Month: January 2010

Inter Alia

Was caught in midst of a proper forex turf war today. Vicious. Like ’em mealy-mouthed piranhas. Like millions of ’em. Managed to escape relatively unscathed though.

Saw me a fight today. South City was the scene of action. Again. There’s apparently this Cal hotshot called Tapas Pal. Don’t think I’d heard too much about him before.ย  Well, in any case the chap merits a lal-batti. Which should suffice as a suitable hotshot qualificatory paradigm. (Heh, nudge, Maruti :), wink wink; Inside joke, don’t try figuring that one out). Well, in any case, our hotshot was traveling with his even more hotshot hanger-ons, when an Alto brushed their car’s rear fender. From the looks of it, I think the Alto came worse off. But, you should have seen the hanger-ons let loose. They probably regarded that as a personal affront to their resident deity. A few of ’em looked like they were on verge of coronaries. Good fun.

Disclaimer: I’ve no way of knowing whether the hotshot in question was INDEED, as stated hereinabove, Mr. Pal. Given my general knowledge of hotshots, I wouldn’t have known him from Father Adam. The credit for identifying THE man, must go to my auto-wallah, a maniac so engrossed by the spectacle that he parked himself in the middle of the road for five whole minutes, just to watch those gits shake their fists in each other’s faces.

Had some work at Esplanade yesterday. There was also this massive rally there, which basically put paid to all my plans. Now that’s not the surprising bit. Staying in Cal does kinda inure you to instances where bandhs, rallies, hartals, et al, reinforce again and again, the dictum of living in the moment. And that plans, of any kind, which do not involve ferrying people across in public buses to show the sheer groundswell of public support, are for cretins ๐Ÿ™‚

But I digress. The surprising bit was that there was absolutely no publicity about this particular thing. Not even a word. Usually, the Telegraph, or more usually the Metro, might be relied on to serve some kind of advance notice, but in this case, nothing. Zilch. And then even today, forget about there being an article, there was not even a friggin’ sentence about it anywhere. I googled it then, all necessary catchwords, in place. All I managed to locate was one picture by some freelance photographer.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet. This was a Muslim rally. By which I mean, the entire stretch from about Eden Gardens till possibly the Indian Museum, was full of bearded men, in Kurtas, and wearing skullcaps. Dunno exactly for what reason. And as most Cal-wallahs would know, rallies and reasons don’t exactly always go together.

But those are not the points. Neither the participants nor their agenda. The point is about this whole-scale media blackout. What really gets my goat is this truly awesome political correctness thingie. Not to mention, having a media in place, which for all its positives, still believes that there are certain issues to be handled with kid-gloves, because, we, even after sixty years of democracy, are still not mature enough to handle them.

P.S. Questionable non-sequitur ๐Ÿ™‚ I think Rann releases today. Dunno which RGV would turn up this time. The one of Sarkar, or the one of Aag.

P.P.S. Might be guilty of a wee bit of stereotyping above. But then I guess, you gotta call a spade a spade. Much in the same was as a RSS rally = Knickerwallahs Unlimited or…No, I think I should stop here!

Beezee Busy (And South City Psychedelia)

Life’s been a bit busy these last couple of days. Might get a lot busier in the days to come.

Met Ambrosius yesterday. For the first time in around six years. Chap hasn’t changed a whit. The man’s sporting a mush now, and is up to weird and wonderful things in the auditing world, but that apart, he’s still pretty much the same.

Met quite a few NUJS-wallahs yesterday. The usual gang, up to their usual antics, at the usual place. Also saw Larry’s stealth techniques in action. Which was kinda redundant considering the fact that the person he was trying to hide from, had already seen him!

Had gone to South City a couple of days back, and there was this guy there who was trying to flog me some free trip abroad. To lay my hands on which, in his words, “Sir, you just have to answer a very simple question”. My natural query was obviously, “Which is what??”. To which the man replied, “Sir are you above 24??”. That, presumably was the question. Bleedy weird demographically-inclined freebie scheme.

Reminded me of another time when I was browsing at Starmark. Again at South City. Then this chap comes up to me, thousand-watt grin on his face, and muttering something which sounded vaguely like same, same, same….I thought I probably had earwax or something, and started ‘eh’ing and ‘umm’ing around. Same difference; more of the same, same, same…. And this time followed by exaggerated hand gestures. Then, I got it. Both of us wearing the same type of jacket. Which probably was cause for celebration. So we shook hands, and thumped each other on our jacketed (blue-striped rectangular on black) backs. I think I even remember my exact words, “Aah! You mean our jackets. Ok, lets shake on that then”.

And lastly, in terms of South City psychedelia, an honourable note of mention goes to the South City Phantoms. There’s this Wodehouse yarn about a chap called Blister, who proceeds to pop up at the most inopportune of times and places, and scare the living heebie-jeebies out of a chap called Plimsoll. The South City Phantoms are a bit like that. Almost everytime I go there, I’m invariably bound to find them waving at me. As a matter of fact, I am surprised only when I don’t see them now ๐Ÿ™‚ The only obvious difference from Blister being that they are two in number. And, that the antics of the Phantoms are rendered even all the more remarkable by the fact that Mr. Phantom is off studying in Singapore.

