Tuesday, December 22

A piece of seamed memories #2

I realised I've written on some 'serious' topics of late, so to lighten up the mood here's another poem from me :)

If at all there's a smile that can steal one's heart,
I want to flash that smile for you.

If at all there's a moment that can take my breath away,
I want to live that moment with you.

If at all there are eyes that can speak volumes,
I want to have those eyes for you.

If at all there's a feeling that people call love,
I want to share that feeling with you.

If at all there's a joy that knows no bounds,
I know I'll find that joy with you.

Saturday, December 19

More than a woman

From time immemorial woman has been perceived as the epitome of love, dedication, sincerity and resilience. Whatever role she’s in, she’s a role-model for everyone. In our culture we’ve believed in setting her on a pedestal and offering her prayers for our well-being, safety and happiness.

Having said this, in today’s world we’re committing crimes, acting inexcusably and what more, we’re not even ashamed of it. One such heinous crime that’s only been increasing in recent years is: female foeticide.

Let’s see some facts first. Sex-selective abortion has been seen as worsening the sex ratio in India, and thus affecting gender issues related to sex compositions of Indian households. According to the 2001 census, the sex-ratio in India is 107.8 males per 100 females, up from 105.8 males per 100 females in 1991. The ratio is significantly higher in certain states such as Punjab (126.1) and Haryana (122.0).

Our society is full of hypocrites. Everyone wants a bride for their (assumingly) eligible son but having a daughter themselves would make them bawl in disappointment. In our country where we consider females as goddesses we see intolerable importance and priority given to the male child. The girl child is considered as a liability, a burden that’s to be borne till the time she gets married, and even after that.

What’s saddening is that, more often than not, women themselves are party to such inhuman acts. It’s true that nowadays sex-determination tests have been strictly restricted, but the fact that female foeticide is still on the rise proves that there’s certainly some loophole somewhere in the system.

Nowadays, there are various methods that can be used to pre-determine the sex of the child. Only doctors are privy to such information and knowledge, but even they fall prey to their greed for money and become an accomplice in eradicating the issue completely.

There’s no field today where women have not left a mark. Whether she’s a working woman or a housewife, she’s proved time and again that she can handle and balance everything with equal alacrity. Doesn’t it then become the collective responsibility of families as well as doctors to act with dignity and accept the truth for what it is?

I’m a woman and am proud to be one. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been given a boon by nature, that to give birth to a new life. And I'd like to believe every woman feels this way.

Its time we put a stop to all these practices. Or else it won’t be long before we’ll see this world full of "surplus males" who will have no females for them.

Late Late Late :(

Hi All...

I have been keeping very busy of late and have been finding it real tough to keep up with all of you. There's also been some technical problem due to which I'm not able to access any blogs (including mine) on my laptop, and hence the late replies to your comments or sometimes no replies at all :(:(

Please bear with this for some more time and continue writing in...your comments and replies make my day :)

Thursday, December 10

Getting some answers

Last week we shifted our house. Before shifting there are some minor rituals to be performed in the new house. After completing them, as I was waiting for the sweeper to come in and clean up the apartment our new neighbor barged into our house with full authority to , in her own words, ‘check on the new people coming in’.

She had a whole questionnaire prepared for me. Where did we live before this? Who all are there in our family? Am I a working woman or a house-wife? How old is my son? What does my husband do? Where is his office? And on and on and on…

Within a matter of a few minutes she managed to get all my basic details, which would’ve taken longer to summarize had I been filling up the application form for a passport. She even suggested a new maid to look after my son.

What did strike as something peculiar to me was that she assumed that we had a Marathi lineage. May be my fluent Marathi fueled that thought. She went ahead and told me that most people in our apartment are ‘apli manasa’, as in Marathi people. I had to politely correct her that we belonged to a Marwari family, after which she again assumed (!!!!) that we had some jewellery shop or something!

The lady tested my patience no end, but I managed to keep my cool. I can vouch that she looked a bit disappointed that I was not one amongst them. Within moments her language and tone changed from ‘we’ to ‘you people’. It feels very sad that we call ourselves a secular country and even then stress on the ‘caste’ part so much.

We don’t mind when we visit foreign countries and are called as Indians, but when we’re in India we’re not Indians. Here we are identified with our caste or religion. We see colonies and borders everywhere. We see people supporting only people from their own caste on various occasions.

How right is this? Isn’t it time we think beyond these petty things and look at the larger picture, our country?India’s been already broken down into many parts, are we waiting for another disaster to open our eyes?

Wednesday, December 9

A Matter of Publicity

One bug that seems to have bitten every person who is or is a wannabe celebrity is PUBLICITY. It is interesting to see the levels to which people will stoop just to get their picture published in a newspaper, or getting aired on television even if it is just for a moment.

Whenever I read ‘Bombay Times’, inadvertently my gaze settles on the Page 3 section which is filled with excerpts of some high-profile party, some brunch or some social-do. It is complete with the list of attendants; the A-listers and Page 3 regulars. The reporter religiously reports on what the menu was, who wore what and who made a fashion faux-pas. What I find very endearing is when these people organize a fund-raising show for underprivileged kids or some social cause, and they come for the event dressed as if it was a fashion parade. They wouldn’t have an inkling of why they’re there but they’d ‘support the cause’ for what it is worth! So much for publicity!

