Monthly Archives: October 2009

>Marvels Of Nature

>Hello dear readers,

There are people and situations in our life who instigate some profound thinking. The same spell was cast on me by the serene beauty of the place I visited two weeks ago. I was left awestruck by the series of thoughts that came to my mind when I began thinking on ‘Marvels of Nature’… Am just trying to recreate the magic (that I succumbed to) here today.

The sparkle of the dew on the leaf, the slow fall of the snowflake on our face, the beautiful sky during the sunset, the star-cast sky, the everything… How did it all come to life?

Our world was probably created because of a destructive (or should I say constructive, because I owe the ability to write this blogpost to it) celestial event called the ‘Big Bang’. Though, there aren’t any solid proofs as to how and why it occurred, it seems that two huge stars moving at relatively high speeds collided into each other and in turn, gave birth to many other stars and solar systems… Of which, one is ours.

The gravitational pull of the sun not only shaped floating particles of dust into almost spherical bodies, but also brought them into their respective orbits. In the course of around another million years, the first life on earth took birth. From then, the being went on developing. There were various kinds of animals and plants which developed from that first alga. Then, a catastrophe shook the earth. All the life on earth was lost in a jiffy like it had never existed before…

But, life developed again and was lost for a second time. Hope seemed to have been lost like the presence of sunlight in the dark chambers. But, then, life began afresh. The first forms of the human being, the apes, appeared and since then, there hasn’t been any stopping.

But, all that we use today and is given to us by Mother Nature, is something we owe to the previous two generations of the creatures that owned the earth at some time or the other. It is them whom we owe our existence to.

If not for them, we wouldn’t have had the millions of litres of mineral oil which we dig out everyday. If not for them, we wouldn’t have had any of the metals, which we use in various appliances everyday. If not for them, we would have not been able to know many of the mysteries of the universe. If not for them, the earth wouldn’t have revived itself to make it more favourable for the existence of life on earth. If not for them, we would have probably never even existed, forget about living. If not for them, we would never know that we should be ready for natural calamities, even as devastating as the ones which can turn us into inanimates.

But, there’s someone who is doing all this. And that’s the ‘Almighty’. There are various names give to him by everyone, Bhagwan, God, Allah, to name a few. He’s planning up there and I surely need to admire His foresight for that. I believe He Himself has learnt His lessons when two fiascos brought the world of His loved ones to the ashes.

The learnings He has had, are the reasons we are leading a better life with every coming day.

The birds chirping and singing hymns, the small streams of waterfall on the ghat which trickle down its surface and provoke a rush of smile through it, the last time you could see an animal in the open, not caged, not strapped, in its natural form, the animals which dwell in the forest, the plants which equip us with food, the evening sun which colours the sky in different hues everyday, the stars which shine far in the night sky, the blue sky which we see early in the morning from the parapet, balcony or terrace, the first drops of rain which fall on our face, the jump into the sea gushing towards the shore without much thought, the soft breeze of the morning washing our face with a new hope and delight, the delicacies that leave us licking our fingers, the strength we get when we survive through difficult situations, the smile and tear which appear on our face together, the innocent smile on the face of a child seeing which we can’t resist smiling ourselves, the moments which bring us joy, the times when we keep staring at the horizon for hours together, the last hug on the porch of our house from a dear friend, the moments when we stare into the eyes of the special people in our lives, speaking nothing, but yet, saying everything, I believe, these are the true Marvels of Nature, the irresistible gems, which are the gift to us from the second to none, God.

These, in my opinion, are the pearls of our life, from the oysters of nature… Enjoy them!

Cheerio!

