Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Wonder . . . .

Sometimes I wonder . . are relations really meant for eternity ??? Am I really honest to my own emotions??? Which are my true emotions – the resentment i feel for my friend of 8 years even if she does something for good or the affection i had felt for her long ago even after she had hurt me with all her might.

Sometimes I do wonder . . can girls really make good friends ?? even after spending 8years together since the first day of college, I feel a stranger sharing my room, my bathroom, my clothes and even my bed. She is my room-mate for sharing my room, but she is a complete stranger for sharing my feelings.
In contrast I talk to a colleague in the office, we have known each other since just 2 months officially, but while chatting at the lunch table and making fun of each other, I feel we have known each other since ages.

I wonder . . is this going to last longer or is it just a fluke !!! Am I being honest to my feelings or am I searching for a solace or an assurance for my way of thinking. Is it real or is it virtual ??

At home, I fear to ask simple questions about food, laundry, her voice on the phone or the volume of the TV and I avoid discussion on subject even slightly important than electricity bills, paper bills and house rent while at office I can whole heartedly pass personal comments without being misunderstood or feeling guilty about it.
I wonder . . How do I evaluate this change, this contrast ?? How do relations take such a 180 degrees shift if they are meant for eternity ?? Am I responsible of the shift or am I just a pawn ?? Why do relations grow so deep if they have to go through such unexpected twists and turns ???

I wonder . . what should I take to the deeper parts of my memory - the fun and love we shared which now seems like a distant past or the present resentment, hatred or the indifference ???

I Wonder . . .
I really do wonder . . . !!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peepli, Shivaji and our Society !!!

Much is being written, heard and seen about Anusha Rizvi’s and Aamir Khan’s current brain child – Peepli [Live]. Isn’t it ridiculous of the people to make such a stupid controversy about farmers and their issues ??
A film is a form of art. Period. Whether one believes in the ideology the film portrays is a different matter altogether. One should always view it as art or as we say a “Kalakruti” in Marathi. I believe that a Kalakruti should be analyzed simply on artistic grounds it is created with, not on the grounds of social norms, ethics or what is acceptable or likable to a certain group of people.
Natha is a poor, simple farmer. As even his basic needs are not satisfied with the meager income he gets from farming, he is forced to commit suicide. I wonder why people fail to understand or comprehend that poor farmers have to succumb to suicide because they DON’T HAVE MONEY . . they don’t DIE FOR MONEY. How silly and ridiculous it is for all those well educated and so called leaders of the farmers to claim that the movie is maligning the farmers of India !!!
Common guys !!! Everyone is aware of the grave sufferings of the poor farmers of India. If one film is showcasing the plight so strongly and aggressively, it’s a feat which should be whole heartedly supported.
The same issue can be discussed with reference to lots of recent films. Film makers in India are given such a constricted freedom of expression. They are constantly in a pressure that their creation can get into one or the other conflicts in the name of so called social rules. They are losing their liberty to express a story the way they like or feel. The other day, director Girish Kulkarni had an interesting comment to make on a discussion panel on IBN Lokmat. He said that a film cannot be labeled as bad only because the idea expressed is unacceptable or unlikable. It is absurd to ban a movie or protest against the producer, directors only because you don’t like the movie. This is clear cut “Hitlershahi”. It can happen that an artistically excellent film can be a flop only because of the idea expressed is controversial or ahead of its times. But that’s no reason to ban the film or propagate against it. It shows the immature state of the society. This can also severely damage creative instincts of the great artistes. In a way it comes in the intellectual progress of the society because the brilliant minds are not allowed to wander and think freely.
Take for example the book by Mr. James Laine’s book on Shivaji Maharaj. I haven’t read the book yet and I don’t even know what is causing such a big hype. Whatever may be in the book, Shivaji Maharaj is such a great and larger than life personality that nothing, I mean nothing can change the perception after so many centuries. How does it matter whose son he is. . he is great and we all love him.
No one is going to give a damn about where Shivaji came from. Those who are genuinely interested will come to India to Maharashtra to find out. And it then depends upon us, our maturity and knowledge of our history to put forward the best picture to the world. But it seems highly unlikely that we will put forward a united and balanced picture given the current arguments that are making the rounds.
Finally it all comes to one thing. We as a society are still very immature to handle and accept greater intellectual transformation.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mind, Love and Desires

These are some of the excerpts from my Chhottu Uncle's diary !!!
Worth a read and Worth a thought.
I am still unable to realise the entire depth of these words. . may be some of you can help me out.

