Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Times

Bobby Jindal. (our very own?) Governor of Louisana. He's been in the news all this week since he's been recently elected to the post i just mentioned. People in his village in India celebrated by distributing sweets and dancing in front of the tv screens. Let alone the fact that he's never visited India (and hasnt announced any plans of), the fact that he is Indian-American is enough for India to claim the honour and hail the new governor of an American state, no less.

Never mind that Bobby as he is known, spurned his Indian name (Piyush) at age 5, insisted on being called Bobby after a character in the hit (American) tv show "The Bradys bunch". He converted to Christianity at age 15, whilst giving up Hinduism (which he also made his wife give up). Husband and wife are now devout Christians, visiting the church every Sunday making the picture perfect American family, fit to occupy the governors chair. Did i also say that he mis-pronounced his brothers Indian name during a speech he made recently.

Why exactly are we hailing him then? No doubt he is the youngest man to have been elected tot his post, by a wide margin no less. Lets applaud him for that. And not cause he's Indian-American, because that's not what his victory is about, that's what we are making it out to be. Lets not cheer him for being the first "Indian-American" to be elected governor. Its more that obvious which half of the hyphen of Indian-american he falls on. So many people having Indian origins spurn their motherland, accrediting the places they've grown up in for their victories and accolades, which is only fair.

Another example is Sanjaya Malakar who captured everyone's hearts (and votes) during the recent American Idol. He is Indian- American too. During a post-idol interview he credited his Italian Grand father for his talent. while Indian tv and American media went berserk claiming a toothy gypsy haired Indian-American was taking over American hearts.

Geethali Norah Jones Shankar dropped her first and last names. yet we hail her and feel a sense of connection since shes our very own half Indian daughter. I can just see her making that effort to keep that half alive. Yep.

What im most annoyed about is how Indian media and people claim party to credit for someone whose never lived here, does not acknowledge his/her roots to India. why do we need to glorify individuals who have left India 30-40 years ago and perhaps never even lived here? What sort of contribution do we have to their success as Indians?

The need to glorify India and make evident her footprints in every field, every aspect of the world be it business, glamour, science, talent, research... is long gone. India has arrived on the global map since a long time... its time we revel a little.

On a completely separate note, Hoorah for Kimi!! Im been a BIG fan ever since. although Lewis has a new fan in me, although he is in a rival team. Ferrari proved that in the end, team-spirit prevailed over cut-throat competiton between two drivers of the same team.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Moonwalking on the pier

Welcome to where time stands still
No one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
Just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, no windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred
- Metallica (Sanitarium)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Zara Hatke, Zara Bachke.. yeh hai..

It is said of Mumbai that it is the city that never sleeps. True. Mumbai is the city of dreams. True. Mumbai is the city of heartbreak. True. Mumbai is the city of survival, true. Dreams break, hopes crash, faith dwindles and then a ray of light shines… a stranger lends a helping hand, a small gesture by someone near, a glimmer of light and then we’re up again - hope and faith rekindled, we’re back on our feet, ready to face the battle again… to swim into the sea of people and cling on to the handle of a train and make it to work in one piece.

Life is too fast paced and time is measured in terms of amount or revenue generated per minute- there’s simply no time to waste. And that’s the price we pay - time. We’re all so swept up in work and spending most of our time commuting that there’s no “ME” time. I think this phenomenon is fast spreading to other metros as well… people just don’t have time for themselves, their families or their bodies.

That said, Mumbai is a city that reverberates with the heartbeat of the millions of Mumbaikars, with their undying spirit and enthusiasm. Festivals and Religious beliefs are celebrated with aggressive enthusiasm, fasts are observed in spite of hectic schedules, Ganesh and Diwali are observed with fervent prayers and unshakable faith.

Lovers must love Mumbai I'm sure! PDA’s are a strict no-no, yet they find some isolated Nana Nani park or rock on Bandstand or behind an umbrella on Marine Drive to spend those precious moments together… where beggars, policemen and hawkers are considered but a small obstacle.

You don’t need lots of money or financial backing to succeed in Mumbai. This of course is limited to your definition of success, but all you need is steadfast dedication, ambition, relentless determination and ability to use the resources available to you. Mucchad Paanwala is a small corner street Paanwala who is now world famous. K Rustoms is a decrepit looking store next to Churchgate station selling ice creams for decades. Some of the best Bhel Puri and Vada Pav wala’s in Mumbai are small little stands, who people visit from all over Mumbai.

Noisy, dirty, cramped and overpopulated it may be, Mumbai is my city and I LOVE it. For the people who hold your hand whilst your running to get into a train, for the beggar who stops and helps you stand up when you trip, for the little kid in the train selling you rubber bands, for the thousands of people who took unknown people in their homes on 9/11, for all of us who weather heavy rain and horrid sun to make it to work everyday, for the B.E.S.T. bus conductors who inform you in advance when your stop is expected, for the Mamu’s you pay when you get caught breaking a signal, for the never-say-die attitude, for marine drive and sea walks and the rain and Jumbo king Pav and Esselworld and blink-and-you’ll-miss-em winters and for never ending BMC squabbles and what not. I love Mumbai.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Smiling hearts and faces...

Two years ago I met someone who has left imprints on my mind and heart, I know will never fade. I met him through my mother, incidentally. My mother used to read and record lessons on a tape recorder for two blind children she happened to come across. These boys although blind, were studying for their B.A. exams and were in their first and third years respectively. My mother would record their lessons on a cassette, which they would listen to and accordingly type out in Braille on old Magazine papers and other papers which we would collect for them and study from.

