Thursday, 11 December 2008

Memoir of a Month..

This one is tough due to the sheer length of the time period involved. I haven’t been posting here for a month and it was not due to the lack of inspiration that happens to most bloggers once in a while.

As I had told you all, it was exam season. But then, that got over on 26th December. What was I doing after that? Precisely, movie watching for about four days and little bit of packing to complement it. On December 1st, I started my long awaited journey back home. To Kerala, God’s own country.

How true that punchline is! The way greenery ushers in a fresh leash of air on to your heart and soul as Sabari Express crosses Tamil Nadu border and enters Palakkad cannot be described.

But it is not just that.  Humidity is a villain. I have started taking bath thrice and four times! After a couple of days at home, I packed off to the capital city, Thiruvananthapuram for a wedding fiesta. My cousin sister Dhanya got married leaving me as the next prospective bride. It is torture! People nag you without ends about how it is the right time to get married. Nobody gets the point that there is a strong requirement of a suitable state of mind to get married. It is marriage after all. Doing it when you are not ready, at the wrong time, can prove disastrous if not fatal. And I am in every other mood than to get married now! Anyway, Dhanya chechi’s wedding went superfine. As I type this, I am back at home again.

This visit is again very brief. Thiruvanathapuram beckons me with an amazing platter of films as it is the IFFK season. The International Film Festival of Kerala starts on 12th December. I am participating for the first time with high hopes of enjoying some great movies and writing some preparatory reviews (for a future in professional film writing). More on that later.

Today, it rained heavily in Arpookara, the beautiful village where I live. Sharada called me and mentioned that Kochi is no different. Rain in December! That’s the unpredictability and beauty of Kerala. There isn’t even a dash of winter here. It is monsoon all the way.

Did I tell you that Sharada, my classmate from UoH (University of Hyderabad) has accompanied me to Kerala? Of course I did not. She is with me for 20 days and will return to Hyderabad after IFFK. Now, she is in Kochi doing rounds in the Jew Street and capturing Synagogue the Sharada way.

So that’s the post after the hiatus. More fun ones will find its way here as a very interesting festival of films awaits me. If someone in Thiruvananthapuram is reading this, try getting a pass and watch some good movies. The array of Malayalam movies itself is very impressive.

IFFK, here I come.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

No Golmaal for me!

After a very long time, I decided to skip a movie due to really bad opinions from others. I was pressed for time during the week of its release. And after that, each and every soul I met dissuaded me from commiting that crime. 

As of now, I am saving my energy for some solace and friendship (due on 7th and 14th November respectively). Try and understand folks, there are some other larger causes at hand as well - like say exams!  

Monday, 3 November 2008

Multi colour reality bytes....

A shameful confession first; Fashion is the first Madhur Bhandarkar movie that I watched. From what I have heard and read, his movies oozing of reality is no news. But sometimes, stating the obvious is necessary - Fashion is an impressive movie with oodles of colour and reality. 

I thanked God I never aspired to be a model when I watched it (fashion world should also thank, I think :P). I don't really know if that is what Madhur  intended to do - create the impression that fashion world is not for those who are emotional, weak at the heart and with principles; that you should be ready to lose it all if you want to make it big out there. In whichever case, a real bad impression about the industry unavoidably forms in the heart of every viewer. I have a complaint here that it cannot be after all, that bad. So there was a bit of 'non-reality' deep inside all that reality. 

Ahead, I have all praise for the movie. The screenplay of the movie effortlessly flows until the last half an hour of this slightly long-ish movie (2 hour 45 mins). The film is about the lives of three different women in the fashion industry - Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) is a smalltown girl who leaves home yearning to make it big in Mumbai, Shonali Gujral (Kangana Ranaut) is the reigning fashion queen, Janet Sequeira (Mugdha Godse) is a seasoned model who never got entry into that big league. The predictable plot of Meghna realizing her dream and losing quite a lot of other valuable stuff on the way has been done with quite a lot of punch. The parallel plots of Shonali's career biting the dust due to the new entrant and Janet chosing to live a life of compromise by getting married to a gay designer engages the viewer really well too. 

