December 26, 2011

Turn offs list #3---"there's something about facebook"

A friend who knows about my Facebook addiction a bit too well suggested that I write about the annoying aspects of the social network.

Now for those who do not know of this 'Turnoffs' series on 'Nostalgic Moments' , allow me to explain. Sometimes when we feel extremely important and haughty, we like to believe we are the Queen of May whom the world is trying extremely hard to please (for reasons unknown to anyone on the planet). It is times like these that we let our imagination run a little wilder and also complain and crib and nitpick about the things that put us off, all the while suffering from delusions of grandeur that there are millions of people out there reading us and treading on the path of self improvement while silently blessing us day in and out for our favor on mankind/woman kind alike.
Also when we have these bouts of excessive self confidence, we start addressing ourselves as 'We'. Sometimes we think it might be our borderline schizoid personality at work, but our personal shrink has disposed it off as just a case of attention deficit.
Of course we yelled out "Off with his head" to an invisible guard in an attempt to express our disappointment at his peasant like diagnosis, but he just proceeded to ignore and say that we are beginning to lack creativity and stealing lines from Lewis Caroll, thus bringing us falling from the throne, crown et al...sigh!

So after that little rant of madness we had up there, let us proceed with the point of the post (if there is any in the first place..or is there?)
Ahhh..yes, Facebook it is then!
*braces herself and counts one to ten*

Please don't get me wrong..though I'm quite often found to haunt Facebook much like the famous 'Betaal' was known to haunt the infamous Peepal tree, the truth is that nobody ever asked him what about the tree he did not approve..maybe a sofa here, a little clearing of extra leaves, a little chopping down some branches, a rosewood coffee table there..err! (you get the drift?)

So when I was asked what I would like to change about Facebook, I had just one thing to say (Yes, we are totally non-fussy like that)---"FACEBOOKERS"
Let me explain in point form what I find irritating about some Facebookers, so that you busy creatures who hardly frequent my blog nowadays and have accidently dropped by, sit up straight. Please know this is serious stuff and take notice.

1) Improper use of the 'like' option---Someone is burning with fever...someone has lost his car keys...someone just had a breakup and decided to update their status about it.
Facebook is their way of getting over it perhaps---GOOD!
You are not commenting nor asking them how it happened---BAD!
You are instead 'like'ing their status message---FUGLY!

2) Pics with self-distorted facial expressions---No! I'm not talking of bad photography skills or poor quality cams. I am talking about those 'I-am-so-kewl-I-dont-give-a-rats-arse-YO' wannabe's who deliberately put up a weird pic to show that they do not give a damn.
I often wonder if they have ever considered the possibility of people like me who believe that they actually put those up because they know they cant look better and want the world to think that they can....hmmmm.

So the next time you put up a pic with squinted eyeballs with a tongue sticking out on one side and a hairstyle which could give Einstein's fashion sense a run for his money, please continue---I YUM DIAGNOSING YOU!!! (with my shrink in tow)
On the flip side, portfolio pics have their own letdowns to offer. Such formal behavior scares us, you know. *goes and hides under the bed*

3) Food on Facebook---If it is something you have whipped up or a festive spread then that definitely is something you can be proud of.
But going to a restaurant and clicking pics of food and wine does not deserve any credit.In face in my opinion, going to a restaurant and clicking pics itself is a little strange. (Your family is going to thank me for this tip, trust me. I am saving them some major embarrassment.)
Of course updating them on Facebook (to top it, some do that with messy plates, half eaten stuff around...Sheesh!) is a total different blasphemy altogether.

The polite way (just in case it is actually so important to you) would be to do a photo session after a good meal-that way everyone would be in a great mood as well (depending on the company that you are of course) and you would be saved from the burning glares of the waiters who cant help wishing you make up your mind over the damn menu, gobble the chow and race back home, instead of delaying them over your petty Facebook pic issues.
Of course you'd never notice that---because their rage and pent up frustration would be cleverly masked behind the wide molar to molar smile as they would politely offer to click a pic (and get over with it).
After all, you can never tell if they spat in the fresh basil pesto you ordered...the smile would remain right till you leave the place.

That was me digressing--but you would never be offered that pearl of wisdom if it wasn't for that. *glows with pride*

As for food pics on Facebook, I think it's no big why act like you are someone coming straight from Somalia, new to those morsels of food all ecstatic over seeing it?
(pretty much like those tourists who click pics of cows on Indian roads)
but then again, it is sometimes fun to see someone fussing over things like that.but I wouldn't be caught dead being that someone.

This is what is done to those poor tortured souls who keep miles away from 'matrimonial aunties' and web based marriage services.Some distant relative or over enthusiastic kin is bound to direct people to the Facebook account of Ms/Mr Whosoever, and in will come emails requesting details and stuff.
I frankly fail to understand how much one can gather from a profile pic and a few lines written as bio data for a social network? I guess, society like God works in weird ways.
A still bigger turn off is the aunty-uncle clan who are on Facebook, mainly for the purpose of matchmaking.With no better thing to do, they befriend you---a harmless unsuspecting victim and then slowly but surely subject you to the torture of the apparently quintessential hypocritical 'saat-phere-saat-janam' concept they have in mind.

The best way to avoid these kinda friend requests is to put up the most ambiguous profile pics ever---better still would be pictures of a deserted beach or an eerie mountain place...or a cold winter (the more isolated the place, the better it is). You could alternate it with pictures of clumsy looking overweight toons like Winnie the Pooh, Garfield or a confused genius like Calvin---a sure shot to keep them away from your profile by implanting the seed of doubt that you are either too kiddish or too crazy for a compromised situation like an arranged marriage.

There you go---yours truly has a quick fix to it all! Tadaa!! (You are welcome)

5) Supposed-to-be-friends who play 'dead'
You keep thinking that the so called friend is extinct on social networks until you notice that he/she is commenting and scribbling on all other walls except yours.
Well, the same goes for unanswered wishes, greetings, text messages and emails---if I don't receive a reply, it's quite likely that you will never hear from me again.Not even the thought of you being run over by a bus or your Facebook account being magically hacked will surface to mind--no not even for a second.

I believe in giving explanations to people who matter and I need them as well...that is just who I  am...not even me can change that.

6) The 'Check out the rich me' attitude
Subtlety is an art, I say!
now maybe you can click a pic focusing on the bright red rose you are gifting your girlfriend while a hazy Lamborghini stays parked waiting for you two to get in---you get the drift?
your friends on Facebook are not visually impaired..they will notice the Lamborghini.but the trick is you are not shoving it in their face (which by the way my friend is very 'loser-ish' and a big turn off as opposed to the former tactful charm).
What happens in the former case is that you present an illusion---an illusion that the rose and the girl matters more than the Lamborghini. It's a different thing that you would rather get married to the latter if asked to choose, but at least your initial impression wouldn't be a let down and people (read 'me') won't think of you as an ass!

and with that, we rest our case...

7) Why doll up dolls?
One of my friends has this absolutely adorable 2 year old who she dolls up with loads of makeup.When i first saw her pics on Facebook, I was aghast. Each and every pic had a little bit of blush, lipstick, eye shadow, glitter and kohl.
Totally flummoxed, I called her up and asked her if she had used some Photoshop application on the pics, to which she laughed and said it was makeup she was using.
2 years old and makeup??? I screached into the phone..and she told me that she had entered her baby in a kiddo beauty pagent which had first started the obsession and then she had started finding it so extremely cute that she would doll her up every now and then.
she further told me not to take it so seriously and check out how many 'like's the pic had got.
The pic had a whooping number of 312 likes and 150 comments..most comments read out "Wowww" , "awesome" ," she's a total fashionista", "miss India" and the likes.not one had mentioned that she shouldn't have dolled up her baby like that.

