Some of my friends from college, who are now software engineers engaged in challenging corporate projects such as Rapid Minimisation Of Messenger Windows When The Boss Walks In, seem to think that being a writer is “glamorous and easy”. They have visions of me in silken bathrobes, cavorting with exotic dancers and puffing at cigars the whole day. “I should have been a writer too”, they lament.
I have two problems with such ignorant views:
1. It is completely inappropriate for male friends to have visions of me in silken bathrobes (or any sort of bathrobes for that matter).
2. I hate cigars.
Yes, we journos do get invited to parties/events at swanky venues on a daily basis – parties that the average man does not have access to. But far from being frivolous, these are highly important news-making events that offer mediapersons a chance to build up their contacts. Also, booze is on the house.
So you can imagine my reaction when I was invited to watch Ocean’s 13 at a “star-studded” premiere, a good 4 days before its international release. I believe my exact words were:
“F*** NO! NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!”
You see, the premiere was at Andheri, which is about 3 light years away from my house. For those of you not familiar with the western suburb of Andheri, it is, as a friend once commented, “the armpit of Mumbai.” If you take the local train, there’s a 50% chance that your remains will have to be scraped off the compartment floor. If you go by road, you might arrive at the venue with two kids and a mid-life crisis. Once you do reach Andheri, you’re greeted by the sight of autorickshaws engaged in fervent copulation, nudging at each other from all angles and renting the air with ‘horn’y cries.
“It’s not like I haven’t been to a premiere before”, I said to myself, thinking of the Spidey 2 premiere years ago, where I had had an intimate encounter involving Bipasha Basu. I was busy trying to locate the booze counter, when I was swept away by a violent wave of photographers. The cause of the commotion was Ms. Basu’s entry into the theatre, and as the lissome beauty walked past, I couldn’t help but think, “Where’s the bastard who stepped on my foot?”.
However, Andheri evils and past mishaps weren’t going to put me off. I had a movie to watch, and the fact that the event was sponsored by Bacardi did not alter my journalistic integrity one bit. On a totally unrelated note, did you know that their pure and classy white rum is brewed by the Gods themselves, and is worth selling your children for?
Anyhow, I made it there and it is this intrepid streak that allows me to bring to you (drumrolllll)
The Page 3 Report You Will Not See Anywhere Else
It was a muggy night in Mumbai, and random beautiful people hung around waiting for entry to begin. Sweat trickled down their designer-embossed crotches, but they were still smiling – botox can have that effect. The night began to find its groove when the horde of insignificant TV stars made its way into the multiplex. Carrom Board and Goofy Dude were in their casual best, trying to convince the media that they were The Shite. Item Number was seen chatting with Toilet Cleaner Man , even as Ugly-Without-Makeup was glued to her cellphone. The movie started more than an hour late, causing Non-Important People to collapse due to excessive perfume inhalation. Hoity-toity people stormed the bar like refugees at a relief camp. All in all, it was a “great success“/”night to remember” <other butt-kissing cliches go here, so that we do not offend any bloated egos and get invited to more such events>.
(Names have been changed so that faltu people do not get more publicity than they deserve)
PS: I did check Pg.3 and was elated to find a picture of the celebrity who had brushed past me on the way to the loo. It’s a story I shall tell for years, just as Bipasha will recount her encounter with the handsome man at the Spidey 2 premiere, who was wincing because some photographer had stepped on his foot.
This article was published in JAM Magazine, dated 15 – 29 June 2007.