Sunday, June 28, 2009

New York - The Film

Last night, we watched New York. I think I have become too repetitive with my comments on Bollywood movies, but that does not stop me from using the same words again "Bull Shit, Ridiculous, Piece of Shit, Fuckall...please help me with more such words.
The story is about three friends: Sameer, Maya and Omar. Sameer turns a terrorist. By some unexplained accident (Movie makers need to understand this thing that u can take liberties but please explain 'how' of your script) FBI finds guns and bombs in a taxi, which they claimed was owned by Omar. Omar is not shown to be a taxi operator or owner of a fleet. How the fuck can that car be his? He is detained and the interrogator is Roshan. Roshan is a muslim and says because he is a south asian, FBI has given him the task as he is a muslim and its their way of showing that America loves all. The idiot film maker does not know that investigating agencies like FBI, Raw do not have to prove to anyone that they love all. Its the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the states who have this propanganda. Needless to say, the dialogues could not have been more screwed up. Roshan says he understands Omar. WHAT THE FUCK.......AM SURE IF FBI COMES TO KNOW OF SUCH DIALOGUES, IT WILL BE DISGUSTED.
So, the trick for Omar to prove his innocence is to somehow go back to his friends Sameer and Maya, who are married with a kid, and stay with them in their home and work as FBI informer. As is expected of all Hindi films, Omar rejects the proposition only to accept it seconds later. Ok if Omar has accepted it once, I can assume he has accepted it for all. But no, the film maker is horribly confused on how to project the image of Omar in minds of audience. How can a nice man in a hindi movie screw his own friend? So, Omar every now and then bursts with anger and tells Roshan that how can he expect him to betray his friends? And says he will do it only if FBI guarantees that they wont kill Sameer (Man it can not be more ridiculous) And Omar says it to Roshan "I mean it". I was wondering what the fuck he "means". How can a detained have such an attitiude?
Coming back to story, Sameer has not told Maya that he has become a terrorist, but she knows it. Last scene, Maya comes to know that Omar works with FBI. Omar convinces Maya that she should go and talk to FBI in their headquarters and they will give amnesty to her husband (How ridiculous) She goes and is sitting in FBI HQRS talking to Roshan and his superior. Just then, Sameer is planting bomb in a building. Omar knows it but does not know in which building he is planting the bomb. FBI HQRS is a glass building and Maya happens to see Sameer hanging out the FBI HQRS pretending that he is cleaning it, while he is actually planting bombs. What an accident. The husband, who is also a terrorist, is planting a bomb in a building where by some great coincidence, his wife also happens be in. Even the dumbest would know that they love each other too much and no way will the husband set the trigger off. And this way, Sameer does not let the bomb blast. How can he kill his beloved. Rather, he is shot by FBI snipers.
For those, who were wondering what happened to their kid. He is adopted by Omar. The kid, Omar and Roshan go to eat pasta. So, why dont Kabir Khan make New York Part-2, when the kid grows up and realises that his care takers had killed his parents and takes revenge.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I owe my allegiance to..........

Don’t you feel that human beings (in fact even animals) are desperate to owe their allegiance to a group? I always keep on complaining about India and I am desperate to leave it if I get a good chance. I was talking to my friend (for anonymity sake, let’s call him X). X agrees that India is a hopeless country. X is quite a techie and likes new products and technologies. He gets excited when his friends in US tell him that they bought a Toyota Corolla by spending just a year's savings. Last week, he agreed that all white-collar employees of India get underpaid but definitely overspend. Who would pay Rs 17,500 per month for a two-room flat in any other city apart from Bombay? Am sure an economist can use purchasing power parity theory plus quality of life criteria to reach a conclusion that for the facilities it offers, Bombay is the costliest city in the world. Still, X says that he would never settle abroad. At max, he will go there for a vacation. If the logical side of his brain is convinced that there are better parts in the world, it’s the emotional side of his brain, which makes him, clung to the ‘Indian’ batch'. Isn’t it such an illusion? I think few (may be many of us) would just like to stay at a place far removed from the chaos of this world. And, that place can be anywhere.

My boss in e-serve used to take huge pride in the fact that he works for Citibank - the largest financial conglomerate in the world. Not even that, he used to take pride in being a chartered accountant. Why doesn’t he value all this by a simple fact that these batches put together earn him Rs 10 lakhs a year? He should be taking pride in the fact that he is a lakhpati in an otherwise poor country. But far from it, he takes pride in being an employee of a world-class company. Isn’t it a marketing gimmick by the institutions of the world? And, such institutions can vary from a nation-state to a business. When a CEO addresses a company, he knowingly or unknowingly reduces every audience to a mere employee or worse still a worker. Many of them can be great singers, many of them can be great painters, many of them can be great sportsmen but that hardly matters to him. He sees them as his men (saying his women can be obscene, so women please forgive me). It works wonders for him and the impact is all visible, when employees raise from their seats and start clapping. May be they felt like an orphan and CEO assured them that he is their maai-baap.

ICAI – Institute of Chartered Accountants of India – has told all its members to prefix their gmail id with a ‘ca’. So, my gmail id can be or My CA friends find it okay. But isn’t it ridiculous? For the rest of their lives, their names are prefixed by their qualification as if nothing else matters.

