Saturday, October 25, 2014

Open Letter to Shah Rukh Khan

Dear Shah Rukh,

I always thought that if I ever find the opportunity to speak with you, I would tell you how proud I feel to have studied at St. Columba’s School. The school has been one of the prime institutions of the country for generations, but regardless of all its qualities, the fact that you went to school at Columba’s has made me feel just a little bit more special about calling it my alma mater. Similarly, I feel proud to be a resident of the colony you grew up in, to be sharing the same sunsign with you, and to have had a prolonged fascination with girls from Modern School.

With such devout fangirling and unwavering faith on my part, complete with getting myself a “COOL” locket from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I think it’s about time you realize your responsibilities and stop making me look like such a fool.

I’ve always maintained that you’re one of the wittiest actors in India, with immense class and an unmatchable persona. You’ve delivered some brilliant performances earlier in Chak De, Swades, and uncritically all over Karan Johar’s fluff bazaar. You’ve been funny and charming, almost emitting some divine light from your dimples every time you tilt your head and do that thing with your eyes, like magically pouring Roohafza into a glass of milk only with your gaze. But if you pick up that glass of milk and throw it at my face like you’ve been consistently so in Ra.One, Chennai Express and now HNY, expecting me to like it, I’m sorry but I’m not trying to spend a suhaag raat with you. Today, I find myself to be in complete agreement with the review of your latest movie given by none other than a gentleman whose idea of wit is “good night and kiss to pillow and kick on ass of mosquito”. I think I deserve better than that.

For years I have judged fans of Salman Khan, picturing them being chin-slapped as you raise your arms in slow-mo; imagining them being shot by a machine gun whenever you go all hiccup-laughter. I’ve appreciated Aamir for his perfectionist spirit, but still held strong that your personality trumps his even on your worst days. But today, you’ve failed me in my attempt to look all pretentious, proclaiming how all rickshaw pullers love Salman Khan whereas you are the beloved of a more sophisticated audience. Your behavior now resembles that of a baboon who has climbed too high a tree to take a dump, and then lives in a false belief that the lowly denizens of the jungle will worship his droppings like a divine fruit from the heavens, with nutritional content of lauki or some such.

Yes, your movies are still making money, and I’m glad that you’re the second richest actor in the world. But does it please you to know that whenever people are asked to speak of your best works, they all take names, none of which belong to a recent time? If it’s all cool with you, I don’t see any reason why I should complain. Maybe, we’ve just developed into people with different tastes and I’m the one who doesn’t understand your idea of entertainment. Maybe, every time that you raise your arms in the air, I wrongly interpret it as a gesticulated depiction of your steadily increasing lameness. Maybe, I’m just jealous that my facebook home feed is full of status updates from girls who I’ve been crushing on for years, stating how they know that your movie is going to be idiotic, but Shahrukh love *starry eyes, hand-hearts and SRK nipples*. Maybe, I’ve been a faux-fan, whose love for you hasn’t been as unconditional as that of many others. Or maybe, I’m just really jealous of your hair. Maybe! But if getting an eight pack does that to people, I think I know why I won’t be working towards an abdomen like that any time soon. I just love my pack of chips too much. It's the Farah Khan to my Shah Rukh of a tidh. Unhealthy, yes, but who cares as long as I'm ready to spend money on a bag of air.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pitthu Times in Faridabad

There’s a certain kind of pretentiousness that comes with growing up in an all boys’ convent school. Not only do you learn about the difference between the pronunciations of “the” before a consonant and a vowel pretty early on, but when your relatives get together for a little celebration and ask you to “beta, prayer sunaao”, you immediately start off with “Our father, thou art in heaven” while the cousins from the DAV’s go full gung ho reciting “Humko mann ki shakti dena”. The only kind of competition you can offer to that is with the Gayatri Mantra, the meaning of which again is not something you’re aware of and the cousins immediately take over to explain the arth, even if explaining the arth to the arth would be quite a challenge for them.

I grew up dealing with such issues, trying to reconcile myself with the fact that what my school friends called “Lock and Key” was more popularly known as “Vish Amrit”. It was embarrassing to admit that chants like “posham-pa bhayi posham-pa” were way more fun than shouting about your pockets that followed the song, “I sent a letter to my father”. However, I was glad that life offered some solace in the form of annual visits to my maasi’s place in the summer vacations.

Even though my maasi lived in Faridabad, which is now almost a conjoined twin of Delhi, but it wouldn’t be out of place to state that back in the 90’s, it was more like the elder brother who decided to take care of the kheti back home, so that the younger Delhi could study and go to the UK. Faridabad is where my cousins got out of their house every evening and rang all the doorbells in their street to collect the kids for a game of maaram-pitti and pitthu, so that they could after-party with “Dum-sharaaz”, who still roams about our country dealing with a name mispronunciation like it’s a Qutb-ud-din-Aibak in LA.

