Elegy of a Dreamer

They say a fool is born when another ceases to be

I wonder who departed when I started to see.

This puzzling thought, might seem out of place

But then again, I blabber, with my own shameless grace.

This rhyming sucks coz I am no elegist

Its meaning I barely know or at least the gist.

But I guess it’s justified when a quietly desperate man

Wants to dream about HER, as much as he can.

You see this dreaming takes most of my time

On the roadside, in a rickshaw or even under a stop sign

I find a pretty face and let the reverie take me

To a far off place right next to Tristan and his eternal biwi (Isolde!)

I picture a Kodak moment with every pretty face

Coz it’s the only thing I can do other than tie my shoe lace

Behind every photo I write a fantastic story

But it’s all in my head with no reward and glory.

The story always changes but the plot remains the same

As if all too many photos are displayed in a single frame

My brain tells me the logic, my aortic pump the emotion

But my eyes see the chance I have, with every infatuation.

I dream of the jokes I’ve told too many times

The way she would laugh hearing the stale punch line

I dream of the conversations that would never seem to ensue

The way I would be besotted, regardless of my milieu.

A fool’s hope they say is a fool’s hope after all

But this hope of getting it right makes my skin crawl

This possible humbug may be humbug after all

But my emotions you see, are all over the wall

And yet when I notice another attractive visage

My programmed brain tells me the tactic, the game and her age

On my way to Tristan’s, I chuckle and realize

The girl changes but the fantasy remains the same

The girl changes the fantasy remains the same.

XX

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Filed under Absurd, Fiction, Poem, stupid

The Last Chapter

The soil is moist. It is sticky. It was crimson a couple of hours ago but now it is black. I see a cockroach making its way through the splinters; trying to avoid patches of the viscous non-flowing fluid to find its rightful edible corpuscle. With a nonchalant poise it moves around in the mess. Stupid thing. Its feeble antennae cannot smell death, but they never miss that elusive scent of a morsel. Ahh! There it is. Nice catch my friend. The overturned jar of frosties just might make your day. Yes, that’s right. Pick it up nice and easy. There you go.

BANG!

The insect is dead before it knows that my 0.41 Remington slug did its business. It lies there with the other cockroaches that I just murdered. I never miss.

I lift my weary body out of the chair that I had pulled up. My neck hurts. My body hurts. Firing countless rounds a day has taken its toll. Lifting lifeless bodies is no walk in a park either. I ran out of painkillers a long time ago. I don’t need them anymore. Pain is all I have left. It keeps me company when I am stalking my quarries. It has grown on me I must say. A few days more and I’ll be done. I start walking to the next town.

[Intro of  something I’m working on.]

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Let there be Beer….

[This is a post about beer. Inevitably, it contains a lot of beerhetoric. It does not intend to challenge anyone’s take on alcohol consumption nor does it promote alcoholism. It is a product of an unhealthy urban youth’s genuine fascination about beer.]


“A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” -Czech proverb.

My fascination about beer can be traced back to my childhood. When my dad used to entertain his buddies, there used to be beer in the house. My brother and I used to have a laugh watching all the uncles make their half-hourly pilgrimage to the loo- each one longer than the one before. That time I didn’t get why all of them kept on drinking this particular aerated beverage knowing fully well that they’ll have to ‘go’ again before grabbing the next one. It seemed so pointless. The whole exercise seemed ridiculous. It was one of life’s greatest mysteries for me. But in time when I started doing such pilgrimages on my own, some how life was simple again.

The truth be told- my dad bought me my first beer. Not a sign of bad parenting but purely awesome parenting. A fact my drinking buddies hate, as they have to go through an entire stack of mints before going back home, while I have to go through only half of it. My first impression of beer was- absolute piss. But like most Coen Bros’ movies, it grew on me. I’ll always remember the first pint that I actually managed to enjoy. A feeling of unfounded joy had washed over me. My jaws had clenched and unclenched with every sip. As the can in my hand started feeling lighter, so did I. It was the best 40 bucks I ever spent.

Most of the times, beer invokes extreme opinions among liquor enthusiasts. You either like beer or you don’t. And you can’t just like beer. You love it. A mild acquaintance with beer is like being half pregnant. It is impossible. Once you develop a taste for it, it has a power over you. It is not addiction. I mean I won’t sell my treasured watch just to get hold of a pint. Its just that every once in a while, the mysterious unsettling feeling that nags you day in and day out can be easily fixed by a chilled glass of refreshing beer. The feeling of guilt or rejection can be washed down just as easily. One can even cleverly say that a beer in hand is worth two in the fridge.

