Monday, May 24, 2010

What to watch???

When Inglorious Bastards was released in 2009, I wanted to watch the movie as soon as possible. My interest increased manifold after I saw the promos of the movie. But to my bad luck, movie was not going to be released in India for quite some time and I have still not got hold of its DVD.

So I decided to break the law and download the movie using torrent. But once you google for any torrent, it can throw up hundreds of links – most of them of “those” kinds. I selected one of the links which took me to a page which had 24 torrents for the movie. I did best of my analysis to find out the link which could have a decent print. Finally, I chose one and started downloading.

3 days and 7 hours later, download was completed. I started watching the movie. Print was good. Just that it looked a bit old. Few minutes later, I realized that I couldn’t understand a single word that was uttered in the movie.

“Damn piracy. At least original DVD comes along with sub-titles” I thought. I follow a very strict rule – if I get a DVD of a Hollywood movie without subtitles, I don’t watch it. Actually watching the movie is technically incorrect term here as I end up reading the subtitles during the movie. So I watch it again. Second time, I actually watch the movie. And I don’t watch Hindi movies these days.

I tried my best to understand the dialogues but failed miserably. I knew I was bad in queen’s language, in fact I still am, but so bad? So I turned to my 24X7 helpline – my wife. She, being proficient in German, told me that the movie was in German. Well, without subtitles that didn’t make any difference to me. I wouldn’t have understood it even if it was in English.

But it didn’t end there. I could not spot Brad Pitt in the movie - that too when more than 20 minutes had passed. So I called up an educated friend –

“Dude, I am watching Inglorious Bastards. But I cannot understand it.”

“Who asked you to go for the English version? Why don’t you wait for its Hindi version – Besharam Haramzade”

“I don’t have that much patience. The movie is in German.”

“Why don’t you read about the movie before watching it? It’s based on the Second World War. And
Quentin Tarantino is a stylish movie maker. He would have, to give it a touch of reality, made first few minutes in German.”

“Oh. But there is no Brad Pitt in the movie”

“Dude, it’s not a Dev Anand movie that he will be there in every scene even if it’s shot in a maternity ward. Brad Pitt comes after 20 minutes.”

So I went back to the movie. However, my patience died after half an hour and I decided to take assistance of Wikipedia. The very first link cleared all my doubts. I had actually downloaded Quel maledetto treno blindato - A German movie which was made in 1978. Which meant that I had spent 3 days, 7 hours and 35 minutes on a movie which was made even before I was born and was in German?

“Why did they make this movie in 1978 and wasted my time? Tarantino was anyhow going to make it a few years later” I thought.

I have never understood the rationale behind remakes. There could be only two reasons – either there is so much dearth of new stories that you have to tell an old story again and again in a movie or a story is so powerful that it doesn’t lose its impact even it is told a million times. But then its not that what is told but how it is told is something which decides the impact of a joke. May be same is true with movies. But remakes have often left me confused.

Like yesterday when I got Planet on Apes on rent. I had scenes promos of the movie in 2001 and was very impressed with them. Special effects in the movie were amazing. But the movie I got had an ancient look to it. I waited for half an hour for those special effects to appear but they never did. Wikipedia revealed that the movie I was watching was made in 1968. Its remake was made in 2001.

Just to make it clear: - If you are thinking of suing me for downloading a movie, wait. This post is a work of fiction, pure fiction and nothing but fiction.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What a loss can do!!!

Its days like this, this, and this which may send your mind to the pinnacle of absentmindedness, but only if you actually follow cricket and not Ravi Shastri’s razzmatazz where the buzz around the ground has momentum like a tracer bullet. I mean you should be the one who discarded any hope of India making into the next round on the very night when we lost but the first thing you would have done on next morning is to check the permutations and combinations of entry into next round. In the event of such losses, you may end up doing things like...

