When Hell Freezes Over

Is it just me or does anyone else also feel that January hardly ever turns out to be that stellar beginning that we all want our new year to have?

Let’s face it, January is never a good month for anyone. It marks the end of vacations (that’s a big problem right there, see?) and the resumption of work, emails, conference calls and the year-end appraisal process. The traffic is awful because everyone is back to their wrong-ways on the roads, despite the Dense Fog. The Dense Fog itself is an invention of airline companies so that they can happily make paper planes with their schedules and then poke our eyes with them. And, have you observed how suddenly this Dense Fog wafts into your life at the most inopportune moment – like, when you are about to leave home for a long-awaited dinner party 25 miles away? Or, when you must pick up an elderly relative from the station when his train arrives – the one that is running with a delay of…umm…anywhere between 2 to 36 hours?

January means acting on New Year resolutions about things you have to resolve yourself into doing because, frankly, there is no way you would do them with a sane mind. Like, ‘I will go to the gym five days a week’, or the death-wish to slip into those jeans from 2010. Or give up Vodka! I mean, really, who are we kidding? Give up Vodka? In this weather? If December is already cold, January is like God teaching Al Gore some kind of a twisted lesson. And have you noticed that frequent urge to pee that seems to get triggered by the mere sighting of water? The eternal conflict between a bursting bladder and the warm razaai, and you cringing in the middle of it, trying your damndest to stay away from your Siberian-cold toilet for as long as possible. It’s the month when morning showers are quickly dispensed with, and strong deodorants are celebrated as your armpits’ best friends. The jaanghiye and baniyaans take at least four days to go from wet to still-damp when you put them on. And then, there are all those pages of your cheque-book that you have to scratch and destroy because you can’t seem to get the bloody year right in the date field. As if signature-matching wasn’t problem enough.

Makes you doubt if that fancy New Year Eve party at the 5-star hotel was really worth breaking your Fixed Deposit for. All that naach-gaana, drunken buffoonery and Facebook check-ins. Such a premature ejaculation of happiness. And for what? January? Like they say, premature of nothing is ever good.

Strange wonder, then, how we still never learn. How we never wait until February to make New Beginnings. Or, better still, March. That one word even has entire phrases like ‘We shall overcome!’, ‘Press ahead!’ and ‘Go seek your destiny!’ built right into its definition!

No, January it always is.

Despite all the miseries I have spoken of above, January is when everyone chooses to soar their highest, only to then land on their backsides with a resounding phus. It is the month that Sallu Tiger picks for the release of his latest magnum opus. The man is sure ballsy but such a pity that his movies only ever smell of the kind made of naphthalene. “Maa Kasam!” you exclaim using the endearing ‘70s vernacular equivalent of the modern-day ‘Holy fuck!’, as you shake your head and exit the theatre after watching ‘Jai Ho’, “that was way too soon after Uday Chopra!”

Then there is that other charmer, Rahul Gandhi, who has shamed until eternity all parents who once adoringly named their sons Pappu or Prince. (Side note : The ones who named their children Prince Pappu or vice versa deserve to be shamed). Indolent Gandhiji lands a January-date with insolent Go-Swamiji, the dimpled man feeling strangely plenty empowered to boldly go where no man has gone before and has ever returned unscathed. The assumption, possibly, being that the cold of the winter hardens ear wax, making all the 1.2 billion people watching Times TV go temporarily deaf – simply unable to hear what is being said.

The less said about the Indian Cricket Team the better. Its gravest nemesis is the Republic of India Passport that allows it to spend its January in the sunny summer of a distant land, where flightless birds and Hobbits can shit on its face repeatedly and with alarming accuracy.

So, no matter whether your name is Kejriwal, Khobragade or something much easier on the lips, January is not likely the most auspicious month for New Beginnings. It’s more like, ‘Let’s Seize the Day some other day’. Frankly, why even look for a reason to delay rolling in the good times? There are 365 days in a year, after all.

So why Day 1? I say, Day 32 (or Day 60) sounds just as good as any to ring in the New Year!

