Thursday, 19 August 2010

Live from Peepli

Yup! I know lot has been said about the movie. It was sure to do well, right from the moment Aamir Khan decided to produce it. Well, yes, the movie was good. Damn good. Slick, humorous and as 'real' it could get.
I thought it was going to be about farmers suicide. But...yes it does talk about the farmer's or A FARMER'S SUICIDE. The farmer, in this case, is Natha. And, his suicide is discussed in DETAIL by the mediawalle from Delhi and also by the regional satraps.
The media makes a mockery of his death. And, like all the media reports, exclusives, breaking news - nothing CONCLUSIVE, comes out of it. The movie, I mean.
Personally, three scenes touched me. One is that of the farmer, Hari Mahto, who has lost his land because he didn't have the money to repay the loan he took from the bank. He works in a pit now, digging mud. The mud is sold to contractors for meagre Rs 100 per day. He dies. The media, meanwhile, is tracking Natha's death (will he? won't he?) while Mahto's death is ignored. The 'real' suicide is ignored. Because, Natha's story fetched more TRP. Right from DM, to CM to the babus in Agriculture Ministry, everyone has a stake in Natha's death.
The second scene has Rakesh, the local reporter for a Hindi daily, trying to convince the hot-shot reporter from Delhi, Nandita Mallik (Barkha Dutt, maybe?) that she needs to focus on Mahto to have the word, TRP' flung on his face. Incidentally, Rakesh is the one who first 'broke' the story of Natha.
The third scene is when Rakesh loses his life in the fire. The mediawalle write off that Natha has died in the blaze.
I have worked in the Capital's media office. So, I found the scene where Deepak (Deepak Chaurasia?)follows Nandita Mallik when she leaves the CM's conference to trace Natha who is hiding/forced to hide in the godown. Nandita's car's tailight picks up Deepak's car, who in turn realises that other media people are following him - so that all get their pie of the 'breaking news'. That was hilarious. TRULY HILARIOUS!'
The gaon, Natha's wife, his buddhi amma, elder brother, unki do bakriyan, the thakur, the babudom, the caste politics - all make for a perfect setting. A perfect story of why India works or why it doesn't.
Do watch. At least for the media bashing. We deserve it.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

My Grand Plans

I don't have much work to do this week. So, I guess that's why am in 'plan-making' spree. Even when there's lots of work, I keep making plans – what to do when I am free and not have much to do. Do I actually implementing the plans when I am free?
But, that doesn't mean I stop making plans, does it?
Well, I got this brain wave when P and I had gone out. We both saw a temple on a busy road, but hidden by some tapering structure and surrounded by trees. It was dusk and hence couldn't be seen properly from where we were standing.
I immediately felt like crossing the road and jumping over the ditch to the other side, to the temple, to see what it was like. P played a spoil-sport. So, we decided to come back here again during daylight.
I have always loved temples – not those where pilgrims and tourists make a beeline to ask for 'mannat' – where its all calm and quiet; where you can pray or dream or just talk to yourself and soak in the atmosphere.
Down South, where we went last year, we found many such temples. Same is the case with Konkan.
My first grand plan ( I am talking) is to sling a camera and go and take the pictures of these temples, dig into their history and start another a blog.
Keep watching this space.

My second grand plan is to travel in the lanes and bylanes of Pune – visit the tamabt aali (coppersmith's lane), Kumbharwada, Bhori lane – and buy all the stuff there. Or maybe just take pictures. We actually did a story on all these places, which have so much to offer. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) these places are not on the tourists 'must-see' spots. Therefore, they are 'not known'.
My third plan is to visit the museums in Pune and compile some information on them. There are so many of them and have so much on display (Am not talking about Peshwai here)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


This was published sometime back

I work for a children's weekly and as a part of my work, I meet several children and their parents. The tete-a-tete have not always been pleasant; I have often come across children who are too 'adult' beyond their years. Twelve-year-old boys are reluctant to cycle around the colony on their own or get wet in the rain. Instead, they prefer playing with their gadgets and using adult 'cuss' words. The 12-year-old girls love dressing up in their college-going sister's attire. I sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between a 10-year-old girl and an 18-year-old girl.
At the other end of the spectrum, are children who are too 'frivolous', and believe in 'Live Life Kingsize' . Unfortunately, most of the parents do not think that there is anything wrong in giving their children a Rs 1000 currency note to blow up in one evening at the multiplex or the mall.
I have often come away feeling disturbed and powerless to stop this 'disease'. If the word 'disease' sounds harsh, then it's meant to be so. Unable to stop myself, I did talk to parents, only to be told very politely that I am 'middle class' in my values and that times have changed.
Times have changed. Or maybe they haven't. Last week's visit to a city school has reinforced my belief in the innocent fun of the childhood. I had gone to the school for a photo-shoot during the lunch break. The cacophony of the happy voices that greeted me was very refreshing. The teasing and gobbling of food quickly to go and play with friends was still the same.
The sight of the girls sitting, prim and proper, in one corner with their tiffins placed on the neatly laid out napkins was, at the risk of stereotyping gender attributes, very 'girlish'.
The boys, on the other hand, were eating their chapati rolls, vada pavs with their grubby right hand and reaching out their left hand to grab something from their friend's dabba.
I will call this a very 'boyish' trait.
I also noted how the boys in Std VI were puny and shy, while those studying in Std VII were tall and sprouting a thin moustache, bursting to crack a joke and bully others. It was just a year's difference. But what changes!
I found the whole sight 'reassuringly normal'. A sight which told me that there is some innocence in the children left.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Lost, confused, impatient and WILD

I have been yelling around, rude to 'dumb' people and generally being a slave-driver. Sometimes I wonder, if I am too hard on people. Maybe I am. And, what can I do about it? I don't derive any pleasure out of this.
All I expect is that people put in their effort in what they are doing – concentrate on the task at hand. But, unfortunately, I have to deal with people who are distracted, slow (and not steady), and on top have an attitude problem. So I guess I am justified in making them run and getting work done.
As they say, its lonely at the top. (I am not exactly on the top, but when you have to get work done from three to four women, it does get TOUGH AND LONELY).
I can't bring myself to discuss commonplace topics when I am working. Nor do I enjoy taking frequent breaks. I am an employer's Godsend and employee's nightmare. Hahaha! LOL. This deters my juniors from building any real connection with me.
But, you know what, the juniors/trainees who have gone on to work in other places or switched careers, are suddenly dying to get in touch with me over the mails, phone, chat. Perhaps they realise that I was not as half as bad, as their present bosses' are. Hahaha!
This, however, doesn't make me any happy at the moment. I am feeling a bit lost, confused, impatient, wild and ready to burst. I am the volcano. Stay away!
Any suggestions to get along with your colleagues and get work done from them? Any Chicken Curry for my soul? SOS!