Thursday, August 30, 2007

And on the 8th Day, God Said "Let there be Kool"

The women in all the beauty pageants of the world are often asked this question(besides the obvious ones on world peace and Mother Teresa) :

"If there was one incident in World History that you could change, what would it be and why?"

To me, the question has a clear cut answer, it was the day that the word COOL went from being "neither warm nor very cold;giving relief from heat" to being a punctuation mark in the lexicons of our everyday life. Technically speaking, this unspeakable word now has come to mean "a
fashionable and attractive person who is socially adept", or atleast the Oxford Dictionary seems to think so. For me,although, this word is probably one of the scariest words I have come across in the 18 years of sheer terror that I sometimes like calling my life. I'm sure when all the supposed decision makers of this world talk about the Weapons of Mass Destruction, they are infact codenaming this word.

Cool is a creepy word. It makes you think you are wanted in this world. It makes you feel a part of the Herd. Its an initiation ritual into the depths of human Sadity.
(definition: Sadity(noun): State of utter and complete patheticity
Eg: We've reached a new level of Sadity here: laughing at the fact that we changed Sonali's name from Sonali to Sanalu)

Cool makes people feel accepted into The Cult of Cool People. That can be an especially traumatic experience for many who have no idea of the dangers they are exposing themselves to. I know because, I too have made the brief but immensely unforgettable, painful journey to the Dark Side of the Cool People.

Cool people look like normal people in school, but outside school they finally get rid of their disguise and embrace their Cool Factor(now popularly referred to as Kool factor). They hand you an Invisible List of things to do to be branded Kool. The list looks somewhat like this:


1. Wear fug bands to school [def: Fug bands(noun): black coloured bands made of rubber which would be useless in most cases,except if your trying to strangulate someone with it, but become fashion statements due to the influence of CERTAIN people]

2. Go blonde/colour your hair or better still, straighten it---the faker, the better.

3. Get hold of a boyfriend. He has to be from either LMB or St. James or at the most BHS, and the relationship will be accepted even if the man concerned, looks like he's fathered more than one generation.

4. Attend social events dressed to kill[def: dressed to kill (adjective): turn up at a social event, wearing clothes that barely cover you and in normal circumstances would make you look obscene, with heels that are aerodynamically designed to make "a dwarf look like Gisele Bundchen"(Source: A Very Prominent Kool Persons' Candid Confessions by Kool Kelly)]

5.Listen to Hip-Hop[def: Hip Hop: A state of mind which confuses people into believing that randomly said words (which in normal state of mind, would be classified as noise or babble) and half naked women(with hip movements defying gravity and logic) constitute music. It also makes people think that diamonds in their teeth are cool.]

6. Become a Goth[def:Goth: A state of mind which makes boys believe that black nailpolish makes them magically attractive. This also is confused with a related state of mind called Emo, where men think revealing their deep dark tortured soul, and kohl lined eyes makes them look KOOL]

7. Photograph yourself in a seductive manner, in your own kitchen, and then put the pictures up on a public forum for people to appreciate.

8. Visit Tantra or any similar sounding nightclub in floral shirts and in what can only be described as outrageous costumes and purple hair[for men], and fat obese women, wear clothes that barely fit into your arms, let alone the rest of your body. Make sure the crowd usually consists of overenthusiastic teenagers who are enjoying their first night of freedom and 45 year old Marwari businessman, with potbellies big enough to house the entire population of Monaco(if the country exists) and suffer from what can only be described as the "ABHI TO MAIN JAWAN HOON" syndrome.

9. Going to CCD. That is the ultimate KOOL meeting point. Then there are the hookah bars. Lets not go there. I feel my next nervous breakdown coming.

10. Smoke or smoke up. Need I say more? And use Cool as a punctuation mark. For e.g
Girl: You're so cool.
Boy: Not as cool as you are. You're so coooooooool.
Girl : No way, cool it. When I say cool, I mean Kool. You're So COOL you make other Kool people look uncool.
I Dare not continue.

Now that that is done, I cannot end this without mentioning the creditable and also important contribution of the Neo Cool Intellectuals. In Bengali, they are referred to as Aaatel.
Def:Aaatel: Intellectually superior Bengali individuals characterised by the following:


1. If you haven't read Catcher In the Rye, you aren't fit enough to exist. Let alone being treated as a human deserving compassion.
2. If you don't know/like Che Guevara, there is something wrong with your anatomy.
3. If you don't own/ haven't watched depressing French/Swedish cinema, you deserve to die in a pool of your own vomit.
4. Dylan & Morrison are Gods. Period. And so is Gautam Chattopadhyay.
5. If you don't smoke ganja, you can't enjoy music.
6. If you don't read Huxley, Kundera, or Kafka, go do US a favour and DIE.
7. Joyce must be a night read. Otherwise, the exit is that way.
8. Entry Fee: Deposit jhola. FabIndia will be your second home.
9. Guru Dutt is an unheralded genius. Ritwik Ghatak, Shyam Benegal and Adoor Gopalakrishnan deserve standing ovations for every frame they have directed.
10. An ancient pair of spectacles are your secret superhero power. You take them off, and be ready to be debadged.

