Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Not So Happy New Year

2009 has started. I am writing my first post of the year. And being the eternal pessimist that I am, I will start by a not so optimistic post :(

I am dreading 2009.I don' want to go to 2009. Personally, 2008 was one of the worst years of my life but still I don't want to start the new year. I wish time could stop. I have so many things going on at present and things are going to get even more difficult in the coming year. It sounds like an escapist's thoughts but I cannot help it.Small, small incidents keep happening which make me feel like a loser.

My college will end in 2009. I also do not want that :( Everyone will go different ways. I will have to start my life afresh. I take a lot of time to adapt. I am happy that my friends will reach great heights but I am sad for myself that I could never catch up with them. And the people I do not like at all, well I don't want to talk about them. People would change. After 2-3 years, everyone will start getting married!!!! Life would never be the same :(

But as Khaled Hosseini says in Kite Runner-Zendagi Migzara, life goes on. I don't make new year resolutions but have some ideas to do in 2009.

1. Watch movies, learn from them, understand them, learn about the different aspects like cinematography, and review them and be a good film critic. In 2008, I watched so few films- Jodhaa Akbar, Rock On!!, Jaane tu ya jaane na.. being some of them where as in 2007 I had watched so so many movies more.

2. Read, read, read, read and more read. I have to read more of my favourite author Salman Rushdie :) I also have to read more of books on philosophy other than Ayn Rand. I have to start reading non fiction also. I have to read more classics. I have to read more famous books like One Hundred years of Solitude, LOTR, Hitch hiker's and more.......

3. Try to blog more often.Write more of book reviews.

4. Improve my boring and dull personality, do something creative like learning tap dance or playing flute or learning some folk songs.

5. Give more time to my journalistic ambitions(yeah! you can laugh at that ), write views to newspaper editors, meet Vir Sanghvi- my idol :)

6. Buy new clothes.

7. Try different foods.

The Legacy of 2008

The year 2008 will be remembered as one of the worst years that we have had to face. The legacy of 2008 will not be something that we wish to be proud of. Here is a look of 2008's the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. India gets a historic nuclear deal after so much brouhaha and that shameful Cash for votes scandal, finally ending years of nuclear apartheid.
2. Democracy wins. The historic elections in J&K, Sheila Dikshit's third term as CM of Delhi, BJP's first govt. in a south Indian state proved India's strong democratic credentials.
3. Barack Obama, definitely the face of the year and a man to watch out for.
4. Abhinav Bindra's gold, Vijender Kumar and Sushil Kumar's bronze, V.Anand winning world championship in Bonn, India's cricketing histrionics, Sachin Tendulkar, IPL, Saina Nehwal, MC Marykom made 2008 one of the finest years of India sports.Not to forget, the removal of KPS Gill as Hockey chairman.
5. The Sensex fell from 21000 to 8000, people losing crores.
6. Inflation reached record highs, oil touching 147$ a barrel in July, making life more difficult.
7. The decoupling theory finally busted, economy in a slowdown phase, world economy in recession, fear of job losses still remains, exporters losing out. Forecasts show 2009 to be even more worse.
8. The fall of capitalism, iconic institutions such as Lehmann Brothers, Bear Sterns, Meryll Lynch, AIG went bust. The word SUBPRIME became etched in our minds. Bailouts, housing bubble, Keynes, meltdown, depression, recession, unemployment....
9. The year of Terror- Bangalore, Surat, Ahemdabad, Jaipur, Malegaon, Delhi, Aiazawal, Assam and finally 26/11 Mumbai. India is clamouring for change. A start has been made by citizens. Hope something happens and the 'Non- State' actors are controlled. Pakistan has to act.
10. Communal politics and divisive agenda threatened the idea of India- the brutal assault against Christians in Kandhamal, that scumbag Raj Thackeray's attack against North Indians, politics over the Batla House encounter, Amarnath land transfer, Malegaon blasts and the use of the word 'Hindu' terror or 'Islamic' terror, Antulay's shocking remarks over Karkare's death shamed India. Terrorism has no religion.Period.
11. The terrible floods in Bihar exposed the preparedness in face of disasters.
12. Internationally, the Maoist's win in Nepal, end of military rule in Pakistan, Sheikh Hasina's victory in Bangladesh, end of Gayoom's regime in Maldives show some signs of improvement in India's hostile neighbourhood. Israel's brutal assault on Gaza continues unabated.
Hope 2009 brings happiness to India and the world.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sad.Bloodied.Unbowed by Vir Sanghvi

A must read article for all of us.
Source: Hindutsan Times, December 26,2008.
Has life returned to normal in Bombay? I asked myself this question last Sunday when I attended a function to mark the re-opening of the Taj Mahal Hotel.
Many of us who went to Taj were surprised to see that it was back in business: we had been told to wait several months for things to return to normal. So, we weren’t sure what to expect: would sections of the lobby be cordoned off as the builders worked to repair the damage? What about the Shamiana where grenades had been flung? Was it true that the MF Husain painting that hung over the reception desk had been damaged?
In the event, all of us were stunned. The Taj seemed as complete and as timeless as before. If you did not know that terrorists had taken control of the hotel for three nights, then you would not have noticed anything amiss.

I went to the Zodiac Grill, where guests spent an uneasy night as gunshots resounded around the building. It looked exactly the same. The lobby was just as it had always been. The poolside was as tranquil as in the old days. The Shamiana had been so perfectly restored that you could not imagine that grenades had exploded and that a brave manager had been murdered on the premises. I wandered to the old wing. The ground floor was a classy as ever. I went all the way to Joy Shoes where it was business as usual.

Then, of course, the function began and it all came flooding back. The Taj’s Vice Chairman R K Krishna Kumar spoke movingly and brilliantly of the sacrifices made by those caught up in the carnage. Priests from five different religions mourned the dead. By the time all the employees who had been on duty that night paraded through the lobby, there was not a dry eye in the house.

As the tears flowed, we realised that everything was not really back to normal. The first floor of the old wing was damaged. The fifth and sixth floors would have to be completely redone. The Golden Dragon and the Harbour Bar were closed — perhaps for a very long time. And as I spoke to the Taj staff, many of whom I have known for decades, it was clear that nobody had really got over 26/11. I didn’t know what to say to Karambir Kang, one of the true heroes of today’s Bombay. But I spoke to Hemant Oberoi who had lost five of his chefs. I talked to the bellboys who had ducked for cover as the firing began. I asked an old waiter at the Shamiana about the events of the night.

“It was the worst day of my life, sir” he said sadly. “Why do you want me to talk about it?”
Yes, I know. The Taj is not a metaphor for Bombay. VT Station means much more to most of the city’s residents. And South Bombay emotion has been given a bad name by the twits and twats who appeared on TV to recommend carpet-bombing and non-payment of taxes as solutions to our problems.

So I should be wary of reading too much into an afternoon at one of the world's greatest luxury hotels. But, political correctness be damned: there was something about the Taj function that seemed to me to epitomise the state of Bombay nearly a month after the attacks.

On the outside, things seemed to be returning to normal. The gleam, the sparkle and oh yes, the spirit, were all back. But no smiles reached the eyes. There was no joy that was not tinged with sorrow. Each time you hugged a friend, you felt grateful that he was still there. And every time you looked around at this greatest of all Indian cities, you felt both proud and indescribably sad.
It’s fashionable now to rubbish ‘the spirit of Bombay’.

But, you know what? It’s all too perceptible, all too visible, and all too evident.
The spirit of Bombay lies not in the mindless patter of page three people as they slip into designer dresses two sizes too small for them, dye their hair blonde and talk about privatising the police force. Nor does it lie in some magic desire in all our hearts to overcome every adversity.
The truth is, we hate adversity. We hate the terrorism that never seems to end. We hate the loss of life. We hate the floods that submerged North Bombay three years ago. We hate the incompetence and ineptitude of those who are supposed to administer our city. And we hate the constant struggle that life sometimes seems to have become.

