Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thoughts on "Conversations with Mani Ratnam" by Baradwaj Rangan





I sit in an office building named Phoenix towers, the name being a source of much amusement to me courtesy a Flipkart delivery person, who somehow managed to pronounce it as Penis Towers. Only after this funny conversation with the Flipkart guy did it strike me that he was coming down to Penis towers to deliver Baradwaj Rangan’s ‘Conversations with Mani Ratnam’. This was a prelude of things to come with respect to the book. It somehow said everything about the book was going to be memorable, right from the way it was delivered.


The book opens with what is essentially an extension of “The Madras Male” article that Rangan had penned down a while ago. Right from the beginning Rangan sets the expectations that he is more interested in the tale rather than the teller, despite him being a diehard fan of the director. This is put across in beautiful prose as Rangan describes Ratnam as one who made movies for him (his generation) till the point of Roja and hence only he or his generation has the vantage point to comment on Ratnam’s work. I was quite unsure how a Q&A format which essentially means a very long interview would work for a book which wants to talk about Ratnam’s craft. This is where Rangan’s experience as a journalist comes to the fore with chapters assigned to every movie thereby plotting the mindgraph of Ratnam through what essentially starts off as a fanboy conversation.

The relationship between an auteur and a critic, if one existed, is always fraught with uncertainties. What makes the book so endearing is that both Ratnam & Rangan accept this holy truth and try to see the common ground that they can achieve together, i.e. talk about films. The initial portions of the book have a start and stop feeler to it, as you can feel the tension in the tone when Ratnam chides Rangan for intellectualizing everything. At this point Rangan can only muster a weak defense to his theory and moves on to ask something else. Given the quid pro quo world we seem to live in the striking honesty of the conversations draw you in. This in itself is an achievement of the book.

Although I missed Rangan’s lucid style of writing, the intellectual probing and constant forcing of Ratnam into a corner is a skill which has helped him take this book to a different plane. At one point he even has the temerity to point out that Ratnam is reticent and the only way he might strike gold is by constantly questioning him, even at the cost of putting each other in discomfort. This is one of those books that has a language to it, sometimes I even wondered whether these conversations were part Tamizh and translated later. Take the Kannathil Muthamittal chapter where Rangan raves about the flashback portion and tells Ratnam that this section has some of his finest cinematic moments. Ratnam very practically brushes it aside saying that one feels so because he placed that flashback portion which is lighthearted and romantic somewhere in between a very intense movie. At this point you can almost feel Rangan hurting over the fact that all his genuine affection has been wiped off with a practical hand. He digs in again stating that even after watching it 20 times it remains fresh. What comes after this from Ratnam just makes you laugh. I do not want to spoil the fun but can’t help stating that the response is such a Tam Bram thing, the dead pan tone, the slight tinge of sarcasm, all of it come together so beautifully.

The word gentleman has been used so randomly these days, that one needs to read this book to understand its meaning. Given our agreement that the relationship between an auteur and a critic is always uneasy, the respect that they have for each other despite being pushed into corners and the complete absence of name taking/bitching from both of them is a real lesson to trash critics and self absorbed film makers. What this book does is to bury a cliché that has been existing since the evolution of cinema, more so in India; a critic needs to make his own movies to comment on another filmmaker’s work. One must credit Mani Ratnam also for showing equal respect to someone at the other end of the cinema spectrum.

What Rangan does best is put his ego aside so that the questions and answers blur into one another as a series of discussions between two people who love cinema. I cannot thank Rangan enough for not putting all those smileys, expressions (laughs etc) which helps the reader form his own image and tone of the conversation. In its own small way, if the conversations were personal to Rangan, the emotions as a result of that are personal to each and every reader. It also helps that Rangan’s insights into scene settings, compositions, music, screenplay are at such a high level that Ratnam is forced to give exquisite answers which makes you fall more in love with the man’s work. The latter stages of the book have a more free flowing feel to it as both of them have warmed up to the topic but the tension seems to never cease between them. Case in point - Mani’s deadpan response of “We were trying to make a film” to Rangan’s question of what he and Rajeev Menon were trying to do during a specific situation. What comes here is Rangan 2.0 who brushes off the wisecrack very sternly and gets what he wants. May be this constant source of tension, which is a very good thing in itself is the reason why some chapters like Thiruda Thiruda and Raavan have an abrupt ending. I think there is only a limit to which even Rangan can push.

For an industry that wants to compete with Hollywood but is so insecure of itself when it comes to even the mildest of criticism, this book is a seminal work. Given almost a complete lack of film literature in the country, this has to be gold standard work for any upcoming auteur, film students and enthusiasts like me.

Ratnam’s genius has always dwarfed his practicality. One of the key points in the book was why the move to ARR from Ilayaraja when he was creating trail blazing music for him. The response strikes at the heart of his practical nature. He wanted to do something different, wanted to move into a different space which he felt he could do through ARR. This might sound cold but like any achiever in any field, one wants only the best. If one has to move on, one does. We see this in our daily professional lives, no one is indispensable.

This book is also a trace of Rangan’s graph from being a fanboy to someone intimidated, to someone who pushes, teases and someone who ends on a even keel with Mani Ratnam. Don’t expect any juicy tidbits based on the glossy book cover, as the only juice you are sure to find is the cinematic one that quite literally flows so seamlessly between the auteur and the critic.

This book will work for people who love, hate or even have no feelings for Mani Ratnam. While accepting that he is not the greatest director around, one cannot ignore such a body of work especially coming from a man who has a philosophy of selling class to mass. My favorite sections of the book are the ones on Nayagan, Dilse, Alaipayuthey & Kannathil Muthamittal though the portions on his early career are quite riveting too. From a gun for hire willing to work in any language to doing what he wanted to do in the Tamizh sphere before adopting a national canvas, I think it is a great lesson not only for filmmakers but to all of us who feel it is below our dignity to grow step by step and are in a hurry to reach the top. This just reinforces the point that without hard work there is no success. Period.

P.S: The only time it goes into juicy territory is when Ratnam warns Rangan of going into gossip column mode.

P.P.S: This is the only book I can remember not taking to the Loo. As they say in my state, bookuloo(lu).



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hitchhiker’s guide to the perfect lemon juice



1. Buy a couple of lemons from the market. Do not try to bargain as you will get nothing from trying to bargain for a couple of them, in fact you might get your lemons squeezed for that.

2. Cut the lemon in two. Ensure that you do not cut your fingers while doing that.

3. Do not try to squeeze the half cut lemon with your own hands. You will have the juice sprayed all over the table which will leave you only with water to drink.

4. Do not check if the lemon is fully squeezed by placing it close to your eyes in order to closely observe for any remaining pulp. Citric acid in your eyes is not fun.

5. Once you have cleaned your face thoroughly, squeeze the remaining lemons with the squeezer. If you are looking at maximum ROI from the lemon, imagine you are squeezing your arch enemy’s or for that matter Sreesanth’s lemons. The harder you squeeze, the more you get.

6. Now add salt and sugar in indirect proportion to your IQ. The lower the IQ, the more salt and sugar you keep adding.

7. Now add water and look. Add more water and keep looking. Since you belong to the Mensa tribe, you will be definitely able to predict the concentration of the juice by just staring at it.

