Thursday, December 18, 2008

Of Messages and Happiness

Happy Birthday

Yeah, I am so happy that my parents screwed 9 months 9 days before this day as a result of which I have been exposed to the wonderful drudgeries of the gift called 'life' and every year I am expected to spend money treating friends just to be reminded that I have slowly but surely taken one more step towards the grave.

Congratulations ! (On marriage)

This is a classical case where people actually think that it is the best day of their lives. Because the society formally accepts you and your partner and gives their consent to start the process of procreation for the survival of the human race. On top of it, you spend a fortune living up to the standards of marriage set up by society again. Moreover, you have to look at your brilliant best - unmindful of the fact that if you look like shit, there isn't much you can do about it except look like an adorned better shit ! I am discounting the constant negative cash flow which you are going to incur for the rest of your lives. For what?


Congratulations ! (On attaining parenthood)

YESSSSSSSSSS ! I have finally proved to the world that I am able bodied. Not only that, I have again performed up to the expectations of the world at large and saved the mankind from possible extinction.

Happy Anniversary

Celebration of the fact that we have stayed together for 'x' number of years without cutting each other to pieces. So, again I spend more money, first on each other, mouthing mushy romantics and then on friends showing them a glimpse of our lives seeped in love.

Thank You (On attending marriages)

Whats so big and significant about attending a marriage ? I mean, I know its a special day in your life and I am truly happy for it. But if I cannot make it, well, then I cannot. Anyways, the betrothal of the bride does not depend on me ! Again, to attend your marriage, I get to spend, first on air tickets and then on brainstorming to figure out what gift would be ideal for you to remember me. As if, that would be the only thing for which you will remember me ! If it is, then please don't bother. Just throw me away at the nearest trash can. Anyways, your remembering me hardly makes my life any easier.

So in all of the cases, whenever you are happy or you feel that you are happy, you have to spend money. And in buckets. Because nowadays, happiness is measured in buckets.

Disclaimer: Not intended for anyone in particular. General thoughts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dreams and Reality

D:I want to be an engineer. And like my bro and dad, from IIT.

R:I ended up being a surrogate engineer. Civil Engineering is looked upon as a discipline which does not deserve the 'engineering' tag.

D:I want a campus placement in one of the software companies , preferably CTS. At that time, CTS was the highest paid employer in software.

R:I got an offer from Paharpur Cooling Towers Limited and started at a salary of 9700 per month, which was the lowest offered at my University.

D:I want to do a MBA, and from IIM Calcutta.

R:After two consecutive shots at that, on the 3rd attempt I finally made it to SPJIMR, Mumbai. Miracles do happen.

D:I want millions.Now.

R:Leave alone 'now'. I can't even see that in the near future !

Now, in this context, my mother wants me to get married. And I have to select my partner. Recipe for a perfect disaster !

Monday, September 22, 2008

If you are in love with a

13 year old: Tell your friends. Specially the ones which cannot keep a secret. Let all know that you like that girl. If they are half their worth of salt they will tease the hell out of you. And when 'she' asks you to confirm or deny the rumours - DENY. But keep continuing to do what you did. At some point of time she will understand and in her own quirky way will ask you again. That is your time.

16 year old: Whatever you do, just don't be nice. That is a tag which would put you on the same table of untouchables. Be an absolute chauvinistic moron. In all likelihood, you will land up impressing the stupidest of bimbettes - one undeniably hot but undoubtedly worth exploring. If you are already in the knowhow to explore, that is.

20 year old: At that age, whoever kicks first wins. If ever she gets the idea that you ARE there and that you will be there then its over. It has finished even before it has begun. She must know that you are CAPABLE of being there but she is not sure whether you would WANT to be there. The winning strategy is to project the perception that you simply do not care while in effect it might be the ONLY thing you care about! And if by 22 you still have not made it - forget it.

24 year old: If you have not had her at 'hi', then start looking elsewhere. Okay, maybe not at 'hi'. If she banks on you, if yours is the shoulder she leans on, if you are the one she spends maximum time with and if every one of your friends think that you two are going around and you FEEL in your guts that you are the 'one',trust me, you are anything BUT the one. Most likely on a coffee date on a beautiful, bright, luscious evening, she is going to open her heart only to reveal 'that' cute guy's name and HIS adorable, measured adulation that she so craves for.

28 year old: Just show her the dollars. Potential or realized! Or look like Shah Rukh Khan.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Miracle Worker

We were 16 then. Self-obsessed. Presumptious. Nonchalant. And like all other 16-year olds - rebellious. It was no wonder that when she would walk into our lives, we would only be skeptical. Specially when you have to fill up a pretty long shoe.

