Saturday, November 29, 2008

A post to make me see sense

Ever since 26 night, as the whole drama unfolded, I have become numb by slow but sure degrees. The hostages who came out, most of them amazingly clam, poised and appreciative of the hotel staff and the commandos, surprised me with their impeccable hold on themselves.

We had been joking about a 'strike' for sometime now, and a few days ago, I had imagined the place if there were an attack. I actually saw bodies lying scattered for a second, and that open-eyed nightmare / simulation sent a shrill down my spine. Now, as the hours passed into another set of bloody, helpless hours, precisely the same imagination of horror was taking place somewhere else...

Taj, Trident, Oberoi , CST... more...

In the past 2-3 days, some of my very beliefs, my way of thinking has come under a tremendous thump. For the first time in my short short life, have I questioned myself about the persistence to be liberal minded, secular, shun generalisations and be open- to all. I called up Baba in face of the turmoil I was facing and I could not possibly let grow. His words, simple and straightforward as they always are, have reined in my stream of confusions significantly.

Terror is not the face of any religion, I still cajole myself to believe. I know, I know. 'Still cajole myself to' should be eliminated to sound correct, to represent a secular, broadminded chunk of mindset through this blog. But this space is free of any adages-personal or professional. And so I feel, it is my duty to my conscience to be honest here. For the first time, first unfortunate time, I am faltering from the beliefs I held so firmly. How could someone manage to do such a ghastly thing motivated by a war of faith? If faith, any faith it may be, can produce such brainwashed young men, I may well be on my way to become either an atheist or conversely, take deep deep refuge in the teachings and consequently, a deeper understanding of religion.

The other day Void had written this post, and I had replied there, my optimistic self, that hate is a counter-productive emotion. The problem is, counter-productive though it may be, incidents like these can very easily give vent to hate. Perhaps that’s what they exactly wanted. That's what Baba said. If you doubt your stance now, they will win. They wanted to spread a lot of hate. If you unwittingly fall prey, they will win. He said I am too small, too young and so I am likely to jump and take a anti-this or for-that stand. Even at 24, for him I will still be in the cradle. But at 59, you start seeing life very differently, don't you? A few years ago, in my college days with late evenings and long phone calls, my parents had this anxiety which they so elegantly controlled so that their concern might not come in the way of my discovering life for myself. Then, they said you just won't understand what we are scared of. Six years down the line, I now know what they meant. I must listen to him now.

I was toying with the idea of removing the Dhoop Kinare videos. I was angry hearing about the very evident Pak connection and my anger suddenly took a collective, desperate form. Till I called my father. I know he is right. Everything begins and ends with the moral fabric of an individual, he said. A trivial connection when cited with respect to such a massive, such a horrific attack. But brood over it and there’s so much truth in it. Hate is such an expensive, fatal emotion to invest in. It produces nothing but regret.

So however confused, however shaken that I may be, I am going to stick to my original line of thought. Terror is not the face of any one religion. People, as a whole, are good. I am going to repeat this to myself a hundred times over till I can say it one breath, with as much conviction I said this before the 26th. If I can't, as Baba said, they will win. We can't afford one more person added to the vicious cycle of hate. Writing this post really helped me frame my random mind. What have you been thinking since the 26th? Are you still the same?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai attacks- A consolidated link list

More than 101 injured

Anti-Terrorist Squad Chief Killed

Encounter Specialist dies

Japanese citizen dead

Australian reported dead

Seven British nationals injured

Places where attacks took place*:
Taj Hotel, Trident, CST- Victoria Terminus, Near Bootleggers, Near Cafe Leopold, Nariman House *
Based on TV reports, please confirm with other news sources too

Not again...

Terror attacks in Mumbai. At least 25 feared dead. The pics I saw are spooky.

This is a Reuters article, with as much info as was available right off the scene...

Is our country entering in a spate of uncontrolled, random fits of terror?

More take birth than can easily live,
More die randomly like this,
A cruel twist of fate
May take me or you away tomorrow
Today is all we have


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dhoop Kinare--- Anji and Zoya

Dhoop Kinare is a legendary Pakistani drama. I don't know how I missed searching for this gem of a serial on the internet. There's something about this serial that haunts you long after you have stopped seeing it. The dialogues, Zoya, Dr. Ahmer, the soulful music and lyrics (can't beat 'Jaise veerane mein chupke se bahaar aa jaye, Jaise beemar ko bewajah karaar aa jaye' can you? ) Embedding some episodes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dhoop Kinare

Dhoop Kinare is a legendary Pakistani drama. We saw all the episodes back in the 1990s at my aunty's place. After a lot of search, she finally found a site that has put most good episodes online. Here, I embed the last and perhaps the most romantic episode. It's 30 minutes long, so see it when you have time. But see it.

