Saturday, July 26, 2008

Should we always take a side?

In the times we live in, we are fed with information and news from several quarters and sources that sometimes it does appear like overload of information and people rarely say, they don't have an opinion on an issue. It has become fashionable to defend one's point of view. Hence, all too often, people readily take sides and argue for their side. But there are numerous questions in the public sphere that warrant saying "I don't know"! This post is all about those questions. While media, both print and electronic and our own blogs have done their bit to reach out and increase people's awareness on issues, they have done almost nothing towards fostering and encouarging quality debates on topics of the day so much so that there is ignorance or to put it more point-of-factly, confusion...
Ponder over the questions that follow...To me, they confuse and perplex; one can argue for "yes" as well as for "no" with equal vehemence but not with equal conviction. These questions are not specific to particular areas, rather they span across areas but are limited to current concerns that need to be addressed and are very much relevant. If one thinks them over, one finds that there has to be a balance somewhere that needs to be followed. Can't we sit on the fence in that case? Should we necessarily jump to either side?

Should terrorism be an election issue?
Yes - Political parties have every right to campaign for votes promising more security. No - This issue merits attention across political parties. What is needed is not finger-pointing but concrete actions that yield actual results!

Should capital punishment be done away with?
Yes - It is inhuman. By awarding death penalties, we are overriding God's will. No - It must be persisted with to instill a sense of fear in the minds of criminals and will definitely serve as deterrent.

Should there be laws like POTA?
Yes - They will go a long way towards bringing downterrorist activities. No - they are inhuman where the victim doesn't get adequate voice; existing laws will suffice.

Should petrol and diesel prices be hiked more and oil companies saved?
Yes - It will help in bringing down demand. Prices should be driven by forces of suply and demand. No - It will lead to more burden and increase in inflation due to associated increase in transportaion costs.

How far should the benefits of reservation extend? Can it be extended to any X and Y caste that agitates tomorrow?
Yes - If a commitee is formed and finds merit in the arguments of X and Y. If the members of X and Y go on an indefinite agitation cutting off essential supplies. No - There must be a limit to extending benefits in the name of affirmative action. A group already enjoying reservation can only move up the social ladder, not down.

How far does creative expression extend? Does it extend to painting godesses in nude?
Yes - It must be seen from the eyes of the artist. One can't anyways and always please all sections of the society. Moreover, our temples have those kind of paintings. Hence, it is not new at all. No - One must be sensitive to religious sentiments and operate within certain limits. But again, what are those limits? Can they be defined and drawn?

Are teenagers mature enough to decide what to wear when they enter colleges?
Yes - Most certainly. After all, they are considered mature enough to select the leaders of the country. No - They aren't. Responsibility should be within some limits of freedom. Again, what are the limits? Don't the definitions of "decency" and "appearance" differ for Tom and Dick?

Can a TV channel do sting operations?
Yes - It can, if it serves to expose culprits and enemies of society. No - It can't, it violates the fundamental right to privacy.

Can the media influence the judiciary?
Yes - It can, if it feels that it is batting for the innocent victim and the public, the consumers of the media echo the same sentiments. It would serve to speed up justice. No - It can't; Judges should judge cases purely on available evidence and not get influenced by a TV studio's comments.

Is a thing like IPL good for a game like cricket?
Yes - It is; it makes the game professional. It increases competition and fitness levels of players. No - It ruins the traditional form of the game. Too much money will spoil youngsters and ruin their careers.

Are our politicians truly representing the people of this country?
Yes - We elected them, didn't we? So why should we complain when they behave unruly in the parliament. No - Most of the educated public are too busy to vote. Most politicians are 'like that" either way!

Should the Government ban smoking in public and in offices?
Yes - It should; the non smoking public suffer for no mistake of theirs. No - A smoker who is educated smokes in spite of knowing that smoking is injuriuos to health. He must be left to exercise his choice.

There are many more questions like this for which there are no black and white answers. In such cases, shouldn't there be forums to debate and decide? Is the Indian informed enough to take sides? Your thoughts...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fleeting thoughts

There is heaviness in my heart,

a lump in my throat,

Tears rush to the drooping eyelids,

A child is scared when I look…

Neither the gentleness of the breeze,

nor the songs of the sleepy birds,

brighten my spirits and lift my mood.

Depression threatens and engulfs.


I see the breeze trying in vain,

to ruffle her wet hair,

She is dreaming, lost in a world.