Happy February (Happiness of the visual is courtesy Google - what would Bloggers do without it?)

Happy February
(This Visual Happiness is brought to you by Google – a Bloggers best friend)

The First Diwali – The Untold Backstory Of What Transpired When Lord Rama Returned Home

 

Glad to have you back!

 

As the official Pushpak Airlines plane on special duty taxied to a stop, the royal Super Couple and their Sidekick breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long, tedious flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, and even though the plane was the best in the airline’s stable, it was still in a fairly ramshackle condition. ‘And this after Bharata has pumped billions of rupees trying to resurrect this so called King Of Maharaja-like Times’, Lord Rama had lamented to himself onboard just a few hours ago. He had been observing Sita make futile attempts to get the entertainment system to work, finally giving up when her headphones broke into two. Thankfully, Lakshmana had slept through most the flight but not after he had blown his top at the flight crew at the bad alcohol selection in the bar menu. “What do you mean you don’t serve Single Malt? Don’t you know who I am?” had been hurled at the shitless flight attendant. ‘I must do something about his anger management issues once we settle in’, the concerned elder brother thought, observing Lakshmana’s perpetually furrowed forehead. ’14 years without sex. That’s gotta be rough.’

“And about time, too!” said Sita as the seat belt sign switched off. “I need a fucking shower so bad I am even willing to walk through fire to get one! Get a move on, guys! Chop, chop!”

‘That makes two. In need of extensive psychiatric therapy’, Lord Rama thought. The newly potty-mouthed lady had been behaving unhinged since her rescue. “Are you telling me that you were busy gallivanting with these godforsaken monkeys while I was roughing it out under this fucking tree?” she had yelled when Lord Rama and his anthropoidal rescue team finally showed up at Ashoka Vatika, the kidnapper’s lair. “Why couldn’t you frigging go to Bharata and get some real help right away? You know, like real soldiers with real weapons?”

‘Hmm, good point…I wonder why I never thought of that’, Lord Rama pondered in reminiscence. ‘Anyway, I think she went batty at the sight of talking monkeys’, he consoled himself. Also, sadly, one picks up unholy words so easily. The foul vocabulary of Ravana’s goons, all those Bhandaranaikes, Vikramsinghes and Jayasuryas seemed to have made permanent residence in Sita’s once virginal lingo.

The airport was mostly cast in darkness as the trio walked towards the arrival hall. Just a few essential lights flickered.

“Terrorism threat?” Lakshmana asked with concern.

“No Sir, pan-Ayodhya power grid collapse,” said the airport official sheepishly. “Second time just this week alone. The whole nation is at a standstill.”

‘Uh oh!’ Lord Rama mumbled.

The resident members of the first family of the nation emerged from the VVIP lounge to greet the erstwhile Exiles. The paparazzi shutterbugs had been kept at bay by their Z+ security category, enabling the three mothers, their four sons, and their wives to shed unabashed happy tears amid incessant hugging and kissing. Emotional PDA among royalty is difficult to accomplish even on a normal day, given the clanging of heavy gold jewellery, the scrunching of expensive Chinese silks, and giant crowns and tiaras that constantly slip down to the eyes, here, one was talking of 14 years of pent up melancholia that needed to be sorted. Expectedly, no mascara was left intact.

“Hello, Chhoti Mummy”, said the eldest son.

“Hello, Beta. Very good to see you again.”

Of course, this polite embrace was fooling no one, but much water had flown down the Sarayu these past 14 years.

Once royal poise had been reclaimed, the party settled in their transportation and started to make their way back to the Presidential Palace. Bharata, Sita and Lord Rama were in one car.

“So, my dear Brother, what’s up with everything looking so beat?” enquired Lord Rama. “The airline looked like shit, there is no electricity in the city, and,” he coughed, “even the air feels smoggy,” just as the car flung itself into yet another massive pothole. It had not been an opportune time for Sita to be putting on lipstick after 14 long years.

“Mother of …!”

The brothers ignored her.

