Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Open Letter to Ted Mosby

Dear Ted,

While you sit there, telling your kids the story of how you met their mother, I think you seem to have forgotten that a huge population of the world has also sat through your narration for almost nine years now in the belief that your experiences make for a nice sitcom. Shocker, right? I thought so. Or how would you have not realized by now that the only humor in the situation is that you haven't aged even a day through all these years? Now before you start blushing like a little girl and say, “thank you”, continuing further to tell me about why saying “thanks” bastardizes the magic word, I should stop you right there and ask you to hear me out first.

I am ok with Marshall looking like he is living on a perpetual diet of 15 rupaye wale chhole bhature outside Karkarduma Court. I have no complaints against Lily's need to pout at a steam iron in an attempt to straighten out the wrinkles around her lips. I am willing to forgive the fact that Barney still dresses up like Mike Ross, when Harvey Specter's suits look more dapper. And I am ok with not hearing anyone exclaim, “Bhai, yeh toh bilkul Katrina lagti hai” on checking out Robin for the first time. But the fact that you are exactly the same even after nine years shows that you have had absolutely no character development. I guess we seem to have discovered your superpower. It being that your body ages with your mind, and well, we can clearly see how your brain hasn't matured even a bit after all these experiences. Elaborate, I shall.

So you almost got married to Stella, had to break it off twice with Victoria, fell in love with the Captain's wife and have had countless other flings when you said you had finally found the one. Good job. The men of the world are proud of the wonderful women you've managed to get with. They try to be like Barney, but realize that they relate more with you because the only time they can actually use “wait for it” is when they're about to fart after a huge serving of kadhi pakoda. You give Indian men hope to move on and find “the one” after every heartbreak. But as soon as they manage to get a girl to reply to their facebook messages, it dawns on you that you still have feelings for Robin, which makes all my brothers believe how they will never be able to get over that one woman they were once in a relationship with. I mean why would you do this to these people! The Hindi movie industry has anyway been feeding these peeps nonsense on the lines of “pehla pyaar kabhi bhulaaya nahi jaata”. Why do you have to reiterate it again and again, godammit! Set a good example for your bros and move on. Let them drunk dial their exes, pronounce a few cuss words and move on to comment, “hiiiii...... vry prty!!!!” on someone else's profile picture.

Also, your friend, Barney, deserves a hi-five on his face for letting you be such an influence on him over the years. The guy used to be such a player and look at what you've done to him in the past three seasons. The world rejoiced when he fell in love with Norah, thinking how this was the perfect ending that Barney's ba-donka-donk streak could be given. But no, he didn't stop. He then fell in love with a stripper, and proposed to her too. It seemed sweet. But no! Then he decided to get married to Robin! Great build-up. Not! I mean what have your writers been thinking? As the ping pong ball metaphor is too old now, let me ask you to not treat Robin like the diamond shaped pillow in a DDLJ inspired game of passing the parcel. So much for hating Canneda, you guys!

The ninth season is six episodes down and apart from the fact that it is just as interesting as watching Cook it Up with Tarla Dalal, you haven't even met the mother yet! I'm assuming the writers don't want you to romance Cristin Milioti even close to as much as every Punjabi hunk does with Mallika Sherawat on the Bachelorette. Why, oh why? Your gang's antics have been getting really lame for the past two seasons and going by how the current episodes are progressing, I think an additional season was added only because the UPA government gets some kind of commission for every episode made.

While we're on the topic of writing, I'd also request you to stop giving life lessons that seventeen year old girls can Google with the search query “Shitty Ted Mosby Love Quotes” and put up as their facebook status messages. It makes you look like you just walked out of a Thought Catalog article on twenty-somethings. Great taste in literature, right? Right?

I hope you realize that maybe your kids have just been humoring you for years now despite knowing that they're adopted. There's a possibility that you could be an American version of Ajay Devgn from Main Aisa Hi Hoon and your children just sit through your stories because your therapist prescribed family time for a person with special abilities. Whatever be the case, if you don't give this show the ending it deserves, know that I will get a dadi for you from India who will milaao your patri with her mandir-saheli's daughter and then harrow you to give her a par-pota to play with. Phir rakhiyo karva chauth ke vrat chhani uttha ke!

