--> Clever title here <--

What is our purpose in life? What gives it meaning? I suppose a purpose would give life a meaning...

It's a strangely contemplative mood I find myself in at the witching hour on this Tuesday morning. For the longest time I felt absolutely no compulsion to seek that purpose. Being a lazy ass I thought I'd kick myself a bit of a kick in the pants by leaving this city for a couple of years hoping that a different job and a different place would 'cure' me. It didn't... For the longest time I felt I would end up being a failure because of this lack of purpose. As time went on, the fear of that failure started to expand to a point where at times I'd be... say eating lunch... and then thoughts about what I was going to do with my life would just overwhelm me and the otherwise delicious khicdi would suddenly taste like mud.
I'm now at a point in my life where I'm back in an office kind of setup and I enjoy what I do. If things pan out they way they're supposed to (eventually) I hope to make those big bucks I'd always dreamt of making and do it in a way that would keep me totally satisfied.

The contemplation comes from now being on the other side of the fence so to speak. I have a couple of friends both of whom are in situations which makes my heart go out to them because I was there not too long ago. Friend A is in his mid-20s and is a very savvy young kid who is stir-crazy about poker. He knows the game, he's on top of the jargon and the theoretical concepts not to mention the hundred and hundreds of hours that he's spent grinding away in the casinos of Macau, UK and our very own Goa. Not surprisingly A wants to become a professional poker player. Now turning pro in places like the States or Europe or really most anywhere and playing poker full-time is an occupation that thousands of people engage in. Now in our country, where something like DJ-ing till not too long ago was not looked upon as a viable career choice, the thought of being a 'professional gambler' is bound to bring on the hey Bhagwans and hai Allahs! 
I just got off the phone with A and if there ever was a perfect description for the word morose, he was it! The plan was to gently break it to the folks that the weeks spent away from home were actually at the poker tables in Goa and of course the plan of turning pro eventually. Apparently the folks found out sooner than A would have liked and so now he has to quit something he loves dearly. "Senti blackmail stuff" in his words. And he's clearly not happy about what he now believes is his only path - a stable career, wife, 2.3 kids and the mediocrity of a 9-to-5 life.

Then there's X who in her own words has been quite the flitting butterfly. Having tried her hand at a bunch of things including holding down a job which seems glamorous (due to all the globe-trotting she does although snorts of derision accompany that at times), she doesn't know what to do in life because so many things appeal to her. And amongst this myriad, she's not sure if there's any one particular thing which appeals to her just a wee bit more than the others. Herein lies another dharamsankat! Calling me a couple of nights back, I can hear the desperation in her tone and then she voices it by saying, "What the hell am I doing?? I don't even know if this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life". I hate these situations... It's a singularly annoying feeling when you can do absolutely nothing for someone going through a situation like this especially when it's someone you care about. I've never been able to do anything other than saying comforting Ooohs and Aaahs to the person/s concerned not entirely sure whether what I was doing was helping or making them feel even more pissed off! At least as far as X is concerned, it's probably the latter. In her defence, being the pragmatic soul she is, she quickly takes on the blame for loading a problem on my head for which there is no real answer.

I guess everyone has to travel that path. Some, like me, take years to actually find the damn path. Times like these I am ridiculously grateful for having at least found what I believe to be my path for the next 10-20 years. Make no mistake I'm still a lazy ass and my main motive is still to make a success of this venture, make a boatload of money, travel the world, buy a house by the beach and then l-a-z-e my ass in a hammock drinking cool brews as I watch the sun go down. I don't know if this will all come true but I am at peace with the direction my life has taken and is taking. As I sign off, the best and perhaps only thing I can do is to dash off a silent prayer for people like A and X that they get there soon enough...


Call me Baskin

And its the birthday month once again and it is final few minutes of the birthday itself so since I am cooped up at home due to Ganpati Visarjan I thought I will dust ye olde blog and finally put some words down to mark my 32nd year on Mother Earth... hmm does that sound vaguely incestuous?!? Aah you know what I mean...

