Letter from a Heartbroken Guy

 

Advertisements

Why I hate New Years

9513fafe8cf1d10d11275df3210af93fe0b645afdcca2c580f02e67b3c3a651f

Source: Google Images

 

Yes, I hate new years. I simply can’t stand the 31st Night parties and 1st Jan’s clichéd greetings.

Before you start thinking of me as a pessimist and depressed soul, let me share a few things about New years that lead to my hatred. Firstly, a new year is a reminder that you had yet again spent another 365 days of underachievement and failed resolutions. You feel another year older and you earn almost the same. You did not finish that course or that book or switched to the better job this year as well. On top of that, the last 3-4 days before New Year, everyone gets excited and keeps asking about your plans for the celebrations as if next year you are going to win 5 crore on KBC or going to find Sunny Leone in your bed next morning.  Arre Bhai, next year also, you are going to continue to be the same pathetic chap watching Rohit Shetty’s movies, listening to another album full of Arijit Singh songs, waiting for Achche Din, celebrating Sallu Bhai’s next birthday and voting Akhilesh Yadav to power. Seriously, is there any point of celebrating?

The next thing that irritates furthermore is those clichéd messages which are bombarded all over your inbox, Facebook wall and Whatsapp. The same “Happy New Year” shit is churned with different wallpapers, in different font sizes and formats, and shot to you in anticipation of similar crap from your side. And if you gather all you courage not to seem like an egoist and reply “same to you”, the vicious thread of “What’s up?”, “How did you celebrate?”,”Aur kya chal raha hai?” and other such questions starts which bore the fun out.

After all these messages and replies, you somehow try to maintain your equanimity and come to office next morning, only to find a shit-mine laid down for you.  Here, you have to answer those same questions all over again in person, and with a “smile” because of the obvious “official” reasons. Every phone call at office become even longer and mundane on the New Year day— because of the same “Happy new year, Sir”, “how was your new year party?” bullshit. And my friend, it irritates the shit out of you!

Let me tell you something about the New Year eve as well. On this evening, people like me— ambiverts inclined more towards introversion and working in some other city— normally have two options. One, to go to a New Year party and pretend to enjoy and tolerate the shit talked about by drunk people who you don’t like or don’t know. This is a dangerous option. You have to keep pretending and tolerating all the time. Further, you have to be stay awake till around 2’o clock in the night. Then deal with traffic cops who actually are celebrating a challan and bribe jackpot on the 31st night.

Since you have no leaves left, the next day, you have to attend office at 09.00 AM. You have a hangover next day, lack of sleep, and have to tolerate the things already explained above in office. And that too, on the first day of the New Year. You’re surely gonna be having a crappy year ahead, if judged by the starting, aren’t you?

I went through this experience last year and had a crappy first day of the year and many more days thereafter. So this time, I was a smart kid. I avoided the temptation of free passes and persuasion of so-called party-animals. I cooked at my apartment and spent the evening watching a musical movie.

Well, this was somewhat a better New Year eve. Hope days to come be similar.

P.S.: Happy New Year 2016!!! What’s up? Kya chal raha hai aaj kal?

<imagine a random new year wallpaper here>

An ode to thee, Human Stupidity

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe” – Einstein (source: various memes available on the internet)

When I first read this quote, I thought Einstein must have said it in a good humour while rolling his third joint of the day. But finally, I have realized that no matter whether he consumed hash or not, he really meant it. And there must have a lot of research, observation and experimentation undergone to reach such a conclusion.

In centuries to come, even if scientists might be able to define the limits of the universe, they will never succeed in demarcating the limits of human stupidity (a.k.a. Chutiapa) for sure.

To prove this Einstein Sahib’s point, in the context current happenings in India, let me give the following example to help you accept the statement (in case you don’t agree):

  1. Selfie-sm:

Portrait photography is a beautiful art and Selfie is an abuse to this art. Trust me; the simplest portrait taken by someone (sane and non-lunatic) will always look better than the fucking selfies. Just compare the following:

A Mona Lisa Selfie

A Mona Lisa Selfie

A Mona Lisa Portrait

A Mona Lisa Portrait

I understand that sometimes one has no one to click photos. But there is always an option— your smart-phone is smart enough to set a timer to click a shot. Or one can request a stranger to click photos. Even in the meanest places in India, hardly anybody denies taking a photo for you if you request him or her. However, one might take your phone and run away but that is a different case. Let’s think positive for now.

So why do people take selfies even when somebody else could click a photo for them?

The answer is: because of infinite human stupidity.

  1. The Anti Maggi Chutiyas:

 Recently, in various lab tests conducted by state authorities, Maggi Noodles were found to contain monosodium glutamate and hence it is being banned in many parts of the country.

Logical enough, isn’t it?

But I started getting signs of enormous human stupidity when I saw people started blaming celebrities who appeared in Maggi ads.  I am sure none of these morons will be able to explain how Amitabh Bachchan or Madhuri Dixit is supposed to know whether Maggi contains MSG.

A frustrated Mr. Bachchan

A frustrated Mr. Bachchan

On the other hand, there are a lot of issues in our country for which PILs can be filed and but no, these chutiyas are so concerned about the society that they have got time only to  file cases against celebs for some ads or for some movie-names which hurts their fucking religious sentiments.

If they take only a fraction of this much interest in real issues of our country, India will become a better place for sure.

But nothing beats the human stupidity, my friend.

  1. Idea Ads:

Take Idea Cellular Ads for example. The evolution of human stupidity can perfectly and easily be understood by the Ad campaigns of Idea Cellular. Every next ad campaign of theirs is shittier than its predecessor. Don’t believe me? Just look at the following:

2008:

Shit

Shit

2009:

Shittier

Shittier

2013:

An idea add wrongly portraying Indian Cops-- showing them as good guys.

An idea ad portraying Indian Cops in bad light– portraying them as good guys.

2014:

An irritating

An irritating “No ullu banawing” campaign

2015:

Then finally this crap.

Then finally this brain-torturing series of crap.

Inferring from the trend-line of these ads, the stupidity of Idea’s campaign managers can go infinite.

  1. Sal-moron Khan’s supporters:

Shitty movies are OK. Hunting the black buck is also OK. Even getting drunk and driving on the footpath where men were sleeping can be explained— ladko se galti ho jati ha, remember!

