Much has been said, written and heard about this movie. No movie has caught the public’s imagination the way this one has. There have been comparisons galore. “His is bigger than his” type analogies are all over the electronic space around us. Love him, hate him or ignore him. But the juggernaut that is SRK rolls on.

I will be honest. I went to the theatre wanting to hate the movie. Ra.One – clever play on words – the name is in line with the current trend of naming movies after their villains. And a very menacing villain, indeed! But truth be told, I ended up liking the movie. By default, I do not like any SRK movie. By default, I want every SRK movie to crash and burn.

Yes, the movie is a mish-mash of almost everything good that Hollywood has thrown at us. Spiderman meets Terminator 2 / 3 meets Spy Kids meets blah blah. Who cares? ‘Cause it works. It works like nothing else has worked before. I do not understand the holier than thou attitude that we Indians revel in. Originality is overrated. There is one of only four or five stories in every movie. Even the fantastic Star Wars series is basically a father-son saga narrated in the backdrop of intergalactic war.

Read More.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Billy Joel - Pianoman
Yes, there are billions out there with an appendage dangling between their legs. But the rate at which the Orlando Blooms and Robert Pattinsons are crawling out of the woodworks that very appendage will soon evolve into a vestigial organ. Something like the appendix which serves no useful purpose, yet retains the ability to put you through severe agony when it feels like it. Not that the penis does not put us through the misery of masking those untimely at-office hard-ons.

Born in the 80s, to me a man using a deodorant was as familiar a sight as a woman admitting to passing gas. While I do appreciate the good sense of using deodorants that the 90s brought, in the 00s men went completely berserk. To an extent, I can probably let slide the use of moisturisers and nail filers. But waxing? Seriously? Waxing?

I distinctly remember Akshay Kumar in a bedroom romp with Shilpa Shetty in the movie ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anadi’. He had enough hair on his chest to give a bear a run for his money. He was a man, a man’s man, the way all men had evolved over millions of years. Then he got married, probably had his masculinity taken away from him, and re-appeared topless devoid of all chest hair. There are countless scenes of Anil Kapoor in the shower in his earlier movies. He has stopped taking his shirt off. Whether it is his response to the neutering of the manly hero or due to his extreme shame at having gone the waxing way himself we will never know.

Most women would find all this talk of chest hair revolting, disturbing, may be even scandalous. That, however, would be missing the point. Chest hair, or references to it, is not nearly as disturbing as the fact that metro-sexuality seems to have become the accepted way of life. In their quest to become our equals, women have succeeded in converting men to women.

It does not end here. Married men are expected to not beer-burp or fart when their wives are around. In the unfathomable event that the unthinkable happens, lavish gifts have to be bestowed as an apology for letting their natural bodily functions occur. I see this evolving further. One day women like Renuka Chowdhury will have their way. Beer will be outlawed and all men will be required by law to have a butt-plug up their arse.

But we won’t have any men left by then. There will be women, and there will be those without a vagina. I am sure those without a vagina will have evolved mammary glands in human race’s eternal quest for gender equality.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: That don't impress me much
Recent Movies: Fast Five
When it comes to saving trees or wildlife I am a dedicated conservationist. I believe every living creature has a right to live and we have no justification to impinge upon that right. However, when it comes to stuff like hybrid cars or solar power I prefer to dissociate from it all.

Call me a cynic, but over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that 'going green' is as much of a propaganda as the supposed swine flu epidemic was. Swine flu killed what? 100 people may be? More die of Malaria each day in this country. Some drug company developed a vaccine for the H1N1 virus and thought of a way to recover its R&D costs. It is what anti-virus companies do when they clandestinely release viruses on the internet.

Nobel Prize winner IPCC said Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035. We all know what happened to that finding. Make no mistake, alternative energy is going to be a big industry. There are the interests of many players involved in creating a panic among the population to create pressure groups.

That said, I am not saying there is no need to conserve for the future. But there is a line of rationality that must not be crossed. We have to decide for ourselves which choice is sensible and which is simply hogwash. For example, popular conception dictates that solar energy is non-polluting. Large-scale solar power production requires vast areas of land to set up solar panels. I would say that contributes to pollution. Even if that land is a desert, any human interference with nature will have a future cost associated with it.

