to nanjappa circle.
Looking for an auto to take me to the garage,
where trusty steed awaits.
Pass by a BMP water pump.
And a woman with 3 plastic matkas.
She tucks two away,
under one arm.
Looks around. Spots me.
I pick up the third matka.
She guides it onto her head.
She gives me a grim smile.
And trudges away.
I'm forced to recollect that
I had a 15 minute shower today.
Nothing much. Just hanging around.
Oh off the end of a banner.
Off of a skyscraper in Mumbai.
Trying to tell Mumbaikars
to use CFL.
Yeah. Lots of cops and stuff around though.
Insisting we get down. News crews around too.
Be safe man.
Yeah man. Thanks. We need climbers, you know.
So think about it. It's not full time.
We'll train you. But you to have to show up
when we're holding actions.
Let me think about it. Later.
And I've been doing just that. Thinking.
I have a pretty bad problem with heights.
I have a pretty bad problem with a lot of other things too.
I need to figure if scaling heights is actually going to do
something about the stuff I think is wrong with the world.
Or will it just make me feel cool?
The guy on the other end of the phone is a madman, by the way,
because he seems to think saving the world is going to excuse
not bringing my god daughter around to visit.
He'll have to climb pretty damn fast, pretty damn soon,
if this keeps up much longer.
the other side lives.
the rich and shameless.
Guns and Hegemony.
Guns and Racial Profiling.
Guns and Politics.
like I figured.
to be home.
Mine, to be frank.
Once again, I've busted Airtel illegitimately charging me for services.
And being the righteously ginormous organisation they are,
it's a bit hard finding volunteers for the receiving end of a right hook.
Hence, I've decided to bankrupt the bastards.
So if you're from Airtel, and you're reading this - you poncey wanker -
add up the man hours you jerks have spent calling me.
And then look at my lovely, unlimited download, 256 kbps,
My partners at the circle,
and a couple of other buddies,
have just split.
I'm left with the detritus of 5 men
(counting inebriated self)
who consumed 3 litres of rum,
assorted meat and fowl,
and - unfathomably - breadsticks.
I'm also left with a fairly simple question.
A question that, in fact, one of the blokes raised
the last time we had a piss up.
Why is it we never manage to have a 'few' drinks?
That's what we set out to do this evening.
And many hours, and glasses later, I'm still at a loss.
In fact, being coherent currently requires an effort
akin to that needed to telekinetically start an Enfield.
For those of you who haven't yet attempted this,
we're talking about one hell of a lot of effort.
For those of you who have, I must ask the natural question...
But I digress.
(And after this much booze,
who can blame me?)
Back to the topic of a 'few' drinks.
I've come to a conclusion.
And it's absolutely astonishing.
The fact that I concluded anything in this state, I mean.
My conclusion is this:
That's why we never have just a 'few' drinks.
It's fun. And rare, to find 5 people,
or even 2, whom one is willing
to spend hours with in conversation,
socialisation and inebriation.
So to anyone who is even remotely considering the kind of drastic change of life that involves skipping out on such all-night binges completely, I'd just like to say: DON'T!
(And before any of you ask, yes, the wife is out of town.)
My first real crash.
Scraped off a fair amount of hide.
(Somewhere between my collar bone and my right shoulder.)
Scrapes got infected.
Was allergic to it.
But nobody knew.
Couldn't key in much.
Reserved it for work.
This went on for a month.
(Interesting scars, fading.)
Took a month off.
Went to Goa.
And wife's sister.
And her husband.
Came back, all too soon.
Behaved myself (more or less) all through my sister-in-law's 3rd wedding.
(She had 2 in Amoronica. Land of plenty, indeed.)
Fought losing battle against buying furniture.
Fought losing battle against filling up 3 rooms.
Realised dis-owning family is impractical.
(I owe them money, and can't afford alimony.)
Quit my job at McCann.
Got phished out of my Yahoo! a/c.
(If you receive mail/messages/porn/viagra offers from firstname.lastname@example.org, it's NOT me. The Yahoo! guys are being totally un-cooperative. They will not shut down the account. so I guess I Quit Yahoo! too.)
Nov. 1, walked into The Circle.
A small agency owned and operated by Tony, Sujith and yours truly.