But how the hell can you support someone who is stupid enough to realize so late that he could blame his driver. I mean, the dumbest Indian rich man would have blamed his driver in the starting itself. But yo’ Bhai is so dumb that…..

Seriously, hey Bhai supports, how can you support someone so stupid, man?

Sometimes, it's hard which Khan of them is crappier.

Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which Khan out of both of them is crappier.

Image Courtesy: Google Images, of course!

On Trying to Write a Short Story

DSC_0353

Long but not too many years ago, after having read a significant number of books of poetry, essays, novels, pornography, religion, health, self-help and many other topics in both Hindi and English, I determined that I would write a short story someday. Yes, a short story… Not a novel or a poem or an erotica, but a decent short story.

Well, there are many reasons why I chose a short story only. Firstly, it is less complex to understand and easy to draw a uniform meaning out of than in case of poems. Secondly, a short story is shorter than a novel and an impatient reader like me feels easier to start reading a short story than a novel. One does not have to  refer back the pages already read as in case books of several volumes. There can be many more reasons but let me not dwell upon them for now.

So here I was, just wanted to write a short story without an idea about what to write. However the only idea I had was that I would write a short story which would be set in places similar to the places in Ruskin Bond’s stories, the story would have unexpected twists like in Roald Dahl’s, and touching moments of sorrow and pain as in Prem Chand’s stories. And all this would be blended with some heart-warming and then some heart-breaking romantic trash.

 For a couple of years, I tried to discover an idea for my story but never succeeded. Most of the times, the idea was either too unexciting or too similar to an existing masterpiece. And sometimes the idea was so autobiographical and so much about me that I did not consider appropriate revealing it for my own good.  So I decided to be patient thinking that someday the idea itself might come to me spontaneously and unexpectedly, like it were destined.

 Another year and many books passed by but that idea did not come to me.

 So ultimately, I decided to draw inspiration from somewhere and started writing the short story of my dream which I intended to be a one-sided love-story of a male book —a cheap book of badly written folk songs— which is brought to a library located in a beautiful hill where it falls in love with a pretty female book of Ruba’is (a kind of Persian poetry).

Awkward, isn’t it?

The story was to be set in snow-capped mountains and was to have a lot of twists and turns, love, pain and some ‘sex’, maybe.

After weaving this idea which seemed great to me, I started writing this story a few days back with a lot of excitement. But it is only a few paragraphs I have completed, and have already realized that with so many indescribable limitations of mine, including laziness and hatred for love stories,  I am not enough efficient and capable of writing such a story which would include a sex-scene  between two books.

So finally, I am quitting this dream as of now. However, without any expectation of getting any appreciation, I am sharing whatever I have written so far.

Hope you try your best to like it!

Here it goes:

Title: Was to be decided when I could have finish the story

Centuries ago, when the Mughals built the Shahi Quila in Lahore, there were a lot of large and precious stones which remained after the grand construction of the Fort. In order not to waste them, a wise man in the emperor’s court proposed them to be taken to a valley located on the foots of Hindukush Mountains, about 400 miles from the city of Lahore, to build a beautiful library where the readers, poets, authors and loners could find solace and solitude.

In that era, it was a unique proposal which the emperor did not decline and this beautiful library was built in the valley.

The library was surrounded by great mountains and beautiful forests. In the summers, one could see the green hue of the woods from the bottom to top of the hills. And in the winters, the serene beauty of the snow-capped mountain-peaks in background of blue sky could be relished while sitting beside the fireplace with a book of shairi and a pot full of Kuhwa.

 During snow-falls, it was the grand brown wooden gates of the library that caught the first attention of a visitor visiting the library, even from miles away. When he entered the library and closed the gate behind his back, he felt all his miseries gone.  All the pains seemed cured the moment his eyes met with the view of several racks of dark red and brown covered and beautifully bound books and the orange light of the fire-place and candles which illuminated the library.

The library was full of books of Urdu and Persian Poetry and Philosophy written by Great Poets,Sufi Saints and Royal Courtiers. And later on, when the British came, although they gave these old books their due space and importance, they renovated the library in Western style and brought her great books of Western History, Botany, Chemistry and English and French Literature along with some newly found Kamasutra books.

Even after all this beauty and arrangement, the place had been visited only by a handful of people. Since the library was in a remote part of the country led to by a dangerous trek in the mountains which either the brave or the passionate dared to embark for.

It was 1947, when the partition of India was taking place. And it was decided that all the assets including furniture, bells, vehicles, currency, weapons and many other things including books  will be divided between the two nation– India and Pakistan— bigger share to India and smaller to Pakistan.

Many books, even the dictionaries were torn in some pre-decided uneven ratio. For instance, a dictionary’s pages of words starting from letter ‘A’ to letter ‘N’ were given to India and rest up to the letter ‘Z’ to Pakistan. However, there were some lucky books also which were not torn but just were to be sent to one country from the another.

In Jaunpur, a small district in today’s Uttar Pradesh, India, on a sunny August afternoon, two library clerks— one representing India and another, Pakistan– were segregating the books to be sent to Pakistan. They segregated a pile of books and loaded them in a bullock-cart which was set to go to Pakistan.

Three months later, on a cold winter morning, bundles of books from India were brought to the remote library in the mountains. Apparently, these books did not worth to be put in any of the cities’ well-known libraries of newly born Pakistan. The Pakistanis thought, India had sent them only trash in the name of the books. In fact, both of the countries had done the same to one-another.

The poor servant at the library who was an orphan and worked there for food and shelter which he could find nowhere else in the area, started unloading the cart loaded with the old rotten books. As ordered by the caretaker, he arranged these cheap looking termite-eaten books in the shelf located in the farthest and the last row of the library.

By the time the allotted shelf for these rotten books was full and could not stand even one more book, there was only this small and ill-bound book of folk songs still left. Without much thoughts, the tired servant put this last book on the heap of hay and woods which were to be used for fire later that winter.

A few feet next to the heap was the grand shelf which was located beside the west side window of the library, from where the snow-covered peaks of the Hindukush Mountains and setting sun at the dusk time were visible. It was the best possible view for any man or for any book (if it could see) in the library.

