Monday, June 29, 2009

How to make a Chinese Film in four easy steps.

(Note: This is a free tutorial. But I live hand to mouth so do leave a donation. Really large donations would be welcome and preferred. You are under no obligation to donate but if you don’t, you will rot in hell and it is really hot in there I tell you.)

Ingredients for the movie.

1. 1 Good looking Chinese guy knowing the martial arts
2. 1 Good looking Chinese girl knowing the martial arts.
3. 1 Sinister looking Chinese villain knowing the martial arts and dreadful PJ's delivered with a straight face
4. Several dumb followers of the villain also knowing the martial arts.
5. 1 Fragile old martial warrior capable of mouthing corny philosophy with a straight face.
6. 1 thingy, lets call it The Emerald Sword of the Ninth Ninja or some other crap that is the prize every one with fight over and which more or less makes up the plot of the movie.
7. Awful lot of what we have come to believe is Chinese Music

Scene one: China 14th BC.

The good looking Chinese guy who is obviously the Hero is sleeping in his bedroom and into the room appears from amongst billowing blue and yellow smoke an apparition. The apparition who is an old frail Chinese man (Ingredient No. 5) informs the Hero that he has been pre ordained by the Venerable One who lives in the land of the Fire Breathing Dragons to be the next inheritor of The Emerald Sword of the Ninth Ninja. Hero nearly craps in his bed when he sees the apparition

Apparition: *cough* *cough*
Hero: You have an awful cough!
Apparition: Its this stupid smoke!
Hero: Why are you appearing out of smoke then?
Apparition: It is a special effect bozo. The audience likes it!
Hero (bowing deeply): Forgive me O Learned One.

The apparition disappears and appears again because he has forgotten to give the Hero the directions to the Valley of a Thousand Sighs where The Emerald Sword of the Ninth Ninja is kept atop a mountain in The Imperial Pagoda. The apparition then disappears again…temporarily.

Scene Two

Hero sets off to the Valley of a Thousand Sighs on foot followed at a distance by the Villain's men who have listened into the conversation between the Hero and the Apparition. The day turns dark and the Hero takes rest under a tree in the night. Just when he is falling asleep he is attacked by the Villain’s men. What follows is a fine display of Middle School Geometry as you see limbs flying in Acute, Obtuse and Straight Angles all over the place accompanied by awful grunts and feminine screeches. Amidst this fine display of Geometric Angles of Limbs (a.k.a Martial Arts) comes the Villain. He was waiting patiently somewhere for his men to get beaten to pulp and now he takes on the Hero. The Hero and the Villain eye each other warily through indistinguishable eyes, hands extended as though squeezing the neck of a really large necked man. They move in circles, first clockwise, then counter clockwise and then clockwise. Into this scenario arrives the good looking Chinese girl wearing a veil. Villain makes sexist jokes leering at her lustily. She plunges at the Villain in an amazing display of Geometric Angles of Limbs beneath Diaphanous Gown and the two manage to chase the Villain away. After the departure of the Villain the girl bows deeply and explains that she is the daughter of the Enlightened One who sits on the Mountains of Silver Mist and that she has been assigned to assist him. The Hero bows back and when he straightens up she has disappeared into the forest. The Hero vows never to bow too deeply again!

Scene three

Our Hero reaches the mountain and sees a languid pool of water called The Lake of a Thousand Tears. Here he is again confronted by the Villain’s men who have made an instantaneous recovery from their earlier thrashings. Another fine display of Geometric Angles of the Limbs this time on the mountainside and then the Hero departs on his way. After negotiating 5678 hair pins bends the Hero is ambushed by the Villain who delivers him a mortal blow with his sword. Hero is left to die and he is peacefully snoring on the road when the apparition reappears scaring the crap out of him again. The apparition reminds the Hero of his task.

Apparition: You have many tasks to accomplish before you sleep like a log that has been washed over by The Raging Dragon Sea!
Hero: Huh?
Apparition: Do you not know that by the time the sun sets over The Realm of Darkness the Emerald Sword of the Ninth Ninja should be removed from The Imperial Pagoda!!
Hero: Err could you please repeat that!
Apparition: Sigh!

Scene Four

Hero reaches The Imperial Pagoda only to be confronted by the Villain and you are treated to another hour spectacularly boring Geometric Angles of the Limbs which is an exact replica of previous Geometric Angles of the Limbs. This time however the Hero wins the Battle of the Geometric Angle of Limbs and manages to remove The Emerald Sword of the Ninth Ninja from The Imperial Pagoda a fraction of a second before the sun sets over the Realm of Darkness. Phew! Chinese music flows over the credits that sound surprisingly like the rendition of what some orchestra in Los Angeles thinks is Chinese music.


This post is dedicated to my brother M who has single handedly kept the Hong Kong movie industry alive and kicking (pun unintended) by buying every$#%@& movie that they come out with!

