche




I sit in the corner of that bar, eyes all open and a hazy mind,
Fathoming the pleasures of that lady under the neon light,
My eyes wander on her everything - face, breast and behind,
Oh!! I am all turned on by her very sight.

I stand up and make a move, all smiles and scotch and say hello,
She looks at me then turns her gaze and cracks a muffled jest,
I try smiling with my perished manliness, move away and take a vow,
To rape this lady, to rape her ego, to punish, to teach, to molest.

I am the imparter of justice, so I wait for her in the deep parking lot,
My nails are claws, eyes are now green, a monster I am now,
I see her coming with that wry smile, guess it’s the end of my sexual drought,
And she is close, she is closer, and she passes me that glance, seductive, inviting, wow.

I grab her wrist, she kicks my balls, I yell a deafening shout,
I see her running away as I wobble, then walk and then run,
And grab her back and drag her back to the spot where my fancies sprout,
But she bites my hands, she scratches my face, she struggles as I relish the fun.

She has stopped moving now; I punched her thrice in the face,
I pour my manliness inside her and  pass with a content mood,
The scruples? Yes they are questioning me but I love the lust embrace,
I dress up and leave her there to die, now that I am hungry for some food

Yes they caught me the next day and fired their stupid inquiries
But I smirk in this seventh year of my trial as I reminisce
They were happy, another case registered, another testimonial in their diaries
I am happy too as I dress up for the party this night, after seven years I again want to relish that bliss

Photo Courtesy :- http://www.musicweb-international.com

Friday, September 21, 2012

An Open Letter to Ajay Devgn

Hello Sir,

How are you? I hope you are doing well. How is Kajol and what about your children? God bless them all. Just felt like writing you a letter. I understand you are a busy man and you have many projects in the pipeline and lots of shooting schedules lined up but I sincerely hope you read this one.

Firstly, let me introduce myself. I am a Software Engineer by profession and I am based in Gurgaon. I am sure you must be smirking right now sir. Gurgaon is an amazing place where medical shops shut at 10PM but liquor shops provide services till midnight (officially) and whole night (unofficially). Let me pause a little bit, I guess I have left my washroom tap running. It’s disturbing to write amidst such disconcerting sounds. I’ll play “Jab kisi ki taraf dil jhukne lage” from your movie “Pyaar toh hona hi tha”. Sir, the song and the movie both were copied but I loved you in the movie. It’s a perfect setting now. I guess I can speak my heart out now. I’ll let you know if I need a break. Hope you don’t mind.

Sir, back in 1991 when your first movie “Phool aur Kaante” released, I was in class 1. No I don’t have to remember that because that has been the sequence of my life - 1991-class 1, 1992-Class 2….1999-Class 9”. I didn’t do anything for one full year after class 12th because I was preparing for IIT JEE(That I couldn’t crack) and hence the sequence went for a toss. Sorry, this information wasn’t required. So when your movie released, I got my favorite hero for life. I tried your double Bike entry scene on my Atlas’s and Avons and as a result of that I still smile a crooked smile. I totally loved the fact that when others tried to become a hero, you went a step ahead to become an actor. And masses loved you too, you were a classy-massy hero who very few actors in Indian cinema can claim to be, Mr. Bachchan and Aamir Khan are the two that I can think of.

The way you made a certain superstar look like a nobody in front of you when you played the role of a man who vows to make his wife meet her long separated lover was phenomenal. Zakhm – where you started and ended the movie in a single blue shirt and where your eyes expressed the anger and sadness of a son, a patriot and a human being was commendable. Bhagat Singh, there were many movies made on this brave martyr but the one in which the “Actor” portrayed the “Hero” turned out to be a milestone of Indian Cinema. Very few movies have made me cry sir, this was one of them. I remember another one “Naam-Sanjay Dutt and Kumar Gaurav starrer” that one made me cry as well. Again, this information isn’t required. The whole state of Bihar started worshipping you when you played “Ajay Shastri” and “ACP Amit Kumar” in “Apaharan” and “Gangajal” respectively.  I think I need a break. I’ll quickly like and post a compliment on my Girlfriend’s Facebook status. She has topped a GK Quiz in “Frankfinn Air Hostess Training Institute”. Sounds really tough, sir. I’ll post a “Proud of you Babe :-*” quickly and get back.

