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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday -The rustic dining pleasures

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

'Vow' is Crappy Wow

One day we are sleeping skin to skin and next moment we are strangers. I address him as doctor when I see him after a deep sleep but he says he is my husband, Leo, now I want a proof, how can I believe him? My head aches, was in coma for sometime, a big accident they say, a rear-ended by truck which has resulted in amnesia after bonk on my head. Leo was also with me but he escaped after minor scratches, so why me? Who said life is fair? But fortunately, I don’t have total amnesia, I can remember other thing before five years, I recognize my parents but I don’t understand why Leo does not know them? If he is my husband he is supposed to know everything, no? Parents insist that I go with them but Leo insist that I go with him since I am married to him and living in the familiar environment will help me regain my memory back. He says I was studying law but I preferred to pursue my art. Imagine, five years of memory gone, poof! Just like that, But I remember my old flame and I even give him a hug, He is happy of course. I start dressing up like a teenager and even color my hair but with Leo, I can’t seem to believe that I am married to him. I am not getting passionate. What to do? So poor Leo, he has to start from the very beginning, right from dating in the same restaurant that we went 5 years ago. And he plays dirty, he walks naked in the house and when I am shocked he grins and says ‘It’s my habit”

Once he even takes me for that skinny-dip in the ice-cold lake, when I am shivering in my bikini, he carries me on his bare back and takes me back,  in the car he holds me to give me some warmth but still there is no chemistry between us, nopes, no chemistry at all. He is trying very hard to bring my memory back but I apologize and tell him “I am sorry to have disappointed you. One day I shall love you like you love me” and we continue to find those sparks.

Was it a Bollywood film, it would have been easier to bring back my memory. A nice song with heart-felt lyrics by Kolavari Di would have done the trick, we could have visited all those places where we had spent good times together, to those scenic spots of Kashmir and Utranachal Pradesh, some religious places like Haridwar and Balaji, and even visited Khajuroa caves, slowly but surely, the trips would have brought back some flash back images of our life together and suddenly I would call out his name loudly with a strong back ground music by Bappi Lehri...tra ra ra.dhoom...and then I would ask him “Is that you? My pati parmeshwar? So sorry I did not recognize you, please forgive me., Thank God my memory is back”  All the family and friends would be informed – memory is back! Memory is back! Yay! There would be chorus of congratulations pouring in, and one more item song by Shilpa Shetty.

But  my story is embedded in Hollywood film ‘Vow’  which based on real life story where the memory never comes back and we start a new life, erasing the past completely and start a new life all over again. 

They continue to sing "Nah tum hamey janoo, nah hum tumey janoo, magar lagtaa key kuch aisa, mera hum dum mil gaya..(which loosely translates as: Neither you know me nor I know you but it seems like I have found my match)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Superstar Meeting

My friend has written the script of the play and she wants me to watch it and give my review.  The theatre is houseful but I insist that I would like to see it, the man behind the ticket desk asks me to wait until the show time, and he assures me that I might be able to get it, if there are some last minute cancellations.

I emerge from the theatre box office and walk out towards the open-air cafeteria. It is a quaint place surrounded by bright orange lanterns that hang low from the trees. There are strings of tiny bulbs blinking from branch to branch against the back drop of dark blue sky. Ten stone tables spread over the place and many small bamboo stools dot the floor. All the tables are occupied. One group of four youngsters sit huddled at one such table sipping Suleman chai, the specialty drink of this cafeteria, spread in front of them are large sized black and white photographs, and it seems like they are discussing and critiquing the photographs that they must have clicked earlier during the day. At another table sits lone youth, scratching his beard, lost in the own world, surfing the net on his laptop. All the tables are full with different type of groups. I look for empty stool and glance all around the place and then I see him, that same glowing face, the same charming eyes.

