Friday, February 25, 2011

The memories from a house of grief

Humankind suffers from a strange sense of insecurity and vulnerability. To forget his fragility he chooses the easier path- forget the reality. To get as far away from reality as possible he would indulge himself in anything to intoxicate his mind from thinking. Pretending to forget the reality, gives him a feeling of immortality.

Death has the capability to pull you back to reality. A grieving house may be the place where we realize we are still vulnerable and there is no enough earth available to protect our vulnerability. ‘Death’ after all is a major inconvenience!

It was this death that reminded me of an incident that happened long ago and thus prompted me to write this.

During the initial days of blogging I had a plan to write about the girls that crossed my path. But then it’s too common a topic and i dropped it. But as years go on uncalled for incidents add spice to your story and I feel this is the best time to write on Susan.

She was the member of one of the famous fashion show groups in the city. They were a group of bold, naughty girls who could send the men crazy. Once it so happened that a girl flashed her deep slit, it caused a near stampede and they had to cancel out the programme. It was a honour for the boys to go around claiming friendship with girls from the group. I, who was not popular among the female folk, was lucky to have a friend in Susan and I bragged about it a lot.

Then on that fateful night the villain came in the form of ‘Gmail chat’. I have never seen her online. That was the first time and last time I chatted ‘online’ with her. The talk meandered onto the recent fashion show she had done.

‘Hey you were really good on the ramp’
‘Good? What do you mean by good’
‘Something like………………………’ (I had taken a gamble. Some girls do not take ‘hot’ nicely)
‘Lol….ok, Define hot!’ (I was getting excited. (The blood flow to the brain started slowing down. More went for the plant where testosterone is manufactured. I believed I was getting lucky)
‘You mean describe your body?’

‘Hmm.. your thighs are great. I love them. And I love your waist, face …..and…. ’
‘Okay Okay I know where are you getting onto. Thanks :D’

I went off to bed with heavy and starry dreams. May be I was getting lucky and would end up in the elite group who lost their virginity.

I woke up the early morning and hit my mail box. I found a ‘scrap’ from her on my ‘orkut scrapbook’. I excitedly logged in, cursing the slow internet connection. I couldn’t believe my eyes on seeing the ‘scrap’. I rubbed my eyes and had a look again. Did she mean it? It went something like this

‘How dare you tell me all those stuff you creep. I never imagined you could sink so low. Try telling that to your mother or sister!’

She wrote this in my public scrapbook. Some of my friends saw this. Thankfully they took it so maturedly and kept silent. I was spared from being the laughing stock at college. Even when I write this my nerves tingle with shame. That morning I felt tears welling up. I had very few female friends. What would those few think of me? For such a person getting humiliated by a woman was ….. I can’t get the right word. May be being disrobed in the public would be the right feeling.

I didn’t barge into her exclaiming ‘You have a great figure, babe!’ It was a mutual mistake. If there was one she had a part in it. I could have gone ballistic and gave her a dose of her own medicine. But I broke down and saw her personally to request for mercy. She did forgive. Now you’ll call me a prick. But that might have given me a first insight into women and how to treat a lady. As for the bad side, I grew vary of intimidating women. Yes, I fear women who crack a joke at me!

That was very long ago. We continued to chat and I had a great deal of respect for her! Then suddenly she cut off all kind of contacts and went away unannounced!

Then again years later I learnt that her dad was hospitalized with leukemia. I went for a visit. Both her parents were old and alone. I did piece together the story with the mother’s help. After long years of bareness her parents adopted her when she was 6-7 years old. By then they were well into middle age. She was quite obedient and nice girl. She was multi-faceted and extremely talented. She wanted to choose up a creative field as her Masters. The parents, old by now, didn’t want to let her go. They then gave up and she flew out to Mumbai where she fell in love with a colleague.

The father had a bit painful and sad end. By that time the mother’s words started giving a hint of helplessness of a lonely woman. She resigned to the fact that Susan was no longer her kid. Sometimes blood is thicker than water and paperwork doesn’t give us the belonging.
At the funeral home Susan went about arranging everything. She was smart and had her fiancé for company. The mother sat in a corner with welled up eyes. Susan didn’t show any sign of loss. She even cracked a joke with people who came to grieve. We couldn’t choose between laugh, smile, grin or tightened lips.

That day I looked at her, her fiancé, her mother. Life is so fragile. And so are relations.
Her fiancé and I share the same name. Don’t know if it’s just coincidence (*wink*)

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Zero Zero

‘Centurion’ stands for the Roman commander with 100 men under him. I hope the Romans will not sue me when I borrow it for a blogger who has crossed the threshold of 100 posts. Yes, if you are by any chance reading through these lines, you are reading the 100th post of ‘My Times’.
I would dedicate this achievement to a beautiful girl who claims I am a great blogger. She has even persuaded me to think about a career along that line. I know it’s an exaggerated version of flattery. But then who would say no to flattery!