I am surprised by Piggy Chops' acting prowess. Seriously. Stellar performance is all what I can say. Her transition form the tensed smalltown girl who does not know the Don'ts (like not to kiss the cheek when people do the customary cheek rub while greeting) of the industry to the arrogant super model who is blind with success was phenomenally believable. One of the most memorable moments of the film for me is her expression when she woke up nude in an unfamiliar room and looked to her right with totally negative anticipation - who is sleeping next to me? It was drop-dead real. Her success track and downfall forms the livewire of the movie.

I have got bored of seeing Kangana in the crazy robe. She yells too much in all her movies. No matter how well an actor does a role, you get bored if you see the same thing a third or fourth time. She is convincing as a fantastic super model though even with her curls and not-too-lean look. Also, watch out for her wardrobe malfunction scene which supposedly got the movie an A certificate. Ridiculous is all I would say. It is too aesthetically shot and performed for an A certificate. Jai Indian moral police!

I am impressed by Mugdha. A very subdued performace which not once reminded me that its her debut movie. For once, Arbaaz Khan did a great job, and so did others of the huge cast - Arjun Bajwa, Kitu Gidwani, Harsh Chhaya, Sameer Soni.. One doubt remains though. Is it possible for such a huge percentage of people in the fashion industry to be gay? Let me stop that thought right here to avoid the risk of sounding sexist or whatever! But even otherwise, the males in the movie have little to do. It is totally a women's movie. :)

The dialogues of the movie need a special mention. They are truly power packed. Some of the punchlines:

  • Yahaan pe jitna kum sochogi, utna zyaada kamaogi.
  • Success ke bare mein hamesha wahi log lecture kyon dete hai jisne success kabhi experience hi nahi kiya?
  • "Model banne aayi ho?" "Ji nahi, super model."
May be, I did not sound too convincing; but when ou see the movie you will know what amount of power these dialogues hold in those situations. The scene where a drunk Meghna exposes the real colour of Abhijeet Sarin (Khan) to his wife has been written really well too. 

The movie post Meghna's downfall drags a bit though. It is great that the otherwise depressing (due to hard hitting facts) movie ends well, but the rising of the phoenix took a while to happen and tested my patience. A little trimming of the flab there, and the movie can be rated AWESOME doubtlessly. Ya, with a repeated thought : Is the fashion world that bad? 

I guess we don't have a choice but to believe Madhur since most of us are not going to be insiders there. Unless thats happening, you should definitely watch this movie. :)

Friday, 31 October 2008

Is business the noun for being busy?

Last week was crazy for the 1st MA students of Communication here in S N School. Our 2 week radio workshop was being wrapped up and we had loads of assignments to finish. Sound recording was easy to do while editing ate up most of our time. This was the first time I laid my hands on something so exciting; something that I always so wanted to do. Almost like a holiday package, after 4 days and 3 nights of relentless editing and sleepless work, now we are at ease. And I feel so good now! Our faculty is pretty impressed with the work we submitted.

 The month ahead is equally busy as well. We have exams lined up on 17th November. Before that, there is a complete portfolio to be made for the Basic Writing course, a video to be edited for the Video Production course, two term papers to be submitted for two other courses and an extempore film review to be written on an intellectual movie! Sounds exciting especially in the 'contextuality' of severe dearth of time. Ha! That's the language one of our Professors use. He is a genius. :)

Meanwhile, there is no 'meltdown' on my movie watching. So if not anything else, movie reviews will still find their way here. Stay with me for some Fashion updates. ;)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

The Train Tigress

MMTS has been my single most important mode of transport from the time I joined Hyderabad Central University. And such a superb public transport system it is! For various reasons like spaciousness (is there a word like that?), blue-ness, small size, frequency of trips, cost-effectiveness, connectivity, I just love it.

