Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nothing that Rajni Kant

Q. What do you call a magnetic force that attracts everyone and everybody from wheel-chair bound old men to kids who can barely say "mummy"?

A. Rajnikanth

The man with magnetism in his name and eyes does it and how? If you thought that the Sivaji canvas was huge for a Rajni film, Enthiran multiplies it by 100 and delivers staggering results. Like Cameron baby-sat his pet project Avatar, Shankar did the same with this project. It changed hands from Kamal Hassan to Ajit (seriously?) to SRK and finally to Mr. Magnet. If SRK thought this was a half-baked script, you are tempted to ask him if he dozed off during the narration of Rab Ne bana di jodi or My Name is Khan.

So lets start with the story. Oh Cmon! Who am I kidding? Do you really give a rats ass about a story in a Rajni film? But for freshness sake, this film does have a solid reason and delivers well (Thanks to Late great Sujatha). As a norm in Shankar's film, the hero is shown normally without any intro song or fanfare. (But there are some useless souls in Kolywood who would not abolish it even after Siva kicked it left right and center in Tamil Padam.)

The special effects are wonderfully done and it shows where Mr. Maaran's money went. We know that Sun Network has this dubious standard of praising its own movies on their channels. I mean, come on, Thillalangadi at No 1 for so long? The film is possibly "running succesfully" in your nearby VCD shop. But you have to say that their promotional antics for Enthiran has paid wonderful results. When Ms Rai kissed Mr Rajni on screen, one guy from the back shouted "Rajni Khabardaar!!" and the whole theatre erupted in laughter.

Even though the initial robot design reminded me of IRobot, the rest of the film and its reasoning reminds you that it has an Indian heart and mind. Some of the dialgoues in the film remind you of typical Sujatha touches and evoked claps from the audience. For a reasonably good actor, Danny Denzongpa was wasted. He makes his exit like some useless extra, but then with Robot2.0 around, you don't care.

Ms. Ash looks gorgeous for sure. But why did I get the feeling that towards the climax she looked more like an accomplice-in-two-minds rather than the typical damsel-in-distress? To be fair to Mr ARR, the songs looked good on screen but you don't remember them much later. Of course, Shankar's imagination and Ratnavelu's camera do the rest of the trick. Resul Pookutty's work is evident when you can hear the minute motor sounds when the Robot moves its parts.

If you have about 200 crores to splash on a movie, Mr Shankar is your go-to man. It is evident why he is the highest paid director in the country. The man has an amazing imagination and he just raises the bar for himself, but leaps it way above and beyond making you wonder "what will he do next?". Rightfully, he should be christened as the "James Cameron of India". By now if you have not heard about Enthiran's "Baap of all climaxes", its possible that you might have been away on a vacation to Afghanistan. It is evident that he has made suitable changes to suit Rajni's image, but it is also praiseworthy that he has preserved the spirit of the movie intact.

And now to the man himself. Rajni. Most of us might be fortunate enough to be fit to touch our own ass at 61 for morning duties. This man kicks ass at 61. Not only does he jump, dance, fight and multiply with elan, but he also lives the coveted dream of shooting with his index finger. All the Little, Vente,Grande Super stars, Young and Old captains, Ultimate and Penultimate stars can hang their dreams of occupying his coveted throne to rest. You should not be surprised if someday Meena's daughter plays his heroine. Sometimes you wonder if he is really the original "Curious case of Benjamin Button" guy. 

Anyone who has seen Rajni's older movies will agree that Rajni the antagonist could steal the thunder from any hero worth his salt in his heyday. No wonder Shankar chose to give lot of screen time to the "badass" Robot 2.0 and boy, the theatre went beserk. Any other actor might have made it over-the-top, but Rajni owns it so well, that you wish you could see more of him on screen. Not only does he shine as the innocent and badass robot, but also overtakes the usually-reliable Santhanam in comedy scenes. 

All the other douche bags can go ahead and release their whatever they can for Diwali. Who cares? Its arrived in style when Mr 2.0 thundered "Happy Diwali Folks" with Bang. In Style.

