Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shaitan - The Devil Within...

It's been around 28 and a half hours, as I begin writing this, since I left the movie theatre after watching Shaitan. A last-minute plan which I, in the end, turned out to be really happy about. It was one hell of a movie, in a good way! And those who follow my blog must be knowing that I don't linger on to write a post from when I am in the moment of action (a usual blogpost would set me back by 40-60 minutes, within 24 hours of the event or thought in my mind that I want to write about). This time, is an exception.

Shaitan, like many other Bollywood movies that have come by recently and made a mark, is another off-beat movie which doesn't stick to the formula to make a movie 'hit' that many actors, production houses and directors follow, to earn and make business. Pretty much also the reason I wasn't interested to watch in in the beginning (more about my Bollywood and movie interests in some other blog, later). Caught my interest later during the first week and then even more as the week ended. Turned out, I caught it the first movie in this week.

The gist of the movie is pretty simple. It's the story of 5 friends in the backdrop of Mumbai and their life which revolved around money, booze, smoke, drugs and their definition of fun. On one such nights, they commit an accident and the story kicks off thereafter. Their trials to save themselves from the punishment of the mistake, things they plan, things they do and things that eventually happen... That's what it's all about. I know many of those who read this wouldn't have watched it yet, and thus, I am not revealing more of the story, because boy, if you haven't watched it yet, you need to watch it soon!! And for those who have seen it, need I say more, anyway?

As I left the cinema hall, I was faced with a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Took a ride to a restaurant at quiet a distance thereafter and was pretty lost in my thoughts all that time. Reason? There were just so many possibilities and incidences that plainly were justified by this movie, subtly.

I still remember watching cartoons on Cartoon Network and other kids' channels when I was younger... It was a funny thing to watch the argument between the evil and angel side of a particular character as he fumbled over what he should be doing... Frankly, it had never crossed my mind since I last watched these that there possibly could be two sides to every person. The good and the bad. Seems awkward to believe. More so because we tend to generalize people's behaviour over certain events and disapprove of otherwise. Somehow, it's kinda true too.

Always wondered what's it that makes some people act differently, in a more negative way, than the rest. Figured that it's somehow related to what your thoughts that shape you, make you. The incidents that you face with as a child, the people who surround you while the thoughts in your mind begin forming and gaining a stance. A child of a terrorist would end up being a Jihadi more often than not, and the kid born to a clergy, would for obvious reasons be religious and/or spiritual. Pretty much, undisputably.

But, when I saw this movie, all of these seemed to go on the a back-foot. Though, these were the secondary reasons and will always be, how you think in the brink of the situation is what determines your action. It's more about who from within the angel and the evil inside your head wins that will talk about what action you took. Basically, what I'm saying, and what I believe in is, it's more a knee-jerk reaction than a thought process. May be the thought process induces that reaction, but, sometimes it may be otherwise, too! Surely possible. May be the evil would harm himself or the world. Or may be the angel would be a saviour to itself or the many others or some stranger... Possibilities thus, are endless.

This whole thing kept pondering in my mind for around hours after the movie got over and then I kept trying to relate it to everyday life and the examples that I have known, seen and have been a part of. Just to justify the way in which I was thinking... I came down to 2 incidents which simply proved a point to the above stated theories I had concluded at. You may call me a negative person because of what these examples are, but well, I'm rather lazy. When I saw that these 2 were just the examples I needed, I didn't look out for more. Just didn't!

1) There's this guy I know. He made a very stupid mistake, got carried away once and hurt people whom he cared for, a lot. Without any indication, without any hint to anyone, out of guilt he punished himself over something that was forgiven very soon from the time of confession. This guy is someone very calm and thoughtful. Never has he done any other stupid thing. Pretty mature, too. And it was just that victory of the in-his-mind Shaitan that has left him in the pitiable condition he is in right now. (Don't try to guess who.)

