Feeling like a giant in my white salwar kameez , strolling the streets of this disciplined city. The average height could be 5’4″ of the populace here. With my grey beard and somewhat overfed 2230 steps OMRAN metered body, I tend to stand out a bit at 6’2″. The odd local or the Indian expat stopping for the photo op and signature, wonders ‘why I am here’ as opposed to ‘fancy bumping into you here’. Thank you for the comments on the promo. No, the mahout did not survive. As is now a given, media points fingers at the celebrities and non compliance of formalities on animal rights and permissions. It is safe and easy to do that, because the celebrity is always the villain ! Ha ! Paint him as the good samaritan and your editorial board will ask you to search a job else where. Need to sell the paper damn it !! Facts be damned. Or taking the trouble to get the facts be damned. Or even if the facts are pro celeb, twist and turn it around, journo… Basics baby, basics !!!
Fact ~ police and forest authorities were on location, it happened in front of their eyes, permissions in place, animal rights in order. Mahout under alcohol it is alleged. Prodding and stabbing elephant for the entire day to raise his trunk to take photographs with tourists that were around watching shoot or driving past. Also it is the ‘season’ of ‘masth’ the time of mating and the tusker is known to be of uncertain temperament then. Women and ladies on set who saw this horrific act live, collapsed due to hyper ventilating with anxiety and fear. Aishwarya went up and spent time with them and calmed them down. The elephant apparently after it was all over, stood by the dead body of his mahout for three hours and did not move. Production company put in funds for the family of the deceased in a Fixed Deposit account. Read in the papers today that courts have served a show cause notice to the production company and quotes from concerned authorities put out to highlight the hitherto unconfirmed facts that there were irregularities in the paper work for hiring animals for a film. So cliched and expected from media !!
But enough of media bashing .. sometimes they come out with complimentary stuff as well and declare AB in good light ~
Generous and kind !
Jasmine of London lost her Mother ! Our prayers with her and the family. May she have the strength to bear this loss. We have just the benefit of words to convey our grief and to perhaps provide some solace. Nothing else. Those that suffer the pain do so in their own solitude. It can never be replaced by expression of condolence from others. But the comfort of receiving strength from these words, shall hopefully convey to her that she is not alone. We put a hand of reassurance around your shoulder.
Navya has repaired and begun school again. Agastya is recovering and has been stable. My friend here in Singapore has had a better day. West Wing reaches its climax on season 7 or is it 8, I cannot say. Some keen viewers from London inform me that the written work on the serial is done by the relative of Obama’s Chief of Staff. Hmmm … clever ! And my photography lesson is still to take finite shape.
Haunted by the events at the shooting of ‘Ravana’ I cannot seem to get away from the horrible thought of how close a shave it was for both Abhishek and Aishwarya. Animals can be so loving and yet so unpredictable. I have had an experience with them that perhaps does not match the incident in Kerala, but was close enough. Some years back I was invited by a dear and close friend to accompany him on a safari holiday in South Africa. I landed in Johannesburg after a somewhat longish flight from Vancouver I think, where I had been shooting for a film. Transferred to another local airfield I was put, along with another couple in a small twin engined propeller plane that shook and swayed along its hour long flight through mild cloud cover on to a dirt track, which on special occasions such as the one we were in, served as a landing strip in the middle of the African jungle. My friends had come along to this spot to pick me up, they having arrived earlier. Special jeeps are the order in this rough terrain and trained hunters carrying 450 magnum weaponry drive you around in tiered seating arrangements on the vehicle in order that the traveller can get a good view of the wild life. As we drove off towards the cottages where we were to be housed, we suddenly came across a herd of wild elephants calmly walking across our motor path. Jungle and safari protocol instructs, that the animal has the right of way and when an encounter such as this occurs, you drop everything and be stationary without much sound, in order to respect the natural environment created for the original inhabitants of the region.
There were three other cars ahead of us as we slowed down into the queue that had formed. An impatient driver of the vehicle just before raised his engine and made the cardinal error of blowing his horn, in an attempt to hurry the pachyderms across the road. That was it. A massive tusker stopped suddenly, turned to look in our direction and without warning charged towards us. General panic ensued. And after a few excited screams and shouts the vehicles quickly changed gears into reverse and started to back. In moments like this the advisory is that to move forward and drive away is ill advised. The manual says you put the car in reverse gear and keep driving backwards, keeping a keen and albeit fright ridden eye, on this earth shaking monstrous beast that thumps the ground towards you. The motor car has the capacity to move faster than the wild jumbo so even though you are reversing, it is being managed at a decent speed; matching that of infuriated, large ears flapping, bared teeth, trunk raised ‘pachy’. It is then you are informed by chauffeured hunter to sit back and relax, because this procedure of the vehicle reversing chased by elephant is a pretty normal routine and could take a while. The vehicle does not stop. The animal has to. And till that happens you continue to travel backwards with ‘pachy’ dear coming at you menacingly. Ok.. and now the clincher. We travelled in this formation for 5 miles.. !! An African wild elephant moving forward and three vehicles reverse moving in front of him. One cannot go off the track, because of the jungle and it being not motor-able. And you dare not attempt to move forward to side step ‘pachy’ because he is swift in maneuvering himself to obstruct your path were you to attempt such move.
Almost an hour later, flap ears, tired, gave one last threatening scream of disappointment, stopped, turned off the track and walked majestically away into the vastness of the safari. Welcome to South Africa smiled our seasoned hunter, never once giving us the slightest hint of going for his 45o rifle during this entire training in reverse driving ! The gun is stuck in a groove by the windshield and never ever used as per law. It is there for an extreme emergency. In his entire tenure of 10 years, hunter had used it just once and that too to scare away the animal, not to kill it. Having settled into our rather bohemian designed cottages, where the bathroom was out in the open – no roof and no sides – yet no one could see inside, I was, upon my insisting, allowed to fire the magnum at their special shooting range. Ya … landed in the lap of hysterical hunter after pulling the trigger and still nurse a damaged shoulder !! Ha..
But what an escapade that visit. Never seen such bright skies in the day and the clearest stars and the moon by night. You could almost reach out and touch them. And the animals – lion, cheetah, wilde beast, rare birds and strange spiders and all living in absolute freedom. The vehicles that we mounted to visit the sites had become a part of their existence almost. They ignored their presence even when we were sometimes a few feet away from them. Barring the dear ‘pachys’ of course. And oh.. every night under my stilted residence, the rhinos had a disco party !! Not very musical. But they ‘moved’ rather well. Shook the entire cottage. Lullabied me to deep slumber !!
No rhinos under my bed here ! But slumber beconeth..
Post Revision for “Aladin” created on 31 July, 2009 @ 1:07 [Autosave] Title DAY 465 ===================== Singapore, July 30/31, 2009 Thu/ Fri 2:50 AM
There has been an incident at the shooting of ‘Ravana’ in the forests of Kerala. Abhishek and Aishwarya were to do an action sequence with an elephant. Aishwarya was to be on it and minutes before the shot was to be taken the elephant went beserk. Gored his ‘mahout’ with his tusk, wrapped him around in his trunk and smashed him on the ground and then trampled on him. He then went mad around the sets sending everyone, unit member cast and crew running for cover into the forest. After a couple of hours when they all emerged they discovered the elephant blocking the road to the Hotel. The unit and all concerned then drove away from the scene to a remote forest bungalow where there was no contact. After a few hours with the help of the police and forest guards and a vet, the elephant was subdued by firing nuetralizing injections into him. It took several hours before the area was declared safe to travel and Abhishek and Aishwarya were able to reach their Hotel by about 3 AM. Frightening !! Abhishek and Aishwarya are now safe and out of harms way. The unit has decided to cancel further shooting and have shifted to OOTY – the picturesque hill resort in Tamilnadu. It has been another anxious day. Sitting away from home, distanced from loved ones, it is torturous to hear such incidents and be unable to do anything. Leela Naidu that lovely and beautiful actress of limited films in the 60′s, married into the Oberoi family and later to that writer poet Dom Moraes, passed away a day before Gayatri Devi. She had worked in some very meaningful cinema of the black and white era. In particular one remembers her in a film with Sunil Dutt saheb made on a real life incident that took place in Bombay about the Nanavati trial, where a senior naval officer had been involved in killing his wife’s paramour. ‘Anuradha’ was another film, delicate and middle path in which she had worked. The first promo of ‘Aladin’ as promised has been put up. I do hope that you are able to access it and if you do, let me know what you think of it. There has been surprise and concern on the quality of my content yesterday. It has been looked upon as disturbing to some and too abstract to others. This has reference to the last three paragraphs. I admit that they have aptly expressed what the state of my mind was at the moment. I will not deny the presence of a dark phase at that given hour. But I write with heart and honesty. I write what I sense is within me. It is not essential that all that is within me shall be all that I write and I do not concern myself with that. But I cannot be challenged on the purity of expression and intent. It shall perhaps never be possible for all to judge or assuage the purpose of those words and as to why they were used. It is at times difficult for me as well to say why. But it is there in a public cyber world and I never shame myself from putting it out. Strife and struggle have become an integral part of human existence. There will be moments when life shall be disappointing and without reason. But, Shweta my daughter sent in a wonderful quote on PING and the BlackBerry ~ ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade !!’ So I squeeze out the juice from the citrus, mix it with the bubbly soda of life, sprinkle in some sweetness and devour it, quenching my thirst of wellness. We must not accept to be put down. We must show strength against the oppressor and battle indignities to save the dignity of our loved ones. In closing, a prayer for Jasmine of London for her Mother who battles a severe health condition. May she recover rapidly, with all the wishes from FmXt.. Love, Amitabh Bachchan
Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, passed away this evening at 4 PM. Just a few days back on learning of her indisposition I had sent her a bouquet of flowers and a get well card in Hospital. Her son had acknowledged my letter and informed us that she was very pleased to have received my concern and wishes. At 90 she is no more. This exquisitely beautiful Princess from Cooch Behar, the erstwhile kingly state in the region of now West Bengal, one of the most beautiful women in the world, gone.
As a young student in the Delhi University I used to sneak into the Jaipur Polo ground, next to the Air Force colony opposite the Gymkhana Club in Delhi, to watch some of the finest polo players of the country, riding majestically on thorough breds competing with some of the finest teams from overseas. The Maharaja of Jaipur, a great proponent of the game, would play there and accompanying him used to be his wife, the Rajmata Gayatri Devi, in her soft and pastel flowered chiffon’s, a picture of grace and beauty. It was expensive to get into those grounds and to find a place on the stands to watch the fast paced ‘chukkers’, but we managed to get in and kept ourselves at a distance from all the main activities. Never in my born days had I ever imagined that one day I would get to meet this lady. But time and circumstances changed that. While working in Calcutta we moved around socially in a group of common friends who were related to the Cooch Behars – as royalty from that region was addressed. The Maharaja of Cooch Behar himself a great polo player and the brother to Gayatri Devi a most distinguished and handsome man, would often play at the polo ground in and around the Victoria Memorial and the race course and we would gather around to ogle at them on Sunday evenings. He had had a fall from his horse during one of the games and a severe concussion to the head had kept him in-firmed for long. After joining the movies there were many visits to the pink city of Jaipur for shootings and that is when a formal introduction with the Rajmata took place. Of the many private palaces that belong to the Jaipurs, some have been converted into grand hotels and I have had the pleasure of staying in them and enjoyed their exquisite regal ambience. I was later asked by Gayatri Devi ji to inaugurate one of the functions at the girls school that she started, now a flourishing institution. Some years ago she had invited me to be the chief guest at a charity she promoted for the under privileged and cannot forget what a gracious host she was that evening. On another occasion she called me over for a private lunch at her Lily Pond residence, serving me personally with delicious vegetarian delicacies which she had so considerately asked her kitchen to prepare. She wrote a personal note to me a few years back to seek my involvement for another event that she was inaugurating, but time constraints kept me away. That was the last communication I had had with her. The many palaces of these princely states have some of the most unique artifacts that I have ever seen. Crystal ware and silver, paintings, art work, the ‘pichvai’ murals rare and beyond value. At one of the smaller private palaces, now converted into a boutique hotel, where Queen Elizabeth had stayed during her visit to India, there is a painting of Gayatri Devi’s mother. And I shall have to say this, that her beauty was unmatched. Gayatri Devi documented her enchanted and eventful life in her autobiography; a fairy tale of this lovely Princess from Cooch Behar. May she rest in peace.
It is difficult to dwell on the rest of the blog after going back in memory for a soul departed. But life moves on.
There was a temple here in Singapore that Jaya had visited and we decided to take a drive to it along with my friend in the evening. A moment of solace and peace prevailed during the half hour that we were there. A neat and clean environment, pandits from the South and just a couple of visitors. Very soulful. Took some pictures too -
It is now 6:45 Am ! And I still remain in blog. The mind wills the body to be alive and awake and fertile. Many thoughts run through as words develop on the board. Ugly thoughts, pleasant thoughts, thoughts of harmony and peace and of disharmony. Why do we destroy our inside with hatred and ill will. What is it that prompts us to build within us a vocabulary that flourishes in vile and abusive expression. We never hurt those that such expression is directed to, we hurt ourselves. We destroy our internals and damage them beyond repair. Do we not sometimes look at a person and gauge at his demeanor. Something within us tells us that all is not well. We also look at some and conclude how well natured a person could be. When we develop within ourselves negativity, negativity will show in our facial expression. When we shall develop within ourselves peace calm and positivity, positivity peace and calm shall prevail in our exterior.
What good is it then to fill ourselves with abuse, when we know that we shall abuse nothing else but ourselves. It pains me into sleepless nights to witness ugliness, to see it being demonstrated live within range and to be helpless and insufficient in being able to bring resolution. And even if resolution were to be afforded, the moment, that moment of wild uncontrollable despicable behavior, would never erase itself from my being.
I am this way. Maybe it is soft and tender philosophical bilge. But there it is. And there I am, scarred bruised and bleeding inside, with no hope of healing. And I pray. Pray that I may be subjected to penance to avoid recurrence. That I may through this deed swallow within me all the ‘else’ that others demonstrate. To take away the poison they are inflicted with and to drink it away from them, even if it destructs me within.
Ok… that 107 steps on the pedometer ? That was an error ! I just discovered in the evening of today that the adjustment to the various complicated buttons on this little piece of machinery, now becoming a terrible threat to our existence, was indeed wrong ! How ? Ha .. ha …
It was actually, would you believe it.. 1.07 kms..
Thats 1.07 kilometers !! And translated to number of steps it reads 2131. I observed this gross anomaly because, today, even after a short visit back to the hospital for my friend’s check ups, it showed up at 107. So short of flinging the monster out of the 15th floor, or wherever it is that I was situated in this temperature checking, hand sterilizing, sticker pasting, building, I was ready to do anything to give it an indecent burial ! But, screaming Jesus, this OMRON HJ-113 3V, GWalking Style almond shaped, digital windowed, plastic clipped on contraption, by some magical intuition threw up the real numbers and … hey …
OMRON survives another day, within the calm and comfortable folds of my trouser pocket !!
Thats a 175 words of introduction to today’s post and I do believe that it has been an interesting enough beginning. Beginnings are the problem. As you open the MacBookPro and the screen lights up, the icons of varied shapes and sizes popping up on a bar at the top and the fast changing background theme of nature fading in and out, carrying desktop files, you begin to wonder what it is that needs to be written for the day. And somehow, as the first alphabets of the location and time get introduced at the top of the page and the return bar is pressed a few times to distance the text from the address, thoughts, topics, issues start to develop. And mercifully for the 463 rd day in continued succession, the connection has poured out to a vast hemisphere in cyber land. From some hesitant first timers, to the more sensitive and sincere elaborate views, the comments have poured in. Those that came in during the early days have not necessarily stayed on and those that did, have demonstrated deep devotion. Fresh and newer entrants have added glory to the blog and each day a valuable presence has adorned the pages of bigadda.com.
Beginnings ! They have a character of their own. Its the line up on the tracks in respective blocks for the 100 meter dash. The anticipation and nervous hesitation as you tense your body for that electric start at the sound of the gun. Its the exaggerated heart beat, as you sit at public function waiting for your name to be announced for an invitation to the stage. Its that conscious curious walk into a restaurant full of people giving you the look over. Its arriving late at a show or concert or film and the walk to your numbered seat, getting those already settled in, to give way to you. Its waiting in the wings for your cue as the band strikes up your introduction for the Unforgettable or the Jumma Chumma concert. Its entering into the party full of unknown faces and the wait till the host spots you and comes over to make you welcome and comfortable. It is those innocent school days and the first flushes of attraction to the opposite sex and the months and months of time it takes to be able to ask her or him whether a letter or a card could be exchanged. It is that desperate endeavor to catch the particular bus at the particular time so you could get an opportunity to ride along to the University on the same seat as her or him.
Beginnings ! They can be such an impossible barrier to cross and yet, once done, become the most comforting and attractive.
Today as one looks back, braced as it were through age and experience, it all seems so easy and at times frivolous, but the times then were different. We never had the confidence nor the strength to execute what we may have so strongly desired. Today, we guide the younger lot, the grandchildren and the youngsters on how to overcome those seemingly perilous moments.
We are battered and abused through life and circumstances to an extent that steels us for any eventuality. And yet somewhere in the back of our active minds, lurks the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of life. Even after the many years of existence there shall always be that one day, that one moment, for which we shall still not have the right answers.
Navya Naveli settles down well without medication and some semblance of normalcy, but now her brother and the younger Agastya goes down with high fever. And thats not all. Word from the forests of Kerala and the sets of Ravana, inform us that Aishwarya is down too.
The West Wing still intoxicates us, as do its characters and story lines. Strangely though, you find yourself behaving and acting in real life like the characters you live with on screen. Their way of talking, of addressing issues and of wanting to adopt management styles depicted in the Oval room of the serial. Suddenly you become dummy Presidents of the United States of America and Chief of Staff and Press Secretaries at the White House. Ha ! Fascinating !!
” When the voice and the vision on the inside become more profound clearer and louder than the opinions on the outside, you have mastered your life “
~ Bhagvad Gita ~
Sleep well dearest ones, as must I .. the church bells in the distant stillness of the night, get ready to be pulled 4 times .. !!
How strange and wonderful to be in the presence of creativity and to be moved by it emotionally. A great piece of music, an exquisite art work, a moment in film or that ecstatic spell of dance. Something moves within us and the tears swell up, the hair on the hands rise, a physiological reaction takes place. An abstract unconnected entity generates a physical moment inside a human body. I have often wondered what causes this phenomenon. There seems to be an invisible connection through the waves in the atmosphere that when touched, almost like the wires of a stringed instrument, convert themselves into a harmony of feelings which are capable of touching our hearts.
I think when we immerse ourselves completely into what we see and hear and feel, it carries with it the ability for us to become a part of it and maybe the physicality of the moment converts its energy into an emotion that invades our system. Once there, it overwhelms us with all its qualities and we are compelled into a reaction. The reaction could be one of appreciation and therefore happy or one of disappointment and therefore make us repel it.
I have nothing to do with a piece of fiction that gets produced for sheer entertainment. But the purpose of its creation could have been done with the objective of driving a connection with the viewer, in order that the appreciation of the product convinces you to invest in it.
I shall never become the President of the United States of America, yet when you witness President Bartlett of the TV series ‘West Wing’ getting involved in matters that have been fictionalized for the program, I feel for him the way others in the enactment do. And therein lies the success of that particular creation.
I must admit – and my pedometer at 107 shall vouch for it – that we have been glued to the serial today without moving an inch from the couch. It has been riveting. And my admiration for the construction and execution of the screenplay, the performance of even the smallest of actors, the camera work, the sound, all and every aspect has been an emotional roller coaster ride throughout the day. And we have stepped back from it at the end of a late night, not because we do not want to see any more, but because we want to stretch the number of days that we would wish to remain with it.
When I read the appreciation from my fmxt on my work, on the scenes that remain with them, the dialogues, the songs and the emotions, I tend to relate to it better from the fact of my own emotions on witnessing similar creations. And it is amazing how through the years and much longer, these moments of appreciation or the causes for it, remain within us for extended periods of time.