Released more good work in 2 weeks
than I've done in the past 4 years.
Realised I liked blogging.
And started again.
And so, let me say to the 3 people (I, Me, Myself,)
who have dropped in regularly, despite the hiatus:
It's good to be back.
Don't know whether it was the half bottle of rum that accompanied this cinematic excercise, or just sheer celluloid euphoria, but I've come up with a dazzling new theory. Before I get into details, some brief (I promise) background info.
The festivities commenced with Tin Cup, where Renee has sex with a dysfunctional golf pro. Dysfunctional, since he preferred to while away his time in a beer stained undershirt, instead of being out on tour. Said golf pro went on to almost win the US Open.
Next in line was Get Shorty, were Renee has sex with a dysfunctional mobster. Dysfunctional, strictly by mafia standards, because he wants to chuck it all and become a film producer. Said mobster goes on to produce a film with a leading Hollywood star.
Last of all was The Thomas Crown Affair, where Renee has sex with a dysfunctional millionaire-playboy. Dysfunctional, because said millionaire was swiping musty old masterpieces to alleviate the boredom of counting his millions. He goes on to swipe Ms. Russo instead. Last seen, they were both headed off camera towards more steamy sex, and a sequel called The Topkapi Affair.
I trust, gentle reader, you see the pattern here.
As for the hope I talk about in the title... literally hundreds of people will testify to the fact that when it comes to interacting with the rest of society, I'm dysfunctional.
What the fuck is the point of Tuesdays?
I mean everyone knows about Mondays. Right? They're the penance assigned by (insert capo di tutti capi of the organised religion of your choice here) for all the good shit that happens on weekends. Mondays are kind of like American preisdents; everyone hates them, but we all live through them with a forebearance that's practically saintly.
What helps is knowing that one has truly earned that drink at the end of a Monday.
And Wednesdays are beacons of hope. People look forward to Wednesdays, with a "beer stein half-full" sort of attitude. You know that the good shit is just a couple of days away.
And this, of course, calls for a drink.
Thursdays are indispensible. They're prep night for Fridays. If it wasn't for the practice we give our livers on Thursday nghts, most of us would never survive Friday nights.
Drinks again. Many, many drinks.
Which brings us to that amazing entity: Friday. Without it, life would be utter crap. Mindless drudgery. Friday packs in sin and salvation. Sin, in the form of the utter debauchery we know we're going to indulge in. Salvation, in the form of the chores we promise ourselves we're going to tackle this weekend. For sure. Scout's honour. Cross our hearts, and hope to die.
Turly, amazingly, staggering amounts of drinks.
Saturday and Sunday need no introduction. If you feel they do, you're probably not yet past puberty, and should get the fuck off my blog.
Alcoholically speaking, they begin just about where Friday left off. And to hell with cirrhosis.
Given all this, Tuesdays perform no useful function known to rational man. They're kind of like a fourth tit (hey - I'm creative - I can picture interesting variations with three of the lil things.)
So, I hereby propose we ban Tuesdays.
A four day week would be more productive. A three day weekend, more fun. Pubs would flourish. Employment would rise. Leading to more conspicuous consumerism. Leading to more pubs. And more employment. And so on, and so forth.
If the powers that be don't buy into it, there's only one solution I can come up with to effectively combat the menace of Tuesdays.
The lady who is my mother's mother, remains one of the strongest women I know. And she is a lady. The little that is good about me, I learned from her. One of which was respect for the written word.
One interminable Bombay summer, deposited in her unquestionably safe custody, I was leafing through one of her books (there were literally thousands). Carelessly flipping through the pages, the young brat (me) tore one of them.
For me, time forever pauses there.
Many an indulgent authority figure would have given me a metaphysical lecture on why this was unpardonable. Many more, especially those of the neo-liberal school, would have ignored it.
Grandma took one work hardened finger, held up my (then) miniscule palm, gave it one solid thwack and said "don't!"
And I never have, since then.
Recently, this lady lost most of her eyesight. As with every other cross she's borne, this too has met nothing but inimitable resilience.
On my last couple of visits, she's been giving me some of her old books. Thomas Wolfe. The entire Ramses Series. Claudius the God. I, Claudius.
