Friday, December 25, 2009

Teentho Idiots- Reviewed

An Aamir Khan film is one of the most anticipated events in India, next only to Sachin's x thousandth run and yth century. It's amazing to see Aamir's physical transformation from the almost-bald concrete-abbed Sanjay Singhania, who could break steel rods by sneezing on them, to the charming 22-year old with well-coiffed hair and a body frail enough to justify time spent in an engineering hostel mess. Rajkunod Chorani and Aamir Khan seemed strange bedfellows, but I'm glad to report that 3 Idiots has achieved the rare honour of becoming the first movie to be praised on this page. Not that I haven't liked movies before this, but I'm stuck on 13 posts for the year since October, and have to make this exception to stem the rot.

The movie is about 3 engineering students studying in Imperial College of Engineering- an institute with more applicants per year than the IITs and a worse selection ratio than Ramaiah. It is an engineering equivalent of Mohabbatein's Gurukul in that it is headed by a self-righteous control-freak (Boman Irani as Viru Sahastrabudhhe, or Virus), but one who spews equations instead of sanskaarparampaararitirivaazniyamanushaasan. It is your typical engineering college where students focus on grades and jobs, and are tested for their gigabytes and not creativity. Enter Rancho (Aamir)- a creative kid who has the engineering nous to electrocute seniors peeing outside his room and deliver babies with vacuum cleaners. His best friends and roommates - Farhan (Madhavan) and Raju (Sharman)- consistently scrape the bottom of the class while he goofs around, plays pranks, gets in trouble with Virus, but still manages to top the class thanks to his ingenuity.

The movie keeps alternating between the present -where years after college, Farhan and Raju are desperately looking for Rancho, who disappeared before the rest could catch their airborne graduation topis- and the past, which shows their experiences during college. In the course of four years Rancho manages to do the following-

1. Peeing senior electrocution and vacuum cleaner baby delivery
2. Screw up his rival-in-chief Chatur Ramalingam's Teachers Day speech by replacing chamatkaar with balaatkaar. Subsequently CR challenges him to come back to the same spot he's now standing at 10 years later and see who's more successful.
3. Break Kareena's (Boman's daughter) engagement using pudina chutney and an expensive watch
4. Create an inverter powered by car batteries
5. Make a helicopter fly
6. Drive Boman crazy
7. Save Sharman from suicide and subsequently flick question papers from Boman's office to help Sharman pass
8. Distribute free advice and convince his buddies about the therapeutic powers of chanting Aal Izz Well
9. Irritate Kareena, fall in requited love with her
10. Convince Madhavan to ditch engineering and take up wildlife photography

and much much more.

Eventually, the friends track down Rancho, who it turns out, is not Rancho but Phunsuk Wangdu - a hot shot scientist who runs an alternative school in Ladakh. The real Rancho (Javed Jaffrey) is using PW's B.Tech degree; watch the back story yourself, I'm not writing a bloody book on 3 Idiots. And in the vein of a good commercial movie, Kareena runs away from her wedding when she knows Aamir has been traced.

I loved the movie for a number of reasons. It was earnest, like all Rajkunod movies are, and had a number of laugh-out-loud moments. It reminded me of my engineering days and had some cracking lines like- It's bad to see your friend fail but worse to see him succeed (I know Greatbong has written the same, but I swear this is the only thing I've pilfered). It was not high on moral values- watch the scene in Sharman's house when Aamir and Madhavan torn between deciding whether to console Sharman or his grieving mother, choose to eat matar paneer instead; and which mainstream movie would show you a bunch of engineering students actually playing midwives delivering a baby on a TT table? If Yash Chopra had ever read this script, he would have been aghast at the sanskaarlessness of it.

The movie was also a back-handed slap on the Indian education system, which really does not encourage original thinking. I can relate to it, because I am one of those same high grades - job in US - MBA - (probably) I-bank guys Aamir was talking about. You have the occasional maverick like Aamir, but given the pitiable funding for research in India and hence the bandar-chhaap faculty, most end up chasing the pot of gold instead of enjoying the process of learning. The director's style of passing on this message did seem clichéd and needlessly melodramatic at places, but was generally humorous.

