Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guess,Where am I?? :D

I am posting from my cell phone. I am in a train and it is stalled somewhere near Jhansi.
"Jhansi!Of all the places?" I would've scoffed had you told this to me 6 months back. But now, as life unfolds..i'm really in a train stalled near Jhansi, for a mini vacation.. :D

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mile Sur mera tumhaara...

I always loved this song. Though the entire song is only the same line repeated in different languages, it has something in it that even the best of Hindustani music or all classical music can't offer. This song is reminiscent of a time when there was Doordarshan and  such songs used to be featured everyday. I was very small then but I so vividly remember this song alongwith some other gems like "Ek Anek", "Baje Sargam" etc.

Among "Baje Sargam" and "Mile Sur' , it's very difficult for me to pick up one favourite. If "Mile Sur" was music with almost all the Indian Stalwarts coming together, "Baje Sargam" is a treat to the eyes. It showcases the various forms of dance across India. The song starts with a tabla intro featuring  Ustad Zakir Hussain - his hairstyle and his enchanting smile always made me sit glued to the TV as kid.

These songs were used to promoted to instil a sense of pride and oneness among us. And they did acquire cult status among the masses.

These two songs celebrate the spirit of India in a way that hasn't been done yet. It never ceases to amaze me and in the end, I am too overcome with emotion.

I hated Doordarshan then, but in times like there, I really miss these songs with such messages.         

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Of 18 yr Olds and White haired researchers..

"Scholars doubt if teen Patriot went to gallows smiling"

Came across a news item bearing this heading in this morning's newspaper. It claimed that scholars in Bengal came across archives that contradicts the popular perception of India's youngest martyr.

Khudiram Bose was 16 years old when he joined the revolutionary group Yugantar following the partitioning of Bengal in 1905. He alongwith Prafulla Chaki, were to throw a hand grenade at Judge Kingsford. The attempt failed and they ended up killing two Englishwomen.Prafulla Chaki committed suicide while being arrested, while Bose was jailed and tried.

History has it that Khudiram Bose went to the gallows smiling. But the scholars now claim otherwise. According to the records of the day-by -day account of the trial, Bose had accepted the murder charge in front of the Muzaffarpur Magistrate, but at the trial at the Alipore Sessions court, he claimed that he was "convinced into committing the act by Chaki."

The British Government had however, prepared a full fledged case against him and the case went up to the High Court where he was sentenced to death. His lawyer had filed a mercy plea stating that Bose was only 18 and fought hard. The plea was turned down. Khudiram Bose was hanged on August 11, 1908.

Legend says that young Khudiram Bose surprised everyone by going to the gallows smiling. And to this the Bengali poet Kaji Najrul Islam wrote a poem to honour him. Some modern day scholars feel otherwise.

Though I was never a great fan of the armed struggle in India, stories like these do manage to arouse proud feelings of being born Indian. Khudiram Bose did this for the country and laid down his life for the greater cause and a selfless one. He did this at an age when we still didn't get over Cartoons and to this - No One can contradict.

So even if Khudiram Bose went to the gallows whining , I'll always admire him. He'll always be the hero I can never become.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ah! Mumbai..thy woes of water..

I think I am running the risk of turning my blog into a news item. But hell, this does concern me. The Standing Committee had introduced a proposal to start with 24 * 7 water supply for the city. A very welcome decision, sure to end our water woes.

"A 24 hr water supply for the entire city!" I thought, "Ah! Mumbai, you're going places!"

I believe that this is something we deserved the day we surpassed Cherapunji for the highest rainfall in a day.

The proposal was shown to the BMC by an Official who had prepared a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate how the Standing Committee was to bring the plan into action. The audience was curious to see what this educated officer had to show them.

The Officer started in English fluently and went about explaining how the rain water would be harvested effectively and the wastage of water due to leakage be stopped. The Officer, as a management student , thought that he was presenting a proposal to his superiors and so was at his professional best. Little did he realise that his bosses spoke little English.

The Babus, who at best, could only stutter in English were incensed at the audacity of this young Officer who dared to address them in a language other than Marathi. Not even Hindi, English!!!! They then did what they knew best.

They stormed out of the room leaving behind a dumbfounded speaker. With them, went away our dreams of a 24 hour water supply.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Me and my Big mouth!!

I was at a queue again. This was for the ATM. It may sound quite boring too, but the song that I was listening to was "Hawa Hawa". I was smiling broadly and the pleasant drizzle was complimenting my cheerful mood.

