Of the door to my country, bow-tied mosquitoes and women.

20th August: I was starting to end a beautiful Sunday on the 20th of August, sitting at the Rishi Restaurant outside the Dadar railway station, looking nervously at some massively overcooked prices of Paneer Tawa Masala and Veg Makkhanwala. It was quite some time since I’ve had sat in a relatively expensive place.
Well, a relatively expensive place is something which sits before you with both legs spread wide open trying it’s best to make one feel like an imbicle if one doesnt go in. After being inside, a wise guy can either come out straight away with a foolish smile on his face or decide to sit it out, fighting off the waiter’s judging gaze. A lot of culinary establishments pertaining to such a class, would have left us all far better off had these bow tied entities even made some pretentious attempt to project themselves as being slightly oblivious to our personal spaces. Seriously speaking.

Guys thinking about buying two mild Buds to get one pint free.

Defining ‘personal space’ and beyond: It has been somewhat agreed upon that area of one ft. radius around us actually measures up to be one’s exclusive personal space, to be scientifically correct. So a mosquito crossing into this border accidently or with an odious intent to slander our sovereignty can be rightly squashed. We would thus be accountable to neither any form of murder nor blasphemy against any fourth-dimensional divine law, animal right or passersby Jains in practice. No offense please. However, unlike for the midget mosquitoes of Maharashtra, there is not even the faintest hope of arriving at any prospective win-win situation if the valiant attempt to “squash” the face of these bow tied vigilantes hovering over my head, trying to figure out if I would order a Chicken Tikka or a Paneer Jalfrezi, is made. Man! Even the concept of a bar brawl has become ancient. Lucky mosquitoes. At least they die in action.

Defining ‘relative’:
The reason I’ve not forgotten to mention the adjective “relatively expensive” to a restaurant I had no need of adding into the backpack of my already perverse perspective is my acquaintance with the Taj Hotel. Landmark: The Gateway of India. I think it is the epitome to an “expensive” that I respect. Everything else till now is only relative.

The last British soldiers to leave India following it’s independence, the First Battalion of the Somerset light infantry passed through the gateway on their way out in a ceremony on 28th February, 1948 signalling the end of British rule”- as written in a plaque beneath the gate.

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The Taj from a ferry.

22nd August: I believe this is my last day at Vikhroli and I also believe it’s quite difficult to sit with folded legs following the prescription of our soft-skill trainer, the vivacious Susheela Bahl. Speaking of her, I just saw a beautiful girl with crossed legs which reminded me how it was to be done, as taught by Miss Bahl. I’m trying it but its impossible to keep them from slipping. I don’t think it will ever be learnt. Damn.

23rd August: I’m still here. They just informed me that its OK to be unsure of where my life would lead me to, in the following spanning days as it is perfectly sensible to be absolutely clueless about this ball game  from time to time. Well thats what I’m doing, and actually loving it too. Srustik and Diptiman are off to Bangalore and Guwahati respectively. I am obviously unsure of my place of posting. Before going, Diptiman told me to help him adjust in Guwahati. I know I will not be able to do much of anything he asks of me, specially not the boozing. I have to stop that.

25th August: I’m still not getting the hang of relishing the company of girls as an insider. Its more suitable for me to look at them from a distance and appreciate their bountiness. We have at least three beautiful girls in our recently rejuvenated batch of otherwise some morosely happy kindered spirits waiting for their places of postings to be disclosed as soon as possible. The things we know come in installments. We are all living our lives as our last days together which is going quite fine. I love looking at Pragya and Ishwari. Pragya, who is pretty well endowed physically, likes to sleep or pretend to when a topic doesn’t relate to interior-designing.

The batch.

Ishwari is strikingly similar to Rodasee. Similar glasses, clothing, artistically oriented, intellectually self-portrayed and very pretty. They are currently pre-occupied by the incoherent ramblings and pretentious idiosyncrasies imposed upon them, as most women in my perception are, from the set of relatively unspectacular individuals high on hormones. Well maybe I’m not too sure who actually is unspectacular, me or these guys, but they all do seem to be so childishly sloppy sometimes. I may be jealous.

Literature conjured to feed the awe for women will surely end in doom. I’m stopping it here now.

Fragments of an N.G.O. visit.


Whenever I even start thinking about writing something and actually somehow make myself believe that the act of arching myself over a pillow and typing down the celestial magnitude of thoughts that tickle the posterior of the nerve endings in my brain would even be a fair proposition, I always tend to log into my Facebook account and ponder over my profile pictures of previous years and try to approximate an estimation of the popularity that my name and image encompassed, by counting the number of likes each profile picture boasts about. It somehow relates to my shameless and narcissistic desire or maybe fetish, to think and gauge the impression I have on my fellow humans at the end of a day, and how it would help me with incessant literature. Would I look cool, intelligent, mature enough? Would I give forth a successful act of being the Beta (as the panther in a group of lions and tigers as someone fondly acknowledged me a few months ago)? Petty.

