Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Palace of Illusions

A beautiful story of the Mahabharata told from the eyes of a strong, smart, emotional, calculative, introspecting, and humane Draupadi. The Palace of Illusions - a love story of Draupadi and Karna, the one man she was in love with all through her life; a love story of Draupadi and Krishna, a relationship that had no name. Her husbands play a secondary role. There were some beautiful passages in the book such as the one when she realizes Yudhistira's greatness when she got to know that he knew all along that she loved Karna more than any of the Pandavas, or the one when Karna confesses his love for her to Bheeshma, or when she realizes that she loved Krishna, or when she was outraged that Kunti offered Karna to be her sixth husband but secretly she was happy, or the time when she questioned who the real winner of was as Duryodhana was sent to Heaven and Pandavas were left to rule a kingdom devastated by death or the passage when Bheeshma recounts his past life sins when he learned never to trust any women as it was because of a woman - his wife in his previous birth, that his brothers were condemned to death as soon as they were born. Chitra writes in a simple way, bringing out the small observations of difficult relationships, even though we know how the story will pan along. Her Draupadi is no sati savitri, she will kick everyone's ass, willing to fight her mother-in-law to take control of her sons, feeling jealous of her husband's other wives even though she herself harbored feelings for Karna. A whole new perspective on Mahabharata..just like my favorite book Cuckold.

Some lines from the book. 

Stories changed with each telling. Or is that the nature of all stories, the reason for their power?

Truth, like a diamond, has many facets.

As for being pawns, aren't we all pawns in the hands of Time, the greatest player of them all?

Love comes like lightning and disappears the same way. If you are lucky, it strikes you right. If not, you will spend your life yearning for a man, you can't have. I advise you to forget about love. Pleasure is simpler, and duty more important. Learn to be satisfied with them.

Doesn't the imagination always exaggerate or diminish truth?

Fear makes us selfish.

Gandhari's marriage like Kunti's was not a happy one. I wonder if that was what gave them strength, both these queens. But perhaps I'd got the cause and effect mixed up? Perhaps strong women tended to have unhappy marriages.

Maybe that is why Duryodhana was great friends with Karna as he came into the world in strange ways.

Can our actions change our destiny? Or are they like sand piled against the breakage in a dam, merely delaying the inevitable?

Expectations are like hidden rocks in your path - all they do is trip you up.

For isn't that what our homes are ultimately, our fantasies made corporeal, our secret values exposed? The converse is also true. We grow to become that which we love within.

That seemed to be the nature of boons given to women - they were handed to us like presents we had not quite wanted.

One couldn't depend on a man like Bheeshma who plucked frailty and desire so easily out of his heart. How could he have compassion for the fault of others, or understand their need? Keeping his word was more important to him than a human life. That is why he had sent Amba without a moment's hesitation.

Your childhood hunger is the one that never leaves you.

The beauties we dote on had no existence outside of our own longing.

Time is like a flower. It visualized a lotus opening, the way the outer petals fall away to reveal the inner ones. An inner petal would never know the older outer ones, even though it was shaped by them, and only the viewer who plucked the flower would see how each petal was connected to the others.

Is this desire for vengeance stronger than the longing to be loved? What evil magic does it possess to draw the human heart so powerfully to it?

A situation in itself is neither happy nor unhappy. It is only your response to it that causes sorrow.

A burning stick, in trying to burn you, is consuming itself. That's what happens to a burning heart.

We cannot force ourselves to love or to withhold it. At best, we can curb our actions. The heart itself is beyond control. That is its power and weakness. 

When you share a man's pillow, his dreams seep into you.

Battle against the six inner enemies that plague us all - lust, anger, greed, ignorance, arrogance, and envy.

What is more numerous than the grass? The thoughts that rise in the mind of the man.
Who is truly wealthy? The man to whom agreeable and disagreeable, wealth and woe, past and future are the same.
What is the most wondrous thing on earth? Each day countless humans enter the Temple of Death, yet the ones left behind continue to love as though they were immortal.

Perhaps this is the miracle of stories, they make us realize we are not alone in our folly or in our suffering.

How a promise - made to another or to oneself - could paralyze a life! How pride had kept them from admitting their mistakes - and thus from the happiness that might have been theirs. Only much later did I realize I was weeping for myself as well, my own lethal vow of vengeance that had locked these brothers in the stance of enmity.

Happiness, like a mischievous bird that hops from branch to branch, continued to elude us.