These boys stay in a chawl about 15 minutes from my house and would come walking hand in hand or hand on shoulder each week to collect their cassettes and papers. One of them, Prafful is the one who is the person I’m referring to in my first sentence. There are so many things I love about him, and I'm unsure of where to start. Let me just tell you a few things about him and you can figure it out yourself…

He always has a smile on his face. There were times I walked in home, possibly from a bad day at work, and I would be greeted with a “Hi Kashi Ahes” (Hi! How are you! ) accompanied by a radiant smile - the kind that brings only happiness with it, I felt ashamed immediately of letting trivial inconsistencies have gotten the better of me.

He always looks in the precise direction where I’m standing, I could be standing at the far end of the room or have entered from behind him, but he looks almost at me… Its not only me, it could be anyone in the room… the persons voice is his identification and he has a keen sense of presence, of being tuned into each and every movement made, each noise he heard. If I turned the page of a book he’d ask me which book it was and what it was about... It was almost like he dint even need his eyes had they been there…I felt like we take simple things like having a functional body and senses for granted.

He is always neatly dressed. You don’t need fancy expensive clothes to be hygienic, clean and be pleasing in your appearance.

He can joke about his blindness... One evening both Kailash and Prafful stayed a little longer than expected since my mom served them tea and sweets…on which Prafful says to my mom “Madam we’d better leave now, its turning dark. This Kailash turns completely blind when its dark” of course my mom was confused (weren’t they both blind?) on which Prafful explained that he is completely blind no matter what time of the day it is, but Kailash feels a gleam of light in his eyes which goes when its dark.

Unless he tells you, you don’t know he’s blind. He never talks of it as a curse, he never wishes he wasn’t blind, he never tells others how lucky they are… he’s accepted his blindness and conquered it. It does not bind him, does not hold him back form anything he wants to do, and anywhere he wants to go. His limitations are the only ones he sets for himself.

Prafful has taught me that he doesn’t need my pity. And I don’t pity him … I did initially as all of us would I guess… but he’s taught me that there’s no room for pity in his life… he doesn’t pity himself and doesn’t like others doing so.

He doesn’t look at himself as lesser gifted, or lesser able. He participates in Govinda and silently laments he wishes he could climb to the top (I want to but these boys don’t let me he says), he’s in his chawl plays and dramas which ive been invited for but sadly don’t land up going (but I will someday). He always narrates what character he plays in the drama to me - my fav was when he was shown to be a school boy who doesn’t turn up to school one day cos he feels lazy and the next day explains to the teacher that he could’nt come cos his hen delivered !!!! of course, this is funnier in Marathi accompanied by the full range of expressions.

He works as a Salesman and travels all over Mumbai trying to sell cards/stationary Ive met him on a B.E.S.T. bus one day and bought his ticket when he dint know. The minute the conductor told him his ticket had been bought, he insisted on knowing who it was and paying the person.

I respect him. And I respect the way he lives his life. I love that none of the boundaries or limitations of his life are defined either by his blindness or by any psychological barriers. I love that he dreams dreams like all of us, none that “befit” a blind boy who should dream small. I admire that he faces each day with courage and that he wants to earn well and have a good job. I take inspiration that this boy has a smile on his face, no matter what. And it’s a smile that reaches his eyes… and they don’t feel so dark anymore.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Someone at work sent me this. I died laughing. How many times have we been in such a situation!!!

Zen sarcasm - "No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously" hehehe

Thursday, October 4, 2007

This.. is.. SPARTA

I’ve been watching zillions of movies off late. Ive always liked movies, but never been a HUGE movie-holic. Hindi movies id go for only if they turned out to be massive hits or if they were Nagesh Kukonoor movies (who I spent a long time adoring btw). Anyhoo, Ive watched The Bourne Ultimatum, 300, and Gone with the wind this weekend. Oh my god. How satisfied am I. Id say 300 was the best movie not only out of these three, but also one of the best Ive seen in a very long time. I only kick myself for not having watched 300 in the theatre when it released.

WHAT A MOVIE. THOROUGHLY EXCITING ENTHRALLING SUPERCOOL AWESOME MINDBLOWING MIND NUMBINGLY THRILLING it is!! I spent the last three days recounting dialogues to whoever would listen (and whoever wouldn’t as well). I quote a few of my favorites -

Xerxes - “Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory”
King Leonidas to Xerxes - “And I would die for mine”

Queen Gorgo to King Leonidas - “Come back with your shield or on it.”

King Leonidas to Astinos (Astinos is dying, right beside the king and says “My king its an honour to die by your side”)

King Leonidas says “And its an honour to have lived by yours”

King Leonidas - “Immortals….we’ll put their name to test”

[Dilios is putting a patch over his eye]

King Leonidas: “Dilios, I trust that "scratch" hasn't made you useless”

Dilios: “Hardly, my lord, it's just an eye. The gods saw fit to grace me with a spare”

[Xerxes standing atop a hill watching his "Immortal"army being slaughtered by the Spartans"
Dilios: “Immortals, they failed the king's test, and a man who fancies himself a god feels a very human chill crawl up his spine.”

Just realized id probably be trying to narrate the entire movie here if i dont stop. The movie is filled with awespiring dialogue after dialogue. Throughout the movie i had goosepimples and a fast pacing heart only because the movie just stuns you with its magnificence not only in terms of the script but also by the brilliant cinematography. This movie has apparently been shot in 60 days, but underwent one year of editing to get the visual effects right. And right it is. Its a visual delight.

I must admit that I’m strangely distracted now and feeling that rush of euphoria after I had watched the movie. All I know is that this is a movie worth all the blood and gore and is also a MUST own.

Right now I say to myself “Calm down girl”.