Monday, December 17, 2012


It was just another Sunday night, the end of another boring weekend. Much to my annoyance Monday was just two hours away. ‘Another fucking week Akash Mehta’ I said to myself. Unlike in the sitcoms (those which I can tolerate that is) weekends weren’t something grand. No big date on a Saturday night, no drunken Sundays. A dinner with the family at some relatively fancy restaurant, while hearing lectures as regards school work, career and other assorted bullshit from my old man, and lessons in appropriate table manners from my dear mother, can be categorized as the high point of my weekend. Ironically of course, throughout the week I’d wait for the weekend as a temporary respite from the frat house, which some refer to as school. At the end of every weekend I can’t wait to go back. A ‘Fuck My Life’ type scenario if there ever was one. 
As is routine on most Sunday nights, I was sitting in my room, lights off, laptop screen on. I checked thepiratebay for any new movie torrents that might be out. Facebook was open in the background. No one would actually engage in a conversation with me (not that I care), more as a form of habit. And because I think Mark Zuckerberg is cool. 
Internet pirates had once again failed to provide any kind of meaningful service. I mean seriously, what’s the point of getting arrested and having to put up secret servers in Sweden if you can’t even provide a torrent for Tropic Thunder? So I decided to start my end of the night, ‘I have nothing better to do with my life’ practice of googling for stuff. Movie reviews? Read on Friday. Gadget reviews? No new gadgets out. Sports news? Arsenal lost again. Actual news? Who gives a fuck? 
You know how sometimes, when you’re online you just end up reading random stuff. I don’t even know how I got to a webpage that said ‘Best Bars with cheap Beer in Mumbai’. My instant reaction was to type ‘it’s Bombay you choot’ in the comments section of the article but I couldn’t find the comments section. So I decided to read the article instead. It listed ten bars, which according to the author were definitely worth a trip to. Sure, four of them were in the Suburbs but I suppose he had to cater to the masses. Ass. But despite his suburban inclinations, the article sustained my interest. It was complete with pictures, addresses, prices and small descriptions as to what made each one of them special. The unique aspect of the bars mentioned was that they were all in and around the frat house. I fired the print command and got a hard copy of the article. I folded it, and kept it in my wallet.

Call me an optimist, but I had the faint feeling that going to school might have some purpose after all.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The party

He sat down at the bar and looked around. The party seemed to be on in full flow, although the flashing lights made visibility an issue. People next to him were asking for a dazzling array of alcohol based drinks. 'One rum and coke', said someone, 'vodka-redbull' said another. A person on his right was pounding on the bar and screaming (in a voice that clearly proved the liquor was achieving its purpose) for 'shots'. The bartenders, three in number, were doing all they could to meet the demand, but the ratio of demand to supply still seemed woeful. Of course they were following the cardinal rule of 'serving the hotties first'.

He turned to look at the dance floor and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Dancing, singing absolutely terrible songs in unison, men attempting to get women drunk, women pretending to be drunk so they could hit on guys with plausible deniability the next day. Most people had the look of glee on their faces, although for some of them it was due to the joint being passed around. He saw someone stumble to the toilet, open the door and fall in. The alcohol had claimed its first victim of the night and it wasn't even 10:00.

He still sat at the bar, holding on to his drink. Whiskey, with soda, a little water and a lot of ice, his second of the night. He had to drink enough to achieve the required level of confidence to attempt his plan, yet sober enough to pull it off. Beauty is in the balance. He continued looking at the entrance every few minutes. He was a couple of sips away from finishing his drink when she walked in.

She was wearing a sober red dress which ended above her knees. Minimal make up, hair loose, and a smile. Always the smile. She wasn't a stunner. But she was beautiful. 'She didn't even try hard, unlike all the women here', he thought. But that's what he loved about her. A visual reel of every occasion he had spent time with her began to play in his mind. Tonight, was the night. He knew it. It had taken him months of deliberation to get to this moment. The alcohol had raised his confidence levels and he didn't care. 'This could work', he thought. Qualms of rejection had left hand in hand with his sobriety. He had imagined this scenario a million times, the speech, a curious amalgamation of every good yet clichéd line from great romantic comedies. He was going to do it. He was gonna go out on a limb. He was.....

Another guy walked up to her, her smile expanded ten fold, and they kissed passionately for a minute. The kiss reeked horribly of the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. He held her hand and they walked to join the rest of the party, leaving him at the bar.

