I first watched Fight Club in 2011 on a train journey from Ajmer to New Delhi. After the journey, I was having severe headache- part from the hospitality of Indian Railways and part from the movie. What the hell did I just see? The way it started and the point where it ended did not make sense to me that time (and I still am not sure whether I have connected the dots now). So, I watched it again. And again.
And I became a fan. Now, if you will ask what the theme of the movie is; I might shrug my shoulders. As I mentioned above, I am still yet to find the head and tail of it. There are high chances I never may find it and I don’t care about it. I watch this movie just for the sheer way it is filmed.
The craving for the movie comes for a very simple reason- the passion of the characters. Brad Pitt’s in-your-face dialogues and antics and Edward Norton’s innocence- they seem to relate. I must tell you here that it took me around 4-5 times to notice the fact that Norton’s character did not have a name. It’s all Tyler Durden, some of Martha and Bob. And they all stayed with me.
Brad Pitt has been a gem in this. His portrayal of Tyler, a I-don’t-give-a-shit character who believes in doing what he thinks is right is superbly executed. The dialogue delivery, body language, facial expressions and have all been right up there. It is hard to see how anyone else can have played this role better. Brad just nailed it. And no wonder that one of the sexiest ladies on the planet is her dear wife.
There are lines in the movie which have hit me hard.
“The things you own end up owning you.”
“Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted”
“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession…”
“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”
“Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think every thing you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler.”
I won’t say that it applies to me but then, there is truthfulness to them which I can’t deny. They are true to the core and may be uncomfortable too, as they try to bring me back to the reality I keep running away from. We are so busy with buying a full HD tv, a king size bed, a decent car and credit cards that we forget that “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”.
Fight Club has influenced me a lot. Sometimes, I want to pick up a fight on the road. I want to be a part of a fight club. I want to hit few people- some I hate; others I envy. Some are relatives and office people; some are ‘friends’. I want to get rid of the tendency of what will be the consequences before doing something stupid, foolish, new. Throughout my life, I have put a lot of constraints on myself. I could have done lot of things differently and I regret that. now, I want to simply let it go.
Unfortunately, life is not a movie. And it works in a very different way; a way which is not always pleasant. I’ll admit- if you will look at the big picture, you will say that I should not have too many complaints with my life. But yes, it could have been certainly better. It could have been violent yet rosy like Fight Club. It could have been what Tyler Durden would say- liberated.
|Let us laugh at Arnab|
My first encounter with Chetan Bhagat’s writings was in mid 2006 when I accidentally found “One Night @ The Call Centre” in one of my friend’s room. At that time, I did not know who Chetan Bhagat was, his illustrative IIT & IIM background and the fact that this was his second book. I picked it, went through acknowledgments and finished the book in 5 hours. Next day, I parted away with 100 bucks from my meagre pocket money and bought “Five Point Someone” and was done with it in few hours.
As per the introduction, Chetan left his high paying investment banking job in Hong Kong and took his first love as his bread and butter- writing. For me, as a 19 year old college student, this was as fascinating as it could have got. You always look for inspiration and idols around you; something that will kick start you. Chetan, if not an idol, was certainly an inspiration. Not that I wanted to write and be a writer but it was more about to be an endeavour for not becoming a typecast.
Moreover, the intro also said that he wants to change the youth of India and to get the best out of them. His writings were to change the people who read it; to rethink what they have been doing and can they make it better? He wanted to inspire the young ones. As I mentioned above, I was certainly hooked to his books. They had nothing fancy in them but addressed the young readers in a way they felt associated. I still recall that I was a bit angry at many things after “One Night @ The Call Centre”. Agreed that the God in that book was superlative fiction but I believe that much of a liberty can be given to a writer.
His books started a trend and every college kid wanted to get published. In my 4 years of college, commuting from Dehradun to Meerut and vice versa; I read about 50 of these books. Not that I liked them but at that time, that was what I could have afforded to kill time in a bus. All by college students and passouts, ex engineers and MBAs, trying to write what they thought was a bestseller. 1 out of 10 was OK, some were manageable. And majority was too bad that I cursed myself for buying them. I very clearly remember I read a book “20 & Still Virgin”. The book had grammatical and spelling errors and I won’t even talk about the premise of the book. Such crap.