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>Raj Politics

>

I have been postponing this post since quiet some time now. But, after yesterday’s assembly poll results, I couldn’t think any other post would be more appropriate. Bagging 5.6% of total votes of Maharashtra and 23.8% of the total votes of Mumbai in its maiden elections, Raj Thackeray has proved to the world and the Marathi Manoos (whom he says he’s fighting for) that he’s got worth.
For those of you who aren’t very well aware of politics in Maharashtra (with its epicenter in Mumbai), Raj Thackeray, is the nephew of the great Shiv Sainik Bal Thackeray. In 2006, he broke his alliance with the Shiv Sena and formed his own party named the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Since its inception, MNS has been drawing both attention and controversies. The newspapers have at least a report about MNS or its activities everyday and camps are being formed on the basis of pro-MNS or anti-MNS even in the newsrooms. While, Raj Thackeray tries to justify his policies and acts, and the media stands against him, this publicity which was a gift to him by the media, proved to boost his mettle in the assembly elections which led his party to fare amazingly well for a party contesting elections for the first time. He broke Shiv Sena’s myth of invincibility and proved that Marathi Manoos has his self interests above the needs of the political parties.
I was first motivated to write about this on my blog when I saw an interview of Raj on TimesNow, the first national news channel to have the privilege of interviewing Raj Thackeray, the king of controversies. I really like this news channel because there it’s more of viewer interest and less of nonsense. There is this host on prime time everyday, who also happens to be the Editor-in-Chief of the channel, Arnab Goswami, whose side in the Newshour Debate (the show he hosts) is ambiguous as the one of any mediator should be. He is someone who doesn’t use a word in any other language except English and he was interviewing the one who hates anything that isn’t created in Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray. Questions are posed in English and answers are in Marathi. What an interview that was! Who except Raj Thackeray has the guts to go on air on the national platform and not speak one complete sentence in either Hindi (considered to be the national language) or English (a language accepted universally across India).

To be frank, I also have been caught in the fray of the debate whether the policies and plans of MNS and its supremo Raj Thackeray are correct or is it just to attract media attention. But, since some time, I have really begun to think about his policies with an open mind and have found them appropriate in most cases. And, albeit the world isn’t in favour of what he does, it’s evident that he and his activities are taken seriously by the world because after there was his unwritten order of having Marathi boards outside every shop, there were boards of shops (even those in big malls) and even the name of the malls in Marathi.
The countries are broken down into states for better legislation. The legislators are elected by democratic processes in most of the places and they make the laws best suited for the region as they and their ancestors have lived there since centuries. They know the region, the terrain, the pros, the cons, the needs, the weather, the culture, the tradition and what not! They have been there since the beginning, seen it change and evolve. Raj Thackeray is also one such scion of Maharashtra. And, I guess that’s the reason he is so pissed off over various issues those he propagates. Let me address each issue one by one or else I won’t do justice to what is the heart-of-the-matter.
Use of boards and hoardings in the language everyone in the state understands is just something that isn’t to be passed as a law. It’s just another marketing tact. If you want to reach out to the maximum number of people, use the language they understand the best.

Marathi education a must in schools in Maharashtra. Isn’t it so very necessary and essential? If you are staying in a particular state, shouldn’t you know the culture and tradition well so that you can mingle well with the people who are actually the original inhabitants of the place?

Giving jobs to the Maharashtrians before those who have migrated from other states. This reminds me of the time when there was the Railway exam to be held in Mumbai. The newspapers in Maharashtra didn’t have any advertisements of the exam which would appoint bureaucrats and officials of the railway who would work in Maharashtra. Rather, those newspapers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had advertisements and people came to Mumbai just to give that examination. How fair is that? Again, if you are going to work in Maharashtra (for whatever job it may be) don’t you need to know the language the Marathi Manoos understands, don’t you need to know the region in which you are going to work, don’t you need to know everything about the place, why do MNCs appoint their country heads from within the staff of that country? In short, you need to know many things more than just the basic art of working.

These are the things I think have invited most of the havoc and controversies. The final decision to like his opinions and tactics lies onto you as I am nobody to force my choices on your shoulders. But, as far as I am concerned, I really admire this politician. I think, he is one of his own kind.

I may lose many followers (if I really have them) after this post, but, I guess, blogging is about writing what I feel and thus, I ain’t ashamed to say that I admire Raj and his persona.

Sayonara!


>Diwali Dhamaka (Festive Blast)

>The festival of lights… The day when evil was defeated by the righteous… The day when one of the Gods attained his ultimate journey, away from this negatively charged world into the castles of heaven… What do I say about this immensely important day of Indian mythology?

These things make very less difference to people in the lifestyle we live today. But, there are those faithfuls who still, on every single occasion, make sure to make everyone they meet realize the immense importance of the occassion.

What I feel is, the occasions to cherish such reasons are turning to mere festivals. Festivals which signify nothing less than bursting of crackers, spreading smiles by the means of irreversible changes which are a danger to the existence of the future generations, burning of the desi Indian candle, the ‘Diwa’ which have changed from the old and primitive but meaningful shape and sober design to fancy, expensive and meaningless designs which do nothing except appeal the eyes.

In the meanwhile, the days which a family should celebrate together, in perfect harmony, are celebrated individually and in ways which are neither good for human growth, nor, what is advised.

