Saturday, February 28, 2015


Doesn't it bother you that the other end of your mouth is a really disgusting place? Or that these two points could very well be connected, which might explain some of the horrible words we end up saying? Moreover, doesn't that make you ponder about the endless excuses to be so damn filthy? Which we are, anyway. And the gist of this stinky post is to bring it to your notice that our body is continuously creating excreta. It's a very natural process. There are microbes in nature who thrive on the time interval between you take a dump and the moment you press the flush button. So it's all good. Nothing to be ashamed of. 
It's also worth nothing that "you're so full of shit" is actually a true statement owing to the actual length of our intestines. Which also democratizes the feelings we have for each other. Whether you like a person or hate him/her with all your heart, s/he is full of stuff only microbes are fond of. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

The heart of leaving

It's been almost two weeks since Valentine's Day and i wonder how much love is indeed in the air. And while i do so, let's walk through the lane that has been shaping our idea of love. For reasons bordering on utter abstraction, isn't it attached to the big screen? Of course, it's present in poetry and art as well but cinema manages to charm almost everyone. What's more interesting is that some films don't hinge on the usual they-lived-happily-ever-after theme as some stories go much beyond. Like Facebook would want us to believe, it's complicated—at times. Such films walk us through heartbreakingly beautiful moments of love without the burden of clichés. Pointing out a few of them...

Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Lowdown: No matter how simple-minded he was, Forrest (Tom Hanks) had his heart in the right place when it came to the girl (Robin Wright) he always loved. During their childhood, she urged him to run as fast as he can. As they grew up, she kept running away from him only to come back home. He accepts her by staying closer than ever before.

Sleepers (1996)
Director: Barry Levinson
Lowdown: In this film about how things change between friends when the going gets tough, Brad Pitt's character has always been in love with Minnie Driver's but owing to certain events that took place in his childhood, their equation has changed. So much so he wouldn't even bring himself to hug her when she knows it very well that their feelings are mutual.

The English Patient (1996)
Director: Anthony Minghella
Lowdown: He (Ralph Fiennes) betrays his nation because to him, what mattered the most was the life of his beloved (Kristin Scott Thomas). To their misfortune, it was too late before he took several drastic steps that didn't do justice to his professional standing. When the war, there were not only wounds perpetrated by hatred. Quite a few of them were gifted by love.

Titanic (1997)
Director: James Cameron
Lowdown: The water is icy cold and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) has a choice to make. As soon as he helps Rose (Kate Winslet) onto the floating piece of furniture, that choice is made. By the end of it, Jack's frozen about-to-sink face couldn't have appeared warmer.

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Director: Gus Van Sant
Lowdown: What should a mathematical genius aspire for? A career of the highest order? An existence that justifies his brainy prowess? Or be with the girl of his dreams? Going by Matt Damon's prodigy, the last option ends up to be the most viable one. Besides, he somehow leaves everything behind and chooses to opt for his girlfriend who earlier chose her college over him.

Fight Club (1999)
Director: David Fincher
Lowdown: The protagonist (Ed Norton) has unwittingly given rise to a movement whose second name happens to be mayhem. When he acknowledges the peril associated with his personality, he turns to the only thing he cares about: his lover (Helena Bonham Carter). He requests her to run away. He loves her so much that he's willing to be separate for her safety.

The Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Director: Ang Lee
Lowdown: For a film that has ambiguity written all over the canvas, its climactic scene is as straightforward as it can possibly get. Ennis (Heath Ledger), older and wiser now compared to the time when he had a 'fling' with Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal), walks up to his closet. He takes Jack's old shirt, tucks inside his own and lets the two hang together inside.

Away From Her (2006)
Director: Sarah Polley
Lowdown: Julie Christie's Alzheimer-affected protagonist is shown cutely flirting with a fellow patient inside an institute. The person watching this is her husband and he can only be happy about it. After all, his ailing wife no longer remembers him and whatever makes her happy is bound to make him happy too. Even if this whole incident sounds remarkably bizarre.