Loved this trailer btw :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Idiots

3 Idiots is the latest offering from maverick producer Manmohanji. Initially the film was acted and directed by its lead Suresh Jilmadi, but he was doing a fucked up job with both and producer Manmohan had no choice but to take the reins in his own hands. As usual with any bollywood production, the release date was announced 6 years earlier and the makers are still scrambling to get the film out on date. If you are scratching your head as to what the hell were these guys doing for 6 longs years, then you can join the queue with Head and Shoulders.

The story takes off with our protagonists M S Jill and Lalit Jhanot searching for their long lost friend and mentor Jilmadi. Jilmadi went into hiding after the CWG fiasco and since then they have been looking out in every nook and corner of the country for the bugger. Well, if you think they are doing this out of brotherly love, you might as well believe that Tiger woods was gay. Jill and Jhanot want their share of the common wealth that they looted during commonwealth (kudos to whoever names it aptly).

The movie begins sensationally when their friend-turned-foe Chatur Ramalingam (played astutely by Mani Shankar Jaiyar) tells them that he knows the whereabouts of Jilmadi. Immediately Jhanot runs along and hops in a taxi without wearing his pants. For 6 scenes you see the guy all around in his pink undies and wonder "Why the hell you dont get a pants?". But that is where the Director lends his touch (or the lack of it assuming he isnt gay).

In a later stage of the movie Jhanot quips "The westerners standards of hygiene is different from Indians." You are not surprised that it comes from him as he is seen in his undies (pink ones especially) most of the time, eats without washing his hands and poops in open public places. His performance can be summed up grandly in one small word - SHITTY.

Coming back to the story, Jill and Jhanot take us on a flashback tour where along with Jilmadi, they were officials in our parliament and their merry money-making times where they installed equipments worth few lakhs and billed us for crores. The Director's clever usage of the song "Golmaal hai bhai sab golmaal hai" to show their early days is noteworthy. Jilmadi always remained the top dog of the group as he knew his way of dealing things and doing it his way (read it as screwing it up). The ROCKY type build-up to Jilmadi's Olympic preparation ends in a whimper when the country wins a solitary gold medal from a country of 1 billion in the Olympics. But nevertheless Jilmadi and his pals are showing partying in a pub in the next scene as if they had just conquered North pole.

During the process of the CWG, Jilmadi has a love-hate track with Sheila Dixit. The director makes them sing a duet Zoobi Zoobi amidst potholes and craters making us think that it was shot in moon. But anyone wise enough can understand that the song was shot cheaply on the roads of Mumbai and Delhi with shoddy graphics. Sheila has an emotional role and she does her part well even ignoring Jilmadi at times.

Her emotional dialogue as "The bridge that collapsed was for the public and not the athletes was well received with thunderous applause by the public. That confirmed our long-lasting doubt that the government does not care a rat's ass about the tax paying public's useless life. Come on, in a country of a billion, do they care if few hundreds of us die in a terrorist attack or train accident or bridge collapse?

Jilmadi had showcased his comedy side in a few scenes and they are done well. The moment he thunders in the press conference that "The CWG has world class facilities on par with Beijing" is followed by the collapse of the bridge. It is copied from Johnny English, but nevertheless it makes you wish why these son-of-the-guns were not under that bridge when it collapsed.

Jill is like the Sarathbabu of tamil movies. No matter what he does, he is always shadowed in supporting roles. IN the movie "Election Commission", he played hero TN Seshan's useless sidekick. The scenes where he gets trashed by Manmohan in coarse and profane Punjabi is sure to raise cat whistles in the theater.

And now we come to our main performer Jilmadi. No doubt that this guy is an actor class apart. Oh come on, we are not able to stand one accusation, and this guy is like the bed rock of controversy. Reportedly, Kamal Hassan is receiving his coaching to play a corrupt politician in his next movie "Pakka Thirudan". His emotional outburst that he will not quit even if the games are bombed was so wonderful that the lady next to me blew her nose with my shirt. Betting circles are buzzing with Jilmadi's chances to win an Oscar next year.

