Showing posts from January, 2010

The Supreme Irony of Life

It is a paradox of life... bittersweet moments that take you to the highs of pure joy and then plunge you quite immediately into heart-wrenching sadness. I found myself in this impossibly contradictory situation over the past few days.

First came the high... one of those ''pinch-me-I'm-dreaming'' moments when I was selected for a play that is to be performed later in the next month. I was stunned and paralysed when I was told that I had bagged the lead role in the play. A call from a friend and an assurance from a professor opened the floodgates. They were full of pride, praise and love.. ecstatic for me, and I could feel it so strongly through the phone calls I received. I was so happy that I was able to make my parents feel proud and happy... to hear the praise and pride in their voice, because if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have any of the success I enjoy today. I was glad that I could give them something in return that went beyond academics.

These tw…

Space Crunch

All scientific research suggests that tempers are likely to be frayed when ten men are packed into a space meant for one. Therefore, it was no surprise that a heated argument broke out in a Vashi train when a group of newly boarded passengers tried to make their way from Wadala in and another bunch wanted to fight its way out. Matters seemed to be settling down once the train started with a jerk, but the two factions were still measuring each other up for a fight.

It was then that a timid old man squealed from under the crowd, "Each one of you try to move by just a millimetre. That will help." The whole compartment burst out laughing, and needless to say the fight was over before it began.

Movie Review: Paa

Paa is a simple film that is told in the most simplistic manner and that's one of the prime reasons why the film works big time. Paa scores in all the three departments namely editing, writing and music.

Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is an intelligent, witty 13 year old boy with an extremely rare genetic defect named Progeria that causes accelerated ageing. Mentally, he is 13, very normal, but physically he looks five times older. Inspite of his condition, Auro is a happy boy. He lives with his mother Vidya (Vidya Balan), a gynaecologist, but is completely clueless about his father's identity. Till he meets him, Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan), who is a full of ideals politician.

Paa looks at the varied relationships so minutely. It may've been touted as a father-son film, but the women--mother and grandmother--play equally pivotal parts. Paa is not a typical Hindi movie that tries to gain sympathy. It's a very positive film with funny moments in plenty. Paa does not show Auro…

The Growing City

This year too

we had scanty rainfall

scantier than the year last

with snowballs getting thinner

the city goes on growing

You can see

people standing

where once stood the trees


and yet

unlike trees

men cannot invite snowfalls

to visit them

The city goes on growing

growing like wilderness

with hands spread on the back of the jungle

one can see

a few mortals running

running yet ignoring

the call of the left out trees

instead of fog

the jungle is now enveloped in smoke

In this raging storm

while covering the glimmering wick

with his bare hands

the city climbs the bare mountain

toward the volcano

in the waiting

--Keshav Kumar

(Marathi poet)

Movie Review: Ekantham

"Ekantham" which means Solitude is a sensitive creation based on the loneliness felt in old age, with no one to take care of. With bringing in, the two of the best performers of the present day Malayalam cinema--the late. Murali and Thilakan, to do the pivotal roles, the film tells the in-depth story of today's human relationships.

Opening with aged Achutha Menon (Thilakan) performing the last rites for his deceased wife Saraswathi, the film follows his loneliness since he has no children and no immediate relative. Being a bureaucrat, he had never taken care of his family in his village. Tired of leading a lonely life, he decides to go to his younger brother Ravunni, who lives in their native village. Ravunni too is a widower, but has a son named Viswanathan and a daughter named Chandrika, both of whom are settled in the city with their respective families. Since Ravunni is suffering from a severe ailment, his son and daughter visit him at regular intervals. Both the brot…

Racism on tracks

My cousin was recently a witness to prejudice on the city's lifeline (read: the commuter trains), twice in a single week. Unaware of the compartments on trains, some obviously poor and illiterate rural families accidentally entered the first-class compartment on the western line, only to receive disgusted looks from passersby. Many of them were quickly shooed away.

Cut to the next day in a second class ladies compartment on the harbour line. A group of four Germans--three women and a man--boarded the compartment from Mumbai CST at about 10 pm. They were greeted with a wide smile. To top it, the man was allowed to stay on after the quartet pleaded that the general compartment was too crowded.

"Don't Give Up!"

The number of suicides being reported across the state this week has been horrific and alarming. What is scary is that really young people undergoing pressure with exams have committed most of them. It is sad that minds that have not yet developed have fallen prey to such levels of depression that has made these kids reach a place of hopelessness towards a life that could have been a glorious one. It's significant that none of these cases come from the underprivileged class, where striving for a good report is a means to an end. They come from families that fall in the middle-class bracket. What's the solution?

Let us, for a minute, examine forms of pressure related to what happened. The educational institutions in our country has a cruel system of admission. Little children are interviewed and rejected as if they are not 'top-of-the-line'. A four-year old then feels serious pressure. Good colleges like St. Xavier's in Mumbai or St. Stephen's in Delhi admit stud…

Disco at the signal

Being a cop must be the toughest--and the most boring--job on New Year's eve. While the world parties, you're stuck on the side of a busy road, checking for drunk drivers. On Thursday evening, the city's cops made their job a bit more fun by converting their check posts into roadside discos. At the post under the Byculla bridge, ''Happy New Year, Don't Drink and Drive'' was spelt out in flashing lights.

At the crossing very close to Famous Studios in Mahalakshmi, a fuchsia banner splashed the same message in funky alphabets. The policemen marched about, swinging their incandescent batons that looked like strobe lights criss-crossing a dance floor. The only thing they didn't do was break into a jig in the middle of the road.

Traffic Speak

Recently, at dusk, a traffic policeman stopped my friend's rented car on one of the city's busy suburban station roads. He said that the car had been going in the wrong direction on a one way street. The driver pointed out that there was no prominent sign indicating the one way, and the fact that BEST buses were allowed in both directions added to the confusion.

Insisting there was a sign, the cop added that only he--no motorist and not even his own boss--could decide whether the driver had erred or not. He demanded her licence, but she refused to hand it over, fearing that she wouldn't get it back. My Mumbai-born and bred colleague was getting late for an engagement. So she got out of the car and tried to mediate the stand-off in Marathi. Pleading guilt on her chauffeur's behalf, she said the woman had driven carefully all day, and that the violation was a genuine mistake and not a disregard for traffic rules.

Shrewdly taking the cue, the driver pledged never to repeat…

It's time to start afresh

Put on your best outfit, bring out the band-baaja, pop some champegne, grab a hold of the one's you love and welcome 2010 with the biggest, brightest smile and your arms wide open. Happy New Year!! It's the first day of the new year and the world is looking bright and promising.

The new year has always been a special time for me because it signifies the start of something new, the time when you sit back and think of all the things you want to accomplish in your life and also reflect on the year gone by. Many will say that it's just another day... a change in the date, but for me new year's day is filled with promise.. that one day when you think that you can officially conquer the world!

I've had a very ''thanda'' 2009 yet am grateful for what I got and I hope that I can carry the positivity in 2010 as well. I have so much to look forward to... railfanning, coffee sessions, movies, becoming an adult being the highlight of the year. I've spent th…