Friday, December 21, 2007

TZP

Is there a fixed pattern of thinking one ought to follow?
Is there a 'one size fits all' solution or a standard prescription for getting best out of any child?
How good is it to just focus on faults of someone (especially children) and overlook the talent and good qualities he has?
Are there just a few things that become indicator of your worth or how good you are?
Is it always about comparison with what others are?
Is it appropriate to suppress what a child actually is, in order to make him what you think he should be ?
Isn't every kid special ?

The movie Taare Zameen Par (TZP) provides food for thought for above questions and many more. Story of a dyslexic 8 year kid who is helped ... rather inspired by a teacher to bring the best in him. But it is not just about dyslexia. It is also about our attitude towards children. The movie blends realistic and touching treatment with creative elements in showing some elements during songs! The performances are awesome ... in fact almost everything about the movie is awesome. Extremely touching!

Somehow it reminded me of a student in my class (Class 3-A to be precise!) who got 0s and 2s out of 40 marks in exams, and we used to laugh at him. He left the school later (probably after failing in class 3 ... ) I don't know much about him or his talents or disabilities and vaguely even remember his name (...and not sure about it!) but yeah, somehow my thoughts wandered into that time! Now it seems so childish and amateurish.

You love few movies, you are impacted by a handful, and few stay very close to your heart. TZP belongs to the last category. There is so much in it that one can relate to!

It would probably be a sin to miss this movie! Hats off to Aamir Khan (Aamir The Director wins over Aamir The actor!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Very Far Far Away

Very Far Far Away was a large and diverse country. It had many ethnic and religious groups and subgroups and castes. But there was a problem. The constant infighting had taken a toll on their country. People were driven by diktats of religion and not its principles like love or brotherhood. This had taken a toll on almost all aspects of the country.

Then HE came. HE, through numerous efforts managed to establish peace. HE established a new religion. A religion without any groups, caste, gods or rituals. A religion that was driven by ethics, equality, freedom, love and brotherhood. The countrymen now channelized their energy in more creative and useful things and prospered like anything.

That was few centuries ago.

But many things haven't changed. The country is extremely prosperous. HE is revered even now. People now worship him. They follow few principles of the religion and any deviation is not tolerated, and punishment is of highest order. Equality is still there, although the close associates of the trust managing temple for HE are given preference. People are still free, although it is prohibited to be against HE or lineage of HE or the religion, and mandatory to visit his temple twice a day. HE still stays ... in hearts and minds of the people. HE has to. It is a rule, after all.

Very Far Far Away is a very happy and prosperous country.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mind thy business

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people's. - Oscar Wilde

Just read this quote. Found it awesome (like many other quotes!) , and so true!

Maybe people find it more interesting to peep into other's business, other people's state of affairs. You have millions of people bombarding with questions like what are you doing, why, why this and not that, why are you wearing this outfit, why you are eating this and not that, why are you writing this stuff and why not thais etc. etc. followed by million other suggestions!

It might be a genuine concern at times, ... but maybe, they find lives of more interesting than theirs ... or maybe they get some scoop to tell in social circles ... or probably there is a hope that they would be as ungood as theirs own, giving them a kind of smug satisfaction!

But on second thoughts ... despite criticizing these, what I will do next?
Maybe, out of curiosity, I may do a wikipedia search to know more about Oscar Wilde's life and various facets of it!
... Or ,maybe go and have a chai-time chat with few friends about different people in the place and get some scoop about their lives!

It is, after all so much fun to get to know about the lives of others, and various 'masala' in the same!

Monday, December 03, 2007

DARK

It was going to be a very short night. Maybe just couple of hours of sleep. Next day had few presentations, few project submissions and exams nearing. He don't care much, but nevertheless he had to pass. He was worried about that. And more so, as he had spent last few hours doing nothing except boozing. But for next few hours he had a more important task in had. That was to catch on with some sleep.

Suddenly a voice woke him up. It was completely dark. Probably a power failure.
Damn! His heater was not working. He was trying to sleep when suddenly that man covered all in black woke him up. He had probably left his door open. He did not introduce himself, but for no reason the two started some conversation.

"What are you doing here?" The stranger asked
Seems he has been caught unawares. Someone from outside world knew that he was doing nothing in the institute apart from just whiling away time boozing, gambling with few friends, sleeping, watching useless stuff on computer etc etc.

"What the f*ck ... what kinda question are you asking ... In fact I should have asked this"
"That doesn't answer it"
"I am sleeping and you are bugging me"
"Still ... That doesn't answer it"
"I am ... studying in one of the best institutions around here ...I am one of the best brains in the country ... I will get a good job, good life ... "
"I know how much true is it ..."
"What ...?"
"Dude .. Tell me the truth ... I know it ... but I want to get it from you"

"Damn ... I know I have screwed up everything ... I don't care about anything ... I am just completely pissed off with everything ... I just want to get out of the system ... It is all a complete letdown ... It is too f*ckin demotivating ... It is too f*ckin screwed up ... The place sucks, the country sucks, the society sucks, whole system sucks ... They don't care about learning ... They don't care for you ... Those bastards are concerned only about themselves ... They assume that they are the f*ckin best in the world ... They think they are god or something ... everyone in the world is concerned of nothing but himself or herself ... People are so damn phony ... Everything is such a show off ... Very few things are real ... Everyone expects us to do everything while they sit there on the fence and make things worse ..."

... He murmured ... not sure of why he was telling all these ... but it was just that he wanted to ... or rather he was drawn towards it. He never reveals his ideas so easily, but this time he relented so easily. He didn't know why.

"What after getting out of here ... You will probably be just another moron slogging your ass off for some filthy rich billionaire ... earning truckloads of money ... but completely oblivious of what is happening just the street next to you. You will be sort of living ... or I must say existing in some boardroom .."

"What do you wanna say ? Am I some bloody moron who doesn't care about any damn thing in the world ..."
"OK ... Let me ask you one thing ... What do you think about yourself ? Are you good or are you bad ... You need not answer to me ... Answer to yourself"

"... Obviously, I am good"
"Sure!"
"Yeah ... probably"
"I can ..."
" ... maybe, but not that good ... everyone is somewhat selfish ... I am also ... But i am not that bad after all ... i do care about people ... I do care about all the good things ... Many a times I know not what is good or what is bad ... but I try to be good ... Ya, I always look for my interest first, and can play some games here and there ... but ... maybe everyone does that ... Little bit deviation is rule of the game I suppose ... But i am not as big a hypocrite as most of them ... I at least ... Oh my god ... I mean ..."


"Do you believe in god ?"
"Ye ..."
"Now temme ... There is no escape ... You have to tell me"
"No ... Probably I am not sure ... probably somewhat, maybe I hate him ... I don't know why ... but I hate him ... He is not fair ... There is some much suffering, so much inequality despite him .. He is partial ... partial towards the ones who praise him, the ones who worship him ... Despite him being so powerful, evil often triumphs ... Truth is that he triumphs at the cost of others ... He misuses power ... He allows people to be killed in his name ... He is ..."

He paused. Then he continued

"... But why are you asking these all ... Who are you ?"

Silence.

He knew not why he was answering all that and to whom, and why was hie cribbing this much. He screamed, begged to know his identity ... but the suddenly seemed to be disappearing. And gradually the silhouette disappeared. He never knew why he was being asked all that, who was he, why so much weird questions. But one thing he knew, there was something to look within.

Bang!
He woke up!

Next he found himself lying on floor, face covered with sweat and pain in the knees, probably a result of sudden fall.

Like a wine ... DCH !

"The movie is like a wine. With passing time it just gets better and better ..." - NR on DCH

Braving the examinations, I watched Dil Chahta hai for the nth time yesterday, after a long gap of maybe more than an year. The movie is awesome. I won't get into review and all that stuff, as enough has been said and written, and everything would sound so cliched. The movie has everything in place - solid performances, script,witty dialogues, characterizations, freshness, music, wonderful direction etc. etc.

