Saturday, May 25, 2013

Of Birthday Wishes, Quotes From Brothers and Sisters, Conversations With Cab Drivers, Internship, Ambarsariya, The Great Gatsby, and Hugs...

Long time no see..

Where do I begin? Last week was the birthday. I got to talk to so many people. Some friends actually called from India. Considering it costs Rs.8/minute without an international calling card, it really means a lot. So either I didn't pick up or I used to tell them that I will call back because it is much cheaper for me. Aise baat karne me kisi ka pura balance thori khali karna hai :) There were some people who surprised me by wishing. So A writes on his twitter feed,

I felt humbled by it. I mean I am a person with very little self confidence, so it made me feel slightly better. And the thing is I have not met him even once! He is Y's friend and I just know him through Twitter. Thanks A :)

And R sent an email with such a sweet message :)

T wrote this

S, D and A call me "My Pankaj"... it reminds me of you sometimes as you used to call me this sometimes :(

P gave this..

From V..

From J

From X :)

M gave an air mattress as she thought I will be needing it here :P

I have saved voice mails by A, R and M.. and Whatsapp and Facebook messages.. it is these things that are my treasure :)

I went out alone last week to have some good food. Good food as in pasta, which is the only vegetarian thing I can eat here, and had beer. There was a storm warning and it was raining really heavily. The storm came but hit Oklahoma. 

Happy Birthday P..

I am constantly watching Brothers and Sisters. I really like it now. Each of the characters is so real. There are some great quotes from it.

The thing about becoming a father is it makes you think about your own dad. - Tommy

The good stuff is so got to share the wealth. - Sarah

We don't love the people we love because they are perfect. We love the people we love because they are. - Warren

Sometimes being a good parent is knowing when not to parent, you have to get out of the way and let life happen to your kids. - Nora 

Justin is awesome, though I feel really bad for Kevin.

As Rebecca, the step-daughter puts it beautifully,

I've been getting to know your family. Not that that’s an easy thing to do, because they’re all a little unhinged, but I think tonight I finally started to figure them out. Like Tommy is always so stoic, taking care of everyone around him. I’m just not sure who’s taking care of him. And Kevin when he’s really hurt he’s sarcastic and funny, he’s brutally funny, but I think even he knows that’s not always enough, not now, not for this. And Sarah’s just this force, kind of like Superwoman, you know, with the kids and the job, she’s always fighting so hard for her family all the time, but I’m sure she sometimes wishes it was easier, not so complicated. Kitty’s someone I don’t really know yet, but I’m glad she came home, I think she needed to be here, especially now. I think being around her family is what grounds her, gives her direction, keeps her sane. And your mom, she’s like the most amazing woman I've ever met, the way she handles everything and everyone. But every so often I can tell she’s a million miles away. Thinking about you. And then she just looks so scared and so small. And you were wrong about being the black sheep. You’re the heart of this family, Justin. They need you. I need you, so please be okay. Please.

Here is a funny thing. Cab drivers are really interesting people. Last week, I was coming from Walmart in the cab and I ask this cab driver
P: So what all places are there to visit here?
Cab Driver: How old are you?
P: I am 25.
Cab Driver: I can take you to a strip club if you want. I have been there many times. They will come and give you a lap dance. You cannot touch them else they will throw you out. You should go and have some fun. What is point of going to other places?
P: Ok :\

And today I was coming back from the mall after watching The Great Gatsby. So I have another conversation with another cab driver.
Cab Driver: So are you an Indian?
P: Yes
Cab Driver: You know I just dropped a really hot Indian chic this morning. 
P: Ok..
Cab Driver: You should have seen her she was really hot
P: Are you married?
Cab Driver: I am happily divorced.
P: So are you seeing someone?
Cab Driver: My girl friend broke with me last September because she said I love you and I just ran from her after hearing that. Who has time for love?
P: Oh..I am sorry
Cab Driver: Don't be.. I am very happy. I love my job. I get to pick up really hot chics. So, last week, this chic was sitting behind me and constantly kept rubbing my shoulders.
Cab Driver: I have got lucky many times. Sometimes these chics sit in the cab and show me their t***. Last year on St.Patty's day, so many drunk chics showed theirs to me and they were really hot.
P: So are you disappointed that I sat in your cab?
Cab Driver: Of course, I am always disappointed if a guy sits in the car. I love chics in my car.
P: Ok I am time I won't sit :P

These cab drivers are really funny. 