Till that time our idea of a teacher was quite different from what she offered. We looked up to them to protect us, to stand up for us, to tell us where we should go, what we should do. They were conventional in thought, they discouraged indiscipline, they did not encourage an independent thought. They were prim and proper and they were good at their job. Above all, they loved us. Though we hardly saw an expression of that in our interactions. And more so, if you did not set the marksheets on fire.

But Sipra Basu changed all of that. And something more.

She was a lady of uncharacteristic
strength, of profound dignity and an unflinching confidence in her own sense of judgment. Brutally honest and genuinely concerned about the well being of her students. Being a teacher of history she harboured no such adulation towards the general leftist tendencies of Mughal glorification or of the typical rightist unadulterated reverence of Gandhi.

You had to respect her guts. If she did not believe in something and you were on her side, she would defend herself and in turn teach you,unconsciously, to defend yourself. But she would never defend you. It was sort of her principled stand that in life you will have to fend for yourself and your battles are your own and only yours to fight and win. If not win, at least fight. She was by no means a free thinker. She was as conventional as any of her age and time. She would not approve of many things and to this day she still sticks to them. But she would never ask you to go by her ideas. Disapproval meant censure in the strictest possible terms but did not imply conformance.

It is unfortunate that such people are under serious threat of extinction. They don't make them like them anymore. My parents had the privilege of having their son come in contact with such a person. But would their son be that privileged ? If not, then his task becomes that much more difficult. Because he knows the role she played. In his life.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I am stuck here. Right at the centre of the rut. And there is no escape. When I am in my room, the walls close in on me. When I am outside, the shackles of the mind hold me dear to them. The rays do seep in once in a while, the sparks of the rain do drench me and do provide the succour but it never satiates. It leaves a taste in the mouth which asks for more.

Sometimes the notes of the octave in their myriad combinations is liberating and more often than not the visual graphics creates a tune never heard before nor felt and those are the only times when freedom exercises itself. The freedom of the soul - if there be one.

And I want to break free.

Would a prisoner serving a life sentence cherish his freedom or be afraid ? To face a world he has no idea of - where everything he knew, everything he stood for, everything which caused his existence no longer exists. The punishment lies in the freedom and not in the sentence. Yet it is the sentence we complain about.

The concept of freedom of being the chief objective of humans is a polished myth. Love is the greatest constraining factor. It limits you in ways unfathomable. So much so, that we do not even recognize it. Yet, all craves for it. And you want freedom ?

Maybe, freedom from love.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Its A Wonderful Life

If I say this out loud, the cynics would bay for my blood. The realist would refrain from making a categorical statement and would prefer to remain neutral. The optimist, would welcome it with open arms. The film (James Stewart,1946) sends out the message that he, who has friends, is not a failure.

Jay has this theory of quantifying the wealth in life by counting friends. For him, if you have eight friends whom you can call at any point of time in your life without any reservation and you are sure that they will respond, then it has been a life worth living. Now, dont ask me where he got the number 'eight' from. I can only attribute it to one of his idiosyncrasies. But the thought sticks on.

The first time I heard it, I immediately made a mental calculation and was quite satisfied then. That was 10 years back. Today, the calculations have become a bit difficult. The numbers have surely dwindled. But still I can make eight. Just barely so. The worrying aspect is, from here on, subtraction is imminent and addition unlikely.

Those that are here today - might not remain tomorrow. Actually will not. Many of whom I had counted had only flattered to deceive. Some did but without flattering. Some stayed, when I never even counted them. While some were there from the beginning even when I could not count and in all probability, barring the refreshing calamities of life, will be there even after I am gone. IF they can outlive me, that is!

I was always passionate about friendship. Far too much and I realize that now. As usual, mother had warned me of the possible consequences of doing that and as always I had totally disregarded her sermons. Yet like many other things, I remembered it and it seemed to me even at that time that she could turn out to be right. As she puts it "mothers are always right". (Her sample set consists ONLY of incidents where she has been proved right!)

I do not regret the time I spent on them. But I do feel, that I ought to have been a bit more selfish. A little more demanding on myself. It pays well to think for yourself. How I wish I had known Adam Smith and his theory of the invisible hand.

Monday, August 04, 2008

We'll always have Paris !

When was the first time the heart broke ? Really, really the first time. Do we distinctly remember the incident ? And in course of time when wisdom is supposed to claw its way into our lives, are we, in our acquired rationality, able to justify the actions of the perpetrator and forgive him for it ? Would it unconditionally qualify as the first time when our idea about life takes a beating - when for the first time we are exposed to the unshakeable truth that in life, the colour grey is the most significant ? Much more than both black or white.

