Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Bye..false start

 The bags are still not packed and I get place-lag once again. Is it a tube in Berlin, a tiny shack of a teashop  in North India or a village near Salem with a picture perfect stream? Well, still let me gather the wits and say a decent good bye.
In a few days, bags will be marked, tickets will be punched and I will be piling up my shoes, belt and any thing which rings metal on a plastic case to make sure that I am no threat  to the idea of home  which the 14 hour journey is supposed to promise
Shush shush..Let there be at least an effort for a decent goodbye.
No, this isn't gonna be about London. It is going to be of big mad loud mouthed streets, paan stained walls and the neat array of street lights on the highway which watches the evening melt away with dignity.
Dear Delhi,

I guess you still swear so loud, laugh so wild..
And dress up in tacky glitter on winter nights..

You must be waking up with a huge hangover on dewy mornings
making you cross all day

I know your trick of making happiness a bit more happy and 
grief a bit more sad. But, think before drenching every moment in deep colours.
The vivid greens are fine, but the charcoal scratches never go away even after endless washing.

Keep the odd bit of stars by  the side of rented windows near the rickety pipe line.
But get rid of the ghastly masks which make pigeons fly in and commit suicide on the ceiling fan

Yes, pull out a table, place plastic cups of tea with a few pods of cardamom floating over...
And, I could look at the soot covered tree with missing branches and tell you
that I have never met a city just like you. You could give a slanted smile at first and then
pretend to be uninterested.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

UK motto-Consumer is THE donkey

Well, you would think that as an advanced capitalist consumerist society [bankers can legally eat the rest], consumer rights will be pretty strong in this country. However my experience has been pretty bad. I could get much better service for my rupee in India than with the puffed up pound [with some economic slump down bruises] here. Back in homeland, if you threaten a company that you will take them to court, they will treat you with a bit of respect and will try to fix your problem. Here [well from my limited experience] they will laugh at you and ask you to go and sue them. Since they have enough money to run law suits on my family line from Adam onwards, wouldn't name any. However, here is a small but representative list of how things have been.

1. It starts with the supermarket god which sells you the daily essentials of life. Well, when a particular supermarket chain says that their veggies or hummus will last till say 23rd August, they expect you to subtract a few days from it. I have had carrot bags with rotten bits in it while the tag said it will last for a week more. Another minor supermarket god has a penchant for selling milk cans with seal open [u will realize once you reach home and open the cap.Now do you want to walk in the rain again to exchange a 45p milk can?].

2.Well, the phone company I was using was bought by some one else. The name of the provider is still the same, but I will no longer have my mobile number. From now onwards before buying a sim card will studiously read business pages to scan for the chances of the phone company getting eaten by bigger fish.

3.So went ahead and bought a sim card from the biggest fish in the sea. Since they are kind of uneatable, the cost of daily calls is quite steep. But then, heaved a sigh of relief that at least your phone company won't go bust in the air leaving you with no number. Then, on a rainy Sunday night tried topping up online. After giving them details about everything ranging from my grand father's pet name to all information related to my bank account [so that some minion in the company can have it all when he is in the mood for some little fraud] I was told that 'due to unexpected error' I cannot top up. After complaining got an automated reply from the company saying that they will reply to me after 48 hours.

And, unlike in India, you cannot call the call centre for free and scream at some poor devil "connect me to
your supervisor #####". Calling the call centre means you will  be charged premium so that the company can make more money out of any complaints you might have about them.

4.It meant spending all my possible savings for quite a bit of my life time. So now has a fancy computer from one of the venerated techno gods whose name need to be taken with a prefix of worshipful. Then found that the techno god has sold keyboad and mouse which requires battery. Well, when you buy a desktop what you require is 'wirless' keyboard  and mouse [so that you can taken them out for a walk while your desktop sits on the table like a sitting duck?], so goes the wisdom of the techno god. After doing quite a bit of Indian classical dance at the store, they agreed to give me stuff with proper wires. However, once I reached home, realised that they changed the keyboard and not the mouse. Since self didn't want to do a repeat version of the classical dance, decided to live with the mouse which regularly cries for costly batteries.