My friend who recovers here after his hospitalization is a great admirer of all the old songs of films from the 50′s and the 60′s. That is what he listens to in the solitude of the day. When I am with him I tend to remember all those old numbers, the words, the artists involved, the film and surprisingly, the interlude music that filled and separated the ‘mukhada’ from the ‘antatra’.
This is like more than 50 years gone by. But it remains as fresh as yesterday. Ask me the interlude music of any of the hit numbers of today and I would rather be happier climbing a tree. The intensity and the penetration of days gone by was greater in our minds. Perhaps the pace of life gave us an opportunity to allow time for greater concentration. Perhaps the pace of life today does not give us the required time.
Yuvak Biradari, the organization of young workers that I sponsor and actively support financially, sent in its yearly report and I am pleased with the outcome. As I have on many previous occasions written about the charitable and constructive work being done by my, this organization, all over the country – the floods in Bihar, the quake in Latur, Maharashtra and several other – it is heartening to see positive results coming in now. We had last year, initiated two distinct programmes – education and environment. The program for the environment called Vasundara Bachao, save the environment, has within the year worked towards tree plantings, pollution, observing basic civic senses in the cleaning up of cities and towns and in the villages and the Udaan Programme, which works on the principle of self employment, by teaching skills to the young in order that they may be able to generate earnings from the produce they are involved in. In a world where recession has had its toll to alarming degrees, it is commendable that the youth instead of lamenting the loss of opportunity for jobs, are able to applaud their effort in generating their own employment. I have initiated this program for three years, till 2011, after which we shall review the situation and perhaps take up other objectives.
Watching the seeds of your effort grow and prosper is most fulfilling. Almost like witnessing the growth of your own child.
Apart from the West Winging there is a whole bunch of scripts that need attention and approval. I start operating on them from tomorrow; a conservative figure of 11. Hopefully some shall turn out to be exciting for me to take up and others not. The ‘not’ are the most difficult to handle. Saying ‘no’ to enthusiastic first timer is so heart breaking, but it would be humanly impossible to accept all that came my way. Alongside this, is the desire to improve on my photographic skills. Manuals are being read and shortly a whole bunch of this art form shall appear on the blog. Its getting busy down here…
I PING’ed Abhishek on his BlackBerry and sent him an instant photograph of us in front of the TV, captioned ‘West Winging’, when he inquired from us what we were up to. When I responded to him with similar query, he PING’ed me back with a photograph from rain infested location which said – ‘Wet Winging !!”
Your concern and affection for all that transpires in my life is a world which is difficult to express in words. I would imagine that with my limited knowledge of the language such a task would be even greater. But without expressing my immense gratitude to all in the family of the blog, I would also find that to be an impossible task to accomplish.
My heart felt thanks then to all that have sent wishes and prayers to little Navya. She had a relatively better day today, with a small burst of temperature in the 90′s. This a great relief from the 103.3 degrees that she was battling with yesterday. Undoubtedly your combined prayers have been with her and been most effective.
Anxiety drains us all in large physical proportions. Being at the scene and away from it brings different reactions. Being at the cause for worry, one gets a first hand experience of the trouble. It provokes you to get involved, to assist and render help. Somewhere there is a sense of belonging. Being away from the scene tends to let the imagination go wild. It is uncertain ground. You live on transfered information. Our own reactions depend on the manner in which the information is transfered. They could be muted by the informer to reduce the intensity, or conversely, exaggerated to cause us greater anguish.
Its a tricky business. We begin to form our own judgements of the situation. A situation described to us by another. So how does one adopt the perfect line ? The person informing could be hyper in attitude and there would be the possibility of a mild situation hyped to an alarming condition. The reverse could happen too. A serious situation, diminished greatly by the way in which it was transfered. Many a times those that know the actual condition and have declared an alarming situation, may indeed turn out to be the ones that are the calmest on site. The reverse could be true here as well.
Communication therefore becomes the key point. Those possessing that exceptional skill are the real heroes. They could be a General of the Army communicating instructions to the troops, a by stander giving road instructions to a lost motorist, an employer giving out the requirements to an employee, a housewife giving her bit for the day to the kitchen staff. Anybody.
It is how we communicate through voice and word and action that then becomes an evaluation of how a particular instruction needs to be followed through. I may be a communicator, possessing in my assessment a high degree of communicating skill. But if the skills of the one being communicated to are below par, the issue could have its own perils. I would like to believe then, that in any situation such as this, it would be prudent for the communicator to quickly assess the condition of the receiver and make relevant adjustments before downloading. Many a times it has been observed that before the communication starts, observing the situation from the other persons point of view, greatly helps.
Any fruitful outcome shall have to necessarily depend on many factors. I have in my very limited capacity observed that issues have gone completely out of hand, not because the issue was unpalatable, but because the manner in which it was being addressed, was wrong.
On a larger scale then, in a land that has prided itself in its diversity, would diverse methods of communicating to the polity not have adverse effects. National issues, issues of morality and social norms, of political standpoints and regional compulsions. Issues of language and temperament. Of belief, of legality, of conduct, all falling under the same malaise…
Would it not ??
How does a populace that has not been standardized to approved norms – if at all there is an approved norm – conduct itself correctly. How does the governance, or the political representation of the people that put their faith in their representative, bring about any semblance of equality.
I visit many countries and notice that there exists in them a certain ethics. A culture that is reflected in all that inhabit that place, never more prominent, than say the city where I find myself in today, Singapore. It is intriguing for me to ascertain how and through what design they are able to accomplish this. Is there some master think tank that stipulates action and deed. If so, who constructs them and how is its construction carried out to every citizen. Is there a massive drive in each individuals curriculum to toe the line so to say, to pass a test maybe, or be inculcated with moral responsibility, through a system of basic education. I would love for a nation to design a format for all to follow without compromise and complaint.
The pedometer has played havoc in my daily movement. And despite my efforts to have it clinging to my trouser pocket from the moment I arise, I have not been able to reach anywhere near the recommended mark. It has been embarrassingly low. First day – 2339, second 1049, yesterday 536, today 6807.
The West Wing is not just taking its toll on the President of the United States of America, it is shutting us down to a stationary couch position through out the day !!
Trumpet fan fare… rolling of drums … clashes of cymbals … and ..
ta .. daaaah ..!!
The pictures and stills from forthcoming “Aladin”
Thats Ritesh Deshmukh as Aladin running through the corridors of the city he lives in, chased by his tormentors. The story of Aladin is known to all, we all grew up with it. Sujoy Ghosh who directs and produces it has con-temporized it to modern times, but with a flash of fantasy.
And that be the dude, Genius the genie. I thought the use of the name ‘genius’ was rather ingenious. In the fairy tale he is always depicted as a large XXXXXXXXXL sized, humongous, Arabic costumed, Turkish capped voluminous humanoid. But here … well what can I say ! Didn’t one of the FmXt say something about aviators..? See, guys I listen and read and comply.
This is Genius Rap – ‘Aladin give me a taali’, sung by… you got it.. yours truly ! Choreographed by the lovable and talented Shiamak Davar and shot inside an abandoned and old times movie theatre, opposite the VT Station in Mumbai. Fascinating cute little place, with a lot of old world charm. The decorated and ornate stage, the filigree worked exclusive boxes by the side, velvet curtains .. man those were the days …
Same stuff.. but now with ‘the Ritesh’ in duplicate attire … still rocking !!
The climax – the song – the ensemble cast – everyone in fancy dress ball times – the leading man the leading lady the villain and the Genius…and .. er… the balloons too !! Shot at the Mehboob Studios on the largest floor available in the city, on a massive set.. I mean…MASSIVE !! Over 200 dancers, artists junior and senior, ending up with a show of some of the most inventive special effects and the mastery of the South Asian stunt and action coordinator … Its one helluva scrap in the end !! haven’t done something like it in years – may be more actually !! Ha
‘O re sawariya’ - with the lovely Jacqueline Fernandez, the beautiful Miss Sri Lanka and our leading lady, along with ‘the Ritesh’. Her first film and I promise, you shall never make out that it is. Gentle and tender with an infectious smile and such an endearing presence on screen. The pink ‘saafaa’, written often by the media as reminiscent of NamakHalal and the song ‘Pag Gunghroo’ … naah !! Just a mere coincidence, but ‘o re sawariya’… that has a story.
West Indies Concert tour 1983 Trinidad and Tobago, and something that Viju Shah – the music director and son of Kalyanji of Kalyanji-Anandji duo – and I hurriedly made up before going on stage by ad libbing some of the popular calypso folk indian numbers. This tune and words are from there. Sujoy Ghosh, the director, then leading a pedantic life in good ‘ol London in the year of the Lord 1990, witnesses our Jumma Chumma Concert at Wembley Stadium among the 65,000 odd crowd, hears me belting this number out and 20 years later bullies Vishal & Shekhar the music directors of Aladin to weave an entire song for the film .. Cool eh !!
Sanjay Dutt, the Magician. He that conducts the story of the film with his desire to overcome the might of the genie. Here in almost grand mother fox like disguise, from the tale Little Red Riding Hood, enticing the ‘A’ … Aladin . Strong, ambitious, smart, wily … effortlessly played by Sanju !!
Little Aladin running away from the bullies at school, unaware of the magic of the lamp that he carries in his hand !! Until …
So there…!! FmXt … spread the word, talk scream and shout – 31st July 2009, the first promo of ‘ALADIN’ shall be up on the blog … TAK DHINA DHIN.. !!
My friend got discharged from Hospital this morning and it was a fulfilling sight to see him walk out on his own. He has tremendous will power and mental strength and for someone who rose from the most humble beginnings from the streets of Calcutta to his present position, this is a remarkable journey of immense determination and resolve. He left his father’s house as an 18 year old in disagreement; his father wanting him to be involved in their family business. He did not have a penny and did not have a roof. And he never asked for either from anyone ever. Today, without any backing or support from any quarter, without compromise, he has through his hard labor, worked his way up to a position, which is the envy of many a leader in the country. He is a friend of friends, devoted and committed. A quality most rare in todays world.
Today I wish to thank all from FmXt that sent good wishes and prayers for his well being. I am certain that they all played an important part in his recovery. We all pray that he continues to enjoy good health.
The inconsistent nature of life brings within us a constant fear of imbalance. The good is often balanced with the bad and vice versa. As I rejoice in the recovery of my friend, little Navya-Naveli my grand daughter battles with high fever in New Delhi. I am torn between two diverse emotions. My constant concern and the anguish for Navya continuously being balanced with other more pleasant thoughts here in Singapore. It tears your insides up. It is the most trying experience to see little loved ones in pain and discomfort. You almost wish ever, that they be relieved of it and it be transferred to us.
The entire day has gone by in such a state and just a short while ago the news comes in that she is settling down. I hope that she remains good. Some tests tomorrow shall determine the course of medication that need to be administered and what the reasons are for the fever. Shweta informs us of how bravely and with steely determination Navya took her blood test routine, her very first. Not a squeak from her. No screaming or tears, just a very strong brave little girl.
‘Just like her Nana !’, I joked with Shweta after it was over.
Abhishek and Aishwarya struggle in another part of the country. They are shooting in Kerala, in the forest interiors, for Mani Ratnam and Ravana. It is pouring there and they are in waist deep water in the scene, throughout the day. Wet and drenched from 5 am till late at night every day, is not what most believe to be the ‘good life’ in being an actor.
‘Paisa badi mushkil se milta hai ‘, my Father would always warn us with sage advice. Money is acquired with much difficulty. And throughout our existence this shall always be our belief. Nothing gainful in life comes with ease. We shall have to work for it, fight for it and struggle for it !
My friend repairs well and repairs well enough to be discharged from Hospital to his home. Home not in India, but in Singapore. There he shall remain for observation and tests and acute monitoring. He shall be observed with care and diligence for, such surgeries need careful ‘after looking after’. I have now, after numerous episodes in the OR come to believe that the diagnosis is the first problem in medicine. Once that is ensured the process of getting rid of it through surgery has now reached a proportion where matters are almost put on auto pilot. The captains and commanders of these complicated flying machines, are yes, experienced and accomplished in their training, but machinery has been designed nowadays to virtually function on its own. What it has required is management. Walk into the cockpit of any modern aircraft in flight and you shall find management at its best. Button punching and knob turnings are the major activities of the pilots. Manual operations come into force on take off and landing. So also in medicine. Most surgeries have set routines and procedures. It is what happens post it, that causes concern and attention.
They will cut you up and repair and stitch it all. But it is the post operative period that is vital and important. It is the period after you recover and go home that needs concerted effort. What is to follow within your system to the intrusions. What shall be the behavior after time has elapsed and the body begins to rebuild. What is required mentally to cope with the changes. Because now it is a lifetime of dealing with what has been changed within. What difference it will make to the body supplied by nature. Many believe that the job done by surgeon and hospital is final, but it is not so. What is most important is how you will deal with your system now with the handicaps of repair.
The strength and will required for this journey, is much much greater than the will required to submit yourself to surgeons. Everyday is a new day in coping with disability. Or should I say, not disability, but the presence of a handicap. For the outsider I may look and behave in absolute normalcy, but they would never know what I would go through inside. I may lose the performance ability of certain functions in the body. They may never ever reach the cent per cent yardstick. But the human body, marvelous in its construct, has the ability to trudge along with diminished percentages too. Its resilience has proven to be of immense proportions. We live and survive and operate and function and perform to almost perfect limits, even when we actually are at much lesser percentages.
The strength and the will of the human in these circumstances is the ultimate test, in my belief. How humans disguise their defects, how they cover up their imperfections, how they cope with them on routines without fault, without remorse and without the slightest sense of seeking sympathy – ah ! alliteration – is the true picture of a valiant being.
Each one of us is a valiant being ! Each one of us has an imperfection to cover. It is how we do it, that becomes eventually the barometer of our courage and determination. Not all have the desire or the element to execute. Many succumb and fall into the depths of self pity, seeking attention, wallowing in their own stew and becoming desperate seekers of external assistance.
I would assist all in need if I am able. But I would feel great pride and honor in assisting him that did not necessarily depend on it. Character and strength of character are impressive. I may trip and fall while running. But I would admire the one that after falling, refused to stop. That would get up. And even if he were to be unable to run, to continue to walk. It would slow me down, but at least I would reach a destination. The one who stopped, never would.
Telling and recounting my own story and experience, would make this page one of undesired vanity, bordering closely to the solipsism of a theoretical mathematician. But I am not that. Suffice to say that I do talk with relative responsible experience. One that presents itself with the absence of example and of course the ‘I’. I would have gladly done that to illustrate my point. But this is as far as I shall go …
Not just on the topic of discussion … but also for the night ..
Dhanyavaadaalu Tamara krutagntha
Благодарим Вас моя дорога, и любовь
meine Liebe für die mit mir!
Saare bandeyain nu hath jodh ke, sat sri akaal.. jo bole so nihaal, sat sri akaal !!
अपने सभी साथियों को मेरा शत शत प्रणाम और धन्यवाद . आप सभी के आशीर्वाद से मै इस लायक बना की आप सब ko is कला क्षेत्र में कुछ सेवा प्रदान कर सकूँ . ये मेरा बहुत बड़ा सौभाग्य है की आप सभी मेरे साथ हैं . नमस्कार
Strong reactions to the poll have been registered well and the consternation of those that feel they have been unfairly treated, justifiable.
But hear e all my brethren ! ‘Tis but a matter of fun and gay frolic that prompted me to address the questions thus. Were it to have been of some offence to FmXt, herewith sincerest apologies and grave despair on me that causeth anguish. It was not meant to be in the manner born. It was but an exuberance that engulfed my sleep deprived senses at the hour of the morn – 4:30 am !!
The functionality of the offensive poll shall herewith be promptly withdrawn and the occurrence be looked upon as the figment of deep and disastrous imagination upon him that had printeth these hand written font words..
Kshama ! Kshama ! Kshama !
Which in plain Elizabethan English would mean – direct them that needed translation to do just that – go hither to Google Translate !!
For long, the morning hours have been devoted to the conditions of the mind, in search of suitable connections to the Motherland for the execution of certain important conferences. It has also, as is wont, been constructive in trying to gather all that commeth in the shape of written comment.
Blessed be the Lord !!
There be some extenuating circumstances prevailing. My limited mind knoweth not what implications they be. But they be, and they be well and sincere.
They talketh of deliberate stopages at the line that painteth itself yellow and pale. They conjecture that there be no desire to address those that commeth after.
“ The Ides of March are here..”
“Aye Caesar , but not gone !!”
fear not the limitations of the yellowish pale creature, loved ones. They are but illusionary. There is more and much more in desire for them that miss its absence.
Time the healer of all mankind, will prevail upon its master and compel him to address those that shall remain unattended.
“Is this a dagger that I see before me…?!”
No.. no.. my Lord ! We beseech you, fear not the compelling circumstances. We shall overcome such impediments –
“Once more unto the breach dear friends once more,
Or close the wall up with our…… “
Justice shall prevail and for them that hath believed that they be wronged, preference towards the palish jaundiced line shall stand horizontal upon their name ! So help me… time and FmXt !! ha ha.. got you there.. you thinketh it were to be ‘God’… no sire, maam, mistress, lady, senor… it be my ardent wish and desire !!
I retire now to inner climes of the white prevalent. Of modems that sprout the liquid of life – aqua !
In short – a bath !
Thenceforth upon the passage of prayer and meditation to friend and companion who lies distraught in sterile confines..
But with the promise that I returneth, invigored and unconcerned on deprivation of the closed eyes, to you my brethren, sistren… or whatever manner it is that Shakespeare may have addressed his and others’ sisters…
I made some desperate attempts to answer as many comments as I could and as I went along the comments kept increasing. It began with around 125, which I felt was achievable if I started early. But I would do 10 and another 50 would come along ! I gave up at a point where I felt I would have to be up all night with answers and not be able to do the blog.
I chose the blog over the answers. But the idea remains. The intent remains and the will.
I became slightly adventurous today. Stepped out to get a few medications at a pharmacy and ended up getting a whole lot of other stuff. Little things like special toothpastes and brushes for the teeth, wrist bands for ailing ‘blog punching fingers’, a waist brace to keep my back straight and comfortable and a handy bag to carry all my gym equipment. The market is full of such variety and style, its an expedition to undertake. And the moment you decide on one and buy it, you walk past another store with better merchandise and you curse yourself for not having come by the second shop first.
But really.. it is such an embarrassment to enter a store look around, dislike objects shown and walk away to another. At least for me it is painful to do so. Women are masters at this. They have the capacity to pull an entire store down and then walk away saying they did not like anything !! I just cannot do that and I cannot be in a situation where I am accompanying the lady to a store when she is about to begin a demolition !!!
Men … get in, chose the object of desire, price, purchase … out of there.
Women … o! boy ! .. let me not attempt to even go there.
So got a nice, comfortable, soft, tight fitting case, for the computer – protective gear for this most important and precious element in the .. connect ! And got one for the wife as well for her lighter MacAir. She seemed pleased. Cooked me a pasta for dinner as the last strains of ‘GREY’S ANATOMY’ came to an emotional end. Season over. Got to switch to WEST WING now. Had left it mid way some months ago.
Singapore breathes efficiency and sterilized existence. Had a problem yesterday as you know with the internet. Took the liberty and the chance of calling the management downstairs and making a soft request if something could be done. Within seconds the door bell rand and suitably attired gentlemen, shoes off by the door, entered and had solution to the problem sorted in the next minute. And here I am, with a stupid grin on my face, hammering away at the keys to the ‘familia extendum’.
No, do not Google that remark to check on my brilliance. Its just a cooked up daft remark which I just made up, so that with the passage of time when we shall – ‘shall’ fellas – get insulated tired and entirely fed up with the caps., EF, we could all switch to …
‘famext’ … !!
Got it ? Thought you would !!
