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Showing posts from October, 2010

Movie Review: Gandha

I have always believed that some of the country's best stories are written and are found in regional cinema. Unfortunately, most of them remain imprisoned within their geographic and linguistic boundaries, flowering and withering away unnoticed or get overshadowed by Hindi cinema. Hence, it is necessary to look beyond Hindi cinema and capture the essence of regional cinema.

The Marathi film "Gandha" (Smell) directed by Sachin Kundalkar is strong on visual detailing, the perspective in which the stories unfold, the connect you feel with its character. After Adoor Gopalakrishnan's "Naalu Pennungal", this film comes closest to having a familiar plot with an originality and path-breaking in its own sense.

Gandha encompasses three simple stories about a bride-to-be who wants to fall in love and finds herself rejecting every suitor her parents find. Until one day, she meets a man to whom she is attracted to because of the way he smells. There is a stunning episode …

In black and yellow

So much of Mumbai and its typical "isms" be discovered in those black-bodied, yellow-topped moving things. Just like India lives in its villages, some part of Mumbai definitely lives in its taxis. Savour this.
On a trip from Churchgate to CST, you ask the cabbie to turn left before Flora Fountain. But he tells you, "No, the Flora Fountain route is shorter. I have done the ARD." I wondered what ARD meant. The pace of Mumbai is such, it doesn't take long to decipher that he means R&D.
Then, another day, you are returning from a gastronomic journey to Mohammed Ali Road. And, there's this one cabbie who wants to go home. Nevertheless, he will drop you at CST first. High on kebabs and nihari, a friend gets chatting with the cabbie. Asks him if it's his girlfriend who called when his mobile rings. On being told that they are waiting for him at home, the cabbie wants to know what he will eat for dinner. "Whatever has been cooked."
When we reached…

Strangers In The Night

It was Wednesday, the thirteenth of February, which marked the eleventh anniversary of Mahesh and Divya. Since morning, Divya had been extremely busy at home so much so that she didn't even have time to pause and wipe off the perspiration from her face. Divya, dressed in a modest maroon night gown, her hair tied up like a bun, her make-up all smudged was busy ticking off items in a long list clipped on the door of the refrigerator.

By five, she had succeeded in putting some kind of order into the arrangements. Chairs, tables, napkins, flowers, they were all there on the verandah, neatly arranged. Mahesh had come home much earlier than usual and was pleasantly surprised to see the arrangements she had made for their eleventh anniversary.

It was nearing nine when Divya started laying the table for dinner. As she was laying the table, there was a sudden power cut. She rushed to the kitchen and got a packet of birthday candles lying in between the Bru coffee packets above the refrigerat…

Silently, She Cried...

Ritika Narayanan

Her shuddering frame, collapsed on the chair,
Numb, disbelieving.
She couldn't bear to see that villain
The matrimonial columns, again
Nearly all that was asked for,
She had.

Beautiful girl, from cultured family,
Well educated.

She had that and more.
Her degrees, all of five years old,
Her career, the envy of her peers,
Her demure manner,
Her practical thinking,
Her compassionate heart,
All, all reduced to the background
For the one thing she lacked.


Silently, she turned to the mirror and saw
Herself in all her dusky, Indian glory.
Yet sadly, she could not answer to the foremost requirement:

Fair, beautiful girl, from cultured family
Well educated.

A last sigh let loose,
And she became herself again.

Mumbai's Answer to Tokyo

A rush hour is generally that part of the day when traffic congestion on roads and crowding in public transport is at its highest. The rush hour in Tokyo, Japan has about 3000 passengers packed in a 10-car train and about 100,000 passengers generally transported in an hour, which makes it one of the most congested railway networks in the world.

It is a slice of Tokyo's rush hour that is played out in Thane for a few hours every morning and evening. A row of young railway policemen and women queue up along the narrow foot overbridge that lies at the Kalyan-end of Thane station, virtually splitting up the bridge into two.

As soon as a train chugs in (in the morning, trains from Kalyan and in the evenings, those arriving from CST), the policemen and women brace themselves for their task: Pushing the crowds to the exit. It made me wonder whether if these policemen knew that their task has been derived from the famed "pushers" of Tokyo's overcrowded underground railway st…