Sunday, March 28, 2010

Television no-shows

In my book of a hundred and one things to do before I die, hosting a TV auto show comes pretty much in the top 20. Just after winning that MotoGP title. And just before that long pending orgy with Chitrangada Singh.

Unlike Rohin Nagrani, an auto hack, certified cager, and an unparalleled motorcyclist, I have nothing for Vicky Butler Henderson of Fifth Gear fame. I think she has the worst name in the world. And I’m not even going to tell you about how a pale looking mongrel, who went by the same name, ruined the first half of my childhood.

To start with, I don’t understand the concept of Fifth Gear anymore. Today, BMW 7 series limos come equipped with 8 computerised gears. Why just cars? Volvo’s FH series has, and of course I’m exaggerating, eighteen hundred gears. And those are only the ones that put you in reverse. So fifth gear in that context is ‘somewhere down the middle of nowhere’. Which is exactly what Fifth Gear, the TV show, is.

Closer home, our News channels are littered with motoring shows, all of which are, in one word, rubbish. With the exception of Siddharth Patankar, everybody who comes close to an inch of a car on the telly looks like they’ve just walked into the frame with an axe in their stomach. One spectacular lady, whose name I can’t remember, gladly, said for the 97th time on her show that the car she was driving at that time was “a reeeely good car”. And the chances are, before she’s done a century, somebody will run her over in a Ford Endeavour while she chooses to Cruze.

Worse still, we have Raftaar (Speed, in Hindi) where even the slightest movement of the steering wheel is accentuated with a ‘scccrrreeeeeeecchhhh’ in the background score, accompanied by the sound of their office window panes being shattered. And to keep my promise, which is to have a no-conflict Sunday, I’m not even going to tell you about the motoring shows from some esteemed automotive publications in the country. Imagine Mao Zedong in ghastly orange leathers trying to “discuss” jokes on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and you’ll get the picture. And if that doesn’t feed your passion for humour, you can always turn to Shireen Bhan. Her overnight switch to a clipped Brit accent never fails to amuse me. Nor does her inclusion in Jitesh Pillaai’s list of India’s 50 most beautiful women. Why Jitesh, why? Was Parizaad Kolah Marshall, a truly beautiful woman, too 2009 for the list? Or are you that guy who’d choose a Hyundai Elantra over a Ferrari 355 because it was the only car that wanted to come home with you in your ghastly nightgown?

In fact, there’s my abrupt conclusion of the week, in all its scarlet-turtle-necked glory; Jitesh Pilaai is to print, what Vicky Butler Henderson is to television broadcast journalism: Rubbish.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

GiJoe comes back to haunt

Being single has its perks. And then it doesn’t. Last evening, I ‘went out’ with a gorgeous woman, who, apart from being a freak, gave me the worst headache I’ve had in three hundred years. One moment, I saw her waiting for me with a smile and a little wave. Dressed in Burberry, with Fendi sunglasses, and a Louis Vuitton handbag, she was worth a million dollars, and quite literally at that. So I drove her around, made conversation; I even did a bit of a ‘Jesus loves you’ driving impression which got her red in the cheeks (anger or embarrassment, I know not). And then, we headed home. Drink in hand, sunset in my window, the evening breeze, CafĂ© Del Mar providing the background score; it was just, what you’d call, perfect. And then, things started to go a bit wrong. See, very soon we were in the same room, ahem, within inches of each other. And soon the inches vanished. Then, suddenly, William (libel laws prevent me from using biological terms) felt a bit funny. As if Spearhead from GiJoe was trying to feel him (it) up. It was true. I lost my voice, and then my breath, as I saw a plastic claw wade its way through my Gas denims. She had an artifical hand; and the next few moments will be etched onto my memory for very, very long. The rest of it went quite well, fortunately. And I came home and drowned myself in beer to manage a good night’s sleep.

