Sunday, September 30, 2012

Of Mail, Indianapolis, And Eugene Cernan...


Long time no see..

Last week I wrote about Judy no? I had sent her an email and this is what she replied to me..

I am so happy you wrote. You know I've been thinking about you and was about to ask M for your email. You read my mind. 

I am truly honored and touched about what you wrote. Your sincerity, inquisitiveness and honesty are at the essence of true leadership. Leadership is not about the loud band leader who beckons everyone to follow. The real leaders have a deep understanding of others and seek to help others be the best they can be. 

I believe that we are all connected Pankaj It is interesting that somehow I touched upon an aspect that you have dwelled on, the speaking up. I think our meeting and interaction was meant to be. Speaking up, in my mind, is not just the act of speaking but the self-recognition of the worthiness of what lies within and the need for your knowing to be shared with others. You have a depth of understanding, insight and compassion, Pankaj, that I know can be of benefit to others. 

This a new and strange world to you! With time, you will know what is worth adapting to and what is not worth adapting to. In the midst, you will feel your values and certainty challenged. Yet it is in that very challenge that you will learn what matters most to you. 

I have been away from my family, especially my children for 5 long days (the longest since I've had children!), so this was a big change for me. I just returned home last night. Your email and your words are like gold to me, for it is knowing that I have benefited others, that it makes the travel and the being away from my children worth its while. So my thank you! 

Keep in touch. Know your gifts. And enjoy all that which is around you.

And I came back from Indianapolis. It was so expensive. I spent $330 for the hotel stay plus another $50 for the food plus another $200 for registration :( There was a career fair there. It is so difficult to sell yourself and especially for a loser like me who doesn't even know how to talk :( I was so depressed seeing the atmosphere there..thousands of MBAs from all over the US running all over the place to find a job. I met people from office - A, A and P. They had also come. I just wanted to run away from that place. I actually came out early the first day. I was like I have spent so much money, at least I should see the city. It is a beautiful city. I also made a good friend R. He is in second year at my college. He saw me standing in one corner when I was just looking at things there. He came up to me and said, "feeling depressed?" Then he told me that these fairs are not for introvert people like me and him. He also wanted to get out of there. And then we both went and explored the city. He told me so many things which I will write later but that was the only good part of the trip. Then we went to a pub and had locally brewed beer. I loved it. Usually I don't like beer but I had two glasses. All the while we were talking about life and our insecurities. Then after that I went to two churches as well. They were beautiful. 

The last pic is taken at Hooters. Interesting...

On Modern Family, I was so amazed by Phil. It brought tears in my eyes. He is such a great father and a great husband. Awesome he is... Here is what happens. He talks about Eugene Cernan who is called the coolest father ever.

Phil: “I want to be Eugene Cernan.”
Alex: “Who’s Eugene Cernan?”
Phil: “Apollo 17 astronaut. Last man on the moon. Coolest dad of all time. When he was leaving the moon, he reached down and wrote his daughter’s initials into the lunar surface. Since there’s no atmosphere…”
Alex: “They’ll be there forever. Wow, so every time she looks in the sky she’ll know there’s a message just for her.”
Phil: “Exactly. That’s why dads everywhere hate Eugene Cernan.

All through the episode he tried doing something that would be a great memory for him and Alex. In the end, he did this absolutely brilliant thing. He wrote the initials of Alex (AD) on the board of a restaurant that was named Moonbeam. Fantastic no? Fathers are great. As they say, fathers are closer to daughters and mothers are closer to sons. I still remember this quote from Desperate Housewives, it said: "the best fathers are those who make the women in their lives feel like good mothers." And I read this even more awesome story yesterday where a dad advised his young son about porn. So cool are fathers no? Read about him here ( Who do you want as a kid? A boy? A girl? 

I know I should have written a better post..I had five things pending from last week but I don't feel like writing about them now :( Getting worried about some things..anyways...

