Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morning Musings

Have you ever woken up early in the morning; real early – as early as the newspaper vendor or as early as the time when the main vegetable Mandi is abuzz with activities?

I have enjoyed such mornings in my life; during different phases of my life! I was preparing for CAT then. I used to get up at around quarter to 4 o’clock in the morning, tip-toe to the main door and go out, so as not to disturb others at home. Even the paperwallah used to come after that. I was an avid follower of The Hindu and Economic Times then, so I used to wait for the newspaper eagerly. It was exciting to be up so early when the rest of the people were in deep slumber. The sunrise would look so personal, as if it is only between the sun and me.

Since it used to be dark when I used to get up, I would just sit for sometime at my door itself – mugging Oxford dictionary, to prepare for the Verbal Ability Test in CAT. It was my brother’s idea. Everyone used to follow some flash card or the other, and there I was devouring words, section by section. Of course you would not be able to remember everything. But it did introduce me to several words, many of which have stayed with me. It really helped.

But anyways coming back to the original topic of sunrise; I would go to the terrace as soon as I saw even a hint of sunlight. From the top I would see women in almost all the surrounding households, up and about very early and getting into the grind of their daily lives. Watching them clean and spray water outside, and make beautiful alpana, had become as much part of my daily routine, as it were for them.

I also reminisce about the mornings during my MBA days. I would get up around 6 am, and go for morning walks. The early morning walks would generally be filled with a million thoughts. Being alone has never bothered me, actually I quite like it. It gives me an opportunity to ponder about several things, though not intentionally, but it does end up in some quality thought process.

I have always attracted to early mornings. It is truly special. When I was a kid, our home was on an elevated road and right before our house was a stretch of land. Early mornings used to be breath-taking during all seasons. During rains, we would wake up to the lush green fields. The beautiful interplay of sunlight and clouds will present before us a magnificent spectacle.

Our township was in back of beyond place, hidden amid a cluster of villages. There was never any hum-drum of honking cars or busy roads; it was quiet and serene. In fact, at that point of time, it felt too quiet to be almost boring. But today I appreciate the beauty of such life. Not only were the early mornings heavenly; the star-studded nights would be as breath-taking. I used to spend a substantial amount of time just gazing at the stars. I have marveled many a times at those sights, when nature never failed to amaze me each time.

I remember a particular sunrise quite vividly – there were like millions of little clouds spread across the horizon. The sunlight was falling on the clouds in such a way that the entire upper portion was highlighted by a bright blue, while the total lower parts of the clouds were illuminated by a beautiful pink. It was a sight which I never could forget.

I still strive to get up real early, but the late night movies and the hectic days have spoiled me way too much! But I am trying, and I hope I will be there soon; to get seduced by the breath-taking beauty of early mornings with a cuppa of tea. I think that is what you call Heaven!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where the Mind is with Fear

The more and more I observe myself, I see a lot of Monica (of FRIENDS) in me. No matter how much I plan that I will not do any cleaning work on a holiday, I end up cleaning something or the other for the entire day. I don’t know how I manage to come up something or the other on every single holiday! Even my brother is completely convinced that I am Monica personified.

This Sunday was no different. I planned not to do any cleaning stuff and just read some good books, but can you trust me for that!

I did manage to go out for a while but that too at the wrong time. Yesterday was Ganapati Visarjan and wherever we went we found patches of crowd. Strangely, we did not find any traffic jams though. All the signals were made “free”, which was a really good thing. But I could not help thinking about the bomb blasts which hit Delhi the previous day.

I remember when we were kids, bomb blasts used to be the last thing on our minds. We did not know about any such thing, at least as something which could affect our daily lives. But since last couple of years, especially after moving to Mumbai, three years back, it has come to become something which happens in close quarters. Every festival or celebration is marred by the fear of any untoward incident. There is tremendous anxiety in stepping out of our homes on festivals or holidays. You tend to avoid going out to places which are most crowded, like Malls, Crowded markets or Cinema Halls. What has become of our world? Festivals were supposed to be occasions when you forgot everything and engage in celebrations with pure abandon. Not any more!

I hate to admit but yes, I was afraid to roam around the streets yesterday, when places were supposed to be crowded due to Visarjan. I did go inside a mall but I literally forced my husband out of it in a couple of minutes. I was not at ease.

I do love my life in cities and unlike several people I don’t intend or dream of going back to the small place where I spent my childhood. I like it much better here – with much more convenience and better opportunities. But I cannot help reminiscing about the carefree childhood days. The holidays were all about going out and having fun with friends. We would have been aghast at any suggestion of not going out on such days. But today, we do have to think about a lot of things.

We are living in strange and difficult times. Really!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Movie Review: Monalisa Smile

Yesterday I had the good fortune of Monalisa Smile. Post that I tried reading reviews of the movie on internet but I found everyone embroiled too much into what was factually incorrect about the college, or how the extra students were short listed on the basis of how much tanned they look, how many black students were there, how the story was too naïve or amateurish and blah…blah…blah. To each, their own.

Personally, I was deeply moved by the movie. It moved me much more than even “Rock On” did. When I saw the promos of the movie on Zee Studio, only one Dialogue made me decide I just have to watch this movie – Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer? Isn’t it what makes us all do what we want to do? See the similarity with ‘Rock On’. In that movie they say do what you want to do because you will not get a second chance! Ditto here.

To give you a brief outline of the story, there is this teacher who comes to an apparently conservative college to teach ancient art history. On her first day, the girls unnerve her by knowing every thing that she could teach from the syllabus, but that does not bogs her down. She is flattered by the intelligence of her class but slowly she realizes that these very smart women are actually “just biding time until SOMEBODY proposes!” There’s no ambition, no purpose in their own lives. Marriage is the eventual and the future, everyone looks forward to or waits for. What a waste!

She tries to open the minds of the girls to identify, understand and do what they want in life. It is their life as well. They cannot just waste their lives being just somebody’s wife! She encourages them to break out of stereotypes created by the society; they really do not necessarily need to do what others’ expect them to do. They are smart women with their own minds.

Obviously in the conservative college and society where the story is set, she comes across several hurdles, even from the girls themselves, for they had never thought of anything beyond what they were ‘supposed’ to do.

There are several wonderful ‘moments’ in the film. Check out some interesting quotes here.

My personal favourites are as under:

The first one is the conversation between the teacher, Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), and one of her students, Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles). Katherine had encouraged Joan to think of what would she love doing if she was not getting married, she said – she would be going to Yale to study Law. Katherine gets her to fill up the application forms and Joan also gets selected but then chooses to get married and stay back.

Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart

(I liked it because Joan knew the choices she had in life – to be a lawyer or be somebody’s wife. She knew she would be a good lawyer, but may be she wanted a family much more than she wanted to be celebrated lawyer. The point is her’s was a conscious decision, and that is what matters. A person who decides to take care of the family is also doing as much as somebody doing another job!)

Another one was towards the end when Katherine feels totally let down by her class of women who were smart and intelligent but not thinking beyond the domesticity and marriage.

Katherine Watson: I didn't realize that by demanding excellence I would be challenging... what did it say?
[walks over to student's desk and picks up newspaper]
what did it say? um... the roles you were born to fill!

For me, a movie is not about right camera angles or effortless expressions. Of course, that definitely adds up to a good movie eventually; but what matters most is what thoughts the movie arouses in you, and whether it arouses anything at all. What matters most is what remains, long after the credits have rolled.

This movie stayed with me even though I saw two other movies after that. They did not instigate any feelings in me. This one did create an urgency to find a direction, not wait for things to happen at the usual pace, otherwise I would end of regreeting not doing certain things at the right time!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rock On: Movie Review

I had the expected chance to catch Rock On yesterday. The film looked good from the promos and I liked both the songs on air – the Title track and Socha Hai Kya. And I am always ready for a good movie. So there I was at Adlabs, and I don’t regret it. It is a good movie.

In retrospect, there are a lot of similarities between Dil Chahta Hai and Rock On. Both deal with a couple of close buddies, who fall apart due to some misunderstandings; then again get back together after a couple of years when they are mature. But Rock On has the background of a Rock Band, and the underlying message to do what you really want to do because….the way it so beautifully comes across in the lines… Zindagi milegi na doobara!

I am quite impressed with Farhan Akhtar. So far we have seen him as a very capable and enterprising Director & Producer; with this movie he wows us as a singer and also as an actor to some extent. I think he has acted quite well, not extremely effortless, say Aamir Khan, but definitely much, much better than so-called actors getting heavily paid for doing what they called Acting! He looks good too – in the long as well as cropped hair.

