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Archive for the ‘General Gyan’ Category

I’ve received such interesting commenst and views on what women want that it reminded me of a popular fable I’d heard some time ago. It goes like this:

King Arthur was one captured by a neighbouring king who agreed to spare the former’s life if he could answer one question, What do women want?

Since King Arthur didn’t know the answer, he sent his messengers all over his kingdom looking for anyone who did. In the course of their travels, the messengers came across an ugly, wizened witch who claimed she knew the answer. She would, however, only reveal it if Lancelot agreed to marry her. Knowing the gravity of the situation Lancelot acquiesced, whence the witch answered, “What a woman really wants is to be able to be in charge of her own life.”

As soon as they heard it, everyone, including the neighbouring king, knew that truer words had never been spoken. And so the wedding between Lancelot and the witch was solemnised. On their wedding night, the witch announced that she had the ability to be beautiful half the time. She asked Lancelot to choose: either she could be beautiful during the day or at night.

Unable to make up his mind, Lancelot said that he would let her choose. Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time, because he had respected her and had let her be in charge of her own life.

The moral of this story? It doesn’t matter if your woman is pretty or ugly, smart or dumb. Underneath it all, she’s still a witch. And if you try to control her life, if you don’t let her have her way, things will get ugly!

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    6.A gay best friend to listen to us and give us fashion advice. We all want a Will to our Grace, sharing the secrets of our soul. And that’s because gay men get the despair, the angst and the should I call him or will it make me look needy conundrum. They totally get the drama, relish it even, and, more often than not, may even trump us in that department. Besides, it is huge fun for gays and us fag-hags to talk about men we are attracted to, each safe in the knowledge that the other person is not pitching to the same guy.

    And then there’s the shopping. While our female friends are competitive when shopping and ‘secretly want our ass to look fat’, there’s no risk of toxic advice in shopping with our gay friend.

    7.Romance and sex. Breaking news, WE LIKE SEX. Tender as well as red-hot, passionate animal sex. Who doesn’t like their eyes rolling back in their heads from sheer, unbearable pleasure? The only reason many of us don’t like sex is because our partners think a G-spot is short for Gold Spot. They are too focussed on their own pleasure. And if they do think of us they think going at us like a battering ram is IT.

    And we like romance. We all like to be wooed and made to feel one in a million. But sincerely, and not just because they want to get into our pants. Yes, we like to be made to feel so hot that they can’t contain themselves. But we also want romance just for the sake of romance. So yes, we like romance and sex, preferably in the same guy. I mean after all the gratuitous eating and endless shopping with our gay best friend with all the money that we have, who has the energy to pander to two guys?

    8.Equality with chivalry.  We want to be treated as equals but that doesn’t mean we want we the door slamming in our faces all the time. A guy who holds the door open will go a long way, maybe even all the way, with us.

    9.No PMS. I was going to write no periods, but as the time for their cessation draws ever closer, I discover I’ve grown rather attached to them. So I’m just going to settle for no PMS. No bloating and crankiness when that time of the month approaches. And if we have to have PMS then let it be only crabbiness. After all, bad temper is something others have to live with. It’s the bloating that’s a bummer, really.

    10.A genie to grant us all that. Well, duh!

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It’s five o’clock on a Sunday and we’re sitting in Olive. We have good food and drink in our bellies, time on our hands and a strange reluctance to call it a day. What better way to spend time than watching a movie? Everyone wants to go for Iron Man but I veto that. The next choice is It’s a Wonderful Afterlife which we all agree upon. F wants to go for it because she’s Gurinder Chadha fan. A wants to go because he doesn’t want to watch Iron Man and he doesn’t want to watch Badmaash Company. Me, I just wanna stare at Sendhil Ramamurthy and drool.

Even though we arrive at the choice of film with minimum dissent, it is still six thirty by the time we leave. So we drive to Globus where there’s only a single screen and that’s screening Badmaash Company. Onwards to Suburbia where also they’re showing Badmaash Company. We drive to some four multiplexes and all that’s running is Badmaash company. By now we’re wondering if it is not the universe telling us something. “If by universe you mean Yashraj Films, sure,” A retorts.

We got to Gaiety-Galaxy as a last resort and all that’s running there is, you got it, Badmaash Company. Defeated, we bow down to Yashraj Films’ superior marketing, buy the tickets (only 75 bucks for balcony!) and walk in during the first song.

That is twice in two days I’ve missed the beginning of a film and I’m wondering if it doesn’t augur something. Turns out it does, that the film is crap. Although to be fair to Parmeet Sethi, he has tried to address the logical issues that invariably crop up when you’re trying to make a film like that.

