Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Music channels have been showing a prayer from the movie Swadesh. 'Pal Pal Hai Bhaari', with Ram Leela background is a commendable attempt in this age. There was 'O Palanharey' in Lagaan as well which fitted with the mood of the situation.

The trend of prayers in movies was, in a way, 'rejuvenated' by Lata's magnificent rendering of 'Ek Tu Hi Bharosa Ek Tu Hi Sahara' in Anil Kapoor's Pukar. Earlier, every third movie use to have a prayer.

'Tu Pyar Ka Saagar' from the movie Seema, sung beautifully by Manna De, makes the part of my earliest memories. 'Allah Tero Naam' from Hum Dono is a jewel in Lata's crown. Rafi graced 'Sukh Ke Sab Sathi' in Gopi.

One of my all time favourites is Guddi's 'Humko Man Ki Shakti Dena', sung by Vani Jairam, written by Rajkamal and composed by Bhajan specialist Vasant Desai. The prayer-cum-song which continues to appeal me is 'Itni Shakti Hamein Dena Daata' from the movie Ankush.

But the mother of all prayers and my all time favourite is the one and only - 'Ai Malik Tere Bande Hum' from V.Shantaram's Do Ankhen Barah Haath, written by Bharat Vyas and set to music by, who else, Vasant Desai. Both the versions of Lata and Manna De are great to hear, and often bring tears.

Here are the lyrics to relive this master piece.
Aai Malik Tere Bande Hum, Aise Ho Hamaare Karam
Nekii Par Chalen, Aur Badi Se Talen
Taaki Hanste Huye Nikale Dum

Jab Zulamon Ka Ho Saamnaa, Tab Tu Hi Hamein Thaamnaa
Vo Buraai Karen, Hum Bhalaai Bharen
Nahin Badale Ki Ho Kaamnaa
Badh Uthe Pyaar Ka Har Kadam
Aur Mite Bair Ka Ye Bharam
Neki Par Chalen, Aur Badi Se Talen
Taaki Hanste Huye Nikale Dum

Badaa Kamazor Hai Aadami, Abhi Laakhon Hain Isamein Kamin
Par Tuu Jo Khadaa, Hai Dayalu Bada
Teri Kirpaa Se Dharti Thami
Diyaa Tuney Hamein Jab Janam
Tuu Hi Jjhelegaa Hum Sabke Gam
Neki Par Chalen, Aur Badi Se Talen
Taaki Hanste Huye Nikale Dum

Ye Andhera Ghana Chhaa Raha, Tera Insaan Ghabaraa Rahaa
Ho Rahaa Bekhabar, Kuch Na Aataa Nazar
Sukh Ka Suraj Chhupaa Jaa Rahaa
Hai Teri Roshani Mein Vo Dam
Jo Amaavas Ko Kar De Poonam
Neki Par Chalen, Aur Badi Se Talen
Taaki Hanste Huye Nikale Dum

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Monday, November 29, 2004


If you people expect the movie to be in line with Priyadarshan's old laugh riots like Hera Pheri, and Hungama, you are sadly mistaken. It's nowhere near it. But it's not a bad movie either. Watch the movie for effortless Arshad Warsi, and K. P. Saxena's fantastic dialogues.

The biggest mistake writer-director did was mixing drama with comedy. His earlier movies were out and out comedies. But in this movie, the highly over the top drama dwarfed comedy considerably. Crowding the movie with so many characters was another folly. Can you believe that Paresh Rawal has decent scenes only after interval ?

But as I said, K. P. Saxena's has done some outstanding work. For e.g. 'Bhaiyya, Kab Tak Palang Ke Dono Taraf se Uth-te Rahoge ?' This was to indicate for how long 'Bhaiyya' intends to remain unmarried. Arshad Warsi, meanwhile, continued from where he left in MunnaBhai M.B.B.S. Paresh Rawal was good in the limited scope he was given. Rest of the performances ranged from OK to bad.

Those who were planning to watch the movie in theatre should drop the idea. Compact Disc might be the better one.

