How much can a movie impress you? Or any book/novel?

May be ranging from few hours to a few days, depending on your emotional involvement and the ensuing ‘connect’ that you feel.

For me, though, the involvement has always been enormous, very personal and to the extent that I feel I have watched that movie/read that book because, probably, in the larger scheme of things, I was destined to do so – to watch/read them to get a subtle hint on ‘what lies ahead’ in my life. Watching Gulaal a few Sundays before, for ex, made me very upset, not only because it dealt with a topical issue in a very unconventional manner, but largely because it showed an ambitious girl ready to take up anything/anyone in her way to achieve power and legacy. She could fake love and proximity and do all this with great élan, ease and efficiency.

And that let loose my imagination…why on earth did I see all this? Could it be a future reckoner for me to be cautious of any ambitious girl who comes my way? Would it be right to judge all girls on this weird logic, just become I happen to see a random scrip-writer’s story?

The problem (if it is so) is that Gulaal and its ambitious girl are no solitary incidents. I have similarly been influenced by a lot of books and now strongly detest reading ‘influential’ authors like Ayn Rand & Kafka, just because I fear following their philosophies and relating them to my day-to-day life. Nothing wrong in that, one might say. One does get influenced by somebody’s thoughts which prove to be a turning point of his/her life. But, such ‘turning point influences’ are the ones that affects at a macro level (like the broad approach towards life). In my case, things are working at a very micro level and that is the nuisance.

Probably, I think too  much, too much of ‘reading between the lines’, and possibly, things will better with time but, as of now, every line I read, every frame I watch in a movie is making me what I am; and I don’t understand whether they are turning me out to be  a good human being or not.

United In Pain, Divided By Destiny

I have been reading HarivanshRai Bachchan’s aatmkatha since now a month. The entire volume is divided into 4 books, each covering a distinct phase of his life and work. I am mid way through the second book and must tell that it has been an exhilarating experience so far.

Most of His classic poems were written when He was going through a deep personal crisis. And under circumstances where many of the lesser mortals would have succumbed to their fate, He rose to His Glory and Fame. What stood by Him was a strange play of His destiny and will power. And this is where, I think, He scored over other geniuses’ who were victims of their fate. Gurudutt, for example, despite his creative talent, lost it at an early age.

Both HarivanshRai and Gurudutt were successful in their creative domains and were, at the darkest phase of life, separated from their love, but where HarivanshRai found his solace in the metaphor of ‘haala, the very same ‘haala’ took away Gurudutt!

Hai Andheri Raat Par, Diwa Jalaana Kab Mana Hai…

Reading The autobiography has made quite an impact on me. For one, it has re-affirmed my belief in ‘hoping against hope’ and ‘considering oneself on the right side of destiny as long as one is alive’. HarivanshRai just did that. By the time He was 29, He had already witnessed the death of the three closest people in his life. Combine this with no fixed job and an incomplete education, and out comes a deadly potion, one that is sufficient enough to take anyone into doom and despair. But that was not be in His case. Why? Well, because destiny had other plans for Him! In the days to come, He met all the right people, got all the right avenues and all worked so well that a person who thought He would die when he will sleep in the night (this happened just after the death of His first wife; He was so depressed that He thought He will follow His wife in Her death) went on to become a parliamentarian and led a highly successful and content life.

Do you need to be affected by the downs of your life? Does the rough phase in your life give you the option of self-rejection and self destruction or worse still, does it lead you to question your self worth?

As recession sets in, as more and more jobs are lost, questions like these will become more potent and pertinent. Yes, every case is different and people will analyze and react according to their understanding of the situation. And this is where the relevance of HarivanshRai’s autobiography comes in.  Destiny will play its role; we just to have keep our eyes and ears open, and keep meeting and ‘networking’. You ne’er know who or what will become your trump card!

Tale of Two Serials

The idiot box is no more an idiot. After surfing endless channels, I finally managed to pick up two serials which suits my taste as well as the time slot.

