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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When do I remember you, God?

Dear God,

Why do I remember you only when I am hurt..
Only when I sit in the soil with my knees wet.

Why do I remember you only when I cry...
Only when the tears seep through the lips into my mouth..

Dear God,

I sometimes wonder why I remember You only in the times of agony and pain.
Maybe I am just a selfish person who needs You when I am sad.

*

God smiled and said silently, "Yes, you are selfish. With the fragrance of the blood from your knees, you smell the Me within you. With the tears, you taste the Me within you.

Troubles and challenges are my way to telling you that I am.

and I am within you."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Leopard-trap

Vague. And I like it. :D

Tightly locked, the leopard-trap...
Empty, the leopard-trap..
The railings of the trap shiver in the wind...
The memories of the captive that once was, still clear in their mind...


The trap is shut
with the memories trapped tight in it...

The trap wants to be open again...
and let go of the memories.
Even the leopard once trapped wanted to be - let free.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gulzaarish: The movie review for 'Guzaarish'

The title is 'Gulzaarish' because the lyrics of the songs of this movie are very 'Gulzaar'-ish. I mean... 'Sau gram zindagi' is so from the same line of thought as 'hum ne gilehari ke joothe mutter khaaye hai' (Thats a line from a song in Kaminey btw)

Coming back to the movie.. the movie is strictly ok. There is a plastic doll with the name Aishwarya Rai who wears red lipstick and shows cleavage - slightly too much for a nurse. There is a Hrithik Roshan who does a very good job as the patient. There is a Shernaz Patel who is amazing - and a Aditya (lastname?) who is an apt support. The movie has a sharp Sanjay Bhansali mark for it is visually stunning. It indeed is as beautiful as Devdas, Saawariya and Black. (I rate all three of them at the same level in that department) The visuals excite you, scare you and soothe you - just what is intended of them in each scene.

On the positive side is, of course, Hrithik's marvellous performance though some of his dialogues are not clearly spoken. The dialogues and the story does keep you engaged - though towards the end, they get predictable.

The topic of Euthanaisa that the movie handles somehow did not appeal to me. It so looks like a non-issue to me - and I am only a naive individual, a student who believes that there is a right to die for all of us as much as a right to live.

The best part of the movie is the last scene and the fact that the movie somewhere ends on a happy note. On the flip side, there is not one scene that appealed to me (unlike 'Black' which had some extraordinary sequences in parts)


Overall, I do not think the movie appealed to me as much as it appealed to many of my friends/critics online. It is entertaining - not a masterpiece or something.

So much to write

I am currently playing the role of the campus placement manager at IIT Bombay. There are six of us who co-ordinate a team of about fifty. This post is not very unrelated to this fact.

======

So much to speak, so much to write. There's so much that I think I've learnt in the last couple of months that I have enough supply for a year.

However, among other things, there's one thing that I've learnt which stops me from posting the others on the blog right now. And that one thing overrides and in some way explains my changed posting habits...

That one thing is that there is a right time and place for saying things. Even if they are your most genuine thoughts. Right now, the time is not right for me to express.

I don't want to be a volcano that explodes and burns. I want to be a river that emerges from a glacier.. and the glacier is yet melting.

So much to write.. and I will.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weight

We often decide what defines our joys and our sorrows. We carry the load of our worries, often self-created. Our dreams, instead of giving us wings of a bird, give us the shells of molluscs: shells that we choose to confine ourselves to.

We fail to identify what our troubles really are. We fail to identify what should really bother us...


Then, I thought of these lines. Each time I read them, I see a step deeper. Closer. To a person I have lost touch with - myself.

"my weight i carry on my shoulders..
my weight i see tied to my waist...

a weight in my heart i feel..
and i do not even know who it belongs to."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Khichdi - the movie - the review

'Khichdi' sets a trend by being the first Hindi serial to be made into a movie. The movie takes the characters from the TV serial to a new level altogether.

Compliments:
One line - this is the best comedy movie I have seen in a theatre! The movie is very comparable to the Herapheris and Andaaz apna apnaas of the world.

The movie tickles you from the word 'go'. Hansa brings the house down with her amazing performance. She is effectively supported by everyone else.

The 'Bhosale market chal' song was good fun to hear/watch onscreen.

The court scene at the end makes you go rolling in laughter. Among the other scenes that one remembers are the pre-interval scenes and the scene with Farah Khan. The movie, unlike many other movies, picks up tempo in the second half and culminates in a fun climax with a TOTALLY unexpected and hilarious end.

The movie does not assume that the viewer has seen the TV serial - a friend who had not seen the serial loved the movie as much as I did.

Complaints:
There are one or two jokes which are repeated from the TV serial. As a voracious viewer, I could not help but notice.

The parodies of 'Beedi jalaaile' and 'Bheege honth tere' are BORING and in bad taste. The music, overall, does not attract my interest.

I think the movie was not publicised enough. :-( :-(

=====
Overall, I strongly recommend people to watch the movie.

===

I watched the movie in a theatre with recliner seats and LOVED the experience!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A colour of my own - Adaptation of a Suresh Bhat Ghazal

A friend Abhishek R. asked me to translate this marathi ghazal by Suresh Bhat. (www.sureshbhat.in and wikipedia entries will be the best way to read about him.) The original is called 'Ranguni rangaat saarya'.

I am no translator. I am no linguist. I am only a human being. I can feel. This song touches me and in this adaptation, I cannot help but move away from keeping it a mere translation.

The blogpost is not a word-to-word/line-to-line translation of the song. The lines are rearranged. Some lines from the original poem are not elaborated. Some lines are an original imagination. I digress from the original song in portions. (The ones who know the Marathi song will obviously notice the similarities as well as differences)

The expression in English is original but all the credit to the original poet for bringing in what the song brings to me.

========

I stood facing the sky. As the evening set before my eyes, the colours of my skin changed. They were the colours of the sky.

As the night creeped in, I saw myself in the mirror and saw a colour that was different from the colours on my face in the evening. This was the colour that I was made of.

I coloured myself in every colour around me but knew that I had a different colour.. a colour of my own.

I have to admit, I was in love. But the only thing that fell in love with me was sorrow.

The lines on my forehead have, however, seldom affected the line that stretches across my lips and forms a smile.

I could never have you with me. Now, my tears and my songs are the only companions. I am happy that I at least have them for life.

...coloured myself in every colour around me. Yet had a colour.. that was mine.

I am the sun who wanders alone when half the world is fast asleep in the dark of the night.

I am the sun whose burning is called a day. My burning is a ceremony for the world which watches it all along.

..coloured myself in every colour around me. Yet had a colour.. that was mine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cinediner with Dabangg

Writing after a long time.. feels like I am new to this world again. I cannot forget that the blog changed my life, made me happier and more confident. I cannot stop writing..


====

Cinediner (a movie theatre) at R City mall, Ghatkopar is unique. It is unique because you can eat while you watch a movie. It is a restaurant inside a theatre. The 'eating' is similar to any fine-dine place.

You buy a ticket of Rs. 500 (as in Sept. 2010. :P Reliance hai bhai.. kab paisa badha de pata nahi..) and you get food coupons of Rs. 200 with it. You are escorted to a lounge - similar to a VIP lounge at an airport. The smartly dressed staff welcome you courteously. The ambience is golden, flashy and the sofas are velvetty soft.

A while later, you are escorted by one of the staff members to a hall reserved for 40 people - seven-eight tables only! The supercomfortable sofas are arranged in a manner that your table is YOUR private space and no one can interfere. Each table has a call bell in case you want to call the servers (a polished term for 'waiters'. I like the word 'servers', btw).

The movie begins and you definitely get a 'private screening' feel as the food you order begins to arrive. The servers often get reluctant when you press the call bell too many times. (I did that hastily and they stopped coming after a point.) The hall, the entrance, the loo are very 'Bollywood' premiere/red-carpetty in nature.

The menu is not elaborate - six to seven starters, coffees and three varieties of rice. There are a couple of desserts and sastaaa pizzas (a pizza at 170-190) too. They, ofcourse, serve desserts.

The entire movie-watching experience is enhanced when you know you are in a total private space - where you can scream and sing songs playing on the screen.