The other day though, I had a horrible experience. I was on my way back to University with three of my friends after a day of city shopping. Assuming 49M buses would be over-crowded, we patiently waited for the train and got into one. That is when we got to know what the real crowd is! 49M is nothing compared to that. This was the first time I was witnessing (and being crushed in) such a gargantuan crowd. I mean, really. There was literally no inch left in the train left when I got in from the Secunderabad station.

And what's even more fascinationg (not really), the Ladies coach had more than  40% men! This is not something unusual in MMTS trains. However, considering the train was over crowded and there were many women who could not get in due to lack of space, this was unpardonable. 

Alas! Nobody including me reacted for a very long time even while we were being literally squashed. And then.. a man tried to invade in through a door brimming with women. And our heroine lost control. She started shouting and yelling in English and Hindi. The train had started moving by then. The man thought it was funny for a woman to react like that. And grinned. Well, it wasn't too funny; especially what she did next. She pounced with her paws on him (who was clinging on to a mere  handle and hanging out loose in the cold air) and tried to loosen his hold. While this was extremely dangerous as the man could have fallen out, nobody who was in that train would ever make that allegation. 

Of course, other gentler ladies discouraged her and saved the man. The tigress let him off on the promise that he would get down at the next station. And guess what! The guy showed the himmat to try to get in again from the next station. And the tigress literally pushed him out. Yes, she succeeded and he could not travel in our compartment. 

Men on the other side of the compartment laughed at him to make fun of the fact that a mere woman could push him out. I hope that I was able to drive home another point to all the men who are reading this. To women too. :)

Saturday, 18 October 2008

India Untouched!

I have a love-hate relationship with my University Mondays. It is effectively the only day on which we have an inflexible afternoon schedule. We have a film screening during that time. Okay, don’t be mistaken by ‘films.’ They are documentary films and not the usual feature films that most of you may be thinking about.

Coming to the point, our class watched the gem of a movie called ‘India Untouched’ on such an afternoon. Conceptualised and created by a talented man called Stalin, it took me into a hitherto undiscovered planet of information on untouchability. And I.. was left astonished.

The film begins with a dedication note to all the people of India who think and say that untouchability does not exist here any more. It goes on to show visuals from a multitude of Indian states including my state to prove this claim wrong.

I felt very strongly about what he showcased in the film; I still do. A Malayali woman who started talking about a land feud she had with her neighbour on the grounds of roadway, ended her byte in tears explaining how the rich and the upper class neighbour also caused her husband die a slow and horrific death. How? By banging him against their house wall multiple times on different occasions. I always knew that untouchability and caste differentiation are still prevalent in those dark states of North. I never knew it was existent so close by, at home.

Another realization I had – caste was one of the reasons used by many animalistic men to exercise their ‘rights’ on poor women who did not have a voice. The film showed two Dalit women who were brutally raped at a very young age and left with nothing but deep scars. When shot, both of them were married and mature ladies, but I wonder if the wound inside would ever heal.

Two little girls explained in amusement how they (lower caste boys and girls) were made to sit on the floor in a corner while the privileged ones used the benches and desks. Additionally, they also had to clean the toilets for others to enjoy a neat and tidy experience! It is extremely pathetic that even schools, the temples of knowledge, are not devoid of caste bias.

There was a Swami (I detest calling him one though, considering the divine undertones of that word) whose interview formed the crux of the film. He was adamant that the upper class represents God’s head and the lower – His feet. For the very same reason, they should perform their respective jobs as prescribed by the caste system (read all dirty jobs for the lower caste, and the divine stuff for the upper class). He went on to say, “the lower castes do not have the right to study or do anything related to acquiring or sharing knowledge. Hinduism and Manusmriti say so. These are rules we cannot live without.” Absolute rubbish. I wonder what he knows about Hinduism which is not a religion, but a way of life; a culture in itself. For once, I felt I am much closer to God than many others who proclaim themselves to be so.

The opening and closing shots were of some innocent children from Uttar Pradesh who were born into and brought up in the filthy pool of casteism. Initially, the director asks some of the upper caste kids to accept water offered by the lower caste ones who also happens to be their classmates. They obviously don’t do that. The film ends where one kid with great hesitation gulps the ‘lower caste water.’ And lo! Nothing happens. No mountains fell, no sky came down.

