From BOMB-bay to MUM-bai

July 16, 2011 5 comments

Yes. The more I read the two names which my city has worn, the more I see the hidden meanings behind them. The old name – BOMB-bay – aptly describes what the city has become now – a bay that can be bombarded at will – by anyone who wants. And as a result we have the new name – MUM-bai – translated in to “silent lady” – which is the what city feels like now – a lady who will take all the hurt and not say a word in reply. And this ignorance and in-difference is then abused further by presenting it as a “fightback” , “act of defiance” & “bravery”! Enough!

Last Wednesday- we saw another  repeat run of what now seems like a normal annual event for city.  Series of bomb blasts – hundreds injured and killed – panic – rumours – rage – condolences from the world – visits from politicians – discussion forums on news channels – headlines – and then nothing! Doesn’t that give you a serious sense of de-javu!! How many times have we been crippled and how many times have we stood on our feet again?. And with such regularity, it now doesn’t even take an effort to stand up and walk again – its become a part of routine life!

Flashback to last Tuesday, when I was standing in a bus queue on my way home.  There were at least a 100 people behind me ( not exaggerating) and some 15 odd ahead of me. The bus finally arrived after 30 mins of wait and we started to board. As I stepped into the bus, a man standing outside the line barged in behind me. Ideally it shouldn’t have bothered me since he got in behind me – but yet I turned around and told him – ” Boss, you cant just break the queue this way, please get in line”. And the quick revert I got from him was – “What’s your problem, no one is complaining behind me”. It is then it struck me that he was actually right. No one who was behind him – all who had been standing in the line for a good half an hour – didn’t care to say a word. It made me wonder that the majority of this city is fine if someone treats them as if they don’t exist! And it saddened me – as mine was the only voice that argued and then went quiet as it found no other voice as an echo.

Security is non-existent, litter in every corner, rain floods, strikes, attacks, fires, rapes – do what you want – an average Mumbaikar will go to work, come home, eat and sleep. That’s all he stands for.There was a time when Gandhiji marched and the nation followed. Today Anna Hazare fasts and only a few thousands gather. And then someone like me fights and no one heeds. Long time ago, the people of this city (and this country) had a  soul with some values. Today all we have is a dead conscious and a facebook account! I can stand up against anything that’s wrong – but I cannot pull up and make others stand. And somewhere they have even lost the ability to get inspired by someone standing.

And hence, I think nothing will change. Thursday was as normal as any other day in this city. If we cant fight for our chance to live freely,  then a broken bus queue doesn’t even stand a chance!

Until the next time we hear a bomb go off – and the circus begins all over again…

(No cheers this time..)

K.S.

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Fighting Corruption? Really???

April 9, 2011 8 comments

Fact: It takes a 72-year old man to stop his basic intake of food for a staggering 98 hours just to get our country’s politicians to “agree” to “clear” a bill that would give the common man “only” a route to fight corruption.

Just put this statement in perspective and try and imagine – what length would a common man have to actually go to win against corruption at any given instance. This my friend is the reality of our country. And hence when most of the nation is busy celebrating the “win”, I am asking myself – what have we really won?? and the answer I get inside is – Nothing Really!

Which brings me down to my next question – What is Corruption to begin with? Well to most it may seem to the red-tapeism, every act of the politicians whom we love to hate, the various scams & other such headline issues. And since we are Indians, we always love to point the finger away from us almost every-time.  But while considering all this, we forget how many times we have passed on a quick buck to a traffic police office or paid a bribe to get a license or used our contact or influence to get a job done! For me, this form is as much of “corruption” as any of the other things done by the high profile people. I know people who have used fake caste certificates to get into better colleges & I know people who have bought the “quota seat” or “payment seat” for their MBA. And so when I see fellow Indians supporting Anna Hazare by fasting for a day or by clicking links on Facebook – I really ask them – is this really the only way you can stop CORRUPTION???!!!

I clearly remember the time when I was getting my passport processed some 8 years go. After filling in the forms, the next step pending was the verification by the local police station. My number came and I was asked to come to the station with the required documents. I was then a third year engineering student and so had to bunk lectures to get the verification done. I reached the station at 9:25 and got into the queue. My number came up at 9:50am, but the officer refused saying that its the schedule closing time and you can come tomorrow. I argued (in a soft tone however) that it was only 9:50 and that I had bunked college to come here. But they just blankly refused. As I made my way out of the room, a constable approached me, put a hand on my shoulder and said – “Dekho, kaam karana hai to bolo na,. Sirf 100 Rupiya de do aur tumhara verification aaj hi kara deta hoon.” (Tell me if you want your work to be done. Just pay me 100 bucks and I shall get your verification done today itself).  It may have seemed the best way out – but somehow I immediately replied to him – “I will come tomorrow, no problem”.