The spirit of Bombay is not about adventure and challenge.
It’s about bouncing back; about survival.
No Indian city can take so much adversity, so much misfortune, so much mayhem, so much chaos, so much terror and so much governmental ineptitude and still hold its head high. We don’t bounce back because we enjoy being down. We wish to God that we never sink that far again.
We bounce back because we can.
That’s the spirit of Bombay. It’s a spirit of survival, of resilience, of never-say-die.
And that’s what I saw in the Taj that afternoon. And all over Bombay that weekend.
We are sad. We are bloodied.
But we are unbowed.
And yet, just because we can bounce back, that doesn’t mean that they can keep knocking us down. We need now to ensure that the lessons of 26/11 are never forgotten; that we take the steps we need to protect our city and our lives.
It’s not, as the TV talk shows would have it, a simple or one-way process. It’s no good raving and ranting; foolish to add up how much we pay in taxes and demand some bania-like equivalence in government services; and silly to pretend that what happened to us is unprecedented when we know that other Indians share our problems and our concerns.
Each person who loves Bombay will have his or her own take on what we've learnt in the month after the tragedy. This is mine:
First of all, we need to celebrate the diversity and unity of Bombay. In an era when Bal Thackeray calls for more Hindu terrorists and his juvenile delinquent nephew sends his goondas to beat up Biharis, it is sometimes difficult to remember that Bombay’s claim to fame used to be its cosmopolitanism.
The most re-assuring aspect of the way we reacted to the attacks was the manner in which we clung to our cosmopolitan spirit and found unity in our diversity.
The police asked the army to patrol communally sensitive areas fearing that Hindu would attack Muslim homes. The foreign press went on and on about how the attacks would damage India's already fragile communal balance.
In fact nothing happened.
We saw the attack for what it was: mindless terror by mindless Pakistani jehadis.
It had nothing to do with India’s Hindus or India’s Muslims. The terrorists killed both as well as Christians and Jews, and Sikhs and people from every community.
Terror has no religion.
The response to the attack should also show up our latest Marathi Mouse. Just as the Maharashtrian Hemant Karkare died fighting the terrorists so did the Malayali Sandeep Unnikrishnan and the North Indian Gajendra Singh. The head of the Bombay police is a Muslim and the head of the NSG is a Bengali.
This is a country built by Indians; not by Maharashtrians, Gujaratis, Malayalis or whatever. And not by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs etc.
Bombay has always epitomised that great truth. And perhaps the only good thing to come out of this tragedy is that we were able to tell the world that in our city, our unity comes from diversity.
The smell of fear can sometimes become a stench. I’m not going to be very popular for saying this but the sad truth is that the stench of fear turned some of Bombay’s C-list celebrities into televisual morons; terrible advertisements for our great city.
It’s all very well to blame TV channels for inviting Simi Garewal, other small-time actresses, self-aggrandising ad-men, pompous midgets, and has-beens in ill-fitting toupees to comment on events in the city. But that is also the reality of Bombay. We’ve become a city that worships pointless celebrity, where people are famous only for being famous, where those who talk sense are marginalised by those who hog the limelight, and where appearances count for more than substance.
I know that these people do not represent my Bombay and I cringed each time one of them opened his or her mouth on TV to hold forth on how India should be run or how the fact that terror had come to South Bombay demonstrated that democracy had failed.
Their bombast and their anger came from fear. Their arguments came from their own tiny little minds.
But the fact is that we have allowed these people to become the faces of Bombay; allowed the media to portray the city as a vapid metropolis full of glamorous folks who imagine that they are living in Manhattan.
When times were good, we never complained that these people turned up on channel after channel representing Bombay’s interests. Can we complain now just because they’ve embarrassed us when times are bad?
In the month after the Bombay attacks, I was in four or five different towns and cities. And each time I heard the morons being rolled out on TV, I wanted to hide under the sofa: there was such a complete disconnect between these jokers and the rest of India. They came off as self-obsessed and trapped in some state-less bubble.
Bombay has always had a complicated relationship with India and indeed with the rest of Maharashtra. We are no less patriotic than any other city — in fact, sometimes I think we are more patriotic than most.
But we always feel like the one member of a family that does so much for all of the others and never gets his or her fair share in return. Maharashtra survives on Bombay’s revenues. Yet its politicians see the city as nothing more than a golden goose. They raid it for the golden eggs but never care enough to do anything for it.
So it is with India. Bombay should be our country’s advertisement for itself. But if you were to add up the kind of money that has been spent on Delhi over the last three decades and compare it to the amount the Centre has spent on Bombay you would realise why Delhi has broad roads, clean colonies and a fly-over at every corner. Delhi is India’s showpiece — at least from a governmental perspective. Bombay is merely the city that pays for everything.
Outside of Bombay, people do not realise how the citizens of this, India’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, resent the way we are treated. We are happy to do our bit for Maharashtra or for India. But deep in our hearts, we feel that we’ve never got our due.
When the attacks occurred, this deep-rooted resentment came tumbling out. The prevailing sentiment was: look we give so much for India and get so little in return. We don’t mind that you can’t be bothered to fix our infrastructure. But can’t you, at the very least, protect our lives?
That feeling came out the wrong way, alas. It emerged as anger against state politicians. Both Vilas Rao Deshmukh and RR Patil were seen as representatives of a Maharashtra political structure that ignored Bombay's interests.
And it turned up again as the crass threat to refuse to pay our taxes until the Centre guaranteed the safety of our families and children.
Both responses were wrong. I think Vilas Rao was unfairly targeted. And we made many enemies in the rest of India when we arrogantly declared that we would not pay taxes. We forgot that without politicians there can be no democracy. And when this was pointed out, the morons who went on TV blustered: oh, let the army take over then!
In the process, we misrepresented our case and lost the sympathy of much of India. We did not really mean that we would not pay taxes or vote.
What we meant was this: when are you guys going to give Bombay its fair share of attention and resources?
It was — and is — a valid question.
But because we asked it so badly, we abandoned the moral high ground and came off as spoilt children.
So, what now? Well, let’s stop being so angry and so frightened. Other Indian cities have lived with terror as indeed have we. The 1993 bombings targeted South Bombay just as much as the suburbs. Global cities have learnt to cope — for all of the 1970s and the 1980s, London was regularly bombed by the IRA.
So let’s be realistic. This is not the first terror attack. And it probably won't be the last.
But we will cope. Great cities always do. And given the choice between the 26/11 attacks and the 1993 riots, I would pick terror over massacres. In communal riots, your neighbours came and burnt your house. Your life is uprooted, your family dies, your daughter is raped and things are never the same again. The people who lost everything in the Bombay riots are still suffering.
So, yes, 26/11 was terrible. But a riot is worse. We can guard against Pakistani gunmen. But it’s much more difficult to guard against the hatred within a society.
So by all means demand accountability from politicians; create hell when you see them interfering with the police force; ask for an infrastructure that works; demand the security that is our due; and make it clear that Bombay has had enough.But don’t forget why Bombay is Bombay. Never forget what makes us a great city.
Our city was ceded by the Portuguese to the British. It was built by Gujaratis, Parsis, Muslims and Maharashtrians. Its film industry was revitalised by Punjabis, many of them refugees after Partition. Its education has been enriched by Christians. And each day, five hundred families from all over India make their way to the city of dreams.
That’s what Bombay is about. It is a city where all things are possible. Where the hierarchies of the rest of the India do not operate and genuine advancement is relatively easy. Where the world never seems more than a quick step away.
And where nobody is a Muslim, a Hindu, a Maharashtrian, a Punjabi or whatever.
Where we are all Indians.
Lose that dream of a cosmopolitan city of opportunity, allow the politicians to divide us and let third-rate socialites become our spokesmen, and we lose the city’s soul.
We lose the dream.
And eventually we will lose Bombay.
So, never mind the blame game. The answer must come from within.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pankaj Film Awards 2008 :)

The year 2008 is going to end and it has been a bad year for the Hindi film industry.So it is time for Film Awards 2008 by Pankaj, the famous film critic( I know kuch zyada gaya!! ).Some might not agree by my choice which people say is *yawn*. Some awards I may not remember and have no idea.

Best Actor
Naseerudin Shah- A Wednesday

Best Actress
Priyanka Chopra- Fashion and Dostana

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Arjun Rampal for his brilliant portrayal of Joe Mascerhanas in Rock On!!

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Bipasha Basu- Bachna Ae Haseeno
Kangana Ranaut- Fashion

Best Debut Male
Farhan Akhtar- Rock On!!
Rajeev Khandelwal-Aamir
No, I did not like Imraan Khan in Jane tu ya jaane na..

