Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The flexi-tarian brigade

Me - So what else is new?
Dad - I'm thinking of turning vegetarian.
Me - You're WHAT?
Dad - Thinking of turning vegetarian.
Dad - Yeah. It's generally healthy, I think.
Me - Hmm... that's good.
Dad - With some exceptions, of course.
Me - Haha! Thought so. Like what?
Dad - Singapore's chilli crab and mutton curry cooked by my niece.

At first I laughed at him, but the more I thought about it, the more okay it seemed to me. These days the whole definition of what constitutes a vegetarian has changed and selective vegetarianism is a very practical option for people who want to change their diets but not too drastically. In any case, non-vegetarians are not exactly carnivores, are they? But it's nice to see the line that divides people on the basis of food blurring out. Gone are the days when vegetarians were only of three kinds - vegans, lacto-vegetarians and lacto-ovo-vegetarians. There are a lot more preference-based options now available to people who are not religious about vegetarianism, and want to follow it for health reasons.

So I have decided to make a list (you guys know how I have a thing for lists) of the different types of these selective vegetarians or flexi-tarians as I call them.

The certain-days flexi-tarian
These are people who are vegetarian on certain days. Some people don't eat non-vegetarian food on Mondays and Thursdays. I believe it has some religious reason behind it.

The I-won't-eat-cute-animals flexi-tarian
These people do not eat animals that they find cute. I'm not kidding. Perhaps the selection is based on which animal soft toys are common and which aren't. I guess the ugly animals have it tough, yeah?

The I-won't-eat-certain-meats flexi-tarian
This is perhaps the largest group of non-vegetarians and the best rebuttal against the belief that non-vegetarians will eat anything that moves. These people avoid certain meats either for health reasons for personal preferences. A friend of mine does not eat land animals. I think I kind of fall in this group. I don't eat squid, octopus and a lot other animals abundant in the Singapore diet.

The don't-ask-and-you'll-never-know flexi-tarian
These flexitarians prefer not to know what's in their food if they can help it. Logical, as once you know, you'll start thinking of all the times when you had the dish in the past and all the times in the future that you can't have the dish because "now you know"!

The if-I-don't-see-it-it's-not-there flexi-tarian
These are people who do not care if there's non-vegetarian stuff in their food as long as they do not see it. A typical example would be vegetarians eating prata with chicken gravy.

Sometimes I wonder why certain people are vegetarian and why certain people are not. I wonder if I should ever switch - since I'm fairly health-conscious, don't particularly fancy meat all that much and totally love the vegetarian food (the kind you get in India). I guess it has something to do with Singapore then. I have lived on vegetarian food in India for prolonged periods and loved it too, but there was this time I resolved to be vegetarian for a month in Singapore - I nearly starved to death. Not that the non-veg food here is mind-blowing or anything but I believe that if it boils down to a daily basis, I'd rather eat salted newspaper than the kind of everyday vegetarian food found in Singapore. :/

Ah well.

Maybe, like Dad, some day, somewhere, somehow, I will feel like turning vegetarian.

With the chilli crab exception, of course.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Funny business

The man SO doesn't need a script to be funny. No wonder it's not just us who's laughing.

He's laughing too.

All the way to the bank.

PS: The video is best enjoyed if you have watched Heyy Babyy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Music to my ear(ring)s

So Clueless examines my earring collection and asks me, "Hmmm... how many pairs of earrings do you think you have?"

"Uhh... I don't know... 50-60 pairs maybe?" I hazard a guess.

Interesting question, I thought to myself. I never really sat down to count them. The reason was that if you looked into my earring boxes, you'd be most likely to find ELORE, which sounds like a pretentious brand of ridiculously expensive earrings, but actually stands for 'Enormous Lump Of Random Earrings'. To find out how many there were, I'd need to separate them, and then pair them, and then count them. Let's just say that task looked like something I should set aside to do after retirement.

I plead guilty. I have a terrible weakness for earrings. Especially the kind you get on the streets - not only are they dirt-cheap, you can get them in virtually every colour to match with every single one of your clothes. Once I bought a pair of green earrings for Rs. 7 from a roadside stall in Delhi and because none of my clothes went with it, bought a 3000-rupee green churidaar kameez. I am proud to say that I do not indulge in such idiotic behaviour anymore, and have actually reversed the buying process. However, even though I do buy them at a higher frequency than I buy shoes, the large mass has accumulated due to the kindness of my friends and a rather generous sister who figured that unlike shoes, size doesn't matter when it comes to buying earrings for me (it's true) and contributed to my ELORE collection with open hearts.

Going back to Clueless' question, I only discovered why she asked me that when I saw this exquisite, self-designed, handcrafted earring holder. I was and still am completely bowled over by the beauty and practicality of this gift. That fact that it is handmade just adds to the charm.

