Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My contribution to TZP!

Being an ardent SRK fan for so many years I was determined to ignore all those who praised Amir Khan and his work in comparison. It was the world’s way of shunning the priceless values of ‘Narcissism’ and the Bollywood icon of Narcissism- SRK. Ashamed as I am of myself, I had gone to PVR- Rivoli with my friends in a secret hope to see Aamir falter and fail in his debut as a director. I was pretty confident that I could come out of the theatre saying that well what we did was waste 3 hours in seeing the indulgence of a man pre-occupied with perfection, himself and ideals that well are good but do not connect with anyone expect himself.

How wrong was I? I was immensely glad to be a part of the audience that was witness to cinema that had a story, a message, visual and artistic brilliance all at once. I am not a mother. But I could feel for the mother, the child, the teachers, the students. Aamir managed to create a story and an ambience with TZP for the audience to empathies with almost all the characters of the film. There were no commercial trappings, no unnecessary frills attached to titillate the audiences. Nothing overtly dramatic or out of ordinary was injected in the film to make sure that your eyes well up with tears. The flow of tears was constant. There were situations which I remembered from school - some incidents where I was the victim of expectations, others where my classmates had difficulty comprehending curriculum.

The music, the lyrics, the filming of songs are done with such freshness and novelty that I cannot help risking to repeat myself in saying that they were brilliant. Especially the Maa song captures the dependence of a child on his/her mother so profoundly that we could identify with it being in our 20s.

Darsheel. What a discovery! Innocence personified, naughtiness incarnate, and at the same time vulnerability that could manage to make you feel for all the wrong that was being done to him without he actually realizing any of it.

Day before yesterday I would have fought till my last breath to argue that Amir is just hyped and not that good. Things changed yesterday when I saw Taare Zameen Par. And I like to believe that TZP was made this good by Aamir to prove his detractors like me wrong. And like a true Narcissist following the footsteps of my favorite actor SRK I take credit for TZP being this good too…

Kudos to Aamir my favorite director for many years to come.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What are we but our stories…

What are we but our stories…
A couple of words thrown here and there
What are we but our stories…
Some told some untold
What are we but our stories…
Few remembered most forgotten
What are we but our stories…
Some good some bad some awfully sad
What are we but our stories…
Songs, newspapers, books, letters
What are we but our stories…
Movies, diaries, plays, radio
What are we but our stories…
Anecdotes to be cherished
What are we but our stories…
Legacies to be inherited
What are we but our stories…
Scandals, fights, love, friendships
What are we but our stories…
Scriptures, religion, Gods, hymns
What are we but our stories…
Success, failure, fame, anonymity
What are we but our stories…
Happiness, sadness, ecstasy, melancholy
What are we but our stories…
Blogs journals, articles, poems
What are we but our stories…

What are we but our stories…
What a profound thought!
Think abut it.
Share your stories with the world because
What are we but our stories…

Monday, October 29, 2007

Passing a new feminism order

What I am about to do now requires a lot of courage. I am about to break stereotypes. A brave foray into a land where very few women have dared to tread; a land where men are masters. But making a breakthrough is your very own Priyanka Khot who never shies away from the duty of truth that binds her.

Burps and farts: Topics that have since the ages borne the dominance of men. A language that is universal to all men, barring all ages, religions, borders and skin-colors. The excitement of gas taking a natural course and finding an opening at the top or the bottom floor of the human anatomy has since ages been a topic of great amusement to men. Women on the other hand have never had been given the freedom by the men of the society and the social law-makers to either practice or enjoy the art of burping or farting. It is time that feminism went beyond working in corporate settings and wearing pants. It is time that the world witnesses a party where women joke about gaseous output, competitions and bets are held over the loudest accompanying noise and the worst smells that supplement the Burps and Farts.

Please don’t take this post to be about Burps and Farts. It is written in a sincere attempt to make an intellectual remark on the deteriorating status of gender equality the world over. It is also a heartfelt endeavor of a socially conscious citizen to sensitize the society towards the right of Farting and Burping openly and proudly that has so far been denied to the women by the social landlords of civilization.

I believe that this short and nice post is sufficient to raise the issue significantly just as a small silent fart is enough to stink a whole room.

P.S: Idea given by Kidling urf Praniti :D

Monday, September 24, 2007

Farewell!

The second day of the year marks a lot of firsts for me. This is my first job in the formal setup. Till now I had been working out of my bag. Either working continuously for days together or sitting at home for months. Wearing trousers and formal shirts is definitely a fashion first.

I am starting the New Year by going back to basics. A geography (Hons) graduate, it gives me immense pleasure to know that I will be working on maps again. Being a cartography enthusiast during college days will pay off hopefully. The best part of the job so far is that I will be putting to use both the degrees I hold. The main justification that I had been giving my teachers during the masters program now comes true.

Working in an official setup is much like going to school in many ways. Waking up early in the morning. Boarding the bus in the hope of getting a comfortable seat. Anxiously waiting for the project manager to assign the duties. It all seems so much like school. The only reward of working is being paid instead of paying hefty fees to learn.

Just like school day staying silent for hours together in not my arena of expertise. The first day as all first days are is proving to move at snail’s speed. Bored to the limit all I can think of is my mobile phone that rests warmly in my bag and ‘Bhagam bhag’ playing in a theatre very near to the office complex. As luck would have it, the Internet connection of the whole office is down. So no work can be accomplished without the Web, which has managed to entangle me with its absence.

The company offered the first lunch as a treat on my first day of employment. With eating habits as bad as mine lunch had to be an ordeal. Eating the daal was not for me. Subzi is again one of the many things

Of course the best time-pass for me is to ramble on the new document page of Microsoft Word. No phones, no orkut, no music. No fun and no work. That’s my first day at the new job for you!

Well just when I was complaining about the lack of work, I got instructions and a brief as to what my core area of work to be…
So now no more writing. Going to work.
Tata!!!


It has been almost 9 months since I wrote this piece. I am a lot wiser; I’d like to believe. There are some very special people who are entitled to heartfelt thanks at this juncture.

Mani Sir: for challenging me till I was at my wits end. Then encouraging me to give more than my two hundred percent in a field of which I had no knowledge at all when I started. For making me stretch my limits and explore almost all the main areas of function in MapXL. Today I know terms like metatags, HTML, H1, SEOs, mapping, GIS, banner and OMG! What not. Who would have thought. Moreover, I was given permission to go for my All India Radio training without even a slight flinch! Everybody had told me that getting permission for something like that would not be easy but then Mani sir was awesome and allowed me instantly. I am very proud of the fact that I worked in MapXl and thankful for all the good experiences and lessons this office has taught me. Thanks Sir!


Simar Sir: for encouraging me so much in the short period of interaction I had with him. He read my blogs and commented on them too. Amazing ideas and mind-blowing energy is how I will always remember Simar sir.

Usha Ma’am: for being very warm and kind to me in times when I was ill as well as in times when I was facing problems in work. She was a reassuring force with her smile and cool composure.

Ruchi and Anjali: for being almost guiding forces in office. As I said earlier office was a very new domain for me. I needed someone to guide me around. Both of them had great calming effect on me. :D

Poonam: Ah! What to write about Poonam. She was the first person I had started talking with in Compare. As always I made a Cancerian friend here too. Bored her to death with stories of my friends, family and all the rubbish that I could accommodate within 8 hours. Though initially she had trouble adjusting to my brand of humour I am positive that she will miss it once I am gone. She is an awesome friend and a very patient listener. It was great fun knowing her and spending so much time with her. Our sojourns to the market after office, to Big Apple, Rajouri Mall and even the fights over biscuits and chips are memories I will cherish for a long long time to come. Wishing all the world’s happiness and luck to you! God Bless you!

