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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hyderabad Calling #2 - Travelling

I divide this post in two parts: Modes of transport and.... Roads of transport.

Modes of transport:

I proudly say that I took almost every mode of transport that people use in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad has autorickshaws (called 'autos' or 'aatoo' in the Hyderabadi accent), most of which have dysfunctional meters. If you are looking around with a confused expression, the rate quoted would often be twice the actual amount. The difference between the Mumbai autowallahs and the Hyderabad autowallahs is prominent. While a Mumbai autowallah runs only according to a meter (which are allegedly tampered.) the Hyderabadi autowallah prefers a muh-bola daam. Secondly, if you tell a Mumbai autowallah that you do not have change, he will look at you with contempt that will match only a raging bull's anger for the red colour. Ditto if you ask him to come to Irla from Andheri station they look at you as if you asked them to take you to the centre of Arabian sea. The Hyderabadi autowallah pleads and is apologetic if he cannot take you to the place you want to go to.

By the way, I sat in a share autorickshaw (meant for three people) with eight people excluding the driver with glaring Emran Hashmi songs playing! I stared at the rear-view mirror without saying anything. Quite a first for me. One pays half-return fare after 8.30 pm which took me by surprise.

There are these larger autorickshaws too which people generally use for larger distances. They would ideally accommodate ten people excluding the driver. Here too, the people actually travelling were more than the capacity. Not a very good thing to be doing.. but the drivers want to make as much money as they can - so they stop every three minutes and shout out the name of the place they are going to.

There are many rental car services that have come up in Hyderabad these days - Green car, Meru and others. They are pretty good - reliable, give you a receipt and comfortably point-to-point. One can get self-driven cars or chauffeur-driven cars for a day-long tour. That's what I did. I did not go for a 'well-known' company - but just a contact that I found on the sulekha website. The person was polite, terribly impunctual (turned up 40 minutes late on both the days) but decently safe.

Roads in Hyderabad:

The Charminar area - Laad bazaar is extremely crowded and the best way to tread these streets would be on foot. The shops are small but have an amazing variety of stuff on offer.

I observed that the speed brakers on Hyderabad roads are unusually small and high. So, if you don't wait, you are sure to feeel a bump in your bump.. oops, bum. That explains why almost all vehicles that I travelled in almost came to a halt two inches before the speed braker - as if the speed braker was a speed stopper.

The Hussain sagar road is like Talaopali of Thane on a larger scale and a Bandstand on a much smaller scale. A good place, though.

At the end, I would like to mention a funny sign that I saw on a long Hyderabad road - with a high divider separating the lanes of the street going in either directions. The sign had a 'u-turn' sign saying 'Hitech city' - as in, "If you are taking this road to Hitech city", you are going in the opposite direction dude!" And if you try to take a U-turn rectifying your mistake, there is not place to take a U-turn until fifteen minutes later. Funny indeed.

Hyderabad Calling #1 - Food

I am sorry if this post makes you feel that all I have done in Hyderabad is to eat and that the work I was there for took the backseat. But I simply love food and can't stop raving about the food I had there. The mention of Hyderabad reminds one of the non-vegetarian delicacies on offer. Things weren't very different with me.

The first Hyderabadi thing I had was the samosa there. Drenched in oil, the samosa isn't pyramid-shaped like its Punjabi brother. It is flat like its Gujarati brother. The filling is, however, different from both of them. It had carrots and ... perhaps some other freshly cut and cooked vegetables - so it wasn't dry or stale. It was soft, wet and fresh to taste. I could easily forgive the oil for the taste of the samosa.

The first two days at Hyderabad, I had my lunch and dinner at Dominos and subway - making my friends pull their hair in rage: "Tu udhar jaake bhi wahi sab khayega kya?!!" While I had already decided that I would try Hyderabadi food on the last day, I thought I should start from then itself.

The name synonymous with Hyderabadi cuisine is biryani. The portions of biryani are large and certainly sufficient for two people. There are multiple versions of biryani that you see. There is a vegetarian version for the veggies, an egg version with two boiled eggs on the top of the biryani, a chicken/mutton version and finally, a mixed version which has chicken/mutton/egg. These are cooked layered with rice above it.

I had the mixed version last night - and I seriously think I do not want to eat anything today. And before you think that I am diarrhoeic, let me tell you that I am not. It was yummy but filling. Biryanis at restaurants are served with 'mirch ka salan' - which on the first look, looks like the good old Maharashtrian amti. But it is different. Mirch ka salan is thicker and has groundnut powder base in its gravy. The salan often contains a thick chilli - which you can pick up and eat easily - the chilli tastes like a mixture of tamarind sour and slight mirchi pungent. The prawns starters that I had had an interesting accompaniment consisting of chilli flakes and some green herbs.

Dosas. Dosa is what South India has given the world. Dosas are very popular in different parts of the country. So, how is the dosa of Hyderabad different from the rest of the country? Not very different - just a bit more sour than what I would eat at a Ghatkopar Udipi restaurant. What easily took the cake was the sambar and the chutney jiska taste maine sapne mein bhi nahi socha tha. The sambar was thinner than what we get in Mumbai but a tasty mixture of sweet, sour and pungent.

I also happened to taste some Hyderabadi sweet dishes whose names I do not remember. The one I liked the most was a seviyan kheer-cum-basundi which was nice pistachio green in colour. It was thin-but-not-too-thin. It was thick-but-not-too-thick.

If there is anything I have grown up on apart from Cerelac and cough medicines, it is papad. The papads in Hyderabad have a different taste - I did not like them too much. Did not suit my Mumbai taste-buds, perhaps.

Another aamti-like gravy that I tasted in Hyderabad had a rather funny name - Tomato pappu. The bad part is that it was quite ordinary - nothing mentionable apart from the name.

So, my observations about Hyderabadi food: Hyderabadi food has been adapted by restaurants throughout the country. But the authentic Hyderabadi food has the style which the Nawabi palaces of Hyderabad have too. Noticeably, the people from the country who have adopted and adapted Hyderabadi cuisine have not been able to match the standard with the accompaniments that they provide in Hyderabad - the sambar, the mirch ka salan, etc.

It was quite interesting overall - loved it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hyderabad calling #0

Note : Random rambling

I get to know that I have to attend a conference in Hyderabad in December. I am super-excited. In the super-excitement I book the flight tickets for my return journey.

So on 17th November at around 12 in the afternoon, my phone sounds and I see a sms from the airline. I am sitting in a chair in Mumbai and the airline talks about flying me back from Hyderabad to Mumbai at 3.30pm that day. While some of my friends suggested I run to Hyderabad to manage to get that flight or book another flight to Hyderabad so that I can vasoolofy the return ticket, I realize that I have booked the tickets for a day one month before the scheduled date.

The second problem comes in the form of Telangana disputes going on in Hyderabad nearly five days before my scheduled trip. Once again, I doubt if I will be able to go to Hyderabad or not. I secretly pray that the leader ends his fast so that the condition in Hyderabad calms down and I get to go there. Luckily, things fall in place. The fast breaks with a breakfast (\cite { Sagar Murugkar } ) and I heave a sigh of relief which, I am sure, is louder than the PM's sigh.

So finally, I WILL be attending the conference in Hyderabad. I am not going unarmed though. I have asked a Telugu-speaking friend for the translation of "Bachaao, bachaao.. Mat maaro mujhe... main student hoon" - you know, in case it is required in an emergency situation.

So.. that's it. I will post my 'travelogue' from Hyderabad on my blog with some pictures. Watch the space...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Paa - Movie Review

Note: Has a read-along clip like all the blogposts. Original, like all of them.

I liked many things about the movie - I disliked some. The many things that I liked have already been mentioned in the newspaper reviews. So, even if this review sounds very negative, I haven't disliked the movie as much as I make it sound in this review.