Just before I say bye this time, a small point to ponder for you. A Malayali girl gave a byte that she does not think that Kerala practises casteism in anyway. She herself says though that she would prefer a person from her own caste when it comes to things like marriage. What does this mean? To you, to me, and to all of us? Is change really the thing that never changes? I don’t think so. India truly remains untouched.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Hello, Good bye!

This was the first time I watched the adaptation of a novel as a movie – barring may be Omkara, which was more inspired by rather than adapted from Othello. I am right now nodding my head in consensus with the millions of Harry Potter fans who said adaptation is after all a bad idea.

Hello, the movie, really is a bad idea! The amateur hands of the director, Atul Agnihotri, are seen swaying throughout the film. The camera angles he has chosen, the way he has made his cast perform, the flow of scenes – everything speaks for substandard directorial capability.

Showcasing the array of the Khan family just for the sake it also wasn’t really a great idea. The choice of the cast, on the whole, is dismal. Sharman Joshi who played the lead male role of Shyam actually suited to play Vroom. Sohail Khan looked way too old for Vroom. Sharad Saxena was wonderful in his Military Uncle suit. However, he would have done a better job being Bakshi, the beast. Each time Gul Panag laughed, I was horrified because she sounded more like a witch than a heroine. Eesha Koppikhar (Yes, that’s how she calls herself now) and Amrita Arora did not disappoint too much though.

Chetan Bhagat! Ignoring all the criticism his works have faced – shallow, lacking substance, being identical, filled with masala factor – let me confess, I like reading his books. One Night @ The Call Centre, I thought, was a very unique piece because of the story being depicted in a night’s time and its unusual narrative. None of this replicated in Chetan’s screenplay of Hello though. The narration lacked the soul which his book originally had. For example, the scene where Radhika along with her team discovers that her husband is betraying her was so plain and jaded that it made nil impression. In the novel, it was one of those moments that made me aghast. The chilling climax episode of the Operation Anti-Bakshi and the Operation Call Boom was so well executed in the book. The movie did not do justice to that. Suresh Menon as the systems guy made such a buffoon of himself with his non-sensical mutterings throwing all attempts of Chetan to infuse humour out of the podium. Also, for a person who hasn’t the read the book, the movie would not make much sense as my friend told me.

It is better that I don’t mention how the music was because I may end up sounding rude. I didn’t hear any music basically. There were just randomly thrown in songs which were shot even more pathetically. I guess you are not supposed to be surprised if you see semi nude men and women for no reason in Hindi film songs.

The look of the call centre was chic though. The art director did a good job. And that’s about it – the positives I mean.

On the whole, watch it only and only if you are a die-hard fan of Chetan Bhagat. I warn though – you might return losing the love for him.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Drona who killed me..

After years together, I watched a movie first day first show. But I am asking myself now, WHY?

Yes, I am talking about Drona, the so-called super hero film which is supposed to push Junior B to a different league altogether. I am afraid that won't happen. I can give you a thousand reasons why.

The concept to start with is not digestible. You may ask me which super-hero film is. But normally, there is an element of fantasy in them that makes us dream and think beyond. Drona has nothing of that sort. To add to the dilemma, it has been scripted poorly. Coherence among scenes is totally missing. One of the first scenes of Abhishek -with the puppy- was so meaningless. Add to it a boring and unnecessary song; a very bad first impression was created. I am still wondering why the story began in a foreign location when it could have very well been set in India. In fact, that would have made the story much more believable. Okay, let us forgive that. But when does Drona reach the vast sanddunes of Rajasthan in India? Goldie Behl and his fellow script writers missed out out on giving various such important details to the audience. The transitions were just not smooth.

Goldies' direction also lacked that golden element which could balance out the script flaws. In fact, he ended up making Abhishek look helpless in most scenes. Priyanka Chopra looked more like the hero to me. This is not forgivable in a super hero movie especially since the director himself calls it one. (The feminist in me is happy though).