We have to decide whether the non-conventional energy we adopt is in any substantial way better than our fossil fuels. Iceland did it brilliantly. They have geothermal resources and they use it well. Chicago is setting up windmills on building tops. Fabulous. But I am not sure hybrid cars are anything more than a gimmick. The hidden costs inherent in any hybrid car far outweigh any potential benefits.

Similarly, Earth Hour was nothing more than a gimmick. I am surprised that barring a few none could even contemplate the damaging impact it could have on the national grid. Imagine the repercussions of it if everyone had indeed switched off lights and the grid had collapsed. It would have given such bad press to conservation efforts that all future endeavours would be scoffed at. Is that really what we want in the name of conservation?

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Bombay Talkies - Hum Jab Honge Saath Saath
Having never had the inclination or the drive to do an MBA, I have naturally not held MBAites in very high esteem. But this post is not about them. It could be about their supernatural skills with the spreadsheet application of a certain big corporation. But it is not about that either. It could be about the hullaballoo over climate change. But I have made my stand pretty clear on that issue before. In a nutshell, I pretty much have nothing to write about.

This is familiar ground. Statistically, it has been proven that my posts on 'nothingness' get more hits than other posts. This basically proves that statistics is bunkum since I have never made a post on nothingness for a post on nothingness can only exist in a formless void. Or, during orgasm. For those of us who believe that a certain yogi from Pune preached free sex (which his followers describe as the process of using sex to transcend the conscious state or some similar gobbledygook) for less than honourable intent, there is merit in his line of thought. It is only during an orgasm that our mind goes completely blank. In this state of nothingness, we can truly feel God.

Of course, it is entirely plausible that I have completely made up this void-God theory to legitimise sex addiction in which case a certain actor known for his portrayal of the protagonist in the hit paranormal TV show of the 90s would feel greatly indebted to me. In one swell swoop, I have given a positive connotation to a psychological disorder.

This could usher in a new era in Hollywood where it is as hep to be a sex addict as it is to roll in during an awards ceremony in a hybrid car manufactured by the world's largest car maker purely for reasons of environmental protection, not back-room sponsorship deals. Considering that I would be the resident yogic in this highly niche field, I shall consider it an honour and a privilege to 'show the path', as it were, to the divas of this world.

The grammar connossieurs would miss the underlying pattern in the above four paragraphs. The grammar fanatics wouldn't. Being as the fanatics are a dying breed, it would auger well for the connoisseurs to cross over the threshold and embrace fanaticism.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Tere Ghar Ke Saamne - Tere Ghar Ke Saamne
Note: This post is based on the thoughts of a friend of mine on the game of cricket. I shall call him RK for reasons of protecting his privacy. But, RK you know it is you.

It is a lovely Sunday afternoon – the kind any man would give an arm and a leg to spend curled up on a couch in front of the television. We are pretty good at this sort of thing. No, not giving up useful limbs but parking our behinds on the sofa. For some inexplicable reason, this activity is completely beyond the comprehension of the wife. And it is exactly for this reason that you find men in a shopping mall on sunday afternoons.

It is not all bad. It is not that women need men to shop. They simply need us to drive them to the mall, carry their bags, and then drive them back home. This usually leaves us with an inordinate amount of time during which the sane amoung us have nothing to do save ogle at the wives of other men. There is this other species of men who goes around playing arcade games or checking out the latest electronic gadgets but since that is a species much lower than the salmonella bacteria we will not talk about it.

Sometimes, though, there is a higher purpose for our existence in shopping malls. Imagine a scenario where a Martian lands on earth, more specifically a pub when a cricket match is on. All he hears are chants of 'Sachin! Sachin!'. The Martian is now confused. He had done his research on earth. He had come prepared. He spoke 11 languages. But he was unfamiliar with the term 'Sachin! Sachin!'. Scratching his head the Martian goes out in search of answers. This is when he conveniently bumps into you.

This is an opportunity not to be scoffed at. You could possibly be standing at the cusp of inter-planetary war. What if the Martian mistook the chant for a war cry? After all, adrenalin-fuelled chants do get quite bloody vociferous. It is upto you to usher in an era of cosmic peace. Fortunately, your wife has just gone into the trial room with five tops which leaves you with enough time to explain facts to the Martian.

