Monday, March 29, 2010

Looking for an answer

“Things zoom in and out of my head. Justice, possibilities, bloody foolish gov’t….blah blah blah”

Ever since the discussion on David Headley and his plea bargain with the US, I have been thinking about it. The questions in my head just don’t seem to stop. Shiril Mani mam discussed this in the class what a bunch of idiots (if I may use the phrase!) our gov’t is for not doing much about it and just accepting the terms that the US is putting forward. I don’t know much about it, so what do I do about it….my lazy Sunday is spent reading about it…in a bid to quench the thirst of knowing developed because I seem to know so little.
He is a suspected operative of the Lashkar group, the one who did all the groundwork behind the 26/11 Mumbai blasts and has some 12 other charges of terrorism against him, he has pleaded guilty to all of the charges.
Will it be enough just to have a committee go to the US and question David or should I say Daood Gilani (his Arabic name)? Why is it that he can’t be extradited to India when all the crimes he’s done or was planning on doing are related to Indians? Does the committee (if ever formed by our famed gov’t) know what they will ask Headley when they go there or will they just waste precious time in knowing whatever they already know? Will they be able to dig out the multi layered secrets of the past; about LeT, their schemes, allies, plans and their links within Pakistan.
Headley maybe a happy man even if in prison, since he got what he wanted- life in an American prison might be way sweeter than one in India. Why is it that the Americans want to keep him? Agreed that 5 Americans did die in the Mumbai blasts but it doesn’t mean that they can rule the roost here. Why are they acting like such softies when they can really show the world the “super power” they CLAIM to be by taking a tough stand on this matter?
Mr. Chidambaram, our Home Minister says that it’s not much of a setback that David won’t be extradited to India. Are these statements a cover up for the pressure that he is facing? is this the way to address the latest developments in this case or just a laid back approach, in a bid to get more time, or for that matter, is it really going to be a huge step in our fight against terrorism?
It remains to be seen whether I, one of the many other flummoxed Indians, get an answer and maybe justice is served.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reliving a Dream

Part 1:

Will I be on TIME?:

“Me: Will we reach on time? I don’t want to be late for the match. When will we reach Dadar?
Amit: Say that once more and I throw push you off the train! Listen to music, solve the Rubik’s Cube but most importantly….SHUT UP! ”

I didn’t manage to solve the Rubik’s Cube. I was way too fidgety and nervous! How was it possible to get to the match in Brabourne at 8 if you had to get down at Dadar at 730, collect the tickets from Lower Parel and then go to Church gate on the way to the stadium? I failed to understand this, and fretted…and fretted…and fretted some more! But then realized it was useless since everything I did or said would amount to natter because at the end of the day we were still sitting in the godforsaken train!
This was going to be one hell of a ride and we knew it! It was not for something ordinary that we were willing to put ourselves on the line too…it was the IPL- KKR versus MI in Mumbai!!
But we began late and got later still, after 5 and half hours in the train just wondering when we will get to the match, we reached Dadar and the feeling of a rush took birth in my stomach. I could feel the excitement welling up in my stomach as we got closer to reaching the stadium! But that was all going to come to an abrupt halt as the madness began!
We caught the slow Western line local to Lower Parel and ran about two kilometers to the damn office where the tickets were supposed to be bought and then back to the station to catch the local to Churchgate.
In between the running when my mind was not panting along with me and actually thought about things for awhile I found myself cursing that person who had said, “Enjoy the journey, more than the destination!” This wasn’t fun at all. This seemed to be a race against time and the match had already begun!
We ran and we ran, all the time our mind’s focused thinking of only one thing… the match! That was what gave us energy! While I was running towards the office I had noticed this old lady walking, after collecting the tickets which in fact took a lot of time and while running back I noticed the same person not having moved more than a few meters! This time though she was looking at me as if I was crazy, to be running like a wild animal for no apparent reason! The look was scary! It always is with old Parsi women! (no offence meant!)
It was quarter past 8 when we finally reached the stadium and the guards thought we had actually played the match with the way we were sweating in the heat of the night! But then what we witnessed was something out of this world but totally worth it!!

Part 2:

The Match, The Rush:

“We enter the stadium and this is what follows:
Sachin….sachin….sachin…the entire Brabourne stadium roared. And I…I was one of them. I was pumped up…speechless…amazed…at how one man could bring the nation...Alive! Together! Like one beating heart..!”
Even a staunch KKR supporter (though a big fan of Sachin as well!) couldn’t help but feel a happy rush as the crowd cheered their favorite son on!