2) The second example is about another guy whose blog I read regularly. Anonymity has to be respected and thus I'm pasting the blog's excerpt containing the incident, here. A very sincere, silent, jovial person by nature, hurt his mom over something very silly. May be it was his age that kept him immature then that he did something so distressing that he still regrets it 12-13 years after it happening...
Here's his story in his own words (the excerpt from his blog):
"There was a boy in his -teens. Like every teenager he wished to enjoy his life like all his friends did. Like going for dinner, watching movies, getting stylish stationary and loads of other things. One particular day, a few guests had arrived at his house and he was getting bored of them. So he asked his mother if he could go out with his friends to watch the movie. Mother denied it because it was quite late to go for a movie. But the boy never really took her words seriously. He just had anger buring from within that his parents never gave him freedom. So as his mother went to sit on a chair, he pulled it. His mother did not react anything till the guests were gone and the boy too left the house. He cried and kept on complaining about his parents. But God had great ways of punishing his children. As the boy walked, a piece of glass stuck into his foot. He bleeded profusely. He went back home and cried harder only to find out that his mother was crying. The boy mistook that she was crying for him. So the boy never paid heed to the care of his mother. Irrespective of the boy's cold attitude, his mother took good care of his foot. Next day, mother had gone to the doctor and took out the x-ray of her back. The reports were quite bad. She had broken her tail-bone. The doctor asked how did it happen and she replied that she slipped while climbing stairs. The boy's father too asked her the same question and her reply was the same. The boy realised his mistake and cried harder and harder. It was because of his crime that she had to suffer so much."

Pretty much justifies and wraps up what I meant to say...

It's the moment, just that moment which usually makes all the difference. Not the one before that, not the one after it. The prior usually filled with confusion, the latter usually of guilt and regret or happiness and glee. It's, as I always say, the result of the choice that we make. It's just not about how you think, because you react from how you feel rather...

I guess it's time we got into controlling our emotions better. I guess it's time we got to seeing what we do as a spur or unconscious reaction too. It's time to get a hold of ourselves.

But, regardless, you must accept, there's always a Shaitan, a devil within us waiting for the first chance he gets to escape from the cages in your head... And then, then it would be difficult stopping him, just as depicted in Indian mythology...

You choose your driver... The evil or the angel...


P.S.: Don't try to guess who are the examples I gave. And don't ask me either. I hope this request of mine will be catered to.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Drive Against Corruption... Not Anymore!

Two months of headlines, and 5 days later. Here India is. In what began as a drive against corruption, not much of it remains anymore. Reasons? Varied. Most of them, known to everyone. Some of them, hidden.

It all began with Anna Hazare's fast unto death or till his demands were met, on 5th April, 2011 which took India by a stir! The thought that problem of corruption, is not here to remain as many (including me) say, that there could be a possible end to this corrupt phase! Wow. So exciting does it sound! And that got so many millions of Indians to support it. Yes, every one of us, every Indian (minus the politicians, bureaucrats and others who live on their black earnings) was on with him, against it.

Now, today, this fight seems all-the-more unimportant. Yes, you read that right. Unimportant. It seems to have lost its reason while everyone in the powerful circles tries to gain some clout from it. Religious and spiritual leaders, political parties, news channels, lawyers, websites, and what not!! "India's changing people! Be a part of it! It's now or never!" I would simply call it, BULLSHIT!

Let me begin with the one I have been seeing most recently and in the eye of the people and news channels. Baba Ramdev and his antics! I wonder how I should worship him! No, seriously. He's such an amazing fellow that he didn't feel ashamed to give this amazing movement the political and spiritual turn by poking his nose in it! He must be revered for the same, I demand. He actually thought that all those who gathered in Ramlila Maidan for his fast, were supposedly there supporting his hunger strike (I could use a tongue-smiley, :P, here)! News channels and newspapers broke stories reading what I said, that the people were there instead to show him their respects because his Yoga remedies seemed to have work for them. His demands were completely irrational, stupid and nonsensical. His methodology to achieve it, unethical. When Kapil Sibal made public a tape of their phone call, he went on to say he won't talk to Kapil Sibal! Someone remind this so-called Guru, that he agreed he would end the fast within hours of beginning it because of the pact he made with the Government. Get yourself some integrity, Mr. Ramdev! He sure deserved some real punitive action, which he aptly got.

Next up, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Supposedly, 'The Party with a Difference' (as read on their website). Oh, yeah? Getting political mileage by taking a dig at the Congress for acting against Baba Ramdev (who I'm pretty sure acted as a bate on their request) and their inability against corruption doesn't seem like anything different from what anyone else would have done. To me, at least! Making statements, getting prime-time news coverage, etc. is a good but, sad thing. The elections are still 3 years away, BJPians (or whatever they call themselves, I don't really care).

You know what would matter to me, an (almost) adult-Indian? Or how you could actually gain a heads-up for the next elections and earn yourselves some respect? Get into the legislature, make a Lokpal Bill, just as the people want it, house it in the Parliament, get it passed with the help of the Left and other parties, and there you are, the real star! You surely will be the next governing party! Trust me on that, you will be.

