Sunday, December 27, 2009

charm or a curse?

Dreams woven in the fading lights of dusk resurface full-bodied in the harsh afternoons of reality.
Simulated to perfection, they rob you of any ambition you might have harboured to turn them in to reality.
The pleasure, the allied emotions and the consequences, they are all there.
How then is one supposed to not give in, stop day dreaming and get to work?

Her brain came with an add-0n: a free but potent nonetheless simulation software.
One could be tempted to secretly smile and turn green at the good luck; I was, but no more.
What democracy? What rights? What justice?
Blood riles when one hears stories like that of Ruchika's.

You are a 14 year old studying in 10th standard. You are molested by a top cop.
You dare to file a complaint with the support of a friend.

What follows seems to be taken straight out of the worst possible nightmare.

The cop ofcourse uses his power and position to manipulate facts and evidence with the help of his lawyer wife. Meanwhile you and your family are threatened and tortured to the point of moving out of the city. Your friend and her father are threatened for supporting you. You are expelled from your school of 13 years for 'loose character'. You repeatedly refuse to give-in and take the charges back. You brother is beaten up, booked under false theft cases and tortured. You break and commit suicide.
CBI takes up the case. Rathore tries to influence the CBI officer heading the investigation. No charges of abetting to suicide make their way into the chargesheet.
19 years on, he is handed a 6 months sentence for 'outraging the modesty of a woman'.
He comes out of the court smiling and says he will appeal against the verdict.

The actual crime in question is rendered almost irrelevant by the horror that has followed. I just don't know what to say.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

referendum kavali adhyaksha!

In any Telangana debate things inevitably get to a point where the following question is asked:
"But do the people of Telangana really want a separate state? If they did, then what can possibly explain the drubbing that TRS received in the recent elections?"
Things start to get murky here onwards.
Why is a 'no' to KCR/TRS construed as a 'no' to Telangana? If people rejected TRS outright in the elections, then why does the reason have to be anything more than a distrust on his administrative capabilities. After all the elections were for the Assembly weren't they?
Now things would have been a lot more clearer if a simple and straightforward referendum was put forward.
Ask people a direct question with just two options - Do you want Telangana? Yes/No.
Why do you have to resort to reading public opinion from Assembly elections? It makes no sense.
Like someone said on a recent TV debate - its just shows that we don't have the confidence and maturity as a democracy to ask for referendum.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Drama Rama Telangana

After a volatile 11 days, full of fasts-unto-death, suicides, suicide attempts, bandhs and rallies led by students, Chidambaram announced yesterday at 11.30 PM Govt's decision to kick-start the process of state division.
KCR calls off hunger strike. So-called celebrations ensued.
Cut to today morning and the whole state wakes up to a series of crazy events unfolding.
MLAs, MPs and MLCs from Andhra and Raayalseema, across the board from all parties - Congress, TDP and PRP resigned. Students took to the streets and bandhs were called.
93 MLA's quit protesting Govt's 'yes' to a seperate Telangana state.
Makes me go.. you asked for it bro!
If KCR's hunger strike, burnt RTC buses, student protests are taken to represent public opinion and manage to succesfully arm-twist the Govt into granting a state, then its only a matter of time before the other side shows it is capable of all these too.
If OU can students can go on rampage, then so can AU and SVU students. If KCR can go on a hunger strike(in other words.. plain black mail), so can others. If you can burn buses, stone shopping malls and raze down an innocent man's hotel, so can they. Its crazy. Stupid and dangerous.

A special mention about Chandrababu Naidu. When an all-party meet was called just a day back.. all the political parties announced that they were in favour of passing the Telangana resolution. And today Babu wakes up to find his party half-empty.
To turn around and accuse the congress for not taking consensus is so mind-zapping.
If it shows anything at all, it is this - that ALL the parties including the Congress failed to read what was going on in their own backyards.

The ensuing weeks promise full-on political action. As if having a badly divided Andhra Pradesh was not enough, requests for some 9 new states have comeup. In such a bind - what will the Congress do?
I would have been rubbing my hands in anticipation were it not for all the voilence and high passions involved.
But wait.. is it really as simple/convoluted as it seems? Or are there time-tested political brains at work behind the curtains and pulling the triggers and whilst we simple mindedly get all worked-up about it?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I need the guts...

To quit,
sans the comforting security of a back-up plan or a better offer.
to jerk off the notion that - holding on is being strong.
to believe that I am not being foolish.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

all in a day's work

Towards the end of the trailer there is a shot where Auro looks up, says Paa and then lets a shy ha-ha escape his mouth. Thats it. It was in those 3 seconds that Balki sold me the film. I fell for it and booked the first available tickets.

