Friday, June 29, 2007

Mumbai mayhem

10 hrs! 10 hrs its been raining unabated as i just peep out from the glass windows. No signs of a let-up watsoever as the roads,streets,shops n buildings take a battering.When it rains, it comes down really hard, in buckets.
The ghosts of 26/7 still havent died and each moment of that eventful day still remains deeply etched in peoples' minds. Ask anyone and he/she will have a story of theirs to tell u. Stranded 18 hrs on a flyover, fished out using ropes or spending half a day on the roof of a BEST bus..all this sounds like such bedtime story material, doesnt it??

'Its nothing new in Mumbai' you may argue ;doesnt it wreak havoc in the city every year? Fair say, 30-50 cm of rainfall a day is perfectly fine here, though at times, it may go to a 100. The city drains getting clogged are pretty normal .People wading through waist-high water at places is quite a common sight. Road transport is hit a bit. Local Trains run 15 min late (yeah if that happens in mumbai then u r absolutely sure that the city is facing a terrible downpour). Trade suffers. Houses are flooded. Money worth crores is washed away in no time. And people take refuge in their places of work for days, till the office canteens show signs of famine.

And still the people keep their mouths shut. No one cries for help. No one cribs or cries like cyclone or tsunami victims. See..havent u studied in school that 'Silence is golden' (or is it silver?))!! See.. there's not even a demand for a relief package of a cr rupees like other places (v wont get it anyways, so no big deal). Because ,u see, there's nothing new..yeh sab toh hota rehta hain yaar har saal." All this for a city which boasts of contributing a third to the country's exchequer.
And the reason why all this isnt new is because we have got so f****ng used to this life thanks to our "chalta hain" attitude and resilience infinitum.

Flood or blasts, in mumbai, we practise something called " The Art of surviving" (no its different from " The art of living").Its not something practised or taught in yoga classes. Its done by normal mumbaikars quite subconsciously,daily in their lives. For instance ,fearlessly hanging out of a crowded fast-local with just a semblance of a finger-nail inside it (even a day after a train blast), living in a micro matchbox apartment for generations in a crowded suburb, evading a million potholes everyday, getting stuck in traffic snarls for hrs together etc etc.
Brand MUMBAI is remembered (Rather exploited) only on two occasions- one to showcase its role as the proverbial cash cow (its hard-earned money in the form of taxes obviously feeding the hungry vote banks in north india, feeding the sarkaari babus in delhi and making life comfortable for the thankless capital city, ).
And Secondly (most importantly) to talk about the courage and spirit shown by the brave mumbaikar who stares calamity in the face and battles against all odds even as the whole system struggles to come to terms . The "salaam mumbai" rhetoric is sung by babus (when what the city really needs is something more substantial) and then all's well.After all the mayhem as died down, life resumes as normal for the common man in the city, the very next day itself or the very next week in the worst of circumstances. As if nothin really happened!
Fverything is forgotten....till the next calamity strikes. Meanwhile, plans to transform Mumbai to Shanghai are drawn out. And we thought that the whole Shanghai fixation was just one of those over-ambitious,candy-floss dreams that our leaders get from time to time! 'Modelling Mumbai on Shanghai lines' they say.
Interesting, it seems, Mumbai has six sister cities in different parts of the world (maximum permitted by the Indian government).
Yeah, six really hot sisters!!
They are: Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart and Yokohama (Shanghai is not one of them incase you were looking for it!).

Hmm.. for the moment, modelling the city is the last thing on our minds as every soul tries his/her best to keep indoors and admires the marauding rains, from the confines of their houses for isnt it supposed to be Mumbai's most romantic season.



Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The "BOSS" of all films

Hmm..for a change, this monsoon, Rajini fever is spreading faster than chikungunya.One is reminded of the famous Enrique number, with slight modifications of course-
" You can run, You can hide but you can't escape the Sivaji bug.".

