Friday, April 30, 2010

Strugglers, Portfolios and Auditions

Yesterday a wonderful co-incident of sorts happened. Post-lunch we were sitting in our office and in came a man with his portfolio stacked up with different (outrageous) poses - you can guess the very many poses the struggling actor portfolios grace, its like a dictionary – of restrictive, 'necessary' (but not necessarily ‘sufficient’) poses complete a portfolio: namely - the wet hair close up pose, the standing tall with hands in pocket pose, the unbuttoned (ugly) shirt pose, the dreamy look pose, the hands open (SRK) pose and then visuals of movies where they have been seen with the main actors. Like a VLC player snapshot!

Now normally when you sit with a director, there is always a constant flow of struggling actors always coming in:
"Hello sir, I am a pass out of NSD and I have done theatre in Delhi and have acted in several plays". If you dig a little deep and you would come to know that he may have just done a 2 week workshop in the NSD campus. Now if someone comes with that kind of portfolio you know what to do. And the more the director is famous, the worse it becomes for his/her assistants - unnecessary phone calls, persistent ones, pushy ones, requesting emails - all kinds.

But yesterday the man who came to our office was special. I looked at him and thought I have seen him somewhere, but where and then like lightening it struck me, he was "Chikna Gulshan" in the celluloid masterpiece Gunda. Now why I got excited on seeing him is because every actor in Gunda has other 'bigger' films in their kitty aswell, but a Chikna Gulshan "who supplies girls to the impotent brother of Bulla" is an exclusive Gunda property, coz he was never seen anywhere else in any other movies. He is like an exclusive commodity of the Gunda franchise. But looking at him I wondered that Gunda was way back in 1998. Gunda became the cult – He is still struggling! And still goes to Casting offices, Production offices and sends his photos/portfolios across. Amazing the people are in this city. What are they made of? Don't they have any other option in life?

But the brighter side of meeting Chikna Gulshan is that he still has the legend's contact. Yes! The legend, the mythical figure. Kanti Shah. The only person I am interested in meeting and interviewing. And with Gulshan I see that happening in future. Amazing. A whole documentary on him is a possibility like Malegaon ka Superman. Even better maybe.

Now coming to the picture of this post: This is Shafi Ahmad, my batchmate from Jamia Mass Communications. He is posing like a guy who travels in local trains in Mumbai. Last week, he asked me that we should do a portfolio for him. He is been working as a copywriter for JWT, but of course his passion is acting. And an actor/model (since both are the same in bombay) is nothing without his/her portfolio. So we came up with this idea, that lets shoot without the studio lights and the poses that normally one associates with "actor portfolio". So, our plans were chalked. Different looks at different locations to be documented over a period of month. Like diff hair (beard, short hair, long hair), diff. costumes/props (shirts, coats, kurtas, spectacles, head bands), diff look (casual, formal, dark, breezy). But the main question, camera? A friend pitched with her large-heartedness. "Take my camera bindaas". Then the next question: when will we shoot?. He has office on weekdays and I too have a 10 to 8 office weekdays-weekends till shooting starts in May.

So then, it was decided morning 6 30 to 9. The light is good, the crowd is less and the morning fresh and hopeful. Thus, here I am uploading one of the ‘pictures’ and ‘look’ of his portfolio. More will follow over the next few weeks. I sincerely hope his portfolio at least stands out from the 'run-of-the-mill' poses that come daily into our office.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Part 2: The curious case of Samresh Painter and one strange night before the exams!

PART 2 of the story:

For part 1, please click here!
I pretty much hate exams - the idea of an 'exam' the next day makes me nervous and on top of it, whoever you talk to-meet or even accidently (and regretfully) bump into, will either be studying or would be making a fuss about the unfair demands that the exam makes! Maybe my dislike for exams also emerges from the fact that I haven't performed exceptional in any of the examinations that I’ve written. Yes, maybe that’s why I hate it. 'Hate' - a strong word uh?, but the concept of exams deserves that kind of a word! An exam tomorrow should be held responsible for the wasting of today's entire day to prepare and then wasting half of tomorrow to write the exam. That amounts to two days lost for a two or three hour exam!
Childhood was no fun, ask Samresh! He too absolutely hated exams, after all it was only to clear these dreaded exams that he was forced to leave all his friends from his batch and join the junior batch a year later, that was us. He had the best of friends in his batch, those who understood him, answered his weird questions and were even normal with his 'half-neurotic' behavior at times. They didn’t mind Samresh-the Dacoit, who looted their hair oils, shampoos, soap cases and buckets. Maybe living with him and putting up with his activities had actually engrained in the batch mates a rare like, even a trace of protection for his eccentricities. Samresh was known, Samresh was home. And before he knew it, he was now with us - the juniors.
End of the year - the final exams of the semester came.  Heads went deeper into the sewer of knowledge. And mouths started complaining about exams, preparations and the difficult subjects. Of all the subjects the most rubbished-ridiculed and unappealing subject was 'By-Products Technology'. Taught by a professor who was equally uninterested in the subject and had a weird sense of remembering student names by their roll numbers. He didnt speak to the class, he just murmured, that was the kind of volume his voice had. His words wouldn't even travel further than a couple of bench rows, thus giving a free license for the third row onwards junta to move from the ‘willingly not hear’ state to the 'cannot hear' one.

A day before that By-Products exam, just when students were getting demoralized and weren't upto studying anything more, Samresh started to adopt a reverse strategy - To combat the exams - blow by blow! He did not whine about the subject anymore and no more complaining in the hostel lobby, infact Samresh had secretly started preparing for the exams. He carried with him - the huge books, cups of tea and more isolation in the secret library corners. Looking at him, one could easily know, 'the exams were definitely around the corner'.
Now, it is very interesting to observe that as the hour of exam comes nearer, student behaviors starts changing - some wither away reading the underlined photostated notes of a long-lost senior, some react by studying only the underlined notes-crisp points-"andar toh kuch bhi likh denge types", some study hard by burning the midnight-lamp, endless text and diagrams read and re-read, some only prepare the 'most important questions' category, the (n)ever reliable ‘Guides’, whereas some leave it at the hands of fate, and some rely on their memory (I so envy them!!), some even devise new ways of cheating and some like me just have no clue, they run from pillar to post, from books to notes and ultimately fall asleep only to get up in the morning to behave like Satish Shah in Jaane bhi do yaaron: "oooo Tarneja bi iddddar, Ahuja bi idddar...hummm  'phas gaya'.
But something strange happened on that night, the night before the By-Products paper. Samresh must have been preparing for the exam, undoubtedly. But his preparations had got an amazing lift. He managed to get the biggest reference book possible on By-Products from the campus library. Now getting a big reference book of the subject whose exam is scheduled the next day, is a little strange, well not for Samresh. Why you ask, because the toppers invariably have a plan made for issuing the books on their names and mere mortals like the 'rest of the class' would never be able to reach to that level of 'foresight' or 'fear-sight' I might say - To 'book' the book in advance. Its almost like booking the tickets for the opening weekend of a blockbuster movie, you never get it. But that day Samresh had managed to beat the 'toppers' and get the Big reference book by that German scientist, whose name I do not remember. It was lying on the study table in his room. Like The Frog in Agastya Sen's bathroom in English, August.
The strange night had started. Post-dinner, everyone in the hostel lobby was heard saying the same thing: "its the most irritating subject of this semester, oh lord, please let this go! this too shall pass..." and quietly everyone retired to their rooms, the grumbles changed into murmers of text re-repated aloud from the notes of whey proteins, kappa casein, betalactoglobulin and more such dreadful names. Soon the heads deep into the sewer! Samresh, in his pyjamas and a shirt casually went to his study table, adjusted his spectacles and opened the first page of that Big book by that German Scientist, whose name I still dont remember. It was around 9 pm. Now, on several instances my father has insisted that I should learn and practice yoga - he says it increases your concentration. Fathers do know their boys well, but then again how to articulate the fact that my not being able to concentrate on things that don't appeal to me is more of a voluntary thing. So, after reading a couple of pages, my concentration dwindled in search of something more interesting. I would then go to the next room or the next lobby and strike a conversation, ask fellow batchmates about how their preparations were going and the expected questions from the last year papers.

