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The New Stuff

नव वर्ष : Happy New Year!

नव वर्ष

नव वर्ष,
हर्ष नव,
जीवन उत्कर्ष नव;

नव उमंग,
नव तरंग,
जीवन का नव प्रसंग;

नवल चाह,
नवल राह,
जीवन का नव प्रवाह;

गीत नवल,
प्रीति नवल,
जीवन की रीति नवल,
जीवन की नीति नवल,
जीवन की जीत नवल.

-हरिवंश राय बच्चन

As I said in one of my previous posts, 2010 for me was just another passing year. Neither any positive incident to be really happy about, nor any negative accident to be really sad about. It came and just slipped by like a steady flowing river water. Nothing better than "Lo Din Beeta, Lo Raat Gayi" by Shri Bachchan to describe this year for me :). Hope 2011 brings more cheers and moments of happiness to cherish :).

With this last post of mine for 2010, I wish you all a very happy & prosperous new year! As the beautiful poem "Nav Varsh" by Shri Harviansh Rai Bachchan says:

"May the new year brings in new joys, hopes and promises; new yearnings, wishes and desires, new zest, new journeys, new chapters, new dreams and a new enthusiasm for your life!"

Have a great 2011!

A movie you MUST watch & a movie you MUST NOT watch!

Two movies and two dramatically opposite reactions: 1.) Tees Maar Khan – One of the worst movies ever watched 2.) Udaan – One of the best movies ever watched. These two movies are not comparable at all as they represent two very different genres, but even if I evaluate these within their own respective genres, my reaction still remains the same.

I was not expecting Tees Maar Khan to be any well-plotted, thought-through movie or any kind of intelligent comedy, but I didn’t expect it to be this disaster too. I thought it would be some slapstick fun but forget about having even a single moment of smile, throughout the movie I kept on wondering what the hell it was. I think Farah Khan made "Tees Maar Kan" exactly like the way Akshay Kumar made the movie "Tees Maar Khan" within "Tees Maar Khan"...story thought on the spot, dialogues conceived on the spot, actors clueless till the end and the director also clueless till the end! I was never a great fan of Akshay Kumar (in fact I don’t like him), and whatever good impression I had gained for Katrina after her performance in Rajneeti has got washed away with her “main aur make up laga ke aati hoon” recital in TMK. Trust me apart from Sheila ki Jawani dance, this is the only dialogue which she has spoken and repeated at least zillion times in the movie. Pathetic, terrible, disgusting and not a bearable movie even if you get tickets for free.

Coming down to the movie which I watched on DVD recently – Udaan, I’m wondering how I missed to watch it in theater. In fact was not even aware when the movie got released and went off theaters too. Huh, sad that lack of marketing can make people miss gem of a movie like Udaan and heavy buzz can actually make one waste money on a crap like TMK. But what a movie Udaan was! I just looooved it. Poignant storyline, great acting, superb direction and a fantastic ending. Must say that Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya Motwane have done an amazing job by making this film and no wonder this film was officially selected to compete in 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The story is about a 17 year old teenager Rohan who was expelled from his school on a silly mistake and had to return home to his abusive and oppressive father. The film revolves around the emotional journey of Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) who has to deal with the nuances of a tyrant father (Ronit Roy), a young step brother Arjun (Ayan Boradia) about whom Rohan was not even aware of till he came back from hostel a supporting chacha (Ram Kapoor) whom his father hates, the struggle between his dreams of becoming a writer and his father’s ambition of making him an engineer & finally his fight for believing in himself and standing for his own dreams. It’s a movie which touches a chord somewhere deep within, a movie you must experience on your own to really understand the emotions of different characters. Difficult to decide for me as to whether it was Rohan’s suppressed anger or Arjun’s suppressed fear which really makes your heart go out for those two poor kids…at times I really had lump in my throat. A must, must watch movie for all…a movie which you really should not miss at any cost.

Think these are the last two movies for me in 2010, more movies now next year only. So, what’s the plan for you for this new year eve? Planning to welcome it with a bang or deciding to spend it peacefully with family & friends :-)?

So, what are you searching today : Google Zeitgeist 2010

I had written a post on Google Zeitgeist 2010 report on my marketingchitchat blog but apart from brand findings, the general findings were further more interesting enough to make me do a post on this blog as well :-). For those who don’t know about Zeitgeist – it’s a report published by Google every year where Google reveals the spirit of the year through the aggregation of millions of search queries it receives every day. Here is a snapshot of the India result and in case you are interested in knowing more about the report you can click here.
So some observations based on the report:
  • Micromax is second fastest rising query, well the mass market targeting surely works in India and this low cost mobile manufacturer is on a roll.
  • And the point about mass appeal definitely seems to be true in case of celebrities too, Sonakshi Sinha is high on the list of “fastest rising people”, just one movie old but then let’s not forget the movie was Dabangg – mindless bakar but a true paisa vasool full on entertaining typical bollywood cinema, Chulbul Pandey ka jadoo on aam junta was phenomenal.
  • I thought Orkut is dead and almost everybody on this planet has been there and is done with it now, but well Orkut is very much there in “top 10 most popular” section. Though wondering if it’s the positive or negative search string leading to this popularity of Orkut.
  • Movie section has Kites leading the list with 3 idiots on number 4. How? Who and why on earth were people searching stuffs on Kites? No, you can’t even do a negative search for such a hopelessly pathetic movie!
  • First time ever, a swamji has found a place in the top-10 of any search list, yes this swamiji is none other than Nithyananada who is the second most searched term in Bangalore’s Zeitgeist report.
  • People are searching more on “how to get pregnant” than “how to impress a girl” or “how to make money”? Two curiosities – 1.) Are women searching more on “how tos” than men? 2.) Is infertility rate on that a high rise in India too?
  • Someone else pointed out another interesting trend in “how to section”, read it bottoms up - reduce weight >> improve spoken English >> impress a girl >> kiss >> get pregnant …interesting and makes more sense than reading it in top down order, isn’t it :)?

Lo Din Beeta, Lo Raat Gayi…

What, it’s already 10th Dec! Looks like as if it was today morning when I was thinking on 1st December and how this whole 2010 just seemed to pass away in a blink…now even these ten days have gone just like that and so will the next twenty one days bringing yet another year to a closure. This year is one which has been like steadily flowing water for me…neither any good reason to be really happy nor any bad reason to be really sad, just one day after another and then another and lo’ the year is gone. I really love the following poem by Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan and today once again feel like putting it up on my blog as this poem is just apt to describe how I have been feeling about 2010 till now, I’m anyways a big fan of his words but at times some creations seem to be so relatable and so close to your heart…

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई

लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई,
सूरज ढलकर पच्छिम पहुँचा,
डूबा, संध्या आई, छाई,
सौ संध्या-सी वह संध्या थी,
क्यों उठते-उठते सोचा था,
दिन में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई।

धीमे-धीमे तारे निकले,
धीरे-धीरे नभ में फैले,
सौ रजनी-सी वह रजनी थी
क्यों संध्या को यह सोचा था,
निशि में होगी कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गई।

चिड़ियाँ चहकीं, कलियाँ महकी,
पूरब से फिर सूरज निकला,
जैसे होती थी सुबह हुई,
क्यों सोते-सोते सोचा था,
होगी प्रातः कुछ बात नई।
लो दिन बीता, लो रात गईI
- हरिवंश राय बच्चन

I'm in: 2011 South Asian Challenge

Thanks Smita for informing me about the forthcoming “South Asian 2011” challenge, wanted to participate in it last year also but read it late and then only had thought to participate in it next year. This is one reading challenge which I am very happy to participate in as I just love Indian writing and South Asian literature. I have read some very good books in last few years on India, Indian contemporary writing, Pakistan and Bangladeshi themes. Will be happy to expand my reading horizon to literary work from other South Asian countries as part of this challenge.