I am back. Who can forget “Manu” from “Raincoat” who had no cash but only “Gutkhas” in his wallet? There was a nice background score sung by “Shubha Mudgal” in that movie, that I don’t remember. I think she should sing more. What do you think sir? We can discuss this if we happen to meet someday. Yes, back to the plot – Who can forget the electric Student leader “Michael Pandey” from “Yuva” who beats Mr. Bachchan’s not-so-talented son to pulp on the “Howrah Bridge.” Sir, after “Once upon a time in Mumbai”, I have stopped saying “You are welcome” to people after they thank me, I just do a “salaam” with my hands and say “Bas Duaaon me yaad rakhna”. That little cameo in “Lajja” or your “Ata Majhi Satkel” in “Singham”, the straight faced comedy in the classic “Ishq” or that dark gangster in “Khaki”, the underworld don in "Company", I have loved everything.

But sir this letter is not going to be all that sweet. I understand you will roll your eyes, make faces, even delete this one but I would like you to read a genuine mail from a genuine fan. There came a movie called “Golmaal” in 2006 which was not all that bad. It went on to become a hit and then started a chain reaction of Golmaal movies, Sir allow me to say - If “Legend of Bhagat Singh” is a milestone of Indian Cinema, these “Golmaal” movies are disgrace to the entire film fraternity and fans. I can understand that you have a great rapport with the director who laughs at stupid jokes in a TV show. But trust me sir, you are much better than these Golmaal roles. Having said that, I would also like to mention that “Golmaal” series is a dream role for Jeetu ji’s son and the director has intelligently made him mute. Sir I think Jeetu ji’s son looks like a deformed pizza that customers refuse to accept. I have heard he is a good sister to his brother “Ekta” though. Let’s not discuss him. We can crack jokes on him, if we happen to meet.

Sir what did you eat before signing “Rascals”? The answer would help a lot of people. We can write a blog on “What not to eat before interviews/exams?” Don’t you agree this is the worst movie of your entire career? What did you say? “Parwana”. Let me do a Parineeti Chopra style LOL(pronounced L-A-U-L). Sir, Parwana era was different. You weren’t high on the credibility quotient at that point of time. But Parineeti Chopra is cute. Do you like full women sir or skinny ones? Again we can discuss this later.

Last month I went to watch “Bol Bachchan” with a couple of my friends. The rumor mills suggested that this movie was loosely inspired from the classic “Golmal”. Sir, I am sure it must have been inspired from it, but then I am not too sure because I left the cinema hall after half an hour. Sir, I think you must be having some secret pact with Junior Bachchan to resurrect his sinking career but sir, do think of us before doing such films. It was bizarre and your straight translations weren’t funny sir. Should we discuss “Tezzz”? I almost heard a no. Okay sir, I hear you. But you can answer one question. Which one is uglier? A.) The Movie “Tezzz” B.) The director of the movie. Okay! I guess you want to dodge this one too.

 But A diehard fan I am and hence, I am looking forward to “Son of Sardar”. I hope it is an “Ishq” kind of comedy and not “Golmaal” kind. I am more than looking forward to “Satyagrah”. Prakash Jha is an intelligent director of serious cinema. “Aarakshan” is the only comedy flick that he has made. Did you like that one sir?

Now that I am almost at the end of my letter, let me just ask one final question. Sir what’s with your association with “Emotional Atyaachar”?The show, the channel and the actors are mascots of wannabeism and cheapness. Why would an actor of your stature anchor such a show? Sir! on behalf of all your fans, I would request you to not appear in such shows. I think I am done from my side. Please reply and feel free to shout at me, I won’t mind. A fan is a fan after all.

Warm Regards,
TheFrustratedIndian™
Image courtesy: http://www.filmitadka.in

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Car has stopped, now what?

I pressed the disconnect option, “harder” this time. I knew the best was over and there was no point dragging it. But even after I explained her thrice, she wasn’t ready to understand. How immature can people be? It’s not a leaking tap that a mere twist of a wrench will fix it. We human beings are far more complex. And then she called again, the same name, the same number and that smiling picture of hers. She had started haunting me now. I switched the phone off.


“We are dogs chasing cars. Don’t know what to do when they stop” said a visibly drunk Vineet radiating sainthood and banged his fist on the table to prove his point. He listened to everything I narrated for over three hours and almost three quarters of Johnny Walker. But his take on the topic was top class. “We are the dogs chasing cars. Don’t know what to do when they stop”. True.



It started almost three months back when I offered her my seat in Delhi Metro. The kind gesture led to numerous smiles and coy glances. “Art of communication” is the only sure shot tool for a nerdy, bespectacled and not-exactly-a-great-looking-guy like me. And I utilized it to my full potential when the uncle on the next seat decided to leave at the next station. She was breathtakingly gorgeous and had the exuberance of a teen. She was excited about everything- her life, her friends and her work. I told her I wasn’t working and that I was just employed. She scribbled a note and handed it to me before leaving. I knew it was her number even before opening it. Well, it was her email id.


