Java City my local Starbucks

There was this warm friendly neighborhood coffee hangout I used to frequent at my old workplace; hadn’t been there for some time. I was passing by the other day and thought I should pop in to have my evening caffeine shot there. As I approached, the same old steward smiled and greeted me, I took my usual table with the world view, he brought my usual cappuccino and cookies the way I always had there, accompanied with the usual butter croissant the way I like, with my usual drink, and a copy of the usual paper I read. I looked around, breathed the coffee aromas wafting most enticingly past me, watched the world go by. All this, without either one of us exchanging a single word.

I sat there, gazing from my ‘usual’ place for sometime. I hadn’t realized that I always ordered the same thing; I hadn’t realized I always read the paper while eating. I hadn’t realized that this ‘familiar stranger’ knew my evening snack routine better than me.

Don’t know why the theme song Cheers popped into my head at that moment…followed by a smile.

How many familiar strangers do I know? How many do you know?


Why is Christmas such a happy season?

This is perhaps my most favourite festival of the year. From my many excursions all around the world winter season across continents, nations, states, cities, towns all have a underlying emotion of joy and happiness which is not motivated but genuine

The Christmas trees small and big, luxurious and simple, all beckon you warmly. There is an expectant air of surprise and happiness unbridled, chirping from every nook and cranny. The most awaited time of the year has to be December and Christmas

Memorable and fantastic (month long) free sweets and puddings and cakes and chocolates at the work place, to happy music washing the corridors we walk, to the well decorated malls and shops with fairy lights, the occasional Santa you come across that triggers all wonderful school memories of surprise gifts….O this season of ‘chirp’ rules for me.

Red Christmas plants flowering everywhere, decorating and ornamenting the real or the plastic Christmas tree which is a ceremony by itself in so many homes, the churches wearing a buzz of bonding, forgiving and forgetting old wounds, Christmas definitely brings with it something special each year.

Besides the popular gingerbread cookies, kal kals and marzipan, and the famous plum cake that Mathew’s mum bakes (has to be the bestest in the world), the holiday season surely takes on a light, flirty, tinkling laughing hue

As Christmas is the season of good cheer and goodwill, it also becomes a handy excuse to get in contact with family, beloved ones as well as friends. Very often during the year we don't find the time to stay connected – Christmas becomes the very reason to be back in touch, especially if they live far away.

Finally there is the most awaited activity of Christmas, to find out what Santa brought on Christmas Eve. Although as adults we buy and get pleasure in gifting those gifts, it is the young kids who get the most pleasure from receiving Christmas presents. To find the before carefully hidden Christmas presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning is one of the most fantastic ways to create unforgettable memories for children at Christmas.

Merry Christmas All


Things that could spark Life for me

Spending an entire day eating junk food without feeling guilty

Telling someone the story of my life, sparing no details

Giving my mother a dozen red roses and telling her how much I love her

Putting my name down to be a passenger on the first tourist shuttle to the moon

Drinking beer at Oktoberfest in Munich

Sleeping under the stars

Going wild in Rio during the Carnival

Experiencing all cuisines and travelling the world

Indulging in the most fabulous world spas

Putting my money and name on something: a college scholarship, a bench in the park, sun shelters or water fountains at bus stops

Growing and tending a garden

Living in a beach facing home across aqua waters

The high of weed

Look into a dogs eyes and being filled with a tender feeling

Stimulating, respectful, deep conversations with family or close friends

Having ‘spiritual experiences’ (sense of transcendence, gratefulness, connectedness, being loved by the Source, stillness, etc)

Being totally goofy and/or laughing long and hard with friends

Experiencing other’s artistic creativity, particularly when its really innovative

Being creative myself (writing a song, story or paper; creating a campaign for the development sector or a beneficial social site etc)

Gathering with a group of friends for a tasty meal and some wine

Traveling to new places

A room full of flowers of all hues and colours

What sparks life in you?:)


Water proof mobile phones?

Crippled. Helpless. Marooned. Adrift that’s the feeling. Bet you know what I'm talking about? Yup - my phone! It sank into a pool of water. And along with it, half my world.

I was on the phone chatting with a friend and washing plates amidst a sink-ful of water. Moved my shoulder around (where the phone was perched over the ear) to push the hair out of the way since it was getting pulled by my cleaning, this disaster took place – the phone slipped from its perch, I tried catching it mid air, nearly caught it but with my soapy hands it got tossed back up, lunged for it again only to aid it directly into the water! My gymnastics didn’t help

Why was it so important for me to take that call while washing the vessels? The phone may not ring for hours. The day could be going great - lots of writing out of the way. And as I step towards a task and am catching up with my thoughts...tring tring.

The reasons I guess we keep our mobiles near us is practical. What if there is an emergency and you need to reach help???? Good point, right? Oh well....a few days ago, the phone rang mid-shower. I let it ring. But today was not normal. I decided to answer it while washing!

I dived into the murky waters and fished out the phone with micro seconds. But something dreadful must have happened in those nano seconds. The water cleverly managed to seep in and short circuit the delicate machine. The phone started to behave like Rafa on clay court. And then randomness -rang moodily, switched on and off at will, before spluttering and dying on me. This was insane. I shook it angrily, brought out my hair dryer and almost stuck the phone into the micro. It looked perfectly dry to me. But it had packed up ... and with it, so had most of my life.

The hair dryer trick to dry the phone reminded me of that scene in the movie "Funny Games" when Naomi Watts is desperately trying to ring 911 with her wet phone. It is a disturbing film directed by the much acclaimed German guy who this year got a lot of critical acclaim for White Ribbon. Of course my situation is like a thousand times better than the one in the movie.

Everyone said to me stop mourning and bury the phone. The phone company said we are sorry we cannot do anything with high tech gadgets like my phone. It cannot be resurrected. But my numbers!!! How will the world reach me??.

Our world has so changed. With cell phones, i phones, twittermania we operate in this information crazy world where we are always in a rush. May be we should start taking in the simple pleasures of daily living. Like washing without interruption!! Or watching a movie without the cell phone on. Can we last for a day without any mode of communication- cell phones, computers, emails? If our parent's generation survived, why can't we? Or perhaps they should simply make the mobiles water proof! Simple.


Was it a vision or did I see God?

