Monday, July 28

Bombay it is.

I realize I haven't updated this place in a considerable while. For that I'm unabashedly unashamed and utterly and absolutely unapologetic. So nyeah. But you have to admit. I was able to keep you occupied with images of humping cows.

This day finds me in Bombay, the city of dreams, the city of love. Well fuck, I have no idea if it actually is all of those, I'm just there. A not-so-early morning flight which I left the house way too early for, despite living rather close to the airport, later, I found myself in the cramped confines of a largely empty Go Air plane, which refused to leave the ground. The pilot would allow it to traverse a few feet, and then just when the engine (not to mention the passengers) figured it was time to leave the ground, he'd slam down on the brakes and the sound of a bell would chime through the plane, as if to reassure us that the pilot wasn't in fact fucking with us, and we were only progressing a stage of lift off.

To reiterate, lift off we did. I figure the pilot was a former drag racer (possibly a member of Street Devils), the last time he seemed on the verge of teasing us with another possible take-off and the engine took an even deeper breath; he chose that moment to floor it. A cramped, excessively turbulent, drowsy two hours later, all the while being stared at by a tiny spectacled girl, I looked out the window (my only respite from said girl) to see the plane lowering itself from the clouds, to what I dubbed the 'nether clouds', a phenomenon that has seemed to hang over Bombay for the month I've been here. At some point, the neat, blocks of farmland gave way to a mass of land that for some reason that defies logic reminded me of a wet dog.

Soon after viewing the little peninsula-like bit I couldn't (and still can't) name that I'd spotted on some map, and keeping an eye open for what I had been informed was the world's largest slum which I was unfortunately unable to catch, flight E717 (or something) landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, where upon reviving Ralph and catching my network in the curiously fish-ily tinged Bombay air, an obscene number of very obscenely worded messages arrived, the gist of which seemed to promise death by paper cut for not meeting before leaving or calling and saying farewell, in this day and age where everyone and their great aunt has a cell phone attached at the hip. As the tiny spectacled girl seemed to be struggling with her suitcase, I offered to help get it down, at which point she squeaked and immediately sat down, with her hands over her head as if hoping to catch the suitcase if it fell. I decided to get my own hand bag and make my way to the little bus offering to take the lot of us off the runway and into the bowels of the airport.

I chose this bus ride to make my first phone call from Bombay, to the voice I can never get out of my head. The voice I dream about at night, and have done so for over two years now, the voice I was lost to from the instant it first fell upon my ears, when I got knocked on my ass in a way so fulfilling, so satisfying, that to this day I still remember with vivid detail that fateful Saturday evening at Le Meridian, two years ago November, when the owner of that voice's first glance in my direction sent a lightning bolt down my spine. But unfortunately, this post isn't about her, I don't feel I can do her justice here. We will get back to her though.

Received by an uncle's assistant, followed by a maiden voyage down a highway I was unfamiliar with, I felt as if I was exploring some part of North Delhi, excepting the fact that there were a lot of billboards advertising films and TV shows, and the cabs had regions of Bombay written on the backs of them . Of note would be Thane. Now for some reason I've been convinced that Thane is pronounced in a way similar to the title brought into popular culture by the play about MacBeth, The Thane of Cawdor. That (crazed) notion was shattered by someone beloved, with an unforgettable voice, which made the conviction-shattering permissible, if not acceptable and encourageable.

I'm yet to actually visit Thane, or really have an idea as to where in Bombay it is, or Worli for that matter (I know it's at the other end of this incomplete bridge next to some fort in Bandra) but I have begun to understand the layout of this city, and I can claim to have taken a ferry from Andheri to Mud Island, something a lot of the folks I worked with at that particular studio in Mud Island couldn't, as they drove (suckers). I've also mastered the train system, walked up and down Marine Drive four times (in one day) and fallen in love with the chocolate chip cookies from Candies, not to mention just about everything Mad Over Doughnuts has to offer. Yes, my cast and crew are into a lot of junk food.

I should specify as to what exactly I'm doing in Bombay. I'm working on one of the multitudes of dance reality shows on air at the moment. The only difference being that this one's somewhat newer, it's got better known faces, and it was aggressively advertised on the channel it airs on, the sister channels, the internet, the radio, every second freaking billboard on the aforementioned highway, and (apparently) all the ‘artists’ went to the PVR (I’m not sure if PVR is something different in Bombay) or something and promoted the show from there. As I'm with the production house, I have the usual production duties that include floor managing, writing out time codes during the actual shooting, supervising construction of props, and later, the editing, as well as interacting with the various 'artists' (some of which have gotten to hear the voice I love so much over the course of the numerous phone calls I make to hear that voice myself), and finally, visiting the rehearsal halls and overseeing the choreographers' progress.

