Monday, 25 June 2012


On the 37th anniversary of that momentous milestone of Indian history - Declaration of #Emergency - How many of you remember it. I remember it vividly as a morning at Suri, an obscure town , HQ of Birbhum District, my Mother's place, when Ifound my Father agitated and excited about the event and fuming against Madam Indira Gandhi as the transistor radio was tuned to BBC all day to hear the Bengali, Hindi and English news over and over again which mentioned the declaration of Emergency briefly in its bulletins.

That was the day that I started interest in politics and its effect on our daily lives. Also later I became a lifelong fan of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan whom I still believe to be one of the greatest Indians. Time has passed since th
en and I have seen so much happening . But "Emergency period " remains a watershed in my life. As my life traversed it's path and ideology faded, I found dreams to die first. I am now a cynical middle aged person and look at poltics with disdain and a necessary evil. Now I can't decide if Emergency was right or wrong. I don't know what my reaction would be now if it is declared again but I cannot forget that summer day of 75 when my world was a different planet altogether.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What you really mean to me.

I know very well that a day will come
when to stop me going there will be none
the journey which I will have to take then
will be all alone and without company.
Before setting for the place unknown,
I want you to know what you meant to me.

Nobody returns from the place ,we know
but still , that's where we all have to go.
Someday, if the bell rings to say my time's up
and my voyage to the shadows begin.
I will seek you with my dimming eyes
Just to tell you before I make my move;
how much you really meant to me.
I may not surely be a part of your life now
and my audieu may not change your day.
But later, when you spare a moment alone
as something suddenly reminds you of me.
Memories will cloud your thoughts for sure
and as grief wells up in those dark eyes
you'll realise what you really meant to me.

If the day comes and I have to leave
No reason for you to think I have gone .
It's just that I will be away from your sight
as I am now , missing you but still silent.
I will always be there around because
there's so much of what I wanted to tell you
but so little of it I could really say
all those unspoken words will float
in the breeze that blows from the distant sky.
Whispering in your ears in moaning sighs
to say how much you really meant to me. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Shanghai – is a very well made movie.

After reading so much about it, it was with a lot of expectations that I went to watch the movie #Shanghai on a rainy afternoon . I must admit that I was not disappointed. #Dibakar Banerjee  has crafted a very contemporary dark movie in a thriller format. The movie manages to keep the audience on the edge of their seats till the end .

The dark tone of the movie is reflected in the camera work which captures the shades of grey in the characters quite literally with the lighting . the shots are mostly indoors and the restlessness of the characters are brought out very well. in the acting department both #Emraan and Abhay  are solid . My personal favourite was the underplayed portrayal of a South Indian by #Abhay Deol. it was a very difficult role to play and  @Abhay Deol has proved that he is really an actor and  cares two hoots for stardom unlike the other worthies in his family.

It was good to see an actor of the calibre of #Prosenjit in a pivotal role . It is necessary for the modern Hindi  cinema to look beyond Bollywood and discover a pan-Indian appeal and idiom for itself. assimilating regional sub cultures and good actors from various parts of the country is a very important part of this process.

All in all , Shanghai was an entertaining movie, even though it was away from the mainstream type of #Bollywood potboilers. It will be remembered as  a good political thriller.  the director has avoided being judgmental about the issue in question and also the characters in the movie. It has been left to the audience to understand the characters as they perceive them to be. This interactive element makes the movie really wonderful.

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Didi Oh Didi.....................

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" (Latin: Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius)

The last few days of political drama at the heart of our capital has been engrossing like a thriller . It has even managed to stump the Anna-Ramdev-Kejriwal-Kiran combine to grab the eyeballs and the earholes of the nation always ready for something dramatic,be it cricket , cinema or the political circus.

The politics of petulance and brink(wo)manship has reached its logical climax by the alienation of the TrinaMool Congress from the mainstream of Delhi darbar. In opposing Pranab Babu's candidature for the post of President of India, the TMC supremo has massively erred in her calculations and by trying to blackmail Congress and Sonia by riding piggyback, a seasoned politician like Mulayam Singh Yadav, she has made a blunder which makes her look like a naive schoolgirl taken for a ride. Sonia MMS combine once again proves that they can be very accomodating but at the same time the most ruthless of politicians if you try to snub them on issues linked to their personal compulsions. Prakash Karat was the earlier recipient of their wrath with his ostrich like opposition to the nuclear deal. Ask him,he still must be getting nightmares over his folly.

The great Machiavelli would have not matched the guiles of the great survivor of badlands of Indian politics. Didi is a novice in this matter. By raising the stakes and trying to snub Congress,for whatever personal grouse or miscalculations she may have made, she has totally rendered herself into a laughing stock for the moment. And her antics can now be equated with what Rakhi Sawant does for the entertainment industry. Exposure in the most vulgar way only for titillation without any substantive contribution. 

Pranab Babu may not have a big mass base of followers in his home state or even in his village , for that matter. But he is an astute politician and a survivor. Also his administrative skills and a personally clean image makes him worthy of being considered for the post of the President of India. Among all the present political personalities in the country, he is the best suited for the post. Everybody will agree to it unanimously , except perhaps our great Sister of the nation (or is it Singur/Nandigram). There is no reason to oppose his candidature other than reasons of political positioning which has been done laudably by BJD and Naveen Patnaik. Even BJP can not make their mind on this as they really do not have a suitable candidate to offer against his name.