Across the lobby - in the last room - with the door open, Samresh had started reading that Big Book, he had read a few pages. I remember peeping into his room and seeing Samresh standing at the edge of the corner table in his pyjamas and reading. Standing and reading. A few hours later, I again passed by and saw the same scene - Samresh at the edge of the corner table, standing and reading. Somewhere around 1 am, I got up to take care of natures calls-and a little loiter, I passed by his room again. And again the same scene, Samresh by the edge of the corner table, still standing and still reading. The only thing that changed in that room was the pages-read of the Big Book by that German scientist. The Word spread soon, and other classmates too begun to go and peep into Samresh's room, but nothing could break his concentration. It was like a force that binds you. As soon as the 'toppers' came to know of Samresh's unnatural(rather threatening)behavior, they developed cold feet. They too took rounds around his room and tried to tell him that 'he should not stress himself, after all its just an exam!'

See, this is exactly why I dislike this species called toppers, they will make sure that you sleep well(read 'study less') before the exam even when they know that my or that poor Samresh's studying is not going to affect his grades. If required they will go to each room and sing a lullaby so that everyone has a sound sleep.

Back to Samresh. The clock and the read-pages were the only thing that moved in that room. Page after page turned, Samresh just stood there like a rock. It was 4 am and Samresh had by now reached half of the book written by that German scientist, (yes whose name is still lost in my memory). Nothing could stop Samresh that strange night.  I had slept for a couple of hours and got up around 4 30 am. To 'awaken' myself, I went to the bathroom and took a quick shower. While returning, I saw Samresh standing there in the same position I had seen him at 9 pm. That was yesterday. A strong sense of deja vu. I shook myself and rushed to my room.
The final bell rang. The exam started at 9 am. The paper was difficult, people like me had started looking around, trying to gauge, whether was it only me who was finding it difficult or were there others too in the same boat. I looked at the toppers and saw the signs of nervousness. I was relieved for a second and then started writing whatever I knew-and could make up. Suddenly, I remembered Samresh. I did a quick scan of the room to spot him. I saw him writing impatiently, like a mad scientist at work. It was as if the nameless-err name-forgotten German's spirit was writing the exam through Samresh, perhaps the same gutso with which the book was written 60 years ago! 
After the final bell rang-indicating the end of the ordeal, the class gathered at the tea stall. Samresh had his tea and samosas. The nervous toppers now had a competitor or so they believed. An unlikely competitor, one who had repeated a year on account of failing in 4 out of 7 subjects in a semester. Sorry for diverting again and indulging in personal opinions, but I absolutely love the idea of defeating the toppers, as much as they hate the idea of being defeated! The underdog winner fantastically fascinates. There's indeed some moronic pleasure that I achieve while seeing a topper going from 2nd rank to 3rd. Now for the rest of the world, it maybe just a number but for them, its like a personal loss in family. They moan it so badly that it leads to some amazing moments to just stay and observe. Of course, there's no counting the morons like me, who are comfortably seated at 29th or 32nd rank!
I remember my Sr.Kg result in Bombay.
82%, 29th Rank.

And that's why the critics or a few may have issues with 3 Idiots, but in a way it definitely works. The world is not made of toppers, gentlemen.
Cut to 4 months later: Results: The unbelievable had happened. Like the movies. The rise of Samresh had disturbed the order of toppers in the class. The hierarchy changed and how? Samresh stood second in the class of 40, first in By-Products. Six months back, he was the drop-out student who had joined the junior batch, a misfit in the class and now, he was what Di Caprio would shout while standing at the edge of the ship deck: "king of the world......"
I have seen underdogs winning and the impossible things happen but this was something else. It happened over a period of time, gradually and right in front of me.
After the result, when a classmate met Samresh, walking on the campus road alone, he asked him:
"Samresh, the topper, where are you going?
a bespectacled, nervous and a shy Samresh replied: "just ahead.."

