Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pocket Money

Ravi and his friends were backbenchers in their class. Others tried to join their group of five students but did not manage to do that. Except all the boys in his group, Ravi was a miser. While his friends used to get decent pocket money, Ravi never had a penny – and that was the prevailing opinion in the class about him. There were occasions when Ravi had some pocket money, but he never really paid for anything. Among his friends, Ravi was popular as someone who didn’t believe in spending money.

Ravi belonged to a middle-class family and his father was a soldier in the Indian Army. The group of five boys was quite notorious among teachers, who always encouraged them to do well. At times, teachers tried other ways like sarcastic comments to jolt those boys from their reveries, but the group never had anything to say in their defence. They would blink at each other during such incidents and then the entire group would pose with smirks.

Every day during recess, one of the boys from their group would buy some sweets or candies for the gang except Ravi. While eating sheepishly with others, Ravi sometimes said that one day, he would throw a grand party. That didn’t happen for a long time except one day!

One day after the first period, when the bell rang, Ravi announced to his group that today they would enjoy some fruit chaat, lots of sweets and candies – and he would pay for all of that. It was a moment of elation and surprise for his group. The boys had a terrific time that day, as they gratified themselves with fruit chaat, Ice cream and Jalebi. Ravi was carrying a few notes of 100 rupees that day and he happily paid for everything. Boys were happy and didn’t bother to ask Ravi about the source of money. 

It was during the seventh period when Hindi teacher Mr. Praveen was elucidating a poem; a burly man entered the classroom. He had a big moustache and broad shoulders. He greeted the teacher and quickly announced that his son Ravi studied in the same class. Teacher greeted him and called out Ravi. Students craned their necks to look back, as Ravi timidly stood up from his seat with his head bowed down. Before Ravi’s father could mutter anything, his teacher said that he could wait outside at the reception and meet Ravi after the class. All this while, Ravi’s father kept staring at Ravi. Then he said, “I want to take Ravi to the Principal and please you also come with me.”

The teacher felt a bit surprised and reiterated that he could wait outside and meet Ravi after the class. Well, Ravi’s father finally left and after five minutes, a peon came and announced that Principal wanted to have a word with Ravi and his four friends immediately. As the boys entered the office, they saw that Ravi’s father was talking to their class teacher and principal was patiently listening to them. The very sight of Ravi made his father furious this time and he snarled, “You thief, how dare you to steal 500 rupees from your home, now you will be punished properly.” Class-teacher intervened and said that he should calm down and then looked at the group and asserted, “So, boys, did Ravi tell anything about money?” He added, “Where did you go during the recess and did Ravi buy anything?” There was a stunned silence in the room for a few moments.

Ravi’s appearance rendered pessimistic because of his stooped shoulders and bowed head. A few beads of sweat began to dangle over the uppermost part of his forehead. The class teacher stared at Ravi’s face in search of those eyes, which could have elicited something, but that did not happen and then he yelled, “Did you do that?” Nothing happened and Ravi stayed stuck to that spot even the principal asked the same question twice. All of a sudden, Ravi’s father stood up, rushed towards his son and slapped him. A sound of thud roared through the office, but Ravi managed to stand his ground. His head bent down and tears rolled down his cheeks. He did not reply again. Everyone was left astounded by that outrageous act of Ravi’s father. Once again, class-teacher intervened and asked Ravi – the same question.  

With steamy eyes, Ravi raised his head and looked at his class-teacher and just for a second, he managed to exchange glances with his friends. As their eyes made contact, all the four boys instantly blinked at Ravi, who was struggling to control a flood of tears. He mumbled a few words and once again his father snarled, “You rascal, you think you can get away with that?” Principal intervened and told Ravi’s father to calm down and then he ordered the peon to bring the class monitor to him. Meanwhile, Ravi managed to exchange glances with his friends and they repeated the act of blinking at him.

Class-monitor Manish entered the room and as soon as he heard about the incident, he said, “Sir, I overheard from other students that Ravi threw a party today and his friends had ice-cream and some sweets.” After he left the room, Principal asked Ravi to tell them the truth. Before Ravi could open his mouth, one of the boys from the group said, “Sir, we were joking about a lot of things today, our monitor must have overheard that.” Yes, we have had ice cream today, but I paid for that. Principal once again asked Ravi, whether it was true or not. As soon as Ravi lifted his head, the blinking game started again and then Ravi said, “Yes sir, he did.”

Now, all the eyes were on Ravi’s father, who growled, “If that is the case, then how it is possible then? I had to pay 6000 Rupees to someone today and I kept that money behind the idol of Lord Krishna at our home yesterday. Only Ravi and his mother knew about that. Today, when I counted the money after Ravi left for the school, there were only 5500 Rupees.” Ravi’s father could not utter the next word, as another boy from the group snapped the conversation and said, “Uncle, did you count that money twice?” Even the stoic principal smiled after hearing that comment. Ravi’s father was furious. He wanted to say something but then looked at Ravi again.

Then, the principal said, “Please Mr. Kumar, now that it has been proved that Ravi didn’t pay for anything, you should just go back home and calm down. You might have misplaced those rupees.” Ravi did not say anything. His father said that he wanted to frisk Ravi, but Principal quickly objected to that and said, “Mr. Kumar, I think your son has had enough already and I don’t want my student to cry again.”