Lets talk about the hero of the hero-centric film. I like Abhishek. Really I do. But not in Drona. This is definitely not his cup of tea. I am not talking about his acting capability or anything. But he just lacks the charisma and screen presence to portray such a heavy character. I hate comparing Hrithik and Abhishek because they are so damn different at all levels. But after witnessing the gems of performances in Dhoom 2, Krrish, and Jodhaa Akbar, you won't tolerate AB as a super hero, unless you are an unreasonable fan of him. Casting a friend as the hero just because he is a friend and would give dates readily is not a good idea for both the friends; unless the role suits him.

I hate Priyanka Chopra. But I was able to tolerate her in this movie as hers was one of the very few (read 2) well-etched characters of the movie. Her entry was superb in a yellow sporty car. Her costumes were in sync with the theme as well. But again, the foreign setting and the sporty car didn't go too well with her looks. I told you, coherence was missing.

Jaya Bachchan, like Abhishek ends up looking foolish in a robe that doesn't suit her. She is paying the price for being emotional while agreeing to roles are not for her. Maharani Jayanti Devi required a much more charismatic person to empower the role. Like Rekha. Ha! I wonder if Goldie would ever cast her considering his love for Jaya Aunty.

The second well-etched character is - Riz Raizada. Kay kay Menon was believable in an unbelievaby baddie form. The director's attempt to make a villaneous punchline of "Mogambo khush hua" sorts is successful I should say - with Gustaakhi maaf. But the disgusting makeup of the villain-look-alike creature was falling off and deteriorating as the scene proceeded. Didn't the director see that? I did. So he shoud have.

Also, I am wodering what Goldie Behl told his art director when he conceptualised the movie. The fantasy land Raazpur, where Drona goes to discover where Amritha kumbham is, was so damn colourful and all that. It appealed to my girly aesthetic sense too. But what about the movie? Its mood and tone? They lost it all.

The music by Dhruv Ghanekar is not very enthralling. The only tune that still lingers in my mind is Nanhe Nanhe by Sadhana Sargam. Other than that, the music doesn't help the movie a bit.

On the whole, I was disappointed. With all my love for Abhishek - one should experiment for sure, but with a little bit of foresight. Also, with the right people who are not necesarily friends.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A Stunning Wednesday!

The first time I went to watch the movie A Wednesday, I was late by fifteen minutes. I liked the remaining 100 minutes so much that I watched it another time; this time the whole of it, that too on a Wednesday!

The second time I watched the film, I wasn’t too impressed by the first fifteen minutes. Especially the part where the-remnant-of-an-Channel V-VJ was made to appear as the biggest star of Bollywood only next to the Khans was ridiculous. May be the jocular effect is what the director intended; but it did not suit the film’s overall mood. Five minutes later though, I was in a strong grip of concentration and curiosity. Each shot was so exciting that I kept asking myself “What Next?” The director Neeraj Pandey put together the shots so excitingly that you cannot help being thrilled.

The film is spectacularly well-scripted by Neeraj. The fact that he tells the story through a protagonist without a name shows its uniqueness. The scenes are tightly packed into each other that you don’t have a moment to flutter your eyelashes. They flow effortlessly from one to another with an amazing amount of unpredictability that chills you. The dialogues are so to-the-point that you end up sharpening your auditory sense by listening carefully to not miss a word. When Anupam Kher confidently invited his officers to his place for a drink in the evening just before sending them to a dangerous operation, the whole theatre just gasped.

The performances! Riveting is the best word I can find to describe the performances by two stalwarts of Indian cinema. I can bet - a film that is essentially a telephone conversation between two people would fail miserably had it featured anyone short of Kher and Shah. The dialogue battle in the climax between the two is mesmerising. Goosebumps are all what you feel. The intimacy with which Shah delivers the deepest of insecurities and concerns of the ‘stupid common man,’ is just beyond words. That scene is a perfect balance of emoting and subtlety. Shah’s versatility comes out in the fact that he performs his conversation with the terrorists also with the same amount of believability. I can see the Bharat Award trophy taking a peek-a-boo into Shah’s cupboard, already. Anupam Kher has put up an act that is very subdued, yet powerful, as the Commissioner of Police, Prakash Rathore.

