There is some consternation among the Ef on matters dealing with location and riddle. Many like riddle, but non disclosure of destination is as sore as it can get. Does it really matter if destination remained unknown. Would there be dependency on location for the ‘coming’ ? That would be a disturbing thought. Rid yourself of it, before it festers into an incurable wound. Enjoy the ride, not what you were riden to by !
A cold draft threatens me to shift location. Shifting location, much like that nest that the ladybird builds is painful, distressing and at times prone to illness on the shifter. Snug and comfortable at one, causes a change in attitude for the other. What must occupy the mind here, may never do so there. So here it is, and here shall it be.
Is it possible to move somewhere for change, and having got there, not look for it ?
Many seek but never achieve. Many achieve without seeking … and they ask me how it was done ! I have no answers for them, simply because I have no answers for myself too. They believe this to be an aversion to those that ask. I shall politely disagree. ( I did put down some stars and dashes and exclamation. But they once told me that was indicative of abuse, so I wiped it away. ). If I did have answers why would I not disclose. Provided of course the asking is on legitimate grounds. Most of the time it is not. So… why do some have legitimate claim and most do not. There is reason for it. The reason to me, seems to stem from, a reason, that interests them abstractly. It is not for their genuine interest. It is for the genuine good and interest of the other that controls them, or indulges in them through an employ.
But away from self aggrandizement and individual indulgence. Be with it in front of the mirror in the early hours of the morning. The truth shall stare honestly each day. Savor that moment, live with it, for, that should be your inspiration for betterment !
I am reminded today by Ef and TwFmXt of the death anniversary of Mohammed Rafi Saheb and to reminisce on his association. What can one possibly say on one that possessed perfection. His voice gave voice to many, to build their character and position. Play back singers have always been responsible for the stature that the actor in Indian cinema eventually achieves. In a country and in a society where music and its identity are observed as meticulously as the solution to a mathematical problem, it shall ever be difficult to measure this contribution. There is a song that needs must be played for identity of event, moment and remembrance. Those that pass away get description of their presence through appropriate song. Those that succeed get similar treatment. Achievements in the field of politics, sports and other vocations shall be interspersed with a song that was written and conducted for an entirely different reason. But music it is that is chosen to completely describe it. And it is always featured in the magical voices of our illustrious playback singers - Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi !!
Where Lata ji had the persistence and strength of that indestructible ingredient, honey .. where the pathos and at most times the vibrancy of Kishore Kumar … there was and still remains the fluency and magic of a Rafi Saheb.
Nature has its effect on vocation. Your vocation at times holds hands with your nature. No where was it truer than with Rafi Saheb - a gentleman, with the politest of temperaments, and a heart filled with generosity and giving. His voice and his songs reflected what he was in real.
I attended his funeral when he passed away. His burial was done at a burial ground next to a mosque close to where I reside. Often I pass along the road that clings to its walls. There are many others of my knowing that reside there beneath the earth, in peace and rest, and a gentle prayer moves my lips -
as salaam ale kum valiullah, as salaam ale kum ya halil kaboor !
It is whispered too as I pass by Haji Ali, the mazaar of the saint lying in prominent structure into a protrusion on the sea in Mumbai by the Tardeo Crossing !
Moments of solitude are such a grace in ones life. A treasure that has been unopened or undiscovered, lying deep dug into the caverns of our grounds, or through sunken holds at the bottom of oceans. Pull them out someday, and thrive in its rusted beauty. You will discover their shine still remains, and their value, limitless !!
Go to bed now, Mr B … there is concern .. solitude can wait after the solitude of slumber !!
In stars and stripes, when stripes are wipe, still in friends
July 29/30 , 2012 Sun/Mon 12 : 35 AM ist
30th July Moses Sapir turns 33 ! To hm we all wish the very best birthday filled with affection and love … enjoy !!
When you tell one lie you needs must lie several. When you do honest, it be the only time. No remembrance, no manufacturing, no thinking back on what was last said, nothing. Just a free fall out of the window or wherever, but carrying always the parachute that spreads, protects, cushions the fall – the fall we must all go through.
The silence of divinity, both inside and outside is at first unnerving. The creator resides inside. Inside this large space shuttle. Space shuttle yes, for in modern times that is the object of closest desire when the heavens have to be penetrated.
Not all then can accomplish this feat of a visit that would confirm once and for all, a value that we have been expecting to know. There is the small matter of training. Years and years of it. In metaphorical terms, a training that takes a lifetime. Each minute after birth is the moment in preparation for a departure ..
“आने के ही साथ जगत में ,
कहलाया जाने वाला ….”
Those prophetic lines from my Father’s works – ‘the moment I arrived in this world, I was labeled as one that would go’
We all shall go, but to go with laughter and happiness would be a complete life ..
रोते हुए आते हैं सब ,
हँसता हुआ जो जाएगा ,
वो मुकद्दर का Sikandar, जाने मन कहलाएगा ..
We all come crying in this world, but he that goes out with laughter dearest one, shall be known as Muquaddar ka Sikandar ; the master or the Kingly leader of his fate and destiny !
But why does all divinity reside in these large structures that peak arrow like to the heavens, on the top … many have given explanation – it is indicative of a heavenly being that descended on Earth and then left … in vehicles that resembled to a large extent the conical figures of churches temples, gurudwaras and masjids. That symbolism has not been forgotten. There are not many believers in this theory also. The shape is more in keeping with architectural effectiveness, than any other. The conical tops have been there for centuries, reaching out to the heavens, much in defiance to the atheists !
The silence greatly more pronounced inside, the candles burnt in thought for those that are not present here. A hushed whisper from hundreds that come into the portals of that, which they believe and put their trust in. A faith, a strength, a submission.
Some in serious prayer, some in silent lamentation, some so moved that they wash away their concern in the gentle tears that flow down.
And within too the disbelief of recognition ! Is it really what I see ? Are you not …? But … never in my life expected you to be here !!
That quick getaway from it all. This cannot be an occasion for making pleasantries or parting with information of residence – it would be unfair to the first address words at the beginning. And so a home, a hospitality, a warmth, a gifted talent of miniature construction, a sharing and then back to the climes … of mundane connections with obstinate pain revivals … strange that it should come from a point that had remained dormant almost. But it did. It shall not deter, it shall not bend nor stop. It shall be borne and adjusted and accommodated, please !!
There is such a joy in the writing of the mysterious, of riddles and hidden words and locations. But I believe it comes to you in phases. There is a time and place for everything, except no one knows what ‘ everything’ is.
What is truly moving and full of emotion is the humbleness of those that meet. In the home, in the heart and in the life that comes together after years of waiting !
O ! Goodness ! The pain reappears in another location ! The effect of travel or walks, or just because it must assert itself, since there had been no attention given to it ! Ha ha .. each being has its own intrinsic strength that it brings to use at the crucial moment. It is the egotistical balance of living. They must have it, it does them good. Expressing it clears the mind and body of impurity.
When you are honest, you never need to remember what transpired in previous lie – the purity of the soul of those that indulge. That offering to the heavenly, that burning candle in not just your name but in the name of those that matter to you, even if they are oblivious of your devotion and sacrifice. It is always better that way … once you speak about it, it loses its intent !
Intention of goodness shall ever be the last to be discovered. In the present, the worldliness awash with modern thought and act, shall forever bring behavioral imbalances.
Intention is a forgotten world. Materialistic times shall make mirth of what we talk think and discover, today.
‘We have no time to stand and stare’
So let the staring be over. Let the devil of realization dawn upon us as quickly as we can. Let us not wait for it to drive up to our front door. Let us instead meet it with open arms at our gates.
Ever been on a flight where you are the only passenger in your class ? Conjures up strange feelings of isolation. There is a strange voice that expresses in deep tones - ‘Nobody wants to go where you are going buddy !’ !!
For a while it sets you thinking, but gradually you begin to enjoy the perks - 1A for take off, 4K for refreshments, first meal at 2A, the newspapers on adjoining 1K, movie on 3A and eventually, landing sitting in the galley .. well almost !!
