Conversations with dad, who died many years ago

When I go to the potty, I take my phone with me. On it, I either scroll mindlessly through facebook and instagram or read a book I’ve been trying to read for like two years. This is not a fact that you need to know but it might be important later, if you stick around reading this.

Neutral Milk Hotel is playing in the house. I am alone, so it echoes.

Two headed boy. You should listen to that song. It’s nice.

I was watching the Godfather this morning. It’s the first thing I did this morning when I woke at 4:30 AM. Then I watched The Godfather Part II. Only my dad would’ve understood such an act of absolute anarchy. I remember watching films with him at absolutely any time of the day. He liked The Godfather a lot! And Brooke Shields was his favorite actress (because my grandfather liked The Blue Lagoon a lot, thinking that it was a soft porn film. I guess my father, like all other fathers before him, couldn’t help but be influenced by his father, even if their fathers made everything beautiful into something cheap. I really should rewrite this last sentence.) Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about.

Brooke Shields had nothing to do with The Godfather, at least nothing that I know of. It’s just a fact that I remember about my dad and my dad’s dad.

I couldn’t help but think of my father while watching The Godfather. He would make sounds of approval on great dialogue (“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”), he would point out when he thought a scene was rather well shot, he would recount life-lessons that he’d thought the film related (this is my father I am talking about here, The Godfather couldn’t’ve pointed out scenes in The Godfather). He (again, my dad) really thought of himself as a hybrid of Vito and Michael Corleone. Sometimes he would look at me as if I was turning into Fredo – this is a reference that only the ones who remember the film would get. And having looked at me, he’d shake his head. I remember his constant disapproval and his constant pride in my existence. I hadn’t done anything to earn either, I had just existed.

I was in sixth grade when I saw the boobies of the heroine in The Godfather. It’s the sex scene when Michael gets married in Sicily. I am told that a George Clooney picture called The American shows the boobies of the daughter of the girl whose boobies we see in The Godfather. My father could not see The American, he wasn’t around. It would’ve been a very weird, very pervy, full circle otherwise. I have.

While watching The Godfather this morning, I was struck by several nuances that Francis Coppola thought of while making the film. The minutiae, like hundreds of extras at a party, so the party feels real, or the man who jumps thrice in the streets as they mock celebrate Cuba’s revolution or Kay’s fight for her freedom and everyone’s disgusting disregard for all the women in the films, or all the scenes where Michael talks to his mother.

When I notice these things, I feel like I want to talk to someone about them. Who better than a die hard fan of the film? Who better than my father?

But he is dead. It’s been six years. He and I used to fight a lot. I was always right, like Kay. He was always wrong, like, I don’t know, Fredo? or like the guy who thought that The Godfather video game was a good idea. Point is I don’t have a good candidate to talk to and point out all the things I found worth pointing out today. And just for this reason, I miss him. He was such an asshole to me and I honestly miss him.

So now I go for a walk in the evening, thinking I have wasted the entire day watching films that I first saw when I was reading Asterix and watching He-Man cartoons. Afterwards, my tummy decides, as it happens with all men who have walked for an hour having eaten a big lunch and have also seen The Godfather, that I must take a shit.

This is where I was for the last 20 minutes. I did not take my phone with me this time. For the first three-ish minutes, my fat ass deplorably trumpeted my lack of dignity, but after that my brain took over.

I have realized, as an outcome of the last approximately sixteen and a half minutes of closed room introspection, that The Godfather is a great film, Part II as well, and that I have not addressed my father’s death, I have denied myself proper grief, mourning, and have brain-blocked all versions of sorrow that such facts ensue. Sometime, I really should deal with it – the dad bit, not The Godfather.

Lost in my thought I forgot to skip Oh Comely, which is such lazy songwriting and I really despise it. Ghost is just done and Untitled is going to start in a second. Untitled is my favorite track in Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Despite Oh Comely, it’s a great album. You should listen to it, sometime.

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David Fincher – The 10 Part “Director’s Dialogue” Interview

Original Artwork by Charis Tsevis, used under the Creative Commons license.

David Fincher Mosaic by Charis Tsevis

I loved David Fincher’s “Director’s Dialogue” interview. I saw it on Trailer Addict some time before “The Social Network” was to be released in India.

Then I saw it again and thought “I really like this interview, let me put it up as a post so I can watch it again when I want to…” It was posted in 10 parts of about 5 minutes each, a little cumbersome to watch.

What I wanted to do here is link all the 10 parts in this post, so it’s a little easier viewing the next time I want to watch it.

I really liked Mr. Fincher’s easy humour and the way he can be lucid without saying much (“perfume commercial, perfume commercial, perfume commercia… condom comercial, perfume commercial…” etc.)