8. Now taste.

9. Spit.

10. Taste Again.

11. Spit.

12. Chances are it might be too concentrated. Now add water.

13. Taste.

14. Add more water and some more.

15. Now you have a bowl full of lemon juice which looks and tastes somewhere between an IV and piss.

16. Do not ask the wifey to taste your masterpiece and more importantly do not ask for her opinion.

17. Now, go get some apples.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Little Girl

Little Girl, I can feel the cramp
I guess it is time for you to come out of your hiding camp
Little Girl, It hurts as the nurse asks me to push hard, a little more hard
Push, Push, they scream; as I play my final card

Little Girl, I call out to The Lord
Prayer heard; I see you come out with the umbilical cord
Little Girl, Please cry aloud
Please shout and make Momma proud

Little Girl, I hear your voice crack the room
And off they go with the celebrations, Boom! Boom!
Little Girl, I hold you tight
Eyes closed and skin red, you are quite a sight

Little Girl, It has taken three quarters of a year
To deliver you in one piece; my biggest fear
Little Girl, I have an overwhelming sense of relief
All this was possible only due to one man's belief

Little Girl, he is looking at you now
Admiringly looks back at me and says "Take a Bow"
Little Girl, That's your father
And though you already know this; let me introduce myself - Your Mother

Friday, August 13, 2010

HOME

The Banyan Trees are organizing a short story writing competition with the theme being What does ‘Home’ mean to you? Is it your roots? Is it where you are from? Is it the different places life has taken you? Is it the journey itself? Or is it just a place you stay right now? So, I have written a story for the theme home. Please read the story and comment on the blog as even the comments here and on facebook will be considered in judging the best story. Hope you enjoy reading it. Here is the story.

“Machan, when is the interval da?” asked Pradeep in a hushed tone. Even in the dark one could not mistake his scowl and contempt at the umpteenth song which was playing before the interval. There was the usual hero worship song to start off followed by one were the hero hums a sentimental tune expressing his love for his mother. Pradeep wanted to strangulate the director at this point when a noisy five year old kid sitting on his mother’s lap screamed “Amma, Appa is rubbing his legs against mine!” helped Pradeep overcome the nausea created by the director’s creativity.

Pradeep suddenly felt a sharp pang in his abdomen. It was nature’s call and he had to address it immediately. He tried to place himself in different positions, even tried to close his eyes for a while. Alas, none of it would work, the call wouldn’t budge.

“Machan, when is the interval da?” asked Pradeep in a hushed tone.

“In another ten minutes da. Why what’s the matter?” asked Venkat.

“Urgenttttttttt Daaa!” said Pradeep barely able to hold back the rush to let his dam burst right then.

“Machan, if we get up now some Peter will scold us da, this is PVR, remember?” replied back Venkat.

“What to do now?” asked Pradeep, remembering with horror the days of his childhood when he would wet the bed. He was desperately hoping he wouldn’t wet the seat here.
There was silence from Venkat’s end for five minutes.

“Machan, go now da, it is time for some child sentiment song, were the hero will wash some kid’s arse and impress the heroine. People won’t say anything if you get up now” said Venkat breaking the uncomfortable silence.

This was what Pradeep wanted to hear and as he was about to leave his seat, Venkat murmured saying “I’ll also come da”.

As the song was playing both of them made their way out of the hall and approached the swanky restroom. Pradeep’s urgency was greater even than an athlete nearing his finish post. He walked furiously inside leaving Venkat chasing him. As they entered the restroom, Pradeep felt a vague unfamiliarity with the restroom.

“Machan, there seems to be none of the standing commodes that we usually have da” said Pradeep in a slightly confused tone.

“Hey this is PVR da, hip place, so no standing one’s. See da, they have built so many bathrooms. Just use them” said Venkat as he approached the washed basin and washed his face. Pradeep put away the weird feeling he had about the place and rushed to the nearest bathroom. If ever there was a competition for Fastest Unzipping of Pants, Pradeep would have won it hands down, I mean pants down.

“Aaaaahhhhh” he exclaimed with sheer relief as he drained his seven seas.

“Ahh, Machan, what a feeling da. This feeling is as good as the one we have after we come home for our semester holidays and have mom’s food.” exclaimed Pradeep as he was still flushing out barrels of hidden salty wealth. Continuing to drain his tank, he realized there was no response from Venkat.

“Venkat, are you there?” asked Pradeep. Suddenly, he felt his phone vibrate and with one hand holding his little brother, he carefully took his phone out from his pocket, lest it be rendered to the flotsam category washed away with the seven seas. The phone was a Nokia 1100; a gift from his mother. He was done with his seven seas draining and happily flushed them away while zipping up his pant. He then looked at the phone screen and to his surprise he found that the caller was Venkat. In the background he heard female voices. He thought he was hallucinating due to holding his pee for such a long duration. On one hand he could feel the phone vibrate and on the other he could hear woman’s voices. He let himself out of the bathroom and pressed the answer button.

“What da, you wanted some holy water from inside aa? Planning to become Moraji Desai aa” barked Ashwin on the phone.

“Idiot”, thundered Venkat, “Moraji had his own da not from others. Oh no, what am I blabbering” said Venkat, desperation in his voice.

“Machan, don’t come out da from the bathroom. Please Machan. Please da. Stay there” pleaded Venkat.

“I am already out da” said Pradeep adjusting his pants wondering why Venkat was so tensed.

“Oh no, Machan” cried Venkat, “it’s a Ladies restroom da. Somehow hide yourself inside”. Pradeep slowly turned around to see an army of fat women, fatter than those who feature in the Saas Bahu soaps. He froze in his tracks as he saw them march forward menacingly.

“How dare you enter a ladies restroom” thundered a lady who looked like the kind who would beat her husband daily with the Chapathi rolling stick.

“Attaaaaaaccckkkkkk” he heard a scream and to his horror found all the ladies charge at him in unison. He realized there was no way out .And then, it happened, all of it in slow motion. WHAM, BHAM, SLAM. And when he thought everything was over, one lady declared “Let us cut his d*** off. He should never be able to use a toilet again”. It was a real horror show and he screamed out as loud as he could “Ammaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

“Pradeep” screamed his mother, shaking him vigorously.

“Why are you shouting like this in the middle of the night?” Pradeep was up on his toes in a moment. He could see his mother scream. It was a dream.

“What happened da?” asked his concerned mother.

“Amma, I understood what the term Ditching your friend when you see a figure meant” said Pradeep with a smile on his face.

“What?” asked his perplexed mother, adding “There are no figures here Pradeep. Only ME. This is your home. Now sleep”.

He was tucked away safely in the comfort of his home. It was then he realized what home meant to him. A place where he had the freedom to dream. A place which could even resist a black hole. A dream within a dream. Home.

Friday, April 09, 2010

LinkedIn - Wish My Page Looks Like This

Ah!Yes, I am going to present to you something interesting about the mostly corporate blade website LinkedIn.The landscape of LinkedIn has started to change, lots of people are active on it and by that virtue have turned it into a public bathroom. Be it the nauseating Mutually Admiring Recommendations written or the links which people put up to portray themselves intellectual. More people are flocking LinkedIn due to the simple fact that other websites are blocked at office. I have had enough of this nonsense. I just have a secret wish. I wish my LinkedIn page looks like the one below.Please click on the pic to see it in a enlarged version. Please let me how can I put up a version which can be readable on the blog itself. Is there any other means to publish it on blogger? If nothing works then I will have to put up the individual photo frames I guess.Help.



I really wish one day when I open LinkedIn it looks like this :-). Hope you had fun reading it. I tried to cover as much as I could. I know the imaging editing using Javascript wasnt great but this is the best I could come up with. Hope you had fun.

P.S. :- This is inspired by Krish Ashok's Facebook Mahabharatha. I know this pales in comparison to the technical brilliance and the humour but that's why he is the Master. The final photoshop work was done by my brother Arjun. Thank you.

Cheers
Ashwin

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

300ml Down

I feel very giddy right now. What do you expect after you are 300ml down? I can see angels swimming all round me, well they aren't angels exactly, HR people to be more precise. The weird thing about all this is, it happened right at office. Can you beat that? My boss knows I am 300ml down and he is pretty cool about it. While I am finding my way about in the corridor, people are asking me a concerned "Are you OK?".Before you start sending me your 'Achieved strategic turnaround for my project in less than turnaround time' type CV's in the hope that you too can be 300ml down during office hours with the consent of your male boss (I've never had a female boss), let me clear the air.

