Saturday, 29 December 2012

M Sick, and I am feeling lost

I didn't want to write this blog. I have done a lot of FB activism, on you know what. Being in media, you really can't escape unpleasant truths.
So, Damini, Nirbhaya (whatever your name girl) I am shocked about what happened to you.
When the first news came in, I dismissed it of as another rape case. It's only when I read about the mutilation of your genitals, that I felt helpless anger rising within me. And, sadness too. I have been crying silent tears every day since then. I could have been in your place, you know.
Eight years ago, my friend (girl) and I, had hopped into a DTC bus. Only two of us. It was 7 in the evening. I had rejoiced; only someone using public transport in Mumbai and Pune can understand my joy at having bagged a vacant seat. In this case we had the bus to ourselves - empty. We could have sat wherever we wanted.
My friend, smarter than I, quickly caught on what the empty bus meant. Her fear was infectious. We stood near the door, ready to jump, if the situation showed signs of turning ugly.
Delhi instills fear in you; dread and constantly watching your back.
I remember for days after I was groped on a winter evening, I began carrying a stone in my hand bag. The biggest I could find. I may not carry my wallet, but I wouldn't step out of the hostel without carrying the stone. It had saved me from groping fingers and chilling laughter. The chap, who slipped his dirty hands over me, was barely out of teen. I was older and I could fight him off, thanks to a stone lying on the footpath. And, police who were guarding an IPS officer's bungalow. The chap escaped. I was asked not to file a police complaint, by a well-meaning colleague.
Being alone in the city, and with no connections whatsoever, I agreed.
But after that incident, I have lived in perpetual fear. Even today in a new, strange city, I sense a cold hand gripping my heart, while my eyes scan the road for the biggest stone I can find.
I was lucky. But, you were not.
After my personal experience, I should probably be able to offer some solutions. Sadly, I can't.
I have been reading several blogs and what I thought were possible solutions, aren't.
I was quite okay travelling in ladies special, living in ladies special hotel or being driven by a lady chauffeur. Till someone said, "Aren't all these an attempt to take us back to the Zenana era? Women in 'Women's Only' world.
 Do I want 'Women's Only' world? Frankly, no.
Are men ready to accept us? I hope so.
Another blogwriter said she wasn't going to ask her daughters to dress down or carry a chilly/pepper spray.
Or live in perpetual fear.
I haven't carried a chilly/pepper spray. But they could come in handy, you know.
About dressing up/dressing down, I was in salwar kameez on both occasions.
I can shut up people who say that mini skirts excite men to carry out their fantasies on unwilling females in buses, cars, parks, alleys and even house.
Is the "izzat" and "sharam" if the "izzat" of the girl is violated, responsible for killing of the girl foetus? This thought crystallised when I was watching Pinjar and then Gangajal.
Both the films had a common point, the girls were carried away by goons. In one film, to settle previous score and in the second one because the man had set his eyes on the girl. And, wanted her.
So, jab ladki ko uthwa lete hain, toh woh  gharwalon ke liye mar jaati hai. Knowing how tough it is to rear girls, why bring her into this world then? She, better be happy, with God and his own world.
Shame and stigma. Being a woman means...shame and stigma. And, happiness for a few. May the few increase their tribe.
M Sick and I am feeling lost.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Mothers, all over the world, are the same

