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Thursday, March 31, 2005

check out the checks

It was a revelation that our daily dose of R. K. Laxman’s inimical humor ‘You said it’ brings along with it rays of hope for some. Enterprising individuals successfully conduct a betting syndicate on the unique figure of ‘how many checks are there on the shirt worn by the Common Man each day’. It seems one gets fantastic returns if one is able to guess the correct figure.

This brings to memory a story I read way back in the sixties. It was a Bengali story penned by the great novelist Shankar. It was about young men who, in exchange of monetary considerations, agree to let bed bugs feed on their blood. Some women believe that feeding blood to bed bugs will bring them prosperity and pave the way to heaven. Therefore, advertisements appear in the newspapers and selected candidates are asked to report in the night. Once the victims reach the destination, they are allowed to feast on a range of real goodies and then sent to the roof. There they have to spend the night and earn their pay checks by giving the bed bugs their dues! The whole affair may appear to be repulsive but, such events do occur. Like people selling their blood for money in the blood banks. The numbers of people who eke out a living in this manner are quite large.

Or people doubling up for heroes in the action scenes. They remain anonymous. The money they earn is a pittance compared to what the original actor commands. But beggars are no choosers. Therefore, if one discovers that he bears some sort of resemblance to an established actor, he makes a bee line for the studious of Mumbai. It is rumored that Saddam Hussein had several duplicates. With the way action movies are coming center stage, Bollywood also may have to start searching for more than one duplicate of Hritwik or Abhishek. Can anyone enlighten us on who was the first duplicate of the silver screen and in which film it occurred?

You are welcome to visit for a change –
The Reader’s Nook


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