Sunday, September 8, 2013


A: So what is your number one concern?

B: About what?

A: About anything, everything....

B: You want to know what I am most concerned about?

A: Yes - that is why I asked you the same question like a mere second ago..

B: And you want to know this right now - while we are drinking?

A: Yep - hence the question.

B: OK OK - no need to be so cheeky about it. Hhhmm... well... if you put it like that... you know - I absolutely hate the fact that you have to have a smiling profile picture on Facebook! Look at everyone's profile picture these days - they are all smiling, looking completely jolly and whatnot! Then if you go ahead and put a profile picture where you look like you are pissed off at something then those friends and relatives of yours - they harass you - "whats wrong dude" and all that that crap!

A: And this is your number one concern?

B: Yes!

A: Really?

B: I mean - this is my number one concern .... - when I am drunk!

C: Well save man! Kudos!

D: Teeheeehheeeehheeee

B: Don't laugh! I say something like "Federer Lost" followed by a crying smiley - but hell - there is my face - right next to it - grinning broadly like an idiot! What am I? Some dude with a bipolar disorder? Utterly disgusting I tell you!

D: Teehheeehheeeee

C: So you basically want a feature where you can upload custom profile pics for every status update?

E: Aaand there's our wannabe project manager at heart - desperately fishing for any ideas!

C: O really - what are you then? A wannabe developer?

A: Guys guys! Control!

B: Well - you wanted to know - this is my answer.

D: Teeeheeeheeee

B: What is there to laugh man! I am serious!

C: Anybody wants to know what I am most concerned about?

A: Umm... not really - I'll get to you maybe later -

C: I pity the fact that we have so many channels to vent our frustration - because that prevents us from taking any real action! 

A: Ok - see, lets not get too serious...

C: No no! - Listen to me!

A: Well what I meant was - 

C: No no - its a real problem man - that nobody seems to acknowledge!

A: Ok - go on then ....

C: I read some sad and disturbing news somewhere and then what do I do? I tweet about it, I share it with my 10 whatsapp friends who still reply to me, I write a 20 sentence long comment with 4-5 bigass words on Facebook - same comment in Marathi and with a bunch of foul words on eSakal and timesofindia - then vote up the relevant post on reddit and quora and talk all aggressively about it while having coffee with colleagues at office! And then that is it - done! I actually feel like I have done something! And this is wrong! All these channels - all these ways - they give me a false sense of accomplishment - like I have done my part about this disturbing thing! But I really haven't done shit, have I!? Whats worse, I am now more concerned about how many likes and comments and retweets I get - I mean, really? What am I? Some sad information distribution medium? And its not like there are no ways to actually do something tangible - there are many - but by this time I am already content - and I have moved on - to some other "in-vogue" thing - and its all my fault - for falling in to this trap! Pathetic!

D: Hhhhmmmm......

B: Hhhmmmm.......

E: Well you could cut back a little on those 100 social network channels and all that and maybe -,

C: That doesn't really solve the problem - does it!? There are many sources to read up about such things - so you go and read around and then what - none of these sources tell what you can do next - right? Their job is done - they have "told" you about it - they have "reported" it! And their answer to "doing something" is - "Hey there, look at the top right corner of this page - Click on the share button!" Damn it man! When I do that - the news stops lingering in my mind - it washes away. And if it doesn't stick in my head - if it doesn't bother me again and again - then how can I bring myself to do something about it!?

E: Hhhmmm.....

A: Well - you have already identified the problem - it is you yourself. Take some action, don't just "spread the word" - although I do feel that, that is one step better than being totally unconcerned about it. These things bother you - that is good - and you already know what the second step is - you'll get there .. soon...

C: Don't patronize me! I have to do something! Tonight! Right now!

B: Aren't you still on your first drink - you need a refill man - preferably more than one.....

D: Teehhheeeheeee

C: Shut up!

E: Well for me - what concerns me most is that no matter what I do, I just can't seem to stop thinking about -,

A: Lets put a pin on that thought for now! And if possible - never take it off - ever.

D: Haha - take that, sucker!

A: You are all Mr. Joker today, aren't you? Enlighten us - what bothers you dear sir!?

D: Me? Nothing! I am a happy and content man!

A: Nobody is happy and content! There must be something! Come on!

D: Not really - nothing concerns me - much.... I mean, there are some little things here and there though - but they are nothing - you guys will laugh...

B: Well I am going to laugh no matter what you answer .....

A: Let him speak! - Continue...

D: You remember the second-last scene in Dil Chahta Hai? When Dimple is dead and they are putting all her belongings in a truck. Well, whom are they shipping those things to? Her daughter is a minor - Dimple's husband won't let her have those things - Akshay Khanna himself can't have them - that'll be too weird and creepy. So where does that truck drive off to? They don't tell you that, do they?

E: Who the hell cares where the truck was taking those things? Probably to a local flee market! And this bothers you why, exactly? You wanted dead Dimple's wine glasses, do you?

D: Now look who's being a smartass! Finally managed to stop thinking about what you were thinking about before, eh Mr. Tragedy?