As per the rule of this reading challenge, with this post I’m now formally announcing my sign-up & participation in “2011 South Asian Challenge”. In case you’re interested to know more about it, you can check out the FAQs here and those interested to join in this challenge can sign up for it here.

I have not yet made a list of all the books which I’m planning to cover, have started working on it and will be putting it up soon. Look forward to this reading fun in 2011!

Campfire Graphic Novels: A must try for book lovers

Me & my love for comics…ahhhhh just so difficult to put it in words (pssst: oh yes, I do read comic books till date :-))! Now how do I justify my comic book buying or reading habit till this age is a different story all together but the joy of reading a visually rich and graphically interesting book is something totally unparalleled. So, when I got a chance to have a look at this new series of graphical books by a relatively new Indian publication Campfire, my first reaction was a ‘yayyy’ of excitement.
Read three books by them recently – ‘Conquering Everest’, ‘The Dusk Society’ & ‘The Three Musketeers’; and loved all the three. First of all I must say that quality of presentation was just so good that for a moment I could not believe that these are from some Indian publication. I mean I have been reading Indian as well as international comics, novels & graphical books for long now, though always loved the Indian characters like Billoo, Pinky, Chacha Chowdhary or the stories of Champak, Nandan, Balhans etc. but book presentation wise somehow they could never match up to say a Tintin or Asterix or Calvin and Hobbes. Next thing which I find lacking in Indian graphical-book segment is the content, since they are targeted towards mainly kids in India, so most of the books revolve around kiddie themes unlike say a matured audience targeted Persepolis or Embroideries or a teenager targeted Archie. And both these issues get perfectly addressed by Camfire’s books now. Not only the content is great but the illustration of content is also equally interesting. Though the books are targeted towards mainly kids and teenagers but they offer variety of other options in form of graphical novels which can tantalize the reading appetite of adults as well. Their graphical books are categorized in four segments – Classics, Biography, Mythology, and Originals. Each of these categories covers a unique dimension of literature and offers exciting and educational stories to its audience. I was so impressed with their books that I took special effort to know about the team behind it, their whole catalogue and availability in different book stores.

A little bit more about the books which I read – 1.) Conquering Everest (Written by Lewis Helfand; Illustrated by: Amit Tayal) is a book on the lives of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norway and their adventure of conquering Everest. You know, the visual representation of the book is so just so breathtaking that at times when they have demonstrated the mountaineers slipping down the steep slopes of Everest, you can actually feel it as if you are watching some motion movie. And guess what, next day on KBC one of the questions was related to Everest and I was able to guess the correct answer, thanks to the minute details which this book has covered in an interesting story format. 2.) The Dusk Society (Written by: Sidney Wiliams and Mark Jones; Illustrated by: Naresh Kumar) is a story of Dracula, Doctor Frankenstein and the whole thrill around whether The Dusk Society will be able to stop Pierceblood’s evil plan? A totally engrossing thriller from start to end; just loved it! 3.) The Three Musketeers (Written by: Alexander Dumas; Illustrated by: Amit Tayal) is the same good old story which we had read in schools earlier but presented though appealing graphics.

As per me these books are must try for all those who like reading books and get specially excited by illustrated ones. Do check out their website for more details about them or their complete catalogue. What else, apart from printed versions, they also offer digital content which can be downloaded for PC/Mac, Blackberry, Android, iPod/iPads, etc. I loved their collection and definitely looking forward to reading more by them.

Battle of Sexes & Guzaarish

Finally I got to watch a performance by long time blogger friend – Nautankey. Earlier when he used to write about his shows at different places, I remember asking him about his plans to come to Bangalore. And so when his team decided to perform in Bangalore, I was definitely excited. Went to watch his play “Battle of Sexes” last Sunday and must say that my excitement was totally worth it. As the name suggests, it’s based on the differences between the two sexes from Venus & Mars. Loved the characters, theme and performance by all the actors of the show. Great work Naut & you were just too good as “Mo”. Keep it up & look forward to your next play in Bangalore soon :-)

This was definitely a good weekend as far as entertainment was concerned, the same weekend I also got to watch the movie Guzaarish. I don’t think I can find suitable adjectives to express my reaction about Hrithik’s performance in this movie. It was a wonderful movie, made very beautifully. As much as I hated Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya or Hrithik’s Kites, more and more I loved both of them for Guzaarish. A lively movie on a very disturbing topic, Guzaarish is the story of an accomplished magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) who has become quadriplegic after an unfortunate accident. The movie revolves around the story of his life on a wheel chair, his relationship with his married nurse (Aishwarya Rai) and his decisions about the future course of his life. Though I found Aish’s get up in the movie bit overboard for a nurse kind of character but then overall she was good and Hrithik was just outstanding.!All other actors like Aditya Roy Kapoor, Suhel Seth, Nafisa Ali, Shernaz Patel or even a small appearance like that of Monikangana Dutta did an excellent job for their characters. It’s a must-must watch movie and don’t go by the critics ratings or negative reviews of the media. No idea on what basis they decide to give four stars to a crap like “All the Best” and two to an excellence like “Guzaarish”! Watch it and if you’re ok with bit of emotional heaviness, then I’m sure you will enjoy this movie.

Directed by: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Screenplay By: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Actors: Hrithik Roshan as Ethan Mascarenhas, Aishwarya Rai as Sofia D'Souza, Shernaz Patel as Devyani Dutta, Nafisa Ali as Isabel Mascarenhas, Aditya Roy Kapoor as Omar Siddique, Monikangana Dutta as Estella Francis, Suhel Seth as Dr. Nayak, Rajit Kapoor as Prosecutor Vipin Patel, Ash Chandler as Yasser Siddique, Vijay Crishna as Judge Rajhans, Makarand Deshpande as Neville D'Souza
Duration: Approx 2 hours

And did I mention, how much I am in love with the songs of Guzaarish esp. “Sau gram zindagi”… 'Der tak ubaali hai, cup mein daali hai, kadvi hai naseeb si, yeh coffee gaadhi kaali hai, sau gram zindagi ye, sambhaal ke kharchi hai'… must have listened to this song 50th time since morning and million times since I first heard it…love it, love it, just love it!

The Social Network: An enthralling movie

Watched “The Social Network” last night and LOVED it totally. No, no its not because of my addiction to Facebook :), this movie is actually a very well made movie. Engrossing from the start, entertaining throughout & enthralling till the end. Now what else can you expect from a movie?

