Monday, December 28, 2009

something sweet in the air

Love and marriage are not always together.. One can exist without the other. And for me the former has to.. absolutely has to preceed the latter. Recently my friends have tied the knot, have fallen deeper into love.. (Not sure in which order).. And those who havent have at least made their opinions on the word clear.

She is getting married now. My friend. The one who swoons over fictitious vampires and cries at happy endings and has so many dreams of her perfect mate. That morning she woke us up with the news of her marriage and a shy smile. Surprise!!! oh.. The cuteness!! None of us could stop smiling for two days after that... Girls and their obssession with anything romantic...

And now i see her delicately and slowly falling in love. Someone's falling in love in front of me.. being transformed even though she probably doesnt realise it. She is going through everything that any other person in a relationship (not necessarily with the prospect of marriage near by) goes through. She talks to him ( at the risk of getting the phone stuck to her ear permanently), plans her future with him, fights with him, tells us how he makes her feel, what he tells her, and how he is soooo good and she is not sure if she can ever be that good!! he he...ooohhh!!! Lourve!!!!

I guess, love happens in most unlikely and then in the likeliest of places. Something as pure as marriage being strengthened by the love these two have started feeling for each other..Seeing her im reminded of all the lil happiness that being in love brings.

Here's to you Ms Mishra. Hope he turns out to be everything you hoped for, and you are the one he has deserves. With all your goodness and your flaws, your madness and your patience, your smiles and anger... together you will grow.. Good luck... Enjoy this new journey!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New development at the national front?? Nah!!!

It is time for us to repeat this story for the seven hundredth time..Nothing really changes, except the actors and victims.

Now the Jamait-e-Ulema Hind or the JEU has asked...nay forbidden...people believing in Islam to not sing the Vande Mataram. Well. I do know some people who do not sing it. They have their reasons and i shall respect them even if i do not agree. But that does not mean that the JEU will prohibit people from singing a song they wish to.

In 2006 Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh noted that it was not binding on citizens to sing the song.

All India Sunni Ulema Board on Sept 6, 2006, issued a fatwa that the Muslims can sing the first two verses of the song. The Board president Moulana Mufti Syed Shah Badruddin Qadri Aljeelani said that "If you bow at the feet of your mother with respect, it is not shirk but only respect."

The song was written not to diminish anyone in the country or society but just to show respect to one's motherland. Do we not stand up when we hear any other country's national anthem? We may not feel a part of it, we may not feel any connection but we still respect it since we respect the people who believe in it.

That is something the JEU should learn. What they are doing will not deter people from feeling patriotic if they had to, just as singing wouldn't have made us a true Indian. The only thing the are managing to do now is to plant more seedlings of alienation of one part of the society and poison the minds of a generation which could forget.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The past, present and junk food

Some days back after one my increasingly frequent shopping trips to Phoenix Mills, I went inside McD's for a quick dinner. So..dinner at Mc..not cheap..not healthy..and not as tasty as it should be..

Yet, it reminds you of the times when in Calcutta you would keep complaining to anyone who would listen about the lack of a proper fast food resto in the city. Ever time we came to Mumbai or went to Delhi my parents would give me a surprise treat in Mc D's. Maybe something as simple as french fries and a burger. Or ice cream. But that would go on to cerate one of the best memories of the trip..Things i could tell my friends, compare my Happy Meal toys (which by the way i still store on my bookshelf)... But now when i go to the same place its just like any other place. I do not feel excited or even happy. I order something..and end up wasting a bit as well.

Makes me think. Have you grown up and forgotten the value of money?? or have i just become careless coz the people with whome those memories mattered are not here with me?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Modi does it again...

