Sunday, November 25, 2007

Seek and you shall find

Wrestling from before when I got addicted to it. Conspiracy theories on 9/11. Lousy reviews of video games I wish I could get my hands on. Tony Hawk performing his first ever 900. Someone pulling off a stoppie and then immediately lifting his front wheel in the air that made for an amazing sight. The latest news. Songs that were ‘thoughtfully’ unaired from the Bollywood movie that I unfortunately paid money to see cause I didn’t have too many better things to do. Street magic. Accidents that I wish I had never seen. Puppies. Drunk people talking crap. A lousy fashion show from some engineering college. One of the most amazing pieces of guitar work I’ve ever seen. Jeremy Clarkson’s face almost getting pulled off due to the awe inspiring power of the Ariel Atom.
What’s the thread that links them together? The best thing on the web after email – You tube. It really is amazing how you can always find a video to anything that you search for. Especially useful if it’s nearing 4 AM and you’re tossing and turning and cant find sleep no matter how many sheep, cows, goats, pigs, cats or ducks you’ve thrown over the fence.
In case you’re wondering what’s with the amazing guitar work that I mentioned. Search for “Coupdegrace Revisited” on Youtube. Stunned could barely begin to describe my reaction. Definite must watch.
I’m hooked on Youtube. Are you too?

A for apple, B for ball, C for cat and D for Delhi ....

With many a month having passed by (with me being blissfully unaware of the fact as usual) I have come to the rather late realization that my stay in the Capital wound up much sooner than I would have liked. Everyone’s attempt at trying to instill some amount of trepidation into my eternally worryless mind with the whole South Indian guy heading to the north of the country routine had failed miserably before I landed here and it still hasn’t had any effect. So what am I missing or waving a fond farewell to now that I have left that lovely place?

- The absolutely divine wide roads that I never got to sample in my stay here will definitely be much missed. Each time my mind wanders to those heavenly pot hole-less well lit roads and the sparse traffic on it in the nights I wonder what life would have been like had I brought my bike along with me. Big mistake it was not taking it to Delhi to say the least. Would’ve had a million dollar grin that refused to go away after each nightly sojourn. The mind can but imagine at this point of time.
- The machinery on those roads was absolutely soul stirring for my car craving self. Delhiites have wealth and love to flaunt it and I love them for that. Especially when they splurge on a sweet set of wheels. Evident by the number of BMW’s, Audi’s & Mercs (more common than a cold in India’s monsoon) as well as the Cayenne’s and the blue Boxster I saw. Porsche’s look amazing in pics and on Top Gear but seeing one in the flesh actually made me stop in my tracks. However my 2 wheeled paradise was limited to a solo Hayabusa and I wish I’de seen more. Especially since I’de heard so much about G.O.D.S – the Group Of Delhi Superbikers, bunch of guys who own some insane machinery.
- 1 thing I won’t miss is the lousy taste these Delhiites have in helmets. Thank heavens it is compulsory for all guys on 2 wheels to wear a helmet though the ladies get an unnecessary exception from the rule. And still all I see is dull boring plainer- than- a- vanilla- ice- cream- that’s- run- out- of- vanilla coloured helmets with very few of them going so far as to sport a couple of stickers on them. Far cry from my ummm eye catching GP One helmet I compulsorily wear every time I’m out on a spin.
- The whole sense of power that Delhi is famous for gives rise to a sense of arrogance that I can live without. Evident throughout the city and certainly not something that an outsider is used to. In all my time (not that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on this earth but still…) I’ve never encountered this corridor of power that gives a inimitable flavour to the place. Everybody knows somebody in power and behaves like a prick because of it.
- My daily trip past the India Gate. There’s something about it, indefinable really but irrespective of the number of times I passed by it looking at it was wonderful.
- The oppressive heat I bid a fond farewell to. I was fortunate that it rained on a handful of days which made them really pleasant and those sunless dark cloud covered skies brought back fond memories of monsoons at home. But when the sun decide to shine in all his glory Delhi was a pain. Fortunately my project didn’t involve too much traveling around Delhi so the confines of my office were where I was glad to be. But heading out to a nearby eatery to sample Delhi’s sweets was worth being out in the stifling heat.
- One word to describe sweets and food in Delhi – Yum! Fell in love with the food there. Hook line and sinker. Food, desserts, ice creams, pastries, short eats – in short everything. And for someone who loves food like me the place is perfect.
- The crowd for mixed reasons. Ive seen both extremes there. The loud boisterous unruly (if that is the right word) crowd on one hand that I used to see everyday while traveling up and down the city. The elegant sophisticated people who hold important posts in Delhi. The ones who know how to throw a party that you will remember for a while. Where classiness takes a precedence over flashiness.
- Weekends in Delhi will definitely be missed. We used to try to get tickets to movies and we never did succeed until the end when we finally got tickets for Cheeni Kum. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Missed out on every summer blockbuster this year. For the first time ever.
Theres scores of other stuff but my fingers are aching. Farewell Delhi until we meet again ….