Watched English Vinglish the other day on TV. As with everyone else (mothers and daughters in particular), I was reminded of couple of incidents from my childhood, when I didn't accord my mother any particular importance.
I thought her to be very dowdy, very controlling, very intrusive, never letting me "grow up". It was only after her outburst, which did us both good, did I realise that okay, Mataji isn't some limbu-timbu. I can't remember what triggered it, but I had made some disparaging remark over her education and grades.
Never one to take audacity lying down, least of all, her half-baked daughter's, Mataji brought out carefully rolled sheets of her degree and convocation.
"When I appeared for MA exam, your elder sister was sitting in the corridor, of the college, waiting for me to finish my paper and come out. A sweepress was taking care of my girl...your elder brother was at home, with your father....."
Hearing all that I was chastened and quietly withdrew.
Now when I look back, I think I can put two and two together. A year or two later, Mataji decided to enroll for her PhD; when I decided to learn Japanese, she followed suit. And, then when I was in Delhi, she did a Diploma in Urdu writing. Got a first class.
Did her daughter's words hurt Mataji and that pushed her to study more, something she always wanted to? Quit possible.
Her PhD dream remains unfulfilled. And, much as she wanted me to go in for PhD studies, I refused. I am not academic material at all.
What is it about mothers and long nose? It's there, everywhere, sniffing out secrets, smelling pain and agony. Before I got my mobile phone at the age of 24, all the calls that came for me, were well listened in my Mataji. All the letters that I got too...She had numbers and addresses of my friends, particularly boys.
She knew exactly who was going out with whom. You know, she might as well have been in college with me or shared my hostel room. Mataji knew every secret that I wished to hide/keep safe from her. I don't know how.
She didn't change when she became a grandmother too. My nephew, who is younger to me, found that out soon. She knew the parents of his friends, she knew where they stayed, what they ate and where they holidayed. And, although his teenage years coincided with her illness, she kept a close tab on him.
I have a couple of her diaries and notes with me. I managed to leaf through a few pages which mentioned my nephew's antics in great detail. Quite an embarassment material!
Had she lived for a few more years, then she would have taken to Facebook quite easily. Her nose would be stuck to the computer screen!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Too many voices

Okay. Have to scribble something as there are too many voices in my brain, clamouring and drowning out the din of the outside world. So those sitting around me, will find me in hermit-like mood; remote and fidgety. Remote, as in, others cannot approach me. Fidgety because too many things happening in my brain. I can actually imagine the thought wires criss-crossing, and becoming one messy tangle.
What am I supposed to untangle and relax?
Here are my usual solutions: watch a movie. With no one for company. In my moods like this, I prefer to sit and watch the film alone. No popcorn either.
And, which movies would make it to my companion list? Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (no), Jodhaa Akbar (no), Yuva....(some bits, yes), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (maybe yes), Andaz Apna Apna (uhhh) Swades (YESSSSSSS).
I don't know why, but when I am down and out, and need to calm myself, I invariably reach out for Swades, which in some people's opinion is a perfect recipe for sad documentary. I don't agree. Ya, I mean it has been stretched quite a bit. But, still it's the best ever depiction of the confusion that India is. And, that we do know how to put things right, in perspective.
I also love it plainly for the village life, the uncomplicated stance, the unflinching acceptance of "this is it..."
My favourite bit of the movie is when SRK enters the village in his caravan, with the boy Chiku leading the way, and "ayo re" score in the background. My spirits lift.
There are other connections too.  Watching movie sitting on the road. Many a times in my childhood, I have often sat by the roadside with other townies/villagers watching movie on the "purdah" - hello, this was before TVs became common and electricity more regulated.
And, of course the temples. I loved the temple in this movie. The old stone temple, with the temple pond. Old village temples are soothing, charming and they have the ability to stop the clock. Time ticks by very slowly...until you are finally ready to step out and face the world.
I rarely ever visit a temple in the city. They somehow don't have the ability to draw you in like the old, cool temples of the village.
Yup, so I watch Swades for certain reasons.
If I can't watch a movie for some reason, then flipping through old letters and photo albums gives me back my sanity. On days like these, I hate the idea of logging into Picassa or flicker and clicking on pics. Hell, I would rather reach out to the photos under the plastic covering, pull them out and my fingers tracing the outlineof the figures in the images.
I quite like the idea of holding the past in my hands. I can't reverse it, but I can live it again through the photographic memory. Technology, go take a hike. On some days you are an untouchable.
Clarity peeping out through the tangled mesh of thought wires.
And, here's the first voice - Didn't much like Harivanshrai Bachchan's autobiography. This is the English translation of the Hindi original. Confession -I didn't read it from the start. I started forwards from the middle, which was the introduction of Teji Bachchan. It's a nice read, honest too. But it didn't appeal to me somehow, because there's the pettiness of the author and his shying away from the responsibility of clearing the air.
Second voice says: Reading Milind Bokil's Shala. Again and again. Soaking in the atmosphere of the 70s and early 80s.
Third voice: Have missed out on Talaash and earlier, Barfi. Not good.
Fourth voice: I don't know if this is going to reach the person, it's intended for, but I am saying it out loud, nevertheless. Please stay away. We never connected really, so don't intrude into my life.
Fifth voice: Don't bug me or I will explode.
Sixth voice: I am missing brownies.
Seventh voice: Heat boils, acidity and the swinging hormones - get in line and behave. Heat boils...just disappear okay. Outttttttttttt!
Eighth voice: No more medicines please.
Ninth voice: Did I really need that new leather bag (expensive)? I needed one, not the expensive one though.
Tenth voice: Can I just stow away the leather bag and not look at it again?
Eleventh voice: Well, every time you look, you will be reminded of the price. So look again...and don't buy anything in a hurry.
Twelfth voice: Exhausted. Go to sleep.
Thirteenth voice: Sleep. Watch Swades some other night.
Good Night!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Surprises on the road