So I brought forward the post-retirement event. It took me almost two weeks to organise and arrange all the pairs, and every now and then just for kicks I'd call up people and ask them how many they thought I had. (Viv: "Err... about 40 pairs?" Mom: "You're mad. I'm sure you have like 50 pairs!" Sis: "50-60 pairs?")

Today I completed the task and counted. I will not tell you how many there are, but I do believe 113 pairs is not a small number.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the featured artists of the month at the bar - the very talented and creative Clueless and Machogirl, and their unbelievable creation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A twist-ed tale

Sayesha Smitten Showbiz Kitten (SSSK) is sitting in the living room of Abbas-Mastan (who, if you didn't know, are actually two different people) and interviewing them along with the actors of the movie Race. SSSK, accustomed to taking notes perched on a branch, looks around for a tree but doesn’t see any. She sits on the couch, takes out her beloved notepad and starts writing.

SSSK - Firstly, thank you for taking time out for this interview. It's such an honour to be face-to-face with the entire cast of Race.

Sameera - Caste?? Race?? What is she talking about? I don't think I want to give this interview. I think this interview will get us into trouble!

Bipasha (rolling eyes) - She's talking about cast of Race. C-A-S-T of our movie Race!

Sameera - Oh okay okay. Go ahead. I am just cautious… with the reservations and all these days… you never know.

Katrina rolls her eyes.

SSSK - So tell me about Race. I have watched it, but would like to hear your perspective...

Katrina (starts singing) - Race hai saason ki! Race hai dhadkan ki!

Bipasha - Katrina... stop showing off your limited Hindi. Anyway, it's MY song.

Katrina - Oh puh-leez! I'm singing it in the promos!

Sameera - Hey, me too!

A-M - Okay girls, let us answer this question, will you? SSSK, Race is a thriller.

SSSK - So you mean it's a typical Abbas-Mastan movie?

A-M (looking offended) - What do you mean by that??

SSSK - I mean... you know... murders, hot women, conspiracy, infidelity, etc.

A-M - There is nothing typical about this movie. It is as atypical as it gets.

SSK – And how is that?

A-M - You know how critics always say about Bollywood, "Leave your brain at home when you go for a Bollywood movie"?

SSSK - Yes...

A-M - Well, we decided that we will make a movie where people will have to do the exact opposite of 'leaving their brain at home'.

SSSK - Ah, so make their brain work overtime...

A-M - Exactly.

SSSK - So that explains the plot within the plot within the plot within... no wonder all the critics said it's an exhausting movie. I believe the exact words some of them used were "dimaag ka dahi".

A-M - Yes, that's right. You can't just sit there and watch this movie. You have to process it in your brain faster than the movie moves.

Sameera - Yes, that's right.

Saif (smirks) - Ha! Like you would know anything about processing and the brain.

Sameera (to Anil) - Anil Uncle!!! Dekhiye na...

Anil - Arre Saif... be nice to her.

SSSK (turns to Anil) - Speaking of Anil uncle, I want to ask you what every other person watching your movies is wondering. Are you ever going to retire?

Anil (laughs nervously) - Actually, I was all set to retire. I wanted to pass on the legacy to Sonam and then do dad roles. But you guys know what happened to Saawariya... (rests his head in his hands) After that, I figured I have to keep the legacy alive for a while more.

Katrina (giggles) - Till she has a hit?

Bipasha - You're the one to talk?

Katrina (defensively) - Hey, all my movies are hits, okhay?

Saif (deadpan face) - Yes yes, and they're all hits because of you.

Katrina (elated) - Exactly. Thank you, Saif!

Saif rolls his eyes.

SSSK - Well, let's get back on track.

A-M - Sure, sure.

SSSK - So how did you manage to add so many twists and subplots to the story? Didn't your writer go completely nuts?

A-M - Well, normally we wouldn't tell you, but I am sure no one else will repeat our novel idea so we guess it's okay. Well, we hired six writers. Once the first guy was done with the story, we passed it to the next and said, "Story's done, you just need to write the twist in the end." When he was done, we passed it to the next one and said the same thing. After all six were done, we had our script!

SSSK - Wah! Brilliant! What an idea, sirji!

A-M - Actually, we were originally supposed to have seven writers.

SSSK - Really?

A-M - Yeah. The story was actually supposed to develop more.

SSSK (horrified) - DEVELOP MORE??? You're kidding, right?

A-M - No, we're serious. Eventually we wanted to end it with Sameera as the mastermind... but the seventh writer read what was given to him and said.... well, he said... erm, some very bad words... before storming off. So we decided to end it with whatever the sixth guy had written.