“Sorry, Brother, things are indeed quite bad. We have been floundering. The national morale is down, infrastructure is in pieces, there are massive scams each day. General malaise. No direction, no decision making. And all that the bloody media is concerned with is getting the real scoop on what happened between Sita Bhabhi and Ravana when they were together!”

“No way! These fucking mother … Wait till I get my hands on them, these mother fuckers!” blasted the angry lady. Of course, no one would have taken her seriously if one could see her right now – with a giant lipstick gash from her upper lip all along her right cheek.

“Calm down, Bhabhi. We will sort it out. Once we do your makeover, we will have you do press interviews, Koffee with Karan etc. The Times of Ayodhya newspaper is in our pocket. We will make sure you are popular again.”

“Cocksucking assholes.”

‘Wow’, thought the husband. ‘Not quite TV-ready just yet, are we.’

“So what has kept you from running the nation? From taking decisions?” he resumed with his brother.

“But what was I to do? I am no king. I have just been minding the store! Keeping my head down. Staying quiet. Totally mum, actually. Just waiting for directions.”

“Directions? From whom? You are the bloody King!”

“In name only, dear Brother. I am just a remote control, remember?”

Hein? Then who is, pray, controlling this remote control, my dear man? Your mummy? ”

“No, no, don’t you remember? It’s your Slippers! They are running the nation! I took them 14 years ago when I saw you in the forest. I have just let the Royal Slippers show us the path these past 14 years.”

‘Shit on toast’, thought Lord Rama. ‘Is everyone absolutely cuckoo in this family?’

“But now that you are back, dear Brother, please take your country back. This really isn’t my scene. I am done with politics. I am going to take some time off now. I think I’ll start a blog. Or write a novel – a mythological thriller, actually! Maybe even a teenage love story!”

Lord Rama wasn’t listening any more. ‘It will take a lot to get this place back to shape. I will have to hire a completely new cabinet. Put resources around infrastructure and human resource development. Provide jobs. Stamp out corruption. In fact, suck out all the negativity. Give a positive spin to everything. Look confident. For starters, hire a new Public Relations Expert. Yes, that’s what I will do first. Make everything sound good and cheerful – like, help is on its way. Like, it will be all right soon!’

‘Which also means that my personal life is screwed. No rest. No holiday. No distractions. No Sita, no moms, no brothers, no family. Certainly no kids. Just work, work, work. There is no other way to turn this ship around.’

He sighed silently.

“I don’t feel so good,” said Sita suddenly. “Like, I am nauseous all of a sudden. Maybe I am coming down with the flu? And my stomach hurts, too.”

The brothers ignored her. Lord Rama was still lost in thought, gazing out the car window.

“What are all these folks up to? Why are they lighting diyas all around their houses?”

“Must be because of the power grid failure. These poor sods have got to plough on, I guess. What choice do they have? God knows when the electricity is going to be back. Last time it took 36 hours!”

Lord Rama pondered in silence. ‘I think I may already have an assignment for the PR team.

“I say this is a celebration. The countryfolks are simply delighted to have me back in Ayodhya after 14 years and they are lighting diyas to welcome me back. Yes, let’s stick to that thought. This is a celebration – a, what shall we call it, a Festival of Lights!”

“Can we do that? Make people believe something that isn’t there?” said the younger brother questioningly.

“Of course we can. Let’s think of a catchy name! Perhaps something that has Diya or Deep in it.”

The younger brother nodded in agreement. ‘It is so good to finally have Bade Bhaiya back’, he thought.

 

 

Why India Needs Steve Jobs – Part II

 

To recount the story so far (read Part – I of this essay here), Steve Jobs started his remarkable professional life by forming his new company Apple over a bowl of Dilli Fruit Chat in Old Delhi. The company was construed as an innovative technology giant for the advanced world (basically everything west of Iraq, east of North Korea, and south of Burma). For the rest, meaning the remaining 3/4th of humanity, Apple was going to be a political consulting firm. Its aim was to make proudly-poor countries like India strong enough to be able to buy the iProducts that Jobs was going to unleash in the next decade or two.