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life truly is a B**ch

I for one should be the last person to say that B-school life is strenuous and the cause of grey hair causing stress (hair loss causing stress even?). To be fair even someone like me has been able to manage the assignments, quizzes (both surprise as well as well in advance informed types), mid themes, end themes, presentations and everything else that has been thrown at us and managed to stand tall at the end of it fairly unscathed. But there are times when everything just kind of builds and grows to the extent where you yearn for a break, an escape from the claustrophobic walls that have surrounded you while you were apparently looking elsewhere, a simple getaway from the madness called life.

For some solace lies in music. An evening to yourself spent drowning in your favourite artiste offers a simple pleasure that is really difficult to describe. Lying down with the electricity meter having to tick away only due to a fan and contemplating life with nobody for company is often the perfect prescription that unfortunately no doctor can prescribe. Under the assumption that one has the appropriate music for accompaniment that is.

For others a simple stroll will do the same if not more. I don’t really know if it’s about being able to connect with nature or if it’s the spent calories that give you a subconscious sense of relief or if it’s just that the walk lets you be on your own giving you the opportunity to be the observer and thereby watch everyone else caught up in their own little worlds.

While the above 2 have been successful to varying degrees (the fact that I’ve not really had to unwind has therefore not put the above to the proper test, what can I say life’s been good to me) I feel that nothing compares to the simple pleasure of sprawling on a beach on a cloudy day. How does one begin to explain the true extent of the soothing effect that the sound of waves unrelentingly lapping the shore has on a weary soul? Of course the right company has been so far an untyped essential of this. Having them run around chasing a football successfully attempting stunts that will never ever be executed on the football field and smiling to yourself knowing this secret is safe with you is absolutely priceless. Being smart would mean waiting till they have sufficiently exhausted themselves and then getting up off your lazy arse and running circles around them executing some neat flicks, fakes and classic one touch football that would have made any Arsenal player proud. Or at least attempting to do so ….. And when everyone’s too tired to play David Beckham any more they will eventually sit down, sip beer, talk about irrelevant stuff, pull each other’s leg while you grab a cap, make sure the sun isn’t hitting your face and go back to sprawling with a grin and the knowledge that life’s a bitch. Except on the beach.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tumour in your humour

It was in Robbie Williams’ much listened to song Supreme that he sang a line (that could’ve & should’ve been just another line in just another popular song) that has caused me to contemplate rather unnecessarily for prolonged periods of time on what humour is. Maybe Robbie never intended for just 1 line from the whole song to be food for thought for someone who is jobless in some classes and doesn’t want to waste his time day dreaming about people, places and/or things limited only by his boundaryless imagination. Or maybe he did. One can’t say. But debating on that is entirely pointless. More importantly, the line in question…..

