Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hey Priyetam

This one by Manoshi Chatterjee.


Previous Poem: Itney Unchey Utho

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Kitni Pyari Hoti ...

"Kitni Pyari Hoti Hai Yeh Bholi Si Umar, Na Naukri Ki Chinta Na Roti Ki Phikar..."

Well, there would be absolutely absolutely nobody amongst the readers, who wouldn't recognize the 'mukhda' of this 'antara'. Each one of us must have heard this song scores of time on our or any one else's birthdays. What a jewel of a song, and what a jewel of a statement.

Really yaar, no pain apart from homework. Right from the following day of the birthday, the wait for next one use to begun. And yes, it also used to be time of taking stock of the gifts. The gifts which were actually the results of the demands. Some of them wouldn't survive beyond that day.

We use to identify our potential candidates, and pester them with our continuous demands, which used to be very specific. I hated those aunties, who would give clothes - I had enough clothes yaar. I needed toys which would never be enough. I was mean enough not to share them with anyone(though I did believe in selective barter). My poor little cousin use to cry buckets for them!

I also hated those guests who would give those Eleven, Twenty One, Fifty One (and so on) rupees. Reason was simple. I used to get only the 'One' part. The other part used to usurped by my mother. "Chalo Apni Gullak Mein Dalo". Damn!

Another craze used to be that Jhopadi(Hut) Wala Cake! Actually, those days cakes use to come in ship shape as well( I hope they do even now). This 'ship' used to have a hut shaped cabin. Such cakes used to be a status simple, and these cabins used to be yummy! My entire focus of attention on anyone's birthday would be such cabins.

And then, making a point to go to school because that was the only day one could go in colourful clothing, by virtue of which, everyone in the assembly would know that this is the birthday boy! One felt special. Distributing toffees, mostly Cadburys, added another dimension to the fun that day was.

Of course, no more of that fun now. Sped past the Teens, and even faster the twenties. Now candles cost dearer than cakes. Just to remind of those days, here is that immortal song composed by Ravi.

Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote
Naam Humara Hota Dabloo Babloo
Khaneko Miltey Laddoo
Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You!

Kitni Pyari Hoti hai Bholi si Umar
Na Naukari Ki Chinta Na Roti Ki Fikar
Koi Laata Gudiya Motor, Koi Laata Lattoo
Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You!

Nanhe Munne Hote Hum To Dete Sau Hukam
Piche Firte Daddy Mummy Banke Naukar
Choclate Biscut Toffee Khate Aur Pitey Duddhu
Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You!

Kaise Kaise Nakhre Karte Gharwalon Se Hum
Pal Mein Hanste Pal Mein Rote Karte Naak Mein Dum
Akkad Bakkad Looka Chhupi Kabhi Chhua Chhooo
Karte Din Bhar Halla Gulla Danga Aur Dhoom
Aur Kabhi Zidd Pe Ad Jaate Jaise Adiyal Tattoo
Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You!

Ab To Hai Ye Haal Ke Jab Se Beeta Bachpan
Maa Se Jhagda, Baap Se Katkad, Biwi Se Anbann
Kolhu Ke Hum Bail Bane Hai Dhobhi Ke Paththe
Duniya Bhar Ke Dande Sar Pe Khaayen Danadan
Bachpan Apna Hota Toh Na Karte Dhenchu Dhenchu...
Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Here I Go!

29 years ago, on a wet Sunday evening at 9.52 PM, a boy was born. That was me.

Same day, same year, another boy was born(along with his twin brother). Happy birthday Ashish!

It has never failed to rain on my birthday - wherever I am. Till yesterday, there was no semblance of rain in Pune. It is raining proverbial cats & dogs from yesternight!

Friday, July 22, 2005

No Antakshari From Today

Well, the twelve year procession has ended. No more the familiar sight of talented Annu Kapoor enthralling the audience with his antics. That also means that no more of the supporting cast - Durga Jasraj, Renuka Shahane, Pallavi Joshi, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Richa Sharma, or Sagarika Gosh!

No doubt the program had lost the much of its charm, courtesy bad production values but still this longest running program ever in the history of Indian cinema was the best bet amongst the rest of the copy cats. It started in 1993 or thereabouts.