There’s other things I liked about it, but first, here are the 10 parts:

[Update: Fuck!Fuck!Fuck!Fuck-ity!Fuck! Stupid WordPress does not allow embedding of videos from Trailer Addict – I keep regretting moving to this platform from Blogger…the move back may be tedious, or maybe not…aw! FUCK! For now, all this post has is a link that opens the relevant Trailer Addict page in a new tab/window. Sheesh! Grow the fuck up WordPress!]

  1. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 1
  2. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 2
  3. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 3
  4. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 4
  5. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 5
  6. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 6
  7. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 7
  8. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 8
  9. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 9
  10. David Fincher, Director’s Dialogue Interview, part 10

🙂

ख़्वाँ-म-ख़्वाँ

The writer of such plays as ‘चूंती टोंटी’, ‘महकता नलका’, ‘काँच की बगल’ and ‘मटकी का तोपची’ died accidentally and fatally in an accident today.

Taking note of this event, a bill was passed in the parliament, commissioning this day as a national holiday called “Thank God! day”. Noted parliamentarians noted that the significance of such a holiday symbolizes our commitment to free speech, even if it comes at the cost of celebrating such authors.

Tomorrow being a Saturday, people are gearing up for a long weekend in the wake of this unexpected holiday. Youngsters across the nation are praising the author for his timely demise. Is it not said that “the true value of an artist is only known after he is gone”?

The postmodernist expert playwright who wrote the great play ‘दरिन्दे का दिल’ and it’s even-better-sequel [sic], ‘दिल का दरिन्दा’ said “यह सब क़िस्मत का खेल है. I am writing a blog post about it. Also you can follow me on twitter and like my page on Facebook.” Touché!

Amidst all this tension a group of French linguists from New Delhi have expressed their intense interest in the study of Hindi in Hindi plays and consequently in the works of the deceased. Fortunately and miraculously all of them are vampires and thus have nothing to loose anyway. We will write a blog post about it.

Also, you can follow us on twitter and like our page on Facebook.

STAGEPLAY(Hindi): “रफ़ीक़” COLUMBUS M.B.A.


ACT I

The Introductory Note

Empty Stage, with a Single Table and a Chair. Queen Isabella is sitting, filing her
nails. The
सूत्रधार walks in.

सूत्रधार

(Addresses audience)

In 1491, Columbus sailed the seas in a bid to discover a “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” to India. He landed in America. This is the story of what went wrong. DISCLAIMER: None of the characters in this play resemble anyone at my office, If someone tells you otherwise, don’t believe it.

He is about to leave the stage, stops…

सूत्रधार

(Leaving the stage now…)

We start with the sales pitch at the chambers of her excellence Queen Isabella of Spain…

Exit सूत्रधार.

The Sale and the Start

Queen’s phone rings. She picks up…

QUEEN ISABELLA

(sounds bored)

Oh! all right! Send him in…

Columbus enters stage, smiles, glib. Struts up to Queen Isabella. Gives a flourishing
bow.

COLUMBUS

(keeps running fingers thru the hair on his head, like a filmi hero)

Your Highness. मेरा नाम है Columbus. प्यार से लोग मुझे “रफ़ीक़” कहते हैं…And I, am an “M”, “B”, “A”.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Her Highness Queen Isabella कहतीं हैं के…इरशाद baby!!!

COLUMBUS

Okay, My Queen. I have a PROPOSAL for you. हम Arabia से “Spices” बहुत मेंहगे खरीदते हैं. I’ll discover “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” to India.

Queen looks lost. She has no clue. In addition she is bored.

COLUMBUS

फिर अपना direct connection, और market पर अपना ही राज! पैसा ही पैसा!!! बहुत profitable venture है. बस my Queen, एक बार हाँ कह दो.

पैसा” is all Queen understood. She is interested, but still confused. Without thinking much she utters…

QUEEN ISABELLA

हाँ???? Uh!

COLUMBUS

Oh! Thank you so much My Queen. You won’t regret it. क्योंकि मेरा नाम Columbus है, और लोग प्यार से मुझे रफ़ीक़ ऐसे ही नहीं कहते…hehehe…

Columbus exits stage. Queen is confused, picks up the phone, says…

QUEEN ISABELLA

इस sailor का नाम क्या था? रफ़ीक़? Columbus? Yah, yah okay…whatever…

She gets up and lazily walks away, off the stage. From the opposite end, सूत्रधार starts walking in again. Behind him, the TEAM and Columbus walk up to the table and settle…waiting for the सूत्रधार to leave the stage…

सूत्रधार

एक धमाकेदार sale close हुई. दो दिन बाद थी (marks these words in air quotes) “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” की kickoff meeting…

सूत्रधार walks off stage.

ACT II

The Project KickOff Meeting

Columbus is looking excited. Walking up and down the stage. Sometimes, sitting, sometimes standing up and pacing around again. The rest of the team is standing around the table (or somewhere close…)in anticipation. All are really excited.

COLUMBUS

दोस्त!
मालामाल हो जाएँगे!!! मस्त
opportunity मिला है! We have to discover “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” to INDIA!!!

