Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aal Izz Well

Let me confess at the very outset that this post, by no stretch of imagination, is an endeavor to review the magic called  "3 idiots (3i, hereafter)". I watched the movie this morning and however hard I try (actually I don't and don't want to for as long as possible !), I am just unable to get over the hangover (or magic,) should I say. And, that is why I was compelled (or deeply motivated) to scribble all that went through my head, my heart during and after the movie that so subtly breezed away from across my face into the infinite depth of the celluloid screen that stood as a monster with a plethora of question marks on its pimpled face long after the end of credits.

The way the camera rolled through the hills and greens of Shimla at the very start of the film enthralled me to the very core. Besides, the magical voice of Shaan (singer) put through some wonderful lyrics (Swanand Kirkire, the lyricist) made the captivation superlative. I like Madhavan and Sharman very much and was dreaded of my bias getting the better of me but the two idiots (suddenly the word seems a much coveted adjective, isn't it !) were superb in every word they uttered, every expression they gave, and every tear they shed and I have no doubt I am keeping the 'bias' intact. The scene where Farhan (Madhavan) tries to convince his father (the ever-sober sweet adorable Parikshit Sahni) reflects the brillaince of the actor, what a pull-off ! Same goes for all the emotional scenes filmed on Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) especially in which he shares screen space with Rancho (coming to him in a bit, wait !). The interview scene is equally brilliant; the sincerity and the magic of simplicity of character and lines is amply evident. Kudos Sharman for that sincerity and simplicity !

After watching the disastrous De Dana Dan Goal, I had asked myself, "Why would an actor of the calibre of Boman Irani do such a film and do it so pathetically, who has always been great to watch and adore, be it as Doctor Asthana in Munnabhai MBBS or Happy Singh, the broker in Lage Raho Munnaibhai or the unscrupulous Khurana of Khosla ka Ghosla fame." BUT, (and that's a big one) after watching Viru Sahastrabuddhe in 3i, I can do nothing but bow before the man. This has to be, without a doubt, his best work to date (with Khurana of Khosla ka Ghosla falling a close second) and I don't want to act criminal here by not accolading (the little that I can, through my writing) his genius in the scene where he cries and gives his most prized possession, the astronaut's pen to Rancho (thank you for bearing with me...just a 'few' more lines).

Kareena Kapoor, needless to say (more so post Jab We Met), delivers another brilliant performance in what may look a cameo to some. She has pretty good space in the film and comes as a significant character out of the overall personality of the film. The ease with which she can change her expressions, the flexibility in changing gears, is envious. The fact gets reflected in most of her scenes especially the one where she enters the 3idiots' room drunk or the one where she is completely dejected at the knowledge of her sister's ill-born baby (Aal was well,, don't worry...even that was an intelligent piece of writing on the part of the script-writers, Raj Kumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi).

Mona Singh is good in her little role. Needless to say in this context, the whole childbirth scene was superb. Millimeter (the boy who does all the works of students at the hostel) and Chatur (the geek who could memorise every bit of the course text, even the punctuation marks) were brilliant. The Teacher's Day speech and the pets' introduction scene (yeh hai kilobyte, yeh Megabyte aur yeh inki maa Gigabyte) were hilarious and lovely respectively. What also stand out are the witty dialogues of Millimeter and the diction, pronounciation (of hindi words), and mannerisms of Chatur that are hilarious to the core and both of them have done tremendously as actors in whatever role they had.

And, now comes the turn of the charismatic Rancho (Aamir Khan), the man who, in his small little ways, transforms the approach his friends have towards life in general. The fact that he succeeds in unleashing the coconut in Virus (the otherwise stone-hearted individual who pressurizes his son so much on what he should opt for as a career he committed suicide) is exemplary of the fact that no matter what, one (audience included) just can't escape the effect of Rancho's subtle magic spelt in his ideologies and approach towards life. Every time Rancho comes on screen, which he does almost all the time, he enslaves you with his wit, logic, clarity of thought, way to living life, emotions, and what not. This has to be one of the most thought out and detailed characters he has ever played. I don't want people to laugh my competence out by commenting more on the acts of the maestro but I would definitely mention something Aamir has so made his own - the make-ups for different characters he plays; this was one again evident in 3i in the different make-ups he wore for the plethora of characters that Pia (Kareena Kapoor) fantasizes about and the scientist he plays (that Chatur was so desperate to ink a deal with).

The writer duo of Raj Kumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi has delivered a stupendous product which takes script and dialogue writing to a new level altogether. I shall not comment more on this as I find myself speechless enough not to. Take a bow, both of you.

The master of all prestidigitators in this magical act, the director Raj Kumar Hirani extracts the very very best out of every actor in the film. In addition, the sense of music that he has deserves a big applause. Shantanu Moitra's music, Swanand Kirkire's lyrics, and Avit Dias (Aal izz well)/Bosco-Ceasar's (Zoobie-Doobie) choreography are all brilliantly timed and truly wonderful creations of art.