You move around as though you own the damn jumbo, and the entire crew treats you accordingly - such a relief for them !
But ‘nowhere land’ is a treat. The quiet reception filled with the warmth of the select flowers, the changed scenario of drastic proportions and the tradition of welcome with some Indianess thrown in. Change is good, change is addictive, change is just that - changed !!
Independent travel, without any strings attached, without agenda and purpose, is going to be the fore runner of the years to come. When Mauritian that has served you years ago, respectfully asks ” so sir, retired now ? “, you wonder whether he has sarcasm or genuine belief written on his own retired face. It will come, and come unannounced and come suddenly. It shall come to all someday, but the quality will differ - strong to some, expectant to others …
There is great and complimentary talk and word on the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Explanations, symbolic interpretations, first show first time, historic and subtle descriptions of what it all meant, and above all how magnificently British it all was. And most ably and honestly commentated as a closing line to what they express …
"Yes it was entirely and honorably British. After all we paid for it !"
But yes, because of its different nature it shall always be remembered as path breaking. The Beijing experience will be hard to put down. Its precision and disciplined performances will always remain a magnificent symbol of ultimate perfection, but London 2012 shall always be remembered as having history, heart and soul in one long breath of about three hours !!
Give it to the British to bring out, that which went right, to be known and admired and talked about, and no mention whatsoever of what went wrong. They are not just the initiators of the modern Olympics, they are also past masters in the art of public relations, and projections of what needs to be said that is right. Their skills in planning and execution cannot be compared by any other.
I have often wondered how they are able to achieve this high degree of perfection. My efforts have always fallen below the desired standard in determining such. I do believe that it is the strength of their language and tongue that has worked marvelously well for them in all situations - the extreme advantages of English being the most spoken language in the entire universe, shall always come in good stead for them. They shall have the ability, indeed they do have the ability, to actually convert a loss, into a victorious situation. This is an enviable exercise, one that I do not necessarily endorse, but do in fact admire with great respect ! I do wish we as a nation did have some of those enviable qualities.
I wish now to catch up on the net the scores of various disciplines that the OLY2012 has gone through and shall retire ..
London , UK July 27/28, 2012 Fri/Sat 1 : 10 AM GmT
An entire day spent with stories of the Olympics, terminating with the lighting of the cauldron and the opening ceremony, sitting in couch potato positioning, in front of the Tv.
There have been some very dramatic moments in this event from its inception, and it is always a joy to see some old footage of the games, mostly in black and white, bringing back memories of accomplishments through the ages.
At the opening ceremony, the look and expression of the athletes as they parade past the ViP block is an interesting feature to follow, if human behavior study is a prominent subject for you. The pride and the look of attachment to each flag and country is beyond explanation. How wonderful it is to feel that true emotion of being a citizen of your land. How wonderful to possess a land. How wonderful to be able to say and claim your language your earth where you are born.
What a moment it must have been for each nation to design their own identity, their flag, its choice of colors, its representation and meaning and eventually to give it the honor and respect that it so richly deserves. The moment you hold your banner of nationality, there is a pulsating emotion that springs out. Every time the national anthem is played, it chokes you and the feeling of your country and nationality swells within, at times carrying its way to the eyes as they develop moist conditions. It is difficult to describe that moment. Only when you experience it, does it dawn on you what you have been through.
Watching the different countries march past, proud under their leader that bears the flag, you sense an alliance of one that is human to one that is abstract and without any attributes that define humanity. The attraction is quite unique. A piece of cloth bearing varied colors suddenly becomes a symbol of your most treasured possession - your national identity. One of the most asked questions is ‘Where are you from ?’ and one of the most answered replies is the name of the country you belong to. How difficult and disturbing it would be if you did not possess a country, a nationality. How difficult it would be for one that has shifted allegiance or nationality to another country for reasons of settlement benefits and commerce, to dispossess your own Motherland.
There are many that shift base to other regions for reasons of better value or opportunity. Nothing wrong with that. In time because of certain binding legal and residence issues, the nationality undergoes change. It changes to your place of new residence, and I wonder how that must feel. To be an Indian and yet not be. To be an Englishman and accept nationality of another land, when in fact your heart is still with the Motherland. I have often wondered how sports personnel when they have changed nationality technically, play against the country of their origin. What does go through their mind. Is there a dichotomy or a mental divide ? Is it disturbing mentally …
I just wonder !!
We must at some later date discuss this issue. It has been one that interests me.
What is of interest to me now is to be in bed. There is travel again tomorrow early and i shall be doing a lot of injustice to my damaged body if i were to ignore this simple human want ..
A sip of aerated water, a warm piece of the biscuit that contains the hyper ingredient, a quiet room, disturbing hiccups jerking my system after each drop of the sip and a barrage of emoticons bouncing in unison in this the most sensitive portion of my body – the brain !
Among the millions that wait in anticipation for the start of the London Olympics 2012, I find myself in great eagerness and resolve. Eager to spend hours of restful time in front of replay and slow motion imagery of sporting achievements, with a resolve that nothing but nothing shall take me away from it ! I also find myself in invitation to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay in the city of London, to bear the honor of holding the symbol of what this event stands for.
Sebastian Coe, or more correctly Lord Sebastian Coe, that heads the Olympic Organizin committee sends me a formal letter and I readily agree. Sebastian Coe has been, quite the champion in his own right in the 800 meters track event and I have been a great admirer of his athleticism. I did have the opportunity to see him tilt the scales against his arch rival Steve Ovett in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 at the Collesium, and what a moment that was. So this great sports celebrity invites me, I come to London and have just returned from a most memorable experience of my lifetime – carrying the Torch and running with it for some distance. The torch has been meticulously designed in a metal that can take the pressure of a live flame, its grill like appearance that has 8000 circular designs on it, is the 8000 miles that the torch shall travel in Great Britain and … the 8000 bearers of the torch that shall run with it to its final destination inside the Stadium built for the occasion of the 2012 Olympics.
This has been a singular honor, a moment of great pride not just for me, but the entire nation and I am truly humbled. In many ways it has reflected the spirit of the Olympics, that of creating a platform where talent from across the world comes together in a spirit of togetherness and camaraderie, to share harmony and peace, leaving behind all those elements that divide us and tear us apart !
What began as an event to exhibit a superiority of physical strength, speed and greater height, gradually has converted itself into a more moralistic stance – that of friendship, honor, peace, fair play. This is now no longer just a four yearly exercise in events that measure physical capability, but one that has become a movement which symbolically portrays the more finer elements of society and their rightful existence.
When different communities come together in a spirit of sportsmanship, they bring with them not just their ability as athletes, but bring with them a desire to compete in an atmosphere filled with value. This is most appreciated. And this is what I have liked the most.
Thank you Olympic Organizing Committee for your generous invitation. Thank you Lord Sebastian Coe. And most of all thank you City of London for your warm and generous welcome this morning. A day that shall remain etched for life.
My thanks go out to members of the Ef that have turned out in support, giving moral courage to an otherwise butterflies in the stomach situation ! And of course my endless gratitude to all the millions that have seen and felt the pride that we all have for our Country. Your words of encouragement and the patriotic flavor that it emanated has and will be always special for me. Thank you !!
So the excitement of the surprise is over – the very prestigious Olympic Organizing Committee, headed by its Chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe, that amazing athlete of Great Britain, who I saw winning that historic moment in the track event for the 1500 meters at the Los Angeles Olympic – sends an invitation to be a part of the Olympic Torch Relay tomorrow as the flame passes through London, on its final journey into the Stadium for the Opening Ceremony, London Olympics 2012 !!
This is an incredible honor, humbling and so full of pride and emotion. A moment that fills me with all that reflects the spirit of the Games – a certain respectability and dignity that it offers, to all people and communities of the world, to come and compete in their respective skills in an atmosphere free from discrimination. To acknowledge not just respective talent, but to also demonstrate, equality, and democratic secular belief. A belief, practiced despite its destruction all around us in a world overflowing with violence and assertive practices.
