Saturday, 21 February 2009


Hey there,
Those who want to have a collection of DVDs , purely of the Oscar best picture pedigree, here is a list (not comprehensive though) of some of them.
Some of which I have seen , some others which I cannot vouch for.
Some are best seen in theatres.Some, so damn good that DVDs dont come in the way.
Never watch them in the order of production i.e year-wise as they came up for the awards. No, mix-em-up so that you travel back and forth in history.

1939 Gone with the wind
1959 Benhur
1965 Sound of Music
1970 Patton
1972 Godfather
1974 Godfather II
1975 One flew over the cuckoo's nest
1982 Gandhi
1985 Out of Africa
1987 Last emperor
1988 Rainman
1989 Driving miss daisy
1991 Silence of the lambs
1992 Unforgiven
1993 Schindler's list
1994 Forest gump
1995 Brave heart
1996 English patient
1997 Titanic
1998 Shakespeare in love
1999 American beauty
2000 Gladiator
2001 Beautiful mind
2002 Chicago
2003 Return of the king
2004 Million dollar baby
2005 Crash
2006 Departed
2007 No country for old men
2008 Slum dog millionaire


I use it to travel to my office every day. Still I have written nothing about it till date. Iam talking about the Mumbai local trains.

Since "Slum Dog milionaire" succeded so well talking about Mumbai and Poverty, let me try and emulate; talking about 'Mumbai Locals'.

"Slum dogs on locals " - hey that sounds better. The Danny Boyles of the world, better listen....pssst what this man writes. A real creative genius at work.

Ok , back to the business of writing.

Whats so great about a suburban train system? Though I had heard stories about the Mumbai Local trains before coming to Mumbai, my experience in them sort of clarified the picture and blew away some myths too.

Though the trains run through the city and is owned by the Indian Railways, there are a different set of rules that sort of govern the lives travelling inside. Rules by convention, unwritten , but accepted without a murmur. The rules that create the scenes being played out inside the compartments. Rules that are different from the Bombay Municipal Corporation ones and beyond the IPC (Indian Penal Code)

From here on we go scene by scene. Like shakespeare.

Tararamparara.............(the curtain rises...)

Scene 1. Second class compartment of 8.08 am local to Church gate. Three people seated on a three seater. Whats so great about it? Nothing.

The fourth fellow jumps in, slightly ahead of the population explosion that is about to happen at the door, as the train enters the platform. He gestures to the three already seated to push against each other so that he has his rightful place of placing a single ass at the fourth place. After much shoving, pushing , feigned ass movements, skirmishes etc an equilibrium is reached, where- in the fourth fellow is on constant brownian movements while holding on to his precious one assed position.

By the way in the first class , the same scene should be enacted sans the fourth fellow who is banned there. Only three here in a three seater. But the first fellow is in trouble there. How?

This is how. The seats are cushioned here. But by their constant use the edges are higher (by less usage) as compared to other places. So the window seated fellow gets a feeling akin to sitting on the kerb with one ass 5 inches higher on the road and the other ass (-)5 inches on the ground.

Hey why did you pay higher and get into the I class yaar? To get your already split ass all the more split?

One more thing which reflects the broad mindedness of us Indians here.

Eventhough there are only three on a three seater in the first class, still the first two fellows try their level best in a concerted manner so that the last guy is always on tenter hooks and is made to appreciate their benevolence in keeping him seated fully rather than half assed.

Scene 2. The Seat Mafia ?

Like any place else in India - mob is strength.

As the 8.08 local arrives , 7 people block 25 others from entering. 5 from the defense related group of 7 , raid the vacant seats. After the capture, 'the five' guard the territory till the other 7 arrive. 7+5= 12 enjoy their ride every day. 25+ another 50 fuckers remain so through out their life. The Genghiz Khan like mobs urinate to demarcate their territory and the others sniff and leave with their tail between their legs.

Scene 3. Camaraderie.

After capturing their respective territories - these mobs carry on with their love for each other , and private celebrations. Hah..! how true that its said that the guys who travel togather on the trains are great fellow beings.

That the comrades on the mumbai locals are very thick friends is what the legendary stories are all about.

Once one of them slips through and comes under wheels of the train.

The others carry on as nothing has ever happened. Camaraderie, my foot.

But thats my mistake.

Actually here I should not be talking about camaraderie but of another great charactaristic of the mumbai populace- resilience. THE RESILIENT MUMBAI . Exactly as the newspapers screamed right after the 2006 train bombings, as also after the terrorists walked in and ..and....fu.... everyone around in 2008.