“Yeah are you questioning your size?
Is there a tumour in your humour,
Are there bags under your eyes? “

If for some weird reason you still haven’t figured out which of the 3 lines is the reason for me to ditch my favoured state of brain deadness to ponder on humour, it’s the italicized one. So how exactly does one define funny? Do funny jokes have to be clean jokes? Why do a lot of guys like jokes that are slightly dirty? Do girls like jokes that are borderline dirty? (Am in the dark on that one) Why do people always laugh at whatever joke a particular person cracks even if they are funny or not? Why do poor jokes have to be called pj’s? Why cant we call them something else? Why do some people have a terrible sense of humour? (what I like to call - tumour in your humour) There are 100s of unanswered humour related questions that I have.

I’ve only got 7 more months left in my course to complete free thinking about such things without a worry in the world. And I don’t suppose that I will get an answer to any of them but I am keeping an open mind to possible revelations. Probably wont run down the street naked and all shouting Eureka Eureka but the thought of it is ….. Anyways until then I probably will keep coming up with crackers (as I like to look at them with my humour tinted & tainted eyes) (crackers being an ambiguous term) like the ones below. Enjoy !

What the annoyed pet shop owner shouted at the intelligent bird that kept imitating his style of talking and whatever he said ……. “ Stop parrot-phrasing me !”

What one sea animal told his star fish friend as he went to find the loo? ……. I need to crab

What happens if you piss off your FAS (probably Faculty Associated for Student, basically a faculty mentor in my institute) ? ….. It becomes a case of the FAS and the furious

What one sandwich told the other sanwich after cracking a really really terrible joke ? ........ No bun intended

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Its fake !

“You still watch wrestling??????” accompanied by incredulous looks followed by laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation is something that I’ve encountered heaven knows how many times over the years. And of course the standard follow up that’s something of a Robin to the Batman that is You sill watch wrestling – You know its fake, don’t you?

My friends and family will vouch for the fact that my memory is one of the lousiest ones around. But I do very distinctly remember watching all amazed as Star TV came into my life sometime in late 1992. The first channel I watched was BBC and a short while later I stumbled onto wrestling. It was a show that was immediately after Summerslam 1992 if I am not mistaken with the host talking about the match between Bret “The Hitman” Hart & his real life brother-in-law “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith. And I was hooked.

Over the years I’ve watched wrestling and in particular the WWF (now WWE) grow as an industry, watched the metamorphosis from a family oriented style in the late 80’s and early 90’s to a more edgy product aimed at a younger audience. During the boom years of wrestling in India almost every school going kid had a collection of wrestling stickers, wrestling postcards (which couldn’t be mailed anywhere anyways) and wrestling trump cards. Oh the endless hours spent playing trump cards …… Nowadays I cant even find a quarter of my collection of stuff that I had during that time. School kids even went to the extent of picking a wrestler that most suited his personality as his own character. Local TV channels would invariably show old wrestling tapes from the late 80’s that were great to watch.

I guess that’s what attracted me to it in the first place – the characters. Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Chris Jericho & Ric Flair are my favourite wrestlers not just in terms of their in ring prowess and ability but in the very characters they portray week in and week out. Bret Hart built his career as a typical good guy but his evolution into a bad guy due to the frustration he was feeling during his feud with the then upcoming Stone Cold Steve Austin is one of the most brilliant & believable pieces of scriptwriting that the WWF has done. Chris Jericho in his WCW days was so cocky but fans knew he could more than back it up with his in ring skills and was thus very popular. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, in my view the greatest wrestler I have ever seen in the squared circle (he is still actively wrestling full matches at an age of 58), can entertain like none other. The 16 time World Champion is legendary as the ‘Dirtiest player in the game’ and his trademark moves have enthralled fans over the years.

