Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gangvani Art-Work

I have been enjoying putting stuff up on the Facebook page of the GangVani.. I feel overwhelmed with every every new like and I keep a close count.. Not that the thing has become a hit but its a nice place to upload things I couldn't have on my timeline..
I've been doing some art-work using a good software I got hold of.

I put these up as cover pictures for the page.
And people have quiet liked them so sharing a few of them here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Passion, you unsettling moron !!

You yawn your name off and a slang comes out..
You rest your fingers and one of mine comes out..
You try to understand how your breath comes out..
With every passing second

You fight off your fears and the sweat comes out..
You climb up the top and your coffin comes out..
You think you understand, and so your smile comes out..
With every joke I reckon

I laugh, I smile but I make you cry
I'm the one you can never deny..
I stay within you every night and day..
To rock the bottom of the foundation you lay..
I wake you up in the middle of the night..
It's too messed up but I punch you to fight..
Its me that you should live for still you forget
Its me that you breathe for, if you lose nothing, there's nothing you'll get..

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


And as she stood against the living room wall, the telephone still pressed hard against her left ear, she could feel her legs trembling. She pulled the plastic chair and sat down and started shivering. Words were not coming out, partly because her 15 year old brain could not dissolve the information and partly because everything was getting blank.
Random thoughts started crawling inside her head and all she could do was nothing. The math tuition was due at 3:00 PM. She had to get ready. She had to come out of the school uniform and wear normal clothes. She had pressed the yellow top the previous day to wear this afternoon. There's this guy in her class who passes her polite smiles every time she misses out to give the answers to Sir's randomly asked questions. Satish has a crush on her, is what she feels.
Satish looks cute.
Tear-lines started flowing down her cheeks as she managed to ask
"Are you sure?".
She kept the phone down after getting the answer.
She kept sitting at the same place.
Her mother was taking a bath. She was to come out anytime and serve her lunch.
She kept waiting. The school bag laid carelessly on the sofa.
Her world was about to change. She wiped the tear and started thinking about the next thing to be done.
Her mother came out meanwhile. Watching her mother put a bindi on her forehead and draping herself up in a beautiful saree, she wondered how beautiful her mother really was. How age could never dilute her elegance, her grace, her beauty. As a child she always wanted to do things her mother did. She would wear her skirt like a saree and put an over-sized bindi and apply lipstick and wear her gold chain. Her mother was the epitome of beauty for her. The upper limit of piousness. An idol.
She went up to her mother with her head held low.
"Mom, I'm pregnant" 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Talaash - the answer lies nowhere

The biggest part of a mystery movie is the unfolding. The gripped audience may either applaud at the end or may feel so dejected that the first thing they do after coming back is to write a negative review.

Talaash is Aamir Khan's movie of the year and it is impractical if we expect all his movies to be flawless. Although his presence becomes the USP of any movie, but loading the 47 year old visibly wrinkled face with the expectation of millions is an unfair thing to do. We all have to agree that at the end of the day or any movie, it is the story that matters and stays with us. We remember the characters after watching the movie and hence the actors.
If I try to recollect something good about Talaash now, the first half of Talaash was better. The subtle darkness about the characters, the seriously shot no-nonsense scenes with a gripping suspense boiling underneath, matched by a good background score by Ram Sampath, everything worked on the audience and I could her people discussing the probable endings while munching pop corns during the interval. Contrary to some other opinions on the movie I read, the first half was not boring and it set the stage quiet well for the unraveling due in the second half.
But nothing happened in the second half. No edge of the seat entertainment, no nail biting finish, no sherlock deductions. And when the 2 hour mystery is finally revealed, I could already see people marching out of the hall.
Talaash would have been a fantastic movie had the ending been better, had the character of Aamir Khan been a little less complicated and a little more easy for the actor to play. You really start missing ACP Rathore at times. Talaash scores well in the cinematography and music department, but fails terribly in the end due to its cohesion-less story and its effort to tie the entire story based on the single link. Most of the people walked out disheartened.
The answer actually lied nowhere. 

Let it end this time!