Balki got the childhood part bang-on. Auro is endearing because he is just what you'd expect a 12 year old to be. Progeria, the medical condition that Auro suffers from is just incidental and as explained by Balki himself, was used as an excuse for the role-reversal of father and son.

So Auro is a happy and much loved kid, surrounded by people whose treatment of him is not coloured by his condition. And this allows him to be a regular, confused, little-spoilt, witty, popular at school, awkward kid about to step into his teens. What fun afterall, is a kid who can't throw a good tantrum!

The kids at school are potrayed as uniformly accomodating and loving of Auro. Yes, all of us are aware that kids in school can be really cruel. But it is quite charming of the film to retain this innocence.

There are unnecessary subplots like Abhishek's rant against the media that just doesn't work. And I found the movie a little slow. But what lingers in one's mind after stepping out of the theatre is the good stuff.

1) Amitabh as Auro.

There is just nobody else like him and I doubt there will ever be. His persona and acting prowess aside, the man inspires awe just for having retained the hunger and drive fit for a 20 year old, after all these years. He has such magnificient roles written for him, especially in his second innings - Mohabbatien (if for nothing, atleast for being his big comeback), Sarkar, Nishabd, Cheeni Kum, Black and now Paa. Each time he essays a superb role, I am entertained yes, but I also feel very happy for him. The guy must be having the time of his life. To have somebody say that of you, and after a career spanning decades and seeing dizzying heights of stardom - is so rich and wonderful. What a Man!

2) Vidya as Auro's mom and Arundathi Naag as Vidya' mom.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Vidya tells her mother about her pregnancy. I also liked the little details like how Vidya always sits in the same little corner in her veranda whenever she is troubled. And she looks absolutely stunning in the movie.

3) Auro's best friend Vishnu.

His frustrations about his father, studies and everything else. The kid is totally adorable. Vishnu's character gives some of the most funny moments in the movie.

4) The Gum Sum Gum tune in the movie - trademark Ilayaraaja.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

pet insight

Past and Failure have been subjected to unspeakable abuse since the beginning of time, in the hands of 'Quote' makers. My heart really goes out to these two.
The first email I usually check daily is inadvertently titled - 'Thought of the Day'.
And today it says "You can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures."

We've heard countless others proclaiming the importance of learning from our failures and past mistakes.
Makes me bang the desk infront of me and go... One doubt Adhyaksha!

To learn from the mistakes and still practice the indifference preached by 'let go of your failures' - How easy is it?
Tell me whether to care or not. Don't ask me to indulge in the subtle dance of not knowing how far to go and when to hold back.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a spoonful each of all my favourite ice cream flavors

To know yourself too well is not quite that 'swell' as they make it out to be.
Makes us overtly accomodating of our own failings. Me thinks.
Everything is forgivable but miserable cowardice.
Accusation of every other weakness; you can wriggle out of, with manageable damage.
Not this. It offers no such comfort.
You don't always fight. The blood doesn't always rile.
Sometimes when you are slapped in your face,
all you do is retreat. Wide eyed, shocked and in surprise regret.
Currently Reading...
Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson
Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
India After Gandhi – Ramchandra Guha

Recently Read...
Notes from a Big Country - Bill Bryson
Nine Lives - William Dalrymple
City of Djinns - William Dalrymple
The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
Discovered a taste for Travel Writing. Liked Bryson and Dalrymple very much. Both of them inspire me.
I was introduced to Bryson's work by a friend with - A Short History of Nearly Everything (ASHNE). I had enjoyed it immensely and on being asked how I liked it, I said "It's like someone gave me a spoonful each of all my favorite ice cream flavors".
I have come to enjoy his travel writing even more. I wish I could match his wit.
Wit, hasn't got much reputation as an acquired skill, has it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

all by myself...

To savour a virgin, unspoilt beach. To have it all for just the 3 of us.
To not have another living soul for miles around and to really have it just for yourself.
All of it.

Check. Strike that down the list.