The times have changed, so has the perceptions and so will ‘My Times’. I started this out this more than a year ago when I had to fight with boredom. I wanted to search out something creative and had a vague illusion I would do well at blogging. Jabri helped me out in initial stages. I wanted a slow start, but then I was too impatient to do so. Over the months I learned about the intricacies of blogging and the great ‘folly’ of ‘famous’ bloggers.

I wanted to be a famous blogger too. Then it became obvious that reality and fame wouldn’t go together. So I chose the former. I know the space has become boring. The initial horde of followers has become ‘inactive blogger’ and so there are no regular visits or comments. I sometimes feel this as a kind of personal diary which I want someone to read. The few who do visit accidentally are the ones who do a google search and stray over. In the past few days ICC world cup has been receiving number of hits. Apparently people in USA, Denmark want to know what the Cricket World cup is all about. Then there are a lot of spammers and even a few who come in looking for assignment material. Some drop in a thank you note. Strangely there are people who even did a ‘girls + Boobs’ search and ended up here. I simply can’t figure out if I ever did a post on boobs!

The main features/categories in ‘My Times’ has been Politics and People I met in the daily walk of life and now I am planning to shift the Movie review from ‘Think’ to here. I am more of a Leftist in view points and do enjoy bashing the ‘Rights’. Although I try to be a metro sexual, I find no point in doing so.

I am not at all intending to make this place a wee bit entertaining. As a dream of the year, I would like to hear someone say this space made a change for him/her.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Movie Review- A street car named Desire

Rarely in life, do we get a chance to watch a movie and say, ‘This is fulfillment of a life-time’. ‘A street car named Desire’ is one such movie. The movie has been adapted from a play by Tennessee Williams with the same name. The play has been adapted into different languages throughout the world. The movie has survived the test of times to stay in the all time classics list.

The movie is known for its powerful star cast- Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh. Ironically it was the supporting cast who walked away with the Oscars. I later read through the production note and came to know that the movie paved for a great debate in Hollywood by questioning many of its pre-conditioned concepts.

The movie is almost shot throughout in a single premise and it resembles a play in terms of scope. As a result the performance has to be the finest to carry the message through. In short it is a play-movie. There is a subtle story telling with the light. The moods of Blanche are shown with various intensities light falling on her. Regarding the screenplay, the moral police of Hollywood acted tough on the ‘objectionable’ scenes. So the director had to tell some powerful parts with some suggestive depiction.

The story is about a well bred Blanche who comes to stay with her sister, Stella. She has to deal with a troublesome past. Stella is married to a couth, Stanley. This sets a tension between fine and refined Blanche and Stanley. Stella finds a comfort in Stanley’s friend , Mitch and wants to settle down with him. But Mitch is dissuaded by Stanley. Stanley makes some investigation into her past and claims that all she said were lies.

Only towards the end does Blanche reveal her side of the story to convince an unwilling Mitch. Blanche meets a tragic end when she is raped by Stanley and turns lunatic. The overall effort by story teller is to point out how a fine and delicate being is destroyed and raped by the cruel forces of society. Then there is Mitch who wanted to marry her initially, then decided that she is ‘too dirty’ for her. But he amorously grabs her for an illicit relationship. In the end Stella who always stood by her husband realizes his cruelty and in the final scene she refuses to go back to him when he calls out for her.

I got a clearer picture on the movie when I went through the production notes. At that time the movie was considered too graphic and against the morality. So director had to make a few concessions for the certificate. Even when the overall intention was good, the moral police simply refused to budge. Today we have got a more liberal system and people have the responsibility to do the censoring.

Please go through this too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


It was a great pleasure to read your article that was published in The Hindu magazine on 6th of February. I, personally, agree with the anti-populist writers. May be our nation is passing through a phase the western world passed through years ago. The system has generated a set of popular thought processes. The voice against this popular thought is brought down by collective cackling. But then speaking up against a system which has been hugely beneficial to you or me, is very hypocritical.

You did write about the three essential components of a healthy nation- logos (reason), hymmos (spirit) and eros (pleasure). You had mentioned that we were filled up in eros part but sadly we ignore the spirit component of a nation.

But it baffles me when we arrive at a conclusion that we lost the ‘spirit’ of India post-liberalization. Sometimes it has become a fashion to blame all the ills on liberalization. I am not much of an avid reader. Right from the pre-independence days, back to Mughals have we ever showed the spirit as a nation?

Indians had been under a feudal system for centuries. Whether we stand on the beneficiaries’ side or the suffering side, we feel more comfortable under a feudal system. The independence, democracy and liberalization hasn’t disturbed basic mental structure of an Indian. Thus a small percentage of the society gains precedence over the rest. Their opinion would be considered as the sentiment of the day.

For us Kashmir is rebellious teenage girl who has to be disciplined. If she runs away from home, it will bring dishonor to the name of the family. Besides we have a few troublesome neighbors who stir up strife in our house.

We hold up a trophy Dalit as proof of our inclusive development and progress. But when they protest against the hypocrisy, it’s time to teach them their rightful place in the hierarchy. We have gone as far as to jail a Binayak Sen, who dared to speak out for them.

