Thursday, December 21, 2006

Prahlad Kakkar @ IT-BHU

Hey everybody! IT-BHU's Annual Management Fest OPULENCE is ready to rock the country. The latest buzz is of genius adman Prahlad Kakkar joining the festivities from Jan 12- 14, 2007. To register for the various events at OPULENCE, please visit the website. There're plenty of exciting events and a lot of cash to be won.
Here's a short profile of Prahlad for the uninitiated-
"To me, advertisements are like having children. You give birth to them and your full attention and focus; sometimes they turn out great, sometimes they turn out to be juvenile delinquents. You just have to give it your best." - Prahlad Kakkar, CEO, Genesis

Success in the creative world lies in your ability to capture the simple, identifiable, everyday small things. In the words of Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Genius is seeing what everyone has seen, and thinking what no one has thought. This is how I would like to define one of India's finest ad filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar. From "Khatmal Niwas" to his own cigar brand PK, Kakkar's journey has been one filled with infinite variety and innovation. Besides a hectic work schedule Kakkar manages a teahouse in Mumbai, runs a jazz club and trains people in scuba diving in his own school located in Lakshwadeep. He has been inducted into the Indian Ad Film Makers Hall of Fame. A graduate from Fergusson College, Pune, he started work in 1972, with filmmaker Shyam Benegal. His monthly income was Rs. 300, which, he spend in setting up an office table at "Khatmal Niwas''(the place was infested with mosquitoes, therefore the name). For six years, he assisted Benegal in making ad films and art films, example Ankur, Manthan, and Bhumika. He later went on to set up his own production house "Genesis". Initially he accepted anything that came his way. The difference was in the way he presented those ads. In his words they were special, irreverent and over a period of time it became a style. The one thing Kakkar detests is a "boring script''. However, if he happens to come across one that can put a smile to his face, he crafts it into a memorable film. According to Kakkar it's the human element in ad film that makes all the difference. Being able to pick up mannerisms and emotions are the key to a successful film. The idea is to be able to relate to human emotions. He is against the use of technology for the sake of technology. Unless and until it is vital to the script, Kakkar avoids it, since it has little or no value. Presently, he directs TV commercials, trains assistants and sets them up. He has no qualms about teaching youngsters his style. That's the only way to stay young. For Kakkar, being young at heart makes all the difference. Of all the ad filmmakers, Kakkar works for the youngest brands in the market. Pepsi, Kit Kat, Nestle, Maggie Sauces and many more. He believes to understand the young, you have to be young yourself.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Homeward Bound-2

It’s vacation time again! Not yet, though. I have an exam tomorrow and one day after tomorrow, but heck! I’m a final year engineering student, and am supposed to stay as far away from books as from Suniel Shetty’s movies. So how has life changed post Homeward Bound-I.

Firstly, I am two months older; hence I am more worldly wise than I was two months earlier. A direct evidence of this is that I’ve already booked my tickets and for a change, I don’t have to squeeze into that tiny side lower berth with unattractive bedfellows.

Secondly, I am a job richer.

Thirdly, I am a few hundred hairs poorer. Clinic Ayurvedic is working overtime to delay the natural disaster, but I guess evil does triumph over the hood sometimes. The difference between Marilyn Monroe and my hair is that people don’t stare expectantly when a wind blows.

Fourthly, I have a new toy at home- a brand new digital camera. Mom said she’s waiting for me to come and operate it. Considering my dubious record of damaging toy guns inside 24 hours, I doubt if this is a wise decision. Anyway, I’ll play around with the thing and read out verses from The Alchemist if I screw it up.

Fifthly, India has slipped to number 6 in the ODI rankings. All our batsmen are competing for the lowest score and Mohammad Kaif generally leads from the rear. Dada is back but I hope he doesn’t bring his grandfatherly reflexes to the field. We mustn’t forget that he’s an excellent player of left arm orthodox spin bowled from over the wicket and pitched on off stump. We mustn’t also forget that he’s an excellent slip fielder when the ball comes straight into his hands. So what if he chases the ball like journalists chase Mithun Chakraborty’s second cousin.

Sixthly, Hexaware Technologies has acquired FocusFrame. Ok, I think Powder Metallurgy is getting the better of me.

Before leaving for Secunderabad, I will visit the Sunderbans in West Bengal. We’re a group of five, and plan to enjoy these last few months to the hilt- the Sunderbans now, and probably Goa or Kathmandu in March. Of course, our Goa plans hinge on the appetite of the tigers in Sunderbans. I just hope this jungle isn’t like Sariska in Jaipur. After waiting with a finger on the camera for hours, all we* saw was a few crows, monkeys, and dogs. We saw a few donkeys and tried to convince ourselves it was a sambar or something.

Each time I go home I resolve to spend time judiciously and watch as little TV as possible. Needless to say, TV hours end up being as little as 15 hours a day. This time too, I’m determined to read a few novels. I’ve already asked Pondy Baba (kabaadiwaala turned gyan guru) to bring me a few books. Let’s see if this time the spiders touch it before I do.

I don’t have much to write today. I have an exam tomorrow, and though I’ve read everything, I can’t say I know enough to breeze through the paper. Also, it’s 1:30 am and I could do with some sleep before my standard exam wake-up time of 5:30 am. Wish me luck for the paper. I promise to return and post updates of my trip to the Sunderbans and my stay at home.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

S.O.S in S.A.

Saying that the Indian team is in a rough patch is like calling Mount Everest a speed braker. - Muckshay

Don't argue about Silly Points and blame a Third Man when all you do is Slip.
- Muckshay

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Screw-Ups VI- The Lanes They Are A-Choking by Robbed Vylan

The Lanes They Are A-Choking
Artiste- Robbed Vylan

The Times They Are A-Changing
Artiste- Bob Dylan

Cream, lather and bubbles
Work up a foam,
And applied on the face where the beard has grown.
And spread the mix soon,
Or the date will postpone,
If her smile for you is worth saving,
You better start shaving or be skinned to the bone,
For the lanes, they are a-choking.

