Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shah Rukh Khan meets a "rappist"

I missed the first episode of 'Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hain' - the Indian version of an American reality gameshow - but millions in the country tuned in on Friday night to watch actor Shah Rukh Khan and a bunch of kids torture contestants with questions lifted from school textbooks.

At work the next day, a colleague kept distracting me by bursting into giggles every few seconds till I couldn't take it any more.


"Shah Rukh Khan (giggle)... There was this (giggle) dude from Indore on the show who sang (giggle) Hindi songs in English and some rap in between"


"Shah Rukh introduced him (giggle) as the first rappist (giggle) on the show"


"Rappist (giggle)"

"As in he wanted to say rapper"

"But said rappist (giggle)"

"He did not"

"Yes, he did (giggle)"

"Come on, Shah Rukh obviously knows the difference between rapper and rapist - and there's no such word as rappist"

"He seriously didn't know (giggle)"

"He must have winked or something"

"No, he didn't. He didn't dwell on it, didn't explain it, just moved on to the first question"

"Just a mistake. He must have realised it the moment he said it"

"No, he genuinely didn't know. Imagine Shah Rukh not knowing (giggle)"

The mystery remains unresolved. Does the Bollywood actor actually refer to Snoop Dogg and Eminem as 'rappists'? Or was the wordplay a mistimed joke that fell flat.

News reports did not mention the gaffe.

Can those of you who watched the episode (and I am sure many of you did) throw some light on this important issue - my colleague is in danger of being institutionalized in a "giggle factory" and I am going to be nagged till I admit Shah Rukh Khan thinks rapists are rappers.

Let Deepika touch BBC's body - Shah Rukh Khan

Monday, April 21, 2008

Surviving Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor II

(Read Part I of this post here)

I feel sad for the blind and the aged. The people who are at others' mercy when it comes to crossing the road. At the BRT Corridor, it's worse. The reed-thin traffic marshal with a baton doesn't scare car drivers and his attempts to help an old lady reach the bus-stop are quickly rendered futile.

A cow ambles across the road and an alert traffic marshal is quick to pursue the fugitive. But his actions end up confusing the animal and it darts aimlessly into oncoming traffic.

The BRT corridor has swallowed up a few men and a dozen dogs in the past and it seems this milk-white cow is set to join the gang in paradise. But a bus screeches to a halt and order is quickly restored. The cow will live to moo the tale.

The brand new sign marking the bus-stop for Sheikh Sarai Phase II lies crumpled, mowed down by an errant driver or perhaps just an angry one. Pedestrians aren't saints either. Jaywalking is in. Who wants zebra-crossings?

It's Day Two of testing for the Bus Rapid Transit corridor and it quickly becomes apparent the problem will be far worse today. Three times Sunday's crowd is in for the torture, bigger caterpillars, angrier drivers, hotter temperatures, three-hour delays. Manic Monday on the BRT Corridor makes it as a news item on NDTV.

Their OB van is stationed on the route and I watch the reporter mumble something into the mike as the camera pans across the road to where I sit -- inside an autorickshaw.

More people now seem to have shared my brainwave of yesterday. The buses are crowded (even in the early morning) but they will reach their destinations faster by travelling along the central verge.

The autorickshaw-wallahs of Delhi are in fleece-mode today but I am too exhausted and irritated and late to complain. At least I will have air to breathe. But I steal a glance at a bus trundling past bursting at the seams.

My driver is in a chatty mood, assured as he is of a neat profit. I am taciturn, not least because he's overcharging me.

"The government has gone mad," he turns and exclaims, fingering his well-oiled moustache and displaying a set of paan-stained teeth.


"They should have just extended the Metro train from Lajpat Nagar"


"All this in the name of development. But who gains, sahib? Everyone suffers"


He gets the hint and turns his attention back to the road. We hadn't moved an inch in five minutes.

Further ahead, another cow bars our path - a black one this time.

By evening, authorities realise the situation is getting out of hand. And allow cars to travel along the bus corridor.

The effect is telling -- the hitherto ecstatic bus passengers are quickly brought down to earth. My pain eases a little now that all of us are stuck - but stuck together - in the same mess. We are crabs that will never allow another crab to get out of the basket.

