Friday, September 29, 2006

O Priyanka!

I am now the proud possessor of a SPICE TELECOM calendar featuring Priyanka Chopra on all of six pages, pity they couldn’t have twelve pages for the year. As a happy coincidence the July-August page, which was when I got the calendar had the prettiest picture of them all. Well pity now it’s September and I have to turn the page. Generally been bugging everyone announcing the presence of the calendar, asking people to say “Hi-Bye” to her too when they greet me. Continue to bug them by exclaiming “Priyanka Chopra makes it all worth it!” after a grueling round of work-assignment.
PS : Well it's almost October now by the time I got round to posting this diary entry. This actually is a diary entry and sometimes she does make things worth it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Full circle

After being at the receiving end of the “I last saw you when you were this small” line it was my turn today to give out that line on seeing two kids from my aunt’s side after quite a few years. I even went the whole “You look just like your Dad” hog. But having written about the receiving end I can say that I was indeed a bit restrained in my comments.
Life’s funny though. Full circle, awready!

The bump that cheers!

Long, long ago when I was sitting in class on some weekend, looking at my lecturer and his prominent rounded bump enclosed by a shirt and embellished by his trouser belt, I had an odd thought. Well in this enjoyable (IMDB reviewer notwithstanding) comedy called The High Crusade (1994) about an over enthusiastic knight who hijacks an alien scout vessel that strays into Earth, with his motley entourage and lands up on their home planet as part of the Crusades, among the numerous comic situations ( the one about the alien version of intercourse and protection is hilarious) there’s this hostage situation where he exchanges his pretty little wife (apparently she has the least utility) for custody of one of the aliens. The aliens somehow feel they’ve been shortchanged and on looking her up realize that they’ve been saddled with “the bumpy one.” Now that was a mind-boggling, electrifying realization for me.

I just paused to ponder when I had last referred (I mean mentally) to a woman’s (covered) breast as “a bump.” Well apparently, never. It’s always been more than that. Till the blinding flash of realization struck me, mind you not while watching The High Crusade but in class as mentioned above, that it need not mandatorily be looked at as a stimulant. It could also be dismissed as an uneven feature. But reversing this logic yields some interesting results. What if a common uneven feature of the middle-aged of the male species should suddenly start getting recognized as a stimulant by the opposite sex? After all it too is a “bump.” Imagine… and there are some many of those perfectly pot-bellied policeman, for instance. Phew! Now you get why I was talking about my lecturer and his… Such an event could seriously threaten us younger guys and we’d be hopelessly outnumbered too. Imagine… And I’d like to leave you with that.

Diary Entries: Hookin’ in the Rain and other grosse-ceties

Friday 18th May 9:00 am
The stretch of road outside my office witnessed some frenzied activity last night. It was raining - well in Bangalore you can never say whether it’s raining or drizzling – and clients were busy negotiating with the hookers who seem to line the street every evening. Everywhere wanted to get somewhere warm and dry or maybe “hot and steamy” quickly. It was funny in its own odd way. The ones waiting with umbrellas were busy ruing their not having got business yet. Two wheeler riders took cover in their helmets and the ones in cars took care to stay well within the dark inside while negotiating, but people who know them could always recognise them or at least make out the by the vehicle. Perhaps this was keeping with the old Indian movie tradition of rain drenched love making songs. Rain in the old movies - especially in the 80’s. Sridevi for instance has done plenty of these - seemed to really arouse the carnal instincts in the couple.
Mmm… ♪Jalta hai jiya mera bhigi bhigi raton mein
Aaja gori chori chori ab toh raha nahi jaye re ♪
-Pardonner-moi it dates to even older times. This is a Kishore Kumar song. -

And it’s really odd that hookers seem to line the most prestigious address in Bangalore every evening. Well at least earlier they used to be designated “red light” areas. Maybe the authorities want to develop MG Road into a one-stop shop. Had a hard day video-conferencing with your clients in North America , wining and dining visitors in the Oberoi and seeing off people to the airport, Perhaps you could do with a spot of paid sex. Picked up right outside your workplace.

Friday 18th May 7:00 pm
For the record, Sharath, they were better dressed today.
Maybe it’s the approaching weekend. Uhhh…Do hookers work weekends as all their clients perhaps need to get back to their families then for some ‘quality time’ then?

