Thursday, November 29

My own blondi-ness

This was inspired by Keshi's latest post. I'm going to assume that you all know the Delhi area, and know what I'm talking about here. Also, beware the technical opinions thrown in, don't drift off too much when I get into my take on car modifying as I do return to the story on hand.

I'm quite crazy about driving, and driving fast at that, albeit maturely (all women in my life beg to differ). Upstanding Religious One started up this club for fellow car enthusiasts, with me a fairly administrative and public relations leaning co-founder, entitled 'Street Devils'. The members consist of 18-25 year olds, all of who've pimped out their cars with at least a giant exhaust and racing stripes, along with a few other engine and car body modifications. For the record, if you're looking to do something to your car, a two tone paint job looks absolutely horrid if you decide to add racing stripes to it. Don't do it. Really. The only color that goes well with black racing stripes is yellow on a sedan or hatchback, and red if you're driving a coupé. Also, gigantic exhausts are utterly punju if not coupled with a k&n (or equivalent) air filter, platinum spark plugs and exhaust tubing starting at the manifold to reduce the emissions and other crap the exhaust spews out. This also improves the mileage to about 16ish in Delhi traffic, up to a speculated 20 on highways.
My own beautiful Zen Aurelia being the only completely raw car, which still manages to keep up with the rest, is known by the other members, who sometimes misinterpret my decision to park her away from the others as aloofness, despite the fact that I always get out and join them, rather than the fact that I'm merely avoiding a worst case scenario of someone showing up and attempting to come coming to an abrupt stop in the midst of the rest, subsequently losing control and ramming one of the other cars. We usually meet up at a well known part of the city either at the crack of dawn or late night, and then drive down to the place we want to get to (often an empty strip of smooth road that can be used for drag racing, or 180s, by the more ambitious) in a long convoy of thirty or so cars with their hazards on and their engines screaming, a scene right out of the fast and the furious, or at the very least, the desi remake.

Last Sunday, we assembled outside the Moti Bag petrol pump around 6AM. We had acquired a gang of large surds in Civics and Santros, and while a large group of them attempted to get an Esteem with a weak battery and engine thingies too power-hungry for said battery going again(a vtec or something, I don't know anything about engines except how to disconnect and reconnect the acceleration), I grabbed a hold of one of the few fellows I knew by name, and decided to explore the immediate vicinity for food. Now being on a main road just shy of NH8, and a large Gurudwara nearby, there was no food to be found, except for the few Fererro Rocher I keep in my dash. Soon enough, we were off, to a cacophony of roaring engines and screechy tyres.