The principal called out for the peon, told him to fetch two cups of tea for him and Ravi’s father, and then ordered boys to return to their class. When they reached halfway, one of the boys quickly held Ravi’s hand and asked other boys that how much money they have had. They needed 5 notes of 100 Rupees and luckily they collected those. They gave Ravi that money and said that he should leave the school immediately and reach home before his father. Well, Ravi returned to his class and told his teacher that he was not feeling well and wanted to go home with his father. While his father was sipping tea with the principal, Ravi quickly left the school and ran towards home. Next day, when Ravi returned to his class, the class monitor smiled at him and chuckled, “So Ravi, can we also join you today for another party?” Ravi looked at him, smiled and said, “No dear, I only enjoy with my friends.”

Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Friend

Precaution: Long Post (Though its a short story) with some errors! 

There was a lot of commotion in the house of Chawla Family that day – peals of laughter and sporadic shouts of children could have heard from a distance and the gathering of many people stirred the interest of the village folks. Usually, keeping to themselves, Chawlas were one of the wealthiest families in the village and their palatial home was like a forbidden palace for the village folks. It was the stature and influence of the Chawlas that kept other folks impassive towards their daily lives. Even the most inquisitive folks did not care or dare to say anything about Chawlas. Though, many of them were kind of interested to know more about that particular ruckus. Something like that happened five years ago!

Five years ago, Kanchan eloped with her boyfriend Prabhat and what followed afterwards turned Chawlas home into any other house in the village. It was a rare opportunity for many village folks and each one of them visited that home to give some false or true information about Kanchan.  Things had changed in five year – Kanchan was coming to her maternal home and the whole family implicitly agreed to celebrate. They cursed Kanchan for a long time for what she did, but finally they accepted that gnawing decision and went on to convince themselves that all happened for some good.  Kanchan’s mother talked to her daughter after five years and after the initial tear-laden conversation, she invited her to see the ailing grandmother. The oldest member of the family or Kanchan’s grandmother was eagerly waiting for her grandchild, who was once treated like a princess in that home. Kanchan agreed to visit her grandmother  – within a couple of days, the brightly lit and recently painted Chawla house looked alive and quickly filled with relatives, who came from the far and wide corners of the city not only to be a part of this celebration but also to meet Kanchan – and to see, whether she was happy or not. Many were surprised that Kanchan’s father had made peace with his daughter. It wasn’t easy at all, but then a daughter’s love overpowered everything.

It was not going to be a kind of typical after-marriage ceremony, but for Chawlas, it was that much awaited occasion to celebrate and wholeheartedly accept the decision of their daughter – in front of those who had a lot to say five years ago. They did not forget to invite all of their relatives and above all Kanchan’s best friend Sanchita.

Kanchan was supposed to come home in the evening and all the members of the family were waiting for her. Old memories invigorated and more than joy – it was a moment of relief for the Chawlas – though they disowned their daughter, verbally in front of the society but never really accepted it – themselves.

Kanchan’s brother Ramesh, quickly got Sanchita’s phone number from her maternal home, but before giving her a call, he consulted his mother. It was an odd moment for him and his mother. In fact, his mother said that Kanchan might not like it because it was Sanchita who first broke the news of Kanchan’s elopement to the Chawla family. Sanchita and Kanchan were considered as the best friends by many. They went to school together, studied in the same class and shared every secret – two grown-up girls typically do. On that day, when Kanchan decided to elope with her boyfriend, she did not tell anyone about her plans except Sanchita – her best friend. But, that did not go well! Somehow, Kanchan and her boyfriend Suraj made a last minute change in their plan and that somehow helped them to keep Chawla and their clan away – or it would have been a disaster for the young lovers. Kanchan’s enraged brother and father had used all of their resources to get the information about the couple but they did not succeed. And, five years changed their perception.
After pondering over the implications, Kanchan’s mother told Ramesh that he should call Sanchita because everyone had moved ahead with their lives.  

Kanchan’s brother Ramesh called Sanchita many times that day, but she did not pick up the phone. The phone kept on ringing and finally Kuldeep picked up the phone. Kuldeep was Sanchita’s husband. He was a senior inspector in the state police department.  
Kuldeep, hello.
Ramesh, “hello, Namaste Ji, can I talk to Sanchita?”
Kuldeep, “Who are you and why are you calling on this number again and again.” Before Kuldeep could have shot a few expletives, Ramesh quickly took him through the back story by explaining everything.
After listening to that he said,  “Ok Ramesh, Kanchan will call you.”

Kuldeep was a bit short-tempered fellow. Due to his erratic behavior most of the people used to avoid him. But, that was tolerable to a great extent, but then he had this knack of turning into a monster after getting drunk. Sanchita got married to Kuldeep four years ago – a year after her best friend eloped with a boy. Initial outbursts of Kuldeep quickly turned into trails of ugly fights which sometimes appeared sadistic.

Kuldeep had a tendency to fight over trifles and a couple of times, Sanchita went back to her parent’s home but only to return after a few days. And, then it became a usual affair and Sanchita got used to it.

Kuldeep started drinking a bit early that day and Kanchan could sense that something nasty was in the offing. Her keen knack to gauge the frequently changing behavior of her husband had made her very alert as an individual. Those four years with Kuldeep, had given her two daughters and a submissive will to tolerate everything for the sake of her daughters. A few times she contemplated the options of committing suicide but then quickly changed her mind. Who would look after her daughter, if she would kill herself?  Kanchan had made peace with herself and expected the norms, which included, subject to frequent beatings and unnecessary rants. Kuldeep never hesitated to humiliate her in front of others.

After finishing half of a bottle of Rum, Kuldeep mumbled.  “How can I trust a woman like you, why did  you not tell me about this friend of yours earlier?”

