Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Almost achieved simply by chatting with one of my favourite writers ever – Alexander McCall Smith.

I posted the question as ‘Jayita, Mumbai’. Yes I know that’s not my name. It is my sister’s name, and I asked it on her behalf, she being a top psychiatrist and all. I posed my own question as well, as myself and not masquerading as female relatives, but the same query was in the minds of approximately 1500 other fans. The question was – when is the next in the von Igelfield trilogy coming out? Fans breathless with eager anticipation will be pleased to know that Mr. McCall Smith is hard at work on it.

Read the transcript to learn more about him, his writing process (a whopping 1000 words per hour!) and, in a staggering expose, he revealed what JLB stood for in Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ban Crying on Reality Shows!

Can I file a PIL to ban excessive tear-duct action on reality TV shows? Every episode, especially the elimination ones, centre around one principle concept – tears. On regular days, contestants are crying because they remember poignant moments in their life thus far. But elimination days are special. Three types of ‘tear shedding’ occur on these occasions:

  • Eliminated contestant weeping copious amounts for obvious reasons. To further their weeping, a screen in the background keeps displaying images of their life before the contest and even during it, when they had made lifelong friends (ya right!) out of their co-participants.
  • Fellow contestants sobbing at the departure of the eliminated one, when in their minds they’re actually thinking, ‘Thank God! If she’d stuck out one week longer I’d be in the doldrums!’
  • MC’s bawling their eyes out because of the eliminations (witness Mandira Bedi at Indian Idol). This has no rhyme or reason, despite hosts like Mandira claiming to share a great rapport with the eliminated contestant.

Pop quiz: which of the three do you think happened on Bigg Boss 2 last Friday night? That’s right, all of the above. Rahul Mahajan gets to keep the love triangle with Monica Bedi and Payal Rohatgi going for a few more weeks, either until they reach some conclusion or until one of them is voted out. Rakhi Vijayan can meanwhile stay home and reflect on whether the amount of rouge she applied for her last episode was a necessary touch or not. And Shilpa Shetty can return to her wardrobe to choose yet another saree that reveals several yards of her admirable waist.

Bigg Boss airs on the new Colors channel. The best part about watching the entire hour-long show was seeing the promos of a new show called Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena starring, ahem, Wasim Akram and Sushmita Sen. Don’t care about Sush much, but will watch the show just to drool over Mr. Akram.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This is your life

A couple of months back, I walked into the British Library and to my utter amazement, discovered a whole set of good books to take home, among them John O’Farrell’s This is your life. I had read his ‘I blame the scapegoats’, a collection of essays, and found them hilarious, so I had high expectations of this book. And did he deliver!

This is your life is the story of Jimmy Conway, who dreams of becoming a celebrity. He’s working on a screenplay, the only problem is – he hasn’t got past the first page! A chance encounter with Britain’s top TV star Billy Scrivens makes him sought after in his own circle of friends and family. But when Billy dies, Jimmy is invited to comment on his death. And so begins his foray into the world of stardom. He becomes famous as a standup comic who ‘won’t do television’ by faking newspaper reviews and articles of himself. Soon he plunges deeper into the quagmire of lies and is rewarded for it by winning a ‘Best Standup Comic – Newcomer’ award.

Eventually he is invited to perform at a major event that is broadcast live to TV audiences all over Britain, and has two thousand people in attendance at the show. Does Jimmy get through this? Read the book to find out!

The book has so many laugh-out-loud lines I lost count after the first read. But here’s a sample to get you going:

Her face had so many piercings that passing ships lost track of true magnetic north.

Jimmy’s mother asks him ,’and how is your part-time teaching job?’ in a tone as if she was asking him the question ‘How is your homosexual Iraqi boyfriend?’ or ‘How are things in the world of pre-school heroin dealing?’

How does one fake their way through heart surgery?
‘Let’s move that grisly lump over here.’
‘But that’s the heart, doctor.’
‘Blimey, it doesn’t look like that on the Valentine cards, does it?’

Since global warming Eskimos now have twenty different words for water.

Remember to pick up this book the next time you see it in the library!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hello World!

Typically the first ever program a techie writes when learning a new technology is one that simply prints out the words ‘Hello World’ on the screen. It’s been many years since I wrote one of those, but now I can at least claim to have written one for my blog.

Welcome here. Enjoy your stay.