Friday, September 29, 2006

Mysterious surprises and their price

Surprises come in small and sometimes large packages. And sometimes, it also involves some acceptance with a pinch of salt.

Like the other day, I got a call from the dispatch department of my workplace that I had received a courier from ICICI. Well! This is not new because ICICI believes in sending every little piece of information like reward points on things I'd never buy/avail, announcements, offers which were useful just one month ago, credit card statements, complaint letters, appreciation letters and so on - all by courier.

I got to the dispatch and saw a huge package kept there. I obviously thought it was for one of the other bunch of people who were waiting for their couriers. The dispatch guy gave me quizzical looks as to why I kept waiting when the damn package was right under my nose. Then, as though reading my mind, he said "Madam, yeh aapka courier hai" (Madam. This is your courier). Now it was my turn to look quizzical.

This surely was not my package! I never got any intimation and neither had I participated in any sort of lucky prize contest in the last 5 years. I turned the package all around and saw that the sender was ICICI alright and the name and address totally matched mine. In spite of this, I was not convinced. I had to do a check to be sure I did not have a namesake in the company and particularly this workplace. And then, being the undecided Libran that I am, I had to call a couple of people and seek their view on whether or not to open the package and finally opened it.

And there it was - a neat navy blue backpack nicely wrapped in a transparent cover. Just the kind I would have liked for 1-2 day trips, full with water-bottle, pen, mobile holders and the works. I checked all the compartments and the inside of the large parcel to see if there was any letter which talked about the mysterious generosity displayed by ICICI. And there was none.

Hesitatingly, I decided to keep it and brought myself to accept that this was my package after all. Where does one come across such packages of goodies after all and that too for free? I went home happy and announced to every person I met or talked to, about my mysterious package. Later, I got to know that this was indeed a gift from ICICI (to me, of course) based on an offer which is applicable because I had spent Rs. 10000+ in that month.

Now I don’t know whether I should be thrilled with the new bag or fret on having blown 10000 bucks on stuff of ethereal nature. Life's truly like that! *sigh*

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Two movies, family bonding and a headache..

Two movies in a day, totally contrasting from the other, two meagre idlis at the food court, a bad tummy and a splitting headache - That pretty much summed up my Saturday.

First was the much underrated KANK*. Now, my dear friend M is a diehard SRK** fan and can spend hours in front of his bandstand residence to catch a glimpse. She even got vague acquaintances whom she met in buses and local trains to tell her when he steps out of those high gates, when he takes his children to school, when he goes to meet KJo*** and so on.. I suppose you get my drift. Its a different story that her 'Mannat' is still unanswered because whenever she tried her luck, he was in the other end of the globe. But that definitely never deterred her from trying and trying again during every Bombay trip. Anyway, I digress.

It so happened that one of the days she came home for coffee. I had not seen her more pensive in life as she was at that moment. I have seen her in such moods only in extreme circumstances like bad health or her parents getting her into a husband-hunting rigmarole or she finding a random reason to pick a fight with me. ;-)
Caring and concerned soul that I was and also sensing that I was likely to end up in a situation here, I decided to take the risk and asked what it was that was bothering her.

After some prodding:
M: I know the reviews of KANK aint good at all. I also know the rest would not want to see it. But I still want to watch it. Will you watch it with me?
RT: (faintly relieved that all's well with the world) Of course! We will watch it one of these days.

Let me also add here that even though not on the same scale and intensity, I like SRK too and it wasn't very difficult to get me convinced here. And so elaborate plans were made a week after to catch up with the Saturday morning 10:30 show for which the lady gave up her Saturday morning beauty sleep to stand in the current booking queue. At 10:15, she smses that I shouldn't leave just yet because she might not get the tickets after all. And here I was wrapping up all my saturday housewifely chores like running after the maid to clean up at double her usual speed, skip mopping and so forth. Far cry from the glamor added by Rani Mukherji to the tasks I was doing about which I will discuss later. Anyway, after what seemed like 5 minutes, I got another sms to leave immediately because she managed to get tickets. I quickly ran out and made it to the hall (about 7-8 kms away) in a matter of 15 minutes (underground parking time etc included). Here, I was extremely and totally pleased with myself for making a near-perfect time on Bangalore roads. And instead of applauding at my near-impossible achievement, M was full of fumes at me for making her miss 5 precious minutes of the movie. Thankless world this is, I tell ya!

Anyway, the movie was glossy and fixated at the Brooklyn bridge as it always is in all KJo movies. The characters were unreal and unconvincing. The basic underlying theme of the movie, that I chose to see, was that the punishment for an extra-marital affair is a three year separation. Not a bad deal, is it? :-)

SRK, at the risk of inviting the wrath of M, was so cantankerous and irritating that I wonder how Preity Zinta wanted to sleep with him, have his kid and in fact continue living with him. Which is why, I think, when he broke out the adultery word, she jumped at the oppurtunity to get rid of him. The housewife-at-heart Rani Mukherji led most part of her married life vacuum-cleaning her up-market apartment in cleavage-showing, halter-necked, cocktail dresses. And after meeting SRK, her wardrobe metamorphosed into bikini tops for sari blouses with just one hook holding it all together. For most part of the movie, I was hoping it doesn't snap suddenly considering how taut it looked. And I couldn't understand what one saw in the other to fall in love. Even that was in its hilarity when they both became friends basically to figure out a way to save their marriages and how!. By giving a massage and wearing rather intimidating lingerie to please their spouses. I would have found the transposed spouses to make a more steamy couple, who not only looked better and danced better, but were also fun and balanced. Arjun Rampal was wasted and unnecessary. Amitabh Bachchan was painful and his chandigarh jokes, dude-ing with his son and frolicking with random white skinned women one-fourths his age were downright pathetic. The only bright aspect to the movie was the John Abraham cameo in the Where's-the-party-tonight song. :-)

But I must say that I watched the movie to completion without dozing off even once in the 3.5 hour marathon. I have no qualms with extra-marital affairs shown in Indian movies as such. But I fail to understand why there is always a need for an action-reaction phenomena for falling in love outside of marriage. SRK blew his career in football because of an accident and hence remained irritable all his life and consequently all the negativity led him to look for love outside of marriage. In Silsila, Amitabh and Rekha were lovers before they married other people and therefore, their post marriage affair was justified. In Astitva, Tabu's husband lived most part of his life after marriage away from wife to expand his business and so she slept with Mohnish Behl. Arth is probably the only movie that I have seen where it is so realistically shown that affairs need not be triggered by external formidable/favorable events. Affairs just happen.

The other movie I saw was a tamil movie - a 'Kamal-movie' at that. The parents, the brother, his fiancé, the fiancé’s parents were all keen on watching a new Tamil movie called Vetaiyadu Vilayadu (Don’t ask me what that means!). And so the husband and I were sucked into the whole family thing. On reaching the movie hall, one noticed that it was not just the immediate family but the extended kinfolk and some more friends were also part of the deal. It was nice in a way to see one whole row in the hall occupied by people we knew. The movie was primarily a cop-catching-an-unknown-killer story and, for the most part, was rather fast-paced and devoid of unnecessary song sequences etc. But what could have ended by intermission went on for another 1.5 hours. The background score was extremely shrill and irritating and kept me awake even though I wanted to sleep to get rid of a nagging headache which crept in through the day.

Been one helluva day and realized that two movies in a day - one full of gloss and another full of gore can be quite taxing for the mind and physique. And if you end up in such a situation, then make sure you carry an Aspirin and have enough maggie stocked up at home. :-)

* KANK - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
** SRK - Shah Rukh Khan
*** KJo - Karan Johar