Kanchan knew that it was coming, but she did not say anything. Mentally she prepared herself to take  another beating. Then the memories flashed before her eyes. Just like another girl, she had those dreams and aspirations about her would-be husband and life after marriage, but things got worse just after the honeymoon. She felt that her bad times started when she said yes to Kuldeep’s proposal. May be it was that police inspector’s charm!

Kanchan went into another room, where her daughters were watching a cartoon series. She picked up the remote, increased the volume of the TV and came back into the same room to face her drunk husband with assurance that her young daughters would not hear anything of it.

Another day, another beating. Kanchan took all the beating, waited for Kuldeep to sleep, who used a few more swearing words, crashed on the bed and soon started snoring. She washed her face, picked up the phone and called Ramesh. They talked over the phone for sometime and then Ramesh broke the news of Sanchita’s homecoming and asked a few more details before inviting Kanchan.  
Once again, memories flashed before her eyes, as she recalled those days, when she and Kanchan were the best friends, hugely popular for their bonding in the school. They shared every little secret they had about their first crush, fears, things they admired, things they hated and everything that could have been discussed among girls. Sanchita admired Kanchan for her courage. Like any other typical friends, Sanchita and Kanchan have had their share of fights with each other, but it was Kanchan who always took the initiative to patch up with her friend Sanchita.

Sanchita went on to the terrace and giggled alone by recalling some funny moments - she and Kanchan enjoyed together. There were many sweet memories. Kanchan smiled many times, while sitting alone on a plastic chair on her terrace but then she started crying.

She clearly remembered that day, when Suraj came to her home at night to asked about his sister. It was the third  and last year of their freedom in the college.  Sanchita was well-aware about her friends’ affair. She always encouraged Kanchan to meet her boyfriend Pradeep. Sanchita was just like Kanchan in playing pranks and cracking jokes, but it was her rigid nature and at times a very blunt attitude, which created a kind of borderline around her – and nobody dared to cross that. A few times, Sanchita was approached by a few boys, who wanted to take her out on a date, but once again it was her rigid attitude which kept them away. Sanchita always felt happy about those encounters but never moved beyond a casual conversation. She believed that she deserved a far better prospective groom for her than any other boy from the City College.

When Kanchan and Pradeep were dating, Sanchita has had those lonely moments to contemplate a lot of things. At times, she wished that someday they might get caught and then Kanchan would learn the greatest lesson of her life that to lead a peaceful life, we had to play by the rules created by others. Well, that did not happen.

On that day, when Kanchan eloped with her boyfriend Pradeep, Sanchita was more shocked than the family of her friend. Once again, Kanchan’s audacity surprised her best friend. How could a girl like Kanchan elope with a local boy? She certainly deserved a better choice!

Before Chawla family could have pressed Sanchita – she readily gave away the address of that temple, where Kanchan was supposed to get married next day. Everyone in the Chawla family thanked Sanchita who was absolutely convinced now that the moment of reckoning had arrived. And, now Kanchan would learn the greatest lesson of her life. But, that did not happen!  

Kanchan and Pradeep was supposed to get married in that temple that day, but then Kanchan suggested that before going for that they should get married in the registrar’s office so that legally they would become a couple and get the police protection.

Sanchita felt a quivering chill down her spine as she recalled her action and felt that how would she face her best friend after what she did to her, five years ago. All her life, Sanchita hated the guts of her friend. Kanchan was upfront, spontaneous and a free-spirited girl, Sanchita wanted to become like her but she could not and all that hatred erupted in the form of that revelation that night when she told Ramesh about the whereabouts of Kanchan.

She looked at her watch, it was 1’O Clock. Kanchan came downstairs, feeling nauseated, heard the snoring of her husband,  and then a thought struck her – she instantly made up her mind that tomorrow she would pretend of feeling sick, and did not go to meet Kanchan.
But that did not happen. In the morning, Kanchan’s brother Ramesh came to their home to pick them up. Kanchan’s husband was also coming with her and now she did not have enough time or space to fake any illness.  

Finally, that auspicious moment arrived, when Kanchan came home. Entire family greeted the couple. Sanchita met her friend Kanchan and could see that her friend was very happy. Tears welled up in the eyes of both friends as they hugged each other and shared a few quick words regarding the whereabouts of each other. Kanchan hugged her friend tightly and said that she has a lot to tell her.
Kanchan was soon surrounded by her relatives and then she sat with her grandmother. Sanchita was sitting in a corner and kept a close eye on her husband, who was gulping alcohol in another room, with Ramesh and his friends. Finally, both friends sat together and Kanchan said that she missed everyone so much but did talk to her mother regularly over the phone. But, she never dared to comeback because she knew her father would never agree.

After a few more rounds of drinks, Kuldeep got drunk and indulged in an animated conversation with Ramesh’s friend. Soon, that animated conversation turned into a verbal fight. Before things could have gone out of hand, Kanchan went straight into the room, threatened her brother that she would leave immediately, if this would continue. Interestingly, Kuldeep did not say anything after that.
Kanchan came back and could see that her friend was sobbing in a corner. She held the hand of Sanchita and said, “Its ok Sanchita, there is nothing to feel embarrassed about, he is ok. We all are your family. Don’t worry, Its ok. It happens to everyone.”

Well, Sanchita then broke down in tears, lifted her face and tried to speak.