Yours truly,

Sarthak WaitedEnoughForIt Ahuja

Image Source: glamour.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Radio Roti Roadtrip

Your dad wakes you up at six, which was supposed to be your planned time for departure, but no matter how seriously your parents tell you on the previous night that they want to leave for that road trip early morning, they're just as habituated as you when it comes to hitting the snooze button multiple times on an almost winter morning. As you take a hurried shower, you know that your mum is either making toasts in the kitchen or neatly rolling aaloo paranthas in aluminium foil. A quick wash later, you get out to dust the car and place the bags into the boot. While you wonder how calling shotgun is never an option for you but only your mum’s prerogative, the others rush out soon enough and the engine grunts a good-to-go.

You thought while in the shower that you'd catch up on some sleep in the car, but you blame the constant shaking for your inability to do so and decide to read a book that you picked up for the road as the radio plays a morning Kishore Kumar song. As your eyes glance up from the words for a moment, you notice how pretty the city looks in the morning. The India Gate through a light mist and the surrounding grass fresh from the dew seem more interesting than the book in your hand and you get a feeling that the day will be just as relaxing as you wish for it to be.

While the eyes go back to tracing words on a page, you realize a few minutes later that the words entering your ears no longer sound like a Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. You look up to notice that you've almost exited the city and the radio blares something about a person whose name rhymes with saliva doing the Lungi Dance.

Mumma, song change kardo.
“This isn't any better. Play 95 FM.”
“Just go through all the channels once, then I'll tell you.”
*click*... *click*... *click*
Haan, woh last wala sayi hai, 93.5

While the sister orders the mother to change channels one after the other, making her stop at a station that plays her favorite song, your father complains about how the lyrics these days make absolutely no sense. He switches the channel to something that plays a Mohd. Rafi song and you join your sister in telling him that you don't want to listen to boring songs from a dadaji generation. Kishore Kumar's good, but that doesn't mean one has to play tunes from the sixties for six straight hours. The mother gets irritated and gives up on the chore of switching channels, and you wonder why you always forget to get an aux cable for your stupid car stereo. More so because the holy mother leaves the radio at 102.6 FM Rainbow and there's nothing you can do about it. Ironically, the song that perfectly fits the situation at that time is “Aey Aaay Aaaaar. FM radio. All the taaa-ime.”

Staring blankly into the moving fields outside, you look back in when your mum hands you a rolled up parantha that leaves your mouth feeling dry immediately after. Not a good sign. You know it's never a good sign because it requires you to balance the water bottle with both your hands and ensure that you don't spill any water on your clothes. You keep sitting with your mouth open, gathering the guts to tilt the bottle enough to pour out water that would fall directly at the back of your tongue. A speed bump, and you lower the bottle only to try again ten seconds later. Eventually, no matter how hard you try, you have more water on your clothes than what went through your throat and the ten minute exercise feels like a waste. You normally boast about being sober even after four drinks; and here, just holding the bottle makes you act inebriated.

You take your arm out from the window and feel the wind push it backward. As you open your mouth just a little to taste the air, you feel a tickle down below. A pair of efficient kidneys and a cool wind almost always aggravate the need to relieve oneself. After a few minutes, you can't control yourself and voice your concern about badly feeling the need to take a leak. The car will be stopped at the next petrol pump or dhaba, you're told, but the lack of a Vaishno Dhaba for the next five kilometre stretch makes you want to give up all shame and stand anywhere on the road side.

Just stopping on the road side doesn't help. When you finally find the perfect bush to water after a ten minute search, you end up standing at a place from where the only thing in view is a sarson ka khet with a wall that reads the advertisement, “Dr. Sheikh: gupt rogi yahan milen”. You could've been lucky and seen an Ambuja Cement ad instead, but there's only so much that a man with a tiny bladder can ask for.

You get back to your car to notice your dad buying two kilos of amrood and a dozen bananas from the fruit vendor standing close by. “Who's going to eat so much fruit”, you ask your mum, and then don't care to pay attention to the response. You know it's to keep you from complaining about being hungry till your parents discover a nice place to eat right in time for lunch. If nothing else, a Verka booth would be enough to keep you happy.

While your sister gathers the courage to demand a change in radio station again with the excuse that the network is getting crappy, you know that you'd have managed the song situation pretty well if you were behind the wheel. The sister knows it's only a false belief because the mother freaks out if you try to touch the radio while driving, especially when she already complains about you being a rash driver even at the speed of fifty.

