Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The little girls had two plaits and the older women had one. Some insecure women needed a rubberband at the end of their chotis. Most women didn’t. They just left it like that. Those were the days beauty quotient was measured by the length of your choti.
And if you think the choti was unfashionable, think again. Nowadays when you have a particular hairdo, you’re stuck with it till your next haircut. There’s scarcely anything you can do. But chotis were so very versatile. To start with, you could experiment with parting your hair. Three different looks just with the plain choti – centre parting, side parting and no parting. Tie a high choti for the no-nonsense look that, despite its sternness, highlights your sharp features. Or a loose choti for the casual, relaxed look. Two chotis, I think, were the I’m-still-a-little-girl look.
All this just with the plain choti. There was this neighbor who could tie some 14 different kinds of chotis. Every girl in the area would go her in case of any function. Strangely, those weren’t times anyone charged for stuff like that. It was just. “Bhabhi, choti bana do.”
Me, I know 3 types of them. The regular choti that’s tied inside out, the ulta choti that’s tied outside in, and of course the french plait. We all called it the ‘Sagar choti’ because Dimple Kapadia had worn it in the film ‘sagar’. I never got to see the movie (it was for adults only) but I know the sagar choti very well. Every shaadi, the women wanted the sagar choti.
And the choti made for really cool hairdos, you know. You could put little flowers, one at each intersection in the choti. Or you could have a gajra run along the length of the choti. Wannabes had to pin the gajra. The real cool babes would simply pass the gajra expertly through the choti itself, no pins needed. Talking about cool babes, remember the choti length : sexiness ratio we spoke of earlier? So the cool thing was to have a choti-supplement so your hair appeared longer than it was. Nakli hair was the hot accessory. And that long, colourful thingy with little bells at the end. I think it’s called ‘paranda’ in Punjabi. Strangely I never found out the Telugu word for it.
But then, most Telugu hotties didn’t need it. They had seriously long chotis. I remember this wedding I’d been to where this girl had a choti that reached her ankles. Her mother was beaming all evening as several ‘aunties’ queued up to have a word with her.
With long chotis you had even more options. Tie the choti into a bun, so it looks really fancy. Or better still, tie a round bun with the choti coming out of its centre. What styles there used to be!
When you were getting intimate with a girl, the first step would be to pull her choti to tease her. Holding hands came much later. And there were other things people did, like tying the choti to the bench etc. All in all, the choti was an integral part of the scenery.
Today it’s disappearing real fast, don’t you think? I think the last time chotis were hot, they were on the heads of Sridevi and Jaya Prada. After that, they went extinct. Recently I actually sat and saw a bollywood song on tv because Sonam Kapoor had a choti. It was the Masakali song, I think.
In my family, there was only one choti-waali aunt left. She was in Hyderabad. She came to Mumbai to see us after a long, long time. The first thing I noticed about her was the clip holding her shoulder length hair in place. There goes the last of the chotis, I thought.
I guess there will be a time when, like all fads, it’ll be back. And little girls will say (as their mothers tie their chotis, of course) , “Ma, tell about those barbaric times when women never tied their hair.” Then, 'letting your hair down' will again become a relevant phrase.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I don't know if it's anybody's fault. Maybe it's just regular functioning, you know. When you get a bit of news, you just pick a category and put it there, i guess.
I don't know if sensitivity is to be expected out of the guy who must've already been bleary-eyed while listing it.
It's just sad.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
When I was a kid, leftovers were a part of life. They were always there. Not only were they delicious, they also signified the attitude of the house. I grew up in a family where the kitchen was always the centre of activity. Always occupied by at least three ladies (a mix of aunts and grandmothers), it was more organised than most offices are.
They worked in cohesion like a football team. And took over beautifully when one was unwell (or not in a position to enter the kitchen, if you know what I mean). Together they would chop and grind, mix and fix, maybe sing along as they worked, exchange stories & gossip. The kitchen was the sanctum sanctorum. You couldn’t enter it without a bath. You couldn’t even go near it wearing slippers. You wouldn’t dare leave your hair untied in the kitchen. The aunts and grannies were worse than the security guards at the Inorbit Mall.