The internship has finally started. I am the only intern in the team and all the other people are very senior. My manager is almost sixty years. She seems nice as of now. I don't know though whether I will be able to get the work done or not :\ It is slightly difficult. I just wish I was a little more smart and confident though :(

Fukrey's new song came out a few days ago. I love it and have been constantly listening to it. After Heer from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Yaaram from Ek Thi Dayan and Sun Raha Hai Na Tu from Ashiqui 2, the Ambarsariya from Fukrey is a favorite. The video is so awesome. I love the part when the girl comes out wearing this gold dress and the guy makes such a funny expression while checking her out. Haha..

Love the expression :P

Ambarsariya - Fukrey

So the weekend came and I really wanted to watch a movie. I haven't seen a movie in a theater after Silver Linings Playbook :( I really wanted to see The Great Gatsby for long. I don't wait for anybody now. Since nobody is here, I will go alone to watch movies. It is ok. And I liked The Great Gatsby a lot. I have not read the book but given that it is written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I knew the film had to be really deep. The story is extremely sad. How people would do anything for love? How important is money? Once you get the money, will you be really happy? Baz Luhrmann of the Moulin Rouge fame directs the film. I did not watch it in 3D but the film is visually stunning. But I felt as some places, the visual art direction was given more emphasis than the story itself. But still I really liked the movie. The film asked so many relevant questions.

At one point, Nick says to Jay, you can’t repeat the past. This line stumped me. And when the film ends, Nick says, Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further. And one fine we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
This line again confused me. First Nick says you can't repeat the past and then he says that how much you try the past will pull you back. So aren't these two lines contradictory? Apparently, there has been astonishing amounts of literature written on this last line, which I found out. So here is one possible explanation.
Gatsby is distraught and desperate at the fact that he can't have Daisy. He isn't crazy or delusional, but in a sense, he is. He is unable to live in the present. He is in love with a girl from his past, Daisy, and becomes so obsessed with finding a way back to her heart that he purchases a home on the same lake, and goes to great lengths to find ways to speak to her again. Though it is obvious that she has changed - who doesn't after many years and significant events such as marriage - Gatsby doesn't even see it and still cannot find any faults in her. He is thus driving for a change in the future, meaning a future with Daisy, by actually trying to change the past. As he tries to get her to fall back in love with him, he's doing just that. But there are things in the present that are impossible to change and thus ultimately ruin his dream, like the fact that Daisy is married and unwilling to divorce Tom because of her religion - even though she is aware of his affair and he does not treat her as if he loves her. He also in a sense is changing his past when he lies about his youth to Nick, and acts as if he truly believes himself. He's recreating the past in his head to make himself more appealing.

These words conclude the novel and find Nick returning to the theme of the significance of the past to dreams of the future, here represented by the green light. He focuses on the struggle of human beings to achieve their goals by both transcending and re-creating the past. Yet humans prove themselves unable to move beyond the past: in the metaphoric language used here, the current draws them backward as they row forward toward the green light. This past functions as the source of their ideas about the future (epitomized by Gatsby’s desire to re-create 1917 in his affair with Daisy) and they cannot escape it as they continue to struggle to transform their dreams into reality. While they never lose their optimism (“tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . .”), they expend all of their energy in pursuit of a goal that moves ever farther away. This apt metaphor characterizes both Gatsby’s struggle and the American dream itself. Nick’s words register neither blind approval nor cynical disillusionment but rather the respectful melancholy that he ultimately brings to his study of Gatsby’s life.

