Monday, November 21, 2005

Indian Government is aiding Pak Terrorists!

Sounds shocking? Well the case is not that PM handed over cheque of $25 mn to Lashkar or Jaish chiefs but the decision of giving aid to Pakistan in the wake of earthquake has similar implications.
Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf admitted that no funds will be diverted from defence account to quake rehabilitation funds. This expense will be met with the money obtained from external aid. In other words lives of the people in Pakistan is less important that purchasing ammunitions. Indeed Pakistan 'postponed' deal of 50 F-16 planes from US in order to escape from wrath of international community,which was getting increasingly miffed with this attitude of Pak Government.
I really fail to understand the need for us to give money to them (Pak Govt.) even though we know it very well that they are not going to be least thankful for it. We have already witnessed the Pakistani response to our generosity when they reacted shamefully to our offer of giving them choppers.
Imagine Pakistani hardliners laughing at us!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Power of Positive Thinking

Sometimes when you are feeling really really down, all sorts of negative thoughts are crushing you under their collective gloom and you know what you are thinking or feeling is wrong (and yet can't escape from the dead weight!), you make a good decision to invite a third party to lend a helping hand to pull you out.
I did that! Did a Google search on 'Positive Thinking' and got a wonderful article!
I am reproducing the same here: Simple because it is so wonderful that I want to keep it with me forever!
Courtesy:Donald Martin (Copyright 1991 Donald Martin, How to be a Successful Student)

Why Think Positively?
All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and subconscious. We are in control, whether we know it or
not. We can be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive.

The biggest difference between people is their attitudes. For some, learning is enjoyable and exciting. For others, learning is a drudgery. For many, learning is just okay, something required on the road to a job.

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." -Abraham Lincoln

Our present attitudes are habits, built from the feedback of parents, friends, society and self, that form our self-image and our world-image.
These attitudes are maintained by the inner conversations we constantly have with ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously.
The first step in changing our attitudes is to change our inner conversations.

What Should We Be Saying?
One approach is called the three C's: Commitment, Control and Challenge.

Make a positive commitment to yourself, to learning, work, family, friends, nature, and other worthwhile causes. Praise yourself and others. Dream of success. Be enthusiastic.

Keep your mind focused on important things. Set goals and priorities for what you think and do. Visualize to practice your actions. Develop a strategy for dealing with problems. Learn to relax. Enjoy successes. Be honest with yourself.

Be courageous. Change and improve each day. Do your best and don't look back. See learning and change as opportunities. Try new things. Consider several options. Meet new people. Ask lots of questions. Keep track of your mental and physical health. Be optimistic.

Studies show that people with these characteristics are winners in good times and survivors in hard times. Research shows that,
"... people who begin consciously to modify their inner conversations and assumptions report an almost immediate improvement in their performance. Their energy increases and things seem to go better ..."

Commitment, control and challenge help build self-esteem and promote positive thinking.

So this was it! I read it, thought about it and found that every thing was true! And I decided that I will be positive and never let negative thoughts haunt me again! Thank you Mr. Martin!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Mad About Movies: Bombay

I wrote the following article for a series about movies. It was never sent! I am reproducing the same here:

The beauty of ManiRatnam’s trilogy of ‘Roja’, ’Bombay’ and ‘Dil Se..’ is the timelessness of these films. Unless until this country solves the Kashmir, Ayodhya and Assam issues, the three films (in the respective order) will continue to remain pertinent to every Indian, not only as a movie-goer (or just for the sake of cinematic appreciation) but also as a citizen who cares and has an opinion about these issues.

I watched ‘Bombay’ released way back in 1993 only recently but I don’t regret. I was a kid then and definitely could not understand the ‘whys’, appreciate ‘whats’ or identify ‘whos’ of the matter.

Arwind Swami plays a tough younger son of a middle class family, who is never on even terms with his father (like most of us!) and when I say tough I don’t mean a muscle flexing macho, because you need guts to be the son of a village head-priest and court a Muslim girl in a village divided on communal lines. Manisha Koirala plays daughter of a brick kiln owner, wears burqa, walks fast with head down and braves rain and wind to meet her love crooning ‘Tu hi re..’.

Nasser plays father of the hero and head-priest of the afore-mentioned village. So when the couple finds that their love won’t find a way to the heart of their families (specially fathers!), they find way to, where else but, BOMBAY!

After hilarious initial hiccups the couple is on cloud nine with their twin sons and the film cruises calmly as the two grandpas (who come to visit their grandsons a visit) engage in skirmishes while trying to convert the children to their religion.

But now the ‘monumental’ twist comes as Babri Mosque is demolished and Bombay burns. For the first time we come to know that the hero is a reporter with The Indian Express as he interviews the Hindu and Muslim leaders (played by Teenu Anand and Aakash Khanna who have been made to look and act like Bal Thakrey and a Muslim leader, whose name I don’t know. Simply scintillating performances!)