Come writers and journos
Who scandalize with your pens,
Grab your mikes fast
The chance won't come again.
We've caught the goon
And his head's still in spin.
There's no tellin' when he'll be wakin'.
Move fast now coz we can't drop a pin
For the lanes they are a- choking.

Come cricketers and groundsmen,
Please leave the ball,
If you don't stop your play
They will lock up the mall.
Then he who has thirst
Will see no stall.
There's a traffic outside,
If you go on wielding willows
You'll get only salt,
For the lanes, they are a-choking.

Come lecturers and teachers
Who throw out the lads,
Don't teach the science that you can't understand.
Your son wants his father and your wife has errands,
The main road is rapidly fillin',
Please get on to your luna which is parked in the stand,
For the lanes, they are a-choking.

The line it is long,
The purse it sticks out,
The poor man's sorrow will later be past,
As the peasant now will later be boss,
But the police is constantly staring,
The brave ones now had better be fast,
For the lanes, they are a-choking.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Screw-Ups V- Lemon Tea (The Beat Less)

When I prise myself from piles of rubble,
Neetu Bhenji comes to me,
Selling packs of fruit bun, lemon tea.
Though it was cold and tasteless,
It was no less than nectar to me,
Sipping it in hunger, lemon tea.

Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Dipping buns in cups of Lemon Tea.

From all the flattened houses people
Screaming in one voice for tea,
We're dying of hunger, lemon tea.
And though they may eat cream buns,
There is still a chant for pots of tea,
We'll starve till we get lemon tea.

Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Lemon tea, lemon tea,
We'll starve till we get lemon tea

Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Waiting for a cup of lemon tea.

And even if it's salty,
There is still a group that pines for tea,
Pine on till tomorrow, lemon tea.
They waited, waited on and fell sick,
Neetu Bhenji said sorry,
We're out of supplies, stay hungry.

Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Waiting for a cup of lemon tea.

Lemon tea, lemon tea,
Lemon tea, lemon tea,
We'll starve till we get lemon tea.

Original Song:

Title: Let it Be
Artiste: The Beatles
  • Sunday, October 22, 2006

    A Weekend, A Festival, And Loads Of Fun

    The only problem with strong winds in Varanasi is that they throw life out of gear and blow clothes out of the corridor and down on the grass below, which explains my fervent hunt for my Rupa Macroman. But all’s well that ends well, and I thank god for not giving me the good advice of buying spare clothes. Enough said about strong winds and underwears.

    It’s approximately 11:30 pm now. I just visited a website which promised free live F-1 action. Obviously, when the page opened, they asked me to register and pay a few hundred dollars for the service. Anyway, it marks the end of an eventful weekend.

    Diwali is the only time of the year when bombs don’t kill. I’m not fond of crackers, and certainly don’t like bombs. This shouldn’t be misconstrued as under aged aging (as people seeing my scantily clad head are wont to do)- I’ve always hated bombs. My last few Diwalis in Varanasi were not exactly fruitful. In the last 2 years I wasted time and money on Naach, Veer Zaara, and Garam Masala; redeemed that somewhat this time with Don.

    20th October, Friday
    The festivities began on Friday night with a trip to a Pizza joint. The last time I ordered a pizza in Varanasi, I remember staring down on a Tandoori roti with a topping of aloo and capsicum. What I thought was the hair of an old woman turned out to be grated cheese. The pizzas here though, were quite delicious. We sat in the balcony, facing the Ganga. Anand, Rahul, and I pigged on Vatica Special Pizza and a mouth-watering apple pie. We were the only Indians there. But a million insects hovering around the streetlight and a few thousand lazing at the puddle kept reminding us we were still in Varanasi. I’ve always held Anand Kashyap in high regard, and after advising me to try Bob Dylan, he’s done absolutely no harm to his image. I really love The Times They Are A-Changin and Tangled Up In Blue.

    21st October, Saturday
    The weekend started early with a Mock CAT at 8:30 am. Obviously, I didn’t bathe before the test. And when I later went to bathe, I realized 1) that for the 7th time in the last week I forgot to buy a new soap. The old one already looks like an ant’s shoe, and my body is a little bigger; 2) that for the 4th time in the last week I forgot to buy a new shampoo. I’ve been pumping the life out of that poor bottle, and given the unspeakable service it does, I deserve to treat it better; and finally 3) that the water was COLD.

    Abhinav, Dhishan, Sanjeev, and I proceeded to watch Don in Varanasi’s only Cineplex- called KCM; won’t be surprised if it expands to Kashi Cinema Mandir. We were there an hour early. We sat in an air-conditioned Café (it’s not easy to find an Air Conditioner and a Café in the same compound in Varanasi) and delighted at the prospect of spending an hour there without ordering a thing. An authoritative hand placed a menu on the table, one thing followed the other and before long, we were digging into 3 sundaes.

    The movie was quite entertaining. The locations were breathtaking, the background score was pulsating, and the storyline was more intriguing than Serena Williams’s hair. The acting was decent too, with Shahrukh Khan almost succeeding in breaking out of his mould. His dialogue-delivery was contrived at times, but on the whole, it was a refreshing break from his Hey-hey-hey (to be repeated 10 times with a gap of 0.1 seconds between every 2 recitals) roles. Priyanka Chopra was really hot, as was Kareena Kapoor. Isha Kopikkar played the role of not making her presence felt to perfection. There were too many songs and that marred an otherwise fast-paced film. I haven’t watched the original but a learned few said the story departed from the original in quite a few places.

    At the interval, it seemed the entire hall was emptied into the toilet. There was a long queue with men shuffling uncomfortably awaiting their turns. Being one of them, I must say I empathized with them. Also, given the oomph quotient in the movie, I can’t promise that all of them were waiting to just answer nature’s call.

