Wednesday 20 June 2007

Watch on Ventilator.

To my dear watch,

When I first saw you, you were in a glass case, underwater! I thought you were the coolest, most sporty looking, practical watch ever! My friends said you looked like a grotesque, grey, deformed, fish. Never mind them. Within moments you were on my left wrist, and have rarely been off since. You were waterproof remember? For once the manufacturers claim was true, i could swim, shower, wash dishes, paint, even play holi with you. In fact getting colour off you was never a problem, considering you have lost most of your own over the years!

You lasted longer than all the others, the temporary, unreliable flings that broke off when I most needed them. YOU were meant for rough use. You never slipped away when i kept banging into desks and tables, sharp corners and walls, or even in overwhelming crowds pulling and pushing us in a thousand different directions. You never hid beneath the books and clothes, under bed sheets, behind cupboards, and the general mess that follows me around. You knew me well, always moulding yourself around my moods. On hot, irritating, sticky days, you never cut into me, needling and annoying. In cold, far of places, you warm pressure and familiarity on my wrist was comforting. (And you never left that horrid looking suntan band around my wrist!)

I remember the day a rappelling adventure went wrong, we hung together upside down, about four storeys high, by a single rope, clutching onto the rock with my feet for dear life. I scraped you hard, against the rough rocky wall,and burning rope, and you did not look any worse for the wear. I remember the salt deserts of Kutch, where the sun was beating over head, and dust and grit and mud flew into us in the strong winds. We walked on the rock, sorry, salt hard white ground. With the eerie feeling of being on snow. The whiteness blinding us. My hands were submerged in the frothy water, with sharp, cutting, salt crystals. You took it all in your stride, the froth sweetly dripping away from you, leaving you as untouched as before. I remember you in the verdant forests of Kerela, the rain pouring on us, brushing away twigs and branches, parting thick leaves. You survived the deluge and the onslaught of insects, beetles and other creepy crawlies.

The worst conditions were the discotheques/clubs. A million sweaty bodies, grinding against you to obnoxious music, drinks being spilled, cigarettes singeing, drunken friends clinging at you for support, you withstood it all. You held your own in the more quiet, sophisticated places we went to. Formal dinners, evening social do's, where the cool chicks, wannabe chicklets, and the sophisticated mother hens, with cruella expressions, looked at you in disdain. A big grey sports watch amongst slinky satin dresses and clickity, clackity shoes. You survived the incongruity, the roughest times you think? The nicest times were in the dark. In movie theatres, cabs and ricks. The black nights, the long, lonely, unlit roads. All I had to do was press a button, and you would glow a comforting green, the black digits winking up at me.

All this and more you saw me through. Looking fat and complacent, even when the grey turned to mouldy green and the date display mechanism went haywire. I stopped setting alarms on you when the 12 hour cycle messed up , and you started waking me up at 5 in the morning. But i could never stop using you, because your time keeping was, and still is impeachable, set two min ahead, you never wavered. Even now, you blink away merrily, 4:13 p.m and 15 sec, Wednesday. (if i take the trouble to press another button, it will tell me the month/date too!! ;) ) Inaccurate though. But yesterday, in a boring lecture, one of your clasps broke, just like that, without warning. And now you are strapped delicately, a little shaky. A watch that lived up to its rough use badge, in the roughest of times, is now under Intensive Care even while i turn in my sleep. I'll watch over your last days, maybe a new metal clasp will save you. But I just had to take out the time to write you this, while you were still alive, even if barely so.

Love me.

Monday 18 June 2007

LOST

Forget replying to comments, i dont have any of those! i cant even figure out how to add anyone to this goddamn thing! My blog is lost in cyber world, no one knows of its existance , and i do not know how to do cool stuff like link and add team members and GOODNESS KNOWS WHAT ELSE. So till i can figure out how to get in touch with other people through my blog, (sigh) i will continue writing and publishing posts to the ghosts that read this, while waiting to be rescued from oblivion!

