Old and cynical
Those who think the TOI in Delhi has plumbed the depths to which feature writing in this country can go have evidently not lived south of the Vindhyas.
This Sunday, that venerable old newspaper, The Hindu, carried a full-page story in its Metro pages that set out to prove that being caught with a book in one’s hand is the new sign of cool. Wistfully titled ‘Oh, to be young n’ reading’ (though it was unclear what the author was so wistful about - youth, or the habit of reading they presumably had when they were young?), the story asserted that young people, after Harry Potter and suchlike made it so cool, have actually stopped connecting the reading habit with nerdiness and other such unattractive traits.
The story was accompanied by a photograph of a teeny PYT apparently engrossed in the depths of a – and this really tells half the story – Sidney Sheldon novel.
At least the story prevented me from going catatonic when that same evening, I, having been talked into watching the God-awful Hitch saw people actually enjoying it. No, not just sitting through it with half-bored smiles and twittering occasionally but actually laughing at the predictable punch-lines. Some even (I do not exaggerate) clapped at the end. They did, really.
The film’s probably put me off romantic comedies for life. It’s seriously bad. It’s about this date-doctor (Smith) who helps people make headway with totally improbable crushes. And then he falls for a world-weary journalist type (groan) -- played by a terribly ugly actress whose name I haven’t bothered to find out – who finds out his vocation and is devastated etc etc.
It didn’t help that there was a chap sitting right ahead of me who kept saying ‘wow! wow!’ in hushed, awed tones to completely banal bits of dialogue. I mean, the high point of the movie was a one-liner by Smith which went something like ‘It’s not how many moments you breathe in your life, it’s the moments that take your breath away that really count’. AAAARGH!
I bet there were people taking notes in the auditorium to use immortal lines such as these in birthday cards or something.