HAve you ever been to a place, a holy place - seeking peace, quitetude and a connection with Him? And then realized that without you knowing why or how, you have been weeping silent tears - real tears; rolling down your cheeks, and you cannot fathom why such deep sadness or why such huge releif? At that moment you feel like he was there right in front of - holding your hand, looking you squarely in the eye with a smile, enveloping you in his warmth.

I have always believed God exists within. And that one doesn't have to go to holy places to seek Him. And yet when I have been to such holy places in my lifetime- I have been on some rare occasions been left speechless with my own reactions. I simply cannot explain it

Is this what they call the 'connection'? Why does this happen? Does anyone have any answers to this? Have you ever felt it? And how did you deal with it?


When ill- you gotta be home

The phrase “no place like home” comes alive when one is ill, sick, blue, down and out. The tender loving care showered on you when sick, the gentle care with which things move around you, the love that envelops you at such times - makes you want to take re birth in the same family again and again and again

Before you can open your mouth and complaint - things are taken care of, a heck of a lot of home remedies have you bouncing back on your feet within no time, you are allowed to sulk and whine and they simply look at you fondly as if a baby who knows no better, they ruffle your hair and say ‘its all right this too shall pass’ making you feel the sting of tears at the back of your eyes for you being so blessed when they are so kind and considerate

Home is rightly the place for one to be tended from sick to well being again. Home is where love is unconditional. Home is about kindness and nurturing. Home is where you get tender loving care when ill. I am glad to be home. Thank you God for such a wonderful family.


My Guilt

Everyone had been scaring me and I was kind of see-sawing between wanting a dog soooooo badly and giving into the fears. I've been absolutely loooonging to have a lil Lab pup as a pet and have been jostling between how will I manage, will I need a full time maid, what do I do when I travel etc...Fears of how will I look after a pet all by myself with no help? Fear of never having a pet animal before and not knowing if I will take a shine to this new creature in my life? Fear of what if he doesn’t like me? Fear of will I be able to give him as unconditionally as they say dogs give to their masters? Fear of tending, nurturing, caring, training all despite work, office and routine life… Till one day I got the courage to accept a dog – a princely little pup, all of 7 weeks old - whose owner couldn’t keep him for her own reasons.

As soon as Pooch happened in my life I hunted high and low like never before and got the pup a maid who would alongside me tend to him, be there with him, love him, and look after him. I also took time out from work so that in his initial formative days I could be there for him, to train him, make sure he got the right meals, felt secure and safe and knew he was precious for me.

My days were a whirlwind with Pooch. My world revolved around Pooch completely and I have no guilt in admitting this. I found myself talking non stop with this little fellow from his waking hours till he slept, I watched him sleep, eat, and do potty, trained him to go the bathroom instead of any place in the house, gave him his meals, fed him, took him to the vet for his first shots, drove the car so gently and slowly so as to not disturb him if he was sleeping in the car, and to make sure he never felt an “ooh ah ouch” of speed breakers or bumps on the road.

From having a complete grip of my life, I suddenly found my life thrown into 8th gear as I was kept engaged with Pooch non stop for all my waking hours without exaggeration. In the time he would sleep I would check on work, do the house errands, tend to my plants as soon as he’d wake he needed a companion to play and do masti with. The young maid disappeared after one day and so it was back to Pooch and me together managing our lives. I was going nuts cleaning after him but he was just so adorable and so responsive to training and playing and compliments and once in a while ticking off that there was no ways I was turning him away from me.

Every day I would be mentally saying to myself soon I will manage him, the house and work more efficiently. He can accompany me to work and come back home in the evening with me. I will look after him at work. He will soon become magically trained and understand everything. The issue was he was too young a baby, he wanted everything in his mouth from dirt and dust to plastic to vessels to chair and table stands to the iron of the bed to rugs and spoons everything- and making sure none of the harmful stuff went into his mouth, he had become adept at the command “open your mouth Pooch”- so much so at times he even outsmarted me by hiding stuff under his toungue so that he wouldn’t be caught out. This constant tension that he may swallow something wrong while my back was turned away bothered me no end. I badly needed help to keep an eye on him while I turned away for a few seconds and there was none…

Also after being away from office for over a week, I needed to resume work- and that tension had started mounting on me. I wasn’t able to find any help, I was struggling to keep tabs on him not putting wrong things in his mouth, my own eating sleeping patterns had gone awry…I was wilting with some defeat setting in.

Pooch is a little baby, my little tiger, my shweeto baby and I loved him to distraction. I played games with him like when I was young, I cuddled him like I have never before, he was smelly becos I was told by the vet he cant be given a bath as he is too small yet, but I love him much much:) infact I wept copious tears one day becos he slept for 3 hrs non stop and despite waking him so many times- he wouldn't stir. I got so so so worried that maybe I had fed him bad, or too much, or too little…why was he not waking up?! I held him in my arms hugged him and wept a lot- he finally opened his one eye- climbed upto my neck and licked me a couple of times and then went back to sleep- I laughed and cried harder:)

He's been an unadulterated joy:)

The world had frightened me about how I would manage this lil pup alone, without help - and I had been saying “M, one day at a time” - I am equally afraid of such a huge responsibility, but his giving is so unconditional that I am willing to forgo my travel, and my going out etc till he grows up and can take charge of himself. Till then I am willing to be housebound and office bound. I was not willing to admit defeat. I wanted to make a winner out of this situation

Alas the story does not end on such optimism. I eventually came to realizing that real life is not about my own needs and desires but this little fellows needs are more important than mine. He needs people around him who will care for him and look after him without stressing about parallel lives such as outside home there is an office to go to! He needs a full family around him where people can take turns to look after him, rather than one person be there all 24hours around him. And most importantly he doesn’t need to be shunted from one home into another but needs a home that looks after him permanently. This realization brought grief, sadness, guilt, shamefulness, hurt, tears but for his sake I had to give him away till I got my own house in order. He now has been gone 5 days and not a single day goes without me pining for him or crying for him. Keeping my own guilt and need aside I know he is now in a home where he is being done justice to- he has constant companionship, even if people go off to office in that home, there is a the lady of the house, the kids and the servants at home for Pooch to never feel alone and always have companionship.