All the wait finally ended on the 15th of June as the superstar's banners and posters all over Tamil soil were bathed in gallons of milk(paal abhishekam).News channels momentarily took a break from their obsession for " President's poll (Read: Kaun Banega Rashtrapati?") and stopped to rave about the Superstar's new avataar.
You could see pictures of cinema theatres with queues running for miles, ones u normal encounter in Mumbai junior colleges during admission-time.They showed ticket vendors having a honeymoon time selling tickets for prices as high as a whopping 1000 bucks per ticket..woow!
And to top it all there were happy faces in the queue, amidst all the pulling n pushing ;guys taking utmost pride in the fact that they were in the queue from 1 in the morning and would asolutely kill to get a glimpse of the superstar in his brand new movie. Then there were those who said they had done part-time jobs to pay for their tickets and those who had just come from a night-shift... Enough proof to say that they were all Superstar's Die-hard fans. See,all this has got just one name. Fanaticism!! Its the max limit u can stretch yourself to, to show the cameraman that you well and truly swear by the man.

Then all the statistics books were opened for this was the costliest Indian film ever to be made and Rajni Saar the highest paid indian actor. Comparison between him and the Big B were drawn at will by the wily news channels eagerly wanting a lip-smacking North-South clash so that they could create fresh tamasha.
" I am the king, but he is the real emperor" said superstar in all humility to a channel,putting to rest all the hulabaloo.
US, UK, Australia and malaysia were no exception, we heard. They were absolutely taken by storm as the film assumed Tsunamic proportions. Regional box-offices and some of the bollywood flicks back home had no clue what hit them as they suffered a heavy pounding ." Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" would have been a super-duper flop anyway, so no big deal. "Oceans 13" is populated with just too many hunks. "Shrek-3" is just another sissy animation movie compared to the superstar's stunts and "Cheeni Kum" doesnt have high-voltage punch dialogues.

So, Sivaji- The Boss it was! and superstar had one more entrant into his fan club..hehehe..temporarily though



The "BOSS" of all films-2

So..without much deliberation we went for the obvious choice- Sivaji-The BOSS (Bachelor Of Social Service, a change from the previous one which (for us)meant Brother Of Sexy Sisters). We encountered the usual Saturday shopping buzz at the mammoth Nirmal Lifestyles where there is a PVR. Timepass and hanging out (no,not shopping)in Mumbai has suddenely got a new definiton thanks to the numerous malls that have sprung up. But this one takes the cake. This is one place where the brands meet. For an ordinary man, a trip around the whole shopping space,especially the numerous cloth and food outlets (Mocha, Cafe Coffee day, tai-chi,pizza hut,only parathas,italian,chaat shops etc) more than makes up for his missed morning-walk.

We got the tickets for a princely sum of Rs 150. It was quite evident that the movie was a sell-out since the man at the counter politely tuned down my dad's request for a back-row seat and gave us centre seats in the 3rd row.My dad tried to make small talk in an effort to achieve the impossible- getting a concession over the tickets( for the pain of sitting in one of the front rows and sacrificing comfort).Instead he got two slit-sized cards,all glossy and colorful.

" What are these?" asked dad

" Well, we cant give you concessions, but you can win huge prizes in a lucky draw if you fill this up and put it into the drop-box after seeing the movie." said the man at the counter, rather amused.

