Monday, July 26, 2010


I am sitting in front of the TV… ‘Chak de India’ movie is on and the final match is going to take place… Shah Rukh enters the dressing room of his team… at the same time, unnoticed by me, my husband has entered my room and is also watching the scene… the dressing room is energized waiting for the final… here I m also excited, in my mind I have also become part of the team… Shah Rukh is going to address his team one last time before they take the field… the environment is tense…

“Sattar Minute…!!!” I say with passion…and my husband jumps from where he is sitting… “Arre are u doing PhD or what, keep quiet!” , he says, startled by my sudden exclamation…

A second later, Shah Rukh echoes the same, “Sattar Minute”, as if on cue from me… and I say to poor hubby: “dekha, maine use sikhaaya!”…!!!

Bollywood movies have always held a special place in the heart of us bolly-mads. Some actors have had a dedicated fan following due to certain mannerisms, peculiar dialogue delivery or particular dress sense.

My friend Vinay has been a great fan of Dharmendra since he was a kid. Not a day passes when he does not say one of the following memorable dialogues:

“Kutte, kaminey, main tera khoon pee jaoonga!” (most famous)
“Basanti, in kutton ke saamne mat naachna!” (from the classic, Sholay)
“Maa kasam, chunn chunn ke maroonga!” (eeks, violent!)

He also declaims the dialogues in the inimitable Dharam style which sounds more like he is constipated and just wants to escape after delivering the dialogue…!!! And when he is not sprouting dialogues, he entertains us with ‘Dharmendra Dance’ imitations… who can forget the funny dance moves of Dharam, esp in the song ‘Main Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana’ ?

While in hostel, I had the chance of being with one of the most bolly-mad people I have come across, my friend Reshma. We used to watch movies on the hostel TV, usually when the warden was too busy to stop us or too fed up to do so…! The first time I sat with Resh for a movie was when ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ was being telecast. I love these family movies where things always turn right in the end. I was watching with rapt attention but my attention was repeatedly diverted by something which was sounding suspiciously like the dialogues of the movie being echoed. I finally turned around to check and what did I see... Resh was actually mouthing all dialogues first before the characters…I mean, all of them!!! She gave me an apologetic smile; I guess she just can’t control herself when in front of a bollywood film. And guess what, I almost fell off my chair with laughter when I heard Resh making shehnai sounds which were part of the background score (before Mohnish Behl’s wedding, in case u want to know) exactly in sync with the tune…!!! Now will u call Resh mad or genius? To me, she is just another Bolly-mad!

As for me, I have PhDs in a lot of Bollywood movies. And of course, most of them star my favorite Shah Rukh. If I am teary eyed at “Agar Ganga ki hifaazat karna pyar hai, to hai, pyar hai!” (from Pardes), I m lost in the magic of romance during “Paas, aur paas…” (from Dil to Pagal Hai)… I cry when Kajol bids adieu to Shah Rukh standing on the train footboard in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and I cry again seeing salt n pepper haired Shah Rukh n Preity unite after years of judaai in Veer Zaara. Sniff sniff… I need some more tissues now…!!!

When I was in school, we used to declaim speeches like ‘Friends Romans n Countrymen, lend me your ears…’! I sometimes wonder if a day will come when a generation of school kids will stand in declamation competitions with the followings entries:

“Sattar minute!”
“Aadarniya Sabhapti Mahodaya!” (need an introduction? Chatur’s speech in 3 Idiots)
“Main kaidi no. 786” (Veer Zaara)

And so on n so forth… and on that day, we will well n truly have a generation of Bolly-mads!!!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Atithi Devo Bhava

Watching the delightful movie ‘Atithi tum kab jaoge?’ on Star this Sunday, my mind wandered back to the various guests I have had at home. Some used to be really welcome, whereas… well… like Paresh Rawal in the movie, some guests are much better known as pests…!!!