Overall, the service definitely needs to improve because the last pizza we ordered (in the interval) arrived only twenty minutes before the movie got over. The servers DEFINITELY need to watch the orders properly.

Apart from that, it definitely is a place to go for a date, a family/close friends get-together.

Cost for two people: 1000Rs. for tickets + Rs. 135 (the charges of the food we ordered over and above our food coupons.)

===

Dabangg was ok btw. I am not too much of a Salman Khan fan but the action is surely interesting in parts. The songs are fulltoo chhapri and enjoyable (maybe not in the ambience I was in. :P )

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'We are Family' - Review

Why did I watch the movie? Because I like Kajol. With all her screeching and screaming, she's quite adorable.

Why shouldn't have I watched the movie? Kajol and Arjun Rampal play a divorced couple. I somehow cannot digest Kajol being ok marrying Arjun in the first place. :-p

So... The movie 'looks' good - like all Karan Johar movies. (This one's not his directorial film) Some of the songs are good - especially the 'Let's rock' number.

Performance-wise, Kajol ROCKS. She is effortlessly natural in most of the scenes. The movie is tolerable ONLY because of Kajol's presence in the movie. She is closely followed by the three kids who are cute and do a good job. Kareena Kapoor is a confused chick here in the film - she's 'K3G ki Poo' mixed up with 'Kal ho na ho ki Preity Zinta'. (Ironically, Kareena Kapoor was apparently the first choice for the Kal ho na ho role.) She's decent in parts. By the way, Arjun Rampal is also in front of the camera in the movie. ( *wink* )

By the way, the climax is touching and Kareena Kapoor does a marvellous job there.

Anyway, so if you are a KJo-YashChopra movie lover, you will like this one. Overall, 'We are Family' is an okayish movie. You may want to see the movie if you don't get the tickets to 'Dabangg' (Which is one movie I have not seen yet)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

'Peepli [Live]' - Review

Coming from the Aamir Khan stable, one expects an outstanding movie. The movie is entertaining, not outstanding.

Placed in a rustic Bundelkhand that the movie calls 'Mukhya Pradesh', the movie is the story of a farmer who decides to commit suicide so that his family would get the lakh rupee compensation that the government has promised.

The movie does not make you go rolling in laughter: it is subtle and intelligent. However, the sarcasm tickles you AND pinches you at the right spots. The movie overall only entertains without making any point as such.

Nasiruddin Shah and the actress who plays the female news reporter are memorable. Raghubir Yadav is the best among the cast as Budhia. Though the story is about Natha, the character is hardly visible. It is, in fact, the point of the movie - in the pursuit of news-making, the actual victim/story is left aside.

The song 'Des mera angrez hai babu' is very good - the only one that I remember, in fact. The dialogues are slightly difficult to understand and I must admit that I did not understand the dialect in parts. Some of them are, however, hilarious. The locations chosen look perfect for the setting of the movie. The pre-interval portions of the movie are fast-paced and crisp; the climax surprises you to some extent.

Overall, I could have done without watching the movie. However, don't regret watching it either. It's a movie for the 'cultured/intelligent' audience. Maybe I am away from that as of now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rainforest - Review

R City mall

Average meal for two: Rs. 700

Ambience:
You enter a dark place with the sound of the rain and you know that this is a place with a difference. There are trees and tigers in here. The place gets full points for the unique ambience. The call button at the tables are something unique for the places in the mall.

The loud commentary from a match certainly spoiled the 'foresty' feel of the place.

Food:
The menu is typical and offers Punjabi, Chinese and Italian cuisine. The Bruschettes were quite good. The Chinese soups are quite ordinary. The Indian cuisine on offer is decently good. The place had the worst Masala Papad I have had ever.

Service:
The waiters come only when the calling button is pressed. This did not quite fit into my definition of hospitality but may appeal to some of their guests.

Washroom:
It is surprising that this place does not have a washroom of its own.

Overall, the ambience rocks. The food is ordinary, not worth the price and the service needs to improve a lot.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Parting



Note: Loosely based on a scene in a Hindi film. An original imaginary expression of thoughts.

The horn blew and I heard the train move. I did not blink. I did not move from the entrance of the train.

I stood still. Still looking at you. Dressed in blue, you looked as beautiful as ever.

I did not want to miss even one glance from you that would suggest that you wanted me to get off the train. You took only one step towards the train but it was enough to make me believe that you wanted to stop me. I seriously thought for a moment that you wanted me to stay... For a moment, I thought you had felt what I had felt for you too. For a moment, I thought the dreams that I was running away from, were coming true....

And in a moment, you were a blue speck on the platform. The train had picked up speed.

I tried hard to haze my vision with a drop of water in my eyes.

The tear did not help.

I had to face it.

I had to see you turning your back to the train, to me and walking out of the station..

.
(Image: 'Claire Walking away')

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why should I celebrate Independence day?

Note: The 'I' in the post is not specifically me in all instances.

Why should I get up at 8:00 am for the flag hoisting in the hostel when it is only a symbolism? I don't go to a temple every week - yet I believe in God.

Why should I celebrate Independence day when all it takes to make me feel patriotic is to play a few songs from Hindi movies?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I feel restless yet helpless to see the outcome of the Jessica et al. murder cases and the Bhopal gas incident?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I use American and international benchmarks and weigh everything in India with everything non-Indian (which means western to many.)?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when international brands of clothing make me feel nicer than what a shirt from something like 'Kirodimal dressers' would?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when all India today is about is corrupt politicians manipulating facts, situations and sentiment of a crowd which has no sentiment of its own?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I do nothing that makes me feel like an Indian and a responsible one all year?

Born in the generation of cynics and 'rational' question-askers, I have forgotten the fact that the day 63 years ago was the answer to a country of people.

Independence day is the anniversary of the freedom of India. Independence day is the birthday of a free India.

The way I would like to be wished on my birthday, I wish India a very happy birthday!

Starting today, I vow to celebrate an Independence year. Doing one thing every day that makes me feel like an Indian.. a responsible Indian.

One 'Indian' deed every day from me and all of us will make India a better country, I am sure..

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Language matters #2: Using appliances in Hindi

Note: The post is in Hinglish. Thodi sachai, thoda masala. That's how life should be. Got the idea of the blogpost while talking to Ramesh G.

There are some really strange words that we use in Indian languages to suggest the action of turning appliances on and off. The way English has the word usage 'switching it on', the Indian languages that I speak (Marathi and Hindi primarily), do not seem to have any corresponding phrase. What we actually say to denote these actions in Indian languages are all approximations of the action - maybe the languages weren't made to talk about operating appliances.

Ramesh, a friend had once said, "Fan daal".('Place the fan'?) While I stared at him with a zero on my face, he said, "Are, turn the fan on!" I said, in return, "So, 'fan lagaa' bol na... 'fan daal' kya hota hai?!"

I must agree that both 'fan lagaa' and 'fan daal' don't make much sense if we consider the actual meaning of 'lagaa' and 'daal'. But the usage 'fan lagaa/daal' made perfect sense to both of us. Another variant is 'Fan chalaa'('Walk the fan') where the fan walks nowhere. (A friend obsessed with 'perfect choice of words' actually says, "Fan ke switch ko dabaake fan ka power supply on kar.") In fact, I have actually heard people say "Fan ghuma" ('Turn the fan') and imagined myself setting the fan into motion with a stick in my hand going round and round.

To me, 'chaalu kar' goes closest to the actual action.

On the other hand, switching appliances off also has a wide variety of phrases for it. Summing up, in our colloqial usage, we make do with a wide variety of approximating terms. The funny part of it is that a person who uses one such term finds all other terms misfit and funny.
***


"TV nikaal de"('Remove the TV'), said my neighbour to the TV repairman. The TV repairman began lifting the TV to takeit away. I knew what to do. I turned the TV off for my neighbour.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Language matters #1 : Look, see and watch

Disclaimer: I do not claim that this is an original idea. This pattern perhaps must have been explored at some point in time in the past. As far as I am concerned, this is a self-made observation. As long as the post entertains, I am fine.


Balamurali said, "I watched the movie." I retorted, (like always, half-attentive to the content of the message and concentrating on the surface words instead.) "Bala, what is the difference between 'look', 'see' and 'watch'?" We pulled out some examples one after the other.

