June 30, 2010

The Times They are a Changin’

And constantly… A left our house, got married, started off on his own, Sibs quit her job to leave Mumbai with hubby, bearded man quit too and will leave Mumbai for Gurgaon in the next few days and I stand at the crossroads looking at all the change that’s happening around me. I have always loved change as that added a strong sense of vitality in my life. But sometimes, things happen too fast and you are left gasping for breath as emotions choke you. The support system must be there at these times to help you up on your feet. But what if the system is compromised?

Change at times is overwhelming. It just blows your brains out once they start happening one after the other. The knowledgeable embrace them, others sulk. Perspectives change too. Firebrands mellow down, people learn to forgive as memories get hazier. The vision gets unclear as eyes moisten up to bid a sister goodbye.

That’s when books and music come in handy. You begin to read again, be it about Babur, Napoleon or for that matter Draupadi. And you realize that it’s something no one can ever change. So for the love of my life, my books I just have to say, “tomar jonne surjo dube geleo, raat hoyni amar konodin.. tomar jonne mon kharaper rate, sokal hoyeche joldi porer din.”

Thank God however for things that do not change. My best friend since 1989 calls me up before Germany matches to ensure he reminds me that no matter what happens ultimately Argentina will win. I still have the gall to saunter into Taj Lands End post midnight dressed in Tees and Tracks. I get scolded by CCA partner for making sexist remarks. Supposedly saying “Watching Football and not conversing is guy thing” is sexist. Well maybe.

MLTR visits India and I go to hear them play. The same old songs, the same old Magic. I’m still not an actor and not a star and I still don’t have my own car. Anyway, the Veg Grilled Sandwich at Nanak Sai stills sneaks in enough butter to make anyone go crazy over it, Peshawari forces you to eat with your hands and Bhajji still entertains more with the bat than with the ball.

In this crazy world, stability is necessary at times.

June 28, 2010

Super Hero Within

I have always wondered why so many men like Ironman. I have always been the classic Superhero lover; you know the kinds who never tell other people who they are, wear their undergarments outside, have a cape or a mask – the standard stuff.

But as I grew up, I realized why Ironman was so popular. He was out in the open. He had cool gadgets, the babes were all around him – in essence he was what every average Joe wanted to be – rich and powerful and a saviour of the world.

Now I am just one of those average Joes with not much of an education that can help anyone. I mean imagine Godzilla attacks Calcutta. I don’t think the army General at Fort William will turn around to the really hot Wildlife Expert and say, “Get me the best God damned Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management. We need to save the World.”

But then there is a Superhero within everyone of us or so says half of the Marvel Comics in their attempts to impart education and morality. This is that story.

So the other Saturday I had a date with Leela. She had been acting pricey agreeing to meet me only after repeated requests. But finally she relented and I found myself at her residence. But what followed was beyond my wildest imagination.

As soon as I entered her friends accosted me and took me to a nice room, one with a view of the Road. Now in Mumbai if you open your window and do not look into another’s kitchen you can consider yourself to be living in extreme luxury. So I was really impressed and waited. But then perhaps these people had other ideas. I guess they believed that superheroes must have super bodies which they must flaunt, just like Sallu Bhai does.

So one of them looked at me and said, “We need to shave your chest.” And he was absolutely serious. Now, I remember from a discussion from times gone by that the female of our species are divided almost in half when it comes to the matter of facial hair. Half of them like it, others loathe it. But never ever have we discussed male chest hair. So I thought maybe Leela likes it that way. After all, Bandra has strange tastes at times.

And then they started. I was hooked up to multiple sensors and I ran as fast as I could and felt like Ironman, monitors all around blinking statistics that made no sense to me. It felt I was part of a larger scheme of things and the Zedi were testing my endurance. And then it stopped.

And Leela said, “Dude. You’re cool.”

It was a nice long date. And all’s well that ends well I say.

(A Day long visit to the hospital makes the imagination go on an overdrive)

June 22, 2010

And There Comes the Nagging Doubt

Have you ever wondered if you were indeed a good person? I mean, have you ever figured out what it takes to be a nice person? Suddenly I have realized that the definition keeps on changing as we grow older, as things change around us. It’s not what others feel about us, since it’s not possible that everyone around feels that you are nice.

I don’t know if I am good or evil or like most of us I am just another drab shade of grey. But I would like to know but to know I need to experiment and when I experiment, if I am not powerful enough, I will never be able to be sure if I can get back.

And that just irritates me. Not knowing the answers I always thought I knew. The definition of nice is no longer simple, it’s no longer black and white. Life isn’t simple anymore.

That’s the point of time you begin to wonder, what am I here for?

June 13, 2010

Tear Drop on the Sea

My travels took me to Ceylon a couple of times over the last few months and I have fallen in love with Colombo. It comes as no big surprise given my ability to fall in love with cities. If cities were humans I would have been Casanova reincarnated. But what is not, is not.

Colombo is a beautiful city. Surrounded by the sea, the weather is always pleasant, the beaches are always close by and often you wonder if you would love to spend your life in here.

The city has so much to offer that you need to give it a fair amount of time. But if you are on whirlwind trip you must visit the following. The first on the list is Mount Levinia Hotel. A beautiful colonial house on the beach, famed to be the setting of a Love Story between a British Governor and a local dancer, the hotel has the most peaceful beach with a lovely sea food restaurant. Also the open air restaurant can entice you with its breathtaking view. From the hotel you must head to Odel to do some serious shopping for yourself. Maybe it’s a reincarnation of any Western Mall but you might find it worthwhile to check this out.