I feebly clicked the 'like' option (out of fear that she did not take my lecturing the wrong way) and mentioned that she looked like an angel even without the makeup. It made me feel like a hypocrite 'like'ing something that was a total let down.

Kids are best when they are treated as kids.
We don't need kid-ults---let their innocence thrive!

8) Excessive pleasantries
You bitch behind my back---FUGLY!
You are still there on my Facebook friend list though we hardly comment, like or acknowledge each other---FUGLIER!
You *mwwwaah*, *kucchus*, *hugggggg* me and i almost die out of shock every single time---FUGLIEST!
Seriously, why this kolaveri di!!! :-|

To sum it up, there are days...there are people...and there are days with people on social networking sites.
Like every other things in life, Facebook too has its own set of 'good, bad and fugly' and like always we concentrate mostly on the blot on the canvas.(c'mon guys, this is the 'turn offs series'..what do you expect?)
You do know that everything I write should be taken in tequila style anyway---with a dash of salt, a slice of lime and all in one shot ;)

All in all, I sheepishly confess that despite all its flaws, I still am very much a fan of Facebook.


December 15, 2011

The treadmill called 'life'

It's funny how small day to day events can sometimes make you introspect about the deeper aspects of life. Well it's getting a little common with me nowadays though. Everything from non-laundered clothes to messy rooms have started showing signs of a deeper philosophy which prevents me from clearing or making any changes, lest the philosophy vanishes and I'm left with an ordinary, mediocre, non analytical bend mind---my explanation for what others might consider just an ultra lazy attitude of a chronic procrastinator.
err..its a different thing that not many buy my story..but nevertheless I'm sticking to it! *grins nervously*

Now without further digressing, let me narrate the life changing incident which brought about this sudden flash of brilliance.
*points to the halo of enlightenment on her head and goes into flashback mode*

Like any other bright and happy day, I was lazying around at home thinking of new ways of wasting time when I suddenly thought I should work out a little (with the festive season just around the corner, I would need to make space for the goodies I'm going to stuff myself with, or so I chided myself)
So with songs of yester years playing in my Ipod, I got lost in a sweet little dream world of my own when the tread mill I was working out on, suddenly came to a halt with a crazy (in-a-life-threatening-kinda-way) jolt!

As the whole world started reeling in front of my eyes, I somehow gained control of my self by clasping tightly onto the sidebars for dear life and stepped off it.phew!!!!!

Cursing the power failure that caused the sudden catastrophe, I tried to regain my normal composure--but in vain.
My heart rate felt like it was competing in a marathon..the color had drained off my face and in one small moment, I had experienced one of worst panic attacks of my life..

But then this incident left me pondering on it long after, and I couldn't help relating the whole episode to life.

Life too is somewhat like a treadmill isn't it?

---You keep running and running exhausting yourself out. But at the end, you realize you are right where you started-full circle!

---The point of all the exercise (read 'effort') is not that its going to lead you somewhere, but that it is going to change you into a more fit and healthier individual..

---Sometimes there can be a sudden power failure, and if you are not equipped with a crisis-management-auto-power-setup, it is most likely that you suffer a sudden jolt just like I did..sigh!
Likewise, life also has a few rude surprises along the way.the challenge lies in facing them and then leaving them behind and moving on.

---If you start speeding up too quickly, it will only end up tiring you faster. The same logic holds true when you are ending your session.

---Warming up before a treadmill session always betters your capacity.your body needs to have an idea what you are preparing it for.
In life, we are not always guaranteed warm-ups. But when we are, we should make it a point never to miss them..Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

----Last but not the least, the most striking similarity. Life just like the treadmill, does not give immediate results. Hence, patience and perseverance is the key.

Being human, we always crave for fast results. We give up a little too early if our unrealistic goals are not reached. The tread mill is a constant reminder that it's a long life and we got to keep going even though it might often seem that we are not getting anywhere..

At the end of it all, we are here to enjoy the workout and feel good about ourselves.

cheers and keep smiling!!! :)

December 05, 2011

Ae kaash chalte milke---a tribute to a legend...

...and the whole nation is deeply mourning the loss of one of the most priceless gems of Indian Cinema...

"Dev Anand died in a hotel in London on 3 December 2011 (4 December 2011 by Indian time) of a cardiac arrest" the headlines revealed, breaking the hearts of millions of fans all over the world.

As I shuffled between the innumerable melodies saved in my favorite folder, I could not help but fondly remember the sweet and charming face of the legend who lisped them.

Those who know me would think that SRK is my favorite Bollywood star. But only those who know me really well would be able to tell you that it has always been this man---this man from an whole different era, much much older to the one I'm living in, but nevertheless being able to make my heart skip a beat on watching him on the silver screen in his prime days...this man who with his silk smooth acting skills and charismatic attitude not just managed to be the heart throb of the 60s but also earn the respect of millions of fans all over with his never-say-die spirit and enthusiasm.

Dev Anand was and will always remain an inseparable part of Indian cinema. His passion for cinema and enthusiasm for life is indeed commendable. His exemplary performance in movies 'Guide', 'Johny mera naam', 'teen deviyaan', 'Jewel thief', 'heera panna', 'hare rama hare krishna' are unforgetable---this acting genius was someone who could move you to tears and light up passion with equal intensity.
His unique style allowed him to carry off the most bizarre of fashions (which included the 'scarf and hat' look of the 60's) with so much panache that it stuck on to his image and even now is fondly imitated by people paying tributes.

I had the opportunity to meet this man for a film festival a couple of years back.
What I saw in him was a very humble personality, soft spoken and down to earth, taking the time to exchange a word or two with each of his fans gathered there.

"Jo Mil Gaya Usi Ko Muqaddar Samajh Liya
Jo Kho Gaya Maein Usko Bhulata Chala Gaya"

As people flocked to get his his autobiography autographed, I stood at a corner quietly looking at his face...wrinkled, old, tired and yet somehow there still was an unsettling calm about it---the calm that comes not with awards and accolades but with the satisfaction of having led a life he was proud of.
On being addressed as the 'evergreen' Dev Saab by someone from the audience, he crinkled up his eyes and laughed.

When an interviewer asked him the percentage of honesty in his autobiography, he immediately answered with "It was tough. But before writing it, I had promised myself I would be 100% honest".
It was right then that I wanted to believe that man, with the charming smile, with the strange calm, with the soothing voice...the man who I had traveled back in time and fallen in love with.
On reaching home, I picked up 'Romancing with life' from my library, a book which I had put down to read another day, mainly because I always ended up YouTubing my collection of 'Dev Anand' songs instead. (Yea, you don't just listen to Dev Anand songs, you YouTube them!)

"Dhup thi nasib mein, to dhup men liya hai dam
Chandani mili to hum, chandani mein so liye"

But I had decided to know more about this man, and so I read into the journey of his life.
Written in a wonderfully honest and interestingly soulful way, I could then understand the reason for the satisfaction on his face---this man kept no secrets!