Aal Izz Well which has so truly and deservedly become the nation's anthem is a wonderful phrase presented beautifully and is already making rounds amongst the youth (especially) of the country.

3i, very successfully, sets a new benchmark in story-telling. It achieves a lot - it (together with Rocket Singh- salesman of the year, not so long ago) shows how significant writers are to a film, it reflects the fact that delivering simplicity (while acting a character) makes any character look truly exceptional, and it demonstrates  yet again that directors can do wonders with scripts and actors.

As I already said, it's magical. Aal Izz Well with me and wish Aal Izz Well with you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bhopal Revisited !

First of all, my apologies for keeping away for such a long time but believe me, I have been really preoccupied with certain academic obligations at college.

Anyway, this particular post is dedicated to a case on unarguably the most horrifying humanitarian (corporate/industrial) disaster better known to us as the "Bhopal Gas Tragedy" and let me tell you at the very outset, TRAGEDY would definitely have to be an understatement which I am pretty sure not many would disagree with once they have read through the post.

For the detailed case, kindly refer to the book "Environmental Management" by Dr. Bala Krishnamoorthy (Page Nos. 208-212, Case 2: Bhopal Revisited); the Google link to the book is (Kindly go to page no 208). I have tried to analyse the case to the best of my ability. This post is an endeavor to bring to your knowledge the details of the case and seeks your sincere attention, in general. Read On !

Facts of the case

  • §    On December 2nd and 3rd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tonnes of deadly methyl isocyanate gas
  • §    On the portentous night of December 2nd, 1984, when an employee was flushing a corroded pipe, multiple stopcocks failed and allowed water to flow freely into the largest tank of MIC (methyl isocyanate) the exposure of which led to an uncontrolled reaction; the tank blasted and spewed a deadly cloud of MIC, hydrogen cyanide, monomethyl amine and other chemicals. Mother Nature did no mercy either and blown by the prevailing winds, the ominous cloud blanketed over the city of Bhopal and soon thereafter, incessant death counts started.
  • §    Casualties: actual figures unknown; approximation of Municipal Workers – 15,000
  • §     As many as 20,000 people have died to date as a result of the deadly exposure and more than 1,20,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site
  • §    Nearby water bodies heavily contaminated with mercury, lead, and other heavy metals in addition to harmful organochlorides
  • §    Every safety system that had been installed to prevent a leak of MIC (methyl isocyanate) – at least six in all – ultimately proved inoperative
  • §    In 2001, Michigan-based chemical corporation Dow Chemical purchased Union Carbide, thereby acquiring its assets and liabilities
  • §    Mr. Warren Anderson, Union Carbide’s CEO at the time of disaster, has never stood trial before an Indian court and on top of that, has evaded even an international arrest warrant and a summons to appear before a US court
  • §    The Union Carbide Corporation, charged with culpable homicide (a criminal charge with no upper limit on the penalty associated with it), has also refused to appear before an Indian court

Consequences of the disaster

The havoc that the gas leakage unleashed in Bhopal should be appreciated in the light of the long term effects/consequences it had and the immediate effects should not be considered alone.

  • §    Immediate casualties in thousands and the effects of the disaster felt even today in the form of an epidemic of cancers, menstrual disorders, ‘monstrous births’, and other ailments
  • §    The gas affected people continue to succumb to injuries sustained during the disaster, dying at the rate of one each day
  • §    Dow Chemicals has consistently and stringently maintained it isn’t liable for the Bhopal accident although by corporate law, it is the acquirer of both the assets as well as the liabilities of Union Carbide
  • §    Treatment protocols are hampered by the company’s (Union Carbide’s as well as Dow Chemical’s ) continuous refusal to share information it holds on the toxic effects of MIC claiming the data is a “trade secret”
  • §    Local groundwater and well water near the site of accident revealed mercury at levels between 20,000 to 6 million times than those expected
  • §    Cancer and brain-damage and birth-defect-causing chemicals were found in the water; trichloro-ethene, a chemical shown to impair fetal development, was found at levels 50 times higher than EPA safety limits
  • §    Testing has revealed presence of poisons such as 1,3,5 trichlorobenzene, dichloromethane, chloroform, lead, and mercury in the breast milk of nursing women
  • §    The children of gas-affected women are subject to a frightening array of debilitating illness, including retardation, gruesome birth defects, and reproductive disorders
  • §    In 1989, Union Carbide, in partial settlement with the Indian government, agreed to pay out some $470 million in compensation; the victims were not consulted in the settlement discussions, and many felt cheated by the compensation -- $300 - $500 – or about five years’ worth of medical expenses

Concluding Remarks

Bhopal Gas Tragedy provides for an acute case of “corporate negligence” on the part of first, the Union Carbide Corporation, and then by its owner, Dow Chemical. The following points shall conclude my understanding of the case:

  • §    The Union Carbide factory was in shackles right from the outset because the sales never met company’s expectations owing to the incapacity of the Indian farmers to buy Union Carbide’s pesticides. The plant never reached its full capacity and ceased active production in the early 1980s
  • §    However, three tanks continued to hold over 60 tonnes of MIC and to add to the already existing negligence, the safety systems installed to avoid the leakage of the poisonous (and deadly) MIC were allowed to fall into disrepair which ultimately proved inoperative
  • §    The maintenance was so bad that on that unfortunate night, multiple stopcocks failed allowing water to flow freely into the largest tank containing MIC. The exposure of water thus led to an uncontrolled reaction blasting the tank and spewing a deadly cloud of MIC, hydrogen cyanide, monomethyl amine, and other chemicals all over the city of Bhopal causing immediate casualties

Had there been timely and proper maintenance and audit of the plant and the site, the disaster could have been avoided, for sure.

It has already been mentioned that no party, neither the Union Carbide Corporation nor Dow Chemical seem to be accepting their mistakes or accepting any liabilities. This is clearly reflected by the fact that the site itself has never been cleaned up, and a new generation is being poisoned by the chemicals that Union Carbide left behind.

The role of the government and the judiciary is far from satisfactory in this case. Neither of the two parties has been stringent enough to bring the perpetrators of the crime (of negligence and thereafter not taking responsibility) to the court of law. Our failure to bring Mr. Warren Anderson, the then CEO of Union Carbide before the court of law is evidence enough to show our lack of authority and seriousness in the matter.

Merely shelling out money as compensation shall not do justice to the case on the whole. It is worth mentioning in this context that the victims were not consulted and a sort of unilateral decision as regards to the amount of compensation was taken.

There is a lot that needs to be done for the victims (including survivors) of this horrifying humanitarian disaster. Issues like cleaning up of the site, adequate compensation, adequate health measures, etc. should be very strictly dealt with. Besides, the state (in collaboration with the Central Government) government should take some stern action through the protocols prescribed in the Indian Judicial System and bring those responsible in any way whatsoever, to the court of law and punish them as severely as possible considering the extent of destruction (of life and property) and the catastrophe (psychological) brought to all those people who were affected, in some way or the other, that unfortunate night.

However, inspite of all the analyses and discussions, there is no way one can comprehend what happened that fateful night or feel what went through people's minds while running randomly for their lives on that night of ominous significance. The following statement from Rashida Bi, a survivor who lost five gas-exposed family members to cancers sums it all :

"Those who escaped with their lives are the "unlucky ones"; the lucky ones are those who died on that night."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Too austere to appreciate !

I was eagerly awaiting NDTV's late night program "The Buck Stops Here" as the subject for panel-discussion was our very own very well known(by now, courtesy a grand media attention it has gathered) "The Great Austerity Drive" of the Indian National Congress. The Panel comprised the ubiquitous Jayanthi Natarajan (ubiquitous ! yes, she has to be; she is the AICC spokesperson, after all), Shyam Benegal, another lady and another gentleman (can't recall their names... my bad !). As was expected, Jayanthi Natarajan went on harping on what the INC stood for, what its (political) culture stood for, how insightful, thoughtful, and down-to-earth were the initiative(s) of the top brass of congress, right from the word 'go'. It's interesting to know that the protagonist to the play [who,supposedly, has spun a cobweb with a blue colored "t" written all over it ! (read Tweet...Tweet....Twitter !)], Dr. Shashi Tharoor, was a thousand miles away on an external affairs ministerial visit (to Liberia;yes, I have been following him on Twitter). The furor is an aftermath to a tweet answering a query (asking if Dr. Tharoor was willing to travel in the "cattle(economy) class") that stated "absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our 'holy cows'". My dear friend informed me that "cattle class" is an english slang and a british colloquialism used commonly by the inhabitants there. Besides, the phrase 'holy cows' refers to some sacrosanct belief or principle that nobody can challenge. To my earlobes, though, the phrases did sound  a touch demeaning and inconsequential, both at the same time. As Ms. Jayanti told, innumerable people travel by economy class and to use such phrases(in public domain !) was totally condemnable, disgraceful, unacceptable and a politically incorrect act, more so on the part of such a learned traveled well-read experienced scholarly man. But she couldn't recall enough to tell that it was a phrase that he (Dr. Tharoor) had only repeated, the real culprit (in the eyes of INC, of course) was the journalist who used that phrase in his question. But, even that is totally dispensable. There are bigger more important issues to address.

It is true that the Congress' austerity spree has gained much hullabaloo amidst all the debates and discussions that it has garnered but I certainly see it in light of a certain betrayal to the humongous innocent public that announced its verdict in favour of the congress led UPA not so long ago. The so-called Austerity drives, the Yatras (Rath or Pad or Whatever), all these activities draw great public attention and instantaneously connect with the aam-aadmi by virtue of first, these activities being blessed with an inherent property of amassing billions and second, harnessing the Achilles heel  of us Indians, our emotions and succeed every time because we are like that only, we are emotional people, how much ever we try to, we can never wish away the fact that we have always been and we are still being hoodwinked or to use a simpler and precise word, befooled by the so-called altruism of our governors occupying apex governmental positions(either directly or with an indirect 'Sonia Gandhi').