Apocalypto (2006)
Director: Mel Gibson
Lowdown: Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) has to protect his expectant wife (Dalia Hernández) and son while making sure he doesn't put himself in jeopardy. Running out of ideas—after running like a marathon runner—he decides to hide his family in a dry well. To make matters worse, it begins to rain and within minutes, the well begins to fill up. Her unabashed trust in her husband is tested and how. -

WALL·E (2008)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Lowdown: Don't you ever wish somebody loved you the way WALL·E loved Eve? For a major part of this film, the chemistry between the two robotic characters is as dull as it can get. But that's solely because the 'girl' doesn't reciprocate his 'feelings' for her. Nevertheless, he keeps doing what he has to. In other words, he continues to care for her well-being.

The Art of Getting By (2011)
Director: Gavin Wiesen
Lowdown: He (Freddie Highmore) is too full of himself to let his guard down and she (Emma Roberts) doesn't really have the patience to wait for him. At the same time, he has fallen in love with her; something he's not prepared to come to terms with, but he has to. And when he finally does, we get a peek into the art the film's title propagates.

Tyrannosaur (2011)
Director: Paddy Considine
Lowdown: An alcoholic (Peter Mullan) is a loner with nobody to answer for while Olivia Colman plays a harassed housewife (Olivia Colman). They both bump into each other in the unlikeliest manner and a change takes place. He begins to care for her while she grows mildly fond of him. Turns out this 'change' took place because she happened to be the first person who smiled at him without any hidden agenda!

The Artist (2011)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Lowdown: A silent era actor (Jean Dujardin) is struggling to cope with the rise of talkies. The woman he literally handpicked to stardom (Bérénice Bejo) has become the face of a technology he can't stand. His downfall is mitigated by her persistence to mix the best of both worlds. One of the many things she does without resorting to melodrama.

Short Term 12 (2013)
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Lowdown: Mason (John Gallagher Jr) cherishes Grace (Brie Larson) way too much but the latter is self-confessedly so 'damaged' that there might never be a chance for the two. Regardless, he sticks around patiently waiting for that moment when she'd let him in. A reason why that particular scene—which establishes her utmost faith in him—is poignantly epic.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Lowdown: There's no denying that this film is very graphic in nature, especially given the two subjects featured are lesbians. However, that aspect doesn't come in the way of its heartwrenching finale as the two ex-lovers face off in a restaurant. The dialogues between them and the resulting ambiance reek of tragedy. At that point, one lover's indifference towards another becomes the coldest colour.

The Lunchbox (2013)
Director: Ritesh Batra
Lowdown: So the moment of confrontation is scheduled and the lady (Nimrat Kaur) arrives on time, waits for him before leaving the table. We wonder why didn't he turn up. Later, we are informed that he arrived much before she did and on taking a look at her, our retired hero realized he's way too old for her. After slyly gazing at her for an hour, he accepts the truth that he can't provide her what she needs. 

Whiplash (2014)
Director: Damien Chazelle
Lowdown: When you know precisely what you want from life—or love—you're in a far better place. Miles Teller (has anybody noticed his striking resemblance to younger Marlon Brando?) loves drumming in this mesmerizing film. In fact, he knows he's on the cusp of genius but he's a fool too. He breaks up with the very girl he eyed for months. Reason: He doesn't want her to resent him when he is fast climbing up the ladder of ingenuity!  He should have dragged instead of rushing there. 

N.B. This happens to be my last article for mid-day before i moved to Zomato. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Deep, dark and ugly

Sometimes i wonder how scared the fish in ocean would be on a new moon day. Utter darkness and barely much to see. Wouldn't that be something worth being afraid of? Especially when you aren't the whale. Little and medium-sized fish wandering around as if some village in the interiors of India after sunset. 


On a second thought, they are used to the darkness. New moon night or not. They might have taken birth under a clear black sky. Who knows?

On a third thought, i should stop wasting time on such trivial thoughts.

On a fourth thought, you too need to find yourself better reading material.