As we all know the movie is an adaptation of Ben Mezrich's non-fiction book 'The Accidental Billionaires' and the story is all about the social networking giant Facebook. Even though all the reel names of characters are exactly similar to the real ones, there have been numerous reports on Zuckerberg denying the factual authenticity of the movie. Zuckerberg has called it a “work of fiction” and the portrayal of the negativity around the success of Facebook in this movie is not a matter of concern for him. So, I won’t go into the debate of how much fact vs. fiction this movie was. I evaluated this movie as a standalone plot for a movie and I must say that the movie is thrilling to the core. What an excellent execution and what a plot; one really can make a thriller out of a nerdy topic like tech product development! Clever dialogues, funny quips, smart story-telling and a very smart end. The movie beautifully portrays the journey of an intelligent developer who takes the path of entrepreneurship and on his way goes through different lessons of friendships, jealousy, insecurities, trust, mistrust & betrayal. There was a time in the movie when Eduardo confronts Mark after he comes to know the game played on him for his share in the company. That particular scene really left me thinking about the cost of success which at times few people have to pay to make it to the top. Kudos to the screenplay, direction, music and acting delivered by the whole team. A must watch for those who want to see an intelligent yet dramatic movie.

Do check out these links in case you’re interested to know the reel vs. real characters and the fact vs. fiction of the movie.

Team Info:
Directed by: David Fincher
Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg), Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin), Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker), Brenda Song (Christy Lee), Rooney Mara (Erica Albright), Armie Hammer (Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss), Max Minghella (Divya Narendra)
Duration: 121 mins

This year’s Diwali

This Diwali was indeed special for me; I got to celebrate it with my Mom after 16 years! Yup, after sixteen years to be precise. Earlier it was education & hostel life, then job & then marriage… Mom used to so rightly say it earlier – ek baar beti ghar se nikal gayi toh phir nikal hi gayi, shayad wapas nahi hi aa paogi tum (though this is true for sons also these days as most of them have to stay away from their parents because of job & career demands). She was so right, I stepped out of my home when I was a child only, had to go for residential school & hostel life because of lack of good schools in my area, add to that the nature of job of my parents. Since then never got the chance to go back and stay there. Staying at home meant going there for few days during vacations. Then job and married life further reduced my home trip duration from “few days” to “very few days”. Now staying there has just become a distant memory. With Kishu & Amitesh Bhaiya gone, in fact now I feel scared to go back to my own home only. The memories of both of them attached with that place haunt me more when I see those rooms, garden, study racks, aangan and everything else where we had spent our childhood together. Suddenly their absences from our lives seem more real & more painful. Last two festive seasons consecutively were spent in mourning, 2008 Amitesh Bhaiya left us & 2009 it was Kishu. So, this year when we all (me, my husband, my mom & my youngest brother) got to spend this festive season together at Bangalore, it was really-really a different feeling for us. One it was some festival before which nothing bad had happened and second we all were together. Festivals will never be the same and celebrations will never be complete without Kishu & Bhaiya but at least I’m happy that we got to spend this day together and that too peacefully and nicely. Thank God for little mercies in life! After all that has happened continuously for last so many years with us, I at times get scared to feel happy over nice moments too.

Hope you all had a great Diwali too, best wishes to all my readers for the upcoming festivals of this year. Will be back with more posts very soon :-)

Kishu’s B’day with Santosh Charity

19th Sept was b’day of Kishu and this year’s 19th Sept was the second one without him in our lives. Everybody says “life moves on” and yes even I agree now that life moves on but then it never moves on like earlier. There is no salve which can heal this pain, no moment or object of happiness which can overcome this grief and no rationalization of thoughts which can let you accept this reality. Yes, things are moving ahead but not even a single day passes without remembering 5th Feb 2009 and things associated along with it. I don’t think I can ever describe how it feels esp. on days like these…You keep on thinking whether to cry at the loss or mourn the fact that we will never be able to even listen to his voice even for a second, forget about being with him or celebrating his special day together the way we used to do it earlier. But then it’s his b’day and whether he is with us or not, at least we should be thankful for this day as because of this day only we got to spend 27 memorable lovely years together. Mom was as always inconsolable but when we insisted her to express instead of keeping the grief within herself, this is what she had to write about this day. Though honestly speaking both me and Mom know that it’s not possible to express the exact feelings associated with Kishu or his absence from our lives in words…it’s just NOT possible!

Like last year, this year also I decided to spend the day with kids at Santosh Charitable Trust and as earlier they really made the day special for me & Kishu. The way the sing b’day songs for him or the way they celebrate this day with me, I think if Kishu is around somewhere, hopefully he would like the way his day is being celebrated.

It is one place which has really got a special place in my heart, a place which redefines the meaning of orphans or special kids. It’s an orphanage run by few noble souls who are doing it selflessly just to provide a better life and education to those kids. Total strength of the orphanage now is close to 55 (including staffs) and the financials are mainly based on the voluntary donations collected from working professionals, organizations and some authorities. Unlike other similar places, this one is really different. First the way they are transparent with their expenses, collections etc. you know that your money is in safe hands; secondly you need to meet the kids to understand this self urge towards donating money for them. I mean the way they talk, the way they introduce themselves or the way they all describe their ambition in life – with gleam in their eyes, clear goals and zeal to achieve the same! Not even a slightest trace of that becharapan or self pity in anyone of them. When you see them working so hard to realize their dreams, you on your own feel the need to do something for them which can help them in some ways and in return give you this unparalleled satisfaction of doing your bit towards them. Even my association with them is just one and half years old but trust me at least for this place nobody pesters me to contribute anything, it’s my internal conscience which tells me to do so. And thankfully I’m surrounded with few likeminded friends who also have been contributing to this place on their own.

Do check out their website - for more details about them and if anyone of you is keen to help these kids in having a better future, you can contact me or contact the numbers mentioned on their website. They do provide all authentic receipts for your contribution and money is utilized primarily in the education and overall personality development of the kids. Don't think about the amount, every penny is important for them. I don’t have any personal association with the trust and this post is no enforced marketing campaign on their behalf. I do it out of my own will as I know that every bit of contribution is important for them.

Of driving, men drivers & women drivers

In the whole history of mankind, have you ever, ever, ever met a man driver who can actually apologize to a woman driver saying it was his mistake??? I actually met one today, it was a very small mistake yet he apologized & that too on his own! A guy on Bajaj Avenger banged my running car from behind and before there would have been a scene created on road, he got down from his bike, came to me, apologized and said – ‘I know aapki koi galti nahi hai, I’m really sorry, it was my mistake!’ He looked at the car and said – ‘there is no damage in your car, once again sincere apologies’. OMG, I was really, really shocked! One the mistake was just too small for him to get down from his bike, walk up to my car and then apologize, next he was actually a man and the banged vehicle was of a woman. Now isn’t it assumed in this world that whenever there is a bang or accident between vehicles of a man vs woman, it has to, has to be the woman at fault! I’m just so full of respect for this gentleman.