And those ten digits took almost 20 days to come to my phone. She was a tough nut to crack and I loved every bit of the pursuit. Every day was a challenge, for every smile that I managed to bring to her face, I patted my back twice. For every appreciative glance she passed at me, I mentally congratulated myself. I sang for her and she smiled. I wrote for her and she smiled. I acted crazy for her and she smiled.


And one fine day she decided to sing and write and act crazy for me. I didn’t smile. I was happy but that was because my ego got a huge massage. I felt good. The hat on my head had another feather and by far the most colorful one. And then she started feeling like a possession and then a liability and then a burden. The car had stopped and the dog had no idea. There were other cars speeding ahead, I decided to chase them.


And this was not the first time, the fifth time I guess or seventh or maybe I lost the count. There is something wrong with me or as Vineet says after his body and soul are full with Alcohol – “We set off for a destination but it’s the path we fall in love with, not the destination”. Philosophical but true.


The path, the pursuit of love excites me. When I chase a girl, I see her all around me - in my ideas, in my actions and in every part of mine. I see her on my car’s windscreen when I drive and every song that plays in the stereo somehow relates to her. When I try a new shirt in the trial room I mentally ask for her opinion. Yes, I become hopelessly romantic. And maybe, since the climb is so startling, the descent is dramatic too. Or as Vineet would say “It’s all temporary madness my friend, it too will die down”.


I am a spendthrift, a man with extreme fondness for a fine lifestyle and saving is always the last thing on my mind. When you crave for a superlative lifestyle, you have to part with your cash and I do that compulsively and hence stay empty handed most of the time. I am a spendthrift in matters of love too. I spend all pennies of love even when it needs to be preserved to be used in times of adversity. And consequently when the dire moment comes, I turn my face towards richer vistas. I hate looking at the venture whose budget has been depleted. The emotional budget has been depleted. Vineet wouldn’t brand me a villain and would assert coolly “Love is eternal, partners change”.


But am I the only one? Or I am just being vocal about myself, like I was vocal about my self-obsession a couple of months back. I have seen my friends leaving their phones unattended and then making the most horrendous excuses to justify their acts. At least I am Satan enough to pick the call and let it all out. How do people survive in long relationships then and what about those “Lived Happily ever after” couples? Do I have commitment issue? No, of course not because I don’t mind my space being invaded by someone I love, even if that’s a temporary feeling.


Maybe people like me need a mid-path in relationships as well, like we do in all spheres of life. Maybe, people like me need a more calculated approach in matters of heart and not a headfirst dive . Maybe people like me need to save the best for the worst.


And as I hate to believe maybe people like me don’t deserve love or as Vineet would put it “You know what dude, narcissists like you and I stay single. No big deal!!”.

Monday, July 16, 2012

...In Pursuit of the leader

I was very sure that it was Mukul, it was definitely him on the other side of the road, Even after 8 years, I could tell that from a distance. He still had the same side parted hair, that unusually long neck and that super brisk walk. I had to almost run to get past him.

Hey Mukul”, I said panting.

Hi…” He replied with an impassive face.

I guess I know you” He said again. The face was still devoid of any emotions.

You forgot your friend. Atul, Tenth “B”, I used to bug everybody with my poems in the assembly” I was already embarrassed.

Yeah Yeah I remember you were the part time spinner in the school team as well” He finally smiled. And we hugged. We never were best friends. But I was his secret admirer. He was the best batsman, I had ever seen. His gargantuan sixes and flawless timing were sheer pleasure to watch. He was the coach's favorite, the sport icon of our school. He would make it big someday, very big, everybody used to say.

So, how is your cricket going on? I heard you were playing Ranji for the state team. Can’t wait to see you playing for India” I asked excitedly.

I passed my twelfth this year and now I am preparing for clerical exams. No cricket left in my life anymore” He replied and that faint smile disappeared again.

Why, what happened? And why have you passed your twelfth this year? It has been 8 years since we passed Tenth” I fired questions one after another.

Cricket happened and cricket did not happen”. He replied. I could see the sadness in his eyes. And I was taken aback.

In the next half an hour he narrated me the story of our beloved state where a certain chief minister with a dozen kids overtook the state cricket board to ensure a smooth cricketing career for one of his kids who was slightly “interested” in cricket. But his prime focus was looting the state and creating unparalleled scam records so obviously cricket had to take a back seat. The condition of cricket in the state ruptured beyond repair and ultimately BCCI had to de-list the state cricket board from Ranji Trophy. Talented players like Mukul were surely given chance in other state cricket teams but were not promoted at the cost of their own players. Of course politics was there too. And hence those fellows who were supposed to make it big someday were left with a dark future ahead.

Why politicians or non sporting authorities have to head a sports body when they know nothing about it?” He asked. His frustration was justified.