Hearing this the entire team gets excited, and start talking to each other, all speaking together, expressing their initial excitement. Columbus watches on…

TEELU ख़ान

INDIA? YAY! INDIA!!! मज़ा आए गा!

चमकदार

sss बेटे की! INDIA!!! सही है!!! ख़तरनाक!!!

जोड़ तोड़

माँ कसम MAN!!! YAAH! INDIA!!! MAN!!! SHORTEST ROUTE!!!

मानसिक दिमाग़

INDIA!!! INDIA!!! INDIA!!! अबे यार!!! INDIA!!! INDIA!!!

COLUMBUS

दोस्त! Idea दो! देखना अब तुम सब क्या famous हो जाओगे! और मैं क्या अमीर हो जाऊँगा! दोस्त! बस अब मुझे IDEAS दो!!! क्या क्या करने का है… (looks at each one, while saying..) Kyon Teelu ख़ान मेरे दोस्त!, चमकदार! कुछ सोच ना!, मानसिक! क्या बोलता है!, जोड टोड! सबकुछ चलना माँगता है!

Team members speak one after the other, no one listening to anyone else, just putting in their bit of excited ideas. (Note: They speak in quick succession, but not together…)

जोड़ तोड़

MAN! Test Driven Development करेंगे. As a Tester, MAN!मैं क्या बताऊँ क्या क्या मस्त ideas आ रहे हैं MAN!

TEELU ख़ान

आबे चुप! अपने क्या चाहिए मालूम है क्या? कम fuel लगे, और speed ज़्यादा मिले…

चमकदार

हाँ! हाँ! मैं एक नया engine बनाता हून! और Ship भी मस्त redesign करतें हैं…

मानसिक
दिमाग़

(moving a little away from everyone…)

अबे तुम लोग मेरा allocation देख लो हाँ! पहले बता देते हैं…

COLUMBUS

(totally ignoring मानसिक)

हाँ! मज़ा आ रहा है ना? YEAH!

चमकदार

और हम लोग हैं ना, एक compass भी लगाएँगे ship में…

COLUMBUS

(abruptly, interrupting everyone…)

अच्‍छा “Accessibility” क्या-क्या होगा?

Suddenly the team enthu drops a few degrees…

TEELU ख़ान

Accessibility?

COLUMBUS

अर्रे भाई! Queen का Law है! अपने को अँधा पब्लिक भी चाहिए ship पर! उन लोग Indian spices सूंघ के बताएगा!

मानसिक दिमाग़

(shaking his head)

अकल के अंधे…

चमकदार

(apprehensive)

देखना पड़ेगा, मैं engine में modifications कर दूँगा.

TEELU ख़ान

(trying to impress Columbus)

हो जाएगा!
हो जाएगा!

COLUMBUS

So ARE WE SET TO ROCK!!!

Everyone starts saying YES!! YAY!! again, looks like the enthu is coming back, when…

COLUMBUS

(business like)

तो अपना arrival date कभी है?

चमकदार

Arrival date? पर पहले मेरा engine…

is interrupted by Teelu ख़ान

TEELU ख़ान

Arrival date? अभी क्या पता की हम India कब पहुँचेंगे? अभी तो कोई planning भी नहीं की है…

COLUMBUS

तो let’s plan!

The Planning Game

Team leaves stage for a short second and brings chairs with them, these they put around the table, and go into a silent animated discussion. In the mean time the सूत्रधार peeks in from the side of the stage, says…

सूत्रधार

And… so we come to the planning game…

and leaves immediately. At the same time Columbus enters Stage from the opposite end and starts meeting…

COLUMBUS

हाँ तो Guys! I am sorry, I am late,पर तुम लोग time से आया था ना! okay! tell me! कहाँ तक पंहुचे? क्या estimate है?

TEELU ख़ान

(counting on fingers, like a small businessman)

दो महीना r&d, चार महीना design, आठ जाने का, आठ आने का, और दो महीने का documentation, almost दो साल लगने वाला है!

चमकदार

OOH! AAH! HMM! It’s big!

जोड़ तोड़

It’s a big one man!

COLUMBUS

(again abruptly cutting everyone out)

Okay, Abhi, Queen ko दो हफ्ते में final report चाहिए, मैने commitment दे दिया है.

मानसिक दिमाग़

पर हमसे पूछना था ना!!! ऐसा कैसे???

Columbus totally ignores मानसिक again…There is a general uproar, eveyone starts making noises…

TEELU ख़ान

Too less time! सिर्फ़ travelling में एक-डेढ़ साल जाएगा!

COLUMBUS

क्यों? यह तो “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” है ना?

चमकदार

पर दो weeks? अभी तो मेरा engine भी नहीं बना…

COLUMBUS

(assuming mock sobriety, as if he cares – he doesn’t)

Guys I hate to say this, but, We’ll have to work on the weekends too.

