Wednesday 22 January 2014

Drama is not uncommon to the common people of Delhi!

 “Get over Kingdom of dreams’ Nautanki Mahal”…for Nautanki is here!” I wondered as I walked down this chilly raining morning out of an overcrowded metro station. I thanked God, having survived a near stampede situation. But drama in Delhi is as common as the crowded metro that comes every now and then but leaves soon, before you can take some action.

Having spent three decades in Delhi, I understand the music Dilliwallas face every January. While the world enjoys the grandeur of Republic Day parade every year, for us, the tough preparations begin long before.

Any venture near Lutyens Delhi is a complete no no, for one may be welcomed by surprised route diversions, route closures and police barriers. Scanning the newspaper or internet for traffic advisory can make things better. However, if daily route asks you to commute via CP/India Gate, the week before and after republic day can end up being the most trying days of the year.

Unfortunately for me, school and college were located near Lutyens Delhi. So, come what may, it was an ordeal I had to go through every year. Then came metro, and my bad memories of traffic diversion were swept with a gush of wind!

However, my ugly memories paid an unfriendly visit this morning as I left home for work. We live in a country where common man has a say “only before the polling day”. The day poll results come, common man’s say becomes uncommon as the politicos smartly eclipse our concerns with a coat of their ambitions. We had a gentleman fighting this morning for welfare of the common man whereas hundreds of common men (and women) were helplessly harassed by the Delhi chill and disrupted metro services. And as if that wasn’t enough, the rain Gods decided to play their prank.

While some people feel these are teething troubles that come in the way of the big revolution, I decided to go back to the basics. The essence of any revolt is to safeguard the interests of the common people. But when the passion to execute a plan takes over, the basic essence is forgotten by many. Then the first thing butchered for the platter is the interest of the common man. This was evident by the live masala coverage today that got channels great food for TRPs!

I heard the revolution was partly to bring up the cause of women safety. Great gesture worthy of praise. But can a melodramatic revolt do something that Delhi hasn’t seen changed over many years – the male outlook towards women? As hundreds of men and women jostled (in a near stampede situation) at most metro stations this morning, many common men got great opportunity to come unwelcoming close to many common women. If a revolt has to happen, let there be something to change the way most men look at women here-as helpless objects of desire. Instead of disrupting the lives of normal people, let the revolt disrupt the lives of countless men who roam around unchained on streets of Delhi at night (when our revolutionaries are asleep!) looking for a female prey. Let there be something that make the bad elements think twice in fear before thinking of the word ‘rape’. An eye for an eye or some strict law, as they have in some countries in the middle east.

Unless that doesn’t happen, such TRP attracting revolts would just add up to glorify the career paths of some politicos and breaking news for the media.

And the common man, if asked would still want his common life, simple and peaceful, sans any disruptions or diversions.
Common man, searching the "uncommon" peace

Friday 17 January 2014

Jaipur Literature Fest is here!!!

Come January and all bibliophiles head to Jaipur for Asia’s biggest literary festival – the Jaipur Literature Festival #JLF. The festival, which has been organised at Diggy Palace Hotel in Jaipur since 2006 serves a platform for people from the writing world to share their views while it’s a perfect treat for us bibliophiles to listen to them!

Over the years, the festival has seen its popularity grow exponentially. Art, music, food, literature, panel discussions, readings, debates, performances, book launches…there’s so something for everyone. 

And the best part – the festival is absolutely free!

While the festival has been blessed by literary heavyweights like Mahasweta Devi and Salman Rushdie, it has also welcomed new authors with open arms, and one can witness many book launches at the festival. Some controversies also come in, but they just add up to the popularity of the event.

Last year, the festival witnessed almost 300 authors from around the globe, 150 poets, musicians and performers and more than 1.5 lakh visitors! It was a delight to have Mahasweta devi, Dalai Lama, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and many other celebs share their thoughts.