A Sachin and Sourav face-off, anywhere in this whole wide world and me witnessing that face off was a dream I had cherished for a long time and 8 pm on the night of 22nd March at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai- my dream came true!
The joy, the excitement, the whole feeling of seeing a live match courses through me even as I sit and write this- it is a feeling that is hard to put down in words and even harder to control! But it is a feeling that I have been fortunate enough to experience and will cherish for all my life!
Every time a shot was hit by the Little Master, one could feel the power and the exhilaration in every cheer of the crowd and the thrill that coursed through them was infectious- unreal. The whole stadium looked so beautiful and there was this vibrant feeling in the air which always kept egging you on to become someone totally different from who you were. I was no exception, I danced as the cheerleaders danced, I screamed my lungs out at all the wrong times just for the heck of it- I was an excited fool who cared about nothing except each passing moment in the match! I went there as a KKR fan who unabashedly sat with the Mumbai Indian supporters and sang Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo re even as the fight was snuffed out by the ferocity of a certain Mr. Sachin Tendulkar. I went there as a KKR fan; having a small feeling of the impending doom which ultimately struck the Knight Riders but returned a happy man, having witnessed something extraordinary. I wanted to see a special from either of the two tigers and though Sourav didn’t shine as much, my wish was granted by Sachin, who was in sublime form and enthralled the crowd with an amazing array of strokes!
The whole feeling to the place was electric! It was highly weird though, sitting in the VIP seats where there was a section of the crowd who just watched the match with the occasional cheer here and there. It gave me a very weird feeling that whatever I shouted be it in Bengali or English or Hindi, I could hear myself saying it! But I couldn’t care less, it is not often that you get the most awesome seats and get the complete freedom to go mad with the reward being having all the stupidness being shown on television, which for me actually happened! I guess what really spurred me on were the amazingly beautiful cheerleaders! Often I was caught by my friend Amit who accompanied me to the match, just ogling at the cheerleaders instead of watching the match!
I wonder how the players keep their eyes off the prize which the IPL has given to mankind!
Thanks to my dad, I actually got the tickets without paying a penny in the best possible place ever- the Pavilion End, to make it simpler for the layman to understand, right next to the player’s box! A seat next to Mr. Shah Rukh Khan would have been something out of a dream book but well this one’s not that far away either!
Fireworks, flags, jerseys, painted faces; everything was on display at Brabourne. It was excellent! It was super, a once in a lifetime experience! Something that I will cherish all my life!
Part 3:

Soon Afterwords, We become Men with a Mission (Autographs!):

And then came the time for the both of us to show our daring. We had to. It was our janam-sidh-adhikar to act like mad and sneaky autograph hunters in a bid to catch all the big fishes! And so we began, by first pleading to the police officers that we had travelled all the way from Pune in a grueling 8 hour journey just to witness the match, just so that we could get into the player’s lounge- which we did! And then began the game! It was all simple, just act like you’re the son of some big-shot and get in wherever you wish! The player’s eating area/mess was one such place where I was successful and though this might not sound all that royal- I shared a piece of cake with Shah Rukh Khan’s or was it Tendulkar’s (don’t know actually!) son, whose name at that point of time I completely forgot and it became embarrassing when I said, Hi Karan instead of Arjun!
After stuffing up we began our hunt again and it was easy to spot people like Lalit Modi, Ajit Wadekar and Neeta Ambani to ask for autographs because the media buzzed around them like women window shopping around jewellery stores!
Shane Bond, Zaheer Khan, Murali Karthick, Harbhajan Singh, Harpreet Singh, Manoj Tiwary- you name them, we saw them said hi and hello but couldn’t get autographs from all of them because Amit had gone after the ever elusive Sourav Ganguly only to be stopped by those pestering guards and I made the foolish mistake of not calling Bhajji “SIR”! The look I got from him when I said, “Harbhajan can I have your autograph?”
These stars I tell you!
I wish I could have clicked the stadium; it looked majestic with all the people in blue’s and purple’s. But sadly, cameras were not allowed inside and my phone went dead at the wrong time!
Such was my luck!
While coming out of the stadium, Amit noticed a small bunch of fans talking excitedly to a reporter who turned out to be a Senior Correspondent of NDTV 24*7. I on the other hand, noticed a chance to be on TV and joined the group shouting randomly that KKR will be back as will Dada! I had gone mad with excitement and as is the case, the world saw it!
Part 4:

Marine Drive makes it even more special:

“Sachin…sachin…sach… (pulled out of my reverie!!!)Abey oye ab match finish ho gaya hai! Dekh liya jisko dekhna tha…What do we do till the earliest bus?