What I didn't count on happening within the first two weeks, but did intend for eventually was to work with the director. He initially gave me the slightly creative task of assisting the chap who handles all those funky colored moving lights all over the set and picking out appropriate color schemes for the various performances. Fortunately, the same chap found me amiable enough to teach me how to use the majority of his own, as well as the DOP’s lighting console. Following this, I got to handle camera cues during the actual shoot, and finally, wound up with director during the technical rehearsal, making sure the performance rehearsals were being shot and any and all openings and color changes were duly noted, and conveyed to the camera crew during the actual shoot. I don’t think I need to mention just how elated I really am throughout our three shoot day each week. I am still convinced I’m screwing up on a regular basis, something I keep asking a colleague of mine to point out for me.

I’m yet to truly explore Bombay, and I really think I ought to get started on that, considering I’ve been here a month and spent most of my time at work, or else in the loving arms of the woman with the unshakeable voice (over the phone though, unfortunately, she’s in Delhi). I’d appreciate any and all recommendations; I may have this Thursday off.

For the record, I didn’t think this post would do adequate justice to my beloved, so there’s a whole post about her coming up. Just keep pushing me to post it.

Friday, April 11

The Grass is Always Greener

Right, so work's been insane. I haven't updated recently, my bad. This isn't really a proper post, but someone sent me this by email and I thought it was worth sharing.

It's important in life to reach out, to strive for greater achievements, to go for that greener grass that is on the other side of the fence.....

But one must also be careful……

Sometimes you can reach too far!

But when you find yourself overextended and you’re stuck in a situation that you can’t get out of, there is one thing that you should always remember.....

Not everyone who shows up is there to help you.

Take care folks.

Wednesday, March 12

Not all addictions are bad...

First of all, I don't have half a fucking clue as to why my title's in Hindi. For the uninformed, it spells out a variation (such as my own lackluster Hindi writing ability would bear) of "Not all addictions are bad." On to the post.

Now wait, second of all, I apologize for not writing for so long. The aforementioned not-so-bad addiction is to blame. Now before the lot of you bring out your torches and pitchforks, and I turn around to see this chick who blogs less than I do now running away after having glued giant screws to the neck of my addiction, understand that the addiction is a good addiction. Also, someone tell me why the fuck the first chap who got the torch and pitchfork treatment had giant screws on his neck anyway. I never got it, or the green skin pigmentation. On to franken-addiction.

Hello everyone, my name is Renovatio, and I'm a workaholic. Not just that, I love my job. Every bit of it. From the lack of sleep to the obscene hours, the creative freedom to the trust and respect that flows through my ever-changing cast and crew and myself, to the opportunity to meet a myriad of smart, talented, hard-working and equally addicted folks. I, the ever-present production chap, the future film maker, am currently working as a freelance Assistant Director. Not just that, as I work with smaller production houses and directors, I get to be sole AD, and I couldn't be more elated.

For those not so well-versed with film and television production, the work of the AD is all-encompassing. While some may assume the AD is everyone's shared mundoo, experience would say that the AD actually turns everyone else into his mundoo. Now perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps I've only been fortunate enough to work with good directors, especially the one whose organisation I find myself fast becoming a partner of.

How that happened, I'm yet to understand, but the man and I work together well, he respects my opinion, gives me creative license, and immense authority. Someone once told me that they hated authority due to the flak that accompanies it when shit hits the fan. I have to say, in the last week, a lot of shit hit the fan. It hit it, spread around for miles, got carried by the wind, fertilized a few fields, and provided heat for a couple of kettles of chai.

I digress. An Assistant Director , well a good one, which I hope I am, knows all the ropes of a production. He or she should know how what looks good on camera, what angles work, how to achieve what looks good on said camera, how to deal with the asswipe senior producer from the larger client organization *cough*miditech*cough* the grand high client deemed unworthy to produce the particular segment we were working on, the same senior producer chap who looks down on the AD, despite said AD being a good eight inches taller. This same AD also needs to anticipate production disasters, such as same larger asswipe *cough*miditech*cough* organization's generator door tearing a hired twelve-by-twelve foot skimmer, the big white sheet thingie used to cut off sunlight, among others. The sole AD, part of a smaller production, say a 35-person crew, also doubles up as an AD in another sphere of production, the Art Director. Now I will admit quite openly and candidly that I'm pathetic at art. I can make a stick figure look sickly. But when the time came, or rather, when the chap who owned the mud hut and staircase we wanted to shoot against came out armed with a stick and a few large rocks, the cameraman, who I had somehow managed to strike a decent rapport with, and my own artistically-challenged self had to make a very bland set of stairs presentable. My aforementioned authority came of immense use here. I got the first three steps painted with dung, followed by mud, and then painted with a large flower, so large that it was nigh-impossible to screw up, all without lifting a finger myself. That isn't to say I wasn't doing anything, but I'm working on not digressing from the point here.