But I think the best part is that you can identify with all the 3 friends - Akash, Sameer and Sid.
[OK ... I take back the generalization, but it is extremely true with me, and maybe with most of us!]
There are moments when I feel like one of them, and the very next moment I feel like other. These 'feelings' are no way exhaustive, but it becomes so easy to identify with at least one of them at some point or the other!

And yeah ... It has one of my favorite one liners - "Ya to yeh dosti gehri hai, ya ye photo 3-D hai"

In short, DCH rocks!



Friday, November 30, 2007

Respect the sentiments

How often do we hear the above mentioned words?

Especially in situations when there are chances of someone not taking anything well, or a comment not going down well with audience; in the situations when one needs to be politically correct and socially correct and be seen as morally upright.

But if we remove the facade of the mushy gushy all-OK things, we can look into sort of ugly interiors of what respecting the sentiments mean ... and what it hides.

Some of these reasons for expecting someone to respect the sentiments can be -

1. Person/ groups whose sentiments need to be respected are not open minded enough to hear a counter point of view, and my not be capable of any rational thoughts in that matter
2. There is something undesirable, or something ugly, or even something cancerous that needs to be hidden.
3. The truth might be extremely uncomfortable one, and ignorance might be a better option.
4. Deviation from the accepted norms is not desired. Reason - It has never been done so or no one has ever dared to go against it.

True. There might be many a situation, when these points may not be true, and not respecting the sentiments might not serve any purpose, nor give any point of view, nor expose an undesirable thing ... but more than it is often that ugly thing that which we wish to desperately hide, when we mention the term. So probably a line needs to be drawn.

But where to draw the line ?

... And sorry if I hurt any of your sentiments by my words.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

National flag

Figure this -

Some (publicity hungry!?) lawyer sues Mr. Narayan Murthy for showing disrespect to our national flag!
Some other (publicity hungry!?) lawyer sues Sachin Tendulkar for showing disrespect to our national flag by cutting some Tiranga cake!

There have been many other controversies related to insult on national flag, and pertaining to millions of code of conduct to deal with it. But, probably these two have been he most high profile ones in recent times!

But all seems too idiotic to me. Probably these two persons in question have contributed million times more to the nation than those 'petitioners'. And they are being belittled on basis of doing some act which they think is a proxy for insulting national flag, which they believe is a proxy for disrespecting the country.

Hadh hai !

But, a part of blame lies with the kind of laws and code of conduct that exists for national flag. Maybe, we are too much concerned about proxy for respecting a nation, than doing something constructive for the nation!

Holier than thou

X to Y - "You have done this and this. It is a shame. You shouldn't have done this"
Y replies- "So what? What you did in that case was also not right"

This and that could be anything that is most likely to be some deplorable act.
X can be anyone - an individual, an organization, or a political party. Although in public domain, it is usually political parties that are more dominant in following such approach.

For instance one political party says - "X party did wrong thing by sanctioning misuse of power to kill innocent people in the village". And other retaliates - "... (blah blah blah) 13 years ago when they were in power, they allowed killing of hundreds people in their state".

Such examples are many. Without taking any sides, I think this is too dominant in our system. Instead of not doing wrong or accepting the wrong doing, we often justify it saying that it was of less intensity than others and similar things!

Such 'holier than thou' approach actually becomes 'less unholier than thou'. And being 'less unholier' doesn't make the act good!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Om (Ctrl C-Ctrl V) Om

This is a case study in how to make a presentation or a project report in a B school. This is a study of how to copy-paste from various sources (at the same time acknowledging it) and presenting a complete package with some excellent glossy packaging!

For example, the movie - Om Shanti Om had the basic template from the movie Karz. The main attraction was inspired from John Jhonny Janardan’s title track. There were generous doses of movies like Madhumati and Karan Arjun. Some traces of Maine Pyaar Kiya, some Rajnikanth movies, some Jeetendra movies, many 70s ki movies, many actors ka style and lives etc. etc. were present. Thrown in was some amount of nostalgia in order to emotionally connect with the audience.

Some quotes were from various sources (The one mentioned 3-4 times was from “The Alchemist” –“When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your desire”!)

And then all the ingredients need to be mixed in right proportion so as not to have an overdose or absence of any element.

Maybe, people can take some cues from the movie on “How to make an excellent project report/ PPTs”!!!

The trick lies in presenting the complete entertainment package, so that the audience enjoys it!

For the real substance … Who cares!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why study ?

Philosophical it may sound, but was just wondering what is the purpose of education?

a. Get good jobs, a good status in society so that you can flaunt your status, and leverage that to maximum.
b. Get a good jobs, and follow the 'pre-existing' model of things good and bad without questioning and think as you are ordained to by these models.
c. Make your own judgments of what is wrong and right, make your own decisions and apply a rational thought process.

Or anything else ?

I think it is a combination of (a) and (b).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Gunaho ka Devta

During last few days, I had a privilege of reading one of the most accomplished works in Hindi literature - "Gunaho ka Devta". This was the first time I read a Hindi novel after being highly recommended by 2-3 different people. I was kind of compelled to read it after initial 15-20 pages which were largely in an unfamiliar territory of Hindi literature!

It is a novel set probably more than 50 years ago, and is a philosophical cum love story. It is one of those books where I can't be sure about how I feel. It is an excellently written book (... or maybe it was the first time I was reading a Hindi book ... but probably this is not the explanation!), with the entire spectrum of emotions thrown in generous doses.

The scenes are recreated almost poetically, emotions mentioned perfectly. But at times I am tempted to question basic assumptions of it all. At times I am tempted to say that he is preaching many things which I don't believe in, which I find improper, but then I realise that maybe, it is one way in which the norms of those days were reflected in the story.

For most of the parts of novel I felt I was watching some Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie (probably a combination of Hum dil de chuke sanam and Devdas), and like what I feel after watching these movies, I was extremely unsure of how I felt. Yeah, at least for me such were the parallels. In those two SLB's movies I did not like the movies, but probably liked almost everything about the movie, especially the way emotions are portrayed. The characterizations are wonderful, the narration is good albeit painful ... but painful is what it was meant to be at the first place! Things were quite unfair ... but unfair is what they were meant to be! The audience can probably empathize with the characters, their small triumphs and their big failures.

But like these two movies, in the end I was confused about how I felt. At one end I am tempted to say "wow!", but on other end I think it is not fair .. .what are they trying to say or preach? Things are not justified. They should not have been like that. But as they say, not everything is fair!

Monday, November 05, 2007

One movie, Few observations, Many thoughts !

(Seems that this is becoming a movie review blog! But I couldn't resist posting about this!)
____

I saw Dead Poet's society(DPS) recently for the second time. First time I saw it, I loved it. Second time I saw it, I loved it more!

One of the Bollywood movie Mohabbatein has its plot loosely inspired from it, although DPS is based upon topic of free will while the desi version is mostly a love story, with elements of free will, discipline, tradition etc. strewn in.

DPS is about an unorthodox professor John Keating (played by Robin Williams) in a prep school, who arouses student's love in poetry, seize the day (carpe diem) and follow their heart. As expected the school authorities and few parents don't like it. Its last 10 minutes are excellent, probably one of my favorites!

As one of the move tag lines puts it - " He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary."

Few random observations and many random thoughts -

We often get so deep into things like tradition, honor and discipline, that we forget that there are few things which may not require some of these. In fact it is often too deep ingrained, or rather made to be deeply ingrained as a matter of learnings, and at times these constrain learning. And in fact it may instill fear due to use of things like corporal punishment (... although people of 'Spare the rod and spoil the kid' school of thought may not agree!)

Often there are things other decide, and often under assumption that a person is not capable of making that choice, and hence doesn't deserve the chance to make the choice.

"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. " - DPS

Often we tend to look in short term, probably as distant as will this activity will lead to grades or a CV points, and that all. Cliched it may sound, but in this process we often forget that there is a life beyond it. As once mentioned in Orwell's 1984 - "I know how, but I don't know why" often holds true

Once we read something, we need to look from what we think, and not just blindly what the writer thinks! And yes, there are often other views also and hence need for looking at things in different ways, putting ourselves in different shoes.

