Friday, 27 December 2013


Methinks Dhoom 3 is great value for money because:

1. It has elements of the Dhoom franchise - fast bikes, exotic locations (back in the day of Dhoom 1, Goa was exotic), one cop, one thief (make that two), one mechanic-turned-cop, hot chick, why-is-she-here chick (Victoria in 3, Esha Deol in 1 and Rimi Sen in 2), she's-here-but-why chick (Rimi Sen in 1, 2 Bipashas in 2 and Katrina in 3), and of course the Dhoom music tune.

2. It has elements of a Rajnikant movie - The man in the shiny suit with the shinier knife sequence and an auto rickshaw who always wanted to be a Hummer.

3. It has James Bond elements in it - bike that turns into a jet ski, two bikes that turn into one...

4. Its main twist in the tale is from 'The Prestige' directed by Christopher Nolan.

5. It has elements of Hollywood in it - Shot on location in Chicago with the opening scene from 'Hey this is a classic Hollywood movie opening.'

6. Its commitment to CSR in the form of providing employment to disabled sections of society like Uday Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan and Jackie Shroff. My heart goes out to Jackie because he's actually a nice guy when he is not drunk which is the time between when he wakes up in the morning and gargles with whisky.

7. Its patriotism. Especially in light of the current diplomatic exchange of 'F-you' over the Khobragade episode, its unabashed bashing of the American police and the heartless American banking system is designed to make every Indian feel proud. 

8. More especially since Illinois State Government and the Mayor of Chicago must have rolled out the red carpet for a Bollywood production to ensure that business that's going to other countries now comes to the USA and we not only took the discounts but also had fun at their expense.

9. In the context of the Indian Supreme Court upholding Section 377 that makes being gay a crime, the end where one man rejects a woman and jumps off a dam to death holding another man's hand is a strong statement in favour of the rights of the gay community.

10. The RTO can sue the actors for riding a bike without a helmet and get to summon them to the court so they can take home autographed pictures for their kids.

11. Aamir Khan might stop thinking he can act. We can at least hope.

12. Last but not the least, the samosas in movie halls are always great.

Friday, 18 May 2012

How internet is fun on the mobile

There is a contest on, an online forum for Indian bloggers, that ends at midnight. The topic is 'How the internet is fun on the Mobile'.

A topic like this would have me thinking - under normal circumstances. But normal they are not: There is a deadline and it is less than 90 minutes away. So there's no time to tax the grey cells (pun not intended on cells), to come up with ideas (no connection to Idea, the cell phone service provider that you subscribe to when you are dead, in heaven and dressed like Jitendra). Instead, it is the fingers that are now doing the thinking. And since that's the case here's some fingering:

The most important mandatory requirement to take part in this contest is to provide a link to, so here it is: the link.

But why am I, an intermittent blogger who writes for fun, taking part in this contest? The answer lies in the prizes: 

1st Prize: Macbook Pro + 2 Tickets for the IPL Finals with hospitality.
2nd Prize: Sony Playstation 3 + 2 Tickets for the IPL Finals with hospitality.
3rd Prize: Sennheiser Headphones
4th Prize: Zoozoo Bean Bags

Naturally, I am gunning for the first prize. Not particularly because I want to bear the air fare to Chennai to watch the IPL Finals and partake of hospitality (what does that word mean? And why?) But because I am an Indian and I was told in no uncertain words by my parents, siblings, extended family, teachers, neighbours, friends, friends' parents and everyone I ever had a conversation while I was growing up - You have to come first! In school, in tuition classes, in sports, in the queue at the milk centre (yeah, I am that ancient). Break the queue if you have to, jostle, push, shove, trample, bribe - do what it takes, but come first. This 'Coming first' business is so ingrained in our culture that a recent worldwide research conducted by Clayboy Magazine showed that all men surveyed in India suffered from premature ejaculation.

The research results were a major cause of celebration because we were so proud that we came first in 'Coming first.'

But then, as I ran my finger up the list of prizes, a thought struck me. Zoozoo Bean Bags make sense - I can curl up on one and surf the internet on my mobile all day long while causing permanent damage to my spine. Sennheiser Headphones make sense too - I can plug them into my mobile and watch unsuitable films on the internet with the volume on and nobody would be any wiser.