Music director Rahman disappoints with his music score. But then you cant blame him, when the script itself is shoddy. The song "All is well" sung in midst of bridge collapses, broken beds, angry outbursts and scandals is an ode to Indian voting public. The only concern is that when this film would be released, almost half the delhi is expected to be flying to HongKong and Singapore and it is expected that the relatives of the officials bribed by quarter and biriyaani might fill up the stands.

I was tempted initially to not give the spoiler-ending of this movie, but then as an Indian voting public you should not be surprised. Chatur takes Jill and Jhanot to a neighborhood country which is hosting some sort of international games event. They find half built stadiums, broken bridges and scandals just few days away from event. It does not require an Einstein to figure out that such an 'efficient' effort can belong to none, but to Jilmadi. They all unite together and steal happily ever after.....

But then, as Jilmadi croons and we the amazing Indian public know......All is indeed well. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

இப்படி சொன்னா எப்படி?

காற்பந்து முடிஞ்சாலும் அதுக்கு சம்பந்தமே இல்லாத ஹீரோ பாலுடைய புகழ் மங்கவில்லை. ஒரு வேளை பாலை நம்ம ஊருக்கு கடத்திவந்தா அவரை வெச்சு எப்படி பிசினஸ் பண்ணலாம்??

உலக கோப்பைக்கு இன்னும் கொஞ்ச நாள் தான் இருக்கு, ஆனா நம்ம பசங்க விளையாடறதை பார்த்தா உலக கோப்பையை விடுங்க, நமக்கு வெண்கல கிண்ணம் கூட கிடைக்காது போல இருக்கே :(

ஆனாலும் ஒபாமா ரொம்ப பாவம். ஒரு மனுஷனுக்கு சோகம் வரலாம், ஆனா சோகமே வாழ்க்கை மாறினதுக்கு இவருக்கு தான். ஒன்னு மாத்தி ஒன்னு விடாம யாராவது அவரை படுத்தறாங்க.

Craig Ferguson சொன்னது போல்
By this point, the gulf of mexico "spill" not even an 'oil spill' anymore. Spill is a little accident that can easily be cleaned up. Calling this a 'spill' is like calling World War II a 'tiff.'

ஹ்ம்ம்...நம்ம ஊரா இருந்தா ஒரு இட ஒதுக்கீடு அறிவிச்சுட்டு நிம்மதியா இருக்கலாம். (புரியாதவர்கள் WIKILEAKS பற்றி படிக்கவும்)

ஒரு மனஷனுக்கு எப்படி எல்லாம் வாழ்வு வருது பாருங்க. சன் பிச்சர்ஸ் எடுத்த "வெற்றிகரமான" வேட்டைக்காரன், சுறா நடிச்சு கொஞ்ச நாள் படுத்த மாட்டார்னு பாத்தா, ஷங்கர் திடீர்னு "3 Idiots" ரீமேக் பண்றதா சொல்லிட்டார்.

அது எப்படிங்க படம் ரிலீசான அடுத்த நாளே "சூப்பர் ஹிட்" போஸ்டர் ஓட்டறாங்க? ஒரு வேளை அது Templateஆ இருக்குமோ :P. ரீமேக் படம் எடுக்க தான் ஏற்கனவே "ரீமேக்" ராஜா இருக்கார். ஹ்ம்ம்...ஆட்டம் ஜாஸ்தி ஆய்டுமே.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easier with practice

"I think we are standing on the wrong side of pavement."

I could sense that my wife's blood pressure and patience were exactly at opposite levels.

"Why do you think so?"

"There is a zig-zag yellow line here which is an indication that cabs should not stop and pick any passenger."

"You are telling me after walking for close to 10 minutes on this road?"

"I could tell you if you would LISTEN to me."

This is what happens when I try to do something right. All I wanted was to take her home cosy and comfortable in a taxi and just as Mr. Murphy's law states, you happen to spot a taxi exactly when you don’t want it. And perhaps, we all know that men are poor when it comes to asking for directions.

"Even if we had taken the bus, we would have been half way near our home."

See, that’s the point. Immediately she derives a calculation out of thin air that we would have got the bus on time to our place, we would get seats and also with minimal traffic, we would be halfway down to our house. My argument is - what are the odds? And also, I am not comfortable carrying 2 bag-full of groceries in either hand. That’s when I did the unthinkable error.