Madhavan was good as the nice, easygoing guy who never managed to rise above the last rank. What I liked is they showed him as a normal yuppie guy unlike the stereotypical image of a last-ranker who would be neck deep in ganja and daaru and be in "bad company" and do "bad things". Kareena was cute and did well whenever Hirani realized he was paying her too much to just Zoobi Doobi around. The funda of her running away from her wedding was a little stupid, but then, this was always going to be a feel-good film, which was fine by me. The guy who played Chatur was good as was Boman Irani, who managed to pull off the authoritarian director quite well. Aamir, ever the maverick, pulls off his bit quite nicely. He could have called this Taree Aasmaan Mein with him playing the grown up Ishaan Awasthi or Taare Underground with him playing the young Nikumbh; the role was really interpolated from these two. But the real star for me was Sharman Joshi, who was excellent as the kid under pressure from a poor household. This should be a career changing role for the guy, but given it's an Aamir movie, he might not get the attention he deserves. Still, hats off to his performance.

The one real weakness was the music which was so bad we all left for a collective restroom break when Zoobi Doobi played. Other than that, it is a highly recommended movie. Watch it for the humour and the performances. You'll come out saying Aal Izz Well.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Brief Timeline of Wake Up Sid's Release

Disclaimer- All real names & events in this post have been modified to suit the content of this post. The content of the post itself is completely fictitious.

August 2009- Wake Up Sid slated for release on October 2nd

September 29, 2009- Indian Watchmakers Association alleges the title literally undermines the ability of alarm clocks. Asks the producers to make it a period film or change the title. Matter sub-judice; release delayed.

September 30, 2009- Organization of Fanatic Buddhists protest against the title for insinuating that Siddhartha, the enlightened, is yet to wake up.

October 7, 2009- Producers change title to Grow Up Siddle; kill two birds with one stone. Movie redubbed to replace Sid with Siddle; music CDs pulled off shelf, title song rewritten, new CD on stands on October 20. Movie to be released on October 23.

October 20, 2009- Complan protests against the title's implication that an adult has not yet grown up in a country where their product makes palm trees of everyone. Matter sub-judice; release delayed.

November 20, 2009- Title changed to Siddle Grew Up; the coming-of-age scene re-shot to show Ranbir drinking Complan. Movie slated for release on November 27.

November 25, 2009- BSP workers ransack Dharma Productions office claiming Maya, and not Siddle, grew UP. Matter sub-judice; release delayed.

December 10, 2009- Title changed to Get Mature Siddle. Dubbing redone; movie to be finally released on 18 December

December 16, 2009- 20 Indians attacked in separate incidents in Australia. Peter Siddle's family objects to their son being asked to get mature. SM Krishna rushes to Australia. Release delayed.

January 2010- Title changed to Get Mature Da. Whole sections of the movie re-shot. Movie to be released in April 2010.

January 2010- DMK objects to the use of a Tamilian nickname for a Hindi-speaking actor. Demands Rajnikanth be cast and the movie be made in Tamil, or the title changed. Jayalalitha jailed.

February 2010- Producers inform DMK that it's the Bengali Da.

February 2010- TMC objects to the use of a Bengali word for a Hindi-speaking actor. Demands Buddhadeb Basu's resignation.

March 2010- Producers play safe; change title to Get Mature Vikram. Re-shooting pushes release date to August. Ranbir changes name to Ranbeer for better fortunes.

July 2010- Tharoor tweets "Why the obs'sion wth a ttle? Wht abt the content? If a nme meant evrythng, Gandhi wld be considered dirty."

July - August 2010- Massive protests nationwide against Tharoor's tweet for denigrating Gandhi. CNN-IBN's new poll- Was Tharoor right? (Y/N)

August 2010- Mahesh Bhatt announces his next project Get Mature Shashi, a hard-hitting story about Twitter, sex, and drugs.

August 2010- Karan Johar sues Mahesh Bhatt for piggybacking on his movie. Mahesh Bhatt counter-sues Karan for using his nephew's name without permission. Karan Johar informs him Vikram is a common name; says "You throw a stone, you hit a Vikram".

August 2010- Karan's comments hurt sentiments of Tamil actor Vikram's fans. Vow to build him a temple with all the stones thrown. Demand the movie not be released in Tamil Nadu.

August 2010- Karan makes peace with Vikram's fan club. Decides to delay the release date to October 2, 2010, exactly a year after the original release date.

Semptember 30, 2010- Association of Violent Gandhians (AVG) protests against protagonist of a movie releasing on October 2nd having beer in his name. Demands the release be delayed to October 9. Ranbeer changes name back to Ranbir. Movie to be released on October 2.

