Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Events

 I remember the date. It was 26th December, last year. Sunday. I was feeling restless and a bit uneasy. I do not remember exactly why, but I do remember that I was walking on the balcony of my flat in Delhi, thinking something and listening to some songs on my phone. It was afternoon. Pleasant and Warm. My mind was rather running, here and there, jumping from one thought to another (for the life of me, I can not remember at all what was I thinking at that time).  I was not in a mood of talking to anyone. Solitude suits me. So, suddenly the song on my phone stops. My thought process breaks and I take a look at the phone. I was getting a call. Only a number(a landline) was displayed, so I had no way of knowing who is on the other line. The STD code showed that it was from Noida. Most of the times, the calls from unknown numbers get unanswered(no credit cards and loans for me..). But this time, despite my not being in a very talkative mood, I picked the call. A man introduced himself by the name of Imran (I think it was this name). He said that  he is from an organization named GiveIndia, an NGO. And there is a 7 month old child admitted in AIIMS hospital, suffering from a critical heart disease and the organization is trying to collect money for the operation of the child. Needless to say, the parents of the child are very poor and in no condition to afford the cost of the operation. He politely explained me this, and at last he said, Rs X(I do not want to disclose the amount) is required for the operation, and asked me if I would be willing to contribute some amount for the surgery. May be after a moment of indecision or thinking, I said Yes. Then he asked how much amount was I willing to contribute. Depending upon, how much I give, he will have to decide that how many more people he has to call to ask for further support for this particular surgery. I was feeling a little embarrassed (talking about money, I tend to feel like this*). I simply told him that for this surgery you do not need to call anyone anymore. May be, he was not used to this answer, so he took a second before saying his hearty thanks. He took down my email and said that he will send the details there.

The next day was 27th, Monday. A working day. I got his email and it was arranged that someone from the organization will come to my office and I will hand him a cheque of the required sum. The guy did came and he showed me some pictures of the infant boy (may be for just making me believe that all this was not a sham) and some other details. I did give him the cheque. I had anyway googled the name of the organization and read about it on the net. I was also told that I will get the details regarding the progress of the surgery and I can meet the boy in the hospital, should I choose to do so. I just said, OK. And frankly speaking, I had no plans to meet the boy.

The day after that 28th, Tuesday. After a rather mundane day in office, I came home around 7 in the evening. I was sitting in my room, watching TV, talking to my room mate and his parents who were also in town. My phone rang. It was Papa calling. I picked the phone. Papa asked how am I. The usuals. Something was wrong. I sensed it. The tone in the Papa's voice was different. I knew, almost immediately that something bad has happened. So I asked him, 'Papa, kya hua hai?' He took some time and then told me that he has met with an accident. And before I could ask any further, he told me that that simply the fact that he is talking with me directly, I should be assured that he is fine. I asked him the details. He told me, he was driving his bike (without an helmet) and how a presumably drunk truck driver coming from the opposite side, almost dashed a auto-rickshaw and trying to avoid a collision with it, took an extreme left turn, which caught the bike unawares. It was almost an head on collision. Everyone who heard the story or saw the accident scene afterwards tells me that no one stood a chance to stay alive in there. The bike was smashed and crushed. The huge, heavy tyres of the truck were on the legs of Papa and were advancing towards the chest. So, he is under the tyres and seeing the truck crawling upon himself, without any hope of escape. It was like seeing your end. Miraculously, he did not pass out. He tells me that at that moment when he knew this is it, he just said something of the sort,'Hey bajrang Bali'. And the truck halted. On the thighs. Very soon, the locals near by helped in overturning the truck on the other side. And he was saved. Not a brain injury, Not a single fracture, the reports revealed. Only the bruises, cuts and swelling. And the scars, both physically and mentally. I asked when did it happen. He said it happened on the evening of 26th.**