There is general silence for a second…everyone was dreading this…

COLUMBUS

In fact, 2 weeks mean 14 days and 14 nights, मतलब we essentially have total 28 days…देखा! आराम से दो का चार! चल अभी दो की जगह चार हफ़्ता दिया…मुझे तो मस्त लग रहा है…

मानसिक listens to Columbus with growing dread

TEELU ख़ान

और लगभग 300 expert resources…

COLUMBUS

(doesn’t let Teelu finish, shows mock aggression, anger)

आबे चल ना, 30 fresh new freshers दिया, यॅ resources-resources रोना बंद के यार मेरे सामने…

मानसिक listens to Columbus with growing dread, and then faints…

Everyone is Silent, when सूत्रधार reappears.

सूत्रधार

And the planning game still goes on…

सूत्रधार does not exit, he just turns and keeps watching…

चमकदार

अपने को किस direction में जाने का है?

COLUMBUS

Hmmm…. assume कर लो. बाद में compass में देख लेना. Compass लगाने के बाद direction भी सोचना पड़े तो compass का फ़ायदा क्या? Actually compass should also do accounting on the ship.

TEELU ख़ान

और क्या लगता है, कितना दूर होगा India?

COLUMBUS

फिर वही बात! “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” है, कितना दूर हो सकता है? Assume कर लो! C’mon guys! Don’t give me problems… give me solutions…

Again everyone falls silent, सूत्रधार turns to the audience…

सूत्रधार

And the planning game still goes on…

सूत्रधार does not exit, he just turns and keeps watching…

COLUMBUS

Why do we need a new ship? Where is REUSABILITY??? Let’s reuse our old one.Let’s use Noah’s ARK.

जोड़ तोड़

Noah’s Ark के लिए compass अलग से testing करना पड़ेगा…

चमकदार

(Picking up मानसिक, who is feeling better…)

Par… Noah’s Ark में तो सिर्फ़ 15 जन ही आते हैं? अपना crew तो 30 freshers का है…काश 300 experts…

COLUMBUS

तो shifts में काम नहीं कर सकते क्या?

TEELU ख़ान

मतलब?

COLUMBUS

Shift में आधे Ship पर रहो, और बाकी पीछे पीछे swimming करते आओ…

मानसिक faints again…

सूत्रधार turns to audience and says…

सूत्रधार

And as I just said… It just goes on… and on…

This time goes off stage…

TEELU ख़ान

और पब्लिक का खाना पानी  संडास वगेरह…???

COLUMBUS

(cutting him short too…)

अर्रे ए भाई! अपने इधर IDLE TIME का कोई कॉन्सेप्ट नहीं है. वो पानी वाले पानी में क्या करेंगे? संडास बातरूम सब पानी में करने का.

जोड़ तोड़

(risking another suggestion before meeting breaks..)

But I need to test the ship man! and I need to test the compass too…

COLUMBUS

अर्रे ए! PROTOTYPING नहीं सुना क्या! Ship क्यों test करना है? सिर्फ़ bathroom की बाल्टी में लख़्ड़ा टेस्ट करले…दरिया मैं चलना चाहिए…और सुन..

Suddenly T.J. barges on to the set in a lot of urgency… No one is expecting him, he walks straght up to जोड़ तोड़ and grabs his hand…(जोड़ तोड़, who in real life is Sid-iddharth, attends cruel super late night calls for the “BFW” account with T.J.)

T.J.

Sid, चल यार ज़रा अपना BFW का कॉल है. बाद में देख लेना, अभी client बुला रहा है.

COLUMBUS

(Shashank gets out of character to become the real life project manager for a second)

अर्रे T.J. भाई वो play में है… कहाँ लेजा रहे हो…

T.J. mumbles a non committal reply, but, takes जोड़ तोड़ with him…

चमकदार

अब tester के बिना क्या करेंगे…?

COLUMBUS

(out of frustration…)

C’mon guys! Don’t give me problems… give me solutions…I don’t know when you will learn to take up challenges!!! Quality is just an overhead!!!

Columbus waits for a second and then pats Teelu ख़ान.

TEELU ख़ान

(snapping to attention, time to set the team straight…)

Okay guys! तुम लोग planning और setup में ही सारा time बर्बाद कर दोगे… चलो, get to work…

Everyone gets up and moves off stage…

COLUMBUS

दोस्त! मुझे एक RISK लग रहा है! अगर मुझे कुछ हो गया तो project डूब जाएगा. और मेरा काम तेरे बिना नहीं चलेगा…

TEELU ख़ान

Oh! अब क्या करें!!!

COLUMBUS

मुझे लग रहा है के, हुमको यहीं रुकना पड़ेगा. Team को ship पे भेजते हैं, और अपन लोग यहीं से remotely manage करते हैं.

TEELU ख़ान

Wow! आप मस्त solution सोचते हो!!!