Tuesday 20th June
8:00 am: Today’s was perhaps the first peak hour (morning) shower of the season and I had to get soaked in it thanks to somebody’s insistence that I drop them. Wasn’t nice at all to drive in the rain…Or was it a drizzle? Like I’ve said above, in Bangalore it’s hard to say.
12:00 pm: My clothes are still wet!

Friday 23th June 8:40am
Nose picking bliss at 65 km/hr… That’s what I was up to today on my way to work. Also the weather was just puuuuuuurrrrrfect.

Zen and the Art of Blog Maintenance – I desperately need to know this.

To give you the impression that I'm such a magnificently well organized person I shall now proceed to make up for the vast expanses of time elapsed with no posts by forcing excerpts from my diary on you thereby creating the mistaken impression that I maintain both a diary as well as a blog. (Though admittedly I’ve hardly been maintaining the blog lately.)

Diary Entries: People

Big eyed, bright smile Miss T:
(Yeah, she has striking big eyes and a pouting smile;
reminds me of these new-fangled animated Disney cartoons.)
I came out of the loo and headed back to the reception - yes, the men’s loo in for our office is outside the office space in the building’s common area - and saw Miss T engaged in some banter with a junior. She looked like she was headed out. She had just flashed one of her bright smiles at me about half an hour ago when I was still in, the office that is. I picked up my bag and left and she too was done with her conversation and turned to leave when I brought up some convoluted queries about whether she was done for the day and if so how come because it was late evening and she worked the night shift. Once those were done and I learnt she had a wedding to attend came the surprise question of the evening, “You’ve come by bike?”, she asked and I all I noticed were those big eyes. “Yes”, I answered slowly and expectantly. “Oh, even I’ve come by bike.” she chirped. Then why did she ask, I wonder. The passage down three flights of stairs to the basement was quickly lost in some more inconsequential banter and all I remember is her quick, “Okay then, see you tomorrow.” once we reached the parking lot. But the most significant event of the evening was only after that. I went to my bike, took it off its center stand and realized that the rear tyre was punctured. Badly, I discovered later.

I was on a call with C today, my source for previous exam papers, and it stretched into a solid 45 minutes. Thank God for free Airtel-to-Airtel. I had never realized she wanted to talk to me so much. I mean, I used to see her in class and maybe we had exchanged a couple of “Hi, Bye’s”, but 45 minutes of phone conversation? Actually, she was doing the talking and I was doing the listening and hopefully all this listening will pay off someday. It was nice to hear her story of overcoming her parents’ opposition first to her working in a “private company” – a bad word according to elderly Indian government employee standards, her father is one – then moving to night shifts in a BPO and finally her move to a job with Siemens’ accounting back office operations here. When I hear these stories I somehow relate to them like a white guy in a strange India. I mean, I’m a rooted Indian, but these things don’t really move me. They’re funny though, girls. They don’t think twice about pouring their heart out to a bloke who just happened to call them, for the first time, because he couldn’t take prints of the papers forwarded to him by mail.
And the boy-girl social code too is skewed and kinda helps them. I mean – in a subsequent call - she can get away with a “Oh, you work in Brigade South Parade, that’s soooo close to my office” as merely familiarizing herself with the area, but if I had said the same thing I would be a bad boy who had only one thing on his mind.

C and a couple of others:
I met C for ‘xeroxing’ – about time the Oxford Dictionary recognized that too, I mean if they can accord Shanghaied and Bangalored legitimate status - the previous question papers sets. The others in question were pretty keen on running off on some related errands leaving the two of us minding the ‘xeroxing’ – I think photocopying is better. So it was time for me to pull a few cheap stunts on my enthusiastic partner like “Oh, there’s something in your hair”, and then running my hand through her hair, let me clarify that there was something in her hair. And then while walking, nudge her out of traffic with “Oh, there’s an auto coming.” Of course there was a lot of conversation too with a certain D popping up, I don’t know why. Oh yeah, D is a he, by the way.
I think she finally saw through my moves when I went overboard while walking on the pavement with ”Oh, there’s a transformer” to which she replied, “ Yeah, I see it.” All said and done it was a nice evening with no pricey Coffee Day coffee thrown in.

Fanaa: Movie review

Considering the delay I should perhaps call it the DVD review.