Best Debut Female
Mughda Godse- Fashion, the best choice among Mughda, Jannat girl, Karzzzz girl and Haale-e-dil girl. Still have not seen Anoushka Sharma in Rab ne.. and Asin Thotukumal in Ghajini :(

Pankaj's Special critic award for Best Actor
Amitabh Bacchhan- The Last Lear
Anupam Kher- A Wednesday

Pankaj's special critic award for Best Actress
Shahana Goswami- Rock On!! ( Remember Debbie!!)
Ratna Pathak Shah- Jane tu ya jaane na- A small role excellently played.
Shabana Azmi- Sorry Bhai!

Pankaj's special award for Best Social Satire
Welcome to Sajjanpur- Shyam Benegal

Best performance in a Comic Role
Abhisek Bacchan, Kirron Kher and Sushmita Mukherjee -Dostana

Best Music
The Genius A.R.Rehman for Jodhaa Akbar, Yuvraaj and Jane tu ya jane na.

Best Lyrics
Javed Akhtar- Socha hai (Rock On!!),Meri Laundry ka ek Bill( Rock On!!) and Yeh Tymhari meri baatein( Again, Rock On!!).

Best Story
A Wednesday

Best Choreography
Raju Khan- Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshah (Jodhaa Akbar)

Best Background Score
Amit Trivedi- Aamir

And the most awaited awards....

Best Director
Many many contenders.
Neeraj Pandey- A Wednesday
Abhishek Kapoor- Rock On!!
Dibakar Bannerjee- Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!
Ashutosh Gowarikar- Jodhaa Akbar
Nishikant Kamat- Mumbai Meri Jaan
Raj Kumar Gupta- Aamir

Finally, Best Film
A Wednesday.
Jodhaa Akbar.I will be a bit partial here :)

P.S.- I do not remember playback singers.
P.P.S.- And the Razzies for worst films of the year
Tashan( Vijay Krishna Acharya you gave us Dhoom and Dhoom2, what were you thinking?)
Love Story 2050
Bombay to Bangkok. Nagesh, Aashayein should be a hit:)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dichotomy of Irony

I have changed my blogspot to Dichotomy Of Irony. I loved my old one Inheritance Of Loss but thought to change it, just like that. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 : A Watershed Election

Today was the last phase of the elections in J&K. The seven phase poll was successfully completed today. The election of 2002 was a historic election being absolutley free and fair. But the elction of 2008 is a watershed moment. The turnout is huge. People rejecting calls of the separatists' boycott especially those of the Hurriyat. But to call this as acceptance of India would also be too far fetched. The people have voted for the local issues,for development and for peace. The harsh weather conditions also did not dampen the spirit of the people. After the needless controversy of the Amarnath land row, many thought that elections was not really a good idea. The Mumbai terror attacks also brought attention. Moreover, the militants also did not spread violence and create panic among the people. In all the seven phases, the turnout has been excellent according to past experiences. The people of J&K have had enough. India has also committed excesses in Kashmir. This should be taken as an opportunity by New Delhi to bring Jammu and Kashmir into the political process and to make amends. Let the people live in peace. Waiting for results on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

End of an Era

Well, as we know Chanda Kochhar has been appointed the next CEO of ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank. She takes charge from Mr. K. V. Kamath, one of the most respected faces in the banking sector, which is definitely an end of an era.This also marks another prominent woman in the banking industry along with Naina Lal Kidwai and Meera Samuel.The next year is going to be very very tough for all of us when the effects of recession actually start to seep in. She has a tough job ahead. Wishing her all the best.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Book Review :Q & A

Remember Harshvardhan Nawathe? The guy who won one crore rupees on Kaun Banega Crorepati and instanly became a celebrity. The book Q & A by debutante author Vikas Swarup talks about another person who won five billion rupees on Who Will Win a Billion but the person did not become a household sensation, instead he was arrested and accused of cheating because he is an illiterate poor waiter and how could and illiterate eighteen year old know the answers to such questions. That is the premise of Q & A. The protagonist Ram Mohammad Thomas ( yeah! this is his name) is rescued by a lawyer to whom he explains that he did not cheat but just got plain lucky and he knew the answers as each of the question had something or the other related to his real life experiences. Then he narrates his story and explains how each question is related to his life. The book is an easy read, the plot is fast paced though illogical at times and it is more like a movie script. The narrative tells us how he was adopted by a christian priest, orphaned again, sent to a juvenile home, picked up by a gangster, how he worked at various places as a servant to an Australian Diplomat ,an aging actress Neelima Kumari, a contract killer and finally as a waiter. There are numerous typical Bollywood potboiler sequences and connotations like the tragedy queen Neelima Kumari (resembles Meena Kumari), the lucky coin (ala Sholay), Armaan Ali (looks like a gay Salman Khan), adultery, friendship, betting, cricket, train dacoity, prostitution, sexual abuse, poverty, love and even black magic voodoo! The epilogue is touching. It also shows us the dark side of India which is not 'Shining'. The poverty of slums in Dharavi, the lives of always-taken-for-granted-and-assumed-as-theives servants and the ills of child labour and their sexual exploitation.The timeline of events were not sequential which sometimes were confusing. The book drags a bit towards the end. Still, the book throws numerous surprises and I ended up having a smile on my face. The book has already been made into a movie Slumdog Millionaire by David Boyle and is making waves everywhere. A.R.Rehman's music score has been nominated for Golden Globe for the film and there is a huge possibilty that it could even win an Oscar. The book is not great but not bad either.I found it better than the Booker Prize Winner The White Tiger.A good effort by a first time writer. Read it :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Well, I am back. Its ages since I wrote here. Was too busy the last month :( So much has happened in the last month that I wanted to write but couldn't spare much time. So I will randomly write what has been happening.

OBAMA is the President of the USA. It was a historic moment. By choosing a black man as their President, America proves why it is the greatest democracy in the world. His speech after winning is one of the best speeches I have ever heard and specially the line where he said 'We are the not just a collection of red states and blue states but we are the United States of America'. It makes me wonder whether we can have our very own Obama. No, I am not talking about Mayawati! I always believed that America is a deeply deeply racist society and the 'Bradley' effect would come into play and thought John McCain would win but it was the economy that brought down McCain otherwise Obama's margin of victory would not be that big. Lets hope the world becomes a less bellicose place.

26/11 made us all really really scared. The sight of watching a live war on TV with gunshots and live encounters made us aware how insecure we are. More than angry, I feel sad. Innocent lives were lost and we could do nothing. Any noise just makes me scared. We cant sleep at night. A fear psychosis has crept on our minds.What will happen to two year old Mosche? Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Sabina Sehgal Saikia, the Jewish Rabbi and his wife Rizka and hundreds and hundreds of other people were massacred by those bloody terrorists. The shocking response of India's polity made all of us shameful. Whether it was the Congress, the BJP, the Left how could politicians behave like this. The Kerala CM's remarks that 'not even a dog would look at Sandeep's place', R.R. Patil saying 'Bade shehero me aise chote hadse hote rehte hain' ( Mr. Patil I seriously wish you were in the Parliament on 13 Dec and then we could say the same thing back to you!), Modi's shameless opportunism by announcing an award of a crore rupees for Hemant Karkare who till the other day he accused of acting under his 'Congress' bosses, Naqvi's lipstick remark, Vilasrao's terror tour with Ram Gopal Verma, the senseless Narayan Rane shocked us all and we wonder what are they made of.
And the media. There has been criticism of media while covering the ghastly attacks. But they were only doing their job and all of them did fine. By blocking news channels, rumour mongering would take place and that would even be more dangerous. Information is required. But smses like stop paying taxes, bomb Pakistan, etc, are ill conceived measures. If we stop paying taxes, who will pay the NSG who have done a brilliant job. We have to realise that India and Pakistan are nuclear armed states. Any error in judgement could wipe off Delhi or Karachi in seconds. The best solution is to use America to pressurise the Pakistan Army and maintain peace and strengthen the civilian government in Pakistan. Hope these attacks are a wake up call for our society.
The Assembly elections took place in Delhi.I voted for the Congress though I am no Congress fan but I perceive it to be the lesser evil among the current breed of politicians. I am anti-BJP . There is no alternative except the Congress, though a no-vote would be a better choice.
CAT exam went by. Mine was bad. I did well in Quant and English but screwed DI totally. No chance at all and am not even hoping against hope for a call. Looks I will have to wait many years more. Sob Sob :(
I read 'The White Tiger' by Aravind Adiga which won the Booker this year. It is about the 'suffering' India or people form the 'Darkness' and how there is a huge disconnect between the rich and the poor in India.It is not a great book though and 'Sea of Poppies' by Amitav Ghosh would have been a better choice. And now I am reading 'Q & A' by Vikas Swarup, the book on which the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire' is based, which is making waves in the West now.
Would try to post reagularly from now:)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Yeh Honsla Kaise Jhuke...