This is the nature of sorrow - often it fades with time, but once in a while it remains lodged below the surface of things, a stubborn thorn beneath a fingernail, making itself felt every time you brush against it.

There was an unexpected freedom in finding out that one wasn't as important as one had always assumed.

Prayer is one of those few things that can travel from this realm to that next amorphous one.

Sometimes, one has to drop logic and go with the instinct of the heart, even if it contradicts the law.

Krishna loved me even when I behaved in a most unlovable manner. And his love was totally different from every other love in my life. Unlike them, it didn't expect me to behave in a certain way. It didn't change into displeasure or even anger or even hatred if I didn't comply. It healed me. If what I felt for Karna was singeing fire, Krishna's love was a balm, moonlight over a parched landscape.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Of How To Feel Happy...

Long time no see..

I did not write anything last week. I did not want to write this week either although I have so much to write. I was sad because I was hurt. Hurt by some people talking behind my back.I am tired of all this, but I have decided that I will not let it affect me. I will find ways to let these stupid things go. I am not going to change myself because you have a problem with me. I decided to make a list of things that are curing me of the sad mood and it is working.

1. Eat lots of ice cream
As Mrs. Kakkar says to Ram in Main Hoon Na, kaleje vich thand pe gai, there is nothing that brings coolness like ice cream. Get chocolate chip ice cream and go on a eating spree. It works.

2. Friends re-run
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year....just watch any episode of Friends again. They are perfect examples how to learn to laugh at your problems. Nothing can bring an  uncontrollable laughter that Phoebe brings to you when she says I will use the strongest tool at my disposal: my sexuality or when she says to Emily's mom the father is my brother or Chandler when he says to Ross, last Christmas I got the gift of space, we should get them together and make a continuum. 

Monica, do you really want to be in a relationship where you can actually use the phrase, "That's not how your dad used to do it." :D

3. Cook something new.
As Indrajit Hazra writes in his usual witty style (here), I don’t cook. That’s because I can’t cook. Even if I could cook, I’d probably not cook. And I don’t have a terrible urge to start learning how to cook as the third course of my four-course life starts to unfold. I would say the same for myself. Now, I am in living in a city where the nearest Indian store is probably twenty miles away so I cannot buy food everyday, apart from my poverty. But some days I feel like trying something new. So, I got pan cake flour last week and thought I will be easy to make. How wrong was I? As soon as I made the dough, it fell in the sink. I made some more. I made six pancakes all of them got burnt. My hands got burnt too. Finally, I made a seventh one and it did not get burnt. It was crisp and round. Now I can finally say I can make pan cakes. And also made pasta too. Cooking is therapeutic at times no doubt :)

4. Watch Comedy Circus Ke Ajoobe
Whenever your mood is off, just go to YouTube and watch Krishna and Sudesh on Comedy Circus. I can guarantee, you will die laughing. It is outrageously funny. Pet dard ho jata hai has has ke. I can just watch Krishna dancing. Fabulous dancer. Ek dum Bollywood style. And whenever Sudesh Lehiri sings that song 47 weight kudi da, it is awesome. I love them. That is sheer talent.


5. Watch comedy films.
One of the the umpteen reasons that I love films is that they help me transport to this new world and teach so much about life. Given that I did not want any sad movies which I love, I looked for comedy films. Comedy is generally not my favorite genre but if it is not too slap stick, then comedy is excellent. So the last two weeks, I have watched five comedy films and each one turned out to be excellent. Tere Bin Laden, Jolly LLB, Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and Go Goa Gone. The latter three are too good. That hip hip hurrah item song in Mere Dad Ki Maruti or the conversation on khachchas (bakvass na kar Titu, tu kab se khachche pehene lag gaya :D) in Luv Shuv would make you die of laughter. 

The best part: Her mom taught her this :P

6. Twitter
I love Twitter. I know I spend too much time on it but it educates me in so many ways. Somewhere someone would be tweeting on something, some article, some debate, or cracking jokes like the funniest person on Twitter - Sidin :P And the best part, you do not need anyone for conversation. It removes loneliness. Just tweet what you are feeling. Talk to your self through Twitter.  If people do not like your tweets, they can unfollow you. Facebook is too nosy. I am very vocal on Twitter because not more than five or six of my followers are active on Twitter, so I can write anything without being judged. So this week I got a Twitter makeover. Changed my picture after four years. Wrote a description. Added a cover and now I understand why people say go for a makeover. It works. Online makeover hi sahi :) Next mission: Personal Makeover :)