Arjun Rampal is superb – it is definitely one of his best performances. (I did not like Om Shanti Om, as a movie, but Arjun was definitely good in the movie). He has a terrific voice; and awesome personality and acting skills to match it. He is the silent, emotional kind; and is very convincing in his role. Shahana Goswami, who played Arjun’s wife in the movie, is also extremely effortless. Although she is the bickering and nagging sort, but you tend to feel for her. Life does that to you. I found that she also featured in the movie Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., but I can’t remember seeing her in that. She comes across as somebody to watch out for. The problem with most of the actresses, I have found, is that they are always too much conscious of how they are looking on screen and thus cannot let themselves flow in the character. Aishwarya Rai cannot help catwalking on screen. She will do anything but cannot make herself look gauche on the screen. Even Rani tends to have that unnatural smile on her face, which looks forced and made up to, look good. Why can’t they be, say Tabu. She does not try too hard to look good in every shot, but she always makes a mark in her scenes because she breathes life in her characters.

Coming back to the movie, I loved Purab the most, in the movie. I know he was not the main lead, but he bowls you over with his easy charm and witty humour. He does it with élan and does not look unnatural even in a single shot. I thought Koel Poorie has also done a good job. Prachi Desai is good but I think she is little bit in awe of her make over into a big screen actress. She has done a decent job, but she needs to improve.

Luke Kenny was good in his role and did complete justice. Since the time I have seen him and heard his name, I feel I have seen him before, but can’t figure out. Apparently he was a veejay. But still I’m not convinced, as I have never been too much into ‘knowing’ or liking Veejays. But anyways, the point is that he has done his job well and matches up to everyone.

Everything said and done, I thought the 2nd half is better but then it got to be, because the passion re-ignites in the second half. I remember the entire hall was on splits when after the movies ends, the first thing which comes before the credits is – Don’t download the music. Buy the CD. Good message. Well-placed. And the movie! It definitely stays with you.

Just when we came out of the hall, my hubby said what have we done? I hate that about such movies; everyone need not be a rock star or a singer or with any such marked talent. A talent is anything in which you are good at. We got on to talking about how we did not have any such passion during college or whether this life is better or the college life was! Well, to each, his own. Personally, I have always liked my current life better than the past. I love being in the place I am in – happily married to the one I love, satisfied in my job and grateful to be able to enjoy the freedom that I have, to choose whatever I want to do. Now if I choose not to do anything worthwhile then it is entirely my own fault, not life’s!

We should just stop blaming everything and everyone. On that note, what I will take from the movie is ………..zindagi milegi na doobara! So do what you want to do – right here, right now!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Being Famous!

While I was doing something really innocuous but important (cleaning my kitchen), somehow I started thinking about “Fame”. Whether I would like to be Famous or why people want to be famous? It is a common desire of people to be Rich and Famous. I would definitely like to be Rich, but I don’t think I would like to be Famous. I just love my space and freedom too much to be famous.

But of course, I like standing out in the crowd. I like when I am acknowledged for doing something more than expected. I like being singled out and appreciated for my work. Is that an iota of being famous? Is being famous same as being recognized? Is it really the craving to be recognized in the crowd which people crave for? Quite possibly! Otherwise, I don’t think anybody likes people falling all over them, or writing each and every single detail about their lives or always having to put up a persona in their public lives. May be it is a simple case of recognition going over-board, to the extent that other people feel that it is their right to judge you for every single thing or encroach in your personal space to their whims and fancies.

Being famous is really not easy!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

E-books versus Printed books

When the internet was catching up and everything was being converted into e-format, right from e-books to e-paper, we thought the end of printed material is near. But several years later, we still await our morning paper with the same zest, like we ever used to. I don’t think the e-format can ever replace the print. Nothing can replace the joy of holding a book and being able to read it page by page, by physically turning the page; knowing that you were half way through, and that you can carry it everywhere and read at your own convenience.

This may be anti-Green, since a book is a paper, which requires trees to be cut. But what do we do! It is a habit which is just too impossible to grow out of. I don’t think the joy which I get in looking at my collection of books, neatly stacked on my book-cupboard, can be replaced by any number of PDFs on my hard-disk. For a book lover, the joy of accumulating good books is as much as reading them. In fact, personally speaking, I tend to postpone reading the book because I just don’t want to lose the importance that book has in my life right now. Once I have read it, it will no longer be as much intriguing. I have never re-read any book so far. But I plan to since the time I started reading non-fiction on a variety of topics. Even some Fiction books are timeless.

I am yet to find another book lover who would rather read books on e-format. It is the love of the book for people like me, and not as much as the content inside. I mean, of course, the content makes the book invaluable, how do I explain, it is the physical being of the book which is treasured.

I guess, we need to find out a way through which there could be a re-cyclable material, for which we would not have to cut trees, and would still give the touch and feel of the paper. E-books are just not the solution!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reality show on Splits

How many of you have seen Splitsville on MTV? Excuse my middle class values and small town upbringing; I really don’t understand the objective of this show. I collect that eventually there will be two couples who would become Veejays but what capabilities are you judging by falling all over each other and knowing what the guy is comfortable wearing! I was aghast when I first saw the show; my hubby was of course elated at the sight of cat fights between all the girls (that every guy just absolutely enjoys watching). Add to that the colorful language and extent of abuse being thrown at each other. And every time I fleetingly come across the show, I ask the same question – what the guys have to do? Just sit there and enjoy girls throwing themselves on both of them? Wow!

I like Vishal, from the looks of him. H e has Dhoni’s smile and looks cute but the other guy, Varun, he looks so pretentious and desperate. He looks like a guy who has never been too close to a girl and suddenly unable to handle the situation, wherein girls are fighting for him. He is not even cute! What girls!
Of course, for the channel it is a smart move to raise TRPs because people love such kind of “reality” shows but I wonder what the girls thought while entering the show! Some girls admitted (I think Yamini) that they were uncomfortable during some situations because whatever you say, girls are always wary about people entering their space. It is not comfortable for most of the girls. I mean, I will not fight for a guy, I have not chosen; forget about letting him get too close for comfort. To each, her own, I guess!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hats off to “The Khel Ratna”, Dhoni

I must add that I was really proud when I heard that Dhoni is going to get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest honour for a sportsman in our country. Besides being extremely cute (I am sure the Award has nothing to do with that), he has come really long way from being a small town wonder boy. In fact, I don’t recall if I have ever seen him without his characteristic composure. He comes across as a cool, composed, sophisticated, extremely confident and level-headed. Few weeks back, I remember I saw a show hosted by Shahrukh Khan, where in all the cricketers were pulled on the stage, one at a time, and were asked to copy the dance moves by Shahrukh himself. Though Shreesanth was undoubtedly the best dancer of the lot; Dhoni showed immense composure and was completely at ease, all with his one-liners. I am really proud of him, since we both are from Jharkhand. More so because he has put Jharkhand, even Ranchi, on the map of the country; and for once when you say you are from Jharkhand / Bihar, people don’t say – Oh Lalu!..........rather they say…….Oh Dhoniiiiiiiiiiii!

To Abort or not to Abort

I happened to watch News yesterday on TV, and every single channel was showing how Niketa Mehta will have to become mother now as Bombay High Court has rejected her plea to abort the child. The law allows a child to be aborted till 20th week and no further. What every Channel wanted to know was whether it should be the prerogative of the mother to choose to give birth or abort the child? My first reaction was - Of course!
But then on second thoughts, the law against abortion was made to safeguard the interests of girl child in India. Female foeticide is already one of the major concerns for our country.

The couple did a commendable thing in choosing to go the legal way; otherwise I’m sure there are hoardes of people who do it discreetly. And now there would not be any going back. They might choose to appeal to Supreme Court, but with every passing day, Niketa is putting herself into more danger because aborting the child so late puts the mother in utmost danger.

The case is already splashed across all media, so I would not get into the details. I have few observations though:
In today’s paper I read a quote by one of the Medico-Legal experts, Dr Lalit Kapoor – “No one wants imperfect children. Everyone wants a perfect baby. So there is always fear that more couples may want to seek such late abortions”.

Very true indeed. All of us want healthy, cute babies. But there are some parents who are unfortunate to have children with deformities, and then they have to be their support systems throughout their lives. Nobody wants that kind of life – for themselves as well as for their children.