I retorted her.

"Why are you making a big deal out of this? Is it my fault that there is no taxi on the road now?"

And she immediately appears stung. Her eyes moisten a little and you can spot the water in her eyes like a mirage in the desert. I sometimes wonder how fast women get their tear glands to respond.

"You should have married Vanitha."

Ah! There we go. And now I get married to Vanitha for not getting a cab. Before you all get driven to nuts, let me explain who on earth is Mrs. Vanitha. She is possibly some secretly inherited descendent of Hitler. Or maybe Idi Amin. She is possibly one of the few women on earth whom you would not even want your most secret adversary to get married to.

My wife, the quintessential gossiper she is (aren’t we all?), likes to narrate me Mrs. Vanitha's strict order in the house where no extra oil or butter is allowed to be consumed or when children have to ask permission for everything. I wonder if her children religiously shout "Hail Fuhrer" before going to bed.

You can imagine the predicament of her husband. I once met the couple when we were doing our weekend family shopping. Her husband was a small man with head in the shape of an Easter egg. He had a small mustache and a sorry looking face like a Lehman Brother's shareholder or an Indian voter.

So, which brings to realize why women always compare with the worst lot available? Have you ever heard any women say, "You should have married Tammana or Shriya."? Absolutely not! Its always a Mrs. Vanitha or your next door neighbour who infact looks and behaves closer to the witch described in Harry Potter.

Have you heard any man complain or compare on the same lines? Imagine how it would be if Bill Clinton were to fight with Hillary - "You should have married Bush. Your life would have been filled with correcting grammatical and pronunciation mistakes." That’s least likely possible. Why? Because men are egoistic and would not let their muse out of their control even in words. But yeah, that does not rule out the possibility of the same guy doing a Tiger Woods routine.

"Look, just calm down. I will call the speed taxi number ok?" I was trying my best to do damage control.

"And who will pay the extra charge? If you had been with Lalitha who orders a taxi every time she goes out, you would have understood, how better off you are."

I had to stop this nonsense before she planned grandkids for me and some Ms. Lalitha. And just as I wondered, an empty taxi stopped nearby. I was waving madly like the guard did when Titanic hit iceberg. I think he stopped possibly to check if I was having seizure than to pick me up.

We travelled throughout the ride without a word uttered between us. If the taxi driver was a bachelor, he was probably planning to remain one for the rest of his life, after watching our marital spark. We watched some mindless comedy on TV without bothering to laugh much for next hour or so. It was a question of who would break the ice.

Just as we looked at each other, we said in unison "I am sorry."

It’s probably little hard. It’s probably very easy.

It comes - easier with practice.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The last time I saw my waist

They say that shopping and eating are best stress busters. So I decided to shop for food.

I stopped outside the gates of the grand hotel in front of me. Had I gone mad? Maybe. Is something wrong with me? Very much.

I walked straight past the gates. Infact, I was the only one walking past it, as the rest were in their installment-paid cars with their dysfunctional families. A Maharaja suit clad Guard ushered me in, suspiciously. No, I am not going to tip him for sure. My tip fees is a generous Rs 2, and that too if the waiter fills the extra sambhar or Kuruma without any hint of sarcasm or contempt.

The Indian eatery was in the second floor. As I pushed open the door, an amazing fragrance enveloped me – one of fresh Indian spices overpowering the sandalwood incense sticks at the welcome counter. I quickly scanned the room to find out if any of my friends or relatives were seated. Our clan comes to such places courtesy - a generous treat. But then, they haven’t read about Murphy's law, have they?

A low decibel Pandit Shiv Prasad Sharma’s flute rendition was played to a rich unmindful crowd. The lights were dim enough to grab the Manager by collar and ask him if he had misappropriated the funds for his mistress. But then that’s the way things work. Less noise and light in a restaurant means more money to be shelled and vice-versa. The Devar's parotta stall in my vicinity plays songs so loud that you wish they could provide a piece of ear plugs with the parotta and salna.

