Friday, May 2, 2008

Grey Matter

Our darling Marius will be returning to Dubai from India sometime in the middle of May and we are ecstatic to have him back … He e-mailed us this great piece and we had to share it with you all. The usual flair for words associated with him, enlightens and excites … He’s raw, unapologetic, and painfully witty and in this piece Marius explores the culture-shock scenario he experienced when he sat down with his Indian friends to view an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Grey Matter

Delhi is an acquired taste. You’ll find billboards advertising the latest issue of ‘Vogue’- Kareena Kapoor beams down beatifically upon you, her bedroom eyes amplifying the come-hitherness that she has acquired thanks to a size-zero bod and the sublimely purple Pucci number that graces it, as she urges you to discover her new movie, man and mindset. And as you prepare to lose yourself into the hazel abysm of those eyes, someone catcalls: ‘Tharki sala!’ (Bloody wanker!). In your chagrin, your gaze will alight upon the sign that sits comfortably beneath Kareena: ‘Pissing On These Walls Is Prohibited.’ Ah! On cross-purposes, are we not?
A plush Adidas showroom juxtaposed with a stall-like establishment that sells harem pants of quality and kind for as much as 100 bucks; Greasy Chinese food on wheels right outside a prepossessing brasserie that superciliously proclaims itself to be ‘Punjabi by Nature’; Lounge-Restro-Bars (a strange Delhi hybrid, possibly the result of a recessive gene coming into play when a lounge copulated with a restaurant with an alcohol licence), primly placed next to seemingly offended bookstores- the city is overwhelming, brash and languid at the same time. And then there are the denizens. The Delhiite has a formidable store of colloquialisms, euphemisms, taboo words and not-so-taboo words: neologisms on acid. Borrow a root word from UP, throw in some Punjabi with a side of English et voila! It’s positively delightful!
That said, I shall now cut to the chase (yeah, I hate that anodyne too): I have recently had a very surreal experience. See, how calmly I say this. No exclamation marks, no unwarranted capitalisations. Because in Delhi, a surreal, unusual experience is, quite honestly, the order of the day. A few Delhiite friends and I sat down to watch an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. Call it field work in sociology or the desperate need of a lonely afternoon, but there we were settled comfortably in front of the television screen as I flicked through the DVD menu searching for the first episode of the first season.
“This serial is about doctors, na?” one asked quirkily.
“Yeah,” I replied. “It’s all about 4 surgical interns and how they try to balance their professional lives and their personal lives.”
“Balance-shalance!” another huffed. “My cousin, she’s doing her MBBS, broke up with her boyfriend the day she got accepted because she knew she wouldn’t be able to give him time. Dekh school mein chal jata hai (In school, you can manage somehow) but college is real life, yaar.”
I hid a small smile. Ah! These Delhiites and their innumerable cousins with innumerable ‘Glad-It-Ain’t-Me’ stories! What would we do without them?
The show begins. The lovely Ellen Pompeo, just roused, removes a cushion from a supine man’s derriere. The man in question turns out to be Patrick Dempsey.

“Hai!” cries one of the girls. “He looks like Ranbir Kapoor! A slightly Buddha (old) Ranbir Kapoor, though.”
“Hah!” laughs Groupie No. 2 “Saawariya (Beloved) at the hospital!”
“More like Baawariya (Crazy) at the hospital.” Says one of the guys darkly.
“Koi itna hot toh nahin hai yeh…”(He’s not all that hot) comes an analysis. “ Now Saif…”
“Um guys,” I interrupt. “Can we watch?”
Things settle down. Somewhat.
Katherine Heigl gets a big reaction of the testosteronal unit.
“Hey! The ‘Knocked-Up’ chick!” the jock amongst us declares in recognition.
“Maybe that’s why she’s at a hospital.” The Ranbir Kapoor fan mutters wryly.
“I’d knock her up any time, any place!” announces another earnestly and for once I can identify with the lechery.
Everybody hates Cristina on sight, a pity since she is my favourite! But her shark-like, calculative workaholism creeps the girls out and reminds the guys of the nerds they beat up in high school. Dr. Bailey is a big hit though! Her sassiness and attitude is something all the Delhiites have stored within themselves. She gets an appreciative ‘Jhand ho gayi!’ (Screwed!) when she says, “I have five rules. Memorize them. Rule number one, don't bother sucking up. I already hate you, that's not gonna change. Trauma protocol, phone list, pagers, nurses will page you. You will answer every page at a run. A run! That's rule number two. Your first shift starts now and lasts 48 hours. You're interns, grunts, nobodies, bottom of the surgical food chain. You run labs, run orders, work every second night until you drop, and don't complain. On-call rooms. Attendings hog them. Sleep when you can where you can, which brings me to rule number three. If I'm sleeping, don't wake me unless your patient is dying. Rule number four: the dying patient better not be dead when I get there. Not only will you have killed someone, you would have woke me for no good reason. We clear?”
The marriage between Dilli ka Tashan (Delhi’s Attitude) and the subtle sophistication of Grey’s Anatomy yielded interesting results. I found myself laughing as someone cried out ‘O Bhenchod! (Sister-f****r!)’ when Meredith finds out who Derek-from-the-night-before really is, marvelling at the acerbic albeit unrefined reference to Aishwarya Rai when Meredith tells Dr. Shepherd that her patient takes part in beauty pageants and he wanly says that they shall have to save her anyway and nodding sympathetically to the ‘That’s-My-Story’ jeremiads that stemmed from George’s “You know my parents tell everyone they meet that their son’s a surgeon. As if it’s a big accomplishment. Superhero or something. ... If they could see me now,” line. Indeed, I thought harking back to all the friends I had left behind, if they could see me now…

posted by ( a & M )

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