SSSK - I see. So how does the movie end?

Everyone - What?!

SSSK - Err... how does the movie end?

A-M (glaring) - We thought you watched it.

SSSK - I did, I did! But I got so confused by the time the Katrina and Akshaye angle happened that I started taking notes in the middle of the theatre. You know me and my notes... By the time, I had sketched the complete relationship and conspiracy tree, the movie was... kind of over. Fast, eh?

A-M (coldly) - Duh! It's called 'Race' for a reason?

SSSK - Of course, of course. So how does it end? Who's the mastermind?

A-M (stare at SSSK coldly) - We can't tell you that.

SSSK - Come on! Katrina, you tell me.

Katrina - Err...

SSSK turns to look at Bipasha.

Bipasha - Actually... uhh...

SSSK - Come on! Saif, you tell me.

Saif - Me? Huh?

SSSK - What about you, Akshaye?

Akshaye - *blank look*

SSSK - Anil?

Anil - Don't ask me, I only appeared in the second half!

SSSK - Sigh...

Sameera - Hey, you didn't ask me!

SSSK - Sigh...

Sameera - What? What?

SSSK - Come on, you guys! Be a sport. How does it end?

A-M - Actually they can't tell you how it ends.

SSSK - I know I know... but come on now...

A-M - No, you don't understand. They can't tell you because...

SSSK - Because?

A-M - Because they don't know it themselves!

SSSK - Huh? What do you mean?

A-M - Well, we shot a lot of scenes that look like the movie's end, and none of the actors really knows what happened.

Saif (dryly) - That is true. Actually I still don't know if I am the good guy or the bad guy... And there's NO WAY I'm gonna sit through the movie to find out.

Akshaye - Me neither yaar... do you know, Anil?

Anil - Yeah I do. I think I'm supposed to be good... but if I'm good, Sameera is bad... and Sameera is definitely good... so am I bad? Okay, now I am confused...

Katrina (to Bipasha) - What about us, yeah? Are we good in the movie?

Bipasha - Good question. I think if Saif is good, I'm good. And if Akshaye is good, you're good. Right?

SSSK – But Saif and Akshaye can’t be both good, isn't it?

Katrina – I think I am good. ‘Cos you know… I...err.. look good?

Bipasha (sits up) – Excuse me?!

Sameera (watched Bipasha sit up, and sits up too) – And excuse me too!

SSSK - What about you, Akshaye?

Akshaye - I don't... really... know...

Saif and Anil shake their heads too.

Abbas-Mastan - But why are you talking about irrelevant stuff, SSK? The movie was a hit. That's all that matters. Hai na?

SSSK - Woh sab toh theek hai, but did any of you know what was happening in the movie?

All the cast members give each other blank looks.

SSSK - Seems like you have a very confused cast...

A-M - Oh this is nothing. You should meet the movie editor. But of course we're paying for his shrink visits.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Love actually

Finally... a love song that actually makes sense.

Beautiful (and in a lot of ways, practical) lyrics aside, the heavenly singing just adds to the song's charm. Of course they could have done without the sporadic rapping in English and the annoying sms-y title words, but I have a remedy - try singing it in your head with the words "U, me, aur hum" substituted with "Tum, main, aur hum".

Hmm... Apne rang gawaaye bin
Mere rang mein ghul jao
Apni dhoop bujhaaye bin
Meri chhaon mein aa jao

Chalo yun karein
Tum tumhi raho
Main main bhi rahoon
Hum hum hi rahein
Teeno milke saath chalein
Saathi janam janam
U, me, aur hum
U, me, aur hum

Jaise baadal pani ka yarana hai
Jaise gul aur khushbu ka dostana hai
Waise hi rahein hum tum
Waise hi jeeyein hum tum
Tere mere haathon mein
Koi bhi pinjra na ho
Ek duje par apna
Haq toh ho qabza na ho
Har haal mein
Tum tumhi raho
Main main bhi rahoon
Hum hum bhi rahein

Ek din toh woh lamha bhi aana hai
Dono mein se ek ne chale jana hai
Baatein yeh sabhi hum tum
Jaan le abhi hum tum
Dono milke saath mein
Aise jeena seekh le
Taaki jo peeche rahe
Usko na ho mushkilen

Chal yun jeeyein
'Gar main na rahoon
Ya tum na raho
Hum hum hi rahein
Jaise saya saath chale
Saath rahein hardam
U, me, aur hum
U, me, aur hum...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Start the bawl rolling

As Starbreez and I found our way to our seats in the movie theatre last night, we wondered if we would cry. We had been warned that U, Me aur Hum was best accompanied by a packet of tissue. "I hope I haven't turned cynical, man!" She whispered to me before the movie started. I knew exactly what she meant. When a movie makes you cry, you kinda feel more alive, assured that you have not lost touch with the human side of things. If a really sad movie doesn't make me sad... now that is really sad. Oh the irony.