Uniformed in the dress code of the Olympics and briefed on protocol and procedure, I am asked to cover a distance of 300 meters at Southwark in the Borough of London starting around 10:50 AM – a moment to be hopefully remembered by the grandchildren.
The run may not be possible keeping my surgery in mind, but there shall be effort made to move as close to it.
Much of the Ef and others on the networking sites have already been informed by certain official announcements, and I am happy that they are as happy and excited as I am.
As I write my thoughts for the DAY, I play the television before me and watch with amazement a coverage of the relay of the torch through Great Britain. It is a most emotional site to see the quality of those chosen to be a part of this run. There are athletes, now aged and barely mobile that have brought great fame and achievement for the country in past Olympics. Little children that have contributed in some way to society and its environs. Older men and women, contributions from whom can never be replicated, and several more. A sight that brings a nationalistic upsurge of what their country means to them, and how greatly they admire contributions made by these special citizens. So impressive !!
The media through various channels that exist here in London, has been calling in and I shall be with them as soon as my portion of the event is over. This once there shall be no hesitation in sharing our information with them. Moments such as these should all be documented in its purity, for future generations to absorb and comment !
I have posted too, the promos that depict the temperament of the forthcoming KBC and do hope to have some comment on them. Rehearsals for the oncoming season shall have to begin as soon as I get back. The apprehension if all shall work out fine, keeps bothering the psyche. But really the greater the apprehension and uncertainty, the more valued, and in greater control we all feel. It is the fear of failure and rejection that keeps one going embarrassingly close to what many wish to achieve.
I shall concede this argument. Surely I am out of my depth here.
The promos for KBC are in Hindi and shall be of some problem to the non language speakers. But they are propagating the belief that knowledge and knowledge alone can provide for you the right you so richly deserve. A young man deprived of his correct position and a young lady that has excelled in her studies, but is discriminated against, are the topics for this campaign so far. There are more that have been shot and I shall endeavor to put them up to you as soon as they are ready !
I should try for a good nights rest if I am to hobble my way onwards in a jog for the run, which I believe may take me longer than what is expected and programmed.
May the moral support you give me remain with me with your blessings and love ..
ps : a fine and talented director writer BR Ishara passed away this morning early. He was innovative and fresh in his direction, his stories and in his presentations. He directed and wrote ” Ek Nazar ” with Jaya and me - a simple story, narrated in style with some excellent music. Our prayers and condolences to Rehana Sultan his leading lady of many films, whom he married later …
till very recently he would send me a note on something he appreciated in my work !!
I really have no idea what I should be writing about tonight. I mean .. what was one of them but then it seemed somewhat distant .. its the idea that really troubles me .. no, I can understand, but really is dependable, that, better to do without it than with ..tonight was grave and tomorrow would be too late … would it not ? yessss … I thought as much. It always is, tomorrow … tonight would have better, but because the tomorrow loomed large and graceful, I opted for that instead of this. Now this could be a problem of rather grave proportions, but I think so long as we are still debating the tonight and the tomorrow, it should be alright … gosh ! imagine what we would have had to face if it was idea. Ideas have a mind of their own. They wriggle and squirm there way through eventually to be in a position where they simply will not move. So as you can see, not moving has taken precedence over idea. Now it can be justifiably aggravating for idea, and they never seem to be the ones that sit idle, complacent and without thought. They actually do, sit idle. No one knows of this fact except a few good men and women, and that is how it has remained. There you go .. who are these men and women that are exceptions ? Ideas can be exceptions, as can the movement and the writing, but where and how do we judge the exceptions of the men and the women. Judging judgements are another unrecommended commendable issue. We can have one judging, but to have another judging it, can be most irresponsible and tangential. I have often discovered that tangential angles must have a base from where their parabola’s could be determined. Parabola’s make parabolic curves while sitting atop orgasmic completions. Now ..now .. no suppositions suggestive in nature of lascivious and sensuous detailing … this is a mature and understanding platform of some celebrated dignity … what was being meant, just to clear those warped minds was …informal very enjoyable or exciting: the album is an orgasmic whirl of techno soundscapes. Things like that, retrieved from diction nary’s. Nary’s … not Mary’s yaa ?? Ya !
Hang on !! Need some references here …
Right then … back from signatures and putting downs of name and date and location from where the why and the whereabout, on things that they often refer to as books. Ahhh ! Nostalgia scrounges its way up behind my back unannounced and determined, on mention of previous - the books .. should read The Books … our residential neighbor at city of birth and on the road to Clive of 17, they being facing Thornhill roads of main arteries … the Mukherji’s, bengali, literate ( which bengali isn’t ) had opened for business and special reading, a store which housed … well books !! A family apart from their literary pursuits that also indulged themselves in the arduous task of muscle building … In particular Shashi, the youngest of the lot, oldest of the lot amongst us - handsome, pectorals in place and from rival Joseph’s St., .. the Joseph’s remaining constant in the hills of the Man eaters of Kumaon at Sherwood too … strange no ?
Hey .. !! From having begun with having nothing to say, this is a lot ain’t it …? need inspiration to accomplish something like so .. its the clatter on the cylindrical black covers that cover the hearing, cutting out all else around - headphones !
Covers that cover ?? Need some lessons in English art of writing, their habitual eatin’ up on most words, small and long …watch the news from the BB of C , should get the best accent and pronunciation … until you get pasted with sportsmen interviews ! Euewww !!
Must be to end … but not without hope and expectation of some news that will appear later in the day .. suspenseful, and wonder .. eagerness and tell no ? Patience ! It may not happen … so we wait … !!
Amitabh Bachchan, in with all with affection and prayer and love of a kind unknown to you ..
The sun shines bright over the city – a rare occurrence ! And the entire population is in the parks, on the benches, by the cafes and pubs, strolling about in the briefest of summer wear, amidst the excitement of the Olympics, scheduled to begin on the 27th evening with great anticipated fanfare !
It is also the death anniversary today of Mehmood Bhai, whom we addressed as Bhaijaan, the greatest comedic actor of the Industry, of all time. His brother Anwar Ali and I met on the sets of my first film ‘Saat Hindustani’, he playing one of them, and we remained close friends since. I stayed with him in his apartment contained in a large complex belonging to Mehmood bhai, along with the rest of his rather large family. Mehmood Bhai was among the early contributors to my career graph ; he having faith from day one in me, much against the wishes and comments of naysayers. For some peculiar reason he would address me as ‘Danger Diabolic’, and was the first producer to give me a lead role – ‘Bombay to Goa’, a remake of a Tamil hit ‘Madras to Pondicherry’, that had that other brilliant comedian Nagesh from the South, opposite Aruna Irani. Mehmood Bhaijaan did several remakes of Nagesh’s films in Tamil and they were all very successful. Nagesh was an institution. His brilliance has not been matched so far. He was the comedy quotient of a film, but such was his popularity and following that lead roles were written for him, despite the fact that he was the comedian in the film.
Mehmood Bhai on the other hand, who started off as a group dancer in films, became the only example I think of an entire story revolving around a comedian. Mehmood Bhai had a large family – 4 brothers – Mehmood bhai, Usman Bhai, Shaukat and Anwar and 3 sisters – Shanu Aapa, Minu Aapa, and Baby Aapa.
Minu Aapa was Minu Mumtaz an artist in her own right and a great dancer. Her memorable mujra in Guru Dutt’s ‘Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam’ is eternal even to this day. Baby Aapa looked after Anwar and when I stayed with them, she treated me like another brother of hers !
They were all children of Mumtaz Ali, their father, and a huge star of the 40’s or 50’s cinema. His subtle acting talent and his dance capabilities were exemplary. But he went through a bad economic patch and the family was reduced to taking on the mantle of support ; Mehmood Bhai pioneering the effort. It was the sharp eye of the great Guru Dutt that spotted Bhaijaan and gave him a big break as an actor ! He never forgot that gesture – a large photograph of Guru Dutt adorned his bedroom !
