Monday, May 31, 2010

The Gods play scrabble

So how do the Gods chalk out millions of different life times, millions of different stories for each individual? Or is it just an old formula rehashed time and again with a few subplots thrown in for variety? That had been the standard procedure with the result that the Gods had plenty of free time and were consequently bored. Among the more conventional pastimes was Scrabble which an enterprising God had once learnt from a pearly white (their euphemism, coz the Gods where the whitest and there was no better white), while he was waiting for an admit.

Consequently a cruel streak in them, for Gods have to be cruel to be effective, which mortal would remember them otherwise, made them adopt this device for designing new lifetimes ,a collaborative process now (the Wise One was very keen on collaboration. He called it a buzz word since so many gods talking at once reminded one of angry bees) .The possibilities were immense thwarted only by vocabulary but the Gods were quick learners.
The first word had to signify the beginning, usually words like creation, inception or idea (for the metaphysically inclined) were used, but this one started with “Baby”, made by the practical motherly-looking-old-lady-god. The other Gods groaned at this because it severely limited their possibilities but an eager-fresh-faced-goddess made Beauty.

“So the fairy godmother has done her work again”, drawled a sarcastic no-nonsense-looking-God and he added wit and the Wise One added intelligence.
 This was met with protests since these stories tended to be much drabber than the others and the Gods liked their fun as much as anyone as and more than most. But the Wise One just smiled and said that the fates had willed it at which Fortune threw him a dirty look. This new system meant a lot of implementation work for her and she was feeling the strain.
“Ok time to start the story now”, said the Creative-God also the god of mayhem, thunderstorms and the likes.  “I am tired of the same old rigmarole, it curbs my creative instincts”. And he took the lonely Y which was free and made Y-E-T-I.
“But that’s not even a word! They don't exist “, snapped the starry-eyed eager-fresh- faced-goddess. “I was going to use it for a youthful flame”, she sighed.
“Yea like you ever have any ideas. Of course they exist, I personally supervised the look, and all this mystery only adds to their glamour”, snapped back the Creative-God.
The Wise One had to intervene. “We agreed that this would be a normal life”, he said acidly . I am done with the rock band groupie crap”, he added wincing , the memories of the last story were clearly still fresh.
So the Creative-God made yak and settled down with a smirk.

Fortune firmly put holiday and then school. She was glad to get her turn in as early as this. At least they steered clear of the gangs and the cults, which were quite a rage with the Creative-God right now. The Al-Qaeda was it? It seemed to be the theme of the season! No this would be a good life, she was firm, if they could just get by without Lucifer arriving.
Lucifer ambled in crooning, “So you think you can tell heaven from hell”. “Well you can”, snapped the Wise-One.
“Relax it’s a song”, said Lucifer grinning. “Chap called Pink Floyd”.
“It’s not a chap you moron”, said the Creative-God.
“How do they know”, said the old-motherly-one suspiciously. “If you ask me these bands are getting too smug for their own good. Why I heard something like a “stairway to heaven”, gave me a turn I must say. “How would he know how to work the switch?”
“It’s a metaphor nanny”, said Creative one indulgently. “You know a symbolic way of expressing”.
” I don’t hold with metaphors”, sniffed the nanny. “Stick to the plain facts. What if we started calling death, the end of all hope?”
She laughed wheezily at her own wit. Death and Hope were constantly in a state of strife and everyone knew who won in the end!
The story was unfolding before them. A small fresh faced girl, laughing on her way to school, a youthful teenager holidaying in Tibet (heh heh, laughed Lucifer. He was the only one who got the Creative-God’s jokes. They called it a satire).
The wise one made college and work since the Creative-God hand had been hovering close to the D and R . “Well then let’s make it love”, he said angrily “and heartbreak yes heartbreak”.
The sound of her sobs smote the heart of the eager-fresh-faced goddess, who promptly made marriage, and tried to explain to the elderly one that “a nice cup of tea “would not work both in the game and otherwise.
“Depression!” screamed Lucifer, in his element now, and the eager-fresh-faced goddess made a trip to Europe and old-lady-god made babies.
Creative-God however made I-P-A-D. “It’s a chance” he said to his bewildered audience. “But I will take it”.
This was met with deep suspicion.
“Whatever is this? The other day u were talking about some IPod and now this?” The IPod is the biggest revolution since the invention of the wheel”, said the Creative God.
“Bigger than Let there be light,  countered the Wise One his eyebrows raised.
“ Oh come of it”, snapped Lucifer. "The guy is pretty much a demi-god there”, he said, as Jesus blanched. “Just a figure of speech”, he added hastily.
"Well let’s not do grandchildren and all that!”, said the no-nonsense-God as her saw old-lady-god hands hovering dangerously towards "crib". I thought she would be doing something worthwhile?"
“Let’s make her write a book”, suggested Creative.
“Careful”, snapped Fortune. “The last one produced “The Secret”, having people believe they could bend me at will. You know I could never refuse a little attention and a girl is helpless in the face of devotion” (“Girl!” cackled Fresh face). “This one had me working overtime for weeks.”

