Saturday, June 24, 2006

I will spoil your mood but there are no other spoilers ahead! 

For a movie buff, I rarely write abt the 70mm experience. People who know me can vouch for the fact that very few people can speak Filmese the way I do. I remember, that in the early days of this blog, a large number of my posts were movie reviews. So the blog is demanding a movie based post and hence this weekend post will be a set of stray movie related thoughts churning in moi mind.

For starters, some trivia. Who, probably after Gandhiji, do you think has been arrested (or faced similar ordeal) the maximum number of times in the history of India? Let me spare you the trouble - I think the answer is Shilpa Shetty. Can we please stop issuing arrest warrants against the girl who gave us innumerable classics like Pardesi Babu and Hathkadi. Seriously, Manu Sharma is walking around on the streets of India after committing a murder in front of a room full of people, while every second month some district court in India is issuing a warrant against Shilpa Shetty?? That too at a time when the Shetty girl hardly appears in movies (she said that she has become extremely selective and hence nothing less than a Khamosh or Garv will lure her into acting I guess). So please, spare the Shetty babe - will ya?

The remaining part of this post is dedicated to Krrishhhh (is it just me or does anybody else get confused by the number of r and s in the title - it's like that famous poster of the kid saying Shhhhhhhh.... where I always tried to count the number of h and the number of trailing dots, to figure out how much silence the kid actually wanted). Anyway, Krrish was watched and the movie is very reminiscent of the the mid 90s masala entertainer. I've always said that Papa Roshan is the only man who still manages to do the old school masala flick and set the cash registers rolling - Karan Arjun, KNPH, KMG and Krrish are all very 1990-ish and yet they somehow connect with the audience. Blah blah. But this is not abt Krrish - it is abt things that came to Urmi and my mind while watching Krrish. And don't worry - my intellect is too low for me to actually reveal anything worthwhile abt the movie - so be assured, no spoilers ahead.

* One thing that irked me strongly was Rekha's selfishness. Throughout the movie she wears an exotic collection of sarees. But what does she give her grandson??? Nothing but a sleeveless torn shirt and a pair of very strange looking pyjamas. Not fair or as we say it in Hindi - gora nahin hai.

* In a tender moment of the movie our superhero offers his lady-love a ring. The girl smiles coyly and blushes and then says - "sirf dogey? pehnaogey naahin?" (You'll just give me the ring? Won't you put it on for me?" I felt the movie could capitalize on this line and make it a part of cinematic history (the same way Kunal Kohli thought aab tumhe darr lag raha hai will captivate audience). According to me, at the end of the movie, the heroine should have gifted the superhero an underwear (coz we all know that no super hero is complete without an underwear). At this point Hrithik should have returned the line - What? You will just give it to me? Won't you put it on for me?" How cool would that have been? Sadly, he didn't and a classic movie moment was lost before its making.

* There's a scene in the movie where Krrish tells Priyanka Chopra's character that he wants to be friends with her. Urmi was quick to point out that nobody does this mushy crap anymore. Ideally, Krrish should have just asked Priyanka for her Orkut id, gone back home and left a message on her scrap book saying - want to make friendship? That would've been a classic moment too but Alas! we let go of that too.

Have a nice weekend and remember to forget - it helps!!

P.S. I almost feel guilty for the kind of crap that I write here and inflict on you guys. Hence to atone, I shall point to this post. Truly brilliant.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can't think of a title ... hence this post shall be called Popu! 

I know a post on marriage from an unmarried guy sounds strange, but trust me that marriage is in my genes - coz both my parents are married.

The weekend was very well spent. For starters this (and this) happened. Eeee Haw to that! Quite a few old friends from San Diego were revisited and moi also attended the big man V's pre-wedding party. The party was a truck load of fun with V getting bombarded by various questions concerning pre-marriage jitters. Now everyone knows that I'm a very good friend (ahem ahem). So, as a good friend, I gave V a very interesting preview of what I thought his married life will be like. And given that most of the readers of my blog are people who are married and use my blog as a one-stop resource for marital bliss, I thought I should share some of the weekend's invaluable words of wisdom here.

