Random thoughts

Location: Pune/Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Capricious, eccentric, happy-go-lucky

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Destiny's child

Toonta toonta ek parinda aise toonta, ki phir ud na paya.

Loonta, loonta kisne usko aise loonta, ki phir jud na paya.

Girta hua woh aasman se aakar gira zameen par,

Khwabon mein phir bhi baadal hi the, woh kehta raha magar,

Ke “Allah ke bande hasde, Allah ke bande,

Allah ke bande hasde, jo bhi ho kal phir aayega.”

Every once in a while, there comes a story that touches a raw cord deep within you and moves and uplifts you. When I watched Slumdog Millionaire, what I expected was a rags-to-riches success story, peppered with colourful anecdotes of the lead character’s life. What I didn’t expect, was an anything-for-love storyline. I was briefly disappointed initially, only because the theme has been explored ad naseum.

Soon enough, I was deeply engrossed in a kaleidoscope of Bombay’s slums, the underworld, street life and a chaiwala’s singular dream. Cheesy and presumably predictable though it may seem, the saga of a lost love is timeless. Drawing on this theme, Slumdog Millionaire is fresh, uniquely earnest and hopeful, raw and ruthlessly honest in its portrayal of Bombay’s slums. The drama is inherent. And I’m guessing the Hindu-Muslim connection is not purely coincidental. In any case, it is hardly the crux of the tale. Technically too, the film scores. I love how the past and the present alternate seamlessly, woven deftly into the fabric of the story. The background scores, composed by A.R. Rehman will be downloaded shortly, it is brilliant stuff.

The lead character is a young boy from the slums, who has very little to begin with and every time he comes within reach of one thing that gave meaning and purpose to his life, he loses it all over again. Perhaps borne of his unique circumstances, his integrity and resolute determination, even in his turbulent childhood, astonishes. His changeless, unwavering commitment to a vision in his mind, his unflinching pursuit (of happiness), turns into his destiny.

Perhaps that is how it was written.

Monday, November 26, 2007


A recent trip to the picturesque and tourist-uberfriendly state of Rajasthan has me convinced the Rajasthan has me convinced that everybody is involved in a robust love affair. Very openly too. A love affair with ... colour. In blatant defiance of the dust-coloured, parched landscape of their motherland, they've painted one town pink and another blue. The Rajasthanis themselves are a colourful lot- attired in the most cheerful and brightest of hues. Swathed in red, magenta (among some twenty other colours) and bandhanis and shimmering with mirrors and a ton of silver jewellery, the women paint a merry picture indeed. The men are just two steps behind in the jewellery department.For the men the multi-hued turban and their perfectly groomed moustaches is their style statement. The turban is more than just a style statement though, different styles of wearing indicate class, profession and geography. Even the camels are well-turned out. Patterns adorn their faces, beads and tassles grace their necks and the seating on the camel's back is a mass of patterned fabric and mirrors. It's like the Rajasthanis have taken a serious offence to dry, lifeless landscape and have made sure that everything they make (food, jewellery,clothing, music and dance) is in every colour possible like defiant little children. The clash of colours against the dusty backdrop of the desert, the lilting notes of the sarangi and some robust folksy singing make Rajasthan postcard-photo material. The land of contrasts - scorching days and chilly nights, monotonous landscape and colourful people, inhospitable terrain and the most hospitable people in the world. Yes, I went back to my roots : ). And loved it there.


It's been a long, long hiatus from the blogging world. The break's been a bit too long, honestly. Months and months. It's been sheer laziness but now I have a new motivation to start blogging again, among other reasons. And now that I'm back, I realise that I really did miss blogging, and checking out the comments I got and reading other people's blogs. It's time for me to start from scratch. It would help if i got a little readership from you netizens out there though.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Murphy's laws