That was the beginning of Jobs’ association with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ab, aagey…

 

The Bharatiya Janata Party seemed like the only existing viable alternative to the monolithic dynastic rule of the Nehru-Gandhi family and its personal fiefdom, the Congress party. The Great Chanakya (or was it Voltaire?) had once said that the progress of a nation can be judged by the way it deals with the three realities of life – Death, Taxes, and Bowel Movement. In India, Life was still very cheap and Taxes way too high. Moreover, even after decades of rule, if more than three-quarters of the population still did not have any toilet access, and those who did still could not aim straight into the bowl, there was a clear case to be made for new leadership and fresh thinking. The Bharatiya Janata Party had leaders who were like a breath of fresh Hindi Heartland air – for starters, they were resolute nationalists and wore their patriotism on their sleeve (and also in the form of dhotis, kurtas or very, very loose shorts). Everyone in the Bharatiya Janata Party liked to make fiery speeches, and they all made them well. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s favourite colour was Saffron (so soothing!) and its favourite flower was the Lotus, naturally making the popular Lotus Root (or Kamal Kakdi in Hindi) their favourite vegetable. The Bharatiya Janata Party had everything going for them, including a name that was unpronounceable to only those who did not have an MA in Hindi or Sanskrit.

‘Why don’t you simply call yourself the BJP?’ Jobs had once guided Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had scoffed at the silly, though simple, suggestion. ‘You know, like the AIADMK?’

Hmpf,’ Atalji had declared, ‘if anything, we will call ourselves the Bhaa-Ja-Paa.’

‘Ok, well, suit yourself then. As long as it is simple. I love simplicity,’ was all Jobs had said.

Steve Jobs’s first successful product was designed keeping in mind India’s natural affinity to Sound and Fury. After all, nothing draws more attention in this country than something loud and blaring. So, to drown out the Congress completely, the Bhaa-Ja-Paa needed a human Boom Box – something that only spoke at levels 120 Decibels and higher. It was not important what sound came out of it, as long as it sounded like Heavy Metal and made you want to turn into a rebel without a cause. Thus was born the iPod, more popularly known in India as LK Advani. You could store a million sounds in it. The casing was strong and unbreakable, causing many to visualize a Loh Purush in its design language. But, perhaps, the most ingenious element about LK Advani was the Wheel – a round contraption that allowed control to be swung any which way the wind blew. The Hindi word for Wheel was the Rath and the iPod could yatra far and wide on it, winning hearts and minds, or causing mayhem and destruction, whatever was the political flavor of the day.

Calamity struck in 1992 when the iPod and its Wheel led to the annihilation of Babri Masjid, causing deep consternation in Steve Jobs mind. It was time to cut LK Advani down in size – and Jobs continued to do that relentlessly as he reduced the size of the iPod in avatar after avatar – from the Loh Purush iPod to the iPod Mini, iPod Micro, iPod Nano, and so on.

With the iPod experiment proving to be such a colossal disaster, Jobs realized that for the Bhaa-Ja-Paa to prosper, it needed to be calmer, inclusive, conversational. It needed to be seen as non-confrontational and reflective. It needed to be everything to everybody. Something that everyone would want to call their own. Like a mini-computer that you could talk into, or read poetic prose or witty anecdotes from. High in conservative intellect, yet progressive, dependable. Childlike, yet iconic. Like the iAtal Behari Vajpayee, later shortened to simply the iPhone.

Just like last time, Jobs had another massive hit on his hands. The iPhone ruled the hearts and minds of the country for a solid five years. It survived deep underground nuclear tests just as well it did falls from lofty heights such as the mountains of Kargil. Everyone was happy – it made them feel all glittery. ‘iNdia Shining’ was a slogan that best captured the mood of the population at the time.

However, all good things eventually come to an end. Over time, the iPhone started giving trouble. It would frequently be caught napping in public. Sometimes its speed in responding to your question or command would be so slow that you would subconsciously check if it still had a pulse. Clearly, iAtal Behari Vajpayee was approaching the end of its innovation life-cycle and no iOS update was going to be able to fix that.

