Saturday, October 5, 2013

Let's Move On.

Okay. I'm going to put this out right up front. I do not like Shahrukh Khan. I don't like his films. I don't like how he acts and don't think I'll ever understand why my mother's eyes gleam that special gleam (just like so many other women) when she sees him on television or in a film. Maybe it's just jealousy. Maybe it's just the fact that I have good taste. But that's not the point right now.

I was going through the news to work on a current affair comedy show I'm currently writing for when I came across this article on the Hindustan Times website. (I strongly suggest you read it if you haven't already) But if you do not wish to, the article basically "calls out" SRK for not giving credit to J.K Rowling for some lines he used in the speech.

Initially, I was glad. The more a public figure messes up, the more ammo I have as a comedian to spread a little joy through some critical observation veiled as a joke. I think every comedian has a strong responsibility towards society and him/herself to talk about issues that matter. And though gossip about an actor may not be something that one would imagine carries much weight, the fact is that an actor in SRK's position MUST give credit to his sources. So I did what any obsessive-compulsive, insomniac comedian with an internet access would do. I google the blog post the article was sourced from, Then I googled and heard/read the AIMA speech. At this point I was licking my lips at the prospect of this little take-down I had perfectly planned in my head. That was until I read the following:

"Let me forewarn you, this is a recycled speech. Whenever I am called to give speeches at ypo or some such big organisation…I use this speech. Its generic…simple…and makes me give no commitment in our first meeting. Somewhat like the corporate world itself." 

I'm not sure if this is exactly how SRK wrote it (if he did, expect jokes on his grammar soon) but those lines got me thinking. Maybe there was something I was missing out. Maybe there was more to this and maybe I was pointing my finger at someone prematurely. Now I know these words sound odd coming from a comedian. But the fact is that I take my jokes seriously. I make sure I know what and who I'm making fun of. 

I searched the many dark depths of the internet (and my facebook friends list) and caught hold of the YPO speech *that SRK was referring to. (Knowing SRK fan girls has it's advantages) When I read it I realised that he had clearly quoted JK Rowling in the speech. 

My likes and dislikes aside, I respect him as much as I respect anyone else and so I believe that we should judge him by the same standard as we would judge anyone else with. Must one really harp on a mistake such as this? The man's probably given that speech 50 times. He forgot to quote her once. Why resort to death by over-analysis? Is there really nothing else that is as important as this right now? Let's move on.

*The speech has been copy-pasted from what my friend sent me. She was present at the time and wrote it all down. I've put the JK Rowling references in bold. 

Comedic Challenges.

Okay. So it's been a while since I've written. Well, not really. I have been writing, just not here. And though I hate not updating this part of my online world, I haven't really had much of a choice. I recently started a job as a content manager for a YouTube channel called Pocket Box Office. With about a week before we launch, things have been pretty crazy. One of the prime show's we'll be floating is a show called PocketNews. It's a current affairs comedy show and boy is it a bitch to write!

Nothing is as rewarding and frustrating as writing current affairs comedy. One has to spend so much time going through the news and picking it apart that sometimes one can't help but feel helpless at the tsunami of information flooding one's mind. As wonderful as it feels when a joke works, the fact that it'll be meaningless in a week or so can sometimes be depressing. Though it must be said that as a comedian getting too attached to one's material is never a good thing, more often than not, I find myself trying to justify including a joke in one of my live shows far past it's prime. I think that's something I'll take a while to get used to.

Speaking of things I need to get used to, shooting a comedy show is absolutely unnerving! I've spent most of my 'career' as a live act. Whether it's theater, comedy or music, I've always been up in front of a live audience. Honestly, I can't stress enough how much I love performing live. The kind of energy one gets to channel when performing live is phenomenal, and when that crowd is replaced by a single lense staring at you, cold and dead, it suddenly becomes impossible to get timing and reactions right. For the first few episodes I took almost 3-4 hours to shoot an episode that, once edited, is about 4 or 5 minutes long. The process is frustrating and draining. But looking at the finished product is absolutely wonderful. I only hope people watching it online feel the same!

But anyway, it's past midnight and I need to sit and read some more news. More soon my 4 loyal readers!


Monday, August 19, 2013

That is all.

He writes and writer and
writes some more
His eyes are sore
He's up all night.
He sings and hums,
He's all alone.
He checks his phone but no one's called.

He talks to pretty girls and thinks,
His being sinks into the void,
And bounces back to happy sounds.
His life's an endless sinusoid.

He sips a cup of tea and looks
at people talking, passing by,
and when he's done, he walks away.
A distant look, and empty sigh.