*Someone please tell him that insider trading is illegal, though.*

The premise of the film is simple. It is early 1990s. Boy live in chawl, boy has ambition. He want become rich, not slave away in dead end like dad. Unfortunately for boy, boy’s father think all businessmen capitalist pigs. Boy goes ahead anyway and set up Friend’s & Co with three other friends, one being squeeze. Friends & Co business model import duty evasion on Reebok Shoes, duniya ki sabse badi shoe company. The largest shoe company in the world.

Enter Manmohan Singh and duty rationalisation. Overnight boy’s business go bust. He then decide to move to the US of A. He decide this because he want grow bigger and better. But mainly he decide this because it is Yashraj Film and Yashraj Film always shoot abroad. In the US of A they make plenty money and spend plenty more. And then, since it is Bollywood film and not Catch Me If You Can, it is only matter of time before his life catch up with him.

In Parmeet Sethi’s defence, while the story may not be much and the editing is choppy in places, the film doesn’t drag. In terms of performances, Shahid Kapoor tries to act like SRK which is funny because SRK can’t act. But he’s still better than the others which says a lot about the overall acting levels in the film. Anushka Sharma looks slim and svelte and has the requisite wardrobe but doesn’t have the looks for sexy.

Yikes! Enough time and money wasted. No more films for me. With the exception of Kites. And that also only because of Hrithik Roshan and the associated drool factor.

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Iron man released this Friday and I had no idea it was releasing. For some strange reason that upset me. A closer inspection of my feelings revealed it had to do with being robbed of anticipation. You see I like the anticipation of watching a film almost as much as (and in some cases even more than) watching it. It’s a bit like the anticipation of a meal après a fast. Much more fun than the actual act of eating.

Anyway to get back to story, I figured out why they launched the film with such little publicity. That’s because they figured they’d spend the money in bribing the reviewer instead. Four stars the-fucker-who-shall-remain-unnamed gave it.

As soon as I read the review, I dropped everything I was doing (including an expensive china dish) hopped into an auto and sped to Cinemax to catch the cheap morning show (I’m only a poor writer and can’t afford regular shows) although at 140 a ticket the only thing cheap about it is the management’s disgraceful attempt to pass it off as a cut price ticket. AND IT WASN’T EVEN FOR THE RECLINING LOUNGE! AND I MISSED THE FIRST FEW MINUTES PRIOR TO THE OPENING CREDITS.

The plot, for the lack of a better word, is closer to home now that the evil Paki terrorist horse has been flogged to death. And the enemy this time around is the US Army that wants to obtain the Iron Man technology. Impervious to Tony Stark’s trademark braggadocio assertion, the suit is not Iron Man, I am, the Army appoints Stark’s friend ‘Rhodie’ Rhodes to acquire it. To add to Stark’s woes, the thingie he wears in the centre of his chest, the motor that keeps the shrapnel away from his heart is giving him Palladium poisoning.

Then there are Tony’s other nemeses, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) and Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke). Justin Hammer’s got a real hard on for a lucrative Army contract. The only problem is whatever his company, Hammer Tech manufactures has as much sizzle as a damp Diwali cracker. Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), an evil Russian genius hates Tony Stark because Tony’s father, Howard Stark was responsible for getting his father deported to Russia. “Well that makes two of us,” Tony should’ve said to him, at least according to the back story they’ve given him about how (sob) his father never loved him.

That’s the plot. The rest of the film is a lot of mumbling on Robert Downey Jr.’s part, blowing up a lot of cars in Monte Carlo, him giving grief to Pepper Potts, him flirting with Agent Romanov (Scarlett Johansson), him bullying Jarvis.

A whole lot of talk and not much action. You know, I’m thinking the new trend they’ve started on TV, subtitling? Excellent idea. Especially when you got to watch someone like Robert Downey Jr. who has a tendency to mumble. Far funnier? Sam Rockwell. At least I could understand what he was saying. And what was that whole thign about Sam Rockwell oozing malevolence? Does malevolence means ineptidue in your lexicon, Mr Reviewer?

Mickey Rourke, neither good, nor bad. Indifferent is the word that comes to mind. Gwyneth Paltrow is efficient as the long suffering Pepper Potts. Scarlett Johansson is sexy as Agent Romanov. On an aside though, why did they make her a brunette when everyone knows blonde = sexy. And isn’t Romanov a male name? Shouldn’t it have been Romanova? What are they trying to do, rewrite sexy and gender equality?