Our film stars have always fancied this. Whether it’s the release of a movie, judging or participating in a reality show, and if nothing else, featuring in commercials, we see them splashed all over, in all forms of media. These people never fail to grab an opportunity to make an appearance, even if it is someone’s wedding, birthday or even a funeral(remember Teji Bacchan’s funeral or the latest, Shilpa Shetty’s wedding?). They turn up for the event dressed in their designer’s best, gladly posing for the cameras and giving some pertinent responses. They have very public affairs and break-ups, both of which ensure ample print-space for them.

The lesser mortals, for whom the doors won’t open on their own, adopt tried-and-tested methods. Attaching your name to a famous personality accusing him/her of using you or making bold statements, which are sure to make eye-balls roll. No one knew Monica Lewinsky before her affair with Bill Clinton came out or the recent Tiger Woods’ series of affairs with many girls which don’t seem to stop! These men had to face the wrath of the whole world, but the girls became celebrities overnight. The truth behind these incidents is irrelevant, what matters is that these girls got the better deal, everyway.

Closer home, the best example for this would be Rakhi Sawant. The kind of stories about her that we see and read is both desperate and cheap. We see her appearing on reality shows; trapped in a house with few others, picking up her groom in her ‘swayamwar’ or trying to raise kids with her current partner. We see her histrionics after she breaks up with whoever she was with, if she’s signed for a movie or there’s something brewing between her family members. What’s worse is that people do fall prey to these gimmicks and all this hype usually pays off.

This signifies the sorry state of journalism and media responsibility, worldwide. In their quest to increase their viewership and readership media populace would do anything. Added to that the desperate brigade of wannabe celebrities, and we have a coalition publicity campaign.

What needs to be understood is that too much public scrutiny can mar a person’s or couple’s image. Jennifer Aniston had said that her marriage with Brad Pitt broke because of the constant media glare. Princess Diana lost her life while trying to hide away from the paparazzi. We know that as public figures these people owe us some amount of accountability, but it is for them to decide where to draw the line. And for us, well, it’s good to get entertained but not cool when it is in bad taste.

Sunday, November 29

Just to share...

I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself of late. Everything’s just the same, but there’s always some or the other thought that keeps nagging me. I find myself getting tense and worried over the most trivial issues. It feels like there’s a hollow and it is pulling me inside.

I do all things that have to be done, but there’s a detachment, like I’m doing it only for the heck of it. There’s no reason to feel this way. I did what I wanted to do, have what I wanted to have, then why? I feel like I’ve lost my faith.

There comes a time in our life when we need to retrospect and re-evaluate our actions and decisions, to accept our mistakes and try to correct them.

Is this my time for it?

Friday, November 27

Fiction and Reality

We’ve heard of films that are fictional or realistic. What do we call those films that are an impeccable concoction of both? Realistic fiction? Fictional reality?

It happened first, and then it happened again. First we saw him dressed in dhoti carrying a lathi in his hand and giving us those signature quotes on ahimsa, then we saw him dressed in quintessential regal attire with the unmistakable Maratha king dialect. Know what I’m talking about?

It was first seen in Lage Raho Munnabhai. We saw our great national icon the late Mahatma Gandhi (Dilip Prabhavalkar) come to life on screen giving his, now world-famous, quotes to a notorious but lovable Munnabhai ( Sanjay Dutt) to help him ensure a date with his muse, Jhanvi( Vidya Balan). What came to be termed as ‘Gandhigiri’ in the movie went on to become a nationwide craze. The scenes in which Munnabhai has illusions of Gandhi rendering him tips and guidance are handled well. 

It was a one-of-a-kind story, when a real-life character was incorporated in a film and was shown conversing and giving advice to a character of the film. And, when the real-life character was that of Gandhi, it couldn’t get any bigger or better than this. What I liked most about the movie was that although it attempted to remind us all of the teachings of Gandhi, at no point did it seem preachy or boring. It was all there for us to see, understand and implement on our own. Hats off to Rajkumar Hirani!

Then came another one, Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy. This movie was made on the lines of Lage Raho Munnabhai, but the movie was in Marathi and indeed had a vernacular flavor to it, that of the ‘Marathi Manus’. Here we saw the great Maratha king, Shivajiraje Bhosle(Mahesh Manjrekar) come to life and advise in the imagination of a Marathi manus(Sachin Khedekar) living in Mumbai and who’s presumably exploited by anyone other than the Maratha clan. In the end he develops immense confidence and is ready to take on any challenge!

This movie too went on to become an instant hit.The unique point of this movie has to be the necessarily stressed point, to safeguard and cherish the valour and pride of the great Marathas. Whenever the common man faces any adverse situation, he visualises Shivaji giving him encouragement to stick to his roots and take on the world. Wish we had someone like this at hand :)

Both movies have a bound script, and great performers to back it. This whole idea of bringing up an influential historical character to life to help us solve our current problems arising out of low self-esteem, and show a focussed way to a confused generation seems very matter-of-fact. Though the movies did have a good impact, I hope no other such movie is made anytime soon or the ‘novelty’ factor will be lost.