One of the most regular guests we had was Doctor Joshi and family. Doctor Joshi was a student of my dad’s during their Med School days and would land up at my home with his wife and 2 kids at least once a month. Though I used to be happy for my dad when they came over (dad hardly interacts with all, Dr. Joshi was an exception!) but for my mom, the situation was different. Once the Joshis came in with Joshi aunty’s mom in tow. Here is my mom’s attempt to be a good hostess:

Mom: What shall I get, tea, coffee or thanda?
Joshi Aunty: We shall all have tea today.
Mom: (happy that she just has to make 1 thing) ok…
JA: We shall have 5 tumblers of tea…
Mom: yes… :-???
JA: One full tumbler of strong sweet tea… for mummy…
Mom: (noting in her mind) yes…:-???
JA: One half tumbler of strong sugar free tea for Joshi Saab…
Mom: (still noting, feeling confused already) yes…:-???
JA: One full tumbler of light, sweet tea for me…
Mom: (wiping her brow at these hotel type instructions) ok and… :-???
JA: 2 half tumblers of light, normal sugar tea for the kids… simple…!!!
Mom: (phew!)…

Sometimes guests just don’t realize how much they inconvenience the hostess by trying to get everything just as how they have at home… if you want everything ghar sa, they why impose yourself on others at all? Just be at home na… :-P

Another guest we used to have regularly was Dr. Raj and his family. This is one guest all of us used to love having. Dr. Raj’s wife Disha aunty was an extremely talented lady… a superb artist, she used to indulge my brother n me by giving us cartoons painted on thermocol to be used as wall hangings. Till date the Hardy which she gifted me painted on thermocol finds pride of place in my room. Their little kid, Rohan, was a joy for us. Disha aunty’s enthusiasm for the arts rubbed off on me also and things like glass painting and crafts are my hobbies till date. When Dr. Raj finally decided to leave our small town for the greener shores of London to pursue higher studies, we were very sad. The day before they left, they came as guests at home for the very last time. I remember being in tears bidding them goodbye… we are not in touch with them today… but I just hope they are having a great life wherever they are…!!!

Nowadays, an obnoxious guest I get at home is an old family friend of my in-laws’. Nitin bhai has a word for everything happening in my home. At times he comments on my lack of involvement in the kitchen and at others it is about the absence of a kid. Still other times he has comments on my husband’s weight or about my vegetarian status. He is one guest who takes ‘ise apna hi ghar samjho’ extremely literally, much to my discomfort!!! Needless to say, the days he comes, the clock seems like it is purposely moving slow so as to heighten my uneasiness…!!!

Guests are always welcome, but they should realize their limits… as Paresh Rawal says in the movie, guests should come for a short span of time, so that, when they leave, we will wait for them to come back… a guest who overstays his welcome once is never welcome back… so let us all be great guests so that our hosts treat us no less than gods…!!!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pink or Blue?

‘The Namesake’ by Jhumpa Lahiri begins with a pregnant Ashima being taken to hospital for her first delivery. The nurse on duty, Patty, asks “Hoping for a boy or a girl?”

“As long as there are ten finger and ten toe,” Ashima replies.

I have been married for some time now and I always get blessings from my elders that I would cradle a baby boy in my arms soon. And each time someone blesses me so I wonder, why don’t they just pray that I be blessed by a healthy baby soon? Why only boy?

Maybe, in 2010 AD, where men and women are considered at par, the concept for this post might appear very outdated. But trust me, even today, girls and boys are discriminated in a lot of ways. The reason this is not so noticeable is probably coz we are so used to it by now!

I remember around 3 years back a colleague of mine was distributing sweets in office as he had just become the father of a baby girl. It was his first child and he was quite overjoyed. But then I overheard something which another colleague told him: “Yaar abhi to tujhe darna padega”.


“Arre paise jodne padenge na dahej ke liye”!!!

“Kyu, Apan baitha hai na kamane ke liye… ho jaayega”.

It was shocking to me that, for a 3 day old girl child, her dowry, which would be needed in not less than 18 years hence (which in itself is a social evil), was the topic of concern. And that too for educated office goers!!!