“No not that one”, said Wise one quickly. More on the lines of HP since her life has been devoid of great love or tragedy to produce anything groundbreaking”.
“Oh that can be remedied”, said Lucifer quickly and death looked hopeful (Hope flinched).
“No”, said the Wise One, “It’s getting late. Let’s call it a day”. “Hee hee”, wheezed the old one who always got a pun late. “Now who fancies a game of chess?” said the Wise One. “I feel like there is a war coming on”……….

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A stupid post

As Calvin would say, the quality of network programming is all violence and sleaze, and obviously we are hooked. How else would shows such as "Emotional Atyachaar", which sells infidelity, vicarious titillation and underhandedness and "Dare to date" which is the last word in wannabe behavior be allowed air time? Since I had not been a part of the “Rakhi ka Sawyamvar” movement, I made it a point to watch “Rahul Dulhaniya..”. To watch a couple of misguided females lie and cajole their way into the heart of a groom of questionable charms stops short of bizarre. Of course love is not blind; it can see and smell the money (ok maybe that’s a tad unkind!).

This was also the year the three Khans got out their magnum opus and fought for air, copyright and political time. While I liked 3 Idiots and MNIK (Yes I liked it, but I am an ardent SRK fan anyway), it is Veer which made an impression. After all it took Salman Khan 35 years to think up the story, so it deserves at least 35 mins of our time.

A narrative rich in history and patriotism and machismo and hence substantiating the torso revealing nature of Veer (the script demands it), Veer seeks to portray the lives of the war torn Pindaris .

Maybe his brain was overheated with 35 years of thinking, but Salman seems to have thought too far back into the past. The Pindaris seem very primitive in the evolutionary scale, their grunts and chants resembling the early man much more than any post Christ civilization.

Add to that a predilection for wrenching spleens, a general preoccupation with parts of the anatomy (wrist hacking and head butting), disturbing mom behavior (provocative dances with sons), the Pindaris seem to be a tribe in desperate need of a biology, anthropology and a societal norm lesson.

But their heart seems to be in the right place. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of their brains. For the Pindari father will kill his son and vice versa to be proved right and hence show that he is a man of his word (lessons in prioritization please!), the dashing Pindari guy will kill palace guards with impunity and steal royal treasure, but will endanger the rest of his clan in seeking to return “ek maa ki nishani”, the ambitious Pindari guy will impersonate a royal title to gain access to the palace, but his heart will then reassert itself and remind him of his true identity. He will then choose the most importune moment and emotionally blackmail people into addressing him by his correct title (gets beaten up till the heroine shrieks out ‘Veer”).

But he evolves fast. While he has been brought up delighting in simple pleasures such as dousing his dad with water and head butting him umm, he is equally at home in a royal cocktail party, playing the piano! He doesn’t know the alphabet but reads GB Shaw and figures out the divide and rule policy of the British based on his interaction with a racist professor.

But then Veer is no ordinary Pindari. He has been raised for a purpose. He is sent to school in England by his father who fondly believes that three years in England spent courting bovine heiresses will equip him with a firm understanding of the “way Britishers think” and hence enable the clan to defeat them at war! And what about the Maharajas they could never dethrone? Didn’t they already understand the way they thought?

The epic love story talks of the forbidden love of a princess who resembles the royal elephant for Veer. While she has every cause to hate him, she has for the alternative a gold fisted (he he) father who can kill her at slightest provocation. The film toys around with her dilemma for a while and then quickly retracts when faced with her complete inability to register any emotion. She is told to stop thinking, fall in love with Veer, dance with him and is then relegated to the background while the epic battle unfolds.

The Pindaris are bound together by a bond which is stronger than family, friendship of even acquaintanceship. It is a mutual love for violence. When Veer gets hit thousands of Pindaris from other provinces who would never have heard of him, attack the ramparts and get killed for his sake. And hence are sown the seeds of revolt , till the Pindaris get their rightful place in the scheme of things. Ok did I tell you that the son is born as his dad? Yes that is the disturbing  mom behaviour in action.