To bring about a totally new mind
It is definitely possible to bring about a totally new mind. But there are certain indications, certain necessary characteristics which do bring about that quality of newness. They are affection or love and integrity. Most of us do not know what it means to be affectionate. To us, it is a word which we casually use without much significance. Love is of course something very carefully guarded, something with which we ar not so familiar, though we use the word so glibly, so facilely - love of the country, love of truth, love of life and many many loves that we talk about; and I do not think it has anything to do with this. The ingredient - if I may use that word which is absolutely necessary is the quality of affection and integrity. I don't mean by integrity any form of pattern of belief, nor do I mean it as integrity according to the experience through which one has to live; but I mean that integrity that comes about when you begin to observe every movement of your own thought and when no thought is hidden. You do not wear a mask, you do not any longer pretend to be something other than what you actually are; and therefore there is no discipline, no fancy, no worship; and out of that comes the external sense of integrity I mean that kind of integrity, not the man who has belief and lives according to that belief, not the man who is sincere but with certain ideals, not the man who follows a certain discipline or tries to bring about an integration emotionally or intellectually. Such efforts do not bring out integrity. On the contrary, they increase conflict, misery. Whereas the integrity that we are talking about is the quality of seeing the fact every minute, not trying to translate the fact in terms of pleasure and pain, but letting the fact flower without choice, without opinion - out of which seeing comes integrity which is never altered. Now these two, affection and integrity, are necessary.

Love is not a sentiment
Obviously love is not sentiment. To be sentimental, to be emotional, is not love, because sentimentality and emotion are mere sensations. A religious person who weeps about Jesus or Krishna, about his guru and somebody else is merely sentimental, emotional. He is indulging in sensation, which is a process of thought, and thought is not love. Thought is the result of sensation, so the person who is sentimental, who is emotional, cannot possibly know love. Again, aren’t we emotional and sentimental? Sentimentality, emotionalism, is merely a form of self-expansion. To be full of emotion is obviously not love, because a sentimental person can be cruel when his sentiments are not responded to, when his feelings have no outlet. An emotional person can be stirred to hatred, to war, to butchery. A man who is sentimental, full of tears for his religion, surely, has no love.

Why are our desires never fully realized?
This is a very important question to go into because, as you grow older, you will find that your desires are never really fulfilled. In fulfilment there is always the shadow of frustration, and in your heart there is not a song but a cry. The desire to become -to become a great man, a great saint, a great this or that- has no end and therefore no fulfilment; its demand is ever for the "more", and such desire always breeds agony, misery, wars. But when one is free of all desire to become, there is a state of being whose action is totally different. It is. That which is has no time. It does not think in terms of fulfilment. Its very being is its fulfilment.
Think on These Things

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life of a model !!!

This is a blogpost by Shobhaa De' . . .