I stuffed them up in my pocket as if they were empty toffee wrappers. We were already a bit late for the movie.
It was a typical Superstar movie. His "riches-to-rags-to-riches" formula worked wonders yet again as his previous movies. Lots of colour,flamboyance,masalaa and the subtle doses of comedy had the "madrasi" junta in the multiplex absolutely entertained.
The main-villain in tamil movies is diametrically opposite(in looks) to the ones we see in other languages. More often than not he is the only guy in the movie who is clean-shaven and all "gora gora(fair)" while the rest of his tribe sport unkempt facial hair and dark faces.
Well,as per the trend, tamil film heros(with moustaches ,of course) just seem to get darker and older whereas their sweethearts get fairer and younger (It always happens!!). Anyways, i guess,they are just out to prove the point that Opposites indeed attract.
The songs showed where most of the 80 cr was spent on (besides Superstar's fee, hairdressers and beauticians)
And yeah, before I forget, Superstar's histronics and his punch dialogues served as the perfect icing on the cake . His old cigarette-trick (Hang yourself if you dont know wat I am talking about!) has been replaced by the chewing gum trick. All he needs is a flat, reflecting surface for him to bounce the gum into his mouth perfectly, be it is hand or the villain's forehead(But isnt it supposed to be a gum and shouldnt it stick??).
Its no secret, there's no logic, only magic in Rajni Saar's movies! Then there is this 1-rupee coin which he plays table-tennis with it using the same hand, as if it were a ping-pong ball with zero gravity. And as only superstar can do, he uses the same coin to convert black money to white( no, not by painting it) and spends it for the people ,against all odds and gods.

His punch dialogues:
" Paera keta summa adhurudhu'la"
" When you hear my name you get the shivers, dont you?"

"COOOL...!!" (Most frequently used in the movie)

"Kanna, panninga dhaan kootama varum, singam single aa dhaan varum"
"Only pigs come in a group, the lion comes alone"

And if that fails to impress you ,he uses voice recognition as the password for accessing the info in his lappie.

"Hi buddy, Sivaji here.. KOOL!" That's the line!
And the strange creature replies "Hi shiv" each time. Koool !!

For a change, some of the "punches" were delivered by the comedian just to show that the Superstar was generous enough to give every person(actor) in tamil Nadu a chance to voice out "punches" and that he dint want it to be his monopoly of sorts..

"Punches" by the comedian were mostly the rhyming ones:

"Sixukku appuram seven da, Sivajikku appuram yevenda"
"After six there is seven, after Sivaji there is no one."

"Kuzhanthaigal paakrathu pogo, sivajikita vendaam go go"
"Children see pogo, dont take panga with Sivaji, go go!...hehehe nice one)

"Chittoor Thaandina Kaatpaadi, Sivajiya seendinaa Dead Body!"
"If you go beyond Chittoor you will reach Kaatpaadi, If you tease Sivaji you will become a Dead body!"

See, it had all the ingredients what an average man looks for in a movie- action, romance,comedy,style,dialogues,song and dance. Isnt that enough?
C'mon, movies are meant to entertain you after all!

And, I came out of the theatre with a satisfied,"Paisa Vasool!!" feeling after a li'l over 3 hrs of Superstar-entertainment.




Friday, June 15, 2007


"He is a silent,ever-smiling, sarcastic b*****d who loves tearing peoples' reputation to shreds with his blogs"
Hmmm (*enough adjectives used ,i guess)..Thats a very common opinion you would hear about me from most people in nitt. True enough, the 4-yr stay in the vast campus had given me enough to write about. But like most people, the senthu( senti + enthu) got to me in the last month of our final sem. The same things that we had complained n cribbed about all these years now became elements which aroused and added dollops of 'senti' (nostalgia) in us. There was hectic frenzy all around as Reminiscence videos and pictures constantly circulated in the hostel lans. There were pictures of us in fake "study" postures, us in the depts n labs(yes, at least for once we had to show our parents bak home that their money wasnt going waste),pics of us at the roof-top,tree-tops,at 3-star hotels ..we were everywhere. Treats had now become as common a feature in our lives as bread for breakfast, much to an extent that we longed for mess food sometimes. Job-treats, get-togethers,wing-treats, dept-treats, hostel treats, timepass-treats..they just assumed different names but the objective was the same - To make the most of whatever little time was left, with our mates before we passed out of the insti and went different ways. And it all ended on the 15th of may,as I vacated my room and transferred all my belongings into the rickshaw and bid farewell to the college and my friends. As anticipated, it took quite some time for me to digest the whole "getting out" feeling. 4 eventful years have gone by and dvds (or comps) filled with college photos n videos are the only real snippets of reminiscence left with many of us. One thing which most of us wont forget is the nitt college lingo which was part n parcel of our lives 'in' there. These are just a few specimen words from my nitt lexicon.

