Friday, August 25, 2006

Everything is Illuminated

Maathangy was very busy. She was watching Tom and Jerry and coloring her crayon book. From time to time she checked if Tom got outwitted by Jerry or not on her 25 inch Philips color TV. She could not change the channel as her parents had put a child lock on the rest of the channels. But then they thought that was the best they could do to protect their 7 year old daughter from watching something insane and vulgar on the idiot box.

"Maathu kutty" her dad Prakash came from office and kissed her on her cheeks. Seeing her grow fast Prakash wondered if the LIC policy that he had been paying annually would be enough to spend for her marital expenses or would go of in the air as Dowry for some stranger who may own her for life. He knocked those off his mind and realized that he had something more important to discuss with her.

"Maathu. I got a letter from your school today." told Prakash.

Maathu looked up from the elephant she had been coloring in green color and questioned him with her expressive eyes. Prakash continued "The letter says that you contributed Rs.500 to the UNICEF fund. Did you get the money from mummy?"

"No daddy. I took it from my savings." said Mathu.

Prakash remembered that it was the plan he and his wife Priya had taken to explain the power of saving money to Maathu. They would deposit Rs.5 daily in a piggy bank in her bed and she was instructed to spend the money on anything she liked after a period of time. 6 months before she had bought a small doll for her mom's birthday from that money and surprised them immensely. But this was something different.

"Maathu. Do you know how much Rs.500 means?" Prakash asked without raising his voice.

"Yes daddy. It is enough to buy a tap and install a part of the hand pump in poor countries. Malini miss told us in the presentation." replied Maathu.

"But Maathu. You cannot spend your money like this. We gave it to you to spend it for yourself."

"Daddy. Remember that day we were watching TV and an old uncle in the TV said that if we donate some part of our wealth, we will go to heaven". She was referring to a children’s program on Disney Channel and Prakash wondered how much of an impact it had made on her. Danm Disney he thought.

"Its still wrong Maathu. You cant just hand it over to somebody like this when they ask. 10 or 20 rupees is fine. But 500 is too much Maathu. Those people who ask money can be crooks and bad people. Remember next time, some one asks you money for something, you have to ask Mummy and Daddy" Prakash finished sternly.

Maathu seemed disappointed for a minute. She didn’t look at Tom and Jerry and was coloring in blue outside the border of elephant’s body. Everything seems illuminated in the light of life and Maathu may realize it sometime in her life.

"We are not going to heaven, are we daddy?" Maathu questioned Prakash.

He could not realize if he was wise or her. Prakash pretend not to hear her question in the rising volume of the Tom and Jerry show.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Unreleased version

(A Sneak preview into Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehnaa's unreleased version)

The Mercedes stopped with a screeching halt outside the palatial house. Shahrukh (SRK) and Preity got down from the car and walked without any reaction inside the palace. While rest of all the NRI's crib at the very idea of a moderately priced apartment for 1200$ (shared by 4 people and with one year lease), Johar's NRI's resided in palatial bungalows which could make Lord Swaraj paul and Tycoon Lakshmi Mittal feel like beggars outside the Vadapalani temple. But then this is a Karan Johar movie and so everything is blown out of proportions, be it the story or the characters or events.

"Come in SRK!To kahiyae...kaunsi Lifeline use karna chaahenge aap?" Amitabh spoke in his huge baritone.

"Dad..this is Karan's movie and not Kaun Banega shooting." nudged Abhishek nearby.

"Oh.Sorry. You see I am an old man. Can be messy at times. Let's start with the dinner." Amitabh invited. A beaming Rani enters late and sits opposite to SRK and gives him her gorgeous smile. "How handsome and clean shaven he is" thought Rani to herself about SRK and wondered if she could present a shaving kit as Birthday gift to hubby AB Jr. As usual it was a needlessly very big dining table which could include the whole Indian cricket team with substitutes, physiotherapist and coach and there were only 5 of them seated. SRK wondered that the Italian chandelier above them must be worth some 10,000$ and wished how good it could be if it could fall on Preity.