One of the first things V should do, I feel, is take his wife for a surprise shopping trip just after she arrives in US. Now I know what many of you are thinking - why is Sagnik sounding like a nice person suddenly? Simple answer - coz I AM very nice. So all you desi guys who bring your wives to US for the first time - please take them shopping soon - but but but, TAKE THEM TO ROSS. That's the key. It is important that you set the bar really low. You try to impress her with a trip to Macy's and you my friend are inviting a Looooooot of trouble. Coz the next time when you take here to Macy's after a fight, she'll be like "Hoooh! Whatever!" So take her to Ross and tell her it is a biiiiiig brand here. She'll probably ask you why then does their tagline reads "Dress for less" and the trick is to tell her that it actually means "Dressing for a lesser, and hence, more elite group." Someday this tip will save you a lot of money my friend and when your eldest child goes to college, you can thank me for the money I saved you towards his/her education.

If you are working and your wife is not in US, then the chances are high that you'll occasionally (changing soon to frequently) get a phone call at 5 in the evening. Your darling will start of by saying "Hi!!! What are you doing? Nothing. I just called to say Hi. I love you and miss you." The big thing to learn here is to NOT think that this is a general phone call. The actual translation of this phone call is "Why are you still at work? I am feeling sooooooo bored. You better come home fast." So never reply to this call with a nonchalant "I miss you too. See you at eight." coz then my friend you will be screwed (or maybe you never will be ... hmmm).

You'll often get underhand questions that'll sound like simple pursuits for knowledge but in reality they are anything but that. Things like "How much does a Mercedes cost?", "Have you ever been on a cruise?", "Is Hawaii very different from California?" and "How much does a two bedroom house cost?" should never be answered. Learn to dodge them skillfully with a "Oh! shi!t. I have to make a very important phone call. I'll be back in a sec." Coz what these questions really mean are "Why don't you sell your jalopy and buy a cool car?", "Let's go on a cruise", "We are going to Hawaii for the long weekend" and "It's time to call the realtor." So don't tell me that I didn't warn you.

There are several other rules to follow. Many of which have been taught to me by my dad. Some that come to mind are:

* Never criticize her cooking. Cooking to women is like sex to men. Even if they suck at it - they never want to know that piece of info. So, according to Bubin, the right way to criticize cooking is to actually praise it. "Hmmmm! I like the fact that you have put a lot of salt in the rasgullas. Very different. Hmmmm! Very different." This way you get the message across and make sure that even if things are a lil too salty, you at least don't make them bitter.

* Never praise a friend's wife. "Don't you think Raj's wife looked gorgeous in that red top?" That statement is a disaster. Coz it'll be instantly followed by "Then why didn't you marry her only?" Face it, Raj is married and so is his wife and even if his wife looks well red, you don't have to read into it.

* And the GOLDEN RULE - she NEVER NEVER NEVER gets fat. Even if your double bed has no space for you to sit on - it is never her fault. If you want to tell her that she has put on weight - you might as well contact your divorce attorney before that - the rule is simple - weight and watch my friend!

Gotta run now (actually it's more like a leisurely stroll). Peace!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apu, Ash and the cabbie who dropped me home! 

I used to think this is a very Indian thing till I realized that everyone does it. Just tell someone that you are from a particular place and they'll instantly try to show off their limited knowledge of that place, culture and celebrities hailing from those parts. Try going through the hard disk of your past experiences. There'll be ample situations like the following:

So where are you from?
Juhu beach? Bollywood?

You are left wondering "What abt Juhu beach and Bollywood?" but the other person is all agog, given that he has just managed to prove it to you that he is no alien to the city of Mumbai.

