Friday, February 27, 2009

What the hell have you done lately?

This is how the film Wanted ends, with the hero looking at me, eyes piercingly cold and asking me, 'What the f%$# have you done lately?' Wow!

A couple of hours and a few goose pimples later, I was still thinking about it. Really, what have I done lately? Nothing that I want to share, nothing that I can remember, but I am pepped up. And someday soon, I'll be ready to answer that at length.

By the way, what have YOU done lately?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The morning after...

a typo is very bad...
It's a very bad feeling. A combination of feelings actually, extreme grief, denial, anger, damn-you, how-could-I, I-am-no-good, this-ain't-the- end-of-the-world, or-maybe-it is, etcetera. The world's suddenly not a pretty place anymore, everything ceases to matter and all you are left with is a crazy sick feeling.
Needless to say, I do everything to avoid a copy error – check the ad or any copy based deliverable until my eyes hurt, until the account executive snatches it away from me, until the art director threatens me with his I've-had-enough look, or until I decide to not care enough about my job. Most often, none of these happen, and I go on checking every word, like a maniac.

Yet, there's no sure-fire way to avoid a typographical error. Just when you think you are absolutely certain about the headline, the subhead, the bodycopy... you have screwed up the address, or the baseline in the logo. And likewise.
I remember every major copy mistake I've ever made. When I say major, I mean, a mistake that cost my agency a lot of money/cost my client a lot of money/cost my agency the client/almost cost me my job.

It's a weired feeling that refuses to go, nothing helps, not even hours of retail therapy, not even a comforting never-mind-that-sweety mail from a friend, or a it's-okay-let's-learn-from-mistakes mail from the boss. Only thing that gets that horrid feeling out, is the next piece of copy that you write, the perfect copy. The typo free copy.

And all will be well again.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So long. And sorry for all the haggling.

'T-shirt ka 200 rupees madam'
'200 rupees? Kya baat kar rahe ho'
'Quality dheko madam, whole market me just single piece. Designer item hai madam'
'150 last, bas dena hai ke nahi bolo?'
'Nahi, bola na 150'
'madam 170,
'Nahi, 160, jaldi bolo, late ho raha hai'
Okay madam, le lo, 160'


I've grown up believing bargaining to be a time-honoured tradition. We (my friends, my mother, aunts and I) often take pride in admitting to who haggles the best. 'What kind of lousy shopper are you, giving the vendor whatever he asks for', my friends and I would scream at the non-haggler in our group. The best one would find herself invited to important flea-market shopping sprees.

I have bargained everywhere, for everything possible. And in every language – the polite Hindi, the rude Hindi, Bengali, English, English with Tamil accent, English with Punjabi accent and in pitiable Tamil. And I have also mastered, what I call the smart haggler attitude(s). Now, this is a tricky one, you got to decide on your attitude only after you have selected your shopkeeper. And no, you never feel bad for the shopkeeper. Look at it this way, if he is ready to sell a 450 Rupees skirt for 130 Rupees, he is certainly making a good profit. Now, about the attitude(s) – there's a 'Not interested but I'll buy it if I get it at my price' attitude, then there's an 'Interested but I'll buy it if I get it at my price' attitude, then the most common one 'Look I'm interested you're interested may the best man' win attitude.

Appreciation for a good bargain is one thing, being fanatic about it is quite another. Someone I know bargains so bad that she never goes to a shop twice. Lest she is booed at or chased away. I haven't been that bad, but bad nonetheless. None of these any more, it's time for redemption.

I have spent a thousand rupees on a flimsy pair of slippers, just for that swoosh. I have spent two hundred rupees on a bar of soap for its sleek packaging. I have spent a couple of hundreds for 100 ml of moisturizer, that promises me lavender. And even more on stuff that I never wore.

So, to all Bhaias and Unclejis of Atta market, Sarojni Nagar, Janpath, New market, Park Street, T Nagar, Beasant Nagar, Ooty Mall Road, Lokhandwala, Bandra, General Bazaar, MG Road, Brigade Road and the rest... I am sorry.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dev D is a sensuous feast.

