Friday, December 28, 2007
Another year gone by. So many resolutions not met.
For a change I’m going to focus on the ones that I was able to conquer, albeit, not because I set out to do so but because I probably knew no other way to handle them.
2007 has been good to me.
I joined adidas in the November of 2006 and gave myself 3 months to find my space in a new set up, an extremely different work culture and multi cultural bosses.
Today, adi is home and, I operate from a niche that is uniquely mine.
The point, however, is that there never should have been a question in my mind about it turning out any other way.
I knew I would belong. I always have.
Its time to accelerate the faith in myself. And, that is what 2008 is going to bring me.
While 2007 was a year of “keep the faith”, 2008 is going to ensure that I clear it by leaps and bounds…
Its time for new beginnings…a new way of living life
I love the way I’ve led my life. No regrets.
I had a lunch date with a friend who is very close and, probably one of my oldest advisors. Not that I follow his advice much (he tells me that). But I do listen to him. And, he matters a whole lot. He tells me, all I need in life is discipline.
And, while I would have scoffed at that till some months back, I understand now, that that is the way I need to go.
Not because of the lunch. Not because it's the first time someone has told me that (theres another I hold as dear as life itself who has probably given up on doing the same..take a raincheck mate..and take it this year).
But, sometimes in life, the most obvious things hit you without reason and, at the most routine time, doing the most regular things
Being crazy is a part of my appeal.
My appeal to myself, not to others.
I’m sure they would desire a more rational me.
Its just more appealing to me. I want to be a certain way. And that's the only way I know.
However, whats life without a challenge and, I can tell you the challenges in my life are so darned obvious.
I know this is an affirmative step for me because till now I was not even ready to accept that I needed to bring discipline into some parts of my life.
The structure will help.
Dichotomy exists in everyone’s lives. I somehow feel I get to experience an amplified version. Haha.
I can handle the most complex professional tasks in the most structured manner, wear the utmost stoical appearances in most public domains, yet, completely lose it when I have to live for myself.
Its not about my personal life. That is again dealt with more than appropriate empathy.
Its just about me.
I have not been my best friend.
And, that is something I intend changing in 2008.
I’m not giving myself 3 months to do it in. New beginnings call for a new faith.
Monday, December 03, 2007
My nana and nani were my lifeline for decades.
They still would be if it were not for a slight turn in their fortunes over the last few years.
Now I am their lifeline. As are my brothers and sisters and of course, our babies.
There is no one stronger I know.
She was all of 14 when she got married and from there went on to build a life as a leading doctor, a leading doctor who was female.
She gave up on fame because she wanted to see us grow up.
Now she wages a battle against my Nana’s Alzheimer’s even as we see him giving up.
She can barely stand but completely walks the talk.
She is what I would call a survivor. My very own religion.
And, she’s coming tomorrow.
This whole weekend I have run scared of picking up the phone on her.
I didn’t want to hear her tell me that she wouldn’t be able to leave nanajee alone and come.
But she hasn’t done that and, hopefully she will walk into my home tomorrow with just me as a crutch.
I asked her what she most yearns for.
She told me she can taste the McDonald’s Burger in her dreams. Such simple dreams.
I have 5 days to make her feel she can walk again without pain…almost glide. And I’m all set to do that.
And, all she wants is a damn burger…
Love u Nompie….
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today is one of those days…
I want to say things which amount to gibberish…
talk like a four yr old..
have panic attacks and then giggle fits…..
not look at that horrible thing on ur hand called a watch…
just dream the day away
I wanna talk about love today…that's unconnected alright with what I ought to be doing.
I’m a believer…never ever questioned why.
Actually that's not surprising, in my personal life I never really question much…
more often than not, I try getting to the answer.
Haha, that's why it works more for others than for me.
I do love and I am in love.
That means that I do feel the rush of blood even though it may be bursting someone else’s veins. Well, that's not a very romantic way of putting it, is it???
Ok let me give u the unabridged version since I have taken it upon myself to act contrary to the demands of established demeanor today.
I love like no tomorrow. I also love without a past.
I love saying ur name even when I’m alone, especially when I’m alone
I love to an end and that is always u
I love the fact that u give me my most loyal friends, my tears
I also love the fact that that gives me my most awaited moment, of u wiping them away
I love the happiness you bring to my life by just being my life
I love u enough to never ask why ...
My mom always raised us to live in a curtainless home…
we don’t have curtains at our place…
she feels very proud of the fact that she has built such a sanctuary where the need to hide emotions is counter productive.
However, she lives with a value system that I find difficult to unlearn, for her and, for myself.
The one promise that I deliver on each moment of my life is the above mentioned.
Love has no conditions.
I love because I can’t not love.
Its not mushy.
Its not romantic.
Its just there.
I love you because u’re the only person that makes me live upto my mom’s dream of no curtains.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I’ve dreamt of opening a restaurant for so many years now.
So now, I’m acting upon it.
I don’t have the money to open the shack I want to own.
I have ideas.
They come free.
Anyone interested in investing your hard earned money on my ideas..pls pls pls get in touch with me.
I’m totally serious. The responsibility of creating and running the space will be mine. U just get to be an angel who takes the money home. Well, at least a part of it.
If you want to be a part of my dream
If you want to at least listen to my ideas
If you have the money (at least some part of it) to solve my problems
And, only, If u believe in me
U’ll know where to find me…..
Love, cheers & moolah
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Most times, I do have the answer to them but I just couldn’t be bothered to reply, so I bluff my way through. They think I’m witty, I just think I’m nutty.
Sometimes, I marvel at their audacity to invite themselves into my space.
And, in one of those rare moments when an experience strikes you like summer lightening, I thank them for waking me upto the possibility of being alive.
Svety, are u doing something for urself? Left gymming?
When are u going to open the restaurant baby?
When are u ever going to learn to say No, anu?
You still don’t know how to manage your finances do you?
Are you ever going to leave pan parag?
Do you know you need to comb ur hair everday?
When will you really tell me what u’re feeling?
And, I could drone on…..
And then, there are others, I have no hope in hell of ever answering..
In these moments of ennui……nusrat helps…
"मैं तो इस वासते चुप हूँ की तमाशा न बने
तू समझता है मुझे तुझसे गिला कुछ भी नही"
No I’m not gymming. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Yet again. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get back on. Whenever.
I have no clue when I’m gonna open that restaurant..or, if I’m gonna open it…in my dreams I have done it a dozen times over.
What would you guys do if I learnt to say No?
I would manage my finances if I had any left.
Pan Parag ….u want me to stop lying too?
Hey I love gypsy hair…makes me look sassy.
The last one I have no smartass answer to….
All I can say in my defense is, I do care for the fact that my friends care enough to ask..
"अब न उठना सरहाने से मेरे
अब तो गिन्नती के दम रह गए हैं"
Friday, November 02, 2007
its amazing, this world that we have created of identities which are virtual but, friendships more fulfilling than in the real world...now i know i belong...luv ya all..
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I turned 35 yesterday.
I keep saying that, hoping it’ll make some difference to the limited wisdom I carry with myself, when I ponder on decisions, I have taken and more critically, on the ones I missed taking.
Its funny that I can’t really remember sitting down and deciding on something….going with the flow is how it has mostly happened…does that make me indecisive?
Nah….I know exactly what I want but its just that I couldn’t be bothered to ponder much on why and, how and, why not and, if not. God, just writing that is tiring me out….:)
Yesterday was not very different from any other day…, it was peaceful outside and, trying to be peaceful inside…
There has to be some merit in that….
Just can’t seem to see it right now….it was quiet, very quiet……just me talking to myself...
Monday, October 01, 2007
I meet so many moments ever day that redefine the way I look at things……and I’m forever in emotional transit.
