Monday, December 31, 2007

Open Letter to New-Years-Eve-Frantic-Partiers

Dear New-Years-Eve-Frantic-Partiers

It’s that time of the year again, where you want to drink lots of booze, dance with (and occasionally feel up) lots of hot chicks, outspend the neighbours in extravagance AND the frenzied fun quotient and live the next few months (if not the rest of the year) on the laurels of “I had such a blast at the New Years”.

However, call me a spoil sport if you will. But I do not like to have fun under a gunpoint – on call, on schedule, on a particular day. Chances are I am feeling maudlin of another year gone by, a few more figurative (and the odd actual, sighhhh) grey hairs, opportunities missed and the fact that I didn’t win the Nobel Prize (or any other prizes) this year either.

But the truth is, I would rather watch ‘Nach Baliye-3’ reruns of Rakhi Sawant rather than get jiggy with inebriated oily-middle-aged-men-with-their-stomachs-spilling-out-from-their-belts who look in the mirrors and see eighteen-year-old-studs-with-six-packs-who-can-dance-like-Hrithik under that waggling flab.

I object in principle to spend 10K to get my toes stepped on and my eardrums torn – I can get that from the husband-feller for free.

I really don’t want to go through one hour of traffic nightmare (gridlocks + crowds + horns + sweat) only to end up at another purgatory (parking gridlock + crowds + himesh +sweat).

Having said that, all adventurous souls who enjoy new years – great for you. But can you please desist from asking me every other day what my New Year plans are. I probably don’t have any. If at all I do, chances are that they don’t have the words –Hotel, Holidays or Yacht in them. It’s more likely to include Television, Take-out- menu and Twiddling thumbs-or maybe if am feeling particularly brave, Pals and Potluck.

I know this sends me right back into Hicksville, but since I was never even remotely close to Hepville, I am willing to live with that.

The last half a dozen years, I have been the recipient of looks of shame (‘how can we know someone who doesn’t like to PARTY’), pity (‘do you think her disease is contagious?‘), guilt ( ‘should we invite her – but she is really not a friend you know, just a colleague’) , awe (‘ man, I have heard of such creatures, but didn’t know they actually existed’) and disinterest ( 'well I am going to Athena /Polly Esther’s /Vie ( or whatever is the flavour of 'the month), who cares what she is doing) . So I thought its about time that I share the perspective of the New-Years-Eve-Non-Partiers.

Many thanks for your understanding and sympathy.

And wish you all a very Happy New Year. May you get very drunk, score with some hot femmes and have the biggest hangover since God invented alcohol.

Cynic in Wonderland

P.S. Happy New Year to everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Taare Zameen Pe

I don’t remember the last time I got teary eyed for a movie – maybe Life is beautiful. Hindi movies, NOTHING after Anjali. Till TZP.

A beautifully evocative movie about childhood – the real childhood. Not the precocious, cutesy kids that are dished out to us. The often cruel, non-celluloid, non-rose-tinted side of childhood – of bullying peers and impatient teachers, demanding parents and unremitting competition. And the resilient optimism which flourishes inspite of that.

The young protagonist Ishaan’s, is if nothing, real. Imaginative, defiant, vulnerable, torn, strong, childlike (Darsheel is absolutely stunning). There are strong traces of Calvin in the role– the brat who doesn’t fit, extremely imaginative and alternatively exasperating and endearing.

The story, simply and poignantly told. (Black which had a similar broad plot was so full of histrionics that it systematically killed any sympathy).

I loved the attention to little details – Ishaan’s bed – full of toy soldiers (most little boy’s bed usually will have toy soldiers or cars). The fact that he is at the beginning of the movie is always running (I have two little nephews who don’t know how to walk – their mode of commute IS running!). Sitting on the pot, dreaming, oblivious to the time. The fact that little boys will put their hands in gutters and their fingers in their nose and will watch with rapt attention, things which adults take for granted.

I appreciated the fact that Aamir Khan did not make an appearance till half the movie was over (SRK in anything but the first frame? Nah!) – And delivered an understated performance which didn’t overpower Darsheel or take over the movie – allowing Darsheel to be the real star (as an aside, even in the credits, Aamir's name is second!).

The music for most fits in and adds to the narrative rather than taking it on a tangent.

On the flip side, I thought the teachers were caricatures (which teacher has hair coming out of his ears now?) and the parents’ role marginalized a bit – especially after the discovery that he is dyslexic and the pace could have been faster.

But that is nitpicking.
All in all, a must watch film.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rock(et) Star Dude

I think I am in crush.
I was at a function yesterday where His Excellency APJ Abdul Kalam was the chief guest.

Love happened.

I thought I was way past the age of being smitten by people, and politicians least of all. But there is something about the man which is irresistible.

Maybe it’s the endearing way he smiles – which lights up his whole face.
Maybe it’s the fact that even when the audience isn’t listening to what he is saying, there is something about him which still makes one pay attention to him.
Maybe it’s the fact that inspite of being SO larger than life is he so NOT larger than life. Maybe it’s the genuine warmth which seeps through to each word he says.
Maybe it’s the incongruousness of the rock-star hair with the rocket-scientist brain.
Maybe it’s just being in the presence of a genuinely great person.

I have been behaving like a star-struck and love-sick teenager .
I can’t seem to stop gushing about him. I elbowed a few people out of the way in order to get a surreptitious (completely sackable offence- that) snap of him from my cell phone.
I have even tracked down the guestbook with his signature and photocopied it.


Monday, December 3, 2007

One small flying story (Or why Fact is stranger than Fiction)

The location:
On board of a flight say, from Mumbai to Delhi

The players of the drama:
The Captain of the plane. He ..ahem .. steps out from the cockpit to answer nature’s call.

The First Officer, who has just been served tea by the air hostess, realizes that it lacks sugar. So also steps out from the cockpit to ask her for the same.

The twist in the tale:
The door of the cockpit slams shut while both the gentlemen are outside and the plane is peacefully cruising on auto pilot.

The additional twist in the tale:
The cockpit doors apparently cannot be opened ordinarily from outside (in mid-flight) to prevent hijacking attempts.

The small window of opportunity:
The pilots are trained about a super secret method of opening the cockpit door exactly for eventualities like this one.

The small window of opportunity slams shut:
Both the pilots however, have unfortunately forgotten this method.

The solution:
Business class passengers are privileged to see the whole crew of the plane trying to batter down the cockpit door with a food trolley while BOTH the pilots stand outside twiddling their thumbs.

The postscript:
Apparently they WERE successful in opening the door somehow, which is why this is a comedy and not a tragedy.

This story was recounted to me by a friend – whose uncle was on the review board of airlines when this particular case came up. I don’t know anything about flying but I do know I am exceedingly glad I was not a Business class passenger on that particular flight.