Tuesday, May 27, 2008

GB beckons...

My obsessive Wikipedia browsing, every now and then, yields many a gem of an entry. This one's about Old Monk. I'll quote the entire thing for the benefit of posterity lest some vandal should make his mind to destroy the same.

Old Monk is a vatted Indian Rum, blended and aged for 7 years (though there is also more expensive, 12 year old version). It is dark, with an alcohol content of 42.8%. It is produced by Mohan Meakin, based in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

It is one of the most favoured flavours of rum not only in India, but across the world.

It is drunk by the best among the connoisseurs of alcohol in India(data from various sources). It is supposed to be the brand of rum suited for all seasons.

The logo of 'Old Monk' reminds its customers of the all encompassing smile of a quintessential drunkard who knows where the others are headed for.

It is available in all parts of India.

It is sold in four size variants 180ml (quarter), 350ml (half), 750ml (commonly referred to as a "full bottle"), and a 1 liter bottle.



लोग अक्सर उस से पूछा करते थे कि "विजय ही क्यूं? नाम तो और भी कई हो सकते थे?" वो मुस्कुरा भर देता था और कोई घटिया सा बहाना बना के पीछा छुड़ा लिया करता था. ट्रेड सीक्रेट यूँ ही सभी को नहीं बता दिया जाता.


वेनेशियन ब्लाइंड्स से छनती हुई कमज़ोर, तिरछी, पीली धूप की किरणें हमारे हीरो के चेहरे पर पड़ रही थीं. उसके हाथ में अपने पसंदीदा राइटर कि लेटेस्ट किताब थी जो कल ही उसने खरीदी थी. पर इस समय उसका ध्यान किताब और उसके पेचीदा प्लॉट पर नहीं था. वो तो किसी और ही उधेढ़-बुन में लगा था.

"मैंने बहुत दुनिया देखी है", ऐसा वो अक्सर कहा करता था, और मेरी मानिये तो कुछ ग़लत नहीं कहता था. उन तमाम सवालों के जवाब, जिन्हें फिलोसफर सोचते सोचते ख़ाक हो गए, हमारे नायक के पास मौजूद थे. अपने काम के सिलसिले में उसने आदमी और उसके स्वभाव के बारे में जिस गहराई से सोचा था, वो फिलोसफरों की पहुँच के बाहर था. जिन परिस्थितियों में उसने आदमियों पर अपने सिद्धांतों की जांच की थी, वो वैज्ञानिकों के परे था.

दरवाज़े के स्पीकर से निकली आवाज़ ने उसकी सोच में विघ्न डाला. "कम इन", उसके मुंह से निकला, और दरवाज़ा खुल गया.

कमरे में एक लड़की खड़ी थी जो बड़े गौर से अपने सामने बैठे आदमी की ओर देख रही थी...

एक पल के लिए उस आदमी की आँखों में चमक आई और एक तिरछी सी मुस्कान उसके चेहरे पर फ़ैल गई. उसने अलसाये हुए तरीके से अपनी कुर्सी लड़की की तरफ़ घुमाई और बैठे बैठे अपना हाथ उसकी तरफ़ बढाते हुए बोला, "कौल मी विजय...जासूस विजय."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Project Pulp Fiction

During the course of commenting on my last post titled "One, Two, Three Mike Testing", my sister pointed out how good a natural (photo?)copier I was and how the post reminded her of Nirmal Verma's writing style. While flattered, I vehemently deny this particular observation while agreeing with the overall allegation of being a shameless imitator. SatyaVrat was also quick to remark how hard the post sucked and how ignorant I was in making the errors that he alleged I did make.

The last post was meant to be a guinea pig. That it turned out more pig than guinea was just the way the world works. That guinea pigs are not pigs and have no connection to The Republic of Guinea is also just the way the world works.

But very consciously, I had started out to recreate (in Hindi) the broke-cynical-Raskolnikov that Dostoyevsky had described in his Crime and Punishment and given him Holden Caulfield's voice. Set this guy up in a dystopic SF in a future Lucknow engulfed by smog and snow, add a touch of black humour of the kind found in the pages of The Gulag Archipelago and I would've given myself the biggest self inflicted orgasm theoretically possible.

This is all imitation and I would want it to be a homage to the great masters (mostly Russian and Hindi) that I have had the pleasure of reading. However, Nirmal Verma will never figure in this list of people whom I give 'tribute' to (read imitate), simply because I think that writing the way he did is beyond even a super-enhanced-mega-ass-kicking-Cyborg Nanga Fakir high on drugs.

More achievable is the Raskolnikov-Holden Caulfield meets Neuromancer project I outlined above but that is also ultra non trivial and so the chances are that I will never attempt it.

I remember Sahil (henceforth referred to as Chief), making fun of the legendary Donny Alex (did I get the spelling right?) for harbouring literary aspirations. Donny had become a sort of a common inside joke we Wagoners kept coming back to -- both in our conversations and in the NewsWagon issues we came out with. We did this not because we hated people who harbour literary ambitions (indeed, we were all philosopher-writers ourselves and had women swooning all over us in a parallel universe), but because all of us, down to the last man felt, in a really deep way, how such posturing tries to trivialise something that is so fundamentally non trivial. This was one of our reasons for being skeptical of lit wannabes. For some of us, this skepticism manifested as hatred and disgust for lit imposters. But that, however, is a different story altogether.