But let me try……
Finding Nusrat would probably figure very high on my list….nusrat flows in my blood….there is not a time I can remember when I’ve heard him and not been transcended to a realm different from the one I was situated in then…his voice echoes every feeling I have ever encountered and he stands tall in all dreams I have ever had for myself. I discovered him very late in life. Sometimes, I think it apt, as I discovered myself and, what I wanted very late in life too.
And, Nusrat helped me sort out myself. And, is still doing so.
I used to be a player when I was young, very young. I used to live in England with my parents. School was always fun and, at times a place which made fun. I was a major tomboy….playing glassies with the boys….and beating them at their game….I had this huge tin of glassies of the most wonderful hues…they were my most prized possession then….i had won each one of them the hard way…and then, one day, my box disappeared. My mom had finally decided she had had enough of me consorting with uncouth guys playing the streets and, decided to do away with the root cause….I cried for days…my eyes not wet with tears but, overcome with red angst. Hating my mom was not an option, but I still remember talking to myself, urging myself to come out of the pity I felt for myself….I went looking in every bin I could find in the locality and, when I couldn’t find my beautiful jar of glassies, I did what every child does…I dug in my heels, forgot everything else, focussed and, started building my empire back from scratch. Went and exchanged afew stupid Christmas cards for one awesome blue cats eye glassy and the euphoria I felt at every win was unparalleled. I had another tin filled before the season changed and, from then, till now,….theres always a bounce back waiting to be found….
So when two guys beat up my sis in school…I took her to the hospital..and, while she was getting stitches done..ran back to school…bashed them up and came back to the hospital to get the pants beaten of my backside by my dear parents….but i felt sooooo good...like a hero..misunderstood, battered but still victorious..
I didn’t have a waist..i was built like a guy…hula hoops were the craze then…now I could hardly hula hoop without a waist…I used to play football with my dad and afew other guys and I always used to be the goalie…my dad and those guys used to be so absorbed in trying to outdo each other’s foot tricks that the ball never used to reach me….so while they played footsie I used to stand there hula hooping…and sure enough before the month end, I was twirling my waist like a pro..
I used to set myself a study schedule every exam till college…..and that had to be the most flexible piece of documentation I ever kept. I had no qualms in resetting my goals and deadlines basis convenience. Which is probably the reason for my lack of faith in goals, visions, missions, the works…the only big word that seems to work for me, till date, is "Tasks".
The moral of the story - theres always a bounce back waiting to be found..and by God, I'll find it...
Ah, cooking would be the third one….I never learnt to cook…I used to be barred from getting into the kitchen when I was growing up. Not that I ever really wanted to. It was only in the last few years in college that necessity took me to the cooking stove..I used to rent out a place with afew friends and food was not as critical to them as it was to me…so I looked matters in the eye…and imagination and took over. Till today, I am unable to cook from a recipe book….I smell my food and add ingredients….I look at the colour and figure out when enough is enough. There are times I go horribly wrong but, there are others, when I’ve been told I make "soul food"….
And, I can’t change the fact that I’m incapable of precision while cooking…I’m incapable of precision most everywhere. There is so much more romance to imagination and spontaneity than to being accurate and right all the time.
I’ve made my peace with this handicap of mine.
Soul Food Maker tops anyday over Most Accurate Chef.
And then, my first job and the freedom I got to be myself there. We worked like no tomorrow over the most futile tasks, fought like our life depended on it and then, celebrated success as if we had saved ourselves from extinction….wow what “adrenaline thumping times”, what “to die for friends” and what, “bloody commitment”.
I don’t fool myself in thinking that experience like that can be replicated and, that is, perhaps, the reason I’m still happy with what I have. Just because something is gone does not make it the end. And, there was no better place to learn the hard facts of life than, where, I learnt the softer ones.
And then, there are other turning points that blew apart my life altogether…..but then that wasn’t the subject of this post was it????
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I want to do that every day.
See, I just did it.
I would never have seen myself as a person with an expectation of several lives..
I just don’t want to be able to predict myself.
At an elemental level I think I never surprise myself because I am aware that there exists within me so many different needs and I am fine with one need not meeting another, as long as I am able to satisfy the search..
What the fuck….thats really a bullshit line man…
I want it all….I want it my way…and if I can’t have it so…I’ll have it any way I get it…
Ah, surprised, r u?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
He has grown up in the last few months at a speed greater than the last few years and I don’t think its really registered at a mommy level.
So, in all mommy earnestness, I announce that I’m creating another space for my junior where I shall attempt to capture his unique sense of humour and absolutely scary insightful comments in full glory.
I don’t know whether I should be writing this, but at some level of consciousness, I want him to have some part of what we share from now and have shared in the past, always. I’m not going anywhere..but I just want to be around when I am needed.
There is never a time which is more right than the time we act and I just hope that when he grows up, technology has not evolved to such an extent that this space gets eaten up….
All of you are more than welcome to my son’s world…..he has me walking on sunshine most every moment…
The first of those anecdotes that had me in splits…out this weekend..
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I got this frantic call from my son right now. He will be seven this coming Jan and, for anyone who thinks the new generation is precocious, read on…
I barely pick up my phone – “Momma, आज 1 minute के लिए मेरे life में चमक आ गयी” (which literally translated, stands for this, Momma, today for 1 minute, my life got... lit)
Me, in my proudest mommy moment, thinking he had finally made it in cricket (by the way, hes an opening batsman of the infant cricket team for his school, no mean joke this): “what happened betu ?…I knew u could do it.”
“Momma आज Chantelle मेरे बगल वाले seat पर आकर बैठी….मेरी life bindass हो गयी”..(Now Chantelle, is the heartthrob of their class, which is standard 1, and a constant one angle of any triangle….in the last few months of this semester, endless number of best friends have come and gone over this one prized angle)
Now, I don’t use the most appropriate language infront of him always…but such colour in his words needed to be appreciated..
So I joined in the revelry……"बिलकुल jhakaas na betu…अब वहीँ बैठेगी? “
“Offoo momma…तुम्हारे साथ यही ना problem है, तुम इतना जल्दी excited हो जाती हो…बस आज के लिए आयी थी….hyper मत हो….लेकिन चमक गयी mommy मेरी लाइफ…”
I still can’t stop smiling…..the next decade is gonna be so mast…।
Everyday I'm told to stop talking like a nutcase infront of him coz he'll end up flunking his language tests...that I should talk the way I write....haha
Between u and me, I love the colour in the way he talks and, I shall take a bow..oh yeah
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Did some thinking for a change in these 20 days. Its amazing, whenever I think, I end up screwing myself further.
Am just going to free wheel for some time to get back into the groove….
I saw Chak De. Loved the movie. I think it's the first sport movie I’ve seen coming out of the Hindi Film Industry. The title song is riveting not melodious. And the characters explode on screen. I saw the movie on 15th of August and felt really good about myself, a New Indian, as a part of the bigger global plan. On the flip side, I sat in a near empty hall in Luton, England with my sister and son and saw the overseas Indian audience showing a thumb down to Shahrukh’s more realistic avataar. So much for him not experimenting…
People dear to me think I don’t expose my real self enough. That's a lie. They think I don’t let my emotions show at all.
Though I have always realized and accepted this, it still came as a blinder. Hit me hard.
I have to be one of the most socially oriented people I have ever met and still I find it hard to confide. That's also a lie. I find it hard to even voice my opinions, my personal thoughts on a subject, in my social relationships. Its not that I don’t have them….nonono…there are some people in this world who have encountered too many of them….its just that more often than not I find it a herculean and, avoidable task offloading my thoughts on an innocent bystander.
So what should I do…..I was told this time in no uncertain words that I was losing out on more meaningful interactions because I chose to cover myself up like this…I agree…but I can’t manage to change myself…actually another lie…I don’t choose to cover myself, so, how can I choose to uncover now? This is just the way I am.