From then on, my respect and admiration for him grew much more.
I would google interviews just to hear him speak about the simple complexities of life.
His song "main zindagi ka saath" will always remain my all time favorite, the others being haunting melodies---like "hai sabse madhur woh geet", "kabhi khud pe kabhi haalat pe", "jeevan ke safar mein", romantic tunes---like "abhi na jaao", "phoolon ke rang se", "chhoodi nahi mera", "yeh raat yeh chand", "accha jee main haari" and countless other tracks.

Even though I personally admire his acting qualities much more than his directorial abilities, I cannot help but admire this one man who ventured without the fear of getting lost...who stumbled but never fell...who kept on going his way no matter what others said...who lived as per his own terms.
A legend who romanced with life and loved it to the fullest.

"ae kaash chalte milke,
ye teen raahi dil ke,
chand aur main aur tu"

So let us travel back in time and express our fond admiration for this superstar who will stay 'evergreen' in our nostalgic moments for ever

We will miss you, Dev Saab...

November 30, 2011

Book Review---"The Best Of Quest"

In 1954, a magazine called 'Quest' appeared out of Bombay with Nissim Ezekiel at its helm---a quarterly of inquiry, criticism and ideas which Sir Nissim based on the following principles that everything about it had to have relevance to India..and that it was to be written by Indians for Indians-as in those days, anything foreign was glamourised including writers.

'Quest' stayed in circulation for a good two decades until Indira Gandhi’s emergency caused it to collapse.
Many renowned names that light up newspapers, magazines, academic journals and even television screens today, first made their mark with a piece in this magazine.
Decades lagter, three beautiful minds decided to compile poignant snippets from this magazine into a collection of varied genre so that our generation could have a glimpse of what once was (and still remains) a priceless piece of nostalgia and indian literature.

Book Title: The Best Of Quest.

Price: Rs 695/-

Publisher: Tranquebar Press

Editors: Laeeq Futehally, Achal Prabhala, Arshia Sattar.

'The Best of Quest' is a collection of some of the most striking essays, poems and stories to have appeared in the pages of the magazine.

The book is clearly classified into seven segments interspersed with ad's from yester years which bring around an air of nostalgia as the pages flip by (I have posted a few such ad pages in this review to render a whiff of that experience).

Now for a bit of individualized attention to each segment:
SEGMENT 1:The foreword by Achal Prabhala and Arshia Sattar
about how the journey started...the inspiration, the motivation and the rearrangement of space to confine memories and thoughts, views and opinions.

SEGMENT 2: In memoriam
which brings to light moments from the life of of Nissim Ezekiel, as fondly remembered and cherished by those who personally knew and interacted with him.
In his article 'someone like Nissim', Laeeq Futehally says "He wanted people to write not for money but because they had something to say that was worth saying."
Ever so often in life, all we need is one simple line to connect with a particular something or someone---one line which pulls at your heart strings...that one line you can relate to...that one line which melts the cold ice of indifference you feel for a stranger you hardly know about.
This was the line which managed to break down the wall between me--a random reader and a great writer as I delved more into the biographical pages of the book.

On reading further, i learnt that this man was not just a poet but a mentor and a source of inspiration to many a great writers.
Snippets of sepia tinted memories from Githa Hariharan, Raj Rao, Jane BHandari, Menka Shivdasani flood your heart with a sense of deep found respect for this man who was brutally honest and yet genuinely motivating in his own way.

His words to Menka Shivadasani "no matter what level you are at, you must always go a little higher" will stay with me forever---like precious pearls of advice from overheard conversation reaching you at a perfectly apt moment.
Here was someone whose poetry i used to read and admire, but never did i once contemplate on the kind of life he must have led.
Reading about him now from those who knew him closely gave me more insight into his life and greatness.
Yes, it was disheartening to read that Nissim was not in the state to read his biography when completed..but his memoirs definitely get a smile on your face..and he continues to live on forever---in his work.

SEGMENT 3: Essays And Opinions
'The Best Of Quest' has compiled some of the finest essays that have appeared in the magazine.
Articles ranging from Impact of religion on indias external affair to marriage morals to cinematography comparisns to pulp literature, it covers them all.

This segment deals with views on diverse topics and makes one ponder on the mental debate they evoke in the reader.
Though coming from a different era altogether, one is still compelled to relate it to current times as we all are aware that some issues are just pushed under the carpet and never resolved.

In the article 'Dichotomy in Hindu life and its Impact on external relations', Nirad. C. Chaudhary has clearly related this to the prevailence of opposing causes due to the pervasive dichotomy in hindu existence in our country which stand namely as;
solidarity ---> <--- br="" disunity="">megalomania ---> <---self abasement="" br="">Xenophobia ---> <---xenolatry br="">He has further explained beautifully and with valid examples how this holds true even in our modern day system.
Also pieces like 'the charisma of rajesh khanna' and 'what has dimple got that satyajit hasnt' take us down memory lane and discuss various changing trends of cinema and stardom.
Khushwant singh's in depth analysis on why delhi remains the eternal capital of India is also a must read. Written in his usual simplicity, this article manages to hold your interest in the mundane day to day details of a common life.

With a total of 45 articles in this segment, it becomes rather difficult to dissect each one based on its salient features and views.But all in all, this segment is abundant of well researched, wonderfully structured (to the minutest details) and carefully selected opinion of some of the best experts we could have in this area.

SEGMENT 4: Poetry---
Being a big fan of poetry, I was in total awe of this section albeit reading the works of such great poets did make me feel a little shallow for my clumsy attempts.But they did show me how much i had to improve.
Most of all, I liked Ezekiel's work...liked would perhaps be an understatement. I loved it to bits.
This book has compiled some of the finest pieces of poetry. It is an orchestra of beautiful minds. It is imaginative writing and reflective musings at their best.
It is an exemplary collection of beautifully crafted patterns from simple words woven together.
In one word---AWESOMENESS!!!

my favorites would have to include--
Nissim Ezekiel's
"poet, lover, birdwatcher",
"in the garden"

'In this the poet finds his moral proved,
who never spoke until his spirit moved'

Simple words which go straight for the heart and make themselves at home there---the magic of Nissim.

There were others which i loved reading too like;
'Cinesmorning' By Dom Moraes
'Love' By Adil Jussawala
Santan Rodrigues's 'City Streets'
'Contacts' By Kamala Das

SEGMENT 5: Fiction
'The Best Of Quest' has short stories which take you into the depths of satire, cynicism, tragedy, loss, irony, poverty, life, death and back.
You guessed it right---not something you would like to read with a heavy head.
These are carefully picked stories--sieved through a critics net and separated from the mediocre chaff with utmost care.
Rustic stories which hit your soul like a hammer and make you think about it at least once more after you have read it---definitely not the 'read and forget' types.
One more feature that I noticed these stories share in common is the way they keep churning up leaving no trace of where or how the end is going to that by the time you reach the end, you just stare at the last line frozen. If that is not enough, just when you are about to conjure up a pattern from stories read and expect the one you are reading to take a familiar course, it again hits you by being surprisingly simple and unexpected.

The segments opens with the story titled 'the departure' which is one of my favorites.
The thought processes which haunt the protagonist are the ones that have often crossed my mind and I am sure everyone reading it will have their lips curled into a smile on noticing how much they can relate to it--be it their professional life or personality.
What takes you by surprise though is the ending---which of course I'm not going to revel.
I also have to mention that it is one of those stories wherein you reach the last line and say "Ahh..I knewwwww this would end like this" when the truth is all along the way, you were too busy engrossed in reading how the story progressed---cause somewhere it felt like 'you'.'