7. Reading politics
There is a thrill that I get from reading on politics. I read about a gazillion articles on the Modi Advani saga during the last weeks and it is fascinating. Politics is perhaps a real-life film, that surprises you every single time. How we could see a coalition of coalitions next year, Mulayam being PM, Advani still has higher chances of being a PM than Modi, Nitish's shrewd political calculations as he has nothing to lose, Lalu's political death if Congress joins hands with Nitish - the coming political year is indeed going to be thrilling and with so much to read, I can not wait. Ashok Malik's insightful columns every week, Shekhar Gupta's political stories every Saturday in Indian Express, Swaminomics in TOI, Nitin Pai's enriching geopolitical views, Madhu Trehan's terrific Newslaundry (especially clothesline), Barkha Dutt's excellent command over English - sheer joy :)

8. Analysis of Movies
Finally my favorite. Analyze movies. Like will Naina and Kabir be able to live happy together? I think not. Love will slowly seep out of their lives. Like why did Rosie in Talaash kill other people if she only wanted to take revenge from Armaan and Sanjay? Why did they say, pichle teen saal se aise accident hue hai isi road pe? Like how Aiyyaa is one of the most brilliant films of last year. Like why do people hate Jhoom Barabar Jhoom so much? I am convinced that our mainstream media critics just do not understand cinema.
Reading some of my favorite writers on films, the people who I aspire to be is soothing that there are people who understand cinema deeply and enrich your lives with their analysis. Movie analysis will help you understand yourself better because you will put yourself in that position - what will I do if I was there.
This is my happy list. There is another list - what not to do list. The first one is stop listening to sad songs. The second one is stop looking at your old pictures. Stop snooping on people's lives on Facebook. Stop checking Watsapp 'last seen at' in the hope that someone will message you :( 

So, make your own list and try to be happy. As Krishna tries to explain to Draupadi in The Palace of Illusions, a situation in itself is neither happy nor unhappy, it is only your response to it that causes sorrow. 

Don't know how long will I follow it though :\ Let me know your list and I will try some of it :)

And I did get a convincing answer to the Talaash question earlier from Baradwaj Rangan. 
Rosie is a ghost with issues, or, a ghost with personality. Nowhere does she seem vengeful – she seems almost philosophical. She does not have significant anger against the guys who left her on the road to die. After all, she was invisible to society anyway. No one looked for her, she had no relatives, nothing. She talks about a girl who just vanished from the face of the earth, and nobody missed her. This is the existential angst that bites away at her soul. She is a ghost who is more worried about the way she led her life, rather than regular ghosts who worry about how and why they were killed.

What would you do if you were a ghost with an inferiority complex? If you always felt like a wallflower? Well, of course, you go and stand in the middle of the road, where no one can help not seeing you.Its the most natural thing to do. Please note that she did this randomly, if I remember correctly there were many accidents before the one in the beginning of the film. Of course, this does not speak very well about her traffic sense, and she does seem to have an ambiguous moral position about human lives, but , death for her is but a transformation, instead of the end. I wont judge her harshly on account of that. She is just craving for attention.

That small bit about appearing in the mirrors? Well, a ghost who carries her insecurities into afterlife, has obviously not been able to let go of her ego. She is still worried about how others perceive her. That is why the mirror shows her reflection back to us. She is still to attain true ghostdom, which perhaps she did attain by the end of the movie, after her little friendship with Aamir Khan.

I love love love the analogy above. I saw Talaash again and came up with some new details. 
More later.

Dialogue of the Day:
"Life mark sheet se nahi, heart beat se chalti hai."
  - Harpreet Singh, Rocket Singh:Salesman of the Year

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani...

Jai Arjun Singh, in his blog Jabberwock, writes that liking a movie is totally subjective and it depends on a number of factors. These factors could be your state of mind, the company, your mood on that day, etc. He says, "I have touched on this before in my many rambling posts about reviewing. I have also touched on how one’s response to a film depends on an un-quantifiable or unknowable combination of things – from the mood you are in on the day you see it to whether you’re seeing it alone or with company; the lingering effects of something you have just read, or a conversation you have just had, or something you have recently lost."  I watched Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and I do not know how to quantify my reaction. The movie had a deeply calming and a comforting effect on me, rather I should say cathartic. It made me cry a lot. From the middle of the first half to the climax, the eyes just could not stop at some moments. It is amazing that a movie has the power to control your emotions. Ever since I have stepped out watching it, I have been thinking about it and it has grown on me continuously. The last movie that touched me like this was Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

I do not know from where to start. One of the many themes that the movie was based on was respecting individuality. तु right नहीं है, बस मुझसे बहुत अलग हो. The movie says that we all are different people, we all want different things from life and we should understand that. During their day trip at Udaipur, Bunny and Naina kept discussing the things they like about in their life but eventually they say that no one is right, it is just they are both different people with different aspirations. 