And though I had to bunk class again (which actually wasn’t that much a loss), I went again the next day – this time at 8:30am  – the first in the line. And hence there was no way he could refuse my verification. And on my way out – I gave a short smile to the constable. I am not trying to show that I am a hero – but just giving an instance of which Anna Hazare would be proud of,  compared to be going on Facebook and clicking on a link to support him!

And hence I request everyone – look inside yourselves before we start yelling at the obvious targets when it comes to Corruption. They deal in crores and we deal in hundreds – but the unit doesnt make the crime any lesser!!

And remember – we are taken advantage of because we allow them to take advantage – and in our case – we want to be taken advantage off!

Thank you Mr. Hazare for waking up Indians from their ignorance! (at least I hope so)

Cheers~~~

KS

Review: The Social Network

October 23, 2010 Leave a comment

According to me, today’s man is under the control of the 3 “ook”s – Phonebook, Outlook and Facebook! And though the former 2 are the modern forms of primitive communication, Facebook is a different ball game all together. And its a brainchild of a certain chap named Mark Zuckerberg, which brings me to the latest movie called – The Social Network.

The International Mumbai Festival (MAMI) kicked off on 21st October & this movie was the opening movie of the fest. Though I had known about this for more than a week in advance, I somehow managed to “not book” any passes for the day! So on the D-day (or should I say the M-day), a friend and I arrived at the venue just an hour before the screening, hoping that we get lucky! But that wasn’t the case, as we were told the passes were sold out long back . Dejected and tired (not to mention the pending work from office), we decided to hang around in hope. We saw many people having passes which they were handing out presumably at random. But you had to either “know them” or be from “the media” to get those! So we just stood their to see the stars and then walk back home!

Out of nowhere, I saw a simple looking guy standing and waiting for someone. And he was holding 3 passes in his hands. We approached them and enquired on the situation. He was waiting for 2 friends to come over, but had his doubts about that! Hence we got hopeful again! And one by one, he amazingly handed over 2 passes to us in the next 30 mins for free! More amazing, as the original price I would have paid in case I had pre-booked them – Rs.1000 per pass!!!!!

And so we headed into the movie hall, but with celebrities coming late as usual, the movie was delayed. But not before the opening speech from the great Shyam Benegal, hosted by Minisha Lamba and the beautiful Prachi Desai. There were too many moviestars & soap actors in the audience among the common junta. And after 2-3 other speeches and a dance we finally had the movie!

To describe the movie in a few words – Real, Witty, Engrossing and yes, thoroughly Entertaining. As all would know by now, it is based on the true story of Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and owner of Facebook. Though each one of you reading this blog would already have a Facebook account for sure, how many of us really know the details of how it became “the thing” of the current times. It wasn’t a rosy ride, but it made a very interesting viewing. The actors have been casted brilliantly, specially the lead. Justin Timberlake also deserves a mention for his performance. The dialogues at times received huge applauses at times and the audience was hooked on throughout! The movie had an amazing “real” feel to it, as if you were actually viewing the real Mark and what happened with him!

And if ever a proof was needed on how big a phenomenon Facebook really is, all throughout the movie, all the people around were posting updates on their FB accounts (including me)! I am sure there is hardly anyone who can ignore Facebook, and in the same way, any movie-buff would find it hard to miss this movie. A must watch! And I sure “LIKE” it (FB pun intended). It’s a 4/5 for me.

Cheers~~~

KS

P.S. – how ironic that the sweet guy who gave his extra passes said he wasn’t active on Facebook!

Festivals of Nuisance!

September 13, 2010 3 comments

Warning: This post is not meant to hurt the religious feelings of anyone. If you feel you might get offended, read on at your own risk! Thank you.

