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The Ego
I feel like reminiscing ... along with the huge gamut of emotions I'm feeling right now. Annoyance. Frustration. Happiness. Excitement. Yeah ... conflicting emotions all washing over me and the person I want to talk to is 'unavailable'.

Anyway ... 2008... I feel as though I can pick out a few landmark (at least, they were monumental enough for me) moments this year and I'm not altogether sure they're good moments. Most seem to be...difficult times.

My friend left Dubai forever this year, and not on good terms, with fights/arguments/recriminations happening over borders, which was distasteful to all parties involved. I wish things hadn't panned out that way though...
Gave my final exams this year and got the results in September and I wasn't satisfied with the outcome even though it was enough to get me into good colleges for my Masters...
Took an impromptu trip to India after quite a long time and had fun (oh yay a positive thing!).
Lost my trust and faith in something important right after this trip. Same incident caused me to be extremely insecure about something, and I still am insecure, which is a terrible situation to be in.
Started working, but with so many hiccups on the way that sometimes I don't even like to think of my job as I get frustrated.

This is what I think of when I think "2008" ... Not a barrel of laughs eh?
The Ego
When I was volunteering at DIFF, I had the misfortune to meet a truly misguided soul. As I was leaving for the day, and paused to say hi to someone I knew, this perky little thing beamed at me and asked, "Which school do you go to?" (And no, I'd never even seen this chick before in my life, but she obviously saw that as no reason to stall a pointless conversation)

"School??? I've graduated from college" with my best incredulous look.

"Haaaaawwwwwww, you're done with college? You don't look so old" (Oh hun, that means so much coming from you *sarcasm dripping from all corners*)

"Well, I'm 21" I reply.

She then clutches the small masafi bottle she was holding, almost glued to it like an actor would cherish his/her Oscar statuette and says, "OMG I'm so happy to be 16! I never want to grow up... this is the BEST year of my life and I'm so sure it was the best year of yours and that you really wish you could go back!"

After realizing that she actually meant this "gushing" speech, I countered, perhaps a little rudely (but who cares?), "No, I don't. Why would I want to be 16 and worried about passing my board exams and completely dependent on my parents to drive me around places? I have my own car, I can drive myself, I don't have to worry about stupid 16 year old things... no, thank you, I'm fine where I am." My first real public and heartfelt acceptance of my age, rather than moaning about being a fuddy-duddy!!! *applause*

She still seemed convinced about the "awesomeness" of being 16. Ignorant fool.
The Ego
I made another post about the womanly B&B's, but this one is about the original B&B: The Bold and the Beautiful! Okay, before you think D has gone mad...just read on!!!

Considering B&B (and note that throughout this post, when I say B&B, I refer to the TV series and nothing else) is as old as I am, or rather, a few days younger, we've led parallel existences. When I first came to Dubai, Brooke Logan was busy moving on from Ridge to his father Eric. When I was graduating from school, she was then seen making moon-eyes at her then son-in-law Deacon and then when graduating from college, she was quite busy going back to Ridge!

Brooke's many-fabled lovers aside, why am I making this post about B&B?

Well, my grandmother and mother used to watch this serial since its inception (the year I was born) and so even as a child I was vaguely aware of the iconic(?) theme song, the only cafe/restaurant ever visited in the serials' 21 year old history, Cafe Russe ('d think in 21 years the characters would want to go somewhere else as well!!!), Stephanie's hatred for Brooke and whatever other shenanigans were going on.

As I grew older, I started actively watching it as well (yes, laugh at me... you watch Ekta Kapoor serials, how dare you judge me?!!!?? ;D), and I found that it offered me a parallel existence of pure comedy. Yes, comedy!!! I'd watch it for a few months quite regularly when I have nothing better to do, then forget about it for over a year, then go back to it again. An endless source of immoral amusement!!! :D

