Posted by - Rohit

Pinne,  a five letter word in Malayalam which is ideally used in different contexts but most of the time used as a sarcastic dagger that rips your self respect apart. For instance, when I told my Mom that Shashi Tharoor read my blog, she had the same look that Nana Patekar usually had in his eyes and said "Aaah...Pinne", meaning "Yeah...right". Then there were times when I tried to ask a Malayalee girl out, but she would smile back and say "Pinne...not now", meaning "Later". And there's another context that the word is generally used in, for instance, when I gave the same news to my sister, she went, "Yawn...Pinne?"...meaning, "And then?". But this word to me is just not a word to be used in limited context, to me it's a sound that came out of an Angel's silhouette, a sound that helped me see dawn, it's a sound that made, that fading speck, a full moon in the sky, a sound that said "Brother, you are not alone"

I, along with my gang of slaves of the 21st century decided to come out of these shackles of captivity and apply for a leave on Friday which would have given us 72 hrs of self inflicting sinful intoxicating sessions. So we decided to leave for Diveagar, a haven for sea food lovers, beach lovers sans babes or humans for that matter, a place where we could remove the lid cast on us by society which had limited our imagination, a place where we could give our creative side some leverage and create sand castles that looked like office cubicles. Diveagar is 180 Kms from Bombay, another 17 Kms from Diveagar is Shrivardhan, another paradise in the Konkan.
Alongside the roads that led to Diveagar, all we could find was authentic Konkani restaurants, which was not desired by the divas within our group. "Do we have a Pasta joint here?" queried one of my friends, which needed that sarcastic jab. Using my inherent mallu traits I said "Aaah...Pinne". Behind me was my friend Matthew Varghese who knew what I meant which led him to pat my back and give me a look which said "Nice". The Diva said "Yeah...Penne sounds good.".

Penne? Pinne. Poda (Me and Matthew)

The night was stark dark, potholes were roads, we moved on as the headlights illuminated the swaying trees. This, three hour pursuit of ecstasy, was taking longer as signages were our only hope, at the same time they were a rarity. None of us knew what our resort looked like. We stopped by and called up the resort. A woman picked up the phone and spoke in what seemed to be Marathi spoken in Southern America. The phone rotated amongst us and all of us through our conversation with the lady could only make out two words - Ganesh Chowk. It was almost 11 now and we were still searching for Ganesh Chowk. We couldn't find a single guy on the road or a signage that would lead us to the aforementioned place.

11:45. We had delved into deeper convolutions and had found absolutely nothing. We moved, with my friend Aditya, almost giving up the idea of moving ahead. That is when we could see a dark silhoutte with it's back towards us fading into darkness. We rushed ahead right next to him and without wasting much time asked him in Marathi -
"Ganesh Chowk kuthe aahey?" (Where is Ganesh Chowk)
The guy seemed pretty reluctant and conservative but replied back in Marathi -
"Asa jaayecha..." - (Go this way - in Marathi)
"Tasa jaayecha..." - (Then go that way - in Marathi)
"Pinne..." - (And then - in Malayalam. What?)

Before he could say another word, I jolted on my seat and before I could derive my conclusions I scanned him thoroughly like an American Security staff scanning Shahrukh Khan for all the wrong reasons.

Sleeves rolled up to just above the elbow - Check.
Two buttons from the top open - Check.
A Lungi - Check.
Folded just above the knee - Check.
Green Lungi with fluorescent green flowers - DOUBLE CHECK.
Paragon Chappal - Ok, I'm asking for too much now.

But that was it. Without a speck of speculation in my mind, with my eyes now widened, my mouth open in shock, I stammered with my words not finding my tongue or my tongue not finding my words, I managed to ask him -
"Natile Evade?"
(If a Malayalee meets a fellow Malayalee, the thumb rule is to ask 'Where in Kerela do you reside?'. The 2 words "Natile Evade" solely means that, but has sentimental inclination which means "My brother, how are you coping? Are you Ok here? Have you enrolled your family to a Malayalee Samajam yet?")
As he heard my question he stopped abruptly. He looked at me, so was Matthew Varghese, absolutely clueless as to what was happening.

