Friday, 14 June 2013

Dear Bollywood...

Dear Bollywood,

I am so upset with you. No, not because you churn out one mindless movie after another (that has become acceptable now), with that occasional streak of brilliance in between to save your face. It is because I am deeply hurt and offended by how you misrepresent South Indian-ness in all the crass that you produce.

You know, you occupy a really huge mind-share in Indians, especially upwards of the Vindhyas, much more than you are worthy of. Given that, you ought to be a tad bit more responsible in your portrayal of people and their sensibilities, however funny you may want it to seem. This is long overdue. I have a few things to tell you…

Food: You really touched a raw nerve here. I believe we have way more advanced gastronomical acumen than to consume curd with soy sauce and ajinomoto, and most definitely not with the table manners that you have revoltingly depicted. Curd is our elixir. I would like to invite you home for lunch. I will teach you how we eat our curd rice. It is with this mind-blowing accompaniment called “vadumanga”, which is made during summers and preserved in pickled brine. I should probably arrange to send you some everyday so that the curd goes down your system and cleanses your brains, while the spice of the vadumanga grinds down your thick skin.

People: Our heroes may not have the metrosexuality to lie in a bathtub full of roses to advertise for beauty soaps. They certainly do not have the machismo of revealing butt cracks in hot swimwear either. But I would like to think most of the reigning heroes are comfortably in between, with way more cerebral and creative wealth than yours. So please stop portraying our men like big fat goons with drawn up veshtis, generous visuals of their underwear, abominable mustaches, flashy jewellery and more than abundant body hair. Speaking of body hair, let us rewind a decade or so and take a moment to digest the volume of collective hair of the then Kumars, Kapoors, Deols and the Khans.

About our women, well, the lesser said, the better. I don’t think you have the mental maturity for this discussion as yet.

Language: Let me do you a favour and help you enrich your general knowledge a little bit. We have four states here, each with its own beautiful language. So, one can safely presume that our vocabulary is more advanced than the “Ayyos” / “Aiyyas” and the exaggerated “aaahs”  / “ooohs” that you pepper around your characters, especially in that irritating nasal tone.

I wanted to end this post with a caustic remark on the first and last syllables of your name. Well, I'll just let that be... because it will take you light years to understand the joke. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Crossword No. 10790

Have I told you how much I love solving The Hindu’s crossword? Every morning. Unfailingly. Even if I miss a day’s puzzle, I faithfully pull it out the next day to solve it! The only grouse I have is its placement in the paper - generally above the obituaries section. Why would you want to begin your day by looking at obituaries?

On the 4th of June, I opened the paper very hesitantly. I pensively turned to the crossword page. But today was not for the crossword, it was to look at an obituary – that of my maternal grandmother’s.

There she was. A much healthier picture of her smiled at me from the paper. Very unlike the scrawny frame she had been reduced to in the recent past. I had almost forgotten what she looked like in better times. Despite her age and her atrophied body, she did well to fight a form systemic scleroderma. A condition that is easy to mis-diagnose and also a condition that has no complete cure.

I would have liked to spend my last few moments with her by sitting next to her, holding her hands or just looking at her, in silence. But that was not to be. In our culture, the most precious moments of one’s life are generally dictated by people who do not matter. What an irony! It could be a wedding, a birth, a first birthday, the final rites, or even breastfeeding for heaven’s sake! A sea of people invaded the house. Along with paying their respects, also very generously dropped unnecessary advice and rendered unwanted help, over-complicating the already complex set of rituals.  Isn't it just so incongruous in the larger scheme of things?

She passed away on the same day that I heard about a tech guru’s death after a valiant fight against cancer and a frivolous suicide. I mean, how ironical can life get? There are people who will do anything to hang on to one hidden ember of life, and then there are those others… Damn! Frustrating, to say the least.

Anyway, crossword no. 10790 will remain unsolved. Forever.