Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Random thoughts 28022017

What kind of people are these who threat young girls with rape and physical assault . And what type of a society is this where they get support for such abusive behaviour.

And how do their parents feel to have conceived such trash. Don't their mothers and sisters cringe with revulsion to serve food to these guys or interact with them at home.

All those people who try to justify such abusive behaviour against young girls ~ do you have a college going daughter, sister, niece in your family . How will you feel if they are issued such threat of rape with graphic details of the proposed atrocity to the girl. How will you feel if they are assaulted by the police in contravention of all norms of decency or human values.

This matter is not only about ideology or politics . But the complicity of the establishment with the lumpens to throttle the voice of youth. The effort to browbeat the next generation to fall in line and create a herd of conformists. To gag dissent and stop questions.

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Apart from being the daughter of a soldier, who laid down his life for the country, Gurmeher Kaur is a rank outsider; almost nobody. But what she said merits introspection and understanding with application of mind.

Those who are opposing her statement are fully entitled to disagree with her views . But those well known personalities who are just ridiculing her to raise a good laugh and be in the news are simply exposing their idiocy. Trying to ingratiate themselves with the ruling party, either by design , naivety or maybe due to affiliation, they are only making us aware that they do not actually deserve the adulation and following which we bestowed upon them for their professional excellence.

The hate brigade which is threatening her with harm is the scum of the society that is encouraged by the active support from such people and emboldened by the passive acceptance of people who don't protest such atrocious behaviour in the name of neutrality. Actually this is the  alliance that is subverting the democracy and the constitution.

A section of urban upwardly mobile middle class is also harping on the limits of free speech and  boundaries of intellectual expression. These closet supporters of fascism are now trying to raise their voice by showing their concern for the country in the light of their crooked sense of nationalism. For them media is paid, protesting students are parasites, supporting teachers are instigators, intellectuals are radical left  and liberals are anti nationals.ABVP and BJP are discriminated against , if you believe them. And their fervent wish is to see all troublemakers need to be eliminated from the society . But in spite of  the massive propaganda enabling the rise of such viewpoints , it is being proved time and again that in spite of a heartless, cynical and apathetic world that we live in , it is the younger generation which still gives us hope.

Gurmeher represents that hope.

Saturday, 25 February 2017


I liked Rangoon. That should be the first thing I should say about the movie. Because in spite of some flaws, it has turned out to be a very good cinematic experience for the viewer, overall. Vishal Bharadwaj has blended the story excellently with the period and the locale.

There will be some critics who will point out to the fact that the movie is half-hearted in depicting the WW 2 or the INA. But we should keep in mind that nowadays the movie makers are very circumspect about the content about their movies because of controversies which may spoil the business of the movie.
Rangoon can be best defined as a story of love and passion in the times of INA. It traverses the path of a light thriller combined with the elements of showbiz. And the setting, after the introductory phase is fully in the jungles of the northeast India, purported to be along the Burma (Myanmar) border. Actually shooting a Bollywood film with such an elaborate canvas is a big challenge by itself. From the credits, I found that the shooting of the movie has taken place, mostly, in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Instead of Nagaland and Manipur.

Anybody who goes to watch with the expectation of a war movie will be disappointed. Because though the setting of the movie is in the backdrop of probably the most fierce combat ever in the history of mankind, it does not stray off its course from the intrinsic story of passion and love. The war, patriotism, duty, spying have all been just handled without getting overboard about any of the components. In fact, I will say Vishal has shown an excellent restraint in this movie without preaching anything. In his own subtle way, he has touched upon the aspects which needed to be focussed and yet never loosened the grip on the story. The canvas of the story is very wide and everybody can have a different interpretation of the story. The director has provided his version, in a linear manner, avoiding to linger upon the branches. Otherwise, it would have surely got jumbled.

Along with the tight script, excellent photography, wonderful location and period settings, music is an integral part of the movie and it helps to carry the film along merging with the showbiz angle. And in the acting department, the three main characters played by Saif, Shahid and Kangna are all very well done. Particularly Kangna has once again turned out a superlative performance. The passion of a rebel trapped inside a docile actress, living almost in a bondage to an overpowering man is so nicely brought out by her. At the same type, she is confused, naughty, sensual, spunky and vulnerable. And she fits perfectly in the action scenes with her lithe figure, bringing the character based on fearless Nadia alive on the screen. This performance will add another feather to her well-adorned cap.