Fanaa: death/destruction [in Arabic].
Well, here it’s basically ‘Tere ishq mein fanaa ho jaye’
and not any other sort of destruction.

Fanaa starts off as breezy love story between a looking-his-age Aamir and remarkably young-looking Kajol (She does pass off as this college student) She plays Zuni, a visually impaired (‘blind’ didn’t sound quite right) Kashmiri girl, in Delhi with a small group from her college to perform before the President on Republic Day and Aamir is Rihaan Khan a tapori tour guide. Aamir’s courtship of her forms most of the first half with some pretty good shairi popping up every alternate dialogue Kunal Kohli’s done a good job with the dialogue here and the songs too are the better ones of the movie. And it’s from here that the movie spins totally out of control taking off on flights of fancy which you can only expect the combination of Yashraj films and Bollywood masala.
There’s not too much to write about apart from the fact that Kajol’s sight is conveniently restored, I suppose it would have been too difficult for the director to continue the story with a blind female lead. And Aamir morphs into a terrorist and a hi-fi one at that using digicams and laptops, the image is heavily inspired by the new Hollywood action flicks a la MI: 2, Italian Job. Then of course the movie winds its filmi way to the climax.

Director Kunal Kohli has delivered a terrible dud after a mature movie like Hum Tum. It’s surprising how Kunal who even appears on TV in his own show showcasing independent and non-mainstream cinema, providing tips to aspiring independent filmmakers can churn out such a lacklustre film. Suffice to say that the film is replete with usual mainstream movie gaffes like plot holes, incorrect representations and contrived songs.
And since most mainstream, read hit, directors have their ho-hum whimsical style of story telling and expect audiences to like it, I thought I’d used it too and instead of a full structured review you’ll find below listed in points whatever caught my fancy. But I won’t go the whole hog and brashly think that you will like it too.

· Aamir looks really odd and even scary when wet in the rain song. Imagine, there’s even a song in the rain after which what else, in true Bollywood ishtlye they make out.
· Aamir looks haggard and old in the close ups. Crows feet, sagging skin. He should try Botox, that face worth preserving.
· Kajol’s wardrobe in the movie is a big ‘wow’.
· There’s a spate of short appearances. Lilette Dubey, Lara Dutta, Shiney Ahuja, Shruti Seth of Channel V and others. Maybe Kunal wanted to make friends and influence people. Unlike but still like, gay old Karan Johar who casts his “good friends” who incidentally are also Bollywood stars in bit roles in his movies.
· Rishi Kapoor is really cute as Kajol’s dad.
· And I never quite figured out the age-old Bollywood fascination with shooting songs with the stars wearing summer clothing amidst snow clad locales.

Rating: No rating in stars, that’s used almost everywhere
Most Hindi movies can fall into ‘Good’, ‘Bad,’, &’Ugly’ and this one is ‘Bad’.
If you really want to watch it, just watch the first half. The second half is
Bollywood masala heaven. And anyway the good songs too are in the first half.

Need for Speed

Getting back to my pet peeve – I think every Bangalorean’s pet peeve – traffic.
(You know why Englishmen talk about the weather, it’s pretty much the most miserable aspect of their lives. Now you why we Bangaloreans talk about traffic.)
Returning to my previous unscientific attempt to measure the average speed on Bangalore’s choked roads on the basis of one journey. I got a figure of 3o km/h then, I think. But then I found that I would need a proper range of samples. What I noticed that for very short distances in the city centre, 4 km for example (MG Road to Sheshadripuram) the travel time during peak hour is 15-20 min and the average speed consequently is an appalling 12-16 km/h. To even out these variations I think taking my former daily commute of 17 km – 45 min (peak hour) would be a more balanced sample giving an average speed of 23 km/h. This would also match with my current commute covering some of the worst stretches (27km-1:15 hrs) – average speed 22 km/h. So considering these not so unscientific considerations I think assigning a range of 20-25 km/h for the average speed to cover peak and medium-peak hours would not be so wrong. What do they say about double negatives? You’re not too sure of what you’re saying or more likely you’re trying to confuse in case you’re not too convincing. So to end on a more convincing note…
[Sweeping instrumental music]
Average speed on Bangalore’s jammed roads as researched by yours truly:
20-25 km/h
[Sweeping music dies down; Applause]

PS : With apologies to SDH transcription.
Cerebral Palsy