National day for Singapore coming up. I think its 9th August. The city decorates itself with banners and flags at vantage points. The National Emblem, the LION face, prominent in its majesty looking down upon us, its lustrous mane symbolically divided into 5 partings depicting – democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
During the Singapore IIFA they had generously decorated the streets with banners of the event and gave us a most warm and hospitable welcome. I had the great honor of having an orchid, the country’s national flower, named after me at a most gracious ceremony at the orchid museum here. I brought it home to Mumbai and it still flowers in my garden as a most memorable symbol of the people of this island.
Many in the ‘famext’.. hey, I am already beginning to use this alternative .. have desired some photographs of Singapore, preferably with me ‘doing’ the streets ! Hokkayy ! An effort ‘shall’ be made ! Overdoing this ‘shall’ bit ?? Fine we shall put an end to it, willingly !
Got a really smart one on my mobile sms.. a bit risque.. but what the hell we are all adults are we not.. barring a few 16 year olds !
And here it is – its by Woody Allen -
“In my next life i want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in a luxurious spa and end up as an orgasm…”
A lot of people I forwarded it to, thought it was just brilliant !
Then I got another one -
” Who says we don’t exercise ? we jump to conclusions, drag our feet, throw our weight around, stretch the truth, bend the rules and go around in circles !!
SUN TV … here I come !! Amma ! Yennaka passika de amma !!
Really really embarrassed about yesterday’s post. Such bad presentation and such a tacky look and content. I was so frustrated by the loss of the broad band at the crucial hour that I just gave up at 5 am and let it go the way it was. My apologies.
I have always had problems with trying to catch up and relive what I may have lost on a particular DAY and so in keeping with the temperament I shall certainly not endeavor to break the sequence ! What is lost is lost. Perhaps it was not meant to go out to the EF.. and so there…
And.. if may add to the irritation of the advisors and the saner elements of our sweet little society… I am yet again posting straight on to the DAY, instead of following instructions to write and save on WORD. I am obstinate am I not ! But somehow, I cannot explain why, when I write on Word I just do not feel that I am conversing with you. It has seemed strange and alien. The thoughts remain stifled and lethargic. They bear an attitude which is different. Different not in the good sense, just different. For some reason I feel when I am direct on post, that each one of you sits there in front and listens as I punch. That sympathizes with each thought that comes out involuntarily. That joins me in laughter and mirth. That holds my hand as I reach out. That comforts my forehead and tells me – ‘get to bed you ‘ol fogie.. we have had enough !!’
So.. on to other matters ! I had said I would try and put you on to the memory test. Well … here it is. It is a site that you have to click to visit. I did try to put the test itself on the blog, but the engineers had a mini revolt at the server and said this was the best they could do. Seriously though they tried very hard but did not find a solution, hence this …
Before you get to the test here is what is expected of you -
This test will determine if you’re getting enough sleep or if your mind has really lost it! The test consists of three parts:
You’ll be shown 12 photos in the first part, You’ll be shown another 12 photos in the second part, You’ll be shown 48 photos in the third part and asked if you saw them in the first part, the second part – or never saw them at all. When you have finished the third part, your results will be given to you.
I do sincerely hope either of the clicks works and you do have fun in assimilating what your memory percentages are.
Meanwhile back in the ranch – some photographs -
Thats the son, at IIFA Macau Fashion Extravaganza giving his spiel for the charity for the benefit of the workers in the Industry. All these proceeds that we collect goes in looking after lesser privileged workers and their families. Some IIFA’s we conduct a sporting event, a cricket match within two teams picked from the Industry and such like.
Thats the ‘ol fogie at a London restaurant – le Petit Maison – with the grand children whom you cannot see, because every time you point a camera at them they disappear under the table. Note the dark glasses guys and its subtleties. Let me know what you notice.
Thats me a little while ago, IPhotoed and Adobe Photo Shopped, in my room in Singapore as I settle down to address the world of EF. The ‘tracks’ and the ‘wrists’ are normal computer gear. This job is indeed athletic !
Thats at Jalsa. Some weeks ago. Actually shortly before the affectionate Shanouk wished to express his extreme love for me with an embrace..
And this, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is what I saw with my camera of other cameras. Pretty interesting eh..?
There have been some among you that have continuously added great value to this blog by their most pertinent and valuable comments, put across in the most eloquent manner. I laud their efforts and do urge them to continue to give us a greater and wiser vision on some of the topics that have without any specific purpose, come up during my writing. I would wish not to mention them by name, for I observe that many of you that do not get mentioned, show disappointment and anger. Rightly so I must confess. Everyone spends a great deal of time getting to the text, reading it understanding it – provided it is worth understanding – and then commenting on it. Thats a massive dedicated exercise and I must acknowledge that, here publicly and insist that you continue to add your invaluable impressions to enlighten us. The individual reactions to them shall come as soon as I start addressing the now much awaited ‘yellow line’ !
And so to the eclipse ! The Grahan as we call it in our language. For some an unusual sight to behold, for many others a sign and day of superstition and astrological connotations. For some a phenomena that shall perhaps reappear after some 300 years, long after we are all in heavenly abode – or who knows they may invent a drug soon enough to keep us going till then. For some a day of prayer and caution on the ill effects of the moment. For others of being a part of this in history and recording its occurence, like my staff in New Delhi did – here for your benefit -
I have no idea why they all came out looking green, but there it is. And so to the next 300 years when it shall appear again. I wonder when it happened 300 years ago in the 1700′s or so, what reaction it may have caused in the minds of mankind, struggling to contend with many of natures unexplained peculiarities. We live today in an advanced scientific age and have the ability to perhaps take in all this in better spirit, but then, in the 1700′s or worse in the 1400′s and the 1100′s… Goodness .. they must have thought the world was coming to an end !
And when you read and learn about space and the universe beyond our little earth, you really get amazed to discover what an infinitely small speck we all are in that world and I wish that millions and millions of us that live here and have the benefit of God’s grace to be inhabitants of Earth, to understand and realize how insignificant and inconsequential all our issues are compared to what exists in the rest around us. The sheer magnitude and expanse is so humbling. Yet, we are fighting and quibbling over matters that are petty and ugly and of no value.. A shame and a pity !!
The moon they say with every revolution around the earth is shifting in its orbit an inch, 1″ away from the earth, every year. And it shall take 5 billion years for it to disappear completely. This is one small little moon for earth. Imagine the many moons of other planets. Imagine the other planets of other galaxies, and the galaxies beyond..and beyond .. and beyond ..
Its 2:25 AM on the Thursday !! And I am bright and awake and fresh and active as one could possibly be. Its the state of the mind and the body that guides one into such condition. As I wait for my car to come up to pick me up from the Hospital here in Singapore and take me to my place of temporary residence , I come across an ailing gentleman pushing his own wheel chair and accompanied by nurses walking across to the lifts to get to his room from perhaps a compulsory walk in the garden downstairs. He stops to walk towards me. He smiles and thanks me for taking a photograph with his son. He says he and the lady with him are the sons parents. He is from Australia and his taped hand indicates the intrusive intravenous procedures that he must be going through for his treatment. I wish him a speedy recovery and politely ask him -
‘I hope you are well ?’
He holds my hand firmly with a broad smile and answers ‘You are as well as you want to be !’
What a simple strong statement. I shall be as well as I want to be. Yes for all of us, we must be as well as we want to be. I am as fresh and alert as I want to be now. I should be in bed and should be at rest, but I wish to be awake and to be fresh and so I shall be, so help me God !!
Shall baby ! Shall, shall shall … you mrmrsmswhatever Afternoon Despatched and Couriered to outer space ! Shall, shall shall….!!!
AND.. ONE.. MORE.. TIME….
SHALL.. S H A L L …!! Yeah !
Ok .. thats it for today. Off to bed and the remote and the TV, to catch a game or some news and then end up with SUN TV !! Yes.. yes .. yess.. SUN TV, that magnificent South Indian Channel from Chennai Tamil Nadu, playing non stop songs from their films !! I tell you.. their choreography and the locations and shot takings and the color combinations… just marvellous.
We in Mumbai, with all due respect, need to learn a lot from them !!
Me with love … and Marigold low fat yoghurt natural, with two columns of sugar !! Just consumed that to keep me HYPER !!
Mahashivratri was wrong information. It was Sravaan Somvaar.My apologies for this error. A special day all the same. And thank you EF for this correction. Thank you also for voting almost 98% for me to continue with this blog. It was most reassuring.
It is late. But before I get another lecture on health and the requirement of good sleep, may I inform readers that my samdhi, from my daughter’s side sent me a memory test on the mail
DAY 456” created on 22 July, 2009 @ 0:41 [Autosave]
Singapore July 21, 2009 Mon/Tue 2:10 PM
Mahashivratri was wrong information. It was Sravaan Somvaar.My apologies for this error. A special day all the same. And thank you EF for this correction. Thank you also for voting almost 98% for me to continue with this blog. It was most reassuring. It is late. But before I get another lecture on health and the requirement of good sleep, may I inform readers that my samdhi, from my daughter’s side, sent me a memory test on the mail and I procured 98% marks. The test literature also stated that irrespective of sleep deprivation the memory of a 60 year old and that of a 20 year old remain the same even after 35 hours of no sleep !! I am not in any manner wanting to contest the argument or disprove facts stated in said document, but merely putting it up for our information and understanding. Let me try and see if the server can help me put up this test for us on the blog … The great quality of a successful tele serial is that you never want to shut it off ! And most of the reasons why late nights occur these days is because of the riveting and non shuttable
“GREY’S ANATOMY !! It is remarkable how the story and the acts keep coming at you, frame after frame, episode after episode. One reason could be that we are seeing a DVD collection of all the episodes and all the seasons put together. There are therefore no advertisements to distract the attention and no breaks after every episode of waiting for the next week, for it to be broadcast. The drama just keeps unfolding, the time keeps ticking by and before you know it, its reached EF complain time. When we were shooting for ‘LAKSHYA’ in Leh-Ladakh all of us due to the height factor of the location, were rested for two days of acclimatization before we got set for makeup and shoot. We were asked to swallow some pills before flying in, drink a lot of water and generally lie in bed without exerting yourself. I had just been introduced at that time to the very successful tele serial “24 Hrs” and sitting idle in my room at Leh I started to watch it to pass the time. I actually did not stop for 24hrs untill it was over ! Fascinating ! Many a times I still feel I would want to do just that ! There are times when we tend to do that at multiplexes – see movies one to the other. Get inside a theater finish the film and walk into the next. Done that a couple of times in New York. Fun. Does terrible things to your stomach though with all that pop corn, but hey, what’s a pop corn in an evening of fun !!
“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset one can possess… for it can take you further than money power and influence.” “Life is a tragedy when seen in a CLOSE – UP, but a comedy in a LONG – SHOT” – Charlie Chaplin”
Do not take rest after a success… otherwise people will take your previous victory as a luck in your next failure” “I remain just one thing and one thing only and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician” – Charlie Chaplin
“Wars, conflict it’s all business. One murder makes a villain… millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.” – Charlie Chaplin
“I know not with what weapons World War 3 will be fought. But World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones !” – Albert Einstein “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give !” – Winston Churchill
“Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future and faith is having the courage to dance to it today !”
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA ! OM NAMAH SHIVAYA ! OM NAMAH SHIVAYA !
How the festivals or moments of reverence in different religions coincide in celebration. How an auspicious day for one coincides with an auspicious day of another. Yet how, despite this coincidence of similarity, some of the most ugliest wars and conflicts have taken place because of them. Not a single moment in one has ever wished or dictated to their followers, the destruction of the other. Not one has propagated violence or animosity. All have preached peace and well being and harmony. All have preached prayer and belief as salvation. And yet the discord.
A gadget has been presented to me. It is the size of a small pebble. It clips onto the inner side of your trouser pocket. It has little buttons like on a digital watch and on pressing which, numbers appear on a small screen. It is an instrument that measures the number of steps or distance you have travelled. It stipulates that taking 10,000 steps a day is the minimum requirement for a healthy body. It has been initiated today by me. It is to be noted that yesterday I recorded 1057 steps and today 4509. It is disastrous. It is needed for me stop using vehicle for transporting myself. It is indicated that the dark alleys of the pavement, with the pit-a-pat of running feet behind me notwithstanding, is indeed the desired route of travel and security be damned.
It is a revelation !!
Goodness this is so compelling. Just to get the numbers up to the desired figure I now find myself more hospitable and service oriented.
‘Water ?, I shall get it for you sir” and “you’d like the TV on. no problem sit.. sit… I shall put it on ”
‘Er.. no thank you I’d rather take the steps…. what is that you say ? 15th floor ? You take the lift I’ll walk down !”
And despite all that effort – just 4509 !! Ok tomorrow I shall just take a little detour in my walk to the Hospital. Go up via Kuala Lumpur and down to Singapore. That should crack it !!
Apologies again to the comments and the limited yellow lines. I started off in real earnest, but got caught up in the traffic of duties for the day and stopped. But I shall come back and shall answer and shall be with all and shall not stop at any mid way point.
Below a news report from The Afternoon, in Mumbai an eveninger tabloid, that laments the use of bad grammar and language on my blog and therefore dissuades others from going there to read it -
So.. honored writer of the column, is not happy with the way and language I write my blog in and expresses reason why he/she does not read the blog and after pointing the mistakes persuades others to not go there either !! Sad !! Thats like a duster on the knuckles in class ! Sorry Ma’am/Sir, I am rather illiterate and uneducated. Have never professed to be one with any writing acumen or skill. My apologies for this and for disturbing your senses in your very grammatically proper text on the column.
I ‘SHALL’ continue to write my blog. And I ‘SHALL’ put this matter up as a poll in my rubbished blog, in order to get an honest opinion on whether I write or not. And if perchance they were to vote in the positive, I am afraid, I ‘SHALL’ continue to write to them, with all the regal and godlike quality that you accuse me of !!
What say, EF…. SHALL WE…?
Do you subscribe to THE AFTERNOON. And do you know whether it exists ? Answer in the blog, another question is displayed on the POLL column.
It’s an auspicious night for all our Muslim friends and this detail of it, comes to me from dear Fatima from South Africa. All our good wishes and prayers..
Summarised Jumu’ah Bayaan:
Mi’raaj: The Night Journey
“Glorified be He (Allah), who took His slave (Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam) for a journey by night from Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah) to the farthest Masjid (in Jerusalem), the precincts whereof we have blessed: in order that we might show him (Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasalam) of our signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (17:1)
• Al-Israa and Mi’raaj are among the many signs of Allah Ta’ala and the miracles of Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam which took place very different from any other natural occurrence in the Universe. No person before him ever travelled within such a short space of time covering a vast distance then moving on to the seven heavens until a point where Allah Ta’ala desired to take him to.
• This miraculous journey is primarily referred to in two distinct stages: Al Israa’ – which was the journey which began in Masjid Al-Haram where Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam embarked upon the unique white animal from Jannah called ‘Al-Buraaq’ with Jira’eel alayhis salaam and they proceeded to Masjid Al-Aqsa, whilst passing through Madinah Al-Munawwarah and Mount Sinaa’. The second stage in known as Mi’raaj, which was the journey from Masjid Al-Aqsa into the heavens.
• The wisdom behind this journey was establishing the transitory nature of this world with all its beauties and amenities; and consolidating the everlasting trait of the Life Hereafter.
• The object of this journey was not merely for Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam to be taken on journey into the Heavens simply to witness the various dimensions of Allah’s creation therein; rather it was to affirm his superiority, leadership role and virtue above all the other Ambiyaa alayhi mussalaam.
• Some of the lessons of this event: 1. The Virtue of Salaah: The importance of the great gift of Salaah is evident from the fact that the Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam was personally called to the Heavens to receive this injunction, while other injunctions were revealed via Jibraeel alayhis salaam.
2. Zam Zam Water: Whilst in Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the blessed chest of Nabi salallahu alayhi wassallam was opened, his heart was removed and washed with the water of Zam Zam, and thereafter it was replaced to its original condition. Its excellence is evident in that no other water was used for this purpose.
3. The Harms of disobedience: During this journey Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wassallam was shown the different punishments meted out to those who transgress the orders of Allah Ta’ala. This included, among others, the punishment for those who do not practice what they preach, those who slander, those who consume interest, those who indulge in fornication and adultery, those who misappropriate trust, those who do not fulfill their Zakaah and also those who are negligent with their salaah.
• This journey also served as a means of encouragement and uplifting the morale of the Messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wassallam, as it took place at a time in his life when he together with his companions were faced with a severe onslaught against their lives and faith, while frustration and a sense of loosing hope began to surface.
• The historical significance of Masjid Al-Aqsa and its precincts also was enlightened during this journey, as it was here and no other place, which had chosen for the assembly of the entire galaxy of Ambiyaa alayhis salaam.
• Although the Shariah has NOT specified any form of worship or commemoration of this event, at this time of the year, historically Muslims recall the lessons learnt from it and encouragement is given towards inculcating the lessons learnt from this miraculous occurrence.
Doing nothing. No getting up early to a deadline. No objective to get to, no particular motive in preparation, no particular desire to feed the body or saturate it with liquid, no indecisiveness on what to wear or how to look, no destination, nothing of value to say, not interested in speech or meet. Just to be. And allow the winds or the atmosphere to move you to wherever land…
Its an attraction by itself. Apart from the visit and time spent at the Hospital, it is much the same for me today. Inertia and idleness has brought in nothingness. The feet move voluntarily without any purpose or direction. The mind wanders aimlessly. Even as you participate in conversation and debate it is unclear what we are arguing about or speaking of.
Some days spent in this fashion are attractive. They were for me. And I do enjoy this nothingness.
The hospital gives better reports and the condition of the patient in the patients own words are encouraging and positive. God is kind and gracious and we pray that he remain so. It is odd this existence. For, during the last few days a new TV series is on play in the room – “GREY’S ANATOMY” , a compelling drama inside a Hospital in Seattle. The quality of the screen play, the performances by the actors, everything just so so attractive, despite the fact that the subject matter is mostly grim, is truly remarkable. Once you start it, there is no desire to put it off. A great compliment to the veracity of the serial. And yes for the moment, it has taken a preference from back seated ‘WEST WING’, which lies unattended on the rack, urging us by its silence to pay it some more attention.
The dexterity with which the story weaves its way into our hearts and minds. The authenticity of the surroundings and the atmosphere. The drama and the emotion drawing us into it, almost like participants, episode after episode, is a feat that must be lauded in the highest terms.
I pull out a few poems from my Father’s works and skim through the pages. A poem, a satire on Delhi attracts me. I had read it and heard it live from my Father years ago and was in desperate search of it. What reminded me of it were some of the news bulletins that I was able to catch here in Singapore. These were current affairs of what was transpiring in the country in year 2009, but the poem, this particular poem, was written in the mid 60′s and it amazed me how poets had the gift of predicting through written word, a vision of what could or may transpire in the future ! Poets were not just poets that rhymed words and expression. They had a definite philosophy and understanding of life with predictable correctness. They had the ability to see where we could not and feel what we were unable to. What then was that particular quality in them that at such early age, and most of the greats were young or wrote their best when they were, could consummately understand life and beyond with ease and put it to timeless verse !
As I glance through some more pages of my Father’s endless volume of work, I come upon a description he mentions in one of them. He refers to an Irish poet – his attraction to WB Yeats and Ireland, now well known – which states :
“The Kings are never more royal, than when abdicating !”
Profound. Simple. Deep. An assimilation of varied temperaments, not just for the subject per se, but for almost all other.
Yes, the subject and the vision of Kings in abdication bringing to us a finite definition, but in its mention, depicting to us more than just a mere example. The ‘King’ a symbol of regality, of power and rule, of position and standing, of one demanding servility. Of striding on conquered peak, of swaying masses, of being the pinnacle of success, of the ultimate receiver of admiration, of respect and honor. Of being the possessor of eternal youth, of the one with Midas touch, of ageless wonder and continued righteousness. This ‘King’ then in all his recognized splendor, when he abdicates, is never more royal !