I had just witnessed something really special and although it had ended I wanted to relive it again and again and again- the best place for that feeling of complete peace was Marine Drive. One could not come to Mumbai and not visit Marine Drive. It was nice, peaceful and left you alone with your thoughts. The way I saw it… the night was ours anyway! No buses or taxis or cabs would take us back to Pune so might as well do some thinking…alone…cut off from the hullabaloo of the Symbiosis Institute of Mass Commotion…and for that moment...the world!
It was then that both me and Amit began writing- the night had demanded it off us. And both of us, though tired and a tad bit sleepy, readily obliged!
We wrote, we walked, we talked with our own thoughts- questioning, answering and then finally just dreaming away the night!
(this was of course all before our stupid cum heroic walk back from Marine Drive to Dadar! and this was done to cut some more time in order to get the 1st bus out back to Pune!)

Thinking of it all I really am amazed I could do all this in one day, but at the end of it all, I did and I am proud of it because we got a more than enough reward for it too.

P.S. - A big thanks to Dad without whom this whole thing would have merely been stuff from my dreams!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love, Sex aur Dhokha- My Thoughts

Love, Sex aur Dhokha:

Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Music Director: Sneha Khanwalkar

Movie Cast: Anshuman Jha, Shruti, Rajkumar Yaadav, Neha Chauhan, Amit Sial, Arya Devdutta, Herry Tangdi

Rating: 4 /5

A Review:
Immediately after coming out of the theatre, a plethora of emotions hit you after watching LSD- you come out humming the title track and yet there is the innate disgust of how the vulnerability of a woman is taken advantage of.
Three stories, the looming presence of the camera at every point of our lives and alternating human behavior is the simplest way to describe this film. What the director aims to catch and actually does so very well is the complexity of human nature- rarely seen and shocking to say the least!
Each story is interlinked in different ways and yet they deal with different issues all together! And yet the acting in all three stories has been what one could call, perfect!
The first story is very conventional (girl-boy love, daddy’s the villain and the harsh consequences faced) but dealt with a comic twist and there lies the difference. The comedy works out to be quite a relief before the chilling night shot, which leaves you dazed.
It is the second story that in its simplicity really grabs the attention of the audience. It has been written with a lot of heart and enacted even more beautifully. Shot on a shop surveillance camera- it deals with love and the emotional baggage it brings along with it- jealousy, suspicion and the likes. The love that starts with a bet to create an MMS becomes real love and then a scandal. The sex scene is not meant to bring the normal wolf whistles from the crowds (although you still might get them when sitting in a single screen theatre!) but out of a different kind of passion- I would like to call it grievous passion! This story is where the impact is really felt and a beautiful piece of writing.
The third story deals with sting operations and spy cameras. The story revolves around a sting operation conducted by a near failure sting reporter and a “compromised” to-be-dancer by a famous pop star. It is the chemistry between the reporter and to- be- dancer that catches the eye, or rather the softness of it all. Another stand out is the acting of the dancer and the pop star, reflects the reality really well.
The director really catches the audiences with surprise with this movie- creates the right mood right through, the dialogues might sound harsh on the ear at times and yet they turn out to be comic. The camera is obviously an essential part of the film and it is able to bring out the tension in the film really well.
At the end of it all, the movie is very different from mainstream cinema in the way it’s been dealt with. The movie is really well made- bringing out a woman’s vulnerability, the multiple layers of a man’s psyche and leaves you with a question in your head-
What can you place your trust in without feeling the omnipresent fear of being betrayed?

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Build Walls...

(I had written this long time back! Wanted it on my blog anyway!!!)

I Build Walls

I build walls
Walls that protect,
Walls that shield,
Walls that say i shall not yield,
Or reveal,
Who i am
or,how i feel...
I build walls
Walls that hide,
Walls that cover whats inside,
Walls that stare or smile or look away
Silent lies
Walls tht even block my eyes frm the tears i might have cried
I build walls,
Walls that never let me truly touch
those i love so very much
Walls tht need to fall!!!
Walls meant to be fortresses
are prisons after all...................

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Friends....My Life! :)

Dear Friend,
I just thought it was time to make you realize that in my life you are worth your weight in gold...
i just wanted to tell you how special you are to me......
To quote a few lines a friend once told me "You are this precious asset i just cannot afford to lose."
You have been there with me through thick n thin..
You have accepted me as i am but at the same time reminded me that i am not perfect..
You have shared my happiness with a lot of gusto but at the same time provided a shoulder to lean on ..
when i was sad
You are the 1st person who comes to my mind when i need help, when i just want to talk to some1 or share my secrets,anger or doubts with..
You add a different perspective to my life, give it a totally new dimension.....It is front of you that i really am myself..
Sometimes i act like i am strong, like i know everything....but i don't....from the inside i am lost and confused..
I might cry in front of you, but please don't laugh at me....i am a manly tough sort of way..
I get angry at you, throw tantrums which bother you....bear with me...these are the times i need you the most..
When i do not talk to you or just ignore you, don't ignore me too....take the 1st step to talk to me
Do not get angry...Or feel slighted...just understand that i will be fine in awhile
So many times i have been stubborn and pushed you to the limits..hurt you when i didn't mean to..
Apologies can be said a million times but i know it isn't easy to forget
You have helped me, supported me, loved me and i appreciate that even though i might not show it..
You, my friend, mean the world to me
And i will be happy if i can keep you happy
We might fall out of friendship or go our different ways but where ever i will be a small part of you will always be with me......

