Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hello, God? You there?

My concept of spirituality has undergone innumerable changes. From the innocent and complete faith of a child, to the 'cool' disregard of anything that has to do with spirituality as a teenager, to the now more cynical approach. I know, in times like these, with the Gaza attacks escalating and assuming fearful levels and a Third World War lurking around the corner, it would do one good to flex those knees and kneel down, head bent in prayer.
Much like most, I was stuck to my TV set every time a news bulletin about the Sister Abhaya case popped up. Choosing to ignore the religious attachments to the case, I was shocked and stupified as I watched the events unfold in a series that can be best described as 'The TV's Da Vinci Code'. I say this because, Da Vinci code did to books what the Sister Abhaya Case did to Television. More readers, more viewers. I also say this because, while the Da Vinci Code brought along with many religious controversies, the Abhaya Case, too, did not escape the wrath of religious followers.
But let's not taint our take on the matter with religion. I happened to surf the internet when the news of three prime suspects being released on bail hit me like a truck of bricks. I came across certain forums that indirectly supported the prime suspects and supported the view that this was a case of 'trail by media'.
But what caught my attention was a discussion which began saying that the prime suspects were able to elude justice for 16 long years because they worked for God ... or something to that effect!
I cant help but feel that this is a classic case of the 'glass half full' syndrome. Many lamented that justice was not meted to those guilty at a sooner time. Some also said that ultimately, the guilty could not escape punishment. Sadly, the latter formed a very feeble minority.
No doubt, supporting the 'half glass full' school of thought is more comforting. So, why not do it more often? I know the 16 year wait for justice might have been a bitter one, but doesn't solving a case and bringing the suspects to light after 16 years say something? Perhaps that all is not lost?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Going Grr ...

I have gone an extra mile to keep away from people who lose their temper easily. I really hate witnessing someone's temper firsthand, and more importantly, being the cause for the outburst. Wherever you go, you are bound to come across people who really lose their cool and ultimately turn out to be an embarrassment to those around him and to himself. I am sure later, while thinking about his reaction, he might feel really silly and might give anything to turn time back. I mean, how angry and irritated can a person really get? Right?
At home, most of us are mild mannered creatures. Cut to workplace. Many evolve into screaming, swearing monsters. What makes them see red while at their workplace?
Curiosity piqued, I asked a lot of my friends about this interesting topic. And this is what they had to say …
1) “Your first day at work. You turn on your computer and check whether you can chat via gmail. You can't because it has been disabled. You accept that. You move on. Days later, you catch the guy sitting right next to you chatting on gmail. You ask how did he manage to enable the service. He replies, “Aren't you supposed to be working?”'
2) “Is someone crying? What is that horrible noise? Oh no! It is something worse! 'That horrible noise' is coming from this guy, who sits right opposite you, humming a song in a voice that can only be described as like the noise that a cat makes when skinned alive - something that does not even sound remotely human. For all that torture, stuffing that paperweight down his throat seem to be polite enough to say “Stop it!”'
3) “It's lunch time. Ah, peace. Not for long. The men come trooping in with huge lunch boxes. Amongst snickers and laughs, the men start chomping on their food. The noise made by their chewing is enough to bring the roof down. The noise starts echoing in your ears and distress signals are sent to your brain. What you won't give to be able to ask the men, “Sir, have you bought stones for lunch?”'
4) “You have an important client to talk to pronto. You are sharing your office phone with a person who seems to have the phone receiver surgically attached to her ear. You calm yourself thinking your colleague might be making an important call. Instead, you hear snippets of their conversation … “So, what is for lunch?”, “Can I borrow your read skirt for the party today?”, “I saw this movie recently …”, “Can you book tickets for my trip to India in the year 2010?”… Aaagghhh …”
5) “You are concentrating hard while working. But obviously, the occupants of the adjacent cubicle are out to 'par-tay'. They holler, laugh AND have their mobile phone's ringtone set to the maximum volume.”
6) “You always find your stationary missing from your desk. You go hunting for it and find it on the desk of colleagues with sheepish grins. Forcefully smiling, you are aghast at seeing your pens, pencils, erasers … or rather, whatever is left of them. Few hours later, you borrow a pen from the same person and before you use it, you hear a sweet voice say, “Oh. Hey! Return the stapler once your done, please. Just reminding!”