"
I Went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. " - HD Thoreau (said by John Keating in DPS)

Carpe Diem, because the days don't stand still!

Overall, an extraordinary product by an extraordinary film maker!

Although, it did not arouse my interest in poetry, but it is an inspirtaional stuff, me says !!
___

DPS @ IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097165/

Friday, November 02, 2007

Child Labor

He was 10 years old. When asked he said that he was 15 years old. He didn’t know why. It was just that his master told him to do so. His name was Raju. When he was born, he was named as Shivkumar, but that name did not suit his master. So his name was changed. His master owned a small juice shop in some big institute, with around 500 people. Most of these students were his customers. They visited him regularly for juice, cold drinks, eatables, cigarettes etc. This was a popular hangout, chiefly because of large credit extended by Sharmaji

Raju had 3 other siblings -Two sisters of age 13 and 11 respectively and a brother of 7 years. The eldest sister worked in a small carpet making unit. She has been employed since 3 years and worked for 12 hours a day without taking and day off. Probably, in a year or two she will be married to someone from a nearby village. Probably her family would get few thousand rupees in bargain! The younger sister was employed full time with a sort of well to do businessman’s family. Their family had a son born around a year and half ago. She had been employed since then. After all they needed someone to help to look after the future scion of the family, so that other family members can enjoy other things in life!

The youngest brother would be employable in about a year. The neighborhood tea stall may probably employ him. Currently he was enjoying playing with similar guys in the street outside the slums where the family stayed. Their parents were laborers, and were at times employed and managed to earn. Else they whiled away time, with mother cooking and cleaning and the father squatting in the slums smoking a bidi or having booze. The family managed enough to get two square meals a day.

The guy with a light beard and long hair was N. He was one of the people often found outside Sharmaji’s shop, and a regular consumer of chips, samosas, soft drinks and cigarettes. He had developed a rapport with the students visiting the shop. Today, a professor mentions in the class about child labor in one of the classes. Things like children below 14 years should not be employed in hazardous industry (although domestic help or the ones like Raju may not be included in this … so technically it is not child labor!). Also, he mentioned that the root problem was that child labor laws were not implemented properly. As a result, these children who were supposed to be studying in some school were working here.

After the class, N and his friends, sitting at Sharmaji’s were now discussing about the issue. Q mentioned that, the problem is about the education system. Even if Raju goes to a school, he may just waste his time and may not be able to learn anything that would make him more employable, and also he loses the money he earns through it. So as the prof mentioned, the benefit of extra hands to earn was more than loss due to having an extra mouth to feed. Hence, the population was huge, and this also led to child labor. T mentioned that it was all because of our feudal mindset. Among many similar points, P mentioned that to a great extent, we often tended to undermine the impact upon the society in long run.

What P mentioned was some management junk, someone remarked. They, still unsure about the root cause and the solution headed for the next class. Probably the phrase mentioned by Prof S – “The more you know, more silent you become” suited them!



Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hunting Good Will and Good Ideas !

Good Will Hunting (GWH) One of the movies is saw today ... It was a repeat telecast. First time I watched it, I thought I missed some of the subtle aspects of the movie. An it was definitely worth it!

Earlier, I found it good, but now it is among my favorites it seems!

In a nutshell it is about a young mathematical genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon), who works as a janitor in MIT, but is fighting with demons of his past and fears to open up with people, spending his talent and energy uselessly. It is also about a psychologist (Robin Williams), who helps Will to cope with it, to follow what he want and all that. Strangely, Robin Williams somehow reminded me of his role in Dead Poet's society, which was completely different! Apart from the script, performances few things, rather ideas stand out in the movie!

Few thoughts apart from usual channelizing your energy, looking deep within yourself kind of stuff -

One is that based upon a person's talent, often others set criteria about what will give him/ her success, what are the parameters for success et al. In the process we often forget what that person actually wants. (probably more in Indian context) E.g. Someone might be a mathematics genius, but he may like to do something else ... or he may not want to spend his entire life proving those theorems, but we often fail to realize it. And few years later if he is just some ordinary citizen living a contended life as a small time photographer (maybe he is not as good as a photographer, as he is in mathematics, but he loves photography more ... although it may sound somewhat contradictory!), but we may label him as a failure, or not someone who hasn't done well in life, or someone who hasn't utilized his potential ... because he doesn't meet our criteria for success!

Awesome movie!
__
GWH @ IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119217/

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Individualism vs. Selfishness

I have often seen people confusing individualism and selfishness, and using both synonymously. They may usually not accept it directly, but it is often clear from their attitude and mannerisms.The moment you drop a hint that you are an individualist, eyebrows are raised as if looking at a selfish person!

Yeah, both emphasize upon living for yourself, putting yourself first and all such stuff. But I believe that there is a fundamental difference between the two.

While individualism is about living for yourself without causing harm to or belittling others, selfishness is essentially living for yourself often at the cost of others.
It is somewhat like an analogy of making one line bigger (given two lines of equal length, drawn using a chalk). You can either make one bigger by extending it using a chalk ... or you can rub the end of one line to make the other bigger!

What say?
Ayn Rand would probably agree!

Friday, October 26, 2007

civilized society ?

An organized communal riots, gaining the proportions of a pogrom ... but the popularity of the person in command (Mr. M) increased and he got a landslide victory in elections!

5 years later -

Mr M walks away (rather runs ...!) from a popular TV show when quizzed about his role in that pogrom.
A (somewhat questionable!) TV sting showing Mr M's role in that riots
Mr M banning TV channels which are about to telecast that!
and Mr M and his aides refusing to come out clean ...
Still he continues to be at the helm of affairs. He ruled the roost for a long time despite his highly questionable conduct (... without giving any defense, but rather perpetrating hatred which makes us believe more in his role!)

Still, he rules the roost (at least as on Friday 26th October, 2007) ... rather he is allowed to ...

Without taking any sides, I am just tempted to ask are we living in a civilized society, where we are driven more by hatred than anything else?
If yes, what kind of civilized society is this, and where is it headed for?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What if this is not 'this' ?

What if I suddenly realized that my life is going as per the script pre-decided by some novelist, and I actually don't have any control over it?

What if my life is nothing but a non-stop uninterrupted TV show, running for 25th consecutive year with me unaware?

Wat if I am actually living a century before, and am actually on my journey to know the future of the world?

What if in reality ghosts are the only things that exist, and humans are merely an illusion ?

What if time was actually not moving in forward direction?

What if on one fine day I find that they are about to demolish the earth to build the inter-galactic superhighway?

What if trees and animals suddenly interchange their roles and vegetarian plants eating only animals, while non vegetarian plants eating both plants and animals?

What if I am suddenly arrested just for imagining these all as I am committing a thoughtcrime ?

Seems like an overdose of fiction and movies!
Am I getting, rather sinking deeper and deeper into this virtual terrritory ?
Or maybe, I am just imagining things!
Or maybe it is a combination of above !
Maybe, I need a break
Damn !
But kab kyun kahan kaise ?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just aise hi ...

That lady was probably in her early 30s, seemed like a resident of a well off locality, probably wife of some well off businessman in the town. (SEC A type, in marketing jargon!). She seemed to be coming after a shopping spree, although calling it a 'spree' would be an exaggeration, as all he had was a small bag. It seemed that she could not get a car that day and hence decided to take a rickshaw to her way back home.

"Ae rickshaw", she blurted

After some negotiations, the elderly rickshaw-waalah obliged, and she kept calling that person as "rickshaw"!

I was just reminded of a sequence from movie Lage Raho Munnabhai where Gandhiji says -
"If you want to judge a person, observe how he behaves with a person having a lower standing than him" !!!

I smiled, nodded my head once and went ahead !

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Whose decision after all ?

Recently I read about the New Zealand cricketer Craig McMillan announcing his retirement at an age of 31, the age when players are often in their prime. Although he wasn't anywhere close to being a great player, he was certainly a good one, having played some good knocks in recent times. There was not much hue and dry, or fanfare and all, though there were some usual courtesies exchanged and all.