 तु right नहीं है, बस मुझसे बहुत अलग हो

At one earlier point in the film, when all of them were playing that game 'I Never', I really liked the fact that they did not make fun of Naina at all. She was not cool like the others but they all respected that she is a different person. When she excused herself from the game, Kabir (I like the name Kabir more than Bunny) graciously let her go. They did not judge her for being the way she was.

In one of my favorite scenes of the movie, Naina says to Kabir that she has always been a boring person in life. She did not have any friends in school and she used to sit in one corner. She does not know how to party. She has never traveled away from home. Then Kabir awesomely says to her that she is such a cool girl. She fights gundas, she wins races against him, she sings Bachchan's songs and she has the guts to come all alone on a trekking trip. खुद पे दया करना बंद करो और खुद से प्यार करना सीखो. This was such an amazing scene. He did not make fun of her at all, instead he understood her completely. From that minute, I started loving the movie. 

Tum bahut cool ho, Naina :)

Gradually, Naina starts falling in love with Kabir. Finding life through love - that essential premise that never seems to go old. One of the other themes that ran through the film was that to love someone, you need to understand someone. When Kabir gets admission to the Northwestern University, Naina was about to tell Kabir that she loves him, but backtracks and does not tell him. She realized that this was Kabir's dream and what good will she do to him if she told him. Would her love stop him? Kabir always wanted this in his life although he did say to her, main chahta hun is raat ki subah na ho, but Naina realised that subah ho gayi
Naina's power to understand Kabir was also shown when they both were going on trekking to the top of the mountain and she says to Kabir that they should stop as he is tired now. And then he says, मैं थकता नहीं, and then she says, अच्छा मैं थक गयी. She knew that Kabir wanted pace in his life and he would get defensive, so she says that she is tired. 

During the final moments of the film when Kabir hugs Naina, when they both realize that they do love each other, she says to him that she understands him and that he wants to take that job but they do not have a future together. What after the 'I love you'? She was such a mature person. It is awesome when a person has such great understanding.

जानती हूँ तुम्हे, समझती हूँ तुम्हे, पता है तुम्हे ज़िन्दगी से क्या चाहिए 

I did feel that the pace of the movie dropped in the second half. The first half went past breezily but the second half started slowly. But I think maybe it was intentional on Ayan's part. It was symbolic of the tiredness that Kabir was feeling with his own life. The second half starts with the Ilahi song and Kabir has grown a beard. There were some scenes in the song that clearly showed that something is not right. 

He says, मैं उड़ना चाहता हूँ, दौरना चाहता हूँ, गिरना भी चाहता हूँ, बस रुकना नहीं चाहता. Speed or raftaar gives the thrill to him but eventually he did get tired and finally when he goes to his home, he says to his mom, मैं अब थक गया हूँ. He got every thing that he wanted. He traveled to the most exotic places, gets to make out with French girls and yet he longs for something. It is as if his life his incomplete. He has got so tired of it that when Aditi asks him about Venice, he says it is Europe's sewer! 

At Aditi's wedding, when he looks around, all he sees are the couples. He was missing the companionship. He realizes his utter solitude. In that moving scene, when he finally opens about his father's death, he realized that in his quest for not missing anything, he missed so many other things in his life. Like his dad's funeral.

He was so tormented from inside that he was literally begging Naina to hold him for five more seconds and not to let him go when they both hugged each other. 

This is also there when he wants to go and see the light and sound show at Udaipur. He says to Naina what if the show turns out to be awesome and they missed it out. And then Naina beautifully says to him, जितना भी try कर लो life में, कुछ न कुछ तो छूटेगा ही. Like he will miss the view of the most amazing sunset. Like he missed his own dad's funeral. And that is why he needs to slow down and experience other things too.

And that was the film's message as well. That there is a time for everything. He says to Naina in the final scene, हर चीज़ का एक वक़्त होता है. At no point is Ayan saying not to stop living your dreams. He is just trying to make the point that do not hold too much onto them that you start hating them. He is simply saying to do what you feel like. You wanted to travel. Go do that. You got tired and want to settle now. Go do that. It is because with time, the things we want in life change. But always follow your heart.