I had seen him many times during my monthly visits to ‘Open Mike Poetry Slam’ at Prithvis. He sat there, on a wheel chair, his body stiff and still and his over-weight body filling the whole seating space, hands hung loosely over his lap, lower limbs rested on the foot stand, his eyes listless, staring into the space as if, filled with sense of disquiet and utter isolation. Many a times I was tempted to capture his image in my camera, but then again, I remained undecided. Was it right to click pictures of the helpless people?  Would it look good to go closer to him and blind him with the flash? Would he approve it if he saw it? Even though he sat there so limply, he still imposed proud personality. People noticed him and many people greeted him.

He waves at me as if in recognition and beckons me to come and sit next to him. There is an empty stool next to his wheel chair. At first I am uncertain. Then I think, just as well. I walk closer, smile and sit down next to him.

‘Would you like to have coffee?” he asks softly, smiling a little and there is a faint twinkle in his eyes.

“No, thank you” I say, although my throat is parched.

“How are you?” I try to make a conversation

“Fine” he says his voice barely audible. He tries to shift in his wheelchair but with great effort he makes a slight movement.

I don’t know what else to say to him. What do they discuss with a person who has been a super star in his youth and now sits paralyzed and so helpless in his wheel chair?

Would he talk about his happy days on Bollywood screen or will he talk about his health. I can feel his pain and I am aware that he must be feeling miserable in his present helpless condition, I don’t wish to show him any pity, what is the safe topic to discuss? I sit quietly, next to him, my mind drifts back to thirty years.

In an airy room, I sit facing my sisters. Having the difference of opinions on every issue, they spend lot of their time in having unnecessary arguments. I am amused by yet another pointless discussion

“I love Manoj Kumar” says my elder sister,” he is the bestest actor in the Bollywood industry, so very good looking”

“”You have a very bad taste, what you like Manoj Kumar? He is always covering his face with his hands, if he is good looking then why does he need to do that? Nobody in this universe is as charming as my Shashi Kapoor” says my other sister.

“Rah! Shashi Kapoor? What acting he does? Huh? Just jumping around like a frog,”

The discussion and abuses goes on for next ten minutes, with each one belittling the other’s choice and finding faults in the superstar’s acting. There is a heated argument and then sisters part in opposite direction, resolving never to speak to each other until they learn to show some respect to each other’s superstar idol.

I want to tell him about the fight my sisters had over him some thirty years ago.

I searched for words to begin the conversation. I try to remember the names of the movies that I had seen him in. Jab, Jab phool khiley, Deewar, Sharmilee, Aa gale lag ja, Abhinetri, like a slide show, the images play in my head. He had a boyish charm, charming smile, and his unique style of dancing made him stand apart from others. He was also quite vain though, I remember, I had read during those days about his comment on film star Rekha saying “How is this dark, plump and gauche actress ever going to make it?”

His attendant brings the coffee and sandwich and places it in front of him on a small stool. Balancing his stiff hand, he places the sandwich between his fingers and waits next to him. His foot falls off the foot rest, hanging limply on the side, stiff, the attendant bends down and places his paralyzed foot back on the foot rest.

He bites into the sandwich and noisily chews the food and suddenly a loud burp. Our superstar idols that we see in movies never burp so freely in public places unless in jest. This superstar whom my sister adored so much just burped loudly now without any embarrassment, without excusing himself. I look at the attendant’s face but see blank expressions, not even a moustache moved. Well, what can an old man do?  Burpinging and snoring is the common trait in senior people, why must I be offended?

“Are you going to watch the play?” I ask pretending as if I never heard it.

“Yes” he says “I am looking forward to it”

At that moment one couple approaches us. The man joins his hand in greeting while woman bends down and touches his feet, and then slides her hand over her forehead.

“My wife is your greatest fan. We are so glad to see you” says the man. The woman just smiles,nods her head in agreement, teeth filling her face, the adoration writ on her eyes.

He nods his head acknowledging them.

They stand there, opposite him saying nothing and then look at me, greeting me. Finding no words to continue the conversation, the couple walks away.

I bend and bury my head into my mobile to read my mail.