COLUMBUS

(doing his fingers in his hair thingy again…)

hehehe… मुझे लोग प्यार से रफ़ीक़ ऐसे ही नहीं कहते…

They walk off stage smiling, while the सूत्रधार walks in again…

सूत्रधार

पर planning eventually ख़तम हो जाती है… and after some more time we come into PRODUCTION!!! EXECUTION!!!

सूत्रधार walks off stage.

ACT III

The journey

We see Columbus and Teelu ख़ान sitting on the table. Columbus’ legs are propped on the table.

COLUMBUS

(totally relaxed, as if the last two days have been nothing but अइय्याशी)

Aahh! “Pure Management” में होने का यही तो फ़ायदा है!

Teelu ख़ान looks up to listen to more management gems…but,

COLUMBUS

मेरे को भूख लगी है, तू कुछ लेगा क्या खाने को?

Teelu shakes head.

COLUMBUS

चल मैं अकेले का order करता हूँ, अच्छा…

buthe cannot finish his statement, as जोड़ तोड़ comes running to them…

जोड़ तोड़

MAN! It’s perfect! It works so well.

He has something in his hand.

COLUMBUS

(back as Shashank for a second)

What happened. आ गया तू वापस. call का क्या हुआ…

जोड़ तोड़

(totally ignoring Columbus’ comments)

MAN! यह compass एकद्ूम मस्त चल रहा है. सारे tests पास हो गये!

TEELU ख़ान

आबे compass तेरे पास था?!?!! तो ship पे क्या लगा है?

COLUMBUS

क्या फाल्तुगिरी है… phone कर. status report माँग.

Teelu ख़ान nods.

In the mean time जोड़ तोड़ keeps standing there…

TEELU ख़ान

Hellow! चमकदार! क्या चल रहा है! किधर जा रहे हो…

चमकदार

Sir! हम समंदर में हैं, और, बिल्कुल सीधे जा रहे हैं.

TEELU ख़ान

और तुम्हारा compass कहाँ है?

चमकदार

Sir compass की testing पूरी नहीं हुई थी. poor quality compass से हम wrong direction में चले जाते. सो हमने compass लिया ही नहीं.

This frustrates both Columbus and Teelu ख़ान, bloody developers, they always take the crucial decisions without informing their seniors. They both look at जोड़ तोड़, who shrugs.

COLUMBUS

Bloody Developers. They always take the crucial decisions without informing!!!

TEELU ख़ान

(trying to manage the situation)

कोई Landmark दिख रहा है?

चमकदार

Sir! हुमारे सामने sunrise हो रहा है!

COLUMBUS

Abe! वो! लगता है east में जा रहे हैं!!! उन्हे u-turn लेने को बोल!!! बोल west में जाने का है!!!

TEELU ख़ान

सुना!

चमकदार

Okay Sir!

चमकदार

और Sir! हम थोड़े थोड़े नीचे की तरफ भी जा रहे हैं! लगता हैं Noah’s Ark में कुछ leaks थे…

TEELU ख़ान

क्यों! Noah’s Ark की testing किसने करी थी…

जोड़ तोड़

(interrupting the conversation)

मैने Noah’s Ark के लख़्ड़े की टेस्टिंग करी थी…

COLUMBUS

करी थी?

जोड़ तोड़

हाँ, अपने bathroom के tub में.

TEELU ख़ान

अबे समंदर में जाके देखना तो था!!!

जोड़ तोड़

(shrugging, matter of fact)

Client call पे जाना पड़ा था…

Both Columbus and Teelu are feeling the strain now. Columbus is not playing with his hair. Teelu is not sitting…

चमकदार

Sir! Boat थोड़ा और नीचे चला गया.

TEELU ख़ान

Ship से वजन कम करो. पाँच आदमी को बोलो boat के पीछे बाकी 15 के साथ swim करें.

चमकदार

Okay sir!

चमकदार

(screams to his
ppl.)

5 aadmi boat खाली करो!!! Okay sir!

TEELU ख़ान

Noah Ark’s की maintainance किसने करी थी…

चमकदार

Sir! मानसिक दिमाग़ ने. वो faint हो गया था… सो हमने उसे development से support में shift कर दिया था…

TEELU ख़ान

(to जोड़ तोड़, urgently)

मानसिक ने support team join करली?

(imitating Columbus)

क्या फाल्तुगिरी है…जल्दी मानसिक को भेजो!

जोड़ तोड़ exits in a hurry, and in a short time, मानसिक enters, sulking, lazy…

TEELU ख़ान

मानसिक! Noah’s Ark में leaks थे?

मानसिक दिमाग़

हाँ

TEELU ख़ान

तो! fix क्यूँ नहीं किए?

मानसिक दिमाग़

मुझे किसी ने नहीं बोला…

TEELU ख़ान

(totally furious)

किसी ने नहीं बोला? Functional Specs कहाँ हैं? चमकदार! Functional Specs कहाँ हैं!