Dialogue of the Day:

"They say the important thing in life isn’t the destination, it’s the journey. the challenges you face along the way; the unexpected twists and turns; the disappointments you overcome, but they’re wrong. it’s all about the destination."
 - Manny, Modern Family

"ये जो वक़्त है न यहाँ जो हम काट रहे है, ये बहुत अच्छा टाइम है...देखना आगे चल कर हम इसे याद करेंगे और हसेंगे.."
- Geet, Jab We Met

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Of You, Band Baaja Baaraat, Joseph Anton, Reading People and Jab Tak Hai Jaan..

Ok..long time no see..It's been a long roller coaster of a week. So many things happened during the week..I don't know from where to begin. Usually I have nothing to write but for this week I have about ten things to write..I will write only some of them today and save the others for next week. 

Finally after more than a month, I got a chance to speak to you. The first sentence you said to me was that you miss me so much. I was so happy when you told this to me ya. You said so many things about me. I cannot tell you how much I miss speaking to you ya. I was so happy when you told me that you have found someone again. I know these were some tough and lonely months for you but you finally found love again. And you wanted to share this with me. I know you would look perfect with anybody ya but I am really happy for you. I was actually seeing the pictures of your special person and it is true what you both make a cute couple :) But you know as I was so happy for you, I felt a bit sad for myself..slightly jealous as well.. I know I am so stupid but what do I do no? I hate myself for this but whenever I speak to you I start welling up. It isn't that I intentionally do it but since I can tell you anything, all the things which I keep to myself start coming out. I can lose myself in  front of you but with others I have this guard around me. I am really sorry for that but what do I do? Sometimes it feels really lonely ya.. You always keep on saying things about me..That is enough for me..what else can I expect? I don't even have a right to expect anything. Thank you... and ya I really wish you a life time of happiness...Please don't forget me and thora sa miss karte rehna..

And you know this week after I saw the amazing trailer of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, I was reminded of my favorite scene from Band Baaja Baraat. I love the scene where Shruti pretends that she has no feelings for  Bittoo.  Especially the point when Shruti sees herself in the mirror. It is as if she is watching this whole new Shruti and her emotions in the mirror. And then she talks and consoles herself addressing her own self in third person. It again reflects this new Shruti which she never thought could be in her. Perhaps that is why they have kept this mirror in front of her during the whole scene to show different person. It is a fabulous scene and Anushkha is terrific in it. And you know, I read this short story The Mirror by Murakami. It is such a thought provoking story and it says, "The most frightening thing in the world is our own self." Isn't it actually true? 

I liked Band Baaja Baaraat just because of Shruti. As a character Shruti behaved slightly irrationally when her love wasn't reciprocated which is very natural but then she became more pragmatic and graceful. She learnt to accept some not take things seriously. At one point in the film, she says to Bittoo that she fell in love with him but he didn't.. so what's the big deal? Why is he making a fuss out of it. As they said "jiske saath vyapaar karo usse kabhi na pyaar karo." The more she runs after him, the more she will get hurt herself. Learn to live with it no?.. Do watch this scene here. 

Taking of addressing in third person, Salma Rushdie's autobiographical Joseph Anton is out this week. To me, he is God. I started to love books because of two authors - Salman Rushdie and Jane Austen. In the book, Rushdie talks about his years when he was living in hiding due to a fatwa against him for writing The Satanic Verses. During those years, he had taken this alias Joseph Anton after two  of his favorite authors Jospeh Conrad and Anton Chekov. As Salil Tripathi writes in the Mint, He chose Joseph Anton, after Conrad and Chekhov. Conrad, because in The Nigger of the Narcissus, a sick seaman called James Wait is about to make a difficult voyage, and another seafarer asks him why, and Wait says, “I must live before I die, mustn’t I?” And Chekhov, because he was “the master of loneliness and melancholy, of the beauty of an old world destroyed, like the trees in a cherry orchard, by the brutality of the new; Chekhov, whose Three Sisters believed that real life was elsewhere and yearned eternally for a Moscow to which they could not return.” 