Same shit, different universe

Deep inside, i'm everything that i'm not. A world-class musician, a homeostatic hermit, a fabulous footballer, a funny character, a remarkable convincer, a marketing legend and a successful farmer. The reason why i'm all these different things is pretty much the same why i ain't. Yes, it sounds immensely paradoxical but there is a parallel universe in place somewhere too. And unlike the one we inhabit, it must be having me in an altogether different avatar. I might be playing violin there or i could be that epic sage who can control his body temperature/temper. Better still, i might be dribbling past Messi—be it any given universe, he's meant to play football—out there or i could be making eyes wet with my jokes. I might very well be working on the 94th floor as a prime negotiator for MNCs or i could be pwning the dubious art of selling products to those who don't really need them. If not, i might be happy under the sun in a house overlooking a vast field of rice. Like i said, i could be everything i'm not. I just can't be sure about anything anymore. If you still aren't convinced, then i neither blame you nor me. We just happen to be in the wrong universe right now. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Right in the middle

We are here... @ the centre of everything that is called Internet. Or digital madness.


"Call your mom, call your dad. If you’re lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call ‘em. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ‘em you love ‘em, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you, Mom and Dad." 
- JK Simmons, during his acceptance speech at Oscar

I remember watching Sean Connery accepting some award on TV and he made a wonderful observation about his career. He said that he got his first break when he got into school, not when he got himself a role in movies. According to the original James Bond, it was his primary education that made him the person that he grew up to be. And there i was looking at this beautiful man wondering "Really?" because i couldn't wait to get out of school and make myself useful (read: earn money) for my family.
Fast forward a 1.5 decades. 
Here we were absorbing every single word Simmons said on that dreamy black stage. He not only summed up the hurry we are in but also made us pause. Besides, it's not about calling your parents on a regular basis. It's more about appreciating the n number of breaks you got thanks to them.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


As we speak,

                                                                                                                   Well said.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Same person, different cities

I complete a week in Gurgaon today. I never thought i'll be here. I never thought i'll stay here. I never thought i'll consider staying here longer than i'm currently staying—if that makes sense. This city looks like it's waking up from a nightmare. Anyway, the point being i'm new to this place and vice versa. I don't understand quite a lot of things already. For instance, i can't really gauge why exactly people here turn into assholes the moment they step into a car. At the risk of generalization, they look rather civilized but as soon as their soles touch the accelerator, they are different persons altogether. And they aren't alone in this drive to be desi transformers. This city's autorickshawwallahs are marvelous creatures. The difference between them and their counterparts in Mumbai is they don't even respect potholes. Back in my city, auto drivers slow down while approaching a macro-crater on the road. Here, the man behind the wheels would attempt to fly over it. Furthermore, he won't offer you the courtesy of a meter for putting your life in danger. He can charge you whatever he likes and everything boils down to either your bargaining skills or your desperation to get from Point A to Point Z. 
But i like something about them: They are from Gurgaon. 
So far, they are the only ones i've come across who ACTUALLY hail from this upcoming city. The rest of us are all migrants trying to make a quick buck. 
During one of my conversations with a rickshaw driver here, i understood the economic distinctions that is already in place. There are three types of Gurgaonwallahs in NCR today. 
1. Those who made the most of the rise of this otherwise sleepy location. Such people not only made money but also invested wisely in business and real estate to milk opportunity till it bleeds.
2. Those who made the most of the rise but are on the brink of losing it all because they can't help showsha-ing and this behaviour is bound to make them go back to square one sooner or later.
3. Those who couldn't make the most of the spike and are therefore working as autorickshawwallahs with the 'sole' ambition to overlook potholes the way only pilots are meant to.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A cutthroat choice

If dreams are meant to be deciphered, then i'm better off asleep. Last night, i saw some dreams like a series of badly edited short films. One of them showed me on my knees with my hands cuffed behind me. To make matters worse, there was a person whose face or features i can't recall now. S/he had a knife in his/her right hand and i was more scared than Jude Law in Dom Hemingway. You know, when his penis was on line because of a stupid bet? My neck was on line here. And as the person kept walking to and fro in front of me, i couldn't help but think of Jude's receding hairline. Yes, he was inside my head when i was about to be killed by whoever-it-was in my own fucking dream. In other words, my could-have-been last thoughts were to be spent on a Hollywood star who doesn't give a hair about me! Isn't that sad? Regardless, i managed to survive the dream because the knife wasn't sharp enough and the killer-of-my-dream was struggling to make a cut on my throat. I don't remember much except feeling so freaking relieved that the knife refused to obey its master. Blood wouldn't spill out no matter how hard that person tried to press in. As soon as i realized that he's not going to win, i began to throw my head back more. You know, the way Diane Lane exposed her neck in a cinema hall when her orgasm—err, marriage—was on line in Unfaithful?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An insider's outlook