His mind had gone into overdrive with 'fuck' being the only logical word he could come up with. He cursed some more, his mind being the only listener. Elsewhere, people had begun to reach saturation levels as far as alcohol levels was concerned. On a different night he would be pointing and laughing at the misery of drunk persons. Not tonight though. Tonight, he was simply sitting at the bar, ordering his third drink, then fourth, soon to be fifth and so on till time stopped. He reached for his pack of cigarettes and began to light one.
'Hey, can I get one? I'm all out and its been a rough night', a voice next to him said. He turned to face the person with the request. It was a girl he had seen a couple of times before but only knew by name. He thought for a second, for some reason remembered a catch phrase from an old sitcom, and decided it would suffice.

'Hey, how you doin?'

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Best Films of 2011 - A Highly Opinionated List

Now while I do understand that this list is a month late, but, since it’s before the Oscars, I think it’s quite acceptable. Now 2011 wasn’t a terrible year for films as some people are making it out to be. It’s just that no one went to see the best films. Or at least a majority of the best films. Now I haven’t seen The Artist (perhaps I’ll catch it this weekend) nor am I terribly excited to watch it (except for Uggie the dog perhaps). So this list is sans the Best Picture frontrunner. So presenting to you the best films of 2011.

Special Mentions: The Help (incredible cast, great performances, but the impact falls short of the book as it fails to capture the brutal racism in the books), Margin Call (possibly one of the best Wall Street dramas ever), The Muppets (mahna mahna).

10) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

An impeccable cast. A complex narrative. A gloomy Cold-War atmosphere. All these three come together to make a fine spy film, one with no action but a lot of story. Director Tomas Alfredson has successfully made the thinking mans espionage thriller. 

9) War Horse

Sure you can deride it by saying it's schmaltzy. But this is Spielberg we're talking about, back in his war film mode but this time with a difference. The film is shown from the perspective of a horse! Sure it's sentimental, but its a worhty follow up to Saving Private Ryan and I can't give it higher praise than that.

8) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

After a couple years of making oscar-bait films, David Fincher returns to his thriller roots. Rape, Violence, muder, Nazis, this movie has it all. I won't deny it, the film, like the book has certain problems, especially an elongated prologue. But Fincher rises above the source material. That and Rooney Mara's mesmerizing performance as Lisbeth Salander echoing both toughness and vulnerability in the same breath, combine to give us a really well made thriller.

7) Drive

An old fashioned noir film, but presented a sleak, modern manner, Drive is as close to a perfect arthouse action film that we'll ever get, which is arthouse without being pretentious. Stylized violence, Ryan Gosling, and a great score make a memorable neo-noir.

6) Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen always makes great 'ode to city' movies. Sure he's had several misfires over the years, with few in the recent past rising to the levels of Annie Hall, but Midnight in Paris is his best work in years. A truly well written film in which Owen Wilso (playing a Woody Allen substitute) finds a way to go to Paris in 20s. The interactions he has with historical greats such as Fitzgerald and Hemingway are a joy to watch, while the films funniest moments are when Salvador Dali is shown.

5) Moneyball

Moneyball is a sports drama unlike any other. A movie about how Oakland A's Manager Billy Beane led the team to a record breaking 20 straight wins, using the 'moneyball' technique, its more about number crunching than an actual baseball film, but at no stage in the film does it feel so. Also Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill give the performances of their careers.

4) 50/50

A cancer drama, a bro comedy, a romcom all in one, 50/50 was a true gem of a movie. Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, screenwriter Will Resier and director Jonathan Levine make cancer funny. I wish more people had seen this movie, because it truly is one of the best of the year.

3) The Descendants

A movie about a man who learns that his comatose wife was cheating on him, The Descendants is equal parts funny and heartbreaking. This movie would have been good on its own, but what makes it great is George Clooneys mesmerizing performance. If this doesn't get him the Oscar for Best Actor, I don't know what will.

2) Hugo

I'm sure a lot of people went 'WTF?!' when they heard Martin Scorsese was making a kids film. But make no mistake, this is a tribute to cinema in the guise of a children's film. Scorsese steps right out of his comfort zone to make a truly spellbinding film which is more personal than any of his previous works. It's right up there with the likes of Raging Bull and Goodfellas, and is a must watch for every cinemaphile.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

And speaking of spellbinding films, here's one which will be remembered for generations to come. The finale to one of the best film franchises ever to have graced the big screen was not only the best film of the year, but in my personal opinion one of the best of all time (And IMDB agress). It truly was the motion picture event of the year, a grand epic like they used to make and a film which catapulted the entire franchise into the league of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that this was a cinematic spectacle, one which we might not see for several years hence.

PS: Screw you Oscars.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The King is back!

If you're an Arsenal supporter like me, I'm pretty sure last night's game was the happiest you've been in a long time. Thierry Henry is well and truly back...legends apparently never go away. It's gonna be an interesting couple months. I'm excited as hell.