In one of the most brilliant scenes, when Kabir comes home, his mom says to him that his father loved him for the fact that he always lived life on his terms and that brought him happiness. And then she reinforces the film's message when she says to him , "Live your dreams. अपने दिल की सुनो"

Live your dreams. अपने दिल की सुनो

I just saw its trailer again and now understand the message of the film more. "You can never be old and wise if you were never young and crazy." Experience everything when you have the time.

You can never be old and wise if you were never young and crazy

That brings me to the topic of Naina and Kabir. In the first half, Kabir explains to Naina the importance of enjoying life. He tried to make her understand the importance of being young. And very interestingly the roles overturned in the second half. Eight years passed. Now they are past their youth and now in this phase, Naina makes him realize the importance of slowing down. She becomes the wise one. All their scenes at Udaipur, Naina is the wise one as compared with their scenes at Manali, where Kabir is the wise one. That is why I think they both complemented each other and perfectly understood each other. That was the brilliance of the film. It aged according to its characters. The second half became slow and mature with the characters.

In my absolutely favorite scene from the movie, Kabir comes to Naina who has put her feet in cold water. He is afraid to put his feet in the water but Naina tells him, धीरे धीरे सब ठीक हो जायेगा. He does put in his feet and realized he was afraid of even trying. That scene was a metaphor to their lives. With time, things change. And later in the Kabira song, he comes all alone and puts his feet in water. To me, it was a brilliant scene. Getting comfortable with cold water and eventually finding the right balance and reaching the equilibrium. Loved it.  

There were some other scenes as well that talked about time. When Kabir is having a drink in Venice, his host asks him, kya dekh rahe ho. He says, waqt ko guzarte dekh raha hun. It is as if he is slowly started to realise that his time too is flowing. In the scene where he proposes Naina, he says, वक़्त किसी के लिए नहीं रुकता, लेकिन बीतता वक्त है और खर्च हम होते है which is such a brilliant line. Wow!

बीतता वक्त है और खर्च हम होते है

I also loved Aditi a lot. She also goes through a phase of emotional development. She loved Avi but he could never understand her love. She finds Taran, who might not be perfect but as she said, कुछ लोगों के साथ वक़्त बीताने से सब कुछ सही हो जाता है. She will always love Avi, the way she called him on New Year's Eve. But she chose Taran. At least he will give her happiness.

I felt inspiration from a number of films. You know a lot of criticism is given to the film by saying there is nothing new. But I think we all are influenced one way or the other by something or someone. Ayan clearly is inspired too but that doesn't mean his work ain't good. I loved the film like anything. But here are some references which I thought.

Naina is the bespectacled girl who does not know how to smile. Kal Ho Na Ho also had a Naina with same glasses and who did not know how to smile. Ironic name for someone who is named Naina. 

 Naina..suno, jeeyo, khush raho, muskurao..
The train hand scene...Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

Apart from this, I felt Kabir and his dad's relationship was somewhat like Raj had with his father. Raj's father wanted his son to live the life he was never able to. Kabir's dad was also indulgent towards him. Even if he could not afford it, he gave him money to go. In that moving scene, his dad is crying and says, he does not want Kabir to go but तुम्हारा यह कहना ही मेरे लिए बहुत है..
आज के बाद फिर मत कहना की तू अपनी जवानी जेचुका है 

तुम्हारा यह कहना ही मेरे लिए बहुत है

Mohini from Tezaab.. 

And references to Jab We Met... the Manali trip and finding life through love..

In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Arjun had said to Laila, diving ek nasha sa hai... a nasha similar to what Kabir says..

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is Ayan's second film after Wake Up Sid. I have always believed that films, especially coming of age, are autobiographical. In Wake Up Sid, Sid had a love for photography. Here, Kabir loves photography too. I am very sure that Ayan loves photography himself. The film has some of the most brilliant cinematography that I have seen and a director who understands it can only bring that to a film. This is his second film after almost four years and maybe the Sid from Wake Up Sid had shades from his own coming of age and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani takes it further. It looks as if Ayan is telling his story. In fact, Ayan does make an appearance in the film.

The Guy in White: Ayan Mukherji

When Naina and Kabir, both, went to the haunted mountain, they see an animal, but it was probably some reference to blessings of spirits.