When you know your child will have to depend on others for the rest of their lives, do you still go ahead with the child. Personally, I don’t think so. It is not only about dependency. It is also psychologically defeating for the person to live such life. If something happens to the parents, then who will take responsibility of the child? Is it same as Mercy killing? Possibly. One of the channels showed the responses of some poll. One of them said – “he would not want his mother to have that kind of decision power on his life.” But you say that when you do not have any deformity or dependency. What will you say when you are born an invalid. You will solely blame your parents, for letting him go through such kind of miserable life.

Some societies / groups have come forward to accept the responsibility of the child. But I am not sure if the parents would like to do so. It is not a clear moral issue. It is a practical issue. If they know they have a child, they would not like to give it away, but knowing that they are not capable to handle a situation which may arise, has prompted them to file such an unusual case.

I am not saying that the High Court was wrong in addressing the issue, in the way it did. I am saying what is the way forward to such an issue? The court in a way was right in its judgment, because -
§ The J.J. Hospital report says that there is a “rare” chance of the baby to suffer from the heart disorder
§ The mother is at risk for aborting the child at this stage
§ The child has the right to live
§ There are groups who are ready to take responsibility of the child or provide financial aid to the parents

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Friendship Day!

I remember back in college, FRIENDSHIP DAY used to be quite an occasion in our hostel. I shared room with 5 other girls and all of us were quite close. One was my batch-mate but in science stream and one was a year senior in a different stream. Those were the days when I really understood the meaning of friendship. Till school days, I never dwelt on anything serious with any of my friends at that time. We were too guarded to discuss our fears and insecurities. I was not too sure whether the other person is worth our trust.

But once I moved out of home for my Graduation, I was on my own. There was nobody to turn to but in a way, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. There are a lot of things which you can share only with your friends, who are at the same wavelength as you. You are close to your family, but friends have a different place altogether. I made my first real friends in hostel. With my best friend, who was also my room-mate, we shared so many wonderful moments, which I cherish till date and will continue to do so forever. I told her every single thing about me, my insecurities, my failings, my nightmares and my fears; without any fear of being judged. And she never judged me. Somehow she always made me appear right, at the time, under the circumstances. I would always love her for that. That was the time when I understood that nobody has perfect lives, and it is quite OK to have insecurities. That was when I found a new confidence in myself and my abilities – confidence to stand up for anything I wanted and got it. I remember how she used to wait for me to take lunch, and in return I used to do same when she used to be late because of her classes. We used to have long chats on our lives. I have cried a lot on her shoulders. She was very compassionate yet a very naïve girl, almost gauche.

I always remember a very funny incident. We were studying for our exams, during our Final Year. We were sleeping and studying alternatively throughout the night. When I woke up sometime around 3 am, I saw her very tensed and searching for something. She said she has lost her spectacles, and the irony was she was not able to find it without spectacles. What we had done was, we had put one of the beds on another bed to make space in the room (most of the girls had gone home and only we were there for exams). We used to study on top of the higher bed sometimes; she had been doing the same, and slept while studying. When she got up she could not find her spectacles. She was almost into tears imagining all sorts of things – how would she write the exam with her “eyes”! Then I searched around the bed, and found it lying there. We were really into splits on that because she had gone completely overboard imagining all sorts of things she would do to write the exam.
I spoke to her yesterday after 7-8 month. She thinks I have forgotten her but I have not. How can I? I even wrote a poem on her, quoted on one of my earlier posts.

There was another friend, a year senior to me, but our wavelengths matched so much that we were quite close. She was also room-mate. I have kept in touch with her since then. She has had an inter-religion marriage and it all happened before my eyes. It was so weird how her love story started. If It is not fate then what is it? It is common knowledge that girls’ hostels are flooded with random calls from anonymous guys. Some girls used to pick up calls during night just to have fun, without knowledge of warden of course. One of our room-mates was quite a pro in talking to such calls – giving tit for tat to the foul speaking guys. During one of such calls, the guy who called was quite nice and spoke well to her. She passed on the phone to my friend also for a chat. She also took it to have fun. She used a pseudo-identity and gave him a false name. The guy called up again later, asking for the pseudo-name; somehow the call would always reach my friend. So the story started and after years of hardships and struggle, they were finally able to marry about a year and half back. Now she is expecting her baby this September. She is happy with him but keeps cribbing about how she has no career. But I love talking to her. She is quite talkative and warm, so even if you have some work, you really can’t put her off and keep the phone down.

I am also close to two of my school buddies, actually we have been friends since Kinder Garten but the friendship really grew stronger after college. All three of us are in different facets of life, lost touch a couple of times, getting busy with our respective lives, but now somehow fate brought us together and even if we do not talk on daily basis, we always reach out to each other when we need to talk about something. Knowing each other’s families and growing up together, there have been a lot of things in common and there is a lot of understanding; so we are on same wavelengths.

So to all FRIENDS, who have shared some wonderful and some crucial moments of my life, this day is a celebration of a beautiful relationship we share; and that you are my pillars of strength. I don’t know if they will read this or not, but nevertheless I cannot not acknowledge this.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Death of Voice of India

When my brother told me that Ishmeet is dead, I did not know who he was. I’m not too much into TV, at least not into any of these reality shows. I used to watch Sa Re Ga Ma, once upon a time, but that was during good old days when there was only one such show which was a quality show nurturing budding talents. Right from Sonu Nigam to Shreya Ghosal – many singers owe their stardom to this show. But now, I’m not too sure.

Nevertheless, the next question I asked was, who Ishmeet? He said - the winner of Voice of India! Even though I did not know who he was, I could not help logging on to Rediff, and find out what happened.

Then I vaguely remembered having seen him passingly during channel surfing. I have been reading about his tragic death in different journals and online communities, but frankly it sounds too bad too be true. Look at this person, who must have had several dreams, after winning the reality show and winning lots of deals as a result. How many dreams his family might have had for his son, and in any case, losing a young son is a blow to any family – emotionally, psychologically as well as financially.

Somehow it does not sound true or justified that somebody who worked his way towards victory, beating all the odds and competition from several talents from across India, should be taken away by fate in such an inconsequential accident. Famous people don’t die like that, do they?

The Spreading Tentacles of Terror

It was shocking to hear about bomb blasts in Bangalore, and then in Ahmedabad. It was even more frightening to learn that about 20 live bombs were detected in the diamond city, Surat. Where are we heading to? What are we living on? I was in Mumbai when the devastating bomb blasts happened in Mumbai 2 years back. Luckily, I was at home, but several of our fellow office people, were not so lucky. Staying amid such error, the first thing which struck was, who was lucky and who was not. We were scared to find out if any of our known people were stuck in that mishap!

I remember, practically, all the channels had some or the other eye-witnesses giving exclusive details of the terrorists who kept the bombs in the trains, but after listening to those accounts and their re-runs and re-re-runs, nothing really came out of it. At least, I’m not aware if we did nab anybody for the Mumbai tragedy. In fact, what ever comes out of such devastating incidents? At least, the common man is not aware. I agree, it must be very difficult to hunt a needle out of a haystack but there must be a way, similar to the sources through which they find out about the bombs in the first place. Our Intelligence Agencies must find out a way, to make us feel safer in our homes.

Today, it is scary how the terror has spread across the country. We are not safe any more. Even if we go out to enjoy, there is always a fear at the back of our minds. Where do we go from here? How does one deal with it? Shall we go back to our small towns and villages to live in peace, and quit chasing bigger dreams? May be putting up CCTV cameras as in US, can be of some help in such situations. In fact, we will be able to address a lot of crimes which happen on public places, through such cameras.

When nothing happens, nothing happens; and you tend to put all this in back-burner. Forget about it and move on with life. But what really hurts is the people who suffer in all these, the people who had been unfortunate to be at wrong place when the terror strikes; and definitely it is not easy for their families to forget such incidences for a long, long time.

Pyaar Ke Side Effects

I saw Pyaar Ke Side Effects for the nth time yesterday. This movie never fails to amuse me. All through the movie, I and my hubby were giving each other side-glances with unspoken I know. I must say that the script writer has done an amazing job in understanding the typical behaviour of a girl and a boy. We had so many occasions when we felt they were talking about us, and I’m sure everyone feels the same way.