Spotted this monument on Chaul-Sarai road, in Raigad district. It's a protected monument, says the ASI  board. Sadly, no other information was available. Locals term it as ruins from Shivaji Maharaj's rule. Chaul-Revdanda were strategically important, so one can spot lots of ruins. Some of the loose stones have been used to build present day houses. So much for history!

These caves were again spotted on Chaul-Revdanda road. We couldn't climb up there, so  this  was clicked from  across the road

Locals say there are about 365 temples, big and small, and equal number of  ponds and  temple tanks. This one's a favourite because I had been here with friends after writing second year exams. Or was it first year?

Rameshwar Temple in Chaul, in need of repairs. You come away  feeling  happy and lighter in mind.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

My new and old companions

I loved A Pack of Lies - one of the most important reason being that I relished the "old gluttony" feeling I had not experienced in some years. I began reading it one afternoon and I found myself gulping words and sentences. I didn't want the torrent of sharp, brutal, heart-wrenching words to end, but there I was gulping down the words. I hated keeping aside the book to cook, then dine and also go for a movie (Pan Singh Tomar). I did all of that, and then I returned home to finish the remaining 100 odd pages left.
A brilliant debut by Urmilla Deshpande (Gauri Deshpande's daughter), A Pack of Lies is very powerful. And, yes very voyeuristic too. One can't help but wonder if Ginny's mother was based on her or if she really was the "other" Gauri Deshpande, whom one didn't know earlier. I know...I was a little shocked at the different  picture of Gauri Deshpande staring at me from the pages of the book.
On days when I wanted to reach out for "A pack..." and reread it all over again, I stop myself. This time I don't want to be a glutton...I want to relish each and every word, soak mysel in the torrent of words and emotions. I want an uninterrupted day to read the book.
And, then there is this other book, which I have read umpteen times in these 2 years. I pick it up and read from any page, I go back, I begin from the beginning, I stop in the middle. Moni Mohsin's Tender Hooks is an absolute cracker and laugh riot. And, very poignant too. Full of malapropisms, it holds a mirror to the Pakistani society. Those few pages I read every now and then, I chuckle aloud or grin and smile. It's my favourite bed time companion and when it's not near my bedside, you will find it in my bag. Moni Mohsin's writing is very original. Thanks Butterfly!

Monday, 6 August 2012


Well, this post follows a reverse procedure. Instead of being posted here first and then being uploaded either on FB or twitter, this was first written as my status/wall post on FB and as an afterthought is being uploaded here. Afterthought because what prompted me to write were the several smileys and cute li'l posters of two friends wishing "Happy Friendship Day."
To be frank, I thought they were nauseating bit; cute, sugary mssgs put me off. Really. That explains my forever frowning face. Bu then I remembered the mssg that a friend had texted me (got only two friendship day mssgs) yesterday. I was surprised because he wasn't a "believer" in Friendship Day. I wondered if he had become a "convert" and asked him. His reply was that he got a mssg from someone and he fwded me because I used to be quite "senti" about this day when we were in college and for him Friendship Day meant me.
I cringed on reading that. Yes, I was quite "senti" then, even touchy and even if I never sulked because someone else was sporting more friendship bands than me, Friendship Day was a religion I believed in.
So when did this transition happen..when did I change from a "believer" to "what the hell...who cares".
Maybe I have grown up? Biologically yes, mentally I don't know. Anyways, I do know that I can't bother to buy friendship bands or go on a mssg spree (Thank God! We didn't have cellphones when I was in college. After every monthly bill, I would have perhaps gone in search of foster father)
So my day passed off rather peacefully, doing things I liked, vaguely reminded of the big day by my niece who was texting her friends and once in a while yelled that she had to go to the market to buy Friendship Bands.
But, when I got to my house..this is what happened (down below is the FB post, all of the above was a rather long preamble)