I'd run out of space on my Gmail account and so set about trying to clear up some space before deciding that it really wasn't worth the effort and an annual fee of $5 for 20 GB email storage will save me a lot of grief. Talk about strange coincidences but I discovered during the eventually aborted cleanup that I set up this Gmail account on the the eve of my birthday exactly 5 years ago. In fact down to the exact day. In a way it was like looking into a time capsule of sorts sorting through those mails from way back when. I was just thinking about the time-line. 5 years is the typical period that many of those potential employers ask you about - "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?". I guess the short answer is I haven't changed in some ways but there have been some changes in the way I approach things now and I realize that only now... 5 years down the line.

Speaking of employers and jobs, I quit my last job 2 years too late going by some of the emails I read. I eventually quit in the final months of '08 but the beginning of the end began way back in early '06. There is a slight and quickly fleeting sense of regret about the loss of time. Perhaps I might have been on the road to discovering what I wanted to do a little earlier. Then I start to think about a lot of things which happened to me as a result of those 2 additional years. People I met because of it and what I am doing today might not have transpired at all. Destiny and karma were concepts which I don't/didn't think too much about but it seems like I was destined to be on the creative side of media and not the corporate side of it. There are so many mails from '06 which I'd sent to a bunch of music companies seeking an opening in A&R. For those unfamiliar with it, A&R is short for Artists & Repertoire - the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the recording process itself. A&R execs are the liaison between artists and the record label. I do believe I might have excelled at this job given my interest in music and what not. But I didn't have a clue back then...Things have sorta come a full circle which is a good thing. I am back to where I guess I should have been in the first place albeit in a slightly different way. After putting in my papers and walking out of that office one evening in November '08 I hadn't been a part of corporate culture and swore that I wouldn't be. It's now been a couple of weeks since I've started sitting in an office. The nice thing this time around is that my close buddy sits in the cabin across from mine and it feels more like play than work... well most times anyway...

View down into the valley from the top of the Malshej Ghat
In other news, I did my very first bit part in a film. It started out as a favor for a friend who is part of the crew. "I need a big guy who can pass off as a 15th century Arab emissary" was the brief and so at 4:30 am on a cool and slightly rainy Saturday morning I headed to Malshej Ghat. The drive was a solid 3.5 hours and 2/3rd of it was just utterly breathtaking. The sun just coming up and the fog and mist all in the most wonderfully chaotic mix you could imagine made of the best 90 minutes leading upto the location itself. Once there I was led to the changing van and told to strip down to my bare essentials.
Now I'm a fair bit self conscious about my body but given how casually everyone went about their business made it a touch easier to get into the flow of things. I silently congratulated myself on wearing boxers that morning. Tighty-whities would've been absolutely mortifying! Once I was suited up in my Arab robes I stepped out of the trailer for a smoke and asked one of the passing crew as to who was in the film. Yup I was that well informed. All my friend mentioned was that it was a South Indian film. The only other person I knew on this movie was the director. A very well respected name in the industry, SS as he is called by the senior crew, was a guy I'd met before. He is an amiable chilled out sorta guy and the fact that I knew both these people was enough for me to not know or care about any other details about the film. So regarding my question about cast, the crew member was about to reply when an Innova pulls up and a guy gets down. Said crew member in response to my question points at the dude that just got down from the vehicle. It was Mr. Rubberlegs himself - Prabhudeva. Over the course of the day I got to meet the rest of cast which included a couple of big names from the Malayalam film industry like Jagathy and Prithviraj as well as Amol Gupte (of Taare Zameen Pe & Kaminey fame). Although she is part of the film, Genelia D'Souza wasn't part of the shooting schedule that day so didn't get to meet her. As far as the experience is concerned, it was kinda exciting to actually be a part of a film. It was an interesting opportunity to observe, from such close quarters, the creative process that happens parde ke peechey. In terms of screen time, I will probably be seen for like 20-30 seconds in total (provided I don't get axed in the editing process). To capture those 20 odd seconds, I had to be in full costume from like 9:30 am till 4:00 pm. Whoever called it the glamour industry didn't mention the long periods of time that go by in just waiting around for the next shot to be prepped. But a great first (and perhaps only) experience of being involved in a film and I have much greater levels of respect for the kind of work that film crews put into the entire process.    