But the peace in his own life is burnt to ashes as his own house is put on fire, killing both his father and father-in-law and worse, his kids go missing!) The agony and trauma of the parents who have lost their kids in city torn by riots, the helplessness of the innocents and most of all the destruction of joy and laughter, make this film a really heart wrenching story. But if you thought that this was the pinnacle you are in for a surprise!

The film is outstanding in every aspect of filmmaking. A R Rahman was terrific in the second movie of his career. His tunes cheerful and rendering hope in first half are in stark contrast to the haunting and somber ones in the second half, shape the mood of the film and give certain halo to every frame! Cinematography (Santosh Siwan got a National Prize for this one also!) is amazing, especially the scnes of riot and its aftermaths have been shot wonderfully.

I don’t want to reveal the climax. Not because I want you to watch the movie (of course I want to!) but because I don’t have words for it. The only thing that I can tell is that want to ask every fanatic the same question that hero asks in the film “You are a Hindu. You are a Muslim. You fight. Why do I lose my family, my home and my children?”

The film gave no answer. Actually nobody can!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Indian Pop: Missing Oorja (Energy)

I can still remember the wonderful plastic audio cassette cover with a really refreshing and miles-away from run-of-the-mill inlay cards prevalent those days. About 10 years have passed but I can still recall the vibrant energy filled in that music album named ‘Oorja’ (meaning ‘energy’ in Hindi) (Meanwhile the inlay card I was talking about was an interesting pot-pourri of cool and bright colors and hence very-very eye catching!).
It was actually a compilation of songs by various artists and had a variety of songs having only two things in common, firstly voices were all mint fresh and secondly, the music was breaking the barriers set by film music. (This was all before A R Rahman had erupted on the scene, you see!)

Now I am no authority on music or Indian Pop so I can’t say if this was really the first movement towards now multi-million bucks private album industry or not! (Perhaps Gurdas Maan or Parvati Khan or Malkeet Singh had cut their albums earlier, can’t say for sure but I believe that these were not consolidated efforts as these guys were more in stage shows and functions.)

I was not in buying cassettes till Rahman came on the scene, so my interaction with private albums was only through the albums my brother bought and he compensated for my non-contribution! Magnasound was the leading name (perhaps the only name at that time!) which gave chance to many newcomers who wanted to croon and made stars out of them.

Alisha Chinoy, a well known name after ‘Baby Doll’ got meteoritic rise with ‘Made in India’. Anamica (‘Kahin karta hoga’), Shaan and Sagarika (‘Lovology’), Sanjay Raina (‘Hangama’), Baba Sahgal (‘Thanda thanda pani’) and scores others got an album and fame against their names. (Actually there was a joke doing the rounds that anybody who could be a bathroom-singer could become pop-singer!)

Daler Menhdi got a huge huge opening in the music arena with consecutive successes starting with ‘Bolo tara rara’ and following with other hits. Actually it was his success which started the Punjabi Pop revolution and virtually abducted the Indian Pop.

After every Rajinder, Harinder and Gurinder (now Tom, Dick and Harry don’t become Punjabi Poppers) was singing ‘Balle-balle’ from TV channels and FM stations, Punjabi Pop had started getting on your nerves! But you will have to give it at least the credit for being original. The tunes were mostly different though lyrics were almost never understandable and music nearly similar (after all they all had to experiment with authenticity!)

During all this hullabaloo of Punjabi Pop, there was another stream of private albums flowing pretty quietly. This was Remixed Music. I believe Sony Music were the first to start the trend with immensely successful and highly sophisticated ‘Dance Masti’ sung by Shaan. HMV came up with ‘Dance Mix’ series which was a new concept in Indian Music Industry at the time since the voices were of the original singers and extra music was added. The songs they had used were from the recent films and I remember that I had got a couple of them recorded.

A new band called Bombay Vikings appeared with a terrific video and even terrific concept of planting new English lyrics on old Hindi numbers with jazzed up music. ‘Kya soorat hai’ and other hits insured that Vikings had conquered Indians as well!

What had actually started as a trickle soon became a pour! ‘Jalwa’ from Times Music launched DJ Akbar Sami in upper space, (I mention this because I was fooled by Times Group’s policy of mixing advertorial and editorial space!) and soon other music companies too started patronizing DJs making stars out of them.

The aftermath is that, what debuted as a sidekick to the hero has now reduced the hero to not even sidekick, but a mere passer-by. Now on the pop charts 18 out of top 20 tracks are remixed versions of olden day classics. Every song has got some unfathomable English crap thrown in with some sound effects and digital wizardry which makes every song sound like other.