Comedy because ....
...they've NOT changed the style of direction in all these years... basically, 90% of the time only two characters are in a scene - unless it's a party or at Cafe Russe - who keep rotating from one end of the room to the other every 2 minutes like clockwork. Example, character A is at point 1 and character B at point 2. After two minutes, character A will walk towards point 2 and cross over to point 3 beoynd point 2, then walk back to point 1 after another 2 minutes. Then the other character will take over in this endless pacing contest always wonder whether Brooke has any morals or is her character truly so haplessly ignorant that she's been with the Forrester father, both the sons, one son's step-brother, her daughter's husband and ... erm ... I'm not sure :S
...Sally Spectra (RIP the actress) was a treat to watch with her funny clothes, wig-like hair and atrocious makeup
...each and every character looked very convinced at each point in time they had a new dalliance that "THIS" time it was eternal love ... only to fall for their sons' friends' sister's boyfriend instead grandmother always says at the end of a particularly 'riveting' episode (and I loosely translate it to English), "That Brooke...such a scheming fox!" and then shakes her head!

Not quality viewing...but hey, it's been in existence for 21 years...that's gotta count for something!
The Ego
People who've been reading my blog for a bit would know I can be somewhat of a child at times. Links to these posts might explain a bit more: 1, 2, 3 and 4!!! These links will also explain my madness with some Happy Meals!!!

Till I buy another Happy Meal ... adios!
Labels: 4 ego boost(s) | | edit post
The Ego
I saw Danny Glover today!!! Unfortunately I couldn't take a picture because I was in a largely non-volunteer zone; everyone else were publicists, journalists and staff members so it wasn't appropriate for me to start behaving like a lunatic stalker and take pics! But he sounded pretty cool and this was how I started today's DIFF-ing!!!

Then there was the press conference for Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh, Soha Ali Khan, Shahana Goswami, Kay Kay Menon among others. Showed a trailer of the film which is only due to release in March or April 2009!!! Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sudhir Mishra and a producer of the film attended the conference. They called for more press kits to be given up on the stage, so I ran up with what they wanted, and I caught NNM's eye when I was up on stage, smiled and he smiled back! :D And then, after the conference was over, he was obliging people with pictures and autographs so I took a picture with him... and when we took the picture, his hand was ON my back! Aaaahhhh... Jo said she hated me and my volunteer job when I told her. She kept saying, "I hate you, I hate you" I love you too Jo!!! :D

Oh, obnoxious people story!!! Now, to enter the DIFF HQ, you need to have your volunteer vest, your badge, and if you're not a volunteer you need to have your badge only. So one guy walked in without his badge and when the security guard stopped him and asked for his badge...well... here's how it went:
Guard: Sir, you cannot enter this area without a badge.
Obnoxious asshole: Yes, I can
Guard: Sir, I cannot let you enter this room without any official DIFF ID.
Obnoxious asshole: What the hell is this? Do you know who I am? I am the CHIEF EDITOR of a magazine and you dare stop me!
Guard (who very commendably kept his cool): Sir, I am part of the security team and we cannot let anyone without ID enter this area. You will need to leave until you get your ID.
Obnoxious asshole: No I will sit here...and I will not show you my dare ask me for a badge???
*Guard radios for someone*
*Another man arrives*
Man: What's going on?
*The guard explains the situation to him*
Man (to the asshole): Excuse me, you don't have a badge? We are under orders not to let anyone in here without official ID.
Obnoxious asshole: Oh sir, I'm so sorry, but you see, this is my situation...*explains out of earshot*...what can I do now?

Reason for the change in behaviour? The new man who arrived after being radioed was an Arab and the guard was a 'measly' Indian. After the other man arrived, they both started conversing in Arabic and I had to leave so not sure what happened after that.
The Ego
This day was quite interesting because two producers of Terminator 4: Salvation were there for interviews with the press. I was lucky enough to be assisting the publicist for these so got to listen in to the interviews as well. One of them actually reminded me of a guy from college! Anyway, so the movie will be out May 2009 and Christian Bale is starring in the movie as John Connor. No information was given by the producers about Arnie Schwarzzenegger's involvement with this... Ummm, what else? They claimed that they were trying to make the movie be more about the story rather than going overboard with special effects, and were thankfully honest enough to say that people might find loopholes with timelines and stuff, but that's just how it goes.
Other than that, a pretty uneventful day.