“I am not thinking about that dear, but I want to say something.” I want to tell you something important. I thought I will never ever see you again in my life, but now that you are here. I would like to tell you something dear. Before Sanchita could say anything, Kanchan held her hand and said, ‘dear, thank God, you told my brother about our plan and gave away the address of that temple. It kept them busy there and we could get out of this district. I will be eternally grateful to you for that.’

Then she hugged her friend Sanchita and whispered in her ear. “Dear, life isn’t fair to anyone, but yes we can do our bit so that there wouldn’t be any regret.”

Friday, January 23, 2015

Obnoxious Trends

We all are smart or we all are dumb-asses – to hell with the truth, it’s all about acceptance. Yes, we are what we think or believe. It’s good actually for all of us because we can’t be damn smart all the time and neither intolerable idiots because like all good things in our lives – there will be some fools always beneath our stature (in the parameters of foolishness) and that’s a good alibi as a human being. Let’s not talk about people, but some obnoxious trends – started, fueled, and sustained (loathed) by people.

Some trends which have been making me feel really-really bad these days are:

1.Cussing in Comedy:

All India Bakchod (Photo Courtesy: Telegraph India)
Comedy or to perform a comic act is the most difficult thing to do in the world. As a comedian, you do the best thing to this ailing and fragile world – subjected to reckless hatred and coldness, my pessimistic thoughts are premised upon some latest happenings, which involved butchering of children in Pakistan. A comedian is a true harbinger of hope. By bringing a smile on the faces of people, you can keep them close to their human-side. A hearty laughter breaks through inhibitions and brings us together. People tend to forget who they really are when they laugh together. So, I would like to thank all the comedians. But, I expect you guys to think more – because intelligent comedy is what…that would make you relevant for a long time. What I have seen or heard of late has given me mixed feelings. The level of cussing has reached a whole new level in comedy. Whether it’s AIB (All India Bakchod) or some regular comedy shows (Indian shows only…or some stand-up comedy acts on YouTube), these guys rely too much on cussing. I would not use the word “Vulgarity” here because this word is not relevant anymore – once again it’s about choices. In the garb of adult comedy, these guys just talk too much about porn, those silly jokes on women faking orgasm and guys fantasizing about a whole lot of women (yes, same old shit). It looks absolutely crappy, when they bring in Hindi Sitcoms, so-called Indian traditions and our peculiarities into these jokes and blend them with porn. If you think this is hilarious – then please get out, meet people, read more and observe more. It is boring Guys, Overdone…Period!  You are supposed to make us laugh not to show that you are expert reviewer of Porn. We all know that and we all can review that so just shut up. Come up with some intelligent comedy. Cussing wouldn't take you far.

2. Social Media Hollowness or Howling:  

I am simply allergic to all those social media warriors who fight those comments-wars with others – I don’t understand what their problem is… You just need to start with a comment on a particular political party, a politician or something which is used or abused on discussion panels of news channels and some guys would jump upon to post, force or puke their views on others. May be Arnab Goswami effect has reached the next level (guys, even if the nation wants to know, I don’t) And, one Arnab Goswami is Enough. Because more than for anything else, people on social media post these counter questions just to prove they know more or they are RIGHT – That’s it. Just Stop It. May be, I might have not been able to gauge the seriousness in those comment wars, but yes I could deduce a trend – after a few comments these comment warriors just try to prove they are right – they don’t give a damn about Facts.

3. I Take a Stand:

To understand this phenomenon, you need to watch a few episodes of Big Boss or Roadies. Daily soaps on Indian Television play their vital role in molding our opinions. What happens in these two hugely popular shows is that contestants fight, abuse and sometimes hit each other. That’s fine because ordinary people also do that, but everything appears nauseating when the same contestants fight over trifles and claim – They took a Stand. What? Yes, picture two kids are fighting over a toy and both are pushing each other, pulling each other’s hair and then start crying – then some elder comes in. It is just the same, but shame on these contestants when they pose as if they took a stand on something so serious, so important and so what not. Now, this same shit is translating into our real-lives. Fortunately, I have been an audience to some real-life arguments, where real-people stuck to some bizarre assumptions or beliefs because they felt – they took a stand. What the hell. The effect of shows like Roadies and Big-Boss is way too much. Our societies will never be the same.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Majid Majidi’s Cinema: Celebrating the essence of simplicity

Note 1: This is my humble endeavor to present a perspective.

Note 2: Yes, title of the blog is bombastic but I think I can get away with that! 

In the last scene of the movie ‘Baran” – Lateef the protagonist or confused hero beholds the footstep in the mud left by Baran’s (heroine) shoe – drizzle continues and small drops of water fill up that little space created by the footstep. Camera pans in and stays right there on the footstep while it fills up with water, and thus ends the story of love – never expressed or understood by any of the protagonists in the film. I didn’t feel for that ending or couple but only for myself – and it took me a while to justify the ending in my mind – yes, it couldn’t have been expressed better. The unrequited love (from both sides) attained immortality. So let it be!  The virtuousness of love is illuminated in such a pure manner that it leaves you blissfully stoned.

Majid Majidi (Photo Courtesy:

Grew up on a staple diet of Bollywood earlier and then Hollywood – it was a profound experience for me when I watched this unusual ending in Majid Majidi’s beautiful flick – “Baran” means Rain in Persian (Majidi is an Iranian filmmaker). Devoid of any melodrama and hyperbole, the innate beauty of Majid Majidi’s cinema lies in simplicity, while celebrating and weighing in pure human emotions, pathos, ambitions and inner-conflicts – with sheer honesty. Back in 2008, one of my friends introduced me to Majidi’s cinema. During one of our interesting discussions, he named this director and I ended up watching Baran. Sadly, Majid has not released any flick or documentary since 2008. One of his ambitious and most-talked about film “Muhammad” is under production and according to Internet information, it will be released in 2015.

