Tuesday, July 02, 2013

messed up brit teens

For the last week or so, I've been pretty hooked up to this british teen drama series, called skins. I don't quite follow TV series, other than the popular comic ones, but I pretty much liked the approach that this has toward character development. Each episode develops the story around one of the character, telling us more about it, while taking the story along. I generally like to watch old seasons of TV series on my laptop, as I don't have the patience of waiting and remembering where the story was left last. However, this one moves at a pretty fast pace. around quarter of an hour of each episode, with the story moving at a real great pace.
It is about a interesting phase in life, the teenage, though, the events that the characters face in their lives and the impact that it has on them can be a bit disturbing at times. At times, the way the need for support is realized through random sexual encounters belittles the otherwise emphatic approach to character build up.  But maybe that helps in building up the pace at which the story moves. Some characters are awesome but hard to believe for teenaged kids, particularly like those of effy or cassie. In fact, maybe their age restricts them from bringing out the true shades of their characters. Not sure how experienced the actors are, but their performance is pretty consistent and impressive at times. Though I think what really makes the narrative all the more impressive is the amazing choice of music for the background score. It is just awesome. I am closing to the end of the second season, but I think I might get bored of it pretty soon. (well the impatient part of me read the story beforehand at wiki) But, I think I will keep watching it till I get hooked up on something else.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

ek madhav baug

I went to watch the Hindi adaptation of the play Ek Madhav Baug at Prithvi Theatre. It is a play about a mother getting to know about her son's homosexuality. What was running through my mind was the movie Memories in March, that dealt with a similar subject. Though similar, the way the story was projected is what made a difference. It was an amazing one actor play that was superbly performed by Mona Ambegaonkar.
The setting is of an enactment of a play within the play which makes it even more amazing. She keeps the audience captivated through out the period of a little more than an hour, as she depicts the story portraying the emotions of the different characters.
She enacts a story of a divorced mother who has raised her three children and leads an independent life in her home at madhav baug. On a rainy day she decides to take leave from her office and stays back at home, only to receive a phone call that informs her that one of her son is gay. She is shattered as she is not able to understand how her child who she thought had not even grown up had a different preferences. The play here on shows how the love of the mother for her son, makes her come out of the narrow minded thinking that doesn't think much of others who are just 'not the same'.
When she confronts her son, he doesnt deny it, but rather gives her a pen drive which he says is his diary that he wants her to read. when she reads it on the laptop, it is actually a journal that he had kept of what he wanted to share with his mother about the fellings and emotions that evoked in him making him different from others. He tells a tale of how he tried to cope up with the situation and tried to alter his orientation. Through out as the mother reads the journal, she feels the pain of what her dear child had to go through as he didn't have the answers to the questions that came to his mind and how he couldn't just come up to his mother and talk about it.
Then comes the climax, where she rounds up an excellent performance as she comes closer to her son to be part of his life and understand him better and support him in his perplexities.
Once again, hats off to the writer of the original play for the way it was created and to actress for pulling off an amazing performance.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