If you are a Bengali (which I am) and you went to a college with a large number of people from South India, this can be all the more amusing. I'm not making this up, but at least 5-6 people at different points of time have had some variant of the following conversation with me:

They: Which part of India are you from?
Me: Calcutta.
They: You guys have this red-light area. What is it called? Errrr! Hmmmm! Sonagachi, Sonagachi? Right?

Now I'm no expert on either Calcuttan landmarks or skin trade in the city but I'd definitely like to believe that Sonagachi is not Calcutta's most popular landmark. Also, every time a person from way South of India asked me this question, I'd view them with the very "Eeeew! How and why do you know that?" look. It was almost after a year of repeated bombardment of the question that I delved into the dept of the matter. I found out that in some Tamil movie featuring Kamal Hassan(Mahanadi, if my memory serves me right), his daughter was sold off to some dude in Sonagachi and Mr. Hassan came down to the city of joy to save his daughter. The movie, it seems, was a huge hit. As a result, everyone in Tamil Nadu now knows abt Sonagachi and uses it as conversation starter with Bengalis. Very amusing indeed. So it has been a long standing desire of mine to make a Tamil movie with Mr. Hassan (or is he too old now in which case I'll use Madhavan or Vikram), where he plays a raging sex-maniac who comes to Calcutta to visit Sonagachi. Throughout the movie he visits actual tourist attractions of the city and asks people where Sonagachi is and they rebuke him saying "Calcutta is not that kind of a city". I know the plot of my movie sucks, but anything to revive my city's image - what say?

So why am I posting all this now? Simply coz I'm trying to address a much broader issue - that of mouthpieces of locations. As an Indian, who has a fairly large number of non-Indian friends, I get asked several questions about Indians and Indian culture and many of these questions arise because we have the worst mouthpieces of our culture. So who is the most popular Indian outside the Indian community? Think abt it. There is no clear cut answer. Seriously. Who is it?

If I was asked this question, I'd probably say it's Apu from the Simpsons. Some people will probably say it's our Father of the Nation but a few years back someone actually asked me "wasn't he the guy from the Gandhi movie?" - so I wouldn't count on that. So who is it? If India is a brand - then who is our brand ambassador. Is it Aishwarya Rai because she has giggled on Oprah and even been the coveted "second guest" in David Letterman? Try going up to your first non Indian friend and asking him/her if they know who Aishwarya is. You'll be surprised that they have no freakin clue as to who she is. Then try telling them that she is really famous and is doing a spree of second tier English movies that'll never get mainstream wide releases. So we are back to point zero.

I can sense the uneasiness with my non Indian friends. They sincerely wanna talk abt India and ask me questions but they don't know anything to start with. Once they realize that I'm not feisty abt India, they open up and clarify the one doubt that all of them seem to have - DO YOU HAVE ELEPHANTS IN INDIA? And I nod my head tell them "Yes. In the Zoo!" Then there is silence. Some of them are bold enough to ask me abt the Kamasutra and if it is popular in India. Then we have some awkward silence and then we quickly change the topic to basketball and Star Wars and whether Michael Jackson is actually ET who can dance. And I don't blame them. For an outsider, all that they see or hear abt India are engineers, cabbies, elephants and movies where everybody dances - quite the range I'd say.

Our only saving grace comes from the grand uncle of all monuments. The Taj. But there too, my lack of travelling across India, removes any chance of continuing the conversation.

"So have you seen the Taaaaj Mahaaal?"
"No, I haven't," I reply in a demure fashion. "But I have seen Sixth Sense. That was made by an Indian too. Manoj Knight Shyamalan." I scream out.
"What? Em. Knight's from India?"

So back to square Uno. Tell me, who is India's brand ambassador? Please.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Why I want to be a female blogger! 