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Gossip Time

This is about the new show on Fridays, 10 PM, on Star World - Coffee With Karan. After watching both the episodes, the first with Shahrukh and Kajol, and the next with Rani and Kareena, it became plain to me that it's a rank gossip show, where both the guests are pitted against uncomfortable questions about their personal and professional lives.

However, the ready wit of Karan makes the show enjoyable. And my watching of both the shows, I must admit, has increased my Bollywood general knowledge considerably, and I am itching to share it with all of you. So here it is.

-Shahruhkh, and Ajay Devgan are not comfortable with each other.
-Rani and Aishwariya do not see each other eye to eye, courtesy Chalte Chalte.
-Rani and Vivek Oberoi have fallen out because of latter's live media briefing on Salman's issue. Miss Rai could also be a reason.
-Priety and Rani have a strong under current against each other, though they may not entirely agree. Yash Chopra and Karan's movies may be the cause.
-Kareena and Bipasha are up against each other's throat from Ajnabi days.
-Kareena and Amisha spat has now taken the shape of a cult classic.
-Kareena and Preity also have some khunnas due to Kal Ho Na Ho.
-Priety and Rai get along well. Tera Dushman, Mera Dost. Rani.
-Sharukh has problems with Rai. Chalte Chalte.

Now, some info not achieved from this show, but beforehand.

-Kareena and Bobby Deol hate each other.
-Amir won't work with Salman.
-Shahrukh no more likes Salman.
-Rani has a great rapport with all three Khans. Amir, Shahrukh, Salman.
-Raveena, and Karishma once fought for Ajay Devgan.
-Cold vibes exist between Mukherjee cousins, Rani and Kajol.
-Manisha hated Aishwariya for supermodel Ranjiv Mulchandani who was two timing both.
-Manisha had some khunnas with Madhuri as well.
-Aish and Sushmita are no buddies. 'Nothing plastic about me', the famous Aish statement.

Pardon me friends, but I can go on and on. So I have to stop. But gossips won't. For more on that, please watch the particular show.

Friday, November 26, 2004

This Is Life

She had the most beautiful face I had ever seen in person till then. A young bride, all twenty three, and extremely fair. She and her doctor husband were our new tenants. Though her husband had shifted earlier, she walked into our house a few weeks later, on Diwali day.

And we were all mesmerized. Her husband had jokingly warned us that she is a nakchadhi. She was all but that. Her background revealed that she hailed from a super rich family in Varanasi. Her family was obliged to find a doctor groom. On the face of it all looked fine, but we felt there was something amiss. She was not all that chirpy as usual newly wed brides are.

The only time we could see joy in her eye was when she was with us. She felt at home with us. Within a few weeks, the haze lifted. Doctor was struggling with his newly started practice. His family was not a well doing one. Worse still, there was a constant pressure on him to ask for money from his in-laws. Not that his in-laws hadn't already paid them. The demand was for more.

Then we came to know that the doc wanted to marry a fellow doc. These were the reasons enough to indicate why the she usually looked blank. But she had adjusted well with the difficult times. She never complained, and strived hard.

I had barely returned to college after a semester break, when I got a call from home that doctor has committed suicide. It was a mix of money and love affair. They had just celebrated their first anniversary, and to top that, she was pregnant. Her life was shattered. I cursed the doctor aloud.

But here was the more ugly part. His family members arrived in hordes and started planning to marry her with his younger brother while the dead body was still lying in the hospital. They did not wanted to loose Soney Ki Chidiya. My mother acted fast, and quietly shifted all the jewelery and cash to our place. When her family members arrived, my mother gave everything to them and asked them to leave with her fast.

Later she gave birth to a daughter. We use to feel very sad for her and didn't know what future is instore for her. But this time, when I was at home in Diwali, I came to know that an engineer boy saw her in a family function and proposed for marriage. She is now happily married and is United States.

That is life for you friends.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Beginner's Guide To Patangbazi

Kite flying, that is.

Growing up in Lucknow ensures that one could never have less of kites in one's life, especially so, if the residence happens to be in the walled city. One may not actually fly it, but shouts of 'Woh Kata !!' never seem to fade. I, for one, was a flier, though not a terrific one at that. Still, I could hold on to my own, and had my moments. I did my bit during my early teens, when life was devoid of all those earthly cares.