In a world where we are constantly telling ourselves to be emotionally stronger and not to allow anyone to make us cry, it's nice to be able to connect on that level with total (and fictional) strangers.

So the movie didn't make me cry. Yes, tears did well up in my eyes at times, but they were mostly brought about by my yawning (you know how when you yawn, your facial muscles squeeze your lachrymal glands and they secrete tears?). No offence to Ajay Devgan here, it was midnight after all, and my body clock is super accurate. In fact, I think Ajay is absolutely great and I am always impressed by directors who can direct themselves. Can you imagine the turmoil in their heads?

Ajay the actor - *dialogue*
Ajay the director - CUT! That was bad...
Ajay the actor - Huh? Really? I thought it was okay...
Ajay the director - Well, it wasn't. Let's do it again.
Ajay the actor (grumpily) - *dialogue*
Ajay the director - CUT! Perfect.
Ajay the actor - Wait, I think I didn't get the eyes right. Can we do the scene again?
Ajay the director - Huh? What are you talking about?? It was fine!
Ajay the actor - No, it wasn't.
Ajay the director - Yes, it was.
*Kajol rolls her eyes and walks off the set*

The movie wasn't boring, in fact, it was a very well-intentioned story. But the scenes did seem a bit draggy here and there. I have a great movie review system, also known as 'Will I buy the DVD or not?' which is based on a great Q&A system 'Can I watch this movie 10 times or not?' and the movie fell in the second category.

People had told me I'd be bawling in Taare Zameen Par too, but I was totally ho-hum in that as well. I guess several factors contribute to why you will or will not cry in a movie - how much you like the actors/director, how much you connect or identify with the story, the people you go to watch it with, and also your state of mind.

On the way out, we started talking about movies that had made us cry, and I thought I'll list them here. Of course, there are some movies that made me cry in the 'bored me to tears' kind of way, but here I am talking about movies where I actually felt so much emotion that I cried.

* * *
I was a kid when I watched this, and this will qualify as the first movie that made me cry. I was horrified when the kid died. Where the heck were Shaktimaan, and Superman and Spiderman and all other superheroes in their stupid costumes? Why didn't they save her? How come a 'good person' died? Died? Like never-gonna-come-back-died? Waaaaaaaa!

I'm neither a fan of Sridevi nor Kamal Hasan (*ducks to avoid shoes*) but when I saw the last scene in the movie where he's doing the monkey antics to jog her memory and she, totally failing to recognise him, takes him for some lunatic and throws a banana at him, oh my. Big bawling.

Anyone remember the scene where the frustrated father Anupam Kher is asking the customs officer if he can take his son's remains home? That entire scene was so well done, and Kher, only in his late 20s back then, was amazing in his portrayal of a middle-aged retired man.

Akele Hum Akele Tum
We watched this movie in the theatre - Dad, Mom, Grandma and me. Suddenly Dad turned to me and said, "It's raining inside the theatre!" "Huh?" I said, and looked up expecting some kind of leakage from the roof. "No, it's them." He pointed cheekily towards Mom and Grandma, who were both finding their anchals too short to wipe away all the tears. Dad and I chuckled, but my chuckling was short-lived. Remember the scene where Manisha Koirala is taking the kid away, and finds Aamir Khan sobbing hysterically in his room? The curve on my lips completely reversed itself in that scene and my poor Dad had to spend the rest of the movie not with two, but three bawling women. And I didn't even have a frickin' anchal!

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Okay, here's the thing - I really like Karan Johar movies. (Except Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna - I didn't like that.) KKHH was the quintessential KJ movie, which had all the elements that a typical Bollywood movie has, including some unbelievable shit that I still try not to roll my eyes at. I can't even remember the number of non-Indians to whom I'd recommended the movie and made them fall in love with Bollywood and Shah Rukh. And I remember how I cried when Kajol cried in the rain during the song 'Tujhe yaad na meri aayi' and also her goodbye scene at the railway station. And also the last scene of the movie.

I also referred to it as the Ganga-Jamuna movie. Because just like these rivers, it was free flow time for my tears. I watched it when I was already sad for some reason I can't remember - perhaps it was the time I was looking for a job and couldn't find any that wasn't engineering-related. It was probably one of the movies where I cried for at least half the duration of the movie.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
This movie was widely touted as the movie that had more Gham (sorrow) than Khushi (joy) - which was actually true. The only so-called Khushi moments had a screaming Kajol annoying the hell out of me and I was so shocked when they gave her the award for the best actress (*ducks to avoid shoes again*). However, there is one little scene in the movie which made me cry - the shoelace scene. Remember when 'Yash' is unable to tie his shoelaces, and Daaijaan helps him, and he protests with a "DJ!" Farida Jalal excelled in that scene when she got up, all teary-eyed and said that she knew it was Rohan all the way. I think I bought the DVD for that one scene.