I was reading Kundera's 'Ignorance' some time back and was enthralled by its stunning simplicity and its success at emphatically analyzing the effects of what we have gone through in our lives on what and how we would react in circumstances which are vaguely similar, in future. Ignorance asks some unforgettable questions - which linger on even after you have finished with it.

I am not sure how significant those questions would be when one is seeped in happiness, when one is satisfied or content with one's life. In general, satisfaction has seldom asked questions, has rarely stimulated minds and consequently, very rarely created masterpieces.

So, in my opinion, 'Ignorance' would fail to elicit the kind of response it should, for you. And if it does, rejoice in the thought that you are still alive, that you still have not forgotten to feel and that you will have a semblance of honesty when you say "I understand".

When we choose or start to like someone for the 2nd time or rather, the first time after an unsuccessful attempt, we do measure him/her against the first one. To what extent ? And in doing so, are we just living with our past and see a reflection of that in the present? If that is to be true - where is the sanctity of integrity ?

The instinctive response to this by invariably almost all, would be one of incredulity. You will not even try to accept the truth, even if you accept to give it a thought. Since, most of our lives we hardly realize why we are alive, we try to convince ourselves without much effort that we live for someone else because we are in love - the truth could be much more naked, much more disturbing.

We live because we feel that we are living with those whom we wanted to live with and could not. Till possibly the time, our emotions and sensibilities are so stamped upon, so full of our present that we have all but lost touch of our past. And if you have lost touch with your past, I am not sure how far ahead you will progress in the future.

It is tough to really let go, to forget. The beauty of the human mind is that somehow or the other our perspective lets us shift our frailties by that much to make us feel we really have. And what we had was nothing as compared to what we have now.

So here is to "We'll always have Paris!" (Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Perils of Cultural Nationalism

(My first political post)

The bloodiest wars in the history of human civilization has been fought on the pretext of passionate nationalism. From the evidence, prima facie , nationalism as a concept seems to be the precursor to imminent destruction. And more often than not, nationalism comes with the package of cultural imperialism.

It is on this context that I am not convinced whether our right wing political parties who harp on the cultural superiority of our ancestors and ask us to be fiercely nationalistic is doing the country a favour or a disfavour. In isolation, being proud of our heritage is good and should be inculcated and appreciated. But that road is fraught with danger. The issue is so sensitive that it could be twisted very easily for pandering to the local sentiment for petty political gains.

Given a free hand, the right wingers would want to go back two centuries into a system which, to them, worked and was responsible for India's truly pluralistic and strong society. They are oblivious to the fact, that preservation of a cultural heritage does not necessitate active usage. Knowledge of the achievements of our predecessors are sufficient. Ask a Scotsman about how they lived, ask an Irish about their way of life, ask an African about their history - in all likelihood they will tell you. Yet they never harped on their ancestral lineage. They still do not. But they are proud humans. Make no mistake about it.

It is important to know that Aryabhatta was a great mathematician, Sushrut was a great surgeon, we had constructed planned cities before anyone ever thought it was possible, sanskrit is still the most scientific language ever designed - but it is pointless to follow what they did, today, blindly without questioning them. If under scrutiny they still hold good, lets use them. If not, remember them with respect and do not be constrained by them.

The freedom of the individual should be of paramount importance. Only that will ensure a free society. Banning events which are not in accordance with our eastern values on the ground of westernization and loss of cultural identity is akin to subversion of fundamental right of expression. And to colour it with the idea of preservation of culture and of nationalism is a calculated insult.

To a nation, to a culture.

The evolution of a society will extract its pound of flesh for good and bad. We have to accept both. Resistance will only be detrimental.

The idea of nationalism as mooted by Narendranath Dutta could possibly be termed as the most comprehensive, most progressive and unbelievably pluralistic. But the problem with an institutionalized dictum backed up by strong religious undertone is that - it is totally dependent on the people running the institution. They might be good today, bad tomorrow and worse the day after.

The only solution is to emphasize the importance of a free thought, even when it questions the fundamentals of our firmest beliefs, which are just a function of time and our acquired knowledge.

Freedom to think, freedom to act, freedom of choice, freedom to express - that is what a nation with rich cultural heritage should stand for. A dissenting voice should be welcomed in spirit and fought by an equally powerful contrary view if the voice happens to compromise our social fabric.

Friday, June 06, 2008

When Shah Jahan Met Mumtaz

Sparks flew, glasses broke, there was electricity in the air, the mood was tense and sombre, there was skepticism and apprehension and then from somewhere crept in meekily almost cheekily - love.