India, in its 60 odd years since independence, has amassed many issues of critical importance worth applying our brains to and has been really struggling all through to find a way out as if Stuck in a Labyrinth !. We have made tremendous progress too in almost every realm (which I hold no intention to slight to the least) but every time activities like the current austerity drive come up, it leaves me thinking, have we? Really? The incumbent government has a lot to tackle, abject poverty, unemployment, the recession (it's not over till it's over!), the drought,  terrorism, intrusions at the borders, the immediate neighbourhood and accompanying tensions, to name a few. Seeking solutions to these problems and many others would be the real austerity drive for the government. There are innumerable avenues where the government can exhibit its sincerity(in executing government sponsored welfare schemes and other development programs), adroitness(in tackling external affairs and cross-border issues), care(for the poor food growers, downtrodden women, and children), and austerity(in dealing with criminals, terrorists, and other anti-social evils). Suffice it to say, governments at the helm of affairs have, over the years, performed far from satisfactory on all these indices.

It's time governments stopped betraying innocent people on the pretext of so-called austerity drives. It's time governments started behaving more responsively in a manner justifying the trust of billions of people who have nothing but hope in their eyes and in a manner ensuring the hope remains.There are, indeed, bigger more important issues to address.

To get a different and critical perspective on the issue (austerity drive), this piece by Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai is strongly recommended. Follow the link - Keep it Simple

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stuck in a Labyrinth !

'J'indagi jeene ke do-ee tarikke ote ain...ek, jo ho raha hai hone do, bardaasht karte jaao Ya 'j'immedaari uthaao use badalne ki                                                            ...Rang De Basanti (the movie)

All said and done, what if someone is hapless enough to fail to get/understand/comprehend as to what he/she has been dropped in this world for, what is it he/she wants to do, to achieve in life, where lie his/her interests, what should he/she strive for, what should he/she live for?

Read on...

Mother: Hello?
Subhash Jha*: Hello, could I speak with Subhash Jha?
Mother: I am afraid he can't be seen around...(before she could complete)
Subhash Jha*: He must be sleeping, I was wondering if you could please wake him up. It's urgent.
Mother: May I know who's speaking?
Subhash Jha*: My name is Subhash Jha...(before I could complete)
Mother: (remains startled for a moment... then laughs) Ohh, Mrityunjay ! You will never change. Just hold on while I shall go and wake him up.
Subhash Jha: Yeah Mrityunjay, tell me ! Long time !!!
Subhash Jha*: Hi Subhash, this is your alter ego. This is important. Hear me out....(Subhash remains flabbergasted and slavishly(in a manner characteristic of a slave) lends his advertent ear to the most 'important' voice he would ever hear)

A very 'dear friend' of yours was talking to me this morning thinking he was talking to you. We were conversing just perfunctorily when I told him about your friend Mrityunjay who used to follow you (whatever you did so far as academics is concerned) all the time the same way many school-going kids follow their friends or friends-of-friends. I told him how he behaved perversely in his pursuit of admission into an Indian Institute of Technology inspite of your constant reminders on  how good an artist he was, how good he could draw, how good he could sketch and how deservedly he could get admission into National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, one of the elite institutions for 'design'. I told him about how Mrityunjay finally understood what he wanted to do and more importantly what he was dropped in this world for to do and appeared for the entrance examinations of various institutions (with courses in 'design') only to land up finally in one of the National Institute of Fashion Technology centers which was no mean feat, by any standards.

And, then, as you are well aware Mrityunjay went on to find his name registered in the list of designers endorsed by the institute (NIFT) itself as well as in the list endorsed by the Handloom Export Promotion Council of India on its website ( the government website).

I told your 'dear friend' how Mrityunjay, ultimately, got to understand why he was there at all...Yes...I told him he finally fathomed he was there to design the grandest stage of them all.... Life..... in his own original authentic way, that he reincarnated that day as a true artist without following anyone, bereft of all spuriousness.

And then, your 'dear friend' spoke for the first time in ages...the very first time he was speaking of self, with soul, out of desperation, in pain. He told me he had just started his corporate career with a bank and that he had come to know, after the very first month at the bank, he did not want that...he told me he was oblivious to what he wanted to do, what he wished to achieve, what he was dropped in this world for, in the first place, and I could easily see the "Mrityunjay" in him. And this is not a one-out-of-a-million kind of case. This is true for most of your friends, your colleagues, your acquaintances, your relatives (belonging to similar age-groups) and most importantly it's so very true for you.