Seeing so many Happy Friendship Day wishes on FB...I can't help but write what I did yesterday - on Friendship Day. I got my hands on my old college diary and read and tore off a few pages where I had scribbled my deep, dark (they seemed then) sorrows, foolish fears and lots and lots of lots of cards, letters, dried up flowers, chocolate wrappers (some bought by me and gifted some by friends), little notes. I laughed, giggled and smiled at those distant memories when I was 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. I wish I could get back with my friends again. I won't say I wish I was 20 again - I'm 20! LOL
I want my friends back. I don't think I need to believe in the Friendship Day religion. Not one specific day, that is.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

My Rajesh Khanna Moment

Alright..I admit the title of the post is a bit presumptuous. But, how else should I describe that fleeting moment when I witnessed 'The Phenomenon?"

Two years ago I was at the inauguration of Pune International Film Festival. While all other celebrities trooped in, the programme wouldn't begin. Rajesh Khanna was yet to come.
I was silently chaffing and cursing when a flurry of movement near the entry door caught my attention. Rajesh Khanna walked in, attired in white kurta-pyjama and a shawl draped around his shoulders. Before sitting, he did "Namaste" to the crowd and smiled. The thunderous applause which greeted him gave me goosebumps and his smile made my heart somersault. That one moment told me why my mother and all the assorted aunties her age went gaga over him.
I had seen his movies, sure. Several times. I loved the songs he lip synced to. But, I never could imagine that the girls got married to his photograph, or his car was covered with lipstick smears. I thought that was my mother's penchant for exaggeration.
But, that day in Bal Gandharva auditorium, when he smiled, I knew that it wasn't exaggeration. That smile was perhaps a polite smile, not even directed at me, I was one of the crowd, but it made me feel special.
Up on the stage, when Suresh Kalmadi revealed to the audience and celebrities, that the photo which his then fiancee carried in her purse was not his (Kalmadi) but HIS (pointing to Rajesh Khanna), the audience smiled and cheered, while Khanna blushed and turned pink.
That gave me goosebumps again. That was my Rajesh Khanna moment, who managed to touch me even without meeting me. I guess others in the audience would have felt the same. Perhaps even more.

Monday, 4 June 2012

I Know I Have Become Old...

...Because I was stunned when a friend's call woke me up at mid-night. I mumbled into the mouthpiece and didn't know when it fell besides my pillow.

(A few years earlier, I would have settled at the window sill and talked and laughed till the wee hours of morning.)

...Because I wasn't unable to concentrate thanks to the music blaring from the radio

(A few years earlier, I slept with my walkman switched on, the volume turned at “high”)

...Because I kept the 'highly readable book' aside and yawned a few times. I turned over and went off to sleep.

(A few years earlier, I would have adjusted my pillow a bit and continued with the reading. I would have kept the book down only after reading it from cover to cover.)

…Because I dismissed the idea of ordering pizzas and ice cream and preferred a second helping of aamti-bhat.

(A few years earlier, I practically lived on pizzas and double scoops of ice cream)

...Because I can now suffer fools gladly.

(A few years earlier, my frown alone would have stopped the fool in his tracks.)

...Because I spotted two-three (five, to be truthful) strands of white-hair.

(A few years earlier, my dark, thick mane was my only beauty)

I certainly have grown old, or else I wouldn't have been whining. A few years earlier, I would have gone and bought a good book, finished reading it throughout the night, while munching on chocolates and bhel-puri.