चमकदार

Sir! शायद आपके पास हैं. हमें तो कभी मिले नहीं.

At this मानसिक starts smiling and skipping like a kid. Watching the frustrated managers is giving him great joy…

TEELU ख़ान

(looks and realizes that the specs are with him. quickly hides them under the seat)

तो क्या हुआ! इतनी obvious चीज़ें समझ नहीं आती…!!!

Columbus realizes that things are getting out of hand. He takes over.

COLUMBUS

मानसिक, support team इनकी क्या मदद कर सकती है?

मानसिक दिमाग़

मुझे पहले Queen से एक mail भिजवओ!

Now ignoring Columbus, मानसिक starts moving off stage!!!

COLUMBUS

(screaming after मानसिक)

पर mail servers तो down हैं!!!!

मानसिक moves off stage. still skipping.

सूत्रधार comes back on stage…

चमकदार

Sir! boat में अभी भी पानी भर रहा है!!!

COLUMBUS

चमकदार! चॅमकू! मेरे दोस्त! ऐसी situation में मैं तुझ पर ही depend कर सकता हून. और 15-20 लोग पानी में भेज दे…

चमकदार

Uh! Okay! sir 15-20 तो अब बचे भी नहीं!!! Uh! anyway sir! okay sir! (shouts orders to colleagues)

but the boat is still going down…

चमकदार

Sir! boat अभी भी नीचे जा रहा है!!!

COLUMBUS

चॅमकू! मेरे दोस्त! Crisis में हर manager को अपने हाथ गंदे करने पड़ते हैं! तू भी समंदर में कूद जा! सब मिलके boat को धक्का लगाओ!!!

Columbus quickly cuts the call.

चमकदार

UH!!!

COLUMBUS

Bloody चमकदार, भूतनी का!!! साला crisis में प्यार से बात करके काम निकलवाना पड़ेगा.

Both Columbus and Teelu are now really tense and keep talking animatedly, but we can’t hear them much, at this time, Sootradaar enters again…

सूत्रधार

ऐसी कई कड़ी रातों के बाद एक सुबह आई…जब चमकदार का एक बार फिर call आया…और…

सूत्रधार walks off stage.

Columbus and Teelu are sitting on the table, heads down, totally dejected.

चमकदार

Sir! good news sir!

Both sit up and take notice!

TEELU ख़ान

हाँ! हाँ! चॅमकू! मेरे दोस्त!

COLUMBUS

हाँ! दोस्त! मुझे good news दे!

चमकदार

Sir! हमको लॅंड दिख रहा है!

TEELU ख़ान

Excellent!

COLUMBUS

Excellent!!! this is very good news!

Teelu for the first time in his life takes a decision, without Columbus’ help

TEELU ख़ान

Aur humare Blind Navigators ka kya kehna hai!

COLUMBUS

Teelu मेरे दोस्त! क्या फाल्तुगिरी है! Blind लोगों को land कैसे दिखेगा!!! This is great news!!! I am going to give this news to the Queen!!!

TEELU ख़ान

Sir! Sir! एक minute! one minute only sir…

but Columbus excetedly exits stage, while Teelu continues to pretend to talk to चमकदार.

सूत्रधार re-enters.

सूत्रधार

Time आ गया है के हम Queen से एक बार फिर मिलें. कहानी जहाँ से शुरू हुई थी वहीं पर पूरी…

Interrupted by Columbus he again waits on stage, as Columbus re-enters.

COLUMBUS

Her Highness इन लोगों से ASAP मिलना चाहेंगी. चमकदार को बोलो की Noah’s Ark छोड़ दे, और swim करके वापस आ जाए!

TEELU ख़ान

पर Sir, एक problem है! हमारे blind navigators को pizza और burger की बास आ रही है, spices की नहीं. लगता है वो India की जगह America पहुँच गये. अब Queen को क्या बताएँ?

COLUMBUS

(in deep thought…)

HMMM!!!… Let me think…. (waits for a min…then…) मेरे दोस्त! एक idea है! लोग मुझे प्यार से रफ़ीक़ ऐसे ही नहीं कहते!

They animatedly discuss the idea but we cant hear it, सूत्रधार turns to the audience again…and while he speaks, Columbus and Teelu walk off stage…

सूत्रधार

So finally चलते हैं Queen के चेंबर्स में, जहाँ कुछ दिनों बाद, पूरी team her highness Queen Isabella of Spain से एक बार फिर मिली…

The Queen of all Resolutions

Empty Stage, with a Single Table and a Chair (just like the opening scene). Queen Isabella is sitting, filing her nails. Queen’s phone rings. She picks up…

QUEEN ISABELLA

(sounding bored)

Oh! all right! Send him in…

Columbus enters stage, smiles, glib. Struts up to Queen Isabella. Gives a flourishing bow.