I’ve never really cared one way or the other if people understand me…what I have cared about is, that, I should not hurt them….and honestly, maybe this is what all this is about…maybe I just can’t be myself coz I don’t want the real me to hurt people’s expectations off me…..but then, this is the real me…god, this is why I wrote in the beginning, thinking screws me up further…..i just can’t verbalize everything I think and, am going through…and, if I’m a less loved and, more misunderstood person because of it, so be it….
Salman Khan sent to jail. For killing an endangered species. Forgive me for being politically incorrect and saying “Bull Shit”
Bullshit for so many reasons. And, actually I take back the plea for forgiveness…its my blog after all.
I come from a state which is renowned for supari killings…you can’t buy potatoes for 5 bucks a kilo but you can get someone killed for that much is how the saying goes….and, all these criminals of course end up in jail….(or in parliament). Maybe we should set up lobbies for appealing for extension of human lives…maybe we could endanger ourselves enough to be a part of the elite group that requires saving…
I know random human killings without rhyme or reason do not give anyone the right to pick up the gun on any other living thing, but I am not able to put into perspective the killing of an animal vs the killing of a human being. Wrong thing to say considering the fact that I have so many friends who don’t look at animals as any different from human beings. Even I don’t. I believe their right to life is above question. What I can’t seem to understand is why Mr. Khan is being held, when others, roam the streets and parliament scot free.
Which brings me to my next objection….I take strong offence to the fact that the killing would not have been considered an offence had the species not been endangered. I mean life cannot be subjected to such a layered approach, can it? I understand the logic of it…u want to preserve….I just don’t understand how killing one life can be a non offence, just because we have enough of it vs another, of which, there are not so many.
At 7 am yesterday morning I saw Afghanistan....from the window of a plane....I really don't know how to put it across...but I have never seen anything scarier and more awe inspiring in my 30 odd years....we were flying low enough for me to see the terrain...if Afganistan looks like that why do we wonder where afghans get their aggression from?
Met so many friends and family over the last few weeks…..in new places and old settings…..
Celebrated rakhi in a foreign land in the most traditional way, two days early but so many years late….
Met brothers who had graduated from being kids to responsible adults…and, recognized the fact that I could easily pass off as their younger sister now…they were at the helm and what a relief….
Made sweethearts with the youngest member of my family and tried to un-discipline him as much as I could in the days I stayed with him. Successfully at times…haha… I can still smell him if I shut my eyes…
Ate the most amazing strawberries and cream, and, DID NOT GAIN WEIGHT. I think it had to do with my dashing brother in law putting in his own secret ingredient in them.
And, bonded with my sister, both Librans, both so different from each other, chalk and cheese…. (she says she doesn’t do grey, I say, have never been able to find the black and white)…have always been the elder but, never come back without learning from her.
This time was no different.
Am back in India now. And, it seems like I’hd never been away.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
For the last few days have been living in a quaint place called Luton, 40 mins from London. Am here on holiday and have been communing with myself at leisure.
Its been a ritual since the past 15 odd years to call up my grandpa on Independence Day and wish him.
He fought hard for India's freedom and if my one call can make me think that I gave him moments of reliving the glory of a gone era, then it doesn't matter, that he now, has Alzheimer's and is unable to sign his name, forget, undersign his nation...
I remember when I used to stay with my grandparents we used to hoist the flag, eat jalebis and sing the national anthem...a ritual we never got tired of when were young because of the frentic planning that went into it, or when we became older because of the excitement on my grandpas face...
Independence day means a lot to me...not beacause its supposed to but because its a part of the way I was brought up. Today I sit with my son , in England, in front of an open TV and tried to inculcate the meaning of this day into him...it lasts for all of 5mins and leaves me feeling a failure....
And, then we see our first hindi movie in a hall in England in so many years....Chak De India....lovely lovely movie but thats fodder for my next post.....and, as we get up as the titles start rolling in, my son turns around and says, 'mommy, how come we didn't sing jan gan man at the end for the Indian Hockey Team...'
After so many years of hoisting the flag, eating jalebis, believing in the day, I can only resonate, 'ya baby, how come?'...
The weather is classic brit, its been raining for 3 days now and the wind seems to echo memories of another land, another time...its awesome. And, its heartbreaking.
I can't for the life of me understand why such happy things, things that I love and wait for, make me sad.....
I don't know if this happens to anyone else or, is it just me???
I'm sitting in the garden, looking up at this vagabond shadow of clouds wondering why they call me...
haha...think I've lost it...finally...
Friday, July 27, 2007
conquer, more space
by just operating within…
conquests were so easy
to run by,
such a performer.
has to change.
I win hearts over from this space.
I love, and,
This space still has to change.
in this space,
This space has to change.
be able to prove to myself,
That I have a heart and,
This space has to change.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Am feeling restless.
Screws up my Libran sense of balance and purpose when I feel like this।
I can’t even eat, to crush that feeling now।
Life seems to be standing still…..not that I don’t have enough to fill my day but, when has it ever been enough to just do that, right?
I’ll be 35 this year.
And, I haven’t even started on the things I really want to do.
Someone told me today u’re only as old as u feel.
The colour of today looks blue and I feel old…..not in the way I react to life…..no, I don’t think that has changed.
I feel old in the way I look at life………।
Heard these lines as a part of nusrat's quawalli....and they resonate every now and then when I'm pensive
उमर जलवों में बसर हो,यह ज़रूरी तो नही,
हर शब-ए-गम कि सहर हो,यह ज़रूरी तो नही,
नींद तो दर्द के बिस्तर पे भी आ सकती है,
तेरी आगोश में सिर हो,यह ज़रूरी तो नही
But then, yellow has been a forever favourite so am not alright with ending on this self absorbed note….so another one to bring back the smile on my face
जिस वक़्त खुदा ने तुम्हे बनाया होगा,
एक सरूर सा उसके दिल पे छाया होगा...
पहले सोचा होगा तुझे जन्नत में रख लूँ...
फिर उससे जू का ख़याल आया होगा
Aah, the zoo is a nice touch …I feel like that….captive, free, and just needing a little more to stretch….
Didn’t get the yellow right, did I??
Blue, it is today.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
When I joined adidas I was sure I was going to make it work. I just didn't know how. Here was a sports company that was world revered and I was getting a chance to be a part of the bigger picture. The only problem was that the last time I had played was in high school.
Its not as if I never enjoyed playing games, outdoor games, just that I could never figure out why I stopped.
I used to captain the junior school netball team when we stayed in England. I have certificates that prove that I could swim like a fish and even dive from a springboard. And, last year, I entered the pool like a novice...forget diving, I couldn't even put my head under water.
However, enough regrets of the lost potential of the past, the future is young and I find it everyday.
It rained in the afternoon. I should have taken that as a sign. I love the rains. Its like an energy drink for me. I got drenched in the rain for a good one hour before the match, helping organize stuff on the ground. And, after that I played football for more than an hour yesterday.I didn't just stand there but helped my team bring its strategy alive on the field. I could hear everyone cheer and it felt so bloody good. Just to have so many friends and even people you don't know break into applause makes me believe and trust in myself again.
Don't get me wrong. I am by no means under confident or low in self esteem. Over the last decade and a half , I let myself go physically. I don't know why. I try to come up with complex justifications but I think the only one that is true is that it was never critical enough. The way I looked never mattered in the beginning coz I looked fine and when I didn't, I just had a hundred people telling me I didn't need it.
I still don't care much about my looks but,i do want to look pretty in someone's eyes
I want to go out with my family and not think I'm embarassing them
I want to play football
I want to try my hand at squash
I want to swim
I want to take up dancing
And, I'm ticking them off, one by one......
