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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Return of L'Ombre Brille
When you can't beat something, what do you do? Why, you join it! Simple. And of course, you wonder why do I say this right up, eh? No mysteries here, folks. I refer to my keen ability to provide you wholesome fare here only very occasionally. If I tell you work keeps me busy, you should spot a lie being served up with watercress around it. Smile lightly and refuse the offered pinch of salt since you don't need to take it at all. On the contrary, being the knight parfait, I will tell you the bald, ungarnished truth: I procrastinate. Kal kare so aaj is invariably turned around to Aaj kare so kal. And for my readers—sounds so bloody warm, I tell you!—who don't quite speak the italicised language there (Hindi, my dear friends, spoken by the teeming millions of this vast land), well, that Englishifies into Do today what you'd do tomorrow and Why do today what you'd as well do tomorrow? respectively. In other words, I let my I would wait upon my I wouldn't, as my gurudev so pithily puts it. Par excellence. Er, Gurudev, you wonder? Why, the maestro himself! The one and only Language Magician, Maitre Wodehouse.

Last time I put some fiction 'extract'—not quite an 'extract', which implies there is a larger body of work from which that piece was drawn but something rather on the lines of a 'fictional' fiction extract implying that the so-called extract could have been an 'extract' had the larger body existed, which it didn't of course—and hoped you sporting fellows would take a few pot-shots at it. No such luck! My hopes have been dashed, in the larger-picture-sense! But I daresay I had a racy bit there with some careless humour thrown in... but guess the casting of the net—hardly the couch!—was imperfectly marketed. Which of course goes to show that all those marketing guys are not really sitting on their respective fannies and cavorting in their umpteen gabfests (tarry a little here! ‘sitting on their fannies and cavorting’? Surely mutually exclusive, those two together?) only but are actually doing some work to ensure the good and honourable stuff they are marketing is indeed made known to the paying public for them—the latter ones here naturally since you would hardly expect the marketeers themselves falling for their own machinations—to loosen their tightly drawn purse-strings. My suspicion is the marketeers only buy stuff they genuinely need whereas the paying public—to wit, the non-marketeers, or to stretch the point a bit, marketeers not marketing that particular good—are enticed to part with their hard-earned—and in some cases, ill-gotten—moolah to acquire perfectly unnecessary goods and maybe even services.

I have an idea, absolutely fresh off the oven, just teeming with possibilities. The only fear I have is of it being filched without so much as a 'by your leave'—particularly since I have no clue what that expression means and secondly, if you have seen how we drive in our country then you wouldn't seek further evidence of complete scroundel-ish behaviour and the total absence of morality—and being palmed off as a genuine, true-blue someone else's idea, leaving me desolate, disgruntled, and Ghajini-ish. And poor(er). I cannot stand for it. So hear ye, hear ye: Note the date of this posting and know ye all that the idea that will shortly burst forth here is mine and mine alone; I stick to it closer than the Maestro's 'paint on the wall' simile. It has never appeared anywhere in the public domain till date and with this appearance here, is introduced as the freshest bit of the best-est thing; I assert the right to be noted and accepted without demur as the sole creator of the idea. So, the idea.

Now, hold on to your patience (since it is a virtue and is a quality much sought in people that hardly have it). Let me fill you in on a bit of a background. While it may strike you tangential and a non-plussive (now, am on a word-inventing spree!), repose your trust yet. And lend me your ear. (By the way, did I tell you about the time when I had, in a moment of overt cleverness, requested a lady to lend me her mouth? I had merely wanted her to answer a question I had posed, honest! ).

In my evening perambulations I get to see some of the soaps on television that are patronised by the many-headed (I must admit, there are two that I follow myself, the names of which will remain a closely-guarded secret for indescribably classified reasons but you could check with the aforementioned marketeers). Each seems to have a few nasty characters that cause untold misery to the long-suffering saints who make up the other twenty per cent of the characters in the soap, and carry the burden of everyone else there. The nasty, brutish lot are however the ones that cause the story to move forward; utter goody-goodiness will be so boring that people would use them as sedatives. Or as sugar substitutes in their hot beverages.