Yup ... it's changed!

You know things have changed when –
1) Most of your sentences begin with “In my days …”
2) Most of your conversations center on the topic ‘Kids these days!’ (obviously not in a flattering way!)
3) When an internee walks into your office and you are reminded of your time as one.
4) You go offline (or appear offline) when a friend logs into MSN messenger as you don’t want to chat while working and get distracted.
5) Even the oldest official mails can be found in your inbox, but you have to head towards the trash folder to get your friends’ mails.
6) You are briefly taken aback on getting a mail from a friend!
7) You are running out of excuses for not keeping in touch with friends
8) And when you do send a mail, you don’t know what to talk about other than work.
9) You address half the people you know as ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’.
10) When half the people you know address you as ‘Miss/Mrs/Mr’
11) When your wardrobe is full of formal shirts and you catch yourself wondering what to wear on a casual day out with friends.
12) You keep looking at the watch while watching a movie in the theatre because you have be at work early tomorrow.
13) You might forget your birthday, but never your pay day.
14) You can’t help laughing about the time you write nasty comments about the service provided at a hotel in the comment card.
15) Now, you politely decline to fill it in or write ‘good’ in each column.
16) You block out the fact that Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif are younger than you!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Race to the exit!

I usually try to refrain from reviewing movies, barring special movies, though for EXTREMELY different reasons, like Chak de and Hello (refer previous posts). It's not that I don't enjoy placing a movie under the microscope … it's just that movie is art. It is the output of a filmmaker's hardwork and I don't feel great opting for the cushy and more convenient job of reviewing them.

But, when you come across a movie that can, by no means, be termed as 'art', what must one do? After ages, I decided to go for a movie with my brother in law and my sis. We eagerly checked the papers and came across the Hindi movie Race. Hmmm … well it's a movie with Anil Kapoor in it … and Akshaye Khanna … How bad can it be? Let's go!

Even thinking about the movie makes me feel tired and weary! Those three hours in the theatre was a terrible ordeal, which I am surely not going to forget for weeks to come. What was wrong with the movie? You really want to hear? More importantly, do you have the time? Coz this might take some time …

Let's begin with the men. Saif In a movie that makes endless hours of staring at the ceiling a much more attractive option, you would expect someone like Khan to have worked on his acting skills, in between his trips to the tattoo artist's. It is not that he did not act well … It's just that I feel he could have done a much better job. Agreed the role had nothing to write home about, but he could have done something more than wear windshield-sized sunglasses, grunt, not comb his hair and … I swear I caught him wince somewhere in between! (Hahah!)

Next is Khanna. Well, if I had missed the beginning of Race, I would have easily mistaken Khanna to be acting in a sequel to Humraaz. That flashy devilish grin of his the first few times made him look very endearing … but later, when you find yourself watch him grin far too many times, you think enough is enough!

Next Anil Kapoor. I really admire Kapoor as an actor and his work in Pukar is one of my favourites. But, good God, man! I really don't think you should take up such roles, especially after your daughter made her debut in a still-fresh-in-memory disaster called Saawariya! He munches on fruits throughout the movie and mouths embarrassingly corny lines.

Next the ladies. Bipasha is ok, surprisingly. I mean, you know she is there somewhere in the movie but you wouldn't really miss her if she wasn't. Kaif's mere presence in the movie has reaffirmed my faith that if Bollywood continues to churn out more actress like Kaif, they are definitely heading for the dumps. And this because, I read in many magazines that she was the only actress who delivered the maximum number of hits last year. Needless to say, I am yet to recover from the shock of reading the news.

Now, the lady who inspired me to write this post and review the movie in the first place. Sameera Reddy. Her rcharacter was one of the worst ones I have across. No, I would like to change that. Her role is THE WORST one I have come across. She had to play a dumb assistant to Anil and was mainly the victim of Anil's 'pun-intended' jokes. Her role was a very demeaning one and I really don't know how a human being with even a shred of dignity could take up such a role. Now why I would like to emphasise this point is because I came across quite a few reviews which described Sameera's role as a 'cute and sweet' assistant!!!! Gimme a break!!!