What I am left behind with are memories- happy ones where I remember Pooch walking like a lil tiger strutting his ware from room to room in my home, I remember him playing with me when I would throw the ball or he would want my toes for his playtime- he’d jump like a horse doing equestrian events at show- so majestically, and sometimes he’d be slipping and sliding all over himself and fall like a bundle of soft wool, he would get himself entangled in his own legs foolishly and then would get up looking dazed- give himself a good shake and then once again go diving for my toes and fingers…god he was such a delight. Absolutely worth having in my life. I miss him.


Chase the monsoon magic

Rain alters and rewrites life on earth- Dad's words ring through my ears today:)

Rains are washed in myriad emotions- there are times I feel all mystical and fuzzy, when the mood is to stay snuggled warmly amidst soft fluffy quilts watching the rain pelt down and make the grass and trees glow green again.

Rains paint the skies with a strange effervescence. There comes a fluorescent grey, dark grey and sometimes even orange skies that can make me feel so lonely and the need to shed tears becomes overwhelming. A steady drip, drip, drip could give a Zen master cabin fever. And here's the real news: You know that little dip in your mood? It isn't just your imagination. Constant rain fall does get you down, its scientifically proven.

The connection between smell and emotion has been described for long. The classic one is 'O! I love the smell of earth during the first rains" - those evoke memories of young, refreshing energized love, it's an unforgettable feeling and smell. It's like the rain has touched upon every single emotion you have as well as all of your senses. It's one of those kind of things where you have to experience it firsthand in order to really understand it completely

Rains can be very sensual and romantic; cause a feeling of calm and peacefulness to wash over you; make you extremely reflective and introspective; bring about a ton of thoughts about the past/present/future and help resolve issues that I might be struggling with at that particular time.

I love listening to the rain softly hit the windows or the roof as I go to sleep. It almost creates a feeling of comfort and being safe and that in itself tends to lull me to sleep. As a child, on our summer vacations, we would be allotted the top floor room in the house (so that we kids had our own space) where the roof was made of tin and it rained quite often and the sound of the rain rhythmically hitting that tin roof while we slept in either a hammock or on a cot would gently rock us to sleep and that's a memory that is stirred up every time I hear it rain.

I love walking while it's raining, preferably when it's in the evening when there aren't too many people about, because there's just something...well, I'm not sure what word to use is...but it's very calming but also sensual - the rain gently lands on your skin and trickles down your arms or legs and it really doesn't get much better than that.

Early rains, rains when the earth is parched and lose dust is flying about, rain that ups the water supply to our homes, rain that gushes for an hour and then allows the sun to shine thru the rest of the day, rain when I am at home or office but no rain when I am on the road, rain when I am blue and rain when I am with my loved ones, rain that washes off the grime from city roofs and trees, rain that announces its intent with thunder and lighting, rain that is slow and forever in the cold blistery clime - there are just way too many moods associated with rains.

PS: What do you feel when it rains? How does it make you feel high on life/low in life?


Michael Jackson the Pop God

He might have died a sudden death, but Jackson leaves us with a music legacy for the ages.

As Michael Jackson made the unfortunate transition from pop-music icon to tabloid staple, one of the most common lines of attack was on his ever-changing appearance, the way his skin dramatically lightened in tone, and his face altered in structure to other accusations of a child molester etc . What's most tragic about Jackson's death, aside from the fact that it comes as he was mounting a comeback to include a sold-out 50-show residence at London's O2 Arena, is that what people will remember about him is his changing face. What they should remember: the way he changed the face of pop music.

I am deeply saddened and shocked by the death of a brother, a son, a daddy.......I am seriously still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that he is gone...he always seemed so much larger than life. I literally grew up watching him on tv and in videos and movies and most of all enjoying his music. The onslaught of so many emotions when I heard the news of his passing is beyond words....

I am still in utter shock hours later. There was an Elvis before we were born and then there was MJ - the most memorable voice in music history.

Let this serve as a reminder is a gift every second you can try to enjoy it as tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

RIP......nobody knows the truth about this man...he may have been wrongfully accused. Nobody lives a perfect life. To his family, I am sorry for your loss. He had great talent!

If there is music in Heaven they will be having the largest biggest bestest concert today to celebrate whacko jacko’s return home



How do you feel about your birthday? Dread for aging? Happy for partying? Sad for lack of love and friends, who are all dispersed? Nostalgic, because you are older and wiser? Moody and fretful because you wish not everyone would fuss about you so? Bursting with enthusiasm for the love that is showered on you so unconditionally?

Birthdays usually come with many mixed emotions. And depending if you are in your teens or 20’s, 30’s or 60’s the moods it manifests itself with also varies. Sure it is about a birthday cake, and hugs and love, and family and friends, its also about reflections and introspection's, about taking a pause and mulling about ‘Why was I born”

Birthdays come once a year, knocking on your door and even if you opt not to open it, they somehow make it in!!! Sometimes the day is unusual, sometimes it is a dreaded knock especially when you leave behind the 20's!? For me, I would rather hear the knock than no knock at all!!!!!

In life, I have had many chapters I dream of -some I failed at, some I accomplished, some I'm still trying to reach. I've stumbled along the way, I've leaned on family and friends, I've used my instincts and gut feelings, been spontaneous, took my chances. But never can I regret any part of my living years.

My mistakes have made me stronger, my accomplishments have given me joy and laughter, my pain has taught me lessons, my heart has grown humble.

On my birthday, I reflected on my past, also saw some reflections of my future. I was part somber and part bursting with life. I was amidst family and friends. And faced two reality checks: the First- the rains have always brought on the blues for me on my birth date, and this birthday it didn't rain a drop for the first time - definite reason to worry about climate changes. the Second- the accident shook me bad but also made me glad that I was alive and breathing and living well. Made me count my blessings and knock on wood for the love of so many who keep me blanketed against disruptions

Who knows how the next birthday will be...I do not make advance plans, I do not like advance wishes, I do not wish to be gifted but would love a hug and blessings anytime, as much as at times the phone beep and non stop ringing may create a frown of irritation on my forehead, my God, I'd miss it sorely if that did not happen on my birthday:)

Happy Birthday to all of you sometime this year (except for the leap year B-days)....May you find joy in your special day and peace the following days.


The Shams of India

Chatting with a friend started me thinking about the myriad, highly diverting kinds of chicanery I’ve seen over the years in our beloved India:) This turned out to be such a rich topic...