And there was always plenty of food. We never had biscuits or readymade snacks at home. We were always equipped with raw materials like batter, chutneys, rawa and what-not. Should a guest suddenly arrive, it would take exactly 5 minutes to conjure up a steaming hot snack. Something or the other was always happening in the kitchen. The coffee filter was always dripping aromatic concentrated drops, lying in wait for a guest or a simple chit-chat session.
Coming back to the leftovers. We always cooked in huge quantities. Because we never knew when an aunt, uncle, cousin or visitor would drop in. The rotis were never counted as they were made. ‘Counting them brings bad luck’ they told us. The rice was always excessive. Nobody who came at mealtime was allowed to leave without eating. And we’d invariably have leftovers.
Our mothers and aunts would never let food go waste. They always knew what to do. My most favourite dish was the ‘roti ka laddu’. The leftover rotis were crushed and mixed with ghee and jaggery. And then rolled into little laddus. The most heavenly thing I’ve ever eaten. And these laddus are best made with leftover rotis because they’re slightly crisp and easy to crush. Doesn’t work with fresh rotis. Take my word, I’ve tried.
And the other yummy thing was rice. Mixed with curds and a little ‘tadka’ over it. Mind-blowing stuff. My grandma did various things with rice. Tomato-rice, chutney-rice, pulihaara. Those were breakfasts to die for.
And all our meals were in the kitchen. The journey from the kitchen to another room would mean the food cooled off by half a degree. And that was not acceptable. The rotis would be straight off the tawa. We sat on these little wooden thingies. I don’t know what they’re called in angrezi. The word is ‘Peeta’ in Telugu, ‘Patlo’ in Gujarati, and ‘Paat’ in Marathi.
Even in a place like
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I’ve been following these promos a few brands have been doing. First ball ka captain, star of the match and what not. It all sounds blasphemous to me. I firmly believe some things are sacrosanct and cannot be tampered with. You can’t get to stand in the field amidst national and international players just because you use a product. That privilege has to be earned through sheer hard work. Obviously the marketing managers think otherwise.
I’m wondering what else this world will come to.
One day Tendulkar will call home, “What’s for dinner, honey.”
“Baigan ka bharta, sweetie.”
“But you know I’m allergic to baigan, loved one. Or do you like me better with a zillion blisters all over?”
“I know, silly. But Kishen Khubchandani likes baigan ka bharta. So that’s what we’re gonna eat.”
“The winner of Visa Visit Sachin contest. He’s coming tonight remember?”
“Never mind. Have you brought the kids from school?”
“No. But they’re on their way.”
“Don’t be silly, lord and master-blaster. Gurpreet Gill is bringing them.”
“The winner of the Chevrolet Drive Your Favourite Cricketer’s Kids Home From School contest.”
I wonder what other sacrosanct areas consumers will pollute.
- Use Castrol Motor Fuel and drive the Chandrayaan 2. If ‘drive’ is the right word.
- Google search users get to head CBI for a day.
- Hindustan Times readers get to sit through the ballot counting.
- Thums up drinkers get to present the Param Vir Chakra.
- Ford drivers get to drive one of the tankers in the republic day parade.
- Zippo users get to ride with the firemen when they’re on the job.
- Saffola users get to attend a bypass. And maybe insert the first vein flow in the patient.
- Revlon users get to visit Shabarimala.
Disclaimer: All the names and brands mentioned above have simply been put because they came to my mind. None of them has anything to do with me or this post. However I have no objection to any of them using these ideas for promos.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This is a brilliant new innovation guaranteed to get you noticed. Vodafone used it, reality shows use it and now a certain young man has used this device to go from ‘unnoticed’ to ‘most talked about’ in no time.
Vodafone did this little promotion. Two actors would quarrel loudly in a public place. And when a crowd gathered, they showed this placard saying ‘For more drama come to Rang Shankara theatre festival.’ They won awards.
Our reality shows had dipping TRPs till the judges started bickering on screen. Somebody walked out, somebody yelled at the other. And suddenly they started getting noticed.
