The Doctor Operates...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Re: Guide to the Delhi house-hunt

The following response was posted by a certain Vox Populi to this post of mine.

Too good to pass up, I thought I must allow it to crawl onto the masthead.

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Being not a landlord (nor landlady. Nor lord or lady for that matter), and merely 50 godforsaken percent Punjabi, I wonder why one feels called upon to present Both Sides Of The Story.

Nevertheless, one does.

Your average Punjabi landlady, well past the age when she would adventurously shoot 2 pints of campa-cola and rock to Mohd. Rafi & his Merry Pranksters, may not understand our generation's deep need to wax cynical about the Human Condition and generally hang around feeling misunderstood...but she does have what historians refer to as a heart. She may not understand your angrezi (English, for all you angrezi's), but she understands the value of home-cooked daal-chawal. She may not appreciate 1500 PMPO's of Rammstein, but she does appreciate that your ridiculous hours may require a separate entrance. She may not be anything like your mother...but hey, isn't that a good thing?! And poke fun at your peril, but Bad Things DO Happen To Young Girls In ANY BIG CITY...that someone gives a damn is a blessing.

You want trees, parking space, wide roads, not tooo hot, not tooo cold, marble flooring, high-ceilings, ya-da ya-da ya-da...you go to Geneva and walk the streets. Bangalore hates you if you can't write code in Cobal or whatever, Bombay has bathroom sinks in the hall and Cal has, well, Bengalis.

Come to New Delhi.

Our Motto: Eat, Drink and Scratch. Favourite Bird: Butter Chicken. We await your arrival with open arms.


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Friday, July 28, 2006

Piggy Five

Raghavendra looked furtively around.

Would any of the others know that it was only his finger that hadnt done its job?

Did they smell the traitor in their midst, or was it just the stench of death?

Only he knew of the rest.

And about where they hid amidst wet clay and brushland.

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In response to this by BB. And only for this week as Chamique is away.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guide to the Delhi house-hunt

As New Delhi beckons me back, I embarked on my quest for a pad.

Its been nearly four years since I last did something like this, but I was optimistic. Which was my mistake.

The thing is, one must always keep a few facts in mind when looking for a place to stay in the Capital:
a. Virtually every piece of property is owned by the Punjabi community.
b. Aforementioned community has shown little signs of having mentally moved on from the 50s (Yes, even for the gelled brat behind the wheel).
c. Brokers crawl out of sewers everywhere. Apparently its a derivation of what they do to your financial status. They also call themselves agents. Those who can handle more than 2 syllables opt for 'consultant'.
d. The latter are usually clad in tight jeans (and I mean tight), striped party shirts and a helmet. I approve of the helmet. Sound plan to keep the face covered.
e. If you dont know better, this is how the first transaction goes (all translated from Hindi - for people like BB and other fortunate souls):

Joe: I want a flat.
Br: Where? How many bedrooms?
Joe: Er...maybe Hauz Khas Enclave? Or Niti Bagh? I want somewhere with trees.....and wide roads so parking wont be a problem. 2 Bedrooms. And first floor, yes definitely first floor.
Br: That's good sir, very nearby only. We'll just go. And whats your budget, sir?
Joe: Between about 14,000 and 18,000.
Br: Sir, you dont worry! I know just the place - you come with me. You'll love it.

The "you come with me" crack is a little inaccurate - it is he who piles into Joe's little jalopy as they set off.

Forty-five minutes later, Joe is standing with one foot on either side of an open drain in Hasmukh Colony, craning his neck to see the fourth floor window of a dry, grey apartment block.
The broker masterfully aima a gobful of paan into the drain and misses. "20,000 they are saying. Not to worry. I bring down to 19,000" he says through red stained teeth.

Breeding in sewers does this to people.

The thing is, all brokers have a small roster of about 20 places to show tucked away in a small diary. The worst of these places they want to dispose off first, and so, while turning a deaf ear to all your requirements, they try to swindle you.

If you do get over this hurdle by heaping the choicest epithets on your 'consultant', you still have to meet the Punjabi landlord.

Who has a problem with non-vegetarian food. (What?!! A Punjabi?!!!)
Who has a problem with you having friends over. In fact, probably has a problem with you having friends.
Who has a problem with loud music. (What?!! A Punjabi?!!!)
Who has a problem if you are not an MNC/Company/NRI.
Who has a problem if you are not a South Indian (I tell you - we're too mild).
Who has a HUGE problem if you're a lawyer.

Of course, the Punjabi landlady is nothing like this.

Think of your mother?

Thought?

She's nothing like your mother.


So now, I just tell the broker first up that I dont want to see places with Punju landlords/ladies. And that is why I now stand on the Rajasthan border staring at a piece of dry land.