Annu Kapoor's knowledge and presence of mind is unparallel. The way he connected to audience was very child like. Sometimes, though, I did feel he went overboard. Most of the co-hostess were also equal to the task, except perhaps, Sagarika. She was left clueless most of the times, and struggled hard to keep up the pace with the Kapoor.

I will miss this one. Not many I would on Zee TV.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Francis Fanthome, chief executive & secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination has signed my High School and Intermediate marksheets.

Look what he has got himself into. What a shame!

Intey Unchey Utho

Some jewels by Dwarika Prasad Maheshwari.



Previous Poem: Ek Pair(leg)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Movie Dekhne Do Yaar!

Will someone tell these idiots from B(hartiya) J(hagda) P(arty) that Salman Khan's link to underworld, outerworld, or waterworld has nothing to do with the movies he works in. Nor does it affect the average movie goer. So please let us see it.

I must also congratulate Veer Sanghvi for a highly 'successful' launch of Hindustan Times in Mumbai, where they 'exposed' a 'national traitor', and gave BJP members another person to fight against apart from poor LK Advani. This also gave us a peek-in on the future mode of working of this newspaper - sensationalism. Perfect in line with TOINs & Mid-day.

For the record, I must say that, as far as I think, Salman Khan is not a villain in complete blackness, and I have my reasons for that. Having said that, nothing can absolve him for his running over people while drunk, killing endangered animals( against the land of law), and hitting Aishwariya(if at all).

But the way media, politicos, his love life & rest of us has treated him - I still believe he his much saner. I could have lost it further.

The media has targeted him because he is the only Khan, among big three who has an element of controversy, in him. Rest of the two are too boring in their private lives. Still he has got unfair deal, and here are, perhaps the reasons, why !

On his drunken driving, he spent TWO weeks in prison. Same night in a similar incident in Pune, a retired army official ran over and killed a person. He didn't spent a night in jail. But due to misplaced heroics of the then Home Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Chhagan Bhujbal, in an unprecedented scenario, Salman spent two weeks.

This is the law of the land( which does not require a jail remand or detention) I am talking about, not the moral issue. Morally, he was wrong to drive under alcohol.

About the killing of back bucks, I totally agree it is a crime. And he must be punished. But morally speaking, killing and eating a hen or a lamb is as much a sin, as a black buck. All are the animals - endangered or not.

Hitting a person, male or female can never be justified, even more so when s/he is your beloved. That makes Salman a bad person. However, pounding on the door of the lady love whole night makes him possessive but not bad. If my beloved, even half as beautiful as a Miss World, arbitrarily turns the door on me, then who knows, even I may do that in desperation!

When Salman was called for a routine questioning in Bharat Shah case, media jumped the gun by alleging underworld links. When he was called by Enforcement Directorate(ED), again in Bharat Shah case - he was accused by media for violating FERA.

In fact, I remember this clipping from a news channel. Media was already awaiting for him outside ED office. When he ignored media questions, an irritated scribe shouts -"Aishwariya Ne Chhod Diya Kya". This was very distinctly audible on microphone. If this is not a mental torture, then what else.

Now the positive side of him. Every now and then, he donates his bone marrow, and I can vouch for this - it is painful. He donates a lot for charity. He works free for his friends.

In fact, most of the artists in industry vouch for his friendship. When Mohnish Behel's house was burning at 1 am in night, Salman was the only one at his side. By that time, nobody was sure if Mohnish's dad was still trapped inside. It was on Salman's insistence that both of them barged into the burning flat to save him, after breaking the fire brigade cordon. It was then that Mr Behel's charred body was discovered.

Such incidents are galore in the industry, but media never catches them. Just that a channel or a newspaper has to be launched some Bali Ka Bakra is needed. God only knows what would happen at the launch of Daily News & Analysis(DNA) by Zee group.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

'Mai Hoon Shiv'

These days channels are showing the promos of a movie called Sehar - a real life story based on a young, eastern UP based mafia-don Shiv Prakash Shukla, and a SSP Arun Kumar. The movie is set in mid & late nineties, when this don was alive and active.

Since I was in college at that time, I, like all other UPites closely followed his case, and I must tell you that this piece of truth is stranger than the queerest of the fiction. It was so intriguing that this person had almost become an enigma. His dare-devilry was without par, almost bordering on supreme-recklessness and overconfidence.