My verdict, go watch the Hindi version. At least, it will be coherent and hilarious. Sample:

“Tony Stark, lauh purush ki tukneek amrikan thal sena ke havale kar do.”

“Kabhi nahin. Lauh purush purush se banta hai, tukneek se nahin.”

Doesn’t make sense? Neither does the movie.

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Guys, in case you’re wondering where I have disappeared to these days, let me tell you, it’s not Goa (sadly). Well, not totally, although it may account for three days last week.

By now some of you may be aware that Piggies on the Railway is doing very well. Commercially, we sold the entire first print run (5,000 copies) in three weeks flat, and critically, we’ve had more good reviews than bad. So, I think, I can exhale now. Phew!

This success is bringing with it its own share of pressures. For instance, my publicity person is now exhorting me to write the next book ASAP. She calls me up to ask me how many words I’ve written so far. And she does this EVERYDAY. Ever had someone who does this to you every day? Wait a minute, I forgot, most of you have jobs. So you know the best way to suck joy out of something is to make it into a job.

And if that’s not enough to rob me of the will to live, my maids have taken off to their respective villages for the duration of the summer vacation. While I’m quite content to live in an inch layer of dust, eating out is proving to be a problem. A drinking problem.

I can’t help it. Ever since I graduated from college, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten out sans booze. Well, there was this one evening bang in the middle of something stupid the Maharashtra Govt observes. A Gandhi birth week during which they force prohibition down our throats (I would’ve have punned here but I can’t think of a clever punch-line to the set-up). But that was only out of ignorance. Usually I’m pretty up to speed on dry days but somehow that one escaped me. Must be ’cos I was new to Bombay.

In any case, I don’t think it’s that big a deal but my friends seem to think that Margaritas in the afternoon are a sign of alcoholism. I tell them it’s not alcoholism, it’s melancholism. I’m drinking to drown my sorrows. But they’re not amused.

I’m also writing a screenplay for an animation movie. I’m doing this because it’s a friend’s project and also it’s a huge amount of fun.

I’ve got my life somewhat under control now. Not totally sorted but managebale. And I hope to be able to post more regularly from now on. Ciao.

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I heard an intriguing doomsday theory the other day. Now, I love doomsday theories. They make good fodder for my stories. The theory I heard then is that 2012 will definitely happen.

For those who don’t know the significance of the year 2012 (where have you been the past few months and why haven’t you watched the movie?), there exists an ancient Mayan Calendar System which predicts the end of the world in the aforementioned year. Of course, like all doomsday theories, this one too has naysayers who claim nothing of the sort will happen and that doomsday mongers have drawn this erroneous conclusion based on the fact that the calendar ends on winter solstice (or is it equinox?) 2012.

According to this intriguing new theory, the world will definitely end, only not in the volcanoes-erupting-Earth-caving-in-Sun-getting-outta-control kinda way but in a more sophisticated financial Armageddon kinda way. So you’ll have a situation where the banks and bourses have collapsed, asset prices have collapsed and there is hyperinflation. Unable to afford food, people will die of starvation and there will massive looting and vandalism. What we will have eventually is massive geo-socio-politico (and any other o you can think of) unrest.

The reason: The US economy is on a headlong collision course. The levels of debt and unemployment are extraordinary and you have a set of politicians who are out to destroy the currency. Not bad enough?

Picture Spain, one of the bigger European economies. Its economy is in worse shape; the housing sector which was the driver of growth there has completely collapsed and thirty per cent of the population between the ages of 18-25 is without jobs. To make matters worse they have the common currency, the Euro. Otherwise the natural thing would have been to devalue the currency and somehow get growth back on track. As things stand today, they are staring at massive deflation and that is never good for growth.

Then there is China where the Central bank has been conducting the most extraordinarily inflationary experiment and flooded the system with liquidity. As the result there are huge asset bubbles everywhere and danger of hyperinflation.

You see where I’m going with this? No? Rest assured, neither do I? All I know is I’m going to liquidate all my stock market holdings and stuff the cash inside my mattress. After all, during the conditions reigning at the time, I just might be able to afford a packet of sugar.

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Sometime ago, the Times of India was doing a story on how more and more men are shedding tears these days. They wasnted my opinion on whether it has suddenly become acceptable, fashionable even for men to cry? Or are these men sissies and the fact remains that real men don’t cry?  

I had forgotten about this story and finding it was quite serendipitous. Interesting read. And not only for my expert take :-).

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