AHAAAAA... the day for the press conference of Delhi 6. The newest offering by Rakesh 'RDB' Mehra, who was present at the conference as well as Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor, the lead pair. As a volunteer I couldn't really go up ahead in front of the stage, but Joseph, a cameraman from City7 TV was sweet enough to offer to take my camera and get pics from right in front. Which he did! So now I have great close-ups of the three of them! Also, they aired two promos of the movie, and all the video cameras in the room were asked to switch off during said promos coz they aren't on air yet. The promos seemed interesting, let's see how the movie really shapes up! What was really annoying though, was that AB Jr kept wearing his sunglasses and cap even inside the windowless press conference room!!!!!!!!!!!
Also went for the movie Inkheart, with Brendan Fraser and Eliza Hope Bennett making an appearance after the movie. He was really funny btw ... kept everyone in splits most of the time.

Quite an interesting day, Kiran Bedi was someone I was with for quite some time on this day. A documentary on her life, Yes Madam Sir, is screening at DIFF this year, so she and the producer-director were there to promote it. I was lucky enough to get a photograph with this amazing woman. She was so simple, down-to-earth and modest... it was amazing! She talked with intelligence and wit oozing from every pore and was so crisp, so precise and so COOL in her tracks and sneakers!!!

I must mention what a big COW a certain presenter from a particular TV channel is. Why they pay her money when she can't even speak English properly and dresses badly, I do not know. Oh yeah, the dressing sense part must rake in high viewership...probably makes them deaf to her terrible intonations and hilariously terribly way of speaking. Anyway, she'd come to interview the inimitable Kiran Bedi dressed in some black concoction that looked like it had been fused onto her body with hair sprayed so much that even if I threw a shoe at her head, the shoe would get damaged before her hair would move a whisker and face stuffed with all the pancake in the world. Anyhoo ... I managed to find many other random people who suddenly confided in me what an idiot she was. I was standing with a journalist who had the next interview with Ms Bedi, and I told him it would take another 5-10 minutes depending on how much time it would take for the tv interview, and he grinned and said, "Stars!" I smirked and said, "You mean the one in front of the mic or the one holding it? Coz the one holding it is annoying!" and he said, "Yeah, she gives herself more starry airs than anyone else over here!" and we bonded over mutual disdain of that pancaked cow.

I managed to go for the screening of Firaaq as well. It was a brilliant movie, with some poignant moments. One which I still remember very well... A man (I forgot his name damnit!) says (and I'm translating it to English): "Doesn't it bother you that Muslims are being killed?" and Naseeruddin Shah's character (also a Muslim in the movie btw) replies: "It bothers me that human beings are killing human beings." Brilliant portryal of a Gujarati housewife by Deepti Naval ... just BRILLIANT! Also good performances by Sanjay Suri and Tisca Chopra with their problems after the riots being in an inter-religious marriage. The movie was pretty good for first time director in Nandita Das but the performances by the actors in this movie were very very very good. Jo and I got a picture with Sanjay Suri...WITH MY EYES CLOSED!!!!!!! One of the people from the press office, upon me telling him of my sad eyes-closed story, said that well, at least it'd look like you're smiling with eyes closed in ecstasy of being next to him... hehe...
Also managed to speak to Shahana Goswami (of Rock On fame) who also essayed a powerful performance in the film. She seemed really sweet and very encouraging in general.

More Firaaq!!! The trio also came to the Volunteer Lounge today ... and we got group shots... Managed to speak to Nandita Das, took a pic with her; upon my asking her, she said that she had handpicked the actors for the movie herself. Spoke to Sanjay Suri again and a picture with Shahana Goswami was also taken. She, btw, remembered me from yesterday and spoke to me for a minute or so.
Mammooty was also in the press conference rooms today but I unfortunately had to leave just then otherwise I would've gone in for that as well.
I caught a glimpse of perhaps one among the most horrendous shoes in the history of horrendous shoes. They were a pair of heels, with the stiletto part bright fluroscent pink and the remaining part parrot green. Worn with a black pencil skirt and a crisp white shirt. Why??? Ah, the sheer horror!