Incidentally, Rushdie addresses himself all the while in third person in the entire book. He says addressing himself in third person made him more objective. As Salil Tripathi continues, 

Rushdie today is not the Rushdie of 1988; he wants to look back at the past with the objectivity distance brings, observing his younger self, commenting on his decisions grand and small, and reflecting on his opinions, describing the actions he took—brave at times, mean at some others. As a literary device, it works.

Do read Salil Tripathi's and Indrajit Hazra's delightful reviews of the book here. 

Think of what the poet Baal said in The Satanic Verses: “A poet’s work: to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.”

How can someone write so beautifully? I am amazed by people's creativity. I have to read it soon. I have to watch Midnight's Children too.

I was so irritated at some things. Some people in my class had formed a perception about some things which irritated me so much. This is what I don't like. At one point, they say American culture respects individualism and then they pass too many judgements about the way certain people are? Isn't it a dichotomy?

Yesterday, we had a cross cultural training session only for the international students in our class. There was this amazing person, Judy Shen-Filerman, who is an MBA from Harvard and runs a cross cultural training firm. She was called to teach some American cultural traits to international students and to tell us that how difficult and different it is to find a job here if you are an international student. It is all networking which is very different from where we come from. She told us to prepare a fifteen-thirty second pitch that we need to say during career fairs to potential employers. She then gave a feedback to each of us on how to improve the pitch. People wrote some great ones talking about their achievements and all. One guy said he was the first employee to be given the power of signature in his company. I have nothing to sell honestly and  I wrote a very simple one. And you know she called it the best in the class. After getting some not so good feedback in mock interviews earlier in the week (one feedback I got was to improve personal grooming..huh?!?!?!), this actually felt good. I admit I am a terrible interviewee and I know how much problems I will face here :{ But what she said made my day. And in the end when she was about to leave, she specially came up to me and said that she sees a writer in me. And then she said, "you noticed that I did not go to anybody. But I have to come up to you especially. I want to say to you that I can see that you are a talented person just by the way you wrote but one advise I will give to you is speak a bit more. And you have a great smile."  I really don't know why she said to me to speak more. There were people who spoke nothing at all. I spoke and asked a few questions as well during the session  but it was as if she knew me from before that I don't speak much. Isn't it amazing how some people can read others in one meeting and for some it takes a lifetime? And then she asked my name and told me to send her a mail and to be in touch. I felt so thankful to her for this. Sometimes I really wonder if I am that transparent? Am I that bad kya? Mere saath sab theek ho jayega na? After some not so good things that I heard this week, this felt good. Thank you so much Judy. 

I cannot wait for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. As Anupama Chopra tweeted, "I'm a total sucker for pretty people in love and all things Yash Chopra so can't wait to see Jab Tak Hain Jaan!" I couldn't agree more. It is the same with me. I love 'love triangles'. Howsoever cheesy the poem be, Gulzar and Rehman are a cracker of a combination. The English translation of the poem is here. There is so much hype that people are writing articles on the possible plots for the same: 

Got bored no? I wrote about five things but I have another five more to write. I am going to Indianapolis the coming week. Let's see how it turns out. I will meet P as well. I hope I remember what all I want to write.

Dialogue of the Day:
तेरा हाथ से हाथ छोड़ना
तेरा सायों से रुख मोड़ना
तेरा पलट के फिर न देखना
नहीं माफ़ करूँगा मैं
जब तक है जान, जब तक है जान
 - Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Of Lessons from Kabhi Kabhi...