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The curious case of Samresh Painter and one strange night before the final exams

A short story

There's something about the half-neurotics that amuses me but at the same time also gives birth to a strange aversion towards them. Now, what exactly is a half-neurotic? I dont have a dictionary definition for that, but its just that when you come into their contact, when one comes face to face with them, one tends to just know. It can also be a case of- since what is normal for a certain individual is not the same for other. Granted. But then opinions and choice is what makes us an individual different from other and thus the 'half-neurotics' according to me. Is it getting too "wannabe intellectual"? Cut the crap, lets jump to the story.

Now, I tend to have very mixed reactions to some kind of half-neurotics, sometimes its pure curiosity of what is going through that cracked nut's mind? and at times there is a feeling of jealousy that why cant I get into that kind of a realm where they don't give a fiddler's fart to the surroundings and carry on with their 'good life'. Yesterday night as I sat under a starlit sky at what one could label as the cleanest part of Juhu beach, my mind went back to one such half-neurotic I had met. Samresh. Reserved, almost to himself most of the times but was always a part of a group. You wont find him talking to all, but neither would you find him sulking alone and taking up his own corner in the hostel bed. The class knew that he had failed last year and was a year senior to us. But the circumstances under which he had failed were quite mysterious. There were rumors. Some say, he was suffering from malaria, some say, he didnt study at all and some say, he couldn't grasp the subjects. One fine day, he suddenly joined all of us in the class and a popular gossip went around saying: he was home practicing astrology and now when the semester began, he is back to the campus to repeat the year. Maybe he will leave engineering and join astrology. Samresh lived in a town that was some 70 odd kms from the campus in a different district altogether. Remember this piece of information.

Borrowing someone's bathing soap, detergent, hair oil, hair shampoo or other toiletries was one such passion for him. Not that he couldn't afford, maybe he couldn't. But in a boys hostel, going from room-to-room and checking out everyone's hair oil daily, is something that he purely indulged in. But what made me put him into one such 'cracked nut category' was that, unlike others who would go to borrow stuff from fellow hostel mate's room, he would just barge in with a towel wrapped around and go straight to the wooden cabinet and casually pick up the brand of hair oil or soap and then go to the next room and pick up the bucket after choosing from the two or three available options and then maybe to the next room to pick up his choice of tumbler and then rush towards the bathroom. Others who if wanted to borrow something from someone's room would casually come and strike up a conversation or two for some minutes and then gradually come to the topic of borrowing or if were in hurry would come straight to you and ask for the 'washing powder or detergent'. But for Samresh all rooms were alike. He didnt have to bother, if someone is snobbish, or selfish or doesn't-share types or a spoilt rich kid, he just had to casually come and before you know, he would be on his way with one of your toiletries. At times, I thought, he even didnt remember to which room did he go to, to take a particular hair shampoo, coz while returning from his bath, he would forget and thus someone's shampoo landed in someone else's cabinet. Now boys hostel is like that small town in Maharashtra where they do not have locks on their doors. Thus, Samresh would have a wild hunting ground if someone weren’t in his room. The best part, as the legend goes, he would never even look towards money or curiously look for other things lying around that could have got anyone's attention, his target was toiletries, almost always. At times, after bathing, he would go to the other side of the hostel or on a different floor for testing the deodorants or after-shave or if the room occupant is rich then hair gel. He sub-consciously knew almost everyone's brand preference, but interestingly would forget where did he pick Parachute from or where did the Gillette cream come from. Does this make him half-neurotic? There's more to come.

If one would find him walking on the campus road and ask him: "Samresh, where are you going?
He would reply pretty nonchalantly: "just ahead"

Like hello!! That we know that from wherever you are standing you would be going ahead. Even humanity is going ahead. But what response was that "just ahead". I thought maybe he himself at times didn’t know where he was walking to and thus the casual answer: "just ahead"
So many times had he told this to his fellow classmates that at times when I would confront him on the campus road, I would tease him: "Samresh, you must be going ahead, right? And he would start walking expressionless.

