Friday, May 23, 2008

Simu vouches...

My six year old cousin sis states that I am the best post-midnight-fried-chicken-mayo-sandwich-emergency-snack-chef-bhaiya in the world. I am proud and I concur :D

Sasura, Futurewa & Chowpatty

Six out of every five Indians have been conned by soothsayers in the guise of parrots, over cosmetic Maa Rithambaras (of the Mandira Bedi-Tarot-Sidekick fame), Sanskaar TV Babas who in stoic stillness seem to occupy the same screen-pixels despite innumerable to-fro channel surfs and the Linda Goodladies of the astrosphere. A quaint encounter with an oracle of sorts at Chowpatty left me befuddled about my future and over-indulgence in curios.

Nonchalantly perched by the sea-water was the seer, henceforth called Gadget sasura (fellow) - a frail saffron-robed old man tightly clenching a chillum in one hand, counting rosary on the other and promptly abandoning either to manipulate a forecasting gadget at the behest of a prospective client. The gadget, that could comfortably pass off as installation art, was essentially an LCD screen linked up to a weighing scale via a multi-laser endowed light-saberish tube (commonly referred to as 'that glowy thingy'). Ostensibly, the contraption would 'compute' the future of the retard standing on the scale and 'display' it on the screen for a meagre operational charge of rupees fifty. I succumbed and stepped on the scale.

Contrary to popular expectation, both mine and that of the twenty odd bemused by-standers, no farcical graphics laced with fortune cookie text were displayed. Gadget sasura, evidently annoyed by the rising public scepticism, grumbled that the forthcoming display would merely be a representation of the future and not the future itself. I was excited. In a matter of seconds a disastrously buxom pair of women graced the LCD screen, began mouthing a bhojpuri song and commenced thrusting vigorously to its beats. I was stumped at the appearance of these women in what was supposedly a visual rendition of what my future beheld. Gadget sasura, appearing from behind a cloud of his chillum smoke, egged me on to pay attention to the lyrics of the bhojpuri song which were apparently a manifestation of my future. I conformed.

Due to my limited exposure to bihari élan and bhojpuri panache, a major portion of the lyrical content was incomprehensible. However, with aid from mother - a woman of competence in the domain of bihari maidservant - punjabi employer squabbles, a fraction of the prophesy was deciphered over gelato by the sea. Vaguely, it was a hodgepodge of several elements of daily parlance including khatiya (cot), aincha (squint), bhagai (loin cloth), ainthhan (twist), thaeun (knee), chariyail (tantrum), padosbo (neighbour's wife), huliyaye (poke) and jhaunsal (heat). The precise nature of participation of the aforementioned thrusting belles in the above equation of my future, sadly, remained hazy but promising nonetheless.

The psychic-reading has had an influence on me. Genuine contemplation of vagabonding Bombay's streets clad in a loincloth, seeking the tantrum-throwing neighbourhood wife prostrate on a cot, is afoot.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Five Point Someone

It's official now. After holding on at the '5 point - 6 point' cusp for long, I am now a five point someone. And yes, I am pissed about it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Unquestionably Weird

Statutory Warning: Reading this piece is injurious to the health of prudes and puritans

Normality is an endangered concept which traditionally defined one who lacked unique characteristics or beliefs that made him blend in with peer environs. Now, in an effort to breach the social boundaries of normality, a breed of mortals priding in oddities, quirks and weirdness tread on our comfort zone. Consciously or otherwise, they refrain from conforming to societal, unspoken and implied rules and distinguish themselves as behaviorally distinct. In this slice of my four-year long IIT chronicle, I parade my strange encounters with this weird kind.

Despite the reality that English seems to have metamorphosed as the medium of communication in the higher echelons of Gujju-ben kitty-party culture, it is most disagreeable and weird to witness it being butchered by inapposite and incorrect usage. It is not that I belong to the progeny of the East-India Company who drink tea with their pinkies raised to the sky, despise all things Himmesh-esque and animatedly discuss the literary brilliance of a random, vagabond 18th century Polish author. I simply state that one must choose a communication medium based on comfort level more than anything else. Rakhi Sawant, the pouting, stripping, thrusting and twisting item-girl, does not concur. When I had sent the icon of Indian womanhood an SMS to confirm her participation in a celebrity debate on campus, the weird reply (quoted verbatim) I received was - “I am in the midst of somebody momentarily. Please you do me your massage later.” Euphemism or an elegant display of Rakhi’s SMSing dexterity?

While we’re hovering around social faux pas and tactlessness, weird pet-names bestowed upon a few hapless souls on campus desperately warrant revision. A Himendra is conveniently called Hymen, Saxena becomes Sex, S. Hiten creatively transforms into Shittu and Charchit is christened Chameli. The irony with pet-names is that, over time they unabashedly replace one’s forename and are begun to be used in everyday parlance. Consequently they stick on forever and no longer remain pet. A ludicrous incident that played out before Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy (SEL) in the backstage of a campus concert stands testimony. The trio, already discontent at the Security arrangements, was flabbergasted to hear a frustrated concert in-charge holler the following orders into the walky-talky – “Come in Hymen. Come in Hymen. I haven’t been able to find Sex for the last three hours. Chameli has gone to find Sex at the Security Gate. Also, Chameli’ll drop Shittu at the gate to help you out. Come what may, Hymen, don’t let any pointed objects through.” Not particularly music to SEL’s ears I presume.

Singapore has once too often been depicted as a foot-traveler’s South-East Asian dream – rosy, with a picturesque skyline, traffic moving like clockwork and a culture switch around every street-corner. On a recent visit to the city, I, along with three others, learnt about this street-corner culture transposition the hard way. The four of us violated the cardinal rule of on-foot explorers – ‘If any local on a street corner pulls down/lifts up/tears down/strips apart/peels off/divests/uncases any part of his/her/it’s clothing – one runs. One does not gaze out of curiosity/fear/humour/titillation/sympathy/empathy. One runs.’ We were knocked senseless when a Singaporean woman flashed us on the corner of ‘Where are we Street’ and ‘Why isn’t it on the map Avenue'. While three of us were recovering from the impact of all things new transpiring before us, one was astute enough to make a critical observation and screech out - “She’s not a she. No she’s not. Run, tranny (= transvestite), run. Tranny, tranny. She’s a tranny. It’s a tranny. Run, please, run.” The dilemma of who’s weirder, the lady who chose to stare long, close and hard enough to make the vital observation or the lady who wasn’t a lady altogether, remains unresolved.

Spare time breeds incredible weirdness and my four year long mis-adventure is a sufficient testament. In a sea of curios, there are a few encounters that merit more than a passing mention like the Malay tour guide who incessantly insisted that her name was Violet and she was not to be called toilet, a male classmate who chose to use “you smell nice today” as a befitting compliment to my choice in perfumes, the lady who was armed with nine pencils, five sharpeners and four erasers for her CAT exam and looked at my lone three inch pencil with murderous disdain or the guy who casually enquired about a lady’s bra size within five minutes of being introduced to her. As I unwind in the summer before I transform into corporate schmuck, I shall elaborate.