I sit here with a broad grin on my face....i just can't get over hitting the ball and saving a goal man...
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I did my graduation from Delhi, from a place called LSR (Lady Shri Ram College for Women). People who are familiar with this name know that it’s a hotbed of elite political activism and social consciousness. And, that sounds appropriately LSRish…
No, kidding aside, LSR was a learning experience in how to learn political theory and take stands on issues of national and international politics and culture without getting your hands dirty. The intention was always genuine, the maneuvers elite. We wanted to help the world by being more aware, more conscious and hence more empowered. The fact that we were women who thought so in an organized, concerted manner made us the initiators of feminism in the university and often the butt of many sexist jokes.
I majored in Political Science. It feels so good just writing that.
There were a host of brilliant teachers on the subject and LSR was known for its radical Political Sc. Faculty. So we had a tradition of radical thought to live upto and we appropriated tradition with open arms.
I remember the first day in class distinctly. I remember being asked who built the Taj Mahal and replying Shah Jahan. I remember the look on the lecturer’s face, one which reeked of self satisfaction at getting the answer she desired and expected.
I remember her playing around with her very fab india sari, looking up at me and saying, “No millions of laborers built the Taj Mahal.”
Boy was I bewitched!!
That became the pattern of things and years to come.
LSR had a distinct red thread running through its vein.
So we used to sit at the Café or the Gazebo (we didn’t call it the canteen or the corridor) and talk about Marx and Machiavelli and the various ways in which they could be interpreted (by the way these two were my heroes back then). Oblivious to the politics raging outside our campus.
We were not like other politically active students from other colleges who dabbled in student unions and mass elections and populist slogans. No, we were not affiliated to a political party but we knew our political theory. We could hold our own in any debate and possibly solve world problems through mere application on paper.
Hey am not being critical of the way we were. I think it was great to be so aware and yet display a sense of perspective which did not reek of self absorption. And, because all of us were like that, it had become the way to be. So we were safely seconded in bourgeoisie reality and still, were able to grapple with proletarian world issues. Very real-time if u ask me, and look at the history of communism in general. The philosophy suffered because the ultimate wish of every proletarian became to evolve into a bourgeoisie.
By the third year of graduation, Marx’s magic was waning and we all became Gandhians. I always was very non violent in my approach and Gandhi suited me superbly. I discovered Gandhi and I still value him over others. There was a slum right behind LSR and I with afew others adopted it and started teaching the women of the basti. I was not as western in my looks and demeanor as I was in my thoughts and the women found it easy to relate to me. I discovered I could talk people out of their angst. I also discovered that that was not the end of their problems.
I became a prominent member of the street theatre group. And, we used to take the bus to various places in West and North Delhi, do our “nautanki” as the audience used to call it then and amble back into our cozy existence. But I was happy. I was doing something I was good at and which, hopefully, had some value.
So today when I saw the ad, it hit me that the last time I had read about Amnesty in detail and not just as a passing reference was some 13 years back. I logged onto to wikipedia and found myself and my age for some time again. Wikipedia describes Amnesty as a pressure group. A pressure Group…. We used to have so many discussions on pressure groups and the nature of such groups. Street theatre by itself was an attempt to create a momentary pressure group. It made me go back into time, something I rarely have the time to do. And, it was more than a nostalgic journey…
Today I sit here with a resolve to get back to my aware if not socio politically active self.
I called up various developmental centers yesterday seeking out relevant info.
I want to help distressed teenagers. People find it easy to relate to me and I want to use this for a bigger purpose. So if anyone knows of any NGO, organization that can use my skills, I would love it if you’d help me out.
I promise to kill the cynicism that has crept in me and sign every plea that comes my way in the hope that it will save, restore some lives.
I want to bridge the gap between my youth and now by doing something that enriches me….
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Today I saw an ad which took me so back into time that I had difficulty recognizing my present.
More on the same coming up soon. Right now am stuck in dealing with the handicaps of the present….
Till then, I'm floored...
On the 5th of June, today, I write, 10 Down, 30 To Go...
Monday, May 14, 2007
I just write about things the movies make me think about.In this case its my name....
This whole khichdi over a name may seem a bit preposterous to many but I identify with it so well.
My name is Svetleena and I have been called anything but, for the last 30 odd years of my life.
I respond to anything that remotely resembles my name. When I was in school I remember I read somewhere that every individual worth his salt should be possessive about his name and react strongly to being called by anything other than the correct pronunciation. I remember stressing over this for weeks because I didn’t want to see myself as a personality bereft of self respect and if I couldn’t stand up for my own name then self or no self, the respect was gone. So I went and asked my mom why I had been named so.
Apparently I was to be called Shweta and then mom’s friend had her baby before I bounced out and got my intended name. Oh dear god thank u, I definitely, most certainly do not feel like a Shweta. So when I came, my parents just added a “leena” and I became Shwetleena. Awwwwwfffful.
Then we went to England and I started school.
They couldn’t pronounce the “sh” of my name and, Svetleena was born.
I was called by my full name at school and an extremely short “anu” at home and with family. No problems there.
As the years went by I stopped thinking about my name as separate from myself and the only time it used to hurt was when I would have to repeat it thrice before an extremely entertained audience that comprised of my then crush, Lee. Of course, Lee was unaware of my feelings for him. Otherwise he wouldn’t roll on the floor every time I said my name….grrrrrr.
We came back to India and for the first time I was made aware that I had a Russian name. Holy hell, Russian? Finally there was a story full of intrigue and exotica…wow weren’t Russian babes supposed to be gorgeous….wow….wow. My mom laughed and told me it was my paternal grand dad’s doing. He was a communist you see….So???? Well they thought it would be extremely rotten of them to give my name a masculine tone by calling me Svetlana (stalin’s daughter) so they improvised a little and made it leena.
“But mom, what about ur friend and her daughter story?” I asked, completely askance at seeing my identity being thrown around so carelessly.
“Oh that was one of the reasons, that and this both…” was my very intelligent, trauma doctor mother’s response…..heavens!
As I got out of school and started taking interviews, I realized, I had a winner here. No interviewer worth his salt could say no to the most obvious question staring in our faces. What was the meaning of my name? So while my friends fretted over how to manufacture an opening for the interview, I just worried about which story to tell. So I reworked the stories, made them interesting and leading enough and improvised as the situation demanded. I even came up with a meaning – “Shwet” means white and “leena” means immersed in, so I became immersed in white and that, my friends, became purity….just the right touch of the demure…quite difficult to achieve if u’ve interacted with me…(did I tell you that I’m writing a script…in my mind as of now)
By the way, I was still Svetleena to my college mates and Anu to my family and boyfriend.
Then I got married.
The number of people calling me anu far out numbered those calling me by my russian name. I took a break from regular college for around three years and forgot that I even had a Russian name, one that I had fought hard to give Indian origin.
Anu, I became…..life was easy, uni directional and fun in the beginning.
I had so much fun learning how to cook the anu way. When I used to have a fight I would show my protest the anu way or not show it (that was the anu way). And, I was happy. Now when I look back, it was so much fun learning how to be anu. And then the weeks rolled into years and I grew tired of just being anu.
I fell back on my imaginary Russian roots and rebelled.
I still remember that day. I took an auto, went to the nearest parlour I could find and chopped my hair. And, then , I started rebuilding Svetleena from scratch. Juvenile some would say but there are times when one needs an external crutch to signal the coming of a new phase. After struggling for more than a year I finally went back to school to do my MBA.
Alone, resilient and under the guidance of an extremely supportive husband. (my mom never lets me forget the last one).
And, “Svetleena” gave birth to a new avatar “svety”…..today what you see and get is Svety.
At the core of me, anu resides like a beautiful memory and I value her.