‘Abdication’ – a desire or act executed with voluntary decision, to renounce one’s exalted position, has been an admired, nay, a most revered act, in the annals of not just history, but in life and in society. An act that has always touched the tenderness of human heart with great emotion. A quality admired almost sage like .
Many a’king’ has enjoyed the benefit of sympathy and devoted love through abdication; the renouncement of position and power becoming with immediate effect, a glorification. Many have done it with genuine resolve, many with calculative intent. Many have gained, many have lost in this their intended deed. Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi in their renouncement became the ultimate symbols of religiosity and iconic godlike following. Sacrifice has always been a step away from the divine.
The lives of great Saints is immersed in deep and sincere sacrifice.
But within the ethics and the divinity of sacrifice and renouncement, nature and the humans that it gave birth to, also brought with it, as in most occurrences, the evil to it as well. ‘Abdication’ became a face of self aggrandizement, of the propulsion of ‘I’, of gaining merit and recognition. Sometimes it worked to perfection, on others it did not. In Uttar Pradesh a famous tale of Emperor Akbar, the great Mughal ruler of the country still rates high in popularity.
Badshah Akbar, on wanting to ascertain the true nature of the common man in his kingdom, gave up his royal demeanor for a while, dressed as a commoner and stepped out into the streets. At every step that he stopped to enquire with his subjects unaware of his reality, how they were doing, he was invariably asked in return by them why and who he was to be conducting such inquiry. When informed to them that he was Badshah Akbar, they laughed and jeered and soon upon his continued act of posing as royalty, became the victim of the crowds violence. This was tolerated by Akbar for a while and then when he realised that it was not working, commanded his deputies also in disguise – and this is best enjoyed in Awadhi, the dialect of UP -
“Lagaao toh chhatari ! Ee aise na maani !
“Put up my durbar ! He is not going to believe otherwise !
(‘Chhatari’ is the word for an umbrella. Here in context, it is the regal canopy, the durbar)
Almost immediately the ‘durbar’of Akbar, with the elephants and horses and flag bearers and trumpeters carrying his throne was put up, upon which Akbar, in all regal splendor strode up and sat. And the man on the street bent down in awe and reverence !!
Watching Jacques Chirac, the President of the Republic of France, during my recent visit to Paris, sitting on adjoining table at a curbside restaurant for lunch and not attracting even a glance of recognition, reminded me of the Akbar story. As President of one of the most powerful nations of the world, his movement and every step was monitored and announced. The sirens and police detail preceding his appearance, the streets being cautioned of his arrival, police and security protection all around, flag waving limousines swishing by at great speed, pilot motor bikes in attendance, the build up and anticipation and then, the President appears out of his vehicle surrounded by his personal close security. You cannot but ignore such activity. You stop and look at the pageantry and protocol filled with admiration.
But without the title, just an ordinary common man sitting much like others enjoying a salad at an eatery !!
Acquisition of glory, fame, position and title could come by inheritance, could come by hard labor and perseverance. Could come by tolerating and accepting great pain and effort. By blood and sweat and tears. In its renouncement however, if there were to be similar pain and and perseverance and hard labor, it would rob the ‘royal nature of its abdication’.
How many of us that acquire, ever think of giving up. Not for the glory of sympathy or royal abdication, but for the calmness of the act and its subsequent deliverance ?
In awe, in wonder, in servility, to those that give me the grace of position… and affection !
God: Hello… Did you call me? Me: Called you? No… Who is this? God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.
Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something… God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.
Me: Don’t know. But I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic. It’s rush hour all the time. God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.
Me: I understand. But I still can’t figure it out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat. God: Well I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.
Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now? God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.
Me: why are we then constantly unhappy? God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.
Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty? God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.
Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty.. God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer? God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better not bitter.
Me: You mean to say such experience is useful? God: Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.
Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can’t we be free from problems? God: Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons (to) Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.
Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading.. God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading.. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.
Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do? God: Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.
Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated? God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.
Me: What surprises you about people? God: when they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me”. Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.
Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I can’t get the answer. God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.
Me: How can I get the best out of life? God: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.
Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered. God: There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.
Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. I am so happy to start the New Day with a new sense of inspiration. God: Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don’t believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve.
Nice ! Got it on my mail and instantly felt it needed an audience !!
So.. apart from a hugely spasmodic morning in the region of the back and a restraining mobility, everything else was.. well.. ‘hunky’ ! I am leaving the ‘dory’ bit out deliberately, because it wasn’t. Meaning it wasn’t all that good to start of with, but there is nothing that can keep an intense dosage of pain killer-shiller-diller, down. After its consumption therefore – doc’s consent sought of course – the world suddenly started rotating on its axis again… would you believe it !!
“KILLER-SHILLER-DILLER”.. was straight out of nostalgia. Delhi University campus lingua ! 1958 in the Univ Cafe ! Just behind Miranda House.. ya.. THE Miranda House..the ladies College.. and outside which ,most of the University hung out ! It was an expression for the dude that walked in wearing Wrangler jeans – a rare speciality those days – his copy book folded and immersed nonchalantly in his hip pocket, shirt tucked in casually with the collar up, curled locks falling on the forehead, the pointiest of shoes on his swaggering feet and the most desirable Miss Miranda beside him !!
How we envied those guys !! They had the knack, the guile and the guts and the following, to be able to achieve what they did in those three years on campus. And we’re not necessarily talking academics !!
What a following they had ! The girls hung around them because of who they were. The guys hung around them because the girls hung around them ! What times ! Miss all of it now all over again and wonder if we could get an opportunity to relive them. Not for the following… naaa… that came later, on its own.. but the atmosphere and the life we existed.
And the ‘following’ too came not because of ourselves, but of what people perceived us to be through an image on the screen. It was natural then. Now it has many ingredients, active ingredients !!
Following… well.. ok.. I shall concede came from the results of acceptance of the character in film. So, alright you did something that surprised some of them and they decided to like you and admire. But that comes with limitations. You hit the ball out of the park and they are there. You stop making those home runs, they stop wearing your logo peak caps ! Rochelle, must be loving this bit ! Ya baby ! We love our cricket, a delusional mirage for you, despite Daisy M’s valiant effort in spelling it out ..BUT, we also catch up with the odd game of baseball, Cyclones and all !!
Ok.. back on the pitch and out of the dugout !!
Following !! Yes, it has been an experience for most of us. And a joy that it still weathers some stormy years, to be with us. The Sunday crowds, the blogosdom and the odd ones here and there. Most of them possessing great potential for humor.
On the flight in to Singapore on SIA, charming Indian air hostess looks after you with that extra courtesy and smile. Some others working at the back, come in too, to seek autographs and the digital mobile photographs. A few fellow passengers send in requests for a signature on boarding passes. The Captain wishes for one too. And he is not Indian. When all the fuss is over, male Singaporean steward walks up to the seat, leans across to me and wispers -
“So, when are you running for President ?”
I smirk an embarrassed facial contort.
Out as the doors of the plane open, helpful ladies and gents guide and escort you to the buggy. Such a relief. Changi Airport is a city by itself. Immigration personnel look at you with delight and recognition. Seek autographs. Male Singaporean steward standing in the crew queue a long distance away from this VIP DIPLOMATIC EMBASSY serviced immigration formalities lounge, gives that knowing smile and gestures -
Some more staff and officers join in. Now I’m really looking important. A host of other passengers taking mobile shots and shaking hands. Volunteers helping picking baggage off the belt, loading it on trolleys, rolling them out for us.
Customs. And stern looking uniformed officer, stretches out his hand. I, smile on face extend mine.
“No !”, he clips, ‘your passport !”
I hand it over to him, suppressing a sheepish one-upped embarassment.
“Step to this side, sir !” , the uniform commands and leads me away from gleaming entourage.
Smile now decidedly vanishing from face I follow instructions. Never mess with a cop in foreign land !
“This, this and this” he dictates, choosing three pieces of ‘suspicious’ baggage from well looked after trolleys.
That was still the uniform eh ! Just in case you thought it was describing expression of my mouth.
I did the needful. Rummaging took place. Nothing drug infected was found. And without closing them up the bags were dismissed back to the trolley, with a terse, “Thank you !!”. Ok that sounded soft. It wasn’t. It was -
“THANK YOU !”
Tails between our weary and track panted legs, we hurry out.
Male Singaporean steward, loading his bags on to van, now wishing to change his earlier statement !!
Did someone say following….?
Amar Singh ji recovers well. I spend all the time with him and tell him of the concern shown on the blog for his health. He wishes to read all those comments. I assure him that I surely will arrange. As he rests in the day I drive around a few spots. They are busy out there in the streets and everything is within walking distance. Its inspiring. And I try it out. Take all the instructions from the wife, who along with son and bahu has been here for a while and ‘knows’ the terrain. Helpfully she draws out a diagram to follow, as I venture out to go back to the hospital. I am by myself now. Just me, my sneakers and the hoodie slung over the shoulder. Out on the streets ! Quick references to the drawing from wife. Right out from the gate, main junction right again, left and there right in front, the hospital, she had calmly explained. I do exactly that. I am happy. I walk alone. No one interested or giving that look of recognition. O boy ! This is the life ! On the footpath. Quiet and alone. Not a soul around. Some traffic passing by on further road. And then… the sudden sound of running feet from behind..!!
It is dark. That stretch of the pavement is filled only by me.
Every perceivable image of all the action movies seen and enacted, rush past the brain in anticipated fear !
And then in most dramatic angry young man, VIJAY DINANATH CHAUHAN mode.. I turn to face the oppressor -
A breathless lady running up. In sandals that threaten to come apart. Panting and excited she blurts -
“Amitabh ji…Amitabh ji… I just had to shake your hand and take a photograph.. I was driving by and noticed you from the car.. and I told my husband it was you.. he never believed me… this is my son.. can we have a photograph please… we’re such big fans of yours..I am from Pakistan.. please.. could you.. what are you doing here walking all by yourself… where is your security…
CLICK ! CLICK !… thank you… just out for a stroll.. thank you..
And off. Off rather rapidly towards the destination in diagram from wife. Ah ! there it is, I mean thats where she said it is. I look up. After walking for half an hour, I am back at the spot where I started from !!
And ladies and gentlemen of the EF, do not ever find fault in directions given by the wife. Because… THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT !! End of discussion !!
As I stand there bewildered and helpless, a car window rolls down and gentle Sushant, a young man from Mumbai, working in Hotel Management here in Singapore for the last one and a half years, wonders if he could be of some assistance.
I am back where I stay. I had been dropped off by dear Sushant and his friend at the Hospital. Masked faced we have spent time with AS, done some more photographs with staff on floor, staff of Malaysian Royalty, who serve and guard their master also admitted at the far end, photographs and hugs with a whole community of Bangladeshi’s there to be with a relative having stomach problems, eaten some home cooked food and deciding to not strain the back any further.
The DAY ends with some concern for Maharani Gayetri Devi of Jaipur. She is quite unwell and has been admitted to Hospital. One of the most beautiful women in the world, a friend, a gentle and generous host to me on several of my trips to her beautiful palaces, now caught up with age. My prayers for a speedy recovery.
Said the famous lines from the song of an old blockbuster film in the 60′s I think. Said the famous lines from a leading politician of this region during the opening of the IIFA held here some years ago.
The words say that we must in our lifetime come but once to Singapore. I have been here a few times and now here again after a 5 hour bouncy ride from Mumbai.
Singapore, squeaky clean and efficient. Polite and with a smile. Compacted by geography, but large in hospitality and welcome, shall be my abode for sometime now. I am here to be with Amar Singh ji and to see him through his moment. He recovers well, but with caution and that is how he needs to be conducting his life.
O dear, I go back so many years to this city country. In the late 70′s, ‘Suhaag’ directed by the genius of ManMohan Desai wanted to shoot an action sequence on a helicopter and since he would not settle for anything less and since a helicopter shoot permission was never allowed in Mumbai or anywhere in India, we came to do it in Singapore !! Shashji, Shashi Kapoor and myself had travelled all the way from then Bombay, to hang precariously at the bottom of this flying rotor bird !! We were to jump off from said bird onto escaping villains in cars and mobikes. We were given a particular stretch of airfield on one of the airports, or perhaps the airport that existed then – I cannot remember too well, to perform these shootings. We stayed at a Hotel that had Indian management and where Mr Abhishek Bachchan, then a mischievous little half pant-er, went into the bathroom and locked it, not having any idea how it was meant to be opened. When he did not emerge for a considerable period of time and when our anxiety filled up we spent huge persuasion in trying to talk him into how to open it, without any results. What was more perplexing was that there was complete silence from Jr B during this entire action plan that was being enacted from outside. When we finally got the tech staff of the Hotel to come in and dismantle the lock, we found Jr sitting quite nonchalantly on the closed lid of the WC, with an expression that wondered what all the fuss was about !
Perhaps it was the generosity of the place or the effect of having Mr Shashi Kapoor in their midst – he having recently shot for a Hollywood film there – that they extended us a unique VIP treatment when we were to leave. Time was short and we were running late on completion of our schedule. We were still shooting at the airport as the departure was being announced for take off for our flight to London, when the management majestically loaded Shashiji and myself on the chopper and dropped us at the steps of the aircraft, now in boarding mode. The check in and all the rest of the formalities were done when we were well ensconced in our seats !!
It was a terribly long flight, but as always, Singapore Airlines, ahead of all the others in passenger comfort, modernity and hospitality, had introduced the first concept of sleeper beds on a plane !! The aircraft was not the luxurious jumbos or the 777′s of today, but the twin jet engined per wing 707 Boeings before the 747. And the seats did not slide into beds as they do now. They had a separate section built behind, much like bunker beds in a school dormitory or kindergarden, where you could stretch yourself out, curtained off for your privacy. The flight because of the duration, stopped at Tehran for refueling and I remember we were allowed to walk out of the aircraft while this happened to mobilize our legs and arms and to enjoy the marvelous view of the distant mountains on a brisk morning.
Later of course there were a few more visits. A concert we did in the 90′s with Anil Kapoor and then of course the IIFA at Singapore. Our hosts the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the entire industry in there and the gathering in my room every evening much like all other IIFA’s, becoming such a joyous occasion. Ajay and Kajol, Karan and ShahRukh and Shahid and Bebo and all the others singing and dancing the night away to Punjabi Bhangra fusions – the emerging sound of world music at the time – and Brett Lee, the Australian pace bowler, with his guitar, strumming Hindi popular songs. I think ‘Yuva’ was premiered then at the event.
There is some consternation being expressed by the absence of the yellow line. I am at relative hibernation in these parts and hopefully shall soon occupy myself with what is desired. Patience !!
Not like what I had asked all to do for the video to open. That was an error. That has since been rectified and I do hope that those that found it difficult to open then, shall visit it again now. For it opens…. khul ja simsim !!
That will not work for my eyes though – they do shut now with fatigue, and the dog collar… yeah baby ! dog collar… I carried it with me… screams for it to be set apart ..
Rained on and off, enough to keep the water reservoir levels healthy. Pain in stomach gone. Pain in the back ebbing miraculously – some serious physio therapy with sound and laser by Dr Londhe at the house did it. Children at the dining table. And glorious comments from the EF including over a thousand on the poll. Life is pleasant. Sometimes its better to execute caution and desist from overboard exuberance on ones condition, for fear of it going all wrong again !!
Doc assesses, its the way I sit at my chair and the way I bend over to address MR MACBOOKPro that causes the back to misbehave. So an immediate cure has been developed – two extra pillows beneath the ‘you know what’ and a dog collar band around the neck; developing age and countless folds of skin around a once slim and camel like neck being a major impediment in binding the Velcro down.
The sight then, as I engage in my most valuable moment of the day, would dissuade even the most hardened admirers I must admit to even acknowledge me. But, what’s a collar and pillows between a DAY and the dailies…
The event of the day, apart from assimilating suggestions on how the ‘recall’ needed to be loaded, was a visit by the local municipal authorities of the ward within which I live and function and their appraisal of the flood situation around Juhu. They had been disturbed to read my description on the blog of the situation and desired to come over and explain certain facts and measures being taken to solve this very menacing problem.
They took me through a most diligently prepared computer generated visual of the vital issues – the problem, the cure for it, the funds availability to execute it and its final outcome once all is in place. And I have to say that it all looked very impressive. Some basic points were enumerated. The drainage system in this region is over a hundred years old and obviously, with increasing population and development in real estate, it has been unable to cope with the expansions. While planning drainage systems a recognized ratio that is generally accepted for the flow of the water is .5. Which means that, they expect the drains to take care of 50% of the water and 50% to be absorbed by the earth and surrounding land mass. With development at such rapid speed, there is now just concrete all over, the earth and the land mass now built upon. The 50% of water that was designated to be absorbed by the ground has vanished.
Problem, therefore, number 1, for the flooding.
Problem number 2. Several natural canals surrounding the region that were flowing into the sea have now, due to excessive habitation been congested with effluents and waste. During a heavy downpour they fill up and overflow into the city, instead of taking the water down in natural process into the sea. And so flooding.
Problem number 3. High tide in the sea forces its waters in reverse through the canals. If the high tide and the rain coincide, its time to climb the rafters and pumping rubber dinghy’s !
Yes there actually is one, well several actually, and quite meticulous.
The suburbs where I live and particularly the Juhu Scheme is a low lying area. These were swamp regions without any life or existence. Jaya and I waded through tall grass on foot to get to Prateeksha and approved the place because we felt it was the edge of then Bombay and a place of quiet and peace. It is now the centre of this metropolis geographically, because of the development around and beyond it. The canals have colonies living on its banks due to shortage of space, not to mention the massive construction boom accelerating its pace every hour. When nature strikes, it would be humanly impossible for any administration to bring relief. As I said earlier, I have seen and been in New York during a severe snow storm and the city stopped functioning for three days. There is of course the other side of the story too, as I read recently about New York. Having been one of the more important, modern and richest cities of its time, it underwent development, which was way ahead of the other cities in the States. Now with the passage of time and fresh and more advanced development technologies in place, which the other cities have had the benefit of, New York begins to look archaic. And there are moves now to modernize it to keep up with modern terms and conditions and this is going to cost a bomb. So debates and discussions and proposals are being put forward of how this needs to be resolved. I believe all fast growing and developing metropolises in the entire world face a similar problem. Mumbai is no different.
But moves are afoot. The tenacity of the human has always been under test and somehow some solution has always come forward. In Mumbai now, funds are in place – an initiation by the Prime Minister himself. The canals are being widened and people living along it being moved to alternate locations and being rehabilitated. And several pumping stations being installed at phenomenal cost to physically pump any excess water that collects in the canals and the drains, into the sea, even when there is the danger of the high tide. Massive iron gates shall drop at the mouth of the drains to prevent the sea from forcing its way up into the city and after that is done, the water that shall collect on the other side will be pumped back into the Arabian Sea. And bingo !! Dinghy owners shall be selling theirs at less than cost and the rafters shall have fewer human habitants !!
All this under the heading ‘Work in Progress’. Completion partially by the end of the year and completely in a year.
Immediate warning and caution – 24th of July 2009. Reason. Its going to have the highest and strongest high tide of the decade !!
Time to migrate !!
Now that you have been through this most exhaustive academic dissertation on water management … water management ? Did I actually use that expression ! Apologies ! We are only talking about the flooding here, nothing more .. distinctive ! OK..?
Yes.. so now that we have been through this.. lets go through.. that.
And that is … time to say shubh ratri, shabba khair, guten nacht, bon notte … aabaar dekha hobbey..
PS: REMEMBER TO OPEN THE FACE PAGE AND WAIT, WAIT, WAIT FOR THE VIDEOS TO APPEAR … TRUST ME THEY WILL…
AND… THE CORRECT ANSWER TO THE POLL IS THE ONE DAISY M, GAVE. BLUE !! READ HER COMMENT SHES EVEN GONE BEYOND THE POLL…HA .. HAA..