By the way, if asked for an opinion as to who should be seen alive on-screen next, what would you say?

Wednesday, November 25

Err...Its Human

When we were in school every day in the morning assembly one student had to give the ‘Thought of the Day’. I loved this part. I felt elated when there was some thought I knew and committed to memory the ones I didn’t.

There was one thought that I failed to understand completely, then and even now. It was:

To err is human, to forgive is divine

With all respect to the person who said this, it’s not illustrative. Divine here means the act of being divine or the Almighty? In any case, I would like few answers:

1. A person can make any number of mistakes, may be serve a full term in jail or be hanged till death, but be forgiven by the Almighty?
2. What are these so-called mistakes that can be categorized as human? If a person robs someone for gambling and the other for some philanthropic reason, who will be forgiven since they’re both human?
3. Does this ‘forgiving’ come with a validity period? Say after some 100 mistakes God withdraws his discount offer?
4. What about those people who strongly believe in God, but know that at the end of the day no matter what they do, the Lord’s going to spare them?

We were taught that there’s one God, the forms may be different. No religion teaches you to hate or kill. Still we find people being killed every day in some or the other part of the world, in the name of religion, power or just plain rebellion against something. Was this the world that God had created? Can these people, who think killing people's going to prove a point,be forgiven in any court of law?

Today is 26th November, 2009. The first anniversary of the scary human massacre that took place in Mumbai. The incident that had shaken the very foundation of safety and security in our country, when three top officers lost their lives only because of sheer negligence.

The government must’ve come up with a count of the number of people who lost their lives, but what about their families? When one person of a family dies, the whole family gets affected, more so if he was the only earning member. The compensation offered may go into the tune of a few lakhs, but nothing can cover up the loss of one person.

We can make demonstrations, condemn the whole act, light candles, may be even stand and observe silence for 2 min, but nothing’s going to undo the damage caused to the hearts of all Indians. We’re indeed sorry for what happened, but aren’t we secretly thankful that we weren’t one of them?

I loved ‘A Wednesday’ and have seen it many times. I loved Naseeruddin Shah’s dialogue, ‘We’re resilient by force, not by choice. Hume ghar chalana hota hai saab!’ Its about time we wake up and own up to our responsibilities, or tomorrow might be our turn.

Monday, November 23

The tag of eights!

Reflections had tagged me yesterday with this tag of 8's. I was amazed at how fast I could come up with the answers! It indeed took a lot of imagination and hair-pulling but I managed to get all of them!

8 TV shows I like to watch:
1.Friends, Seinfeld - All-time favourite, love Jason Alexander. Absolutely!
2.Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai
3.Boston Legal/Criminal Minds – anyone that I can catch up
4.Balika Vadhu (though I’m fast losing interest)
5.Any channel playing old songs (preferably Mohd Rafi, but nevertheless)
6.Movies on Zee Studio, Star Movies or HBO
7.Any documentary on aquatic wildlife on Discovery or National Geographic
8.Any channel like CNN IBN or NDTV for about an hour in the evening for daily news update.

8 favourite places to eat:
1.Ofcourse home-cooked food made by my mother or mother-in-law, they’re both effortless experts, simply superb.
2.Lemon and Chilli, Mumbai- I love the ambience of this place. Perfect for family getaways. The food is overpriced, but once you’ve tasted it you won’t mind shelling out those extra bucks, anytime.
3.Golden Chariot,Mumbai- We’d been here for my birthday. We ordered Chinese food, and it was delicious. With some vodka on the side, it was the perfect recipe for a perfect evening!

4.Vihar, Nasik- Here you get the best Missal Pav in the world. Being a lover of spicy food, it was a treat for me. Our gang of friends used to hit this place very often. I miss it a lot now.
5.Everyone knows that the favourite snack/diet of every Mumbaiite is the famous Vada-Pav, and I’m no exception. Every time I’m in Dadar, as soon as I get out of the station, the first thing I do is, have the Jumbo Vada-Pav.
6.There’s this unassuming place in Indore that’s very famous for its ‘Ghamandi Lassi’. You have to taste it to know why the ‘ghamand’, if at all! It’s thick, very creamy and served in a big glass. I bet you can substitute it for a full meal. It’s just too good!
7.Dosa Plaza, Vashi- He serves the widest variety of dosas I’ve ever seen. They are innovative and very tasty. We frequent this place.
8.Natural’s Ice creams- The real taste of fruit in them makes them an instant favourite.

8 things I look forward to:
1.Immediately, my Aunt-in-law’s visit in January. Great bonding time for the whole family.
2.Getting our own dream flat in Mumbai.
3.Spending some quality time with my husband.
4.Doing anything in my capacity in the field of education, teaching in schools or taking tuitions!
5.Having at least one day when I won’t have to do any of the domestic chores.
6.To fit in and look good in one of those elegant and flowy party-wear evening gowns!
7.Participating in and winning a Sudoku championship.
8.Having a worry-free old age, with good health and enough money to go by.