There's a new show coming up on Doordarshan, one which has left me with immense respect for the creative heads at Unicef. It's written as a K-serial, a saas-bahu piece-of-shit, but with a progressively greater message of women's empowerment. It's being produced by the larger *cough* oh alright, I see this joke's getting old now, it's being produced by Miditech, and we were called in to do the opening credits. A day was spent in a studio in Noida, which the brief informed us as being forty-four by twenty-seven feet, a production dream come true. On reaching the studio, bright and early, at six in the morning, having left the house at a quarter to three to fetch lights while my colleagues fetched the cameraman and camera, the studio was indeed its promised dimensions. Unfortunately, however, it contained an enormous and tenacious pillar bang in the middle. This pillar effectively split the most promising and dreamy studio into four separate mini-studios. Through some clever thinking on the part of our camerman, one of the more experience light boys, a South Indian chap who was after my life to see his PCR room and FCPs, and a slight adjustment of the chroma sheet of my own, not to mention a little kid who tripped over a power cord and dropped a stray Sony Cybershot, we managed to salvage one entire half of the studio for use. There was a camerman from Wilderness Films on site, who had accompanied the Digi-Beta 790i we had rented for the day, who was unfortunately relegated to camera assistant, and even more unfortunately, turned into a spot boy on my behest as there was already a senior camera assistant from Wilderness present, and the fact that I had no one else to force to run around to get stuff. This chap took his role in those circumstances rather well, and was rather good-natured about it. He even went so far as to tell me that I'd make a great director because of my honesty and passion. What was the source of my honesty? Threatening to hit our cabbie with a brick if he hit the puppy napping under the cab with a rock. Ah well, live and let live. That sure made my day, if nothing else, assuring me that there's hope yet. I also had a moment, an epiphany, if you will. Production is the work for me. I really connected with a subject. We needed to shoot a girl jumping in silhouette, but she had a problem with her knees, so I took a call and put another actor in a similar skirt and dupatta, had the make-up guy tie her hair in a braid similar to the little girl's, and made her do the jump. She was a bit apprehensive of the limited space, especially considering the fact that there were three rather large lights at the end of her jump site, which had been on for a few hours and were quite hot. Trust came into the picture here. I had spent some time with the whole cast over the day, and convinced her that I'd stand at the lights and catch her, provided she ran as fast as she could and jumped as hard as she could. We got a great jump out of it, despite the Unicef chap telling me that he needed his actor for a few days of shooting, so I had better catch her. At this stage, the entire crew also revealed to me that they had assumed I was twenty-eight. A look at my license, and the realization that I was a full nine years younger brought a look to their faces I rather enjoyed. Still, they accorded me more respect from that point on.

The following morning, my colleagues had (thankfully) deigned to fetch the lights and camera themselves, and met me on the outskirts of NH8, rather close to my own house, so I didn't have to leave too early. We were headed to bum-fucking-nowhere Sohna Village. Our crew arrived on site by 6:10 in its entirety, and the slightly shaken producer, his AD (no prizes for guessing who) and the camerman surveyed the site and blocked our locations for the nine shots we had to take. As we had a nice big skimmer and three hours of soft sunlight, we were all pegged to be heading home by eleven. Unfortunately, the cast waltzed in at a quarter to ten. The camerman had to run to his full-time job at this point, so we were desperate for a camerperson to replace him. A small note to be made; 95% of freelance folks in production have a full time job, and their organization is either unaware that they're freelancing, or else they don't feel like firing them as they're that good. A tiny bit of those freelancers with a production organization, such as our replacement camerman, joined their organizations on the condition that they get to freelance as well. Something for me to keep in mind for the future. Someone remind me about this in a year or something.

Regardless. We were about to start shooting with what available sunlight we had, when the costume chap piped up with an admission of having neglected to iron all the costumes, and as there was no power in bum-fucking-nowhere Sohna Village, he had to travel the thirty-odd kilometers to Sohna proper, and get the costumes ironed. At this point a senior asswipe production chap from Miditech popped over to breathe down our necks, and inform us in full detail as to just how useless we were. We wasted two hours with him, and another hour planning amongst ourselves, when we discovered that Miditech didn't intend to feed us, and so we were going to have to hope the producer's wife would be quick about acquiring extras, not to mention food, and get back to us soon. The rest of the day involved sporadic shooting (read nearly none, we shot a grand total of 300 frames that day), and much waiting around for the lights to arrive. The lights finally did arrive at 10:30 at night, which the cameraman and I had gone to fetch from the main road, and having once reached location, the generator refused to start. The gen-set chaps, the (new) light boys, the producer, and the cameraman and I spent the next two hours taking turns climbing up the truck to give starting the generator a shot. Right before the generator finally got fired up, we had just finished parking all four of our cars in front of the gate we intended to shoot at with headlights on full, in an attempt to secure enough light to shoot with. Around this point I met and befriended the ADs of sets and production from Miditech for this show, my own direct counterparts from the much larger (330 vs our measly 35) production crew that had arrived to shoot the next day. The sets chap was a decent guy, helped me out a ton the following day, including letting me crap in their loo, and the production one, a rather dashing young lady with rather manly hands (I needed some hands for a door-opening shot the following day) was a bit on the shy side, but she ran around as much as she could to help me out.

