Friday, December 29, 2006

Heads You Win, Tails I Lose

Story 1:

The husband reflects on his married life - a life he and his wife have spent for the past 25 years of. A satisfying fulfilling life, with no complaints and no regrets. The wife is dead today. The husband tries to stitch his life again.

In the event he comes to know that his wife might not have ever loved him, maybe not even in the most sacred of the times, not even in the most passionate of the moments. That she had possibly loved another man all through.

Without being unfaithful.

Story 2:

The woman gets a call, early in the morning. She gets ready, quickly. Takes a cab and on the way reflects on the life she has had. A marriage with the person she loved. A marriage of priceless moments, unbelievable memories which could not sustain itself over time.

Where did it go wrong ? Why has she not quit it ? Even after years and years of contemplation, she could not attribute any reason for this. Something was amiss. Something. Something that she could not put her fingers on.

And all through those 25 years she has had only one support - her friend. Her best friend. And now, her friend is on his death-bed. And he wants to see her. For the last time.

She reaches the hospital. Goes inside to find the wife and is ushered in. The man looks at her and beckons her close to him. She sits down near him, hand-in-hand. The man says: "What would not I have given for this day?" And smiles. The same twinkling, coquettish smile. She smiles back. The man continues: "I just wanted you to know. You are the only one I loved. Ever."

Deep inside the woman, something happens. She comes out of the room, acknowledges the wife with a nod, leaves the hospital and on that very day files for divorce.

Which is more tragic ? Living with someone thinking that you are the one in your partner's life and coming to know later that you never mattered the way you thought or not living with one to whom you mattered more than you thought you did ?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Just A FEW Things

What would I like to change if I were to live my life again - from scratch. What I would want spans across geographies, across chronologies and across every damn conceivable barrier that you and I can think of.

So here goes the list:

1. For starters, I would want to be born in Germany. And if that is not granted, then Barcelona. Ok. Any European country would do.

2. I would want to be a girl. A girl with a sexy figure, brilliant looks and zero intelligence. I would screw around with all and when required would find a suitable billionaire ( NO millionaires please, ONLY billionaires) and settle down. And when I get sufficiently bored with that billionaire, I would again look for greener pastures.

3. In the event I remain a boy, then I would want to look nothing short of George Clooney. (IF I have that, all the women would anyway swoon over me!)

4. I would like to score a century at Perth or Lords against the bowling of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee, Chandrashekhar and Imran Khan. The partner at the non-striking end would of course be either Brian Charles or Mohammed Azharuddin.

5. I would write a book - one which would start like Love Story, then move on to be like The House Of Blue Mangoes, as lyrical as The God Of Small Things and end like The Fountainhead.

6. I would want to write a line in that book which would be as profound as "
Teachers get emotional when the topic is close to their heart.. we ought to know where we should stop 'getting' from them and let them explore their fantasy land. By the time they get back we would have reflected upon what we got " (Source: or as heart-wrenching like the last line of Rage Of Angels or Oliver's Story.

7. The film that I would direct would, of course, win a national award and would cast Sidney Poitier and Konkona Sen in a lead role supported by Catherine Hepburn and Naseeruddin Shah. The other pair would be Om Puri and Revathy. The music would obviously be by RD and lyrics by Gulzar or Majrooh. It will be a songless film but there would be a title track and a background score.

8. I would want a house at Nariman Point or overlooking the bay area at Rio De Janiero. As a fallback, Swiss Alps would also be fine.

9. I would like to indulge myself in a 'casual' discussion with either Socrates or Plato about existentialism and general philosophy on a warm sunny evening in front of the Stone Henge.

10. I would still want my friends with me - the same ones. Can't get over them still. Too heady and exciting a time I have spent with them.

Now, don't accuse me of asking for too many things and don't ask for justification. ONLY 10 things is what I am asking for and that too I have given options as well. I always was a reasonable man - I still am.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Being ONE

This would be one hell of an interesting post from the perspective of a reader. Too spicy and full of speculation - exactly the perfect ingredient of a scandalous potboiler.

Many a time I have felt like sleeping with many a woman. Actually, when I think back and try to count, it gives me a sort of a mixed feeling of guilt and being morally and ethically corrupt even to harbour that kind of a thought. But that does not stop my primal instincts from manifesting itself in my fertile mind (lets for the time being stick to the mind only !)

We all have our opportunities in flirtations and flings to indulge in certain excitable acts designed to give us the highest form of ecstasy. And I have had mine. The opportunities. ONLY opportunities. Its in those times that my own reaction has perplexed me. At those critical times, when the next logical step (whatever that means, in this context) would have led into something, all of my senses except the biological one has always answered in a resounding negative. Somehow, even if I am sexually aroused, I almost invariably felt that something was amiss. Maybe, thats what they call as magic. From this perspective I have never been able to understand the sanctity of a one-night stand. One school of thought is that when you are in the act of having sex, you are not actually having sex but are in effect making love.

If you are an engineer you would ask whats the difference. If however, you are an engineer but not meant to be one - then the difference exists, and in a completely surreal plane. The best partnerships happen in the subconscious. When what you are thinking is understood and reciprocated by the other in a flash. And those experiences are the ones which make it all worthwhile - just to wait, for that moment to come up. Once you have had a taste of water, you will never want sand. Once you know, the heights of ecstasy you can reach by unision of both mind and body, it is difficult to settle for anything less.

One-night stands are brilliant. From a purely male chauvinsitic point of view - ideal. No obligation, nice slam-bang-thank-you-ma'am concept. We get to eat the cake and have it too. No issues whatsoever. But at the end of the day, its just a refined version of a 2nd party masturbation - without any heart, without content, without passion.

The choice is there to be made. Provided, you know which is water and which is sand. And more importantly, whether you know how each tastes.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Do Bigha Zameen 2

Continuation of previous post:

Should agricultural land be used for commercial purposes ?

My answer is NO. I know, there is an alternate opinion on this which says that setting up of a manufacturing plant would result in creation of direct employment which would result in a greater GDP growth resulting finally in more purchasing power at the hand of the deprived.

All of the above are true except the last bit.

The problem is - those who are affected are seldom benefited. Unskilled labour accounts for a very small percentage of the total employment generated by a manufacturing plant and unfortunately almost all agriculturist (aha ! got a 'better-sounding' name for a farmer) in our country fall in that category.

It is also true that a developing country will have a general shift from an agriculture based economy to services based economy but the price that India will have to pay for that will have serious repercussions for India. Since, the choice has been made, we must be prepared to have a more fragmented disparate society. A society, which will be a lot less coherent than what it is now, a lot more fragile and seeped in mistrust and a strange concoction of anarchy and transient peace.