That’s it folks. Have a nice week and do not forget to donate.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Snakes in the grass

Long time three days ago, four girls were sitting on the green grass of the lawns sipping their favorite poisons. It was not a Friday night or a Saturday night either. But they were childhood buddies who did not need a weekend to share a tipple.

It is pre monsoon season here in Bangalore and mozzy’s (mosquitoes) were feasting on the alcohol laden blood of the four girls. After the first sip most of them passed out into deep inebriated slumbers. The one’s that did not, dare not approach us for a second round. (Alcohol tolerance amongst mozzys is alarmingly low). Suddenly, one of the girls leans over and hits a newly arrived and hence un-drunk mozzy feasting delicately off an artery on her feet. ( Mozzy’s are gourmands. They don’t sup on lowly “veins”). Then she leans over to inspect the kill and lets out a shrill shriek.

“Snake!!” she screams. Four inebriated girls take off vertically into the air with the alacrity of sober people and land with resounding thuds a few feet away. Jumping up and down on one leg and gesticulating wildly at her ankles the afflicted girl struggles to give words to her horror.

Snake...bite...feet...big…no…small…leg...blood…mommy” she babbles. The ensuing pandemonium was err umm interesting.

Snake? Are you sure it was a snake?
Doubly sure??
Shut the eff up and do something!
What if it was a cockroach?

Hearing the ruckus Dad and Mom are out in a jiffy before we could hide all the bottles and leave a respectable few to show how less we had drank or were drunk. Dad as usual decides to take charge of the situation.

How big was the snake?
How small.
This much (showing her pinky)
It must have been a baby snake then!
Will I die?
Mmm no!
Or maybe...yes!

The victim of the alleged snake (no snake is guilty until its victim dies) bite, lets call her AV is rushed to the nearest hospital after Mom and Dad have bandaged her foot above the wound. This operation was carried out in an amazing display of team work and coordination.

All this wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t allow the girls to sit out so late!!
You are right! Even the snakes disapprove I see.
Come to think of it they were sitting out on the day Mumbai was attacked too.
*frosty silence*
And when the US dropped a bomb on Hiroshima!

On the way to the hospital the girls keep the AV’s spirits up by amusing her with interesting conversations.

If it was a Black Mamba you would be dead by now. It takes just 15 minutes for its venom to act.
A Cobra is faster! It takes only a few minutes!!
It could not have been a Black Mamba. They are not found in India. So it has to be a Cobra.
No re. A Cobra would have killed her by now. I am sure it was a Viper.
I dunno. We have already ruled out the other snakes that inhabit our area no!

We arrive in good time at the hospital. The doctor, a family friend of a family friend’s cousin was waiting for us.

Doc: You still alive! That’s a good sign heh heh
AV: Does this mean the snake was not poisonous?
Doc: It means I still have time to administer the antidote heh heh
AV: *sniff*
Doc: How did the snake look like?
AV: Light brown!
Doc: Any markings?
AV: No, but its tail resembled a Rattle Snake’s!
Doc: Well Rattle Snakes are not found in India so it has to be Rat Snake.
AV: Is it poisonous?
Doc: No!
AV: *Whew*
Doc: But it was not a Rat Snake then it might be.
AV: *gulp*

The doctor turns her ankle and inspects the wound. Then he turns her ankle around again and then stands up and scratches her head. It was the Dad’s turn to be worried.

Anything wrong?
I cannot see any bite mark!
What’s that red mark?
That’s probably a bug bite or a skin inflammation.
Are you sure?
It was a baby snake I am told.
Baby snakes can be poisonous too.
Well…I will give the antidote just in case. But if you can find out what snake it was it would very helpful.

It is 2 am and four beleaguered girls and a parent stumble home all beat. The three friends decide that they would go out and take a look to see if they can find the baby snake. It had to be dead or in a deep state of inebriation. Either way it wouldn’t have gotten away very far. Perhaps they could save their friends life by taking it to the doctor for identification they thought!! So armed with good intentions and really bad torches the three brave girls went out in quest of the body and came back just as quickly. The corpse of the “snake” was there alright. But by some miraculous physical transformation it had become an Earthworm!!!

You could hear a pin drop in the silence that ensued. We looked at the silent house, at the corpse and at each other and solemnly agreed that what the people in the house did not know, wouldn’t hurt us too much.

Note to self: Next time, look before you leap!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obvious abuse

The racist attacks on Indian students in Australia and the subsequent diplomatic and political fallout is being exploited to the hilt by the electronic media here. After the elections this was a God send scrap for them or we would have reporters screeching to us from the Brazilian coast, telling us how high the waves are and how cold the wind is and how difficult is the rescue operations for the Brazilian rescue teams combing the high seas for victims of the Air France crash.

Reporter to rescue worker: The winds are strong huh?
RW: Yes ma’am
Reporter: Tho appako kaisa mahsoos ho raha hai?
RW: Huh?
Reporter: I mean, what do you feel about the strong gales and choppy sea?
RW: Errm...