White hair, be damned. Time for a snazzy, new cut! :)

Thursday, 31 May 2012

I Belong to the 80s

I just came across one of those feel-good fwds - life and time in good old 80s. The Doordarshan logo, the complan ad, serials like He Man and the rest.
It was quite a nostalgia trip - recalling dialogues like, "I have the Power" from He Man and taglines, "I am a Complan boy (innocent, wide-eyed Shahid Kapoor)", "I am a Complan girl (Ayesha Takia)" and Vikram-Betal too! I can still laugh at my sister's wisecrack after Betal's statement - Vikram, main tere bas me nahin aaunga. She used to say, "Bus mein nahi to rickshaw me aaja."
The TV in 80s and early 90s was something to die for. I remember the serial - Neev, the boys (school students, I mean ) in the serial - Kapoor and Chatterjee. Then, there was Kacchi Dhoop. I quite enjoyed the serial and remembered grabbing Little Women, because the serial was based on this book. I also read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, after watching Kashish. Ditto for Tamas. I was too young to understand the Partition saga on TV, but the bits I remembered pushed me into buying and reading Tamas, the novel by Bhishma Sahani. Byomkesh Bakshi was another favourite. I tried hunting for the novel, but it's in Bengali, so unfortunately I can't thumb through the pages.
Remember Kille Ka Rahasya? I do. Again in parts. It was my introduction to horror genre.
Then, there was Udaan, Chunauti and of course Ramayan.
In fact Ramayan holds some special memories for me. I remember watching one of the episode at the house of some local big-shot. We were in Gargoti-Nipani for holiday and one Sunday, my sister, the kids of our hosts and I went to this big-shot's house (I can't remember their name unfortunately).  The living room, which was empty to begin with, soon started filling up with people. I was sitting in the midst of villagers numbering easily upto 100-150 people in one living room. At 11, the Ramayan serial began and everytime Lord Ram (Arun Govil) appeared in the frame, all the 200 hands went up in air and then the bodies bowed. In the midst of this, some MSEB guy had the temerity to cut the power supply. The defeaning uproar scared me and I wanted to get away. But, I couldn't. I could move only when the people around me rushed to the MSEB office, no doubt to take the MSEB guy to task. That was the mass hysteria, which no serial can match. Not even Satyamev Jayate, which's aired in the Ramayan-Mahabharat slot.
The best part of this nostalgia trip - most of these gems are available at Flipkart. Just order them and revisit the fun-filled 80s.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tiffin Tales

The 15 years of our schooling was perhaps devoted more in cultivating our olfactory senses. I guess that's the reason why when we met each other, we rushed on with our “Hi! Hellos!” to relish the food packed in the tiffin boxes. Not literally!

Meeting Pari triggered the memories of her mother's kabuli chana sabji – black chana garnished with finely chopped onion and coriander leaves. Seventeen years later they smelt, tasted just the same.

Hugging Balambika/Priya, now Priya Seshadri, reminded us of the mouth-watering dosas and the gun-powder chutney, which we had labelled as “cockroach chutney.” I can't remember why we labelled it so. The recall of the name only succeeded in whetting our appetite.

Ruby's Ammi's biryani is remembered every Eid. Ammi, said Ruby, will now be unable to cook biryani for so many of us, but she (Ruby) is willing to feed us with her preparation. We wonder if it's going to taste as good as Ammi's biryani which we gobbled with tamatar and kuchumbar ka raita.

Nupur's “methi ki sabji” was the class joke. A few sprigs of methi to plenty of aalu equated to methi ki sabji. The unpolished red rice in the tiffin helped classmates place Savita Kharkar now Pillai.


Do you realise that marks, ranks and even careers (or maybe they did) did not make a cut at school reunion? What matters most is what did your dabba carry? Were the contents so good or irresistible to merit remembering your son/daughter?

I guess that's a warning to us – those who have become mothers and those who are planning to become one – brush up your culinary skills and master at least one preparation. Our child's friends list depends on that.

I did have a ball at my school reunion last week. I couldn't have imagined that I could still scream like a banshee, cry hoarse, cheat at the games and gobble up two Dairy Milks in quick succession. I wouldn't mind another 15 years of school, minus the exams and tests. Throw in tiffins packed with good food though!

School memories, I have discovered, are full of tiffin tales.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Rusty's Here Again!