8 things that happened yesterday:
1.Performed my daily pooja in the morning.
2.Had a heart-to-heart almost hour long chat with an old friend, after ages!
3.My son, Arush threw the TV remote in the water. Obviously, every time I needed to switch the channel or adjust the volume I had to parade to the TV set. Sigh! :(
4.Talked with Mom on the phone for around half an hour to make plans for my visit next month.
5.Watered the plants. The rose buds will bloom in a day or two.
6.Our neighbour’s kids came to our place to play with Arush, and needless to say, turned our home into a battlefield look-alike.
7.Arush just won’t sit in the house, so I took him to the balcony and enjoyed the cool breeze. It was lovely.
8.Lots of pending laundry, took up a lot of time!

8 things I love about winter:
There are no winters in Mumbai! Before I shifted here though, I’d experienced very cold winters. So I’m writing from that point of view..
1.Of course, cuddling in the blanket and refusing to get up!
2.I loved to create that smoke when our breath frosts in the cold morning air.
3.Enjoying that hot cuppa coffee or tomato soup in those chilly evenings.
4.Getting to take out and wear all those stuffed away woolen winter wear.
5.Those endless family chats at night since everyone’s at home!
6.Warming up our hands on that fire we lit up with those dried leaves and paper in the veranda.
7.I had a bad cold every time, and I loved the pampering I got!
8.My mother made those laddus to be eaten in winter, full of dry-fruits and very tasty.

8 things on my wishlist:
1.Learning at least one classical form of dance.
2.To write a book and get it published too!
3.I want to try rock-climbing and bungee jumping (tough, since I have vertigo, but it’s exciting even to watch!).
4.Going for a world-tour with my husband.
5.To learn swimming and go for diving in the sea during my world-tour! :P
6.Getting lifetime supply of custom-made diamond jewellery for myself, for free :)
7.A place in the heart of people I know and love, now, and even after I die.
8.To see the newspaper free of news on global terrorism, religious extremism and child abuse. I worry what kind of life the next generation’s going to have :(

8 things I am passionate about:
1.My family (quite predictable :))
2.Reading( books, editorials in the Sunday Times..)
3.Writing (poems, articles, blogs, anything..)
4.Dancing (I left my Bharat Natyam class halfway, wish I could complete it)
5.Music (it has a magical mood-altering effect)
6.Creative ideas (I get a creative attack and I just HAVE to focus my energies there. Making a frame, embroidery on a sari, decorating my home or just rearranging furniture, just about anything..!)
7.Husky voice! (I remember I used to deliberately have cold drinks during winter to have a sore throat) I’m crazy about Brendan Fraser’s and Johnny Depp's husky voice ;)
8.I absolutely, completely, madly love the chocolate flavour of the gelato ITALIANO ice creams, especially Dark Chocolate. I can hog on it endlessly and shamelessly, without caring about my weight.

8 words or phrases I use often:
1.Actually I think..
2.Yeah right/ Very funny…with the same sarcastic tone ;)
3.Bas chal raha hai
4.I know/ You know
5.Bechari to main hoon..
6.Chal re..
7.Shut up!
8.That non-stop baby-talk with my son..

8 things I learnt from the past:
1.Never say never, you may need to eat your own words.
2.There’s nothing called lasting relationships, with friends or foes.
3.When in doubt, don’t let people clutter your mind further. Trust only your instincts.
4.Patience is a virtue. Always remember.
5.Learning to let go is easier than holding on to unpleasant memories.
6.If used in moderation, aggression too can do you good.
7.If anything happened against your wish, it was God’s way of telling you that you wished for the wrong thing.
8.Go to shop in malls only when there’s a sale or you’ll end up buying one thing in the price of two :P

8 places I would love to go, visit or see:
1.Swami Vivekanand Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari
2.Louvre’ Museum, Paris.
3.Rome and Venice,Italy. (Just to see the fascinating architecture with my own eyes)
4.A month long trip to Kerala backwaters.
5.The view from the top of Eiffel Tower, Paris.
6.Disneyland! Want to take my son there, enjoy the rides and myself become a child again!
7.One of those underwater aquariums. Minnesota, New Zealand, anywhere…
8.Any of those typical Buddhist maths, I want to see how they are from inside.

8 things I currently need or want:
1.Lose weight, badly.
2.A separate bed for Arush, he keeps pushing me off the bed in sleep!
3.My skin needs immediate attention, a good facial or something.
4.A full-fledged course on ‘Art of Living’ or just meditation!
5.I’m trying for a freelancing or part-time job, hope I get one soon.
6.Huge backlog of movies I’ve missed, want to clear it up.
7.A house-maid who won’t crib and complain, and would actually do some work.
8.A break from my mundane routine, which I’m going to get soon :)

Now that was something!! Don't be surprised if you don't see a blog from me in a longgg time!! We never really give so much of thought to all these things.

Now, lemme see, who else I want to go through this?? I tag..





5.I scribble here




Sunday, November 22

Wanna know your Rashee?

There was a time when I was hooked to the Linda Goodman’s book of sun-signs, and every time I developed a liking for someone I’d use it as ready reference to check our compatibility! I’m a Virgo, and it gave me a high when I read something good about myself…practical, perfect, caring, compassionate and all. Wow!