Using agricultural land would most likely render many homeless, jobless. Where would these people land up ? Most likely, they would migrate to the more populous, opportunity-filled cities causing severe strain on the existing infrastructure of the already saturating cities of India. What would they turn to for sustenance ? While it would be too pessimistic to assume that most of them would turn to anti-social means, it would not be too much of a travesty to assume that a fair percentage would. What are the implications of that ? In the context of the basic mistrust that would result from the initial land acquisition fracas and the economic disparity - it would just compound into a more unsafe India.

What in the final analysis it might mount to, is that, the very aspirations of the society that we are trying to fulfil - economic liberation, peace and prosperity for the general mass, by all such means would be destroyed by the process of 'getting there'.

Does it mean that we stop industrialization ? Definitely not. But our growth story has to be inclusive. If we think of the rural India as a burden and something that can be disposed off with - we might be in for a very very rude awakening.

Amartya Sen, in spite of being a socialist, somehow made sense when he highlighted this a lot many years earlier as a possible problem which we will have to face.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Do Bigha Zameen

By definition, the left is never right. The Chief Minister of West Bengal in his mission to industrialize the state (which they themselves had de-industrialized way back in the 70s and 80s)had committed to the TATAs of handing over 997 acres of land for their new manufacturing plant to be set-up for the 1 lakh car.Everything fine so far. The whole of Bengal rejoiced at this new opportunity which would create a minimum of 12000 jobs in the next year.

So, whats the hitch ?

The problem started when the Government started acquiring land. There are primarily two issues out here.

1. Is land acquisition from farmers against their opposition correct ?

2. Should agricultural land be used for other commercial purposes ?

Two incredibly critical issues - on which opinions would be starkly divided, battlelines drawn between the urban and the rural India, between famers which account for about a sizeable chunk of our population and a new aggressive Indian mindset which believes that compromise and discussion only complicate matters.

Lets look at the first issue in this post and I will take up the second one in the following post.

Consider a hypothetical situation - a purely hypothetical, mind you. You have a home and you are staying there for a minimum of twenty years. You do not have a fixed monthly income. You earn your daily bread and on some days you dont earn anything at all. On others you earn about 50 bucks on an average. You are uneducated and have no skill. You only know how to raise paddy and rice. The beauty of the situation is compounded by the fact that you are also responsible for the life of three other people. So effectively you have to spend a day within 20 bucks.

Now, I come to you and tell you that I need your home. And in return, I PROMISE to give you 10000 bucks which you have to collect from my secretary at office.

What would you do ?

Had I been in your place, I would have GENTLY said "Fuck Off". Mind you, gently - at first. Then if you pester me and come back a fortnight later with 12 strong, well-built, nice muscular men, I would feel a little intimidated but still resist. On some more 'persistence' I would finally come to the negotiating table and give you my consent. The next day, I would go to your office and ask for the PROMISED sum only to be informed by your secretary that after 'his service charge' the payment would be about 2500 bucks.

So what has been done ?

You got my house, my land, the ONLY thing I had, and you don't even give me peanuts for it and if I resist you brand me of ignoring the implicaions of greater societal good and you of all, finally wax eloquence of social responsibility !

How do you expect ME to think of societal benefits when none would accrue to ME when apparently everyone is thinking of mine while in REALITY none is ? It is MY land, my existence, my roots are there - you want societal benefit, please go ahead and do so at your own place.

This is what rural India is saying out - loud and clear.

Are we listening ? More importantly, are we able to appreciate their problem ?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cry Freedom

This post would be a sort of a tribute to the two editorials I came across in two newspapers. One in Times Of India (yes, surprisingly!!) and the other in Hindustan Times.

One about a woman who has been on a hunger strike for six years fighting for respect, dignity and a life worthy of a citizen of India and another concerning the judiciary system of India and how it is unfortuantely playing into the hands of mass appeasement of the publich thirst for vengeance.

In this post I will talk about the former.

Irom Sharmilla is a woman from Manipur - a state torn apart by continuous conflict which has led the Indian government to impose the ASPA, which basically gives the Army a freehand to monitor every aspect of life at Manipur.

While almost invariably in cases of human rights the armyman is at the receiving end of the pseudo humanist, who ridiculously voice their support for the same set of people who aid, abett terrorism both directly and indirectly - in this specific instance it can be said and not without reason that they have erred. Had it been a case of an ambush of a group of people for security reasons or even for that matter carrying out an operation against seemingly innocent people,however irrational it may sound, it would still be acceptable.

What is not acceptable is the violation of women, sexual exploitation, and total disregard for the very citizens and the structure of the society which they are sent to uphold.

I, for one, believe that the degree of civility or the moral advancement of a society is indicated by the position of women in that society. Whether the right of a woman is perceived as equal to that of a man, whether a woman is looked upon as an object of sexual merriment or just another citizen and whether she is not been discriminated against just because she is a woman - all of these are vital parameters for any civilized nation to judge itself. In spite of India's resurgence in areas of trade and commerce and a continuously expanding high-disposable-income Indian middle class, as a country we are probably taking two steps back for every forward step taken.

Irom Sharmilla has fought for the last six years. If she lives for the next six, she is going to die anyways. But she has shown what it takes to take on an establishment which enjoys a hallowed position in our minds and 543 parlamentarians without resorting to any kind of violence and only with the faith, that some day, we might, just might uphold the basic right of civilization - freedom.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Icing On The Cake

That day I was very happy.

That is something, you know. I mean, I have never felt happy like this before, where I can view my happiness objectively. It is funny that when you detach your feelings from yourself how wonderful life suddenly appears to be.

I called up my friend a few days back. His marriage is round the corner. And as with every relation, it was expected or apprehended that things would not remain the same post marriage between us, considering the fact that the entire time would be invested towards a satisfying, fulfilling married life. So, when we were talking about a possible post-marital meeting I was quite stunned with the ease with which it was accepted that we would not be in touch.

And it made me real happy.

But there was an icing on the cake to this. The fact that I would not in most likelihood be able to attend the marriage was absolutely aggreable to my friend.

And it made me real happy again.

What's in a marriage day anyways? The sun rises on the same direction and sets in the same. And there are 24 hours in that day. Basically, it is just another day. Just that, on that day something changes. And it is supposed to be the most important day in one's life.

After I kept the phone down, I just wondered for a moment. Just for a moment, mind you.

