1. In 23 days from today, I will turn 37. Which means three years short of 40. Which means almost middle-age. Which means half a life. How did this happen? Only the other day I was 30, but calling myself 29 in chatrooms. Compare '29/m/Chennai' with '37/m/Chennai'. The first is bad enough, the second has no hope.
2. I was on the Deccan flight from Kolkata to Chennai. I always ask for the aisle seat, for two reasons. One, as an extension of the habit developed in the trains -- in the aisle seat, you can get up for a smoke as often as you want without disturbing your neighbours. Two, if there is no woman seated next to me, there could be one across the aisle.
Anyway, this time, next to me, was a Marwari couple. Their prosperity reflected on the man's waistline and the Nokia handset that he was carrying. What irritated me was that he not only ignored the announcement asking people to switch off their phones, but also kept talking throughout. He must be talking to someone at the destination, for the wife, who sat by the window, kept butting in, "Ask him to send a big car." She was repeating the 'big car' so often that he gave the phone to her, and she told the person on the other end, "Listen, send the big car, ok? There's lot of stuff." I distinctly remember that while I watched her talking on the phone, Kolkata airport was already whizzing past and the plane was taking off.
The problem with Deccan is you have to shell out money for the snacks. I had already spent Rs 450 at the airport for Mark Tully's new book, and was in no mood to spend more. So I ignored the stewardess when she came along. The Marwari man, however, asked for chips. He was handed a packet of Lays. Suddenly, an evil thought crossed my mind. I asked for a packet of cashew-nuts. Mighty expensive they are, and expectedly so -- a dozen or so nuts for Rs 80. I tore upon the pack with my teeth and started savouring the salted-chillied cashew while reading the book.
"One minute," the Marwari man hailed the stewardess, "can I have cashew?"
The man examined the packet by turning it around and upside down. "How much?" he asked.
"Eighty rupees, sir."
The man went into a quick confabulation with his "big car" wife, and then called the stewardess. "Sorry, nahi chahiye (Sorry, I don't want it)," he said. I felt a sense of victory -- as if I had avenged his refusal to switch off the phone.
But back in Chennai, I pondered over it. The man returned the cashew nuts not because he could not afford it, but because he found it silly to spend Rs 80 on it. That is why he has the money, while I have cashewnuts.
3. I saw two movies during my vacation. Bhool Bhulaiyya and Om Shanti Om. I still haven't figured whether Bhool Bhulaiyya was supposed to be a comedy or a scary movie. Will someone tell Priyadarshan to take a break? Ok, I will tell him that when I see him next time in the Leather Bar. Om Shanti Om, at least, did not pretend to be a serious movie. It was fun all the way, especially for those who have a fair idea of the films of the 70's and the 80's. One hilarious scene I can never forget: Shah Rukh Khan telling Deepika that how in friendship there's no scope for 'sorry' or 'thank you'; and the young Sooraj Barjaatya noting that dialogue to use it in a movie that was to come years later. That's ultimate comedy, according to me.
And what more can I ask for than the hottest movie of 2007 opening with the bindaas voice of a man who died in 1987? You know who am I talking about, don't you?