Mehmood Bhai was also the one that gave RD Burman his first music direction. They were close friends and shared a lovely camaraderie. Bhaijaan’s sense of music too was exceptional. Some of the tunes that he gave for his own films are still remembered. He sang some of them too. He produced films and directed one – a most poignant film on the story of a polio stricken physically challenged child. The role of the child was played by Macky Ali, his own third son from his first wife, a victim of polio. Lucky Ali the singer musician who has turned out some wonderful albums is Mehmood bhai’s second son !
Mehmood Bhai a generous hearted and caring son brother father husband and friend …
When he passed away after a prolonged illness, his body was brought to Mehboob Studios for his grieving friends and relatives. I did not go that evening. It would have been difficult to face the inert body of a man that was so full of life and laughter – mostly for others always !!
I sleep now … not with any purpose of work tomorrow, but just sleep ..
Hitesh of USA .. wishing you a very happy birthday for today !
Walking through public places these days is a masterful exercise in documentation for posterity. You may never have to worry about what where and how in years to come. It is also a great facility in keeping a record of what goes on in the world without the help of electronic media cameras. The people of this nation shall make sure, they have it all on record - thanks to the mobile phone, its camera technology and the zest with which they rush to capture all that they encounter during the course of the day.
I would always lament the fact that we as a nation have never developed the concept of recording events personalities and moments for future reference. I see the moments in the lives of celebrities, sportmen, artists in say the United States of America and marvel at the amount of material they have gathered and stored on historical events of course, but also moments in the life of some that never indicated in early existence that they would be important enough !
Now fortunately India has woken up to this feat and wherever we go, a million mobiles follow us. Such a relief that finally we have woken up !
I do hope that those that read this are wise enough to notice a tinge of sarcasm, lurking ominously around and about.
There is a huge infringement of the ‘free air’ around us, and the thrusting of mobiles in your face and about, needs the patience of a super human to bear with it.
How many mobiles follow for photo op opportunity is a sight to behold, and fast becoming a reckoner that gauges the importance of the celebrity. The larger the number, the greater the standing of the artist !! Sooo … this is what it has come to eventually ! The popularity meter , the mobile !!
'How many mobiles followed you today ?'
'About 10 '
'Hmmm … mine is bigger … had 50 of them thrust into my face !'
Cool eh ?
Airports therefore have become a rush of people holding varied mobile brands in the air pointing ominously towards you. Could become a wonderful idea for a mobile phone company.
"On the run, on the move, in your face … the trusted Samsung/iDea/Nokia/iPhone/….
Get the picture ?”
May be I should switch professions and join an advertising concern !!?
So after the mobile frenzy as you drive in to the airport gate, the mobile brand frenzy at each stop of the airport - customs, immigration, security … finally, the secure seat in the BA 777 … until … eager fellow travelers stop by and a tap on the shoulder of familiarity and a demand for that pic op !! And it always comes at the most vulnerable moment - the moment when the engines start up and as you taxi for take off !
Is it just me, or those that travel frequently by air, notice, that the deepest sleep comes just before this massive piece of machinery takes off ! After that, attention is diverted to the window passings, with a wonder on how this large body of material shall be airborne, the familiar streets and locations below, the pleasant queries by cabin crew on meals or bed requirements …
I notice with great envy how others get into their pyjama suits, pull up the duvet and pillow and turn in for 8 hours of undisturbed slumber. The cabin crew pull my window shutters down, but I always resist. I like to see where we are going - a bad habit, but one that has not left me !
Olympics have reformed the entire airport here in London. There are only smiling faces and attendants on help mode at every yard almost. There is massive traffic, but also efficient management to not allow delays and human jams.
They say I have brought the sun along with me. They always do when the weather is good. A regret, when it is otherwise. Obsession with weather … another British trait !
The television runs programs on the 5 rings and the Olympics and the great victories and the great disasters. Of drug propelled athletes, of bad incorrect decisions, of brave participants and their victory, of their dreams and ambitions successful at times, defeated in other. Of cheating and unfair means to win. Of stories of valor and the spirit of the Games, put across with such class and finesse …
And invariably you go back in time to the events and the time when you were present. For me … just one Olympic, the one in Los Angeles. Opening closing ceremonies, holding up material given as you enter to hold up as a part of the designs that will appear when asked to do so, the whole business of badges and its exchange and collection. I still have a host of them from the 1984 in LA ..
But also alongside a quick flash of your own moments of pride and place during athletic meets at School - several track events won, and the cups and the victory stand and Mother proudly taking pictures of them. Those pictures of me on the podium on top of the numerical that said 1 … still lying with me, along with my cups won. One look at them and you would wonder what happened to this athlete now … ha ha ! Used a lot of that in my films … with some reserve !!
Soon hopefully I shall be saying more on this … but for now ..
Happy Birthday for the 19th of July dear Alok Srivastava carnama, and belated with apologies, but there all the same ..
And Birthday Greetings for Sunanda Pandey of Dubai … have fun and enjoy .. my greetings too to your dear Father, as he turns 68 … love …
There is travel again on an immediate. And the rush to connect with the Ef is important and mandatory. Sunanda expressed joy at the creation of this ‘wonderful family’ that has been created. I created nothing. You and the others made it what it is today - a dedicated few that have understood what family means. That is most important and most motivating too.
It is a cradle that each one of carry in turns for the new born baby - our Blog ! We nurture it as we would, that insecure little babe discovering the world around us. We have watched it take its baby steps and utter its first guttural sounds ! We need to keep giving it our best upbringing in order that it may flourish and abound in glory. Each day that we spend about it is a day filled with joy anticipation and event. May it ever remain so and multiply in its growth ever …
Spent some anxious moments yesterday since we had a break in ! The guy was caught and is with the police now under investigation. Seems like a professional, for he had entered the most sensitive area of the house, Jalsa. Cops and security are in over drive now. In the end nothing is secure, irrespective of how much precaution one takes.
You can be up for a dubbing assignment at 7 in the AM, deal with the corrections and retakes of the script put up before you, sweat out at the gym thereafter, attend to and attempt to solve domestic problems – the staff, the guards of security, that unclean carpet … so many .. attend to matters in office of some concern and later of value … and still have sufficient stuff within to respond here on this platform.
The instant the media learnt of the passing away of Rajesh Khanna, they were all at texting for ‘bites’, columns to be written, impressions as a colleague, etc from me !
How can one possibly speak or give impression of a colleague that has passed away, not just at such short notice, but in continuous repetition to a variety of channels, asking the same question. It sounds like the attempt made by leading stars these days as they set out to market their latest release, making sure that every possible outlet of information that distributes content, is touched upon and brought into contact.
Death is not that category. It has its own sensibility, its own dignity. I can express loss in single thought for once only, but to repeat the same at various levels of the other set media, is not something I would want to do. I write back to them informing them that ‘I find it exceedingly insensitive to talk on the subject, just yet’ and all of them have given exemplary understanding to the matter. It brings a sense of togetherness and harmony in any living situation and I feel, respecting it, is half the battle won.
So to their credit, the media has spared me this moment, and have instead somewhat liberally put out contents of my entire Blog in each one of their outlets. It could be embarrassing, but such is the world of information !
O ! dear I have not the energy to carry on forward any longer and must rest ..
Tomorrow another day … and the anticipation of getting close to the Ef. For whatever does come out here, is dutifully responded to and paid attention by sections of the press. Quite a few of them. And all of them carry the words and impressions that I had put out on the Blog. In a sense then, my reason for not doing repeated meetings , bites, columns for the fourth, is justified – because the content would have been the same, had I succumbed.
Hah ! a victory at last !
I keep saying I wish to leave but remain steadfast and strong here with all of you.
Tomorrow another day … and who knows a string of surprises for me !