Pichavaram is home to one of the largest Mangrove forest in the world and a spectacular beach. A 5 hour drive out of Chennai, it is a must on every 'to-do' list.
Photos might not fully capture the splendour of the beach, but they still are some of the best we have clicked.. and here's hoping that they succeed in enticing you into going there!
The boat ride doesn't render itself very well to photographs. If the experience has to be captured then a video is the best bet. 1 2 3

Lots be said and some cool tips to be given. But I will save that for the Travel blog that we are planning - IC and I.
There!! I have made a public commitment. Now the blog can't wait long.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

One masala dosa and your fav Manna Dey number

Weren't we talking about Brazil and da Silva in the last post?!! Well, we have reason again to talk about them. Brazil's Rio de Janeiro won the Olympic 2016 bid.
What is your list of fav Manna Dey's numbers?
Mine is here:
-Laaga chunari mein daag, chupau kaise
-Zindagi kaisi hain peheli haaye
-Chalat musafir moh liyo re pinjrewali muniya
-Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum tum mile tho
-Aye mere pyaare watan, aye mere bhichde chaman
-Ek chatur naar karke singaar
-Yeh raat bheegi bheegi
Winter Light
The Ten Commandments
2001: A Space Odyssey
Gone With the Wind
Quick Gun Murugan
Talking of QGM, how can one not mention - One tumbler whiskey, one masala dosa. Mind IT!

Monday, September 21, 2009

We've broke our mirrors...

The ‘new big story’ is now quite old. That of China, India and Brazil. The Brazil story is quite interesting and here is the guy who is at it’s epicenter - Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva
I'm so happy. Cause today I found my friends.
They're in my head. I'm so ugly. But that's ok.
'Cause so are you. We've broke our mirrors.
Sunday morning. Is everyday for all I care.
And I'm not scared. Light my candles. In a daze cause I've found god.

I'm so lonely. And that's ok.
I shaved my head. And I'm not sad, and just maybe
I'm to blame for all I've heard. And I'm not sure.
I'm so excited. I can't wait to meet you there.
And I don't care. I'm so horny. But that's ok. My will is good.

I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
I love you.I'm not gonna crack.
I killed you. I'm not gonna crack.

Left a little of myself back there.
Feel richer, I also do.
It is rather grand to grow fond of a place this way, isn’t it?!
Sometimes the answer is - giving up hope.
That peace is out there somewhere for your taking.
That it is just over the horizon. And you just have to sail long enough.
That if you did the right thing, you will find it eventually.
"How can you stand it?" they asked, "not knowing what you want"
But I know. Just that I want more than one thing.
"You can’t have everything"
"You have to choose"
"Pick one and stick to it. That’s how it’s done"
And they went ahead and called me fickle.

Monday, September 14, 2009

howz that for an impact...

The onslaught of television broadcasting not withstanding, I bet there is a generation out there which remembers fondly of the winter mornings and summer nights spent huddled around the transistor listening to cricket commentry - full of awe, hanging on to each word and constructing each detail in the mind's eye.
Similar emotions flow today, albiet the transistor is replaced with a real-time update on the net.
I am watching Ten Sports telecast of the US Open final.. and yet I have the BBC's Live Text open. I have lived and relived many a dear matches courtesy their descriptions. And somehow, a grand slam experience is incomplete without it. So.. 3 cheers for the guys @ Live Text.
-Little People
So we are collecting nominations for - list of people who have made the most difference to the world. All you get is one line to prove that your guy deserves to be on that list.
Amongst the pile of entries which is certain to include rulers/leaders/thinkers/scientists... there is a little note saying 'saved a billion lives'.
Norman E. Borlaug - the father of Green Revolution died today, aged 95.
More about Borlaug in Times of India and Hindu.
One can't help but feel gratitude.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Chief Minister YSR's chopper went missing over Nallamala jungles at around 10 AM today morning. Unfavourable conditions hamper the search operations underway. The jungle is crazily dense and (used to be) Naxalite prone too. The weather is bad, it is pouring all over the place.
It's been 12 hours and there has been little progress. With daybreak the authorities are hoping to step up search operations and meanwhile they have pleaded the local junta familiar with the landscape to help them out.
Its all quite unreal.

Update: Reports confirming the death of all 5 people aboard that chooper, have just got in.

YSR will be remembered for his hugely ambitious Jala Yagnam and Arogya Shri. Programmes that targeted irrigation and health care for the poor and which arguably enabled Congress to beat anti-incumbency and come back to power.
One can never overstate the importance of irrigation and health care, so one hopes that these causes are not abandoned.
The inevitable question - who next? On the face of it Roshayya would seem like a natural choice. D. Srinivas chances on the other hand have diluted, thanks to his defeat in the recent Assembly elections. Looks like the times of in-fighting are back for the Congress, now that they seem to lack a single leader who commands the respect of both - the state cadre/leaders and the central command.
Citizen Kane
Happy Together
No Reservations
Husbands and Wives
It Happened One Night
Bicycle Thief
My Fair Lady
Breakfast at Tiffany's
He's Just Not That In To You.
How To Loose a Guy in 10 Days
Definitely, Maybe
Love Aaj Kal
Yes Man
Loved My Fair Lady. Rex Harrison deserves every inch of the Oscar he got. Also, I have come to like Audrey Hepburn quite a lot.
While we are still talking Classic Hollywood, let me drop in a quick word about Gregory Peck.
He is God. Period.
Bytheway, do the 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' fans out there know these interesting trivia.
-Mary Badham who plays Scout, Atticus' (Peck's character) daughter stuck a close friendship with Peck. Both of them remained very close till Peck's death in 2003. She always called him Atticus.
-It is Clark Kent's favourite movie.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal se...