While Mumtaz was pretty sure it was over even before it began, Shah Jahan was not. Considering his overtly unsuccessful endeavours in the past, he was too reserved, too reticent to believe that it was happening to him. For all that he has been through, it almost seemed improbable. And he still would not admit even to himself that he was swept away by the sheer enthusiastic liveliness of that woman the instant she shattered the glasses.

Now, I have broken tons of glasses in my 29 year old career at home. And the only thing I received was my mother's chidings and sometimes a stinging forehand crosscourt across my back and here my dear friend Shah Jahan gets a woman to spend a life with ! Unfair - wouldn't you say?

Mumtaz is cocky, vivacious, brimming with life, being blissfully and thankfully unexposed to the throbbing pain of unrequited love. Just the perfect foil for Shah Jahan - eternally skeptical and for good reason, never quite believing that someone could be so sure, could be so forthright in expression, in her ability to be pleasantly unpredictable, to hold his hand with assurance of being there - something which he had never known before.

So, there goes the last one of the best of friends I have. Claimed by the flight of fantasy, gripped by the excitement of the novelty of love, of marriage, of living the feeling of being together, of knowing that he also has not lost all of what he had and that he too would discover that its all there somewhere just waiting to be stroked, waiting for the match to strike to light up his life.

The wait ends on 30th Jan, 2009. Congrats!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Dear Soumya,

Most people command respect because of their position and I am not sure whether it is more out of fear or out of respect. Some people just by being who they are. Some by their brilliance in their profession. Very few by affection and camaraderie. And even fewer by a combination of all. It would be a bit melodramatic to say that you are a shining example of the latter. But almost all things in life in its intrinsic form are melodramatic and true. So is this one.

I know it is customary to speak good about people on their farewell but I am not the one to abide by conventions. I know of no other way but to speak the truth. So what I write is not what I have to but what I want to.

Professional success and sound knowledge always brings with it that smug condascension reserved specifically for rookies and those who are not at par. The most endearing part about you is that you have given those rookies the leeway to grow with time, expecting them to come up the ranks by their own accord, by their own merit. You expect high standards only because you have set it yourself by your own work. Being assured in your own knowledge and yet being humble enough to discuss them, to listen to another opinion, knowing fully well that what the other guy might take away from you will be much more than what you take away is appreciable. In fact, unfortunately this is seldom seen in professional circuits. Kudos to that!

It was fun working with you. Maybe not working in the truest sense of the word. But being in the same place it was exhilarating. I will remember many of the professional stuff that I got to know from you. But more importantly I will remember your cooperative attitude even when you were under time crunch, your unbelievable sense of humour, your constant digs at Raj and Sham and Pradeep, your accusations of a combined conspiracy by them to vilify you, your excitement at cooking something new, churning out as Milind puts it "the word of the day", your unapologetic passion for Sourav Ganguly and your total devotion to Harbhajan Singh (sorry, but could not resist this one!)

It was a privilege sharing the same workplace. Great knowing that such people do exist. It lets me believe that the word 'boss' could be actually seen in a positive light.

As long as you have your intellect and drive you won't need it, but still - All the very best.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Against the odds

The problem with this post as I envisage it is how to put it in a way which would capture exactly how I feel. And in some cases I have been told that my posts send out a strong repulsively negative vibe. So much so, that the image that I portray is one of a frustrated, hopeless, insipid chap without strings attached and with nothing to look forward to. Nothing could be further from the truth. And am pretty sure my saying so would not convince anyone who chooses to think otherwise. And in such cases I do what I have done for most of my life till date. Stand up and try at all cost not to let them get to me. In short - fight.

Which brings me to this post.

Perception is not the only thing I have fought against. It is just one of the many. And sometimes I wonder whether it is all worth it. Whether 25 years from now, I would look upon this fight as one I could have done without. Whether what seems to be outlandishly ridiculous would make perfect sense then. Whether I will turn out to be like all 50 year olds who refuse to accept that what they thought when they were young was totally in tune then and out of tune now. Whether my rigidity now is the indication of my reluctance to evolve.

Hopefully not.

The other thing I had to fight and I still am are the friendly curses of my friends. These should not classified as curses, most of them were said jokingly, without intention while some with purpose and a lot of heart. To all of them, my best regards and my very best wishes. Nothing is more precious than something which comes out of the heart. Some of them were said a long time back yet I distinctly remember all of them and what struck me then was that all of these had a potential to come true. So, here goes the list:

"You will have a life, a good one but without love" - when I believed truly that a life spent without love is a life wasted.

"You will get things in life but not those what you want" - when I spelled out the kind of woman I would like to be with.

"Its unfortunate but true - you will always remain a mediocre" - when I could not make it through an exam which others had.