Lost to the onlooker – faraway in a fantastic world.

Her lips flutter like the wings of a

weak bird trying to fly high.

Her face glows when she smiles.

Beauty envelops and lifts the dying spirits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Subsidize Walking!

Of late, we have been hearing a lot about Subsidies. Newspapers, news channels and Government ministers talk about petrol, diesel and education subsidies on a daily basis!

So, as I was walking from East end bus stop to BTM today morning, I thought that walking should be subsidized in Bangalore. People who live within 3-4 kms of their workplaces should be encouraged to walk to work…this will have a chain of advantages:

In a place like Bangalore, Walking – the oldest mode of transportation known to man – is the best way to cover shorter distances like 3-4 kms.

By walking early in the morning to work, one burns calories. Gym expenditure is thereby reduced.

In the early morning, riding a two/four wheeler particularly in Bangalore unless if its absolutely necessary, tries a person’s patience levels regularly, increases blood pressure and frustration! Walking on the contrary helps overcome a lot of physical ills and helps man appreciate nature in the midst of traffic madness. I was able to appreciate how well people take care of their personal hygiene for example – the sparkling clean feet in a melee of sandals that looked like a part of an artist’s work bears ample testimony.

If all the people in the 3-4 Km circumference relative to their workplace resort to this, roads would be a lot less congested. The state Government can execute infrastructure projects at leisure. No magic underpasses, overpasses/flyovers would be required overnight.

Such people would be saving expenditure on petrol/diesel. In these times where oil is hovering around 130$ a barrel, this would do a whole world of good by curbing demand at least in a miniscule fashion to begin with! Consequently, prices would come down. Hence, inflation would become bearable. The Government can heave a sigh of relief. It wouldn’t have to subsidize the rich by robbing the poor as it is doing now!!

I for one have resolutely decided to walk the distance to Silk Board instead of fretting and fuming inside a crowded BMTC bus. This would be my small contribution towards a greener earth!

Any takers?

Friday, July 11, 2008

AAMIR - A highly commendable work!

“The circumstance in which the common man now finds himself in was the inspiration for the film. Terrorism is not the theme of the film, it’s just the backdrop.” – Raj Kumar Gupta, the director of Aamir.

There are two possible explanations behind me writing this post and I don’t exactly know which is stronger. One – Hindi Cinema has truly come of age in terms of the diversity of the movies Bollywood is churning out; the audience is also more responsive and willing to accommodate different story lines; Multiplex cinema halls mean a niche audience and decent collections for experimenting directors. Two – I am only now discovering good Hindi movies and hence overwhelmed by them easily!

Either way, I think a movie like Aamir has never been attempted in Hindi cinema before. There are several reasons why it is a good movie. In fact terming it as just “good” could very well be one of the biggest understatements I am making!

It is not conventional in any sense. It is not just an entertainer and makes the viewer constantly think. It is a thriller in every sense of the word – I barely moved a muscle through the length of the movie. It has been shot differently. The streets of a city like Mumbai come alive in every frame, when the protagonist runs - in the nonchalance of the people observing, in the manner in which the camera moves and captures people as they are, for the most part of the movie.

The scene in which Rajeev Khandelwal looks at his reflection in a large bowl of water before scooping a handful and washing his face stands out and goes on to speak volumes about the newcomer’s ability to emote each and every feeling to perfection. Truly, the transition to the big screen has meant loads of hard work here.

A young Muslim doctor returning to India is caught in a maze and feels helplessly forced to obey the instructions of a person who is bent on leading him to his end.

Realistically shot, with the whole movie unfolding as a sequence of events that happen to the protagonist and shake his being in the space of a single day from the moment he lands at the airport to the moment he slightly hesitates before finally making up his mind in the end, this is one movie that critics are truly loving! The VCD includes the making of the movie with excerpts from the crew and the songs…

Acting is top notch; editing is tight; Music is raw and sounds unsophisticated giving the flavor of the street; the dialogue is teasing, revealing just about what is required to keep the viewer on toes and challenging the societal stereotypes and attitudes; the photography considering the locations chosen is very realistic; the end effect in the viewer is one of immense satisfaction…

Three cheers for film making of this kind and one hopes many more movies like this come out, get appreciation and due rewards!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Janne Tu…Ya Jaane Na - A clean entertainer all the way!!