Yup! That's quite the radical title for a post I'd say. But then it is true. Being a female blogger seems to be a lot of fun. You can really try radically different types of posts and get away with it. Look at me and my blog. Extremely mundane I'd say. The same old social commentary. Men do this, woman don't do this, desis are like this, here's a list of five reasons why ... yada yada! Absolutely no variety. But then that's the case with most male bloggers. As men, we have very little to write about that would sound remotely interesting. Social commentary, contrived humorous situations, tech and gadgety stuff and ... errr ... hmmm ... errr ... yup! that's pretty much it I'd say. But being a female blogger can be sooo much more exciting. The stuff you can write abt and yet have a roaring readership is mind blowing. No wonder, a very popular male blogger I know of, also masquerades as a fairly popular female blogger (I'm so tempted to provide links here :))

So, having introduced the topic, let's delve into it a little bit more - shall we? Why do I want to be a female blogger? What is it that I want to write abt but can't, being the man that I am? Here are a few ex-amples:

* The Anonymous Exciting Female Blog: Oh these are soo much fun. A large number of the popular female bloggers are people who have that element of mystique abt them. "There's a guy in my office who wears a blue shirt that I have a big crush on." - Now that's a jolly good line to come from an anonymous female blogger. Every man reading that post, who has ever put on a blue shirt, is put into the "Is it me?" alert zone. You walk into the office thinking every girl in your office could be that particular female blogger :D Aah! The control you ladies have on us, I say. No wonder there are sooo many anonymous female bloggers. Whether it's relationships, friends or general candid tete-a-tete - anonymous female bloggers manage to make it sound soo much nicer. What does she look like? Is she hot! Is she not! So many questions. Almost no answers. Wow!! Men on the other hand don't have much to offer as an anonymous blgger (and the Hawk doesn't count). Coz the rules are simple. If a woman talks abt a make out session or a night of revelry, it's an exciting read. A man doing the same? Well, who cares for such a creep? eM, M, primalsoup, qs.gemini, bakerzdozen, xxfactor ... and an unending list of others. I salute ye all for making blogosphere so much fun by keeping your identities hidden. Way to go!

* Abstract blog. I have this very strong urge to write absolutely trite and meaningless posts where people will still read the posts and go "Wow! This is so deep." A few men have tried this genre (and I shall once again resist from giving into temptation by not linking to them) and failed miserably. But quite a few female blogger's have made abstract blogging a truly recognized art form.

A gentle touch,
A delicate squeeze. Aaaah!

Yes!! That could be a blog post. And not just any blog post but one with 22 comments. This one still had two lines. I've seen posts that had just two words and people found two pages worth of stuff below that line called "Comments" to write abt those two words. And surprisingly, all these so called abstract posts were by women. Is it a coincidence? Is it an art they have mastered and we have faltered with? I dunno. But I do want to try it out at some point.

Milk, wine.
Bastard, swine.

* Do the whole chirpy tippity-top post!! Have you ever seen a male blogger write a "boyish post"?? A post where he goes "Oh! It was just like I was fifteen again"? A post with words like "Tickety tat and frickety frat"? People will be like "Yikes! What's wrong with him? Has he lost it?" But there are soo many posts where women seem to rediscover their inner child and reminisce abt dolls and skirts and all things pink. Have you ever seen a post where a man reminisces abt the first time he shaved and how different things were when he stopped wearing half pants to school? I rest my case!

* Write a post abt the STARE!! What's with my sex of the human specie? How badly do we ogle? There seems to be more blog posts on "He gave me that stare." and "I was feeling uncomfortable by the way he just looked at me." than on World Cup football!! Now don't get me wrong. I agree that a lot of men look at women the way a hungry tiger looks at a goat. But why is it that no men ever get the Mrs. Robinson stare? Are we that unattractive as a group? Imagine a guy writing a post going "She stared at me nonstop for 30 seconds. It was starting to get awkward ..." Can you imagine the reaction he'll get. Women will be like "Yeah sure! He must have been the one staring I tell you. She must have just given him the look to teach him a lesson." Fellow men will be even worse. They'll go "Who's he kidding dude. A guy? And he got the STARE? Who does he think he is?" And hence, every now and then I want to be a female blogger. Just to write abt the STARE and emotionally move an army of men and women who would then have sympathy and advice galore to offer. Hmmmm!