Having spent a full thirty-eight hours at the location, our crew limped away and headed home-ish. I came home to shower, the cameraman visited his boss who had suffered a heart attack, and the producer and his wife went off to get their kid from his grandparents' place. We reconvened at my house to do a final shot at around 10, and packed up the whole production around midnight. Time well spent, and immense learning.

I hope this sort of makes up for my absence, my last month has involved work in similar settings, situations and circumstances. I know I mentioned a Street Devils post, but if you'd notice my profile now contains a Street Devils blog. I'll write about it there.

Saturday, February 16


I've been busy in a way that defies all norms and customs. My bloggiepoo also turned one yesterday. To make up for my absence recently, and the absence that is to follow, allow me to leave you with an image of the most adorable thing in the world.

There's this gorgeous female dog who's just had a pup. I'll assume the rest died of the cold(not so aww-worthy), but she's got this one handsome little pup following her around, I get the feeling a slobbery lab had his way with her at some point in the recent past. Now this female's quite the drama queen. Whenever she sees me, she'll come running over and start whining, more so when I'm walking my dog. Last night, she came over to me with a paw in the air, but knowing her, I couldn't be certain as to whether she had actually gotten hurt or was just trying to get some attention. She was sitting a little distance away with her right paw up, and her handsome little critter was curled up in a ball, fast asleep under a bush. My idiot of a dog went running over to examine the pup, who haughtily stood up, jumped back a few steps, looked at mommy, and then sat down and put his right paw up (Cue the awwws).

I'll take a few days to get around to my next post, but I'll leave you with a little teaser of what to expect .

Wednesday, January 30

On post-marriage bliss

First up, I know it's been a while. I won't make any excuses, I just didn't feel like writing, commenting, or replying to comments. My bad. Now, the last time I wrote here, I was desperately searching for a wedding gift, and I thank you all for the excellent suggestions you made. I met my dear friend's then-fiancé for a cuppa, to see what kind of a guy he was. I don't often find myself liking people the first time I meet them, even though I like to give them a couple of chances to see if I may have missed out on something, but I really liked this guy. He was polite, he loved his job, and promised to teach me all about stocks, was a mere two inches shorter than me, and he had an openness and honesty to him that I value above all. The only faults I could find with the man were his apathetic attitude towards food, and his preference for tea over coffee. As the wedding was in a matter of days, I really needed to come up with a gift. On a visit to a ludicrous yet tastefully designed mall in Noida, of which an entire floor was dedicated to homemakers, I was contemplating a myriad of vases, when my eye fell upon what I had to get them. I found something conventional, very, very Renovatio, and to be appreciated by both the bride and my own sentiments regarding the groom's preferences. I got the happy couple a coffee maker, with a pair of glass-and-stainless-steel coffee mugs.

The fateful day arrived, and I recall bolting out of bed at nine minutes to ten, picturing the entire baraat dancing its way into the gurudwara at that very moment, as the wedding invitation claimed they would be. Luckily someone had remembered to get my green kurta and gold-beige churidar ironed, so a four-minute shower and three-minute change later, I was on the road. Of course once I crossed the two kilometer mark, I realized I had left my shawl behind, and knowing that the ensemble would be incomplete without the dark brown shawl, I returned to grab it.
Let it be recorded that running up a flight of stairs in peshawari juttis, and driving in them for that matter, is a tedious and difficult process.
Aurelia and I took to the road again with the sound of Apocalyptica blaring from Adelina's speakers, and in record pace, arrived at the gurudwara Rakabgunj, a gurudwara I had previously never heard of. Pulling into a parking spot a mere three hours late for the wedding, I was just in time for the pheras, IST-be-blessed. I ran into the banquet-hall thingie to stares from a horde of people, asked for someone related to the bride, and came face to face with a skinny fellow who knew all about me and was certain I knew the most intimate details of his life. What? you don't know Tarunjeet-pal? Right right, she must have told you about me as Vicky. I didn't want to hurt poor Vicky's feelings, so I shook his hand as warmly as I could, claimed I knew him, handed him the coffee maker, grabbed a glass of something vile off a waiter's tray for my parched throat, and purloining a handkerchief off a large Sardar in a white suit, ducked into the place where the pheras were taking off.

There's a certain ch
arm to not knowing anyone at a wedding, excepting the bride and her parents, especially if you've got a rather distinct look to you, and you aren't aware of the customs, excluding the cover-head-with-hanky one. You're at leisure to watch the proceedings, you get to notice things that you would normally miss, and considering the bride's mother handed you a little digicam, you get to capture the moment as well, and no one looks at you funny when you mutter to yourself about the shot you're taking. The grin on my face when some random aunt put their heads together in some cheesy symbolic gesture earned me my first scowl from a family member. I got my second and third simultaneously from two older gentlemen who I'm fairly certain disapproved of my earring and the lack of a pagadi on my head, respectively. Of course here the assumption from the older gentleman was that I was another Sardar amidst this large congregation of Sardars. There was also the very cute cousin of somebody's who flashed me a charming little sparkley-eyed smile, who insisted on straightening out all the, well, for lack of a better word, stuff, dangling off the bride. She most likely assumed I was grinning at her, while her anal stuff-straightening never ceased to amuse me. For the record, when she came up to me later and introduced herself as Nancy in her singsong voice, I was picturing a Pomeranian in my head, talking up at me.

