Wednesday, July 30, 2008

stranded


Don't we all look rather stuck?
Sometimes, life feel likes that, too.
Then, I guess, you just have to wait for the tides of the Brahmaputra to come rolling in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

word count

I am doing 377.58 words a day.
When I should be doing 5000 words a day
By all accounts.
Or at least a 1000? (Me, desperate!)
But I write 479 words
And delete 122.42.
So my total word count divided
By number of days
Averages out to
fewer and fewer words a day.
That is
Not counting the 1000 odd words
Like these
That I needn't write
at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rolu and Polu go abroad. Alone. Without me.

Rolu and Polu were invited for a business meet to an island resort in the Phillipines.

I, suspicious as ever, say to Rolu: "What kind of a business meet is that? Why are they paying for your air ticket? And Polu's as well?"

I say: "You know, anyone can set up an impressive web page. Or get a journalist to write nice things about them. But will you call up a few people and check if this company really exists? That it's not a front?"

I say: "Empty all your bags, check them thoroughly and then re-pack them, before you come back. What if someone slips in a packet of drugs in your bag when you are not looking?"

I say: "What if the person you are going to meet asks you to bring back something for him? What are you going to say then, haan?"

Rolu says: "I won't accept anything unless I open the package and see what is inside."

I say: "Will you please not wander around at night? It's a strange place, after all. A strange country."

I say: "And don't drink too much. Better still, don't drink at all. If you have to drink, come back to your room and drink, OK?"

Dhanno says: "Rolu Mamu is not a kid, Mama."

I say: "Yes, I know."

He's taller than me, bigger than me. Presumably, stronger than me. But to me, he is still that puckered up, dark, ugly little bundle lying next to my mother, whom I was taken in to see at the hospital, as a little girl.

Teja, chivalrous as ever to the women folk in the family, says: "If you are so worried, ask him to go alone. Not take Polu. That way, if anything happens, he can leave, fast."

I say: "No, if anything happens, and he is alone, he'll panic. Polu is more careful."

I say: "Can you at least make a list of some references there? People you know. People you can call in case of an emergency."

So, duly fortified by more advice than they needed from me, Rolu and Polu left for the Phillipines, last week. And they will soon be back. Without having been drugged, robbed, or assaulted.

20 years ago, I would have packed my bag, and said: "Can I come too?"

But some pretty severe punches on the face by none other than Life, and having Dhanno, have made me into a real worrier. Oh well, the way my mind works, I can always get a job in TV news reporting.

Monday, July 14, 2008

As long as I can wear cut-offs,
and not have wet hems flapping against my ankles,
I am quite happy
to walk in the rain.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Scenes from the making of 'Chaman in love', no, sorry, 'Love 2050'

Mummyji: "Listen, Chaman's father, Chaman is now exactly like Hrithik Roshan. It's time now we launched him."
Daddyji: "Chaman's mother, what are you saying, is Chaman 6 ft, 2" now?"
Mummyji: "That's what I am saying to you."
Daddyji: "Oh, you deserve a diamond necklace for this."
Mummyji simpers: "No, no, what have I done?"
Daddyji: "Why, you have fed this handsome son of ours with milk and parathas, looked after him so well, made him into a strapping young man. Now see what I do. My son will blast this industry."

Dialogue writer: "Sir, I thought this can be his catch-line. 'Karan Malhotra, Age 27, Status single and ...' the last word keeps changing. You know, depending on what he is doing, sitting, standing, whatever."
Daddyji: "Good, good. But make that 'Age 23'."
Dialogue writer: "But Sir, I thought Chamanji was 27. It's there in all the papers."
Daddyji: "No, no, once we say he is 23, he will be 23. Anyway, who reads the papers?"

Daddyji: "No, no, Chaman, please don't act. You must not have any expression on your face. Please. When you make any facial gestures, you stop looking like Hrithik Roshan. So, please, just listen to what I am telling you. No, no acting. You can jump, swing, run, dance. Walk like a stud. Move your whole body, but not your face, please."

Daddyji: "So Chaman, there is this butterfly, who will live through the ages, and show you the way, whenever you are stuck. It works better than the Global Positioning system or Google. So, you never need to take the phone number, address or email id of the girl you love. The butterfly will find her for you, wherever she is. And when the butterfly falters, your Uncle's time machine will come in handy. Isn't it lucky for you that your Uncle lives in the same remote town as your lady love? And that he gave up his job in NASA to work on his time machine? All for you, son, all for you. After all, even God bends his rules for those who love."

Daddyji: "Chaman, Chaman, so what if the country has not changed much in the last 200 years, in the next 42 years, it will jump ahead in leaps and bounds, son, in leaps and bounds. That is technology. But you are the hero, you must not look amazed by it. You must take it all in your stride, shell houses, flying cars, cute robots, androids and all. Please, please, no expression, no expression. Poor people? In Mumbai 2050? Oh, they will be eliminated. Deleted. Maybe, they are underground. I don't know, Chaman. Stop irritating me. This is not a story about poor people. It is a story about love."