The list can go on - but actually it can't - coz I have nothing more to write now. So read and forget and read again!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

No Goals Achieved!! 

"So do you follow soccer? Oh, wait. You guys call it football in India, right?"
"Yeah! It's kinda strange. Given that you hit a Ball with your ... err ... hmmm ... your Foot!!! the naming does sound a little strange!"
"Oh shuddup! No seriously, is soccer big in India?"
"It's bigger than big - it's BIIIIG!!"
"So how come you guys don't feature in the World Cup?"

Very true! How come we guys don't feature in the World Cup? We are a country of one billion people. Couldn't we find eleven people who kick a round piece of air filled leather blob the right way???? Come on now! What are the chances of that. Given our population and gusto for the game, we should send two teams for the World Cup. "In a thrilling semi final match, India A beat India B. We know that half a billion people are happy and rejoicing right now. What say Mike?" Now that's what we should be hearing on TV. But no - the reality is quite sad. So sad that we are all busy picking favorites from other countries. My dad is supporting Argentina. My sister is supporting "the team David Beckham plays for". My uncle likes to pick lesser known teams and support them - so it's gonna be Costa Rica for him. Blah blah!

And it's not just football. Basketball, wrestling, tennis, swimming ... you name it and we suck in that sport. Lemme repeat the point. WE ARE A COUNTRY OF ONE BILLION PEOPLE. We have snow, water, rain forests, everything. Combining these two statistics we should win gazillion gold medals in every freakin sporting event - Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, Olympics for the people in moderate climate zones, Wimbledon - whatever! But No! The only games we seem to excel in are the ones that got surprisingly left out from every big sporting event - or which in common man's lingo means - GAMES THAT NOBODY CARES FOR.

It's like they had this auction going on for all the big games and the Indian dude representing us landed up really late. The auctioneer took a quick look at him and sighed.

"Too bad Appu! You are late. We have nothing left for you. The Americans came in early and took most of the good stuff - athletics, basketball, tennis, boxing, everything! The Chinese sent a lot of people too and they got a decent deal as well. We had the long distance races left for a while and we gave them of to the people from Africa. The South Americans sent in a big delegation for soccer alone. So that was theirs. Too bad Appu. We have nothing left for you."

So Appu becomes all dejected and whimpers.

"What abt snooker and billiards?" Appu asks, albeit in a subdued tone.

"Those are gone buddy. We have carrom left though. It's the same thing, just less interesting."

"Ok! I'll take that," Appu sighed.

The guy in charge of distribution felt sorry for Appu at this point. So he cut him a deal.

"What abt cricket?" he asks. "It's this game like baseball but the players have to be more dressed than a man attending a business meeting. It's like you are going for a luncheon but stopped midway to play some sport. Not too many people wanted it. Only the English and Aussies claimed it. And remember no women will ever get associated with it. Not even cheerleaders!"

So Appu becomes all excited hearing that the Brits play it. We were ruled by the Brits for centuries. The very mention of the word England gets us excited. So he readily agrees to taking cricket. He even agrees to share it with everybody else in the sub continent."

Just as he is about to leave, the auction master calls him again.

"Hey, do you want khoko and kabaddi as well?"

"What's that?" Appu asks.

"I dunno. No one else did either. I believe you have to hold your breath and repeat Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi till you faint with breathlessness. Oh! And there will be a lot of dirt too. Want that?"

Now we know that as Indians we don't let go of anything. You can give us a free blue whale and we'll take it and put it in our living room and flaunt it to every relative. "My son got this blue whale FREEE! He did not have to pay a single penny for it." So Appu lapped up khoko and kabaddi as well.

Once again he was about to leave and the auctioneer called out again (how dramatic).