What however I can do well is writing pulp fiction in Hindi (if it turns out that I suck at that too, then I will probably remain mentally scarred for the rest of my life) of the kind sold at bus stations and train stations featuring stories where world weary film noirish detectives save the day and end up fucking a lot of hot chicks. I even have a name for my hero -- Jasoos Vijay who introduces himself as "My name is Vijay...Jasoos Vijay". Who knows, perhaps Ghongha Basant will make a surprise entry in the Jasoos Vijay universe.

However, much to Subbu's disappointment, the series will be in Hindi and will be sold on train stations in the Hindi speaking heartlands of India. I will have huge fan following in places like Ajamgadh, Basti, Gonda, Devaria and the planet Tau Tau where I will be awarded the Order of Tau Tau Empire First Class.

God don't let me suck at this thing...please!

Monday, May 12, 2008

वन टू थ्री माइक टेस्टिंग

( एक सवाल जो पूछा जा सकता है, वो यह है कि ये जो मैं लिख रहा हूँ, सो क्यों लिख रहा हूँ? तो अच्छा सवाल है, पर जवाब नहीं मिलेगा -- कम से कम फिलहाल नहीं. )

कुछ दिन पहले तक मैं यूनिवर्सिटी में पढ़ा करता था. पढ़ा क्या करता था, यूं कहिये कि पढ़ने कि कोशिश किया करता था. खैर...फेल हो गया, निकाल दिया गया. एक किस्सा था, सो ख़त्म हुआ.


बाहर बर्फ गिर रही है. ठंड ऐसी कि पूछिये मत और आखरी वजीफा था, वो किराये में चुक गया.

नहाये हुए अरसा हो गया, दाढ़ी बढ़ गई है, शरीर से बदबू आ रही है और न जाने क्या क्या? लेकिन ये सब फिलहाल मेरे दिमाग में नहीं हैं. लिख तो बस इसलिए दे रहा हूँ कि किताबें जो लिखी जाती हैं उनमे यह सब लिखो, तो क्रिटिक जन तारीफ करते हैं, कहते हैं "बड़ी रिअलिस्टिक कहानी है. लौंडे में दम है". और जब हम ठान ही चुके हैं कि इस साल कि बेस्ट कहानी हम लिखेंगे, तो लाज़मी है कि क्रिटिक्स को खुश रखा जाए.

तो जैसा कि मैं कह रहा था, यह सब मेरे दिमाग में नहीं चल रहा है......तो फिर क्या चल रहा है? तो जनाब अधीर न हों, बताते हैं...

मधूलिका आई थी आज यहाँ. उसे देखे हुए काफी वक्त हो चला था. मुझे मालूम होता कि वो आने वाली है तो चुप्पे से सटक लिया होता मैं.

कुछ पैसे दे गई मुझे...कह रही थी कि रूम का किराया चुका दूँ पुराना. (मेरी मकान मालकिन मेरे बारे में चुगली करती है! छोडूँगा नहीं साली को. वैसे ही कुछ कम बेइज्ज़ती हुई है मेरी जो अब औरों से पैसे मांगता फिरूं?) वैसे बड़े दिनों बाद कुछ अच्छा खाने को नसीब हुआ. हाल इतने खस्ता चल रहे हैं कि मना करने की हिम्मत भी नहीं हुई और मुझे ऐसे भूखों की तरह खाता हुआ देख के वो रोने लगी, सो अलग. मुझे ज़रा भी अच्छा नहीं लगा. लेकिन मैंने नाटक किया कि मैंने नोटिस नहीं किया और खाता रहा. कसम से, मालूम होता मधु आएगी तो सटक लिया होता मैं...


Test successful...
Begin blogging in Hindi...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Oh Me!

I was discussing with my brother, the possible names for my niece who's about to be born (the expected date of birth coincides with mine!). The talk was focussed on the home name and it was suggested by my brother that the home name be Omee.

Nanga Fakir: (after some thinking) That would be so goddamn awesome!
Brother: (slightly puzzled) I know its a good name...but awesome? Why?
Nanga Fakir: Well for one, Ajay Devgan, in the movie Omkara was referred to as Omee Bhaiyya by his followers.
Brother: Ha ha...I see your point.
Nanga Fakir: That's hardly all of it. In the iconic MTV Unplugged Live in New York, just before it all ended, Nirvana played the best song of the album called Oh Me, a homophone of the name Omee. This name will be our humble tribute to the memory of Kurt Cobain!
Brother: Whoa...dude.


The omens couldn't be better. A child born on the same day as me and a name which pays tribute to Omkara and Kurt Cobain! Niece...let the spirit of Grunge be with you!