Cutting a long story short, Amitabh Bachhan has delivered a memorable performance in Paa. He is very endearing. Jaya Bachhan at the beginning is a good surprise. Though I really didn't understand why she was sharmaoing with the lihaaz of a naveli dulhan ('newly-wed' for my English medium reader friends) when she was taking names of the team members of the film. Vidya Balan also stands out as the mother. She is amazing in some scenes. The actor who plays the grandmother is very good too.

When I heard the songs for the first time, I thought the "mudi-udi-judi-kudi" series of songs were quite irritating. After watching the movie, the songs sound quite good and they are the kind of songs which you start liking after you have seen them in the context of the film. Paresh Rawal, I really did not quite notice him at all.

The first fifteen minutes are gripping - extremely entertaining. The speed drops towards the end and the climax is very predictable because it comes directly from Kal ho naa ho/Anand or many Ekta Kapoor serials. Overall, the movie is entertaining in parts.

Some dialogues that one will remember come from Auro - the ones like 'kisi ke personal emails nahi padhte...' or the dialogues between Auro and his friend Vishnu. Quite endearing. Some dialogues are outrageously funny. Btw, I thought people needed to be above 18 years of age to have an email address. Auro chats and shares his webcam on the internet - parental discretion ko pack karke maale pe rakh diya kya?

I have one question regarding the movie. Would the 'performance' and the film receive the attention it has had Auro not been a person battling progeria? Because according to me, the movie and its story would not have been any different if Auro had been a patient of some 'conventional' life threatening disease. So, do the story-makers bring in the progeria angle just to gain sympathy/attract attention because of the uniqueness? If it is either, I think it is not a very good thing to have done.

And it would not be a very good thing to happen if filmmakers keep unearthing newer/rarer physical/mental ailments just to repeat the (Bhansali's) Black-like charm.

Apart from this, I don't have any concerns about the movie. It may make a one-time good watch.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Aamhi secular jhaalot - We are secular now

Dedicated to a friend Priyanka Kulkarni who encouraged me to write a post in Marathi.
This one is among my very few attempts in Marathi. I do not belong to any political party, by the way.

I have also put stanza-wise English translation. But a poem is best read in the language it is written in.

शिवाजी महाराजांनी अफझल'खाना'चा वध केला
हे आता इतिहासाच्या पुस्तकात म्हणता येत नाही,
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...
( We cannot say in history books now,
that Shivaji Maharaj killed Afzal'Khan'..
Because, we are secular now.. )

आम्ही भेद मानत नाही.. पण विसरून जातो..
की भेद ना 'मानण्या'तच भेदाच्या अस्तित्वाची स्वीकृती असते..
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...
( We don't consider differences but forget,
That by not 'considering' differences, we are accepting their existence.
Because, we are secular now...)

मरणारा शेतकरी पाहून कंटाळून गेलोय...
राजपुत्राला cycle वरुन जाताना पाहण्यात दंग आहोत आम्ही....
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...

(We are bored to see the dying farmer,
We are busy watching our prince riding a cycle.
Because, we are secular now..)

सूत-पुत्राला बाण मारण्यापासून रोखले गेले असेलही एकेकाळी..
आता आमच्या मुलांची हक्काची आयुधे हिसकावून घेतली जाऊ देतोय आम्ही..
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...

(People may have stopped Soot-putra from shooting an arrow..
But now we are OK with people snatching away the arms that our children deserve,
Because, we are secular now..)

मूर्त्या आणि हाइवे-वरची होरडिंग्स पाहून आम्हाला फारसे काही वाटत नाही.
आम्हीही झुकून कुर्निसात्त करतो, तो हक्क आहे त्या परिवारचा
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...

(Statues and hoardings on highway, we are fine with them,
We also bow in front of them, that family has that right on us..
Because, we are secular now)

आम्ही secular झालोत...
आम्ही फरक मानत नाही.
कारण तो फरक आता आम्हाला दिसतच नाही..
कारण.. आम्ही secular झालोत...
नव्हे, आम्ही aandhale झालोत..

(We are secular now,
We don't consider ourselves different,
Because we don't see the differences at all..
We are secular now,
Or perhaps, we are blind now.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

'Jail - Movie review'

My first audio-clip-accompanied movie review

'Jail' - the movie opens with Neil Nitin Mukesh's entry in the jail. When the flashback to happier times begins, you just hope it doesn't go on till the interval like Karan Johar movies. Thankfully, it doesn't. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Neil is in the jail again sleeping in a huge group of half naked bearded men huddled together in one big room.

The movie is VERY Good - because it does not try to be over-the-top or a 'life-changing experience' for its viewers. The movie is, like Page 3 and Fashion and Traffic Signal, a drive in somebody else's car. The movie is good not because it brings before you a world you've never seen or imagined but because it highlights continously the hope and the spirit of people in jails.

Like all Madhur Bhandarkar movies, there are characters and their subplots linked to the story of the main character. AND like all Madhur Bhandarkar movies, these subplots grow as stories with a soul and all these characters gain an identity for themselves.

As a small note, this movie, like Fashion and Page 3, has a character by the name Mukesh Tyagi - played by the same person who played Mukesh Tyagi in Fashion AND Page 3. Madhur Bhandarkar has some obsession with the name, man!

And like all Madhur Bhandarkar movies, the actors have given a fine performance. Mugdha Godse is very good - you do not forget her as a glam-doll. Aarya Babbar is very nice.Neil is amazing as he conveys the choked emotions of this man whose world has turned upside down all of a sudden. I think he has emoted very well. Atul Kulkarni comes in a good surprise appearance.

The song 'Saiya ve' was unnecessary but ok to set the mood of the film. The other 'Bareily ke bazar mein' was VERY unnecessary but then it didn't go on for like more than three minutes, so I don't mind. The movie is slow - so I did catch a nap for like three-five minutes like I always do. :-p

Madhur Bhandarkar has been accused of playing it by the formula - but I surely defend him because if anything, he has a formula of excellence and success!

Each of his movies has come out with a definite human virtue. Like the lyrics of Lata Mangeshkar's song in this movie, this movie is about hope - the hope to get back to a normal life that all of them long for...

Note: I also saw 'Azab Gazab Prem Kahani' (or whatever that name is) and would prefer Neil Nitin Mukesh over Ranbir any day!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Funny job application

Note: Click on 'Play' to hear the blog in my voice. It may be used as a read-along aid/addition.

Disclaimer: Original, like all my blogposts

Respected Sir,

I would like to apply for the post of a reality show contestant in your channel. I don't know which new reality show is coming up. But the rate at which they are going, I am sure there is atleast one. If not two. One of them will surely be a song/dance/music talent show. As it is, dance, song and music are the only 'talents' someone can have these days. So, I am quite untalented. So perhaps a plain show that is about a group of jobless people shouting and fighting around would do. In fact, I think I am eligible. I would like to tell you why.

Firstly, I am from a middle class family. Do I need to say more? Because from all the reality shows that I have seen so far, the Indian middle class is the most reality-show-friendly people because from what I have seen on the shows, we are indeed the most distressed section of people in the world - atleast as distressed as Rakhi Sawant's mother.

Secondly, I also have a collection of choicest abuses from English to Hindi and do a lot of yelling when I give them. In case you don't want me to abuse because you fear to loose the family audience (which let me tell you, you will get if the abuses ARE there!), I can also say "beep-beep" in a way that it sounds like the world's worst abusive word.

Thirdly, I talk to myself. This is one habit I developed when I was in the asylum. This talent of mine will surely take me a long way in the reality show that you put me in - especially after the "how do you feel now" questions that will be dropped every ten minutes.

On second thoughts, I think I will fit in the talent reality shows too. I have practised enough you see! I often give a speech on methods to reduce population of West Tanzania in front of my five year old cousin and when he gives negative feedback, I can very effectively clutch myself and fall to the ground grumbling and weeping. So, I am sure I will do that in front of the judges when they talk negatively about my performance too. In fact, you can make me a judge in one of your shows - after all, even I am considered a sidey performer in my area.

