Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Jaan-e-mann Tragedy

All the world's a stage and most of my acts are poor imitations of the comical antics of Govinda in his hey days(read Rajaji, Wah Tera Kya Kehna days) given the most strange situations I keep falling into.

I remember an episode from the TV series friends where Chandler tells Ross that he saw the face of his mother while he made love to his girl friend and then it ruined the fun for Ross. So whenever he was all set for the act, Chandler's words came to disturb him and then he couldn't help seeing his mother's face in the girl he was about to get naughty with. Well I am not referring to any symptom of Oedipus complex but something of the 'ruining of the fun' did happen with me last Saturday.

After all these years of remaining single, I never mind watching movies with college friends. But things have changed now. With a few setting their marriage dates, some getting committed for fun and some on a more serious note, the breed of singles like me has neared extinction. Articles discussing the pros and cons of being single and supposedly friendless (by friend the article essentially meant someone of the opposite sex with whom you won't mind cosying up on the couch) folks appearing in the newspaper started making me feel more insecure.

I decided to go out and watch a movie to escape the tension. I generally prefer hanging out with a gang, having a good lunch and then watching a movie but with just Ankush around in Delhi, I asked him to book the tickets. We decided to go for 'Don' despite it having got a total 'no-no' from most of my amateur film critic friends because two guys can only watch a thriller or an action film together, they don't have a choice. But we couldn't manage to get the tickets. The next best option was another new release - Jaan-e-mann. Little did we realise that the movie was going to be a self inflicted embarassment for both of us. The fun was first killed by the Chandler like act by an old aquaintaince who sprang up from no where only to speak the golden words and then disappear - "You going to watch a romantic film with another guy? What's wrong with you?"

All my enthusiasm of watching a hindi film in a theatre after almost 4 months vanished and I started looking for excuses for not going. Earlier watching a film with another guy never made me conscious, but the Chandler of my life started bugging me every moment now - "You going to watch a romantic film with another guy? What's wrong with you?"

The fifteen minute wait at the theatre lounge was one of the longest. The canoodling couple in the corner made me more aware of the wrong choice of film. There was a gang of 4 college going boys as well that made us feel relaxed as we were not the only two heterosexual guys who had erred in making a correct choice of film that day. But embarassment still awaited us. When the gates opened for entry, we were asked to make entry through another door as we had bought the tickets to the Premier lounge and not the general class.

Just as we entered the premier class, all heads turned as if in disgust. There were around 30 seats and 14 couples seated. All eyes seemed to ask the same question - "Hello! what are both of guys doing here in the unofficial love-lounge?"

Ankush put his arm around my shoulders to whisper - "Ye to love-bird park aa gaye, ab kya karein?"

"Pehle to haath hata kandhe se" - I told him as I shirked away but the damage was already done.

We made our way to the seats and stayed glued for the next 3 hours. Chandler appeared again wearing a halo over his head and this time he was not alone. I could see everyone seated around me accompanying him and pointing fingers at me while crying out aloud - "You watched a romantic film with another guy. There sure is something wrong with you."

Male bonding seems to have got another meaning these days. What do the singles do now?

"Go and watch Don, its just the people like YOU who have kept it running despite it being totally non-sense!" - a frustrated film critic reviewing box office collections bellows on a TV program.

Do we really have a choice, I wanted to ask.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hu Ha India..Aaya India!

The un-official song of the Indian cricket team is out and I must admit that it is a very catchy number. There was a time when I really wanted to take up cricket as a career after seeing India lose to Srilanka in the World Cup 96 semi final but better sense prevailed upon me when I failed miserably in our gully cricket competition soon after.

Cricket is a religion in India and every one has an opinion about how we play it. It is the passion for the game that makes our mood swing from being ecstatic when our team wins to being sarcastic when they bring all hopes come crashing down. The general public loves to treat them as Gods and then make them fall from grace in the most unceremonious manner when they fail. This is the biggest pressure that these guys have to cope with outside the playing field.

Just as the team prepares for the Champions' trophy, here's my opinion on these mortals whom we sometimes over-idolize. No prizes for guessing, I'll spew venom as their progress reports for the last couple of seasons show that Team India has hit a trough!