Storylines are a major driving force between why wrestling is still close to my heart. The formula is simple enough – Good guy vs Bad Guy. Crowd cheers good guy and dislikes bad guy. But the evolution of wrestling fans over the years has meant that there is no more black and white in terms of characters. Steve Austin is one example that springs to mind, despite being the bad guy fans took to his anti establishment attitude. John Cena at the other end who is being pushed by the WWE as the next Hulk Hogan just could not win over the fans cause a very large number of them viewed him as being not deserving enough to hold the title. Just goes to show you cant take your customers for granted. But I digress. Stories like the Austin Hitman feud mentioned earlier, the long simmering feud between The Hitman & “The Heart Break Kid” Shawn Michaels, the feud between “The Macho Man” Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan where Macho Man felt that Hulk Hogan was showing too much attention to Miss Elizabeth, Randy Savage’s wife are but a few examples.

And wrestling is all about the moments that capture it brilliantly as well. Probably the most watched and famous scene is of Hulk Hogan power slamming Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III. Other memorable memories include
· Shawn Michaels ‘skinning the cat’ (bringing himself into the ring over the ropes while hanging from the top rope by lifting his legs above him and rolling backwards over the top rope) while the British Bulldog celebrates thinking that he has won the Royal Rumble and then proceeding to throw the British Bulldog over the top rope and win it.
· Hulk Hogan walk down to the ring while all the wrestlers are down and proceed to leg drop the good guys much to the shock of wrestling fans all over the world and join the bad guys Kevin Nash (Diesel) & Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) in setting up the New World Order (NWO) thereby ending his decades as the quintessential American hero.
· Jeff Hardy hang haplessly from the ring holding the belts suspended 15 feet above the ring while the ladder he used to climb it was removed from under him and Edge then proceeding to spear him from another bigger ladder.
· Speaking of Edge how could I not mention both his instances of cashing in the Money In The Bank to win the title. battered and bloodied John Cena in the first case won the Elimination Chamber much to the dismay of the majority of the crowd. Edge then proceeded to devilishly cash in his MITB with spears to the champion causing the crowd to go crazy.
· Who can ever forget the crazy moment when Mankind (aka Cactus Jack aka Mick Foley) was thrown off the top of the Hell In the Cell by the merciless Undertaker onto the commentators table. Truly a ‘Holy Shit’ moment.
Chris Jericho finally agreeing to face the unstoppable Bill Goldberg after being a thorn in his side for months and then having Gillberg (a parody of Goldberg) come out to hand held sparklers instead of the usual pyrotechnics.
The list is virtually endless and for all the naysayers out there I would only like to say this. It isn’t fake – the action in the ring is real and dangerous and the athletes put their bodies on the line every time they step into the ring. The chair shots are from real metal chairs and the tables used aren’t made of paper. Besides how do you fake barbed wire anyways? The characters are amazingly deep with traits we see in people around us and the story lines fascinating. What else do you want?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Three is a charm

To be honest I really must thank all those people who had come to the PVR mall that I had gone to on numerous occasions over the past one month to catch a movie. The thing is with Theme VI done with and having been banished from the cozy confines of my B-school to the capital of my country under the pretext of my summer project, I decided that my movie watching days must continue (albeit at a slower pace) though now I would be upgrading from the 15’ screen of my laptop to a proper multiplex theatre. I’ve reached an hour before the show, 2 hours before the show, much before the show; I’ve tried on weekends, weekdays but was never able to get a ticket with Spiderman 3, Mr. Bean and a couple of others getting the miss. A normal person would’ve soldiered on determined to watch a movie over there but not me as I settled down for a random TV movie on a lazy Sunday. And a smart choice it turned out to be.

It’s been over 10 years since I’ve watched Lucky Day (Steve Martin), Ned Nederlander (Martin Short) and Dusty Bottoms (Chevy Chase) do their unforgettable routine given below in the 3 Amigos and it proved to be the perfect Sunday movie.