One of my friend visited Germany. She did not like it. She said Germans don’t respect their country. I said, “How does it matter”. We respect our country, but we rank 112 on Human Development Scale, Germans don’t respect their country but they are in top 10. The fact of the matter is we may like India but not Indians. For all countries, which have not reached a high stage in social development, a country remains an illusion in the eyes of its countrymen. An idea – We may not be a superpower but in another 25 years, we will be. The truth is my father also thought so and so did his father. Isn’t it better for our politicians to keep on promising perpetually that we will be a super power so that they have a sales pitch in elections?

I think this is one of the most important reasons that the nation states exist. We don’t think twice and stand up when the national anthem is played. At that time, not even 1% of us think that do we actually respect our country or it is just a ritual? Respect your country is something taught to us. I had acquaintances in Delhi, most of them sons of rich businessmen. Their father had never paid a penny as tax, yet they all used to stand up when national anthem is played. In fact, the conditions are so bad in certain countries that you might as well get exempted from all taxes if you stand under their flag. The government knows that this sense of pride is far more important than paying taxes. Aren’t Germans better off by simply paying their taxes and affording to have a kind of disdain for their country?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is Bombay the best city of India?

A strange idea has pre-occupied me for the past few days. It just struck me that if one were to say how good a city is, it has to be seen from the perspectives of the outsiders. In simpler words, if you are born in a city, you should not be judging it as your judgment will always be partial. This leads to dangerous conclusions, which xenophobic wont like, as the opinion of a Punjabi on Punjab is irrelevant. The reason is simple. Take my own case. I was born in Delhi. I was brought up there itself and all my concerns were taken care of by my doting parents. I did not know what hardships they faced when they constructed their house or when they were humiliated as tenants. I cannot identify with my dad's harassment when he was made fun of for not knowing which bus route goes to Connaught Place. I cannot relate to my mom's paranoia with the roads and buses, which she could hardly relate to being from a small town. This is all because I had them to turn to whenever I wanted to know which bus goes where, which market is famous for what. Moreover, ever since I have gained senses I had a roof as my parents got a house in 1987, when I was just 5.

A city has to be seen by its behavior towards people who have just come into it. And, if this is a yardstick, Bombay will be the most civilized city of India. The city has local trains so conveyance related problems are taken care of. And, it is damn affordable, which shows that the planners had known that not everyone is born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Moreover, the auto rickshaw drivers are rare breeds among their brethrens who charge you as per the readings of the meter. Compare this with the behavior of auto drivers in Chennai. In no other city that I have visited, was I shouted upon by the auto driver. In Chennai, they understand that the commuter does not know Tamil. Then, they ask for obscene fares and sometimes mid-way they stop auto to bargain again. If you do not agree on higher fare, you can move out but remain assured that the auto driver would abuse you will all filthy words. I know it is too demeaning a statement to say, as one would ask isn’t auto driver a human too? But, in India such rights are reserved for rich. Poor auto driver hardly shout at passengers.

In Bombay, if you need a flat, there is an army of estate agents. I know that new comers in the city often criticize this system. Because this agent asks for at least one month’s rent as commission for the services he provides. But, doesn’t he deserve it? Who would show you tens of apartments at short notice? Who would bribe the police to say that they have done the inquiry without seeing your face? Who would stand in queue at the office of rent authority? Who would bargain with the flat owners who know that you are new and can be screwed easily? By this, I don’t intend to say that the estate agents are saints. In many cases they too have over priced their services but they do a job, which many white-collar employees would refuse to do, as they don’t want to dirty their collars by bribing the officials. Moreover, once you have paid the commission to him, he would take care of all disputes with owner. And, a tenant is never looked down upon. In Delhi, I remember there was a robbery next to my house. The owner’s son threatened the tenant saying that he would beat him up unless he accepts that he helped the thieves. Chennai is yet to recover from its madness for Tamil language and many agents wont help you knowing that you are not from their part of land. My friend Venkat helped me get a flat in Chennai, else I was jacked.

Among many other things, Bombay is the only city in India where you can get liquor and vegetables delivered at your home. I can open the pandora box if I start explaining a liquor shop in Chennai. All liquor shops are government owned. The drunkards often hijack the shop. They drink right in front of it. And, because it is government owned, the seller thinks that he is doing such a great service by selling you the booz so “home delivery” is not in his dictionary. Though, the scene is not as bad in Delhi. Still, many cases of rape are reported near such liquor shops, which talks about the kind of people around it.

If someone has told you “customer is the king” the best thing you can do to him is to buy an air ticket to Chennai and gift it to him. The government has made the local channels free to woo the voters. Localities hardly need to watch any other channel apart from famous ones in Tamil. All other channels like Zee, Star require a set top box, which is sold by company owned by Chief Minister’s son. It is too obvious that most of the customers buying set top box would be those who are not familiar with Tamil. Else, why would need it. The CM’s son does not seem to know it. The person who explained the functions of that box to me knew only Tamil and no other language. Not only that, he was dressed in dirty pajamas and I don’t want to hazard a guess on his education. It is like showing middle finger to the customer. As it is only CM’ son company which can sell the set top box. So, the customer has no other option.

Talking of the inconvenience, there are many posh localities in Delhi, where if a not so rich man happens to go and he does not have a car, he wont be able to find either a bus or a rick. You would be left stranded. No matter in which part of Bombay you are, you will easily come across auto-rickshaws.

Similarly, a country should be judged by how well it treats its minorities. For all practical purposes, minorities are referred as outsiders in the majority circles. So, India should not be judged by Hindus, rather it should be judged by what Muslims and Christians have to say about it. And, I am sure we will have to cover our faces in shame in many cases, if we were to ask them. This is precisely the strength, which US has, and this is why no other country will become super power unless it adopts a liberal migrant policy.