Don't know what hit me harder. The fact that the lady who taught me to love and respect literature was giving me some of her most treasured companions. Or the fact that even though I walked into the room in broad daylight, she had to ask, to make sure it was me.
Either way, I know grandma would frown if I whimpered about it.
So I'll just say "Thank you, grandma."
It's the only thing that comes anywhere close to the taste of ice cold rum n coke washing away the minty after-taste of the morning's toothpaste (and the sins of the night before).
Just spent the weekend in Goa. I'm surprised they didn't stop my liver at the checkpost, and ask it for a liquor permit.
Some people find Jesus at the bottom of the bottle.
Some find pink elephants.
Me, I just find the bar. Again.
Bob and Jeff, of Change of Pace, have come up with the definitive Irish drinking toast. I reproduce it here for your dyspeptic pleasure:
Here’s to the wine we love to drink,
And the food we love to eat.
Here’s to our wives and sweethearts,
and may they never meet.
Here’s to champagne for our real friends,
and real pain for our sham friends.
And when this journey finally ends,
may all of us find peace.
Here’s to the women that I’ve loved,
and all the one’s I’ve kissed.
As for regrets, I have just one,
that’s all the one’s I’ve missed.
While women’s faults are many,
we men have only two:
Every single thing we say,
and everything we do.
I wish ya health, I wish ya wealth,
and happiness galore.
I wish ya heaven when ya die,
what could I wish ya more.
May your joys be as deep as the ocean,
your troubles as light as its foam.
And may ya find sweet peace of mind,
wherever you may roam.
But what really got me thinking was that they all had a similar message, albeit expressed in very, very different ways. And the message that came out loud and clear was that people around the world are begining to question what is being done to us, and the planet we all live on, in the name of governance and business.
The Constant Gardener takes a long hard look at the economics of the pharmaceutical industry. Having watched the film, I'm no longer reassured by medicines that proudly say they aren't tested on animals. The film makes incredible use of editing and music. And, for the first time in my life, surpasses the book that inspired it.
If the first film deals with the awakening of the archetypal establishment man to the travesty that is his establishment, the second - Syriana - deals with a similar realisation, albeit to an archetypal establishment hatchet man. While the film explores fours brilliant stories, integrates them seamlessly, and brings them to an explosive end, it is this story that really got to me. For what hope can the fat cats of the establishment have, if there's no one left to do their dirty work?
Good Night, And Good Luck departs from the realm of fiction, but is eerily reminiscent of the times we live in. A time where absolute power is truly absolute and witch hunts abound. Sadly, the voice of Edward R. Murrow is no longer around to set things right. And the news channels have become corporate megaphones. As an aside, I watched Crash as well, and for the life of me, can't figure out why it beat GNAGL at the Oscars.
The last film in this category, though few may agree, is Lord Of War. There's no real awakening of the character here. Just a painstakingly detailled and scary look at the arms trade. But the reason I include it in this list is a tiny super that appears at the end of the film. Something that says the film was based on some events of this nature that actually took place. Which blew my mind.
All in all, these films, but especially The Constant Gardener and Good Night, And Good Luck did do one other thing for me. They made me question what I do for a living. It's all very well to spout off cynically on my blog about injustice and sell outs and the military-industrial complex. Shouldn't I be doing a bit more about this crap though.
These are both films where the protagonists are not muscle bound ubermensch. Nor do they go around setting things right with a smoking .45. But they, of all the films I've seen recently, really shook me. And seemed to say that the answer wasn't, isn't, and could never be vigilante-ism. Something I never believed before, but I think am just beginning to understand.
Another shitty Monday, don't feel like a writer no more.
Ain't a writer no more.
They don't give me no money, so broke my pockets are sore.
My pockets are sore.
Had bills to pay Tuesday, found myself deep in the red.
So deep in the red.
Deadlines to meet tomorrow, tonight I'll only sleep if i'm dead.
Only sleep if i'm dead.
Find my solace in the booze.
Burnin' Out Blues.
Work all night on Wednesday, got no time on my own.
Got no time on my own.
Fit's hit the shan, them blues won't leave me alone.
They won't leave me alone.
Gotta keep hittin' that booze.
Burnin' Out Blues.
10 a.m Thursday, already need that glass of beer.