Except the reviews of his films, a film lover wouldn’t find much, written about the cinema of this Iranian director. A lot has been contributed in popularizing his cinema by an Academy Award Nomination, which the director received in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1998 for Children of Heaven.

Majidi’s absolute gems - Children of Heaven, The Color of Paradise and one of my all-time favorite movies Baran showcase the poignant human stories which captivate the audiences from the start to finish, without indulging in any sort of pretention. Sadly, this is a common ploy used by many notable directors these days, as they deliberately focus on unimportant details in their films to confuse the audiences in order to amplify the overall effect of important scenes or to support the presence of unnecessary sub-plots in films.

I wouldn’t dare to write about his documentaries because I am not capable enough to justify the effort of this great director. There are some outstanding scenes in all of his movies, which I really like and they left an indelible impression on me. One factor that really stands out about this director is his sheer honesty to bring his stories on the screen – the way he wants. Like a dedicated storyteller, who respects his audiences as much as he respects his stories – Majidi never deviates from his path.

Back to his movies… Let’s talk about a few scenes:

There is one scene in Children of Heaven, where Zahara (a girl child studying in a primary school) notices that Roya was wearing her pink shoes. While Roya was busy licking on a sort of candy, Zahara simply notices her – both children do not look at each other. Not sad or angry, but Zahara’s probing look eulogizes the purpose of the scene and tells us about her mental-state. It is always difficult to get the right expressions from children but Majidi has a knack of getting the best out of them – and the output comes as natural as you expect from a child artist. His child actors hold their characters beautifully and pull them off with an uncharacteristic sincerity because here they are not reduced to mannequins or cheeky vocalists or fillers or disordered jesters.

Another important aspect of Majid’s cinema is that he shows the daily chores of common people stunningly like a cobbler mending shoes, women washing clothes in a riverbed, or a vegetable seller attending his customers. Every scene gets enough screen-time and gels along well with the overall momentum of the film.

Majid’s cinema is not only about the celebration of characters or human emotions and dreams, but it’s also about the ambience where these characters live, breath and dream about a better future. Ultimately, this very ambience gives the meaning to their lives. This sort of setting or storytelling can be compared with R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days, where the surroundings and people complement the presence of each other and here they are gleefully pictured or presented.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fifty shades of grey, Mastram and Indian potential

Caution: Offensive Stuff! 

They stole our Kohinoor, ruled over us for 200 years, made a Babu (clerk) out of us, and then left us with a severe inferiority complex. Yes – the very Indian in me is literally boiling from inside.

Now excuse me please!

I started this blog post with this highly charged opening sentence not because the patriotic Indian in me is up for something but just because I couldn’t find anything good in the opening line to write about or to start about. The British Raj did contribute a lot in our history, culture and education – and in a lot of other important things like spreading Gupt Rog or STDs (Gulshan Grover’s character in Deepa Mehta’s 1998 film 1947 Earth did quote that).

Well, I don’t give a damn about Gupt Rog or anything of that sort. But yes, one thing that really bothers me is that why can’t we (Indians) write and promote books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” WHY can’t WE give a fitting reply or competition to E. L. James (the writer of Grey books…or these books) and if not  now then…. when. This is certainly a Golden Age of Indian literature or writing as we have a new breed of home-grown IIT+IIM Package writers (undisputed bestsellers), who know what to write that appeals, but still we are lagging behind when it comes to writing erotic stuff…sadly, we are not making the most of our Potential. Why? Why? Why?

A country which has a cult following of Mastram and Savita Bhabhi, it is such a shame that we haven’t been able to assert and establish our position on the global scale. Obviously, we couldn’t sell our stuff (erotic Heroes or household names) on a global scale. Because, we didn’t take them seriously and now look what E. L. James has achieved! Yes, we did lose a lot on that but now the time has come to assert our position. We need to believe in ourselves and yes we can deliver.

Photo Courtesy:

First of all, one of the obvious reasons behind the soaring popularity of E. L. James’ books in India is – they are written in English and of course they talk about Sex. I bet – when it comes to vivid description to achieve the highest degree of titillation – Mastram and Savita Bhabi can beat Fifty Shades of Grey – on any given day. Yes that’s called confidence. But, our Mastram or books based on this genre should be written in English. Indian writing in English is certainly going through a golden phase at the moment – with new writers emerging like frogs during Monsoon and this surge can be compared with the in-flow of Punjabi singers – apparently there are hugely talented singers in every nook and corner of Punjab, likewise, we have a swelling pool of talented writers now.

Let me reiterate again. The obvious reason behind the popularity of James’ books in India is that they are written in English and written by an English Writer (Firangi – originally from England). Guys same goes with our Indian abuses. When someone hurls – MC, BC or any other Indian abuse in Hindi it is considered so uncool but WTF, MF, SF, A-hole, well they are just too cool. OK, I get it. It is also important for all the CAT (Common Admission Test) aspirants to read stuff written in English to improve their comprehension skills. For that we have Chetan Bhagat and others. That is fine. But, we are really lagging behind in churning out sell-able erotic stuff – written in English by an Indian Writer.

