Friday, January 28, 2005

Exactly half of Mumbai is riddled with pot-holes. The other half isn’t. Why?? We’ll come to that later. I stay in that half of Mumbai where even ½ a km. of road stretch has at least six major ‘craters’ and 4 bumps. It is not shocking anymore. When I go on my bike I step out with the spirit of a cross-country biker! Auto-rickshaws are hopeless means of transport in this part of Mumbai because travelling in one of these is sure to give one backache to last for an entire day. When I come across these teeth-shattering craters, I feel extremely angry and STUPID!! I feel like I, as a citizen, am being cheated, being mocked at by the BMC, the government, the local corporators…everyone involved in running the city. I don’t want to be jolted up and down and in an out feeling like a complete idiot…I don’t want my entire system bashed mercilessly by the numerous bumps and pits when I travel!! I am very angry.
The ‘other’ half of Mumbai is called ‘town’. Where the suburbs end, the boundary where auto-rickshaws stop…the yellow-black cabs rule…where Pajeros and Lancers are common sights. Here, is the picture of the ‘ideal’ metropolis. Smooth roads. I still have not been able to figure out why there is such blatant disparity between the suburbs and town. The reason becomes obvious after giving it a minute of thought. Money, power, politics, politicians, celebrities…everything is a reason.
This is the condition of the commercial capital of India. I shudder to think what it must be like in smaller towns. This is the picture of ‘India Shining’? The smartest way out of this whole misery seems to be ‘going abroad’. I have myself wanted to run away from here for numerous reasons. One of them being apathy and the other is being tired of feeling stupid. But at the same time I know that for a better lifestyle and standard of life, there is really no point going anywhere ‘outside’. Because in exchange for smoother, wider roads, I might have to compromise on my freedom of expression…or maybe freedom of wearing any kind of clothes I want to wear. Now I think that it’s a very big price to pay. So, at the end of the day, I am an artist. And the one thing that an artist needs is FREEDOM. I can write whatever song that comes to mind, wear any outfit I want at shows, sing in any language I want to and most of all, I CAN SING!!!
There’s a friend of mine in the US of A. She ALWAYS wanted to go there. She is not happy. Why? Because the whole of her neighbourhood is SO quiet and dead that she feels happy even to spot a dog who’s aimlessly barking away. So, when she comes down here, her source of happiness becomes pigeons making mating sounds, dogs growling while mating, dogs growling otherwise, kids shouting, mom shouting, bhelwallahs yelling and the like. Humans are very weird!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Driving Test

Not that this was my first experience. I have been there before and done that for my two-wheeler license.

Andheri, R.T.O. 12:00 noon.

I was a little spaced out because I had travelled from Pune to Mumbai at night and hadn’t slept. At the same time I was a little tensed too because I had not practised driving for ten odd days and I did not know what to expect. We found our ‘Nirala driving school’ guy.

It was a small barren ground with 7-8 policemen sitting beneath a canopy in a corner. There were a couple of Maruti 800s and Santros making purposeless rounds on the ground. Meanwhile the policemen seemed to be engrossed in a conversation centring on the best brand of tobacco in the market. Then, at random someone would approach any one of the police guys and put forward a bunch of papers, it would promptly get signed in utterly illegible handwriting.

And before long it was my turn to strut my stuff on an ancient Maruti 800. I sat at the wheel…my heart was beating fast…I put my left foot on the clutch and as I was just about to put the car in gear…the man sitting beside me in the car (who was apparently from the driving school) muttered to me, “The car is in gear.” Wwwwwwhhhhhaaaat?! What happened after this was magical! I just pushed the accelerator and presto! The car was in motion! I just made a semicircle…without putting the car in gear…and I passed the test. Yes. THAT was my driving test and I want to say nothing more.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Stinks of team spirit!