Loved it complex these themes are..At one point, Nick says he wanted to be an writer but the lure of money forced him to go to the Wall Street. Eventually, he realizes how hollow the pursuit of money has become. Isn't this question still relevant to our times no?

And Amitabh Bachchan plays a two minute cameo in the film! And the performances are excellent. Leonardo is brilliant. He brings such a devastating melancholy to Gatsby. Critics have trashed the movie but it isn't that bad.. 

And after the Oklahoma storm, this was one of the most moving articles that was there. Human nature is really complex. At one point, see the case of kidnapping in Cleveland where a man keeps three girls captive for over ten years and at the other end, a thirteen year old girl gives hugs to strangers. No doubt we humans are the most complex creatures on the planet.

Need a hug?

And again, this reminds me of that scene from Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Ya I am in love with that movie :}


It was really cold today. Eight degrees in the morning. Wore a sweater as was feeling cold. It is funny. Mom tells me that in Delhi it is 48! and I tell her it is 8 here!

Anyways wrote a lot. Still have so much to write. But later.

Dialogue of the Day:

"Apna ateet kisi aur ke hawale karna aasan baat nahi hai."
 - Bansi, Saaz

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Of Brothers and Sisters, Letters To A Young Poet, Kai Po Che, and Twenty Six...

The last week has been the saddest week. I have never felt so wretched and hopeless like the last few days. Wednesday was awful, I just couldn't control and yet when mom called I had to tell everything is alright. It is like I am wearing so many masks, trying to hide the feelings from reality. I need to take some steps to help myself and I have to do it fast. Who will help me here? 

First year is over and now second year is going to start. As if there are not enough things to stress about, second year is going to add one more big burden. I didn't feel like going out at all. Since I was supposed to leave on Friday, I called a few friends for lunch on Thursday for the birthday. These are the people that I have now. Other than that I am not celebrating the end of first year like some others. What should I celebrate about? Time will make problems worse and I have started to get a feeling how difficult it is ahead.

I am just watching marathon of Brothers and Sisters. It is not a great show but I don't really like comedy series, so I picked this one up as I love drama. And I am hooked. Weird family with its weird problems. I identify with some aspects of each of them. Justin, Kitty and Kevin are my favorites. It is the second soap after Ally McBeal that Calista Flockhart has done. In one of the episodes, Sarah says to her mom

There is this terrible bruised silence between us...

I could totally feel what she means by bruised silence. I am experiencing it with some people here. Awkward silence with someone here that is stifling.
In another episode, Kevin gifts a book to Chad called Letters To A Young Poet. Chad reads a beautiful passage from it. He says,

Love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.

Kevin and Justin

I couldn't understand it, so searched more on it. So the full passage of the letter is simply beautiful. It says

We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and therefore loving, for a long time ahead and far on into life, is: solitude, a heightened and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), may young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.

Loved it. It says how love is important as it teaches us the importance of solitude and anything that is difficult is a great learning process that we will always remember. Maybe I should read the book too.

And in another episode, Scotty tells Kevin, 

Now you know how hard it is to love someone who doesn't love himself...

Perhaps that is why no one loves me :(

I also saw Kai Po Che. It came on Netflix. And honestly, I was disappointed. I did not like it much. Or maybe the hype did me in. I could not connect with the film emotionally at all. No references, no great dialogues, no great scenes, no hidden meanings, very simplistic treatment. Performances are excellent though..all of them! But I was aghast by the controversy that the movie tried to exonerate Modi's complicity in the riots. Websites, such as Kafila and New York Times, had reported that Chetan Bhagat changed some sequences as his opinion of Modi has become more favorable. But I couldn't find any evidence of it in the movie. In fact, in the movie, Hindu right wing groups are shown to be more aggressive and are shown to attack innocent Muslims. What was the fuss all about really? Back to the movie, I really don't know why it didn't move me? Rajeev Masand says in his review, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the film’s piercing finale. I guess I really have a heart of stone. I was not moved.

Greatbong wrote an excellent review of the movie, which I liked it more than the movie itself. Really liked his analogy of the three friends as the idealist, the pragmatist, and the believer.