I humbly present to you – TOTAL RECALL, the interview by Arnab Goswami of Times Now in 8 parts. It may take a while to load as you open the face page, well not terribly long, just a few seconds more than normal. I cannot say what normal is for the others, for me it was seconds. Now this could be depending on where you are, in which part of the world and what the intensity of your broadband is. Most of the western world moves faster, but may I say that we here in India are fast catching up. In fact we are almost there. On an average the speed here is 2mbps… I hope I am right with what it is called… but I am currently being tested out with the Reliance line which is supposed to give me 40mbps. This is remarkable. Due to its division however I think I am working on 8mbps so far, which is amazing anyway, but the 40 is not too far behind..
Imagine downloading a movie in a couple of minutes !!
A collage !! Moments of my existence !! And, a wonder if they be of any interest within the extended family !!
The crowd of fans and well wishers outside Jalsa a few Sundays ago and their love and affection day after day through many years now. I can but acknowledge them only and express gratitude. I have nothing more with me to give them. I wish I had.
I took Abhishek out too with me. At times when the ladies are in I insist they come out and meet the people. A glimpse a wave a smile is all they ask. At times an autograph. Simple little gestures, for so much warmth from them.
And as I leave the house they remain outside and cheer and follow at times somewhat precariously perched, like the young lady behind her van. God has been very kind to me.
Some other pictures down the line show me at work for a commercial. All the green is the background which in modern film technology shall with digital finesse, fill up with visuals. I fool around in one. The crew on set seems to enjoy my humor. I sit on one pensive as the camera department lights up and focuses – the assistant on his heals to give a height indication for the lens. The director of the day in one, explaining the shot. My perch on several chairs put together to protect my bad back. I am obviously so deeply interested in what he directs towards me !! Ha ! Do not, I implore, judge my involvement in the way I look away !! Sometimes those are the moments when you are concentrating the most.
The rain… behaved !! It poured throughout the night and in bits and pieces during the day. The water logging cleared up a bit in some regions. Leakages and threats of being submerged looked distant and the traffic and life on the roads came back to life, though not entirely in other parts of the city.
I got adventurous during the day and actually supervised the breach in the wall of the basement with some serious looking technicians. And more wonder of wonders, actually accepted some of the ideas on water proofing that I gave out to them. Well.. at least they seemed to give me that impression while I spoke to them. They must really be sniggering now, at my stupidity !
The media was amusing today. Had some frantic text messages from them on whether I had built a ramp in the house to put my cars on it to save them from the flooding !! Why on earth this should be of any national interest intrigues me. I suspect they must be doing a larger piece on the inadequate facilities during the rains by the Government and the efforts that need to be made in insuring these episodes do not repeat themselves. But to be fair, what can one do against natures fury. When you have 160 mm of rain in a couple of hours, the best and most efficient administration in the world would be helpless. I have seen many a Government in the developed world brought to their knees when natures catastrophes strike ! And I must say when I had ventured out in wading waters yesterday, there was a determined presence of the police and emergency services at vantage points to bring in assistance and help.
So… I indulged again as I prepare to depart. TIMES NOW, the TV Channel anchored by the affable Arnab Goswami, who had been most impressive in his coverage and reporting during the attack on Mumbai, had done a program on me called ‘Total Recall’, an assimilation of 40 years of my work in cinema, interspersed with an interview. I had not had the opportunity to see it when it was broadcast and had asked for the tapes to be sent to me. That is what I put on and my immediate thought was how can I put this across for the EF to view.
So… this is not my poll question of the day, but a genuine request. How in heavens name does one get this across on the blog. To be more specific. I have 2 DVD’s of the program and I suppose they will be technically proficient to go on to the net… but how does one do that..??? Some quick suggestions please !! Or else I shall go to the server bigadda.com for assistance !!
Bastille Day, the day of the great French Revolution, France, Paris and the ceremonial parade down the exquisite Champs-Elysee. For the first time in the history of the country and the parade a foreign dignitary invited as a guest of honor – our Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. And Indian troops, the Maratha Light Infantry and the Navy and Air Force, marched down along with French troops down this historic path, day before. A million Indian soldiers had fought in World War 1 on French soil and 100,000 had died. Not to mention the approximately 2.5 million Indian soldiers that fought along with the Allies during WW 2.
Felt terribly proud on seeing President Sarkozy welcoming us and giving us this honor. He, as you may know was the chief guest at our Republic Day Parade in New Delhi at India Gate, last year.
What a moment ! So many sacrificed their lives so we could live ! And we never seem to remember and honor them enough !!
Phew !! What a day !! And who knows whether it is over yet.
Lashing and fierce rain pouring in without a break, from late last night to just an hour ago, has devastated most of Mumbai. Water logged, flooded out and without any hope and respite I have sat and watched matters go from bad to worse.
Prateeksha is inundated. The road outside is in waist deep water and the lawn, even though it is built on a rise has filled up and threatening to push the rain into the house. I prepare to move furniture and stuff from the ground to higher positions. Mini waves drift in from the road into the driveway and reach the first step into the house. Water has entered into the reception area and the staff, bare footed pants rolled up, are frantically trying to clear drains of any obstruction so the water can flow out. But flow out where ? On to the road which is waist deep itself. It shall all come back !
I muster up courage and help and pull out the SUV. Sorry Mid Day, but thats the only one that shall go through in all this mess, and float out into the streets now jammed with people wading through and the cars blocking any movement. I open the door, well just about, to assist a few young ladies in distress who were beginning to lose their composure, and give them a ride towards Jalsa. Everywhere there is just chaos. Its a sea of water all over. I pass by the office Janak and the staff is getting ready to climb on to the tree by the gate ! Water inside the premise and the ground floor is unworkable. Water in the lift, furniture and properties moved to the first floor. Jalsa is relatively dry, the road opposite now a swimming pool, but the basement has a breach. A huge gaping hole has been punctured and buckets and water pumps are being put to use to avoid the electronic panels that are housed there from blowing up !! Making calls for assistance, getting the right people to come and repair, but its in vain. Those that stepped out cannot come back and those that did not step out remain where they are – in their homes ! I get out again to monitor Prateeksha and run into traffic coming my way on the same side that I am driving. The other half of the road is jammed with water and stranded cars. People walking randomly wherever they can can find space and a better depth. Just so tragic ! The TV informs that the tide in the sea is due in and if the rain does not stop it shall push the water in the drains flowing out, back onto the streets. At Jalsa the water in the bedrooms has leaked through despite the tarpaulin protection monsoon covers. I tell them to put towels, swabs, water resistant solutions, anything. Abhishek and family in Singapore with Amar Singhji are unaware and I quickly inform them of the deluge warning them not to come in today as scheduled. I put all the mobiles on charge and the walkie talkies. Fill up water in buckets from the rain outside and store it just in case the power goes and the pumps get disconnected. And wait, and wait and wait…
And almost by some divine proclamation.. the downpour stops !! No rain, no winds, just an eerie silence. No traffic sounds. No sounds of humanity or people on the street… and no birds chirping. And thats how it has remained.. so far !! Its dark and grey upstairs in the clouds and ominous. And all I can hear now is the clicking of every word I punch in to reach out to you..
Praise the Almighty , peace prevails.
I put on the Mac and Google Alert draws my attention to an earlier DAY entry of mine, where, ironically I have responded to Upala of Mid Day on another rain situation some time ago. It reads just the same as today, except for this -
This is my condition, what of those that do not have the facility that I do !! That shall not be able to get back to their homes because the trains have stopped and the buses are stuck. Of those who may have lost their meagre belongings in their meagre and humble abode. Of those that had made their homes on the pavement. Of those that shall not be in possession of an extra pair of clothing to change from their present drenched lot. Of those that made a daily living through their little mobile food carts and other services. Of those whose temporary huts got washed away. Of those ….
It just never ends.
I browse through all the comments of the day and the previous day. I read what EF has to say on Napoleon’s white horse. I read a desire from some to describe what I do in an entire day with the family away. I read paeans drawn on my Father’s poetry . I read discussions on Agneepath being remade. I read requests to wish a birthday, to wave a ‘hi’. I read love and affection. I read disgust and disagreement…
And I wonder…
Does all of this compare with the misery of those unfortunate that suffer outside…
Thank God for little mercies ! The connection finally works !! BigAdda was down most of the day – they had ‘issues’ they said. In the film world these days the modern generation normally uses that vocabulary when they come out of a premiere or trial of a film which is not necessarily of their liking and make the most diplomatic remark by saying that they had ‘issues’ with the film. Its like being in the United Nations fighting for a seat on the UN Security Council, or a debate on world affairs in the ‘situation room’ at the White House !! We have issues gentleman ! And we cannot comply !!
It has been lashing wind and rain the entire day, which is good for the catchment areas in the city – the ‘great’ lakes that bring us our water. The levels that had been alarmingly down, are up and the 30% water cut that was been advocated, has perhaps been pushed back another week or more hopefully. We are so dependent on our Monsoons !!
Perhaps South of Maharashtra, down to the tip of India, is now in some comfort as far as rains and their intensity is concerned, but elsewhere there are grave conditions. A colleague in my office came out with a heart wrenching story of how in certain parts of the country a tanker of water had cost the region 46 bottles of blood. Like, people were donating blood to be able to buy their water !! Seems most incongruous, but he narrated it with some authority and I do hope he was wrong. In another region of Rajasthan he said they were collecting their share of water in a vessel and locking it up in a trunk, for fear of it being pilfered !! Not a very pretty picture of the situation. Though I am certain there are large areas of ‘story telling’ in these episodes.
A wonderful and talented co artist passed away today – the veteran stage and film actor, Nilu Phule. I had worked with him in my film ‘Coolie’. A seasoned thespian with a distinguished face and voice, who had played some historic roles in his career. I have found most Marathi actors and artists that have played a significant role in Hindi films to have had their beginnings on Marathi stage. Accomplished and most versatile, they have moulded into the film firmament with great ease, but have never forgotten their early years and invariably either go back to the theater or simultaneously work at both facilities – a most daunting task. I have been inundated with sms’s from the fourth estate to give comment on Nilu Phule and his presence along with me in the film we did together, but I have abstained purely because my association with him had been so limited that I would not have been able to do justice in paying an apt tribute to his talent and personality. I will say this though. He was a most down to earth, humble human, a quality quite rare when you equate it with the talent that he possessed.
I have had occasion to glance through some of the comments that have been coming across from the EF for the past few days and have been so tempted to respond to them, but my condition and the vagaries of the server kept me tied down. Some of the pieces are pure literature in their writing and representation and full of such valid argument that I would wish to put them up as my post in the days to come, just so, many others that may have skipped reading them, could be enlightened.
My constant flow of advice and quotes via the mobile coerces me to copy some down for our readers -
“Memories are very confusing.. they make you laugh when you remember the time you cried together !! But make you cry when you remember the time you laughed together !!
“We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more.”
“A man was walking on a shaking bridge. He prayed for help.. he saw God on the other side of the bridge and asked God to come near, but God did’nt come. Man got angry. With great difficulty he crossed to the other side and saw God holding the broken bridge ! Trust HIM. HIS ways are amazing !!”
“The moment you think of giving up, think of a reason why you held so long.. Do or die is an old saying … do it before you die is the new one..!!”
“Small minds talk about things. Average minds talk about business. Great minds talk about growth. But.. champions never talk .. they just perform and the world talks !!”
Did you know that India was the second largest fruit and vegetable producer in the world and that its agri activities make up for 17% of its GDP ! Hmm ..
And that American Schools are laying a lot of interest for their students to learn Hindi as one of the alternate languages ! Hmmm .. again !!
The poll results of yesterday propagate that I should mostly remain in Mumbai and watch the metros go by. Err .. the latest development plans of the city have one going just above Prateeksha’s head. Guess my premonition was not too wrong !!
My business colleague in my office predicts that TV shall soon become passe and that the next generation of development would be the 3G S mobile service. From movies to the latest news and happenings around the world, on your hand set !
Guess that does not make watching metros go by such a bad thing after all – it could all be on the 3G mobile !!
Namaskaar .. meri hardik shubh kamanayein and dher sara pyaar … !!
Prateeksha , Mumbai July 12, 2009 Sun-Mon 12:43 PM-AM
The pain killers work so well, I feel like I could take off and build my own trajectory in space. Its a three day course of anti inflammatory cum pain relief and the first two days have been behaving themselves. Yes there are concerns about excessive dosage and damage to other parts of the system, but allopathy comes with many such encumbrances. We work within limits and precaution. Though many Sunday articles in the media today talk of just that – the excesses of creative artists and how their end came as a result of it. Its topical, its MJ related and makes for interesting reading. Which is admirable because the media has this incredible knack of judging which and what must be carried where in order to keep reader interest going.
I have on several occasions requested media heads to allow me to be present as a quiet spectator in one of their early morning editorial meets, but despite generous promises of an invitation I have never been called. There is great psychology and intelligence that must prevail at one of these events. My curiosity is to be a part of this exercise for my own personal knowledge. It has always intrigued me and I do hope I shall find my way there somehow someday.
I have stepped out of the house today, just to feel the monsoon air, having disappointed the Sunday fans with my absence at my gate earlier. There is something so sensuous about the monsoons in Mumbai. They are different from any other rain in any other part of the world. The sound of the torrent, a constant drone on which one could tune an instrument. The grey darkness at noon, the fogged glass on the window and the complete silence of the birds. Indeed the chirping of the birds is an indicator that the rain is due to stop. Just as the croaking of the frogs in the late evening hours in Allahabad my town of birth, indicated the coming of rain, so this. The hot delicacies fresh from the oven, the pakodas and samosas. That wayside stop over by the street to pick your personal corn on the cob, the bhutta, salted limed and chillied to the brim with a dip in the butter. Eating the chusni aam, that small delicious mango that you could devour by the buckets. The puchka pani at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, the kati kebab at Nizams and later after a meal, the crisp freshly cooked syrupy jalebi and that worth killing for katori of the most fantastic Maharashtrian delicacy, srikhand… ah… one could go on and salivate till thy kingdom come !!
A quiet North Indian dinner at my cousins, watching replays of Wimbledon and cricket and a short drive on the just inaugurated and much talked of Sea Link, a 4-5 kilometer bridge over the Arabian Sea linking the suburbs of North Mumbai to South Mumbai, has brought me back to bed and rest and EF.
Only grey moment. Had to drive past Lilavati Hospital to get to the Link. And everything comes back. Ma and Dad, my own two visits there and those near and dear friends with whom we spent anxious moments – lost some, brought home some.
It is grim talk I know and we must endeavor to get over them and think of happier times and happier moments, but sometimes little incidents trigger off the thought process and we immerse ourselves without wanting to. Old photographs that my cousin displayed made one nostalgic. His father and I had grown up together and seeing those moments when we were adolescents and naive and gullible brought back wonderful moments spent in each others company, never to be repeated again.
Nostalgia – a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past typically for a period or place with happy personal associations, is derived I discover from 18th century Latin which describes it as acute homesickness. Translated from the German Heimweh ‘homesickness’ and from the Greek ‘nostos’, “return home” + algos “pain”
This ‘pain’ is different, but does fall into one of the categories we spoke of yesterday. Strange is it not that we dwell on the same subject even though we started off with air and food !!
The body repairs in short bursts. Stutters to a start and then soon enough winds down. You brim with the hope of normalcy for a moment and then despair, as another section disappointingly begins to shut.
An inactive body is an inactive existence. Blessed are those that exist. They have the body as their companion. And blessed are they that compensate their disability with options. Options that even in their inactivity, are active.
I wonder at times which is the better option. An active body with an inactive mind. Or an active mind with an inactive body.
We do not go out looking for means of how we can bring damage and pain to our system. But damage we do, consciously or unconsciously. The exuberance and the energy of youth propels us into believing that we are beyond that threshold . We compare and challenge each other in moments of senseless bravado; how one is better equipped than the other physically. We test our intelligence too. Our routines in everyday life contain that element of competition. The grades in school, the ability on the sports field, our rankings in the profession we embrace. All pushing us to compete with the other, to excel and become better, to be the first, to reach the top and hopefully remain there forever.
What costs it involves remains secondary; at least for most part. But nature overtakes all our desires and accomplishments in time. Other circumstances and surroundings alter and change. Nature remains a constant. We respect nature, but fail to respect ourselves. We abuse nature at times when we are unable to cope with its eventuality. We know that we shall be unable to have any favorable results as far as nature is concerned. You can abuse a tsunami, an earthquake, an erupted volcano, a storm at sea. But its designated fury shall not abate. We laud nature too. A welcome torrents of rain on parched land, the beauty of snow capped mountain ranges, the advent of spring and its freshness, the exuberant colors of fall, the produce of the field for consumption, all give us hope and pleasure of sound and vision.
But when we disrespect our body to an extent when it is beyond repair, when we load our systems with unwanted misuse, when we succumb to temptation of desire, then we have no right to curse the outcome that nature begins to subject us to. Yes, fate and nature at times inflict upon us without our indulgence and we learn to cope and accept is as God’s will. We question at times why this should be our fate. We ask questions. At times to the creator himself. We express anguish and frustration at our condition and wonder why it happens ; that we were the ones that were chosen. Light heartedly we command Him if he would mind choosing someone else for a change.
At the conclusion we bear and suffer and rest in the thought that this was ordained. We rest in the thought that this is what He had brought us here for. That if there was no suffering there would no need for us to be in existence; the purpose would be lost, its meaning would be redundant, obscure, invalid.
We are comforted by the belief that the wishes and the prayers of those that are dear and near shall ease the anxiety and pain. They do. But the pain cannot pass over. It cannot transfer itself to those that wish it so. We respect the desire of others to bear it for us. It comforts our hearts and brings psychological relief, not physical. That cross we bear alone.
My pain could manifest itself in many forms. Mental, physical, psychological or any other form that I may be uneducated to. But it will remain mine. Only I shall evaluate its intensity when it exists. And only I shall evaluate its intensity when it abates. We judge both from outside never from within, because we never know the threshold of the other. My severity could be a normalcy for the other and vice versa. It is what and how we convey that carries across. We shall, each one of us, have different capabilities of expression, but none as efficient to capture in the mind of the other its factual reality.
I thank today those that express concern. I tell them I repair well. I tell them to an honest extent. Many would not. Many question my need to disclose my condition. Many object when I do not. It all begins to fall in the domain of the private and the public.
But pain is subjective, subjective to the bearer of it. And so must it remain.
I repair well today, my extended family. I wish not to abuse my handicapped condition, instead I take strength in the concern from others.
Who but I shall know better of its extent and its relief.
Your concern still overwhelms me and I am short of words, for once, in trying to gather sufficient gratitude for all who wish me a speedy recovery.
I would like to believe that your prayers are indeed having a substantial effect on my condition. The tests are all coming positive , but physical examinations still have certain areas of doubt. They need to be cleared and until such clearance comes my way, my personal physician does not permit me to travel anywhere. So I lounge at Prateeksha, try my level best to produce yellow lines for those that communicate with me and in general am giving a tough time to the staff at home – they not being in a situation where they find me at home throughout the day !!
The foreword to Madhushala was discussed extensively with my niece and the creative agents and now having submitted it to them shall wait for a dummy version to be shown to me so that I may finally approve it and send to print. There was however one other point that needed attention. An epilogue to the poem, much like the prologue also existed in my Father’s words. That has also been of some value to the book – additional verses that were not not included. I consider them to be of some relevance and so I need to get get back to the drawing board to adequately translate them and put them up. Beyond that, there seems to be an approval on the content and hopefully we shall be in possession of the final copy within a couple of months, well before his birthday on the 27th of November.
