Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The BIg TransP-Dhakka Reality show

Shilpa Shetty winning the Big Brother Reality show in London is OK.

What is really better than OK is the Big TransP-Dhakka Reality show currently playing in Mumbai, on all channels.

A couple of ordinary people and a couple of celebs have to travel daily by BEST as well as the suburban trains, as per the BIG TransP-Dhakka's instructions.

Contrary to the selections prevalent in all other reality shows, the celebs have tried every trick in the book to get selected here. The ordinary people didnt even realise they were selected, so busy were they, clutching their purses just so, water bottles in a netted side pocket, one chappal left on the platform, trying to catch their 7:17 fast to VT from Thane.

While we will come to the motivation and rewards shortly, it is interesting to look at the celebrities involved.

Himesh Reshamaiiya crooning at a special concert outseide Mulund Bus Depot, his immortal nasal song "Mujhe mujhe leylo zaroooor...." as the drivers and conductors, emerged from their trip-accounting cum tea breaks, fingers in their ears ("khali peeli katkat karta hai idhar") before starting on one more traumatic scenic trip from west to east, sinusoidally through the potholes.

Sanjay Dutt, unable to do anything else while all his cases were subjudice, decides to mingle with the VT subway crowd as he climbs the steps to the suburban railway concourse, singing, "Munnabha-ee, ek Thane Return !", as a dark coated TC , immense in girth, blocks his path, and directs him to the ticket counter, where, wonder of wonders, there is Madhuri Dixit, doing her "ek-do-teen" number, except she is counting the people in the queue for the tickets, and her song has already reached "pachaas".....(She isnt part of the BIG TransP; her non resident status will cause probems with taxes if she wins. So she is just practising her stuff in view of her long absence from the movies).

Rani Mukherjea, an expert TransP-Dhakka partcipant subsequent to her experiences with an unnamed tall guy in Bunty Aur Bubly, was most enthusiastic. All that leaning out of trains, emerging unscathed from tunnels, and singing freely waving one hand, would now come in useful, as she tried to get off at Kanjurmarg from a Titwala Local (slow), trying to traverse about 5 feet towards the exit door, as about 5 stations whizzed past.

One of the Justices of the high court, in a great gesture of "mingling with the masses" offered to join the BIG TransP, but was refused as they did not have place for all his M-security people, and his assistant has now filed a request under the Right to Information Act, wanting to know how the others were selected, and what were they doing about their own security.

The Nach Baliye winners, Hussain and Tina signed on as "Hina" and offered to use their acrobatic dancing techniques, showing how to get from the back of a Andheri-Dahisar bus (via S. V. Rd) at 6 PM, to the front in 10 seconds flat, without saying "jara bajula honar ka ?"

In the meanwhile, Kusumtai Kulkarni, senior typist(SG) working in SEEPZ is thrilled to bits (or is it bytes ?) , as the winner in the Janata category is going to a free year's pass to travel on the AC buses from anywhere to anywhere, with two other relatives accompanying at half price. At 55, she has spent 30 years at her job, during which she got married, had kids, looked after her in-laws and parents during their terminal illnesses, and just recently orgaised the marriage of her daughter, who is doing quite well in, what do they call it ? IT ?

Dnyanoba Pawar, is actually 70, but looks 55, thanks to his several decades of travelling daily from Dombivli to Dadar. He can climb and alight from a running train, can predict what message the station-announcers are going to say, from their initial tone, and is the first to rush and change platforms, when arriving trains decide to do that, 30 seconds before their arrival. P. T Usha invited him to train her wards, but his boss in Dadar decilned the leave.

Rustom Irani, a college going youth was chosen as he used both the BEST and the trains, as he went about attending college in Churchgate , and occasional visits to his relatives and friends in Cusrow Baug in Colaba. A very polite boy, most conductors smile at him, and no TC ever asks him for his ticket; Rustom always holds out his pass , voluntarily , when he has to walk within 6 feet of a TC , anytime, anywhere. Rustom is the first to offer his seat to anyone who vaguely resembles his grandfather.