COLUMBUS

(keeps running fingers thru the hair on his head, like a filmi hero)

Your Highness. मेरा नाम है Columbus. प्यार से लोग मुझे “रफ़ीक़” कहते हैं…And I, am an “M”, “B”, “A”.

QUEEN ISABELLA

Her Highness Queen Isabella कहतीं हैं के…इरशाद baby!!!

COLUMBUS

My Dear Queen. हम लोग अपनी जान पर खेलकर “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” discover कर लाए!

QUEEN ISABELLA

Please bring your team here…

Team walks in…

QUEEN ISABELLA

So अब हम अपनी “spices” directly खरीद सकते हैं? Market पर राज! पैसा पैसा???

COLUMBUS

(sure of himself)

उसमें थोड़ी देर है. हमारा “SHORTEST ROUTE”, shortest है, पर India के जगह America जाता है.

QUEEN ISABELLA

WHAT!!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE! DID YOU FOLLOW ALL THE PROCESSES? WHERE IS ALL THE DOCUMENTATION? WHAT WENT WRONG!!!

COLUMBUS

My Queen! yes we did everything! There was intense planning! The execution was flawless! The leadership was amazing! but It’s too early to say what went wrong…

QUEEN ISABELLA

So I have lost so much money for nothing?

COLUMBUS

Not for nothing My Queen. We attacked the American savages, and lost our great Noah Ark in the battle. But we managed to win a Feast, only fit for a Queen.

Columbus signals the team. With great fanfare, मानसिक passes a box to जोड़ तोड़, who passes it to चमकदार, who passes it to Teelu ख़ान, who brings it to Columbus.

COLUMBUS

My Queen, we, after a great battle with Americans brought you a Pizza!

QUEEN ISABELLA

(obiviously impressed)

Hmm… maybe we can discuss this project again sometime.Keep the pizza here…

She turns back to filing here nails, the team starts to edge away, but Columbus is still standing there…smiling.

Queen notices this…

QUEEN ISABELLA

You are still here! Hmm..! So tell me Columbus what else do you have for me except for this pizza? Her Highness Queen Isabella कहतीं हैं के…इरशाद baby!!!

COLUMBUS

(cocksure, smiling, hand in hair)

My Queen, what I have for you is…

he looks at the team… who is alarmed…

COLUMBUS

Another, Proposal…

the last we see before the lights dim is the team running wildly away…while Columbus stands there smiling… सूत्रधार enters stage.

सूत्रधार

(in dim lights)

By the way… In 1492, 1491 के इस (air quotes) “project” के बाद, Columbus sailed the seas in another bid to discover “THE SHORTEST ROUTE” to India. This time he DID land in India, but discovered “THE LONG ROUTE” instead. But THAT is another story…

Lights come back on again; everyone comes on stage and takes a bow.

THE END.

download pdf: RafiqColumbusMBA

Rafiq Columbus comes back again!

Two years ago I had written this stage play, with “creative” inputs from Shashank, Hiren, Sumukh, Siddhartha and Palash. (with the exception of a curt facebook/linkedin profile, none of them is a citizen of the web).

It was a farce on the travesty that is “management” in the software industry.
The ingredients were the regular “management masala”: proposals, timeline, schedule, scope, resources, planning, risks, execution, delays, disaster, delivery and closure. Nothing that a typical corporate head has not seen.

It’s been two years since. It seems that we ended up creating a “timeless classic” (*ironic smirk*). Whoever said “The more the things change, the more they…”

So, the timing of the topicality considered, I realized it’d be nice to put the play up here.

I never got to thank Shashank, Sumukh, Hiren, Siddhartha, Palash and Ghazala properly, for all their humility, humour and help. 🙂

The Cast’s character sketches:
1. Shashank Abhyankar: “Rafiq” Columbus MBA – THE Man
2. Sumukh Byndoor: Chamakdaar – “Assistant” to the Team Lead, Teelu Khan, engineering maniac, technology to management wannabe
3. Siddhartha Banarjee: Joad Toad – The tester on the project, socially incompetent but work wise worthwhile.
4. Hiren Lakhmani: Teelu Khan – The Team Leader, everlasting bum licker to The Man.
5. Palash Sinha: Mansik Dimag – General purpose fainting machine, first a developer, then the support guy.
6. Ghazala Ansari: Queen Isabella – The stakeholder, sponsor of the project, serial nail filer.
7. Shaurya: Sootradhar – The voice over.
8. T.J. Shankaran: Plays himself in a nice cameo – T.J. + Sid combine were rocking through some hard harsh late nights when the play was originally written. His cameo breaks the fourth wall for a bit and provides a much needed plot point to move the story forward.
9. 30 freshers: unnamed, experience-less, disposable “resources” who drown and die without a mention and deserve it.
10. 300 experts: who were needed, but, were “never there”.