Somehow, in this incredulously happy moment I was able to appreciate others more. Those who were moronic enough to stand by promises made in golden evenings during lovely walks and nonsensical chit-chats in school bunked afternoons, those who cared not to forget and those who care still to want me to share a "homogenity of a lovely experience".

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Looking For Howard Roark

I have no problem with religion as long as it does not encroach upon the right to not believe and yet be accepted as perfectly normal and not branded as a communist (or whatever). But there is one question which has intrigued me time and again.

Why is it that we believe in God?

I have a few theories as to why. These theories, as in most cases, with almost all of the beliefs that I have on every conceivable thing on earth is borne out of books I have read, articles I have come across and most importantly the fruition of many ‘adda’s that I have had with friends.

Theory 1: Lack of Confidence

It goes like this. We are all basically mentally very weak. The fact, that we are incapable of handling defeat or adversity on our own, the very unwillingness to admit that our success or failure may be due to our incapacities or due to a combination of various factors which by simple probabilistic calculation can occur and is no exception leads us to assume that there exists someone out there who is controlling everything.

And I fail to understand it.

Many a time I have heard people say “Its destiny”. I, for one, would like to believe that man makes his own destiny. To me it’s a simple case; there are ‘n’ number of persons in this world. And they are vying for ‘x’ number of things where x is always way smaller than ‘n’. So isn’t it obvious that for majority of the times a lot many people will be deprived of things they want?

Now, the question is who or what decides which amongst those would be the chosen ones. Ability. And a variety of other factors which are completely unconnected to one another. (Now, if 'that' is called GOD then I have no problem) If we were to fail in our endeavours, we would tend to turn a blind eye on ourselves and try to find a scapegoat, an entity whom we can blame.

We do not have the confidence in our abilities or in our rational minds to comprehend and more importantly accept that we have not succeeded. That GOD has nothing to do with it. That it just did not happen. Like many other things which have not and like many others which will not.

Theory 2: Lack of Guts

It takes a lot of courage to believe that I am responsible for my actions. And whatever is bequeathed upon me is due to my own actions or inactions. I depend on no one, certainly not GOD and if I were to succeed the plaudits should entirely be mine and if I were to fail the reasons should only be attributed to me. Or an acceptance that on that day and time someone else was a shade better than me.

I am yet to see such a person. Apparently, communists are atheists. If that is the case, I would like to meet one. Communists by definition are neither atheists nor socialists, they are opportunists.

But would it not be wonderful to know that there exists someone like that?

Theory 3: Upbringing

This has possibly the most prolific effect on us. From the very day we are in our senses we are taught to pray, taught to believe that for anything that we intend to do it is essential to ask for HIS blessings and that whatever happens HE is there.

The mind at that young an age does not have the power to reason and for many intricate and sensitive incidents of lost toys, injured egos, hurt feelings we turn towards HIM. That is the begining. And from then on, it moves in only one direction. Before any major examination, before proposing to a girl, before the first job interview, after the dream job - everywhere HE is supposed to answer.

Shall we ever realize that if we play to our full potential and always believe that the intrinsic ability of man is far more powerful than any single entity, we can create something which might, just might be better than the best HE is supposed to have created?

Shall we ever find a Howard Roark?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Scenario 1

Boy says to Girl: I have to talk to you about something important. Can we meet tomorrow at 6 pm at the Cafe Coffee Day?


The two interesting aspects out here. The specificity and the planning or the degree of detail with which this statement is made is the hallmark of any Boy.


The Boy is madly in love with the Girl, or so he believes and is desperate to tell the Girl. Most importantly, and incredibly strangely he is acutely aware that the answer is most likely going to be a confused but confirmed “No”. In such cases, it can surely be statistically proven that the answer would be somewhere in the lines of “Whaaaaaaaat? HOW can you even THINK about it? You are a very good friend of mine. But I have never thought of you as someone else !!”

Post Meeting:

Boy comes back with a bewildered face which gives you the impression that the entire responsibility of the well-being of the world is on his broad shoulders. He tries to find out what the statement actually means and what is it that made him just a “good friend” and not something else. And he keeps on thinking about this for the next “x” number of years.

Scenario 2

Girl says to Boy: It has been a long time since we have talked about something serious.

Boy responds: Ahh. But we talk all the time (meaning you talk all the time and I just listen!! You want more of that ?)

Girl counters: Yeah, we JUST talk all the time. But we need to sit down and discuss.

Boy: (By this time, in cold perspiration at the impending doom) Ok, can we talk over the phone? I mean, if its just for talking, we can chat over the phone, can’t we?(blabbering now incoherently) I mean the telephone was discovered because people could talk.

Girl: (Exasperated) Don’t you think we should meet up?

Boy: Ok. When and where?

Girl: Any place. I am ok with anything.

Boy: Ok. 6 pm at CCD then tomorrow.

Girl: 6 pm is a little too early and tomorrow is impossible. My maternal aunt’s paternal uncle is coming over tomorrow! And CCD!! You do have a horrible choice!! How about day after at the Barista?

Boy: (Wondering why Barista is a better choice than CCD!) Yeah, fine, and at what time?

Girl: Ohh...say about 6-30 pm?

Boy: (Now completely at a loss!) Ok. See you there.


How the Girl finally had her way. Right from the start. To the end. And the complete utter absence of the word ‘planning’.


Serious issue. Damn serious issue. Girl is in love with the Boy. Boy, as is evident, fully understands this and is not too keen to meet. Again, the sense of the answer would be the same but the way it is presented would be a little different. “I don’t love you. I am sorry but there is nothing I can do.” To the point, insensitive, no candy-floss KJo type of melodrama and no “I don’t want to lose you as a friend” dialogue.

Post Meeting:

Girl comes back, eyes all swollen. A family meet is called and mom and Dad get to know about the whole affair. Within a day, all of Girl’s friends get to know about this and almost all of them in their next meeting with the Boy gives him that “You-mean-insensitive-senseless-heartless-creature” looks.

A Month Later:

Boy meets Girl.
Arm-in-arm with another Boy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Week Of Broken Hearts

It hurts, you know, it hurts like hell !

And there is nothing you can do about it. In spite of being rational, being practical and all that, finally emotion wins. A battle we know we will lose even if we have the armoury to win against it.

This post will be a queer one. I can already sense it.

I have stopped looking for answers to all my questions - most of which are rhetorical in nature and yet, life comes to me like a punctuation and compels me to revisit those questions from time to time. And again, I have no answers. Actually, the answer is that I have no answer.

The last week has been strange. Pretty eventful. Well, for once, I was not at the centre of all the events. Though, it did not affect me any less. Somehow, there is always a tug at the chords of the heart for people who matter. Even when you are as objective as one can get. Or would cynical be the right word ?