"You can make it with red brick, Sir" says the agent with a grin.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Raja (in)Sen

It has long surprised me that Rediff has Raja Sen as part of its film review crew. A clown if ever there was one, his latest offering is this slideshow on the characters in Dead Man's Chest, the second Depp offering under the Jolly Roger.

I smelt a fish when I just saw the link. Raja Sen thinking of a slideshow for a film which actually has the perfect cast for one? Come on. Give him an egg. Surely the lad must have filched it. So. I did some nosing, and came up with the Guardian and Orange.

Okay, so once he stole the concept and the photographs (obviously without acknowledgement), he would at least be original with his text, no?

No.

Robber Sen refers to Depp's Jack Sparrow as "this irrepressible Keith Richards protege".

Orange lauds Depp's genius in "creating Jack Sparrow in the mould of his rock ‘n’ roll friend and idol, Keith Richards".
The Guardian calls him "Captain Jack, unofficial scion of Kiff Richards".

Ahem. Kof. Kof.

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And about why I think Robber Sen is actually Robber Insane?

Just look at the following:

On Bride and Prejudice, he gushed inter alia -
"Bride And Prejudice, works, and works with great flair."

On who he thought was the most promising young actress -
"Ayesha Takia. She's a bright, attractive and talented girl, and the directors signing her up are rather thrilled

On Mangal Pandey:
"Just cleavage and cliche." [The readers have got back at him for this]

On Paheli:
"Paheli is a breathtaking dream"

On Superman:
"Oh my God, the film, the film.I saw it today and I've been walking around with an embarrassingly massive grin all day, with John Williams' Superman Theme looping incessantly in my head. :)"

It seems almost everybody who has read his reviews wants him thrown out. See here. But is rediff listening? Or is it that King Khan has given him his backing and Rediff doesnt want to mess with that?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Legal Option

As the blogging community goes into hyperdrive, we know that two things are likely tomorrow:
1.All the rumours, Kafka comparisons and democracy bemoaning may be meaningless if the ISPs lift the ban.
2.The ban will stay (for only a week at the most) and we'll have to use these circumventing tactics to access them until they return to normal.

In the meanwhile, here is my response to a call for volunteers against the ban:

I have checked the pages of NDTV, Indian Express, Indiatimes, CNN-IBN, The Hindu, Times Now and the Hindustan Times and have found no news on the ban at all [At 2 a.m on July 18]. Only rediff carries a story here.

In the rediff story, it suggests that a Right to Information application will be made by the Bloggers Collective. I strongly discourage this, because the RTI Act allows the Government a period of 30 days to respond to your application.

The relevant part of Section 7 of the Act is as follows: "....the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request undersection 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9."

THIRTY DAYS is way too long for bloggers to wait for the ban to be lifted. If we do get a copy of the Government directive/order to the ISPs, then this would be the basis for us to file a Writ Petition in any High Court or even the Supreme Court. This is a much better option. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ever felt this way?

Bing sent me this. From Cannes 2005.

Never heard of the drink - then again, its Japanese.

Block the blog.

Gaurav and a few others have discussed the fact that blogspot, blogger and other blog sites are being blocked by some ISPs. I spoke to a few people in Bombay and discover that Reliance and Spectranet users seem unable to access these pages.

What about you guys? Any experiences?

Neha Viswanathan seems to be tracking developments at her blog. Is there a Government hand in this? There must be some use of having a Right to Information Act.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Top 20 Songs for the Road

This is actually a list I made a long time ago - I remember going on a long drive and realizing that I'd brought all the godawful wrong stuff with me. I mean, you dont wanna be pushing the needle beyond the legal limit (is there one?) on the highway with Fur Elise in the background.

Not that I want to be Nicholson's perfectly organized Melvin Udall, but I do believe that one must have a tape full of the perfect driving songs when out on the road. This must be one that you can just play continously for 500 miles (no, its not included) and never get tired of. A big ask, you say? True, but arent there those rollicking numbers you've heard which you say you could hear a 1000 times and it still wont be enough? Something that goes perfectly well with the sense of adventure and the limitless possibilities of the open road?

Not for me those readymade Driving Songs collections. Come rain or shine, sleet or snow, these are the 20 I'd take with me. There might be some I'm forgetting, and to them I apologise.

  1. Passenger – Iggy Pop
  2. Have you ever seen the rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  3. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  4. Dreams – Cranberries
  5. Life is a highway – Tom Cochrane
  6. I’ll remember – Madonna
  7. You're the one that I want – Olivia Newton John & John Travolta
  8. Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
  9. I'm gonna be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
  10. Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello
  11. She drives me crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
  12. Rotterdam – The Beautiful South
  13. End of the line – Travellin Wilburys
  14. Got my mind set on you – George Harrison
  15. Breakfast at Tiffanys – Deep Blue Something
  16. Buddy Holly – Wheezer
  17. Don’t play your rock and roll to me – Smokie
  18. Fourteen years – Guns n Roses
  19. Daydream believer – The Monkees
  20. Truckin' – The Grateful Dead

*The links are to pages where you can hear the samples.