We cremate our dead ! The ashes that remain are collected in vessels made of brass or clay ! Many may not know this, but the belly button of the deceased never burns to ash, it remains hard and in the same shape that it adorns the human body. Why and how this is so, I have never sought explanation, but I will some day from the medical profession. The ladies of the house do not customarily go to the cremation. In metro cities, this practice is fast changing. Middle and rural India still maintains. The ladies wait for the return of the men after the cremation is over. They prepare neem leaf drenched water to wash the feet and hands of the men before they are permitted into the house. The ashes are kept to be immersed in a water body or a river of reverence. Most Hindu’s attempt to immerse them at Sangam, the confluence of the two great rivers of the country - the Ganga and the Jamuna considered to be the most pious waters. A chautha or a terahvein is held for a prayer meet - the fourth and the thirteenth day after the passing. Till that is over, the kitchen fires do not burn in the houe of the deceased. Food and necessities come from friends.
Rajesh Khanna was put to flames this morning at a crematorium not far from Jalsa - about 400 meters. Roads had been blocked off to maintain a continuous flow of traffic, but the crowds were so many that the system failed and Abhishek and I had to get off our car and walk the distance, amidst screaming crowds and fans … the sanctity and the gravity of the moment not being maintained. It has always been a most disturbing moment for me to face this situation. Often I have refrained from attending funerals, but in moments such as today it was not avoidable.
On twitter when I mentioned this matter, a gentleman reprimanded me by tweeting that these are the very crowds that go to see your films so you can earn millions, and today you crib about them when they hound you. I told him I would rather have a disciplined crowd on such occasions, than at my films !
The rituals are over. Food from our house has been sent to Dimple, his wife, at his house Aashirwad, where she plans to stay till the terahvein, the 13th day is over, as we sit in silence at home reminiscing about days gone by, when we learn of another colleague, Shatrughan Sinha in hospital with a by-pass heart surgery. Jaya and I immediately go and visit him. He has done well and so have the doctors and he remains in his room, out of the ICU, chatting dime a dozen with his humor in tact ! So reassuring. Watching colleagues in hospital beds, suffering and in medical condition, is disturbing. But Shatru is in good spirits, as he always is, talking non stop and showing no signs of the trauma he has been through. Thank God !!
He has watched ‘Guru’ on the DvD in his room … twice … and sends his greetings to Abhishek. They shall visit him in a day.
It has not been a pleasant sight to see compatriots in conditions of suffering. The earlier days come rushing by, when a care free and devil may care attitude prevailed. This ugly side of the coin was never seen or believed. We knew it would come, but that it would come in such sudden bursts was unexpected. It shall happen to all of us someday. That we know. But in the exuberance of youth we leave our cares behind. As time grows upon us, the indications of possible unpleasant encounters for the future do start appearing in our psyche. We become more conscious of what we do and say. Of what shall happen. Of security and livelihood. Of what remains to be left behind and what needs to be given and to whom. A fuzzy Last Will keeps appearing often. Dramatic thoughts and perhaps not too acceptable on this platform … so it would be best to drop it !!
Baruninformatics briefs us that the word ‘samba’ means the rubbing of belly buttons, or something close to that. The ‘innie’ meets another ‘innie’, or an ‘outie’ meets or rubs another ‘outie’, or an ‘innie’ meets a ‘outie’ …
Confused ??? So was I initially. The ‘innie’ is the belly button that goes inward into the stomach and the ‘outie’ is the one that goes outward of the belly. Mine ?? Hah ! With the multiple surgical procedures, I seem to have lost the button completely. It could have been plot ! Lost the plot completely. But button sounds more romantic !
It would also not be too out of place to sound a bedtime story or song ..
Good night dear all …. and the sweetest of dreams. The colder the room, the more the chances of getting bad dreams they say … so … switch off the conditioning …
I first saw him in a film magazine, perhaps Filmfare. He was the winner of the Filmfare-Madhuri Talent Contest, a contest that I had applied to in the coming year and been rejected. His film ‘Aradhana’ was my next meeting with him, at the Rivoli Theatre in Connaught Place in New Delhi, which my Mother took me along to see. The packed audience and their reactions to this young handsome man was impermeable.
The early, or shall I say preliminary rejection of my attempt to compete in the Filmfare-Madhuri contest, had made me leave my settled job in Calcutta. I had come away home to seek the possibilities of joining the Industry in some other way. But one look at Rajesh Khanna made me realize that with people like him around, there would be little chance or opportunity for me, in this new profession !
When I got my call for ‘Saat Hindustani’ I travelled to Bombay, got the role and went back to start its shooting. My friendship with one of the Hindustani’s, Anwar Ali, brought me in the vicinity of his illustrious brother Mehmood. Mehmood bhaijaan’s presence in the Industry and his own very large standing, gave me an opportunity to get an informal meet at one of the shootings of Rajesh Khanna. It was a very formal hand shake and that was it - a routine for him, an honor for me !
Soon after I was being cast opposite him in ‘Anand’. This was like a miracle, God’s own blessing and one that gave me ‘reverse respect’. The moment that anyone came to know that I was working with THE Rajesh Khanna, my importance grew. And I gloated in its wake. During the breaks in the shooting of the film I would return to Delhi and gleefully describe the scenes and dialogues of the film, as also its music to all that I met - and I met many during that time ! There were no CD’s then, just the spooled tapes, and getting Hrishi da to part with one such for me, was an exercise in futility. But I was able to get one and ‘kahin dur jab din dhal jaae ..’ played endlessly on my very repair stricken tape recorder.
He was simple and quiet. Would sit in the front seat of his modest Herald, driven by his man-friday Kabir. He would attract many visitors on set and was continuously surrounded by them - Hrishi da permitting ! The frenzy and the following he garnered was a sight to behold. In the 1970 era his fans came from Spain to meet him - a most unheard of occurrence then. In his trade mark Rajesh Khanna kurta pyjama, he almost always looked the boy next door, one that girls would want to take home to Mother. But amidst all this there was a quiet elegance within him. In his boyish plainness there was something that was regal in his demeanor. It was the magnet that attracted others to him - who at times were almost servile to him in nature.
My observation above, does not do justice to what I wish to explain. But then, that itself could be that unspoken accomplishment of his.
I visited his residence ‘Aashirwad’ just once when we were working together, to wish him on his birthday, only to realize when I reached their, that I had come in a day earlier. He was magnanimous enough to understand my awkwardness and asked me to stay back ; then after a while driving me to Shakti Samanta’s ( who made ‘Aaradhana’ and many other films with him, and ‘Great Gambler’ and ‘Barsaat ki ek Raat’ with me ) house to join him for dinner ! The next day on his birthday he hosted me again. Many many years later he had called me to his office to seek the possibility of working for his production, which did not materialize. Then of course my last meeting with him was when IIFA decorated him with a LifeTime Achievement Award and asked me to present it. His gracious words for me still resound.
When the shooting of ‘Anand’ began at Mohan Studios, Hrishi da’s favorite locale, now a concrete housing colony, the one moment that always worried me was, that last scene when I break down after his death and urge him emotionally to speak ! Not being able to find a method in my own very limited acting experience, I sought the help of Mehmood bhai, in who’s house I was living with his brother Anwar Ali. And I still remember what he told me -
He said, ” just think Amitabh, R- a- j- e- s- h K- h- a- n- n- a is dead !! and you will get everything right “.
It was not so much a tutorial in acting that he expounded. It was an exalted acknowledgement of Rajesh Khanna’s presence and position in the psyche of the nation, that he was drawing my attention to.
That is how Rajesh Khanna was looked upon from the day he started till his last breath. Times changed, people changed, circumstances changed, but Rajesh Khanna always remained his quiet, elegant, regal self !
As I sat at his home this afternoon, to pay my respects, soon after learning of his passing away, a close functionary of his, came up to me and told me in a choked voice what his last words were -
I post some material from the press to justify a few points that I had made about the Guwahati molestation … the police has strong suspicion that it was media generated ..
The first cutting of the DNA speaks of the molestation case being instigated by the Tv reporter, a question I had put some tweets back, wondering how does the Tv media happen to be at the spot of the molestation, before hand. It now transpires that the molestation was instigated by the Tv crew ; a member being a friend of theirs.