Super chic visuals, stylish characters, escapisms that you can almost relate to, locations you have been to, clothes you want to be seen in, pretty colours, riveting music and a happy ending... What's not to love?

Really, there's nothing about Dev D that I didn't like. And if you are all for offbeat, Dev D has loads of it. The cast is perfect, very unrestrained, very believable. Abhay Deol is delectable, I wanted him to keep having a good time and just keep seeing him. But, how can this guy be related to Bobby 'Bicchu' Deol or Sunny 'No if no but sirf jatt' Deol', however Abhay Deol as Dev D will redeem your faith in Bollywood actors. The two women in the film, are great finds too, both good actors and utterly refreshing. One is well nourished while other, genuinely thin, not south beach thin, not power yoga thin but the high-metabolic rate thin. Oh yeah, the love scenes... I loved them, very stylized yet real. Brazen yes, but will you cringe? no.

Moments of discontent? None. Unless, you have a problem with
being manipulated into wanting Dev to be with Chandramukhi,
Dev not being in enough pain or pinning enough for Paro,
Dev living happily ever after.

Not me, I liked what I saw, everything. And I want to see more of Abhay Deol, Kalki, Mahi Gill and Anurag Kashyap. Nice.

Chopras, Johars, ... shoo!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's fortune: Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

A harmless orkut break during work and I spot this on my homepage - 'Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.' I am scared, scared like hell; Oh my God, is that a sign? Is it trying to tell me something. Is it sending a message? Where 'it' could be God/the Orkut fortune teller/my inner self/something spooky. Whatever, with deadlines a little away I indulge in some deep thinking.

Am I living someone else's life? Am I? Yes, I do try to be a better copywriter at work, the loving daughter during my twice a day phone calls to my parents, the caring and no cribbing missus to my man, the always-there-for-you-to crib-about-your-husbands to my friends, etcetera.

But, if I don't try to be any of these then what would I try? I certainly can't imagine being a hippie, nor can I imagine leaving all Moh Maya and heading someplace high. Nopes. This is the only life I know. But now that I am thinking some more, here's what I want to try -

I want to try leaving it all ( the world of copy check, typos and everything) and pursue size zero with utmost seriousness.
I want to try stop worrying about the downturn and thus stop working like a woman possessed.
I want to to try working out like a woman possessed.
I want to try not caring enough about anything.

P.S. Today's fortune: The guy who reads your fortune lost his psychic powers (and his job). We hope you are feeling lucky.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yep, the times are tough.

I am working harder than ever.
And grumbling lesser,
I see sleepy shopkeepers.
And apologetic shoppers.
I decide on 'some place small' for my anniversary dinner.
Gifts or gifting don't feature however.
Queues in the ATMs get shorter.
And those in the bus stops get longer.
Everyone I know has some sad office story.
Yeah...things everywhere are getting pretty awry.

n.b.- “It’s really scary about the economy right now. So the way I’m playing my part in helping is doing a lot of shopping wherever I go.”
- Paris Hilton


Monday, February 2, 2009

How I wish I had played a little.

“God it's killing me.” That's what Roger Federer said minutes after losing to Nadal in that memorable Australian Open final yesterday.

Nadal gets to the podium, hugs him, and says, "Sorry for today, I know how you're feeling right now. It's really tough. But remember you are a great champion, you are one of the best in history and you're going to improve the 14 of Sampras.”
What a match. And what incredible men. Sigh.

I have never played a sport seriously, unless you count lock n key, hide n seek and that odd game of badminton once in a while; jogging, walking and cycling were the only outdoorsy activities I've ever done. Yet, for a brief moment yesterday, I wished I had pursued some form of sport. I should have played something. Not to win, or to learn to lose gracefully, just to get that attitude towards life that only sports can get you. Heard Shahrukh Khan say this – sports teaches you how not to be a loser, winning or losing notwithstanding. Yeah, right. And the fact that it ups metabolism rate, that's good too. I should have played something.

And as Nadal kissed his trophy, I got off the couch, wore my sneakers, dashed out, let the elevator pass, hopped down the stairs and ran a little.