'The moon had to be mended' is a story which left me feeling creepy all along.I reckon it is the satire and the dark side that it should be appreciated for.but frankly, so powerful was its impact that i found it a tad bit revolting to assess. Something you wouldn't want to read again---only for its gory details, which again is an achievement for the writer.

There were others that I liked--which prodded on different emotions in a way slightly different than routine---"Aunt Matilda is 90 years old", "Tangents", "Gherao"...though i must mention here, that a particular story titled 'kalyani' left me a little confused with the end.But nevertheless, this segment was quite an experience.. a form of fiction one rarely gets to see nowadays.

The last two segments (6 and 7) include endnotes and postscripts.

About the editors:
Laeeq Futehally is a writer and garden designer who has worked as the Literary Editor of Quest for over twenty years.
Achal Prabhala is a writer and researcher in Bangalore.
Arshia Sattar teaches at various institutions across India and works with classical indian literatures.

'The Best Of Quest' is indeed a literary gem...a precious gift from an era bygone to this modern day era which can only bow its head in respect and seek inspiration from those great minds who have clearly made a difference, not just to Indian literature but also to the society in which we live.
A book that would be loved and valued by all age groups.
A book that the youth of today definitely needs to spend time with.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

November 24, 2011

Two extra hours...

Two extra hours of much needed time;
To help at home, to bond with kin,
To smile, to hug, to share a laugh,
To apologise for the ass ive been...

To catch up with that angry friend,
To go ahead and speak my part,
To drop in and say hello,
To prove the 'tinman' has a heart...

Two extra hours of much needed time;

To read, to dance, to sing, to write,
To hang on to these little joys,
To fasten my grip and hold on tight...

To help that old man cross the road,
To invite him in for a cup of tea,
To read street kids a fairytale,
To show them a world they'd love to see...

Two extra hours of much needed time;

To say 'i love you' to my dad,
To hug my mom and speak my heart,
To open up like i never had...

To thank the almighty for his grace;
To seek his care and blessings divine,
To pray to him to show the way,
To hope he makes it all go fine...

To pause and play the times gone by,
To introspect and talk to life,
To forgive, forget and make ammends,
To try and resolve every strife...

Two extra hours of much needed time;
though much trouble it might not save,
but help carry it would for sure,
a lot less regrets to my grave...

If you are an Indivine user and you like what you read, you can vote for me here

Writer's note: This started off as a topic for a Indiblogger Surf Excel Matic #GetSmart Contest.
but somewhere along the way, as i scribbled along---I don't know when and how, it turned out to be something a lot more than just that.

I wont say much---but there are delicate times when life goes off balance and we know that it's only with constant attention and persistent behaviour that it can fall back in place.
It's times like these that we realise our helplessness and wish we had a little extra time to try and fix things from falling apart, within and around us.

As for me, I guess I'm just thankful that this topic gave way to a lot of pent up feelings---writing this has been quite an emotional journey.

November 21, 2011

Cryptic thoughts #36

There is a song for every mind frame. So, the next time you feel excessively boastful or (conversely) extremely depressed about something, switch on some music. Stay balanced, because there is nothing unique happening to anybody. Perhaps, someone somewhere has been at that exact same point before.

It's not you, it's just life!

November 14, 2011


A silent sombre symphony...
A piece of shattered dream...
A wish gone unfulfilled...
A whole life to redeem...

A visiting-vanishing hope...
A tactfully repressed story...
A cherished memory so dear...
A past of wounded glory...

A crumbling sand castle...
A melting drop of snow...
A directionless wind...
A colorless rainbow...

An old unfinished conversation...
A listless solemn thought...
A confused speck of truth...
An invincible dirty blot...

A happy impromptu journey...
A relentless haunting pause...
An unstirred undying passion...
An unknown abandoned cause...

These fragments of my soul...
These splinters in my heart...

Piercing me through and through,
tearing me apart...

November 10, 2011

Silent conversations...

They were lying beside each other underneath the cool night sky.

"Do you see the moon?" he asked, a little distracted. "It's so in love with the sky---that is the reason all the stars in the sky fall weak in its glory---because its love for the sky is so indescribable, immeasurable, infinite..."

"Hmmm..." she mumbled as if in deep thought. After a pregnant pause, she continued, "Actually, I think it's the other way around."

He had been waiting for this.
Contradict him she always did.

"I think its the sky who loves the moon more," she said."Don't you see how it gets swept away in gloomy darkness on a moonless night?"

He smiled...
She blushed...

They were lying beside each other underneath the cool night sky.

Talking about love...
Speaking of the moon and the sky...
Understanding the unspoken!!!

November 05, 2011

DOVE your hair and it will LOVE you back...

Rapunzel was not a working woman. Nor was she a exam going student.
She did not have to fight the stress of everyday life. She was safe from the wrath and fury of the big bad world (full of beckoning hair stylists) and also oblivious to all the temptations (like rebonding, straightening, perming et al) there.
Life was so much easier---all she had to do was sit in that four walled tower in that pollution free forest zone and deal with a witch who visited her once in a while to check if everything was okay.
Like how much could she have on her mind except maybe thoughts of some dork prince on a white horse who was bound to get mesmerized by her soulful melody and climb up a tower to rescue her?
No competition----no reason of stress/worry to pull her hair apart (at least till the prince got there)

So, it was not such a big deal that she could manage those lovely long tresses.
Place her in a modern day setting and we shall see...Hah!!!

When people around me would flaunt their lovely tresses, I'd often feel a pang of guilt along with a surge of nostalgia of my days as a carefree teenager.
I would cringe when relatives would ask my mom what I did to my hair to bring it to this situation and my mom would reminisce about old times amidst angry stares at me, explaining how medical school ate up all my time and energy (the 'modified Rapunzel' story worked with her too---err...though she did not take it very well)

Come home and I would have to hear sermons on how I wouldn't listen to what anyone has to say and if I continued being reckless, it wouldn't be long that I would have to count the hair on my head...yada yada yada.
Amidst sleepy yawns and cheeky grins, I would listen to her ramble.
But the truth was that, I was guilty...guilty as charged...for having neglected my hair and taking it for granted.

However, Laziness prevailed and I would never make the time. I always opted the easy way out.

The first time I felt my hair was turning frizzy---I went ahead and got it straightened.
Despite being handed over a number of hair products for maintenance, the live-for-the-day philosophy persisted and I tucked them away in my closet.

End result, my hair stayed flat smooth and silky, albeit for a few months after which the chemicals slowly started taking their toll thereby rendering them equally fragile and prone to fall.
Amidst angry rebukes from all at home, I swore that I would never get my hair straightened again.

The next time I went to the parlor, I made it a point to sigh and complain to the hair stylist there, about my misery.
I sulked a good thirty minutes on how I had never expected that to happen since hair fall had never been a problem with me...until the cretin looked at me calmly and suggested that I try 're-bonding'.

Now, don't blame me, I was naive and vulnerable. She should have been more careful.
Instead, she continued to take full advantage of the situation and inflicted three hours of even more terrible torture to my tresses (which by now had acquired a grass like quality..sniff)
That was it!!! This was my story 3 years back.

After that series of torturous and violent afflictions, my self respecting hair did what any self respecting identity in an abusive relationship would do---it gave up on me!

Initially, I thought it was just a lover's tantrum that my hair was throwing, which would wear out soon enough and that it would return to its lively self again.
But as time went by, I realised that it was much more than that---my hair had started behaving more and more stubborn by the day.