Just read the news that Doordarshan will soon be airing the second part of Ek Tha Rusty – dramatised stories based on Ruskin Bond's life. I had a good time in the 90s watching the series with my mother. I continue to be a big fan of Ruskin Bond and his work. The old world charm, quirky aunts, and loving grandparents, plus a house and large garden full of animals, and yes, not to forget the possibility of ghosts lurking in some corner of Rusty's house ensured that I was glued to DD Metro every Saturday evening between 5.30-6.30 pm.
This time, of course, the news says that they will be capturing Rusty when he's 33 and has garnered reputation as a writer. And, his stories full of romance, thriller, adventure will be adapted for the small screen.
Well, Rusty has grown up! So have I!
It will be fun to meet Rusty in his 30s!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I want to make a sleeping chamber: Makrand Deshpande

And I would like to sleep in it!


I was yawning, or trying to cover my wide open mouth with the back of my palm, when I read this premise of Makarand Deshpande's new play.

I yawned some more (this time without covering my mouth) and thought, “interesting”.

The protagonists are two masseurs who sleep for others, their clients. The girls have their own reasons for sleeping for others. One hopes to learn this skill so that she can sleep for her insomniac father, while the other girl hopes that her bed-ridden sister can sleep uninterrupted for few hours.

The only catch is that the masseurs who learn about their client's dreams, will keep them a secret. I hope to catch this play whenever it's staged in Pune because I love sleeping and dreaming.

I have some very vivid dreams and I am able to recollect them when I get up in the mornings. I can also sleep at the drop of the hat. In fact there was a time when I was in school and college when I used to study by lying on the bed, I used to eat sitting on the bed, I used to drink (water, that is ) sleeping on the bed. It was also my habit to walk sleepy-eyed to gather the day's newspapers, stumble back to my bed, spread the newspapers on the bed and read them one by one. (I know...I know... by writing all this on a public forum I am painting a “lazy bum” picture of myself. But, those who have lived in hostels and stayed as paying guests have this special association with their beds – mattress, chaddar, chatai - on which you spread yourself to have a good night or early morning sleep amidst all the clutter and noise of your roomies rushing for bath, or muttering prayers, or snoring away blissfully. Your bed and the chaddar is yours and yours alone. And, if couple of friends do manage to snuggle in your chaddar, you can be mean for once and push them away.)

Ah! So much for digression.

All you sleep-lovers and day/night dreamers, do watch this play whenever it's staged in your city. Meanwhile, I will go zzzzzzzzzzz

Good Night!

PS: Correction. I would like to sleep in the sleep chamber. I want to enjoy my sleep and revel in my own dreams. I don't want anyone indulging in vicarious pleasure of sleeping for me. And, snooping on my dreams!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Memories of Lawns/ "The Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest",

Sitting on the lawns adjoining my hostel, a tall and stout woman, with her sari hitched half way up her legs, holding on to the hosepipe as if her life depended on it, suddenly appeared from nowhere. I blinked and she was gone.


The cool winds and the lush green lawns did nothing to soothe my cranky nerves. Having passed with average marks in my SSC boards, I was pushing myself to score above average in my HSC boards. To save myself from the odious comparisons of studious and more bright roomies, I had taken to studying in the lawns adjoining my hostel.

I pored over my books, frowned, scowled, walked up and down remembering, recalling and then going blank. My rather feeble and reluctant smiles were reserved only for the surly, gruff head gardener or Kaka as I called him. He was the one who called the shots in the lawns, shooing away students at will.

Seeing that I posed no hindrance when he watered the lawns lavishly, trimmed the hedges, or cleaned the marble statue of our founder-Principal, he let me study there.

When I got tired of worrying and he was taking a break from watering the plants, we would chat a bit. He praised the founder-Principal, who had ensured that only girl students could make use of the lawns.

“Girls are more vulnerable. I am glad that they have a place where they can relax and be safe from the prying eyes,” Kaka would say.

His another favourite topic was “lack of helpers”.

“I am getting old now,” he said pointing to his snow-white hair. “I can't be around forever to take care of the lawns. Summer is approaching. Trees and plants need water, more water,” he sighed.

I would click my tongue in sympathy, but my thoughts were pre-occupied with the approaching exams.

