Posted by: Mojo Jojo | June 26, 2009

Train-ing days

I like trains, sure I do, as long as they are on a postcard. Or while they are whizzing past me at a manned railway crossing. But when it comes to travelling in them serpentine vehicles of ill-fortune, naah, gimme a bus ticket anyday.

Now,  I know many would disagree with me on this count – especially Mac – who likes locomotives as much as his drum kit. But then, I got my reasons… and I am going to tell you why.

Now, we go back to the time when I was still an innocent pissa kaatan at the Madras Christian College – before the big bad world made a big bad boy of me. Greenbacks were hard to come by, and even if they did, most were invested in little quarter bottles of Old Monk. So you see, I never bothered to make train reservations to travel to my home at Ballarshah as they cost me as much as Rs100 (OOOH!!) more than a general bogie ticket. So, most often than not, I would find myself perched at the edge of an open compartment door, with hordes of people jostling for space on one side and the world speeding by at 150 kmph on the other. Don’t think I can manage that anymore, but back then I was young and reckless, and living life on the edge seemed like the right thing to do.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world inside a general compartment. I still remember the time when a bunch of drunk Sardars beat up a transsexual who had come looking for some money. Now, I know they can get pretty pushy, but I daresay nobody deserves to be treated the way she was. By the end of it, the victim was lying on the floor – her face smashed in – and I was looking out the window, trying to pretend as if nothing was happening.
Not that I didn’t give a damn; but I couldn’t dare take on that bunch without an army of ninjas backing me. And in a dog-eat-dog world, you don’t question what the other dogs do – unless you are one real nasty bloodhound. Which I wasn’t, of course. I was just another puppy trying to grow up without getting killed.
Then there was this other time when a middle-aged man rose up in defence of his teenage daughter, who had been pinched in the wrong place by a Telugu-speaking brat. But hardly had the father spoken two words when the offender, who was accompanied by nine of his friends (local college students, by the look of it), delivered unto him a resounding slap across the face. And, for a moment, time stood still.
Then he was slapped again, and again. Until the poor father decided to back down and take his weeping daughter to the other end of the compartment instead. Last seen, the goons were getting off at the Vijayawada junction, discussing animatedly among themselves in gobbledegook over how they had shown the old man his place. Again, nobody in the packed compartment had bothered to stand for what is right and help the man and his daughter out. Quite understandably so, because in the general compartment, you have a different set of priorities. And playing Good Samaritan doesn’t exactly top the list.
There are certain rules to be followed while you are in one of these bogies. And the foremost among them is, if you have – by stray chance – managed to land a seat, don’t ever leave it to visit the bathroom. Happened to me once. Deciding that my bladder couldn’t take it for even a minute more, I left a book on my seat and jostled my way to the loo at the other end of the compartment – only to find that it was occupied by a family of Bihari agriculturists. Well, trying to convince them to come out until I had done my stuff proved to be in vain, so I tried the other one. Which was filled with Marwadis, I think. Wow! The general compartment was like a minature India, with all its occupants hell-bent upon not letting me take a leak.
Finally, I decided to head back, abandoning all hope of completing my mission – desperate as it was. But the fates seemed to have been plotting against me. Upon reaching my seat, I found that it was occupied by a hefty man in a Gandhi topi who was busy spitting paan out the window. “This seat is mine,” I whimpered in broken Marathi, hoping against hope that the fugger would turn out to be a nice fugger. No such luck.
The next thing I knew, the man was holding out a fist and challenging me to a duel in a way that would have made Jabba the Hutt draw up his knickers and scamper for the nearest door. I politely declined the offer and started looking around for the book I had left on my seat. A man sitting on the overhead luggage rack solved the little mystery by pointing at the window and smiling like a maniac. Not content with usurping my throne, the ass in the Gandhi topi had thrown my brand new (oh, well – second hand) copy of ‘The Pelican Brief’ overboard!
It took another four hours for the train to reach my station and, luckily, I still had my bladder in check. But I still remember taking the time to watch the train depart after I had alighted from it, praying furiously to God that he send his next lightning bolt to fry the living daylights out of a certain Maratha hero. Really… it was only after the train became a dot on the horizon that I started racing towards the nearest loo.
Then again, there might be people who think that I hate trains because I have always travelled without making reservations. Well, they are wrong. I have been there, done that too, but – well – those journeys have been just too boring to blog about.
On that note, I would like to say how glad I am to be back – finally. And Mac, just so you know, I am really starting to like your ‘Dreams Untrue’. Heh.