I mean...what exactly is happening?Narendra Modi was born the 50's? So he basically grew up in the 70s..Spent his 'formative' teens years in the age of flower power...and yet there he is...staring at us all from the 1st pages of a leading english daily...worshipping on dussehra..not the triumph of good over evil, but the weapons of destruction.
He bans liquor in his state, in the process just ensuring that people who can afford it pay double the amount for the same brand of booze..and the poorer section just gets cought up in hooch deals..
He prays in front of a display of guns n heavy machinery - probably his proof of being masculine enough to rule a state..
And the media, either in a mocking or celebratory tone decide to highlight the picture.. Maybe its needed to let ur state progress..How'd it look if Buddha Babu started carrying around a hand grenade with his ever-so-white dhuti-payjama? Even after Nandigram, the picture does strike a bit odd. But in Modi, it suits perfectly.. As if we knew all along this is him. In reality..Hmmmm....Innocent until proven guilty, that is.
P.S. Modi did get Ratan Tata finally!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Marathi n Hariyanvi ...Goes n makes khichudi

My recent trip to the capital did change my outlook somewhat..
For one thing i never realised it would be hard to say goodbye to my friends - again. I dont belong to an emotional family...My mom, unlike most filmy moms as depicted by Farida Jalal and Kiron Kher (remember Hum Tum?), never shed one drop of salty water when i left for Delhi to study. Even though I'm sure she was moist eyed the last time I left home (she claims otherwise though).. But this time, saying good bye felt worse than anything. Maybe because in my heart I know the chances of me going back to this city that i love is next to nil (and quite subject to the top boss' mood).. I had so many things to do ... places to visit..things to buy...(OMG..I didnt even get a duplicate pair of beer glasses that i bought for Mayank last year).
My F.R.I.E.N.D.S are the best i could find... I mean who else would return back after working till 10 pm and then cook the most awesome chilly chicken... And then adding extra kishmish to the daal..even as out turqouise cottage plans got cancelled.. And another who made sure I had a chance to have 'isspecial posto' curry the day i left. Oh and we even managed to do DDLJ train scene in the station with the Hariwanvi police watching us like he had scene a cross betweeen a ghost and Kasab!!
Things, however, are not as superb as i thought it would be in Delhi. Cabbies are the worst...Constant bickering with auto wallahs about the fare takes away half the energy of Delhi-ites, (probably the reason why the Metro construction work goes ever so slowly). Working till late is also a headache, come back home at 10..and most lanes would be pitch dark. Mumbai in that sense gives you a sense of freedom and (maybe, false) security. If it wasnt, then Delhi would have a night life worth envying.
But food...wonderful food...magical fooooood..He he.. Momos and chaats..chilly potatoes and chuski..It actually brings the taste buds alive.. and for one living on a regular diet of 'pao' for all meals.. it was gastronomical heaven!!!
Shopping is supposed to be great there.. But the stocks dont seem to be changing much in all the time I left the city.. I saw the same pink t shirt, the same kinds of skirt, the same collection of shoes in Stilletoes...
I realised why exactly i love Delhi, in spite of its potholes and politicians...and delays and traffic.. and autos and crude hariyanvi language...its where I enjoyed freedom the most...where i realised that the world does not end after crossing Lake-Town .. where i felt i could actually have an unconventional live-in with my friends from Calcutta... Mumbai is supposedly the city of dreams .. But Delhi gets that tag from me..
But now, sadly I have to grow up..My friends in Delhi are busy with their life..and I should get on with mine... Let the memories remain.. Maybe it is good i couldnt do everything i wanted - gives me an excuse to go back..

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ek, do, teen, chaar...Ganpati ki Jai-jai kaar