"Who in the whole world would buy a product like you?" - when I compared the arranged marriage matrimonial process as a market and the prospective brides and grooms as products.

"You will never be happy in life" - someone who thought that she loved me and am pretty sure did not and when I asked her whether she really wanted this to happen replied in the negative, albeit a bit unconvincingly.

There have been wishes as well on the other side of the spectrum. But as it goes, good wishes have only one place to go. Its the easiest thing to be blown away by the wind. And so went the wind, dutifully cleaning those up and leaving the remnants listed above in all their simplicity and brilliance.

Meanwhile, I continue to fight. Against my friends, for my friends, to prove to myself and to them that they were right. That finally in the strangest paradox that by screwing up my life I would actually be living for them. Since, I have always won as an underdog, would it not be great to lick them up over and out? That is the only reason why there is a tomorrow. If tomorrow comes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Furniture & Riviera

There is something about a dispassionate honest comment. Something which shakes me from my laidback, lacklustre existence and provokes me, pushes me into a labyrinthine maze of utter clarity shining through the dusty, smoky confusion which is ever prevalent in my life. (Whoa ! what a sentence!"I" wrote it??)

This particular conversation like many others I have had with a wide spectrum of people struck me immediately the moment it was occuring. It was as if something profound was being said in the most simplest of ways, without a complaint, without remorse, without any real feeling. Like stating the obvious. Yet, a certainty we wish not to accede to.

My uncle, roughly 75 years old, told me "Our state is like a discarded furniture". He said it without fuss, as matter-of-factly as possible. And on my subsequent protest he backed it up with an argument I could not disprove. His logic was he has lived a life where he has done it all, seen it all and today he has no contribution to make, either in his family life or in his professional life, let alone his social life. So, why live further? In a queer way, it is reminiscent of Adolf's theory of extermination of unproductive resources.

Rationality was always a family trait. But to such an extent! I did not know what to feel. And since, in a conflict of the heart and the mind, I have, contrary to my wish, always gone for the mind, I could not but disagree with him.

Which is what makes me insensitive ?

It lead me to think of the proverbial question which haunts me intermittently and which many in their own right have tried to find an answer to. "Why am I alive now?" and "Why should I live after I am 60?". The answer to the 2nd question is fairly easy at this time - "cross the bridge when we come to it". But the first one?

My explanation is - It is pointless. There is no reason for me to exist. And this I presume holds true for most of us. Ask yourself "What is the purpose of your life?" If you get an answer, then well, maybe you might have an outside chance of having a reason to live beyond 60.

If you don't, then well, just mint money for the time being - we will talk of philosophy later,sipping coffee by the Riviera.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Fabulous Five

India has already won the 2011 World Cup. Here is why:

MS Dhoni

The greatest captain India has ever had. That day he started India's bowling with Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth ! Now, if that is not a mark of ingenuity then what is ? I mean, have you ever even heard, let alone contemplated, of a captain starting the innings with his two premier fast bowlers ?! And wonder of all wonders, he even had 2 slips in the first five overs! So aggressive - after all that is what won him the T20.

Gautam Gambhir

India's next Sachin Tendulkar. He actually hits a delivery which is short and wide and deserves to be spanked on the backfoot and cuts it over point for a four. Mark of unhindered brilliance. Of course, he learnt it in his T20 days when he played "without fear". In case you are wondering how Sunny Gavaskar played his game - he was afraid. Dead scared. Remember, his fear got the better of him and he could only score 36* in 60 overs. Ah, the other 10,000 does not count for much. Only that 36 is sufficient for crucification.

Rohit Sharma

India's next Sachin Tendulkar. Oops ! We cannot be THAT lucky ?! Two Tendulkars in one team. Sorry, 3 including the 'real' Tendulkar. Then, we have 3 best batsmen in our team. And I cannot see the requirement of any other batter in the team at all. Ask Ravi Shastri, he will ask you to play 7 bowlers with them. Ohh, Ian Chappell says that Rohit is a combination of Sachin and Lara. Wow ! Now, I know what 2-in-1 means !

Ishant Sharma

Had it been the British media, by now, he would have been hailed as the next Ian Botham. Funny, why no one has compared him to Kapil Dev, till now. Ohh, could be because he is better than him. See, he is quicker than Kapil and he is able to lift it up(the ball, I mean!) from just short of a length (Ravi Shastri says it). Plus, Ricky Ponting is his bunny. And considering that Ricky is one of the best in business, Ishant has to be better than Kapil. Kapil never had Richards as a bunny, you see.

