Why I hate New Years

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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>

On Trying to Write a Short Story

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

 

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 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.

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 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!

About Sachin Tendulkar, Paul Walker, Copying and Not-being-Myself

Sometimes, in order to find a direction to live your life into, you look for some people as role models and inspiration. Sometimes, you find those people and you just want to be like them. And you try to put all your efforts and all your energy for it. I know it may be called as trying-to-copying and not-being-yourself, but you enjoy trying being like them, although you don’t always succeed. But you enjoy your efforts and that time and you just go on doing it.

I don’t know how many times it happens to you, but it happened to me and I just want to share my story as a tribute to the two persons—Sachin Tendulkar and Paul Walker. Trying to follow them formed a major part of the person who I am.

Chronologically, first comes Sachin. If I see in a general sense—in view of newspapers, digital media, publicity and fame—Sachin is the most famous, most admired and has the largest fan following ever. But when it comes to my personal experience, ironically, all the people with whom I talked about Sachin, there were only around 5% of them who really admired Sachin. Others say that he played for himself and similar crap. That’s why I used to wonder how he rose to such a height.

In my childhood, all my friends either liked Saurabh Ganguly or somebody else like Sehwag, Yuvraj etc.who had more powerful shots or higher strike rates and who weren’t slow in their nervous nineties.

But I admired, loved and was devoted to Sachin. Sachin was Cricket and Cricket was Sachin for me.

It was largely because his career started even before I was born and he was at the peak of his career when I came of age to understand cricket. In those days i.e. 1997-98, I thought that test cricket was a kind of practice matches, played in order to prepare for the one-days which were the real cricket for me. Only later I realized that they are just different forms of a game and are complete in their own sense. What a fool I was!

But in totality it’s just feelings—no matter how they came into existence. And I loved Sachin. I supported him even if he was slow—some say it was selfish—in his nervous nineties. Even if his being slow cost a significant chance of loss, no matter what, I loved Sachin. I respect Rahul Dravid as well and admire him for his effort and feel bad that he got far less than what he deserved in terms of retirement ceremony and media and fan focus. But when it comes to Sachin, it’s a different level altogether. With many of the others, I could only sympathize while, with a few, I can empathize too. But with Sachin, I don’t have a word which means “beyond empathizing”. It’s like I have lived Sachin.

I could never imagine that Sachin would ever retire. When people over various media started–directly or indirectly– suggesting him to retire, I used to fear. I could never imagine Cricket or Indian Team without him.

But the day came and he retired. It was a test series which looked like West Indies was specially selected as a weak opponent so that Sachin could retire with glory. That’s what my analytical mind says. But my heart says, “Fuck you. It’s Sachin”. And that’s the answer to the all logical shits that comes in the way of Sachin.

I was in my office on the day he retired and could not watch his last innings. I later saw his last speech on YouTube and I cried that day. His last speech “My life, between 22 Yards for 24 years” still reverberates in my ears.

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After his retirement, I couldn’t not follow cricket for months. Although I do follow it these days but the feeling is not the same. I keep missing him and Dravid. Virat, Dhawan and Dhoni are no Sachins and Dravids for me.

I wish his last test series were with South Africa or Australia. And I hope even if India had lost, Sachin would have struggled. I would have loved it. But again, my heart says to me—Fuck you.

So when I see this ad where Sachin says that this year’s IPL is going to be the toughest for him, I also feel the same way even if I did not follow IPL much in the past, but then it was a pleasure even just to know that Sachin still played.

Why I felt like following him and trying being like him—in terms of a person, off course—was his strength even after being a little and young man, his being tough even after opponents understating him in the beginning, his answering with bat even if he could answer with words, his being a gentleman even if he could have afforded to be even more aggressive than how Virat Kohli is nowadays, or simply he is just a darling in totality.

 

The other person was Paul Walker.

It was his characters played in the movie “The Fast and the Furious” which attracted me and I wanted to be like his character in the movie—not in terms of driving, fighting and spying, but in terms of being cool in pressure and handling the complex situations just like he does in the movie. I just wanted to be like him, in real life, in more real and easier situations unlike that of the movies’.

The character suited him so perfectly that it got stuck to me. It was the time, when most of the young guys used to have either dumb-looking small short hair with side partition, spikes or long weird hair for a haircut. For me, Paul’s simple and sober hair style was the smartest and the most stylish and I still try keeping it like his (although they don’t turn out to be). I also bought Converse shoes, red t-shirts and black jeans, just to adopt his style. I somehow got a t-shirt with Paul Walker’s photo printed on the chest and it became my favorite. Now, it’s 6 years old and I am still wearing it fondly.

paul-walker-and-the-supra

Unfortunately, one morning, I came to know that he passed away. It was a shocking news for me. It was like one part of who I am has died and that space had become vacant. And I still feel that.

Unlike Sachin in the field of Cricket, Paul was less popular and lesser known– in my friend circle, at least. But I felt good about it for there was no one to criticize him. And this is because there are a very few people I met who recognize him as a big star.

Days after his death, his new film released– Hours. In Hours, he played one of the same characters—cool and good at handling situations with a different kind of charm. I liked the movie and loved his character.

Now, I find it hard for me to convince myself that I won’t be able to watch Paul’s new movies in future and there will be/is another actor whom the character of being cool like those of Paul’s will suit perfectly.

Just like, despite there being Varat Kohli, there will never be another Sachin, similarly, there won’t be another Paul.

Love you Sachin.

R.I.P. Paul.

Respect for Rahul Dravid—because I can’t help mentioning him!

As far as being myself is concerned, at this stage of my life, I have realized that trying to copy some cool and good things from a role model is also a part of being yourself.

P.S.: This was my first blog attempt. I hope it was intriguing.