"Want this game called Chess? Well! To be perfectly honest, it's not exactly a game. It's more like an indoor thing. The Russians love it coz it's cold in Russia and they can play chess inside their rooms. We have some chess shares left. You care for some? But we believe that you need a high IQ and boredom tolerance to be a master in it and ..."

Appu was all ecstatic at this point. "A thinking game did you say? Oh we love thinking games. That way parents can fool their children into playing this game while what they are actually doing is preparing them for engineering school. My people will love it. Thank you. Thank you," he exclaimed.

And that is how we got it all. Hmmmmm!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

They can flush and still make you blush! 

The Rimi lady can get quite angry I've been told. And hence I shall honor her request pronto. That would make this my first "suggested by other" post. For those of you who are unaware of what moi is talking abt, a lil black and white flashback - a few days back the old lady asked me to write a post abt things that women can get away with but men cannot. Aha! I exclaimed to myself. So finally someone actually accepts that women can indeed get away with stuff that the male specie can't even imagine trying. Rimi also mentioned as an example "like women can wear pink but men can't ..." No! I said to myself. I'm not going to go the fashion route - that is soooo obvious. Instead I will talk abt other social phenomenon that the fairer sex can get away with but men shudder to even think abt. Here it goes:

1. Go to the bathroom together and not look strange. I remember mentioning this years ago in a post and lemme repeat the point. What's this with women accompanying other women to the loo? It's like a social gathering in there. One woman has to say "I'll be back from the toilet" and before you know it's like a freakin picnic in there. All the other women join in with "Wait a sec. I'll come along too." Men will never dream of making a statement like that. Can you even imagine a guy telling another guy "Hey, I'm going to the toilet. Wanna join me?" Noooooo!!

2. Be in a group in a club by themselves and NOT look desperate. How does this system work? A group of girls dancing all by themselves in a club is a sexy thing and the same scene enacted by the male specie is a sight of sadness???? If you see a group of men all by themselves in a social gathering people instantly exchange smirks. "Look look! Despos." ... "That's sad." ... "Man, how lame are they?" you hear. But put a group of five girls by themselves and the nudges and expressions change . "Wow! Look at them man." ... "That's so progressive" ... blah blah!

3. Add sexyness to something as mundane as eating. This one completely amazes me. A woman eating a banana or gently licking a lollypop is supposed to be an erotic activity. So a girl could be without make up and just have a banana in her arsenal and still break hearts? But men? Nada! Is there any food that you can imagine a man eating and adding anything remotely sexy to the situation - think - burrito, spilling burgers, dosa, chicken legs - nothing. The only effect we can produce is that of disgust when we have sauces and stuffing dripping from all sides and try to cover it up with a smile that only reveals spinach stuck between our teeth - aaaaargh!

4. Proudly proclaim that you have a Best Friend. Every girl it seems has a best friend. Now it was all fine when I was in kindergarten and shared tiffin with my best friend. "Who gave you that red pencil?" my mom would ask and I would reply with "My Best Friend!" But as I grew older I became more reticent to even accept that I have "close male friends". Don't get me wrong. Men have friends but we can't talk much abt our proximity without sounding strange. Can you imagine me making this statement. "Oh! I'm going to spend the night at my best friend's house. We will change into our night clothes and talk all night long!" Naaaaaaah! But the women have it different. Every woman seems to have a "Best Friend" story dating back to less than a week. "Me and my best friend, we spoke for hours last night." "My best friend and I went for a tan together." ... yada yada. And sometimes it's not just limited to best friends. They take it one notch higher. "Shilpa and I are the bestEST of friends. We've known each other for years and share everything with each other!" Now try replacing Shilpa in that statement with Sanjay and ask yourself if it still sounds right. I rest my case.

There you go Rimi girl. I have kept my word and now it's your turn. Send me the phone number of your best friend and take her to the toilet and put in a good word for me. Will ya?

P.S. Random conversation from the weekend:
She: I once got angry with my ex and kicked him out there.
Me: Lemme get this right. You got pissed with him and made sure that he can't piss no more?


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