I love this song...look at lyrics so beautiful and so very true :)

Yeh Hosla Kaise Juke,Yeh Aarzoo Kaise Ruke

Manzil Muskil To Kya,

Bundla Sahil To Kya,

Tanha Ye Dil To KyaHo Hooo

Raah Pe Kante Bikhre Agar,

Uspe To Phir Bhi Chalna Hi Hai,

Saam Chhupale Suraj Magar,

Raat Ko Ek Din Dhalana Hi Hai,

Rut Ye Tal Jayegi,

Himmat Rang Layegi,

Subha Phir AayegiHoooo

Yeh Hosla Kaise Juke,

Yeh Aarzoo Kaise Ruke

Hogi Hame To Rehmat Ada,

Dhup Kategi Saaye Tale,

Apni Khuda Se Hai Ye Dua,

Manzil Lagale Humko Gale

Zurrat So Baar Rahe,

Uncha Ikraar Rahe,

Zinda Har Pyar RaheHoooo

Yeh Hosla Kaise Juke,

Yeh Aarzoo Kaise !!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Fascinating Election!

Well, I am simply hooked. To what? To the American presidential elections. What a fascinating election it is turning out to be! In less than a month from now, more precisely on 4th November, Americans will choose their next President and the most powerful man in the world. The kind of system they follow simply proves why America is world's biggest democracy. USA is a biparty system consisting of Republicans and Democrats. Initially, from each party prospective candidates contest to secure their party's nomination. These contests are called primaries or caucases. These are informal meetings of people in which they decide who to pick as the party's candidate. That is why we had Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fight out with each other during the Democrat primaries. The nail biting contest between Hillary and Obama in which Obama finally triumphed to get Democrat nomination was simply full of surprises. The Republican party chose John McCain who had a relatively easy path to leave out Rudy Guilani and Mitt Romny. Can we in India ever have this system that the prospective Prime Minister has to win the support of the people? We have Manmohan Singh who was appointed by Sonia Gandhi to be PM. He did not fight general elections. We were lucky that he is an honest man and has been one of our finest Prime Ministers. But we may not be lucky every time. Imagine the next election. If no party secures the mandate, then they will choose a compromise candidate acceptable to all as happened in Pratibha Patil's case. The American President has to go from top to bottom to be acceptable to the public. Anyways after both Obama and McCain were chosen, the next interesting fight was them picking their Vice -Presidential candidate. Obama chose Joe Biden, a foreign policy level expert to compensate for his own lack of experience. But McCain made a surprise move by picking Sarah Palin, Alaska Governor, Hockey mom who was virtually uknown and grabbed instant attention. The prospective candidates also have to fight three live televised debates where they state their positions on different issues such as the economy, foreign policy, etc. Can we in India have such a contest where prospective PM candidates debate live on television? Would we ever see Sonia Gandhi and LK Advani fight out with each other on screen?Absolutely Not! Another issue that is concerning American voters is McCain's age. He is 71. It seems a bit funny. In India, the average age of MPs would be on the higher side of 75. L.K. Advani is 80, Vajpayee was 83.Age is not an issue in Indian politics.

There are still so many unexpected turns in the American election that have the world hooked. If Hillary would have won the nomination, she would have become the first woman candidate for President and if she had won the election, she would have become the first Woman American President. If Obama wins, he would become America's first black President. If McCain wins, he would be the oldest President to be elected for the first time and Sarah Palin would become America's first woman Vice- President. Who would win the election. Well no one knows. Well I would like Obama to win. His VOTE FOR CHANGE message has inspired many and his speech given at a campaign reminded us of Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech. Till the results come, I am simply hooked.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Portrait Of A Lady

Yesterday in my dream I saw my late grandmother. Just felt like writing some anecdotes about her. I remember reading Khushwant Singh's story 'Portrait of a Lady' in class XI which was about his grandmother. He had written a very interesting line that to him, his grandmother was always old and the thought of his grandmother being young was unbeleivable. For me and most of us too, it is true. For us our grandparents have always been old. Our grandmother, we used to call her 'Bhabhi'. She was a very strong lady. Having seven children and settling them all by herself without her husband was no easy task. Out of all her grandchildren (excluding bua ke bacche..vo to favourite hote hi hain), she used to like me. Before you scream that I am a boy..No it wasnt that but just that I was obedient to her:) One day my cousin Sumi asked her that who she liked best and she said 'Pangad'. Yeah, she used to call me 'Pangad' instead of Pankaj. Not only my name was distorted but my cousin's Divya was called Diibiiya..Chintu was Tinchu and Yamini was Jamini:P:P She used to say to my Dad, " Pangad ko doctor banayi" as treatment these days is too expensive..but I never wanted to be a doctor:/ She used to smoke 'bidis' and our whole household knew she did that but she used to pretend that we did not day she asked me to get 'Bidi' for her!!! I remember I was in Class IX and was so embarrassed. I went to shopwallah and asked "Bhaiya bidi de do" and that shopkeeper said" Arey! kab se peena start kar di"..lolz How do I tell him that it was not for me and then he said "Kaun si cahaiye?". I said "502 pataka bidi" ( the only bidi brand we all know).. and when my mom came to know of this she scolded me..hehe but when I remember now I find it so funny.She used to call me to help her walk the stairs. She used to speak Multani and sometimes we didn't understand what she spoke and just to say 'Haan, Haan'. She had a powerful voice. The day her brother died she screamend so loudly that people from two blocks away came to ask 'Kya hua mataji ko'. She used to sing a hilarious song in Punjabi in marriages called 'Mainu Gaddhu Deve' meaning 'Get me a groom'. It was seriously very funny. She used to eat everything and was old fashioned in her ideas...can't blame them its generation gap. She was married at the age of nine!!!She used to tell tragic stories about the partition and how she came from Pakistan. Her favourite gali was 'Namurad':P As she came in my dream last night, I just wanted to write something about her. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Cathartic Post

I am sad : ( When ever I am sad, I want to write something to take out my feelings of distress and frustration. Blogging is my way of catharsis. I have written many sad drafts but have not posted thinking that the reader will be bored! But who cares. My blog is my own. Anyways today I met someone who used to be a very good friend 5-6 years back. But we had not been in touch for these years and you do not call a person friend if you are not in touch with him. We both had come to attend an event. I was so happy to see him but did not feel the same from him. I felt he was giving a forced acknowledgement from his side of my presence. I was already sitting and when he came I waved and smiled to him and he simply smiled and went some other way!!! At least he could have come and said hi and then moved away. After the thing we had come for was over, I went and met him. But he seemed uninterested.At least I thought so :/ Imagine meeting someone after eons and still no sign of happiness. I became very sad. Sob! It made me think of any instance where I wronged him ever ? Had I done anything to him during these years? Why then did we drift so apart that we do not even exchange mails. Some will say that if I wanted to be in touch I could have done it myself and I should stop blaming him. But you know I will blame him !! He used to come nextdoor to my place every third day and did not even have the courtesy to come and say hi!! We used to talk regularly after about one year we parted but all of a sudden in the next year absolutely no communication.Probably he found better friends. Maybe he thinks I am too disgusting:( I had stopped caring but you know it is really difficult to forget the good times you spent together since childhood. His behaviour today made me feel unwanted *sigh* . Anyways I will try not to think of this and concenterate on my own life. I have many things to take tension on rather on a silly topic.CATis coming in just a few days and I am very scared:( Hope the next post is my usual signature of a movie or a book review. Wanted to write about Abhishek Kapoor's 'Rock on' and Amitav Ghosh's 'Sea of poppies"! Will try to do so :/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Loss Of Inheritance