Yuvaraj Singh

India's best test player. He should be drafted into the team at the cost of Rahul or Sourav or even Sachin. Blasphemy you would say ? Naah. He is such a sweet timer, he is at the form of his life and his FIELDING ! Dear o dear, how can you not have someone in the team if he saves you 15 runs ? Even if that is his collective score in 6 test innings ? We are focussing on the future and youth is the future.

Err, just a question. How old is Manmohan Singh and L.K.Advani? Chuck them, NOW. And make Sachin Pilot the standing-in-PM. Or Rahul Gandhi. Shucks ! Our obsession with Rahul and Sachin is just not limited to cricket!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Matrimonial Skirmishes - Part 2

My partner should be understanding, good-looking, tall, dignified, professionally well-settled, caring, honest and possessing a good sense of humour! (Someone please give her a thesaurus - at this rate she will run out of adjectives!)

Now, lets get to the requirements one by one. This is what a young woman of today wants in her partner in her words.

The guy has to be understanding - in the sense that he must know when to shell out the bucks for shopping, implicitly know when my mood is off for something which has happened 15 days ago and which at that point seemed completely immaterial and was safely consigned to history.

Nothing short of Leonardo Di Caprio would do. A George Clooney - ok, worthy of consideration for a full, attentive five minutes but for a Matt Damon - just a casual shrug. What the hell - can't I even have a Di Caprio?! Of course, madame, for that you need to be at least Julia Roberts!

Six feet. 5'11" ?!!! You got to be kidding. So what if I am barely 5', can't I even aspire for a tall handsome bloke inspite of compromising for a Matt Damon?!

Basically, he should never tell me he loves me. I mean, he should tell me but not in words. You can't be too obvious about something as precious as love. And he should stand up for his own when we are at loggerheads but he should at the same time finally do what I want. I can't seem to understand why THAT is so difficult.

Professionally well-settled:
What?!!! He does not even earn a million bucks a year? (relax, in Indian currency terms - c'mon they are not inconsiderate!!) How on earth are we supposed to live with less than that? And he does not have the opportunity to go abroad?!! Does he work at all?

He must tell me whether purplish-olive green suits me more than magenta-orange when we go out for shopping. And don't tell me he prefers not to come for shopping ! Thats like depriving oneself of the most exhilarating, intellectually satisfying, orgasmic pleasure known to mankind. AND he must have a ready database about the number of shoes I own, the number of handbags and laud me for not buying the 25th pair of either one last Monday!

He should always speak the truth. There is only one truth - I am the only woman he looks at, I am the sole reason for his existence and whatever be the time of the day I look ravishingly beautiful. Any other opinion would be construed as a blatant disregard for my sentiments which would render him to be insensitive and hence un-caring.

Good Sense of Humour:
He should make me laugh. Apparently, that is the only thing a woman wants (Read this). Looks like all women are paid a royalty by marketing companies for popularizing Khushwant Singh's jokebook.

All you bachelors with no girlfriends or with no possibility of having one - well, resign yourself to fate and to the basic tenet of Hinduism - that of nirvana. There is only one slogan for you - "Sab Maya Hain". And before your mind wanders off, Maya is not a girl I am talking about!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Living It

I am unbearably happy today. Which is somewhat of a surprise. The reason is even more perplexing. My friend is happy. And every time one of those who matter in my life is happy I am infused with a fresh breath of life - an incurable optimism, an undeniable lust to look forward to tomorrow.

Everything then goes for a toss. Its like I am living it - cherishing the moment, being part of that sublime ecstasy, of expectation, of hope, of love and of unbridled, unhindered sunshine. I don't know why, I don't know how it is possible to feel like this for someone who is not a relation by blood, someone who is a part of my life yet not my life, someone who is not just a friend but nothing more than a friend either.


I have never been in love, so I am not in a position to judge or compare but many years ago we had this debate about which is the most beautiful relationship - one of love or one of friendship. And both of us ironically, had the same answer. And I know today why we had that answer. I do not know whether I have contributed to his life in any way or not except by just been there when needed. I have no idea just an inkling. It does not even matter to me.

Just that his happiness which he is cautiously optimistic and skeptical of, is so pervasive that it is bound to affect any individual near him. It is lovely to see someone in love, hopelessly in love and more so when you know that he is trying his best to be nonchalant about it, when he is trying to portray that it is just another part of his life. And I know that it is not!

To you my friend, to you, for all the glorious exciting uncertainties that this would hopefully offer you, for all the unbelievable moments that you will live through, for all the smiles which you will remember, for all the questions which you wished someone will ask, for all the answers that you always wanted to give but never did for want of the right person - to you is this moment.

