Friday 27 April 2012

Agle Janam Mohe TV na Deejo!

It is said that "time and tide wait for none" but in the world of Hindi TV soap operas, time not only waits for the commercial breaks, it many a times repeats itself over and over again so that the leading ladies can get the slap right, that too in slow motion. These serials have been the butt of jokes since time immemorial, yet their clan continues to enjoy vast popularity mostly among bored housewives. I have never been unfortunate and *cough* imbecile *cough* enough to follow a TV soap religiously but, that doesn't mean I was spared of the torture. Flipping through channels, during days of extreme emotional distress, I'd try to commit suicide by lingering on a channel airing "Agle Janam Lado Na Aana Iss Paraye Ghar Pardes" type opera. Somehow I survived to tell you the horrifying tales:

The Repetition
These serials treat us like morons. Take this scenario- an overdressed bride narrates an incident to a vamp wearing loud make-up. Now, an elderly lady comes, and asks what's going on; to that, the vamp again goes about explaining the same lines bit by bit. Enter the tired paternal figure who happens to be curious too. Now it's the elderly lady (Baa/ Dadi/ Kaki)'s turn to repeat the same dialogues line by line! It's an intellectual onslaught on the audience's sensibilities but somehow, the housewives not only watch it, they watch it with their pupils dilated.

Recording Response
Every time something momentous happens in the serial, the camera zooms to take everyone's reactions. You can count the pimples on the face of the protagonist, watch the nose hair of the fatherly figure wiggle as he flares his nostrils, watch the botox enhanced vamp quiver with fear and basically the micro-expressions of every member of the annoyingly large family. Even the disinterested servant and the neighbour who has nothing to do with the scene gets a 5 second zoom to his face. It's like the director wants every actor to work for the money he or she earns. One dialogue and then 5 minutes of recording everyone's reaction; that's how the serial moves to complete 500 episodes.

You can't see it but I have puked on my floor while thinking about the dialogues these serials use. With scripts like those, I guess, you need dramatic dialogues but that is no excuse to resurrect the ghost of 1980s' Bollywood. "Mujhe toh pehle se hi shaq tha..." "Karamjali, kulta..." "Kahan mu kaala kara ke aayi hai", "Main tumhare bachche ki ma ban ne wali hoon", "Kuchh aisa karo ki saanp bhi mar jaye aur lathi bhi na toote.", "Ab nahi sahaa jaata", "Bitiya toh paraya dhan hoti hai..." "Aaj tumne mujhe bata hi diya ki meri aukat kya hai.." "Tang aa gayi hoon roz roz ki khichkhich se" etc etc... Talk about cliche.

Cheap Tactics
The episode mostly ends with an appalled or stunned face upon seeing someone who just entered the room. The viewer is at the edge of his seat waiting for this moment because the whole week, the channel has been building up for this moment! But no, you have to wait another day, not so easy can you unravel the mystery. Next episode of course is going to re-run the 5 min sequence building up the mystery again and then end with the surprise character being some random actor with no relevance to the storyline. A 3-4 minutes long exchange would ensue with no fruitful result and then the air starts building for next such "moment".
Imagine this-

*Enter surprise character*
(Our character is all wide-eyed and stunned)
*One long commercial break later*

Our character- Arey dadaji aap?
Dadaji (surprise character)- Haan bahu, tum kuch pareshan nazar aa rahi ho?
Our character- Ji kuchh nahi... aap yahan kaise?
Dadaji- Main bas yunhi, nikal raha tha toh socha milta chalun... mujhe aise kyun lag raha hai ki tum kuchh pareshan ho..
Our character- Ji woh baat ye hai ke....

*Script goes into a comma*

Even the serials other than family dramas are cliched and repetitive. Don't believe me? Watch CID, Aahat or any other serial that has run for more than 3 years tonight. If you survive, we shall talk tomorrow.


Thursday 26 April 2012

The Day We Really Met

This post is part of the contest It was never going to be an ordinary day.. on

It was never going to be an ordinary day,
I forgot whether the month was June or May.

The day I realized the world is wooden,
and dreams are made of clay.

I see you smiling, dancing across the hall,
with your prince charming, giggling all the way.