A few months back, Priyanka Gandhi met Nalini in a jail in Tamil Nadu. Nalini was one of the conspirators who had planned to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, Priyanka's father. Nalini was a part of the LTTE team to bomb Rajiv as the LTTE was angry by his decision to send IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) to Sri Lanka. Rajiv was killed along with the suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbdur in Tamil Nadu. Nalini was given death sentence but Sonia Gandhi filed a clemency petition and reduced the term to a life sentence. Priyanka told that the reason of her meeting was that she had come to terms with the death of her father. She had accepted the loss and the grief of her father's death. She had forgiven Nalini for taking away from her the person closest to her heart. She had accepted it as fate. When I heard this, I had tears in my eyes. Can someone forgive the person who had been the reason for their sorrow and pain? Can someone overcome the feeling of anger towards someone who destroyed their life? We all fight amongst ourselves on the most ridiculous of topics and never forgive someone who has betrayed us and keep a grudge against that person forever. Priyanka's gesture made me feel overwhelmed with emotion.I feel moved by someone's loss. Imagine this as an instance in your personal life and then feel how much courage and mental strength is required to forgive the person who caused the course of your life to change. It is very difficult to come to terms withthe scars one leaves and in instances like this, when the tragedy was totally avoidable it makes one even more angry but to accept this as destiny requires great mettle. I respect and admire Priyanka Gandhi for what she has done. The loss of Inheritance.God Bless Her!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Spirit of Kashmiriyat

Aren't you distressed by the state of affairs that is happening to Jammu and Kashmir? I for that matter am too depressed. Whenever I watch the news, I just keep hoping that no report of violence from comes from J&K. But alas! for the last month or so, everyday there is something about the land dispute that has cropped up which has divided the whole state of Jammu AND Kashmir to Jammu OR Kashmir. The controversy started when a PDP minister granted 100 acres of barren land to Shri Amarnath Board. This triggered huge protests in the Kashmir valley, which is Muslim dominated, on the speculation that it is a conspiracy of the government to destroy the secular fabric by allowing Hindus to settle in the valley. How ridiculous is that? 100 acres of land of no use was given just to make houses for the pilgrims who visit Amarnath every year. Is it wrong to do that? No! but the coward separatists like Hurriyat who are too scared to fight elections fanned these protests and the whole valley was on the boil. The PDP which was till now part of the government withdrew its support alleging CM Gulam Nabi Azad to be responsible, ironically when it was PDP'S OWN MINISTER who did that. Such hypocrites! The land order was revoked but this led to huge protests in Jammu, which is Hindu dominated by the Hindu parties. Such an opportune time for the parties like the BJP and demagogues like Praveen Togadia to consolidate their vote bank! Now Hindus want the land to be given back. What do we do now? We have entered a vicious cycle. Giving land would anger Kashmir and not giving would scorn Jammu. The best solution has been given by Farooq Abdullah. Reconstitue the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board by representatives from all communites and status quo be maintained. The establishment of law and order is top priority of the government. It is ironical when the state was witnessing its most peaceful summer something so not required happened. The communal polarisation of the state is scary.The state has always lived in harmony whatever came.It was a Muslim only who had discovered the Amarnath shrine.The spirit of Kashmiriyat seems to fade away.The only loser in this are the people of the state.The people of J&K have had enough.Let Kashmiriyat prevail. Let them live in peace for a while!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The End and Beginning of an Era

06 July 2008- history was made at The All England Tennis Championship Club popularly called The WIMBLEDON. Rafal Nadal ended the reign of Roger Federer, the greatest player of all time, on grass. Seeing Roger crying after the match, sitting alone, deeply lost in grief I couldn't stop myself from crying too for the loss suffered by the Champion. His defeat made fans of him like I so so sad :( Roger's dream to become the first man in hundred years to win 6 consecutive Wimbledon titles was shattered by the Spanish bull Nadal who himself made history by becoming the first man since 1980 after Bjorn Borg to win back to back French Open and Wimbledon titles. The match was an epic classic, the greatest match of all times which will always be remembered and spoken of.The score read 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(7-5), 7-6(10-8), 9-7 in what we have been told the longest Wimbledon final. But somehow while watching it felt if the match could go on because of the high qualtiy tennis being played.The first set was easily won by Nadal breaking early Roger's serve. The second set Nadal snatched from defeat. Federer broke early to lead 4-1 when Nadal came back to 4-4 and finally 6-4 due to unforced errors committed by Roger.The third set wen into tie break when Roger won it, he gained some confidence. The fourth set was won by Roger after saving crucial match points forcing a fifth set. Since Wimbledon does not allow a tie break in the final set, both players continued to hold their serve until Nadal broke Federer to lead 8-7 and finally 9-7. The match had ended and darkness loomed literally after the marathon final. In the end, tennis won.

Had it not been for Nadal, Federer would have increased his Grand Slam tally to 16 surpassing all great people like Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. Federer had been unbeaten on grass for a whopping 65 matches but sadly that came to an end. But to lose Wimbledon which has been his personal favourite, his forte' always bring out his emotional side was too sad. When he won the first he cried. When he won the fifth he cried even more and when he lost 6 he was shattered. There is so much charm and dignity that he effuses that one just simply admires him. He was gracious in defeat wishing Nadal after the match, the rivalry they have will defintely go on for more time. And for Nadal, I just don't like him at all. He may be the King of Clay and now grass but Roger is a champion:)

Much has been written about Roger's mental state after a disparaging 6-1,6-3,6-0 defeat at at French Open final last month by Nadal. There is something scary when great people fall. I don't like it when people criticise a great player whether it is Sachin Tendulkar or Roger Federer. They deserve many more things than our opprobium. That's why I am still sad at Roger's loss. Hope he continues to win! Come on Federer!! Be the GOAT( greatest player of all time).
And something about the Wimbledon which is the best grand slam out of French, US and Australian. The Wimbledon is about tradition. The compulsory white on players, the pristine Centre Court, the lush green grass that is so exhilirating. Wimbldon has always thrown surprises. Whether it is Maria Sharapova's or Novak Djokovic's shocking early exit,it has also shown some great players. Last year Marion Bartoli won great hearts beacuse of her superb play. This year the wildcard entry Jie Zheng won great fans because of her impeccable play. In all, I just love Wimbledon and hope to see some great tennis in future.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grapes are not Sour but they are not for me!

Amitav Ghosh's interview was aired on NDTV this Sunday and when I finished watching it, it left me with a very weird..sinking and bizarre feeling :( When you see people so accomplished as Amitav Ghosh, Prannoy Roy or Barkha Dutt, you just admire them out of sheer respect for the kind of work they do. I always wonder whether I will ever be even half as good as any of them but somehow the answer I get is no! I could never become like them because I don't have a sense of creativity like them! sigh! I am so confused that what I want to be! I sometimes think that I could become a writer but when I see people around me write so brilliantly I feel like a tiny idiot in front of them. I could become a journalist but being one requires a great confidence level which I completely lack being a taciturn. I could become an MBA but my odds of belling the CAT are like one out of infinity consideing also the fact that I don't have the brains for it also! Or I could simply take a mundane job which I don't want to do. I hear so much of people's inner voice. It was Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's inner voice that refused the post of the PM. Amitav Ghosh said in the interview that becoming an author was his inner calling. But somehow my inner voice is still in a state of quandry like I. It is not telling or perhaps is still sleeping. I don't know what will happen in future . Nothing seems to be going right this year:( My already glass like confidence is shattered.People have gifted talents for various things but I was never a gifted child. I used to get good marks in school but still I was not intelligent.The other day I saw a video on you tube of a man who could solve the Rubik's cube blindfolded! Out of the world!I never had these things though I always wanted to. I knew I could never crack the JEE because to do that requires sharp acumen( as if you don't know that). I was a mundane conformist sticking to the conventional ideas but I had seen people think so unconventionally to a problem that it was just amazing how their mind worked. I never had that power and will never have that. I don't want to grow up as life becomes more complicated and sad. I am reminded of the story of the fox where she says that grapes are sour because she couldn't get them but I know that grapes are not sour but they are simply not for me:(

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Change not for good!