"ज़िन्दगी में आज ही सब कुछ है...जो बीत गयी सो बात गयी." -  अमित, कभी कभी

"ज़िन्दगी चन सवाल और कुछ जवाब बन कर ही तो रह जाती है." -  अमित, कभी कभी

"मेरी ज़िन्दगी की एक ही तो पूँजी है..तुम्हारी याद...उस पर तो मेरा अधिकार रहने दो." -  अमित, कभी कभी

Dialogue of the Day:

पूजा: सच सच एक बात बताओगे..तुम इंसान के रूप में देवता हो या देवता के रूप में इंसान...
विजय: इस दुनिया में आदमी इंसान बन जाये तोह बहुत बड़ी बात है..
 कभी कभी

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Of Loss, Good Writing and Obama....


A lot of things happened this week..don't know where to start...this was a week of loss..of losing ..when Y called me I knew she was crying..and then I started feeling the same things.. but what else to do..all we can do is just go on..I knew something had happened with another friend but I am sure all will be well now..we have to go on living no? To find happiness? .......

This week Anupama asked an excellent question to Priyanka Chopra on the Front Row. She asked:

Anupama: When Kiran Desai won the Booker Prize, she said to a journalist that good writing doesn’t come from winning prizes and being happy, it comes from doubt and it comes from a difficult place. So where does good acting come from? Does it also come from difficult place?

Priyanka: I think for me acting comes from good writing. I’m as good as the script or as bad as it. I read that Pankaj Kapur said, “Whatever you need is in your script.” It’s different that we didn’t have a script for this film so it was such an organic experience.

What a fabulous statement by Kiran Desai. Good writing comes from doubt. Kiran Desai's book Inheritance of Loss was the name of my blog prior to Dichotomy of Irony. I haven't read the book but still I feel some sort of kinship with the title - the inheritance of loss...Maybe I have a kinship with loss, that is why I love to be feel loss all the time..and that I become happy when I am sad...

I searched for the interview in which Kiran talks about writing which Anupama mentions. It is a fabulous interview. Read it here.

She says, "writing doesn’t come from being famous or happy, it comes from more difficult places…it comes from doubt, worry and all those more uncomfortable emotions.” Isn't it true? But can't good writers be happy? Don't they say that comedians are the most saddest people in the world? 

And this week, Obama came to the campus. I have never attended any political rally in India but I waited for more than four hours just to get a glimpse of him. And when he came on stage, I was so happy..I don't know why but to see the most powerful man in the world in front of you was an exhilarating experience. Michelle didn't speak..just came in the end. Obama..whatever one's view about him but he is no doubt a fantastic confidently he speaks! 

I was at the end..couldn't get a good view for clicking from close...

There were security guards at the top of every building. Somehow I love this picture of guards more than those of Obama..maybe it is the sky effect..but I can look at this picture for a long time...

I don't want to write more..not feeling good...and have nothing to write actually..becoming more emotionless and thought less day by day...

Dialogue of the Day:
"I sometimes think that people's heart are like deep wells. No body knows what's at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while."
 - Haruki Murakami, Airplane or How He Talked to Himself While Reciting Poetry

"चलते चलते आदमी खुद गिर जाये तो खराश आती है, लेकिन उसे अगर गिरा दिया जाये तो चोट आने का खतरा रहता है"
 - Pooja, Kabhi Kabhi

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Of Mast, Pulao and To Rome With Love...


Long time no see..

I have some things to write about but maybe I should not write them..I do not have anything interesting to write about..

So classes have started. A month already in the US. Classmates have started to call Pankaj properly instead of the the so many variations - Panka, Paankaaj, Paanaaj, Bankaj etc.etc. I went to get a haircut today and paid $12 for it. Seriously Rs. 650 for a hair cut! Kahan Rs. 25 aur kahan Rs.650. And it is the first time got a hair cut by a woman..for the last twelve-thirteen years, I have always had a cut with only one bhaiya..guess he would be wondering where I'd go. He has literally seen me grown up. 