The point here is- Chetan had started what he wanted. He was making teens think, to come up with what they think. Many chose books; some debates. Chetan Bhagat was, in his own little way, starting to change India. His books were selling like hot cakes. Although his reputation did take a hit with “Three Mistakes of My Life”; he more than made up for it with “2 States” (for me, his best book till date; humour and satire in ample dose). His books were now coming as 70mm cinema. Sharman Joshi starrer “Hello” started it and although Amir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani will never admit it, “3 Idiots” was loosely based on “Five Point Someone”. The filmmakers never gave this credit to Chetan but the audience accepted (or assumed) it. Life was good for him. What can go wrong?
Well, many things. It is little hard to believe that an intellectual being like Mr Bhagat could make bad decisions and that too when he has done almost everything right. His next book “Revolution 2020” was a strange one. To be honest, I don’t remember what was exactly in it. What revolution the author was talking about- if you find out, be kind enough to let me know. The book looked more of a rip-off from some old Bollywood drama.
That was year 2011. In between, he turned into a screenplay writer and watched his “Three Mistakes” and “2 States” as “Kai Po Che” and “2 States” respectively. Being a huge fan of the book, the movie was such a disaster that I suddenly disliked the big screen. What was a pleasure to read was a pain to watch. And to top it up, I bought the tickets in black. What a waste.
Year 2014 just shooed away whatever good I thought about him for two reasons. He co-authored the screenplay of Kick. Now, writing screenplay for your book is very OK but to write for a Bollywood movie which had no brains in it is a very different thing. What are the odds that if movies like Kick, Ready, Ek The Tiger etc would have been 5 years back, he would have been criticising them in his TOI columns for being such a nonsense and that they are telling nothing useful to his ‘young Indians’? Fast forward to 2014 and he writes one of those senseless script, movie is a 200 crores grosser and he goes home with a fat pay check.
Second reason- when I read his latest release “Half Girlfriend”. The moment I finished it I knew this would also be turned into a movie. The truth is that the book is written in such a way they he knew it would soon be turned into a movie; he wanted this book too on the big screen. Unlike other books of his; this book has so many coincidences which our Bollywood will perfectly digest and there won’t be any need to make changes. In earlier movies, screenplay is not as exact as the book. They have removed/ changed a lot of things to make it commercially viable. Half Girlfriend is a perfect recipe for a movie. And as I have read, Ekta Kapoor has already bought rights to create a motion picture on the already half baked Bollywood screenplay. Talk about creativity.
In 4 years, Chetan Bhagat became something from nothing with his honest but straight forward and captivating writing. Next 4 years, after establishing himself and making his name, he wrote Half Girlfriend and Kick, both of which he probably would not have written and seen in his college days because of the crap they serve.
The great irony. The great circle.
One has to say, Kings XI Punjab has been a true revelation in this year’s IPL. Even with the well planned team that they bought in the auction in Feb 2014, very few expected them to dominate the points table. And now, when we are at the business end of the 7 th IPL season, they sit pretty at the top of the table, already qualified for the playoffs and look good for the title.
Take a name who has contributed in this huge, unexpected success of Kings XI this year and one name unanimously pops up- Glenn Maxwell. The Australian, who showed glimpses of his talent last year with Mumbai Indians but could never cement his place in the lineup in that star studded team has taken T20 cricket to an another level this year. His immense power coupled with proper cricketing shots has been a joy to watch and for Maxwell, who said that knowing the fact you are a regular in team helps him perform better, it has been his career defining tournament.
I happened to go to Delhi Daredevils vs Kings XI Punjab match in Delhi last Monday. Continuing the last season’s trend, Delhi offered nothing cheerful to its fans (one of them is me) and this match was more about watching Punjab, more specifically, Maxwell bat. Sitting on the top tier towards the square boundary, there are not many who can send the ball that distance. Maxwell is one of them. I was hoping for that.
It never happened. He did not do anything special- hit one six and got out to Imran Tahir’s wrong one. But something else happened that day that I won’t forget ever.