Daddyji: "So what, Chaman, if you are in a strange, futuristic city? You are a hero. Of course, you can suddenly become a rock star, and get a stage show at the top place in town. You don't need luck, you have love, after all. No, no, no. Dance as a form never changes. What Hrithik Roshan did in 'Kaho Na Pyaar Hai' is classic dance. It will remain in peoples' hearts forever. Do that, do that, just listen to what I am telling you."

Mixing engineer: "Sir, will you come soon? We have a crisis here."
Daddyji: "What happened?"
Mixing engineer: "Chamanji insists on dubbing in a deep voice."
Daddyji: "I'll be right there."

Daddyji: "No, no, Chaman, please don't speak in your natural voice. You must have a nasal twang. That is what made Hrithik Roshan a star. Yes, yes, slip back and forth from Punjabi accent to unidentifiable NRI accent. Our people love it. It makes them feel as if you are like them, fake accents give you a little-boy charm. No, no, through your nose, through your nose. Please, Chaman."

Daddyji: "Chaman, if only you had had an extra thumb. I did everything I could. But what can I do if God didn't give you an extra thumb. If you'd had it, you'd have been a super-hit, son. A super-hit. No, Chaman, the story has nothing to do with it. Of course, it's a good story. Has anyone else thought of this idea before? Getting back a girlfriend from the future, time machine and all. It's very original, son, very original. No, it's nothing to do with not letting you act. Or your nasal twang. It's the extra thumb, I tell you. That did us in. Chaman's mother, you should have thought of that. Maybe we could have done something about it, when he was growing up."
Mummyji sighs sadly.

'Chaman' is often used as a nick-name for someone who is goofy, a little dumb, a little out of it. Teja insists on calling the hapless hero of 'Love 2050' "Chaman".

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Some Tandoori Thai

Loud woman on phone: "Hey, there's this Thai actor, wants to make a Hindi film. We have to first mount 5 action sequences. Yes, those are the highlights of the film. Story - we will think of something around them. The story should be something which is very low-production value. They want to spend all the money on the action scenes. Those will be the high points of the film. What do you think? Should we do it? It sounds very exciting."

So, now you know how films are made here in Bumm-Bumm-Bholeland.

P-Bapu and I were barely able to stop ourselves from choking on the Tandoori Bekti and the Aloo Poshto at 'Oh Calcutta'.

Later, I said: "Isn't this Andheri West culture too much?"
P-Bapu said: " Maybe she was only pretending to speak to some one on the phone. You know, telling everyone in the restaurant, how busy she is."
I said, gloomily: "And maybe, they were really planning a film around 5 action sequences."
P-Bapu said: "Yeah."

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Guide

Days when I am stuck
For words,
I read old books.
Books written 50 years ago
comfort.
R K Narayan's 'Guide'
written in 1958.
It was a toss between
seeing the film
or reading the book.
Films made 43 years ago
comfort too.
Even if they veer wildly away
from the book.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Trofu, anyone?

At the Film Institute, Truffaut was one of my, no, my most favourite director. The days we had a screening of a Truffaut film were extra-happy days.

But once in Mumbai, I've hardly ever watched a Truffaut film. So, the other day I picked up "Two English Girls" rather greedily from the DVD library. When we put the DVD in, I said to Dhanno, "Come, watch this. This is my 'bestest' director." She hung around. She kept giving me glances. Then stormed off and scribbled this. Which I'm posting with her consent. Which she may regret when she grows up.

Later, she asked me, suspicious as usual, if I said I liked Truffaut only because everyone said so, and it sounded good to say so, or whether I actually did. I said I genuinely did. Teja said anyway, the films were too adult for her.

I admitted that Truffaut's films may be too much for her right now, but she did need to have watched it a little more patiently. She accepted that, and said she'll see another one of my picking. She may change her view on him after all, but in the meanwhile, here is what she thought right here, right now. Spelling mistakes, rambling sentences and all.

"Trofu - Dhanno (Awestruck)

A film that was so unique differed so much story wise (considering the fact it had no story) that no person would remember that they had seen a film like this. A person may experience a certain urge to write about the film even though only 15 minutes might have passed.

Amazed to see how people dressed (always white) and spoke to each other (as if it was a hearing with the President). I was thoroughly bored. I surely noticed that they have all the time in the world to tie their hair up even though they have come down from their room to have tea with their mother.

I wonder if they ever feel they should get a job? But I think they prefer living in the house of their mother's best friend. I'm talking about a man Claude, who even after 1/2 an hour of the movie did nothing but wrote a dumb diary. He lived in that house with his mother's friend and her daughters.

The daughters also following the trend of that time (Do Nothing! is the fashion) kept flirting with the guest of the house. Claude, I think the less busiest of all played silly games with the two girls (mind you, they might be 25).

I was just getting used to the nothingness of the film when the mother of all people, gave her daughters an idea to play back to back sea-saw. Claude joined them too, thinking it was his lifetime achievement of feeling the "supple" backs of the two women. This way for obvious his only achievement, maybe. Feeling I'd had enough I got up (had to) and wrote this."