Back at the studios a retired Aviation Expert will be pulled out from his bed pyjama and all, to give his expert opinion on air.

Journo: Take a look at the report on the monitor. It says that this aircraft had two engines for long haul.
AE : Any kid will tell you that.
Journo (earnestly): And according to Google err our research, the aircraft had two wings too just in case one malfunctions!
AE: Sigh!
Journo: And the aircraft had two sets of landing gear!
AE: Heh!
Journo: See the chart we have prepared…
AE: That looks exactly like the chart at Aircraft dot com!!
Journo: According to the chart this aircraft can carry 253 passengers in a three-class configuration for 12,500 km!!
AE (rolling his eyes) : You are kidding me!
Journo (excitedly): And so...!!! It is a mystery why such a state-of-the-art aircraft running on a bleeding edge technology and cutting edge navigation tools crashed!
AE: I give up!

Have a great weekend friends! And let’s pray for the departed souls and their relations and especially for our electronic media to spare us from the obvious abuse!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Guinea Pig Chronicles

Guinea pig No 1*
: What is this blue goo?
Me: It is grape soufflé!
GP No 1: Yum!

*I love my second elder bro sometimes. He eats anything I put in front of him.

Guinea Pig No 2: Before I eat this, would you please tell my Doctor to be on standby!
GP No 1: If you are not eating that, may I have it?
Me: It is not that fatty Dad!! If you are so bothered don’t eat the cheese topping.
GP No 1: Yes, slide it into my plate.
GP No 2: And what is inside the Lasagna?
Me: Beef mince Dad!
GP No 2: Hmmm that’s red meat no?
GP No 1: You are right Dad!! Let me scrape it off for you....into my plate.
GP No 2 (looking woebegone at his lasagna sheets): This looks so unappetizing.
GP No 1: If you are not having it, I will have it.
GP No 2: Well the doctor has said that I can have red meat occasionally...
GP No 1: You had beef just the other day!
GP No 2: That was a month back son!
GP No1: That was just four weeks back Dad!
GP No 2: Maybe I should pass...
GP No1 (helping himself): Thanks!

Guinea Pig No 3: What is this?
Me: Paneer Kofta Curry ma.
GP No 3: What is a kofta?
Me: It is a fried paneer ball.
GP No 3: Looks very oily!
Me: It is a bit rich.
GP No 3: And very salty!
Me: Tastes perfect to me.
GP No 3: Don’t serve your Dad, he needs to watch his diet.
Me: I don’t think a little will do any harm.
GP No 3: It’s too rich!
Me: Then don’t eat it.
GP No 3: I am offering constructive criticism here. Why are you getting angry?
Me: What do you know about North Indian food anyway to offer criticism Amma?
GP No 3 (airily): You don’t need to know a certain cuisine to comment on it. Experienced cooks like us know when something is wrong.
Me: I will not lose my temper, I will not lose my temper, I will not lose my temper!
GP No 3: And I think a pinch of sugar would have rounded off the taste nicely.
Me: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8….
GP No 3: And you have put too much coriander.
Me: 9,10,11,12,13,14…
GP No 3: And you should have shallow fried the koftas...
Me: 1001, 1002, 1003, 1004...
GP No 1: I do not care if it is salty or too oily…it is delicious!
GP No 3: That is because your stomach is a bottomless pit!!!
GP No 1: Are you having that kofta?

(And that’s why he is Guinea Pig No 1. Kapiche?)

Guinea Pig No 4: Who made this Biryani?
GP No 3: Your sister who else!!
GP No 4: It is heavenly!!!
GP No 3: You haven’t tasted it yet!
GP No 4: Doesn’t matter Amma. I know it will be good.
GP No 3: No one appreciates my cooking here!!
GP No 2: Your brothers think you are Julia Child.
GP No 3: They are used to good cooking that’s why!
GP No 2: Of course!! When you get tasteless beef fry and over spiced fish fry and bland fish curry day in and day out you will appreciate anything!
GP No 3: I am going to sleep hmmpphh!!
GP No 1: If you are not having your payasam may I have it?

( Guinea Pig No 4 err I mean my eldest brother is da greatest! )

And to conclude let me sum up the lesson for you all. Guinea pigs are very important creatures in the field of Culinary Science and R&D. Some are willing, some unwilling, some opinionated, some rebellious, but at the end of the day they are all guinea pigs. You just got to make them feel they are not.

May God speed this week. May the wind of a thousand typhoons blow it to weekend quickly! Amen.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Saw the weirdest thing today! It is raining cats and dogs and buckets here and my neighbor uncle is - you wont believe this- washing his car with a Hozelock Ultra 9 Hose Water Gun.

The car is parked outside in the rain! :-|

And it gets weirder...

Uncle is sheltered under an umbrella. And his son is holding the umbrella.

No, I haven't been drinking. Too early you see.

Nice gun though. (Note to self - steal err borrow it)

Have a great weekend friends!!