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Mad moments from Mad Men

Mad moments from Mad Men

You know what we don’t talk about enough? Mad men. It’s a great show and we still only mention it in passing. Well, yesterday, I realised that would have to change. If you haven’t watched up till season five, this post may contain spoilers.

I am all caught up with the series now and though I’m a little late to this party I allowed myself to be swept up in a decade of great fashion, old timey advertising, office politics and great, nuanced characters. Seemingly against my will, I found myself disliking some characters at first and then slowly growing to respect them (Hello Megan Calvet Draper). Through these five seasons I have laughing out loud, cried and actually come to terms with all the mainstream fuss about how Don Draper is the sexiest man in shoe leather (see what I did there, with that old timey phrase?)

Here, according to me are the best moments in the series:

How Roger and Draper met. The story is pure back handed humour. Oh Don, you crafty old dog you. Its great how the writers show that the young Don still had that kind of steel edged ruthlessness to him, though it always presents itself cloaked in charm and manners,

Joan Holloway Harris playing the accordion for her douche husbands doctor friends. Zou bisou be damned. If I had to pick musical highlights, this one wins hands down.

The boy Dick Whitman and his conversation with a passing tramp.

Betty Draper taking a shotgun out into the garden and cigarette firmly in mouth, aiming at her neighbours birds.

Pete and Trudy Campbell doing the Charleston.

Every single thing that ever came out of Roger Sterling’s mouth.

Peggy Olsen being adventurous, whether it was with her sexual identity or her lifestyle.

That moment when Don and Megan announce their engagement and the phone rings. “I’ll get it,” she says after there’s a huge pause where no one knows what to do. AWKWARD.

The way Don breaks up with people.

The way Don hooks up with people.

Roger’s LSD trip. How great is it, that an orchestra plays every time he opens a bottle.

The way the writers mixed up the timelines in season five. Example: Far away places.

Megan Draper angry. Now now, there’s no need to throw the plate at the wa…oh. well, that’s that I suppose.

The anti-anti-Disney post

The anti-anti-Disney post

I blame my older cousins for taking away my childlike naïveté. Did Santa really climb into our 4th floor apartment (through a locked window grill) while we were at midnight mass? (“They put the presents under the tree when you’re waiting at the car.”) The truth about where babies come from? (“I’m not lying. Here’s a dictionary, look up “intercourse””) The tooth fairy. (“Don’t tell them when the next one falls off and see what happens.”)

As it turns out I followed that last suggestion. Sure enough, the tooth was still under my pillow the next morning. Know what I did? I left the offending thing under my pillow and came to breakfast announcing that it fell off while I was brushing. I got my coin the next day. I know what you’re thinking, but no, I didn’t do it for the coin. I did it because I was pretending to myself, that the tooth fairy did exist and that the parent’s thing was a lie. As a kid and even now as an adult, I’d rather pretend, than face up to uncomfortable truths, even when I know better. That’s why when I see things like this on the internet, it irritates me. Come on. As children, we were told a lot of lies and now that we’re adult, we know better. That’s how life works but after cynicism became cool, people have forgotten to ignore and pretend. It seems to me that everywhere I look, there’s just more evidence of how pop culture in the 90’s set us 90’s kids up for a harsh world of bitter truths, or how Disney taught us all the wrong lessons (Hey thanks a lot, Disney. Because of you, I sing songs to random birds all day and think that the perfect kiss involves someone dipping me.)

The point I’m trying to make is simply this. Nobody took away any life lessons from the Disney princesses and from the 90’s. We just watched them and moved the fuck on. Lots of women today think that being kissed while you’re asleep by someone who’s never met you is borderline creepy (but if you’re into that, hey, no judgement) and the same women have probably watched, read and enjoyed Sleeping Beauty. And if any guy tries keeping an ordinary woman locked up against her will, the way the beast did belle, then he shouldn’t complain that he won’t be able to have children anymore.

As adults, we live and handle this world, the way it’s meant to be lived and handled or we die. The television we watched and the books we read when we were between the ages of 6 and 12, have nothing to do with how we live our lives today, so why bring it up and ruin a good thing? I think the ending of My fair lady is terribly unfeminist, but it’s still my favourite movie, right?

And life isn’t as dramatic at art and really Cracked? You’re going to blame The fox and the hound for segregation? Everybody should just please remain calm and slowly remove the coolness-crises arrow from their respective knees.

Oh, but I’m probably inclined to agree with this.

On another note, everyone please have a happy and safe Diwali. Remember, a great Diwali is a Diwali where our eardrums stay in one piece for usage through the remainder of our days.


What if life were more like theatre?

What if life were more like theatre?