A debate had followed on the matter, whether it was the duty as a citizen to render help rather than record the incident as it unfolded within inches of the cameras, or follow journalistic practice and code, and record it …
In incidents such as this, how is it that a Tv camera crew comes to know before hand of a molestation to be taking place - so they could record it as content for the channel they work for ? This if proved as per the police investigation, could mean that the Tv crew colluded in the crime and then face consequences.
Pro media comment defends itself by stating that the media’s job is to inform and that handling a mob, may be the prerogative of a hero in film, but not the reporter ! Giving excuse that the recording assisted in identifying the culprits, sounds lame. This is a most unfortunate happening for the electronic media if proved in court. It would be a lesson for many to perhaps build greater honesty and integrity, than do it as an exercise because your own channel content is not sufficient enough for you to maintain position and TRp’s !
The second cutting is a cartoon from the Punjab Kesari, where it is implicated through my image and those of the others, that ‘film stars only talk, they do not do anything about the problem’ - there is a reference to Aamir Khans show also in the cartoon.
Now I cannot talk for the others, but I would strongly refute the derogatory image concocted by the paper of an event that took place.
I have said it often and do not wish to elaborate any further - charity is done not talked about ! I have also, much against this belief of mine, given a list of all that we do, in earlier posts, when we make a commitment.
Also it is rather strange that the cartoon in the paper should talk about ‘nothing being done by us, except talk’. Are they not aware that a member of their own fraternity, NDTv conducted an entire day of ‘talking’ for the saving of our tigers at Ranthambore !! Last year we also ‘talked’, and collected around 4 cr of rupees which went in providing equipment and jeeps to the forest guards. If the cartoonist had only bothered to put his home Tv on to get the correct information, as most journalists should do, they would not be making fun out of a most serious and dedicated effort for the nation and for society at large !! May I ask said cartoonist, what has been his contribution towards any cause of society, other than sitting in air conditioned offices and designing fallacious accusations. How quick you are Mr Cartoonist, in reprimanding a supposed error on the part of a celebrity, and not taking any cognizance of a supposed crime perpetrated in Guwahati, by a member of your own fraternity ??
I shall rest my case for tonight .. my ‘case’ here and now being my breathing self ..
Nothing could have made the long 4 hour drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur, along bumpy roads more pleasing than this welcome cake in my Hotel room by the management ..
And since I have stopped eating cake, the message at the bottom could not have been more appropriate ! I have succeeded in saving it from being deliciously devoured !! Ha ha !!
But really such a wonderful, caring and sweet gesture - pun unintended ! Thank you !
On arrival at the resort where we were to hold the Tigerthon, one of the activities was to go and meet the villagers that had been re located from tiger terrain. The tiger needed more space and the villagers that had been in the jungle for generations, were asked to move out and a compensated other location within close range from where their original village was given to them. Most of them had happily volunteered, simply because they understood the importance of the cause, but they were shifted out to locations where basic facilities were not available - electricity, water and proper roads. They expressed this to me when I met them, and though they were happy to have now got facilities of a hospital nearby and schools for the education of their young daughters, who never went out for fear of the animal in the jungle in the earlier location, they wanted that their matter be referred to the State Government through me, in order that these basic needs could be met. They had one other request. They wanted me to visit them at their village; their present place of residence. I promised them I would after my work was over. This morning as we drove off, the first place I asked to be taken to was this village. And this below is where the re location has taken place. The people were so excited and full of enthusiasm that they confessed that now that I had come, they could do without the water and the electricity and the roads they were demanding. They were overwhelmed with the fact that I had kept my promise - an act that in these parts of the country, particularly among the Rajputs, is considered most sacred and worthy of great honor.
For centuries the Rajputs that inhabit Rajasthan - the place of the Raja’s, and a region that touches the borders of the country - have been the protectors of the land. They are warriors that have extremely strong sentiments. The turban, pagdi or saafa, the sword, the word of promise and their mustache, which has been symbolic of their manliness, has been the most important elements in their society. The women, no less strong in character, have always presented themselves in the ghungat, which has partially covered their face. Tradition, culture and its ethics have great meaning in their daily lives and to protect it, they shall readily fight and give up their lives for it !
So having given word, I visited them and assured them that I shall carry their voice to the authorities. They are still buying their tanker of water for the daily chores and one single hand pump of a bore well that functions if there is sufficient rain - an illusion in these parts - is what they survive on. Their servility is embarrassing, their needs simple, their hearts larger than the largest anywhere.
Dressing the guest with the traditional turban is customary - this one was perhaps too large for my small head - and the garland and the tika on the forehead with vermilion and rice is the gesture of welcome. The swastik on the thali is a religious symbol of purity and prayer. The name and its twisted form was designed by the Nazi’s as their symbol - an anomaly of drastic and evil proportion ! The vermilion on the forehead is of course a well known gesture for those that have visited India. It is to pay obeisance to the mythical third eye on the human body. Google ‘third eye’. It would be an interesting read !!
… the road to the village and …
… this spanking new structure, symbolizing the developing India, and below a portion of the Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur, now a splendid Hotel where I spend some hours !!
the Great Gatsby hoodie sent to me by the production in Sydney of Baz Luhrman, with stitched message quote from F Scott Fritzgerald and signed off by Leonardo di Caprio and Tobey Mcguire on the sleeve which you cannot see unfortunately !
a welcome by ‘him’ outside my window .. thanks mister … our national bird !
thats the back of the front you just saw .. equally attractive, which is quite extraordinary !
meeting the villagers re located from inside the forest to another location, where I visit them later ..
that is the vehicle that we provide for the forest guards .. last year we donated 40 of these and spread them all over the country in the game parks .. the forest guards used to travel on foot with sticks, to protect the tiger from poachers - the main villains in the destruction of the animal, who move about with sophisticated weaponry. This vehicle with a great amount of equipment is a real boon for the forests ..
the gentleman on the picture second from left, between the guy with the camera and the guy with a peak cap, face barely visible, his dark mustache in place is the guard 27 years ago that was with us when I last came here. Spot me in the picture, he still has. He was the one that taught Abhishek how to drive a jeep on the barren spaces in the forest, then. We got Abhishek on the Tigerthon and put the guard on Tv too and they exchanged some pleasantries ! This was before my favorite leather jacket that I donated for the cause went up for auction. Abhishek and I also donated 11 lakhs each for the benefit of the Save Our Tiger program ! Good feel !!
No !! That is not a mine detector that I operate ! Its a self camera, which one operates on his own … dramatic results at times ..
Need I introduce them ? The langoor which followed us most sincerely wherever we went, its strong and long tail following at some distance …
My little thatch hutted accommodation .. if you look carefully to the right you can spot the shower head jutting out of the construction …. out in the open, for ‘raw’ pursuits !!
the stage set up for the Telethon … a few inches away and behind us a small pond housing large leafed lotus … and … two crocodiles, which we are told walked several kilometers to get into this water hole ! Why ? I have no idea ..!! ya … crocs do walk !!
This has been an enormous gallery of pictures, I just realize …
Time to say the good nights and sweet dreams, provided of course if you miss the audio ..
I would like to consider myself as an aware citizen of my country, but I must confess that having spent time with two campaigns on the ‘Save Our Tigers’ over the last two years with NDTv have demonstrated how little I knew about tigers and their conservation. The issues that exist, the complications that present themselves both with the big cat and those that work to save it. The environment, the poachers, boundaries, buffer zones, core areas, protection forces, government and legal compulsions, snare traps, sale of tiger body parts, China, smuggling across borders, tourism and its controls, re location of those that inhabit land within tiger domain and their needs, breeding, transferring the animal to other reserves, the restrained landed areas where excessive tigers can create problems of them moving beyond their stipulated boundaries and causing man-animal confrontations. Behavioral patterns of the big cat, its relationship with others of its kin, its cubs and their protection from their own parents who often kill them, marking their territory and protecting it from other tigers that may stray into theirs. A whole wealth of information and debates and promises from those that stand on authority in different states of our land.