Talking of not moved, Grey's Anatomy Season 9 ended. This season has to be the most boring one. I did not like it much except for Alex and Jo. Else nothing spectacular really happened. And yeah the flash mob of Matthew proposing April was the sweetest moment. 

Flash Mob for Proposing :)

And yeah it is my birthday today. Twenty six years...thirty is just four years away...I am really really worried.  Time will make problems worse and that is why I am feeling a level of helplessness that I have never felt..Where can I escape? I also have my needs..Don't I want to fulfill them?

So how am I celebrating? By binging on food in my apartment. I moved to Des Moines yesterday for the summer. So as of now I know no body in this city. Set up the apartment today. Have to buy some more stuff. Set up the Internet today. But I guess being alone is not a problem. I am a loner and as Murakami says,

“I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn't find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I've had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.”

Anyways more later..

Dialogue of the Day:

तेरे सिक्कों की छन छन से मेरी हवा की कीमत कम हो रही है
 - Ishaan, Kai Po Che

Sunday, May 12, 2013


May be being broken is good. May be not all who are damaged want to be repaired. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Of 100 Years, Lost Love, Shakuntala Devi, Introverts, OCD, Changes, and Vasundhara Das...

So long time no see.

On Friday was the centenary anniversary of Indian cinema. I don't understand why everyone calls it 100 years of Bollywood!!! It is not hundred years of Bollywood. It is the entire Indian industry. There was a lot to read. Mint has come up with an excellent issue containing such detailed information. There are 10 parts and profiles of Mehmood, Kajol, Dharmender, Kamal Amrohi, Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Waheeda Rehman, Shashi Kapoor, Kamal Swaroop, Kishore Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar.

Do read them here

I have not read all the parts. But all other parts are available if one searches the cinema issue. W14 also brought out their series again on Bollywood. The one below is one on the '90s.

But my favorite was this article.

The article talks about how we have forgotten to love ourselves, and perhaps that is why we do not appreciate the love in movies.

We yawn when we see love-at-first sight sort of chemistry and go blank should any character even speak of laying down their lives for the other. Our makers are the same as us, they don't get it either and so we have half-baked stuff like Aashiqui-2. It isn't anything to write home about, but I still wonder, if it (or JTHJ or even Ishaqzaade, for that matter) was made 20 yrs back would it be more watchable just because we, as an audience and as people, were more in love with love then, than we are today?

I loved the part about Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Perhaps what she is saying is true, we have become too love-less. And maybe that is why Ashiqui 2 is doing well, it brings out the old romance, although critics are saying there is nothing new in the story. Talking of Ashiqui 2, that song Sun Raha Hai Na Tu is just brilliant. The way the very first line, apne karam ki kar adayein, is sung as soon as the song starts is simply wow. The song is addictive; I like it more than Tum Hi Ho

And you know Shakuntala Devi passed away recently. Greatbong posted this on his timeline. It is a very moving article about she dealt with her husband's sexuality. She was really a great person.

And someone on her timeline posted this video about introverts and somehow each and everything in the video defines me as a person. I totally agree with the part when it says the thing that pisses them off the most is when someone tells them they are too quiet, and I can't tell how pissed I get when someone tells that to me. And the thing about me is I am an introvert when I meet face to face, but my social media avatar is quite vocal. It is like I substitute my human interaction with the online presence.

In fact, there has been a significant and controversial discussion going on for the last two-three sessions in one of our classes. Our professor says that new research says that although extroverts are often viewed as better leaders, they are not always tuned in to the needs of their group. Particularly when they have proactive followers, introverted leaders have been found to have groups with higher productivity (14-28%) than extroverts.

This led to howls of protest from some people that this couldn't be true. I, somehow, felt good about it. But I don't necessarily agree with associating leadership with being introverted. I think it is too abstract to bucket leadership into characteristics. I know I am studying in a B-school, but somehow, I think leadership is over-hyped. I am more of a follower and happy to admit that. If everyone leads, wouldn't it lead to chaos? Or maybe that is why I cannot be a good leader.