My love for you was lost, I was happy for you,
but my greed for your love didn't sway.

Was it love? Perhaps I never loved you,
My mind was dirtier than an ash tray.

We had met before, with me on all fours,
behind you, pleading, wanting you to say-

Say that you love me too, with all your heart.
I wasn't sure that it was the right thing to say.

I wasn't sure whether I loved you or not,
but I wanted you to say it anyway.

That was earlier, me wooing you,
you unsure, and this is today.

I can handle seeing you with someone else,
I have feelings but, I can keep them at bay.

I no longer struggle, to tell you something,
in my battle with my heart, I can have my way.

I've grown stronger? No, that's not the case,
you've not been listening carefully,
I fought my heart, it had a metal sword,
but, my sword was made of fickle, frail, clay!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Vroom Vroom: Heartbeat

The two wheels never came naturally to me. I was never on good terms with the two-wheels of even my first bicycle. They taunted me for being an imbecile, scared little loser; jeered and sneered at me for the first few years. I would look at the brand new bike sitting in my verandah and fancy myself riding it in the meadows, with the wind blowing in my face, but never did I take it out for even a walk. Riding the cycle, although fanciful, but was a scary thought for me till eighth standard of school. It was the small sleepy town of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh) where I cocooned myself into the confines of my home. 

First Spring

I remember vividly, the way when my Dad, who is usually apathetic to such things, decided to take care of my plight. I was asked to take the bike out; because enough was enough. It was a Sunday morning. It was slightly embarrassing because kids my age could ride motored two wheelers by then, yes, in eighth standard, I had a friend coming to school on a scooty. I am sure that's illegal but I lived in a small town where traffic rules were non-existent. So, that Sunday morning, dad took me to the highest point of the road and asked me to go down the slope, it was scary, and fun! I lost balance but regained it! Only shaking the handle for a few seconds, I came down the slope quite nicely. Folklore had it that no one learns to ride a cycle without falling, and that was something that scared me for riding it for so long but, to my surprise, I didn’t fall! At least on that day! How I fell from the cycle and broke my wrist a few days later is another long story. More on that sometime later.

The Muse Almost Begins.
My transition from cycle to motorbike was a slow one. Bajaj Sunny was my first motored two-wheeler. The way it made me look like an ant on the road was amazing, nobody respected the Sunny, the speed-breakers are like hurdles on a steeplechase for it. My fear for the geared motorbike was still intact and so was my fascination with the vrooming and zooming! The smell of burning rubber on the road, the wind gushing past my ears, one foot on gear, one on brakes and hands revving up the engine- was the stuff of dreams.

Next city we moved to- was Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh). Next vehicle that I got was a Honda Activa. I started exploring the city, taking the road less traveled etc. Me and my friend would go to the fort, visit the hill-temple and eat out at popular joints. The cracking of the "shell" that had surrounded me for some good eighteen years of my life had begun. Not that now I am a true-blue biker now, but I had taken my first steps.
I was no longer afraid to race away on wide open roads, slanting my Activa 30 degrees on turns in the road, stealing glances from the school-going girls on the other side of the road. I still did loser-ish things like wearing jackets in summer and dark shades on evenings but that is besides the point.

The Muse Begins.

I joined college far away from home in the sleepy town of Davangere, Karnataka five years ago. That was that and this is now! In my second year, sometime in August, I borrowed a senior's Bajaj Avenger to go to a brunch party at a highway resort. I was briefed on the gearing and clutching basics and thought I was good to go! Jerking awkwardly, I somehow rode till the resort but, there were patches when I was riding smoothly, the wind blowing in my hair, the trucks whooshing past me and the green meadows dancing on the sides. Pure bliss! I was in love with bikes, cruiser bikes in particular!

Later that year, confident of being able to balance the two wheels and manage the clutch, gear etc, I borrowed another senior's Bajaj Pulsar 180. Too late to realize that the centre of gravity in this one was way different that Avenger, I was flat on all fours at the nearest speed bump. The bike was scratched and guilt and phobia surrounded me.

As the shell was beginning to build, my room-mate went on and bought a second hand Bajaj Pulsar 180. I just couldn't be a pillion rider; I had fallen once and the fear was less. In December that year, I bought a brand new Hero Hunk (erstwhile Hero HONDA Hunk). Then? Then there was no looking back from there.