A note about the new version:
1. I edited some copy, added a few lines here and there
2. I changed Hindi to actual Devnagari script. No more transliterate confusion.
3. I had originally written it using an online scriptwriting service (Zhura.com), since then it has closed down and converted to something I do not enjoy any longer. I am going to migrate to Celtx now. Before that I wanted to test how best to migrate scripts out of there into a better shape. It’s a pain. So if the post does not appear properly, I’ll also attach a pdf version. Seriously, formatting this again across applications is a effing pain!
4. It’s kinda contextual, caustic and 20 pages long. Don’t read it.
5. There may still be typos. If you find some, please please please do tell me.

Till the next post then…
S.

The Chicago Diaries 01: The Attack of the Alien Boobies!!!

Each day Chicago lives in constant fear of Alien attacks. I witnessed the spectacle of one such attack that day. That day, the snows had just melted and spring was still a weekend away. That day was when it all took place. My knees are still wobbly with the memories of the attack!

Here is all that happened…

01 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

At the innocent little art institute intersection, a lion was trying to cross the street but no one would let him.

02 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Feeling faux-chivalrous , I went to the nearest traffic light to push the pedestrian crosswalk signal button.

03 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

But lo! I noticed a little green alien there! In a flash, the alien climbed in and started the alien b(.)(.)bie ship…

04 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Soon there were alien b(.)(.)bie ships all over the place!

05 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

They stood in straight lines looking very ominous!

06 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

The b(.)(.)bies mated with vampire drummers and made funky dance sounds! Worried people started calling home! I was worried too, but, forgot to call home because of all the smell…

07 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

The b(.)(.)bies were making the copper lion fart! …and the poor guy just wanted to cross the street.

On top of that, because of the shadows in the nether world, I could not confirm if the lion was really a he. I felt guiltily sexist.

Guilt, farting Lions, sexist thoughts and Alien Boobies!!! The scene was turning really dangerous so I started running away!

08 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Chicago is a big city, it takes a long time to run to anywhere. So before I could get to anywhere, it was dusk.

My feet were aching and it looked like it would rain anytime now. Tired, cold, about to be rain-wet and scared of alien b(.)(.)bies.

No one stood a chance! …and just then things turned even worse!

09 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

The alien b(.)(.)bies started glowing!

10 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

They were glowing with as if they had six nipples and a purpose!

11 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

They stood tall above all and glowed at the sky, all round and rebellious! As if saying “Bring it on! We’ve got our nipples covered”

12 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

The whole city was in shock of the glowing b(.)(.)bies! Cars were scrambled at the Michigan Avenue bridge…

13 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

And scared people were running on the magnificent mile! It made them burn calories! Panic was everywhere!

14 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

All this while the alien b(.)(.)bies stood boldly, ignoring the mammoth pointy-top buildings around them

15 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

The alien b(.)(.)bies fooled my mind and made me take pictures of the same spot…

16 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

again…

17 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

…and again.
I bumped into a street bum to knock some senses back in my head, but I lost my wallet in the process.
I had to try and escape now, but how???… Idea!

18 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Try to sneak a taxi back home and pay the fare with Wrigley’s spearmint! Yes, that should work!
It was perfect! But no…

The alien b(.)(.)bies were having too much fun.

19 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Those alien b(.)(.)bies had turned the city golden…!

I have no memories of what happened after that, but I did wake up in my own bed the next morning.

And now, here I am narrating all this to you.

A warning to the wise, an invitation to the foolish and a tale told.

20 The Attack of the Alien B(.)(.)bies!!!

Signing off from the mile.
Your other-worldly wise tourist,

shauryashaurya

Life ki Fight

लोग अपनी लाइफ में कितना काम करते हैं यार!

ये लड़का था,

गाँव मे छोटे परिवार का था

साइकल पे स्कूल जाता था

घिस घिस के मराई

फिर बॉमबे आया

प्रोग्रामिंग करी

मॅतमॅटिक्स पढ़ी

लड़कियाँ घुमाई

शादी करी

फिर गाओं भर को भी पढ़ा दिया

सारी भैंस तक बी.अस्स.सी हो गयी

फिर पिक्चर बनाई, ओसकर कमाया

फिर प्रेसीडेंट ऑफ इंडिया बन गया

बाद में सोलह देशों का प्रेसीडेंट हो गया

फिर बॅटमॅन बन के ऊड गया

और कल मिला था

आज-कल dance करना सीख रहा है

और तो और

उस का एक बच्चा भी है…

लोग उसके नाम का आश्रम चलाते हैं.

क्या शान की लाइफ होगी उसकी

और एक तू देख…

भूत की तरह बैठा ब्लॉग्गिंग कर रहा है…

अबे कुछ सीख!!!

दुनिया चाँद पे चली गयी

और तू यहाँ अपना ल* पकड़ के बैठा है!

यार, लोग अपनी लाइफ में कितना काम करते हैं यार!