It is this artificial hand that kills it for the Yamaha Fazer too. It looks just right. Oozing flamboyance, with meat in just the right places, it is really a beautiful motorcycle. For eighty grand, you get Angelina Jolie’s breasts, legs off Halle Berry, and Claudia Schiffer’s silhouette. But it really still is Salman Khan with a breast enlargement job. It’s the go-anywhere sort; wide handlebars, beefy suspension, twin headlamps, the works. Essentially, an FZ with lip-gloss and a Revlon eyeliner. But, like all glam dolls, it misses one thing. Power. Im not saying this should have been a hard hard. No. But she doesn’t like the BeeGees. And chocolate, to her, is hateful. F*ck!

For the first three days I had the Fazer, I’d been riding it all wrong. I’d worn those all-purpose one-million pocket military green trousers and semi-off road boots, and I went out thinking I’d sail through the twisties, and return home to catch some crisp afternoon beer. But I came home dissappointed, and I wrote a column so full of hatred, the laptop caught fire. Basically, I thought the Yamaha was rubbish, and that it was made in the Annual Business Agenda Room, than in a room with little people in coveralls smelling of grease. And dog. It really did feel like someone smeared it with lip-gloss, and an expensive perfume, but forgot to put in something called a sex drive.

In my anger the next day, I began riding it like my pants were on fire, and to be honest, I had the most fun I’ve had on a motorcycle in a long time. It was ballistic, and it really came into life in the top end of the powerband. The handling package is better than Jolie’s in The Original Sin, and grip is just there all the bloody time. But back to a more normal riding style, and there it was – The Artificial Hand, in all its glory. It is that one element that would make me afraid of going out and buying one. She really is very good in bed, and loves me too. But she has a GiJoe and hates chocolate. Dear Diana, please help…

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pull the trigger, Nigger

Last evening, I came across what they call the Ladies Man. Essentially, he is Top of the Pops with women, and has the most ludicrous collection of shirts and eau de toilettes. More importantly, he gets away without having to shave everyday, works for a real estate agency, and is a general source of disgust to ordinary man.

Missy Too Hot for your Pants Homie has, sadly, been in such company for such a long time, I last heard she was using turbine blades as nail files. Over a period of five years, she has had more men in her life than were born in the last century. And all relationships have ended in what we have come to know as a ‘post orgasm personality failure’. You know, the sort of thing that the i10 1.2 does? You hit a hundred and twenty in no time, and then you crash even quicker, because the brakes don’t work. And “he wears a bra”.

Even the Women’s Reservation bill seemed to have no effect on her. But that’s mainly because she fancies a career in ‘fashion’; and Mamta Banerjee would look silly in a LBD. The bill, according to her, would be no good unless they could all get into bed with Omar Abdullah. Which will leave Rahul Gandhi seriously cross, as a result of which he may fling his spectacles out of the window, injuring birds (hence upsetting his extended family). And India TV will spend all of tomorrow fixing their pause-rewind-play switch. The Reservation bill, to be honest, invokes just one question; Why?

Women are pretty capable of pulling off wonders on their own steam, but a reservation is like putting a dog in a cage. You want to show you care, but the real deal is that you just don’t want it poop-partying your sofa. And chewing up your new Reeboks. Women in power is a good thing, as has been proven in many cases. But women huddled up into 35 per cent looks a bit worrying. Because soon they’ll all want statues of themselves, which is the most vague concept in the world. I have never seen statues of men who are alive, except for the sort of stuff that happens at Tussauds, and mannequins of Govinda at the fair. And just today, a garland for Mademoiselle was flown in to Lucknow from Mysore, and allegedly, it had currency where they should have put in, er, flowers.

Mademoiselle is, as you would have figured, code for Mayawati. A word more offensive than the N-word. Nigger. There I said it. Nigger, often misconstrued as somebody who compulsively deals in high-performance chemicals meant for consumption, and an eccentric mass murderer, is just short for Negro, which in turn is short for Nigerian. It should, ideally, be as simple as saying Oz, or Del, or John Smith.