Shamming for sympathy, including:

The supposedly blind guy at Java City with a white cane and dark glasses that weren’t dark enough to prevent you from noticing up close that he was always looking around and focusing on different sights. His perpetual grin didn’t help either.

The desperately sad-looking woman who came to clean the apartment block daily who remained seven months pregnant, and near tears, from mid-2005 well upto now. Beyond the boundary walls of the apartment block on her way in or out of the building when I hand her a packet of cookies or pastries her smile always becomes radiant.

The old woman who used to beg in front of Mac’s on Linking Road every day, bent over double and shaking even in this summer heat, made people reach out with food in concern for her old bones. Except on the two or three occasions when I saw her arrive for “work,” walking upright and not shaking at all.

Heartfelt hogwash, featuring:

A young woman with her family who used to stop people in the street explaining that they were villagers from Kolar who came to Bombay for medical help, and the same day they arrived they got their baggage stolen and now needed money for train fare home – a plausible story convincingly delivered, except that she told it to me on three or four different occasions over a two-year period.

Door-to-door hypocrites

Here’s a fun fact: quite a few people have knocked on my door claiming that I was obligated to comply with their wishes, which usually meant giving them money for one thing or another, and so far not a single one of them has been telling the truth. None. Zero. Liars all.

My favorites include:

The haughtily aggressive bill collector who insisted that I had to pay the previous tenant’s outstanding phone line bill to continue usage.

The “Energy inspector” (with no uniform or ID) who came by right after I moved into a new place and insisted on coming inside to check the papers for a dekho at the electricity meter. I was naive at the time that I actually let him in and showed him the 3 phase meter which he was not interested in , was busy gapin around the apartment and realized that it was essentially a single room with nothing in it worth taking away, let alone stealing.

And the impressively glib young man wearing a yellow jumpsuit and goggles hanging in the front and carrying a complex-looking “gas sensor” (I now think it was a fake empty box) who tried really hard to convince us that we were legally obliged to pay him 200 bucks to use his super-high-tech gizmo to verify that our gas stove wasn’t leaking. We decided to live dangerously.

Inexplicable absurdities

Shopping in one of those massive malls, I found myself in a watch store . As I was making my way through the crowd in the watch department, someone tapped me very firmly and rapidly several times on the shoulder from behind. I turned around and saw a skinny, well-dressed girl with glasses just completing the action of bending over a display case and assuming a glaringly affected look of poring over the watches as though making a carefully considered choice. She was even rubbing his chin as if thoughtfully!.

I have no idea what that was about. A distraction as a setup for a pickpocket? One of those asinine “hidden camera” TV shows? Or perhaps a wager between 2 people to have a laugh at the expense of a stranger


2009 LS elections - my truth

Why did I feel such a great sense of elation? Such a rush? As if this were a personal victory when Congress won a near majority? I searched deep within for some real answers.

I think I was grateful for the fact that we did not have a half and half verdict because that would have meant much horse trading and opportunism. I was so afraid that the educated masses were so divided about BJP versus Congress and no emergence of an alternative plausible 3rd national party that both could have drawn blood and us ‘aam junta’ would have been forgotten in the war of internal politics. I also was somewhere deeply worried the young were still shirking from their responsibilities despite so many efforts to draw them into the circle to exercise their voting rights and they abstaining may have led to a negative back lash like a Sena or MNS gaining more power! Thank God none of this happened.

I certainly did not want to see religion and caste dividing my country any further in the middle. I am fully aware that the BJP has done little right over the past five years in Opposition to merit any positive views. Even the Congress led UPA Government had not scored any brownie points during the same period for any performance led results with an urban dweller like me.

Maybe the gratitude of seeing Congress emerge victorious was felt so strongly by me perhaps because I felt this was a party that maybe was the better evil amongst the two? Maybe Congress would be less hungry for power between the two parties (as Congress had been in power much longer before and hence maybe satiated some?). I most definitely feel that local issues impact the decision of voters, young or old and the 26/11 Bombay terror attacks were a latent reminder of a large looming threat over us people and instinctively with so much finger pointing being indulged in by the BJP at Congress, it felt right to uphold Congress with a will to change things for the better for the country because pedigree of the C-party people stood out stark, almost reassuringly this elections. Led by Manmohan Singh, and a relatively young brigade like Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya, Sachin Pilot, Jatin, Omar and a battery of able sharp shooting PR speakers of the C-brigade made me feel confident about Congress and that they could have my vote.

Now it is for us to ensure we hold these happy fellas, accountable, post victory. They certainly have made the right noises about security, internal issues like the naxals and economic development, and inducting young people into the cabinet etc. It’s imperative that every Indian seek a score card of progress and transparency in development - economically and socially - from this victorious C-party frequently, to keep track of performance led politics:)


Seize the moment

(reproduced from a forward)

I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. I honked but no one came out. I honked again, nothing. So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets..

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'..
'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice'.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said.

'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.



Are India’s young an illusion?

Everyone in India thinks that the youth is a very powerful, decisive, changing agent for a super power India to emerge! And with 2/3rds of Indians below the age of 35 the young certainly look a promising large number to make some powerful changes if they decide to.

At the risk of sounding na├»ve and simplistic I’m not sure we can conclude that young Indians have a unique and independent political preferences and views – my own sense is they are out of depth and out of sorts with the world of politics and that they’d rather not dirty their hands or brave hardships to change the status quo in the country.

They are happy to sit on the sidelines and continue to be apathetic and indifferent to the political governance in the country but are opinionated and trigger happy with words and points of views which continue to spew forth, without a break.

I guess much stress does get put on the youth of our country because the youth are supposed to be the carriers of change and transformation. If the past 3 phases of polling were to be taken into account then this myth feeds on a perception that the youth does not confirm to any of these beliefs including the angst of 26/11 which seemed to have overtly galvanized them into action but now seems long forgotten!

The youth seem less politically active than ever despite so many “voting driven” communication campaigns – with John Abraham, Aamir Khan and so many other large Bollywood stars. Obviously there are more active priorities and anxieties in life they seem to be consumed by a) how to earn money furiously quick b) how to prepare for a professional career c) how to circumvent controversies and not stick out with any point of view!

If I were to draw inferences from all the tv debates and real life instances I have seen thus far, then there is no systematic difference between the manner in which the young and the not-so-young vote. In opinions, there is simply nothing like a generational jump in Indian politics that can form a dividing line between an emerging point of view and an old generation thinking!.