I had memorized what sun-signs I’d get along with and very foolishly and blatantly I sometimes asked people their birthdates before being friends with them. I made it a point to read my horoscope first thing in the morning, and would actually shift my plans, if I could, if the day didn’t have my best interests in store for me.

Over the years my obsessive nature has drastically changed, thankfully. I’ve witnessed over and over again that this whole ‘astrology’ business is good for fun, but when taken too seriously, it can take the better of your judgement. Judging someone on the grounds of his sun-sign is not just incorrect, it’s unfair to that person. There are other things like the birth-time, family, genes or the surroundings that have a bearing on the kind of person someone is. In that case, why bother?

With due respect to the science, I’d say it’s rather far-fetched and artificial. I’ve seen people go to extreme limits to refurbish their dangling careers or save their dying family members by falling prey to the gimmicks played by so-called learned men and astrologers. It is childish on our part to put our faith in this make-believe story, and I’ve come to detest it from the core.

What would’ve happened had we paid any heed to the advice of that astrologer who’d suggested a different career option for us? Would it do us any better to add or remove a letter from our name, or change it altogether? One need not ask these questions and muse about what our future holds for us. It is more about what you can do yourself, than what your stars up there can do for you.

I’d read that Virgos and Arians are not the best match. It’s amusing since my husband’s an Arian, and we’re doing just fine! Evidently, it’s indicative, but not conclusive. It can show you the way, walking on it or not should be your call.

What’s your take on this??

Friday, November 20

A Haunting Episode

Sometimes there are certain incidents in your life that leave a permanent imprint on your mind. More often than not, they’re not very pleasant. It’s easy to forget something that made you smile, but difficult to forget something that sent a chill down your spine. I want to share one such incident in my life. It had happened a few years ago. It had scared the hell out of me and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over it.

It was a normal day. I had to go out for some class but realized at the eleventh hour that there was no petrol in my bike. Cursing myself for forgetting to refill the tank I went out on foot, since I’d get an auto only on the main road which was a few minutes’ walk from my place. I was already running late, this was the last thing I needed. I was pre-occupied with my own thoughts, I’d be late for the class and the professor would sarcastically comment that I’d overslept or I had more important things to do and the class was not my priority.

With these thoughts running in my mind I started crossing the road. I  was properly scanning the road for any traffic. I was in the middle of the road when I felt a violent whiff of air on my face. I was wondering what it was when I saw an auto speeding in one direction. The auto-driver was cursing me. Then I saw some people standing on the other side of the road also looking at me and shouting. For some time I didn’t understand what happened. I quietly crossed the rest of the distance and went to the other side.

It was then that reality dawned upon me. It was a one-way and I was checking for traffic in the wrong direction! The whiff of air that I felt was ‘se of the auto which had missed me by just a few millimeters. The driver had been honking all the time, the passers-by had tried to warn me, but I’d heard nothing!

For some time after that I felt that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn't stop thinking what would've happened of me had the auto as much as rubbed against me. But God probably had different plans for me than to take my life at such an unguarded moment. May be he wanted me to live the rest of my life with the haunted memories of that day and being thankful for what didn't happen.

I live in Mumbai which has very busy roads.I need someone to walk with me or I take an eternity to cross the road even now. Somehow after that episode I've lost that confidence. My husband calls me 'accident-prone' and takes extra care when I'm with him.

I must say, however, that I have a new-found respect for life after that. We take so many things in our life for granted that we fail to see the importance attached with each one of them. Had anything happened to me that time there are so many things I’d have missed. After I came home that day I hugged my mother and cried and apologized for not being the best daughter in the world, and promised that I’d try to be one.

I somehow wanted to get this out of my system. I'm sorry for the emotional atyachaar today........!

Wednesday, November 18

Getting Hitch(ed)

I saw HITCH yesterday, yet another time. There’s something about this movie that I can see it over and over again, and still never get bored. The movie is by no means a masterpiece, and like any other rom-com, it’s very predictable. What sets it apart is the ‘freshness’ element in it.

After seeing him save our earth from those filthy aliens it was strange, but refreshing to see Will Smith play the modern-day cupid. I’m not a big fan of his or anything, but I must admit, the guy’s got style. He manages to look his smartest best even when he’s dressed in simple khaki shorts and an open shirt. Well, coming back to the movie now…:P

Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith) is a ‘date-doctor’ who’s job is to help unassuming men get the lady of their dreams. He gives them tips on how to woo her and find their way in her heart. His biggest challenge comes when a loser like Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) asks for his services to get the love of his life, a high-flying celebrity Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Alex on the other hand finds himself smitten with a gossip-columnist Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), who’s hard-to-get.

There are many funny moments in the movie. The parts wherein Alex is trying to teach the goofy Albert on how to dance, how to kiss or even how to behave, or when Alex has a fish allergy and his whole face swells, are good.

It also has its share of dramatic scenes. Sara misunderstands the date-doctor as someone who’s only trying to help men have one-night stands, when a guy dumps her friend and takes his name. This leads to a humiliating situation for both Alex and Albert.