What I have been trying to say is it’s not just the spirit we lack, but the reason. The way we arrive at our concepts and ideologies are based on bias. In short we will have to re-visit the concept ‘India’.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 'E' Revolutions

In the past few years, the world has been visited many a revolutions, revolts, uprisings and coup de etats- all headed by the common man. We see the common man rising above his petty divisive politics to challenge the despots. The only component missing from the revolutions of old is absence of a concrete idea, ideology or intellectuals. In their place a different category got in. They are the social media networks. To be clear, they are the virtual playmakers of the day. You can charge and jail a dissident. But you can stem the information flowing virtually. The stakes are too high.

So what is the big deal? Virtual or real, as long as the goal is achieved, uprisings are welcome. If the revolutions lasting a lifetime can be reduced to days, we could spare the population of trouble. And if we can get the message across the seas, international pressure can be mounted too.

Still closing the eyes to numerous potholes of the virtually aided revolutions would be tomfoolery and dangerous.

The good portion of the urban population is educated and logged in. But the education has not empowered us to make independent and strong decisions. The stance we make is based on weak foundation and shift with changing water. In other words, we have the information but not the idea. The person who cannot make a decision for his own good, can he decide for the people around him? Never. But his mind can be easily instigated to make dangerous decision.

The ‘visuals’ have proved to be much more powerful than sword. It registers very fast into your mind. They can be distorted to give you a different message from the reality. Hence a few hundred marching and can be portrayed as ‘I can see millions’. A street will be made to sound as a capital city and a few vandals as the common man. I won’t call up my friend in Egypt or Iran to verify the truth.

A major chunk of social media networks are owned/controlled by a very tiny miniscule of men with very powerful vested interests. Imagine the capability of a few to control the minds of vast number of world population. The rulers of the world have realized this power that can sustain them. Hence media has become one prime place of investment for the men in power.
Only a very small percentage of the world still has access to internet. So the internet powered coups has to target this population. The voice of the millions in fringes remain unheard. In the very end it can be a despot replacing a despot.

I would not want to be judgmental. Still there is no second guessing that the USA tried desperately to overthrow the Ahmadinejad after the elections. The revolt was powered by Twitter. The US government even requested them not to shut down the services for a planned maintenance. Sadly, the designs didn’t carry through. The resilience of Ahmadinejad prevailed.`

Thursday, February 3, 2011

ICC cricket World Cup '11

You may say the World Cups are held to crown the ‘champion’ of the world for a duration of 4 years. But I would say it’s more than that. For the (extra)ordinary men they find it the place to market the sport, product and nowadays even the sportsperson. Look at this, after the recent soccer world cup, the interest in game surely sored up in India. Many youngsters from affluent families have taken up the sport. Similarly the little heard of players like Forlan, Suarez have become hot picks for the rich clubs.

I started watching the cricket’s world cup from the year ’99 when the world cup happened in England. To be frank, I bothered only about Indian matches. India losing or winning was greeted with same passion. In India the sport gained mass publicity when Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup in ’83. Cricket to India became what Football was to Brazil. For a nation that was held down by the shackles of License Raj, Cricket became a common, middle class man’s quick visa to fame and riches. But cricket couldn’t get over the typical Indian mindset where the individual star value, regionalism and connections gained prominence over performance and talent in team selection.
Again we Indians took it on our stride, as we do when we hear of scams. Indian defeats were greeted with as much as passion as the rare victories. The team that of a bunch, not even fit for the domestic matches. The fielding was the most abysmal. Running between the wickets was a joke. If you have forgotten I would help you to recollect a few names- Venkatesh Prasad, Sidhu, Nayan Mongia, T Kumaran, Kanithkar, the list goes on. But still we considered them the favorites in every World Cup.

Things would have gone on in the same way, had not the Cronje scandal hit the world. The old guard were sent off unceremoniously. Soon Ganguly took over and Indian cricket meant business. He brought on some of the most talented young ones across the country and stuck on with them even in tough times. Soon we started winning even abroad. The white men realized we didn’t chicken out on short pitched deliveries. Ganguly should have been given the farewell he deserved. It’s my opinion he was grossly mistreated.

The world over, cricket was changing. The sponsors wanted the game to last the full quota. The sporting pitches started dying out. The batsmen started indulging more and more in extravagant shots. Then the T-20 came on and cricket was not the same anymore. I started losing the interest in the sport. There was no more predictability and a few mindless strokes could change the whole game. The technical brilliance gave way to bravado.

Now I have reduced my interest in the game to browsing through the scoreboard. It seems the people are more interested in the IPL that follows the WC. I hope Sachin overcomes the final huddle and walks down the horizon with pride and bat held high. Still the single biggest error that kept India from the final destination still remains- awkward team selection. We have taken a injury prone pace bowler, another one who performs once in a blue moon, a batsman who has no idea what fitness is all about and a spinner who hasn’t played for a long time.

The perplexing question is absence of Sreesanth , although there is no logical explanation to it. May be he brings down the morale in dressing room. And we Mallus are glad that we are spared from watching the antics of his mother in TV (in case he does well).

Even with all its flaws, I would want Team India to do very well.

About Me

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Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.