What do I say about performance? I have always loved Ranbir in each and every role. Here is finally an actor who does some great films and performs brilliantly. The way he communicated through his eyes is haunting, especially the emotional scenes. Deepika surprises me with every film and slowly and slowly, she is becoming my favorite. I loved both of them. They are just awesome. All others, especially Kalki, Farooq Sheikh and Tanvi Azmi are excellent. You have to look at Ranbir's dancing. That guy moves his legs like anything. Balam Pichkari, Dilli Wali Girlfirend, and Badtameez eyes were on him. He has a terrific screen presence. Music is brilliant. But all credit to Ayan for writing such a beautiful film. He is easily my favorite. In Wake Up Sid, he beautifully shows Ayesha's house. And here, he shows us Kabir's wall and his scrapbook. It made me want to travel too. 

I really do not know what will happen to Naina and Kabir, given their different priorities in life. But I hope it does work. I was jealous of Naina and Kabir. They are such a perfect couple. When Kabir comes home to Naina, he behaved so awesomely with her and she starts crying. Can people be so nice? Does love really have that power? I want to experience such things in my life too. I want to feel special sometimes. I am much like Naina of the first half. Boring. Uptight. Not cool. Will someone come and change my life too?

When that Kabira song was coming, I was literally sobbing with Naina and Kabir. If you think of it, their problems are first world. But still they were not happy. What is that brings happiness to people? I don't know. Till then I will copiously shed tears when I watch Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani again :(

Dialogue of the Day:

कभी कभी कुछ बातें हमारी यादों की इतनी खिड़कियाँ खोल देती है की हम दंग रह जाते है. बहुत खूबसूरत होती है यह यादों की दुनिया.  हमारे बीते हुए कल के छोटे छोटे टुकड़े, हमारी यादों में हमेशा महफूज़ रहते हैं.  यादें मिठाई के डब्बे की तरह होती है. एक बार खुला तो सिर्फ एक टुकड़ा नहीं खा पाओगे.
 - Naina, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Of Comparison, Marks, Leadership, Dhoni, Loneliness, Kevin, Always On My Mind, Break The Rules, Tu Man Shudi, Lazy Lad, and Write Better

Long time no see..

I have many disparate things in my mind, so it going to be unstructured post (as if other posts are structured?)

A few days ago, HT carried an article from The Guardian called When life doesn't measure up

Humans are competitive and, to a certain extent, we've always been comparing ourselves to our peers, but social media has made that "peer group" feel a lot bigger. I blame Facebook. We get status updates every few minutes. The start of summer is peak season for weddings and graduation ceremonies, not to mention exotic vacations (or even just incredibly stunning beach homes), and all those photos get posted on Facebook. But for all that social media has done to reinforce our dark tendencies to compare ourselves to others, the worst of all might be reunions. I find it interesting that the generation that supposedly never wanted to grow up is suddenly very worried that they aren't far enough along the "grown up track".

Isn't it so true? We spend almost all our free time on Facebook and all we see is someone getting married, someone visiting exotic locations, someone getting a good job, someone writing about his movie knowledge (ahem! like yours truly) - as if we all are trying to prove a point. We want to show off. But the reality is no one knows the not-so-good stuff. People do not put that on Facebook. And this showing off breeds comparison. Comparison to show off that I too am good like you. Perhaps that is why I like Twitter more than Facebook. I can be myself on Twitter, I do not have to show off things to my friends, though sometimes I do. I was just going through my friends list and I could not believe the number of people who have deactivated their account. I also thought of doing it but just could not bring myself to do it. I have this fear that I will miss out on something. I hate it. It is like an addiction. I could rather spend that time reading more but, no, I have to check Facebook. Interestingly, Sidin also posted an excellent quote Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

This quotation, from Theodore Roosevelt, argues that comparing your work, your life, or whatever else will only serve to make you unhappy. Why? Because when you yourself to others, you know all the dirty details of your situation or the problems with what you've created but only the seemingly positive surface information about them or their work. So don't hold yourself up to some outside vague standard of greatness. Judge your work by your principles and leave comparison out of the equation.

We have to learn to stop comparing our self and it is really hard. We have to accept that somethings are not made for us and then only we can be satisfied. That is also similar to what was written in Of Student Of The Year.

CBSE Class 12th results came out. I cannot believe it is eight years since school finished. Abhi to college start kiya tha. I checked CBSE archives if my result was still available. Apparently it is. Showing off you see.