Sachin Tendulkar: By far the most prolific player in the history of Indian cricket and lucky too. Always gets injured just when his place in the team is in jeopardy. A leading model on the Indian ad-scene. Gets motivated and scores heavily when the bowler bowling to him is a non-entity. This way the unknown bowler comes into the limelight for getting the 'Tendulkar battering'. Once a God but now a human, Sachin must be eyeing Bangladesh, Kenya, Canada and Holland to complete his 50 one day centuries by 2007 World Cup.

Virendra Sehwag: A fact finding commission set up by the BCCI to study Sehwag's scoring patterns found that he scores on the day following every third full moon night. Indian think tank should now contemplate playing either on those days or just drop him so that he gets the free time to get hair weaving done. His modelling prospects would suffer if he goes completely bald. He follows the simple principle of 'Sar kata sakte hain lekin sar jhuka sakte nahi'. He either butchers the ball from the word go or simply gets out rather than let situations dictate terms to him.

Rahul Dravid: The official spokesperson of Greg Chappell. He either gets to speak whatever Chapell forgets to or simply repeats the same things sans the silly ramblings of Chappell(when he sometimes suffers from verbal diarrhoea). A calm and composed customer who is already an all time great as far as his batting goes. Loves to take his own sweet time to score runs and wants to handle captaincy the same way. Sometimes stuns the opposition and own team alike with his unpredictability, like, declaring the innings when a teammate is on 194 and all set to score the double hundred.

Yuvraj Singh: He seems satisfied being the prince and not the king! Hits long spells of purple patch and longer spells of lean ones. Loves a racy lifestyle, no doubt slow spinners spell the doom for him. Like every other young man in his early twenties when the rush of blood is tough to handle, he loves to score when he has got a point to prove, otherwise doesn't give it a damn.

Mohd Kaif: It is common knowledge that Kaif has requested formally to the ICC to revise scoring laws for him. He wants the scorecard to include the number of runs saved by him to his batting score so that his cricketing career is prolonged and his batting average stays over 25 runs per match. He has been one of the few unlucky ones in the team who don't have a stable modelling career owing to his average middle class looks.

Suresh Raina: He reached the pinnacle of success when Chappell applauded his zeal to learn, commitment to perform and his young age. Performances don't matter now. If the coach is happy, the captain has to be and that guarantees his place in the team for sometime to come. He now hopes for a couple of flash in the pan knocks to get some lucrative modelling assignments. But I wonder he will. There seems to be some regional bias at play to keep the U.P. lads at bay!

M.S.Dhoni: The butcher from Jharkhand doesn't need an introduction. He is everywhere - on TV, on hoardings, the dressing room and on the cricket field sometimes for a change. In 2005, he seemed like a man possessed. This year he seems to be busy reaping the harvests. Why bother about scoring runs, they'll come once he is done with getting the perfect hair style to suit his personality!

Irfan Pathan: Touted to be the next Kapil Dev of India. The Indian think tank likes to believe that he gives them an option of plenty. Sure he does, giving away plenty of runs and clocking a little over Anil Kumble on the speedometer. Venkatesh Prasad must be feeling relieved at not being just one of the kind. He enjoys the comforts of playing on the home soil and usually flourishes with the bat but when on tour he loves the tranquility of the dressing room instead. As a kind gesture, he doesn't even trouble the scorers there.

Ajit Agarkar: They called him an allrounder..now they like to keep mum. He accomplished his life's ambition of getting 2 world records in his name. One, for taking the fastest 50 wickets in one day cricket and two, for scoring the maximum consecutive ducks in tests. Now he rests in peace. Shows abnormal signs of resurgence by picking up a few wickets in between but returns to normalcy soon enough to keep his RPO(runs per over) over 5.

Zaheer Khan: Could have made it big in the modelling arena if he had been able to maintain his place in the team by remaining in Chappell's good books. He has performed quite well in county and other first class matches in India but still finds himself out of favor. He must understand that on field feats are not going to help as much as sucking up to the big boss. Hit the gym, sweat in front of his eyes and the master might grant you a chance.

Harbhajan Singh: "Chuk de phatte"! He has been through a lot. In fact most of the times he is seen fighting it out with situations rather than dominating the opposition. His best was when he made the Australians dance to his tunes by taking 32 wicktes in 3 tests. Ever since then his fans have to remain content watching the same old video of Bhajji Bhangra pao-ing after skittling out the Australians. He got the stick in the back when he tried letting his hair down for a liqor ad. A new controversy should keep him in the news if not his bowling for sure!

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