Considering the fact that I spent my whole life in Kolkata celebrating the Durga pujo in all its splendor, the Ganesha festival in Mumbai was a more calm and serene affair.
I have seen too many of those Bollywood songs, with HUGE Ganpati idols and loads of people thronging the streets. Maybe that made me expect that it happens like that in reality too. Slightly off-mark.
There are some nice pandals here and there, but mostly its a family festival with people celebrating and worshiping a one-and-a-half foot idol. The lights...hmmm...were unimaginative. Plain rows of lights (like the ones which Amitabh Bacchan wore while dancing to Saaraa Zamanaa) dotted each of the streets. I don't think I would have realised there was a puja going on if my roommate didn't talk about Lalbaugcha Raja. That, my friends, is the famed puja for which people stand in line for hours at an end...A colleague of mine went at 6 in the morning. By mid afternoon he was too tired to even get out of the line...Needless to say i would never stand in a line for so long...No matter how "jagrat" the idol is..or how yummy the modaks are...
Yes, i wasn't much impressed by the whole event..(which by the way is still going on)...
But...yes...there is a but...I loved the days of immersion. Last week, when the immersion was taking place there were groups of as little as 6 people carrying an idol in their arms, shouting Ganpati Bappa... And kids were dancing, aunties singing, teens romancing outta the corner of their eyes... The lane itself was crowded with Vada-Pao stalls, n firework shops, vendors selling balloons and soap-bubbles...The works...Indian kitsch in all its glory!!
And yes...the modaks..those are N.I.C.E. I even tasted one made out of Kaju...and another which looked refreshingly like a momo..
All I need to do now is to ask some localites how they feel during this festival.. People at home would probably call a strike (or a Bangla Bandh with Banerjee didi) if they were asked to come to office every single day of the Durga Pujo.. And I'm sure recession or no recession..people still shop as much in Gariahat and New Market before the festival..Unlike that, here its not much about show..(don't ask me what IS it about)..But as long as people enjoy and worship something like that...I cant complain...
And now i have to wait for tomorrow...One more day of immersion..and lots of crackers..and chants...and oily food!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And down goes another train....

Read in the papers today that Bihar youths burnt some coaches of a train after they were denied permission to board without a ticket.... I was surprised actually.. Not by the fact that somebody torched a train but that someone in that train had the guts to stand up to these guys.
As far as I remember trains passing through Bihar have always invoked thoughts..serious ones at that...and discussions across the dinner table. What if someone tells you to give them your seat? Or if someone says its their "right" to travel without a ticket as they are daily passengers? Or how about when someone asks somebody who is merrily sleeping (or even pretending to do so) to get up or else...
The answer to all the above question, according to my mom is "you oblige baba...Why should you create more problems talking to hooligans?" Hmm..well so far even I think that is true. Haven’t actually found any evidence to the contrary.
Once my sister had said something to some college kids in a Benaras bound train...and they retorted back to my parents...that my mom n dad should teach us how to behave. And when these things don’t work for them they use the age old...respect-your-elders-coz they-are-so-frail tactics. This elderly couple got on Purba Express and started crying that they are only going to travel for 2 hours and the people on the train are so uncourteous that they cant even offer the lady a seat. Needless to say, people did give them their seat..and as expected they travelled just 6 hours more than what they had promised... No big difference of course...
I should not feel badly towards any part of the country (hulllllohhh!!! I’m staying in Shiv Sena land). But I think they should draw the line somewhere. We pay the tickets for our nice, comfortable journey..and in emergencies I’m sure that more than half the people on any train would come to help them. Maybe someone can tell them the story of the boy who cried wolf...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Apple on cheeks and cherry on trees

What makes Dharamshala a place worth going to is not its scenic beauty but the people. The first thing i noticed, was the residents (often) one-dimensional existence. They literally eat, drink, talk peace and Tibet. Spend few hours there and you start believing in their cause.One should not shop there (unless you have loads of extra money to waste, deliberately paying Rs 500 for something which actually costs Rs 90)..But what could be done is a trek to the waterfalls..the falls itself is not extra-ordinarily beautiful. But the walk throught the hills to reach the falls...with little crevaces shaped like huts, the odd-palm reader sleeping on the way, and the ever present throng of youngsters..makes your day.Since, we were invited by the government-in-exile, we could go to most of the places which is still off bounds. But the musueum, Medical centre is open to all.The most amazing thing there was perhaps the Refugee Centre where Ama Adhe resides. She is perhaps older than my grandmother (and looks an awful lot like her too) and had escaped from Tibetan prison and now is the source of inspiration to many in this land away from home. Every month hundreds of people stumble up the rickety steps to the building and find a place to stay and people to care about.The Tibetan Children's Village (TCV) is a sight. If anyone likes kids...(of any shape, size, colour, temperament)..they would love this place. Tiny munchkins keep running around the huge school yard, the not so tiny girls look up admiringly at the senior boys, while the soon-to-be adults go around dancing to their hip-hop numbers. Its "phoren" land in the middle of the most peaceful place. And when the kids take your hand and take you inside their room, you suddenly wish they would not let go.Of course, the whole atmosphere is nice. Going to Dharamsala..even if one never got to see even the robe of the Dalai something worth your time..