And whatz worse? Race has been declared a hit! This is madness, I tell you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A happy accident

When people grow nostalgic and talk about how they used to climb trees and break their bones as kids, I keep thinking to myself, "What are they talking about??" Okay, either they have terrible calcium-deprived bones or they are all making it up. Honestly, how can you always manage to get your bones fractured, your clothes torn and so on? How can the number of accidents that you have had as a child act as a measuring tool to gauge how wonderful your childhood was?
Well, I was always a careful child. I mean, of course, barring an occasional scrape or cut, I don't really remember having a major or even a minor accident. It is not that I was exceptionally careful or anything but probably God was being too kind. Even after spending a whole day in the school playground, I would turn up at home looking neat and tidy. I don't remember ever tearing a sock, losing a ribbon or any of my shirts missing a button.
I always find myself, strangely enough, surrounded by people who have had at least one major or minor operation. I mean, if it's not an appendix operation, it's an operation that has something to do with tonsils, adenoids etc etc. So when someone, for instance, steps on my feet in a crowded place, and I yelp out "Ouch! That hurts!", I am bound to get a quick retort for friends, " Yeah!? What would you know?" Anyway, I am not complaining!
Now, being a grown up, I no longer fancy about getting hurt, cut or operated on. I consider it a inconvenience — a waste of time and money. So, God could not have picked up a 'better' time to give me my first accident - a really bad sprain.
I was busy trying to catch a bus when the embarrasing accident happened. My company van was waiting for me and as usual I was running late. With one hand holding my mobile, the other my watch and my mouth the house keys, I deemed it possible to literally fly across the stairs. Of course, the next thing I remember is having landed on the ground on all fours, with my mobile, house keys and watch all scattered on the ground.Trying to ignore the sharp and shooting pain in my ankle, I boarded my bus and the rest of the day passed off uneventfully.
It was only in the evening that my walk slowly degraded into a limp. I found it difficult to move my ankle without grimacing from the pain. On reaching home, I took a good look at my ankle and was shocked to see that it had swollen to twice it's size.
My first reaction was ... excitment! Wow! My first sprain! I soon thought of devising ways to manipulate this situation in my favour. I played the role of 'the injured' to the T around my family and was soon flooded with offers to get a cup of tea, the remote control, my hairbrush and even chocolates to 'cheer' me up! I managed to put up a brave face through it all and went to bed, feeling triumphant.
The next day, I sprang from the bed and was, as usual, running late. Wishing eveyone a half hearted and quick good morning, I was on my way to the wash room when my mom estatically said "Hey you are not limping anymore!" "Huh?" And I looked at my ankle to see that a tiny bump and almost no pain! My reaction? "AW SHUCKS!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

My 50 year old classmate!

I have an Indian driving license — something which continues to shock me to this very day. Needless to say, I never touched, let alone ride, a car after getting the license; that is, if occasional rides in male classmates' dad's cars do not not fall under this category. Anyway, when I applied for classes here, the registrar asked me whether I have a valid Indian license. Like the climax of some action-flick, I took out my license, (mind you, all in slow motion!), and showed it to her, while having the cheshire cat grin. One look at the license, and ... " Sorry, but your license is not valid. You should have had a license for at least two years. Your's is only a year old so ..." The sudden flashes of images of me waking up earlier than the stray dogs in my colony for my driving classes, fighting to stay awake while behind the wheel, the actual test and all those terrible arduous formalities did nothing to stifle my mental cries. Well, I didn't actually wanna scream out loud and be denied of the right to register on the grounds of being of 'unstable mind'.