It started revolting in split ends.
Then it begun showing resistant signs of extremely temperamental frizzy behaviour.
Dryness and roughness became a daily routine.
The more rough it would get, the more tough I would behave with it---trying to tame it down with stronger shampoos and gels.

and one day, it dawned on me that it was no use beating a dead horse---no amount of ironing and hair styling products would restore my relationship back to what it had been.
The zing was lost.the love was dead. and all I could do was save what was left of us...sigh!

Now where could i have gone wrong?
Well, after a lot of realisation I figured out that I loved my hair but never expressed it the right way---mistake 1.
I tried changing it into something it wasn't (that is where the straightening, perming, hair styling products came in)---mistake 2
I knew all the things that were required to be done (To start with, I would oil massage it, brush it several times a day and avoid all harmful chemicals).
But as time went by, I had started taking it for granted and wished for easier alternatives (which unfortunately did not exist then)---mistake 3.

and like all unrequited love stories, my hair eventually fell out of love with me.....

I pined for its original quality three long years. I had now started brushing and oiling my hair as and when I got the chance (which was still not enough though, due to time restraints). I tried to make up for the neglect i had shown towards it in the past.
But alas, the damage was done---it was not to be convinced.
The more I stressed, the more hair fall I had---it's a vicious cycle, they told me.

After hours of sleepless nights gazing at the ceiling and wondering how things would have been if different, like every love lorn lover, I made peace with the fact that things would never ever be the same again.

...and just as I was struggling to ignore all the nasty remarks from family and friends (who like we all know, somehow always take great pleasure in digging up stories of past fame and glory and get critical about how you were lazy and foolish enough to have neglected what was bestowed upon you), DOVE launched the new oil care range...TADAAAAA!!!

Now a shattered lover doesn't have much choice but to pick on the last straw that is offered to her.
So hoping against hope and gathering whatever little faith I had left in me, I decided to give it a shot.
Besides, the temptation was looming high...what better option that an oil care range incorporated in shower products---a shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and serum.
In this busy race of life, this was just what I needed---an easy quick fix it solution---now only to check if it worked and I'd be sorted.

And so I braced myself, pushed aside all the strong shampoos and styling products that I was using and try it I did!

Okay, now before reading any further, please knock on wood---I'm superstitious like that.ahem!

Hold your breath ladies and gentlemen (*drum rolls in the background*), it gives me great pleasure to announce before you that after around three weeks of regular use, things have started changing already...gradually..slowly but steadily. *blushes*
I see chances of a reconciliation.
I see the lost shine returning. My hair has almost stopped falling out on me.
I see my soft locks bounce now and then and toss themselves with joy.

The stubbornness and frizziness my hair used to exhibit as retaliation, has slowly started dwindling and I see its original texture and softness returning.
It's not just me.My friends have started noticing it too.
Angry looks from mom have decreased a great deal and relatives have started considering medicine as a career option, once again for their daughters.

Well, I've not exactly won a 'Ms Beautiful Hair' title or an advertisement campaign contract yet. But life is full of WOW moments like these---which I think, is quite a good start! ;)

So all you modern day rapunzel's, this one is for you.

Good people here of every sort,
read on if you can dare...

This isn't a story of love or life,
albeit a lesson of self care...

I grew up a fine young lass,
with tresses thick and strong...
But the last few lazy careless years,
left me wondering what went wrong...

My hair grew lifeless, thin and dry,
it lost its natural bounce...
I blamed it on the stress galore,
and emotional up's and down's...

I fretted and I worried more,
as I reminisced about my past...
The oil care and the head massage,
now no longer did they last...

Life was at its busiest best,
that left me no time to care...
Shampoos I changed now and then,
stripped the moisture from my hair...

Took notice all my peers and pals,
and whispered about my crime...
I wished my hair would normalise,
I just could not find the time...

And then as if by a magic stroke,
'Dove' came up with this 'oil care range'...
It seemed a blessing in disguise,
I knew it was time to change...

So change i did to the shampoo first,
then the serum and conditioner care...
I tried it for a whole two weeks,
and saw the love back in the air...

My hair feels pampered and cared for now,
and as if it's pleased with me,
is getting back to its happy self,
that I knew it was meant to be...

The fiber actives and vita oils,
much needed by my locks so weak,
are contained in the shampoo rich,
to make them feel nourished and sleek

Back is the softness and the shine,
which I'd sulked as an impossible task...
Thanks to the double nourishment repair,
of the conditioner and the mask...

I have begun to adore the serum too,
for it smoothens out frizzy hair...
It's non greasy and smooth to feel,
yet prevents the wear and tear...

My hair feels nourished with every wash,
and it seems so quick and easy...
No greasy lotions, oils or packs
No excuse of being busy or lazy...

And to dove care range, I owe it all
these moments that spell a W-O-W...
A solution quick fix I'd always wished,
I guess my search has ended now!

Last but not the least, I share with you this wonderful eye-opener that I have started practicing and would strongly recommend too.

to 'Rapunzel' hair days and a 'Happy' you,
not just on the outside but from the inside too!

This post has been written for Dove's Love is a Two Way Street - Love your hair and it loves you back Contest.
If you are an IndiVine user, and you like what you read, you can vote for me here

I would also take this opportunity to thank 'IndiBlogger' for sending me the entire 'oil care' range which has led me to consider trying out more of 'Dove' products in the near future...and needless to mention, kudos to 'Dove' (in corporation with 'IndiBlogger') for organizing a fantabulous bloggers meet.

Love is a two way street: Love your hair and it loves you back! Dove IndiBlogger Contest Winner

November 02, 2011

Of space and trust or the lack of it...

What do you do when your present is still holding onto the ghost of your past long after you have let go...when someone who claims to love you turns so possessive that he asks for an account of every single detail of your life, at the cost of it looking like an accusation?
Everyone needs some time on their own..time to reflect..time to contemplate..time to run away from everything--just for a while.
Space is something we gotta respect and let live..for it is the space & distance that kindles the spark in a relationship.
Obviously not too much, but some amount of space is needed for the survival of a lasting love.

Seeing everything with suspicion, asking details, reading between the lines as if to search for loopholes, makes one wonder about the one essential element in a relationship--trust, without which it can never exist.
In one corner of my mind, the familiar song plays yet again...
"We can't go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can't build our dreams
On suspicious minds"

And I wonder, how easy and guilt-free would it be to break the trust that never existed in the first place...

October 29, 2011

SERENDIPITY---your words!

I'm caught in a whirl pool of words begging to be written...
But how do I write a story with neither a beginning nor end?

Reality does not allow me to make believe and fiction refuses to camouflage into something that i can relate to.
I'm feeling suffocated...caught...helpless.
There are words screaming in my head, yearning to be written.
But who would be interested in a story floating in mid air?

I need a framework.
I need a support system to spin my words around.
I need a muse to get inspired by and acknowledge.

I yearn to listen to a story..a story which no one has heard before and yet manages to make my heart write it down in words, words that would make every reader wince, cringe, sigh and smile...a passion that would make the strongest heart melt and the weakest heart tough.
I need a frame which would engulf the power of my words and make me struggle to live up to its expectations.
I want a challenge---to keep writing about and still crave to write more of, not to capture the readers attention..but more because ending it would mean breaking free from the connection.
and yet, I want a story which everyone would read and remember for the rest of their lives.