Links to this post / further reading:

Zoya (Marina Khan): 1) Wikipedia 2) Interview
Dr. Ahmer (Dr. Rahat Kazmi) : 1) Interview 2) Wikipedia
Haseena Moin (Writer) : 1) Wikipedia 2) Interview 3) Another interview

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Love rectangles

A friend likes another friend, but that friend hates him. Another friend likes another friend, that friend doesn't hate him, but doesn't love him either. A third friend loves one but seems to like many other friends too. A friend of a friend who patched with her bf also has a gf.

Life, did you have some fixation with screwing everything up?


At least I have a good laugh

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Ten reasons* I liked the film:

1) It make you think about how we assume the things that need our immediate attention are as mundane as faulty geysers, buying vegetables for dinner

2) It brings out beautifully well the breadwinner's struggle at a day in a busy metro. Sweat, shoves, queues, snub

3) The pang of unexpressed first love

4) Childhood friendship

5) Death, and the opportunity it brings so that we can live to the full

6) The line, 'Zindagi kitni khoobsoorat hai'

7) A mother's denial (i.e. the quack) and acceptance (i.e. the lift) at the same time

8) The film repeats the most spiritual cliche of all times ever-- to live your dreams--- beautifully

9) The thing about gifts.

10) The fact that Dasvidaniyan is predictable and yet it's something a good movie buff shouldn't miss.

* There are so many wonderful films I have decided to write about here, but haven't done so for want of time to put a 'proper review'. From now, I am going to blog about ten reasons I loved a film. That should be short and doable. One request-- please share your reactions to all film reviews w/o revealing the suspense as far as possible. Or give a SPOILER warning. :)


: Lemon Tea Productions, One More Thought Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.Producer Vinay Pathak, Azam Khan

Director: Shashant Shah

Star Cast: Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Saurabh Shukla
Gaurav Gera...... Vivek, Suchitra Pillai, Sarita Joshi...... Maa
Suresh Menon, Purbi Joshi...... Garima, Joy Fernandes...... Savio Sachin Khurana...... Varun

Singers: Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Paresh, Naresh

Lyricist: Kailash Kher

Screenplay, Dialogue, Story / Writer: Arshad Ali Syed

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bell Bajao

Talk about advertisements that touch. Public service/ awareness campaigns are powerful tools to reach the masses. The Bell Bajao campaign is one such.
I saw the advertisement for the first time today.
The message has been cleverly depicted. Dialogues are almost non existent. A bell, a look. That's all. An intervention that says a lot without saying anything.
Those who ring the doorbell to interrupt an episode of domestic violence ask nothing more than a cup of milk, or a cricket ball. And yet, they convey such a lot. Perhaps, even put an end to something that could have ended up in a suicide, a burn case, a grievous knife injury. These are not far-fetched ideas, no. Just read your news briefs more carefully and you will realise how sadly common it is for such misfortunes to happen in homes that are caught in domestic turmoils. (And you know what, half such news doesn't even reach you. It dies a sudden death for want for space.)
Bell Bajao. As long as there are people who are sensitive enough to give importance to such seemingly trivial, but indeed quite vital issues, there's still so much to feel good about. This is a wonderful, wonderful campaign. Hats off to the ad-men, script-writers, directors, producers et al.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cliched but true is only an excuse

I had asked a question about cliches on Against the tide. While a complete post is awaited, here's what I got as a quick reply:

Cliches from Associated Press Guide to News Writing, Rene J. Cappon.
The link:

awkward dilemma | brutal murder | close proximity | end result | entirely absent

exact counterpart | future plan | general public | gory murder | grateful thanks

| gruesome tragedy | lifeless corpse | mutual cooperation | new record |

original founder | patently obvious | personal friend | personal opinion |

present incumbent | sworn affidavit | surrounded on all sides | true facts |

ultimate outcome | gave permission to | held a meeting | proved of benefit |

to put in an appearance | reached an agreement | submitted his resignation |

take into consideration | established | conclusive evidence of | take into custody

accommodations | approximately | assistance | commence | finalize |

implement | in consequence of | initiate | methodology | motivation |

objective | purchase | remuneration | substantial proportion |

underprivileged | utilise | armed to the teeth battle | royal |

beat a hasty retreat | beyond the shadow of a doubt | bite the dust |

blessing in disguise | blissful ignorance | burning issue | club-wielding police |