The entire population of tigers in India is half of the entire population of tigers in the world and the importance of its protection therefore. How saving a tiger saves forests, environment, water and other animals that roam the jungles. And if they are saved then how mankind survives. And most importantly to make this generation of the youth and the young to understand the importance of the tigers existence, for, as many expressed, they would not like to introduce their grandchildren to the tiger through pictures only.
Just so many interesting facets of this very important campaign and how it shall affect all of us in time.
The contact made with specialists, their point of view and their dedication to the cause. The finer points that they educate us with. The support given by those in power and getting them to come up live on national television and listen in to our questions and to find them so conversant with the problems and matters concerning the big cat … just an entire day of non stop information, opinions and ideas of how we as a nation need to look after this most important pride of our country.
Alongside all the activity of course was the drive to attract donations from viewers and those that are sympathetic to the cause. To be able to collect as much as we could in cash to be able to provide in a very small manner the essentials required by the guards that are equipped with an apology of weaponry against the more sophisticated arsenal of the rampant poachers that flourish and are a source of all that is destroying the lives of this beautiful animal. And … surprisingly the connect with those are involved in drug peddling and the supply of unlicensed arms. The sale of the parts of the dead tiger forms a ready market, particularly in China for medicinal purposes and the money accumulated by these poachers being used for drugs and arms. That after drugs and arms it is tiger body parts that is the largest smuggled commodity in the world. Alarming and so dangerous !
In all an entire day and night filled with the most informative facts on the tiger ! Unforgettable, and so filled with emotion !
And of course not to take anything away from the most dedicated and hard working men and women, mostly women, that conducted this exercise in almost military like proficiency, without any glitches, or if their were any, to have not allowed it to percolate beyond the control room !!
When the women do take over the world, which is not an improbability in the not too distant future, I can assure you we shall be in safe hands !!
Its back to the grind and reality and the concrete tomorrow and that is a pity. Being in close proximity to all that spells peace and calm and then to be re located, to use tiger preservation lingua franca, is not something that most welcome. But …
NDTv has taken over this entire hotel facility for their campaign ‘Save our Tigers’ and it is a sight you will never forget. It is complete madness !! The complexities of broadcast television, the urgency of timings and feeds and cuts and fade ins. The screaming and shouting of the time left, the co ordination with Delhi studios and the anchor on sight here. The pre show shoot and the introduction to the different clips, the adverts that go out … an endless operation of such magnitude, it will be difficult to understand what the heck is happening inside just one of their control rooms. Multiple switches of different hues and colors, blinking and to be pressed, rods and levers to be pushed to fade in the next program, instructions being shouted out at the speed of knots, an entire wall full of plasma, and all this for one program that shall air live tomorrow at 9AM till the 9PM of the day !!
But remarkably, what needs to be paid attention to is that it is being managed and operated by women – 90% of them !! And … I am told when the station started, the average age of those in command was 25 years !
This is modern India. This is women power. This is awesome !!
Those working in there were all the age of my daughter Shweta and less, coming close on to the age of my grand children.
It has been not just a great experience for me, but a moment of immense pride ! May they prosper ever and continue to assert themselves in the years to come. The time is not too far away when women shall rule the world, taking over from the men, if they have not already !
Allow me to show you what I mean –
the arrival welcome .. garlands flowers over the ‘Great Gatsby’ ..
being my own photographer … wide angle, into the woods ..
And … all the astonishing ladies, correcting, teaching, applauding after I pressed the right button .. ahh ! what a relief i got it right !!
Is it not a sight of great delight !
So now the brain tires as must it should. The strain of travel and limited sleeping hours. The delight at having met those that have worked tirelessly in the preservation of the Tiger – villagers that have voluntarily agreed for a re location to give the big cat more space. The RRU’s or Rapid Response Units that spring into action when ever there is an emergency of either a poaching incident, or man animal confrontation. These units that have through our campaign been financed by what we collected the last time, are the culmination of a concerted effort made by some very committed individuals !!
It is Mazel Cohen’s birthday tomorrow the 15th of July in the year of the lord 2012 … and we wish her the very best, not just for the day but in the days and years to come …may you remain well and in good spirits … love from all of us here at the TumblerTownEf !!
….. and the frustration and anger and the helplessness of the loss of Blog yesterday night still lingers. I had to be up at 4am to catch the flight for Jaipur and onward by road to Ranthambore, so a rest was essential … but … despite that pressure, I labored till 3:15 AM to retrieve it and failed. By the time I laid myself down, it was time to get up and leave. So today I start early, and start with the conscious effort not to lose what I often do on this platform.
Jaipur airport was quiet in the early hours. The flight was comfortable and pleasant for the hour and forty five minutes, enhanced by a most generous and polite crew, who expressed some rather undeserving praise over the manner in which I travelled, something that I could not fathom, but …
Its a 4 hour drive to the Reserve from the Jaipur airport, now housed in a spanking new and modern structure, recently constructed - a few of the changing landmarks that propel India’s advancement in its development ! The road is still a bit spine shattering, but I could see as I travelled a parallel highway under construction, which bodes well for the future. As small town after small town and village swish by, you observe most of the typical infrastructure still unchanged. The women still adorn themselves in the colorful and most endearing Rajasthani clothing - the dupatta, still a ghunghat over their faces. But the young flash their jeans and mobike a great deal more. Its a contrasting style that one observes on the roads, almost symbolic of the country where modernity has not quite percolated the traditional - a young man with his lady riding pillion, he in his jeans and his Honda and she clinging on to the railings at the rear in ghagara and choli flowing in the brightest of yellow and red, face dutifully covered by the pallu !!
Khem Villas is basic, earthy, merging with the environ, presently under siege by NDTv, its hundreds of young and energetic manpower and its complicated technology, necessary for live broadcast television ! Many in the western world would associate the word ‘Villas’ as in a ‘villa’, a house to live in. But I in local language in Hindi, ‘Villas’ is not the plural of ‘villa’. It is more a place, a destination.
The rooms are more of cottage industrial construct in keeping with the ambience - thatched roofs, verandahs, courtyard or the ‘angan' with the very identifiable 'charpoy' made of netted jute strings, prominent in every village in the country, lying with casual presence at the center. The wash rooms are both indoor and outdoor, particularly the shower and tub. A delight to be in the raw, exposed to the elements, without any intrusion ! Or so the management professes ! We shall find out in the early morning hours of the morrow !! Lascivious comments shall not be entertained by Ef on this .. ha ha !
It is green all over, and a gentle breeze is building up from a most humid day. During the winter months the region shall experience zero temperatures and the day shall be pleasant and warm ; almost desert like conditions !
We have walked around, met the villagers and talked to them on their relocation that had to be done to give more space to the tiger to roam. Some promotional spots have been recorded and now we await for the opening to be recorded before we go live tomorrow for 12 hours !!
I shall be back soon and hopefully if the internet permits will write again .. hurrraayyyy !!
Manoj Kumar Ojha a very happy birthday to you for today … and lovely to meet you and your dear wife at the shoot yesterday … thank you for your kindness too …
Shalini from my birth town will celebrate her birthday tomorrow on the 14th of July and here are all the good wishes for her - success, good heath and prosperity always ..
Navneet Anand from Sydney FmXt came over to meet me .. and learnt from him the dedication of the Ef Patil and Abhay Sharma in Nasik and Mumbai, in helping him out when he was visiting Trimbakeshwar temple and did not know a soul .. Patil took him around, had never met him and then … invited him to stay with him in his house .. this is just incredible … long may the camaraderie exist of the Ef, and long may they continue to be as an extended family .
Thank you Abhay Sharma ji and Patil ..
And the worst has happened ! I wrote an entire Blog, went over to Google to check an information and its gone !!
Its late now to want to retrieve it by writing again , so I shall make amends on the voice recording …aarrrgarrhhh !!