    We dined at Kashi Chaat Bhandar and followed it up with paan. I’ve decided to eat paan more often, now that it’s time to say goodbye. On the way back I decided to buy a pair of shorts or run the risk of wearing the same pant day and night for one week straight. Upon our return, Abhinav and I went to attend a Diwali Puja in Vikalp’s room. The puja wound up at 9 but our gossip went well past midnight. It’s been long since Murali, Ravi, Vikalp, and the two of us gossiped, and we had a terrific time bitching and trying to check if alcohol had illicitly entered Abhinav’s system.

    22nd October, Sunday
    Sunday was a lot lazier. Dad’s call woke me up, lunch put me to sleep, and corridor-cricket woke me up again. I bowled with a lot of vigour and little success.

    With expenditure rocketing in the last 2 days, I decided to make it a hat-trick and we proceeded to Rahil for dinner. We followed that with ice-cream and a round of meetha paans. I don’t spend too often, but when I spend it’s like a running nose- flows till it drains out.

    Speaking of draining out, I’m exhausted. I’m supposed to study for tests beginning on 26th. Kind well-wishers remind me that CAT is on 19th November and that it takes more than 97 percentile to get calls from the IIMs. I agree, but please leave me alone till tomorrow. Let me spend the night with Bob Dylan playing in Winamp and mosquitoes playing closer to the ear. If I find time, I’ll post a review of Don, but if I don’t, you can go watch the movie.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006


    Hello India

    I love beginning the day by bringing my palms together in the namaskaram style, but with a mosquito in between. There’s no better way to start the day than by clapping your hands and killing the infernal things. I include this activity among other hobbies like solving crosswords and listening to music. But over the last few days a realisation dawned on me. With dengue spreading like cancerous cells, I’m not just killing time and mosquitoes, but am also doing a great service to mankind. May be it isn’t fully deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize, but something to that effect will be a nice way to honour my selfless service to humanity. Sheila Dikshit should consider forming some mosquito-slapping squads. If we dedicate ourselves to the cause, we can double-handedly rid the capital and AIIMS of the menace.

    The respect mosquitoes command is rivalled probably only by Amitabh Bachchan. No longer do people just itch when a mosquito bites. They wait with bated breath to see if they contract a fever and develop body pains. They do all kinds of tests and get admitted in hospitals. Mosquitoes have a better chance of toppling the UPA than the NDA does. Major news channels need these pests for their bread and butter, and the opposition needs them to assault the government. It’s funny that in a land where open heart surgeries are done and Siamese twins separated, a mosquito should wreak such havoc. My friends have purchased tubes of Odomos and I may follow suit soon. Dhishan has some homoeopathic dengue preventives and is going to be second only to Pamela Anderson in terms of popularity in the lobby. The whole dengue episode reminded me of Nana Patekar’s classic 'Ek machchhar saala aadmi ko hijra bana deta hai.'

    I read this amazing thing about dengue-causing mosquitoes (sorry, I wasn’t interested in mugging up the scientific name of the bloody pest) biting us only during the day. Good Knight and All Out must rework their night-oriented marketing strategies and may be come up with a “45 Days chalne wala Dengue Naashak”.

    I wasn’t very interested in the Champions Trophy till I heard about Mohammad Asif’s and Shoaib’s drug controversy. Without them, Pakistan’s pace attack is as effective as Venkatesh Prasad’s batting. Pakistani cricket is in doldrums; with Hair-raising issues, captaincy quibbles, and now this doping case really hitting them below the belt and above the thighs. Pakistan is, in general, and because of General, not exactly in rosy terms with the rest of the world, especially the West. Cricket is one thing that binds the nation and makes people believe there’s more to their country than pseudo-democratic politicians and terrorist training camps. There’s nothing like a right time for a controversy, but there sure is a wrong time; and for many Pakistanis this is the worst time. Batsmen won’t complain though- they can now walk to the middle without fearing broken bones and shattered groins.

    India’s batting performance against England was very disappointing. We’ve filled the squad with too many ‘exciting’ players. And then there’s the endorsement problem. It just takes two sixes or a 5-wicket haul or a ball bowled at 150 kmph to get Pepsi, Coca Cola, AirTel, and the like chasing you like a bull after red hot property. Dhoni, with just over a year’s international experience, makes an astounding 12 crore rupees a year. The inconsistencies of Indian cricket don’t need a Greg Chappel for rectification. Cricketers shouldn’t be allowed to endorse brands till they score 2000 runs or pick up 50 wickets.
    I saw an old Pepsi ad the other day, and was trying to recognize a particular face. Then it struck me. Ajay Ratra! The wicketkeeper who has walked to the middle with a bottle more often than a bat! But I guess that’s Indian Cricket Industry’s way of going about its business. They make celebrities out of one-match wonders, rocket them to cloud nine and then bury them in Ranji soil.

    While flipping through the pages of a magazine, I noticed Sania’s skirts getting shorter to keep pace with her shorter serves. I envisage a new Club HP (endorsed by Sania) ad with Sania playing tennis. Sania will hit the net (As usual. It won’t need a retake) and the uniformed Club HP guys will march in, saying, “Sania Mirza ko Tennis khelna nahi aata.
    Hame bhi nahi aata. Lekin hame aata hai petrol…” She’s another victim of excessive media adulation. She’s been made an icon before achieving anything of significance.

    I’m not writing in class today. I was kind of sick of writing in class and then typing it out. I’ve finished with my ramblings and must now attend to stomach’s rumblings. It’s time for that lovely cup of tea. Sad that I’ll have it only for another 7 months. Now please let me leave. I see a mosquito- must kill it before it reads this and calls its friends for a gang rape.

    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Solution to PARAGRAM and The Early Birds

    The Solution:

    PARTIES are ORGANISED by PAGE THREE enthusiasts. People from DISPARATE SPHERES of LIFE MEET each OTHER. But THERE is a CAVEAT. THESE PARTIES have been DECRIED by VARIOUS groups on the PREMISE of vulgarity.

