Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Thousand-Fifty Emraan Hashmis for a Hundred-Five

I’ve just been sitting at home for the past two months now, preparing for a couple of papers, which have ruined all my November-Decembers and the subsequent May-Junes ever since movies like Krrazy 4 and Race tried their luck at the Box Office. I graduated from school in early 2008, and have had at least four sets of exams to give every year since then. College and CA papers infest and suck on my Novembers and Mays like the lice which live on Mahesh Bhatt’s back since Pooja Bhatt hit puberty. Yes, those little blood sucking parasites which make Mr. Bhatt reach remote areas of his back and then the grey jungles of his torso every time that he is interviewed on TV. I’m sure he must’ve had a hard time at first. To make the licey-micey play hide and seek with him all over his body while the whole world tried to take him seriously. He must’ve probably just covered it up with nothing but an embarrassed smile at first. The enquiries to his trials for the mascot of The Simpson’s “Itchy Scratchy Land” must’ve made him feel awkward. He must’ve explained how it was just a temporary itch, and he’d be back to give a more impressive itch-free interview the next time that the TV channels would call him. But all those promises were forgotten as time passed by.
Losing some hair on his pate wasn’t any solace, as the lice seemed to multiply with time. And so did my exams. Junes and Decembers get sucked on by CS and CWA papers. It was difficult initially. College trips with the girlfriend were given up for the first time with a promise to not let it happen again. Birthday parties were missed and there would be nothing more than a photo dedication on facebook as well as a 1000 characters long poem on sms to the birthday boy/girl to compensate for the absence from the party. A promise to relieve myself of the unbearable itch that my exams gave me throughout the year would make me keep alive the Hakuna Matata look on my face all through. But gradually, I got so used to the itch that missing trips and parties didn’t seem important anymore. Mr. Bhatt, I’ve joined your clan.
“B******d! Jab bhi poochho tere exams hote hain saal bhar. Saale, kabhi toh aa jaaya kar milne.”
“I’m sorry, man. Let these papers get over in another month and we’re definitely making a scene together.”
But old itches die hard.

I thought the idea of giving up on some sleep to catch up with a few nocturnal friends on the phone every night could be an artificial resuscitation technique to the dying state of my social interaction. Emraan Hashmi revived the Bhatt Production house from its slow death. The “Serial Kisser” was just a tag to glamorize his actual work of a life saver. He would breathe oxygen into the movies from the Bhatt camp through his mouth. It was not just his monkey ancestor who was proud of his ape-like lips, but also the Bhatts, for whom he was nothing less than a messenger from a monkey God. Yes! I had found my Emraan Hashmi too! (That kinda sounds wrong. I mean it in a straight guy way, ok?) In the Vodafone night minutes I saw my horny little messiah.

“Dude! 105 bucks for a thousand-and-fifty minutes on the phone! Do your math, man”, I told Rahat, as the tariff rate of 10 paise per minute gleamed in front of me like the dollar signs in Hannah Barbera’s Big Bad Wolf’s eyes. Vodafone brought me the stubbled chumma-chaati boy so that my Murder-ed social life could soon change into Jannat.

I scratched the little card and punched the 14 digits on my phone.
*Dear Customer, you have 1050 local Vodafone to Vodafone night minutes (11pm to 6am) valid till whenever-the-frig-you-can-make-them-last-you-filthy-night-talker*

Soon enough, I could see my friendships revive like Shahrukh Khan’s face during the shooting of Don. The night minutes did to my life, what Hashmi saab did (to) his co-stars. Pure unadulterated pleasure! Conversations with friends who seemed to have got far left behind became as frequent as the number of times Radio Mirchi played Bheegey Honth on your car radio in 2006. The smile on my face was as permanent as the Mallika Sherawat poster that your local barber had put up in his shop to attract customers. Times in the future seemed as bright as the body oil that Celina Jaitley had bathed in during her bikini sequences in Jawani Deewani. Ah! Didn’t you all love it? If you’re shaking your head and saying “No”, let me go back to your internet history from the time you were in school, and see how many times you had suffixed an actress’ name with the word “MMS” on Google (after obviously turning the Search Filter off).

So, Mr. Hashmi’s movies did sell. The tickets sold no less than your chemist’s most sold item. You sang songs in praise of Mallika Sherawat’s moist lips with your school friends when the teacher would leave the classroom. You sang it in your head during your maths exam, when all you could see on the paper were two big round zeroes (No innuendos here. Don’t purposely look for one). Emraan never seemed to disappoint you. He’d bring you video after another that would make you sing Aashiq Banaya Aapne, without even caring to see if it was actually Himesh Reshammiya on screen or Tanushree Dutta. Vodafone Night Minutes did just as much good to the sultry social butterfly, who was a personification of my sense of social satisfaction.

But, don’t you remember changing the channel as soon as your mum would walk into the room? All that you saw on screen was real entertainment. You knew it much before Vidya Balan could tell you about it in The Dirty Picture. It was there for you to see, but only when you were alone. You remember sitting with your family watching TV when the song sprang up on your 48 inch Plasma screen. You didn’t have the guts to change the channel or to ask anyone else to do it. You just stared at the screen feeling more embarrassed than happy, praying for someone to start a conversation that would turn all heads towards the communicator and away from the TV screen. Your mum would get reminded of some work in the kitchen suddenly and she would rush. Your sister would get up and leave behind her. Now, even though you were sitting with your dad, you were not man enough to have a man to man talk. We all remember it and we all should know that the night minutes are no less of an Emraan Hashmi in our lives.

I switch off the lights in my room and dial a number. No, wait. You do it too. Let me rephrase this.

You switch off the lights in your room and dial a number. You talk in a little whisper and crack mute laughter that makes your stomach hurt. You talk till wee hours in the morning. And, no. You’re not talking to someone who belongs to the same sex. You talk to those who belong to your sex type not later than 1 am. You may call that girl a bro, but I bet your real bro can’t keep you up, talking till 5 am. Even football discussions between bros don’t go beyond 2 am, so don’t even try that excuse. You enjoy the night conversations like Mr. Hashmi’s videos. You quickly hang up on the slightest sound of anyone in your house waking up. You check for if everyone’s asleep, and you resume your “fun-filled” conversations. Your mind tells you: “Dude, this is real. This is life. Talk to her. You’re doing nothing wrong.” You have to go to college the following day. Or worse, to the office. Or worse, prepare for an exam that’s coming up in a week. But you choose to give it a manly: “Eh, f*** it!”

The conversation ends right before sunrise, and you feel happy for living a life, which literally goes from Twilight to Breaking Dawn. “All girls like vampires, dude. They’re hot. They live long lives. They stay up all night”…zzzz… And, you wake up at 8.30 to another characteristic. “Hell yeah, they’re all monsters.”

So you curse yourself for staying up the previous night. You wash your vampire turned zombie face, as you’re left with no time to take a bath. Your head pumps like the woofers in a Rajouri Garden wali black Santro. You keep dozing off on your work pile the whole day. You look Droopy eyed and swear to sleep early the following night. But that magical voice on the other side of the phone will remind you of how Cartoon Network’s Droopy dog had all the girls drooling over him. It’s no longer just your night minutes which resemble Emraan Hashmi. Your face does, too. And you hate it. You fall into this trap from which you won’t ever be able to come out. Your life will never be able to get itself a role in a Yashraj family movie. You’ll be stuck with your Bhatt camp and the like. Yes, you get pleasure out of it. But some day, you’ll realize that what still sells after a disastrous movie like Ra.One, is the name Shah Rukh Khan, and not your beloved Emraan Hashmi.