So there you have it. The greatest epidemic plaguing mankind. And we don't even realise it, as usual. As Miss North Carolina puts it when asked why 1/5th of the population of America don't recognize USA on a World Map, "Well, some people, don't have maps or own them", and becomes 2nd runner up. So I guess being cool works for some people. Me? I call it "Unexplained Mysteries of Being Annesha Sil". So there.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Pensieve

Memories are a funny thing. They attack you when you least expect it, plague you when you'd rather forget and ofcourse act all pricey when you seek them. Memories make PMSing sound reasonable, understandable and forgettable. They make Paris Hilton sound intelligent and make a certain Mr. Reshammiya sound like Grammy worthy(although considering the recent couple of years it doesn't seem too outlandish). Considering the fact that I am technically supposed to be a quizzer, it seems like too much of a risk to possess a goldfish's memory. Yet, I go on-- undeterred by the distinct and imminent possibility of Alzheimer's...

The bizarre storehouse that calls itself my memory just forgets that I actually existed for the first five years of my life. Therefore, I must rely on Priyanka's who reminded me of a time long long ago of an embarrassing bathroom dance which I must admit I am happy to have forgotten. Apparently, it was on a bright sunny day in junior school when birthdays were days to celebrate. It consisted of wearing a bright frilly pink dress to school and giving off pricey "return gifts" to the other people in my class. Apparently it was a big prestige issue with most parents. You know the gifts just had to get bigger every year or something was surely wrong with your IT returns. So it was one of those days and apparently I was so caught up in the process of celebrating my birthday, I forgot to congratulate myself on my birthday. The class was obviously not the right place for such matters of national importance, in addition the ogre babies( huge, fat and almost green) in my class were too busy finishing off the cake,(Did I mention that cakes were part of the "return gift" package? Only Kookie Jar was impressive enough, or ofcourse, if you were Doogie Howser and could bake a perfectly edible chocolate cake at the age of five, then nothing like it) so I decided to use the school toilet. Little did I know my peaceful celebrations( consisting of picking up my overbearing pink dress and breaking into an impromptu butt dance) would be disturbed by none other than Priyanka. And thanks to the look of "Earth is being invaded by aliens right at this moment and nobody can stop the destruction", I have since not forgotten it.

Then there is the case of a recent memory, around two days ago, when my mother realised the medium called the computer could be used to correspond free of cost to other mortals of the world। So, she sat down at the keyboard to type an email to my mashi. Believe me, the moment was epiphany... it was like Early man rubbing the two stones together to create fire. As she pressed down, sceptically, the keys of the keyboard hoping they wouldn't retaliate, I realised that Priyanka is not the only victim of this incurable disease called technology.

At this juncture, my memory divulges a little more and reminds me of the impacts we used to "perform" on stage(read as euphemism for "making an ass of ourselves' and a polite way of saying we polluted Atmodaya Bhavan--thank you to the LMB ppl who were gracious enough to let us use their stage). For the first year since I was Anish, my roles consisted of either being Prince Charming's gay partner or playing an LMB student of Class XI. Then of course comes my memory. We were supposed to perform this play for this fest Syzygy which is basically the Computer Club fest.

So our impact team with our great ideas decided to make a computer come alive. So we had a Backspace key and and Alt key(a character with a split personality disorder), all come to life, and somewhere in the middle I came in( pretending to be an LMB student). Forever reliable, Shweta got really sick and turned up on the day of the Impact without a voice,quite literally. So I had to pick up Sign Language in a day and as was the ritual with our impact team, doom was inevitable.

Then somebody(yours truly) came up with the suggestion that Backspace(the character Shweta was playing) was such a pricey character that he wouldn't speak at all and instead communicate every emotion through some other character. So we got this girl, Priyanshi to read from the script(on the stage,mind you) and in the play she happened to be the virus in our computer.

So on stage the scene goes like this:

Priyanshi reads from the script Backspace's lines: "Are you a virus?" and then realises it's her line next so she looks into the script,reads my illegible handwriting, looks up, convincingly at the audience and says" Yes, I am a virus" in a matter of seconds. I swear if I could sink lower I would, but there wasn't a deeper pool close by to drown myself.

And then ofcourse we had the everenthusiastic people from the audience shouting that we were reading from the script, just making our eventful day better. I would have given anything to get off the stage right then. But not even half our play was over and through the relentless abuses we went on, undaunted.

And even after all that we had the courage to face the same stage a year later, this time albeit, me as Bappi Lahiri and Shweta as Mithun Da and my friend as Himesh Reshammiya and ofcourse Bappi had to have a lil boy crush on Himesh--just the icing on our cake. And THIS the audience had no difficulty understanding.

My memory is a strange thing. It acts in weird ways. It behaves independently and refuses to respect me. But at the end of the day, whatever little I remember makes me laugh hysterically, and makes this world a little more approachable and a little more I correct that-- only more approachable, the world still baffles me to no end.