I am 300ml down in the total blood content in my body. This would be a real shock cum surprise for my mother who believes that the Coovam's tributary flows through my body. The reason for the loss of 300ml of blood in my body is not due to me slashing wrists for some imaginary lover nor did I get whacked by some HR colleague of mine. There was a mail this morning which stated that some children needed blood and if you have blood running in your veins (Coovam in my case), Just Do It. I could sense the blood rising in me just like the Coovam does when it rains in Chennai. I could imagine all those children rallying in the streets chanting my name, the strong saviour, the Coovam Warrior, the Subhash Chandra Bose who gave his blood. Well you get the idea. This stirred me into action and I went straight to the conference hall where the blood donation camp was being organized. I walked in like Madhavan in Anbe Sivam and said "Take My Blood". I was promptly thrown out by the Doctor who asked me to first take my shoes off and come in.

I was given a form where I had to disclose extremely sensitive information like weight, sex life (WTF????). I saw one guy throwing me the "Ha Ha you loser look", at which point I felt like asking him "Do you do it with Men?" but wisely decided not to as I could get booked under "Disrespect for Article 377". With such embarrassment of riches, I filled the form and stepped inside. I was asked to lie down on the bed and fold my sleeves up. It was precisely at this point that I decided to ask the most important question. "How much blood will you like take doctor?". I was already nervous by this point. The doctor said that they would draw 300ml, not a ml more nor less.

Shit! That was equivalent to 5 large's of whisky. I was also hoping that they had the measurer with them, the bar measurer you know 60ml on the top, 30ml by the bottom. That is the only metric in the world that I would trust my life upon not even those one's in the French Museum. But alas there was no measurer here and I had to be content with the plastic bottle where my blood would be collected.There was a gentle prick on my left hand and before I knew it it was flowing drop by drop. I realized that at this rate it would take an hour before I was done. So I decided to strike conversation with the doc.

Me: Say Doc if my blood finds it way to some unfortunate kid, will he/she behave like me by any remote chance?
Doc: No chance, nothing of that sort will happen. Why do you ask?
Me: No I am a little worried if I would find some stranger kid running up to me and calling me Appa.
Doc: (Pauses for a minute) There is no chance of that happening. Your file says your sex life is non-existent and we don't disclose to anyone whose blood they are being transfused with.
Me: ?@#*&^%$.

This was a true Don't-Open-Your-Mouth-Again moment. But alas I did it again but in a different way. Realizing that I would only add to my long list of Most Embarrassing Moments I decided to keep quite and started staring at the bottle containing my blood. It was at this time I started doing a segmentation analysis of my blood content. If the 300ml were broken down into parts, I am sure it would consist of the following :-
1. Absinthe - 60ml (Ha Ha I have been having Absinthe. Take that you losers)
2. Whisky - 60ml
3. Beer - 60ml
4. Coovam - 60ml
5. Sambhar - 60ml
The last one being due to my fondness for Sambhar especially the one prepared by Amma. Once I had done this segmentation, I was thinking at the kind of target audience that they had to find. You don't find Absynth too easily in India, so I rule that out. Whisky and Beer, yes. Any Tom, Dick & Harry would fit the bill. Like minded shameless, getting scolded my mother types would fit the bill for Coovam. The last one is the easiest. Any mama/mami in and around Mylapore would fit the bill.

But this takes us to other important questions like this blood was going to be transfused to poor, unsuspecting, soon to be hero worshipping me children. Before you get all worked up, they check for alcohol content in the blood and mine was stamped as Agmark Pure Quality, the blood I meant. And i forget to mention, through all this I managed to sleep for a while. And to my shock I see some random guy clicking away my pic to glory. I was lying there open mouth, jollu vazhinjufying (Salivating), one arm in needle and an idiot clicked me right on such a pose. I have a feeling that the doctor might have made money by asking all the employees to stand in a line to watch this magificient spectacle. I asked the idiot to pass the camera to me and found the picture of mine that was taken. Unfortunately it was a fundoo camera and it looked like I was trying to fondle a three boobed woman rather than a person trying to locate the delete option.

If there is one thing I have learnt from all of this - A gadget is a source of perennial embarrassment to me. I better stick to my Sony Ericsson camera. Sigh.

P.S. : I did manage to delete the picture after some random pressing of buttons :-). Aall Izz Well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vijay Mallya says KF gives more Buzz than Google Buzz

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has proclaimed that his beer, King Fisher gave a bigger buzz than Google Buzz.

"Having KF during a hot summer afternoon gives a better buzz than anything else including Google's".
"You also need not have any net connection to get this buzz", he added, thus showing off his immaculate knowledge of the IT space.

Moments after this news was announced other premier international brands like Budweiser started proclaiming that their beer gave the best buzz leaving Google's Marketing Team wondering whether their beer, errrr their brand was getting diluted.

Meanwhile Salman Khan has come out in support of Vijay Mallya, stating, "I truly agree with Vijay as I personally know the buzz which KF gave me on that fateful night when I cursed Aishwarya and ran over some pavement dwellers". He also said that RC Bangalore was the best team at the IPL.

Cricketer Muralitharan has responded to Salman's comments saying that Chennai Super Kings were the best team. Teary eyed he said, " I can never forget that journey on that bus". When informed that topic in question was Google Buzz, the latest Gillette Mach 4 Super Blade Anti-Social tool from Google, he was not available for comments.

In his inimitable way Ravi Shahtri has made himself available for comments even when it was not required. Commentating in the Ind Vs SA match he said, "There is only change in the Indian team with Laxman coming in and Shreesanth has missed the bus" and also for the sake of humour added," A hundred is a hundred is a hundred, at the Eden".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Aamir Khan to act in My Name Is Also Khan (MNIAK)

The First Idiot of Bollywood is all set to act in Karan Johar's latest movie My Name Is Also Khan (MNIAK). This is the first time a director has two latest movies as MNIK has just hit the screens with the Shiv Sena bowing to the public demands for release of the movie. The viewership though would be limited only to Ajmal Kasab - The Cute Terrorist. Bala Sahib has defended this move of his by saying, " This is the best punishment we can give to Kasab. He will surely turn Autistic by end of the movie and will hence help spread hope, joy, brotherhood etc."

This news has come as a major shock for Shahrukh Khan as it broke his bubble of being the supreme narcissist on the face of this planet. Well informed sources say that Karan Johar was forced into making this movie due to Aamir's idiotic behaviour during the premiere of MNIK. "Is my name not Khan too? Is my name not Khan too?", he went on screaming and added " Where is justice in this world? Even I want to state the obvious and tell to the world that My Name Is Also Khan".



Facing a potentially embarassing situation, KJ acted on the spot and came up with this 2 minute poster of My Name Is Also Khan.

When informed that the poster had more than a uncanny resemblance to MNIK, KJ brushed off the suggestions saying,"You know my latest trend in movie making. I make the same movie again with different actors like how I did with New York and Kurbaan".

"This time I have gone ahead a step and decided to morph the poster itself as I have other commitments with SRK", he also added for good measure. This led to a huge commotion in the press room as there was a sudden rush of actors like Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Imran Khan etc. thumping their chests and screaming "My Name Is Also Khan". This led to the fastest signing of MoU's with the various actors to make the sequels of My Name Is Also Khan. The sequels, KJ announced would be done in descending order of stupidity thus giving Salman the privilege of being the lead in My Name Is Also Khan - II. Rumours are already afloat with regards to Zaheer Khan being offered the lead in the 16th Edition of MNIAK.