Because they are better than us in decision making, better in administration, better policy makers. Come on don’t be that cynical” I tried my usual optimistic self.

And what makes you think so? You are an Engineer; can you go and lead a team of chefs in a five star hotel? No. you cannot. Life is a role playing game. Everybody cannot do everything. We are specialists at something and novices at other things and that’s justified. But just because someone is backed by a political party and has oodles of party fund for cushioning, he just cannot head a sports body.” He wasn’t an introvert like he used to be in school days. Years of aggravation and disappointments had turned him vitriolic.

And more recently we have corporate and cinema guys heading sports clubs and teams. Ha! Sports is a big joke in India.” He spat venom again.

Politician is synonymous to a corrupt and unscrupulous individual in India who has power, position and money that gives him a license to do all unethical things for his own gains. But it is not absolutely true. There are good fellows around and I can name quite a few of them. I guess it’s more about our perceptions, I guess it’s about the way we look at them.” I tried being logical.

That’s the difference between you and me. You guess and I know. I’ll take you leave now. I am getting late” He hurriedly shook hands and went away. He left me with hundreds of unanswered questions. Was he right? Were his emotions justified? Or was I being supremely optimistic by preaching my logics to him? And the debate went on for quite some time or maybe it’s still on somewhere inside me?

I browsed through profiles of some politicians of India who were also heading sports bodies and the revelations were shocking. A powerful politician was heading the most powerful sports body of India and that too when he was commanding the single most important ministerial berth in the center, that of Agriculture. The sector that contributes to almost 17% of our GDP and employs more than 50% of our entire workforce.  What would this minister prefer if he has to decide between Famine and World Cup? Famine any day. So the sports would always be the bastard child. So why did he have to take such an important position then? Maybe because it gives you more money, more power and more international exposure. Maybe. Or, it’s just that narcissistic supply for the rich and powerful to feel good and to feel important. Whatever, I wasn’t able to justify that politician heading the sports body.

And then I observed the tenures of these positions and the revelations were scarily shocking again. One of them was heading a sports association for over three decades, another one for over two decades and one of them was even overseeing the association proceedings from behind the Bars. Was India, the land of thinkers like Chanakya and Vivekanand so bloody deprived of leadership talent that the same fellows were heading the associations since the beginning of time? Did these positions come with a life time validity? Shouldn’t sports bodies be headed by sports persons only? And what are the corporate and the showbiz guys doing in the equation? Well, they are there because they have money and they are there because they want money.

 Yes, I was the one who was guessing and my friend was the one who knew. But then it was completely wrong to say politicians or non sporting individuals shouldn’t be allowed to lead a sports body. Sports after all is not all about passion and zeal, it’s about complex decision making as well. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and that requires a great deal of foresight. Sportsmen can provide the zeal and enthusiasm but they may not be the best planners out there.

But at the same time the technicalities of a game can be best understood by a sportsman. If the sportsman has proven leadership skills, a sound brain with an ability of passing unbiased decisions and taking the team through bad patches would be the best fit for the berth. Sports would always be his first love and he could bring his own expertise and experience in the team. A major plus for any sports team. Or if we have a corporate or a politician who obviously has got tremendous leadership capabilities and is truly passionate about sports and doesn’t have to switch his interests over from sports to something more important, he probably would be the next best fit for the role.

Like all important positions of the country, the head of any sporting association should also be subjected to a set of qualifications. And the political prowess or power quotient alone in case of politicians or other non sporting individuals and likewise sporting prowess and popularity quotient alone in case of a sportsmen shouldn’t be the deciding factor in their coronation.

 Leadership abilities, decision making skills along with proven personal integrity, dedication for the sport and reliability should also be considered. Absolute power corrupts and hence the person should be answerable to the general body to keep a check on monopoly.  Ultimately the situation converges to the innate nature of human beings. A person of character and morals would always do good to the society. A society where talent would be given more importance than caste, creed, color, region and religion and a society where Mukuls wont be struggling for their bread and butter but padding up to take the world in a sporting arena. Maybe I am being my usual optimistic self. Maybe.


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Celebrations, Love and Saraswati

Those days we used to wait for it. Those days when I was 12 or 13 and coincidently my friends were about the same age, we used to wait for it. Holi and Diwali never figured in our favorite festival’s list, but it did and we used to wait for it. The Feel, The Energy and the festivity that happened in late January and early February every year and like any other Patna guy(or perhaps any not-so-small town guy) I used to wait for it.


