Friday, March 29, 2013

New Guy

My all-consuming project at work involves making a TV series on Indian science & technology. (Not on air yet. Don't ask.)
Our funding agency's brief is: "Lyk Discowery, ok? But without money, ok? Ok."

This, coupled with general inexperience in this type of programming has resulted in something that industry insiders term Very Poor Quality. It's not my first experience working in this genre. In fact, one might say I'm an old hand now. I get by only because, in television, it's always the other guy's fault.

Anyway, so the boss has hired a senior chap to come in and salvage the situation. To bring us all back on track, as it were. This man has an enviable resume (eg: he has worked with Rajdeep Sardesai) and he has the beatific smile of your friendly, neighbourhood saviour. He's also vegetarian, which means he can never be an asshole.

We welcomed him in a fairly non-threatening manner and he spent the day with us, vibin' n groovin' n generally chillin'. Towards the end of the day, we began to get serious, describing the challenges we face trying to translate some seriously hard-core science into viewer (read: dumbass) friendly TV. He listened, respectfully, gravely. We were forthcoming about our weaknesses - the biggest being our lack of qualifications. Not one of us making this series has any academic grounding in the sciences.

He expressed solidarity with us and then, in a heartfelt admission of his own shortcomings, told us, "I have a confession: Even I'm doing this kind of work for the first time. I have never before worked in Science Fiction."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pretty Sure It's The Meds

This post is all whine and some crackers.

I'm having such a bad hair day, I'd say my hair is having a bad me day. 
I've been working for what feels like Mandela's stint on Robin Island and my only entertainment in forever has been getting up to go pee.
I have not left the house in 7 days.

I've been sick - as in, body being attacked by germs kind of sick. Or so I tell myself as I pop another pill while searching for an excuse not to bathe - offered to one of the many disinterested parties that inhabit my life. It's the kind of cloying season-change illness that has your skull feeling like it's trapped in a Phantom of the Opera mask with his singing voice echoing in your ears, even though you never bought a ticket to the show and frankly think that Andrew Lloyd Webber's finest ouevre was Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja.

I have seen the entire second season of Girls in a single sitting and am now riddled with dreams of disembodied boobs playing table tennis (Wilson's, not Dunham's.). It's not entirely unpleasant and it sure beats that recurring dream of P. Chidambaram in his Don't-Call-It-A-Lungi-Or-The-Tamilian-Mafia-Will-Come-After-You.

In other news the Anti-Rape bill was passed in the Parliament. The news was received amidst lamentations & recriminations that Rahul Gandhi was absent for the vote (along with a sizeable chunk of the legislature. I think the only people who stayed to vote were the folks who fell asleep in the previous session and woke up in the middle of this one).
I've been trying hard to decide my feelings about all of this and have been in hiding from the droves of reporters, banging on my door, anxious to know my special thoughts.
On one hand, I'm relieved that something got passed - like a kidney stone.
On the other hand, I wonder if this anorexic version of the Justice Verma Committee report will make it difficult for anyone pushing for anything better - like constipation.

Every single day I get closer to menopause.

I read an essay by Frederick Douglass and saw 'Gone With The Wind' in the same day, which is an adventure sport I would recommend to anyone serious about understanding the 'Dalit Sich'.
Meanwhile, Chetan Bhagat managed to con another group of earnest filmmakers into elevating his book from toilet paper to That Film Where That Hot Guy Shouldn't Have Died. 

These are the moments when I wonder why I'm putting any effort into this existence. Then I remember I haven't bathed again today and feel better about it all. 
Besides, as Scarlett O Hara said: "Tomorrow is another day (and if the DMK is still in the news you can laugh at Delhi-based news anchors trying to pronounce Alagiri and Kanimozhi)."
Eiiiiiii. I said - Eiiiiiiii

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Funn Like A Nething

The dreariest memory of grouchy client and the achey-est pain in stressed-out shoulder blade disappear when I write for Stories For Thing.

Here is my second one: The Party In Her Mind.

Now I will go off and read some of the other stories and pretend I have the heart of a 6 yr old and not just the brain.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two Guys

One of them is the kind of guy I'd like to go out with.

The other is the kind of guy I keep ending up with.

"I'm taking my serious girlfriend to Mexico."
"To kill her?"

Saturday, March 16, 2013


This afternoon, from 1:00 pm to 1:12 pm, the news anchor read out 7 pieces of breaking news.
Each one of them was about a horrific act of violence against women - most of them, gangrapes.
One after the other after the other after the other after the other.
Take a breath.
One after the other after the other after the other.

One of the news items creating the most buzz is of two Swiss tourists biking through Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of India. They decided to camp out near in a forested area, when they were attacked by 7 men. Allegedly, they were robbed and the woman was gangraped. At the time of this post, no one has been arrested. There is chatter now, of travel advisories being issued for the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Travel advisories for countries where these things happen and modesty is outraged by boys will be boys.

Breaking. Very breaking.
And don't tell me "At least the rapes are being reported & taken seriously."  I'm not in the mood.