My purpose of writing is to list the thoughts inside my brain in an order of first-come-first basis, if anyone reading this gets a question instilled within him as to why the fuck did I even think about writing this junk before starting the stuff I was supposed to do. 

I was talking to you, friend or acquaintance. I’m lost again. I forgot what I was supposed to start.

Ok. Prithviraj Shetty: The guy has got Mikael Akerfeldt’s cough somehow stuck inside his mutated voice box. I was scheduled to perform 21 Guns with him in the NGO program but couldn’t go forth due to a crowd only too stage starved, our representative fretting over the fact that no one was looking at him (nihilism taking over me again) and a teacher’s pet who was too eager to get back into the driver’s seat even if it meant going back to our rooms and getting off on our meta morphed visions of erotica that we had harnessed into our subconscious for the day, and then going to sleep. Pardon my language.

I somehow realised that performing a punk rock song amidst a mob of differently abled Marathi people was a fair plan but on a path away from being remotely satisfactory for us. I knew it but was too engrossed on impressing this nice guy and generally being a clumsy idiot.

Prithviraj however got to know it only a few minutes ago. This set things into a different and slightly more of a monotonic perspective.

And I think that people were fairly impressed with the showmanship which makes me feel almost absolutely nothing thus contradicting my previously mentioned intent. It’s more worthwhile to feel happy about the faces you meet. It gives you a twisted form of peaceful solitude inside your mind when it is ensured that you are in nobody’s thought at the perceived moment. Sounded like vegetables.

To feel enabled.

The things I experienced at NASEOH cannot be typed at a whim. I will remember the old woman with the strength that resembled of the ones that brought the shades of glory to our country from futility. It felt as if she had sacrificed her solitude in an attempt to merge into some collective entity. To be chained and connected to something greater than the reach or magnitude one encompasses alone actually acts a harbinger of youth and exuberance to oneself, as evident in the freshness in her face and eyes. When I saw her, she felt weightless as if she had never been bound to the forces that made us heavy yet timid. The way she walked and the way she spoke. It was like she had become the cause and the cause had become her, running through her veins, making her more alive than almost anyone in her age. The representative guy, as my nihilism proves to be worth the burden, asked her if she wanted a few kilos of sanskari aashirvad spat over our heads. I could only revel over the way she, with her slow grace made him realise of the sheer intensity with which he had voluntarily asserted himself as an ignorant unfortunate. Oh, the metaphors they manifest.
The bespectacled kid with his rheumatic glassy eyes pouring the lemon yellow boiled aalu sabzi freckled with fenugreek (methi seeds) then forgetting entirely about his chappatis to watch us with an intent so penetrating, that it made me sad. It was almost as if he was watching us with the sole intent of dreaming. As if we were characters from a television. I left that room with a feeling that we somehow as a collective society will always be lost to its meaning. Will the kid grow up to even measure up to fathom the feeling of ever being in love?? Will he be loved back?? Will his family loose patience?? Will he even live to be that old?? Each of us knew in the core of our intellects that these kids shall never feel the things that we had the luck of writing up in the storybooks of our lives and those which have been flushed down through the commode that we have making from the day we set forth, as a person certified to be carrying no disabilities, into this terrible place of sorrow dabbled with streaks experiences that make us forget the waters we tread in.

Friends

The show was soul filling to an extent. The only notable things were the smiles, grins and laughs that we managed to transmit from our poker faces into them. To see them dancing like soft mad children smug in the woolly cotton brains of infancy. Seeing them live and actually rejoice about it. 
Subs-tract the feeling of achieving this feat on your own or on behalf of the group and the residue that gets left comes close to the definition of happiness, I suppose.

Salman Khan fan.

I change my mind-set on a whim. So do not mark me down as someone being too morose. Cheer up man. Read some Camus. Be like Hritik Roshan for god’s sake. He’s happy if nothing else.  

All I want to say is-

If you want to experience people without a shroud over their personalities, visit an NGO like NASEOH. If possible, try to attain this union that promises to make us all at peace.  

 

Reviewing: The Great Beauty (2013)

The  Great Beauty: A story about rich old people contemplating societal retirement.
I had never heard of Paolo Sorrentino till today. He definitely didn’t feature in the “almost great” catalogue, which I would have known about as I frequently used these film makers as my source of reference to search for others. To say the truth, The Great Beauty could not leave an imprint which showed any promise of permanency.