This year, the five day festival (January 17-21) will witness 240 authors. While debates and discussions will be the regular items on the menu, there will also be special sessions on Crime and Punishment, Democracy Dialogues, Women Uninterrupted and Endangered Languages. 

Some of the popular speakers this year are – Amartya Sen, Amish Tripathi, Ekta Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple.

Here’s the agenda for the first day of the festival.

One can register and enjoy art, music, literature and food at one of the best literary fests of the world!

Monday 13 January 2014

I got my recharge!

I looked at our old photographs and sighed! “Those golden days when our love had just blossomed! How Mr. Hubby wouldn’t stop fiddling with my hair. His fingers would never stop playing with my curls and I would shy and get my thick hair to cover my face.”

Then came my transition from being a girlfriend to a wife and a daughter in law. Responsibilities and the race to get the work home balance right, almost left me with no time for myself. Mom’s home treatments were put at backburner as the wife in me took over to delight Mr. Hubby with new delicacies. Hair care was limited to occasional oiling and frequent use of shampoos picked randomly from the neighborhood shop.

The results were now showing. My falling hair cried for help as also my love life, which was ignored amidst the burden of responsibilities.

As I sat sulking looking at the pics, I grumbled, “Look at me before and after! I look like a car that has exhausted its battery!”

“Perhaps you need a recharge, my love” Mr. Hubby said as he looked up from his newspaper and showed me the Sunsilk ad in the newspaper.

While I didn’t utter a word to my caring Hubby, the ad stayed on with me when I bought myself the Sunsilk next day. With the new Sunsilk, hair regime no longer remained the same old fussy affair. Few days and I was beginning to see the change. The hair were coming back to life and no longer remained the messy rough mass I hated.

We were on a holiday after a month to celebrate our anniversary. As we sat in the hotel room counting our blessings, Mr. Hubby ran his fingers into my hair and said with a smiled “So you finally got the recharge!”

I smiled and wondered…

Hey Sunsilk, you recharged my hair and also my life,
I’m me again, Mr. Hubby’s perfect gorgeous hair walee wife!

This post is written for Rechargeyour hair contest by Sunsilk and Indiblogger. With the new Sunsilk range, hair care no longer remains a fussy affair. Choose the product to suit your hair type and give your hair a recharge!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Cinema that provokes the thought…

Cinema, has a power so strange
It is the wave that brings the change
In thoughts, speech and action
And shows us our society’s reflection
Inspiring us to go off the beaten path
And bring a revolution that makes us stand apart

Since the time the first moving image reflected on the silver screen, cinema has been influencing the society in every way. Be it in the form of youngsters following the latest look of their favourite Bollywood stars, or the people adopting trends from movie stories into their own life.

Though the birth of cinema was for entertainment, yet, time and again, we witness several go getters, who use cinema to give a message to the society to change for good; to move beyond the clich├ęs and chart a new path altogether. These are off beat films that have managed to provoke our thoughts to make a better society –

Mother India
One of the best movies made ever, Mother India showcased the ideal Indian mother to the whole world. It is the story of the mother who brings her children alone amidst the perils of society – poverty, exploitation and illiteracy, to name a few. She may be the selfless mother, who sacrifices her comforts for her children, yet when it comes to principles, she doesn’t bat an eyelid before choosing right over wrong. The movie that gave us the mother who gives the last morsel to her son, yet shoots the same son when he violates the rules of society by abducting the daughter of the village moneylender.
Most of us dream and blame destiny when things don’t go our way. But here is a story of a deaf and dumb Iqbal who, despite his handicap realises his dream of being a cricketer, through hard work and perseverance. The movie did its bit by changing the view of society towards children with special needs and taught us to value the qualities in a person rather than writing him off for his deficiencies.
Mirch Masala
An award winning movie of the 80s, Mirch Masala shows the strong, fiery side of the Indian woman, just like the title of the movie. The protagonist (played by Smita Patil) teaches us women to be fearless (or Nirbhay) against the vultures hovering in the society. The film showed a new side of Indian beauty to the world, one who could take the oppressors herself to guard her modesty. The last scene where women blind the Subedaar with red chilli powder is a must watch. In today’s times when women’s security has been an issue of concern, we need more women like Sonbai

