Friday, April 29, 2005

Nurture young love - the concluding part

I continue today on what I had begun a few days ago– assisting young love on its way (while at the same time taking generous leaps along the road to perdition myself). To recap, yesterday we had left a love struck swain who was game to follow his true love to the ends of the earth (provided somebody else paid the air fare) waiting with bated breath for the reply to a letter ghost written (deliberately badly) by yours truly...

There was silence for a week. I grew curiouser and curiouser with every passing day. It was a week later that &*^ approached me, looking tired, careworn and worried.

‘Eda...she’s not replied to me, da’

‘She probably was so moonstruck by your letter that she couldn’t possibly have walked all the way to the lab and composed her reply. Let me tell you something – that letter was so good that if you’d given that letter to the queen of Sheba she’d have accepted you into her harem of husbands with not a second thought!!’, I said, lying brazenly through my teeth.

He dismissed these illuminating thoughts with a careless wave of his hand.

'Don't talk bullshit, you bastard!', said he. He was one of those chaps whose frankness in speech bordered on the obscenely insulting, the blighter!

‘So what do you want me to do now? Write another letter?’, I asked, adopting that sarcastic manner which had failed to penetrate his hide in the least when I used it last.

Once again, it bounced off him like bullets bounce off Superman.

‘Actually, yeah’, he said shamelessly. He did not even attempt to look embarrassed at the thought of imposing on my time.

‘It ‘ll cost you if you want me to do it the second time. The first time, being a freeware demo, came for free. 99 rupees and 95 paise – I’ve brought my rates down...’, said I, attempting to sound like a technical czar talking about the NTFS kernel (assuming such a creature exists).

Talk of money changing hands (only when he was at the wrong end of the transaction) always had a peculiar effect on &*^. He began to rapidly rethink on a strategy that had seemed so imperative just a few minutes ago. After concluding his customary disparaging remarks - comparing my methods of embezzlement to Mr. Ambani’s (to my benefit) - he begged me to reconsider or at least ask her of the outcome of the outpourings of his heart.

I agreed – more out of curiosity and unrestrained boredom which had returned to haunt me once again than anything else. I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea. The thought of approaching a girl I had spoken to probably once in my life and asking her for her verdict on &*^’s undying love did not appear to me as fun. I walked towards her feeling a trepidation that was almost definitely shameful, considering the fact that she was a mere first year and I was a second year student.

‘Er...#######, &*^ asked me to ask you this...’

‘What...?’, she said, in her customary tone of voice, which lay somewhere in between a deferential whisper and the ramblings of a chap with laryngitis.

But us Warriers are made of stern stuff. I continued…

‘He wants to know if you received the letter and how you react to his proposition of undying love, y’know...’, I stuttered.

‘I don’t see any reason to have any opinion about it...’, she said, her voice rising well above her usual deferential whisper.

‘But why...?’, I asked. I began to realize that asking her out in the middle of Mount road while standing on my hands was a considerably less onerous task.

‘I know you wrote it – it was too ridiculous to have been thought of by &^*. In fact, too poetic to have been thought of by anybody who didn’t possess three copies of Roget’s. Besides, he’s yet to have discovered the joys of constructing an English sentence. Anyway, I never did like him and would be greatly pleased if he didn’t call me this weekend... Can I go now, sir? I still have three psalms left out of my day’s quota of 45!’

Her ‘sir’ was loaded with a sarcasm that bites (quite unlike the ‘sir’s we, as seniors, expect out of our juniors as a matter of course).

But I did not attempt to take her to task. I could see that the scales had fallen before her eyes. I slunk away into the darkness quietly, leaving her to her psalms.......

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Beat Boredom - turn cupid and nurture young love

I'd written this post a couple of years ago, but thanks to exams, I don't have time to write anything new. So something's better than nothing, I guess.

If you have copious quantities of water in your brain (like most poets who've written reams on love and romance), go fall in love. If you're just bored, well.... just play cupid!

Playing cupid is a highly entertaining and highly risky endeavour as well. If one manages to succeed in the onerous task of bringing two young hearts together, one reaps the rewards which come in the form of being known to all your classmates as ‘mama’ (which means little more than ‘pimp’) If one fails, however, one runs the risk of being accused of messing everything up because of one’s own romantic interests.