Two current ohrwurms: Waqt by E.P., and Ud Chalta by Nitish Pires. Hadn’t heard those two in ages, and suddenly they are in infinite replay mode.

Of Fosbury Flops and Angst-Ridden Ditties

Read a piece yesterday about how Air India chooses to treat Sarods and maestros (Had blogged previously about Air India’s unsurpassed consumer relations skills here). The moment I read that though, I couldn’t help but think of this classic video:

Never knew locating decent acco in London would be so much of a goshdarnedย  hassle. I don’t think I have researched as much even for my final drafts! Hell, for my IPC paper…., but, I digress ๐Ÿ™‚

My stomach’s screwed up. Like, seriously seriously screwed up. Its currently doing Fosbury Flops and Ferris Wheel imitations every half an hour. Likeย  clockwork. Of Swiss Vintage. From the Old School. Probably serves me right; Karma, comeuppance, the works. There’s only so much cheap, Jewish fast food that one should hog! (Do not worry ๐Ÿ™‚ ; the only way yer getting that reference is if you stay in Golf Green and/or frequent the narrow bylanes of Bijaygarh)

Zurich is No More

Zurich is no more. Long live Zurich.

Many might there be Picadillies, and French Loaves and Cream and Fudge Factories, but there shall be (was) only one Zurich.

Got into a fight today. With an auto-wallah of all people. In re two bucks of all things. But as always, a fight though triggered by specifics, is never about them. Nor can it be broken down into disparate components. A fight is always about generalities, of principles, of sahis and galats, and similar platitudinal excesses ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, the entire sequence consisted of the auto-wallah pocketing ten bucks instead of his usual eight; of being almost run-over in rush-hour traffic; a 100 metre dash behind the offending party; a proper shove-session in front of the traffic policeman in front of South City, who true to form, washed his hands off the affair, with the exception of proffering a suggestion to register a complaint at Jadavpur P.S.

Then, trundling back to Lord’s; being accosted by the Auto-wallah there who had somehow tracked me back, and being threatened with dire consequences if I registered a complaint (and at which point, I truly lost it). A psychedelic 2-3 minute hand-to-hand combat session, which almost culminated in my shoving that git’s face into a vat of boiling oil where jalebis were being fried. And finally, getting back two rupees.

A honourable mention goes to the Skulker, who was comrade-in-arms, for the entire bit till we trundled across to Lord’s and whose cell probably still has stored, the offending auto’s license plate number.

Also, on a slightly more personal note, the most psychedelic moment of the entire episode probably occurred when in midst of grappling with that jackass, I picked out a complete stranger and asked him to hold on to my specs, so that I could let loose. For in sooth, though I mind not specs, they do hamper you, come fights. That, and also in terms of utter psychedelia, abusing him in English ๐Ÿ™‚

Saw me a movie recently. Thought ’twas alright.

I still remember the first copy of Sherlock Homes I ever picked up. I must have been in Grade V then. Rajpur Road used to have this really old bookshop called Jugal Kishore. I’d got it from there. I think I even remember the first story I read; The Adventure of the Speckled Band. And I was HOOKED. Next year I came to Cal for the first time. The first bookstore I visited was Oxford’s. The first books I picked up were The Adventures, The Case-Book, The Memoirs, and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (I read His Last Bow only a couple of years later).

Guy Ritchie’s Holmes though, is not one (only) of cobblestone streets or meershcaum pipes. His is one of kinetic excesses and excess coolth. And one, who is, a tad vertically challenged. The greatness of true literature is that often it not only leads itself to translations, or transliterations, but also to transmutations. Take Mahabharata; you have Mrityunjaya by Sivaji Sawant, Randamoozham by Vasudeva Nair, and Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray (a strand laterย  taken up by Chitra Divakaruni), all of which use entirely different narratives in respect of the same overarching structure. And more pertinently, succeed in doing so.

Whether Downey Jr.’s Holmes also falls into the same category is for you to decide. I though, for one, shall stick out my neck, and say, verbal fencing and witty repartee apart, there was little to distinguish it from say, a cerebral version of Van Helsing.

Of Revisionist Tendencies (And Cocky Chumps)

Orissa = Cuttack = Kalyani Nagar + Tulsipur

In much the same way as,

Dehradun = Bakralwala + Rajpur Road

and, Cal = Golf Green + NUJS + A dash of Park St.

See, there’s revisionism for you.

I don’t mind people with serious attitudes. Neither do I mind jackasses. However, a jackass with attitude issues, is way, way beyond tolerable limits. Beyond one’s ken, as some would say; %$%^%&**, as I would say. And most of these gits, in terms of actual responsibility are at the very bottom of the ladder. As if the only way they could assert their importance is by acting like prats. That, and they’re usually dumb too. Potent combo that.

Ran into two of their breed today. Had a proper shout-session before getting my way. What was truly incredible though, was how wronged they felt at the fact that someone had, so to say, put one over them. Mr. Cocky Chump was busy trying to explain how he’d been right all along, and how I had managed to finagle my way in owing to a mere technicality. Ms. Cocky Chump on the other hand was adamant on the point that I was a git. Which, true as it might be, was pretty much a non sequitur apropos the point under discussion ๐Ÿ™‚

Weird Indeed are the Ways of the Cocky Chumps.