Komal: Another sweet friend who made life in Compare so much fun and specially the walks to the bus stop fun. She is a very sweet and funny girl who initiated the whole process of waiting for each other after office hours. Great tradition I must say Komal! She used to wait at the bus stop till I left that made me feel so special and nice that I can never tell you. Please miss me when you walk to the bus stop daily without me after I leave.:-) wishing loads of happiness for you and no more sleepless nights ;)


Mansi: the kiddo! I have bossed her around, pampered her, scolded her, tried to teach her and even teased her (though she teased me more). She brought the feeling college into office. Her hilarious and sometimes VERY BAD PJs are something that I’ll miss most. I had a great time with in the book fair and even while working with her on so many projects. One of my closest ally and an amazing co-worker, I wish you all the best and hope that I am lucky enough to work with people even half as nice as you. loads of love to you and wishes of a great life ahead.

There are many other colleagues who have helped me grow in many ways. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart! You have helped in ways I cannot describe in words and probably you yourself do not imagine.

Thanks compare infobase Ltd.

I’ll miss everyone.

Hope people miss me for some time too.

Stay in touch through email and get updates on me through my blog! :D

Happy recovery to me! :-)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Continuous Crossroads & Confusion

It’s been so long
Since my heart had a song.
Crossroads leading to nowhere
Life is not at all fair.


They say and I am convinced, I can write
But thoughts, words, expressions are in a fight.
There is darkness looming all around
I know that higher truth has to be found.


I had goals for me
Places I had wanted to see.
Growth and progress, just an illusion
I am alone at standstill amidst confusion.


The colors have faded
Relations too seem jaded.
Every moment is a continuous strife
Waiting for a witness to my life...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Freedom at what cost?

Sure the Sensex is riding high. The industry is seeing a boom. Shopping malls of sizes that make words like gigantic seem small are opening by the dozens. Tinned and canned foods have made a foray into smaller towns as well. Unknown faces find voice on atleast one of the numerous 24 hours TV channels either to show off their talent or to fight out their household battles. Sure Ekta has freed us from the clutches of Tulsi ‘Smriti’ Virani.

We are free. To do what we want to. Share market is up. The industry boom is spelling the freedom to work and earn a living. Colossal shopping malls provide umpteen brands to choose from and the freedom to spend the money earned by working in MNCs to buy the various MNC products. We have the freedom to see any channel we want on any subject we want and in any language we want. The freedom to know what is happening around the world just by clicking the remote. And of course the BIGGEST freedom is from Tulsi ‘Smriti’ Virani’s tears.


But at what cost? One bad day in the market and families are ruined. The companies have the freedom to hire and fire at their own free will. Job security… well what is that? Shopping malls mean everyone wears the same thing. No exclusivity and death of the Indian traditional art. 24 hours news channel constantly feed us with hype in name of news. Abhi-Aish wedding is the topic of discussion when Kashmir is being demilitarized. Channels are no more a source for information rather they have become a guide to immorality spelling out ways to perform heinous of crimes with the ease of a master. Last but not the least we gained freedom from Smriti Irani who played the victimized tear shedding machine Tulsi for 7 years at the cost of having Goutami playing the role and making us doubt the existence of eternity of soaps and soap queens.

I am not an 80 year old bored grandmother remembering the good old days. I am just a 24 year old trying to define freedom and its cost for me and my fellow ‘Y’ generation youths.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

An interesting year for an interesting me!

A friend recently remarked, “ Your life is so interesting!” I retorted back in a statement that is characteristically ME. “I make it interesting.”

Life has truly been a roller coaster and I have been someone who enjoys all the high points with adrenaline at its peak and the low points are met with depression plunging so low that the classic cases of clinical depression would concede defeat. This year is past its half mark and I have a list of interesting things to talk about. As many of you know that I joined a new company at the beginning of the year. Working on a map encyclopedia was the first task allotted to me. I have grown up reading encyclopedias, sometimes with genuine interest and on other occasions just to show-off. I am being truthful, at least give me some credit.

This was exciting. Here I was a novice with no clue as to how software is made, what is the job of a programmer and exactly what my new boss wanted me to do in all of this. All I think I know is to write. So with each passing day over the last 7 months I understood my job a little better. Today I am at a juncture where the release of the Maps of India CD Ver 6.0 is almost a reality. Suddenly I can sense the returning of the parental feelings that I had experienced when I was working on the documentary films. I would never I have believed anyone 4 months ago if they argued that creativity can be practiced in a time bound office as well. So excitement I had loads. Interacted with different people. Learned (or let me believe that I learned a little about office life).

These last months were not only about office. Ever since the year began the discussions about me being of an agreeable marriageable age started doing rounds. Friends did not help my case by taking the nuptial plunge. So everyday I look at numerous INTERESTING profiles of eligible Maharashtrian Brahmin Boys. Life is interesting.

The thing that I consider to be a highlight of the first half of the year is of course my passing the audition of All India Radio to be an RJ and then the 5-day long hiatus from office and awesome training sessions at the All India Radio building. It is something that I would want to cherish for a long, long time to come. Our main instructor was Manoj Mainkar. I saw in him Bob Saget (from Full House). Once he started to speak I was floored. The quality of the voice might have been God-gifted, but the amount of nurturing he had done to master the phonetics was astounding. It was this quality that had be all bowled over. Then there were the greats like Suneet Tondon. Someone I had grown up watching and listening to. Learning about western music, handling the studio equipment and to top it all getting diction lessons. The training session was full paisa wasool. The other trainees were an awesome bunch! I instantly hit it off with them. I debuted on the radio in June. My first time was awesome! And the second time even better.

My 24th birthday was a surprise event for me. Office colleagues whom I knew only for 4-5 months arranged a surprise cake for me in office. My Orkut clan too sent a birthday cake at home for me. So this birthday became doubly special as I cut not the ceremonious one birthday cake but I had two!

And then came the fall. Please do not for once think of it metaphorically. These days life has become quite literal in my case. The beauty of metaphors and pun are lost somewhere. I had a bad fall in June and I am still suffering from the aftermaths. No swimming, very little stress on the right hand, no lifting, no getting excited; NOTHING!

To answer my dear friend I make my life interesting. Falling and then recuperating from the injury was suddenly transformed into a weeklong party zone. Friends were invited (read as blackmailed) to the house with the pretext of visiting the ‘ailing me’. I was a monarchial guest at my own house and did not even lift a finger with my dear friends showering me with attention, conferring hospitality and taking care of me all the while.

Though the arm still pains, though weather still is adamant on playing cruel jokes on me by indicting fever and sinus bouts, though some things continue to bother, upset and depress me. Still one thing is constant. My life continues to be INTERESTING!

Friday, June 08, 2007

My First Time

“Your first time will be something you will never forget. The music, the words spoken, the goof ups, the laughter… all will remain with you as a sweet and cherished memory through out your life. You might do it again thousands of time but the first time AH! That will be something that will be with you in your heart for the rest of your life.”, said a senior RJ to me while I was on training in All india Radio. Since that day I was waiting for the first time to happen. And yesterday it did.

I went on-air for the first time in my life, armed with my script, prepared with the songs I wished to play and of course the nervous excitement that was my companion for the day. Eight ten by the studio clock and I was a different person. I could sense the transition in me. I knew at that moment that there were hundreds of unknown people who were tuned in and among them hopefully 10s of my family and friends who would be giving their feedback. The faders were where they were supposed to be, the songs had been all tuned in and in fact the first track was already on air… Hello by Lionel Richie was playing.


Halfway through the song the duty officer decided to alarm me. He came barging in the studio… “What is this you did not announce the name of the show, your name or the song… even a Hindi announcer could have done that?” I was a changed person. Did not raise even an eyebrow. Very coolly I replied, “Sir it is a part of my script. Please be patient and I’ll be saying all that needs to be said and more.”