The cloud surrounding the probable sudden end of the world gets me thinking that how absolute this world is. The money, the car, the shoes, the job, the girl friend, how everything I connect myself to, is utter meaningless. Everything is so temporary that it can get washed away in a single day of total mayhem. It thrills me to think that this will be same for so many people. So many other lives, having nothing in common but their sense of belongingness. What are we exactly. As I extend the boundaries of observation, I see myself getting diminished to a dot in the whole of the universe. Its the frame of reference that matters. And for someone, sitting up there over the planet JupiterX, filling a huge bullet in his mighty barrel, with which he intends to destroy the Earth on 21st December, 2012, does it really matter to him what Gangeyyo had in his breakfast this morning. Or how many scams did the present government participate in? Or how many centuries will Sachin Tendulkar hit before retiring. Did he read the Delhi Times this morning and get envious of the Page 3 fat wedding couples?
So what if the world actually ends this 21st December? Will we be able to cut the chords of attachments to a perfect materialistic world we've made for us? Will we be able to get up early morning and work for our last days, for ourselves? Will we be able to think about one good thing and appreciate someone honestly or will be jealous as usual? Can we let go of all the ego surrounding us, can we let others feel free? Can we really sympathize with someone needy and help him out? Can we really not care about the future?
I think not.. The combined strength of all the ties we've made should make it impossible for any force to challenge this race of ours. And we shall wake up on 22nd December caring about the same things and moving on.
The refresh button won't be pressed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So much for the honor

The news came as a shock. I did not watch all the episodes of Satyameva Jayate, but I do remember watching the one concerning honor killings. And I could truly connect to the guys who ran away from the barriers of the society, who could cross the hurdle of the village panch for the love of their life.
Words fall short when I try to express my anger, when I try to vent my emotions. I can find no logic behind killing a happy relationship for the sake of societal dignity. No knowledge can ever back such acts of barbaric origin. The law and order gets raped in public and we all forget the happening after a few days of hue and cry and move on with our daily sorry lives.
Once I had a conversation with an auto-rickshaw driver who passed a cheap comment on college couples walking hand in hand near the DU area. He could not stand the fact that girls can wear anything except the traditional clothes. I asked him, "What if your girl gets to a good university and starts wearing all this, as all her friends around would do?". He coldly replied, "Maar denge Sir". I was taken aback. The guy went ahead and told me that he had  three daughters and if one of them dies like this, it will be a good lesson for the remaining two.
Such is the shape of the mentality, that majority of people within us share. Look around.
We care about the high class living, the plush infrastructure, the shopping malls and food court. The facade of development that masks the inner illiterate demon is so blinding that we think we have evolved ourselves and the third world country is not so third world anymore. But board any express train my dear friend and travel for 30 minutes away from your metro city and you will see where we really stand. You'll see how people can also do without air conditioned four wheelers, you can see how people spend their evening sitting on rooftop to use the very last lux of sunlight available before entering the darkness of their nights. You can find a girl who has been taught not to talk to any stranger before marriage, and cover herself up from top to toe so that her name in the society is not besmirched. Forget about their education. There is a lot we can do to savor the honor of our society. Killing an innocent man can do no good to it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Sunday well spent

However far we reach in terms of independence, or free living, or reckless untied thoughts, the role of the family in our lives is undeniably important. These must be the only ties or knots that do not seem to be burdens to us. Although we get distracted when they call in between a date, or a movie. We get hyper when they differ to follow a simple logical explanation and prefer their convoluted rules more.
For the past several Sundays, I was not able to spend time with my parents. Some or the other things would always line up and I would go out of the house early morning and get back late in the evening, have my dinner and sleep. Although they didn't say it, but I could tell they were not much pleased with my unavailability.
Today I made sure to stay home the whole day.
The happiness was there to be seen. Although it might sound odd, but I felt like a guest in my own house. The morning tea was served in my bed and both my parents joined me there. Ye many topics were discussed. Some family matters, things from office, and I saw them enjoy it fully. I went out with them in the evening for shopping and I sponsored it. They wore their pride and it shown.
Its nice to take a time-out for your parents. Specially for the love and affection you receive in return. I remember Goerge Judah telling us how hard it has become for us to say "I Love You" to our parents and how immensely happy they get if ever we say that.
It makes us feel good about ourselves.
The world seems to be a better place.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Writer's Block