Sir, for the last one year, I have been practising my sms appeal in front of God in my evening prayer. Twice, the marigold petals fell from the God's photoframe. This should speak for the fact that I am good at it. I suggest you try this effect in one of your episodes with me.

The bottomline is that I totally understand that reality shows are as much related to reality as Abhijeet Sawant is to Rakhi Sawant. And I am now sincerely hoping that Abhijeet does not sue me for relating him to Rakhi. I understand that an imaginary Tulsi's love-triangle dilemma does not interest people as much as Rakhi Sawant's love-polygon dilemma and I will strive, as a reality show contestant, to generate this level of attention to the best of my ability.

Thanks and Regards,
Mr. X

Monday, November 02, 2009

Test of time

Note: Audio blog. Press play to start the read-along audio clip.

Dedicated to a friend Sushil who had once said something similar to the message of this blog.


"Uhh..hi... you back to India?"

"Ya, here for a month..."

"Cool.. so, shopping today, eh?"

"That's what people come here for!" Anita rolled her eyes.

"Chalo, take care!" Sukanya hugged her and they parted ways.

Sukanya was lost in thoughts. Anita, her best friend from school was in Mumbai but hadn't even tried to get in touch with her. Are friendships so weak that they cannot sustain a year of being physically away from each other? Around two years ago, Sukanya and Anita had shopped at the same mall for Anita's brother's wedding. Anita had told her mom clearly that she wouldn't buy anything without Sukanya's approval. Talking about approval, Sukanya had approved Shashank before Anita introduced him to her family. Sukanya had however always wondered why Anita never kept in touch after she went abroad.

Anita was now at the billing counter of the store thinking of the unexpected encounter she had just had. She sighed as she remembered the day Sukanya told her boyfriend about Shashank. She thought Sukanya would keep that a secret. After the episode, each time Anita looked at Sukanya, she could only remember that Sukanya had wronged her.

Anita never told Sukanya how she felt. She simply seemed to have lost trust in her friend. Anita nearly heaved a sigh of relief when she went to the US. She wouldn't have to talk to Sukanya now. Soon, they weren't talking to each other at all.

The friendship that was important to both of them dissolved in the all-consuming poison of lack of communication. Sukanya kept wondering what had happened - Anita did not seem to want to tell her what actually had happened. She thought she was too hurt to allow this friend of hers an entry in her life again.

And where were they today? Looking at each others' pictures on facebook feeling happy that the other person was happy. Yet not having the courage to tell each other that they cared. The block that had been created had choked out their friendship.

Relationships are indeed like plants that need to be watered. Weeds of misunderstanding must be pruned before their roots rape the soil and deprive the plant of relationships of nutrition. Talking out the issues at the moment they arise is indeed a key to friendships that survive the test of time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mothers #1

Audio blog: Click on the play button and you will hear the blogpost in my voice. It may be used as a read-along style aid/enhancer.

Note: First part of what I plan to continue as a series of posts. VERY Loosely based on a real story. Followers of Indian politics will know who I am talking about. Completely imaginary in terms of the interpretation.

The day dad was arrested, news channels repeated the video footage over and over again. Our TV was, however, off.

Mom cooked khichdi that night and served it in four plates as usual. When me, my sister and mom sat to eat, I looked at the fourth plate and then at my mother. Her eyes gripped mine and said to me, "He'll be back."

We managed to down only a morsel or two when mom got up and walked to the basin to wash her hands.

"It's time for both of you to sleep." mom said, in a never-before assertive tone. My sister who often argued with her followed me silently to our room today.

Through the latched door of my room, I could hear my mom cry out - it was a cry of a woman horrified with what fate had brought for her. It was a cry of a wife in her house with only her children the day her husband was arrested. It was a cry of a mother who had left no stone unturned to make her children stay away from what had happened.

Through the slit of the door, I saw light kept on in the other room the whole night. I heard my mom crying out several times over - she was on the phone. I even woke up once and tried to console her. Her red eyes did not shed a tear in front of me as she almost pushed me back into my room.

My mama arrived the next morning and took us away to his place.

A few days later, while still at mama's place, I saw my mom on a news channel. She was no longer the weak housewife cut out from her in-laws because her husband had murdered his own brother. In the video, I saw a brave woman with not one sad streak on her face walking into the court - ready to face whatever was in store for her, head-on.

My mother packed the fourth plate of khichdi that she made yesterday in a tiffin. She took it for dad in jail. When he sobbed like a child, my mom placed her hand on his and told him firmly that she was with him through it all.

As we walked out of the jail, there was one drop of tear accumulated in the deep dark circles under her eyes. In an oyster in water lies the capacity to form a pearl and to keep it tightly concealed in its shell... My mom has kept every sorrow of hers deeply concealed in herself.

Meanwhile, the fourth plate still gets served for dinner every day.

Blog: Second Spell

A hundred year old tree was about to die. Its bark was dry and the tree was leafless. With its convoluted branches, it actually looked like mummy with its arms stretched out.

Among the closely packed branches was one branch which was slightly green. There was a tinge of life left. This one branch wanted the tree to live. It slowly grew towards the earth and thrust itself into the root of the tree. This branch had now replanted itself. By the time the older branches started falling off, newer branches had grown from this new stem of the tree. The mummy that the tree was, had sprung to life.


This blog recorded my crests of joy and bouts of depression in the last two years. In my first post, I called it my mirror - a mirror that reflects everything that it sees. Even if you ignore the mirror, it still continues to show you what you are. My blog truly was a friend who stayed among the many who left.

With the dormance it saw, my blog feared if it was its time to say goodbye.

My blog wants to live. My friend does not want to die. I will save it. I will be the branch that will be its new stem. My blog will now see a second inning - a spring where it will prosper and be laden with greener leaves. My blog will overcome the fall season...


To my blog and to all of you who are feeling low the way my blog must have,

Autumns don't kill. They only cleanse and ready you for a spring...

-Aaditya Joshi



Audio clips : A narration of my blogposts in my own voice is what will mark this new spell of blog. I hope you all like listening to the audio clips as you read along.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deaf, dumb and blind

I hear none.

I see none.

I speak none.

And I realize that the reason is not my sensory organs...

...it's my mind.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jodha's Krishna mandir

Note: The inspiration of this blogpost is not Ashutosh Gowarikar's 'Jodhaa Akbar' but a scene from K. Asif's 'Mughal-e-azam' and historical findings on different websites on the internet.

Note: An original work of expression like all my blogposts. I try to explore different sides of one germ of an idea.

Disclaimer: I am no historian to make historical claims. I hope the readers appreciate the idea I am trying to put forward.

The year is 1930 - not to add the old-age charm but to plainly pacify the readers who might claim that the content of the writeup is no longer relevant.My claim, however, is that though the social setting has changed, the situation hasn't to a great extent.

The waada* was surrounded by tall stone walls - two pieces of stones sticking to each other. This twenty-feet tall boundary had a small wooden door that was so heavy that it would need two servants to close it. Less than a couple of minutes ago, the servants had closed the door.

Saraswati looked out of the window and saw the full moon sieving through the tree behind the mansion. Once in a while, memories peeped into her mind like this moonlight through the dense leaves and branches.

Saraswati remembered the waada* in the neighbouring village - the house she had grown up in. She could visualise her brother getting her tamarind for her. They would sit on the floor nearly the doorway sucking on the tamarind pod. She remembered playing with her friends in the small patch of grass outside of the mansion. She remembered sitting with her legs on either of her father's shoulders and moving around the house. She felt like a king on an elephant - to her, her father was no less than the mighty, the all-powerful elephant.

The leaves rustled in the breeze and Saraswati came back to the place where she was. She was now the eldest daughter-in-law of this house.

She now carried the name that her husband had given her and the surname of the family she was now in. Her duty, her loyalty was towards this family that she was married in. She was to look after the daily chores of the family though she had some maids for help. She was to participate in the family events like marriages and prove to be a well-behaved and a good daughter-in-law.