Now the rules state that everyone moves in a straight line, and I used to keep right at the back as I wasn't sure just how well my car would keep up with the rest, but our new members failed to pick up on this. As soon as we were off, they started overtaking each other, and the convoy became a jumble of cars, heading into highway traffic, albeit 6:45AM highway traffic. Not in a mood to get left behind or god forbid, lost, I bolted into the middle of the pack, and kept right behind a red Getz. At a red light, the Getz made it across, but this truck decided to cut the rest of us off. As soon as it turned green, I let two Esteems move on past as I wasn't entirely sure of the route to our final destination. Staying right behind those two, and with the remainder of the pack behind me, I spotted the red Getz a little ahead, and hit the gas to catch up with it, with the same two Esteems on my tail. For a few flyovers, the Esteems and some of the other cars were alternating my spot at the head of the pack, until at the end of a last flyover, the Getz took a left turn at the base of what I recognized as the 'Ship Building', in a wholly other region of NCR.
Taking a look in my rear-view, found the Getz I was initially following right behind me, along with the two Esteems, with a dozen other cars behind them, all distinguishable by blinking hazards and obnoxious carbon fiber skirting. Stopping on the side of the road, I inquired as to how we wound up in Gurgaon, when I was following the two Esteems. To my chagrin, the rest of the pack informed me that they had been following me, and had assumed I knew where I was going as I'm usually at the back of the pack. The newbies collectively turned tail and vanished without a word, leaving the rest of freezing our butts off, with the brilliance that is yours truly in naught but a white cotton shirt with three buttons open, and jeans.
A few phone calls later, a true 'Street Devils' convoy of eight cars set off, with the Beautiful Silver 2002 Zen that is known as Aurelia at the lead. The aforementioned Esteem with a weak battery broke off mid-way with a horrid green Matiz that was slowing down the pack in tow, wishing for the rest of us to fare well by cellphone, and four of the remainder took what they assumed was a shortcut. Reports claim they found themselves in Mayapuri, wherever the hell that is. One sole Esteem, blue and silver with horrid mismatched navy racing stripes remained behind me, true to my leadership, as I wound my way through a largely abandoned Dwarka, until I successfully reached the club's point of continuation, Sector 12. Upon arrival, we were to discover that the rest of the club had dispersed minutes before, as a bit of a tiff broke out when one of the Sardars attempted to wash the cars of some of the Street Devil vets as a sign of assumed goodwill, while the owners of said cars were doing the bhangra with our new members in the middle of a circle of cars in a bonding ceremony. It is assumed that one of the vets didn't take too kindly to said Sardar's kindness.
The esteemed Esteem owner that had remained under my leadership and I parked on the side of the road, and began our own bonding ceremony, one that involved a ceremonial driving of each others' cars, and much over appreciation of the handling and acceleration. We then sat in Aurelia's cockpit, chilling to the acoustic hits of Dave Matthews and Alanis and imbibing great quantities of banta we had managed to acquire off a fellow in a stall on one of our rounds in a foreign car. When we finally got the phone call marking the end of the meet, the two of us weaved through Dwarka-Dhaula Kuan-Ring Road-Saket traffic, very nearly avoiding accidents with the same cars in the process. Now that's bonding I say.
Finally, we made it to the 24-7 in PVR, where we, with the remainder of the Street Devils gang, attacked their hot dogs and freshly baked croissants with gusto. I also finally got my music system's rear speakers' bass and treble properly configured.