Three affairs. All over. A grinding heart-wrenching full-stop. And to three wonderful people I have known. And I am helpless, that in such times I cannot do anything but listen. Only listen. I have no other option. It is ironical that the words dry up when you need them the most. Everybody betrays at precisely the right moment. Even the words. Its frustrating. The point is whatever I say, would not make sense, would not help. Yet, I can identify with them no end and I can only tell them things that I have learnt when faced with such things knowing fully well that people only learn it one way. Experience.

How I wish, for once, that I could be a little more empathetic, how I wish I knew what to say, how I wish I could feel, how I wish I could tell them "Yeah, I know, it hurts - like hell !"

Friday, September 08, 2006

Just and Fair

Sometimes I think she was right. Actually as my friend would correct me always, at most times I think she was right. We were actually not meant to be. Its funny how certain phrases stick. Through thick and thin. How they unconsciously create an impact.

It has happened to me throughout my life and never ceases to amaze me and the people around me. Strange, but I somehow seem to remember the most idiotic things - said and unsaid. The problem with the unsaid things are that you can never be sure(to which my friend again would reply in his typical acerbic tone and sleepy eyes "Its so profound!!") And the problem with the said things are that, well - they are said.

It is always possible to recognize happiness when you see it or hear it. The person changes. I had seen that before on one occassion but this was quite revolutionary. Considering the fact, that she never knew HOW to be happy. And I am pretty sure, I can never make her THAT happy - even if I lived a million years. Which is what makes me realize that she was right.

Its again funny, when you look back at things which you felt at some time to be incredibly important, you wonder WHAT was in it that was so great. And you simply laugh at your own predicament, embarrassed by your own stupid actions. Or inactions.

Somehow, miraculously I have this habit of going for the wrong things. If I were an
investment banker, I can just shudder at the thought of the state of the company. Anyways, I am sure that we would have made a wonderful couple. Now, this "we" and the other "we" are different - of course !!

When we have this conversations nowadays, about things - in general, about crap and all, I sort of understand the price of inaction.What was I thinking? The answer is I was not thinking - which has somewhat become a trend with me nowadays.

Opportunity lost. Regrets? Ah, sometimes (This time STRICTLY sometimes!)

A moonlit night on a sandy beach, a boat in the distant sea is too attractive a thought to let go. Life is absolutely fair and just. You always realize the best things only when they are past you.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Love Stories

There is something about women. Something which I cannot describe. Something intangible. Something inherently sexy.

So, when a girl, tilts her head at five degrees, gives me that wonderful smile, looks at me straight on with some sort of innocence (every girl has innocent eyes - even the bitchiest of them !) then it just drills through my heart. And I can feel the adrenaline, the chemistry, the incredible possibilities of a fulfilling romance just round the corner - all because the girl just stopped and said 'hi' ! (sometimes they don't even stop !) I lose all of my senses, my logical, pragmatic, rational thinking which I am so proud of just seem like utter nonsense.

According to some, I am an "intellectual Bengali" (since Judgment At Nurmeberg is my favourite movie!) synonymous with being a compulsive thinker. And since this case already has 'enough' material to think about, I start thinking. The eternal question that bothers me always is "WHY did she say 'hi' to ME?"

The possibilities are of course, invariably many. But after a ten to fifteen minutes of nerve-wracking, brainstorming session to find out a plausible answer, I come to the conclusion - that it was 'just' a 'hi'. Yet I seem to fall in love with her.

And if this brief encounter is followed up the very next day by a substantial "How are you doing?" then all hell breaks loose. The next thing that I start thinking about is whether 'we' are mentally compatible, whether she has that laidback sexuality about her, whether we can spend a nice, quiet evening at the Marine Drive !! (Yeah, I AM an intellectual Bengali !!)

If by a miracle, there occurs a further epilogue to that conversation, then I just hit the roof. Marriage, is the next logical step. I try to visualize about all the beautiful things that would be part of 'our' world, the movies we would watch together, the dinners we would have, the places that we would enjoy - all in a flash. Sometimes I just stand in awe of my ability to visualize and imagine creatively ! (Amit is right, I should have been in Marketing - though they don't really 'think' in Marketing but I am ready to sacrifice my honourable epithet of an intellectual Bengali)

This is not a one-off event. It has happened time-and-again. And continues to happen. And it is wonderful. It is so much fun, so exciting to build castles of non-existent love stories, of splendid unspent evenings by the seaside, of sharing sublime moments of bliss through silent conversations and of all the untold stories of hurt and passion which will never find expression.

This is what life is all about, isn't it ?

Thats it

Just one word.


Thats it !

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Cinderella Man

No, this is not about James Braddock. But this is about what he stood for. To the americans of 1930 James Braddock stood for hope in a rubble of depression, unemployment and hopelessness. This is about that same spirit - of hope. And the torchbearer of that hope is none other than Karan Johar !

Apprently, Indian cinema is now being recognized by the rest of this world. We have successfully beaten the demons of ignorance of the rest of the world and they have woken up from their deep slumber only to find that their worst nightmare has come true ! There is a school of thought which argues, and quite forcefully too, that our movies are 'different' - and besides there is absolutely no need for us to 'ape' the Hollywood style of movie-making and that our song-dance routine is the most marvellous piece of discovery in the history of cinema. Indeed, Charles Chaplin and Sergei Eigenstein would have been proud! And this giant stride of the Indian cinema is being accentuated by none other than Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar. Obviously not Madhur Bhandarkar, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ram Gopal Varma, Shimit Amin, Vidhu Vinod Chopra (Who are they !)

Today I watched Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK) - Karan's latest offering.

It is a wonderful movie. It is the best movie ever to grace the Indian screen. I am incredibly happy that such a 'bold' subject has been taken up by Karan Johar and even more happy that the Indian cinegoers are fortunate to have amongst them in this generation a director of his ability. Let us get back to KANK.

KANK is a rivetting, short, crisp drama of only three hours and thirty-five minutes ! It is about a love that broke all relationships unlike Johar's previous offering where it was only about loving your parents. Basically, after you have had enough of your parents, you can now think of loving your lovers !

Such is the power of love in the movie that the people who are in 'love' are actually apologetic about it throughout the movie and have to do penance for their unholy act of falling in love. The first half of the movie is about realizing that the lovers are in love. The second half of the movie is about again realizing that they are in love ! (Yeah, it was not a typo, it is actually true!) And Karan in all his interviews tries to emphasize the point that "this time he has not taken a safe subject" reinforced by the critics, some of whom are the stooges of Yashraj and the Johars that this is a movie that has over-the-top performances by all the cast and is one of the best to be offered to the Indian public in a long time.

