24.10.07

DJ Democracy

For a while now, I've been looking for the perfect analogy for the Indian political scenario.

Perfect, not in the descriptive sense; a number of words that describe bodily waste, industrial waste, or any combination of the two, spring to mind. No, what I sought, was the perfection in accuracy.

An analogy, in other words that would capture the essence of Indian politics, in all its gory glory.

Then I remembered something that a friend named Gene came up with, to describe the rather dysfunctional sex life of a mutual friend. Believe me, when I say it didn't take much adaptation.
Politics in India, is much like being stuck, for life, with a 3 cd changer, and just 3 cds in your collection.

On Disc 1, we have the Greatest Hits of the Congress, and other Golden Oldies. We've heard them all before. We know all the words by heart. They've been around forever. They get too much air time.

Disc 2, has the harsh, incoherent, death-metal-meets-jingoism of the Hindutva brigade. Music for moshing, in other words. The perfect accompaniment to mindless violence, mayhem and an all around gore fest.

Last of all, we have Disc 3, on which may be found the JD, the Left, and other artists, who gained some popularity, but never quite made it to the sopping-wet-womens'-undergarments-flung-on-stage level of popularity.

So sometimes we play them consecutively.
Sometimes, we hit the shuffle button, and waltz randomly through.
And sometimes we programme them, in a Disc 1/Disc 3 sort of way.

Then, there are those very bad times, when Disc 2, gets stuck on repeat. And all we hear, are the Wagnerian overtones to something like the Gujarat riots. Or Disc 1, declares an Emergency, to save itself from the trash bin. Or Disc 3, can't figure out who it should play after.

Then, it's time to pull the plug.

I figure we're long overdue for some serious plug-pulling.

23.10.07

While you weren't looking...

... somebody made a really good film starring Kevin Costner.

No, he's not a golfer.
No, he's not a ball player.
No, he's not a post-apocalyptic messiah.

Yes, Kevin Costner does act.
Yes, he plays someone other than Kevin Costner.
Yes, it's very much worth watching.

Meet Mr. Brooks.

22.10.07

Save Rs. 4,100,000. Or, save a few hundred.

You could even do both, if you're feeling energetic enough.

Here's the funny part though. Saving a few hundred bucks will involve a hell of a lot more effort, while saving Rs. 4,100,000 (that's 41 lakh, for those who prefer it) is astoundingly simple.

Now for a brief explanation. If you've been reading the papers recently, or (heaven forbid) watching the idiot box, you've been inundated with images of the Mysore Palace all lit up for the festivities. Just click here and you'll see that simply switching all those lights over to CFL, will save tax payers the afore-mentioned 4,100,000 simoleons.

And last time I looked, everyone was griping about taxes.

So does this mean you can give the Maharaja a call and tell him to get his act together?

Well, no.

What you can do, is sign up for a petition that aims to make our trained monkeys in parliament pass effective legislation. The kind of legislation that will ensure the Mysore palace and other monuments that just "need" to be lit up, don't stay a royal pain in our collective, tax-paying ass.

Just click here.

(By the way, legislation of this sort will also be environmentally beneficial. But think of that as just a fringe benefit to your savings bank account.)

Now here's why saving a few hundred bucks, takes a little more effort.

(If, that is, you actually care about addressing climate change enough to do more than bring up Al Gore-Nobel Prize jokes at cocktail hour.)

What you'll have to do, is switch over to CFL personally. Change all the bulbs at home. And if possible, in the office.

I'll try and make it easier for you. If you're in Bangalore, just head to
Mahaveer Electric Co.
#2 A. M. Lane, Chickpet,
Bangalore 560 053.

Ph: 2226 4557 or 2220 6689.

These guys have the best deals on CFLs, which is where you'll save a few hundred. You'll also save on your electricity bill. And as an inconcsequential aside, you'll be doing your two bits for the envionment.

All of which, should leave you with a warm, fuzzy glow every time you flick the light switch.

17.10.07

Concentrate on the subtitles

Whoever did this, is infinitely patient.

1 degree...

Finally.

After 3 decades on this planet, someone I personally know, stars in a no-holds-barred interview.

3.10.07

Songs To Shave By...

One of the few enduring memories of my rather forgettable childhood, is watching my father shave.

I'm talking about the good old days, when shaving meant a Topaz blade, shaving cream in tubes, a brush, and Brut.

The days when a safety razor had a screw on the bootom of a faux wood handle, that opened the casing to insert the blade. The days, before Gillette messed it all up with gels and ball bearings and light sabers.

It used to be a ritualistic process. And if you weren't paying attention, you risked walking around doing a passable impersonation of Al Pacino, in Scarface.

I think one of the reasons I found it all so fascinating, was that the razor, was taboo. (Plus the odd chance of getting a splash of Brut - also normally well inside forbidden teritory.)

The other reason, is what this post is all about.

The music.

I remember an old, portable transistor radio - made by Bush, if I'm not mistaken - that was always cranked up at shaving time.

(Like all card carrying, red-blooded males, my father had his Technic amp and floor standing speakers and stuff, but it was always the old radio that grabbed center stage in the mornings.)

In its tinny voice, I first heard all the songs that we all know by heart. Kishore Kumar. Hemant Kumar. Mukesh. I learned the words to Paanch rupaiyya, baarah aana well before I figured out what they meant. So too with Hai apna dil, toh awaara and myriad others.

Time passed. We changed cities. We moved into, and out of, multiple houses. And somewhere along the line, that old radio went kaput, and was eventually disposed off.

In a fit of adolescent wanna-be-ism, I also insisted I'd have nothing more to do with Hindi music and tuned out, completely.

Thankfully, at some point, I grew up.

(Part of this growing up included shaving, but that soon lost its charm, having been reduced from mesmeric razor-edged ritual, to mere gadgetry. And as my photograph shows, I've regressed completely, into full blown facial fur.)

I never did forget the music on that radio. The sound, the timbre, the words, the melody.

And every now and then, in the wee hours of the night, or on a suddenly quiet Sunday afternoon, I hear the same old songs, in a similar tinny voice, piping up from the security guard's little radio, four storeys below.

And every now and then, indulgently nostalgic, I think about not giving in, to my own red-blooded male desire for the ultimate audio experience.

Someday, I may even convince myself.