The books kept in this shelf next to the window were the luckiest and the most deserving for that view. These were the rare books of Ruba’is which were favorites among the frequent visitors to the library. While he— the ugly book from ill-literate Indian Province– was lying there on the heaps of hay and wood, behind the very shelf where these Persian beauties were kept.

He was moist with all the snow that fell on him in the cart on the way to the library. Since he was not well-bound, at this new cold place, he felt so cold that he feared that the string which held together all his pages will break very soon. It felt chilly all the way into the innermost page of his being. But most of all, he felt loneliness and sorrow.

Somehow he was trying to comfort himself by remembering his days in his last library which was located in a warm place— India. He remembered how not being properly book-bound as the English books were, never mattered to him as far has those village folk singers learned and sang songs from his pages, as far as the song contained in him were danced on, as far as the kajaries contained in him was enjoyed by drunk villagers. 

But this remembrance gave him only pain and hopelessness.

=End of Writing the Short Story=

….

Well, only this far I could write.

If you liked it, create and imagine the story forward from this point as if it were you writing this story.

And if you didn’t like it, let me tell you this is exactly what I expected.

Traveling-Dreams in Third Class Compartments

Growing up in the Eastern Uttar Pradesh’s plains and having never ever visited a hill station until first 20 years of my life, I was always fascinated by the backpackers and foreign tourists who I came across at Varanasi railway station during my childhood. Perhaps it was also those cheap scenery wallpapers which hung on the walls in 90s which fueled my second wildest fantasy i.e. traveling to the mountains and having a house up there. The wildest fantasy for me was that of Mallika Sherawat those days (Murder the movie, remember?) but that is a story for another day. 

So whenever an older cousin or a relative offered to take me to some place he was going to visit, I would always be ready like a street dog following you for Parle-G biscuits, expected that I was going to visit a beautiful place. And that’s when traveling started for me and so did the harsh realities of my travel-dreams. 

Those early journeys were hardly over 200 Km long and were to places located between Allahabad and Patna— a landscape without hills or beaches. In those days (1999-2000)—and even now, roads in UP-Bihar (my town is in U.P. near Bihar border) were like nightmares. They were bumpy, full of potholes and mostly dirt roads in the country side; crowded, narrow and again full of potholes on the urban side. Thanks to our talented (at corruption) politicians of UP and Bihar and the road contractors, when a repair work started from one end of a, say 45 Km long road, by the time the project reached the other end in 5-6 years, the initial point would already be in bad condition. Moreover, some roads were not even this lucky; they turned worse even than the dirt roads and became like a typical ruin of Harappan Civilization. 

A typical crowded bus of UP. Courtesy: Google Images

A typical crowded bus of UP. (Courtesy: nothing else but Google Images)

A typical UP-Bihar Road like a ruin of Harrapan Civilization

A typical ruin of Harrapan Civilization  U.P.   (Courtesy: Google Images)

One can still endure these roads if given a means of comfortable transportation system. But no, even this expectation was a fool’s paradise. In a jeep with a capacity to seat 11 people at max, no driver-conductor will move their vehicle until at least 16 people were seated and that was  not counting the poor kids like me who were to stand and were not considered for being allotted a seat despite being charging for a half-ticket. I had to seen rains of vomits because of these roads and suffocation. Every bus had puke-marks on the outside its windows, without exceptions.

These experiences were a big blow on my idea of travelling and exploring. But optimistically, I thought maybe the journeys beyond this so-called rather backward part of the country would be better and pleasant and maybe I should try other means such as trains, I thought.

 As a young boy, I read a lot about how Gandhiji used to travel only in 3rd class compartments in trains, despite being offered for first class ones. I considered him a man of high inner values, which he was in reality, I assume. But then I did not know why even the best of the activists of our generation like Anna Hazare do not even dare practice these values of Gandhiji, despite being his horny followers. And the reason I understand this was the fact that I was yet to go through my most painful train journey in a third class compartment.

I had just cleared my 12th exams and was to go to Agra from Varanasi— a 12 hours journey by train. I did not have a confirmed rail ticket. So the last option was to travel in the 3rd class because the next day was my entrance exam in a university. When this train came to the platform, I started looking for the third class coach and when I found, entering it was the last thing I wanted to do on this earth. But anyhow, I had to enter that bogie because that was the train to my last career-option, to a quality education.

The train was more crowded than the one you would have seen in the movie The Schindler’s List. And this is not an overstatement. One could not even stand straight. If entering the bogie was a war then getting out it at one’s station was a world war of a sort. And in these conditions, I was to travel for the next 10 hours.

A struggle for entering a third class Indian Rail compartment. (Courtesy: Google Images)

A struggle for entering a third class Indian Rail compartment. (Courtesy: Google Images)

I stood in a single position, fixed like a statue. After 2 hours, when I was able to climb up one of the upper berths where I spotted some space to sit, it was like that precise moment of happiness from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness. This berth was already broken in a way that only a couple of iron bars was left which made a space only 2 inches in width to sit. It seemed enough for my tiny skinny ass. But the moments of happiness were short-lived because, in less than an hour, the iron bar started hurting my bony ass.  Somehow, I endured. 

Once climbed, one prayed to God for not having to climb down, not having to urinate or to shit because it was almost impossible to reach the toilets only to find them already occupied as seats by other passengers. 

INDIA_CROWDED_TRAI_1577167g

A typical but not the worst inside view of a third class compartment. I have seen worse. (Courtesy: Google Images)

And boy, finally, I finished that journey by sitting in only one position for 10 hours, without using a toilet. And this I consider as one of my biggest achievements in life. 

Also that day, my respect for Gandhiji was multiplied…  Not by 69, of course! 

While urinating after that journey, I pledged not to travel in 3rd class ever again. And luckily I never had to do it again after that. 

 Jokes apart, the problem is severe than it appears because it has become a reality for most people of our country; a reality that they cannot escape. People who can either not arrange a confirmed rail ticket or cannot afford have to travel in inhuman conditions.  It’s sad and ironical that we aspire to surpass China as an economy in terms of business and production but not in terms of quality life. Maybe, latter is the by-product of the former but surely, it does not receive the attention it deserves . 

I don’t feel qualified enough to point out the root causes or suggest any solutions. But as a citizen of an Independent country striving hard to develop, I feel very bad to see people traveling like this. 