Anyway ... more updates as the days roll by!
The Ego
She yawns, opens her eyes and *pop* his face blurs in front of her. She shakes her head, unbelieving... he can't be right there; what would he be doing in her room so early in the morning? Shaking her head, his face disappears...she rubs her eyes and looks around the room blearily. Her eyes fall on the clock. Only 5 more hours before she meets him. No wonder she's already thinking about him! Jumping out of bed, she finishes her morning rituals, and has a refreshing hot bath. And then...she needs to groom herself!

"Shall I wear this? No, no...maybe he will like the other one better. But look, that third one! That's the one he likes best!"

"Ummm...which perfume? Oh I'm so silly, he likes that one so question about it!"

"Oh god, where's my kaajal... he does say my eyes look beautiful when their lids are smudged with kohl"

"Is my camera ready? I love taking pictures when we're together"

And at last, she's ready...she collects her handbag, checks to see if all the essential items - phone, wallet, keys, camera(!) etc - are in it, wears a comfy pair of sandals, and walks out the door.

Her phone rings.

"I can't meet you today"
The Ego
Righto...without wasting time, on to day 2.

Definitely more eventful than the first day... where I'm situated never really stops buzzing even if my table has nothing specifically for me to do. I got to visit Al Qasr today twice. And on my second trip, I was transported to a villa on the abra and on the return trip, by a buggy. Okay so the Al Qasr area makes Emirates Hills look like Karama or something... seriously!!!!!!!! The villas are so understatedly opulent with an old-world look given to them with open courtyards and pools scattered here and there... and the BEACH!!! The beach was beautiful...the sands from afar looked so virginal's what all Dubai beaches used to look like, which is what I told my colleague who'd come to Dubai for the first time. I honestly don't know how much a villa would cost to stay in, but I'm damn sure it'd be a whopping amount. I also visited the non-villa part of Al Qasr...this was outrageously opulent! I just let my mouth stay closed while internally letting it drop...ah well...

One of my jobs today was to find out whether a well-known Hollywood actor's plane had left from it's departure airport and were all the members of the flight accounted for before take-off... hehe...

People I've met there remind me of people from films or tv shows. For example, there is one guy who from the bat reminded me of Karan Johar hands down. The way he talks, the way he's SO KJ!!! Then there's the gay boyfriend (Scotty) of the gay brother from the TV show Brothers and Sisters. No, he's not guy there is DITTO Scotty...again, way he talks mostly. I have more, but none that come to mind right now.

Haven't seen any movies planning to go in the next few days for a limited few.
The Ego
I'm volunteering for DIFF again this year, although not in the same position as I did last year.

Anyway, I managed to attend the press conference thrown by Oliver Stone and Jeffery Wright for their movie "W." ... and it was pretty cool! Oliver Stone was quite amusing, saying all sorts of hilariously irreverent things about George W. Bush Jr. One journalist asked him if Bush Jr co-operated with the making of the movie in any way. Oliver Stone - "Are you crazy? Are you nuts? Are you MAD?" in a very amused way and proceeded to tell the crowd how the movie strips him down and shows him to be his true self - arrogant! line I remember from the hour long conference: "People are going to miss the fact that the President couldn't speak English...that's all!!!" Apparently, the movie wasn't even filmed as such in the USA, that's how terrible the support he got from the people over there. It went on to touch on topics like the new President-elect Obama and even the terror attacks in Bombay. He seemed like a terribly intelligent and witty man and that itself has aroused my interest in the film.

Other than that... it's as if DIFF grounds is insulated from the rest of Dubai. Some women (not all) are dressed...well... like they're on a beach or something!!! The number of itsy-bitsy hotpants I saw there are gazillion!!! And I learned that Ugg boots are in fashion now!!! Go buy NOW!!! :P

OH MY GOD...CAMERAS GALORE! Staind would drool! Huge fat enormous monsters that are cameras roamed the place... quite a few of them had TWO monsters; one slung on each shoulder. Wonder how their shoulders don't hurt. I mean, Staind's camera is heavy as it is and these were bigger!!!