I have so much to say, so much more in mind, so much to write, but I am not able to..
I am not somehow figuring the correct way to start writing my thoughts down.
I DO have a topic to write on,
I also have some things charted out on which I can write, but I just cannot write it.
I want to write about Kasab's hanging and how it didn't cheer me up.
I want to write about those who rather got me saddened with their cheerfulness about the matter.
I want to open up and say that this is not another occasion to be happy about as removing just another person doesn't remove the institution as a whole, or does any harm to it.
I want to write about a friend who is about to get married.
I want to write that I know his smile is getting shallower with every passing day.
Shallow with disbelief about his own self.
I want to write about his mixed feelings.
I want to tell you about how he feels the girl is too protective, but gets anxious if she doesn't call him.
I want to share how his personality is changing after having someone to look after and being looked after by someone.
I want to write how enchanting it is to see him control his emotions, his very effort.
I want to write about the past, the present, the times unbound, the wind unbarred, the feelings ungrounded.
I want to write about so many things that I stop.
Damn this Writer's Block.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kab tak hai Jaan??-a challenge

First of all, a guitar is not played like that.. the right hand swinging aimlessly in air.. and even an acoustic Gibson cannot be played that loud without an amplifier.. and were they even sane chords? Khair.. "Actor hai bhai, guitarist thodi na hai", is what my neighbor seat told me.. engulfed in the chaalla..
I pitied those mangled remains of distorted cloudy figures, coming out of the theater, just been subjected to a three hour utterly non-sense, almost comical last work of a director with whom the “legend” tag comes free until I realized I was one among them. I thanked God that the movie was over and that it left me unwounded. I dozed twice while watching it, a feat achieved only once before while watching the absolutely amazing movie called Baabul. I personally was never really a big fan of Yash Chopra. As a matter of fact, I never really admire the romance shown in sadda Hindi films. It becomes so unbelievable after a certain point of excess sexy, horny Mahila Jayawardene love, that the probability of finding such love in real life gets below the thousandth fraction of unity. So I shut myself up and tell myself, “You stupid, this is a movie after all, how dare you connect it to your own bland life?” . It’s time we get real and fall back to the ground and start walking. A tread-mill never gets us anywhere. Well..

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A search for the perfect shot

While roaming around in the crowded CR Park Kali Mandir yesterday, I stopped by a family which was busy taking pictures in their digital camera. The dad was explaining his daughter how to smile and pose and the uninterested daughter was trying to put in her best effort. The dad, as it seemed, had an eye for photography as the camera looked very expensive. A big fat SLR it must be; costing a big fat amount of money. His son and wife were standing nearby as Mr. Papa was clicking the perfect shots (or trying to). After every click the daughter would come running towards him and see herself in the preview of the photograph in the camera screen and her father would say, "Hochhe na!" (Not done!) and she would slowly walk back to her spot where daddy had fixed her and her smile and try out the same smile once again. I didn't know for how long they must be trying, but I saw the dad repeat the cycle 2-3 times.
The smile in his daughter's face grew darker and darker, faker and faker with every take but dad's spirit was undaunted.
I got reminded of my growing up days. We used to have a Kodak camera which had to be refilled and each refill used to give us 36 snaps. Those 36 clicks were so precious that we used to savor each one of them and we clicked only when it mattered the most. And we used to wait with bated breath when the reel was sent for washing. The family used to gather at the round dining table and each of those photos were remembered, the captured moments were relived. Neither did we worry about how we looked nor did we have the pain of uploading it anywhere and sharing it elsewhere. Those times were simpler and a lot lot fun with none of us caring which angle the light should have come in, or which exposure setting we should have chosen for the picture to be greener.
With the advent of the digital camera, the culture of taking photographs in the photo studios has entirely gone out of the picture. Earlier to mark a special day, or a special occasion, people used to go to a photo studio to get clicked. There used to be bicycles, film posters, caricatures of beautiful actresses with which people would pose and get themselves clicked. Today the only studio in Kaushmbi is in ruins. It's purpose is to click passport size photographs once in a while and the old photographer has nothing to smile for. But inside the dark room with umbrellas and lights kept high, the poster of young Sri Devi still smiles.