Unperturbed they carry on and on after each catastrophe. Thats not being insensitive, but......


Scene 4 : The video Coach

"Which compartment are you in daily? I have never met you ". My friend enquired.

"First class at the front" I reply .

" Iam usually in the video coach" he says.

"Video Coach ? Where's that?" Iam confused.

"Come I shall show you today" he says with a sly smile.

We jump into the rear end first class cabin, adjoining the ladies first class.

"There- thats your video and playing too", my friend said gesturing towards the ladies cabin transparently visible through the open spaces between the two cabins.

"Nice name I said", half thrilled half shy and finally sitting on the seat looking away from the video. My guilt overcame my thrill perhaps. It may take me a while longer to get used to the convention.

The convention - the seats facing the video gets filled first. Mind you, I have observed, the same is the case in 'the video' too. Thats when I realised that 'they' are our video and 'we' are their video. Not only our's but their's too is a video coach. While the males are more or less glued to their 'video', females appear preoccupied though their stiffness and mannerisms probably suggest being hooked to the video.

So that much for the video coach.

Epilogue - Loose Pants and Laptop Baba

I belonged to their group once. For a short while. Seat capturing, camaraderie and all.

Laptop baba worked away on his laptop, once he was seated.

Loose pants never had a tight or correct fitting pants. Loose pants retired from service a shortwhile later and left for Nagpur, his native, ofcourse after the customary exchange of all promises to keep in touch. He disappeared from our world.

Laptop Baba was probabaly undone by his laptop. He may have tried working on his laptop while driving. He shifted to another world.

I left the group after that. Others are still carrying on - Resilience.

I retired to another corner of the local train, switched off the video, and covered myself over with newspapers, magazines and books.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


So I ask my wife " Would you choose me in our next birth too?"

" If Iam the husband, that is.” She replies matter of factly and seemed prepared, as always ladies are. You just cannot surprise them, even with a gift. But I never tried that - to be honest.

Iam confused. Whether to accept the proposal for the next birth. As of now the company was running smoothly as far as I was concerned.

This was a new spanner in the works - a googly.

I sent one flipper across “ How does it matter? We have each other’s company so lets continue our status quo”

It went through the covers for a four “ That’s what , since it does not matter lets have a role reversal for a change” , she said.

“ It shall be my pleasure then to teach you a thing or two…. etc. she continued with the follow through for the cover drive.

“ But then you are doing the same now too……”

But quickly I relinquished the body line style of bowling. That will get me no-where and I will have to become my wife next time around.

“ Well….what If I correct myself this time ? Can I retain my place in the squad next time?”
“ You can never correct yourself “. “You will be - YOU” .

Now only the mercy plea remained, after the judgement.

“Help me change….” I plead.

That’s when she surprised me again “ Well ….since you cannot be changed and since I like it that way – I agree for the next term too”

“On the other hand since you announced that you love me, so that’s another reason”

“….and when did I do that? “ I ask perplexed.

“ when you thought hard to find a reason to continue with me next time around.”

"A cup of tea please". I order, satisfied at retaining my position for the next term too.

With the background music from the kitchen, my eyes go back once again to the news paper , preparing to enjoying another lazy Sunday morning.

Meanwhile my son all of three years, sitting beside me and oblivious of the plans for the next birth and trying to imitate his father now, is peering hard at a news paper held upside down.

Thats a wonderful team I guess.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


The same mystic story like "The Alchemist" with some message, but much blander , more convoluted- may be unnecessarily even. May be a great book I dont know, but it has taken away the apetite fromme for any more Coelho books.

Ass, Booze and Cleavages almost everywhere. An upmarket- Bizzarre at times and a spoilt brat- who lacks a good whack- on her behind, kind of story . A convoluted girlie story in an AWESOME flood of words. A modern and much extroverted Kamala Das- suraiyya? A great first book by a twenty and a lot many things youngster

A must read. Unsually fast moving Booker prize winning novel. Powerful usage of simple words. Pick it up once and I promise, you will never keep it down. Describes scenes as intricately and deeply as "The God of small things" reflecting the observation power of a real author. But this is about a much broad based India (than a niche India as in the "God of...") and much thought provoking. All in all, a simple story attempting to say much more than the story hence a great effort.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