Now, before we go into debate of men vs. women driver, let me be honest and tell you all that despite being a woman I don’t have any objection in accepting that men are good drivers. In fact if I speak of my surrounding, when it comes to tricky driving, pati is a better driver than me and so are lots of my men colleagues and friends. I don’t think I have ever tried to prove that I’m a better driver than them and have no intention to prove the same in future as well. Thankfully I have been driving my car successfully for last few years with bang record of only once till now and that too it was almost 4 years back (touchwood). For me, driving is more of a necessity than a pleasure and those living in Bangalore or Chennai can vouch for it as to how difficult it is to deal with auto guys here. I have absolutely no qualms about accepting the fact that men are generally good drivers, but what I’ve problem with accepting are two generalizations – 1. All men are better drivers than women, 2. All women are bad drivers. Yes, I hate these two general statements. Trust me tolerating women driver centric jokes is a different thing and I’ve always done so generously but facing the repercussion of it in real life for no fault of yours can get too much at times. Picture these:

1: Pati driving and crossing a junction in full speed, some auto guy also trying to cross the same junction from perpendicular side. Both will blow the horn, finally pati wins and crosses the junction while auto guy will take a sharp break and give him the pass. Now imagine the situation with me trying to cross the same junction, I’m almost there just about to take the turn, an auto guy comes from same perpendicular direction blowing his horn. I had reached earlier and I was nearer to the crossing but auto guy will keep on blowing the horn till I don’t stop and let him go! There won’t be much space in front of me, he will tilt his auto, do this & that but still he has to go before me. While crossing he will give me a disgusting and scornful look with sometimes even fingers raised at me. His expressions tell me that stopping and giving him the pass despite me being the first to reach that junction was not enough; I should have actually got down, saluted the auto driver, curtsied and then allowed him to pass with a bow! So, what he is just another rowdy auto driver, after all he is a male driver and it’s his janam siddh adhikaar to give that filthy look to all women drivers on this earth.

2: Another woman driver whom I know had parked the car on the left side of the road with her parking light on, this friend had new car. An old dilapidated white Indica with a male driver was trying to take U turn from opposite side of the road, driver was on phone and god knows where was he lost? Suddenly me & friend feel a dhaad bang on the door, so the guy had managed to bang his car royally on the new car. The moment friend rolled off her window glass, this driver just pounced back on us. You know how it is like ulta chor kotwal ko daante…OMG this man just didn’t listen at all, kept on blah blahing as to how the car was parked at the wrong place never mentioning even once about the fact that he was driving and our car was standing still - so, if there was a bang, it has to be his mistake. But then this man started his sentence only at high pitch observing that on opposite side a lady was on the driving eat. As they say – aggression is the best defense; within no time all the jobless people nearby gathered around us and started supporting him. As I said earlier, you know that when it is a tiff between man and a woman driver then no one even bothers to ask whose fault it is. Soon it became a big row and this lady actually ended up paying to the Indica driver for some smaller scratches on his already super scratched car and there was not even a single eye who tried to see that it was the door of my friend’s new car which was badly dented. And no, I have not tweaked any fact over here to make the incident look more sympathetic towards my friend, each and every word is written as happened.

3: On a lighter note, whenever something happens in our car (me & my husband share the same car), the default question of others will be – aur Kanu, kaha thoka is baar car ko? Hmmm, be it a small scratch or a big dent, the hobson’s choice of suspect is always me. And as I said in my first para, last when I had a road tiff with me on the driving seat was actually 4 years back. If pati is around, he will jokingly reply – nahi yaar, mere se thuki car, kanu se nahi. If not, then poor me will keep on explaining that it’s not me.

When it’s for fun its bearable but when it’s being misused by people like in situations 1 and 2, then it really gets on to your nerves. You know, I understand some women hit panic button faster and hence those troubles on road due to women drivers but I have really seen some jerk men drivers too! I understand men may have better control on brakes & accelerators but this does not mean that women are bad drivers always.

Oh paisa yeh paisa :)

So, now there is an ad also on television which just substantiates the fact that as far as sports in India is concerned, money is there more in endorsements and not the actual sport! I’m speaking of the recent Fair & Lovely ad where this gal is trying to win some cycle championship and her brother tells her to change the sport if she wants to buy a new house in order to fulfill her mother’s dream. And whoa by the end of the ad, the gal is able to afford any bungalow in that locality because she is all ujli ujli now…errr I mean fair & lovely ;) which has helped her in getting some endorsement deal from a famous sports company. Now when there is endorsement, there is money & when there is money, then maa ka sapna pura karne ka time ;)! And of course this endorsement came to her because she got transformed into this gorgeous, pretty, FAIR & LOVELY gal by applying fair & lovely! Chalo finally maa ka sapna sakaar hua, all thanks to this miraculous Fair & Lovely and the brand endorsement deal. Whatever happened to that cycle competition, who cares?

In a country where Sania is bigger than Tennis, Saina is bigger than Badminton & Vijender is bigger than Boxing, it does not come as a surprise that endorsements and not the actual sport are the main profession for so many of them. Well, there is no harm in earning money out of your profession be it sports or anything else, but commercializing your profession to an extent that you forget your profession only??? And mind it, I have not even spoken about Indian cricketers and their much discussed endorsement deals worth millions and billions of rupees Well, that’s a topic worth a book, Indian cricketers and their success in endorsement market is in fact a case study for marketing students across the globe. It’s really funny when you see this dark truth being shown proudly in the form of an ad commercial too :-). On one hand the ad is speaking of a sports gal but still the concept of bedaag goraapan :P, and to add to that she gets money because she gets that endorsement…LOL, des humara hai rangrez babu :)

Aashayein was quite a niraasha

What a month this has been, traveled out of city almost on all weekends – Nrityagram, Tirupati, Goa & then Mumbai. Phew! Have so many things to share about the books which I read recently, about the recent places visited, about some observations, some changes, and some movies but yet again running short for time. Blogging & writing at other places apart from a full time job is really taking up my time away from this personal space

First thing first, one of my favorite blogger (& a friend as well now), Smita had a baby boy on 9th Aug! Yayyy! Congratulations to the new mommy & loads of love to the new born. Smita: We’re eagerly waiting for a pic of your baby soon:-)

Now coming down to the post, you know I watched Aashayein yesterday, in fact I chose to watch it before Antardwand as the former was a Kukunoor movie. But what a disappointment the movie was! "Rahul (John Abraham), a 35-year-old learns he has lung cancer the day after he won huge sum of money in a betting game. Bitter, dazed and irrational in his grief, he decides to abandon his love of life Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal) and come to terms with his illness in isolation. He heads to a hospice where there are others like him and each of them is unique in the way they are living their last days". It was not that that I completely hated the movie, in fact some of the scenes were quite powerful but then those “doots & bhoots” and all the complications around them completely spoilt the poignant plot. I think the writer was trying to weave the central theme with too many non-coherent pieces. Kabhi kuch, toh abhi kuch…the only thing which holds your attention is Anahita Nair who plays the role of Padma and some strong scenes delivered by John. For rest of it, Aashayein was quite a niraasha for me. Wondering what has happened to the brand Kukunoor!

Wordless Wednesday: A Walk in the Rain

A Walk in the Rain..

Thanks to a very old school friend for sending this back to me after so long...this is one of my initial pencil sketches which I had done one fine rainy day on school notebook while sitting in school library by seeing some picture on the opposite wall...friend liked it so much that decided to keep it and mailed a scanned copy of it after all these years...I'm really really touched and so full of nostalgia right now, well rain has always this effect on me :) It's a beautiful rainy day today and so thought of posting this rainy sketch on my blog today.

Inception: A dream extravaganza

If I was excited to see TBL, then I must say that I’m THRILLED to see Inception. What a movie it was – MIND BOGGLING, FLABBERGASTING & EXHILARATING! I think I can keep on adding adjectives but won’t be able to do justice to the visual experience of this movie.