PS. I have no idea why most of my posts sing a melancholic song about how golden the olden days were!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Delhi Biryani Quest - Part Two

If the Golconda bowl was a bit ruthless to your wallet, this time I will talk about the smaller and less costly places in Delhi where you can find extraordinary Biryani.
Bengali style Biryani is much different from the usual Hyderabadi Biryani or the spiced up Lucknowi Biryani. It is characterized by its lac of masala, but an awesome flavor and taste, its light yellow color with some of the long rice pieces left uncolored, a boiled egg and a piece of boiled and cooked in spice potato inside. Since childhood, that potato inside a biryani have puzzled me a lot, until I started to love it. That potato inside a Kolkata Biryani doesn't taste like ordinary potato. It tastes special. After some research about the matter, I came to know that the potato was used as a replacement of chicken in the biryani prepared for the Rajas of Bengal, during the time of a famine.
Kolkata Biryani House, CR Park
However, to start with, you can go to Chittaranjan Park, market - 1. The stall is called Kolkata Biryani House and it runs only in a single room which might look very ordinary from the outside. But the place attracts a lot of customers who generally crowd the area around the stall. People generally pack their plate of Biryani because of the lac of seating facilities. You can get a plate of chicken biryani in exchange of 130 rupees and the mutton variant costs 150. Although there are other items in the menu list, but the chicken biryani steals the show. The taste is authentic and very original of a typical Bengali Biryani. The cook from Kolkata used to cook at Siraj, one of the best non-veg restaurants there.
Roll Center , Mayur Vihar
Another restaurant which serves authentic Bengali style Biryani is Roll Center in Mayur Vihar phase-I. This also looks pretty ordinary from outside but there are ample space to sit and eat your Biryani. The stall also serves Chicken Kathi rolls (from which the name, Roll Center) and they are quiet tasty. The taste of the biryani is same as that of Kolkata Biryani House of CR Park.
Bijoli Grill, Banga Bhavan, Haley Road
Ever since, the Bongo Bhavan at Haley Road has opened its restaurant Bijoli Grill for all, I have made it a point to visit the restaurant every fortnight. This is because the surprises it has in store. Every item in the huge list of Bengali menu is so tasty that you can't help ordering it the next time you visit the restaurant. This makes it difficult to try the other dishes. Well, on Saturdays and Sundays, Bijoli grill serves the special Kolkata Biryani. This is a slightly spicier version of the usual Kolkata Biryani. But the taste makes it by far the best Bengali Biryani I have ever tasted in Delhi. The juicy and softened with care pieces of chicken melt inside the mouth and the taste stays with you for a very long time.
The next time, I will write about the costliest Biryani I have ordered in Delhi. The one in ITC Maurya Sheraton, the Bukhara. Till then, happy eating outside.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First chill of the season

My love for you is not in the beautiful Swiss mountains
Its not in the beaches of Port Louis
Neither in the woods of Amazon can you find it
Nor in the Gondolas of Venice

My love for you can't be found in Shakespearean sonnets
Its not sung in the Yeats 'Drinking Song'
No way can it be written by O Henry
And it can even prove Oscar Wilde wrong..

My love for you cannot be bought with a diamond ring
Or gold or platinum or any other metal
It cannot be hung from a gem necklace
And it cannot be decorated with pricey floral..

My love for you smiles in the way you smile
And the way you put the loose hair back to its place
It grows when your bangles strike while doing so
It glows within your blushed conscious face.

It hides in the care that you shower upon me
It breathes in your perfume
It shines when I can't wait to see you,
and It dashes when you are in the same room

It speeds up when I see those eyes of yours
It rocks and rolls with your voice rides
It feels like home when you tell me your stories
It feels safe when you walk by my side 

**** Yours Truly
**** Sole Fiction !!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Luv Shuv tey Chicken - the Music

Amit Trivedi is a priced possession. He is a golden feather in the decorated Indian film music cap. His music not only sounds different but it also has the ability to stick to the eardrums and stay there for a long time. So while working on a tiring 257 page document, don’t get surprised if you unknowingly start humming one of his tunes or every time you plug into those head phones, you scroll down to one his latest albums and play his songs in loops.
His latest musical gift is recorded in the album of Luv Shuvtey Chicken Khurana. Every song in the album sounds fresh even after being listened to for ye many number of times.
KikriKalerdi is a traditional Punjabi marriage song. A typical Amit Trivedi song with a lot of emphasis on the bass and the signature tunewhich gets played in the mind again and again even after the song gets played. Watch out for the spicy “Chhichor” rap of YoYo Honey Singh which summarizes the song. “Main tera raja hoon, tumeri rani hai, baby Suraksha hi Sabhdhanihai”.
Next up is“YoMotorwala”, the one who drinks “dabbewaladoodh”. The song is sung in the traditional Haryanvi language to which most of us Faridabadi can connect.Amit Trivedi and TochiRaina provide a very fresh feel to the Dadagiri conveyed through the song and the use of typical “panga” language of the song makes it a hit.
After getting musically naughty in the first two songs, comes my favorite song of the album. The third song of the album is the title song. A romantic Punjabi songwhich depicts the love-filled conversation between Mrs. Khurana and Mr. Khurana and you can only wonder the extreme emotions the Punjabi language can touch upon. It can make you dance to the beats of Bhangda on one hand and it can bring up a smile upon your face with a romantic song like this on the other. A brilliant song!
The rest of the album needs to be heard after this introduction.