I was just wondering what if he had been an Indian player and done he same ?

In fact, first of all would he have taken a similar decision here, considering various stakeholders! Maybe, there would probably have been tons of news channel smelling something fishy, many fingers raised here and there and few extreme public reactions, and maybe politicians coming in to plead him to consider his retirement once again and return to game. Rest assured, the player who has retired might probably not have been let to live in peace ... at least for few days!
And the decision to retire might have an element of all these!

But why ?

One of the reasons could have been treatment of cricket like religion in this part of country and cricketers like gods (... or non-gods! ... depending upon how the team is performing). Or is there some other reason also ?

Maybe it is all too deep rooted. Probably we always want people to think about others while taking their decisions. While this may seem reasonable, it might often translate into people thinking ONLY about others and what people will say while taking decisions, an not what they themselves think of it.
Reason - They are expected to do so ... and not that they want to do so !

Of course, there could be other reason also like love for power or being a celebrity and the associated glamor ... or maybe they might not even think even of these things while taking such a decision.

I think, we often fail to realize that cricket (or being a celebrity or being at any position of status) is just a part of life ... and it is not the only thing in life. A person might find the idea of a celebrity leading a somewhat nondescript life in some non-metro part of the country as weird or indigestible ... but after all uski life hai ...usko pata hai how to live it !

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Some random movie reviews

1 holiday, 6 movies!

8 movies in a span of last 32 hours!

Huh …

That was too much … A mixture of good cinema and utter crap … of hardcore realism to escapism … of typical and offbeat … of some popular to some watched by a handful … a mixture of many differents actually!

Just writing a purposeless random review of all of these –

1. 1. City of god – Excellent!

Brazilian movie, at best understood with help of subtitles and visuals. An excellent depiction of a Brazilian slum, where kids having guns is not an uncommon site; where crime is a way of life.

2. 2. Love actually – Beautiful!

A mushy love story … rather many mushy love stories …Karan Johar types, if some parallel has to be drawn to our desi phillum industry … with everyone from a school kid to Britain’s prime minister is falling in love.

A good watch nevertheless!

3. 3. Jhom Barabar Jhoom – Crap

Only good things are nice songs … but not that interesting with random jhoom baraabar jhoom title tracks thrown in … Also lead female actors look hot!

4. 4. TaRaRumPum – Utter Crap!

… No actual reason for watching it … just aise hi dekh liya forward kar ke … An awful wanna be ‘Life is Beautiful ‘kind of movie!

5. 5. Dhamaal – Time pass

Time pass Escapist cinema with all kinds of crazy stuff thrown in. Absence of songs helps!

6. 6. Ace Ventura Pet Detective – Time Pass Slapstick

Escapist time pass cinema, with typical Jim Carrey humor.

7. 7. Dharm – Excellent Cinema

A typical ‘art’ movie, slow and sensitive kind of … only to be seen it in a ‘frame of mind’ to watch such cinema.

Well researched and well presented, with some excellent performance thrown in. It seems truly ‘Oscar’ nomination kind of movie.

Although, though provoking … it is likely to be seen a quite boring or too slow movie.

8. 8. Loins of Punjab presents –Damn Interesting satire

A recent release and the only one in the lot to be viewed on big screen.

A sneak peek into lives of NRIs. An excellent satire on their lifestyles and talent hunt shows (Indian Idol types!). Beneath this all there are other aspects portrayed quite effectively. Be it high class ‘socialites’ with all their phonyness (portrayed by Shabana Azmi, playing the ‘bitchy’ Rrita), or portraying typical mindset where we wish everyone to be a doctor or engineer, or 10-15 relatives coming up to ‘encourage’ a participant in the talent hunt or a typical Punjabi ‘wanna be dudes’ duo or behind the screen jugaad, or Indians wishing to squeeze the maximum out of US hotels!

Bole to buree tarah le li gayee hai sub type ke ’characters’ ki!!

A good watch for those who love satire (this 90 minute movie is largely in angrezi)

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So much for a day and a half ... huh !!!!!



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sum of uncountable opposites

Ever wondered how many opposites coexist within you, within me ... probably within all of us?

I live in present. Yet that present coexists with memories of pasts and dreams of future.
I face life as it comes. Yet there are times that I become an escapist.
I am often practical and rational. Yet there are moments when actions seem to have only one explanation, and that is irrationality!
I may look at the problems and issues in hand, while I wander in the dreamland in the same very moment.
At times, I am concerned about many things happening across he globe, and the very next moment I become completely oblivious to my very surroundings
We may be attached to a million things. Yet we long for moments where we can break all these shackles and wish to break free.
There are moments when one feels that the world is beautiful. Yet there are other moments when all surrounding us is just a big bad world.
There are moments which seem like hours, yet there are many hours that seem like a fraction of second.
There are times when I feel all powerful; capable of achieving anything in this universe. But there are times when we realize that calling this earth as an inconsequential part of the vast universe may be an overstatement!
Sometimes we believe in our judgment of what should be the way things should be with a strong sense of right and wrong, yet in the very next moment we question the very foundation of such conventions and assumptions!
I am often what people expect me to be. But there are moments when I am simply myself, and that may be the only way I may want to be.

There are so many more opposites. Yet, these opposites coexist harmoniously within you, within me, and probably within all of us!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The captain

He waited for almost 2 hours. The Captain was about to come. He was about to be given a hero's welcome in his home town, a not so big city. And why not ? After all he had won the world championship after beating arch rivals in a nail-biting final, when people had almost written them off at the beginning of the tournament. They were now the world champions in that format of game. This was a shorter version of the game.

But things were never the same. He was among many people who burnt the captain's effigy few months ago. They were protesting against him. They even tried to attack his house and car. Reason - Extremely poor performance in the World cup tournament., which was another version of the same game. The captain was then just an ordinary player, who performed miserably in the tournament. Back then, he was even referred by someone as a disgrace to the team by few people. But now it was a different situation.

The noise was becoming louder by each passing moment. The captain came and went. He got a glimpse of him from a distance. He was more than happy. His thoughts went to few months ago when he was among the protesters demanding his sacking few months ago. Yeah, the public is very fickle. They make celebrities and love to see them fall. But who cares. No one gives even a damn ! He went away to his small time shop and continued his work, much of which had been accumulated in few hours when he had gone for the 'darshan'.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Arbit sawaals and questions

This is just another incoherent random collection of arbit thoughts ... rather questions, one of the posts of "direct dil say ..." kind of posts. Some of these are within some corner of my heart occasionally venturing to the surface and often close to the outer word but are once again sent to the same obscure corner of the heart where it was before.

What motivates us to do things we do?
I think more often than not we are guided by the fact that everyone else is doing it. There maybe a small element of "we wish to do it" ... but again after some probing it comes to XYZ is doing so OR others are doing it kind of things. Maybe it is too deep rooted.

Why do people expect us to be different ... yet be like "everyone else" ?
Maybe, it is due to a kind of peer pressure, or due to a fear of 'rejection', Or is there any other reason?

Why are many people not even open minded enough to realize the need of being open minded. And how can we make them realize that they should be open minded, because they may not realize it, coz they are not open minded enough to realize to listen about the need to be open minded?

Why do people 'order us' while apparently they are advising us and why they often assume that we are completely incapable of understanding what is right or wrong or good or bad ?

Why is it often others who define what is good for us, what are parameters for our success, how life should be lived, code of conduct and all, and if you have your own definitions you are labeled as someone who is some kind of a irresponsible idiot ?

Why is it often that we need to do things not because of any logic but because it has always been done so OR it is the way it should be done (though no logic might go into doing of this!) ?

Maybe these are often the fear arising due to risk of failure due to not following a tried or tested thing ... Or maybe there is some other reason ?

These and many more prakaar of sawaal ...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hospitality

Dictionary meaning

Hospitality -

1.the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2.the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.