But, nothing fun is not risky. Or to put it another way, taking risks is half the fun.

My first attempt at playing cupid came upon me by chance. A male friend of mine requested me to help him with a love letter he was composing to a junior who’d just joined our college.

The junior was a religious Malayalee fresh out of some oilfield in Saudi Arabia and hadn’t seen a male (discounting her father, of course) for the first seventeen years of her life, having spent all of it under a burkha. But her prolonged stay at a nunnery like this had done nothing to diminish her feminine charms, which were considerable. My friend fell for her like fifty cycles in a cycle stand. Not particularly surprising becuase he is one of those fellows who is capable of falling in love even with a rhino dressed in drag.

My friend, however, had a problem. He was far from confident of his ability to compose paeans in her honour using the Queen’s language – and the girl was rather marked in her inability to read even a single sentence in Malayalam.

At that particular point of time, I was terribly bored and even more terribly broke. So I proffered my services as a ghost writer to my friend just as he was lamenting his utter inability to express his love for her in words.

‘Hey, thanks’re a true friend...’, said he.

‘But there’s a catch...’, I said

He spent the next five minutes telling me how I had earned his eternal and everlasting gratitude by my act of mercy and how he was ready to hit anybody in the college who had been foolhardy enough to trouble a person as sweet, loving, caring and personable as me.

I did not interrupt him. I enjoyed every moment of it.

‘I was thinking more in terms of monetary remuneration, y’know...’ I said, broaching the subject of money in a gentlemanly way.

After a couple of minutes of bargaining, I realized that this chap was incapable of thinking of sums greater than 10 rupees if left to his own devices. So I suggested the nice round figure of 100 rupees.

‘One hundred bucks!!? Are you jokin’???’, he screamed incredulously and launched into another long monologue of how people had forgotten the value of friendship and how St.Peter would send me to the gates of Hell for attempting to fleece money off a man in perpetual penury.

I was about to tell him that the deal was off. It was then, on the spur of the moment that one of my devilish ideas struck me.

‘Okay, da... I don’t want to do anything. I have seen the light following your remarks. I am a changed man! I will help my friend with his true love!’

Oh yes, I shall, you stingy bastard, I thought to myself. I resolved to consult two thesauruses, three dictionaries and the Barron’s word lists and write a love letter so abstruse that even I wouldn’t be able to make sense of it the second time around. I also resolved to make it cornier than three of Bollywood’s mushiest romances.

I sat up all night, composing the labour of ‘love’ in the spirit of malice. When I displayed the finished product, my friend had five words to say –

‘Perfect da, Its so romantic...’

He seemed to have made his judgement based on the number of syllables in each word more than anything else. You can decide how romantic it was by reading it for yourself.

dearest ######, heart of my hearts

How are you? I guess you are sleeping, dreaming sweet dreams, as i type this... nay, write this letter with my lifeblood… after i had that enchanting talk with u. Words fail me when I try to describe the upheavals that shook my inner being as I conversed with you. I never thought you would talk to me this long. Though I feel, in my heart of hearts, you fail to realize the seriousness with which my heart palpitates at the sight of you, at the sound of your oh-so-sweet voice, and the wonderfully romantic way that your name rolls over my tongue.

I wish $%#* stayed inside her room( she interferes too goddamn much), wait a sec, i have this niggling doubt, this iota of fear within a portion of my fervid lovestruck mind...was it a ploy you employed to disconnect the phone? Please say it wasn't so...

Hope you had as good a time at Pizza hut as your little heart could ever have wished for. May I call u the same time next week? I can't take no for an answer, for such a devastating verdict from your sweet lips could mean utter desperation, sorrow, pain, anguish, and heart rending distress to this lovesick swain. So, I take the answer to be yes. Please please wait for my call. I await the wonderful minutes that I shall fruitfully expend listening to your sugary voice.

Please, ######,. do not by any chance of fate, reveal what transpired in the mellifluous conversations that I have had with you to anybody, not even to &^$(*, or any of my other batchmates.