What to skip?
-Ropeway. Nothing much on offer. Mussorie ropeway is better.

What not to skip?
-A 1-1/2 hour horse ride on a cobbled path in a dream-like picturesque jungle. Singularly awesome it was.
-Boating in the enticing and well maintained waters of Talli tal and Malli tal. It's the kind of boat ride where you can take a book along and laze around for an hour.
-The flea market at Mall road

-Mr. Amarnath who is into boat rowing in Malli/Talli tal since 40-45 years. A really endearing man he is.
-Cat-eyed chauffeur who sang old hindi songs along with us, while driving us around scenic lakes.

Apparently the best season to visit is October.
Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal mein, nadi mile saagar mein,
Saagar mile kaun se jal mein, koi jaane na..
Movie - Anokhi Raat
Singer - Mukesh
Lyrics - Indeewar
Music - Roshan

I had first listened to this song in an album called 'Restday'.
It had the favorite hindi songs of Indian cricketers, sung by Manjrekar and Kambli. This song was Azhar's fav.
Chandni Chowk - Delhi 6.
-Took lots of interesting pics but its a pity that I am unable to share them. X's mobile ne dokha de diya.
-It's the place to go, to taste the real street food of Delhi.
-The Jalebi here is stuff to die for. Golden red, juicy and so big that it hardly fits in your palm.
-The Falooda was yummy too.
-Paani Puri though, I think Hyderbad has better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

whats you fav e-word?

Much happening around...
- Supreme Court's landmark ruling on Sec 377. God knows we took too long to arrive at this! But like they say - better late than never.
The society may remain as stigmatized as ever, but sometimes Law needs to lead the way.
-Federer won his 15th. Roddick won many fans.
- C stepped into a brand new phase of life - a much awaited one.
-I am discovering the joys of going around Dilli early in the morning.
-The number of cars and the number of women driving them, are few of the first things that hit you about this city.
-Later of course you move on to the high percentage of well-groomed people and the mind-boggling all-pervasiveness of Paneer.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Roman Holiday
To Kill a Mocking Bird
In Mood for Love
One Fine Day
Transformers 2
The Proposal
Kambakt Ishq
Books on my bedside table -
Time Machine - H.G Wells
Cosmos - Carl Sagan
My Friend Sancho - Amit Varma
Stay Hungry Stay Foolish - Rashmi Bansal
Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
Mine is Hope.
It's quite a thing, yes. But it can darn well kill too.
What's your favourite e-word bytheway? 'e' as in emotion.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mausam ki pehli baarish...

After what has been a trying tyrst with the Capital's heat waves, the much awaited drizzle has soothed many a desperate souls here.

Life is good. Right Here Right Now.
Bas ise ab great banane ke liye garam garam Mirchi Bajji and Jalebi ki zaroorath hain.
Terminator 4 - Salvation
Wolverine - XMen Origins
Star Trek
New York

Friday, June 19, 2009

Delhi Se - Its been a week..

My previous visit to the Rajdhani was typically touristy. This time though its more like an extended holiday; eventhough its work that I have come here to do. And if you ask me this is the best way to discover a city. Go live there, for a month or two.
The walk from the bus stop to home, auto rides, the galli ka kirana store, the children's park around the corner, the bargains - its these that flavor the experience.
I feel at home, in this city. Not sure why. From the moment I landed.
The temperature and pollution here are an issue. But one always finds a way to beat them.
So it was destination Mussoorie - Hrishikesh - Haridwar.
3 of us did the travelling. 8 hours earlier, I had no clue who the other two were and had never laid eyes on them. It is the closest I have come to travelling alone and it makes the whole trip so much cooler.

Reason# 11, why you should go travelling -
to realise how you can will an ailing body to savour the chills of a hill station.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Federer Claims his 14th Slam

A timesonline article on how Federer wanted this victory so much and so badly, that his desire almost destroyed him. Today's was not the same Federer who looked a bundle of nerves in the semi final. This one kept his cool and are we glad he did or what!

There are things we lesser mortals will never understand - like how he must have felt when after claiming the title he stood in attention (to the Swiss anthem being played out) and tears rolled out. It must be nice to want something so badly.