Doli Saja Ke Rakhna
Another one of those one-scene wonders. The last scene, when Mousumi Chatterji asks Aruna Irani if she can take Jyotika and Aruna Irani cries out, "Toh le jao na!" was so powerfully done. The absolute silence preceding the dialogue, showcasing the discomfort the characters were experiencing with the situation, and this odd outburst between the two women, just made the end totally worth it. The rest of the movie was quite blah, but I bought the DVD for that one scene.

Kal Ho Na Ho
Frankly speaking, I did not cry when I saw this movie in the theatre. It doesn't even feature in my top five movies. But I'd bought the DVD for the amazing SRK-Saif chemistry. My flatmate was on medical leave, and I passed her the DVD before I left for work so she wouldn't get bored. "You may need tissue for this one." I joked. When I came back from work, she was slumped in the chair red-eyed and the movie had been paused. She had just found out about Aman's illness. "You said I'll need tissue, you didn't say I'll need a box of tissue!" She said. "Huh? Really?? That bad?" I asked. "Watch the rest with me, I can't watch it alone." She said. So the two of us watched it together and much to my surprise, I did find myself shedding some tears.

Frankly, of all his movies, I thought SRK was the best in Swades. Maybe he had some sudden inspiration or Ashutosh Gowarikar didn't let him ham, or whatever - he was totally rocking in that movie and after this movie I actually felt respect for him as opposed to fan-love. Many of my friends cried in the movie, but the one scene that made me cry was when Mohan goes to meet Haridas. Beautifully done.

Lage Raho MunnaBhai
The reason why the MunnaBhai series of movies rank among my top favourites is that the tears are as genuine as the laughter. These movies represent Bollywood and the range of emotions it offers. I laughed my guts out in these movies. And at the same time, I cried my eyes out. Remember that scene where Munna finds Circuit and apologises to him for slapping him? Tears central!

* * *

I guess that's the thing with Bollywood. My reaction to Kramer vs Kramer was nowhere compared to that of Akele Hum Akele Tum. I guess Bollywood really likes to infuse the emotions into the movie with a horse-vaccine-syringe. I can almost imagine the director going, "We HAVE to make the audience cry in this scene! More glycerin! More!" Well, I'm not complaining. I just wish they'd stop the rip-offs.

Okay, I'm done. Whew. So let's start the bawl rolling - which movies made you cry?

And guys, don't just shake your heads and walk away. This question is for you too. Come on, out with the truth. Don't be such men now. ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

In the line of fire

The only thing about gloating about a new office like this is when there is a fire drill, or worse a fire, you have to climb down 16 flights of stairs. The positive side, of course, is that it's a drill and not a fire and no one is really going to trample on you in a bid to get out of the building. And most importantly, you're taking the stairs down and not up.
The weirdest thing, however, was that not a lot of people seemed to be taking it seriously. The building management told everyone the exact time of the drill, which meant that certain people (who would prefer to get cooked in an office fire to taking 16 flights of stairs down) happily took the lift down 5 minutes before the drill. So when the alarm rang and the lifts shut down, these people were already downstairs. The worst thing is my boss actually took half of my team with her in the lift! Obviously, if the boss' boss is saying so, it must be okay. My team members did feel guilty though and sent me an sms later to tell me they were gone, and I was tempted to tell them that as a penalty, they would just have to climb up the stairs back into the office. However, true to my geeky nature when it comes to things like this, I remembered that during a real fire, people do not (and should not) pause to send silly sms messages to their teams.

However, I was happy to see that there were a handful of us still in the office when the actual alarm went off. Even the fact that two of the handful were fire wardens who HAD to take the stairs down did not shake my faith in the human spirit. There we were, for lack of a better adjective, the fiery folks (also known as 'The Fools' in many groups of homo sapiens), who were willing to go down the road not taken.

As we headed for the stairs, one of them said to me, "Sayesha, you're in heels!" Everyone in the company had turned up in running shoes like they were going for the vertical (downward) marathon or something.

"Yes. I am." I grinned. "If this were indeed a real fire, I would be more likely to be wearing heels, isn't it? I am trying to make the drill as close as possible to reality." I got some polite smiles, which translated in my head went something like "Sheesh! Geek!" As for the others, ahem, let's just say that several heads shook themselves at me in perfect unison.