She was proud that she was doing all that dutifully...

But somehow, she could never stop her mind from lingering into the past. From sneaking out of this house and going back to the house she had grown up in, from being concerned about her brother's now-failing business, from being worried about her father's dwindling health.

She had heard the story of Akbar's queen Jodhaa who had a Hindu temple constructed in her palace. That corner of the palace was a Krishna mandir, Jodhaa's place of worship. Saraswati realized that the Krishna mandir was also Jodhaa's memory of the life she had left behind her, the life with her parents and their family.

The waada* stood strong and tall in the dark of the night as the moonlight sieved through the window of Saraswati's room. The time that had flown by had come back to Saraswati's mind. It had reminded her of the life that she had lived and the life she had given up the moment she got married.

There was no rebellion, there were no questions. There was no self-glorification by calling what she had done a sacrifice.

She was happy and peaceful. But she could not deny the fac that with the memories of the family and the house she grew up in, Saraswati had her Krishna mandir intact in her mind...

waada* - Marathi word for a mansion. Pronounced as "waa" as in "waah" and "da" as in "dark".

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wake up Sid- Review

The film opens with a disclaimer for the audience regarding the 'Mumbai-Bombay issue' and the theatre become noisier all of a suddden. People on either sides of the line talk about the issue with the person next to them - except the ones who have come alone, I think.

The movie is young and fresh. As it would be clear to someone who has seen the promos, the movie traces the transition of Sid from being a young brat to a responsible person. Like Nagesh Kukunoor movies, the movie has a four sentence storyline but the breezy screenplay takes you through with ease. Some scenes are slow but the dialogues make up for the slow speed. Some songs are good - 'Iktara' rocks!

Konkona Sen Sharma looks good and has performed well too. She reminds you of Kajol - a subtle version as far as acting is concerned. Ranbir has done a good job. It's the first film of his that I saw and I think that except for some scenes where he overacts, he is generally good. Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak as Sid's parents are good - especially Supriya Pathak. Atisha Naik and Kashmeera Shah as the neighbours are endearing. Ranbir's friends Rishi and Laxmi are like the buddies who always stick around.

The movie is not 'amazing' per se but there are some good things about the movie (apart from the ones mentioned above.) Both Ranbir and Konkona have someone trying to get close to them or so you think. You keep guessing that there would be a love triangle and some nok-jhok due to that. It's interesting to know that that is not the case. The scene where Ranbir leaves his home is good but you don't feel bad for him at all for he has been too rude to his parents. But that's what the story starts with - a thankless, irresponsible boy. The examination hall scene where Ranbir sees people talking to him is interesting to watch. The climax is quick, predictable but candyfloss.

Overall, a good candy floss movie. Definitely entertaining..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tears at the lakeside

Disclaimer: The imagery is imaginary, the situation is not. Quite vague

The stars are shining on the surface of the lake. I sit on the banks with my legs folded. My naked feet are on the moist ground - I know I am going to leave my footsteps behind when I get up. I look at the highway far away and the tiny specks of light that move as the cars do.

As I sit the lakeside, I hear silence in my eyes. I have a drop of sweat moving across my forehead. I am looking into the lake at the reflection of the brightest light on the highway. It is the brightest light perhaps that has lit up my eyes too.

I am smiling. There are times when you think everything in the world is perfect. With my sweaty brow, muddy feet and hunched back, I think the world indeed is.

A dream that I have seen for so long forms its image, it comes to life like the specks of car headlights reflecting in the lake. The dream becomes the brightest speck in the lake.

The dream now shines in my eye as a large drop of tear. Why am I crying when I see a dream realized? I close my eyes and the tear rolls down. The drop continues to shine on its way down.

I smile at the lake.

The stars shine in the sky. The reflection of the headlights shine on the lake. My tear shines too...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Changing into a tshirt

The t-shirt lay on his bed, neatly folded.

Chinmay ran to the drawing room, picked up the phone and dialled his mother's number.

"Mumma, where are you.... But when will you come back.... Mumma, I have to go to the gymnastics class... I am not going now.... You know I can't wear a t-shirt myself Mumma...", a drop of tear slowly reached his lower lip.

"I am not going to the.... But Mumma, you know I am scared to wear a t-shirt. How am I going to do it without your help... Mumma, please Mumma.... my hands will get stuck inside the t-shirt... I can't do it Mumma...", a second droplet pushed the first down his chin.

"They don't allow us in a shirt... We have to wear a t-shirt only.... Mumma, why did you have to go!!" Chinmay turned red, "7 o clock?! My class is at 5! Aaji* is not well, I can't ask her to help me wear my tshirt..."

"I am not going to talk to you..", Chinmay banged the phone down and returned to his room.

He sat on his bed and wiped the tears with the lower portion of his tiny palm. He looked at the t-shirt with the name of his gymnastics academy written on it.

"Last time I tried to wear a t-shirt, it was tight and my hands got stuck inside. I felt so scared... I always ask Mumma to help me wear a t-shirt. Why did she have to go out today! I want to go to the gymnastics class....", he thought to himself.

He picked up the t-shirt by the stitch where the sleeves were connected to the body of the t-shirt.

"No, I can't miss the class today", his chubby cheeks turned red like an apple.

He closed his eyes and pulled the t-shirt over his head. He stretched out his arms. His hands frantically looked for the opening of the sleeves. He put his hands through the sleeves the moment his hands located them.

It was in three seconds that he was standing in front of the mirror with his cheeks red and his lips broken into a smile.

He had changed into a t-shirt all by himself....

He realized that what he feared was too small to be feared. This was a lesson that Chinmay learnt for life.

Aaji* - The Marathi word for a grandmother

Remembering Gandhiji

Dear Gandhiji,

It's your birthday today.. we are remembering you on all news channels today with special feature segments named in the sensational manner that is typical to the news channels.

We are remembering you in schools and colleges with speeches that are repeated every year.

We smile when we read '2nd October - Gandhi Jayanti' in the holidays list of the year. We remember you with joy.

We have forgotten you otherwise.

When we get a currency note larger than the regular size, we look at the number - preferrably wanting to see a 1000 over a 500 or a 100. We do not look at your smiling face adjacent to the number.

We lie, we fight, we abuse.

We give bribes to a government employee just to get rid of the work as quick as possible.

We are so safe in our 'grihas' that we do not have time for 'satya' leave alone 'satyagraha'...

You are a revered person in the world, the face of India for many outside India.

"The land of Gandhy" is what many of us are greeted with when we say we are from India. We smile in response and say how proud we are. It is then that we remember you Gandhiji.

Just someone

P. S. : Is it Lal Bahadur Shastriji's Jayanti today as well? Was he the one who gave the slogan 'Jai jawan, jai kisan'? Or was he the one who gave the slogan 'Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azaadi dunga'? He must be a freedom fighter, right?! Please tell me more about him, Gandhiji....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Watching Dr. Kalam speak...

Note: As real as the stars and the sky. The words that are unquoted are as mine as my eyes.

The title looks strange because you generally 'hear someone speak' but trust me, it is apt. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was speaking at the silver jubilee celebration function of K J Somaiya college of engineering. I was watching him speak, awe-struck, enthused - staring at him without batting an eyelid.


Three years ago, I was standing outside the gate of the President's mansion - Dr. Kalam was the President then. I saw the beautiful house in all its glory through the gate standing truly like the King of the Country it was - closely guarded physically but free for everyone who wanted to be in awe of it. I had gone breathless back then...


And I was breathless now again. Innumerous mails are circulated on the internet about Dr. Kalam's inspiring speeches - today I was going to hear this highly revered Indian live. Dr. Kalam arrived and spoke.

I stared at the thumb-tall image of Dr. Kalam that I saw in front of my eyes against the backdrop of the carnations. He interacted with the audience - asking the students to repeat an oath that he wanted them to take on the occasion, the audience repeated in almost a trance.