Jimmy Shergill, Aamir Basheer, Deepal Shaw - each and every person in the cast is so appropriate that you see real people in front of you rather than characters. Aamir‘s Sub Inspector, I would say, was a role where the casting was particularly well done.

The movie has been technically quite well made too. The cuts are crisp and the camera work adds a lot to the script in building up the mood of the film. There are no songs stereotypical of a Hindi movie; only fine background music that keeps up the movie’s tempo.

I can go on and on about how much I loved the movie. The point is that millions of other Indians loved it as well. Any Indian with genuine feelings for his/her country couldn’t have helped empathising with Shah’s character. They, like me, are sure to have found their unheard voices reverberating through his.

A success of this dimension was probably unexpected for a small movie with hardly any *starry* actors. That is exactly the reason why that accomplishment becomes all the more spectacular. It is the success story of a movie that relied solely on its script and the talent of its human resources – no marketing gimmicks, no formulas, no star acts, nothing. This gives much hope in all the right directions for the Indian film industry that provides bread and butter to many. More importantly, it stands as a testament to the much elevated sensibility of the Indian audience.

Neeraj and all my fellow Indians, it is a perfect ten for you – for making the movie and for making it a success.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Indianism of our times..

It has been quite some days since I have been contemplating telling this to you. There are two parts to it. One is the disturbing side; and the other, the pleasant one. Let me warn you, the kissa is long. J

I was travelling with my friends one day from Kothaguda to Gachibowli in a share auto. (To give you some trivia, Kothaguda is the place near my yesteryears office Google Omega, and Gachibowli, of course, is the place where Hyderabad Central University stands in glory today. Also, share auto is a phenomenon that is very prevalent in this part of the city and one that I was uninitiated about earlier, considering I lived 2 years of my initial Hyderabad life in the so called ‘hep’ Begumpet.)

Sigh. Coming back from the details of the route and the share auto, the auto driver was an illiterate Telugu man who earned his and the family’s (probably) living and did it with pride and respect. How I got to know the respect aspect, I will tell you in a bit.

He was jet flashing through the straight and flawless road with his new ‘Piaggio’ (I guess). He suddenly stopped with great effort, just an inch behind a biker who also had stopped his vehicle just then, almost in the flash of a second. The most natural reaction of a motorist followed then from our auto driver. He put his right hand (and head) out and asked in a raised voice “What the hell is wrong with you?” (in Hindi of course).

Our Dhoom hero, the man on the bike, then put up a spectacular show of frustration, depression (to himself) and disgust (to all of us). He started screaming at the top of his voice. He talked about how glorious Dilli is and what damage he can do to the poor auto driver if he does the same thing in Dilli. He asked in rage if the driver was blind and could not see that the signal was red. Then, *thadaaa* thapad. A lot of other gaalis followed which my better-with-Hindi friends told me are filthy enough not to be worthy of explanation. It involved revered terms like mother, sister, and the like, used in a very inappropriate context. Here is the funniest thing he said – “You stupid Rajnikanth fans” generalising all South Indians; followed with another thapad and challenging “Dikha tu kya kar sakta hai, saale Hyderabadi.”

The poor man at the receiving end obviously wasn’t as well-built and he was clearly intimidated by the biker’s educated look. The way he looked helplessly just saying, “Sir, give respect and take respect,” made me realize how lack of education made him feel inferior most completely. Also, how lack of education wasn’t reason enough not to possess some basic manners.

The feud went on for about ten minutes more in the middle of the road as the Dilliwala desperately wanted to fight harder involving some Khiladi stunts and kept probing the autowala for reaction. Thankfully, our driver was more civilised.

At the end of it, I just uttered “Arre bekaar mein kyon ladna hai yaar” more helplessly than the driver himself. I doubt if that biker even heard that. He was in no mood to listen to anything below a certain level of energy.