The three words have eyes as the instrument. The sentences 'God is watching', 'God is looking', 'God is watching' (..... (1) )may make one feel that the three are almost synonymous. The sense here is of 'observing'. Is it because of the tense of the sentence which is present continuous? (To continuously see/watch/look at something means observing)

However there is a difference. One can 'watch' a movie or 'see' a movie but one rarely 'looks at' a movie. So are 'watch' and 'see' synonyms? Think again. One would say 'I saw you at the theatre' but one would rarely substitute 'saw' say 'I watched you at the theatre'. (.......... (2) ) ('I see the watch'/'I look at the watch' are fine - though the latter looks better. But 'I watch the watch' does not sound good.)

So maybe now we get the picture. 'Look at' is similar to 'glance'. 'Watch' is in the sense of 'observe'. Where does 'see' fit in? 'I saw you there' may or may not be a 'glance' per se. 'I was seeing you there' does have a sense of 'observe' for sure though.

That brings the point though.

A word does not have exactly one meaning. It can mean something different in different situations. THIS more than one meaning is what they call 'senses of a word'. SOME meanings of 'look', 'see' and 'watch' overlap and hence, one gets confused. 'Look', 'see' and 'watch' have many more meanings individually which are not the same.

Extrapolating, one may say that there is no one (common) 'sense'. There are multiple (common) 'senses' that coexist. What is my common sense need not be yours.


If you like this post, you may also like: http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2009/02/cognition-of-numbers-in-languages.html

Language Matters #0

Credit to Pramod Balakrishnan for the title

When you wish to communicate, language matters! And when you wish to communicate well, language matters matter!!

The best time I have had at IIT has been when I have thought about language and stumbled over some interesting phenomena. One of the posts in this regard is: http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2009/02/cognition-of-numbers-in-languages.html

Needless to say, the fact that my studies in IIT have been in natural language processing.

'Language matters' is a series of posts that I aim to come up with (in addition to the other currently running series : 'Mothers' .. and of course the infinite movie/food places reviews that I write) about my observations about some language phenomena.

I do not claim to be the first to have noticed. As long as the posts entertain, I am ok.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Octopus Paul & Baba Bengalis

Disclaimer: The term 'Baba Bengali' does not aim at any regional community. It is used for the people who practise black magic and other related 'arts'.


"This is how you cook a live octopus" said the voiceover in a video on youtube. People around the world were mad at Octopus Paul, an octopus who had predicted the loss of a country in the Football world cup.

They wanted to kill him, sell him, eat him, beat him.

I wanted to kill myself for the frenzy about a creature was maddening.

Did he even know what he was doing when he picked a flag?

We as a generation of young Indians laugh and mock the Baba Bengalis who seem to cure everything from 'vivah mein pareshaani' to 'vyavasaay mein ghaata'... and don't mind downing this story of a sea creature who is hailed as an oracle predictor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three children

To Nishant Kachawa for the basic idea. The story is, in my small way, a look at child psychology, inverted.

Note: "Purely imaginary". May appear superficial, stupid and funny.

Piramal Indranath Chandok had three children - Pyaare Mohan, Chandra Chur and Devi Prakash Chandok. Pyaare Mohan was an intelligent child - hardworking and serious about his studies. He never missed a test or skipped doing his homework. Chandra Chur was hard-working too but often did not work smartly. He often got into fights with his peers over petty issues. Piramal had to go to the Principal's office twice owing to complaints about Chandra Chur.

Devi Prakash Chandok was lethargic and disinterested in every sense. It was only because of the rule of not failing children in their examinations that Devi Prakash Chandok had made it to the fifth standard.

Piramal Indranath Chandok once went to a student counsellor and was told that the youngest two of his children were highly demotivated and needed encouragement.

So it started. Each time a guest came in, Devi Prakash Chandok was praised for the way he digs his nose. Each time they went out to the mela, Chandra Chur was given a balloon and told what a talented child he is.

Pyaare Mohan would sit in a corner doing his homework staring at his parents buying new shirts for Devi Prakash Chandok and Chandra Chur.

The parents were only trying to encourage 'the ones who needed encouragement'. Devi Prakash Chandok was happier and 'roly-poly'er than ever. Chandra Chur was playing with the awesome toy that he had got - one of the world's best toys.


Pyaare Mohan stared at the ceiling and got back to his homework. He loved his brothers and was very happy about the fact that they were motivated and happy. However, he pitied his own plight. He was perhaps paying the price for studying on time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mothers #4

Note: As a part of the 'Mothers' stories. The last post under the title is at: http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2010/01/mothers-3.html

Disclaimer: Completely fictitious. Vague.

The school bell rang and a horde of kids rushed out. In the crowd, was Neeta. Neeta saw me waiting at the entrance of the school and waved out to me. I held her hand as I walked Neeta through a busy street.

I would be there at 1 sharp every single afternoon.Occasionally, I bought Neeta a chocolate or two. In fact, Neeta would get one, without fail, when she scored well in her tests.

Neeta would sit on the swing with me to hear stories from Ramayan. It was me who got a five-minute act rehearsed from Neeta for a drama competition in school. I never let anyone touch my dressing table - Neeta was, however, allowed to try my lipstick or my earrings.

I would always buy a gift a day before Neeta's examination results. That's because, Neeta was bound to come running to me with her report card and get a gift after every result of hers. When Neeta would fall ill, I would walk barefoot to the temple praying for Neeta's health.

When Neeta was happy, she would hug me and give me a peck on my cheek. The kiss from the little girl meant a world to me.

But before I could realise, Neeta had grown up.

Now I wanted to ask Neeta what her college was like, what Neeta wanted to do in her life. Neeta only returned a smile now as she crossed me in the building.


It did not matter that I considered Neeta my daughter. It did not matter that I gave Neeta the love I would have given my child if I had one.


I was just a neighbour. I was not her mother. Too bad that people like me who play the role of a mother temporarily end up feeling like and expecting what a mother would.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

'Tere bin Laden' - Review

Stop reading my review and book your tickets to the movie. If you have some time left till the next show, read on.

The concept of this 2 hour-long (or do I say, two hour short?) movie is so unique that the movie wins half the battle for me. Add to it the surprisingly original situations and jokes, and the movie is a fresh product of art.

Ali Zafar is not an exceptional actor, in fact below average - he looked like the male version of Katrina Kaif to me. :-p. He does a decent job however. The other characters are so well-written and interesting and so like a Chetan Bhagat book that like many CB book characters, you end up liking each one of them. The characters Gul, Noora, the RJ and the channel editor are unforgettable! The makeup lady, the American officer and the Pakistani officer are just ok. They do not impress as such.

The HERO of the movie is the story and the dialogues. The movie has some hilarious moments like a murga-baang (cock-crowing) competition, a donkey with the American army and a man being pulled down into a manhole to have the American cops waiting for him inside the sewer. The movie uses far-fetched imagination at times but right till the end, the movie continues to take control of the audience's attention. It is only the climax that looks unconvincing but by the time it happens, the movie is over and you have had a great time.

The movie proved to me that glamorous actors are just not required for a movie to be good/entertaining.

The songs are not typical S-E-L songs - nevertheless, like many of their songs, excellent. The actor playing Osama looks very Osama. The other actors are styled well too.

Overall, the movie is a riot - an absolute riot. (Ignore the climax.) I am buying a dvd when it releases!! Go ahead n watch it guys!

P.S.: I have never laughed harder in a theatre.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Amboli & Korum mall food court - Review

Two eating places reviews in one

Location: Thane
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Amboli: Amboli is a new eating place that has opened up in Vartak Nagar, Thane. The place specializes in Malvani cuisine. I chanced upon that place sometime last week and this is what I feel about it.


A large crab on the sign outside the place grabs one's eye. The place is very small but done well. Red roofed ceiling, walls with shells and corals and furniture to match makes it a nice place.

The staff is hospitable but often keep peeping over your shoulder onto your plate - that can get unnerving.

The menu is neat with some glaring grammatical errors which, if rectified, will be very good.