Big brother works on this premise completely. The show is nothing without all those celebrity jhagdas.
Who can we blame really? The TG loves all this.
Haven’t we seen several people gather when any two people pick a fight on streets or railway stations?
The young man in question simply used this media innovation to his advantage. Why else would a boy with a Parsi dad and Sikh mom go passionately pro-hindu all of a sudden?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Yesterday we were caught in a traffic jam. There was a
The patidev spouts, “Looks like an @%$*#$@.”
I’d have fallen off the seat but for the belt.
“Language, honey! There’s a kid in the backseat.”
He continues, “But it really does. You’re looking at the logo, aren’t you?”
He knows me too well. I sure was looking at the logo on the behind of the car.
And I hate to admit that it does look somewhat.. er.. anatomical. It’s even placed so strategically, you know.
“It’s diamond-shaped,” I valiantly tried to defend the guy who designed it.
“Only the hole is. The rest of it looks…”
Even through the stony silence, I could hear him laugh out loud in his mind.
“Can’t we move away from this car?”
Now the chuckle was audible.
Of course I needn’t tell you that now every time there’s a jam, the beloved specially looks for this car and stops right behind it. He looks for Meru cabs to follow when traffic is slow moving.
And I seriously think that car needs to put on a pair of trousers.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I’ve heard enough about how ‘Jai ho’ isn’t Rehman’s best stuff. I’ve also heard people say ‘Slumdog isn’t Oscar material’. And that Boyle hasn’t depicted
It’s like the people of
Aren’t there hajaar such ‘misrepresentations’ in our films? Like the ‘Pretty woman’ song in Kal ho na ho. Do firang neighbours in
Of all the people, do we have any right to talk about countries being misrepresented in a film? Ha! Apne girebaan mein jhank ke dekho, bollywood.
I’m happy for Rehman. And for Rasool Pookutty. If ‘Jai ho’ doesn’t go well with you, celebrate this because doors are now thrown open to Indian artists who want to interact with
Thursday, February 12, 2009
“Pucker up, honey.” I say to the better half, who almost chokes over his morning tea.
“Where shall we kiss? The gateway or the beach?” I continue.
Just when the hubby thought he was used to the mad ways of his ad-woman wife…
In response to the quizzical brows, I add, “You see, the
“I didn’t know the Delhi High Court is so interested in your life, or mine for that matter,” he quips.
The battle of wits has begun.
“They say it’s okay for married people to kiss in public,” I explain.
I see the mischievous grin that made me fall in love with him, stretch across his face.
“Do they specify that the two people have to be married to each other?”
I’m glad the Delhi HC approves but I’m wondering if couples – married or otherwise – make elaborate kissing plans etc.
Imagine a daily planner like this.
Correct me if I’m wrong but I always thought a kiss is something that happens on the spur of the moment. It’s just a demonstration of affection and isn’t really that big a deal.
They ’re saying it offends the people around. It’s against our culture. Valentine’s Day is against our culture. Anything to do with love is against our culture.
Picture the moral police being thrown back into history.
- They arrest
Krishnaand Radha because they’re not married. In fact, Krishnais married to Rukmini and Radha to Ayan.
- Prevent the worship of the Shiva linga. We all know why.
- Send Vatsyayana to the gallows for voyeurism. And set fire to the book.
- Sue Menaka for immoral conduct.
- Have a dharna outside Durga’s residence to tell her she ought to be in the kitchen, not outside destroying asuras.
- Order Kaamdev and Rati to shut shop. Maybe confiscate the bow and arrow?
- Ostracize Vishnu for turning into Mohini. And sue him for immoral intent.
And after all this, tell these individuals that they have no place in Indian culture.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
A very well made film about real things and real people. It has the classy style of execution that comes naturally to Zoya Akhtar. Surprising a film that revolves around Bollywood can be made without really going over the top. Subtle, sensitive execution with delightful, Wodehouse-like humour.
