Monday, December 31, 2007


It seems that as you get older, the meaning and value of friends changes quite drastically. Rather than people with whom to spend time and have fun, friends become a more integral part of your heart and soul. They become the cornerstone of your sanity, the haven in the night. And you realize that it is the quality of your friendships that makes life both bearable and beautiful.

Some of those friends are ones you've had since childhood, and months pass between times of contact. But that bond, that understanding and unconditional acceptance, that pure love, stays in your heart every day. Those are the friendships in which nothing is questioned, nothing is judged, nothing is expected, and everything is appreciated. How rare and precious those friendships are.

Then there are the friends that haven't been in your life nearly as long, but have left just as strong an impact. The friends that you know will always be there in the future, through the weddings and funerals, the times of elation and the times when you just want the world to end. Sometimes you know within a short time who those people are, and sometimes down the road, you discover that you were wrong about them - that they are not the friends you thought they were. And sometimes you discover that the ones you never knew would be those types of friends are the ones that actually become your best friends.

But I think the biggest realization comes when you are at your lowest point. You look around you and find that few are by your side. But the ones that are - they are the truest treasure.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

wake up calls..

I’m not a morning person. I’ve never been a morning person. It’s only when the darkness settles that I become enlivened. And yet there is one thing that has always made my mornings brighter. There is one thing that can put a smile on my face in mornings, times that I cannot fathom why the rest of the world is yet awake.

Those phone calls may not seem like much, probably more a chore than anything else, an obligation done out of fear that I will once again sleep through my alarms and miss some big important event. But those phone calls are so much more to me than that. It’s the one constancy amidst the chaos of my days. It’s my daily reminder of the inherent goodness in people and the tremendous impact that the love and kindness of one person can have on some many others. It’s the renewed faith that I can, and will, make a difference in someone’s life.

Each morning, the incessant beeping of multiple alarms is interrupted by an obnoxious ringing of the phone. But once I have sleepily reached across the bed and silenced the ringing, I am greeted by a voice of familiarity and love. The “fact or crap” questions of the day that I always get wrong, the silly jokes that are so ridiculous they actually make me laugh, the lectures on the healing effects of water ….all seemingly trivial things, yet such an integral part of my daily life. On the rare occasions when I am not awakened by a phone call, I feel some tiny emptiness that is carried with me throughout the day.

Until the next morning, the phone rings, and I am again reminded of how blessed I am to be my mamma's little boy.

..give a pause..

How many times in your life have you allowed fear to stop you from doing what you truly and deeply desire?
How many times have you censored yourself because of fear’s intrusive presence?
How many times have your love for others and your love for life been diminished because fear is guarding the door to your heart?

Perhaps you are thinking that these are rhetorical questions. But they are not. They are questions that I offer to each of you, to truly ponder within yourselves. I am not asking for your answers. These answers are not often easily discovered, and even less frequently are they easily shared. However, I believe these are important questions for each of us to ask ourselves in order that we may all live more passionate and less fearful lives.

These questions are particularly difficult for me to answer personally. I am often the person who has been accused of jumping into things heart first without thought to the practical and logical consequences that likely will follow. I have been labeled the epitome of impulse at times, and yet I certainly feel that my life has been hampered by fear. There are many avenues I have not pursued because of fear’s powerful grasp. There are many dreams that I have diminished to mere fantasies because of fear’s overbearing presence. There are many aspects of myself that I hold inside because of fear’s threats should I release those aspects. So, now I am faced with asking myself the question: is this the life I want to live? And I know the answer…I do not want to live a life of fear. I do not want to live in safety.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

TZP - The Zing of Perfection!

If you have cried while watching any movie before, go and watch Taare Zameen Par (TZP). If you have not, go and watch TZP...

I don't think I have called up people and blabbered about how good the movie is, after coming out of the theatre - ever. However, this time, it is different. Many who rxed my calls will vouch for it!

TZP is not only entertainment, it is enlightenment. At some level, I'm sure we all relate to the movie; and hence, everyone is bound to enjoy it. That's why, even though a simplistic story, it ends up being an awesome watch.

TZP is about this kid Ishaan, played by Darsheel Safary (my award for the best actor for the year goes to him, hands down) who finds it difficult to match his world with kids of his age, around him. He is like Calvin, without his Hobbes. A Ross, without Rachel (I know, I know, that's a bad one!). His fish & paintings do not find any solace too. Hence, he's packed & sent to a boarding school. This is where the second half of the movie unwinds. (I won't give much of storyline here)

There are several moments in the first hour that make you moist-eyed. The bonding between the mother and son is remarkable. These moments effectively capture the special bonding, making you realize that a mother's mere touch can do wonders for a troubled soul. Tisca Chopra has done remarkably well as the mother - perfect for the role.

Aamir has directed the movie to perfection - not doubt he is the best! The screenplay does wonders, if you look at the scenes like the first one, where Ishaan is noticing the fish in the roadside sewerage drain; or the flipbook, the masterpiece which shows a family with one kid moving away, as the pages turn. A simple device that has been shown again and again, every time any character sees it, to highlight the underlying importance of the act. Or notice the scenes where Ishaan tries to cry as well as smile at the same time. I bet even you won't know whether to smile or cry at these scenes - tell me if you don't choke.