With Delhi’s dismal performance (2 wins out of 12), you can’t really blame the audience if they choose to stay away. But as I said, Maxwell has been a sensation this season. He has tore down almost every bowling attack and chased down targets like 180+ and 200+ with one over remaining. And he was one reason why Ferozhshah Kotla was witnessing a full house that evening.
Toss happened and Delhi decided to bat first. Then the teams were announced. Being Delhi’s home ground, you might not expect lot of cheers for the opposition. But I forgot Veeru (Virender Sehwag), the poster boy of Delhi cricket. There was a pandemonium in the crowd. For a moment, I thought Preity Zinta entered my stand. And then Maxwell happened.
You can go back a long, long way back and still could not name a foreign cricketer who could garner those cheers in India. The moment he entered the field, it was mayhem. The ferociously loyal, highly vocal Indian crowd was shouting, cheering and clapping for a Kangaroo. Glenn Maxwell (or Glenndeep Singh Maxwell, as his Punjabi incarnation would be) is the heart throb of IPL. I could bet a fortune if Maxwell can be cheered this much in Australia. Anyways, nobody can match the decibel levels of the Indians but this was a genuine praise and appreciation for a deserved player.
I am sure Maxwell has never experienced anything of this kind before. Crowd cheering his name, does not matter if they are on Punjab side or the opposition, will be a phenomenon he will never forget. How good this music would have been to his ears- Maxiiiii, Maxi…Maxiiiii, Maxi. And he will be looking forward to IPL 8. We too are, Maxwell although this one is yet to culminate.
And this is why I believe Kings XI has to play him in every game. The place in the qualifiers might have been secured but they cannot deny the audience a chance to witness a pure T20 innings. Full of entertainment and innovation and at the same time, effective. They are obliged to play Maxwell and the guy certainly can’t complain. He is being adored and loved here; it’s payback time
It was fitting that Maxwell entertained the Mumbai crowd last night with his attempt of Bhangra. He responded to them; the fans who keep shouting his name for 180 minutes. His ‘firangi’ bhangra had made millions Indians smile. If you ask me, I got goose bumps. And I am totally clueless about its reasons. I already liked him for his game; now I love him for his modesty.
And before he starts day dreaming; let me warn him.
Make no Glen Maxwell, the day you put on the Australian jersey and you will be up against Indian colors; we won’t recognize you anymore. This cricket is a religion in India and nobody is bigger when it is about nation. You will be loved and cheered for next time around too; on every other day, we don’t know you.
On that note, I would like to say- Welcome to India, Glen Maxwell.
One school of thought says that every game for Indian cricket team is a home game; such is the following and passion and love for the game globally. If there is one thing you just cannot separate from India, it is cricket. Although the list also includes the foods, the festivals, the culture and the movies but these things are, I should say, diversified. Every region and religion has its own taste. But when it comes to cricket, it will be absolutely safe to say that this is one single thread that binds the nation. The 100 crore plus population can be very proud of their country’s history in this game. Of course, in such a large fan base with different opinions, arguments are waiting to happen but that is a part of the game. India and cricket are inseparable. Our dear God, Shri Sachin Tendulkar will bear testimony to that.
For me, the craziness started from 1996 World Cup held in India. I was 9, the perfect age to get yourself into the game. Like everyone, my hero was the God himself. And although the tournament ended on a bad note for Indian fans, it gave me enough fuel to play and follow this game for lifetime.
But as I grew up, with more studies and now office, watching cricket became difficult. Earlier, I used to watch highlights of old matches between India and Pakistan in Sharjah. Now, life has become hectic. Earlier, there were my parents to stop me from watching, now that no one is stopping me; I am short on time.
So, when you are at home, how do you make sure you don’t miss a single ball bowled? Or a single shot? Well, it is not easy.
1. No showers – who is coming to meet you on a holiday? And even if someone comes, it does not matter. I have skipped numerous showers in winters (and delayed in summers). And when it is an absolute necessity to take a bath, it is a mere formality. Stand behind shower for maximum 1 minute, 30 seconds to dry myself up and I am back.
2. Lying – this is something I do very often. yaar, traffic jam tha. Actually, I was not feeling well .had some guest; these are some common lies. If I have to leave for somewhere, it is always once the innings end. It never mattered who was waiting- parents, friends, and girlfriend. Live telecast comes first. My nation needs me- this is how I backed myself.