I know all this because we have enjoyed this ride together....the grand ride right from becoming a supreme academician to a simple villager in pursuit of attaining his visionary goals for his village (and other villages) to a finance wizard to an epitome of corporate success to a vocalist with a sensational musical band to an adroit film-maker making films covering meaningful, realistic, public subjects to an author with the Booker prize to his name to a Nobel Laureate in Literature to a Ph.D holder in Economics to a Nobel Laureate (again!!!) in Economics to an ardent philosopher with specializations in the emotions of Love and Friendship to an eminent Volleyball Player winning the gold medal at the Olympics (in the most dramatic final of all time) for your country to a self dependent hugely successful entrepreneur to a top-notch civil servant to an honest politician. I have been as integral a part of your dreams as the plum is to the pudding.

And I wish to help you out of this labyrinth that you and your 'dear friend' find yourselves so badly stuck in or at least I can make as sincere an endeavour as the mighty sun makes to bless us all with the indispensable sunlight, every single day of our lives. The only way known to me is to follow a conscious mental and purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one's own thoughts, feelings and more often than not, one's soul. It can also be called contemplation of one's self i.e. observation of things internal to one's self. And, so my 'dear friend', here's your alter ego asking you to follow the path to your soul, your self......follow and help your 'dear friend' follow the path they call Introspection. 

(The phone was hung up, the voice muted and Subhash Jha awoke from a dream that was to change his life forever...He is currently in pursuit of a living that could easily qualify for the definition of "halcyon years")

Mera yakeen hai ki hum sab is duniya mein koi ek khaas kaam karne ke liye bheje gaye hain. Zyadatar log to umra bhar bhatakte rehte hain yeh jaane bagair ki unki zindagi ka maqsad kya hai, kuchh heen khushkismat hain jo is khazaane ko pa jaate hain........aur hum mein se kuchh aise bhi begairat hain jo ise ganwa dete hain.                                                                                                                             ...Iqbal (the movie)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Home Alone...confessions of a blogger

Keywords(for assistance  only and strictly not to question/challenge your vocabulary):

- Penitentiary : (noun, /pen-i-ten-shuh-ri/) a prison for people convicted of serious crimes
- Audacious : (adjective, /aw-day-shuhss/) willing to take bold risks
- Wrath : (noun, /roth, rawth/) extreme anger
- Lest : (conjunction, /lest/) so as to prevent any possibility that, for fear that
- Amorous : (adjective, /uh-mor-ruhss/) strongly attracted or disposed to love, especially sexual love 
- Aliter : (in Latin) means 'otherwise' or 'using another method' or 'alternatively' generally used with mathematical theorems or proofs
- Smutty : (adjective) dirty, sooty(also indecent)
- Surreptitious : (adjective, /sur-ruhp-ti-shuhss/) done secretly
- Afore : (preposition) before
- Austere : (adjective, /oss-teer/) strict or severe in manner or appearance

Hello Everyone !

Yes, I am alive. I do wish to inform,however, that I have come across absolutely nothing enticing enough[except the sad demise of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Shri. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy(sad because of the mode and the time(he was barely 60 !)) and a handful off his praja(YSR's win is supposedly attributed, in a way, to the Prajarajyam chief Chiranjeevi who (supposedly) nailed an otherwise bright prospect of a Chandrababu Naidu win) or should I say 'people-who-loved-him-and-could-not-imagine-living-in a world-with everyone-but-YSR who decided to follow suit(depart as untimely as the ill-fated YSR, the man supposedly responsible for bringing good fortune to the state of Andhra) !]  to write on/about/for for the past few days and I find myself innocent enough to be able to avoid a penitentiary. No, this is not to flaunt my "vocabulary enrichment" endeavours I have been making all these days(days of no blogging) and I am audacious enough to face the wrath of readers of this blog who can(and should) feel free to comment on my sincerity and discipline as regards updating my blog(yes, I know you found a 'my' there in the sentence but I must avow I was not being sarcastic).