The changes in these things sometimes turn pretty depressing. It’s like what you feel when you see a flower which has withered away completely and you keep thinking about the time when it was completely lively. Days change, times change, and people change. And I guess we will have to get acquainted to this kind of life… With the world, yet into our own world…

And what is ruling my thoughts currently as I write this is what will be the case of these occasions ten years down the line? Will they just end up like parties of the west? People throw parties, others attend and these bashes are on the Page 3 of the newspapers and tabloids. Is that all where we are headed to?

Simple logic… Revive or revamp… And we are currently on the path of the latter…

Aloha to the new year and Aloha to the Desi Indian Culture… You decide for yourself what meaning of ‘Aloha’ are you gonna give the latter for…


>Wake Up Sid!?

>When was the last time you saw a movie because it was a big banner movie, had a promising title, an unusual pair, and a debutant director. If someone poses that question to me, I would say, “Yesterday!”

Yesterday (because it is 1:06 am as I begin writing), I went for ‘Wake Up Sid’. A movie which should have been better than what it probably is now.

For starters, the movie has a great deal of promise but which all ends as a disappointment. As anyone would have thought, in the opening scenes, our spoilt-rich-brat Siddharth Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor) is seen as a dude who is lousing around and falls asleep when he’s studying for his exams which are scheduled for the next day.

Jumping off directly to his results (before which the story is very slow and he is flaunting all the money that his father has earnt) and he comes to know that he has failed when all his friends made it through the examinations. Shit! How could I fail! Typical arrogance rules his mind and he has a tiff with his parents which further leads him to running out of his safe haven.

Flashback: In the farewell party of his college (after the exams, before the results) he meets a girl, Aisha Banerjee (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is not primarily from Mumbai and comes to this city to materialise her dreams. As usual, the hero goes around with her to the typical hangout place, Marine Drive. He helps her settling in Mumbai and they become good buddies.

So, when Sid leaves his house, he just drops into Aisha’s house (who should have behaved conservative and tried to make him understand that hasty decisions land no one anywhere) and makes himself comfortable. Aisha’s a bit (okay, a lot because it’s 7 years) older than Sid and thinks he behaves immaturely and in ways which are childish than what should be.

Then, as expected, Sid tries to improve his image in the eyes of Aisha and the story goes on until she helps him get a job in the magazine she works. Courtesy: The photography skills he received in his blood from his dad whom he left hurt.

He receives his first pay-check… Gives it to his dad to show that he too can be responsible… They patch-up and he returns to his own house… She gets wild because he almost leaves without even informing her… In the meantime, she gets a chance to write a column and after much thought, she ends up writing a column which is dedicated to Sid… And, they both realize they love each other…

I didn’t get a few things which should have been a part of the movie… Where were the surprises? Why was there nothing that could have made it more interseting rather than boring? Why did the story go on as anyone would have anticipated it to? Why did it seem pretty monotonous? Why did it seem like nothing really makes a difference to him? And, how did Sid so simply give up his dreams without even much of a thought?

I don’t really think Sid wakes up even at the end of the movie because just when one of his dreams is bursted into reality, it seems as if he is all set to fantasize again the life that he would soon wish to live…

I think I will have to watch it again and try to see if I get the answers to these questions…

Till then,
Adiós…


>Soothing…

>Every person has a list of varied things that provide them a peace of mind. Among them, if a survey was carried on, the result would surely be listening to music.

The word music has varied importance in each and everyone’s life. For some, it is a passion, for some it is a way of living, for some it is a need, for some it is a mean to be a part of the crowd, for some it is a part of their soul, for the rest it is just some estranged being.

This one is a testimonial to music (or muzik, as I prefer to spell it). My focus in this post is mainly on the English music, which most of us back here in India, consider as a foreign territory much beyond our knowledge.

There have been great bands and artists in the past and probably in the future, they will be better, but, what holds my nerves to the past and the good old music of the ’60s and ’70s are bands like The Beatles, Queen etc. These people had magic and melody in what they composed. Singers like the legendary John Lennon and Elton John. It was The Beatles who actually made the pop genre of music popular. You can say it was the beginning of a new era.

In the coming decades, the band culture got its rightful importance with blooming of bands like U2, and singles like Michael Jackson (who eventually went on to be called the ‘King of Pop’).

But those were supposedly also the good old days and they were on the verge of an end. The days of the pop culture came to an end with the rise in popularity of the music that is called noise by legendary musicians, the hard-rock, metal, rock, jazz and dark metal age of music which emerged from the contemporary rock and roll. These genre of music seem to have taken over the minds of the youth since its inception in the early ’60s, but have had the maximum influence in the last decade when the death of the Pop culture of music didn’t seem to have any solace to reside on.