Unlike other parts of country, where kite flying is at it's peak on Makara Sakranti, in Lucknow the THE day of kite flying is the next day of Diwali called 'Jamghat' (meaning Gathering). It's a Nawabi tradition. I use to collect the kites(Patang) whole year for the day. In fact, I used to be more excited for Jamghat than Diwali.

The seasoned pros used to have 'Baday'(meaning Betting). Baday involved 'Payntch Ladana' i.e. running ones kite into another, while trying to cut the thread holding the other kite. A successful attempt emanates the shout of 'Woh Kata' from excited watchers.

After several such Payntch, the guy whose kite does not gets cut till the end of day, eventually himself snaps the thread near his hand to indicate that Baday is over and he has won the day. Such Baday could be seen in every neigbourhood of the city.

Of course, there were no such Baday for me. In fact, I use to avoid Payntch as well. First because I was not very good at them, and the other fact was I used to hate loosing my much cherished treasure. I was content to keep the kite flying, staying clear of the prowlers. This not to say that I was afraid. If anyone was too adventurous and hell bent on putting up kite fight, the Rajput in me used to get aroused. The result usually used to be 50-50. Otherwise, my policy was Jiyo Aur Jeeney Do.

The threads were also no ordinary one. Basically of two types, the sharper one is called 'Manjha', while softer one is 'Saddi'. Manjha(it contains fine glass pieces), would be tied in front, as it is the one which usually takes part in a duel, while Saddi the one near the hands.

Manjha is not directly connected to bamboo stick of the kite, called 'Thaddey'. First, a V-shaped thread called 'Kanney' is attached to bamboo. Then Manjha is tied to Kanney, and finally Saddi. To fly high, one may need a lot of thread, so it's rolled nicely over cylindrical 'Charkhi'. This Charkhi along with thread used to then cost around 150 bucks, while now it has reached as high as 2000 bucks. That's an indicator enough to show the rate of inflation these days.

Meanwhile, the Patang is ready for it's flight, and all it needs is a 'Chhudaiyya' from a fellow flier. Before long, one will again hear 'Woh Kata!!'.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sheet Leher

Now that winter has arrived in most part of the country, poetess Sharda Mishra shares the irony of her situation in such a beautiful words.


The metaphors used can't be left unappreciated - 'Khol Pitari Yaad Ki Preet Kare Sanvad', 'Ek Chitthi Gumnam'.

And the last two lines sums up the whole mood. Indeed, a good poem does not comes out due to mere effort, but due to spontaneity.

My Previous Post On Poems - Par Aisa Hota To Nahin

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Bhai-Bhai And DhiruBhai

A fit case of washing dirty linen in public. And these are the scions of the Ninety Nine Thousand crore group, Reliance, the company that touches more people in India than others.

I had cast my doubts about Mukesh Ambani earlier. And with what I have seen of him lately, I can safely state that he has lived up to my expectations.

Today, the share markets are literally swayed by the two giants - Reliance and Infosys. One false step, and thousands of crores of market capital can be lost in an hour's trading. That's what happened on Monday. One casual remark by Mukesh to a CNBC correspondent, and hell broke loose.

Now the ugly side of this family spat. No sooner did the board of directors appoint Mukesh the sole decision maker as far as financial decisions are concerned than, he ordered the postponement of the gas supply to Reliance Energy's proposed gas based power plant at Dadri.

Experts are convinced that this plant will be a money spinner for Reliance, as electricity devoid Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are big markets. Not only that, it will bring light to lakhs of homes, who are forced to live in darkness.

In contrast to that, Mukesh Ambani has diverted funds to the tune of Ten Thousand and Five Hundred crores to badly doing Reliance Infocomm from the parent company. No prizes for guessing why.

Everyone knows that the energy project at Dadri is a brain child of Anil. It's an economically viable, futuristic project, which as Mukesh would like to believe, is not a White Elephant. On the otherhand, Reliance Infocomm is Mukesh's brain child. After a great start, it's doing miserably all over India, except Uttar Pradesh.

