Sunday, May 23, 2010

Code Red

When the British are ordered to stick to speed limits, they all grow worry lines. Jeremy Clarkson writes a new column, and people on holiday hold placards at an inconsequential square. Someone called Chad launches a new community on Facebook, with hateful comments from his pals and the 1,44,203 other users who would have signed up within an hour or so. When the same happens in India, well no, it doesn’t happen, sorry…

That ‘80’ sign you see on the expressway is simply a number to ward off all that is evil and cursed, nothing else. Worse – on the twisty bits of the e-way, some lunatic’s stuck a 30 placard. 30? That’s how much I can do on skateboards – backwards, and blindfolded.

I have never, and I really mean this, been on the e-way in a car going just at the speed limit, forget under it. Sit below a 100, and people will most certainly throw little bombs through your side-window. Under 80, and they stick their butts out, flashing fingers. 60 is what you do during your fling with the toll booth attendant. 40 is only just allowed if you’re running a flat tyre – if you go by the rules, you can run, you can hide, but you can’t stop on the e-way, my love. 20 is what lorry drivers do while they masturbate listening to Red FM’s Naughty Nights with Natasha.

But that’s it. Go any slower, and the people will burn your house down and take your children away to the Rann of Kutch - where they will be distributed amongst vultures. But come to think about it, I’d rather organise for them to be fed to large birds (because I don’t have children) than have our Red Baronesses run them over, left, right, and worryingly, centre.

Pune’s dailies carry, at the very least, one report of a road accident. More often than not, the deceased is a motorcyclist, run over by an errant lorry, or increasingly, government run public transport buses – PMTs and PMPMLs. PMT (and PMPML) drivers are infamous for their careless, often ruthless, driving style. Lurid tail slides, optimal opposite lock, the works – move over, Tiff Needell. If style points were civic phenomena, out bus drivers would score Top Gun.

This week, I am suffering from a multi-grudge syndrome, in that I have not handpicked One face of our rather large populace, but Two. Woohoo! First in line to be shot are aforementioned bus drivers. It’s bad enough they go from 60 to zilch in 1.1 seconds – in the centremost lane, of all the topography available to them. What’s worse is they get from 0 to 60 even quicker, often sideways, giving your new car a striking new paintjob and a spot of flame surfacing.

Second in line, is the ever growing breed of motorcycle conversationalists. These are not the sorts who discuss the finer points of counter-steering having parked by a tea-stall. These are families of four, or politico-wannabes, discussing horseflies, or something else that I couldn’t care less about – whilst riding! Repeated honking has no effect on them, and don’t try gentle ramming either – they are helmetless, and will be killed instantly once you run them over. And you’ll spend the rest of your life in an 8x2 cell, with someone you will recognise immediately – the bus driver, no doubt, in the ‘hanged unto death’ waiting list.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Zen of Fashion

If you were to ever come across a spectacularly ill-behaved Zen, rest assured, it’s a distant relative of mine and you are free to relieve yourself all over him. Once you’ve pulled him over and shot him point blank, that is. He comes from the ‘man in front is an idiot, man flashing is a bastard’ school of driving. He is on first name basis with expressway apexes, and the expressway is three laned because without them, cornering would be “impossible!”

On more than a dozen occasions I was on live chat with the lacy receptionist in Heaven, and she was persistent I joined her for dinner and some foreplay. On reaching my cousin’s in Bombay, the gates of which were a mysterious pearly white (erm), I didn’t so much step out of the car than I leapt out of my skin. I spent the night bathed in a pool of my own sweat – somewhere you don’t ever want to be, and thanks to Tata Sky+, watched Chitrangada Singh do the Aliva cracker commercial for half an hour non-stop. Till I fell asleep with my hands in my pants. Obviously.

Day one was spent at Missy Too Hot for your Pants Homie’s, drinking beer and eating out of boxes of various colours and sizes; and being hit on by attractive women in their teens (that’s an ego boost at its finest). Inevitably, there were excited conversations amongst the ladies about the Fashion Week, which is where chatty women surround various homosexual men called designers.

Have you ever heard them speak? Try listening to a cassette tape play on fast-backward, and you won’t be too far from it. For years, they’ve been turning up at fashion show events with mad hot women, with nothing new to say. Ask them for a sound byte, and all you get is something that, somehow, always ends in “it’s fo casual, yet fo fekfy – fomething you can wear everyday!!!!” WooHoo! How can you wear a thatched roof anywhere except on your head? How hideous will I look if I were to ever wear chrome leather with hair like one of those Limp Biscuit band players? I am no fashion role model; in fact, I’m farthest from being one – the VW Polo of the fashion world. But the more important question is, Where? Where would it be acceptable for me to walk in looking like a Made in China Christmas tree decoration?

Not in a train, no sir. A cab? Umm, no. Not a mall either. To a party? Well, I don’t go to parties unless it is a pure beer-motorcycle-women affair, and dressed like that, I suppose none would fancy sharing dirty secrets with me. Not even after ten beers. To work? Yes, perhaps, if I fancy being ridiculed and sacked in one shot.

This makes me wonder of the purpose of such an event in the first place. The clothes are rubbish, the people behind them are rubbish, and the TV re-runs are rubbish too. On the telly, you’d notice though, that there is constant applause for no apparent reason, and then there’s even more applause when someone falls face first. Which happens a lot. Along with the much awaited wardrobe malfunction – come on, admit it, you dog, you’re waiting for it to happen.

And finally, there are mediapersons, who have gone bonkers. This is the one official assignment they are allowed to carry out in something called party wear, and trust them to come up with questions so out dated, it makes 1400BC feel like it was here just last evening. “Tell us, Rohit, what is fashion to you?” Come fucking On! You ask that every time, you dastardly wannabe journalist! The answers are nonetheless in the vague too.

To some, fashion is ‘within you’ – so fashion could be pancreas, or nerves. One chap did better, saying fashion is looking remarkable – not difficult when you’re wearing a clown hat, kohl and a business suit in magnesium alloy leather. The last chap, however declared that fashion is what ‘you are’. Which is vague, because I am tall, and fashion cannot be tall. Being Indian also makes me brown – but brown and fashion are extreme opposites. But yes, I am hateful to most, and that is exactly what fashion is to me.