When Rahul Bose’s sister says “ladkon ko to obvious cheezen dikhti hi nahi hain”, I could not agree less. Whether it is about a wet towel lying on the bed, or the newspaper strewn all over the sofa or the lid of the oil can left open – these are all typical behaviour of a guy. I don’t know if they secretly taught to do all these.

My hubby also got opportunity to get back at me when Rahul Bose and Mallika go shopping after their engagement; one of the side effects was - aapko suddenly dher sari shopping karni padegi, un cheezon ki jiski aapko kabhi zaroorat mehsoos nahi hui. Ab mujhe kya pata ki is colour ke walls ke sath us colour ke curtains ke saath kaise lagenge! Well, been there, done that. Guys just don’t have imagination. If you will do everything and then understand how it will look, then what’s the point? You need to visualize!

The opening scene was hilarious too. Rahul Bose says that women always ask questions like do you love me or how much you love me right in the middle of a critical match. Well, my opinion is guys don’t like to talk about these things much, while girls do. Guys think if you love someone, you love someone; you don’t need to say it again and again. But women do like expression of feelings more, and it does feel like a mere match is more important for your guy than you. It reminds me of a hilarious joke which somebody forwarded to me:

Her Diary

Today night, I thought he was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a cafe to have some coffee.

I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment. Conversation wasn't flowing so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk, he agreed but he kept quiet and absent.

I asked him what was wrong - he said, "Nothing."

I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said it had nothing to do with me and not to worry.

On the way home I told him that I loved him, he simply smiled and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior; I don't know why he didn't say, "I love u, too."

When we got home I felt as if I had lost him, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there and watched TV.; he seemed distant and absent.

Finally I decided to go to bed. About 10 minutes later he came to bed.I decided that I could not take it anymore, so I decided to confront him with the situation but he had fallen asleep. I started crying and cried until I too fell asleep.

I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else.My life is a disaster.

His Diary

Today India lost the cricket match against Bangladesh. Damn it!

Need I say more?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuning in to the Idiot Box

I saw 2 episodes of Khatron ke Khiladi on the new channel Colors. After reading so much about the reality behind Reality shows, I still have my doubts whether the stunts shown are for real. Everyday there is some natak on each and every show. Come on, suddenly everyone started showing their tantrums and arguing on camera.

Coming back to the show, yesterday they showed girls putting their hands in three jars containing some kind of earth worms, cockroaches and frogs respectively. They had to find keys in each jar to open three locks. I had been particularly impressed by Yana Gupta so far considering she did not even wince so far in any of the stunts, whether going up the ladder to as high as 12 floors and moving across the building on an extremely narrow support; or to let 5 crabs hover around her head. She did show hesitation in putting her hand in the jars containing cockroaches, etc, but over all she was commendable.

I read somewhere that Nethra has won this season, but I don’t know how true is that. Anyways, the reality shows are not so alluring any more. There are so many of them and you don’t know which one to watch and all of them have the same TV actors either dancing or enacting something or performing some stunt. Come on, we already get a huge dose of these people in daily soap. Who wants to see them again in rest of the time.

So that is why I choose to watch Star World or Zee Café or any of the English movie channels. I found that they are running Who’s the Boss? on Zee Café. So if I’m home early, I catch up with this childhood favourite on Zee Café. Then it is one hour of FRIENDS - first half hour on Star World then on Zee Café. I really don’t know why I keep watching them when I have seen all of them at least a million times.

Moving on to something completely unrelated. I am shocked to learn that Mahesh Bhatt wants to re-make Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi with Himesh Reshammiya. I am aghast. I loved that movie. Also, read somewhere that Aamir is planning to produce the re-make of Andaz Apna Apna with Salman Khan. I am game for any Aamir movie. I trust his creative sensibilities. He cannot not make a good movie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to find a Good Book to Read

I love books – the joy of owning them, the freedom to hold them whenever I want – is exhilarating. Of course, only a book lover can understand this. It is a wonderful feeling. Yesterday I counted the books I have right now. I own more than a 100 books right now, and I’m not counting those stacked in boxes, which I have already read. They are a healthy mix of chick lit, travelogues, autobiographies, general fiction, books on creative writing, grammar, general non-fiction and humour.

Adding more books to my proud possession is my favourite pastime. I will share a few things which I do to find about interesting books:

I skim through the Book Review pages of Magazines and Newspapers to find out if anything appeals to me. Some of the magazines I refer are Business World (look at the last pages), Business Today (last pages) and Femina for Books recommendations. While as far as newspaper goes, Times of India also carries book reviews, though The Hindu has some wonderful reviews. You can also check out New York Times.

Just go to Google and type the genre you are interested in like Books Chick lit or Top 100 books or Best Books 2008 or recommend read women. These key words, most of the times, lead you to sites where interesting books on the genre of your choice would be listed. You just need to select one of the links, pick up book names and again go to Google. Type Book Review name of the book. I have found numerous interesting books as well as several interesting book sites through this exercise.

All online book shopping sites show Related Books or Bestsellers or Customers who bought this book also bought. These links will lead you to some interesting books which you might not even heard of. The problem with Bookshops as well as popular review sites is that you will find the same books everywhere. So whether you go to Crossword or Landmark or Odyssey, you would see Three mistakes of my life or The Secret or Unaccustomed Earth. But believe me there is a world of interesting books out there which cannot be accommodated in the limited space of a bookshop. That is when online shopping comes handy.

Online shopping for books can be quite economical too. There are a couple of site which I have tried myself:
I have found Indiaplaza the cheapest, even after adding shipping charges. Rediff, Flipkart and FirstandSecond have free shipping. But sometimes you don’t get a book at one place, then you can go to the other site. I compare prices at all the sites and then place the order. Now I have completely stopped buying off the racks because you cannot compare prices that way.

It is sad that Amazon does not really have services in India, since it has practically all books which I have ever searched for. I think it is high time Amazon starts it’s services for India. But you can trust Amazon to read Reviews and find similar books to what you have liked. There’s Barnes and Noble as well to read about interesting books. I also chanced upon Powells while looking for book reviews. It is an interesting site for reading reviews.

Google is an amazing tool through which, if you put the right key words, you can get exactly what you want. For example, I wanted to search some good books on creative writing. If you put good books creative writing, it will lead you to shopping sites or paid sites, which will be linked as good books creative writing. Here you need to do a little thinking. If you are an experienced writer and writing a column on creative writing, you would also mention some good books on creative writing for reference. So you would definitely write words “recommend” “books” “creative writing” or “refer” “books” “creative writing” or “additional” “studies” “creative writing”. Trust me, there is everything on internet. If you can think of the right words, you will reach your destination.

You may also try Online Book Clubs like Shelfari to learn about new books. I have never used that personally but it can come handy. I am not really into Award winning books because most of the times I do not understand such books like I tried reading Life of Pi but left it mid-way. If I don’t like it, I don’t like it; even if it is an award winning book. Who cares!

Several times you would like to explore certain subjects like I wanted to read about Mahabharata. It never convinced me that Mahabharata would be so black & white as was shown on TV. There are enough complex characters to make it an interesting subject. So my research led me to some wonderful books like Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray (originally in Oriya), Rethinking the Mahabharata by Alf Hiltebeitel, Yuganta by Irawati Karve, Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari and The Book of Yudhisthir, a translation by Sujit Mukherjee of Mahabharater Katha by Buddhadeva Bose.

Create your Wishlist. Personally, I have created my Wishlist and keep adding interesting books to the list. I have made folders of different genres and subjects. I save the book names, not as names, but I rather save the image of the book cover. That way after several days I will be able to recollect about the book. I also make wish lists on all the sites mentioned above. But I do that only after comparing prices. So that later on when I decide to buy a book, I just need to go to the Wish list and buy it straightaway.

I hope I have made your life a little easier. Believe it or not, there is actually a book named So many books, So Little Time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pappu can't dance! Nobody’s compaining!

After being hounded by Aamir Khan and Imraan Khan on all Channels, and every possible , even the Rakhi Sawant show, there was enough excitement around “Jaane Tu Ya Jane Na”. We were supposed to go last Sunday itself but it is running houseful everywhere. Even this Sunday, after much exercise, we finally got the tickets at City Pride, Kothrud. But anyways, it was all worth it. I loved it.

Yeah, the story was clichéd but Abbas Tyrewala did handle it very beautifully. Imraan Khan is good and almost effortless. Genelia looks very refreshing and effervescent. I think she is very lucky. The way she has been presented in this film, you do not seem to realize that you have seen her quite a few times before. Surprisingly, that she just had another release called “Mere Baap Pehle Aap”, which I am sure was an innocuous movie, there is no baggage of the fate of that movie on this one.

