Stuck in satyug Sunday, August 30, 2009

I am fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who are big fans of the Indian mythologies that were a rage in the nation before the guys were even born. These guys have managed to keep tons of GBs of entire collections on their PCs. The reverence they pay to our Godly avatars in human forms is simply shown by the fact that porno-flicks and Mahabharata/Ramayana episodes are not permitted on the same drive. Even separate folders on a single drive is disrespectful they say. What's even more fun is when they tell stories. They seemed possessed with so much knowledge of the events that happened a millenia ago, it feels they were there. I can actually imagine D'Costa (a real name of a real friend by the way) standing and applauding Dushasana's awe inspiring moves in a blind king's darbar (If D'Costa has his way, he might even whistle). I can also safely bet on another friend's deep knowledge of not just the mythologies but also their ever so complex joint family structures. For fun I once asked this other friend to name Arjun's mother in law's nephew's name. He not only gave me the name but also the prince's title, the kingdom he ruled and the prince's sexual orientation. It was at his place that I caught an episode of Ramayana. I immediately recalled the stories our fathers told on how the streets emptied when these episodes were aired. The few families that owned a television set had hordes of people watching, all sans footwear, armed with aarti plates and bells to chant bhajans during commercials. This is when I thought the horrible plight of the innocent actors who didn't realize that the characters they are playing were going to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
  • Dara Singh who played Hanuman, had someone else (thankfully) dub for his dialogues. If not for the dubbing, a Punjabi accented hanuman would have caused a laugh riot. Known for his impromptu improvisation on dialogues, there wouldn't even have been a war had Raavan heard “Oye raavan oye.. Sita maata ko lauta de.. nahi ta TERI BHAEN DI.... “.
  • Deepika who played Sita, made a very bad choice so early in her career. Inspite of her stunning looks, she was off-limits for the million of young Indians who feared Lord Vishnu's wrath. No producer would sign her. The risk for making her romance anyone but Lord Rama could have meant a burning effigy, and a raging bajrang dal crowd outside his house.
  • Arun Govil who played Lord Ram, would have faced the worst. Understandably, how would anyone feel when one goes to a liquor shop to buy his favourite brand of whiskey and is told, “Bhagwan, ye paap na kare, Lakshman bhaiya pe bura assar pudega...”.
  • Girija Shanker who played Dhrutrashtra would have had a few people helping him cross a road, sometimes forcibly even though he had no plans on crossing it.
  • Gajendra Chouhan who played Yudhishter could have easily won a few court cases just by showing a few Mahabharata episodes to the judge, who would have been easily convinced that this case involving ancestral property between the warring Chouhan brothers must go in favour of Mr. Gajendra. God was at his side even then, must also be today. The advantages in court might have been balanced by a few drunkards who kept him awake on some nights, ogling at his wife and wanting one last game of chausar.
Apart from the plight of these actors, there very loads of other funny things I noticed, the 15 minutes each arrow took to kiss its counterpart and magically return back (why the fuck didn't it go ahead), Entire episode of one of Raavana's brother uttering just 5 words while still having a screen space of over 40 minutes. The rest of the time he just laughed, and man did he laugh..!! A strange casting of a south Indian guy to play Kumbhakaran, who not only amuses by calling Lakshman Ram's 'bai' but also has a mountain thrown at him hit his insanely big paunch and fly back (just like the arrows). In spite of everything, one must not forget that these were indeed cult classics who inspired an entire generation. I guess what we are doing to them is what our grandchildren will be doing to MTV Roadies. :)

Peer pressured Friday, August 21, 2009

Not so long ago, I wondered how much free time these 'blogging' people had on their hands. What do they write for? The only reason must be to kill time.. what else?? My over simplistic line of reasoning which failed to take into consideration the pleasures of writing (and the magic of adsense) stands validated as ever even today..!! I'm bored as hell and got nothing to do. Living in Pune these days is like playing Will Smith in 'I Am Legend'. the streets are deserted and shops empty. For survival even the calamity proof 'thekas' have turned to innovative schemes like free home deliveries and free namkeen packs with every khamba ordered. In times like these I have heard stories of super bored individuals doing super weird acts¹ all under the pretense of passing time. It seemed everyone was doing something or the other... why the hell was I feeling perfect doing nothing?? Peer pressure got me to blog, and I explain how.

Like every other child, my childhood was in a continuous state of destitution. There were always toys that my folks could't afford. There is a reason I put every other child in my league. I have no doubt in my mind that even one Mukesh Ambani Jr. would have cribbed atleast once for this spaceship that his dad could not afford and which he very much needed to play with. Wanting something simply because someone else has it was the norm. "Dad..!! if saamne vaala munnu can have it why can't your punnu have it..!!" (only used to elaborate, I swear I wasn't called by that name). As I grew old, clothes replaced toys as the subjects of envy. The Akshay kumar 'khilaadi' look with the super tight jeans was in and I had no plans on adopting it. There are a few things in life however, on which you don't have much control. My neighbour 'Munnu' was one such thing. He revolutionized the entire mohalla into suffocating their lower abdomen. Peer pressure got to me and there I was playing cricket in an attire which was impossible to even walk in. Adversity does bring out your best, even though it means that there are constant adjustments to be made, which I was making on the cricket field that day... in a corner.. on a regular basis.

Adulthood hasn't changed much. My roommate drives a sedan while I cruise around in my motorbike which falls into the fuel-efficient segment of all motorbikes. I would stop short of naming the model because of embarrassment related reasons, embarrassment which my roommate faces because of me & requests me to not mention this 'ride' of mine in public. Add to this the fact that both of us go to the same office and take identical paychecks. The very thought of evolving my mode of transport to be in sync with my mate takes me back to that nightmarish cricket field (which I never visited again by the way). When I was just thinking that I had resisted the urge, the flu situation happened and when I had absolutely no clue on what to do, I took solace in peer pressure and did what most of my friends where doing, writing blogs. Peer pressure I guess has trapped me in forever.

p.s: I was just shocked a few months back with news that one of my friends friend became an unmarried dad..!! aarrggh... this pressure's getting to me ;)

¹I'd have loved to explained these acts but I can't. Apparently, I did say 'no' when asked "will your blog have adult content?" Stupid mistake on my part. Sorry

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