With gear shifts and scary sounds,
He's heading home, he's late again.
To sit and look at family,
Inquire as to where he's been.

The weekend comes and goes away,
Like doldrums in the open sea,
He sits alone with naught to do,
His thoughts his only company.

He'll live his days unlike the rest.
Wis gift to us his dirty scrawl,
The sun will rise and it will set.
And that is all. And that is all.

Friday, August 16, 2013

To The Women in my Life.

Listen up now, or don't. This isn't the first time I'm saying it, it most certainly isn't the last.

Thank You.
For your eloquence, and elegance, and energy.
For your grace and for your mistakes.
For your concern for me and all those around you.
Yes, you're a worrier. A mess and yes sometimes you're broken.
But you're more than meets the eye, you hypnotize me with your potent charm.
And words! Oh your words!
If only I could string a set of sounds together, in any weather, to make them sound the way you do.
I'm in love with you. I really am.

And even though you're mad at me, not all the time, well sometimes...
But still.
You're amazing.
Every single cell that you posses, it does impress my tired mind.
And I confide in you.
I rely on you.
When days are dark, I'm terrified.
When Everything is black and white.
You bring me back to grey.
Comfortable. Satisfied.
And I have tried, a hundred times,
To tell you just how much you mean.
How beautiful you are.
How beautiful you always will be.

Do not heed the paper, please.
Do not heed the ads.
The model in the Zara Store does not look as good as you.
She isn't half as good as you,
At Doodling.
Or Painting.
Or Singing.
Or telling me that I'm alright.
And I will fight until I'm gone to tell you in as many ways,
That days will come and people pass, but I will stay.
Yes I will stay.

You know it when...

Now here's the deal... If you've known me personally and well, you know how much of a nervous wreck I am, more often than not. I panic when I see a room full of people. I lose my shit if they're all talking. I sit down and rock back and forth, trying desperately to get back on my feet an at it. But that's when I'm off stage. On stage, I feel good. I feel like I'm in control. I feel Alive. I feel at Home. Last night I performed at the Indian International Model United Nations (IIMUN).  I'm going to tell you what happened. 

I was hosting the night. It was supposed to be a standard format show. Four comics performing for about 15 minutes each and I would be hosting. It was a long room with the stage on one end and the audience stretching out till the other end. They were divided by an aisle and as I got onto stage, I was confident that this show would go well. Everything would run smoothly. This would be just another show. I was wrong.

I got on and did a standard introduction. Made some jokes about the event and this and that when suddenly, the microphone stopped working. for about 5 minutes the sound team and I struggled to get things in order. But things just weren't working out. We were in trouble. Another minute or two and we would of lost the crowd. So I said "Fuck It!" And put away the mic. I started performing without amplification. 

Now this would've been fine in many rooms, but not in this one. The room was too long and the back couldn't hear a thing. I had to think fast. So after trying to be as loud as I possible could (I'm pretty loud like that. Being Gujrati has it's advantages) I just walked off stage and onto the aisle. I walked to the center of the room. And started performing there. Walking back and forth doing material. The audience, bless their hearts, stuck with me. I swear I couldn't even hear myself talk with the cheering and the laughing. But I stuck to it. 

I was hoping, praying even, for the sound system to get fixed. We had a show to do. I had to bring the next comic on stage. But I couldn't call them out with the mic not working. So I kept performing. Hoping the audience wouldn't get bored of me. I really wasn't thinking of anything else. I was on autopilot. I was so in the moment that the past and future were nowhere in sight. There were about 400-450 people in that room. I have no idea how I held their attention. I didn't even know how long I'd been on stage until the microphone was good to go and I got off stage (so to speak) and sat down. 

Turns out I did about 45 minutes of material. When I heard that, I first felt really bad. I don't like eating into other comedians time. But then it dawned on me. I managed to hold a crowd for 45 minutes! Without any sort of amplification. Without any kind of preparation! Last night, I felt like a comedian. A real comedian. 

But don't get me wrong. None of this was the highlight of last night. Even though I'm still in awe at that show, what I know will stick with me for a long long time is this...

Right after the show, when I was leaving, a young, rather shy, gentleman, came up to me and asked me if we could hang out sometime. If he could add me on facebook. If we could catch up and swap stories. Yeah. That made the night special for me. The fact that I could connect with at least one person well enough for that feeling of connectedness to last after the show was... Well... You know you're doing something you should be doing... Something you were meant to do, when someone comes up to you after the show and says something like that. 

It's all about the people man. It's all about the people.