 In between all this, when I hear about backpackers and travelers who just start their unplanned journeys, without a confirmed ticket, in cheap and affordable ways, enduring all odds, I feel jealous, hopeful, fascinated at the same time. 

Hats off to such travelers and backpackers… And to Gandhiji, of course! 

Someday, I will grow long hair and long beard and travel all around India or may be all around the world, without an itinerary, without a confirmed ticket, without caring for a fucking sarkari naukari

Wish me luck!

Book Bucket Challange

So when one my friend asked me to share my list, I was literally lost for words good books. I tried hard for making the list of books that really influenced or shaped my way of thinking, and I came out  with the following books only.

Usually, the list should be of 10 books. But my list is short of 2.

Anyway, here it goes:

  1. Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

Putting a Chetan Bhagat’s book on top of a list might seem weird to elite book lovers. Nevertheless, in my case, like many other people’s, this was the one book which really got me into reading.

His books might be the most sold as well as, ironically, the most criticized books in India. And prima facie, he seems to be the Himesh Reshamiya of Indian literature. Moreover, there are a lot people who do not even recognize him as an established writer. But whatever be, his stories are interesting— at least this one.

As someone has  mentioned, (at least) he is a good story-teller.

  1. Short Stories of Ruskin Bond

Coll_Fiction_RBond_BIG.3

Ruskin Bond’s stories might not particularly have those twists and turns or shocking kind of endings. But they have a beautiful feeling about them— a feeling as if you yourself are living in those lovely mountains which he most of the times describes, and going through all those situations which the narrator goes through. His stories are natural and thought-provoking.

He creates the details like a painter that stimulates your imaginations, giving you a pleasant feeling.

It is said that to write a short story, introducing the characters, settings, time and weather is the first and essential thing. And in my opinion, Ruskin Bond is one of the most spontaneous writers when it comes to that.

  1. Short Stories of Roald Dahl

 41Tm7p4Y3JL._AA300_

Moving from Ruskin Bond to Roald Dahl was not easy for me. While Ruskin’s characters were simple, his stories, linear and not very complex or shocking; Dahl’s characters were complex and dark, his stories shocking and exciting as they move towards the end.

No need to mention that he is the best short story writer I have ever read.

If Ruskin Bond’s stories were a pleasant morning walk, then Roald Dahl’s were a mysterious mountain trek— exciting as they reveal.

  1. Train to Pakistan by Kushwant Singh

Train_to_Pakistan

This one is about the times and lives when partition of India took place. After reading this book, I realized how objectively, the subject of history has been taught to us. The history which is taught to us in schools is detached from human feelings.

This book gives a glimpse to one, of the situations through which people went through at the time of partition.

  1. Lajja by Taslima Nasreen

images

Throughout my life, I had known India as a country which consists of a majority of Hindus and never could I imagine a situation where Hindus could collectively be subject to persecution throughout an entire country— Bangladesh.

After reading this book, I realized how we treat our people in our country would affect how others treat theirs in their country. This book further justifies the notion that an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

Taslima Nasreen is indeed a brave writer and exposes the social situations in Bangladesh. We need more writers like her.

  1. The Company of Women by Khushwant Singh

109201

This one is a masterpiece of its kind. In this, Khushwant Singh writes about a sex addict-ish person who gets KLPDied in the end.

This book is interesting in every sense— twists, turns, sexuality, at times boring, at times disgusting, sometimes funny and in the end orgasmic (in the sense that you are fully satisfied when you finish the book).

  1. Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre

bk_4449

If you ask me to name the most interesting book I have ever read then this one will be the first to come into my mind.

Note that it is not a fiction book, but, still it can beat most of them. Because of how well it is written. It is one of the most gripping books.

It tells you the story of how India got her freedom and gives insights about the personality and character of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and Mountbatten etc. It is a must read for all the Indian who want to know about their country’s past and their forefathers.

There is an interesting fact that it is not written either by Indians, Pakistanis or British. So it’s a book written from a comparatively neutral point of view and is backed by a great research. The writers even interviewed the surviving assassins of M. K. Gandhi.

I have observed that most of us— mostly youth— are anti Gandhi nowadays. Just because of the fact that, in our childhood, we happened to meet people who told that Gandhiji was not a nice guy, he let Bhagat Singh die and supported Nehru and ignored Sardar Patel etc.

For people who think so, it’s a book to get their history lessons clear and form their opinion rather than believing some crap you have been told.

  1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

81tdbrewW0L._SL1500_

This one is about a teenager who runs away from his home, an old man who cannot read and write but can talk to cats and a lot of odd events that occur as the story unfolds.

As per me, Haruki Murakami is the Christopher Nolan of literature world. His stories seem simple and narratives seem not very complex. As you read, you think that you will get all the answers in the end but on finishing the book, you find yourself at the starting point again. This is the beauty of the book. The story never ends.

Murakami really pisses you off, in a way.

Nevertheless, his books are real delight to read and you would still feel content even if you do not necessarily solve all the riddles that are there in the stories.

9 and 10.

I am still looking for books that would influence me and help me to complete or overflow my book bucket.

Hope I happen to find them and finish them soon.

 

About Doordarshan and those Movie Watchers

It starts with the time when electricity had yet not reached to my village. The time when the dogs in my village did yet not have poles to pee on. The time when I was around 9-10 years. And the time when it was the late 90s.

My village was is located in a rather backward area of eastern UP where the language commonly spoken is Bhojpuri– yes, the language to which the some cheapest-ish double meaning songs belong, at least many people think so. One of my favorite bloggers– Greatbong has rightly pointed out that 37.5% of Bhojpuri songs consist of the phrase “Choliya ke Hookwa”. Although, I don’t exactly know what research methodology he used, but the idea is somewhere close to the reality, it seems.

Coming back to the story, I belonged to the luckiest of the families in the area, who could afford solar panels and batteries– a distant substitute to electricity in those days. These batteries could serve their masters with power only enough for a maximum 3-4 light bulbs and a black-and-white television for 4-5 hours at max in the best sunny days. And whenever came rains and clouds, they would become as useful as buffalo-shit.

Nevertheless, Doordarshan and Sour Urja (Solar Power) batteries was a vital combination for us.  But the options to watch movies or anything on TV as such were limited because of Doordarshan being the only channel.