Oh just one little beer.
Good times forgot to know me, ain't no rest for me here.
No rest for me here.
Oohh my head feels like a bruise,
Burnin' Out Blues.
Workin on another Saturday, I need a night on the town.
One night on the town.
Phone calls all day Sunday, 'nuff to pull me way down.
Pull me way-way down.
No sanity left to lose...
Rookies let me tell you, it's tough being an agency man.
Tough being an agency man.
Clients never make sense, that's assuming they can.
Just assuming they can.
Got no sanity left to lose...
Burnin' Out Blues.
Somebody get me some more booze.
Burnin' Out Blues.
Yes, a truly shitty excuse for not having posted in eons. But it's the only one I've got. A while ago, I wrote about work being hectic. That was an understatement.
I got to go to the APAC Ad Fest '06, which was held at Pattaya.
Of course, I had a meeting in Bombay on the first day, so I missed most of that.
On the second day, there was this truly kick ass presentation on the "Impossible Is Nothing" Adidas campaign. I can't give you first hand confirmation of this, because I spent the duration at the free browsing centre, working on scripts for the office here in Bangalore.
I did get to attend the final day in its entirety, and it was a truly humbling experience. You see, the final day culminated with the results of the TV commercials category.
I'll just say this... someday, I hope to write half as well.
And for those of you who still drop by, well, thanks for your patience.
(Whch should really come as no surprise to anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with 20th century history.)
Those of you who drop by here regularly may remember a post I'd done on the Clemenceau - a ship loaded to the gunwhales with asbestos, headed to India for dismantling, courtesy the frogs.
Well, the handful of people who decided to take on the snail-eaters, won.
They took on the entire damn French government, and other allied interests. And won.
The Clemenceau has been ordered back home.
Read more about it here.
Of course, anyone who has ever read half a cheesy thriller, will tell you that the French will probably deep six the damn ship along the way - claiming, with straight faces, that it wasn't seaworthy. Hence the title of this post.
Bob Seger takes over, with the day's first cigarette.
Give voice to Marley in the shower.
John Mellencamp strolls along, on the way to office.
Step into a meeting with U2.
Most times, B B King sympathises when it's over.
Some times, things go well, and Skynyrd's jukin' too.
Play hookie from work, for an hour, with Jimmy Buffett.
Led Zep provides an escort back.
5:00 pm and it's time for Tom Petty.
7:00 pm and J J Cale takes over the watch.
Think about stepping out for a beer with the Stones about 9-ish.
Stay at work instead, Dire Straits indeed.
Eventually, head home to my brown eyed girl and Van the Man.
The next morning, just press play.
Thanks for tuning in to the soundtrack of my life.
I admire their style of humour, which is as side-splitting, as it is incisive and relevant to the crap that passes for a geo-political scenario today.
This is one of their pieces that I honestly wish was for real.
I've given this a great deal of thought, and have decided that the fate of the world rests in your liver spotted hands. It won't take much to save this shit-hole we inhabit (I know it stinks, but its the only one we've got.) All you have to do is become President of the United States.
Of course you have questions about inhabiting 1600 Penn. Ave.
Here are a few compelling reasons for calling the furniture movers immediately...
1) If the world has to be ruled by a white, geriatric, imbalanced anglo-saxon, well - to be perfectly honest - I'd rather it was you.
2) If the devil's got to have my sympathy, you asked for it well in advance.
3) Your way of solving international conflicts would only involve a battle of the bands.
4) You say you can't get no satisfaction, with so much more panache.
5) Nobody would object to Keith Richards subpoenaing Google files - everyone knows he's a dirty old man anyway.
6) When stories about your drug usage leaked out, they wouldn't harm your popularity ratings.
7) You've had more practice at looking good in spandex.
8) You could sack Donald Rumsfeld and hire James Brown instead.
9) White House press conferences would finally get more attention than Osama's Greatest Hits, vol xxxvii.
10) "Please allow me to introduce myself..." sounds a hell of a lot better than "My Fellow Americans..."
Think it over.
Think it over.
Most of them have been the usual corporate hand jobs. Most of them also started out as well written scripts, till the clients decided to indulge in some mental ejaculation.