October 2, 2010- Movie released among much fanfare.

October 2, 2010- Raj Thackeray demands Bombay be changed to Mumbai in the film. Also demands all commercial establishments shown in the movie be pixilated or rewritten in Marathi. Movie pulled off the screens in Maharashtra. Karan Johar protests saying he issued an apology last year; says “I thought only the public has a short memory.” Political leaders unite across party lines protesting this insult of the aam aadmi; demand the movie be banned all over India.

October 3, 2010- Karan Johar stops the film's screening worldwide; passes the baton to Anurag Kashyap for his expertise in late releases.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hindi vs India?

A few days back - after a really long time - I saw an excellent debate on NDTV about Kapil Sibal's controversial 3 language formula that seems to have rekindled old anti-Hindi passions. Now, being a 1980s-born guy, I haven't had first-hand experience of the anti-Hindi agitations in the 1960s. I do know Hindi was to become the sole official language in 1965, and I also know there were large-scale protests against this, especially in Tamil Nadu. For those not in the know, Kapil Sibal has proposed that schools adopt a three language formula, with English and Hindi as two of them. Though the matter has been extensively debated and written about, I feel compelled to put my two cents in. I'll beat around the bush a little first and come to the formula later.

Hindi and National Integration

When Vallabhbhai Patel set about integrating 562 kingdoms and numerous provinces into what we know today as India, our leaders were keen to identify, and establish, opportunities for national integration. This was a time when secession from the Union was a very real threat, thus prompting the likes of Nehru and Gandhi to try and integrate the country in spirit, and not just politically. This, and the urge to uproot all things colonial, spurred the efforts to replace English with an Indian language. Gandhi pushed for Hindustani -the utilitarian blend of Hindi and Urdu- as the national language. Even Rajagopalachari was in favour of establishing Hindustani as the national language. Nehru, the eternal democrat, proposed that linguists evolve a simplified version of Hindustani that South Indians could learn with ease.

Post-partition, however, the Jana Sangh and other Hindi groups pushed for the 'purification' of the language by ridding it of its Urdu influences. Eventually, after the violent protests in Tamil Nadu in 1965, Lal Bahadur Shastri, himself an advocate of Hindi, permitted the use of English alongside Hindi for conducting business in India. In addition, states were left free to conduct their business in the language of their choice.

Circa 2009. Apart from secessionary tendencies in some North-Eastern states and J&K, India is largely a united nation. While the motive of designating a national language made sense in a volatile and brittle post-partition India, the current obsession with establishing a "common link" stems from a puerile notion of national integration. National integration is not about making Tamilian children learn Hindi, teaching Malayalis to do the bhangra, or forcing Gujaratis to eat maacher jhol. National integration is about tolerance; about peaceful coexistence of culturally diverse communities; about every Indian acknowledging every other Indian an equal citizen- an ideal I think India has achieved (with the caste system and occasional riots as notable exceptions).

Isn't it better to have Hindi rather than English as the universal language of communication? At least it's not a foreign language.

No. When you have 22 national languages and want to make one of them the sole official language, efforts by one language to assert itself will obviously be seen as one-upmanship. This is exactly what happened with Hindi. In such an environment, it's best to let the language of global commerce stay as the language of communication within the country and let the regional languages develop and spread to other parts of the country through cinema and literature, which Rajnikanth and Bollywood do with tremendous success.

English is the undisputed language of global commerce, and hence the ultimate functional language, as most panelists in the debate agreed. Those who cite examples of France and Japan perhaps don't realize that a lion's share of our GDP comes from services, and that's thanks, in no small measure, to the urban youth's knowledge of English. So all the "foreign language" sentiment against English fails in the face of practicality and convenience.

Sibal and the three-language formula

Kapil Sibal, the poster-boy of radical education reforms, mooted the idea of teaching children three languages, two of which should be English and Hindi. The first pleasant observation is he understands knowledge of English is necessary; the second pleasant observation is the room given to students to learn any language of their choice; the third observation is what's causing all the hungama- why Hindi?

Hindi, as an early critic of the Hindi movement said, is just another regional language. It is the most-spoken language in the country, but is by no means a language of the majority of the country. It does not even serve a functional purpose; so it is absolutely pointless for a child in a remote Tamil Nadu village to learn five paryayvaachi shabd for 'elephant'.