It's been a pretty hectic month so far. Went to Goa for the IPC. Moved into the office and started work from there. The trip to Malshej and of course the birthday celebrations last night. And finally to round off the month, Madman, one of my closest friends who has been mentioned across these pages is getting hitched on the weekend. The Madman and his lovely soon-to-be wife have asked me to handle MC-ing duties which will be a first for me. 2 drinks for Dutch courage before the event begins is how I've decided to tackle the situation. Also supposed to sing at the wedding but sooo stuck for an appropriate song. Hopefully the next 48 hours will shed some light on the problem...

The birthday has faded into just another regular day as I finish writing this. A midnight chat with a friend has left me with a smile on my face. It's been  a good week and month overall. As of this moment I am happy :)
G'nite y'all. 


She braaaaaake my hurt, she play with my trust!

So when I first saw this video a couple of weeks back it had just under 15,000 views. Today it's about to break the 70,000 mark.
This song has captured the essence of every bad breakup guys have ever had.
Thank you Tarun Kumar... you beauty you.

sniff sniff


Dear Red...

It's been close to a month since you've left my life and while I might lie to the world, I can't lie to myself. I miss you. There... I said it and I don't fuckin' care who reads this. More than once do I think of you everyday. And then there are those days when I long for you so... so desperately at times it's a touch scary.

It's hard to believe sometimes that our relationship went on for as long as it did. 15 years... Who'd have thought?! I've known of some marriages which haven't lasted for even a third of that time. And the funny thing is when I first saw you all those many years ago outside college, I didn't really think about it much. I never thought of you in that way at all. It was your blonde cousin who had caught my eye and I was smitten. That ended within a few short months and for the life of me, I just cannot remember how you and I got together in the first place. But the important thing is we did and I thought we'd go on... forever.
They say all good things come to an end but I never thought that would happen to us. And yeah in this case, that old cliche holds so true. "It's not you... it's me." But then it was always me, wasn't it?! I was the weak one whereas you were the strong one. 15 years... and yet it was always a physical thing for you. And here I was foolishly thinking it was more than that. That we connected at different levels. Despite my foolishness, I will admit to missing that intensity in our physical relationship and it is something I will struggle with for time to come...

Your constant presence doesn't make it any easier to deal with our parting. After all, we roam in many of the same circles and so many of your friends are friends with mine and many of mine are friends with yours. That's probably gonna be the most fucked up part of it all besides writing that previous sentence. Seeing all of y'all hang out together is going to almost physically hurt me. And it's not just with the group either.. I have seen you with other men and while I never saw it personally there were enough stories about you with women too. Funnily enough, these things didn't matter when we were together. As long as I had you, I didn't care about anyone else. But now... now seeing you with others...
You know I've seen you sometimes at the local store too. And when I do, I just quickly get my stuff and slink out of these as quickly as I can hoping to avoid another sight of you. And I know you've seen me just as I've seen you. But pride... stupid stupid stupid pride will not let me turn back.

You know what the sad thing in all of this is... Because of you I am not sure if I can hang with Mary anymore. And if this parting between us proves to be harder than expected, Mary's occasional company is something that I will really miss. Such a shame but then it comes down to ego. In the past so many years, I told you only a few times, that if this thing between us breaks down it will be because of my pride and ego. And well that hand has finally played out...
But hey... who's to say that this is the end?! Shayad abhi bhi, thodi picture baaki hai mere dost...

PC users - Hit Control + A now.
Mac users - I don't know what the command for y'all is... oh wait my friend a Mac user just called... Hit Command + A now.

BF has been (relatively) smoke free for about a month now and he misses it dammit. There's lots of inferences in the above post (spot em if you can). I just realised I like talking about myself in the 3rd person. Bear with BF through these times and allow him the pleasure of these little hide n seek games which distract him from the cravings. 


Your dreams are not your own

Dear Chris,

What the fuck were you thinking?!!

P.S. - And can I get some of what you're smokin'? Please...?

Just watched Inception last night and Chris Nolan is one twisted guy. I hate revealing anything about good movies so I'm not gonna say much on the plot and whatever else.
Special word on the fight scene in the hotel corridor - This is one of the most compelling bits of action I've seen in a while. The funny thing is when I saw his first Batman, my one gripe was that the close combat scenes were handled very poorly. Nolan has redeemed himself in this particular aspect and how!

This movie, in Ari Gold's words is, "a skull fuck".

Watch it.


You the man, Dad!

ok so the last post was rotting away for a while and I just thought I'd dust it up and put it out there. This brand new post is about whats gone down in the past few weeks.