In the coming days, many will debate the pros and cons of Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor. This brainchild of an IIT Delhi professor will rock parliament and perhaps silence even those crying themselves hoarse over onions and potatoes.

But it will be people like myself, connected by this South Delhi lifeline, who will continue their daily odyssey, suffering and waiting patiently for God knows what.

Aaaaaaaaargh! I should stop philosophising and look for a house in North Delhi.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Surviving Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor

The mile-long caterpillar has started moving again, quickly breaking up into parts as each car, autorickshaw and mini-van makes a dash for the exit, and comes to the inevitable screeching halt. The lights have turned red again. A new caterpillar takes the old one's place.

For the thousands of people condemned to an endless wait on Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) Corridor, it's easy to conjure up flights of fantasy.

The line of toxin-spewing cars idling under a relentless April sun represent the travails of a woman in never-ending labour; Samuel Beckett's tramps waiting for Godot; the indeterminable minutes that the reality show host takes to reveal whether you, the eager contestant, are in or out.

Of course, you will escape -- but it takes limitless patience before your vehicle can traverse those final inches at the Chirag Dilli crossing, before it can take off, explode with orgasmic intensity and hit Josip Broz Tito Road with all the enthusiasm of a five-year-old boy handed an unexpected treat.

They began testing the BRT Corridor today and I had one of my rare brainwaves -- travel by bus -- because stray cars can no longer approach the central verge and the much maligned Blueline buses can overspeed, overhonk, overgloat as they rush unhindered towards an unseen horizon, jerk to a stop every kilometre or so, and discharge passengers smack in the middle of the road.

To be honest, I didn't see any car driver try and cross over to the special corridor -- something they did with impunity just 24 hours ago. And I notice the smirks on the faces of my fellow passengers as the bus flies past rows of stationary automobiles on either side.

I can't make out the faces of the car drivers -- just blurs of frowns and bared teeth and snatches of vulgar abuse directed at the government. But why did they come this way? Don't they even glance at The Times of India's daily diatribes on the traffic jams on the BRT corridor.

"But why are the bus-stops in the middle of the road?" asks a middle-aged lady seated next to me. She seems to be trapped in what looks like a yellow cocoon of paisleys, too dazzling a dress to wear for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The conductor is in a foul mood, and he lets loose with a red gob of betel-nut spittle that lands with practised precision on one of the shiny tubes of one of the shiny new bus-stops that sprung up last month on the shiny new road.

"They want to make Delhi like Paris," he barks as the veins of his eyes throb in unison to his spluttering. "But how will they make the people of Delhi behave like those in Paris?"

(Read Part 2 of this post here)

INTERVIEW - Karan Rastogi

Karan Rastogi reached the semifinals of the $15,000 TCL Futures in Taizhou, China this week -- his best performance since winning in Morocco in July last year.

In an interview, Rastogi told The Indian Tennis Blog it's good to finally get some wins under his belt.

To read more, click here

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The sound of footsteps

Clack! Clack! went the stairs as a hundred kilos of dead weight passed over them.

Motu, the topmost stair, grimaced in pain.

"I hate that fat man pounding over me like that. I have not stopped shaking yet. I hate, I really hate all human beings."

Patlu, the stair next to him, snorted.

"Stop it, Motu! Where would we be without them. It was Man who made us into what we are, otherwise we would have been mere blocks of cement. So what if we have to suffer a bit in return. Don't we also enjoy ourselves, looking at the various people who pass over us, day after day and listening to the sound of their footsteps."

Lambu, the third stair, piped in between, "Yes, Motu, don't you like Micky? The kid who lives upstairs on the second floor. His tiny footsteps tickle me in every corner possible. I just wait for him to come back from school and run up, screaming and shouting to his mother. The sound of his footsteps is simply divine."

"I prefer the footsteps of the Kathak teacher who comes by every week. His anklets make a melodious tinkling sound and he always lingers on me a while. I think he likes me a lot. He almost always makes me an offering of red tilak and what not," said Motu.

