Argh Hmpf

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Images from the Winter past and other anachronistic stories ..

The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – George Bernard Shaw (or some such guy with a thing for smart alecky one-liners)

I have finally had to succumb to intense public pressure and general hue and outcry to end the long silence on this blog (caused by a formidable mix of consulting, consulting, consulting, procrastination, writer’s block and new found addiction to Big Bang Theory – Of these the top three reasons have since been removed and hence the I’m back act). Also, flattering footage across multiple fora (which shall remain unnamed in the interests of humility and general coolness) have made me realise past folly and I shall hence endeavour to be more regular (Dramatic aside: Forsooth! yet again! Humbug! (pronounced ‘Haambaag’) shout cynics and Bong intelligentsia from within the haze of Kafka and cigarette smoke at Coffee House, College Street, Calcutta but are then silenced by look of steely resolve in writer’s eyes and threat to open windows of said Coffee House).

So net net I had this really cool idea of doing a photoblog style post with snaps taken from here and there since December last year, idea being that pictures speak a thousand words et al. Thats assuming you wanted something equivalent to a thousand words in the first place which, if you’re not bong or Gullu or Tarun, will be something of a feat. Get in touch with me in case any of the above three pre-conditions don’t apply to you, and I’ll gift you a Bourneville for you would have definitely earned it. So without much ado .. here goes:
(Drama and special fx aside: sparkly lights, drumroll, applause, IPL cheerleaders,Ironman2)

Photoseries 1: So news is that I left consulting some time back and was then told that non-consults have still not bought into the utility of gtalk on official laptop as a productivity enhancing tool - I therefore, went and bought meself a sleek black Sony Vaio laptop. These snaps were the first thing I did with said new laptop. For those of you from outer space, the well built guy on the left is me .. the guy on the right is Karthik (quintessential good boy from James’; for lasting proof check out the sandalwood smear, intact right through face-pull session). Also (check this out), the last face pulled is supposed to be ‘Burmese’(! – also, why Burmese you ask .. I shake my head in abject ignorance for I do not know).

Photoseries 2: These snaps are from JNU, taken during multiple trips while picking up / dropping the sis. I’m particularly fond of the last one; this is during one of the coldest nights of winter – happened to chance upon this litter outside the JNU canteen wall. The second one captures the self during the grow-beard phase post consulting. I even managed to smuggle the beard aboard a flight to Cal, without extra baggage cost but finally decided to let go when the mater asked me to choose between family and the beard. Prudence prevailed with the happy ongoing result that the parents haven’t disowned me yet.

Photoseries 3: The same shaft of light at Diwaan-e-aam, Red fort, at the ruins of Khidki Mosque, Saket and into my room during a winter morning. This last one quite reminds me of Jacobean magazine submissions at school, where kid after happy kid would turn in articles revolving around ‘darkness creeping across the corner of my room, my heart and all things in general’. Living in the living breathing heart of world philosophy and culture does it to you, I guess. Pathos probably aggravated from seeing several of Ramlal’s heavenly egg chops lose their existence in perfect harmony with a bottle of coke – but then again, thats just speculation.

Photoseries 4: This one is for the friends, long suffering and staunch. Check out for example, the totally priceless expression on Naddu’s face in the first snap. Also related to this snap, the vast expanse to Nadir’s left is not, contrary to popular perception, the lost city of Atlantis – its just Sajju, of the ponderous paunch. I think Sajju’s best moments happen when he’s well fed and has begun on the desserts. Pure hypothesis, but I have a gut feel for such things. Also, this photo has a title – Pati aur Woh. Woho!
Moving on, the second snap centres mostly around Karthik’s Winnie-the-Pooh(!) water bottle with the man lunging around in the background during one of our winter baddi sessions. I turned out to be quite the kickass baddy studboy and whipped Karthik quite regularly, with the poor boy huffing and puffing away to measly 15-10 wins. Coming back to the bottle, I never could get the full story out of him (c’mon, an ex-James’ guy carrying a Winni-the-Pooh water bottle, there has to be a story! If he’d been from LMB or Bosco or CBS or FAPS or Bombay, I wouldn’t even have bothered to ask, but he’s from James’ for God’s sake!)
The third snap is lasting testimony to the everlasting charisma of the married man, in life in general and on the baddy court in particular. Thats my close friend Nadir, after about the first ten minutes of baddy post marriage – the man knew I was capturing incriminating evidence and yet did not even have the will or honour to crawl away and die. Sigh!