His complete speech can be read at his website : http://www.abdulkalam.com/kalam/jsp/display_content.jsp?menuid=28&menuname=Speeches%20/%20Lectures&linkid=68&linkname=Recent&content=1348&columnno=0&starts=0&menu_image=7


The focus of his speech was clearly the youth - the young engineering students. He said that it was integrated efforts by engineers of different faculties that was essential to the nation. The contribution of these engineers together would lead to 'connectivity', he said - physical connectivity, communication connectivity, knowledge connectivity.. and hence, economic connectivity.

I observed a subtle fact that came out from his speech. It all needs to start from a united effort to lead to unity in the knowledge-divide between different parts of the country. Unity leads to Unity...


I still remember the way he signalled the audience to be seated when they stood up in applause when he climbed the dais. Through the silver hair, small eyes and a broad smile, I saw a great man with the expression of gratitude and humility exuding from his face along with the aura of knowledge, achievement and more importantly, purity that arises only from a noble heart.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Note: First-person account of a rainy evening

The dark sky blinked twice. A crack appeared on the surface of the sky in the form of a lightening and the sky tore into pieces as it started raining. It was as if the dark night had turned into day for a second...

... Like a dream that becomes real only to shatter into pieces few moments later.

My eyes grew larger as I saw the lightening. I looked at the sky, the skyscraper in front of me looked as lifeless as a photograph when the lightening shone on it....

The light struck my face again and I felt I was under the spotlight for two seconds.. Many of us are, as it is, waiting to be under the spotlight - even if it is for two seconds.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Love thy neighbour

Note: Not completely imaginary, not completely real.

Vijaya sat on the sofa as Shalini got her some tea. Vijaya smiled and took a sip.

"Aah, it's the same taste, Patelbhabhi", Vijaya said. Shalini smiled in reply.

Ten-year old Jignesh peeped through the door from behind the curtain.

"Arre.. Jignesh, come here!!", Vijaya said.

Jignesh was only waiting for the call. He ran towards Vijaya and hugged her nearly spilling her tea on her sari...

"Jignesh!", Shalini scolded him, "Did you see what you did? Did you have to come running like that? Go inside and sit!"

Jignesh interrupted, "But Baa, I want to talk to Kulkarnikaku..."

"Go inside, I say...", Shalini shouted. Vijaya adjusted her fingers that were wrapped around the cup.

"Uhh.. sorry, Kulkarnivahini.. did he spill the tea?", Shalini mellowed down.

Vijaya nodded and took another sip. In the fumes rising from the tea, she remembered the days. Jignesh had come home one day with high fever. When he saw that his mother Shalini was out to a relative's place, he came to Vijaya. Vijaya had looked after him for nearly four hours before deciding to take him to a hospital where he was admitted.

Vijaya remembered standing in her balcony and talking to Shalini who would be in hers. They would talk for hours - about TV serials, about elections, about recipes for different types of cakes. In fact, Shalini was the first person in whom Vijaya had confided about Vishakha. Vijaya's daughter, Vishakha was in love. The love was unacceptable, if not blasphemous, for the people in the locality.

Vishakha's love was not discussed in public but hushed-hushed about in private. Vijaya's husband and her could not take the way the neighbourhood looked at them - they moved out to another place.

Vijaya came back to the present. She was staring into the cup now. The love that the neighbourhood had for her family had condensed - like the now-cold tea with a layer of condensed milk floating on the top...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dil Bole Hadippa - Movie Review

What do you get when you mix tomato sauce with strawberry jelly, add oregano seasoning and whip it adding coconut water spoon by spoon? A disaster similar to 'Dil bole hadippa'...

The screenplay heavily borrows from a lot of films making it tasteless like the recipe I just mentioned. The bad part is - the film does not convince you in any way:
  1. Why is the movie called 'Dil bole Hadippa'? Convince me with your answer and I give you my left ear. Shouldn't titles have some context in the movie?
  2. Shahid Kapoor's initial scenes with the cricket team remind you of Shahrukh Khan in Chak de India. Just that Shahid is way too expressionless and dumb.
  3. Shahid conducts the team selection only because his father is the owner of the cricket team. (And Aaditya (Joshi, not Chopra, duh!) visualizes Uday Chopra conducting auditions for the film.)
  4. Rani dressing up as a man, Shahid recognizing her just before the climax - is all 'Rab ne bana di jodi' with gender reversed.
  5. The stressed relationship between Shahid Kapoor's parents reminds you of 'Hum Tum''s Rishi Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri.
  6. Shahid hams. He looks ugly in the romantic scenes with Rani and like a hungry goat in the funny scenes. Dahling, waxing karwane ke saath saath thode acting lessons bhi le lete...
  7. 'Aman cup'....!!! What next?? 'Varma Saucer'???
  8. Rani's Senti bhashan at the end is just not convincing! ( I am all for women empowerment ofcourse. But, the bhashan is ...boring!) It was highly predictable by the way - I was able to complete nearly all her sentences. Get real, get new, Chopra ji.
  9. I raise STRONG OBJECTION to the Punjabi used in the movie. How are people trying to watch a Hindi film expected to understand so much Punjabi?
There are two things and only two things that work for the film - Rani Mukherjee and the slickly canned song as the end credits roll. The song was widely used in the promotion of the film too and I am not surprised. Rani Mukherjee is very good, extremely entertaining. There is nothing specifically noticeable about the movie, otherwise.

Overall, not just thumbs, but all five fingers of my hand down... Buhoo!!

Dhundiraj Govind

Disclaimer: This style of writing has been inspired from a short story I read few months ago. Real-world incidents from history are elaborated to form a story. So, this blogpost is true in terms of historical references, imaginary in terms of the descriptions.

We are in the first decade of the twentieth century - nearly hundred years back in time. He walks into a tent theatre in Germany. He is neatly dressed in a clean white shirt, white pants and shoes of the same colour. He is wearing a navy blue waistcoat made by the tailor down the street. The tailor specializes in stitching velvet clothes.

He buys a ticket for the film 'The Life of Christ'. He looks at the poster, he realizes that the lettering is not uniform. He smirks at the lack of detailing. He knows about the intricacies of typography - because that is one of the many occupations he has embraced in his life.

He has been a businessman in the true sense of the word. Born in a small village back in Maharashtra, India, He started off as a photographer, then moved to being a draftsman in a company. After he realized that the constraints of a job did not suit him, he set up a printing press of his own. Now, he was in Germany to acquire the technology to better the quality of printing his firm came up with.

As the images of the Christ's life moved on the curtain, a hundred thoughts crowd in his mind. As the Christ walks with the cross, he sees the audience in a state of enthrall. He can certainly imagine a similar situation in his country when people would see their religious figures moving before their eyes.

He returned back to India and made a major decision - he wanted to make a movie on Hindu mythological characters. This was a decision that would change not only his life but also lead to the genesis of an industry for India.

Through his first silent film, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, better known as Dadasaheb Phalke gave India its now-prosperous film industry. The silent film was truly a silent revolution in the history of India...


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sheela, Pinky & Happy Birthday

Shambhuji was the attendant-cum-sweeper-cum-peon-cum-nurse at the village school. He looked at the old wall clock which one of the trustees had gifted the school years ago after the trustee's son passed SSC at the district school. Shambuji got up and rang the huge brass bell kept at the centre of the foyer. There was a flood of kids of different ages that ran out of the school. The running was accompanied by jubilant cries and gushing laughter.

As Sheela walked out of the school with Pinky, she said to her, "My brother had his happy birthday yesterday. Mummy bought a cake. Then we put some candles on it. Many of my brother's friends had come. They all played cricket in the backyard while I helped mom make some spicy puris for them. It was so much fun."

Pinky said, "Hmm. My neighbour's son had his birthday last week. They had decorated the house with lights and had a party for all their relatives and us, their neighbours. There was kulfi, there was cake, they had everything!"

Sheela said, "When do you have your happy birthday?"

Pinky replied, "I... don't know."