The much talked about song “Pappu can’t dance sala” could have been not there, it does not have any story implications on the movie; and same goes for the other popular song “Kabhi Kabhi Aditi”. But they are there and we don’t mind it. When Aamir Khan is endorsing the movie whole hog, and to top it all when he found value in producing this movie, then it is certificate enough for movie buffs like me to watch this movie.

The Critics have given good ratings to the movie, although they have cribbed as usual on a couple of illogical things or “how this can happen” twists in the tale. But we have been OK with several twists millions of times for the sake of the movie, so just let’s leave it at that.

Everything said and done, obviously, this will appeal more to the younger audience but it is good fun for the entire family as well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Deja Vu

When I was in school, Star Plus used to be an English channel and it used to run and re-run episodes of Small Wonder. I wonder, where has it gone these days. They do not show that endearing serial any more. I also remember all the other old serial re-runs which used to come on Star Plus every morning—I Dream of Jeannie, Who’s the Boss? (I caught one of the episodes on TV recently), Dennis the Menace (I have some really funny memories while watching this serial with my mum and brother), the Nanny, and several more. Those were old times. In fact, I always think that sometimes when there is a song or a movie or a serial is the background of any of the important moments of your life or related to some way with the numerous memories of your life, it always creates a déjà vu when you listen to that song, or watch that movie or serial again.

That takes me to another phenomenon called Time Machine. The other day I and my hubby were discussing about what really is a Time Machine? If there is any truth in the theory that there are similar Universe like our’s parallel to our Universe which are moving in different time zones, then this is Time machine! My hubby said, if you can move faster than the speed of light, you can experience Time Machine hear and now! But my argument is that even if that happens, you would not be able to meet you as in 50 years ago or 50 years forward. But of you are able to go to a parallel Universe which is in the Time Zone of 59 years ago, then you will be able to see how you were 50 years back!

I don’t know how many of you get this feeling - sometimes when I am saying something, I feel that I have already said the exact thing, in an exact way in the exact setting; a kind of déjà vu. I think somehow this is also related to this logic of parallel world. I must have said the same thing in the other world at exactly same time, same place. Sounds interesting and creepy at the same time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

An evening with “Koffee with Karan”

Yesterday I caught Shabana Azmi and Shobha De on Koffee with Karan. I found both women very eloquent and articulate. It was quite impressive the way they answered all Karan’s questions without treading onto any controversial zone. It was really commendable. As long as their works goes, let us begin with Karan Johar. I think he needs to look beyond Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Priety Zinta, Kajol and Amitabh Bachchan. He admitted that he does not like being called a candy floss director, but the reality is that is what he is. Why does not he takes a chance and ventures into something fresh for the audience, why do rona-dhona which anyways Ekta Kapoor shows everyday on TV. Give us a break. I have never liked any of his movies. They have been absolutely illogical and over-the-top. I don’t know what everyone sees in those movies. He did a messy job of Infidelity in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (it was so forgettable that I forgot even the name of the movie and had to dig out from Google). He did a weird thing in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, when the friends marry in the end. Besides, Kal Ho Na Ho was weirdest movie in which the hero pushes his girl-friend towards another guy after finding out that he has some incurable disease; and the girl-friend happily does so.

I have always loved Shabana Azmi’s acting; she is completely natural and effortless in all her movies. My all time favourite movie is Arth, no doubt. She comes across as an intellectual and compassionate human being.
I absolutely hate Shobha De. She can call herself a “Social Commentator” but she should not be accredited for any contribution to Literature. She writes absolute crap. If we had to read such crap, we would buy sleazy stuff off the roads; why should they be given space in respectable book shops. Besides, I vaguely remember one of her books is now part of one of the Universities abroad! If she started the tabloid culture, then she did a great job there; but I do not acknowledge her as an author or even a columnist. All her columns are similar crappy material. Nevertheless, I do admit that she looks gorgeous for a 60 year old!

Kahaani Hamare Mahabharat Ki

I don’t know whether Ekta Kapoor is going to do justice to Mahabharata in her version of the greatest epic of all times, but it sure has instigated a deep curiosity in me. I happened to see one episode of Kahani hamare Mahabharat ki. Frankly, it looked like our friends from saas-bahu serials doing role plays in some Roman drama. You feel that suddenly these characters would wake up and get back to their daily groove of rona-dhona. Let us just leave this new serial at this and move on at the real story – the Mahabharata.

I have always been intrigued by the characters of Mahabharata. Although no-doubt B.R.Chopra’s version is the most we understood about this epic, but it really is about interpretation. I never really believed that Bhishma had to lie on the pointed heads of the arrows, so dramatically put up, during his last days. I never really could come to terms with Draupadi having five husbands. I mean, kings having hundreds of queens is casually accepted and expected by now, but a queen having five husbands is unheard of before or after Draupadi. I never could understand why she was led to this, and why she allowed others and herself to go through this.

I have ordered a book called Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray, which is about Draupadi. Originally written in Oriya, this book throws some light on the persona of this complicated queen in a very complicated relationship.

Yesterday I read an Article on whether Draupadi was actually disrobed in the Dice hall of Hastinapur. I must say, it was disturbing to read, but comforting that the Article concludes that she was not intentionally disrobed but it was the result of being dragged. The most harrowing fact is that despite having endured the blot of being called a woman of five husbands, alas, none of the husbands stood up to her when she needed them.
There are a couple of more books which are worth reading on similar subjects: Yuganta by Irawati Karve and Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Girls weekend out!

I had a rocking weekend. As planned, my friend came down from Mumbai, and there was no stopping us. Luckily, I was off from office by 2.30 pm on Saturday; picked up my friend, devoured my favourite Herb Bread Paneer Tariyaki and Cappuccino at CCD, and went shopping at Pyramid. Shopping leisurely is a luxury, which you can only indulge in with your girl friends. That done, off we went home. Sunday morning was already planned for Sarkar Raaj. So both of us and my mum-in-law went to Adlabs and were able to catch the third show of the day at 11.20 am. Not bad at all! I always like to catch morning shows so that I have the entire day to do other things. Had lots and lots of Caramel Popcorn and kept half my eyes closed during the second half of the movies (too gruesome!).

The icing on the cake was, I bought 3 books – P.G.Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves, Motorcycle Diaries and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth – from roadside vendor and felt very happy about saving so much money. Of late I have been buying books only from Crossword / Landmark / Odyssey / Online, so just spend loads of money on books. In fact, I ordered a book online on Friday called The Artist’s Way which is for budding writers. Supposed to be very good. Let’s see.

I just finished my last mindless book or chic-lit novel called “the Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife”. After a while all Chic-lits start sounding alike, and you crave for variety. At that moment you can pick up some heavy stuff. I just Google on bestsellers or go to Book Reviews of New York Times or The Hindu, to pick some good book. I came across this non-fiction account of a murder of an entire family. I have already compared the prices on various sites and ordered. I feel ashamed to say but can’t wait to read it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Reel and Real

Today I was just glancing through Pune Mirror (OK, I admit, the first thing I read in a newspaper is all this crap), I read about how Ekta Kapoor is going to cash on the popularity of Aarushi Murder Mystery, and something similar would be shown on one of it’s never-ending sob-stories Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. And when I am at it, I also recollect a news bit which was published sometime back that Mahesh Bhatt has already announced a film based on Neeraj Grover Murder. I was really taken aback with Aarushi Murder Mystery. Anyways, it is still a mystery! All the 24 X 7 News channels go on and on about how Aarushi’s father killed her. But nobody has pointed out even once what Dr. Talwar has to say in his defence, or if he has not killed his daughter, then who has? I mean, it really does not sound too convincing that he would kill his daughter for whatever reasons they claim.

To top it all, Ms Ekta Kapoor wants to take inspiration from real life. Why on earth she finds it necessary to do that, when all her sob-stories are beyond logic and purpose. I had the so-called opportunity to see a couple of her serials, now that my in-laws are here (don’t understand what do they find in it), I cannot escape Ekta Kapoor. I must give it to her to keep so many of ladies and even a few gentlemen (like my father-in-law) glued and clued in to all her serials. It is quite funny the way my in-laws discuss about what is going to happen next and their meek acceptance of complete bizarre situations. Well, I can go on and on about it.