“Tu Khush Hai Toh Lage Ke Jahan Chaiyi Hai Khushi

Sooraj Nikle Baadalon Se Aur Baaten Zindagi

Sun Toh Zara Madhosh Hawa Tujhse Kehne Lagi

Ki Aditi Woh Jo Bichadte Hain Ik Na Ik Din Fir Mil Jate

Yeh Aditi Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na Phool Fir Khil Jate Hain” – These lines from the movie Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na best summarise the movie experience!!

If there could be lessons for filmmakers on how to make a clean family entertainer with good music, lyrics, youthful story and clean comedy, then this would be the best one. Genelia who has a reasonably good fan following in the south bowls over the audience with her portrayal of Aditi – a lively, simple, possessive and beautiful friend of Imran. But people who have seen her in Bommarillu would hardly be surprised…

The music by AR Rahman is excellent especially in the tracks - Kabhi Kabhi Aditi…and Pappu can’t dance…The lyrics are innovative and youthful. The camera moves over the finer details and captures the emotions as well as locales beautifully.

The first half is very breezy. The jokes are very elegant (can I use this word here?) particularly in the context of brazen and vulgar comedies that are being churned out one after the other. Imran and Genelia’s friends especially Karan (as Rotlu) endear themselves to the audience in the theater and have them in splits.


The plot is nothing out of the ordinary but the treatment and acting is top class and deserves high merit. Imran and Genelia as friends have eyes only for each other and never realize that they are actually in love until some situations force them to confront the truth. Manjari Phadnis as Imran’s girl friend looks gorgeous in every frame and graces the screen with élan and poise.

The second half has the song –

“Aankhon Mein Koi Hai Basa Jaane Kyun Lage Yeh Dil Khaali

Jaan Lo Yeh Dil Bajaa Raha Kyun Ek Haath Se Taali

Hoton Se Jaane Kya Kaha Phir Bhi Dil Ki Baathein Hai Dil Mein

Yeh Raha Tera Humsafar Kis Ko Doonde Dil Ke Mehfhil Mein

Jaan Hai Phasi Ke Bina Hasin Aaye Hal Dil Pe

Nazren Milana, Nazren Chura Na, Kahi Pe Nigaahen, Kahi Pe Nishaana

Nazren Milana, Nazren Chura Na, Kahi Pe Nigaahen, Kahi Pe Nishaana” that has been shot beautifully.

A movie like this brings out the childish innocence in us and makes us feel that the world and the people around will help and guide us in our efforts instead of conspiring and plotting and that is some change. This is a movie that deserves to be is well executed and is a whiff of pure, fresh and gentle breeze!! A thoroughly enjoyable one also…

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A year passes by!

It is amazing that a year has passed since I came to Bangalore and started working! A lot has happened in this space and I have, if I can venture to say, become a more positive person though the skill required for my role isn’t exactly optimism or trust!

When I joined Intel, I never knew any single person enough to count on as a friend and I am glad that a year later I have made good progress there. I have learnt that in dealing with people in the emotional sense, it is better to have low expectations though in some cases, even that has led me to wonder how much is low.

As one starts having expectations, one starts maintaining a journal in which one makes entries of speculation and judgment which are flights of fancy/self deception and escape. “He’ll help me/she’ll behave like this/he’ll reject this suggestion of mine/she’ll take this seriously/he’ll not call me/she’ll not do this” are thoughts that start forming… they not only obstruct us from understanding an individual independently and without prejudice but also prevent us from being ourselves. We start becoming victims of imagined expectations and get swept by waves of fleeting happiness and depression… Every individual is different and every person’s perception or understanding of a situation is different. It is better not to conclude and judge!

When I wondered what exactly friendship is and who exactly is a friend, I found that I wasn’t able to answer this question satisfactorily but nevertheless realized that trying to find a perfect answer is futile.

Having worked for a year, it surprises me that right attitude is the single most important thing that can be rewarding apart from self motivation. Only when a person is ready would he/she be able to realize his/her capabilities.

One should never fall victim to boredom and this can be best achieved by variety. Varying one’s schedule slightly, taking a different route, eating a slightly different course, talking about different topics, reading different things, calling up different people, amusing oneself, rewarding oneself, observing people, going out with different people, dressing up a little differently, listening to different types of music - all these not only serve to spruce up life in a city like Bangalore in a multitude of ways, but also unravel facets of ourselves that we seldom know existed in the first place.

The change has been welcome and in adapting oneself to change, jumping to conclusions and developing a feeling of hate and resentment are the two biggest hurdles to happiness!

I feel, the years ahead will teach me many more lessons…