The walk down the 16 flights took us not more than 5 minutes, mainly because we were the only conscientious people in the stairway - everyone else had already taken the lift. It was no wonder that the narrow stairway of such a giantass building was not crowded during a fire drill.

So we went downstairs and joined our other colleagues in the open field besides the building for attendance. After they had stopped complaining about the hot sun, they turned to us.

"You guys actually look the stairs??" they asked us.

"Of course. We didn't cheat. Like some people." I looked at my boss. She grinned. Others just shook their heads at us. Now that I think about it, we got a lot of heads shaken at us today. Some even sported dirty looks.

But the dirtiest looks were invited by this American guy who, after the drill, got into the lift, smiled at everyone and said, "Oh this was fun! We should do it again sometime!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm going back in time... relive the holiday.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Striking distance

Lately I have been thinking of distance. Not in the melancholy "Ufff yeh dooriyan" kind of way like in our Bollywood movies, but in a totally different light actually. As that oft-misunderstood thing between people. I am not referring to emotional distance, but plain physical distance. Speed x time. Distance. The one that's measured in metres and kilometers and light years. Being away from loved ones may suck, but distance does have its merits in certain other situations.

  • Distance keeps us sane.

  • Distance makes us realise what we miss.

  • Distance helps us figure ourselves out.

  • Distance keeps us away from people who interfere in the process of us figuring ourselves out.

  • Distance makes meeting a happier event.

  • Distance allows us to look exactly the way we want to look, away from those who don't want us to look like that.

  • Distance keeps the transport and telecom industries alive.

  • Distance helps us forget.

  • Distance is a good test of love.

  • Distance allows us to issue restraining orders without going to court.

  • Distance makes us understand ourselves and others better.

  • Distance makes break-ups easier.

  • Distance helps us plan great holidays.

  • Distance gives us breathing space.

  • Distance can give rise to beautiful letters and emails.

  • Distance decreases the probability of us bumping into people we have shift+deleted from our lives.

  • Distance heals what time can't.

  • Distance allows us to clearly see whom it should be maintained with.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Talk to my hand

I'm not really big on ventriloquists, and have always found them kind of creepy, but when a guy is this talented and this funny, you just can't help but go "BRAVO!"

Hat tip: Clueless. Video courtesy ZANX92.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Just call it a day

I'm not too sure which was more fun - cutting my birthday cake four days before my birthday in the office pantry ("We wanted to surprise you, hence the early celebration." was my team's explanation) or reading the creative emails forwarded to me afterwards.


From: GM [very creative member of my team]
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 11:38 AM
To: [My team]
Cc: [My lunch group]
Subject: important date

On 13th April, a little girl was born.

She grew up to have many adventures, and became the leader of a band of marauding raiders who sack the Boston Coast [my team reports to the Boston office] from time to time.

She now reclines languidly against the big-ass pillar of protection and looks over the land through a far-seeing glass.

In gratitude for her leadership, the Boston Raiders are planning a feast to celebrate her day of birth.

Join us in contributing ideas for the celebration, or the Raiders will pillage your cubicle!

-A very sleep-deprived GM

From: GK [yet another creative team member]
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 5:12 PM
To: [My team, My lunch buddies, other Team Leaders]
Subject: Re: important date

Fantasy version (written by our budding fantasy story author GM!)

Join the Boston Raiders in their great feast – a vast celebration of the birth of our leader!

In preparation for the feast, the Raiders have planned to pillage some nearby villages for the following:

- One entire roast chicken for our leader, adorned with a magic sparkler that will make her wishes come true (any varmint caught sullying the chicken will be made a slave to be given to the PAs for the year)

- Corn muffins (or other baked goods) kindly volunteered by our Guardian Valkyrie in Pink [colleague of mine who like everything pink and even sports a pink parachute...errr I mean parasol]. She will dispense the baked goods at the needed time with a twirl of her mighty Parasol.

- Insert other food items of choice – what can you grab while pillaging? Don’t get too distracted by the women, and no furtive gorging!

In view of the latest Prohibition from On High, the Raiders are off the beer/wine-wagon.

Please grab whatever drinkables you can find, or suggest a few types and we will plan a raiding party to obtain them.

And the simple version:

We are holding a birthday celebration for Sayesha tomorrow. Her actual birthday is this Sunday but we wanna surprise her (and GM is out of office from this Thursday onwards) so the best day would be tomorrow… I hope there are no violent objections.

Thank you all so much for your kind contributions. We are going to get a card (which everyone will have to sign really quickly!), a cake and a gift during lunchtime tomorrow… and apparently a roast chicken, I dunno why! If anyone has any other bright ideas, please feel free to chip in.