As my 4 regular readers are aware, I was laid low by ye olde Swine flu for a few days. Apparently my sister picked it up from God-knows-where and then was generous enough to share it with the whole family. The biggest irony of this is that my sis is one of those super paranoid new mothers who wanted to ensure that nothing would make the baal baaka of her precious son, my nephew and so during the Swine flu scare many months ago, would take endless precautions in terms of hygiene and remained housebound for a majority of that time. And sure enough Uncle Murphy comes along to screw things up. So four out of the 5 people in the house at the time are down with the Piggy flu - the only one not affected being Dad.

Being that my sis was in the hospital and then subsequently advised to be in isolation, my nephew was staying with us in the interim. The kid is adorable but like all kids there are times when they get annoying and tiresome. Stop booing! You know I'm right. Despite being away from his mum, I'd say the lil tyke held up remarkably well and I only felt like giving him an ulte haath ka twice in that 2 week period. The monster credit for all this goes to my Dad. At 63, the man is almost exactly twice my age but to see him keep my nephew entertained through all these days would make a younger man, who is almost exactly half his age, quite embarrassed about himself. In many ways the last couple of weeks was an eye opener of what he was like when we were kids. At that age, we of course couldn't remember how he took care of us except for some stray memories. But to see him with my nephew brought back memories from more than 2 decades ago.

He'd play with him, feed him, talk to him, sing silly songs and take him for walks around the building everyday. All those silly songs were usually sung when he'd have to put my nephew to sleep and these are the same songs all of us have heard as kids. There is the odd moment when me or one of my siblings would pass by their room and hear those songs and I know secretly inside we are all smiling and remembering those days of our youth when he'd sing for us too. I remember back in the 80's when we used to stay in the government colony in Bandra East (the non-hip sibling of the Westside which it is even today). Power-cuts were quite frequent in those years in Bombay and I remember many a night when my father would fold up the newspaper and keep the temperature bearable for us by waving it over us right through the night all the while singing those songs.

The songs also take me back to another time. This particular colony we stayed in was located quite close to the notorious Behrampada slums which was a sensitive area back then and to some extent even today. I remember the situation had become particularly tense in 1984 when there were communal riots which took place in Bhiwandi (about 40 kms outside Bombay) and these tensions had spread into areas like Behrampada where the riot police was called in and for a couple of nights everyone staying in a 3 km radius was extremely tense about what would happen if things went out of control. Those few nights were interesting coz the entire family was gathered and sitting on the floor of the living room. As a 6 year old it was interesting only because it meant we were hanging about together at a time when I should be in my room sleeping. Of course it was many years later that I came to know that we spent those evenings and nights sitting on the living room floor to avoid any stone throwing by the rioters or worse stray bullets from the cops.

Anyway back to Pitahshree... I think most kids come to a point in their lives when they realize their father is not the superman they thought him to be. I came to this realization many years ago but every so often he'll pull the odd rabbit out of the hat and stun the hell out of me. There have been so many instances over the year where he's done stuff which any other person would chhati thok ke say, "Yes, I am responsible for such-and-such good thing happening...". But not my dad. I've rarely met someone who chooses to fly as under the radar as he does and in many ways I do the same as well. And therein lies the irony now... from a time when I wanted to be something more and better than the old man, I have in some tiny ways become kind of like him.
A long while ago an ex-colleague of mine and I were drinking one night and he was regaling me with some hilarious stories about his jovial and kinda eccentric dad when he stops in the middle and goes, "Shit man... I've also become just like my father man...". It's like he couldn't believe it and wasn't really sure when exactly he'd started mirroring his dad. I still smile when I remember his slightly baffled expression from that night.

And then I think about what he said in my own context and father and... It's not so bad.
You the man, Dad! :)


To those girls who couldn't keep their hands to themselves

They say I'm not a very emotional kinda guy... (OK so I don't know who 'they' are but I like the fact that they talk about me) and for the longest time they were (are?!?) right. I guess the correct thing to say would be that I am not a very physically demonstrative person when it comes to emotion. Like I know people who dispense hugs like they're going out of fashion but the whole hugging thing took many many years to come to terms with. I think the first time I got properly hugged by a  girl who not a relative I was well into my 20's and if you were to ask bystanders what it looked like, they'd say a tiny smidgen of a girl was sorta molesting a big 6 foot plus dude who had both his arms open and wasn't sure what to do with them.

