Monday, November 21, 2005


Am too lazy (not to mention too busy) to write cohesive, nicely structured post about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, so just a few points. Oh, and it is by far the best HP film ever, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to crib:

1. Why do they always, but always, sacrifice the story for the spectacle? Can't a balance be found, ever? They just race through the parts of the story in which nobody is fighting anybody and then take their lazy time over the bits where they can show off their sf talents.

2. Is it probable that a real live dragon would be allowed to fly around Hogwarts with some five thousand potential victims around ?

3. How is anybody who doesn't almost know the book by heart supposed to understand anything if there isn't even the semblance of an effort to explain things? What happened to Barty Crouch, Sr? How did Barty Crouch Jr get out of Azkaban? How did he manage to make the switch with the real Mad-Eye? And come on, at least explain why he keeps taking swigs from his hip flask!

4. Emma Watson gets more and more irritating by the day. She has this terribly affected way of speaking, wears low-waist jeans to show off her trim figure and she's just SO not Hermione, and don't believe all these boys who keep raving about her. That's just because she's pretty.

5. Ralph Fiennes has super sexy feet and hands. He'll make a good Voldemort.

6. Draco Malfoy gets sexier and sexier.

7. The lake scenes are simply awesome.

8. The part where Sirius' head pops out of the fireplace was done totally wrong, methought.

9. There is much better chemistry between Harry and Hermione that between her and Ron. How will they resolve this problem later, I wonder?

10. They'll probably change Ginny in the book 6 movie, unless the current one suddenly blossoms or something, poor girl.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Business as usual

Sometimes, just sometimes when I stop thinking about myself, I wonder what a celebrity's life is really like. I come across them so often in my line of work, but most of the time I am looking at them from my perspective. Like, how long it took me to get them on the phone to answer some silly question, what they must be thinking at being woken up in the middle of the afternoon (after an international flight) by a frantic request (by me) for photographs and how they must have cursed me, what a bitch this one was and what a pompous ass that one was etc. It's only rarely that I stop to look at it from their point of view, really think about what goes on in their lives. I thought about this yesterday on my way home in an auto (really, the way I'm getting obsessed with this word, a Google search on 'auto' will lead people straight to this blog. Not bad, really) and was more puzzled than ever.

First, let me clarify. I am not talking here about the kind of celebrities who were reared to be celebrities, who knew what it was to be one because they had seen Mummyji and Papaji be celebrities and knew that no matter how ugly they were, there was still a fair chance they would get their own shots at celebrity-hood. You know the guys I mean. In fact, these days you can't even really tell how ugly they were to begin with. Neither am I talking about the designer-socialite types who, in spite of frantic Page 3 attendances, are still so next-door.

I was thinking of the celebrities who have normal childhoods like yours or mine, with the usual growing up no-one-gives-me-attention pains. In fact, what started off this remarkably unselfish (for me) chain of thought was reading Great Bong's post on the sting operation of the decade. Now this Tanushree Dutta, I thought, what does it feel like to be born in a small town, go to a regular, rather small-time school, be brought up by regular middle-class Bengali parents and suddenly find yourself being lusted after by most men in the country? (If you happen to be a man and don't lust after her, blame it on the abysmal quality of the men in my life).

Now why her, you may think. Well, because we come from the same pocket of cosmopolitanism, Jamshedpur, (no sniggers, please) and amazingly, we went to the same school as well. She was a few batches junior to me, but knowing my school as I do, it seems incredible to me that someone with that background could one day become a terribly confident exhibitionist. From there, I went to how her parents must react to her celebrity status and to the fact that she seems to have chosen as a prototype not a Nandita Das but that Jhunjhunwala girl from Kaanta Laga. Here I am, cringing while writing a story on modern couples because I'll have to write on stuff like lack of sex and extra marital affairs and my parents will read it, and here's this girl, baring her bosom for
all to see. Just imagine!

Now, don't get me wrong. I have no problems with T Dutta cavorting around in handkerchiefs -- in fact, I rose vociferously to her defence when my mom started telling me all the nasty things they were saying about her in school (and these the same people calling her a chip off the old block and what not when she became Miss India). I'm just talking about the invisible ways your parents continue to influence you even when you are well past the age of caring a damn about what they think. But apparently, being a celebrity, and especially an actress, removes these irritating roadblocks to immortality.

Then there is all this getting used to being recognised everywhere. It happens to all of them – top line, middle line, even the dregs. Somewhere, to some people, they are really big. How DO these people deal with it? I mean, on a daily basis? Take this girl, for instance. There must have been a time when she could just be a young person enjoying the Pujas, but this time, Jamshedpur was all agog because she had given a quote saying she would try to be there for a day. If she had made it, they would probably have attempted to seat her next to the idol or even in place of it. What must it be like not to be able to indulge in a bit of nostalgic revisiting without attracting noisome attention? To not be able to walk down to the corner store to buy a toothbrush? To have to take journalists seriously and repeat the lines the director fed you a zillion times? And say ‘we are just friends’ about five hundred times in your life?