I recently saw Khuda Kay Liye at home on DVD. It was an amazing movie. The movie basically works around 3 things:

The first storyline is about a father and daughter. And one line really sums up their relationship conflict. He says, “I have done a lot of mistakes in life, but unfortunately you will have to pay for it”. The second storyline is about a Pakistani youth, who has had a fairly liberal parents and upbringing. Although a good singer, he falls prey in the hands of a Muslim Fanatic. I feel there have been terrible stories of mis-interpretation of what Islam says. In fact, a lot of young people in Islamic countries do not understand the crux of the teachings and follow what such fanatics have to say, giving too much importance to the superficial means, rather than to the end.

The story also connects to 9/11 as the backdrop and show the brutalities met by people from Islamic countries in US. “All Muslims are not Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslims” remains the favourite question for confronting peaceful Muslims. I know it is an unjust world but it really bothers you to the core sometimes.

Khuda Kay Liye also has a power packed role by our own Naseeruddin Shah, rest of the main protagonists are from Pakistan! But that should not stop anyone from watching a really good movie.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life on a Fast Lane

I really do not think that it has been 5 days since I last posted here. I really wonder where the time flies by. I am not able to read as much as I want to. I am not able to find time to get lost on the internet anymore. I am not finding time to do what I love best these days – pick up books and compare prices on different online book shopping sites. I am totally directionless. Where am I going? My husband gets totally pissed off whenever I ask him this question. He does not understand why I bother with “where I am going” and why can’t I simply go with the flow. But that is not really me. I like to plan things, and when I don’t get to do what I have planned, I get lost.

There’s so much work at office that there is no respite here and when I go back home, there’s a load of work waiting for me. I get free from all the work I do in office and at home, only after 10.30 or 11. Then I am so tired that I am not able to read more than a page, and I doze off! The next day is again choc-a-bloc!

Recently, I “celebrated” my birthday but really I have so much to do and life is running out. My husband thinks I plan way too much. But that’s how I am. And what’s wrong with being organized. I totally understand Monica’s fetish of cleanliness and organizing things. Cleaning is really therapeutic. I remember, in one of the episodes, it said Monica divides her towels into 20 categories! Obviously, that is way too much for even me.
But anyways! That reminds me I miss watching FRIENDS day in and day out!

Friday, May 09, 2008

A whole NEW beginning

I am planning a whole new Blog on which I will recommend books which you must have on your shelf. It is more for Book Stores rather than for individuals because there would be one book almost everyday, so quite difficult for an individual to stack 365 books in a year.
I mean, I do buy books at a high rate but I don’t think others do that too. Plus my experience have been that when you go around looking for interesting books, you get the same ones in all the book shops, then why should one person go to different book shops? Of course, now launching a Book is all together a different ball game. It is marketed aggressively. Suddenly you will find the writers all over the place. Obviously, readers are not fools; they know why certain author has become omnipresent suddenly. For example, suddenly I am finding Jhumpa Lahiri everywhere, in Femina, on News Channels, in Newspapers, etc,etc. Today itself I also found Chetan Bhagat in the newspaper. Actually, he is releasing his third book tomorrow (which has also given an interesting idea for a post).
I am also very kicked about this new Blog because I will try to cover different genres, when I’m recommending books. So I would start with books that I have already read.
I am a bookoholic. I go to any and every book shop I come across to check out books. Then I do a lot of research online and offline to zero down on a book. That done, I either add it to my wish list or just buy it.
I was just thinking if this could be a career option altogether someday - recommending books to the book shop and suggesting what to stock. Then I thought of this Blog. This will automatically increase my reading because I will read and recommend. So hope I do justice to my intent.
Visit my New Blog for more details, and by the way, if I forgot to mention, this Blog continues.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How Colors define & Influence You

I always thought, I’m more attuned towards Blue and Black in colors, but if you see my house, what comes across very strongly is Red and Yellow, and the family.

Red is supposed to denote Optimistic, dynamic, energizing, exciting, sexy, intense, stimulating, aggressive, powerful, energetic and dangerous. I really don’t know all that. It sounds psychological crap to me. To me Red is a rich colour. It immediately accentuates anything wherever you put it. You get a Red curtain, a red rug, a red sofa or even a red bean bag; it becomes an identity in itself.

Another site writes the following about color Red:
Red signifies the attributes of confidence and courage. It inspires boldness in thought and deed. A strong awareness of the physical body is indicated. There can sometimes be so much passion in its energy that when it is displayed it can be perceived as aggression. When the color presents itself in a seemingly coincidental context, it can be the equivalent of a stop sign from the universe. Because of its strong psychic saturation, it needs to be used carefully, especially in a domestic environment, and in combination with a balance of other colors. Also, too much red in the environment can cause feelings of anger, irritability, or impatience.
A simple spell for red: To inspire a sense of bravery, wear a red accessory. Even if the color is not immediately visible to anyone else (a piece of lingerie, a handkerchief, a piece of red construction paper folded in a purse or wallet), you will know that you have this splash of red and will feel more courageous as a result.

I also love Yellow. First reason is that it goes with almost all the colors. Yellow goes beautifully with Red, Orange, Green, Blue and white. We have all our bedroom furniture in Dark Brown, so a yellow curtain and a yellow bed sheet, suddenly creates vibrancy in the room.
I also love Yellow clothes. They look lovely.
Like the energy of a bright sunny day, yellow brings clarity and awareness. The shade of yellow determines its effect:
Orange-yellow imparts a sense of establishment. Clean light yellow clears the mind, making it active and alert which is why the high visibility of bright yellow, it is often used for hazard signs and some emergency vehicles.
For years, yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope as women waited from their men to come marching home from war. Today, they are still used to welcome home loved ones. Its use for hazard signs creates an association between yellow and danger, although not quite as dangerous as red.
Ah, the psychological crap!

Another color which has become my hot favourite, and I’m dying to use, is Fuchsia.

It is a lovely color whether on clothes or interiors. It enlivens a drab drawing room. I’m planning to bring elements of Fuchsia into my Living Room – in rugs, cushions and some subtle use in curtains.
Interestingly, I found following write-up on Fuchsia:
The color fuchsia can influence both physical and spiritual well-being. It is the flag for nonconformist, innovative, strong-willed, imaginative, artistic, and creative individuals. Depending on how it is received, it can be the color of radiant happiness. It has the qualities of red, plus empathy; it is a mixture of passion and compassion. The negative side of its color influence is that it can create a lazy, laid-back attitude that shuns challenges and responsibilities. For this reason, people who are chronically depressed or introverted should avoid this color. Magenta is ideal for rituals to secure ambitions and financial rewards.
A simple spell for fuchsia: To lift the vibe of your environment, put a sprig of the fuchsia plant into a bud vase. Keep it in the room where you spend a great deal of your time. An object of this color is favorable to use when attempting to make contact with the spirit world.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Different Strokes

My last post was on 19th Feb, so I should quickly round up on what I did all this while:

- IGNOU Creative Writing Classes started and ended. Attended only 2 classes out of 4. Yet to read all the materials which they have sent. We need to write a Project for this course, either a novella, 8-10 articles, 8-10 short stories or poems.
- Bought every possible “Creative Writing” or “Writing” book that I could locate in Crossword and Landmark and also bought one online. Needless to say, yet to read all of them!
- I wrote my first short story, not out of interest and because I had a story inside me, waiting to come out; but because in one of the classes, we were given a subject to write a short story, that too in only 20 minutes.
- My search for a GOOD creative writing course continues.
- One of my best friends came down from Mumbai on one of the weekends – had long chat, went for movie and book shopping. Glad to get back to girlie days.
- Discovered a terrific Book Sale, and ended up buying 6 books!!! Typical of me.
- Spent most of my free time, searching for random books and comparing prices on different Online Book Shopping sites. This is my current favourite pastime.
- Made Book Wish lists on a couple of sites.
- Saw “Race” with friend. Interesting movie but unpredictable in a bizarre way.
- Mum-Dad came for a few days. Just like old times. Bhaiya also joined, and all of us celebrated Holi together. Did not really play Holi.
- Everyone loved our new place, but of course it is rented and not bought. The rates have gone far beyond our budgets.
- Bought entire bedroom set for our Bedroom – Double Bed, 3 door wardrobe, side tables and a dressing table. All in Dark Brown color. Looks amazing. Also bought a slider bed for mum-dad’s room.
- Had also bought a book shelf last month for all my books. (I love it. I love opening it and standing in front of it, in awe. I really own some wonderful books.)
- Went to my home town for my brother’s Griha pravesh. Bhaiya, Gagan and I went together. It was fun! Our first train journey together, wherein he slept most of the time.
- It was exciting to show Gagan Jamshedpur. It was all about paani puris, litti, the first mall I ever saw “Kamani centre”, Bistupur, JSR heat, XLRI and small town appeal! The Damad impressed his in-laws with all the work. He did most of the work when my parents shifted. I’m proud of him!
- My best friend lit up to see my gifts for her – a nice photo frame with one cute pic of her daughter and one pic of both of us from my marriage; and another gift was a coffee mug with her daughter’s pic on it. I am really proud of myself for thinking of such wonderful gifts for her. I admit, the mug’s idea was Gagan’s actually.
- Celebrated the most wonderful birthday of all times. He gave me a beautiful and extremely functional purse, a book, a watch; and a coffee mug with my pic on it and a lovey-dovey message. As Monica says, “I know, I married him for a reason!” He also bought me a shirt and a kurta. And yeah, a quintessential Birthday Cake, with a cute Teddy bear candle!
- My in-laws arrived from Delhi on my Birthday, with some more gifts!
- Went for “U, Me and Hum” with Mum. Bonding time for saas and bahu!
- Some where in the middle, booked a sofa and just received it day before yesterday. It is awesome.
- My “doing-up-interiors” mission is on.
- It is really a task to fight every time somebody wants to hang a calendar like old times! Come on, it is so not stylish!
- That brings me to this day – its 11.40 am and I have not started any work so far. So adieu and will comeback shortly.

I’m here to stay. Taking inspiration from some lines I heard somewhere –
“I keep coming to this Blog, because most of my life is here”

I sign off, with these awesome lines from “The Notebook” inspired “U, Me aur Hum”:

I got a feeling incomplete in my heart,

Don’t wanna go it alone though we can never be apart,

We can never be apart,

U make me feel complete coz you are a piece of my heart

You are the one for me I knew it right from the start

Yeh, we can never be apart,

We can never be apart, we can never be apart.

Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jao

Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jao

Apni dhoop bujhaye bin, meri chhao mein aa jao

Oh chalo yoon kare,

Tum, tum bhi raho, main, main bhi rahoon

Hum, hum bhi rahein

Oh tum, tum bhi raho, main, main bhi rahoon

Hum, hum bhi rahein

Teeno mil ke saath chale

Saathi janam janam, u me aur hum.

U me aur hum, U me aur hum.

Apne rang gawaen bin, mere rang mein ghul jao

Apni dhoop bujhaye bin, meri chhao mein aa jao

Jaise baadal paani ka, yaarana hai

Jaise gul aur khushboo ka, dostana hai

Oh jaise baadal paani ka, yaarana hai

Jaise gul aur khushboo ka, dostana hai

Waise hee rahein hum tum

Waise hi jiyein hum tum

Tere mere haathon mein, koi bhi pinjara na ho

Ek duje par apna,

Haq toh ho kabza na, ho har haal mein,

Tum, tum tum bhi raho, main, main bhi rahoon

Hum, hum bhi rahein

When my heart goes on,

Misses a beat, I know its gotta be you girl,

You sweep me off my feet

Sweep me off my feet, oh you sweep me off my feet

And when the blood from my heart

Rushes into my brain, it sends a message to me

To say you are driving me insane,

You know you are driving me insane, driving me insane

Love gives your heart the power, to open up and flower

Calling it every hour, but its refrained, its refrained

Ek din toh who lamha, bhi aana hai

Dono me se ek ne, chale jaana hai

Ho! ek din toh who lamha, bhi aana hai

Dono me se ek ne, chale jaana hai

Baatein yeh sabhi hum tum, jaan lein abhi hum tum

Oh dono mil ke saath mein, aise jeena seekh lein

Taaki jo peeche rahein, usko na ho mushkilein

Oh chalo yoon jiye, agar main na rahoon

Ya tum na raho, hum, hum hee rahein

Jaise saaya saath chale, saath rahein hardum

U me aur hum, U me aur hum,

U me aur hum, U me aur hum,

U me aur hum, aur hum.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

21 Reasons why Getting up Early is a Good Idea

Getting up Early is equal to More Hours per Day. If you understand this simple equation, you have got solution to all your time-related issues. But, if you still need a reason, here are 21 of them why you should get out of bed when your entire neighborhood is in deep slumber.

  1. Gives you a Good Head start. Helps you organize your time better. Just watching the sunrise can make you feel great.

  2. Morning Workouts are much more effective because you burn calories from fat already in your system. No chance of missing the workouts either, because of extended meetings, evening out with friends or visiting relatives.

  3. Early morning power walks gear you well for the hustle & bustle of the day.

  4. You can use the extra time to catch up with your mum and all the friends, who keep complaining about how you never call them up.

  5. Incorporate Morning News in your day. Take time to read newspaper and keep yourself abreast with what’s happening around you.

  6. Start Meditation. It relaxes your mind, sharpens brain and induces emotional balance.

  7. Join a Sports activity. Go play tennis or badminton and get yourself new friends at the same time.

  8. Beat the rush-hour traffic. Half the mornings are spoilt because you get caught up in the traffic on your way to office.

  9. Spend more time with family. Catch up with what’s happening in their lives.

  10. Cook something by yourself and feel healthier. So you don’t eat junk food in office and feel bad about it the whole day.

  11. Enjoy the bliss of early morning quietness and feel the peace within.

  12. Start a Journal. Write all your troubles and record all your beautiful memories. You would love reading it later.

  13. Tired of everyone’s claim to your time? Reserve this time exclusively for you. Think about your long term Goals.

  14. Eat your breakfast. The whole world knows it is the most important meal of the day.

  15. Play with your dog. It’s a great stress-buster.

  16. Work on yourself. Learn something new—a language, a dance form, a skill, anything you ever wanted to learn.

  17. Attack your Inbox early and clear that backlog of mails. So when you reach office, you have fewer e-mails to get back to.

  18. Reach office before everyone else and enjoy working in peace. You will also get so much done.

  19. Utilise this extra time to brainstorm. Mind is more active and energized in this part of the day. You’ll be able to think more clearly.

  20. Love reading but never get time? Well, do so now.

  21. Go on a long drive. Feel that cool, early morning breeze on your face and hair.

It takes 21 days to form a habit. Try one thing a day and at the end of it you will gift yourself a good habit for life, and add so many hours of fun, enjoyment and healthy living!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What makes you Happy!

Yesterday we had a long chat on what we want to do in life. I am happy with the way my life has turned out. I’m happy with everything about it. Broadly. But what next? I can’t be just passing each day, without thinking about where I’m going? I am like that I need to have a feel about what next?

He, on the contrary, is not looking for any unknown territory. He’s happy with life’s little, unplanned, unexpected joys—a funfilled evening, an unexpected sale, some good time with friends; it could be anything. I think that’s good too!

He made me think what would make me really happy. Honestly, seeing my name in print, as in getting an article or may be a Book published, would be my ultimate dream for now. I have always had this dream. I remember when I was in Class 8th or 9th, I had sent a letter to a youth magazine called SUN (as “letter to the editor”) and it was published as the Best Letter. It was the most momentous occasion for me till that point of my life! Then when I moved to Chennai and Bangalore for few months, I used to write a lot and had my letter published in The Hindu, The Times of India, The Indian Express, India Today, Outlook and more recently Femina. All my letters have got published, which I have ever sent. So, after seeing so many of my Letters in print, now it does not give me a high any more. Now I’m looking for something more—my own article published. But what do I write about? I don’t have a story to tell. I like giving perspective to events or things. That’s what I do here.

I have applied for Diploma in Creative Writing from IGNOU. I’m yet to receive my Acknowledgement Card. I would really like to explore this avenue and know more about writing. I have been reading novels since I was in Class 6, but now when I read, I keenly observe the writer’s style of narration and writing.

Just yesterday we were discussing about our favourite subject in our entire education. There was this course in the last Trimester of my MBA called “Individual and Indian Society”. If I have ever enjoyed any subject thoroughly, this was it! Most of the time we had to watch documentaries and write our opinion on those; or interview a slum-dweller or read a book and review it. That’s so my kind of subject. Really!

