Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ab Montu Bolega : Our India, Clean India !!!!

Dear Responsible Citizens and Govt Officials of India,

The decision has been made. Our Honourable Prime Minister has given the wake up call.  The choice is ours – whether we want to be part of it or choose to abstain like always – It’s now or never. Yes you guys guessed it right – Bharat Swachh Mission.

There is an old saying that charity begins at home. Can we then pledge to ourselves to keep our homes clean – use dustbins at home or accumulate all the garbage stuff/dirt at one place and systematically throw the same whether at nearby dustbin or hand over the same to the people who come to collect garbage and throw away casually at a nearly neighbourhood place. By doing the same we are knowingly harming spread disease. The Municipal officials too have a role to play here – by ensuring there is a systematic way of regular collection of garbage and disposal of the same. Policy on Recycling of Waste is something which there is Government intervention required, but that another topic we may choose to keep for another day.

Let’s now move out of our homes, to our nearby public places – Park, School, Colleges, Religious places like Temple or Mosque, Movie Halls, Historical places – there is a consolidated effort required here from all of us to keep the places clean, particularly the places where kids go. If the kids will inhale dust and other unhygienic stuff, how on earth will our next generation grow healthy? Hence it is of paramount importance that these places are cleaned on a regular basis, dustbins are placed at every nook and corners of the public places, distinctly identified for use. 

Another major issue in India is how we treat our roads, fields, railway tracks as our private backyard. Littering them and using them as toilet (though one may dispute the alternative available) has to be stopped by all means. Building Toilets is one of the most critical matters of intervention and this has to be done by Govt as well as the Corporate through their CSR model. However as citizens of India, we too need to change our habits and make best use of situation. Instead of littering everywhere we need to find places to dump garbage in an organized way.

The next big issue is the way we use our river as favourite dumping spot in name of religion. The river is one of important natural resource and even more in a country like ours, where we are largely an agrarian economy. This is the most complex job to be done because along with us, industrial garbage too gets dumped in the rivers, which further pollutes them. It is a viscous circle and there has to be a serious focus and rethinking to be done.

There are plenty of issue to be addressed but we need to start step by step towards that direction. #AbMontuBolega is such a campaign, initiated by Strepsils which promotes to raise your voice for the right and against the wrong, because it’s now or never. The campaign in its first phase focuses on #SwachBharat and encourages citizen to participate in the same. To know more about the campaign, pl visit: or you can visit them at Facebook : and follow them at Twitter handle :

Clean India has to be a habit instead of one time activity. This has to be part of values and cultural system – and to make it work, let’s all join hands in a Citizen-Govt Partnership and make it happens. The buck stops here – with all of us.


A Citizen of India

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sprinkle of Love....

Riya was four pegs down. She could hardly open her eyes but never the less she was enjoying the music at the background. She hardly cared for the lyrics. One could imagine her state of mind, after four pegs down; she was almost there in cloud nine. There she was sitting alone at a pub, enjoying a drink with random people around. She was quite a confident young girl, go-getter by all means, till she fell in love. Love made her insecure given it was first relationship and she never wanted anything to go wrong.

But things haven’t been going her way. Riya loved Neil a lot and she knew deep inside he loves and care for her a lot, until a couple of weeks back. Neil had never hidden his first relationship from Riya but the face that he had come heart-broken from a seven year old relationship always worried her. It was a usual Friday evening at his place. Both of them were high and listening to their favourite Beatles, when Neil slowly started caressing her hair. His touch always made her nervous, but that day it gave her a new high. She drew her face close to him, put her hands over his shoulders and whispered into his ears the three magical words. Neil looked happy and high. Stroking her nose with his, he looked into her eyes, and said “I love you too Anu”. Anushka was incidentally Neil’s first girl friend.  

That one word was enough to bring Riya down many pedestals from a beautiful dream to reality. She just could not believe her ears. Her anger knew no bound; she simply picked up the wine glass, threw the remnants of the glass at Neil’s face and left the apartment. Neil was too shocked to react. Post that day, Neil had called and messaged her but somehow she was not able to forget the incident. It had housed deep down in her heart.

Two weeks had passed by. Riya had a fought a prolonged battle with herself but probably her bruised ego wasn’t ready to reconcile. But then alcohol can really make people do things they would not do otherwise. Riya speed-dialled Neil’s number. His number was not reachable. She tried again but was met with same response. She suddenly felt worried. She hurriedly dialled his room-mate who informed that Neil had left for Delhi couple of hours back to meet his ex-girlfriend who has met with a serious accident. She felt a strong punch in her heart.