In a nutshell, TZP serves as a wake up call for every parent or parent-to-be. Also, it heralds the arrival of a magnificent storyteller, Aamir Khan. TZP is a triumph all the way from the director's point of view; and we have always known Aamir as the terrific actor.

I already have plans to watch it again - With my mom; once more with another friend. Are you in the queue!
Trivia - Did you know Abhishek Bachchan was dyslexic when a kid? Or Salman Khan had suggested the name of the movie as TZP to Aamir?

Monday, December 17, 2007


Fast driving epitomizes something marvelously rapturous, as one is carried by an invisible force in an unknown direction. And obviously something terrifying is hidden in this quick flickering, so quick that there is no time for an object to make its mark, and only the sky over one's head, the light clouds, and a moon that peeks through them seem motionless.

Fast driving elevates one above earthly minutiae, making the celestial firmament the only stable point. What this thrill achieves is jolting one out of reality, making it flash by so rapidly that it does not manage to assume a viewable form.

Fast driving is not only about an experience - it is about screaming with excitement. In addition to thrill, it gives a chill, and asks for a skill too.

So all this that you read, is what normal perception could be, for wannabe speed lovers. And all the ones who care for these wannabe's will dread what is written above.

I am an ardent driver, who loves to speed too. Many would say that they feel very concerned sitting next to me, when I'm driving. Many of my friends, till date, tell me to drive safe and reach home, and to give them a call when I reach, so as to ensure I drove safe.

I do understand that I drive fast, and I try to keep a check on that (atleast when someone else is sitting with me too). Today, I was driving home, at a normal pace (and that means I was neither overspeeding, nor was trying to overtake; was just enjoying the drive, and the music), with some good music soothening my mood. It was relatively eased out traffic, and I was touching 80, since the traffic in my lane was at that speed.

Suddenly, a car was putting the brakes on, some 50m ahead of me - guess a pedestrian tried to test his feet. Anyhow, all the cars in the lane applied brakes, and one could hear the screeching of the tires on the well built road. However, there was a bike in the lane too, and fortunately or unfortunately, it was just ahead of me! It doesn't happen many-a-times that I follow a bike - I prefer to follow cars that know how to make their way - mostly call centre cabs, or police jeeps. But because I was engrossed in the music and was not really bothered about overtaking anyone, I let the bike overtake me, and I took its lead.

Now in the spur of the moment, when everyone in the lane could just stop in time to hit the cars in front, the brakes of the bike at such speeds doesn't really do wonders - and I guess the bike would have hit the stationary car in front of it at the speed of about 10kmph. Obviously the bike lost balance, and the couple riding the bike tasted the road (and so did their laptops; they were some software engineers coming back from their office, as I came to know later). Now I was following them, and when I saw them go down, I felt a chill drive down my spine – and this was not from thrill of fast driving, but of the concern that I should stop in time. I had what, maybe a few milliseconds to react, maybe ten metres ahead of me. I found myself almost standing on the brakes, and thankfully, with another screech, I came to a halt, a metre behind the flattened bike.

How much I thank whoever that it stopped just in time – I came back from there to my home, driving sub-50. And I brought back a few lessons too.

And by the way, both of them were safe & sound, driving back when I last saw them. I never tried to overtake them...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dus K..!

There have been many movies (like RGV’s Darna Mana hai, & Darna Zaroori hai) that are a collection of short stories, but they have been centred around a common premise, e.g. fear in case of both RGV movies. However, Dus Kahaniyaan is a different genre of aggregation – the central theme – none!

A few directors come together to showcase their flavors of disparate stories – obviously it’s not the easiest of tasks to create a cocktail that satisfies hard as well as soft drinkers – but coming to think of it, I guess the job is done satisfactorily in this case. I understand that many of the stories had an embedded cliché, but trying to project such an aggregation of stories, and that too to an Indian audience which is still maturing, is brave.

Agreed that stories like High on the highway, Sex on the Beach, Lovedale had an innate nonsensical & predictable touch, but then getting ten stories of the same punch is not the easiest of tasks!

Veterans Shabana Azmi & Naseerudin Shah (who, btw, appeared only in two scenes) prove why old is still gold – their marvelous acting should teach a lesson or two to others who have to take it as a launch pad. I personally liked Zahir & Gubbare most; Zahir because it had an unpredictable punch at the end, and Gubbare because of the mature, though predictable act put across by Nana Patekar. (I went to watch movie with C, and I could see her crying while Nana counted the Gubbare, and promised to bring more. That’s what you call a touché moment!)

Pooranmashi featuring Amrita Singh & Minnisha Lamba is another act worth a handful. Though another predictable story, Director holds together the story and ends it just in time. Strangers in the Night was a different concept, but not properly picturized. Director could have brought more life to the characters, in the end.

Let’s not even talk about the story involving Sanjay Dutt & Sunil Shetty – I understand that they are wonderful actors, but prolonging the movie to give them screen space is just not right. Arbaaz Khan & Mandira Bedi in Matrimony delivered more than what they are capable of, but still could not give it the thump to carry forward. The narrative tone in some of the stories also helps.

Net net, an interesting experiment, and worth watch for once. If nothing else, go and watch the movie, just for a change. I recommend watching it once, atleast for the brave effort.