The driver carried on humiliated with a weird silence in the air that we all felt. That let me think about it. It wasn’t really as funny as I thought it was – not the Rajnikanth remark, not anything. How the *hell* could he talk like that? Behave like that? The issues that bothered me were:

# He was educated – He flaunted his identity card of God-knows-which MNC. He carried a laptop backpack. All were clear symbols of his formal education. What purpose did his education serve if he hasn’t learned the basic etiquette to follow even while talking with anger? Forget it. What about a hint of compassion? Normalcy?

# He was young – Damn, he was a member of the modern generation that is supposed to take India ahead in its race for the 2020 goal. He, like you and me, has huge responsibility towards this country which has given him education and employment. The most primary aspect of it is to make this place better for living – for rich and poor alike.

#He was frustrated – This is understandable. After probably a long day’s work where his boss squeezed his talent out in the form of coding, it is really understandable. But is there any justification for taking it out in the public, that too, on a poor man who rides to earn a living unlike him who might be doing it to make a style statement?

#He was a victim of partition – The final and the most disturbing aspect - he bore a heavy burden of the South-North divide which is more like an incurable disease than a social phenomenon. He generalised South Indians (sorry for the redundancy, but needs to be mentioned again) as Rajnikanth fans and said that all South Indians could only watch stupid movies and clap unlike the North Indians who have a much more enlightened sense for art and culture. Balls!

I hate to emphasize which part of India I come from because I love being an Indian rather than a Punjabi, Malayali, Mumbaikar, Bengali etc (dejavu of Chak De?). But let me say it this time without guilt. He doesn’t know about Kerala, my homeland, where cinema is made and experienced in its highest sensibility. It stands proud along with Bengali cinema in the realm of meaningful cinema which probably he is not even aware about. And For His Information, Kerala happens to be in ‘South India.’ Nor is West Bengal a part of ‘North India.’

When the citizens of India still see themselves as South Indians or North Indians or neither, what is the point in saying there is something called ‘India’ or that we have independence? It hurts to know that another Indian as I see him looks at me or another Indian from Hyderabad as a South Indian. Not an Indian.

The only point he had to be upset that was valid - there was a sudden red signal that caused him halt his machine in that fashion – almost evaporated in the scorching heat of the mess he created. His fury was of a very unreasonable degree and it balanced out the only error our driver had made – not observing enough.

And I sympathise with myself more than the biker or the driver - for not having reacted. I cannot forgive myself to this day for not having asked on the driver’s behalf, one single question – ‘Dilli se itne khush ho to jake Dilli mein hi kyon nahi rehte?’

May be, that would have been wrong. What is the difference between him and me then? But I should have reacted for sure. Let me confess that I also know that anything short of a comment that I just told you would not have been of any good or effect to a monster like him.

Whatever. It left a deep scar on my positivist feel about my nation and its generations to come. The good thing is, it was healed that weekend.

This might really sound silly to most of you. The emotional person that I am, it had a soothing effect on me, however.

I went for the movie ‘Rock On’ with a friend to Talkie Town in Miyapur, very near Kothaguda again. We reached quite early for the movie and waited for a while before we entered the podium. And when we did, what a sight it was! My focus was mostly on the screen, and up there was an unfamiliar visual that seemed like an album. Theatres generally show ads just before the movie and I was a bit confused. And then, I heard my friend uttering, ‘Gosh, what the hell is happening?’ I shifted my focus and saw the entire audience getting up in groups and clusters realising what was happening on the screen. By then, the DTS Sound system filled my ears with the eternal music – Jana Gana Mana.

I closed my eyes and opened again, now to see the screen that bore various shots of Indian soldiers in chilling areas clad in unbelievably uncomfortable clothing looking at the Indian flag with reverence. I also saw simultaneously a number of members of my generation standing with the very same reverence in the theatre.

I grabbed my friend’s hand who was still fidgeting in disbelief that something of this kind could happen in our times. And then, it was ‘Attention.’ When the one and a half minute album rendering ended, I couldn’t see anything at all. My eyes had welled up and I was still smiling.