PS: I'd like to make special mention to the other comics last night! Nick Pillow, Chris Laz and Raunaq Rajani all killed it with their unique brands of humour! It's always an honour to perform with these guys!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Absolutely B-Grade writing

Life is the odd cool night in May. Life is the sound of the beach and the wind running through the trees.  It's the sound of cellos being plucked. Of sad and happy tunes, floating through our minds. It's visions of grandeur, and realities of war.

Life is buying vegtables at the market. Having the sun stare down and you and later wave good bye. Life is the sun rising over a sleeping city or the sahara or the savana. Life is getting up and at it. Life is breaking down. Life is tangled cables and dandruff free hair.

Life is easy. Life is morning wood. Life upliftment from all pain and sorrow. Life is being thrust into darkness. Life is the eventual outcome of just one possibility among millions. Life shouldn't be, but is anyway. So are fridays. And Murders.

Life is a mathematical equasion, incomprehensible but clear to some mind's eye. Life is the sound of ice crushing beneath his feet, or her feet, or mine. Life is a lonely outlaw in the wild wild west. Life is agirl with a broken past and a gorrila who just ate his banana.

Life is an apple. Life is a bee. Life is microwave oven, heating a bowl of noodles or a family of three. Life is an inglorious basterd. Life is puppy dog eyes, and a keyboard, and the trombone!

Life is yellow carpets on grey concrete floors on peach colored ceiling paint. Life is the lawn and the needle on a fly. Life is over before it even begins, it's the longest pair of legs you've ever seen, or a kiss, or a hug or a dream. Life is just perfect. It doesn't exist. It's still not sure.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Truth

Remember the first time you heard rock 'n' roll? Remember that overpowering guitar riff? Those Punchy as FUCK Drums? Do you remember when you first heard the truth?

No. I'm not saying Rock 'n' Roll is your truth. Our realities differ. And that's okay. It could be some pop or classical song you heard (Fur Elise was that piece of music for me) but that isn't the point. Remember that one song that changed your world? Go listen to it again. Right now. And if you feel the same insane thrill (nostalgia doesn’t count), that song is the truth for you. And hold on to that truth man. In case that song isn’t the truth, go listen to more songs that had that effect on you. And if none of them work, go listen to one hundred new songs. Not as they come to you. There’s no joy in listening to a song just because the radio decided to play the new big bollywood hit. No. Go find some music. Hell! Go ask your grandparents or parents or your uncles or aunts or neighbor or annoying cousin a what they’re listening to. Go ask an obscure friend for some. Or go to 8tracks. Google great songs. Youtube the fuck out of the idea. And a few years from now, maybe, just maybe, you’ll listen to one or more of those again and say to yourself, “Yeah, that’s the truth!”

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to be preachy. And I’m not just talking about music. I’m talking about books and poems and movies and paintings and essays too. Man, I’m talking about life.

I’m talking about the motherfucking passion to LOOK for something! I’m talking about that yearning to explore the unknown. The addiction to knowing more. That dirty dirty habit of questioning. I’m talking about the truth.

Every single day, I realize more and more and more that for some obscure reason, we’ve just stopped asking questions. Not silly little questions like ‘when is the next MI match’ but more important ones. Essential ones. Like, ‘Is there anything more to this?’ or ‘What’s the story behind that?’ or ‘How does all this work?’.

It’s that gradually growing lack of curiosity that has made it possible of us to allow ourselves, almost willingly, to be dumbed down to the point where we find so many of us believing in and defending this notion that we posses the God given right to mediocrity. To a mundane existence. To not giving a damn. To being okay with something that we know in our bones, is fundamentally wrong.

Of course, we rarely even know if something is wrong or right. We’ve been so very successful in closing ourselves into that fuckall tiny box full of Bollywood and alcohol and the latest scam to even realize the real problems we’re facing both as individuals and a people.

When was the last time you asked yourself what your deepest darkest problem was? When was the last time you asked yourself about your demons? I’m not asking you to fight them. That is not my place. But I’m asking you a question in the hope that maybe, just maybe, it’ll make your ask yourself one or two.

I can’t say that I’m some supreme being. Some awakened wizened soul. But I can tell you without an ounce of dishonesty that I’m trying my very  best to be the best I can. When was the last time you honestly tried that?

No. It doesn’t make you a good or a bad person. In my experience, everyone’s an asshole and everyone’s nice depending on how well you know ‘em. It hardly matters. But maybe that’s the problem huh?

Maybe if it was drilled into our heads that questioning all that we see is the supreme right. Maybe the idea of blind obedience was never taught in schools. Maybe you’d have heard the truth ten times over today.

Again, I guess it really isn’t my place to say. So I’ll stop here. But I’ll ask you this one more time. Remember the first time you hear that Rock ‘n’ Roll?