My commitment to her stays but, that is where it ends.
I live like Svety. I think like Svety and I hope to bring up my son the Svety way.
As sure as I am of this right now, I also know that time will turn and possibly give my name a new meaning, a different identity….
As in the movie, I also shut my eyes and try to think of the time I was actually happy, not thrilled, just happy, and its Svety all the way……
Monday, May 07, 2007
The fight is still on. I'm in for the long haul this time. Nothing but victory matters. And, as each day turns into night, I am so happy I can go off to sleep and, not feel the hunger that rocks me, or the pain that lands me on my feet again.
As I march into battle each day, standing before the mirror,I can see the approval in my enemy's eyes...
Monday, April 30, 2007
There are some 3 pages dedicated to the Bachchan Wedding called “The Big Belittling”. I’ve read near everything that has been written about the wedding but this one holds the bakery to ransom. It’s the “intellectual’s perspective”, you see.
I had thought and decided that I would not write about this wedding and the carnival that accompanied it but, I have been known to lose balance on occasion.
I have heard over the years that one of my parents is a manglik. They fell in love at an age when Indian culture and society was being rocked by the rich poor divide more than the education vs ritual one. So manglik or no manglik, the resistance was huge as my dad came from a family which was barely making ends meet and, my mom was the daughter of the most affluent “doctor family” in the area. By the way, just to give u all a better perspective, the area that we are talking about is Bihar and both my parents studied medicine together…….Love triumphed and my nani finally gave way to my mom’s satyagraha and my dad’s bad boy appeal. And, then, an arya samaj ritual was performed to drive the manglik away. Post which, the wedding happened, or, so I’ve heard. It wasn’t very well chronicled as we were not the Bachchans and our ritualism could not qualify to be the topic of much public debate and, the flight to instant public recall.
Coming back to the Outlook article, 8 intellectuals of this country raise a very valid debate and do it in a manner that is subversive, dictatorial and complete bullshit. I am a firm believer in “there is no single stand to most issues that confront us” and therefore, “no single way that is right”. To give you fair warning, those who treat this perspective as a mere oscillation technique or a homegrown Libran trait, I suggest you quit reading.
Therefore, for me to be sticking my neck out and singling out one particular point of view as bullshit, is cause enough for concern.
How can the most intellectual bastion of this country conveniently forget the basic values of liberal thought and free action and pronounce judgment on a family which is doing what comes naturally to every other family – protecting its young ? Aren’t these people supposed to be our thought leaders? Are they not the ones who embrace the man for what he is, than for what they think he should be? Aren’t they the ones who bring us closer to the person we are, through empathy, art and intellect?
This family of superstars wants to marry off its son in the way it sees fit. To another superstar. The fact that they are superstars does not help a father’s plight or a mother’s insecurities. The stars are not rocking and the way out is through the conventional traditional route of rituals and mandir hopping. The family does that to ward off the evil “mangal”. When it is acceptable for me in my family, why does it become unacceptable when done by these superstars? Just because they choose to mingle with people we do not like makes the public react like well meaning moms of 12 yrs old kids who have just discovered “friends” : “friends” the moms do not feel are “right” for “their” kids. Stop the policing. It never works with ur own kids. It won’t work here. Amar Singh may be the most sleazy character you think you know, but most obviously, he is a critical part of “their” family. “Their” being the operative word.
I have never observed a single ritual in my personal space. But, I got married the traditional way. Not because it was desirable but because it was the done thing. I did not want to cause my parents and family the angst of rebelling just for the heck of it. If I had rebelled then and told my dad that u have taught me at the best places and, I am free thinker and, I want to do this my way which, will also save you pots of money, I daresay I would have had to face the tightest slap of my life. However, I would have lived in all the anecdotes of the latter generation and been revered like a heroine. But, I didn’t do it. It was just not worth causing my parents the angst. If that works for the daughter in me, why does it not work for the father in Bachchan or the daughter in law in Ash? They choose to be like this. And, that’s it.
How come I don’t see these intellectuals raising such a concerted demonstration of moral disbelief at institutions like marital rape? There is no ritual more pervasive and less explored than that one. No guts to raise that issue or no celebrity to piggy back on?
There is this one comment that I love because it got the adrenaline in me pumping so hard that I forgot that I had already taken my medicines for hypertension in the morning. Mr. Kiran Nagarkar, well known novelist and social commentator says “What do we make of his grand donations to temples? That he is covering his front and back, but God doesn’t give any insurances.” Kiran Nagarkar is one of the most interesting and reclusive intellectuals of modern India.
In the story titled “The Arsonist” in his complex book “God’s Little Soldiers”, he says “We must never stop questioning ourselves, holding our beliefs up to the light, Nothing can be more dangerous than to be too sure of yourself – to be too certain about the rightness of your own cause. That paves the way for intolerance towards others.” He also calls himself a confirmed atheist and believes Gods come and and go. There is only one God and that is life.
My belief matches yours Mr Nagarkar. I too believe the same. But I also believe that Mr. Bachchan may not adhere to my belief and is completely entitled to his own value tree. Whether this value tree impacts society in a positive manner is not his responsibility to ensure. To lead his life in the manner he chooses to see fit is.
I am tolerant of the fact that he is human, he can choose to act so, selfishly, erroneously, publicly.
But I guess I’m not an intellectual, right….I just see things for what they are…try to live the way I possibly would have….and understand, that even if I wouldn’t have, its still OK.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sort of washes over me and makes me want to say it over and over again.Crazy.
I have favourite words too and, they help me feel out my existence.
"Chutzpah",the yiddish term for gutsy audacity, surprising impertinence, brazen nerve (by the way all this is wikipedia). For me, Chutzpah is the smile behind the mischief, the flare of amused tolerance,the ritual of the known game and of course, the love of a defiant man..Its also the name of my first restaurant...
"Aqua", my soul word, my comfort zone, also part name of this blog. The word I come to in my angst, a place I thrash and then emerge out of, clean and so stoical...
"Jaan", urdu for beloved..only two people in my life have heard me saying this word..so much more romantic than dil or pyaar or...i love it because it sort of submerges (god that word again) the "self" and, when u say it and u mean it, its all but a lilt of the tongue..
There are so many more. Tomorrow (ah thats another favourite)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Schools have become so entrepreneurial nowadays. Yesterday they were taught how to make nimbu-paani (lemonade, for the unintiated).
I have always harbored this wish – I will not do anything to achieve it because I have always been a firm believer of free will – but I have wished for my son to become a great chef, or a mystical painter, or a fulfilled star, and always that perfect musician.
You see we do not try to live our dreams through our kids just relive them.
It is in this context of free will that I had this brilliant conversation
I called up from work in the afternoon to figure out if the TV was on. Stupid, coz the TV is always on.
He may be drawing, eating, trying to read or just plain dozing off, but, the TV is always on.
I was informed in the sweetest voice I had heard since 7 in the morning – “Mom, I know how to make nimbu paani”
Me, in my proudest mommy voice – “woooow betu, u’re a genius” (I’m slightly prone to exaggerated demonstration where hes concerned)
Him – “so what are we doing in the evening?” (Kids have changed, haven’t they..)
Me – “I’ll come home baby and, we’ll have ur nimbu paani” (simple questions demand stupidly obvious answers)
Him – “koi aa nahi raha kya” (which is an incredulous “noones coming or what?” because we love having friends over every second day)
Me – “Don’t know baby,,,why?”
