Saturday, October 29, 2011

chalo picture dekenge!

Chalo picture dekenge!

It was Diwali and our whole family got together in my sister’s house in Mumbai for a family celebration.
No family celebration of Diwali is complete without “chalo picture dekenge!”

Even before we reached Mumbai my sister had made sure the tickets for the latest Shahrukh extravaganza was booked . Yes, this Diwali had all makings of becoming one of the most memorable Diwalis for all of us.
Lots of mithais, all of us constantly talking and joking, friends coming over for a grand feast and to top it all was the climax-“ Ra.one”.
If there was any dampener to all our spirits it was RaOne.

Absolutely no story, we did not even know if we were playing a boring play station game or watching a movie!
Zero acting, no catchy music –except for Chammak challo. If you want to see Sharukh Khan make a fool of himself as a Tamilian , please watch this movie! It portrays a ‘madrasi’ as the usual ‘ aiyo- aiyo’ saying geeky person with no social skills as is usually seen in Hindi movies.Wake up ! there’s more to madrasis than ‘Aiyo-Aiyo’.

But I do have to confess that we are not the right persons to review the movie because we slept through most of the part.That didn’t stop us from discussing the movie on our way back home. That’s how we realized that each one of us had slept through some part or the other. I slept through the second part and didn’t know how it ended when my sister warned me saying that G-One the hero is revived leaving scope for Ra One-2 open!

I wanted to be soft on my neice who is a hard core Shahrukh fan and said I liked the part where John Abrahams and Akshay Kumar come after interval. She angrily told me that-that was the trailer of the next movie and not part of RaOne.

So let me sum up –
 If you want to take revenge on your boss gift him a RaOne movie ticket.
 If you have insomnia problem the cure is…….yes you guessed it right –go to RaOne and you will be fast asleep within ½ an hour.
 If you want to make sure Sharukh Khan does not lose all his money and all his efforts of promoting the movie in all places-metro, tv shows, his commercials etc- do not go waste, watch it. At least watch it for poor Shahrukh Khan fans like my neice Swathi. She says, “ We just have to invest Rs 300 each and that will not be a great loss. Poor Shahrukh will lose Rs 150 crores if all of us stay away from all the cinema halls screening the movie! Think about him. Good argument!
 If you want to know what the whole movie is about go in a group and decide who will stay awake for which part so together you can weave the whole story together.

After all this do you think we have learnt our lesson-don’t know have to wait till next Diwali to find out.
Two years back when we got together like this in Bangalore we went to see ‘Om Shanthi Om’ and came back disappointed. But now we have decided that On Shanth Om should be given the national award for best movie.

May be we will have to wait for Shah rukh to come out with RA-One 2 . We will probably change our views about Ra-One.

I apologize to Shahrukh fans like Swathi- But we just cannot be expected to watch a BORING movie like this!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lasting Impresions.

Last two weeks I have been visiting few schools with my sister for the selection of Jwalamukhi's next batch ( www.blog.jwalamukhi.org ).
We visited schools catering to children from middle class and poor sections of our society.

We had a very interesting chat with groups of 12yr olds ( class 6)
We asked them who were their role models in life, the things they like about India and hate about India, what would they change if they were given the powers to change something in their country etc...
The responses we got were amusing at times, re assuring at times but completing candid at all times!

Talking of role models many children named a parent as a role model, some named cricket players ( especially Sachin) as their role models, a few children named APJ Khalam but what surprised us were no one named a film star as their role model, even when we prodded them about mentioning a film star.
These little children were so level headed enough to understand what is practical and knew the difference between make believe heroism and real heroes. It was really heartening to see them choose APJ Khalam over film stars..

While a few children from a school catering to regular middle class said the good thing about India as..." they liked the fact that they were free to do anything in this country, had comforts and were able to go to good schools ", in contrast a few children from government schools said that , the problem in India is,"many children are not able to go to school and do not have proper food, affordable hospitals."

When asked if God could grant them a wish what would they ask him /( or her ??) it was surprising to note that none of them asked for a lot of wealth or richness ..even the poor children from the government schools.

Almost all of them pointed out corruption as an evil that frustrated them and seemed to have heard or seen traffic police men or government officials taking bribes.