######, ( I love writing your name), when u go to kerala, brightening up by your lustrous presence any train that you may take, please get me the things that I so abjectly desire to receive from your dainty little hands. Anyway, I forgot to ask you, when shall Madras be deprived of your beauteous presence? The days that you are not in our college will be extremely dark ones for me...


the one who adores you to the ends of the earth and beyond,

your lovesick swain,


*Names hidden to protect privacy (and author’s life and limb)

To be contd...

- What path will young love take after the receipt of the letter? Find out tomorrow...
- And more techniques which still remain too secret to reveal


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good news resting on the horns of a dilemma

Over the last few days, life has treated me well. It was on March 28th that the first bit of good news trickled in. After a series of B-School disasters of the MICA kind, I was rather chafed as I sat contemplating a long, bleak future coding away at a nameless terminal in a nameless software company, surrounded by other nameless engineers.

It was then that I received an admit into the Singapore MIT Alliance, with the SMA Grad Scholarship to boot. The thought of 1500 Sgd a month and a paid trip to MIT led to my life turning into a veritable orgy of celebration.

And then, on April 16, rested in my junk mail folder the following letter.

Dear Siddhu Warrier,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected for
participation to the European Master in Informatics (EuMI).

Furthermore, your name has been proposed to the European Commission
for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship. You will receive a grant of 21000 EUR per year.

Please confirm your interest in participating to EuMi. Thank you.

Best regards,
Marco Pistore
(Coordinator of EuMI)

And now, I know what it means to be on the horns of a dilemma. Any opinions, anyone? Most academics I know recommend this – the course being at University of Edinburgh and RWTH Aachen University in Germany. But then, the SMA deal seems sweet.

However, I must say the last few days have made up for my ridiculously pathetic performance in Class XII, and I just can’t stop jumping about in joy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Twinkle Twinkle Superstar

Though I had mentioned in my earlier post that I do not readily subject myself to two to three hours of visual and auditory torture, I seem to have been doing a lot of that for the last week or so. A case in point is today, when I watched not one movie but two – one after the other, sitting alone in a theatre.

For those of you who may be mystified by my inexplicable behaviour, let me hasten to explain – April 14 saw the release of three films, and I get paid for reviewing them. And there’s nothing I love to do more than collect papers with Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on their face. It was this thought that steeled me for three hours of watching the superstar, sitting alongside hordes of fanatical fans.

I’d watched the Malayalam original, Manichitrataazhu in 1993 as a nine year old – not once but several times. I fell in love with the movie, and was scared shitless by Shobhana’s national award winning performance. In fact, Shobhana signed me an autograph which said ‘Nagavalli’ after my mother told her how scared I’d become. So, as far as Chandramukhi was concerned, I expected something much worse. But P. Vasu surpassed my lowest expectations by making a frame-by-frame retake that was infinitely worse than the original.

In the original, Mohanlal, playing an erudite psychiatrist, walks in to the movie just before the intermission. But we can’t have that with superstar, can we? So we see our America educated psychiatrist knocking people around like they were feathers in the first scene – wearing the same white trainers he wore when he was an auto-driver in Baasha.

It was then that I saw the fanaticism that defines a true Rajni fan. Rajni mouthed an inanity after the fight was done - an inanity so inane that it would have made anyone with half a mind barf. But then, to my surprise, this young chap behind me screamed out a reverent ‘Thalaivaah’!

As to what they called ‘comedy’ in the movie, the less said the better. Vadivelu’s comedy belongs to pantomimes staged for the benefit of three year old retards. But, alas, his comedy is foisted upon an audience comprised of several adults. (The fact that they seem to love it casts a shadow over my own sanity, though!)

I mean, I love a good laugh as much as the next man (and the man next to him as well). But I find it difficult to laugh when, say, trucks splash mud on Vadivelu’s face. The only thing I find funny about the completely contrived situation is how Vadivelu looks so much better when his visage is covered by a layer of mud.

As the movie progresses, the story becomes more and more like Manichitrataazhu, except for a mindless stunt sequence where Rajni proves he can fly too. But the hitch is – this makes the movie worse. I shed tears of sorrow as Jyothika tried to roll her eyes and scare the world, Prabhu tried to cry and got the theatre rocking with laughter instead, and Rajni stuck a French beard on and screamed ‘Lakalakalakalaka…’ with his tongue out!

Talking of Jyotika, she has just enough acting talent to comfortably fit into a teaspoon. In addition, my classical dancing skills are just a little better than hers.