A common grouse among all Indians is their inability to communicate in the southern states. Shouldn't there be a language all Indians should speak? Doesn't it give us a national identity? Yes, there should. No, it doesn't. It will be nice if a Haryanvi can communicate freely in Kerala, but it's not the government's business to decide what that language should be. Anyway, are things really that bad? Some people in every state do know Hindi and English, and I've never heard of anybody unable to survive in an Indian state because of a language problem. And about national identity, isn’t our national identity the multitude of languages? Isn’t it something we boast about to the firangs?

The three-language formula, stripped of its specifics, is an excellent proposal. It is a great idea to teach children two Indian languages. It is good not only for their individual development, but also for giving regional languages a pan-India appeal. I know Sibal is not a Hindi hardliner; he just has a misplaced notion of establishing linguistic uniformity in a country that takes pride in its linguistic diversity.

For me, the best way to structure the three-language formula is to let the children learn any 2 Indian languages. I have absolutely no doubt many parents will choose Hindi. But if a Kannadiga family is living in West Bengal, it might want its children to learn Bengali and Kannada- something the current formula does not allow.

Finally, as Mukul Kesavan said in the debate, there is a difference between learning a language and being literate in it. People watch Hindi movies and understand rudimentary Hindi without knowing the Devnagri script. That should suffice. Must every child in the country be able to read Premchand and Maithili Sharan Gupt?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Shallow Thinking Game

Try to crack this. It's not a whodunnit; some of the words in this article lead back to a common source. Identify the source. It's GK-based; so if you don't know about the source under consideration, you can't crack it. Don't look to interpret the story- I've just built it around the words. A small hint- the first two sentences have one of these words each. A little bigger hint- think sport.
Mohan fumbled in his pocket for the spare key. He swore at his brother for not answering the bell. Was he asleep? But if he was asleep now, what was he doing at night? Did he forget to plug in the Good Knight liquidator? Or was he stranded in the snow? Something was definitely amiss. Anyway, he had had a long day and was in no mood for such deliberation.

The room was eerily dark. Surely, Ram wouldn't have forgotten to switch the light in the puja room on? Did that mean Ram left the room in broad daylight? As his hand surveyed the wall for the switch, the sound of a popping cork shattered the silence. He froze, but only momentarily, as the lights came on, followed by a deafening "Happy Birthday" from a group of at least 50 people.

He could hardly recognize the place; it was beautifully decorated with small artifacts from his eventful 24 years. It was done with such dexterity and grace, that he was sure it was Sudha's handiwork. His friends trotted to him, one by one, and handed over their gifts and greeting cards, which he stowed away to read later. He was pleasantly surprised, because he had never had a surprise birthday party prior to this.

Since Ram knew Mohan had a teleconference later that night, he decided to wrap up the party well before the allotted time. He sent the Pringles and drinks around, and watched with amusement the sight he had got used to now- Mohan sipping his vodka with 2 straws. The starters over, he asked the cook to get the minced lamb cutlets and paneer tikka.

It started slowly; Shaque looked at the lamb cutlets suspiciously after her first bite. Then Kantha asked why the taste of onions was so overpowering; wasn't this suppsoed to be a lamb cutlet? Aveek threw up, and everybody groaned- did the sucker drink more than that famously sensitive stomach could take? Shaque and Kantha followed. Nobody suspected anything fishy till Suneol -the man with a steel stomach- threw up.

Ram summoned the cook. Did he buy the lamb from the street? He said he didn't know, because he didn't go to the butcher himself. Didn't he taste the lamb while he made it? The cook shifted uncomfortably. His head was all knotted up; he didn't know what story to make up. He didn't know his best friend -ace cook B.A.W. Archie- to whom he had delegated the job, would use stale meat.

"What crap!" The cook was jolted from his excuse-making deliberations as Ram shouted. The guests were collapsing one-by-one. The remaining guests immediately boycotted the party and left the house. Ram and Mohan were busy apologizing. Once the last live guest left, they turned to the cook, who, by then, had already fled.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Movie Review- Love Aaj Kal

If we ever calculated the differential between potential and result for movies and listed them in descending order, Delhi-6 would top the list with Love Aaj Kal coming a slap-worthy second. The movie is difficult to review because during it -when we had the pleasure of hacking the movie to death in true sadakchap style, and after it –when we were abusing everybody from Imtiaz Ali to Imtiaz Ali under the unsteadying influence of Diet Coke, we couldn’t figure out what the hell was happening; not because it was Mementoistically complicated or Night-Shyamalanistically abstruse, but because it was so comprehensively pointless. And it pains me to criticize the movie, because I think Imtiaz Ali is a smart director. But unfortunately, if he addresses a gathering that has just been subjected to Love Aaj Kal, he will most certainly earn plenty of frustrated footwear.