Many Roles That My Bike Plays
1. Chick Magnet

Of course, this had to be on the list. Speed thrills which is one of the foremost ingredients that attracts the fairer sex. We as human beings have evolved to favour and adore the risk-takers because they mark new frontiers and take the race forward.
Holding hands sitting in a park brings two people close, but open highway, flowing hair, the thump of the road and a common sense of exploration- they all make the two souls unite into one.

A bike can take you to that sunset point from where the sky doles out all its shades and the horizons appear clearer than ever. Yes, I am talking romance in no man's land.

2. Nomadic Lifestyle

Without a bike, I couldn't have tasted the Punjabi Lassi on the highway Dhaba 50 km from Davangere toward Pune on Pune-Bangalore Highway; I couldn't have gone to the city interiors to the oldest food-joints serving authentic South-Indian food.

3- Clicking Away
Ever since I got a camera, I've been clicking sunsets, ponds, rocks, butterflies and what-nots. To be at the right place at the right time, not only do you need the inclination, you also need a vehicle.

4. Simply Trippin'

Singing along in chorus on the highway, to the funny tunes of Himesh Reshamia or Anu Malik is the demand of a cloudy weather in the rainy season. Think four bikes, eight happy faces and eight out-of-tune singers. These trips not necessarily need to have a destination. Sometimes we just go up to the "next U-turn" which comes conveniently after some good 20 kms on the highway. As Davangere is just 60 kms from Chitradurga, the fort city- trips to there in cool, breezy weather are a must.

5. Night-Rider
Returning from a late night movie show or coming after seeing off a friend to the railway station late in the night has its own perks. You get to own the road all to yourself. Ever danced your bike in the pale street-lights? If not, you're missing something.

So, that's my story from Mr. Afraid to ride a bike to Mr. Can't live without a bike. Catch you next time, till then...

The above entry is a part of Castrol Power1 Blogging contest by Indiblogger

Here is a link to Castrol Biking's FB page- The link (Place For Biking Enthusiasts to Talk about Bikes, Power, Acceleration, Rides, and Castrol Power1. Allll about Biking!)

Thursday 19 April 2012

My Family Memories

This entry is a part of the contest at in association with

"A family is a shelter where you can go and be accepted for what you are, all your whims are understood, all your ill-doings are forgiven and you can start every day knowing that you are loved."

Every day at my home is full of memories because of the lively nature of my parents. I am told that my father was very naughty as a kid, so much so, that he was nicknamed "chanchal". My maternal grandfather is good with words, he holds masters' degrees in both Hindi and English; and a bit of that quick-wit has been passed on to my mother. So fireworks are always ready to go at my home.

Here are a few of the memories, thinking of which, I can't stop smiling. Trust me, things like these happen almost daily at my home-
Me (Right), Bro (Left) and Dad!!

Dad versus Varanasi
We were in the city of temples: Varanasi to attend the wedding of one of my cousins. My Dad decided to take us out for a quick tour of the city when everyone else was busy with the preparations. We had hired a Mahindra Xylo and were having a hard time in the narrow lanes of the age-old city and on that, the heat and humidity were making things difficult. That's when Dad decided to have some fun. We stopped at the most popular lassi joint in the city, Dad signaled the attendant there to come to our car. He came running. Dad asked him- "Bhaiya yahan ghaat kahan hai?" (Sir, where would we find a river bank for worship purpose here?). The shop-owner, slightly disappointed said- "Yahan toh assi se upar ghat hain, aap kya baat kar rahe hain?" (This is the temple town, there are more than 80 ghaats here!)  Dad said, "Oh nahi, humne suna hai waha lassi achchhi milegi!" (No, no, we've heard that we can find good lassi there.) Now the Varanasi humour in the owner was waking up- He went on, still slightly puzzled, "Sir ghaat pe toh lassi nahi milegi".

