Thursday, 26 April 2012

Growing Up

 “You can’t play with us.”
“Why not?”
“You’re too young, that’s why.”
“Please, Aryan,” the little girl whined.
 “Go. Home. We don’t want to play with babies,” said Radhika, wrinkling her nose at the last word.
That was the last straw. Anu turned around and fled from the garden. She scrubbed her cheeks roughly, making them muddy. Running as fast as her little legs could take her; she went to the only place where she knew she would find comfort.
“Mommy,” Anu sobbed as a woman with a heart shaped face and curly black hair opened the door. She had an apron tied around her waist and her hands were white with flour. Anu hugged her around the legs and began to cry in her skirt.
“Anu?” she said anxiously. “Are you hurt?”
Anu’s sobs were the only response she got.
She walked to the washbasin, which was a difficult task with a four-year-old hanging on to her legs for dear life. She quickly washed her hands and picked up her daughter.
“What happened?” She asked as she walked to the sofa. She sat down with Anu on her lap. Anu’s head was on her shoulder.
“What did he do?”
“W-why am I only four years old?”
“Because you were born four years ago.” She laughed.
But Anu only cried harder.
“What did Aryan do, baby?” She wiped Anu’s tears.
“H-he s-said I was too young to play with him and his friends.”
“What were they playing?”
“G.I. Joe Saves Barbie.”
“How about we play the same game right here?”
“I want to play with him!”
Anu’s mother rubbed her back soothingly
“Hi,” he said, awkwardly. He was standing in the doorway of her room.
She looked up at him. Her lips were turned upside down. She didn’t respond.
“I’m sorry.”
“Go away!”
“You can play with us, Anu.”
“I don’t want to play with you.”
He looked at her pleadingly.
“But, I’m still only four years old.”
“Its OK. We’re not going to play G.I Joe Saves Barbie, anyway. Its stupid.”
“We are playing Hide and Seek with walkie talkies in the evening,” he said brightly. “Will you come?”
“How will we play with walkie talkies?”
“Its simple. Whoever hides can have the walkie talkies and they can talk while they’re hiding.”
“I don’t have walkie talkies.”
“You can play with mine.”
“Who all are going to be there?”
“Sarthak, Tanay, Sneha, Radhika, you and I.”
“I don’t like her.”
“Neither do I. She threw my G.I. Joe yesterday. He was about to die.”
“Yup. We’ll make her Seek first if you come today.”
“OK.” He grinned.