So Jai Vardhan Singh (Saif) is this stereotypical uber-cool uber-modern clean-shaven stud whose core competencies include scorning traditions, scorning old love stories, chick-hopping, and being practical. The first 15 minutes of the movie move at a frenetic pace culminating in an amicable break-up between Saif and Deepika, who split so that they can pursue their professional dreams. In the period between their last goodbye and Deepika’s flight to India next morning, Saif meets Veer (Rishi Kapoor), a stereotypical 60s man who waxes eloquent about the virtues of sachcha pyaar and laments the logicopractical modern man who doesn’t follow his heart enough. Deepika and Saif have a truly entertaining conversation before she leaves, and then she leaves.

Now that he has nothing better to do, he hangs out with Rishi Kapoor who tells him about his innocent 60s love story. The pattern is predictable- Rishi Kapoor (who looked like a turbaned Saif in his jawaani) tells Saif about his 60s love story with this Punjabi kudi (who looks thin enough, and has expressions monotonous enough, to be considered one-dimensional); and Saif keeps interjecting with “Come on man!” and other Censor Board-approved variations of “What the fuck!”

To cut a dreadful story short, Saif and Deepika want to “move on” after their break-up. Saif finds some Swiss chick who loves Indian culture and wants to see the Taj Mahal; Deepika dates with and gets proposed to by her boss (Rahul Khanna with a size 2 clipper run over his head); Saif takes his newfound girlfriend to India and starts meeting Deepika on the sly; Deepika marries Rahul; Saif is destroyed, Deepika is distraught; Saif wastes himself by growing a beard, losing his job, and pining for Deepika; Deepika ditches Rahul because she can’t get Saif out of her head; LHS = RHS, Saif meets Deepika and they make up.

I’m sure the script must’ve been okay; it just hasn’t worked on screen. For starters, there was -273oC chemistry between Saif and Deepika; Imtiaz made the mistake of compressing their entire love story into 15 minutes; they could’ve been brother and sister for all I cared. Secondly, the songs were numerous and bad; I can’t understand why Imtiaz hires Pritam; he might as well buy the rights of some Vietnamese or Moroccan album. Thirdly, he strived too hard to show the contrast between love aaj and love kal, and used some of the most clichéd clichés you’re ever likely to hear to establish this contrast. The biggest weakness of the film, however, was the dialogues. Imtiaz Ali is a really witty writer, as he showed in Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met; but the dialogues in this movie, save the odd one here and there, were woefully vacuous.

The acting was just okay. The 60s love story track had a lovely rustic charm to it that no amount of cool-dudeness from Saif, mini-skirts from Deepika, and smooches from both could match. Saif looked a pretty authentic Sardar and I can’t believe he had to apologize to the Sikh community for the length of his beard in the movie. Rishi Kapoor was a delight to watch, and I can understand why he was such a rage in his time. In all, the movie wasn’t bad- it just didn’t work; it was too lethargic and too one-eyed in its interpretation of our generation. Go watch it with a gang of friends in a shady theatre where people don’t stare at you for making a racket, and make a racket- you’ll have fun.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weighed Down- 2

Since the last time he was weighed down, he decided to buy trousers and jeans with one eye on the future. That meant buying size 34 jeans when his waist was still 32". This implied two things-

a) He could keep glutting without worrying about waking up with the jeans's button and button hole a foot apart

b) He felt good wearing a pair of loose jeans every morning. It made him feel thin- which is more important than actually being thin. Think about those models who are as flat as Tom when a door slams him against the wall, but still deprive themselves of good, greasy, creamy, cholesteroley, fatty, starchy food.