Saturday 16 June 2007

HIT 1

II HATE my journalism professor. He is a biased , prejudiced, venomous, frustrated ,old, old man. who doesn't like anyone's point of view other than his own narrow minded one.He refuses to listen to facts, he refuses to listen to analysis , his idea of a good journalist is one who is good at poetry n philosophical, spiritual, non sensical, abstract SHIT. does that sound like a good teacher to you? He is always confused , as to what his assignments are, as to what guidelines, timings,, method of evaluation ...Everything. He makes personal remarks all the time, asks students about personal opinions about his other students, uses his advantages of being an OLD fartbag of a teacher to continuously make snide comments with a maddening know it all look on his poisonous toad of a face . He is the King of favoritism and is amazingly open about it. He is basically a failed journalist, who worked for some obscure paper, in some obscure post, and thinks no end of him self. His chest is always so far pushed out with pompous pride , that one day, i feel he will loose his balance and fall backward.He is a mass of contradictions, He keeps praising his daughter to high heavens, hoping we will be inspired , at the same time it would be difficult to find a bigger male chauvinistic pig than him.He says he likes formal presentations, then complains its too boring, he says he like spontaneity, and then complains its too unstructured! In an effort to improve himself, at this late stage , he keeps reading self help books, sometimes i wonder why, because he always seems to know better than the authors. He ALWAYS goes of on looong walks down memory lane. Apparently all his memories have him as some amazing intelligent journalist, who baffles people with his sharp thinking! He might be Deep Throat himself, and he tries to say this with a modest air, but his lips, curled in a yellowing grin as he waddles down the aisle with a smug expression always betray the fact! He tries to brush away his ridiculous comments with a false laugh, which makes him sound wondrously like a beached whale. I could go on for ever, about this pathetic excuse of human kind, who picks on his female students to let out his frustration about his loserly life....... but i shall now end . phew!

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Cheeni Kum!!!

I just watched Cheeni Kum last evening, an unplanned and thoroughly enjoyable outing. Initially I had been apprehensive about viewing this particular film , because of the done to death , old man loves younger women story, and the inevitable justifications for love that crosses age barriers.Fortunately , the movie lived up to its name(literally, less sugar!) , to a great extent, and was truly, devoid of sugary sweetness.The fast, witty, filled with innuendos dialogs appealed to my sarcastic side. What was most amazing was that one could almost forget it was The Great Bachchan who was acting and actually enjoy the character, something i have not been able to do ever since directors have insisted on him playing the angry old man!

Amitabh Bachchan( Budhadeb Gupta) is a 64 year old irascible , peppery old bachelor , who is the chef, and owner of London's finest Indian restaurant.He lives a life devoid of any spice or social contacts other than his nervy kitchen staff, his old mother, played by Zohra Seghal, and a nine year old girl, Sexy, his confidant, who is full of worldly wisdom and useful advice.Tabu( Nina Verma) is a 34 year old unmarried women, who comes to London, as a tourist.With her unique, subtle sense of humor, silent, smiling ways, and Hyderabadi saffrani( no idea abt the spelling!) pilau adds that zing to the Amitabh's life. The only obstacle to a sweet ending is Paresh Rawal, Nina's father, who is 6 years younger than Budha, and a Gandhian principles follower!

The movie ladles out a delicious helping of Zohra Seghals flawless performance.A funny, endearing , unconventional mother , who cheerfully copes with her cynical, perfectionist of a son, accompanied by a tangy dollop of Sexy's intelligent childish insights.Though i do think her character was a bit unreal, but what is a story without fantasy!

Parish Rawal was a little let down, its a ok ok performance, and the Gandhi element he brings along, seems to be a forced attempt at silly comedy. This is when the film becomes surfeit with too many ingredients. It must something to do with the land! As long as the film is shot in London, the editing is clean, short and rational.But as soon as the film embarks on Indian soil, it gives way to melodrama, myths, minars and murgi! Unfortunately, a little sweetness seeps in , that even Paresh Rawal's declining sugar levels cannot curb!