The queue was not long but still an impatient man jumped the queue went ahead of us. The man behind me, well in his sixties, objected and asked him to join the queue. I was humming "Hawa Hawa" nonchalantly.

The man said, "Sir, I have to leave for Chennai urgently. Please understand."

The old man behind me was a Chennaite. He said , "Son, it's 4.30 PM and the next train for Chennai is at 7.30 PM. Whom are you trying to fool here?"

The old man looked at me for support and said ," I know! The train for Chennai is at 7.30 PM. He is lying. Are we fools to stand in the rain while he jumps the queue with such impunity?"

It was very evident that the man was lying to jump the queue. Yet I  said ," Sir let it be so. Who knows he might be in some emergency. This is the least we can do."

The old man looked at me with disbelief for having supported the man breaking the queue. He grumbled something about the lawlessness and indecency of people and finding no support, went quiet. A couple of minutes later, the man who had jumped the queue emerged from the cabin. He seemed a bit disappointed. He came out, stood lazily at the door of the ATM and said to his friend, "The cheque has not been cleared yet."

Needless to say, the old gentleman was seething!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

:D :D

I feel like an 18 year old. The events that transpired over the weekend have made me so happy that I almost feel that people are staring at me enviously for the glow in my face. I am smiling back and winking at everyone.

I am rummaging through my music collection and I realize that all my favourite songs are sad songs. Funny creatures we are, I thought. We crave happiness , we pursue happiness but always love the saddest of songs.

I am playing "Hawa Hawa" a Pakistani song that best describes my mood. It's video can possibly seek an entry into the worst videos of the century. But there's more to the song, the youthful exuberance of the singer's voice is very contagious. I am grinning widely at this silly song and am aware of the fellow passengers in the bus looking at me quizzically.

"It's indecent to be this happy." I think and I almost feel guilty for the happiness within. The number has finished and I am searching for another song that'll reflect my mood.

End of the day. I am going back home. It's raining heavily and it's a short walk from the college to the Bus Stand. Walking by the side of the road, I allow the rain drops to fall on my face. There is a spring in my stride. For the first time in years, I am enjoying the nature , the rainfall. I know that this is the moment I am living for myself. I am listening to another very cheerful song where the protagonist is celebrating love. I'm takes all I have to prevent me from dancing.

The bus is almost empty. I open the window and am enjoying the rain. "Hawa Hawa" is the number that is playing again. I can feel the wind whispering in my ears between the songs.

Aah!! I understand..this is bliss!! :D :D

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fantasy, Eh?

Not many books live upto the hype and Shantaram is a welcome exception.. I call it as the "Big Book of Quotes".
But this is not about Shantaram what I really itch to speak about is another book, or a series rather. The Harry Potter series has stood upto to all the hype and hoopla around it. I loved the books so much that I actually read each of the 7 books more than twice or thrice. People love to pan the book based upon their opinions formed from the movies. The movies were a poor reflection of one of the best works I ever read.
I recommended Harry Potter to more than one people whose intellect I respected but the reply was the same. Fantasy didn't make good reading. I am appalled at the number of people branding the books as fantasy and not reading it for that reason.
JK Rowling has conjured a whole new world. Awesome imagination on her part, but the one thing that sets her books apart is that she wrote a book about a race of magical people but concentrated more the human values that they possessed. It was yet another story of Good triumphing over Evil. The books were not about spells and potions(I've learnt to dread this subject too :P ), but it was about how love helps us to overcome the worst of situations. Seven suspense stories with each one outdoing the previous and the last left each reader asking for more. The characters were so wonderfully etched that I can actually prepare dinner for each one of them according to their likes and dislikes. She made millions cry when she bumped off characters. I too,felt a sense of bereavement and cried when they died.
If only she wanted she could have created more thrilling sequences and concentrated more upon fantastic spectacles but she chose wisely to stick with what she had planned.The seventh and the final part, where good was supposed to triumph over evil , was more based on Human bonding , and the simple values of love and friendship. It saw Rowling unravelling two of the most fascinating characters in the book in a way that left readers open mouthed. It showed that even the best of magicians, was a human after all. With his one human failing, I started to respect Dumbledore more. He is the teacher who did perfect justice to the noblest of professions. And he is the teacher I'd try to be if I ever become one.
If you are one of those intellectuals, who still believe that Harry Potter is only a Wizard, you're wrong. He has his human ineffectiveness too.