Patna, arguably the only recognized city in the state of Bihar is the epicenter of all educational activities. Convent schools, Intermediate colleges, Graduation colleges and speckled in between the colleges are coaching centers each of which is run by an Ex-IITan and each of which guarantees a seat in the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology. And the students from all across Bihar and Jharkhand and Eastern UP come running to the city in pursuit of education. And the city lives to their promises. Hence students form a perpetual part of Patna - rich, poor, timid and violent, students of all types and varieties. Education is the prime topic of discussion. While Gujaratis love their money, Punjabis love their food, Tamilians love their culture, Biharis love their education till the verge of obsession.


And Goddess Saraswati oversees all educational activities. She is the goddess of wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment. Because of her benevolence, people crack competitions, pass their semester and yearly examinations and get through tricky job interviews. It’s because of Goddess Saraswati that we have so many Engineers and Doctors and Lawyers and Managers in our country. Saraswati prepares people to worship Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and prosperity) for the rest of their lives. And Patna leaves no stone unturned in making the goddess joyous. Saraswati Pooja is the annual fest of all colleges, schools and coaching centers of Patna. Some of them even call it the unofficial Valentine’s Day of Patna.

The glorious 90s - the decade I was brought up in, celebrated the festival in Grand Style. Boys in groups of 5-10 knocked every door in the locality urging (or begging or threatening) for Chanda (donation). People sometimes willingly contributed and sometimes unwillingly gave away cash ranging from Rs. 5 to Rs. 501. Every Collection Committee managed enough cash for the entire worshiping ceremony, lighting, sounds, VCRs  and a rented color television for playing pirated video cassettes for late night movie watching. The elderly students fondly addressed as” Bhaiyyas” by everyone even saved enough cash for their beer and porn movies. Brightly lit Pandals, statues of the goddess adorned with marigold and rose garlands, a continuously chanting Pundit and noise all around, the craziness seemed absolute sanity at that time.


The Geniuses who were experts at handling locally assembled music systems or “decks” as we called them ensured that entire colony listened while the Pundit chanted by strategically placing the metallic loudspeakers on electric poles, roofs of neighbors, or even ad lib bamboo poles. No one in the locality complained, the curse of Saraswati could have rendered their children uneducated and unpolished for life. The same loudspeakers proudly broadcasted the latest chart-busters for three continuous days. Alien words like “Bass” and “Treble” were still to make ways into our lives. “Loudness” was very much in. So when the songs were played, people switched to sign languages in their respective homes. That was the time when music from movies “Aashiqi”, “Sadak”, “Mohra”, “Dil” etc. made their way into our lives.  When there were multiple pandals around, there used to be an impromptu music contest that continued till wee hours of the night. Everyone wanted his Pundit to be heard and everyone wanted his music to rule. And we innocently remixed songs without any hi-fi mixing instruments.



And that was the time when we started noticing love around us, for the first time. Girls flocked at the Pandals dressed in bright Salwar-Kurtis usually ranging from pale saffron to bright orange which is the official dress code for Saraswati Pooja. And their lovers went out of their way to give them a personalized treatment. Once the love of their life appeared at the Pandal, the music usually switched to a soft romantic Ballad, a “chori chori jab nazrein mili” or a “Nazar ke saamne, Jigar ke Paas”.  The expression on the girl’s face would change from happy to shy to a state where fathoming expressions became impossible.  And her friends elbowing her frenziedly so much so that she’d stop looking at anyone. And then the hero would appear with Prasad Packets neatly arranged onto a metallic tray. The usually ordinary Prasad would be garnished with generous helping of seasonal fruits and sweets. Some lucky lovers even managed to spend some private Prasad munching moments with their girls as her friends would leave as soon as the guy appeared.  Everything was planned without even planning. The demonstration of love continued till every single guy of the committee got to treat her girl flamboyantly. Saraswati, the white adorned goddess of wisdom with a constant smile on her face silently played the love goddess. The show continued till three days and after the Pooja new couples surfaced.



Now when I switch on my workstation on a Saraswati Pooja day or any festival that made me go wild in old days, a smile robotically comes on my lips. The songs start playing somewhere inside my mind and flashes of guys dancing and girls shyly accepting their Prasad packets and wailing kids and chanting pundits and blaring loudspeakers  appear on my mental canvas. While I mechanically pretend to be lost in work, my mind dances in the streets where a white idol of the goddess of wisdom smiles at my moves.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sometimes, when I am all alone, I google myself…

Yes! Pretty catchy. I saw this quote somewhere on the wired jungle – the Internet, first home to many (including me) and I was impressed. Very impressed. So much so, that I ordered a personalized Tshirt with the quote. Somewhere within me lives a supremely self obsessed person. I might nod appreciatively at every debater and answerer but a part of me mocks at his orgasmic gimmicks and knows for sure that had I been in his place, I would have come up with better answers or better facts to justify my argument. Yes I write better than most of the published Bestseller writers, I sing better than those singing competition morons and I can abuse better than those wild reality show contestants. Every time I sat down to watch “Kaun Bangega Crorepati(Who’ll be a millionaire) I finished with at least 1 crore in my kitty. I term this as my confidence but its pure obsession, a dark love of me for my own self. And then I thought maybe I live in everyone else.