The food, however, takes the cake! (and the icing and the cherry). The popular names like 'Bhendi masala' retain the authentic Malvani taste. Solkadhi was a delight - slightly pungent, in sync with the Malvani flavour of food.

The fish and prawns are cooked in amazingly yummy gravy and a complete delight.

The best part of the place is that the food is very reasonably priced. An average meal for two costs Rs. 400.

===================

Korum mall food court was a disastrous experience. The 'Soup bowl' served the worst soups I had had. The 'special' long soupsticks were stale and chewy.

The stuff from KFC there was pathetic as well. Avoid avoid avoid!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

FIFA at the convo hall

About my experience watching a football match screened live in Convocation Hall, IIT Bombay

Half of my friends are going to fall off their chairs at the first sentence itself - considering the fact that I am as related to sports as Rakhi Sawant is to sandpaper manufacturers of the world.

So here I was with four friends, in the auditorium where the match was being screened. Pramod exclaimed, "Oh, bahut match baaki hai!" And I murmured in his ear, "What is the duration of a football match?"

Obviously unaware of the depths of my ignorance, he looked at me like I had asked him to give away his right eye (and his CSRE identity card.) and said, "90!"

We sat down to watch the match. The scoreboard said that the match was a BRA against a PRK. While I guessed 'BRA' would be Brazil, I heard Shobhit say, "Barcelona" when I thought that's what BRA was for. For 'PRK', I kept guessing. From the players, I could make out that they were East Asians - but there was no country that I knew that had those initials.

While my guessing game as to which match I was actually watching was on, someone hit a goal and Shobhit shouted. Totally unaware, I looked around like I had been slapped by an invisible ghost - finally I could see the goal again in slow motion. The coach's and the players' expressions in slow motion were so Shahrukh-Khan-like. I almost thought they were imitating hamare-apne-King-Khan. (Notice the inverse mapping?)

Later when I noticed that there were 'ohh moments' (Missed goals, etc. in the game where the audience goes 'ohh') in the game, I shouted 'ohh' at regular intervals - with no support from the audience. I chose to keep quiet after some time.

Finally, when the ninety minutes were over, another timer appeared on the screen. I so wanted to ask Pramod how long this timer goes for - but I was genuinely scared of being knocked down. Hence, I chose to remain quiet.

The match ended. The lights of the auditorium were turned on and we walked out of the auditorium.

I was proudly singing the Wavin' flag song. So what if I had not understood much/anything, I had watched a football match today!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bhopal

Way back in 1984, thousands of innocent citizens choked to their deaths while over a lakh equally unfortunate ones lived a life of pity, of deformities and diseases.. with no fault of theirs whatsoever.

Twenty-six years later, a Rs.5,00,000 fine has been imposed on UICL. The eight convicted the case got a punishment of, hold your breath, two years which was overridden by a bail of Rs. 25,000. The chairman (notice the uncapitalized 'c') of the firm, an American citizen never presented himself in the Court.

The incident was an incident of neglect, of apathy towards security.

The price was deaths and diseases. And two years. And 25,000Rs.

The city choked in 1984. A country choked today.

However bad it is to say this, but occasions like these put a question mark on my patriotism and my belief in the country I belong to.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Raajneeti - Movie Review

So much hype about Rajneeti being based on Sonia Gandhi's life - and so no truth in it. If you want to watch Rajneeti because you want to see Katrina playing Sonia, you could watch only fifteen minutes of the movie. That too when she delivers a five minute childish speech. And then so many characters in the movie die through the movie that I thought that by the end of it, the only people left would be the twenty-odd strong audience in the cinema hall.

On a serious note, the movie is a loose adaptation of Mahabharat - there's a Bheeshma (who, here, is not sleeping on a bed of arrows but is paralyzed.) and there's a Karna (the Raani maa's illegitimate child which was sent away and later raised by the family driver).

The strong point of the movie is the performances. Nana Patekar as the highly intelligent guide (the Krishna of the story) is AWESOME right from the beginning. Ajay Devgan emotes through his facial expressions - he gets the body language perfect. He is awesome. Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai are both very good as the two wicked men. Arjun Rampal gets the cocky politician very well. Ranbir and Katrina, I felt, are just about average - as compared to the other actors. And it is, of course, not very surprising. The film is shot in and around Bhopal which looks apt for the setting of the movie. It was surprising to see Shruti Sheth in the kind of role that she has in the movie - especially since I have seen her in many of her candyfloss roles on TV.

However, there are some dialogues which look slightly strange/out of place - and one thinks whether the dialogue writer actually wrote dialogues for the TV serial Mahabharat. ('Yeh mera jyeshta putra hai.' is not something I hear in my day-to-day life.) The story becomes predictable once you get the Mahabharat connection. It drags in parts in the second half. The climax is quite ordinary. Also, I do not quite remember ANY of the songs right now - the item number is there just for the sake of being there. Katrina looks very good in the song though. By the way, Nasiruddin Shah is hardly there for ten minutes in the movie. (Side note: Katrina's saris are way too low for 'Sonia Gandhi/lady politician' image that she portrays.)

So basically, don't watch the movie for Sonia Gandhi rendition of Katrina. But that shouldn't deter you from watching the movie for it has many other strong points: Great performances by the actor ensemble and entertaining plot.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kites: Movie review

'Kites' is Hrithik Roshan all the way. He looks amazing and does an excellent work. He gets the body language right - the way he did with Akbar in 'Jodha Akbar'. Barbara and Kangana are just there - running around with Hrithik wherever he goes.

The first half is very captivating. Many twists in the tale manage to hold a grip on the attention of the viewer. These twists are quite unheard of in a typical Hindi movie - a sister's boyfriend taapoing (a.k.a. line-maaroing/hitting on) the brother's girlfriend is new! :-p

The second half is about chase sequences and the story unfolding. I did yawn at times. Caught a nap or two too. The climax is nice.. somewhat predictable.

'Zindagi do pal ki' is good. 'Kyun yeh dil mera' looks beautiful on the screen. The movie, like many other movies of today's times, 'looks' very good.

I particularly would like to mention the subtitles during the English dialogues. It shows that Rakesh Roshan remembers the fact that he is making a Hindi movie. And I think it is a good thing to do.

Overall, the movie is surely an interesting watch. Rakesh Roshan does magic with Hrithik again. (Btw, I loved Kaho na Pyar hai and thought that Koi mil gaya was ok. Krish sucked.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Unspoken

Note: Not a poem. Lyrical, perhaps.

If the sky could speak, it would describe how the dry earth looks as it gets drenched in the rain... and how the rains look just like the rays of the sun. One dries up the earth, the other brings it to life.
If the sky could speak, we would know how the rains look from thousands of miles above the surface of the earth..

If the shower in your bathroom could speak, it would narrate stories.. of the funny faces, the songs and the dance that accompanies. Of the occasional tears that you wash off with the water.
If the shower could speak, I would expect it to speak the God's words. Who else are we so ourselves in front of?

If the trash that you throw every day could speak, it would describe you completely.. the falling hair, the crumbled pieces of incomplete letters, wrappers of chocolates, old bills, old papers.
If the trash could speak, your life would be left open in front of the world.

And if the unspoken words under the spoken ones could speak...

... thank God all these don't speak.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me the criminal

Disclaimer: Imaginary in parts.

The story that the people knew made me a criminal. They pelted stones at me. Some of them thought I should be thrown out. Some others thought I should resign.

I looked at you on my side. You were stern too. One look in your eyes and I knew I had done something wrong. Your voice had the confidence that only you could have in me. You assured me that I would overcome the bad phase, that the 'stone-pelters' know only the part of the story where I certainly am the criminal. And that nothing affects your belief in me.

I accepted the portion of the accusations where I was considered guilty. The grip of your hand holding mine became tighter. Nothing else mattered. I faced the stones with a smile.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

'Anandi anand' - Review

This post reviews 'Anandi Anand' a Marathi movie that released Friday. Even if you don't understand Marathi and/or your chances of watching the movie are dim, trust me, you should read this review to understand what impact a movie can have on a member of the audience.

The movie is written/directed by a director who came up with some unique and interesting experiments especially in Marathi theater. The movie has some very big names in Marathi filmdom (Suhas Joshi, Vikram Gokhale, Mohan Joshi, Vandana Gupte, to name a few.) The music director of the movie is one of the most celebrated Marathi music directors of today's times.