It’s a sci-fi movie but not on robots or aliens; rather it is on a very unusual topic – Dream Architecture. It’s about technology invasion on human minds while they are sleeping; planting and extracting information out of their brains by getting transmitted into their dreams. Sounds weird, isn’t it? Trust me I don’t think I have ever imagined anything of this sort in my life neither I have read or watched anything like this earlier. It's an imagination extravaganza so to say.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a dream-thief and specialist in the art of extracting information from sleeping subjects. He and his friends hook themselves up with wires to the drugged targets and creep into their subconscious mind. He does his job of digging out information skillfully and always perfectly, but lands his toughest challenge when he's hired by a powerful businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe) to plant an idea in a rival's head, instead of stealing one. And thus starts the tale of Cobb and his team entering into Robert Fisher’s (Cillian Murphy) dreams which gets followed by dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams…oh my god, the layering of the dreams and complexity of the plot just leaves you transfixed to the screen. You can’t afford to lose your attention for even a fraction of second in the movie. No more update on the story in the interest of those who are going to watch it but trust me even if you would have read the whole story then too the written content for a movie like this just can not act as a spoiler, for this is a movie which you really need to see (and that too maybe more than once) to understand it clearly. And the ending of the movie is such that it leaves you with a desire to watch it again in order to understand it better, that spinning but only slightly tipping top leaves you wondering if it was a dream or reality in the end.

From my side it’s a must watch, in fact me and husband are already planning to catch up with it again as soon as it comes on DVD. If you were thrilled by Memento & loved The Dark Knight, then go and watch it as Christopher Nolan won’t leave you disappointed with this engaging, gripping and a really different movie.

Tere Bin Laden: Once again, content rules

Writing about movies after a long time as feel like definitely writing about this one :-). Watched ‘Tere Bin Laden’ last weekend and man, what fun! This movie reminded me of an old program – MTV fully faltoo. Ya, it was fully faltoo types, totally bakar yet fun. Tere Bin Laden is a comedy film about Ali Hassan (Ali Zafar), a reporter with some godforsaken TV channel DANKA in Karachi, he is desperate to go to US for better career prospects and a better life and keeps on dreaming of making it big one day. But unfortunately in some comic series of incidents, his visa has been refused six times in seven years. One fine day while doing a coverage for his crazy channel, he comes across Osama Bin Laden look alike and thus starts Ali’s humorous journey of becoming rich and famous using Bin Laden. And as I always say, won’t be a spoiler by revealing more of the story in the interest of those who are yet to watch it :-).

Slapstick, satirical and silly, yet the movie clicks mainly because of its content. It has an entertaining plot and some really funny moments to make you laugh off your seat. Though may not be one of the best comedies from Bollywood, but nevertheless far better than so called comedy movies like “All the Best” or “De Dana Dan”where one has to wonder whether to laugh or cry on those nonsensical acts and absurd dialogues. This movie definitely has some originality when it comes to execution. Not even a single known actor, no songs, no clichés but still the movie manages to hold your attention from start to end. From my side it is definitely a one-time good watch, for you need to see how a movie can sail through nicely based on its content even if no big name is attached to it. Happy to note that content still rules in some cases when it comes to Bollywood.

Going to watch Inception tonight, hope I like it as much as I have heard about it.

Human trafficking in India – Now chor bazaar for kids?

Not that reading bizarre news in newspapers surprises me anymore, in fact I can safely say that when I pick up newspaper in the morning, I do expect to read at least 3-4 such weird news which just leaves you thinking – aisa bhi ho sakta hai kya! But when you read some news piece like this, not only it leaves you amazed at the plight of things around us but it also makes you think about the state of human behavior in current times.

Frankly speaking I had no intention to write any gyaan post today but this news did effect me a lot. Earlier I had read it in newspapers, and last night when I saw some coverages being aired on news channels about kidnapped babies rescued in TN, the visuals impacted me all the more! As per the report – “two more babies were recovered yesterday in TN on the basis of the lead given by the two gangsters who were on police custody. In this connection Jayaprakash, Chennai based middle man and Ramalingam, an accomplice of Dhanalakshmi were arrested by the Krishnagiri police. Police sources said that the accused in the baby kidnapping case, Dhanalakshmi confessed that she had kidnapped a four day old male baby belonging to N. Mumtaj hailing from Tiruppathur at the Tiruppathur GH and a two and half year old boy of S. Sangeetha of Pernambattu Colony on July 23, 2008 and handed over to Girija another accused in the case under the police custody. In turn Girija sold the four day old baby to Puzhuthiraj-Mekala couple in Jainagar in Bangalore for Rs.99, 000 and another baby was sold to Periyasamy-Kamalam couple living near Salem in Krishnagiri for Rs.50, 000”.

Parents interested in selling their own babies out of need is a different topic, maybe their financial penury is so overpowering that they decide to sell their own kids for any money ranging between Rs. 10,000 to 1.5 lacs. Yeah, 10k – that’s the cost of a human life in India! But imagine people STEALING babies and then selling it in the market to the willing ones? Can a human really do this? Human trafficking anyways is growing at a phenomenal rate in India and right from women being used in sex market, to kids being used for child labor or kid-sex market, we have seen and are seeing it all. Human trafficking is actually an organized industry which has been observing growth rate of no less than 20-30 per cent year on year basis. But kidnapping new born babies or so called baby-trafficking has to be really the worst form of trafficking I guess! More than my anger on rackets kidnapping new born babies, I feel disgusted on these affluent people who out of their parental hunger are actually paying money for those stolen innocent babies. There are so many orphanages in India, why not adopt one from there and why resorting to this ugly act of inhumaneness? Is it because they definitely want a new born baby only or they are ashamed of adopting one from orphanage? Frankly speaking I am quite curious to know more about their reasons of buying babies this illegal way but whatever might be the reason, I think nothing can be worse or more shameful than participating in trafficking of innocent new-born infants!

Wordless Wednesday

Oh how I try to walk along with the flow, how I try to hold on to the pace, but life seems to be just slipping underneath my feet...
Pic: Taken during one of my recent trips to Pondicherry

Bus Day - Is it really feasible?

Got this image as a forward yesterday, and the first section of the picture immediately reminded me of the driving stretch between Sarjapur Junction- Agara; a stretch which unfortunately I need to drive by daily :(. How painful that stretch is can only be described by people who commute on it daily.

Most of the days I end up cribbing about traffic woes and the miseries of flyover construction all over Bangalore, though at the same time I also keep on thinking as to what I as an individual can do to avoid adding up to the already existing mess on roads. Trust me all the traffic problem in Bangalore is not only because of municipal issues, I seriously think that and firmly believe that a good part of the chaos is also due to highly undisciplined commuters here. Even if the percentage of such irresponsible drivers will be low as compared to the sincere ones but the problem is when there is not even an extra inch available to divert then even slight digression and other smart acts by few fellow drivers can really lead to larger chaos on the roads. Tired of driving (read crawling) on that route daily, I always think of opting for some public transportation service for my daily commuting needs. One it would save me all the hassle of meandering my ways on that horribly packed road, second at least from my side I’ll be reducing one car which occupies the road space with only one passenger in it! But unfortunately there is no good bus service available directly from my home to office. And taking auto daily is simply out of question – one needs a special training all together to deal with auto walas in Bangalore.