He went to the US feeling pretty good about himself. He also started playing tennis, which meant he could afford to eat without girthical fears. He threw caution to the hurricane and returned every week from Walmart and the Indian store with 2 gigantic bags of potato chips, a semicircular cake with cream on every side and inside, 3 large packets of Haldirams bhujiya, 2 bottles of mango juice, and umpteen frozen ready-to-eat meals. That's not to say he didn't cook. While the ready-to-eats were intended to be used on days he was too tired to cook, he eventually ended up cooking on days he ran out of ready-to-eats. He also developed the habit of ordering a medium-size Dominos pizza and garlic bread every week. He was under the honest (mistaken) impression that all those hours of tennis (1 hour of doubles and 1 hour of twiddling-thumbs-waiting-for-your-turn every day) would burn the extra calories he was consuming by the thousands. Little did he know it was like that standard question- A frog climbs 100 feet up and slips 1 foot down a well every day. How far is it from the starting point after 10 days?

Damn evolution! Like you can't notice incremental changes in your height every day (unless you drink Complan regularly, which will supposedly make you the tallest structure in the world after the Burj), you also can't notice incremental changes in weight. So while the adipose was gradually fortifying itself and expanding him ever so slightly, he continued gorging without a care in the world. Even when he saw his loose jeans weren't as loose anymore, he didn't lose sleep over it. After all, clothes shrink when you wash them, don't they?

Then, Los Angeles happened. Cameras came out and megabytes were consumed. He posed for photos merrily- smiling, laughing, standing, and sitting. On the last day of his visit, he transferred the pictures to a laptop to look at his well-toned, shapely, muscular, athletic self. What he saw came as a thunderous shock; Hanuman fumbled with the Dronagiri and it came crashing down on him. His face, once small, thin, and ugly, was now big, round, and ugly. All the photographs he thought would be worthy of sending to the auditions for the next Bond, turned out to be perfect for VLCC's Before photo. The growth in his stomach was 3-dimensional, so whether you took an elevation, plan, or side view, you would be able to notice the ungainly bulge. His loose t-shirts could scarcely hide his sins, and were stretched to the point of being short-tops. When he sat in the flight next morning, he was half-afraid the seat-belt wouldn't go around. It did. He ordered a meal and box of Pringles. Half-way through his box of Pringles, he realised he had to stop this junk. He just had to. He mulled over this over the remaining half-box of Pringles, a packet of cookies, and a nice, soft, buttery cake.

He was so scared of stepping on the weighing machine, that he didn't. But he assumed he would be in the 75-80 kg range. A strict diet followed- no more rice, chips, mango juice, ready-to-eats, and pizzas. He began cooking and playing tennis everyday. He was confident this would work. It did. By January, he looked less grotesque. But 4 months in India, marked by curd rice with pickle, chaat, oily sabjis with enough oil to make OPEC irrelevant if used to run cars, and all kinds of sweets, were enough to inflate him to Los Angelical proportions again. And this time there was no tennis. But he climbed 6 floors of stairs to his office everyday, again giving him the impression that it justified his pre-climb and post-climb gluttony. He also did 20 crunches every day (for 10 days), and followed this rigorous work-out with 2 packets of burnt Maggi, chips, and cookies.

Well, when he finally got back to the US on June 1, he decided he would relive his post-Los Angeles-pre-India days. He started cooking everyday; he almost completely abstained from snacking- the only snacks he had were Wheat crackers (0g fat). Whatever he bought had to pass the flip-it-around-and-see-the-fat-content test. He began eating fruits regularly. The tennis was back too- and it was singles this time, which meant more running, more sweat, more calories burned. In addition, at work, he went out into the field almost everyday, climbing insanely tall ladders, crawling through holes, and in general sweating enough to regenerate the Saraswati. Whenever he felt like indulging in a sweet or a cake or something tasty-but-fatty, he'd take off his shirt and face the mirror, and wince at the excrescence he'd see.

Anyway, after 3 weeks of strict dieting, climbing, crawling, and tennising, he was confident that he would be back in the early 70s; 72 probably, or at the most 73. After another intense work-out in the field, he stepped expectantly on the weighing scale. These weighing scales aren't digital or the circular automatic types which tell you your weight instantly so that you can step off before your friend sees it. These are balances. You have to slide a weight along a scale till the scale is stable. So it gets kind of Swadesical as you keep sliding the weight waiting for the scale to stabilize. To cut a long, painful story short, the scale read 152lbs! Less than 70 kilos! He was over the moon, till his colleague came around, corrected the scale, so that the new, correct reading was 170lbs. 77 kilos. He was aghast; he stepped off, took off his heavy coveralls and H2S monitor- that was about as naked as he could get in office- and stepped back on. It read 169 lb. He went back to his desk and sighed.