I am mightily amused at a report that came from the MidDay in somewhat bold headlines through the good offices of its HitList editor, Sarita Tanwar. She has been a most cordial and accommodating individual – visiting me on set not for any particular reason, but to build in her words, a relationship of trust and friendship and to clear the air of any misunderstanding that may exist between her paper and us. She has been interviewing Abhishek and has expressed on mobile sms her appreciation on a particular blog entry of mine, which has moved or impressed her. Her husband who works for Stardust and allied magazines has conducted cover photo shoots with me, without me knowing his relationship to her and she has during the course of my work, urged me to help cooperate with him, which I have most willing done. Since then there have been cordial communications with Mid Day at various levels – their new Editor Abhijit asking me to contribute a piece in first person on my passion, which I willing did and which they generously printed and which I had put on the blog. During my meetings with them I have expressed concern over some of the wild stories they have been carrying which were not only completely untrue, but were simply not worth their weight in carbon print. This I must in all honesty say, they acknowledged and also gave assurance of them not recurring. Having been in the profession for over decades of media interactions, one gets immune to these words of ‘wisdom’ from them – my credentials resting in the fact that apart from my 40 year tenure in the industry as an artist, there is also the privilege that I have acquired of seeing many of their ilk retire and merge into oblivion. I find it odd that they would , or she would, devote an entire page on castigating me and my family on the issue of the use of my car and its connection to global warming !!
I am asking the EF… what in your opinion and in your words should be my response to this..?
May I just add that this did not come suddenly to me. What did come to me suddenly was an sms from their journalist Tushar stating as follows -
‘Mr Bachchan just wanted to check if you are aware that in the US there is a move to ban SUV’s as they are called ‘gas guzzlers’ and bad for the environment. As a brand ambassador of iifa, who supports the green revolution ( and even have a green carpet event ) have you considered not using your SUV’s ? Thank you. Tushar from MidDay’
I am aware that my acumen in keeping the press happy and co operative is abysmal. I am not generous enough in entertaining them to either media jaunts to out of town activities, especially those in foreign lands, and neither do I have the required savvy to invite them to social gatherings and parties like a Karan Johar does for his birthday to Sarita Tanwar and others of her ilk. I do get disturbed though when mention of my private meetings with the media heads, on my blog, entertain their ire. An ire that threatens to disassociate the cordial assurances promised between them and us.
If media needs to be nurtured for personal gain I would imagine it would destroy their very tenets of unbiased reporting, would it not. In keeping with that sentiment, if I have desisted, is there some error being committed on my part ? And if so, then I am guilty of a most unethical crime. A crime I should suffer for and make amends. So yes it is disappointing to see a disparaging attitude by the media towards me, because I was unable to or was unaware of the required and necessary pandering – an activity that many others follow so effectively !!
My apologies therefore to the press and to every journalist worth his or her ‘yellow pencil’ in this my most sacred fault !!
Sarita Tanwar, Tushar and the entire team of the HitList of Mid Day I stand guilty of this most inconsiderate practice of ‘gas guzzling’. Because my riding an SUV within the precincts of my professional journeys in the city has caused damage to the environment through dangerous carbon emissions!! Especially since we have taken the initiative unlike any other, on the issue of global warming and the consciousness towards the greening of our universe. How dare we preach something we do not practice !! This is disgusting on our part !! We must stop using these vehicles. By us not using them I am certain as you insinuate, the effect of global warming and indeed of carbon emissions shall most certainly disappear and the universe shall have the greatest joy of surviving several hundreds of years of existence !! The glaciers shall stop melting, temperatures shall be in control over continents, oceans shall ebb and not occupy land mass, tsunamis and earthquakes shall be deterred. Humanity shall breathe easy. The fear of destruction to the world shall have been contained !!
O Lord ! I have been awakened to deliverance ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you !
I have made my contribution to existence. My worth in this finite world has been now, justified. And that one most important element that stood in my way and human existence, has been identified and removed – this devilish ‘gas guzzler’, my Range Rover SUV !! Off with its head !!
BUT… dearest Sarita Tanwar of Karan Johar party invite… I have a suggestion to make. When the removal of my one such SUV will save the world from hundreds of years of existence, would it not be worth its while to extend the life of our planet even further. I mean think of your grand children to the power of infinity pushing yellow pencils for Mid Day in cyberland !! Thats an exciting proposition is it not ? Or would you rather let good ol’ smsed Tushar do the noble deed ?
Well here’s a ‘heads up’.
Would it not be wonderful if the entire printing press community, stopped burning carbon print for their newspapers. I mean you guys buy the stuff in gallons. Imagine how many villages you would be able to light up if the entire print media stopped the use of this destructive chemical. Ya, there would be no news papers anymore, but, whats a few news papers in the context of saving the world.. jahaan hai toh jaan hai..bhai saheb/ bahenji.. if I may audaciously be permitted to reverse the well known idiom !
And.. I say… tell this chap Tushar to stop using his mobile. Have you any idea what the radio activity each call and sms sent, creates for the environment ?It all adds up deary !! Lets start at home first, no ? So this is fixed then.. no mobile phones ok ? When you need to communicate, just walk across to AB’s house and ask him the question. What is a couple of kilometers ? Nothing ! Will help burn the calories, keep you fit. I mean, there will be a whole lot of walking that you will be doing in getting other interviews, so might as well na ?
Ok.. honey, lets get back to this dreaded SUV !! This monster of world destruction !! You must have read few days back Mr Ratan Tata has launched the Jaguar range of cars in India by buying out the company from Great Britain. This Tata, I tell you, he is some guy no ! I mean what a fantastic move. Imagine buying out a British Company. What a great day for us Indians. All we have been hearing for the past 200 years is how East India Company was devouring all our land ! And now here comes this great great grand son of Jamshedji, who was ridiculed by the British because he wanted to start manufacturing steel, buying out their most prestigious brand !! Amazing !!
Just one point Saritu and Tush. The Jaguar has in its stable the Range Rover SUV and they are saying it is going to be manufactured here in India !! What is this yaar !! Thousands of these monsters will be made here, imagine what they will do to the environment. Look !! Its not late yet ! You guys are media, the whole world shudders in front of you because you guys expose the truth. Get on to your walking shoes and go across to Tata House and tell Ratan they have to stop making this damn SUV !! Its going to ruin the environment damn it ! He will listen to you. Every one listens to the media. they are scared of you…. guys ?? Come on !!
And whoa…!! Wait a minute. As you return from there don’t forget to go by Mahindra & Mahindra, they are making this awesome Scorpio SUV ! Man it is something else… indigenous, good looking, sturdy as hell and ready for export to the western countries ! Chalo ! if they are going to the foreigner thats ok. At least our environment will be safe. Let these SUV’s destroy the foreigner. Good ! For so many hundred years they destroyed us. Tit for tat !! You have the address na ! One of their main centers is on the highway to the airport. Will be a bit of a trudge from Ballard Estate to there, but Tushi baby look at the service you are rendering for the nation !!
And hey !! Do not. I repeat. Do not make the cardinal mistake of complaining to the cops. This Maharashtra Police, I tell you, they are second to only the Scotland Yard of Britain. Right now they are smarting because of 26/11. You need to treat them with care. All of them use the Bolero SUV and the Qualis SUV. You mess with them baby, they run you over with them SUV over your chest. Think of your walking journalistic future Tushaaar !! They do not make guys like you any more !!
Ok we are drifting.. we are drifting… get back… focus.
Airplanes !! Got it ? Biggest destroyers of the environment through their emissions. And listen, they are doing it closer to the carbon rim of the earth at 35,000 feet man !! They got to be stopped. You know where to go ?? Right you got it ! Ministry of Aviation ! Stop Air India. Praful Patel is the guy. Right now he may actually hold and kiss you – believe he’s having trouble with the Unions. Would be a nice escape for him. No plane , no Union. Simple no ? Stop King Fisher, go meet Vijay Mallya at his pad in Goa. In Goa eh.. remember Goa ! I tell you why. The beach in front of his gorgeous palace is being eaten up with the sea coming in… because of what, Tushar, Sarita… whoever is listenning… global warming !! Go stop Jet Airways ! They are retrenching heavily. They will love you for this.
Most important !! Listen up !! While you are walking across the tarmac like that lone Chinese on Tiannamen Square stopping tanks, sorry planes from taking off, look beyond to the Kalina side and observe the multitude of private jets of all shapes and sizes parked there. Go tell Mr Mukesh and Anil Ambani, go tell Mr Tata, go tell Mr Singhania, go tell Mr Ruia, go tell the Jaypee Group, the Videocon Group and all other corporate groups to stop flying these environment polluting ‘gas guzzlers’. Don’t miss out the Maharashtra Government planes eh.. all the Ministers fly them to their constituencies and other important places to solve problems of farmers committing suicide and opening grand institutions that look after the poor. Sensitive issues, be careful !
When you are finished with Sahar, sorry Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj AntarRasthtriya Airport.. walk.. walk baby… walk across to PawanHans helipad at the smaller Juhu Airport. Theres millions of helicopters standing there doing sorties to the off shore oil drilling rigs. Stop them. And O ! heck… OIL !! Completely slipped my mind. You know to ascertain the presence of oil they burn the gases coming out from the wells. Now this is too much yaar !! Look at the number of oil rigs all over the country. West coast, East coast near Orissa… you must have read… all legal matters going on about the gases coming out from there with the Government and the Ambani Brothers. Go tell them to stop production and digging and sinking tubes into the Bay of bengal and the Arabian Sea. They are spoiling the environment. And while on oil, its a bit of trudge, cover Iraq and Iran too. There oil wells have been burning for the past 65 years !! Imagine the pollution, man !!
So what are you doing Tush baby. Just don’t stand there mouth open. Get cracking.
Get to Delhi. Tell Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister, to stop using SUV’s in his convoy. All those heavy duty SUV’s that carry ‘jammers’… explain to them… tell them you are revolutionizing the world. Your concept is revolutionary. You got this revolutionary idea from the United States of America. We have good relations with them now. Obama visits us soon, go tell him… he will listen…explain to him this concept of the ‘guzzlers’.. I am certain his remark shall be novel and impressive – YES WE CAN !! ER… that may be misunderstood by his Secret Service detail as YES WE CAN THROW YOU OUT… but do not get intimidated.. stick in there buddy… you are the lone voice, unfortunately, against the mightiest nation in the universe, the US of A. The nation that is the biggest culprit of carbon gas emissions in the world. The nation whose one city – Los Angeles – guzzles the petrol requirement of an entire country ! Go tell them that you are shocked that every citizen of LA has on an average 2.2 cars against his name as an owner, the biggest pollutants to the environment in the world. Go tell all the power generating plants to stop producing power, for electricity pollutes the environment. Tell these power plants to stop using coal as burners for their furnaces, for coal emissions are pollutants – nuclear treaty for nuclear power to be used for generation of power be damned ! Go tell the ruling Congress Party and its Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherji who has just a few days ago presented the budget to Parliament and reiterated that the growth rate of the country shall be 6.5 % because of the development that needs to be done to alleviate the condition of the poor, by greater industrialization. Go tell him that industrialization, building of factories and their running cause the greatest effluents to cover our skies thereby destroying the environment. Go tell the world to stop using every oil and petrol run vehicle. Go tell them that we need to bicycle to work and play. Go tell the world to stop manufacturing armaments and bombs and guns and artillery and tanks and fighter planes and submarines and aircraft carriers, for they all emit gases that affect the atmosphere. Go to Kargil and the front areas where our jawans bravely defend our borders and tell them to put their guns away. Go stop every manufacturing unit in the country…
AND my friend.. after you have succeeded in doing so come to me and I shall happily hand over my SUV to you !!
I am ashamed by your choice of quoting a presumed activity of a foreign land and equating it with an inconsequential element for mere sensationalistic review. Your complex for the ‘gora’ pervades all. You must know that India is by far one of the most ‘well behaved’ environment nations in the world. You must know that America and Europe and their multinational companies are responsible for 15 % of chlorophine effluent in the atmosphere as compared to 0.8 % that is emitted in India. All these dear fellow are deep political and diplomatic ways to bring disgrace to our nation. It is a pity that you have fallen prey to it.
Sarita and Tushar… get rid of your mobile, your electricity, your air travel, your cars, your news paper, push yourself back to prehistoric times and show me the way to progress so that we are not referred to as a developing nation a nation that is referred to insultingly as the third world. We want to compete with the world, to bring our standards up. Our standards will rise when there is development. Development shall come from great industrialization and that shall perforce come at the cost of environment destruction, not ONE SUV !! Yes we need to be aware of the dangers, we need to evolve structures and gadgets that are environment friendly. You talk of brand ambassadorship and IIFA and the propagation of the green. Yes we do that and we talk about it and shall continue to talk about it despite your unwarranted headlines. At least we talk about it and make people aware. But what do you do ? Every IIFA we have symbolically planted trees in the host country. And all the plants have been of Indian origin – the champa in Bangkok, the lotus or kamal in Macau and on. We honor Dr Pachauri who worked along with us through his Nobel Prize winning organization to bring electricity to the millions of villages in the country through the use of solar energy. We have 500 billion years left of the sun’s energy. We must put it to good use. At IIFA this year we agreed to take on the sponsorship of the electronic giant Panasonic, because of there committed philosophy of manufacturing products that engulfed properties that were environ friendly.I have 1000 square yards of non built up area in my house at Prateeksha and have never succumbed to the developers and their insane money that they keep offering to build on it. Instead I treasure that space and keep it green, my pride being a small sapling that I sowed in the lawn when I bought the place. It has grown into a lush leaf laden tree of eminence and grace. There will be elements in this modern progressive scientific world where we shall be unable to do without the use of equipment that shall cause destruction to the atmosphere, but doing without them purely because they cause dangerous emissions, is not the cure. We need to progress and we need to protect and we shall. Not by getting rid of one SUV, a borrowed trait from a country that is the biggest offender ? No sir !
We shall progress through development and industrialization and every other element that can bring us on level ground with the first world. We want to walk along with those that are in the front line. It will cause us to bear the heat and we will. You as a paper may do well to keep the heat off in other ways -
STOP PRINTING MID DAY MATES IN YOUR PAGES….!!!
It is now 5:24 AM !! And the importance of the issue has coerced me to be up so late to address it.
Sarita, I know that you have published today a rejoinder to your yesterday’s headline, where you have tried to nullify the damage done by your previous article. But remember always if you have the right to be the keepers of society so do I. If you have the right of cynicism, so do I. If you exercise the right to pull my leg I shall pull yours as well. And every time you shall abuse me wrongly I shall rightfully correct your abuse. In a free world every one is equal. The circulation of your prestigious paper may be a million times greater than the readers that come to my blog. But if I can convey my point of view to even one person, I shall feel liberated.
Tonight I do !!
With love and all the warmth beyond that which is global…
I may be bed ridden and I may be incommunicado to the rest of the world, but my devotion to my EF and my connection to them is supreme. And so I write. Yes I write in some pain and some concern. I write in the anguish of these repeated episodes in my life. I write because it is a release from medications and medical. I write because I express. I write because I write !!
I have been spending time on the foreword for Madhushala and have been keeping you apprised of its condition. It has reached fruition now and I felt it appropriate to share it with you. The preface or a humble address to its readers for the very first publication was done by my Father in 1933. I present before you its shape in Hindi, which is the original. In my foreword that follows in English, I have made an attempt to include its brilliance by audaciously trying to translate his words. I hope that you shall be able to appreciate the depth of his thought and philosophy through my extremely feeble effort. Here it is -
I called him Dad. In the presence of others, I referred to him as Babuji. He brought me into this world and I grew up living in the shadow of his greatness for over sixty years. Many feel I was blessed to have my father with me for such a long period of time; I wished for more.
In these years of togetherness I never had any regrets, but one. I never spent sufficient time with him to understand his mind as an artist. I imbibed what I observed; I imbibed what I read; on occasion I listened. But never did I make opportunity enough to study the intimacy of his creativity.
At times I look upon it as my own incapacity: my fears of confronting his genius without adequate learning bore forth a self-conscious inertia. It has remained with me even after his life has vanished and we are separated. Today, as I sit to write a foreword to perhaps one of his – and indeed one of the entire contemporary Hindi literary world’s - greatest and most popular poetic works, Madhushala, the constraints of my incompetence pull me into a void. I am, as ever, confounded by the task of bridging the seamless gap between the intimacy of a Dad and the respectability of a Babuji.
Madhushala was conceptualized and written in 1933-34, and the first publication came out in 1935. Today, more than seventy-five years later, the importance and longevity of this work is an astonishing reminder of its worth and merit. As I struggled to find adequate expression for my foreword, I came across the preface that Babuji had written on its first publication. It is a masterpiece. For those that understand and read Hindi I shall print it in its original form, but for those who do not, I attempt below a very poor translation of it.
SAMBHODAN – a humble address
To those who have savoured the inebriation or intoxication of my creativity -
The other day when I presented the heartfelt emotions of Omar Khayyam in my own words and language to you, so were you pleased. You were pleased because your own disciple had complied with your obligation, had dutifully obeyed your desire or command. But my heart was not pleased or satisfied.
Bringing someone else’s belongings as a gift to your temple was embarrassing or shameful for me. It is something you would not understand.
If you had not wished for it to be brought to you, and if I had come to you of my own volition, I would have ground to a halt, I would never have reached your temple. But the thought of receiving your permission and your happiness prompted me to bring myself near you, though I do not feel it wrong to say that the disciple does not present a gift at the feet of the Almighty with the thought in mind that it might please.
How can the poor disciple, devoid of any wealth or its means, ever dream of bearing a gift to the Master’s feet that would please the Almighty ?
The disciple presents the gift to the Almighty to satisfy their own heart.
By placing something of their own at the feet of the Almighty, the disciple diminishes the burden that their own heart carries – rids themselves of their own burden.
That day when I lay someone else’s flowers at your feet as an offering, the weight of my heart did not diminish, neither did the burden of my heart lift, nor did my heart derive satisfaction.
Thinking upon what I have just said, you may perhaps assume how selfish I am, unable to understand that in your happiness there is indeed my own. I was indeed very happy. To see that line of happiness on the lips of my deity, what disciple would not touch the zenith of their happiness?
However, the disciple-heart is never only impatient and eager to seek happiness.
Happiness is an experience of self-awareness. A disciple is one, who, after submitting their atman, their Self, searches that sublime remembrance that is distant from joy and grief.
O this weight of apnapan, of Self-ness. This restlessness to take it off, relinquish it and cast it aside ! Even in this act of sacrifice, of renunciation, there is the rule of selfishness, of self aggrandizement, of self betterment ! ! Human life is so incomplete.
Even in our great sacrifices there is great selfishness. The very foundation of the universe and our being rests on the fervour behind this great sacrifice and great selfishness !
Clouds leave their self-ness in millions of little droplets of rain; rain drops leave theirs into lakes and rivers; rivers are eager to loose theirs into the ocean and even the oceans are keen to leave their great body of water some place and be free.
The earth gives up its self-ness to plants and trees; they in turn leave theirs into leaf and flower, who wish to be relieved of theirs into the winds that blow them away. And even the winds are searching for that one, someone into whom they wish that they could twirl and envelop and embrace just once, remain engulfed within them.
the Ātman is a philosophical term used within Hinduism and Vedanta to identify the soul. It is one’s true self (hence generally translated into English as ‘Self’) beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence.
The moth attracted by the flame of the diya leaves its self-ness to it; the diya leaves its own to the day; the day to the night; the night to the sun. Even the sun searches in this vast celestial universe for that one great light, at the feet of whom it can pay homage or obeisance just once, that aarti, just once, after which its light could be put out.
Similarly, the singer or musician wishes that the self-ness that they possess in their music is able to reach the ears of the listener for the flicker of an instant, and then resounding, it becomes diminuendo, becomes dissolved in the vast universe, disappears.
The painter wishes that the drawn line and the painted colour for once are reflected in the eyes of the beholder and finally saturated in their opaqueness.
The sculptor wishes that their carving expressed in the rock, to which they bestow their self-ness, may one day adorn the hands of some gentle being only perhaps to break into little pieces and scatter away.
And… the poet wishes that their self-ness, manifested and expressed in their words and verses, would some day move another’s heart, find a place to hide in this tormented world filled with turmoil, and would finally become lost therein.
Thus to this selfish humanity, of which I am part, I dedicate myself.
The other day I could derive the pleasure and good fortune of submitting my self-ness to you, which is why I have returned to you so soon. I ask forgiveness, for this, my selfish self. I have faith that I shall not return disappointed and never will.