The frames and visuals , like the script , are fresh,stylish, and edging towards minimal.The music, forgettable. Amitabh looks cool and dashing in his designer sweats and shades! Tabu although by no means young is beautiful, elegant and graceful, her earthiness is refreshing after the bubbly bright,annoyingly, chirpy actresses that old men repeatedly fall in love with!

All in all, Director R.Balki has dished out a delectable debut.

Page 3

Tuesday,May 22, 2007

The teachers are taking revenge for the 20 day holiday that they threw at us! there is too much vague stuff to accomplish. First I have to figure out what the assignments are!!! Plus im gonna have to get used to doing this in broad daylight with annoying people hanging around my comp screen, rather than in the dead of the night. so i shall just leave you with an assignment of mine. Page 3: Then, Now and Next.......

PAGE 3 is more than just a newspaper sheet. It has become a cult of sorts, defining everything that is rich, cool and urbane. A mania, which virtually leapt out of the printed word, to form a fan following across nations. It has had its share and more, of controversy, criticism and credit, but to understand the influence and importance it has in the lives of the present day generation and the impact it has on the future of journalism we must begin at the beginning.

A hint of what was first to be PAGE 3 news, came in the early 19th century. It was delightfully summarized in the words of the editor of the Two penny Dispatcher, Henry Hetherington: "a repository of all the gems and treasures, fun and frolic and "news and occurrences of the week. It shall abound in Police Intelligence, in Murders, Rapes , Suicides , Burnings , Maiming , Theatricals , Races , Pugilism and all manner of moving 'accidents, floods and field.' In short, it will be stuffed with every sort of devilment that will make it sell!” (Source: cited in Stephan's 1988:204) Although some of the items of news listed may not figure in today's PAGE 3, the essence remains the same. Sensational, attention grabbing gossip.

The term PAGE 3 though first became a catchphrase in 1969, when Rupert Murdoch re-launched a British tabloid, The Sun. In a bid to increase circulation, The Sun began featuring topless models on PAGE 3, with a cheeky headline," NEWS IN BRIEFS" Pictures of semi nude models (in briefs of course) were displayed along with tongue in cheek captions, airing the models views on any issue, current news and politics, to everyday happenings. At the end of it all, the page had you in splits. The ploy worked, the sales of The Sun increased by a dramatic 40%, netting a circulation of 2.1 million in a year! The trend has continued ever since, creating the Tabloid Press in U.K and U.S.A., newspapers that print saucy, scandalous gossip and titillating pictures of the rich, famous and infamous. What's more is that these tabloids comfortably outsell the ‘respectable’ newspapers which focus on news.

This trend oozed out of foreign lands and into India once the Indian government lifted the half - century ban on foreign investments in India's print media to allow foreigners to take up 26% stake in news and current affair publications. Soon the Indian readers craved less of Man Mohan and more of Madonna! Unlike the U.S and U.K tabloids, PAGE 3 in India is a little more conservative, so far! It is a spread of the doings of businessmen, politicians, social workers, cops, publishing moguls, models, fashion designers and actors. The paparazzi cover the perfect hosts and their glamorous guests doing what they do best at lavish, exciting and wild events- partying.

PAGE 3 hit India when our very own, 'Old Lady of Boribunder' the Times Of India, (universally known as the TOI) decided to revamp its entire sedate, old fashioned, respectable image. Along with the Times main paper, came cheesy insertions in nine city editions, named Bombay Times, Pune Times, Delhi Times and so on. These are grab bags of gossip and fashion, vivid colourful shots of cleavage and bikinis, of celebrities and celebrity cross dressers, of wannabes and starlets jostling for a shadow in the spotlight, and of cocaine and ecstasy raves. This supplement is unsurpassed, which is good, because even thinking of what might surpass it, is a disconcerting thought to say the very least!

