The Blunder Years
I’ve always been fascinated by cinema and film trivia, especially of the obscure and degenerate kind. I’d link this attribute to an open and unfettered mind that is unbiased in its acceptance of knowledge, but the truth is that, as a child, I must’ve walked into one glass door too many.
How else do you explain the fact that not only do I remember the entire lyrics to Govinda’s chart buster ‘Meri Pant Bhi Sexy/Meri Shirt Bhi Sexy’, but that I can also conduct a thrust-by-thrust comparison with a similar Mithun Da number, in which he describes the sartorial actions of his lady love with the lyrics ‘Dhoti Ko Phaad Ke Rumaal Kar Gayi’?
And what of the Dolph Lundgren action movie, that I remember watching with great interest the night before some engineering exam? (Dolph Lundgren, in case you don’t get cable TV in your cave, is an actor who wouldn’t have survived a minute in my school with a surname like ‘Lundgren’.)
I’ve also watched masterpieces like Umrao Jaan, Baabul, and Nishabd (for journalistic reasons of course). So imagine my disappointment when all theatres in the vicinity pulled out Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag – the Big Daddy Of Bollywood Trash – barely a week after its release. Even the local shady multiplex, with its 10 a.m shows of films like ‘Salwar Mein Talwar’ and ‘Laal Tamatar Ka Juice Choos’, decided that it wasn’t worth a slot. And that is how I lost the chance to watch RGV ki Aag – probably the greatest mid-life crisis to have been transformed into a film.
See, that’s the thing about being RGV. To add zing to your life, all you need to do is to make a film, and then gleefully watch as the audience beat themselves to death with their food trays.
But what can I, a common writer, do to resolve my crisis?
No, not the mid-life crisis – that’s still years away, and considering the number of articles I’ve read about it, I shall be prepared to look ridiculous. The problem I’m referring to is, of course, the quarter-life crisis.
(Note: This should not be confused with an actual ‘Quarter Crisis’, which is what happens when college students order a quarter at a swanky bar, only to be reminded by the sweet staff that “we only serve pegs, and you will have to sell your kidney to buy one.”)
No, a quarter-life crisis hits you in your early 20s, and before you know it, you realise that the ‘Mature Decisions Department’ of your brain, which had been on strike since you were born, has suddenly decided to get back to work, without consulting with you on the matter.
For example, consider the 9th of September. It was the final day of I-Rock, a mega event that sees rock fans from all over the country unite in an attempt to smuggle booze into the venue. The old me (which, technically, was the young me) has headbanged at Rang Bhavan, cursed the pandus at Gateway and sung along at Chitrakoot. But this year, I didn’t go. And why? Because I had a meeting early next day, and I needed the rest. (Next person to call me ‘Uncle’ gets shot)
So instead of being pushed around by dopeheads with questionable personal hygiene, I chose to spend a quiet evening with a bunch of 22-year old friends, discussing (this is absolutely true) the Air Cargo Industry, including the role of Third Party Logistics.
(Yes, I’ll wait till you’re done making that L sign on your forehead. Done? Good, now move on.)
Keep in mind that these are the kind of guys who, at any given point of time, can rattle off 43 different slang words for ‘boobs’. It scares me when guys like these – childhood friends of mine, no less – start comparing India and China in terms of aviation market potential. Whatever happened to conversations that began with “I don’t really remember what happened last night…”? Thankfully, talk digressed towards airhostesses, where the aforementioned 43 slang words came in handy. The incident did force me to look for my inner child, but the punk was too busy getting smashed at I-Rock.
It’s interesting – in the same way that being chased by a randy orangutan who thinks you’re his mate can be called interesting – to see where this ‘growing old’ business will lead to.
For instance, I wonder if I’ll ever turn into one of the wine snobs. You know the type – sniffing at wine glasses, commenting on its aroma, swirling the wine about till it gets giddy and yells at them to cut it out – doing everything except actually drinking it. I’ve always been a beer person, although on several occasions I have offered an objective opinion after tasting wine… (“Ack! Horse piss!”). My multiple beer bellies would feel betrayed.
Jokes apart, I think it’s high time I began to find some meaning in my life. This can only happen when I move out my comfort zone, and go to Sion, where I believe Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag is still playing.
Archived article, originally posted in 2007