But Sony Playstation 3? Isn't that supposed to be connected to the TV? Are you giving me an option to put away my internet-enabled mobile and engage in something else? And the Macbook Pro dude? Sure I would love that and especially love checking those videos out on its wide screen with kickass resolution instead of on a matchbox sized screen of my cell phone.

2 Tickets for IPL Finals - You guys actually want me to go to a big stadium and watch the real thing, real time instead of the slightly delayed online telecast on my matchbox cell phone screen in my cramped Mumbai apartment?

These prizes are not making sense. Nope, not even to my fingers, as I let another opportunity to win first prize slip through those very fingers by making fun of a serious topic like 'How the internet is fun on the mobile'.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Big Booming Progress of Indian Infrastructure: In The Least Expected Place.

One of the many things that separates a man from a woman (no, we are not talking about marriage here), is man's inability to resist the blank space on a wall. Yes, graffiti. 

What is it that makes men write on walls of lifts, toilets and monuments? Is it testosterone? I don't know if boys write graffiti before reaching puberty; I guess not. But that's a good topic for research - the connection between puberty and graffiti - I am sure the scientists who study stuff like the connection between length of ring finger and aggression, not having a date as a teenager and becoming a billionaire etc. would love to apply for a grant to study this one too. 

But graffiti is not the topic of this post. Rather, it is graffiti's new improved version. The Indian economy is rocking (or so I hear, though I continue to be broke all the time), infrastructure is rocking - look at the new airport terminals (don't look at the roads because it's the cars that are rocking and rolling and pitching on them), corruption figures are rocking - from a couple of crore to a couple of thousand crore and so on. This 'rocking-ness' has also infected the realm of toilet graffiti (that's a tautology - a word meaning the two words meaning the same thing and not the feeling Mumtaz of yesteryear Bollywood fame got when she wore her salwar suit). 

Here are the pictures I clicked in the men's loo at the New Delhi Airport. To understand the full import of the pictures understand that the man looking at these is standing there, relieving himself, holding... you get the idea.

The Big Picture

Sure dude. Time for introspection, eh?

I do, but a few more inches could help me here.

Yeah, I am willing, but someone taking?

Thanks for the encouragement. Could never make it without your support.

Are you sure this wasn't meant to be put up inside the privacy of the WC?

This one's for those with stones.

Now have a Nike for this too?

And this one's for the shy ones, the short ones...

You bet!

You got me there!

No sir, I won't. Definitely not on the second one.

Never was a truer word said. But is that option available here?

I guess the option is available here!

You mean to say they are hiding around here?

Frankly, I think I prefer the good old graffiti. Except that the phone numbers on the wall never seem to work

Thursday, 1 March 2012

It’s us, only

We, when we speak English, have our own four letter word. No, it doesn’t start with an ‘F’. But we do use it similarly.

Have you heard the audio clip spoken as if it is the now-dead Osho lecturing about the versatile ‘F’ word and its usage as a noun, verb, adjective etc.

We use our four-letter word with equal versatility.

And that word is, Only.

Location - I was there only.

To mean: I was right there.

Confirmation: I was doing that only.

Meaning: I was doing just that.

Emphasis: You didn't tell me only.

Meaning: You didn't tell me at all.

Affirmation: I meant that only.

Meaning: That's what I meant.

We are coming only, going only, eating only, working only.

There is no explanation why we speak like this except:

We are like this only.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Guinness Record

Yesterday in suburban Mulund where the local residents had formed a neighbourhood watch to nab thieves, a few kids spread the news that they had seen a robber on top of a tree. Within no time, a crowd, including local cops, gathered at the spot craning their necks to catch a sight of and hopefully catch the robber.

Not surprising. What's surprising is the number of people who turned up - Over 5000. Looks like this city is not just over-populated, it is also under-employed.

And here's the killer - There was no robber in the tree. 

Last week, a day before Republic Day, there was another crowd that gathered in one part of Maharashtra. No, not the hordes that thronged (word that means, 'a wronged thong'), malls to shop till their bags burst. Not the hordes that thronged railway stations and airports to enjoy the (self-created) extended weekend.