But no. Say Nigger and you’ll go home hopping and whimpering, having been shot at by a man with nerves of steel and teeth of silver. I just don’t understand what these people are doing all the time. For years, all they’ve been doing in music videos is to discuss how they’re going to the club, and how badly they want to sleep with that woman in black lace. Who looks exactly like the woman in the other video. Sorry, but it’s all a bit too dark to tell. Of course they talk about their cars, but then even the cars look the same, with rims the size of the Milky Way. To top it all, Akon says Gallardo phonetically. And he is a hit with the ladies. Which really does suck.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New inventory in the S.S

Last time round, I ended up with some heavy metal hate mail because I had been too cynical of Overdrive magazine. Demand for an apology came from some, and here it is: I am sorry, but I brought up Overdrive only because it was the only full-size magazine on the rack which was rubbish. The rest were all pint sized journals (which were rubbish too) and hence it would be unfair if I made a comparison. In the same way that you wouldn’t compare a Volvo FH12 to a Piaggio Ape. I’m not saying larger is better, certainly not in this case, but comparisons must be fair and square. Period.

This Monday, when the Overdive chaps were busy getting late to work, my phone rang. At the other end was Daraius Shroff, a friend, motorcycling buddy, and the sort of chap who’d barely say a word if you flew HyperCity mall through the core of his retina. Ice Cool, in short. Usual conversation ensued, and soon, he was talking and I was listening. Rare. So he went on about why he was miffed at the duty structure leaning against imported vehicles, how the roads in Bombay were terrible enough to not even allow a Segway to be taken to its limits, that our pedestrians were incredibly hateful, and that the Congress was gay. And at the end of it, he said he’d like it if I ‘could do something about it’.

To begin with, I hadn’t really noticed how bad the roads were, because bad roads usually mean a lot more fun on a motorcycle. It is Cars that go crying to mommy with dashboards clinging to one bolt, and in return, cagers go crying to mommy after they have their feet crushed under the weight of the dashboard, which would fall off when they’d have hit pothole seventeen; verse five hundred and fifty of the Indian Motor Vehicular Roads bible. To make matters worse, these amputees then switch to ATVs, and end up with even more composite plastic in their teeth, ribs, and in one spectacular case, eyes. While enthu-commuters on motorcycles (I am one) have a blast zipping through gaps in between cars, and in the case of the Tata Indica, right through the panel gaps, cagers more often than not end up listening to Radio City.
Which makes them even more irritable and cross.

As Daraius suggested, the entire road structure should be revised from scratch. That would include everything from tarmac/concrete compound, to re-assessment of routes, lane division, and a more specific layout. As we spoke further, we concluded that most of Bombay’s roads are in fact roads made for the Bombay of the 1950s. Which sounds as ridiculous as attending a funeral service eight years later. Sort of. I agree it would take a lot, but the government (The Congress, in other words. Forget about any other party ever coming to power) has our backing. We will pay taxes as we have been, and us motorcyclists will have more fun on the roads that you would have dug up for the noble cause.

The duty structure on imported vehicles though, is entirely silly. It’s like being told you can have an ice cream sundae at the fair, but you’d have to go without any kind of food the whole month after. You’d hate anyone who’d say that to you. Even Monica Belucci.

As for pedestrians, well, you really will have to do an Iron Man on them. Or simply do a rolling burnout on their collective bleeps. While I do support braking at road-crossings, even if doing Mach II upside down in an F16, for children trying to get to school, I do not have the same to say about children who are not. The next child who does a Ugesh Sircar right in front of my motorcycle when I’m in 1st gear at 10,000rpm, trying to skid to a halt, just because he wants to save his lousy cricket balls, will go home badly missing two of his.