The most logical place to start would be with an elaboration of the game of cricket. No other game is so self-obsessed with its rules that it infact calls them 'laws'. The easy bit first. Cricket is a game played by two teams with 11 players each. Now things get complicated. Somehow you manage to explain the intricacies of batting, bowling and fielding. Beads of perspiration appear on your forehead as you struggle to make the Martian understand the modes of dismissals.

For his part, the Martian has been quite a sport. He has listened intently and absorbed the essence of what you have said so far. Now comes the tricky bit. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice your wife has made her choice of the top. This leaves you with a window of time, yes. But a small window in which she gets the billing done.

You talk a little faster now. You try to explain to the Martian power play overs or field restrictions. During power play, there cannot be more than 2 or 3 (depending on which power play is on) fielders outside the 30 yard circle in the limited overs format. In any format, there cannot be more than 5 fielders on the leg side and not more than two between the wicket-keeper and the square leg umpire. The Martian wears an amused look. It is easier to send a man to the gallows than this. Heck, after this cricket session the Martian would gladly walk to the gallows himself.

But it is not done yet. You are still to explain the restrictions on bouncers, the wide rule, the beamer rule, the no-ball, the pitching outside leg stump LBW rule, the disinction between offering a shot and not offering one... Phew! On the bright side, your wife has been told there is a 'buy one get one free' offer on. She has gone back to trialling tops. So you still have the time.

You are finally done with making the Martian understand the game of cricket. Yes, your handkerchief is soaked in sweat. But you pulled it off. Bravo! It is now time to tell him about the phenomenon of 'Sachin! Sachin!'. Your eyes light up in glee. This was your moment. The climax that made all the cricket gyan worth it. You take a deep breath, the hint of a smile beginning to form. You are about to tell the Martian about God.

Sachin is the best cricketer on our planet, you say. He is what makes us watch a match at 4 in the morning. He is to us what atmosphere is to a Martian. You stand back and smile. You feel this sense of glow that a mother feels on the success of her child, a sense of pride that a father has on the success of his child. You breathe in your greatest possible moment – of introducing to an alien being the joys of 'Sachin! Sachin!'.

The Martian quietly muses. He is absorbed in thought. Perhaps he is coming to terms with the greatness he has been told about. After a long while he finally speaks:

“So, you are telling me that in a setting of complex rules this man is the best.”

He walks off into the proverbial sunset. That's the last you see of him. But he leaves you with more questions than answers.

If this man is the best in a setting of complex rules, then you would be best too in another setting of complex rules. Unlike a sprinter who is the fastest human or a weightlifter who is the strongest human, given the right set of complicated rules you could be the best in that environment.

The thought stays with you as you drive home. May be you could aim to be the fastest driver with a load of shopping bags in his car.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: The Eagles - On the Border

Hyderabad – Adilabad – Nagpur – Itarsi (780km; 6:00 am)

The journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step. But a journey of 4500 miles begins with a paradigm shift. Not a shift in ideology for that is an exercise in self-righteousness (hence a subject non-conducive to most deliberations) but a shift in location.

There I was half-way across half the world somewhere in the jungles of Africa working a pretty fulfilling job. Of course jobs tend to be fulfilling in direct proportion to the paychecks they bring in. Even so, not everything can be monetized and Marylin Monroe was right in crooning that the best things in life were free. Three years on it was time to move on to the proverbial greener pastures.

Read More

Every once in a while man comes to a decision. No offence meant to women for they also come to a decision as and when it is the right time in their lives to come to those sorts of decisions, whatever they may be. The use of the word 'man' is generic here. It is all encompassing, the same way the phrase 'Early Man' also includes (as an adolescent yours truly gleefully discovered in his history books) all the early women.


Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Eminem - Lose Yourself
I was once that guy. No, not the 'that guy' Bruce Willis makes a reference to in Die Hard 4.0. I was a general 'that guy' which is not to mean I was one of those who belonged to the general populace. Of course, in the larger scheme of things you could say I was part of the general populace. But I was special. No, not the Aamir Khan's 'Every child is special' kind of special. Let's just say that I had special skills. Not the kind you could use to seduce women, though I do have those sorts of skills now. Some may say that those skills have not been used very successfully. The more enlightened ones may say that they have not been used at all. Either way as George Clooney in Ocean's Eleven in response to Julia Roberts quip about there being a conflict of interest when he advises her on her love life says, "Yes, but that does not mean that I am wrong."

Critics may argue that the development of skill sets is a natural evolutionary process but that would be missing the point. Had critics chosen to evolve would they have remained primitive enough to criticise everything? There is not a single subject matter in the world on which opinion is not divided. Even something as trivial as 'You want fries with that?' can have two critics tear each other to bits, which is not a bad thing. Entertainment apart, one critic dead is one critic less. Or so we wish! They seem to be crawling out of the woodworks, even in these days when wood is scarce.

But why am I gibbering? It is not often that I actually have something to write about, though I usually find loads of stuff to talk about. Sometimes, I have my moments. Mostly I end up with foot in the mouth disease. That is not such a bad thing if you are Govinda in Partner trying to impress the super hot Katrina Kaif who has a weakness for goof balls. But in the imperfect world we live in, it normally means your girlfriend of 20 years will never become your wife.

At any rate, they have decriminalised homosexuality in India. Note the choice of the word 'decriminalised'. It is almost as spineless a choice as the use of the word 'ninda' in the Indian Parliament to condemn the unilateral US strikes in Iraq. No wonder they could make a movie in which Sunny Deol could scream his guts out in the courtroom spewing out the now legendary 'tareeq pe tareeq' dialogue. Why the lawmakers could not give a positive spin to the issue by 'legalising' it is slightly beyond me, and I have spent a good part of the last one week pondering over it.

Then again, most things are slightly beyond me. And it is frustrating. I mean, how would you feel if you were a foot from the summit of the Everest only to return because the thorny bushes would scrape your perfectly manicured fingers?

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Jagjit Singh - Woh Kaagaz Ki Kashti

Disclaimer: This post has been guest authored by Aran. For some reason, it does not show 'Aran' as the author on the frontend even though it does on the backend. Perhaps the site admins could take a look?

I almost titled this post “My raging adolescent hormones are exploding all over the place and so I have temporarily lost the ability to think.” Actually, that could have been a pretty good title, but we just do not fish for clickability in post titles nowadays. Or do we? I am just so out of the loop here.

Anyway, what I intend to say (and will promptly say) is that wherever I look nowadays, I see people who write ‘dat’. And ‘dis’ and ‘dem’ and ‘wateva’. Etcetera. I never thought I would say this, but is this really what the wannabe cool Indian 12-to-18 year old has been reduced to? Is this what our city schools are churning out? Is this all we have to look forward to from the new generation? Where did they meet the Western street people who speak like this to adopt this kind of talk? Doesn’t it feel a little ridiculous to them when they’re saying it? Every section of society or culture has its own language, and this is simply not theirs. Don’t they see it?

Don’t get me wrong. I am fine with the evolution of language and all that. But the above problem speaks of the degeneration of mental faculties of epic proportions. If the only way you can be cool or in or with it is by mangling a language and trying so hard to look cool, then that’s a little pathetic, isn’t it? How does it show intelligence? Deccan Chronicle regularly does articles on the new cool words, for God’s sake! How can that be cool? Really. Think about it.

So… that’s that.

But there are two kinds of city-kid adolescents. Those who do ‘dat’, and those who don’t. I find I love the second kind more, but it’s my ultimate misfortune that most of my cousins are turning out to be the first sort. Just my luck. The second kind though, the ones I love, have a subsection that is much more precious. Recently, I commented to Scripto about someone, that - “He is that curious age I suppose when he is brilliant and depressed and will lash out and be self-destructive all at the same time.” Isn’t that full of promise and beauty? In my experience, teenagers like him turn out to be intelligent, interesting and worthwhile people. People you’d like to get to know. People who might not necessarily make waves in the world and might not be ‘successful’ professionally, but are definitely out of the ordinary and ones who would make great friends. Selfishly, that’s what I want more of in the world right now.

