The World as I see it

My Life. My Views

होली मुबारक!!! — March 8, 2012

होली मुबारक!!!

होली मुबा!!!

There is only one way that I can pay tribute to womankind on International Woman’s day today and celebrate my most favorite festival, Holi 🙂 Spending it in rememberance of the woman I find most inspirational, my nani.

I called up my Mami to wish her a happy holi… The mood was sombre in the house since everyone misses Nani a lot… specially during the festivals because she used to celebrate each and every festival with a lot of enthusiasm and spirit!! Mami choked up while talking about my Nani, who was her mother-in-law for 25 odd years. Seeing her talk about Nani with such love and care was heart-warming… A sentence she said specially stayed in my mind long after the call was over… She said “You know your Nani was a very strong woman with an innate sense of fairness. She would sometimes stand against her husband and her own son for me if she thought I was right. Most people these days are afraid of standing up for their own children some times for fear of retribution and she would do it for me… such was her love… unconditional and pure and yet unrelenting against injustice of any type”

Now if that doesnt talk about how selflessness then I dont know what does!

Hats off to my most favorite person in the world and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for always leading by example! Your body may not be amongst us anymore but your thoughts and ideals will live on forever!

On that note, I hope you had a great Holi and took time out for your loved ones 🙂 and go give a kiss to your favorite woman in the world… I just did 🙂

One month since the night the Nation came to a stand-still!! — May 3, 2011

One month since the night the Nation came to a stand-still!!

Let me take you back in time to the summer of 1983 to the lush greens of Lords. The stage was set. The timid Indian team was put up against the roaring lions of West Indies. Having won the last 2 world cups, Clive Lloyd’s men were all set to repeat history and clinch the cup once again. Only, it was not to be. Even after putting up a minial score of 183 on the board, the Indian bowling exploited the weather and pitch conditions perfectly to bowl out the best batting lineup of the era for 140 from 52 overs in return, winning by 43 runs and completing one of the most stunning upsets in cricket history. This was an almost unbelievable win – further reiterating the fact that Indians can do wonders when no one expects them to! Kapil Dev then lifted the cup he probably never expected to, leaving a nation starved of any kind of sporting title, hysterical! In many ways, it was Kapil Dev’s men who brought cricket to each and every household. The image of World Cup in his hands is probably one of the most recognized pictures in India.

And ever since that fateful night, our cricketers have bore the burden of legacy! Everytime they went to play the World Cup, they were reminded (in not so subtle ways) that it was time to bring the cup back! The entire Nation would pray and wish for their victory… We would back them up whole-heartedly… Elevate them to the level of Gods.. and when they crumbled under the pressure of fulfilling the dream of 120-billion people, we would spare no obscenities and sometimes even cause harm to their families. Some of us would go to the extent of vowing never to watch Cricket again… I remember how my dad always used to switch off the television everytime Sachin got out… Coz thats how we were back then… solely depending on the master blaster to perform. If it was his day, no team in the world could stop us… If it wasn’t, we could easily lose to the minnows! For years, maybe decades, Indian cricket had only one player in the form of a tiny little man, whose shoulders not only carried the remaining 10 which form a team, but also the entire nation’s hopes! And that one man was deprived of only one sporting award (if possible) and that was the ever-eluding World Cup!

The stage was set again… 28 years later and this time, in the historic journey… it was those 10 others who gave their sweat and blood to win the world cup… for that one man!!! At 38, it was going to be possibly his last world cup. As a team, we had the toughest journey to that grand finale, beating not just Australia but also Pakistan on the way to meet Sri Lanka who were in good form and desperate to take the 2nd world cup home (Their first being in 1996).

When Dhoni clinched it with that historic Six, a billion eyes lit up and sparkled with the glory that had been evading us for so long… As I saw Virat Kohli and Bhajji lift Sachin on their shoulders for the victory lap, I felt a tear kiss the cheek… It was finally ours…

To India. To Sachin.

Decoding the RGV Phenomena — December 16, 2010

Decoding the RGV Phenomena

I have been out of the circuit for a bit now and the only reason for that was lack of inspiration – I did not wish to blog for the heck of it and I found myself short on interesting ideas or thoughts worth thinking aloud!

Not very long ago in a beautiful city of the western part of India, a group of college going students were having a tea-time conversation about movies, entertainment… basically anything to keep their minds off the next assignment/project. I vividly remember those sunny afternoons – how everytime the name RGV (Ram Gopal Varma, for the uninitiated) came up, there would be a collective murmur – “Oh! he is good”… “His movies you just can’t miss”… “They have so much meaning… and they are so different from the rest”

The verdict was clear!