3. SMS Group – the first two IPLs coincided with my engineering semester exams. So, it was hard to watch every game (primarily because of lack of studies and less because of guilt). Mobile internet was a luxury those days and so checking score was not as easy as it is today. Free message service was a trend. So, we made a message group of 10 friends and assigned matches to everyone to update the scores to the rest of the members of the group. I will watch one and update others. The rest will do the same. It often resulted in discussions which took most of time in which we could have studied but it spared the guilt of watching matches and not studying. Strange, is it?
4. I have held back my piss and sh*t – Frankly, this is the most common thing I do. But not to make this post sh*tty, I did not mention it in the beginning. I have delayed my washrooms trips by few minutes to sometimes an hour to see some important parts of the matches, in the hope that I do not miss out on something while I am relieving myself. Sounds gross and bad but as they say, you can’t run away from the truth.
Coming to the matches, sometimes the 11 players on the pitch and the support staff are not enough to win you matches. Sometimes, you need more than the on-field performances to bail you out. We, the fans, take care of that. In every single match, numerous people perform small superstitions that eventually lead to a win.
I am proud to say that I have done my bit in two most important matches in India’s cricketing history.
1. India vs England Natwest Final 2002 – My father used to make me stand on his legs when I was young. I never liked it. In reality, it was my punishment for watching TV. I could stop doing it easily but that would mean no TV. That night, India were 150-5 in 25 overs chasing a target of 325 plus. I had watched the first 25 overs (2 hours) and as my father thought that it was my time to leave the idiot box, he asked me to stand. I did it, reluctantly, as I wanted to see few more overs. Yuvi and Kaif started scoring. I had a hunch that it will be disgraceful act of non-patriotism if I leave now; just for my disliking of standing on his legs. I vowed to stand until the end of the match, things started happening and as the history book says, India won famously. When Dada took off his Team India shirt and flaunted his six abs, he had no idea that I did not park my ass anywhere for 2 hours straight. I smiled and retired to sleep after 2 hours of leg stamping.
2. India vs Pakistan, Semi final, 2011 World Cup – India did not post a big total and Pakistan made a good start. I needed washroom but as I said above, held back my piss as match was getting too gripping. At the end of 10 th over, Zaheer Khan got the first wicket and I hurriedly relieved myself. And I got a feeling that today, whenever India takes a wicket, I need to take a piss to make sure India wins and I did that. In 3 hours of Pakistani innings, I went to the loo 10 times. Don’t ask me how I managed each time, even when two wickets fell in an interval of 4 minutes. But I made sure I put 2 drops in the ocean. After all, it’s the contribution that matters and not the size of it.
And bringing a revolution in the field of cricket and online streaming, Star Sports has launched a very well thought, acutely planned strategy. They have realized the potential of sports in India and are actually working on it. And one thing that I love about this website is very simple, but untapped till date, feature- legal, adware free live streaming.
There have been instances when live telecast on TV is not available. This happens mostly in my office. So, I hop on to Google, search for “free live streaming” and jump from one site to other, hoping to find one good streaming site. To be honest, it was painful and time consuming. And after few attempts, I always gave up.
Not anymore. Now, as StarSports.com has brought live streaming to India , it has truly surpassed every other sports channel/ brand in India. For Pepsi IPL 2014, they are the online streaming partners. For people like me, who spend most of the time in office, this is a boon. And icing on the cake is that this is “NO CONDITIONS ATTACHED” free. With the growing reach of internet; they have started embarking on a journey in which opportunities are endless. I wish them good luck for their further expansion plans.
And for me, the StarSports app is the best thing that has happened in a long time. Being an ardent follower of cricket and football, I want to view every match possible. But Delhi’s slow traffic does not allow me to reach home early. What do I do? I open StarSports app on my mobile and watch live matches. In this age of cheap internet where you get certain free data every month; this app makes watching matches live so easy. And it does not cost you anything. There is no separate subscription for mobile access. You can watch any match from any computer or mobile. How cool is that? This has certainly made my life easy- following and watching cricket on the go. It even helps when there is a power cut. Till my phone runs, I can watch any game, anywhere.