I have not talked about this with many people. In the family only Papa knows it. Outside, only a couple of people may be. I do not even know what to make of it. Was it all planned that I will be taking a call where I have an opportunity to save a child's life (Who am I to save anyone's life anyway. It sounds like boasting) and around the same time my dad is meeting with an accident. Or it was just a random turn of events. Would the outcome of my dad's accident would have been any worse had I chosen to not offer any help? Was my dad spared the worst’s because someone thought I was doing some good. I am not actually a very religious person and I tend to think that we have a choice to make, decisions to take, regarding the direction  which our life would proceed. I have no way of knowing, if the two incidents were related by some almighty way. And if the two incidents are not related at all, then what I decided had nothing to do with what happened in the accident. But, if I had decided to not to offer any help, thinking that I can not give away money (substantial amount, I would think, going my a middle class income), to help someone unknown, and something worse or worst would have happened at the accident, then I know my decision would have haunted me my whole life. And I am just glad that in the end, everything turned out OK.

*  I guess, it is more a kind of shy rather than embarrassment. Money is important. Very important. But when we start giving money more importance than things which define us, make us happy and in bliss , then the problem arises. And I know, yet, that money has not gone to my head. (First you should have that kind of money which can go to your head, you would ask :P ). And I do not have that kind of money, just yet :D

**  I took a 3 week vacation and in the process had to cancel my planned 7 day cycling trip in and around Goa. After about 4-5 months of rest, medicines, exercises, patience, struggle and prayers, Papa is back on his two legs. But the mental scar which it left will probably take some more time to heal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Watched Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and it’s a movie to laugh and cry together. A Pure Treasure.

+    Farhan Akhtar is a delight to watch. He has a very different un-filmy voice, which precisely makes him stand apart from the rest. Handles his part extremely well and excels in both the comic, fun loving part and the emotional scenes sharing the space with the screen legend Nasseruddin Shah. Scene Stealer.

    I liked his  conversations with the Spanish Girl where he keeps on talking in Hindi sharing his problems even though the girl does not understand anything and then the Girl says in the last – ‘Everything will be fine’ in Spanish. And his poems are absolutely awesome (penned by none other than Javed Akhtar). The poems convey the meaning of the emotions running high in the scenes and take it to another level.

+   Abhay Deol is the central character and is a complete natural. He is steady as he always is. Unrestrained, Easy, Pleasing.

+  Hrithik Roshan. Frankly, in the beginning of the movie, his investment broker role was a bit unnatural for him, I thought. I found him a bit irritating with his ‘money is everything’ attitude at first, but he grew as the film grows. He is best when he lets it all go and just lets the scene take his own space. Riveting in the second half.

+ Katrina Kaif – Camera Loves her. Here she does a reasonable job. She is not the center of the film and that suits her. Liked her trying to give meaning to life and “ Seize the day”

There are a lot of scenes which catches the attention.
      “ Sea Diving Scenes. Awesome” (Who would not want Katrina as a instructor?)
     “ Katrina on Bike” (Had to include this)
     “ Mujhe afsos karna nahi aata”
     “ Rapid Fire Rounds” (If you know what I mean )
    “ Skydiving”. (Wow. I have been pestering my friends here to go for skydiving for many weeks now, but no one is ready for it. I hope they watch this. Its scary, but that’s the point, isn’t it?)
     “sorry tab kahiyega...jab yahan se nikle”
      “Dude's its your life”

The climax is very interesting and perfect at the same time. Absolutely Loved the “…agar main Zinda raha to…”

The character all have problems to deal with in their lives. Like we all do. They all have their fears. We all do. Their Life is complicated. Like all of us. They all have hidden  emotional sides. Everybody has. But, we should not let any of this, or anything else, make our lives a burden. Life is a Gift. I try to make my life unique and enjoyable at every opportunity I get. Not every living being lives. Lets not just breathe, but let every breathe count. Carpe Diem.

P.S – Road trip in Spain kind of made me nostalgic. We did a road trip about 3 months back from Zurich to Barcelona. (All guys). Watched the Flemenco(that foot tapping dance) show there and  had the time of our lives. 2 years back, I was again in Spain and was inches away from seeing that Bull Game in Pamploona.  Life is not too much different from a Road trip. Its just that road is not always smooth and the journey not always pleasing and the destinations not always what we expected. But, lets make the most of it. Lets give it a try.