Both Shahid and Saif bring out the facets of strong male characters in different ways.While the possessive and male chauvinist character of a movie mogul is perfectly portrayed by Saif with a matching aristocratic elegance in a slightly negative shade and it really is done well. The passion of a lover and the devotion of an undercover agent to the cause of his country is brought out by a solid and silently smoldering Shahid Kapoor. He steals the heart of the audience in the climax scene. A very restrained, mature and intelligent acting on his part. But another performance which stands out is that of the Indophile English Major General played by Richard McCabe. He brings out a complex and multilayered character with a professional finesse. Actually a revelation. And the outstanding dialogue about corruption in Indian society and an oblique and witty reference to the national anthem delivered in the typical clipped British style in the passing are unforgettable.

The complaint which one may have against this movie is that of expectation. It superficially touches that era of our history which we probably did never want to know or were not allowed to brood over. As I said earlier, probably the most deadly frontal combat in the history of mankind was fought between the British Indian forces against the INA backed by the Japanese along the borders with Burma. And it has never been acknowledged. The Indian army always considered INA as deserters, probably by the British influence. Then the INA itself is trapped in a veil of romanticism when the hard fact is that they journeyed from Singapore to the borders of Manipur with Japanese help and with a little more of luck and timing could have captured a large part of India. The various dimensions of the whole story of INA remain buried under apathy and honest evaluation. And being a nation who never valued recorded history it may never come out. So when a director like Vishal Bharadwaj flirts with it, we naturally expect more from him.

But at he end of the day, Vishal Bharadwaj is a filmmaker and he needs to earn enough money to make such good movie in future. So there is no point in blaming him for the compromises he has made, rather been forced to make. From a purely cinematic perspective, Rangoon is an excellent movie falling short of the outstanding tag. Vishal Bharadwaj deserves appreciation for making it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Like everything, this too shall pass;
I know, but still,
as long as it lasts, I like the feeling.
Enveloped in the warmth
of being feted,
being wished for a long life,
by the loved ones or those who love me
 I like the phone calls
that come from distant places,
the messages that pour in
to add more years to my life.
The calendar has just added
one more day to mark my existence.
And I like it in a special way
with hope and expectation.
Something must be round the corner
I can smell it in the air,
as I spend this day of spring
with a medley of memories

taking me back and forth in time.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Random thoughts 21022017

#Justsaying Not that I follow IPL too much. To me it is just an alternate entertainment onTV.

But I surely find it very strange and pretty incongruous that Marlon Samuels, the Man of the match for two T20 World Cup finals does not find any takers at the IPL auctions.

Random thoughts 20022017

मरने के बाद क्या कब्रिस्तान और क्या श्मशान ?

लेकिन  मौत का सौदागर को तो इससे भी फायदा ही उठाना है ।

#Justsaying Last time, he said NCP stood for Naturally Corrupt Party and this year Sharad Pawar got Padma Bibhushan. Today he says BSP stands for Behenji Sampatti Party. Looks like Mayawati is set to receive the Padma Bibhushan award next year. #Crystalgazing

If the BJP does not win a majority in the Uttar pradesh legislative assembly after such a high pitched ,aggressive, no-holds-barred , dramatic  and well planned campaign by their star campaigner, then the blame will be fairly and squarely on him .

But no doubt, he has set a new depthmark (as opposed to benchmark) in election campaign by abusing his official position to launch such vitriolic attack on the different political personalities. We can only hope that this does not become a template for others to follow in future.

But BJP had received such a huge mandate in the 2014 general elections. They seem to have just frittered it away. Had they done some thing substantial and positive in the last thousand days of its  rule , they would not  need to even campaign this time.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Crusoe 2017

In the midst of all that happens
around me all the time;
I am Crusoe, the shipwrecked sailor.
Stuck on a lonely island
trying to pick up the threads
of those stories that never gets told.
Those unmarked days that crowd
calendars with their blankness
define my existence.
Before me lies the expanse of blues
but nothing is visible there
even as carry on,
with my futile efforts to locate
the ship that will take me away
from this island of loneliness.