Seriously, how tough would have life been without cricket and StarSports.com
(It was supposed to be an at least 300 word article but I ended up writing 1400 + words. Actually, it is tough to stop when you are writing about cricket. It is such a sport. Bear with me, please. And if you liked it, please do share it.)
On December 26, in Lucknow, when little Chintu woke up from his sleep; he was happy. Very happy, in fact. The weather was cloudy and a few drops of rain inadvertently made their way from the heavens to his balcony. He loved the rainy winter mornings. There was chillness in the air; a slight nip that was time and again entering the body and pinching it. This was good enough. Today, he need not ask his mother if he can skip his bath. His loving mother would herself stop her only child to enter the bathroom with water, cold like the glaciers of Siachen. And if she is in a really loving mood, she might even allow him to stay back at home and nurture him with her unending affection.
But in Chandigarh, Vicky was tensed. Terrified would suit more for his then state. It was 9 AM and he was trembling. He had genuine reasons with him. 1) His semester exam ended yesterday and after boozing for half the night, he was wide awake early to meet Nikki, his girlfriend who was leaving for Delhi by the afternoon train. 2) In the process of freshening up, he touched the ice cold water, which sent his entire body shivering. 3) He had to take a bath or Nikki would sniff the slightest lax in his readiness or the slightest hint of last booze night will be enough to ruin his after exam days. Yes, he loved Nikki but his freedom of being an “engineer” and doing what they want and the pride in living un-hygienically were being taken away. So much for stupid love, he murmured, and got up to switch on the geyser.
Netaji was not happy either. Delhi was freezing and foggy and he had a speech in a medical college in his constituency at 8 AM. Being one of the best leaders, his only weakness was winters. What if the students’ sense he has not bathed? That would be such a bad example to set (although half of those listening to him would be coming straight to the auditorium from their bed without even washing their faces). And more than that, he feared the social media. Bad experiences of other leaders on Twitter and Facebook scared him. One of his agenda items if he ever became something was that like the West, India will too would stop in December and January. But right now, his speech was impending. 6.30 AM, his clock read. There was not much noise around his residence and that made the task of getting up more tedious. He waited; he cursed his secretary for setting up the function at such an odd time and eventually, left the bed.
Unaware of all this, a sage was following his daily routine and readying himself at the ghats of the Ganges in Banaras. He was bare-chested, except a small dhoti, the saviour of his modesty. His body was not shaking, his hands were not trembling. Nonchalantly, he entered the holy river. It felt warm to him like it had every day for last 4 decades. No hesitations, no ifs and buts. The holy bath took 25 minutes. The seths of the city were still rubbing the eyes in some affluent locality of one of the oldest cities of the world. And as the sage came out, he reminded himself- he has to be here again for the rest of his life.
Perception- is not it? How differently we all look at the same thing? What is Gray to you might be black for me. Why and when did we become so judgmental? Why do we decide everyone on the basis of our thinking and behaviour?
When I first heard of the word perception, it was in 3rd year of my engineering (so much for my English medium schooling). It was a fantasizing concept. Before that, I was too immature to understand that everyone would look at things differently. If it is raining, it is raining for everyone, is not it? But it does not work that way. The guy who just cleared the interview will enjoy every drop of it. The one who got scolded by boss will hate his shoes getting all wet. On different days, the two will have opposite feelings. I, too, change myself time to time. From my office in 6 th floor in Connaught Place; I get a good enough view of Delhi’s fast paced lifestyle. In gloomy mood, I look at the crowd and vehicles and think how everyone is busy. On happy days, I look at the sky and buildings and smile to myself. I believe everyone does that.
But these are good things about perception. The problem starts when we start judging people as per our liking. A Brahman will always dislike a non-vegetarian. A drinker will despise the traditional values of his friend who stays away from all this. These small things when manifest and finds a larger platform, create a ruckus for the whole society. You form opinions, you pass them, you preach them and you create more like you; irrespective of how good or bad you are. And a beautiful concept turns into something nobody wants to be a part of.
I will leave you with a quote about perception- “There is no truth. There is only perception.”- Gustave Flaubert.