A tumble of unspoken desires...a cascade of unfulfilled dreams...the unfathomable itch to write a tale that has never been told---and yet a part of life that everyone has lived--you could provide me the skeleton, and I promise to fill it with life.

I'm caught in a whirl pool of words begging to be written, gnawing at me every moment, asking me to find a story to do justice with.

Have you ever wished someone would write your story??
Do you think my search will end at you?

October 25, 2011

Mere...tumhare...sabke liye...

Here's wishing you all a very happy and dazzling Diwali!!! :)

October 22, 2011

Against all odds...

My body trembled against yours,
skin to skin you held me close...
as our breaths sang in perfect unison,
to create a beautiful symphony of souls,
that day when we fought against all odds...
and got it even...

Better friends or bitter lovers,
sans knowing we had made amends...
you clasped my shivering hand in yours,
as I melted in your trusting arms,
that day when we fought against all odds,
and got it even...

A thousand arguments left half finished,
were put to rest in pent up passion...
the air was tense-our love at ease,
as I gazed into your longing eyes,
that day when we fought against all odds,
and got it even...

A bond of commitment it had changed into,
and nothing more I could have asked...
you carved your initials in my heart,
as I fiddled with my wedding ring,
that day when we fought against all odds,
and got it even...

October 19, 2011


All around you searched in vain,
in every cranny, corner and nook,
in golden fields and sparkling creeks,
in each rivulet, stream and brook...

in thunder clouds and rainy skies,
in rainbows and stars galore,
in fairy tales and fable crowds,
in acts pleading encore...

in ballads and in soulful songs,
in a beloved's doting eyes,
in words spilled from a poets quill,
in blood thick bonds and ties...

in the morning sun at the crack of dawn,
in the moonlight shimmering bright,
in the guilt of those who knew had wronged,
in the virtue of who were right...

The worry of an unknown tomorrow,
the hunger for lasting cheer,
the search for constant jubilation,
had filled your mind with fear...

The rainbows and stars you noticed not,
were blessings from the skies above...
the silent goodbyes with tear filled eyes,
were cues to have found true love...

But all around you searched in vain,
for something that was never there...
trying to make some sense of life,
you quite lost out your share...

You'd met contentment in every sight,
but were far too busy to see,
It was never the journey that mattered, friend,
it was how you chose it to be!!!

Writer's note---most of the above write is written metaphorically.Just thought i'd mention :)

Book Review---'Live From London' By Parinda Joshi

Book Title: Live From London.

Author: Parinda Joshi.

Price: Rs 195/-

Publication: Rupa & Co

Truth be told, when i was notified of being selected to review this book, i immediately typed in an enthusiastic reply to blogadda, promising them that the review would be up in a couple of days (since its typically me to devour a piece of good fiction as soon as i get it in hand, in a matter of a few hours at a stretch and i had my hopes and interest high on this one--the reason being, it was a 'rupa & co' publication)

But alas! i find myself struggling through the last few pages, barely because its the fag end of the deadline already.
For those who are into bollywood masala reads, this book manages to capture your interest albeit only for a while.

The 205-pages 'medley of love' (or so it says on the cover page) revolves around 22 year old 'Nishi' who has been living in london with her family and who's life actually starts going topsy turvy after a crazy party which ultimately lands her up in britain's largest talent hunt show, which i found rather a lame excuse to jumpstart the story.
The story sluggishly catches pace with,
--her embarrassment faced on Britain’s Got Talent
--her internship at a record label company
--a ‘steamy’ affair with an NRI American Idol finalist
--a break-up with him (due to a reason who's validity i failed to understand as serious enough for parting ways)
--moving back to India where she gets an opportunity to host a TV show
--and last but not the least, the happily-ever-after ending which did not leave me feeling that great either.
The only reason for relief was that i had finished off with reading the book.

The protagonist seemed to me, bratty in places and comes out too strong in others.
The friends change opinions like snap--which makes you wonder if it is a planned indecisiveness or random spurts of immature behaviour coming from 22 year old's.

With the hope that the characters would raise my interest in the chapters to come, i continued reading.
But unfortunately, it made me eventually lose out on all its characters.
The feeling of empathy towards nishi was gradually dwindling.I was beginning to find the friends to be rather bitchy and temperamental, as well.
The so-called steamy love affair seemed pretty juvenile and the return to india wasn't 'unthinkable' (as was claimed) at all.
In short, too much of predictability ruins the book.

To cut the author some slack, one does feel the subtle doses of humour in the air.
Go to think of it, the storyline has it all---friends, fun, love, complications, a breakup, a struggle and not to forget a happy ending.
The cover page is attractive..and so is the back page synopsis.
What happenes though, is lots of confusion---along the way, following which the sense of emotional detachment with each of the characters, keeps dipping.

Perhaps it was me who had my expectations up too high or maybe when you are 28, life changes you pretty much into a skeptic who finds it a tad bit difficult to relate to easy career breaksthroughs, easier breakups and even more easier happy endings.
However, coming from someone (Parinda Joshi) who belongs to the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles, is a freelance columnist and a professional Photographer, all bundled up in one, i had expected nothing less than a entertaining page turner.
Rupa and co only raised my expectations further.

But for all its worth, 'live from london' turns out to be pretty much an average read for the starry eyed 20 something's, who might as well enjoy the phase while it lasts.

Rating: 2 out of 5

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~``This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

October 13, 2011

Turn offs list #2---'Phone Etiquettes Please!!!'

The previous post in the 'turn offs' series here had raised a little discomfort (for lack of a better word) amongst some of my readers.
While most took it in the right spirit, there were a few who thought me to be pretty fussy and had the gall to pass cynical comments about me being judgmental et al..sigh!

I just have one thing to say---my blog!! *yawn*

So presenting before you, list #2 as promised---PEP!!! (Phone Etiquette Please!)*drum rolls and confetti in the background*

Have you ever felt the strong urge to slam the phone down on some people?
I mean, I'm sure everyone has encountered this irritating species who have absolutely no phone manners at all.
You don't know what I mean? well, read on...

1) Remember the time you almost went deaf post that STD/ISD call you made to that far-far-away (pun intended) relative of yours?
Needless to say, I too know some highly irritating people who actually screech on the phone in their high pitched voices making me want to hold the phone a mile away from my ear to prevent my ear drums from bursting.
Seriously, the least one can do is have some sort of mercy on the person on the other end of the call and try and realise that the 'telephone' is no longer the 'two cans with a string attached' game you played as screaming kids...sigh!

Then there are those who are apparently so busy in life that the only time they can make to call people up is when they are grabbing a bite.
What follows is long pauses interspersed with the crunch of an apple, the crackle of chips and occassional slurps of coke. You might also get to hear the 'gurgle and rinse mouth' procedure once they have finished eating (if you manage to still tolerate the one sided conversation).
The above conversationalists (if you can actually call them that) are usually said to be good listeners.
But sadly, the only reason they seem to be listening is because they have their mouths full every time they are on phone.

Heaven forbid, if they try and actually speak something then.
I have personally ended such conversations with a "Ummm, I think I will speak to you after you are through with your lunch." to which I have received replies like "Naaah, this is the best time we can talk." Needless to say, what followed was a distasteful conversation in which I  continued with 'Ahaan...'s and 'Hmmm...'s while the person at the other end slurped and burped away (Neither of us has a clue as to what we spoke that day).
Blasphemy, I tell ya!