Randomthoughts 18022017

It is curious--but you cannot make a revolution without honest men. The instinct of the populace is infallible. Every revolution has had its honest men. They are soon disposed of afterwards.

Agatha Christie

Friday, 17 February 2017

Random thoughts 17022017

In speeches after speeches at election rallies, politicians including top leaders of the country are uttering  half truths, untruths, abuses, nonsense and downright drivel.  But the fact of the matter  is that a large number of people are also lapping  it all up with glee . And that include the illiterate cowherd in villages to the highly  educated  and slick  merchant banker in cities . Nobody can ignore this.

As long as the people of the country treat politics as a spectacle and consider politicians as entertainers, they will carry on with this type of  campaigns .  We can’t really blame the politicians . The fault lies in our nonchalant  tolerance of everything , good , bad , evil and even the clown . 

#Crystalgazing How about a scenario for 2019 -
President of India Mulayam Singh Yadav
Prime Minister of India Akhilesh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttarpradesh Dimple Yadav

If you laugh its entirely your problem or pleasure. Thank me for adding some mirth to your life. But don't forget everything is possible in politics, particularly in India.
Disclaimer: Though I am all for legalising weed, I am not on Baba's prasad right now. Bam Bhole.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Ring in the loo

A most amusing manifestation of the overwhelming control of mobile phones in our lives is its loud ring inside common or public toilets. And given the ubiquitous use of mobile phones by Indians in their own inimitable way without caring two hoots for privacy or appropriateness, it gets really interesting sometimes. Amusing or irritating, that depends on the mood and place.

In the office , I regularly find people answering to nature's call along with the phone call and trying to balance both with two hands. Of course, I can say this only for the males and can only wonder what happens in the case of females.I am just mildly curious but believe they are much more practical than males. And many times I observe people shouting at the top of their voice to buttress their point across, to the other side, all within the confines of the toilet reverberating with the roar or whine, as it may be, the case.

It is downright comical to see a person stand at the stall, unzip his trouser to relieve himself and lo, the phone rings in his pocket. The short macarena that follows is truly a tribute to the Pavlovian school of psychology. And then there are some, who will slip their cellphone between the ear and shoulder while contorting their neck sideways and continue with their water of India trick using both hands. Hilarious, I say.

And sometimes, a mobile rings from inside a water-closet giving away the identity of the person who had surreptitiously entered there to get relief from a queasy stomach. And here also, some people answer the call. So along with the sound of the toilet flushing, you also hear the directions about how to complete a job or some silly excuses and reasons for not being able to meet the sales targets.And I swear, I have heard people giving away some classified information regarding some financial matters or gossip about certain events. They perhaps thought that nobody was listening.

Personally, my mobile is generally on a vibrating mode when I am in the office. So I enjoy the vibration in the pocket while inside the loo. But I wonder why people give such great importance to attend an incoming call when they can always call back the person after a couple of minutes.Why miss the relief when you enter with the sole aim of getting relieved, that's my logic. And this applies not only to toilets but for all public places or even while enjoying dinner or a program with the family. Everything can't be that important and if they are, then probably nothing is so important.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Passport renewal