You get back to reading your book, take off your shoes and put your legs up on the seat. You notice the neat lines that slice acres of land into little square farms, the trees whizzing by, a hand-pump somewhere, a solitary tree in the middle of a farm and dung cakes that remind you of the time you asked your parents how cows could defy gravity and poop on the walls. Road trips with friends seem to be more fun, but they don't let you hold a book in hand and enjoy the sights of the countryside like one with your parents. Also, the fact that you never have to worry about paying for a wonderful meal that comes with sirke wala pyaaz through the whole trip more than makes up for the radio, the bottle and the susu, while guaranteeing a second smirk at Dr. Sheikh’s gupt treatments.

Image Source: blog.gumtree.com

Friday, October 4, 2013

Open Letter to Kapil Sharma

Dear Kapil,

It's not been very long since you started your television career, but you've entertained us so immensely over the past few years that I thought it's about time I wrote you an open letter. After all, I don't want to give you a chance to complain about Mr. Raghuram Rajan getting love letters in the Economic Times, while all you get is the Babaji ka Thullu.

As a member of the metropolitan generation which stopped watching television since the day Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai was pulled off air, I always fancied situational comedies set in NYC more than Raju Srivastav's brilliant acts on weddings and villages. While The Great Indian Laughter Challenge opened the urban youth to primetime Hindi comedy, it was your presence on Comedy Circus that really made us overlook all the slapstick performances that preceded your well timed acts and admire a Hindi comedian so openly on the social media, a space that we had earlier reserved only for mentioning Russell Peters. It's liberating to admit to the brilliance you have brought about in our (or my, if I should only speak for myself) otherwise heavily Americanized, often pseudo-elitist, taste in humor.

Your self-production, Comedy Nights with Kapil, is enjoyable beyond what words can express. For once, there's a comedy show on which I do not mind Navjot Singh Sidhu's laughter because there's enough for him to genuinely khadkaao his hahakaar at. While your interaction with the audience remains my favorite part of the show, there are a few things that I'd request you to improve on at the earliest.

The Bua

If you must do just one thing to improve the show, please cull the character of bua. There's a limit to which one can go on and on about not getting married. I think it's about time you realize that Upasana Singh's picture deserves a position in the Oxford Picture Dictionary, right next to the definition of annoying. It was a pain to watch her go “Abba Dabba Chabba” in Judaai, so you can imagine how much Tiger Balm it would take to relieve me of the headache that her hundred word script can induce. There's no need to think of another character for the actress; just let her go. I was feeling guilty about being so harsh, but I got over the feeling as soon as I realized that “twanty too years old, hawt and saxy” is how I literally describe my patootie, and I would not want to see images of it on national television.

The Dadi

Ali Asgar has had so much screen time in a drag act throughout his television career that Bobby Darling's existence finds it difficult to compete with it. If there's one thing funny about his portrayal of dadi, it is being called “buddhan” and being given a kick on his butt in every second episode. He looks nothing less than a Saroj Khan duplicate in sneakers, and I think his imaarat's buniyaad clearly needs some pest control for continuously acting like some cockroaches crept up his salwar.

Please take a hint from Akshay Kumar when he said that he would rip his wig off and throw him away if he dared to kiss any more people on the show. Kissing Shahrukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor is one thing, but planting his leech of a mouth on Tusshar Kapoor is just mean. I mean, at least let the poor kid get some real action in life first before he is teased by a red lipped drag queen originally born out of Kahanii Ghar Ghar Ki.

To be honest, I can still bear his idiocy as long as the bua doesn't enter the same frame. If I were to choose just one, get rid of the bua already!


An extremely underrated actor, Sunil Grover has never enjoyed the respect he deserves probably because all the original talent has mostly gone unnoticed behind his small mimicry stunts on Indian television. His portrayal of Guthi and some other recent characters has salvaged the image that he carried into the show in some of the initial episodes. I would love to watch him perform more on the show, provided he does not overdo what he is already doing up to a level of perfection, beyond which looms a saturation point.

The Question and the Thullu

Humor lies in the unexpected, which you so wonderfully exhibit every time a member of the audience puts up a question. It's hilarious to see you pull off the brat attitude with such innocence. However, it is now getting a little disappointing to see that your first question to every guest boils down to asking them how they feel on having finally made it to your show, after you mention all their well known works one after the other. It's been repeated as many times as the number of episodes, and I can see through how it ends even before it starts.

Babaji ka Thullu has undoubtedly been the biggest contribution of the show, as it finally gave the country a phrase to replace “ghanta” with. All of us are guilty of using it in our everyday lives now, complete with the little naag gesture. But I hope you will give us more such things to laugh about in our lives before Troll Punjabi's Thullu internet memes become too much of an inspiration for people to visit every meme generator, post Asaram Bapu's image and make jokes about how the babaji ka thullu is still in perfect working condition despite the age.