I remember being told when I was a kid that my paternal grandmother would cry every time her daughters-in-law would deliver girls. After my 2 chachis had 4 girls between them, I was born as my parents’ first born. Needless to say, granny opened the floodgates then also. The next year when my brother was born, there was joy all around. Someone to carry the family name forward… finally!!! Today, I am an individual in my own right, earning a salary which keeps me self reliant, living a life independent of the issues which my mom faced in her generation. I think my granny might have been proud of me had she lived to see me now… watsay?

A friend of mine used to always scoff at the idea of parents hoping for boys so that the ‘family name’ may be carried forward… hello… r we Ambanis or Tatas leaving behind huge fortunes… or having made some change in the world that our family name needs to be remembered for posterity…? And anyway, today, with the number of women opting for double surnames after marriage or just continuing with their maiden names, family name is definitely an outdated concept!

I recently saw a news report on honor killings where the general public was being questioned on this social evil. A number of men said that they would be enraged to hear that their daughter/sister had stepped out of the community line. But for the guys, its ok, the slur on the reputation is much smaller it seems…! In today’s day and age, the fact that honor killings take place itself is sad. But to say that the mistake on the part of the girl is bigger than the mistake of the boy reeks of discrimination. Will all this never see an end?

The last time an aunt-in-law blessed me ‘Putr Santan Yog’, I thanked her, but also told her that as long as I have ‘Santan Yog’, I don’t mind if it is a boy or girl. The old lady was stumped… maybe I shldn’t be so blunt (he he…!). But yes, it is high time we changed our beliefs and also made others around us change and believe in the worth of the girl child..!!!


Thursday, July 08, 2010


The ‘Westside’ 50% off sale is on. I happened to be at Kala Ghoda last weekend and of course, could not let go the chance of shopping. Unfortunately, only 1 rack of kurtas was on sale merchandise (cheaters!). But there I had a chance of experiencing human psychology in the event of making a choice, even as simple as that of a kurta…

With just 1 rack of sale kurtas, most women were crowded around that rack itself. I had already gone through the stuff and found them to be strictly ok, and hence was perusing through the new stuff (which was not on discount). One round of the store done, I started walking around aimlessly towards the sale rack. There I saw a dark brown n blue kurta being checked out by a lady. Somehow, in her hands and the way she was looking at it, I suddenly felt the kurta is lovely. I felt that it would suit me, even tough I had seen it earlier but not really taken to it then. Soon, I found myself wishing that she would drop the kurta. And, surprise! She actually dropped the kurta to move on. Bang, I was there and the kurta was in my hands. Then, just like me, that lady too seemed to have second thoughts. She turned around and, yes!, saw that the kurta has already been claimed! Seeing her expression I realized that, just like me a few minutes back, she is finding that the kurta is good, now that it is in my hands. But I was not in the mood of dropping it as she had done. I bought it!!!

Why is it that the human mind always covets something that is somebody else’s? I had no liking for the kurta till I saw it catch the fancy of another lady. And she realized she wanted the kurta only when she saw that some one else (me!) had already taken it… funny na. We both had a fair chance at the item, but couldn’t make a choice till someone else made it!!!

We never truly think of ourselves only while making choices, how it will be taken by the people around us is also important to us. Come to think of it, all the major choices we make in our lives, be it what we study, what we do, where we work, whom we marry, these are hardly made without consultation with people around us. Consensus is what is important, not what we alone think, right?

So neighbour’s Chhutku goes to X college, you go to Y, and suddenly you feel Y would have been a better option!! Else you see ur Kaka’s son doing well in a CA firm and feel u should have done CA instead of Engineering… Things like this are regular happenings in our lives.

The only possible solution is, think that u and u alone have it great. Maybe the canteen in Y college sucks (whereas ur X college canteen is great!). Maybe Kaka’s son is never at home to spend time with his family (whereas u reach home by 10 pm and have weekends off!). What is good for them might not work for u n vice versa…Bottom line is, these choices are yours. Make them and then, don’t worry about them! Who knows, you urself might be the object of envy for others as much as they are for u…!!!