Sheela's face had a 'I-knew-it' expression, "Aah! Even I don't have a happy birthday...Pooja and Ramya also don't have a happy birthday."

Pinky, the wiser one among the two said, "Maybe, girls don't have a happy birthday!"

Sheela exclaimed once again, "Aah!". Now she knew why Pinky topped all the exams, she was so wise!!


Pinky dropped out of school the next year. Sheela's parents sent her to a girls' school at the taluka level.

When Sheela went to submit her SSC form that her father had filled for her, she saw the Birthdate column... '20th July, 1987'.

She had a happy birthday! "Pinky wasn't as wise as I thought", Sheela thought as she handed the form to her teacher.

In her mind, she laughed at Pinky for being so unwise. The gender-based discrimination that had been going on in her family touched her thoughts nowhere ..

Monday, September 07, 2009

Yoko's versus Jughead's

Note: A Food Review. The foodie that I am, reviewing eating places comes naturally to me. :-)

I am talking specifically about Yoko's Sizzlers, Hiranandani Powai and Jughead's, Powai. Having visited both the places several times (and spent a lot of money there), I think I have the right to give my opinion.

Disclaimer (How can I miss a disclaimer before a post): I am biased towards Jugheads. It will anyways be evident from the description.


Jughead's is located off the highway near Powai police station. Location-wise, it's rather odd to access - out of the way as such. Yoko's is right in the middle of the crowded Galleria adjacent to Mocha. Quite a cool location to have procured.

Interiors and the ambience:

Jughead's has a 'young' feel with the comic strips on the walls and the ceiling. (I have once read through them twisting my neck in all directions..) I particularly love the huge 'burger' that adorns the wall from the outside. The glass wall on one side makes the area look larger - but what you see is a crowded highway. So, hardly any 'view' there.

Yoko's does not really have an ambience that you would remember. It's a typical place with some Chinese touch to the interiors.

The Loo :

(Important factor for me. :-p)
Jughead's only has standing urinals for the men which is like OMG. The washroom at Yoko's is absolutely small - you stand and pee then simply rotate through 90 degrees to wash your hands. Another 90 degrees and you are facing the door on your way out. The rustic feel must be saving the maintenance expenses.


The attendants at Jughead's are more courteous than Yoko's. Jughead's does not have a waiting area which Yoko's does. However, I have never had to wait the ten-fifteen times that I have been to Jughead's.


1) Sizzlers: Both the places are known for sizzlers. A sizzler at Yoko's is like my room at times with piles of clothes and books on the top of each other. The sizzler has a big mound of noodles on the top of rice and then the gravy. The fries are jetting out from one corner of this mass. It's like one big mix-up you see! I fondly call Yoko's sizzlers 'Yoko's Bhel' for this very reason. A sizzler at Jughead's is less in quantity, however, the platter is arranged in a neat fashion - things aren't really lying on the top of one another. That makes it easier and more pleasant to eat than Yoko's.

2) Pizza: Both the places serve pizzas at cheap rates (as compared to the pizza joints). Pizza at Yoko's is better than Jughead's. Obviously, the pizzas are no match to the 'pizza speciality' places. I love the prawns pizza at Jughead's.

3) Side orders: Comparable. Almost equal as such.

4) Pricing: Yoko's prices its sizzlers at a rate higher than Jughead's. But they 'sizzle out' thirty seconds after they arrive on your table. Now that's such a Boo-Boo, Yoko ji. A vegetarian sizzler is priced at Rs. 315 in Yoko's while it is Rs. 200 on an average in Jughead's.

On the whole, Juggu-dada beats Yoko ji by a big margin....

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chairs in the Rain

Credit: I saw a photograph in a friend, Balamurali's orkut album and got the idea of writing this post. He had taken that snap. Photographs do speak a thousand words!

The water on the floor of the terrace makes a rather slow swooshing sound as it flows to the corner of the terrace, thanks to the slope of the terrace. This sound is that of a slow snake moving over a muddy ground making a swoosh due to the moisture in the ground. The rain drops hit the floor like a thousand bullets right on the target. Their sound is the one dominating the scene.

Somewhere, a drop of water falls from the leaky tap right onto the floor making its own small sound. The tap knows it will never beat the rain in the amount of sound it is making - but it keeps trying.

Wait, there is a rat-a-tat too... It is the rain water falling on a metallic surface. Oh yes, there are two metallic chairs on the terrace. The chairs are stuck to one another as if they are holding hands and watching the rain...

An old lady appears from the dark door with an umbrella. She sits on one of the chairs not caring about the wet seat... In the dark of the night, when the moonlight touches the shiny tiles on the terrace, the water and the floor of the terrace shines like the surface of the moon itself.

Like an arrow that cuts through air, like a fish that pierces through water, a sound mounts itself over and above this medley of sounds. She is singing a Hindi song. It is a song of longing.

She has a melodious voice and when she sings, the sound of the rain, the water and the leaky tap seem to have faded. Like the clouds that fill the sky in no time, her song has now filled the air. The thin waves of water on the terrace slow down as the waves of her voice speed through the darkness of the night.

The night hears in silence the song of a lady while the rain drops hit the empty chair adjacent to her....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kaminey - Movie Review

H1N1 flu is a pakka 'suwar'. (It is only a matter of coincidence that it is caused by the suwars aka the swine.) The release of this movie got delayed due to the 'shutdown', then I was scared to go to a theatre and watch the movie and when I did, the following week I was too busy to write a review. Albeit late, here it is - the Kaminey movie review...

Question One: This question, everybody seems to be asking - Is it like a Tarantino movie? ...
Answer: Kiske baaaap ko pata hai ki Tarantino movie kya hota hai... I haven't seen any of his/her movies, so I wouldn't comment.

Question Two: Whose performance stands out?
Answer: Undoubtedly, it is among the very few movies where the collective performance by the ensemble stands out. In movies like these, the heroines are reduced to glam dolls in bikinis (or less.). Priyanka Chopra is superb in that sense. She deserves an applause for the accuracy of the Marathi accent. She, thankfully, does NOT overdo it the way other Hindi movies of the past have.

Question Three: Songs?
Answer: "Dhan te nan" is THE song. It is a treat to watch the song on the screen. "Fatak" is a very different song too... Who has heard of AIDS awareness in a Hindi film song!

Amidst all the 'Chudiyaan', 'Kangana', 'Hiriye', 'Makhnaa's that I have listened to, the songs of Kaminey are very nice.. very different.. very slickly canned.

Question Four: Fahid ke baare mein bolo yaar....
Answer: Shahid plays two characters - one of them stammers, the other has a lisp in the film and this, by now, is known to the bachha-bachha of India. So... Fahid looks very good in the movie - both as Charlie the gangster and Guddu the bholuchand. He's acted well. He is better as the gangster than the bholuchand - but that may be because the gangster is more aggressive than the bholuchand.

Question Five : Dialogues?
Answer: There are so many 'F' words in the film - by 'F' words, I mean the wordf where Fahid replacef 'f' with 'f'. :-p. There are fun to hear. There is an above-average usage of Marathi and Bengali - but both the languages are sweet to hear.

Question Six (or 'Fix'.) : Overall verdict?
Answer: Not worth the hype - not worth the craze with which people are 'lifping' on their facebook status messages. The movie is entertaining nevertheless...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Monologue of a sissy

Disclaimer: Completely imaginary and original work of expression.

I wiped my tears and continued to walk as fast as I could. My legs hurt - not because I was walking fast but because the football that had hit me, had hit me hard. I don't know whether I was limping for I don't remember. All I remember is my attempts to hide the fact that I was crying. The boys laughed and sneered on the football ground as they told me what a wimp I was.

Months later, my brother said he was utterly disgusted to see me watching a daily soap on television. He thought it was really really sissy of me!! A few days later, I remembered that he was also among the group of boys who had purposefully hit me with the football some months ago.

People seemed to have a problem with the way I walked, the way I used my hands while speaking.. in fact with the way I spoke!