There came a masala story which had the hungry media vultures scampering – an ageing model’s tragic suicide. Hardly headline news. But there it was, on every channel and newspaper. Poor Viveka Babajee hadn’t received even half this level of coverage during her lifetime as she struggled to keep up appearances, keep body and soul together, in the big, bad and coked out world of Mumbai modeling. She was considered over the hill and ‘finished’ within the glam fraternity – that in itself is a killer judgement. Combine her downgraded professional status with personal traumas, and you have a tragedy waiting to happen. For newshounds, this is another sensational tabloid scandal involving a pretty woman, a rich boyfriend (or many) and a lifestyle that shocks those outside the charmed circle. What most press reports aren’t saying is that what really killed Viveka was not a thwarted love affair but corrosive insecurity and despair.
It is a common story. Some girls can handle it better than others. Some manage to escape. Some don’t. Viveka didn’t. But look around you and you’ll find several walking wounded models struggling to stay afloat…. stay alive. The route taken is familiar – get discovered, get to Mumbai, get assignments. The first two or three years are generally heady and brilliant. The money rolls in, wealthy admirers pile up, lifestyle options multiply… and with luck, Bollywood beckons. All this before the girls reach their sell-by date ( 25 at the outside). Once your shelf life is over, the assignments dry up and even those panting middle aged, married men move on to younger chicks working the circuit. The first sign of desperation is when such a sought- after girl finds herself in the social wilderness and starts looking for lolly from other sources. She has bills to pay, loans to service, and an image to protect. Creditors start breathing down her neck… and with the heat getting a bit too hot to handle, the girl panics. Most times, she is miles away from home, living by herself in a suburban flat without support systems of any kind. She makes alcohol her best friend. In order to keep meeting her new ‘best friend’, she lets it be known she’s open to attending parties thrown by strangers – for a fee, of course. There are shady ‘party agents’ who round up hard up models and small time actresses for clients (mainly prosperous traders from Punjab, Haryana, Delhi) but at least the booze is in plenty even if the money is pathetic. Then come the shadier proposals to spend a weekend in Goa or Dubai – the money is not big, but it covers shopping kharcha. What the hell, a girl’s got to have the latest cell phone and ‘IT’ bag.
From this stage to full time hooking takes no time at all. The stakes are further lowered – but what is on offer is far more addictive – coke. Party girls in frilly frocks are always welcome at power evenings that need a strong glamour quotient – that is exactly the model followed by organizers of sporting mega events worldwide. But there is a catch - the cocktails that keeps these evenings in high gear do not flow out of glasses. The powerful hosts behind these parties know there is but one hook to get these girls to hang on - cocaine – lots and lots of the white stuff. Champagne and coke become the preferred mix. Throw in sex with strangers, and what starts off as a ‘fun’ thing, soon turns into the blackest nightmare ever with no escape. Dirty weekends grow into four and five day orgies. The protagonists are usually society’s top drawer men – industrialists, movie stars, ex-sports people, tv producers. And of course, the fashion crowd from Delhi-Bangalore.This is where girls like Viveka descend into a private hell from which there is no ‘out’. They are literally and metaphorically at a dead end. Strapped for money, strapped for love, strapped for security on any level – they turn the searchlight inwards in search of salvation. Some find it, most don’t.

Viveka’s suicide is being compared to Nafisa’s. And, no doubt there are unmistakable parallels. The main thread involves their respective backgrounds. It was hard to believe Viveka’s family is originally from Satara – a small, obscure town in Maharashtra. That makes Viveka a Maharastrian-Mauritian! What was a girl like that doing in a biz like this? Perhaps she was lured into it with promises of big time success. Ditto for Nafisa, who was also a misfit in the murky world of modeling. Both girls were above average in looks and intelligence. Yet, both got mixed up with men who gave them grief and treated them badly. Both chose a violent exit after giving up on life and themselves. Their contemporaries are made of sterner stuff – some have married ( and divorced) foreigners, others have switched to choreography and event management. Photographs of Viveka’s friends at her funeral, tell their own story. Shockingly enough, some of the girls who showed up to pay their respects clad in pristine designer white , posed for the cameras like they were at a fashion week showing. What should have been a somber occasion was converted into a celeb circus. Viveka’s funeral provided some much needed eye candy and a few photo-ops to the starved media. So much for the current crop of ramp scorchers. Then are still others who fled India and left their old world behind. I was surprised to run into the lovely Shyla Lopez who now lives in Moscow with her Russian husband and a young son. Did she look happy?? Ummmm…. I’m not sure.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ye Re Ye Re Paausa !!!