If anybody knows any celebrity who would be willing to submit to really searching questions like these from a nosy journalist, who, for once, only wants to satisfy personal curiousity, you know where to get in touch.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Seven tag

Halleluia! Somebody tagged me, finally. I have arrived in blogosphere. I am now officially tagged person. People know me. Hell, they even read me. What's more, they really want to know things like this about my life. I am amazing. I am god.

Getting back to the Seven tag:

Seven things I plan to do:

1. Update this blog more regularly. As Jabberwock once said to me,
this prima donna-ish behaviour will just not do.

2. Start reading five newspapers a day. Or at least one. You are
surprised there are that many to be read? Hell, so am I.

3. Buy a two-wheeler so I can stop devising excruciatingly painful
ways to kill Bangalore autowallas

4. Read the 107 books gathering dust on my shelves

5. Stop buying books till I finish the above-mentioned 107

6. Cut down on my mobile phone bill. Convoluted conversations through
SMS cost money, I have realised. It's just cheaper to call

7. Have a baby (blush blush). No, it's not time for the bouquets just
yet, thank you.

Seven things I can't do:

1. Buy the right kind of shoes

2. Learn how to say 'no' graciously in manner of refined society hostess

3. Understand what makes rock music so special

4. Keep my cupboard in any kind of order and REALLY throw out clothes
I don't wear instead of stashing them away in a corner

5. Remember where I put glasses after removing contact lenses, rendering myself temporarily semi-blind

6. Decide whether I really miss Delhi or not

7. Finish work way before deadline so I don't have to look at the empty computer screen on D-Day and whimper softly

Seven things I say quite often

1. "Benson Town chalega? Ten rupees extra"

2. "Hi, this is (me) from (the paper). There is this column we have... umm.. do you have a minute?"

3. "Where the FUCK did I keep my glasses?"

4. "Oh my God!"

5. "Whatever"

6. "The story's working out fine, really fine, really"

7. and all that, you know

Ok, now I even get to tag other people. Feeling of awesome power! I hereby tag:


Fool over the Hill (oops, sorry, that's on the hill :D)


Sheetal Vyas


-- A much-empowered me.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Holidays? I'll pass, thanks

Have been giving this some serious thought, and have finally decided to declare it: I hate holidays. I've had this suspicion growing on me for quite some time now -- that I am that freak of nature, the hater of holidays, but this time, I just know it. Returned from one about a fortnight back, not even one of those three-month American style ones but actually just a week-long quickie, and am still reeling from it. As in feeling the after effects. It's not just being overfed sweets by loving relatives and para-tuto kakimas (which, incidentally, has increased my chances of acquiring diabetes by age 30 by 50 pc). It's not even being unable to get back to work in earnest after the teensiest break and being told that I need a fire lit under me. And it's definitely not because I love coming back to a dysfunctional city where the autowallas and I wage constant bloody war on the streets.

I hate holidays because they disrupt the quiet routine of my life. Those who know me well may be surprised to know I have a quiet routine in my life, but I do. I love getting out of office at 6 or thereabouts, quietly sauntering down to Blossoms to look for a cheap second hand Georgette Heyer or to Koshy's to meet a friend and bitch about work over two pots of tea, or heading to the circulating library near my house that stocks old, old copies of P G Wodehouse novels. On holidays, I can't do any of that. Although I never suspected this till now, I have realised that I am very much a creature of habit. All that talk about loving an unpredictable bohemian life is just so much bullshit. Like most of the stuff I had convinced myself I like in my impressionable youth.

I hate the fact that I can't check my mail during holidays, and can't catch up on the latest controversy to hit blogosphere. I hate missing out on the familiar and comforting phone conversations -- sometimes with the very people I am meeting on my holiday, like my mom. I find myself thinking nostalgically of fighting with my Kannada-speaking maid in the morning, whose only redeeming feature is she makes my tea just so. And if I miss Bangalore at all, it's because of the weather.

Sure, it's fun to meet up with friends in Cal and sneak out for a drink when you know mom-in-law will be asleep by the time you get back. And it's fun to go to Jamshedpur pujas and have terrible chilli chicken at the stalls. But is it worth missing one whole week of obsessive Minesweeper playing? Nah!

In short, I find holidays extremely upsetting and unsettling. Must be a sign of advancing age or something, but then how can that be? My parents used to be inveterate holidayers, packing themselves and the kids off to just about anywhere practically every vacation. One reason could be that any kind of travel, be it by air or train or road, has me convinced it's going to be my last. There must be a word to describe the kind of person I am -- I get sweaty palms at each landing and take-off, can see portents (sentimental ones) in every corner that convince me I'm going to die soon and generally behave in a very morbid, Isadora Wing-kind of way. I have even woken up people travelling with me at the dead of night to make them listen to the sounds made by a speeding train and figure out if it's making the kind of sounds a soon-to-be-derailed train would make.

But wait, there needs to be an amendment here. I wouldn't dislike holidays so much if all I had to do was sit at home and read and watch movies and check up on mail and blogs and everything. Just don't put me on an airplane. That's all I ask out of life, really.