Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bigg Boss

The great national show that is airing on Colors TV channel since the past eight weeks is actually in its second season. Based on Endemol's international format "Big Brother", this show was last seen on Sony TV in 2007 when the winner at the end of three months was Rahul Roy (Rahul, who? did you say?). This time, we have had new participants, and among those who got evicted in the past eight weeks were a politician (Sanjay Nirupam), a dancer (Sambhavna), a two-bit actor (Rakhi V), a seasoned actress (Ketaki Dave), a British actor (Jane Goody - who had to leave in the second week itself after a medical report on her turned out to reveal that she has cervical cancer), a gangster's moll (Monica Bedi - who's got back in as a wild card re-entry), a starlet (Payal Rohatgi) and a few others, whose names I can't remember at the moment.

Those who are still in include Raja (a small-time actor), Rahul Mahajan (the BJP fellow's son), Ehsan Qureshi (the comedy-ghazal-singer-actor), Debojit (a singer), Asutosh (an actor), Zulfi (a model), Diana Hayden (a model-actor) and Monica Bedi (re-entrant).

All through, the show provided us viewers (or, should I say, voyuers) a lot of entertainment as the participants went around their daily/weekly tasks, fought, fought even more, bitched, gossipped and romanced (Rahul M with Monica, then Payal, and again, now, Monica). Shilpa Shetty, the last season's winner on the Big Brother show in the U.K. in 2007, is the Friday night hostess who conducts the eviction episode. She is good, but not as good as the guy we had last year - viz. Arshad Warsi. Even so, the show is quite engrossing, and I find myself rushing home every weeknight to catch it as it airs around 10 p.m.

Everyone's favourite this year seems to be Rahul, but I think Debojit and Ehsan are the dark horses to watch out. Among the girls who are still in the fray, I don't have much hopes for Diana, but Monica just might ride on the public's sympathy vote.

Are any of my readers watching this show? I would love to have your comments on this show. What did you like? Hate? Who is/are your favourite(s)? Do you regularly send SMS's or vote to keep people in?

Monday, October 13, 2008


In my 48 years, 7 months and 10 days on this planet, I think I must have met, on a rough estimate, at least 200,000 people, right? So how is it that one strikes the right chord of friendship with so few? I guess I can count off the names of my close friends on the fingers of my hands! I know thousands of people right now, in real time, and have a passing acquaintance of another 8-10 thousand, but when I sit back and think about how many bridges remain to be crossed before I can say that person X is no longer a known moiety, no longer a passing acquaintance, no longer a good friend, but a close friend ...and I have to conclude that seldom, if ever, will all those bridges be crossed and a close friend added to my list.

What, then, are the ingredients that go towards fostering a close friendship? Ask a hundred people, and you will likely get a hundred answers. To think off the top of my mind, I can think of the following:
-attitudinal match
-ability and opportunity to interact
-comfort in each others' presence
-mutual acceptance of pluses and minuses of each other
-tolerance of each others' bad or nasty habits/behaviour
-enjoying each others' conversations
-keeping each others' secrets
-lending shoulders to cry upon

I guess the list is endless, as you can see!

Aside of the physical world's friendships, the internet has added a fourth dimension to the discussion: we make friends so freely over the net, and what do we have to judge the other person by, except for the way they write/chat/interact? Nothing. Pictures and photos need not be genuine. Nor blogs, nor profiles, nor locations, or even sex. Thus, our friendships on the net hang by a thin, easily breakable thread of belief and faith - in the friend, in our own self and in God - or cyber God if you will.

Having said all this, I can say that once a thread of friendship is formed, maintaining it is even more difficult ... and taking it to the next, higher level ...even more so. We mostly maintain relationships at the same level of comfort, but we never try to "test" our friendships to see if the friend does come in "good" when the need arises. A mere statement that "a friend in need is a friend indeed" is okay for writing a school essay, but do we really put pressure on our so-called friends to see who our "real" friends are?

To do this, we need to sometimes create "crises" and call up our friends and see their level of response/reciprocation. To give you an example: announce to all your friends by email, phone or SMS that your car has stalled at ..... location (the location needs to be *inconvenient* for the friends to reach) and could they help by coming to you and fetching you ... or rendering some other form of help to help you extricate yourself from this situation.

Now, sit back and enjoy. Over 90% of those you call will feign that they are too busy to come and pick you up, or cluck in mock sympathy. Around 5 % will show genuine concern, but will not go beyond, say, giving you the number of the local police station or towing agency or Automobile Association etc.

Only the last 5% will discuss the nitty-gritty of the problem and offer to come and pick you up.

They are, in my opinion, a few notches higher than the remaining 95% whom you contacted.

That does not mean that they are the only true friends you have. Someone from the 95% discussed above still may be your true friend, but how will you know that? Therefore, keep creating "crisis" situations from time to time, till you are sure who your real friends are.

Did I make sense to you? Will you try this method to test your friends? Do write back and let me know!

Monday, October 06, 2008

A month and some days later

Today, as I was browsing a newspaper item, I came across "advice on how to make your blog be noticed". The author of this was a blogger who was recently approached by Penguin India to make a book out of her blog. She says that one must make the blog readable and accurate in terms of grammar etc., but most of all, the blog must look and read like an honest outpouring of the thoughts of the writer.

I was sitting there and wondering what my blog would look like if I did that! Ha ha. I am sure Penguin India (or any other publisher for that matter) would turn red in the face to read the absolutely honest stuff that I would write if I were to go in that direction!

So, what prevented me from blogging this last 35 days? Do you want a flowery answer or the one that shoots straight from the hip? The first option is not workable, actually, since I am one of those "honesty" wins type of guy. So here is the factual answer: I did not blog because I never got the proper time or the motivation to do so. Fasting leeched a lot of my imagination and creativity, and that is a very honest appraisal. Prayers, and finding time to prepare the special iftaar dishes also consumed a lot of time. Finally, boredom and ennui also sort of drained me of motivation and vigour.

The result: not a single post in Ramadan. And for five days afterward too! However, here I am, back to write some words of wisdom and foolishness - with the sole purpose of entertaining you, the reader. Welcome back to the blog, and enjoy.