Let’s now talk about the music of Amit Trivedi and see what’s different in it. I think Amit Trivedi’s music is simple; it involves a few instruments and focuses more on the music part than the accompaniment. This is the reason why his music sounds easy to the ear and stays in the mind for a long time. He uses the bass guitar to its full effect. The minimal use of distortion guitars and heavy drum beats makes his song sound clean, apt and simple.
We now have someone with Rehman who can make the movie a smash hit with its music.
Check it out people.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Smart Boollywood and its Changing Trends

It’s a smart age that we live in. We video call across nations, we let our tiny phone suggest us restaurants, the moment we click a picture, we think about the caption with which it should be posted in our FB pages, we see things through the lens of internet and information. The times indeed have changed a lot.
And like the times, our movies have also evolved. Gone are those days when people used to throw coins at the cinema screen to appreciate the hero throwing the villains like tennis balls, seven at a time in all seven directions (radial) to save his heroine, gone are those days when people used to envy the yellow-colored loose-shirt-clad hero singing in the garden, filled with acres of yellow-er marigold with his lesser-dressed but highly ornamented heroine alongside 100 co-dancers. I often wonder if Kucch Kucch Hota hai (one of my favorite movies,) was to release the next Friday, would it be such a hit. Would Shahrukh Khan’s flashing the COOL necklace, seem so cool to me? Would Johny Lever’s Almirah-jokes seem so funny even now? I think not.

I have found two reasons supporting my hypothesis.

One, it might be possible that since I’ve grown up, my acceptance has become more limited. I can now realize the completely unreal stuff in a real movie. I can now distinguish between what’s comedy and what family drama and know the limit to which they can be extended, and I am not ready to appreciate if both are served in the same plate. 

The other reason might be that like me, the entire country across all locations and all ages feel the same. The audience has grown up. They have smartened themselves and they now refuse to appreciate the unreal things wrapped in the cover of “believe-able cinema”. They now have come to appreciate the story more than the mindless over emotional acting which was a characteristic of the 1990’s cinemas. So when they hear Salman Khan speaking cut-throat lines and hitting concrete cracking punches to his villains, they do not actually believe it but rightly appreciate the humor. And this change has been welcomed by film makers like Anurag Kahsyap to come to the forefront of the film industry and do their experiments with success. I can bet that no one in the 1990 would have dared to make a movie like Dev-D and still count profit out of it.   

We Indians are deeply rooted to the movies we watch. One of my friends wrote Aamir Khan’s proposal dialogue in Dil Chahta Hai in his first love letter and got accepted. How often do we see people in metro hummmm “tum paas aaye, yunn muskurayein” directed at the girl standing nearby to steal a glance. Our lives revolve around movies and we learn, unlearn, cry, and laugh through the movies we watch. It is a powerful influence medium in action in the country with the second largest population. So a smarter movie culture may be well extrapolated to be the result of a smarter lifestyle or vice versa. Another hypothesis in the making!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Delhi's Durga Puja - 2012

Like every year, I went around the city covering all the major Durga Puja pandals and meeting so many new people on my way. And like every year, I found it all the more fascinating.
This year, I had planned to visit the Pujas on Saptami and Ashtami, leaving the Navami to myself (which I eventually spent being ill and sitting at home).
So here's more or less an account of my 2012 tour-de-delhi-pujas.
We started on 21st October afternoon to cover all the Pujas at Chittaranjan Park area. The place gets too crowded in the evening and stays like that till late night for which he had suffered last year. Hence, visiting the pandals in the afternoon proved to be a good decision although it didn't allow us to appreciate the lighting intricacies (which seems too bland in comparison to Kolkata).
Nobo Polli Durga Puja - CR Park

Mela Ground Durga Puja - CR Park
CR Park Kali Bari Durga Puja
People at CR Park Kali Bari
CR Park Co-Operative Durga Puja
CR Park Co-Operative Durga Puja's Pandal
CR Park B-Block Durga Puja
CR Park - B-Block Durga Puja Pandal
Purbasha Kali Bari Durga Puja - Ramakrishna  Vihar

After the colorful journey through our favorite Durga Pujas in the rich Bengali hub of Delhi, we planned to call it a day. On our way back we hopped on Purbasha Kali Mandir Durga Puja and Kaushambi Durga Puja.