“Do you want to comb my doll’s hair with me?”
“Fine,” he said, grudgingly.
5 years later
“I haven’t seen Aryan for a while now,” her mother said. Anu was entranced by how her mother ironed her uniform. There was not even a single crease left.
“I hate boys.”
“You do?” Her mother snorted.
“I do.”
“OK, where is this coming from?”
“Kripa told me that boys are stupid. And they stink.” Anu wrinkled her nose.
“No, they don’t.”
“They do. Kripa said I’d have to hate boys if I want to be friends with her.”
“Sweetheart, those people who become your friends with conditions laid out aren’t real friends.”
Anu stared at her mother with a blank face.
“OK, let’s put it this way: what if Aryan started ignoring you because his friends asked him to?”
“He already did. He didn’t call me for his birthday party, remember?”
“And you felt terrible, didn’t you?”
“He did apologize.”
“I can’t be friends with Kripa then.”
“You don’t forget your old friends for new ones, Anu.”
“Do you want to go to the beach tomorrow?” she spoke into the receiver.
“Why don’t you go with Kripa?”
“She and I aren’t friends anymore.”
“She said I can’t be her friend if I be friends with you so I broke my friendship with her.”
“Why didn’t you choose her over me, then?”
“Cause. She’s. Kind. Of. Boring.”
“How?” He smiled.
“She kept going on and on about how many babies she wanted to have and what their names were going to be. And then she asked me how many babies I wanted to have and I said, ‘I don’t know how many babies I want to have.’”
“So what did she say?” said Aryan, clearly enjoying this.
“She called me stupid,” she said morosely, while fidgeting with the telephone wire.
“She called you stupid?”
“She’s not wrong there, at least.”
“Shut up, Aryan.”
He just laughed.
“So tomorrow? Beach?”
“I’m in. Call the others.”
“OK. Bye”
4 years later
“So, are you prepared?”
“Preparth bor bhot?”
“Finish eating first. I didn’t understand a word.”
“Prepared for what?” he said, swallowing the last of his sandwhich.
“Your 10th standard board exams,” she said, taking smaller bites from hers.
“Don’t be stupid. School’s not even started yet.”
“I heard you have three different textbooks for Chemistry, Physics and Biology.”
“And that you have to study Shakespeare.”
“That’s right.”
“So are you scared?”
“Nope.” He reached for her sandwhich.
“Stay away from my sandwhich. Don’t finish yours so early next time.”
 “Share and care. OK, a little, I guess.”
“I am a little worried about my exams.”
“You are?”
“Well, you’re making me by telling me how much I have to study.”
“Its OK.” He sighed. “What if I don’t get good marks?”
“That’s impossible. You top everytime. I wouldn’t be passing in Math at all if it weren’t for you.”
“I don’t top everytime. Radhika beat me in History and Science last year actually.”
“Oh. So do you talk to Radhika?”
“Yeah, she’s cool,” he said nonchalantly. “We study together after school sometimes.”
Aryan looked at Anu quizzically.
“But she threw your G.I. Joe.”
“She did?”
“Of course. Don’t you remember?”
“Not really.”
“I don’t like her.”
“Cause she threw my G.I. Joe when I was a kid?” He laughed. “That was so long ago, Anu.”
“So, what she’s your girlfriend now?”
“Have you kissed her?”
“No! It’s not like that. We’re just friends.” His face was warm.
“Where did that come from?” He bumped her shoulder with his.
She continued to eat her sandwhich.
“So do you like someone?”
She didn’t answer.
“Do you? Come on. You can tell me.”
“I can’t tell you.”
“What! Why not?”
“Whom do you like?”
“I asked first.”
“I’m not telling you.”
“Then I’m not either.”
2 years later
“So, you’re dating Omar, huh?”
“Is he the same guy you liked two years ago?”
“No.” She paused for a beat. “He didn’t like me back.”
She just smiled.
“What’s it like?”
“Its OK, I guess.”
“Do you like someone?”
“You’ve met Poorvi, right?”
“She’s kind of cool. But…”
 “Radhika will be shattered.” Anu snorted.
“For the millionth time: Radhika and I-”
“Are just friends. I get it.”
“I like Poorvi. She’s funny.”
“Yeah. Maybe her. I don’t know.”
“So how are you coping with Shakespeare?”
“I love it!”
“Comes from the girl who was terrified of even opening the textbook.”
“Yeah. But, it’s not that tough.”
“Its not.”
1 year later
“I dumped him.”
“He was annoying the shit out of me.”
“He got pissed when I even spoke about another guy, let alone spoke to one. And, he would fight on the lamest of things like, ‘Why didn’t you call me back?’ or ‘Why can’t you come for an action movie?’ I mean give me a break. I’m just your girlfriend. I’m not married to you, douchebag. It just got on my nerves after awhile.”
Loud, raucous laughter was the only response she got to her ramblings. Everytime Aryan tried to speak he would be overcome by laughter.
“I’m the worst girlfriend ever.” Her voice was muffled because her face as buried in her hands.
“No, you’re not.”  He put his arm around he shoulders, squeezing lightly. “He really was a, what was the word you used?”
“Right. Douchebag.” He gazed at the ocean. The sun was setting now, disappearing into the water, tainting the sky with a beautiful orange. He loved coming to Nariman Point. And visits with Anu made it all the more entertaining. 
“So what’s up with you? How’s college?”
“Its OK for now. But, my seniors tell me that it’ll get tougher.”
“Did you get ragged on your first day?”
“OK. A little.”
“What did they make you do? Dance in your underwear?”
“No.” He snorted. “Its not like how they show in the movies.”
“What subjects do you have?”
“Um. Well, in the first semester we have History of Architecture, Graphics and all that. We first have to learn the basics of Architecture.”
“You’re lucky you know what you want to do. Mom keeps telling me to finally decide.”
“I thought you had it narrowed it down to Business.”
“Yeah. But, I really do like English.”
“You could get a BA in English or something.”
“I know. But, Mom wants me to do something more professional.”
“You should do what you like.”
“Do you get everything that you like?”
“No. Nobody does.” He paused. “But I do try.”
One Week Later
“I told you that I try to get everything that I like.”
“Well, I lied.”
“I haven’t tried to get one thing that I liked.”
“Get to the point, Aryan.”
“I like you.”
“I wanted to tell you when you told me you started dating Omar. I wanted to tell you when you asked me if I was kissing Radhika. I wanted to tell you when you thought I was into Poorvi. ”
“Why didn’t you?”
“I thought you weren’t interested in me. And I didn’t have the nerve.”
“And, now you’re saying this…this…profound thing over the phone? Whatever happened to romance?” She sighed.
“Come one, Anu. Don’t leave me hanging here.”
Her body shook with silent laughter. She was barely holding on to the phone.
“I get it if you don’t like me. Its completely-”
“-cool. Really. We can go back to how things were before and put this-”
“You want to know who I have liked all along?”
“What do you mean by ‘all along’?”
“I mean-all along.”
“Why didn’t you tell me, then?”
“I thought you weren’t interested in me. And I didn’t have the nerve.”
He laughed.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Vicky Donor