Riya left the pub and started walking down all alone. The tear in her eyes, threatened to wipe off her mascara. It was almost midnight and she knew it may not be safe to stroll around alone in the street, even if it was Mumbai.
With great difficulty she caught hold of an Auto and reached her building. She didn’t know she felt happy hearing about the accident of her boyfriend’s ex girlfriend or sad that he went to meet her in Delhi.

As she was trying to open the door with her trembling hands, a warm touch from behind shook her up. It was Neil, standing in shorts, with a half smile. She looked puzzled. He gave her hard long kiss. She opened the door as both went inside. He locked the door and held her close. Trying to steal glances, Riya looked other way. Neil caressed her finger and hugged her from behind. Gently leaning towards her, he slowly whispered sorry. Several questions were running through her mind but she knew it was time to put them through rest. At the end of day, when it mattered, her man was with him. Riya felt secured in those arms and wished to freeze that moment forever.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Gone Girl : Brilliantly Disturbing !!!!

Gone Girl is an unusual take on married life of an estranged couple and incidents thereon. The story unfolds in a thriller format, when one fine morning, the wife is found missing under mysterious circumstances. As investigation starts in anticipation of a potential murder, startling facts gets revealed one after another with a grand twist during the interval. But it is the second half of the film that hits you psychologically. Some of the scenes are so raw, that it keeps you at the edge of the seat, dreading to anticipate what would happen next. The film's ending is perhaps one of the most ironic endings that have been ever meted out and one can’t stop thinking whose karma it was anyways. 

The film travels between present and past, as it unfolds tale of the couple and their journey- from how they met to how they put up a perfect pretense to keep their marriage going, even when skeletons kept peeping out now and then. While probably a lot of modern tale couple will identify, the similarities end here. What happens next, is what takes the audience off the hook.
The film has been brilliantly shot and its crisp editing ensures that the suspense drama never goes off the hook. The film explores complicated relationship between married couple, twin siblings, child-parent and of course lovers. The film doesn't use background music instead uses sometimes silence and sometimes natural background noise to give it a desired effect. In several places, the director has used body language and sound effectively as medium of communication in important sequences.

The characters of the film are complex and layered, so much so that the darkness of one of the protagonist can actually make you feel sick. The psychological effect on the audience is paramount. The gentle cat in the house, who is almost a silent observer, is then almost a symbolic paradox, given the wildness around. The intimate scenes of the movie are shot with minimum nudity and rest has been edited out by Indian censor board. The film also occasionally springs up with unintended humor at the weird situation of the male protagonist. 

Loosely based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, David Fincher delivers an ace with Gone Girl. Superbly directed and acted by all characters, the real hero of the movie is the riveting screenplay which not just engrosses you and by the end of it almost engulfs you with its unnerving raw power. Yet another book that makes into great cinema. Wish Indian Cinema pick up some cues from it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Source of Happiness : A Healthy and Smiling Kid !!!!!

When a seed is first sowed, lot of care needs to be taken, to ensure that adequate amount of water is given, and subsequently it is exposed to right amount of sunlight daily so that the seed one day grows up to being a strong plant or a tree. The strength of that tree or plant lies in its base or roots. A child is also like that seed, which needs to be nurtured properly so that he emerges as the strength of the family – and primarily that nurturing has to happen around his or her health. It has to be ensured that the child gets proper environment, food and care to get a natural and balanced growth physically and mentally.

We all are individually, doting parents or siblings, want to take that special care of the child in our family because somehow our happiness revolves around them. The basic reason why we want the child to be healthy because when he or she is healthy –running around, playing and doing his/her activities – it means you have a happy and smiling child around – and nothing more joyful for anyone of us than sight of the child growing happily in front of our own eyes

It is indeed a big challenge to keep the child healthy in the growing years because they by their own are not quite aware about the right or wrong. Also the habits the child inculcate during the growing days are likely to stay with them. For example washing hands before eating food, having food in time, take bath everyday are some basic habits that can take keep the child healthy. These days children are exposed to so many outside foods especially junk food one needs to be extra careful. No one likes a child suffering from stomach pain (one of the common things) that is a likely occurrence. If a child is sick, one should observe the dog in the family; even they become inactive and lies in the corner. That’s the kind of pseudo magnetic effect the child has on the environment around.