The service is bad. People are fooled with the schemes, and most of the times schemes are changed midway. The ugliest part is that bill retrieval is nothing short of extortion. The only reason they are doing good in Uttar Pradesh is that because currently this state fastest growing cellphone market in India.

So it's plain to all and sundry that Ambani senior is working with jealousy, and not enterprise. Anil no doubt feels stifled and cheated. What Mukesh should realize that in present situation, consumer is a king and since they are late in infocom business, the age old Dhirubhai strategy of monopoly and arm twisting won't work.

And it certainly won't work with your own brother. Split is imminent. Dhirubhai did a big mistake dying intestate.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Met Rohit yesterday, after a gap 4 long years. Had last seen him during 2000 Diwali break. The time, it seems, has fast forwarded since then. He got married to his sweet heart, Shruti, and now has a beautiful daughter, Muskaan, who else. Father he is, but he hasn't lost his boyish charms, yet.

So even if I was tired because of journey, yesterday evening was a refreshing one. Had a nice, long Bulla (means Chat, an IIT-K lingo) session over the dinner. My room was a virtual chat-server during college days. Chat sessions used to stretch till 4 in the morning during weekdays, while weekends often were complete night outs.

We relived all that in short span yesterday. More such sessions are on cards till he his here in Pune. Looking forward to great times ahead.

I Am Back !

Before everyone reaches up for my throat, or declare me an absconder, I must inform that I am finally back. As usual, it's not a great feeling at work after a loooong vacation. Hang over from the visit and journey persists. Limbs are still loaded due to the bone-breaking journey, courtesy Indian Railways. A non-existent direct train between Pune and Lucknow is not my only complain.

But it's not the time for complains. Rather, I must apologize for not updating my blog for such a long period. It might sound cliched, but I felt wanting for time. Reached home on Dhanteras. Next day it was Narak Chaturdasi, then followed Deepawali. The day for Govardhan Pooja and Jamghat was sandwiched between Diwali and Bhaiya Dooj. It was booked for friends, and I also tried my hand at kite flying after a long time.

Bhaiya Dooj, of course was exclusively for my sisters, and I have many of them all across the city. Then we had Id as well. One must not forget that there was an India-Pakistan Cricket match as well. To top it all, my dear sister's birthday also fell on 19th. One day was marked for Lucknow Ki Sair, with my dear ones to relive good old days. Finally, there was a constant trickle of relatives and friends. Felt important.

To Doston Time Kahan Tha!! In fact, I wanted to do a lot of other things, but had to leave. Now that I am back, will keep you posted on the interesting incidents which took place during the visit. So watch out!

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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Happy Diwali

Now that I am safely esconsed in the comfort of my home, it's time to wish a terrefic Diwali to all of you.

My journey was an eventful one, to say the least. The train engine 'failed' a few miles before Allahabad, and then the bus to Lucknow got stuck in traffic jam due to an accident on highway. Though journey was painfully delayed, the pleasure of meeting my dear ones made it more than bearable. Right now, I am enjoying smiles and sweets all round.

While taking an evening stroll in the familiar neighbourhood, and reliving good old days - I have ended up writing this post just to remind all of you that I am there. But the bandwith and pathetic condition of keyboard sucks in this NetCafe. Will find a better one next time.

Meanwhile, Happy Deepawali once again. Bye for now.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Home Sweet Home

If things go according to plan, I would be reaching Lucknow on Wednesday. That's after a bit longish time, almost eigth months.

Home is the sweetest word, I guess; even more than the word 'sweet' itself. At this, I get reminded of a lovely poem by Sahil Lucknawi, to which I can relate very easily .


Mai nostalgic ho raha hoon, mujhey sambhalo!

My Previous Post On Poems - She Walks In Beauty

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The Great Indian Rope Trick

By hook or crook, India badly needed this victory. Not just because to make the numbers against us look modest, but more importantly to boost the sagging morale of the home team. Some thing special was needed to lift them from the dead pit, they had sunken themselves into.

Some alchemist was needed to do this miracle, and it turned out to be Polly Umrigar, the ex-cricketer and the person responsible for this pitch.It was also imperative to rub the salt to Aussies, to tone down the euphoria they have been sailing into.