One personality trait of his that I appreciated was he had an amazing curiosity for new English words and during those times, a few of us in the class had started preparing for the GRE exams for a 'better' future ahead in the USA. Thus, any and every kind of new English word were welcome. Suddenly he would turn up and ask the synonyms, antonyms or meaning of words like: "loquacious", "taciturn", "hypochondriac". But the irony was, if he started speaking English, it would come out as a marriage of not-knowing pronunciations and not-knowing how to construct sentences. A professor could loose his/her patience if Samresh would stand up to give an answer. After a while, he would be asked to reply in 'hindi'. Not that he was such a pitiable character, but he would make things difficult for him, as if he had failed one year to test himself. Does this also make him half-neurotic? There's more to come.

One day, just a couple of hours before the internal 30-marks exam was about to start in the afternoon, some students spotted Samresh packing up his bag and heading out of the hostel. A curious classmate confronted him near the lobby, as Samresh continued walking from the lobby to the lawn and to the main gate.

Classmate: "Samresh!!, where are you going? Its 12 30, we have an exam at 2".
Samresh looked as if he was in a hurry.
Samresh: "ya I know, I will be back by then".
The classmate was not satisfied from the answer.
Classmate: "No, but why are you leaving now? Have you prepared for the exam? Have you studied the Boltzmann's constant?
Samresh: "No, I have not read that, but please allow me to go, I will be back by 2.
Curious classmate: "But where are you going with a bag and all?"
Samresh stunned the classmate with his answer.
Samresh: “I am going home, but will be back”.
Another classmate had by then joined in cajoling Samresh. Both of them were now trying to ask him that why does he need to go home, right now, just before the exam.
Second classmate: "Samresh, why home now? Do you need something? Is everyone okay back home?
Samresh: "I said, I will be back. I just need a 100-rupee note from my home and I will be back for the exam."

Both the classmates stopped on the gate and looked at each other. This guy who could borrow anything from anywhere as if the hostel was his ancestral property is now going home for a hundred bucks and that too before exam! They thought its better to return to Shri Boltzmann and his equation then bothering about this cracked nut. As the class was writing the exam, Samresh did return, albeit a good 20 mins late. Does this also make him half-neurotic? Well, it does in a small way. But there's more to come. That strange night of the final examination.

To be continued…

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, April 5, 2010

The amazing cocktail of Shoaib-Sania and the IPL advertisements

Blame it on the remote control of my television set, there has been some amazing horrors taking place in last few days. The UP and DOWN channel button have mysteriously popped out and as a result, before one takes the remote in his hand, the channel flips - either it goes to plus one or minus one. Before we delve into the fun part, here is the channel arrangement on the TV set.

On Channel 33: India TV
On Channel: 34 Set Max
On Channel: 35 IBN7 hindi

Now of course I have been following IPL off lately, obviously no personal passions for team to ignite but while having dinner, if one gets to see a slew of amazing sixers or gets to see a fielder taking a marvelous catch, then there is nothing wrong, right? But then there in steps my flippy remote control. It just changes the channel to either 33 or 35. And both these hindi channels are passionately following the Shoaib-Sania marriage and the battles within. Simultaneously the gigantic diet for money of Mr. Lalit Modi has led to advertisements not just between overs but ads are also inserted even when the bowler is taking a run-up and as a result, Modi keeps singing: "paisa, paisa, paisa..."

Now one only has to touch the remote on my TV and see how due to the faulty UP/DOWN buttons, the channels mingle among each other and characters shift themselves from sports to news to sports. And since my mind is slower than television, it gives advertisements or outputs such as these:

Shoaib-Sania before camera. Shoaib walking inside a hotel lobby and as soon as a journalist asks about how he fell in love with Sania, Shoaib blushes and channel flips: Arun Lal the commentator: "This is a Karbonn Kamaal Catch!!"

Next: Top shot. Shoaib and Saniya are in their honeymoon at the beach, lying besides their sports kit and a mobile rings:
"Ayesha Calling"
Shoaib and Saniya both go for the phone and try to grab like wild dogs: Then Saniya leaves and starts to giggle like Sehwag. Shoaib speaks.
Again. They both are lying near their sports kits. Top Shot. Mobile rings:
"Coach calling"
Shoaib: "Tera call hai..."
Sania: "Tera call hai.."