As the event wore on, I met with my friend's sister, who I forbid from leaving my side, even for a second. I eventually managed to steal a decent camera from one of the photographers, and took a few completely manual shots, until all the photographers ganged up on me and demanded it back. I then had a very intimate moment with the groom, where I re-buckled the uppermost buckle of his Shervani. Unfortunately, he still wouldn't let me mess around with the kirpan, the ritual sword he had to carry during the pheras. I also managed to insult a few other friends of the bride's, who I told not to tell me their names, as I was bound to forget. The chubby one gave me a very hurt My name has never felt as unimportant in my life before she stormed off in search of jalebis. Oddly enough, she was back at my side the next day during the reception, and somehow she knew my name, even thoug
h I didn't tell her.

The reception was an amusing event. I arrived there, dateless, after searching for about forty minutes in the slight fog, in a suit that is now a little too tight around my chest. The very suit prevented me from learning how to bhangra when the bride's sister attempted to teach me, but it enabled me to get the bride's dad up on the dance floor, despite his protestations of weak knees. The cake-cutting took place with a symbolic collapse of the cake, as evidenced by the rather well-timed picture I had taken, and I managed to steal a decent twenty minutes alone with the happy couple on their little red-and-gold (I know who'll just love that motif) dais. Of course to get hose twenty minutes, the photographer had to drop his excellent quality lens, and break it. Much na na na na na na, heh heh heh heh heh heh heh from me later, I made the most of the opportunity to sit with the happy couple, and in a rare display that absolutely made my day, the new couple ganged up on me and managed to get a hold of my license, to check my birthday. Of course the bride also stole my brownie.

Friday, January 18

Anal meanderings

I may just be anal. I'm not certain, but there comes a point when one has to consider that their preparedness is really over-preparedness, to the extent that they're just plain anal. Going through my bag, I discovered: A multipurpose plug, four rechargeable AA batteries and charger, a (soft) hairbrush, a little comb, a notebook with those plastic divider thingies in place, a bunch of A4 sheets, some nine pens, a thick black marker, two empty mini-DV tapes, an empty hi8 tape, a box with blank CDs and DVDs, and a (very manly) mint flavored Nivea chapstick. I then went down to that beautiful, sexy darling of mine, to examine her contents and came across my tripod, with an excellent unbranded headphone-mic with crystal clear sound that I use for voiceovers, five bars of dark chocolate (oft replenished), a pair of sunglasses, a few strips of peppermint Orbit white, a (rough) hairbrush, two sealed pine tree-shaped air freshners, a bunch of little candies in the ashtray, and some change in the change-holding thingie. Aurelia's boot contained a bucket, with cleaning supplies and a dry duster inside, a little bag with a change of clothes, a bottle of Davidoff Goodlife, and an extra bottle of shampoo, and two spare tubes for her tyres.
Edit: There is also my one and only hairband in the bag that I've been using for the last three years, and two hair ties, although those are lost and replaced frequently.

I had a little epiphany. There is still some good left in the world. The other day, on the way home from Karol Bagh, after getting a little work done on Aurelia, I discovered we were completely out of gas. Now it was slightly foggy, I was ready to admit I was a bit chilly, and I'd forgotten my trenchcoat at home. Being rather close to the roundabout at the end of Shanti Path, the only petrol pump I could think of was an Indianoil a good two kilometers back at the peak of an uphill road. After about forty minutes of pushing, panting and freezing, I finally got to the top of the road. By this point one of the Indianoil employees saw me and ran over along with three of his colleagues to help me get Aurelia over, and after filling the tank again, pointed out the little attached Subway. While I was parking Aurelia on the side, one of Indianoil guys went in and said something to the Subway guy, who got to work on a sandwich immediately. Upon entering the Subway, I was seated on a table with a little hot-air blower set next to it, and was presented with a massive sandwich consisting of vegetables and hunks of meat and cheese, not the normal token piss-poor slices they toss in usually, piping hot, with a nice room-temperature bottle of Gatorade and a slice of gooey cake. While I attacked the food set out before me with gusto, I was joined by the Subway guy and two of the Indianoil fellows, who went about telling me that I ought to have come up and asked them to come down and help, and rattling off the other petrol pumps close by, and how rising petrol prices was affecting them, and basically keeping me company while I ate. The Subway guy then refused to let me pay for the meal, and instead pulled out a bag with a dozen freshly-baked, warm, gooey double chocolate chip cookies, and made one heart-warming statement: "No one should be out in this cold alone, these biscuits are our warmth, that we're sending with you to keep you warm on your way home."