My confidence (read as pretence of confidence), it seems cooled the big boss and he left me to survive through the rest of the show. The songs and the order of the songs that I had decided upon had, due to technical goof-ups and highly complicated machinery, gone haywire. The systematic version of myself was suffering from convulsions whereas the ‘brilliant-at-the-spur-of-the-moment’ part of me was glad that now I had the opportunity to show off my spontaneity.

So the biggest goof up, if you want to call it that (I‘ll be calling it a close and intelligent save), of the day was as follows:

According to my script I was going ga ga over Bryan Adams and how he never disappoints with any of his songs. To my horror at the late realization, which I blame on the pressures of handling the studio equipment all by self for the first time, Ronan Keating was crooning “You say it best when you say nothing at all.” I was to be on air in 2 minutes and before that the spool had to be cued-in. First thing first I cued in the spools. Went back on my chair and took my position in front of the microphone.

“ Mr Bryan Adams has after all decided to not say anything at all today. But thank you so much Mr Ronan Keating for stepping up and coming to my aid. You truly are the best Mr. Ronan Keating”

This is how I’ll always remember the first time I did IT… hey! dirty minds I am talking about doing my first live show on air.

Do tune into Yuva Vani on 1017 KiloHertz at 8:10 pm to listen to “In the Groove”. A nice show that plays good English music.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shakti I'll always be waiting for that Coffee


Last day at my first job with my first boss Shakti, editor, Lifestyle Trends

“Priyanka, I am impressed with your CV. You can join us on one condition.”
“What ma’am?”
“Call me Shakti! No ma’am!”

With that sentence and a huge smile Shakti Bhatt made an entry into my life on 13th April 2005. She was my first boss. She gave me my first job as a part time reporter in Lifestyle Trends. Her first editing job since she arrived in India as I later came to know. An amazingly chilled out person she was someone I looked up to as almost a mentor (though she was not that much older to me). Pointers like what to read, what to listen to, where to hang out, films, theatre, art exhibitions you name it and she gave me exposure to them.

What I remember about Shakti is her skirts. They were AWESOME! She even told me about a shop in Bangalore to go skirt shopping. Managed to actually make me eat karela and like it too. Shared lunches, chocolates in the office, the tack board with words of wisdom, art, photographs… leaving her CDs with permission to listen to what I would want to. Teaching with every word and action. A fair boss. A great friend with a sense of humor that makes me smile behind the tears that are rolling down my face. Shakti also introduced me to Dostovosky’s work, Shahid’s pain. And Jeet’s poetry.

I remember listening to her talk about Jeet. She was so much in love. I had never seen anyone so much in love. Once she gave me a lift to the Osian’s film festival. On the way we went to her mom’s home to pick up Jeet. When they both met after the days work, I knew I was in the presence of LOVE.

I write all this not because I want her to know that I remember her. But to make sure that I thank God for her presence in my life even though for a very short period. And most importantly to remember all that I can about a beautiful lady with a beautiful heart who encouraged me enough, corrected me enough and praised me enough.

The last time I saw Shakti was at a poetry reading at IHC. Wearing white, I remember her looking like an angel. In all the calls in the past year she always asked to meet for coffee and I always said sure will meet you the next time I am around. Sadly enough for me she is not around anymore…

This was the last mail I received from Shakti---

Dear Priyanka,

Hi. Doing fine - enjoying the break from work. Trying to see what I can do and what I want to do. Meanwhile, doing some freelancing writing and appearing for a couple of interviews. Will let you know what happens.

Meanwhile you keep in touch and anytime you're planning to be in Khan market, gimme a call and we'll meet for a quick coffee,
Shakti

One thing that I learned from Shakti was the art of Googling. She had given me a golden tip of Googling people. I was in my office today. I remembered Shakti out of the blue. I thought it would be fun if I google her. Find out what she has been upto and then talk to her straight away about what’s happening with her. With this thought on my mind and all happy to call her soon I Googled her name today sure to meet her up for coffee, only to find a blog written in her remembrance.

Shakti I’ll always be waiting for that coffee. May you party hard in heaven. Will miss you very much…

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Guy Gyan*

* This is a piece of pure fiction. Resemblance of the ME and HE is purely due to some subconscious elements at work. Believe the below at your own sweet risk :-)

Recently I had a great conversation with a friend. We were discussing the one problem that seems to be plaguing most of the people I interact with (my age group). Yes! You guessed it right --- love and relationships. I was representing all the sad girls who are duped by false promises and he was justifying why boys were the way they were in these romantic situations.

So here is how the conversation went on between Me and He…

Me: Tell me one thing what is wrong with you jerks? Why would you repeatedly lie to a girl? That too so convincingly about your supposed true feelings… and how you want to marry them and that all the other relationships and the girls before meant squat to you? And and and…..ufff

He: hahahhahahah! Are you done with your questions Ms Question Bank? The volume of your questions is the sole reason I guess I never did hit on you. hahahhaha! Now brace yourself for the truth. It’s not as easy as it sounds. First of all this is India, not USA.

Me: Ah! What an excuse! Are all the guys as big jerks as you are?

He: What you call jerk I call master! (A smug smile on his face) So there is a well researched, tried and tested methodology we Indian guys have to use. Calling it methodology will not suffice. It’s more of a scientific procedure.

Me: Oh Great Master! Bless me with thy knowledge. And by the way if you knew about the scam! Oops sorry, THE scientific procedure could you not have been a darling and warned me and your other friends who are girls?

He: Yet again you simplify a complicated solution. The reason is profound. As you are very well aware that I intend to do great things in my life, the foremost is dating a record number of women before I am 23 years of age.

Me: What does this have to do with you not telling us a thing?

He: A little logic dear girl and loads of patience as well. You and other friends are instrumental in introducing me to their girlfriends. And this is how the cycle of my dating progresses.

By this time I had convincingly reached my boiling point.

Me: And to what great deed on my part do I own this special preaching of the guy gyan today?

He: (Laughing so loudly that Gabbar would be put to shame) Well after what I did with your best friend I am pretty confident you will not be introducing me to any more friends of yours.

Me: True! But that’s still not the real reason. Spill it out. (The threat in my voice worked its magic)

He: Okay! But this does not leave the two of us. You are recovering from heartbreak. You blame him. Which is fair enough. But I just don’t want you to fall in the same trap again. This time I want you to know the signs, read the patterns. There are a few genuine guys there. You’ll find one too.

Me: Really! There are? You promise? (The emotional fool inside me raising her head almost teary)

He: See these are the kinds of lies I am telling you to be aware of. Okay?

Me: Hmmm

He: Now can I start my lesson?

Me: Should I take notes? (Mocking his tone)

He: It will do you only good. Now the ground rules. You are allowed to laugh. But do not interrupt with questions, silly one-liners in your juvenile attempt to be over smart. Any talking you want to do kindly get it out of your system right now. I am risking a lot in telling you all this.

Me: Risking a lot? You speak as though it’s a national secret. What is the big deal?

He: It is a lot bigger deal than some national secret. (Volume drops down to almost a guilty whisper) By telling you this I am in a sense betraying all the men around the world. (Volume restored) But I trust you to keep this a secret.

Me: Thanks. (All smiles and already thinking of what would I title the post as)

He: So now the monologue starts. The basic course to ‘Patao a desi girl’

He: Do not pass judgment on all the guys. Though they do use the same tactic more often than not still some of them are your true friends. Do not, after this conversation, be skeptical of all the guys around… understood?

Me: (Nodding since I was not allowed to speak)

He: The look of the girl really does not matter. The standards we keep to buy a mobile or a vehicle are higher than the standards we keep to judge the girls we are perusing. Anything that is female and is moving is our target. So if a guy shows interest do not take it personally.

Me: (wondering WHAT!!!!!!????????)

He: The first step is to approach the girl. Either the guy will use a common friend to lead him to the target or in this net age the web does a fantastic job. There are many out there like you who are impressed with guys with a great command over language. So a flowery mail, where I discuss some common points like music, books, my love to travel, the fact that I do not generally do this but could not help my self in making an exception in your case.