I dont intend to see the film. Atleast not now.
I have not taken sides with the opposition to 'The Slum Doggers'. No. Also I dont know much about the issues, controversies and mud slinging matches going on. In fact Iam wearing a glazed look of boredom , tired of yet another story of yet another man rising up from rags to riches. Its like - While Jesus remains the same , photographs differ. Iam not for watching the crucification picturised in a trendy way - a recrucification and a much oscarified re-resurrection of the theme.
The usage 'Slum Dog' is for accentuating the penury- ofcourse, I understand.
But what about the real dogs? Do they differ? I mean - are the slum dogs different from the Posh South Mumbai dogs. I dont mean the Rottwielers and Alsatians guarding those mansions nor the poodles and poms helping the matrons exhibit their care and concern by just the rub of a mane along with an upmarket "Watchooo doing"? "How Cho-Chweeeet" to the pom who has a bit of its toungue hanging outside.
I refer to those breed- less, non- pedigreed, short haired, available in a few non-mettallic basic colours, omni present and four legged things. Does it matter to them whether they wait outside the 'Khan-ka- kabab' on the mud sloshed street with pan stains on the walls or outside the spanky "Oberoi trident"?
True- the interclass comparisons between the privileged poodles , Daschunds or Dalmatians with that of their under privileged brethren does make some sense about the forbes listed dogs and the BPL dogs. But apart from that, does it really matter if , say for example, a middle class dog stays at Bandra or Dharavi? It complicates matters that we just cant ask any dog for its opinion. More over they are least bothered of what we think of them.
Out of the three unavoidables for our politicians , Roti, Kapda and Makan , dogs dig for only one - the first one - thats liberating I should say.
That makes me examine their food habits. Ofcourse the forbes fellows get their specially prepared food. But the BPL guys are not too worse off either, with their kind of- 'off the street fast food'. Mind you both groups wouldnt mind eating from each others plates - food is food. Branding is not an issue. I mean, Pizzas are not preferred above Idlis. They sort of go as per - first served first eaten basis , dont they? With the exception that a bone in the dish, anywhere, can become a bone of contention among them.
Coming next is the breed thing. Daschunds, Labradors and their kind, survive and thrive anywhere 'if well looked after', though ideally speaking they look real good along side the lovely ladies . The local 'hounds' who roam the street can survive anywhere i guess. well dressed ladies dont attract them as much as ladies in the kitchen do.
Thats a lot of non-stop nonsense I guess.... So let me stop now. Let the posh dogs, the slum dogs and all other types of dogs lie as they are and let me also take my quota of shut eye plus dreams.
Tongue hanging out , ears half upright, nose slightly twitching , tail in the auto-swat-fly mode; the blogging dog sleeps.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


It is new year now i.e 2010.
And no, I have'nt blown my top.

2010 and January. Its with great trepidation that I Open the morning news paper.
Had I won the Padma Shri ? or generally speaking any of the Padma awards.
I have done nothing. But cant say- I may be the chosen one. So better read the paper carefully and be prepared for - "Why were you given the award?"
Should I try and get some books of accounts from the garment exporter friend of mine? He may not part with the same though , for even he is anxious about the Padma things, what with the shawl exporter getting 'Padma-ed' last time.
The shawl guy would surely have initially thought that the President of India might be mocking at him for the bad quality shawl he sold her last. What a Padma way to take revenge !!
You got another way to get picked though.
Here it is step wise:
Step 1. Learn Karate, and do a lot of excersice. (By the way Iam a brown belt . Only excersice left for me now)
Step 2. Keep a stone face ,for God's Sake, even while acting and then you will manage to be a called an actor and a fantastic one at that too. Whether its a Singhh or Kingg or a Beggar its all the same ,like the local trains, No matter what -crowd assured.
Some guys have succeded the above mentioned way before. Box office collections touched record highs of around 45 crore in the first fortnight. Whats your Padma thing against a few strategically spread box office good will.
Had 'Dhara singh' learnt this technique Iam sure he would have been awarded Padma too for his contribution to 'Nuclear Physics'. What the heck - can be contributions to Odissi also.
But then there is a different clan of men who while fighting for their country, unselfishly , get in to the Padma Vyuh, compulsarily. Year after year. Man after man. After all the common man who pays for the tickets in the stadia, count a lot and what about the ads. This 'industrial good will' too probably spreads iteself around. Awards have to come.
Boxers are a different story - they get stunned outside the ring too. Or may be this is a ring where victors hands are raised before the opponent enters the arena. Poor chaps were left holding their gloves. They should try kabaddi next time. Wrestlers , the same story, and more suited for Kabaddi.
With most Indians going for kabaddi , we should look at a new system for our Padma awards - auctions. The bid-money atleast will help to roll out the bail out packages fast.
That way the highest bidder is happy that he has won the Padmashri in a transparent manner and ofcourse the rest of the Indians can continue with their kabaddi knowing fully well their incapability.