One of my dearest friends in the world is getting married. She's in town for the wedding, and I had lunch with her today. I get to meet the f
iancé tomorrow, for the first time. It's an arranged thingie, and as this is the first time a friend this close is getting married, I need to start a precedent of laying down the law with the guy she's going to spend the rest of her life with. I also have no idea what I'm going to get her. Ideas, people, I need ideas. It's bad enough that when I asked her to tell me what to get her as I didn't want to get something someone else got, she told me that what I'd get her, no one else would ever come up with. Help!

The next blog I want you folks to visit is that of the lovely Wiseling. Now this girl is most endearing, and her writing worth spending time over. Do go visit her.

Also, allow me to make your day. This song sure did it for me the other day when Neha sent me there.

Anyone else notice this post is in an absolutely deliciously sized font?

Saturday, January 12

Chasing cars...

Other than eve teasing, one of the most popular depraved, depressing topics our beloved Times likes to write about, is road rage. Common forms of letting it out include shattering windshields, puncturing tyres, or plain vanilla beating the fuck out of a dude with a cricket bat.
Now we've all had to share the roads with bad drivers, who'll either swerve a lot, or else flash their lights and honk like jackasses, and even some that like to brake at random. Now these people cause us to suffer stress which can lead to heart problems (ache and shock, when faced with damage to our own vehicles), the last thing we want at the end of a busy and stressful day at work. I have therefore taken it upon myself to devise a method of dealing with road rage that won't land us on the front page of any hateful newspaper with the word 'Times' in its title. Why don't we go over it with the help of that great song by Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars.

If I lay here. If I just lay here

The optimum, well optimum as far as I'm concerned, posture for driving a car is a comfortable one. Allow me to demonstrate my own. Now I'm a tall guy. So my seat is always as far back as it can go. For those of you not blessed with a nearly six and a half foot stature *cough*Aurora*cough*, comfort may still be achieved with the seat as far forward as it can be. Merely tilt the backrest down by about, say thirty degrees, and coast.

Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

The next step is to find a top speed that is comfortable, easy to maneuver at, and attainable within the top three gears, say, 40. Now a speed such as this is both fuel efficient, and think about it, even if you do drive like a mad (wo)man, that seventy year old uncleji you overtook is going to catch up to you at the next red light. Now you have to stay the course. Don't go over your top speed, no matter who comes up behind you. The only exception to this rule is ambulances. Please guys, for fuck's sake, let an ambulance pass you by. Force other dudes (such as the seventy year old) off the road if you have to, but give the guy the ambulance is rushing to that little extra five-second chance.

I don't know, how to say, how I feel

Now if what you feel is hatred, such as for some asshole in a CRV who just nicked your rear view right off, there's a great form of revenge. Keep in mind that all Pioneer systems have the same remote. That's right, every single one. Just get up next to the guy, make sure you're on the left of that guy, when you're in the driver's seat that is, aim arbitrarily into his car, and press something. A good button to start with is the 'SRC' button. Short depressions of that button will alternate the system between CD, Tape, Auxillary, and Radio. Even better, if you hold it down, his music system turns off entirely. This can serve to freak him out completely, and get him to calm the hell down. Keep in mind, this isn't recommended on crowded roads, but can be great at a red light. If you're lucky, as I once was, the guy might see it as a game, and in turn whip out his own remote, and aim for your music system. The game ends when one of the cars ends up impaled on the HCBS divider. Again, not recommended on crowded roads, and being on the left is far more advantageous, as you don't have too much trouble aiming from the driver's seat. Also, try to aim without looking, your eyes belong on the road. Always.

Those three words

"Like hell, bitch." We always encounter one punju dude with completely black tinted windows who's in a real awful hurry to get somewhere. Remember, we're going at 40, so he should be able to overtake easily enough. If he resorts to flashing his high beam and honking, he's asking for it. A key skill here is downshifting. Simply press down on the clutch, go into neutral, press the gas for a fraction of a second, press the clutch again, and change to a lower gear. If you timed it right, the car won't jolt when you hit the gas again, and with some practice, this whole process can take just a second or two. This is also a useful skill to possess when tackling U-turns, as you can be back at your beloved 40 in no time. The benefit of this process is that you're now moving at 40, but at third (or second, not recommended unless you really know what you're doing. You know what, just go to third, it's good pickup on most cars anyway) gear, where your pick up is exponentially better, and you can speed up in no time. Simply catch up to the car in front, and gently nudge (not physically) him into moving to the left by softly honking (mildly, you're not a punju dude, remember) until he moves to the left. You then draw up to level with him, and match his speed. Stay with him, effectively blocking off punju dude's passage, and possibly instilling in him a tiny bit of patience. Oh who am I kidding, he's never going to learn any patience, but you have to admit, this is tons of fun. Oh and if he passes anyway, try to follow him into a really congested place, and give him a taste of his own medicine (flashers and horn), where he can't get out of the way anyway. Mehrauli road is recommended for this maneuver between 6:30 and 9:00PM.