Yes, India is a country of fesitvals, loads of festivals. But many years ago they had a sense of purity, a sense of social unity & a sense of purpose. Sadly though, as I have grown through the past decade, these festivals have grown too, but now they give me a sense of nuisance and little else. Let me take a few cases and elaborate

Ganesh Chaturthi

The huge creations on the roadside are nothing but a show of power and money now. Each area/colony/suburb wants to have the best Ganpati in Mumbai. The locals bring in their god at hours after midnight, playing loud music as they do so. If Navratri has a limit of 10pm, why not have a cap for this too. Isnt this noise pollution? Then for the remaining days, we have some local brand of big speakers which blast out songs which if God ever heard, would get a heart attack for sure. (A friend of mine just updated on FB that he heard “Munni Badnaam Hui” playing at one of the location. Just Imagine!). And wait till the immersions are done. We cry foul when oil is spilled in our oceans by “mistake”. Then what about the shit-load that is dumbed “deliberately” during the immersions. And do any of the immersers come to clean up the beach later…. no wait.. thats what the NGOs are for. Lastly do i even need to tell you about the pain of travelling back home during this festival by road!!!

Holi

Holi has slowly turned into a nightmare for the females. I dont know of any girl who would want to venture out in the evening during holi. All because of jerks who throw balloons on girls from the cowardly comfort of their houses. And even the Holi-day is now more of a chance to tease and flirt rather then celebrating the occassion. And look at all the “water” that we waste and all the chemicals we spray all over our city. There have been incidences of balloons being thrown in autos and onto moving trains! Give me a break guys!!

Navratri

Now with the much appreciated ban on navratri music after 10:00pm, there has been some relief on this one. But I still remember my school days, when navaratri used to be followed by mid-term exams. And I used to struggle so much to get my concentration into my books. Also, thanks to Falguni Pathak and the likes, the whole tradition is long forgotten & the dance today hardly has any resemblance to the traditional “garba” of Gujarat.

Diwali

If ever you needed to explain noise pollution to anyone, you couldn’t find a better time than Diwali. The roads are littered with paper pieces and the air filled with smoke! Do we even realize that we ourselves breathe that smoke again.

Janmasthmi

This festival still follows the tradition of human pyramids trying to reach the “matki” just like Lord Krishna did. But this too has been commercialized, with celebrities and political parties sponsoring these! And with the lakhs and lakhs of money being put into this each year, i guess we should now call the pot a “matka”

All these festivals now just make me wanna either run away from the city or stay indoors completely. Its been ages since i looked forward to these days. Now I dread them as they come nearer! Though… i cant deny that i love eating the sweets!!!!

Until the next festival beckons…..

Cheers~~~

KS.

P.S. – To be very fair, during my school days I too burst hundreds of crackers, went to immersions & wasted water during Holi. But as you grow and get educated, one is supposed to mature and understand the realities. Sadly not many do. And the few who do, should do enough to awaken others (this includes me).

Categories: 1 Current Events

Bandh karo ye bakwaas!

So today was a day with no going to office, not getting out of the house for most parts, looking forward to Saturday in the office & screwing up on major deadlines this week. And the moment I step my foot outside tomorrow – what would have really changed!!?! Will the rickshaw driver charge me any less than Rs.11 as the minimum rate? Will the vegetables my mum will buy be any cheaper? Will the rush in the locals be any less? Then what for was I caged into my own house against my own will!!!!!!

The idea sounds very novel and reminds of the Gandhi era. But here the purpose is totally lost in the journey! The bandh is a mere tool for the opposition leaders to showcase that they are “really concerned” about the common man and his problems! And actually, if I don’t leave my house at all, i just don’t face any problems – How very simple!!! I was browsing through the new channels and saw BJP leaders saying with pride – “the common man is with us, they supported our bandh” MY FOOT! The truth is the the Stupid Common Man is a coward (speaking for myself), we have a family, we work hard for our salary and we want to lead a simple life. And for the fear of a party hooligan or even the police force beating me up, I stayed at home. And not to bloody “Support” your bandh!

And if you see in totality, we have not moved forward in any direction. Come Tuesday morning, life will be back to normal. Local trains, office, deadline, ministers shouting and fighting in Parliament! And I kept wondering today – if the politicians want they can strike, the auto and cab drivers can strike, the railway motormen can strike, the banks can strike! As for people like me… we think twice even before taking a paid leave! Everyone except the stupid common man has the right to strike, we only have the right to being struck!!!

Enough said!
And following the trend of the day, main ye blog post ko bandh karta hu!

Cheers~~~
KS

World Cup: Story so far..

June 27, 2010 2 comments

Entertaining, Exciting, Exhilerating, Inviting ….naah… those cant be the words I can use for the current edition of the biggest show on earth. On the contrary, the words that easily come to my mind are – SHOCKING & SURPRISING. And trust me the match that epitomized those 2 words for me was the “awful” tie between Portugal and Brazil! Surprising as I couldnt believe so much talent was not enough to conjure up a goal and shocking to see a lack of desire to win a match from the topmost professionals in the game! Someone give me an explanation please!!

