It took me a trip halfway across the world to realise how worthless I am. Yes, technically, all my years as a money-less writer-type should have helped me reach this obvious conclusion long ago, but then again, I was hobnobbing with the likes of Bappi Lahiri and Annu Malik in those years (true story), so my thinking capabilities were destroyed by their awesomeness.
But when, in June 2011, six months into joining MTV, I got the chance to go to Los Angeles (Hollywood, baby!!) to do an interview with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz for their upcoming movie, Bad Teacher, I calculated my life’s worth by this formula:
My life’s worth = Justin & Cameron’s time/ My time
= Time Justin & Cameron’s gave me for an interview/Time I spent going to LA + interviewing Justin & Cameron + Coming Back from LA
= 4 mins 41 seconds/120 hours
This complex mathematical equation can be explained in simple terms as: My life is worth roughly 0.007 % as much as the lives of Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz. Although this is a depressing fact and should push me to do something more worthy with my life like audition for Roadies than whiling it away calculating its worth (since Raghu’s life is worth approx 1234676123970209143 as much as that of Justin and Cameron’s lives – because THAT’S the no of people who want to be ‘a Roadies’), there are two things that stop me from doing that:
a) I went to Los Angeles for FREE!!!!!!
b) My hands touched Cameron Diaz’s hands!!!!!!
Yes, being seen in the same circles as Bappida and Annu sir (Thanks be to God) paid off in such a huge way for me that I was first hired by MTV, and then was sent by MTV for a Sony Pictures’ sponsored junket for Bad Teacher to Los Angeles (Hollywood, baby!!).
It was not only my first trip to LA, but my first trip to USA as well. And that’s not a good thing. Because I have seen so many bad popcorn flicks about bombs at airports, that I was dead sure I’d, at some point in my trip, make a joke on bombs and then be treated to third-degree frisking in uncomfortable places.
So I spent the entire length of my 24-hour-long journey, right upto my arrival at the Tom Bradley International Airport in LA, trying very, VERY hard NOT to say ‘bomb’. While it may sound simple enough, I’m so twisted in the head that I’d deliberately make the process difficult. For example:
American immigration custom’s office: How are you, sir?
Me: (saying) I’m fine, sir, how are you?
BUT Me: (thinking) I’m Mr BOMBATIC say me fantastic. BOMB. A BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, BOMB.
American immigration custom’s office: How was your flight, sir?
Me: (saying) It was great, thank you very much.
BUT Me: (thinking) It was a BOMB of a flight. A BOMB. BOMB. BOMB. BOMB
American immigration custom’s office: Oh, is that so? Where are you coming from?
Me: (saying) From BOMB…. MUMBAI. It’s called MUMBAI now. It was called Bombay earlier. But it’s Mumbai now. Hehehehehehe.
Me: (thinking) I JUST SAID BOMB!! I SAID BOMB!!! THEY’RE GOING TO ARREST ME AND PUT A TORCH IN MY ANUS NOW!!!!
The torch-thing, thankfully, didn’t take place. The very nice American officer allowed me through to Hollywood city, where I took a taxi straight up to my fully paid-for hotel, Four Seasons, on Beverly Hills. (Yes, this is called names-dropping, dawgs). My interview with Justin & Cameron was to take place in the same hotel on the following day and the agenda for the day of my arrival was: watching the premiere of Bad Teacher.
The movie was, in all honesty, damn good fun (and I obviously don’t say that because Sony Pictures’ India will see this article, feel very happy and send me on more such trips for free), and by now, Cameron Diaz’ hotness was too blinding for me to think about anything else but desperately wait for the interview.
In the moments leading up to the interview, I had thought of a million things I wanted to ask Cameron Diaz, if I’d even get one minute off the camera with her. But as anyone who’s been to one of these things (there ARE like 2-3 more from India in the last 10 years, *ahem*) would know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get even a minute off the camera with the stars.
So imagine my shock, when I sat in the chair in front of the two stars, and a loo break was requested by one of them. Not because even Hollywood stars, with all their money, can’t control their pee (I just found it a remarkable thing for some reason), but because I got two minutes alone with Justin Timberlake. And the cameras were off. The Two. Most. Awkward. Minutes. Of. My. Life.
Because I had thought of a million things to ask Cameron Diaz, but when Justin – the man who has, well, done Scarlett Johannson, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel in the past – was in front of me, my twisted brains had only ONE question for him: ‘Looking like that, HOW are you NOT gay?!?!! HOW?! HOW HOW HOW?!?!’
Yes, I did manage to control my emotions at that moment and had the following things to say to him: “What’s up, man?” But thankfully, before I knew it, time passed, and I was officially on for the interview. 4 minutes and 41 seconds later, the interview got over, and my hands got to touch Cameron Diaz’s hands.
I came back to India and calculated my life’s worth. I’ve continued working at MTV and write such columns in the hope that someone will send me back to LA for free again.
Justin and Cameron went back to earning millions of Dollars after the interview. They’ve not kept in touch with me.
The interview can be seen on TV every once a while and on www.mtvindia.com/badteacher. You can also turn to Pg ( ) for a preview of its awesomeness.
Sony Pictures’ India will release Bad Teacher on August 19 and if the film works, I’ll credit this column and the interview for the film’s success wherever possible.
MTV and Raghu Ram are now planning Season 9 of Roadies.
No bombs were harmed in the making of this article.
My hands have lived happily ever after.
Note: This column first appeared in MTV Noise Factory in August, 2011
Watch my interview with Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/justintimberlakecamerondiaz/
Watch my interview with Adam Sandler and Katie Holmes here: https://tanejamainhoon.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/adamsandlerkatieholmes/
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