Jul 22, 2009

Less Style More Life Guru

Thank you dear recession for giving us back the good old days.
Published in Big Hyderabad, July 2009

Dear Recession!You are a stranger to us. We haven’t known each other for too long, have we? Just at the beginning of last year, when we were all having pipe dreams about owning farm houses on the Vikarabad highway and moving into gated communities on the Warangal highway, we were introduced to you. Recession, they said, had hit us. The word, incidentally, rhymes with repercussions. That’s not a nice word at all. A word my boss uses when I go wrong and he asks me with a nasty face whether I know of the ‘repercussions’ of my actions!
Till last year, it was Thank God It’s Friday. This year, the line is ‘Oh God, it’s the month end again’. Lifestyle split into two words. Style flew out of the window and life remained. Birthdays meant the office sponsoring a lunch at a place where they ask you ‘mineral’ or ‘regular’. We used to choose the former. Celebrations meant gifts and return gifts for all. A wedding anniversary was about a booze and snooze party at a friend’s farmhouse where he would sponsor the eats. A holiday meant buying expensive souvenirs without haggling for it. Salary was roughly divided into EMIs, Credit Card payments and since there was nothing much left, it again meant applying for fresh loans and paying through credit cards. Saving was a word that we associated with washing powder ads where they talk about saving Rs 3 on every packet of washing powder. All that before we met you!
Now, we celebrate birthdays at home and pass on a box of Kaju Barfi (Rs 400 a kilo, sob sob) and get free online cards into the email inboxes from friends. Clothes for the birthday meant giving a gift from an old granny to the good old tailor and get it done a day before the D-day. Where have those days of walking past malls, trying out clothes in changing rooms and coming up to show off the loot. But I guess, it’s not so bad after all. At least, we now spend just one-tenth of what we used to, a year ago.
Designer clothes have given way to tailor-made ones. Expensive Sunday afternoon lunches have been replaced with a chat session in the street corner. The car sits decked up in the parking slot with a gleaming silver nylon cover on it as two-wheelers with maha mileage and fuel savings move us around. Holidays meant flying off to crowded destinations and blowing up a few hundred thousands for a weekend. Now, it’s a quick drive on the weekend, preferably to a pilgrim place where we can ask God to send recession packing away. Weekends used to be a trip to the resort telling friends and folks we are not available. Now, it’s a potluck lunch over a game of Rummy and scrabble and cups of hot masala chai. Trips to the malls have plummeted and visits to parents, chachas and maasis have grown.
Yes, we don’t have much style left. It is about living grassroots and spending only on what we need. But thank you dear recession! It is because of you that we have less style, more life guru!

Jul 19, 2009

Movie review of Kalavaramaye Madilo

Kalavaramaye Madilo (KM) is like the biriyani your younger sister made on your birthday. The effort is honest and genuine, but the result is not exactly what you would rave about. More on http://www.upperstall.com/films/2009/kalavaramaye-madilo

Jul 6, 2009

Yo to Oy - Movie review of Oy

The Telugu audiences seem to be in a good mood and Oy may just go on to be the DDLJ of Tollywood. Like an ice cream that starts with a soft, juicy cherry on the top to the crunchy waffle at the end, Oy is like a yummy dessert that lingers on in the mouth. For more read the review at http://www.upperstall.com/films/2009/oy

Jul 3, 2009


Published in October 2008, Big Hyderabad

Words simply seem to stop somewhere between my eyebrows giving me a migraine up there on my head. Writing an edit is not all that easy sometimes

Every day is not Sunday.
Every movie of Amitabh Bachchan is not a blockbuster.
Aishwarya Rai does not look great in every outfit.
AR Rahman also has a bad air day and belts out average numbers
Shahrukh also has hit rock bottom with his movies.
See, even the super stars of the world falter. The greatest of them tail off in their output.
The super duper successes have had their share of down days.

So how can a diminutive editor come up with great edits every single time, issue after issue, edit after edit?

After the issue comes out, my colleagues tell me ‘It wasn’t like the last issue’ and
it feels like a prick on a balloon. Until the next Edit comes out, the bitter feeling lingers on.

On the face of it, it looks so easy. To write 460 words every month about anything I like. Put in my opinion and pass it off as an Edit. I would probably be among the privileged few if it were all so easy.

As the month trickles down to its last week, there is a nagging ache in my head. At the back of mind, the keywords keep scrolling left to right, like a lazy news ticker after the commercials stop on the 24-hour news channels. No luck yet. What can I possible write about the T20 cricket mania especially since Deccan Chargers have hardly made any breakthrough so far? Somebody at office suggests I talk about the summer in Hyderabad because we are Big Hyderabad. Huh! What about summer. Maybe I should just compare sultry, crowded and complicated Mumbai to lazy, laidback (yawn, yawn) Nawabi… and be done with this month. Oh, that’s been written a zillion times.

Emails from office stating that the Edit is pending pour into my mailbox. Gentle calls and reminders. The damn keywords refuse to take in a concrete shape. Writer’s block!

I open an empty Microsoft Word and grandly name it Big Edit and type our some random Xs and Ys give them my favourite font (usually Comic Sans J and my kind of font (usually 24) and pray fervently that some brilliant idea will dawn upon me. Words simply seem to stop somewhere between my eyebrows giving me a migraine up there on my head.

We are just two days before we put the edition to sleep and send it to print. Zero progress. I decide to sit late night to finish it. Still only three characters (two Xs and one Y) on my MS Word file. I toss and turn at 3 am and walk around to get a glass of water. I peek through the window and hear the police patrol. Maybe I should write about how the police take such good care of our area. I try to think nice things about life at the dead of the night….

The brilliant summer sun rays hit my face and the dreaded fifth of the month has finally dawned. I switch on the television and walk past the room to get hold of the remote on the table. My ankle hits the chair’s leg and an idea sparks off. The travails of an editor!

In the next 18 minutes, 568 words fast and thick. It may not be the best Edit, but it certainly one that has had its share of hard work. Too bad if you don’t appreciate all the work!