Kaushambi Durga Puja - Ghaziabad

The next day we decided to cover the Pujas all around the capital. Since no two important Pujas are closely spaced, the traffic problem is not as serious as it gets in CR Park area. So evening was the preferred time of visit.
Our first stop was the Kashmiri Gate Durga Puja which is rumored to be the oldest Durga Puja in Delhi.

Kashmiri Gate Durga Puja - the oldest Puja in New Delhi
From there we went to Minto Road Kali Bari Durga Puja, one of the most awarded and visited Durga Pujas in Delhi. It is also one of the oldest.

The idol at Minto Raad Kali Bari Durga Puja

From Minto Road we headed towards New Delhi Kali Bari Durga Puja, which was the most crowded of all the Pujas we visited this year. This made taking a good picture very difficult.
New Delhi Kali Bari Durga Puja
The wave of devotees at Delhi Kali Bari Durga Puja

Then we headed southwards to reach Matri Mandir Durga Puja at Safdarjung Enclave, last year’s runners up in the Best Puja competition of Delhi. This year the theme of Matri Mandir Puja was the Olympic and the pandal was decorated in the context of India’s dream run at the Olympics.
Pandal of Matri Mandir Durga Puja, Safdarjang Enclave
 Idol at Matri Mandir Durga Puja, Safdarjang Enclave 
 People at Matri Mandir Durga Puja, Safdarjang Enclave 

Matri Mandir had invited Chandrabindu to perform on Ashtami and the program was very well held. Chandrabindu, being one of the most popular Bengali bands, could glue us down to our seats till the very end of the show.
 Chandrabindu performing at Matri Mandir Durga Puja, Safdarjang Enclave 

It was late and we still had to cover Mayur Vihar.
Mayur Vihar was on the way back. It was 1o’clock in the night when we reached the Miloni Durga Puja, last year’s champions. People had left the pandal for it was too late but it gave us a nice time to stare into its intricacies in awe. The idol was mesmerizing and was the one of the most innovative idols of this year’s Puja.
Miloni Durga Puja, Mayur Vihar-I
We came back tired, yet fulfilled.

The four days were spent fast. As I pointed out earlier, these four days were indeed spent as if in trance. The dhunuchi naach with the beats of the dhaak, the new pair of jeans, the creased shirts, the gathering in pandals and chatting with friends, so so many things done, in such a small window of time.
 About Delhi’s Durga Puja 2012, this year’s Pujas in Delhi were undoubtedly better than last year’s and may God will, it will be even better in 2013.
Asche bochor abar Hobe! (Next year, it’ll happen again)    

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Durga Puja

Fill your lungs to blow out into the shannkh, roll your lips and join the ululululu party, empty your stomach to gorge into her majesty, the street food, and relax your calf muscles enough so that you can manage to walk the long queues outside the pandal, because Ma Durga has arrived. And like every year, this year it will be more special, it will be more colorful and will be celebrated with more vigor, because Ma Durga has arrived. One of the many amazing things about Durga Puja is the way it has stitched itself to the culture of us bengalis. We look forward to these four days, the entire year. People invest a good 4-5 month period to prepare. And then when Ma Durga comes, the days are spent in a flash, like unnoticed, as if leaving the people in a state of trance, and then begins the plans for the next years Puja.
I do have plans to visit all the good Puja in and around Delhi and to eat at some of the best Bengali places, and attend some good programs too. I wish you all have a fantastic Durga Puja and may Ma Durga bestow her blessings on all of you.
Here's wishing you all a happy Durga Puja.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Curious Case of Rani Mukherjee