I sat in a corner table for two and put my bag on the other seat to prevent any intrusion. The big room had just 25-30 people – each wrapped in his own niche. The waiter handed me a menu card long enough to qualify as my nephew’s cricket bat. After brushing through two pages worth of the hotel’s history and its worldwide branches, I finally got to the menu. Soups were listed at a minimum price of Rs 100. My middle class conscience involuntarily forced me to flip pages and check the main course items. Yeah, I was preparing to going down royally, but still...

The items were vaguely named. Infact none of them made any sense to me. One especially caught my attention - Shahi Murgi per Amulya makhan. Why can’t it be as straight as butter chicken? Going around your head to touch your nose just doesn’t seem to work with food, particularly when ordering. Another one in dessert read The last time I saw my waist. Some smart ass decided to include a footnote which read - 1 scoop vanilla, 1 scoop chocolate and 1 scoop raspberry decorated with Almond and nuts. Yeah right. Eat this on a regular basis and you could have a waistline to warrant a pair of maternity stretch-on pants. I guess these hotels have employed 3/4 people to cook and other 1/4 to think of such whacky and stupid names to confuse the customer.

Butter chicken? Why did I have to remind myself about her when all I wanted and came here for was to forget her?

Why can’t I let go off Adhira?

Adhira. The lovely but torn chapter of my unscrupulous life.
"What do you want to order?"

"Anything that you want."

"No. Tell me something. I don’t want to force something of my choice on you."

"Don’t try to be too chivalrous."

"I am not chivalrous. I am just trying to be....sensible. And so I insist."

"Ok. Then it is Butter chicken."

Judging from her perfect figure, you might guess that all she has for lunch is a bowl of salad with a cup of green tea. But Adhira loved Butter chicken. Infact, it was possibly the only thing she loved more than herself. You could wake her up in the middle of a night and offer her a piece of butter chicken and she might just lick it till the bone and doze back without a "Thank You".

During every other visit to the hotel, it was butter chicken and Vanilla Caramel Icecream with almonds. For the past 6 months that I have known her and with all that butter chicken and icecream, she still manages to remain slim. With 2 chapathis sans ghee, boiled oats for dinner and 45 mins of gym, I struggle into my size 36 pants. Some people are indeed lucky, aren’t they?

"So how come momma's boy is skipping his delicious home made lunch?"

"I told her that I was going for a corporate treat. She still doesn’t realise that I work with stingy bastards who would not spare Rs 5 and get me a single cup of tea."

(giggles) "But you seem spendthrift. Doesn’t this thing (showing the dead chicken's legs) cost much more than your budget?"

"When did I tell you that this chicken was bred in my backyard? I guess you should probably marry a broiler farm owner."

"You never know. You know that I love chicken."

"If you had a choice between a broiler farm owner or Ice cream parlor owner, what would you do?"

"Is there any rule that I should marry only one of them?"

"Legally as per the Hindu marriage act..."

"Oh...stop that bakwaas yaar. Otherwise it might be your leg in my hand instead of the chicken's."

Adhira was the only child of a rich Mallu couple. Since her parents were more modern and educated, they bred Adhira as a young, free-spirited girl. She waltzed past to her room at any point in the night and no one would question her. It was a far cry from my house where my mother still asks me a detailed monthly account (which of course is forged) and frequently checks my room for any traces of cigarette or anything illegal. Prior to being with me, Adhira had encountered 2 break ups as the guys found her too tough to handle.

Possibly in a relationship, she loved being the guy and viceversa.
"Your order Sir."

"One Lajawaab Matar Pulao and Panner Makhni."

It had been days since I had dined alone. The sudden loneliness engulfed and saddened me. I took out my mobile phone and just looked at my contact list and scrolled it back and forth wondering whom to call. Finally, I stopped it as it was freaking me out. I wanted to talk to someone but decided against it. The last thing I needed was a detailed lecture on securing a relationship.

What I did today morning was surely not right, but maybe it was....too late.
"You cannot say no to you friend?"

"I can’t. We have been pals since college. He would kill me for missing his marraige."

"And what happened to the promise you made me?"