Hindustan Times is the only paper we have been reading for a long time. I will not say that it is the best paper because I feel all newspapers are equally good (or equally bad). It is a matter of one's habit and choice .If one fine day some one tells you to start reading another paper will you stop reading it? Maybe! you will read for a day or two and would like to switch back to your good old paper because over time you would have developed some favourtie columns that you love and eagerly wait for them. My favoutrite articles in HT-

1. Counterpoint by Vir Sanghvi ( every Sunday)- just amazing how he writes on the plethora of topics and gives lucid and unprejudiced explanations on the happenings and the controversies that surround us.

2. Between Us by Pankaj Vohra ( every Monday)- superb analysis

3. Third Eye by Barkha Dutt (every Saturday)- writes in a more philosophical way!

4. Single in the City by Sushmita Bose( every Sunday) - funny :P

5. Red Herring by Indrajit Hazra ( every Sunday)- wit and irony at its best sometimes though not able to understand.

6. Beyond the Bytes by Rajdeep Sardesai

7. Spectator by Seema Goswami ( Brunch)

8. Under Honey's Hat- HT CITY, the gossip is well WTF who cares! but the way it is written is simply too humourous :P

The columns we can do without

1. Left hand Drive by Sitaram Yechury- he seems to write on the BJP, BJP and well BJP....

2. Candid Corner by Abhishek Singhvi- yawn!

3. Premiere (Movie Review) by Khaled Mahmood- even I could do a better movie review than him. Just writes his weird one liners and PJs. Where did Vinayak Chakravarty go? He was the best!

Now they have changed the whole format of the EDIT page and called it the COMMENT. When I heard that a new page COMMENT is going to come, I thought that articles by readers would be put but they changed the look of Edit page and it is such a disappointing one. The edit page has lost its seriousness. There used to be three articles by the editor and three guest articles everyday. The third editorial used to be a witty and satirical one often evoking a smile. It doesn't exist any longer! Why have they done this? Apparently they wanted more people to start reading edit page. But those who want to read it would so it anyway! It appears that as if we are reading some trashy magazine. They changed the look of HT City which I think is a good one. For the past few days I am not getting enjoyment which one gets and something looks missing. Hope the old HT comes back!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Enchantress of Florence

I read 'Shame' as written in of my previuos posts and also read 'The Enchantress of Florence'. 'Shame' is good book for anyone interested in the history of Pakistan and had some excellent passages on the interpretation of the word 'Shame' but this post is not about that book but the exquisite 'The Enchantress of Florence' by Sir Salman Rushdie . Its more of a summary rather than a review.

The book is basically story of the eponymous Qara-Koz or 'Lady Black Eyes' or Angelica. The story is set in fifteenth century India where Emperor Akbar, the Great Mughal Emperor is in power. The Mughal capital is the city of Sikri inhabited by people from all walks of life. Akbar has many wives but the only one he loves is Jodha who does not exist in reality but is a figment of his imagination just as lonely children dream up imaginary friends. Jodha is his idea of a perfect wife and he talks to her and even makes love to her but of course, nobody else question the existence of this apparition as Akbar is the Jahanpanah, the shelter of the world. He is dealing with intrigues by his good for nothing drunkard sons especially Salim and has his own doubts over the existence of God and the presence of a supreme power where he himself at one point thinks to call himself 'I' instead of 'WE'.

Then one fine day a mysterious foreigner named Mogor dell' Amore claiming himself to be the Ambassador of the Queen of England comes to the city of Sikri to tell a fascinating story to the emperor about an enchantress who has put him in a spell to tell this tale. The enchantress is Qara-koz, Babar's sister who was captured by the Uzbegs along with her slave 'the Mirror' and her sister Khanzada begum. The Shah of Persia won over the Uzbegs in another battle and offered to return these three ladies to Babar. However, Qara-koz refused to go back and stayed in Persia with The Shah and her slave while Khanzada went back. Babar disowned her and her story was lost from the annals of the Mughal empire. Her slave looked so much like herself that people called her The Mirror and they were lovers as lesbians who completely understood each other and were inseparable.Qara-koz found her true love in a man Argalia, a warrior from the city of Florence who had sold his services to the Ottoman Empire. Argalia, Niccolo Machiavelli and Ago Vespucci were three friends in Florence. Argalia had moved out of Florence to fulfill his dream of becoming a mercenary while Niccolo and Vespucci remained in Florence and served the republic. Argalia went back to his homeland along with Qara-koz and the Mirror to become the chief of the army of Florence. Qara-koz was a sorceress who bewitched anyone she met, any place she went by her ethereal beauty. She could heal the sick, make barren women fertile and cure the blind. One day the ruler of Florence died of syphilis and people thought Qara-koz did this and all of a sudden she became a witch from a saint and everyone rooted for her blood. Argalia was killed in her defence and she fled away with the mirror and Ago Vespucci. Her magic had begun to fade and she wanted to be reunited with her family but there was no way to go back to India until a new route was found. Her procrastinated stay came to and end with her death. But she had a son, none other than Mogor dell' Amore meaning the Mughal of love who she told to tell this story to Akbar who thus is his uncle. He had come to Sikri travelling from faraway lands. Akbar thought him as unpure blood and made him a commoner. But Salim wanted him killed as he was a threat to the throne and plotted to kill but he was saved and he took his own revenge. The city of Sikri was no longer the Mughal capital.

Best Parts of the Book-

Sir Salman's description of the beauty of Qara-koz and the painting by Dashwanth is grand. His belief in the power of love when Akbar can conjure an imaginary wife and finally conjuring up Qara-koz to fall in love with her, Dashwanth getting immortalised in the painting of Qara-koz is enchanting.

There is that brilliant scene in which Akbar's first wife and his mother talk imaginarily to Jodha to give her tricks to stop Akbar falling in love with Qara-koz, only to find out that all the while they have been talking to Qara-koz .

Akbar's doubts over God where he says-'if there had never been a God, it might have been easier to work out what goodness was.' 'The curse of the human race is not that we are so different from one another but that we are so alike'. So true.

The passage where truth is revealed to Akbar about Qara-koz is lovely.

The subtle humour depicted brings a smile to the face. Mohini, the Skeleton and the Mattress, Akbar and Birbal stories, the deaf Bhakti Ram Jain, Qara-koz's enchantment of Marietta,Machiavelli's wife:)

The epic grandeur of the palace especially the name of the boats- Gunjayish,Asayish,Farmayish, and Arayish, and the concept of Mundus Novus where time becomes still is impeccable.

My Take-

The book is like a fable just like Arabian Nights but surely not a book for children. The prose is as usual enthralling. He weaves a magic with words but not at the cost of the story.Though not an easy read, even if a line is missed something is missed.The research done for the book is stupendous. The culmination of the East and West that we everything is linked is clearly brought in the book. Names themselves are a character in the book like Elizabeth becomes Zelabat and Akbar becomes Echebar or the names of giants Otho, Botho, Clotho and D'Arangtan and many others. The only thing I found boring was Argalia's exploits.Over all the book has a mixed response.The New York Times has called the book shit where as the Washington Post calls it Sir Salman's finest work. Already there is speculation that the book will win a booker. Anyway its all a subjective thing-some may like it some may call it trash but for huge fans like me it always works:). No doubt Sir Salman Rushdie is a master story teller and magical realism is pure magic.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Murder Most Foul

Unless you stay on Mars, you might be aware of the mysterious double murder of Arushi Talwar and Hemraj in Noida.There has not been a case with more twists and turns in recent memory. The police believes Dr. Rajesh Talwar, her father,killed them both as Arushi probably came to know of his alleged extra marital relationship with Dr. Anita Durani. However, I somehow am not convinced by this theory. I don't think that Dr. Talwar killed them. Yes, I agree that times have changed and events like fratricide ( Pramod Pravin Mahajan murder case) evoke no surprise. But a father killing his fourteen year old only daughter and that too in the most gruesome way is a tad hard to be credible. This horrific story opens up so many issues that have to be answered. The most disturbing fact is the role of the Noida Police. The blunders committed by the police seem to go and on. About last year or so it was the Anant Gupta kidnapping case,son of Adobe CEO, then it was the spine chilling Nithari killings of innocent children and now this. I mean most of us avoid travelling to Noida at night because so many stories of the robberies, killings and murder that keep cropping up every third day. The lackadiasical attitude of the police is totally not acceptable. The way they have botched up this case it is very unlikely that culrprits would ever be found. sample 1- On the day of finding about the death, they immediately sent a team to Nepal to get Hemraj without checking the terrace where he was found stabbed to death. Sample 2- allowing the media at the crime scene.I mean any novice would know that you have to immediately cordon off the area to get fingerprints and other crucial evidenceBy allowing the media, all this was lost.Sample 3- Concocting apocryphal theories like wife swapping, Arushi and Hemraj in a relationship and what not. The most shocking was the IG calling Arushi as 'characterless' as her father. How could anyone assassinate the character of a dead girl who cannot even reply back in her defence like this? Does the police have enough proof that she was in an objectionable position and not compromising position? To escape their incapabilties and to stop media from hounding them, they have made up these ridiculous stories.