When she dances next to Vineeth, a trained classical dancer (and just about the only person in the whole movie who actually acts), she seems about as nimble as an obese Punjabi truck driver. But I’ll hand her this – she’s as adept at raising her eyebrows and looking stoned as the DPS girl is at mouthing funny dialogues as she chokes on whatever she was choking on.

In the theatre, the superstar fan club began to grow eerily silent with the passage of time.

After having started very enthusiastically with the devout call to their thalaivar, the blokes began to quiet down a bit. By the time the intermission was on, they began to make risqué remarks about the ads playing. By the time the movie neared its exciting denouement, the aforementioned luminaries decided it would be more fun to make fun of the hero’s English pronounciation – which they did, calling to hand resources of ingenuity I never expected them to possess.

It was a tired and drained self that walked out of Mayajaal to grab a bite to eat before Mumbai Xpress began to play. As I walked back in, I espied the exceedingly vocal blokes lounging by the entrance.

One of them looked at me in surprise and asked me, ‘Hey, weren’t you with us for Chandramukhi?’

‘Yeah!’, said I, trying hard to bring an expression of joy onto my face.

‘Have you come to watch it again?’, he asked me, his eyes almost popping out of his sockets.


I shouted this out loud enough to cause a couple of seedy looking chaps to turn around and give me a gentle smile of approval.

He looked puzzled as he bade me his goodbye. I wondered why.

It was then that I realized I’d forgotten to don my green shirt, red cargos, pearly white sneakers and twenty buck sunglasses.

P.S: I forgot all about Nayanthara. She’s there as eye candy. Her role lacks substance, but she doesn’t, not by a long shot – hoo boy! =P~

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Motorcycle Diaries

I’m not the kind who readily subjects himself to two hours of visual and auditory torture in a dark room. In fact, given a choice, I’d avoid setting foot in the theater as much as I can. Devdas, which brought tears to the eyes of a few I know, brought tears to my eyes as well – only they were tears of boredom. Ocean’s Eleven – I fell asleep halfway through the first thirty minutes. I wished to crack James Bond’s skull with a blackjack (though my name isn’t Warrierovsky). But there are a few movies I’ve enjoyed watching greatly – movies that have left their indelible marks on my self.

One such movie is The Motorcycle Diaries. Though the movie was released in 2004, I never got down to seeing it till yesterday – blame it on my monumental laziness. Directed by Walter Sallers, this movie is nothing less than a masterpiece.

The New York Times (curse the dad-blasted, soul-less Yankees) had the gall and the immortal rind to describe the movie as the Best Road Movie Ever. ‘Road Movie?’, well these Yankees are just plain stupid! Considering the CIA thought Che was ‘fairly intellectual for a Latino’, it isn’t surprising at all.

The movie was a lot more than that. It showed the transformation of a young privileged upper middle class boy traveling – a boy who reminded me of myself and so many others I know – into a man the whole world knew and respected.

The trip starts off on a lark, with the proposed objective being to fuck in every country in Latin America (preferably every town). But as their old bike fails and they hit the road, one begins to witness glimmers of the transformation that lead to the death of Ernesto Guevara, and the emergence from his ashes of ‘Che’ Guevara.

As the movie wound to an end, I began to contemplate upon life, and the sheer meaninglessness of mine.

I realized that I was blind.

The poverty and the injustice perpetrated by the capitalists which affected young Ernesto such a lot are visible in much greater numbers in my country. But I am inured to it.

We may be called an economic miracle by Western trained economists who marvel at our rate of growth, but can we forget the millions we have displaced or rendered jobless in the name of development? But no, I’m too busy munching on my Cadbury’s to notice.

Western Multinationals like Pepsi, brought into the country to bring about jobs and employment, have polluted ground water supplies in Kerala. They have deprived entire villages of a drop to drink. Oh, excuse me, that Mirinda tastes oh-so-succulent.

This is one movie which, as the trailer says, will alter the way you look at the world. One movie you just shouldn’t miss taking a dekko at, though it’s completely in Spanish (with English sub-titles).

By the way, anyone have a copy of Che’s biography or better still, The Motorcycle Diaries, lying around somewhere?

"Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man" – Che Guevara, 1967.