"You see, I like Indian Classical Music very much. I'll be really honored if Zakir Hussain climbs on me. His footprints will be a prized autograph indeed."

Patlu chimed in, "Motu, the Kathak teacher tarries a while while standing on you, for a very simple reason and not because he likes you. It is because you are so fat and comfy. And if you think that spitting a chewed betel nut paan on to you is an offering, then God alone can save you."

Lambu intervened, "It is impossible for any of our brethren to envy Motu, for he is always the receptacle of some rubbish or the other."

After a bout of frenzied laughter, Patlu said, "Personally, I like the sound of Sushil's footsteps. That's because I love Western Music. Do you know him, Lambu? The college student who lives on the third floor. He tap dances on us whenever he gets the time and his walkman is always churning out the latest chartbusters. The sound of his footsteps cannot be described in mere words. I feel ... I dream that I am dancing to the tune of 'Chal Chaiyyan Chaiyyan' at Elevate with Malaika Arora in my cemented arms."

The others shared Patlu's dreams. The only difference being Motu visualised Yamini Krishnamurthy in his arms swaying to the tune of 'Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje' while Lambu preferred Maneka Gandhi swaying with him in Corbett Tiger Reserve.

After a minute of dignified silence as they dreamt, Lambu said, "I also like Rambo, the cat and Cadbury, the dog. Their soft pitter-patter makes me feel so good, so peaceful. Especially, when Cadbury sniffs at the piece of biscuit lying on my middle. Yes, the sound of their footsteps is certainly angelic."

At this point, the fat man returned and thundered down Motu, Patlu and Lambu in that order. All three clutched their middle and groaned aloud in a cacophony.

"I HATE this BIG FAT mannnn.........."

[This post, written for an on-the-spot-creative-writing contest in college, was first published on my now defunct Sulekha blog on April 7, 2004)

Sania Mirza to play tennis on Mars

NEW DELHI (T2N2) Indian tennis star Sania Mirza will play an exhibition tennis match on the planet Mars in December in what is being seen as yet another attempt to attract space tourists to the Red planet.

To read more click here

Grand Slam dreams for Yuki Bhambri

Teenage prodigy Yuki Bhambri, considered by many to be India's next tennis great, is eyeing a junior Grand Slam title this year.

The 15-year-old's dream run in the 2008 Australian Open Boys' Singles in January ended in the semifinals, where he lost in three sets to eventual champion Bernard Tomic of Australia.

But his exploits at Melbourne Park gave Bhambri the impetus he needed, with another semifinal showing at the Asian Junior championship last week helping him rise to number 5 in the ITF Junior rankings.

"Reaching the semifinal at the Australian Open does give me a lot of confidence going into the next three Grand Slams this season," Bhambri told the Indian Tennis Blog.

Last week, American Ryan Harrison became the third player since 1990 to win a ATP main draw match before the age of 16 and Bhambri said he would have liked to join that group. But time is running out.

"I'm not sure if I will be able to participate in an ATP tournament before my birthday in July this year as my schedule is extremely busy," he said.

Currently at a career-best ranking of 1205 in the men's singles, the Delhi lad's quarterfinal run at the Chandigarh Futures event this month surprised many. Bhambri said he hoped to dominate the Indian circuit next year although juniors would continue to be a priority till the end of 2008.

But first he has to conquer a tough opponent -- his class X Board exams.

Once his exams get over this week, Bhambri is set for some junior Davis Cup action and the Delhi Challenger before heading to Europe for claycourt events in the run-up to the French Open.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Googleganger's not so nice

I got curious and googled myself -- and found a fugitive on the loose with my name.

I can't believe my googleganger is someone wanted by Interpol. Will I find the police knocking on my door? Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No urinals on Indian streets? No problem

Could save Indian cities a lot of money on urinals and keep the walls stink-free too. Don't know about the road though.
(Link via Reddit)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

March 2008 Blog Mela

People ask me why the same names keep popping up in the monthly Blog Mela. Well, I don't know these people personally and it's not like I am doing them a favour by listing their names here. They just happen to write interesting stuff month after month after month.