The young support democracy in much the same way as the old do.

The young are about as traditional and conservative as the old. Even on questions like inter-caste marriage, live in relations, son preference over daughter - the opinions of the young are not actually very different from the rest of the population.


Mass love to mass hate - Shah Rukh Khan

He said rather cheekily in a media interview “So guys let the hate mails come my way, it will keep me and my team motivated to come together and help us win the trophy”. Please note the ‘I, me, myself” always leads with SRK!

Just because he owns KKR does the team have to jump when he says jump, play a six and they do a DLF maximum ? When does ‘bidding from the master’ stop and when does the game/sport take over independent of the master?! Am quite quite quite sic of this mans reactions, overbearing arrogance and loudness! I think he certainly needs to rein it in before he loses face further and loses his appeal altogether because of his loud mouth antics!

If sportsmen could start hamming like the great entertainer, then swapping roles could become so lucrative! By strutting your stuff you can win audiences in cinema theaters and who’d know this better than King Khan. But maybe he has bitten more than he can chew by owning a cricket team? Cricket is part luck and part pure play- or did he never understand that basic rule? His magic wand works in cinema well and he should look to retain its shine and polish there, lest it dims, because of his negative attitude on the playing field!

It’s the cricketers who have to strut their stuff on the ground; this sport doesn’t work on SRK’s bidding! Arrogance works universally provided you know your stuff- does SRK know his cricket thoroughly? Honestly a more basic question begs an answer here- does SRK understand human psychology and what politics and pressure can do to a team’s morale? Does false bravado and self charm make him the undisputed winner of the cup before the tournament has begun? I think for Mr. Khan, winning the IPL is less important, than self deification! By trading blows with ex cricketer legend he once again showed himself in poor light, a bad loser, whose cheap headline grabbing tactics made him look pitiable and cut a sorry figure! Not befitting his brilliant cinema image at all!

Last year, the nation saw the anti-climax when loud-mouthed and arrogant Shahrukh Khan saw KKR emerge as the last or second last team in the list. His colossal budget on campaigning and advertising proved phony and the star-studded gloss faded out easily with disastrous results. Arrogant Shahrukh Khan (am sad to admit this) has become the biggest villain of Indian cricketing scenario when he openly bashed up legendary Sourav Ganguly by allowing a loser manager to take the most stoopid decision regarding 4 captains in a team! Or by openly speaking about selling a team because of non performance! Does he know the meaning of nurturing talent, allowing the team to come into its own, making sure all politics is far removed from the playing hands and leading from the front by not just paying lip service to the bigness and greatness of Dada but by backing him with action and giving him the captaincy and not selling his soul to a has- been loser Australian manager coach who the Ozzies hate themselves! My heart goes out to 2 guys there on the field - seeing Brendon McCullum looking cheerless and forlorn while leading a defeated team on field and Dada who is valiantly doing his best to make a win happen despite Shah Rukh Khan and that mercenary coach/manager!

I ask myself this question repeatedly - What can Shahrukh Khan do best now, to avert all controversies and failures? Hmmm... maybe launch a Fifth Captain…


Coming to you 'Live', 'on your channel', we bring it to you 'as we see it' - the 4th estate

Some stats:
50,000+ print media
375+ broadcast media
200+ news channels
45.3 million active internet users
Explosive growth in new media (including mobilephones)
Advertising revenues growing at a healthy pace
So who sets the agenda for the content and information that we are subject to 24x7?

Do you feel todays media is 'tabloidised' more than ever before? I remember one channel head briefing me to sell 'news' as entertainment. Well, it is:) And it also is the primary conveyor of information, news and views in our society.

Media plays the role of watchdog over society, overlooking proceedings. So why does it resent a watchdog to overlook proceedings over itself?

Guess the owners and the Editors are a powerful community. We live in times of conflict and turmoil, and I wonder if that makes some, above scrutiny? Is a watchdog over media an abstract notion in journalism?! Now there is a thought...

When everything is breaking news, and all stories are sensationalized and dramatized then how do we sift between reality and drama? Do we even understand as public what journalism must stand for today?

The state has made repeated attempts to regulate the functioning of the media. Barring Emergency, our media has vociferously resisted these attempts. Journalists and media owners came together to resist any regulation.

Am all for democracy and responsibility. It would be great if all things true and powerful could conduct themselves with vibrancy and rigour and self policing and righteousness to ensure no need for a regulatory body ever! Only if we humans were infalliable, could this utopian situation exist!

The widespread criticism and condemnation of the broadcast media's coverage of the November 26 attacks in Bombay was an interesting example of the face-off between the media, the state and the public - a rare instance where all three agencies were in disagreement with one another. The media contention that the government was unprepared and the absence of a central agency to give out official information resulted in a free-for-all. The government responded by seeking curbs on media coverage in instances of terror attacks. SO when will media show its social responsibility and own up its excesses- the rights/wrongs?

Sure the internet is becoming a powerful medium to carry clout but nowhere near powerful yet.

In today's fractured media environment, where competition to grab the media market is more intense than ever before, ethics are the obstacles in the race. Different sections of the media are governed by vested interests - economic and political.

When media refuses self-scrutiny or fails to acknowledge its mistakes they cannot even agree to disagree. So how can the media be made accountable?

The great Indian Debate – Will it, wont it?

How do our political leaders, ministers engage with us - the public? The young guns do it through an impersonal stupid one line templated response from their Blackberry. Which amounts to minus zero engagement. In fact works dramatically in an opposite manner – only if they’d understand the damage they are doing themselves and their reputation! The older leaders try to engage the masses through their blogs which continue to have a personal motivation and an agenda. Once again amounting to nothing for the masses given high illiteracy levels in our country.

And if none other vehicles of communication work then a press conference is called for to wash dirty linen in public! No matter what questions get shrieked at them, they only give information single mindedly on what they would like to provide ammunition for. There is no two way speak, in this great democracy of ours. Do you remember a scenario where you have had a two way dialogue with any of these leaders?

And I don’t mean touching them or shaking their hands post the Bombay attacks or during a rally! I mean a dialogue, a conversation, a meaningful point of view which us masses have absorbed, analyzed, understood and have related to?