There were champions earlier too ofcourse, but only a choicest few inspire poetry, no?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Federer in French open Final

He is into the finals. But Nadal won't be there and the victory (if achieved) wouldn't taste like it ought to.
It's not really like the good old days, but atleast its something.
Those times were good. You went to bed assured, that however big and bad the world might be, there were things that din't change - Roger Federer Wins. You held on to that precious certainity, clinged to it, for.. it comforted touchy nerves.
Then came along Nadal to threaten the order. We comforted ourselves with a 'this too shall pass'. But no passing storm this, it eventually conquered all - even the sacred grass courts. Its been painful ever since and we slowly went back to being our cynical selves - disenchanted with the ways of world.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

UPA wins

For the numbers, some really cool graphics representing them, constituency wise results and just about everything, you can go here.
The UPA alliance put up a performance that must have surprassed even its own most optimistic estimates.
UPA - 262. NDA - 157.
Thanks to the results I hear sighs of relief all around, not so much because UPA won but because someone won. A badly fractured verdict was every body's biggest fear and most are happy that UPA's been given a clear mandate.
Mostly because it is still fresh in the minds how the coalition partners (esp DMK and Left) wielded disproportionate power in policy decisions, last time around.
But one wonders if all the euphoria on this government being shackle-free misplaced? After all, the DMK is still going to be a part of the govt. And if the Left is out, Mamata Banerjee is in.
Will the Congress party's strong individual performance (206 seats) lend enough weight to its voice so as to keep the regional/smaller parties in their place?

-Congress + Trinamool Congress make surprising inroads into the Left bastion in West Bengal.
-DMK proves most exit-polls wrong in Tamil Nadu.
-Congress must have surprised itself with its performance in UP. Rahul Gandhi proves his mettle in the harsh and rugged political landscape of Uttar Pradesh?!
-YSR delivers Andhra Pradesh to Congress, safe and sound. Both Lok Sabha and Assembly.
-LK Advani loses out on what maybe his last shot at being the PM of the country.

-I am glad that we managed to avoid a hung assembly.
-Relieved that KCR and TRS go further down the road of being irrelevant. Thank God for that.
-Happy that Jai Prakash Narayana won from Kukatpally. It is the only seat that Lok Satta won, but that is hardly a surprise. One look at the party wise break up of the votes polled in various constituencies, especially in Hyderabad, should give him and his party enough hope to carry on for the next five years. Cheers to that!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

one more down the list...

'Get a Guiness World Record' must surely be a part of every random things-to-do-before-you-die lists, I say. And on last Sunday, I went ahead and got one.
So what if I was one of the 160000 people who made the record, I have it in my name alright!
If there were professional singers and students of music, there were also coarse tones, wrong pitches and those fumbling to strike the right tune. What was endearing though, was how all of it blended seamlessly resulting in a goose-bumps inducing experience.

What we sang were some of most popular keerthanas of Annamacharya.
1. Bhaavamulona, Bahyamunandunu
2. Brahma Kadigina Padamu
3. Entamatramuna Evvaru
4. Podugantimayya
5. Kondalalo Nelakonna Koneti Rayudu
6. Narayanathe Namo
7. Muddugare yashoda
The final phase of General Elections - 2009 concludes today.
Counting starts on May 16 and the exit-poll buzz from tonight.
Most predict a hung verdict, so 16th ain't gonna throw any sure victors. It will all come down to what is being called the sixth phase of this election, the frantic post-poll horse trading.
But that is far off, what beckon me now to the idiot box are those lit studios and analysts clad in fancy suits somehow trying to make sense out of the mess that Indian politics is.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Its only right that the I document the last leg of this journey from a net center in the station, waiting to catch my train that will take me back home.

2 days.
Of - No Television. No Laptop. No internet. No work. No traffic snarls. (almost) No mobile.
Of - Really long walks in the night. Old-school type picnics. Roads lined with scary ancient trees. Bike rides at 2 AM. Plain lazying around. Sitting bang in the middle of a road. Lying down under welcoming trees. Chasing dogs away. Snail-paced time. Pure air. Awesome climate. Old memories. New experiences. Uncertain future and an ambivalent past.

Reason# 9 - why you should go traveling.
Coz you get to meet some pretty amazing people while you are at it.
I have in fact just now said my farewell to one such lady.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

why sirjee, why?

Ajmal Kasab is now a proven adult and can now be tried in a normal court of justice.
A little background:
Ajmal Kasab’s defence lawyer claimed he is a minor and was just 17 year old at the time of 26/11 attacks. If proven to be true, the claim would have had a direct bearing on the punishment meted out to him. As a minor, he can be jailed for a maximum of 3 years.