Surrogacy, which till now had been a thing of a taboo, was introduced beautifully to the masses by this movie.  The story of Sia (Sushmita Sen) who fills the emptiness in her friend Reva’s (Tabu) life by being a surrogate mother brought a smile on the faces of numerous childless couples. For the Indian mindset, where blood is thicker than water, this film brought a new message – that surrogacy is no longer a thing to be shy about; and that no bond is more important than the bond of love.

Oh My God
In the times when we have had shocking revelations about god men, here is a movie that underlines the core belief of every religion – that God resides our heart. To the masses who were blinded by God men into superstitions, this movie taught to believe in one’s karma and keep the religion alive in one’s heart without falling prey to superstition. A revolutionary movie of its kind, this one truly walked off the beaten path to open eyes of many.

Movies like these inspire us to think out of the box and take the society to a better tomorrow.

Thanks BlogAdda for giving this opportunity for the film buff me to write about such amazing movies, 

This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.
Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.

You can check the trailer of the film here

Saturday 11 January 2014

Book review – The Virgins

Author – Siddharth Tripathi
Publisher – Fingerprint
Pages – 320
Price – Rs.250

Sneak Preview from the Book –
With six unmarried sisters and a perennially drunk father, Pinku, a 19-year-old school dropout, has only one dream left to marry the plump girl who caught him stealing flowerpots. His friend and confidant, 17-year-old Bhandu, is not faring any better his parents are divorcing, his father has abandoned him, and the American tourist he is infatuated with doesnt even know that he exists. Bhandu and Pinku seek solace in the distracting shenanigans of their friend Guggi a pampered rich brat who can do anything for a thrill. Guggis reckless hedonism lands the threesome in a series of sexpot escapades each adventure weirder than the one before.

But their seemingly innocuous joyride is about to end.

With their Class 12 exams around the corner, Guggi, restless to leave a mark, takes over the schools notorious protection racket in a violent coup. The fallout drags the trio into a murky world of heartbreak, betrayal and bloody vengeance...

My View
When The Tales Pensieve sent the mail for review, my first impression of the book was primarily of an adult comedy. But as I began reading the book, I discovered one cannot judge a book by its cover, or err…even the title!

Far from its name, the book is a cute compilation of silly incidents from the lives of three friends – Pinku, Bhandu and Guggi. The plot is based in the sleepy town of Varanasi, where they still call shopkeepers chacha!

An impressive debut from Siddharth, the book keeps one laughing till the end, as it takes one on a journey to adolescence, where we all had our share of silly, embarrassing moments.

Guggi the brat is never short of notorious activities that invite trouble for the whole gang. Bhandu is the sensible of them, while Pinku, the goat, gets butchered in every silly plan of Guggi. The author keeps you engrossed in this comedy of errors, without making it too much, for he also portrays the trials and tribulations of teenage. The ending scene is somewhat unexpected, but that’s where the author leaves you asking for more.

If you don’t enjoy boy kinda language, the book is not for you, for there are is a healthy usage of slangs and all jokes have a double angle to it, if you get what I mean. I found the choice of names quiet funny (cheeni chacha, bhandu etc.) but considering, it’s the author’s debut, we can let that pass.