Jobs was slow to recognize the massive gap in his product line as the iAtal failed. India paid a huge price for Jobs’ shortsightedness. Bhaa-Ja-Paa was swept aside by the nation by a mere push of a button and an inkspot on their forefinger.

Many worried about the future of the Bhaa-Ja-Paa, including its chief political strategist. But just as we were fast losing hope, mortified that the Italian Queen and her Dimpled Prince were going to run the country until the evening of your grandchild’s Ladies Sangeet, Jobs rolled out the latest proverbial rabbit out of his remarkably brimming digital fedora. He knew that the country was again craving for dependability and solid performance, but not of the monotone variety of the 1990s and the 2000s. The iPhone needed to come back, but it needed to project something brash. Something colorful. Something glitzy. Something that encapsulated the predictable-precision of perfection, but with a lot more pizazz. So Jobs readied the iPhone’s new avatar – the Narendra iModi, also known as the iPhone 5C. The heart of the new device was the same as the tried and tested chip of the old block, but this one came in bright colours – like neon saffron and neon green. And with exciting covers too, one could change them as often as one wanted – much like different types of headgear. The only thing that wasn’t compatible with the iPhone 5C was the Muslim Skull Cap.

Even though the new iModi is expected to go far, converting millions into new fans in the next few months, there remain skeptics who worry about its high price – which, they say, may eventually prove to be catastrophic for our secular democracy in the long run. Still, interest on Social Media remains especially strong partly owing to the new product’s brand new iOS – a less complicated, almost friendly user interface than before, with fresher styling, like its starched half-sleeved kurtas.

The Bhaa-Ja-Paa has staked its entire future on its succeeds.

Sadly, though, the new iPhone 5C is the last of Jobs’ contributions to Bhaa-Ja-Paa, or India, really, leaving many of us deeply disturbed and anguished. You see, we are worried because if this latest experiment fails, there is no more Steve Jobs to save our nation.

Steve Jobs, Bharat Ratna winner. (Image shamelessly pilfered from the internet)

Steve Jobs at his Bharat Ratna award distribution ceremony.
(Image shamelessly pilfered from the internet)

 

Why India Needs Steve Jobs – Part I

As usual, I have ended up writing a monstrously long blog post. But this time I am going to play it sensible. In order to get more eyeballs, I have split the essay into two. Here is Part I. I will release Part II in a couple of days but only if more than 3 people read this one.

 

The world was humming along nicely until one day, sadly, Steve Jobs, died. May God rest his soul.

Now, there have been plenty of eulogies written and scores of paeans sung for him around the world, but the real Steve Jobs still continues to be quite an enigma to many in India. You see, Indians judge a foreigner’s importance through our simple unitary assessment parameter, which is – What does the person think about us. If their impression about India is positive, like with Clinton, Ahmedinejad and Brett Lee, we love the person back unreservedly by, say, naming food dishes after him, or buying their crude oil despite the world’s sniggers, or offering them Horlicks sponsorship deals etc. If not, as in the case of Naipaul and Rushdie, we fucking don’t care – in fact we don’t even consider such people worthy of being called foreigners. Bloody half-twit wannabes they are – who are they to judge us anyway? Don’t they know that our great civilization has existed for 500000 years, that’s almost 5 years longer than the distant second-placed Chinese? Have they not seen pictures of the Taj? And had India not invented the Zero, well, it would have been curtains for the Lunar Module trying to find its way back to Houston, and then there r-e-a-l-l-y would have been a problem. And don’t even get me started on Slumdog Millionaire. ‘Heartfelt Ode to India’ my ass. Lies, all of it! You produce in front of me one person in this country who pronounces the word ‘millionaire’ as ‘Mill-A-Nair’ and I promise you that I will name my next baby boy as Oscar.