Extremists recruiting minors is no news. Hence, the question is still relevant.
If Ajmal was indeed a minor, how comfortable would you have been to see a juvenile court sentence him to just 3 years in prison? Juvenile criminals find sympathy with most but does someone like Kasab deserve it? On the other hand, does the gravity of his crime call for an over-looking of the fact that he indeed was as minor? The rule book says – try him in a juvenile court. Would that be unpopular with a people hungry for justice?
It is a dangerous territory to tread.
Now that the Lanka war is heading towards a closure, the chatter about his extradition to India is gaining decibels. Rajapaksa says he is ready to extradite him but only after he faces trial in Sri Lanka.

Mr. President, why on earth would you do that? Do you know nothing of our track record?
Prabhakaran’s trail will be hopeless in India.
We will take excruciatingly long to find him guilty.
“But he got your Prime Minister killed”, did you say?
Oh yeah, we almost forgot. Surely we can’t let him go.
One fine day our courts will finally find him guilty, but we will not have the guts to carry out the sentence.
There will be some fringe elements with sympathy for him and we will be spineless enough to buckle under their pressure.
You would be well advised to finish off the matter in your country sir.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There are no rules for us.

Robin Lustig ponders over a question whose importance can hardly be over-stated.
“Who decides when a group of people who want to break away from the country of which they are a part can do so? If Kosovo, why not Tibet? If Abkhazia, why not Chechnya?”
One person’s terrorist is another's freedom fighter. And indeed who is it that decides what history shall call them?

Relevant, and more so today, when the 25-30 year long civil war in SriLanka looks like it’s headed towards a climax.
Just yesterday I looked at this piece and wondered if Pakistan would disintegrate and fall completely to Taliban in near future. And this ran a chill down my spine today. Many analysts do not rule out the above possibility and the kind of time lines they are talking about are scary to say the least.
6 months to one year?!!! Damn!
International community shudders at the thought of Taliban being in control of Pakistan. I read somewhere that part of the scare is that we just don’t know what to expect. Because the world has not yet seen a nuclear-armed nation, fail.
Are we over reacting? Are we falling prey to our obsession with doomsday predictions?
Musharaff was ousted because of enormous public outrage against him. It worked.
Pak’s has been a relatively open, moderate and modern if you will, society compared to other Islamic nations. Will the people choose to reject the Taliban? Will it work? Is that a realistic, even if distant, possibility?


Here is a spirited Dawn editorial saying -
"The uproar is understandable but should it really come as a surprise that Sufi Mohammad and his band of barbarians are opposed to all that we hold dear? Of course not".
"And one is wrong if one thinks this can’t happen in Pakistan. It can and it will unless we strike a decisive blow for the silent majority."

Friday, April 17, 2009

54% and that blue mark…

Elections in India have always been a high-decibel affair. A full blown tamasha, if you will. This time around apart from the usual suspects - political parties and the media, the voices of those urging people (esp youngsters) to go out there and vote were uncharacteristically loud. They were everywhere… on the streets, on the hoardings, on the net, television, FM radio, in newspapers, in colleges, corporate offices.. you name it.

The mood out there, everywhere, was… “lets vote”. Most people I personally knew were also going to vote. All this compounded by the vision of lots of youngsters in line at polling station waiting for their turn, led me to believe that this time there was going to be an unprecedented rise in polling percentage.
For all the hoopla though, Hyderabad scored way below the state average - just around 54%
To get a complete picture we will have to wait for further break-up of the statistics on the lines of age, gender, education etc..

But I simply don’t know what to make of that rather low and disappointing percentage.
A re-iteration of the ‘Indian urban voter apathy’ syndrome?
Or was it merely a failure on my part to actually appreciate the kind of numbers we are dealing with here?
True, many first time voters were mobilized and inspired to vote, but extrapolating that to represent some sort of a tiny-winy social revolution, was a mistake?
And about that blue mark...
Yes, I have it on my left hand’s index finger. I cast my vote today. For the first time.
08:15 - 16 Apr 2009 - St. Anthony’s High School

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why are you happy despite just being a clerk?