For once, I will hope, albeit without success - as always, that time stands still. And for you, it just might.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Contribution of SCG

Never has one man caught the imagination of a community like he has. Never has one man stood for the pride, success and character of a community like he has. Never has one man changed the shape of a sport in a nation like he has. Never has one man been so humiliated and trodden upon like he has been. Never has someone given it back to them like only he can.

Sourav Chandidas Ganguly. The name evokes two kinds of reaction. Utter disgust, ferocious hatred or unadulterated, uncompromising adulation. There is however, a third kind. One of respect and admiration. And as always, I fall in the third category.

When I first saw him, I did not like him. Apart from his off-side strokes, that is. But Sourav is neither about being a batsman nor about being a captain. In a sense he is comparable to James Braddock - the boxer who came out of wilderness during the 1930s US economic depression and inspired a nation to fight back - with dignity and with honesty. It gave them hope.

Hope. Now, that is quite a word. Isn't it?

In the last 60 years, Bengal has produced two cricketers of note. Pankaj Roy and Sourav Ganguly. One still has his name written in the record books for the highest opening stand in test cricket - but thats it. Pankaj Roy had no other notable contribution - definitely not to Bengali society or identity. In those times, Bengal had no dearth of people who gave her an identity.

In the last 20 years or so - the steady decline of Bengal, intellectually, politically, industrially, socially - in all spheres of life has been alarming. And its in this background came a regal master - fearless, hungry for success, and one who would not flinch an inch but come back at the opposition at all times.

Ganguly defined Bengal. He is passionate as almost all Bengalis are, he wears his heart on his sleeve - something which has been associated with Bengalis over time, he is political which again defines a Bengali, he does not mince words and is more often than not controversial - which I grudgingly admit is another Bengali trait. He is lazy, as most Bengalis are. And he is non-parochial. He stood up for people he believed in. He did not favour a player from Bengal but picked the best Indian side. And he put his neck on the line, always, without fail.

He will never have a grand farewell. We, as a nation, have never given our heroes that. His contribution to Indian cricket will never be recognized. In fact, except for statistical records, he would be confined to the dustbin of Indian cricket. So, lets not crib about it. Lets accept it as part of life of a 'great, gracious' nation. Let us just remember that for every run scored by Yuvraj Singh, for every wicket taken by Harbhajan Singh, for every century scored by VVS Laxman there was someone who saw it all coming when others did not.

And as a Bengali, thank him for showing what we are capable of. And that in spite of a decadent 30 year rule which has destroyed all what we had, we still matter - to India.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Seven Wonders

The best here would indeed be the best I have watched:

1. Life is Beautiful
It indeed is. I have not seen a film where the two halves of the film are so contrasting, in style, in tenor and in its implication. It is hard to imagine that this is a fiction - which means that someone actually thought and wrote it and that makes it so staggering. A film which every mother, every father and every son would be able to relate to. Roberto Benini has epitomised the power of cinema as a medium, through this.

2.Forrest Gump
One of the most eminently lovable creations of all time. The characterisation of Forrest Gump is unparalleled in Hollywood cinematic history. It has no pretension, it is totally American, it is ruthlessly simple and tells a remarkable story.

3.Judgment At Nuremberg
Watch this just for the performances, the lines, the sheer blasphemous yet rivetting premise of the film. Montgomery Clift and Marlene Dietrich hardly has 10 minutes of screen time. Yet their significance and portrayal of a mentally traumatized man and a proud German is something which is seen to be believed. However, Spencer Tracy has the last laugh with the last dialogue in the movie - "What is logical might not be right!"

4. Guess Who Is Coming To Dinner
Sidney Poitier and Spencer Tracy, not to mention my darling Catherine Hepburn, possibly the most significant movie which deals with the issue of a black man falling in love with a white woman in 1960s America does so with a sensitivity and pragmatism unheard of in that era. There are sequences in that movie which if I start to list out will require another post. But the most memorable ones are with Catherine and Sidney. Just as he said "You got to get off our backs!" - should be the uniform anthem for all children dedicated to their parents.

5.The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
There is something about a Western. But this one would not be classified as one in the true sense of the word. The film has a lot of character and John Wayne as the unrequited macho lover is something. Besides, there is that house with the tree in the movie. Symbolic and touching. Memories. Boon or a bane? Your call.

6.Indecent Proposal
"Everything is for sale, you just have to know the price". That love is for sale where the price is a dream, that it is possible to buy love and not just sex, that love has a way of coming back, that sometimes when you let go you win, that victory might not always be about possession, that love has an infinite capacity to endure - has been put into flesh and blood by Robert Redford and Demi Moore.