Talking of leaders, many people blame Manmohan Singh for being a terrible leader because he just doesn't say anything. I think that is just a part of the problem. The main issue is that he cannot make any decisions. He is a powerless leader, and there is nothing worse than being one. Not saying anything just compounds the problem. He didn't say anything in the first term either, but he showed some spine. He went to let his government fall to pass the nuclear deal. He took a stand, and people respected it. But his second term has been a disaster. Sonia Gandhi's National Advisory Council, which is the shadow cabinet of our country, has brought some terrible laws, and the government has gone into policy paralysis. He is an excellent economist and knows that the NAC's socialist policies will not work, but he doesn't oppose them. People say he is an honest man. That doesn't mean he can escape responsibility. Our Constitution has the principle of collective responsibility that our entire council of ministers is accountable to the public. It was his government, and he had the power to stop things from happening. He should just resign and call for elections. It will save one more year of policy paralysis. Leadership is about taking a stand, even if it means standing alone for what is right. Manmohan Singh does as much work in a single day as Vajpayee did in a year, yet everyone misses Vajpayee. He indeed was one of our best prime ministers.

And you know I just saw an old Grey's Anatomy episode. There is a patient who is suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He has to switch off the light ninety-six times, say the word clean three times -  these types, and say to Cristina that she is judging him. He says it is always the people like me who judge me the most. You are Type A student right? Straight A student, top of the class. Well, you have managed to turn your compulsions into something productive. But we are cut from the same cloth. That's why you can't stand me.

For an instant, I got really worried. Because I have these small superstitions like I have to check that the door is locked at least five times, the water tap is off odd number of times, and some other such things which I have to do before I go to sleep, else I won't get to sleep. And it made me scared for a minute..what if I have OCD later? Too much thinking but no...and as Meredith sums it up perfectly,

Superstition lies in the space between what we can control and what we can't. Find a penny pick it up, and all day long you will have good luck. No one wants to pass up a chance for good luck, but does saying it 33 times really help? I mean is anyone really listening, and if no one is listening why do we bother doing those strange things at all? We rely on superstition because we are smart enough to know we don't have all the answers, and that life works in mysterious ways. Don't diss the ju ju from wherever it comes.

And one strange thing is happening. I have noticed the attitude of some people has changed towards me. Recently, in the last few days, some friends are behaving very sweetly while some have become further apart. But it is alright. I do not know what has happened though. 
The weather is finally getting better. It was snowing till two days ago!!! Snow in May! But temperature finally reached in twenties during day today. 

Cannot wait for Bombay Talkies :( :( The title song is receiving flak from everywhere for being tacky. It is composed by the genius Amit Trivedi. But I am ok with it. I didn't find it as awful as the media is saying. But I guess I like tacky films, and I am tacky :{

I hear Karan's story is the best. He has left even Anurag Kashyap behind, and I have to have to watch. All my favorite directors in one film.

Finally, you must read Beth's post on 100 years of cinema. It is lovely. I like it when she says she loves Vasundhara Das. And after that, I am constantly humming Chalein Jaise Hawayein from Main Hoon Na. Vasundhara is so pretty; she acts, sings, and composes. This is what Wiki says,

Vasundhara Das (born 1977) is an Indian recording artist, songwriter, composer, actress, and environmentalist. Best remembered for her debut playback song "Shakalaka Baby" for the soundtrack of Mudhalvan (1999), Das went on to record many songs in Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, and Telugu and Malayalam feature films. She earned a nomination in Filmfare's best singer category for her songs "Aaja Gufaon Mein" and "Rabba Rabba" from the film Aks (2001).

Weren't those songs fantastic? And of course, the most famous of them all is "It's the time to disco." That reminds me, the next movie on the must-watch list is Aks. I still haven't seen it, and I will see it.

Aaja Gufaon Me Aa  - Aks
Read Beth's post here:

More later.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Main janta hun aapko sahare ki zaroorat nahi, main sirf saath dene aaya hun."
—Shekhar, Tum Bin