The news of MNIAK and it's sequels have trigerred off a panic wave in Pakistan with reports of violence being reported from various parts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). According to reports just coming in from Pakistan, players like Ex-Future Captain Younis Khan has accused India of once again neglecting Pakistani players and Pakistanis in general,in no particular order. Lalit Modi in hiss ussual lissping sstyle hass denied any involvement in thiss inssident.

In a completely unrelated incident Evander Holyfield, the former heavy weight boxing world champion is in talks with Rakesh Roshan for his latest venture "He Bit My Kaan".

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shiv Sena Protests against release of Valentine's Day in New York

Mumbai based political party Shiv Sena has decided to protest against the release of the Hollywood movie Valentine’s Day starring Jessica Alba. This is in complete contrast to their usual stand of attacking only Autistic people like SRK, Big B within the country. When contacted, Balasahib father of Udhav Thackrey and Udhav Thackrey son of Balasahib, said

“We will not allow the western culture to affect western countries too from now. Enough is enough. So far we have been against anything related to Valentine’s Day and someone has the balls to make a movie on that name. We are going to destroy all movie halls in Mumbai protesting the movie’s release in New York”.

“But Baba was that not for MNIK”, said an always confused looking Udhav.

“Shut Up. We are jobless here in Mumabi. No one is giving us a damn these days and hence we have to go global”, beamed an excited Balasahib.

“For how long can we be only in Mumbai and India, I have also never seen US and in this way we can extend our vote bank too”, told Baba in complete ingnorance of the fact that only Indian Citizens err Mumbai Citizens could vote for him. When pointed to this Even-a-10thclass- school- kid-knows-it-fact, Baba in his inimitable style reeked off a completely unrelated “Mumbai Jalega” threat.

Baba also gave a detailed power point presentation to a shell-shocked media in which he outlined the strategy to capture the US market, the excerpts of which are produced below.

“We are going to make all the people who are going to watch Valentine’s Day watch MNIK too.”

On asked whether did he not protest against the release MNIK in India, Baba retorted back saying, “ Who ever will watch that movie will become autistic for sure due to SRK’s extra ordinary overacting which even surpasses the non-maratha actor Shivaji Ganeshan. We want to save India errrr Mumbai from becoming Autistic. We are doing our motherland a service and also want to show that we Marathi’s are second to none at using Office 2007”.

When queried on the small issue of transportation of thousands of Shiv Sainiks to the US, Bala Sahib replied saying, “ If they do not let us in there Mumbai jalega and all the costs will be borne by SRK”, which left journalists wondering if this was the Marketing Plan which the great Prof. Arindham Choudary of IIPM fame had proposed to SRK in favour of him hosting the most Expensive B-School Quiz ever in India.

In a completely unrelated incident, Pakistan’s former Captain Imran Khan voiced his support for the release of My Name Is Khan in Pakistan. Other people like the Other Khans of Bollywood, Akram Kham ( Ex. Chubby Bangladeshi Captain),Wasim Khan (Terrorist in the movie Roja), Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan expressed their solidarity for the movie thus increasing the Narcissism Quotient (NQ) of the world by 10 basis points.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pools of Drool

I am a kid, still growing up
And this was the first time I saw it at school
A boy talking to a girl and standing in a pool
The longing in his eyes.. a pool of his own drool
Spit it out.. Pools of Drool

Time flies by, but some things do not change
The low waist saree of the teacher, well within the class's range
Unblinking and open mouthed,the first bencher looked on
Waiting for a chance - Dusk until Dawn
Spit it out... Pools of Drool

Would things change at college? - I start as a junior
Grass is always greener on the other side - take a look at the senior
Dusky and tall, looking taller by her heels
A river seems to be flowing nearby, everyone feels
Spit it out.. Pools of Drool

Husky toned, she asks "Sir, Can I go home? It is getting late"
She knew the dam would open and laid the bait
The nasal tone and the inviting look opened the gate
Well, I thought, Who am I to change his fate?
Spit it out... Pools of drool

I think of her day and night
This was my best chance to hold her tight
I go near her... and I am hit by a fellow
"Get Up" - Appa screams "and clean that thing of your pillow"
Oh No... after all this...
Pools of Drool.. Pools of Drool...

P.S:- This was inspired by an incident I happened to see at the bus stand :-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

21 GRAMS

WARNING: This is a very big story. Hope you read it. And for those uninitiated with Tamil, here are couple of things that will help you while reading this.
Appa - Father
Amma - Mother
Paati - Grandmother

“What did you do?” asked the big man in not a so friendly tone. Not as friendly as Daddy’s at least. Amma just went out of the room for some water. He repeated the question to me in a higher pitch. I told him “Uncle, I can hear you. Please do not shout. Daddy might wake up.” I suddenly felt something sting my cheeks, like some iron box had been pressed on them to take the creases away. I realized I was crying. I did not know why. I dint know why this big fat idiot uncle slapped me.
“Wait I will go and complain to appa, then you will know” I said in between sobs.
Luckily for me Amma entered the room at the same time and I ran to hug her. Amma was also crying for some reason. Amma always cried when I cried. I shouldn’t have been surprised with her crying now, but Amma was not there when I started to cry.
“Amma, why are you crying?” I asked.
“What happened to your cheek” Amma asked suddenly. I sullenly pointed a finger at the big man.
“You bastard, how dare you hit my daughter!” she shrieked at the big man. I heard this word ‘Bastard’ somewhere. I could not recollect. And then I remembered. Rahul kept using this word in the class and Geetha Miss punished him for saying it. She said “I will throw acid in your mouth, if you ever utter that word again”.
“Amma don’t use that word ma, Geetha Miss will punish you” I said. I was scared Geetha Miss would throw acid into Amma’s mouth. But Amma throws acid into the toilet’s mouth and when I asked her why she did that – “To clean it ladu” was her reply.
“I will throw you out of your department, you bastard!!” Amma screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Amma use that word again ma, keep telling that only. The more no of times you tell that Geetha Miss will have more work to do and she might get tired and not come to school at all” I screamed in delight. I was so happy at Amma using that word again because I don’t think Amma has had the time to brush her teeth. So Geetha Miss pouring some acid will help it get cleaner.
“But Madame, she was not replying to anything we asked…” the big man mumbled. Amma clearly looked like the school teacher who is going to give a beating.
“She is a small kid you Bastard, get lost from here, all of you bastards” said Amma suddenly wailing all over again. I was so happy Amma was using it again and again. I was crying two minutes back and I was suddenly jumping again now after seeing Amma shout at them. But Amma was crying.
“I am extremely sorry Madame, but please ask your daughter to co-operate”, the big man’s tone was lot less harsh than earlier.
“Ladu, please answer their questions ma. Please…”, words trailed off as Amma started to sob again. My grandmother joined us and she also started to cry.
“No ma, I won’t”, I said firmly. For no reason Amma slapped me so hard that I started to cry again and as I expected Amma also started to cry all over again seeing me cry.
“Please da ladu, please tell them whatever you know”, said Amma, sorrow written all over face like alphabets on our blackboard.
“K ma, I will to talk that big fat uncle whom you called with that B word”, I agreed trying to wipe off that mischievous smile on my face as the Bourn vita kids do after they have a glass of it. I also told Amma that I would complain to daddy about the big man who slapped me. Amma started to cry again. I was wondering why there was so much of confusion all around, people were running everywhere. Amma was crying, grandma was crying, everyone was crying in rhythmic bursts. Rhythm is something which has a constant noise to it and expands slowly and explodes suddenly. This cycle if it keeps repeating, rhythm is found. That’s what daddy told me when I asked him, “Appa, what does it mean when they say Ishant Sharma is in good rhythm?” I dint understand it then, now I could clearly understand it, in fact even see it. The way they were crying, the way they would blow their noses against their pallu and look at me like they were seeing a ghost and start crying all over again. They did this six times in two minutes. I can say two minutes because Appa taught me that if I count 1 to 60 it would be a minute and how many times I counted 1 to 60, that many were the minutes. I counted twice and I knew I had to tell it to Appa. I don’t know why I started to count. I think it was because the big man told me, “I will give you two minutes to come and sit here so that we can ask you some questions.” So I started to count and I observed the rhythm. My mother’s eyes were pleading me to go and sit on that chair. It was always like that on the mornings before I went to school – her eyes. “Please da ladu, eat little more da.”, she would say and I always loved that look in Amma’s eyes. The moment she did that the food would disappear like magic. So like the Hutch Puppy I too followed Amma’s eyes instantly and went and sat on that chair.
I could see Appa behind in the background. I tried to catch his eye, but the big man shut the door to Appa’s room.
“Now tell me what happened. I want to know everything. You understand what I am saying. EVERYTHING” said the big man opening his mouth like a crocodile while telling EVERYTHING. I felt like grabbing Amma’s nose blown handkerchief and dumping it at exactly the moment he said EVERYTHING.
“From Madras I should tell EVERYTHING till Hyderabad?” I asked trying to make the same crocodile mouth expression and shuddered at the thought of having a nose blown handkerchief in my own mouth.