One scene contained Jep Gambardella (Tony Servillo), a sixty-five year old aging former novelist and party animal socialite, asking his maid, who also serves as his trustworthy listener and friend, if he could write a book about nothing, a feat which novelist Gustave Flaubert failed at accomplishing. To grasp the undermined dour futility draped beneath the never ending conundrum of “blah, blah, blah” according to him, as Jep mentions during his final discourse, would be a task sailing away from fruition.

But the poignant nothingness around Gambardella, juxtaposed amidst the embellished opulence of modern day Rome, throughout the film, would have been mostly unaccounted for, had Tony Servillo not delivered at his task. The moving camera focussing his walks and slowly transcending into a pidgeon’s eye view of the breath taking grandeur of the city did easily shroud the story of an old man strolling around Rome only to find even more strange things to see.

Sorrentino must had it in his mind to emulate Flaubert’s paradigm and build upon it to develop a film which would actually be something about nothing but the entire plan got reduced to a stroll through the lives of a generic group of uber-socialites going with their pretentious lifestyles amidst the web of uncertainty, self-doubt, hard partying, domestic turmoil and even death. It’s far from the conformist Hollywood storyline all right, but still a little far away from being just enough.
All of these centre around Jep Gambardella, who often throws these parties at his home while at the same time maintaining the air of misanthropy. The protagonist in some sequences is fighting to find some synapse linking him again with the better stages of his life, where he found some purpose. He sees the sea with the imprinted furrow of a motor boat reminding him of his ebullient younger days. He thinks about his first time with a girl beneath the light house. These memories are now probably the only support to his persona, after all these years of lazily passing his time off dwelling on the royalty of his first book, an Italian masterpiece. Every character has a small part to play in the aura of confused reality that The Great Beauty dwells upon. Every character in a way is damaged. The plight of the Berlusconi’s modern day Roman upper class strata has been depicted with almost a possessive light. The train which goes nowhere, as Jep laughingly calls it.

Well it’s all the same for us in India too right. There is no difference between an intellectual drunk and a foolish drunk. Is there??

However, almost everything about the film comes in patches which are not linked by any substantial reason or sense. Now I know it was supposed to be that way but it just occurred to me that the film was lacking the finesse to make its ambiguousity pack any punch. This may keep the audience at preferable edge and always craving for some final settlement which never comes as the film approaches a surreal climactic phase not in sync with things which happened before but somehow yet comprehensible. How? I’ll need to see the film again to answer that.

The sea on the ceiling, the sisters, the giraffe and the saint connote if nothing instilled in me a sense of a cinematic circus, where each character played their own roles but contributed very little to nullify the underwhelming aura of the circus. Nothing happened eventually. People only went round and round as they have been going on for ever and ever. Only death could the prognosis to this monotonic matrimony. That’s the story, as it was almost supposed to be.

The scenes have been ostentatiously jewelled with rich music scores which makes one feel like sitting inside an orchestra pit listening to some popular Italian pop music. This mixture somehow fits and delivers, in instances, to the overall Great Beauty of the film which sadly may or may not stay with you.

I feel that I have been too harsh with my perspective. We all attain a better understanding when we see things with senses matured over time. Till then I still have two more Sorrentinos left, namely- Youth and The Consequences of Love. I’ll keep them waiting for a while if I can. 

My first weekend in Mumbai with Werner Herzog, Sherpas and Shivaji.

I got to experience quite my fair share of euphoria on my first weekend at this city. To start narrating from the crevices of my gas infested intestines, travelling by the taxi, tube or rail is the worst feeling I get here. It makes you feel very insipid. Reminds me of an army of ants over mechanised locomotors huffing and puffing around, sweating and coughing as an expense of their own actions of delirium. What haunts me most is the constant sense of being exploited by someone sitting on a silver seat up above those starry cascades of Navi Mumbai, as seen from my cab. Then i remember my employers and sulk. Accompanying it is the kick that I feel inside my gut when I question myself if I was right to take an Uber when I know I wasn’t and was only too scared to take a fast local that would save me about 90% of the money I would have to part with now.
Only face to face acquaintances comfort me. People personally here are quite beautiful to the soul. Most of them are.
Sunday 12:00 A.M: The first to greet me was the drunk Marathi kaka trying to be my chauffer from hell when we arrived at Church-gate Terminal,Mumbai. Reaching to hold my door with his beautiful version of drunken kungfu and the pyrokinetics of his lighter acting as his flaming sword. Even Wong-Fei-Hung would have been proud. This interesting man then proceeded to recede backwards with the sense of a tiger shot with a tranquiliser, to sit down at the station entrance and try his hand on some percussion music. I and Shivaji proceeded to buy two gold flake cigarettes with one cigarette reserved for this kaka. But the humour died away quite fast and we decided to just leave the whole crowd alone and go inside.