Current Mood: Non-gloomy

A common crib in engineering colleges in India goes something like this - 90% of the girls in the country are good looking. The rest are in _________ (fill in the blanks with the name of any college of engineering).

Statistically it may be disproven but the fact is that engineering students are really good at this sort of thing - to quantify the seemingly non-quantifiable. For instance, three of us had calculated to the third decimal place the annual electricity bill for air-conditioning should the entire college campus be covered with a glass dome. Or a couple of us had, while waiting in the first floor corridor overlooking one of the lawns, computed to the accuracy of a thousandth the area of lawn mowed by a buffalo-pulled-mower per unit buffalo dropping.

These may appear simple off-the-cuff calculations. Perceptions, as they say, are misleading. To compute the electricity bill one has to take into account the average temperature, the average length of a day, shift in seasons, reflective and refractive indexes of glass, trend of fluctuating electricity prices, availability of electricity, average metabolic rate of people on campus, average number of people on campus, number of holidays in a year, etc. Let me not get started on the lawn business for even though it appears a simpler exercise the variables in it are much greater. Among many they include the time of day the buffalo is fed, the minimum size of a dropping to be taken into calculation, the location of the lawn, the landscaping features (tapered lawns, for example, tend to make the buffalo produce more dung), the mowing pattern, the season and the number of people in proximity of the buffalo (buffalos are more efficient when they work alone).

You may believe that engineering students have a lot of time on their hands, and whether it is not justified to shorten the duration of the course to three years. Valid arguments, but they miss the point. Some of the best theories have been propounded on hostel walls during a night of frolicking. As an example, did you know that while equations may show that a 2atm air pressure at the 2mm inlet of a cyclone separator will cause sonic velocities that may rip it apart, in actual fact it only works when you apply the said pressure. Of course, since health and safety regulations forbid such experiments in the institute's laboratory, they are carried out in the dead of the night by the back alleys of hostels using a smuggled in air-compressor.

And that brings us to the issue at hand.

Since most of my friends who have been nowhere close to a technical school disagree with the first paragraph, it is safe to assume that engineering students have different parameters of beauty from the rest of the world. Either that or they are just that much better in the fine art of statistics. But we do keep it terribly simple - any woman who gets your rocks off even once is part of the good-looking brigade. Yes, this is a highly flawed mechanism of defining beauty for four years spent in the company of men can seriously lower expectations.

Except for one, all engineering institutes have a 9:1::male:female sex ratio. That means opportunities are extremely low if you are a man and extremely high if you are a woman. Perhaps that makes the men take whatever comes their way and widen the net of acceptable beauty. Who wouldn't be happy with someone who may have a face only a mother could love when the only alternative is to be with your hostel buddy?

But it is not that simple. It just so happens that I was a student in the one engineering college that has a pretty favourable gender ratio. It was 2:1::male:female during my time. Taking the average teenage relationship to last less than two years it meant that at some point or another every guy had an equal opportunity to be with a girl. Yet, we still believed we had the 10% that you do not see in arts colleges. May be we felt the pain of our brethren spread all over the country. May be it was statistically correct. Or may be we were just plain lazy to re-calculate the odds. After all, we did compute that the average time it took to drive down to Delhi was directly proportional to hotness of the girl you were with.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Joanna

Disclaimer: This post is extremely sexist. I exercise my right to be sexist the same way some people exercise their rights to vote - with no thought whatsoever.

This batch mate of mine in college always maintained that the world was better off without the female of the species. I am not sure that is a good thing unless you are gay but he did hit a very sore nerve. Contrary to any notion ever held, men are the sensitive sex. Kindly note that I did not mean to say that men were sensitive to sex. That is a given and I see no point in elucidating the obvious.

In line with the female stereotype, all it takes is a few words of criticism for the feminine form to shed tears in a myriad (Outside of Wordsworth poetry, I had never found an appropriate place this word could be used in until now.) of ways. Continuing with this girly behavioural trend, a fresh fruit drink or an ice-cream usually stops those tears so magically that it seems they never even existed. Why someone on the same evolutionary scale as a man should do something as fulminating as this has been left unanswered ever since Eve took a slice of that forbidden fruit.