It's been a year since this Blog Mela started and if your blog found a place in this list more than three times, you are surely doing a good job. Keep it up.

To be honest, there might be better blog posts hidden somewhere in this vast Internet labyrinth but it's like looking for a needle in a haystack - if you see something better out there, let me know. Until then, enjoy these posts.

Twisted DNA conducts a session on restroom etiquette

Banno gives a few tips on surviving film festivals

The Compulsive Confessor turns into a dude

Krish Ashok proposes shorter versions of Jodhaa-Akbar

Falstaff complains of concert mis-conduct

Ideasmith gets some birthday lessons

Domain Maximus attends a birthday party

Jamshed V. Rajan gives his daughter a bath

Jabberwock lists some research findings we could use

The Great Bong starts off with a crush on Shah Rukh's 6-pack abs

That's all for now. The April 2008 Blog Mela returns early next month. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the March 2008 Blog Mela.
The best of March 2008 Blog Mela
Twisted DNA
The Compulsive Confessor
Krish Ashok
Domain Maximus
Jamshed V. Rajan
The Great Bong
None of them were that good free polls
Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the April Blog Mela being hosted here on May 2

Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-30 April, 2008 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on May 1 stand a chance to be featured on the Top 10 list
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Indian stray dogs world's sexiest: Report

NEW DELHI (T2N2) Indian stray dogs are set to give desi men a complex.

A study released today by an international dog-lovers club 'We Love Animals' has rated them the world's sexiest.

The lowly mongrel beat dogs from around the world, including pedigreed dogs from India, when it came to "prowess in bed," the report said.

To read more, click here

(This post was first published on the Crazy Journo blog on June 27, 2005)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A day in the life of an MTV Roadie

Wake up. Fight for the loo. Bitch a little

Indulge in 'My dad owns a Mercedes' and yours is a 'low-class sabziwala' chat

If you are from Delhi, flaunt your Stephenian background. If you are from anywhere else, gang up against elitist Delhites.

Ensure your place in the limelight by mouthing the F-word or local Gen-X adaptations every two minutes.

(Who cares if your parents have called everyone in their neighbourhood to watch their beloved child make his/her TV debut)

When allotted a task, ensure you get the easy part but make sure it seems like you did all the hard work

If asked to play tennis and you don't win a point, assume indifference or say 'The ball was too fast'

Have fun driving bikes across India. Once in a while, cause an accident and get injured. If you are smart, you get sympathy. If you are not, you get all the flak

Assume expression of disgust when asked to shit in a ditch as part of once-in-a-while tough Roadie antics.

At impromptu quizzes, don't be ashamed if you answered 'Sushma' when asked to name India's president

Be prepared to play strip-poker. Just ensure you wear enough articles of clothing to last you 20 rounds

Rat out your teammates' secrets - Girl4 enhances her bust with pads, Boy2 referred to Girl5 as a prostitute.

If not privy to secrets, invent some.

If you don't have reasons to hate someone, invent some more - "Girl3 is too manly and flat-chested, I can't be friends with her".

At vote-outs, betray your 'friends' to ensure you remain in the race. When confronted, repeat with straight face - 'It's all part of the game'.

If you are a boy, flirt with Girl1 to make Girl2 jealous

If you are a girl, flirt with Boy1, Boy2 and Boy3 but act as if you can't stand Boy4

If you are smart, flirt with no one, be a brother/sister to each individual and bitch about each one in their absence

If you are dumb, be yourself. More brownie points if you are a nice person. You will be voted off the show first

(Ignore this post if you are not an MTV Roadies fan. Others, tune in to MTV to catch the latest or check out the official site)

The best of April Fools' Day

No, I am not going to write some crazy story with a weird headline, get you engrossed and then spell out April Fool. I am taking the easy way out and giving you the links to some of the best April Fools' Day stories in the media.

  • Snacking Mugabe, flying penguins greet April Fools

  • Google does April Fools': 'Custom time' and a Mars trip

  • April Fool's: Best celebrity pranks

  • Top 10 April Fool's Day links

  • April Fool's Day, Russian style

  • All the news fit to print ... for fools
  • Popular Posts