The dinner was served by some maid dressed royally enough to pass as heroine in a B-Grade Movie. Women in Karan Johars movies were always shown wearing Manish Malhotra designer saris, bejeweled by Kirtilal Kalidas & Co and were never shown cooking with the possible exception of Super moms Farida Jalal and Kiron Kher. Men were never shown going to office and always wore Armani's and Raymond's except Amitabh who had a contract to fulfill with Reid and Taylor.

"I am not happy with this mmmmmmmmarraige" stuttered SRK. Amitabh had seen SRK stuttering since his serial Fauji days and wondered if he could make him speak with some pebbles stuffed in his mouth. He wondered how come the public llllloved him do this idiotic crap movie after movie.

"What's wrong with you?" asked a shocked Preity looking indirectly at Rani

"I am in love with someone else" said SRK and started crying.

Rani could not believe herself. Her worse suspicions were confirmed and she wondered how could he cry so well with such less glycerin. Infact apart from the star's astronomical salaries, huge movie sets and extravagant songs, the next big budget was reserved for gallons of glycerin. Except the producer everyone else was crying after the movie and it was even suggested to distribute free hand kerchiefs to the movie going public.

"I cant live with you anymore. I am leaving the house with my lllllove" said SRK.

Everyone remained silent for a second and wondered if this climax would work or not. SRK stood up and walked to Rani who didn't know how to react. SRK kissed AB Jrs cheeks (because lip kissing would be cut in the censors or protested by Shivsainiks) and said "Let's go Abhi. We can't live with these hypocrites anymore."

They walked towards the exit door as Amitabh suffered a heart stroke, Rani and Preity happy enough to trade them even for Vadivelu.....and lived happily ever after...perhaps.

P.S: I thought that since Karan Johar has become so 'sensitive', why not he be asked to make a desi version of BrokeBack Mountain :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kabhi Alvidaa Naa Kehna...

Read first part here

Check Has to be me's version here

He was shocked to see Sowmya with her husband and kid. It was serendipity and Sagar could feel that Sowmya could read his feelings.

"Hey Sagar. How are you?" asked Sowmya casually.

Sagar gave her a faint smile and they boarded the flight to Kolkatta together. They sat separately in the flight and Sagar was racing his thoughts as how could he avoid her as they were going to the same conference in Kolkatta and were going to be stationed in the same hotel. Not all went planned for him as Sowmya met him again in the dinner table in the hotel with her 5 year old son Deepak.

"Where is your husband?" asked Sagar

"Sagar. Don’t you know that we have been divorced 3 years before." said Sowmya.

Sowmya described how their professional lives had taken toll in their relationship and when she found that her husband was having an affair with his colleague, she put her foot down and called it quits. The divorce was settled amicably with Sowmya winning the custody of her child. She was working now in Bangalore and was in Chennai for a corporate meeting. Her ex-husband was married now to that colleague and incidentally she had run through him the airport today.

After 3 days of the conference Sagar had become best pal with Deepak who seemed to enjoy his company. Sowmya also empathized with Sagar's life when she heard about Asha. They reached Dum Dum International Airport amidst silence which was occasionally broken by Deepak's banter. Sagar got his tickets and stood staring at his wrist watch as if he was expecting some delay.

"The flight 1710 from Kolkatta to Chennai is bound to leave in 10 minutes. We ask passengers to check in" shrieked the announcement. Sagar looked paralyzed and bade good bye to Sowmya and Deepak. Sowmya too felt as if much had been spoken and still left blank between them. She turned to go her terminal and walked a few steps when she heard footsteps running towards her.

It was Sagar who puffed and panted and said ""

Fighting her tears Sowmya smiled and hugged him. Sobbing she asked "Why so long Sagar...and why here?"

Sagar "You know it Sowmya. I am sentimental."

P.S: Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. This whole story is based on a real incident that happened in Dubai :-)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kabhi Kabhi

Sagar was bored. Neither Mukesh's Kabie kabhie playing on his ipod neither the John Grisham on his lap managed to keep him occupied.

"Flight No 1721 from Chennai to Kolkatta has few technical problems and we expect an hour’s delay in the schedule. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you" beamed the Rasagulla in the stewardess dress. Somewhere far he could see a woman crying on the shoulders of a man with lot of luggage. Must be newly married and traveling he thought.