When I entered a classroom, there would be muffled giggles. When this happened over and over again for months together, my confidence had shattered to pieces. I could never enter a room full of people without feeling embarrassed.

The physical training classes were a nightmare for me as I could hardly complete half a lap when everyone else was close to finishing the second. The physical training instructor joined the gang of boys that laughed at me...

Each time I moved in public, I could hear people laughing - some for real, many a fiction of my mind. I started staying indoors, didn't move around with people, stayed in my room for days together.

So deep was the feeling of inferiority about myself that I stopped looking at myself in the mirror. I was scared to acknowledge my own traits - my hand movements, my smile, my gait.


Today I stand in front of the same mirror rehearsing my speech for the film awards function tonight. I look into my eyes, hypnotized by my own charisma.

Today, the boys who hit me with their football tell their kids that I was their childhood friend.

Today, my brother asks me for the entry passes to the movie premiere of my directorial venture.

Today, I am 'manly' enough to tell the world... Yes, I am a 'sissy'!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Khandan ki izzat and sentiments

On the lines of 'fast food', I have 'fast blogposts'. These blogposts come to me as small sparks of thoughts - it takes me less time to type them and you to read them! So, keep reading my blog on the go...

These days, sentiments of racial/religious groups are more fragile than what is traditionally the benchmark of fragility in the Bollywood language - 'Khandaan ki izzat'.

In 99% Bollywood movies, (the 1% comprises of Mahesh Bhatt movies where extra-marital relationships are as normal as 'doodh mein paani ki milaawat') 'Khaandan ki izzat' is the most fragile thing. Your daughter marries your driver's son and you 'wash hands off' your khandan ki izzat! (A VERY cheap translation of 'khaandan ki izzat se haath dho baithoge'. Used here for the humorous effect only). In fact, the khandan ki izzat is like a soap which every family ends up washing their hands off by the time the movie reaches the intermission portions.

The sentiments of racial/religious groups have now surpassed this gold standard of fragility. Be it the title of a SRK film creating ripples in the 'hair-stylist' community because a derogatory word 'Barber' was used for them ... or be it the wrath that the makers of 'Kaminey' faced because they used a proverb 'Apna Haath Jagannath'. (This proverb has been used for decades. In fact, it does not really represent any particular deity in Orissa - it refers to 'Jagannath' just as God, only to rhyme it with 'Haath'.)

Have the filmmakers really become insensitive - or has the tolerance level of these racial/religious groups really gone down? Till when are we going to subject creativity to this kind of moral policing?

Friday, August 14, 2009


I saw this Marathi film 'Maati-maay' starring Atul Kulkarni and Nandita Das. The movie took me to an unimaginable world where characters I cannot identify with are thrown into situations I could've never thought of. Such is the power of the film that despite all this, the film shook me completely. A very 'arty' film it is, complete with the 'brutal honesty' that the movies of this genre have. The strong human emotions touched me.

Here is my interpretation of a scene in the movie:

Disclaimer: Original work of expression. I describe, in my own words, a scene from a marathi movie 'Maati-maay'. Tried to cover the entire story of the movie through the description of this one scene.

She leant against the lake to drink water - she indeed looked like an animal. It was not just the way she was drinking water. There was something more that made her 'animalish'. Her distraught hair, her dirty brick-brown sari, her pale face - everything made her look so different from a human being. For the village where she lived earlier, she was in fact an animal - an animal who roamed around alone in the outskirts of the village, an animal who scared children away. A grave-keeper at one point of time, now she was allegedly a witch who killed children.

She saw the boy on the surface of the lake water. She knew he was standing behind her. Her body contracted. What would people say if they saw him with her? Would people outcast him too, she wondered?

The boy, all of ten, handed her a dry leaf that contained a piece of mutton that was cooked last night. She grabbed hold of it - it was after long that she was going to eat cooked food. She looked at it hungrily as a tear trickled down her cheek without her knowledge.

She stood up. The boy, in a white shirt and khaki shorts looked at this lady - this witch.

She was looking at him for the first time. Because she was told that she would kill any child she would look at.... She had begun to believe all the rumours that were spread about her....

Today, she was looking at him in the eye - with so much to say. The way he looked at her, she was scared. Did he get to know about her? Her eyes could not meet his. She stepped back. She walked away....

He stood there still. He felt proud. The mutton was cooked last night because he had done well at school. And he felt proud that he had shared it with his mother... The illiteracy of the village made the villagers see the 'witch' in her. It was his education that helped him see the person in the witch who was his mother.....

Friday, August 07, 2009


Note: A very Hinglish post. Arbit rubbish. I'm learning to do that mannnn!!!

Ruko ruko... Before some of you try to sue me for abusing the netizens so openly, lemme clarify and justify and......testify the title! Arre bhai, if someone can name his movie 'Kaminey', why can't I call my blogpost 'Kuttey'?! After all, Bollywood ki dictionary mein 'Kuttey.... kaminey' are as together as 'Ram aur Shyam', 'Ram aur Lakhan' and 'Seeta aur Geeta'...!!

So why is the blogpost titled 'Kuttey'? Is it because I was once chased by a stray dog and I ran for my life for almost three minutes? ( Tacky experiences make tacky confessions, hai na?!) No no no...

It is because I see that 'Kuttey's are all over the news today...! No baba, there is no 'canine flu' on the lines of 'swine flu' in the market these days.... But somehow, today's newspaper carries ek nahi, do nahi, teen teen kuttey-wali khabrein...

News 1 is Farah Khan being sued by a Chembur-based businessman because she made a statement on the show 'Dus Ka Dum' (hosted by Salman Khan at his 'basti-ka-laadla' best behaviour.). She said things like, "Mard kuttey hi hote hain. Aur wafaadar bhi nahi hote!" Sunne mein aaya hai ki Farah is very happy about the news! After all, she needs something to come into the limelight after her bombed 'judging' in 'Entertainment ke liye kuch bhi karega'!

News 2 is Sunny Deol to sue BIG FM for making fun of him and his father in a radio show 'Son sunny'. Before Sunny Deol sues me too, let me clarify that the only 'Kuttey' connection here is the fact that 'Kutte Kaminey.. main tera khoon pee jaaunga" is Dharmendra's dialogue. (Us se yaad aaya... Dharmendra restaurant mein jaake 'Fresh lime soda' ki tarah 'Fresh khoon soda' maangta hoga! Aur waiter jis tarah Fresh lime soda ke liye "sweet" or "Salty" poochta hai, waiter unko "A", "B", "O" or "AB" poochta hoga.... omg. This was the worst one from me in a long long time!!)

Enough of sue-sueing. Btw, kutteys have a definite style of sue-sueing in public. And this style reminds me of the way many Bollywood heroines dance and twist and turn in those so-called raunchy numbers.... :-p

Last news 3 is about Salman Khan's personal gym being given away to his pet dogs while Salman works out at a 'public' gym! Salman Khan ne jaanwaron ke prati prem ki ek nayi missile.. oops misaal kaayam ki hai!... But going by his gloated body in the recent times, I doubt if Salman was even using that gym!!! Chalo, ghar ki jagah kuch kaam toh aayi.. Waise bhi Katrina udhar gym ki jagah ko farsaanwale ko rent pe dene ki soch rahi thi...

Never mind, Kuttey blogpost khatam hua... Phir kabhi 'Kaminey' par likhunga.... No no no, it will not be about any corrupt politicians or some cheap reality show-wallahs .. It'll be a movie review of Vishal Bharadwaj's 'Kaminey'.. So, watch out this space!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

God shopping

The kid walked up to the shop, rested his palms on the counter and pulled himself upwards as his soles were lifted off the ground.

"Can I have God?", the little boy asked the shopkeeper.

"Ya, but which one?"

"As in?"

"We have Gods in colours - orange, green, blue and white.. which one do you want?", the shopkeeper replied.

"Can I have them all?"