Anyway, I think I might be digressing a trifle, so let me get back to my subject. Steve Jobs. Sadly, there has always been much trepidation here about where to peg Jobs’ greatness at since little is known about the time he spent in Manoj Kumar’s favourite country. The only stories one hears of Jobs’ visit are the half-truths about the trip he made to Benaras, where he spent all his days fighting chikungunia and malaria instead of doing what young American backpackers really come to the holy city to do. That being, to learn yoga, smoke hashish, research the correct way to tie the langoti, smoke hashish, learn to pronounce ‘Oum’, train on how to use a lota instead of toilet paper, and to smoke hashish.

The fact is, India to Steve Jobs was way more than a mere survival guide in the absence of Laal and Kaala Hit, or the presence of diarrhea. It is so sad that everyone’s totally missed Jobs’ sublime India connection. There was none of it mentioned even in his recent biopic featuring Ashton Kutcher in and as ‘Jobs’ – the actor prudently chosen to play the World Best Innovator based on his only previous acting stint as the dimwitted Kelso in ‘Friends’.

Truth be told, Jobs was a genius for he had found the formula to not only conquer the western worlds of America and Europe by unleashing iNnovative products there, he was also going to stamp his greatness on proudly-penniless countries like India. No, not by selling his electronics here through EMI and Exchange offers, you fool! No, that vile sales ploy was best left to the Koreans. Jobs was going to be relevant here by being a political consultant.

To know more about that, one must dive deeper into the truth about the founding of Apple. Did you know that the initial idea of that company came to him while watching Salma Sultana on Doordar-sham?

So, decades ago, Steve Jobs was sitting and munching Dilli Fruit Chat in his half-star hotel room in Pahar Ganj in Old Delhi. The chat had been liberally sprinkled with delicious MDH Chunky Chat Masala (yes, this is a sponsored product placement, but the emotional sentiments described about it are my own) and it distinctively brought out the subtle flavor of apple from the fruity mélange. (Lo, and behold, Jobs had a corporate brand name!) As he sat and watched the sullen-faced, single-rose bedecked newsreader half-mumble every single word she spoke amidst visuals of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi cutting ribbons, lighting lamps and making speeches, he knew that our nation needed help. ‘One day, I will create something which I will call the iPad Mini…and by God, every upper-middle class teenager in this country shall own one!’ he prophesized. ‘But hell, not if they go on like this. This country’s in the shitter right now!

So, Jobs knew what he needed to do. Apple, his new company construed over a bowl of Dilli Fruit Chat, needed to not just be a technology giant. It also needed to be a Political Consulting Company that would make a country like India strong enough to be able to buy those iPad Minis that he knew he was going to produce in China one day. Jobs was already aware of the profoundness of the entity he had just conceptualized, and the indomitable excitement of the moment simply caused him to eat way too much chat that evening. (And that led to diarrhea and all that other mess that happened in Benaras later – you already know about all that.)

And that, my friends, was the beginning of Steve Jobs association with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Steve Jobs at an Indian Fancy Dress party (Image shamelessly pilfered from the internet)

Steve Jobs at an Indian Fancy Dress party
(Image shamelessly pilfered from the internet)

The rest of the story will happen in Part II in a couple of days. 

 

Now that the second part has been written and uploaded on the blog, lazy folks will want to proceed to it by clicking here. I am calling them lazy because they don’t seem to want to leave a comment below for the first part. Sigh. So disappointing!

 

The Good Old Khan Market

The Real Khans (Image from Google Search)

The Real Khans
(Image from Google Search)

The year is 2038, that is, twenty five years from today. The world looks very different. TV serial Pavitra Rishta is finally about to end its legendary run on Zee TV. Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi is expected to lose the next General Elections amid widespread perception of incompetence and fraud, the new multi-coloured  1-Crore Rupee note is the new buzz in town and already in short supply, and Sachin is expected to announce his retirement imminently.

The only thing that hasn’t changed much is Bollywood. Cutting edge movies continue to be made, Item Songs are as raunchy as ever, and Abhishek Bachchan is still waiting to give his first solo hit since his debut 40 years ago. Oh, and one more thing – The Three King Khans still rule Bollywood!

They are meeting today at Shah Rukh’s swanky mansion called Jannat. (Gauri stayed on at Mannat after the divorce) The old boys are reminiscing about their years in the industry over beer, fried boneless chicken and Gelusil.    