Rains have started and my heart is craving to go home.
That’s how it has always been. Even after living in Pune for 3 years , I eagerly wait for the rains to come to my home in Akola.
Thankfully it has already started to rain in the dried lands of Vidharbha . . and most of the dams are filled with waters. Al least this year the Vidharbhians are spared of yearly water problems which get worse during the summers.
Just last year, at the beginning of July, the percentage of water in Katepurna dam was around 16% and the authorities had the tough job managing it for the entire year. The solution – supply water once in 4 days. The 4 days then became 5, and 6, and 7 and then finally during summers 10 days. The authorities divided Akola in 7 parts and distributed water accordingly. Every day in the newspapers, people checked the water percentage just like they checked the temperatures or the gold/silver rates. Many of them were forced to buy water. People living in apartments had to carry water to the 5th, 6th floors. There were news that’s if it doesn’t rain soon; the dead stock of the dams would have to be used. All this with temperatures soaring up to 47-48 degrees and load shedding more than 7 hours a day, life seemed miserable.
But finally the almighty was generous this year and the dams were filled even before the end of season. Credit must go to the people and of course the authorities, who intelligently managed the water crisis. I am not writing this just because Akola happens to be my home, but the spirit of the people living there is really commendable. One can get cool breeze during night even in hot Rajasthan, as the sand cools when the temperature drops. But in Akola its like being constantly inside an oven. The winds are rare and they are hot even at 9 pm. People constantly sweat. Housewives, working women even small children get a problem of low blood pressure, dehydration due to constant water loss from the body. My mom would constantly crib on the phone about heat. Even my dog snowy would spend entire day under the cooler or under the bed. Coolers – Yes !!! Coolers are necessity. Using them even for 24 hours is not sufficient. And what use they have when there is load shedding for seven hours, in such a situation, imagine the water scarcity and one feels like leaving Akola for the good. If this is a condition of people like us; I get goose bumps even if I imagine the state in which poor people live. One has to live there to experience this.
The rains have given temporary relief from some of the problems. At least people will get sufficient water. But the problem of load shedding still remains. Once the rains are gone. . temperatures will be still high in October. One just needs to wait for the next summer. . and the story continues.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Naari Shakti !!!!

An unusually nasty news story caught my attention in the Pune Mirror today. A young educated wife had lodged a complaint in police that her 26 years old educated engineer husband in co-operation with his parents was harassing her for dowry. She had been verbally insulted and often beaten badly. This in spite of the fact that the family was financially well settled and the husband was a project manager in a reputed IT company.
I wondered where the fairer sex of this country has in store for her in spite of such a huge cry over women’s reservation bill. What was striking was the fact that the girl herself was working and financially independent.
I discussed this with some of my male friends. What I got was a couple of indifferent sighs. One of them thought it was a family issue and should not be printed in paper. Imagine!!!! Whats the use of all the education and women empowerment we talk about ?
This is still an extreme case but such type of incidences are still largely kept under wraps. Women find it risky to talk about it fearing scorn from the family members and husband. Even in many so called happy marriages there are factors that are unreasonably expected from women only.
For Ex. One of my colleagues was telling me “My husband and me both work in equally demanding jobs. We both have our projects, deadlines, submissions, deliveries. But when it comes to home it is me who has to do it all. I have to entertain the guests. I have to be at home at 6.30 pm to attend to my in laws. I have to invite all my husband’s relatives for dinner and lunch even if I have a crucial work schedule in the office. I have to look after all the weekend chores. Why should only I neglect my work when its equally important for me ??” she was asking angrily. I asked her whether she has talked to her husband about this issue and she is quick to reply “Never. I had agreed to this before marriage.” So while her husband enjoys his evening cup of tea idly on the couch, she has to look into the kitchen. But I couldn’t understand if she was so unhappy about this arrangement, how could she even agree upon such conditions in the first place.
well you got it right . . . this has been the way since ages.
Often we see that the in-laws take pride in telling everyone that their “Bahu” is a working woman with a fancy pay package. But they rarely acknowledge the responsibilities that come with the high paying jobs. Whenever she is late from office, she is gifted with indifferent looks and rude comments.
One of the working couples I know is settled in Australia. Equally busy schedules and equally demanding jobs. But even from there, she has to call her in laws, ask their well being and sometimes even provide financial help from her earnings while her better half spends his own earnings on parties and wine.
One of the biggest arguments, I have observed, is about the religious rituals and family functions. Even if both the partners are working and living away from home, it is the daughter in law, the “bahu” who has to get leave from her office and attend the functions. She is expected to come for the husband’s brother’s mother-in-law’s sixty first birthday even if she has project deadline to meet. Before she leaves she has to take care of husband’s food and laundry for the time she will be gone. When she returns she has to find her home in mess which she has to clean herself. All this while her partner looks after his owm CAREER, his office his work. Hey !!! Doesn’t she work just like you ??
Well most of the times the husbands retort irritated, “But to look after the home is also her work” . Well I want to tell all such husbands to shut their stupid mouths. Looking after home is women’s work because they have made it so. Its more of a choice rather than a rule. Just watch out for the day women will stop doing all this.
It is surprising that these type of comments come from educated men, but more surprising is the fact that even women tend to ignore them or take it in their stride. There is still a lot of “Chalta hai. What can we do??” kind of attitude among women as well. Well I want to urge all these women to get out of their shells. ‘Chalta hai kyuki tum chalate ho’. Women like us should strongly object to such unjustified expectations they are conferred with. After all it’s as much their partner’s responsibility as their own. Agreed that these are smaller facets in the broader sense of picture. But such things have a great impact in changing the old male domination we are subjected to since ages. Eventually it impacts the maturity of the society and even influences the generations to come.
I hope some of my “Pati Vrata” friends read this and comment their thoughts on the post. No matter even if they are anonymous.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nibandha - Maza Dada !!!