Let me give credit where it is due. At least one department of the government has impressed me with its service.  I know these opening lines of mine is enough to generate interest among the readers. Now after reading up to this point many will say - At last, the cynic is turning a new leaf. 
Well, whatever that is, I must say that the issue of Passports have become much easier now and surprisingly less of a hassle than AADHAR, Voter or Ration Card. That also tells something, which I will not elaborate further here. Because when praising the government initiative after many days, almost once in a blue moon, let me effusive about it without any study of social relevance. 
My old passport was due for renewal in August 2017. But very much against my lazy habit of procrastination, I decided to renew it as a part of my New Year's to-dos ( a secret list of resolutions including one to be more proactive). I logged on to the website www.passportindia.gov.in and registered myself on the 16th January.  That day itself, I applied for the renewal of my passport online. It was a smooth process including payment of the fee for Rs 1500 and culminating in an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra, Thane. 
My previous passport was issued by the Worli Passport office because my address then was from Mumbai City. Now that I live in Navi Mumbai, there was this nagging doubt about the address proof and other such things. I also noted that they didn't ask fo my photograph. 
Well, I prepared myself well and armed with all my documents, their photocopies in duplicate, a variety of photographs in different sizes and a gluestick, I arrived at the PSK, Thane. The appointment was at 1.00 p.m. and I was present there by 12.40 p.m. The first thing I noticed, reaching there was a small queue outside the entrance. On inquiry, I was given to understand that this was the queue for people who had the appointment for the 12.45.p.m. slot. So that meant I was early. Good, but I wondered, what would happen in the rainy season? Will the people still have to queue outside?
Soon the gatekeeper allowed the batch of 1.00 p.m. to enter. As he let us in, we hurried into a hall and stood in smaller queues before four counters. Young people manned the counters and I noticed that they were smiling to the people who approached them at the counter. This itself gives a positivity. The girl who was at the counter before which I queued up, checked my documents, entered them in her computer system and then made a neatly stapled bunch of the documents with my old passport and returned back them to me after issuing a paper token. Only the AADHAR and PAN cards were required along with my old passport.  She informed me that I will now have to go through a three-stage verification at A, B, C counters and guided to me to a door.
The security person standing at the door checked the token and let me in. Another hall with more chairs to sit. People were seated there with their gaze towards three midsized TV screens where the token numbers were shown against allotted counters.  after about 10 minutes, I was called. This was also another young lady who asked me to sit in a chair across the counter. As I handed my documents to her, I noticed that her computer screen, which also faced me partially, was showing the application form filled up by me. There was also a camera facing me This lady now checked my AADHAR card and PAN Card again and then asked me to look at the camera and clicked my picture. I was quite impressed. This also answered my nagging doubt about the photo as she showed me my photograph. It was of course not like the Uttamkumar cum James Bond resemblance that I think I am, but much better than my AADHAR and PAN photos. Then I was asked to provide the fingerprints, all of them, on a scanner. she asked me if I would like to avail the SMS service. This entailed a payment of forty rupees for which a receipt was immediately generated. I was now allowed to go back and wait my turn for B and C counters.
After a slightly longish wait, my token was shown on the screen and I was called by the user to the designated counter. This time a typical middle-aged male with government service written all over his grim face, without any smile. I realised that the pretty young things were probably outsourced resources and the proper screening will be done now. But not much of it happened, anyway. I was asked the reason of my application and had to repeat my address. And that was all. The next screening was done by a lady, obviously senior and probably the Regional Passport Officer or the deputy. She was kind with me and informed me that there was no need for police verification. Then she cancelled my existing Passport and returned it to me. 
After all the three screening processes, there was the last queue where my token was taken back and an acknowledgement of passport application received was handed formally. I was told that since there was no police verification involved, I could expect my passport within ten days or even earlier. I could not believe this. 
As I came out of the Passport office, I noted that it was about 3.00 p.m. So it had taken me just under 2 hours to renew my passport without any hassle, tension or sweat. Good job, I said in my mind. My happiness increased as I received an SMS informing me about the acceptance of my application. Next day they informed me that my Passport was being printed. The day after was the Republic day and I left for a weekend outing on the 27th. The SMS received on that day informed me that the passport was sent by Speed post with the related tracking number. 
On 28th, the postman visited my address and finding it locked, left a small memo and informed my neighbour about the delivery. I visited the Post office today and got my passport sealed in a packet by showing my AADHAR Card.  It actually took 12 days for my passport to be issued and delivered after logging on to the internet portal. Why I am writing this in so much detail is to record the efficiency of the department. Maybe this will still not satisfy many people. But I am fully satisfied.  
Full marks then and thumbs up. With technology, planning and a little innovation, even government departments can beat the private and international standards of service. And when the government shows that it cares for the common citizen, the citizen will bless the government. Their is no politics involved here.