Beautifully etched characters which are so real, we actually identify with them. Though Zoya has used all her Bollywood contacts, she has done so in a suave manner. They all fit in well with the storyline as against being crammed in one song. And they are not the highlight of the film, only part of it. That’s what’s beautiful.
It’s the story of a
It is a satire around how success changes the attitude of a person as well as that of the people around him. And, I know this is a spoiler, but I have to say, I have just seen SRK’s most meaningful role. That was goose-pimply.
The casting, methinks, was perfect right from Vikram (Farhan Akhtar), which nobody else could've done better to Rolly (Rishi Kapoor) the producer who relies heavily on the heavens. And what I loved the most was Anurag Kashyap playing the film writer. There's this hilarious scene where Nikki can't pronounce 'khoon' and the exasperated writer finally changes it to 'murder' in the 'oh-so-difficult dialogue'. He says "Murder kar do" or something like that.
Overall, it was a tad long but I ain’t complaining. I want to go see it again. A couple of times. Just to enjoy the extremely well-written dialogues. No slapstick moments, no hamming and no sugary ending. Comedy that brings a smile to the face.
All in all, if Luck By Chance were an ad, it would be the Hutch (boy and dog) ad. Loved by the masses and the classes.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I’m so afraid of being sued by Ms. Dutt, I can’t stop shivering. Which is why I’m writing a headline that may have several meanings. One of which could be that she reveals her inner self. No legal problems here.
Also, I am NOT accusing Barkha of doing anything unethical. I’m not saying she’s inhuman. I do not intend to say she’s a blot on the name of journalism. And I definitely don’t think she ought to have her head examined.
Now I’m simply pasting the unconditional apology of a blogger, after retracting his post on NDTV and Ms. Dutt. I’m perfectly within my legal rights, I think.
I don’t even want you take the effort of clicking the link.
- I, Chyetanya Kunte, hereby tender an unconditional apology to Ms. Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor, English News, NDTV Limited and to NDTV Limited, for the defamatory statements I made regarding Ms. Barkha Dutt and NDTV Limited, in my post titled "Shoddy Journalism," dated
November 27th 2008, on my weblog at www.ckunte.com.
- I have come to the conclusion that my post contained untrue and defamatory statements and that I have expressed myself in a disproportional manner. As a result, I have agreed with Ms. Barkha Dutt and NDTV to publish this statement as a means of settlement. I did not have the right nor the factual evidence to accuse Ms. Dutt and NDTV of the acts that I alleged in my weblog.
- Consequently, I hereby repudiate and withdraw my post dated
November 27, 2008titled "Shoddy Journalism" and, more specifically, the following allegations / statements made in the post titled "Shoddy Journalism" namely:
- a lack of ethics, responsibility and professionalism by Ms. Dutt and NDTV Limited;
- that Ms. Dutt and NDTV's reporting at the scene of the Mumbai attacks during November 2008, resulted in jeopardizing the safety and lives of civilians and / or security personnel caught up in and / or involved in defending against the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008;
- that Ms. Dutt was responsible for the death of Indian Servicemen during the Kargil Conflict.
Now I’m doing another perfectly legal thing by putting up the link to this apology.
And this link to the original article, thanks to google cache
Friday, January 23, 2009
Reservations are creating a whole new level of untouchability. Remember those pehle waale days na? Where they weren’t allowed to enter villages, temples etc. At least then they had a life in the outskirts. Today is worse. I call it economic untouchablity.
I once worked in a prominent hospital in
I’ve seen the same thing with lawyers. People specifically seek non-dalit lawyers so that they get someone knowledgeable on their case. Which, I think, is why I’ve seen a huge amount of dalit lawyers hanging around those small, insignificant courts.
The worse is with MBAs. I don’t know how companies hire but I’ve seen this issue crop up in discussions.
So far I’m only telling you these few instances that I’ve been witness to. I can’t generalise. And I don’t know how deep-rooted this problem is.
But I often sit and think, and generalisation simply happens. These instances lead me to believe that there’s an untouchability of a far more dangerous kind happening here.
“Quota mein aaya hai. Isko kya knowledge hoga?”