Dad- Fir kahan milegi? (Then where can we find some lassi?)
Shopkeeper (Now slowly realizing that Dad was pulling his leg)- Yahan mil jayegi sir... (You can try here sir)
Dad- Kya baat kar rahe ho? Ye lassi ki dukaan hai? (You don't say! Really?)
Shopkeeper- *grinning* ji sir, ek baar try toh keejiye. (Try once sir)


In the evening, Dad went to a dhaba with us to taste authentic Varanasi food. The exchange between the dhaba owner and him still brings smile to my face-

Dad- Bhaiya khana kya bhav diya? (At what rate do you sell food here?)
Hotel owner- Khaana... bhav...

(thinking for a while)

Hotel owner- Depends on what you order sir...(confused look)

We were in splits!


We went to visit Sarnath during that trip. We browsed around every temple there except one Stupa. My mom thought she was missing out on something great. When we were about to leave, she said, "turn the car around! We forgot to visit the stoopa." All were tired except my Dad! He told the driver to turn around, drive to the stoopa. 

We went in and there it was! A large structure, round in shape. We turned at mom with a frown, she was defensive, grinning- she said- Arey! this is the most important thing in Sarnath! Where are the gates to get in?

On being told that there are no gates to go inside that thing because of which we were made to turn around and come out in this scorching heat, her face was red with embarrassment and summer heat! While my dad had a cunning smirk on his face. Now he had something to tease mom with during the whole trip. "Jao jao... inhe stoop dikhao" (No, no, go go, see that stupa) was his line for the next few hours.

(Stupa: Buddhist Burial Place)


Holi at my Home
Holi time

As a kid I used to detest the festival of Holi with a vengeance. The memories of holi are still fresh in my mind. All the teenagers and adults of our neighbourhood would come to our home. My Dad would sit on a chair and then they would paint him to their heart's content. 

All the neighbourhood aunties would form a gang and come after 1 pm when my mother would have had bath, chase her down and drown her in colours.

Holi was like a planned attack on my parents to me. Now I look back and smile.


Dadi ki kahaniyan
Dadi and me

My grandma would tell me stories every afternoon. Not fables, no pari ki kahani but the stories of my Dad's naughtiness as a child. I still wonder how all that can be true. The stories about how my dad went and dived from a bridge to an overflowing river stream and still somehow swam his way across the stream; how he climbed a palm tree and fell on a bush of thorns still fascinate me.


Me (Rightmost) with cousins

A good friendship with cousins connects you to the whole big family. For me it came naturally. Every summer, during the vacations, all of 'em would visit us and it was a house of chaos. Those luka chupi sessions in the afternoon, taiji giving us rasna drinks in the evening, sleeping in groups on the mattresses spread on the floor, staying up late nights- were all pretty awesome memories. I was the soundest  sleeper of them all. Every morning, everyone would come and try to wake me up in their own authentic style. Some would request, some would plead, some even tried to bribe me and some just used brute force. Sometimes I pretended to sleep on just to enjoy them trying so hard.

Now a re-post from my old blog posts- These memories are fresh as dew drops too-

The caring grandfather
Chhote dadaji and Dadaji

My grandfather is a very caring and loving soul. He used to watch out for me all the time and used to panic whenever I used to fall or collide. He still does but, now I am a big boy and he knows that I can take care of myself. He still is generous with his words of caution and I soak it all in because I know it's his love speaking. When I had newly learned riding the bicycle, I used to ride in my colony and it was ok, but the first time I wanted to take it to my school and "show off", he was worried. He gave me his word of caution and I heard him, took mental notes, I was nervous too. When I set off in the morning for school, I heard the sound of his Luna, turned around to see that he was ready to come with me. He drove by side, watching out and taking care of me. I still can't forget that day.

The Diwali cleaning
Every year, on diwali, me and my Dad climb up the attics and clean up all the dust to please Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi. The cloth-piece across our nose, the broom cleaning up spider-webs from the nooks and crannies, the way we work as a team, sharing that special bond and the love toward our abode- make this experience 100% real.

My stubborn childhood
I was an undemanding, simple kid as a child but there is one blot on my record. Once we were on a trip, I was some 3-4 years old and we went to visit a family. In their home, there was a toy dog neatly kept in the drawing room shelf! I don't remember it but my parents tell me that I threw a huge tantrum until the toy was taken out and given to me. I still have that dog with me, at my home. It stays in the drawing room shelf looking at me, telling me that I wasn't a 100% real good boy! I don't know why but that feeling makes me warm from inside.