Boston Legal (BL) is a high-power legal drama and revolves mostly around an articulate lawyer Alan Shore (played by James Spader). I would not fail to admit that the character of Alan has very largely contributed to my understanding of the profession of law. Spader is a perfect master of the art. He’s got a phenomenal hold on his character and I sometimes wonder that if he decides to enter the legal profession, he’d definitely give all big attorneys a run for their money. BL is judiciously balanced between courtroom drama and the personal lives of the lawyers at the fictitious law firm, Craine, Pool and Schimdt. This balancing act gives BL an edge over Ally Mcbeal, another courtroom drama which, unhappily for me, always turns out to be a mouthpiece for women empowerment.

Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chasma (TMKOC) is a comic serial with a ‘moral’ heart. It portrays the daily grind of Jethalal Gadha, a Gujarati businessman settled in Mumbai, at the hands of his family members – his hysterically amazing wife Daya, his commanding father Champak and his naughty son Tappu. The society where he lives forms the ensemble cast of the serial. The serial derives it title from the famed Gujarati journalist Tarak Mehta who im-mortalised Jetha Lal, his real-life neighbor, in his columns that appeared in various newspapers. TMKOC’s USP lies in its subtle presentation of virtuous teachings without sounding ‘preachy’ and without compromising on the entertainment value. 

College Blues

The college has started (that is started taking its toll on me). The day goes by in a perennial sleepy mode. The slumberness just refuses to go away. Bed to Office, Office to College, and back to Bed are only three significant events in the whole of any working day. A normal sleep for me now means a maximum of 6 hours. The only other time I manage to get a little nap is when I get into the cab to reach the college. Now, even that sleep is not guaranteed. Considering the public transport (or the lack of it), that Gurgaon offers to its residents, it is only one’s luck that one reaches the college, and that too, on most occasions, losing out on the first class.

The classes are fairly well managed except for one subject. Property Law in itself is a very boring topic and when taught by a teacher who herself is not interested in teaching the subject only make the matter worse. Family Law is taught by the Professor-in-Charge of our Law Centre. She is a highly opinionated lady and has got a dry sense of humor. Most of the things she teaches us are not the things she believes in but nevertheless her interest in teaching the subject does not fade away. Either she is very professional or she is a good actor. In any case, she adds a new dimension to teaching at Law Centre.  And it just helps that she has authored a very exhaustive book on the subject. For Law of Evidence, we have got the same teacher who taught us the Law of Contracts in the last semester. He is a fairly good teacher but one can take out the best from him only when one comes in the class with at least one reading of the topic he’s about to teach on that day. Public International Law is a subject I find most interesting of the current lot. The teacher is well versed with the subject and teaches well. Criminal Law, since we are reading part 2, also has a repeat teacher, the one who taught us Criminal Law-1. Many of my class-mates are all praises for him, but I beg to differ. He is, no doubt, one of the best academicians at our faculty but his teaching skills are not students friendly. I said this to someone a few days back that the Criminal Law teacher is like an Ekta Kapoor serial. You watch the serial for a week and the story moves an inch!


Meanwhile, ‘Speaker’ Somnath ‘Chatter’ jee resigns from his political career, a high-powered parliamentary committee says Delhi is not ready for Commonwealth Games 2010 , Slumdogs replace palace rats (and as a side effect young Jamaal says he’s not getting proper sleep at his Dharavi shanty due to mosquitoes and lack of proper bed, Freida dumps her struggling days boy friend for a more suave and successful one {in an uncanny similarity with Deepika Padukone}), Baby AB breaks the record for maximum number of public appearances by an actor in different cities and on a single day, Nithari perpetrators get hangings and Satyam goes on the verge of becoming another Aarushi.

December 29, 2008 - January 05, 2009

December 29, 2008 – January 5, 2009

Just Another Day

New Year is just another day for me…

No resolutions, no wishes.

Just like any other day it holds within itself the paradoxical potential of predictable and un-predictable events. So, I welcome the day with only as much enthusiasm and fervor as is desired of any normal day. The same logic also acts as a deterrent to me to celebrate my birthday. I wonder if I am able to make this logic convincing enough to my ‘to-be partner’ and we don’t indulge in day-long celebrations of anniversaries and birthdays. 