Let India be internationally shamed for being a rampantly criminal country.
Not safe for children, women or men. I don't care about national pride anymore. Enough is fucking enough.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Today at the mall, I saw a woman with her son and nanny. The son would've been around 8 or 9 years old. He was misbehaving and getting on his mother's nerves. His mother yelled at him. He started whining. She huffed off. 
The kid was left with Nanny, whom he started to punch. She tried to hug him. He stomped on her foot. She stroked his hair. He wailed. The mother came out of the store she was in and yelled at him some more.
Then she left again, vanishing into another store. The kid's squealing got louder. He charged at Nanny. She tried to fend off his tiny-fisted slugs, while reaching into her backpack for a juice to calm him. He threw the juice box on the floor. Nanny held him firmly, wiped his tears and said cooing things into his ear. He calmed down, only slightly sniffling now. His mother surfaced once more. All was peaceful. 
What an invention! The Tantrum Nanny.

The Tantrum Nanny reminded me of something I saw years ago on a road trip to Kedarnath. 
Some workers were digging a ditch along the highway. Two men were responsible for shoveling the loose earth to one side.  But there was only one shovel.
The shovel had a rope tied to its blade.
Guy 1 held the shovel firmly by the handle.
Guy 2 tugged at the rope so that the blade would sweep across the ground & scoop up gravel.
Guy 1 would pull back on the handle. Guy 2 would tug again. Guy 1 would pull back. Guy 2 would tug.
What an invention! The Two Man Shovel.

I now dream of a day when there will be a robot for tantrum management (and 2 robots for shoveling).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Joinin' 'Em

A recent commercial for an online property dealings site Magic Bricks. com has plenty of potential for generating outrage. But I think it's a great ad. At least there's no smarmy pandering to the feminist ego, which is so rampant in Indian advertising nowadays.
Instead there's this:

So gutpunchingly honest is this ad that I'm inspired to fuel a new revolution in Indian advertising. I think it may appeal to more people than we think.

Bike Ad:

Refreshing Beverage Ad:

Beauty Products Ad:

Multi-purpose Ad For The Man-In-You (Who-Only-Listens-To-What-His-Mummy-Papa-Say):

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Life Is A T-Shirt Whose Label Has Fallen Off

One of my father's well-worn party jokes is: "Life is a struggle. And then you die."
It doesn't get many laughs.
The fact that life is a series of dastardly, fate-driven events, whose consequences we accumulate, pack into trunks and lug around all our lives, without a visible destination in sight (or even on Google Maps) is a family motto in these parts.
Our Family's Coat of Arms: 'Semper Eadem' is Latin for 'Life Will Poop On Your Head'

I am on the cusp of starting a new year of my life. It's somewhat of a halfway mark in the human longevity timescale. Assuming I have as many years of struggling left, I'm telling you now - I'm not having it none of it no more.
So as long as we're making up shit about life, I'm getting me my own motto: 'Life is T-Shirt. Whose Label Has Fallen Off.'
My new Coat of Arms: The Empty Space is Latin for 'Huh? Who dat?'

I'm reading this essay by W.E.B Du Bois called the 'The Souls of Black Folk' and not that I'm comparing my personal struggles to those of the African-American but there are words here that ring true and comfort me. 
It's about the newly freed Black man (I'm going to assume, also woman), for whom the 1865 Emancipation declaration was not an instant release from racism. 
It's about the exhaustion of endless struggle and the dimming of hope. 
Even if we've never been slaves, it's something many of us can identify with to some degree (please don't be sending me sermon-like comments about how I will never understand what it means to be kidnapped from my home continent, dehumanized and sold like a piece of furniture, physically, mentally & psychologically brutalized and silenced for centuries.).

"Up the new path the advanced guard toiled, slowly, heaving, doggedly; only those who have watched and guided the faltering feet, the misty minds, the dull understandings of the dark pupils of this school know how faithfully, how piteously, this people strove to learn. It was weary work.
The cold statistician wrote down the inches of progress here and there, noted also where here and there a foot had slipped or someone had fallen.
To the tired climbers, the horizon was ever dark, the mists were often cold, the Canaan always dim and far away. If however, the vistas disclosed as yet no goal, no resting place, little but flattery and criticism, the journey at least gave leisure for reflection and self examination....

....In those sombre forests of his striving, his own soul rose before him and he saw himself - darkly, as through a veil; and yet he saw in himself some faint revelation of his power, of his mission."

The 'cold statistician' bit kills me. Just kills me. It's that ridiculous little scorekeeper inside us. The jerk with the checklist, reducing our lives to tickmarks & crosses. When we look back on our lives and try to sum it up, this icy-hearted statistician is there to give us the tally.
If life has been a struggle against the odds without an end in sight, the tally is likely to be a grim one. 
And if you're in a minority or have taken a non-conformist route, god help you, you're completely off the grid.

But Du Bois gives hope. Maybe the struggle isn't endless but an end in itself - an empowering end in itself. 
Maybe we're imagining the destination incorrectly. Maybe it isn't the goal we envisioned (please don't be sending me comments like: "What? Why am I starving myself if I won't lose 10 kilos???")
Maybe there's reward inherent in it. Like a 2-for-1 deal you weren't quite shopping for but can make something out of
Maybe it's the 'leisure for reflection & self-examination' that's the reward. Maybe it's the 'faint revelation of power'. 
Maybe, yes.

(And please don't be sending me comments like: "Big whoop. You can keep your sombre forests of striving. I still want my promotion.")