Lower standard of living.
Can’t afford good schools for kids.
Can’t get big homes or cars.
Is this what Ambedkar wanted? Let’s do the Dalits a favour by getting rid of reservations.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Over the years I’ve noticed that the smoking culture of a company tells you all you need to know about it. So when you go somewhere for a job interview, I suggest you spend a few minutes in the smoking area even if you ain’t into the habit.
There’s this place I know of that’s very warm and caring, but it’s very hierarchy-led. And so is their smoking zone. The moment a senior management guy walks in, he automatically looks around for someone of the same level and stands there. If the senior is alone and a junior joins, the biggie slowly starts drifting away till he’s at a safe distance. Sometimes a kid would come out and go back seeing a senior. Better wait till a friend joins. In fact, people have ‘smoking friends’ just like train friends. You’ll always see a certain group of people smoke together.
Even the ‘asking for a light’ thing was a great revelation. Picture this. A middle management guy is standing and a same level guy comes to ask for a light. You’ll see the lighter/matchbox exchange hands. But if this same mid-level guy sees a senior even from afar, he’ll go all the way and hold the lighter for the biggie to light up. The kids don’t even ask for a light (matches come at a cost, you see). They simply use the other’s cigarette to light up.
But hierarchy apart, it’s a caring organisation. So the smoking time is used to chill, crack jokes, cry on shoulders. Advice is shared over a smoke. Sometimes work is discussed ‘off the record’. Sometimes two people smoke in absolute silence but you can see there’s a bond, a sense of togetherness in it.
Also, some good soul brings a lighter and keep it for the janta to use. People thus take turns.
There is this other place I know of which is very cold and water-tight. People keep to their own groups and hide what they’re doing from others. The place strictly works on the sucking-up- to-boss attitude. Even their smoking zone is like that.
People won’t even enter the smoking zone without cronies. It’s like they’re too insecure to even stand and smoke alone. Even the smoking zone is used to preen and look around if there’s somebody you can impress. People are full of the desperate need to constantly look cool.
Gadgets come out over a smoke. It’s cool to smoke with the iphone in your hand, or perhaps, a fancy ipod. The smoking area is used to talk about the latest expensive acquisitions, and to drop names.
I also once saw this strange phenomenon here. Once this uncool looking kid came and asked this guy if he had a cigarette. He didn’t. But as soon as this cool dude came and asked for one, a whole pack miraculously appeared from the said guy’s pocket.
Then again, there’s this organisation I know of that’s absolutely fabulous. I won’t even describe it. I’ll straight go to their smoking zone. Everybody sits with everybody else. You can’t make out the levels and designations in the smoking zone for sure. Cigarettes are hard to get in that area. So people just ask around for cigarettes. And people give them freely. You hear the question ‘Ek ciggie milega?’ answered with, “Ek nahin do milega’.
I’ve seen people part with their last cigarette without even thinking about it. Which, even non-smokers know, is the height of altruism.
And I’ll tell you the best part about this place. Somebody has kept an ashtray in the smoking zone. Not really so much out of civic sense. But so that the housekeeping guy doesn’t have too much trouble cleaning the place. Cool na?
Disclaimer: If you’re stupid enough to think this post encourages smoking, I have nothing to say to you.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This film looks like it’s made by a guy with a short-term memory disorder. After some 15 minutes, he forgot the plot and meandered into some stupid love-story which wasn’t even interesting. Then after a long time, he probably saw the clapboard, which reminded him of the film he had started to make. So another quick 15 minutes of the action after which the disorder took over again. He even forgot that the movie was over, and went on adding mindless bizarre scenes till someone got fed up and just slapped the credits.
Look, I ain’t too demanding when it comes to hindi movies. I mean I actually liked Rab ne bana dee jodi. So I’m really cool with a romance-drama-gaana-bajaana film. But Ghajini disappointed even the common hindi film watcher in me. No chemistry between the lead pair. That is unforgivable. At least if they had exotic locales and dancing around trees it would have appealed to somebody. Didn’t even have decent music. And as a saadharan Mumbaikar I wanna know – Which AUTORICKSHAW goes to Chinchpokli?