    The Early Birds:

  • Roshan

  • Senthil Kumar Dhanasekaran

  • Ketaki Kumta
  • Ashok Gurumurthy

  • Good job, all of you.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    PARAGRAM- Finally

    I assume most of you are unaware of the rules of this game, so here goes.
    The paragraph given below has words accepted by all English dictionaries. But some words are anagrams which must be straightened for the paragraph to make sense. For example, THERE IS A MASTER RUNNING THROUGH THE FOSTER should be changed to THERE IS A STREAM RUNNING THROUGH THE FOREST. In the following pargraph, you have to identify the odd words, and unjumble them. Please mail the solutions to, or scribble in my orkut scrapbook. Early birds will get a special mention in my next post (hope it sounds like an incentive).


    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Homeward Bound

    It’s that time of the year again. It’s the festive season. I’m not gung ho about Ram killing Ravan or Dandiya though. All I’m looking forward to is 10 days of peace, quiet, pampering, good food, and TV. Somebody said this is my last Dussehra vacation in BHU. I tried to enter Ekta Kapoor mode and get a lump in my throat, but all I succeeded in doing was swallowing a huge blob of saliva. 10 days at home is a long time. If you stay longer, you tend to lose touch with reality. You start feeling like one of those Sooraj Barjatya feel-good characters (think Hum Saath Saath Hain and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) whose lips are permanently fixed in that concave-upwards position. You might imagine the Director of IIM A licking your boots. You might also imagine Gayatri Joshi begging you to elope with her. Still, a few days help in recharging spent batteries.

    This semester, though, has been pretty cool so far. Apart from the weekly TIME test trauma (where my total score is less than the topper’s score in one section) & the daily insect bites, things have been largely calm. Of course, there’s the attendance problem. We’re expected to maintain an attendance of 100% (for guys who use a calculator for 2+2, it means we’ve to attend EVERY class). So this is what the classroom looks like at 8 am:

    1st row: Attentive students, who wake up early, bathe, and are raring to go. Typically, there are 0-4 people in this row.
    2nd row: Semi-awake students, who wake up at 7:30 am, go through the usual brush-loo-tea routine, and whose interest in making notes lasts from 0 – 40 minutes (in a 1 hr class). This row has 9-10 students. It’s most likely you’ll find me here.
    3rd row: People who just want a change of bed and pillow. They wake up at 8, run to class, sleep, and wake up during attendance. There’s usually a mad race for this row.

    Perhaps the only blot this semester has been my ear drum. On September 14th, 2006 Dr.Meenakshi Singh said I have Haemorrhagic Rhinitis and asked me to use Fluticanose Propionate Aqueous Nasal Spray and Xylometazoline Hydrochloride Nasal Drops IP. If you’re the type whose knowledge of Organic Chemistry lasted from 1 hour before the exam to 1 minute after it, you’ve probably heard only of Nasal, Spray, Drops, and Aqueous. Anyway, it meant no music, no curd, and nothing cold. (I waited for her to say No Classes, but I guess she’s conspiring with my HOD) The ailment couldn’t stop me from my bimonthly trip to VLCC (Varanasi’s Local Cutters and Choppers). My barber does a wonderful job of strategically exposing my balding scalp without making me feel like an under aged octogenarian. On Sanjeev’s insistence, I didn’t completely shave off my Al Qaeda-meets-Ramdev Baba beard. I trimmed it for a Langda Tyagi look (you guessed it, they made it Behera Tyagi). My barber finishes the job with two scary martial arts moves:

    1. He rams my head with both fists. Your head feels like a cricket pitch with Shoaib, Brett Lee, Dennis Lilee, and Jeff Thompson bowling in tandem; or like a TT table with those chinky Xing Ping Zhou-type of people smashing the ball ruthlessly.

    2. He twists my head like Sunny Deol does to kill the villain’s sidekicks. (You know the sidekicks I’m talking about, right?- curly-haired, mid-20s chaps who try to punch the villain with an outstretched right arm, that looks more like an invitation to smell their armpits)

    Anyway, I was talking about home. It can be taken for granted that mom will say I’ve become thin. She’d say that even if Adnan Sami would disguise as Akshay one day. Sis asks me if she’s become thin. I used to tease her earlier. But ever since she’s become an earning member of the family, I have to oblige her to get my hissa. Each time I go home, Dad tries hard to explain what mutual funds are and Grandad takes great pains to tell me the difference between stocks and stockings (obviously, I’m exaggerating, but GK is not really my cup of tea). Grandmom and I argue over every ball of every over of every cricket match.

    If there’s one thing I hate about going home, it’s the journey. It’s not nice to start your day by waking up to a eunuch’s prod and giving away the 5 bucks you saved for coffee (you can call me a coward, but getting castrated isn’t my idea of getting Lata Mangeshkar’s voice). But I guess these are the hardships you have to face to justify the royal treatment at the other end.

    I might not post while at home. Don’t ask me why. So all my faithful readers (hopefully I’m not addressing a null set here) have to wait till 10th October for a new post. That’s it, then. Bye, and if you’re not in a cyber café, and this article has not put you to sleep, please comment.

    Saturday, September 23, 2006

    Muckshay's Law of the Hare-Tortoise Race

    Slow and steady wins the race only if your opponent is fast asleep.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    Seaside Blues- A Short Story

    Ringo: Let's not play SeaSide Blues today.
    Paul: Why? You know the crowds love it. It's a concert regular.
    George: Yeah, it's pretty apt too, you know, on the ship, in the heart of the Pacific. Plus it's simple- just the A and D chords.

    Ringo: Precisely. What if the first string breaks? I mean it's so dependent on D we can't take a chance. It's better we use the other five.
    John: Bullshit, Ringo. What do you know about guitars?
    Ringo: I know that bastards called John think they know all about it.
    George: Knock it off guys, there's only an hour left.
    Paul: That's a lot of time.
    Ringo: What for?
    George: To decide the playlist, of course. What did you think?
    Ringo: I? Nothing. Nothing at all.