It was an early morning call for the shooting, Nagarjuna had to be back in Hyderabad yesterday, but the rain delayed work and he kindly stayed back to complete it provided we could finish his shots early and he could catch the flight. But, half way to the Film City, Vindu, Dara Singh ji’s son, with whom I had been keeping close contact on his Father’s health for the past four days since he was taken to hospital, called and informed me that his Father ‘had left for heaven and was with the angels’. Dara ji had been in the ICU on life support systems and the day before they did his MTI, and discovered that the brain had developed severe conditions and that his chances of survival were grim. The family had taken him home, knowing the inevitable and also in keeping with Dara ji’s desire to not be left in Hospital.
An ocean full of memories flash by on such occasions. As kids in School in the 50’s we had admired and looked up to this man of super human strength. His name and his talk provoked immense awe. He was the World Champion wrestler, his exploits in the ring were spoken off in disbelief and wonder. His bouts in the ring with his challenger King Kong was a renowned feature and each time they had their fights in Delhi at the National Stadium, we would scramble to get tickets somehow to go and watch him defeat his opponents !
It was in the mid 50’s that I first met him. It was at Teen Murti House, the official residence of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. We had stood speechless in his large presence. His demeanor was benevolent and pleasing, completely removed from what he was in fighting gear. Then he joined the Film Industry and one saw him often in films that further epitomized his qualities as a person with great strength - invincible, not defeat able and of value. In time when I came into the same profession we worked together several times, and all along he had remained that humble generous giant of a man, with a benevolent smile on his face ever ! His sons Vindu and Anu became close friends. We played together maintained social contact with each other and today, spent time together at their residence discussing their Father’s life and times, as is the wont when one loses a member of the family. A gentle giant has left us, but his humility and his greatness as one of the true sons of India, keeps him in our memory. An entire era in the history of his presence has been lost, never to be relived again ! His large and strong hands were the softest when they embraced you and that is how we shall always remember him !!
The past two days have been filled with grim stories and events and I am most grateful to all the Ef for writing in to Hemant and letting him know that we are all with him in his hour of grief. I do not know what needs to be done to bring back a little cheer in us, but I am trying to make an attempt -
These lovely pets, these obedient to humans and dedicated to their love, are adorable pictures sent to me by our Ef from Russia , Lyudmila .. thank you .. I do hope it takes away the gloom of the post !!
The dedication of this species of animal is historic and timeless. One has read valiant stories and gallant episodes that have been connected to pet dogs - man’s and woman’s best friend. How ever did they become so ? How do they follow and obey almost military like commands so diligently ? Their protection for the master is legendary and no matter how distant they may be from them for whatever length of time, they never fail to show their allegiance and responsibility in the most unstinted manner. They are known not just for their dutiful presence in the lives of their masters, but are also the reason of great harmony in distressed situations. Particularly so in matters domestic. Their could be frictional conditions prevailing in the home, but bring in the pet and every matter seems to get resolved in an instant. Long may they remain in our midst, to bring happiness and great joy ever !!
All in a days work ! The wetlands of Film City early on, with the slush and the mud, surrounded by the greens of a Mumbai that we never get to see, or are most oblivious of, and then a quick change of location to a 5 star Hotel, premises, for the rest of the day !! From a middle class teacher in the village, to some sophistication … the joys and the beauty of this profession - living more than a life in a day … !!
Good night dear all … but wait ! … This needs to be voiced does it not .. ??
I do not find it ethical or correct to open a post with news that is disturbing, but since it involves a member of our very committed and endearing community, our extended family, I feel I needs must do it.
Our dear Ef, Hemant Binani has had to go through a terrible tragedy. Two days back he lost his three and a half year old daughter, in the most tragic circumstances. Here in Mumbai she and her Mother were crossing a street in South Mumbai and she got hit by a cement carrying truck, that crushed her. I cannot even begin to describe how terrible this must have been for Hemant and his family, but all we can do is to pray for the soul of this little innocent child that fate has so mercilessly snatched away from him and indeed us. Yesterday there was a prayer meeting and even though I was unable to attend it, may I just convey to Hemant that the entire Ef and the FmXt sympathizes with you and your family and we all remember you in our prayers.
It has been heart breaking for all of us ! May the heavens give the departed soul all that she may have missed here on Earth !
Ahhh … ! It is so difficult to even start thinking of any other, when such grave tragedy fills our hearts and thoughts with the pain of the loss of a dear one. Many shall look upon this incident with the utmost pain, and a tinge of extreme anger. Why would the Almighty end this life of one that has still not even been estranged from her innocence ? Why her ? What was her fault ?
And then there are some that shall look upon this with some philosophical feel and proclaim that those that leave us early are the ones the Almighty loves the most. And I wonder if this argument is ever bought by those that suffer the pain of loss and departure ! Truly an inconsolable moment, one that leaves all of us devastated and so desolate !!
Life is harsh and unpredictable and we must at all times be thankful to whoever it is that dictates terms of our existence, to remain in peace and love and devout bearing. I know there are many that challenge all modes of matter that connect with a superior being or force, or now with invention, the Boson ‘God Particle’, euphemistically referred to by the discoverers as that ‘goddamn particle’, but certain things in our world still remain far removed from explanation, and this instills in us the belief, that there must be some superior force that guides and evolves us. Live existence is too complicated and beyond the reach of mankind, still !!
I have spent another day at a wet and rained out Film City for the shooting of this campaign that I have newly endorsed, but with a slight difference. I have had the great honor and pleasure to have worked today with some of the popular and distinguished stars of the Southern region of our country – TamilNadu, AndhraPradesh, Karnataka and Kerala – who have been not just colleagues of our vast film industry, but have through the years been close friends.
Today there was Prabhu, celebrated son of the eternally great Shivaji Ganesan, a legend and a colossus, from the Tamil Film Industry, Nagarjun from the Telegu Cinema in Andhra, a super star and the son of the legendary thespian Nageswara Rao Akkineni, Shiva from the Karnataka Film Industry, son of a dear friend and well wisher, the legendary Raaj Kumar, worshipped and adored by the fans and the people of his State, and from the Malayalam Film Industry in Kerala, Dilip, a star who is creating waves in his homeland.
Despite the fact that their fan following and popularity is immense and earth shattering, they are by temperament such disciplined, gracious and humble beings, that it would not be possible to imagine their status and their standing if you were to meet them. Indeed I have always found the Southern stars to be all of such standing, irrespective of their Godlike stature at home among their well wishers. I have also never shied away from the fact that the South Film Industry is greatly more talented with fresh and innovative ideas and creative thought than their counterparts in the North. I have often spoken about this in several of my earlier posts. Working among them, in their climate of proficiency and talent is a delight and an unmitigated honor. Every time I have had the great opportunity to work along with them, I have come away even more impressed at their most worth while qualities, not just as creative artists, but as gracious humans. They need to be complimented, commended and regarded with great respect.
From the left : Prabhu, Dilip, the one that writes this, Shiva, Nagarjun
In this really Mumbai !!
Working conditions in the wet monsoon …
More .. workings on wet ground ..
The joy of grandchildren in numbers around you is unforgettable. I dwell in them these days. The ‘little one’ grows with each passing day, and the ones out of station have just arrived for a short break. There is a desire to be back home as soon as work gets over, though committed travel looms largely about.
Save the Tiger campaign to which I attach myself, will initiate another Tigerthon on NDTv at Ranthambore Reserve in Rajasthan and that begins on the 15th. We did some wonderful work the last year and do hope this year as well shall see the polity getting more conscious on the preservation of the tiger, whose numbers are threatened. Ranthambore is not new to me. I have visited it before on a private visit, when I took some rather astonishing pictures. Some day I shall load them up for you. To some they may seem not too pleasant, but that is the way of nature and the jungle. I had the opportunity to catch an entire chase and a kill by a tiger of a large deer. And from extremely close quarters. The pictures adorn my office walls now, and those that have visited me at Janak may have seen them.
So another day endeth and it is time to say good night … in somewhat respectable time ..