TED ka Masala

I was first introduced to TED talks about a year and a half back. I have since then seen a lot of interesting talks through the videos on their website. Exploring more about the events, I saw that there are quite a few independent events associated with TED that happen around me in cities like Pune and Ahmedabad, and of course in Mumbai. I missed out on the events organized at Gateway and Bandra and the one at ASB is invite only. Anyways, it was an awesome experience never the less. The event was well organized within the campus of IIT Powai.
The event started off with the talk from Nipun Mehta, who is the founder of service space. He shared his story of how surprised he was when he took a tour of Gujarat and found people who generate generosity. He showed examples of how you don't need to have things to give. He shared examples of people who have spread the generosity. The focus of his talk was about an inner transformation that happens when people indulge in an act of generosity.
The next talk was from Gaurav Gupta, who is the leading advisor from Dalberg, gave a very practical talk on the work that is going out there to provide the basic necessities of life to those who live "off-grid". Off-grid is the term used to describe those who are "unplugged" from the urban infrastructure that provides us water, electricity, sanitation, LPG for cooking and other basic needs. His presentation introspected into the fact that how innovations in one field make it possible to develop other solutions that can be used for development. He also talked about how these off-grid communities are spending so much money for these basic necessities money model and how they can get better facilities at a much cheaper cost with some innovation. A very practical solution to problems that seems insurmountable.
Then there was a stage performance. It was a play from a group of young and talented girls from Reality Gives, that showed the plight of life in the poor slums of Dharavi from the stand-point of a little girl growing up in a family in those slums.
The last item before the break was a video screening of a ted talk exploring the 4a.m. mystery that cracked up everyone.
The session began after the break with Rahul Hasija, taking everyone on his quest for learning. He started with exploring what importance a degree holds in the eyes of those that work hard for it. Then he went on to explain what learning really means to him and how he tries to make his learning more interactive. How he travels to get the opportunity to connect with people and understand what they do and how he tries to bring more within the boundaries that the society has created around him, making him more of an individual.
Next up was a dutch artist who has been in Mumbai since 2010 exploring art as a medium of self expression. She described how art has helped everyone to express themselves in a manner that is easier for others to understand and how bland the interactions would be if the society didn't develop art.
Then there was another screening of a ted talk, david damberger speaking about why it is important to admit mistakes to be able to learn from them and make the efforts more effective. He shares stories of how well directed development projects failed to yield results for the beneficiaries. How they started the culture of admitting mistakes and publishing failure reports on an annual basis.
The next person to take the stage was Harish Iyer, who is a human rights activist. He was a victim of sexual abuse in his childhood and talked about how he never could talk about it to anyone, because no one talks about sex in the society. He explained why more open talks about sex would make children aware about the ill intentions of the molesters and would deter the molester from carrying out these heinous acts.
Then we has a small talk from Nickoley Kinni, who tried to ensure that she brought smile to atleast one person every day through out a month in december 2012.
Finally, it was time to rock the house. It was courtsey a band assembled by NSPA, that played the poems by Kabir with a reggae-rock sound. It brought down the curtains to an awesome event.
Of course, there was a networking event later that I didn't attend. It was for interesting people to talk about the interesting things that they do. So I skipped it, as after all I am just a boring guy that fills spreadsheets sitting in a corporate office. ;)

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Outbound trainings are always fun. It was a great way to kick-start the new year. It was a two day trip (3rd and 4th Jan) to lonavala with my extended team at office. We put up at a hotel called Fariyas, and indulged in various activities like, doing a skit, making a movie, playing various fun filled games, going on treasure hunts, etc.
I have always believed that activities are the best way to bring people together and learn more about each other. The more challenging the targets or tasks, the greater is the sense of collaboration that people show and go on to shed their inhibitions, bringing out their inner selves.
Of course, it is going to be back to square one, once we are back to meetings, conference calls, project meetings, listening to rumors and fighting out on operational issues, but at least, you know that there is a different person behind all that official communication.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

By the bay

I realized that its been quite a while since I had been to Marine drive. So decided to meet a friend there. It is a pleasant place to be during these winter evenings. There is a chill in the air that is seldom found in this bustling city. Though I would say it is always a pleasure to sit and watch the sea relentlessly hitting the rocks at the bay. There are always some people burning calories running around, and the couples sharing some moments together, and some married ones who come with their kids playing around, and the groups of friends engaged in some discussions or some leg-pulling and of course some people who sit alone and find some solitude looking at the wide ocean in front of them.
Then, there are the vendors who have this lovely job of pestering all these people to see if they would like to have a cup of chai, chana jhol garam, baloons etc. and the occasional hinjras and small kids begging with a smile on their face, like the hunchbacked old man wrapped in saffron who went along that evening meeting everyone saying that he didn't want anything as his lord had given him everything, but still if anyone has 16-aanas to spare then he would be happy to take them.

After spending some time near the bay, I met a friend of mine and we went to Pizza by the bay, which I hadn't visited since it got renovated. It certainly has a pretty classy look now and the food was decent enough. Then I treated with friend with a specialty that I got to know about, the biskit ice-cream just a few steps away. Then another stroll by the sea and then we parted to go home.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The new year rings in...

