Friday, December 27, 2013

Pooja,Poori and preparation

When I told my parents that I was planning to leave for chandigarh the next morning at around 6, they gasped. As they looked at me in horror, my dad asked "but how will YOU get to the station in time? I don't think you will be able to make it in time. Will you be able to wake up by 5?"

"Why do I need to wake up at 5? The train departs at 7:40. That's pretty late, that's 8AM. 8 is alright?!" Shocked they quietly went to bed.

I woke up at 6. After brushing, going through my daily chores and deodorizing myself, I was ready. It was 6:20. I was the modern traveller, I thought proudly. Practical and efficient. No pooja, no pooris. The thought got me thinking. The answer was right there in front of me! The train had always departed at 7:40 but what was different was how my parents and probably every middle class approached the whole concept of "travelling".

In those times IRCT had not been launched and the pantry service was severely disorganized and pathetic. Indian Railways was the typical Babu, lethargic and insensitive. Trains were routinely late and sometimes one needed a calender and not a watch to keep track of a train's progress. Obviously the family needed to be fed some great quality food while everyone stared at a stationery jungle or a farm in the middle of nowhere.

And the perfect food was the humble puri and jeera-aaloo or aaloo-gobhi and or nimbu ka achaar. I wondered why we never had simple rotis/chapatis/phulkes?  My mom's argument was that puris were easier to cook. You just had to throw the dough in fried oil and voila.

So the Mother would wake up an hour earlier to cook puris. Thus instead of 6 she would have had to wake up at 5. 

But wait?! What about thakurji (he demands attention and respect, thus the bold font) residing in the small temple in our homes? Surely He could not have been left "unprayered" and "unbathed" for so many days. Pooja had to be performed before leaving. Moreover it couldn't be performed by a dirty squalor. Therefore an absolute prerequisite for pooja was that you had to have a bath.An extra hour. Poor Mother should now wake up at 4. 

Meanwhile Dad would refuse to budge unless he was given chai.It is still unknown why it is the last thing he must do before leaving the house.No one can deprive him of those fifteen, tranquil, minutes when he happily sipped tea.

As you can clearly see this graph shows the time taken to get ready vs year/era. The  reason for such a high spike before Kalyug is probably the havans and poojas everyone performed before doing anything. I mean Bhagwan Ram didn't just wake up, put on some indigenous deodorant (neem pattis?) and left for Gurukul. No sir. Infact the whole family performed lots of poojas for many days before He was allowed to leave.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Beware of the Black Dog

A youtube clip grabbed my attention recently. Since then I watch it whenever I feel bored/tired/sad/sick/tired/annoyed. It's a clip from a very popular Bollywood movie and the scene gave me goosebumps the first time I saw it. Without holding you on further, here is the link.

For those of you who could not understand Amrish Puri's dialogue for whatever reasons here is the punchline, quite literally-

How horny Puri's blood cells look like
Did you notice how subtly the director has been able to connect Black Dog whiskey with Amrish Puri's inner dogs? Or that music? India's own hip hop music! Music aficionados would have correctly spotted the base beat as this-;;

And how come we never tried tipping waiters beforehand?! I mean, who doesn't want a superior service? And it works too! Observe carefully and you will realise the waiter already knew that Puri will reject "Chivarse" Regal straightway and therefore kept a bottle of Black Dog with him. The screenwriter thus convinces us, the viewers, that tipping early does help!

On the other hand, Prem Chopra's acting is quite dismal. What kind of a word is Amaiyya?!? Imagine sitting in a nice place with a friend and saying Amaiiya, are you alright today? ( And you certainly don't say Mmmmmhmmmm kya baat hai ( You say that when you have delicious pakodas not while Puri describes you about his inner dogs!

Bollywood rocks!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Jockey Culture

I don't have a very good sense of fashion. Shopping for clothes can be a very stressing excericse for me. But one thing that I am really proud of is the fact that I shifted to Jockey! The moment I tried one I knew I was part of the community just like them->

The Jockey community

There was a time when indigenous VIP and Lux Cozi (with an I) probably created the "coolest" underwear for the humble middle class of India. Back in those medieval times, underwear was simple and you got those cotton ones with an elastic band around them. Everyone wore the same socialist chaddis.

This single variety dominated the brief landscape back in the 90's

But then something happened which changed the equation, most likely liberalisation and globalisation. And vip got a kick on its bum. Jockey had arrived with their cool ads and funky underpants! Their products and advertisement caught the imagination of everyone. My schoolmates had intense discussions about it in the school bus. 

Suddenly, wearing expensive and flashy underwear was a necessity. Everyone wanted to be branded, owned by Jockey. Meanwhile, I was trying hard to resist this cultural revolution. 

I told them it was way expensive. Today, it costs around Rs 200 a piece, more than double the amount what VIP costs (I googled). They said it was very comfortable. I said look at all the variety, that's confusing! They said don't be a dork and get one!

So I did. And I had never felt happier. Suddenly you felt cool and had the confidence that you can take on the world. Their boxers were like an additional pair of lungs! They breathed! Moreover here was a brand responsible for creating, perhaps, thousands of jobs. They had launched so many different underpants that small scale shopkeepers had to keep a specialist who was well versed with Jockey varieties. The specialist would listen to your requirements and give you the perfect piece, just like shoes or shirts. I realised this when I paid a visit to the neighbourwallah undergarment store once.

Me-"Im looking for briefs"
Sardarji-"Yeh lo VIP, nabbhe rupaye"
Me-"Jockey chaiye"
Sardarji-"Udhar jaao" (pointing towards his son)
Me-"Wahan bheed hai..."
Sardarji-"Jo(h)key wahi batayega..."

The older generation had no clue how to sell all these different kinds. For them all were the same be it the high cut brief, low cut brief or the bikini cut. (courtesy:

When other international brands realised the potential of Indian markets they jumped at the opportunity. Soon we had rack-fulls of CK, Levi's, Diesel, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes among others trying to dislodge Jockey from the top spot. I'm sure they did eat away a lot of business from our favourite brand. But who wears one with apples and grapes drawn on it, right?