Some of them have, however, survived to serve some constructive purpose. Thanks to which, I discovered some new music, worthy of being on "repeat".
Red Warrior and Spectres In The Fog, from The Last Samurai OST, and
North, by Afro Celt Sound System.
Also tuned into this old timey Vegas type lounge singer called Perry Como, who does a decent version of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly.
Give them a whirl, if you have the time.
On with the tale.
I've spent many a Sunday indulging in my Calvinistic, OCD fueled pursuit of getting 10 year old bathroom tiles back to their original glossy whiteness. Pril detergent and a stiff bristled brush work, but are extremely labour intensive. So this time around, in a fit of consumerism, I bought something called Tile Power. It said that all I had to do was spray it on, wait a bit, and rinse it off.
While waiting, I departed from the prescribed course of action, and read the fine print on the back of the bottle.
There were the usual wild promises about how this product would change my life forever, enhance my libido, make me a millionaire overnight, solve world poverty, and hunger and - incidentally - remove all traces of mildew, soap scum and White House Foreign Policy from my bathroom tiles.
It also had this unbelievable gem "Caution: Use in a well ventilated area."
Now I'm no rocket scientist, but even I know that if the bathroom was well ventilated, I wouldn't have fucking mildew in the first place.
They should have warnings about reading warnings. Because after this little masterpiece, and having spent more time than is wise getting all warm and cosy with bleach fumes, I laughed - hysterically - for the next 20 minutes. Which only led to more inhalation of the aforesaid fumes.
I guess the guy who wrote this also came up with those other masterpieces: Military Intelligence and Corporate Social Responsibility.
And if you were wondering what happened to the bathroom...
Eventually, I rinsed.
It didn't work.
Naturally, being men, they wanted this state of affairs to last for as long as possible. The maximum time they could put in generating heaps of dirty clothes, and getting thoroughly sozzled at the end of the day, without winding up paying alimony, was 5 days. This was the ultimate test of a wife’s patience, which is why a 5 day match was henceforth called Test cricket.
Things were fine, until the Americans invented a place called Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is the home of casinos, bordellos, the mafia, and the instant marriage. The instant marriage gave birth to the instant divorce, which was nurtured into acceptable litigation, by a couple of ambulance chasers, in the nearby town of Reno.
Now, British women felt decidedly left out of this entire period of liberation. However, being more civilized than their colonial cousins, they decided on a course of action that didn’t involve going to court. They invented a new form of cricket. This version of the game allowed men to spend just one day dirtying uniforms, followed by a single evening of getting sozzled at the local. Hence, these came to be known as One Day matches.
The advent of One Day matches coincided beautifully with the advent of washing machines.
Women discovered that washing machines could never get whites as white as they should be, but they were damned if they were going back to doing cricket flannels the good old way. So, they forced men to wear gaudy coloured uniforms on the field. To help men adjust to this distinct lack of taste, a large group of women got together, pooled in their discount coupons, and bought a piece of land near London. Admittance to this land was restricted to cricket players and spectators. And to make the men feel better, the ladies named it Lord’s.
Cut off from the general population, the British men soon got over their discomfort of being clad in outlandish costumes. And, in typical British fashion, having spent years in places they had no business being, they decided to set up cricket grounds across their colonies. They then made the mistake of chucking up the colonies, cricket grounds and all, and pissing off, back to their drizzly little isle.
In one of life’s delicious little ironies, the Brits then spent years and years being hammered to bits on cricket grounds around the world, by superb teams from the aforementioned colonies. To put it mildly, Australian, Indian and Pakistani cricket teams proceeded to do to the Brits precisely what the Brits had done to Australia, India and Pakistan, for a number of years. Needless to say, the Brits were unhappy about being hoist on their own sticky wickets.
So they burned the stumps. And sifted the remains. And came up with the Ashes. Which they spent next few decades dutifully sending across to Australia, with their best compliments. Until 2005, when the simple fact that there are at least 16 million descendants of Gengis Khan, came into play. 11 such descendants, with Brit passports, got together and beat the living daylights out of the Aussies.
The Brits, having given up on ever having an Ashes victory celebration, were delirious with joy. So delirious, that they spent an entire week without once regretting the re-election of Tony Blair.