It’s a good movie. The plot is fresh, the dialogues are entertaining and Ayushmann Khurana has done a good job. The way they have presented it is neat, clean and entertaining.
Through the movie they have exposed the taboos that go along with the sperm donors due to which there are many who cannot enjoy parenthood. Of course Vicky, in the movie, does it for money but the joy that parents get from having a child is immaterial and priceless.
There is another taboo, a more subtle one, that has been exposed: infertile women should not be scorned.
Its not all rainbows and sunshine, of course. They dragged it a little by the end, Yami Gautam’s acting could have been better and the second half wasn't as entertaining as the first. But other than that, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What Law?

When you go abroad, do you litter on the streets like you do here? No. Do you spit on the street like you do here? No. Do you urinate on the street like you do here? No. Do you break the signal while driving? No. Do you cut the line? No.
I prided myself as being a responsible law-abiding citizen of this country. If we behave ourselves there then why act any differently here?
But, it was different today. It’s funny how when you want something really badly you don’t give a flying fuck about rules and laws and being a good citizen.
I had to get to Fame Andheri from Juhu in 20 minutes to make it for Vicky Donor. The first rule I broke was breaking the signal. In my defence, it was green when I was speeding so that I could get away quickly, then it turned yellow when I was almost there and instead of slowing down like a normal person, I panicked and pressed the accelerator. Hard.  It turned red when I was crossing it. I could have stopped and waited for the signal to turn green again like the law abiding citizen I usually am but like I said you just don’t give a shit at that time.
Just my luck, that the police caught me. I apologised profusely and told him how I had to get somewhere urgently. I tactfully skipped the rushing for a movie part. Thought he wouldn’t appreciate it. He asked to see my driving licence. I had a flashback at the moment:
I am walking from Bandra to Juhu singing anti-corruption slogans and feeling extremely patriotic. I’ll try to be as loyal as I can to this country, I promise myself.
 But at the moment I couldn’t seem to care less. I didn’t want to go all the way where you have to go to get your license if it gets confiscated. I showed him a Rs.50 note. He asked for Rs.100. I told him I was a student and settled for Rs.75. That was the second rule I broke. I felt ashamed of myself and vowed to never ever do it again.
There was a huge line when I reached FameAdheri there. However, one counter was closing so the line was relatively short in that one. The guard was blocking the entry for that line but there was a way to slip in between the two lines. Without thinking about how unethical it was to cut a line and how absolutely unfair it was to the others who had been waiting for so long, I slipped in between the two lines and asked the person in the front if he could get us tickets. He accepted but the show was sold out.
And I felt ridiculous to have broken all those laws. It was pointless to have broken the signal and then bribe the police officer to hide a crime that I did commit and then cut a line.
I did, however, catch the next show at CInamax.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Nearest Branch

I don’t understand why people go all the way to Shreenathji pr Palitana to pray. There is a temple at the end of every street nowadays. Indians invest more in temples than in medicine or education. After all, if you fall ill, before going to the doctor you have to remove the nazar and instead of studying for an exam we Indians choose to pray.
Do you go to McDonald’sto the one that’s in Pune if you have a branch in Andheri? No, you wouldn’t. Because it’s the same damn thing. I’m not asking you to get it home delivered. I’m just asking you to go to the nearest branch.
The same way, if you want to go to the temple then go to the nearest one or at least go to the one that’s in the same city if you like the ambience of a particular one. But to travel all the way there to just get one Darshan doesn’t seem a tad bit ridiculous to you?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Funny People

So I was just watching Adam Sandler's Funny People. And when you hear that Adam Sandler is being starred in some movie you just sort of expect a belly-holding laugh out loud, rolling on the floor laughing sort of comedy. That wasn't the case with this one. Or maybe I just didn't get the jokes. That's a possibility too.
As the title suggests, the movie is a about a bunch of funny people. George Simons played by Adam Sandler is a comedian and an actor. He's also ridiculously rich. On the other hand we have a struggling stand up comedian called Ira Wright played by Seth Rogen. He isn't a ladies man, works at a restaurant to pay the bills but dreams big. When George finds out that he has a rare kind of  cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia specifically,  he offers to hire Ira and his friend to become his assistant and write jokes for him. Ira makes up some excuse for his friend since he wants the gig all to himself and starts working for George. Midway into the movie George finds out that the 8 % chance he had to survive actually worked in his favour and so he goes to win the love of his life(Leslie Mann) who has a husband and a family.
The movie isn't all that funny but its a good watch. It very meaningful and unlike any other movies which have the I-just-found-out-I'm-going-to-die-let's-live-life-fully thing.
Its a fresh take because dying would be the easy way out, living is the tough part.