Me: (By this time totally into the talk. Aghast at my naivety)

He: if the girl replies in one go. I know she is an easy target. No challenge, nothing exciting. I might talk politely to her once a while. Just keep her in reserve for a rainy day. Remember only one girl was not mailed at least ten were. But if the girl is smart enough and asks if I had mailed others also, the answer will be simple. “Well I am no saint there were 5 others, 2 of you replied and in so many days that we have interacted I don’t feel anything for her in comparison to what I feel for you”. So you see on a later date when a girl questions my fidelity, honesty or any other trait my answer is ready. I do not lie. I had told you I am like that.

Now getting back to the steps. If the mail did not receive the reply, a second one will follow. This one will convince you that its not how you look but who you are that is so mesmerizing for the guy. ‘Since the time I have mailed you, I have lost all sleep in the anticipation of receiving your reply.’ The level of the language will vary from guy to guy depending on the educational background. The urgency will be the same. After such urgency 8/10 times the girl replies back exchanging chat ids for further talks.

Initially the chats are generic with just a hint of flirtation here and there. If the girl herself flirts she goes into the reserved category for a rainy day. If the girl is a challenge I pursue her more. If her birthday falls in the interim the Gods are also on my side. Just a thoughtful wish at midnight, a sentimental message which in all probability is a poem and a romantic song in the email, again depending upon the level of knowledge; average Joes will send ‘I will be your hero’ by Enrique, better ones will choose ‘She will be loved’ by Maroons, or ‘Ain’t No sunshine when she is gone’ by Lighthouse family. Hmmm hmmmmm (Clearing his throat and checking whether I am paying attention or not). If the birthday is not around chances are the songs will be sent through chats making occasions out of no days. Got it.

Me: (Nodding my head with such ferocity that he almost comes forward to support lest I sprain my neck.)

He: Well now that the rude shocks are settling in let me tell you about the philosophy behind all this. It has got nothing to do with love, hormones or even sex. Lets face it this is India and sex is still pretty much a post marriage or at least a post engagement ritual. It is just the challenge of making someone, who thinks she knows it all, and believe me, you do know it all, fall in love with complete idiots like us. That’s the only high. Period. Once a girl says ‘I love you’, the excitement pretty much dies out for me and I am 99.9 % sure for the rest of my species.

Late night calls, the urgency to message the girl all the time, the need to meet up, inform her of all the mundane stuff, control the conversations in such a manner that the anecdotes are funny, a little personal…

You can ask a question without opening your mouth. (again that smug smile)

Me: (Wish to smother him, but it is imperative for him to live if I want to know more)

He: …Personal so that the girl feels that she is special and infact we do not even shy away from mentioning this blatantly to the girl. The confession goes something like this, “You are laughing at my misery! How brutal are you! And here I am sharing all this personal detail with you because you are so special to me!” yes you have heard it before. Never mind. Chances are you’ll hear it several times more. Hahhahahahah! (Again the Gabbar roar). Now that the girl is impatiently waiting for his calls or to answer his messages and the voice has a silly giggly quality it is the time for the next crucial step. Include her in your life. Make her feel that if she ain’t around you cannot function. Requesting her to wake you up. “I want to start my day with my little sweet baby calling me up” or “I’ll know what I mean to you if you call me and wake me up”. The masterpiece ofcourse is to call her up one day, “I want to be the first voice you hear today. I want you to remember me through the day”. Some artistically blanketed cheesy lines and rest assured that the girl is almost putty in your hands. All this is done not mechanically. I truly believe whatever I say to any girl at the time I utter the words. The only problem is that soon the girl changes. But a genuine guy that I am, my emotions remain the same.

Me: (I cannot stifle a smile on this one)

He: Weeping at least once over the phone is another thumb rule. A man who can cry and wear pink shirts is the idea of a perfect man since your dear SRK started the trend. So crying over something that I genuinely feel sad about makes for killing two birds with one stone. My emotions get a vent and the girl realizes that I am a sweet man who is not afraid to cry. Apart from this I constantly give the girl the impression that I have spoken about her with my mother. This is a tactic to let her think that I am serious about her. If she mentions another friend I feel jealous and do not shy away from showing it. Possessiveness. So basically in a span of about a month I can easily cover all these emotions that according to girls seem to define love.

It is now time to get busy. Office keeps me occupied. I am so tired yet I make time for her and call her whenever I can. “Hope mom is not angry?” I am concerned that all is well at her place. Then one fine day when my boss has decided to make my life a living hell, I tell the girl that there is only one respite that I continue to harbor the hope that one day she’ll tell me that she loves me. If it is my lucky day the girl breaks down. Professes her love for me. The challenge has been won. I am invincible.

A few dates where I get to ride with the girl on the pillion on my bike, a few good dinners, maybe holding hands in the movies or if I am very lucky a kiss.

Me: (Totally shocked at the last confession!)

He: This is the longest I have seen you quiet. Who would have thought that I could accomplish the task? And yes now comes the sad part. Something goes amiss somewhere. She thinks that now that the love has been declared its time to take it a step forward emotionally. Suddenly I do not have a girlfriend; I have a wife cum mother. The questions that once I encouraged now seem to encroach on my space. So now its time to actually get busy with work, remember I had done the ground work some days ago for it. The thing is I and the other distinguished members of my species do not believe in creating or facing embarrassing situations. We run from it. So the best way is to take the easy route and stop attending the calls. Replying to messages in monosyllables and slowly but surely create a rift that can only be blamed on circumstances and situations.

Me: Enough!

He: Well now there isn’t anything else to say so good that you have had enough.

Good girl you stayed quite for the longest time. Awesome! Another feather in my cap. Made you keep mum for almost twenty long minutes. Haahahahahahha!

Me: The sobs that seemed almost ceremonious drowned somewhere when I joined in his Gabbar roar. With a tune suddenly playing in my mind. “Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho… Kya gum hai jisko chippa rahe ho?”

Friday, April 20, 2007

AB Ash in News

There was a time when matters such as ‘who is having an affair with whom’, ‘who is marrying who’ and ‘who is cheating on who’ were limited to the tabloids or the gossip magazine programmes on radio and TV. No more. The Indian government’s decision to demilitarize the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the decision to put on hold the admissions to premier institutions of higher learning on the quota issue (that’s a different topic of debate altogether), the SEZ issue etc. are being sidelined now with trivial matters like Abhi-Ash wedding, Saif-Rosa break-up and yes some unknown starlet hogging limelight through an unsuccessful attempted suicide because she was allegedly ditched by Abhishek Bachchan for the most beautiful woman of the world (I might not approve his choice of bride, but I certainly don’t blame him).

Are we complaining because we actually rather see people starving in drought prone areas that are facing disaster this early in the year? Or our objection is directed towards the fact that the media has very conveniently become a mouthpiece of celebrities, people who they crown as celebrities or those who are in the business of creating celebrities? I fail to understand the main purpose of all of us who are constantly cribbing that the standard of news is deteriorating constantly. The fact is that NEWS as it was traditionally supposed to be is still written and broadcast. But the truth is that we the viewers choose not to hear the news on AIR, Doordarshan or BBC because we are so attracted to the entertainment factor now that NEWS in its primitive format is no more acceptable.

I have read a number of blogs, seen a number of news specials about how the media is hogging the Bachchans. The blogs and the dinner table discussions bring to my notice the fact that all the participants have seen the news reports of the Abhi-Ash wedding bash in great detail. They are able to cite the minutest of details from where the mehendi will be bought to who was invited and who was ignored. The thing that most amuses me is the theatrical disgust that most have mastered. They will confidently give a passionate extempore for an hour citing news pieces with precision that’ll put scientists and experts to shame. If the news was actually so repulsive how they manage to stand it and then recall the details so accurately remains a mystery. I am sure that 95% of the complaining junta will be at a loss of explanation if quizzed about the SEZ issue or for that matter even the frequency on which AIR broadcasts news or the time when DD shows news.