I just had a small chat with dada. He was asking about my credit card details. The chat was over and out within a couple of minutes but it instantly reminded me of an old incident when dada had asked Baba to get one credit card so that he could purchase some online games CD.
It was my insistence during the “Baarsa” that my little brother be called Rahul. Kartik was just a formal identity for the school. I vividly remember the sibling fights we had, which mostly revolved around TV remote and video games. The fights generally ended with him scratching my arms and me hitting him on the back. Gradually our fights became less frequent. I thought we are getting mature, but later I realized Rahul had surrendered to my continuous bullying and bugging. Before I could have the intelligence to understand it, Rahul was growing and was doing so rapidly. The restless, aggressive and stubborn Rahul gave way to a more calm, mature and humble Kartik. He was exemplary in his studies, often getting more than me. I loved the praise good academics brought. But Kartik never had any attraction for the success; it came to him as naturally as his humility and intelligence. . something that was mandatory not something to be proud of.
He had varied but quite unusual interests since I can remember. I have never seen him chat with friends for hours on a typical “katta”. I have never seen him come home with dirt splattered all over after a long game of cricket. He had been a homely guy, spending most of the time on computer, scrabble, carom or the old set of mechanics which required intelligence and creativity more than physical exercise. He was the one who instantly claimed his authority over the new computer Baba bought when he was just 10 year old. Since then, it has been his world all along.
I was sailing through my own sea of feelings and he through his own. One day suddenly after his HSC results he came in front of me . . tall, lanky with his curly hair and brooding frame and to my shock . . the adams apple too !!! I wondered where my little brother with a squeaky little voice disappeared. He was suddenly talking about career, studies, life . . love, relationships as well !!! That was quite a shock for me. I tried to gulp the swift jump he had taken. And I was also feeling I had missed such a crucial phase of my bro’s life. But he was there nonetheless and I could clearly see the transformation and feared the day when he will leave us behind for conquering some new horizons.
Kartik was strong enough not to let his emotional self show the day he left for his college in Goa. My brother studies in “BITS PILANI Goa Campus” I would brag to my friends. But within the three and half years he spent there, he gave us lots of more reasons to brag. We never talked daily or for that matter even weekly. But whatever conversations we did have, I could realize the way he was growing. He had gradually become dada. We used to joke that since we brought our dog Snowy, I became “Taai” and Kartik became “Dada”. But jokes apart, he has been a real dada in all sense. I have talked to him about some of the most serious and private subjects of my life and has got some of the most amazing and most unexpected and the simplest advices. But never mind his genius; whenever we are together, he is the same small kiddish Rahul who loves “Ambyacha Rass” and “Purnachi Poli”.
I think that’s what makes him so unique. . his simplicity. Today when I think about him working in Juniper Networks with some of the most intelligent minds of the country about 1200 km away from home in Bangaluru, I can still be sure that when he calls home first thing at night, he will say “Aai mala gharchi athavan yetey”.
Keep it up Dada. We all love you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighter to the core