I always go to Madras during my summer holidays. I have lots of cousins with whom I can play. Amma also comes with me and we stay at Paati’s place for a month and then go back to Hyderabad because I have to attend school. Appa does not come with us and stays alone at Hyderabad, but regularly calls and talks to me. I miss Appa during summer holidays but don’t miss him so much because there is beach and there are cousins with whom I can play on the beach. I always ask Appa, “Why is there no beach in Hyderabad?” He told me if there was a beach in Hyderabad then I would never go to meet paati and never get to play with my cousins. I smiled back at him and after that I never wanted a beach in Hyderabad. Appa always had an answer for everything, not even Geetha Miss knew so much. Appa also knew the B word. I heard him use it once on the phone. I never told anyone about that because I was scared that Geetha Miss would pour acid into Appa’s mouth. But at that time Amma never told me why she poured acid into the toilet’s mouth.
Krishna and I were playing cricket on Sunday morning. Somehow Krishna always batted and I could never get him out. He used to even win the toss. I decided to complain to paati that day because it was the sixth time he was continuously batting.
“Paaaatiiiii..” I screamed and ran in. The shrill of the telephone ringing cut through my infuriated scream. I promptly forgot about the toss and ran to get the phone. Krishna could never beat me at this. I was always the first one to pick up the call, even before Amma could do.
“Hello, can I speak to Indra?” boomed an agitated voice at the other end of the line.
“I am Sneha her daughter speaking. Who is this?” I asked.
“Hi Sneha, this is Shyam, your father’s friend. Can you pass the phone immediately to your mother baby? It’s very urgent ma”. His voice was sounding exactly like Amma’s at the breakfast table goading me to eat. I immediately called Amma and passed the phone to her. I was curious to know how Amma would to talk him, because he spoke like Amma at the breakfast table. So it would be like Amma at the breakfast table talking to her own self. I made a mental note, the one’s you do by closing your eyes and thinking hard so as to put something important in your head which you could use it later to make another mental note.
“Hello, Indra here. Who is this?” Amma said as she picked up the phone casually. After 1 min, I used the same counting method to deduce it was one minute. Yes after one minute, I could see that Amma was almost about to faint.
“Hemorrhage… how.. when? How could it happen.. Where is he now? Tell me exactly what happened? Were you there beside him when it happened? Who took him to the hospital? How…” Amma was rattling too many questions at the same time and by the minute she looked sadder. And all of a sudden she put the phone down and started to cry. I dint know what to do. Amma started talking too many things at the same time and was wailing loudly too at the same time. Paati came running and after Amma told her about some haemmorage, blood and admitted to hospital she also started to react the same way as Amma. Now I understood why everyone in Madras kept telling “You are exactly like your mother”. I was confused whether I too should start crying now because Paati’s daughter is Amma and I am Amma’s daughter, so in the same line even I should cry. But I did not cry. I don’t know why.
I asked Amma what the problem was and why everyone was crying. She replied back saying Appa was unwell and we had to go back to Hyderabad. The Aero plane people too were making Amma cry by saying that they did not have any planes now to go back to Hyderabad. The next day early morning we caught a plane and went straight to the hospital at Hyderabad. I saw Appa lying on a bed with a mask on his face and lots of computers around him. It looked like a scene straight from Krishh. I was thrilled that Appa was playing krishh by being in between all those tubes and computers and masks. As I went near him they took off his mask and I kissed him on his cheeks. I could not see the usual Appa smile. It was little crooked. There was a half smile. He called me slowly and I ran towards him. He made a gesture slowly with his right so as to indicate to get my ears close to him.
“Appa, what happened? Amma was telling you are sick and you have haemorrage or something.. Is it true?” I asked hoping it would be not.
“No ladu. Don’t I look like Krishh?” he asked. My face beamed with delight wondering how he guessed what I was thinking. But that was my Appa. He was very intelligent and he knew everything and everyone.
“Ya pa it looks exactly like that scene in Krisshh. But why don’t get you get up? What are you doing here?” I asked, determined to know why we had to leave the beach and rush here so fast.
“Ladu I was missing you and fat Indra. I knew you people would not leave the beach or paati and come here. So I acted like I fell sick. Don’t tell anyone ok ladu. Appa is acting ok” he said, winking at me through his tubes. I could not hide my excitement. Appa was acting. He was fooling everyone including Amma, Paati and the doctors. I never knew Appa was such a good actor. I felt thrilled that Appa would make such a plan to bring us back.
“I won’t tell anyone pa. I promise. But tell me, when will this acting finish? I can’t wait for too long pa” I said giggling with excitement. The doctor entered at that moment and gestured me to keep quite.
“How bad is it doc?” asked Appa. The Doctor nodded his head gravely like those in the movies and even uttered the dialogue I knew that was coming.
“I am sorry, it’s very bad. The blood vessels have burst and there is a clot which we cannot operate because your BP is very high. But we will extend it. Do not worry. We will make sure nothing happens now. There will be lot of surgeries and procedures later to keep you.. Alive” said the doctor very gravely nodding his head.
“Only Alive or will I be ok?” asked Appa with a look that said he already knew the answer.
“I am sorry, the left side your body is already paralyzed and there are high chances that you could slip into a coma. But we will keep you alive” I could see tears forming on Appa’s eyes and he closed them for a while. He opened his eyes to look at me and there it went again, his wink. I was sure now Appa was the best actor in the world, better than Shahrukh also. He beckoned me to his side and asked me to come near him.
“In a day or two we will finish this acting and go home, but I need your help for that” said Appa.
“What was the help he asked from you?” asked the big fat man. Amma was on her feet and looking at me like she had seen a ghost.
“What did he tell you Sneha, please tell us. Why dint you tell all this before itself?” said Amma her voice breaking. Amma is staring at me now, so is the big man, so are the doctors. Why doesn’t Appa tell it himself? What’s he doing still? Ok Appa, am sorry I had to tell all this. But now these people are looking at me and I am getting scared of them. You know pa how scared I get when people keep looking at me. I will count three pa, if you don’t tell I am going to tell. One. Two. Three.
“What help do you need pa? I am going to tell everyone in school how my father and I acted and fooled everyone” I said glowing with admiration for my father.
“You be here only in the hospital. Even if Amma scolds or anyone scolds stay here only in the ICU room with whoever stays in the night and come to see me in the night. Ok” asked my father holding his hand out.
“Deal?” he asked and I replied back faster than that Anuj in my class who always has all the Math’s answers. Saying deal I kissed his cheeks and ran away.
I fought with all the vehemence in the world to stay back in the ICU and Amma relented at last. I knew Appa would be happy with what I had achieved. I don’t know the time but when I saw that no one was there in the corridor I silently went into Appa’s room. Appa had changed quite a bit since the morning. There was a tube which was running into his throat now. I wondered how Appa managed to hold on to that. It must have hurt Appa that tube thing and add to that the mask on his nose. I slowly shook him and whispered Appa around some 10 times. After what seemed an eternity he seemed to open his eyes. His eyes were alarmed when he saw me there.
“Appa enough of this acting, we will go home come” I said. He signaled that he couldn’t talk to me. I asked him what I should do. He gestured to me take the mask off his nose first. He then pointed at the paper and pen lying on the table near him.
With his right hand he wrote “Ladu, we are going to end this acting now. Appa is in terrible pain because of this tube in the mouth. So I want my ladu to slowly take the plaster of this tube and take the tube of my throat. After my ladu takes off the tube from my throat, she will go to the computer and switch it off and turn off another switch below the computer which is the switch for the gas cylinder. After that we can go home ladu. Appa can’t talk ok because of all the pain he has gone through because of his acting. So after she does the things written here, she should leave Appa for some time alone. They will tell you later that Appa is dead. Don’t believe them. Love you my ladu. Miss you.”
“Appa, love you too” I said and pecked him on his cheek.
I pulled the tube as he instructed me too. I heard him inhale deeply at that time. Inhale is when you take oxygen inside and give out carbon-di-oxide. I made a mental note again of telling this to Appa later. I always got confused between inhale and exhale. This time I had got it right. And once I switched off the computer and the gas below I saw Appa take off the needles and tubes attached to him. So, it was true the acting was over. We were going to go home. I ran towards Appa kissed him once more and felt something like a tear stick to my cheek. I ran away as Appa had asked me to and waited.
After a while someone noticed what Appa had done. I was waiting to see their expressions when they would know Appa was acting and we had fooled them all. But I only saw many doctors run frantically and calling Amma to the room. And again I heard Amma shriek hysterically. I was afraid her sobbing would bring rains and no I don’t want rains now. We had to go home. And someone said “We have to call the Police. This looks like sui side”. I dint know what that word meant sui side. I had never heard it before.
Then the Police arrived. The big fat man also came along with them. He went into the ICU and immediately I heard him ask – Whose shoes are these? Oh no I forgot to put on my shoes when I ran away after kissing Appa. Amma replied back saying it was Sneha’s. All of a sudden she came running towards me, her body swaying like a pendulum.
“I remember you had your shoes on when you were in the waiting room. How did it get in there?” asked Amma sharply. I was caught. The big fat man heard this and came towards me.
“I’ll handle this Madame” he said. It looked like he was the manager or something.
“How did your shoes reach that room? Did you go there?” asked the big fat man. I was sure I was caught. My Amma was looking at me with a look I had never seen before. I dint understand it. Appa please come here.
“What did you do?” asked the big man in not a so friendly tone. Not as friendly as Daddy’s at least.
I felt hard hands grabbing me and slapping me and wailing in between all this. I started to cry and was shouting for Appa to save me from the big fat man when I realized the hands were not of the big fat man’s but they were of someone else’s. They were Amma’s.
“You killed Appa, You killed Appa”, she shrieked. Appa had forewarned me not to believe them. I knew he was not dead.
“Amma, Appa is not dead. He is acting. You see the note too.” I said handing her the note Appa wrote me. She saw the note and collapsed. There were all sorts of people in the room trying to comfort her and trying to comfort me and take me away.
Amma regained consciousness after a while and immediately hugged me as tight my school bag.
“Appa is not dead ma. You saw the note no. Wait I will ask the doctor also. I know when a person is dead. Appa told me once.” I said kissing her and hugging her.
“What did Appa tell you? Tell me?” asked Amma.
“You wait and see ma” I said and called the doctor. The doctor walked up beside me and tenderly put his arms around me.
“Doctor Uncle, tell me what happens when a person is dead. It happens to anyone and everyone who are dead. Appa told me and Appa is very intelligent. Everyone is telling Appa is dead including Amma. So you tell me what happens when people are dead?” I asked arrogantly.
“Their heart stops beating beta, their brain stops functioning..” said the doctor in a tender voice. I said “No” in an indignant tone. There was something else and the doctor did not know it. Appa was alive. The doctor stared hard at me for a long time and said
“Every person loses 21 grams when they die. Whoever it is” said the doctor. My world was breaking. How did he know this? This was what Appa told me once. I once asked Appa what his favorite movie was and he replied “21 grams”. “What is yours” he asked me and I shot off in an instant “Krish”. After sometime I asked “What is it pa 21 grams?”
“It’s the weight every person loses at moment he dies. Don’t think about all this da ladu ok” he said and now I was thinking.
“Did APPA lose 21 grams?” I was shivering with fright. I was crying and my mother was hugging me.
“Yes”
Appa was dead. I had to believe it. The doctor told the same thing that Appa once told me and Appa is always right. No Appa was always right.
Appa was dead, no Appa was killed. That’s what they said. That’s what Amma said.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tomb Writer