In an era when most movies banked on big budgets, foreign locales, big stars, crappy story-lines… RGV had the guts to make movies that an average movie-goer wanted to watch… No over-the-top drama… No star power to take away the limelight from the subject… Just pure entertainment… His name started being associated with movies that were sure to entertain you… Anyone who grew up in late 90s, watching Rangeela, Satya, Kaun and then progressing to the early 2000s that marked the cinematic brilliance of Company and Sarkar, would vouch for the phenomena and the rage that RGV had become! A power to be reckoned by!

And then… it hit…

He decided to remake Sholay. This was a bad idea to more reasons that one:

  • Sholay being an epic, is deeply imbibed in every Indian’s heart.
  • Scene-by-scene, dialogue-by-dialogue, the epic was a legend, with each character being a legend in itself. Creating it and being able to re-create the magic was a humongous task
  • Any kind of “twists” and “turns” added to the original story-line may not go down that well with the lovers of “Sholay”
  • Huge dearth of the actors of the calibre of initial star-cast!

From the time I heard, RGV had made some drastic changes to the original script, making it more modern, I knew this was a recipe for trouble! If he pulls it off, it will be a raging success, else a colossal mess. And thats what happened! To date, RGV ki aag is voted as the biggest disaster of the millenium. I refuse to believe that a man of his calibre, could not see the disaster he was concocting. Then the next question is why did he still go ahead with it? Was he too arrogant to even notice the blunders? Or was he left with no choice? Or was he so self-obssessed that it clouded his thinking? What were the actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn thinking?

Well, the movie came and went… and on its way out, it took something a lot more important than just one movie – The credibility of the name RGV in the minds of an average Indian. That was the beginning of the end of an era of wise decisions! He tried his previous formulas again, tried hard to re-surrect his career… but nothing worked! The very premise that had identified RGV as being “different” from an average Indian film-maker was gone! wooosh!

Fastforward to 2010 – Nearly 15 years after Rangeela was released, RGV is now a sad butt of all jokes. From being an example of all things that a film-maker should do, he metamorphosed into an example of all things that a film-maker should not do!

All I have to say, in the end… RGV, let us remember you by all the good movies you created and not the blots on Indian cinema.

Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – Sadly PALE!!! — January 26, 2010

Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara – Sadly PALE!!!

I am a die hard fan of Indian Integrity and the whole concept of “Unity in Diversity”. And nothing better could represent the sole soul of the nation than “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”

I am apalled, aghast, disgusted after seeing the new representation of India in “Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”.

Here goes my review of the same:

Strengths

  1. Amitabh starting the video – gave it a powerful start. Shankar Mahadevan and gang followed it well with a good rendition

Weaknesses

  1. Are you trying to show India without The Taj? I mean, seriously? In the 17 min long video, you could not devote a few seconds to the most recognizable structure in India?
  2. No Lata!? Without her voice, can a video on India be complete? Her beautiful voice gave us goose bumps in the earlier version and we are super lucky to have had her around during the re-make – and the makers missed out on that!!?? Sad!
  3. No Sachin or Dravid? Basically no representation whatsoever of Cricket, the most loved religion of India!
  4. Too much of Mumbai in the video.. How about the ghati of Kashmir or the Backwaters of Kerala or the tea-gardens of Assam or the beaches of Goa?
  5. Deepika and Ranbir looked rather stupid merely acting and not adding any value to the video. From the looks of it, they seemed like they were doing yet another film and not a video on National Integrity!
  6. Really poor representation of WB – They could have roped in Sourav – the prince of Kolkata!
  7. And no one better than Gohil to represent Gujarat? They could have got Mallika Sarabhai back! Or roped in Prachi Desai or Paresh Raval.
  8. The fusion of Shiamak Davar and Kuchipudi was done in real bad taste
  9. Aamir’s portion badly shot and a novel touch to the tune of the song has made it disastrous. His portion did not add any value at all to the whole theme.
  10. Sonu Nigam looks disgusting… he looks like a firang bozo! His portion was sadly easily editable!
  11. The video was trying hard to give enough footage to all the stars involved – Just one line given to every one of them would have sufficed – ensuring little digression from the theme! In the earlier version, all the stars were shown, not as stars, but as aam aadmi. Most were just there, contributing their bit in an unobtrusive way!
  12. Not an iota of mention of Chandrayan? One of our bigger scientific achievements of the decade!
  13. Many portions of the song seemed completely out of tune!
  14. They could have used the famous child stars in portions involving kids.