When I saw this picture yesterday and read a tweet about monthly bus day today in Bangalore, I thought let me try to travel by bus today. Last month also we had discussed in office about taking the bus on bus day as our contribution for lesser traffic from our side even if it meant for one day only. I knew this would mean at least extra 30 mins (6 mins to walk till nearest bus stop from my home, 14 mins to reach my office from nearest bus stop again & another 10 minutes to wait for bus to come assuming there will be at least some bus every 10 minutes). And taking out extra 30 mins in morning rush to reach office is a task in itself. But still determined to travel by bus today, I reached the stop dot on time as per the timing suggested by BMTC website. Two auto guys came and very proudly I said NO to them. Waiting, waiting and lo no bus at all for 15 mins. Hmmm, some more waiting and after approx 22 minutes saw a bus coming. Happily tried to enter the same and well the bus was jam packed so much so that not even a single passenger boarded the bus. A minute or two and the bus was just gone! Waiting commuters looked at each other with a wry smile. Waited for another few minutes and then along with others decided to succumb to auto wallas once again. And when we approached those auto guys whom earlier all of us had said no, you should have seen their ironical smile! Yes, once again we were at the mercy of them and knowing well that we have already wasted our time for 25-30 minutes, all of them asked whatever money they wanted to. Depending upon our negotiating powers, kannada speaking skills and urgency to reach office we took the autos at all random and highly inflated rates. Finally reached office quite late than planned and at a quite higher cost than estimated! Despite the intention to contribute my bit towards lesser traffic, the bus day was sort of dampener for me!

Though I am in total favor of initiatives like Bus Day or Carpooling drives in Bangalore, but I wonder do we have enough infrastructures to support such initiatives here? What’s the point in tom-tomming so much about initiatives like bus day when not even enough buses are there to support the needs of the commuters? If facilities are there but still public is not opting for it out of luxury or bit of convenience then I can still understand it, but here not even the basic facilities are in place for people to opt for? Can I as an individual really do anything towards easing out the traffic problems in Bangalore or am I just supposed to have more patience to cope up with it each & every day?

From couch to marathon

Duh the problem with coming to your blog after long is that you don’t know which one topic to stick to. I wanted to write about so many things – those new books which I read recently, the movies which I watched, time spent with mom last month, those weird new soaps being aired on TV etc etc etc. But for this post, let me just stick to one of the most interesting experiences I had in last few weeks and that is Sunfeast World 10k 2010.

Yes, quite happy that I went for it as it was surely an amazing event. Frankly speaking the decision of participating in it this year just happened in a flash. And after filling the form we both realized that we needed some practice to go for such a long run. Though I have been sort of regular with my walking plus swimming regime and I can walk for any normal length very comfortably but running is something which does not come easily to me; at times I get breathless and at times my legs start aching. N definitely has far more stamina than me but then it’s been only recent few months that he has got back to his exercise regime after a long hiatus. Post his initial few running sessions on his own, he decided to join a runner’s club in Bangalore while I decided to stick to my own regular walking routine but with a target to cover longer distance each day. Joining that club and running with lots of similar athletes definitely worked for N and motivated him further to improve his timing and performance every week. And as N says – from couch to Sunfeast 10k marathon- we were there in 3 months. :) It was a fantastic experience to reach the finishing line and we both managed to do it in our respective targeted time. But what was more interesting about the event was the positive and enthusiastic environment of Bangalore that day. From international athletes, to sports stars, to film celebs, to senior citizens, to corporate biggies, to handicapped people, almost everybody was running. More than 30,000 people on road and those not running were there to cheer others up. Oh man, what positivity and what liveliness, got to see a very different shade of Bangalore that day. Had my jaws open to see that the international athlete Titus Mbeishei (winner of men category) from Kenya actually completed 10 kms in 27:54 mins whereas Yimer Wude (winner of women category) from Ethopia did it in 31:58 mins only!!! At times I was happy to see the sporting spirit of celebs like Rahul Bose or Gul Panag who actually ran for 10k and at others I was in total awe of those handicapped people who really were running through their wheel chairs. I have no words to describe my feelings after seeing them, all I can say is that I had goosebumps when I saw their energy and enthusiasm. Hats off to them and kudos to all Bangloreans for their spirit that day. And I think the event management agency did a commendable job this year. Yes, there were some participants who mentioned timing issues in case of timed runs but considering the size and scale of this international event, I think overall Procam International did a great job in conducting it. Otherwise in India, you never know what mess can happen in such large scale events. With my fun experience this year and better confidence on my physical stamina I think I am surely looking forward to participating in this event next year as well.

Reality vs Real Competition

Scene 1: Judge: Beta, aap bade hoke kya banna chahte ho?
Li’ll gal replied cutely – "Item Girl"
Judges: Shabash beta, bahot achcha naache aap.
Background score on which the kid just finished dancing:
Ring Ring Ringa, Ring Ring Ringa, Ring Ring Ringa Ringa Ringa
Khatiye Pe Mein Padi Thi, Aur Gehri Neend Badi Thi
Aage Kya Main Kahu Sakhi Re...
Ek Khatmal Tha Sayana, Mujhpe Tha Uska Nishana
Chunrai Mein Gus Gaya Dheere Dheere, Oooooo Ohhh

Scene 2: A kid hardly of 6-7 years crying badly, when asked the reason he in all tears replied – "main apne mummy papa ka sapna pura nahi kar paya, main select nahi hua. Camera rolled on to the lady standing beside him and well mummy ji was in tears too!

Scene 3: Another young gal in red hot pants gyrating her hips in a way which can give even the sawants, chopras & seths run for their money! And no her expression on the song “zara zara kiss me kiss me, zara zara touch me touch me” was no where cute, least that it could be called would be "raunchy". When asked, who taught her these steps, the gal smilingly replied “mummy”.

These are some of the scenes from those numerous kids’ dance reality shows which were airing on almost all channels last Sunday. Not that I hated all of it, some of the performances were damn cute and some kids were extra ordinarily talented. Such amazing performances at such young age! I also appreciate the maturity of some of the judges who know how to deal with kids.

But then what makes me wonder is the content of these programs along with the presentation and personality of most of the kids. I mean do gals really aspire to be item gals in life now? In 30 minutes, I listened to more than 60 boys saying that they want to be choreographer in life, has choreography really become such a hot profession? And what’s with these mommies and daddies crying along with their kids when they are not shortlisted in just a dance reality show? How are they going to prepare their kids for larger level competitions and real life challenges in life? Haven’t parents become over ambitious and want their kids to achieve everything at that age only? At such tender age if kids feel pressurized by one goddamn dance competition and can’t accept their loss, I have no idea how are they going to deal with actual hundreds and thousands of tests in life ahead! Frankly speaking, an hour in front of the television viewing those programs was to a large extent upsetting!