I am in no way am supporting the news channels and the media who have made a mockery and devalued the sanctity of news and all that it stood for once upon a time. But yes the hypocrisy of the pseudo-intellectuals has started to get me. The excuse that most offer is that “we have no option if all the channels are showing the same news where can we go?” Well if all of us answer this question truthfully are we also not at some level responsible for the yellow journalism taking the foreground replacing all that was sanctimonious. Because the media house answer back saying, “we are not a service, we are a profit making organization. We show what people will see.” But who decides what is finally on the tube? The solution is simple: if we reject something completely chances are that the next time around we will not be served the same dish. SRK has a son and Kajol a daughter. If taking a long shot at the future and wishfully thinking that when theses children grow up they will marry each other. I pray that Aryan and Nyasa will have a wedding ceremony, a happy marriage and not a media tamaasha.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Family Bonding... Baa Bahu aur Baby






It has been years if not decades that we and by that I mean the self professed elite Indian audiences who have left no stone unturned to criticize the soaps that plague the Indian channels daily. The products of the factory of the K factor and the numerous sub branches of numerous such factors that decide to start with a novel idea but in the end are victims of following the crowd, bombard the Indian television industry as many would agree.
Pompously believing that I am one of those few who manage to appreciate whatever is good on TV without a bias or without being victim to the ever popular syndrome of following the west and their norms, I think it is imperative for me to appreciate the one Hindi serial that is followed religiously at my household (not as religiously as Ramayana of yore but still very close to it). Baa, Bahu aur Baby is directed by Deven Bhojani and produced by JD and Aatish Kapadia.

Initially when Star Plus had started promoting the show my brain that is a patient of pre-conceived notions made an assumption that another serial was on the offing to capture the time band on TV without anything to offer except for a few cheesy badly timed jokes or profusely crying women protagonists.
Thank the heavens I was wrong. Here is a serial that grows on you after a while if you are a succor for melodrama and heartening stories of how you can fall back on family, how money, fame, beauty etc are important but not the necessities of survival, how resilience is the only real victory without actually delivering long never-ending dialogues that can continue for episodes together. The most outstanding part about the serial is that the characterization of all the characters is very well defined. This includes minor nuances, clothes, beliefs, psyche etc. Living in nuclear families where the only time to spend with family is on the dinner table bickering and fighting over the remote control, there are times when this serial brings things into perspective. The large family encompasses all possible characters that you might chance upon in a middle class family today.
One brother is an acclaimed doctor, the other an insurance agent; one has a small saree business and one is a theatre artist; one sister is physically challenged and the other is married into a rich household and never leaves an opportunity to boast about her wealth and her husband; there is a son who is mentally challenged and even an adopted son; there are three daughters-in-law — one dreams of upstaging the popularity of Hema Malini, the other is a certified gambler and wants to bet on every mundane thing she can seize as an opportunity of betting and the third one is a small town god fearing girl who though is a mother of a 8-9 year old still runs shy from her good looking theatre-hero husband; there are kids of numerous ages dotting the landscape of this magnificent household with their own problems and tricks and pranks. Here is a complete house. If they want to play they can organize a fair at home.
They can have a gala time amongst themselves without inviting any outsider. This is my dream home where every room has a story to tell, every waking hour has an anecdote to share and the nights are peaceful in the knowledge that there is family for support and care. Baa Bahu aur Baby revolves around three generations (following the show for almost 6 months now I don’t think a generation leap is their idea of TRP hiking). There are many a typecasts that the serial follows but the endearing thing is that the direction and the characterization plus casting has been done so meticulously that everything falls into place to make for a perfect TV series. They are loud but so is my aunt’s mother’s sister’s daughter-in-law. They are emotional but so am I. They cry. They laugh. They tease.
Basically they do everything any normal member of any normal household will do. For those who still surf 100 Hindi channels harboring the hope of catching a decent serial that has the caliber to transport you to times when Humlog, Buniyaad and Udaan captured the sense of a middleclass family, Baa Bahu aur Baby is the right concoction. Things are ofcourse a little different with the passing time. The milieu has changed to the favorite family type (read Gujarati) but the problems are almost same ranging from the marriage of a daughter, economic disparity between the sons, respect for elders, minor conflicts that go beyond control.
Plastic surgeries and miracle resurrections, fully decked up Bahus who can cry without generating any emotion in the audiences are not something you will find in this serial. Minor tussles that get solved within the span of two three episodes; emotionally charged characters who might be wrong at times but never have any malice towards each other; who are prey to the negatives of emotions that plague everyone like jealously, greed etc but are never devious; This is Baa Bahu aur Baby.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sitcoms… no more Hahahaha!!!

The sitcom genre that the west and by that I mean the US seems to have or rather believes to have mastered, is proving to be a stale dish in new packaging. I am talking about the number of shows that the Star World feeds us as comedies, like Still Standing, Hope and Faith and According to Jim. If you have sat through the telecast of the three series without being confused about the names or expecting some other actor/actress, not part of the cast of the show, to make an appearance, then hats off to you. I on the other hand suffer from expecting Jim Belushi n Still Standing where he has no business of being. But this happens not because of fatigue rather the fault lays in the plots of all these three series and most importantly the similarity in the sitcoms.

All the three families have three kids each. The NGOs or the elements of Indian polity who are on a lookout for a cause to fight the Western influence can have a great scoop right here. The West portrays this image of happy families that have three kids encouraging Indian educated middle class to follow in their footsteps in an attempt to sabotage India’s journey towards progress and population control. That’s the most logical inference I feel that most of the critics of western media will come up with. I on the other hand have no grouse against the western media. They are the ones to have gifted the fabulous, mother of all sitcoms FRIENDS to the world. But yes the feeding of sitcoms where the two ingredients of situation and comedy are absent is something that forces me to grumble. Apart from the three kids, the coupling of the parents is contentious as well. The man is a super loser, who knows practically nothing, is confused, has irritating habits, and is lazy. The woman on the other hand is a hot babe who apparently was a fast chick in her times but wants to take all measures to control the teenage daughter. Another character common to all the series is the wife’s sister, who is desperately searching for a man, hates her brother in-law and her intelligence is challenged by the kids of the house as often as possible.

Even if I pardon the show makers of having a similar (being politically correct, though I would have liked to use the word SAME) cast how can the similar story lines be pardoned? It’s the same old story with different actors essaying the roles. The grandparents come visiting, attempt is made to find a suitable match for the weird sister-in law, the man fights with his best friend, the kids try a fast one to fool their parents get caught and are punished unfairly etc. There is no variety. And as someone wise once said variety is spice of life. This trend of sitcoms is just a way of making most of it before the last flicker of the fire of popularity of sitcoms puffs away to ashes.

The best way to illustrate the similarities in the casting of characters, the storyline and the inanity of these sitcoms is to show you some of the summaries of the plots of the shows I read while surfing the. Now I leave you to infer your own conclusions.


Still Standing
Bill and Judy Miller a toilet salesman and a dental assistant are two high school lovers who gave up their wild lifestyle to get married years ago. Now, as they creep toward middle age, they have to deal with more "everyday" things, such as their three kids: their intelligent and (to Bill's horror) still sexually-unsure son Brian; their typical drama queen daughter Lauren; and their smug, sarcastic six year old, Tina. With Judy's desperate man-hunting sister Linda, Bill's interfering mother Louise, a lesbian couple living next door and other crazy characters around, it's no wonder that Bill and Judy constantly get into strange (and oft-hilarious) misadventures as they try to prove that they're not too old to have fun. Along the way, they always end up showing that they "still" love each other, no matter what.