He came to limelight( at least mine), when he tried to expand his base to Lucknow. Earlier, in police files, his name was registered as Shri Prakash Shukla. His first act of rash boldness was when he made a call to Lucknow IG, and told that his real name is 'Shiv' Prakash Shukla. 'Mai Hoon Shiv' was the exact phrase used.

Well, that was something which was quite unheard of. It was shocking to call such a senior cop, and this created ripples. But this was just the beginning. He would inform police of his deeds(mostly extortion) before hand, and would do right below their eyes, and yet they couldn't track him.

When the embarrassment turned into the topic of public discussion, the legendry STF(Special Task Force) was created by then chief minister Kalyan Singh. They were highly skilled police professionals, and were trained in electronic surveillance system. But when they started tracking Shukla's calls, to their shock, it was found they were coming from Nepal. This was not possible because the voice was Shukla's, and businessmen use to vouch for having seen him.

Modus Operandi was simple .Shukla used to make a call to a Nepal PCO. From there a connection would be established to the receiving person. He would also change his SIM frequently. That made it double impossible to track him.

But his only two, but key mistakes brought his downfall, and death. The chase by STF had become too hot to handle for him. STF had numbers and tremendous power. Miffed by Kalyan Singh for shooing STF hot on his trail, he accepted the Supari (from whom, still not clear) to finish the CM himself, and like always, he announced it as well!

That was stretching his luck a bit too far. You don't mess up with your mai-baps. They are the bigger goondas. The order from Kalyan Singh was to finish this man ASAP. The other factor which trapped him was his love for girl friend(He probably didn't see the movie DON!). His repeated calls to her got him tracked. Police took out the transcripts, and soon learned that he was about to meet her near Delhi.

One fine day, he was encountered by the STF officials, and his era came to an end.

Arshad Warsi is playing the chief STF official, and Sushant Singh is playing the don himself. I am not too kicked about the casting, especially Sushant. The youthfulness is there, but not the menace. The lingo problem wouldn't be there as Singh belongs to the same region.

Arshad too gives a miss to comedy. His role is a serious one, not that of typical smart ass Bollywood cop. He won't crack jokes for you here. I am not sure whether he would pull off. Rather, I should say whether audiences would absorb that.

The director Kabeer Kaushik is also a debutant. He researched the subject for 2.5 years. That's a good sign for the script. But I just hope that he has added some finer elements of the commercial cinema to not to make it too hard hitting for the audiences. At the end of the story, we should be walking out entertained rather than heavy headed.

While not expecting too much, my best wishes for the movie!

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Half Blood Prince

So the D-Day is just round the corner. The sixth Harry Porter is going to hit stands this Saturday. Potter mania has already gripped the entire country. One mind-boggling lakh copies have already been pre-sold in India.

Most of the major book stores in the country are opening their shops at the unearthly hour of 6.30 am, to cope up with the mad rush. That's a first for most of them. The book is priced at Rs. 895, but some stores are providing it at the discounted price of Rs. 650. It's in fact costlier than The Order Of The Phoenix.

The hype behind this sixteen year old British orphan refuses to die down. The magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry continues on. To make the matter worse, JK Rowling has announced that an important character is going to die this time. Since months, speculations are on about the identity of the departed soul.

The last book sold a record five million copies on the first day itself all over the world. This one is surely going to surpass it. In all, Harry Porter books have sold 259 million copies till date, making them the most successful children’s books in the 21st century and Rowling the first billion-dollar author in the world(her wealth is more than the Queen).

The most ironical part, however, is that I haven't read a single one of them. First, because I no more like these fantasy fairy tales, and two, I can not buy such a costly fiction book. If someone can lend me one, I can give a try I promise.

Trying Hard To Be Rude

Since the advent of Anu Malik in Indian Idol, it has become fashionable to lambaste the participants during the popular shows, as it has become fashionable to have such shows. Latest to join this bandwagon is Zee TV's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, hosted by Shaan.

There is this battery of judges which includes Himesh Reshamiya, Ismail Darbar, Jatin-Lalit, & Adesh Srivastav. There is a twosome problem with these so called artists. The First one is that with a little semblance of success, they begin to assume that they are a better breed than rest of us mortals.