And it doesn’t take an advertising person to laugh at the stupid story. Does Ratan Tata go out on the streets himself to figure out a hoarding? Do CEOs do media buying? And do they send men in black to inconsequential tenants of dilapidated buildings?
And that dumb mahila police afsar could call up the girl and tell her the bad guys are at waiting at her place, but not call the cops? And the stupid girl could call her beau when she knows she’s gonna be killed but not dial 100?
Oh and I forgot about the idiotic medical student. I wanted the end to continue even further and reach the part where she’s thrown out of medical college. When a short term memory disorder patient has forgotten everything, which medical text book teaches you to remind him that he was out to kill someone? And abet the murder?
Never mind this film, people. The whole action a la Dharmendar reminded me of a film called ‘Hukumat’. And it had better songs.
Rab ne bana dee jodi, on the other hand, was quite charming. I simply loved Shahrukh go, ‘
And I’m completely willing to accept that she didn’t recognise her own hubby after the makeover. Don’t we fail to recognise our own colleagues after a make-over at times? And it’s not like she spent her days gazing at the hubby. She was so distraught na.
And it’s possible that she changed her mind in the temple scene. Haven’t we seen that beer commercial ‘A moment of clarity’? Maybe it just hit her ki this guy truly loves her and she started loving him back. It’s perfectly alright. And I loved the credits at the end. The photo album was a brilliant idea. And some very good dialogue-writing. Thumbs up.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
2009 begins, thrusting us even deeper into Kaliyug. ‘Ghor kaliyug’ the elders say, ‘sarv naash’. But I think Kaliyug suits me just fine. Aren’t we all glad we’re born now, in the world of planes, laptops and cellphones?
Which woman would want to be born in Satyug where Sita was accused of falling prey to the Stockholm syndrome (did it exist then)? If Ram were here now, he’d be attacked by so many human rights and naari mukti groups it ain’t funny. And that dhobi guy who apparently instigated Ram against his wife would have been the object of public ire. The media would thrust mikes in his face and ask him for an explanation. Orkut would have hate groups. And the Lord would have to reinstate the queen under public pressure.
And you remember that cute li’l mahabharat scene where the five brothers bring Draupadi home and say, ‘look what we brought, ma!’
And Kunti says, ‘whatever it is, just divide it.”
If that were to happen now, Draupadi would simply have walked up to her and say, “Er, excuse me, ma-in-law dear but I don’t think you can do this to me. Refer to section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code if you don’t believe me.”
And as for the rest of the mahabharat, well, gambling is illegal in modern day
Sure those were times when people were to closer to god. And then we had gigantic egos in the form of Rishis who’d go around cursing people at any little thing that annoyed them. Turning innocent people into stones and what not.
Coming to the era of the Rajas and Ranis. Don’t we all know how these kings killed even their fathers and siblings for the throne? Thank god we have the Property Act now!
My father-in-law keeps having these discussions with me about how things were ideal during his time. Ladkis were always well-covered. There was no sex in movies. Thankfully I found some pics of a woman called Nadira. And I chanced to see a few Raj Kapoor movies. I had enough substance to argue. :)
“Look at these whisper, kotex-type ads’, he says.
While I agree they aren’t a great idea, I’d still rather live in this era. At least you don’t have to be shut in a room five days a month. Sleeping on a chatai, eating leftovers or whatever. And the whole khandaan knowing it’s that time of the month for you!
Worse still was the ‘Main kahin ki nahin rahi’ type dogma. Anything happens, the girl has to jump in a well. Father dies, husband dies, in-laws send you back – the kalmoohi has to die.
And there was this ridiculous movie I once saw on cable. Do check it out guys. I’ve googled the name for you – Benaam Badshah. Anil Kapoor rapes Juhi on her wedding night, as she's waiting for the baraat. Wedding's called off, Juhi's barbaad. So what does she do? Smoke him out and marry him.
Trying telling a girl today to marry her rapist! Rock on, Kaliyug. M prouda ya!