Chaat ( ch'aat', the number of a's in "chaat" actually gives out the intensity of chaaat one is subjected to (chaatitude) )- Used to describe someone who is well accomplished in the field of dry humour to an extent that you tear your hair in frustration n start screaming, a PJist or someone who can keep talking endlessly. Quite easily the most frequently used word in daily nitt conversations. Used as a noun, verb, adjective. Normally all class lectures are classified chaaaat!

Eg: Abey chaat mat! (verb)
F**k u , chaat b*****d! (adjective)
Man, how can u be such a chaat! (noun)

Qjaada (Jaa'daa', the q is just for timepass. its silent actually)- brimming with too much atti. Mostly used when talking about juniors
( "The guy has just too much 'qjaada'. We need to increase his score.")

Score- an outrageously crazy system put in place to measure the number of hits a hapless junior gets (for no fault of his).
Junior to other junior:" Look (gleefully showing his cheeks swollen like a fulka on the pan)!! my score is 200,its definitely more than yours)

Kela- ( K'laa', dont confuse with banana because the meaning is completely different )- a failure, alternatively used for a situation where things dont work out the way u wanted and hoplessly become worse.
("another kela for me! 5 kelas in 5 interviews! great going")

funti- girlfriend or someone who can be remotely termed so

funti - male version of the above

Dosa - (dont confuse with the south indian dish) dean of student affairs

coe- (pronounced as 'koi' or just C O E)the richest person in college thanks to numerous students' exam paper re-evaluation applications, transcript and grade card requests( along with the cash..i forgot)

cycles- Once in a month phenomenon. short for cycle tests.

afty- (aaf' tee')- still not sure about the spelling (whether its halfty or afty). It basically means that your day ends with the lunch break coz there r no classes after it.Afty can be a matter of pride especially when there are inter-dept clashes on the issue of which dept really works its ass out.

mornty- (mon' tee')- A situation where there r no classes in the morning and the day begins after lunch.

Fulty- (full' tee')- mornty + halfty - classes. Ok fine, its a weekday holiday!

supple (sapp' lee')- Another chance to screw up your grades. Arrears as they call it

baap/maa- one who chaats u, guides u, bugs u with useless advice, n basically gets to boss u around(during the first yr) just beacause you commited the cardinal sin of writing the aieee a year after him/her,from the same state as him/her and choose the same branch as his/her.

beta/beti - Someone who feels the same about u.

potha/pothi- part of the hierarchy

parpotha/parpothi- last in the hierarchy.

maal- Something nice to the eyes,, eye candy!

dog-rice- (the mess annas have a name for it- Pulav) a saturday-nite delicacy served in each n every mess across nitt campus.A must-eat for anyone visiting the campus. Every nittian had eaten it at least once (the only one time). This 'nitt special' comprises of undercooked rice and a generous sprinkling of vegetables, with a brownish-gold color to it.

PBM - Short for Paneer butter masala (also the conveniently modified name of a certain hostel deputy-warden)

barotta - No, not a failed attempt at pronouncing paratha. Its the staple diet of Tamil Nadu. The phrase " roti, kapda, makaan" can be suitably modified as " barota, lungi aur makaan"

dew lime - Water + Ice +Mountain dew + Lemon juice ( Pateneted by the roadside gate annas).

Rem - short for Reminiscence. A rem book and rem video are the highlights of the final sem.

Senti- (Sen'tee') the feeling of nostalgia. If the things that you loved to hate all these years bring tears to your eyes, then you are feeling reaally "senti"!!