Indians are believed to be one of the most hospitable people. It may be true to quite an extent, but there are some elements which seem strange. Say the obsession with eating, or to put it in some other way, guest eating well being a surrogate of a good, hospitable treatment. This may be more visible in interior or 'traditional' parts of country where ofter the person who is 'guest' is supposed to be 'following' or 'eating' thing served by the host. Plus there are some unwritten rules like you need to be always smiling, you need to get along well with everyone irrespective of age, believe with XYZ rules and all and blah blah. To hell with what you believe in, to hell with what you like or dislike, to hell with what you are as a person!

It all reminds me of one line i saw in a recent movie "Ghee khilaana aapke hobby hai kya!". (said by Katrina Kaif in a movie where she plays a Indian-Firang babe, said to her family members in Punjab) Recently I happened to go to a janmastmi celebrations where they had a prashaad in the end. They had some 12-15 varieties of sweets. All of them were 'served'. They were not ready to take it back (hospitality obviously!) and i couldn't leave it (good manners + prashaad combo!). Alas, I had to eat all of them and be in anorexic state of mind for next few hours! And I know not what people who are so-called 'health conscious' be thinking of when faced with similar situation!

We often tend to confuse hospitality with 'forcing to eat' so that the host doesn't feel 'bad' and all such stuff. So I wonder whom are we hospitable to !

Friday, August 31, 2007

On koolness, Phonyness, Holden Caulfields etc. and all

This is one more post with nothing in particular. It was just that I was feeling like writing something crappy as no one was listening to me. I was watching a movie, not studying, was in a mood to do nothing in particular, getting bored and all that stuff. Actually I was browsing through people’s Orkut profiles. They have written such a nice bunch of krap. I mean all sounded so unreal, so phony. I mean, every second guy is a cool guy. That I must have seen million times by now. This all scares hell out of me. I mean I don’t say that I am someone great or someone like Howard Roark or John Galt, nor I can be. I don’t have such great ideals or morality or any such krappy stuff. But it all sounds so unreal and millions tonnes of aaattitude and exhaggerations thrown in. Dude … they are so arrogant. I mean, they are such idiots that they think that only they are the only human beings on earth, and others are just crappy combination of cranky bones and muscles. And all those artificial and contrived writings with lotsa kool sounding words and spelling mistakes to make it look kool thrown in. I mean Y du peepul make sow manee spalleng meestaches ? Y du they make such contrived centenses? They keep on repeating same kool words and phrases again and again. They are such a bunch of liars, only thing they seem to know is critisizing others, as if they are the greatest person to ever exist on earth. I mean, be yourself dude. Man, you have got a life. Reading all that I was feeling like Holden Caulfield, a character surrounded by phonies. I mean, people are so unkool when they pretend to be so kool. I mean some men are born kool, some become kool, and some just pretend koolnes. All unkool men belong to the third category. I mean I am koolly impressed by the way they are so unkool. This might sound Yossariansqueish, but this is the the way things are … I tell u that. And they are such a bunch of unkool selfish arrogant brats. Better stay indoors like Boo Radley or someone as goddamn stupid. Damn! I can go on continuously about trillions of other things in the universe I know about, but the truth is that I don’t give a damn about telling people. After all why should I ?

__

Holden Caulfield - Catcher in the Rye

Yossarian – Catch 22

John Galt – Atlas Shrugged

Howard Roark – The Fountainhead

Boo Radley - To kill a mockingbird

(The purpose of last part was not to give references of these characters, but to tell u that I have read many of these goddam books and all stuff …)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random take on Bollywood movies

This is just a random take on some of the Bollywood movies.

Have tried to represent on a graph, with two axes. This classification is quite intuitive and may at times seem devoid of logic. It is inspired by techniques of perceptual mapping in marketing research and somewhat from strategic mapping. But this is about my take on it, with minuscule impurity of the world view. Also, a classification doesn't automatically label a movie being good or bad.

This is done with no particular end in mind. It was just a random time waste ka idea while watching a movie and surfing the internet in parallel




(Please click on the pic to see it clearly)


My personal favorites are available in my profile though !

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Away from Limelight

The lights faded. The shooting for the day was over. The hero retreated in his van, away from the public glare.

He was one of the most popular man on the silver screen in the tinsel town. He had been ruling the roost since over a decade now. It was he who dictated shots to the directors and producers. He was linked with half a dozen ladies, mostly the top most beauties of the silver screen, before tying knot and breaking it up with his schooldays buddy.

He enjoyed public adulation to the maximum. The public once went gaga over him, only to love to see him fall after a string of flops, before he came back with a bang with the biggest grosser of the decade. This was four year ago. Since than there has been no looking back. He had delivered 9 blockbusters in a row since then. He now commanded highest billings in the industry. Calling him a superstar would e an understatement.

Now he called shots. The public loved to imitate him. He enjoyed the limelight earlier. He had always dreamed to be in the limelight. Then he got immune to it. Now he was getting sick of it. Even if he sneezed, it became a news item. Now he tried to get away from the spotlight, but spotlight couldn't survive without him. It was getting increasingly painful. He wanted to be alone. He wanted to be himself. He wanted to LIVE ... and he didn't see the way he was as 'living'. He decided to go away from maddening crowd.

That day he finally decided to act. Not the acting he was doing now, but to do things according to his will. He didn't want to be fettered by his stardom. He wanted to be himself. That day his driver was on leave. He decided to go to somewhere. Where, he didn't know. Maybe, a farming which was his roots. Or maybe he could be a sailor, which he always wanted to be. Or maybe just a traveler, just making it sure that e is not noticed. Even he wasn't sure.

Next day the hero wasn't there for shooting. His cell phone was unreachable. He was 300 miles away in his car listening to a news item, rather a 'gossip' saying that he has suddenly 'disappeared'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Great Indian Divide

Feels good to have the following published on IBNLive website ... wo bhi photu ke saath :-)

http://www.ibnlive.com/blogs/iday2007/blog_story.php?id=46747

Below is the direct copy paste from the above link (sans photu)
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In history, very few nations can boast of having a journey as monumental as India’s. We were once considered to be sone ki chidiya few centuries ago, we lived as a British colony for few centuries, and then we became known by the western world as ‘the land of snake charmers’ and are now considered being a potential superpower.

Yet, India continues to be a land of contrasts. Our GDP is growing at a rate of 9%, yet there are places which remain decades or even centuries backwards. Businessmen are entering into exclusive club of world’s richest men, yet a fourth of the population lies below the poverty line. We have 5 star hotels coming up, yet there are hordes of people who cannot afford even a square meal per day. We are so proud our culture, yet caste system is rampant.

Election battle lines are more often than not drawn on basis of caste and religion. We worship Goddess Laksmi, yet a large chunk of people show disregard for wealth by evading taxes. We have some of world’s finest academic institutions, yet a third of our population is illiterate. We have one of the largest English speaking populations in the world, yet many can’t write their names properly. We are the biggest democracy, yet accountability in public domain has left a lot to be desired. We often rest on our past laurels, but often let it become a hurdle in moving ahead.

I can go on and on in mentioning these contrasts. But the truth remains that although a part of India is ready to take-off to match the world, a bigger part is fighting just to survive. Even if we become a developed country some differences will be present, but this divide needs to be bridged if we want to become a superpower. Post independence Nehruvian socialism was considered to be the best way, but after decades of license raj and infinite restrictions and xenophobia and a growth rate which we can hardly be proud of, we have opened our economy and results seem to be quite encouraging.

Yet there have been many areas where our performance has been far from satisfactory, and this need to be looked into. The main emphasis must be on primary education and infrastructure. Primary education scenario in India has been quite dismal, and with a very high school dropout rates. But in order to bring people from ‘have-nots’ to ‘haves’ we need to firstly get the basics right.

Helping them in later stages of education, say at post graduate level or at job level may not serve the purpose as it may lead to undermining merit and also, such a person is likely to do not so well considering a relatively weak foundation. The building blocks must come at a more elemental level.

Secondly, Infrastructure needs to be developed. It includes chiefly power, roads, ports, airports and IT (have I missed out any!!!). A bad infrastructure may prove to be a bottleneck and be the difference between an industries doing well and not well. Also, a good infrastructure will definitely have a ‘spiraling’ effect on other sectors of economy. Apart from these there are many other issues which need to be tackled like reducing the proportion of people dependent on agriculture for living, a good healthcare system, an effective fourth estate etc etc.