Hope and Faith
Hope, a down-to-earth, happily married mom of three in Cleveland, Ohio, had her tidy world up-ended by the arrival of her celebrity sister, Faith. Faith was living the high life in Hollywood as a daytime soap opera star until her soap's character, Ashley Storm, was suddenly and unceremoniously killed off on "The Sacred and the Sinful" by her evil twin. After a year under her roof wreaking occasional havoc, Hope can attest that you can kill the diva off on the daytime drama, but you can't take the drama out of the diva. The understanding husband who backs his wife in her sisterly dharma is on the verge of losing his cool and calm ever since his sister in-law who cannot stop throwing jives at him has come to stay with the family.

According to Jim
Jim is a regular suburban father. He's married to a gorgeous woman, Cheryl, and raises his three kids – Gracie, Ruby and the newborn Kyle – in a big house. Everything is perfect for Jim, if it wasn't for the messy situations he gets himself into and his laziness, which often makes him search for alternative ways of doing things with less effort. Of course, having his wife's siblings hanging out at his house all the time is no help. While Andy might be one of his best friends, Dana often teams up with Cheryl against Jim.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bond of Secrecy

Watching Palash outside my colony gate, I often wonder what if one day Palash decided to talk. Since I am a proclaimed narcissist, I often wonder what Palash would say about me. Palash has been a witness to many a scenes from my life. Palash has seen me:

Prance on days when I was excited to go to school;
Tensed when I was not too sure about the exam or how I was going to fare;
Wishfully daydreaming when reality did not promise a fairytale ending;
Crying when the road was rough and so was life;
Solemnly bidding goodbye to friends after a get-together;
Waiting impatiently for guests who were having a hard time finding the way to my house;
Hesitate when there was something on my mind but my guts betrayed me to come clean with my mom;
Sad when I missed my dad too much;
Excited and even a little proud of my achievements when I could not just wait to come home and share the news;
Safe in knowledge that home was near;
Stunned to see the beauty of the colors of its flowers in spring;
Numb when the pain could penetrate no more;
Looking stunning when going all dressed for various occasions;
Teary when I came back from my school farewell and the college farewell;
Thrilled when going for the first day of work;
Tired when I returned from the first day of my job;
Smiling from cheek to cheek on the day I got my first paycheck;
Burdened with shopping bags after blowing up my first salary;
Crossing my fingers and blushing after I was dropped home after my first date;
Reliving that happy moment once the relationship ended;
Stressed over work related problems;
Analyzing personal follies and relationships;
In a hurry when I am sure to miss the bus, but make sure to put in the effort in the hope of catching it anyway;
Strolling in the cool breeze, taking in the spring air;
Enjoying the nip in the wind;
Invigorating the fragrance of the earth after the mild shower that wets her;

These are just a few things that are a shared secret between me and my beautiful Palash. Palash gives me the first sign that spring has arrived. I lovingly call him Palash. The scientific world decided to name him Butea Frondosa. I hope the Palash tree outside my house never lets my secrets out and honours the unsigned bond of secrecy between us.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ek Chidiya --- Refreshing the memory


The Films Division masterpiece --- “Ek Chidia” has been doing the rounds across the emails recently. The video uploaded on the You Tube conjures up memories of childhood when the kids played langdi tang and gallery while humming the lines of this beautiful song that encourages harmony and unity in diversity--- the mottos that best describe India. In a time when the TV News channels are fighting tooth and nail to create an atmosphere that generates news (read chaos, riots, disharmony and sensationalism), the song is something of a reminder of simpler times.

Since the day I received this particular link in the mail I have been trying to find the elder community Didi, who shares wisdom with the aid of simple tools like beads or seeds, mangoes and short stories; the kid who actually truly believes that the elder Didi is the wiser one and listens to her solution; the other kids whose appetite is satiated with fresh mangoes plucked from the trees unlike those dissatisfied bundles of trouble I spot around with designer shoes and garb outside Mc Donald’s always greedily asking for one more Happy Meal. The simple solution that the animation (though not of the state of the art category) provides to a problem that infects and threats not only India but the entire globe in today’s times is incomparable to anything I have seen so far.

The melody is something that beats the best of the pop songs and the filmi latka jhatkas of today. Its simple and I am ready to wager a fortune that once the tune registers in your mind it is a difficult one to let go. The innocence in the voice of Sadhna Sargam, who rendered her voice to the character of Didi, is of the quality that you can almost touch it if you try hard enough. The music by Vasant Desai complements the simplicity of the narrative without actually ever underestimating the power or the importance of the message.

The illustrations are single line figures without too much detailing, yet aptly defining and demarking each n every character. The regional and religious characters of all the varied segments of Indians are fittingly depicted in the 5 minute animation. Bhim Sain, better known today as the creator of the animated series on Hanuman, did the animations for Ek Chidya which I believe laid the foundation for other Indian animations as well.

The credit of the final product as usual goes to the captain of the ship i.e., the director Vijaya Mule. The conceptualization and execution is something that touches a chord with the audience even today. There is no better way to end the piece than to quote the chorus of the song. But writing just the chorus feels like doing injustice to the rest of the lyrics. So to refresh your memories I present the transcript of the song of our childhood and something that I hope passes down to our children one day as folklore or verbal tradition.

Didi ye anek kya hota hai ?
Anek.... anek yani bahut saare....
jaise...
suraj ek...
chanda ek.....
taare anek....
achcha to taron ko anek bhi kehte hain ?????
nahi nahi !!
dekho phir se batati hoon
suraj ek...
chanda ek.....
taare anek....
ek gilhari, ....
ek aur gilhari......
ek ek ek karke ho gayee ab anek gilhariyaan...
ek titali, anek titaliyaan....
ek chidiya.. ek ek anek chidiyaan......
anek chidiyon ki kahani sunoge ....
haan sunao...
ek chidiya anek chidiya....
dana chugne baith gayee thi .....
chorus : didi humen bhi sunao.......
phir se suno...
ek chidiya, anek chidiyan
dana chugne baith gayee thi .....
WahiN ek byaadh ne jaal bichhaya tha...
byaadh, byaadh kya hota hai didi ?
byaadh ... chidiya pakadne wala
to phir kya hua, usne chidiyoN ko pakad liya,...
unhe maar diya ......
un..huh...
Himmat se jo jute rahe to bada kaam bhi hove
Bhaiya.. bada kaam bhi
hove bhaiya ...
1..2..3.. furrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Chaturrr cidiyaaN sayaani chidiyaaN,
miljul kar, jaal le kar...
Bhaagi chidiyaaN....
furrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
door ek gaaon mein chidiyon ke dost chuhe rahte the....
unhone unka jaal kaat diya.........
dekha ekta mein kitni shakti hai......
didi agar hum ek ho jaayen to kya koi bhi kaam kar
sakte hain ?
haan haan kyon nahi ...
to kya is ped ke aam bhi tod sakte hain ???
haan magar jugat lagani hogi ...
JUGAT ???

*
* *
* * *
* * * *

achchha ye jugat .... wah bada mazaa aayega....
HO GAYE EK ...
BAN GAYEE TAKAT..
BAN GAYEE HIMMAT...
hind desh ke niwasi sabhi jana ek hain, -2
rang-roop vesh-bhaasha chahe anek hain -2> > ---- repeat...
bela gulab juhi champa chameli..... -2
phool hain anek kintu mala phir ek hai ...-2>
ek-anek-ek anek
suraj ek, chanda ek, taare anek,
ek gilhari , anek gilhariyaaN,
ek titli, anek titaliyaaN,
ek chidiyaa , anek chidiyaaN......
are bela gulab juhi champa chameli.. -2
phool hain anek kintu mala phir ek hain.....2

Screenplay and direction: Vijaya Mule
Compilation: Vaman Guru
Hind desh ke nivasi: Pandit Vinay Chandra
Music: Vasant desai
Animation: Bhim Sain

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bus Musings


The dynamics of passengers aboard the private buses in Delhi is amazing. Living in Delhi for all the 23 years of my life, the private buses have become an integral part of my life. My role is generally of the attentive girl, who appears (or thinks she appears) to be engrossed in listening to the radio on her cell or reading the fat book with absurd names by prominent authors. The other characters playing pivotal roles are:



  • The Mr. Know-it-all uncle: keeps caressing his moustaches between his knowledgeable observations on the Indian politics, the bad performance of the Indian cricket team, the conditions of the roads, the corruption that plagues the traffic police officers and also the treatment for cancer.