The string of words that followed was similar to listening to Malabari Rap. The guy who seemed to be a conservative Maharashtrian had transitioned to my coconut tree loving, chamandi podi hogging, ever complaining Malayalee brother.
He gave us every detail of our destination, also giving us details about stones 23 metres away from our resort. When we parted, he stood there waving his hand till the car became a tiny dot whereas Matthew Varghese and me leaned out of the window just like the Pomeranian from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, waving back at him vigorously till we could see the last flower on his lungi. Eventually the resort turned out to be a room with 5 beds (on the floor) and a toilet.

Hallla Pinne!

With tears and sparks in my eye, I narrated the entire episode to my Dad, who was seemingly unperturbed and with the world of confidence shimmering through his face he just smirked back and said "Son, right from being placed in fine leg of a cricketing field to being appointed by the General Assembly of the UN, we've come a long long way. Congratulations." And we sniffed in happiness.

 - A proud Malayalee.

P.S: After reaching our room, my friends got sloshed and were pillow fighting.

The Mad Ad Show.

Posted by - Rohit
Going back down into the memory lane, when we were in college we usually witnessed a below par and totally lousy college festival. As cheezy as it gets our fest was known as Milan (or Tarang (both are cheezy)). We had a game show contested, named "The Ad Mad Show", wherein a team of 5 would pick up one chit out of a pool and create an imprompto ad for the mentioned product in the chit. Rocket Science. So our product was a Shampoo. Our team consisted of two long haired guys, one of them had curls just like Oprah Winfrey had back in those days while the other one was a Winona Ryder look a like, sans the same gender and height. We enacted the ad with with Winona being the state before applying the shampoo and Oprah the aftermath. I played the guy who came (moon)walking towards Winona who was seemingly troubled by his undistorted, shipshaped, unbent, unswerwing smooth hair. I gave him the shampoo which transformed him into Oprah headed Oprah now happy with the curls, disorderliness and untidyness. We won the competition amidst 43 clapping individuals, not because we were absolutely brilliant with our gimmickery but because our competitors had realized that their sense of humour was challenged.

And now when I look back to those days I believe we were brilliant just because the ads that are being aired now-a-days are either out of context, have flawed intent or lack of it and are also an epitome of spineless exemplification of "star power supersedes purpose". (Breathe in...and out). So most of the ad makers probably believe that the audience is just a set of awestruck individuals ready to digest that "Mangoes can make you amorous". I really felt the Mango Slice Ad was a condom Ad. Not only me, when the ad was recently aired in the 15 lakh Rupees worth 30 second slot between overs in IPL 5 my mom tried to close my eyes from behind only to later see a Mango popup in the ad. I mean it is plain silly to set your hormones raging looking at a...well...Mango? Exquisite location, exquisite cinematography, exquisite picturization, exquisite beauty and ... a Mango. I couldn't buy that ad just like I couldn't buy the Rajnigandha ad wherein the protoganist deposits one spoon of Rajnigandha, merely a Mouth Freshner, and buys the East India Company. So what the admaker probably wants to convey here is that bad breath is what made the British stay here for too long.

From mouth freshners to Deodorants, they all are equally preposterous. So there is an Oath that Deodorant Ad makers usually take before taking up an Ad. "I the Deodorant ad maker, vows to feature at least one model from Russia, one semi-nude guy and hair less armpits in my Ad". So the mantra to get to an aspiring russian model is to use a deodorant. The basic logic behind Deodorants is to act like a Deodorant and not viagra spray, but loud logic seems to be sound now. What on earth could possibly go wrong between two people of the same race? A fairness cream. A notion that being fair is the way to be is now setting it's foothold in the minds of all us Caucasians (Dravidians/Aryans...what are we?). So don't be suprised if a South Indian who probably is fairer than the other South Indian calls him a Madrasi. To be fair is to be lovely and to be fair is to be handsome, which implies that to be dark is the beginning of an aspiration to become fair. I believe Smita Patil was/is the hottest and the most beautiful being ever to be a part of Bollywood even though she wasn't conventionally beautiful, but her dark skin added to her beauty for sure. Fairness cream is the botox of India. Just like some people don't like natural wrinkles on their faces, natural colour is just not desired. With the amount audacity these guys show these ads with, it seems that Fairness creams are here to stay and being fair is being natural. Unfair.