Okay! Getting back to business, I wish to inform(actually, I am dying to inform) the ardent reader has reached Page No. 272 [(522 minus 273(Shashi, will you please do the honours?) more pages to go!] of Tarun's book (his name is Tarun Tejpal, I am reading his book titled "The Story of my Assassins", No, he is not my friend...I wrote Tarun and not his full name just like that....yes, just like that...there is no sarcasm here, chill !). I just finished watching "The Silence of the Lambs"(Yes, I saw the great Hannibal Lecter and I have no intentions of playing him in the next couple of lines of this piece) and I have planned to resume reading Tarun's book lest I gift myself another moment of anxiety/irritation/frustration about not being able to start reading the next one in queue that I am so amorously excited about. But that's after I finish writing this 'piece'(I beg your pardon for being repetitive. Actually, I like this word a lot, piece...aliter you can use 'post'). At this point, I wish to hog upon something...anything that qualifies for 'edible', BUT unfortunately, the paranthas(that our cook makes for me every single day) are all gone and the chapatis could not wait for long either to follow suit emptying the case roll and now all I am left with is my(ohhkay Malik's...Malik, happy? I know you are laughing) kitchen that has become an abode of raw vegetables(can be cooked, I know), groceries(all raw),smutty utensils(required to cook food...for instance, kadahi, tava, kalchhul, chholni, pateela, and pressure cookers(yes, we have a family of 'Prestige' cookers ranging from a 1 litre child to a 5 litre monster!)...all dirty except for the steel-plates(to eat on...Good-for-nothing things reminding me of the fictional character Mahfuz Ali from "Love Across the Salt Desert" by K N Daruwalla, the opening chapter of CBSE Class XII English text book that all we classmates paid great attention towards because of the adjectives used by the writer to describe the anatomy of the female protagonist named Fatimah in the subtlest of ways)....and and I forgot to mention......a tap bereft of water!!! OhMyGod! Finally, I have something.You will be glad to know I have gotten myself hold of a pack of biscuits surreptitiously kept in one of the jars(one that has some variety of indigenous dal in it) and I am going to keep myself busy with the task of finishing it off(I can't abstain from any divine spiritual act, you know !) till I regain my senses [yes, you read is 'senses'...could you not find it all so very nonsensical? you have got to be kidding me......OhMyGod, are your really not kidding me! Okay, I get it need some rest off your daily works that are potent avenues of stress strong enough to affect your left brain muscles (the left brain is the one looking after 'logical reasoning' !)enough to render it bereft of logic or at least visit a doctor........just kidding ! Chill !] and put my mind to something more productive.

Okay, I am off to the task I told you about a couple of lines afore but not before promising you that I shall blog, as better as I can and as often as my right-brain muscles(the ones responsible for intuitive behaviour!) tickle, with austere sincerity and discipline.

Till then, take very good care of yourselves. Good Bye.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kaife? Kaife? Aife! Aife!

Subrata Pal has become a hero overnight thanks to three spectacular saves in the penalty shoot out against Syria on the eve of Nehru Cup Final and has surely given us all a reason to smile amidst all the chaos that surrounds our daily lives. No praise for this Indian Football team can be complete without the mention of Bob Houghton, the Indian Football team coach who not only helped players own a sense of self-belief but also reflect the same on the field or the captain Baichung Bhutia who has been no less than a torchbearer for the sport in India for almost a decade now(not to mention, bereft of a Khel Ratna award and having faced a six month suspension from playing for the club Mohun Bagan for reasons better known to the Anjan Mitra (General Secretary, Mohun Bagan) led executive committee; the media cites Baichung's participation in a dance reality show to be the key reason behind the inexplicable decision as against the club's stance that it had solely to do with the prolific striker missing an exhibition match of the club at Jalpaiguri ). There are three key issues I would like to bring to the desk( read 'for discussion').

Firstly, the win itself ! This win not only ensured that the cup (Nehru Cup) remained in the country but also gives us a sound enough reason to mutate our thoughts towards the game itself, to start with, and then towards the team (the national team) that has been ingrained in the minds of us Indians for generations; the thought that football is not as great a game as some others (read CrICkeT !) and that chances of an Indian team performing well in the interntaional competitive (very competitive, to be precise!) arena are lean, infact non-existent.
Secondly, the sport and its management in the country. It is a well known fact that almost all the sports bodies at various levels in the country have one or the other politician as their president or at best (for the game and the players ! Lol !) a working/stand-in president as is the case with AIFF (All India Football Federation) ;Mr. Praful Patel (Minister os State for Civil Aviation) is the working president for AIFF. Shouldn't we have more sportspersons (having represnted at the national and international levels) in the management team to look after the players with more reason, care for them, nurture them, build their confidence, help them excel at the highest level? Why is it that most of these bodies are headed by some civil servant who knows nothing about the sport let alone the plight of players therein? I propose a management team with a mix of level headed people(beaureaucrats, politicians, coporates, etc.) and sportspersons(not to say they are not level headed!) who have brought laurels to the country in their respective fields in their respective capacities.
Thirdly, ignorance, awareness and the role of celebrities ! In a country where everything right from a Rs. 5/- a unit Parle-G to a mammoth airline thrives on 'hero worship', the role of a person enjoying a celebrity status can be harnessed to benefit anything and everything not to exclude a sport like football. A lot can be done through a plethora of media such as films, exhibition matches, sponsorships, etc. just to name a few. BUT, it is seldom witnessed that a celebrity goes to the stadia to watch a football match or say a volleyball match, for that matter. It was indeed heartwarming to see one such man(name is irrelevant and insignificant kyunki 'insaan naam me mazhab dhoondhne lagta hai (remember "A Wednesday"!)') watch the India-Syria football final match and clap for and back his country's gems(on the football ground), to say the least. More of such contribution and care and responsible behavior is expected off the people synonymous with no less than God in this country.
I can recall a couplet that sounds pertinent to the occasion,
Manzilein unhi ko milti hain jinke sapnon mein jaan hoti hai,
Pankh se kuchh nahi hota, hauslon se udaan hoti hai.
Jai Hind !