So, the underlying point is what I’m looking for right now in my life is an opportunity to write—either to find one or create it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Halla Bol: Review

After much reluctance (thanks to the bad reviews) I finally saw “Halla Bol” this Saturday. If I were to define this movie in one word, it would be “engaging”. I did not feel bored for one moment. It has pace, story and situational songs. It was supposed to be another Rang De Basanti, but I don’t know why it did not go well with the critics. I admit it is filmy in some sequences, but that’s what films are for and that’s what we expect them to be. We have to have our happy endings. Films are not supposed to change the system and correct all the wrongs; rather they are supposed to induce certain thoughts, which we never care about. Films are supposed to make us think for sometime. That’s what “Halla Bol” did. I totally loved it. In fact, I am quite surprised if critics can give thumbs up to Om Shanti Om then why such step-motherly treatment to Halla Bol? OSO had neither entertainment value like Main Hoon Na, nor it had an original story, so why? Ah, life was never supposed to be fair. Nevertheless, I give it at least 3.5 out of 5.

I think Ajay Devgan (as always) did justice to his role. Vidya Balan had nothing to do. Pankaj Kapoor shines even with a miniscule role. . He makes every role credible and memorable. Unfortunately, he remains to be one of the most under-rated actors in the industry.

The movie was certainly thought provoking. It was something which would raise several questions inside you and you would like to hold them for long, to find out the answers. Let us take an example, all of us have read about so many cases involving ministers or big personalities or filthy rich people. What happens to those cases? What happens to the witnesses? Why do you think the witnesses change their statements every day? It is the fear of losing everything that one has ever earned and cherished. We are conditioned to value what we have, to value materialistic things. May be the importance given to materials is over-rated but we are like that only, one cannot change overnight. I know it is easy to say hundred things, when you are watching things from a distance, but you lose your voice when you are confronted with life-threatening danger.

Second thing which struck me about the movie is how unjustified is to expect our public figures to behave righteously. Why do we expect actors to behave in a certain way? They are actors; they are not custodians of truth. Spare them please. It is easy to lose yourself in the crowd, to raise your voice as a crowd; but it is difficult to be in limelight continuously and be questioned for each and every act. It is plain unfair.

I liked the movie and I think Mr Santoshi did justice to the story. We have been OK with Santoshi’s earlier movies and Sunny Deol single-handed goon-bashing, so what’s wrong with the story getting filmy now? We still love our happy endings, otherwise what’s the point in watching a movie? The good guy should always win.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Art of Reviewing

Well, as I have sufficiently claimed on my Blog that I’m a writer at heart. Of late, I’m trying to learn different kinds of Writing. To begin with, right now I’m on writing Reviews—Book Reviews. I have read a lot of Reviews and when I come across an interesting sounding book, I first search for Reviews.

Although I have yet to learn that art but in my opinion Book Reviews should be an individual’s perspective on the thoughts that a particular book evoked in the reader. It should be completely a reader’s perspective about how the book came across. I hate those people who go on and on about story of the book, come on, leave something for the reader. OK you might like to give a basic idea about the plot, but please do not tell the story.

Same goes for the films as well.

Taare Zameen Par - an experience beyond words

Taare Zameen Par” was an interesting experience. I don’t know if I can review it impartially because I’m a big Aamir Khan fan. I mean I appreciate his dedication and commitment to film-making, as an actor and as a director. Now it has become cool to like Aamir Khan and his movies but I have always liked him. I loved his Dil Hai ke Manta Nahi, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Mann, Rangeela, Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke and of course Taare Zameen Par. But yeah, I hated Mela, Parampara, Fanaa, Mangal Pandey and a few others. There would be a handful of movies which I haven’t seen yet!

Even if you are not an Aamir fan, although chances are miniscule, you still can’t ignore the fact that his directorial venture is a very brave effort on his part. Had it been any other person, a movie about a dyslexic child, would have gone to the so-called “off-beat” or “multiplex” genre. But here it is, and taking everyone, even an out-and-out commercial flick like Welcome by surprise. Come on, you gotta give it to Aamir!

All of us had our special moments in the movie when we got emotional and nostalgic—sometimes we cried for the child and sometime for ourselves. When I look at kids around, I genuinely feel sorry for them. When we were kids, there was only school, home works and hours of outdoor games, fun and playing. But now, there is school, tuitions, tennis practice, dance & music classes, voluntary work for the under-privileged, athletics and obviously the home works. If there is any tiny-winy time for games, it’s only computer games or play station or net-surfing (yeah, it is the most loved sports of this century). In fact, parents start buying books for their kids even before they have celebrated their first birthday, so that their child does not lag behind in the competition. As if all your life, right from the time you are born, is devoted to make a perfect CV. I feel so scared sometimes, what is going to happen to our own kids, who are yet to born? What kind of world are we giving to them! Why such mindless competition! It is really very scary. And it’s not even parents’ fault, look at our education system. Sometimes I feel, if I could give a free and liberating atmosphere to my child, then that would be the biggest gift which one can ever give.

Talking about parenthood, I strongly believe that we take parenthood very lightly in India. Children are born just like that, without asking yourself whether you are ready for it, whether you are ready to nurture a life from the scratch! Why do we never ask such questions in life?

It is truly surprising that in a country which boasts of World’s second largest population, we are yet to learn to nourish one life which we get in our hands. I think, you should choose to be a parent, because you are ready for it and you want to be one; and not for any other reason. The interpretation of “Taare Zameen Par” is actually your own terrain; you translate it in your life, in your own special way; which depends on your own upbringing, your values and your understanding of issues.

Talking about myself, the song “Maa” was my most emotional moment in the movie. It was too endearing and sensitive. I salute Aamir for making such a wonderful movie, and for making a difference.

Lyrics of "Maa" from Taare Zameen Par

Main Kabhi Batlata NahinPar
Andhere Se Darta Hoon Main Maa
Yun To Main,Dikhlata Nahin
Teri Parwaah Karta Hoon Main
MaaTujhe Sab Hain Pata, Hain Na Maa
Tujhe Sab Hain Pata..Meri Maa

Bheed Mein Yun Na Chodo Mujhe
Ghar Laut Ke Bhi Aa Naa Paoon Maa
Bhej Na Itna Door Mujkko Tu
Yaad Bhi Tujhko Aa Naa Paoon Maa
Kya Itna Bura Hoon Main Maa
Kya Itna Bura Meri Maaaaaa

Jab Bhi Kabhi Papa Mujhe
Jo Zor Se Jhoola Jhulate Hain Maa
Meri Nazar Dhoondhe Tujhe
Sochu Yahi Tu Aa Ke Thaamegi Maa

Unse Main Yeh Kehta NahinPar
Main Seham Jaata Hoon Maa
Chehre Pe Aana Deta Nahin
Dil Hi Dil Mein Ghabraata Hoon Maa
Tujhe Sab Hai Pata Hai Naa Maa
Tujhe Sab Hai Pata Meri Maa

Main Kabhi Batlata Nahin
Par Andhere Se Darta Hoon Main Maa
Yun To Main,Dikhlata Nahin
Teri Parwaah Karta Hoon Main Maa
Tujhe Sab Hain Pata, Hain Na Maa
Tujhe Sab Hain Pata,,Meri Maa

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I have already proclaimed sufficiently and strongly that I just love buying books and yeah, reading them occasionally. But till now I had not ordered anything online. I would visit bookshops, look through books, read the back covers and mostly I felt that I just needed to own it. So that was my usual practice. But now, I have discovered the world of online book shopping. What I do is first find out the latest or famous books in the genre which I want to read or in case I have discovered a writer, then find out about all the books he / she has written; then I check about prices offered by various sites. I would say is good in that respect because they do not charge delivery charges, so you are sure of how much you are paying for that book. I have just bought two books from there—Love Story by Erich Segal (for Rs 125) and Entry from backside only by Binoo John (for Rs 95). Although one generally gets better deals off the shelf but the sites are really helpful when you are looking for a particular book, not available in your regular bookstore. Also, the online Bookstores have various versions of the same book in different prices so you can take your pick.

But, anyways, what I really wanted to talk about was getting introduced to an altogether new genre called “Chic-lit”. Actually, I have always read and liked chick-lit novels but never knew that this genre had a name. The Encyclopedia on defines "Chick lit" as “a term used to denote genre fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties. “ It was when I read “Shopaholic & Sister” and tried “Googling” for other books by Sophie Kinsella that I bumped onto this word. There are several sites devoted to chic-lit or literature for women. The last chick-lit I read and absolutely loved was I don’t know how she does it by Allison Pearson.