This reminded him of Sowmya. Sowmya. Technically speaking she was an archived record in his memory database. It popped up at times and reminded him if some of his pleasant youthful days. Sowmya and Sagar had been in the same colony for almost 20 years and had been family friends. Sagar had a soft corner for her and was waiting for an opportunity. After his graduation Sagar got an offer for an interview and he was at the airport with Sowmya. Gathering all his courage he told her.

She smiled. Sagar was never so happier in his life. His happiness doubled when he got the job and he knew that everything was well set. But then that would be a perfect love story, isnt it? The demons of caste, religion, status and ego made sure that their love was buried deep in the cemetery of life. They parted as friends with each deciding to themselves that they would never see the other for the rest of their life.

10 Years had rolled by. Sagar heard from someone long before that Sowmya was married to some guy and had a kid. He had seen their marriage photo in his friends’ house and he had to say that her hubby was smarter than him. He did feel jealous. Sagar too got married to Asha and they had a daughter. Asha passed away in labour and Sagar felt as if he was carrying some curse where everyone close to him perished. Despite his parents constant nagging to remarry he had resisted it and managed to raise his daughter with their help.

"Excuse me." Someone broke his thoughts as he realized that his bag was in the middle of the pavement. He got up and removed the bag and apologized.

He was shocked to see Sowmya with her husband and kid.

Ok. I know the ending. Lets see how you people can take the story ahead.
Start the music :-)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Confessions of a Dangerous mind

"Drugs, Diamonds or Dollars?" the General asked as if all the 3 were legitimate to carry.

"How about all the 3 in equal proportions?" I said.

Who am I? I am Yuri Varlov. Into my late 30s and with medium build and receding hairline, people say that I resemble Nicholas Cage. I am a dealer. No no...not the ordinary dealer you happen to meet around. I am an arms dealer. despise me right? Well that’s your personal opinion and you can do that. I may have failed academically but I passed the school of life with honors as I knew how to make a quick buck. I had always wanted to make it big in life and wanted to make it soon. What better than transporting and supplying illegal arms?

In my childhood I always wondered as to why did these people needed to fight and cant say truce. But as I grew up I understood that this truce would only be acceptable by the common people, but would hurt the political bigwigs. You cannot imagine the amount of money each country spends in a war and how much the heads of government’s and arms dealers like me make most out of it. Once when a friend asked if I had any guilt for this, I shot back "My bullets are better than alcohol and tobacco. At least they have a safety switch to turn it off." But I always had a rule. I supplied guns and left the place after getting paid immediately. The last thing I wanted to see was to see someone use it to kill someone. Chicken hearted aint I?

Today I came here in Africa to supply guns for the first time to some crazy dictator who had managed to rule with an iron hand for long time. My Kalashnikovs we handled by kids who were just about the same height as the guns. Just as we were having negotiations, the 10 year old kid of the general took the gun to a far by tent and shot a kid about 6 years old in the head. He laughed and said that he was testing the gun.

The dead kid was about the same age as my son. I felt a knot in my stomach and left as soon as I could. The amount of guns that I supplied to such small countries in a year was the same that big nations as US, UK, France, China and Russia supplied to some nations in a day. Ironically these 5 nations are the permanent members of the UN Security council. God bless the world.

I reached home and went to my son’s room and kissed him good bye while he was asleep. In the table nearby I found a Smith and Wesson .38 type toy gun. I took it in my hands and looked at them for a long time. Without any rhyme or reason I started to cry and angrily threw the gun into the trashcan nearby. Just then my phone rang and it was the same General.

"Mr. Yuri. We would appreciate if you could supply us 200 more 'Angels' (code name for AK -47) the next week. Is it possible?"

"No problem" I found myself saying that without hesitation.

But then I knew that even if I turn into a Jesus or Mahatma and abolish my gun trade, these silly wars are not going to stop. If not me, then someone else will take my place and supply these goodies. What a slimy bastard I had become.

P.S: Inspired from the movie Lord of War.