However, if you are on the lookout for bargains House of Fashion might just be the place you would love to go though I am yet to figure out if the brands are authentic. Once you are tierd of shopping you must visit the theme restaurant of Cinnamon Grand. Sri Lankan cuisine is bound to blow you away with its rich curries and spicy gravies.

On your way back to the airport you must also visit the Gangaram Temple. One of the most revered Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, the Gangaram Temple at the heart of a lake is an abode of peace. Like most Buddhist shrines it’s open to everyone every moment of the Night or the Day and whether you believe in God or not, you’ll be able to listen to the silence of your heart once you stand alone inside the temple complex.

With streets lined with trees, the city roads might very well remind you of Bangalore but just be careful while using your credit cards. It is considered one of the highest risk countries amongst the world and if you use your card in Sri Lanka your bank might request you to cancel your card and issue a fresh one.

But such a small glitch apart, you’ll love to go back. Because you know what, you haven’t even started seeing Sri Lanka in all her beauty. I know I will.

June 11, 2010

I'm No Superman

It was a gloomy night in Bangalore. Day Zero of Summers was just done with. There were muted ecstasies amongst the lucky chosen ones. For the rest of us, it would be another dawn very soon. I was just out from an interview with Goldman and Deutsche. Feeling fairly confident that both of them had nothing to offer that excited me (and the feeling I am sure was mutual) I sauntered back to my room, sat on my chair and searched the network for a movie to watch.

And that’s when in the comp of a future Gujarat salesman I found Scrubs. I know people have no high regards for this series but somehow, somewhere it has stuck with me. I was a bumbling MBA first year student trying to find my feet in a world that was strangely competitive, beyond any I had ever seen. Friends were yet to be made and it was exactly like the life I had in those days. Hope remained.

As I grew older and the seasons kept coming in, I realized John Dorian and I were growing up together. We faced similar worries, we faced the same trepidations, we had our own inner demons to handle but we survived because of friends and a sense of purpose as we went to our work everyday.

I stopped watching Scrubs the day JD’s past and present and future stood in front of him waiting for him to make a decision. I stopped watching that night as I knew whatever JD chose, he would have lost. Life had dealt him a great hand and he with all his likeable bumbling had messed it up.

Suddenly the other day I found Season 8 running on a TV network. The characters had not changed. The story and the laugh were often forced at times but the essence remained the same. The interns were now Doctors, they were trying to train the new set and that’s where it struck me.

The greatest mistake one makes is to search for one’s shadow in the future. If it happens, we are lucky, if it doesn’t we just nod and go on with our lives.

That’s called moving on. That’s called acceptance. That’s called being grown up.

Thanks again JD. I know G hates it when I snatch the remote away but no one will ever understand that I have found answers from Scrubs when I have needed them. After all I’m no Superman.

June 07, 2010

When God Left Man

Since a few months I have been feeling a strange sense of Godlessness around me. It started the night I watched Percy Jackson and intensified when I watched Prince of Persia. Well, it might sound funny but I have always believed in Signs. I believe that once upon a time Man could actually read the will of the Gods through the Signs that were sent. And who can say whether Percy Jackson was not the Sign that heralded the beginning of the End.

Across the world Nature seems to be striking a balance. Legends have it when the weight of the Earth gets heavy The Titan adjusts it on his shoulders. Indian mythology goes a step further. It tells us when the weight of evil on earth gets beyond tolerance, Seshnaag shifts the Earth from one of his hoods to another and a new age begins on this Earth.

Do you remember Batman Begins? Do you remember the Secret Brotherhood who took it upon themselves to get rid of civilizations that had become corrupt beyond redemption? Today around me I sense the presence of that brotherhood.

The inner peace has been broken. No longer is there a sense of calm. There is an uneasiness that never leaves. The earth is parched waiting for the rains but this time it’s different. The wait is for deliverance.

And that’s why I am scared of Rajneeti. You’ll hear different reviews of Rajneeti. Some will love the way dynasty politics in India has been documented, some will rave about the reality of the first two hours of the movie, the intensity of Manoj Bajpai, the subtlety of Nana Patekar, the hidden shades of grey inside Ranvir while others might tell you that it reminds them of The Godfather and Mahabharata all mixed in one movie with mindless shoot outs in the last half an hour. All of them are true. In fact, if you would like a treatise on Indian Politics of the Heartland you might rather want to watch Gulal.

But Rajneeti points to a deeper flaw within humanity. It signals an era where honour is dead where something is rotten not only in the State of Denmark but in the whole world.

The day when the dividing lines between Shakuni and Krishna vanishes, that is the day we need to get worried. The reason Mahabharata is an epic is because within each character there was a strain of nobility which was unadulterated. Every character had his or her own flaws and that’s why Karn remains the Greatest Tragic Hero of all times. That’s the reason why Duryondhana was able to reach the heavens while all the Pandavas had to face their times in hell.

Where is the essence of Good in Rajneeti? Where is Hope? Where is the assurance of Krishna that He will come to deliver us? Rajneeti shows the triumph of greed over good, of ego over humanity, of manipulation over love, of power over honour.

I had to watch Shrek Forever After and the deal we have made with the Devil can only be broken by Love but then there is no longer any Love left in this World. Nightmares of Shutter Island fill our dreams and we try to live our life in a world created by a master director.

Mahaprasthan. – The last walk of Mankind is soon to begin.