Indian leaders’ direct communication begins and ends with that great ‘tamasha’ called the election. The moment the vote is counted and government formed, they build impregnable fortresses around themselves. No Indian Prime Minister has ever organized a town hall kind of a meeting and took questions from the public in the middle of a raging national crisis or controversy (remember Obama on the Jay Leno show?).

When did our Prime Minister ever explain the various stock market scams to us directly, in terms that you and I can comprehend? Dr Manmohan Singh was famously dismissive of the biggest scam that first broke the trust of the small Indian investor in 1992, saying he “did not lose his sleep” over the plummeting BSE Sensex, which, until then, was hawked incessantly by his government as the emerging middle class’ big ticket to prosperity.

Why do our political leaders shy away to connect with this country’s people? A case in point was the nuke deal crisis that threatened to force an early election on the country. The deal resonated favorably, at least with urban India, but all that the PM did by way of reaching out was to shadow box. The party spokepeople – now they are a tenacious breed! Ravi Prasad, Jaitley, Kapil Sibal, Amar Singh – fantastic shadow boxers! Infact they have an alternate career if they ever decide to give up ad libbing! They have mastered the art of rhetoric, interruption, finger pointing on TV shows- they behave like the lotus flower. All the ‘keechad’ is around them viz their opponents from rival political parties. They themselves are the beautiful Lotus flower which blooms, does its work remaining agnostic to the ‘keechad’! Don’t we really wish!

On the other hand irrespective if you hated it or loved it, The India Today Conclave pulled off a high decibel conclave showcasing international political stars and villains all on the same platform. Look high and low on TV do you find a single show of equal nature and stature for our prime ministerial candidates to make an appearance on? Ok lets not even debate this… they can honestly come on any show and we will allow the likes of Arun Purie or Arnab or Prabhu Chawla to field questions at them

But- they shy away. Its alright for Advani to challenge Dr Manmohan Singh today. If the situation was reversed I assure you not even Advani would take the centre stage who seems to be roaring like a Tiger from within his den with no purpose. Its time these guys realized we are an intelligent people who understand whats at play in Politics. And no amount of fake talking or hoodwinking can take away their credit if they have done substantial work in the development of the nation, or the demerit if they speak mere hollow words.

Sure the big question remains - will they ever come live on TV? In a debate? Highly unlikely – neither will the challenged nor will the challenger, you figure who’s who in this great democratic, hollow power play that seems to be unfolding with some fervour in our country!

When a nation is in troubled times, be it the security of the country or the economic meltdown, be it the Satyam scam or the problem involving criminals in politics, when it is about hate speeches or about paani, sadak, bijli for the aam janta - our leaders, political leaders need to be able to differentiate between the real problems and political wolves and find a way to wrest a communication pathway with the public and reassure them the nation is in steady hands, hands that are not daunted by the challenges. Our future leaders need to display a show of courage that despite the humungous problems facing the nation “together” we will keep our wits and diversity and secularity intact and still be able to ride the wave of development and grow at a frenetic pace.

That’s a leader you want to leave the country in the hands of. That’s the leader you want to vote for. How difficult can it be to talk on a subject they have spent 70, 80 plus years of their life on?

Once upon a time there was a sport called cricket

India is in the throes of an election that will possibly throw up a crazy alliance governement; our political leadership has been fraught with social and communal tensions and the meltdown of the economy has not helped either. Add to that the continuing suspense over whether the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament will happen or not (The IPL has now been shifted outside India). Its a B grade thriller that has captured the interest of masses who look upon this incident in India and wonder in their minds, once again, what will it take politicians to do their jobs instead of interfering in territories best left alone like sports. But the likes of Jaitley or Pawar are already well entrenched into cricket and there is no getting away from the fact where there is money (and most certainly there is lots of cash in cricket)- politicians will be scripting their Swiss account maths!

The IPL symbolizes the bright and brash, mixing India’s great sporting passion and Bollywood’s glamour, topped with lashings of money. Enter: The Politics of politicians and powerful lobbies who will jostle to topple anything as long as their currency is not being held ransom!

Cricket is only a game and entertains you for 4 hours. Many of us understand that. Didn't The IPL organizers know that there will be the Lok Sabha Elections in April, May months of 2009, as the current government is completing their 5 years term. They should have planned it accordingly. Now the organizers are putting all the blame on the central govt. The real culprits are IPL organizers and not the central govt. Who don't keep cognizance of certain basic calendar of events before planning a tournament! I mean is that dumb or is that dumb! And this pathetic story hogs the media headlines?! Do we have better things to do during an election phase?

IPL should not be considered as a sports event.. it is entertainment galore. In addition it also is a money making machine to earn a lot of cash at the expense of manhours of India. A question some leaders should be (instead) asking - can this money find better use for advancing the nation instead...

Smart folks know it is the Politics of money and self interest that has compelled the decision of taking IPL out of India. I am a huge cricket enthusiast but I frankly don't care if IPL going out of India was about security or politics. The glaring shocker for me is during an election season the IPL needn't have participated or precipitated another row within the warring political parties - because instead of debating national issues of governance our politicians are in a full blown war of words (over cricket) over matters that are not in the interest of the nations development !For crying out loud, when will we as The people hold these political parties responsible for debating issues that shld constitute election agendas?!?

Surely India deserves better!And that can happen only if we as The people seek answers from these politicians and not allow them to hijack our country's voice, over petty politics and cash! The Electorate needs to differentiate between politics and devious capitalistic looters in sports!


Women- half way there?

Women- strong power? Or smooth cooperation?

Have we seen accomplished women in our world? Have we felt their strong presence?

Her views on power, goverance, politics are largely associated with male charachteristics. She would rather avoid conflict than engage in it, leaving the field open to her being manipulated

In times like now when life is so multi dimensional, needing reinforcements and replenishment's a female stands the acid test of multi roles, soft and hard facets of a leader and a marquee manager

Many women do hold center-stage today, because people believe in them. Women present themselves more honestly, transparently, with clarity, speak a direct language that is relevant and connects. However is that the norm?

Women run countries with as much ease as they run creches with sensitivity and care
And here is a revelation - 50% of our electorate today are women. That's a sea change of statistics when you compare it to the days when women were not allowed to step out of home and from behind purdahs

Sure it is not easy. But then again sucess is not for the feeble hearted. The juggling for the top is fraught with stress, power play, frenetic lobbying, compromising. Infact in a candid moment you may even hear the admittance that she has made it to the top because of the men in her life. O nari, tu kyon itni pyari:)

Listen to this- Even today, one wishes for a son rather a daughter. Even today women have to fight for their rightful place in the corporate ladder. Even today if she is a tad too harsh with her colleagues she feels remorse and sad.