    : Anyone intereseted in joining me for a smoke?
    Paul: Wait. I'll join you.
    Ringo: Ditto. John?
    George: You'd better stay to coordinate with the producers.
    John: Yeah. Not in the mood anyway.
    John: George, on the way out ask the guards to take it easy. Have a couple of beers or something.
    George: Perfect. They've toiled all day, and have a lot on their plate this week.

    George: Damn! Left my wallet inside. You guys go ahead, I'll join you.

    : Wonder what made the chaps so benevolent today. Burp! Grand. Hey! No entry in here, sir.
    Chaplin: Just want to get this album signed sir. Please sir, I've been through a lot to arrange for this.
    Chief: Okay. Check him for weapons.
    Guard: Clear Sir.
    Chief: Let him in then.

    Epilogue Part I:
    The guards stormed into the room. John's throat was slit, but no weapons were found on the scene of crime. George had a miraculous escape, as he jumped into the sea through the window. John's guitar was missing, and it was unanimously concluded that the murderer kept it as a souvenir. But the mystery of the lethal weapon was never solved.

    Epilogue Part II:
    Months later, an underwater exploration team stumbled on something at the floor of the sea. It was a human skeleton with a metallic string and a stone wound round his neck and a five-string guitar nearby.

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Choices- A Very Short Story

    This was the best time. He pulled out all his bills. 3 lakh rupees. He tore his half of the marriage photograph and pulled out the 100 rupee-stack from the false bottom. He left 40 for Lakshmi and pocketed the rest. He kissed her forehead and stepped out, looking back just once. As the magnificent structure appeared, his steps got heavier. It wasn't legal, but he desperately needed it, as did many friends. He went four flights down and deposited the amount with his photo. He picked his priest, and was taken to the room. There were posters all around- of previous clients.
    It felt good after the injection; all his worries drowned by the numbing chemical. They pushed his bed into the chamber and switched it on.

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Varanasi- A Collection of Random Thoughts

    This is my 50th post. I wanted to write about Varanasi because this is where my blog was born, this is where I discovered myself.

    My grandfather tells me of the age when three rupees was all it took to buy a month’s food. When I go home during vacations, I tell him people here need just a few more. Varanasi, in many ways, reminds me of my grandmother’s tales of villages and rivers, of subsistence and happiness, and of a life of undiluted peace and calm.

    When the Sensex yo-yos, so does the pulse of the entire nation. Men are accustomed to having their heart, instead of food, in their mouth. Varanasi, though, remains calm. Men still squat on the road with their kulhar of tea and two samosas. FIIs can sell out all they want to, the Federal Bank can double its rates, Earth may be stripped from the list of planets, the Al-Qaeda may blow the country away if they like, Varanasi may be declared part of Pakistan- nothing will perturb the devotees of Baba Vishwanath who bathe in Ganga Mayya. (People do a lot more than just bathe in it. But the holy river’s supposed to give you relief from all kinds of pressure.)

    Varanasi is a misfit in the popular image of North India- business-minded, profit oriented, selfish. While people come here to soak up some ancient mysticism, they also learn to love the city for the way it is- dirty, congested, pot-holed; all-in-all, an urban nightmare. They say the spiritual enlightenment one obtains here overrides petty concerns like lashing cow-tails, traffic, floods, etc. I haven’t reached that stage yet. I still positively detest Varanasi for its refusal to change- for its people’s reluctance to change- fearing possibly that the new wave will undermine their existence. They’re scared of the day when priests will preach online, when Ustad’s shehnaai will make way for Metallica, when sub-ways will replace samosas, and when Café Coffee Day will overtake chai-stalls.

    The tourism department doesn’t mind this. Why should they spend to clean the shit foreigners love to smell? I’ll tell them why. I’ve met a number of people who’ve toured Varanasi once. They said they’ll never go there again. Cluttered dwellings, dusty roads, and crowded marketplaces look ‘natural’ and ‘real’ on TV. But when you’ve to eat a samosa at the pavement of that very market, the reality hits you. The revenues from tourism might be enough for the state to keep bulldozers away. Makeovers cost a neat packet, and UP isn’t the richest or the most thinly populated state in the country. Devotees will visit the temple even if they have to tunnel through mountains of dung and filth. But I am not a devotee. I am a resident of this unholy city, and I don’t want to tunnel through mountains to get to a vegetarian restaurant or to buy a bloody magazine.

    There’s something here that strikes you at once as charming and naïve. Vendors don’t mind if you say you’re broke and will pay them later. It might be for a cup of tea; it might be for an entire meal. I am not talking about big restaurants, where professional etiquette goes hand-in-hand with customer mistrust. I am referring to the petty tea stalls for whose owners the money from a single meal goes a long way. Call this blind trust, call it stupidity, call it what you like. But it does shatter the myth that man has become a profit-making machine. If ever a motion is initiated to revamp the city, I’ll be its most vociferous supporter. But some things are better left alone.

    Friday, August 25, 2006


    We often call the world a small place. I disagree. The world is huge and has invisible jets that douse flames before they even cast a shadow on my life. For instance, just a few miles from here, electrified houses live in darkness for 14 hours a day, while I crib for not having geysers in the bathroom.

    Barely 6 months ago, terrorist groups detonated two powerful bombs in Varanasi, one of them hardly a kilometre away from me. 30 people were killed. Here’s what I did- For a few fleeting moments, I was shocked at the loss of life. As I returned to the university, I shuddered to think of the fate of survivors and their kin. I also said a silent prayer- something I do when chapters outnumber minutes before exams (a rare occurrence with the ‘sincere’ Akshay).