"We will go next week. Shahrukh is not running anywhere. See, even in the poster, he is standing still and stiff with Kajol." (showing a MNIK poster)

"No jokes. You could have atleast asked me or told me. I booked tickets already."

"Don’t worry. You can go with your mom if you like."

"Did I ask for your expert advice on this?"
Would you believe me if I told you that this non-descript conversation listed above led to an India Pakistan fight and our break-up? I know you would not. Ok, then just do one thing. Try to rewind back and check about any possible fight with your partner/lover sometime back? Was it a really unsolvable issue that led to a fight?

All issues which lead to a fight/breakup, are NOT the actual issues. The issues are always hidden. Does America really fight in Afghanistan to free Afghan people from clutches of Taliban? If two neighbourhood kids fight among themselves for a toy, it is indeed for a toy.

But if the same kid's parents fight amongst themselves over the same issue, it is possibly for something else.

Maybe it’s the jealousy of one guy over another's newly bought Mahindra Scorpio against his rusted Bajaj Chetak. Or possibly an old issue where the woman of the house refused a cup of sugar. Or possibly some age old fight over the fence wall. In most cases, it is possibly one’s reflection of his/her incompetence against the others. Bottom-line, it’s NOT the toy.

The fight that we had today morning is on the same lines. While you can attribute her irritation to my meekness, mine was possibly at the pent up anger over her dominance and ridicule at my middle class peculiarities. It’s strange how adults find themselves incompatible in few moments of friction compared against the hours or days or months spent in finding out the similarities when in love.

I know that I am wrong somewhere. All it takes is a Re 1 call to her mobile and a simple "Sorry".

Well, if only telling Sorry had been so easy.....

"Sir. Anything for dessert?" said the waiter relieving me thankfully from my introspection.

Not in a mood to think too much, I asked "What’s special today?"

"Vanilla Caramel with Almonds."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rain with Thundershowers

"And before we close on the days proceedings, lets have a weather roundabout with our own Handsome hunk Rajiv. Rajiv, so whats the weather like today?"

Rajiv grabbed his tie's half-windsor knot and shook his head little bit as much as one shakes a salt can over tomato soup. It was a habit he had idolized after watching Pierce Brosnan grab his tie underwater in "The World is not Enough".

"The weather is surprisingly pleasant today. Even though Chennai is supposed to be notoriously summer-type hot starting from February, today should be much of an exception. So today is a good day when you should not be worried about the Sun god radiating his anger all over you. Its possibly a good time to give your umbrella a miss. These are the temperatures in the major cities around the country."

Rajiv read the temperatures from the green matt screen behind him. As he finished reciting the temperatures, Rajiv smiled and finished "Thats all for today. Have a great day ahead." It was the same infectious smile that had sent teenage girls to feel dizzy on their feet and housewives to forget Ekta Kapoors six-packed, plastic heroes and fantasize him.

"So Rajiv, what plans for V-Day? Your house must be filled with letters written in blood and filled with kisses." News Anchor Ram always loved his conversations with Rajiv to be laden with as much sarcasm as possible.

It was partly friendly and partly stomach burning which could not be resolved with even tons of Eno or Gelusil.Even though they were of nearly the same age, Ram looked like father of 2 school going kids and Rajiv could be mistaken for a college dropout.

"No Ram. That used to be in your good old days. All I get now are emails filled with obscene, censored details of girl's vital statistics and her details and exploits if I were to oblige which could make Vatsayana's Kamasutra feel like nursery rhymes."

For reasons unknown, Rajiv loved making Ram feel jealous. Part of it was due to his inability to grab the lead news anchor role from Ram and part of it was Ram's proximity to his secret love - Rachna.

The mere thought of her name sent happy signals from his brain to his lips and they widened obligingly. He changed over to normal clothes and decided to grab some coffee at the nearest Coffee day outlet in Isphani Center. He drove his black Pulsar 180 to Isphani and found a parking space without much fuss. It was still early morning in Chennai but the Sun seemed to have had a faulty alarm clock and hence woke up early before schedule.

As Rajiv walked over to his regular seat (creature of habit you see), he grabbed the day's newspaper from the backpack before deciding to order something. Just then, from the corner of his eye, he saw her - Rachna. Again, brain to Lips. She saw him simultaneously and smiled. He walked over to her place and saw her reading "The White Tiger".