Whenever we had some battery power left after the boring news show and daily soaps, that day, Doordarshan would telecast the shittiest movies from their collection. And Whenever there was a good movie to be shown, the battery would die because that day had been rainy or because of some other similar reasons. But even then, it was not as irritating as the slow internet connection might prove to be nowadays in some situations.

In those days, we had to trade-off between daily soaps and movies. We had to sacrifice one for the another because of the limited power supply.

We used to eagerly wait for weekends. Because Doordarshan showed movies only on Fridays at 9.30 PM and on Sundays at 4.00 PM. Sundays were eagerly waited because people were not in a habit of waking up till late night in villages.

Most of the times, while we watched a good movie, the battery would die just during the climax scene, leaving me feel like having a premature ejaculation.

The movies shown on DD were mostly the old ones and many times repeated. For the new movies, the people used to go to the Varanasi city which was 70 Km from the village. But not everyone went to the city. And even if they went, they could either not afford it or would not watch them, as watching cinema in theaters was considered to be a vice idea in those days, specially if one was a student. Parents would beat their sons if they discovered they went to a cinema hall. And boys were proclaimed as Awara if they went to a theater and considered  guilty as if they had become pickpockets.

In my case, until I was 12, movie theaters were just a fantasy for me. The first time I saw a movie in theater was in 2003.

If people at my village felt like partying on some occasions or do something generous for the society. Guess what did they do? They would bring a TV set, VCD player, Some VCDs and a Generator on rent for 1-2 nights. And every one would be invited for the movie show in the evening after dinner.

They all would gather at the compound in the village. And everything– VCD Player, TV and generator would be connected and around 40-50 people would watch the movies– no matter how shitty they were, all the movies were liked. Many of the people, sitting at the far back, could not even hear the dialogues or see the characters’ face because of the distance but still they would watch the movies, just to get some mental satisfaction for themselves.

I was a small kid then and used to eagerly notice all the elders whenever I sat at the back. It was more interesting for me to observe them. I used to see them watch, enjoy and interpret and comment on the movies. And I remember to make the following observations and conclusions out of them.

For them, a good movie consisted of a Solid manly hairy hero, a Harami villain and some comedians. A movie without action was bullshit. And a romantic movie was pig shit for them. If someone by mistake brought a VCD of a romantic movie on rent, he was looked upon as if he was an eunuch.

90% of those movies were based on Dacoits. If the hero was a male Dacoit, it was mandatory that his sister will be raped by some Lala or Seth ji and to avenge her, he has to become Dacoit himself, than anyone else.

But what if the protagonist was a female? Then she herself would be raped by some Lala or Sethji and then she would become a Daku. And she would adopt name such as Ramkali, Hirabai, Sitabai or some other xyz-Bai.

ramgadh_ki_ramkali_1325161813b3800

All the movies of such kind had 80% similar stories. And that’s why I used to wonder why the people liked these movies so much. May be because of the rape scenes, I guess.

Those movie viewers could tolerate the hero’s sister or his wife getting raped. They could even tolerate the Maa-Baap of the hero getting murdered by the villain. But the one thing they could not tolerate was when the hero died in the film. If in a film, the hero dies in the climax, they would tag it as Bakwaas. How can a movie be good if they the hero himself dies in the end?

I wonder what would they say if they could ever watch and understand Game of Thrones.

Songs. All songs were forwarded if the movie was being played on a VCD Player. But If the songs came in between a movie on Doordarshan, people would utilize that time by going for a pee and come back for the movie again before the song ended.

But the one thing I liked about them was their clear sense of dichotomy of songs and story. They watched movies for some action and not for songs and romantic bullshit as it normally happens in Bollywood. 80% of the movies, they would watch were of either Mithun Chakraborty, Dharmendra or some big blossomed female Dacoit heroine/ character in it.

According to most of them, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and other chocolaty charming boys were crap of the heroes. But I also noticed them enjoying movies like Raja Hindustani, DDLJ etc. but confessing that these were really nice films were not considered manly and they felt shy admitting that. Only ladies would admit that these lads were good actors.

In 2002, for the well-being of the dogs, electric poles were brought and fixed in almost every lane of my village. And on a fortunate day, the electricity was finally supplied. People gradually started stealing Electricity and buying TV sets of their own.

Meanwhile, dogs also learned peeing on the electric poles. Achhe din aa gaye the tab.

Now almost every household in my village owns TV, VCD player and some better off ones own paid dish TV connections as well.

More than 10 yeas have passed but when I visit my village, I still find them having somewhat the same  taste for movies. Only the names of the movies and actors have changed.

The Skepticism, The Wave and The Hope

The Skepticism

…..

“I am Izaj in Senior (Kindergarten). After the burning in Chamanpura (a riot-hit area), I came here.”

“They killed everyone.” says the young Muslim boy. He must not be more than 4-5 years old.

“Did you see it? What did you see?”, asks the interviewer to the boy whose family was killed in the Gujarat riots in 2002.

“They attacked with swords.”

“They killed my grandpa and aunt. And when my father tried to save grandpa, they chopped off two of his fingers”, replies the boy and he shows his own hand as a gesture to indicate which fingers of his father were chopped off.”

He goes on,” They stripped the women before killing them”

“In front of you?” asks the interviewer in order to know the horrifying scenario.

“Yes, they stripped my aunt too.”

He asks after a pause,”who did it?”

The young boy replies,”Wo Hindu log aaye the na.”  in an innocent voice.

…..

This was the first of the many interviews featured in the well-made, thought-provoking documentary Final Solution which is about the 2002 Gujarat Riots. It was released in 2003 and is banned in India, however, one can find it on YouTube. It is directed by Rakesh Sharma and it has won several international awards.

Sometimes, I wonder why we are said to have freedom of expression even if the govt. can go on banning books and documentaries like this one which are made on neutral grounds.

I am of opinion that the govt. can oppose an idea but it should not be given the right to ban books and films etc. without  well justified reasons.

This documentary features many interviews with Gujarat Riot victims, the family members of various Godhra Train Burning victims and Akshardham Temple Attack victims. These victims belong to both the communities− Hindu and Muslim.

After watching this one, I realized that such violence is neither a one time suffering and nor does it cause only the victims or their family to suffer in isolation but these incidents give birth to an exponential  hatred towards one-another. It gives birth to a craving for revenge which works as a chain reaction.