These are just a few of the everyday memories that I have collected at home. I have lost count. I hope and pray that everyone may get to live, love and be loved by his family because nothing is stronger than the bond of a family.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Baby Beaten

When you beat a child,
what goes in your mind?
Can you raise your hand,
can you pause and rewind?


"I hate this kid"
You think in rage.
Can you pause right there!
Please write it on a page.

It's a baby with eyes,
of hope and dreams.
A baby with hands,
to hold the reins.

Of its own future,
its own life.
A right to smile,
a right to survive.

You strip it off those,
you push, shove, burn.
You take something.
that you can't return.


So when you beat a child,
to death...
What goes on in your mind?

Tiffs and their aftermath!

When in college, home, school or office; we all have tiffs and tussles with certain dark-hearted monsters from time to time. There is the usual course of acquaintance to friendship to the sudden realization that you cannot co-exist with that person anymore. There are two types of people, One- who would slowly create distance and politely make it apparent that they no longer wish to be seen with you and two- who are the melodramatic type. They need a face-off, a confrontation and a solid break-up to seal or rather un-seal the deal.

I am here to address the problems faced by the later type and sometimes the former. Ending all contact with a friend is not an easy thing to do, it takes a lot of deleting from the desktop and deleting from the recycle bin too. The worst thing is for those who are caught in the middle of this vortex- the common friends. Of course they cannot choose loyalties. They have to choose their words carefully, avoid discussions and avoid being called diplomatic. In short, they end up avoiding a lot of things. Imagine a friend you just introduced to your would-be enemy. Now when your would-be enemy turns into your enemy, the newly introduced friend automatically turns into his enemy too. They share cold stares, rude gestures without even knowing each other. Sometimes it is hilarious.

Also, after a period of time, you start having difficulty remembering the reason of hating them, that is when you start saying absolutely ridiculous things just to keep the fire burning. Things like- "look at her t-shirt! What does she think of herself!?" or "How can she talk like that? She isn't even pretty!". Well you know, immature things. And why do you have to keep hating them? Because you know they hate you and if you don't hate them back, you're either Gandhi or there is something wrong with your self-respect.

There are certain people who can erase unwanted memory at the drop of a hat. They make things difficult. If you are one of those who keep the rage burning within you, with a storm of hatred building in your heart and you come across someone who gets you burning with rage at one moment and feigns ignorance the other, you are in for a ride. Living in the company of such a person desensitizes you to the point when you fight one moment and next moment you are asking the person to pass the salt on the dinner table. Such relationships also go by the popular name "marriage".

Jokes apart, the thrill of a fight is sometimes addictive, the way your nostrils flare when you pass the enemy on the street, the way you smile when you hear that they are not doing too well on personal front. The way you tend to look distant, when your eyes meet each other; it's a thing of curiosity for the anthropologists- to study the peculiar behaviour patterns. Your fingers point away while your trunk faces toward somewhere else, your eyes forget to look, instead they just steal glances. The whole mechanism of the change in body language is fascinating.

The mind too, starts doing overtime. It thinks up a violent thought and imagines the counter-thought by the enemy too. All those days of friendship are used to create a clone of the enemy mind and his thoughts are plotted in a graph against your own thoughts. It creates a mental battle which you fight in your free time which in turn, helps you to keep the fire of hatred burning....!

End of friendship

Tuesday 10 April 2012

A short story about God and His absence

"Believe only what you see and hear" was what he was taught by his science teacher at school. Dismissed by his own colleagues, the science teacher was considered to be an atheist lunatic; but Ram's young impressionable mind was impressed. He did find it logical that if there is a higher authority, would He be sadist enough to punish us if we don't bow down in front of Him? would be appreciate the way we shun small-case letters while addressing or referring to "Him" during writing? Does God really exist?

That science teacher who taught 10 year olds to question the authority of God was shown the door soon after many parents complained. It was more of the constant urge to question things invoked by him among the children than the "God issue". The children would question every ritual, every religious doctrine which bugged the parents. It all led to the ouster of the blasphemous teacher. The Principal fired him immediately since he was an ad-hoc recruitment anyway. But in Ram's mind, the seeds were sown and they went deep and far.