It was an Emotional Intelligence lecture and we were asked to write two lines on what one would like to write on his/her burial tomb. I managed to come up with more than two. These are the ones.

1. I am more than willing to meet you now.

2. Please do not cry here, I might come back alive.

3. Every visit here brings you closer to me.

4. Never ever fight with your wife.

5. Do not try this at home.

6. I will scare children who try to play here.

7. If you come here daily, we shall exchange our positions.

8. I presume we still are not on talking terms.

9. Marriage has its own benefits.

10. Above every man here, there is a woman.

11. Do not confuse me with my neighbor.

12. For assistance, feel free to contact my wife.

13. Don’t try acting smart, my neighbor is watching you.

14. Sixth sense is a funny movie.

15. Ghosts do exist. Just look behind.

16. Don’t reflect in HR classes, you will get bored here.

17. If you are still reading, I assume you are alive.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

THE SICKLE

Disclaimer:All the characters are work of fiction.Any resemblance to anyone Living or Dead is purely Co-incidental.

Note:- This is my second attempt at writing a story(serious one).And another warning - it is terribly big, may be bigger than the first one.So hope you have the patience to read it and enjoy it.

October 13-Year 1999-Saturday-11:30A.M.

Aakaash always loved this time of the year.It was the period looming just before the harsh winter.There was rain in the air and he always loved it's sweet smell.His mom had warned him to carry an umbrella but he always wanted to get drenched.It had been a long week for him.He was struggling to cope up with the demands of his new job.He had been so engrossed in work that he hardly paid notice to the rain that was there all week.He had stayed back at his friends place the previous night as he had got too late to go back to home.It was 11 by the time his swollen eyes managed to open.He was feeling fresh, and happy that he had a 8 hour sleep after a long time.It was time to go back,he thought.Wearing his T-shirt and pulling his jumper over he started to trot back to home,as he thought it would be a great feeling to get drenched again.As he was passing by a local Pan Shop he noticed someone familiar in his vicnity.He could see her long platted hair fall gracefully over her back.Her silhoutte was something very familiar and striking.He recognised her instantly and was about to call out to her "A.....", when he restrained himself and thought "Why not I just sneak up behind her and surprise her?".So he slowly started to dilly dally his away among the crowd and was doing all this unnoticed.He felt something bad about the way she walked.She loved the rain just like him,but today she seemed to be too bothered by it.She was walking at break neck speed and he was finding it tough to keep up with her.He thought she was going to stop at the Kulfi palace to have her share of kulfi.She always loved the Kulfi's.But to his surprise she dint even seem to see it.She looked as if she was someone possessed.This was unusual.She dint seem to be even going to the tailor."Now where is she going?.I have to find it".She kept walking through lanes he had never been in before and he was surprised by her geographic knowledge.He always thought she dint seem to know much about the city.As each second passed by he was becoming more and more apprehensive."What is she doing going through such places?".As if by magic his querry was answered.He could see an old bungalow standing on it's own in a wide deserted area.It seemed vaguely familiar.He had seen it somewhere.He was unable to place it.It seemed very familiar but his memory wasnt helping him.At a little distance off there were huts which housed the families of those who worked at the coal mines.But not a single person in that area would have been aware of her presence.To his surprise she had the keys to the bungalow.She opened it as if in a trance but in her anxiety forgot to take the keys out along with her.He was feeling scared at this point."Should I go in?...I have to go in..I have to find out what she came for to such a place..".With such thoughts he entered slowly into the bungalow.He almost vomited the moment he set foot into the bungalow.There was this unmistakable stench of death emanicipating from somewhere inside.His pulse was racing "Has anything happened to her?...no nothing would have happened",he said to himself "If anything happened the body cudnt decompose so quickly".As he nudged himself to the stairs,he was relieved to see her.As he was about to ask her what sort of a game this was,he froze.He froze at the sight of an old sickle in her hand.Even more frightnening was her stare.She was staring intently at something.And there he saw it.Lying in a corner was a small girl around the age of 5.She was gagged and seemed to be unconscious.He could not believe what he was seeing.This was the woman he loved the most and all things were only pointing towards only 1 thing-She was a killer.His worst fears were confirmed when she dragged the kid from the corner and placed her in front of a huge portrait of Goddess Kali.He had to act and had to act fast.