It’s show time, I take his leave and walk back to the box office to ask for tickets. There is a tune running in my head, one old Hindi Bollywood tune that runs into loop

 “Yahan mein ajanabi hoo, Mei jo hoon bas wahi hoon”  (I am a stranger here, I am what I am)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Worship the Women-Goddess on this Women's Day

This poster has been doing rounds at most social network. Today, on 8th March, women celebrate its 101st International women’s day, and I am still undecided whether to celebrate or despair. True, that there is a history of struggle against inequality of gender and there has been lot of improvement in the lifestyles of women over the years.

“The global gender gap defies simple solutions. Eighty-five per cent of countries have improved conditions for women over the past six years, according to the World Economic Forum, but in economic and political terms there is still a long way to go.”  
As reported in ‘An Independent’ unearthing some surprising results.

But what does an average, common person feel?

I was in conversation with some of my friends over the cup of coffee the other day and I casually asked them how they would like to celebrate their women’s day.

“I would love to sit all day doing nothing, not to worry about the food for the family or any other chores, I need to relax real well” said one friend.

“I would like take my husband and my children out with me because they complete me as a woman” said another friend.

These women are the housewives who morally support their husband and expect just recognition and respect for the sacrifices that they make.

Many women are abused by their spouse just out of habit and are shown disrespect, many a times taken for granted. It’s only when they fall ill and husbands are inconvenienced, forced to fend for themselves with simple chores as simple as super-marketing and cooking, (which they are not used to) that they begin to realize the importance of their women.

Women’s day is the day to pause, take a deep breath and acknowledge their presence.

My friend says, “Women are important part of this universe, therefore they must not only celebrate every day of the year but there should also be one special day when they are to be treated like a princess.”

Men were born to do hard work and create an easy life for women.

Men did basically everything. They were sent as children to be trained as soldiers; they had early marriage but wouldn’t live with their wives until they were 30-ish. Their role was to provide military support, preach, own land or a business and just about everything.

So what did women do?

Women’s role was to take care of his assets while he was away, to oversee the smooth running of the household, to pamper herself and to spin wool. The spinning of wool was a central occupation, since the wool would be produced on their estates and indicated a family’s self-sufficiency.  Wealthy women spent lot of their time in dressing and pampering themselves. Wealthy women wore jewels such as emeralds, aquamarine, opal and pearls as earrings, necklaces, rings and sometimes sewn onto their shoes and clothing. The success status of the men was judged by the life style of their women.

In earlier times, wealthy women traveled around the city in a litter carried by slaves. Women gathered in the streets on a daily basis to meet with friends, attend religious rites or to visit baths. The wealthiest families had private baths at home but most people went to the bath houses not only to wash but also to socialize.

Wealthy women still enjoy such luxuries but they now contribute more to the social and the economic strata of the society. Remember they are earning too, they are independent women, some of them earning more than their men.

As a woman, I believe that everyone should pay attention to their own comfort first. It’s only when they are healthy, physically and mentally, that they are able to give their best.

How many women go for regular health-check up?

Last month, 350 women from Mumbai and 150 women from Pune, took part in Car rally called ‘Lavasa Women’s Drive’ spreading the cervical Cancer awareness. Every seven minutes, one woman dies of cervical Cancer. Many of the women were not even aware of its risk factor, or the symptoms and the treatment of this disease. Women who took part in this event attended work-shops and became more aware of this disease through propaganda and discussions.

How many women are treated with respect?

Some women are treated like they don’t deserve a life. Violence against women is common. At least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetime. Domestic violence, rape, trafficking of women has become a global phenomenon where victims are exploited, forced into labor and subjected to abuse. Many of the crime against women go uninvestigated and unpunished.

So kindly note…

Women were born to be treated like a flower, with care and nourishment, to be worshipped and pampered. They are your inspiration for writing poems and men must sing in adoration of having them in their life, be it wife, mother or sister and even a friend. Without women, there is no love, no poetry, no music. Let this woman’s day remind you to treat her the way she deserves -The Goddess of Love

Happy Women’s day!!

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