What takes the Ad industry to an all time high of nitwittedness is the inner wear Ads doing the rounds. Wear your chaddi, baniyaan, win a race, save a girl, seduce a girl or an orangutan for that matter. A woman getting orgasmic feelings while...she washed her hubby's dirty underwear is an idea used to sell an underwear. I saw the ad a couple of times (oh come did too) to check if there was a free condom with Amul Macho mentioned anywhere in the Ad and finally confirmed, yes it was solely an Undie Ad. "Yeh to Badaa toing hain", where toing is a sound and thereby qualifies itself as a figure of speech (Onomatopoeia)(So the inquisitive minds can now discuss what that sound is all about). This is the kind of creative genius most of our Ad makers are delving into. Sex is used to sell and sex is also censored. Hypocricy of the other kind.

The first thing that comes into my mind when we utter about hypocricy is Coke. Coke's ads are most of the time about celebration of life, a positive outlook. But the hypocritic part of it all is that it's sucking off most of our farmers' water in an attempt to make the mass obese. So you talk about making the mass happy, shoo away petty issues by having a coke together, bring about hope but at the same time make the farmers look like American Supermodels and make the rest of the masses look like Jack Black. Junk food should also come along with some sort of warning messages as we see with tobacco packaging. It should mention, "Too much of junk can help you compete in the 14th Annual Jack Black look-a-like competition" or "Junk is similar to a lard dunk".

A lot has to be done so as to bring about a change to such mindless lampooning of the mindless awestruck mediocre. You and me. Right now fairness cream is botox in India but a sensible act by responsible bodies and authorities can avoid wide spread use of botox in India. Else in sometime from now we won't be surprised to overhear a similar conversation between an 18 year old and a 45 year old,
"Mom, I think I have wrinkles just below my eye".
"Ohh Baby, you are too young for it".
And she comes with the needle
"Ok tell me, where is it?"

Bonus Question: Why was James Bond standing over the world map?
Answer: Because he had eaten a packet of Rajnigandha - "Mooh mein Rajnigandha kadmon mein Duniya"

P.S: Yes silly ads can affect your sense of humour.
P.P.S: Here is the link to our Ad.

Being An Indian Audience.

Posted by - Rohit
Indian entertainment has been making leaps of success with its glitter now hurting the eye. Roaring success...and the only reason behind it is you, me. Being an Indian Audience is just not that easy. I'm at times robbed, cheated and taken for a ride. At times enforced with opinions and views. My sense of humour is gaudy and as a consequence a bit secluded from true entertainment. So just let us understand what most of my brothers and sisters are exactly going through.

So here's a low down on what it takes to be an Indian Audience.

Accept 'it'...whatever it is.
I accepted that Amitabh Bacchan played the role of a kid suffering from Progreria.
I accepted that Mohanlal (at this age) played a Casanova.
I accepted that Uday Chopra was still being accepted by heroines opposite them.
I accepted that Prachi Desai played a Widow at the age of 18.
I accepted Rakhi Sawant on my TV.
I accepted that the news reporters conducted a tete-a-tete with an alien.
I accepted that media only shows the truth and never sensationalize.
I accepted that Rajnikanth is Demi God, with God like abilities.
I accepted the fact that Saif Ali Khan won the national award for Hum Tum.
I accepted the music created by Pritam and loved it too even though it was plagiarised.
I accepted the multi-talented Anu Malik as a judge in a talent show.
I accepted Farah Khan as a judge in a Singing Competition.
I accepted that talent doesn't matter, regional voting does.
I accepted the 4 star rating given to RaOne.
I accepted that there's no reality in reality shows, but I'm still watching them considering it to be real.
I accepted that 10 people were willing to get married to Rakhi Sawant.