October 13-Year 2000-Friday-04:30A.M.

Life had come a full circle for Aakaash.All his dreams were shattered on this same day an year back.It seemed so far away.He had forgotten what life was all this while.Now he realised what life is.He hadnt slept the whole night.His time was coming.There was precious little time left with him and all he could was reflect.But when your time comes you have a strange feeling,in the way that you can sense it.He knew the warden might might be here any moment.And there he was.This was no Bollywood movie where the law enforcers came late.He behaved the same way even today.The Lathi rattled away at the iron bars.Aakaash looked like a caged animal."Come out,Your time is up.",the warden barked."Just a moment",he replied back.He had managed to hide a photo of her's up his ass.That was one place were they could never search.He gazed at it and kissed it for one last time."What's that in your hand?" asked the warden."It's a picture of the woman I loved the most",he said.There was a sad look in the warden's eyes."Why did you have to do it?you seem to be a straight fellow.."

October 13-Year 1999-Saturday-12:45P.M.

His worst fears were confirmed when she dragged the kid from the corner and placed her in front of a huge portrait of Goddess Kali.He had to act and had to act fast.Her hands were raised like a Cobra's hood ready to strike."Amma please dont it...",he begged.She seemed to be electrocuted when she heard his voice."Ammaaa... please ma dont do it... v'll get this all right ma...v'll get all the help that is needed..I'll protect you..I am your son..please trust me",he sobbed.She started to weep profusely after seeing him.She was a terminally ill woman.Now aakaash was getting the picture.His dad had once told him "Aakaash you know why mom and I love you so much?"
Aakaash:Y dad?
Dad:When you were very young you had a sister called Aakaansha....I think you remember that much...you were only 3 years of age at that time...She was just one year of age when she was brutally murdered by our house maid.
Aakaash was shocked."Did my sister die at this same house?",he asked his dad."No dear at that time we used to stay at an old bungalow in this city.Dont u remember?The one with high towers adn which stood deserted among the mines....But after Aakaansha's death,we left it for good.We dint even bother to sell it.We dint want anyone else to inhabit that cursed house"
"How was my sister killed dad?" asked Aakaash."Her throat was slit open...",he said amidst tears.Everything seemed to be coming back to him.Now he realised why the house had seemed so familiar...this was his house...it was not just a house..it was a slaughter house.He felt a shiver run down his spine.His mom had killed her own daughter.He was very lucky to survive these many years.He had to shake the feeling off from his head.He had to save one life.That was of foremost importance,he thought."Amma please hand it over to me..everything is over...give it back...".She was lost in a sea of emotions and was wailing.Her shoulders dropped and her head stooped low.The sickle was hanging periliously close to the child's knee.The only saving grace was that the child was unconscious and she dint have to see all this.It was then that Aakaash thought"This is my chance..she is feeling helpless now..this is the best time to take the sickle out her hand...".As he took a couple of steps towards her she swung the sickle like a whiplash.He was too shocked to react and it hit the spot on the left shoulder.It was a sickening feeling when he felt the sickle go through his shoulder.He could hear the swoosh from the swing and felt its sharpeness as it cut through him.Blood was oozing all over his shirt and biceps.He just collapsed in pain."Amma please ma...dont kill me..I am your son...",he begged."I wont kill you..I have to kill her..it is kali's wish and I have to honour her...you are a man so I wont kill you..".With this she took a couple of steps towards the child and twisted her neck upwards and sent the sickle down in a spiral.There was a momentary gasp from the child even though it was unconscious.The child was gone.The sight of the dead child sickened him.He felt tears flow down his cheek.He felt his world come crashing down.He saw his mom kneel before the portrait of Goddess Kali and pray.There was a sudden rage inside him.He couldnt let this go on and on.He stood up gingerly and found a broken bathroom tile by side.He cudnt think too much.He had to do it.His mom was still kneeling down and praying.She hadnt seen him stand and pick up the tile.Aakaash took a deep breath and swung the tile down with all his might.He could feel the skull crack open with the impact.She collapsed without a word.It wasnt done yet,he thought."It has to end the way it started".He picked up the sickle and almost instantly had a strange feeling.The feeling to kill.He looked at her for one last time and swung it.It had ended the way it started.He found himself lying beside his mother wailing.He loved her so much and it had to come down to this.He had killed his mom because he dint want her to be humiliated by the Police,the Judiciary and the people.He knew they would sentence her to death and their family would be cursed for ever.His father would be broken if he ever knew that his wife was a serial killer.He dint want to kill himself.He wanted to protect the honour of his mother.What ever she was she was his dear mom.He hit his head against the walls for having been forced to kill his own mother.He prayed that such a situation should not arise for an enemy also.He felt guilty.He wanted to be punished.He had taken away the life of the person who had given birth to him and showered him with love.There was only one way out.He had to create a situation where all the blame would befall him.It helped that his finger prints were all over the place and even on the sickle.He rushed into the bedroom and saw bones all over.From the no of skulls he estimated that there were around 4 bodies in there.He had devised a plan.He would create an impression that he had this fantasy for killing right from his childhood when he first smelt blood killing his little sister.No one would doubt a 3 year old kid of slaying his own sister with a sickle.As his age grew so his desire to kill.This would be an ingenious story and with the right amount of research and lies he could get the jury to turn on him.

October 13-Year 2000-Friday-04:45A.M.

."Why did you have to do it?you seem to be a straight fellow.."
"Take me to the gallows...I want to be hanged..."
"Cant you even repent at the time of your death...you dint say anything at the court also..."
Aakaash remembered the court only too well.The court was like a naked dance bar where one danced to a fool's whims.He remembered the court and the court scene.