She is doing it.
She is trying to get into the shoes of wanted Salman Khan
and Singham Ajay Devgn,
and Rowdy Akahay Kumar.
The first women centric mindless comedy is hers.
She tries to sizzle the mood of her once-loving audience by toning her body up, learning to flex the muscles her belly while keeping her hands up in the air... She is trying as hard as she had never tried.. 
I feel a pinch of pain every single time I stumble upon the trailer of Aiyyaa, Rani Mukherjee's latest movie. I don't know whether it is out of the sheer love that I once savored for her, or the special bong connection, that I go back to watch the trailer again and again and specially her dance moves. Watching her jump and pump and do all sorts of things she never mastered doing, seeing her trying so hard to catch the limelight a little more than her co-dancers, almost feeling the pain she must be suffering from trying to come back to the mainstream cinema, I turn the video off.
Nothing in life is constant.
And nothing excess in life stays long. 
We may talk about ideal scenarios but they might just be countable exceptions. The devotion and regard that Amitabh Bacchan has drawn over his long-spanning acting career is one of its kind. It is not only a far fetched dream of every actor, but also a glorious example of constancy in class. And, coming back to Rani Mukherjee, 
Her loss of stardom after delivering perhaps her best performance in Black, makes her career case a very curious one. What is more interesting is the fact that she is still considered to be a great actress. Her prowess of acting is never questioned.
Black was the summit of Rani Mukherjee's acting career. She reached a place where many Indian actresses could only imagine of reaching. She was able to bring both tears in her audience's eye as well as motivate them to stand up against all odds. She received all kinds of appreciation from all types of corners. She took it all.
Then came the cruel hard truth.
Then came unimportant forgettable roles. Then came the roles which could simply not match that of Michelle McNally.
Then came the Mangal Pandey s, the Baabul s , the Tara Ram Pum Pum s which were sent back from the cinema halls in a week’s time.
Even worse, these roles left the audience with a bitter taste. The movies with her face in the poster didn't seem to be as appealing as they used to be. She couldn't survive the competition from her zero figure rivals and her desperation showed. Her role in a movie called Dil Bole Hadippa, was actually crying for attention. Just like a 4 year old baby would cry trying to divert her mother's attention from her 2 year old sister. This was saddening for her admirers.
Rani Mukherjee’s career is a classic example of a crack under expectations coupled with a phase of bad-luck. It’s not that she has downgraded her class, or the status of her production, but the roles penned for her failed to ignite any appreciation from her audience. This could also be because of the bar she herself had raised in Black. She gave people something to compare herself with, but couldn't perform that well subsequently. Her constant failures resulting in her desperation to make a movie click can now be identified in her acting. Her natural grace, her natural charm is heading south.
Being an ardent fan of Rani Mukherjee, I might end up buying tickets of Aiyyaa and once again disappoint myself and my partner, but from the very core of my heart I wish the film well. I wish it becomes a hit and Rani Mukherjee comes back. I wish all the hard work she has done to shed her flabs and then to belly-dance those shredded flabs pays off. I wish people don't write her off and give her a cruel farewell from cinemas, much like Saurav Ganguly got from the cricket savvy nation. I wish we get to see some more emotionally affecting performances from her in unforgettable roles. I wish I like the movie and come back and write at least one good review about it.
Here’s hoping that Aiyyaa turns out to be a hit and Rani Mukherjee starts getting liked again.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Simple Things and Nostalgia

Simple things in life have an everlasting presence.
They follow us round, they have an unforgettable essence.
They tie us down to the man we really are
They force us into memories, the ones we really care.

I still remember stepping out into the rain
From the school bus back home and never complain
For the umbrella mum had kept, inside it remained
Walking back home with Gaurav, essentially drenched
And we would talk about BT, we would talk about class
And we would look out to the eight floor, onto that Santro rear glass
And when she would go inside, "oh! that pretty"
We would realize that time had flown to three thirty
But today,
If it rains even a bit, I draw the curtains and pull up the window panes
I bring myself in, I cause myself that pain.

And Raghav, Nimit, Ashish and me
Together we would always be
To spend those two years in the blink of an eye
To sweat the games period, or to be the catcher in the rye
We once walked from school to Mother Dairy to save a few bucks
But why did Ashish Chadda join us with his shirt un-tucked
For he wanted to be with us till the point he could
It never mattered how slow we walked or how bad was his post-exam-mood
But today,
Even if we're near, time never lets us meet
But we all are happy to have memories too sweet.