What happens when you guide yourself out of your comfort zone? Well, several things. But the most intriguing feature of this particular change happens to your perspective of yourself—not others—and that makes all the difference. You stop being a person who thought this and that before doing nothing about either. You begin to act for a change. However, change can be scary too. All of a sudden, you are in a place which is not defined by you. Much against Jack Nicholson’s advice in The Departed, you tend to become a product of the environment because you realize many new truths. One of them being your delay in pulling yourself out your former zone. Because of which, people (read: colleagues) appear light years ahead of you. You begin to resemble that only schoolkid who forgot to do his homework. On top of that, this kid has developed many habits and most of them aren’t good. (On a second thought, there’s no such a thing as good habits as they are seldom addictive.) Now, what is he supposed to do? Well, several things. But the most important one being is his willingness to NOT storm out of the classroom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Next move

Today marks my last day with Midday. I grew up reading this tabloid and to be candid, i don't remember much from last millennium—except some popular bylines i ended up sharing the air with—other than pictures of those models who passed off as Midday Mate! They aren't published anymore but they surely 'ignited' the earliest form of sexual awakening in me. As of today, after serving for three years and three months, i can only feel gratitude towards the paper. For one, my boss hired me when i least expected it. And she has been wonderful since. Had it not been for her, i wouldn't have known this exquisite universe called film journalism especially since it revolves around this farcical planet called Bollywood.
During my time, i learnt quite a bit about how numbers roll be it the BO figure or readership survey or punishing deadline. It's one heck of a ride. A common man who licks his fingertip to flip through the pages wouldn't have the faintest of ideas to acknowledge the kind of mechanism that lead to an output called newspaper. Trust me, it's as amazing as it gets. Explains why i'm proud of adding my three-cent to film journalism. I'm not only proud of writing about stuff that matters but also about stuff that don't. The balance is always a good ratio. Also why i wonder how the world will look like when print media lets the curtain down. But then, humankind didn't really change with the upheaval of telegram, typewriter or Walkman. Did we?
Coming back to my tenure as a film journalist, i always felt my life lacked drama. It was too mundane, too predictable. Wakeup-gotowork-comebackfromwork. No party. No smoke. No drink. No wild nothing. Furthermore, it was not like i craved to be in the herd. In fact, i tend to respect those who don't need company to indulge themselves. You know, the loner who smokes alone staring into nowhere or the one kissing his glass of liquor every now and then. Speaking of drama, my existence was heavily punctuated by information of how film celebrities lead a staged life—off screen as well. Seldom do we come across a star who isn't blurting out scripted quotes or cracking an original joke. You meet them and you begin to lose respect for that veneer called stardom. "They are just like us!" becomes the new dictum for you.
Yes, there are exceptions too.
I will always remember how Naseersaab patted my right knee and said "Write whatever you want!" at the end of our interview. Or how i am one of those last journalists whom Farooque Shaikh spoke to. Or how i still haven't had the heart to delete his cellphone number. Or how SRK hugged me before i left his study about half an hour away from midnight. (Turns out i wasn't special as he treat all journalists with immense respect.) I cherish finding out first hand that Prem Chopra is a thorough and sweet gentleman. Wonder how he played such badass characters! I also cherish pointing out to Vidya Balan (whom i adore to bits) that we both share a Chembur connection! Over the last three summers, i've had several such beautiful memories. Memories nobody else has to give a damn about. Memories i take with me wherever i go. They are mine. Interestingly, i posed for just one picture with a celeb back in 2012 and that happened to be non-film personality: Shashi Tharoor. It's all about memories i guess. I didn't create them single-handedly but i was an active participant. And it all happened because i was associated with a respectable city-based daily.
That said, i believe it's time to move on from the 3Ms—Mumbai, Midday and Media—not in that peculiar order—that dominated my life for a long while now. Of course, i'm petrified but in the same vein, i also believe it's high time. I'm sure there's always something new to miss. Or be a part of.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