Ad super: Honeymoon offers on Karbonn mobiles.

The third cocktail was even more amazing: Sounds of violins. Anil Kapoor comes, dressed in a black coat, almost looking like a lawyer. In one corner of the room, Sania is sitting and on another corner a harried Shoaib Malik is sitting and doesnt know what to do with the nikaah, talaaq, shaadi and all the fracas.
Anil Kapoor to Sania: "Don't expect anything from me betaaaaa..."
Then he turns to Shoaib Malik and hands him the pen: "this is for you betaaaaaa...the power to write your destiny..err...testimony.."

Cut to Next: Shoaib Malik is preparing to bowl the next ball. He takes the run up and starts running towards the batsman, crosses the batsman and the camera shows the women running behind him: Ayesha, Sania, Sayali bhagat, Mehek and some more unknown women, which the media doesn't know about. The voiceover: "Oh! what is this happening? Is this the Pak effect?
A smiling Arun Lal in commentary box: "Those women are in real sense: Deccan Chargers!

Aamir Khan with smart chips packet in his hand, suddenly jumps from a terrace and enters a car: Sania is driving. He hands her a huge T-shirt and says: "You will need it?". Then he again goes from Car to car and hands another XXL T shirt to Ayesha, who is driving. But err. he looks at her and says: "Oh!!! you already have it!"

All this while Akshay Kumar, holding a random mobile, is laughing in the most atrocious manner ke ayesha ke gharwaale are feeling hurt. Because Ayesha-Shoaib met in a chinese restaurant where he was the chef. But Akshay is laughing on Sania-Shoiab-Ayesha-Sayali conundrum and in a way trying to promote his next shitty film: Housefull. Later, Shoaib Malik may take some tips from him on how to handle so many girls, as Akshay has been doing so successfully in all his films.

On a studio set, there are 4 or 5 people bickering and speaking utter nonsense! No one is able to make sense anything out of it. Hello! what are they trying to tell. Oh are they Vodafone ZoosZoos?. No. No. No they are The Maulvis, Qazis, (un)holy men and god knows what. They are issuing a fatwa for some random reason that they know alone. Oh! they are pointing it out to Sania that she will have to wear a burqa while playing tennis.

The LSD promo is coming too on the channel and we later realize: its Love, Shaadi aur Dhoka written in the same fonts for Shoaib-Sania case.

"Nikah on phone is invalid". So the mobile phone and service company - war is on. The phone and the service on which their nikaah happened were a combination of Samsung phone-Virgin card. That combination is not done we need No-kiya and Spice card. Ok whatever that means.

And lastly, there is Sanjay Dutt, wearing a costume that is straight out of a Ramsay brothers movie. He is appearing like a member of Ayesha's family. "Ha haa yehi, wah wah yehi. bolega wahi.. and some such crap. A young Shoaib enters their house in Hyderabad and falls down in a tank full of water. Ayesha smiles.

The super: To be continued...

The remote button goes back to IPL match on Set Max. Meanwhile Sanjay Dutt throws Pepsi for kids like Ranbir and gets up. Circuit comes from behind and tells him "Galat ad mei ghoos gaya bhaai...yeh soft drink hai, apan to hard drink peete hain na..."

photo courtesy:

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Friday, April 2, 2010

But son! there's poetry in poverty!

Summers are here, ain't it?
So lets check out if they provide an AC on rent?
Can you please turn the fan on full speed?
Keep some more chilled water in the refrigerator
Ice creams, Kulfi? yeah!!
The quintessential summer night walks - in my case: Apna Bazaar to Versova beach and back.