In the closing scene of the documentary, Izaj says that he wants to become a soldier. When the interviewer asks why so, he replies— so that he can grow up being a soldier and burn all the Hindus. It was because, in his innocent young mind, he believes that Hindus are bad people. He is not able to differentiate between a Hindu and a bad person.

The interviewer then asks,” I am a Hindu too. Am I also bad? Will you not spare me?”

The boy replies innocently that he will only kill Hindus and the interviewer is not one of them.

Then the interviewer asks him,” Don’t I look like a Hindu to you?”

The young boy shakes his head in disagreement and says,”No, you are a Muslim.” Because the interviewer seems a good man to him.

I can guess, but don’t surely know how such idea got sown in his young innocent mind. But it is very horrifying to know that this kid— along with many other anonymous like him— had to grow up with it.

Maintaining its neutrality and supported  by interviews, clippings and facts; the documentary goes on highlighting the role of the then Gujarat Govt., VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. in the whole tragedy. Some accusations are supported by well researched facts, figures and interviews while some accusations have no supportive facts as such.

Through out the whole documentary, there are various clippings of various Hindu leaders and politicians whose speeches are provocative in nature. It gives an idea of the unjustified actions might have been carried out by the VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. pertaining to the whole tragedy.

It is a well made documentary but in my opinion, the documentary could have shown more of the other side of the coin as well. The leaders of the other side, I mean.

Despite the above, being a human being, no matter which community I belong to, no matter what nation I belong to, it’s painful for me to know that a genocide has happened somewhere at some point of time. That innocents are being killed somewhere. Whether be it Hindus of Bangladesh, Sikhs in 1984 or Muslims in 2002, I feel a natural hatred towards the persons responsible.

So, after reading so much of anti-Modi articles and reports, I felt the same towards him.

I wonder why there are no solid facts, videos, letters or anything for that matter that can, without argument, prove the role of Narendra Modi in the whole tragedy. I really wonder about it. If so many people can accuse him of doing so many things, then at least one person could have come out with a solid proof against him.

I think our Indian Judicial System is still so strong that we can prove charges against one man if we have strong proofs against him. Various cases and SITs ran through but no one could prove the charges against him.

Let me talk about the media trials. If I talk about the various documentaries, news reports, articles and interviews; they— if all combined, at max, but not for sure— only prove what Modi, at best, should have done in that situation. But none can put it strongly forward that Modi had an active hand in all of these. All he can be proven guilty of is following and giving more importance to one religion or community but one can never strongly convict him of doing anything against the other. At least, so far.

There is another angle to the whole idea. The Supreme court of India has recently acquitted Adam Ajmeri who was one of the accused in Akshardham Temple attack. He, with 5 others, is finally proven innocent, on the same day that Modi registered his own victory in Lok Sabha elections.

It is important to note that the Supreme Court accused the Gujarat Police for framing “innocent” people and the Gujarat home minister of “non application of mind” (link:http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/a-different-kind-of-a-victory-in-gujarat/99/). The five other along with Ajmeri were convicted by the lower court, who were found not guilty by the Supreme Court of India.

The idea here is— if the decision of one court can be so contrary to that of the other in the same nation, then how can we count upon the decisions in favor of or clean chits given to Mr. Modi. May be after some years, some court will convict him too. Who knows?

However, back to the media trials, my last and biggest hope was Arnab Goswami’s interview with Narendra Modi. I like his courage and researches that he keeps with him as prerequisites before interviewing the big guns. I remember the way he exposed Rahul Gandhi of his brainless-ness and lack of vision and ideas other than RTI and Woman Empowerment.

To my disappointment, leave Modi aside of his own accusations, Arnab could not even prove that Modi had people in his cabinet who had charges against them related to the riots, at the time when they were the part of the cabinet.

But the biggest thing is that you cannot give clean chits for what better one could have done, morally, by taking the higher road. You cannot convict someone in court for who one could have, on moral grounds, opposed strongly, in order to save innocent lives. We don’t have Penal Codes for should-have-done crimes.

Other than this, look at the results of 2014 elections results. We don’t even have a single Muslim candidate who won from BJP.

Take a look at this excerpt from an article of Shekhar Gupta published in the Indian Express:

“… This is a provocative formulation. It will be contested and, arguably, so. If BJP’s entire Lok Sabha contingent of 272+ does not have a single Muslim — which means a population segment of nearly 15 per cent has found no representation in what is a national wave — can you really call this verdict post-ideological?…”  (link:http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/modi-your-time-starts-now/)

Due to all these facts, I am very skeptical of what is coming for us as a nation from a Modi-led BJP government.

The Wave

Criticising Modi and BJP, the documentary also mentioned the following, 10 years ago:

 

A snapshot from Final Solution (2003)

A snapshot from Final Solution (2003)

 

A snapshot from Final Solution (2003)

A snapshot from Final Solution (2003)

I happened to read through it in 2013 before Modi was announced the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP. At that time, the speculations were still there, though. I thought that once he would be announced BJP’s PM candidate, he will start following the Hindutva agenda.

But now when I look back and see, I feel very happy that it did not happen.

He won the election with the help of a wave that does not belong much to the sea of communalism or Hindutva ideology but to the ocean of development and opportunities. I feel good that Modi-Wave was less about hatred and more about a dream of “India Shining”.

Except for a few instances, these elections have been more about development and less about religion and caste.

 

The Hope 

Still, when I think that this govt. has an agenda of development, a thought of radical ideology which might be followed by them comes to my mind. When I think that this government’s strongest leader did not use polarization statements, a number of 272+ which is without any leader of a community that forms 15% of our population, comes to my mind.

That is why, all I want is to hope because hope is a good thing.

I hope for a day when we don’t have to make documentaries on tragedies. If they are to be made, the subject should be development, achievement and happiness.

I hope for a day when the words like “genocide”, “persecution”, “communal-violence” are printed at most in History books, not in newspapers.

I hope that we don’t have to have self-proclaimed thekedars  for our Bharat Mata ki Raksha against so-called Pashchimi Sabhyata.

I hope from this goverment for an educated, developed and happy India full of brotherhood and love.

This time, I hope for an “India Shining”.