At any rate, I have not come across anyone of the opposite gender comforting a man. And that is as easy as taking candy from a baby. Come to think of it, that allegory is wrong on many levels. A baby whose candy has been taken away is a very annoyed baby. And babies have this predisposition to break out into loud decibels of crying when that happens. But let's not digress here, shall we? Let's just agree that comforting a man is easier than taking candy from a baby. All a man's opposite number ever has to do is show a bit of cleavage or put on some tight pants. Sometimes she might have to go the extra mile, say, a blowjob here or a handjob there. Geez, I never thought I could use 'baby' and 'blowjob' in the same paragraph but the more important point is that it is ridiculously easy to comfort a man if you are not a man.

For those better endowed in the chest region than men, it may now be progressive feminism to be called by their gender identifier though I seriously doubt even the more liberal among them would refer to their mothers as females who brought them up. Perhaps it is that absence of the appendage between the legs that causes all that muddled up thought process. After all, without a direction pointer Vasco De Gama could not have reached India. It is supremely simple - when it is up men are excited and when it is down men are aloof. No amount of crying hoarse about PMS induced mood swings can ever hope to match the sheer understated-ness of penile induced mood swings. At the very least, you know that up and down have connotations that remain constant with time.

Current Music: Bryan Adams - Have you ever loved a woman
Breaking from tradition, I am actually doing something that I said I would - making another list post - though not in its entirety. 'Entirety'. I have always liked that word. It is almost in that no man's land between a word and a non-word. Say 'entirety' often times in your head and you are convinced that such a word does not exist.

For the grammar novices, the first statement of this post does not mean I am not making a list post in its entirety (notice the strategic use of hyphenation). It means I am not breaking from tradition completely in that this is not a list of the top 9 lumps or humps. In fact, it may not even be a list of 9 items. Let's make the list up as we go along, shall we?

A natural sequel list to books is movies. And despite approving of all things au naturale, if you get my drift which is unlikely since you would need to have a life for that, I loathe movie lists. Every sucker has an opinion on what a movie should be. They are all wrong. A movie is not supposed to entertain you. It must gyrate so heavily on your nerves that you remember it for the rest of your lives. Only Mithun da movies can do that. He Rules!!!

Here goes a list off the top of my head of cars. I am not a petrol head by any stretch of the imagination though that has not stopped me from thinking that I am one.

1. Fiat Premier Padmini 1100 - Any Indian born in the 80s knows what exactly it is that I am talking about. A gem of a car this one is. Yes, it breaks down more often than Pamela Anderson's implants but unlike Ms. Anderson all it usually takes is a few well-placed hits of the hammer to get the car up and running again. Then there are the girls! Nothing gets them as misty-eyed and weak-kneed as a romantic drive in this baby. I know this. I drove the car for over two years - never had a social life crisis during the time.

2. Hindustan Ambassador - It doesn't matter which make or model you drive, an Amby is an Amby. Unless your arms are built of titanium alloy the steering wheel just won't turn. Having never driven the car myself, I can at least say this much. The backseat comfort in an Amby is unparalleled. I have been in less comfortable beds. Then there is the stateliness. I can't think of any car that beats the bureaucratic snobbery of the Amby.

3. Maruti 800 - Purely on this list because it made it possible for the middle class to realise the car dream. When first launched, the sales were below par. Apparently, the pseudo-sophisticated middle class thought the car was rubbish because it was priced this low. When the price was jacked up that same middle class lapped it up. Only goes to show that the middle class is all appearance and no substance. By the way, it is entirely possible that I have my stories mixed up - Kinetic Honda had to increase its price to sell, and perhaps Maruti did not - but the bit about the middle class is definitely true.

4. Mitsubishi Lancer - The best looking car for its price. I inherited a black one with over a 100,000 km on the odometer. It still drove like a charm. It swayed sideways at any speed greater than 100 kmph but surprisingly it could attain that speed even after years of abuse. It could even do 140 if you were brave enough. The thing, though, is this. The faster you drove this car, the quieter the engine got. How did the Japs pull that off? More importantly, why?

