July 21, 2009

A Pure-Blood or a Muggle?

If there's anything that irks a Harry Potter fan, it is those people who claim they are "HP fans" too because "they have seen all the movies, and find Emma Watson really hot". These are the morons, desperate to be counted amongst the in-crowd, who have not read even a single book of the series but try to jump onto the bandwagon when the Harry Potter rage sweeps the world (in the form of a book or a movie release). The basic differences between a true Harry Potter fan and a wanna-be fan/non-reader are these:

1. The true fans have read all the books and are crazier about the book than the movie.

2. If the adaptation of the book to the movie is not perfect, the true fans frown upon it. The phoney ones are just happy with the amount of special effects and Hermione's length of role in the movie. Even then, the true fans do like the movie, because after all, it's a Harry Potter Movie and a standard visualisation to their imagination.

3. The true fans separate themselves from the wanna-be's by calling themselves pure-blooded and the wanna-be's, Muggles. But among themselves they dare not call each other even pure-blooded because that's a premise of only the magical world.

4. For the true fans a Harry Potter movie is different from any usual English movie. And they hate it if a critic (who's most of the times a non-reader) rates the movie as any other English movie. They believe it's none of the Muggles' business to give their opinion about Harry Potter as only their own opinion matters the most and is exclusive.

5. The true fans understand an insiders' joke in the movie, while the phoney laugh along as and when the audience laughs.

6. The true fans are peeved when Michael Gambon dramatically brandishes his wand, unnecesarily. The lesser-witted ones are awed by his style.

7. The true fans know who Michael Gambon played in the movie. The wanna-be's are clueless.

8. Some of the true fans start a countdown many days before the release of the movie. Those who don't sheepishly admit that they didn't think of starting one, but admire the mania of their brethren. The Muggles ask the pure-blooded "kaunsa part aa raha hai" and take their girl/boy friends to the movie. The fans obviously watch the movie with their like-minded friends only.

9. A real fan will be physically annoyed when Ron's character acts like a joker in the movie reduced to a mere side-kick to the brave Harry and the intelligent Hermione. They know the real Ron in the book is actually a fiercely loyal friend to Harry and someone who always loved Hermione and no one else (unlike the way Harry had a serious thing for Cho) and not just a friend to be a butt of all jokes and embarrassments in the movie. The wanna-be fans will laugh at Ron and will not realise that most of Ron's important dialogues from the book are blabbered by Emma Watson.

That was that, now decide which camp you belong to.

July 2, 2009

What's in the Name? Dude, Everything!

What's in the name, you ask? Well, I'd say Shakespeare had no sense of sound-vision synchronisation. I was mighty pissed off by the unnecessary and juvenile brouhaha over naming of the newly made sea-link on the Bombay seaside. To be frank I really liked the name The Bandra-Worli Sea Link or just The BWSL. It suits the structure. Take a look at it once, I mean, really take in the majestic view of it standing in the sea. Although it's not some haute couture architectural feat, it's certainly got a definitive style that suits Mumbai. When I saw a picture of the grey python stretching across the sea, belittling the sun behind and rooted firmly in the matching dirty grey waters of the Arabian, the first word that escaped me was 'wicked!' It is a thorough masculine work of construction with no hint of art and beauty. It has got that rugged look that only an engineer devoid of an artistic instinct can give it's baby creation. It's not painted red or yellow or blue on the advice of some nancy designer or astrologer (who, btw, are dime a dozen here) to supposedly represent the spirit or energy of Mumbai, but it has been left as it is - raw and bare - to camouflage itself with the waters in which it stands sturdily and promisingly.

After this description, what name can one think fits aptly for such a structure? For me The BWSL sounds coolly perfect and so international (I dunno why, but it reminds me of YSL). Of course the article 'The' should be there; it adds to the uniqueness. But no! that is not the same way our politicians look at that structure, apparently. Sharad Pawar, being a perfect toe-licker to Sonia G, wanted it to be named after the Rajiv Gandhi. Omni-farter motormouth Raj Thackeray wanted to name it after Jyotirao Phule or Shahu Maharaj or the Dalit leader Dr Ambedkar.

Now I adequately respect Pawar and Thackeray. I support the latter's ideology and trust the former's intellect as our Agricultural Minister. But I do not endorse their sense of style. OK fine, Rajiv Gandhi was an idol for the youth and will always remain so. Hence, it is rightly an honor to name an award after him and give it to extremely talented individuals. And after all, even a name, especially of a highly honoured man, has a value which depreciates because of over-familiarity. And the name Rajiv Gandhi relates to youth power and reformation (he was the one who ushered in the IT revolution in India). I wouldn't vote for the sea-link to be named after him with all due respect.

And with even extra respect than what is due, just to evade the ire of the sensitive, I would rather vote against the sea-link being named after Jyotirao or Shahu Maharaj or Ambedkar. I see the structure the way I have described above. It's a fixation for me I daresay. Looking up at it, it commands awe and amazement, and hence certainly deserves a name suitable in the same manner. I consider it a sacrilege of the masculinity and a snubbing to the architect's creation if a humongous work of passion, which is also crucial infrastructural achievement, is named Shahu Maharaj Setu or Phule Pool or something tacky of that sort. It's a sea-link for heaven's sake, not a bridge! And how would it sound in an international city like Mumbai where property prices are amongst the highest five in the world, if the sea-link is named after the beacon of the Dalits, Ambedkar? I can even imagine the Dalits swarming the sea-link on Ambedkar jayanti, disrupting the traffic. It's a fat chance that that might happen, but if the tactless ex-CM could introduce chatt poojas in Mumbai, such a fiasco is not beyond imagination.

Anyway, I just hope the foul name-game dies down within a short time, and the people themselves unofficially name it as The Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

The Titanic (the ship) made history with its size that stretched into robust vanity. The vessel was christened as it was, titanic. It wasn't named Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary. It was named Titanic! The point is that the name does influence how you perceive a particular thing or a person. Probably the ship wouldn't have been as breath-taking had it been called by some other common name. There is a lot in a name. It decides the brand value. It plays with one's involuntary senses when one hears it or says it or reads it and projects an impression that lingers around the object like an aura.

Shakespeare: What's in the name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!
The Blithering Idiot: Rubbish! It would have been impossible to visualise Romeo and Juliet as romantic had they been called Ted and Lucy instead.