So how will she make it to the top? I know its fashionable to think living in cities like ours that women have arrived, but it is so far from the truth. Will she ever make it to the top like her male counterpart? Will the male bastion be on the verge of crumbling? If stats have their way then women have quite a long way to go before taking on the male bastion in the top of the chain-in-command.

SO maybe the trick lies not in competing but delineating the two bastions. By defining a new paradigm for herself? Where she is queen of all she rules? Till such a time the combination of environmental, cultural and societal reasons don't re-engineer, the marathon will chug onwards for the quest of the final bastion...


Festival of colours- Holi

Holi welcomes the spring and the season of love in Honor of God Krishna, who played in his times throwing colors at his many lovers. In the city of Vrindavan, this festival lasts for 7 days. Colours are the most joyous part of the Holi celebrations. They add life and vitality to the festival making it most vibrant of all. Happy holi, everyone

Largely everybody I know love to indulge in Holi celebrations. Not me. I not only refrain from celebrating the colours part, as the artificial colours used in the festivities give my skin rashes and irritation in the eyes. The other unholy part why I desist is the rowdiness associated with this festival which don’t allow me to feel comfortable with strangers coming up to me to apply tilak!!

Pre Colours night - the bonfire
As much as this was a genteel act of good winning over evil, with my social knowledge quotient going up I just feel that the burning of fuelwood to create the bonfire for Holika dahan presents another serious environmental problem. A study done in the state of Gujarat revealed that each bonfire uses around 100 kg of wood, and considering that approximately 30,000 bonfires are lit in the state of Gujarat alone on Holi night this leads to a staggering amount of wood loss.

Maybe we need to find an alternative material to burn instead of good wood?

How about a dry Holi?
In the current situation of water scarcity faced by most of our cities, the wasteful use of water during Holi, is also under scrutiny. It is common for people to douse each other with buckets of water during Holi, and children often resort to throwing water balloons at each other, if not buckets of water from atop apartments on innocent passerbys. The idea of a dry Holi may seem superficial and alien, however if you allow yourself to ponder a wee bit, especially as the climate becomes warmer around Holi, and the water provides welcome relief from the heat – consider our large cities where citizens go without water for several days, it seems wasteful to use so much water simply for a celebration.

I think awareness about the environmental impacts of celebrating Holi are being felt, we need to find traction , and we need to allow our actions to speak louder than words. We need to choose a more natural and less wasteful way of playing Holi.

An environmentally sensitive Holi?
Originally the playful throwing of the coloured powders was seen as joyous as it had a medicinal significance as the coloured powders were made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors. Including Bhang that is drunk had medicinal reasons for it to be considered good.

But modern days bring its own apathy and neglect. The pastes contain very toxic chemicals that can have severe health effects - Black contains Lead oxide and can cause Renal Failure, Green contains Copper Sulphate and can cause Eye Allergy, Puffiness and Temporary blindness, Silver contains Aluminium Bromide which is Carcinogenic, Blue contains Prussian Blue whcih can lead to Contract Dematitis
Red contains Mercury Sulphite which is highly toxic and can cause skin cancer

And heard this? Holi gulaal is now mixed with Glass Powder to add that sparkle and shine to it to make it look more alluring to beckon buyers!


Rent-a-taxi service we have all heard of.

A cab service by the women for the women? Well..Bombay has this unique 24-hour car hire service, which when contrasted to the likes of the black and yellow or even the Cool Cabs makes for a pleasant change. This is a cab service ONLY for the women folk - a very novel idea indeed.

The sliver-white cars with a purple pink logo are chauffeured by women dressed in purple and pink too. This is an exclusive for women cab service on the lines of Dubai’s “Women’s Taxi”, UK’s “Pink Ladies” and Moscow’s “Pink Taxi”. The taxi interiors are clean, functional, have glossy;s thrown in, a comments book, and a fully working Air conditioner!

When I spoke with the lady driver A, she said to me it’s not only safety concerns that have prompted the move of such a concept in Bombay, it’s a need, when women sit in a taxi, they don't feel comfortable — it’s everything from hygiene to the driver gawking at you in the mirror to the attitude and behaviour of rudeness and belligerence one has to put up with especially given that you don't seek a free ride in the black and yellow! in fact I know of some colleagues who arrive by the last flight into the city late night, and hire a cab frm the airport, often pretend to be on mobile phones when alone with male drivers to create a feeling of safety.

It is an acute contrast in this new taxi fleet — English speaking women graduates driving you around the city, as you paint your nails or curl up with a magazine, or simply chat with the lady driver in a friendly manner - The cars are colour branded to ensure women are not picked up by bogus drivers and all of the company’s drivers are female, uniformed and trained in self-defense and first aid too.

To protect the drivers and female passengers, this company operates a “through the door” policy, which means passengers are safely inside their destination address before their driver leaves. I know I feel terribly unsafe walking the distance from the road to my door step when I alight from a normal cab especially if it is at a late hour

I must say I was impressed with the quality of driving, there was no iffiness to it, the cars were well maintained and above all there was basic social graces that were in place and made the experience very comfortable.


A week full of conferences and conclaves

Why do most people attend events and conclaves and seminars? I for my part have done the rounds of Nasscom, Economic Times Compass and now FICCI. For the learning's? Yea sure. But more often than not it is for networking, exchanging visiting cards, reconnecting and connecting with industrywallahs!

I over heard last week at a dinner do , someone whispering why FICCI is a no no for him. It is too much about television and entertainment he thinks. And this gentleman thought they the entertainment guys cant or don’t think beyond themselves. He thought it was meaningless and irrelevant whatever they do, considering they do not cover 80 per cent of the industry. They just cover entertainment industry, and for them entertainment is the world.

So. with much trepidation I started out to attend FICCI – touted to be the largest media and entertainment convention in Asia. Despite the many allegations hurled at the event year-on-year – same people, same subjects, just networking not learning – FICCI continues to be an important event on many calendars, including that of media magnates, Bollywood rulers and the government.

The names at the event are as big as can get, and there are international dignitaries too, not to forget the Indian film industry honchos, who have a lot more to discuss this year.