Photoseries 5: Miscellaneous snaps. The first one was taken at about 5.30 in the morning, at New Delhi Railway Station; at the exact instant when I decided that the Jaipur Lit Fest trip was a mistake. I have long since reversed the verdict and the trip was a rip roaring success. Gullu and I managed to escape unhurt after two days amidst authors, authory types and Delhi page 3 socialite aunties (lasting answer to the question: Whats more scary than Godzilla and IPL4-without-cheerleaders, combined.) But more of that later.
The second snap is of a phuchka (gol gappa equivalent in Calcutta, only much cooler and more philosophical) stall at CR Park. The Bong equivalent of Chinatown, in Delhi. As in, not a Chinese place Bongs in Delhi go to but .. heck, I suppose you got what I’m saying. Anyway, the place is quite cool and has solid bong stuff scattered all over including something called an egg-devil. This has to be had to be believed, or then again, maybe its just my Ramlal egg-chop legacy speaking. Talking of James’, the socked foot you see in the picture, belongs to partner in crime, Karthik. If the boy ever decides to develop superhero side-profession, his superpower is bound to be something employing Phuchkas. The Phuchka PowPow move, or ‘He’ll Phuchkao your past to protect your future’ types.
Third snap was taken at a dhaba in Purana Qila during the South Asian Bands Festival. Thats also the time I first heard the Raghu Dixit Project for the first time – seriously good stuff. There was also Strings with one of the most thakela performances in recent memory. The last snap was taken from office, just after sunset – the real thing, but obviously, looked much better.

Photoseries 6: Ok this was interesting – all snaps from the same evening. The first two snaps were taken at the dargah of Hazrat Nasiruddin ‘Chirag’ Dehlvi, spiritual heir to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. The first one is a view of the courtyard and the second of the main tomb area seen through the tomb of one his followers.
The other two snaps were taken at the Advaita concert at JNU, presence courtesy having gone to pick up the sis. I think that was the first time the mater attended a live concert, albeit inadvertently. Turns out she quite liked it. So did I, in fact. Great fusion music – even to an illiterate musical pagan like me.

Photoseries 7: To end with a pilgrimage, these last snaps are from an oft taken trip in Calcutta – from my home in Park Circus to Mocambo at Park Street. The first snap is of the mater trying to look interested in what I order, the second of the pater putting macho stare and the third of the guardian dragon of Park Street.

PS: Please check out the awesomely scary skulls scattered at base of said dragon. I think this must date back to pre-Jurassic Park days; no one seems to give dragons much footage these days.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Did too ..

Re-Discovered ..
The old Lucky Ali collection from engineering college days, in a long forgotten folder. Along with Khamoshi (the Musical, before Sanjay Leela Bhansali got all totally arty farty), Silk Route and KennyG, the Lucky Ali songs comprised my music listening universe through most of college. Pity he decided to stop after the trilogy – Sunoh, Sifar and Aks. Sifar was always a personal favourite, especially the rambling philosophical songs. Great lyrics – profound, simple words, nice rhythm.

Pehle fursat thi ab hasrat hai samaakar ek aisi uljhan hai meri
Khud chaslke rukta hoon jahan jis jagah par
Ek aisi sarhad hai meri …

The lyrics for the Lucky Ali songs used to be penned by one Aslam, who was apparently his partner in his carpet business (!). Never heard of him since, despite the obvious talent. Takes all sorts, I guess.