Him – “Arre kisi ko toh bula lo” (frustrated request - just call someone, ok)
Me (understanding my son oh so well) – “arre baby I’ll have ur nimbu paani”
Him – “But I want to know achcha hai ki nahi”
Me – “So I’ll tell you betu” (haha…I will make him a confident child through constant appreciation - I’m his mother and I will do it)
Him – “Mom, u will never ever tell me if its bad na…u’ll always say “betu kamaal hai”..u just love me and so u’ll lie”
Me (anxious, agitated, fighting for credibility…whatever…really want him to see me as a honest yardstick now – “nahin nahin ishu I’ll really tell u”
Him, hard hearted, cruel, dismissive – “no call someone na …I want to know really”
I still haven’t gotten over this conversation. It raises so many thoughts, and, challenges the way I think and act.
I have always believed that I do not have to be the bitter pill my friends and family need to swallow to be made aware of realities around them or about themselves.
Learning is entirely self motivated and time gratified.
Its not only my son who has questioned my unflinching devotion (haha, couldn’t think of another phrase for it) and declared it to be soppy love.
I remember when I was growing up I used to take my mom’s love for granted and dad used to be the person who’s approval mattered.
My mom used to love it that way too.
After I got married, I realized my mom’s values. Those values have held me strong and made me the person I am today.
I learnt from her that no love is ever enough and it is always enough to love…
And, I will stay with that…
By the way, the nimbu paani was tested and approved (both parties were immensely satisfied by the audit) by someone who has difficulty believing the feedback I give too.
Source Un credible, he says.
One day, Source Incredible is what it’ll become….
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
2007 seems to be a year of Reinvention.
As the months dragged by last year, each and every truth I had known as permanent changed. It was naive of me to assume that there is a single truth and it is permanent. As each blinker came off, I adjusted to the ensuing reality and accepted what had always been apparent.It was I, who had refused to accept it and therefore, it lay abandoned.
Today, I can proudly say that I have come out, Evolved.
Abandoning was never my style,and at this moment,I own with my being, all my decisions, every one of my mistakes and not a single of my fears.
The heart line on my palm has changed, and with it, has my life...and, I'm happy..
My son grows each day, in my consciousness, at a greater speed, than the teeth he keeps popping out..his receptive powers astound me...
I am finally on my way to beating the hell out of my worst enemy. Incidentally, my only enemy..my oldest enemy...
I trust each one of my friends with the innocence of a child (or so I have been told). Still. Haha..the blinkers coming off doesn't mean i don't get a new stock...
I discover new experiences at my work place at a pace which can only evoke awe (most of it to do with the passion of sport). The pace is directly proportional to the sportiness I exude...those who know me will know the worth of this statement, those who don't, ever heard of sarcasm?
I have friends who still love to play Bray and Ludo and whacky music games. Go to hell X Box...
And, I know with all my heart and belief that the wheels will turn...this is just the preparation...its just God's way of telling me "baby i'm giving u this year, prepare for war".
So long sweetheart, I will be ready....
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Have not really been busy. Just haven’t had anything to say I guess.
In the past, someone close once told me, that I write more when I’m angst ridden. Haha..Perhaps I should take this as a good sign then.
Or, on the contrary, angst is such a part of life that I’ve stopped noticing its presence. Haven’t we all?
Maybe its because I’m wearing yellow today.
Yellow makes me a sunnier person. Always.
Or, maybe, its because I have finally started off on something that I should have ideally finished by now
Or better still, maybe, I made some time to look at myself in the mirror today
And, I saw Yellow…..
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Shome is a very dear friend and someone I have been trying to get onto blogging for quite some time now. He has a tremendous sense of humour which reflects in the way he writes. See if you can persuade him to join the bandwagon with us...
Over to U Shome...
Bermuda lost to Bangladesh yesterday, and the hopes of a billion Indian's sank. For a nation that has been brought up on a steady diet of stories where heroes make a 'comeback' against all odds and triumph over 'evil' in the face of unspeakable adversity, the harsh reality of India not being able to sneak into the Super 8, and script something similar, was a splash of very cold water on the face. The romantic notion of the revival of the century was over. There was going to be no Lagaanesque win. We were truly and fully knocked out.
Of course Bermuda lost its big chance too. And I am not talking about cricket here. It could have been the most popular country in the world for more than a billion people had it managed to wallop Bangladesh. It would have been a huge jump. From being equated to a rather shabby, ill-shaped, half trouser it would finally be recognized as a nation. A brave, warrior, cricket playing nation. But it was not to be. It will go down as the life buoy that failed to inflate when Indian cricket was splashing around in the inky black, rough waters of early elimination.
The reactions to our exit are as varied as our nation itself. It ranges from the banal and obvious ("We were out of form, and played poorly") to the sharp analytical ("Our top few guys are too old) to the hysterical ("Bastards are only worried about endorsements! Lets boycott all products endorsed by cricketers") to the conspiratorial ("Dada did this. He made sure Dravid did not win the World Cup") to the political ("We need to kick all Bangladeshis out of India) to the petty ("Thank god Pakistan is also out") to the emotional ("Why?? WHYYYY?? It's the death of cricket I tell you. The death), and lastly to the evergreen denial ("Cricket? What is cricket??!! It's only a small insect that makes a lot of noise in the night. There is no such game and hence we have lost nothing!")
Things are going to be very ugly for the sports and the gentlemen who represent India for the next few months. India is not only a nation of a billion fans, but also of a billion pundits. Everyone will be sitting on his high chair of judgement and passing verdicts on what should have been done, and what could have been done and who is to blame and who is the real villain of the piece. So get ready to watch the media circus of the year in the next two months. Who knows, you might actually spot Ashish Nehra after four years or get reminded of Shiv Sundar Das as every channel tries to provoke and confront and bring to light the True Cause of this moral shattering loss.
Questions will be raised on all our heroes. Are they good enough? Is Tendulkar really a great batsman or is he a weak team bully? Does Dravid deserve to be in the team? When has Dhoni performed last? Why did Sehwag play? And who gets Agarkar back in the team everytime? Media with its sensational tone and peering, drama laden eyes will hold the microphone under any nose it deems fit and goad for a response. And yes, you can vent your angst and toss your few pearls of wisdom through SMS too! The biggest reality show in India is just about to begin.
But things will settle down eventually. Like it does so beautifully in India. People will forget about March 23rd, 2007. Blame the defeats to fate and destiny and the poor quality ghee used in all the yagnas that were done for the benefit of the team. The chanting will start again, Dhoni will be cheered, Sachin revered, Ganguly admired, Agarkar reprimanded. The game must go on. The fans will start building their castles of hope again and placing the modern day gods back on their pedestals. 2011! That's going to be our year. And yes, Tendulkar will play. At 37. Just like Lara is playing this time.
Its not the beginning or the end that I have a problem with. It's the middle that I am worried about. No, I am not talking of our batting order. I am talking about the events that are going to unfold from now on till the time things return to normalcy and 2011 catches the buzz. Of course its going to be hot for the players as they come back. If you desire to be worshipped, then have the guts to take the sucker punch when you fail. Look at the Big B. He has done it all his life. And of course things will return to absolute normalcy soon. And we will be sending another 15 to the 2011 World Cup. The key question to be asked is what should we be doing from the time things cool down to the time that we need to send the team to 2011?
Cut to 2003. We got thrashed in the final (again a 23rd March!) The team came back to a muted response. The nation knew that a better team had won. Promises were made to improve. New coach, new mantra: Young blood, new captain, new mission - 2007!
In the end, we send a 15 member team with 9 guys from the old team. And worse, in the playing 11, only 3 of the Young Blood finally got in. Basically, we sent back and played the same team that we had in 2003 after having identified that some changes were required. We knew that we needed to build a new team, a leaner, sleeker, younger unit. And we failed to do exactly that.
In my mind that's the failure of Indian cricket. Not being able to stick to a plan. Either in game or in strategy. And this time we have a chance again to cure things. The wake up call is harsher than last time. And the cause of worry, given the performance, deeper. Let all the so called pundits get their heads together and decide what to do, but after having decided, let's stick to the plan.