The video frankly seemed like it was trying hard to satisfy the vanity of each of the stars involved! They could do with some serious editing! It started with a good intention, which was not successfully met. Wished they had concentrated more on showing the real “India” and less of pomp and show!

To cut a long story short, the 17 min long video no match for its short and crisp 6+ mins old counterpart!

I give it a thumbs down! Wats your take?

[PS Prepared with some creative inputs from Praveen]

Its that month of the year… — November 19, 2009

Its that month of the year…

… when you think of the butterflies in your stomach last year and smile about it now

… when the anticipation, anxiety, and a whole flurry of emotions last year gathered u so tight, it was difficult to breathe after a while..

… when the presence of some blessed souls around you (you know who you are :)) made the journey leading to the final steps a lottttttt easier!

… when you hated the fact that you were born a daughter and have to “so-called” leave your house for your husband’s! Well I still rant about it… poor Noobie!

… when you started questioning a lot of Indian customs like “kanyadaan”… and the sanity of the same… and also why people are following it so religiously… refusing to budge!? Am I the only one who feels so strongly about it?

… when new people, strange people… became family… and welcomed me to my new home… with warm smiles on their faces and arms wide open 🙂

Yes… it is that month of the year, which engulfs me with all kinds of emotions! Some bad… most good 🙂 And I still cant believe it has been a year already! The date has not yet come.. But, I doubt Ill be able to blog on The Day!! Hence, celebrating the Anniversary month here 🙂 Hence, the theme.. and the header 🙂

Go on… Wish me us 🙂

Chai ho jaye :))) — October 28, 2009

Chai ho jaye :)))

For me, drinking tea or chai, has a lot associated to it… It is not just a beverage… It symbolises a lot of things in my life…

Chai

All through the years, I have come to associate Chai with quality time spent with family every morning and evening, discussing everything under the sun… having that hot cup of tea in that counter next to our class in Nirma… rushing down in breaks to have a hot cuppa chai – we used to call it SP (Special Chai) in that small kitli stall, next to Great Lakes in South Mada street… pondering over life, indulging in intense discussions about society, relationships, and even jobs… with some close friends… 🙂

Chai to me, means a feeling of happiness, togetherness – a feeling of soothing calmness!

I have known a lot of people who love drinking Chai… some passionately want only Chai, while for some anything will do – Chai ya coffee… I belong to the first half… and I still remember some of those friends and moments shared with them, everytime I have chai 🙂

At the same time, I am not addicted to tea… Its not like my day will not start without a cup of tea… I just like having tea with people who like having tea 🙂 Its an occassion and a celebration for me 🙂

It turns into a moment to cherish with a cuppa chai in my hands 🙂

So, what say? Chai ho jaye? 🙂

Its Karva chauth time :)) — October 7, 2009

Its Karva chauth time :))

Before I begin the post, let me add that I am not particularly in favor of fasts – I dont think torturing yourself by not eating is a good way to impress God!

Nonetheless, there is something innately sweet and pristine about Karva ChauthI just love it 🙂

I grew up watching my mom go through a day with a biggggg smile on her face and would always wonder how she got the strength to go through the day without a morsel of food or a drop of water.. Over the years, I began to appreciate all the emotions that Karva Chauth stands for… It is yet another expression of love… pure, unadulerated love for your husband.

A few people (feminists) think why only women should keep such fasts… why not men?

To that I would say… we women are lucky that we have a medium to express our love and dedication… If a man wants to keep this fast for his wife, he can… but he shouldnt be forced to do that…

Just like love cant be forced upon people, so shouldnt an expression of love 🙂

I am excited about today – my first ever Karva Chauth… 🙂 Let us see if I survive the day 🙂

[PS You can find awesome Karva chauth stories here]

To be on the other side… :) — October 2, 2009

To be on the other side… :)

I have been interviewed about 5-6 times before. But, I have never had the privilege of going…

Ahem! So, why do you want to join this company?

Today was the day… when I sat on the other side of the table and interviewed someone and try to see if he fits in with the attitude of the company!