The other problem is the growing insecurity due to cut-throat competition in their field. I can bet none of these gentlemen see eye-to-eye to each other in their private lives. Sometimes, these insecurities come to forefront at the most unlikeliest of the occasions. One such occasion was last Friday's telecast.

The culprit was Adesh Srivastav. A contestant sang the song from the movie Sur - "Aa Bhi Ja...", originally sung by Lucky Ali. While lambasting the contestant, Mr. Srivastav went deliberately overboard, and ridiculed Lucky Ali as well. This is what he said - "Aapne Bahut Besura Gaya. Jaisa Ki Is Song Ke Original Singer(Lucky Ali) Ne Gaya Tha."

This is was so distasteful, but again the upbringing and the insecurities come into the play. But what surprised me was the fact that this was coming from someone who can hardly boast a decent success to his name. Till last year he would get only one song in the films, particularly a Bhangra, and mostly by Amitabh Bachhan's recommendations(Roop Hai Tera Sona -Major Saab, Say Shava Shava - K3G).

Only when Baghban became a hit, that he tasted some real success. That's after being ten years in the industry. By calling Lucky Ali a Besura - he forgot his own past. During his struggling days, inorder to boost his sagging career, he came up with a misadventure-cum-pop-alblum, sung in his own pathetic voice, called - Namaste (opening lines went like this- Pashchim Ki Laila Ko, Purab Ke Chhaila Ka Namaste...arrrg). That would have put even a crow in better light. While Lucky Ali's debut album - Suno was a smashing hit.

What was even more surprising was the fact that Zee TV didn't 'beep' this unwanted comment. They have another cut-throat competition to face with. So any crap would do which could add to a controversy, and in a way to 'popularity'.

I guess, the proverb - Be Good, Do Good should be changed to Be Rude, Do Rude. In these times, it would work well even with the grammatical error.



Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ek Pair(Leg)

About the unselfish tree.


Previous Poem: Neeraj Ke Dohe

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

That Printer At ICICI

The ICCI Bank
Shivaji Nagar, Apte Road, Pune

Subject: That printer at your branch

The printer at that far right corner in this branch has been giving quite a pain to our haggard souls. Last month, I needed a bank statement for some official purpose, but I was told by the smiling lady that it was out of order, and that it happens only once in blue moon, and if it was really important I may visit another branch.

No, I thought, I needed it for making paper boats in rains.

I went back after two weeks for the same. This time it was the printer server which was down. So not completely out of order - some improvement. This also happens once in blue moon - so I was told. I said Aha. But this time lady didn't even smile.

Not sure what happened, but when I decided to wait, server mercifully was up again. Then she(lady, not the printer) wrote the wrong address. My tearful eyes made her re-do it.

Don't know if it was printer, but I didn't get my TDS certificates at my address. Went to bank last to last weekend, and requested for the same. As the procedure demanded, had to submit an application for the same. Advised to come back after three, I went back after seven days.

Sir/Madam, this poor clerk who handles TDS is a miserable soul, because he handles drafts also. I also noticed that he has some serious colour blindness. Right in front of me, he outrightly refused three signatures. Then he would show them to ladies seated on counters at either side, and then to manager - finally to accept them. By now, the affected party would be inconsolable.

Though, I have deviated from the track, but this is important because when I landed after seven days - he again refused three signatures, which were later confirmed correct. Ladies at either counter also seemed irritated, and what to say of customers. Later, even I was.

First, he refused he has my TDS certificate after keeping me waiting for half an hour. When I told him that he didn't even look for it(because I was standing right there throughout), then only he began his search. Soon the Bank manager arrived, and together they found the soft copy in his email. But, again, I heard that familiar term that printer was not working!

I counted three blue moons in past four weeks for the manager. God bless your kind soul branch manager, and assistant manager. I was told that there is another printer in manager's cabin, and print could be taken there. That document was duly mailed to manager's email box, but this time mail server went down. After another half an hour, I finally got my certificates.

Please replace/fix that Goddamn printer of the branch. If not possible, then please put the branch manager's printer at the service.

Thanking you in anticipation
Yours truly,
One haggard customer

Friday, July 08, 2005

A half-day today for us. Company is going for a bash. I am willfully skipping it. They are too boring. Will have a mini bash for myself.


Terrorists have struck again. The face behind all this is one. Religious fanatics. I haven't seen more bigots in any other religion. Nobody else in other religions goes about killing people mercilessly. Difficult to believe there are such people around.