But now if I look back..did these marks take me anywhere? No..all the choices I made I never wanted to do them. I was never interested in engineering but did that. I took biotechnology because college's brand is good. I went to SRCC for a month for economics honors and left that to go for engineering. Did I learn anything in engineering? No. I never had the technical aptitude like other smart people in my college. Then, first job was totally unrelated to what I learnt. Moved to other company because again brand was good but where I did the worst kind of work. And now MBA. I really do not know whether I did anything right? I have so many regrets in my life. I do not believe when people say they do not have any regrets. We all have regrets. Even if they are missed opportunities. As they said in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, our life is defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss. If I could go back, I would have taken Humanities in Class 11 and 12, then went for either economics/political science/journalism honors and then went for a masters program in public policy and eventually work for some organisation like the UN or the IMF. But alas! I cannot do it now. I am not that courageous. It is too much of a risk monetarily. Even with such good marks all through the career, it never really helped me. I am not proud of anything. Perhaps that is why people do not respect me. I really want people to respect me. When they take my name, I wish they said that guy is smart. I know.. it is such a shallow wish no? As Naseerudin Shah, in an interview to Anupama Chopra, said,
"Are we supposed to live our lives aspiring to some ideal of greatness. You cannot live your wanting to be great. You do the best you can and it is upto the world to decide how great you are."

Talking of colleges, CNN IBN shot an episode in college. Some much deserved publicity though :)

Starting from 9:00
In one of the earlier posts, I said about how leadership is so abstract. Sidin, as always thoughtful, wrote in his Mint column  Cubiclenama - Coping with randomness. He writes, 

Business schools, business textbooks and business gurus all give us the impression that most, if not every, element of the workplace and business can be reduced to deterministic rules. This is fine so far as the models are extended to mathematical things such as simple banking, supply chains, information systems and so on. But extend this thinking to concepts such as “leadership” and suddenly you’re tap-dancing on razor-thin ice.

To me the very idea of a “leadership grooming system” is ridiculous. It seems a wishful, futile attempt to mitigate all kinds of inestimably random things. It is also a reflection of the modern organization’s insistence that the process is superior to the person. Apple is greater than Steve Jobs. Virgin is greater than Richard Branson. Amazon is greater than Jeff Bezos.

But what if they aren’t? What if P&G can never replace Lafley? What if there is simply no way of using all your confounded obsession with controlling randomness to cleave the leader from the legions?

Totally agree. And the timing couldn't be better. Infosys, too, has brought back Narayan Murthy back to the helm just as P&G has brought back A.G. Lafley. But then this begs the question? Are some people born leaders? Can it not be cultivated? Talking of leadership, there was a big debate last week on why Dhoni did not say anything on the match fixing scandal. Perhaps that is why I love Twitter. It brings both sides of an argument. 

@Diptakirti: Those outraging over Dhoni's silence and using headlines like "Dhoni gagged", tweet one misdemeanor your employer has committed. His needs are much higher than normal people and thus, more dependent on his employer. Also, his productive years are shorter. It is a little sad that he became an employee instead of a captain/leader but that's no reason to crucify him. At his level, there are many 'perks' that a BCCI President can get him. E.g. Captaincy immunity. He chose not to rough it out.

@Greatbong: There is a vast disparity in the power normal people have and Dhoni has vis-a-vis their employers. He can immediately get employment with an IPL franchise. And yes if he took a stand, not even Srinivasan could have done anything to him vis-a-vis the Indian cricket team. I think that's precisely the reason to crucify him. He would have lost nothing. Absolutely nothing if he took a stance. Look at Sourav Ganguly. He spoke against fixing as a real captain.

Last week, I spoke to my sister. I felt really bad when she told me she is very lonely and no body has time for her. Mom also told me she has started to get a bit helpless now. My cousin in California, who is fighting a messy divorce battle, also called me today and told me that how no one is supporting her. I guess our family is one of the most loneliest families now. Each one fighting their own battles. I do not what happened but all of a sudden, my father told me that you will find good people everywhere, and even if people are not good, they will teach you something. I hope things work out for everybody in the family.

It is the Brothers and Sisters effect. I am totally in love with the show. I am dreaming about the show sometimes. These guys are so lovable. In one episode, all the family members were discussing the song they lost their virginity to. Such frank conversations they have. Such fantastic acting. Steven Spielberg is right. God acting is moving from movies to TV.

In one episode, Saul tells Kevin that he is one of the loneliest people he knows. I feel really bad for Kevin because one can relate to him so much. 

