Benazir Bhutto – RIP

benazir_bhutto_pak901.jpg

Came across this photograph minutes before reports came out that she had died. This caught my eye as it came across as a really powerful photograph…I don’t personally care for her policies or the things she did during the time she ruled. Nothing takes away that she was a brave woman..and she did not deserve to die the way she did. I dread to think of what will happen in Pakistan now, the riots, more turmoil. I am reminded of a chilling statement made by the LTTE after an assasination attempt on Chandrika Kumaratunga, “She needs to get lucky each time, we need to get lucky just once.”

I am shocked at the indifference we now exhibit to news like this, you shake your head a few times and then shrug it off and move on doing your own thing…We have become immune to the tragedies that strike the world. The alarming frequency with which they strike in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world is giving us a thicker skin…yet another death…the world becomes a worse place to live in day by day

Benazir Bhutto, you are in a better place now.

Edited to update: This picture has now been published in practically every newspaper..it really is something..she wears this really enigmatic look and its one of her best pictures indeed. What struck me was that as I was gazing at this picture Benazir was in hospital, fighting for her life..it is a thought that is very freaky..

Taare Zameen Par

I’m not too much of a movie buff…very few movies can make me get my nose out of my book to get out an watch a movie..most Aamir Khan movies can do that to me. Of the bunch of movies I have watched, some have been truly original, a complete delight to watch, some entertaining..that you’d soon forget about…no film has ever had me thinking, “This one will actually change lives”. Taare Zameen Par did.

What was remarkable was the way the movie was handled, the tight script, the brilliant, completely natural and spontaneous performances. Dyslexia as a theme has not really been explored by movies, at least Indian ones. Awareness about the condition has surely increased, but this is something recognisable much earlier than it is being done these days. This movie surely will contribute to that.

Another thing is that its not just about a disability, but about any child that is not a “star”..any child that does not make straight As..or any child that does not score centums.. The movie took me back to my school days and reminded me of the real “duds” of the class…I used to wonder then about how they couldn’t even read straight off the text  book..I could then even understand if they did not do well in tests, they were lazy and didn’t study, but not being able to read simple English..or Hindi? That was surely plain indifference? I used to help out these kids, but I always “knew” that they weren’t putting in an effort, for surely you cannot be this stupid? One boy even flunked Standard 7 three times…it was really beyond comprehension for me. If I landed up with marks in the 70s…I’d get such a tongue lashing from my mother…I’d wonder how these parents reacted? But now thinking back I think realisation has dawned, these kids probably had some form of a learning disability. I can now differentiate between the really lazy kids and those that probably had troubles and it makes me feel bad.

There are gut renching scenes, the one where Ishaan’s father tells him that he’s leaving home because he is angry with all his mischief and his subsequent reactions, when he is put in the boarding school and the humiliation starts all over again, of course the end, after winning the competition, when he runs crying to Nikumbh, its a reflection of all the pent up trauma in the child getting released when he has at long last tasted some success and that realisation of how good some praise feels, praise that that his rock bottom self esteem has never possibly seen…I could go on and on!

I also loved the way the “star” elder brother was depicted, instead of casting him as arrogant and condescending, he is loving, concerned, confused and an exasperated brother..not completely devoid of his flaws, a very natural portrayal once again..you can tell that his heart goes out to his little brother and that he doesn’t quite understand why things are so bad with him. Vipin Sharma and Tisca Chopra as Ishaan’s parents do a commendable job of parents who don’t get why they have such extremely different children, one can really relate to their roles.

If one were to nit pick, yes the whole transformation that comes over Ishaan under Nikumbh’s care was way too quick..if only things worked that way! But you are prepared to make allowances for such minor flaws in the movie..

Aamir Khan delivers an expectedly wonderful performance, but obviously the hero out here is Darsheel Safary for coming up with such a natural and spontaneous performance, one that carries the film on his young shoulders..

An absolute must watch…an experience that will stay with you forever and forever 🙂

Cue to go awww, aww, ouch!

Margazhi, Mylapore and memories

Having in the heart of Mylapore as a child, all the hullabaloo in the papers about the “magic of mylapore”, the music festival attempting to create a hype and recreate that magic catapulted me into that time when there was no hype, no need for all the publications to draw the attention to the so called culture, no advertisements, no obsessive sponsoring…there was the real thing. I was young, really young, around 4 or 5…before I was packed off for the mandatory paattu class…so my recollection of that time is not very vast…quite hazy in fact…

I remember waking up early in the mornings, finishing up my bath and waiting in the  balcony…all bundled up to fend off the “pani”…then they’d make an appearance…the old men singing bhajans…I’d dutifully and solemnly take my fistful of rice….empty it into their sombus…and fall at their feet….now why I found this so fascinating is really beyond me…but I would faithfully do this…every single day that those thathas made an appearance..I did not understand the significance of this..but I followed the routine pretty strictly…we then moved away and this childhood memory faded until a couple of years back…when I was the lazy lump and the only reason I was up at 6 am and in Mylapore was to attend my CA classes..and I saw a bunch of thathas…with their clanging instruments… Obviously these men were some twenty years younger when I had my first brush with the bhajana ghoshtis and were possibly working at that point…and after their retirement have decided to do what their fathers and uncles did…I was fascinated that the tradition is still living!