All of the cast sucks - big time. Except Amitabh and Abhishek. Specially Amitabh. He actually makes the most sensible and pragmatic statement in the entire movie on his deathbed. The subject of the movie is amazingly novel. Never before in the history of cinema has the subject of marital 'infidelity' been addressed. In fact, Karan Johar and Taran Adarsh ought to be lauded for finding a completely new dimension to humanity for exploring extra-marital love for the first time ! Awesome Karan ! Just mind-blowing !

A story which could have been told in an hour and a half, which could have charted a new territory in Indian cinema, which could have been short and sweet and actually bold, upfront and revolutionary to the pseudo-liberal, self-sacrificial Indian mindset was not told even in three and a half damned hours. Instead, unfortunately, the James Braddock of Indian cinema chose to churn out a half-baked, commercial, unimpressive story made with 60 crores which neither had love nor relationships.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Know Best !

Thats typically an attitude of an MBA-in-the-making. At least, thats what 'they' say. And they are right ? I would just LOVE to believe that. In fact, one of my friends out here, in course of a pretty animated discussion had once remarked "Always assume that others are stupid". (Disclaimer: I have really quoted him out of context here)

Almost all MBAs I have come across in my life so far have one thing in common. They are cocky, too bloody damn confident, almost invariably bask in self-glorification, mostly superficial and almost all believe that "they know best" !

So, am I any different ?

No. Obviously I know best. I always knew best. Except.

1. That I still don't know what I want to do in life.

2. That I still don't know whether what I believe in is worth or not.

3. That I am absolutely certain that there is no reason for a company to pay me for anything that I will do for them.

4. That I thought, friends are there, they will be there.

5. That I felt that the world is really a just and fair place.

6. That hard work do get rewarded and phony people are someday punished.

7. That after an MBA, you do know best !

Apart from these illusions, I do really know best.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Proportionate Response

Israel has bombed Lebanon for the 17th consecutive day. And no wonder the Marxists, Leftists and a few other regional parties are already raising a hue and cry against this punitive action. Their logic is "it is a disproportionate response to the abduction of one Israeli soldier" !

Does this reflect a sense of callousness on the importance of a life of a soldier on India's part and does this by any way explain why India is almost always at the receiving end of any unjust offensive action and that time and again the perpetrators go scott-free and come back to haunt us ? I would think so.

Consider this. Israel's retaliation can be looked upon in two ways. I think, it sends out a very strong message. It says "We dare you. You take one of us, we will take 100 of yours". That is how a country should respond when its soldiers are being abducted. There is no question of being defensive. And the question of proportionality does not arise. For Israel, the life of one of its citizens is important, valuable and their actions have only reinforced that. Unlike us, Indians, callous in our attitude, defensive in our demeanour, afraid to stand up and hit back when we are being hit, willing to go by the 'books' - be politically correct.

For what ?

A country does not have friends, it only has interests. That's the way the game is played. That's the way India should look. So instead of criticizing Israel and clamouring for international sanctions against them, let us unapologetically applaud that nation - a nation so small it cannot find itself on the map, for standing up for their countrymen.

The other point of international debate is that the bombs are being targeted at civilians. Now, what would you do if you knew that those civilians whom all are so concerned about shelter rockets and terrorists ? Is there a difference between people who harbour terrorists and those who actually do it ? Are they any less of a culprit ? If the civilians of a country choose to stealthily adopt such practices, then there should not be any furore when their homes are bombed.

But, as in any conflict there will always be a substantial number of innocent people who would be affected. This is no different. That is the futility of war.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Kind Of Woman

Suddenly,like a bolt from blue, today I remembered my grandmother. The incredible lady that she was, I was just thinking whether I would ever find a woman like that. And more importantly, if I were to find such a lady, would I like to have her in my life. Paradoxically, the answer is no.

There are two reasons for it.

My grandmother was someone who would be happy with whatever you gave her, in fact, even if you had nothing to give she would not complain. Even for a moment. I find that absolutely revolting and inexplicable.She found that natural. I still remember her working relentlessly from five in the morning (err...those were different days when I woke up early !) and after a tiring day full of household chores would promise to play Ludo with us - three of her grandchildren. We would wait expectantly for the exciting post-lunch Ludo sessions. And not once, not once were we disappointed. Imagine, around twenty-five odd people to be looked after and not a grimace on her face. Happy and contended.

Now, how do I make a woman of that kind happy ? If I were to get someone of that nature in my life, I would think that it would be a great injustice to her. Frankly, I have nothing to offer to her that can contribute to her happiness. It implies that irrespective of my existence she would be happy ? Its too preposterous to believe that I may be the cause of that happiness. These people are seldom swayed by anything material. They are the columns on which rests the entire structure of a family. Now that I am old enough to understand some of the nuances of what 'expectation' is, what constitutes 'happiness', what we have to do to have a fulfiling life, I have this irresistible urge to ask her what made her happy. I am not quite sure that I would have had a concrete answer.

Some questions bother me. Always. And just the moment I think I figured out the answer, there would be a twist in the offing which would make all previous calculations redundant (sounds hopelessly like one of those Fin problems!) The perennial question that bothers me still is "What kind of woman would I want to live with"

The proverbial answer is "I don't know" (I think my dear friend SRK would be happy to see that finally an MBA has the guts to say this !) I am too easily bored, too easily irritated, too frivolous to be anchored, too attracted by other women(I discovered pretty late that I actually fall in love with every woman that I interact with!). Its impossible for me to love anyone over a long period of time. I am just not cut out that way. I find very little to speak about anything - am too lazy. Sometimes I don't even find a reason. And when someone keeps on talking when I am not in the mood, I am turned off. Just switched off. Instantly. All of this - they are the recipe for a perfectly cacophonous co-existence.

But, the only thing that keeps me ticking is an intellectually challenging conversation. If by a stroke of luck, I happen to meet someone who has that elusive streak, who would not really cave in - on the face of it, give it back to me as and when required and yet respond with passion, then it would be exhilarating. And I doubt, in fact, I am sure, that someone of my grandmother's nature would ever offer me that.

Somehow, I sort of understand what Souvik meant when he said "I am scared....of myself" !

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ode to Sarcasm

Somehow or other whenever I speak, nowadays, I really have to try hard in talking straight. In a world, where subtliity is rare, causticism and acrebicism is not appreciated, even in humour, this is an issue. There are a very select few who would always talk back to me in the same language that I speak and its incredibly gratifying to have them around. Had it not been for them, I think I would have had no 'market' at all !