If you think the headline of this post is arbitrary, then you obviously haven’t seen Neil Patrick Harris’s Opening speech for the Tony awards 2011. Side Note: It’s getting a little predicable that NPH breaks into song every award he hosts, but I for one am not complaining.

But no seriously, while it’s all very well for us to do high jumps and leap about madly, here’s just my two pennyworths on life being a stage and all of us actors (somebody famous said that; I’m not sure who)

For one, we wouldn’t wait so much, unless we were waiting for Godot. Half our days, years and lives are spent waiting for something whether it’s for something as mundane as a bus or a train or something large like the realisation of a cherished dream. If you listen to Sharanya and I, our days are divided by our actual, desultory lives and waiting for something awesome and magnificent to happen so we can ride the wave of brilliance and land up on the shores of a whole new world. If they wrote a play about our lives it would have to be one of those make-believe, fantasy ones where we wake up afterwards and say “Aw Shucks”.

If life were more like theatre, there would be more epiphanies. We’d follow our actions with lessons about the actions; we’d watch a fellow actor do something or say something that would impact our lives forever. We’d come to horrible, gripping realisations (“I’m a dime a dozen, Pop, and so are you.”- Biff Loman) or say things laced with irony and backstory (“Deliberate cruelty is unforgiveable and the one thing I have never, ever been guilty of.” – Blanche DuBois). We’d exclaim more and better (Stars hide your fires).

If life were more like theatre, we would never have to live down our mistakes and move on. We’d never let bad blood stay curdled and congealed and quiet, we’d excite it so it would bubble to the surface and gush out, making everything infinitely more dramatic. Estranged fathers and sons stay estranged and stony in real life, the prodigal son doesn’t really ever come home but he may end up crashing into a Ferrari and sending the bill to his old man, a best friend turned foe will never really confront you at sword point in the street and when you’re jealous, you won’t really strangle your girlfriend in her sleep.  As characters, we’d all have to be deeply damaged (again, Blanche comes to mind) or crazy, or happy or confused or deliberate or severe and we simply can’t be the confused mudge we are now. The worst thing? There’d be no denouement, no flourishing The End, no applause, no velvet curtain and no getting out of character to a sweet three minutes of audience appreciation (may or may not include roses thrown onto the stage). In real life, there’s just life which follows life which again follows life and it’s a vicious cycle until it ends when we die.

But seriously, like NPH says, wouldn’t it be grand?

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?

Thank goodness October is coming to an end. What with the late evening monsoon rains and the blistering mornings, I for one, have had enough of this month. November is going to be more fun of course because it starts with the Weekender in Pune. It is finally upon us once again. YAAAAY. Let’s all high five because were so cool and hipster like that. (If you haven’t already checked this years line up, here it is.)

I have been thinking about the weekender and music festivals in general a lot this past week. I love being at a gig because it’s like the whole room is friends with each other. I went to my first concert pretty late in life. I was already in college and Parikrama was playing at MICA, Ahmedabad. The place was packed with a whole load of IIM, MICA and CEPT rock heads while the St. Xavier’s crowd (which included me), tried hard to look less preppy than they were. I’d tell you now, how Ahmedabad’s rock scene is pretty amazing and how we know all about alternative entertainment too, but you’d probably laugh or throw a Himesh joke at me, so let’s move on.

Of course I’ve been to more gigs since then and now I can finally say I’ve cracked the code. Gigs are not really gigs. They’re parties that are disguised as gigs. Live music can set your soul on fire because it’s happening right there in front of you and you can see it being made. I love it when people listen to music together; it makes you feel like you’re all part of something larger. It doesn’t even matter whether the person bouncing about next to you is a stranger or your best friend, when that chord is hit or the artist hits that note, you might as well be from the same womb.

Of course there are gigs that I haven’t enjoyed but the ones I have enjoyed more than make up for it. Some performances stay with me for days and days afterward. When Goldspot played at Blue Frog I smiled for a month.

The weekender last year was like that, only bigger and brighter. I have many memories, some happily obliterated due to excesses of liquid refreshment (Bring on the rum buckets! Aaar) but I especially remember bumping into people I knew from Bombay, trying to make my way to the electronic stage and getting sidetracked into staying at the Dewarist stage for a little longer. And I particularly remember running, racing, sprinting, actually, with a very close friend because we wanted to find someone and bring them to The Dewarist stage. We ran so hard and so far, fuelled by the energy we waste cooped up in day jobs that were the next step to something big, the energy of the cold evening air and the sounds of people having a great time everywhere around us. I hadn’t run that fast since I was a child and my heart was bursting. Music, like books and art, will do that to you sometimes.

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