Another memory I have is that of travelling by bus number 21 from the Devanathan street stop in Mandevali to Luz corner to do all our shopping…my world started and ended there…my trips to school near Mount Road were routine and did not hold too much of a novelty…but these trips to Luz Corner were real treats….Of course came the occasional trip to Parry’s corner to visit the tailor with my paati and uncle…these were ultimate for me for it meant such a nice long bus journey…instead of getting off at Luz, the bus took us all the way to the terminus…and we had to take a little walk to reach Shumm Tailors where my uncle would be measured and cloth given to the guy to create his magic! I tagged along happily and was rewarded with a cone ice cream for being a good little kid!The Allen Sollys and Louis Philips have taken over now and the fancy ice cream pubs have invaded…but that childish fancy that these trips held for me will always be a part of me..

Fresh vegetables, rich colours, plenty of haggling, holding patti’s hand tight and carrying a tiny bag, we’d walk up and down South Mada Street, long before these vendors were cleared for encroachments, long before broccoli and bell peppers made an appearance in our supermarkets…we would take a cursory glance at all the vendors and check on whose vegetables were the freshest and settle on one of them to start the process of haggling..great drama would ensue and paati would act as though these were the worst of the lot…she’d throw the vegetables back and declare that she would never buy from him..and he’d match her…saying that she was damaging  her vegetables and that single act of throwing a tomato would wipe out his entire family…a lot of fun later we’d walk back laden with all the loot..I still find buying vegetables therapeutic and will never say no to a trip to Suriya Sweets and Greens!

Oh to be 4 again! Why do things change so much?

Baby muddles in my head

My uncle S and his wife P are having trouble conceiving…not too uncommon?

Well S is 37 and P is 35..S is handicapped, he is hearing impaired and P is from a very poor family, had a very troubled childhood and all the works. They married a couple of years back and they both want a baby and want it soon for obvious reasons. Now having visited the doctor, the verdict is that there is an issue and they’d have to go in for all the expensive and painful treatment..and even then we don’t know…

Now all of us want babies…its the most natural thing..at best the debate is about when, very very few people decide that they are not going to have a child. Ditto for me, KT and I married 4 months  back and I’m 24, he’s 26…so no baby anytime soon…but there’s no doubt in our minds that we want one. Well yeah I said one…by one I mean I  definitely don’t want to get pregnant more than once. But the thing is both of us have a sibling each and we like a four member family. But I really don’t think I want to go throught he process twice…I’m extremely intolerant to pain and I hate the way even a period interrupts my life every now and then and renders me a completely useless being…unable to sit or stand, breaking out in a cold sweat, puking, horrible cramps…well I’ve kind of resigned myself to the 9 month “interruption”…but I really don’t want to do that twice..I know I sound cold blooded, insensitive and everything…but I feel so far removed from the event..something that’s perhaps more than 3 years away…. Right now my 24 year old being can think of only my career, perhaps an MBA squeezed in between…I guess once I’m older I will view pregnancy as more than an interruption…So now we are saying that we will have one child and adopt another. Having said that, I have no idea how we would feel 5 years down the line…right now its just a flippant, quick fix solution…we want two babies, unwilling to bear more than one, solution, please adopt the other. Now we are aware of course of all the emotional issues that go along with it…whether we will be able to love both equally (I guess so), and more importantly what kind of appearances will we convey to the children, when to break the news to the kids, dealing with the kids’ emotions etc..now we haven’t stopped to think about all this at all…its all a far away thing…and I have no idea how we will react when push comes to shove. Another thing is that if for some reason we are not able to have even that one baby, at present I think I will not go in for infertility treatment, will straight away adopt…I don’t want to go over all the hassles…here again I have no idea how I will react when all of this actually happens. Its very simple to come up with rational solutions when the problem doesnt actually confront you.

Coming back now to S and P, when I heard about them, my instinctive feeling was why don’t they just adopt. They are old, the process is painful and their age makes the whole thing fraught with risks, plus the danger that the kid is born with the handicap cannot be ruled out at all. Taking all this into account the most logical thing is to adopt…give some unfortunate child a good life, save yourself a pot ful of trouble. But it seems that this thought has not really entered their heads…they are fairly conservative and would probably think on the lines of what caste etc that baby would be…I may be mistaken but my guess is that adopting may not be a very pleasant option and they’d rather go without a child…if that were the alternative.

Now I want to know..what is it that compels people to try out these expensive and painful treatments? More so people who already have a child? I’m not at all being judgemental here…I’m just trying to understand the feelings and emotions that go with a situation like this…Why are we reluctant to adopt? Why is it that we are compelled to even have children? Is it because its a done thing? Or does it mark an achievement? Do me a favour and do tell…I’d really like to know what you think..

Broadband blues

Dear Mr Airtel Man

 Thank you for installing the broadband connection in my house. I also really appreciate the fact that you think my house is so lovely that you found it fit to give me that drishti pariharam in the form of placing the phone on the staircase. Yes I agree I was negligent in not checking to see how you had placed it, but seriously I hadnt credited you with that much intelligence and sensitivity. I apologise. The best part was even after I called and yelled about this and asked you to undo all of your good work, you persisted and insisted that I place my modem on the staircase…and when I refused you said I could put a stand on the staircase.  I unfortunately don’t have the kind of decorating skills that you have, but a stand in the middle of a staircase makes a very unique prop indeed…or is it some vastu or feng shui compliance?

You have now promised to fix the modem on the wall..with stickers…I am sceptical but I am giving you another chance…let’s see.

Regards

GDS

Of all the wonderful things

to get

Wouldnt hindsight

rank near the best?