The Stars Shine Down

A chill ran down my spine when I read the mother of all resignation letters. News run abound that a bigger crime (that of siphoning investor’s money to personal projects) is being masked by a comparatively less severe crime of fraud et al. Whatever be it, but the damage is done. The outsourcing industry has suffered a jolt, for questions on credibility and transparency of Indian-based firms is being raised. Amidst all this, ST, a Satyamite, shares her jitters. I console her, say to her that people like her should not be worried as their potential and performance is not being questioned and she have a fair chance to compete in the job market. Even as I said all this, I realized it’s easier said than done. Job portals have been flooded with Satyamites resumes. Refereals are doing the rounds across all offices and all geographies. Yet, there is not much action happening. Indeed troubled times.

Why would have Raju done all this? An icon for many – students, young executives, entrepreneurs, businessmen, Raju enjoyed much clout world over. But as it is, human mind is still the most complex entity in the universe. Some say it’s the greed that let him in – greed to have more and more land, in and around Hyderabad. May be things will become clearer with time, but as of now, I am reminded the famous ‘Geeta Saar’ that used to printed at the back cover of notebooks. One of the quotes there prophesized: 3 things makes men enemy of each other: Jar, Joru Aur Zameen.

The Axe Effect

How much memories can an after-shave lotion arise in you? Infinite, if you ask me. So, the week gone by, when I bought an AXE-Denim after shave, and applied the first splash on the face, I was transferred to a different era…Milan Hair Cutting Parlor was the best value for money – cushioned, comfortable and elaborate chairs, plethora of creams, hair colors etc., TV with a cable connection – basically a place where even waiting was a pleasure. But the icing on the cake was the cool, soothing effect of the Denim (no Axe-Denim then, and I am talking of the 1998-2000 period) that was applied on one’s face after the customary shave. Partially because of the fragrance but more because of the ‘adult’ feeling that it instilled inside me, I began adoring the Denim. But that was to be only till the time I was at my hometown. Mid 2000, when I left home (and Milan parlour), the end of my Denim honeymoon has already begun. Out of town, may be with a view to reduce recurring expense on shaving, I started on my own and for the initial period used Denim only but later, somehow, my loyalties changed to Old Spice.

So, last week, when due to Old Spice being ‘Out of Stock’, I purchased the New Denim, I never, even in my wildest imaginations, thought that it will bring back so much. But then, such is life!

College Blues

The college starts this Moday, January 12th (actually on Friday, the 9th but for all practical purposes, 12th) and this excites me beyond comprehension!

It is the same feel that we used to get when we were promoted to higher classes. The thrill of new books, new teachers, and new things to learn was all so encompassing that we, as children, had nothing else to discuss than about our new classes et al. And the same excitement returns!!

Now that I have understood the ‘funda’ of surviving our faculty’s methodology of teaching, I am more than prepared to welcome the new semester. And with subjects like Public International Law (which I am sure I will enjoy most), I just can’t wait for the classes to begin. Of course, I have made the routine resolution of being punctual with my studies from the beginning and going to classes all prepared with the cases etc., but let’s see to what extent such ideas get materialized (the track record of the success of such resolutions is very bleak!). Anyways, the counting has begun…3 days to go…

The 200-crore Mark

Ghajini just entered into the list of Top 10 biggest hit of all times. With a business of 200 crores (that too over a period of 14 days), the movie has defined new rules of the game. What is significant is the fact that of the 200 crores, Rs 160 crores came from the collection at domestic theatres and the rest 40 crores from the overseas market. There is no doubt that much of the domestic collection is courtesy the Multiplex phenomena that the metropolitan and aspiring metropolitan cities and towns of India is witnessing. Gone are the days when a movie celebrated ‘Golden 50 days’ and ‘Silver and Platinum Jubilees’ and we had movie stars labeled ‘Jubilee Kumar’. A movie, these days, is declared a Hit the moment it survives the first weekend of its release or manages a collection over 20-25 crores, whichever is earlier. And no one’s complaining. People want movies and movie stars to be served to them like their popcorn packets – hot, readily available and to be consumed immediately – longevity be damned. So, in all probability this trend will continue and Rs 200 crore will certainly become the new (monetary) deadline.