Now my point is this: should we consider Remixed Music as a part of Pop? In the years that I have witnessed there have been various genres but all had one similarity between glaring differences; they were original efforts. The musicians and lyricists did something that they called their own (even if it was dubbed crap by everybody else!). But in the case of remixes all the DJ and his team (I don’t know if he needs a team actually) have to do is what I mentioned earlier (add “some unfathomable English crap thrown in with some sound effects and digital wizardry”). No I am not deprecating his efforts, he has to churn up something new working in the constraints (preset lyrics and tune) and use the technology creatively and imaginatively to sound different from others doing the same. I can accept Remixing as an art on its own but as a stream of Pop? Sorry, no!

There is no original pop music emanating from India anymore. With everybody remixing the existing, nothing new is actually coming to shelves of music stores! Even the music videos are terribly similar showing … well we all know what! And same is on the cassette inlay cards!

That’s why I am missing Oorja even after ten years!

Friday, March 04, 2005

My Big Fat Indian Doubt

Last night I watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". I wondered why so many companies and production houses collaborate to make even a small film in Hollywood (well there was, FC Films and Golden Circle Pictures and PlayTone Pictures and one I forgot!)
Well I will give you a brief tour of the film before talking anything else. Film is autobiography of a Greek Girl Toula Portokalos(Nia Vardalos) , whose father , a very very conservative Greek, (well played by Michael Constantine) is a person who believes "There aa onli too kind of person, Grik and those who wished they wer Grik!". So Toula has to go to a Greek school, eat Greek food, work in their family's Greek restaurant and listen to his father's Greek wishes "Marry Grik man, produce kids and feed them"! This is till she decides to join a computer course and then lands up in a job at a relative's travel agency. And the hero is not far !! Ian Miller (John Corbett) is a non-Greek, whom Toula had first seen in her restaurant and was hooked immediately (a really funny scene..). The two fell in love and Toula's father is baffled when he comes to know of it. But ultimately he agrees to their marriage but not before Ian is baptized in ancient Greek manner. The sequences of the family's preparation for marriage and preceeding ceremonies are hillarious and make the movie a must watch.
I won't tell any more about movie, because this is the time I raise My Big Fat Indian Doubt.
The film makes fun of Greeks. Period. The film pokes fun at huge apetite of Greeks ,their conservative nature ("Griks marry only Griks") and well their love for huge family!
But the point that I want to raise is that nobody minds!! Yes, the jokes are to be laughed at and humor is to be enjoyed. I haven't come across any incident where any Greek community has objected to anything in the film.

Now I ask you to replace the word "Greek" with "Indian". Do you find anything impossible with the plot? Well perhaps by reading you may, but believe me, when you watch the movie you won't. And now do you think that if any Hollywood (or Bollywood or for that matter any wood) producer makes this movie, there won't be any sort of 'protests'? That's my point!
Why are Indians so stingy? Why can't we laugh on ourselves? Why can't we enjoy humor?
Do you know what the recent controversy is with Aishwarya Rai-Sanjay Datt-Zayad Khan starrer "Shabd"? In a scene Zayad Khan "tries" to crack a "sardar-ji joke" and Aishwarya giggles (well she doesn't need any reason to giggle though). And guess what our Sikh community is "deeply hurt"! The Minorities Commission comes into picture and demands Sensor Board to chop this scene.
I don't want to follow up with any more examples else I would go on and on.
What is it with us?
Why is it that we laugh loudest at others but sit tight fisted ,should anyone tries to laugh at us? Perhaps this is the way we have been brought up, or maybe some thing else.
I am really unable to understand the reason. Think over it if you want, I am getting ready to smack the next man who tries to smile at me. After all me too an Indian!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hello God, me a blogger !!!

Dear God,
Hope you are doing fine and wishing the same for me. See how grateful I am a son of yours, that I am dedicating my first blog to you. MY FIRST BLOG!!!
After PC (. . damn these news papers and News channels, you may confuse that I am going to talk about P. Chidambaram first and then make a hue and cry about budget!) , I mean computers , even mobiles are not safe.
Now, now God don't be naughty !! I know that you are thinking about T-Mobile, Paris Hilton's mobile company, from whose site her mobile was hacked and all her personal numbers stolen. I was talking about virus, yes virus that have now started striking mobiles.
Oh well, but they are good deterrent. Let me tell you what happened the other day. You know Appu, yeah that fatty , he sent me a stupid SMS. "Om saraswati..." I deleted it instantly and replied him "If ever you sent such crap, I will send you a virus !!" Hope the deterrent works.
But God, what are we upto? What does one get by creating such things? Imagine (how can you imagine, you don't have got a mobile!! but for the sake of it), if your phone becomes a victim of such a virus! Not only you lose money (you do that even if the phone is working), your most personal comunication device is crumpled.
But why did someone invent these virus? For fun? For hey-I-am-a-geek-thing? Why?
I am not expecting you to think about this. You better think about well-being of world, (for an instance you can think why did you invent Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf?)
So with this short letter to you, my Blog-yatra begins. May the force be with me.
a new blogger