I went through this thing a million times in my head… I even thought of going like Rachel and asking the interviewee on how I did 😉 And I was nervous! As nervous about taking an interview as I have ever been about giving an interview! Immediately before I was to enter the conf room, images of all those interviewers flashed before my eyes, who were sitting in that chair only to humiliate you and did not care if you got selected or not. And I told myself, I will never be such an interviewer! I will try to understand the person and will go with the intention of finding something nice in him.

And I did… Although I noticed some minor confidence issues, which could potentially hamper a managerial role!

Anyways, we are calling him again.. Lets see what happens!

All in all, a great eye-opener for me… the experience was next to surreal! 🙂

Forgetfulness as a disease.. and a few random things.. — September 23, 2009

Forgetfulness as a disease.. and a few random things..

I opened my laptop today, and pop came the reminder of all the things that needed to be finished today! I let most of the items snooze as I knew they would linger on the back of my mind for a while and I may actually end up doing most of them…

And then, I saw the items of my desktop – I usually get perturbed, if it is very cluttered… I like to keep it clean! And there it was… lying in a dark corner… a notepad… with a name prompting it to be opened immediately! It said “To-Do List”… I scanned through the items and was happy to know most of them had been attended to.. At the same, saddened to see many items lying unattended for months now… I have such a bad habit of procrastinating that if I ignore something once, it is highly unlikely i will get to it until absolutely necessary!

That is what my life has become off late – a sea of reminders!! I have a reminder set for everything! It could be outlook reminders or phone reminders… or ipod reminders… or orkut/fb reminders… reminders of all sorts… they seem to be omnipresent… and are supposed to make my life easier…!! If the intended purpose is achieved is a different case altogether! 😉

Continue reading

Back home!! — October 9, 2008

Back home!!

Hey guys, sorry for the unintentional “mystery” 😉 I was in such a hurry, it was a challenge to even write that post! I had to hurriedly write something under the glare of my mom’s eyes, which said “Tsk… tsk… kuch nahi ho sakta is ladki ka”. My mom for the record, hates my laptop! 🙂 I wont be too surprised if one day, I come home and find it stashed in the dustbin 😉

So, coming back to the topic, I was heading back home – to Ahmedabad! I am there now! 🙂 And feel a peace and serenity, I can associate only with Ahmedabad or maybe its because its been my home, for almost as long as I can remember 🙂

This place is special. Special to everyone who has visited it ever. Its people, its roads, everything feels like its yours. The warmth and the feeling of belongingness 🙂 The city smells of all the amazing times I have spent here with friends and family! 🙂

I love this city 🙂 And plan to have a great stay here 🙂

[PS Have just updated the ashram pics I had taken during the stay]

My tryst with peace in The Art of Living Ashram! — October 6, 2008

My tryst with peace in The Art of Living Ashram!

[Updated: Posting some pictures of Ashram]

Sorry guys for having disappeared without even a mention. Apologies due. But, I have been away… Away to heaven on Earth! 🙂

No internet, No TV, No mode of entertainment, complete silence… and yet, one thing that was omnipotent there: Bliss

I was off to participate in the Navratri Advanced Course in the Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore. Somehow, I have always been sceptical of “Ashrams (Hermitage)” and “Sants (Saints)”. It was taught to us right from childhood not to get swayed away by these so-called mahatmas. But, when my parents got involved, I knew it was different. So, when I got a chance this time to attend a 5-day course, I decided to go for it.

And I am so glad I made that decision. Those 5 days at the ashram were blissful, with a feeling of contentment and happiness washing all over you!! 🙂 It felt so nice just to be there!! 🙂

Now, all the 5 days involved waking up at 6, reaching the Yagya shaala at 7 (sometimes at 6), do yoga and Sudarshan kriya (A patent of the founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, it is a kind of breathing exercise) for about 1.5 hours. You would get the break for breakfast after this for almost 2 hours. Would be needed to come back and then start meditation (Samadhi). After this would be lunch break of another 2 hours. In this, people would eat, rest or do service (Seva).

And then come back for a session on Srimad Bhaagvat. The swamiji who was taking the session was one of the most effective and powerful speakers I have seen and yet so simple! I would be very sleepy when I would come for his session and surprisingly, the moment he would start, I would go in a trance and sleep would disappear (This is quite surprising, since I cant concentrate for more than half an hour straight and am hardly mesmerised by any speaker). In that session, he would tell us about Ramayan, Mahabharat, Bhagavad Gita and also about our Vedas and Upanishads. And he would tell us how each one of these is so relevant in our lives today! Beautiful 🙂

After that, some more meditation, Rudra pooja and then Satsang followed by Gurudev’s knowledge session! In between you would get an hours break for dinner. After which, we would go back to our rooms and sleep.