If a child is not healthy, he is generally low on energy and tends to be stressed or tired; suddenly he loses interest in activities, some time lose appetite for hunger, which in turn stresses out the parents and other seniors in the family. In the process we have a worrying parents and the happiness of the family goes for a toss, especially we Indians where we are such doting parents, uncle, aunties or grandparents.

A proper healthy child ensures that there is a happy environment in the family, nobody is stressed. Also state of mind is very important for the growth of the child and at the end of the day all of us work hard to ensure that we can do maximum for our kids, give them a life that they can enjoy and grow with stability – and health is the fulcrum of everything. Healthy kid makes a happy kid and in turn brings joy for the parents and overall makes a happy family. After all, in every child it is said God resides and we want to see our God happy, so that we can sleep peacefully at night.    

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Diwali : Unforgettable Moments of Joy !!!

In India, due to cultural diversity, we celebrate many festivals in different parts of India, but probably Diwali is the mother of all festivals – which is celebrated across India, from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari – everyone loves to celebrate this festival with family and friends. Perhaps family is the most essential part of celebrating Diwali, because the reason why it is celebrated –  it marks the return of Lord Ram to his family in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and the entire Ayodha like a one bug family lights up the city to welcome their king back. So in a way family symbolises the spirit of #GharwaliDiwali. A lot of things make Diwali, truly unique and has every year leave us an indelible bunch of memories.

Light is one of the most unique aspects of Diwali – the home, the streets and every nook and corner is lighted during this festival – by candles and Diyas – it symbolises the removal of darkness from our lives and welcoming happiness. The most vivid memory as a child always have been to light these Diyas with Mom, around the house and watching them glow. There would be sense of piousness around the house. Also as kids, we would color those diyas with our paint brushes and feel happy about it.

Along with light, it is the festival of colors – the famous and beautiful Rangoli. Watching your mother and sister making the multi-colored Rangoli is joy and you too indulge some colors into it. And then placing the diya carefully amidst the same and taking a snap is almost a ritual. And then in the evening quietly sitting with the entire family to pray together to Devi Lakshmi for peace and prosperity.

However there is much more fun attached to Diwali – and that engages shopping of new clothes and of course Crackers. As a child, it was the most anticipated moments to go and buy crackers from the market with Dad and then wait in the evening for wearing new dresses and then to burn the crackers The excitement around is always immense. Especially when your brother/sisters or close friends of your age group are around, it’s so much more fun to burn the crackers together.

And of course in India, any festival is incomplete without food and specially sweets. My weak spot has always been the Laddu of any form – especially the ones which are home-made especially in desi ghee. Over the years, as we have to stay away from home, due to our job, we have started appreciating the value of home food more and more, and hence whenever we are at home due to Diwali we make most of it. Apart of sweets, a lot of Namkeens are made or bought, as generally people invite guests for evening or dinner. Generally the best of the variety is cooked for the day.

In India, Diwali also marks the new-year for Business family and they start fresh accounts, as Lakshmi puja is done that day, who is known to be the God of Prosperity. Hence considering this as pious day to earn, a lot of houses organize poker parties and invite friends to play over.

Each house celebrate this occasion in a unique way but what’s common be it my family or anyone else- is the togetherness of the family members and the loved one, who come together to celebrate moments of joy. There may be people who has to stay away from family and their dear ones – my advice for them –look around, I am sure there would be people around who would be there ready to make you part of their extend family happily and make your moment special. And that is so special about India – we always find our closed ones even outside our family.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Shakespeare, Kashmir & A Movie : Haider - Poetry in Narration !!!!

It’s been nearly 24 hours since I saw Haider but still can’t get the movie off my head. It’s that kind of film that you brood over a cup of coffee, sleep thinking over it for a long long time. One of the few things I loved about my school was the fact that we were taught Shakespeare’s original plays – the plots that were ahead of times, the words that were often not found in English dictionary, the characters that were beautifully complex and political, unabashed in their approach. There was something very heart rendering in his comedy but his tragedies was like that lucid poetry that murmured the music of pain.

Another subject that has always fascinated has been Kashmir and its history. The beautiful, picturesque Kashmir haunted by terrorism, militancy, silently witnessing the dance of death in the valley made me wonder- can irony be more cruel than that blood stains against the snow, which apparently is white and supposedly symbolises peace. Incidentally the poster of Haider also goes on to depict the same. And hence when Shakespeare’s probably the hardest hitting tragedy Hamlet (some may feel its Othello) founds its new home in Kashmir, it had to be tale so riveting that was bound to spellbind you. The symbolic elements then almost forms part of the story to take it forward.