My wishlist for some more DAYs

Ok, so few days back it was “save water day” & few days later it will be “lake restoration day”. Today it is actually “hot tub day” (time to soak yourself in a steaming hot tub and bust the stress!!!) & on 30th March it is gonna be “doctor’s day” (time to thank the doctors in your lives!!!). Well, earlier also I had wondered and expressed my bewilderment on these millions & zillions of days in a calendar year of just 365 days! Thanks to some authorities, marketers & creators that we have even days for “temporary insanity” (this year it was on 19th Feb) & “teddy-bears” (this year it’s on 9th Sept’10). Well, being a marketer I can’t crib about these weird and incomprehensible number of days as I’ve myself being into situations where I was supposed to come out with some such days just to promote the product / service in a different way! So, as far the concept of these days are concerned, I think whether I like it or hate it, I have sort of done truce with it now. Only wondering why don’t people come out with some more meaningful days which can make our lives bit easier, you know even it is just for a day. And on a vella Sunday evening, here I come with a wish list of my preferable days which I would love to be added in this never ending list of special days. So, here goes my proposed memo from the top 5 in my wishlist, of course if I will have more such free Sundays, I don’t mind adding more to this:
  • Well-behaved auto driver day: Now this is self-explanatory, isn’t it? Imagine you walk out of your home / office and an auto guy is just standing in front of you with a big grin on his face, he bows down and asks you absolutely politely – “madam, aap kaha jana chahengi”? When I say X road, he obeys with another big smile and says – “sure madam, please baithiye”. He starts the auto and starts his meter too, drops you to your destination and charges you exactly as per the meter. If the meter reads Rs. 99, he actually returns Rs. 1 from the 100 rupee note given to him. Ah bliss!!! The imagination itself of even one such day in our life is just so comforting. I’m sure people from metro at least from Bangalore, Delhi & Chennai will vouch for starting one such day.
  • Maid behaving as a maid day: OK, this might be more desired by women but so what, after all a maid is the most important person (ummm, maybe second most important person after the husband) in a woman’s life! Imagine one such day when a maid behaves like a maid and we can ask them to do any number of work without the terror of them leaving our job! Kaash ek, sirf ek din bhi aisa ho paata humare life mein :-(
  • Negative calorie day: Yes, yes by this I very much mean one such day where whatever we eat (of course, chocolates, ice creams and all desserts included) gets converted into negative calries by some miracle of God. Science has advanced so much, but why on earth some such invention has not happened till now! On this negative calorie day, eat all your favorite calorie laden food absolutely guilt free :P
  • Cello tape day: One day where you have the power to just shut-up or mute the LOUD persons in your life by officially pasting a cello tape on his / her mouth. And this has to be applicable to anybody whom you hate – be it your Boss, your MIL, that really LOUD colleague of yours, your very irritating neighbor or this person who is so self obsessed that all he/she knows is to speak about “me & myself”. (Well, be careful about this day though, maybe even you would be on hitlist of someone for putting a cello tape on your mouth, but if this happens my advice will be to take it sportingly as even you are getting a chance to zip so many mouths this day
And last but not the least,
  • Sleep in Office Day: One day (some week day of course) where we are allowed to officially sleep in office for as long as we want. Reach office, switch on your laptop and go to zzzzzzzzzzzz…., Boss comes, wakes you up, asks you to do something and you look at him with sleepy eyes and without listening to him completely go to zzzzzzzzzz again…wow!
So, anything on your wishlist? Feel free to add more it in comment section…

Karthik Calling Karthik

Get-togethers, Karthik Calling Karthik, Holi and lo the weekend disappeared just like that :(. It was surely an action packed weekend with main highlight being the festival of colors. In fact I got to celebrate holi after a looong time. It must have been years now that I had such great fun on any festival like this. Thank god, for a nice day in my life. But coming down to the main topic of the post, I think again it’s quite some time that I’ve posted review of any movie on this blog. Not that I’ve not seen any movies of late, as usual my minimum one movie a weekend quota is still going on :P but the lazy as well as busy me has just not managed to get time to write a post on recently watched movies. But you know I’ve to do a post on Karthik Calling Karthik and this amazing talent known as Farhan Akhtar.

To start with I think Farhan Akhtar is simple the best in Bollywood these days. I was so mesmerized by his multi-faceted performance in Rock-On; then came Luck By Chance where Farhan was again in a lead role. Despite the movie not being a huge commercial hit, personally I had loved it. And now with KCK (Karthik Calling Karthik), I’m in total awe of this actor. I know the movie has its own flaws and so is the storyline which gets bit too filmy at end, but overall if I have to rate this movie then my pointer will surely tilt towards “I like it” side. This movie is about a diffident guy Karthik who is being bullied by everybody around him, be it his landowner, his boss (Ram Kapoor), colleagues or his love of life Shonali (Deepika Padukone) who has not even noticed him despite spending four years in the same office. Then one day Karthik gets a call on his landline number which changes his life forever… No more details about the movie in the interest of those who have not watched it till now. It’s a thriller different from other Bollywood movies though I agree that the ending could have been a better one. After an entertaining first half and the gripping second half, the way in which the movie finally unfolded its main suspense was just too literal and dramatic. But nevertheless it was one of those intriguing movies which manages to keep your attention till end. Deepika Padukone was good, rather I should say better than some of her earlier dumb performances (me didn’t like her in Love Aaj Kal :I ). Writer-director Vijay Lalwani definitely deserves some accolades for trying out something different and Farhan as I said earlier was awesome! I especially liked the way this movie has been shot, the scene where the sun rises while the screen shows back of Karthik & Shonali sitting together on bench emphasizing their start of relation in a beautiful way - neither too loud like a typical movie nor too subtle to be missed out; or the last scene where Karthik falls down and the camera captures his expressions underneath the bed. Even the use of Rubik Cube at different stages to demonstrate the different states of Karthik’s life was interesting. Overall a nice and experimentive movie which gets a thumbs-up from a viewer like me.

Isn't optimism overrated?

Have finally let go of it…had to do it. Evaluated the priorities of my life and finally took this call. At times I’m repenting my decision whereas at times I’m thinking, it was just another opportunity…when we can bear the loss of the most loved ones, what is there in a missed opportunity? Yes, it was a very lucrative one, something which was really-really nice but still I decided to let it go in a hope to fulfill some larger objectives of my life. Those objectives after which I’m running for months now but with no result! Those objectives which have made me miss some equally attractive opportunities in past few months but still I want to run after this one as somewhere I think in the long run this one is more important for life. I’ve no idea if I’m doing right or wrong, no idea if I will get similar kinda opportunities in future but still I’m missing these with a hope that my decisions will prove to be right someday & things will turn out better. “Hope for better” is all I can think of in such a state of mind. Yes I’m apprehensive, anxious, worried, confused, depressed, feeling low & negative tooyou heard it right; I’m feeling negative and not positive towards things right now! I’m not sure how am I supposed to feel optimistic about life when despite all my efforts, things are just not turning the right way for years now. And for a change I don’t wanna follow the bandwagon of “pseudo-optimism”. I want to accept my real feelings and the realities they way they are right now.