So these villains—as we love to call them—or 'characters in a negative role' (this term now so popularised by the countless TV awards—the sheer number of such awards eventually ensure each soap and all artistes are ultimately decorated), if you prefer, get to have all the fun. They get to do what I suspect most people would love to do too—only they are too conscious of themselves—and usually have a whale of a time: dress up to the gills in the most weird outfits they can, make the funniest faces—mistakenly assuming them to be scaring people witless—say the most wicked things they could... and get paid to do all those. And, I almost forgot: wear the funkiest bindis and jewelry (if women) or only jewelry (if men). They certainly have all the fun. Whereas the good ones—the goody-goody weenies—are always moping around, wringing their hands/ faces/ foreheads or any other body part commissioned to express anguish, bemoaning their fate, wailing at the Gods—ever wonder how each household seems to come equipped with a splendid mandir, complete with shiny marble flooring, serene white marble statues/ statuettes of the Gods, shining lamps with ever-glowing wicks, etc.—and weeping copious tears. They might get to wear shiny clothes—particularly if the producer is kind-hearted and has a large budget—and drive nice cars—against the rakish sports models the villainous ones get to vroom around in—but are pale shadows in terms of interest. Your heart might be all melted for them and their brand of behaviour practices but you wouldn't want to change places with them. After all, who would want to mope around when you could snarl, sneak, cavort, and snakily pounce on the helpless? And dress like they do, to boot? That's a no-brainer, as our brethren from the richest democracy love to say.

Oh? You say you have lost context of what we had started out discussing? Like that idea I was about to spring at you? It’ll happen yet; there is light at the end of this tunnel and hey, it is not the light from the oncoming train! The idea will be served, hang in there.

So, these villains are having all the fun. The goody two-shoes are getting pasted every time and are up against it all the while. They serve the weirdest of evil schemes and make the lives miserable of all concerned. At times I daresay you feel you’ve had enough of gritting your teeth and bearing the complete lack of spine of these non-villains. I am sure you’ve had occasion—and not infrequently I suspect—to wanting simply to get into the television set yourself with the nearest blunt object at hand and braining… who? Why, the do-gooders of course! Why would you want to attack the villains in the show, who make up the engine of the vehicle of the show and drive the blasted thing forward—or backward per your perspective or inclination, take your pick? The show would stop forthwith and you wouldn’t know what to do with the suddenly freed-up 30-odd minutes! Don’t you agree?

It is generally agreed that one could remove other characters from such soaps but never the dark ones since TRPs (Television Rating Points, for the uninitiated) would plummet prompting purges, murder and mayhem at the channel headquarters. Since these blackguards are the lives and souls of the parties, I was thinking, why not start a new show that would be peopled only with these villains who play themselves? That is to say, merely as an example, not casting a whit of aspersion on the blackness of their characters by their exclusion hereof, Dadisa plays Dadisa—herself—in this new show, which, for the purposes of this piece, is named, let’s say, “Kale Kartootein”, (or, “Black Deeds”). She is up against it, matching her wits with, say, the redoubtable Ammaji—she of the flaming eyes and impeccable Haryanvi rusticity—or the matchless Punpun-wali, the drawling Ranvijay or any or multiple of the myriad others.

Can you imagine the bonanza? The sheer delight of evilness all over, slithering forth from each corner of your 21”/ 29”/ 32”/ 40”/ 46” or more? Mouth-watering possibilities! I squirm in anticipation and the hands-rubbing prospects… if only!

And that, dear reader, is my idea. Get these fiends all together and reap the benefits of sky-rocketing TRPs. And you cannot overlook my little contribution (only my modesty prevents me from crowing with success already) and thus, make your own little contribution towards the uplift of my finances (my modesty yet again reflected in that second ‘little’).

And with this idea planted in your fertile minds, I melt away into the yonder setting sun. Adios, amigos.
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