Unless we stop resting on past laurels, unless we work on our grey areas, which have shown a slow progress, we cannot dream of becoming a superpower. (Quite likely that you might have read these earlier in these very columns, but this is what I think as a citizen of India)

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quite unlikely

“Hello … Is anybody sitting here?”

“No”, she said, making room for him to keep his book on the library desk. She kept wondering why he would come to sit on the same table as hers in the library, while others were lying empty and more importantly, when they did not talk much in first 3 years of their engineering. In fact, they usually did not get along well, especially after many spats earlier during their college life. They did not see eye to eye in any matter be it scheduling of tests, sharing of notes, or even sorting out an issue with a faculty member or anything. In fact, once in the canteen they were arguing over petty issues like who should get the sandwich first, as both ordered same thing nearly at same time and the sandwiches came at an interval of 2 minutes.

But there was more to it than plain not getting along. It was after all a matter of image. If he relented, his image would be tarnished in his group, and more so in the boy’s hostel. Same was the case with her. And this was further complicated by the fact that they were sort of rivals as far as academics were concerned. She always managed to top in the class, and he had to be satisfied with the second ranker tag. Anyway, it didn’t really matter if it was gold medal or silver. But it mattered a lot to him whom he lost to, if at all.

Library was one of the better places to sit down and study. It wasn’t really needed that moment as there was still more than 3 months for the examinations. She was actually quite miffed by the way he came all of a sudden to her desk and was now whistling around in the library. Nobody else in the library seemed to care. It seemed quite clear that he seemed interested in irritating her. Finally, her patience ended and hell broke loose. Finally, she was pacified by the library authorities and he left.

In the evening, she had an unlikely visitor waiting at gates of her hostel. She was quite surprised to see him standing there. Maybe he had come to apologize ... or maybe to give her a verbal lashing. She prepared herself for the verbal duel. But, it was something else she heard.

“I …I am sorry. I shouldn’t have been bugging you in the library.”

“It’s OK”.

She stopped. But again she continued,

“Maybe, I got too angry at you and overreacted”

He was about to leave. But something struck him. Maybe all wasn’t that good between them, and there was no reason to carry on the same grudges further.

“Probably, we have been spending helluva energy in useless arguing. I don’t think it serves any purpose. After all the reasons we have not been getting too well are petty. And after all it doesn’t serve any purpose at all”.

Damn. He was running out of words in his fourth sentence.

He stopped, asked her to join him for a coffee at a nearby coffee house, and prepared himself for a lashing. But to his surprise, she agreed. She also realized that they had been fighting uselessly over petty things and holding any grudges won’t do any good for them. That day, they ceased to be enemies … rather rivals; enemy is too harsh a word.

Meanwhile they started seeing more of each other. Back in hostel, he became the butt of many jokes. But he couldn’t have cared less. He believed that what he was doing wasn’t wrong. Maybe, some might have seen it wrong but what mattered to him was what he thought of it and not others. The more they knew about each other, more they rued the ‘cold-war’ for past three years. But they had such a lot in common. But the most important thing that made them connect was their passion for winning.

Meanwhile, the final exams approached. It was 2 weeks for the same, and probably after a period of 5 weeks they would leave the college and their paths totally different. Meanwhile they had intensified their preparations for the examinations. In most of the cases, couple of days of studies would have been enough to sail through, but it was their passion to win that made them slog hard in order to be right there at top. They usually studied together. To no one’s surprise they did their papers extremely well and were expecting fabulous results.

Finally, they had to part… Yeah, they would probably meet after a month when they were supposed to come to the place to collect their mark sheet and all stuff. But that was for few hours. As of now, she was leaving by the evening train. She hoped to meet him before leaving. Never had she thought that they would become such close buddies. She once said that it was a privilege to know someone like him, and he couldn’t have felt otherwise for her. He came to see her off at the railway station, and decided to be at the town on same day for collecting their mark sheet and all. That would probably be the last time they were seeing each other. They may not meet later probably, unless they were destined for same university for their master’s degree. But that seemed a remote possibility.

The day finally arrived after a long one month. She was quite happy to see him, and he was more than elated. Their results were out. His plan had worked. His long cherished dream had been fulfilled. He had managed to get a gold medal, and she missed it by a single mark.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Assumptions

“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” – Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

There are some premises on which you build your thoughts and opinions; and often there are times when you visit these very assumptions and question them. These are usually when we find that something is not in sync with what we believe in or what we believed as self evident.

Assumptions exist at different levels. At individual level, it these are usually the core beliefs upon which we base our other beliefs and attitudes. Most of them have been passed on to us, as part of our environment or teaching. There are some assumptions on which institutions like the legal system are based, like principle of natural justice or principle of equality of all men. And there are assumptions in bureaucracy about seniority being equivalent of competence. Those in favor of caste based reservations (in principle … and not just politics!) do so under assumption of normal distribution of competence within each caste/ group.

There are assumptions upon which societies are built. For example religion assumes that there is a supreme power controlling everything in the world. As an extension of this, it is often assumed that bad guy will always be defeated sooner or later or that god is fair and just or assumptions that caste system is the way things are actually supposed to be. On the other hand there may be people who don’t believe in these assumptions or have diametrically opposite assumptions, and hence they may have completely different viewpoints.

Then there are some assumptions on which nations are built. Different countries have been built and have progressed with different sets of assumptions. USA was based upon individual freedom and individualism, which reflected the culture in western world. Russia, on other hand was built on completely different assumptions which gave rise to communism. Countries in Middle East were built upon same assumptions that of their chief religion. Of course, circumstances play an important part in it, but how they deal with them depends upon the set of assumptions.

There are opinions which are based upon these very assumptions. Yet, there are times when we think that things ought to be in particular way, and we might face a dilemma as to which side of the line we are actually towards. This is when it becomes imperative to visit our assumptions, and maybe even challenge these assumptions. Take for instance, issue of reservation. There would be people for it based upon the rationale provided, there would be people against it and there would be people in both groups who might be confused between the opposites in the rationale provided. All these views are a function of their assumption.

And there are individuals who have influenced the course of history by challenging these very assumptions – like Raja Ram Mohan Roy or Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Galileo. Had they not challenged these basic assumptions, history might have been different. Factors like discrimination or inequality or simply assuming that they had a right to challenge the existing practices probably made them review his assumptions of life and do the things they did during course of their lives. Not only them, but since long, since the prehistoric times, the course of history has always been given shape by people who challenge the very assumptions of their existence, and same would be in times to come!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented

(Disclaimer: I am NOT justifying any action or behavior. I am just speculating why people usually act so)

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“We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented” – The Truman Show (a 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey)

The above line explains a great deal about why we hold on to some beliefs as gospel truths, and form our judgment about things and act in a specific pattern.

This movie (which I feel is still quite under-rated!) had Jim Carrey, a person whose entire life had been a live, non-stop, unedited television show. He lived in a world which was completely artificial; everything, everyone knew that everything were fake. But the person was real. His emotions were real. He was conditioned to a certain realities of world, and believed in it. The makers of the show did not want to show him what the ‘actual’ world was. He was made not to want to explore the outside world, made to fear things that could have led him to explore outside world. Yet he believed it, because it was the only reality he was presented with. (How he later moves to outside world is another story!). Though parallels between the movie and the real world were probably not direct, yet they were quite remarkable. The one line mentioned above can explain a great deal about why people act or behave in a particular way.