But its hard to ignore the worst signs of summer: humidity, sweat and mosquitoes.
"Please refill the Good Knight, Mortein, All Out repellents!
Do we need to buy that cream, what's it called: Odomos?"
"Let me shift the bed in the middle of the room, right under the fan!"
"Bloody PSPO - ek kone mei hawaa nahi aati. "
Get that Tennis racket kinda thing and bring out the sadist in you - mosquitoes will have a bad time.
"Saala hum machchar ko hijda bana denge, woh kya banayega apan ko..." (will be lost in translation)

But one walk outside your home on to the main roads at night and you will realize what kind of horror does summer brings in a country and more importantly in a city like ours. Hell, no walks required, even on a weekend night, if you happen to return from that restaurant or the pub after hearing the trance music - make sure you at least look out on the roads. On my daily walks it is extremely painful to see people sleeping in groups on pavements, and millions of those murderous mosquitoes hovering over them (To romanticize I would rather put this way: people sleeping under the open sky with a cool breeze coming right from the sea nearby) But needless to say, the picture is far from pretty. They have no covers, hardly anything except some plastic sheets to sleep upon.

Once in a while I see a woman with a piece of cloth trying to drive away the murderers. A kid who just cannot sleep will twist and turn and keep doing everytime the group of mosquitoes play their music in his ears. Some lucky ones will be covering or sharing a mosquito net and of course the net is not set like a tent, its more like a blanket. Like a Twin Peaks corpse discovered lying covered with plastic (in this case it is net). By the way, those who are actually lying like a corpse are the over-dosed alcoholics - lying on the pavement with their right shoe dangling and the left foot completely out of the shoe and the shoe actually a few meters away. In one case, a drunkard's laptop bag with him was being used as a pillow - believe it or not. The irony of it all. The Metro being constructed, the Amrik Singh Cranes, heavy vehicles, the loud noise all adding to the night and those mosquitoes constantly hovering above those families, who are sleeping right below the over-bridge that is being constructed.

Even the worst or the best of the cynics ka dil dehel jaayega dekhkar. All throughout there was only one song that was constantly running in my mind:
"Ek Waqt (or Bakhat) Ki Baat Bataye, Ek Waqt Ki,
Jab Sheher Hamara So Gayo Tho, Wo Raat Gajab Ki.

The problem is when Mr. Mishra sings: "Jis Raat Sheher Mein Khoon Ki Baarish Aayi Re":
In a city like ours: the khoon ki baarish ka aana is not occasional, its a daily routine. See I told you, there is poetry in poverty.

Half of my disillusionment for today's night walk was the fracas and the mud slinging that is happening between Anjum Rajabali and Piyush Mishra on passionforcinema. Now I am not much of a follower, but once a week - I do take a round up of the website and the recent episode between writers has left me so disillusioned about writing for movies. Not that I am quite a writer, hell I dont even like to be labeled as a writer, Actually I cant write too - like if someone comes and gives me a plot: develop it, I cant. It is someone else's idea. I could only work on an idea that has organically come from within. But am I digressing from the topic, yeah: but then a reminder: thats what I also need to learn: to understand someone's idea and empathize with their characters and then go about writing it. Its not difficult, empathizing I mean, putting it on paper for screen - still remains difficult.

Back to the poetry: oops: Poverty. I often see that family on the Indian Oil Nagar-Link road junction - at nights, sleeping with those mosquitoes, as if they were their teddy bears and in the morning, most of them have gone to work except a few kids who are still unperturbed by the morning sun and the heavy traffic and who most probably will be getting up and start their daily begging or any other activity on the same crossroads. I think all night they must have been fighting with those murderers and its only by early morning that they must be getting to sleep, thus no amount of harsh sun or noise pollution affects them. As nights pass, I see them there daily but I never come to know, if anyone of them have succumbed to those vicious attempts by the mosquitoes or is any one less than what number I saw yesterday night.

Next time, if someone passes by and sees a family trying to sleep amidst those mosquitoes, it wont hurt us a lot to gift them a mosquito net. I will be doing that, when this month's salary comes.

And for my opinion on the writers' war of words: I love Anjum Rajabali's take on On the Waterfront: Ghulam was one of my favourite teenage movies: I still love it. I told this to Rajit Kapoor one day. So what if they copied or got inspired. And well, Piyush Mishra, the lesser I say the better. He remains a poet only a step below the czar - gulzar. And I remain a humble fan of his.

p.s: This picture was taken much before. I hope the reader may not feel that while I was observing the above mentioned, simultaneously I wasn't merrily clicking the picture.

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