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!