Which just goes to show why they call cricket the Gentleman’s Game, and why Tony Blair never made the first 11 at Harrow.
Work has been homicidal since July. And I'm pushing 30 so hard, it's about to start pushing back.
- no :) that's not a reference to you at all.
I feel like the best quote from Cocktail "The money is gone, the brain is shot, but the liquor, the liquor we still got."
Which i'm putting to the test, by knocking back a large cold rum.
Today was rough. No different from yesterday. And the week before that. And the weeks before that. And the months before that. And so on.
And my wife's away till Friday.
And it's been too long since I've hit the trail on Ole Hoss.
And what more do you need, for the blues?
I've had these 2 songs, one by Santana, and one by Afro Celt Sound system, on repeat for an hour now. The rhythmic thump of the sub must be driving my neighbours crazy.
And I've just noticed my glass is empty.
So, hasta manana, amigos. vaya con dios.
The other day, I was indulging my passion for comic books. De-stressing (vicariously) this time through the antics of one pissed off green giant - The Incredible Hulk. And at the end of the issue was this little gem of a story starring The Thing.
Now I've never really been a fan of the Fantastic Four. I've always thought they were the lamest bunch of spandex afficionados around. The sole exception being one Benjamin J. Grimm a.k.a. The Thing. The Thing, to put it simply, rocks. He's big. And he hits hard. And goes easy on the soap opera stuff that infests so many comics these days.
Battle Royales between The Thing and The Hulk are legendary. And almost always involve gratuitous destruction of whatever bit of the world happens to be around them. This little story I discovered is an epilogue of sorts to one of the afore mentioned slug fests. And it is a beaut.
A brief synopsis; Nick Fury wants The Thing to stop The Hulk (again). So blue-eyed Benjy heads out into the desert with a regular issue grunt driver, to wait for Hulkie to show up. They while away the time with Benjy waxing eloquent on battles past. With a few gruff words of wisdom thrown in for the young grunt.
And in the course of his raconteuring, The Thing comes up wih this superb line, just prior to beating the shit out of some Asgardian Section 8 critter named The Wrecker. It goes something like this:
"In the immortal words of Mick Jagger... Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and pain."
After which, in deference to an incipient hangover, The Thing whispers "Pssst... It's clobberin' time."
Needless to say, The Wrecker is soon in orbit.
As Benjy's ever-lovin' aunt Petunia would say... yer gots ta love it.
If you inhale enough of it, for long enough, it leads to pulmonary hypertension and immunological effects. (Neither of whom, if they were people, would make good neighbours.)
If you inhale enough of it, for long enough, it can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma - a rare cancer of the membranes lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding internal organs. And, increase the odds of your getting gastrointestinal cancer. (Hello, my name is Reaper, I'm 6'2", love stygian black, have a pallid complexion, and play the scythe...)
If you smoke, and also happen to inhale this stuff, you're really fucked.
And, while you're reading this post, a whole shit load of this wonder substance is en route to India.
Welcome to the wonderful world of asbestos. There's a ship full of it headed our way, with best wishes from the French. It's a ship called the Clemenceau, and a few concerned people are trying to stop it. Read more about it here.
I haven't seen much about this in terms of posts, but then I'm not exactly the final authority on "what's up" in the Indian blogosphere. I do know I'm pissed off at the thought of a bunch of people - people who wimped out of two world wars - dumping their shit here.
This blog is empty. It's barren.
It's suffering from extreme malnutrition.
Let's face it, it's on the brink of an untimely, unsightly demise.
If pics of the Time-LIFE variety, suitably heart rending, will move your emotions, more than my feeble prose, consider said pics inserted here.
Why? You may (or more likely, may not) ask.
Simply because I'm a copywriter at McCann Bangalore, where business is booming, and social lives are dying.
Dying horrid, unpleasant, Time-LIFE photo feature type deaths.
Deaths that have a drastic effect on blogs like this...
If you're a copywriter/art director, with at least 2 to 3 years of work experience, you can help.
Get in touch - my e-mail ids on the profile.
It's fine if you're not really looking for a change.
Let's chat anyway.
Do your bit. Save this blog from becoming just another statistic.
(Oh and by the way, if you know any servicing types who are hot shit, we need some of that kind as well.)