I bring you wine today.
The intoxicant, in its drinking, distances fear, presses sorrow from you, beguiles your mind, steals your attention away from respect and incivility, robs the pride from the proud. In so drinking, humanity thinks nothing of their suffering, pain, difficulties; in so tasting, they forget hardships, fears, the labours of life.
O this wine of life that we must perforce drink is so bitter.
This wine of mine shall sober the intoxication of the wine of life. It shall protect you from the vagaries and harshness that life brings; destroy the evil that life brings in this troubled world. It is assuredly the greatest cordial.
My heart feels that this is your pressing need. Take it. Drink it. And may the joy of its drinking rid you of all pain and suffering and hardships of life. And may it fill your life with fresh vitality.
O who would know that the one who takes responsibility for others, by removing their pain and filling them with hope and joy, is himself rent, by his own fire burned?
Do not think that you burn alone. You burn, but the effect falls upon me. You burn, but I melt.
I also came in search of pure still wine. But you gave me your heart, and the fire in your heart. This wine of my heart, burned by the flames in yours, has moved me. Here, drink it, and bring peace to the fire in your heart. That heart that ‘til yesterday was thirsty, has today become the wine that quenches thirst.
The heart of a poet is not a poet’s alone.
In his heart’s lap, there rests trikal and tribhuvan. In that lap, the universe, like a new-born child, succouring for mother’s milk, it struggles in that lap, and pralaya - the great destruction that brings the end of the world – like a naughty child, frolics in that lap.
The courtyard of the poet’s heart reverberates with the songs of the skies. It reverberates with the laughters of the winds and breezes, and reverberates with the raging anguishes of the oceans.
In the poet’s temple-heart, there is birth, life, death, who move in rhythm, as in dance.
Which is why, when the poet’s heart melts, the entire universe, the people in the entire universe affected by my words and my poetry, affected by its wine that intoxicates the listener; so also the land and the water, the skies and the winds, the rivers and the gardens, heaven and hell, the roots and their quickenings, the night and the day, the forests and the meadows, the happy confluences and the sad partings, the love and the struggle, the hope and the despair, the birth and the life, Kaal and Karma, all these that have meaning in our lives in this universe, today they experience the symbol of wine, cup, house of wine.
Dearest ones, look, the entire universe sways with the intoxication of this house of wine.
Let me make you a master by my being the Saki. Through my own hands I will pour these wine-filled cups and touch them to your lips and may you for eternity with great thirst drink thereof. May I never tire from the doing, and neither may you tire from the drinking.
O Almighty, forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness, I seek forgiveness.
How can I ever commit such grave error as to bring this profane material vessel to your enlightened lips?
Please forgive my arrogance, for my hands shake, the cup in my hand is now shaking, the wine of the vessel is falling, and even my legs are much quivering; every joint in my body is opening up, I am falling, I am falling, I am falling.
But that my wine has reached up to meet your feet, I am happy and satisfied.
The wine of the disciple, a dutiful, modest disciple, should not reach the Almighty’s lips. The offering should remain at the feet.
But what is this that I observe as I look up to you? That your eyes too bear this intoxication, this madness; your lips quiver too, you are smiling?
Pikar madira mast hua toh
Pyar kiya kya madira se
Just because you have been intoxicated by drinking wine, does it reflect that you are in love with the
Have you been moved by my desire to give you this wine to drink?
You are great and so I am. I am honoured and so you are. You are worthy and I am worth.
But, do not look at me with those vibrant intoxicated eyes of yours, I feel uneasy.
See, I am closing mine.
O it is no longer possible for me to look at those vibrant intoxicated eyes of yours and neither can I live without looking upon them.
May I just see them once more?
O whither have those eyes disappeared? Whither has that intoxicated gaze gone? Whither do I search it, and why?
I will not search it. Just the image I saw of those intoxicated eyes shall keep me happy and satisfied for eternity.
A disciple should derive satisfaction from the thirst of an ocean, and the drop of sunlight. The intoxicated eyes, the wine of your intoxicated eyes should spill perpetual on the vessels of my eyelids. So that whoever sees me shall forever remain intoxicated with your wine.
Prayag, - In perpetual meditation of
27 August 1933 your Intoxicated eyes
Moved by my father’s eloquence, I am rendered wordless. I have no offering that might add to what is already complete: he has most consummately expressed himself, his work and his philosophy.
In my early years, Babuji would take me along to the several poetry symposiums in which he would participate. He would work the entire day at the University of Allahabad where he taught, or later at the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi, and then travel at night for kavi sammelans close enough to home so that he might be in time for work of the following morning. The marathon all-night events were exhausting, but the energy and enthusiasm of the multitudes that joined him and his poetry during those nocturnal hours provided artistic fulfillment enough for him that he was able to function – arguably more so – in the rest of his life. For his young family, the added income from these sojourns was a welcome respite from an, at times, strenuous domestic economy.
The inspiration for presenting Madhushala in this form came from two ladies of the family – my wife Jaya and my niece Namrata. Jaya has been persistent in documenting for posterity the valued lives of members of our family. Realising the diminishing interest in the Hindi written word among this generation, she wished to bring to them such an important work in a language and style for which they might have more feeling.
Namrata studied liberal and fine arts in the United States of America. Over the years, she has become an accomplished poet in her own right, as well as developing exquisite and unique art forms on canvas. The paintings in the book are her own interpretations and artistic response to Madhushala translated into English.
The translation is of Marjorie Boulton and Ram Swaroop Vyas, who both studied at Oxford University, as you may have noticed from the acknowledgments. During one of my visits to England in the 80’s I escorted my parents to Oxford to meet Dr Boulton: my impression of her was that of a sedate, scholarly and endearing lady. She loved India and had a great appetite for Indian food which she relished at the slightest opportunity. But it was Madhushala above all else that satiated her true appetite as a lover of poetry, and the fruits of her ardent labour are manifest in perhaps the only and most valued translation of my father’s works.
This most humble attempt of mine is best concluded by the words Babuji wrote when he introduced the translated version of Madhushala to his readers –
‘This translation of my long poem Madhushala, is put forth in the belief that a good poem retains some of its basic qualities even in translation.
My definition of a good poem is that it appears before you like a stranger who impresses you so favorably that you feel like befriending him, and the more you know him the more you like him.
Good wine needs no bush, good poetry needs no explanation. Hence to the poem…
- Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Aarti is a Hindi term denoting a religious or devotional prayer dedicated to a god. It is a means of invoking the blessings of the respective god, to whom the prayer is dedicated
Trikal tri meaning three – phases, past present & future
Tribhuvan – Swarg, Prithvi & Pataal. Swarg – heaven or skies, Prithvi – the Earth & Pataal – under the Earth
I am deeply touched by the concern that all have shown on my condition. Your affection and your prayers shall hopefully help me tide over this ailment. The tests have been conducted and more results followed today. They do not show anything alarming, but the symptoms persist, albeit on a lesser scale than last time. I was to travel to Singapore today to be with my dearest friend and family member, Amar Singh ji, who undergoes a surgery for a kidney transplant. In this hour of trial for him I needed to be there, but the doctors advise a few days of rest and observation for me. I understand their concern. It would not be appropriate to find myself in trouble in an alien land, even though I am certain the medical facilities there shall be more than adequate. But to be in the vicinity of home and with people who know my intricate system is not to be ignored.
Jaya and Abhishek and Aishwarya are there already and I shall join them soon, health permitting.
I have followed the instructions of ‘spelling correctors’ diligently and changed STAPLES as also many other mistakes that I had committed. Thank you EF. Rochelle observed that the ‘POLL’ disappeared suddenly in the middle of the day. Ok … yes … it did. And the reason for that was this stupid ol’ 67 ‘yearolder’, who, having observed spelling errors in the questions went about smartly to correct them, resulting in him pressing some wrong buttons and the entire poll disappearing. So apologies !
As I idle, I attempt to respond to as many as I can with my now famous ‘yellow band’ – ‘these few, these happy few band of brothers’ ! What !! Shakespeare again I think ! I guess Satyam shall come to the rescue as he so often does in moments of distress and uncertainty.
My idol and I am certain the idol of millions, Respected Dilip Kumar, Yousuf Saheb, has been unwell and in Hospital. I had been in constant touch with Saira ji when I was out of the country. I am now happy to read that he is back home. May he enjoy good health ever.
Bala Saheb Thakeray has also been rather unwell and within a very short span of time has been in Hospital almost every other month. On all those occasions I have been out of the country and unable to express my concern to him personally. I have been speaking to his son Udhav ji and he informs me today after I called that Bala Saheb too after an angioplasty is showing signs of improvement. I wish him God speed and good health. I shall never forget his concern for my health when I was down in 1982 in the Breach Candy Hospital after the Coolie incident. Being a great cartoonist, apart from his political presence in the state of Maharashtra and in India, he had most interestingly done a painting which depicted that even though YamRaj, the God of Death had come to visit me, I had been able to fight him off successfully !! I am no cartoonist, nor a painter, but I wish similar sentiment to him. May he ever fight off the evil of YamRaj.
‘Enough no more, ’tis not so sweet as it was before’
My love – and – namaskar, satsriakaal, shubh ratri, shabba khair, good night – and as some EF desired – VANAKKAM and NAMASKARAM !1
An auspicious day for us when we acknowledge the presence of our gurus in our life. Those whom we admire, those who have touched our lives and taught us – our teachers, our seniors, people we have been inspired by. The ‘guru-shishya’ tradition is a long and cherished one. They give us knowledge, they educate us. And because they do so they enlighten our lives, make us better humans. Education therefore was held and still does hold a most important ingredient in our growth. Indeed in the growth of any nation. Literacy has been an envied accomplishment and those that have been fortunate to achieve that I am certain lead a valuable existence.
There are many calls today and messages from all quarters wishing me on this occasion and in a sense acknowledging an association they have had with my work and thereby theirs. I am deeply humbled by this act, but embarrassed too that others should consider me of some value in their existence.
The EF has been a great source of my learning too. They correct my grammar, my expressions my spellings. They give me references to topics that I may not have known or have guessed to be known. Like the ‘hang out’ in yesterday’s post. Of course my words were written in jest, but how wonderful for EF to educate me on its origin. Look up the comments of yesterday DAY 441 and there shall be an entire description of how in the olden days there were many hangings that were conducted. And so often became the executions that due to the lack of any other entertainment in the city, people would look forward to these hangings as a form of an entertainment. Hence the expression ‘hanging out’ ! Sounds credible enough. Though I must observe that it took an awfully long time for this 21st century generation to think of it now, when perhaps the deed was executed a few centuries ago !!
I was due to travel out tonight but a small problem has arisen. I developed a pain in the stomach much like the one I got last birthday. And it happened just when I was getting set to leave from London. So I travelled home in order that I may be in a climate that understands my condition, rather than stay back in alien country and subject myself to a medical from those that are unaware of my history. I drove straight to my doctor on arrival late last night and after some external physical examinations was subjected to CT scans this morning. The results do not show anything, but the trouble exists, albeit in a much smaller scale than the last time. Some more tests have been advised tomorrow. I have therefore postponed my travel until there is a fix on the problem and a possible line of treatment. I would not want to get moving again and land up in unknown territory and end up in hospital. Its disturbing to be in such state. Frustrating that despite extreme care a repetition of this problem keeps occurring. So medications and rest have been the order of the day with a prayer that there be no further complications.
I was keen to not disclose all these gory details to you, but the link and the association is too strong to be ignored or kept away. I do not think that there is a need for alarm, but I do not want to take chances and want to give the doctors sufficient time for their opinion and diagnosis and future treatment.
So many vein punctures and needles later. Many dosages of contrast consumption, many injectables of radio resistant liquids intravenously into the system as you slide up and down in the confined cylindrical space of the CT machine, your insides warming up as the fluid lines all the important organs, I have finally been confined to the bed and … yes .. the TV.
And most of the evening has been confined to watching the memorial service for Michael Jackson at Los Angeles in the Staples Centre – a most moving ceremony of emotional speeches from near and dear and heart rendering performances by some of the leading artists of the entertainment world in USA.
I rest now in the assurance that the tests tomorrow shall also be generous to me.
Seems odd does it not, typing in that address at the top, after so many days of strange and alien hotels ! But finally I am here at home and I shall say it again a million times – THERE REALLY IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME !!
The flight was turbulent all over the entire European region, eased off a bit over parts of Uzbekistan and Russia and then nearer home a most severe weather system greeted us as we flew over Gujarat and then southwards to Mumbai. Lightening strikes every second and for over a period of almost an hour. Not a good site to see out of your window especially when flying at night. Fortunately we circled around it and above, but had to be in a holding position for half an hour, before finally being given the permission to land.
When it was steadier in the cabin I pulled out the Mac and did some writing and posting. Here it is -
33,000 ft, ground speed 601 mph, outside air temperature -48 degrees centigrade, Jet 9W0119 London-Mumbai, entering the Ukraine, the city of Kiev a little to the north east, time to destination approx 6 hrs.
The post before this had been rushed and done with a sense of urgency, rather than one of commitment and heart. And now, a couple of hours into the flight and relative calm after some turbulent weather, I am back with you again .
The lazy walk about in Paris was about the area called St Germain Place. A quiet aesthetic corner that quite unobtrusively breathed eloquence and fine art. Cobbled pathways, coffee restaurants by the side-walk – occupied more externally than within – and that air of hidden literacy. Across the street-within-the-street, an old church, a small patch of green by its side, enclosed by grill iron rods with pinnacled top, a few benches among some elegant shrubbery and an open gate that carried the most strange sign post –
“In the event of a storm, do not use the garden, stay away from it” !
I am not too wrong in my first site assessment of the area. This, I am informed is where the intelligentsia hung out. Horrible expression ‘hung out’. But the modern generation uses it often and so I thought I would remain close to them. In my immediate inference I would imagine, the expression grew out of perhaps the act of ‘hanging out’ the days laundry to dry ! But who knows where it came from !!
So .. ‘hung out’. Its quite a complete description I might add. Just sitting around doing nothing particular, much like the innate laundry that swung about in the gentle breeze and sun, clipped on to a string, a slender rope, a wire, the edge of a balcony, revealing unconsciously, individual clothing and domestic under garment taste !
The ladies and gentlemen of honor, or more correctly Madame e Monsieur of honor, were those that had excelled in the craft of writing – poets, writers, journalists, people connected to the fine arts in whatever capacity. They occupied the cane and wood furnitured dainty sitting areas around the coffee aromaed restaurants, devouring their brew and their tobacco, chatting, discussing, reviewing and assessing the past present and future of literature and art. Perhaps. Or maybe just sat there and watched life go by.
I sauntered across to one of the tables and seated myself, blank in expression, the slightest of smiles giving away my touristy demeanor and ordered a bottle of sparkling water. My departure from the obvious order of coffee or something more salubrious, prompting the otherwise most courteous waiter, to give me that amazed lift of the eyebrow. Or was it that he had, with great dexterity, acknowledged the obvious fact, that my credentials as a film artist from the unknown cinema world of India, were perhaps not suitable to the caliber of the environment !! Ha !!
Pressured perhaps by this thought, my stay at furnitured dainty sitting area was somewhat reduced in time; the Church with the patch of green and the strange sign post, suddenly looking more welcome. Surely, a place of worship, of reverence and divinity would be a better host. One can hardly ever go wrong there. And so without revealing even a trace of my discomfiture, I silently entered the dim portals of the Church of St Germain. Or is it Church at St Germain. Doesn’t matter.
What is it about religion and devotion to it and these intricate and exquisitely constructed temples for the Gods, that almost instantly surround you with awe, emotion and your own inevitable mortal existence. You suddenly become reduced and submissive. A gentle calmness occupies your furrowed brow. The burden of your self-ness, without effort, pushed away from the shoulders leaving you empty; an empty receptacle ready to be filled in and consumed at the feet of the Almighty.
I put some offerings in the collection box and light a candle. Nothing particular crosses my mind. The care and welfare of loved ones. A silent posture. And departure.
Outside on the bright sunlit street at the corner, a bunch of elderly street musicians – they mostly are elderly the world over – strike up on trumpet, clarinet and horn, an old favorite –
“ O, when the saints .. go marchin’ in … O, when the saints go marchin’ in.. !”
Travel takes away my connection and my bearings with you and this is disturbing. It disorients me and this is disturbing. It destroys a routine of mine and this is disturbing. So I rush fervently to come back to you at the first opportunity and here I am again in between flights and airports connecting with EF.
Paris was short and quick. Beautiful and exciting as ever, once the meetings were over just the odd walk around. An interesting square of historic value, a Church of some time, a little prayer and a candle, a terrace lunch watching Paris go by, the informality of an ex President, Jacques Chirac, sitting on the adjoining table, all so endearing and warm.
The tennis final was missed. Was on the train. But modern technology kept us informed through the mobile and looks like it was a most exhilarating experience. That Federer would eventually triumph was almost a foregone conclusion, but for Roddick to have put up that master performance where there were many moments when he could have finished the match in his favor, was so unfortunate. Kudos for his gutsy effort. To have come to this stage when there was no expectation at all is to be admired greatly.
There will more travel on arrival in Mumbai, of which later. But what has been most fulfilling for me has been the final absolute draft on the foreward to Madhushala that I had been struggling with all these days. Now I can safely send it for print and in time put it out to the EF.
It is difficult to describe the air of casual elegance that this city encompasses one with. It could be the train station, a walk in the Tuileries, an upscale restaurant or a busy crowded street, nothing deters the visitor from just staring in admiration and wonder and awe at the passage of time and the excellence that followed close behind. And no matter how far or how long one may keep away from this monument of eternal beauty, when it draws you in, it is impossible to resist the temptation.
I am again in temptation land to meet up with producers and directors and projects that show promise and opportunity. There is an excitement that exists without fading, on everything that is Indian. And in this euphoria there is a desire to work with collaboration and joint ventures. The mystique and the the magical of India, its culture and its society, now form an integral part of any discussion and I feel honored and proud to have been born on a soil that now reaches out to the rest of the world and begets only admiration.
It has been a while. But a while that was worth its wait in gold. When one has witnessed 6 decades of the existence of his country, one has witnessed the immense changes that have occurred. Better or worse one cannot say. Just the fact that change has been implemented and executed, is enough energy to change lethargy and complacence into the joy of opportunity and the diligence of its execution.
Nothing can ever compare to the love one has for its own country and nation, a love that has the capacity to transcend all else. Murray may have lost at Wimbledon, but the manner in which his country and its media stood with him in modest and humble openness is the remarkable quality that defines a nation. They covered his errors as though it was theirs. They talked of his almost glory and the fact that he being only 22 years of age, he could and would be in a position, perhaps the following year, to make amends and succeed. There is no mention of the superiority of the opponent. There is mention only of how close, their hero was to the final verdict, through the dexterity he showed in the game with his rival.
The West Indies lost the game yesterday, but the commentary only sang praises of the effort they made and diverting the loss to an ugly Duckworth/Lewis system of calculation and the repeated closures in the game due to rain, robbing thereby their team players of a fair playing field and the resultant success that should rightly be theirs.
But look closely at the attitude adopted by us when we were thrown back from the T20 tournament. Nothing but criticism of the team, of the captain, of every conceivable avenue of complaint possible. The electronic will run scathing cynical and lustrous remarks. The print will give well worked out sensational headlines, thrashing the ‘culprits’, without as much as giving space to them to retaliate.
And the game goes on. A game that suits the commercialism of the product. A game that ridicules our own sons, but never hesitates to show praise to the other. Never encourages them in defeat, never stands by them in supportive element.
There are mistakes and shortcomings in all. But is it all that necessary to rub the proverbial salt on their wounds. Defeat breaks people. A success gone wrong hurts. Suffer the loss, but do not pass that on to the team. They know where they have gone wrong, is it really important for us to burst into their world and attempt to teach them how they must needs conduct themselves.
Let us bring this up for debate. Let us talk on the issue with an intention to improve the lot of the players through logical formal analysis. Let us not demean them to such an extent that they lose their very spirit to exist for the team.