I was mightyly surprised when I came to know that I had an holiday on 1st Jan. I wasn't really planning for a new years party, but when my company too thinks that I should be having fun on new years eve, then who am I to object. I have always spent the new years at home, as I didnt quite like the idea of spending it somewhere outside amongst strangers. I planned to stay indoors this time around as well but then a friend of mine called up and asked if I had any plans else we could hang out today. Anyways, in a spur of a moment I decided to go out. So I rushed out of office and came back to room, to change and hurry out. We went to Big nasty in Bandra, but were refused stag entry. Well we were four guys, with one of them tagging along a his g/f. (whatever happened to those golden ol' days when boys used to have fun). Anyways we headed to elbo room then. one of the guys was a regular there, so no problem there. Thankfully we were early there and thus got ourselves a seat. The drinks started pouring in, though in limits as we were a bit conscious about starting the new year by still having some money in our wallets :P
Anyways, it was a pretty dark room and too congested a place to dance, but then who can stop those who can't stop themselves at the DJ's call. (Though I must say that the DJ was not all that great). Anyways, we rang into the new year unnoticed. No countdowns, no screams etc. Just some song playing out loud on the DJ's console. A few dance floor swoopers, few gals who were down on drinks and a few guys who were happy with that. Anyways, we decided to move out by 1.30 and move towards carter road. thankfully we did that, had shwarmas at Carter's blue and then had gelatos. kinda weird combination (Dont try it). There after my friends made a move and I stayed back, I dont know why. Maybe just wanted to absorb the magic of the night for some more time. Maybe, just feel the tinge of cold in the air of Mumbai, or maybe just sit all by myself for sometime near the sea shore and wish myself a happy new year...

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Amchi Mumbai??

When i first came to mumbai and was searching for jobs, I had met a senior who told me during a candid chat. "This city is a great place to work, but this is not a place to live". What he probably meant was that this city gives you an opportunity to show that you are unique and can stand out, but then it gives that opportunity to many others as well and as a result many people do stand out. He was heading a function in his organization, had earned himself an apartment and car over a decade and a half, but still he had to travel by local trains because he had to save time on travel. This place can't give you a comfortable life. At least for someone who is new around here and is looking to start from the scratch.
I didn't mind slogging as i came with nothing to loose and thus didn't think much of what he said, but over a period realized that the statement had an implication on the mindset that people have, which allows them to slog so hard. Sometime back our maid went on a leave and the next day she came and said that she couldn't come because "meri behen ka aadmi off ho gaya.". Though I understood that she was mentioning about someone's death, but the phrase she used was new for me. Today, when I look back, this phrase is what seems to define this city that never sleeps. The show just goes on and you exist as long as you are part of the show and once you are no longer part of the show, you don't seems to exist. You are a cog in the wheel that has a function to perform and when you no longer exist then then have been unplugged from the socket. The pie may be huge, but still not enough for everyone and thus you cant exist, you need to survive.
It is commonplace to hear everyone say "Aamchi Mumbai", which means my Mumbai, but what strikes me now-a-days is that "Yeh Sheher kisi ka nahin hai, par jo yahan aata hai woh isika ho ke reh jaata hai"(this city is of no one, but everyone who comes here, becomes a part of it). Though it may be true for many big cities, but may be it is the flavor of chaos that Indian life adds to it, which makes the experience unique.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Midnight Music