For example, we all condemn the act of terrorism and acts of extremism, especially activities of likes of al Qaida. Often the question is raised that why they do such acts and no religion would ever support such activities. However, the reality of the world according to us and according to them is completely different. They are usually trained for these purposes and taught that what they are doing is right. People who usually carry out such activities usually have no skills except reciting The Quran, which they cannot usually comprehend as it is written in Arabic, and they are usually trained in local dialect, making these people vulnerable to the manipulators in power. They believe that this is the right path and are brainwashed and conditioned to this ‘reality’. They accept this, as it is the only ‘reality’ to which they are exposed to. So what they do, we might consider it incorrect, but for them it might be the ultimate truth. (Some insights were from ‘The Afgan” – Frederick Forsyth)

Taking other example, we more often than not find many people holding on to the set of beliefs that we don’t and find it odd. We may find some person of older generation too obsessed with religion, caste, customs, xenophobia and he/she might be condemning the current generation for lack of belief, or consider them to be heretics. They might have their opinions about things like eating habits, talking to others, moral code of conduct, female education etc. The current generation may not subscribe to this. But, we should consider the fact that it is what they were conditioned to. Today’s world might find atheism or cynicism in age old traditions as correct, but the ones of older generation might not. This was the only ‘truth’ they were exposed to, and this is what they adhere to.

Most of the things we know or the opinions we form (including this one!) are what we have been taught or are exposed to in some form or other. We think it to be accurate (usually!) because it is the only one to which we are exposed to. But we may not know what the truth actually is, because what we know is the reality of the world which is presented to us.

Though we have a right to criticize things; but before we make a judgment about anyone we should put ourselves in their shoes and then form an opinion after answering the question “why?”

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The moviee - The real luv story

Love him or hate him. You just can’t ignore him. That has been the case of our music director turned singer turned pop-star turned actor Himesh Reshammiya. So, when his debut movie Aap ka Surroor (based upon one of his music albums with same name) released, it was bound to be in the news. Last Friday a group of nearly 15-20 people, including me went to catch this magnum opus. The promos offered an ample scope for masala in the movie, and that was the main reason for going to see it, rather than catching some good cinema! We all decided to wear caps to PVR, but only a handful followed the dress code. My cap coupled with unshaven looks made me appear like a true Himesh fan, and I felt proud of it, especially when I was about to watch a probably classic!

The entry of the hero with a song As-salaam-walaikum generated a tremendous applause. He sang each and every song in the movie, apart from chanting Gayatri mantra and Dard e Dil from Karz. Nearly every dialogue he said generated the applause. Many a times the applause was preceded by screams of “Taaliyan” and we all obliged. The dialogues generated applause, the music did, the fight sequences did, and the cameraman did (esp. when he focused on Himesh’s cap!). Few sequences stand apart in the movie. One of them is the fight sequence towards the climax of the movies where 3 autos (in Germany!) fight the German cars which also included the likes of BMWs! And the songs had us joining the chorus, and at times dancing to tunes (though we were firmly seated in our seats even while dancing).


This was one of the movies where someone sharing the screen with Mallika sherawat managed to get more applause than Mallika. The fight sequences were as bizarre as possible. The love story was as clich├ęd as possible. There were scenes where Himesh was beaten badly, but he never compromised with his cap. Then there was an awesome fight sequence in the roads of Germany, and the confessions of the villain, which was aired live on TV … and the heroine watched it from her ‘shaadi ka mandap’! . But the scene that stands out was the one in the end where our hero takes out his cap. That was the scene of the movie, it seemed and stood a class apart (maybe in the league of “kitne aadmi the” in Sholay!). And suddenly after that there was Mehbooba Mehbooba track from Sholay, and the movie ended! We came out of the cinema hall with some great memories and a pain in hands resulting from excessive applauses. And for us, those two and a half hours were total paisa wasool.


While reading this, it might seem that there was nothing great in the movie. But see the movie and experience the magic. And, as I say … It is often quite entertaining to watch a complete nonsensical potboiler like this one, with a frame of mind tailor made to watch an out and out stupidish movie like Aap Ka Surroor. Caps off to you … Himesh!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cycle

After a failed attempt at jogging, I roamed about aimlessly when an idea struck me to have a ride in a cycle, couple of which is lying in the “recreational area”. I was longing since long to ride a cycle sans motor. There was no particular reason for this feeling; it was that just I wanted to have a ride. The 2-3 km ride was a tiring experience, especially for one who is having this after a long time; but I was gleeing all along.

As an infant, I loved going about in a tricycle. Then I became too big for it and got a cycle. After several attempts and many falls, I mastered the art. I used to flaunt it in front of my friends, who flaunted theirs. As I entered teens, the bicycle seemed smaller; so I got a bigger cycle. As years progressed, I learnt to ride a 2 wheeler. Now I started to find the bicycle too childish for my tastes. I tried to reason out why I should get a 2-wheeler to go to a particular place. Sometimes I succeeded to get it, and sometimes I didn’t and had to go around in the cycle. In the first year of my engineering college, only few guys had bicycles. They were always in demand to go a distance, and I became a consistent borrower. But as we spent some time, we got our bikes, and bicycles were either sold or started gathering dust. Riding a bicycle was anyway not cool, and bicycle became bye-cycle. Now few years down the line, I haven’t driven a bicycle for few years. It was such a great experience to have a ride after so many years. Is that life coming full circle?

Naaaaah, but it surely was a great experience.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I feel like ...


A wierd kind of feeling has been making me feel wierd since few hours.


I wish to sleep, I long for it after a tiring day, yet I decide against it for some time.
I longed for wi-fi connectivity in my laptop, but am not feeling like using it.
I felt like spending hours in air conditioned library and computer centre of institute, but am spending time in hot and humid weather.
I feel like having a nice stroll, yet my will powerfails me after pain in my legs after a round of partly unsuccessful atempt at jogging.
I wish to finish up some long pending tasks, but feel like leaving it up to 'tomorrow'.
I long for solitude to spend time with myself, yet the silence seems too be so deafening.
I long to converse to some friends, but then for no reason I feel like not troubling them with my blabbering.
I wish to write something endlessly, but words words fail me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Road crossing blues

It was the peak hour in Bangalore. I just needed to cross the road and drop a cheque at an ATM. I expected to be back in 2 minutes. But it wasn’t going to be an easy journey. It was the 100 feet ring road in Koramangala at 8 PM on a weekday. People were returning after another mundane day at their office. There were bikes, cars, buses and more and more of the 3. The traffic signal (which is not usually followed) was a bit far away. So why was I supposed to spend those extra few minutes. So I just went with the shortcut. There were four stages. Two lanes while going and two while coming. So I began my journey.

Stage 1:
The vehicles were coming at full speed. I waited for more than two minutes, but wasn't able to make a first move. Then I decided "bahut ho gaya ... ab to cross kar ke hi rahunga". So, there I went. But I was soon on back foot as I was nearly knocked down by a speeding car. He blurted some abuses at me which I couldn't hear due to clamoring of vehicles. In next 3 minutes I made4 failed attempt, half of which were a close shave. But I didn't lose any hope. I went ahead. "Thoda risk to lena hi padega ..." I thought. Then I saw a ray of hope. I calculated that the next vehicle will be there in 3 seconds; so if in 2.5 seconds I manage to cross the road, my journey will 25% complete. I was somewhat wrong. But, the driver was a good one. He slowed down a bit, changed his path a bit, and I was through just in time. 7 minutes into the start of the mission; I was now stranded in the divider.

Stage 2:

This was the easiest. I had decided to use all my experience. So the moment car was 3 seconds away, I ran to the other side. A motor cycle managed to brush me and I nearly fell down at one corner of the road, but I was safe and sound and more confident. The stage was over; and so was my half of the mission.

Stage 3:

10 minutes into the mission, I was late by 8 minutes. Though I couldn’t make up for the lost time, I decided to make amends. So like stage 2, I made a quick calculation and ran towards the divider. All was over in one minute. I stumbled by divider and wasn’t as lucky as the second stage. Yet I escaped with minor injuries. But now I was wary of heavy traffic.