Now as you start drinking it more often, you start learning the finer nuances of the art of beer drinking. You can tell what variety of peanuts goes well with which brand. Which beer when served cold is best with rock n roll. The number of pints it takes to catch up with already drunk lunatics. It is almost an exact science. You can tell so much about a person from the way he drinks beer. If he gulps down the first couple of pints and starts looking for the basin- he’s a greedy rookie. If he doesn’t touch the cold sparkling glass for half an hour- he has recently visited a dentist. And if he steadily keeps the pints coming, we have a true pro. There are so many! I’ll save the others for my stand up routine.

One thing that I have expertly noted is that beer has never been out of fashion. Scotch was and always will be a royal drink. But it has had its share out of the limelight when the Russians brought with them the colourless and allegedly odourless vodka. With the tequilas and bourbons fighting their way up the liquor menu, beer has remained like an interesting looking regular at the end of the bar. This guy (the regular) is always on a first name basis with the bartender. And by one look at him you know that this fella is well travelled and has many a story to tell. This is a drink I can identify with. It is cheap yet rich. It is not pretentious or overtly ostentatious like most cocktails which I believe are lemon juice in different costumes. In its simplicity lies its sophistication.

Beer renders the drinker with a presumed sense of well being, which in some cases leads to a hilarious chain of events. Beer can cure despondence, shyness, overconfidence and even constipation. This brewed social lubricant is responsible for a sizable percentage of promotions, demotions, friendships, marriages and divorces. It can make a Yashraj movie almost bearable. It is known to start conversations wherein people actually talk a lot about nothing. A few pints later, they can be found quarreling over the same nothing. Too much of it however is not advisable. Overindulgence of beer in one sitting, most of the times makes the drinker profess his love for a nearby commode the next morning. I have a string of heartbroken commodes in my wake.

In my experience I feel that Kingfisher is a neighbourhood hero. Corona is a supermodel on the cover of a glossy magazine (complete with a slice of lemon). Khajurao, Godfather, Thunderbolt, Spencer10000, Haywards Black, Ambero, King’s, Canon 10000 and Tennent’s are thugs with a heart of gold. Heineken is an expensive consultant with valuable experience. Carlsberg and Tuborg are the cousins who are raised abroad. Foster’s, Budweiser and Tiger are regulars at the comic bookstore. Tsingtao and Suntory are my friends from China.

You see, I cannot write enough about beer. Beer amazes me to no end. I love beer. I have a waist pouch to prove it. And I don’t mind it. I think of it as a tattoo to remind me of the (too many) good times I’ve had.

Vote for Vijay Mallaya.

[Last weekend I missed an opening of a pub in Pune which has one of India’a first home brewing facility. As blasphemous as it sounds, I did not attend this and missed a great deal of fun and frolic. Bidi loves teasing me about it.]

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Filed under Lifestyle, Opinion

Nandu’s blue underwear

Nandu went to office today, wearing only a blue underwear

But it wasn’t one of those that leave the cheeks bare

Although the tiny garment came down to his knees

Everyone in the elevator asked him to cover himself please

You see, Nandu had reasons, to do what he did

Reason’s you won’t get unless you are a kid

Arguments and opinions that piled up through time

Today was the day he chose, and did just fine

His boss, his wife, his neighbour and even his paperboy

Took advantage of him and always played coy

Scheming plots to deceive him and treat him like a mite

The simpleton was harried and today chose to fight

Unconventional are the ways of those who defy convention

The yokel’s brain toiled to design a dark invention

He lay in bed last night, thinking what to do

With his wife tucked next to him he came up with a thing or two

His last plan was perfect, as he could not foresee a problem

They would get what they deserved, when he found what to give them

The sheer genius of it was that it had no flaw

He would savour their defeat after all the shock and awe

Today morning he left while his wife was taking his case

Once out of the house, he smiled, ready to amaze

People on the streets were only innocent victims

A sacrifice necessary he thought to rid them of their delusions

All his colleagues wore a scandalized grimace

And he knew that he had put them right in their place.

For he was a genius to pull off such a stunt

Today he felt like a giant and his boss a runt.

XX

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The Bored and the Beautiful

The wind blew her smooth hair astray

Quickly she sorted it with a mood grey

Glancing gently at her slim mirror

‘If only,’ she wished, ‘ I could be a little slimmer!’.

For she was beautiful, but she was bored

With an arrogance even bigger than a giant toad

As the passers-by leered and whistled

A country bumpkin asked her, “What’s the time?”.

