Friday, January 23, 2009

Golden Globalization

As someone who lived in the USA for dog years, I still have a voyeuristic interest in the goings on out there. I am a confirmed CNN junkie and come evening, me and my mom will have these major TV remote wars over which channel to watch. But with events like the Golden Globe presentation or the Inauguration, she is now a convert. Occasionally when she gets fidgety watching yet another hour of CNN, all I have to say is “Mom, they are going to show India” and she will be alright. Like several other desis, she too feels that there is an India Wave sweeping the world and she too likes this inside-out view of the new globalized Indian.

It certainly warmed a lot of desi cockles – mine especially – to see A. R. Rahman receive his Golden Globe award with quiet dignity and humility. But I was focused more on Anil Kapoor and gang clowning around boisterously without a hint of embarrassment. But then, I always look at the negatives. When people were busy trying to analyze the sub-text of Obama’s Inaugural speech, I was looking for gaffes and glitches. While the diaspora felt a collective lump in their throats after Obama’s “Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus…” bit, I was wondering what if somebody quietly slipped a huge pot of Green Dal Slime Slime from my old hostel mess, into the Inaugural luncheon spread.

By the way, have you everr noticed – that whenever you see a picture of Queen Elizabeth taking part in yet another meanigless ceremony, there is always a guy standing next to her who is three feet taller than her?

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The PAN IIT meeting took place here in Chennai recently. Reluctantly I parted with two thousand odd rupees and registered for it. I saw a lot of my old friends. The grass outside the Students Activity Center, IIT Madras, was dotted with Srinis and Balas. And more Balas and Srinis and Palvayanteeswarans. Some of the NRI crowd, of course, behaved like they had never been in India before - incongruously wearing tie and jacket for ‘casual lunches’ and asking all sorts of penetrating chemical engineering questions about the local mineral water. One of them refused to walk a half a kilometer up to where I parked my car, because he did not have his walking shoes on. But the award goes to a critter that asked loudly if he should put a tea bag inside a steaming cup of coffee to convert it to tea!! Serious, folks!!

As usual, I did not attend any of those serious ‘Plenary’ sessions. The first day, I really made an honest attempt – pushing and shoving my way through the crowded auditorium when somebody said :Hema Malini aa rahi hai.” At which point, there was a stampede for the exit and we all rushed to the hall where she was going to be featured. She gushed that she was thrilled to mingle with ‘intellectuals’ – her euphemism for IIT nerds.

“Look, Hema Malini naach rahi hai” somebody else shouted, raising the temperature of the hall.

“No no. She is just walking. At her age it might look like she is dancing.” Someone else explained.

I guess the true purpose of meetings like the PAN IIT is to re-live the teenage fantasies – like finally being able to see their ‘dream girl’ in person, now that they have the money and other wherewithals to pull it off.

The next day, I actually managed to find a seat in the Plenary session. A phoren CEO of a consumer products company – which is more than six degrees separated from anything IIT-ish – showed an ear-splitting, graphics-heavy video clipping before he started to pitch for his corporation. When he said something like how his household products make bathroom-cleaning ‘fun’, I walked out.

The last day’s keynote speaker was Prof. Amartya Sen. Of coursse, I bunked that too and headed straight to the dining hall, where I had the entire buffet line to myself and proceeded to eat my tenth ‘fish fried’.


At Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet! The King is Back from exile. Way to go Ramesh- dont ever take a break from writing!

At Saturday, January 24, 2009 7:59:00 PM, Blogger Thaths said...

Heh heh heh! I wonder if I will be finally able to see my dream girl - Sridevi of the Thunder Thighs fame. Wonder what she is up to these days. IIRC, Palvayantheswaran and I shared this Sridevi fixation.

At Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:57:00 AM, Blogger Mohan K.V said...

"Hema Malini aa rahi hai"


At Thursday, February 10, 2011 3:29:00 AM, Anonymous sim only deals said...

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