Monday, May 08, 2006

Wet but mobile, and an update

Cellphones, I’m pleased to report, are set to cross the final frontier and enter swimming pools with the rest of us muscular, fitness-conscious types. There I was this morning, shark-hunting in my favourite Olympic-sized tank at the local sports complex, when a genuflecting assistant-like person carries just such a phone to the edge of the pool and deposits it into the waiting hands of an elderly lady contained therein.

Lady (after wiping her left ear dry with a hand-towel thoughtfully provided by the genuflector): Haan, bolo.
L: Arre, main pool mein hoon, pool mein.
L: Kya bol rahe ho? Lagta hai signal kharaab hai. Main pool mein hoon!
(Pause, during which two boisterous and ill-mannered boys splash noisily past a line of us)
L: Arre, paani ki awaaz kaise nahin aayegi? Aakhir yeh pool hai!
(Significantly longer pause, which raises my hopes that the conversation might finally be headed for more productive avenues)
L: Sweeming pool!
(Nervous-looking man paddling nearby requests lady to kindly remove the phone from pool region, “because if it falls into the water we will all catch radiation poisoning”. Or be electrocuted. Or something.)
L: Achha? Achha! Theek hai, bye-bye.
(Hands phone back to assistant, smiles winsomely: “She was just calling to say hi.”)

I envision a day when people carry cellphones in the little pockets in their Speedo costumes. Swimming goggles will come equipped with hands-free wires, face masks will become integral to swimming gear so that underwater conversations may be facilitated. Special satellites will be installed on pool floors in collusion with cellular service providers, permitting experienced swimmers to SMS their friends in the shallow end. Then the monopoly will be complete and years from now, as we sit in the movie hall and take calls from friends eager to chit-chat with us in between laps, we will marvel at the thought that cellphones were ever considered a nuisance.

[In other news, I watched two great films yesterday: Carl Dreyer’s magnificent The Passion of Joan of Arc, which has variously been described as “the most powerful silent film ever made”, “a masterful study of the human face” and “a historical document from an era in which the cinema didn’t exist”; and the Mithun Chakraborty classic Disco Dancer, which is none of the above but contains the famous “Jimmy Jimmy” song (which did so much to improve Indo-Russian relations), the always-edifying sight of Rajesh Khanna bobbing his head to the tune of a guitar, and many other delights. Will blog about the first film soon; in matters Mithun, I defer to GreatBong.]


  1. Not related to the post in any way at all, but seeing Mithunda's name I cant help but mention this amazing movie of his I once saw. It was the one with that infamous Altaf Raja song. What was it again??
    Anyway the important bit was the climax, which had Mithun and Jackie Shroff doing their day's good deed rescuing children from a burning hospital. As Jackie carries an infant in his arms, his pants catch fire. Having dealt with 56 goondas, Jackie finds himself flummoxed in this situation. He just jumps around with the kid hoping for a miracle of God. The miracle comes as we see the fire in his pants is suddenly out. The infant, realizing his rescuer's precarious situation, has peed and put out the flames! Ha ha! I still crack up whenever I remember than scene.
    There are several other memorable scenes in the movie, including one in which a Grover crony comes running from 5 miles away and jumps into a flying kick straight at Mithun's chest. Mithunda casually flicks him off and the guy collapses right there in front of him. The crony is then lifted and given the special Rajnikant-ish Bruce Lee elbow jab in which the poor fellow's face is always in the right place to be jabbed despite Mithun not looking at him. He flies off another 5 miles in the opposite direction.
    Oh yeah! Tum to thehre pardesi....Thats the song!
    Wonder if you've ever reviewed it.

  2. you paint a horrific, horrific picture of the future.

  3. How you would be then able to throw cell phones at drowning people to know their exact location. (Take a left from that green bush underwater and right fromt that rock)

    Scuba divers would be able to launch a n attack on pearls with militry precision


  4. Jai,
    Is the first film based on Shaw's amazing "Saint Joan"?

    On another front, one good rant/joke I have heard about cellphones was on a song with stupid lyrics by Rahman:

    'WTF does it mean by Cellphone Dhun me Hasne Wali. Does it mean someone who laughs like a ghost in a Bunglaw -- or a horse -- : Ne he he he... Ne he he he....?'

  5. C&B: you make me want to rush back to all the video libraries of my distant, dissolute childhood.

    Warya: thanks. Yes, hopefully things really will be that bad - that way, when the nuclear holocaust happens it'll come as a relief and we won't have to waste time digging underground shelters for the kids.

    Aps: Your words chill my soul (Achoo)

    Amar: no, nothing to do with Saint Joan at all (wouldn't it be a bit sadistic to make a silent film out of a Shaw play? :) It's a stand-alone film in the very best sense.

  6. just a simple question: just what on earth were u doing in a pool with an elderly woman ???

    and i am sure the allusion to an in-the-trunks Jai Arjun will significantly augment your female fun following ;-)

  7. Waiting for your post on The Passion od Joan of Arc.

  8. Why they couldn't have invented a water-resistant cell phone by now is beyond me (she said in the whiny irritated voice of one who has had a water-drenched phone die on her).

  9. U should do a review of Disco Dancer..I saw this movie around 7-8 times as a kid( which explains why I am so screwed up, but that is another story) is classic in its own way..80s disco hind movie..would love to know what you younger kids think of it....

  10. Jai,

    On 'Jimmy Jimmy': a couple of my Russian friends here absolutely refuse to believe that I do not know the full lyrics to the song. One of them half remembers it and belts it out vigorously on his guitar after sufficient infusion of vodka.

    On Cell Phones:

    Don't worry - in the future we won't even have external phones - everybody will be planted with a cell-phone chip in their brains. You can receive a call anywhere, anytime, no matter what you are up to.

    This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode, The Millenium:

    KRAMER: You know, in the year two-thousand, we'll all be on speed-dial. You'll just have to think of a person, they'll be talking to you. It'll be like, wup
    (judders and puts his hands to his temples, as if receiving a call on a 'mental phone') getting a call here.

    KRAMER: (to Jerry and George) Hey, it's Newman. (to 'mental phone') Hey, how you doing, Newman?

    Jerry begins mouthing 'I'm not here' and making gestures ndicating he doesn't want to talk to Newman.

  11. Yes, I've thought about that cell-phone chip thing myself - though for some reason I always figured it would be implanted in the wrist.

    There are some funny anecdotes about "Jimmy Jimmy" in Samit Sawhney's book All the World's a Spittoon, in the context of his travels in Russia - stern-looking guards letting him cross borders after he sang the song for them.

  12. Co-incidence - just read about Fiat launching cellphones, and some are waterproof. You may recommend it to the lady, if she is so inclined.

  13. maybe Dive Girl would be an ideal gift for the lady

  14. The PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC can be seen online free here: Movies Online