All this has shaken the very foundation of journalism ethics, by throwing up questions like "Is a newspaper obliged to give you news? Like any other product does not a newspaper also exist to make money?" Seen from this point of view, my litany sounds bitter and cynical. After all the newspapers are just giving what the readers seem to want, as confirmed by a Delhi housewife, Sonam Seghal who says," I don't care for boring old politicians. I'd rather read Shobha De," referring to one of India's most popular and glamorous columnist. And Shobha De herself seems to approve of the new trend in journalism. When Mid Day on 11th May 2004, printed what amounted to a rate card for the Bombay times, Ms De said that charging for news space like this, is a "courageous and path breaking decision……legitimate and transparent" Also adding that "this is the trend of journalism for the coming years" It all goes to show that people now have started looking at newspapers and journalism differently. When a person like Ms De thinks that charging for news space is a fine, courageous and path breaking, is it we who should reconsider our ideas about the press? After all we anyway get our real news from the T.V news channels, which thankfully are doing a much better job than the newspapers at reporting news, barring the occasional headaches like the Abhi-Ash wedding! And if Bennett, Coleman and Co, the Ramnath Goenka Group and various other publishing houses want to make their profits like any other business houses do, then all this is fair enough right?

Except, the press is not like a business house, in a free and democratic society the press works to inform and protect us , to bring to light those who subvert democracy, and ask the questions it has been given the right to ask to keep a society thriving. When you look around and see the pending court cases, the corrupt politicians in power, criminals on the loose, emblazoning of government relief funds for natural disasters and the very occurrence of famines and natural disasters like the tsunamis in South India and the cyclones in Orissa, you cannot help but think of something that Amartya Sen has repeatedly said, famines do not happen in democracies. That is because a vigilant and free press keeps government machinery working to head of or mitigate disaster. Which is why our constitution like constitutions all over the world guarantees the press their freedom, you will mark, that they do not guarantee a business house their profits.

How do you think that before PAGE 3 the newspapers kept their readership and circulation alive? By hardcore investigative journalism, and I mean investigative journalism, not sleazy sting operations! U.S.A had the famous Watergate, the fall of the most powerful government in the world by just two journalists! India had the blank sheets of the Indian Express during the Emergency, a spectacular display of journalistic integrity that the nation applauded. Now it seems that the newspapers have taken an easier, sleazier way out to raise circulation! TOI after all is the largest selling broadsheet in the world with a circulation of 8.1million (source: ABCJJ04, JD04) and is clearly a market driving force rather than a market driven one, thereby forcing the rest of the nation’s newspapers to follow the trend they set. Coming to the question, which is, what is the future trend that they are trying to set? After all if it were sensational PAGE 3 news, I think it would be a lot more sensational portrayal of Sanjeev Nanda, the Delhi business tycoon at glamorous events with captions of his killing 7 innocent people with his drunk driving, rather than describing his costly suit! But the principles and ethics of PAGE 3 journalism remain elusive, what is it?

A culture of trivial pastimes and idle gossip, which is a temporary stimulant for the stagnant brain? A human zoo where all kinds of wild things hang out in high spirits, under the scrutiny of a flashbulb? Or just a social phenomenon that elevates or condemns the PAGE 3 people, depending on their morality levels? Whatever it is, it is a trend that is hugely evolving, with its successor, reality television.

A world of glitz and glamour

Urban folklore

Of Colgate smiles and Botox galore!

Funerals that turn into fashion hotspots

Everyone trying to prove how much they cost

For us readers it’s a thrill

A glimpse into the fast life

Don’t be fooled it’s a pretty box with nothing inside

Tuesday 12 June 2007

A messy transfer......

I posted stuff on another blogsite before, and am going to transfer all those here, hence the discrepencies in dates and god knows what else. Anyone reading this should also know that i am extremely technologically challenged.. dont assume i will know how to read anything you might have left for me or reply immideatly. First posts are supposed to be somewhat special......... HA, this is all for now!