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Showing posts from May, 2010

Moving Performance

Minus the rush, Sundays are a bit boring on a local train. One young lady who got on a Churchgate-bound local train at Borivli, though, more than managed to perk things up. Sipping casually on what seemed to be a bottle of cola, she was calm till the train left Andheri. She then decided to take a walk in the compartment, which was followed by a stint of hanging from the pole at the door.

Soon, she upgraded her moves by hopping on top of the nearly empty seats in the ladies compartment. Taken aback, all other commuters except my curious sister made a dash for the door. Our lady, pleased at being given the entire field to play, sipped some more "cola" and popped in some mysterious powder from her pocket and turned her attention to the handbills plastered all over. She fished out a pen from her shirt and scratched them. The ''instant remedy'' tantriks taken care of, she began dancing in joy singing, "Chalo chalo, full night jaagenge, party karenge, party kar…

Elegia

It's strange, isn't it, how much I talk about death... maybe not so strange if you knew a bit more. I feel that perhaps I've seen more than my fair share of it. More than I was ready to deal with. It was on the same day in May 2005, when my cousin Nikhil passed away at the age of 19. In the last five years, it was the most shocking incident in the family. He was a smiling, young fellow just that he was suffering from muscular dystrophy. Just that his death was something expected but no one could have foreseen it so early, no one could have done anything about.

The thing about death is that it is a part of life. We're all subconsciously prepared for it, we understand the inevitability of it. But there's a time for it. It is meant to come after you have lived a long life, raised a family and made something of yourself; not in your late teenage years or early twenties. Say what you want, that is not right. It's somehow just not right. It still happened though. The…

Lest We Regret...

One of my friends is a Delhi boy. I'll call him Vinay. He's moved base to Bangalore now, which is how we became friends, but he grew up there and still has a lot of friends there. A couple of weeks ago, Vinay was telling me about a party he attended in Delhi. Besides being someone's birthday, it was also a reunion of sorts; old school friends who hadn't seen each other for a while. They had a blast that night, drinking, talking, reliving old escapades till the wee hours of the morning. The party finally came to an end; they said goodbyes and headed home.

Vinay's friend Sagar never made it that far. He drove straight into a wall, at more than 80 km/hr. The front portion of the car was crushed, the engine pushed into the front two seats, nearly cutting Sagar in half. I wish I could tell you that he had a miraculous escape, one of those freak occurences you hear about on the news. I wish I could tell you that there was a guardian angel looking out for him that day, th…

Movie Review: The Bandit Queen

Controversy swirled around Shekhar Kapur's "The Bandit Queen", which was one of 1995's most discussed feature film. Supposedly based on the real-life experiences of a modern Indian folk heroine named Phoolan Devi, the authenticity of the film's script was under attack by Phoolan Devi herself. Phoolan Devi not only disavowed her autobiography, but also went on to file a lawsuit to keep The Bandit Queen from being released in Indian theatres. At this point, there is enough confusion that surrounds the factual accuracy of the movie which claims to be a "true story" must be accepted with reservations. Nevertheless, regardless of its historical veracity, The Bandit Queen is an excellent examination of caste discrimination, human suffering and the role of women in India's changing culture.

Two phrases encapsulate the backdrop against which the story unfolds. The first is a quote shown on-screen at the film's start: "Animals, drums, illiterates, lo…

"Jihadi" in the train

Mumbai local trains are an interesting place to observe all kinds of uncanny, bizarre and wacky stories taking place. Life is nothing less than a drama, especially if you travel by commuter trains. They surely attract more than its share. Due to its share of things and regardless of whether people like them or hate them, they're still known as the lifeline of Bombay.

A young thirty something tall man boarded the train from Wadala. His fellow passengers noticed that he was carrying a gun. His fellow passengers slowly decided to strike up a conversation but our hero chose to remain silent and asked them to move on. On this note, a suspicious but alert passenger decided to call and alert the railway police. Thinking that the man could be a terrorist, the city's crack commando team and Bombay's police team were pressed into action. They succeeded in ''neutralizing'' the suspect and alas, their joy was short-lived. The man in question turned out to be a bodyguard…