I shall travel wide now and at rapid intervals. There may come a situation when my post may suffer delays.
India won the 3rd ODI against the West Indies at St Lucia by 6 wickets ! A rain interrupted game but not without its thrills and anxieties. Dhoni, scored the winning runs and hit a magnificent six in the last crucial balls to turn the tide around. He was also responsible for bringing the team out of an embarrassing 85 for 8 score to a somewhat respectable 188 all out, he having scored 95. Even though we lost the 2nd ODI, there can be no doubt that it was the sole effort of the captain that was instrumental in whatever respectability we got. The same captain that was rudely and with some media arrogance, ostracized for his attitude in the T20 championships in the United Kingdom, silenced all by the quality of his game – an issue that I brought up on DAY 437 !!
A most considerate and regular emailer sent me this -
An Obituary printed in the London Times – Interesting and sadly rather true.
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, *Common Sense*, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: - Knowing when to come in out of the rain; – Why the early bird gets the worm; – Life isn’t always fair; – and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights I Want It Now Someone Else Is To Blame I’m A Victim
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
I owe an apology. An apology to all my readers. I have indulged in myself, obsessively and without reason. The post of the night before mirrored a kaleidoscope, which could only have been seen by me. It was that one single tubular machine, it was that one singular eye piece through which I was looking, enjoying the sights and brilliant visuals, selfishly. Not ever wanting to share them with anyone else. Not ever wanting to disclose or reveal their reality, their meaning, or reference.
Some moments in life need to be covered in protection. They need to be disguised in expressions, somewhat irrelevant to others. I believe there is no crime in it. The human rarely ever shares his or her entire mind or body with others completely.
I hid behind a mask. Those that could see through it perhaps will. I wish them well. Those that could not I wish them well too, for even if I were to explain them the details it would not make any difference to their lives.
Andy Murray lost to the grit of the American Andy Roddick at the semi-finals. The last British bastion at Wimbledon fell today amongst great hope and expectation. The build up to his presence and all that he was expected to achieve now gone horribly sour. I do believe that a certain degree of restraint was necessary from those responsible for winding up an entire nation towards what he was expected to achieve for them. An athlete representing the country he or she plays for, carries a great burden of psychological pressure, apart from all the other more physical pressures of performance. Yes they need the support and the encouragement to know that they are not alone, but excessive talk or public projections, become an unasked deterrent. They destroy the spirit instead of lifting it up. The focus of the performer shifts. Instead of concentrating on his game, he gets more involved in concentrating on whether he shall please those that expect the ultimate from his game. And invariably this is destructive. Just as much as the technique and physics of the game is a necessary armament, the mind too plays an important part. Indeed, I believe, with the enhanced levels of performance in most humans reaching a common peak, there is very little left technically and physically for them. What then becomes an important factor in almost all such cases is the treatment of the mind of the athlete. And here is where a great amount of attention and training is being imparted.
The treatment and training to the mind of the athlete is not just only for him. There is a great amount of effort being put into how the mind of the competitor can be dealt with as well. What is it that can be psychologically played upon, to distract or disturb the rival or challenger or the opposition. Success in disturbing the opponent results in victory for the other. And this has now become an important tool in all sports activity. Indeed an important tool in almost all walks of life.
Andy Murray and his team of consultants, trainers, physicians and family shall most certainly be grieving the loss today of a well trained and certainly world class tennis player. But I believe that those that did him in, also, were those that built up expectation and destroyed his mind. Their intentions may have been very noble, but they must realize and share the finality of the defeat.
For MS Dhoni, the Indian Cricket captain to have got into a most unnecessary give and take with the media in South Africa during the T20 Championships, I believe, went a long way in our unexpected early exit from the competition. The media’s continuous questioning on whether there was tension in the team because of the presence or non presence of Sehwag in the players list, must have played on his mind. There was a constant defensive attitude of justification, when none was required. These things play on the mind when you are out on the field. Instead of justifying your talent and skill, one starts justifying skill to counter the media. Thats when things go wrong. And I believe that is where the T20 team went wrong.
There is an interesting aside to this as well.
Knowing that these unconcerned pressures play on the minds of players, the opposition could perhaps also, very intelligently and with some deliberate intent create controversy in order to disturb the opposing team. Tactics that do not concern skill are often used for ultimate gain.
Nothing alarming or unknown here. Happens all the time. In politics in business in life, I guess.
What eventually comes out shining is that despite all these maneuvers, victory is achieved. Nothing but nothing can ever stand in the way of a consummate victory. You win the cricket championship, you win a tennis title, you give a box office hit and you kill controversy, you kill that media over expectation and you wipe out that cynical critic, in one felled blow !
It is the 3rd of July. An sms, or mobile text message from one that worked with me from day one, writes to inform me that it is the day today that Kaun Banega Crorepati was launched ! Goodness ! I have even forgotten the year it was. But, my God, an entire lifetime has passed by ! Someday perhaps we must reminisce of those days and exciting moments when KBC first hit the TV’s in India…. and so much changed…
“Being a good person is like being a goalkeeper. No matter how many goals we may save, people only remember the ones that we missed.”
“Blowing out the other person’s candle will not make yours shine any brighter.”
” You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
“Happiness has a strange arithmetic. The more you divide it the more it multiplies.”
” The purpose of a relationship is not to have someone who completes you. But to have someone with whom you might share your incompleteness.”
” Remain innocent of doubt fear and worry by experiencing the perfection of every moment.”
The oppressing solitude of the room, the walls and windows not withstanding from yesterdays thought, have pushed me out into the fresh and warm air of the streets of this metropolis. I have walked about, computerized myself, been introduced to the feline grace of cats, of foxes visiting well kept gardens, of memorabilia stored, of Phantoms of the Opera on soft sensitive keys, of black cabs and lost directions, of sudden meetings with buddies from Ishaan world, of birthday wishes, of relatives connecting, of gushing fans from without the country, of diaries and sound, of connecting travel, of monitoring the ill and have resigned.
Resigned to the grunts and whacks of yellow being mercilessly stringed across square white lines. Of animal grace that wind up and swing in ballet form, that control their success through hawk eyed computers, that scream with win and scream with loss, that challenge and complain, that replenish their sweat with watered liquid, that strain and stretch and turn and accelerate, that garner applause from opposing camps, that invite the hats, that invite the glares, that paint their faces with national pride, that wiggle like eels on captured hill, that burn in sun to rhythmic head, that commentate to champions past, that pick the celeb in the crowd; the royalty in the box, that fling their belongings to the front, that politely talk of game gone by, that slip and fall and trainers call, that wait in break with feelings galore, that walk to thank the winner and more, that closing in to family box, the anguish cheer and the happy cox. Tomorrow is another day another yellow blown away !!
Strange are the ways of the mind. Strange are its manifestations and interpretations. And strange too its working. The mind it is, that thinks and constructs what the mouth will speak. It functions in anticipation of what is required to give voice and then almost miraculously is ready with the response that is desired. The degree of scientific development through centuries has still not been able to match the speed with which the brain functions, nor has it been able to construct an equivalent. They say in journals, or those that look at the future, that a computer that will work at the speed of the human brain, is not too far away in production. I wonder what that would do to the way mankind shall function and think. I wonder whether we think better and deeper when in our solitude, or in the company of the solitude of other brains. I wonder if when we think in our aloneness, whether that thought carries to others aloneness. And as I trouble my mind over this thought, I, quite by inadvertent deliberation, reach out to one of my Father’s books that lie in front of me and start to skip some pages. Almost by some preordained resolve, a poem stares at me and I stop. And I read -
एकाकीपन भी तो न मिला .
मैंने समझा था संगरहित
जीवन के पथ पर जाता हूँ ,
मेरे प्रति पद की गति – विधि को जग देख रहा था खोल नयन .
एकाकीपन भी तो न मिला .
मैं अपने कमरे के अन्दर
कुछ अपने मन की करता था ,
दर – दीवारें चुपके – चुपके देती थीं जग को आमंत्रण .
एकाकीपन भी तो न मिला .
मैं अपने मानस के भीतर
था व्यस्त मनन में , चिंतन में ,
साँसें जग से कह आती थीं मेरे अंतर का द्वंद्व – दहन .
एकाकीपन भी तो न मिला .
I could never get the solitude, the aloneness that I desired.
I had thought that I was traveling with myself on the path of life, but the world was watching with wide open eyes every step, its speed its nature, that I was taking.
I never could get the solitude the aloneness I desired.
Locked in my own room, I was doing what I wanted to do, what my mind wanted to do, but the doors and the walls of that room were quietly and secretly inviting the world inside.
I never could get the solitude, the aloneness that I desired.
I was busy within myself with my thoughts and my meditation, but every breath of mine would reveal outside the state of my anguished and troubled burning mind.
I could never get the solitude, the aloneness that I desired.
Strange are the ways of the mind !
When we desire to be alone, are we really alone. When we desire to be with our thoughts, do we need the calmness and quiet that solitude brings us. We may never be alone even when we are alone. Conversely we could always be alone even in the company of a crowd.
The famous ‘to be or not to be’ monolog in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ comes upon me. I think I may have written about it in an earlier post. Hamlet, the Prince, in his troubled state of mind, wishes to express his insides as he deliberates on the burning questions that wrack his conscience. Most of the interpretations that we have witnessed, enacted with great dexterity by some of the greatest performers on stage and film, of this moment, have chosen Hamlet to be by himself alone by a river or a mountain or outside the precincts of his palace. There, as he stands, he pours out the words in speech, announcing to us his dilemma that he so painfully contemplates. He was alone in the solitude of the environs.
The Russian version of Hamlet in film, had the Prince in the midst of a palace celebration, where a motley crowd of pageantry, retinue and guests enjoyed an evening of music and feasting. In the middle of all this noise and gaiety, Hamlet started to walk among the crowds by himself. And the famous monolog started as an off sound, as the prince oblivious to all that was going on about him moved silently; the audio of the famous written words of the bard, signifying the thought process of his mind. It was brilliant !! No one had thought of it before and neither was it ever enacted in this manner. But its significance in the manner in which it was created was never forgotten. It demonstrated, quite remarkably, that even though we may be in an environ that is not conducive to being alone , we could be alone !!
The words of my Father’s poem are somewhat contradictory to the example that I discuss above. But read and think carefully. You may be able to sense similarity !!
Even though we may be alone, the environs could betray our solitude.
Even when we are devoid of solitude, it is possible to be alone.
Some of the things that I have been indulging in, besides TV Tennis at Wimbledon, has been, interviews and a dedicated reading of my Fathers works. The interview follows as under -
A celebration is being planned to honour your 40 years in the Hindi Film Industry… what can we expect?
ANS// I have heard of this from those that wish to plan this event, but I am not sure whether there has been any progress in the matter or any written confirmation given to them. I find it terribly embarrassing to be in such a situation and am very self conscious of it. I cannot, obviously therefore, inform you of what to expect, because quite simply I am not the one planning it !
In these 40 years which, according to you, have been the highlights so far
ANS// This is like pushing me to comment on events which in my consideration, have never seemed worthy of being highlighted at all. However, I would like to believe that from the day I decided to join this wonderful fraternity, to the present times, all that has transpired has been a continuous ‘high’ for me. I look back on my early years with as much disbelief as I do of my years in more recent times. This medium of film has been an extraordinary experience for me. It has given me the gracious opportunity to be in the company of some of the greatest creative talents in this field, to share their accomplishments and to receive along with them my own little inconsequential recognition. It has been the grace of the Almighty, the blessings of my parents and elders, the belief and love of my family and the continued support of my well wishers and fans. I could not have asked for more.
Are there times when you look back at certain things or moments and wish you had handled them differently?
ANS// There are certain things in life that are ordained and no matter how hard you may try to change them through foresight or now in hindsight, they shall continue to be the same. It is best to recognize this factor than battle with it. How can we ever be in a position to say or expect that events would have turned out better handled, when most of us have failed to counter fate. Talking about it now, or even attempting to assess possibilities of an improved circumstance would be a most defeatist temper for any human, I would reckon. I would take greater pride in living through what came my way, than what could have come my way !
As an actor you have had an opportunity to travel the world – is that something you enjoy doing? And are there any particular cities/countries that you enjoy more than others?
ANS// Yes my profession has given me the great opportunity to travel across the world. Well most of it anyway. And yes, I could never have accomplished this had I not been an actor. And yes it has been enjoyable to be in new places, different cities and countries. My best places of course are within India, but I have admired Paris and SanFrancisco and St Petersburgh. London has become almost like an alternate home because of our frequent visits and the presence of so many from our own land within the United Kingdom. New York has been a vibrant experience always. Italy has been breath taking and most mid eastern lands full of warmth and affection. Egypt is very special and Morrocco most gracious. And South Africa.. What can one say. Never experienced anything like this ever again after my first trip on a concert there in 1990. And my visit to the West Indies in 1983, absolutely maddening. Erstwhile Soviet Russia was a revelation. Their love for India and our films was an absolute eye opener. Some of my most dedicated and long lasting fans are from Russia.
Do you think Hindi films are a means of escapism for the Indian people?
ANS// I cannot say that with any authority for now. There are several other attractions in the country to escape to, for the common Indian these days. But yes some years ago cinema – the commercial mainstream version, was indeed escapist in nature. It promised a fantasised India full of color and romance and dance and music; a departure from the hard existence that the common man experienced through out the day. It gave them poetic justice in three hours, when for most, it was never available in a lifetime, or several lifetimes for that matter. The more commercial cinema still pursues with that thought, perhaps with a little more qualitative difference. Though I am not sure it remains the same with its content.
And what is Mr. Bachchan’s means of escapism? I mean… what are the kind of things you enjoy doing to unwind?
ANS// I enjoy being a part of this escapist cinema. Being a part of this creative process, if the purists can contend with that, is an occupation I enjoy.
How do you prepare for your on screen roles? Do you read/research?
ANS// Yes, when the occasion demands, reading and research is the recommended ritual. But I have relied on the maker more. His interpretation of the story, the character and vision. And yes the writer. Them I find the most important ingredient in any produce of cinema.
And when the film ends, is there a specific process of coming out of the character?
ANS// No. I do not find myself soo deeply in love with the characters I play, that it would require a process to get rid of them after the film is over. They are, these characters, the object of some other person’s imagination and fantasy and since they are not mine, I do not bring them home or keep them stowed away in a secret coat pocket. I will attempt to do justice to them within my very limited professional means, for the benefit of the film in process. Attaching any other process to it would be quite unnecessary.
Do you find your on screen character affecting you long after shot is over?
Do you sometimes think that you have been treated unfairly by the media in your career?
ANS// Fair or unfair treatment by media in any ones’ career needs to be looked at both subjectively and objectively. In a profession such as cinema, these portents, unfortunately get largely diminished because of the uncertainty of the end result. The end result is not within the grasp of the media. The end result is with the audience. Their decision always remains supremely above and conclusively better than any fair or unfair treatment by the fourth estate. Indeed in many ways the media and the creative artist are on the same side of the coin – a factor that, strangely, defies any objectivity ! It is also a factor that defies belief. For two entities that are constantly challenging each other’s conscience and code of conduct, it would seem ridiculous for me to even suggest this. But lets face it, when it comes to putting a confirmative finger on the success or failure of a product, we are both in all honesty, desperately wanting to fluke it. You, for the product to fail if you have assessed it so and we for it to succeed to disprove you. Ours, dear lady, is a marriage of convenience !!
Do you think that stars get addicted to adulation?
ANS// I will not be able to generalize on this. Adulation in the life of an artist is more an indicator of their public acceptance; its intensity varying according to the popularity he or she enjoys. I would imagine artists are consciously aware of this and have their own little yardstick of its measure. As artists we must all remember that, whereas, adulation is a most welcome and heartening necessity, we must never lose sight of its impermanence, its limited life. Dealing with that phenomena, especially after a long and dedicated period of excessive attention, is a true test of character. Many a great has succumbed from this eventuality and have sadly suffered indignity. Others have been more pragmatic and maintained a significant balance in the belief that nothing lasts forever and have garnered respect in that. Its actually quite interesting to see you use the term ‘addiction’ in this context. I have found the term often being used in the context of drugs and alcohol. Though I must admit the similarity of its reference may not be too far removed !!
You have often mentioned that you had to spend nights on Marine Drive as you didn’t have a place to stay when you started out. Did you ever question your decision to come to Mumbai?
And were there times when you have felt like giving it up all and going back?
How has the film industry changed since you first started? ANS// Time has a great effect on change. And in the 40 years from 1969, when I started, the speed of change has been more rapid than in the 40 years before 1969. Communication technology advancement has played an integral part in change. Distances and the mystery of the unknown or unseen has virtually disappeared in the realm of cinema and most other spheres. Today the young actor or director is exposed to an enhanced technology and an enhanced desire to excel and compete with the best. In doing so he may have lost sight of the element of meaningful content, present so strongly in the era of 1969. But who am I to say what is meaningful. It was meaningful to us then, it may not be for the generation of today. The era of 1969 must have caused equal pain and resentment to the era before. It is a very natural process. Certainly management principles and accountability to a large extent, has undergone change. Corporatisation as opposed to a momma-poppa run business has had greater approval and acceptance. Quality changes in technique have been imminent. I doubt if my generation would agree that it is the same with content.
Do you miss living an ordinary life? Like maybe enjoying a movie in a cinema or eating bhel puri at Juhu Beach?
ANS// No life is ordinary ! It is exceptional for and to, all ! When I wish to enjoy a movie in a theatre or a bhel puri at Juhu Beach, I have readily done it.
I tried. I tried to send a response to as many comments I could within a given space of time. I ran out of time and the mission I had undertaken of trying to reply to all in one day, fell short. But my intentions were sincere and I do hope that those that are left out, or behind, shall understand the gravity of my situation and relent.
These are amazing times. I actually get to sleep and do what I want to without any other consideration. I would have been more comfortable had a bit of work been thrown in, but even without it a few days of lax behavior is not uncalled for . Though the time available for study and reading of my Father’s works have been most rewarding; the enormity of his range of thought and writing not withstanding.
Tennis at Wimbledon was a bit dull… Tomorrow is another big day when the contenders shall be loaded with the burden of the quarter finals and the shift to the semi finals, against adversaries that have and shall in time, write history.
The ladies singles and some doubles and mixed doubles were the attraction for the day. Strange though that the attendance to these events seem to fade a bit once the ladies come on. That is not fair. They are all champions and the very best in the world; some of them putting in performances better than the men. Which is not such an unusual phenomena. The ladies are generally better than the men. The size and the style of their eventual trophies also varying according to the nature of the event…
The large silver golden cup for the men… the semi gold silver tray for the ladies. A disparity here as well, apart from the difference that their prize money entails. I believe a women group is working on the equal distribution of the prize money at tournaments. But for those that continuously make themselves vocal on the disparity and make politically correct noises, let them know that this a manifestation of our age old history and tradition. It may not be feasible to adhere to the sentiment that I have expressed. But for those that scream and shout on the imbalance, that propagate equality for political gain, would they ever wish to take up this issue at all.. I would imagine not. Because… politically it may not suit them.
The charge would be that sport is an elitist occupation, certainly as far as its commercialism is concerned and there really is no space for the genuine deserving potentials.
Today the Indian Cricket team boasts of several members that have come up from meagre means and from areas in the country that could be specified as small town. Not too many years ago, 90% of the team would be from Bombay now Mumbai. There were facilities and schools for upcoming players. But all that has undergone a sea change. Today 90% of the team is made up of those that belong to small town India. Poor but traditional and a bit conservative. The lure of big money as the IPL’s of the world take shape, is a huge incentive for upcoming stars.
One has to wonder then, whether it is the love of the game, or the love of the money behind the love of the game, that attracts. Not an unreasonable argument. So if the money is an attraction for the budding talent, what is wrong in giving equal opportunity to the women of the game and procure incentive for them as well.. And while we are talking equal and incentive, it may be wise to consider at this moment why there is disparity in the reward for their game..