7.Once Upon A Time in America
An epic. Par excellence. Four friends, spanning two decades. Sergio Leone's masterpiece. Love, betrayal, sacrifice - it has all the things which are intertwined in our lives. At the end of the movie who wins or who is right is the question. And to this day I am not sure. Four hours of rivetting drama and not a moment's boredom. Can we ever make one like that?

Some which barely missed the cut - One flew over the cuckoo's nest, The Departed, Gandhi, the Day the earth stood still, The heiress, Birds, Unforgiven, High Noon etc.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Best Five

The Best of what I have seen:

1. Lamhe
Every time I watch this movie I am consumed by the sheer intensity portrayed on screen. Not by words, not by action, but simply by the breathtaking beauty of the simplicity of the situation. And "Yeh Lamhe Yeh Pal Hum" makes my life difficult every time I hear it. The movie asks uncomfortable questions which have comfortable answers which are difficult to accept and more so - implement.

2. Silsila
That language is just not a means of communication has its greatest proof in Silsila. Four powerhouse performances, dignity and grace all around, tempered melodrama, surreally believable, passion and heart in every word spoken - could you ask for more? Yes. The ending does not do justice. But then leave alone the last 5 minutes. What you get before that is something which has the potential to shake you - out of your belief, out of your skin and make you alive.

3. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun!
I had avoided this movie for the first 11 weeks after its release. In the next 3, I watched it seven times. 13 songs, almost all unnecessary, yet never for once breaking the narrative, a story told a hundred times before but still so very enjoyable.

4. Dhoop
Ah ! I so love Revathy. That a 60 year old couple can exude power, can get you and keep you hooked to the screen for roughly 2 hours is beyond comprehension to our generation. Based on a true story, a take on the corrupt bureaucracy and their fight against it, Om Puri is brilliant, particularly in the scene where he proves that he is the father of his own expired son to a corrupt police constable. An experience of a lifetime.

5. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
Ki har khwaish pe dum nikle...bahut nikle armaan mere...magar phir bhi kam nikle...I cannot remember a love story which has touched me in such a measure as this one post Lamhe and pre Khoya Khoya Chand. A perfect example which shows that love has only one destination - destruction. Sudhir Mishra has a way of telling a story. And they do leave a mark.

There are quite a few notable exceptions - DDLJ, Swades, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Yes Boss, Namak Haram, Main Azad Hoon, Damini, Bemisaal, Deewar etc. but the top five can only have 5 movies !

Hollywood next post !

disclaimer: The "Best" here is not in terms of the best I have watched but the ones which I have enjoyed the most...if that makes any sense

Friday, January 11, 2008

Being Bejan

At the outset, this post is dedicated to my dear friend SRK (NOT Shah Rukh Khan but SivaRamaKrishnan !!)

THREE predictions:

1. The ban on Harbhajan will not be revoked.
2. Brad Hogg will get away scot-free.
3. India will win the Perth Test (provided the Bhajji hearing happens before that).

Lets see whether I can compete with Bejan !

Thursday, January 03, 2008

In Praise of Rahul

He needs no introduction. In my opinion, he is India's best Test batsman after Sunil Gavaskar. And this morning just proved why. Pushed against the wall by criticism of his overtly cautious defensive innings at MCG, Rahul Dravid had only one thing to play for - pride.

Today's innings would never be lauded for its class or its excellence or the impeccable footwork which has come to define his vigil at the crease as and when he has gone out to bat but for all the virtues he stands for, for everything he has achieved in his brilliant cricketing career - a stomach for a fight, a steely adamant resolve of staying put when the going is tough, never giving away his wicket casually and an insatiable hunger for success in adversity. It is only when you are searching for runs after having scored around 10,000 of them, only when you cannot figure out how on earth you will find the gaps which you were piercing at will the other day, only then you will know whether you are looking at greatness or passing by mediocrity.

The match was poised at a very interesting stage. On one end VVS was going all guns blazing with his trademark silken touches and his exuberant wristwork while on the other one man was fighting to stay alive.

And what a fight.

For 36 balls at one stretch Rahul had not scored. The crowd had got into the game. Boos were heard all around and with each passing ball stoutly defended the boos only became stronger. Yet, that did not ruffle him. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, that was the trigger he needed to assert himself. You can just about make out from those eyes that "come what may, I will not give in. I will NOT give in." And just after tea, he took a single, an ungainly push to the covers. The crowd rose on their feet, in jest maybe, maybe in respect and lauded and Rahul raised his bat! He allowed himself a smile and got back to work.

That is the reason why that man is impossible. That is why you have to stand up and respect him. That is why he ought to be every underdog's role model. That is the reason why they call him "The Wall".