School

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 🙂 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.

First Day, First Show

The first time I saw Her was on the cover of a Reader’s Digest. I think I must have been in Class VIII. Classes then (as perhaps, always) used to be bloody boring; and as natural, it was incumbent upon any level-headed chap to resort to whatever means necessary to keep himself occupied (At a later point in life I had been reduced to devising alliterations while somebody stood at a lectern and went muda-fada and fada-muda-fada, but I’ll probably blog about that later).

In any case, that day, as mentioned before, variegated mean no. 223 was that month’s issue of RD (And whatever the faults RD might have (and precious few they are), timeliness of delivery date is most, most certainly not one amongst them). So there I was, reading RD, minding my own sweet business,wondering when the next hols were, letting the cool breeze waft over me, the works basically, when suddenly, I was caught in the act by Mr. D. Now, I’ve never really understood how any reasonably sane person can pass a blanket edict proscribing all kinds of non-curriculum material at a school. I mean, if I’d been a teacher, DON’T LAUGH, and if I were to catch any of my students reading something nifty, say Tolkien or even Calvin, that in my book would call for a couple of high-fives (Paulo Coelho would have been fit grounds for expulsion though).

Mr. D’s reaction though, that day, was highly surprising 🙂 I’d never seen him that thrilled. Ever. It was all due to Her. I did have to listen to a monologue on her luminescence, and brilliance, and greatness, and thespian smarts. But that was alright. I might mind monologues, but not as much as confiscations and being made to stand outside classrooms. See, that’s what you get when you read stuff with Meryl Streep on its cover.

Saw me a movie recently. Starring Streep. Loved it. She’s pulled off an almost impossible impersonation of Julia Child. And the accent is simply out of this world. Leave you with three clips; this is the official trailer, this is an actual clip of Julia Child, and this is THE Dan Akroyd clip. Bon appetit 🙂

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek composed the background score for this movie. More importantly, he composed the Piano Variation in Blue. A track which I am listening to as I type this out, and which, in my considered opinion, is one of the most delightful pieces I have ever come across. Kaczmarek, btw, also did the score for this movie. You live. You Learn. And You Marvel.

Somehow, prior to yesterday. I’d never caught a First Day, First Show. As a matter of fact prior to yesterday, I’d only caught two movies on the very day they released; Omkara and The Dark Knight. Simply put, there are very few movies which enthuse me enough to land up in a movie-hall on the very first day, so that I can make a statement to my own immortal self. And frankly, I thought 3 Idiots would be a decent enough yarn, but nothing exceptional. Don’t get me wrong, I like Aamir, but Ghajini was utter Tripe, and the capital T ain’t a typo; and even if you were to forget everything else, there was the you-know-who, and his novel (sic.), which had spawned the flick.

Well, a bit of background first, Christmas Eve was a crowded and liquid affair at Park Street. I, as usual, wanted to hog somewhere, but my esteemed batch-mates, again as usual, had their priorities all wrong. Don’t blame ’em; people perhaps do derive a perverse sense of pleasure from getting plastered. And I gotta admit, watching the Existentialist Mallu stand outside St. Paul’s and shout, “Where’s my Santa, Where’s my Santa”, was much fun 🙂 In any case, post-revelries I crashed at The Boy in Red, Doctor Saab, and the Poltergeist’s pad. The Poltergeist was leaving on an afternoon train the next day, so basically, the only show we could catch together was the morning show. So First Day, First Show it was.

Won’t say much about the movie. Won’t say anything about why its definitely the best movie I’ve seen all year. Or possibly amongst the best movies of this decade. I won’t say a word about how this movie excels as a package, and how even some of the corniest moments, somehow fit in. Not a word about Rancho. Or about Chatur Ramalingam, in a debut act by Omi Vaidya which deserves to go down in the ages.

I’ll just say this much; through out the movie, there must have been at least five moments when the capacity audience at Mani Square burst into spontaneous applause. And a standing ovation at the end of it. And when, I, and the four other gits I’d gone to see the blasted movie with, walked out of the theatre, we were all flashing our pearlies to each other. The School of De Sica might have its admirers, but I wouldn’t watch The Bicycle Thief a second time. 3 Idiots though, I could watch again and again.

P.S. Just a word of advice though. If you do go to watch the movie, watch it with a blank slate. Do not draw parallels with what happened in the Munnabhai series, or RDB, or Taare Zameen Par, and analyze how derivative and inferential a work this truly is. Give your mind a rest, watch it with your heart, and trust me, All Shall Be Well 🙂

Conflict of Interest

Read today in a newspaper that the CNI (Church of North India) has decided to mark its foray into the realm of higher education by opening a law college in Rajarhat. Methinks, this ought to be a real humdinger. I just can’t wait to see how this works out. Law, supposedly, is the most secular of all vocations. Now, if my experience in Cal is anything to go by, (Dehradun was a wholly different one), its somewhat taxing to reconcile that element of secularity to institutions run by CNI. Damn, I can almost visualise how a typical morning in this law college would look like. First we would have the morning hymn, something like Amazing Grace or Showers of Blessing. Then there would be a scripture reading, and then finally the proceedings would be rounded off by the Lord’s Prayer . Man, that’d be something.