What I like most is the way the dialogues are written. The conversations between Sara and Alex are crisp and intelligent. The scene in the bar when they meet for the first time,or when Alex tracks her to her workplace and sends her a walkie-talkie to fix up a date, are good. Towards the end when Albert tells Alex that he wants to 'feel miserable inside' and which Alex repeats to Sara, is cute.

Although she plays like a guarded fort all the time, he has a new plan for her every time. It’s harder for him to taste his own medicine though! In the last scene Alex faces the camera and says.. 'Basic principles...there are none!'

The movie is worth your while. If you’ve seen it already, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. In case you haven’t, well, go see it! :)

Tuesday, November 17

A piece of seamed memories #1

Taking inspiration from Titaxy, I'd like to share few lines that I'd penned during my graduation years. In these lines I've tried to show the thoughts and desires of a romantic and dreamy eyed teenager. I think all of us would be able to identify with this:

Whenever I’m lonely I think of you,
And all the beautiful moments that we’ve spent too,
Amongst the crowd of a hundred men,
You’re the one who made my heart’s desire come true.

Alone lying on the bed,
I remember the time when you had said,
That I’m the one who enlightened your life,
That I’m the one for whom your heart fled.

Your memories make me feel your presence,
They bring back the moments of love and happiness,
The cool breeze that touches my face,
Brings along with it, your charming essence.

Saturday, November 14

Can't you see...I'm busy!!

The other day while I was enjoying my rare and leisurely afternoon nap I received a tele-marketing call from some girl who was trying to sell me an add-on card on my number. Highly annoyed though I was, I couldn’t bring myself to get rude with that poor girl who was just doing her job. With as much politeness as I could muster, I told her that I was busy and hung up.

It then struck me, how often do we use the excuse ‘I’m busy’ or ‘I’ve been busy’ or ‘I was busy’ to find our way out of a tricky situation? This sure has happened a lot with every one of us. Most of us will agree, many times this expression is used as a euphemism for ‘F*** off!!!’

With the increasing popularity and use of social networking websites it has become quite simple to find, connect and bond with your long-lost friends. Along with them even the ones who you hated back then. Imagine when such a mind-numbing creature from your past finds your whereabouts and contacts you and complains that you haven’t been in touch. What do you say? ‘I’ve been busy mate!!’

So, there was a wedding at some relative’s place and your whole family went for it. You didn’t have the slightest care or inclination to attend and after a lot of heated argument you were allowed to stay back. After few days you meet that relative somewhere and for not showing up in the wedding the excuse you give is, ‘Uncle, I was busy preparing for my exams’.

This is not used or meant only as an excuse every time. Remember the time in college when we hung out with our gang of friends? Whatever the situation or time our friends were always there for us. As we get older however, everything changes. Even if we need to talk to our old friend now, we need to consult the calendar first, if only to make sure we’re not disturbing him. And more so, it breaks our heart when he does pick up the call but before we can even say ‘Hi…’ he says he’s busy and will call back.

This also is sort of a fashion-statement. It does not feel stylish to let people know that you’re not doing anything and have all the time in the world. So just to keep up that rep of yours, you don’t pick up your ringing phone quickly even if its right next to you, or better still, let the call go into missed calls! What, are you just sitting idle to take people's calls? Didn’t the caller know? That time of the day… ‘YOU’RE BUSY!!!’

Thursday, November 12

Butterflies in my stomach :)

Every one of us has heard about the phrase ‘having butterflies in one’s stomach’ and undoubtedly experienced it on various occasions in our life. It is that uneasy feeling we get in our stomach when we know that something wrong's happened or is about to happen. It may be nervous apprehension due to an unexpected turn of events. I have tried to list few instances when these butterflies start fluttering in our stomach ;)

As a child:
1. You broke the glass of your very irritating, loud and belligerent neighbour’s window. Unfortunately before you could reach home and butter your parents with your sugar-coated excuse he’s already there!
2. This one’s happened with everyone. You completed your homework (really?) and forgot your notebook on your study table. Your strict teacher will be very upset and punish you.
3. You accidentally broke your elder sibling’s favourite toy/doll while he/she was away.
4. You drew your most imaginative doodles on dad’s important papers.

As an adolescent:
1. You steal your dad’s car keys and go out for a drive with your friends. You break signals, get caught speeding, but the worst part comes when your dad’s friend spots you.
2. Your sibling calls you to inform you that your mom found that hidden pack of cigarettes and magazines in your closet.
3. Engineering students can identify with this. The day of submissions and you realize there’s one full sheet you forgot to make!
4. You bunk classes and go for a movie and bump into another professor there.

As an adult:
1. You have no money on you and the ATM swallows your card.
2. You mistakenly tell your khadoos boss the wrong time for a meeting.
3. You’re enjoying a cup of coffee with your girlfriend when incidentally another one turns up there.
4. For some people this one sure is, proposing…!

This is indeed an inclusive list. There are many many more such situations. Inputs are valuable and welcome :)

Wednesday, November 11

Oh..Try it..It is so good for you..

