Tag Archives: Opinion

Of Anna Hazare and Chai Latte

“He broke his fast!” screamed Viju as I pulled over on his apartment driveway.

“What?” I asked him through the window. I did not hear him over my Mazda’s ambient hum.

“He broke his fast today. They passed the bill! Death to babus!” he shouted as he sat in the passenger seat.

“Settle down Dorothy. They only accepted his three conditions. The bill is still a long way from being passed. But yes, it’s a start,” I said as I did not want ruin his moment. Viju was the naïve optimist in our trio. I was supposed to be the practical one.

“Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. Atleast now there will be a law to get those fuckers. I mean the poor guy was starving for twelve days. The government had to do something, right?”

“Fasting. He was fasting for twelve days. So where to?” I asked as we pulled out to join Duck Street.

“Starbucks. I need a Frappe. So check this out. I was talking to my cousin in UFL and he said that all the Indian students in Gainesville did a morcha kinda thing against corruption to support him. Why did we not think of something like that?”­

“Well might be because I was too busy with my research and you were away on your all American roadtrip. How was Florida by the way?”

“It was good. Anyway, this cousin told me that the campus police showed up ‘coz they thought they had a student riot on their hands. They even got tasers. Tasers! Man that is wild! Where are you going?” he asked as I turned on Main Street. “We have to pick up Todd.”

Todd was the third. His real name was Haripriya but his American name was Todd. Todd was a stupid name. I did not get it. I mean, if it was up to you to pick an English name why not pick a cool name like Irving, Arnold or even Lucifer. “Hi, I am Lucifer and I’ll be your TA for Visual Basic Programming.”

“Oh. He’s coming? I heard he was wasted last night.”

“Yeah, he called me up. Anyway, I was talking to this other cousin in D.C and he said that Best Buy has a firesale going on. I feel like I wanna buy something. I don’t know what. I have some balance left on my Chase card. Did you know that fifteen lakh people showed up on Ramlila Maidan for the celebration?” Viju’s attention span is less than that of a hummingbird.

“Don’t you think fifteen lakh is a bit too much?”

“I don’t know. My roommate told me that. But I think it’s true. There’s a revolution going on man. Don’t doubt it. Anyway, my cousin in San Jose told me that NVIDIA is hiring. Why am telling this to you? You are a Chemy. Todd will be interested. I’ll tell him to wait for us downstairs.” He called up Todd.

“Yeah he’ll be down in two. So this cousin in D.C said he got a sweet deal on an Android tablet.”

We pulled over in Todd’s driveway. He was waiting for us, clearly hung over. Eyes swollen and hair astray he climbed in and announced “I need a coffee. Like, right now.”

“He broke his fast man! And Best Buy is having a firesale!” screamed Viju.

“Settle down Dorothy. My head hurts. And enough of Lokpal already,” informed Todd.

“Why?” asked Viju.

 “It was a failure from the start. You can never do away with corruption in India. And which cousin told you about Best Buy?” said Todd. Todd was the all hating ever complaining cynic of the lot.

“’ssup Toddji.” I greeted him.

“Man nothing can happen with India. The corruption is just too deep in the system. There is no political will for change. Look at the US. Look at the way they are handling the health reforms right now. There is a system in place here. The politicians are accountable for stuff.”

“How can you say that? India is changing man. The sheer support we saw last week tells us that. And political will? They accepted the bill, didn’t they? I think great things are gonna happen in India in the next five years,” retorted Viju clearly upset.

We had reached Perkins. I parked the car and we started making our way to the coffee shop. Those two were at it and I found it best to keep quiet. To be honest I always kept quiet.

“Well, your opinion does not matter. No one’s opinion matters in India. This Lokpal is gonna introduce even more bureaucracy in the system. The common man will matter even less after it.”

“What bureaucracy? The bill is gonna hold the politicians accountable. Did you not watch the Karan Thapar video I shared on facebook?” asked Viju. He was big on sharing videos on facebook.

 “Do you guys know what the Lokpal draft actually demands?” I asked them. I had a feeling neither of them did.

“Shut up man!” both of them said. Clearly they were more interested in arguing about it.

“Yeah I saw the video. And it does not help your argument. But that’s not the point. Say a construction project is underway in a village. And a local politician is demanding money from the contractor. The contractor lodges a complaint under the lokpal bill. This case appears in a local court. The local court defers it to a higher one. This case could take years to reach a verdict.”

“But that’s a convenient example. There will be amendments,” argued Viju.

We were in the line for ordering and these two were almost at crescendo.

“Forget the amendments man,” Todd dismissed Viju.

“Now you are just being cynical. Oh yes, before I forget. My cousin in San Jose said that NVIDIA is hiring in California. Interested? ”

Suddenly Todd’s frowns seemed to wash away. He actually looked excited.