    An hour later, I was listening to Pink Floyd and mocking the terrorists for wasting their ammunition on Varanasi. This shows not only that I’m pretty insensitive, but also that no distance is too small and no disaster too close. You’re either at ground zero or far away from it. If events in my city can’t shake a hair, what about the violence in Lebanon and Sri Lanka? Global conflicts start and end with newspaper articles, which eventually end up wiping dusty chairs or wet bike seats.

    I don’t want to bring you round to my point of view. In fact, I’m not very clear about it myself. Still, this came to me as a passing thought, and scribbling down thoughts is the only way out for premature Alzheimer’s patients like me.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006


    It’s interesting to compare a writer’s block with a nose block. While the latter implies your nose is full, the former relates to vacuum. While one is cured by an inhaler, the other wants an outlet. But why am I writing this? Am I too in this lean patch? While my blog seems to be rollicking along (41 posts, as Anand Kashyap thoughtfully counted), I haven’t written an article for months. This literary inactivity is more like the nose block. Important, boring issues like metallurgy, CAT, placements, etc. occupy more headspace than I want them to. Peer pressure doesn’t help either. When I sit down determined to write something, I hear people talking about the composition of pig iron, or the merits of Object Oriented Programming, and crash goes my plan of a quiet afternoon with my thoughts and keyboard. The cruel realization that writing is not a ‘useful’ activity dawns on me. I once stopped to list the campus-defined must dos that I haven’t done, including not watching must-watch movies, not playing must-play games, and not reading must-read books. I fell short of fingers and toes.

    It’s quite tough, the kind of stuff college life expects you to do.
    • You’re supposed to not study, and even if you do, it should be on the sly.
    • If caught studying a month before the exam, mix disinfectant in the Ganges and take a dip.
    • If caught studying 2 months before, cut out the disinfectant.

    If you are a CAT aspirant -or are desperate to be a cross between Siddhartha Basu and Narayana Murthy- you are expected to read newspaper editorials, know what GDP means, debate about India and China, know why Israel is pounding Lebanon, etc. Even reading novels becomes a Reading Comprehension exercise. In many cases, novels are read to justify Reading as a hobby in CVs. This reduction of leisure to mere drill is a signature of campus life.

    It is 11pm right now. My friend will bang my door any time for our midnight cuppa. It’s a cruel reminder again, that I’ve wasted enough time on this non-profit venture. It’s time to write a Mock CAT- “The following pie chart shows the region wise distribution of sales of Mehta and Mehta Textile mills. The table shows…”- Sigh.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Of Hinduism and holidays

    I heard from various sources that Hindus worship 33 crore gods. That is 33,00,00,000.
    Allowing for avatars and my ignorance, the number of mutually exclusive gods will be not less than, say, 15 crore. If this is true, it is very likely that every day of the year corresponds to a god's birthday. This allows, on an average, 4.1 lakh gods to born each day, which is a fair deal. And given that Indians celebrate gods' birthdays by not going to work, every day of the year should be a holiday!

    Comrades, ransack ancient literature, plunder the Internet, make the database that will liberate us for life.

    Saturday, August 19, 2006


    I know you art lovers detest this patchy piece of art, but sorry, this is the best I could do.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Muckshay's Independence Day PJ

    Disclaimer: Patriots, please don't overwork your heads. This is just a joke. If you have a problem, don't comment, abuse me at

    Q.What do you call artistes like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera, who are free from all inhibitions?

    Scroll Down

    A. Swatantra Divas

    Parliamentary Bloodbath

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Screw-Ups- IV: Haraami by Stale Ham

    Disclaimer: Eddie Vedder is deeply attached to this song, and I respect his emotions. This poem is not written to mock Jeremy or his tragic end.

    At work, peeling stickers,
    Off every box, sits in the shop,
    Selling yellow buns, Charms and Ganesh Bidi,
    The bread lay, in pools of green below,
    The Baddie didn't give attention O,
    To the fact that the expiry date
    Was last January, the dickhead sold those goods now,
    Haraami sells his old stuff today.

    Shirley was a member, picked stuff for her boy,
    Beamed at saving a little buck,
    But she unleashed the poison,
    Stained his teeth and got a swelling in his chest
    When he ate nuggets.
    His school had a surprise test,
    His gut was burning,
    Eyes were swollen,
    Just dropped away,
    Dropped like an injured bird.

    Laddie didn't give attention,
    To the fact the stuff smelled stale,
    Poor Kennedy, the brightest, ruined his year now,
    Haraami sells his old stuff today.

    Fry the tid-bits,
    Fry to clean things,
    From the bad food.

    Haraami sells his old stuff today.

    Saturday, August 05, 2006


    This is not funny.

    Drop Your Coat O doctor,
    We've got some work for you,
    The king's gown needs a thousand stitches
    Two to be made by you.

    Leave your sword O soldier,
    You've got a job to do,
    The king has to butcher a thousand goats,
    Two to be done by you.

    Throw your brush O painter,
    There's a lot of work to do,
    The king's palace needs a thousand coats,
    Two to be done you.

    Don't go, son, to see the king,
    He'll give you things to do,
    Things that'll use all your skills,
    But never give you your due.

    Sorry Mama have to drop my coat,
    Throw my brush and Leave my sword,
    The king has pledged a thousand coins,
    A string of pearls, a pot of gold.

    The day belongs to the robot doctor,
    Artists're an endangered lot,
    Atom bombs used to pound foes,
    We're down praying on our knees.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Pharmula One

    This is my longest poem thus far. You could call it a ballad; only, don't expect to get enlightened at the end. You're no Buddha and I'm no tree.Try to laugh; if you can't, abuse me and shut the page.

    When Laloo became the PM of India
    He went on a tour with his son Scindia
    They went to Malaysia in the scorching sun
    And were taken to see Formula One.

    It was a tight and gripping race
    Awe was writ large on his face
    Then at last, at the final corner,
    Leading the pack, was Michael Schumacher.