There are some days when it rains like the world's coming to an end, yet professor's merrily waltz into class, untouched and unscathed. You're soaked to the bone, clearly surviving on that one feeble hope that classes will be cancelled-after all the city's flooded. But classes stretch an hour or two longer than usual. You enter your room in a particularly vile mood to see that your roommate's entire wardrobe's on the floor, beds, everywhere. Arrrrgggh. To add to that , the shittiest, most inedible blobs are being served at the mess. Oh and you're broke, their's no one to hear you crib 'cause the cell's out of balance, so you're left to wallow in your misery. You look into the mirror, try to smile at yourself and notice that you're having a particularly bad hair day.
Gosh, it seriously seems like the entire universe is deviously conspiring against you. Nothing's going right, and everything's a mess. And they seem to be getting worse. You couldn't feel more off colour. Time to tune into some Murphy's laws. They promise to offer you some Karmic relief at best, or atleast a few wry laughs. Here's an assortment:
  • If anything can go wrong, it will.
  • Smile .....tomorrow will be worse.
  • If you're feeling good, don't worry you'll get over it.
  • If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
  • A patent application will be preceded by one week by a similar application by an independent worker.
  • Variables won't, constants aren't.
  • The probability of a young man meeting a desirable, receptive young female increases when he is already in the company of : a date/ his wife/ a better looking and richer male friend.
  • Beauty multiplied by brains= constant.
  • If in the course of several months, only 3 worthwhile social events take place, they will all fall on the same day.
  • Anything labelled new/ improved isn't.
  • Multi-function gadgets won't perform any function adequately.
  • How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.
  • Archimedes' principle: When a body is immersed in water, the phone rings.
  • The pimples don't appear until the hour before the date.
  • A clean tie attracts the soup of the day.
  • You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
  • Four wheel drive means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.
  • Wind velocity increases with the cost of the hairdo.
  • The overwhelming pre-requisite for the greatness of an artist is that artist's death.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Various debates and posts(where I realised my comments were getting a tad too long) have prompted me to write a post on the topic of God and faith. Plus I've been nagged enough about updating my blog ; ).
We humans are second-handers by nature. Even an unflagging confidence or belief in yourself stems from encouragement, appreciation or atleast acknowlegdement from others. Hence the need to look to someone else when challenged by the unknown. This deep-seated and primal fear of the unexplored lead to the earliest tryst with with faith and God. What couldn't be explained was attributed to God.
This phenomenon has several names and explanations. Some call it God, some destiny, some call it an unknown primeval force, some nothing. For aeons God was a self-explanatory word and it is only in the recent centuries that people have been questioning this blind faith in God and have been trying to experiment with and analyse faith in God in order to understand it.
This faith exists, probably because it is unburdening and liberating. It's this belief that there is a saviour out there, an entity to transfer our worries and responsibilities to. Whether he exists or not is immaterial.
Consider a placebo. It is a harmless pill that in actuality does nothing. Except that it does mitigate the patient's anxiety about his health. Although the placebo has no effect whatsoever on the patient, he believes it does and that is the cure. The principle of God works in the same way( It is just an analogy and is not intended to hurt anyone's sentiments). He can be whatever you want Him to be. Maybe it's the extra-edge kick you got during some paper and you don't know where it sprouted from. Maybe it's your aunt's miraculous recovery from a terminal disease. It could be anything. Or nothing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


A soft, cool breeze on a scorching day. A tempest. A blazing fire.
The dimple in your smile. Succour. An ice-cold shower.
A blanket that envelops you in it's warmth.
A fragile shard of glass. The band-aid for your broken heart.
The reason why your heart's broken in the first place.

There are many roles that a woman has to play. Effortlessly she morphs from one character to another. She's a bitch. She's your boss. She rocks your world. She's a mother. A sister, friend, sweetheart and wife. Elegance and grace personified. She can be a clumzy klutz too. She can wrap you around a her little finger, just as easily as she can show you the finger. Powerful, strong, wilful and vulnerable. The softest steel you could ever find.

But she's also an object. A toy. A prize catch. Even a trophy. Loot and treasure.
What is she really?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Being Indian