Okay, I got bored of writing this, and I'm really really tired. So just enjoy the song in its entirety. It's got a semi-decent looking lead singer, some rain, and you Grey's Anatomy fans can relate.

Oh and also, go read Neha's blog. It totally rocks and stuff.

Edit: I was wrong. That lead singer's an ugly bitch.

Wednesday, January 9

On modern day gymming...

I say modern day gymming because well, I don't know what gymming was like before I started it three years ago. In my own experience, however, It has been consistently amusing. Although not the most noble reason, a constant source of amusement lies in the discomfort of others.

As of February last, I'd been fairly unable to actually attend the gym due to a not-so-minor back problem; I was one of those people you read about in the papers getting hit by a blueline, the difference being that I lived. My back however, didn't do so well. Now a ton of physio and a whole bunch of aasans I can't name later, I'm back at the gym. Truth be told I've been back there a little over two months, and now that I'm finally seeing some results, along with the fact that I've put on seven kilos, got my chest back to a respectable forty-two inches and can do more than one chin up at a time, I'm talking about it. I've also been able to con one of my classmates into joining with me, although he isn't the most complacent as regards getting out of bed at 6:30 in the morning and actually exercising. I suppose the most delicious aspect of working out at that ungodly hour, other than the sheer beauty of a nearly-empty gym, would be the complete lack of tangible feeling in the extremities by the end of the drive up to the gym premises. It takes a good twenty minutes of warming up just to get that feeling back, and another twenty to get the joints nice and free.

I digress. Modern day gymming consists of varying degrees of pain. One of the prime forms is an absolute lack of eye candy. Ninety percent of the people dedicated enough to attend the gym at that ungodly hour of the morning are particularly unfit, and/or old. The fact that I met Taru over a year prior in a similar setting notwithstanding, and being considerably underweight due to a lack of sleep and an off the charts metabolism, my own usage of the cardio section of my gym is fairly limited, although it does consist of much avoiding of conversation with the aforementioned unfit sections of gymmers, as any talk with individuals running on parallel treadmills, and the subsequent instinctive looking at those individuals can result in a particularly painful fall. In my presence, a whopping eighteen people have fallen off their treadmills, three of which managed to slip off the back edge in an effort to emulate my long-strides at high speeds. There were also the creepy 40-something mothers who were talking about my most lovely sculpted butt loud enough for me to hear, while I stretched one fine morning.

Moving onto the basement, the weights section. After an eight month hiatus from weight lifting of any kind, everything is torture. Of course, being treated like a war hero by the other dedicated early morning gymmers who have made little to no improvement to their own physiques in the subsequent months, can prove to be quite motivating. These guys, while uncouth and absolutely dripping of testosterone, are shining examples of loyalty and brotherhood, as evidenced on the occasion I dared to ask for some of the lighter dumbbells one particularly large fellow was sitting amidst a sea of and seemed to be lording over. He seemed to take my request as a personal affront to his right over all the twenty-odd dumbbells of a myriad of weight denominations he had surrounded himself with and stood up, rather threateningly. To my surprise, all these other chaps stood up to him and warned him in rather curt haryanavi to be nice to Reno bhai.

The various denizens of the basement vary in their mannerisms. There's the trainer, a huge faced (and chested) ex-CRPF officer who has a 12.8 second 100 meter sprint time and a penchant for telling people to eat peanuts. He also likes to talk about violins, and plays the Indian flute.
He's usually followed around by a fellow with a massive shoulder span that could exceed three and a half fellows about my size, most wonderfully sculpted butts optional, standing side by side. He thumps walks about with a menacing look on his face, but has a voice akin to a Barbara Streisand number played on fast forward. He also giggles like a schoolgirl with a crush, and is very, very polite, especially regarding sharing weights.
Oh and the guy has enough strength to make one think that anyone can pull off a set of 22 overhead one arm tricep curls with a 35kilo(77lbs) dumbell.
There's also the sub 30-ish little person who I can't seem to stop calling 'adorable' in my head. In fact whenever I see him, my mind goes off to a chorus of "Aww, look at the cute little midget," and (so I've been told) my face gets the same look it gets when I see a puppy. I do hope that's the reason for the dirty looks he gives me, rather than the possibility that I may just be saying the chorus line out loud.

Now while I certainly have a very long way to go and multiple goals to achieve yet, starting with the purely cosmetic long term, a 52 inch chest, 18 inch biceps and no more than a 30 inch waist(only 1 inch more than what I currently have), to the short term where I intend to have a securely strengthened enough and supported back to be back on top of a horse in another three months' time, I hope to retain the positive note I've been on for the last two months.
Care to keep me motivated with your exercise stories?