Had it not been for Prof. S.M. Fakih's almost irresistible sense of humour with a lace of sarcasm and instant wit, had it not been for Prof. V. Sivaraman's unique way of putting across things by always using a phrase "it is a good idea to..." instead of "you should do this..." in conjunction with his putting the left hand to his chin, had it not been for Prof. Sandeep Gokhale's astounding ability to make a perfectly mundane activity seem like the most interesting session ever conducted on the face of earth, had it not been Cyrus' (yeah, the MTV guy and NOT the Sahukar one) whacky completely non-sensical comments - life would not have been half as interesting as it appears to be.

Of all the people that I have heard in my life, in terms of ability to invoke a smile even in the most hopeless of times, I think these would, any day be at the very top. I am particularly impressed by the way they express their indignation when something presposterous is thrown at them. All of them - ALL seem to revel in such a situation. And if you happen to give it back to them, the marginal enjoyment of that far exceeds any other 'interesting' conversation that you have had with anyone else.

Contrary to the general trend, these people 'look' pretty ordinary but the moment they start to speak, you realize that you are into something special. To me, life is not about making money, neither it is about being a top-notch business executive and most definitely not about 'networking' ; its about these electrifying moments which are addictive and which are memorable in their very own way.

(By the way, is there a message in there, that all the profs mentioned above are related to Finance ? And 'they' told me that the Marketing guys are the most interesting !)

Coming back to my love for un-straight comments ; this has I think grown as time has passed by and assumed significant proportions after my entry into SPJIMR. As with all other things in life, there is a reason to this as well. It over here that the zzombies are awake the moment a pun is round the corner, that SRK's tomfoolery is enjoyable, the comfortably dumbs are uncomfortable keeping quiet, a monk thinks about owning a Ferrari and dreams about a Renault actually !

I remember the day about a month back when I had this debate with my roommate about the uniqueness of each individual in our batch and I had no inkling of an idea that I was spot on. I really do not believe in destiny, but I have no substitute for that word. How else would I explain this chance encounter with people who sort of understand which language you are speaking and more importantly respond in the same, seldom taking offence for the liberties I take with them?

I am sure, beyond a shadow of doubt, that had it not been for the way WE talk, it would have been impossible for us to be friends. It is at these times, I curse the schedules of a B-school (though for me it hardly makes a difference !) which leaves us with very little time to get to know each other better.

The very thought of having a completely sarcastic day is giving me goosebumps and knowing the others, it would not be a bad guess to say that they are feeling the same !

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is there anything I can do ?

When people think I am inflexible, when in effect, what I am doing is standing up for what I believe in ?

When people think that I am snobbish when actually that is one attribute which I loathe ?

When people think that I am opinionated while I am only being passionate about my perspective ?

When people think that I lack commitment because I pursue my passions first and care two hoots about everything else ?

When people think that I am rude and insensitive while I am only just being downright honest and truthful ?

When people feel that I don't know how to appreciate them when in reality I am not being deceptive enough ?

When people don't understand implicit signals that I do not entertain certain things and yet they continue repeating the same ?

When people get irritated by my argumentative trait, when what I am doing only, is being rational ?

When people don't understand that it pains like hell and yet I cannot express it ?

When people are not even aware how important they are in my life and do not even bother to keep in touch ?

When I give a gift and people think that I 'measure' them, while, for me, its not a gift and just a thing I wanted to share ?

Is there anything I can do to change the way I am perceived ? Possibly yes. Should I do it ?

Most definitely NO. A resounding NO.

Why ? Because what if the friends that I have had so far in life are because of the very reasons why people do not approve of me ? Then, how does it make sense to trade off those specific attributes for creating a 'business network' ?

It does not make sense to me. So, here is raising a toast to unabashed arrogance and unapologetic individualism ! May I be in the 'not-so-good' books of many and be in the 'best' of a select few ! After all, I was never a "Maruti 800 man" ! Somehow Mercedes makes so much sense !

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interpretation of Requests

Over the past one year because of the collection of movies I have or because of my association with SP's movie club I have come across a variety of people (or is it the other way round) who have come to me requesting for a movie. On the basis of the lines that they choose to request I would often take a shot at guessing their level of intellectual maturity (ok..ok..just maturity is fine...but this 'sounded' better !); and more often than not I was myself surprised to see that I was not way off the mark.

Here are some of those lines and my interpretation of those. Obviously, no disrespect meant. (hell, why am I putting the disclaimer ? Bulls to that...I dont care what you think)

1. Mere ko ek Achcha sa movie de
This is exactly the kind of question which triggers off an insane urge to hold the guy by the scruff and holler loudly on his ears that what I might perceive as a good movie might not be good in his opinion. I have really given it a long hard thought as to what constitutes a "achcha" movie in their opinion and invariably, almost always I have got it miserably wrong ! I mean, statistically also, by law of averages, I should have hit the bull's eye at least once. But no ! I guess I am giving the dabbawallahs of Mumbai a very stiff competition with 99.9% (in)accuracy !

Generally, those who come with this kind of a request have very little idea about what a movie is. Mind you, they are also equally likely to appreciate a real good cinema if they happen to come across one. These guys are generally open to movies of all kinds - they would not shut out any option before watching it. But out of their own volition they would not explore.

2. Do u have a 'light' movie ?
Even without batting an eyelid, I respond in the negative. Frankly, I don't understand what they want. Or maybe I fail to understand whether they are asking for a Govinda or a Chaplin? (Due apologies to Charles for having uttered both at the same breath) Because if I ask them whether Chaplin is the answer to their requirement - the answer is "Nahin yaar, it is too kiddish!" For once I am grateful that Charles Chaplin is not alive; had he been alive he would have died again ! If I offer a Govinda (which I seldom can) then the next question is an inevitable "Govinda ka kaun sa ?" As if Govinda has acted in some of the most coveted and landmark movies of India and he is choosing one amongst them !

The "lightweights" seriously lack the ability to appreciate subtlety or an underlying theme. I guess "metaphor" is a word which they are not very familiar with and which they do not really appreciate. It can also be safely assumed with some degree of accuracy that they have been born and bred in a healthy atmosphere of Bollywood masala believing that movies are the best excuse to having a popcorn and an ice-cream filled evening !

3. Give me an action movie
I absolutely love them, adore them. Apart from the fact, that civility is yet to cross their path
(how else can the gross admiration for violence be explained?), these people are completely uncomplicated, very focussed in what they want in life, and would not go for any other kind of movie which does not set their adrenaline pumping ! The "Bashers" are never swayed and even an Eigenstein or a Spielberg is incapable of taking them away from their first love !