I've never understood the saffron brigade's(Shiv Sena, VHP, etc.) intense insecurity about the so called invasion of the Western culture, their staunch opposition and violent opposition of Valentine's day celebrations and anything else that they deem 'western'. (Btw this curiously does not include the alleged paedophile Michael Jackson's music. Apparently Balasaheb is a fan). True, these corrupt bumbling idiots love trivialising or conveniently ignoring the bigger picture and love making mountains out of non-issues. But still, what were they thinking?
That jeans, heart-shaped cookies and English music can take the Indian out of us? Or that renaming every street and building in sight after Shivaji is suddenly going to make us feel more Indian. They've clearly misunderstood the youth of the nation.
Our Indianness is a nebulous feeling, that perhaps is the only mark of uniformity in the heterogeneous population of the country This feeling of belonging is intrinsic, it's been pre-wired into our systems and can't be influenced by any other. It flows in the blood of the stinking rich and the poverty-stricken, the NRI and the ueber-patriotic types. So why do these idiots worry so much about the erosion of our culture?
I'm kind of dissillusioned about the Indian culture, I'm not really sure what all it encompasses.( The word brings memories of Kathak recitals and classical music.) People keep telling you what it's not, so you're left to make what you want of it. Culture, just like mankind has evolved and keeps evolving. It's a process that's catalysed by change, foreign influences and choices. Although cultures have their own identities, in this shrinking world every culture inevitably borrows from others-its plain and simple evolution. Culture is being constantly remixed to suit the current generation, yet the old tune rings clear and strong. Old and forgotten traditions do have this uncanny ability to reincarnate every now and then.
We Indians are bound together as a community by a sublte, complex feeling of belonging, of being Indian. Some of us express it robustly at cricket matches, clad in blue and sporting the tricolour on our faces. Some of us acknowlegde the slumbering emotions stirring in our hearts when we watch a patriotic film. There are so many manifestations of this feeling. It's that smile(wry it may be, but it's a smile nevertheless) when you get off at the chaotic, maddening Sahar airport(oops it's Chhatrapati Shivaji airport isn't it? ) after a trip abroad. And the aroma of parched earth when the first raindrops soak it. Ghar ka khana and aam ka anchaar. Sequinned kurtis and kurtas worn over faded jeans. Annoying hip hop-Bhangra numbers in typical east-meets-west style that grow onto you.
So what if many of us are amalgams of Indo-western sensibities? Our Indianness is firmly entrenched in our body, mind and soul. It's timeless. And it's got absolutely nothing to do with the names of cities, whether Bangalore ought to be called Bangluroo or not. That's why I just don't get why Sena workers suffer mild cardiac arrests everytime we sip our Coke and bite into our pizzas. We're not forgetting anything. They should just give it a rest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Terra Incognita

A few weeks from now and I'll be twenty. Twentehhh! I'm going to be OLD. Yikes!!!(Ok time to cut the drama). So why is turning twenty such a milestone?
It means official(read: no looking back) entry into the world of adults. My hostel mates will no longer call me 'bachha', 'kiddo' or 'little one'. Or pinch my cheek about 50 times a day. (And believe me they get such a kick doing that). Don't think I'm going to miss that much, but it sure is nice to be pampered for a bit.
When I was much younger, I always believed that there was childhood and then you jumped straight to adulthood at twenty. I thought I'd know how to drive a car, cook everything possible and do several other things that I deemed 'adult'-at twenty, just like that. Like a snap of the fingers.(I was really really young back then). I never realised that one would have to traverse the tortuous realm of adolescence. Tricky years that make you who you are. Years that trigger a metamorphosis, hormonal surges, introspection and experimentation. Moments that hone you and sandpaper the rough edges. 16-19 especially was one memorable journey-one helluva topsy turvy rollercoaster ride.
These years have taught me several valuable lessons-like you've got to keep learning, it's a never-ending process and it's never going to be enough. That the only opinion that really really matters is my own, however humble and unrefined it may be. And time is paramount-each fleeting second is a priceless gift. We all know this
but do we conciously realise it-ever? And perhaps the hardest lesson of them all is learning to just let go sometimes-however unacceptable it may seem. It saps the energy from your very core, leaves you badly bruised even, but you just have to see that things can't always be the same. After all change is the only constant in life.
Twenty for me heralds the closing of chapter 1. Sure, I can go back to it, just like a favourite book, but just to re-read that beloved, intoxicating chapter. The next chapter has yet to begin. I think I'm in no-man's land right now. Sometimes we greet changes with hesitation, then one fine day you realise those very changes have become stale news, pedestrian. Turning twenty is not earth-shattering news. Not even miles close. But it does mean stepping out of some of my comfort zones. Which translates to apprehension and excitement and a hundred butterflies doing the tango in my belly! Its a heady cocktail, but alas! It's laced with nostalgia. Sigh. Guess it's time to kiss the growing up blues and the Peter Pan Syndrome goodbye. Sometime in the near future at the least.
Yeah, I'm going to cherish all the memories of the era gone by. They'll always play at the back of my mind. It's been a great year guys. Before I get more senti here, I'm going to sign off. God bless you all.