I might be very visual and vocal about myself but self obsession adorns one and all. In their thoughts,  idea and actions, in every pause they take in front of cars with darkened glasses to have a good look at their own selves. In every smirk they pass whenever they see a lesser mortal fumble in work and out of it and in every anticipative glance they pass when they wear something fancy or do something fancier. It’s not unusual to trace out know-it-alls and maniacally intelligent and self proclaimed possessors of all human and para-human wits and virtues at our workplaces, in our families, amongst our friends, in our societies and on TV and on the Internet. In that authoritative boss, or that smart cousin or the snobbish friend. We eat, sleep, party and work with self obsession all around.

Like an excessive smoker keeps craving for his nicotine supply, we need a fair share of our narcissistic supply to feel good and to feel important. The Facebooks and Twitters have made billions, en-cashing on this queer aspect of our self obsessed generation. Ten years ago who would have thought that if you let the world know that After a 2 Km jog, you had a vegetable sandwich, a mug of orange juice and some salad as breakfast, twenty of your friends will end up liking it, 10 of them feeling jealous about your healthy lifestyle and another 10 of them motivating you to double your Jog distance and cut down on the food intake. We shout, they appreciate and they shout in turn. We are living in a vicious cycle of self obsession and we have mutual admiration pacts with everyone. I scratch your back, you scratch mine and lets laugh at the one who doesn’t have one to do the honors for him. Lets feel good about it.
I always wondered what made beautiful girls befriend the ugliest girls around. For the same reason I used to wonder what makes intelligent and smart guys befriend the dumb ones around. Things of similar nature should congregate together. Self obsession needs constant fuelling of the narcissistic supply. The Dumb will praise your intelligence; the ugly ducklings would pamper the beautiful swan. It’s a feel good relationship. Self obsession is intoxicating. We make good speakers, good bosses and good leaders. If we know about something we shout out loud, if we do not know about that thing, we manipulate it to our needs and shout out loud again. That ways we make the best manipulators too.

 But, somewhere we lose our genuineness. We lose our authenticity and we lose our substance. These days when I see a fellow speak about anything, the dominant me wants to spring onto the podium and show him his place but the recessive me holds me back and allows me to listen. My mouth hates my ears but somehow my brain has started learning the organ allocation algorithm. Recently I went through a lot of blogs, most of them write better than me and the fellow who was singing on the TV singing competition last night. He was way better than me. In fact just before I sat down to write this article, I was trying my hands on “Kaun Bangega Crorepati(Who’ll be a millionaire). I couldn’t even win a lac.          

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Delhi - The way I see it

Disclaimer: - This article is a representation of my thoughts and the way I see things. I have used names of certain communities, surnames and places so that reader can bond with the article. This is not meant to offend any person, community or place.


King Dhritarashtra
Dhritarashtra was helpless, he was the king and the representative of the glorious Bharat clan, but he was a father. A helpless father. His son, the obstinate Duryodhana was not ready to give Hastinapur to the eldest Pandava Yudhisthira and hence Dhritarashtra had to make a tough decision – the division of the kingdom. The fertile, prosperous Hastinapur went to Duryodhana and the Khandavaprastha an infertile, uninhabited place went to the poor Pandavas. Krishna with his directions and Arjuna with his arrows cleared the forest and presented to the world one of the finest cities of all times which has constantly changed names but the very essence of it has remained constant, always. From Indraprastha to Lal Kot to Tughlaqabad to the modern New Delhi, the very essence of Delhi has always been there.


Delhi Taxi
Step out of the Indira Gandhi International Airport and you are welcomed by the extremes. Depending upon your time of arrival you will be welcomed by scorching heat, bone chilling cold or worse heavy downpour. The downpour however is almost always there - the downpour of attention. The name placards with all possible Punjabi surnames on them and their owners bellowing at their top. If you have a confused face, the downpour will only keep on intensifying, from slight nudge on the shoulders to a full body hug. The Dilliwaalahs are (in) famous for bestowing any token of love and warmth which can convert into some currency. If you have a haversack on your back, you will see tourist guides in large numbers; if you have a business attache in your hands, the suited hotel agent swarms will hug and caress you and if you have a traveling bag, the local hotel guys will smile seductively and regardless of your travel gears, the taxi drivers will do anything to snatch your stuff in the name of help and place them in their taxi boots. You will obviously be presented with mind boggling tariffs. If you are an obstinate negotiator, you will have something left in your wallet at the end of the trip. Negotiate is the moral of the story.


The Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway
And when you are in traffic, the whole jaw dropping phenomenon will find an entirely new dimension. India is a blessed country home to 84 crore gods and demigods. With the power of octane rich petrol and of course the benevolence of all 84 crore divine deities your vehicle glides, cruises, speeds and wriggles in the traffic behemoth. On a six lane expressway where all vehicles have been designated their respective lanes, a speeding SUV meandering on all six of them in an attempt to get ahead of all is the commonest of all sites. Scary for first timers but a routine sight for the regulars. And Delhi has more vehicles on its roads than rest three metros combined and Delhi is a network of fast track expressways, so the SUVs and their meanderings are infinite. Wear your seat belts is the moral of the story.


Celebrations in the street
And if you happen to be in the great western part of the city which is like a parallel system inside the otherwise posh and suave metropolis, your jaws will be under Newton’s spell, all the time. Wee hours of the night, boot of a car opened and converted into a makeshift bar and high bass Punjabi music engulfing the airs and a group of charged youth – spiked, turbaned, goateed, pierced and beefed up grooving their hips into a discordant blend of Bhangra, salsa, hip-hop and all possible forms of dance moves is not a very atypical sight. The high pitches of the songs welcomed by loud roars of enthusiasm and the delay between adjacent tracks unwelcomed by shrill hoots. Legends of Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khusro and Mirza Ghalib still live here and Dilliwaalahs love their music. And when you happen to cross such a scene, enjoy the music, silently praise the dance and get going. Don’t mess the combination of Alcohol and music is the moral of the story.


The Shiny new Possession
Dilliwaalahs are known for their fine lifestyle. Just one car in the garage is totally middle-class. People here live for luxury and not for bare needs. Survival is for lesser mortals, prosper is the Delhi way. And yes spaces are limited so the same neighbor who comes to your house every Diwali with a gift glittery and shining on the outside and having expensive nuts and chocolates and sweets in the inside wouldn’t hesitate in calling you names if you mess up with his parking space. Fair and Just. Hugs and smiles make everything all right, everyday. And if you purchase something you have all rights to show it off but being blatant and on the face spoils the party, Dilliwaalahs are sophisticated people so they utilize the power of random discussions. So you can blame the government for the bad roads and the pains you take while driving you new Honda city will be perfectly alright. You will invite appreciative glances as well. Or blame the RBI for revising their Repo rates all the times and the way your floating EMI interest for that 3 BHK you purchased in greater Noida for 85 Lacs keeps going up. Leave Buildings and cars, you can even moan about water scarcity and complaint how your expensive imported sanitary fittings have become useless. Likewise flaunt phones, scotches in your bar, salary appraisals, wedding saris and sherwanis. If you can present it in the right way no one minds. So in Delhi, Flaunt is the moral of the story.


Always wise to run away from such scenes
Delhi has always been praised for its Dil – the heart. But there is more to Delhi than just Dil. There are arms, there are legs and of course there is a mouth. In fact on a typical day you get to exercise the last three organs more than the heart. The catch is that you should know when and where to exercise these. Most of the times you need to keep the mouth shut because one slip of the slimy muscle inside it can lead you to all sorts of trouble. Of course you can use your legs to run away or hands to fold and ask for mercy. But if you have other homo sapiens with you who you can trust, you can use your mouth to hurl abuses and hands to punch and legs to stay firm on the ground. In a busy traffic you can again use your mouth to throw abusive words on the pedestrians and motorists to scatter the traffic. If the traffic is not muddled but that idiot is not allowing to you to overtake, you can use your hands to show him the middle finger once you get past him. As you learn the life here you will also become an expert in the skilled use of these awesome organs. So make professional use of your hand, legs and mouth is the moral of the story.


Zero Ambiance,100% taste
Dilliwaalahs love their food too and in Delhi messier the lanes, tastier the food. The Kohli’s, Kakkas, Chawalas and Pammis are everywhere each claiming to be that one famous restaurateur from Old Delhi. One generous meal and you overshoot your calorie limit for the whole week. Paranthas in the Paranthe waali Gali, Street food in Bengali Market, Seekh Kebab and Tandoori Chicken in Chandni Chowk. Forget the butter dripping from the Rotis just indulge into the gastronomic delights of this ancient city. Delhi is more about taste than ambiance and if you are a sucker for ambiance, this place offers you hotels and restaurants that can supply mouth melting delights provided you have enough cement to cover the holes these places would drill into your pockets. Nevertheless, when in Delhi indulge in food without caring for the ambiance is the keyword.