Saturday 8:30 P.M: As a slight recap, I will narrate activities surrounding us a few hours ago. We had just been told that the film- Aguirre,Wrath of God by Werner Herzog had to be postponed for the next day due to some “technical difficulities”. In its place, we were assured to have our anticipations of seeing Herzog on the big screen crushed by presenting the already brooding crowd with “The latest Werner Herzog film guys, Queen of the Desert, we always have tomorrow, Oh.., please don’t go… ”. This new so called masterpiece had Nicole Kidman and that pale gay guy from The Twilight Haga. A further 56% IMDB and 10% Rotten Tomatoes should sum it all up. I couldn’t blame Herzog. He had bills to pay. Family man.

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So we did what we had to do. We left in search of a good Mumbaiyya Tavern. We wanted it shady. We wanted it dark. We wanted it inconspicuous and we wanted pork. So up came Zomato on Shivaji’s phone with the filter on for Booze and pork. And up came The Fountain Inn. Sounded a bit melodramatic on the first place but who said we learnt to expect less? Thus we learnt the first lesson of the night -Naivity finds you at the time you feel the most mature. To top it all off, we decided to walk. I cannot tell you what happened for the next one hour as I myself did not know anything at all. All I can say is that one point, Google maps told us to go straight and jump into the Arabian Sea by going over the Marine Drive. Such was the extent and we even talked about suing Google Maps on account of being accomplice in homicide. I guess we shouldn’t go ahead with that.
We finally reached The Fountain Inn. The moment we entered, we knew we had to bail on the beer plan and go forth with the Sasta Maal. Two glasses of Royal Stag whiskey each for the gentlemen please. Ok Bhaiya. Saaath mein? Chikkann?

We started our bouts on philosophy and I started gulping the joy water harder. Was the chicken cheap? Nope. Naivity, a tinge of illiteracy and Google Maps are together this time fuck you in the ass bro. Sorry.
We got out at 11:45 and had Wills Classic Icebursts. We then knew better to resume walking and took a cab to Church gate station.

Sunday 12:40 A.M (Midnight): We got on the local and found places by the side.
We talk about the nihility of progressive thought. About John Krakaur’s “Into Thin Air”narrating the incidents leading to the deaths of about fifteen climbers scaling the Mt. Everest through eyes of the Sherpa and the author who lived to tell the tale. We talked which was more of a monologue on how the FTI was systematically being brought to its knees by the BJP government with the B-Grade porn actor cum safe keeper of Hindutwa, mananiya Gajendra Chauhan and the slow chaining of all forms of free and liberal thought patterns across India. We stopped at instances to look out into the night introspecting our sanity and gauging everyone around us. Cigarettes were our excuse for the momentary lapses of discussions and inquiry. Otherwise we talked a lot. It was nice. Our version of gossip about the world. Made me feel quite in sync. We talked Herzog too. Important to do so. We decided that I would go alone to finish what we started the very next day as Shivaji had cinema stuff to do and I didn’t. Wow.
We reached his home at about 1:20 A.M. The guy opening the door was Ashay Gangwar. Owner of Camera and Shorts. Warm guy. A guy who made the perfect joint and drank nariyal paani after that. A guy who had tobacco packets and rolled his own cigarettes. A guy who demanded respect. I learnt Ashay Bhaiya was going out on a little trip starting from Kanyakumari to Kashmir from tomorrow. We smoked, talked very little, listened to the Nebraska soundtrack and then slept.

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Sunday 10:00 A.M: I woke up to find myself staring at Gilberts Peak out the window. It was a monumental volcanic aberration. An almost cartoonishly steep plateau standing at the midst of the sprawling buildings of Azaad Nagar. The aberration has a temple on its top, muslim households beneath it and a Christian name. Kinda like our Bharat Varsha with its sweet secular contradictions through the unseen terms and conditions.
I smoked Ashay Bhaiyas roll. Took as much movies as I could. Said Bye Bye and headed to the Azaad Nagar Metro terminus with Shivaji where I bade him adieu after an iceburst.
I continued my journey from Azaad Nagar to Andheri station where I shifted trains to head for Church Gate. This time Google Maps helped me enough and I could reach Liberty Cinema on time.
I enjoyed Fata Morgana and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Both by Werner Herzog. His bills had been payed.
After the screening, I came back.

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Gilbert’s Peak