The role of the media in this case has not been appreciable. Media is our biggest strength and we have seen its power in the Nitish Katara, Jesicca Lall and Priyadarshini Matoo murder cases. But the way media has conducted itself in this case is not laudable. The media seem to be doing its own trial of the victims. When Arushi's family did not speak to them, they alleged that they have something to hide.What do they expect that a family in mourning would come and give leeds to them? Some of the headlines were indeed shocking.The sensationalisation and commodification of this case for the TRP battle by the media is pathetic.Worst channels were India TV and IBN7. I was travelling in a bus and a salesman came and started selling his incense by advertising that ' Lelo nahi to aapka dimaag bhi Arushi ke pitaji jaisa bhrasht ho jayega'. Let us not do this please, it is insulting.Also, we all are forgetting that Hemraj was murdered too.He also has a family that is equally grieved by their loss. Hemraj was as loved by the family as Arushi was. The case is far from over and many developments will take place in the coming days. Hope the culprits are caught and justice takes place. Let Arushi and Hemraj rest in peace.

Monday, April 7, 2008


So I got tagged by Priyanka who is addicted to tags :P..

Here goes mine.

If I were a beginning, I would be the beginning of an era:P

If I were a month, I would be December.

If I were a day of the week, I would be Friday.(All movies release :))

If I were a time of day, I would be 7.00 pm. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S. time)

If I were a season, I would be Winters.

If I were a sea animal, I would be Flounder of Little Mermaid.

If I were a direction, I would want to go in the opposite direction:P

If I were a sin, I would be rich:P

If I were a liquid, I would be a rain drop:)

If I were a fraud/scare, I would be scared of hypocrisy.

If I were a gem, I would be ruby :P

If I were a tool, I would be a nailcutter( aise hi) or pen knife.

If I were a flower/plant, I would not like to be put in a bouquet.

If I were a musical instrument, I would be Phoebe's guitar:)

If I were an animal, I would be Vodafone/Hutch vala dog:P

If I were an emotion, I would be contentment.

If I were a vegetable, I would be aloo.

If I were a sound, I would be a baby's laughing sound :P

If I were a car, I would be a toy car:P

If I were a song, I would be Aaj ki raat, hona hai kya,pana hai kya khona hai kya(DON) or the spectacular Azeem-o-Shaan Shehenshah.(Jodhaa Akbar):P

If I were a food, I would be gol gappe.

If I were a taste, I would be tasteless.

If I were a religion, I would be freedom.

If I were a sentence, I would be 'Happiness is subjective'.

If I were a body part, I would be eyes.

If I were a facial expression, I would be confused:(

If I were a subject in college, I would be Economics or Philosophy:( Have neither in College

If I were a shape, I would be like liquids to take the shape of the container:P:P

If I were a color, I would be Black.

If I were a thing, I would be newspaper.

If I were a book, I would be Atlas Shrugged.

If I were a monument, I would be the Pyramids.Wanna see them :(

If I were an artist, I would be Shabana Azmi.

If I were a poem, I would be The Highwayman.Class ninth me thi :P

If I were God, I would be telling people to remember me during their good times also.

If I were a vowel, I would be E.

If I were a consonant, I would be D.Cursive Vala

If I were a famous thing, I would be an art form.

If I were sport, I would be Pithoo:).

If I were a movie, I would be Dor.

If I were a cartoon, I would be Iago Aladdin funny.:P

If I were a relation, I would be open:P

If I were alone, I would be reading.

If I were a question, then I would be looking for my answer.

If I were a habit, I would be ????No comments.

If I were an end, I would be looking for a new beginning.

If I were you, I would try to learn a new thing from you:)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shalimar The Clown

I don’t know why I have got this knack of reading reviews of books and films and now writing reviews. This is my first book review- another boring article for the one or two people who read this including I.
One of the first books I ever read was ‘Grimus’ by Salman Rushdie. I didn’t know much about him or his ill famous ‘Satanic Verses’ then. And that book went way above my head. So naturally I didn’t like it. Then last year I read ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie and it was one the best books I have ever read and number one on my Must Read list and which deserved Booker of Bookers.Then with great expectations I started reading another book of his- Shalimar the Clown and I liked it a lot. The story is mainly about four characters. Max Ophuls who is a former Ambassador of America to India and who also is a Second World War resistance hero. The second character is Noman Kaul Noman funnily called Shalimar the clown as he is the clown in the play of his community. Then there is Shalimar’s wife Boonyi Kaul Noman and the fourth main character is India, Max’s daughter. Max is murdered by Shalimar and then by a series of flashbacks the story comes back to the present. The murder which at first seems politically motivated turns out to be an intensely personal one. The story is mainly set in a town called Pachigam in Kashmir. Shalimar and Boonyi get married even though they belong to different religions. Max came to visit Kashmir and being a womanizer, he is floored by Boonyi who also feels trapped in her marriage inspite of her love marriage. Boonyi then runs away and has an affair with him. Shalimar then vows to take revenge from both and becomes a ‘jehadi’. The ultimate thing is that a Muslim man murders a Jewish man over a Hindu girl (read this line somewhere).Magical Realism is Rushdie’s forte and again it is par excellence. The way he mingles history and fiction is spectacular. While reading, one realizes how much wealth of knowledge he has. The story is fast paced and travels various places- California, Afghanistan, France, Egypt, Delhi and Kashmir. He does not describe Kashmir’s beauty but the way he describes the tragedy and destruction of Kashmir and its people is heart wrenching. It makes us sympathise with them. The best scenes are in Kashmir itself like there was this passage in which he wrote about the torture inflicted by the terrorists and the Indian Armed forces on the people and instead of names he wrote like X, Y, Z, P ,Q et al and it was one the best passages of the book. The parts about Pachigam and Shirmal fight,the communal harmony, Colonnel Kachhwa, the Gegroo brothers, Noman and Boonyi’s wedding, Nazrebaddor prophecies, Pamposh and Firdaus Noman, references to Mughal-E-Azam, Boonyi’s return are excellent too. The book is a lament on Kashmir. I found the part of Max in Second World War a bit boring though. After reading his books, a great amount of literary satisfaction is achieved which I feel writers like Chetan Bhagat completely lack. His style of writing, his poetry, his art of story telling is all fantastic. The ending is a bit disappointing as it is open to interpretation. The character of Max seems autobiographical just as Salim Sinai of Midnight’s Children. But overall a good book though Midnight’s Children is better I feel that he would never get a Nobel which he totally deserves because no body would like a controversial writer. Anyways, now I have started reading another book of his ‘Shame’ and eagerly waiting for ‘The Enchantress of Florence’.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Loan Waiver : Good or Bad?