Poems from the Movie: 


Ik baat honton tak hai jo aayi nahin
Bas ankhon say hai jhaankti
Tumse kabhi, mujhse kabhi
Kuch lafz hain woh maangti
Jinko pehanke honton tak aa jaaye woh
Aawaaz ki baahon mein baahein daalke ithlaye woh
Lekin jo yeh ik baat hai
Ahsas hi ahsas hai
Khushboo si hai jaise hawa mein tairti
Khushboo jo be-aawaaz hai
Jiska pata tumko bhi hai
Jiski khabar mujhko bhi hai
Duniya se bhi chupta nahin
Yeh jaane kaisa raaz hai


Jab jab dard ka baadal chaya
Jab ghum ka saya lehraya
Jab aansoo palkon tak aya
Jab yeh tanha dil ghabraya
Humne dil ko yeh samjhaya
Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai
Duniya mein yunhi hota hai
Yeh jo gehre sannate hain
Waqt ne sabko hi baante hain
Thoda ghum hai sabka qissa
Thodi dhoop hai sabka hissa
Aankh teri bekaar hi nam hai
Har pal ek naya mausam hai
Kyun tu aise pal khota hai
Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai


Pighle neelam sa behta ye sama,
neeli neeli si khamoshiyan,
na kahin hai zameen na kahin aasmaan,
sarsaraati hui tehniyaan pattiyaan,
keh raheen hai bas ek tum ho yahan,
bas main hoon,
meri saansein hain aur meri dhadkanein,
aisi gehraiyaan, aisi tanhaiyaan,
aur main… sirf main.
Apne hone par mujhko yakeen aa gaya

Dilon mein tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar mein khwabon ki
Bijliyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise
Aazad rehno sikho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise
Lehron mein behna sikho
Hal ek lamhe se tum milo
Khole apni bhaayein
Har ek pal ek naya samha
Dekhen yeh nigahaein
Jo apni aankhon mein
Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raise A Banner

 'It is raining regularly since last week. And though, it has given respite from the sweltering heat, it has made walking on the roads almost impossible. That naala is overflowing again and all the debris mixed with rain water is on the road. We can not walk without getting our pants dirty. The construction material (bricks, sand etc) which was dumped by the authorities to be used to restore the naala is just lying on the road for so many days with no sign of work starting any time soon. The contract was given to the local contractor (who is also a gunda) and he is not bothered about completing the work. And the dirty water of the naala has also become a breeding ground for the insects. The road inside of our mohalla was supposed to be upgraded with concrete. Instead, red soil was used all over and now the heavy rains have turned it into a red-half-solid-slow-moving river. This contract was also with the same gunda. No body is doing anything and we are all taking a different and longer way to go to our offices. Its Ok, beta, you do not worry about here. We are managing. You take care of your own health.’

The weather is hot today. It is impossible to sit in the room in peace. The sun is out. There are no clouds. There is no wind.

'You do not worry about here.' Really? I am sitting almost 9000 kms away in the comforts of a apartment room in Zurich and I hear this from Papa, who still has trouble walking properly, using a longer road to go to office because some bastards are ignoring the work that they were supposed to do. For  a few minutes, I was(and I am) literally boiling inside. I do not care, if everyone else is ok with the situation and too used to let things be as they are, but I know this,’ If my dad has a problem, I have a problem'. What is even the point of me making good money and leaving somewhere away, if I can not make my dad happy and content and insure him something as basic as walking on the road? It’s useless, pointless. It’s a guilt-ridden day. Everyday. My own every little complain and whine about my life and circumstances is so otiose and superfluous. I am ashamed of myself. I feel like waste. Maybe, I really am.