This crowd had a purpose: To create the new Guinness World Record for the maximum number of people singing a national anthem together. The event was conceptualised and executed by Lokmat, Maharashtra's leading Marathi newspaper. The numbers added up to over 50,000 and most of them were children. (Ten times more than those involved in the sport of robber-spotting; so there's hope I guess.) Here's the video.

Nice, I say.

But one question: Did you stand up while they sang?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Slient Night, Fiery Night.

It was 1995. I was young. (Okay, okay, I was 27, but when you reach my age, 27 is young.) Roaming upcountry Maharashtra for a photography shoot, we found ourselves at Gaganbavda, a place near Kolhapur where the ghats peak before they curve gently down into Konkan. It was evening and there was a nip in the September air, the kind that makes you yearn for hot coffee and a soft blanket. We had to spend the night there, wake up at the crack of dawn and catch the light needed for a perfect photograph. The only hotel there had a long corridor with a row of rooms that held the promise of mosquitoes, bed bugs and bathrooms that smelled of body fluids secreted since 1947. We decided to check out the local PWD bungalow and got lucky.

So far so not fiery.

For dinner, there weren't two options. The only hotel in Gaganbavda had the only restaurant too. Looking at a lone lizard on the wall stalking a thousand insects in the dining hall, we decided to pack the local food - zunka-bhakar and some daal-rice and threw in some egg omelettes, just in case.

By ten, after having fortified ourselves with some whisky, we were ready for dinner. It was quiet outside. All of Gaganbavda's residents had pulled blankets over their heads and were doing what people do under blankets on a cold night. The only sound was the racket in the other part of the bungalow - College boys on a picnic. Decibel level of a pack of dogs chasing a cat notwithstanding, their noise was reassuring; we had all watched movies of what happens to city folks who check into deserted bungalows with rickety caretakers who are three hundred years old.

We unpacked dinner. And all noise faded away. The zunka, the daal and even the omelettes were a strange red in colour. The colour of dried blood. I, being accustomed to the cuisine of Kolhapur, was the only one who had been rendered speechless because my mouth had watered at the sight of so much chilli powder. The rest were simply stunned into silence. For them, chilli was an additive to be used occasionally in food and Kolhapur was a district in the sugar belt of Maharashtra. As I attacked my food with gusto (or maybe ‘gut’so is a better word), the rest looked on. Seeing that I had neither fainted nor were my eyes streaming, they put the morsels of red into their mouths.

To date when a child refuses to sleep in Gaganbavda, its mother tells the story of a September night when four dragons ran around the streets breathing fire from their nostrils and mouths. 

Monday, 26 December 2011

Calling a skirt a skirt

I came across this in a column by NK who is the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine (definition: more ads, less editorial; more pictures, less words; more glam, no slam).

‘We thrive on BS and blowing sunshine up each other’s skirts. (Replace “skirt’” with the English word for derrière and you will know what I want to say.)’


Okay lady, we understand you are the E-in-C of a fashion mag and hence your French is probably better than your English, and your finishing school (defined as a school where they lay mighty stress on dental hygiene while teaching you to cover your mouth when you laugh), upbringing mandates that you appear polite while being rude, but this is the 21st century - or did I get my calendar wrong?

Then again, I wonder if the E-in-C of a French fashion mag had to write the same thing would she use ‘arse’ and request us to replace it with 

I also wonder if NK has kids and if she does, did she teach her children to say, “Mom, I am done with my merde so can you wipe my derrière, sil vous plait?” Yeah, the classes wipe while the unwashed masses wash.

Push the example further and you can safely assume that the only language spoken in the bedroom is French. “Oui! Oui!! Oui!!!” That is, when the lady can find her tongue.

And further in the same column, this:

‘If you are blunt to a fault, you often share the same tag as a dog of the female persuasion.’

A dog of the female persuasion?! Did the lady mean ‘bitch?’ Or did she mean a dog who has been persuaded to turn gay? And was she referring to the gay community with a word that starts with a ‘b’ and rhymes with ‘itch’?

Well, it does take all kinds to make the world come to a grinding halt.

But back to the column. The irony of the column is that it is about the virtues of being equally honest in your praise and criticism. Of not being afraid of being called a gay dog for speaking your mind.

The column appeared in last Sunday’s Indian Express supplement, The Eye. No, I cannot mention the writer’s name. You will have to excuse my French for that; it isn’t good enough to translate the name from Punjabi.