This is an excerpt from a comment on Rashmi’s blog.
“all they have is a job.. bread and butter thing. This fancy word career makes them think that they need to derive meaning from what they do. The whole reason for frustration in working class is this, suddenly out of the blue, they have been asked to look for meaning in what they do . In 80’s we all were typists & clerks, now we are IT engineers, Financial analyst etc. and that’s about it .The world changed & its demand for flavor of services changed and we are just satisfying it, in exchange to our bread & butter and now EMIs . Work was never a play …it was a drag and everybody knew it & said it so, enter 90s and the bluff of career entered. When everything was right perspective people would work, come out of office & play .The boundary was clear, precise uncomplicated. No body questioned why you are happy despite just being a clerk, a steno, a teacher? Comparative happiness is the disease...”
It is generally accepted that it is ok to laugh at our previous self – that peeks at us from the old diary pages.
It’s ok to brush him aside, feeling smug and all grown-up.
What if you find a stranger there?
Some one whose foresight puts you to shame.
What do you tell yourself except – Oh Dear!

When you can’t summon the strength from within,
It helps to look at the commandment on the wall.
Anyone out there who is voting tomorrow and hasn’t made up his/her mind yet and is open to suggestions?
I say this to you my dear – veela gurthu ke vote veddam!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Seriously, what?

Might sound like a quote from a random piece on self-improvement. It is.
But warrants a thought, no?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Woo Ooo Ooo

It’s like someone has hit me on my head with a heavy hammer.
A black hammer with ‘Good Old Days’ written on its handle.
Written in cherry red.
I can see golden stars and little yellow ducks swirling over my head in a circle.

What happened you ask? Sigh!
After what must be an eternity, I listened/watched this.
He might not be conventional choice for a favorite cartoon character, but Uncle Scrooge is mine.

Talking about nostalgia and cartoons, how can I forget the cutesy voice that sang ‘jungle jungle’ every Sunday morning!

Monday, March 16, 2009

your list of fav Mukesh numbers?

Main pal do pal kaa shaayar hoon,
Pal do pal meri kahaanee hain
Pal do pal meri hasthee hain,
Pal do pal meri jawaanee hain

Lyrics - Saahir Ludhiyanvi
Music – Khayyam
Movie – Kabhie Kabhie
Ek din bik jayega, maati ke mol
Jag mein reh jayenge pyare tere bol
Dooje ke hothon ko dekar apne geet
Koi nishani chhod, phir duniya se dol

Lyrics - Majrooh Sultanpuri
Music – RD Burman
Movie- Anand
Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar
Kisi ka dard mil sake to le udhaar
Kisi ke vaaste ho tere dil men pyaar
Jeena isi ka naam hai

Music- Shankar Jai Kishan
Movie- Anaadi
Kal Khel Mein Hum Ho Na Ho
Gardish Mein Taare Rahenge Sada
Bhoolenge Hum Bhoologe Tum
Par Hum Tumhare Rahenge Sada
Rahenge Yahin Apne Nishan
Iske Siva Jana Kahan
Jeena Yahan Marna Yahan,
Iske Siva Jaana Kahan

Lyricist -Hasarat Jaipuri
Music- Shankar Jai Kishan
Movie - Mera Naam Joker
Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune,
Sapne, surile sapne,
Kuch hansee ke, kuch gum ke,
Teri ankhon ke saye churaye rasili yaadon ne,
Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke.

Lyrics - Yogesh
Music – Salil Choudhary
Movie – Anand
Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai
Ki jaise tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye
Tu abse pehle sitaaron mein bas rahi thi kahin
Tujhe zameen pe bulaya gaya hai mere liye

Lyrics - Saahir Ludhiyanvi
Music – Khayyam
Movie – Kabhie Kabhie

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I live in Story...

The election fever is gripping the nation and here's a starter:
A one-stop shop for data related to every General Election since 1951.
Check out the Quick Links at the bottom of the page, for trivia and statistics.
Done Reading:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Currently Reading:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
Loved The Kite Runner.
Hosseini makes it very easy for us to love/hate the supporting characters. Sympathize with them or watch them in horror. The real appeal however lies with the protagonist and his grey shades.
Like Amir himself, we have to come to terms with all that is good and bad in him.
Fear, friendship, insecurity, cowardice, betrayal, guilt, repentence and ultimately salvation (or atleast the hope for it).
It is the endearing relationship of Hassan and Amir that really holds it all together. Besides, you really can't help falling for little Hassan.
The Afghan backdrop and a dekho into their way of life - I liked very much.
Hosseini's decision to retain some native words (with explanation) and not just replace them with bland translations, was smart.
Did you know that there is a county, city, CDP (census designated place) and an unincorporated town bearing the name of 'story'.
X: hi..
Y: hello..
X:Where do you live?
Y:I live in Story.

Cool ain't it?
Remember the shot of Earth with debris all over its atmosphere and above, in Wall-E?
This sure is a sign of things to come. Space junk is gonna be a big international issue very soon.
Pak catches cold and we get a headache.
Ah well, "You can choose foriegn policy, but not geography".