End of day #1...

NOTE: Even if you are the last dregs of your senses...even if your throat is PARCHED... DO NOT... and I repeat...DO NOT ever drink any coffee from Cinnabon. EVER. EVER. EVER.
The Ego
A huge fear I have: that people are going to forget this (as usual) and move on with their lives.

I'm not saying that life can't go on. It HAS to. But it needs to move on with a difference. The government, the security forces of India HAVE to see that there cannot be the "chalta hai" attitude anymore. Abhi 'chalta hai' nahi chalega... the more we, the people, just resignedly accept what's happening, change will NOT come.

And what MORE does our intelligence want? They had information that attacks would come from coastal shores, that there is a possibility of attacks on the Taj on the Trident and Oberoi; even the fishermen in the area alerted the authorities... like my uncle said in disbelief, "What else do they want? The time that the attack will take place?"

Staind was saying today that many people die many other places, then why so much attention to this only...everything deserves due attention, doesn't it? That's true... But for me personally, I mentioned it before, this one hit close to home. To people who lived in Dubai all their life, it's like random people coming in and desecrating the Abra station or Al Ghurair or something. Basically, a part of your life, your city, that has always been almost iconic... has been pillaged. And broadly speaking, I think it's the ease with which people just walked onto our shores and brazenly entered beloved landmarks and just started killing people is shocking. To be honest (and I think it's sad that this had to happen for me to realize it), no matter how uncomfortable I am when I'm in Bombay for too long (I'm too used to Dubai to be comfortable there, sorry everyone!) is my city. It's where I was born. It's where my family is based... and no matter where I live all my life... I am a Bombayite (I can't bring myself to say Mumbaikar... aaaaahhhh!) even though I'm happy and proud to be a Dubaian as well (or whatever is the right term for this).

Another shocking thing that's happening, that's disgusting me, is the blatant aggression showed by some people who spout rot like 'bomb Pakistan' or whatever else. Excuse me? How is that supposed to help? "An eye for an eye will turn the world blind", remember? Besides, it has not been proved and I highly doubt that this would ever be the case, that the Pakistani govt has backed this massacre. I have so many Pakistani friends, do they want to kill me? Do I want to kill them? NO. For me, I can't even tell who is Pakistani and who is Indian (except at cricket matches!!!!!!!!!!!) because at the end of it, we all come from the same roots. If the terrorists happened to be Pakistani, then accept that and realize that a handful of terrorists who HAPPEN to be from a certain nationality or religion does NOT mean everyone from those categories are the same. Yes, there are dangerous groups, rebels, in EVERY country, even in India. The need is to root THEM out, not act like hormone-crazed vigilantes and try to wipe everyone off the face of this earth. I wish some people would use their common sense and not strike back blindly.

Another thing I've said before and I feel important to reiterate again: no religion, not one, condones taking of innocent lives. No religion allows for this and if any terrorist, no matter what belief system they follow, does something so dastardly believing they are doing this for their religion...well their God will not forgive them and if Hell exists, that is where they will go. All these people do is, in a way, condemn those belonging to the same category to a life of suspicious looks and distrust. The problem is the masses can be so petty so as to generalize: one bad egg from this batch, then all the eggs from that farm are bad. NO NO NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO.

So is this India's version of 9/11? Yes, and I'll tell you why. When the towers in USA were attacked in 2001, terrorists used American planes to bomb an American structure, a taken-for-granted and integral part of their lives, slipped through their security system with ease and wrecked terror through that land. Here, terrorists used Indian coastlines, shirked away the security(?) to attack our heritage, again with ease.

An update on those children I mentioned in the last post: they're going through counselling, and their extended family is taking care of them now. Also, their school is being supportive and not pressurizing them to give their upcoming exams right now.
And the child I mentioned who passed away...he was 12, on the 6th floor of the Taj...the one that was completely gutted. He was stuck in a room and couldn't get out. Draw your own conclusions on how he died.

Sorry for the long post...been wanting to write all this for days.
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