  • The driver: views the clear roads of the New Delhi area as tracts of formula one, other buses on the route as fellow racers, passengers on board as skilled gymnasts who can balance perfectly leaving behind the perfect 10 scores of Nadia and enjoys the banter which increases in volume in a desperate attempt to over shadow the volume of the tape recorder playing copies of oldies by Mukesh sung by the understudies of Altaf Raja.

  • The Young Turk: the representative of the rebellion who finds it essential to protest and negate everything and anything said by the Know-it-all uncle. His logics are more often than not without any base. The sole purpose of opposing is to oppose. Sometimes the quips are funny for sure.

  • The aunty who forgets that the days when she was a petite little maiden are bygone. Her bag and bums cover an area where two people can sit for an hour long journey experiencing the luxuries of deluxe bus service. Her constant fidgeting is the icing on the cake of tribulations one has to endure in the buses.

  • The charming Romeo: who has a smile that can make the bus Juliet go weak in her knees. He stands only for his Juliet others in the bus are of no importance to him. He seems restless on the days when the Juliet decides to board some other bus or worse decides to take an off.

  • The demure Juliet: is dressed perfectly. Her jeans pant is bought from the Sarojini market only last Saturday. The hair is streaked with the bleach that was left over after application on the face. The purse dangles in a fashion that tells the Romeo and all the other potential Romeos to vacate a seat for the lady before she trips off her high heals again bought from the SN market with all the dazzlers in place.

  • The conductor: is the sole artist who forms the link with all the characters of the bus. He notices everybody. After the officiating the process of ticketing he enjoys the pleasure of interacting with everyone. He skillfully instigates the know-it –all uncleji, according to his mood supports or opposes the Young Turk. While skillfully moving through the passage of the bus amidst the crowd of passengers he smiles a conspiring smile at the Romeo and a smile that tells the Juliet that her secret is safe with him.

This is why I so enjoy the daily trip in the bus. The characters are same. Their traits are same. The faces change. Sometime even the storyline takes a different subject but the characters remain constant.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Games, The Lessons


Who was your foe?
You were curious, now you know
Who was your friend?
It all became clear in the end.

The words of care
Were never really there
Later on you realized that
It was a chase of mouse and cat.

A fool don’t call yourself dear
Now there’s nothing you got to fear
Sure, don’t sing ballads of praises
But next time don’t chase the similar mazes

Life will not promise to be better or good
No one will tell what will not work and what would
It’s just a mean guessing game
Just never trust anyone with the same name…

Friday, February 02, 2007

Middle Class Myth

Seeing media reports on Jessica Lal murder case the celebration that the media houses are having and deservedly so are palpable to one and all sitting in the comforts of their houses during the cold winter evenings in the capital city. A huge percentage of citizens watching the verdict against Manu Sharma, I am sure, feel a sense of fulfillment and achievement at finally winning justice for the cause for which they had held night vigils forsaking the comforts of their own houses. The act is well appreciated.

But has the so-called power of the middle class, much glorified by the news channels across the spread of the remote control, lost its furore so quickly? Or is the sentiment and support of the middle class that has ‘come of age’ (according to news reports) reserved only for the people facing injustices who belong to the upper middle class?

I ask these questions because I have received no invites, no mails, no SMSs and no forwarded mails to come forward and show solidarity to the grief stricken parents of the victims of Nithari. The channels and reporters who had decided to make sure that the cause for justice for Jessica be the main agenda for months seem to be questioning the motives of majority of the parents who are coming forth in a last attempt to identify the bodies of the children they have lost. The relatives of Nithari victims are poor people, mostly uneducated and definitely not a part of the socio-economic group that Nithari main accuse Moninder used to entertain through the privilege of child molestation. So has the India that had found a new voice after the success of Rang de Basanti and Lage Raho Munna Bhai lost the fire in its belly so early on to fight against injustice. The day Nithari case was exposed, I had told my mother that I would participate in all the marches that were sure to be carried out to show support and solidarity to the Nithari victims and their families. When the middle class of Delhi could hold marches and night-vigils demanding justice for a single person I could hardly imagine the extent to which they would go to demand justice for more than a dozen innocent children.

Sadly enough the middleclass disappointed me, but not as much as the media houses. NDTV did not ask me to sign petitions demanding middle of the road lynching for Moninder and Suninder. CNN IBN did not promise to raise funds, by lighting virtual candles, for the victims’ families. AAJTAK made a mockery of the police and their inquiries by giving prime time attention to a lady who proclaimed to be the mistress of Moninder. Times of India too did not want me to go to their website to register my vote. Youth for Equality did not take up the cause and Amir Khan did not come visiting the capital. None of the political parties were brave enough to announce handsome compensations for the bereaved families (the least they could have done). Nothing. Nothing for those who were at the prime of their childhood, who had not known what life was all about and who might have grown up to be someone India could have been proud of. Not a candle not a SMS and not even a tear. Where is the new risen middle class that raises its voice? Is it a reality or a myth? For answers I am waiting…

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The reason for a new blog

One year has passed. But the memories are still fresh. Though its not going to be the same my mom warns me. The details of the numerous adventures that I was fortunate enough to experience last year will fade away, whether I like it or not. Over the years I have developed a foolproof mechanism of ignoring my mother’s nagging. But this time she stuck a chord when she reprimanded me for not heeding her advice and writing a chronicle of my documentary experiences. The red alarm sounded when I could not re-collect the name of a village I had visited. That is the sole reason for starting a new blog. The focus in the new blog will be the documentary film and the adventures or miss-adventures that I had in January of 2006. Look up Chronicle of the Documentary---The Green Trade and be a fellow traveler on this tour that I took up last year.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Republic day gift---Law against humiliation

India celebrating its 58th Republic day on 26th January 2007 was a matter of pride fro a patriot like me, plus a sense of elation was palpable at the thought of a holiday in the grinding 6day work schedule. On 25th January while I was heading back home from office in a crowded DTC bus. There were a lot of things on my mind.

· Friends had shared the news of the beating of the Nithari accused---Moninder and Surinder Koli with a tone that spelled satisfaction and a little disappointment at not being able to hit a few hands themselves.
· How was I going to dodge a few phone calls from acquaintances that were trying desperately to move a step further in the process of being more than friends?
· What had mom prepared for dinner? I was dam hungry.
· And the perennial question that haunts me. When will I realize my Mumbai dream.
· What was going to happen in Bigg Boss? And what surprise would SRK spring to make KBC even more interesting.

With these thoughts on my mind and ear-plugs in place promising to damage my ear-drums I managed to secure a seat in the bus. A man who was almostmy father’s age if not more sat next to me. Pondering over the events of the day I was thinking of how a man could live with himself after knowing that he was responsible of killing someone’s child. Moninder had killed more than 40. A man who was in his fifties satisfied his sexual needs by molesting innocent kids and the worst part was that he had not shown a trace of remorse for his act.