colourful scene | conspicuous by its absence | coveted award | dramatic new move

dread disease | dream come true | drop in the bucket | fame and fortune |

gentle hint | glaring omission | gory details | grief-stricken | hand in glove|

hammer out | happy couple | head over heels in love | heart of gold |

heavily armed troops | iron out | intensive investigation | Lady Luck |

lash(|ed|es) out | leave no stone unturned | light at the end of the tunnel |

lightning speed | long arm of the law | man in the street | marvels of science |

matrimonial bliss | meagre pension | miraculous escape |

Mother Nature | moves into high gear | never a dull moment | Old Man Winter

paints a grim picture | pay the supreme penalty (price)

picture of health | pillar of society | pinpoint the cause

| police dragnet | pool of blood | posh resort | prestigious law firm | proud

heritage | proud parents | pursuit of excellence | red faces | red-faced |

reins of government | rushed to the scene | selling like hotcakes |

spearheading the campaign | spirited debate | spotlessly clean |

sprawling estate | spreading like wildfire | stranger than fiction | storm of protest

| supreme sacrifice | surprise move | terror-stricken | tie the knot |

tip of the iceberg | tower of strength | true colours | vanish in thin air |

walking encyclopaedia | wealth of information | whirlwind campaign |

last but not least | beck and call | bits and pieces | very unique |

clear and simple | death and destruction | each and every | fair and just |

few and far between | nook and cranny | pick and choose | ready and willing |

right and proper | safe and sound | shy and withdrawn | smooth and silk |

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Annapurna Tiffin Service

Food. Mortal existence essentially revolves around what we get to eat and how. The fortunate ones elevate the exercise of eating to exotic levels of culinary perfection. The less bestowed ones get something to eat only after a day full of rigid toil.

My being a foodie has a lot to do with my family, like I have said in this post. My parents are people who enjoy a simple, home cooked meal with humility and zest.

My earliest memories are playing about with my sister and cousins at my nani's house. Every festival meant going there. My nani would sit down in the kitchen, frying jalebis and malpuas, with the gas cylinder creepily close by. On festival days, she used two gas burners, instead of the usual one on the kitchen platform.

When I grew old enough to be scared of fire and the possibility of a cylinder blast dawned on me (children become aware of dangers sooner than us these days) I told my nani how risky it was to fry mal-puas thus. Everyone in the kitchen laughed me of. Food never fell short in that home. Go there at any odd hour and rest assured, you will find either a complete meal, or some filling snacks coaxed down your throat.

My mother had her mother's passion for cooking. And my father, never failed to appreciate her art. Each morning and each night, he sang passionate praises of how wonderfully she fed us all. He would only get cross if something fell short. Thankfully, it never has. Aaji has to ensure that the quantity is just right, for if rice or dal falls short, my Baba has this indignant fit of anger. He can praise rice gruel as if he's eating Biryani, but he pouts like a child even if a spoonful falls short.

While I am nowhere close the diligence of either my mother, or my aaji, I have inherited the appreciation of good food from my family, and a certain amount of whimsical fancy for cooking. Whimsical, for as my aaji says, only she is a good homemaker who boils her milk every day and makes ghee at the end of the month.

My father has immense respect for anyone who feeds him one complete meal. He says those homes are blessed where kitchens are always full of women happily churning out delicacies for their families. He calls such homemakers 'Annapurna', after the Goddess that ensures bounty of food in any household.

Some days back, when we called many to our home for dinner and I planned a menu so ambitious that even surprised me, Baba was overjoyed. "I am glad you take joy in cooking," he said. "You should take immense pride that you can feed someone. Don't turn out to be like those feminists who take pleasure of renouncing the kitchen. It's not a chore, but a privilege to be able to cook elaborate dinners," he told me.

When I didn't study, my father would chid me and weave this fantastic future scenario. He said if you don't study, the only resort would be to start Annapurnaa tiffin service, and jump up the bicycle wearing a ghaghra to go from door to door to deliver lunch boxes. But no sooner had he said this, he always added, "But I don't even mind if you do that. An honest and cheap restaurant business is a kind of social service."

The laughs we had when Baba started his Annapurna tiffin service story came to my mind when I was reading this blog sometime back. People from all over the world read and try her recipes. Their jubilant feedback after trying some item, even for a third person like me, is heartwarming. Ah, the joy food can spread...