But imagine if we could produce Desi versions of Fifty Shades of Grey or something on the same lines. It can do a lot of good to our country. The time has come to harvest the Desi Talent. Yes, our guys can beat E. L. James and make her stuff look awful or utterly Un-Cool. Forget about SDBM and all that – our Indian guys can write something far more engrossing and innovative and we shouldn’t forget that India gave Kamasutra to the world. So, when it comes to sex, we have the authority. All we are missing here is the WILL…Yes that Will is missing.

Now, the time has come for India to reclaim that title of Knowledge guru of the world or Sex guru of the world – both are same…aren’t they! Yes, they are.

Now, how can we do it? We need thinkers, activists and Doers (Yes, those who don’t do different things, but do the same things differently – I hope I got it right) and lastly the writers. We need people who can bring back those glory days to India and really make us a powerhouse of that pure knowledge. If India needs to project itself as a superpower, we need to understand that yes, we have that potential.

We need a solid PR agency and people those who have passion to promote this thing if they want to take India forward. Our country is just brimming up with such people, but at this moment, I could only come up with four names – Chetan Bhagat, Mahesh Bhatt, Suhel Seth and Shiv Khera. Yes, these guys can make that difference. Yes they can!

Chetan Bhagat – we need this greatest ever Indian writer to promote stuff or sell it, if he wants then he can also write. He could have easily done that by elaborating those sex scenes in his IIT+IIM based stories. And, yes he is the one who started this trend of sending a book to the publishers with a PPT Presentation (how to sell it). He is the Best we have.

Then comes Mahesh Bhatt – He is not only Alia Bhatt’s father but a man who is nothing less than an ocean of knowledge. He knows everything and anything about this world and all the issues plaguing our modern society. If Opinions are like Assh*** and everybody has one and if the world is ruled by Assh***S! Then there is nothing left to say. He knows literally everything in the world, and has opinion over anything. So, all we need is his opinions to garner enough support for this proposed plan of taking Mastram and Savita Bhabi cult movement to the world.

Then comes Suhel Seth – he is an ever-alert and ever-present celebrity guest on those electrified talk shows (which are shown only on English News Channels). This guy has that unique penchant to fondle with delicate subjects by using oh-so-cool-words to create interest among viewers. He can stay calm amidst heated conversations and sometimes it appears that he is just there to balance out the ambience in debates. He is just there.. Everywhere. He can give his valuable inputs on how to create a global Mastram in a longer run.

And, in the end, we have the one and only Shiv Khera – remember “Winners don’t do different things, but they do things differently” now apply this logic to sex books or porn books of E.L. James – guys, it is not something new, but it’s all about showing it from different angles. Appetite for erotic literature is such that people will read the same stuff again and again – only if you are willing to serve. And, Khera has loads of advises on how to present things differently. He can be the pillar of strength for all those writers who are still battling with inhibitions.

I can visualize that day, when students in Delhi Metro would be carrying Mastram or Savita Bhabhi books instead of “Fifty Shades of Grey” because that would look so cool. How can something not be so cool – if written by Chetan Bhagat, supported by Mahesh Bhatt, debated by Suhel Seth and motivated by Shiv Khera. And now visualize about all those people who would read about Mastram and Savita Bhabhi in UK, USA and in rest of the world. Folks, we can earn huge money for India by selling something we are really good at – we shouldn’t forget that. We can become the leader in churning out 21st Century’s Creative Erotic Stuff – absolutely Made in India.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

True Detective, the Silence of the lambs and over-kill

Caution 1: Spoilers Alert! You shouldn’t read this if you haven’t watched True Detective (sitcom), Prisoners (movie), The Silence of the lambs (movie) yet.

Caution 2: Long Post!

A gruesome crime premised upon the collective gist of inter-connected sub-plots, oozing with a tremendous amount of shock-value, captivating and sometimes equally excruciating progression of the story during tense moments, and then the haphazardly conjured up climax scene. All adjectives in the opening line are elegantly interlocked except haphazard – because any crime-thriller sitcom has to maintain a self-imposed pace to build the tension, fan it with surprise or revelations and in the end at the climax all hell has to break lose to make it a worthwhile watch for audiences. No matter how good the main plot or sub-plots are – ultimately it’s the climax that gets etched in the memory of the spectators forever. A minor let-up here and there in the plot, some loose ends in the story are happily ignored or condoned by the audiences, only if the climax scene lives up to the expectations.

I am starting the second paragraph by writing something obvious - a television crime drama TV series can afford to be lot more complex and extravagant than a crime-thriller movie because in a TV series, you have enough time and space to stretch the story in sub-plots. Yes, same can be done with movies, but here the director has to keep the running time in mind and sub-plots can’t be stretched beyond a point.

Recently I finished watching all the eight episodes of “True Detective Season 1.” The story starts with former Louisiana State Police detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey )and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) being questioned by two currently deployed detectives separately, regarding a few murders – happened way back in 1995. The major events in the story are shown in the flashback versions of the former detectives. All the episodes were so engaging that I finished watching them all in two days, but the climax left me in the lurch.

Photo Courtesy:
As a big fan of suspense-thriller sitcoms, I want convincing and moving plots complemented with a mind-boggling climax. In the first episode, when the first murder happened, there were apparent hints or signs that the crime was related to religious passion or motivated by some satanic customs or nefarious voodoo practices. And, as Cohle and Hart further unearthed some interesting details, audiences got conclusive proof that the gruesome crimes were committed by some people indulging in some necromancy or voodoo practicing. As the plot thickened, I thought there could be another angle than just voodoo and black-magic shit, but that was not the case.