Mortified, she replied in a manner crude

Just like a noble priest at a brothel would

Flicking her hair with one hand she said

“Don’t talk to me you farmer-Ted!”.

Undeterred by the lady’s harsh demeanor

He smiled stupidly and scratched his ear

Bold as he was, he lamely said

“Can’t you just show me your watch instead!”.

Becoming crimson with pique and irritation

She turned her watch in his direction

Perusing the timepiece he looked up and chimed

“I’m sorry I can’t read, please tell me what’s the time”

XX

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Filed under Fiction, Poem, stupid

When Uncle Sam frowns…..

While writing my previous woe-is-me rant, I was ignorant of the numerous hurdles a dollar dreamer has to jump over to finally make it in the ‘Promised Land’.

After bidding farewell to Mr. Barron, I now find myself writing and replying in ‘Get–me-the-hell-outta-here!’ forums. I chat with guys/gals who sport names like newyorkhereicum, angelfuryinUSA or vegasbaby86. We share a common passion of exchanging trivial information like- ‘how cheap Texas is’ or ‘how expensive LA is’ or ‘how big USA is’. We indulge ourselves in debating who is the most likely to get admitted in which university and why. I am so far away that the line is a dot to me.

It’s the same for everybody else I guess. Every body is as clueless as ever. We pride ourselves of being a product of an Engineer Making Machine that is second only to the Chinese. We leave the safety of our college desks and hide under the ‘workstations’ in the companies who have the audacity to hire us. We sit tight, thanking God for the windfall on the day of the interview, when the interviewer didn’t get a joke and hired you. As the months pass and as our butt cheeks begin to unclench we realize a big con that we are in. We write programs, create websites, design (read copy) machines and invent more efficient toilet sprays to get that gift wrapped box of peanuts. We soon realize where the real paycheck goes- the dollar tax payer. The workstations around start getting replaced by new suckers as the previous occupants are off to do their MS’s, MBA’s, CFA’s and WTF’s. And before you know it, the ‘Acquired Dollar Deficiency Syndrome’ has you.

“….Actually the ADDS is not as harmful as it sounds. Studies have revealed that homo sapiens residing primarily in the Indian Subcontinent have a suppressed gene called ‘$4ever-A’ which remains dormant till a particular age. Experts believe that the males are particularly susceptible to trigger it at an early age. A bad salary hike, lack of job satisfaction or sheer boredom are known causes of trigger. The affected subjects have shown symptoms like- mood swings, excessive use of foreign lingo or consuming copious amounts of alcohol (especially the aerated variety). Females show different symptoms altogether. Females normally have shown excessive……..”
-From an article by Dr. Adhbhut Bhave, published in the Journal of Bullshit, dated 29th September 2004

The 90’s saw the first wave of ADDS. The second wave claimed many more than the first. The third however, has coincided with Lehman Bandhu filing Chapter 11. Some of my best buds were affected and are now in rehab-the US. Getting in is quite easy. Hopping on H1-Bs, applying for post grad, marrying another ADDS victim or jumping over the fence of US-Mexico border are considered the normal ways of entering the rehab. Once in, there are many withdrawal symptoms. The first being the habit of multiplying by a factor of fifty to anything after the sign ‘$’. They say time is the greatest healer. It is. Slowly the victims start using jargon like miles, gallons, cents, central time, credit history or Beyonce.

My college buds and peers who entered the rehab in the most respective way, are currently recovering from a recent epidemic of self-loathing and self-pity. I don’t blame them. No one could have foretold an apparently imminent economic downturn. But my mates are paying for it. Through their overwhelmed noses. One is sleepless in Seattle, one has taken an early summer hibernation in Buffalo, the Miami guy is wondering why his 3 liter car is costing him more lately and the one in Oklahoma is curious to know why the water is so still (you see, he lives in a place called Stillwater). Believe me-I’m not using their misery as fodder for my insatiable appetite of coming up with something witty. Well, maybe a little.

Then Mr. Obama comes into the picture. The crusader who is relentlessly pursuing to pass a bill in the senate that will wipe out ADDS. I hear that the rehab ‘coupons’ will be less this year as the affected victims are….well, too many! Another literal nail in the proverbial coffin. Not good news, definitely.

Most of the times, when the first guy jumps into a dark ditch, the second one calls for help. But here, we have a beeline to be the first guy, and I’m in it.

In my last appointment with the doctor (a friend) I learnt that I have most of the symptoms for the ADDS, except for the foreign lingo thing-need to work on that. I really need to get myself fixed early, coz my friend the doctor-he’s headed off to Alaska this fall.