But you know what, readers? They wouldn't do that either. Even though they know that it assures them of power. Reasoning it as "It would be remembered as a victory of the Congress as it would be passed while they were in power! BJP can't let that happen, right?" among other immature excuses. The real reason? They can't see the good of the people, either. If you really cared about the people, the name of which political party got it passed, wouldn't really matter. If you really cared about the people, you would have stepped up before Anna Hazare hit it himself. And over it all, you can't afford corruption driven out of India, either. The same reasons and answers go to all the other political establishments who have at least one member in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Because, according to the Honourable Constitution of India, any Member of Parliament has the right to present a bill in either of the houses. Enough said.

Anna Hazare, Part 2. He went on a day long fast again day before yesterday (on 8th of June, 2011) just because the Government representatives of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee and the people's representatives didn't come to a consensus on a certain clause (inclusion of PM and Judiciary of India, to be specific). You mean, really? Is this the law-making process we are looking for? Not me!! I'm looking for a discussion, a debate. Someone who can convince the prior, not compel. This demand of yours, I'm sorry, Mr. Hazare, is just too unrealistic for me to be supportive of. And seriously, right now, I feel like saying, 'The Anna Way? No Way!!' like I said 'The Gandhi Way? No Way!!' 7 weeks ago. If the support you got the first time makes you want to compulsate the Bill making issues like this, instead of talking it out at the discussion table, I am up against your action.

Last up, every Indian who thinks Lokpal Bill will be a reality and that corruption will be driven out of India. Let me just burst your bubble, brutally.

I read a crazy SMS saying, "Government of India has put a condition stating that the support of 25 crore people is needed to implement the 'Lokpal Bill'. For this we just have to give a missed call to the number +912261550789. After giving a missed call to this number you'll receive a 'Thanks' message. Forward this to as many to make India corruption free. Please call."

To begin with, what's the Lokpal Bill? Darn you, irresponsible people! The clauses of the Lokpal Bill have still to be finalized and debated upon by the Parliamentary Committee drafting it! We don't even know where and how it'll shape up in the end! Neither do we have a clue if it will be the Jan Lokpal Bill for which the protest 2 months back was held or will it be minor modifications to the Lokpal Bill which has been doing the Law Ministry rounds since 1979! And you want to petition for that already? Wow.

Hypothetically, let's consider it's an exact replica of the Jan Lokpal Bill and that's what we want to see in action. How many of us really, like 'really' know how the Bill making process works? How laws are made? What is the process of it? I am sure most of us have read it somewhere, and those of the age like mine, you have read it in your Civics textbooks, sometime. Now, where does it say that "if 25 crore people give missed calls" the Bill will be passed? If it was so easy, the law-making process was so people friendly, why would we ever have elections and elect Members of Parliament to be a part of our Legislature, and represent us? Wouldn't we be a part of it ourselves by giving missed calls or sending out SMSes for every Bill? Ask yourself. What part of the above quoted SMS make sense now?

I was sent this message by my parents too. And yes, I did lash out on them explaining why this wasn't legit even though an SMS was sent to you when you give a missed call.

Either it's that you don't know the law-making process (I mentioned above that it needs to pass the Parliament), or that you're just being too ignorant of it. Let's face it. The Government promised Anna Hazare during his previous fast of 'drafting' a Bill, not making sure it gets 'passed'. If you think that the elected MPs of India, those elected by you, those whose lives thrive upon black money, will let this Indian dream come true, you're mistaken. I may be seen as some cynic or a complete pessimist, but it doesn't bother me because I have my feet stuck the ground while I see everyone else hoping something so simply, impossible! If you think those who promote corruption the most, will pass a Bill that would put them under the scanner for every monetary transaction of their life, boy, you're highly mistaken! Time to wake up, dear fellas.

Also, if you think that Anna Hazare's promise that he would go on a fast again if the Bill doesn't get passed will do anything to change the failure of the Bill in the Parliament, again, I don't think the merciless people in those chairs will mind him dying, either. Even those of you, who think you won't vote for the same candidate in the next elections if he doesn't give an 'Aye' to the Lokpal Bill, you're mistaken, again. The voting process in the parliaments is anonymous. Dismay spreads?

I'm not someone who opposes this 'Let's-kick-corruption-out-of-India' movement. But, at the same time, when I see such wrong-doings (wrong in my eyes) happening, sorry, I can't support them either. Trust me when I say, I would be of the happiest people if I am proven wrong and corruption actually loses its stance in India. Hands down.

That's much about it about what I want to say... Let the comments and opinions in...

Until the next post...