From the vuvuzelas to the jabulanis! From the Italians to the French! From Maradonna’s Masters to Capello’s Crusaders! Ahhh! I could write pages and pages on the week gone by! But let me try and fill in as much as this blogpost can hold!

Starting out with the biggest losers so far in the tournament – France and Italy met with their fateful end and in my eyes, inevitable end. In the French case, they didnt even deserve to be a part of the final 32 teams given Theiry Henry’s last gasp handball goal against the Irish. Their exit proved two clear facts – 1) the French squad and management are in total disarray and 2) you cant get away with cheating in broad day light – may be God heard the Irish! But to be really honest, I am not going to miss the French at all in the next round. And I have the same sentiments for the Italians as well. Apart from Andrea Pirlo, I saw no one who did anything worthwhile on the pitch for them. The squad just dint have the legs to out-run their opponents and the over-dependance on the old guns final brought them down!

Next the contenders – Brazil breezed through their group but neither with the flair nor with the authority that I had expected. Spain, the odds-on favourite (and my bet too) suffered the shock of the tournament in their opener against the Swiss. But they did recover in time to win their next 2 games and show glimpses of their caliber on their way through. Still not convincing enough. But if you wanted “convincing” performances, well you could look upto only one team – ARGENTINA. Just like their manager, this team wants to weave their magic all over and they surely have lived upto that ambition. At this stage, they are the only team you could say can be worthy world champions.

The challengers – the less we speak about England the better – they have let themselves down so much – only a win against Germany can now instill some confidence back into the 3 lions. Germany too on the other hand have been patchy in their performances.

The dark horses – not a huge surprise but surprise nonetheless – the South Americans have looked like they mean business. Paraguay, Uruguay & Chile have gone beyond what a majority have expected out of them. But trust me, they look extremely confident, settled and completely prepared for big challenges ahead. My pick are Uruguay – in Forlan and Suarez they got goals in abundance and their defence didnt concede a single goal in the group stages. Watch out!

The pace is slowly but surely picking up. Now the teams cant play for a draw or points. You win or go home! And I hope the stars who were to shine finally show their class. Rooney, Kaka, Torres, Ronaldo – have all disappointed so far!

My heart is still behind England, my money was already on Spain, but my mind is set on Argentina now!
Lets see who has it in them to go all the way through!!

Cheers~~
KS

Movie Reviews: Rajneeti & Karate Kid

RAJNEETI

This was built up as another masterclass from director Prakash Jha and trust me I was very much eager to catch this one up. But as is the case with most high-profile & highly expected movies, we more often than not find ourselves a little disappointed.
And this is no exception to that rule.

The first 30 minutes of the movie will have you struggling to make sense as to who is related to whom in what way. Once you have figured that out, the movie moves into gear with each character finding their feet in the script. The first half move briskly forward before getting a little sluggish in the 2nd half. The climax is similar to Mahabartha, full of violence, revenge & murders!

The idea of adapting characters from Mahabharta is applauadable and very well executed. Though there are too many characters in the movie, Ranbir Kapoor & Nana Patekar stand out amongst the lot. Arjun Rampal too is worth a mention. The female leads are all wasted in the movie. The script is confusing at times but yet far better than what we see generally from Bollywood every week.

On the flipside, there are unnecessary bedroom sequels which makes you wonder was this really what the “Script demanded”!!! Add to that a 30-second item song in the middle out of nowhere. The editing is so horrdenous, the scene changes in front of you before you blink & you feel lost! And the movie does feel a little heavy on your head.

This could have been a lot better and “shorter”. I somehow feel its only worth a 2.5/5. In shoet – Missed Opportunity.

KARATE KID

I went into this movie with minimum expectations, and sometimes that works in your favour. The movie overall made me feel that I had spend by money on something that managed to entertain me. And that’s one feeling you dont get very often when you get out of a movie hall. The movie is similar to the original Karate Kid, which was a huge hit in its era. This movie in comparision might not match up, but judged on its own it does deliver. The storyline stays the same – a kid who faces bullies and then finds a master who teaches him KungFu to overcome those bullies! Simple story, told nicely and effectively.

Jackie Chan returns to the screens after a long gap & gives a controlled and effective performance. But the movie belongs to Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith. And boy can he act or what!! Every scene he is in, is bound to attract your attention. The action sequences are choreographed really well. The movie does go slow in parts, but then makes up by picking up the pace.

Not a huge-budget, not a blockbuster. But a good return for your hard earned money! Worth a watch. 3.5/5

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