The details are as follows:
Time: 3.30pm
Place: Pantry
Note: Please do not walk to the pantry in a big group.

Hope everyone can make it!
From: Team Boston


The older you get, you start realising what a fool you had been all these years to actually consider birthdays "happy" occasions. What is there to be happy about anyway? With each passing year, you get farther from people and farther from yourself, you discover more flaws, more disappointments, more regrets, more judgement, more cynicism, more things (and people) that annoy you, and more things that don't matter. I know there's supposed to be a textbook list of GTAGO (Good Things About Growing Older) but frankly speaking, at this point in time, it seems like a rather bullshitty list. And when the guy who matters the most is sent by his 'village leader' to the other side of the world, there's no end to TLODTTTAAYBA (The List Of Depressing Things To Think About As Your Birthday Approaches).

I guess that's the reason why your loved ones sing really loudly on your birthday and stress on the "HAPPY" in "Happy Birthday to you!" multiple times.

To distract you from how depressing birthdays really are.

Ah well, it worked. :)

Thanks, dear colleagues (and ex-colleague who not only still remembers my birthday but also how much I love cheesecake). Kinda reminded me that life's still good. I still have things (and people) I love and those that love me. Love you guys, for the very successful attempt at cheering me up. Love to be working with you. Love my job.

Ahem, not a big fan of Viv's though. :/

Monday, April 07, 2008

Himessed 'em up!

So I am utterly bitterly in love with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. I never liked his uncle Nusrat too much, mainly because just like many English songs, I couldn’t really figure out what he was singing. Someone once commented on my blog that they thought the Afreen afreen song went something like “Uske nana ki taareef mumkin nahin”. Sheesh. But it proves my point. However, Fateh Ali Khan Junior has me completely bowled over. I had not watched Aaja Nachle or heard the album, and it was only by accident that I recently came across this mind-blowing song 'O re piya'. The rest, as they say, is history. Except that this song refuses to be history. For the last few months, it has not only been playing on loop on my ipod, but in my head as well. All the frikkin' time. The obsession grew to an extent where if I found no one me, I'd start singing it ALOUD in the middle of the road or in the bus... which could actually be the reason why there was no one around me. Ahem.

When I realised that this obsession is greater than any of my previous ones I decided to cure myself by swearing off the song and the singer for a while. So I looked for other songs I could obsess over. And I came across Main jahan rahoon from Namaste London. (I know I know it’s also sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, but there’s only so much control I can exercise over my Rahat-ki-chahat.) And I sat down and marvelled at this guy’s talent at modulating his voice and bringing out the depth in the song that perhaps even the lyricist hadn’t intended.

The more I listened to the song, the more I wondered – what the heck is wrong with Himesh Reshammiya? Why doesn’t he stick to composing such beautiful melodies? Why the heck does he insist on singing his own songs? I can understand that a music director may sometimes feel that no one else do justice to his composition. Even Rahman sings many of his songs himself, in spite of the heavy accent. But he picks songs suitable for his voice and doesn’t sing every song in the album. Subhash Ghai appears in each of his movies, no matter how out-of-place he looks sitting in a boat wearing his cowboy hat, but at least he doesn’t insist on playing the lead. These people may surface every now and then to show themselves, but they do know their real place. Why does Himesh then insist on singing and acting and end up annoying us instead of letting us appreciate what he is really good at – composing?

Years ago, Bhagyashree tried a similar stunt and refused to work in movies if her hubby was not hired as the leading man. We saw the outcome of Qaid Mein Hai Bulbul (Sheesh. I actually watched that movie. *hangs head in shame*) and in time, Bhagyashree’s career.

Come to think of it, Aashiq Banaya Aapne was a horrible movie, saved only by the two songs - the very catchy title song and Aap Ki Kashish. Of course, I still wonder why the lyrics could not establish his respect level for the girl in the title song (he switched from Aashiq banaya aapne to tere bin raat katti nahin hai without pausing) but I guess that’s forgiven in an age where lyrics go Kaindi ponn. Anyway, so there was Himesh Reshammiya singing his own compositions, which was I admit were really catchy hence became huge hits and all that.

I had no problems with that part - of Himesh singing a song or two for Emraan Hashmi. It was novel for the audience who had never seen such a combination - a guy who used his lips too much and a guy who used his nose too much.

It was only when he started singing for my regular guys, Akshay Kumar, Abhay Deol, etc. that I sat up and yelled STOP! From what I have heard so far, bad lyrics aside (that would be a whole new post. Love you unconditionally? Oh puh-lease!), the man’s got talent. His songs are catchy (even though he likes to use a ‘formula’) and almost always successful. Of course, most of his songs sound the same, but then even the great Rahman likes to copy himself (*ducks to avoid shoes*). It would be unfair to say that Himesh is besura – music directors probably can’t away with that. He just needs to accept that he’s not singer-material. He either cries or yells, and it achieves quite the opposite effect of what he intended. It takes away all the feeling out of the song and makes it sound like a quarrel between two neighhhhhhbours.