 

P.S.: This was written just to share my thoughts and feeling about the new Modi Government. The incidents and interviews of the documentary Final Solution which is highly recommended were used to bring clarity of thought. It might seem that whole thing inclined towards one side. But I want to clarify that even if it seems, I don’t mean anything of that sort.

The 7 Movies that got me going through bHEL(L)

When I joined my job at BHEL, I never expected that it will turn my life upside down. A person who was always surrounded by friends and relished almost every bit of his life will end up being alone in a new city, at a work place where no one seemed even a bit of his potential friend.

The times so far have been hard and life has been a little tough. But there are also a lot of things that I learned here, such as effectively dealing with sheer asshole-ry, enjoying the solitude and all.

When you are alone in a strange city and don’t have friends there, you try to find joy in ordinary things. Things which earlier did not matter or did not occupy much of your focus, begin to occupy your deep thoughts.

Well, for me, one of those things was movies. After being alone, suddenly, I started paying extra attention to them. Analyzing each and every one of them, as I watched. After watching, I had started thinking deep about them. I started interpreting them, finding meaning out of them. And at the end of the whole process, it felt like having an intellectual orgasm.

Here are the 7 movies that helped me pass through the tough times by fueling my intellectual shagging and thoughtful juices:

  1. Before Sunrise: There was a time when I liked romantic movies but as I grew older, the genre started boring me at the same rate as if it was following the Law of marginal diminishing utility.

  When I watched this movie, I was going through one of the most depressing days. And this movie came like a relief.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Sunrise

 When I came across the title on the internet, I thought it was a yet another romantic crap. But I decided to watch it because of its good ratings.

 The number of characters in the film is limited to two— a young man and a young beautiful woman in their early 20s. The story is of a night when two strangers are together and without a sex scene. The whole movie is about their beautiful conversations which lasts the night.

 It is a simple masterpiece without turns and twists.

  Julie Delpy looks very beautiful in the film. The two sequences to the film— Before Sunset and Before Midnight, which were released after a 10 years gap each, are equally interesting.

  1. Django Unchained:  I have always liked Quentin Tarantino’s movies expect for a couple of them. Most of his movies are about revenge and so was this one. The special thing about this one is that it was about a slave who, with a bounty hunter’s help, takes revenge from slavers and ultimately meets with his lady love by kicking the shit out of villains’ ass.

This movie has the real wits and charm. I enjoyed each and every minute of the movie.

 django-unchained-poster

What an awesome sense of humor the characters of the movie had! Dicaprio, Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz. All of them were awesome in the movie.

 

  1. The Lunchbox: This one was an Indian masterpiece-ish romantic movie. Taking love to a different land, between non-conventional characters. All the actors wore their characters like skin and direction was near perfect.

When I watch a movie like this, I wonder how the idea takes shape in the maker’s mind and how it turns out in such a beautiful form.

M_Id_421486_thelunchbox

 The best part of the movie, which is thought-provoking also was the climax of the film. It makes you think deep.

 

  1. Once: This movie is a perfect a musical film made in a documentary style. The characters are lovable and actors are so natural that it feels like you are into the real life of them and watching it happen

 For this one I don’t have much words other than that it’s the best movie that has a guitarist in it.

 51hYiOISA+L

The best thing about the movie is that the actors have themselves sang the songs, live. The songs became my favorites instantly.

  1. Shahid: This one is the best biopic I have seen in years. It was not about someone like the Flying Sikh or a brave Indian revolutionary. It was about an Indian Muslim Lawyer who once lost his way and came back to it, determined. It is about a simple, straight forward Braveheart whose story deserved to be told more than anyone else’s.

 

Shahid_Poster_(2013)

 Raj Kumar Rao and Hansal Mehta are the perfect actor-director duo for such a film. It is a must watch for all. The film is an honest effort which could never have been better.

  1. Lootera: I never liked Ranveer Singh or Sonakshi Sinha before this movie. Although, I had heard about the director Vikramaditya Motwane before but I did not like his first film —Udaan, as much as it was praised by the critics.

 For me, Lootera was the real gem of Mr. Motwane because he made these actors act so well and so natural. And the music given by Amit Trivedi is one of his best works.

lootera-poster

 But the only complaint with the movie that I have is that it had a very irritating character in it—the last (artificial) leaf. The leaf was a bitch and it kind of fucked the climax. Nevertheless, the movie is still great.

  1. Ship of Theseus: Honestly, I could not get what the movie was trying to convey exactly. I understood the all four stories that were there in it. But what the real message of the movie was I still trying to know.

 This one got me thinking and analyzing very deep. That’s why it’s there in my list.

M_Id_403377_Ship_of_theseus

From Bewafa Sanam to Bryan Adams: Music and Me so far

This is about the part of life which I have spent on music— listening, learning, enjoying, hating and sometimes, simply trying to understand.

I think music is one of beautiful blessings that God has bestowed upon the human beings in order to help them in Being-Human (It might sound bullshit but it’s true).

Let me begin with the very beginning.

My mother says that when I was a baby, the easiest way to stop me from crying was to turn on the radio. But what I remember about really recognizing music is when I was 4-5 years old and my youngest paternal uncle used to play Altaf Raja songs on his audio system, back then in mid 90s. So, Tum to thehre Pardesi and Yaron maine panga le liya are among the first songs in my life that I remember. I enjoy listening to Altaf Raja even nowadays. When I saw the music video of Tum to thehre Pardesi two years back, I was very surprised to see Chitrangada Singh in it, of which I was never aware.

 Altaf Raja in his unique style on an abum cover

Altaf Raja in his unique style on an album cover

The other things I remember is that my elder sister used to buy audio cassettes of the then latest albums. The albums she bought were DDLJ, Mohabbatein, Raja Hindustani, Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai etc. I remember enjoying listening to those songs in an age when kids don’t concentrate on anything other than playing. So, I used to feel like a different child.

Audio Cassettes

Audio Cassettes: 12 songs gave so much satisfaction which is not even possible by a 400 songs DVD. Wo waqt hi kuch aur tha.

I remember one of my cousins who was 6 years elder to me. He had a hobby of collecting lyrics books of old Hindi songs, which were sold at stations for 5 bucks. He would sing those songs by using the lyrics books. I used to randomly go through those books in order to pass time in the hot summer afternoons. Listening to the song and realizing that I had already read the lyrics was a good feeling. And this helped me develop a habit of paying attention to lyrics. Those songs were mostly of Mukesh, Rafi and Kishore.