At this point in time the man sitting next to me made his move. Very subtly he placed his hand on my thigh. I felt such repulsion that I cannot express it in words. Writing about it right now is one of the most courageous things I have done so far I feel. Because writing about it is reliving it. And reading it again will be going through that same sense of humiliation again. Yes humiliation. It is humiliation when another human being decides to treat you as a commodity. It is humiliating when you know that any amount of screaming from your side will not garner any support from the fellow travelers who feel that this is a common thing to happen. It is humiliation when a man fit to be your father looks at you lecherously. It is humiliating when your country is celebrating 58 years of implementing the constitution and there is no moral law to prevent a young girl from being taken advantage of by an old letch. I am one of the lucky few that has the courage to shout at the offenders. I did shout at him even abused him. His reaction was even more humiliating. He just removed his hand. Did not have any other emotion on his face. He was not apologetic. He was the one who had done something bad, he was the one who had been verbally abused by a girl half his age but I was the one who faced the humiliation.


The country was to celebrate the 58th Republic day. And all I could think of was is there anything to celebrate if monsters like Moninder, Surinder and that unnamed old letch plague us. The only demand that I feel entitled to make to the Government of India today is to make the women of the nation humiliation free.
The reason for writing this is personal. This is not the first time that something of the sort has happened to me. I have been traveling in buses since I was a teenager. I have faced the sort of humiliation many a times. And I am completely aware that thousands and millions of others of my gender face the same humiliation from the scumbs of the other gender. Now that I am aware that at least 4 people read my blog, I would want them to circulate the message to as many as possible. Forward the message with the sole reason that we do not harbor or cultivate more perpetrators of the sort. Even if some of the boys and men amongst the readers have done something as futile as eve teasing remember the humiliation attached is unmeasured for the victim. Make sure you educate your brothers, friends, boyfriends, husbands and even fathers that what they do to someone else’s sisters, friends, girlfriends, wives and even daughters might happen to their own.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SRK freezes KBC

OK! So all of you who know me pretty well will swear that you knew this was coming. But hey! SRK making a comeback on the small-screen is an event of utmost importance for a SRK fanatic like me. Well all of you who are foolish enough to compare Big B to SRK, I request you here itself not to comment on the lines. As I completely agree that Mr. Big B was after all Mr. Big B. But in the same breath I would like to add that SRK was SRK. The King. No arguments from your side can force me to agree otherwise. Neither will I entertain the arguments.

I was nervous for the show that aired yesterday for the first time since the announcement was made. Believe you me; things related to SRK decisions are a topic of grave discussion in our house. STD calls are made. 4 hours long online chats are held. We are always hell bent on offering justifications for his decisions; be it SRK signing Don or KBC. If you listen to our family discussions you would be sure that SRK was a blood relative or in the least a very close family friend. Sadly the bonds that society recognizes do not relate us. But we are related through bonds that are sacred in the world where movies are a religion and actors are Gods. So the SRK fanaticism is not a one in a million case with me. It is a syndrome that has genetic prevalence when it comes to my family and cosmic family (read as friends if the cosmic part is unclear).

Finally that the D day arrived, alarms were set, reminders sent across state boundaries meals cooked and eaten and the eyes were set to the wall clock in anticipation of the needles to point 9 o clock. Strict instructions were given to the youngsters, “Disturb and pay the consequences!” This was the scenario at my house and at the house of similar fanatics (And I am not exaggerating. If anything I am dishing it out in deliberate undertone). Only if SRK knew how much he is adored and thought of...

As soon as the clock struck 9, my mom shouted my name and summoned me to the TV room. I swear to God I have never in my life before obeyed my mom in a single call. But yesterday the circumstances were different. Once the KBC started rolling, there was pin-drop silence. Not out of respect or reverence for SRK (though that is not a stretch of imagination, even that is possible at our house). The reason was that we did not want to miss a single joke that SRK was going to shell out. Thus the laughter on the most hilarious parts was also controlled in the fear of missing the next witty line. I promised my mom that we would laugh reminiscing all the jokes again before we went to bed.

SRK was magnificent. He was in his best element for good and long stretches this time unlike in ‘Koffee with Karan’ where Karan and Kajol also shared the TV space. He was as real as it could get. No sermons, no put-on respect for people his age or younger. He was a ‘dilliwalla’ to the core. Funny, witty, charismatic. Over familiar at times, but never once over-awing the contestants or the viewers. He was perfect. The show ended and even I wanted a hug from my favorite person in the film industry.

The aftermath of the show was even more interesting. With instant calls from relatives discussing the nitty-gritty of the show, praising the video that preceded the actual show to the way he interacted with the audiences and with ‘Mr. Computer’, we had expert comments appreciating everything.

SRK was so Cool that well DElhi froze :P

So SRK Freeze it please.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aging blues.... Naah!!! I still got time!

Last year while celebrating the New Year’s Eve the traditional way…read as wrapped under two huge quilts watching TV or rather surfing news channels to see how the world was welcoming the new year I had chanced to spot a unusually young and a very cute news anchor, yes you read right, news anchor.
I had not imagined then that one year later his blog post pointing an accusing finger on my current age would traumatize me. Well I know traumatized is an exaggeration on my part. Just as all things are.

Firstly in most of his posts he kept referring to being 23 years as being old. And as my mind is programmed to make things seem way magnified I took the comments of the 22 year old at heart as you might have guessed by now I AM 23 YEARS old…. Though I like to pretend that’s not the truth, not as an exhibit of woman vanity that plagues most of my species, but because I truly believe that I am 23 years YOUNG! Narcissism is my character trait and I know, you know, if you have been reading my blog regularly. If this is the first time you visited my point then please read the previous posts to educate thy self about me.

Well coming back to topic, yesterday was the kind of office day that most of us weird types hate. I call myself weird because most people I know laugh at me that too on my face when I tell them I got really bored today as I had no work. For the normal junta no work means happy hours. But keep me busy and keep me happy is the norm as far as I go.

Sorry for being repetitive but as you all know about my obsession with the book- The World is Flat. I could not help angling and analyzing, reading his blog and then finding him on orkut and scraping him, in the light of the contents of my latest literary treasure. The world has actually become flat. And that’s good. I have this huge platform where I can easily exchange a ‘hey!’ with a news anchor who would have been light years away (exaggerating again you think… hehhehehe guilty as charged).

My mom recommended that I read this anchor’s blog, as she knows I find his on-screen antics really fun to watch. As I always say, “Mom knows best!” I got an instant cure for my boredom. Was hooked on to the dude’s (that’s the word us oldies have to use to pretend to be KOOL)* blog. I got to know from a cutie that 23 is an age to be dreaded. I read all the archives as well. Some really interesting anecdotes inspired me to forget I was in my office and laugh out loud. But better sense prevailed! Thank the Lord! And I made a mental note to laugh to my hearts content before retiring to bed that night. Some posts made me realize that some of the things he said were true and applying them to life will certainly be a good idea (By the way, Idea is not paying me to advertise for them, their service is so bad in Delhi that I am doing this for them as a HUGE favor).

Of course I do not agree with all his viewpoints (not contesting the age point right now). But guess the approach to the world is hugely determined by the world you are exposed to and the choices you make. Choices of BELIEVING, ACCEPTING and REJECTING. The choices one makes maybe circumstantial but we have no choice but to own up to our choices. I choose to still believe in the black and white, my way or highway, clich├ęs. Maybe that’s the reason I don’t feel old. Maybe the anti-aging creams work, maybe Botox is miraculous but I guess till the time I believe what I believed when I was eighteen… I’ll be eighteen till I die.

Paras if you read this… don’t worry being 23 is not too bad. But what really worries me right now is WHAT WILL I DO WHEN I AM 25….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!



*read Paras Tomar's blog to understand the joke!... (its listed in the priyanka praises these)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Melancholy's child

Melancholy's child-
Kavita Banerjee
Just when life seems almost perfect,
Just when tears seem to have dried,
Just when warmth tries to surround you,
Just when u decide to try
Just then the halo disappears,
Just then clouds get wild,
Just then you hear a voice crying out-
You are but melancholy's child!!



A chance surfing brought me to this poem. Ah doesn’t it describe to the ‘T’ the feelings that most of the heart broken people around me and of course me too are trying hard to fight through the past year!