Now,  I know many would disagree with me on this count – especially Mac – who likes locomotives as much as his drum kit. But then, I got my reasons… and I am going to tell you why.

Now, we go back to the time when I was still an innocent pissa kaatan at the Madras Christian College – before the big bad world made a big bad boy of me. Greenbacks were hard to come by, and even if they did, most were invested in little quarter bottles of Old Monk. So you see, I never bothered to make train reservations to travel to my home at Ballarshah as they cost me as much as Rs100 (OOOH!!) more than a general bogie ticket. So, most often than not, I would find myself perched at the edge of an open compartment door, with hordes of people jostling for space on one side and the world speeding by at 150 kmph on the other. Don’t think I can manage that anymore, but back then I was young and reckless, and living life on the edge seemed like the right thing to do.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world inside a general compartment. I still remember the time when a bunch of drunk Sardars beat up a transsexual who had come looking for some money. Now, I know they can get pretty pushy, but I daresay nobody deserves to be treated the way she was. By the end of it, the victim was lying on the floor – her face smashed in – and I was looking out the window, trying to pretend as if nothing was happening.

Not that I didn’t give a damn; but I couldn’t dare take on that bunch without an army of ninjas backing me. And in a dog-eat-dog world, you don’t question what the other dogs do – unless you are one real nasty bloodhound. Which I wasn’t, of course. I was just another puppy trying to grow up without getting killed.

Then there was this other time when a middle-aged man rose up in defence of his teenage daughter, who had been pinched in the wrong place by a Telugu-speaking brat. But hardly had the father spoken two words when the offender, who was accompanied by nine of his friends (local college students, by the look of it), delivered unto him a resounding slap across the face. And, for a moment, time stood still.

Then he was slapped again, and again. Until the poor father decided to back down and take his weeping daughter to the other end of the compartment instead. Last seen, the goons were getting off at the Vijayawada junction, discussing animatedly among themselves in gobbledegook over how they had shown the old man his place. Again, nobody in the packed compartment had bothered to stand for what is right and help the man and his daughter out. Quite understandably so, because in the general compartment, you have a different set of priorities. And playing Good Samaritan doesn’t exactly top the list.

There are certain rules to be followed while you are in one of these bogies. And the foremost among them is, if you have – by stray chance – managed to land a seat, don’t ever leave it to visit the bathroom. Happened to me once. Deciding that my bladder couldn’t take it for even a minute more, I left a book on my seat and jostled my way to the loo at the other end of the compartment – only to find that it was occupied by a family of Bihari agriculturists. Well, trying to convince them to come out until I had done my stuff proved to be in vain, so I tried the other one. Which was filled with Marwadis, I think. Wow! The general compartment was like a minature India, with all its occupants hell-bent upon not letting me take a leak.

Finally, I decided to head back, abandoning all hope of completing my mission – desperate as it was. But the fates seemed to have been plotting against me. Upon reaching my seat, I found that it was occupied by a hefty man in a Gandhi topi who was busy spitting paan out the window. “This seat is mine,” I whimpered in broken Marathi, hoping against hope that the fugger would turn out to be a nice fugger. No such luck.

The next thing I knew, the man was holding out a fist and challenging me to a duel in a way that would have made Jabba the Hutt draw up his knickers and scamper for the nearest door. I politely declined the offer and started looking around for the book I had left on my seat. A man sitting on the overhead luggage rack solved the little mystery by pointing at the window and smiling like a maniac. Not content with usurping my throne, the ass in the Gandhi topi had thrown my brand new (oh, well – second hand) copy of ‘The Pelican Brief’ overboard!

It took another four hours for the train to reach my station and, luckily, I still had my bladder in check. But I still remember taking the time to watch the train depart after I had alighted from it, praying furiously to God that he send his next lightning bolt to fry the living daylights out of a certain Maratha hero. Really… it was only after the train became a dot on the horizon that I started racing towards the nearest loo.

Then again, there might be people who think that I hate trains because I have always travelled without making reservations. Well, they are wrong. I have been there, done that too, but – well – those journeys have been just too boring to blog about.