A writer or director gets too many options to show crimes happening in different stages and committed in the most grotesque manner or there could be many ramifications – if the plot is based upon some magic shit or superstitious beliefs. Any sort of absurd, hilarious or exaggerated imagination does not need any justification and things could be exaggerated to a great extent and fittingly termed as flimsy and bizarre – if they are based upon superstition. As a writer or director of such sitcoms, you can be as creative as you can in depicting the modus-operandi of the criminals and the motives of the perpetrators of the crimes – because their (perpetrators’) actions could be based on something – we can’t comprehend because that something is based upon a belief or superstition. And we as audience would never know that because all would be based upon superstition! Give me a break!   And, same happened with True Detective and in the end whole idea looked flawed. Why did they do that? Yes, they (perpetrators of crimes) did horrible things to those people before killing them but why? No need to go after the answer, because their actions were motivated by some shitty rituals. There goes my imagination for a toss!

Let’s talk about characters now. Throughout the story, as it flows, Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), the main protagonist looks eccentric and indomitable - a man who is too much attached to his job that he just does not give a damn about other things in the world. At times during his interaction with other guys, Cohle preaches his self-styled philosophy like a stubborn bloke who is just too good for this world. No doubt, he appears rationalist and different from others. In a way we all want to be like him. Such characters instantly find appeal among audiences because they look rational and larger than life. You can’t help liking these characters because they don’t crave for that sense of belongingness to the worldly things and usually appears detached from this mortal and ever-changing world and yes we also crave for that feeling and at times also behave like that – at least to look different or to get that vicarious pleasure that we don’t give a damn about the problems afflicting us and those who belong to us. Well, McConaughey’s character is simply portrayed in that manner. He is not normal – suffers from insomnia and behaves as if he is just at the breaking-point. He doesn’t snap!

As expected, Cohle’s partner Martin Hart (Woodly Harleson) is reduced into a sidekick who appears like a lot more believable character. He is your everyday guy with typical family issues and desires. Till the very end, McConaughey’s character shines in his hubris of being different and when he looks vulnerable or behaves like a common man, he talks – but, whatever he talks does not make much sense. Exaggerated sense of eccentricity made McConaughey look like Nana Patekar of 90’s, when the Maharashtrian actor featured in Partho Ghosh’s films, where roles were written specifically for Nana. What Nana did in “Krantiveer” earned him many admirers, but then he overdid it by replaying the role of a disgruntled self-styled preacher, on burning issues, plaguing the society, again and again until his whole act or acting-effort was labeled as stereotype. The preaching is fine if the end could have been better, but that did not happen in True Detective.

The clever dialogues are written really well and McConaughey delivers them with his usual panache. The only thing that makes me feel sick is that why these guys come to the religion or voodoo magic or other old customs to create chaos. Every day we read in newspapers about so many incredible crimes of passion. Come on, the world is full of crazy people, who raise hell every day and commit horrible and incredible crimes – yes they appear surreal at times. So, there is enough fodder out there to churn out stories devoid of any religion-based or superstition-based angle. Yes, writers or directors don’t need to connect them with religion.

McConaughey’s character portrayal couldn’t have bothered me much only if the ending would have been better. You got to justify the motive behind crime. How can a specific group of people go on a killing spree – without getting noticed by others? Here I would like to give a perfect example of motive of a killer in “Silence of the lambs.” The killer Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb had a traumatic childhood. Bill is described as not really transgender, but he merely believes himself as being one, because he "hates his own identity".

Photo Courtesy:
The entire plot of the “Silence of the lambs” movie was ripped off by Tanuja Chandra to make a Bollywood film Sangharsh in 1999 – starring Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta. The plot was almost same except the motive of the killer. Tanuja Indianised (altered) the motive of the killer Lajja Shankar (Ashutosh Rana) by bringing in superstitions on the fore – this guy believes that he can achieve immortality by sacrificing (killing) the children. Not same but once again religion based shit was shown in Prisoner movie (starring Hugh Jackman). In Prisoners, the killers, which are an old couple, wage a war against God by killing children – because they lost their only child to illness and they blame God for that.  The dialogues, conflicts between main characters and other factors were too good in the movie – except the motive of the killers – because once again it was based on religion or some crappy belief. Every moment haunts you and keeps you on the edge of your seat in such stories, but as you begin connecting the dots towards the end – things fall apart because everything looks so absurd because a superstitious belief of the perpetrator is forced upon the spectators – they have to believe in that. Now, I must tell the writers of such stories - guys it’s overdone or you just over-killed it – time to come up with something different. Enough!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kiss Warriors of Delhi: Kiss of Love Campaign

It started in Kochi as a protest and managed to get some decent media coverage, but the Kiss of Love protest had to reach Delhi to qualify as a National Movement. Any protest or movement can’t be called a movement until it touches the heart of a nation or knocks on the door of our national capital Delhi and above all, earns takers in JNU Campus. Picture those Kutra clad folks chanting slogans in a chorus at the top of their voices as they are ready to make an instant change, just wow – anyone who wants to experience the ephemeral fervor of student power – JNU is the place to be. Well, I am not going to write about JNU here because nothing can be considered more serious or important, when you compare it with the topic of physical intimacy, the most interesting subject in the world. And, here I am going to talk about – Kissing.

Here at the start, I am asserting one thing straightway that I don’t agree with these Kiss Warriors of Delhi or those who are indulging in this Kiss of Love protest.  Actually, I don’t want them to do this publicly or kiss in public. Come on, this is out and out cruelty. Yes, this is nothing less than utter cruelty. Now you have to read the entire post to get my point. Obviously, I would include Bollywood in it.