 

Salman Khan : Yaar, Arbaaz is forcing me to do Dabanng 14. He says this new one will be better than all the previous ones.

Aamir Khan : How so? When you fart in this one, will it be for real this time?

All of them laugh.

Shah Rukh Khan : Oye Arbaaz, I think I know the real reason why you are making this film.

Arbaaz Khan : What’s that, Bhai Jaan?

SRK : (impishly) Your begum is feeling like doing an item song again, right? Basically, all you are doing is building an entire movie around her item song. Just like the previous 13 Dabanngs!

Aamir sniggers at the suggestion, and Salman and Arbaaz look sheepish now that their secret is out.

Aamir : Abey, haven’t all your heroines retired already? Even Katrina has now, after that awful Mother India remake debacle.

Salman : (genuinely surprised) Oh, you didn’t like it? I thought she was really good! Who else could have played an NRI Mother India so convincingly?

Aamir : (with contempt) Hmpf! Saale, itne saalon mein you couldn’t teach her any acting?

SRK : Sallu Mian teaching acting?

All four laugh again.

 

The doorbell rings. Since only Aamir has fresh batteries in his hearing aids, he is the only one who hears it.

Aamir : I think there is someone at the door.

SRK hops on his motorized scooter and drives to the main entrance. The other oldies follow suit on their scooters. At the door, they find Saif Ali Khan with his daughter.

SRK : Oye, Hello? What are you doing here, Saif Ali?

Saif Ali Khan : (mildly angry) Khan. Saif Ali KHAN. How can you have a Khan meet and keep me out of it?

Aamir : Saif Ali PATAUDI. You are not a Khan, you fraud! You never were and you never will be! Now scoot before I release my 2 Idiots – Sharman and Madhavan – after you.

Saif : This is not fair! I have been as successful a Khan as the bloody three of you, yaar! And look…

Quickly fishes out his visiting card from his wallet.

Saif : Even my visiting card says – Saif Ali KHAN. From Pataudi.

SRK : Aww…that’s cute, Agent Vinod. And don’t think I will not unleash my Ra.One on you just because you show up here hiding behind your daughter, ok?

Saif : Daughter? That’s Kareena, you geriatric idiots! Put on your fucking glasses!

The three real Khans laugh very hard and then immediately break into old man coughing spasms. Saif and Kareena leave the premises in a huff.

 

The men are back in the den, slowly chewing on soft chicken nuggets. Each has been advised by his dentist to be careful about the dentures.

Arbaaz : Bhaiya, tell them about the heroine of the new Dabanng!

Salman digs out his mini iPad from his bag which is also carrying his hot water bottle, emergency hair fixing cream and Viagra.

Salman : Boys, meet my new heroine!

SRK : (observes the picture in the iPad and frowns) New heroine?

Aamir : Abey ullu ke paththey, someone is playing a joke on you! That is Reena Roy. She used to be one of those Nagin type actresses from the 1970s. When we were all in our nikkars!

Salman : (angrily) Arrey kameeno, this is not Reena Roy. This is Heerakshi, Sonakshi Sinha’s daughter. Bloody Assholes!

The other two oldies readjust their reading glasses and have another look. They nod their heads at each other.

SRK : (doubtfully) Helluva resemblance, I must say. (Does not sound completely convinced about the woman’s authenticity)

 

The doorbell rings again. This time the boys decide to race their motorized scooters to the main entrance. Aamir wins the race.

Aamir : (surprised) Abey, who are you?

Fardeen Khan : Fardeen Khan, son of Feroz Khan, requesting permission to join the party.

Salman : Abey, tu pagal hai? We just let the dogs after that Pataudi fellow, but at least he was in films. Have you even worked in films? You look like you run a Halwai shop or something.

SRK : (nodding in agreement) Yeah, he does look like a Halwai. (Calls out loudly for the maid servant) Vimla, did we order any mithai?