But wait, don't I hear rumbling dissent and sniggers from some educated , upwardly mobile and well meaning urban middleclass people . Their very own hero for whom they have a nostalgic attachment with deep respect is not being mentioned much to their chagrin. How can you forget Kalam, they are screaming. Yes , Kalam is most suitable to be our President . Also he is a tried and tested entity. But what is being conveniently forgotten in the overwhelming emotional support for APJ Abdul kalam is the fact that he is not a political animal. And he is actually BJP's , sorry, AB Vajpayee's legacy . Why should the Congress party agree on him. They are not in the political arena to let BJP score brownie points. That too in the present scenario.

The present situation demands a political person as the President of the country. We are in the midst of a global economic crisis coupled with a fragmented domestic polity. The next general elections are due after a couple of years but the challenges of an economic catastrophe, coalition government and the Anna-Ramdev coalition may change the equation anytime . Whether elections are held now or after two years, it is very unlikely that any party will get the clear mandate and majority to form a government on their own. It has to be coalitions of political parties, stable or unstable which will rule the country. Even worse, there may be extended spell of Presidential interventions in the states and the centre. For such eventualities, an astute politician is needed . One who understands, economics and diplomacy. One who is acceptable to all the political parties as an arbitrator. One who can keep the continuity in foreign policy. And finally one who can tilt the balance in favour of the Congress party. Only Pranab Babu fits the bill and Kalam is not trusted by the Congress because of his proven bonhomie and camradiere with the BJP. So don't blame the Congress if they are not really a big fan of the offbeat hair style of our previous Rashtrapati.

Another small but interesting development has probably not been noticed by many. President Obama called on our PM today well before the announcement of Pranabda's candidacy . I may be laughed at for having a feverish and novelist's imagination and it may sound to be straight out of the pages of a Frederick Forsyth or Jeffrey Archer novel . But USA has never been comfortable with Kalam. Do you remember him being strip searched . My intuition and deductive logic ( don't smile ) says that there is something kaalaa in the Daal. On the other hand Pranabbabu should not be a problem for them. His long innings at the central cabinet would not have been possible without the USA being amenable to him. And it is an open fact that he is a darling of the industrialists . There are many stories how the richest brothers of the world owe their eminent positions by the benevolence shown by a previous Finance and Commerce minister to their father. The stories may be true or untrue but the inference is strong.

So for good or bad, our best PM material will probably be our next President. For him this will be a pinnacle of a long political career where pure politics, networking and administrative capabilities have won over mass appeal. He has never been a mass leader and will probably lose by 100 -1 against the Lady from Kalighat but the winner at the last post is the Brahmin from Birbhum. His story reminds us the importance of the good old virtues of tenacity and indomitable spirit . May he be a successful President to guide the nation through a foreseeably rough period ahead.

As for Didi , my prediction is that TMC will very soon (within six to twelve months ) be split into two with Congress and CPM joining hands to form a government in Poschimbongo. Betting is illegal in our country . So I can't offer odds. But , are their any takers for it ?

Elementary illusions coagulating into a congealed compound

This is the reason why sometimes
 I get irritated, with all  these stray
elementary illusions coagulating into
a congealed  compound , soft and glutinous
but unbreakable  and resisting force.
Rendering me into a vegetable, dressed
and waiting on some antique furniture.
Life , as we perceive is after all
 just a three dimensional trap .
The vast vaccum of nothingness traced
by the locus of daily chores punctuated
with  loads of boredom.
If you use the opposite side of the binocular
and peer into the spectacle of a house
burning in your neighbourhood,
what you see is a spectral aura .
Now follow the luminous trajectory
of many such grief collected together
and try to decipher the symptoms of
the disease afflicting our lives .
Its a tangled web beyond the realm
of perdition sought by hunched figures
servile in their sacrifice before the altar.
Eternity beckons them, hereafter
they will be anointed as immortals

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Where were all these lovely meadows?
when I walked under the scorching Sun.
Bereft of clouds or even a trace of shade,
the sky burned, in a blinding radiance .
My futile search for the elusive headwaters, drained
every drop of blood from the body.
The hint of a sudden capitulation written
all over the explicit intention of a pause
on finding the welcome sight of oasis
soon gave way to the hopeless realisation
that it was nothing but an abstract emblem
of hope on the large horizon spread far .
The disparate collection of people around
who formed the caravan jostled for space
even under the wide open burning sky.
Looking at them, who would believe ?
These were the persons for whom every day
were just a collection of blissful remembrance
spent in a divine state of enthralled rapture.
Now to see them incited with a rare frenzy,
eagerness on their face written all over .
Makes me so much afraid , I wonder
what are the reasons of their perverse exultation.

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Arunangshu Paul
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Jo fisal gaya woh taqdeer thaa

Jo fisal gaya woh taqdeer thaa
jise mil gaya woh bana naseeb
Aas paas mere sabhi saath the
Par koi na hua dil ke kareeb
Meri kahani toh bas adhuri rahi
Yeh dastaan bhi thi ajeeb
Mere baaton pe sab hanste rahe
Alphaaz magar koi sunaa nahin
Mujhe gham to sabhi ne khub diye
Par dard ko kisine baantaa nahin
Dil ko laga ke main dekh liya
Meri rooh ko kahin na sukoon mili
tere liye toh main yeh likh diya
Bayaan magar kuchh hua nahi