Photo Courtesy:

First full-fledged or convincing kissing scene for the silver screen was performed by none other than Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan in Raja Hindustani - and the sincerity personified like never before. Before that we had seen many Bollywood rain sequences, which led to love-making, but love looked ethereal for the first time when Karishma Kapoor closed her eyes in submission. Rain, a beautiful girl and a tree – well, there was a lot to dream about for people of my generation at that time. Imagination plays the most important role in the lives of us – Indians, when it comes to Sex or intimacy and Bollywood fuels that imagination. In one way or another, it reaffirms our faith in miracles. A beautiful girl absolutely drenched in rain, a tree and then Magic – yes, this notion has all the attributes of a perfect miracle, but nothing like that ever happened to me and not even to my Stud Friends.

You just can’t give up on Magic of such proportion and we didn’t. We hoped that Magic would happen when we would go to college. God will be kind to us and lead us to heaven – just like what was shown in Karan Johar’s “Kuch Kuch hota hai” but that did not happen either. I studied in Delhi University and yes I saw a few glimpses of the so called movie modernism in college but nothing in reality happened to me or to my friends or our Bollywood inspired dreams never fulfilled.

So I would like to reiterate again that guys if you want to indulge in Public Display of Affection or PDA or kissing – you are not propagating obscenity but doing some serious harm to many. Think about those uncles and aunts, who never had that freedom – and like we all wish to bring back our old days or grow up once again, they would wish that again. You make them feel awful.  And, what about those boys who study in Delhi’s Government Schools in the afternoon shifts. Let me point out a fact here that most of the government schools in Delhi function in two shifts – morning shift for girls and evening shift for boys. You know their number, I mean how many boys are there in these schools and how many of them get admission in Delhi University or in a regular college?  Yes, a few really hardworking folks manage to get admission in DU, where they might get the opportunity to talk to girls or indulge in something like kissing in public but many of them don’t manage to make the cut. Actually, it is because Delhi University does not have many seats and that leads to the outrageous surge in cut off lists for admission. So, more than half of these guys or aspirants get admission in Delhi University’s correspondence courses and though, they attend a few regular classes during a yearly session – they just don’t get the real feel of a Campus Life. And, I must tell them that its OK folks because anything like Karan Johar or Yash Chopra’s version of campus life – happens to a chosen few only.  

Now think about this, more than 2 lakhs students study through correspondence because they do not get admission in any regular course of the prestigious Delhi University. Think about them. Many of them  also want to kiss someone. They also want to spread their arms like Shah Rukh Khan and tell the whole world that they are truly blessed, but they can only dream about it. It was OK earlier, when people used to kiss or indulge in intimacy in DDA Parks or secluded places or malls, but now they are kissing in Public. Imagine the plight of these guys who can’t do that – because of many reasons.

In India majority of the men get the opportunity to kiss or even touch a girl when they get married. Yes, in 80% cases, it is arranged marriage. Two strange people get married and finally get the approval of our society to have sex. So, if you would kiss in public, what would happen to those men who don’t have that license – they are also a part of Modern and progressive India. Mind it, you are trying to divide India. Yes there is an ever-widening gulf between poor and rich here and now you are creating another divide of Kissers and Onlookers. We already have thousands of divides in India – in the form of cast, creed and religion and now you are creating another one – which would hurt us the most. I must tell you that biological urges don’t discriminate between a SRCC Student and a 12th fail guy, who would appear in the next year’s exams through open school. So, what you are doing is unethical, absolutely unethical because you are so less in numbers. How can you kiss a girl in public as a bachelor when majority of the men can do that only after getting the approval of our society and they can only do that behind closed doors?

How can you not think about those men, who try to push others at Rajiv Chowk or any other crowded Metro Station just to get an opportunity to rub their shoulders or genitals or body parts against women or what about those who let their hands slip to touch the part of a woman’s body, whenever possible – in buses, malls or anywhere, you can imagine. These guys don’t get successful every time – still they try to do it every day with same vigor and zeal – what about them? How can you be so reckless and make them feel so low. They have to jostle with others for that quick touch and you are kissing in PUBLIC – now, this is inhuman. You think we have come a long way as a country to do kissing in pubic – guys, give me a break. No, you can’t torture India’s sex-starved men by kissing in Public.

Now, some words for those who say that by kissing in public, girls would invite rape or it is attack on our Indian Culture. First of all, if you think it would invite rape – and you are a woman who is saying that then I must tell you. You always wanted to have that sort of freedom, but you could not get that. Get over it and if you can’t then you can curse your fate like you must have done for other things in your life. If a man is saying that then I must tell you. Look, if you are not married then there are ways to release this tension, you must be aware about that. And, if you are married then look, you should be content with what you got because that’s what Indian Culture teaches us. And, yes – dude, please tell me what is India Culture? Yes, it is all about those rules and regulations – which are convenient to us. I mean, my Indian Culture can be different from you – if it suits me. That’s it. So, if you want to kiss or whatever. Get a room. Kissing in public is not against our Indian culture, but it is against our Indian Conditions.

British ruled us for more than 200 years and then left us with a colossal inferiority complex, which has been further bolstered by many factors over the years or the way this country has progressed since 1947. Now our nation is all about those who have and those have not. Those who can kiss or hug a girl in Public are minuscule in numbers than those who just can’t. So, Majority Rules! And, forget about the change, only time can change the things – and it would take a lot of time for that.