About the author – Siddharth Tripathi

Siddharth Tripathi was born in Allahabad and schooled in Banaras. He is a B.E from NIT Trichy and an MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. Siddharth currently lives in Gurgaon and works as a consultant for a business advisory firm. He also writes a blog on music and films. The Virgins is his first novel.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Till we meet in heaven…

January 8, 2011, papa and bhai were waiting outside the ICU of Fortis Hospital. Five minutes ago, we had been informed mom’s heartbeat had stopped and doctors were trying hard to revive her. My cold hand shivered as I held the Hanuman Chalisa…a part of me knew what was coming and I was hurriedly trying to finish the chanting in the hope that God would do miracle and save my dying ma. When the doctor called us inside, I forced myself into believing that all was well. I still remember that helpless nod from the doctor that signaled “it’s all over”…

I held her cold, heavy, lifeless hand and kept holding it even as the doctor insisted on covering her face. Mom had always been the hero in my life and had always believed in fighting till the end, and seeing her lying lifeless was just unacceptable to my heart. But the mind saw the doctor who had given up the ABC procedure by now, and the blank lifeless line that ran across the monitor.

My world came crashing down that day with a void in my life that will never be filled at least in this lifetime. To lose someone you love the most without saying the final goodbye or without spending the last moment together is like a wound that never heals…I wish I was there with her that moment.

It’s been exactly 3 years today and each day, each moment brings with itself some element that brings back memories of the Angel who blessed me. Life no longer remained same as a part of my heart quietly chose to be declared dead.

They say time is the best healer. Not really sure, for the grief grows every second. I miss her support in every painful moment and her smiling face filled with pride in my moments of triumph.

Sometimes I wonder – does grief give us strength to move ahead, or the ability to pretend that everything is fine inside. With so many roles to play, one cannot carry the sadness in front of others forever. So slowly, people around start believing things are back to normal even as the troubled self looks for moments of solitude to let the tears flow.

This grief has also given me the strength; the strength to be on my own in every sense; and the strength to live the dream mom saw for me. Shortly after mom passed away, I was working overnight to relive the dream she saw for my career…and her blessings ensured I wasn’t kept waiting for long. But every success is a failure when the person who inspired me to do it all is gone. Sometimes, my sister asks me why am I running this marathon I tell her I want to score the maximum points till I am here as I know mom is keeping tab of my score wherever she is…

As much as I curse destiny for snatching mom, I also thank God for giving me the beautiful years and endless love I got from that angel. Thanks mom for the best words you taught me – optimism and hope. Without you I wouldn’t have been the strong self that I am now.

Till the time, I am united with you forever in heaven; I will miss you each day Mom…May you spend each moment in happiness and peace and continue to be my Angel in heaven. Love you mom!

Friday 3 January 2014

The wave of change

This is the story of the youth, the power of We, the people, and the magic of staying connected!

Pallavpuram was just another sleepy town where corruption ruled. The local MLA Duryodhan Bhaiyya with his goon power, had a record of winning 4 consecutive polls from that constituency. Welfare was confined to a mere joke. The funds allocated by the centre were siphoned off midway by team Duryodhan before they reached its due recipients.

People suffered and hoped their plight would improve someday…

Perhaps this time, their wait was about to be over...

Shravan Kumar was the son of an honest police constable. Having grown up in Pallavpuram, he had been a witness to the atrocities of team Duryodhan and others. A Gandhian by thought, his only dream for his town was to get justice the non violence way.

He followed the election commission on twitter and facebook to know the various initiatives being taken for the upcoming general elections. Having completed his masters in IT, he volunteered to join the Ahimsa party as its technology head. It was not easy to expose team Duryodhan, for their connections ran up high till the centre. Shravan knew that the election commission was a neutral body. The right guidance to voters and fair elections would ensure a change of power in the general elections.

Duryodhan bhaiyya often lured the youngsters by free liquor and other freebies. They in turn, carried out booth capturing and fake voting for his party and also lured others.

Shravan knew if he was to awaken people, first the youth power had to be unleashed. For, the youth had the energy and guts to sweep away any tyrant from their town. He began connecting with the youngsters on facebook and twitter. Around the same time, WeChat a recently launched voice messaging service had become a rage with the youth of the town. They would spend hours sending each other voice messages and funny emoticons. Shravan and his party decided to make the best use of this opportunity.