Well, after months of speculation and in depth coverage of what the budget will be like, our FM P. Chidambaram unveiled the Union budget on 29th February,2008. The budget is populist, not surprising since this being the last year of UPA government before the next elections which are stated to be held next year. The biggest point of controversy has been the Rs. 60,000 crore loan waiver for the farmers. Almost the entire industry thinks that it is a bad move. I don't know I am confused on this matter. On the one hand it is being said that this will encourage further defaults by farmers in the future and leaves the honest farmer who has paid all his dues look foolish. Moreover, the government has not mentioned from where it is going to fund this. It actually amounts to 15 billion dolllars. And the sixth pay commission whose report will be tabled by 31st March will further add to government burden. So the target of FRBM Act to curtail the fiscal deficit to 3% of the GDP, which the government projects to be about 2.5% will not be met and rise. Moreover, the farmers who are in debt, not all of them have taken credit from the banks but from the moneylenders who charge exorbitantly high rates of interest. So it will mean nothing to them.
On the other hand we have farmer suicides continuing unabated in the country especially Vidarbha. This comes as relief to these farmers.What else can we do immediately to succour them? Is there anything we can do right now to stop this? However, let this be made clear that this is only a one time payment. Also when USA can announce a fiscal package of 150 billion dollars to prevent its economy from a full scale recession due to the subprime crisis, we can also do this to give a boost to the agriculture sector which has become a stumbling block to growth of the economy. Along with that the government should also adopt measures to improve irrigation facilities where the farmers are mostly dependent on vagaries of the monsoon. Let the farmer be given more incentives, for example a higher support price and he be allowed to sell his produce wherever he wants. The government pays about double the amount to import wheat than it does to purchase it from the farmer. Surely it can be more prudent in this regard. In a county where 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture and the gap between Bharat and India Inc. widening, we cannot proceed forward to being a developed nation until all of us grow together i.e. inclusive growth. So, I just hope this works and the next government be formed without the Left support so that the reform process could begin as the Economic Survey 2007-08 states.And also the Indo-US nuclear deal goes through. I seriously hope it does.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jodhaa-Akbar: Review

The one word that kept coming back to me while I was watching Jodha Akbar was 'grandeur'. After a brilliant Lagaan and a critically acclaimed Swades, Ashutosh Gowariker brings his magnum opus Jodha-Akbar. He is one of the few directors of the Indian film industry who are known for their convictions rather than being driven by the commercial aspects like Shah Rukh Khan for OSO. Otherwise, who would want to make a film about a married couple of the 16th century?

The story is about the Mughal emperor Mohammad Jalaluddin Akbar and Rajput princess Jodhabai. Jodha is married to Akbar in order to form an alliance between the Rajputs and the Mughals. She refuses to consummate their marriage until she is ready to completely accept Akbar and he agrees with her. What follows is a brilliant narrative about how they fall in love with each other after overcoming their differences and a scheming 'Mahamanga' played by Ila Arun. What I really liked was the unconventional portrayal of the characters. Akbar was so feminist and yet so macho and Jodha was humble and so assertive.
Nobody, seriously nobody could have performed these roles with superb perfection and dazzling chemistry except Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya is looking drop-dead gorgeous and stunning more than ever. Hrithik delivers a powerful performance probably his career-best. His scenes have an aura. The sets are grand, lavish, magnificient, lavish, and ostentatious but still do not distract the viewer's attention like Devdas did. The culture, costumes, jewelry, war scenes, animals are all authentic and leave a powerful impact after the movie has finished. The cinematography is lovely. The song 'Azeem O Shaan Shehenshah' is spectacular and a treat for the eyes. A.R.Rehman's music is always soul searching. 'Khwaja mere Khwaja' is soothing and the way Akbar is in a trance after hearing this is breathtaking.

Yes, the movie is long - 3 hours and 40 minutes - and enough will be said about its length. It drags a bit in the second half. The other characters are nothing much to write about but still, I loved the movie and it worked for me. I know people will say I am exaggerating but I don't care and neither am I being paid by anyone to write this:):). After a long time, a movie worth spending Rs. 200 ( the oscar films have just been released). There are so many protests against the movie. But frankly speaking who cares whether it's authentic or not. Ashutosh himself has said that seventy percent of the movie is his imagination. Do names matter? He is not trying to malign anyone. It is so convincing that one really is not bothered about the reality and these protests seem banal. What is history anyway- a set of lies agreed upon. The movie is asking for 4 hours of your life which is too much these days but give it a try. Watch it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To think about

Some quotes I picked from Mary Alice of DH :P:P

The world is filled with good do we recognise them? They are the ones who are missed so terribly that everything falls apart in their absence..they are the ones who love us long before they have arrived.. they are the ones who come looking for us when we can't find our way home..yes, the world is filled with great fathers and the best are those who make the women in their lives feel like good mothers.

People by their very nature are always on the look out for intruders, trying to prevent those on the outside from getting in but there will always be those who force their way into our lives just as there will be those we invite in but the most troubling of all will be the ones who stand on the outside looking in, the ones we truly never get to know.

There is a prayer intended to give stength to people faced with circumstances they don't want to accept.The power of the prayer comes from the inside of the human nature."We ask God to grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change'' because so many of us rage against the hand that life has dealt with," the courage to change the things we can", because so many of us are cowardly and afraid to stand up for what is right, "And the wisdom to know the difference", because so many of us give into despair when faced with an impossible choice.The good news for those who utter these words is that God will hear you and answer your prayer.The bad news is that sometimes the answer is no.

In a world filled with darkness we all need some kind of light..wether it is a great flame that shows us how to win back what we have lost, or a powerful beacon intended to scare away potential monsters or a few glowing bulbs that reveal to us the hidden truth of our past.We all need something to help us to get through the night, even if it is the tiniest glimmer of hope.

Spring comes every year but not everyone remembers to stop and smell the flowers.Some are too busy worrying about the future or mistakes the have made in the past.Others are preoccupied with not getting caught or thinking of ways to catch someone else.Still there will always be a few who remember to take a momet and appreciate what spring has given them just as there will always be those who prefer to sit in the dark, brooding over everything they have lost.

The opposite of love is not hate but indifference as hate means you and I are still connected.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Its time to honour our real heroes!

The other day I was watching the NDTV Indian of the year.The awards went to all deserving individuals like Dr.Manmohan Singh,Rajnikant,Vishwanathan Anand, Shah Rukh Khan,Mukesh Ambani,Dr. R.K. Pachauri but the overall Indian of the year went to not one individual but to the Indian Soldier. As on the dias I saw the widows of the soldiers who lost their lives,I was overwhelmed with emotion. These women who have lost so much in their lives are doing everything silently. I just then wondered if we really honour our soldiers. Whenever a soldier dies, we talk of his bravery and his sacrifice.But has the soldier to be dead to show that as a proof of his valour.Not only the soldier but also his family is sacrificing each and every moment of their lives for the motherland. The people and the government in particular should realise that a 'living' soldier's contribution is of immense importance to us.When it is 2.c in Delhi, people talk ofweather being too cold.Let us spare a thought for the armymen braving sub zero temperatures upto -30 c in the extreme conditions in Siachen or any other place for that matter for six months in a year. Contrast this with our politicians who are fighting with each other to get the Bharat Ratna as if they do not get anything already.It would not help to just ceremoniously put badges and give a meagre amount as prize money to soldiers but to give them and their families something more than that. Let us honour our soldiers the true place they deserve and show it to them in every way we can.

There are many unsung heroes in our society whom we don't acknowledge. Bilkis Bano symbolises the grit and determination to attain justice in spite of the innumerable obstacles one faces. During the state sponsored pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, Bilkis was gangraped when she was seven months pregnant, her three year old daughter butchered in front of her own eyes and all her family members brutally murdered by the rioters. She had practically lost everything but she didn't lose hope and fought for justice. She has been living life as a refugee for the past six years not telling her whereabouts to anyone.The accused were given life imprisonment last month and she was in tears when verdict came remembering her daughter. Let us honour her for her great will and support her.

Irom Sharmila, Auto Raja, Manjunath, E. Shreedharan, Sabrina Lall, R.K.Lakshman are our real heroes who have inspired so many of us.

And when Bobby Jindal became the governor of Louisiana, everyone applauded him.I was quite cynical of this.He has never been to India nor will ever be, nor can he do anything for us then why we are claiming him to be an Indian.Sunita Williams,unlike Kalpana Chawla was born and brought up in the USA and she has even served in the American Army.Then why we are proclaiming her to be one of us. And when Mrs. Sonia Gandhi could easily have become the PM, our very own Sushma Swaraj wanted to go bald and eat 'chana' to protest a foreigner ruling India.Why are we so happy about PIO's getting into politics in other countries when we cannot see the same process in our country? And we have people like M.F.Hussain who made us so proud but after a few controversies we disowned them.Let us acknowledge them instead of a Bobby Jindal.

Monday, January 7, 2008