    Laloo said "Arre Wah, Michael winned"
    "Yes, he winned", repeated Scind,
    Bernie said "Michael as usual,
    'Tis always Michael, even without fuel"

    "Ijitso?" he asked enquiringly,
    "Everytime Michael wins only?"
    "That's the power of Schumacher,
    Makes him win year after year."

    Laloo had a great idea,
    Returning to Bihar, he called the media,
    "Today I have made great desisan,
    From next year we will have Pharmula One"

    The announcement delighted Karthikeyan,
    Chandok rocketed to 7th heaven,
    Practice wheels scorched the track,
    Novices hit that extra lap.

    But the opposition hit a screeching brake,
    "You can't dump the poor for fun's sake"
    "Don't worry", said Laloo, "I thought it all out"
    "It will not be an unfair bout"

    Then one night he called the press
    "This will be the racing dress"
    He held aloft a milk white dhoti,
    And a size number 8 Kolhapuri.

    And that was not all for the gaping sribes,
    Half the drivers were from local tribes,
    But the biggest winner was the local cobbler
    Because Laloo just wanted a shoemaker.

    After the race, no bottles of bubbly,
    Only a cabaret from Pados Ki Babli
    And when he was asked about the price of cars,
    He said "Huh! This is a race of carts"

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    An Ode to Indi Pop (with spl. references to HIM)

    Hold your nose
    Grow your beard
    Wear a cap
    And sing some crap.

    Play a beat
    Then repeat
    Hold your nose
    And sing some crap.

    Pick up a pen
    Enter your den
    Kill your brain
    Write some crap.

    Countless hits
    Housefull shows
    A nation grooves
    To repetitive crap.

    It's bikinis
    That sell CDs
    Unclad models
    Swinging to crap.

    Hey Lata
    Hey Sonu
    Save our men
    From this vicious trap.

    Else we will
    Be forced to swing
    Forced to sing
    This soulless crap.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Muckshay's Laws

    Muckshay's Law of Love
    Love is blind, beware of the stick.

    Muckshay's Law of Examinations
    Desire to study is inversely proportional to volume of syllabus.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    A Note to Arjun Singh

    We've read a lot of heavy stuff about the 27%reservation for OBCs. Here's my attempt at simplifying the case.

    Do you think, Mr. Arjun,
    That we can't see through your move?
    We know there's an election,
    And you're getting into the groove.

    We're not against a campaign,
    Not also against upliftment,
    But not in the bargain,
    Fuelling communal discontent.

    Give them seats who need them most,
    Who have no funds for education.
    But please do not recall the ghost
    Of the disastrous Mandal Commission.

    Caste is no yardstick, sir,
    To separate man from man.
    Don't think the caste divide will blur,
    It only will enhance.

    Think about the poor brahmin,
    Think about the wealthy OBC,
    Which one needs the reservation, sir?
    Wear lay glasses and see.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Screw-ups - Part III

    Spoofing after a long time. Hope I haven't lost the old flair.


    O Where O Where can my sardine be,
    The waves took her away from me,
    She was a big one and I wanted some food,
    So I could feed my baby when I leave this shore.

    I used worms as a bait and my daddy's bar,
    We hadn't fished very far.
    There was a load, out came a head,
    The fish looked small and I thought it was dead,
    It didn't squeal so I thought I was right,
    I'll never forget that look of fright.
    The hanging wire, the wooden bar,
    The joyful sights that I saw last.

    When I woke up the doc was staring down,
    There were nurses standing all around,
    Something white wrapped around my thighs,
    Thank God was saved by Devi that night,
    I shifted my legs, she looked at me and said,
    'Saw you fooling with that hook and line',
    'I held it close coz it was our last fish'
    I found the grub that I knew I had missed,
    But now it's gone, and though I pull with all my might,
    I lost my grub, my line that night.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    An Ode to Poetry

    When thoughts overfill the brain,
    And the man thinks himself expressive,
    He hunts desperately for a drain,
    And to this world does a poem give.

    People often pen philosophy,
    Sometimes indulge in humour.
    The aim is to prevent atrophy,
    And to thaw the painful tumour.

    Wannabes act pseudo-intellectual
    By praising poetry that seems abstract.
    Even if their understanding is peripheral,
    They pretend to have mastered the extract.

    Some don’t rhyme style with smile,
    Some stop writing 4-line verses.
    They think it sounds too puerile,
    They revel in confusing the masses.

    Good poets use imagery
    To illustrate their emotions.
    Good poets pose many a query,
    Eliciting many interpretations.

    Good poetry might make us roll in laughter,
    Or might rip our hearts to shreds.
    Above all it should have comprehensible matter,
    And not make us scratch our heads.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Poetry: Strictly Unphilosophical and Uncontemplative

    Dear poetry lovers

    These verses are not thought stimulating, inspiring or depressing. You don't need a dictionary. You can also do without the intense concentration needed for fools like Wordsworth.

    You nedn't be a pro,
    To get into Infosys or Wipro.
    After all, why should they care,
    If you just have to copy software.

    From keeping books out of sight
    To studying relentlessly day and night,
    Xerox machine owners jump in elation
    As photocopy is the only option.

    Resting on the nose and ears,
    Obstructing the flow of tears,
    Wipe it with the cloth in the case,
    And put it back on your face.

    Intellectuals adjust it once in a while,
    WHen reading a book or perusing a file.
    Use a frame that's snazzy and light,
    Remove it before picking a fight.

    Sportsmen prefer a plastic lens,
    To survive a blow from the opponents.
    Teenagers prefer to wear a contact,
    To keep their cool-dude image intact.

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    My Amul: Ganguly Fired Again

    Please read the post below as well.

    Drivning in Varanasi

    Varanasi- the city the Communists never exploited for its Rediness (no letter missed).

    I read a hilarious account the other day about the travails of driving on Indian roads. Naturally, I tried to relate it to my life and compare the incidents. During this comparison, I realized that driving in Varanasi presents a greater challenge than driving a Ferrari in Monaco. If Ayrton Senna’s misjudgement of a tortuous track proved fatal in Monaco, mistaking a ditch for a pot hole would be his undoing in Varanasi.