Ch(e)at

Google video does have some interesting stuff, once you sift through the reams of handycam junkies, rookie filmmakers and what have you.

The one that caught my eye though, was this. Hilarious. Makes you think about the dangers of chatting.

I give Nicole a 6.

Back in the Future

My apologies to all my legions of readers for this extended break.

Yes, I mean the two of you.

I could toddle on at this point and ignore giving an explanation for my extended absence, but that would rob the masses of a genuine read.

It was in March that we met last, on the vernal cusp. Around then, just as I had gotten this little enterprise up and running (well, crawling really), I was the subject of urgent summons. In a sealed manila envelope, I received a single sheet of cream paper which carried the following:

The President of the Republic of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi.

Dear Sir,

A matter of grave importance was recently brought to my notice, which has impelled me to call upon your resources. I was given to understand from highly placed sources in North Block (or was it South?) that an event of magnificent proportions is to take place on the continent in the months of June and July. Unfortunately, an enthusiastic Press Note dated 12 March 1942 prevents any Government authority (including me, even if I dont have much) from referring to the country in which this event is to be held. A further Press Note dated 14 May 1973 has clarified that it may be referred to as That Which Shall Not Be Named.

I digress.

I apologize.

Actually, I'm the President. I dont apologise.

Unless you have a lollipop.

Anyway, as matters stand, there are 32 participants in this global gala. I also want to play, but my dear friend Mr.Putin told me that only nations are allowed to boot a ball around. He then supplied me with a small training manual about the game and a DVD of his favourite performers (including Peter North). Oh yes, I nearly forgot - he also gave me a photograph of his wife Lyudmila with dog Koni. She is cute. Not Lyudmila. Koni.

It was as I was leafing through the manual that I came across the rankings of a body called FIFA. Which also sounds like a dog. You can understand my dismay as a true Indian to discover that India was ranked a lowly 118 in their list. 118!!! This is unacceptable. To quote Mickey Rooney, "I protest".

As the Number One citizen of the country....[Kalam, can I have a word with you - Manmohan]......er....As the Number Two citizen of the country....[Spiacente interromperli, Il Presidente - Anonymous].....kof....ahem....
Being the Number Three citizen of the country.....[Dekho na, vaat Presdent vaunt, Presdent get - Railway Ministry]......gulp.

Lowly President that I am, I feel it unfortunate that we are no longer a shadow of the team that played without shoes. As a result, it is your duty to come to the service of the nation when the nation needs you most. We are not a nation of quitters. We fight. I am asking you to lead that fight and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom.

Your credentials are impeccable, and your referees say you are the perfect man for the job. You have three months to rehaul the Indian football team and make them world beaters. Your time starts now.

Satyamev Jayate.
Jai Hind.
Jai Mata di.
Jairaj.

Sincerely.
A.P.J.A.K

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As you can imagine, I was shaken. I had no clue what the old man was going on about. Why was I being recruited to cleanse our football team? True, I'm quite a stud and all that, but still, Football?

I have kicked a ball I will admit, but it was usually between somebody's legs. Whether this qualified me to overhaul the national team, I was unsure. Still, not one to demur from a challenging task, I devoted the next four weeks to studying the sport.

I gathered from extensive research that our team comprised of ten men and one Mr.Bhutia. It was considered trendy by the unnamed souls to pass the ball to Mr.Bhutia and expect him to live up to his name. This simple strategy unfortunately did not seem to work, and it was here that things got tough.

I realized from viewing mind numbing hours of international games that our problems did not lie on the field. England, Brazil, That Which Shall Not Be Named, Argentina and Italy seemed to play just as we did. In some cases we were better.
1. They had 11 players with boots. We had 11 players with Bhutia.
2. They tripped and fell when they were touched. We did it without any help.
3. They spent hours tiresomely passing the ball before shooting at the goal. We just shot straight without all the nonsensical build up.

As you can understand, I was confused.

If it had not been for Pandu's e-mail link to the News of the World, I would have been defeated.

For there, I discovered David Beckham. Legend in England and its captain, his life was an open book that I pored over relentlessly. It was then that it struck me that his off-field life was the key.

Three days later, I had arranged singing lessons for Bhutia's wife, Madhuri. As for the great man himself, a parlour visit and a tub of gel had him seducing audiences from the box for weeks thereafter. ESPN's guest spot didn't hurt, and we had it in the bag.

My task completed, I am back now in my nest. Your love and affection has never left me, I know, and soon when wealth and fame come knocking at my door, I shall remember you all. In the meanwhile, if you wish to see evidence of my successful involvement with our national cause, click here.