Having said all this, let me add that this is the FIRST movie that I just COULD NOT watch beyond the interval. The movie is not gripping for even a moment. I yawned, I giggled - it didn't affect how much I was bored.

I saw the movie half-way only - in other words, instead of 'Anandi Anand', I saw only 'Anandi'. That is, btw, the name of the heroine of the film. The latter is the hero.

And trust me, I seriously wish I had never seen 'Anand' - I mean the hero of the movie. Ya ya, Marathi films typically never had good-looking male leads except a very few. But the male lead actors are generally VERY good actors. The 'Anand' in the movie was neither. Highly ungroomed, highly plastic and completely dubbed. The actor was a disaster - especially with a beautiful Priya Bapat opposite him. ("Trust me, if my sister is proposed by a guy who's as dumb as the hero, I would do anything to drive him away!", I said. )

Beyond a point, I was literally looking at people in the theatre instead of the screen. Two of them looked back at me. One uncle even smiled - I am sure he shared my emotions of disinterest in the movie.

Except the 'Dete kon' song, no other song was something I would want to listen to a second a time. Songs popped in for no reason. The 'Bhoot' song was just not required.

I am someone who seldom wastes money. But here, the first half of the movie was such a disaster that I didn't want to stay back. The movie may be called 'run-of-the-mill' by some, I call it 'run-of-the-shutdown-mill'. Yawn!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Last Lecture

Note: Melodrama at its best. Facts have been played around with.

To Prashant for the idea. He saw me in a trance after I came from my last lecture - and suggested that I write a post on it.


I looked at the clock. It was ten minutes to five. Ten minutes to the end of an age. Ten minutes to, perhaps, freedom. Ten minutes for the last lecture of MY LIFE to get over. (The 'of my life' addition makes the event look so big and spectacular right)

The professor was expressing some final thoughts about the current trends in databases. Some of us in the class were staring at the stack of mid-semester papers kept on the desk. Some of us were typing text messages on our phones. Perhaps to each other. And oh ya, many of us were listening. (Do not ask me what the total number of students in the class is. :p)

"So, all the best. The mid-semester papers are not evaluated yet. So, I will call you all to my office after that's done."

The geeks staring at the papers looked frustrated as if they had been told the Turing machine was only a myth and the computer was modeled by an entity called God. One of them broke into tears..

As the professor started to walk out, everything seemed to go on in slow motion. I could hear heavy sighs at half their actual speed but double their volume - just the way Shahrukh Khan walks in slow motion in the climax of every movie of his. But no, I was not going to start any long senti speech here - there is obviously some difference between me and him.

I saw flashes - of 'periods' back in school... the Social studies periods where the teacher sat on the desk and read out from the textbook. Hers was a very unique 'let's read the textbook together' method of teaching. The 'period' grew into a 'lecture' in college. There was a Biology teacher who cracked a joke and laughed uncontrollably herself. I am yet to understand the joke. I also saw flashes of the teachers at Somaiya - a teacher who left no opportunity to catch hold of people not paying attention and asking them if she was talking to the walls and the benches. No one ever gathered the courage to tell her the truth. And then, some lectures here at IIT when I would only stare at the board blankly without understanding a single word. In such cases, the fact that no one else understood used to be the only relief.

I saw it all - all the lectures in fast-forward. It was over. I did not have to attend any more lectures....

They say, when you are about to die, you see a recap of your life...

Stars And clouds

I fell in love with the clouds. I wanted to be on the top of one jumping around - it must be really bouncy to run around over them.

I had my eye set on a cloud. In some time, the cloud was nowhere to be seen. I realized that while I was in my thoughts about the cloud, the cloud was slowly drifting away from me.

I had failed to notice a star which had been stationary and looking at me through all of this.


******

The clouds are the momentary desires which pull you towards them. They will, one day, disappear like the clouds.

The stars are here to say...

Jump over the clouds and reach for the stars...



Monday, April 26, 2010

Sci-fi : Senses & Emotions

What are senses? what are emotions? Are they the same? Is an emotion what I sense? Do senses lead to emotions? Does a sense always lead to the same emotion?

**

What is a picture? Captured visual senses. What is a song? Captured audio senses. What is a video? Captured audio-visual senses.

Now, let's give our sci-fi minds a tweak and imagine (After all, today's sci-fi is tomorrow's reality) a day where we can capture ALL senses in some way. So, the way a picture captured what you could 'see', you can now capture EVERYTHING you can see/feel/smell/hear. Let's call it a sense capsule. The way we see a picture, imagine that you can 'play' this sense capsule again - which means, you get 'immersed' in the same environment (where you hear/smell/feel/see the same thing that you did when the sense capsule was created) that the capsule was captured in.

A sense capsule of this form will give a truly complete conjunction of what I sense at that instant. Imagine capturing your best friend's wedding this way. Six months after the wedding, you can actually 'play it back' where all the senses are generated again. Imagine how amazing it would be to play the memorable moments of our lives again and again - to live them again.

**

This brings me to the line between senses and emotions. A picture of an estranged friend may not evoke the same emotions that it would have back then. A sense capsule will make you feel like you seeing the same event again - but there is no guarantee that you will feel the same way as you did when the event first happened.

Senses lead to emotions. Strangely, not the same one always.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sania & Shoaib

Should she marry him? Or should she not?

Is he a good guy? Is she a good girl?

Is he actually married? Is he breaking some law by getting married to Sania?

So many TV reports, blogs, funny and not-so-funny letters circulating on the internet. So what do I think of the whole thing?

...
...
...
...


I don't give a damn. Two people marrying is their personal decision and not worthy of my attention.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Letter from his grandparents

To a friend who has stood by me for a time longer than I have memories of.

Disclaimer: The facts have been played around with. Mostly imaginary. VERY dark - about death.


He took his seat in the plane. In no time, he pulled out a pen and began to write. Like a gas cylinder that bursts out when opened, words spilled over on the paper - often making him strike the lines off twice and thrice.

"Can't believe you're gone", he wrote in a beautiful handwriting - an art which he had developed due to his grandmother. She would read out sentences to him and ask him to write them down. Slowly, words began to appear exactly the same size and structure - that day, his grandfather got him a chocolate bar as a prize.

He was going back to India to attend their yearly death rites. He was talking to them already through the poem he was writing...

"Can't believe you're gone..
Seems like yesterday that I took grandfather to the temple...
And just the day before that grandma made upma for me..."

The poem went on for a good fifteen lines when he felt a choke being put on his thoughts - he began to feel suffocated under it. Why wasn't he able to complete the poem? Why had, what had started to come out as a poem, stopped itself?

The plane took off. Like always, he felt his ears blocking. A strange warm feeling. There was a slight pain too. The pain grew and he heard them... talking back to him....

"Yes we're gone.. and not in the clouds like we told you as a child. When I, your grandpa, left, I looked at your grandma and your mother. And then I looked for you. I did not find you. Miles away in a country I had never seen, I tried to wake you up. You only felt sweaty that night."

The grandmother spoke, "When I joined your grandfather, I felt better. The part of my journey with all of you was so incomplete without him. However, I couldn't, just couldn't help but loiter around your books and your diaries. Your poems and the beautiful handwriting that you wrote them in. I was proud of you for being a grandson whose words never failed his emotions....

I am proud of you for being what you were and for being what you were to us. I am proud of you for wanting to write this poem.

For wanting to keep us alive in you.

For holding on to us. We can't let this go down, child. We can't let you forget us.

We are scared that you might. We can't see that happen. We can't let you complete this poem... "

The voices went down. He woke up, folded the paper and kept it in his pocket. He had realized he would never be able to complete the poem.

The flight had just begun....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Atithi kab jaaoge' - Movie review

There have been many TV serials based on 'guests who later turn not-so-welcome'. 'Knock knock kaun hai' on Zee TV was one such serial in Hindi. The movie looks like an extension of the serial - a two hour long episode of the serial.

The fart and room freshener act has been overdone - it entertains in some early occurences only. The argument with the security guard does not entertain.