About you and yours

I hate sitting in front of a blank page with a blanker expression.
So this is what i'll do: I'm going to fill it up with you.
Yes, you.
The one with a smile waiting to invade your face.
And a pointed chin resting on a soft fist. 
You are beautiful. And you know it.
All beautiful people do.
But you're a bit different.
Your beauty transcends skin; something you may not know.
Most of your kind don't.
You make right just by being you.
You, as a person, is taken. It's you, just. 
You look through stuff—unprejudiced. 
Maybe because you sleep less and see more? 
There's grace in almost everything you undertake.
Even the way you move your hands.
Even while sitting quietly on the corner of a bed.
Or talking with your mouth full. 
You've become my favourite;
person, colour and  word. 
I can't be mistaken about certain things.
You happen to be one of them.
Aren't you something?
Which is why i'm tired of missing you.
I'm done with the stupid distance in between
although i'm scared of messing up.
Unfortunately, i don't know the lanes we are bound
to cover in each other's company.
Fortunately, you don't know how to swim hence
you can only sink further into me.
For good or for worse, I won't be empty anymore. 
You will complete me.                 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Symptoms of madness

Every time that small spot of light flashed, this shark took it as a sign. He didn’t realise that it’s a man-made invention. In his pointed head, it was a star that had fallen from above and trapped on top of that phallic thing. So, what our hero tried to do was get as close as possible. But none of his feisty endeavours managed to fruition. Either he got severely washed off by waves or damaged his jaws at the rocky base. Regardless, he refused to give up.
Moral: Stars are best left to sky and morons, to sea.

First look

Observation #1: Friends come and go away because that's what happens whether you like it or not. But every once in a while, a friend quietly walks into your life and makes you believe in yourself. And before you even realize it, you don't want this one to go away. Ever.
Observation #2: "Annanavagru kopa dallid'aara?" is something a three-year-old kid asks her mother when she thinks you aren't talking to her as you're upset with her when in reality, you don't speak Kannada and there's no way you can communicate with her. Cute.
Observation #3: Newspapers turning yellow is one of the beautiful things you can witness. The only problem is we can never see the lignin in motion. It's always going to be white/salmon-pink now and within a period of time, it'll acquire a taint of time. Unjaundiced.
Observation #4: Mangalorean fish curry and parboiled rice has to be what heaven must serve on entry. Even somebody who isn't a huge fan of separating skeletons (OK, thin bones) from flesh would vouch for this humble yet royal dish. At least i would. Enchanting. 
Observation #5: What's worse than people littering on road? People doing the same inside a train on a long-distance journey. Who's going to clean up? A wild guess: Grandchildren of whoever isn't diligent enough to keep their crap on the right side of the window. Behave.
Observation #6: Studying is tough. However, it can't beat the pain that your knuckles bear while you're pushing pen on your examination paper. If it's a 3-hour paper, it seems like 9 years, 7 months and 23 days long. Yes, exaggeration is completely allowed here. Sorry.
Observation #7: Arvind Kejriwal won for only one reason: He's not corrupt. Yet. And whatever be the political rhetoric—if you understand economics—you must also take AAP's sweep with a pinch of salt. Subsidies are and will never be the solution to problems. Gumption.
Observation #8: We are what we are. Even if we pretend otherwise, we eventually come back to the person we actually embody. The way we look at things varies while those things remain the same. Similarly, for the universe at large, we are one of those things. Pity.
Observation #9: Violence is not really a bad thing. If employed effectively, it can provide what non-violence never might never be able to. The catch here being the difference between the two is enormous. When a lion turns violent with its prey, it harbours no hatred. Whatsoever.
Observation #10: Your parents may come across as archaic and boring. But that also goes on to show that you were perhaps too selfish to help them keep up with the latest from the world of "cool". So, whatever you think they are today, it's on you, not them. Comeuppance.