That naala has been like this for as far as I can remember. Even a little bit of rain, the dirty water mixed with all the garbage comes on the road and you can not pass without closing your nose. The pot holes in the road which become invisible due to flowing water make it impossible to walk. If you dare, you are sure to walk into one of those holes and you will take out your leg with the pants all dirty cursing the unknown. I have seen so many bikes, auto rickshaws etc stuck in the holes. Is it that difficult to restore a road and a naala that it has not been done in 25 years. And the public is accepting as if it’s the most usual thing to live with. But what can one do, if the contractor is a local gunda? Is there any viable option for the public to bring authorities to their senses, apart from staging a mass hunger strike(if at all) and risk being beaten by police. 'Aam aadmi se yehi umeed ki jaati hai, Aamaadmi ki tarah jiyo, aam aadmi ki tarah bardasht karo aur  aad aadmi ki tarah mar jao!' is all that’s left for us. Isn’t it?

The sun is about to hide behind the mountains. And from no where, I see some clouds hovering over the horizon. The black, heavy ones. And a light cool breeze is flowing inside the room.

Bringing a revolution is difficult. No one has time to listen to your speech. You can not convince your friends, family, let alone the entire public, just by speaking. Everyone waits for you to lead and show the way even if they are convinced of the cause. They will follow the leader. It is a huge responsibility. Discarding the social life and taking up violence to bring a change, is a path, which I am entirely ignoring for now, as a bloodbath is never a solution for any thing. So, you do not want to be the leader and you can not take up arms and you are too hungry at most times to do a hunger strike. What options are we left with? Personally, I think being anonymous has great advantages. Everyone fears the unknown. If there is no face, there is no stereotype, there are no faults, no weaknesses. No body knows what an unknown face is capable of. After hearing the above problem, I got thinking, if anything can be done by not being known and not making speech and not trying to convince your community. A simple deed in the right direction speaks volumes rather the words. Public humiliation is a powerful tool. No one wants to be in the centre of a storm. So, a Naala is to be restored. A road to be built. How about hanging a banner right in the centre of the road, on the site of overflowing naala, using as many abusive words as possible blaming the  authorities involved, asking questions, why work is not being started. Listing the problems on that banner in a clear way. Use all the cuss words,(Come on, Nice Language will not cut ice here) but do not name a person specifically, but the organization.  It will be signed ‘Everyone’. But off course, it will be a work of one (or at best few like minded) individuals. People will frown at first, laugh at first, may be some one from the authority will tear it down the first day. We do not stop. We do it the next day using more aggressive language. People from the community will understand, may be give support. Plant an idea to hang it from their homes. We continue. Imagine hundred houses in one locality hanging the same banner, day after day, night after night. How many banners will the authorities take down. Imagine every house in the city hanging a banner of the common grievances which the people are facing.  I have a gut feeling, it will work. The method may not be right way, but its definitely righteous considering the shitty form of governance which we are being subjected to currently. It is just an idea, and I would love to get comments/inputs from others  who stumble upon here  to refine this more (or any better ideas). So, if you see a banner hanging from your house in the near future , you will know, who put it there. But this is thing in the future. In the present..

The weather has changed drastically. Wind is blowing. I also see few drops of rain.

I have no complains of my own. I am content, may be even happy with myself. But, the situations like above have a dampening effect on me. I feel like betraying someone. Maybe I am betraying only myself. I am too weak to do anything as of now. I have options. I have ideas. So many. But I am afraid. Off what, whom, why..I do not know. May be only of unknown. May be I am only words. I have self-doubt. Too Many. I doubt my ability to resolve the doubt. At present, I am not the change which I want to see in the world.  But, I do want to raise a banner, where no banner flew before.

It has started raining heavily and even small blocks of ice is pouring down. It is creating a noise on the door. I resist. But then I kneel. I open the door. I let the few pieces of ice hit me. I let the rains fall on me.  Every fallen piece of ice is like an idea. I have to pick them up and make good use of  it, before it melts and is same as its surrounding, water. 

P.S - There are two videos linked in the above blog.
First one on the line - aam aadmi...
Second one on the line - raise a banner...