On that note, I would like to say how glad I am to be back – finally. And Mac, just so you know, I am really starting to like your Dreams Untrue. Heh.

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | December 6, 2008

A break from blogosphere

Too much going on in life to be blogging regularly for a while.  Have moved to a new house, the newspaper I am working for is launching in a few days, thinking of applying for bankruptcy and – well –   my nerves are in tatters…

Tcha!

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | November 18, 2008

Spank’s the word

The other day, I went to a neigbourhood supermarket to pick up a couple of essentials. And as I parked myself in front of the toiletry section, I couldn’t help but notice this peculiar mom-daughter pair pass by.

No, they weren’t peculiar because of the way they looked. The daughter was your regular eight-year-old and the mother was your regular 35-year-old; nothing worth raising any eyebrows over. It was the curious little conversation they were having that set them apart from the crowd.

“Waah! I want a Kitkat bar!” the kid bawled, to which mummy dearest replied by saying: “Not now, Anjana, we have to go…”

The kid started bawling louder, and when it looked like the ceiling was going to come crashing on us, the mom said, “Shut up, stupid! I don’t have any money to waste on you!”

Anjana didn’t like this one little bit, nossir! So she replied: ” You shut up! Stupid woman!”

She then proceeded to inform her mother that she was nothing but a b*tch (a nasty term even by my standards), to which the mother replied by saying that she was going to lay a full chargesheet before her dad when he comes home that evening. Then they looked at me, wondering why on earth was I laughing like that.

I have never thought like this before, but maybe there IS something in that bit about sparing the rod.

(Image courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com)

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | November 17, 2008

Tick-Tag

3inOne tagged me. And so, here goes.


1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? 

Yes. An evil monkey scientist.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? 

I dunno. When was the time I watched Taare Zameen Par?

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? 

What handwriting?

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LUNCH MEAT? 

Frog legs. But it’s been seven years since I have had it.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 

No, thank God for small mercies.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? 

Don’t know. Depends on what kind of ‘another’ person I am.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? 

A little, here and there.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? 

Yes. Why not?

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? 

Already have. It was awesome but I don’t think I would be doing it anytime soon…

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL? 

Yukk!

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? 

Mostly, no.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? 

Yes. But there are others who could be stronger.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM? 

Butterscotch.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? 

Their cuteness quotient.

15. RED OR PINK? 

You must be kidding me!

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? 

The inability to judge what’s better.

17. WHAT COLOUR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? 

Blue and brown.

19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? 

Biryani. And not a very good one either.

20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? 

CCR’s Jeremiah was a bullfrog. A minute ago, it was Crash Test Dummies’ Superman’s song.

21. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE? 

Blue.

22. FAVOURITE SMELLS? 

Petrol, exhaust smoke, Erasex, and that smell of dampness after the first monsoon drizzle.

23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? 

Nidhi, who was asking me if the next trip to PVR should be for Dostana or Dasvidaniya. Think we have finally decided on Dasvidaniya. One of the worst recurring nighmares I get has me spending Rs 150 on a theatre ticket to watch Bobby Deol and Shilpa Shetty.

25. FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH? 

Table Tennis. Cricket, only if it is 20/20.

26. HAIR COLOUR? 

Black with shades of grey. Like human nature…

27. EYE COLOUR? 

Dark brown.

28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? 

No.

29. FAVOURITE FOOD? 

Apple pie.

30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? 

Uh. Both? Okay… maybe I like scary movies better.

31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? 

Dog Day Afternoon.

32. WHAT COLOUR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? 

T-shirt. Black.

33. SUMMER OR WINTER? 

WINTER! Always. Anytime. Anywhere.

34. FAVOURITE DESSERT? 

Did I mention apple pie before?

35. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND ? 

No, really… I might be a little light upstairs, but I didn’t understand this one.

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? 

The Hogfather.

37. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? 

Not the mouse.

38. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? 

Last night? I was in a bus last night.

39. FAVOURITE SOUND? 

The sound the air conditioner, because that should mean it’s working for once in this sweltering, hot office room!

40. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? 

Beatles.

41. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?

Home? Where’s home? (Okay, maybe I should dedicate a post on that…)

42. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? 