Lost ..
Weight. Hehehe .. ya right. Notwithstanding frequent trips to dosa-sambhar land, I need to hit the gym. Soon.

Watched ..
. Half of it actually. Didn’t find it all that good, though nicely random in parts. The music is quite appropriately Floydian and stoned. Check out Nayan Tarse, sung by the music director himself, Amit Trivedi. Same guy who composed the music for Aamir (another not-so-good movie imho but with a tremendous score).

Aamir had very different music – very strong Sufi influence. I especially liked Chhaap Tilak, which is a composition by the 14th century Sufi saint, poet and musician Amir Khusrau. This has been rendered by Kailash Kher, who when it comes to sufi / bhakti music, is beyond compare. Pure heart.

Undertook pilgrimages to ...
Paradise, Hyderabad. Was somewhat disappointing though; the mutton biryani is no longer as good. But Mhen and I made up by landing up at Mahender rocks (Mahender rocks .. slap bang in the middle of Secunderabad .. man, there’s still hope for this country) which had a good view of the sun setting over most parts of Secunderabad. Coupled with DevD psychedelic music, it was quite good, though not completely edible.

Mocambo, Calcutta (NOT Kolkata). The place continues to be the best place for Raj style continental cuisine, bar none.

PS: Err .. I’m back.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Punch, the Paunch and the Googly

''You don't want to eat me. I'm too pretty to eat.''
- Johnny Bravo to Chronos the Bear in Bearly Enough Time


“ok .. it’s a dance form right .. hmm .. begins with ‘wall’ … slow slow western types eh .. hmm .. aah .. err .. abbey kya hai yaar?” said Sajju of the Ponderous Paunch. Qamby cackled all over his coffee and I gave up on “Waltz with Bashir”.

But then again, poor Sajju can’t be faulted with this; the charades weren’t really his forte (His forte was gassing – on one occasion he claimed his Swift gave him 18 kmpl. Rumour has it this is because it runs on part petrol, part hot air which explains everything quite well). Besides, he was several schwarma rolls down as well and we had adjourned for desserts et al to the adjoining CCD, never the best of times for mental strain. (Foodie aside: Al-bake, NFC .. stud level place for schwarma rolls and tandoori chicken .. that’s only if you’re not too fastidious about ambience and such like la di da considerations).

We began to look for other methods which might yield entertainment to commonplace young men like us. That’s when I picked up Akky’s pen and administered the paunch test with flying colors, literally, well let me explain .. its like this .. you take a pen or anything of similar shape and then poke the paunch of the victim (poke the paunch eh :) .. nice ring to it .. like pin the donkey’s tail in James’ middle school fun fairs) following which the pen flies out (The poking end should be the blunt end of the pen to ensure aerodynamically friendly flight an all). Which it did in Sajju’s case, quite dramatically. Akky nearly died laughing; I found it quite mildly amusing myself. We then tried it on Akky. Good fun. Sajju commented that Akky was a special case since you didn’t need to point the pen at his paunch since he was paunchy all over. Thoroughly gross. But true, especially since he got engaged. Chances are by the time he actually gets married the better half might get the distinct impression she was committing bigamy.

All nice and comfy so far. Then the idiots decided to do the paunch test on me. After all I’d done for them across all these years. I joined the gym soon after, despite the Dilli ki sardi an all.

Gym was good fun actually. Especially if you ignore the part where the trainer grins broadly and increases running speed to 12 kmph when you are about to die after putting solid fite at 10 kmph for ten minutes. The weight training was good though; but then as a friend said once, I’m built for stability, not mobility. I quite liked the comment, am not so sure it was entirely complimentary in intent.