Sunday, July 04, 2010


Have you ever experienced the thrill of a clandestine relationship… where you have to hide from all and still make the most of your time with your beloved? Sample what happened to Vicky n Shruti, a young couple in Mumbai, out to spend some quality time with each other…
“Stop it Vicky”…
“Aw Cmon Shruti, its Bandstand!!!”
“That’s just it, didn’t you read the Mumbai Mirror? These residents all have cameras installed to keep a watch on couples… I don’t want to give them live LSD here!!!”
“Is it about the residents or are you just worried some footage might reach ur Papa n bhaiyya… Ouch!!!” Vicky ducks the blow Shruti aims at him. “It is you who is always paranoid about coming across my Papa n bhaiyya during a date. Have u ever seen me worried? Trust me, if such a situation happens someday, I will take care of it very well!”
“Ok my Rani Laxmi Bai (has to duck again to avoid blows)… shall we move now… else no amount of extra classes will be able to explain your delay in reaching home.”
“Yup, lets move, we might be in time for the Dadar local if we leave now.”
“Dadar local? Isnt it the one ur Papa n bhaiyya always take?”
“VICKY!!! Any more mention of my family n I m not coming out with u again. Have some guts dear…!!!”
“Ok Ok… now lets leave…”
“Phew… lucky, we are in time for the train… so which compartment?”
“Hmm… Papa n bhaiyya are likely to be at the Churchgate end… so we need to take a compartment in the opposite direction. And anyway, in dadar locals, the compartments in the virar end are always emptier than the churchgate end ones!!! Watsay?”
“You are the boss madam. The train’s here… move in!”
“Vicky, lets move right, I think I know that uncle on the left…” “Ok, right it is…” ”OH SHIT… OOPS…!!!”

Shruti sees her Papa n bhaiyya just as they see her… Oops Oops…!!!!!!!!!!

“Chutki! What are you doing in the general compartment? The ladies coach was empty!”, says Papa. A totally frantic Shruti looks around for Vicky to see that he has thankfully moved to the other side, away from view. Phew! “Er… Papa, there was a typical ladies fight at the entrance of the compartment. Couldn’t enter… decided on this coach instead. Dadar local na… so thought it might be empty”. Shruti is crossing her fingers, unsure whether her story would suffice and also upset at not being able to spend the last few minutes of the evening with her Vicky.

“Haan Papa, these ladies, they keep fighting for no reason, even in empty trains”, echoes Bhaiiya (much to Shruti’s relief).
“Accha, so u stand here now.” Papa n bhaiyya go into their usual business and maal related discussions and Shruti picks up her cell to message Vicky…

“Sorry dear, u ok na?”
“I m perfectly ok, u relax Shruti!”
“Shit, wat a waste!”
“Dnt wry, we will get mre opportunities ;-), btw, I m impresd by ur presence of mind… maan gaye!”
“Hmmm… told u na, trust me.”
“Yup, now I believe you!”

The train journey appears very long with both Shruti n Vicky trying to steal glances at each other but not having the guts to do so due to the presence of Shruti’s Papa n Bhaiyya. The vey long (but in reality 30 min) journey comes to an end.

“Chalo Chutki, abhi bus milegi… No. 722”. “Ok Papa”. Shruti is scanning the crowd for Vicky. But she is unable to spot him. She is now very disappointed as she had hoped to silently bid him bye before going home. The stress of the evening is now getting to her as she wants to be with Vicky but cant…

“Here’s the bus”… bhaiyya points out and Papa, bhaiyya n Shruti pile in. Shruti feels her cell vibrate, but is unable to check it. The bus is too crowded and Shruti is hanging to the pole. She finally manages to open her inbox with one hand to check the message. It’s from Vicky n says:

“Shruti, I m in the same 722… standing at the back…!”

Shruti looks back n sees her tall dark n handsome hero looking at her… and she starts giggling… “Kya hua Chutki”, asks Papa. “Nothing Papa, kuch yaad aa gaya.”, n she laughs n laughs…
In todays fast world, we have no time to think of the days we were young and carefree, like Vicky n Shruti, for whom being caught by parents is the biggest worry in life. Today when we are worried about deadlines, targets, bonus and spouse, life is actually going waste. So stop, think of those days. And I hope my story brought alive some memories to you too… and made you stop n smile in your fast paced life!!!