Lucky Day: Wherever there is injustice, you will find us.
Ned Nederlander: Wherever there is suffering, we'll be there.
Dusty Bottoms: Wherever liberty is threatened, you will find...
Lucky Day, Ned Nederlander, Dusty Bottoms: The Three Amigos!

The movie is hilarious with the casting being absolutely spot on. The dialogues are great and comic timing is superb as can be expected from the star cast. It is a simple kind comedy at times but one that will definitely will ensure that you’ve enjoyed it all the way to the end. Definitely a must watch especially considering the quality of comedies being churned out these days. Speaks volumes for a movie that was released 21 years ago. Sample this conversation from the movie

Jefe: We have many beautiful pinatas for your birthday celebration, each one filled with little surprises!
El Guapo: How many pinatas?
Jefe: Many pinatas, many!
El Guapo: Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?
Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A *plethora*.
Jefe: Oh yes, El Guapo. You have a plethora.
El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you just told me that I had a plethora, and I would just like to know if you know what it means to have a plethora. I would not like to think that someone would tell someone else he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.

Asterix & Obelix : Mission Cleopatra that followed the 3 Amigos was a very pleasant surprise. I never expected that I would end up watching more than 15 minutes of the movie much less the whole thing but it was highly entertaining. The movie is really funny with a lot of modern references thrown in for good measure. It has captured the spirit of the comic which most movies based on comics haven’t been able to and I loved the scene where the pirates are ready to board a ship after seeing that it is not a Gaullish ship and their reaction when they see Asterix & Obelix happily waving at them from the ship is absolutely hilarious. There is just so much to enjoy in the movie – the character names, the subtle humour in so many one liners and the “I Feel Good” song in the movie to name but a few. Thing is you need to pay attention or you could end up missing another of the one line gems that are smattered all over the movie. Apparently the original French dialogues are even funnier with much more subtle humour captured in them which the shift to English has expectedly not been able to capture. But hey I’m not complaining, the English version is funny enough for me.

A few months back, if you’de have asked me who Guy Ritchie is, all I would’ve been able to tell you was that he is Madonna’s husband. But then that was before I watched the Guy Ritchie written & directed movie – Snatch which is an absolutely hilarious movie if you can follow the brit accent. With wonderfully scripted characters like Turkish (better known as the Transporter guy), Brick Top Polford, Cousin Avi, Boris ‘The Blade’, Bullet Tooth Tony, Franky Four Fingers, Mickey O’Neil (Brad Pitt in an brilliant role as a pikey whose accent is unbelievable) etc: Guy Ritchie has created a very engrossing movie that weaves together multiple storylines with absolutely hilarious one liners that will have you in splits. One is given below

Vinny & Sol are 2 small time crooks who want to get even with certain bad guys in the movie and therefore Sol goes out to get them guns, replicas of course since they are small time crooks.
Vinny: What the fuck do you mean, replicas?
Sol: They look the shit, don't they? And nobody is gonna argue. And I've got some extra loud blanks, just in case.
Vinny: In... Oh, in case we have to deafen them to death?

Not seen a better made movie in a while and I’ve seen quite a bit of movies in my time in my B-school and earlier. An engaging movie that has all the ingredients I look for - top notch acting and more importantly very well written characters, huge servings of humour, very slick lighting and editing. What more can you ask for? If you do see any of these DVD out there the next time you’re out do not hesitate to pick them up especially Snatch. They certainly did make my Sunday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

At 5 in Theme 5

A true idea of what Theme 5 really means can be gauged from this true incident. My roomie pokes his head out from under his blanket , looks at the time , sees the lights on, me fully dressed and asks me where I'm going at 5 in the morning. Tell him that i've just walked in after completing our finance project and that i'm going to sleep ..... The seemingly never ending theme is finally seeing some light at the end of the gloomy tunnel . Have to hold on for less than a month but the ride for the next few weeks is going to be terribly terribly bumpy to say the least. Time to fasten my seatbelt then .