Here wishing everyone happy introspection and profound retrospective wisdom. Think through, talk about it and use the blogs to shape the team you want. After all, the true fan must take his responsibility further than screaming hysterically when things are good and flinging mud at the walls of cricketers when things go wrong.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Just some questions that keep coming back :
What would Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar's son hear when he goes to school tommorrow ?
If this is sport then would I want my son to be a sportsperson
If people have unrealistic aspirations, even a billion of them, do they have the right to blame anyone but themselves at the fall
So many soul searchers and yet none that has the guts to stare the truth in his face
The fall of one single God and yet it'll only take us one small victory to create another ten of them
I am sad that the best batting lineup in the world failed but we were only investing our hopes, demands, ambition in them. Wake upto the fact that this must be tragic for them. If you want a part of the win, be ready to take responsibility for the spoils.
They failed not because they endorse brands, or earn millions or even woo phillum babes. They failed because they did not deserve to win. They were bested and thats that.
Lets stop calling ourselves fans of the game and these players if we can't stop thinking beyond our nose and how much it has cost us.
Grow up....we have a team to resurrect and only the faith of a billion to do it with...
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I was down with viral over the weekend and much of the 1st half of this week. Fell ill after a long time so enjoyed myself quite a bit....thats a stupid thing to say, right???
Discovered so many things about myself, my life, others, their lives and of course, my loves....
These lines kept coming back to me in some form or the other. All of them snapshots from different songs that I had heard before but never really sat down with. Now that I did sit with them, I realised they summed up my life so damn well.
"Dheemi aanch pe tuu zara ishq chadha"
"Isi shauq kaa imtihaan jindagi hai"
"Kehne ko saath apne ek duniya chalti hai
Par chhupke is dil mein tanhaayi palti hai"
"har nazar uth rahi hai tumhaari taraf,tumhaari nazar hai hamaari tarf
aankh uthana tumhara to phir thik tha, aankh utha kar jhukaana ghazab dha gaya"
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
|You Are Impressionism|
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
It Is He
This is not a post on my thoughts about Nishabd.
Its about this one man who makes it look so easy....
I didn't discover I was a great gunner for this man till very late. I caught his bad phase, all the "Aaj Ka Arjuns" and the "Padosin Apni Murgi Ko Rakhna Sambhal" days. Today I can look back and say that there was beauty in that too, but then, I was not ready to tolerate anything but the sensible. Now that I think of it, that perspective on its own, was so senseless...
And, then someone introduced me to "Shakti". I saw Shakti before I saw Deewar. And, I fell. Post that day, it has been a conscious effort to keep up with him. He never surprises me. He gives me pictures that I carry home from the dead black of a cinema hall and, he completely colours my perspective about other actors.
Nishabd just proves again
that there is noone else who can do "The Bridges of Madison County" for me
that there is this man who lives like an island, complete in his own environ
that the time it takes for him to portray the transformation of a 60yr old man's understanding with life, to a 40 yr old's rebellion with that understanding, could be likened to the flicker of a gaze
that when he laughs its a celebration that you asolutely cannot say No to....
The "he" is not intentional. Would not want to usurp whatever little Rekha has of "him".
Watch him in the scene in which he discovers his daughter knows about his relationship with the 18yr old and it'll just give you reason to repeat one more time, there lives a king and it is HE !!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Virendra, lord of the heroes, of noble descent and brave design. Thats what his name means.
Till about a week back it wouldn't have mattered. But then, till about a week back I hadn't met him. I was oblivious to the perks of working with adidas till I sat on a warm evening last week in a group of six (the point being, that, it was select. well, select enough) and had papri chaat with a legend.
I know I sound star struck. Believe me, I'm not. This was no star that I met. I'm just struck by the demeanour Sehwag chose to adopt.
I write "chose" because with the kind of adulation Sehwag has seen and the years and times that have "braved" him, he could choose to be anyone he wants. And, he "chooses" to be himself. For a person who is being ridiculed by one and sundry on playing the most irresponsible innings of his life consistently over the last few months, responsibilty sits easy on him.
I don't know much about cricket apart from the fact that we, the audience impart the game with a life and, its players, with life after the game. We never fail to appreciate the human angle. Or so we think. We make them and then we break them so that they can make themselves. And, now, we have precedent. As Ganguly makes a comeback, with tears in our eyes, happy tears mind u, we take a bow and claim his success as ours. How touching!
Virendra Sehwag is going through bad times. He just happens to be in a position where we feel we all have a right to a piece of him. We invest our time and money in making Gods out of players and it is only justice that we demand when one falters. Considering the alarming frequency with which we declare the resurrection of Phoenixes it is no wonder that the Indian Audience begs and demands in the same breath. When he lumbers back to the crease only to get run out in the most humiliating fashion we conveniently forget that the road out of angst is laden with such illustrations of the bad getting worse.
I sat with Sehwag till he polished off his papri chaat that evening. The only thing I could think of was what must he be thinking of us.
His humility was made the hero repeatedly in groups of cricket crazy fans through the office. The fact that he smiled, he seemed so unassuming, he laughed at himself gave his fans the justification they needed to hold on to the person they wanted him to be. It felt sad that we needed justification for someone we believed in. It was tragic that he had to witness the need to justify, within us.
Yes, Sehwag is humble. Yes, fame has not changed him. Yes, he is our friend. He is also scaling a professional low. Behind that smile would be angst. But then, Virendra means of noble descent and what is nobility, if not, the graciousness to wait for time to heal its own course.
Heres hoping time heals in style.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I saw Black Friday last evening. I love Kay Kay. And, I died for Satya. Both these reasons made Paanch (unreleased) and Black Friday my most eagerly awaited movies for the last few years. So, it would be a lie if I said I went in without any expectations. Plus I'm this great sucker for the underdog and to my mind Anurag Kashyap had been through more than his share of financial and emotional ordeal on both these movies. With such faith in my heart I ventured in.
The first 30 minutes of the movie are rivetting. I had goose pimples and my mind rejoiced, the wait had been worth it.
From then on, I tried to love the movie...I really tried.
Black Friday, Bombay's greatest folly and, also, its loftiest feat as the world saw that you could shake bombay but not kill its spirit.....so the media led us to believe.
After all characters of cities are surely determined by sterotypes media accentuates and personailities we want to endow ourselves with. Kashyap scores there. He does not give in to that stereotype. He breaks the cliche where the dark remains the dark. Bombay does what any city would have done...lets time lead its own course.
At some level, I also feel that the years in the can took their toll on the originality of its film making.
Over the years, many films have come out which show Bombay in its stark reality, a land of "bhais' who speak less and do lots, of a police force which is street smart and surprisingly works, of a "hero" police squad thats maverick enough to lend itself to cinematic proportions, of a background scores that hauntingly similar to the landscape of the movie.
So, whats new?
The fact that when the news reporter on a news channel recounts the horror of the blasts it does not seem as if shes enjoying her day under the sun. The commentary is precise, neutral and not delivered to sensationalise.
Dubai is not only the land of the D but, D is home
Dawood is Dawood, Advani is Advani and yes, kashyap shows his guts when Thackeray is Thackeray
So, why did I try to love the movie?
You know when you're working on excel and you put one formula too many at the wrong place, theres a pop up which tells you that you've put a circular reference. Thats my take on the movie. Its a 3 hr movie which goes round and round around the same pivot.
Its a docu drama approach that does not want to pass judgement. Give it like it happened. However, in empathising with all sides of the story, justifications and reason do crop up.
So we pan in to the blasts, pan out to the terrorist team, pan in again to the unresolved feelings of a minority community, pan out again to the chasm that exists between the one who directs to the one who finally does.
Brilliant, till now.