Even in this era of death, there were some faithfuls to the music which was created by various legends. This includes the some immensely popular bands like MLTR (Michael Learns To Rock, which even have a large following in countries like India), and Enrique Iglesias.

The advent of the 21st century saw a whole new genre of music that became popular with the youth, the mash-up of Country, Rock and Pop. The youth artists like Britney Spears, James Blunt, Pussy Cat Dolls, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Hillary Duff, George Michael, Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan, Fergie, Joe Nichols, Jimmy Wayne, Vitamin C, Akon etc spread magic with their music.

And in this whole journey were bands like The Beatles, Linkin Park, ABBA, Savage Garden, Eagles, System Of A Down, Metallica, Blue, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Guns n Roses etc who had great fan following and whose music was one of a kind, whose magic no one except they themselves can ever recreate. The artist whom I can’t afford to forget at this juncture are Bryan Adams, Elton John, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue, Michael Buble, Peter Gabriel…the list is endless. These were the people who actually redefined the widely used term ‘Music’, whose every song had something which made it special and different. These are the people whose music is soothing and a solace for their endless number of fans.

My own personal favourites among this endless list are as follows:
Designation of the song: Title (Artist-Album)

All-time favourite song: Summer Of ’69 (Bryan Adams-Summer Of ’69)
Romantic song: Love Story (Taylor Swift-Fearless); You Took My Heart Away (MLTR-Take Me To Your Heart)
Missing School Days: Friends Forever (Vitamin C-Graduation)
Best Guitar work: Hotel California (Eagles-Hell Freezes Over)
Rock: Wake Me Up When September Ends (Green Day-Bullet In A Bible)
When missing someone: Gotta Find You (Joe Jonas-Camp Rock)
Strong Resemblance: Right Now (Freedom-Akon)
Dream: If We Were A Movie (Miley Cyrus-Hannah Montana)
Truth: Somebody’s Me (Enrique Iglesias-Insomniac)
Confessions: Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Lindsay Lohan-A Little More Personal)
In wait: Right Here Waiting (Richard Marx-Repeat Offender)
Found you: Bartender (TPain-The Midas Touch Man)
Look at yourself: Girl In The Mirror (Britney Spears-Oops!…I Did It Again)
Striving for you: If Only Tears Could Bring You Back (Soundtrack-Pokemon The Movie)
Romance at its best: My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion-Titanic)
Limits to which I can go: When You Love Someone (Bryan Adams-Unplugged)
Just for you: You’re Beautiful (James Blunt-You’re Beautiful)
Adieu: Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt-Chasing Time: The Bedlam Sessions)
Friendship: True Friend (Hannah Montana-Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus)
Gloomy: Teardrops On My Guitar (Taylor Swift-Fearless)
Love is in the air: As Long As You Love Me (Backstreet Boys-Backstreet Boys)
Ask for dance: Can I Have This Dance (soundtrack-High School Musical 3)

The list doesn’t seem to have an end and it never will just because I can’t ever get tired when I begin talking music and when it is about the best I have ever heard, there is no end… And I even wish there isn’t any ever…

Do tell me without hesitation anytime if you discover new bands or artists which you think are really good. I wouldn’t mind exploring them as I am in no mood to miss any great music…

Sayonara!


>Aloha!

>First of all, don’t guess that I have just visited Hawai or something because am writing on something that has its origin in the Hawaiian islands of North America.

The first time I came across this word was a song, ‘Aloha Barack Obama’ and I had understood the meaning of the word as welcome. Recently, I had a friend telling me ‘Aloha’ as a matter of good-bye. I was left in a predicament of rare sorts. I just couldn’t make my mind as to which one of the two was true. The prior was as a welcome to the honorary President and the latter was as a farewell.

I decided to unearth the meaning for myself so that I don’t face the dilemma again.

We meet people in every walk of our life and then their presence in our lives provides us comfort. We welcome them in any and every phase of our life. ‘Aloha dear!’ is what our first reaction turns to.

Then, we spend some time with them. Know them better. And its time to bid them ‘Sayonara’.

We really sometimes can face a question of sorts when someone says ‘Aloha’ to us. Was that to welcome me, or, was it to say good-bye?

I still will face this dilemma because of the courtesy of this beautiful and peculiar word ‘Aloha’! And I guess that’s the reason the song ‘Aloha Barack Obama’ was written so that a new song won’t have to be written to bid him bye. Thoughtful on the part of the lyricist, I must say!

Aloha!