Anyway, now I have to attend 40 classes while a two year old Indian license would have granted me the priviledge of attending only 20 and hence get the license faster. Here, the traumatic experiences of getting a license have inspired people to write their memoirs and dedicate a chunk of the book to it! As a part of the entire process, we have to attend four lecture classes — lectures that would include some interesting stuff about first aid, emergencies, traffic signals etc etc. I walked into the lecture class and was faintly reminded of my college days. Those arm chairs, which I so detested back in college, were back and while taking my seat and generally chatting with my 'benchmate', the rest of the students slowly started piling in. There were all sorts of people — young 'studs' with hurricane like hairdos, corporate executives, young brides and ... much to my amazement ... 50 year olds! What struck me was, here we all are, back in a college-like, albeit artifical, atmosphere, complete with sling bags, classrooms and projector. But for those four hours, age really didn't matter coz we all were students and some were determined to have some fun of their own.

Some habits die hard. They need not be bad ones, just habits. While listening to the lecture, there were some cheeky guys (er, men) who were playing games in their mobile phones. There were some who were diligently listening and taking down notes, all the while trying to ward of its chatterbox neighbour, in the fear of irking the 30 something ( also, may I add, good looking) lecturer. Of course, there some naughty, who bordered on irritating, ones who changed their mobile ringtones to 'Who let the dogs out' and allowed it to ring when the lecture got a tad boring. I could not help but think " Now, this is what I call reliving college!"

But all it took was the ring of the last bell, which symbolised the end of the lecture. As they came out of their building, I saw very young men and women waiting for them, who were probably their children. As, the old men handed their sling bags over to them ( which in all probablity had been borrowed from them for the day), they seemed to have relished the lecture classes for other reasons than having crossed a milestone to get the license.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It is not a child's play!

After a brief hiatus, I decided that it was time to update my blog. I
recently changed jobs and now I work as a sub editor for a well
reputed children's magazine. In my old job, my job profile included
dealing with angry clients incase I had reported or misinterpreted
some fact wrong and always keeping my doctor's name in handy by my
side, in the event of an unexpected but long overdue, nervous

Here, my job is pretty lax. The worst thing that can happen is a child
not being sent his prize for winning a content hosted by our magazine
on time. Dealing with 5 year olds is a piece of cake - especially
after dealing with 50 plus lava spewing professionals!! Coo the right
words and the child is rest assured that the magazine is in no way to
be blamed for the delay in sending the gift! The present job is also a
lot more creative than the previous one. We constantly have to come up
with new ideas for contests and coloumns in the magazine as ( as we
were warned umpteen times) children get bored really easily.

While still a college student I used to love reading. I did my
graduation from a college where you could find everyone's noses buried
in a book 24/7 - before classes, DEFINETELY during classes and after
classes - to well past midnight. On the eve of an exam, reading a
novel is one of the best prescribed remedies for the panic attacks
that paralysed us then. A close friend and voracious reader once told
me that she was so into a book that it was only when she saw the
rising sun tht she realised that she was up the whole night reading
the book. I personally found it a beautiful story but unfortunately,
it failed to strike the right chord with my lecturers coz my friend
was busy trying to catch up on her sleep during class hours! Her
rather loud snores evoked giggles and wide smiles from our classmates
and subsequent long and cold stares from my lectures. This silent and
omnious drama came to an end with a loud and angry thump on the table
by my lecturer - hence putting a brutal and quick end to my friend's
peaceful sleep.

But with work, I had to forgo my habit of reading. Now in my new job,
reading is as important as even coming for work! So I rushed to the
nearest library and began a membership. So that part of the job is
taken care of. But the most difficult part of my job is writing the
lyrics of the latest English songs. Apart from an occasional Bryan
Adams song or something catchy, my knowledge on the subject is
disgracefully limited. So something that would ordinarily take one 15
minutes, I take more time than that, surfing the net, finding out the
latest songs by Rihanna, Matchbox 20 ( my initial reaction on hearing
the name was - MATCH BOX WHA????) 50 cent etc etc. In an effort so
save some face, I asked my boss whether I could write lyrics of some
old songs like Simon and Garfunkel, ( and this time, it was her turn
to go WHAAA??) whose songs are really timeless, meaningful ( and a lot
easier for me to search !!!). This plan was obviously vetoed as we
don't really cater to 60 something year olds..sigh!!!

Now after hours of searching the net, I do know Rihanna's under my
umbrella song, Mandy moore's wild hope song and much more. So at the
moment, after getting the hang of my new job, its like second
childhood for me by being in touch with kids constantly and it feels