Conventions are meant to be followed. I'm defiant.
I will watch a movie with the same story with different actors and vow to love them every time. Such movies don't divulge my mind much on other complications. It helps me be in my safe zone of thoughts.
Television Masala addresses really big problems with the universal solution of "getting-married-to-a-rich-family". And then we have a new dimension all together.
The entertainer is bigger than those meant to be entertained. I will be an imbecile if need be. Are you listening Salman?
Theatre? Nautanki. They are just a bunch of people trying to make their presence felt by acting on serious problems of society. They are talented but just not popular enough to make the cut.
Why would I ever watch a film like Dev D? The lead is just not sophisticated enough to be even considered as a lead.
Endings should be shiny...every time because I'm a super positive bloke who loves to watch fights on Big Boss.
I will not watch a film on farmer suicide but Adventures of Raj Aryan and Rahul Malhotra is what makes me sit on the edge of my seat.
The magnitude of a relationship between a Mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law is unfathomable.
Documentary? Art film na. Pagal hain kya? Let's watch Partner.
Satyajit Ray? Who? Bengali guy no?

We are believers, believers of the other kind.
I believe that I can create a cyclone using my feet.
I believe I have nine lives.
I believe that upper class is middle class.
I believe I can fight 20 people without even being poked.
I believe in re-incarnation.
I believe when I get agitated like Sunny Deol people won't chuckle.
I believe I can save the world.
I believe I'm the chosen one.
I believe that Rakhi Sawant is a celebrity.
I believe truth is to be sensationalized.
I believe talent doesn't matter, popularity does.
I believe language doesn't matter...looks do.
I believe Katrina Kaif is much more talented than any theatre artist.
I believe that shocks always result in heart attacks after 5 minutes of slow motioned reactions.
I believe Filmfare awards are fair.
I believe I can create a software in 5 minutes (Haven't seen Om Jai Jagdish?).
I believe I can take 6 bullets in my chest and still do one handed push-ups.
I believe Raghu Ram is a youth icon.
I believe I can give flying kicks in my bell bottoms (I have a couple...ok).
I believe I can marry a rich industrialist's daughter, even if I'm a taxi driver.
I believe the girl will adjust.
I believe girls adjust.
I believe Arnab Goswami is potential PM.
I believe Arindham Chaudhary is handsome.

A true believer, a blind acceptor, a hardcore loyalist, A stagnant taste, a pompous drama queen, the awestruck mediocre, the conventional cliché, the tormented, the blah that's just another blah, I'm all that. So respect me as soon as I say that I represent..."The Indian Audience".

P.S: I'm not excluded from the Audience and I'm not someone with the right taste and wisest choice. Your taste is right for you. I believe there is better we can expect. My jibe at the media is only because I don't think they act responsibly. Even though they have a good grip on the viewership these days, there seems to be no effort in bringing about a positive change towards people's outlook. Things like flashing a news flash 43 times in a minute would only make people shift places often.
I believe we can expect better from the entertainment industry. Legends are legends, for sure. But these icons have the responsibility to take the industry to new heights. Aamir Khan has been experimenting with new faces and ideas and doesn't mind a 10 minute screen space. Can we expect this from the other legends?
Theater artists should be given their due credit and recognised for spirited performances but then we follow popularity. Talent is just appreciated with the raised eyebrow and an Indian head shake and a critics choice award. Why on earth do we have that category?
Why television. When it comes to reality shows, we are going the American way for sure. Publicly demoralising private lives is not a source of entertainment. How many of us would really give away our privacy for extra bucks. What good is it for? I don't deny that I have been an offender. I sure have been one, but it's something I'm not proud of. We have TV series which have the same storyline. Most of you would say Bold and the Beautiful still runs, but then that's only one. We have TV series coming up at the rate of human beings in the country all of the same genre.
Don't you think we need to grow?