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".