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo- The Spirit of Kolkata

“Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo rey…korbo lorbo rey…jeetbo rey…jeetbo rey…aami Kolkata…We Rule!!”

“We will win at any cost, we will fight and we will win! We are Kolkata, we Rule! ”

This theme song of the Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR) is sort of self explanatory about the passion and never say die attitude that a Bengali carries with himself ,wearing his heart on his sleeves as he walks and this is what makes him special, what sets him apart from everyone else. And it’s no coincidence that the man who symbolizes passion and excitement in India is the owner of KKR- Shah Rukh Khan.
The Oxford dictionary says that the word passion means a sudden and strong outburst of emotion, but for Bengali’s it’s a way of life. Every Bengali who does something, however minuscule, does it with passion. Be it sport, be it politics, be it food, music, cinema or for that matter be it an ordinary day in the life of a Bengali- whatever a Bengali pursues he does it with passion and a lot of commitment! He lives life to the fullest, without doubt and regret! Passion is what drives them ahead at times bursting out of its state of dormancy and changing the person completely.
Numerous examples can be found when looking for passion within a Bengali. Take a football match between two of the biggest teams in Bengal- East Bengal versus Mohun Bagan and one will know what I mean. The Salt Lake stadium is filled chock- a- bloc with people in team colors- painted faces, banners, flags, a readiness to pick up a fight with the rival team supporters but most of all a craze for football is what differentiates them from any other person!
Sourav Ganguly is one of those who has the people of Bengal going gaga over him; after all he is the Dada of West Bengal. I still remember the wild celebrations both in England and Kolkata after Ganguly’s historic win against England in the NatWest series final in 2002. His shirt twirling antics at Lord’s and the streets of Kolkata full of people, jumping, hugging and congratulating each other over the fantastic win. It was a sight to behold! Their passion, at times, borders the limits of craziness- if one day they praise Ganguly for an excellent innings played, a lean patch will turn the same supporters into becoming his harshest critics- but then there are always two sides to a coin!
Food, music and film are three other things which more than just interests the average Bengali or should I more specifically say- Macher Jhol(fish curry), Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray. Bengali’s watch “Pather Panchali” and listen to “Rabindra Sangeet” with the same fervor as the yesteryears’. Their passion for a good meal, great music and an old classic remains unsatiated and unfulfilled as ever. And then there are other big names in the film industry who engender this passion- Kajol, Bipasha Basu, Rani Mukherjee and Pradip Sarkar just to name a few.
An article on Kolkata is incomplete without the mention of Mamta Banerjee. She is one who instills a different kind of passion within a Bengali. Whatever she does, she believes in and such is the power of her ideas and passion of belief that it rubs off on the others as well; a perfect example is the Nandi gram issue in Bengal. The passion with which she does her work and the hard work she puts in to achieve her goal is unmatched and admired by the people of Bengal.
But political passion doesn’t always leave you without a twist in the tail. It is but a common sight seeing parties having heated discussions and disagreements that doesn’t bode well for the people of Kolkata- their propensity to call bandhs and hartals, and block the entire city with their insensitive processions and political rallies. This “political passion” is the reason the state has fallen from grace from its heydays.
If even now there are doubts about how passionate a Bengali can be, well I would suggest you to be in Kolkata for a night and witness the atmosphere of its nightlife- its electric! Tantra, Someplace Else, Aqua, Sheesha and Underground are but a few night clubs famous for setting the right mood for the night!
This new passion has changed the outlook of many conventional or orthodox Bengali’s, it has given them the power to compete with the best in the world. It has also grilled in them the never say die attitude and the will to work hard to achieve success; something they lacked earlier!
Somehow this reminds me of the famous lyrics of a Rabindranath Tagore,

“Jodi tor daak shune kyu na aashe tobe ekla cholo re…ekla cholo re!”
“If you call out and no one listens to your call do not be afraid and just keep walking!”

What he basically wanted to say was, if you are passionate about something don’t be afraid to follow your heart even though you find that no one wishes to follow you! Keep walking alone…keep walking alone!