"No! You must choose what you want! You can't have a group of Gods. In fact, if you buy the God of one colour, you have to fight with everyone who has a God of another colour."

"But why?", the kid asked inquisitively.

"That's how it is!"

"Do these Gods fight with each other too?", the kid asked, "If the colours of these Gods are different, is the colour of their followers different too?"

"Uhmmm...", the shopkeeper fumbled.

"We are all made of flesh and blood, aren't we?!", the kid asked.

"The Gods are within all of us, child", a spiritually enlightened person came there.

"Is that why more Gods are required, Sir?", the kid asked him.

"In fact, all of us have an element of God within us.", the person said.

"The number of people in the world is increasing so much. If there's God within all of us, why is the 'God'ness of the world reducing so much, Sir?", the kid asked again.

The person had no answer...

"Hey! You want God, buy God.. otherwise leave!", the shopkeeper interrupted. He couldn't have two people talking to each other at his counter.

"Give me a God that is transparent. A God that has no colour, sees no colour. If you have such a God, I'll have him. Else, I am fine...", the kid walked off the shop...

Monday, August 03, 2009

Love Aaj kal - Review

This movie review starts off with being presented in the form of 'you are watching a X's movie when...'.

You are watching an Imtiaz Ali movie when...
1) The name is a twisted mix of Hindi and English words. After 'Jab we met' and 'Love aaj kal'...

2) There is a song in the courtyard of a house where the old members sit and the jawaan generation dance.. naach basanti naach... (There is a similar song in this film too.)

3) The marriages that get fixed in the course of the movie are just for timepass - just to stretch the anxiety of the audience. This happened in IA's first film 'Aahista Aahista', in 'JWM' and now in 'LAK' also...

Now, specifics about Love Aaj kal..
1) Saif and Deepika have delivered good performances.

2) The dialogues and screenplay possess a very 'contemporary' and realistic feel to them. The characters react and speak dialogues that we expect 'real' people to do and say.

3) 'Aahun aahun' is picturized very nicely - like those typical 'end credits' songs.

4) The movie is like a breeze - pleasant, fun yet there's nothing you take back, no specific scene or trait that you remember.

5) Rahul Khanna gives the expression of a tree trunk. (Don't laugh! Aishwarya Rai had to marry a tree before Abhishek Bachhan to clear some astrological issues.... Was Rahul the tree trunk they were talking about? ) But you feel pity for this tree trunk when his newly-wed wife Deepika tells him that she loves someone else. Especially with the amazingly constipated expressions that Rahul Khanna gives in this particular scene...

6) The 'Twist' song is pressed into the film for NO REASON (completely adhering to Bollywood's principles of 'blending' masala songs into the film.)

7) Beyond a point, you KNOW that finally the hero and the heroine are going to reunite. So, the proceedings don't really surprise you. Especially when the hero goes to Vikram Joshi's house to meet his wife. This is the weakness of the screenplay.

Overall, the movie is a 'MAYBE watch' as opposed to a 'must-watch'...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

She was running

Note: An expression of a mental imagery that I wish to present here. Original work of expression ofcourse.

She ran barefoot. Over the pointed strands of dry grass that were more than just tickling her soles.

She ran. Even after she tripped over the thick root of a banyan tree that was above the surface of the ground.

She ran overwhelmed with excitement. With her two ribbon-tied plaits flapping against her cheeks.

She ran fast. With her knee-long skirt flying like a flag.

She had cupped her hands tightly. She only ran faster as water dripped through the gaps between her fingers.

She stopped. She was panting heavily. Before she got her breath back, she poured the water in her palm into the rusty metal tub that she had filled with water some time ago. She smiled...

She peeped into the tub... She saw the tiny red fish that she had just caught from the lake, the fish that she had held between her hands in water.

The fish was just a tiny red speck on the huge surface of water against the rusty brown floor of the tub. For her, this tiny red dot made the old tub her aquarium...

She was looking proudly at her new aquarium...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Winnie the Pooh

Disclaimer: Arbit bakwas. :-) Read at your own risk

Winnie the Pooh is this really cute-looking cartoon character. I remember watching a W-T-P cartoon and not being able to make any head or tail out of it. Primarily because it was in English and the American accent was too weird for me to understand then (not that I understand it any better now. Each time my cousin from the US calls up, I tell her the phone lines are bad and that is the reason why I am asking her to repeat every sentence nearly twice.... Aah, now I know, this is what starts all the rumours! She must be going all about the town speaking of India as a 'third world country' with telephone lines that break down each time it rains.)

Back to Winnie the Pooh. So this Pooh basically wears only a t-shirt - typically red. Cartoonland must be really poor! Mickey mouse, for a long time that I remember, had only a small shorts (with three round buttons) and Mr. Pooh has only a t-shirt! Speaks volumes about how people must share the available resources, doesn't it?!

Oh btw, the bear is not of the cheap Indian variety either. (When I hear a 'bear', I only remember Jambhuvant from the TV serial Ramayan. Jambhuvant in the serial was basically a hair-covered man who spoke like he had his mouth full of a hundred berries. (Shabri ke ber perhaps..) ) It's a nice golden brown one with no visible fur as such. The bear must be waxing regularly- the cartoonmaker was truly a visionary for he predicted the arrival of a 'metrosexual bear'!

Winnie loves honey and eats them from these neat jars and mugs. (Amrika is indeed a country where a carton gives milk, a box gives paper napkins and a jar gives honey. And while all of them do this, the cow and the honeybee go on a Europe trip with their family because they have no work to do)

Whew, thanks for 'bear'ing with the balderdash... I thought that amidst all my 'mirror's, 'window's and 'shadow's, a light-weight post was required...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bevda maarke

Note: "Bevda maarke" is a colloquial word usage for ''heavily drunk (on alcohol)". "Bevda" is alternately an adjective for a "drunkard".

Move away bevda truckwallahs.. you must've shelled out a hundred or two to the officials after they found you alcohol-positive on the Nashik-Mumbai Ghats. But that's nothing...

Move away bevda bus-wallahs who are also often tested for alcohol level where they breathe into a device. I have heard that the bus-wallahs eat a lot of mint thinking the alcohol machine wouldn't be able to capture the smell! :-)

Some pilots from Kingfisher airlines were found under the influence of alcohol in a test conducted on them...

Bus, autorickshaws, trucks are small, darlings... There are people who are doing it with class! You are only riding buses and trucks - these people are riding airplanes.. bevda maarke!

Aren't they taking the phrase ''drink and fly high'' too seriously?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raining all year

I sit at my window looking at Powai that rises above Powai lake like a mighty demon in all its power. The greenery on the bank of the lake is bordered by a highway and skyscrapers that extend from the highway.

It is raining and I see the lake perturbed and rustling like a hot plate when we splatter water on it.

Monsoons are romantic and beautiful. Why doesn't it rain the entire year, I thought...

Then I realized that it does... It does.

The sun makes sure that it rains light every single day of the year. We call the sun 'scorching hot'....

The clouds only appear in the sky three months a year and it rains water in that period of time. We call them the 'romantic and pleasant rains'...

We remember the drops of water that rain on us some times but conveniently forget the drops of light that rain on us every single day of our life.

It's only 'occasional favours' that are remembered. When someone habitually does something for you, it gets forgotten...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Power of the Rich

Disclaimer: The picture has been clicked by me. Do not use without permission. I hold the Creative commons copyright for it.

A picture says a thousand words,they say. This picture does, to me.

There is a blast of clouds - they are all rising from the tall buildings that lie cluttered in a corner of the pic. This blast of clouds rises like a gush of fire that will engulf everything that comes in its way. The clouds really look like fire to me - they are grey in the centre and shiny white towards the edges as they reflect the sunlight off them. The clouds look like they are all-powerful - and they all arise from the tall buildings.

The picture reaffirms my belief in the worldly saying that it is the rich and the powerful who are influencing the direction of the world. Or perhaps it is the rich who are amassing the clouds of the world - while the rest of the sky is empty...