Court Room:

It was 4 months since the trial for the sensational serial killings had begun.Aakaash had fooled the CBI into beleiving that he was the killer.He was lucky in a sense.The Narco Analysis tets were not prevalnt in India at that time.Had this incident happened a couple of years later the truth serum would have gotten everything out his system and he would have never been able to save the honour of his mother.But by God's grace everything worked to plan.It was the most awaited day of the judgement.The judge was about to deliver his verdict.The judge had an inclination for histrionics.
"Based on the clues collected and the own Confessions of Prime Accussed,the conclusion that can be drawn from this case is A sickle controlled by a mind that is fickle is dangerous and so.."
"Cut the crap you b******,you are an even more sick person than me, who derives pleasure in making one listen to vocabulary shit before he dies"...Thud came a rifle which banged into his head from behind..his mind was filled with pain and he was blacking out...he dint have to hear to rest of the verdict.... But he had to hear it from his father..."I wish I could be like you,just take a sickle and slit your throat,you b******"
"Dad,dont insult mom..she was never that kind of an woman and I am not her illegal child",he said evenly
"F*** you b*****,dont ever look into my eyes again..i am very happy that you have senteced to death..rot in hell..you are not my son..",he said choking...
"Dad stop insulting mom"...Aakaash was crying within..he wanted to reach out to his dad and tell the truth..but his love for his mom stopped him..He had to act like a cold blooded scoundrel before his dad...it was hurting inside...it was hurting bigtime....

October 13-Year 2000-Friday-04:45A.M.

"Cant you even repent at the time of your death...you dint say anything at the court also..."
"Take me to the gallows...I want to be hanged..."

He was shoved away to the podium where all arrangements were made for him to be with his mom.The doctor checked his pulse and said "Your pulse is racing...Are you scared?"...Aakaash smiled at him and said "No I am very excited...I am going to be with my mom again.."There was silence everywhere.Couple of reporters from the press,a father of one of the victims and Aakash's father were among those who were present to watch the execution.
"Any last wishes?",he was asked...
"Tell my father that I love him a lot and also tell him I have never let him down..not even now...."
"Anything else?"
"No"
He was led towards the place.The rope was placed around his neck.He felt the smooth colour of black all over him.His face was covered.He felt the noose tighten."Mom I love you",he said to himself.And then it was over....

P.S:Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THE CHENNAI EXPRESS

A railway station to me is one of the most fascinating places to be in.Every emotion,every reaction,even the slightest twinge of the muscle can be seen and felt at any railway station.The Secunderabad railway station is no different from any of it's fellow stations.Enter ino it during the peak evening time you will be engulfed in a sea of humanity along with it's residue 'sweat'.No deo can work wonders at railway stations unless and until say its of the kind like Ooty.The moment you enter the platform ou can see the Red army doing their job.The porters are really one of their kind.I happened to spot an old porter standing beside me and I asked him politely "Miyaan s2 coach kahan pe aayega?".Pat comes the reply "Chashme pehen ke bhi dikhta nahin hain kyaa tere ko?,woh dekh oopar woh board pe lite jal raha hain,wahan se patah kar le....".There was silence for a brief moment as he was sizing me up and I was more than relieved that his tirade was over and then as if as an after thought he says "Kandol" and quietly moves away.Well as he suggested I found s2 quite comfortably.It was then that I looked into my ticket and to my utter disgust found that my seat no was 72.Not again I cursed myself.The toilet jinx seemed to continue.How ever hard I try, beating all laws of probability my seat always ends up just beside the toilet where people come and stand all the while spitting pan or taking their shirts off to get their sweat off.No second thoughts about where all that smell goes.Right from class VII the jinx had started.My class was just next to the rest rooms(I'll refrain from saying toilet) and there it was till 10th.It was temporary respite for a couple of years during higher secondary but the jinx caught on at college.

Every train journey from then seemed to be either in seat no 1-8 or 64-72 and now I was cornered again as usual.Wondering whether I should tie a kerchief around my nose like a terrorist,I silently slipped my baggage under the seat and settled down.As it happens you always dream of having a hot chick beside you but such things happen only in movies and in Chetan Bhagat's novels.I was just scanning the people around me.There was this loud mouthed kid who was sayin things which was making me LOL.It was the chachi of that kid I guess who was repeatedly asking her "Beti,Pakistan kahan pe hain?" and that kid hardly 4 years old looks here and there as if to see whether her mom is watching her slowly whispers back "Mere skirt ke andar" and chuckles.Laughter everywhere.A hand comes out of no where and thud it lands on the child's cheek.Her mom shrieks "Bhabhi use bigadiye mat!"(Dont spoil her, as if she already isnt).The child now is really angry and she shoots back "Pakistan mere skirt ke andar hi hain,main aise hi chillaoongi".Laughter changes to howling.Her mom is left red faced in embarassment.Kids do trouble man!All this laughter was dying down slowly in the constant whirring of the engine.It was time to go.You could see faces of expectancy,anguish,fear everything around people as they sent off their beloved one's.Well atlast I thought,the train started to move late as usual by 10 minutes.Everyone was quite except for that kid who was still foul mouthing Pakistan.I was laughing silently.I dont know if all the trains would have good engine drivers but every train would definitely have a TT who would accept a bribe.That's the only advantage of sitting beside the entrance I would rather say as you can see all the under the table dealings.There was once this arguement over what TT abbreviated to and there were different full forms coming out and then came the master one.One of my friends calmly said "I know what TT is...".He gave a pause to as if signify his point and then said "Ticket Ticket".Kraaaa Thooooooooooo everyone did in unison.The ticket collector for my compartment looked more like a groundnut seller than a TT.I dint know whether he was checking tickets or selling them.As he was checking everyone's ticket he asked the 4 year old kid "beti tumhare Mummy papa kahan hain,ticket dekhna hain".Pat came the reply.Howling once again.The TT cursed himself and left.

There not many things you can do while sitting in a train and that too when you are in the stomach stirring presence of the Indian Railways toilet.So I decided it was time for music and videos.So I just slipped my Ipod on and started to watch Virrumaandi.Everything was going fine.There were some curious faces around me who were trying to fathom what it was.One guy said it was a T.V. and the other seemed to say it was a computer.People were just throwing glances at it as they crossed and went to the toilets or for a fag.It was sometime later that the mother of the kid realised that there was a way to handle her child.She smilingly looked at me and said "Dekho uncle T.V. dekh rahe hain,tum bhi jaake dekho".Fuck you pot head whose uncle am I.And for people who dont know about Virumaandi,it is a KamalHaasan movie and I neednt tell you what wouldnt be there in a kamal movie.It was just one of the scenes where kamal is sitting on the steps leading into a well and talking with the heroine,that the kid and her mother peep over my shoulder to see the T.V.And then there goes Kamal.Teary eyed,kamal gives a long smooch to the heroine.Long enough for the mother to throw a glance at me which I thought said something like "You child rapist asshole!".I cudnt do anything other than say "Chalo doosri picture dikhaata hoon"(I'll show u another movie).Her mom pulled her kid away and must've thought "this guy is some sophisticated kidnapper,he'll take video and photo of my kid and do something with it".Well what do I say?There was a middle aged couple travelling with me.It was then that I observed there were more no. of people than the no. of seats.It was dé·jà vu.I knew what was going to happen and what was coming.

In all likelyhood I would be asked to exchange my seat with someone sitting at the last compartment.People asking me to exchange seats thought it was very simple carrying my luggage all the way.They asked me stating reasons like I am youth(one second unc(u)le and next youth!) and I was single and blah blah.That was what exactly happened.
Middle Aged Woman(MAW):Are you travelling alone?
Me:No,me and my baggage
MAW:Oh,ur so funny..he he..Just like my hubby..i like funny people
Me:Sorry ur hubby is staring at me
MAW:Oh thats alrite.. c na me and my hubby have different seats..my hubby cant do without me..
There from the corner of my eye I saw her hubby looking at her and I thought it said something like "Lying bitch,she needs me for blowing her air pillow"
MAW:See we are old ppl and my coach is s14.... can u shift there?you are youth(Yuck) and u dont have any b'ful wife like me..so shift there na...
Me:yaa ok I'll move.
I was already thinking "s14 is a 1km jog..donno if i'll make it".So I started to bid farewall to my journey mates and as I was searching for my water bottle I muttered to myself "Were is the bottle?I kept it here only".Pat came the reply, this time almost in a robotic tone.Howling once again.
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