Friday, February 27, 2009

From across the table.,

Saw Dev D – I am floored.
Music by Amit Trivedi : Top class.
Nayan Tarse. Saali Kushi. Emotional Atyaachar. Dhol yaara Dhol. Paayaliya.
Darn!! Each better than the other.

Taras Na Mile, Nayan Tarse
Dono Se Bahe Dhaar, Nayan Tarse

Tapish Ki Phuhaar, Sawaan Barse
Chubhan De Hazaar, Sawaan Barse

Gaali Si Lage Malhaar,
Sawaan Barse Barse Barse Re

Movie- Dev D
Music : Amit Trivedi
Lyrics : Amitabh Bhattacharya
Vocals : Amit Trivedi
Little people – Story 1

Turing believes machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines do not think

-Alan Turing in a letter to his friend.

Computer Science students and Theory of Computation enthusiasts especially, will remember Turing fondly. He is the man behind the Turing machine.
The man who broke German codes (ENIGMA) in the Second World War.
The man widely held as the Father of Computer Science.
The man whom we owe Artificial Intelligence to.

He was convicted for homosexuality.
Was forced to take estrogen hormone injections.
Was disqualified from continuing secret cryptological work.
And committed suicide by eating a cyanide laced Apple.

Blood riles!!
-Currently reading : The Kite Runner
-If you skip the irritating item songs, Billu (erstwhile Billu Barber) is a sweet little story.
-Understanding is what they call it; your comfort level with moral ambiguities.
-Prioritizing is a skill I was not born with.
And the acquired talent isn’t any great shakes either.
The countless rehearsals betrayed more than the actual act.
The words did not match the tone of her voice.
There was pain in one and exhaustion in the other.
From across the table the emotions seem to come filtered.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

raise your glasses, will ya...

To AR Rahman for his Oscar wins.
Here’s hoping that lots of great work comes his way.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Isn’t all art so?

Rajeev Masand in his ‘Seven Pounds’ movie review says… “If you like to be emotionally manipulated, this is just the film for you.”
But then I wonder… isn’t all art emotional manipulation at some or the other level?
Nandan Nilekani’s blog.
Dawn has a fascinating piece on the peace agreement reached between Pakistan government and Taliban in Swat valley and Maulana Sufi Muhammad’s role in it.
The Opinionator points to reactions from all around on the issue.
-And I feel ancient. Huh!
-Saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
-Not sure if I'l grow up to be a kid one day, but I sure as hell, was born old.
Coffee mug in a hand. Calvin n Hobbes in another.
Ah! The simple pleasures of life.
A whimsical thought was a visitor recently -
has this blog run its course and should I be shutting it down!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reason#17 - Why you should go travelling

So you can capture these - sights, scenes and the signs.
Marooned on a windy island, for too long.
Time locked in a freezing sunset, for an eternity.
Cutting through every breath, the unforgiving air.

The warm sun on my cheek today, a queer stranger.
Fluttered and unsettled, can I contain it My love?

-Jill finished it with "The joy and the shock".
We console ourselves in curious ways.
With time, we whisper in our ears, it will be OK.
Do we have a backup option left though,
when the hour-glass unmasks a pitiless face?
AR Rehman won the Golden Globe.
I hope he'd bag the Oscar too.

Am I the only one who pleasantly marvels at how similar Sachin and Rehman are?!
For a hero hungry nation, what better role models can one ask for?
They are both ofcourse, amongst other things, short, shy, soft-spoken and come with a 'cute till 80' warranty.
Obama's inaguration ceremony speech - I agree with the general verdict out there.
There was punch and spunk, oh yeah. But in his delivery and not the words.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How predictable can you get?

Lots of list-making happens, at this time of the year. Don't we all love lists?
Anyways, here's pointing you to lists of 2008:
-Ten best news from the Muslim world.
-Ten things we did right.
-Ten most undercovered stories.
-Actually, let me point you to the baap of all lists. Top 10 Everything of 2008.
-Movies I liked: Wall-E. Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye. Welcome to Sajjanpur. Rock On. The Dark Knight (Solely for Ledger's performance).

2009. Young it might be, but it's 'big, best and most':
-Predictable thing that has happened : Pak says Mumbai evidence provided by India is not credible. Really, did anyone not see this coming?
-Trailer out : Masakalli Masakalli. Sonam Kapoor is totally Wow.
-Catchy phrase : Emossional Atyaachaar. Alright the song was out late in 2008. But Time mein kya rakha hain, bhaavnaon ko samjho.
-Awaited : a Federer victory.
-Stories that will continue: Isreal - Hamas, India - LeT and SriLanka - LTTE.