One serious advice I would like to render to everyone around is please and I mean PLEASE do not take your cell phones with you to the loo just because you don't want to break the conversation in between, thinking it is impolite to do so.
NO! it is NOT impolite.What is impolite is you strutting to the restroom with your phone to the ear thus leaving the person at the other end with no choice but to hear a wide range of bathroom activities (worse still, if it's a public restroom) while you go yapping away in oblivion.
In case you have forgotten, nobody in this whole wide world wants to hear you pee and then have the idea confirmed by the loud sound of the flush.
and yes, the person on the phone does not need sensitive ears to hear all that.The normal set we humans are gifted with, will do.
So please, the next time you want to answer natures call, hang up!! No matter how important the conversation is, you can always call back in 5 minutes.

4) OK, I have been at my wits end with this one.
There used to be this friend of mine who would speak to me while on his way back home. Initially I would think he was the busiest man on the planet and cut him some slack. But as time passed by, I  realised I was been given pretty much what is called the 'RJ on the drive home' priority.
Still giving him the benefit of doubt, I kept mum..only to find him yelling at me one day because i couldn't hear his voice clearly due to network coverage and asked him to repeat what he said (this was because of the use of hands-free during the drive).
Now that I think back on it, imagine the cheek!
Enough of digressing, lets come to the point. Some idiots have this irritating knack of making you feel you need to visit the ENT, when they can easily solve the issue by either adjusting the distance of the mike/receiver from their big mouth or adjusting the small setting called volume or plain switching off the music system during a call. *rolling eyes*
If that still doesn't solve the problem (which nine out of ten times they refuse to acknowledge as their fault), they can hang up and call back later because common courtesy says that it is in no way acceptable in even your wildest moronic world that you blame the person on the other side, especially when you have made the call.
Nobody loves to play deaf or make you repeat your pearls of wisdom.
If you can't have enough patience to bear up with a bad network without making the friend you've called feel responsible for it, then you should either work on your patience level, your conversation skills or self entertainment (listen to the radio instead, that way you would still yell at the RJ when the signal breaks..but who cares?! It would be just you losing your mind.)
So all those who call up their friends/family/girlfriend/spouse as a stress buster and then proceed to ruin the day for everyone by venting out their frustration on the surprised and innocent victim, please remember, you are not doing anyone a favor by working long hours and getting ass kicked by your boss or skewing up your workload..and if you think its all about you, then you deserve to be made to crawl in some dingy hole with no network coverage and never get out of there. :-|

5) 'Call waiting' is an option which is to be made use of when you know you are going to revert back within 2-3 mins max and not 2-3 hours.
Having hereby made my point, I will now proceed further.

6) When the conversation comes to the point of more than five or six "so...what else?" and "Aur batao" followed by "Nothing much. You tell me," every single time, please know that it is time to hang up.
No celestial power would help you bring up another topic to rekindle the spice in the conversation.
Its gone...finished...dead...over. Trying to flog a dead horse would make both you and the dead animal look stupid. (you get the point, don't you?)

So end the conversation politely. There is always the next one--you don't need to stress out your brain to think of everything under the sun, moon and sky only to eventually freak out the person at the other end.

7) Telling someone you'd call and then conveniently forgetting all about it is also a major turn off.If you can't/don't want to keep a commitment, don't make one. It's simple!

Also please know that when someone says 'Don't call me. Il'l call you' there is a 80% chance of not getting back in touch.So please don't huff and puff about it, or bad mouth the person---because a promise without a time frame is not a promise at all.

Both the above behaviour's are equally putting off!

8) Last but not the least, please do not talk in groups.
I have been in situations wherein I have been telephonically mobbed by the whole family, with the call on speaker and needless to say, they haven't heard from me in a long time since then. I mean just imagine, all you want is a silent peaceful conversation and the next thing you know is the entire family is asking you questions and passing on messages to some distant relative.
Seriously, you cant be that cheap. Make individual phone calls. Give the caller some time to breathe. It's not a rapid fire round and nobody is going anywhere.
Besides half the time, you don't even know who is cracking a joke on you. Somewhere in the distance you hear a cackle and keep wondering what it was for. Did you say something wrong? Did you make a fool of yourself? Is someone in the extended family commenting on your voice? Did you just sound like a confused idiot?
These group conversations surface up a lot of insecurities, I tellya.
So conversations on speaker are clearly a NO!!!

Hmmm..I guess that should be about all.
So coming to you, what is it that ticks you off most during a phone conversations?
Do feel free to contribute your 'Dial M for murder' stories/experiences (the ones in which you wished you could actually kill someone over the phone for succumbing you to sheer torture).
I would love to read you and a good laugh is always welcome around here---any day, any time, eh?

So until we meet again with turn offs list #3...

and keep calling! ;)

October 11, 2011

Cryptic thoughts #35

Sometimes all we want at the end of the rainbow is another rainbow to walk on.
The pot of gold would herald the end of the journey, and most of the times, that is exactly what we aren't looking for!

October 10, 2011

An ode---TO THE MAN!!!

I have been in love with you for over a decade now, not just for your voice but for the fighter spirit you had in you.
Despite having to face countless tragedies in your personal life, you emerged stronger from each one of them and kept moving on.You truly have been an inspiration.

In my lowest moments, I would find solace in your soothing voice and have often lost myself to it for hours together.

There was a phase when I thought staying away from you would be best for me---listening to you sing would make me sad.
There was this reality in your voice which tugged at my heart and refused to let ache strong enough to make me reflect on my own life, throw me into the doldrums of depression.
But there was also this beautiful strength...of expression perhaps, which made me stay addicted and taught me to be a little more numb to the harshness of reality.

I have spent entire nights pondering on your words..reflecting the pain in your voice..relating to every emotion you must have felt and then promised myself that I would move on.
But morning would find me go back on my decision, and I would succumb to the temptation again.

That was the magic your heart warming voice would have on me.

If you cant get someone out of your mind then perhaps they are supposed to be there, they say.
I could never give up on you and the entire CD collection of your soulful ghazals.

And today I know and promise myself that I never will.

Your ghazals are all that I have of you, and they will stay with me for ever.

Rest In Peace, Jagjit Singh!!!

your ardent admirer and die hard fan.

P.S: This post is dedicated to the renowned Ghazal Maestro, Jagjit Singh who was admitted to Lilavati Hospital on 23rd sept for brain haemorrhage, where a life saving surgery was performed on him.
His condition remained critical though, and he passed away today morning (october 10th 2011) at 8 am, leaving behind a deep void in our hearts and to the world of music.
Needless to say, he will forever be remembered and missed by innumerable fans all over the world.

October 05, 2011

'IJAAZAT'---the permission to play 'confused'...

I had once been told by a friend that Maya's character in the movie 'Ijaazat' somewhat reminded him of me when he first watched the movie.
Not too happy with that comment/compliment, I had made him watch the movie all over again and subsequently eat his words, by finding faults in all the three protagonists...sigh!

Apart from the highly complex character that Maya is, one cannot deny that it is equally fascinating.
The movie leaves you appalled at many instances..and you are confused whether she is someone who is simply crazy or too much of an idealist.
One moment you feel that she is commitment phobic and the other you find her to be a deeply passionate person who lives on love and love alone.
Sometimes you find her free spirited while there are some instances wherein the vulnerability of the character speaks volumes of her pain..her vulnerability to emotions..her inability to explain herself and her constant search of something that perhaps doesn't even exist.
Of course, there are some scenes which leave you seething with rage, like some highly dramatised emotional dialogues which she quips to an already-married and pretty much spineless Mahender.
Mahender---someone who did not have the guts to stand up for his love in front of his grandfather...
the same someone who then metamorphosed into someone who could not reciprocate his wife's love because he was stuck up over his ex (the same girl he did not take a stand for)...
Clearly, the dude was taking everyone for granted---his grandfather, his girlfriend Maya, and now his wife, Sudha.