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reflections on a day passed by !

It's almost half past three in the morning and I am awaiting Joggers Park Part 12 video to buffer on YouTube before I could resume watching the adroit in Victor Bannerjee. Till the time the buffering completes, let me just spare a thought or two to the day passed by. I would not call it an eventful day for the simple reason that the plans (of reading and writing of course, because I've got nothing else to do) that had been made the night before could not be executed as well as I would have liked. The day started with me resuming sleep after I woke up once at around six ( to honor my daily commitments ! Read my last blog !) which got extended to half past nine, eventually. My upper and lower eyelids fought to get the better of their interlocking when a friend slammed the bathroom (in the same room I was sleeping) door open. I reluctantly got off the bed and still rubbing my eyes assiduously, went to the other room to fetch my toothbrush. I hurriedly (I am still wondering...why?)) brushed my teeth and then switched on the TV. No sooner had I thought about the City of Djinns than I switched off the idiot box. No, I am not talking about some fantasy as an Aladin or something. It's the title of a book penned by William Dalrymple and falls under travelogue which I have been looking forward to reading for quite some time now. I plan to do that once I am done with Tarun J Tejpal's The Story of My Assassins and another one (on India) by Shashi Tharoor. I have read many reviews for Dalrymple's book and I must confess it should be a journey and a memorable one, for sure. More on the book some other time perhaps when I will have read it !
I read three and a half chapters of The Story of My Assassins today and was thoroughly impressed with the way the author tries to get the reader curious in the very first chapter, when the protagonist finds himself reported to be dead by the media and is livid at and irritated with a plethora of calls that he refuses to attend to, and certainly gets successful too. The story has a profound Indian feel to it with the names of characters one shall easily identify with and laugh at (don't ask me, read the book ! ...a few being Hathi(yes, elephant) Ram, Frock(yes, the female-wear) Raja !), the norms, traditions, superstitions, beliefs, customs that we all form a part of in one way or the other and things of that nature as to be called Indian.
I, then, read news articles on the rediff and the timesofindia websites and was glad to know a few things, sad to know others. Besides the regular kinds that we have become so familiar with during the past one week or so, I found it interesting to know that an indian expedition to Antarctica ('Maitri' is the Indian research base in Antarctica; project name: 'Polar Science') has been approved by our government that surely reflects our long term strategic pursuits in the region. Some would say and rightly so that the government should pursue solving problems the common man is facing rather than looking for a polar bear gone into hibernation waiting inside a base in pursuit of some thread to certain research.
Thankfully I kept myself away from the progressively annoying irritating totally uncalled for interviews debates discussions on the BJP fiasco that has witnessed quite a few souls seeking cheap publicity amidst an infectious political crisis if I may use the word.
It's quarter past five now. The video is ready to be viewed. But I am afraid, my upper and lower eyelids are attempting a fight again(this time their collective single opponent is my yearning to see more of this adroit in Victor Bannerjee) to engage in an interlock asking me to defer this to some other time which I am afraid, I will have to.
It's time to hit the hay. Take Care. Peace.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

India - From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond !

The doorbell rang once and I knew it was our Doodhwalah, the villain in my life and my dreams. I woke up (or should I say, was forced to) and reached for my cellphone (as I instinctively do everyday) that was not willing to part with its better half, the charger it so tightly clung to. The screen read 6.15 am and the door to the room with my three nocturnal friends, who were in their respective CEO seats deep asleep totally oblivious to the "ding-dong" my ear drums were subjected to everyday, the Doodhwalah or even the doodh/milk, for that matter for that short period in the morning when one could see their eyeballs moving to and fro with their eyes closed indicating indeed they were in their respective CEO seats in their respective dreams, was closed. After a prolonged stretch of the body and bending to form an arch, I went to the door to fetch the packet of milk, put it inside the fridge and rushed to the toilet to do stuff people do in the morning (or any other time during the course of the day to honour their natural call(s), on their discretion !). I, then, browsed through the pages of the latest edition of Frontline only to find the sad, crying faces bereft of hope that formed a part of a piece on "Honour Killings" in certain districts of the country with names never heard before. I switched on the TV while waiting for the Akhbaarwalah, clicked the MENU button and selected NEWS and selected NDTV 24*7. They showed all kinds of news ranging from the Big English Ashes (2-1) win to a piece on farmers' plight due to criminally weak irrigation network. Much to my relief and pleasure came, then, three beauty queens with camera flashing all around; results for the Miss Universe contest at Bahamas were declared a night before and it was Miss Venezuela yet again. The indigenous Ekta Chaudhary could not make it to the top 15. Give me a break! What! Top 15! only up to a couple of years earlier or a few here and there, we had India ruling all over in contests like these be it Miss Asia Pacific, Miss World, Miss Universe, Mrs. World, Miss Solar System or whatever. Okay, I got it then. One more realm for India to witness the 'extremes' (Remember Women's Lawn Tennis......Sania Mirza...winner once...or twice...or may be thrice...and then making a steep fall(in WTA singles ranking) from No. 27 to No. 71...this is strictly not to slight her wonderful contribution to the Indian Women's Lawn Tennis)! Then we (NDTV 24*7 and I) moved on to "fake currency" circulation; two jawans were caught with fake currency in J&K. This 'fake currency' issue has been gaining much attnetion lately, I said to myself. So probably, someone somewhere up above in the political heirarchy must be putting his/her/their brain(s) to the same. Anticipating some good trailers (by 'good', I mean refreshing, with nice girls, nice music, nice feel), I, then, put on the ETC channel only to witness (on screen) a crying Anupam Kher saying,"Achchhai ki ummeed rakhna bahut zaroori hai" in the film titled YMI (the makers, I believe, could have easily done without the abbrevaition which gave such a sorry feel to the poster of the otherwise okay 'Yeh Mera India'). I clicked the 'back' button. And then, I laughed...I laughed at an entity that boasted of (not long ago) having the capability to run a gigantic nation like ours. Yes, you guessed it right. I laughed at the Bhartiya Janta Party on the future of which I am as lost as the party leaders. I laughed at India. And then, I laughed at myself! Disputes creeping in the party (remember the Arun Jaitley-Rajnath Singh episode?) followed by its great debacle in the Lok Sabha elections......the Vasundhara Raje episode......the Jaswant Jinnah Singh fiasco......the Chintan Baithak......the fresh BJP-Chautala rift in Haryana......and now, the grand leakage of the Bal Apte committee report contaning an in-depth analysis of what went wrong with the party during the recently held elections. It all sounded like some part of a legend......once upon a time there was this group, this party of like minded (you've got to be kidding me!) individuals.....etc etc etc......Then, we had news on the Buta Singh controversy and on some judge (in Chennai) finally giving it to the core ideology of the RTI (Right to Information) Act, 2005 and willing to declare assets. I was beginning to lose it by then because the Akhbaarwalah had not come and I was not able to insert my eyes deep into the beautiful, refreshing pictures(I know you could guess that one too) that formed a part of some gossip covered in Bombay Times that I so religiously did every morning. And then I heard a man speaking...his name was Sukant and he was an ex-BSF soldier...he had lost his upper limbs during some border operation(firing-counter firing with the terrorists or something)...he was being asked to vacate his Amritsar BSF flat/quarter(as some of our Bihari friends would identify with)...his family comprised two daughters(whom he wanted to send to school and then to college too so that they give themselves a chance or two to get independent) and wife who was begging for a job on compassionate grounds, which our governments (both at the centre and the states) have been reluctant to honor(on a generic basis), lately. The question is can we be so inhuman to someone (our own men who stay awake late into the darkest hours at night so that you and I can sleep)?......should we? can't we have a system ( a regulatory mechanism) in place to look after issues concerning offering jobs on compassionate grounds to family members of people who die or become paralysed or anything which is severe enough to instigate a sense of compassion, a feeling of empathy?......shouldn't we? I thought I was getting emotional but then, it struck my mind- I was only acting (or reacting) human. I, then, brushed my teeth thinking, for a while, about the BSF man and his crying family members, went to the bed and then picked the book (from half under the pillow) I had bought yesterday and looked at the farmer with the dhoti on the front cover……………………It read...India-From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond (authored by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, the Union Minister of state for External Affairs)!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"The Bow", take a Bow !!!

Playing with my idiot box's remote control, I came across a button with INFO written over it. I donot remember distinctly what movie was Zee Cinema playing then; no sooner had I pressed the INFO button than I read " An honest cop is framed for murder.......but he manages to escape from prison (so what? even a debuatante bollywood hero could do that) to unravel the nuances of the murder, in the process taking on a whole lot of terrorists......alone...!!! " ...I hope you could make out the last clause was framed. But, that's what happens most of the time, right? I, then, tuned in to UTV World Movies that was playing a movie called "The Bow (Korean)", pressed the INFO button, read the synopsis, got enthralled, decided to watch it, started watching, got engrossed completely,sat glued to the screeen for over close to two hours, switched off the TV, resumed reading the final pages of Frontline...and dozed off. I could see the boat with the old man in it protecting and preserving the young girl...I could see him strumming the taught thread of the lovely instrument(made out of a bow)standing at the farthest point of the deck...I could hear the silence of water...I could see the blind colorless abstract plain complex love that the old man had for the young girl...I could see the young girl waving final goodbye to the old man, to the over ten years of her life she spent on that boat amidst unfathomable depths...volumes and volumes of water put in a container bereft of boundaries, and to the boat with a picture of Buddha painted over it's body the sight of which went on changing slowly from that of his whole body to one half above his waist to his head to nothing...I then felt peace, I left myself, my body...only to drown in tranquility.