Stage 4:

Scared and waiting for the right moment, I stood patiently on the divider. My friend who had been waiting for me was nowhere in sight. He must be somewhere around the corner, I thought. I patiently waited for seven more minutes, when I called it quits. It wasn’t possible to cross road without taking any risk. I was at the point of no return. I couldn’t have escaped from the divider. So, as soon as I spotted an opportunity, I garnered all my courage, all my energy and was all set to make a quick move. However, it did not materialize. So I tried to use what my friends described Formula 32. I walked patiently, showing a hand to all the vehicles coming my way, literally telling them to wait for a second so the emperor crosses the road. And finally I succeeded. What a moment it was! I was back within 19 minutes. But my friend had left by them. He was scared of the dreaded traffic police, so he made a move. So I got an auto and went towards my home which was few minutes’ walk (without any crossings!)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sarkaari Hospitals ka experience

One of my friends let us call him AK got admission into an IIM. Being a sarkari institute there are some conditions to be fulfilled. One of them is physical and mental fitness certificate (or sanity certificate!) from a civil surgeon or its equivalent. This entails rounds to one of the many sarkari hospitals, as the ones from private practitioner are not allowed.

So began my not so long, yet a long journey through few government hospitals of the city for a work that was supposed to last few minutes. First was the Jaideva Institute of Cardiology. But there they declined stating that that is an autonomous institute. We left thinking that “Hadh hai … autonomous hua to kya hua … hai to sarkaari … and these stupid requirements of the Institute”. But we got the address of next location and continued our quest.


Next location was Sanjay Gandhi hospital for accident. The doctor had gone for breakfast and we were told to wait for few minutes. We kept on bugging the receptionist/ nurses/ any hospital staff every 5 minutes to ask whereabouts of the doctors. Finally after waiting for over an hour, the doctor was still not back from his breakfast. He must be a glutton! But we wondered that it was an Accident care institute. Putting an end to our patient wait we got the address of the next location where we could have our work done.

In a few minutes’ drive we arrived at the Jayanagar Hospital. We were directed from one ward to other, and finally directed to a place where we could have it done. The compounder took us to a doctor, who gave the fitness certificate, took Rs 50 as ‘fees’ (sans receipt … and taking money not by his hand, but asked it to keep at a designated place … probably we look like Tehalka.com’s employees). The compounder took 20 bucks as his fees for putting the doctor’s and hospital’s seal and our work was done within 3 hours!

No wonder that futility of all these formalities and evils of red-tapism, blended with the possibility of “fees” money driving the demand and supply of our economy dominated most of our discussions that day!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Talent hunt ?

These days almost every TV channel has its own talent hunt show, inspired by Indian Idol, showcasing judgement and other talent of of who is who of the music industry. Some of them even managed to have warring personalities like Annu Malik and Alisha Chinoy to share the same dais.

The talent is often amazing, yet at times it seems so melodramatic, so contrived. Each disappointment comes with a Pandora box of emotions, and then some inspiring and some harsh words by the judges. Who knows how much truth is there in it. For example a recent 'speech' by Himesh, “Mujhe tere ghar roti chahiye!” Maybe it was a promotion of his acting talent before Aap ka suroor releases.

And then there are participants making a case for themselves, so that people vote in their favor. Yet, few survive this ruthless competition. And then comes a flurry of emotions, probably with an attempt to influence the decision. But it seems, this has become more of a norm then exception. More often than not, we often feel sick of so may emotions on a talent hunt show– be it real or phony, often reminding of Ekta Kapoor shows.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Immoral police ?

Recently I read a quote in TOI:
"
What is difference between Indian democracy and American?
Ans. In American demoracy it is OK to kiss in public, in Indian it is OK to pee in public but not to kiss in public
"

Moral police, what do you say?

Probably you would love people to be forever in the dark and not make any choice out of their will, but rather they would love to see them towing to their line of thought, or rather lack of it, pollute the culture of free will and people taking responsibility for their actions (if it exists !), and ransack the place where they read this thing, if at all they do.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dreams

Why is it that we often dream about those things which we know we won’t be able to get, and even if we get it, the price may be too heavy?

And yet dream on till it becomes too painful to live without that dream.

And become a prisoner of your own dreams; the dreams that were supposed to set you rolling, dreams that ought to give direction.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The vegetable vendor

The vegetable vendor yelled. It had been an hour since she ventured out in a somewhat posh locality to sell vegetables. This has been her routine since around a decade. She made a small profit in a day and on some good days the profit touched Rs 100 mark. But in most of the days it was much less than it. She managed few hundred rupees, usually breaching the Rs 1000 mark a month. That was barely enough to make her family earn a decent living. She had been living with her 3 children, which she had before leaving her abusive, alcoholic husband. Like many others she dreamed that her children will have good education. She was an illiterate but she understood the importance of education for good living. This was one of the reasons she did not allow any of her children to work, though occasionally they helped her.

Today seemed a bad day. Not even a single buyer since an hour. Finally one lady showed up. She was a 30 something, stout, seemingly snobbish lady with loads of make up. She came and enquired about the prices of the vegetables. She hated leafy stuff, usually avoided potatoes as she heard it made her fat. Finally after few minutes she decided to go for few brinjals.

“How much does it cost”

“Rs 22 a kg”

“I need to buy only a quarter”

“Theat will cost …”

“I mean 250 grams”

“Rs 6”

“How come? See 1 kg costs Rs 22. So 1/4th kg, I mean 250 grams should cost 22 divided by 4, nearly 5 rupees”

“No. It is Rs 6”

“Still … Rs 6 is too much. Tell the right price.”

“It is 6 only”

“I’ll give Rs 5. Not a penny more”

“No. It costs us so much. It is not possible”

“OK. I’ll get it from someone else”

“Ok. You can have it for Rs 5”.

The lady gave Rs. 5, took the brinjals and got inside her Honda City which was waiting for her to take her to a beautician.

The vegetable vendor looked at the soiled Rs 5 note, smirked at no one in particular, and moved ahead.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Taxi Driver

“ Churchgate", I said.

He dumped my luggage into the boot space and went to the driver’s seat.

He was a man probably in his late 50s, seemed like a person who hardy opened his mouth, so unlike many drivers who start blabbering the moment you step in the taxi. A tall man, with some hairs white, though they were mostly covered by a cap, rather a hat. His face wasn’t visible, especially in the dim light little after sunset.

But fifteen minutes in the journey which would take probably an hour, his baritone voice started talking. He was quite amazed by the level of ignorance I had about Mumbai. I told him that I belong to a small town near Allahabad. He also belonged to Allahabad. And then came numerous discussions from government policies to sports to Indian economics. He revealed that he left his hometown in his 20s and is has been a long since then. He had a daughter who was married and a son who would be getting married shortly. However, I didn’t go deep into his personal life as I thought he might not like it, and also it might appear that I was making fun of his not so affluent life. Though I came to know that he and his son were both in same profession, and even his wife and his daughter in law were in same profession. I smiled that the family with everyone a taxi driver. Though I had never seen a female taxi driver, I knew that times were changing. He seemed to know about all the topics under the sun. But one field he seemed to be expert was Bollywood.

Meanwhile he carefully negotiated the traffic, following every traffic rule which were often unheard of in my part of country. But he revealed that he cannot afford to break any of the rules.

Meanwhile we continued our discussion on Bollywood, which later turned out to be a monologue as he was way too knowledgeable than me. I gave some of my comment about likes and dislikes. I showered praise on modern breed of actors like Hritik Roshan, John Abraham and dislike for the likes of Abhishek Bacchan. I thought that he is there just because he got way too many opportunities as he was son of Amitabh Bacchan. In fact I added that I didn’t like Aishwarya Rai and couldn’t understand why she is so much overhyped. I conceded that she didn’t look as hot in Dhoom 2 as she was made out to be. He seemed to disagree and changed the topic, as we didn’t seem to agree.

Meanwhile, after an hour of ride in heavy traffic, I reached my place. I took out my luggage and I paid him. But he didn’t seem to come out of taxi. The reason he gave was that he would be surrounded by people.

“What a jerk” I thought.

But few seconds later I got a glimpse of his face for the first time. I was nothing less than stunned, and somewhat embarrassed. I stared at him with a open mouth till he spoke.

“I was preparing for a movie in which I am playing role of a taxi driver, and what better than experiencing it firsthand”

“But …”

Before I could complete, Big B drove away, and I was still wondering if it was a dream or something.