Some mirror was desperately needed to show to them that although, they played handsome cricket, it was cumulative effect of injuries, blind umpires, unexpected weather, a lunatic pitch curator at Nagpur, Parthiv Patel, and of course insipid batting form of Indian players, which had made this series grossly one-sided. There is not so much difference between the two sides, as it has appeared.

Good to have a sour taste in the mouth of Aussies, while they leave. They will rant and rumble over the pitch, but it is better than gloating in false sense of supremacy.

Like they say, Jatey Jatey Jaika Bigad Gaya. Good for them!

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Friday, November 05, 2004

Law Of The Land ...

Or is it the law of the jungle? I always thought despite adversities, this country is still largely run by the law. My faith is fast petering out.

We have goons like Togadiya, Modi running amok with riots, and have quite a fanfare. We have a Thackray clan who is law unto itself. They can pull down whole machinery of Mumbai city. No words can do justice to the mockery to the law, which Laloo and his thugs are.

Mayawati, and even worse, Jayalalita have chipped in to fill the numbers for ladies. We have Panchayats in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, who refute High Court orders openly.

And now we have another parallel law body - All India Muslim Personal Law Board. They follow Shariyat, not country's law. Forget oral triple talaq, the are considering allowing that via emails. But two days back, I saw the biggest bogey.

The gentleman, who was the spokesman for the board, said that they won't discourage child marriage. Reason ? Well, these days grooms are hard to come by, therefore if a family finds a suitable boy at any age, it's better for them.

Good for the family, yes; poor girl, their foot!

When he was reminded of the health problems associated with it, he feigned ignorance, and rather passed the blame to the lack of healthcare facilities. What else could be expected anyway of him, as they don't teach that in Madrassas.

And I am sure, they will get away with this. Law of the land or jungle raj ? Pratyaksha Ko Praman Ki Zaroorat Nahin Hoti(no need to prove the obvious). No wonder my belief is fast petering out!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Man Who Knew Too Much - III

Now the concluding part...

None of us will ever forget the drowsy summer afternoon which was such a turning-point in the Professor's life.

We were sprawling contentedly on the warm grass while Corporal Turnbull was taking a lesson on the hand grenade.

Corporal Turnbull was a young man, but he was not a man to be trifled with. He had come back from Dunkirk with all his equipment correct and accounted for and his pet kitten in his pocket. He was our hero, and we used to tell each other that he was so tough that you could hammer nails into him without his noticing it.

'The outside of a grenade, as you can see,' Corporal Turnbull was saying, 'is divided up into a large number of fragments to assist segmentation-'


'What's that?' The Corporal looked over his shoulder.

'Forty-four segments.' The Professor beamed at him.

The Corporal said nothing, but his brow tightened. He opened his mouth to resume.

'And by the way, Corporal.' We were all thunder-struck. The Professor was speaking again. 'Shouldn't you have started off with the five characteristics of the grenade? Our instructor at the other camp always used to, you know.'

In the silence that followed, a dark flush stained the tan of the Corporal's face. 'Here,' he said at last, 'you give this lecture!' As if afraid to say any more, he tossed the grenade to the Professor. Quite unabashed, Private Quelch climbed to his feet and with the air of a man coming into his birthright gave us an unexceptionable lecture on the grenade.

The squad listened in a cowed, horrified kind of silence. Corporal Turnbull stood and watched, impassive except for a searching intentness of gaze. When the lecture was finished he said, 'Thank you, Private Quelch. Fall in with the others now.' He did not speak again until we had fallen in and were waiting to be dismissed. Then he addressed us.

'As some of you may have heard,' he began deliberately, 'the platoon officer has asked me to nominate one of you for-' He paused and looked lingeringly up and down the ranks as if seeking final confirmation of a decision.

So this was the great moment! Most of us could not help glancing at Private Quelch, who stood rigidly to attention and stared straight in front of him with an expression of self-conscious innocence.

'-for permanent cookhouse duties. I've decided that Private Quelch is just the man for the job.'

Of course, it was a joke for days afterwards; a joke and joy to all of us.

I remember, though...

My friend Trower and I were talking about it a few days later. We were returning from the canteen to our own hut.