E: Well - your utter stupidity shook me out of -,

D: And then then - what if Karan Johar decides to do a movie about Mrutyunjaya? There's a whole lot of scope for sentimentalism and sacrifice and all! Will he cast Shahrukh as Karna? If he does, then that'll ruin Mrutyunjaya for me! And and, why hasn't Yash Raj made a film about 500 Days of Summer yet? And also,-

A: Please stop! I accept your previous answer - you are not concerned about anything - agreed.

B: Hahahahahaha!

D: Whatever....

C: Well this exercise was a major waste of time - didn't give us anything concrete!

A: What were you expecting?

TIL (Today I Learnt): When you are just lying around trying to kill time and there are multiple things going through your mind - its really fun to cast those thoughts as intoxicated individuals and make them have a conversation!

Time well spent methinks!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gatsby - what Gatsby?

There are a few reasons why I decided to read "The Great Gatsby" - one of the biggest classics from 1920s written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

One, I like being that jerk, the one who after watching a movie based on a book, says with a smirk - "You know what - the book was better - they have ruined it completely in the movie." So a decently cool trailer was enough of an incentive.

Two, Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play Jay Gatsby and after The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island and Inception, the poor man definitely deserves something more than angry fans arguing for him on IMDb and such forums. So assuming that he will probably pull off one more stunning performance and once again end up with nothing, I wanted to be better prepared when the time of the debates comes. 

Three, this movie is the first Hollywood movie where Amitabh Bachchan is part of the cast. And yes, I do strongly believe that Hollywood  repeatedly and in a not-so-subtle manner, likes to portray India/Indians in a negative way - either a poor, dirty slum-dog or a rich, idiotic snob (remember Anil Kapoor in MI-4?). And as far as I know, there wouldn't have been many Indians in 1920s in the rich suburban Long Island area where the story takes place and so I wanted to know beforehand what devious fate is in store for Amitabh Bachchan. He plays a Jew businessman of sorts (if you call bootlegging a business).

Four, I am a big fan of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Incidentally, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda are characters in that movie. They say that F. Scott Fitzgerald loosely based the character of Daisy, the female lead of The Great Gatsby, on his wife Zelda. I absolutely fell in love with her in Midnight in Paris! Besides being stunningly beautiful, she is unpredictable, rude, charming, even borderline crazy and suicidal. She is always all over the place, but you can still see that she has good intentions - somewhere deep.

So anyway, its a small book. Barely 200 or so pages - and still it took me more than 3 weeks to finish it! Thanks to my awesome High-school  St. Vimli's (THE best sarcastic pseudonym for the horrible school that people have come up with), my English vocabulary is as bad as it can be and I could not help but think that I should have read this book one or two weeks before I took the GRE, the small window of time when all the bloody wordlists were actually fresh in my head. Having to check meanings of 10 words in every single page ends up being very annoying after a while!

Here's a disclaimer - I think there can not be any spoilers for a book like The Great Gatsby. Its a textbook tragedy, like Devdas or such. So even if you kind of know the end, it hardly makes any difference to the value of the story as such.

So before I state anything about the book - let me clearly state this - Yes - I am an idiot - Yes I do not understand subtle art - and Yes I am too intellectually and artistically challenged to fully appreciate this book.
But the fact of the matter is, I completely failed to "get" what the book was trying to say!

The characters, I feel,  are too simple. The negative character, Tom, Daisy's husband, is so in-your-face-evil and so obviously smarter, physically stronger and richer than Gatsby that you kind of know beforehand what the end result is going to be before Tom and Gatsby start having their obligatory conversation-fight towards the end of the book.

Secondly, I don't like it when there are external, uncontrollable reasons for a character's downward spiral. Because then, the "tragedy" is not "real" in some sense - its just an inevitable thing - something that was meant to happen sooner or later - and that, in my personal opinion, is too much of a cliche. For example, Devdas has a perfect reason to be pissed off - his parents didn't like his girlfriend. But for Dev D,well, his father was actually disappointed that he blew his chances with Paro. And this thing, not having anything or anyone to blame but your own self, is surely the ideal reason to drink yourself to death. In The Great Gatsby, its just meant not to end well. Sure - it makes for a good drama and a handful of sentimental scenarios, but loses some sort deep emotional bond that it might have forged with readers. I think a good tragedy should not make you feel sad about the character, it should just make you feel sad.

Third, the book wants to show how careless, selfish and bitter people get, even towards their loved ones, when they are trying to hide their pain. But here, the characters overdo it so much that instead of feeling sorry for Daisy, I actually found her to be very repulsive. There is a thin line between being overtly bubbly, pretending to be shallow and being downright shallow - and in my book, Daisy is on the wrong side of this line - almost always.

So anyway, I am majorly pissed. Not at The Great Gatsby - but at myself - for failing to understand the book, for failing to have that "oh this book soo changed my life" feeling that so many people seemed to have according to the reviews.

I really hope the movie is good - and since its a musical, if nothing else, I hope to get a good collection of new songs to listen to!