I grew up never mentioning the game of pitthu to anyone in school, being skeptical about the kind of reception it would get at a place where Pokemon cards and Gameboys were a thing consequent to family holidays to Dubai and not because of a Hindi-dubbed cartoon channel. It may make me sound extremely unaware at this age, but I still feel that a lot of my school friends have never experienced the joy of sorting pieces of marble from a construction site into a little pyramid bang in the centre of a road and then syngergizing as a bunch of ten into a cricket formation. It’s sad how despite being such huge cricket fanatics, so many of my peers would probably not know that pitthu is a game with an equivalent of a wicket keeper and a set of fielders, all trying to hit the member of the opposite team with a ball while he re-stacks the pieces of marble that he had struck with the same ball a minute earlier. They probably wouldn’t be aware of the irony that the “bowler” and the “fielders” are in opposing teams. And how the game has some influences from baseball, where three strikes or misses in breaking the stack on part of the bowler lead to his dismissal.

My trips to maasi’s house were full of evening games, pakore, camping activities on the terrace over a chaarpaai and moments with my cousins that remain close to my heart till date. It was also my cousin sisters who taught me how to cycle, breaking the belief that boys are more macho than girls quite early for me in my growing years. Pedalling on my cousin’s bicycle while she held it from the back and then constantly blabbering to her, not realizing that she had let go over a minute ago, helped me get over the fear that I would never be able to ride a motorbike as an adult. Well, I still haven’t ever ridden a motorbike all by myself, but knowing that if I ever need to, my cousins from Faridabad would come to my rescue real quick, is a sense of relief that I can sleep with every night.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Tattoo With A Double-E

I know tattoos have probably been around since the time everyone from my grandparents’ generation decided to get an Om symbol etched at the back of their hands, but times have changed. If I so severely judge my printer every time that it begs to get itself inked, that high maintenance son of a Canon, I see no reason why I wouldn’t judge someone who shares the same interests as my inkjet despite not being an accessory to my internet-running-machine. My facebook feed is infested with pictures of flabby arms with a red swelling that would’ve been better if given by a hundred mosquitoes, but sadly, almost always, a tattoo machine and a brain that fails to see the future are to blame.

I would probably stay shut if the little body art has got something to do with your mom, but if your best defense will be that you got her name written in Chinese, some Yo Momma shit is got to get real. So, here’s a list of tattoos and what my brain thinks they say. ‘Cuz my brain is like Shakira’s hips. *Hi5* if you can make the inference, and if you can’t, congratulations for featuring on this list.

The Dragon Wagon

I know you love Honey Chilli Potatoes and Gobhi Manchurian, but asking your tattoo artist to copy the design from Berco’s menu card on to your bicep will only end up making you look as Chinese as the bees rupaye wali diwali lights. There are certain things you need to consider before you get that dragon on your body. Like, if the Singapuri noodles you have at the fast food van are actually called “Chomin”, or if looking up Hentai on Google Images will throw some pictures of hens wearing neck-ties, or if the only reason to travel to Thailand is Bangkok massage, and a realization that “abey, yeh lady-boy toh apni Katrina se bhi zyada sundar hai.” If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you don’t need a dragon tattoo, praa! You already think you have a dragon locked in your skin fit jeans, no?

My Name is… *Chica Chica*

If I could explain Maslow’s Need Hierarchy to you, the world would’ve been a better place. But we’ll do with a Thick-Brained Hierarchy till then, and it goes: For every person with an IQ defined by a fraction with the denominator zero, there is a need to remind himself of his existence on the scientific chart for nomenclature of living species. A constant urge to know that you belong to the class “homo sapiens” aka humans is not extinguished till you get an indelible mark on your body that screams out your name, staring at you as a permanent reminder of your inconsequential existence defined by the number of selfies taken in Maurya ka bathroom with the hashtags #selfie #maurya #loo #justafterpee #nohandwash #badboy. To cut it straight, you get your name tattooed on your arm and wear Being Human. You’re like the god of cool. All hail Salman bhai.

P.S. I meant Rushdie, but never mind.

The Floral Butterfly and the Tribal Ribald

I’m a big fan of the flowers and the butterflies. They speak originality like they are Made in China products. Where did you get your tat? On your ankle or the lower back? Or your shoulder so that it shows when you wear a tank top? It’s lovely how you think you got it because you resonate with the butterfly, which symbolizes freedom from the pupa but is still answerable to the pyo-pa every Saturday night with a: “papa, friend ke ghar pe padh rahi hoon” while dancing to Honey Singh with the Jaanu.

I also love how your Jaanu has that tribal thing on his shoulder. It totally goes with your nature inspired design. Why don’t both of you run to the forest where you belong? Here, take some aashirwad while you go. Scoot!

The One Word Deep Metaphor Something

Wow, you’ve got some deep shit printed on your skin, yo! Your wrist says “Breathe”. That’s a good reminder to self if you’re Hazel Grace or Baba Ramdev. Same difference if you don’t know who the first is! I also notice your brethren with words like “Success”, “Courage”, “Forgive” and “Forget”. What are you noble sire? Seven characters from Deepak Chopra’s tweet or a motivational poster bought off Janpath with a bad illustration that is your face?

The Henna Tattoo, FTW!

Now this is one tattoo I’d recommend you to get if you haven’t already. Why don’t you get the one in which they make a checkered section on your palm and full solid orange colored blocks at the top of your fingers with one diagonal trail of flowers running down your index finger at the back of your hand? That’ll add one more person on my friend list to make me feel weird about people getting married already. But, I don’t mind! Anything as long as I get an invite and your shaadi has some good Chinese in the name of honey chilli potatoes.

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