But to be fair to the over-criticised bloke, some of his non-Himessed songs are very melodious.

I came across a number of his songs that would have been masterpieces if he hadn’t exercised his nasal chords, and got someone else to sing it instead. An example would be the song Veeraniyan (Namaste London). It’s a classic example of how talented a music director he is, but I can’t get myself to listen to it as often as I would like to. Even though he sings in tune, he kind of ‘throws’ his words at the listener – sometimes like a dog barking (anyone who has heard him sing the words “Saans jab luun toh” line from the song would know exactly why I described it like that). I really really wish someone like Roop Kumar Rathod had sung it. I thought of Sonu Nigam initially, but I feel no other song about loneliness has the right to dilute the magic Sonu created with Tanhaayee from Dil Chahta Hai. Roop Kumar would probably ghazalofy the song a bit, so a contemporary alternative would be KK. Yehi Hota Pyaar would sound fab in Shaan’s voice. Kailash Kher would have done ample justice to Allah kare. Kitne pyaar karte hain would have sounded divine in Sonu’s voice.

I am totally totally against remixes, but I strongly believe that some of Himesh’s songs really need to be sung properly by other people, rerecorded and re-released. For the sake of the songs themselves. To do justice to them. He is being unfair to his songs by singing them himself.

My advice to Himesh, if he would just pause his oooinnng and aaainggg for once, would be this.

Don’t listen to anyone.

Listen only to yourself.

Maybe then you’ll get what I mean. :P

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Home productions

When Viv and I get really bugged of playing the normal version of dumb charades, we like to come up with all sorts of variations. After exhausting the IMDB top 250 movies list, we switched to the '100 worst movies of all time' page (sample these names: The Tony Blair Witch Project, Die Hard Dracula, The Hottie and the Nottie, Who's Your Caddie, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace) and use that to play DC. Over time, we really got good with even these names and had to discontinue.

Recently, we decided to mime 'sequels' to existing hindi movies - sequels we came up with ourselves. The guesser had to guess both the sequel well as the prequel. We were playing in the bus once, and Viv mimed a sequel which I decoded as 'Magar main bhool gaya', but I could not think of what the prequel could be. Finally he gave me the answer. It was 'Phir teri kahani yaad aayi'. :

During our recent Bangkok trip with Shub and Pizzadude (yes, yes, that's coming up on Hopscotch soon!), we played another variation. Three-word fictional hindi movie names where the first and the last word rhymed. We only came up with a few during the trip (Titanic Mein Panic, Nappy Mein Happy, Jannat Ki Mannat, Aulaad ka Faulaad were some of them) but I've been thinking of more since I came back. I figured it would be fun to get all bewdas to contribute to this mindless game and see how many crappy movie names we can come up with to play DC some day.

So here's what I have so far:

  • Titanic Mein Panic
  • Nappy Mein Happy
  • Jannat Ki Mannat
  • Aulaad Ka Faulaad
  • Nakhoon Mein Khoon
  • Nurse Ka Purse
  • Darzi Ki Marzi
  • Ret Mein Khet
  • Mausam Hai Awesome
  • Jaam Ka Anjaam
  • Bai Ki Tanhaai
  • Aayi Phir Mehengaayi
  • Shakeela Ka Tequila
  • Zinda Hai Parinda
  • Tum Ho Gum
  • Aap Ka Baap
  • Kadki Mein Ladki
  • Ismail Ki Smile
  • Lara Ne Mara
  • Joshi Ki Khamoshi
  • Gutter Mein Matar
  • Laash Ka Vinaash
  • Aag Se Bhaag
  • Mem Ka Prem
  • Pardes Mein Case
  • Kameeni Ki Cheeni
  • Picture Ka Lecture
  • Mamta Ki Kshamta
  • Shaadi Ki Waadi
  • Sardaar Ka Kirdaar

Taking a break from work? Feeling vella? Generally bored? Want to do something totally mindless? Hop to the bar and add on to the list! English and Hindi words only, and if you can use words typically used in Hindi movie names, even better! :D

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I have just climbed up the corporate ladder.... err... I mean elevator.

When people find out that your office is in a building that in the daytime looks like this:

and at night like this:

their faces go like this:


and then they ask you which floor you're on, and you sheepishly say "5th", their faces go like this:


So after your office relocates to the 16th floor, and your new desk looks like this:

is it any wonder that you look like this?