This is what I have been wondering about for a really long time…Cricket! I really hate the game. Yes, even if it is an India-Pakistan match. Actually, I am still confused whether I hate the game or I hate the Indian Cricket team. Ummm…I think I hate the Indian team.
I haven’t come across a more unreliable team in any sport of any country. The cricket ‘heroes’ of our country are almost demigods here. Why? Because they sometimes manage to win a match. Sometimes. I know that I am perhaps stirring up a controversy here by being so blasphemous! There was an entire segment on T.V. showcasing Parthiv Patel’s dropped catches. Other players are either not in form or they are injured. Sometimes I seriously wonder if Sehwag, Kaif, Yuvraj and even Tendulkar are visually impaired. I can understand ‘bad performance’. Even consistent bad performance. But getting showered with money, flashbulbs and ad-contracts even after a totally ‘un-manly’ performance? Nah nah!! Not done.
What I am arriving at is something that I feel very strongly about! Our so-called heroes are not respectable people off the field too! Sachin Tendulkar gets tax waived for his Ferrari. When ‘Shwaas was nominated for an Oscar, he chose to ‘contribute’ by auctioning his bat instead of hard cash! This kind of miserly behaviour does not suit public figures of such stature.
The media is an equal culprit for giving attention to the most undeserving of the lot. Yuvraj Singh is no longer going around with Kim Sharma…SO WHAT?!!! Who cares?! Saurav Ganguly injures his little finger…Now he is getting better…but still not fit enough to play…So is the country expected to observe silence for two minutes?! They are pampered beyond belief! The pinnacle of the ridiculous business was reached just a few days back when for ‘Tsunami Relief’ they offered to play a charity match for Asia XI against World XI. And as expected they lost this match too! Heh heh…
I think our cricketers are extremely benevolent individuals who believe in making others happy. Like the other day they made the Bangladeshi Cricket team extremely happy by losing to them! Australia has many records to their credit because of whom? The Indian Cricket team, of course.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nursery Rhyme

This is one of the most hilarious rhymes I have EVER come across!!! Here it is:

Upar pankha chalta hai
Niche baby soti hai
Sote Sote bhook lagi
Khaalo beta mungfali
Mungfali mein daana nahin
Hum tumhare mama nahin(?!)
Mama gaye dilli
Dilli se laye billi
Billi ne maara panja
Mama ho gaye ganja

!!!!! WHAT????
And I learnt this when I was in K.G.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

My Days in Jail- Part 1

Thursday, 13th January, 2005. The first day of my life I EVER saw a jail from so close a distance…and I was going inside it! Being an ‘Art of Living’ volunteer, I was accompanying my teacher for a ‘Prison Smart’ course. Both I and my teacher, Vandana, didn’t know what to expect inside. She told me just 12 hours before we had to go there, and at night, I told myself that it must be a course meant for the Police guys and NOT the convicts. It somehow made me feel comfortable. Before long I was told that it was indeed for the ‘jailed’ and not the ‘jailers’! I was wrong.

Well, it was the same huge iron-gate they show in movies…the only difference being that there was no arch declaring, ‘Central Jail’ above. We knocked and were greeted by loud thundering sounds of the gate being opened and then shut behind us as we entered. After a quick entry in the register, our cell phones were taken away. I felt MORE nervous. And then I saw a real ‘kaidi’, a convict, in uniform…white striped shirt, white shorts and a white Gandhi-cap. The door from where we just stepped inside held a completely different world inside it. In the morning it almost looked surreal…strange smells, stranger sights…

We were led to the women’s section. The course was for them. Carved in a tall wall was a modest door which we were asked to knock on. As the door swung open, a Policewoman greeted us with a warm smile coupled with a quick frown. We introduced ourselves and were welcomed in. Another door, another world. It was breakfast time. There were around 100 women, in shapes, colours and sizes I had never imagined, in a queue where two male ‘kaidi’s were serving them tea, milk and something which resembled ‘rotis’. Half of the women had infants clinging on their waist. Vandana and I were taking in this entire sight without uttering a single word. In the meantime, the policewomen were hurling umpteen ‘gaalis’(curses) at them asking them to hurry up and come out in the courtyard because we had come.

Soon, we were in the courtyard perched on two chairs confronting some 25 women. Some didn’t have teeth. And then I saw a white-skinned woman in her early-twenties too amidst these Indian women. They all looked nonchalant about our presence. After everyone was seated on the ground before us, Vandana began to speak

I believe...

...that a sunset looks more stunning than a sunrise

...that a baby is a very powerful human being

...that Amitabh Bachchan will advertise for Rupa underwear, someday

...that Meenakshi Seshadri was still a better actress than Mallika Sherawat

...Irshad Hashmi will and can make love to a female goat if given a chance

...that great poetry still works wonders :)

...that people should smile more often

Choose or Lose!!!

Choose or Lose!Do we really have a 'choice' in every situation of life? The answer is fortunately 'yes'. When onesays, "I did it because I did not have any other choice!" is a lie. It's a BIG lie! One always hasa choice.There are situations when it is a little difficult to make a direct choice. So just cut out the junk and you'll be left with options to choose from. But then what about situations where we are not responsible for what happened? Even in such cases I believe we have a choice. Students don'tget desired marks in examinations...does everyone commit suicide? Only a handful do because theychoose to do it. And the others choose to live. There's nothing right or wrong about it. It's anindividuals choice.And what about times when someone breaks your heart for no fault of yours? You are crestfallen,sad, feel like it's the end of the world, that you'll never be happy again...WHY did it happen???There are a lot of things involved. So, does one have a choice here? Yes! It's obvious that no matterhow hard one tries, some things cannot be feeling sad or bitter after a heartbreak...but one can always CHOOSE to come out of it after a while and not let go of life. After a whileone realises that no one and NOTHING losing one's life for. So, let's always remember that we havea choice in even the most seemingly impossible situations of life. We have a choice to be happy or sad we can choose life over death and we can choose who's more important in our lives. Go ahead! Choose!Cause, if you don't choose, you'll lose!