Now here's the fun part. Here's where you get to join in. I know there's more of you who just like me love a good, fast, smooth drive. Send me a mail at, and I'll let you in on the fun. I know Street Devils is a horrid name, but it is (slightly) better than the last club he founded. I'm in the club more out of support for my buddy than any true need to drag race. At the very least, you'll be able to get very lost with me, and we can bond over banta and Alanis Morisette.

Sunday, November 25

Goal! (Dhun Dhuna Dhun)

Dear fucking lord. I don't know what possessed me to agree to go for the bloody film, in fact I was forced into it. The tickets were bought and I was informed I was going to be watching. The fact that the sister's boyfriend who on every visit to my house prompts intense flashes of rage, requiring much self control to not injure him, was at my house for dinner did contribute to my desire to not be home. My first movie in a considerably long time, and to sum up my feelings for the complete bullcrap I sat through for over three hours, I came up with a bit of a jingle.

It's the scripting it's the acting and the camerawork is bloody poo
The editing leaves you wondering what the fuck just happened dude
The story's so clee-shay, and the footballers, oh they can't play
and oh my god John Abraham just hug your dad it's not that gay.

Granted my skill with jingles isn't extraordinary, but you get the gist. Let's break it down to some of the key elements. Doctor Bipasha Basu's primary job is to stand around in every shot holding something arbitrary, alternating with extreme close ups of her face looking distressed, or in some cases, constipated. The one time she gets to play doctor, she spends flirting with our man John, and ends his nose reconstruction with hand cream and a piece of surgical tape. Granted that's gotta be one of the best acting jobs anyone's ever had, to just stand around and do nothing, and get paid a whole bunch.
Arshad Warsi, an excellent comedian's mostly dead serious in this movie, and treats his wife like a puppy when he finds her perched on the edge of their tub crying. It turns our that she's pregnant, and has the uncanny ability of making the kid in there alternate between being eight months into development, and four months, all in a span of a week of learning that she's actually pregnant.
There's this brilliant South Indian or Bangladeshi, I can't tell which, fellow, with an amazing 'one-pack', who manages to constantly and continuously break down in tears. Especially when he got the very necessary Bollywood slap, when the only Sardar I've ever seen unable to hold his drink consoles him. This Sardar who spends the majority of the movie flirting with women suddenly acquires a wife when John ditches the team, who spills all manner of state secrets involving sacrifice, which leave the team and John largely unaffected, for that scene at least. Though Arshad bhai manages to remember the sacrifice later in the changing room, before a crucial match that the team inevitably loses..
There was also the fact that they couldn't have any fight scenes in a sporty movie such as this, so at one point, when Arshad Warsi's running after Boman Irani to get him to coach the team, they play fight music anyway, to a very odd long wide shot, largely empty, with Boman Sahib standing in the middle in a position I see most men against walls peeing in. That isn't to say Boman Irani did a bad job. He's a brilliant actor, and the scenes with him were only slightly bearable.
Not to mention the big John-Bips kiss. She gives him a cute and rather endearing peck to his lips and runs, at which point he grabs her, brings her into a stranglehold, and proceeds to indulge in what I can only describe as a devouring of her face. She keeps her eyes tightly shut and her lips puckered, and he goes to town on her lips, which is to say he sucks on them like a freaking popsicle. It was the only time I've ever seen two people kiss and be unsure of whether to turn my head and retch, or else to step in and teach them how to do it right.
Then there were the team itself. The entire team somehow, a depressing bunch at large, went from a joint hatred of the Johnman to intense love and bonding. There was also the scene where John Abraham and Arshad Warsi were on the verge of spooning, when the effects of their alcohol had managed to wear off, even though I couldn't see an IV on either of them. While the scene and dialog was one of the few (read almost only) that inspired any sense of emotional depth to the characters, it was promptly forgotten the next day, when John got picked up by a superior club, with a Porsche dangled in front of him that he only knows how to drive in a straight line, constantly increasing the volume of the radio.
Finally, the technical. This movie was bad enough for the casual movie-goer, hell I've never seen an entire cinema hall in splits from non-tapori jokes. For a media student who's shot and edited a few short films and sequences, this movie was torture. The cameraman had some strange notions, and the editor(s) had me wanting to offer to re-edit the entire film, free of charge.
All shots of someone sitting in a car had the camera locked at some weird angle where the entire front pillar and a large chunk of the windshield were also visible, leading to an under/over/under/over-water effect, there were some strange empty shots with a football in the foreground and two exhausted characters tucked away in a corner far back with a lot of rainy empty space, shaky shots, which I suppose were intended to follow the actor's steps but only yielded a sense of vertigo, and a lot of shots that were completely off focus.
Message to the director: I can even understand trying out new spot boys and focus boys for your movie, thanks for giving the next generation of camera assistants jobs man, I appreciate it already, just please make sure you reshoot the scenes where the lighting's skewered, and where they didn't quite grasp the concept of aperture when it comes to depth of field.
The editor(s) decided the film needed endless quick cuts, and when the training montage came up, they decided to put a few random man-boobs lifting (and pulling) weights in the wrong way. They also seemed to feel that the audio tracks didn't need to match the video, as when Bipasha screamed out Sun-ny, rather than run out and check on him herself, being the team doctor, I could've sworn her lips were saying Dooood-man.

I would be really pissed right now if I had paid for the ticket, and I hadn't been consoled during the interval with three hot dogs and a giant tub of popcorn with extra butter. I'm also getting a butter chicken meal at my beloved Krips tomorrow to make up for this god damn abysmal movie.

Monday, November 12


In the intervening days since investing in the time to indulge in an inspection of this here blog-of-mine, I've become inexorably indisposed and inexcusably incapacitated.

Bear with me. Regular posting will resume shortly.

And in answer to Pri's latest comment which seemed to remind me that I actually have a blog:
"Not by the hair of my chin-ny chin chin." Which in my current unshaved state, is a lot.