The Raavan-Hanuman scene is unique and interesting to watch. The interiors of the flat have been done in an extremely tasteful manner. The 'Suhaani raat dhal chuki' remix/rehash is funny! The climax is not very funny - but tickles.

Paresh Rawal is typically him - excellent. His scenes at times can get loud but that's typical of comedy films like these. Konkona Sen Sharma has done an excellent job - it was the first time I saw her being funny! Ajay Devgan comes third in terms of standing up to the other two actors.

Overall, it's an okayish film made in a very stylish manner. The movie doesn't make you laugh - but it continuously tickles you. And that's no small thing!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

377

My speech at an elocution competition here. I did not win any prize but I knew I created ripples. That's all I cared for.



Vikrant and I studied in school together. He was a bright student, an amazing swimmer, got along well with people of all ages, and was very loyal to his friends. All of us wanted to be him. He was a role model.
One fine day, he came up to me and told me he was gay.
I was shocked! More so because he was too happy to notice my reaction.
He said the 377 repeal gave him the strength to come out to me.
And I remembered - 3 7 7!!
After 420 and 302 we have another number that has found mention among the general people. I had read the headline a few days ago - '377 repealed by the Delhi high court'. I knew 377 had to do something with gays and lesbians. I heard the repeal made them legal, but I did not know too much about it. I would not have bothered to find out more - had it not been for my friend.

377 was a law drafted in 1860 by the British that criminalized any sexual act which was against nature - in those days it meant an act that would not result in reproduction. This means that it was as applicable to unnatural intercourse between heterosexual couples too. While the British themselves scrapped 377 in their country a few decades ago, the law stayed on the books in India. The High court ruling regarding 377 explicitly stated that this law was against the very spirit of the constitution, and though the law still applied to any non consensual acts (read rape, sodomy, paedophilia, and bestiality), it said that the law need not look into bedrooms of adults and the acts done therein by mutual consent.

But then you'd ask me, isn't it unnatural? I mean a man and woman are together, they support each other and they take the family forward. I asked this to Vikrant too. He told me something that I'll never forget.
He reminded me about a couple we know who due to medical reasons were not able to bear a child. He asked me if I would call their marriage and physical closeness 'unnatural' just because it does not lead to reproduction.

That hit the point home - the basis of physical proximity and togetherness is not the ability to have babies but the attachment of love. And if two individuals feel that love naturally, it cannot be called 'unnatural' .

In fact, homosexuality is not considered a psychological disorder anymore and is recognized by the UNO, WHO, American Psychiatric Association and the like as natural behaviour.

Vikrant gave me references of homosexuality in Indian culture, the artworks of Khajuraho, a comprehensive mention of homosexuality in Kama Sutra and other scriptures. He told me about Indian families which have accepted their gay and lesbian children today. He told me about gay/lesbian couples living together in Mumbai for more than ten years.

I was like.. whoa! Never knew! But you know what, today, I am more compassionate towards them. At one point of time, Indian society did not accept inter-caste marriages, education for women, or widow re-marriages. Today, to a great extent it does. Similarly, our society today will make way for accepting homosexuality too.

377 is just the beginning and just as widow re-marriages must have faced back then, it is going to face public wrath.
Should I be angry at Vikrant too? Should I shut him out?


Vikrant lives among us.
Vikrant is like us.
He is a friend to me, a brother to someone, a son to someone else.
Vikrant has a family, a career, dreams.
Vikrant breathes.
Vikrant lives.
And Vikrant loves.
Just the gender that Vikrant loves and wants to spend his life with is different.
Should I hate my friend just because he loves?!
I have decided to accept my friend the way he is.
Would you do the same if someone you love told you he/she was gay/lesbian?

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Winner

Note: Vague but I am trying to convey a strong emotion. Hope it reaches.


His chest was squarish and led to the flat torso chiselled like an ancient Greek sculpture. When he ran, the Adam's apple moved up and down in rhythm with his lungs. His hands had veins which became more prominent when he clenched his fist. The hair flew in the air like a lion's mane. When he crossed the ending line, he looked up at the sky. It seemed so far. He stretched his hands up high. He could feel his hands touching the fluffy surface of the sky.

The crowd at the stadium went into an uproar.

They were overwhelmed to see a man touch the sky, he thought.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dreams and secrets: Audio blog


Note: The 'I' of the post is not necessarily me alone. Is it you too?
Note(2): Audio blog

I have had dreams on certain nights when I am trying to speak. I can feel my lips moving and driving as much air out of my throat as they can. But I fail to produce a word - despite desperately trying to do so. The words simply don't come. The lips, the throat - they are all doing what they do when I speak. The difference between 'they' and 'I' is scary. It is a realization that the They that my body is, is different from the me that I am.


I have had dreams on certain nights when I go to college and people are staring at me and laughing. I am without clothes. I run to a place to hide but someone seems to be present everywhere. I wrap a towel around my waist and all of a sudden everything becomes ok. They don't mind a man in a towel.


I have had dreams on certain nights when someone knocks at my door. I open the door and go inside. I come out to see the person gone - and my door too. I see my house without my door; the furniture and the gadgets are untouched. I still feel scared. The door is gone. It hits me like a ton bricks that it was the door that was the most important part of my house.


These dreams that I see are insensible and meaningless. Or are they?

Maybe my dreams know how much I need the door to safeguard my house. Maybe my dreams know that my words are required often to hide my thoughts. Maybe my dreams know why you would laugh at me if you saw me without the veil of my towel.


Maybe my dreams know the secret that I have hidden from you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Faces and Masks

Note: One of my incoherent, random ramblings. The post is not as meaningless as it may sound after the first reading.

They were all there around me. They were the people we loved.

Thoughts hit you harder than any stick of the world. One hit me too and I thrust my hand onto their faces. I had suddenly acquired the claws of a werewolf. These people that we loved were all wearing masks and I so wanted to pull these masks off their skin.

When the first one's mask came off, I rejoiced, "Yes!!! I knew it was only a mask!" It gave me the confidence to attack the rest and to pull their masks off their cheeks.

Some time later, there were several masks on the floor. I let out a delirious laughter - for I had uncovered the evil and deceitful people who I thought I loved.

What did I get in the end?

A bunch of masks on the floor. Hands stained in blood of the people I had attacked even if they weren't wearing any masks.

I sat on the floor mourning. What was I mourning? The discovery of masks that some people wore? Or the fact that everyone there had left because I attacked them?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love letter

Note: My entry for the 'love letter writing' competition here at IIT B.


Dear Prerna,

Don't ask me why I am writing all this. Promise me you won't cry when you read this - you are quite a weakling I know. These are just some things out of the whole world of them that I wanted to tell you. Marriage changes a relationship and in my case, the responsibilities that it brought deprived me of my ability to express a feeling - a feeling which was so close to me yet I never noticed. Let it flow today...

I clearly remember the day I first saw you at your dance performance in Mumbai. I saw the grace in your arms and my breath rhythmically swayed to each move of yours. Your face glowed like a princess with the blissful ecstasy of your dance that melted on it. You were burning down like a candle and spreading the glow all around you. I could clearly see that it was your soul guiding your body into the dance. I may have never admitted it but it was at that very moment that I fell in love with you.

On our trip to Delhi, as the cycle-rickshaw took us down the narrow lanes, I looked at you, huddled up to me. My hand moved to the other side of your shoulder. Our eyes met and I felt my breath against yours. I breathed out and without my knowledge, my breath took the form of the sound, "Marry me." A drop of tear shined on your cheek. You smiled only to push it down to your chin. The world had condensed in that one point for me - the tear where you, me and our love had converged.
On our honeymoon, I remember walking on the beach barefeet, your hand on mine. I held your thumb with my hand and slowly tickled your palm. You giggled as you ran further. I saw your feet leaving those footprints behind. Something was amiss. I turned back and saw OUR footprints on the sand. I froze as I saw the waves fading away the footprints, one lash at a time. I turned back again and saw you standing there, your hands folded and a question mark on your face. I ran to you like a pilgrim craving for his God and hugged you. You rested your head on my chest and my heart felt the touch of the very person it was beating for.