The last two weeks of my decision making phase has made me more & more contemplative towards so many things. Be positive! Optimistic raho toh sab theek ho jayega! Don’t regret! Always look on the brighter side of life! Never repent your decisions in life! Whatever happens is for good, so always think positive in life! Indecisiveness and confusions are the traits of feeble minds, strong ones take a decision & move on! Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah….Every other person whom I meet these days speaks no less than any motivational guru and out of all, the crowns for the most used (or shall I say abused) buzzwords definitely go to…OPTIMISIM & DECISION MAKING. I’m also aware that there are some colleagues, relatives, formal friends and professional acquaintances who read my this blog now (thanks to Google, finding this link is quite a simple task) and somehow this realization had actually let me become conscious of topics to be posted on my blogs for past few months. Honestly speaking there are times when I’ve written a post but have not posted thinking, “oh, this post might make me sound like a negative person” or “am I the only one who is so indecisive in life, rest all seem to be so confident & positive.” But somehow today I don’t feel like restricting myself from posting this one even if I’m aware that this will project me as a confused personality who gets depressed at times in life. I don’t think there is anything wrong in that. In fact the recent mantra of “forever optimistic” or “assume a crap to be candy & it will turn into a candy” is something which I don’t buy in. I have had arguments with people on realism vs. optimism and the other side has always won saying, “positive sochne se achcha hota hai” or “go with the flow & life will be fine”…well, does it really? If you’re aware that the flow which you are going along with is going to end in pits, then why not change your course before hand, why optimistically wait for the pit to get converted in a straight road? If you’re on a crossroad where both directions seem to be equally appealing & both are sort of life changing directions for you, then how are you not supposed to be indecisive & confused about it? Positive thinking is fine but it DOES NOT & CAN NOT help you in all situations. I have so many case-in-points where I have seen my thinking getting true but somehow have not been able to voice it loudly as my concerns are generally being taken as unnecessary apprehensions. Call me cynical but I do think (& strongly so) that this term “optimism” & the theory of “prove the world that you’re confident” are just too overrated. I have enough case studies and examples to elaborate the same & I will definitely do so in one of my subsequent posts when I will have more time to write a long one for I do feel that terms like “optimism (prefix: pseudo)”, “confidence (prefix: forced)”, “decision making (prefix: irrational)” are doing more bad than good to many of us.

Long live Indian comic characters

Was off on a trip to different places up north in January & what a deadly weather it was this time! Chilling cold with dense fog leading to almost zero visibility on roads, did not see sunlight for the whole of 18 days during my trip and traveling to different cities was just so painful. Either flights / trains were canceled or were running abnormally late. One such trip was my return to Delhi from Varanasi via train. Though the train was running quite late but since I was traveling by train after a long time, I was sort of excited at the prospect of eating those station foods (esp. hot omelets & boiled eggs) and buying books from the station stalls. There is something very different about train journeys & buying books from railway strand stalls, it somehow makes me nostalgic about my childhood, hostel life, vacations when I used to go home by train and definitely – definitely used to buy books from station hawkers –comics, magazines, novels (of course only those which were affordable in my very limited budget then ;)) …aha loads of them which I used to devour on whole journey. And so when the train stopped at a small station during this trip in the morning, the first thing which my eyes started to search for was a magazine stall. Even with dense fog, it was not difficult to spot a vendor just outside my window and guess what! He was having Billoo! And Pinki! And Chacha Chowdhary too! Oh wow…ultimate delight I must say. After how long, I got to see those comics. I do get to buy Archies & Tintin while book browsing on Airports or during my occasional book shopping in Bangalore but then Billoo, Pinki and that too hindi versions are almost extinct from these big city book stores. If I’m not wrong today’s generation kids must not be even aware of these iconic Indian comic characters. In fact these kids esp. the ones from bigger cities are so Archified or Tintinised that they can’t even relate to the simple existence of a character like Billoo or Pinki. I remember few months back, one of my cousin’s son reading English Billoo and saying, “ yeh kya bakwaas hai,yeh bhi koi comic hai”! When my cousin tried to explain the fun part of it, the kiddoo replied, “Mom, I can’t laugh at these stupid jokes”. Slamming the book on table, that 9 year old kid logged onto his Orkut account and started chatting with his friends.
But for me reading those comics after soooo long was great fun. Read it at a stretch & then after seeing a Billoo in my hand, even pati ji got out of his deep sleep and grabbed the book immediately :-). Even after all these years, I didn’t get bored of even one single page. Yeah, at times did get the feeling of “did we actually read all these silly stuffs” but then honestly speaking I love such silliness till now. Long live Indian comic characters – Billoo Rocks, Pinki Rules & Chacha Chowdhary ka dimag abhi bhi computer se tez chalta hai :P

Life goes on???

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … 365. 365 days i.e., 1 full year without him. Its 5th February today, the fateful date when Kishu left us forever exactly an year back. Whole day today I’ve been trying to maintain my composure at work & divert my mind from thoughts of last year but as the day is drawing to an end, I can’t help myself from remembering that one phone call which came on 5th evening and changed our lives forever. I don’t think I can manage words to express my pain & angst against this day, the shock of last year and the agony since then... And what surprises me is the fact that we all are living without him, for last 27 years not even a single day used to go without talking to him and now its 365 days that I have not heard his voice but still I’m alive…life is going on...happily or unhappily, willingly or unwillingly… something which was unimaginable till last 5th, now is an accepted truth. An acceptance which has been enforced on us very brutally, how brutal it is can only be explained by the lonely eyes of my mom, the insecured eyes of Kaushik or the forever frightened and depressed heart of mine! As I write this post I feel strange, more than sadness, it’s perhaps anger against the unjust…

How selfish we human beings are, we learn to live without a person, without whom not even a single moment was imaginable. Yes, I do feel guilty whenever I have laughed in last one year, I do feel strange whenever I realize that our life is going on without Kishu but then I wonder did I have any other alternative than surviving through this? Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and now one year of his absence from our lives, the absence which can never be filled by anything or anyone ever again…with each moment we miss him more & more & more...for we know that now we will never be able to see him again...

The curious case of Jyoti Basu

Back after a nice weekend trip to Pondicherry. It was yet another impromptu trip which got finalized the same morning & what followed was the usual "dump clothes in car, google the directions, search for some hotel numbers & off you go". Drive was awesome but getting hotel room was awful, seemed as if the whole world had come to Pondicherry for new-year celebration. If this was the state of Pondicherry, wondering how crowded it would have been in Goa. But nevertheless, once we got the room the trip was cool. These unplanned trips have fun of their own :-). Both me & N just hogged on those yummy sea food, delicious French desserts and not to forget all the organic stuffs which you get on Auroville road. It was a good start to the year and hoping twenty-ten to be better year for all of us.
Well 2010 has definitely started with some interesting internet updates. Earlier it was all the fiasco on FPS vs 3 Idiots & now Mr. Jyoti Basu. At around 1:30 pm, I get to read a tweet which said "Jyoti Basu passed away". Shocked enough I started to browse through some news sites but none of them confirmed the news whereas on Twitter, people started flooding your timeline with RIP Jyoti Basu messages. Tweet pe tweet pe tweet and none of them based on any official confirmation; in fact some of them were quite ridiculous too. Have a look on the following snapshot.

We always speak of media irresponsibility and sensationalism but in this case aren't citizens responsible for this rumor? Yes, Mr. Basu is critical and is hospitalized too but the news of his death is not confirmed by any official sources yet. In fact as per the latest update from most of the official sources, he is still alive. But people are just going on & on with their ramblings for last 4 hours so much so that the keyword "Jyoti Basu" is already a trending topic on twitter & top search in Google today. Well, now I'm curiously waiting for any update from news sites to know if it is actually a rumor or twitter was the first platform to break this news...Till then the curious case of Mr. Basu continues…

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