After going over our discusions with these little children we realized that these young children who were at the threshold of their teens seem to know the right from the wrong, were frustrated and kept asking as to why our leaders( meaning politicians) were so corrupt, and were definitely interested in doing something very good for their country!

What gave us hope were that they had not become as cynical as us and more importantly still felt India was a good place to live in.

We have to remember that our children are watching everything around them and these make an impression on their minds.
we have to be careful about our casual comments about religious beliefs, discriminations, and even things ;like preferance for fair skin over dark for example.

Children belong to an un influenced set ofpeople who can be trained to think right.

Lets take care not to pass on our prejudices to them.

These make lasting impressions and then they will also grow up to be like most of us- cynical, frustrated with the situations around us and not care enough to do sopmething about it ourselves.

Lets remember that they look up to us as role models and ask ourselves this simple question-'What impression do I create in my child's mind?"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Valentine

It’s the month of February! Pleasant winter, budget time, pre – exam jitter times for students, wikileaks news, cricket world cup, scams galore, liberation from dictatorship and a display of people power and more. The whole world seems to have got into the New Year with a bang. Looks like this year will go down in history for various reasons-some good and some not so good.
There’s been so much anger, despair amongst Indians in general as news of scam after scam tested our tolerance, turned us more cynical day by day.
Amidst all these right in the middle of the month falls Valentine’s Day. In spite of the way this year began and more because of the way the year began, probably this year’s Valentine’s Day was a welcome breath of fresh air. It was a time to revoke back pleasant thoughts, think of chocolates, red roses and quiet dinners. Probably that’s the reason the Ram Sainiks and Shiv Sainiks also let the day go by without their (in) famous interruptions!
I would like to share my experience and memory of Valentine’s Day in, my life.

Let me take you all on a flash back trip to 1985-

Coming from a moderately conservative family, when a girl turned 22 it was time for parents to throw the net out and start fishing for suitable ‘bhakras’ ( read groom) for their daughters. My parents were no different. In an arranged marriage, the pressure of finding the right groom (read bhakra) for their ‘homely’ daughter fell on my poor parents. Even the most dignified and respected people like my parents took to lying through their teeth. If you have to market your product then all the means resorted to were alright as long as the end was achieved.

This homely girl overnight became a tall, fair (?), creative (?), good looking (?), adjusting girl (?) who was a great cook too (?)When I was pleased at my parents choice of words to describe me they immediately dampened by spirit with.” Oh! A few lies are forgiven and required in these situations!”
Then finally came the most important event in an arranged marriage- 'Girl Seeing'.
Boy came with his parents, sister and a 1-1/2yr old nephew who was constantly wailing.
My mother’s job was to cook the best items that were her specialties-one of them being Gajar ka Halwa. My father’s job was to subtly but definitely get some information about the boy and gauge if he was as good as his parents vouched him to be ( clean habits and no vices at all- they had vouched). My grandparents had to just be around and prod the unsuspecting:"boy's parents"  about their family.. My sisters’ job was to serve coffee and snacks, not giggle and also give me feelers on the boy. I just had to sit there dumbly and answer to questions posed by my later to be mother- in- law. One important question she asked was” Could I sing?” And not heeding to my father’s glare that seemed to tell me,’ to answer discretely (read-lie! lie! lie!) ‘I said an emphatic –No! but was discrete enough to refrain myself from saying," But I can very well make your son dance to my tunes!”
After all these hungama my father magnanimously allowed the boy and girl to have a heart to heart talk in the room adjacent to the hall for a whole of 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes my loud mouthed grandmother barged into the room and popped the question,” So now that you know her do you approve of the girl?”

I think scared if he would have to face the wrath of my grandmother, he just nodded-.yes.

He jokingly says he is still paying the price for the delicious gajar ka halwa.
This was a preamble to the kind of romantic life we were to lead. Later on in our lives when the Valentine’s Day mania caught on in India, I tried to leave not so subtle messages to remind him of the day but he somehow refused to take the hint at all. Years have rolled by-25 years to be precise but my valentine has not changed at all.
I have come to terms with this now and realize that many more valentines’ days may come but my valentine will always remain the same and I have learnt to appreciate him for what he is rather than what the popular notion of a valentine should be!
To the younger generation of today- remember to appreciate the long time good qualities of your partner and not get stuck on trivialities of a single day!