Prerna, for the last one year of our marriage, I have religiously bid you goodbye with a 'love you'. Trust me, I have never felt it so strongly as I do at this moment. You are the woman who stood by me during my times good and bad. You are the woman who looks into my eyes and my lows convulge into positivity and strength. I never noticed it until now - but each time I am low, I do remember your eyes and the love in them that is my biggest strength. Today I know why a wife is a husband's better half and that is because she is that half of the man that lies under the layer of his mere body. She is closely connected to his soul.

When my body sees danger at this moment, it calls out to my soul - it calls out to you. Prerna, I am trapped here. I am trapped at the Taj. Only some time ago, I saw fire leaping out of the window of some other room here. That very moment, I saw your eyes smiling at me.

What life could not make realize, the thought of death did. The love that stayed dormant gushed out like the wave that wiped our footprints at the beach. The love that expressed itself through a tear in your eye in Delhi expressed itself through another in mine.

I don't know what's happening here. I don't care. I want to see your eyes again. I want to go back to you and tell you .. that I love you...

Natural Aversion therapy to songs

I remember a song 'Bol na halke halke' that a friend had recorded in his voice. It was my ringtone for a long time. I loved it. Then, I set it as my alarm tone. Twenty days later, I began to hate that song!!

My theory is simple and straightforward (The Occam's Razor principle states that the simplest theory is the best one.) : "If you want to distaste yourself to a song, set it as your alarm tone."

Alarm tones should never be the songs you love. Because sooner or later, you are going to end up hating this tune that pulls you out of the arms of your cozy sleep. A song that we loved, all of a sudden, becomes a song that disciplines us. One naturally becomes averse to the song in some days. The effect that the song had on you no longer holds!

'Ringa ringa' from Slumdog millionaire is one of my favs of recent times. The song is not really the kinds you would want to listen to in public for the rather corny lyrics - but I love it nevertheless. This morning, this song woke me up (after I 'snooze'd five times.) and I have begun to dislike it already.... Grrr...

If there's some song your friend/husband/wife likes which you don't, try my therapy. Ilaaj nahi to paise waapas...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Name is Khan : Movie Review

I have been an ardent fan of Shahrukh and Kajol because they were THE onscreen couple in my growing-up days. I saw them jumping together over benches and steps of a filmy college in 'Kuch kuch hota hai', I saw Kajol running towards Shahrukh in a mustard field in 'DDLJ'. I have seen them doing similar cheesy things which have been memorable scenes for me as an admirer of theirs.

'My Name is Khan' is a feast for a person like me. SRK and Kajol are doing 'mature' things together this time (getting married very early in the film. Fighting. Sulking, etc.) - and Karan has not made them do the 'mature' things we have seen in KANK. (Whatever K Jo sold as 'mature' in KANK made me want to strangulate myself.) After 'My name is Khan', Shahrukh and Kajol are and will be my favourite on-screen couple! :-) Shahrukh's performance is THE highlight of the film. (Considering the fact that SRK has been the rona-dhona boy for a major portion of his career, this role is like getting a fish out of water where SRK cannot emote! :-p) Sonia Jehan and Jimmy Shergill are excellent too - Jimmy Shergill is one of the actors who have not got their due yet, in my opinion.

The music is ordinary (and had put this up on my facebook too - when two of my friends thought I was only doing 'K Jo bashing'. :P ) considering that S-E-L have come up with some remarkable numbers in the past.

The message of combating racism is only the background of the film. K Jo sticks to what he does best - a love story. The dialogues are typical K Jo style. The visuals are excellent of course. Kajol's styling is chic. SRK looks good too.

The first half keeps you glued to your seat, the second half drags in parts - especially the hurricane bit. The scene where Kajol cries in the mortuary is a typical Kajol screeching scene.. which, despite the overacting, I loved.

The movie is certainly very good and I must admit that K Jo has certainly made his most mature film to date.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Photo blog 4 : Visitors from the sky

Photo blogs: Photo + blogpost. Both indispensable

Disclaimer: The photograph and the blog post both are original.

The canopy stood high on the tall wall of the magnificient Agra Fort. It was not the only one in the fort. It was also not the only one in the fort to have dozens of pigeons gathered on their tops.


The canopy is a standing witness to the history of the rulers who stayed in the fort, of the enemies who attacked the fort and later became the rules, of survivors, of queens and their servants.

When I saw the birds cluttered around the canopy and some on it, I felt I was looking at the many more witnesses of the history gathered around it. The birds, to me, were the mystical historical characters from the tales of our history who had come back to the place where they had seen it all happen...

Friday, February 05, 2010

History books

On my Hyderabad and Delhi-Agra vacation, I realized how much I love museums. In Hyderabad, I walked around the galleries of Salarjung museum all by myself without getting bored for even a minute. I walked, I stopped, I stared. I went closer to the display glass to get a better look of the artifact on display.

Apart from the realization of my love for museums, I realized the ineffectivity of the history textbooks that I had been taught from in school. All I saw about Harappan civilization was two scary-looking idols printed in a dot-matrix. The lack of any gray at all made the picture of the Harappan idols similar to the map of an African country. That totally justifies the animosity while writing my history exams. One short note on 'Harappan civilization', another on 'Mohenjodaro civilization' - five points per answer - I always messed up between the two.

At the National Museum Delhi, I experienced the Harappan civilization. I remembered the short note back in school which said, "The Harappan man used modern equipment of business, weaponry and animal husbandry." Today, I saw the equipment of business - the weighing balance and the standard weights. Wow! The insight of having a standard weight to measure things relatively is a bright sign of intelligence. I saw the equipment of weaponry - complex spears. I saw the bullock cart toys that the Harappans made and realized that they were very similar to the bullock carts of today. In fact, the utensils used by Harappans to cook were VERY SIMILAR to the ones from a brand that claims to specialize in non-stick.

Also in the Harappan gallery, I saw the Gods they worshipped - these Gods looked so similar to today's interpretation of aliens.

I literally experienced the Harappan civilization come alive around me. I was overwhelmed by the kind of knowledge and expertise that these relics displayed. I LOVED history today. I wondered why a fifth standard history textbook failed to do that to me.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Photo blog 3 : From Chowmahala Palace

Photo blogs are photographs accompanied with a piece of text and when I can't think of getting rid of either.

The Chowmahala palace in Hyderabad is a must-visit for a tourist. It is a palace of the Nizams which has been maintained very well by their descendents. The palace is a beautiful white that fills everything you can see when you are walking through it. 'Chowmahala', as the name suggests, has four palaces in a complex.

One is in the awe of the grandeur and beauty of the palace as one walks through its grand hallways and the royal rooms. Finally, one turns back and begins to walk towards the exit, still awe-struck.




Then one sees what this photograph of mine captures. The white palace of the rich Nizam stands before your eyes and in the background, you see the grey and earthy Mecca Masjid - looking down on the palace. [Correction from 'Jama masjid' to 'Mecca masjid' according to a comment by a reader. I was, however, told by my tourist guide that it was the Jama masjid]


One moment, you are savouring the beauty of worldly riches that you think touches the sky. The next moment, God tells you he's taller.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zenda - Movie Review

Movie review of Marathi Movie 'Zenda' (Flag)

In my opinion, Zenda does not revolve around the Thackeray family issues that led to upheaval in the politics of Maharashtra. The story includes the events (from real-life) that happened when MNS formed out of Shivsena. The focus of the film, however, is at a lower level. The film essentially talks about the smaller trees that collapse when one big tree is fell.

This is where the movie is different. It is not talking about the 'split of Shivsena' at all. It is talking about the 'split of loyalties' of the party workers, the branch heads and the others. It is here that the movie is VERY different from the political films that we have seen. The movie scores full points from me on this count.

The characters based on political leaders in Maharashtra are very interesting to watch - the actors have done a good job. The character based on Narayan Rane was called 'Sadaa Malvankar' in the promos. The last name, however, has been changed - dubbed out to something else. (For the ones who did not know, Rane's son Nitesh Rane had raised an objection) The performance by the entire cast is superb. You remember each and every character very clearly.