He grew up to become a man, went through many discussions, countless differences of opinions which sometimes were an inch close to being converted to fistfights. All this had changed him. He became opinionated and argumentative. He thought people who believed in God were morons; taunted his own parents for being ignorant. He was not liked in group meetings. Everyone knew that he could snap any minute and judge people for their religious faith.

This is the story of that one fateful day when he was on his way to work, he saw a car run over a guy! He knew that guy, he had seen him somewhere! Oh yes! He was their local vegetable vendor! His name was Hariya. He ran to his help, called the ambulance, got him admitted in a hospital! Apparently the guy who ran him over was his own brother! It was a property-related issue.

Hariya's face was annoyingly calm. He had forgiven his brother for the act; Ram went in, stayed there a while and came back. The words that kept ringing in his head were- "I have nothing against my brother, God is great, I hope He makes things better!" "So the task has been left to God?" thought Ram smiling to himself.

Suddenly he saw Hariya's estranged brother entering the ward; he followed him quickly, sensing something foul. As he entered he saw the brother crying at Hariya's feet asking for forgiveness! "God will never forgive me! Can you forgive me please? I have sinned and I should be punished! You are great! I went mad, I was mad for money..." and he went on apologizing and weeping.

Ram was watching this family drama only to be sucked into it in the next few minutes! Hariya and his brother's eyes met Ram's and they were filled with immense gratitude. "Thank you, sir ji. Thank you for bringing my brother to the hospital. I can never repay your debt!" the brother said. "Oh, it's fine" Ram said! "I saved Hariya- the vegetable vendor ; but for saving Hariya- your brother- I think you should thank God!"

Ram's neighbour who had also helped in bringing the patient to the ward and taking care of him was also listening to all this. When Hariya's brother turned around and marched toward the temple, the neighbour asked- "Hey Ram! Did I just hear you praise God?"

Ram smiled and replied - "I thanked Him but didn't acknowledge his presence."

"What's the difference?" the neighbour asked.

Ram smirked and went away leaving the neighbour pondering all by himself. The neighbour's face had the same look as the look on the face of Ram's primary school teacher, after just being fired, 20 years ago.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Time to remove that price-tag from that smile.

What I'd change,
if I had a chance?
Isn't it evident,
in just a glance?

My eyes will,
tell you the tale.
Follow them,
it's a track of rail.

I see things,
I hear them.
I live around,
and near them.

I breathe deep,
close my eyes.
I wish you'd,
break the ice.

You choose not,
to speak again.
No worries buddy,
I'll take the pain.

What I'd change,
is a thing small,
it's inconspicuous,
like a hole in the wall.

What I'd change,
if I had the chance-
is your face when,
you give me a glance.

I wish that you
smiled more.
I wish you knew, for me,
what it meant for.

It meant that you,
and I, were together.
It meant that everything,
was going to be better.

It meant that if,
I fell on the ground.
If tragedy struck,
things will come around.

It meant that,
you meant well.
It meant that,
oh! well!

How do I tell!

How to explain,
you what it means.
A smile justifies,
your evil means.

Over my place,
we smiled more.
We did mistakes,
and laughed some more.

All is forgiven,
when you let it out.
Those cheeky eyes,
a slight pout.

It seems today,
that there's a price tag.
People smile half of,
the amount they nag.

Smiling costs for,
a loss of time.
The smile-receiver may,
even ask for a dime.

We are afraid to
give and receive smiles.
We aren't kids now,
who the hell smiles?

I wish I could change that. I wish we smiled more often. I wish the warmth of human relations came back. The sense of us all human beings belonging to the same family, the same big family.

This post was written for Indiblogger's contest for Stayfree India

I sincerely hope that after reading this, you pass a smile to a total stranger.

Monday 2 April 2012

Kuchh Toh Bhi

When The Indian Viewer Ceased To Be Serious About The Budget!

How Some Brands Got Their Names.

Brand images/ logo etc. courtesy: Google Image Search

The Adventures of The Road Crosser!

The Road Crosser is a superhero who helps make our roads safe and efficient. He has fought and defeated criminals like the Autorickshaw (link here) and (here) and the mooing cow! 

Here is the latest of his heroics! Enjoy!