Thursday, October 26, 2006

Outtakes from the Dark Side

So you thought I spent all my time writing profound things about books and films that no one has ever heard of? But this is far from the truth. Here are examples of sentences I've written recently, which, for one reason or another were expurgated from the stories they were meant to be in (and in at least one case, caused a minor strain in my relationship with an editor).

– Today, Rishikesh (Hair of Sage) seems somewhat bemused by its own status as the Yoga Capital of the world. "Maybe it's because of our deep spirituality," says Guru Rudra, reaching for a packet of Krackjacks.

– Sitting alone and contemplatively in the mud pit that is the "VVIP Enclosure" of the Great Bombay Circus tent, I watch with mounting terror as the elephant kicks the football straight at my head.

– Giggling, the nubile swami ventures, "Was it because of the Beatles, you think?"

– It’s 6.30 AM, I’ve been on this railway platform for two-and-a-half hours now listening to that cussed “Ooh Aah India” song and watching 20-year-old journos and PR people jiggle and sing along, and the last vestiges of patriotism have been successfully drained from my being, along with all desire to witness the continuation of my species.

– "I wish to make a film about Yoga in Rishikesh," implores the young African, "I will sell the rights to American TV, or put it up on the Internet." "We don't believe in commercialisation," retorts the ashram secretary, wagging his finger from side to side, "We won't allow your foul cameras into our inner chambers, begone!"

– The dogs are expected to walk in a 360-degree arc around the outer ring with their forelegs placed at a small height and their hind legs dragging along the floor; unfortunately, not all of them know this.

– "Main aap se sirf Hindi mein baat karoonga," says the muscular, Adonis-like Russian juggler, folding his hands in greeting, even as the parrots flap their wings and shriek. "Aur yeh hai meri dharmpatni, Svetlana."

– "In my resignation letter," continues the Yoga Niketan secretary, grinning evilly at the distressed student, "I wrote: I am leaving Delhi to come here, mingle with saints and merge my soul in good mother Ganga."

– No one, not even the Outlook photographer, is going to persuade me to enter an akhada that doesn't have Monica Bellucci in it.

– After working for three years with Hindustan Aeronautics, he had an unexpected spiritual experience, wherein he travelled for more than 70 hours through an astral realm. "When I returned to my physical body, I found it was extremely stiff," he tells me. "I could barely move for the next couple of days, much less do any work. The factory head was very annoyed."

– Then Abrol, a large, genial man in baggy shorts, walks up to the mound and laughs a powerful, echoing laugh that seems to rise up from the very belly of the earth. Deer Park reverberates with this call to arms and a multitude of Laughter Clubbers emerge from the shrubbery, staggering towards us like zombies in a Romero film.

[Note to all wannabe journalists: when you've been working on a story for days and find yourself getting bored, just pile on as many adverbs, adjectives and analogies as you can. This won’t make you a good writer but it will help you discard your self-worth and perhaps even become a better person.]

P.S. Yes, all of the above did happen.


  1. Haha, hilarious :))

    I have always wondered what could be the reason that indian newspapers and magazines, in general, are so boring. Now I know it is not because of the lazy and stupid reporters but because of the prudish editors. I hope none of your editors read this! ;)

    btw, what's that about "nubile swami"? Is there any other meaning of the word that I don't know...

  2. Quite to the contrary, Indian newspapers are full of this sort of thing. Have you read the Delhi Times or HT City of late? Or any of those other pieces Amit Varma links to under "Purplocity and Verniness"? Nothing boring about any of that.

    Nubile swami is nubile swami - it's very much the meaning you know :)

  3. ROFL. Loved the "packet of krackerjacks" and the Hindustan Aeronatics' factory head.

  4. "So you thought" - Think !! THINK!!! Do you seriously leave us all with moment to think....blink blink and abracadabra.... there's another book you have read....

    "I watch with mounting terror as the elephant kicks the football straight at my head"...Just wondering (out of sheer unadulterated concern) what was the out come...but I guess the post answers all ;)...

    Jabberwock I christen thee
    Jabber Woods

    ps: i am much into christening and re-christening these days...

  5. :-)

    Still laughing at the Krackerjack one.

    By the way, if you think that Ooh Aah India is bad, you should listen to its preamble by Saurav Ganguly, who makes a heart-rending appeal for his re-entry in the team.

  6. LOL!! Where are the rest of these stories? Do tell. Would love to read them. Seem a lot more promising than some other stuff I've been reading in the papers lately :p.

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  8. Rahul: have seen the Ganguly ad. But irritating as that was, it was a 30-second spot, which could be turned off by pressing a button on the remote. On the platform, I had to listen to the full song playing non-stop for more than 2 hours. Through loudspeakers. (Yes, plural.) Starting at 4.30 AM.

  9. Such joy. I luhrve out-takes.

    (And, *shudder* there's an Ooh Aah song?)

  10. And which was the one that "caused a minor strain in my relationship with an editor" ?