As globalization brings in crossover and mingling of cultures with the film industry too playing a critical role, there now seems to be an increasing demand for Bollywood films in the West. The next couple of days will see Television Radio, Internet, Print all under the scanner- it promises to dish out some unusual fare or so is my expectation


New releases: Simple or Smart- Take your pick

Billu brings a tear to the eye at the same time a smile to your lips and you realize it’s a nice warm film – helps you appreciate the people you have in your life.

Irrfan steals the show with his portrayal of Billu, the barber. This actor is truly blessed with talent and craft. He always pitches his performance just right. There is not a single discordant note in his performance, which is like sheer poetry. In this film, he underplays Billu and his angst, and delivers his dialogues with just the right kind of punch. In the recent years, Irrfan has emerged as a force to reckon with, his performances have appealed to all strata of moviegoers and his work in Billu will only cement his status as a remarkable actor He is quite the life of the film.

Shah Rukh Khan really does not have to do much to portray a superstar. He gives the character of Sahir a certain kind of warmth, which is quite endearing. SRK needs to be admired for two reasons. The show belongs to Irrfan, although SRK could've forced himself in every scene. Also, he has chosen to opt for a film that's not one of those run-of-the-mill types. In terms of performance, SRK shows his true potential towards the finale

The narration is very entertaining, the 3 songs of SRK are visually brilliant and placed perfectly. The music is good. Love Mera Hit Hit and Mar Jaani are the pick of the lot. Billu Bhayankar is funny and stays with you long after the credits roll.

Contrast this with Dev D. Cracker of a film. My vote for its nomination into an Oscar for certain.

It’s experimental, real, layered, new, innovative, complex, and everything to do with human emotions of the good and not so good kind! O my God the music is a double whammy! The soundtrack of this movie is an out an out winner. Emotional atyachar at best defines the movie exploding with myriad emotions. And the camera man has not been afraid to venture into new territories to symbolize and define and interpret the Director, Anurag Kashyaps, gripping story telling.

I feel if I put too many words to such a powerful cinema I will degrade it to another commercial movie. I am affected by this movie. I loved its songs. I loved the 3 men/witches and how integral they were to the plot. Abhay Deol is a star! Can’t imagine anybody else doing this role with Abhays panache.

Wow where was Abhay Deol before this movie?!


The colour of Love

The innocence of Mother
The adoration and pride of Father
The need of a sister
The unspoken language of a brother
The seduction of a lover
The stable strength and depth of a husband
The power of a friend and friendship
The innocence of a new born baby
The askance of a pet
The serenity of a home
The togetherness and apanapan of a family

I instinctively wanted to root the colour of Love into white, but soon realized Love has soo many facets, so much depth - could I really slot it into one colour?

For me maybe the colour of Love has to be the colours of a rainbow

It's blue because it can bring peace and tranquility
It's green because it can cause envy
It's yellow because it radiates
It's white because it can be innocent
It's red because it can be passionate or dangerous
It's black because love when goes wrong could cause negativity
It's pastel shades because it can be young and soft
It's bold colors because it can stand apart from all else
It's plaid because it can be confusing

Love is a splendid array of colors and patterns, interweaving causing both happiness and sorrow, joy and pain, forgiveness and hatred

Love is. . . . a vast universe where a sense of oneness develops, unable to be quantified or defined by words or expressed in colors, the colour of Love can be felt inside the soul


We question her even before she is born!

Have you seen the movie ALL OF ME? The hero one day wakes up one morning as a woman - a man within, only his physical appearance has changed! It was funny! But the film also addressed some real issues plaguing our society.

Look around you –and assess for yourselves - is being a woman in our society a reason for smiles or laughter or fun? Be it the Mangalore incidence or the Gateway or the Noida or the Ita incidence with the 6yr old child and the cop? Women being kicked around and manhandled on the pretext of protecting Indian culture?

If this was not enough to bring angry tears to the eyes, you have to listen to men justifying on TV the actions of others because they were only behaving like older brothers?

We take celebrities to task if a black buck is killed, and yet we have seen these women molesters walk away free from jail. We reward men for doing what they have done- not only did they get free publicity on TV they walked away from their one day judicial custody with pride and smirks on their faces as they won their battle against these ‘lose moraled’ women!

In a chat with a handful of so called progressive men of our society I heard one of them justify the actions of the men in the attack episode of Mangalore. I was even more amused to hear a male colleague state that women need to be controlled. Is this a self appointed right I asked? He was indeed very iffy in his reply. Added to this another girl agreed with this progressive male set on why the Valentines day celebrations should be nipped in the bud, and why women should not be allowed love marriages and why women have absolutely no right to think for themselves or take any decisions on their part alone without consultation with a male bread winner of the family.

In our country, a woman’s right to live is questioned even before she is born with pre birth sex selection so rampant in progressive cities like ours. Frankly none of this shocks me - I see sexist stereotypes around all the time. It doesn’t matter which school or college they’ve studied in or the kinds of books they may have read while growing up.

I am not trying to influence men to think otherwise but these are some issues which I think our world definitely needs to ponder over

So coming to this movie I started talking about - in a funny kinda way- this movie depicts how terribly difficult it is being a woman, because you are principally dealing with fragile male egos and age old conditioned minds.


Think Apple

Here's to the crazy ones...
The misfits;
the rebels...
The troublemakers
The round pegs
in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules,
and they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them,
disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them
About the only thing you can't do,
is ignore them;
because they change things
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough
to think they can change the world
are the ones who do.
Think Different.


Slumdog Millionaire and the noise around it

Many debates, much anticipation, lots of discussion forums and group discussions on various tv channels- all pointing to one thing- love it or hate you cant ignore Slumdog! A bit like India wouldn't you agree?:)

I only want to say one thing here- best luck to Mr. Boyle good luck with the Golden Globes and the Oscars. I am glad you made this film. Its a good film on many counts, directed brilliantly and therefore, deserves the accolades. But, ofcourse there has to be a BUT, Slumdog Millionaire is not the India or Bombay I have ever been proud of. It’s not the India that should exist. It’s certainly not the brand of “Incredible” India I like seeing ’sold’ to the western world.

But it is entirely my problem, not Danny Boyle’s!

Rahman you rock! Never doubted that ever..all kudos to you:) Wish you loadsa international acclaim.