You are one of the loneliest person I have ever known :(

Robert proposed Kitty and says,

Robert: Any song that is even remotely romantic reminds me of us, Kitty. You make everything new.

Holly: You can't help who you love

Everyone thinks Kevin is uptight. I did not know the meaning. Uptight means anxious in an angry and overly controlled way. And that is so me. I am uptight too. You should see me in parties, how controlled I am and how I do not let go. I am such a boring person if you meet me, thinking too much about things unnecessarily. Kevin hated it when people said that, so gets drunk, goes to the karaoke stage and sings to prove he is not uptight. Awesome he is :) And the song he sings is Always On My Mind.  

Always On My Mind

I listened to this song for the first time and instantly loved it. Its lyrics are brilliant and it is addictive. Have put it on all status messages - Whatsapp, Gmail, etc. 

Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have

If I made you feel second best
Girl I'm sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And since I am such a soap junkie, I finished Season 4 of Modern Family. It is just so funny. Luke has become my favorite. So he failed his maths exams and says, they treat me as if I am some kind of irrational remainder. How can remainders be irrational? :P He is so cool. I wish I had a cool friend like him when I was young.

His frozen assets :D

But my favorite part was the final episode. So, Phil's mom had died, and she leaves a gift for everyone. She gives a lighter to Alex. Alex did not understand it first but later during the funeral, Alex lights fireworks using that lighter and reads her grandmother's message.

This is a lighter. It belonged to my favorite actor, Paul Newman. One day, he came into the restaurant where I was waitressing and accidentally left it behind. For the first time in my life, I did something I wasn't supposed to and slipped it into my pocket. One of the customers saw and said don't worry, your secret's safe with me. That customer turned out to be the love of my life, your grandfather. So, my Alex, who I love so dearly, who's probably too much like me for her own good, every once in a while, don't be afraid to break the rules. You never know what can happen.

Every once in a while, don't be afraid to break the rules. You never know what can happen.

Isn't it connected to Kevin being too uptight and letting it go. As I always say cosmic connection theory never fails :) Maybe I should stop being too uptight and and break some rules. 

Raanjhanaa's new song, Tu Man Shudi, is out. AR Rehman composes another brilliant song with Sufi musical touches. The opening lines of the song are taken from a poem from the Sufi poet, Amir Khusrau. These are the same lines that Sheikh Abdullah, Omar Abdullah's grandfather, recited in Lal Chowk proclaiming his love for India.

'Tu mun shudi, tu mun shudi. Mun tu shudam tu mun shudi' -
You have become me, you have become me
I am the body, you soul.

Looking at the video, I am almost sure it is shot at DLF Cybercity. The lobby is so reminiscent of my old office. I am really looking forward to Raanjhanaa. Sonam might not be a good actress, but there is something very classy about her. There is a very real line in the film's trailer. Mohalle ke laundo ka pyaar aksar doctor engineer utha ke le jaate hain. It will not be hard to find examples from your life. In school, the girls who used to date the biggest jerks are now married to some doctor or an engineer. I hope Raanjhanaa is good.

And there is a third song that is playing in my head. When I first heard it, I hated it. But there is some Himesh-like repeat quality about it that it gets stuck in the head. Lazy Lad from Ghanchakkar. And the end part is the funniest. Pare hat na.

Kahyaalon ka pulaav
Milega man mein
Paka ke phir pulaav
Akele khaata hai
Nasal hai karele
Ke neem pe chadha

But please sabse pehle mujhe Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani dekhni hai :(  Kaise dekhun..

Lastly, I have started a new Twitter handle @Write_Better. What better way to learn is by teaching? So I will tweet on tips to write better in English, collated from various sources. This way I will learn it too :) I want to be a Grammar Nazi.

U sent me an email that he got through LSE. He forwarded me his entire resignation mail :) I am so happy for him. I talked to H trying to help him out if he should go for doing what he likes best rather than brand/money. First world problems. If only I was as smart as them :(

Aaj to bahut zyada ho gaya. Still have so many things to say. I am thinking of making my blog private. Should I? Sometimes I write too much personal stuff no?

More. Later.

Dialogue of the Day:

"नींद आती है, सपने नहीं आते, तो फिर क्या फायदा."
 - Meenaxi, Aiyyaa

P.S. - I am barged by anonymous spam comments. Earlier it was fine but now the frequency is almost twenty-thirty a day :( Is captcha a good way to stop them?