Cooking and storytelling, they say. But even if they are just saying that to make me happy, they are doing a good job :-)  

43. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? 

Kopargaon, Maharashtra.

 

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | November 12, 2008

CRASH!

A few feet to the right, and I wouldn’t have found it funny. Hell, I would probably have been too busy playing with needles and pins at some local hospital to be posting this.

Now, my closest friends (except Ol’ Mac, who thinks my bike is too big for me) would vouch for the fact that I am the safest driver there is. I screech to a halt at red signals even when the time is 1 am on the clock; the needle on my speedometer rarely ever crosses the number 40; I try my best not to kill pedestrians (which is quite a task in Bangalore, believe me!); I even stop my vehicle to let dogs cross the street.

But even the safest driver there is could find himself in particularly unpleasant experiences, when the streets he is dealing with belongs to Bangalore. Because, really, you don’t have to be a particularly rash driver to get hit by a maniac-driven BMTC bus or have your just-washed shirt decorated by a great glob of sputum thanks to some idiot autowallah who seems to think that the world is his spittoon.

IN BENGALURU, NOT VERY LONG AGO…

Venue: Double Road flyover on Residency Road

Time: About 2:45 in the afternoon

So, all I did was brake to a halt when the traffic cop on duty stopped the traffic flow from my end to let the others pass. Like a perfectly good citizen.

A few seconds went by, and I sedately watched vehicles from the other side drive past. The biker on my right was probably doing something as innocent as telling his pillion rider how bad the traffic in Bangalore has become. Well, I couldn’t that say for sure because he was talking in Kannada (a language I still haven’t managed to master), but I think it’s reasonable enough to assume that’s exactly what the motorists here talk about all the time.

It was extremely sunny, and I could feel a bead of sweat trickle down my helmet-concealed face. A housefly buzzed by, probably wondering if it should migrate the east of the Alps. The biker by my side was still talking to his friend.

Which was when it happened. The moment of magic.

I heard a dull thud, and before my very eyes, the bikers on my side were flying through the air as if in slow motion – their hands flailing about before being deposited on the ground a few metres away.

It took another second before my brain even registered anything. I looked to my right and (hey, presto!) in the bike’s place stood a city cab, its side badly damaged. The driver inside had the expression of a boy who was heading for a spanking because he had just broken his mother’s favourite vase.

And a spanking he seemed to be assured of, judging by the way the two fallen warriors were glaring at him from the place they lay splat on. Then, slowly but surely, they got up and hobbled up to the cab, which was – by then – already surrounded by a bunch of curious passersby.

It was showdown time. A hot gust of wind blew across the scene, and – for some weird reason – that familiar Good, The Bad and The Ugly tune started running through my head. Holsters ready, turn around, get set….

I winced in anticipation of the worst.

Well, maybe I had cast my hopes too high. Because all they did upon reaching the evil cabbie was raise their fists and indulge in the following conversation:

The motorists (menacingly): Gobbledegook gobbledegook!

The evil cabbie (defensively): Gobbledegook gobbledegook!

The motorists (more menacingly): Gobbledegook GOBBLEDEGOOK!

The evil cabbie (almost in tears): Gobbledegook gobbledegook…

The motorists (raging like wounded tigers): GOBBLEDEGOOK GOBBLEDEGOOK!!

Now, rivetting as this conversation was, I could not afford to ignore the fact that the traffic policeman on duty was sprinting towards us. Which isn’t a good thing, especially when you haven’t renewed your vehicle insurance in a while.

So I asked Baloo (Oh, did I mention earlier that he was also riding with me?) to hop on, and soon, we were rapidly zooming away from the long arm of the law.

God, I really need to brush up my Kannada…    

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | October 31, 2008

A Midsummer Night’s Nightmare


It was my room, alright. The cane furniture, the green bedspread, the Samsung television set – they were all there. The afternoon sun shone dully through the window overlooking me, just as it usually does. But something was amiss, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

That was when the strawberry red landline phone rang. Loud. Impatient.

Now, I don’t happen to have a landline phone – and certainly not a strawberry red one. But the thought didn’t even register when I reached out and answered it.

“Hello,” I said.

I recognized the voice on the other end immediately. It belonged to Shweta Mehta, a classmate from my kindergarten days in Khamgaon, Maharashtra.