If you turn on your television in wee hours of the morning you’ll see a similar program running on many channels: TELE-SHOPPING NETWORK. Here you’ll see many angrez log ( in ridiculously dubbed hindi) and few of our usual telly actors trying to sell us a wide range of products: face creams and hair lotions to slimming and fitness equipment and a new found one,gem stones.

Out of sheer curiosity (and the fact that I could use some help to put down few extra pounds) I saw one of these slimming equipment commercials. A guy with 6-pack abs and big biceps (looking very obviously steroid-fed) and a girl in a two-piece bikini with an enviable figure were giving some gyan on how our sedentary lifestyle (read, hogging and doing nothing style) is bad for our health, and what a boon the slimming-belt is which helps melt all that extra fat from our body.Yeah right!

While switching channels one day I saw a serious looking old (presumably knowledgeable)person lecturing on how our stars affect our lives and how big a role gem stones play in consoling (???) them and making them mend their ways. Hello...whatever happened to a person's dedication,ability and perseverance?

Highly irritated with this, I felt I should write something about it. I don’t mean to say that I have anything against them. They have to sell, and we’re their target. However as an end-user I need more persuasion and authentication than seeing and believing a person who’s paid to say that a certain thing will do wonders for me.

Time and again we’ve talked about exploiting marketing strategies adopted by companies to sell their products. As consumers we’re always taken for granted. That’s the reason why we can get banned drugs and medicines very easily over the counter. They know no matter what newspapers or news channels say, we’re ignorant.

We expect them to act with responsibility when we need to do that ourselves first. It is our life and our health we're talking about.We need to practice caution and act with awareness.  It is for us to choose the best thing for us, we cannot afford to be na├»ve then,right?

Tuesday, November 10

Being Mommy Dearest

I’ve always been in love with kids. Being the youngest one in our family I’ve been lucky to see and spend a lot of time with the younger versions of my elder cousins. It gave me a high when their cute little kids came up to me and said, ‘Bhua mujhe khana khilao’ or ‘Mujhe Bhua ke saath hi gaadi pe baithna hai’. It was very endearing to see their moms swell with pride when anyone gushed about how lovingly naughty they were.

I always wondered what it’d be like when I’ll have my own little monster. When the doctor broke the news to me I started day-dreaming, and as the D-day was approaching my anxiety knew no bounds. Would he/she be the naughty-n-happy child or would he/she be the irritating-n-howling type? Would he/she really be sweet and cute like the kids they show in those Johnson n Johnson commercials? Expectant moms are filled with so much anticipation I tell you…

Few words of wisdom for anyone who might need them: You might read all kinds of books, attend seminars, take cues from your friends and relatives, but nothing can prepare you for what’s going to come ahead. No one can tell you how special it feels when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time or how irritating it is especially for the new mom to leave her pain aside and attend to her crying ward at night. It is only for us to find out, enjoy and feel nostalgic about in later years.

My son is over a year old. He’s just about started babbling but every time he says something legible I get a kick out of it. He’s one of those restless kinds of kids, roams around in the house all day like a lion patrolling his kingdom, doesn’t mind throwing anything that’ll come in his way. He has a very observant eye. I might forget, but he never fails to remember where I’d hidden the tv remote or which button to press to pick up a call on my cell.

I’m a very impatient person. With him now however I feel a lot calmer and grounded. When I’m upset about something he comes up to me and gives me a peck on my cheek. When I give him a monstrous look for something he’s done, he gives his best smile and makes me laugh. When I spread my arms wide and call him close, he simply runs and comes into my arms. What can I say, it feels awesome!!

There was a scene in FRIENDS when Chandler tells Monica that he wants to have a child with her and that they’ll screw it up in their own special way. I’d liked it. It was both lovable and funny. Don’t all of us want that? To love him, adore him, spoil him, and spank him? There was another scene in FRIENDS when Rachel says, I can do anything with my daughter, I made her! Well...thats true too :)

As kids we probably never realised how much 'work' we were for our parents. But they were always there for us. Even when we sprained our ankle while learning to ride a bicycle, when we scored awfully bad in exams or when we broke our mom's favourite china. Now I can say I do realise that, and feel more regard and love for my parents.

Finally,parenthood is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It gives a new dimension to your life, makes you more responsible and caring, makes you a better person. I’m sure all dads and moms out there will agree!

Saturday, November 7

Another book adaptation...

The preview of 3 Idiots is out and it does look fresh and youthful. Since I’d liked the book ( Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat), I’m looking forward to seeing all those characters come to life on screen. Haven proved time and again that he’s a sensible director, I believe Raju Hirani must’ve done full justice to this losers’ tale of goof-ups and adventures.

Book adaptations although are a trend in the west we have few of our directors attempting to take up this challenge. The expectations people have from such a movie are far more than a run-of-the-mill commercial movie, since they’ve something to compare it to. It becomes imperative for the director to use his vision while retaining the originality and soul of the storyline.

I’m an avid reader and read all kinds of stuff. While reading a story it usually happens that I get so involved in it that all its characters start taking form in my mind. The character might be a sixty year old lady or a 2 year old kid, I empathize with them, feel a connection with them. This I believe happens with everyone who takes reading seriously. Hence when I’m subjecting myself to seeing a movie based on a book I liked, my expectations are unreasonably high.