Now, for the most interesting part of the whole course: Maun!

Maun means Silence. So, we were supposed to observe silence for around 4 days, out of the 5 days! And initially, it was very very difficult. The talkative person that I am, it was a pain to actually keep silent. I have this obsessive need to always tell something at the time it happens… So usually, my family and Noobie are subject to my constant chatter all the time… Now, suddenly, you cant talk – not one word! You could only sing bhajans during Satsang, but not talk!

So, initially it was very difficult… I would try and make up for it by talking to myself in my head… That really dint help things much. So, for the first one day, I was very restless… But, then I would get so involved in seva, that I would stop noticing that I am really not talking!! :mrgreen:

My most favorite parts of the course were the knowledge sessions and seva. Knowledge sessions were very profound and interesting. They made you think. Think real hard about actual problems the mankind is facing these days. And how was it back in the days of yore! 🙂

And seva was the best amongst all. Ashram is one of the most operationally excellent places I have ever seen! To give you an example, on payroll, ashram has about 11 people in housing department and around 550 rooms in the Ashram. All these rooms are cleaned daily. Almost 10000 people eat in the kitchen, which includes people who stay in the Ashram and visitors. And yet, there are only 17 people employed in the kitchen.

So, who does it? How does it happen? How are all those rooms cleaned? How are all those people fed?

It is all done by people. people like u, me… anyone who visits Ashram and wants to do something for the people – wants to do seva! Seva or service could include anything from cutting vegetables to making prasad laddoos to cleaning the kitchen floor to washing the utensils to sweeping the road to picking the stones to wiping the toilet floors… It could be anything. And people who go there to do the course do it… and do it willingly. The best part about the ashram is that you are the king/queen of what you want to do – No one forces you to do anything. So people voluntarily work and make the ashram function!

I did most of those things while in the ashram and you would feel so satisfied and content at the end of it, that you would end up meditating a lot better!

All in all, a wonderful place, wonderful people, a wonderful experience and over and above that, a wonderful Guru that I have found in Sri Sri! 🙂

God bless us all! 🙂

It is wonderful to pick up… — July 21, 2008

It is wonderful to pick up…

… from where we left! 🙂

Saying that I am bad at keeping in touch would be an understatement. I suck! And I have always envied people who can do this with as much ease as is needed to brush your teeth! 😛 And I personally consider this as one of the biggest virtues a person can have. To be able to keep in touch. Nothing can be worse than genuinely liking a person and not being able to stay in touch with them. Its such a waste.

I have been to many places, so I made many friends. But, I have also successfully managed to lose touch with many of those. You tend to be in your sweet little world assuming things havent changed. Life takes over. And you get so involved in your little world that you forget that there is a world beyond. But life doesnt stop. All around you, you have people breaking up, getting married, having children, switching jobs… whew!

Life just goes on! 🙂

What probably remains behind are those moments spent with the other person which are so cherishable – absolutely unforgettable.

However, in the stage of life where I am in right now, the best part about the whole thing is getting in touch with old friends – people I lost touch with… It is absoutely wonderful getting back in touch again… It just transcends you back in time. Its like all those years never really passed. All those things never really happened. Feels like it was just yesterday when we discussed the latest gossip and giggled endlessly over nothing.

Last week and the subsequent weekend was full of fond memories and I was happy throughout 🙂 Got in touch with so many old friends. It was great – just laughing, just plain talking and sometimes even just listening!

It feels blissful to pick up from where we left 🙂 Truly blissful 🙂

Thinking… — June 13, 2008

Thinking…

Thinking about love. Thinking about separation. Thinking about distance. Thinking about pain and having to let go of a lot of things. About keeping tears from flowing. Thinking about the future. Thinking about layoffs. Thinking about how the next few months will unfold. Thinking about decisions, doubts, directions. Opportunities that I let go for much better things that await me. About finding a way to keep this blog going. Promises made and broken.

Latest time pass these days… — April 30, 2008

Latest time pass these days…

… is going over the entire FRIENDS series for the umpteenth time but on my very own FRIENDS DVDs, I received this weekend! 😀

I am thoroughly enjoying the time and guess what? The subtitles make it so much more easier to understand the jokes, I couldnt earlier, which means double the laughter and the resulting headache of neighbours! 😀

Yay! 😀

A trip to Nandi Hills — April 27, 2008