Sunday, 18 December 2016

My words

The more I try to discard them,
these words just cling to me.
Poor vagabond souls;
they beseech me to pick them up.
I know they won't leave me alone,
until I write them down.
In haphazard symmetry,
or in well planned rhymes.
These words, they come to me ,
in a rush, taking me along
to the heights of ecstacy
as they unfold one by one
in lines of my own poetry.
I wonder when they change
their meanings to convey 
what I never meant to be.
I am not their master anymore
when they catch hold of me .

Monday, 5 December 2016

Something broke somewhere

Something broke somewhere
and the wreckage still lie .
Why did it happen, how did it happen ;
are all forgotten now ,
the dust has settled long ago
Only the memory remains
in old black and white pictures
that something was here,
many years before.
Glories of kings, abode of Gods,
wrath of marauding invaders,
nobody knows what it was all about;
the reason to break the trust.
Beyond the tattered curtains
those eyes will haunt us forever.
The broken threads will never create
designs of colour anymore.
In the desolation of these ruins,
barren promises reverberate
with every impending season of harvest.
But whatever  broke remains broken,
and that is the ultimate truth .

Sunday, 4 December 2016

#Kahaani 2

It is very difficult to make a well rounded thriller. To get acceptance from the people without high voltage action, sex scenes or vicious crimes and keep them riveted with a social context and a personal agenda of the protagonist is tricky . More so when the director competes against himself in matching the benchmark of this genre set personally and the industry. But Kahaani2 : Durga Rani Singh is altogether a different movie and therefore should be seen as a standalone movie.
The story and plot of the movie is  thin even though it alternates between the past and present through a diary in the first half. The first half is well made and the suspense is built deftly. But Ironically the second half which has more action slows down the tempo. And because of the one dimensional nature of the focus the twists and turns are few and the surprise element fades away towards the end. As a thriller it is probably good.  But could be more. The plot is too linear and simple for a thriller to precipitate.
The social issue brought out in this movie is one that probably is a dark secret. And the director portrays it in a sensitive way. The system that helps the powerful against the underdog and the whistleblower is also neatly exposed. As a social story itself the director deserves credit . But this is Sujoy Ghosh from whom our expectations are much more.
All the blemishes however are taken care of by Vidya Balan and she responds to the director's faith in her in a superlative perforfance. Her deglam looks, intense emotion, understated acting and total identification with the character is perhaps a milestone for an actor, male or female. For me, she has surpassed her role in Kahaani, the previous one. See in spite of my warning, I am myself still comparing. But this again may be the weak point as no other character matches her standard and she carries the entire film on her shoulders.
One actor who could perhaps match up, namely Arjun Rampal is competent but I felt his accent and voice was incongruous with the surrounding. Ditto for Manini Chaddha, who plays his wife. If that was intentional by the director then I would say it was a wrong way to portray them. Other actors from the Bengali film industry support the story admirably, particularly Kharaj Mukherjee by his typical style of comic reliefs.
The director has let the Bengali accent of the actors and use of Bengali words very well to establish the locale and the canvas for his work. It is cleverly done and takes the movie along an identity . The camera work is probing and helps the actors. Actually It is a great work of photography particularly as the night scenes stand out very well. Music by Clinton Cerezo is apt and never goes overboard. The background score is proffessionally done but does not have the haunting quality of say, Shantanu Moitra. The locales of Kalimpong and Chandannagar are brought out well but I felt that the hills of Kalimpong and the narrow lanes of Chandannagar could be explored a little more. And is Chandannagar really so less crowded ? I don't think so.
Overall Kahaani 2 is a very good movie as a standalone but falls short of the huge expectations generated by its association and franchise. It is enjoyable and a clean thiller. Perhaps the best movie for this year on the cerebral quotient. The social message and its chilling relevance is also shown with a lot of sensitivity. I would definitely recommend to watch this movie. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Love me once again

Love me 
because you want to 
not because I love you.
My being there
or my absence 
doesn't really matter;
once you realise that 
in spite of everything
that happens or have happened,
it is still that same old feeling
between us, even now. 
Before the shifting sands 
obliterate the trace 
of all our efforts.
In these changing times, 

in the midst of chaos,
love me once again.

Want to go cashless ?

#Demonetisation  The televised address by the Prime Minister  on the evening of the 8th November announcing the scrapping of  currency notes in the denomination of Rs 500 and 1000 has been  sudden and dramatic in its effect. The subsequent Gazette notification by the ministry of Finance mentioned the reasons for the step taken as: (1) Curb the menace of fake currency notes ;(2) wipe out unaccounted and tax evaded money; and (3) prevent terror financing and drug trafficking. 

In the wake of the widespread chaos and disruption that followed; the Prime Minister appealed to the citizen of the country to wait for 50 days for the system to normalize. Since then, for the last three weeks, the whole country is coping with the shortage of currency notes. The basic premise of the word demonetisation  being used to describe the scrapping of a set of currency notes and then replacing them gradually by another set  is now being altered to remonetisation as the realisation dawns over its inappropriateness. 

The events which have unfolded in these three weeks show that the basic objectives of the process, as mentioned above can't be said to have been fulfilled immediately and the evaluation on these points will take time. But meanwhile the sucking up of liquidity from the people and piling them into the Banking system has hit the whole financial infrastructure hard. The hardest hit sections of the society has been the unorganized, rural and small business segment. The prevalent confusion due to the change of rules of exchange, deposit and withdrawal of money from bank accounts almost on a daily basis has rendered the whole exercise into a form of undeclared financial emergency. 

Sensing the nature trouble ahead  which may stretch beyond the period of 50 days of patience as advocated by the PM, the whole narrative is now sought to be shifted towards  a related but hitherto unannounced dimension of "cashless" transactions. Theoretically  and conceptually this also looks good and most well meaning citizens, particularly the urban middle class and the upwardly moving class would endorse it wholeheartedly. Maybe as a tool to realize  their aspiration of entering a digital world at par with developed nations. And surely cashless financial transactions would usher in a great societal change. No doubts about that, even from a sceptic like me. 

But instead of getting swamped away in waves of irrational exuberance as previously done over Swatchh Bharat, Yoga Day ,  Surgical strike on Pakistan  or  the fervour of patriotism it is necessary to examine the matter in the light of our capabilities and plans . The recent episode has shown the logistical challenges that have to be encountered in a big country like ours with a even bigger population by comparison with the developed nations.  As the scarcity of currency notes and recalibration of ATMs have shown; there is a crying  need of meticulous planning with military precision instead of reaction through announcements. Nothing is impossible but everything has a cost. 

The advantages of going cashless are many. But we have to ask ourselves whether everything that is possible needs to be done. And that too in a hurry. Most of us are already moving toward a cashless society — not because we care about the accruing benefits overall , but because the stuff is so very convenient.There is no denying the fact that cashless transactions will bring more people under the tax net. It will eventually be the order of the day. But till then, it should not be forced on a population with low level of literacy and ignorance about laws and technology.

Banks and payment systems  industry will make a huge amount of money . There will be a major risk of cyber crime syndicates replacing the present organised crime gangs. All these may look like whining of a nitpicker but the most relevant aspect of the cashless society is the tremendous power that the government will hold on the individual citizen. What about it ? How do you limit the ability of the government to use the payments system as an instrument to control the behavior of its citizens. Do you we really want the banks and the state to know every single detail of what we are spending our money on and where. It is very easy to say yes just to press for the cashless world and score debating points. But remember once you surrender that freedom –  it will be very difficult to get it back.