The story is well-taut. One does not get bored ever. The movie is unbiased - it does not assume any political inclination. The movie keeps its focus on the characters and their minds, their dreams and the change of dreams. The screenplay takes cues from the incidents related to Sena-MNS and weaves the story around them; that makes it very interesting to watch. The title song is SUPERB and repeats in parts through the film. The 'Saawdhan' song is also good and well-shot. The item number (which has strange words like 'Ababa Patil aala') looks totally out of place.

The movie kept me wanting for more and there came the spoiler - the climax. It was not even abrupt to set the audience thinking or something. When the lights of the theater lit, I asked my friend, "Is the movie over?" He smiled back at me and nodded. I thought the climax was too politically correct / ideal to look true. They did have a moral to convey but it did not appeal to me at all.

Overall, the movie is intelligently made, very interesting to watch if you are well-versed with the politics of Maharashtra, interesting otherwise as it talks about party workers and their mentality. Don't expect much from the climax and do tell me what you thought about it after you see the film.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mothers # 3

"Mom, I need my space.. Please leave me alone....", he said as he shut the door on his mom's face. The mom grimaced and went to the kitchen - to make her son's favourite pasta.

Twenty minutes later, he heard a knock on his door.

"What is it, mom?", he shouted not bothering to get up and open the door.

"I've made pasta, beta... "

He sighed.. "She just wouldn't leave me alone", he thought to himself. "Mom! Keep it on the table. I'll eat when I want to.."

His mother went back to the kitchen. She wiped her eyes with the end of her pallu only to realize that she had no tears in her eyes. Her cheeks were, however, red.

The tears finally appeared when she heard the main door of the house banged shut. She picked up the empty plate from the dining table and placed it in the sink. She remembered her son sleeping with his head on her lap when he had hurt his knees on the playground at the age of eight. She would pat him to sleep and only then go to sleep.

Today, her son was lost in his own world and every question from her was an intrusion into his space, his privacy. He had grown up and maybe she should too, she thought.

****

Five years later, the phone rang. It was her son.

"Mum.. it's so hectic to be working here. Things were so good at home... There's no one to come back to.... Mom, missing you.... I need my space. My space, my place, on your lap...."

The tears in the mother's eyes appeared sooner this time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Natarang - Review

I divide the post in two parts: A regular review and what I felt personally after watching the movie.... because there's something I took home from the movie...

'Natarang' makes me feel proud of the fact that I understand Marathi, the language of laavani, the language with enchanting maadhurya ('Sweetness' does not have the 'maadhurya' which its Marathi synonym 'maadhurya' does). The movie sweeps you off your feet as it takes you along on a journey of a mad artist.

'Natarang' belongs to Atul Kulkarni throughout. You see him as the passionate farm-help.. and just then you seethe transformation in the body language of the character; then you see him helpless, happy. I simply cannot stop applauding for him!

Other actors like Kishor Kadam, Sonalee and the actress who plays Guna's wife play characters that are different layers of this story... or perhaps different sides. The music of the film wows you with some amazing numbers - 'Khel mandala' is a beautiful slow track while 'Vaajle ki baara' and 'Apsara aali' are some amazingly picturized and sounding laavanis.

The story is an amazingly entertaining ride. However, the climax looks abrupt and feels like a forceful happy ending. The snapshots of lavani artistes as the end credits roll are superb - their eyes look empty, almost hungry.

The movie is a must-watch. The DVD/VCD will surely be a collector's delight.

*****************************

With his eyebrows neatly shaped, Guna sits wearing a white kurta and pyjama with a notebook in his hand. He is writing the script of his new play, a play where he will, yet again, portray the lead dancer's effeminate sidekick, the naachya. Guna says, "Pratyek manasaat ek baai aste. Ani pratyek baait ek maanus." (There is a man in every woman and a woman in every man.) He goes silent. But then, through his eyes, you hear him screaming. Screaming with helplessness. He is a man in every sense. A man who stuck on to his passion for tamasha (A Maharashtrian folk art), a man who was man enough to play a naachya. You see the man who sits with pride in the slender feminine body. You see the grit in his eyes - the determination to do everything that his passion demands.

Even if it means ripping his self-respect off.

You hear him scream at the thought.

And then you wonder if it was him. Or if it was you yourself who screamed... Almost horror-struck to see the strength that passion generates in a person...

Friends

To Harshu, a smiling angel of a friend.

We belong to the era of virtual social networks. I know of people who have got into a competition with one another to reach a mark of friends count on their facebook/orkut profiles.

You really want to count your friends? Go ahead. Count them correctly, however.

Your friends aren't the ones in your profile listing.

Your friends aren't the ones who are in your profile listing and say 'hi, how are you' to you...

Your friends are the ones who are in your profile listing, who say 'hi, how are you' and to whom you can dare say, 'not good dude'...

Your friends are the ones who you are ready to show yourself to - sans the mask that you would wear otherwise. Even if they are only two or three of them, it is these friends that make life worthwhile.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Photo blog 2 : Bharatiya sanskriti

The picture on the left is a poster of the film 'Kurbaan' - A poster that was considered inappropriate according to 'Bharatiya Sanskriti' (Indian culture).

The picture on the right is the photograph of a Before-Christ-dated carving from a Buddhist stupa kept at National Museum, Delhi. I have clicked the picture on the right.

When I saw this piece of relic at the museum, it so reminded me of the film poster. Temples and other religious places in Hinduism have depicted human forms in a very bold manner. This is because Hinduism believed that body is a temple too. It was surprising to note that the lady in the statue was shown with complete back nudity. (I cropped the picture below the waist.)




A Bharatiya sanskriti that regarded love as a divine act and depicted human figures in sensuous poses in their temples and other places of worship, today burns down Valentine's day cards and drapes a sari around Kareena.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Incomplete sentences

On a piece of paper, "Dear Shashank, Please forgive me for whatever I ha". The sentence is not completed.

In an email window, "I want to talk to you mom.".. Backspace. The sentence is deleted completely.

"I want to take dad to Malaysia for a holiday. But I know he wouldn't come. He's too busy with work to spend time with me...", in someone's mind. The sentence is never expressed.

The world is complete with incompleteness - incomplete stories waiting for an apology, an initiative, an attempt to reconcile; incomplete relationships succumbing for want of expression of the depth that exists but remains unseen; incomplete journeys dying out because of tired companions..

And there are incomplete sentences like the ones above floating around too. One sentence out of these completed and the incomplete stories too will move towards completion....

You have many incomplete letters in your closet, incomplete SMS drafts in your cellphone, unspoken thoughts in your mind.

You have an apology in waiting, an initiative to develop a relationship, a compliment to show that you care. All this in the form of incomplete sentences in various forms.

Complete a relationship today. Complete a sentence today.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Photo blog 1 : Toilet


Note: Fast food joints inspire giving rise to fast blogposts. Quick to write, quick to read. Photo blogs are

Picture Credit: Aditya Joshi

Colgate and Cadbury have always been the synonyms for tooth paste and chocolate for Indians. May be because they were the earliest entrants in the market. Ditto for Amul which stands for butter. Now here is a picture that I clicked at Red Fort.

Little did I know that the word 'toilet' now translates to ... not just 'shouchalaya' but 'sulabh shouchalaya'! Brand brand ki baat hai pyaare...



Little(r) did I know that there exists a company called 'Sulabh international' that is behind all the sulabh shauchalayas that we know of. And why did I think the 'sulabh' in the 'sulabh shouchalaya' was for sulabhataa (ease) of the act of downloading.




Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Window

Note: Returning to my favourite class of blogposts - the incomprehensible ones. :-p

A huge glass pane separated him from the running trees outside. He was looking at them with a thought on his mind. He wanted a mirror. He did not know why - but he wanted it badly.

The train came to a screeching halt at a station. He stuck his nose to the pane of the window and looked around on the platform. It was unlikely that he would find a person selling a mirror on a railway platform, he knew, but he could not stop himself from looking. The train slowly moved out of the station and before he realized it, picked up speed.

He continued to look out of the window - hoping to find what he was looking for. He soon got lost in his own thoughts. His eyes were open but he could not see.

When he got back to where he was, the day had dimmed - hence, the glass pane was dark on one side and reflected all the light on the other side. The other side was him. He was staring at his face. He had found his mirror.

It is indeed true that we get things we want when and where we are least expecting them.