Well, this may sound odd, but she still sounded like the toddler I knew twenty-five years ago. Still screaming after all these years…

Run! Get out!

The sound seemed to pierce through my brain, but all I could do was respond drowsily: “What? How? How did you get my number?”

Her next shriek did not really answer my question, but it did give me the basic idea why she was sounding so panicky. “There’s toxic gas leaking from the factory! Everybody is dying… run for your life! Graahr garble garble…

Then I heard a crash, and the line went dead…

Silently praying that the gibberish I heard in the end had something to do with the faulty telephone line, I jumped to my feet and raced for the door.

Well, the outsides didn’t belong to Bangalore anymore. Stretching out from the door of my quaint little New Thippasandra apartment was the vast expanse of Gadchandur, the little industrial town I was raised in. In the distance, I could see the silhouette of Manikgarh Cement Factory – spewing inky dark smoke, the likes of which you may see emanating only from the fires of hell.

And under the blood red sky overhead lay thousands of bodies, rotting rapidly from whatever infested the hot summer air that fateful day.

I did not stop to think where the red telephone had come from in the first place, or how I had been magically transported to Gadchandur, when just a few hours back I was sitting in a Malleshpalya restaurant, munching on a fat zinger burger. Because I was scared for my life… and I certainly didn’t want to become one of the corpses littering the streets of Gadchandur.

I ran down the stairs (don’t ask me how; I hadn’t noticed them a moment ago) without bothering to even lock the door. Halfway down, I found an acquaintance from my college in Tambaram curled up in a pool of blood. I couldn’t remember his name.

So I called him Tenzin, I called him Somu and when nothing seemed to work, I begged the gods to forgive me and resumed running again.

I passed the barber shop behind my Gadchandur house. Its Tonytone soundboxes were still playing Tum To Tehre Pardesi, but Tukaram – the barber – was on the floor, his hand still clutching his shaving razor tight. On the barber’s chair lay a corpse, about half a beard decorating its face. I ran faster.

I was nearing the MCC canteen now, and on one of the stone benches beside it sat a college mate of mine, Mike Dio (Name altered slightly to avoid a defamation suit). His nose was buried in a book that claimed to be the ‘History of English Literature’ and I couldn’t make out if he was still alive.

“Dio!” I yelled, “Are you okay?”

Dio looked up, his little round glasses balancing precariously on the tip of his nose. “Of course,” he said, “I am studying for the geography examination. It starts in half an hour.”

“Forget the exams! Everybody is dead! There’s some sort of a toxic gas going around the place. We are all going to die!”

“Die? Die?” asked Dio, before letting out a low snigger… and the world around me seemed to fall silent. The snigger grew louder to form a guffaw and suddenly, he was laughing like a complete madman. Pointing a finger at me and laughing – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – until my skull felt as if the sound may make it pop like an over-ripened pumpkin. His mouth now looked like a boa constrictor’s… stretching from the joints in his jaw to form something so monstrously big, it made me whimper like a little child. I could see all his teeth, canines and molars.

“Stop it, please!” I begged, but the laughter only escalated. And in his crazed eyes, I could see that he wanted to hurt me. In the worst possible way.

Scared out of my wits, I ran like I had never run before – my lungs thumping anxiously against the rib cage they were imprisoned in. But no matter how far I got from him, the sound of Dio’s laughter kept ringing in my head.

I did not stop running until I reached Amalnala dam, the neighbourhood water reservoir. It was quite dark now, and the stars seemed to shimmer mournfully over my head. Miles away, I could see the factory – still spewing toxic fumes into a black-red sky.

Peace at last. There were birds winging across the sky, and somewhere in the distance I could hear a wolf howling. I was alone in my misery.

Or so I thought.

Looking up at me from the limestone-lined bank of the dam were thousands of zombies, all looking at me through lifeless eyes that said, “Yessss… here’s food! Fresh meat!

And slowly, they started stumbling towards me … their heads hanging limply by their necks, their hands outstretched. Men zombies, women zombies, little girl zombies, zombies who had once been my friends – their blood-splattered faces dressed in a uniform expression of hunger.

I wanted to start running again, but – for some reason – my feet just refused to move. Perhaps it was fatigue, perhaps I was turning into a zombie myself.