I wonder what Australia would have done without Mike Hussey. He has saved them from shame, though not from defeat, in most of the games of this tournament. He is like what Robin Singh was for India.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lolita Rocks!

At the time where I should have made a bee line for Sarkar or Paheli, I decided - first things first. Went on to watch Parineeta last weekend, and it reconfirmed that its always better late than never.

This late-lateefy, though, was due to a bit of apprehension towards the movie on my part. When I saw those repeat promos of the song - Piyu Bole, Piya Boley, I was quite put off by the extravagant eye movements of the leading lady - Divya Balan. But with a nice company of friends & family, I set aside my hesitation. And, boy, I never regretted the decision.

The very object of my concern - Lolita, the protagonist, swept me off my feet, by her sheer screen presence and the ease before the camera. With a voice of Saira Bano, and the looks like that of the proverbial girl-next-door, she took the complex character of Lolita well in her stride.

The character was that of a super woman. Lolita was a woman who would top at college, was working in an office, even in 1962. She could write the lyrics, impromptu; She was also a good singer, and even gave suggestions on music. She would make delicious food, excellent cake, and was a good hand at cards. In between, she always had the time for finding clothes or knitting buttons for her next door childhood friend.

All this when she was an orphan since childhood, and lived with her maternal uncle!

The problem with such characters is that the portraying artist either over does it or falls way below the par performance required. We could never see the real Ashoka behind Shahrukh, could we ? Divya, rather, could strike that fine balance with comfort. Her expressions were perfect in every situation, and yes that life-like face has a lot to do with it. She will go a long way.

As far as movie is concerned, its good. The story has fine twists & turns, though its way too simplistic. Direction is taut. There is hardly a loose end, or dull moment. Photography is scenic. Though I do have some issues with the art director, because opulence is way too artificial.

To depict the Kolkotta of 1962, there were some subtle hints, and some in your face stuff. Like there was considerably less traffic on the streets which was a subtle hint, but repeated advertisement of painkiller Saridon was a bit too much.

As far as casting is concerned, the team should get a pat. No extra character, and each & every one has the perfect selection of the artist. Saif sizzles, Sanjay assures. All the side kicks(also performed very well) are from Bengal film & theatre industry. This gave a realistic touch to the whole narration. Even the bridegroom selected for just one scene was Bengali. It was easy to make out - the large forehead, and big eyes - typical Bengali.

What to say about the music, which complimented the movie so well. Songs are picturised well too. Look out for the song - 'Yeh Hawain, Gungunai' picturised on Saif and some kids on a train. The kid in the middle is really chubby with some tremendous enthusiasm.

A must watch for those who missed it. If only for Lolita!

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

After A Long Gap

Those who thought I am busy are right - I am giving a small training. Those who reckoned I am not well, then they are partially right - I am not exactly in the pink of my health. And yes, as "the thief" suggested - I am left a trifle "speechless" with the Wimbledon Final & Semi-Final.

My last post evoked an effusive response - and that's the way I had expected to be. But this is an unfair world, where crooks rule the roost. Only the other day, I read that All India Muslim Personal Law Board chief Farooq Kureshi took it upon himself to investigate the Imrana affair.

His team has found that Imrana might have never been raped, and that she might have cooked up the whole controversy. So in other words, fatwa is justifiable now. I have reached to the level where such things cease to shock me, and perhaps you wouldn't be shocked either when on the suggestion of the AIMPLB the rapist is set free.

Coming back to Wimbledon. I have been following tennis for last 16 years or so, and have also seen the highlights of the matches played before my time. This is no statement, but frankly, I have not seen a greater player of the tennis racket & ball as Roger Federer.

Leyton Hewitt played his best tennis, and yet lost in straight sets. He looked rattled, but fought on. But Fighting is not enough to win a battle.

On the contrary, Andy Roddic was minced like the meat, beaten to pulp. The way he looked and conducted during the whole match, anyone could see the fear in his eyes. He was hesitant in his big serve. He was hesitant like hell on the net. Federer didn't let him touch anything there. Trust me, his confidence is shattered. He would never beat Federer, not in this life.

I have said this before, and I can say that innumerable times further more. Roger Federer is the greatest.

Ok, off to impart the training again. Will catch you all soon!

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