I still cherish eating fuchkas by the Durgapur streets
Standing the long queue, it would be a place for us friends to meet.
The 2 rupee coin has never again been that precious
For it bought 5 fuchkas, which with every bite got more delicious
For every time it filled my mouth I felt life's beauty
For every time I had it, I could skip the night's boring dinner roti
But today,
Although fuchkas still rule the streets, and ample money fills the pocket's hollow 
Although the price of the fuchkas have gone up, but lesser has become their priced value

I remember walking with Sailesh & Gaurav on Kaushambi streets
We would cross the big heart topics and check out the women fleet..
We would comment upon every passerby and laugh out loud
We would sit on the Kanchenjunga bench, to make our parents proud.
For it was a relief to hear and to be heard without any conditions applied
For it was a time when laughter mattered with friends growing alongside
But today,
As I walk alone by the same old street and see the kids with their stories spurn
I pass a slight grin of disgust and get to hear their laughter in return 

However you are, where ever you may be glued
Take a time out and remember the days which loved you and only you'd
The times you'd spend only for yourself
The miles you'd walk to treat your mood's health
The times which have landed you in that bright yellow spot
The people on whom you'd lay your worthy trust
Get tied down to the man you really are
Get forced into memories, the ones you really care.

PS: an overreaction of a sudden nostalgia .. and love.. ;)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

English Vinglish - A GangVani rear-view

There are two types of knowledgeable people.
First are those who know something and make a big deal out of it. They are the ones who want the world to know about their prowess of knowledge and boast of being superior to many by the virtue of what they have come to know, in the process hurting or humiliating those who don't have that knowledge.
And to constitute the second type, there are people who know a lot of things and yet are able to keep themselves grounded. They don't really show off their knowledge to gain superiority, but in stead prefer passing a slight grin when someone else shows off in front of them.

Apart from Sri Devi's atypical Hindi accent( for someone who knows only Hindi), everything in Gauri Shinde's English-Vinglish comes as a breeze of fresh air into the movie hall. People should watch it for their mothers, with their mothers. Sri Devi portrays the role of Shashi, a typical higher-middle class home maker and mother of two, who gets up every morning and goes to bed every night without spending a minute in between for herself. She loves making laddus and also sells it to the local neighborhood only to get mocked by her non-appreciating "busy-in-a-meeting" husband at the end of the day. Although her life revolves around her kids but she doesn't get the respect she deserves because of her scrimpy knowledge of the English language. Her daughter feels ashamed to introduce her to her friend's mother, her husband feels uncomfortable to hug a lady colleague in front of her, but strangely though, inside all this unjustified 'judgmental' atmosphere Shashi is shown to have found peace. Shashi, like all mothers, forgives. And perhaps that is why she continues to survive with equal determination and equal love everyday. Coming back to the plot.
Shashi's sister who lives in New York, informs them about the wedding of Shashi's niece. Shashi is forced to go 4 weeks in advance to New York, and that too all alone to help her sister arrange the wedding. Although unwilling to leave her family alone, Shashi sets foot on New York. A country of unknowns, unknown faces, unknown food, unknown culture and most importantly unknown language.
Here begins the adventure of transformation and self-realization.

There are no negative characters in this film. Everything is circumstantial.
How often do we yell at our mothers out of no important reasons?
How often do we get irritated at their asking simple questions which seem silly to our complicated brains? When we miss our girl friend, we make it a point to tell her that so that she gets to know that and misses us in return, but do we do the same for our mothers? How many of us have called up their mothers to tell her that we miss her? The number would be very few. 
Do we communicate with her so well, that she can tell us how much she misses us?
Don't we find it "uncool" sitting amongst our friends when she calls up to know where we are?
In the process of growing up, we tend to forget the factor that always stays with us. We tend to take her for granted and never really care that she might get hurt at our actions. We treat her in the worst possible way, we get rude, we manhandle her emotions as we know that no matter what, she will never go away. She will forgive and love us back.
And the funny part is, these things doesn't make us the villains.
English Vinglish is an eye opener for those who have ignored their home makers. Its for those who feel inferior to walk hand-in-hand with their mothers because its not "cool". Its for those who educate themselves and consider their mothers illiterate. Its to show how fake is that education. Its for those who love their mothers, but never make her feel loved. Watch it to hear the words your mother might not ever say to you, as you will never ask how she really feels. Watch it to celebrate motherhood. Watch it to get grounded.