Delhi - you just can't ignore it
Delhi is a confusing place but in that case India is a confusing country. We love to break rules, we love drawing urine maps on the desolate walls and we love staining the public wash basin with Paan and Betel nut jets. Staying in Delhi is like staying in all cities of India together. You have the rawness of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar here, the royalty of Rajasthan here, the eerie silence of Madhya Pradesh and the wildness of Punjab here; you will even find Tamil Nadu in the common law abiding man here and the coolness of Goa in the stylish females here. From English speaking suave youth from south Delhi to the Chaste Punjabi speaking west Delhi guy, from that well dressed guy in Vasant Kunj to that fashion disaster from Trans Yamuna, you have them all here. Delhi for me is the epicenter of all diversities in the world. Women here will pester the street vendor for 10 Rs but will never step into an eating joint which is cheap or is at least close to being cheap. Girls here will mesmerize you with their looks but can deafen you with their decibel rich voice.  People here contradict themselves sometimes for good and sometimes for the evil and this makes Delhi a rough but an interesting place to live in. It’s not easy to hate something or fall in love with something but Delhi will make you love it and hate it every day. From just another city to the place where you live, finally Delhi becomes a state of your mind.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Rings of Saturn

“So what happened to Hanuman Jee, Shiv Jee and all those deities that we used to worship” I asked out of curiousity. 

“Arre they are still here and are worshipped but Shani Dev is the one who is worshipped the most” The Auto wallah replied.
“Strange..! Anyways drop me here. I’ll call up someone to pick me up” I replied.
“Sure Sir” He said and the Auto came to a halt in no time. I paid the bill and he turned around with a sheepish grin.
I was relatively new to this place, Gurgaon - The Heart of Information Technology in North India. And it was a Saturday. I saw people pouring in the Shani Dev temples on the way with their Audis and BMWs and Beetles parked outside the temples. I also saw beggars, mostly kids roaming around near the red lights with a bucket in hand. Buckets full of oil and inside the buckets there were statues of Shani Dev half submerged in the oil. Being born and brought up in a religious Brahmin family, I have a natural inclination towards religion and spirituality so I was more than happy to drop a coin or two in the buckets but then they were everywhere. The Air-conditioned sedans and SUVs opened their panes and every time a hand came out, a hand with an expensive wrist watch sometimes or sometimes with a gold bracelet or sometimes the hands were bare but the lushness of the hairs on them or just the muscular roundness suggested those belonged to rich men and those rested in pockets which were very deep. Those hands kept on dropping the coins into one bucket and then another on one red light and then another to one beggar and then to another.

I was curious; does this bucket full of oil haunt the possessors of these rich hands? All I knew about Shani dev was that he was the god of planet Saturn, represented the seventh day of a week “Saturday”, and was son of Lord Surya (Sun God) as per the Hindu Mythology. So what’s this Shani obsession with Gurgaon people? No online article could answer my query. I tried asking people, pundits, beggars but they were clueless; all they knew was that people here were obsessed with Shani. Begging in the name of Shani was already a thriving business and the entrepreneurs didn’t care to find the root cause for it.
The answer lied in the behavior of Shani. Shani is the imparter of justice; unlike other gods Shani doesn’t give you health, wealth, success and love. The best Shani can do is to leave you at your current state. If Shani is at his merriest best, he wouldn’t harm you. In smaller towns and villages and places we pray for love, luck, money and sanity and in places like Gurgaon why do we have to pray for staying safe and unharmed?
This answer lied in the richness of Gurgaon. As our wallets get deeper, our hearts become shallower and thoughts narrower. In the quest of money (can be read as power, position, and status) we end up being “Beings”; the “Human” part is a small fee that we have to pay to achieve that being. We conspire at people’s back and don’t hesitate in sticking a dagger right inside the chest of our opponents whenever need be. We call this competition, we call this professional rivalry. Everyone want their silver credit cards to transform into transform into Platinums and Titaniums. Everyone want their passports to get thicker, everyone want their Bikes to convert into Cars, their Shimla vacations to Las Vegas vacations. And we work, sweat, run, type, speak, bitch, fight, conspire, plan and plot to achieve all this. And there is nothing wrong in thinking big or taking a path to achieve the same. But then why does guilt occupy a major part of our thought processes? Why does every beggar in the street with a bucket full of oil and a statue of a deity inside it resemble the messengers of the imparter of justice himself? Why do we embody guilty conscience? Well, this question is still unanswered.


Maybe dropping the coin in the bucket relaxes us momentarily till the time the next bucket marks it arrival and guilt starts knocking our heart chambers again and the process keeps repeating itself. Now when I see oil in the bucket, it looks like the mirror that shows nothing but our face. Shani is not a deity but a mirror that shows us our ugly face and the coin is the effort needed to get that mirror away from us.