Through the open door we could see the three cooks standing against the wall as if at bay; and from within came the monotonous beat of a familiar voice.

'Really, I must protest against this abominably unscientific and unhygienic method of peeling potatoes. I need only draw your attention to the sheer waste of vitamin values...'

We fled.

Hope you liked the short story....

The Man Who Knew Too Much - II

The story continues from previous post

In pursuit of his ambition he worked hard. We had to give him credit for that. He borrowed training manuals and stayed up late at nights reading them. He badgered the instructors with questions. He drilled with enthusiasm, and on route marches he was not only miraculously tireless but infuriated us all with his horrible heartiness. 'What about a song, chaps?' is not greeted politely at the end of thirty
miles. His salute at the pay table was a model to behold. When officers were in sight he would swing his skinny arms and march to the canteen like a Guardsman.

And day in and day out, he lectured to us in his droning, remorseless voice on every aspect of human knowledge. At first we had a certain respect for him, but soon we lived in terror of his approach. We tried to hit back at him with clumsy sarcasms and practical jokes. The Professor scarcely noticed; he was too busy working for his stripe.

Each time one of us made a mistake the Professor would publicly correct him. Whenever one of us shone, the Professor outshone him. When, after a hard morning's work cleaning out our hut, we listened in silence to the Orderly Officer's praise, the Professor would break out with a ringing, dutifully beaming, 'Thank you, sir!' And how superior, how condescending he was! It was always, 'Let me show you, fellow', or, 'No, you'll ruin your rifle that way, old man.'

We used to pride ourselves on aircraft recognition. Once, out for a walk, we heard the drone of a plane flying high overhead. None of us could even see it in the glare of the sun. Without even a glance upward the Professor announced, 'That, of course, is a North American Harvard Trainer. It can be unmistakably identified by the harsh, engine note, due to the high tip speed of the airscrew.'

What could a gang of louts like us do with a man like that?

to be continued...

The Man Who Knew Too Much - I

Here is a short story by Alexander Baron. This is one of the funniest stories I have read. I will post in three parts so that it may not look too long to read. Enjoy!

The Man Who Knew Too Much

I first met Private Quelch at the training depot. A man is liable to acquire in his first week of Army life-- together with his uniform, rifle and equipment -- a nickname. Anyone who saw Private Quelch, lanky, stooping, frowning through horn-rimmed spectacles, understood why he was known as the Professor. Those who had any doubts on the subject lost them after five minutes' conversation with him.

I remember the first lesson we had in musketry. We stood in an attentive circle while a sergeant, a man as dark and sun-dried as raisins, wearing North-West Frontier ribbons, described the mechanism of a Service rifle.

'The muzzle velocity, or speed at which the bullet leaves the rifle', he told us, 'is well over two thousand feet per second.'

A voice interrupted. 'Two thousand, four hundred and forty feet per second.' It was the Professor.

'That's right', the sergeant said without enthusiasm, and went on lecturing. When he had finished, he put questions to us; and, perhaps in the hope of revenge, he turned with his questions again and again to the Professor. The only result was to enhance the Professor's glory. Technical definitions, the parts of the rifle, its use and care, he had them all by heart.

The sergeant asked, 'You had any training before?'

The Professor answered with a phrase that was to become familiar to all of us. 'No, Sergeant. It's all a matter of intelligent reading.'

That was our introduction to him. We soon learned more about him. He saw to that. He meant to get on, he told us. He had brains. He was sure to get a commission, before long. As a first step, he meant to get a stripe.

to be contd.....

She Walks In Beauty

This is a lovely poem by Lord Byron. His complete name was George Gordon Byron. The woman described in the poem was his wife's cousin. When he first saw her, she was wearing a black mourning gown with spangles.

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to the tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One ray the more, one shade the less
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow
But tell of days in goodness spent
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

My Previous Post On Poems - Karvaan Gujar Gaya

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Twelve Year Wonder

Before reading this news item, I had heard about this boy in Zee News as well. A twelve year old clearing SAT and TOEFEL, and getting admission in BCA course of Eastern New Mexico University, USA - sounds amazing.