PS: Its been long since I last visited the gym (wistful, memory laden, wry smile) .. I have since been shipped off to the hinterland of TN to add value and brighten up lives in general. I attempt to do my bit, aided by liberal doses of sweetness and light but the food is pure veg and the language completely Tam (repeat of wistful, sad, memory filled smile). The sambar tho' is damn good I say!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Studboy Diaries – Superhero Edition

"Stupendous Man -- Yes! It's ... Stupendous Man! Friend of freedom! Opponent of oppression! Lover of liberty!"
-- Calvin in the Stupendous Man avatar

Thus, as the story goes, folkses, I’m back.

Like most suckers for action flicks, I too am a big fan of studboy one-liners. Some personal favourites have been
The Departed
“When I was growing up, they would say you could become cops or criminals. But what I’m saying is this. When you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”
“I’m the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy”
... among many, many others.
Batman Begins
“You’re not the devil you’re practice!” et al
errr .. this could go on and on .. but the point is that all these are but moonshine, water unto wine, when compared with a total gem I came across some time back.

This is from the movie Yuvraaj (:D). So, Katrina gives Salman the treatment, in full Brit-hindi accent as follows:

“Jo bete ne apne baap ki shakal sapne mein bhi na dekhi ho, woh beta nahin, woh hardcore anti-family man hai!”


Hehehhee .. not Super-man, not Bat-man .. but Hardcore-Anti-Family Man .. this has to be the best of the best of the best ever! Move over all ye cosmic powers kind superheroes, Hardcore-Anti-Family Man is here ..

Visualize a scene from a superhero kinds movie .. rain, slush, wind, criminals putting smuggling shuggling, druglord in car … wham whoosh thud .. studboy hero descends and starts to make short work of thugs et al .. one poor thug before being whacked meekly questions “Who are you?(quiver quiver) ” .. and apna dude goes “I am (dramatic pause) Hardcore-Anti-Family Man!!”. Bwahahahhahha!

This could only have been done by Show-Man Subhash Ghai. – in deadly combination with his protégé Hardcore-Anti-Family Man … scum of the earth beware!

Actually come to think of it, if Ghai saab has actually penned the lines, then it explains everything, even the Salman Khan blond wig. Pure guts – comes from the singular attention to detail and character development which usually happens in mainstream hindi cinema. Heck, I would even have attributed Salman Khan’s American-whatever accent to the script if it hadn’t been there for some time now.

Talking of superheroes, Chhota B also played paunchy superboy Drona (fabulous movie btw, which kept me laughing all right through the flight from B’lore to Delhi). Legend has it, the director asked him to take a few months to lose weight and build muscle in order to look good in a muscle-showing He-man kinds costume et al. However when several months passed and Abhishek showed no signs of the muscle within, he gave up (the director I mean, Abhishek, it is believed did not even try) and changed the costume instead! .. flowing white, full sleeved. He even threw in a scarf, just to be doubly sure .. and Drona of the gradual paunch, was complete!

Oh and there was also Priyanka Chopra though .. thoroughly pareto-hot (which in English means ‘hotter now than she was earlier’ funda courtesy Bawa of chop-chilly fame) and in definitely better kick-punching form than Drona of the gradual paunch.

More soon .. Tally-o!

Pic: Still from the Indian Superman movie starring Puneet Issar (Duryodhan from Mahabharat .. not the current page 3 style one :D, the original series I mean). Check out the forelock :D

Friday, May 02, 2008

“Sucks to Piggywiggy”
- Obelix on Vitalstatistix, in The Soothsayer

Ok, I’m back.

Its been quite a while .. don’t ask why – p2c2e. Don’t ask me what that means either .. it kind of defeats the purpose (well ok .. it stands for process too complicated to explain, there, .. see my point?)

Anyway, water has continued to flow under the proverbial bridge as ever. I’ve been through a couple of hectic projects with the primary objective being to get dada married off .. also been thinking about game changing decisions in life et al … along those lines, I watched Race . watch this one purely for the latter half dialog by Saif to Katrina when he discovers that he’s been had .. “zara zara touch me touch me eh ? (sarcy / country tone) ” .. somewhat difficult to convey this one , you need to watch it to get the complete idea .. oh and Katrina Kaif looks awesome. Also, the directors have very wisely given her a non-speaking role so everyone’s happy that way.