  • Come home to find out wife is not at home. Call up at your landline to find out her whereabouts and when the phone rings, go pick it up and say “Hello!!!”
  • Go to ATM to withdraw money. Swipe your visiting card instead of the ATM card and wait there. After sometime start wondering that why the machine is it not asking for your ATM pin.
  • Get up next morning, decide to shave and put toothpaste on your beard in place of shaving cream.
  • While dining, put chapatti in daal and eat it. Then complain that there is no salt in daal.
  • You are assisting you boss to prepare a document which explains the pricing of your project. Instead of writing Billing rate USD 30 per man hours, you write Required Run rate 5.66 per over (that is what we needed last night) and send the document. The error is overlooked by not only your boss but boss’s boss also. After all they are also saddened by last night’s debacle.
  • Mix coke in your drink only to realize that you are drinking beer.
  • You decide to forget today’s match, go to your room, lock it from inside and start studying for tomorrow’s exam. You study for half an hour and sleep for four. You get up to realize that not only you have had sleep of couple of hours more than your budget; you also studied the subject for which the exam is next week, not tomorrow.

I am done a few of abovementioned, in fact all of them. But the worst I have heard, apart from people breaking their TVs, is something that happened to Tony Cozier. When he went to get fuel for his petrol run car, a day after West Indies lost to SA when from an unthinkable position, petrol-pump guy filled up diesel in his car.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My name is Vibhash!!! It’s V.I.B.H.A.S.H.

It all started in the year when India’s spin quadrate was turning old; Copyright act was getting ready to blind pirates in US, Pakistan was being ruled by a man jise aam se pyar aur bhutton se nafrat thi (who loved mangoes and hated corns) and India’s most powerful lady was resuming her last term which turned out to be a death sentence few years later. It was the year of my birth when my name was to be decided. Being the first child in the family, everyone one from everywhere chipped in with his/her suggestions for my name.

Finally, I was named Anupam. My nana (maternal grandfather) had given me this name.

There are few relationships in this world which just cannot get along well and keep on fighting with each other over a bone of contention. India-Pakistan is one such example.

There are a few relationships in this world where two people may not spit on each other in public, but they will go miles to prove their superiority over each other. Like the two brothers, the famous ones. Even father-in-law and son-in-law often share such relationship. Hence, my father refused to accept my name as Anupam. If he had accepted it, he must have thought, he would have lost the battle of supremacy then and there.

The hunt for my name started again. It had to start with the letter V and a word had to be inserted between my first name and sir name - Prakash. Reason was very simple. For four generations, everyone in my family was being named as VP Awasthi. It all started with my great grandfather who was named Vishambhar Prasad Awasthi. He named his son, my grandfather, as Vaidyanath Prasad Aawasthi. He, being rebel, changed the trend in the family by naming his three sons as Vimal Prakash Aawasthi (my father), Vipin Prakash Awasthi (my elder uncle) and Vineet Prakash Awasthi (my younger uncle). Please take a note - Prasad had been changed to Prakash. So I had to be named as V Prakash Awasthi. With so much of Prakash in the family, I wonder we were not named KESA – Kanpur Electricity Supply Authority.

My name was imported from Sihora, a small town in MP. My father’s aunt had suggested this name or this is what I know. I was named Vibhash Prakash Awasthi and my life was complicated for ever.

Vibhash is not such a common name and biggest problem with such names is that people are not used to listening them. So they hear what they are used to hearing. For example – in my hometown Kanpur, where people are famous for being sarcastically witty, whenever someone asked my name and I responded accordingly; I got such responses

“What? Vikas?”


“Kaun si Ghaas?” (Which grass)

During one of my previous jobs, I had to fix the meeting room for weekly status meeting by calling up the receptionist. There also I got similar responses –

“Sir, what is your name?”


“Subhash?” “Vinash”? “Haridas”

Hence I decided that whenever I would tell my name to anyone for the first time, I would tell him/her the spelling of my name first. Name can be pronounced later.

I like the fact that my name is not so common. But problem attached with it are a plenty. To top it all, the people I have met with the same name have never failed to scare me. One of the Vibhash I met in 1996 was in 6th year of his 4 year B-Tech course in IIT Kanpur. Other Vibhash was a cabbie in Kolkata who had spent his last night in a lockup because a female had filed a complained of harassment against him. When I asked him if was he framed by her, he smiled and replied – “No, I was just taking my chances”.

If first name wasn’t enough, middle name has also made me realize that it exists. If someone is filling a form on my behalf, I am never asked my father’s name, especially in Maharashtra. It is assumed that his name was Prakash till the time I explain that it was not. Then I am asked “Who is Prakash?” So I start explaining the family history and tradition.