If that’s the case, I thought frantically, I don’t have to worry. They say zombies don’t eat each other. But what if I am wrong?! What if they don’t mind their food a little stale? What if the next moment finds them picking and gnawing on my bones with their yellowing fangs, enveloping me in the stink of putrid flesh?

I tried to move my feet. It just wouldn’t. And the living dead were getting closer with every moment.

Tried to move my feet again, wiggle my toes… anything! But no, they just wouldn’t listen to anything my brain was trying to say. I tried again.

The nearest zombie was now just a few feet away, and when I looked at him I realized that he was someone I was once quite familiar with.

Years ago, I knew him as Yogi, a clerk from the school I used to study in Manikgarh. Today, with an eyeball hanging from his left eye socket and the skin from his jaw hanging from his face like a grotesque orange peel, he was my worst nightmare come true.

FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!” I let out a high-pitched shriek, trying to make my feet move again. And this time, something gave – and my left foot hit the zombie with great force. I never got to see what happened to him.

The awakening

Because it was then that I felt real pain shooting up my body. The pain that comes from kicking a hard cold wall.

Which was exactly what I had kicked. When I opened my eyes, I was back in my room and the television was still running. There was no strawberry red telephone beside me; just the Nokia 5300 I had bought a couple of months ago. And my heart was thumping like crazy. The time was 9:30 pm and there were no zombies in sight.

Something for my parched throat, I decided, is what I need. Besides the need to stop watching movies like Bhopal Express and Dawn of the Dead for a while, that is.

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | October 22, 2008

Aah! Here we go again…

Mac tagged me, and as you know – his wish is my command. Besides, truth be told, I haven’t done a tag in a long time.
Well – anyways – this may turn out to be a tad personal, but here goes…

If your lover betrayed you, what would your reaction be?
I don’t know. Use it as an excuse to drown myself in cheap rum, maybe?
Am betting I would handle it better than if the lover and I had to split amicably.  I am so much better off hating a person than missing her.

If you can have a dream come true, what would it be?
A house in the countryside. Lots of dogs, a wife and a kid, if she really insists on it. Plus, a sun that sets behind my house every evening.

Whose butt would you like to kick?
Now, now – if I were to list them all in alphabetical order, the whole thing would turn into something the size of a small telephone directory.

What would you do with a billion dollars?
Buy a car, the sexiest Bose home entertainment system in existence, all the friends I want, a hi-tech theatre that would cater only to my friends, family and I. With the rest of the cash, I’ll buy a super computer that would be entrusted with the sole task of making me some more money.

Will you fall in love with your best friend?
Sure, why not? Moreover, I strongly believe that best friends who become partners make the best ones in the business.

How long would you wait for someone you loved?
Ha ha. This one’s no toughie. Until I forget her, I am sure. But then, Mojo being Jojo, I don’t do that very fast.

If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?
Hmm. I shall continue liking that person, but never ever try anything stupid. Because I firmly believe that somebody else’s life is not mine to ruin.

If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?
Rooting out this social stigma called patriotism. Think it’s really ruining our planet.

What takes you down the fastest?
Rain. Wet and yucky. Seeping into my underwear as my bike and I wait impatiently at one of these long signal breaks at a Bangalore road junction. It’s enough to give me the blues for an entire lifetime.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully not in a wheelchair, reading Champak.

What’s your fear?
That the lake of fire exists. Coz if it does, I just might find myself in it with Adolf Hitler, Mister Narendra Modi and the KKK…

What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
A nice one, I guess. But getting a comment from ol’ Mac for your blog post has – these days – become as tough as getting a compliment out of him.

Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
Rich and single. Because if I am rich, bet I will never be lacking in companions either.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Go to the loo. More often than not, that’s the reason I wake up in the first place.

If you fall in love with two people simultaneously, who will you pick?
The one with the better sense of humour, provided she cares enough for me too.

Would you give all in a relationship?
Well, I’ll try. That’s for sure…

Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?
No. Betray me once, and I shall remember it for a lifetime.

Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
In a relationship, of course. I am sure nobody likes to be alone…

There, that’s done. Now to keep my appointment with Hercules

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | October 15, 2008

Of Mice and Men…

Tale 1

Once upon a time, there lived King Panchikangandu III of South Hiberia, located somewhere in the vicinity of Sankut. Though he wasn’t a particularly good ruler, his subjects really didn’t mind him; actually, they were too busy with their personal lives to bother with his little eccentricities. And life just went on – to everybody their own.
Until that fateful morning happened. The morning that changed everything.
Now, as you probably know, King Panchikangandu III really hated mice. So what if they never bothered him; he didn’t like the way they stayed cooped up in their little holes and did whatever they do, squeaking all the time. He didn’t like them for their dark grey fur, their little pointy ears, their long serpentine tails; for his Royal Highness, just existing in that form was a sin. And – after all – if he was the king of his kingdom, wasn’t he also the king of all the holes therein?
So, on a bright Sunday morning, between piddle-time and coffee-hour, King Panchikangandu III was struck by a violently brilliant idea. “How dare these little furry guys reside in my kingdom without my permission?” he thought, “I will smoke them out of their homes and bring them out on the streets… oh yes, I will!”
That morning, he spent the time sitting on the shitpot drafting a new decree. A decree that said that from that moment on, mice were outlawed from living in their holes. If they really wanted to live, they could do so on the streets.
Pandemonium ensued in the days that followed. Mice – big and small, old and young, educated and illiterate, healthy and sickly – were driven out of their homes and sent out to haunt the streets. And by the end of it, the king’s order had been carried out – all the streets in the kingdom were teeming with angry rodents that didn’t seem to like it one little bit.
So the mice set out to make the most of their fate by biting old women, nibbling the toes off bratty little kids who dared make fun of them, pecking on the cheeks of pretty young maidens while they were looking the other way, and making away with unassuming chickens –  whether they were crossing the street or not.
Quite predictably, this let loose a terrible plague that wiped out one-thirds of the kingdom’s population. The survivors? Well, they popped precautionary pills and cursed King Panchikangandu III for the tragedy he had unwittingly brought upon them.
Heartbroken, the king handed over the reins of his kingdom to a dappled donkey (oh yes, he really liked dappled donkeys) and retired to a life that largely dealt with the manufacture of designer paper lamps.

Tale 2

Once upon a time, there lived Anbumani Ramadoss of India, located somewhere in the vicinity of Nepal. Though he wasn’t a particularly good Health Minister, his countrymen really didn’t mind him; actually, they were too busy with their personal lives to bother with his little eccentrities. And life just went on – to everybody their own.
Until that fateful morning happened. The morning that changed everything.
Now, as you probably know, Anbumani Ramadoss really hated smokers…

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | October 2, 2008

Reel it in…

I think that whoever invented the projector needs to be thumped on the back, and then thumped again to make sure that the appreciation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Because, if it were not for the guy, my life would have been a little more of the boring mess that it is now.
Now, I remember my father giving me a lecture on movies when I was just a boy of 10. It was after he caught me sneaking into the house after watching one on teevee at a friend’s place. At a time when I should have been home doing my homework.
Well, my bad. But this is what he told me, in the sharpest tone he could muster: “Life’s not like cinema, you understand?! Out here, you don’t chance upon hidden treasure one fine day and live happily ever after! If you don’t study hard and come up with some good grades, you are going to rot and become worm-fodder… understand?! And worse still, you will never get a good wife!”
I’ll never get a good wife. My dad always did make me feel like one of those fair ladies from Pride and Prejudice.
But now, fifteen years later and just a few inches away from the ripe old age of 30, I beg to differ (Err.. no, not on the good wife bit). Movies, I think, more than mirror the life around us; sometimes they take us beyond in a way that even books can’t. If what they say about a picture speaking a thousand words is true, how would you rate something that has images flickering at three thousand (more-or-less, whatever) a second – making you bear witness to stuff that you could never have imagined even in your wildest dreams?
Really, only a movie has the power to bring a Black Friday-like tragedy, which – until then – has been nothing more than a headline on a newspaper,  right into the confines of your drawing room. Only a movie can bring an alien down on earth to befriend a group of misfit kids who like nothing better than to ride around on bicycles, and then make them sail through the night sky – creating a cute little silhouette on the moon. Only a movie can make you weep uncontrollably for someone who has been created just for the sake of a soppy movie script, or make you smile when a non-existent Eeshan’s painting finally makes it to the cover of his school magazine.
Well, now that I have already begun rambling, do let me go on about some of my favourite movies – drawn from the various genres of cinema. But this holds true for only this day, Thursday the 2nd of October. Because my preferences tend to change with the wind.