During the week, we had to make five slides on our selves and talk about it. I hate speaking about myself in front of others, in fact, I hate public speaking :\  I am such a terrible speaker, get so nervous that my voice starts quivering. So I made five slides on myself..about how I am as a person and what I want to do in life (we had to answer this if I know it..) Talked about the same old things that I keep on repeating to read, write, news addict, film criticism, quote collection..also added two three quotes from Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy which everyone liked :) While I was speaking, I got nervous as always :( But in the end, got the feedback that I am a good public speaker. Professor said you tend to speak with your hands, which is a good thing. Seriously, I fumble so much while giving presentations :\ 

I don't know why but for some reason I am constantly thinking of Mast this week. No not Masti..but Mast. Aftab Shivadasani's first film, also starring Urmila and directed by Ram Gopal Verma. Howsoever, unreal and cheesy it was, I loved Mast. Mast is the story of Kittu, played by Aftab, who is madly in love with a film star Mallika, played by Urmila. His desire to meet her is so strong that he runs away from home to meet her. By the turn of events, he kidnaps Mallika and brings her to his home. Mallika also falls in love with him but she thinks that Kittu loves Nisha (played by Antara Mali), so she goes back. But Kittu tells her that he loves her and not Nisha. I loved Mast because of the charcters. Nisha, played brilliantly by Antara Mali, lets go of Kitu inspite of her sheer love for him because she understood Kittu had always been in love with Mallika. She was heartbroken but dealt herself with grace and poise. Mallika also understood the fact that though she herself loves Kittu but she shouldn't come in between Kittu and Nisha. That is how love is no? see happiness of the other.  It takes great courage to let go of things and very few can do this with a dignity. Whatever the box office performance, I loved it. Mast also exemplified the hero worship that we have in Indian cinema. We love our stars and are mad about them. Just look at the Salman phenomenon. Interestingly, it is rumored that Ram Gopal Verma was fascinated by Sridevi when he was young. He has tried to show his obsession of Sridevi in the movie. Talking of Sridevi, I cannot wait for English Vinglish. I hope it is awesome :) 

Mast also reminded me of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Malhotra says to Tina that "Rahul ki jagah aur koi hota tabhi mujhe shayad itna hi bura lagta..kyunki tumhara pyaar bant jayega na." Tina says to him, she isn't sure that Rahul loves her because she thinks Rahul and Anjali like each other. Malhotra says that the whole college knows that Rahul and Anjali are just good friends. Isn't this very similar to Mast? And in another awesome scene, when Anjali throws her red dupatta to Tina, she says "us din mujhe yeh ehsaas hua ki shayad main do doston ke beech aa gayi. Anjali ki khamoshi mujhe sab kuch keh gayi." What if Tina had got to know of Anjali's love for Rahul earlier? I think Tina would have left too. Ain't it? It's fascinating these characters who understand

And, I cooked Pulao this week and sent pictures to all my friends :D Internet pe sab kuch milta hai aajkal..I was trying to take some pictures like the ones Sidin Vadukut posts but alas I am such a loser :\ He posts such amazing pictures of food. I think food photography is another fine art. Just looking at his pictures can make your mouth water. 

I am learning to use the manual mode but am not able to keep the camera steady at low shutter speeds spoiling them :\ 

And Woody Allen is back with To Rome With Love. I had absolutely loved Midnight in Paris. Even in my presentation, I spoke about it that it is my favorite film with so many references and probably the best art direction that I have seen in a really long time. And as always cosmic connection theory comes into play, some body on my timeline put this trailer of To Rome With Love. Woody Allen is a genius. I loved the trailer and I am sure the movie would be great too. I have to watch it now. And I have to watch Barfi as well :\ 

I have nothing good to write this week you see..there are so many things pending but don't feel like doing them :\ Anyways, will try to write something better next week.

Dialogue of the Day:
कुछ कम रोशन हैं रौशनी, 
कुछ कम गीली हैं बारिशें, 
कुछ कम लहराती है हवा,
कुछ कम है दिल में ख्वाहिशें, 
थम सा गया है ये वक़्त ऐसे तेरे लिए ही ठहरा हो जैसे..
    - Kuch Kam, Dostana