The cover of a hindi songs lyrics book. The price was Rs. 5 .

The cover of a hindi songs lyrics book. The price was Rs. 5 .

Time passed, and I grew up a little and entered the 8th standard. I observed people who were suffering from recent heart breaks and listening to Bewfa Sanam album which was a huge success back then.

Mostly out of curiosity than liking for the songs, I went to one of the older friends of mine and asked him to prepare a list of all good Bewfa Sanam-songs for me. I took that list to the audio shop where they used to record songs from a customized list, from original cassettes to a blank audio cassette— a form of piracy.  The shop guy was surprised that such a young kid wanted to listen to Bewfa Sanam-type songs for which I also felt very awkward. You might be thinking how poor my songs choice were but let me tell you that it’s the time when I started understanding the meaning of Urdu poetry and Ghazals.

Album cover of Bewafa Sanam.

Album cover of Bewafa Sanam.

I gradually developed an interest in  Ghazals as well. Since, it was a backward area where I lived and the electricity was provided only for 8 hours or so, the only choice I was left with was to listen to Vividh Bharti radio channel. And the disadvantage or the advantage of this was that you had to listen to whatever songs they played.

My favourite programme was the one dedicated to Ghazals. I really feel thankful to it that it introduced me to singers like Ghulam Ali, Jagjeet Singh, Abida Parveen and poets such as Kaifi Azmi, Gulzar, Nida Fazli etc.

I would also like to mention that earlier I found the Hindustani Classical Music very boring. But luckily, once I listened to Pandit Jasraj on Doordarshan at a Republic Day event. And Man! I got my opinion changed. I got an idea how legends like Tansen etc. were able to mesmerize people with their singing.

By the time I was only in class 9th, I got addicted to music— diverse music. I was so addicted to music that even in the toilet, I used to play songs on my Phillips Tape Recorder at 5 o’clock in the morning at a high volume.

I am very lucky to have such tolerating parents as mine who objected but very softly, against their son’s awkward habits.

About  that period only, I used to listen to Kumar Sanu, also, whose voice sounded like Kishore Kumar singing in a constipation state which I realized later on.

*

Initially, I used to consider A R Rahman’s songs very weird. If you listen to Rahman’s songs such as Telephone Dhun me hasne wali, Humma-Humma, Shadi ke baad kya kya Hua etc., you might understand what I am trying to say. Don’t these songs sound weird?

Like today, back then also, such a justified hype was created about Rahman that I decided to give the man a chance of neutral listening and not comparing his songs with Ghazals and all. I was like a 1960s’ Hindi music lover trying hard to like the modern music. To my delight, I luckily found a CD of A R Rahman’s discography up till 2001. Interestingly, the CD was not being sold at the local CD shop because people preferred to buy only Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan MP3s and Internet was accessible to me back then.

I listened to AR Rahman and just after trying 3-4 albums, I felt like I was into a different world, altogether. I felt lucky. Since then only, I have been  following each and every album of his. I think he is truly God’s own man.

Then came a time when an already known fellow came into flash-light in a completely new avatar— with a cap on his head, with small beard, with a mike in his hands and face facing the roof and of course, singing with his nose. Yes. It was Himesh Reshamiya. And I have no shame in accepting that I became an instant fan even after listening to his songs with shitty lyrics like— I love you o Sayyoni, Koi Shaq, What’s up. What the hell!

Himesh took excessive advantage of it and got fucked up later on. Nevertheless, I still enjoy some of his songs.

In 2008, I joined college where I was introduced to western music. My room-mate introduced me to Linkin Park, Eagles and Enrique Iglesias etc. 

Western music was an unlimited horizon. And I wanted to explore it. So I began with borrowing western songs from my friends and seniors. As results, I got gold as well shit from them.

I kept getting and listened to western music in the following order:  I started with Linkin Park, Akon, Marilyn Manson etc. Then awkwardly, it was Shakira, Jennifer Lopez etc. Then luckily it was Pink Floyd, Guns and Roses, The Doors, The Beatles and Nirvana etc. You see how the choice evolved.

Afterwards, I was introduced to a kind of music which I consider the worst— Rap. And I want to slap my past self for wasting 1 GB of space in my MP3 player and 3 months of time of my life on raps.

In my personal opinion, like “Rape” is one of the most disgusting among all types of crime, “Rap” is similar in nature, when it comes to music. Rappers seem to be villainous characters. Rap rapes the brain of the listener.

I have observed that when you suddenly stop listening to rap, you start behaving normally. Try it if you are a fan of Yo Yo Honey Singh— the greatest pseudo rapist rapper in India. Just try not to listen to him for a month and you will feel that people have started liking you more than they ever did and your parents have started feeling better about you.

 I wonder why didn’t someone shoot me or expel me from the DEI Junior Boys Hostel (i.e. my college hostel) on a charge of listen to raps in a hostel of a (religious) educational institution. I guess they were very tolerant, thankfully.

Then God showed his sign and one of my friends came to me like an angel and a savior and saved me from Raps and re-introduced me to Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin etc. And to The Doors as well.

BB King: King of the Blues

BB King: King of the Blues

Gun n' Roses

I started learning guitar about the same time.  And thanks to my versatile friends and acquaintances that I was able to explore new artistes and new music genres. I went on listening to Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams and John Denver. Then I introduced myself to the Blues and felt lucky that I happened to enjoy B. B. King’s great pieces.

One of my friends who is a big Anil Kapoor’s fan (irrelevant) introduced me to Yanni who is comparable to A R Rahman or may be, vice versa. But thank you, bro.

Yanni

Yanni: The musical magician.

 *

In retrospect, I feel so satisfied with my life for being able to explore the greatest forms of music, for having listened to greatest and not so great artists, for loving one and hating the other kind of music, for being inspired to learn music— up to a semi-average level, for the fact that I can share with people my experience of enjoying different genres of music and help them explore some beautiful pieces which can make at least a little bit of difference in the way they feel.

 P.S.: And in the end, I would like to curse the bastards who snatched my cell phone away—May those sons of bitches die of piles!