DRAMA

August Rush
Watched August Rush about a month ago. One way to put it (as some on IMDB actually did) is a “predictable piece of trash that gets increasingly soppy with every minute into it.” The other way to put it would be my way, which goes: “Wow, nice.”
Not that I didn’t find it predictable. Halfway through the movie (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!),  I knew that papa Louis, mama Lyla and kiddie Evan were all going to reunite at Central Park in an immensely feel-good climax. I knew he would manage to get away from that bad Robin Williams character, who wanted nothing better than to sell him to the highest bidder, and make it to his rightful place under the sun. I also knew that Lyla’s father would spill the beans in his dying hour and tell her how he had sent her child to an orphanage. It was predictable alright.
But August Rush is also one of the cutest movies I have seen till now. So it’s cliched, so it runs like a fairy tale … so what? Holes happen only when you pick them; let them be and they’ll let you be too.  And besides, the movie soundtrack is superb – second, probably, only to Once.
Hmm. I know I am getting a little preachy with my philosophy but, HAH! It’s my blog, ain’t it?

In the Name of the Father
The first thought that struck me when I saw the cover of this DVD was how much Daniel Day Lewis looked like Jim Morrison in his most famous pose (Yup, the one with him standing shirt-less with arms outstretched). So, idjit that I am, I rushed to IMDB and started a chatroom thread on how Day could have done a much better job than Val Kilmer as Jim in The Doors. And lo! I was promptly attacked by thousands of Kilmer fans who demanded to know how “IMDB could allow trolls to have a free run in their network” and “why idiots like these keep saying how one could have been better than the other” and rattle, rattle, rattle, rattle.
By the fourth day, they were getting really nasty, so I decided to stay off that particular forum for a while. No, I can’t take criticism. Not after it gets dirty, anyway.
Now, I really don’t know why Hollywood happens to be so sympathetic to the Irish Republican Army, but it’s really making me like them too. Look at any movie based on the subject – be it The Wind that Shakes the Barley or The Devil’s Own – and you’ll never find anything bad being said about them. Not that I’m complaining; to me, Cillian Murphy and Brad Pitt represent the IRA.
Well, getting back to the topic… In the Name of the Father happens to be one of my favourite movies a bit because of the movie, which is so good, and a lot because of Daniel Day, who is God.
Hmm. Still think he should have played Morrison.

Amores Perros
Gael Garcia Bernal, an ultra-hot Vanessa Bauche, lots of violence… what’s there not to like? Well, the Daniel y Valeria part did grate on my nerves a little, what with the poor crippled lady hobbling around the room shrieking ‘Ritchie Ritchie’ non-stop for days together, but I lightened up after realising that it was done intentionally to show us what the two were going through on account of the accident that links all the stories together. The Octavio y Susana part I liked the best.

But hey! Think it’s just stopped pouring outside, and maybe I should scram if I don’t want to touch base with soggy underwear. So, rest of this bull later?

Posted by: Mojo Jojo | September 25, 2008

Spare me, please?

Just the other day, I received an e-mail forward that had photos of Kashmiris setting an  Indian flag afire somewhere in Srinagar. Attached to it was  a message that told me how the Indian Government was doing nothing to prevent stuff like this and that it was time for me to stand up and do something for my country.
Fair enough.
But what left a bad taste in my mouth was the footer, which said in bold Arial: If what you have just seen disturbs you, please forward this mail to at least 10 Hindus.
Sure, what I saw disturbed me, but not half as much as the 10 Hindus part of the mail. So I sent it back to him, telling him as gently as I could that it was probably forwarded to me by mistake.
Because I will never see how religion has anything to do in this matter, and why anybody should think that a particular community is the bastion of that misunderstood word called patriotism. Maybe I am a bad guy because these pictures didn’t anger me enough to run out with a sword to hack the first Kashmiri I meet, and I am real sorry about that.
Maybe I am a selfish person who can’t see beyond the little world he lives in, but – you see –  that still doesn’t give them the right to spam my inbox with their communal bullshit.

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