    Varanasi has three types of roads: i)lanes, ii)by-lanes, and iii)lanelets. The lanes are occupied by trucks, tractors, cars, auto rickshaws, rickshaws, cows, and the rest. By-lanes have cars, tractors, auto rickshaws, rickshaws, cows, and the rest. Lanelets are filled with cycles, rickshaws, cows, auto rickshaws entering, and misdirected autos trying in vain to reverse. In Varanasi, you, as a driver can be in two places- on the road or in the drain (in some cases, the drain is called the Ganges and you might just get fooled)

    There are three rules for driving in Varanasi:

    1. Look to your left, look to your right, repeat the process several times, and when your neck has loosened up nicely, look up and cross the road.

    2. Use the footpath if necessary. But beware! you cannot hit and run like Salman did. You may hit, but you can’t run farther than the next fruit vendor, rickshaw, or cow.

    3. Always keep your walkman with you and play Triambakam Gajamahe on both sides of the tape.

    There are many similarities between driving in Varanasi and playing Roadrash City. Only, use your nitro boosts judiciously; an overdose could land you on a nearby temple’s Trishul, and probability will prove that its chances are pretty high. Your position on the road is governed by the Le Chatelier’s Princliple which states that “when a constraint is applied on a system, it moves in the direction which nullifies the effect of the constraint.” By following this principle, Right and Left are purely relative terms. You can keep to the left of the right side of the road or to the right of the left side depending on the density of traffic at that time. Always keep to the left of the road till it’s too crowded. Then move to the right and use all the skills you acquired while watching Moto GP. The ride also resembles Need for Speed with the only difference being that in NFS-Varanasi the speed will always remain an unfulfilled need.

    The roads in Varanasi are remarkably level. There’s just one bridge near the campus, straddling a drain. The bridge could’ve been made without an elevation but that would make the fragrance of 5 parts hydrogen sulphide, 3 parts strong ammonia, and 3 dead rats too much for human olfactory organs. When the authorities realized that the bridge wasn’t high enough, they added a mound of concrete (half a foot high) at the highest point of the bridge to simulate the track of the Thai X-Games. It’s great to see stunned faces, clutched groins, abusive language, and a plethora of other reactions, when vehicles jump into infinity.

    It’s sad that humans can’t go to the moon. But Varanasi, true to its promise of providing ‘universal’ bliss, gives you a near-true picture of it. The roads have craters big enough to hold the Great Lakes of America. Also, while the moon has only one, Varanasi boasts of many Seas of Tranquility- green in colour, stagnant for whole seasons, and an ardent lot of microscopic devotees circling around it. Like the University, these seas have annual festivals, where the devotees spread their word and germs to their human brothers.

    The roads from outside the University to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple would be more densely populated than Japan if only a statistician would have the fortitude to wade through the human currents. The hierarchy of vehicles on the roads is unlike in any other city. Cattle play the twin role of acting as dividers and defecating at will. There is a basic difference between the UP police and cattle. Both regulate the traffic, but the latter whips the defaulters and leaves a bit of dung on their shirts as a memento.

    The roads are flanked on one side by the divider and on the other by an open drain. The authorities aim to match Singapore in road cleanliness and they’ve almost done it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the flowing dustbin is never more than a step away, though at times the step may be yours. When it rains, children and the drains overflow with joy and muck respectively. It’s that time of the year when what’s below comes on top, and what’s on top is afloat.

    Rickshaws are the kings of the road, and help in reducing the average speed of motor vehicles to a near-idling state. People don’t mind this really. It gives them time to open another packet of Rajnigandha. The maximum gap between any two rickshaws is enough for a motorcycle with a man and a woman wearing jeans. Sitting with both legs hanging on one side could lead to legs hanging from nowhere. The remaining voids are filled with cycles, pedestrians, and dogs. If you are the proud owner of a new car, you’ll soon be the proud owner of the world’s first striped car.

    The synchronized honking of horns reminds one of Mozart’s early compositions, and the blend of these noises with the barking of dogs and the mooing of cows brings back the good old days of Pink Floyd’s progressive rock. Ever wondered why George Harrison used to come here for inspiration. On most occasions, the horn functions as a death knell and the victim’s last words generally are “Hey Rammed!”

    Indicators are seldom used. Drivers turning to the right stick their hands out offering the oncoming vehicles to do a high jump over the outstretched arms. Also, drivers have a fetish for committing themselves to the left before making an almighty swerve to the right. The plot is simple. You see no indicator and obviously keep blasting ahead coo-cooing with your girlfriend. You subsequently ram into the swerving driver who abuses you in the vernacular and being in a smaller vehicle, he corners all the sympathy. The police come around and finally you have no money left to waste on your girlfriend’s indulgences.

    Hyderabad Gate opens into a road wide enough for 2 motorcycles and a man walking sideways. It’s a straight stretch of brick road. If you sit on a bike with a cup of tea and a pour a teaspoon of sugar, you needn’t stir. Every alternate brick is prised out of its place and the remaining are eroded with the result that the road looks like a series of speed brakers laid end-to-end- in other words, it looks like the crumpled paper in the MRF Tyres ad. Occasionally a truck or school bus enters this road. This leaves around six inches on either side for the scooters, cycles, pedestrians and cows to pack into. The net compound is so closely packed that the road can be inverted without anyone falling off.

    Last Word: Rent a Cow- There’s a solution to all these problems. Life’s not that cruel after all. Just hop from cow to cow for some very simple reasons. Firstly, the problem of not having enough cows is non-existent. Half the population does nothing to cows out of reverence. Half of the remaining stays away out of fear and the rest out of disgust. So:
    1. Make the cow your best friend
    2. Don’t forward this to too many Banarsis, else the word will spread.