I had also read about a 4 years old girl, who knew THREE languages at that age. In fact, her talent was discovered when her parents noticed that she could read English newspapers. She could recite shlokas from Ram Charit Manas, along with the meaning. No body had taught her as she never went to school and her parents were illiterate and sold fruits to make two ends meet.

Luckily for her, when my school came to know about her, they called her father, gave him a job of an office boy and enrolled the girl without an fees. I hope she goes places. I hope the same for this boy, though money is still the problem. Some good samaritan institution must come up and help this boy achieve his goal.

E B White was bang on target when he said 'Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.'

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Karvaan Gujar Gaya

A masterpiece by the noted poet and song writer from my home city - Gopal Das 'Neeraj'. He is also called Geet Samraat, and is a Padma Shri recipient.

He has penned some beautiful film songs like Ai Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo (Mera Naam Joker), Shokhiyon Mein Gholaa Jaaye (Prem Pujari), Dil Aaj Shaayar Hai Gam Aaj Naghama Hai (Gambler) and Megha Chhaye (Sharmilee).

Karvaan Gujar Gaya is one of his most popular and signature poems. It's a treat to hear it from the octogenarian's deep and husky vocals.


My Previous Post On Poems - Ek Kahani

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Monday, November 01, 2004

New Book

Just finished Delhi Is Not Far by Ruskin Bond. All those lovers of fauna and flora, it's a must read for you.

I am a great fan of him right from the childhood days. This book is a great collection. Those who haven't been to The Great Himalayas, will find mountains right in their shelf. There are some lovely short stories, essays, poems and excerpts from his novels in the book.

All is typical Ruskin stuff, but I especially loved the description of Ganges, in the section 'Ganga Descends'. There is a lovely chapter on birds, which is not to be missed. His travelogue on Bandrinath and Kedarnath is breathtaking. Reader's knowledge about Dehradoon, Agra, Delhi, Mathura will be admirably enhanced.

One is never too old for 'The Adventures Of A Banyan Tree'. I loved the story when I was a child, and I loved it now as well. 'The Tales From Macabre' section has some minor thriller stuff like 'He Said It With The Arsenic' and 'A Job Well Done'.

But the favourite story has to be 'The Eyes Have It'. Must have read it time and again, and arguably the best story ever written by him.

This man loves hills and has immense knowledge about them. He also has a terrific sense of observation. All this will be very clear from this book. Go and grab it.

My Previous Book Review - The Da Vinci Code

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Nightmare for Bunty & Bubbly

Shaad Ali, the director of Sathiya, and son of director Muzzafar Ali, has been shooting for his next venture Bunty & Bubbly , starring Abhishek Bachhan, and Rani Mukherjee. His father is based in Lucknow, while his mother, CPM leader Suhasini Ali, is based in Kanpur.

The movie itself is based in various cities of Uttar Pradesh. So far so good. But since Shaad is bred under Muzaffar Ali and Mani Ratnam( he was his assistant) school of direction, he yearns for realism in his movies. That's why Sathiya was so refreshing. Therefore, he decided to do shooting in Uttar Pradesh, itself.

That, I thought was highly adventurous, especially when Kanpur was one of the locations. Deepa Mehta'sWater ran into problems because of VHPs and Shiv Saniks in Varanasi. A case is running against in Kanpur Dehat against the crew of Lazza. These self-styled preachers always poke their nose in such matters.

Then, there is no limit of unemployed, frustrated hoodlums and mischief mongers. They simply won't allow shooting to happen. That's exactly what happened. Public pelted stones at the actors, local media misbehaved, Abhishek Bachhan's pocket was picked by a thief. Kanpur is symptomatic of the degrading culture and rowdism in the cities of Uttar Pradesh, due to unemployment, and exodus of creamy layer.

Lucknow somehow, remains an exception. The shooting of Gadar, was largely incident free. Still, gone are the days of those nafasat, nazatak and tehzeeb when scores of movies like Umarao Jan, Mere Mehboob, Mehboob ki Mehndi, Palki etc were shot in Lucknow.

Shaad will do well to eschew his homely love, and stay clear of at least Kanpur. That is if he wants his movie to finish in time.

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