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Kyon ki aadmi bhi kabhi bandar tha….

‘Main tumhare bachche ki maa banne wali hu’

‘…..fir hum uske jahidat ke mallik ban jayenge’

‘Bahu – Yeh lo ghar ki tijori ki chawi’

Sounds familiar? Yes – Clichés from Indian soaps (well….actually any genre of video media). The iconic aphorisms created by the immensely talented writers/screenwriters/producers/spot boys who caused a revolution in our drawing rooms. These gifted scribblers discovered an inexhaustible source of permutations and combinations from the mistress-illegitimate child-amnesia-rape-death-rebirth -amnesia-vamp-seduction-amnesia warehouse. These penny for a page auteurs invented cheap plots, cheaper productions and cheapest camera tricks which would put the makers of Zee Horror Show to shame. They fathered ‘The Great Indian Soap Opera’- that dominates the prime time entertainment today (except maybe for the tearfests they call the talent shows).

Now, one cannot blame them for copying the Mexican, American or even Srilankan soaps. They never planned to reinvent the wheel, did they? They were simply ‘inspired’ by All My Children (an American daily soap which is still running from 1970). They thought that Santa Barbara is like any Ghar Ki kahani. They tapped on Ugly Betty and made her the ugly beti (Jassi Jasi koi…) – another one inspired from the Columbian soap Betty la fea.

Why am I writing this? Well- I’m a huge fan of western TV shows. Not the soaps, mind you. Entourage, True Blood, Arrested development, Six Feet Under, Scrubs,Coupling, Yes Minister, Dexter, Californication, Burn Notice are only a few of the shows that I follow. And every time I finish watching an episode I mentally recite the ‘what if this could happen in India’ prayer. It used to-once upon a time. Indian television has seen better days than today. It was never the reign of these prevailing orgies of bahus and their presumably badass saases.

Good ol’ doordarshan had shows like Circus, Malgudi Days, Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, Nukkad, Dekh Bhai Dekh. These shows had a more creative appeal to them. They churned out a lot of talent in the form of directors- Saeed Mirza or Anurag Kashyap are prime examples of film makers who started with TV. But these shows were not soap operas. They were more real. They didn’t have the men eating dinners in three piece suits or the women dressed for Diwali while sipping the morning tea. I could identify with these shows.

A look at the TV guide today, was a real treat. These writers have brought the hyphen ‘-’ in the TV shows. A few years ago these used to adorn the films like Daag-The Fire or Dushman-The Enemy. The scribblers are now showing off their prowess over punctuation by creating names like-
Aathvaan Vachan….Saath Vachano Se Badhkar, Ek Safar Aisa…Kabhi Socha Na Tha, Jeevan Saathi-Hum Safar Zindagi Ke, Balika Vadhu-Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Raste or Agle Janam Mohe Betiya Hi Kijo (wtf !)

**shiver**

As a part of my ‘research’ for writing this hate blog I managed to sit through a show for an entire minute. After that I couldn’t. I physically couldn’t. I actually felt like throwing up. The scene which was thrown at me was supposed to tell me how a particular phone call was attended in the house by someone who was not supposed to. The character who unwittingly attends the call becomes aware of an evil scheme. After the call ends the actor all of a sudden starts talking to himself. Now don’t get me wrong here- soliloquy is a method of acting used by Shakespearean actors, but no- this guy starts walking into the camera as if he’s angry at the spot boy behind the camera and then continues to talk at the wall behind the camera! He then makes a face as if he stepped on his own or someone else’s morning glory. What the hell man! Who does that!?! Do you talk over your shoulder to your father or mother? Does your family stand in a line in the drawing room while talking? Do you sweat every time you hear something you don’t want to?

The thing is-they conceived it to entertain an audience that doesn’t mind if it is treated as morons. Giving the audience the credit for its intelligence (or the lack of) is bad for business. Ekta Kapoor, the fairy godmother for bad actors-who have a penchant for bad acting, does this in a rather emphatic fashion. And these actors have their faces stapled to my newspaper copy telling me how a certain soap actor invokes pain in a scene by recalling how he broke his wrist when he was three.

I hear one of the cable networks is giving Hi-Def service. What the hell will you watch in HD? The gory details of a vamps makeup? The transformation of a hospital wing to the drawing room of Singhania family in consecutive scenes? The tears of a talent show contestant? I don’t think so.

I long for the day when the Indian TV shows will make sense. May be that day we’ll see pigs handglide.

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