Life is indeed beautiful. But for Gajanan Ukhalkar or “Chhotu Uncle” as I fondly call him, this beauty has come after a continuous fight for survival. After facing a critical paralytic attack, a railway accident and a severe heart stroke, today at 50 years of age, he has the strength to be the best employee of Bank Of India, Nagpur module.
Chhotu uncle was the first child to my grand father Shantaram from his second marriage. He says his only ideals have been his Baba and his illiterate step mother “Mothi Aai”. “I learnt a big lesson about life from my mothi aai – never compromise with the pains in life. Even being an illiterate, she coped up bravely with her husband’s second marriage. When I came to permanently live at her home, she loved me unconditionally and raised me as her own child. That made me realize the true potential of compassion and love” quotes Chhotu uncle candidly. While working in Bhandara as an employee of the Bank of India, he suffered an attack of infective polyneumatics which made his entire body paralytic. But following Mothi Aai’s foot steps he fought hard to come out victorious from the despair. But this victory was short lived.
When he was going to Shegaon from Akola on Feb 25 1995, he met with a railway accident where he lost his left leg and right hand. It was a big blow this time and future seemed dark. But due to shear fighter spirit and inner strength, he could recover fast enough to join back his job within five months of the accident. Incredible it may seem but within just 6-7 years, he won the Best Employee award from Nagpur division. The most miraculous part of his recovery was that within just two months of his accident, he trained himself to write with his left hand with an exceptionally beautiful handwriting. Now he is even capable of typing an entire mail with his only hand.
The third time, destiny tested him again when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 45. But continuing his quest with the destiny, he underwent an angioplasty and worked hard to bring his weight under control even if he has lots of restriction on physical exercise.
Being a devout spiritualist, he says his spirituality has been a major force in his entire battle for life. He is greatly inspired by the teachings of the Ramkrishna Mission.When today I read some of his articles on spirituality, peace, love and care, I can realize that the knowledge is not just from his reading, but from the wisdom he has accumulated from his experiences through thick and thin.
His sister in law or his Vahini sums up his life “Chhotu has been a dear younger brother to me. Whenever I look at him, I am instantly reminded of the shear strength he carries along with the love and compassion for all. May this strength be with him forever”.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IT SUCKS !@#%$#$

IT life sucks . . I mean it really. And I have been meaning it really since the last 2 years 7 months 3 days 2 hours now. But the fact remains the fact. IT sucks. And it’s when the nerves in my brain are stretched to the limit of breaking that I again need to talk and talk and write and write about how depressingly pathetic the IT life is (AND MY LIFE IS !!!!). This is the only way for me to relax my nerves a bit and get the feel of who am I and what am I supposed to do. Time and again I am reminded of the passion of my life (WRITING . . OF COURSE) and time and again I come to hate myself for not pursuing it more zealously and vigorously so as to finally get out of this IT mess !!!!!

Godd Help Meeee . . . . OH Sorry !!!

Is there any editor out there in the court of the Lord !!!!
Help Me !!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Aamir . . not quite such a perfectionist !!!!

It was really surprising to read about the public spat between two veterans Aamir Khan and Javed Aktar in the Copyright Act Committee. More surprising was the statement Aamir made about the lyricist not contributing much to the success of the song. I believe that the lyrics form the crux and soul of the song. It is the basic foundation on which the music is laid and later on the star performs. If there were no soulful lyrics who would like to listen to the songs. There are numerous examples of well shot songs with big stars which have gone terribly flop because the lyrics were not good. Take for example Aamir’s own songs from the film Baazi, other than “Dheere Dheere Aap Mere” all other songs were not even average hits because their lyrics were not good enough to even attract the listeners. Aamir is the person who gives utmost importance to the script of his films. His hard attempts for supporting the script of Lagaan and developing the story of Taare Jameen Par are well known. So then how can he disregard the contribution of good lyrics in the success of the songs?? I know some of the old classic songs by heart and hear them regularly. Some of the old melodious classics like “Ajahuna aaye balamwa”, “Yu hasrton ke daag”, “Zameen se hamein aasaman par” etc are my favorites. But I still don’t know to which film they belong and who are the actors or so called “STARS” in the songs. The songs mesmerize the audience for generations to come only on the basis of lyrics and music but not the stars. I strongly believe that Aamir should think about his public statement once more and give proper credit to the lyricists.