In class X, the guy who printed my mark sheet, must have got confused and printed my name as “Vibhash Arkash Awasthi” in place of “Vibhash Prakash Awasthi” My school immediately sent it for correction. And for next three years, I paid the price of continuing the family tradition by explaining to everyone, whoever asked for the proof that I was not a class X dropout, that why I did not have my original mark sheet. I got my original mark sheet during first year of my engineering. Only if there was no Prakash in my name, I would have got it immediately.

But even my son is feeling the heat. Most of my friends get confused by thinking that his full name is Divyansh Prakash Awasthi and I have to explain to them – “He is just Divyansh Awasthi and there is no Prakash in his name. Like the last samurai, I will be the last Prakash in my family tree”. After all, even KESA has died in kanpur.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Death of a Virgin!!!

There is an old saying – “Nobody dies virgin, life fucks all.” But this may not hold in a few cases and I know one such case. Come 11/03/2011 and my current passport will have to be cremated as it expires on that day. Incidentally, it happens to be my only photo ID card to have stayed with me for almost a decade. I got my PAN card not before 2002 and have lost my driving licences thrice during last 14 years. I still do not have a voter ID card. Only time I had a realistic chance of getting a voter ID card, I was below 18 (wasn’t very long ago). Hence as a matter of abiding the law, I refused to get one.

Like all these years, a major political party has been asking its prince again and again “When will you grow up and oblige this country by ruling it?” whereas the price has refused to do so, my passport has been asking me “Master, when I will lose my virginity?” Although I am still young (???), my passport has grown up from a being an infant to an old man looking at his bucket list on his deathbed. And till date, the basic objective of getting a passport of going abroad has remained unfulfilled.

For some reasons or the other, my only foreign trip has been to Nepal which didn’t require a passport. This remains a rarity as having worked in IT industry for almost 4 years; if your passport is still unstamped then you must have worked in housekeeping/security department all your life.

On the other hand, people desperately try to go out of India to work in foreign location. Foreign location means US, rest all are believed to be mere refugee camps. In fact there are a few communities in India where a guy just cannot get married unless he has spent at least 24 hours in US. I have seen a guy begging to his boss to send him to US, if nothing at least for a week, so that he can get married. On the other hand whenever my employer has asked me to handover my passport for visa processing, I have replied to him with my resignation letter. I have always worked under the assumption that if I stick to one place for more than two years, people will recognize the flaw in their recruitment system and will try to rectify it immediately. Fortunately my assumption has never been tested but if you ask any of my previous employers, I am sure they will validate my assumption.

There have been a few things common among all my friends who have been to US. But, apart from typical complaints about India’s infrastructure compared to US, most common trait is the way they respond to every location with respect to east coast or west coast. Its like if you ask A if he has met B in US, his answer would be something like

“No Yaar. He is on east coast whereas I am on west”.

“So you chat over the phone?”

“No, his time is 4 hours ahead of mine. US is a big country and he is on east coast”

This makes no sense to someone like me as only place I know in US is New York. So I ask them to tell me their tale with respect to New York.

Haha. You must learn directions in US. B is on east coast”

Sometimes I wonder if I were to ask them “Where is the toilet in you house?” I might get an answer “It’s on west coast whereas I am on east coast. So I need to rush”. I got so irritated by this east coast – west coast explanation that I made sure if I was talking to a friend in US, I would not ask anyone’s address.

However, ever since I have shifted to Mumbai I have got a chance to hit back. Mumbai not only has its own east and west, it has them thrice. Each of western, harbour and central line has their own east and west. If I get a call from a friend in US now, I make sure that I explain my address in full details – in Kandivali EAST which is on western line.

Second most irritating part is to see their photographs posted on community websites. The backgrounds are so picturesque that even a 1.5 mega pixel mobile camera may sound like Nikon D90. It makes me feel as if I have been hit by Onida’s devil. Compared to that, my photographs look like a pirated print of a movie which has been recorded in a cinema hall using a handicam. No reason the Chopras and the Johars prefer Dallas over Dombivalli while deciding their locations. But then, photoshop is available to everyone or that I would like to believe.

With my passport sure to be expiring without even a blot of ink in it, I have been advised by my friends to cremate it prematurely that too as per Hindu mythology. After all, it can do more harm than good. I am not going to use it any how. But if I happen to lose it, I will have to get my complaint registered with police which may result in a monetary loss. But I am no murderer so I rejected the idea. However, I may not get it renewed. I would better get my voter ID card made instead of passport. After all, that is more likely to serve a better purpose.