I figured it might not be a bad idea to bring the hands together and so they did over the years, till a point when a girl hugging me would get comforting pats on the back much like my nephew gets to induce those lil post feed burps. That was a tactic which worked well with the ladies till some drunk night when afore- mentioned patting happened a bit south of the border and was accompanied with the slurry whispers of "Daddy's here". The words didn't matter (or maybe they did a wee bit) but its all in the tone folks. I know this being the killa mc that I now am :)
These days of course I am super comfortable in my own skin to atleast hug my close girl buddies without feeling weird or anything. Like a friend mentioned a long while ago, "You are as big as a bear so make like one and hug me properly!" Yeah... I don't argue when that tone is in play.

I like to analyze why I am the way I am about the hugging thing and it probably goes back to the childhood. Don't get me wrong... the folks were very physically demonstrative with the hugs and kisses (and the odd slap too hah!) when I was a wee lad but all of that stopped once we hit a certain age. And through the years I saw it repeated with my siblings as well. Once we passed the age of 8 or 9 years, no more hugs. Then you go through the formative years without those hugs and add to that studying in an all boys convent setup and then most of your college years in a Muslim college where boys and girls had separate timings and what not and it's not really surprising as to why it took me so long to lose my virginity...

I'd just like to clarify that I'm not emotionally scarred or anything. It is the way it is... For a fair while I was considered anti-social almost because I didn't really interact with the women in the group. The reason being I wasn't sure how to. Let's face it - it's kinda tough when you have weird pre-conceived ideas in your ahead about the opposite sex and so interacting with them becomes something of a mental fight. I'd be too stressed about the whole thing and just chose to shut down and be the strong silent type. Fortunately as the years have gone by I have had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting and befriending some women who are so cool and with whom I can have great conversations and yet be comfortable enough to make stupid bawdy jokes as well.

So this post is for those girls... Those who chose to continue being friends with me... those who saw through the 'strong and silent type' facade and persisted... those that call me almost every other day (even if it is to kill time on their way back home)... those that stay far far away and yet one mention of a distant memory and it feels like it was just yesterday when we met last... those who cook delicious chocolatey delights and then ask me to be the tasting guinea pig... those I don't see for weeks and sometimes months on end and when we eventually do, all that time in between doesn't matter...

To all those girls and for all those hugs... many thanks and much love and respect! 


The One Where Miss Piggy bitchslaps BF

It must be all those Swine flu jokes I cracked in the past.... who knew I'd end up paying for it more than a year later. That's right folks I have just been tested positive for the ole H1N1 virus along with most of the family.

Regular services are expected to resume shortly.

See Australis, told ya it was a doozy! :D


Macchis ki Teeli

1 am and the weekend's around the corner. Not that it matters to people like me who're no longer restrained by the ole corporate leash. Haven't felt like writing in a while and like I was telling someone not too long ago that it kinda surprised me just how long I've been away.
But I'm back... if only for a little while (good lyric this...)

So what can I write about? Perhaps we can do a little rundown on whats been happening in my life recently. Easiest place to tap into for some material. Went for this play on a Friday some weeks ago called Ismat Aapa ke Naam which was 3 one wo/man acts based on the writings of Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai. Funnily enough I was supposed to have gone for an English play on Saturday night but got arm-twisted gently coaxed into attending this one as well. So me who hadn't seen a play in over 15 years finally ended up watching 2 plays on consecutive nights. Sort of...
Patience Gadhadhari Bheem... I shall explain.

Now Ismat Aapa... was enacted entirely in Urdu (and that too the hardcore wtf-did-he-just-say kinda Urdu) as was wished by the director who wanted to stay true to the writings of the author. Well I'd say he succeeded quite admirably coz I understood jack! About 80% of all the dialogue just went flying overhead and I was just about able to get the gist of the overall plot. The first sketch was enacted by Manoj Pahwa whose name you perhaps will not recognise but whose face you certainly will. Now this guy has acted in several Hindi movies off late and falls into what I refer to as the mandatory sidey comic role required in most films these days. The writing is so terrible in today's movies that you automatically vent your ire at actors like Pahwa who're.. well.. just doing what's been written. I was so happy to eat humble pie that night. He is a wonderful performer and, despite obvious personal language barriers, made his act an enjoyable one. And if Pahwa was fun to watch, his wife Seema who followed in the 3rd act was a complete riot. Again someone who is relegated to doing the sidey stuff in Bollywood. These two are truly talents who are wasted on the big screen and walking out into the night I was happy that to have had some preconceived notions shattered that night and also bemused at how much you have to dumb down your craft go to earn your bread and butter...