They began sending voice messages to the youth about the state of things in their constituency and how they could exercise their right as voters to bring about change. The youth who had been till now, happy with Duryodhan Bhaiyya’s free liquor were beginning to realise they were losing much more in lieu of a cheap bottle of liquor.

Soon, the area heads of Shravan’s party formed online groups and communities on facebook and WeChat and shared the problems faced by the people. They shared articles on the rights and duties of voters; the various funds that the centre had allocated for the town. Every Friday, the area heads organised group chat sessions on WeChat where the youth discussed how they could exercise their rights and bring about a change. There were separate chat sessions for first time voters, and they were educated about their rights and duties.

The spark which Shravan lighted had by now transformed into the flame of justice.

Duryodhan bhaiyya and his goons were restless. Being used to their old violent ways, they never knew the power of social media. They hired a professional hacker to hack and disrupt the efforts of Shravan’s party, but failed.

A day before elections, the election commission also brought a secret gift for team Duryodhan. Every polling booth was fitted with surveillance cameras.

However, on the polling day, Duryodhan Bhaiyya’s goons tried booth capturing on few polling stations. While the surveillance cameras caught their act, few youngsters standing nearby caught their act on their mobiles. Within seconds the videos of Duryodhan’s goons went viral on Facebook, Twitter and WeChat.

This further awakened the people who had decided to sit at home for the fear of booth capturing. Knowing they were safe now, they happily came and exercised their vote. The old Mausi who could barely walk to the polling booth, gave a toothy smile to the media persons who had rushed after seeing the booth capturing video. “This is a day of change for Pallavpuram”, she said.

By evening, the booth capturing videos had crossed 1 million hits on Youtube. Duryodhan bhaiyya and his goons were nowhere to be seen. Finger print scan of every voter ensured there were no fake votes.

A day before the results, an online and sms poll signaled that the state of affairs seemed to change for good.

The poll results day was celebrated like a festival in Pallavpuram. Shravan’s party had won by a clear majority, breaking team Duryodhan’s winning spree. Within hours of the results being declared, Shravan crossed 100000 followers on twitter!

As the media persons rushed to interview the new youth icon of the country, Shravan thanked the voters in his online address and said, “Even the non violent have the courage to win. This is the victory of We the people and technology! Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are our rights and I am glad the youth have helped us bring about this revolution”

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!!!

With barely half an hour left to usher in the New Year, I couldn’t resist myself from writing this one last post for the year 2013.

As a kid, me and my friends believed, whatever one does at the time of New Year is what s/he does for the remaining year. So, I used to wear my best clothes, wear a big smile and give a big hug to my mom.

New Year is also a time to count your blessings. No matter how much we sulk about things that didn’t happen, we should also pay our gratitude for the things we have. So, every New Year’s eve at midnight, mom used to pray for all of us and also used to give that special magical hug with sweets…the occasion is the same, though mom is missing and wherever she is, I can still feel the warmth of her blessings.

Thank you all my readers for your encouragement. For someone who began blogging just as a means of shouting her heart out, regular dose of appreciation from readers means a lo…t.

Needless to say, I LOVE comments, so no matter how short they are, keep pouring them. They bring the joy of being connected with my readers.

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year 2014!!!

A special wish also goes out to those who spend their New Year’s Eve in hospitals. I have seen my mom going to the ICU on New year’s Eve and I pray nobody goes through that experience. Also, hats off to the people who sacrifice their enjoyment to serve us in hospitals, hotels, railways, even the defence personnel on the border.

I pray happiness, smiles, Love and contentment for everyone. May all your dreams come true and may the year to come bring the better human being out in all of us, coz the world really needs it these days!

As for me, its about to be 12 and I am blogging! Yippee!!! May this year get the best out of the writer in me…maybe I can write something good enough to be published…J

Phew! Before I get any more senti, here’s wishing everyone a happy new year 2014 once again!

Keep smiling and keep loving my posts! Stay tuned for lot more to come!!!