PS: I know the original was by the Meat Puppets and Nirvana did a cover. But that doesn't make the song any less awesome!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

My Favourite Pictures

Beyond AA

1) Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (Kundan Shah)
2) Anand (Hrishikesh Mukherjee)
3) Before Sunset (Richard Linklater)
4) Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont)
5) Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis)
6) Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky)
7) Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant)
8) Memento (Christopher Nolan)
9) Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberley Peirce)
10) Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg)
11) Waking Life (Richard Linklater)
12) Cidade de Deus (Fernando Mereilles)
13) Trois Colouers Rouge (Kriestof Kizelowsky)
14) Fight Club (David Fincher)
15) No Smoking (Anurag Kashyap)
16) Visitor Q (Takashi Miike)
17) 3-Iron (Kim ki Duk)
18) Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky)
19) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick)
20) Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
21) 2046 (Wang kar Wai)
22) Dil Se (Mani Ratnam)
23) Siddheshwari (Mani Kaul)
24) Kramashah (Amit Dutta)
25) Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer)
26) Court (Chaitanya Tamhane)
27) Whiplash ()


1) Pyasa (Guru Dutt)
2) Satya (Ram Gopal Varma)
3) The Others (Alejandro Amenábar)
4) Golmaal (Hrishikesh Mukherjee)
5) Dil Chahta Hai (Farhan Akhtar)
6) The Pianist (Roman Polanski)
7) Gandhi (Richard Attenborough)
8) As Good As it Gets (James L Brooks)
9) Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg)
10) Platoon (Oliver Stone)
11) Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
12) Muhafiz (Ismail Merchant)
13) Salaam Bombay (Meera Nayar)
14) Maqbool (Vishal Bharadwaj)
15) Andaaz Apna Apna (Rajkumar Santoshi)
16) Guide (Vijay Anand)
17) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
18) Dead Poet's Society (Peter Weir)
19) Life is Beautiful (Roberto Benigni)
20) Philadelphia (Jonathan Demme)
21) The Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
22) Matrix Trilogy (Wachowsky Brothers)
23) Black (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
24) The Machinist (Brad Anderson)
25) Anaadi (Hrishikesh Mukherjee)
26) Persona (Ingmar Bergman)
27) Omkara (Vishal Bharadwaj)
28) Black Friday (Anurag Kashyap)
29) Sholay (Ramesh Sippy)
30) Lagaan (Ashutosh Gowarikar)
31) 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini)
32) Apu Trilogy (Satyajit Ray)
33) Network (Sidney Lumet)
34) Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair)
35) The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
36) Ed Wood (Tim Burton)
37) Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
38) Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow)
39) Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore)
40) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson)
41) The Blairwitch Project (Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez)
42) Shutter (Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom)
43) El Laberinto del Fauno (Guillermo del Toro)
44) Vengeance Trilogy (Park Chan-wook)
45) Annie Hall (Woody Allen)
46) La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz)
47) Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
48) Irreversible (Gaspar Noe)
49) September (Woody Allen)
50) A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan)
51) Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson)
52) Stardust Memories (Woody Allen)
53) Unbreakable (Manoj Night Shyamalan)
54) Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
55) The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
56) Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (Kim Ki-duk)
57) Half Ticket (Kalidas)
58) Happiness (Todd Solondz)
59) Gozu (Takashi Miike)
60) A Tale of Two Sisters (Kim ji Woon)
61) Dumplings (Fruit Chan)
62) Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith)
63) Khosla ka Ghosla (Dibakar Bannerjee)
64) Grindhouse (Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino)
65) Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen)
66) Adaptation (Spike Jonze)
67) The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
68) The Isle (Kim ki Duk)
69) Bad Guy (Kim ki Duk)
70) In the Mood for Love (Wong kar Wai)
71) Sin City (Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller)
72) Palindromes (Todd Solondz)
73) Revolutionary Road (Sam Mendes)
74) Oasis (Lee Chang-Dong)
75) Achilles and the Tortoise (Takeshi Kitano)
76) Man Bites Dog (Rémy Belvaux)
77) Chhoti si Baat (Basu Chatterjee)
78) Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
79) Head On (Fatih Akin)
80) Taxidermia (György Pálfi)
81) Hunger (Steve McQueen)
82) Dogville (Lars von Trier)
83) Zelig (Woody Allen)
84) The Aviator (Martin Scorcese)
85) The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks)
86) Pinjar (Chandraprakash Dwivedi)
87) 4 (Ilya Khrzhanovsky)

PS: The list is heavily revised and shortened and shall be subject to amendments as and when thought appropriate.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Books read post January '08

1) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume 1)
2) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Volume 2)
3) Preludes Nocturnes (The Sandman Volume 1)
4) The Doll's House (The Sandman Volume 2)
5) Dream Country (The Sandman Volume 3)
6) A Season of Mists (The Sandman Volume 4)
7) A Game of You (The Sandman Volume 5)
8) Fables Reflections (The Sandman Volume 6)
9) Brief Lives (The Sandman Volume 7)
10)World's End (The Sandman Volume 8)
11)The Kindly Ones (The Sandman Volume 9)
12)The Wake (The Sandman Volume 10)
13)A Wizard of Earthsea -- Ursula K Le Guin
14)The Black Book -- Orhan Pamuk