4. U have a comedy ?
People who have never known what adversity in life is, and who would not have made it to SP had they tried to crack it this time ! They are typically the kind who would want to shut off all that is 'bad, ugly, dirty' in this world and would live in a beautiful illusionary world where there is only happiness, where the sun is always shining, where you can run around trees when you are in love (and have the extras too!), where the dictionary does not have any word called "sorrow" or any of its synonyms. They are enjoyable company but I really cannot see any way how they can add value to my life. Nopes, I am not for them and neither are they for me !

5. I dont want any serious stuff, I don't want to think, just give me a movie, man !
Its only unfortunate that these people are born in the homo-sapien community ! Thoughts or the ability to think and rationalize is the only difference between humans and other animals. If we forego our ability to think, then we might as well be animals. Unfortunately, I have nothing to offer to them. I hope, rather I believe that the ability to always think makes me more humane than anything else and if I am to stop doing that I should only cease to exist !

Sometimes, I think that I am too antiquated, born at the wrong time or at the wrong place. With each passing day, the belief only turns to conviction.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sense Out Of Nonsense

Today is a perfect day.

Actually a kind of day which has all the ingredients of a brilliant pot-boiler. A bit of fun and frolic, a little of utter laziness and finally a touch of tragedy. Everything apart
from a dose of romance - which would have made the picture complete or sullied ! (Depending on which side you are on)

The day started at practically the stroke of twelve. I woke up with a dream, a bad one, (seldom do i have good, sweet, sexy dreams); then went for a wonderful lunch - something which i did not have for a month and a half now; came back and tried my hand at Spanish - a language I am learning (i dont know why, just like many other things) and by evening it seemed to be a day where nothing, nothing can go wrong.

But, as they say, life has other plans. (Or should it be 'death' has other plans ?)

The turning point, the pivotal point in this movie that I am acting in, came at this specific juncture when I was just getting geared up for a dinner party. One nice phone call giving me the news that my friend was no more. For a moment, I did not even realize what it meant. There are two moments which I will never forget in my lifetime even if I am afflicted with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's and unfortunately they are both associated with death. This is the second one.

I pride myself on being able to 'take' in anything with minimum amount of fuss and even less amount of surprise - but I have to admit, today was not my day. To quote one of my friend "someone,somewhere had rolled a dice". And what a shot ! I guess its moments like these which prompt you to ask those eternal, profound "wh" questions.

As I was straddling with a blurred confusion, I had managed to call an amazingly wide spectrum of people to check the veracity of the news, thinking that there might be a mistake, there might still be hope. Ironically, this is possibly the only time in life when we want to be proved wrong and would be happy to be. But Mr. Murphy plays the good old sportsman here as well - he does not oblige.

By this time, around an hour and half has passed, and I am well into the dinner party and am feeling stranger by the minute. I am completely out of the party and trying to piece together all of what happened in the past two hours. In hindsight, as I write this, I understand that the 'dice' was played once before as well - before the start of the game - when this dinner was fixed ! And now I am back to my room. The day is over.

I appreciate dark humour very much, but am still not getting the sense out of this whole episode. Is it because of the 60 ml of vodka which I had after ages ?

I would love to believe so. But am not so sure !

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Bunch Of Memories

I don't want you to say sorry because I know you are

I don't want you to think of me because you anyway wouldn't

I don't want you to thank me because whatever I did, I did for my selfish reasons

I don't want you to love me because I know that you are not capable enough

I don't want you to talk to me since we would not know where to start

I don't want you to forgive me because I do not ask for it - whatever I did, I did it to hurt you

I don't want you to think that I will be there, because I wouldn't

I don't want you to believe that I was good, I wasn't - what you saw was just a facade

I don't want you to think that I am honest - honestly, I am a hypocrite

I don't want you to believe half the things I said, they were just said and nothing more

I don't want you to share your dreams with me - I cannot build them anyway

All I have is one slice of the sky, a chunk of the rasping wind, a whiff of icy water, a gush of fire and a bunch of memories !! And thats enough...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How would it be ?

How would it be to write a book which no one would want to read?

How would it be to make a movie which only one would appreciate or understand?

How would it be to love somebody without her loving you back?

How would it be to sing a tuneless song which speaks by itself and no one responds?

How would it be if all of the above questions are answered in the affirmative ?!!

How would it be to have a dagger plunged at your heart and twisted slowly?

How would it be to rape whom you love the most and yet be loved?

How would it be to have the winds lash at your face - slapping you for all you have done?

How would it be to stand and wait and wait and wait till u get tired?

How would it be to fight for someone only to be betrayed at the end?

How would it be to lose everything you have yet feel secure?

As the song goes "The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind...."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

MBA or Post Operative Diagnosis Course ?

Its funny how we are in awe of something TILL the point we experience it.

I was never good in acads - its just that some things clicked at the right moments. Precisely, courtesy one of these moments I landed up @ SPJIMR
(Now, if u ask me what is that, then i can conclusively prove two things - one, you are not an MBA aspirant and two, there is still hope for you !)

I had this great idea about this MBA thing - ahhh, here is one course which is going to give me a 'holistic' education 'integrating' the different aspects of the business world intertwining the 'strategic' options of each 'vertical' as per their 'competitive advantages'. (Phew !! Yippeee !! I HAVE finally become an MBA - THIS is what I paid the 3.5 lacs for)

Now, there is no doubt about the utility of the course structure in a B-school. Thats all fine. But if you are to ask me "What have you learnt in the one year?" - Boy, I would be stumped and way off the crease !

What did I LEARN ??

Now, wait, where did this come from ? What learning ? I would have done a PhD if I wanted to LEARN ! Lets talk about salaries - thats what we are here for.

The fact is you don't learn in a B-school. It is a course which informs you about all the business cases which have been mostly successful, to let you be aware of the possible 'moments of truth' that they went through, so that in the unlikely event of you being exactly in the same position in a company where you will handle an important 'portfolio' you will be able to take the same decision without a moment's consideration. ( How about realism - thats what yyou are thinking, right ?)

Obviously, they don't teach you about failures (some do, but then there always are exceptions) Why ? Ahh, ridiculous it may sound but actually overheard that its all about being successful in life !! As if keeping my eyes shut will make the sun go away !

Coming back to the point - on the basis of what we learn we are incapable of taking and backing a decision, we cannot predict with any degree of certainty about anything, we are NOT encouraged to think differently (did I hear Marketing ?), we dress up exactly in the same way for the 'customers' to 'take' us on the D-Day and most importantly speak and talk exactly in the same language !