Sejalben Mehta ,champion traveller from Ghatkopar to Bandra via Vile Parle(East), is 40. She got married at 18, her eldest daughter is 20. Between the two , they run a womens cooperative, where they organise the making of khakras and pickles at centres in Ghatkopar, Vile Parle and Bandra. During the day, Sejalben and her daughter Kruti, (after seeing off her husband and son with their dabbas to the diamond arcade at Opera House), are often seen supervising the correct packaging of the Khakras, so that the stuff doesnt get reduced to pure slivers as they make their way to getting out of the bus, to deliver stuff at Santa Cruz on their way.

There will be different assigments given by the BIG TransP-Dhakka.

Getting in with Khakras and Pickles (Nadiad Style), into a bus at Powai, as it arrives, with three people hanging on to the last step, and the driver in two minds about stopping. Glaring at the guy on the second last step , when all he has done is offered toe space to her daughter Kruti, bringing her, a centimetre closer to him....(of course, she always carries her very versatile, multi-function umbrella, occasionally used as a weapon).

Dynaobabhau Pawar, has to to carry a big cake from Dadar to his bosses house in Thane , where there is a family gettogether to celebrate someone passing the 12th class exam at the age of 24. Finally. If the cake gets converted to a creamy mass in the 5:08 double fast to Thane, the saddest person will be Dnynoba himself; you see, he had just joined when this chap, the 24 year old was born.

Rustom Irani will be travelling on the train from Thane (visiting relatives) when it will have a planned breakdown on the outskirts of Kurla for an hour. His job will be to get to Sion on foot, so as to make it in time for Navjyote in Parsi Colony in Matunga, in a presentable state, partcularly clean shoes.

Kusumtai Kulkarni, has been assigned an office at Masjid Bandar. She will travel daily between Saki Naka and Masjid, and her brief is to carry the cash payment for their temporary workers from Seepz to Masjid every day. There is no "upgradation" clause, say, for the train travel. But Kusumtai has decided that she will carry the stuff under a pile of knitting and religious books which she carries with her at all times. her only concession towards this partcipation is the purchase of a handbag-cum-purse, with deep insides, luckily available at the "Koi-bh-cheez-dus-rupaiyya' stall outside Ghatkopar station.

The question is, who will win the BIG TransP-Dhakka Reality Show?
The rewards are people specific.

Himesh , if he croons his way to winning, will win a compulsory trip to the Amazon Rain Forest, where the World Bank is studying the chimpanzee's response to certain music frequencies.

Sanjay Dutt, stands to win a free lawyer, a lifetime reward.

Rani Mukerjea, is in line for a treasure trove of 500 chiffon sarees, in lieue of the various Yashraj movies she will now lose out to Aishwarya.

Hussain and Tina , or "Hina" are vying for a chance to perform at next years Republic Day Parade, on the Maharshtra float, in a Koli Dance.

Everyone has to travel "the TransP-Dhakka way" for a fortnight, and undertake the various difficult assignments.

Unlike what Shilpa Shetty endured, no one here will be at the mercy of the other contestants. Actually, everyone will be at the mercy of the normal commuters of Mumbai.
Who are, come to think of it, given their huge variety (of religion, customs, language, mode of dressing, social manners etc) , a wonderfully tolerant lot.

There will be hardly any racial jibes a la Jade Goody, no racial outbursts a la Daneielle Someoneelse; someone will offer to hold the khakras for a while to give Sejalben a break, Dynnoba Pawar will be offered a seat by a yuppie, who has been sitting for a while; Kusumtai's daily unknown seat companion, will offer to complete a bunch of lines of knitting, as she finshes reading one of her daily stotras before Byculla comes; and Rustom Irani will help an Aunty climb down from the ladies compartment of the stalled train, by offering his knee as a step - and to hell with the spic and span clothes; the Navjyote folks will understand; and surely applaud.
At the end of the day at the most, , there will be a voice , sometime, somewhere, which will, pipe up (as it does with unfailing regularity), saying "Kya ye apke baap ka rasta/gaadi hai?".....

And who do I think will win ? Well, Kusumtai, Dnyanoba, Sejal, and Rustom - a fourway tie.

Any doubts ?

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