I really do not know if I have been able to convey to you what I felt. I really have not experienced something so positive about my nation in recent times. Considering this was soon after the horrible experience with the biker, I was exhilarated.

Enough said. The only point I was trying to bring home is – it is not so bad after all. I mean there are hiccups; rather, there are great diseases. But they aren’t incurable altogether. The examples I told you about are on the lowest level when we think about the real problems and the real hope. Nevertheless, it tells us a lot about the balance on which our country strives.

I am happy that India does have a streak of shine all the time even if we are not *shining* as BJP thought. J

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Some of those huge changes...

Saying bye bye to work at Google is not easy.. If you know what I mean.. Ah, for those of you who don't know me too well, I was with Google for close to 27 months.. Its a long time, right?

The fact that I joined Google to resign in one year's time and all that stands. But then, its Google. One year there and you would definitely want to stay for more time. And I did. At the end of two years though, I had to make a choice. Studies - it is now or never. The problems:

# It was increasing becoming difficult to even think that it would be possible to let go my lifestyle of a working girl. The longer that life, the harder it gets to break off.

# The gap was worrying me as I thought other kids (I was clearly feeling old) who join my course will be much better off than me considering it is not an MBA that I wanted to do where work experience would count.

# I was getting older and if I continued working, my parents would have won a solid reason to get me married which I am not ready for.

For all these reasons, I did finally call it quits. And here I am- in the Hyderabad Central University. I am doing my Masters in Communication with specialisation in Print and New Media.

No need to say this - my life has changed drastically. I changed my residence from Jeevan Jyothi Institute in Begumpet (the heart of Hyderabad) to Ladies Hostel 5 in our campus, Gachibowli. If you still don't get what I meant, I feel like a frog that was out in the world and suddenly has been put into a well.

Gachibowli is a place at one end of the city and accessibility to any of the hep places that I was used to, are far far away. It is a different thing that I never used to visit all those places on a daily basis anyway. But the feeling that they are all there anyime I want to go was a huge relief. It isn't there now.

Foodhabits. :) I have become a good girl who eats only two meals a day. In the morning, it is the typical South Indian breakfast which I binge on pretty heavily. For lunch, it is modest rice and sambar with one subzi. Amma has helped me cope with it with the generous helpings of fish pickle she has sent.

It is the same lunch menu for dinner as well. For the same reason, I keep aloof from it. Rice for more than once a day is torture for me. Not just because I will grow larger but because I am not used to it and more importantly, I don't like it.

Then what? A better (read more active) lifestyle. Google cabs, A/C rooms, elevators - are all things of the past. It is public transport (outside the university) and a bicycle (inside the university) for me now. And I am loving it! Yes yes, I have been tanned like anything and all that. But I don't care much. I am definitely more mobile now. And riding bicycle on a daily basis is lovely. I never did that even in my childhood.

I have started loving the library! Can you believe that? For books and Internet, both. I generally go in the evenings around 7.30 and return at 11 or so to the hostel. Cool eh? I love those cylce rides back to the hostel. Cool air all through my hair and me floating down the roads. Sigh!!!

Achan's money. :) I forgot that. I am back to those good old days when I would make that sorry face and tell Achan, "Please Please." He he, not really. There is no pleading anymore. He thinks I am mature enough to handle money, so he doesn't ask too many questions. I love it. One of the very few advantages of growing old. And for all you people who thought I am this fiercely independent girl who wouldn't risk her self-esteem by asking dad money especially after working for two years, you are mistaken! I take pride in doing so and being my daddy's girl. I truly am. :P

I have pretty much settled down into this new life. I can see two eventful years ahead of me which would shape me into what I will be for the rest of my life. So here are three cheers to all the huge changes in my life! I AM LOVING IT!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Starting yet again..

Better late than never, right? So here I am, after a hiatus of approximately 2 years!! There has been a lotta changes meanwhile.. Hmm I think I will let you guys know that in the due course.. Is someone reading? I am watching.. :)