“Brilliant! What’s the position?”

“I think it’s Hardware Engineer. And more importantly they are ready to sponsor. I applied last night,” informed Viju.

“Alright. I’ll get my resume ready and…”

“What can I get you Sir?” asked the blonde at the counter.

“Hey. I’d like a Frappuccino, a Mocha latte and a Chai Latte,” Todd ordered pointing towards me.

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Filed under Choice, Fiction, Lifestyle, Opinion, Patriotic, Uncategorized

Raavan: A Review or ‘Raavan is a bad bad movie!!’

I cannot believe I fall for it everytime! Good promotion seems to be my weakness. 3 Idiots, Rajneeti and now this! But then again was Raavan well promoted?- that shall be left for another day.

Today I watched Mani Ratnam’s Raavan. This movie belongs to the yeah-they-can-make-that-crap-and-get-away-with-it genre. It is so disappointing that it inspired me to write something after almost three months. The fundamental flaw is that the producers thought that they could sell a movie by casting two actors in roles that would constitute a Freudian Nightmare. With that deceptive trump card in their pockets they went ahead indulged in sheer mediocrity. And so the plot never thickens; the water stays well below the bridge and the cookie never crumbles.

Abhishek Bachchan deserves a separate paragraph. This fellow is clearly not versatile in his craft. He did a good job in Yuva, Guru and Bluffmaster. But to portray an eternal Hindu badass I think you need to ACT better. He reduces Raavan to an idiotic stubborn juvenile delinquent who refuses to return the stolen mangoes. I think the director invented an innate quirkiness in Beera to distract us from his incompetence. So instead of having ten heads Beera makes an interesting noise ten times before/after or in the middle of every noteworthy scene. Some Most times it ends up being funny. But not everything is bad. Small B has an amazing screen presence that you cannot just throw out of the window. It is ruined everytime he opens his mouth(kinda like Dia Mirza). But like someone I know said: Write him a brooding role and he will win you an oscar; or at least a filmfare.

Ash- I don’t like her much so she didn’t really disappoint me. But thanks to Santosh Sivan’s mindblowing cinematography we can ignore her ultra sonic dialogue delivery.

Mani Ratnam- Why would you ruin that for us? It looked so promising. I think Mr. Ratnam and Mr. Jha met and flipped a coin to decide who would get which epic to ruin. Mr. Jha won Mahabharatasque Godfather and Mr. Mani ended up with Raavan.

The story- well there isn’t any. Pretty predictable if you had religious fanatics for grandparents: Raavan abducts Sita. Ram gets angry. He finds a Hanuman and gathers a hunting party and enters Lanka. Meanwhile Sita is busy issuing high frequency protests when she is not jumping off cliffs (too many people jump of cliffs!). We then see that thanks to a phenomenon called Stockholm Syndrome she seems to fall in love with Raavan (that’s sacrilege I tell you!) and there’s a reason other than her beauty why Raavan kidnapped her. After a few insignificant twists there is a pre-climactic out of this world (read bullshit) fight sequence on a shabbily made bridge (a literal metaphor of the Ram Setu which most people didn’t get because of the sheer obviousness). In which we see our actual hero Raavan giving a technically perfect tombstone to Ram and then proceeds to further kick Ram’s rear and then free Sita (Ram plays absolutely no role in her rescue). The tension never really builds up and yet Govinda manages to relieve it.

How could I sit through this ordeal?: Because  of one guy called Santosh Sivan. The cinematography is so wonderful that he makes it almost worth it. It’s a treat for the eyes. Using a variety styles he has captured the landscapes, portraits and what not, perfectly. I’ve been a fan of his work for ages. I think he started from where he left off in Asoka. The palette used also adds to the mood. All the colors used in the jungle belong to the jungle. Tremendous work by the art department. You see the problem here.? I have to try really hard to appreciate the movie.

But I know what will happen: The box office earnings will cross Australia’s GDP next weekend thanks to its release in 2 million screens.

On the bright side: While walking out of the theater, Salil heard the guy in front of him say after a moments thought,”I think it was better than Kites.” I found it hard to disagree with him.

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Filed under Film, Opinion

Simple?

A man walks into an eatery with a bag. He takes a seat and orders something. A helpful waiter brings the food and the man eats it (?). After spending sometime the man walks out minus the bag. The waiter notices and lifts the bag (?). The bag is a bomb. It explodes and kills 11 people. Is it so simple?

May be I noticed the obvious ease in this act of terror because it was done in my hometown. But fuck man! Is it really so simple?

Result of the act: 11 dead; temporary panic; lesser known babus at press releases; opposition party strikes gold; so does a bollywood film.

Blame the politicians. Blame the police. Blame the media. Blame public ignorance?

Yes. It is simple.

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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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Filed under Non Fiction, Opinion