But, Kashyap doesn't leave it at that. He takes us back to the Babri Masjid, the cheering by the hindutwa brigade infront of a TV, dialogue play on the might of Islam and the persecution of muslims. You would assume a certain level of consciousness in the audience of such a movie and that would be reason enough to trust them with open ended thoughts.
Its too clinical. Though there are moments where protagonists vent their angst, the angst is not really shown or is possibly subdued.
Kay Kay drops his head into a bucket of water to rid himself of the angst he feels when he sees suspects being tortured. Aditya Srivastava cries, hollers, flys into fits of rage to vent his frustration. All the scenes are there. The characters are painstakingly built. But, wheres the angst? Limited inter personal emotional interactions are possibly responsible for this.
Its funny that the one place where the angst is tangible, where the connect happens is the scene that has the audience chuckling in empathy.
The police squad ends up chasing an extremely agile member of the terrorist gang for a good 10 minutes all around Bombay's slums. At the end of it all, the terrorist and police thulla chasing him are so tired that they are almost struggling to walk. The thulla pleads with the terrorist "abe ruk ja, bas kar ab". One short line of plain talking to each other and the angst flows.
Black Friday is a courageous attempt. The intention more than makes up for any limitations the movie has. As a book lover I have always been part of many a conversations around "the movie does not do justice to the book" debate. This is one movie, where even though I haven't read Zaidi's book, I know, that that debate, would be redundant.
This ones for a city that changed names and names that went on to change history.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Some lines that remind me of the music in the rains, windows that talk and broken silhouettes.
None of these lines are mine but, what I wouldn't do to claim them as mine......
From Dashboard Confessional, Dusk & Summer
The signal is subtle
We pass just close enough to touch
No questions, no answers
We know by now to say enough
With only simple words
With only subtle turns
The things we feel alone for one another
There is a secret that we keep
I won't sleep if you won't sleep
Because tonight may be the last chance we'll be given
We are compelled to do what we must do
We are compelled to do what we have been forbidden
So I won't sleep if you won't sleep tonight
Until the last resilient hope
Is frozen deep inside my bones
And this broken fate has claimed me
And my memories for its own
Your name is pounding through my veins
Can’t you hear how it is sung?
And I can taste you in my mouth
Before the words escape my lungs
And I’ll whisper only once…
There is a secret that we keep
I won’t sleep if you won’t sleep
Because tonight may be the last chance we’ll be given
We are compelled to do what we have to
We are compelled to do what we have been forbidden
From Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead
I sat there beside him till morning - and as I watched his face in the starlight, then the first ray of the sun on his untroubled forehead and closed eyelids, what I experienced was not a prayer, I do not pray, but that state of spirit at which a prayer is a misguided attempt: a full, confident, affirming self-dedication to my love of the right, to the certainty that the right would win and that this boy would have the kind of future he deserved. . . . I did not expect it to be as great as this - or as hard.
A Short Poem by Peter Griffin
A cold evening
Drifts down from the Aravallis.
One ear stays warm.
Science would insist
That it's a cheap phone
I know what it really is:
To share the sunset.
By Leonard Cohen
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, i know that we are not knew,
in city and in forest they smelled like me and you,
but now its come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, thats no way to say goodbye
I'm not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
its just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but lets not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, thats no way to say goodbye....
Sunday, January 14, 2007
When does the end come?
When u accept it, or, when you take action to change the existing truth, or the non-truth?
Or are they levels that you work through?
Are they sequential or can they hit you, not out of the blue because you knew it all along didn't you, but, because how much longer can you resist the hurt and hence, the hurting anyways?
Will it ever be enough to say enough without really doing anything?
What and when is enough? When will it be alright to stop pretending that you have reason to believe that you're some way away from it?
When will it be time to say, I tried but, I failed?
As the sun enters the northern hemisphere today, as the Sun God proceeds to visit his prodigal son Shani today, as Vishnu emerges victorious over the Asuras today, as Bhishma decides to use his boon of "ikchha mrityu" today,
I ask myself to stand before the mirror and say "its time to set the cold aside".......
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I saw Babel last night. Usually I don’t do reviews or posts on movies. I sincerely believe that my tastes in the arts cannot be singled out as vanguard and therefore I refrain from commenting through my experiences. There are times, however, when I’m forced to make exceptions.
Babel, a tower that humans decided to build in order to reach heaven and God. The arrogance of man got to God, who in all his humility, made everybody speak different languages. The premise is not new, neither is the treatment. Crash worked on similar premise and I’ve seen the treatment in Crash, Syriana, and Traffic.
Babel did not hit me like a Departed. It did not make me comfortable in the end like Crash. What it did do was make me watch each scene with a growing restlessness for each of its characters. This is saying a lot for its inertia breaking potential as the movie unfolds languorously through less than restless dimensions.
There is no point in making a point of its non linear approach to story telling. It’s the new age of film making and today’s directors don’t make films but tell stories. Of people and circumstances that are anything but linear.
There is a brilliant cameo by Gael Garcia Bernal as Santiago, the nanny’s nephew who comes into the story to catalyze the mexicano sojourn. As the reel unfolds with him, you sit at the edge of your seat trying to figure out where the disruption is going to happen. You know that its going to happen at his hands as such compelling a performance cannot be wasted. And, does it happen at his hands? No. He stands as a bystander for long as his identity is linked to his roots and persecuted. And, then he reacts…not like the dude you would have expected him to be but, so like a hunted animal in desperate abandon. What a performance. Focus on his eyes and sure to God u will see what I’m talking about.
Ah, the Japanese girl…..Rinko Kikuchi…Cheiko..hers is a story of the director’s indulgence. Very loosely tied to the main script, she flirts at the fringe but, forms the recurring conscience of the film. I had only heard till now that Japan is always on the move. See how Japan is captured frame by frame and you bet its on the move. There is nothing out of the ordinary this girl does. She plays volleyball. She meets friends. She wants to attract guys. She is desperate for love. She has an angst ridden family life. She wants to get laid. And, she is also deaf and dumb. But, contrast these very human failings with the awe inspiring solution provider, always ahead, facade of japanese culture and you have a story. Japan is definitely on the move but Cheiko isn’t. Like so many like her around the world, she is just trying….
To me this movie was not just about communication that was not able to fructify because it went un understood. No. That would be too simple a demand by the director from his audience.
The one big thing that I carried back was “dignity”. The dignity of life and living.
An American woman has been shot. She lies in an unknown village at the back of nowhere. She can’t move. She is forced to relieve herself in her clothes. Knowing the person for who she is her husband picks up his shot wife and enables her to accomplish relieving herself again in a pan. It doesn’t matter if shes dying, she deserves the dignity to be herself. And, that is when, while she is relieving herself, they find reason to speak the same language again. Of forgiveness. Of truth. Not profound, but, momentous in terms of discovery.
As the older brother gets shot and the father runs towards him, the younger one does what comes naturally to him. He picks up the gun and starts firing. He is a dude and he knows best. Well, till he sees his brother dying. And, then he takes the most decisive action of the movie , he kills the rifle and walks out to surrender. Tall in stature and dignity both.
As the American woman lies shot and bleeding in a ramshackle house, left to the care of an even more dilapidated old Moroccan woman you hope and pray that that is not the end. As the old woman rises to shut the door against prying eyes you breathe again. Cultures are isolated but understanding of privacy is not.
As the nanny’s daughters dress her up for her son’s wedding in her old, very old, when she was 20 types red dress, the nanny comments on how it still fits her because she is still young. The daughters smile, hide the part where the back zip refuses to zip their mother’s age and make her feel all of 20 again.
As I said, the dignity of life and living.
As you can see this is no review. Just pictures that made me think. A story that was told. And. not forgotten.
Was the movie good? Who cares???