And that brings me to Sudha, whose decision of marrying an emotionally involved guy does not cease to amaze me.
Respect for elders, financial support and seeking stability are an entirely different thing altogether.
But if she is ready to risk her married life in exchange for all these, hoping that her love for THE husband would cheer him into matrimonial bliss making him forget all about Maya, then I guess the woman is not just being manipulative but also not quite in the right state of mind.
The least she could do was wait for him to have moved on with the ex-factor, before jumping into a serious commitment.

While Maya's interference in the life of a married man is unacceptable, so is Mahender's infidel nature which he cleverly disguises with the garb of guilt (in the first part of the movie) and self-sacrifice (only to his imagination...Hah!) and needless to mention, Sudha's attempt to win the heart of an already emotionally betrothed man, without thinking about the consequences.
Nasruddin shah's acting is impeccable while Rekha has played her character with ease and obvious talent.
However, Anuradha Patel (playing 'Maya') is the one who steals the show with her charismatic and totally suited-for-the-role performance.

Adorned with the amazing music composition by R D Burman, Ijaazat remains one of Gulzar's best creations---an intriguing drama of three complex characters, the flawed lives of whom make it so close to reality.

P.S: Thinking about it, Shashi Kapoor did not quite fit in---no pre-marital affair, no extra-marital relationship, no dead girlfriend, no pestering grandfather, no guilt ridden past, no compromised marriage...nothing?


October 04, 2011

A fragmented reality

A lot of stories were brought to a halt that day...half finished.

That coffee that never happened...
The hands we never held...
That lunch that remained just a plan...
That first meeting of two interdependent souls that got postponed indefinitely...
That long awaited face to face conversation which suddenly changed course....
The hope of breathing the same familiar air that eventually brought about nothing but a solitary claustrophobia...
The resting of my head onto your shoulder which lasted only until the dream ended...
The gazing together at the setting sun that heralded the end of a relationship before it could even see the real light of day...
The half-apologetic-half-bitter promise to meet--very soon...knowing deep in our hearts that it was just another contorted truth...
A lot of stories were brought to a halt that day...half finished.

Even today, I sometimes wonder---could things have gone any different?

September 24, 2011

'ADRIFT A Junket Junkie In Europe'---Book Review

Title: ADRIFT-A Junket Junkie In Europe

Author: Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu
To know more about the author, you can visit her

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd

Price: Rs 150/-

Genra: Non Fiction
When I first heard that Puneetinder Sidhu's ADRIFT was up for grabs, I was curious to give it a try.
Being someone who loves traveling, I was looking forward to reading this book since some time now.
Besides, reviewing a travel book was a sphere I hadn't quite tread upon before and the fact that this one was by one of 'Hindustan Times' former food and travel columnist, only added to my curiosity.

Arm chair travel across the whole of Europe sounded like fun. But there was this risk of getting bored, which I must mention, was instantly nullified on getting the book in my hands.

The first striking feature about the book is its attractive cover page.
The second is its size, though on reaching the end, you can't help wishing for more.
This 100 page summary of an entire continent is written with such zeal and high spirit, that the enthusiasm and passion for travel is almost infectious.
Also the organised nature of the book is reflected at the very start itself by a 'sneak peek' index which carries in it glimpses of what lies ahead (in the pages to come, of course).

The opening chapter has the Chandigarh based author Puneeta Kaur SIdhu, telling us about her impromptu summer vacation to Europe (thanks to the strategically located Punjabi diaspora and good contacts).
Some of the 'Nine cardinal rule's that she decides in flight might feel a little too strict and make the reader wonder if the trip would have ended up being more adventurous, had she gone a little easy on them.
But then again, it's her trip...her rules.
Who are we to complain, eh?

During her stay in Germany, she learns a few words that add to our limited German vocabulary---Prost, Bitte and not to forget Schizer (which made me laugh as I promised myself I would put to good use some day)
She gets invited to an hitherto unheard of 'Goa' party---something which made me want to breeze through all the lines in between until I got to that part (out of sheer curiosity). The description of this party makes one imagine what it must be like to witness such a gala event---Indophiles recreating an 'India' in the German country side.
She also speaks about 'Mitfarhzentrale' a car pooling service encouraged by the state to conserve energy.

While in Swedon and Denmark, she speaks about her visit to Hylinge, a quaint village--a short drive from Helsingborg, where she gets a chance to eat one of the most delectable part of the Swedish dining cuisine---reindeer meat and then, Balting herring.
"Even durian would come out smelling of roses in comparison" she says---a line which made me flinch as I remembered how I had rushed off for fresh air despite being metres away from the tropical fruit at a local supermarket during my trip to Malaysia.
Besides, I have to mention about the ultra baffling moment in the book where I was enlightened that 'Rudolph' the red nosed reindeer of the much known carol singing fame was actually a 'SHE'.
Thanks Puneeta, for clearing my concepts...phew!

The visit to Torekov (a fishing haven) and the stay at 'Adrid' make you feel a strange pull towards this place---which made me reconsider Sweden as a holiday destination.

While Puneetinder juggles between the work of Vincent Van Gogh and the life of Anne Frank, she also gets an opportunity to see a real wind mill and window shop in a red light district.
Her trip to Amsterdam is piled with a lot of alarming and exciting anecdotes which work their way to arouse the interest of the reader and make it more interesting than just any normal travelogue.
So is her stay in Austria.

Visiting fairy tale castles in alpine havens, her Hungarian rhapsody is filled with adventure as she explores her way to Budapest and Lake Balaton.

The chapters on France and Britain brought along with them, a Deja Vu kinda feeling---Hampsted Heath, Notting Hill Carnival, Billy Conelly and not to forget the wine consumption and silly 'high' that kicked in thereafter, at Paris---swept me in nostalgia of a trip not such a long while ago, and made me put down the finished book, lost in memories of my own.

Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu has succeeded in captivating the readers interest until the last page.
The easy flow of language and wit makes it an interesting read.But if you think the 100 pages booklet is something you can read in half an hour, you'd be mistaken.This is one read you would want to read at leisure and soak in the informative yet lively banter, all through the way.

Her travel stories leave you smiling in places, while some parts compel a strong urge to make mental notes in preparation for your next holiday.
Pictures speak a thousand words, they say---the photographs in the book were an additional highlight.
I also liked her style of combining humor, anecdotes and travel---which keeps the attention of the reader from wavering, a trait most travelogues otherwise possess.

As for complaints, I dont have any.
Reading a journey experience is like traveling with the writer and everyone has a unique style of traveling.
Judging or comparing styles is like being that unsatisfied pesky guest who tags along with you every leg of your journey sans personal expenses and still keeps gloating about how much fun he had during a previous one, instead of enjoying the moment.
As for me, I had tagged along an entire Europe trip with Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu, only to have enjoyed her fun-filled-energy-packed experience to the tee.

Having said that, I would suggest you to pick up this book the next time you visit your bookstore and give it a read.
For all travel enthusiasts, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Rating--3 out of 5 (in the category of travel and adventure)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!