Rachna was Rajiv's news co-anchor and he was secretly in love with her. She was prettily dressed in a comfortable Levis Jeans and Globus tops. Even though Rajiv had been admiring her for the past 1 odd-year, he could still not take his eyes off her.

"So what brings the weather man down here?"

"Some impending headache and lots of love for Coffee."

Her smile just widened. "Can you get me a Macchiato?" he said trying to place an order.

"Have you ever tried Chococinno? Its a delicious mixture of Cholocate ice and Hot coffee. Maybe you should try it."

He smiled and placed order for a Chococinno secretly worrying about the side effects if it were to be horrible. He made a note to himself to smile and say "WOW" after drinking it even if it were to taste like cowdung. He was not sure if she was "suggesting" the drink or testing him if he would oblige her. But then, it was Rachna. If she were to ask, he would even Join the Shiv Sena and campaign and vote for Balasaheb. And maybe even tear and burn few Shahrukh
posters (Well, arent we bored of reading the cliched "bring sun,moons and stars." :P)

"Have you read this book, Rajiv?"

The only White tigers Rajiv knew were the ones caged in some forest in Gujarat. He knew about books as much as Indian Politicians knew about honesty and integrity. Forcing a smile, he nodded his head "Nope. Never had time to read it. Is it good?"

"Its dark. I mean, its about the pathetic state of our country..."

Rajiv was half-listening. He was gazing star-struck at her eyes, curved eye-lashes, the medium sized bindi on her forehead (which matched her tops), her lips which had a subtle hint of lipstick applied exactly between dried-out and cheap-looking.

" we are messing up with it told through the eyes of the protagonist." The in-between lines were obviously missed in Rachna-gazing.

"Thats good. Think I should read that." He replied.

"You mean good that the country is messed up is good?" She sounded like she was going to shoot him for sounding like a Paki General.

Caught on the wrong foot, he smiled and replied "I mean, the point of view. Better than reading some Jingoistic stuff." Gosh, how difficult it is to pay attention to what a beautiful lady is saying while you are measuring her beauty.

"So what plans for V-day?" She suddenly changed the topic.

Rajiv almost spilled the Chococinno all over himself and turning into Chocolate Man . If it were to be a hollywood chick flick, he could have comfortably retorted dreamy eyed "Just to keep looking at you."

Well, this was no chick flick and Rajiv was not Hugh Grant. "Well. Not much. Its a sunday, so I guess, I could wake up late and maybe catch up some movie. Have you seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?"

"Yes. What about it?"

"There is this line which Jim Carrey says "February 14 is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.""

She smiled."You dont believe in love, do you?"

"Well. Does it matter?"

"Doesnt it?

"To whom?"

"Who do you think?"

"Why are you so interested?"

"Why should'nt be I interested?"

She looked him deep into his eyes. It was as if she was peeking into his soul feeling him from within.

"I was afraid."

"Afraid of what? she asked.

"What was a no?"

"What if it was a yes?"

His heart skipped a beat.

For an instant, it rained in Sahara. Ranganathan street became empty on a weekend evening. Mumbai had no potholes. Haiti stopped having earthquakes. Shimla became warmer. There was no fog in Delhi. Mayavati stopped unveiling her own statues. Salman Khan started wearing shirts. Karunanidhi's grandchildren stopped jumping to politics or Cinema. Bal and Raj Thackerey got Pakistani citizenship and relocated there with their Sena.

The world seemed to stop spinning and seemed a better place. Well...not better...a very beautiful place.

They started walking outside where his bike and her car were coincidentally parked side-by-side.

"How long?"

"Probably as long or before you have liked me."

"You never told."

"Neither did you."

"Why today?"

"Why not today?

They saw some overcast shadows above.

As few rain drops fell on them, Rajiv remembered that his forecast had gone wrong. And it was not just about rain. Their love had also arrived sooner than he expected.

She asked "Does the weather forecast for the day say rain with thundershowers?"

"Does it matter?"

"Doesnt it?"