So why shouldn't I call this course - this 2 year crappy thing a Post Operative Diagnosis Course ? Its like I am trying to rectify a problem 105 years (see, thats what they taught me in Marketing - to use unusual numbers - apparently it lends credibility! ) after it HAS already being solved.

So, what's the point ?

The point is that all said & done MBA is a good crash course for which you pay a helluva lot to earn a helluva lot - there are no LEARNINGS only EARNINGS !

p.s: Someday, I would want to find out why a company gives us the salary which we seem to deserve !! That would be my corporate 'project'.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What is interesting about you ?

This is a question which has bothered me time and again. Really, when some absolutely moronic professor, or a MBA smart-ass in HR from some high-sounding big-shot organization asks me this stupid question - i sometimes feel i should reply back saying "I am the most boring person I have ever seen, there's nothing interesting about me!"

I try to live under no illusions, and for the last 3 years to my utter dismay I can claim with some degree of confidence that I know myself pretty well-enough and from that I have not been able to pin-point what is interesting about me. In fact, the truth is that there is nothing ! But there are many things that interests

I get interested when someone stands up for something against great opposition and takes the fight to the other side

I get a kick when I see that there still are people who believe in supporting what's right even though it may be commercially unviable

It interests me immensely when an European nation observes an anti-pollution day and not one single citizen takes out a car

I love it when really insignificant people stick it up to the powers that be

It gives me goosebumps to think that a movie can spark of a revolution

Barcelona and its people - isn't it marvellous to know that there still exists such places in the world who would not 'sell' what they love ?

My heart skips a beat everytime I see a Ganguly cover-drive or a Lara bashing or a rearguard Steven

I feel weak in the knees when someone whom I had not attached much importance to considers my opinion to be important and makes me feel special

I guess thats about it. Now, would you call this an interesting person ? I would not - on the contrary I would surely think that this is exactly a kind of person who would transform a perfectly well-lit, bright, brilliant day to a disaster, one who would philosphize, patronize at each and every conceivable opportunity - a perfect hypocrite knowing fully well that he does not have the guts to carry out what he believes in !

The opinion is for you to form and may it be closer to the truth !

Monday, May 29, 2006

Mediocrity Thrives...

Long time back - about half a decade back to be precise, I had an argument with a dear friend of mine about movies. The premise of the contention was that whether acceptance of Govinda-movies is indicative of the psychological maturity and quality of consciousness of a society. My opinion at that time was to let people make the choice as to what they want to watch. And that it is completely justified for actors like Govinda to make such films.

Today, I hold an opinion which is completely contradictory to that. And I have my friend to thank for that.

The point is our sense of judgement is so very relative and is so grossly dependent on the choices we explore that more often than not we resort to hailing what is mediocre as 'good' and what is 'good' as 'excellent'.

This phenomena unfortunately is imbibed, ingrained into every aspect of our life. Each one of us - we thrive on mediocrity, we revel in it; little realizing that our best is nowhere near the parameters set out by the rest of the world - specially when it comes to cinema.

Of course, many think that we have arrived, that our movies have a unique proposition, that we are being 'discovered' by the world (reminds me of Columbus!) while some question the basis of classifying cinema itself ! (God help Eigenstein and Chaplin - wherever they are)

All of these mindlessly ridiculous logic stems from the belief that cinema is entertainment(which it is) and entertainment is frivolous. Many a time I have heard
"I don't want to think while I am watching a movie" or
"Kya movie dikha rahe ho yaar !" (when told about movies like One Flew..../Operation Daybreak/Scarface/Scarecrow...) or
"Why should cinema be always serious?"

While I am prepared to concede or rather unequivocally accept that most definitely the answer to the last question is a firm "No", the first two express a total ignorance about cinema and a disturbing thought that educated, fertile, apparently open minds wish to remain oblivious to reality or shall we say 'harsh reality'. Indeed 'feel good' has got to us !

So, whats the way out ? How do you make people watch good stuff ?

Is it possible at all ?

The answer is a 'Very Difficult Yes'. It requires a lot of patience and continuous exposure to quality stuff - which again is very difficult to define;(apparently everybody has his/her own definition of 'quality').

If we consider the top hundred movies of all times and blindly go about watching them, then chances are that in 80% of the cases, we would be exposed to really good quality movies - rich in terms of content as well as quality craftsmanship.

But the jump from the typical masala that Mumbai (Bollywood aka Follywood or vice-versa) churns out day-in and day-out to these symbolic yet refreshingly novel movies made by Europeans and Americans is so humongous that the initial experiences create a sense of revolt deep within and this is the greatest deterrent to pursuing the venture.

That remains for the first five to seven movies of such kind. Then its pure inertia and perfect bliss. But for this to happen the basic criteria is the knowledge or realization that what we are watching now leaves a lot to be desired in terms of quality and an equal desire to change it - which unfortunately is lacking in most.

So, finally, since everything depends on personal perception and choice, all of the words above are useless !

Monday, May 22, 2006

Its Classified !

How many times have we heard this ? How many times have we been exposed to materials that is screened by others only to be told finally that 'this' is inflammatory, that 'that' is a sensitive issue, how many times we have we been the cynosure of abject humiliation ?

Yet, we do nothing.

Because the moment one of 'us' suddenly find a voice to speak, when out of the blue the thought strikes us to strike back - to question the very essence of authoritarianism, we are included as part of 'that' elite. By the allure of responsibility to safeguard the interests of society, by letting open the valve for a split second to let go off the steam !

And we never will do anything.

Because we are incapable of standing up.
Because its not a comfort zone.
Because it does not concern 'me'.
Because it is someone else's problem.
Because we do not even understand that we are humiliated.
Because we love to ridicule or question when someone does so simply because it hits us on the face that we lack character, that we lack strength, that we lack the most basic form of humanity - that of consciousness.

Rang De Basanti tries (and unlike as many think not for the first time) to address specifically this concern. Ankush did that before. So did Arjun. So did Main Azad Hoon. And Hum Paanch. (Did I hear anyone say that RDB is the first film not to have 'one' central hero ?) All of them succeeded - but only as a movie; not as an instrument of social consciousness. It never will be.

Because we end up doing exactly the same things that we loathe when we are on the other side. Its innanely, uncannily, perplexingly funny how we forget what we were, what we are and what we will be. Such is the power of power.

In a conversation I overheard one of my exasperated friends ask this critical question to another "Who gives you the right to decide what is interesting to me?" - to an explanation put forward by the latter about "how divulging the information would lead to mayhem and end the suspense!".

For a second I should have asked them to swap places !