The tale of Kashmir always had two sides, rather four sides – Kashmiri Muslims, Kashmiri Pandits, Indian Army and Terrorism. And somewhere they all criss-crossed each other’s lives in the worst possible way to create a maddening ruckus, that was nearly uncontrollable. It is nearly impossible to make apolitical film on Kashmir, hence one must laud the honesty, Haider chose to adopt to tell its story, even though it may be perspective of one side. Whether we like it or not and how much we love our Indian Army, there was always the other side of the story, how much we feign ignorance. A tale of horror that can give us goose bumps. Vishal chose to make that as background to adapt Hamlet and tell us the story of Haider. The story is less about the political environment and more about that personal choices the characters make in cognizance of the macro scenario that led them to the fate, which they willingly or unwillingly destined for.

The sombre mood sets in the movie from the very first scene and the movie gets darker by the moment – a raw undercurrent that the movie retains in its powerful as well as the silent moments is something incredible to capture –  as if at every corner a tragedy is waiting to happen. The only ray of hope and smile was then the Arshia (Ophelia) whose eye reflects nothing but innocence and love for Haider. She was like that only flower somewhere still holding its fort in the snow, perhaps waiting for the spring to happen. She personifed the beautiful valley of Kashmir- silently torned between conflicting minds, unable to chose – in this case between her childhood love and doting father –  faltering her way to a fate of no return. The red color of love got substituted by blood instead. Its then justified her fate was more beautifully depicted, more poetic than a sudden rush of blood. In the original, Ophelia met her fate slowly leaving behind a writhing heart. Jhelum, then should have been the place of her unison with fate, which otherwise again was used beautifully as a silent witness to observe the tragedy unfold almost in her bosom.

While Arshia, Khurram, Dr. Meer all were integral catalysts - but this story is about Haider and her step mother Gazala played respectively by Shahid and Tabu. It is a tale of mother in love with her son and the woman possessive about the man in her son. In one of the boldest movie in recent times, Haider and Gazala portrayed a relationship that was– Deliciously complex, passionate, vulnerable and full of insecurity, hence one can’s avoid a smile when Gazala heart-achingly complains that Haider loved his father more than her. While Haider wanted to avenge his father’s death from his uncle Khurram, one may debate whether he hated him more as he dared to take away the woman, the mother he almost owned in every sense – Gazala. One wished little more back-story between young Haider and her mother was shown to help the audience explore the depth of the relationship.

The world will never know why Gazala chose to marry her brother-in-law Khurram, was it camaraderie, security or love – it appeared more as a brazen act of a protective woman in secured about her son Haider – the only man she probably loved and wanted to save from the entire world. The undercurrent and body language displayed by Shahid and Tabu, while portraying their relationship is truly magnetic and fascinating. It is then, the half baked love making scene between Arshia and Haider sticks like a sore thumb – thanks to the Censors.

Post 42 cuts by the Censor, if the film still managed to remain so so powerful and unnervingly raw, one would love to see the original getting released some day. One can’t blame the censor board given the unwarranted so called sensitivity certain sect of audience (actually people of Political groups) may display last thing one needs is a “Chutzpah” around this beautiful piece of literature.  While making a political statement, the film is beautifully restraint and essentially makes a statement through  the words of Dr. Hilaal Meer (Haider’s father when confronted whose side he was: Main to zindagi ki taraaf hoon. Vishal Bharadwaj paints its masterpiece through it narrative, choreography, music and setting– the effect is mesmerizing and more compelling than a hundred vodka shots would ever do. From the Dal Lake to the beautiful Jhelum to the coffin – each place had a story to tale – a story of love, betrayal and death.

A narrative is incomplete without its soul – and in this case it is its characters Vishal sketches remarkably. The unpredictability in each of them what makes them fascinating and menacing at the same time. While Kay Kay displays a masterly wily act and Shraddha manages to pull off an impressive act, for me the film belongs to Shahid Kapoor – who displays divine raw power, especially in that song and the monologue – Hum hain ki hum nahi - in an unbelievably brilliant act. One often says of bringing method to madness, here Shahid just does the reverse. And what a contrast remains Gazala - the evergreen Tabu,whose act is like Frost’s poetry – beautiful, heart-breaking, sublime and the one captivates your soul. That makes the climax even more powerful than one ever thought it would be. Sometimes there is a joy in pain too – Haider is exactly that, which you never want to miss........

N.B The images used are from Google Images