Fardeen : (extremely offended) Heyy Baby, Khushi, Jaanasheen – all major box office hits, you bloody pompous assholes!

Aamir : (pretending to think hard) Oh yeah, yeah, I am sort of remembering him now…

SRK : You are?

Aamir : Yeah, he had another film…what was its name again? Oh yes, yaad aaya – NO ENTRY.

The door is slammed shut.

 

Later, after several beers. 

SRK : (wistfully) Yaar, I have had enough of Yash Raj. No more. I can’t play Rahul anymore after the flop.

Aamir : (consolingly) Not a very wise choice for Aditya Chopra to remake his father’s old classic. Is it any surprise that it bombed?

SRK : Well, I think it was because of the title – Jab Tak Haddiyon Mein Hai Jaan. I don’t think people took that to be very romantic. Why couldn’t he just call it – Jab Tak Hai Jaan Mein Jaan – or something like that, like sane people would?

SRK silently takes a swig of Gelusil Liquid.

Salman : (changing topic to lighten the mood, turns to Aamir) I hear your new one is very cutting edge? Planning another trendsetter film?

Aamir : (excitedly) Yes, yes, it’s a psychological science-fiction adult comedy.

Arbaaz : Hein?

Aamir : You remember my old films Talaash and Delhi Belly?

Arbaaz : Yes.

Aamir : So, imagine kind of a rehash of those two genres.

SRK : (finding the mixing of ‘psychological’ and ‘adult comedy’ genres quite strange) And where does the science-fiction part come in?

Aamir : It’s based on the Lunar Mafia. Parts of the film will be shot on the Moon.

SRK : (unconvincingly) I see, I see.

 

The doorbell rings again. By now, the men are annoyed by the constant interruptions.

Salman : (as he opens the door) Oh look what the cat dragged in. It’s Paan Singh Tomar.

Aamir : (gruffly) What do you want, Paan Singh Tomar?

Irrfan Khan : I heard there was a Khan gathering today?

SRK : So, how does it concern you? This is for real, bona fide, Khan heroes only. Not character actors like you.

Salman : Yes, real achievers. Like us!

Aamir : What have you achieved, Pi Patel?

Irrfan : Oh, I guess nothing by your standards. No one is willing to give me romantic hero, or rebel hero, or action hero roles at 70 years of age, that’s for sure.

Salman : Yes, so scoot!

Irrfan : Actually, that is what I came here to tell you. You see, even if you invited me today, I wouldn’t be able to join you. I am off to Los Angeles.

SRK : What for, Billoo Barber?

Irrfan : For the Oscars, na. Didn’t you hear? I am nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award this year. The buzz about my winning the trophy is very strong.

The man bids adieu, slamming the door on the ‘real’ Khans faces.

 

Aamir : (mildly annoyed as he makes a u-turn on his scooter) You know, who cares about the Oscars?

Salman : Yes, who wants worldwide recognition as an actor? I am just happy that people from Bilaspur to Bhatinda idolize me as their God! I am thinking of patenting my pelvic thrust.

SRK : Well, thank God it wasn’t me who got nominated. I don’t want to go through any airport security where they don’t recognize my world famous face.

The men return to the den. They are quite wistful. There is silence, except for Salman’s farts which no one hears anyway. Strangely enough, they are too lost in thought to have even the smell bother them.

Aamir : (finally breaking the silence) Saalon, we have been hares all our lives, running after glittery things that mean nothing. And that kameena kachua just pipped us to the post.

SRK : Yes, yaar, bande mein talent toh hai.

Salman and Arbaaz merely nod.    

Suddenly, Karan Johar’s voice booms on the Public Address system all around the mansion.

Karan Johar : (over the PA) Boys, food is served. Come and get it!

The announcement breaks their reverie.

SRK : (looks at Salman) Ah, anyway, tell me more about Heerakshi. Yeh bata saale, will she play your wife or granddaughter in that film?

The boys laugh and drive their motorized scooters to the dining room.

 

 

No motorized scooters were harmed in the writing of this fictional story. I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. The theme is SEVEN. This story featured seven people who happen to have the same last name.