Some lingering thoughts keep me awake and restless tonight. As always, I don't know how to shut them up. I started some music on my mobile and started playing some music. This somehow brought back memories of more than a decade back of a CD player. This player was a bright blue colored 3-in-one that we had bought after getting rid of the old black two-in-one that had been around for more than a decade and had been the companion apart from a walkman, that kind of introduced me to the world of western music. I remember that I we had bought a dance non-stop party album on a audio tape that we could listen to when we travel. As a kid even though I was decent enough when it came to speaking english, but i never understood what these western folks used to sing. So I was kinda frustrated when my sister used to listen to those songs and i couldnt make much sense out of it. thus when we bought a cassette, then there must be some hindi songs on it as well. So those were the days when there was a hit punjabi song "gur naal ishq mitha", and not that I could understand punjabi either, but atleast i could listen to something I could connect to. That audio cassette had about three or four hindi songs and then the rest were all western songs, that too not peppy senseless number but some classy numbers like jamaican farewell, macarena etc. So that was my intro to western songs, and I got comfortable listening to this music, to the relief of my sister I believe. There after she got some assorted numbers from her friends and cousins and some albums like backstreet boys and boyzone. Those were the times when there was nothing like a playlist or shuffle. The songs were there recorded in a sequence and as I used to remember not just the songs but the whole cassettes itself, expecting one tune to play after the other. Then slowly i started understanding more songs and started to listen to the best of me album of bryan adams, who remained for a long time my favourite artist. I developed a liking for those songs to the extent that I even picked up a diary and started writing down the lyrics as I understood them, unaware of the fact that there was a whole world on internet which had all the lyrics i would like to read. of course the album that i fell in love with head over heels was a collection of ABBA. it came with lyrics on the cover and I listened to the songs carefully and picked up those songs and finally realised how songs can have meanings and feelings.
Anyways, that was when we had that 2-in-one, then we got a three-in-one on which I started to listen to a program on AIR radio station that played different english songs between 8 to 10 pm. When my family was outside watching those soapy daily soaps, I used to be inside listening to a variety of english songs. I also used to record songs on an audio tape and play them later, trying to know more about the various bands and the kind of songs they played. by that time I knew that internet was a source to find out more about such stuff.

Where the thoughts started to flow from was when i remembered how I used to position my single bed to be exactly in front of the table that had the CD player. Then I would put in a CD, mostly one CD that had a mix of more than a 100 english songs, plug in a headphone and listen to songs all night long on a shuffled playlist... listening and sleeping at the same time.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I will survive

So its finally one year since I have came to this city of dreams, with no dreams whatsoever to be honest. After a rollercoaster of a ride when i look back now, the one song that rings in my head right now is "I will survive". From what I have observed at various points in time, the one word that describes this city is survival. Be it the games played in huge corporate offices or the daily hustle bustle on the streets, everyone ultimately has just one thing on their mind, and that is to survive. But what gives strength to this city's spirit is the realization that to survive on has to live, no one can just exist. Existence has no meaning until you are actually living your life. And I think that is what gives me the courage to stand up today and tell this city that I will survive. there have been many instances in the past few months when I felt that I can't take it anymore and would quit this life and move out of this city. But then here I am, struggling but keeping up with the pace and ready to face another day with another new challenge just around the corner. I always used to think that life at 24 is the most amazing. You have the best of everything at this time of life and I must say that I believe that I have the best of my life experience at this age. Transition from academic institutions to work life is amazingly difficult to adjust to. Last year, I had the confidence of taking on anyone in the world and suddenly I am surrounded with people with many faces and who have made a living out of traits that I would not associate with a day's work.
Some say I was acting stubborn and was not going with the flow but I must say that it showed me where I was weak and what it means to act smart and stand on your own. I have not completely withered the storm as yet and there is lot to be done in the days to come but I am ready to take on what is to come. The words and phrases that I used to hear people say when giving guidance speeches have a completely different meaning to them today. And thus I mean a lot today when I say "I WILL SURVIVE"!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Des Mera rangrez ye babu

"If fate doesn’t make you laugh, Karla said, then you just don’t get the joke." This is one of the lines that remained with me since I read Shantaram.
Over a period I realized that I can very well laugh at various things in life and overlook that as the games that fate plays, but for others these games define their whole life. They can't find the joke, leave aside laugh at it.
Peepli live is an attempt to make everyone see the funny side of the tragic turn of events with which many of the farmers have to live in India. It is a tragedy that they live in but we can derive some pleasure in watching others in trouble. The movie is what can be termed as a satire on how the media works today to sensationalize any issue without actually trying to understand the kind of impact they create. Instead of realizing their responsibilities, how they let themselves to be manipulated by others for their own benefits.