Friday, February 6, 2015

More often than not

More often than not, we give up as well as give in.
More often than not, doing nothing becomes the most appropriate option.
More often than not, staying away makes a hell lot of difference.
More often than not, you don't know whether you're coming or going.
More often than not, the words we use aren't as convincing as our truth.
More often than not, you don't get a second chance or a second thought.
More often than not, the poet in you should remain silent.
More often than not, failures make you more compassionate.
More often than not, something is wrong with them, not you.
More often than not, we need others to listen to our crap.
More often than not, your co-passengers' decision to award a train beggar depends on yours.
More often than not, we are itching to scratch.
More often than not, we miss that person we could have been.
More often than not, we need somebody to show us the way we already were aware of.
More often than not, silence is the beginning of a conversation, not the end.
More often than not, rich thoughts lead a poor existence.
More often than not, justice is in denial.
More often than not, opportunity presents itself in the past.
More often than not, it's difficult to marry sincerity to conversation.
More often than not, they mind the very stuff we ask them not to.
More often than not, grammar gets me wrong.
More often than not, men think with their testicles, not dick.
More often than not, your job loves you but the feeling isn't mutual.
More often than not, we end up as the very person we once resented.
More often than not, sentences—not mere words—ruin us.
More often than not, i don't get what i'm trying to accomplish with my typing. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A fine distinction

Nothing matters. On a second thought, almost nothing matters. Everything is fleeting at any given point of time and can be best described as a phase. However, being humans with a heart that refuses to stop beating itself to death, a tongue that wags like a serpent and a mind that is perpetually licked by abstractness, we try to enslave moments. So we end up attaching meaning to the meaningless. In the process, we even extend our chances at feeling luckier than we actually are. Which could be a reason why we click pictures, capture those sweet moments that will always be ours to keep. We dive into ourselves, touch the recess of those events that ended up shaping us into the person that we are today. It's a struggle against time. It's a greater struggle against yourself. Because you are temporary but what you did with/to time isn't. It's etched there forever. Like an itch that is going to scratch itself for good. And we thought we are mortals! How can we be so when our greatest gift is time? What matters is those moments that define who was the master and who got enslaved.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Grace, uninterrupted

My deputy editor doesn't remember much about my initial days in office. It goes to show where i must be placed in her pecking order of significant people. But then, i have a very bad habit of remembering details which nobody else gives a fuck about. No, this ain't a newfound conclusion. I arrived at it long time ago. However, i recently told her that i when i joined work, i instantly assumed her to be a Parsi given her name, features and voice. Later it turned out she is a Muslim. Regardless, i continue to remain protective about her the way i was earlier when i mistook her for an endangered species.
I admire her a lot not just because of her endless 'lessons in life' but also because she doesn't pretend to be someone she isn't. In her case, what i say is what she regrets. So keeping up with the tradition of unfinished conversations wherein either one of us laughed hysterically throwing our head back cutting the short conversation shorter, i asked her who is going to take care of her after i leave my job. Pat came the reply "Tab tak main badi ho jaungi!" with a reluctant smile. She's one of those who is more comfortable laughing. Not the one for etiquette. Not the one for bash. An endangered species indeed.

Never again

Anna teacher never liked me. There are always some students a teacher find it very difficult to deal with. I was that guy for her. Maybe it was my face. This happened when i was in fourth grade. What's ironical is that her subject happened to be my favourite. What's more interesting is that i was mostly placed closest to her while she was teaching the exploits of Shivaji Maharaj. What's not interesting is that i wasn't a first-bencher. I often used to kneel in front of the wall on which the blackboard was crucified. Like i said, closest. Within seconds of her entering the classroom would i be asked to leave my bench and join her on the floor! This routine went on for a long while as she continued to find faults in me. But it miraculously stopped the day i left my seat—to occupy my knees—while she was about to enter the room for her history class. After that, i was never punished again. Maybe it was my face only.