Now the next day I went to see a famous play called Waiting for Godot. And... I walked out during the interval! It's supposed to be this deep thinking play about the harshness of life and existentialism. There are many levels to it relating to religion, philosophy, politics and psychology as explained by a friend who had come along. But all I could think through 45 minutes that was the first half was, "Ayyeeeee bhaaaaaiiiiii.... apne palle kuch nahi pad raha...". I guess my choice of entertainment over the past many years now veers to anything which either amuses and/or enthralls me and certainly at the very least which I am able to understand quickly enough. Sure there are many ways to interpret a play like this one but it failed to capture my interest which means I will not even bother dissecting it like I would have any book/movie/TV show. I probably come across as less evolved by many who hold this play in high regard. Guilty I suppose but if there's one thing at all that I can be sure about, is that I could probably rewrite that play (the dialogues anyway) and make it atleast a tad more entertaining than it was (for me) that night.
On a positive note, it was pretty cool to watch Naseeruddin Shah and Benjamin Gilani for the first time live. These guys are the big daddys of Indian theatre and yeah while the play itself bored the crap out of me, the performances were pretty darn good. I had no idea till a few days later that Randeep Hooda (he of Monsoon Wedding and D fame) had played the heavily bearded character of Lucky the slave.

In other news, I will doing a little thing on a community radio station with the Madman (he of my other blog fame). We two suave worldly gents will take on the forces of evil and vanquish them resoundingly whilst  rescuing dainty maidens and ride off into the sunset talk about civic issues that are hassling the neighbourhood. Of course with our irreverent spin on it :) We've already been warned about (not) dropping the F-Bomb on the air by our Program Director. So if you're in and around Bandra from the 1st of May, tune into Jago Mumbai 107.8 and give us a listen...

Also joined a band in the recent past although it seems like we barely got together before the bassist had to take off to join his new job and our lead player leaves for the States in August. I really must find people my own age to jam with rather than dudes who're either in/barely out of college. But the good thing is we're planning to do a band within a band side project of acoustic and indie covers. 1 guitar 1 voice kinda thing. The first two songs on the setlist are courtesy the lovely and refreshing Nimbupaani (who ought to put up posts more often but then that'd be the pot doing the proverbial thing) which are Blue October's - Calling you (Acoustic) and Winterpills' Cranky.
And this third one is an Elton John classic covered by My Morning Jacket... I'm not married. In fact I don't even have a significant other and of course no kids either but fuck this song gets to me each time I listen to it. 

I usually try to end on a positive or funny note but not this time... Probably one of the most moving death scenes in Indian cinema, I choked up at THIS scene of a brother losing his sister and couldn't stop the tears from falling especially at 0:23 - 0:31


Track 1 or Track 2?

Like most kids back in the late 90's, I too was a big fan of the wrestling action from WWE featured on Prime Sports (anyone remember Prime Sports?!!). Of course back then it was popularly known as the WWF. And that went on for many a year till the World Wildlife Federation stepped and said, "You indescribably monstrous looking hulks are giving the real animals a bad name... The throbbing of those steriod-pumped veins in the sides of your necks are in fact scaring some of them! So give us our acronym back, McMahon and Co.!"

Now I bring up the matter of the WWE because after years of watching 'real' wrestling, I realised what I found completely fascinating, besides the athleticism of the wrestlers, was how the crowd's reaction could be so easily manipulated with a piece of music. I'm talking about the entry music of the participants which used to (and still does) drive the crowd wild!

Anyway back to the matter at hand which involves a decision of sorts to be made. I am at a stage in my life where I can actually make an entry into an arena (ok so it's a casino on a ship... don't scoff at my inner 14 year old!) accompanied by a piece of entry music.
So check out the two tracks below and tell me which one you like best...