On another note, my admiration of Adolf Hitler and the S.S has been under much light of late. And while I’m not going to justify it, not just yet, I do have some recommendations to the S.S. The S.S in question though, is the Spastic Society. And said recommendations are people who enjoy ATVs, and Overdrive.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Con Job

Jitesh Pillai is not welcome. It pains me to give him prime place in my column, but he has the silliest, ladiest job in the world. Editing Filmfare can never possibly be a decently manly, if not overtly macho, job to hold. Ideally, I shouldn’t have a problem with him as we are never likely to cross paths. Because I have no self indulgence fantasies at The Body Shop, like he surely does. And nor do I still wear nappy pads. And nailpaint.

I don’t even gossip, bitch or discuss celebs. So a conversation is out of the question. And it doesn’t half burn my heart to see his Courtney Cox-esque editorial profile picture, crimson turtle neck tee et al. But when you’re stuck in the waiting lounge of a Yamaha dealership, reading Filmfare, it becomes slightly difficult to ignore the Inglorious Basturd (libel laws alert). I was there (yes, again!) to pick a friend’s R15 up, and to my disposal was a copy each of Filmare and Overdrive. And since I wasn’t in my regular mood of pointing out spelling mistakes and chuckling at preposterously public relation-ish pearls of wisdom about whatever test vehicle they were longing to drive on the G-Quad, Leh, or in France, I made the choice for Filmfare. And then His Editorship Sir Courtney Cox happened. How he makes assumptions (very clear, biased, imaginative ones at that) is more unbelievable than the concept of homosexuality. But sadly, it exists, and so does he. He, and I’m taking the liberty of quoting him here, is ‘thrilled about Kajol signing yet another project’, worried about how ‘Tabu has threatened to sign her third movie in a year’ and ‘why men won’t look at him anymore’. Well, you know which one he didn’t actually say.

A kind gentleman (as opposed to I don’t know what) offered his two bits saying that Cox job (heh, heh) wasn’t much different to mine. He firmly said I write about motorcycles and cars, and he about something which too is eventually a consumer good. And when I put forth in my argument that if Katrina Kaif was indeed a consumer good, I want exactly three of her in my lap right now, he left the room. But I have never, and will never type and send to print how Raju mechanic slept with Ramu mechanic while they were on a graveyard shift, assembling an engine on an empty Hero Honda chassis. I also wouldn’t really take stinking offence if either of the aforementioned mechies turned up in the same overalls to work the next morning. And the morning after. And that his shoes didn’t match the colour of his penis.

Why then, is there so much money riding on an industry which has no outcome, no effect, no influence on anything at all. Its readers are fourteen year olds who use it as light pornography while they battle pimples, and expect one cigarette as part of the resale value. It interviews the same stars over and over again; Vivek Oberoi even. Even though he was last seen on the big screen as long ago as 400 BC.

Yes, true that our lot does keep going back to motorcycles and cars close to a century old, and that we do indulge in a bit of lunacy every time something with a ‘New’ tag comes up. But we don’t deliver false promises. And that’s the difference. In the December ’09 issue of Filmfare, a little box-out was dedicated to this spectacular accumulation of bone marrow called Aditya ‘whatswithmyname’ Redij. And looking at his belly piercings, Jitesh Pillai’s clan had already decided that he was a ‘promising hotbod’ and was going to ‘set everything or the other on fire’. I last heard Nostradamus was nursing a Malibu in the South of France to rid himself of a terrible headache. Turning in one’s grave, as Mr.Pillai would express, is so 2009.

On an adjacent note, I am also in a bit of a sorry mental outlook towards Dear Diana the Alive. Her moral responsibility is to solve ‘love problems’ in the other end of Mid-Day, and Diana, I feel, is actually a man who ghost writes the bloody Q&A format column. I’m not saying it is certainly Vivek Oberoi, not yet atleast, but read carefully to see the subtle manly influences in each of the replies. Either it is Mr.Oberoi, or Diana needs my Mach3 Turbo Carrera 4S to do her armpits neat. Because the simplest response to the stimulus of a cheating boyfriend is to dump him, and flush him down. Or better still, sentence him to several years of rigorous Filmfare. The new sucker for the ‘Most Rubbish Magazine in the World’.