Thursday, January 3

A perfect night

Nine o'clock, gtalk was signed out of, the twisty-top of the stack of films was opened, and movie titles were being mulled over. Seven Samurai, Foreign Correspondent, and The King of Comedy, a Kurosawa, a Hitchcock, and a Scorsese. The perfect way to spend a quiet night at home. A glance at the clock, ten past nine, a quick grin, all alone tonight. Ralph buzzes, a mental note to turn him off, message from a new years eve plans threatener, 'cum 2 da blcny'. A flash of white-hot rage, followed by a near-orgasm at the sight in the parking lot. A black and red 1968 Mustang, with yellow racing stripes down the bonnet. Two lovely ladies with shiny hair and tiny skirts, and a tall man leaning against the vehicle. One of the ladies shouts out You can drive it if you come to Raghav's. How can one resist.
Twenty minutes, a shower and much hair product later, we're on the road. Stifling the pangs of guilt at abandoning Aurelia, we truly get down to testing this rugged vehicle. Ren, we need to name this, just finished restoring her. HIM. Him? It's not that manly. HIM. ANASTASIO. What was said next was incoherent as it was a cacophony of squealing and complaining as Anastasio went from 40 to 150 in about five seconds. For the record, Anastasio is an Italian form of the Latin 'Anastacius', Resurrection.
At Raghav's, deep in the bowels of Noida, was a motley collection of some rather close friends of mine who I don't see often enough, mostly due to the fact that they live and work in Noida. After a round of hugs and introductions to some of the unknown faces, I was being led to the bar, when I heard a deep, throaty, sexy laugh. When I turned to find the source of the laughter, I was flashed with one of the widest, most genuine smiles I'd seen in a while, and those same lips moved to say something. I moved a little closer as I'd missed what she said, taking in what I wa
s seeing. Long, naturally straight, shiny hair, one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen, and the most perfect curves on a five foot eleven inch tall frame. I like your ear ring, said that throaty voice, with a bit of an accent like mine. My name's Seher.
It isn't often that I'm at a loss for words, but this encounter was one of those rare occasions. Seher came across immediately as hugely confident, witty in a deep, thought-inducing way that wasn't immediately apparent to people not familiar with that sort of wit, and an overall awareness of all of her traits. In essence, in a very immodest sense, a female version of me. She had also been blindsided by love on numerous occasions, including a very recent, massive heartbreak caused by the object of her affection suddenly walling her off, and yet retained faith in love, and believed that her soul mate was out there. While a majority of men over the years, and evidenced at the party itself, had found her height intimidating, I found myself increasingly referring to her height, a mere five inches less than my own as 'cute', which would cause her to flash one of those unforgettable smiles my way each time.
As the night wore on, we shared more of ourselves, finding a common love for cooking (and eating), merengue, and white roses, and she did at one point mention how she wanted to learn to belly dance, my single most favorite form of dance in
the civilized world. We both sucked, quite terribly, at any form of non-coupley dance we attempted, and appreciated the same beer, Guiness, but drink very little of it, drink very little at all. Also, as I had formerly (quite incorrectly) assumed, I was the only person left who hadn't ever smoked a puff of anything in my life, she was right there with me, for the exact same reasons; never saw the point.
At around ten to twelve, the two of us decided to get some fresh air, and went up to the roof. As it was approaching midnight, and subsequently, new years, we decided to stay upstairs and share the moment alone. Contrary to what popular culture would leave you believing, we had a far more fulfilling new years moment; an amazingly long hug. Oblivious to the world, all phones calls, all shouting out of our names from below, we held each other for a good twenty minutes, before going back downstairs to continue the night.
As I've neglected to mention, she was the cousin of one of the guys there, a fellow whose decisions I haven't always agreed with, but have gotten along famously with his parents. Seher had just finished her undergrad in Denver and was spending a few months in town, considering looking for a year's worth of work experience here. She was to spend another month and a half at the very least anyway, a month and a half over which I would no doubt get to spend more time with her, so she said. Unfortunately, fate tends to have plans contrary to your own.
Around three in the morning, her dad called in from Denver, to tell her that his dad had died sometime in the last few hours, and that she had to get back there by an 8:30AM flight. Her cousin was far too drunk to take her home, so I offered to, another chance to give Anastasio a spin. We spent about half an hour there, while Seher packed, and I pretty much ignored her aunt and uncle, who later told me, when I went back there to apologize the next day, that they had considered introducing Seher to me at some point, as they thought we'd get along well. Leaving the house,
the two of us stopped by at the Grand for an overpriced breakfast, as it was the coffee shop closest to the airport open at this time, and we were both pretty famished. We had also pretty much stopped saying much by this point, though I can imagine we both still had a lot to say.
Finally, at the airport, she refused to go in, choosing to stay at the separator bars at departure, holding my hands until about the last possible minute, when she gave me another perfect hug, a light peck on my cheek, and another of those smiles of hers, that reached well into her eyes.
I'm probably not going to see her again before July, from her email, but she did send me this little South Park character of me, knowing how much I love the show.