Apart from that, life these days is also taken up by IPL of mano ranjan ka baap fame (check out the ad next time it comes on TV … sheer genius). Also, I’ve discovered that everyone, except for the hot shots at the West Bengal government, loves SRK. Its true, especially for the women of the country – for confirmation just check out the number of women supporting Kolkata Knight Riders. I just hope this has nothing to do with the six pack unnatural abs; that kind of thing does not bode well for a true blue member of the H-mezz lady killers (other members of the lady killer society: Gogi and Tammu. Both studboys of the highest order; studboy-giri confirmed and validated through several weekends which we spent revising LOTR and doing cornerhouse rounds while lesser souls scurried off to report to their respective girl friends / better halves).

The other lady killers (L to R): Homo (ex officio lady killer .. also known as fighter homo, homo fighter, Tammu and the Gogi - notice the baa lamb like totally studly expressions on their faces .. Gandhi-giri aint dead folks, it lives!)

Anyway, coming back to SRK and IPL, the thing’s caught on. Even my mom discusses cricket these days. But then again, she’s never really had a conventional mom kind of track record. For example, in a restaurant once, she asked me to generally go wash my hands so that I could check out a girl on the way back .. sigh ..parents these days!

Actually, on second thought I think I should have done this kind of wash-hand-check-out-girl routine more often. Drat!

Cheers peoples.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday thoughts ...

  1. My Dad’s birthday today .. one of the best men I have ever known .. to date I do not remember a single time when my dad has scolded me or hit me ..
  2. The Bajaj avenger ad … good stuff .. I forgive / feel like God wala ..
  3. Music is best appreciated at arm’s length ..
  4. If you consider the 2 by 2 of blogging styles .. with content on the x axis and style on the y axis .. I probably lie on the top left quadrant (redux! … more like sweating an asset .. high roi .. beg pardon, got carried away) ..
  5. A lot of ‘serious’ blogs these days get slightly carried away and become extremely wordy and intimidating .. almost like you sat to blog armed with thesaurus .. labyrinthine I say! .. literary red tape ..
  6. Maybe we take ourselves too seriously these days .. the world for the most part has forgotten to step back and smile at itself .. which is ok.. except that this sometimes becomes pretentious .. but then who am I to comment ..
  7. In 1989, a sixteen year old boy took guard and the world changed forever – Kboy on Sachin .. only a bong could have said that ..
  8. I read somewhere that .. Great people discuss ideas, normal people discuss events, shady (I forget the exact word used) people discuss other people .. now, where does that leave me ..

PS: I think too much :)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Thought collage …

In order to afford being humble, you need to be really high up …
- Anon.
Case in point, SRK’s current streak of self depreciating humor: OSO – “Main rahul .. naam toh suna hoga .. “ .. also during a press conference .. “I’m sure Aamir will do it better than me, I just earn a little more money at the Box Office” … this after 10-15 years of shouting from the rooftops that he is the best ever .. the man has attitude; no two ways about it .. :)


A favourite ad remains the Pepsi Aamir – Ash starrer (of the Hi I’m Sanjana, got another pepsi fame) .. remember it? .. ya, this is from the Doordarshan days .. also remember “Daawwwnnn Karnaassshh” from talespin? .. these days I surf right through some 100 channels without stopping at any .. Sigh ..


One of the best characterizations I have seen in recent times has been that of the two moles in The Departed – while Matt Damon is his usual brilliant self in the role of the cocky, assured detective it is Leo Dicaprio who gives a fantastically layered, nuanced performance of one of the most heavily thought through characters I have come across ..


That is the biggest problem with people who mean what they say. They expect others also to do the same ..
- Khaled Hosseini in The Kite Runner