5. Hyundai Accent - Has to be the worst car ever. Seriously. It just chooses the most inopportune moment to throw its fits - the engine doesn't turn over when you have an appointment to keep, the drive shaft goes bust merely a week after you change the clutch, wheel bearings burn out on a highway passing through the middle of a jungle... you get the drift. More than anything, it is also a car that I currently drive. From a Fiat to a Hyundai, it has all been downhill.

I could keep adding to this list. But that would make it like that big British car show on television, the tone of which seems to have been greatly inspired by this blog considering that both came into existence almost simultaneously.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Rang De Basanti - Lalkaar
I have been blogging in this space for a good five years now. Yet aside from the MAD tribute post and the porn movies post I have desisted from making 'list' posts - you know posts in which I list things I love, hate, lust after, masturbate to, decapitate, skin, embalm, burn, emasculate, etc. There is a good reason for that, and it goes beyond my caring for the general public by not shoving in their face something subliminally gut-wrenching and nauseating.

As I have an opinion on anything and everything, my list posts would probably rival Robert Ludlum or Irving Wallace books in their length. I would have slipped in one of my favourite authors in the previous sentence if it was not for the fact that his work often gets mislabelled. He has the capacity to make you cry vociferously on one page and then give you a raging hard-on in the next. Of course, the latter is much better remembered especially if you are a man who wears boxers. Women should feel free to remark in the comments section if his books have, well... wet them down there. I don't need to name the author. Only one author had the ability to do that.

Let's see if I can make a list now. 9 items or less. Since we have touched upon authors, books is a good place to start. Well, not exactly but I am really not willing to think up something else to list. So here goes a list of 9 books. They may not necessarily be top 9 good or top 9 bad. They are just the 9 off the top of my head, in no particular order.
  • Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead - A gem of a book, not because it is fantastic in the accepted sense of the word. It is fantastic in the sense that the book proved for itself what it set out to preach - that humanity accords an exalted status to the mediocre. I have not come across a more mediocre book. Its only saving grace is the physical scene between the lead characters that treads a very fine line between rape and animalistic sex.
  • Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity - If ever a case had to be made against cinematic adaptations then this would convince even the most liberal of juries. The book has a lot to thank the movie for though. Just because the movie was this bad the book has instantly turned into a classic.
  • Mikhail Sholokov's Quiet Flows the Don - Quite possibly Sholokov was the last of the great Russian authors. This book won him the Nobel for literature, illustrating to all of us that sometimes the Nobel judges get things right after all. An account of Czarist Russia on either side of the great war from the view point of Gregory Milekhov, a simple farmer turned warrior, this book has that rare ability to leave that lump in your throat right through all of its two thousand or so pages.
  • Leon Uris' The Exodus - I admit. I am a sucker for all stories involving Israel's struggle for nationhood. Most of them I have read in the form of 'fact'ions. There is something romantically gory about them. It is like sleeping under heavy blankets with the air-con on full blast - you enjoy it while it lasts but don't quite look forward to a power outage.
  • Irving Wallace's The Almighty - Before bond made it famous in 'Tomorrow Never Dies', Irving Wallace wrote this book about a news corporation that makes its own news. Eventually they ended up biting more than they could chew when they tried to blast Air Force One mid-air.
  • Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers - This book is in a league of its own - it wove fact so brilliantly with fiction that the reader is hard-pressed to find out which is which. That and the author's flair for characterisation (you could tell what Jonas Cord would have for breakfast or what Rina Marlow would carry in her handbag) make it one of the most spellbinding books I have ever read. Every character is still etched in my memory.
  • Dan Brown's Angels and Demons - The prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code', this book has more blood and gore. The finesse with which Brown interweaves urban legend with history can only be appreciated. However, like all Dan Brown books the ending leaves you feeling cheated - it promised to deliver so much more but got weighed down by its own expectations.
  • Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels - Sidney Sheldon just had to make the list, didn't he? He is to books what Britney Spears is to music - extremely popular but lacking all class. Rage of Angels is from those times when he wrote freely, without the pressure of matching the sales of his previous bestsellers. And it had a woman lead in Jennifer Parker which pleased all the feminists greatly.
  • Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things - Just how brilliant this book is can be gauged by Roy's permanent writer's block. She has not written since, probably giving away all she had in that one book. No wonder she won The Booker. She had to for this one.
That's about it. Perhaps I shall list out the top 9 racks or the top 9 rumps in my next post. But going by the history of this blog, I would probably do something else.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Gloria Gaynor - I will Surivive
I remember it like yesterday, which in a weird and twisted way it was. And which in  a weird and twisted way does not imply that I remember yesterday very well since most of it was spent recovering from a dozen shots of vodka from the night before. I was 11. My father, like all fathers of that era, made it a point to attend every PTA meeting. There are times when I wonder why they don't make fathers that way anymore. Guilt money has substituted parental obligations. But that is beyond the purview of this blog. We don't take up unpleasant issues, even if they are potential pandora's boxes.