Dreams and Reality

There is a strange connection between 'dreams' and 'reality'. Like for instance, Love is a dreamand a relationship is reality. And like an unwritten law, dreams are always shattered when they comein contact with reality. I think that falling in love is a wonderful imagines things,sometimes they do happen to be true, you get that 'butterflies in the tummy' kind of feeling whenyou see that special someone...there you are in love. But where do problems begin? When you both get into a 'relationship'. This is the reality of love. It is almost like a material manifestation of your 'dream love'. When we are only in love and not in a relationship, there are no expectations,no desires, no possessiveness, there is just this pure feeling of bliss. And talk about relationships?No no! We don't even want to get into that!Why just love? Think about any dream of ours. you want to be the next youth icon of India.Nice dream. We can go over it, live it in our minds as many times as we want. Cool. Now begin thinkingabout HOW the hell you are going to reach there...and it all comes crashing down.But that's not the only kind of relation between dreams and reality. Sometimes, we dream of somethingso hard that it actually becomes real. Yes, it happens. When you keep 'living' a certain dream inyour mind, it comes true. It has happened to me a lot of times. So, I believe it's a great thing to be a dreamer! It's a gift. It's a tool. I can't explain how it works. I don't know how dreams 'become'real. But they do. So, people, dream. And dream big. Keep on dreaming till it becomes real. It maybe like this: A painter has a certain imagination in his mind. He keeps imagining it in all its details...on and on and one fine day, he takes his brush, his palette and paints his dream on the canvas and there it is. Imagination to reality. And we are all painters of our own lives. There is a greatcanvas called Life in front of us. We have all the colours and all the brushes we want. And yet wedo not paint anything so many times. Why? Why? Because, we don't dream. Because we don't nourish thatdream enough so that it comes to life as a beautiful painting. There is no reality without a dream. A dream is a mother and reality is its child. Start dreamingTODAY.
‘Love’…perhaps the most over-rated emotion of all times. Wars have been fought, kingdoms have vanished and history has been made because of Love. And this is precisely why I am definitely not interested in talking AGAIN about it. Like in a Pink Floyd forum, the introduction declared, ‘Every aspect and story about Pink Floyd and their songs have been discussed here and there is nothing anyone can possibly add to it.’ It’s the same with ‘Love’.
I was in love too, once upon a time. Yes, it felt very good to be in it. But after I was kicked out of it one fine day, I realized that I felt like a fool and I’d been even behaving like one when I was in it! I don’t understand! Even perfectly normal and level-headed people start losing their heads when cupid attacks. In fact, I think that such kinds of love are harmful for the healthy growth of society. And these very lovers who show their middle finger to the whole world just to be with their beloved forever, become ‘perfect husbands and wives’ once they are married. Then the nagging begins, everything becomes a routine and then suddenly there is no charm left! What is the point of the whole big exercise then??
Maybe, the whole problem is not with ‘love’ but with human relationships. Somebody has wisely said that ‘Love is a journey and not a destination’. Usually what happens is that when two people become committed to each other, they also start taking each other for granted. And this is almost like a very natural way of treating each other. Both these people become a certain ‘image’ in each other’s mind and then it becomes difficult to move away from that image. Therefore I think there are a few golden rules that people in love (and in relationships) must follow. Here they are:

• Avoid arguing when in a bad mood
• DON’T compare your partner with ANYBODY else…if you like that someone else better than your partner, please leave!!
• Nobody is perfect. Imperfection is our Beauty. Respect and accept that.
• Loyalty and steadfastness are not obsolete and one does not have to feel stupid about it. And it pays rich dividends
• Actions are more important than mere words. Saying ‘I love you’ to your lover 25 times in a day is futile if it is not complemented by actions. You have to make your lover feel like he/she’s the greatest and the most beautiful thing that’s happened to planet Earth!!
• Remember to praise (genuinely) every little action and effort taken by him/her to give you happiness in whatever measure. Don’t take it for granted that it is anyways his/her duty to do it!
• Last but not the least, you have chosen to stay with this wonderful individual. So, why not make every moment spent together a little worth its while by believing we’re lucky to have him/her. Enjoy!