One day I was worrying as usual... “another 10 days and I would be penning my future on the ruled sheets.” Suddenly a peal of laughter intruded my worries. It couldn't be Kaka and it certainly wasn't me.

A tall, stout woman with her sari hitched half way up her legs was holding on to the hosepipe as if her life depended on it turned around to look at me.

Soon the lawn was ringing with laughter, and loud arguments between Kaka and the lady.

“This plant here needs more water...and that patch over there needs to be weeded out. This and that...” the lady continued bullying Kaka, who finally fell in line with her instructions.

As days flew, I could sense a change in Kaka. He smiled a lot, was easy to talk to and his lawns... yes they looked different to, brimming with life and colour.

Exams finally got over...I was smiling readily and widely. I happily packed my bags to go back home – to sleep and to hog.

After two months of hogging, sleeping and gaining a few pounds I returned for another year at the hostel. My results were not as I expected them to be...but I was past worrying now.

I went to check my new accommodation. It overlooked the lawns which looked a nice, happy shade of green. I spotted Kaka at his usual post and went down to meet him.

He smiled and asked, “When is your mother coming again? She was a great help during the summers. I have got the gavathi gulab (wild roses) varieties she wanted. Take them along when you go home next.”

I nodded in agreement.

This's how the lawn  (March 18, 2012) looks like. Don't want to believe my eyes
Whenever I happen to pass by my old college and hostel, I can't help spending a few minutes by myself in the lawns. Kaka is no more and so is my mother. But, every green shade, rain drenched leaves, and freshly-watered lawns vouch of their presence.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Someone for the masses

I was never a Salman Khan fan. But, you have to give it to the man, he is everywhere. Or rather his "Being Human" t-shirts are seen everywhere. Not a day passes, when I don't see someone - student, slum dwellers, street-side Romeos - sporting the t-shirt. They are also selling on the footpath. His heroines/co-stars walk the ramp in his Tees and the man on the street also sports them. That I think sums up Sallu mian's mass and class appeal.

Actors and actresses make news for launching their clothes line, perfumes and DVDs...but they have are/never sold on this scale. They never make news amongst the masses. Their products do not evoke, "we must buy Bipasha Basu's DVDs or her clothes" sentiments. They just come and we don't even know when they "go" or fade from public memory.

This makes me think, perhaps Salman Khan is also an excellent marketing strategist!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Jaipur in Pictures

Jaipur street
Interiors of City Palace, Jaipur
The armoury 
City Palace, Jaipur

Tidbits from Jaipur

Javed Akhtar: Born to Act
I think Farhan Akhtar is better off wielding the megaphone...and giving his father, Javed Akhtar a chance to show off his histrionics. He has the voice, he has an elephantine memory and he can act for sure. He can act happy when he's on the stage talking happily when unchallenged, acting up when presented with a contrary viewpoint, acting injured when his viewpoint is dismissed.

An evening of You Know...
The one phrase which was thrown around liberally, peppered all meaningful and meaningless conversations, discussions was..."You Know". 
You know....accompanied by slow motion of bejewelled fingers, was sure to cast a hypnotic spell on you.
Alka Pande, one of the panelist for 'Shringara...Costume is the temple of the mind',  began and ended her sentenced with "you know"

A reluctant film-maker
The bearded gentleman sulked. You could make that out right away. He was dressed to kill...the winter chill, I mean. He was standing on the fringes of one of the session. Perhaps because no one in the audience noticed him...or worse recognized him.
Oh hello! One PYT (heavily botoxed) I am told, slithered up to him. He smiled a wee bit. Next, some of the photographers realised who he was...and click, click. The bearded gentleman was grinning away happily. Next day's newspaper carried this caption under the gentleman's photo: Lost in Deep Thought.
I don't agree for sure.

Late in the day...Jaipur Lit Fest

Watch out for these writers from the African continent- Shubnum Khan, Teju Cole, Taiwheyi and Ben Okri

Vishal Bharadwaj, Prasoon Joshi, Javed Akhtar, Gulzar with moderator, Samit Basu at the Kahani Kise Kehte Hain session

Good  girls come to Jaipur...Annie Zaidi (centre) with Manisha Kulshrestha and  Pakistani writer Huma