Mr. Ravi Kumar. He was my science teacher. Some say Scripto has brilliant memory if he can remember something that far down the lane. Others say he has nothing better to remember. Either way there are serious concerns over his life, or the lack of it. But I digress. Digression is something I have successfully managed to avoid in my last few posts. Depressing. Especially since I had made it into something of an art form.

Inspite of myself, I am not above making 'tribute' posts. That trait is in line with the bundle of contradictions that I am. But if this is a tribute post, then what is Mr. Ravi Kumar doing on it? Two reasons. One, I like showing off my memory. Two, the tribute is not to him. The story, however, must be told.

See, it was during that infamous PTA meeting when my father introduced himself to Mr. Kumar for the very first time. And how did Mr. Kumar respond? Simply, "Oh oh, you are Scripto's (of course, he did not call me that - I am just using a pseudonym here) father. I am his fan!" Now the point to be noted here is that Mr. Kumar's English was very non-gult like, which means he did not mean to say, "He is my fan" and ended up saying it the other way round. To the lot of us who have heard sentences like, "He has not come to work today. I hope he is not well." when in fact it should have been "He has not come to work today. I think he is not well", coming across a gult who knows his English is more than a welcome relief.

I have not known Scripto-fan long enough to say anything about her English. But I am willing to look on the brighter side of things for a change, despite my gloomy outlook. This post is a tribute to her. Long live Scripto-fan and her ilk!

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Some band playing behind my office...
It is funny, and disconcerting at the same time, that my best posts get no attention at all while the so-so ones have people clamouring for spaces in the comments section. Does this mean I have finally become what they always said I would become? Someone who writes mediocre stuff simply because more readers understand it, which eventually translates into a larger reader-base? Am I no different than corporate mercenaries who stoop to any level for money? I can mostly live with that.

Come to think of it, I can live with most things. I have said this before, and I can say it many times over. There is not much that I consider unethical or immoral, except perhaps a closed mind. But therein, as the bard would say, lies the rub. How open do you keep your mind? There is the inherent danger your brains might fall out. Given a choice I would keep my mind as tightly shut as possible. Some may say that it gets in the way of learning about the world. Whatever! It surely does not get in the way of having loads of fun.

As I write this post, I am fighting off a very strong urge to use the loo. This is a sort of daredevil game I have been occasionally playing with myself ever since I was 13. I have been unable to better my time of 8 hours that I set the very first time though. Of course, some of the more enlightened among us may conclude that anyone who plays such a game is not much older than 13. Well, thank you. The child in me is still alive.

This brings us to the subject of self-righteousness. Well, it doesn't but since this is my blog I can decide to bring anything up any which time I bloody please. I am a staunch believer in anything that has the prefix 'self' in it. This blog, after all, is nothing but an exercise in self-actualization. That it is also more of an exercise in self-deprecation is something that gets glossed over by most. A lot of my posts, hence, get read in a context that they were not intended to be read in.

That is swell, by the way. I have always been one for doing things out of context. But the awareness should not be missing. For instance, I may sometimes interject my facts on oceanic sharks in a conversation of business sharks. But each time I do that I definitely am aware that I am making a cock of myself. It is the awareness of doing things out of context that makes it pardonable to do them in the first place. If you are not aware of the context entirely, then you are better off keeping your mouth shut.

Does this mean that we can never do anything fully out of context since even when we are being out of context we are certainly aware of the context we are being out of? Possibly. That is life. Contradictions abound. We don't stop breathing just because the air we breathe is not clean enough.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Iron Maiden - Wasted Years
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