The show is undeniably the most entertaining on present day Indian television and deserves all the TRP's that it's already getting, and more. My only concern is that it might slowly lose its charm if the characters try to constantly stick to the same eccentric traits or jokes time and again, one episode after another, only because they worked wonderfully in a few initial episodes. Constant reinvention of the characters might break the repetition which is slowly beginning to cause monotony in the humor.

I am only a lowly mortal and probably not someone with enough credibility to make any suggestions to your highly acclaimed work. However, you may give the advice some heed, if you so please.

Irrespective of whether this letter reaches you or not, there's a hope that you will stay just as entertaining as you are, because without Kapil Sharma's “oh mayi goad”, all that my cable connection can provide is no more than a Babaji ka Thullu that looks like a designer blouse, a minor bride, or a lady on a Laado murdering spree.

Image Source: mid-day.com

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kurta Phaad Ke

So you decided to wear a kurta to college today! Very good decision, I must say. Who said only the street play guys could pull it off? They don't own the rights to the style, and neither do those who plan to pursue their post-grad from Jamia. Nor is the kurta the apparel just for Diwali card parties and mata ke jagran. You're looking great in it, and there's no denying it. I just hope you don't feel too much of a need to go to the toilet today.

So you'll walk straight up to me and start talking about how the politicians of the country are abusing the socio-economic diversity of the nation to build a vote bank for the upcoming elections! I know that you're wearing a kurta, and it probably suits your personality to prefix “socio-economic” before anything today, but it's making me uncomfortable. I'm a t-shirt wearing guy whose knowledge of politics is limited to as observed in the college fest organising committee. I feel uncomfortable standing here, having nothing to say. My opinion of the next Prime Minister is heavily influenced by the social media and I fear looking like a fool if I take any names in front of you. But in my silence, I'll nod with whatever you say and pray that you don't feel the urge to go to the toilet today.

So you'll wear your kurta and still drop words like 'dude' and 'bro' after every sentence! I hope you're not trying to live up to your Fabindia label with wooden buttons et al., looking down on the Hindi speaking nukkad-naatak team, which wears its plastic buttoned Khadi. I know guys studying English literature and Journalism wear kurtas too, but c'mon, Hindi sabhyata, man! You can drop the angreji attitude just for today and let it look more authentic, while I wish for a toilet free day for you today.

So you'll steal all the female attention away from me because of your kurta today! I can see how one pretty lady complimented you on the color that you're wearing, while another was amused by your decision to support the cottage industries of our country from today. I know my jokes will not match the charm that your kurta plays on the fairer sex today, and there's nothing that I can do about it. But anyway, let's drink to your kurta; a bottle of Coke each. Treat's on me today.

So you want to rush to the toilet to pee! Now you'll have to lift up your kurta and hold it between your chin and your collar bone today. I know it'll make you look like a villager trying to save your kurta from the trajectory of your aim, but considering the length of your clothing, it seems to be the only option you have today. You'll have to constantly look down while you pee, courtesy the kurta that you clench with your neck. You'll see yourself aim at the naphthalene tablets that sit right next to a chewed piece of gum that someone spat out into the urinal. If lucky, you'll also see the torn off corner of a pan masala sachet. You can thank the kurta for these sights today.

While you take a leak, be sure of having a fellow classmate enter the washroom and push you closer to the urinal just for a little fun today. As you'll try to pronounce a few words of praise for his sister, moving your upper jaw, while the lower stays stuck to your upper chest, prepare yourself for another little nudge. You'll probably lose hold on the kurta by then, letting the stream make a shapely parabola right in the centre of your kurta, all the way to the bottom. Thank the kurta for teaching you, through a simple experiment today that a straight shooting liquid does not act like a laser on an opaque surface.

You'll have to be quick with your thinking and splash water all over your clothes to camouflage the wet patch today. You can either thank the kurta for an unplanned shower from the wash basin in the men's room, or thank yourself for not wearing a pajama in place of the blue jeans today.

I'm sure you must've considered using the cubicle today, but remembering the time from school when you held the door shut because it wouldn't latch, while two boys kicked at your door and laughed, you decided to stay away from aiming into the un-flushed squat style pot today.

So you thought you could make me feel uncomfortable with your pseudo-intelligent talk, look down on the street play society and steal my thunder with the ladies today! I could still pray for you to not have another trip to the toilet, only if you're up for a round of Mountain Dew with me today.

Image Source: homeshop18.com