5.Profession demands that self must have a hard drive. So, gave whatever remains of self's runined bank account to the corporate giants with the most flashy ads and deeper  pockets. In return for my hundred and whatever pounds, was given metal scrap which screeches like a mouse on a cat's mouth every time you plug it to a computer. The 'customer service' told me that my wiring, my computer or my head might me responsible for the fault. And, if I didn't believe them and wanted to send the product back to them under the warranty scheme, I will have to bear the shipping charges. Once more, I had to go to the store which sold me the crap to do more classical dance. After I manged to scare away one or two customers, the scrap metal was taken from me. It was replaced after a month and more at no additional cost. Well, I was harddriveless for a long time but then, you can't be complaining all the time.

Well, there are more stories, but one shouldn't be such a whiner. So, self has decided to be positive and keeps on googling for lawyers who will take up these cases for free in return for the fat sum they could extract  from the multinational gods. But I guess, most of the lawyers are working for the gods.So, the only other option is to be good on the environment and try to buy as little as possible. With the size of my pocket after all  the expeditions it wouldn't be such a tough motto to follow

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Excess Baggage

Well, it is officially the bad poetry time.
Still short of several thousand words to reach the pinnacles of academic boredom with due respects paid in attribution to all those who managed to reach the peak earlier.  The laptop has started screeching like a mouse which is being eaten by the cat around  the corner. But, while its breath lasts, the internet pathways should be defaced with a few more lines


A bit of white rimmed grey clouds, handful of indifference
A packet of cool air, little box of unmemory
A purse full of  good will to temper the choler of the rude alleys
A bit of snow for the scorching heat, a shaft of sunshine for the chilling cold
A cube of recollected nostalgia to sweeten the plastic cups of tea.
An album of flying and falling and learning to land without mourning the bruises
------Far beyond the checked in baggage allowance
Waiting for a suitable shipping option.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aisha-Don't be Stupid

It is 'that' time of the year. When you drop by the college hall kitchen at 00:00 am  you encounter all your erstwhile partying and club hopping neighbors cracking their Foucault and cursing Homi Bhabha for writing really worthy stuff which nobody understands.The requirement to come up with 6000 [sigh!!!] words of holy academic crap with some amount of originality invariably drives self to nuts.

So, instead of trying to slowly and steadily win the race, self logs on to facebook to find the status of latest Hindi movies. Ever since self has moved 2 alien shores, fb is the trusted source to get a quick glance of what is happening in homeland. And, you do get a filtered version of News Hour without running the risk of Arnab Goswami yelling at you. And, every thing comes with highly useful editorial inputs. If your hyper enthu 20 year old acquaintance talks about a 'kewl' movie, it means that you should steer clear of it.

However, if you watch a movie even before such helpful inputs are out, you are treading through tricky territories. But then,  writer's block [some thing which happens to self even before typing a single word of the stipulated 6000] is always an excellent excuse. So, watching Aisha without logging in to find its 'kewl' quotient seemed like a  good idea. What harm can a wannabe romantic movie which uses Jane Austen as a pretext do? When you type words like that you are insinuating the power of cinema to touch the pits [I mean really low pits].
They should have changed the tag line to "don't be stupid [and watch this]'. While there are many Bollywood films with story lines which let you know that the writer was under the influence of crack or heavy booze while penning it, Aisha touches new heights. The writer [or writers] must have been excruciatingly sober to come up with such absolute crap. And, the good thing about being a star kid is that your dad can get you films which are as air headed as you must be and the rags with Toilet Paper of India in the lead can never really be  nasty with you.

So, the viewer has the bad fortune of spending precious two and a few some thing hours of her/his life watching women get out of bed, shop, gym, go to the hairdresser etc and go back to sleep. Ooops, yes!!there are a few highlights when they go for a picnic, party .... The men also have a similar way of existence, but in a few odd shots they get to wear suits and sit in office like spaces [with a hot woman by the side] pretending to be investment bankers ['eat the bankers' variety]. And, of course the man gets to remind the woman of the meaningless of her existence which she bears like a badge throughout the film. After all the pot reminding the pan of its soot bits, the film ends with the worst romantic scene with a balcony involved. The bard must be turning in his grave at the lowly plight to which the balcony has fallen ever since 'Romeo and Juliet'.

Hopefully, they will soon come with a statutory warning for bad films. Till then, it serves to have a quick look at  status tags before declaring "how bad can a movie be"...It is better to steer clear from such knowledge