There have been movies that’ve taken the book to another level. Say for example,Godfather. All the Godfather movies were so close to being real. One could never say that he thought Michael would be any different from Al Pacino or that he’d picturised someone else as Don Corleone,not Marlon Brando. They looked like they’d been picked up from the book itself. Such is the way book adaptations are meant to be. Unfortunately it does not happen everytime.

The argument and criticism that surrounded Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown prompted me to read it. Although we’d leave it on more qualified and learned people to deduce whether it had any fragment of reality,as a fictional novel it was not bad. The movie though disappointed me. More so since it had Tom Hanks in the lead. A good book, but a not-so-good movie.

Talking about our own film industry we’ve had a masterpiece like Guide made by Dev Anand which was made on a book by the same name written by R.K.Narayan ,and a cold turkey like Hello which was made on One night @ call center by Chetan Bhagat. Its not just the difference between the movie and the book. The choice of actors and their acting also gives an edge to the story. For example, Meera Nair's The Namesake. It was also due to the performances of Tabu and Irfan Khan that the movie was such a success.

The vision of a director might be different from that of a writer, but their intention is the same. To give life to their imagination, to take us on a ride to a make-believe world. We can only hope that when these two come together, the world they show us is out of a dream,not a nightmare.

Friday, November 6

Star Power/Brand Power

Few days ago there was news doing rounds...Shahrukh installs Tatasky in his office although he endorses its rival company. It was a slip-on as far as Shahrukh is concerned,who at all times makes sure that he leaves no stone unturned to ensure that even with his projected lifestyle he convinces us that he actually uses the brands he promotes.Whether it is his installing Pepsi vending machines at Mannat,giving away Tag Heuer watches in Kaun Banega Crorepati or whether in his recent flick 'Rab Ne Bana Di jodi' we see him showing off his Hyundai Santro.

As people who watch these commercials are we really ready to accept that a particular celebrity endorsing a product makes it any better? Does a celebrity really add brand-value to any product? Are we really that gullible to believe it when these stars tell us that certain product is good for us? Does having a star endorse a product really help in increasing a company's sales and market share?

Let us try and get answers for some of these questions...

Companies that choose these biggies for promotions are no fools. Lot of research and man hours go into taking these decisions.Companies reserve a huge chunk of money for advertisements and endorsements.Who wouldn't like a Sachin Tendulkar or Dhoni to sell for them,but it is possible? Not only is it commercially not viable always but also it might not be the right choice for you.

Every star carries an image.Say,having someone like Mallika Sherawat endorse an agarbatti would be totally inappropriate.In our country people treat their favourite actors like gods.Temples are made out for them,people pray for them.In such case if our favourite actor endorses a certain brand,it does become an emotional matter for us.Our mind might not always accept this but our heart always will go out for him. This is exactly why they are chosen. To cash in on our regard for the actor.Is it wrong? Well...can't say so..

For stars on the other hand, its a win-win situation.They are paid an exorbitant amount of money only to show up in a 2-min advertisement which is shown on television numerous number of times throughout the day. It certainly gives them lot more exposure and publicity than a film might.What we do fail to realise is that,with the star getting all the focus and attention does the brand actually leave an imprint on the viewer's mind?It is very much possible for people to remember the star but completely forget what he was endorsing.

All matters aside,stars however need to realise the responsiblity they take upon themselves when they're doing this.Their credibility is at stake here.They are exposing themselves to public scrutiny for reasons more serious than bad acting.So when Amitabh Bacchhan says 'UP mein jurm kam hai',do we take his word for it? Certainly not!But when we see people like Aamir Khan campaigning for 'Incredible India' to boost tourism it sounds credible.

To wrap up,we do love our icons and we certainly don't mind seeing them for as many times as we want,on television on signboards or even on the cover of our favourite soap.But we do expect them to believe in what they're promoting.

Tuesday, November 3

Just Like That...

I never thought Blogging was my cup of tea. Reading all those blogs sent by people made me feel just how much extra time and energy people had to waste on this virtual notice board. I mean you're writing out your inner thoughts and feelings (assuming you do mean what you write) on an open forum, reaching out to numerous people,what can be the inspiration behind doing something like this??

I found that I had most of the answers. Remember the time in school when your best friend told you about a new doll she got, the time when you shared one tiffin amongst your whole group of friends,when you bunked classes and went for a movie? I'm sure everyone of us thinks of and misses that time.

As we grow up however things change. Your best friends change (sadly), your careers take a different turn and may be you're thousands of miles apart from your loved ones. Such is the way life is. You win some and you lose some.

Blogging comes in handy at such a time. Wouldn't it be nice to have your best friend give you a first hand review of some horrible/good movie like he did in college? Wouldn't it be nice just to tell the world that you're having a good day or a bad day? Wouldn't it be nice to just...write something..the something that's going on inside you and you want to share with everyone?

Afterall Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bacchan and even our dear Mr Shashi Tharoor trust the effect and the reach of blogging. With due respect to all of them...we follow suit :)

So here I am...to share with you... my thoughts...my opinions...my feelings...or to write something... Just Like That....
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