P.S.: I haven't been paid by the Government of India or any of its dominant, behind the curtains powerful members (read: the Gandhi family) to write this. This is how I feel. This is how I perceive the truth to be. I know it's a lot more bold text, sarcasm and believe-it-or-not in this post, but I deemed it was necessary. Every word signifies how I actually feel about it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Magic Called Mumbai Monsoons!

I know that's too many 'M's in the title, but, all of them stand out very beautifully and separately from the others.

Each, a marvel in its own way. And what amuses me is how the 3 of these combine together to create a wonderful aura!

Mumbai. The financial capital of India, among others, and the city I have been born and brought up in. The city that I love so much and the city which never fails to amuse me. It's one of the world's biggest metropolitans. And reasons it's famous are many. Though, from all of these, one of which stands apart from the rest is its Monsoon and rains... Mumbai's monsoon!

Often suggested, the best time to be in Mumbai is during its monsoon. The whole demographic and life of Mumbai is in a different place then... Leaves most speechless. Even me.

The first monsoon showers for Mumbai happened the evening before last. And I had the chance to witness the marvel in itself. The first rains of Mumbai!! Here's to that amazing one hour...

I was standing at the window, watching across it to the opposite building and the cloudy sky above it. I knew it was gonna rain. I could feel it. Began working on my laptop. Read tweets from celebs in the southern part of Mumbai talking about the advent of rains there. Almost 15 minutes later, I could hear the thunders to the far west... It had begun to drizzle! I could see children running to the terraces of their respective buildings, housemakers scrambling to get the clothes drying on the window clothline inside, and could feel the smile on my face... It was time. Mumbai monsoon was back.

And within no time, it began raining... Heavily... I texted a few close friends with whom I was interacting then that I would talk to them later... And ran straight to the terrace... The feeling when the first drops of rain trickled down my face, played maze through my hair, and wet my clothes, was... Amazing. It was ecstatic, euphoric, happy, joyous and what not! Still, these words can't completely describe that feeling. You have to feel it, to know it.

Couldn't stop gazing at the orange sky... Wondering how it rained from within the sunny sky! Mist surrounded the far-ends of the city... The railway headlight was visible dizzying away... Almost every door and window of the trains were shut. I couldn't help but laugh at those people who didn't want to enjoy the first rain...

Through the water, memories, moments, people, situations and events seemed to have a flash back in my mind... The gushing winds hitting the face... The striking of the raindrops with force against the eye-lids... Blissful. Sometimes, the pain you get when the raindrops hit your face with amazing force seems like a punishment that you don't want to get through. At others, it's sheer pleasure.

Suddenly, the sun set and I could see the colours of the sky change swiftly from orange to silver to dark gray... And that's when I returned back home...

Had hot dosas and sandwiches with friends... Followed by onion bhajias (in Mumbai's lingo, better known as kanda bhajji) back at home to relish the beautiful combination of hot, spicy food in the cozy, rainy weather...

And sometime in between all this, a few tears did escape my eye too. While I was enjoying the pouring rain... I still don't know why I did. I had numerous smiles, but when and why these few tears came by, I don't know.

Nothing special about it, it may seem. Just an experience as anyone would enjoy the rain, right? Well, it wasn't. It wasn't just about the rains. It was about the millions of memories associated with it. It was about the people with whom you've talked about monsoon. It was about the dreams I had to spend time in the monsoon. It was about the minutes and hours spent waiting for it since the last time it came by... It was about everything else, too. It always is. It's about happiness. It's about love. It's about washing away the sadness. It's about a celebration.

It's something much more than just a rain... It's a way of life...

You may even think that just because it was the first rain, it was so. False. Every time it rains, it's the same for me. The same feeling of gaiety. The same moments that I want to relive. The same places I want to be. The same people... Yes, I do curse the rain at times, too. But, that's just a one moment thing. It's more about the magic monsoon leaves me with.

It never ends with the rain... It's a feeling that you take with yourself, for the rest of your life... It's the magic of it which surrounds your life...

It's magical how this season can spell-bound anyone. That too, beyond limits. Beyond many limits...

It's the realms and dreams of a beautiful day, the way hope refills in us, the way we feel happy that's so magical about it... Yes, most of us love the monsoon. Beyond the wet clothes, wrong timed rains, wet footwear, puddles of water, cold, cough and fever that usually follows, we all love it...

Happy monsoon, everyone! Hope you enjoy it in the ways that may make it a perfect and memorable season for you!!

P.S.: Those who network from Twitter, don't forget to tag your Mumbai Monsoon tweets with #MumbaiMonsoon!

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